Helen Smith was born in the early 1960s in Berkeley, California, to beatnik parents who were attending school there at the time. She moved with her family to Knoxville, Tennessee, at the age of three and later attended the University of Tennessee for her BA in psychology. She moved to Manhattan shortly afterwards and has an MA from the New School for Social Research, a post-Masters from the City University of New York and - after moving back to Knoxville - a PhD from the University of Tennessee. Helen is currently a forensic psychologist in Knoxville. She is the author of The Scarred Heart: Understanding and Identifying Kids Who Kill and has produced a documentary, Six, about a mass murder. She blogs at Dr. Helen.
Why do you blog? > Because no one wants to listen to me in real life.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Finding out how funny and creative the commenters at my blog can be.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Realizing how many hurt people are out there who have family and marital problems that are really sad.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Blog because you love it, write what you want to hear, not what others do, and don't feed the trolls like I do!
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Milton Friedman, Albert Ellis, Erich Fromm, Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom.
What are you reading at the moment? > Evil Genes, a new book by Barbara Oakley about psychopaths; The Big Book of Girl Stuff; The Big Book of Boy Stuff; See Jane Hit, a book on the rising violence of girls in our society; and How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything, Yes Anything! by Albert Ellis.
What is your favourite poem? > My sister is a poet and wrote me a poem called 'Jazz' once, about the years I lived in New York and she lived across the ocean in Paris. It was beautiful.
What is your favourite song? > 'One Hundred Years' by John Ondrasik.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > There is no free lunch.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > To keep this country away from universal healthcare - there is no free lunch.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose? > Condi Rice.
What would you do with the UN? > Dismantle it.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Don't take yourself too seriously.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > I would hope so. I value qualities of bravery, courage and strength. As long as I felt the person had these qualities, their political beliefs are not that important. I would hope that they would have the flexibility to be tolerant of my beliefs, however.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Bravery.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Cowardice.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To save the life of someone that I loved.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I don't appreciate people who feel it is okay to bash men in our culture to show they are 'empowered'.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Golf.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > My health and the health of the people I care about.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I would not have gotten a PhD in psychology.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Andie McDowell.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Nothing.
What talent would you most like to have? > A good sense of direction.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Fighter pilot in the military.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Condi Rice, Milton Friedman, Annie Oakley.
What animal would you most like to be? > An eagle.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]