Thursday, December 07, 2006

Request for Questions

Glenn and I are doing a question and answer podcast where our readers can submit questions to be answered by either one of us or both in an upcoming podcast. We typically have interesting guests and experts on our show and let them do the talking--it's probably better that way. However, this time around, we will do the talking and answer questions you have about blogging, podcasting, advice, politics, law, psychology or just general ones that I have not mentioned. We will choose some of the questions to answer and will post the podcast with the final questions. Remember, the answers we give may be humiliating, humorous, unserious or just plain non-PC so only submit if you feel this is something you can tolerate. Please, only real questions, no trolling. You can post the question below or email me at Thanks.

Update: Thanks for the questions--both the polite ones and the snide as they will make for interesting commentary. Questions are closed for this thread.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

New Internet Video

Stuart Browning of On the Fence Films has a short internet video entitled, "A Short Course in Brain Surgery," on the problems with Canadian Healthcare. If you wonder what a single payer system might look like, take a look at the video.

Are the Police and Courts Just a Substitute for Dads and/or Discipline?

A reader sent me an article today about a mother who turned her son in to the police for opening a Christmas gift early. I was surprised that the story was such a big deal that the Associated Press picked it up. To me, it seems mundane. Afterall, I have worked in places where parents drop the kids off at juvenile detention if they come in late from a date. Why do parents call the police and/or contact the authorities instead of using discipline? Because no one else will do the job of teaching the kids consequences. For example, in the case of the mother with the Christmas gift-grabbing boy, she states:

"My grandmother went out of her way to lay away a toy and paid on this thing for months," said the boy's mother, Brandi Ervin. "It was only to teach my son a lesson. He's been going through life doing things ... and getting away with it."

My question isn't, "why would a mother call the cops on her own son for such a petty "crime" but rather, "why is her son going through life getting away with things such as the time he took a swing at a police officer at school?" Maybe the woman in the story is a single mother with no one to help her with her son, maybe there is a father but he is afraid to discipline for fear of being hauled himself to court for child abuse, or maybe the community does not see fit to dole out consequences to kids who push the limits--except to expel them from school to get rid of the problem. Whatever the reason, expect the police and courts to continue being the disciplinarians for our kids, given that consequences for one's behavior is out of fashion.

Update: Joanne Jacobs on Parenting by Police at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Interview with Patricia Pearson at MND

Men's News Daily has an interesting interview on women and aggression with one of my favorite writers, Patricia Pearson, who wrote When She Was Bad: Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence (Thanks Bob H. for pointing the interview out). My favorite part of the interview was where Pearson described Camille Paglia calling her a bitch:

The chemistry between us was intolerable, but I couldn’t end the meeting because I was on assignment, so she ended it by storming off, calling me “ a stupid b*tch” on her way across the Four Season’s creamy lobby carpet. Whereupon, a lady in a CARMEN MIRANDA HAT, which is to say a hat sporting fruit, who had been sitting across from us in the lobby, introduced herself as a family court judge (I am not making this up) and said that she “couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with Camille Paglia.”
“Do you know what just happened?” she asked me, amused.
“No,” I wailed, still feeling like I’d just been b*tch-slapped.
The secret issue that had set us asunder, said the fruit-headed judge, was the fact that I had been chewing gum. “Are you aware that you were chewing gum? As a judge, I can tell you that body language is absolutely paramount in these kinds of conflicts, and chewing gum signals defiance.” Hilarious. I happened to have been quitting smoking at the time, and used gum like a critical limb, and had forgotten about it entirely.

What do I think of Paglia as a social thinker? I can’t get past the fact that she’s an abusive maniac who can’t tolerate insolence, no matter how inadvertent.

Come to think of it, Ann Althouse also had a run-in with Paglia and was uninvited to a dinner for her because Professor Althouse dared to write a blog post that Paglia didn't like and she was angry and hurt. Sounds like the lady could use some anger management tips.

Anyway, the interview with Pearson is good, take a look.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Big Brother or Doctor?

New York City bans trans fat in restaurants, who have until July of 2008 to comply. "Big Brother or Doctor?" asks the poll at MSNBC. I say neither one sounds good.

Update: The Washington Post editors assume people need doctors and Big Brother to tell them what to do (Hat Tip: Soccer Dad).


A new movement is afoot (Thanks Allah Pundit):

MENINISM is the catchcry of a movement of males who will storm the streets and burn their ties, rallying against the "all men are bastards" image that has an entire sex pigeonholed as violent, heartless and untrustworthy.

This is according to a new study saying there is a competing interest to the feminist struggle for equality; men and boys are now the target of negative stereotypes.

The research shows almost 70 per cent of social commentary on the male gender is unfavourable – portraying men as violent, sexually abusive, unable to be trusted with children, "deadbeat dads" and commitment-phobic.

In the largest Australian study of its kind, Dr Jim Macnamara analysed more than 2000 media articles and programs and found men were mostly positioned as villains, aggressors, perverts or philanderers.

Yes, well, any women's magazine will tell you that.

I am not sure American men are to the point where they will take to the streets and burn their ties...or are they?

Men and Gift Giving 101

"If you want to know why men are skiddish about giving women presents, read this article," my husband said as he dropped the Allure magazine on the bed open to an article entitled, "Getting the Goods." Okay, I know, I should quit harping on and paying attention to these women's magazines, but seriously, what kind of trash is it to put an article in a magazine telling women how to "work the system" to get furs, jewels, and airplane tickets from the man in their life?

I glanced at the article, thinking that maybe there was something redeeming there, you know, where the woman finally learned to accept her husband, boyfriend, etc. for who he was or was finally glad that her guy wanted to give her a gift of some type, but no such luck. Instead, I learned that if your guy gives you a gaudy necklace worth $1200.00, it is fair game to scream at him in the heat of an argument, "It's obvious you don't know a single thing about me if you give me something that hideous." The guy gives the necklace to his mother, so you would think the woman would learn to be more tactful but no, the lesson from this anecdote, according to the magazine is, "Never let a man buy you jewelry, pick it out yourself." There are some rules and crummy advice for women to follow to see that their man gets them the best of everything, regardless of what it does to their relationship:

"Successful gift-getting also demands something deeper and more complicated than mere timing. A certainty about who you, the deserving recepient, are, and what you desire. A firmness of resolve. And--yes--even the ability to walk away from somethng (or someone) valuable. When an acquaintance was asked by her happy husband what she wanted as a gift after the birth of their daughter, she didn't hesitate" 'a pair of diamond baguettes to add to my engagement ring.'"

The husband refuses and the woman says she wants nothing, but naturally later he coughs up the diamonds. "He should have known better than to challenge me," this woman says, "because when he proposed, we were on the beach at night--and I didn't want to say yes until I took the diamond ring into the light to check it out." So much for the notion that women are "nurturing and caring."

And this poor sucker married her anyway? I guess he got what he deserved--but I wonder how much smouldering resentment this man must feel towards a woman who would use him in this way. Or maybe it's a turn-on. Whatever, but I can't help but feel that articles like this that are read by young women across the country are feeding a sense of entitlement in young women and harming, rather than helping equality and good relations between the sexes.

Non-PC Holiday Conversation

The holidays are coming up and with them, of course, are the various Christmas and holiday parties that one is exposed to this time of year. Some of the parties are a lot of fun if you are with friends and neighbors etc. where you can be yourself (or at least know when not to be), but some are much more tense when you don't know the people and have to introduce yourself and make conversation that won't leave you feeling like a pariah. So, I was thrilled to see that Allure magazine had some tips for party-goers on how to make conversation as well as an entrance to a party that will get you noticed.

Okay, I doubt most of my blog readers really put getting noticed at a party as their highest priority; if you do, I refer you to the December issue of Allure. However, the tips in Allure for how to be a good conversationalist were impressive. I read them, thinking I would hear about how not to hurt other people's feelings, pretend one knows the current events of the day, and how to be socially acceptable but I was wrong. The advice for starting a party conversation was good and on target, especially for those of us who tend towards the politically incorrect and the socially awkward.

Allure rounds up some of their most engaging partygoers and asks them for their talking points--I will share a few of the most salient with you:

Get Personal. "Feel free to be wildly interrogative and ask profound questions, Doonan suggests (Doonan is the author of Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints). For example, 'Where do you want to be buried?'; How's your relationship with your mother these days?' Fellow guests will think you are insane, but the answers are never boring." Another party expert says that people respond more to the strange and unusual than to the same old things. "The most memorable conversations are honest, when people do not mince words. I talk to the ballbusters, the Ethel Mermans."

Push Some Buttons. "It's a myth that you should avoid talking about sex and politics--especially in big cities like New York and Los Angeles," Doonan says, "If you think George Bush or the Pope is hot, say so." Ingrid Sischy, editor in chief of Interview, feels the same way: "I wouldn't advise bringing Hitler up very much," she says, "But when you're having a great conversastion with someone, you hit on everything, including taboo subjects."

Don't Be Afraid to Admit Ignorance. "If someone brings up Hezbollah, and you're fairly clueless about it, just admit the truth. 'Rather than bluffing to impress, be blunt about what you don't know,' Doonan says. 'Even stars heed this advice: Someone once asked Jennifer Lopez if America should invade Afghanistan, and her answer was perfect: 'I have no idea about politics...'"

Now, if only Barbara Streisand and company would follow Lopez's lead.

Finally, the last bit of advice is probably the best:

Use the Booze. "There is a reason people drink at dinners and cocktail parties--it all becomes much more interesting."

Anyone have any other advice to add to the list for how you survive holiday conversations without tears or boredom?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Would You Buy this Book?

Hog on Ice has a good question about all the one-sided self-help advice out there:

Here is my question. Self-help experts tell us men need to change. Men need to be sensitive and submissive and put products in their hair and use moisturizer, because if we don't, it makes women feel bad. Okay, it makes us feel bad when women yammer all day. So why aren't the experts telling women to shut up?

Here's a thought. Maybe it's because ninety percent of self-help customers are women. They pay idiots like Oprah and Dr. Phil to tell them they're right about everything, and they get what they want. If I wrote a book called Keep Your Man by Shutting up Once in a While and Occasionally Putting Out When You Don't Want Something, I'd be preaching a vital and timely message. But nobody would buy it.

Would you?
John Hawkins at Right Wing News has restarted Conservative Grapevine, a link blog dedicated to highlighting the best posts from around the right side of the blogosphere. Go take a look.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

You can see on my sidebar that I decided to update my blog with a few new pictures that Glenn took in our podcast studio that we recently built in our basement. I am wearing red pajamas and sitting by some of our new podcast equipment lame is that? Am I just a nerdy stereotype of a blogger? Oh, well, at least it is my basement and not my parents'.