Saturday, July 21, 2007

What's the Big Deal about Harry Potter?

Dr. Sanity says that Harry Potter is more important than blogging. Not to me. Okay, for you Harry Potter fans out there, don't kill me but I really don't care that the new book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes out today. I know people have been standing in line all night and I know there are bloggers out there who love the series, but don't include me in their number. As Ann Althouse said on her vlog yesterday, "these are children's books and I am an adult." Okay, there are some kids' books I do enjoy but Harry Potter is not one of them. I struggled through the first book and found it tedious and dull except for the part about Harry living in a closet in his aunt and uncle's house and his subsequent descriptions of his atrocious cousin. The rest is sort of murky and uninteresting to me. Perhaps I am missing something. Enlighten me if you have read the series and think I have missed the boat in some way.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Blogfests and Blogathons in East Tennessee

East Tennessee bloggers are getting ready for two Blogfests and a Blogathon--you can read about these events at Rich Hailey's Shots Across the Bow Blog.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

"This woman is just another elitist from some Socialist Indoctrinated University"

In my entire career, I don't think I have ever been described this way, it's kind of amusing.

Update: Eric at Classical Values wonders if I am an Orgytarian.


Sucker Punched

I got suckered into reading this Newsweek My Turn article with the provocative caption "Hands Off My Belly" on MSN today--mainly I read these articles because they pop up when I log out of my hotmail account and I am curious as to what they are about. Anyway, this article is about a woman named Carrie Friedman who is annoyed at fanatical mothers for touching her stomach and asking when she is going to have children. She states that these mothers make it questionable as to whether or not to have children because they are very poor role models for parenthood. She gives a few examples of these annoying mothers such as those who do not pursue their own passions, those who tell her she must not know happiness since she is childless, and mothers who make kids an extension of their own narcissism. However, the most alarming description she gives of annoying mothers is that they do not teach their children manners:

Now let's talk a bit about manners, as in please teach your children some. The world has rules, and kids should learn them. And being well mannered does not infringe on their individuality and freedom.

I crouched to meet the eye line of an acquaintance's 4-year-old to greet her, and in response, she punched me in the face so hard my mouth bled. What was more baffling was the mother's reaction: nothing to the child, but to me she said very sternly: "You really shouldn't talk down to kids."

I also shouldn't be punched in the face by kids whose parents don't know how to set basic boundaries. Experiences like this don't exactly encourage me to hurry up and get pregnant.

I was a bit baffled by this writer's response to being punched in the face. Her take, "I'm in no hurry to get pregnant." My take: "WTF? You let a four year old child hit you in the face and then you are dissed by the mother and all you have to say is, 'Maybe I shouldn't have kids?' No, the correct response is, 'You are a very poor role model for this child who has assaulted me with your blessing. One day you will realize what a terrible mistake you have made. Please keep your child away from me or next time I will not be so generous to you.'"

I have seen too many children who are naturally unruly fail to see the consequences of their actions when they are young and their parents only realize their mistake when the child gets older and their behavior is downright dangerous. At best a child does not learn how to control their emotions and interact with others in an adaptive manner and is hard to get along with, at worse, the child's aggression spirals out of control. Neither of these outcomes is desirable. Not only should parents set boundaries and give children consequences should they treat others in a reckless or dangerous manner but those who are the recepients of such poor behavior should set the parents straight by being firm that they expect better behavior.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Doc, Don't be Such a Poker Face"

Wow, I really am not using this psychologist thing to the fullest of my abilities: (Hat Tip: Don Surber).

LAS VEGAS — Jerry Yang, a 39-year-old psychologist who uses his professional training in his card-playing arsenal, won the top prize Wednesday of $8.25 million at the World Series of Poker.

Yang vaulted quickly from eighth to the chip lead soon after play began Tuesday afternoon.

He knocked out seven of the eight other players at the final table, reminiscent of last year when Jamie Gold ran over his opponents. The main difference, Yang did it from the back of the pack.

"The only way I would win this tournament is to be aggressive from the very beginning and that's exactly what I did," he said.

An ethnic Hmong person who grew up poor in Laos, Yang said before the final table began that he would donate 10 percent of his winnings to charity, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Feed the Children, the Ronald McDonald House and his alma mater, Loma Linda University.

Since he uses his psychological skills at poker, I wonder if he uses his poker skills in his psychology work? I can just hear him with his clients now. "The chips are down, but you'll be okay." "Hey, what's with the poker face?" "If you aren't getting what you want from the relationship, just up the ante." Anyone know anymore slang expressions from poker?


Monday, July 16, 2007

Is Too Much Girl Talk too Much of a Good Thing?

Did you ever wonder why your teen-aged daughter seemed even more morose and upset after a long chat with her girlfriends? Well, this study may provide the answer, she could be co-ruminating:

Dan Collins at Protein Wisdom emailed me this very interesting study that found that girls who complain about their problems were at greater risk of developing anxiety and depression:

A researcher at the University of Missouri-Columbia has found that girls who talk very extensively about their problems with friends are likely to become more anxious and depressed.

The research was conducted by Amanda Rose, associate professor of psychological sciences in the College of Arts and Science. The six-month study, which included boys and girls, examined the effects of co-rumination – excessively talking with friends about problems and concerns. Rose discovered that girls co-ruminate more than boys, especially in adolescence, and that girls who co-ruminated the most in the fall of the school year were most likely to be more depressed and anxious by the spring....

“For years, we have encouraged kids to find friends who they can talk to about their problems, and with whom they can give and receive social support,” Rose said. “In general, talking about problems and getting social support is linked with being healthy. What’s intriguing about these findings is that co-rumination likely represents too much of a good thing. Some kids, especially girls, are taking talking about problems to an extreme. When that happens, the balance tips, and talking about problems with friends can become emotionally unhealthy.”

Rose said adolescents should be encouraged to talk about their problems, but only in moderation and without co-ruminating.

I wonder if this over-talking and resulting anxiety and depression extends to adult women?

Update: John Ford at the California Medicine Man weighs in on the study.

Ask Dr. Helen

My column is up at PJM:

What does Dr. Helen think of same-sex marriage? Does her Insta-husband agree? If the answer were “yes” and they disagreed strongly on that and other key political issues, does she think it would do damage to their relationship? Fasten your seatbelts: this week, PJM’s advice columnist wades into some controversial waters.

I would love to hear what my readers think about gay marriage and whether or not you could be married or in a relationship with a person who is significantly different from you in their political beliefs. You can comment here, at PJM, or ask a question at askdrhelen at