Saturday, August 18, 2007

GM's Corner has a tour of the Psych Bloggers:

It has been a while since I last toured the Psych bloggers, those intrepid bunch of mental health professionals as we take a look at their take on politics, the human condition and anything else that catches my eye. Our usual bunch of suspects include: Dr. Helen, Dr. Sanity, Shrinkwrapped, neo-neocon, Assistant Village Idiot, One Cosmos (Gagdad Bob), Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, Its About Them, and this issue adds Dr. John Jay Ray, who will be familiar to many of you, Dr. Ray is a retired psychologist from down under.

Go take a look.

Friday, August 17, 2007

One of the Reasons Men Make More Money--They Work Longer Hours

I read this article today at MSN entitled "Want a Bigger Salary? Prepare for Longer Work Week":

Don’t think that Americans aren’t earning those paychecks. The MSN-Zogby poll shows a direct correlation between higher household incomes and the tendency to put in longer work weeks.

More than one in three (37 percent) workers with $100,000 or more in household income say they typically work between 41 and 50 hours per week, and an additional 17 percent say they usually work more than 50 hours per week. Once household incomes reach less than $25,000, the tendency to work longer weeks decreases significantly: Only 8 percent of workers in this group work between 41 and 50 hours per week and just 2 percent work over 50 hours.

Among those clocking more office hours, the majority are men and workers with children living at home. Sixteen percent of men claim to work more than 50 hours per week, but only half of that amount of women is likely to do the same. Finally, 17 percent of workers with children aged 17 and younger living at home are likely to put in a longer work week, but only 11 percent of those without kids have the same tendency.

This study coinsides with a Glamour article (November 2006) I was reading last week entitled "Are You Normal at Work?" The article stated that only 32 percent of women ages 25-34 clock 35 or more hours per week. Apparently, part-time work and flexible work are important to women as 80% of women polled say they'd take extended time off to care for family in the future. Perhaps some of what we call unequal pay, particularly as women get older is the choice of many women to take off time to raise families, a noble endeavor. To really evaluate how much gender discrimination plays a part in pay, studies must focus on the same job performed by men and women working exactly the same number of hours in today's market with the same requirements.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pretty in Pink?

Okay, I'm not sure how I feel about this (thanks TR for sending me the link!):

It resembles a hand-held electric razor and is available in metallic pink, electric blue, titanium silver and black pearl.

But it gives out a 50,000-volt jolt that short-circuits brain signals and momentarily incapacitates.

Meet the sleek new C2 stun gun from Taser International in Scottsdale, a controversial device aimed mainly at women consumers that has sparked widespread concern among U.S. law enforcement and human rights groups.

Police forces in the United States have been issued with Tasers since 1999 to subdue violent criminals. A pistol-like civilian version aimed at the self-defense market has been available since 1994.

But the new, lighter, brighter designer version, which was launched in late July with a price tag of around $350, is small enough to tuck into a purse and packs the same paralyzing punch.

"We wanted to make sure that it was something that people were comfortable carrying and didn't make it look like they were 'Dirty Harry,'" said Tom Smith, the company's co-founder and board chairman, referring to the Clint Eastwood movie...

But some of the nation's top police authorities are concerned that the gadgets could easily wind up in the wrong hands. Amnesty International also is opposed, saying it can pose "serious harm" for women.

My question isn't "should women be using it?" I think they should if it is used properly for self defense. I have some other questions: "Why does a tool used for self-defense have to look like something Barbie would carry?" And "isn't it a bit sexist that Amnesty International is concerned only now that these weapons are being targeted to women when a pistol-like civilian version has been aimed at the self-defense market for the past 13 years?"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This is Depressing News

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh today and heard him talk about this new study out of the UK showing that men from 35-44 are the most miserable:

Some might say that all they have to worry about is getting to work on time and the onset of a little middle-aged spread.

But men in their late-30s and early-40s are the least content of all of us, it seems.

Whether they are mourning the passing of their prime or struggling to cope with the demands of a job and young family, those aged 35-44 invariably hit a mid-life crisis when their happiness level plunges lower than at any other age, according to a study for the Government.

It makes them the least satisfied members of society, scoring well below teenagers, the elderly - and women of all ages.

Researchers found that it takes men until they reach the age of 65 to start enjoying life as much as they did in their late-teens and early-20s.

It seems that if men were just concerned about not being in their prime, their happiness would not return when they reached 65. I wonder if the stress of often being the primary bread winner and putting more time into child rearing than their fathers ever did are causes for some of this unhappiness? Try doing all of this while being dissed in the process and told that you are the cause of the world's problems. No wonder men of this age feel down. After sixty-five, they become part of a protected group, the elderly. Then it's time to relax. However, it would be much better if men in their 30's until 65 could find some way to feel less miserable. If you have some tips, leave a comment.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mary Winkler could go free today (thanks to the reader who emailed me the link):

After spending a total of seven months in custody, the Tennessee woman who fatally shot her preacher husband in the back will be released as early as today.

Mary Winkler, a 33-year-old mother of three girls, is expected to be freed from a mental health facility today or Wednesday, lawyer Steve Farese told CNN.

Farese said his client will not talk to the news media because she continues to wage a legal battle to win custody of her girls and faces a $2 million civil suit filed by the parents of of her slain husband, Matthew Winkler.

Mary Winkler likely will return to work at the dry cleaners in McMinnville, Tennessee, where she worked before the trial, Farese said.

Winkler served about five months in county jail as she awaited trial, then spent two months undergoing therapy at a Tennessee mental health facility following her conviction for voluntary manslaughter.

Five months in the county jail and and two months of therapy for shooting her husband in the back; it's pathetic. But just as pathetic is the idea that these children should be given back to the woman who killed their father.

Ask Dr. Helen

My column at PJM is up:

Are societal pressures preventing adults from getting what they want?

PJM advice columnist Dr. Helen Smith approaches the question from two directions when she confronts the issues of a couple’s desire to pass on IVF eggs to a worthy recipient, and a man afraid to walk next to his wife for fear of getting in someone’s way.

Take a look.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Non-resistance in the Face of Violence is not Always the Answer

I read about the grandmothers in a beauty salon who were bludgeoned by a robber with a hammer this week:

A 41-year-old man stormed a beauty salon and bludgeoned four grandmothers with a hammer, fracturing one's skull, before making off with less than $90, police said.

Thomas Leyshon III, of Mountain Top, was arrested after a daylong manhunt Friday.

The women, ages 56 to 76, did not resist but were beaten anyway, witnesses said. At least one required surgery.

"It takes a coward to go after some old women," said Andy Chopka, grandson of victim Jeanna Chopka.

Notice the sentence in the article making mention that the women did not resist but were beaten anyway. It's as if the writer of the article expected the very act of non-resistance to be met with non-injury. That's what we're always being told, isn't it? Comply with a thug's wishes and you won't get hurt.

What would happen if women in a similar beauty salon robbery did fight back and instead of a hammer, the perp had a gun? Well, you can see for yourself--thanks to Tam and her commenter's for pointing this story out. In a video outside a Shreveport, Louisiana beauty school, women described what they did to man coming in to rob the place at gunpoint and they were having none of it. "I tripped him," said one woman. Then the rest of them pounced on him and beat him until he was the one being carried to a hospital.

Tipping is Mandatory but a Five Buck Co-pay is Infuriating

I read at MSN money that 20% is the new 15% in terms of tipping:

I used to feel generous because I tipped 20% in restaurants. It was a shout-out, I thought, to my brothers and sisters on the wait staff: Been there, done that, so glad I don't have to anymore.

But it's not just my imagination that 20% isn't considered all that generous anymore. It's become standard....

One thing I won't do is skimp on tipping out of a false sense of economy. I feel strongly that if you can't afford to tip properly, then you need to curtail the activity that leads to the tipping. In the years when money was tight, I saved by eating out infrequently, going to cheap places to have my hair cut and taking public transportation rather than taxis. I didn't try to save by stiffing the folks who provided me with services I opted to purchase.

I have always been a fairly generous tipper; like the author above, I have worked in a number of restaurants during my time to pay for school and living expenses--so I have some empathy for wait staff and others. However, the best tip I got was from a woman who came up to me at a healthfood restaurant who said, "You better get a better attitude if you want to make a career of this work!" I left shortly afterwards, realizing that what she said was true--with my personality, I had no future in waitressing.

Anyway, I digress, the point I wanted to make in this post was that "yes, tipping can be important," but it should not necesarily be considered standard. I tip for a job well done and if I am treated poorly, I see no reason to pay for the privilege. I have also noticed that hairdressers and spa services charge more than psychologists get for an hour of psychotherapy from Medicare, our share? 67.00 per 60-75 minutes. I went to my hairdresser yesterday, and was there an hour and a half--my total bill: $110.00. You could say that the poor hairdresser has to pay for being in the spa, but try the overhead of a professional office, it's probably more.

Anyway, I totally disagree that if you are on a budget that you should have to give up riding in a taxi, going to get a haircut at a spa, or a massage if you are stressed just because you can't leave a whopping tip. If doctors and professionals can deal with people who balk at having to pay a five dollar co-pay for their care, then massage therapists and hairdressers etc. can tolerate not getting the whopping tip they think they deserve each and every time. Or perhaps the real lesson here is that many of those who snootily tell others that they owe whopping tips for service whether it is good or not, underneath it all think that luxury services are more important to pay for than healthcare.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Power of Anti-Americanism?

I caught a bit of the new game show, The Power of 10 hosted by Drew Carey last night while flipping through the channels:

The show combines an element of pop culture with the classic pyramid approach, asking contestants to predict the answer to questions posed to thousands of Americans, such as “How many believe they are smarter than president George Bush?”

As you can imagine from the question on George Bush above, the show is filled with subtle negative remarks guised as humor about Americans and the Bush Administration. For example, Carey implies in the following interview with TV Guide that most white Americans are racists: Give me some examples of questions asked.
Carey: "What percentage of Americans think they're smarter than President Bush?" "What percentage of white Americans would never vote for an African American as president?" Even if it was David Palmer on 24?
Carey: Even if it was Barack Obama.

Another question from the show last night asked those polled if they thought Dick Cheney could beat them in a duel with a shotgun. Carey mentions the negative press Cheney gets and that people don't like the Vice President. Even if true, why mention it so often? The questions seemed to be phrased in very negative ways to try to pull for laughs about the inefficiency of the current administration or the provincial nature of Americans. None of it seems terribly funny.

When Americans do answer questions posed by pollers, Carey often made wisecracks to let the audience know what an enlightened being he is. When asked, "How many women consider themselves feminists?" only 29% of those polled considered themselves feminists. Carey's response? The women who did not consider themselves feminists were riding off the backs of the feminists who came before and were basically too ignorant to know that this is what they were doing. Okay, fair enough but perhaps the way that the questions were phrased determined the outcome of the answers. For example, the women polled might have been in favor of equal rights for women, but not for the type of radical feminism pushed by Catherine MacKinnon or Andrea Dworkin. Many women are wise to this type of "feminism" and want no part of it. The questions may be phrased in a way that does not allow one to know why the pollee answered the way he or she did.

This set-up might make for funny or more exciting tv, or maybe not:

CBS' new Drew Carey-hosted game show "The Power of 10" faltered in its second outing while Fox won in the adults 18-49 demographic in Wednesday's primetime.

I still have Carey's hilarious book DIRTY JOKES AND BEER: STORIES OF THE UNREFINED that I read a few years ago and it was much more politically incorrect, I wonder what happened to him?