Saturday, March 17, 2007

"Our survival here depends on 18-20 year olds with big guns."

Webutante, one of the readers of this blog, is blogging about her adventures in Israel this week and quotes some Israeli high school students discussing their upcoming military duty while on a tour in the more remote region of Yoav, south of Tel Aviv. Go take a look to read more about her trip and see pictures!

What is this Guy Thinking?

Uhh, John, all of us women rolled into one is wayyyy too much for any one man to handle.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Is the Public this Easily Swayed?

I saw at Pajamas Media that Michael Crichton won a recent debate against global warming advocates:

The Global Warming skeptics team led by Michael Crichton defeated the Global Warming advocates led by Brenda Ekwurzel in a debate moderated by Brian Lehrer before a live audience in New York City. Before the debate the organizers polled 57.32% to 29.88% in favor of Global Warming, but after the debate the numbers flipped to 46.22% to 42.22% in favor of the skeptics.

I am certainly glad that Crichton and his colleagues changed some minds at the debate but it makes me wonder, "Isn't it kind of astounding that such a high percentage of people changed their minds about global warming over one debate?" It makes me wonder what happens when An Inconvenient Truth is shown in schools without any scientists or experts on the other side to balance out the views of global warming advocates. If adults can change their mind this quickly when given another view of global warming or perhaps any political message for that matter, then what does it do to kids to give them one side of an issue without equally presenting the other side?
Are Christian men too wimpy? (Thanks to the reader who sent this to me):

Three hundred men — all Christian — gathered behind closed doors at a Tennessee mall trying to figure out the difference between being "nice" (which is not good) and being "good" (which is). They struggled in the dimly lit hall — after a Christian rock band handed it off to the comic in charge — to make sense of the message they were hearing from the stage: that church has been "feminized" and that the Jesus talked about in many modern churches is too wimpy and gentle.

At the end of the article, there is discussion about men liking pornography--and how they "may simmer in shame indefinitely, rather than ask for help to stop." It seems like a double bind here, first, the men are considered too wimpy and yet, they are also supposed to ask for help for looking at pornography. Huh?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wait Until Monday to have that Heart Attack

So it's best not to have a heart attack on the weekend, lest you be unable to get to a cath lab within 90 minutes (h/t: Ann Althouse, guestblogging at Instapundit). I am glad that some hospitals like the one that is quoted in the article are concerned about treating patients quickly, but they still seem to miss the point that just as important as getting people quickly into treatment is recognizing that they are having a heart attack in the first place:

The largest ones are equipped. Massachusetts General Hospital has one of Boston's busiest emergency rooms. On one afternoon this week, all the chairs were filled with patients waiting to be seen.

But cardiologist Jim Januzzi says there is no wait for a patient who comes in with chest pain. Doctors and nurses leap into action to see whether that patient is having a heart attack.

But guess what? Up to one in four heart attacks, especially in women, (but they also happen in men) are silent heart attacks that cause damage and even death, but the symptoms are atypical--no chest pain involved--and unbelievably, many doctors and hospital staff do not look for heart problems if there is no chest pain present. There are symptoms of a silent heart attack; these include, shortness of breath, heartburn that worsens with exertion, nausea, fainting, profuse sweating, and feelings of overwhelming doom.

So, a few things to remember to protect your heart health--know which hospitals in your area have a cath lab open on the weekends or have your heart attack during the week and remember that chest pain is not the only indicator of a heart attack. I never had chest pain with my heart attack and this baffled doctors for ages. Take your health into your own hands and if you are having symptoms other than chest pain and feel that it might be heart-related, speak up and demand that the docs treat the symptoms seriously and immediately. Waiting too late like I did could end in disability, heart damage or death.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Should Adolescence be Abolished?

There is an interesting article in Psychology Today this month with psychologist Robert Epstein, the author of a new book, The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen. Epstein says that "teens are far more competent than we assume, and most of their problems stem from restrictions placed on them." Epstein mentions the trend starting about 100 years ago to extend childhood well into the 20's. "The age at which Americans reach adulthood is increasing--30 is the new 20--and most Americans now believe a person isn't an adult until age 26."

Epstein looks at this extension of childhood as happening primarily through the school systems and restrictions on labor: "The two systems evolved together in the late 19th-century; the advocates of compulsory-education laws also pushed for child-labor laws, restricting the ways young people could work, in part to protect them from the abuse of the new factories. The juvenile justice system came into being at the same time. All of these systems isolate teens from adults, often in problematic ways."

I think that Epstein makes some good points, especially when he says that "teens learn most of what they know from other teens who are highly influenced by certain aggressive industries. This makes no sense. Teens should be learning from the people they are about to become. When young people exit the education system and are dumped into the real world, which is not the world of Britney Spears, they have no idea what's going on and have to spend considerable time figuring it out."

I agree with Epstein that this infantilization is making teens angry and depressed. When your body screams you are an adult and the adults around you keep insisting you are a child, it has to be frustrating. I wrote an op-ed along these lines entitled, "Don't Treat Teens like Babies," about nine years ago but I think some of the points I made then are still relevant to teens and responsibility today.

What do you think--do we infantilize teens and young people to the point where they are having a hard time making it as adults in the real world?


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Health Food" Blogging

I went to one of the local health food stores here to pick up dinner and remembered why I rarely shop for organic or "health" food. It costs a fortune! And it's fattening. In my basket was some vitamin water, two apples (I am allergic but nonetheless bought some), a half pound of grapes, some organic chicken salad, potato soup, and one tiny box of sushi--the bill? $45.23 Doesn't that seem like a lot? I pretty much gave up on health food stores after moving from New York to Knoxville years ago. I used to go all the time in graduate school, thinking it was healthy but I was twenty pounds heavier and finally figured out that Tofutti was not low calorie and it has more fat than ice cream. I think tomorrow night, it's back to shopping at the regular grocery store where at least one doesn't have to have a trust fund in order to shop there.
Ann Althouse and her commenters explore the question of whether Bill Clinton has sociopathic traits.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Male Birth Control--on the way?

I saw on MSN that male birth control pills are getting closer to being released to the market. MSN asks men, "Will you use them?" Take a look at the comments, they are pretty entertaining.

How to Make Yourself Happy and Less Disturbable

I was talking with Ann Althouse on about learning to accept rejection as part of life, which is good advice for bloggers! I learned about this "accept rejection" philosophy early in my career from one of psychology's wise gurus, Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. In a recent short interview in Psychology Today, Ellis talks about self confidence, having a happy existence and learning to accept rejection no matter what. And he should know as his own institute tried to oust him. Ellis encourages people to "keep moving, moving, moving and to try scary things and not to give a s**t when they are rejected." He practices what he preaches as he developed the "shame-attacking exercise" when he was 19 years old:

Legendary psychologist Albert Ellis pioneered the "shame-attacking exercise" in 1933 at age 19, when he decided to approach every woman who sat down alone on a bench at the New York Botanical Garden. "Thirty walked away immediately," he told the New York Times. "I talked with the other 100, for the first time in my life, no matter how anxious I was. Nobody vomited and ran away. Nobody called the cops."

And Ellis learned he wouldn't die from rejection. Of the first 130 women he went up to, he got only one date, he said, but "with the second 100, I got good and made a few dates"—and, eventually, got to be "one of the best picker-uppers of women in the United States."

Okay, so this was 1933, who knows what would happen today--just imagine if one of the ballbusters from Pandagon or Feministing sat down on that bench, but that's beside the point. The point is, learn to not only accept rejection, but to welcome it, it seems that it is the only way to overcome the irrational belief that the world owes you. It doesn't. Of course, one should fight injustice, but the irrational belief that the world should be nice to you just because you are you is a sure way to end up disappointed about life.

If you would like to try some of Ellis's techniques to reduce anxiety and gain a sense of mastery over your social reactions, try reading How to Make Yourself Happy and Remarkably Less Disturbable. At 93, his advice is still ahead of its time.

Update: Professor Althouse responds to this post and makes a common mistake in thinking that taken to the extreme, not caring about rejection from others could lead one to be a sociopath. Quite the contrary, a sociopath often cares deeply about what others think about him or her and feels angry if others do not think they are "special" and entitled to greatness. In fact, one of the ways to spot a sociopath in projective testing is by excessive empathy with others; sociopaths are generally very in tune with what people think and feel--they have to be in order to manipulate them. "If you cannot understand and think like your opponent, how can you put one over on them?" thinks the sociopath. It is all superficial, of course.

Think of the psychopathic and narcissistic traits of a Bill Clinton type--he was very sensitive to what people thought of him--almost to a fault in that he wanted to be loved and admired by everyone, yet lied to the American public about his affair with Lewinsky, and used friends to lie on his behalf. The healthy ability to accept rejection in day to day life that Ellis is referring to has little in common with the sociopathic personality, but rather, is the ability to accept (not like) life's hardships and other people's imperfections and leads to greater perseverance, patience, and the ability to get along with others. These traits are exactly the opposite of those displayed by a sociopath.