Saturday, February 16, 2008

Queens Man Arrested for Killing of Psychologist

A Queens man has been arrested (via Drudge) in the murder of NYC psychologist Kathryn Faughey:

The NYPD arrested a 'mentally disabled' 39-year-old Queens man, David Tarloff for the murder of Upper East Side psychologist Dr. Kathryn Faughey.

Tarloff was taken into custody in the morning, after investigators matched his prints with three palm prints found at the bloody crime scene, said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Tarloff was questioned for about 20 minutes. The interrogation stopped when he asked for a lawyer. Kelly said murder and attempted murder charges were pending.

During questioning, Tarloff said he had gone to the office because Shinbach had him institutionalized in 1991. He said he planned to rob the psychiatrist and leave the country with his mother, who lives in a nursing home, but until recently had lived with him in an apartment in Queens.

It is unclear why the man killed Faughey if he was angry with psychiatrist Shinbach but the important thing is, the killer, hopefully was been found.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

I have written about two of my phobias in past blog posts--fear of flying and public speaking. I did an interview for WZTV Fox 17 in Nashville a while back that I just found on line. I talk about what it's like to have these fears and why it's important to Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway.

You can see me here talking about my phobias here. Watch the video and then tell me what you are afraid of--if anything.


In light of the recent Northern Illinois University shooting and the NYC murder of therapist Kathryn Faughey, Neo-Neocon reflects on liberty vs. safety.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Psychology: Riskier than You Thought

I have a piece up at PJM in response to yesterday's brutal murder of psychologist Kathryn Faughey in her NYC office:

Reacting to yesterday’s gruesome murder of New York therapist Kathryn Faughey, Dr. Helen Smith is both horrified and surprised it doesn’t happen more often.

Many professions are risky, but people imagine a psychologist's office to be fairly safe--but this is not always the case. Go read the column to see the stats on the number of us who are stalked, harrassed and threatened.

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Kim du Toit has some more observations about why men don't want to get married.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why are Diamonds a Girl's Best Friend?

So tomorrow is Valentine's day and everywhere you look, stores are pushing candy, flowers, and jewelry--especially diamonds. I have always been rather put off by the Kay Jewelers commercials that liken women to whores when they state, "Every kiss begins with Kay."

I never understood the whole concept of a woman wanting jewelry from a man, especially diamonds, until I read the book Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters. In the book, two evolutionary psychologists explain why people do what they do. Why are diamonds a girl's best friend? The authors conclude that women have to discriminate between "dads" and "cads" among male suitors. In order to find the guy that will stay with her and help her with children, she looks for two qualities: "the ability to acquire and accumulate resources, and the willingness to invest them in her and her children."

A good way to screen for men who are both willing and able to invest is to demand an expensive gift--known as a courtship gift or nuptial gift in evolutionary biology. Not just any expensive gift will do. A Mercedes or house does not usually fill the bill--for these might have intrinsic value to the man if he likes European cars or is interested in real estate. A courtship gift, according to the book, must be costly and lack intrinsic value and be useless.

Diamonds and flowers are beautiful and their beauty lies in their inherent uselessness; "this is why Volvos and potatoes are not beautiful." So guys, apparently, gifts that are "costly but worthless"--facilitate courtship, according to a recent study mentioned in the book.

"The researchers note that such extravagant gifts have the added benefit for men of deterring 'gold diggers,' women who promise to mate in exchange for a gift but then desert without mating after receiving it."

So, it seems that diamonds serve as a litmus test for how a woman feels about you. I still have trouble with the idea of "demanding" expensive gifts but it all makes a bit more sense to me now.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Finding Freedom in an Unfree World?

Well, it's the start of tax time again and as a small business owner, it's often a time that gets me more than a bit cranky. I remember a point made long ago by libertarian Harry Browne--that we often (some of us) work until July 27th of the year for the government and the rest of the year for ourselves. Browne asks a good question about the state of our economic life, "If this is freedom, at what level of confiscation are we no longer free?"

At times, I think we are approaching it and I imagine that, depending on the upcoming election, it will only get worse. In 1995, when Brown wrote his book Why Government Doesn't Work, he stated that if we continue down the path of large government programs, the government will no longer be able to keep its promises--leaving only two choices:

1) The repudiation of promises made to Social Security recipients and others who have become dependent on the government; or

2) Tax rates of 50%, 60%, 70% or more to pay for all the IOUs the government has signed on your behalf.

Over 12 years have passed since Browne said these words and it seems that they were prophetic in a sense. The age for full Social Security benefits has been raised to 67 for those of us born after 1960 and the current crop of Democratic candidates is mentioning even more of a tax burden to pay for ever more expanding programs. Are any of us free anymore and the more important question to me is, does anybody care? I do.

I decided after contemplating this depressing question to dig up the old book by Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal Liberty. I have always wanted to read it and found it at the library (you can find it at the Amazon link above but I'm not paying $124.00-$635.00 for it and neither should you!)

The book might interest those of you with libertarian leanings (I consider myself a bit of a Heinleinian libertarian/independent and all around curmudgeon). Browne plays a pseudo-psychologist in the first part of the book --explaining that our attempts at freedom often depend upon our ability to change the minds of other people--and so optimism ultimately turns into frustration and despair (been there, done that, check).

In the chapters that follow, he covers freedom from social restrictions, family problems, high taxes, bad relationships, the treadmill and government repression. Some of the ideas are good: "negative emotions can act as signals to you, letting you know that there's an uncomfortable part of your life that needs attention," some are bad: "I don't believe that you do anything for your country by fighting in a war (any war), giving up your money, or sacrificing in any way" and some are just downright kooky with a section on using illegal methods to break laws. "If you want to start a new business, don't go looking for all the licenses and regulations you are supposed to observe, just operate." Uh, okay.

Anyway, the book is an interesting read, especially for the personal information, but I'm not sure about all of the advice, sounds like one might just end up in a much less free place: jail.

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For "Feminists" Only Well Behaved Women Make History

Bridget Johnson at Pajama's Media has an interesting column on Golda Meir and today's brand of female leadership:

As I watched the life of the former prime minister unfold onscreen, I chuckled at the thought of how our 2008 obsession with identity politics seems to forget the great leaders — who just happened to be women — who have long had the attention of the rest of the world. After all, Oprah is not the most powerful woman in the world; that woman is, as ranked by Forbes, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But Merkel is a conservative. Meir fought for Israel’s survival in the Yom Kippur War. Even Condoleezza Rice’s term as secretary of state has not been hailed as a great advance for women and/or African-Americans. So is a leader who happens to be a women only hailed as advancement if she pursues a feminist agenda outlined by NOW or the Code Pink sisters?

It would seem that the answer to that question is a resounding "yes."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Is Settling for Mr. Good Enough Really Good Enough?

If you haven't read it already, take a look at the Atlantic Weekly article excerpted over at entitled Why it’s OK to settle for Mr. Good Enough. The article is about whether women should stop looking for "Mr. Right." The most interesting part of the article are the comments but be careful, I just got sucked into reading them for over an hour.

My thoughts? "Settling" for anyone, whether you are male or female seems sad and somehow wrong. I won't say it's always the wrong thing to do, but it seems to me that it would be much better to be alone than to be with somebody you didn't really want. It's unfair to them, and to you. On the other hand, perhaps some of the women commenting over there overlooked perfectly fine men because their standards were impossible to live up to. In that case, it makes more sense to learn to treat a man less as someone to "live up to your standards" and more like a human being who may have some great qualities that would be good in a partner.


Can You be too Happy?

Can being too happy be bad for you? Turns out the answer may be "yes" according to a study discussed at Yahoo Finance (Hat tip: Instapundit):

But while relationships are better for the joyous, it turns out that there's a big deficit to perpetual euphoria: Super-happy people don't live as long as the moderately happy, according to a long-term study of gifted children. "We were shocked that the happiest people didn't live longer," says Diener.
And it's possible that buying into the whole self-help culture may be self-defeating if you are already mildly happy:

If you feel generally satisfied with your life, your work, and your relationships most of the time, think twice before buying into the self-help movement and its search for a continuous streak of "peak moments."

"Happiness, like spirituality, is partially a private pursuit, defined by individuals based on their personal values," says Diener. "Be wary when people tell you to live for the moment, to strive for an exciting life, or that you ought to be happier. Chasing super-happiness is a mistake that can lead you astray and be self-defeating."

Chasing supper happiness (whatever that means) always struck me as being a bit cult-like; perhaps moderation in all things is not a bad strategy.