Thursday, April 29, 2004

With a whimper rather than a bang, sigh 

Tonight was the final night of Mad Mad House, and I'm hoping like crazy that one of the vampire shows, or some show, or maybe a movie, will snap up Don the sexy vampire, because I'll be VERY bummed to never see him again. He managed to be even more appealing than before on this final show; they made him go BOWLING, and he did it even though he didn't want to, because he thought it would be hypocritical not to. Although he had never bowled before, and his super-long nails made it uncertain whether or not he could even get his fingers into the holes, he beat the pants off of all of them.... it must have been his magnetism at work.

Sadly, though, he ended up NOT seeing through the sociopath OR making an insightful judgment in the final eliminations; it doesn't matter, as I'd still jump on him so that he'd NEED to be an actual immortal being to get over it, given the chance, hehehehehe.

So, the show: the first half of the 2-hour endgame was focused on going from 3 (the frontrunner, the sociopath, and the pleasant girl) to the final 2, and it centered on the final challenge, which was how long they could hang in the air standing on a hook. The sociopath, who is all talk and no substance, was by far the first to drop out, which was enjoyable to see; sadly, they gave him the opportunity to screw over the girl of his choice by hanging extra weight off of her, so of course he picked the frontrunner, which led to her losing... and suddenly the pleasant girl was immune from elimination and guaranteed to be in the top 2.

Karma kicked the sociopath's butt, thanks goodness; evil is at its base blind and stupid, and the sociopath, in his eagerness to stick it to the frontrunner, failed to recognize that if the frontrunner won, it would be him vs the pleasant girl at the elimination, and he would probably win, and so he should have given HER the weight to be SURE that he survived the elimination, but he failed... it was him vs the frontrunner in the elimination, and he LOST, and so didn't even get a shot at being the big winner.

The 2nd hour was really a waste of time, as the 5 "rites of passage" that they put the top 2, the frontrunner and the pleasant girl, through, were wimpy, boring, and lame. They then brought back all the eliminated guests and let them carp and rave, which to me is monotonous, but is probably good for the ratings... and of course they ragged on the frontrunner, which led to the judges revealing that many of them had been eliminated because of their incessant badmouthing of her, and how it was too easy to attack someone so beautiful and talented, and... I KNEW she was doomed.

If a woman is smart, strong and ultra-capable, people of both genders will tend to automatically start out judging against her; to counteract that, she needs to be exceptionally accommodating, docile, sweet, etc... and if she isn't, even the authority figures will be against her, and will side with the group that attacks rather than the innocent victim, as they almost always do. The ONLY time that those in authority will speak up for the victim is when they're about to kick her/him in the head... and this time was no exception.

The judges had nothing to say in defense of the frontrunner, or against the attackers, all through the process, and suddenly at the end they were talking about how impressive she was... so of course she was eliminated. The one who was the frontrunner from day 1, who, despite being smiley and friendly to everyone all the time (but NOT docile), was disliked from day 1, the one who was worth more than all the rest of them put together times 10, LOST,

The beautiful, pleasant girl, who never did anything, who flubbed all the trials until the final one when she was given a win that she didn't earn..... this girl who never challenged anyone, never intimidated anyone, who everyone could look down on a little because she was a stripper and a single mom... this girl who always had her boobs hanging out, but other than that was just a backdrop for those who were actually making an effort.....

The beautiful girl who was pleasant and nonconfrontational was the one that was given the prize..... I guess some reality shows DO show reality after all.

Do YOU want a relationship with an "equal"? REALLY?!! (CAST YOUR VOTE) 

Everyone talks a good game these days about wanting a relationship with someone who is neither "above" them or "below" them in areas like intelligence and success, so that they can be "equals"... but is there any truth to it?

I was brought up short when I read the Sunday funnies last week and saw in "Cathy" that she expected to give up paying for ANY of the bills once she was married... just like the traditional woman. This strip was funny (in addition to being horrifying) because it held a kernel of truth that we can all recognize; there are plenty of otherwise modern women who, however smart and successful they are, STILL want a man to be "above" them and so be a quasi-daddy to them once they're married... yet another sign of the failure of feminism.

Worse, some smart/successful women have been admitting that they don't have much respect for, or sexual interest in, men that are "below their level"... and some men, not surprisingly, who are admitting that they feel intimidated, put off, or just not interested in women who are "above them." This is one of the many ways that feminism has failed women, by creating situations where the women work hard on their educations and careers, thinking they're getting a better life, only to become LESS attractive to men, and, worse, less attracted TO perfectly acceptable men that they would have liked just fine under other circumstances; what does it gain you to make more $ but have no family life?

Neither gender is too unhappy for the most part if they are in the traditional roles, with the man being smarter and/or more successful, though; the double standard is alive and well.

Most people are no longer motivated directly by the desire to be "traditional," of course; these days, we go more for what "feels right," for whatever suits our emotional needs, which can lead to either the traditional roles or to both partners battling for the favored role traditionally held by men. The latter possibility means that, because greater intelligence/success means greater relationship power, some people of both genders would like to be "on top," or at least not have the other person "above them"; this can lead indirectly to equality, sort of, but not of an admirable kind (there's nothing admirable about "you're no better than ME").

There ARE certainly people who want their partner to be their equal, and some of them even achieve that; although that sounds ideal, if one of the partners gets a better job or decides to pursue an advanced degree, the whole thing can come tumbling down unless both parties are REALLY secure in their feelings of self-worth.

What confuses things even more, and clouds our perceptions, is that people often don't feel able to tell the truth about how they'd like their relationships to be. It's not PC for people to admit that they want to be "above" their partner, so one assumes that fewer people say it than feel it, especially among women, since it's "unwomanly" to want to be smarter/more successful than the man. It would be almost embarrassing to admit that one wants their partner to be above THEM, so one assumes that folks stay mum about this one, too, especially MEN, who don't want to seem "unmanly"... and all this leads to us having no idea whatsoever how anyone feels about any of this.

*I* think that equality is the most enjoyable arrangement, since it leads to being able to interact in a way that feels like a stimulating partnership rather than like parent and child, but there is still that leaning towards the man being "above" the woman in intelligence, success... height, age, strength, courage, skill in practically everything... that exists in both the male AND the female halves of the population, not just here and there but pervasively. Is it biological, cultural, or both? We'll have to have a few more generations of women able to educate themselves and have careers to the same degree that men do to tell... I sure HOPE it's cultural, but that doesn't mean it will end up that way.

Where do YOU stand on this issue? What, in your most secret heart of hearts, do you REALLY want your position to be in the intelligence/success areas compared to your partner? Vote in the poll, and we'll see. :-)

Soul poll results 

Thank you to all who participated in my first poll. Here are the results:

Soul poll
What sorts of animals have souls?

All living creatures have souls 56.8% (50 votes)

None-only humans have souls 25% (22 votes)

Some of the more advanced mammals, such as dogs, cats and apes, have souls 8% (7 votes)

All creatures have souls, except for really primitive ones like bugs and worms 6.8% (6 votes)

All mammals have souls 2.3% (2 votes)

All warm-blooded animals (mammals and birds) have souls 1.1% (1 vote)

total votes: 88

You can still vote in the poll here:


and see the latest results here:


Considering how few people I've encountered that believe in ANY non-humans having souls, I'm astounded, but VERY pleased, by these results. :-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


For nearly all movies that get remade, my only comment is, "Why?" When there's already a brilliant movie made of a given story, what possesses the Hollywood twits to do it AGAIN?!! Worse, why do they churn out remakes when whoever starred in the original was so perfect for the role that no one else can ever compare?

For example, Errol Flynn was BORN to be Robin Hood; he is the ultimate Robin Hood for all eternity... yet, not only did they remake it, they picked that wishy-washy stonefaced Kevin Costner to play him. Every time the ad would come on, "Kevin Costner IS Robin Hood," I'd shriek at the top of my lungs, "NO!! Kevin Costner is NOT Robin Hood!! Errol Flynn is Robin Hood, and he's turning over in his grave!! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!"

I felt almost as strongly about the remake of "The King and I"; how DARE anyone play that role after Yule Brenner did it?!!

A final hideous example is the remake of "Sabrina"; Audrey Hepburn was the very embodiment of that role, and what were thinking when they decided to turn the role into a display of cleavage rather than class?

Even when you don't have an actor that was the best possible "version" of the main character, the remake of a movie usually makes you groan in dismay; if you see the remake first and like it, and then see the original, you are usually at a loss as to how you could have ever liked the remake.

There is the occasional exception, of course, and that's often due to particularly fortuitous casting; "The Preacher's Wife," for example, was better than the original movie, due to the dazzling presence of Denzel Washington-you just can't go wrong with Denzel.

Sometimes, too, you get a remake that is very different than the original, and skillfully-enough done that it's actually worth watching. An example of this phenomenon is what set me off on this train of thought; I'm currently 2/3 of the way through the miniseries version of Stephen King's book "The Shining," which was originally made into a regular movie starring the unbeatable Jack Nicholson. The miniseries sticks MUCH closer to the book, has spooky happenings that are less gory but more frequent and unsettling, and, best of all, showcases my favorite element of the book; the hedge animals.

So, I've been presently surprised, and am looking forward to the last installment Wednesday night... but they'd better not remake any more Errol Flynn movies anytime soon...

Monday, April 26, 2004

Online life is weird, too 

A member of one of the many "friendship groups" that I've drifted through in my years online had a birthday a couple of months ago; although some of the weirdness that stalks online "friendships" had ended our association some time back, no harsh words were actually spoken between us, and I thought I'd take the high road and send him a message on the forum we're both still members of. The system showed that he had read the message, but he didn't respond, and I shrugged and forgot about it... until a few days ago, when I thought of him out of the blue. Moments later, I logged into my inbox, and found a notification that I'd gotten a forum message from... you guessed it. I have no idea what motivated him to respond after all that time, as he didn't say, and didn't reply to the note I sent him in return, and no idea why I picked up on his decision to VERY belatedly acknowledge me; this is one of the reasons that it's easy for some folks to pooh-pooh the idea of psychic phenomena, as it tends to be erratic... at least, as far as we can see with our limited understanding-it might be VERY consistent looked at from a wider perspective, one that includes more knowledge about how the engine of karma works.

Today, I was thinking of another online "friend" that I'd drifted apart from, who I'd written to several weeks ago and never gotten a reply from even though he's normally quite prompt with his responses, and... I don't even need to say it, right?

When the "coincidences" start piling up, even *I* will get uneasy and tense, and that is the kiss of death for the enhanced perceptions; this time, I'm going to try to keep that from happening, and see what I can see.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Messages from my subconscious 

The smartest part of your brain is the part that, frustratingly, you have little direct contact with-your subconscious. This area of your mind has access to all of your memories, does your best analysis, and is the seat of your creativity; all of this can be seen in your dreams. It's common for the solution to a problem to show up in a dream, and for the best ideas that writers, painters etc get to come from dreams; even more importantly, your subconscious will send you messages about YOU, and what's going on in your life... but it does so in CODE. To decode the messages, it helps to have an idea about general dream analysis (there are many websites and books devoted to this), AND to know what your own personal symbols are, which you pretty much figure out over time as you see cause and effect between your waking life and your dreams (you'll get a deep feeling of "rightness" when you decode something correctly).

One of my own recurring dream themes is of being in a house that I "know" to be my own, but that I don't recognize; this is generally seen as a symbol of new opportunities opening up in your life. Last night, I had an extreme version of this dream, where I was standing in the middle of the "new house" and saw that there were ESCALATORS leading up and down; that was a new one on me. I see the inference of the house being huge, like a department store or airport, as being very positive, showing how things are opening up for me the more I try to tune in to things beyond my senses, and the very fact that I associate escalators with fancy stores and airports adds symbolic layers of "getting new stuff" and "going places," mentally speaking.

There was another new element to the dream; one of the rooms had a big stack of mini refrigerators, all of which were running, but empty. They have a lockerish feel to them, and lockers represent my emotional state, but for them to all be full of cold air and nothing else-that's an odd twist. My reaction to them in the dream was that they were left by the previous owner, in the way that you often "inherit" a fridge when you buy a new house, and should just be gotten rid of, except for maybe one or 2 that might be useful in the endless rooms to make getting a soda not such a trek. I'm currently leaning towards seeing them as a symbolic representation of old feelings that I had held onto, preserved in cold storage, so to speak, that I've let go of and no longer need a place to keep because they're GONE; noncoincidentally, I've recently begun successfully combating my mind's attempts to flood me with worries when I'm trying to go to sleep by telling myself "I can't do anything about it now, so I'm not going to think about it now," over and over if necessary, until the urge to dwell on them passes. I'm now at the point that I can drive away those sorts of thoughts, and the tense, anxious feelings that go with them, pretty effectively; they won't be stowed away each night as I fall asleep for use the next day any more. I hope. Further "proof" of the validity of the idea of this being related to that emotional battle is that close on the heels of the idea of maybe having one of the fridges in my room was that I wouldn't be able to go to sleep with it in there making noise and distracting me; it's amazing how intricate our unconscious symbols can be.

I also had a dream last night about a certain famous hottie... er, but I won't describe THAT dream, or what it "meant." ;-)

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Relationship reality check 

Take a moment and think about how many times you've seen a talk show, or read an article, talking about what sorts of things constitute unfair or improper arguing techniques with your romantic partner, which ones show disrespect, disregard, insensitivity, etc, and make you a bad person if you use them. What no-no's did you come up with? They probably include things like raising your voice, taking an unfriendly tone, cursing, name calling, bringing up events outside of the topic under discussion, and making threats if things aren't going your way.

Now, try to think of ONE TIME you had an impassioned argument with your partner where you and they did NONE of these things.

As always happens, the pendulum has swung too far in what we think is ok; it's gone, in just a few decades, from being ok for a man to talk with his fists to it not being ok to show ANY emotional reaction whatsoever during an argument... despite the fact that as human beings it's NATURAL for us to become emotional when we in fact FEEL strong emotions, and act accordingly.

In Australia, they actually have a law about how loud your voice can get during an argument, beyond which it's considered abuse and is ILLEGAL; their marriage rate dropped after the passing of this law, and anyone who has ever been married can see the cause and effect reasoning there... try going the rest of your life without raising your voice to the person most able to mess up your life and upset you.

In general, Western civilization has lost its grip on relationship reality. It's not bad enough that there are endless societal factors leading to high divorce rates and the overall destruction of the family, now we're telling people that if their partner shows NORMAL upset behavior when they are in fact upset, this says horrible things about the person and the relationship. Even on talk shows when this is brought up, everyone in the audience will react with shock and outrage to descriptions of an angry couple bringing up something they fought about last year, or calling a name, or uttering a curse word, as if every one of those people hasn't done the exact same frigging things 50 billion times... we as a species have an endless capacity to be hypocritical when we get the chance to do a group condemnation of other people, don't we?

I've heard many male comics refer to how every woman always brings up past issues during a fight, and it gets a big laugh because it rings true to the audience (who also realize that men do it too, when they can remember those details, which they apparently do less often)... and yet just this past week, Dr. Phil, who I'm generally VERY fond of, announced that he can tell with 90% or better accuracy which couples will get divorced if he knows ONE thing about them... whether or not they bring up outside events during a fight. HUH?!! The divorce rate may be high, but it's nowhere near 100%... but very close to 100% of couples bring up past events during fights, so what does THAT tell you? It tells ME that Dr. Phil is encountering primarily couples who are in DEEP trouble, and THAT is why they break up, not because they argue like normal people; he's not taking into account that he's NOT seeing a statistically random group of people, he's seeing those who are having frequent, intense arguments, and thus more likely to be regularly using ALL the "upset behaviors" than regular folks.

When you read advice columns, you see people solemnly advising others that if their partner, GASP, calls them a name, they should be looking elsewhere... like another planet, where angry people don't call names, I suppose? And the same goes for all the other things that people do when they're angry; yes, it IS usually possible to control it if you're in a situation like at work, but the whole POINT of having a committed romantic relationship is that you're supposed to be able to be your true emotional self, not the repressed drone you have to be at work in order to be seen as "professional." If you have to be fake and formal with your partner, what do you gain by HAVING a partner, in these days where everyone can earn $, keep house, and find sex easily?

I'd like to see even ONE talk show host, shrink, or advice columnist admit that angry reactions are normal and ok (within reason, of course-punching someone out is NOT ok, no matter HOW angry you are), and tell people that if all you have to complain about your partner is that they cursed at you when you pissed them off, you need to thank your lucky stars and stop your whining... and give serious thought as to whether you are too immature to have a relationship, or have too little of a life of your own, or both.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Religion vs spirituality 

Most people see being religious and being spiritual as the same thing, and throughout most of history you wouldn't have seen many who were one and not the other, but that is changing more and more, and it bears looking into.

For someone to be religious, they have to belong to an actual religion, or at the very least accept the existence of, and have an idea about the powers and requirements of, a deity or deities around which a religion is based, whether or not they go to worship services or identify with an official doctrine of belief in their version of the Almighty.

Being spiritual... well, let's start with some tidbits from the dictionary: "of, pertaining to, having the nature of, or consisting of spirit, as distinguished from matter; incorporeal," "pertaining to or affecting the immaterial nature or soul of man," "marked or characterized by the highest qualities of the human mind; intellectualized."

There are thus any # of religious types who do NOT qualify as spiritual, who grasp the form but not the substance of their religion, and who focus on the old man in the bathrobe up in the sky who can bless or damn them, and never give a thought to the nature of the human soul (or non-human souls), much less the "highest qualities of the human mind" or any of the mysteries of the universe. There are many for whom religion is just a procedure to follow, eg "go to church, sing the songs, say some prayers, and you go to heaven," which they do with the same lack of passion and introspection that they bring to "brush teeth, floss, go to the dentist, have healthy teeth." This makes them religious, but NOT spiritual.

Then, there are those of us who delve deeply into analysis of the soul, the nature of consciousness, thought, emotion, self-awareness, creativity, and all the other mysteries of the universes, both inner and outer, and what it all means, and what the whole is that we're a part of, and... and... there's no upper limit to the questions one asks if one is spiritual, as spirituality is ACTIVE, as opposed to religion which is all too often passive, incurious, unquestioning, unexpanding, static.

Of course, many religious types ARE spiritual. And some abandon religion to embrace spirituality. And some people go from being spiritual to being religious, with or without hanging onto the spirituality. And some are neither... and, while it takes all types, one has to wonder about the intellectual level of someone who has so little curiosity about the unknown that they neither seek answers nor even accept the answers given by a religion.

If you're spiritual, do you need religion, too? Some religious types would say yes, claiming that you'll feel empty or incomplete without it; my response is that anyone who has those feelings probably SHOULD pursue religion... AFTER they've tried things like making friends, getting an education and a career, finding a romantic relationship and working on their personal growth; don't use religion as a cure-all for what you've been too lazy to do in making a life for yourself. If you make a good life and STILL want to believe in some being higher than yourself who's going to handle everything, go for it; there could certainly be one out there, and there's no harm in it as long as you don't absorb intolerance along with the love thy neighbor stuff.

If you have religion, do you need spirituality, too? When I ask that, I'm NOT knocking religion; I firmly believe that all religions have some piece of the truth, and that religion DOES have a great deal of value for many, in that it gives them support, comfort, etc... however, I think you're cheating yourself of an important part of the human experience if you blindly accept answers for some questions, and ignore or deny the validity of others, in the name of following a religion; the truth is out there, whether or not you open your eyes, and your mind, and see it, and isn't it BETTER to see it, or as much of it as you can find? Give spirituality a chance, and see what you come up with... and don't forget to share your discoveries with others. :-)

Tonight, on Mad Mad House 

The more I watch of this show, the more karmic it feels to me, that although I don't normally watch reality shows I got involved with this one right at a time when I'm exploring some of the darker underpinnings of human nature; I've been learning ALOT.

And it doesn't hurt that Don the vampire looks STUNNING in every episode, of course. ;-)

Tonight, the witch and the voodoo priestess gave all of us who talk about having access to extra-sensory understanding a bad name; the witch misjudged who left a rose on her pillow, and the priestess decided that the contestant who considerately stayed out of her room because she was SLEEPING was in fact DISSING her... it's hard to say which one of those 2 came off looking more clueless.

The rose incident made clear a VERY subtle but important psychological point; the dimwit witch thought that one of the girls had left it for her, and when she found out that it was NOT that girl, she got very disappointed and then MAD at the girl, who was guilty of nothing other than being the victim of the witch's bad judgment. Although the witch didn't vote against this girl herself, she wah-wah-wahed endlessly to all the other judges about her, and she WAS the one eliminated... non-coincidentally. The way that the witch's foolish judgment, and her disappointment that she was wrong, made her turn on the innocent girl was mindblowing... and educational.

Who WAS the rose-giver? None other than the sociopath, who didn't get ANY votes against him in tonight's elimination, and who continues to brag about how he has all the judges fooled. In addition to the rose, he also gave the witch a massage, but his REALLY clever move was that when he had to pick someone to say good things about, he surprised everyone and picked the frontrunner, who he had slammed nonstop before... well, he surprised everyone but ME, as I KNEW he'd try to gain points by picking her. He picked the girl that no one had slammed thus far to say BAD things about; sociopaths have no loyalty, and will ruthlessly hedge their bets. He also referred to 2 of the girls giving their praises to the judges as "ass kissing"; can you say HYPOCRISY, anyone?

The one thing I'm not sure about with him is why he didn't tell the witch right away that it was HIM who left the rose; the result of his silence was to give the witch time to get all worked up about it, and it was really a masterstroke if he did it on purpose... but I don't think he did, or he'd have bragged about it. It's just as well, as the last thing one wants is for a sociopath to be THAT clever.

The frontrunner, interestingly, picked the sociopath to say HER good things about; she chirpily reported that she thought he liked what she did, so she might have done it to try to defuse his attacks on her, or to make him look like a heel if he continues, or both... or, she may have been doing exactly what HE was, but didn't want to admit to it. My guess is the former, unless she's REALLY a great actress.

So, now we're down to 3; the frontrunner, the sociopath, and the pleasant girl who hasn't accomplished much. The latter 2 are going to band together to oust the frontrunner, which is stupid for the pleasant girl to do, as he has already dogged HER out... she needs to focus on her own performance to have any non-zero chance, and let the power players slug it out and MAYBE leave her the only one standing. If she were smart, though, she'd have been doing better in the competitions, NONE of which she has won, so there's little hope for her.

Who'll take the $100K, then, the frontrunner or the sociopath? The sociopath should have lost major points for his endless badmouthing of the frontrunner, but, as is typical with human nature, people have at least partially believed the badmouthing and have held the bigmouth blameless; this is what sociopaths count on to get ahead at the expense of others. The judges have been conditioned by him to look at the friendliness of the frontrunner as fake, and, if they make their final decision on their feelings, rather than on more trials (which the frontrunner would be likely to win, as she does VERY well in the trials), the sociopath will win.

All we need to prevent this is for ONE judge, just ONE, to stand up and say, "this guy has been a nonstop badmouther of others, has been telling us what we want to hear from day one, has made fools of us, and has treated all of our teachings as a joke rather than as a learning experience; don't give him the $."

Don, you've shown greater perceptiveness than the other judges all along; will YOU save the day?

Thursday, April 22, 2004

It's all a beauty contest 

Dr. Phil's show today included a discussion of sexual confidence in women. He set up a test where 3 men would each spend 10 minutes with the same 2 women (separately), and then be questioned as to the level of sexual confidence of each woman. The one with no sexual confidence was beautiful; the one with extreme sexual confidence was not. My prediction was that the men would all see the beautiful one as sexually confident, and the less attractive one as not, and I was RIGHT; all 3 men got it wrong.

Studies show that when teachers are given essays to grade, they give them higher grades when pictures of attractive children are included with them than when pictures of less attractive children are included with them; managers looking at resumes do the equivalent thing. Good-looking people are more likely to get hired, promoted, and given raises, and they make more $ on the average.

Good-looking people are assumed to be smarter, nicer, funnier, pretty much superior in every way; that's why we all try so hard to be as good-looking as possible... that, and the disheartening fact that we assume that an attractive person will be a hot bedmate, not only because they rev up our biological drives, but because we're subconsciously sure that they're more eager for sex, and will enjoy it more, than plainer people, even when the way they actually feel is exactly the opposite.

I don't suppose there's any point in suggesting that everyone keep all this in mind, and use it to judge both the attractive and the unattractive more fairly, sigh...

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Some things never change... unfortunately 

When I turned on the TV to watch Dennis Miller tonight, they inexplicably had a program featuring Donald Trump on instead, talking about that show he did and about his life. I never saw the reality show, but the Donald is always interesting, so I watched most of the program, and he brought up a horrifying concept.

When the candidates were divided up into a male team and a female team, the women performed spectacularly, wiping the floor with the men; when they reformed the teams so that each contained both genders, the women immediately went belly-up... and neither Trump nor the interviewer could figure out why.

Studies show that girls and young women perform better academically, and participate FAR more in class, on the average when they are in all-girls schools and colleges.

Experiments were done where men and women were divided into groups of 3, such that each group had 2 of one gender and 1 of the other, and they were assigned projects to complete. When they were done, they were each asked who was the leader of their group; they discovered that in every group with just one man that the man believed himself to have been the leader, and that nearly all the women believed the man in their group to be the leader as well. In each group with 2 men, every group member thought that one of the men had been the leader.

Feminism has FAILED. We got laws passed to give women equal employment and educational opportunities and end most other forms of discrimination, and we persuaded women to exchange their right to say no to sex and have it be ok for the right to openly enjoy sex when they DO have it (I take a fairly dim view of that one, but some find it wonderful), but even the most intelligent and competent women and girls are STILL holding back around men, STILL unable to compete effectively with men, and STILL seeing men as the automatic leaders.

Is THIS what we gave up the right to stay home and raise our own children for? Is THIS what we turned our marriages into strained interactions between 2 stressed and exhausted people who have less than a 50% chance of staying together for? So that we and our daughters can STILL feel inferior to men, and STILL stand back and let men be the stars, and so men can STILL feel certain that they're superior and STILL expect to run things?

Monday, April 19, 2004

When is it love and when is it crazy? 

First, today's creepy "coincidence"; I was recalling something a friend had said to me, and was envisioning what I was going to say to her on the subject when next we spoke, and the phone rang, and...

So; love. In America, we believe in the idea of a 2 people falling in love and choosing to be together the rest of their lives, always being faithful and in love... and this is another area where some cultures see us as childish, just as a side note.

In some countries, arranged marriage is seen as the way to pair people up, and they believe that if you arrange properly, this is the best way to assure a lifetime of love; it DOES seem to work, that even if the couple are strangers on their wedding day they come to love each other, and even if they move to countries where divorce is available and common they stay together. Still, to Americans, an arranged marriage, the very idea of agreeing to a lifetime commitment with someone you don't even know, seems crazy, and we don't grasp how love can come of it; I remember a quote by Joyce Brothers about how if you put any man and woman on a desert island together, they would fall in love eventually, which is probably the reason arranged marriages work... it's part of nature's way of making sure that we pair up and procreate with whoever is available.

In some of the cultures that practice marriage as we do, the women expect that the men will have mistresses, and as long as the men are discreet, and are present when expected to be for them and their children, and aren't spending all their $ on the sly...

News flash; Joyce Brothers just came on TV as a guest on the show I'm watching!!

... the wives are willing to let the men do their thing, and still love them, and the men love THEM, and they stay together; to Americans, this also seems crazy.

Even within our own culture, look at some of the crazy ways people act out of love; just within my own circle of acquaintance, I can point to several cases where women waited years, even DECADES, to be able to be with the men they wanted-is anyone REALLY worth waiting that long to get? People can have happy relationships with partners they love and who love them, and then meet some new person that sends their hormones surging and dump the old relationship like it was garbage; is that love or insanity?

True love is certainly worth a great deal of time and sacrifice, but how can you TELL if you're acting in the service of love or if you're just nuts? Or having a midlife crisis, or fear of commitment, or have mistaken a natural low spot in your relationship as a sign it's time to move on, or haven't grasped that it's biologically impossible to have that in love feeling for more than a couple of years, or... or... how do you KNOW?

As someone who tends to over-think things compared with a "normal" person, the idea of arranging a marriage, or having a setup where the man can satisfy his biological urges and still be part of a happy permanent partnership because he cares for his wife rather than just trading her in as American men so often do, honestly DOES appeal to me... but, on the other hand, what if following what seem like irrational flights of passion, even if it means waiting in the wings for a big chunk of your life to be officially with someone, is the way to find the deepest love you'll ever get, and you'll be cheating yourself if you rationalize your way out of it?

Not for the first time, I wish I had had that deeply, blindingly in love experience in my youth, so that I could have some direct experience to judge by; those who HAVE had it always make it sound like a spectacular experience even when it led to a bad end, and even though it seems like an emotional train wreck from the outside, I have the idea that it's like so many other elements of human nature-you just don't know unless you've been there.


In America, we believe in being direct, so much so that we tend to see not saying what we have to say right out as being weak, sneaky, and even dishonest. The majority of countries, however, see directness as a tactic only a small child would be foolish enough to use; this is one of the reasons that many cultures see Americans as childish.

So, what strategy do people in these others countries use that they think is so much better? Let's say that you needed a favor from your best friend's spouse. The American way would be to just ask the spouse for the favor. In, say, a Hispanic country, this would be handled by telling your friend what you need from their spouse, and asking them to ask the spouse for the favor on your behalf; the logic is that your friend would be very unlikely to refuse you, and the spouse would be very unlikely to refuse your friend, with the end result being that you would be very likely to get the favor... much MORE likely than if you asked directly. This is known as intercession.

This cultural difference is behind the incorrect belief of many Americans that Catholics in countries that practice intercession worship Mary and/or saints; what is actually happening is that those people believe they have a much better chance of getting a favor from God if they can persuade Mary or a saint to ask God on their behalf, and that's what they are praying to them for... to ask for their help in getting God to grant their prayers, NOT to worship them-it's intercession of the highest sort.

I can't speak as to what God, if He exists, thinks of direct prayers vs "indirect" ones, but, much as I share the American preference for people handling their own affairs, rugged individualism and all that, I HAVE tried intercession and seen for myself that it DOES work better, with the added advantages of not having to deal with the stress of asking the person directly, and not feeling awkward if they say no, because they said no to the intercessor, NOT to ME (these benefits haven't escaped those who practice intercession, of course). Give it a shot, and see for yourself why it's worth having this method as an option.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

How do you choose a political party? 

People say that there's not much difference between the 2 major parties any more; if that were so, wouldn't people of all sorts be pretty evenly distributed between them? Last time I looked, almost any group you can name has a marked preference for one party or the other, so there's gotta be SOME sort of significant difference... which of course there is.

Ok, so, 2 different parties; what do you base your choice on? You could look at how they each stand on whatever issues are important to you, but you're likely to discover, as many others have, that neither party believes your way on every issue, and perhaps that neither party shares your exact beliefs on ANY issue; you may even find that each party believes close to what you do on some things and the exact opposite on other things, which can cause everything to cancel out, so to speak... but you still have to choose, somehow.

Here's what I think is a foolproof way to choose a political party, not just in this country but in any country; look at the people that form the basis of the voters for each party, and choose that party that contains the sort of people you most admire.

Let's invent 2 fictional parties; we'll call them the Hu and Ko, because those letters are close together on my keyboard and I'm too lazy to invent clever names, lol. To use my method, here's what you need to know about them:

The Hu party consists of those who receive government handouts, those who are unable to lift themselves out of poverty, those who feel like they've gotten a bum deal and deserve special treatment, those who are still in school and have never had to deal with the real world, and those who work in the entertainment field and have also never had to deal with the real world.

The Ko party consists of those who have achieved some success, those who make most of the investments that finance the economy, those who have started businesses and thus created jobs, those who donate most of the $ received by charities, and those who pay most of the taxes that finance the running of the country.

Which group of people is the one you want to join? Which is the group that you'd feel proud to vote alongside? Make your choice... and don't make an "ass" out of yourself. ;-)

Friday, April 16, 2004

Synchronicities and a poltergeist 

A couple of nights ago, my husband was working on the taxes while I was reading in another room. Apropos of nothing, the phrase "mortgage tax form" popped into my head, so I called out to him "do you have the mortgage tax form?" and he replied "no, I just this moment started looking for it." HE thinks that was a coincidence.

I know a couple who bought a big fixer-upper house and have been working on it for a couple of years, and who have taken every opportunity during that time to make sure that EVERYONE knew exactly how much they were spending on each bit of the project; the negative feelings this has generated have come home to roost, because their finances took a massive turn for the worse, and they're going to very likely lose the house.

The female half of the couple was brought up short by this, and decided to leave it up to God to bring them some much-needed $. As has happened each time she has turned her problems over to God, she immediately had some spooky good fortune; she was clearing a pile of papers from the table, and fumbled them, ending up with them all on the floor... except for the help wanted ads. Although she hadn't considered leaving the job she loves, she opened the paper up, and there was a big box advertising a job within her specialty, one level up from what she currently does. Think good thoughts for her; she's interviewing for it on Monday.

What's happening when she turns things over to God, and to other people who do the same thing with similar spooky results? God, karma, psychic energy? Is there any difference?

I was looking for the jar of petroleum jelly to soothe my chapped lips today, and got alot more than moisturization. I looked in the bedroom, bathroom, study and family room-no sign of it. After doing a more thorough search of the family room, I headed back to the study to re-search it; there, on the floor, across the room from the desk, in the middle of the narrow path through the piles of junk, standing upright and with its label facing directly at the door, was... guess what. There's no way I could have missed seeing it before. There's no way I could have walked past it without tripping over it. There was no one else in the house. I have no pets. The window was closed and locked. There's no way that it could have fallen from the desk, assuming it was right at the edge, and ended up where it was; numerous drop tests from desk height confirmed that it only bounces/rolls a short distance, lands on its side, not upright, and the lid usually came off. My ultra-skeptical husband, when told of this event later this evening, had to admit that not even the wildest coincidences imaginable could have led to the jar ending up where I found it... but he won't admit that something outside of what he knows about has to be the cause.

Specifically; poltergeists.

I had been hearing noises from the study for the past few nights, but had been telling myself that it was the house settling, or the piles of junk settling, etc; yes, even I, who KNOW better, will automatically brush these sorts of events aside rather than seeing the obvious... and it IS obvious to ME when poltergeists are around, because I dealt with them for years when I was younger, with other people witnessing the manifestations, and seeing them respond to me, on several occasions, just FYI.

In my experience, poltergeists have never been aggressive, but that doesn't mean it's not dismaying to have them around; they try hard to get attention, and seem to really enjoy making off with small personal items and then putting them in some weird place, always prominently displayed, and making an escalating amount of racket until I talk to them. Despite what some people think, they are NOT "exciting" or "fun," and you would NOT want to have them around you; by about the 200th time you wake up to them banging around, or have to hunt all over for some little item that shows up in often the same weird spot, you get VERY tired of it.

This part of karma I do NOT want to investigate more closely.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Thursday again, and Don the vampire looked REALLY hot 

What a wardrobe that man has!! I DO wish he'd chuck it all and go naked like the other men, of course, hehehehehe.

Mad Mad House was a study in human weakness today. Last week's loser was smart enough to try to work past the awkwardness of being with those who tried to get rid of him, but it wasn't enough; 2 out of the 3 who had voted against him exerted themselves to get him booted, and they succeeded, with the help of one of the judges who consulted "the ancestors," who told her what she already believed, not surprisingly, even though what she believed was in error... beware the person who believes in other powers that "speak" to them, because once they get an idea in their head that is "from the powers" it's beyond the reach of logic and reason.

The sociopath was chugging busily along; he focused on the guy he could get rid of that day, and kissed up to the girl who could cast the tie-breaking vote, and no one seems to be catching on to him. Sociopaths are scarily able to fool all of the people all of the time, and they're pros at turning people against each other based on lies, and at making people think they really care, and they do... about themselves.

The girl who's the forerunner gained more ground today, I think, because she was taking the higher road while others were busy scheming and backstabbing-we can all learn from that. As time passes, people forget who started it, who attacked who and who is defending, and which stuff was made up by troublemakers... all they see is fighting going on, and they wrongly judge all the participants to be equal.

Now, we have 3 hot girls and the sociopathic guy remaining in the competition; if the girls act the way men always claim women do, they're going to be fighting for his attention, and to get rid of each other... while he plays them off of each other and makes plans to spend his winnings.

Will any of the girls be smart enough to realize that they need to join forces and get the sociopath kicked out to keep him from winning? They're young and pretty, and so probably not used to having to scheme; the sociopath IS an expert at schemes, though, and, barring any glaring mistakes in judgment from him, he'll get the frontrunner kicked out and then make short work of the other 2 girls... sigh.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Who... or what... has a soul? 

The quick answer from most people is that every human has a soul; there are a variety of answers as to what other creatures might have souls. If you have strong religious beliefs about this, this may be as far as you want to read.

When a person is evil, we sometimes refer to them as "soulless," and I think that may not be accidental; I think that, just as every other part of us can go wrong during fetal development, it's entirely possible for a person to never grow a soul, or to grow one that is stunted or malformed, so to speak, and thus actually BE soulless... since my best guess is that the development of the soul is tied to brain development, there would be something wrong in the brain that would prevent the creation of a normal soul-maybe the same wrongness in the brain that leads to the sociopathy found in most violent criminals?

Could a person start out with a soul and then lose it, or have it become damaged? Every bit of the brain has the possibility for being messed up by illnesses, injuries, and emotional trauma, so... it's a possibility, yes.

At what part in life might one expect to have a soul? From my perspective, you'd have to have reached the point of being able to THINK, to feel something more than hunger, cold, etc, and to have empathy, something all sociopaths lack... maybe by a year old? I'd like to be able to ask a child development specialist about that one.

What about animals? Some people believe that no animal other than humans has a soul... but aren't the eyes supposed to be the windows of the soul? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a cat or dog? Was it THAT different from looking into human eyes? James Herriot, the famous vet and author of wonderful books like "All Creatures Great and Small," provided an excellent insight into this subject in one of his stories, in which an elderly woman is concerned that her beloved pets won't be joining her in heaven, because animals supposedly have no souls; he tells her that he believes a soul to be shown by the capacity for love and loyalty and such, and that many animals, including hers, DO show these qualities, and so they DID have souls. My sentiments exactly.

Some folks think that every living creature has a soul, and by my view of animism they have to have SOME degree of the energy that makes up a soul, but as to what sorts of creatures have souls in the way we usually mean it, as a spiritual version of themselves that would remain after death and contain their thoughts and personality... I guess we'd need to include creatures that seem to have thoughts and personality, such as cats, dogs, and other mammals kept as pets, the great apes that are scarily similar to us and have self-awareness, elephants, because they understand death and show attachment to the bones of their beloved dead, dolphins and porpoises, which have rescued drowning humans... and how many others? Birds? Reptiles? Fish? ROACHES? I can't imagine that roaches have thoughts or personality, but there are folks who claim that critters in those other categories do; I don't know any non-mammals well enough to have an opinion, so I try to keep an open mind. Except about roaches. ;-)

What's the nature of humor? 

Is there anything more delightful than having a good laugh? Is there anything more lighthearted, innocent and fun than cracking jokes and sharing mirth with others?

What do we find funny? There are puns, and other plays on words, that we find sort of funny, and things like belching the alphabet and that armpit thing that sounds like flatulence that amuse us, but there's alot of groaning along with the laughter with that sort of thing-it's not humor in its purest sense. So what is?

Can you think of a single joke whose punchline does NOT involve someone (or some category of people) being criticized, ridiculed, humiliated, fooled, grossed out or mistreated, or failing, screwing up, getting hurt or dying? Neither can I. What does this enjoyment at the expense of others, this mean-spiritedness that entertains us, that we call HUMOR, say about us as a species? If aliens land and ask us why we find the mishaps and sufferings of our fellow humans to be FUNNY, what could we tell them?

Monday, April 12, 2004

How do we decide what's "OK"? 

For the most part, we DON'T make any conscious decision; our opinion comes from the societal norm, our family of origin, our religion, our peer group, and advertising... anything EXCEPT a conscious analysis.

We tend to believe that what is seen as OK now is "objectively OK," and thus has always been seen that way, and always will be, both in our culture and in every other... but it sounds pretty silly when laid out that way, doesn't it? We also have enormous blind spots as to where what we think is OK is wildly inconsistent depending on the circumstances, and as to where what we think is OK, or not, is due to recent fads in our thinking.

Do you think it's ok for a parent to take a belt to a child? Probably not... but it wasn't that long ago that everyone would have said "of course" to that question... and their kids committed far fewer crimes, worked harder in school, and became adults living full adult lives at a much earlier age. Should we therefore reconsider what forms of discipline are OK? WILL we?

Do you think that female circumcision is OK? You're probably horrified by the idea, but, the cultures that practice it are horrified at the idea of NOT circumcising the girls, because they believe that if they don't destroy the ability of a woman to experience sexual pleasure, she cannot be virtuous... that they will doom her to be a wicked creature if they don't do it to her. WE think it's OK to let girls act with very little restraint... but, is the horrifying level of teen pregnancies and teen AIDS cases OK, then? We think it's OK for women to act out their sexuality any way the choose... but, is the existence of all the illegitimate kids living in dire poverty with their mothers OK? I guarantee you that those who believe in female circumcision see these things as "proof" of what happens when you leave girls and women "uncut."

Don't get me wrong, I personally think that female circumcision is AWFUL, because of the many medical problems that these girls and women will always have, and because it is their right to HAVE sexual pleasure just like men do, but the idea of having SOME sort of control on sex (which always seems to be imposed on the females only, sigh), rather than the free-for-all that we have now, seems OK to me... but probably not to YOU, and I DO understand how tough it is to get the genie back into the bottle, to take back freedoms that people are accustomed to.

Which should count more towards what's OK; personal freedom or economic and reproductive realities? Is it OK to roll the dice, so to speak, and hope that we can have our cake and eat it too, have sexual freedom and not get saddled with a disease or unwanted pregnancy? If we succeed in our gamble, is it OK to look down on those who fail in the same gamble? The more you think about sexual issues, the less certain it becomes as to what is OK.

Do you think it's always OK for a man to have consensual sex with his wife? Sure, why wouldn't you? What if his wife is 15, is THAT OK? You'd have to say yes, as we believe in our culture that consensual sex between husband and wife is OK even if she's a minor. If you take that SAME man and SAME 15 year old girl, and both are willing to consent to sex, but they are NOT married, is THAT OK? Suddenly, it's NOT, because she's a minor, and not even legally ALLOWED to consent... unless she's married, in which case she magically CAN consent. So, is it or is it NOT OK for a man to have sex with a 15 year old girl who willingly agrees? There's no one answer.

We've gone off the deep end with preventing child molestation to the point that girls who have reached mating age are expected to remain untouched for years after, and not even be DESIRED, as if biology can be changed just like that. What if we allow no marriages for minors, does that fix everything, by making sex with a minor girl always bad? No, because if she DOES have sex and gets pregnant, how can we deny her and the baby the benefits of her being married to the father of the child? If he marries her, how can we then have a man not legally allowed ANY sexual contact with his wife? We're going to have to have more societal change before we have a way for all of these cases to have reasonable solutions that are OK.

A hundred years ago, the very IDEA of child abuse didn't exist; parents could do literally anything to their child short of murder, and it was seen as OK-no one interfered. That was horrible, but the currently fashionable lines of thought have gone to the other extreme; it's now virtually impossible for ANY parent to have their parenting fully scrutinized without finding themselves "guilty" of some sort of "abuse." Oh, you let your kid have cookies, you had a glass of wine with dinner, you didn't barricade your bedroom door and the kid walked in and saw you naked, you let them have too much and spoiled them, you didn't let them have ENOUGH and they feel miserable and unloved, you didn't control them enough and they got into trouble in the 5 seconds you weren't watching them, you controlled them too much and they felt like they lived like prisoners, you didn't stop and do an in-depth frigging analysis before every action you took to see if there could possibly be negative consequences from things that seems harmless.... you're EVIL, you're an ABUSER, you're responsible for every moment of unhappiness the kids will have their entire LIVES!! Is this sort of demonization of what in reality are normal parents and normal parenting OK? Not for long, at least, I hope... but people with no clue about kids or parenting are going to use this sort of nonsense to make everything that goes wrong in the world the fault of everyone's parents for decades to come.

What's even scarier is that parents declining to get involved in the education of their children, or to set and enforce ANY rules, is widely seen as OK ("I'm my kid's FRIEND" is the warning sign of this sort of parent); it appears that we've made every possible parental action so fraught with danger that it's gotten twisted around to be OK to not parent at all... am I hopelessly old-fashioned, or should that NEVER be OK?

What will we think is OK 50 years from now? What will we NOT think is OK that seems fine to us now? We can't know, of course, and that should make us a little bit cautious about the standards we try to shove down people's throats TODAY. Our best bet overall is to show that great oxymoron, common sense, and keep in mind that we are human beings, not robots, that we have certain needs, that we feel pain, stress and fear and REACT to it, and that we are biologically programmed in many areas of behavior; any "shoulds" that people come up with that show no grasp of these facts should never be given a moment's credence, as they can NEVER be the basis of a standard that people can actually live by.

What's OK for a man, for a woman, for an adult, for a child, for any kind of person, MUST have some connection to the reality of biology, psychology, and modern life; with gender roles, relationships, the value and expectations placed on kids, and every facet of how we live our lives, changing faster than we can keep up with, our definition of what's OK needs to be constantly evolving, constantly being refined to dovetail with what is possible to do and reasonable to ask of others. We need to learn from the past, from other cultures, and from what science tells us about our true nature.

It's right and good to expect more, and better, from people where applicable, BUT, it needs to be OK to be HUMAN, too, and to show a certain degree of frailty without being criminalized or demonized.


Sunday, April 11, 2004

Another Easter "surprise" 

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. :-)

I got another little Easter surprise: I have a slew of suncatchers, each attached to the windows with 2 suction cups, all of which are identical... except for ONE, and that one drove me CRAZY (yes, I AM aware that that's anal, lol). Finally, I got another suction cup that matched all the others, and had been badgering my husband for several days to swap them (I'm apparently too weak to press them on hard enough so they'll get true suction and stay up); as always, he was dragging his heels. When I got up today and looked at my suncatchers, I saw that one of the suction cups had fallen off... guess which one? (And no, it had never done so before, hadn't been on there any longer than any of the others, doesn't get any different amount of sun than the ones around it, and it had the lightest suncatcher hanging from it, NOT the heaviest.) Since he would have had to re-stick the messed-up one anyways, he (grudgingly) agreed to put in the new one. :-)

I suppose I should add a spiritual comment, since this IS Easter... I don't know whether or not Jesus existed, as I wasn't there, and there is no proof (no, an old book is NOT proof) that he did, or, of course, any proof that he DIDN'T. If he DOES exist, imagine how he feels about today being more about bunnies and candy than about him. No, scratch that; imagine how he feels seeing that those who claim to be his most ardent followers are more likely to be big into criticizing, condemning, and trying to control the private lives of others than they are to be into loving, forgiving, and helping others, as he supposedly taught. If he was ever human, he would WEEP...

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Easter "surprise" 

My husband is the type of person whose daily tasks always include many protracted searches for... EVERYTHING. Most days, he has to drag out some of his many storage boxes and sort through them looking for a variety of things that shouldn't be packed away but magically are. Today, as he was doing a search, he came across a giant Easter egg box that he had bought OVER TWO YEARS AGO as a gift for me, hidden away "in a safe place" and never seen since... not until the night before Easter this year. Interestingly, it just so happens that we didn't decorate on either the intervening Easters, so this is the first time since he bought it that I could actually use it. And suddenly it showed up. Of course, he thinks that all of this is a coincidence.


Friday, April 09, 2004

Where should our best and brightest be? 

According to certain people, the answer to that question is; teaching our children.


We're supposed to waste our finest minds with telling kids that c-a-t- spells cat and 1 + 1 = 2? You don't need to be a genius to do that, or to teach ANY pre-college subject (or many college ones, for that matter); heck, you don't even need AVERAGE intelligence for most of it... all you need to do is have a slighter better grasp on a given subject than the students, and, since they're in the class because they DON'T know the material, that's not too hard, is it? To have a genius wasting her/his time functioning at a 7th grade level (or whatever grade) would be CRIMINAL.

We want our most intelligent, capable people going into fields where those qualities REALLY matter; medicine is at the top of the list. If you or a loved one needs open heart surgery, do you want the smartest person in your area to be down the street at the grammar school chanting "d-o-g spells dog," or do you want them holding the scalpel? If you or a loved one gets a rare disease, do you want the finest minds in your city to be droning out the dates of battles in Western History class at the junior high, or do you want them in the lab finding you a cure? Do you want the high-IQ types discovering new marvels of engineering and science for the benefit of mankind, or do you want them teaching kindergartners to color within the lines?

I'm not saying that teachers and children aren't important, as of course they ARE, I'm saying that we have such a small % of brilliant people that we as a species need them to be saving lives and expanding the boundaries of knowledge... and, they DESERVE to have the chance to make that sort of contribution, and to get the $ and prestige that they can earn in those sorts of fields. Why should they be expected to just add a little bit to the eventual success of the tiny % of kids they'd ever teach who'll accomplish anything, when they can accomplish things THEMSELVES? Why should they be satisfied with bits and pieces of glory, and probably not even that, when they are capable of creating their own damned glory? Do you see the indirect dig at the brainy types implicit in the idea that "the best place for you is teaching my kid, and screw your dreams of curing cancer and winning a Nobel prize"?

There isn't any reason to think that a genius would make a better teacher for kids in any case; geniuses generally have a hard time speaking at a normal adult level, much less at a child's level, and are socially awkward, which hardly allows for the sort of delicate psychology that allows one to open up little minds and shovel knowledge in... what part of THAT makes for a good teacher? The qualities that DO make for a good teacher, such as infinite patience, love of children, ability to create rapport, and an understanding (if only on an intuitive level) of the psychology of kids and of learning, have NO CONNECTION to intelligence, and qualities like a willingness to never rise to a higher level job, to do endless grunt work correcting papers, and to not make any $, demonstrate, sorry to say it, a distinct LACK of intelligence.

But, what if we threw alot of $ at it, and gave teachers assistants to do all the grunt work, and paid them on the level of top professionals; wouldn't that make it desirable for some of our brightest to be teachers? Well, aside from the fact that it's disgraceful to even SUGGEST that some twit with the ink still damp on their college degree and teaching certificate should be able to EVER make as much $ as someone who went to medical school or got a PhD in the sciences, where do you suppose the $ would come from to PAY for these salaries, and for all the extra employees to do the grunt work? Are you paying so little in taxes that you'd be happy to get a hefty increase in them to pay for geniuses to teach your kids, and teach them no better than a less expensive person? Would you be happy to have the scientists, engineers and doctors on whom your quality of life, and often life itself, depends, become significantly less bright as a group? If you answered "yes," I guarantee you that you're in a tiny minority... thank goodness.

So, how CAN we be assured that our kids are well taught? Let's look at when kids WERE being well taught in this country: It wasn't that long ago, historically speaking, that students learned far, FAR better than they're doing now; during the times when one teacher taught all subjects to all grades, all in the same room (something that none of our modern teachers would be REMOTELY capable of doing), kids LEARNED. And what stellar qualifications did the teachers have to make this happen? Most of them were spinsters with no family to support them, and the rest were men with no land, no family business, and no other prospects... the bottom of the barrel of society, in many ways, although they were obviously at least minimally literate. How then did they manage, with no computers, generally with no library or even enough books for all the pupils, no teaching assistant, no audiovisual aids, no budget for field trips or crafts or projects, to teach circles around today's teachers? It wasn't because all those folks who had failed to find a way to do the normal work of adults, who spawned the old saying "if you can't do, teach," were GENIUSES, it's because they had the one thing that REALLY matters as to whether or not kids learn... the support of the parents.

In those days, if a kid didn't do his homework, didn't study for a test, or didn't obey in class, he could expect his parents to be told... and a trip out to the woodshed would follow. Even parents who were themselves illiterate EXPECTED their kids to go to school on time, keep their mouths shut and listen to the teacher, do all their work and make a best-faith effort at it, and in general to make them proud... so that's exactly what the kids did.

And THAT is what the dimwits who want to throw more $ at a profession that doesn't actually need it don't get; if in fact your actual goal is to give our kids the best possible education, as opposed to just gaining the support of the teachers' union, the solution, the ONLY solution, is to go back to the only thing that has ever been PROVEN to work... intense involvement in the educational process by parents who EXPECT their kids to learn, and are willing to impose serious penalties if their children don't hit the books. You don't win elections, or gain general political clout, by telling parents that they're not doing their jobs, and need to actually RAISE their kids and invest time and effort in helping the schools do their job, so you'll never hear anyone proposing it as a solution... all you're ever going to hear is that old tired rhetoric, "throw more $ at it, and the smart people will show up and fix it for us."

If you REALLY want your kids to get the best possible education, don't ask the best and brightest to leave medicine and science to teach them; give your kids the infinite benefit of their education being aided and overseen by the person in the world most qualified to make them scholastic successes... YOU.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Thursday again... 

... and time for some observations on human nature from Mad Mad House.

The judges have been videotaped dissing just ONE of their number, and it's happened more than once; not by coincidence, the victim has been the one who, because he sleeps during the day, spends by far the least time with them... my little lovebug, Don the vampire. In addition, the judge who, by virtue of being the hot babe, seems to be the most in charge, was actually LAUGHING throughout Don's blood-drinking ceremony, and several of the contestants pointed out (outside of her hearing) that she would have FLIPPED if anyone had laughed during HER ceremonies... and I bet she wouldn't have felt free to disrespect anyone else but Don.

All it takes to be seen as an outsider is to be just a little out of synch with the group; the subconscious mindset seems to be "You aren't totally doing everything our way, so you must be rejecting us on some level, so we'll feel free to reject YOU, behind your back at first, and then in your face, and we'll also feel free to be unfair and hypocritical." I've seen this sort of thing before, I've even LIVED it, as I'm unwilling to blindly follow a group against my own preferences, and it points up how very unlikely we are to tolerate differences in behavior within our groups.

There's another part to this, too; in any group, the members gossip about each other, and the more you're not around, the more you'll be the subject (eventually this ties into the "not hanging with the group" issue, of course).

I was VERY interested to see one of the contestants utilizing the "prodigal effect" to gain points today; he faked that he was addicted to taking cold meds to sleep, and then gave them up to show how he'd "grown," knowing that the judges would be all excited about him doing this... and he was dead-on. It's sad to see how consistently people who screw up and then improve, or pretend to, get boosted in people's estimation, and to a higher level than the non-screwups are at.

They ended the show with a clever twist; they pretended that the contestants were going to get to vote someone out, but after the votes had been cast they took it back, and no one was eliminated, leaving the contestants, including the one most of them voted against, to have to sort themselves back out in an unexpected situation. Before this trick was played, it was 4 of them against the girl they thought most likely to win; now 3 of the 4 voted against the 4th one, and unless he's the world's biggest fool he's not going to trust them any more, so does that mean he'll pair up with the former outsider? You really need to NOT be a loner in this sort of situation, so he will if he's smart... but, if the other 3 are smart, they'll try to grab up the outsider before he can get to her, leaving him to swing in the wind and get psyched out.

It gets even better, potentially; if the 4th guy is REALLY smart, he's going to make sure the judges know how the sociopath of the group has been trying to trick the judges into booting the forerunner, and if the other 3 are smart, they're going to tell the judges about how he faked the addiction thing to score points.

The sad, deeper reality is that the 4th guy is going to be seen as a source of dissension now, and, although it is TOTALLY not his fault, as it will have been caused by the actions of others, the judges will understand that if you can't penalize the many, the expedient thing to do is to add insult to the injury of the 1 and punish that 1.

If the 4th guy can convince his former group that he saw that whole elimination as a big joke, and so get back in with them, that's his best hope for not being booted next, but that would be HARD to do, and it's not in THEIR best interests to take him back in any case, as if he's alone it paints a target on his head that gets him kicked out before any of them are.

You won't catch me watching any of the (un)reality shows where they eat rats on an island or let bugs crawl on them, but THIS show is proving to be fascinating. :-)

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Are we blind to our own best interests? 

As a culture, it sure looks like we are.

We want to live long, healthy lives, but 2/3 of us are overweight, which skyrockets our likelihood of countless ailments, and we are couch potatoes, which is even worse (and we won't even mention all the people who are still SMOKING).

We want to retire early and have enjoyable golden years, but how many people do you know who are saving ANYTHING for their retirement, much less saving enough to make for a comfortable old age?

We want to move ahead in our careers, but a scary % of workers can't be bothered to show up on time, dress appropriately, treat others, even their bosses and the customers, with courtesy, or get off of the internet long enough to get any work done... and how often do you see QUALITY work from anyone?

We want to find true love, but we persist in leaping into bed with anyone who glances at us twice, and then wasting weeks, months or YEARS finding out that we can not in fact have a lasting relationship with them.

We want to be treated with respect, but we walk around half-naked and/or looking like street people, and fill our conversations with trivial nonsense about celebs and that major oxymoron, pop culture.

We seem to be increasingly likely to bite the hand that's trying to feed us, too, which in a way is the worst of all because it's so personal and specific. I know someone who's letting a friend live with her to help her get her life back on track, and the friend makes messes all over the house, leaves the windows open with the heat running, leaves the DOOR open so that the dog runs out in the street and any vermin or crook could stroll right in, and on and on... despite the fact that she'd be living in a cardboard box if not for this friend, literally. Is there even a NAME for that level of stupidity, that degree of inability to act in one's own best interest?

A friend of MINE learned the first installment of a lesson on how to treat people who are doing her favors today; I have been helping her out with events that she organizes for a couple of years, and have in fact taken on a disproportionate % of the tasks, in return for which she handles the onerous drive to the site, picking me up along the way... or, at least she DID. I got a message ONE day before this month's event, in which she chirpily advised me that she now has an alternate way to get to the events that doesn't include me, so she won't be picking me up... and she looks forward to seeing me there. OH REALLY?!! I'm supposed to bite the bullet and get there by myself to help HER out, or am supposed to contact someone I barely know who's driving from my area and ask for them to pick me up and drop me off, every month forever? Needless to say, I did neither, and I hope she enjoyed doing all the work *I* usually do in addition to her own tasks, and maybe has started to re-evaluate the wisdom of bailing out on me at the last minute without having made ANY attempt at providing me with a convenient substitute way to get there AND HELP HER.

It shouldn't need to be said, but I guess it does; if someone is doing you favors, helping you out, sacrificing their time, $ and energy to benefit you, you need to repay that by, among other things, NOT causing them problems, stress or upset... they don't owe you, and they're totally justified in cutting you loose if you can't show even minimal gratitude.

As to all the other elements of not acting in one's own best interest; health, success, respect, love, and all the rest don't just materialize magically in your living room one day, you have to show some common sense and see the cause and effect between your actions and choices and what you end up with in your life... if you don't like how things are going, change the only thing you CAN change-YOU.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

"Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" 

Because I love this show, a friend gave me an old Entertainment Weekly with them on the cover; I'd never seen it before, and it was cool to have it. I read the article, and then decided to tear off the cover and save it; after I got the cover off, I thought I should go back to the article and save IT too, while I was at it, and I asked myself what page it had been on... "62" came immediately to my mind, so I went to page 62... where I found a DIFFERENT article about Queer Eye!! The original story, when I looked it up, turned out to be on page 24-not even CLOSE.

I went back to the table of contents to see if the 2nd article was there and I'd just picked it up subconsciously... and it WASN'T-it was on the SECOND contents page, 2 pages after the only one I'd looked at. The 2nd article was many pages AFTER the one I saw first, so I couldn't have seen it subliminally as I turned to the 1st article. The page #'s aren't inverted versions of each other, eg 24 and 42, so there isn't even THAT as a possibility... I just KNEW the page of an article that I didn't even know existed. Coincidence? Nnnnnnnnnnnope.

As much as I love this show, I'm not surprised I had a psychic blip leading me to an article about it; there's something endlessly entrancing about guys who are so VERY gay. Bravo created the show, not for the gay audience, but for the female audience, which was pretty smart of them, as every woman I know is wild about gay men... which is sort of scary, because the men that women can actually HAVE are very different, and it's sort of twisted for women to like the sort of man that wants another man. It's gotta be some sort of extreme cosmic joke that when gay men finally came out, they turned out to be everything that women had always dreamed of in a man, except not interested in us.

Gay men are generally handsome, charming, witty, well-groomed and -dressed... and, something even more important that you never hear mentioned; openly sexual in their body language, as compared to straight men who usually have very UNprovocative body language. My guess is that THIS is what makes we women so nuts about them, in the same way that straight men instinctively love sexy female body language; after all, we're genetically programmed to look for NATURAL body language cues, and the repressed ones coming from straight men are very different from that, and so of course less attractive to women than the less retrained body language of gay men.

Amazing what thoughts an old magazine and a TV show can give you, isn't it? :-)

Monday, April 05, 2004

Brilliant perceptions from Dean Koontz 

I think that virtually any successful author has a solid, if sometimes unconscious, grasp of human nature, which (s)he uses both to make characters believable and to manipulate the emotions of the reader; because this sort of thing fascinates me, the authors I love best are masters at these things. Here's a dazzling passage from Koontz's "Odd Thomas":

"It is human nature to want to believe in the wizardry of the magician-but also to turn against him and to scorn him the moment that he commits the slightest error that reveals his trickery. Those in the audience are embarrassed to have been so easily astonished, and they blame the performer for their gullibility."

So true, so true; people ARE gullible, and DO want to believe, whether it's in magic, or that their lover is exactly as they think (s)he is, or that their friend isn't so much smarter than them as to make them seem stupid by comparison, and they'll eagerly follow along with whatever illusion is presented to them, because it makes them feel better... but, when the bubble bursts, they round on the other person, who in most cases just acted the way normal people do to keep a new lover interested, or to protect their feelings, and attacks them as if they were evil incarnate, as opposed to normal, caring people.

Each of us is fooled countless times each day by others; studies show that we all lie pretty much non-stop, even when we think we're being honest, so it's unavoidable to be lied to (although mostly about trivial things, granted). If we "catch" someone out in fooling us, though, we react with rage, not because of whatever minor untruth was involved, but because "you lied to me"... in other words, "you tricked me successfully, and now, although you're far from the only one, you will bear the full brunt of my anger."

Our idols get all this times 100; the beloved athlete becomes hated if he loses one game, or, more specifically, makes one bad play near the end of the game such that he gets BLAMED for the entire loss... as if he'd only TRICKED us into believing in him and his abilities, and so deserves our contempt. Think how many other examples there are in politics and entertainment of people that our culture first idolized and then turned on... think of the model Linda Evangelista, who made one thoughtless, off the cuff comment 20 years ago about how she and the other supermodels didn't even get out of bed for less than $10k a day, and this one crack in the illusion of models as almost magical, ethereal creatures got her excoriated then and for 2 decades afterwards. Now, if Bill Gates had said the same thing, no one would have blinked, because there's no aura around him the way there is around non-business celebrities, and we EXPECT him to be a bottom-liner and plain talker; those whose star-quality we willingly buy into had better not say anything to shatter the illusion, though.

Also from Koontz, on the same page, even:

"Most people desperately desire to believe that they are part of a great mystery, that Creation is a work of grace and glory, not merely the result of random forces colliding. Yet each time that they are given but one reason to doubt, a worm in the apple of the heart makes them turn away from a thousand proofs of the miraculous, whereupon they have a drunkard's thirst for cynicism, and they feed upon despair as a starving man upon a loaf of bread."

This is true of people in reference to small issues in addition to large ones; have you ever treated someone with the most extreme compassion and kindness imaginable, for weeks, months, even YEARS, only to have one preoccupied day, one grouchy, stressed or unhappy day, and all of a sudden they no longer believe in you, and who you are as a person, and how you feel about them, as if they were just WAITING for the moment of "imperfection" so that they could see it as "proof" that you're other than they saw you as, other than you ARE? Have you had such a person go ever farther, and misinterpret some innocent thing to be such a proof, or listen to the poisonous words of some jealous person with an agenda and use THAT as "proof" and reason to turn on you?

And, of course, in the grander sense, people DO look at one instance where something that seemed astonishing really wasn't as reason to disbelieve in the many previous events that WERE astonishing, and demonstrative of the wonder that exists all around us.

If you can look back and see instances where you've built someone up in your mind and then gotten rabid when they showed a "flaw," or evidence of whitewashing the truth or behaving "nicer than their nature" as every human being does, take a moment to promise yourself not to do that again; it's not reasonable or fair, and leads to truly amazing people being driven from your life by your over-reaction.

If you find yourself denying the wondrous elements of universe(s) around us because you saw a fake psychic or whatever, reconsider; just because some people fake being models or millionaires in order to score doesn't mean that models and millionaires don't exist, right? The omniverse IS filled with countless things that no one can explain, and you don't gain points by brushing them all off as government conspiracies or elaborate hoaxes; keep your mind open, and you'll be surprised at how much truth falls into it.

What scares you? 

Horror movies are designed to showcase what our culture is afraid of at a given time; when nuclear power was new and scary, we got the "bug movies," when young people started being overtly sexual, we got endless movies in which the kids who had sex died (such as the "Friday the 13th" and the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series), and when technology escalated faster than many of us were comfortable with, we got movies like "Fear.com" and "The Ring"... but those are movies targeted to the general audience; what scares YOU? I don't mean things like getting cancer, losing a loved one, or terrorism, which we ALL fear, but what are the elements of the horror genre that really get to you?

It came to me as I was settling into a recent Dean Koontz novel that, although I enjoy ALL the books by him and Stephen King, some "horror concepts" are just entertaining, while some are truly hair-raising, and I rather foolishly started contemplating this at 3AM, with the house making noises of course. It occurred to me that the things that are "personally scary" can say as much about a person as the most common categories of horror movies say about our culture, so I contemplated the things that really scare me.

Things like vampires and zombies do NOT scare me, as they are fictional beings (sorry, Don), but the better-done ghost movies DO scare me a little, because I know that ghosts/spirits ARE real, and because I've had poltergeist problems and know that they CAN interact with the physical world to some extent. A house where murder has been done, as in The Amityville Horror, is something you couldn't get me into even at gunpoint, as what the spirit of a sick, evil person might do given the chance is NOT something I'd want to be present for. It's this same concept that makes the movie, and especially the book, of "The Shining" so terrifying; that hideous evil had been done over and over in the same place, and that all of it was just there WAITING for minds sensitive enough to be affected to show up... brrrrrrrrrrr

One sort of creature has given me the creeps to such an extent that I haven't felt able to do any research about it; the "supernatural" beings portrayed in "The Mothman Prophecies." This movie is based on actual reports from a bunch of hard-headed farmerfolk, reports of... something. Something they couldn't explain, something with powers beyond explanation, something with, at the very least, a desire to stir us up like a little boy with a stick at a hill of ants, just to see us run around in confusion and fear. My reaction to this movie tells me that I have a deep unconscious belief that we are NOT the only intelligent beings in the omniverse, and certainly not the most powerful... or the only ones capable of evil.

The absolute scariest, though, are those stories where one's very surroundings become surreal, such as in "The Shining" when the Overlook became a sort of time warp where all the "evil times" existed simultaneously, and in the heart-stopping short story "1408," also by King, which is about a hotel room where everything is just slightly off, then less slightly, then less slightly, freaked me out so much that I could barely get through it. It didn't occur to me until I read about a room in Koontz's "Odd Thomas" that became some sort of portal from which evil emerged, and got the creeps, that I made the connection... these stories cut close to the bone with me, and remind me of some of my endless nightmares, where everything around me becomes unknown and malignant, where I'm alone and in danger with nowhere to hide... and that feeling, which is clearly tied to my typically high anxiety level, is the source of many of my deepest fears. It's amazing what you can discover about yourself by analyzing something as "trivial" as these books and movies that no one takes seriously.

Think back to all the horror movies and scary stories that ever raised goosebumps on you, and ask yourself... what scares YOU?

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Altered states 

Have you ever thought about how many ways we humans have found to achieve what we perceive to be higher levels of consciousness? (Not that I don't think they ARE higher, I just think they might be DIFFERENT rather than higher per se.) Drugs. Prayer. Meditation. Sensory deprivation. Fasting. Ritual. Pain. Even extreme forms of physical exertion can do it for some. We seem, as a species, to eagerly pursue those things that open our minds up to different kinds of perception, to revelations, to... whatever it is that we see in an altered state, real or imagined. Our love of this sort of thing is one of the few things that separates us from the lower animals, and it makes me wonder; do we have this ability, and the desire to use it, as a "reward" for our advanced brains, or is it just a "side effect" of our advanced brains, no more meaningful or insightful than daydreams?

As someone who thinks intensely, feels passionately, but has never gotten to that mental state where deeper understanding (supposedly) comes, I wish that I could experience it at least once, so that I'd know if I'd get epiphanies, in which case I'd want to keep pursuing it, or if I'd just feel high, or disoriented, or whatever, in which case I'd move onto other thoughts. The not knowing keeps it niggling at my mind.

On Mad Mad House this week, Art the modern primitive did a suspension ritual, where his body hung in the air by huge hooks buried in the flesh of his back. I was in absolute AWE watching it happen; he was so calm, peaceful, relaxed, he looked almost half-asleep... and this is while they were putting the hooks in!! He didn't flinch, in fact he gave no sign of being aware that he was being skewered. Once he was hanging, he looked like someone mulling over a pleasant fantasy, rather than someone dangling from screaming chunks of his back. He then got one of the girls who was watching to get up on a ladder so that he could get his arms around her and hold HER weight along with his own. I'd never heard of anyone doing that, and it was mind-boggling to imagine what that experience was like for them, with both of them bonded together with him in what certainly looked like a deeply spiritual state; while it was happening, I kept telling my husband that I'd LOVE to be where she was, as long as I felt REALLY sure that he had held someone of at least my weight before and was in no danger of those hooks ripping through his skin... what would a person feel, buoyed up by someone in the throes of such a powerful experience?

What would a person feel IN the throes of such a powerful experience? I wish I knew. I wonder, if I wish hard enough, will karma grant me a chance to find out? I'm going to try...

Friday, April 02, 2004

Another scary one 

I was reading a new book, alternating chunks of text with zoning out and working through an unrelated story in my head, as I usually do, and one of the characters in my mental story took a strange turn and said something wildly atypical, as often happens to me (they can really take on a life of their own, and then it's more like watching a movie than a purposeful act of creation), and I took a few minutes to work out how the scene would move forward from the unusual, but interesting, comment. When I was done, I read the little bit at the end of the page, turned to the next one, and a few lines down, there it was... the same , odd, unexpected line that MY character had said, and it was every bit as bizarre of a line in the printed story as it had been in my head-it did NOT follow any logical path from what had gone on before.

So, the line popped into my head before I'd read it; this could be an example of precognition, or just "pure esp" where I saw something in my mind that I hadn't see with my eyes, having no connection to whether or not I was about to "really see it"... my vote is for precognition, but that's just a guess.

The more you open your mind up to this sort of stuff, the more it shows up; not freaking out is important, too, because psychic flow can be like creativity-a little disruption, a little emotional upheaval, and it dries up.

Some nonbelievers say things like, "But, you're forgetting all the times you DIDN'T know in advance," which ignores the fact that this sort of weird stuff popping into your head should NEVER happen in an esp-free world; if you even ONCE know in advance, that's proof that it CAN happen. We're not talking about something vague and general, like looking at the green curtains, thinking "green," and having green grass show up on the next page of a book, and as much as skeptics want to say that even very specific, detailed thoughts, and dreams, are the same as the generalities that are statistically certain to coincide eventually, they're NOT. The clincher; people who don't believe in psychic phenomena don't HAVE these sorts of perceptions... but, if they're something that automatically happens to people, why DON'T they have them? And they call ME illogical, for believing things that I've seen endless proof of, lol.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

The real you? 

Thursday again, and that means more inspiration from Mad Mad House... and I don't mean just from looking at Don the hot vampire. ;-)

I started out with some teeth gritting as the contestants discussed the reasons it was "right" that the best one of them, the one who was like a mom to people and was doing everything right, had been eliminated; she was too much of a safety net and security blanket for everyone, so of course she had to be kicked out..... GRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Further teeth gritting ensued when the jerk who tricked one of the judges into doubting the sincerity of the girl who was in the lead admitted for the cameras that he was being a puppetmaster with that judge, bragging that he had totally fooled her and thus screwed the girl's chances; that little sociopath will end up winning, just watch... there's alot of bad karma in the way these sorts of competitions are fought, and that can lead to the lower life forms triumphing.

Then, a NEW aspect of the evils of human nature was demonstrated; after this poor girl had been harangued by everyone, she got upset, and was reacting in an upset matter... and the jerk triumphantly referred to that as the "real her" emerging.


When you get upset, and act in a different way than you do when you're calm, do you consider your upset way of acting, that you probably don't show even 1% of the time, as the REAL you, or do you consider the way you are 99% of the time, with a clear head, to be the real you? I know the answer to that, and it makes me very, VERY irritated when someone provokes a person, or joins with a group in provoking a person, and then comes out with some sort of criticism or snide remarks about the perfectly natural, normal and acceptable upset that the victim shows... especially when other people swallow the idea and add further insult to injury for the victim.

In my view, anyone who deliberately attacks a person in public is immature, pitiful, and an asshole... and that goes times ten for people who are cowardly enough to attack as part of a group. Anyone who observes this sort of thing and buys whatever nonsense the attackers come out with, or judges against the victim based on such an attack, is weak, stupid, and a sheep. Anyone who witnesses such an attack, has the opportunity to stand up for the victim or otherwise intervene, and fails to do so, is no better morally than the attackers. Harsh words? You bet... but true nonetheless.

When you see someone who is mad, scared, upset, sick or in pain, make a conscious effort to remind yourself that this is NOT who they normally are, and so NOT what you should judge them by, and hopefully the next time YOU are observed at your worst, people will do you the same favor, and not see that as the "real you."

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