Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The New York Times is a classy bunch

So New York's got an abusive boyfriend in its Senate. Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) allegedly slashed his girlfriend with a piece of glass across her face when he found another man's business card in her purse. He then dragged her back to his apartment and refused to call 911.

They both told the police that he tripped while carrying a glass of water, and now he says he wants to marry her.

Clyde Haberman of the Times decides to respond to the story by writing about what kind of glassware to get them for the wedding.

Whether you think this is funny or not (I don't - it's a rather lame attempt at dark comedy), it's not the sort of thing one would expect to see in the New York Times, which is supposed to be a paragon of journalism, not a staging ground for potentially offensive op-eds.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Boring blather re: megachurches

Today I went to an event at a large, non-denominational church in Garden City. Apart from the fact that it's not right next to a freeway, it fits all the characteristics of a megachurch.

The whole place made me vaguely uncomfortable. I am used to having coffee and donuts in a church basement, but I'm not used to having a full espresso bar and bookstore on site. (Yes, the espresso bar is called "Holy Grounds.")

Although I am not a religious person, I'm not really keen on the megachurch emphasis on inclusiveness and positivity above all things. (In fact, the idea of an inclusive community strikes me as an oxymoron - a "community" that doesn't have common beliefs and interests isn't a community at all.) Just as Charlie Brown thought that there was a difference between philosophy and a bumper sticker, I think there's a difference between holy scriptures and a self-help book, and a difference between a pastor and a motivational speaker.

While I was there, I was in a classroom for their home school cooperative, and I was reminded of one of the great mysteries of school: why they try to teach you to write a cursive upper-case "Q" like the number 2 when no adult actually does this. I think Ramona Quimby also had strong feelings on this issue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Connie! Why don't you love me like you love this chocolate?!?

This week's blog find is Psychotic Letters from Men. If you enjoy cringing at the antics of creepy guys, this site will take up a lot of your time.

Many of these men appear to suffer from the delusion that it is possible to make anyone like you if you just try hard enough. I think some children's literature and programming feed that delusion by trying to encourage friendship above all things, when in reality, some people just have interests that diverge too widely, or personalities that clash too often, to make friendship (or romance) possible between them. If I were in charge of children's programming, I'd try to teach kids what to do with people who can't be friends with you, which is why I will probably never be in charge of children's programming.

The women in these stories frequently get restraining orders. In Idaho, most of them would not be eligible for civil protection orders. Idaho law only offers civil protection orders for people who were in domestic relationships (so if you just went on a couple of dates, you can't get one) and who are in imminent danger of domestic violence (so if he didn't hit you or threaten to hit you, you can't get one). If you're in Idaho and you're being stalked, but you're not eligible for a civil protection order, keep all the evidence (photos, text messages, voice mails, emails, Myspace/Facebook posts, whatever) and turn it in to the police. With enough evidence, you might be able to get the stalker charged with criminal stalking.

If you like the author of Psychotic Letters from Men, you can visit his other blog at Why Women Hate Men.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Adventures in sleep

I sleep next to my computer. It provides background noise that helps me sleep. That's important for this story.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I saw a note in Stickies that hadn't been there when I went to sleep. It read "Vilsack noetimfy."

Clearly whatever I had been dreaming about was important enough that I felt like I had to noetimfy U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about it. (Stolen subsidy money? A new super-efficient fertilizer? A plot to poison America's crops? And is the latter actually Janet Napolitano's territory?)

When I woke up on Monday morning, I had two missed calls on my phone from a number I didn't recognize. They had been placed at 12:50 AM. According to Google, the number was a pay phone in Moscow. (Moscow, Idaho, not Moscow, Russia. If I'd had calls from a pay phone in Moscow, Russia, I would've wondered if I had actually uncovered a plot to poison America's crops.)

Stay tuned for future exciting tales, or tales that pass for exciting in my dreary excuse for a life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Nagging Thing

The email edition of the British Psychological Society asked its members each to share one nagging thing they don't understand about themselves. Read their answers here.

Naturally, this segues into me thinking about one nagging thing I don't understand about myself.

Many psychologists have written about the phenomenon of illusory superiority, in which people are not only incompetent at certain tasks, but continue to believe they are average or above-average at those tasks. (Think Peggy Hill.)

So: am I really good at the things at which I think I am good, or am I bad at those things and unaware of it? And is there any way to find out if I'm right or wrong?

Feel free to think about this and post a nagging thing you don't understand about yourself, if you want.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Posted for posterity

Some of the rollergirls* have been bugging me about being one of the few non-inked league members. Those of you reading this blog certainly know that I kneel at the altar of the status quo, and that the money for a tattoo could probably be spent better on other things, like, say, a table or a bed frame.

Nevertheless, I will bow to peer pressure, conditionally:

If the Iowa Hawkeyes beat the The Ohio State University Buckeyes on November 14, I will get a tattoo. The design of said tattoo will be determined if it becomes necessary to do so.

*Speaking of rollergirls, Roger Ebert gives "Whip It" three and a half stars. If you're in the Treasure Valley, you can catch a showing with some of our local rollergirls tomorrow at 7pm at Edwards Theater on Overland in Boise or near the decaying remains of Karcher Mall in Nampa.