Archive for the ‘society’ Category

Adam Lambert Didn’t Win????

May 21, 2009

images

I have never understood the emotional investment people have about their favorite sports teams. I don’t know which team is in which league and I don’t care who wins.  People behave as if their team is their family. Better not say anything bad about the team, and don’t go near the fans the day after the team loses.  You might lose your head, or at least your hearing, about the unfairness of it all.

Now, tonight, I get it. As an ardent American Idol viewer, I’ve been wowed by Lambert since his first performance. He’s been the team I’ve been cheering for. I mean really cheering. He took the stage by storm with a range of notes I’ve never even heard and he did it consistently, week after week. He had charisma that I think has not been seen since Elvis Presley. He had confidence, presence, amazing good looks, polish, professionalism,  and sex appeal. He does not have talent. He has a gift. He made all the other contestants, including the winner, look like amateurs.

And he didn’t win. I feel as sad as my son would feel if the NY Yankees lost. I felt so sick about it I had to turn off the TV while the winner sang his song.

And so I wonder…why didn’t he win? I did not know until I fell upon it by chance today that he may be gay. That apparently there was a photo circulating the web showing him kissing another guy. When asked he said, “I am what I am.”   I so respect him for that. Yet also circulating the web were speculations that his questionable sexual orientation would bring him down in the end. Bad boy vs right wing boy next door.   If that’s why he lost, I’m not sad. I’m angry. So angry. As Cowell reiterated throughout the season, its supposed to be a talent show. 

Was this a witch hunt?

Advertisements

Economy Crashing Home – AGAIN

March 15, 2009

Gloria Steinem once said that the personal is political. And I fully experienced what she meant. Now, in my life, the political is becoming personal. 

At least my husband’s job is intact…for now. Maybe it was a rumor that the business would fold, but the scare certainly got our attention regarding our vulnerability in this economy . Now, two other family members are definitely being hit.  These are not rumors. Both of them had their own businesses which in another economy would have made it. Now, they’ve lost everything.  Oh I know, I know, material things are not the most important things. We all  write about our values and all the wonderful abstractions that fill our souls and are what count. We talk about the value of suffering and what we learn from it. 

But it hurts like hell to watch your loved ones go through something like this. First, their grief over their lost businesses. I know. I’ve been there.  You put your all  into it and still you have to close the doors. And then the fear. Their fear and yours. What will they do next? What is there to do next in this economy? They’re qualified for jobs… just like  the millions of other equally qualified people  who are waiting on line for interviews.

I know, health comes first. Believe me I know. But right after that comes a sense of safety and security in the world as we’ve known it.  And that, for now, is gone.

First it was physical terrorism. Now our economy crumbling.  It sure feels like another type of terrorism, doesn’t it?

Psychscribe Quote # 56

March 10, 2009

For my friend VanessaLeigh, who organized a vigil acknowledging the eve of the beginning of testimony regarding Prop 8 in California:

“Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”  Margaret Chase Smith

Economic Crash Hits Home

February 26, 2009

Sooner or later the reality of it all had to hit. Like millions of Americans, we lost most of our retirement money in the stock market crash. We thought it had been safe in our 401K.  Even so we figured, hoped, like millions of Americans, that it would rebound. We did not panic, even though my husband is 64 years old.   We still hope so.

And our home, like mostly everyone else’s, is not worth what we paid for it four years ago. Ok, well fine, we don’t want to sell it anyway. We love our cozy little place out in the middle of nowhere, PA. We look forward to our grandkids’ visits out to the country, where we can take them fishing, have sleepouts on the screened porch, catch lightening bugs, that kind of thing.

However recently just before the crash, my husband, primary wage earner, left a very well paying, secure job, to take one closer to home, and me. And that has turned out to be a disaster. Long story short, the company restructured and let go the man who hired him.  Then the other day Alph comes home and tells me there are strong rumors, from good sources.  that the place is going to fold.  Yes, I know, a rumor is just that,  a rumor. But based upon what my husband sees of the management of the place, which he was hired to fix, the rumor seems highly credible.

With no money to draw on from our 401K  or any home equity, we are one paycheck away from no house, no security, no golden years. Luckily, he has already networked with a previous boss who is also a personal friend, and  has consulting work lined up with him for sometime next year which should turn into a full time job.

But still…  one paycheck away from public assistance.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.  Not at our age. I grieve for the lost, false sense of economic security. Ignorance was bliss.

“Interview” with Career Criminal

February 15, 2009

 

I was just watching a news story about a police officer who was killed by a “career criminal”. 

Now there’s something for the perpetrator to be proud of.  A murder to add to his resume.

Come with me to an interview with a career criminal composite. We’re having coffee at a Mac Donald’s in a really scary part of town.

“So what do you do for a living, Bob?”

“i’m a career criminal.”

“Could you tell us a bit about your job?”

“Yeah. I  sell drugs. Steal and kill and stuff like that.”

“What kind of compensation can a good career criminal hope to make?” 

“Well, the drugs are always good for a few hundred, even a grand some nights.  Or you can always get some cash  from someone walkin’ down the street.  It depends on the victim. You have to be good at targeting your mark. If you’re lucky, you can make hundreds in just one night. If you screw up and the mark has no cash, there’s always the payoff of the thrill kill.”

“Thrill kill?”

“Yeah, you know, like, you kill the mark anyway because you’re pissed off and just want to at least get a rush from that. Cops are better though.” 

“How so?”

“Cause they think they’re so above us, and are always sticking their noses into our business. I mean everyone has to make a living, right? I need a roof over my head and food on my table just like anyone else.

“Well…it must be dangerous?”

“Some. ” (He flexes his muscles a bit, clearly proud.) “But not if you’re tough, and you’re good. A lot of so called career criminals are just criminal wannabe’s. They’re amateurs. They don’t stay on the street, or anywhere else, very long.”

“Does your mother know what you do for a living?”

“Well, she knows I’ve done time but she also knows I was wrongfully  convicted.  I mean, otherwise why would they allow us conjugal visits?”

“Conjugal vists?????”

“Yeah, man it ain’t so bad at all. In our state, we have the right to get a trailer one weekend a month for our booty call.”

“Have you ever thought of going straight, getting a…real job?”

“Hey lady, you ever see where I grew up?  Did ya think I was gonna be a banker, or a lawyer? I”m doin’ just what my daddy did..”  

“You could go back to school…”

“And make what? Ten, fifteen bucks an hour when I get out? Who could live on that?” He looks at me like I”m a complete jackass and stomps out, like a bull ready to charge.

I walk fast, trying not to run, and get into my upscale car, locking all the doors. I feel scared, confused, angry, and also strangely sad for him.  For the blankness in his eyes and the danger in his soul. 

I zoom home to my cozy little house in the burbs, and thank God our sons were born into the life we’ve been able to offer them.

Matchmakers Making Big Bucks on Wall Street

February 12, 2009

Today I found this article published by Reuters….

People are writing checks  for $30,000 -$50,000 up front to find a perfect mate. These appear to be primarily men, who in the stress of their jobs during this economic turmoil would rather come home to the comfort and soothing of a good wife than date around as in past glory days.

So while Wall Street is crashing, matchmaking is smashing. One matchmaker said that she’s recently had a 30 year old write her a $30,00. check up front “without batting an eyelid.”  Another matchmaker said she  recently spent a week at a luxury hotel in New York interviewing  20 women for a client who wanted to meet a graduate of the same Ivy League university he attended.  The client paid more than $50,000. for the search.

Two thoughts occur to me.

1. I went into the wrong profession in terms of income.  

2. Can you imagine how many hungry kids that money could feed around the globe? Is it just me, or is this decadent?

If I Had My Life to Live Over

February 7, 2009

 

This is a well known column by Erma Bombeck, a very popular writer who was syndicated back in the days before the internet and died in 1996.. (Yes children, there once was a world without it when people couldn’t live without their paper newspapers!) 

Anyway, I thought I’d post it for anyone in younger generations, or other countries, who missed it. Its quite wonderful, I think. Hope you will too. Its called “If I Had My Life to Live Over”.  She writes:

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love yous”..  more “I’m sorrys”…  but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it…live it…and never give it back.

by Erma Bombeck 

About Erma from Wikipedia: “Erma Louise Bombeck (February 211927 – April 221996), born Erma Fiste, was an Americanhumorist who achieved great popularity for hernewspaper column that described suburban home life humorously from the mid-1960s until the late ’90s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became best-sellers.

From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife with broad, and sometimes eloquent, humor. By the 1970s, her witty columns were read, twice weekly, by thirty million readers of 900 newspapers of theU.S. and Canada.”

Black History Month

February 6, 2009

For anyone who lives in a cave and doesn’t know it, this is Black History Month. I thought I would offer a nice link to historical milestones in black history:

http://www.history.com/minisites/blackhistory

There were many heroes in this long journey, but my favorite has always been Rosa Parks, who damned well refused to sit in the back of the bus!

Do You Think She Needs Counseling?

February 3, 2009

women_creepy-collagen

Obama: the first “black” president

December 12, 2008

barack-obama-mother

OBAMA AND HIS MOTHER

 

There has been so much joy in this country to see a black man finally elected to the presidency. And I share that joy…I never thought I would see such progress in our society in my  lifetime… all the talk about unity and one people in this country as represented by Obama. The only thing is, the fact that he’s half white is pretty much ignored, as I see it. Why???? Wouldn’t it be even MORE unifying to acknowledge the mix of BOTH races in our president elect???

I know from my studies that people of mixed race tend to identify with the minority half. I don’t know why. I just know its so. And I don’t get that.  It seems like a disowning of half of who you are. Kind of a reverse racism of your own identity. 

Talk to me somebody…Help me understand this….

Mental Health Day: True Confession

December 4, 2008

social_living-dead

 

 

I’m taking one today. I mean, everyone else gets them. Why shouldn’t I? Even shrinks need mental health days once in a while. I need to relax and not HAVE to get in my car and go anywhere, be anywhere. No pressure…Mmmm…..

So lets see….I think I will dust today since I have an allergy to the stuff and its a real pain to walk around choking all the time….and do more Christmas shopping ONLINE (I don’t do malls anymore)..and finalize my choice of photos from the wedding for my “parent album”…oh…and i guess it would be a good idea to search again for my very expensive, lost wedding rings, I know they’re in this house someplace…and i need to get started on the jewelry I’m making for Christmas gifts….and call my mother which is never, ever less than a one hour conversation (that’s another whole post  in itself)…and I have several, repeat SEVERAL baskets of ironing that I’ve been avoiding like the bubonic plague…and for that matter there’s probably at least the same amount of  wash to be done…

Ok, so this is not what I’d advise a client to do on a mental health day. I would suggest to a client that she do something fun, relaxing, no chores allowed! But then again, for some people, getting chores done on a day when they would be going to work  is good for their mental health because all that stuff is no longer waiting for them…hovering.stalking them…

I guess I should call this my housework health day.

Tell us the truth. What do YOU do on your mental health days?

Jennifer Hudson “Domestic Issues”

October 25, 2008

By now we all know that Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother were recently murdered. The media, noting that there is a male suspect,  reports a history of “domestic issues”. 

That phrase, or its twin “domestic dispute” is a  terribly  insidious euphemism. It suggests an issue or dispute over who left the socks on the floor or disagreements over household operations. When you hear it often enough in the news, the real meaning becomes so diluted that its impact upon society  becomes diluted.

For purposes of my post this morning, let me give you the exact definition I found at good old dictionary.com: 

euphemism – the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

Of course domestic violence is what’s really being substituted here.  Bland domestic disputes don’t result in a woman calling the police for help. Bland domestic disputes don’t invoke public outrage or action.  I worked for two years in an agency for battered women. Speaking from first hand experience, here are what “domestic disputes” and “domestic issues” look like. And yes, these images are offensive, harsh, and blunt.  Just like the domestic violence that was committed against women such as these. 

 

One out of every four women is assaulted by an intimate partner every day. We need more public awareness, education, advocacy and funds to help a cause much closer to home than we might think. Domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic lines.  It could happen to you, your sister, your mother, your daughter. It’s about time the legal system stopped protecting the public from offensive, harsh reality and started protecting the victims of the offensive, harsh reality.
If you need help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
        

Alpha, Beta & Omega Males

October 2, 2008

First let me preface this by saying that I am not one of those  people who thinks that individuals can be neatly categorized into labeled boxes. But behavioral tendencies are fun and interesting to think about.   

My previous posts on alpha males have received so much interest that I decided to look up more about the other males…the rest of the story.  Here’s what wikipedia has to say (hardly a definitive or professional guide, IMO, but a jumping off place for thought and discussion).

“In social animals, the alpha male is the individual in the community to whom the others follow and defer. Where one male and one female fulfill this role, they are referred to as the alpha pair. In some groups, the alpha males and females are overrepresented in the genetics of a population if they are the only ones who breed successfully.

Chimpanzees show deference to the alpha of the community by ritualised gestures such as bowing, allowing the alpha to walk first in a procession, or standing aside when the alpha challenges. Canines also show deference to the alpha pair in their pack, by allowing them to be the first to eat and, usually, the only pair to mate; wolves are a good example of this. The status of the alpha is generally achieved by means of superior physical prowess; however, in certain highly social species such as the bonobo and humans, a contender can use more indirect methods, such as political alliances, to oust the ruling alpha and take his place.

Beta and omega

In the power hierarchy of the human group, two other roles also are defined and named. First, the beta male, which is the contender, subservient to the alpha male, but only after testing. The betas act as second-in-command and can either be dethroned alpha males or future alphas if they persist in challenging the regnant alpha male. The term omega (ω) is an antonym often used in a deprecating or self-deprecating manner to refer to member at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The omega is subservient to all members.”

So…are you a beta or omega male? Do you typically befriend or fall in love with one? What’s that like for you?

Women Who Run with the Wolves

August 1, 2008

This was a book that was very popular a long time ago, all about female identity and breaking free of culturally imposed “shoulds and should nots” and living from, and for, our souls. Its written by a Jungian therapist.  For some reason I just could never get into the written version, try as I might. Now, years later, I’m doing audio books as I commute to work and I’m listening to her narrate the book.

Its wonderful!!!! She talks about myth and fairy tales and what they really say about women and it is just so thought provoking and inspiring. Her voice is enchanting and I can’t recommend it enough.

Enjoy your day!

Homosexual Brain Resembles Opposite Sex

July 11, 2008

An article in Science Daily reports that Swedish researchers have found  some physical attributes of the homosexual brain to resemble those found in the opposite sex.

The findings: 

The brains of heterosexual men and homosexual women are slightly asymmetric—the right hemisphere is larger than the left—and the brains of gay men and straight women are not.

In connectivity of the amygdala (which is important for emotional learning), lesbians resemble straight men, and gay men resemble straight women. 

So…….maybe moral choice regarding this issue, with all the negative moral judgements attached to it, really does come down to natural, biological chance. And doesn’t everyone deserve a chance to be who they were created to be?

Is this Justice??

May 3, 2008

I could not believe the news story I read today. A man in Texas caught his wife in a truck  with her lover. She cried rape, apparently in an attempt to get away with the infidelity. Ostensibly he attempted to defend her so he shot the guy to death. No charges have been filed against the husband, but she has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter because her cry of rape incited the husband to shoot…. She faces 2-20 years in prison. 

I don’t know…I have a problem with this. In one respect, I get it that she has responsibility here for the lover’s death. But somehow the husband not having any accountability for killing the guy does not sit right with me. I mean, there was no mention of the lover having a weapon, tho this news story is pretty brief. But couldn’t the husband have taken a few swings at the guy rather than pull out his gun and kill him?   Is this another “crime of passion” excused by the legal system? What do you think?

Slow Suicide, Ladies?

April 16, 2008

Hurray for the French! They’ve proposed a bill banning those awful websites like ana and mia that teach women how to be successfully anorexic or bulimic. Proponents of the bill  say it would curb the awful prevalence of these psychiatric disorders. Opponents say it would have no impact. I say it would.

Cultural values spawn bigots, racists, sexists, and homophobics. It makes sense that the cultural worship of female emaciation as the norm spawns desperation in some women to live up to the sick standard of the fashion industry. And unfortunately the  female culture itself.  Imagine if we had a movement, and websites, which substituted the words “slow suicide” as a means of attaining physical beauty?

The culture of the internet is not to be underestimated. After all, what are you doing right now?

 

NY Gov. Caught Using Prostitution Ring

March 12, 2008

 You may have heard recent news  about NY Gov. Elliot Spitzer getting caught allegedly using the services of high priced call girls in a prostitution ring, specificially one $4600. evening of revels. There is  an excellent article about this  in Live Science called “Why Power and Prostitution Go Together.”  It talks about the psychology of men in power and, as the old saying goes, power corrupts.  There is a long line of men (I use the male gender because statistically they’re the ones in power) who have gotten caught doing things like this and you want to say, “Are ya kidding me? Did you really think you’d get away with this?”

 Its apparently the feeling of invincibility, that once they reach a certain point on the political ladder they can’t be touched.  Also, I think, a feeling of entitlement. In addition to an illustrious line of politicians caught with, pardon the expression, their pants down, the psychology here reminds me  of Tony Soprano.  

In his prior position as NY State’s attorney general, Spitzer proscecuted two prostitution rings. Here’s a defining moment he could have done without.

Has Anyone Ever Heard of SOUL murder???

February 22, 2008

I heard today about a pedophile priest, who admitted to using many child prostitutes. If that isn’t SOUL MURDER I don’t know what is. He was sentenced to 5 years. FIVE years.

Bad enough he used these poor children, working either as slaves, or to make a living on the streets, or to feed their parents, but he also passed up an opportunity to RESCUE them from their plight.

SOUL MURDER . And for that he got five years.

Therapist murderer got clean exam days before attack

February 21, 2008

This news article  raises serious questions about both the mental health system and the legal system.  Mental health? Obviously unconscionably poor record keeping which, had all the facts been included, might have kept the man inpatient until he was stabilized.  A patient’s prior history is always included in the decision making. But some psychiatric disorders statistically include non-compliance with medications and one can’t legally hold someone based upon statistics.  Which also merges with other legal issues. Way back when (the 70’s?)  the mentally ill were released in droves from insitutions to the streets in the name of patients’ rights…unfortunately they were left with no rights to  shelter, aftercare, or treatment. Which actually merges with economic issues in terms of provider decision making…who’s paying for care, and how much is being paid?

WHY do “crimes of passion” have less legal consequences?????

February 18, 2008

amberfireinus‘s sympathetic response to my most recent post about the NY therapist murder prompted me to write a post on an issue which has always infuriated me, rather than commenting on her comment as we bloggers do…

 In most of these United States, for some reason a “crime of passion” gets less legal consequences than one which is premeditated. The legal system drops the heinous act of taking someone’s life down a few degrees .So apparently if someone goes ballistic with jealous rage its more ok…understandable legally …. than someone who commits cold blooded, pre-meditated murder.  And I’m sorry but that is usually a male who commits the crime of passion, so I can’t help but wonder about the sympathy of the predominately male legal system which makes these laws…(Did you know that police officers have one of the highest rates of perpetrating domestic violence?)

A “crime of passion”  usually translates into someone walking in on their loved one in bed with somebody else and killing her and the lover. I don’t know, call me nuts, but people are still dead, aren’t they? And ragers usually have had rage problems long before they kill in “passion”. Did anyone ever hear of …uh…dare I say therapy….or   anger management????

10’s date 10’s, the research is in

February 16, 2008

I just read an article in Live Science which really comes as no surprise…researchers have concluded that beautiful people (10’s) tend to date people of equal beauty…and less attractive people, say 5’s, tend to date other 5’s. Actually, if you look around at couples you know, you can see that this is true, can’t you? My husband and I entertained ourselves one boring car trip by thinking of couples we knew and invariably they were of equal attractivenss on the 0-10 scale. (Look, I know this is superficial, but its kinda fun to think about, isn’t it?) The one couple that did mystify me, and subsequently broke up, were not exactly in our social circle. Julia Roberts was dating (married?) that guy with the weird hair sticking up all over the place and please forgive me, but a face only a mother could love…

More on Alpha Females

February 7, 2008

Khaki sent me a post that is so interesting on this topic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frans-de-waal/alpha-females-i-have-know_b_63400.html 

Would You Have Cosmetic Surgery?

January 23, 2008

When I  was in my 30’s I swore I would NEVER, EVER get any “work done” as they say. It was a big political thing to me…and actually still is…the way the culture promotes…demands…. youth and beauty…. particularly for women… Its as if you’re really not worth anything without it.(Hollywood movies are a perfect examle of this). I loudly defied that value to everyone i knew…I loudly rejected it…not ME i said, blindly looking into my distant future…

Well now, 20 years later, I can see how much I’ve internalized that value…and to be brually honest with myself, I wish with all my heart that I could do the very culturally induced and encouraged medical mutililation (cosmetic surgery) that I protested and none the less inernalized! I cannot risk any unnecessary surgery due to my lupus, yet not a day goes by that I don’t lift my jowls and pull back my neck and think oh! How much better I woud look!

I read a quote somewhere like “Being beautiful is only difficult once you lose it”…I couldn’t agree more….

(This post is a response I made to a post in  Amberfireinus’s Weblog.)

Are You an Alpha Female?

January 20, 2008

I know they exist, and I know I am one. I tried to find some objective definitions of alpha females but couldn’t find any. So my working definition is that an alpha female is strong, confident, and a leader.  The problem is that many people of both genders really can’t stand alpha females  I think this is because they feel threatened.  A man who is a strong, confident leader is an alpha. A female who is a strong, confident leader is a bitch. What do you think?