Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (8/28/2011)

So sick of this shit: the poor are depraved.

Sam Harris takes apart Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

It should be obvious by now whose side Obama's really on.

Family values: divorce rates are highest in the Bible Belt.

More family values: Texas Republicans demand the right to inject religion into veterans' funerals, whether the families want it or not.

Even more family values: another member of the GOP (Gay Old Party) gets caught with a rent boy.

Ann Coulter: Don't know much about biology.

Astronomers discover planet made of diamond.

Ten years later, gene therapy patients are alive and well.

Cat ladders.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In which I am roasted by anthropomorphic cats with opposable thumbs

I was talking with my seven-year-old daughter about sleep and dreams, and she asked me if I ever had nightmares. So I told her about the first nightmare I can remember. I had it when I was four, and I still remember it vividly.

I had been captured by two big black cats. They could stand on their hind legs and do things like tie knots and build fires. They had tied me up and hung me over a fire to cook in the classic position. One of them started poking me with a big fork to see if I was done.

The end.

Do you remember any of your childhood nightmares?

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (8/22/2011)

Where is the graveyard of dead gods?

The rich are different -- and not in a good way.

(This was true in my anecdotal experience too.)

The rich are different: they have more money.

The rich are lol different.

The warrior wasp!

Naked Barbies: "a poison worse than the black plague of death itself and should be avoided at all costs, lest it rot your mind like an unstoppable rebel force."

What it's like to play online games as a grownup.

Kanji shirt FAIL.

I am a grown ass-man.

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Discussing potato chips with your future son-in-law*

As a supporter of outmoded patriarchal notions, I believe that women should be infantilized, so I think that a man who wants to marry a woman should ask her father for her hand in marriage. I also believe that personal boundaries should never be respected to the extent that they prevent me from asking intrusive personal questions about anything I want to know. I therefore advocate that fathers ask potential sons-in-law questions such as the following.

"Potato chips are such a common struggle for so many young men these days. Naturally, I worry that this is something you have struggled with as a teenager or young adult. Will you please describe your experience with potato chips and how you've handled it?"

If there isn't a father in the home, then I still think it's a good idea for the mother to have this conversation with the boyfriend. As awkward as it may seem to bring up this topic, I believe it's even more awkward to deal with the potential aftermath if this issue surfaces later in marriage.

Please note that if you are personally struggling with an unresolved potato chips problem, it will make it difficult, if not impossible, to counsel a future son-in-law about your concerns. You will feel like a phony and will either avoid the conversation all together, or minimize the seriousness of it as a way to protect yourself from the reality of your own struggles. If you have struggled with potato chips and haven't fully repented and recovered from the impact on your life, make sure that you're actively working the same recovery process you would expect from this young man.

When considering how to begin this conversation, it's helpful to view this as something more than a "yes" or "no" question. I believe it's safe to assume that the young man has already been exposed to potato chips. One recent study showed that 86% of college-aged men had eaten potato chips in the past year. Forty-eight percent of those same men ate them weekly. Even though he may not be currently eating potato chips, it's likely he's been exposed to them somewhere in his past.

I also recognize that a young man could lie to his future father-in-law and deny that he's ever eaten potato chips. Obviously, there is no way to prevent someone from lying (unless, perhaps, you're Robert DeNiro and have access to a lie-detector in your basement a la "Meet the Parents").

In reality, it will simply require a good, honest conversation about his experiences with potato chips. What should you ask? What should you look for? Here are a few questions you can ask along with some warning signs that might indicate that the young man either has or will have a significant problem with potato chips in the future:

Discussion Points:
  • Tell me about your experience with potato chips over your lifetime.
  • Is there a history of potato chip eating in your immediate or extended family?
  • How do you define potato chips?
  • How have you healed from the impact of potato chips on your life?
  • Who helped you overcome your problems with potato chips?
  • How do you currently protect yourself from potato chips?
  • Have you ever wanted to stop eating potato chips, but couldn't?

Red Flags:
  • He admits that he used to eat potato chips, but says that he stopped doing it, but fails to explain how he was able to stop.
  • He claims he overcame the problem on his own without any help from others.
  • He's not said anything to his girlfriend/fiancé about his history or current problems with potato chips.
  • He is vague about how he keeps himself from eating potato chips.
  • He admits he used to have a problem with it, but doesn't define what exactly that problem was. He appears defensive and doesn't want to discuss it.
  • He insists that he's never even eaten potato chips and appears "too perfect" in his responses. Recognize that even though he may not have eaten entire bags of potato chips in one sitting, we live in a culture saturated with potato chip advertisements. If he acts like he doesn't notice or isn't affected by those, you need to be concerned. Every man should acknowledge the occasional pull from foods that are designed to draw our attention and entice us.

In my experience, a man who has healed from a potato chip problem isn't afraid to talk honestly about it with those who need to know. He is remorseful about the impact on himself and others. He recognizes his need for ongoing healing and recovery. He understands that he's going to have this vulnerability for the rest of his life and he accepts the need to always be on guard with his thoughts and actions. Most importantly, he is fiercely protective of the feelings and emotions of his romantic partner and how this issue might concern her.

Remember your purpose in asking these questions. You're there to offer a layer of protection for your daughter and family. If there are any questions or concerns about the young man's involvement with potato chips, it's better to encourage these to be addressed now instead of later.

*Or you could ask him about pornography, which would make no more sense but would be way creepier.

kuri is not a licensed marriage and family counselor specializing in treating potato chip addiction who writes books about it, gives seminars about it, has a website focused on it, and otherwise makes a good living promoting hysteria regarding potato chips helping people heal from potato chip addiction. But if he was, the fact that his article's "Red Flags" imply that every young man is a potato chip addict who requires professional help would be merely a coincidence and not in any way indicative of a conflict of interest.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Boring interesting me

I updated my Blogger profile. I wrote this:
I am or have been son, brother, friend, lover, husband, father.

I am or have been student, missionary, driver, teacher, environmentalist, editor, scholar, translator.

I am or have been Protestant, New Ager, born-again Christian, deist, Mormon, atheist.

And I am a blogger.
I could add more.
I am about 6'6" (196 cm) tall and weigh about 285 lbs (130 kg). I used to be able to dunk a basketball, but now I'm too old and/or fat. I own 10 baseball gloves. My head is shaved. My eyes are green, blue, or grey, depending on the light. I need glasses to see well. I might well be the hairiest person of Northern European descent you've ever met.

I have been on welfare, food stamps, and anti-depressants, but I've been off all of them for years. I have been bankrupt, but now my credit rating is excellent. My cars are 25 and 15 years old. I'd like to get rid of the 15-year-old one, but I wouldn't mind keeping the other for another 25 years.

My IQ has been professionally evaluated at well into the "genius" range. My GRE scores were 800/760/690. (I'm not very good at math.) I dropped out of high school for a semester and graduated late. I have a BA in Japanese. I completed coursework for a PhD in political science but didn't get my degree. I have a mild or borderline case of Asperger's syndrome.

I have lived in or visited Michigan, California, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, England, and Oregon.

I speak and read Japanese at a near-native level. I understand enough German that you should be wary of speaking secrets in front of me. I understand a smattering of Spanish and can sometimes even decipher a sentence or two of written French.

I have 13,000 songs on my hard drive. I have read somewhere around 4,000 to 5,000 books. I have watched well over 1,000 movies. I have written parts of two novels and three non-fiction books (though I haven't finished any of them). I have won awards for blogging and for translating. I have written a feature-length movie script and I have made short films. I have been paid to perform standup comedy.

And so on.
If I read all that about some other guy, I'd probably think he sounded pretty interesting. A little boastful, maybe, but interesting.

So why do I feel like such a boring person?

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (8/9/2011)

Everyone's talking about this profile of Obama, so here it is. (I think the real problem though, is simply that Obama is a Republican. A 1990 Republican, that is. And actual Republicans today are Bircher lunatics.)

But here's why I will vote for Obama in 2012.

Our universe might be a giant hologram.

The political economy of earthquake damage and mortality.

Water boatman sings with penis.

Trying to figure out what to do with wild horses.

Wikipedia is slowly dying.

Sometimes nobody seems to notice the elephant in the room...

B-movie posters for classic films.

You should read Subnormality.

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