Saturday, January 28, 2006

Simple Rules for Making an Idiot of Yourself on the Internet

I find it hard to believe that John Kerry is posting at the Daily Kos. Perhaps Kerry could use some more tips from the hilarious James Lileks who states:

Ever since Bush imposed martial law and shot the cast of "The View" -- sorry, since Bush won the last election, hard-left nuttery seems more mainstream. Bob Dole did not post on bulletin boards that claimed Bill Clinton would soon use FEMA to herd everyone into U.N.-run camps where everyone would get Mark of the Beast bar codes on their necks. John Kerry, on the other hand, has posted at the Daily Kos, whose neck-vein-popping contributors seem to think Bush spends his nights getting hammered and ordering Halliburton to poison Iraqi water so he can get kickbacks from the Pepto-Bismol Crime Syndicate.

Read the whole thing.

Update: Now Ted Kennedy is posting over at the Daily Kos via Michelle Malkin--does the Senator have any scruples at all? Oh wait, what am I saying?

Attitude Problem

Have you ever seen traits in yourself that come back to haunt you in your kid? Of course, most of us have. I attended a parent/teacher meeting yesterday for my daughter at her elementary school and the dreaded "attitude problem" reared its head. "Your child is very intelligent," said one teacher,"but she rolls her eyes at us like she thinks we are idiots." As I hear this, my own mind floats back over thirty years to first grade where I cursed a teacher for giving us too much homework--I kept this little tidbit to myself but thought about how much genetics plays a part in our dispositions. I used to think my rebelliousness was purely a response to my socialization as a kid, but now I see it is more than that. So my kid is just like me--now what?

I think the key here is "what do you do with characteristics that society says are undesirable at times, but that are part of your psychological make-up and integral to who you are?" I remember once my MMPI results showed that I had a high degree of hostility towards authority but no other "negative" traits. Is this hostility towards authority such a bad thing--especially if someone in authority is an idiot? I am not sure questioning some authority figures is so bad but there are more appropriate ways of dealing with this feeling than cursing at a teacher or rolling one's eyes when annoyed. I learned over the years to downplay my outright contempt for others as best I could and I turned my anger into a job working with others with the same "authority problems."

When kids or adults come into my office looking exasperated with "the system" whether that be school, work or society, they generally find a kindred spirit in me. The difference is that I teach them to sublimate their anger or hostility into something more positive or at least not dangerous. So the kid who threatens teachers, caregivers and others learns to channel their anger into working with computers and the adult who feels angry with the system learns to become a political advocate etc. There are always positive ways to channel the energy of anger, rebelliousness, or anti-authoritarianism that can help the individual live a better life and to benefit society.

Anyone else have what society would see as less than desirable traits in themselves that they see in their children and if so, how are you coping with it?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hey Buddy, Pass the Glitter

Thanks to reader DRJ for pointing out this article in the Boston Globe about a 17-year-old boy, Doug Anglin, and his father, who have filed a federal civil rights complaint against Milton High School for bias against boys. Even the student body president agrees that there are problems for boys in the high school:

Anglin's complaint has set off a buzz among the 1,000 students at the school. Little, the student body president, said she disagrees with students who think Anglin is chauvinistic.

Of the 22 students in her honors Spanish class, only one is a boy, said Little, a senior. She also said that teachers rarely ask her for a hall pass if she is not in class, while they routinely question boys walking behind her.

As for assignments, she said, one teacher expects students to type up class notes and decorate their notebooks with glitter and feathers.

''You can't expect a boy to buy pink paper and frills to decorate their notebooks," Little said.

This reminds me of an education class I was forced to take as a requirement for my PHD degree in school/clinical psychology. The professor--a male--told us to keep a log of our activities with students or patients in my case on notebook paper and turn them in for a portion of our grade. I was out for the class when the instructions were given so got the assignment second-hand from other students. I was shocked when I received an F on the assignment--the reason? Writing outside the margins of my paper. The professor cared nothing about the content I had so carefully written out as best I could--he only cared about appearances. I can only imagine what the boys in this high school are going through with such prissy teachers.

Update: Dr. Tony has more thoughts on "boys behaving badly."

Fourth Homeschooling Blog Carnival

The Fourth Homeschooling Blog Carnival is up--hosted this time by The Common Room Blog. Go check it out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Podcast Interview with Norah Vincent

Here is our podcast interview with Nora Vincent, the author of Self-Made Man : One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back. Norah talks about living as Ned, why boys need fathers, and the next stage of feminism. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here (you don't need an iPod!) or you can listen on iTunes by clicking here.

There's some very cool music by Audra and the Antidote -- check out the words to the opening tune. Hope you like it, and if you have any comments, let me know.

I don't mean to sound like Oprah but you must read this book!

Now Here is a True Psychological Test

I'm a Dodge Viper!

You're all about raw power. You're tough, you're loud, and you don't take crap from anyone. Leave finesse to the other cars, the ones eating your dust.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Go Red for Women

I spent the day helping our local tv show, Style, with a story on women and heart disease. If you would like to see the video of the show that tells what happened during my heart attack and to learn more about women's symptoms of a heart attack, see the story here at WBIR.

Conservababe calender

Wow--what an honor to be chosen as one of the "Conservababes" by Right Wing News--I guess I would be the May calender woman. Just one problem--I am not really a conservative--unless supporting the war automatically makes one a conservative. I am an independent/libertarian and would probably be an anarchist if left to my own devices.

Medical Grand Rounds

Medical Grand Rounds is up and is being hosted by Kevin, M.D. My medical psychosis post is there so I am hoping that some of the medical personnel who read Grand Rounds will have a little more mercy on those of us who have fears about going in for medical procedures.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Boys are Just "Defective Girls"

Newsweek has an article this week on the boy crisis, which examines how boys are failing in school. Boys are not only doing poorly, they feel poorly about school: The number of boys who said they didn't like school rose 71 percent between 1980 and 2001. I found the last paragraph of the article the most important:

For Nikolas Arnold, 15, a sophomore at a public high school in Santa Monica, Calif., college is a distant dream. Nikolas is smart: he's got an encyclopedic knowledge of weaponry and war. When he was in first grade, his principal told his mother he was too immature and needed ADHD drugs. His mother balked. "Too immature?" says Diane Arnold, a widow. "He was six and a half!" He's always been an advanced reader, but his grades are erratic. Last semester, when his English teacher assigned two girls' favorites—"Memoirs of a Geisha" and "The Secret Life of Bees" Nikolas got a D. But lately, he has a math teacher he likes and is getting excited about numbers. He's reserved in class sometimes. But now that he's more engaged, his grades are improving slightly and his mother, who's pushing college, is hopeful he will begin to hit his stride. Girls get A's and B's on their report cards, she tells him, but that doesn't mean boys can't do it, too.

Doesn't this last line sound just like what we used to tell girls over twenty years ago? "Girls can be as good as boys", we drilled into kid's heads in the 1970's and 80's--in fact, girls were told that they were better and most of them now believe it (or at least fake it). Are we so angry that girls got the shaft twenty or more years ago that we are willing to sacrifice the education of innocent young boys today to make up for that wrong?

Update: Michal Gurian, who is mentioned in the Newsweek article is the author of, The Minds of Boys : Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life.He will be joining us for a podcast next week on the topic of the disconnect between boys and the classroom. If you have a pressing question for Mr. Gurian, leave it in the comment section and I will choose a couple to ask him--thanks!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Condi's Childhood

I am a big admirer of Condi Rice, not just for her success as Secretary of State, but because she made it despite the obstacles of growing up as an African American in the South. But rather than wasting their time whining and despairing over their victimhood as minorities, Condi's parents took action to ensure that their child would succeed. In Dick Morris's book, Condi vs. Hillary : The Next Great Presidential Race,Morris decribes Condi's childhood and shows us why she could be a great president.

Not long after Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat but prior to President Johnson signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law, Condi's mother showed her daughter how to stand up to racism. While shopping as a young girl with her mother at a local department store, an employee told them that they could not use the "whites only" dressing room and would have to try on their clothes in the back storage closet. Condi's mother refused and the employee relented and let them use the dressing room, all the while worrying that she would lose her job for doing so. On another trip, a white saleswomen told seven-year-old Condi to get her hands off a hat--her mother encouraged her to touch every hat in the store. Condi's lesson--people can tell you what to do but you don't have to listen.

After the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing which took the lives of four little girls--two of whom Condi knew personally--Condi learned that Birmingham was not a safe place. She also learned how brave her father was when he armed himself with a shotgun and joined other men in the black community in night patrols to keep the Ku Klux Klan out of their neighborhood. But rather than let fear overtake her and make her feel like a victim, she instead learned an important lesson--the value of the Second Amendment guarantee of the "right to bear arms".

Morris's book points out that Condi was "entirely focused on individual self-improvement. She never ran for any office in school and remained separate and apart, a prodigy who mastered every manner of musical instrument. ...The Rice family did not need a hand out or a hand up. Condi would move ahead on her own."

I think this independence is what liberals hate about Condi Rice. She represents a woman who does not need them or their slogan of victimhood. This drives them crazy--so much so that they even look past her fairly moderate stance on abortion and the fact that she is an African American female who would make an amazing president.