January 2009 Archives

Rethinking Success and Failure, Courtesy of Honda

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Huh. Very interesting approach to the creation and solving of problems, especially when compared to this article about how the world's economic leaders view the problems they created.

Remember a few weeks ago when I was writing about various avoidance techniques I was using to help me not write? I recently rediscovered a truth I’ve known quite well and put into practice successfully in the past: the very best writing-avoidance-technique of all is some other writing project. I’m still not working on the project I committed to, but I’m getting all sorts of other writing done. Check out the January calendar here on my blog--you’ll notice that there was a flurry of activity last week. I was blogging so I wouldn’t have to work on the real project I needed to deal with. In fact, that’s why I’m blogging right now.

But back before I started writing in order to not write, I read stuff. And one of the things I read was this really scary book entitled American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges, which came out in 2006.

This book truly alarmed me, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who has ever been to church, as well as anyone who has never been to church and so doesn’t know what happens there. In other words, it’s essential reading if you want to understand one of the challenges facing our society.

This book does not mention Mormons--the word doesn’t appear in the index, and indeed there are significant ways in which Mormons don’t fit into definition of religious fascists Hedges presents. (If there weren’t, Harry Reid, the Mormon Democratic senator from Nevada and Senate Majority Leader, couldn’t exist. Also, I think the fact that Mormons tried and failed to create a theocracy in North America has left them with a little more distaste for the enterprise than a lot of conservative Christians.) But there were ways in which they do. For instance, this passage could easily describe life in the Mormon church:

Numb3r the Songs

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Via Dale I learned of a very cool playlist compiled by Splotchy.

I missed the deadline by a LOT, but if I had been able to submit suggestions, I would have included

88 Lines about 44 Women The Nails
1959 Sisters of Mercy
3 Strange Days School of Fish
6'1" Liz Phair
2cv Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
The 15th (Originally by Wire, covered by Fischerspooner)
1000 Umbrellas by XTC

And of course, 99 Luftballons by Nena, even though someone else already put it on their playlist, because it is my all-time favorite song about the end of the world. I even like it better than 1999 by Prince.

It's Dry Here, But Not THAT Kind of Dry

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The 25th Sundance Film Festival is going on right now, which doesn't make much difference in my life except that I had an INCREDIBLY long wait yesterday when I met someone for tea at the very cool Beehive Tea Room. But it means a lot to Utah, apparently: it brings in a lot of tourism money, and things like that are one reason Utah claimed for a long time to be "recession-proof."

And I'm guessing that this article in the NY Times on Utah's awarding-winning brew pubs is an attempt to help Sundance-attendees and other visitors figure out where to spend their tourist dollars.

The article is telling the truth: there's good beer to be had here--and it has great names like Polygamy Porter and Provo Girl Pilsner. This is one more reason I like Salt Lake City, and one more reason you should come visit me.

Two Annoying Articles on Money, Sex and Orgasm

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OK. Here are two articles from the Times in the UK that have seriously annoyed me ever since I read them earlier this week.

The first has the headline Wealthy men give women more orgasms and states

“Women’s orgasm frequency increases with the income of their partner,” said Dr Thomas Pollet, the Newcastle University psychologist behind the research.

He believes the phenomenon is an “evolutionary adaptation” that is hard-wired into women, driving them to select men on the basis of their perceived quality.

which I will attend to in a moment. But what REALLY irritated me was this statement:

The female orgasm is the focus of much research because it appears to have no reproductive purpose. Women can become pregnant whatever their pleasure levels

Yeah, well, ejaculation and orgasm are typically linked in men, but they don't have to be. When there's orgasm but no ejaculation, it's called a "dry orgasm." When there's ejaculation but no orgasm, it's called ejaculatory anhedonia. Google the terms if you don't believe me.

Was It Good For You Too?

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As is often the case, there are LOADS of things I want to blog about. But a combination of other obligations, plain old sloth, and momentous events, has interfered with my timely fulfilling of my duties as a blogger.

The last few days I have, of course, been busy observing world and US history being made. (Does anyone know: has any other western country ever elected a black man to serve as president or prime minister or whatever its highest office is?) I had to watch crappy, slow live feeds of speeches and parades; and I had to cry, and be happy, and watch other people cry and be happy. Then I had to read and listen to analyses of the speeches and the crying and the happiness.

That has all been really important and felt really good. But at least as important has been following Obama's earliest actions once he as assumed the office of president. I'm really heartened and excited by the closing of Gitmo, and the repudiation of anything resembling torture, and all sorts of things our new pres has done.

And I've also had to learn more about the horrible, horrible things the Bush administration did. No doubt we're going to find out that as bad the stuff we knew about was, there was a bunch of other stuff that was WAA-AAY worse.

For instance, the scope of unauthorized governmental spying on innocent American citizens, just 'cause the Bush administration felt like spying. This interview with whistleblower Russell Tice on Keith Olbermann's show last night, for instance, left me speechless.

Hours and Hours of Kitty Viewing Pleasure

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As I mentioned a month or so ago, I live up high, high enough that the upper branches of old ponderosa pines are what I see when I look out my window. I like this a lot, but it presents certain problems for the creature I share my apartment with: my cat.

Dinah loved the house I sold last summer, because it afforded seasonal fun: during months when the weather was nice, she could hang out on its awesome screened-in porch--she could sit at the door and watch bunnies hop across the lawn and birds hunt for bugs; and when she got tired of that, she could always retire to the couch and just look really cute. When it was cold, there was a stairway perfect for games of cat-and-toy-mouse (I'd throw them and she'd swat them away like baseballs if she felt like making me do most of the work; other times, she'd attack them fiercely).

But this apartment has no porch for her to go out on, and the windows aren't even very kitty-friendly, because the screens are on the inside, which is annoying in a bunch of ways: it means that I have to open the screen, then open the window, then close the screen--two extra steps--every time I want to open a window. Second, it means that the sill a cat would normally hang out on is behind the screen. Dinah was often very bored and I didn't know what to do about it--until recently.

Pockets of Sense

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Here's an article I read with interest because it vindicates something I love: Pockets.

You might think pockets need no vindication--after all, they exist, they're useful, and some articles of clothing seem to have a surplus of them. But you'd be wrong, because there are people who HATE pockets.

I encountered one such person at that absolute bastion of absolute evil, the Missionary Training Center. One evening a week all sister missionaries had to attend some lecture on clothes, hair, makeup or some other aspect of personal grooming. With one exception--a really useful demonstration on the best way to pack a suitcase (something you really need to know before you try to cram enough clothes to last you 18 months into two bags with a 44 lb weight limit and still have room for all the books the church makes you take along on a mission)--the lectures were not only useless, but insulting.

One More Avoidance Technique

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Sorry I've been incommunicado lately.... It's not for lack of interest in blogging, or good intentions. A bunch of things have happened and I've written notes on my to-do list, instructing myself to "blog about items A, B, C & D." And then I just don't.

I haven't even been all that busy. Instead, I've been unfocused, undisciplined, and worried. I'm done envisioning worst-case scenarios for the outcome of the election, and done being exhausted by what actually did happen. I am all freaked out about the economy and so forth, but who isn't?

So I've got my portion of collective concern about the future to nurse, but I've also being dealing with another bout of whatever afflicted me last January (is the January bit important?) when I found it really difficult to make myself start and finish a writing project I actually wanted to write. I recently started a new project and I like it, I have high hopes for it, but I just don't want to write it.

Earlier this week I cleared a day so I could work on this project, and then I wrote in my journal, "I wish I had a bunch of errands to run right now so I'd be justified in NOT working on this project." I didn't have errands, but I did discover that if I perused the friends of my friends on Facebook, I could find a couple dozen people to send friend requests to. That killed a few hours nicely, let me tell you.

The reason I'm writing this blog entry, finally, is that it's a way to not work on that OTHER project, which I ABSOLUTELY MUST DO TODAY. But writing this puts it off for a few minutes more, and I'll take any legitimate delay I can get.

OK. Time to make a pot of coffee, and then I've got to do you-know-what.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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