Just Sayin’. . .

After your professor mentioned her Jewish family three times in class (a propos of course material, obviously), maybe it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to visit some racist website and copy-paste from it the priceless information that “in 1492, the Catholic king and queen finally managed to rid the Iberian Peninsula from the infestation of Jews who had been plaguing it for centuries.”

Some people are so clueless that they don’t even manage to be offensive.

How to Avoid Regrets?

Reader el asks:

How should one deal with regrets about the past? How not to end up like this 70 year old person? Do you have any philosophical approach / take on the topic?

I think that if you are 70 (80, 90, 100), it makes sense to remember that you are not the same person today who did or didn’t do the things you now regret. Every cell in your body has been renewed (and probably several times over, too) in the years that passed since then. It doesn’t make sense to judge that completely different person for what s/he did all that time ago. This person’s only fault is that s/he wasn’t a fortune-teller and couldn’t predict what this older version would value and want. Some people manage to predict it but some don’t.

Also, these long-term analyses of either one’s past or one’s future are fairly unproductive. I suggest creating a detailed version of what you want your life to be in five years. This is something you can do at 70 as well as at 17. Imagine in as much detail as possible what you want your life in five years to look. Where do you wake up in the morning? With whom? How do the bed sheets look? What is the bathroom like? Where do you go after having breakfast? What do you do there and for how long?

After you create this precise vision (that, of course, can always be modified as the time progresses), you will find it much easier to elaborate a series of steps needed to create the life you want. But be careful: it has to be the life YOU want. Don’t allow the pictures from glossy magazines and movies or the ideas of other people to define your vision. If you do that, then I can pretty much guarantee that you will have a lot of regrets later on.

A Cautionary Tale

For the sake of educating the masses, I will share this painful and deeply personal story.

As you all know, my husband N. is a wonderful person who makes me very happy. He is kind, quiet, and normally very happy.

And then last Tuesday he suddenly changed. He became listless, he slept all the time, refused to talk, and looked extremely angry yet incapable of explaining what was happening. Then he started having fits of rage and experienced suicidal thoughts. I had no idea what was going on. Obviously, I was distraught because he didn’t even look like the person I knew and loved.

I tried talking to him but he couldn’t explain what was the matter beyond saying that nobody cared about him and everything was useless.

Finally, after trying to get it out of him for days, I discovered what happened.

N. had a tooth-ache. His dentist’s clinic is right around the corner. Besides, N. has a fantastic dental insurance. But he didn’t go to see the dentist because he thought his tooth-ache was not serious enough to bother the dentist and distract him from more serious pursuits than treating patients. (Yes, N. is like that. He doesn’t like to bother people needlessly.)

So instead of going to the dentist and getting his tooth-ache dealt with by a professional, N. decided to take care of it on his own. He disinterred a bottle of Vicodin and started popping pills. This was my Vicodin that had been prescribed to me but that I never took because I’m scared of it. I had asked N. to dispose of it but he forgot. Now he found this Vicodin and started taking it.

We are both very anti-drug and, as a result, our bodies are not used to any medication. Of course, after N. started gulping down these Vicodin pills, he overdosed on them.

If a few pills over the course of several days can do this to a person, I don’t even want to imagine the destruction of personality this garbage can inflict if taken over longer periods of time.

I took half a Vicodin pill once (it was actually for a tooth-ache, as well) and I never want to feel the way I felt on this medication. Just half a pill made me feel sociopathic. I didn’t experience any pain after I took it but I didn’t have any other feelings either. I knew that I could say and do anything to people and have no compassion for them. Thank God, I only took half a pill, so I was lucid enough to realize that I needed to stay away from other human beings until the effects wore off.

Don’t take this shit, people.

P.S. If you want to leave a comment telling me how Vicodin is great, please go and reread the first sentence of this post and then consider how stupid such a comment would be in this context.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

It struck me that the GOP convention featured speaker after speaker talking about the hardships their grandparents had overcome. Last night we heard speaker after speaker talk about the hardships they had overcome themselves.” I don’t know because I didn’t watch but this is a blogger I trust.

A great article from one of my favorite bloggers on why traditional anti-porn arguments fail. I have already had intense discussions with very weird anti-porn folks on this blog who, as I eventually discovered, had no idea what pornography even was. So do head over to the linked article to read an insightful post on this subject.

So, y’all know how much I hate public proposals, right? I haaaaaaaaaaaate them. I hate them as much as I love Jesus appearing on a piece of toast. I hate them for a slew of reasons, but mostly because they are inherently coercive. Even if the person (woman, usually) being publicly proposed to would have said yes under any circumstances, the context of a public audience when being asked to make a profoundly intimate decision, no less an audience who urgently sides with only one potential response, necessarily creates an imbalance that subverts meaningful consent.” And I really hate it when people throw around the word “coercive” in a context that empties it of all meaning. Obnoxious, stupid, OK. But coercive? If the presence of people makes it hard for you to say whether you want to get married or not, are you sure you are of legal age to get married?

Our resident Libertarian Izgad wrote a beautiful piece about his wife, himself, their love and Libertarianism. Do read it if you still think that Aspies lack a sense of humor.

In the early 1960s, both oral and anal sex were illegal in 49 of the 50 states. In 10 of those states, sodomy—which was variously defined but could, in some states, include oral sex—carried a maximum sentence of 20 years. Citizens in Connecticut who engaged in oral sex faced 30 years in prison—60 years for people who lived in North Carolina. In Nevada it could mean life behind bars. It was a time when 37 states outlawed sex between unmarried people and 45 criminalized adultery. Two states even banned heavy petting.” Really?? I had absolutely no idea. Now the American television has finally started to make sense. Many of the incomprehensible comments people have been making on my blog have become clear. After reading this article, I walk around, exclaiming, “Ah! I now get it!” every two minutes.

How to read Zizek.

Are you surprised that the horrible La Leche League is transphobic and pro-the most disgusting gender stereotypes ever? I know I’m not. These bigots would stoop to anything to bully women into housewifery and men away from their children.

Speeches by spouses are one of the many aspects of American electoral politics that puzzle the rest of the world. As a reporter from VG (The Way of the World), the largest newspaper in Norway, was heard to ask, “What do these women do that their men can’t?”” Exactly. Why should I listen to anybody whose only claim to my attention is that she sleeps with a politician?

The $300 paper bag is finally on sale! Now it costs the modest sum of $290. What a great bargain! (For the especially humorless: the bag is real and my comment is a joke.)

And here is proof that for some intelligent people (OK, one intelligent person) my blog is the source of news on a very important subject.

It’s certainly the case that education in the US needs to be improved but I’m not at all sure that the mantra of “college for everybody” would work.  That seems to be based on a worldview where all American workers are managers or white-collar or pink-collar office workers.  Who is going to do all the rest of the necessary work?  Is it people in China and India?  Or computers and robots?” Of course. That’s a fact of objective reality. We can neither turn back the technological revolution nor get the manufacturing, customer service, etc. jobs from China and India. In today’s America, we are moving towards a situation where people with no college education will simply not have any jobs available. Let’s just accept that and stop sighing about the 1950s because I can’t hear this any longer it’s so boring.

Philip Roth’s open letter to Wikipedia. It’s always funny when a writer begins to offer “the only correct reading” of his own work. The novel Roth discusses is so much more and is so much better than what he wants everybody to see in it that the whole thing is truly shocking. A work of literature is always much bigger than its author. Roth’s letter is a very boring and pathetic explanation of a wonderful book that he somehow produced against his own plans and goals.

How to write a good letter of recommendation.

I’ve always thought the Cannabis-creativity link made by the 60s poet hippies was consequently both meretricious and absurdly self-serving: and in the end just another excuse for lack of talent.” Exactly.

A woman who was groped by an off-duty DPS officer at a Flagstaff bar last summer says that comments to her by the judge during Wednesday’s sentencing were inappropriate and that the judge should apologize. Before giving the officer two years’ probation on his conviction for sexual abuse, Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch said to victim: “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you.”” And if the Judge’s Momma had had the good sense to use contraception, Judge Hatch wouldn’t have happened to all of us.

A REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good sexual health platform.

Zoe Heller makes herself look like an idiot when she offers her public hissy fit of a frustrated prude upset about the existence of a healthy female sexuality. I cringed in vicarious shame when I read it. Heller should be visiting a sexologist, not writing articles based on her severe issues.

And the post of the week: on how to publish more if you are a academic. A beautiful article on a very important (to me) subject.