Falling Behind?

Hey I'm Jamie

From: Falling behind? by Jamie Varon

But, honestly, here’s the thing that nobody really talks about when it comes to success and motivation and willpower and

goals and productivity and all those little buzzwords that have come into popularity: you are as you are until you’re not.

You change when you want to change. You put your ideas into action in the timing that is best. That’s just how it happens.

falling behind
Jamie Varon on falling behind in life

And what I think we all need more than anything is this: permission to be wherever the fuck we are when we’re there.

You’re not a robot. You can’t just conjure up motivation when you don’t have it.

and

There’s a magic beyond us that works in ways we can’t understand. We can’t game it. We can’t 10-point list it. We can’t control it. We have to just let it be, to take a fucking step back for a moment, stop beating ourselves up into oblivion, and to let the cogs turn as they will. One day, this moment will make sense. Trust that.

Give yourself permission to trust that.

Full post on Medium by Jamie Varon is here:

Jamie Varon is a writer based out of Los Angeles. You can connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and at her Facebook page. Because we all need candid smart and fearless thinkers in our lives. This one impresses me.

Sci-Hub.io – the Pirate Bay of Academic Research. Theft or not?

Sci-Hub.io free academic papers

I recently posted a link on facebook to Sci-Hub.io. Known as the Pirate Bay of the science world created 2011 by neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan. jstor-intrinic-motivationAfter posting the article link to FB there was one single response. A response that seemed to imply the pirate site was childish theft. That it was an “I want everything for free” attitude. It’s hard to argue otherwise.  Us and our first world problems.

  1. Theft? Yes. – Yes I agree that the current economic structure in academics does in fact technically make this theft. So hey, Professor Elbakyan is having an American Tea Party in St. Petersberg.
  2. Further I believe it is our current economic structure that is broken. Oh, and that JSTOR is run by boneheads who couldn’t solve a problem creatively if their lives depended on it. As we say in programming – “garbage in, garbage out.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 6.43.31 PM

Taken from a behavioral perspective, if you recall, before the itunes store made buying songs easy, everyone downloaded them for free. Before the kindle made downloading books electronically cheap and convenient, everyone downloaded them for free. Make it convenient or someone else will make it really convenient!

First, what is sci-hub.io ? From the article “Researcher illegally shares millions of science papers free online to spread knowledge” by FIONA MACDONALD:

A researcher in Russia has made more than 48 million journal articles – almost every single peer-reviewed paper every published – freely available online. And she’s now refusing to shut the site down, despite a court injunction and a lawsuit from Elsevier, one of the world’s biggest publishers.

For those of you who aren’t already using it, the site in question is Sci-Hub, and it’s sort of like a Pirate Bay of the science world. It was established in 2011 by neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who was frustrated that she couldn’t afford to access the articles needed for her research…

Maybe I had a knee jerk reaction of vindication seeing this research become freely available after the tragedy of Aaron Schwartz’ suicide in 2013 from overzealous persecution for accessing JSTOR documents from the MIT network.  I’m seriously wondering if JSTOR is trying to make sure Martin Shkreli quits dominating the “evil capitalist stories” the media likes to write.

And to be clear, I walk the talk. Our company’s product is Tendenci – the Open Source Membership Management Software (on github too) and most of my photography is creative commons attribution

Creative Commons Capital Photo by eschipul
Creative Commons Capital Photo by eschipul

as seen used in this publication below fully within copyright laws with attribution. We can play nicely together.

CC by Ca

JSTOR’s purpose after all is to;

JSTOR was founded to be a shared digital archive serving the scholarly community. We understand the value of the scholarship and other material on the platform and that the future accessibility of this content is essential. Libraries around the world rely on us and contribute Archive Capital Fees to JSTOR for preservation activities.

To understand a Russian academics perspective, this data I found on the Internet for free, says that the overall average monthly income in Russia in 2005 was a NET total of $263 per month. Now that $25 JSTOR article for which the author was paid nothing by JSTOR is 10% of that Russian student’s monthly income.

That kind of changes your perspective a bit, huh?

I can and do understand why people would immediately view sci-hub.io as theft. Except for academics this just isn’t a black and white issue. There are a few differences.

I can’t afford to pay $45 for every research paper I want to read knowing the research was funded by federal grants, underwritten by the University and the authors were not compensated.

Why not bring the economics down to the level of the app store?

How does JSTOR add value if they don’t pay the authors and didn’t write the content? Their answer is “peer review and legitimacy,” but those can now be conveyed on the internet. Aren’t there other solutions?

Why can’t we sign a peer review article with a blockchain?  It’s not just jstor but modern academics that haven’t kept up. Being a non-profit doesn’t mean you get to ignore everything that is going on with economics via externalities.

I’ll leave those thoughts for y’all to ponder. As for me I discovered a fully legal work around for when I wanted an academic article years ago. And here it is:

JSTOR pricing for an article free in other places on the net.
JSTOR pricing for an article free in other places on the net.

How to get 95% of the academic articles you want on the Internet for free with google.

Problem: writing a research paper for a national PR Magazine on “Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives”. Solution:

  1. Search google scholar. https://scholar.google.com/ – Yes google scholar and NOT google. This will lead you to academic research on the subject for sale at some relatively high price on a site like jstor. This was my search Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives http://bit.ly/1Od1fRR
  2. COPY a large amount of text from the abstract or the preview they show you on overview page on JSTOR (or any of the academic pay-or-no-knowledge-for-you sites,) Highlight it.  Copy it verbatim.
  3. Now go back to www.google.com (not google scholar, but regular google this time.)
  4. Paste that monster block of text into google.com and odds are you will find a link to a PDF version of the article on someone’s server available for free.
  5. That led me to about 5 links to academic servers with the full pdf available for download at no cost. Example:
    http://www3.grips.ac.jp/~esp/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/2015.-1.-28-Sawada_on_Rice_Planting_14_11_27.pdf

And the bottom line is the TOPIC I was interested in in a peer reviewed science journal as recent at 2014 was downloaded within 5 minutes. It takes me longer to print it than find it. Not that sci-hub.io probably couldn’t do it even faster. And that is a good thing for the globe. Now back to reading….

… In our study area, despite the potential of infestation of opportunistic behaviors by workers, a fixed wage (FW) contract has been dominant for rice planting since the 1960s. To account for this puzzle of a seemingly-inefficient contractual arrangement, we adopt a hybrid experimental method of framed field experiments by randomly assigning three distinct labor contracts, i.e., FW, individual piece rate (IPR), and group piece rate (GPR) contracts and artefactual filed experiments to elicit social preference parameters. Through the analyses of individual workers’ performance data from framed field experiments and data on social preferences elicited by artefactual field experiments, Three main empirical findings emerge. First……

Life can be complex. But I got what I wanted, I didn’t use it because after scanning it it wasn’t the article I was looking for. It sent unused, I didn’t pay for it, but I also threw it away, but mainly I acquired it and came to that decision faster than I could have typed in my credit card number to buy it from JSTOR.

Incentives and Social Preference
Incentives and Social Preference

In this case the economics didn’t match the need. I solved it for myself, and sci-hub is apparently solving it for millions. Open our minds and find a better optimum solution. We can and should do this.

the plural sector; rebalance

Each of us personally, and all of us together, require attention to three basic needs: protection, provided primarily by our governments; consumption, provided primarily by our businesses; and affiliation, found especially in our communities.

With regard to the last of these, between our individualized and collective natures, we are social beings who crave human relationships: we need to belong and identify, especially in a world of so much isolated individualism. Accordingly, a healthy society combines respected governments in the public sector, responsible businesses in the private sector, and robust communities in the plural sector. Weaken any one of these and a society falls out of balance.

and

If the private sector is about individual ownership and the public sector is about collective citizenship, then the plural sector is about shared communityship.16

CIVIL SOCIETY – Time for the Plural Sector, Henry Mintzberg

things changed between triple crowns

The digital divide is not only between the digital natives and the elders, between the digitally enhanced and the not, between the glassholes and the blind, but also over time. There is a time we cannot imagine anymore and those from the past could not imagine accurately the future. Hence our (my?) love of Steampunk, historical visions of the future (past).

american-pharoah-vs-secretariat-crowds

The big divide occurred when a third “item to be carried at all times” was introduced, an idea that I cannot properly attribute as it has sunk into our consciousness so deeply the origin is now a mystery.  The third item? The first two “items to be carried at all times” being (1) something of value (cash) and (2) a method of accessing something of value (key, credit card, secret code). Every human has had these two on their person at all times without fail since the great leap forward, to quote Guns, Germs and Steel.

Within 25 years it has changed entirely. Now we all have a third item. (3) Our communicator from Star Trek. We all carry a mobile device.

More importantly, these devices don’t just facilitate communication; they change how we interact at a systemic experiential level. We didn’t just watch American Pharoah (sic) win the Triple Crown, we recorded every second of American Pharoah trotting around Belmont Park. Because…

“If you don’t have a pic, it didn’t happen.” – anonymous

Further irony? Here in meta-meta-meta-land, I took a picture of the HD TV of people taking video and pictures as American Pharoah’s victorious Triple Crown bid was broadcast into my living room. Then combined it with an image from google image search on my mobile device while waiting at a restaurant. To capture the right image I used a Tivo (now a generic word like Kleenex) to rewind and jump forward prior to the start of the race for half of this cell-phone-crowd-picture I first posted on Instagram.

Here is to history and a wonderful victory for American Pharoah winning the triple crown after a 17 year drought. And here is to the amazing human which adapts and evolves in front of our eyes in real time. We don’t have hover-boards, but the revolution is here and indeed it will be televised; on periscope.tv.

Now get out there and record something and post it to prove it happened and let your devices consume you. Because that is the future. It’s your destiny kid.

human or systemic resistance to sharing knowledge

“The biggest impediment,” the commission warned, “is the human or systemic resitance to sharing information.” … “Intelligence should be processed… according to the same quality standards”

From “Garland terror case highlights intelligence-sharing impediments”, Houston Chronicle, June 8, 2015

Decline in Crime 43% Since 1990 (yes really – so stop watching advertising shows!)

Serious crime has DROPPED 43% since 1990.

FORTY THREE PERCENT
43 PERCENT
43 PERCENT DROP IN CRIME AND THE MEDIA HAS CONVINCED YOU IT’S UP
BECAUSE THERE IS NO MEDIA, THERE ARE ONLY ADVERTISING COMPANIES. SORRY. #TRUTH

43% Drop in Crime in US Since 1990

See that HUGE decline since 1990. Those are the facts. Please Stop, just stop, stop being a tool to “the man.” Just stop.

I ask people. You should ask people to. “Is crime up or down in the US since 1990? They will say “up”. Then ask “by how much do you think it’s up?” They will say anything from 5 to 50%. They think crime is up. I ask “can you google it for us” (try duckduckgo for search too. Google isn’t God. Really people?) and I get nothing. Blank stares.

They look at the actual crime data and their minds can’t grasp it. The lie is so big we’ve all come to believe it to be true.

STOP IT!

Stop, just stop. Sorry to burst everyone’s paranoid bubble (insert pot-kettle cliche here) with facts. I know, we all hate it when someone drops facts on a good ghost story. Sadly it is true – you are safer now in the US than ever.

With a BS in Political Science (a BS in BS?) I frequently hear people parroting advertising companies that run search engines or web sites or TV shows or Newspapers. Note the first phrase – “ADVERTISING COMPANIES” – they need to sell advertising. Nothing more nothing less.

IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS

If you sell advertising, how do you make more money? Simple, follow a very old formula and scare the life out of people. It boils down to, what if it bleeds less than before but nobody notices?

Gun Homicide Rates Drop 49% per 1000 people

What’s old is still new again – “If it bleeds, it leads.”

Stop, just stop. No more fear mongering to weak minds. And if you don’t have a weak mind, then educate and empower those around you. Advertising companies make money from page views, not from facts. They do not have your best interests at heart. But you know that. So tell your kids! Tell them! It’s not a conspiracy, it’s the system and it’s YOUR responsibility to educate your children and your community that what is in your best interest is different from what sells the most ads.

It’s all about the money….

Yes…

Example: “OK, yea, we are selling banner ads and we decided to just lie on our rate sheets that 5000 people picked up the paper in the Doctor’s office and it should be a 5000x multiple of subscribers.” (an exaggeration for the sake of drawing eyeballs… and no, the irony is not lost on money, but I don’t sell advertising and I’m not paid for this so wahtev…. )

Insiders Game

For those not in the Advertising Business, which thankfully despite the resolute ethical souls leading the Houston Advertising community (disclaimer: I was formerly a board member of AAF-Houston) the rate sheet dictates the “ad buy” rate. So the more people who view an advertisement the more you can charge. If you can convince people that your business journal is subscribed to once (1) and viewed by an additional twenty (20) people (um.. not on this planet anyway so unless aliens are spiriting it away in the night and buying online then I call BS (zOMG so (recursive(recursive(nerd-humor, *args, *kwargs))) then you can sell advertisements at a higher rates. Thus it sells ads (*cough* chron.com *cough*.)

I know, crazy, right?

Worst headline ever:

CRIME DROPS 40+ PERCENT IN LAST 20 YEARS REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL PARTY IN PWER

Facts and all that “stuff“. Those silly facts get in the way of our preconceived ideology.

Oh, and gun violence is down as well.

wolfram-alpha

It’s not all good news as death by gun is stupid. And a shame. We can continue to do better. One tragic fact not discussed in the media is that more people die from self inflicted gunshot wounds than are victims of homicides involving a gun.
Homicides vs Suicides

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/07/gun-violence-in-america/st_13-05-02_ss_guncrimes_06_suicide/

As a true friend has been reminding me lately:

“When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. And right now.”

PROGRESS. It’s a journey. It will take time. But these are huge improvements the media has no incentive to tell us about because they don’t sell advertisements.

a human being is a part of the whole

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein (via Good Reads)

the most beautiful moment at the renaissance festival. EVER.

I saw the most beautiful moment last weekend at the Ren Fest and I have to share it with you. It involves children and green giants. (stay with me for a moment…)

I started going to the Texas Renaissance Festival in either 1987 or 1988 while going to Texas A&M as an undergrad. I can’t recall the exact date. I went many times, but it was college so that might have been three times in one year or two times each year, or who knows. It’s lucky I remember my own name from 20+ years ago.

But I DO remember the texas renaissance festival. We were broke students so we bought the discount tickets from HEB and had to sneak in our own beer because we couldn’t afford the beer inside. In the late 80s my favorite renfest-shows were, in priority order, the falconry show followed by the mud show. The mud show back then was a mud pit in an open field and people who would gather around said pit. Falconry on the other hand, always had the most beautiful arena. But that is probably an artifact of not wanting the birds of prey to perch on small children during the act. I gotta figure being the falconry guy at the RenFest is like being the lion keeper at the zoo; if you say you need something you might bump the queue over the guy who takes care of the armadillos. There’s only so much that can go wrong if an armadillo is on the loose. But a lion? Definite priority. Just sayin’

I love the Renaissance Festival. (Disclaimer, as of a couple years ago RenFest is a client. But that doesn’t change things. I still pay for my ticket and I still take my whole family every year.) I have so many great memories and so many great photos. But this year, a 10 second interchange, stopped me dead on all-hallows-eve. This is what happened:

An ENORMOUS green man was attacked by a small child. Or torpedo-hugged. I don’t know the guy, and I’m not small, but he was larger than me and commanded a presence with his huge frame. And this giant man was reduced to a puddle of love by a child he had never met. Until that moment. That man was Shrek:

Shrek hugged a kid.

2011 Texas Renaissance FestivalOr to more accurately state it, a tiny 3 or 4 year old little girl propelled herself out of her parents arms like an Olympic athlete and flew above the ground like a hydrofoil to Shrek. It was kinda like the “human torpedo” move in WWE.

Shrek knelt down on one knee and caught her. The young’un quickly buried her head against his enormous frame. The giant man, in costume of course, brought her to a safe position and looked up at her parents for approval. Mrs. Shrek right next to him.

The parents of the star of our story 5 feet away nodded approval and smiled. Myself 20 feet away dumbstruck.

And all of us were frozen. We froze watching this beautiful young lady who completely believed not only in Shrek, but that THIS was SHREK. And she loved him. It looked like this photo I took after I snapped out of it.

I can’t really explain it. It was just beautiful. It was respectful. The parents were smiling ear to ear. The actor-volunteer-Shrek was well aware of a responsibility that I had no idea he had; to represent honorably the image of Shrek and the dreams of little kids.

And the child demonstrated a complete lack of prejudice, she charged and jumped into the arms of a 300+ pound green man! How many of us could jump into the arms of a giant green man with complete faith that he in turn was a gentle giant? I fear I have lost the ability to be that child-like and I miss it. I am working on that…

The shrek-hug was the most beautiful thing I have seen all year. God bless you Shrek. And God bless this child and her family for their wisdom to allow her to have this moment. And thank you that I was there with my family to witness it. ‘Cause my kids are pretty awesome too IMHO.

#peace

 

(this is a cross-post. To comment visit the shrek-renfest-post on chron.com and comment there please.)

we’re not completely not termites

family

From the article:

The first dreams we ever had were to be held. And loved. And to explore this amazing world with love in our lives.

We dreamed of seeing, touching, and experiencing the world around us, with the happiness and comfort that comes from family.

As adults, many of us dream of building a family, and do so.

It’s the day-to-day realities that don’t always feel so dreamy. We get busy, exhausted, and overwhelmed. We’re changing diapers, cleaning up spills, searching for a jolt of caffeine to keep our eyes propped open until we can fall face first into a pillow.

Along the way, we sometimes see some work dreams take a back seat. We worry they may slip away, that we may never get back to them.

There are tough tradeoffs that moms and dads have to make every day. But since my son’s birth, I’ve stopped seeing those tradeoffs as sacrifice.

Because when we give up something for a time to make sure we’re putting enough focus into our families, we’re not giving up dreams. We’re committing to our biggest, deepest ones.

We’re prioritizing the dreams that make up who we are.

And “be the cups and ice” which is truly amazing.

Monica, in her usual fashion, takes over completely, leaving Phoebe in charge of only cups and ice. Phoebe decides to make the most of it; she makes everything imaginable out of cups, and serves every kind of ice.

So the next time Monica gives you cups and ice, just ask yourself, what would Phoebe do, and do that. It’s the hard way out. But worth it.

(Note: video added and minor edits Jan 18, 2016 while writing this post about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – EGS)

tennis opponent wastes time and delays between serves

Excerpts from an email regarding how to handle cheaters taking too long between serves, first or second during a tennis match. a toss upMake no mistake, the delay of tennis serve by your opponent is a cheap attempt to get in your head and play mind games. And it’s against the rules.  The bottom line from the USTA rules:

Between points, a maximum of twenty (20) seconds is allowed.

More info on players delaying during a tennis game – you need to read and memorize the rules to prevent the cheating and gamesmanship. Knowing the rules of tennis is a good thing.

Commentary on cheating and gamesmanship:

http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Instrcution/Etiquette/Cheating_and_Gamesmanship/

ITF rules of tennis

http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/ITF%20-%20RoT%202010.pdf

29. CONTINUOUS PLAY

As a principle, play should be continuous, from the time the match starts (when the

first service of the match is put in play) until the match finishes.

14 a. Between points, a maximum of twenty (20) seconds is allowed. When the

players change ends at the end of a game, a maximum of ninety (90) seconds

are allowed. However, after the first game of each set and during a tie-break 

game, play shall be continuous and the players shall change ends without a 

rest.  

At the end of each set there shall be a set break of a maximum of one hundred

and twenty (120) seconds.

The maximum time starts from the moment that one point finishes until the

first service is struck for the next point.

Event organisers may apply for ITF approval to extend the ninety (90)

seconds allowed when the players change ends at the end of a game and the

one hundred and twenty (120) seconds allowed at a set break

When your opponent is cheating during a match by excessive delays between serves, the next step is to remind your opponent politely

“You only get 20 seconds between points. Do we need to call a line judge?”

Commentary on a blog post about delays at the professional level tennis are below. This post points out that wandering around the tennis court to find the best ball, toweling off during a game, wandering to the back-court to seek the meaning of life, just pisses everyone off:

http://www.tennislib.com/2010/05/continuous-play-stalling-our-sport-away.html

For this article I chose to specifically focus on one of these virtues: the continuous rhythm of the game. The players were not only watchful not to interrupt this rhythm, they were actually contributing to it by not returning serves that were obviously out, by helping the ball boys do their job (!!!) etc. Actually they tended to make the intervals between points so short that they would give a headache to the contemporary TV director, who would struggle to find enough seconds for a slow motion of a highlight.

According to the ITF rules of tennis, during a game, the server has no more than 20 seconds to start the next point (25 seconds for any ATP event, still 20 seconds for Grand Slams that prefer to have their own rules). USTA goes even further by saying that typical sportsman – like play is supposed to be 12-15 seconds for a first serve. Nevertheless, excessive ball bouncing, choosing the newest ball between 4-5 balls the ball boy gave to the player, asking for the towel, arranging socks and other even stranger habits of some players, regularly lead to intervals that last 35-40 seconds or even a minute!!!

Again, the solution is to print and study the rules. Have a copy printed and highlighted in yellow in your bag. Have a spare copy you can hand your opponent in case they need to be educated on how the game is played.

Regarding notes, the USTA says it is OK to read notes and study during changeover. If you don’t want to challenge a dweeb taking 2 minutes between serves, you can have notes in your right hand pocket laminated with study notes and a game plan. From this post:

http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Instrcution/Mental/Staying_focused_and_relaxed_during_a_match/

Q. Is it legal to look at written notes or reminders to yourself during changeovers; such as “Remember to keep your chin up during the serve” or “Slice approach to his backhand works best”.

A. Yes, this is permissible. In fact, it is a good idea. It is not uncommon for your thoughts to become chaotic during the stresses of match play, and having some reminder notes can only help.

Bottom line – learn the rules and use them to your advantage to win more matches ethically. If a kid’s coach has taught him to cheat and you hand him a print out that tells him he is a cheater, it would really mess with their head and ruin their crappy game plan. Who knows, maybe we can just play tennis!?

The last thing I would say is ask the tournament organizers if USTA rules are in force or if they allow extended delay. If you ask them this specifically you can back up the print out.

those who remain determined “mouse-avores” starve

“IV. At the same time, living systems adapt themselves to changes in their environment they learn, grow, develop, evolve. When the mouse population in a region suddenly declines because of an epidemic, the predators who adapt to a new prey survive; those who remain determined snake bit“mouse-avores” starve. Life events affect us and change us, and we can see these changes reflected in the nevertheless familiar faces of our friends. The ability of living systems to adapt and self-organize allows them to defy the second law of thermodynamics, which insists that everything runs down and returns to a state of disorganization and homogeneity. Not so for living systems! They continuously reorganize themselves into ever more complex patterns and interrelationships.”

Molly Young Brown, Patterns, Flows and Interrelationships

In nomine Patri

Connor: Now you will receive us.
Murphy: We do not ask for your poor, or your hungry.
Connor: We do not want your tired and sick.
Murphy: It is your corrupt we claim.
Connor: It is your evil that will be sought by us.
Murphy: With every breath we shall hunt them down.
Connor: Each day, we will spill their blood till it rains down from the skies.
Murphy: Do not kill, do not rape, do not steal, these are principles which every man of every faith can embrace.
Connor: These are not polite suggestions, these are codes of behavior and those of you that ignore them will pay the dearest cost.
Murphy: There are varying degrees of evil, we urge you lesser forms of filth not to push the bounds and cross over, into true corruption, into our domain.
Connor: For if you do, one day you will look behind you and you will see we three. And on that day, you will reap it.
Murphy: And we will send you to whatever god you wish.
[Murphy and Conner join II Duce behind Yakavetta]
Connor, Murphy, Il Duce: And shepherds we shall be, for Thee, my Lord, for Thee. Power hath descended forth from Thy hand.
Yakavetta: Vaffanculo
Connor, Murphy, Il Duce: That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to Thee, and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
Il Duce: In nomine Patri.
Connor: Et Fili.
Murphy: Spiritus Sancti.

The Boondock Saints

the guilt of a confessed pre-prayer

Guilt. Guilt is a major factor for me. It is something we Catholics specialize in. Sin is human. You must confess your sins. This is ingrained in you. mary and jesusYou step out of the confessional and you glance at a young woman in your seventh grade class and her breasts are pressing up against her blouse, purchased by her parents a year before she bloomed, not replaced because it was all they could afford, nicely pressed of course, and seventh-grade-you notices perhaps too much. This is followed quickly by the realization that “damnit, now I have to get back in line. shit. it’ll have to wait until next week when we all wait in the freezing church on a wednesday morning in connecticut for confession.” And you prayed. Not to be forgiven for looking at breasts. No, you prayed that next week would not be a week when the Monsignor was working the confessional. The girls in your class were probably just as curious, although all parties too innocent to ever verify any of that. But the Monsignor, while a good and blessed man (see what I did there) did not seem so innocent on these matters. No, in fact he scared the ever living shit out of us. Me in particular I believed. I knew.

I killed time waiting for my turn in confession (never go first. you don’t want a fresh and energetic priest. you want a tired-and-i-wanna-go-back-to-the-rectory-priest) by pre-saying my prayers. I mean, I had time. You knew it was going to be some combination of Hail Mary’s (mostly) a few Our Fathers (the old-reliable) and if you were particularly bad you would get an Apostles’ Creed. And the prayers were doled out as if they were the same. (For the record, they are NOT. To say a Hail Mary, even speed-talking in your little brain can easily take 20 minutes. So the penance of “Say five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys” kind of made you mad at the lady of the house.) But back to the point. I never asked if pre-saying prayers for penance counted because I didn’t want to know. I figured nobody ever told me that pre-praying explicitly was not allowed. Surely every other kid had thought of it, right? So I ran with it. I pre-prayed. This worked well and sometimes reduced post-confessional-penance to one or two prayers. I thought this must impress my teachers because they would think I was a really good kid so the priest didn’t give me much of a penance. Who doesn’t like the kid who got one Our Father and could scoot?

But I felt guilty about it.

You get over it.

No, actually you don’t.

Guilt is permanent.

Bless me Father for I have sinned….

 

an oversupply of women = more sexually permissive culture

Sex is cheap. And in a female dominated society, as the US is quickly becoming, men have the upper hand in bed. From the article “Sex is Cheap” on Slate:

…a significant number of young men are faring rather badly in life, and are thus skewing the dating pool. It’s not that the overall gender ratio in this country is out of whack; it’s that there’s a growing imbalance between the number of successful young women and successful young men. As a result, in many of the places where young people typically meet—on college campuses, in religious congregations, in cities that draw large numbers of twentysomethings—women outnumber men by significant margins. (In one Manhattan ZIP code, for example, women account for 63 percent of 22-year-olds.)

The idea that sex ratios alter sexual behavior is well-established. Analysis of demographic data from 117 countries has shown that when men outnumber women, women have the upper hand: Marriage rates rise and fewer children are born outside marriage. An oversupply of women, however, tends to lead to a more sexually permissive culture.

and

Michelle, a 20-year-old from Colorado, said she is in the same boat: “I had an ex-boyfriend of mine who said that, um, he didn’t know if he was ever going to get married because, he said, there’s always going to be someone better.”

and

And yet while young men’s failures in life are not penalizing them in the bedroom, their sexual success may, ironically, be hindering their drive to achieve in life. Don’t forget your Freud: Civilization is built on blocked, redirected, and channeled sexual impulse, because men will work for sex. Today’s young men, however, seldom have to.

And interesting follow on to this post on FB regarding the WSJ Where Have the Good Men Gone article.

I don’t question the game theory economics. I do find it sad. Keep the standards high ladies. For the good of the country. (via Shannon Buggs on FB)

eligible-bachelor paradox

The Eligible-Bachelor Paradox explained on Slate. Game theory is a bitch folks.

This is how you come to the Eligible-Bachelor Paradox, which is no longer so paradoxical. The pool of appealing men shrinks as many are married off and taken out of the game, leaving a disproportionate number of men who are notably imperfect (perhaps they are short, socially awkward, underemployed). And at the same time, you get a pool of women weighted toward the attractive, desirable “strong bidders.”

Via this thread on facebook

as such informal appearances may be thought to discredit

“… example of backstage difficulties may be cited from the contingencies of being an exalted person. Persons may become so sacred that the only fitting appearance they can make is in the center of a retinue and ceremony; it may be thought improper for them to appear before others in any other context, as such informal appearances may be thought to discredit the magical attributes imputed to them. Therefore members of the audience must be prohibited from all the places the exalted one is likely to relax in.”

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Erving Goffman. pg 120

ebert’s this is a dog

We look at others and think, One of / not one of us. Then we make a value judgment depending on who “us” is. Some people may look with distaste at a woman with body piercings, ripped jeans, a studded belt, a streak of chartreuse in their hair and a good-sized tattoo on their shoulder. Consider that it took that woman a good deal of time and trouble, not to say money, to leave the house looking like that this morning. She must believe there’s a show to be won. In her breed or category, that’s what the judges are looking for this year. Other people may look at a man whose job requires him to always be dressed in a certain way, like George Clooney in “Up in the Air,” and think That poor asshole. There but for the grace of God go I.

From the post this is a dog by roger ebert (via robert)

(shows Men’s Bathroom Door Sign)

…personally I think people with the power to detonate our economy and ravage our ecology would do better having a picture of Icarus hanging from the wall….I want them thinking about the possibility of failure all the time. We have greed, we’ve got over-confidence/hubris but since we’re here at TED Women, let’s consider one other factor that could be contributing in some small way to societal recklessness.

(shows Men’s Bathroom Door Sign)

Now I’m not going to belabor this point, but studies do show that as investors, women are much less prone to taking reckless risks than men. Precisely because, as we’ve already heard, women tend not suffer from over-confidence the same way that men do. So it turns out that being paid less, and being praised less has its upsides…for society at least. The flip side of this is that constantly being told that you’re gifted, chosen, and born to rule has distinct societal downsides. And this problem—call it the perils of privilege—brings us closer to the root of our collective recklessness. Because none of us, at least in the global North, neither men nor women are fully exempt from this message.

Naomi Klein: Addicted to Risk