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How To Recognize A Scammer Posted on Aug 26, 2007 at 09:08 AM
How To Recognize A Scammer- Lesson 1: They ask for money. End of lesson. Now, how easy was that?
Stalkers online- serious information Posted on Jul 28, 2007 at 04:42 PM
Sadly, dating online leaves all of us- men and women alike- vulnerable to stalkers, either real time or online. A few facts about stalking, just as a public service announcement: There are, generally speaking, three types of stalkers- 1: The intimate partner stalker. Someone you were actually involved with. No matter how many times you tell them, they refuse to believe it's really over. 2: The delusional stalker: Someone who has had very little contact with his/her target, or none at all. They see you online, or walking your dog, and that?s it. It can be someone you smiled at in the grocery store. And now they "love" you. Ask David Letterman about this. 3: The Revenge Stalker: They don't love you at all. They just want you to suffer for what you've done to them- either real or imagined. All three stalkers are dangerous, types 2 and 3 usually have serious mental illnesses, and all three types are potentially deadly. Take it seriously. If you genuinely feel you are being stalked, DO NOT attempt to be kind, reason with, argue with, or let the stalker down easily. This is the first and largest mistake that you can make. There is only (according to police, criminal psychologists, and every other expert in the world) ONE correct way to handle a stalker- tell them ONCE and ONLY ONCE, that you are not interested in their attention, tell them to leave you alone, and then never ever ever ever EVER have any direct contact with that person again. Any attention a stalker receives- even if you call them an eff head and wish them death- is positive attention. It will reinforce their desire to stalk you. Take it seriously. There are often no warning signs that a stalker is about to cross the line between annoying and dangerous. Uhmm. That's all. Now everyone have fun dating a bunch of strangers.
Important things about food Posted on Jul 26, 2007 at 08:23 PM
Well. Maybe not. Important to me, at least... Someone mentioned the movie Ratatouille in another blog- I had the pleasure of seeing it recently. There is a moment near the end, where the evil food critic is presented with a plate of ratatouille, a humble vegetable stew- and he breathes in the scent, a smile breaks across his face, his eyes soften. He is transported back to his childhood, to his mama's kitchen. I glanced around the audience, and I saw the same look on all the faces around me. Everyone, I think, knew that feeling. The memory of a favorite childhood food, cooked by a mama or grandma who loved you. All you have to do is breathe in, and you smile. And my daughter, sitting next to me, met my eyes and whispered, "Red sauce." She is right; I love the magical scent of simple old fashioned red sauce on the stove. Tomatoes and garlic and wine. It smells of home, it makes me feels loved and well fed. I once wrote an entire short story inspired by the smell. Another perfect scent is bread baking, when I smell it, I remember my great grandmama's house, and how she would wake up very early in the morning to start bread. There was no happier scent to wake up to. And so I cook both these things often, and they remind me that food is not just food. It is a shared experience, or a gift of love. Food creates memories, or reminds us who we are, and who our families are. When you teach children to cook these things, you pass on family stories and experiences. When you cook someone their favorite thing, it's a beautiful gesture. I don't understand people who say they never cook, or that they just eat because they have to. It seems as if they are missing out on a rich and wonderful experience. It is a reflection of life, I think, and how we feel about it. You cannot buy this frozen in a box. Forget roses, I think everyone should stop and smell the red sauce- or whichever food it is that creates that feeling of contentment and home.
Travel questions? Posted on Jul 03, 2007 at 09:32 AM
I'd love a little help here, from those of you fortunate enough to have visited Italy. My daughter is going to be visiting Venice and Florence and WE INTERRUPT THIS MESSAGE FOR SOME INSUFFERABLE MOTHERLY BOASTING- My daughter, who is lovely and hard working and unspoiled and incomparably beautiful and sweet, is also enormously talented, and was accepted as a student at the London Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts. They accept very few American students, and she's beside herself with happiness. It is her dream school. I am beaming and bragging at the same time. Hooray, Miss Kate! (We thank you for enduring the maternal gloating, and return to our original message) While she's in Europe, her first destinations are Venice and Florence. (Her ancestral motherland calling her) She's traveling on a student budget. Can anyone recommend any reasonable (okay, really really inexpensive) and fabulous restaurants in those cities? Or any other tips she should know? Thanks in advance- Amy
Everybody lies....really? Posted on Jan 30, 2007 at 08:49 AM
Everybody lies.... Well, in a sense that's true. Not to the degree that's been happening here, but yes, there is something that psychologists call "normal" (socially acceptable) lying, and all of us do that, every day. At the other end of the BS spectrum, there is full blown sociopathic lying- what we commonly call 'compulsive" lying. The kind that makes you shake your head and ask, why would anyone DO that? In between there's another sort of lying. I forget the name of it. I am too lazy to look it up. Specific lying, to get something out of it. I forget the name.... That's okay, this is a blog, and not an article, and nobody's paying me for this. So we'll call it that other kind of sort of bad in the middle lie. Who cares? It doesn't interest us much, and this is not about that. Why do I know these things? I am something of an expert. Well, no. More of a very accomplished amateur. I was married to a compulsive liar, and during the years that I was Mrs. PrinceOfDarkness, I learned a thing or two. So, why do people lie, and what kind of kick do they get out of deception on that sort of scale? That's what interests us. Let's look at the normal evolution of a liar. You. Oh, yes you are. I see your pants on the telephone wire. Here are the kind of lies that psychologists call normal lies, and you and I tell them every day. Thank God. Lie: No, those pants don't make you look fat. Truth: No, it's not the pants. It's your big fat ass. Have another cupcake, blimpo. Lie: Oh, that was a really lovely dinner. Thank you so much for inviting us. Truth: My god, what did you do that steak? No wonder your husband drinks. Lie: Thank you for your insightful and interesting comments. Truth: You're a dumbass. Normal lies are lies told for the benefit of other people, or lies to avoid embarrassment. "Sorry I missed your call, I was in the shower... Well. No you weren't. You may have been in the bathroom, but you weren't in the shower. That's fine. Thank you for lying to me. I really don't want to know. You learned to lie around the age of five. That's normal. That what humans do. You learn to lie as a survival technique, trying to avoid what your five year old inexperienced mind perceived as danger that might threaten your safety and position in the tribe. In short, you lied to avoid getting in trouble. No, I didn't eat the cookies. No, I didn't break your favorite cup. Okay. Here's where we didvide onto two groups. Normal folk to the right, sociopathic liars to the left, please. We normal folk (disclaimer. I know we're not that normal. We're here. I'm using the word normal as it pertains to liars) we normal folk had sort of normal moms and dads, and we quickly learned that lying was a bad thing. We learned that the punishment usually fit the crime, that we weren't going to be turned out in the cold for picking all the carob chips out of the granola, and that we actually got into more serious trouble when we lied. Mom and dad are putting some effort into making sure our moral compasses are functioning and pointing northwards, we are loved and safe, and life is pretty good. Okay, here's where it get tricky. There is another sort of child developing. Their moral compass isn't doing so well. They are either punished too much, or too little. They may be the victim of parental abuse (verbal, emotional, or physical) or they might be the victim of parental incompetence. Yes, folks. Just plain stoopid can damage your children. At any rate, their brains don't develop quite the same way yours does. They don't have what we call "healthy self esteem." They never feel as good as anyone else, as safe as everyone else. They lie like other five year olds, for perceived safety reasons, but the difference is...they don't learn to stop. They keep on lying. It becomes a habit that makes them feel safe and protected. Damaged children are not whole. There's a big empty space in there, and when they grow up, they will fill that space with drugs or alcohol or sex or money or lies about who they are or how they make a living. The temporal lobe of the brain that gives us a little unhappy guilt rush when we lie? That doesn't work so well in these people. Their receptors are damaged, very early in life. They get a rush, all right, but ours is a guilt and anxiety rush, theirs is a happy safety endorphin rush. Aaaah, lie, they think. Feels good. As amateur five year old liars, they begin to lie even when they don't need to. Lying becomes a habit, which then becomes reflex. They lie in the same way you breathe. They don't feel normal telling the truth. And THAT my friends, is what "compulsive" lying is. Someone who lies out of habit, because it makes them feel normal and whole. (The rest of their brain doesn't develop normally either. Usually, they lag behind a little academically. Their abstract reasoning skills and dialectic processing is below average.Weirdly (or perhaps not so weirdly) they are a little more advanced than other people in verbal manipulation. They practice finding out what people want to hear, and telling them those answers.) They won't present a logical argument- they'll switch the focus of the argument instead, to better suit their purpose. Compulsive liars are shrewd. (Not smart..shrewd.) A compulsive liar clings to their lies and embroiders them because they feel "safe" when surrounded by them. They will cling to their lies even when a hundred people are pointing out the obvious fallacy. They will smokescreen, fingerpoint, throw a few more lies on the fire in an attempt to confuse the issue. Some will have temper tantrums or breakdowns, or even become violent when you pull their masks off, in order to avoid the issue at hand. But a compulsive liar will cling to their lies like a warm fuzzy blanket. As they get older, many of these compulsively lying children will have developed full-blown antiocial personality disorders. They become oblivious to the feelings of other people, (sociopaths) and lie to achieve whatever makes them happy- sex, money, a sense of power or control over other people. Whatever it takes to fill up that empty space inside. By the way, you can't fill it. You can't fix it. Don't feel sorry for them and think you can heal them. Don't even try. This is seriously abnormal psychology here. The best way to deal with a compulsive liar- in fact the only way- is not to. Do not associate with, try to reason with, speak to, engage, or otherwise have anything to do with them. You will not get through to them, they will not understand, and there isn't a shovel on god's green earth big enough to cut through the bs. Any attention they receive simply feeds their abnormal delusions. It is sometimes irresistible to poke at them with sticks. Fine, if that makes you happy, and you're not concerned about being targeted by a sociopath. But make no mistake, compulsive liars are seriously disordered people, and it's a disorder that is usually found in people with more serious mental illnesses- bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and sociopathy. Uhm, have fun with that. I think I'll associate with normal people. Go on, let's see some good old fashioned normal lying around here. Tell me this was damned interesting, and not too long at all. I'll thank you for the response, and tell you it made my day. See how that works? Congratulations. We're normal liars.
Enough stupidity in my mailbox. Posted on Jan 13, 2007 at 01:04 PM
This morning I received a particularly stupid email. So stupid it is deserving of an extra vowel. Stoopid. It claims that there is a top secret behind the scenes MM club. (ooooh!) and that I am the top secret behind the scenes president. (another oooh!) According to the author of these emails -3 or 4 letters before noon, I don't remember- witnesses have actually SEEN me in the top secret non existant chatroom. Okay, now that I am done rolling my eyes and shaking my head at the stupidity of the idea...who are these witnesses? I hereby invite them to address me. They will not, of course, because they are Either A: inventions of the original letter writer, or B: inventions of the original letter writer. Possibly C: possibly what we would call made up people. Who makes this stuff up? Liars? Pyschotic delusionals maybe? Possibly paranoid schizoid types who really believe this because the voices in their heads say so? So before the rumor goes any further, and sadly, because there are people in the world dumb enough to believe it: Point 1: If there is a top secret behind the scenes secret spy club, I don't know about it. If I did, I wouldn't join it. I am a grown up person with a life, and the last club I joined was a brownie troop. I quit because I hated the uniform. (Elastic waist-eeew.) Point 2: Keep this trash and idiocy out of my mailbox. That is reserved for intelligent, well mannered men who are inviting me out, and the occasional nice lady sending me a Christmas card, or something like. After the fifth email, I blocked the author from my mailbox. Crazy people upset me.
Plagiarism or a mystery solved?? Posted on Jan 08, 2007 at 02:54 PM
I think we have solved the mystery of who Nascar is. It's obvious he's Kenneth Pliney, because his blog "Food and Sex- is there a connection", is word for word (with the exception of a little dumbing down rewrite of the first paragraph) is exactly as it originally appears in the Cambridge Word History of Food, edited by Kenneth Pliney. From the aformentioned book.... "....It's important to realize these food substances were identified (documented) by the likes of Pliny and Dioscordes (ancient Greeks) first century AD and later by Paul of Aegina from the seventh century. Later more credence was given to foods that "satisfied dietary gratification". Other foods deemed to have these aphrodisiac qualities were derived from mythology. Aphrodite, the love goddess was said to consider "sparrows" sacred because of their "amorous nature" and for that reason were included in various aphrodisiac brews. There was not always agreement upon what foods were actually aphrodisiacs or "anaphrodisiacs" (decrease potency). But the ancient list included Anise, basil, carrot, salvia, gladiolus root, orchid bulbs, pistachio nuts, rocket (arugula), sage, sea fennel, turnips, skink flesh (a type of lizard) and river snails. The ancients suggested you steer clear of dill, lentil, lettuce, watercress, rue, and water lily. Food List Aniseed A very popular aphrodisiac with many culinary uses. It has been used as an aphrodisiac since the Greeks and the Romans, who believed aniseed had special powers. Sucking on the seeds is said to increases your desire. etc etc on down to wine.... From Tim?Nascar, whoever: According to the ancients, food was very important and certain foods were used for their aphrodisiastic properties. Aphrodite, the love goddess was said to consider "sparrows" sacred because of their "amorous nature" and for that reason were included in various aphrodisiac brews. There was not always agreement upon what foods were actually aphrodisiacs or "anaphrodisiacs" (decrease potency). But the ancient list included Anise, basil, carrot, salvia, gladiolus root, orchid bulbs, pistachio nuts, rocket (arugula), sage, sea fennel, turnips, skink flesh (a type of lizard) and river snails. The ancients suggested you steer clear of dill, lentil, lettuce, watercress, rue, and water lily. Food List Aniseed A very popular aphrodisiac with many culinary uses. It has been used as an aphrodisiac since the Greeks and the Romans, who.... blah blah etc.etc on down to wine. Well. A little resemblance there, isn't there? As a writer, I'm sensitive to the subject of plagiarism. If you admire someone's words, or think they're worth repeating, give credit. That's quoting- not stealing. But I notice several times in the course of the blog where someone says..great blog!!! and Nascarperson makes no attempt to correct them or give credit to the original author. Stealing another person's work, ideas, and effort is wrong. It is worse than criminal. When a writer writes, they are giving part of themselves to the world. Our words are a reflection of our thoughts, our efforts, our ideas. To take them, alter them, and take credit for them is shameful.
You motherless sons of bloggers (daughters, too) Posted on Dec 21, 2006 at 09:37 AM
It's fairly interesting to me that calling someone "motherless" is, in many languages, a strong insult. There's a reason for that. It implies that you were raised without a superior voice of wisdom, that you were left to run amock, and, in simplest terms, you weren't taught how to behave in public. Aha. I finally get to the point. There is so much fighting, squabbling, name calling, dumb drama and otherwise non adult behavior happening here that it is embarrassing to watch. Amusing for a minute, like watching someone fall over and show their ass in public. After that, it's just painful. It makes you cringe to see it. Why why why would supposedly adult people reduce themselves to this sort of public display of bad behavior? Aha again. Obviously, they have never been taught how to behave correctly. Obviously, they do not have mothers. There can be no other explanation. Being a compassionate sort, I will step in and provide motherly advice regarding public behavior, which really should have been explained to everyone before the age of eleven. It appears that a few girls and boys did not have the benefit of these lessons. This is a variation of a lecture I have given my own children, whom I love very much. They have all mastered the following techniques by the time they are ten. Listen: Throughout your life, you will meet many people. Some you will like; some you will not. Sometimes, people will say things you don't like. There are only two ways to respond. The first way is with grace and dignity, thereby looking making yourself look very nice indeed. (This is what people call "class." I'll get to that in a minute.) Example: Suppose someone says that you are stupid, and to shut up. Appropriate response 1: Say nothing. This is always a good option. It demonstrates to the world that you really don't care, and the person whose comments you don't like is so far beneath you that you can't even hear them. Say nothing and you win. Isn't that great? Appropriate Response 2: Say: Thank you, (name of insulting person here.) As always, your comments are insightful and appreciated. (You see how in example two, you have said exactly the correct thing, but it really means "dumbass." Well done. If you do this in person, accompany it with the cool and polite smile.) Voila. You have shown the world your excellent manners, you have behaved like an adult, and people now see that you are a well bred, intelligent person who can be taken in public without fear that you will have temper tantrums. You have what is commonly known as "class." (We really don't like that word. You should avoid using it, unless you are a 1930s gun moll in a black and white movie and someone names Rocco gives you a diamond bracelet. In that case, it is perfectly correct to say, oooh, Rocco, you got class.) Or you may, conversely, respond like common trash raised by wolves in an overturned dumpster in a vacant lot behind a Wal-Mart store. This is the Wrong Way to respond: Name calling, picking fights in public, coming unglued and taking cheap shots, questioning people's parentage, sanity, hygiene, sexual history, etc. and, in general, acting like ill mannered seven year olds in front of adults, and otherwise demonstrating a complete lack of dignity and self control. It is embarrassing and unpleasant for other people to watch. The only person you make look foolish or unbalanced or small is yourself. In addition, you give the person who has offended you the enormous satisfaction of knowing that they have upset you. Your bad behavior doesn't make you look witty or admirable. It makes you look cheap, small, and not very bright. In some extreme cases it makes one look psychotic. And (truly the most terrible of all) your mama is embarrassed, because you are demonstrating to the entire world that she didn't bother to teach you manners, and people will think that she is an obese lady who lives in a trailer park and wears beer can hats and elastic waist polyester pants and says don't got no. Yew don't got no class. Like that. Now, do you really want people to think you were raised by someone like that? It was said recently that if you want to fight with pigs, you must get dirty. Here is a variation of that- if you want to roll around and fight in a pigpen, it doesn't matter who wins. You will come out smelling like pig pooh. For those with short attention spans, let's reduce all this good mama-ish wisdom to a brief lesson: Arguing in public is crass and dumb, and is not intelligent adult behavior. There is no excuse in the world for it. None. I don't want to hear "but SHE said" or "but HE said." Someone ele's behavior is not your problem, and you can't control it. Your own behavior is the issue here, and will be, for the rest of your life. Don't do it. More good motherly advice, just as an added bonus: When you eat bread in a restaurant, don't pick up the whole roll at once, for God's sake. Tear off a bite at a time, and butter them individually. Remember that "anyways" is not a real word. Never eat red sauce from a jar.
While everyone else was fighting Posted on Dec 03, 2006 at 03:14 PM
here are some things I did: I drove to Trader Joe's. I bought a bottle of Marsala to cook with, and a bottle of Barolo to drink with Sunday dinner. Not the whole bottle, of course. That would be greedy. It is a good buy. A 2000 Barolo for only 14.99. On the way to the counter, I congratulate myself for being a smart shopper. To celebrate, I buy myself two small wreaths of fresh evergreens (thereby eliminating my savings.) I do not mind this. They are beautiful and fresh and fragrant, with purple berries and walnuts threaded in, and they smell of Christmas. I am so happy with them that I sing in the car. I sing Ave Maria, and hum through the parts I can't remember. It is an odd thing, that when I am in the car alone, I am pretty tuneful. If even one other person could hear, my voice would falter. This is what I decide- the mark of a good friend might be whether or not you can sing in front of them. I stop at the grocery store,and I find some chocolates wrapped in paper that looks like stained glass, and buy those for the kid's stockings. I smell the oranges and cinnamon sticks in the produce aisle, because I love the smell of things, and I buy them, and I stock up on baking things- ginger and brown sugar and butter and walnuts. I also buy pez shooters, which have terrible candy, but for some reason are necessary in Christmas stockings. A child told me this once, and I believe him. Here is what i think about, while I am driving and singing: I am going to bake gingerbread men. I am particularly accomplished with a frosting tube, and my gingerbread men are always much admired. I have not baked them for several years. This is why: Six years ago, I baked my usual army of gingerbread men, and left them to cool on the kitchen table. I went out and went shopping for odds and ends, much as I am doing today. When I came home, my oldest boy was there. I will show you a picture of him that I carry in my mind. He is dark haired and beautiful, and has one very deep dimple in his cheek. His eyes have a look in them that makes you think he is up to something. Usually, this is because he is up to something. When I came in the door I discovered that he had bitten one arm and one leg off of almost every gingerbread man, and has carefully frosted bandages and crutches on them, so that they look like an army of wounded World War I veterans. He was eighteen. He was old enough to know better. I say, Damn it, Ian. And he says Mom. Check this out. And he picks up two wounded gingerbread veterans and dances them on the table and makes them sing it's a long way to Tipperary. We laughed. We laughed because it was really not worth getting upset about. We laughed because he saved me from a Martha Stewart moment. We laughed because he really was pretty funny. I remember all this while I am driving home from the store. I take a side road on the way home and drive to the cemetery. I park the car, and I take a pez shooter,one of the little evergreen wreaths, and a satsuma orange, and I place them on his headstone. And I sit there in the cold sun, and eat some of the Christmas chocolate, and I have a good cry. I cry because I miss him, and I want him to come home, and sometimes, life hurts. These are things worth crying for. Things that I will be angry about. The rest, not so much. And I remember to be grateful. I am happy for the nineteen years I knew him, and I am grateful that we didn't waste time being angry over stoopid things, and that we laughed whenever we could. I will have to buy more chocolate. When I get home, I hang the second wreath in the kitchen window, and tell the kids we're baking gingerbread men. My house is warm and fragrant with pine and spices and my children are beautiful. They will remember this day, and that we were happy. They will remember that we laughed, and that I didn't give a damn what the cookies looked like, and because it is good to be alive. I have lost track of where I was going with this, what I was trying to say. It wandered away from where I meant to go. It may have been about perspective. Maybe it was about squandering happiness. Maybe it was just a little Christmas story. It is December. Life is good. There.