Category Archives: A Visit from Dr. Braden

On Being an Extrovert in an Introverts-are-Victims World

I’ve recently come across a blog written by a Kentucky-based talk radio host named Matt Walsh.  He’s young, opinionated, Christian, and fairly conservative or libertarian or something.  Whatever it is, reading his stuff is often like reading a much smarter, more articulate version of myself.  (What an interesting mix of surprise and not-surprise-at-all when I learned that he was a fan of Ron Paul).  I was planning on doing a blog post about how so many people, especially people without children, seem to consciously refuse to understand how children are and what parents can do to “control” them.  It was going to be based on some ignorant comments I got in an ill-advised, YouTube-based argument I had a few weeks ago, but I’m not going to write it now because Matt Walsh nailed it better than I could have.  So read that.  Then come back and we’ll proceed.

So he wrote a post that dealt with three different topics.  The first was homeschooling vs. public schools, then there was our society’s faux “diversity,” and lastly there was a discussion on his introversion and how it is to live in what he perceives to be an extroverts’ world.  This, as was the case several times before, was something that I’d meant to get around to writing about.  Except this time I landed on the opposite side of where he was coming from.  I’m a very extroverted person, and over the last year or so I’ve learned more about what “extrovert” really means other than just being a person who feels energized by socialization.  The more I’ve learned, the more irritated I’ve become at the audacity that so many “introverts” seem to have about how poorly treated they are by society, and how “extroverts just don’t get them.”  In a broad sense, I compare this to how Feminists have written the rules for accepted gender interaction in our culture over the last several decades, but will still blame everything on “patriarchy” and don’t stop to consider what kinds of issues men face.  Though please understand that’s an extreme comparison and I get considerably less angry by the introvert/extrovert thing.

Since Walsh so perfectly set up the kinds of points I was intending to react against, I left a lengthy comment discussing and defending extroverts such as myself.  It’s gotten a surprising amount of praise from both self-described introverts and extroverts, and I like it enough that I’m going to share the meat of it here.  What follows is a mildly-expanded version of the numbered points of my comment.

This is addressed to any introverts who think that extroverts don’t understand them, drain them, and/or confuse them:

1. In social situations I have a nearly-uncontrollable desire to be liked.

Not to be the center of attention–that person hogging all the attention is not demonstrating their extroversion but instead their insecurity. No, I just need to not feel like the other people around would prefer I leave. To the point that if, at the end of a given interaction, it seems that I’m not thought of well, it can haunt me for days and in some very real cases, years. As an introvert your reaction to this is likely dismissive, saying, “you shouldn’t care what other people think!” Save it. I’ve heard that since middle school and spent nearly two decades of my life feeling bad because other people’s impressions of me is something that I can’t help caring about. A lot. I can’t let go of that any more than you can just suck it up and learn to love meaningless small talk.

2. Extrovert is not synonymous with party animal.

When it’s said that extroverts need to be around people to feel energized, many introverts imagine someone like me needing to hop into a massive party and dance the night away to techno music while downing Jaegerbombs and filling the gaps with huge, steaming piles of useless, surface interactions. That could not be farther from the truth.  I can’t speak for all extroverts but I can say that large gatherings are worse than being alone to this extrovert. Recently my wife and daughter took a trip away for a week while I stayed home. I got sick right before they left and as a result spent several miserable days at home alone with next to zero interaction with anyone. By the end of it I felt some considerable depression settling in. Thankfully a cookout had been planned by a small group of friends and I was able to attend. I got re-energized in the best way possible by spending quality time with a handful of people I like, and we simply ate and talked. We talked about politics, pop culture, nerd culture, and personal stories and shared memories. If that gathering instead had been a large number of people interacting on only a superficial level, I would have been worse off than if I’d stayed home. I need interaction and socialization to feel energized, but it has to be real and meaningful.

3. Do you get exhausted by your extroverted friends? Guess what. . . .

I wish I had known more about all this introversion/extroversion stuff when I was in college because in those days my closest friends were at least in part introverted, in the proper sense. If I had my way, we’d have spent every possible second hanging out and talking and laughing both in large and small groups. Instead I was regularly made to feel awkward by these friends (and somewhat shameful, though not intentionally on their parts) because they would get “peopled out” and need to spend a weekend in or something. That’s fine for them but I always felt drained and abandoned at the sheer mention of this. We extroverts don’t always have a couple spare sets of extrovert friends waiting in the wings to spend time with us when the introverts need some alone time.  As an adult now I understand that this is just the nature of things when introverts and extroverts are friends and compromises need to be made for everyone. But the point is that if you feel drained by extroverts, understand that it goes both ways. (And which do you think is easier?  To insist on more alone time?  Or to insist that your friends spend more time with you?)

4. Extroversion is not synonymous with confidence.

I’ve been a socially averse and shy person my whole life. Not a great combination with extroversion, let me assure you. I’ve had plenty of people that I’m comfortable around make the incorrect assumption that I can walk into any social situation and own it, because that’s how I am around them. I’ve also been annoyed by people I don’t know who observe how quiet I am around them and assume that I “must be introverted and needs to be left alone.” This is currently a problem area for me because my church is one that is huge on being outward-focused, so a lot of emphasis is placed on meeting new people on Sunday mornings and not just chatting with your friends before and after service. But my shyness (and fear of not being liked or coming across as awkward–see #1) regularly prevents me from doing this. I’m still riling over a handful of terrible examples of such interactions that took place about ten years ago, too (see #1), so that’s another hurdle.

5. Extroverts often need to process externally.

Do you find that, in order to finish your creative or critical ideas, you need some quiet time alone? Well I have found that I can only ever get so far with a story idea, or a song idea, or with mapping out my thoughts on a social, theological, or political issue, by working on it by myself. I have to discuss it with someone else, or tell someone about it, and as I walk through it to them the ideas fall into place, I work out kinks in the logic, and I can begin to find some structure. I have a LOTR-style fantasy story I’ve slowly developed since I was 12, and the times I’ve filled in the biggest gaps and ironed out the biggest plot holes were the times I convinced a friend to let me tell them about it. The bands I had in the past–the best songs I wrote we’re ones that came about by interacting musically with my band mates. I’ve not been in a band for 9 years, now, and I’ve only finally been able to write again in the last two months. It took that long to figure out how to do it 100% alone. I’ve known songwriters who can write whole albums by locking themselves in a room for a weekend–take a guess if they were introverted or extroverted. So maybe that extrovert isn’t wasting your time, but is trying to work and process through something. That said I don’t defend people needlessly talking to strangers. That annoys me. Don’t get me started on strangers at work asking me about my lunch.

In conclusion, before you go off about how the world thinks that all introverts are creepy loners, take time to see if  you’re doing what so many others do and viewing extroverts as inch-deep blabber mouths who can’t get through the day without going energy-vampire on some poor, innocent introvert at the coffee shop.  Half of being understood is understanding those around you better.

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You’re not as different as you think.

Answer me this:  What’s the difference between the people in these two pictures?

(A) is technically correct, but the actual answer is (D).

Sports vs. science fiction does not and should not even come into the equation.  If you want to go on about how Dwight Clark REALLY DID catch that pass from Montana in the NFC Championship Game in 1981, but James T. Kirk never actually had any trouble with Tribbles, then you’re so far off the point that you’re talking to yourself.  What’s important is the people.

I have a feeling that a lot of people would easily agree with this, but I have had clashes with people who refused to see the similarities.  Here is why they are wrong.

First – they both are wearing themed costumes to public gatherings.  Simple enough.
Second – they have consumed their lives with the object of said public gatherings.  Don’t for one second tell me that the kind of sports fan that would dress up to ANY extreme is not obsessed with sports.  They can ramble off stats and player names like any Trekkie can explain the inner workings of a comlink (and based on fiction vs. based on reality is irrelevant here–both have zero application outside of their own respective mediums and are therefore equally useless)
Third – Keeping in mind that there are sports fans who don’t wear costumes to games, and Star Trek fans who don’t wear costumes to conventions (let alone attend them), there is something within all of these people that makes them ultimately the same in that they find value in dressing up for their respective events.
Fourth – They are both easily susceptible to a mental state of superiority over people who don’t know their respective obsessions the way they do.  The arrogant nerd is a common stereotype, especially in the world of internet comment sections, but let us not forget the sports fan who is appalled that someone near him doesn’t know how many yards you have to gain in how many downs.

If you don’t think that the latter example is really true, then let me offer my own testimony that I have seen it countless times with my own eyes.  Find a way into a room of sports fans that 1) don’t know you, and 2) have no sense of humor, and then make a comment that would suggest you don’t know something basic.  It can’t be obvious, like asking  how many outs there are during the first period of a hockey game; it has to be subtle–let me suggest my favorite, to be used during any game except hockey, “How many goals does Team A have?”  Watch the expressions of those in the room that are caught off guard by that–it won’t be all chuckles in disbelief; some will be deeply offended at your ignorance.

Let’s also defuse another protest–that some science fiction/fantasy fans, ESPECIALLY those in love with Star Trek, have consumed their lives with it so much that they regularly wear those costumes without something like a convention as an excuse.  To that I say, “Is that a football jersey you’re wearing today?”

There is nothing inherent in athletics that makes it superior to other forms of entertainment.  They produce great feats by the human body, where as things like science fiction and fantasy produce great feats of the human mind and imagination.  I have now firmly established that there is also nothing inherently different between the fans of either.  Keep that in mind the next time you chuckle at someone that appears to like their science fiction “a little too much.”

You’re not as different as you think.

My Neurological Condition

So about a month ago I stumbled upon a blog in which the author made a comic about how she has, quite unconsciously, assigned genders and personalities to numbers and letters.

Copyright 2010 AK Tettenborn or something, probably. Don't sue me!

I found it amusing because I do the exact same thing, but what got me excited is when she explained that this was due to her experiencing a neurological condition called “synesthesia,” and this was a mild form of it called “ordinal linguistic personification.”

Do you know what this means?  It means that I HAVE A NEUROLOGICAL CONDITION!  Man, that’s cool.

I do exactly what she does, except all of mine are unique to me.  I also:

  • See various ordered sequences within a defined 3D space.  This is most prevalent with the calendar year and the alphabet, and to a lesser degree the days of the week and past decades.
  • Visualize shapes and colors when I hear songs, though it’s not as strong as some synesthetes, who can paint songs or even develop perfect pitch because they hear certain notes and keys as specific colors.  I once tried to “draw a song,” but I couldn’t pin the images down enough and it was hard to figure out how to draw them within a gravity-less, 3D space.
  • Involuntarily see groups of notes in a song I’m learning as hostile towards the notes I already know, and the tension doesn’t subside until I learn it all perfectly . . . though I never forget their anger.  Never . . .  That actually happens with anything I’m concentrating on immensely, but music is the most common.

I know the first two are synesthetic, but I haven’t found anything confirming 100% that the third one is.  It just seems like it should be.

So in case you’re wondering:

1 is a boy.  He’s the rounded guy.  The straight man.  The Mario to everyone else’s “Rest of the cast of Mario 2.”  The Michael Bluth to everyone else’s . . . the rest of the Bluths.

2 is a girl.  She’s mean.  Like Lucy from Peanuts mean.  It’s probably due to some form of insecurity she has buried.

3 is also a girl.  She hangs out with 2 a lot.  She’s not as mean as 2, but pretends like she is when 2 is around.

4 is a boy.  Just . . . a boy.  Who is unassuming and plays a lot.

5 is also a boy, who spends a lot of time playing with 4.

6 is a girl.  She lives next door to 4 and 5, but never plays with them because she’s too old for them.  Kind of like Angelica from Rugrats, minus the interaction.

7 is a boy.  His age is early teens, but early teens as seen by, say, a kindergartener, not as seen by an adult.

8 is a girl, as is . . .

9, and they are both in late high school and hang out at the mall together and can drive cars and talk about boys all day.

0 is a girl . . . and she’s that one who’s everyone’s acquaintance but no one’s friend.

10 is a boy.  That’s all.

The numbers 11-19 take on the same personalities and genders as 1-9, just a little older, and then 20 is female because 2 is female, 30 is female because 3 is female, and so on, up to 100, who is a boy, just like 10.  Any numbers like 25 or 56 or 92 are seen as pairings of single digits rather than having their own unique traits.

And the letters aren’t quite as detailed.  Due to the length of the alphabet, I’ll copy AK’s method to start:

A,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,T,X, and Y are all boys.

B,P,Q,R,S,U,V,W, and Z are all girls.

O is a girl, too, but she’s kinda butch.

So A, B, and C are buds and hang out a lot, as are D, E, and F, but D and F are closer friends than E is to either of them.  G-L are kind of like jocks.  No specific sport, just that “we’re cool and we know it” kind of thing.  But G and H are kind of their own unit within the group of jocks, though.  M and N are buds, too, and they split their time between being cool with the jocks and hanging out with the ladies, O, P, Q, and R.  S is a very mature girl, and T is her boyfriend.  U and V are T’s sisters.  X, Y, and Z are their own clique, and W is the only one that serves as a bridge between them and everyone else.

I’m not making any of this up as I write this.  Well . . . I’m defining it more than I ever have before, but I’m not making it up anew.  Also, what’s important to remember with this is that all of this was and is completely unconsious and not based out of any purposeful reasoning.  There’s probably some “relationships” that I’ve determined based out of how I learned them, but none of it was on purpose.  One of the more interesting things is that I see “B” as female, despite not only the word “boy” starting with a “B,” but both my first and last names begin with “B.” I can’t explain it; it’s always appeared female to me.  (And NO, it has nothing to do with the shape, either).   Among all the things that have fascinated me about this, what gets me the most is when I see A.K.’s comic, and her gender assignments are almost all opposite of mine, and they not only FEEL wrong, but her drawings LOOK wrong.  For example: 4 in hers looks like a cross-dresser to me.  Seriously.  Like, as cross-dressy if my dad or one of my brothers walked into the room wearing pearls and a dress and eye makeup.

 

College was confusing for 4, and eventually he moved to Capitol Hill.

What’s actually a little frustrating is that I’ve learned that more extreme synesthetes are able to utilize their experiences to accomplish tasks better.  I mentioned how some can develop perfect pitch, and others can do math faster, and some have incredible memories . . . where as I can be the focus of an interesting conversation at a party.  One conversation per party, though.  People look at you weird when you walk around the room telling everyone, “Two is a b*tch!  No one except Three likes her!”  Ain’t that just the way it goes?  I kind of feel like Meg when all the Griffins got amazing superpowers, and she got the ability to grow her fingernails really fast.  Oh well–no harm, no foul.

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Special thanks to AK Tettenborn for the use of the images, of which she is the artist and owner.  So back up off that.  Her blog is awesome.  Go there.  http://fudgethatsugar.wordpress.com/

The New Creepy

Happy Halloween time.  Let’s discuss something that’s been on my mind for a very long time:  things that are considered creepy.

I first started to pick up on this a couple years ago when I was on a very small kick of enjoying Youtube videos that featured laughing babies, the best of which I think is this one:

I think that most of us would agree, that’s pretty adorable.  However, around the time I first saw this, I had a coworker who deemed it “creepy.”  Granted, she was a bit “off” on most things as I saw them, so I didn’t pay that much mind, but then I saw other things here and there from people who would tend to agree with her.  I saw one person post something similar on Facebook and write, “this is going to give me nightmares!” or something like that, when it was literally the exact same concept as the video up there.  I also saw commenters on this video and others like it on Youtube that shared that opinion.  I tried to find some as an example, but that video now has over 167,000 comments, so I ain’t searching for nuthin!

So that’s kind of odd, right?  As time moved on, I also noticed a small movement in our culture that is starting to see children as a bad thing–as in having them, them being around, etc.  It’s a small movement, but it’s there.

A couple months ago, I went to the going-away party of an old roommate.  I went with my wife and a couple close friends, and only kind of knew one other person that was there (besides my old roommate), so we all had to get through the awkward sitting-in-a-room-with-people-you-don’t-know stage before we started to have some good conversation.  One of the first conversations that started up was the host’s unique brand of wines.  Someone made some comment about Welch’s Grape Juice (it was probably me), and another person responded, “Oh, I turned my back on Welch’s years ago when they started running those creepy commercials.”

I racked my brain for a few seconds, trying to pin down exactly what kind of “creepy commercials” Welch’s ran a few years ago.  The chances are slim that I would have missed them, let me tell you.  My first thought was that they meant something akin to the off-putting series of Skittles commericals out there, now, but I didn’t recall Welch’s ever doing anything similar.

No . . . no, no . . . this person meant the following:

Were you creeped out by that?  If so, why?  Because it’s a smart kid talking?  I can find literally nothing else in it that MIGHT be construed as creepy.  Unless you think it’s weird to see a kid drink something purple . . . but I can’t even really categorize something like that.  So where was this person at that party coming from?  Why would that cute little boy be seen as unsettling to the point that someone would openly denounce any usage of the product being advertised?

Well the horror genre would be where I would start.  From the twins in The Shining to that little girl in The Ring, children are an easy way to evoke terror in a story.  There are a million different angles to take when explaining why this works so well.  The easiest, I think, is to explain that children, to adults, are supposed to represent innocence and being care-free, and therefore we inherently trust them and/or see them as not only harmless, but as something that should bring joy.  To turn that on its head and have a child represent something dangerous, deadly, and evil, is an express ticket to the terror receptors in the brain.  (“Terror receptors,” that’s scientific; write it down).  One could take something of the opposite approach and say that children can be scary to adults because they represent responsibility and change and giving without receiving, but I would strongly disagree.  Damien is not scary to me because he represents the possibility that I’ll be a father someday.  I say anyone taking that stance does not have a fear of possible future children, but instead has hang-ups and hatred towards their own former existence as a child . . . but I digress.

So this concept of using innocence to invoke terror is not that new, and in a vacuum I’d say it’s a pretty effective way to get the desired response.  But I would argue that it’s having dangerous effects on culture in the long run.  Let’s take, for example, clowns.

Clowns are really the go-to source for creepiness, these days.  But once upon a time, clowns represented humor and happiness.  They were fun, and seeing one evoked good feelings.  (Sure, you may meet people that are older than, say, 50 that would argue that “clowns have always been creepy–I hated them as a kid!” but that doesn’t prove anything.  I had a friend years ago whose mom hates birds.  Not in a full-on phobia sense, but in that they are all unsettling to her and give her a case of “the willies” (“The Willies,” also scientific), but would you argue that means all birds are unsettling?)  The usage of clowns in horror stories has the exact same justification as using children in horror stories.  In fact, many people can trace their distrust and uneasiness around clowns back to the movie IT.

Tim Curry, wrecking childhoods one way or another

But so what, right?  We, as a society, don’t really NEED clowns to remain fun and innocent.  They’re fair game.  Except that now clowns are practically synonymous with “scary.”  Innocent clowns are the exception these days, and even then, guys like that first one I have up there are sometimes seen as horrifying or evil.

Now let’s consider dolls.

Just look at that porcelean princess up there.  I guarantee that at least 90% of the people reading this flinched at the sight of that thing.  But look closer.  LOOK AT IT!  What’s off-putting about it, in a strictly objective sense?  Why . . . absolutely nothing!  It’s a semi-realistic representation of a little girl, nothing more.  It’s the kind of craftsmanship that suggests it needs to be handled with gentle hands, but a real little girl would certainly be as welcome to it as would a collector.  So why did many of you consider scrolling the page so that photo is out of sight?  Like clowns, dolls (especially somewhat life-like ones) are used to evoke terror by placing them in settings where you don’t feel safe, and sometimes, like in movies such as Child’s Play or Poltergeist, they become the object of evil themselves.  But ask yourself, “If I find dolls creepy, WHY do I find dolls creepy?  To what can I trace this emotion to understand why I don’t like looking at or being around a toy that 50 years ago would have been treasured by a three-year-old girl?”  Is it because others around you have suggested that they’re creepy?  I have seen those same horror movies, but no one ever told me that dolls in general were supposed to be creepy until I was in my late teens.  So when I stay with my grandparents as an adult, I’m not phased one bit by the dolls my grandma has covering the walls in the room I always stay in . . . but my wife has told me she will NEVER sleep in that room.  And how many of you remember the episode of Seinfeld with the doll that looks like George’s mom?  Huh?  Do you?  Well . . . I can’t find any way to tie that episode in to this post, so I’m just bringing it up and posting this clip because that episode is freaking hilarious.

So again–so what?  Times have changed a bit and who cares if little girls aren’t as attached to realistic dolls of that nature anymore?  The problem, I submit, is that dolls, like clowns, are now synonymous with horror.  While you may have the occasional person who likes to collect such objects, they’re now first and foremost an object to represent terror and evil.  All of this ties back into conversations like I had a couple months ago, where some people are now equating cute kids with feelings of dread as a reflex.  Don’t believe me?  Pop quiz–which of the below do you ultimately find scarier?

Still not convinced?  Fine.  Which of the two videos do you find more likely to give you nightmares tonight?

Exibit A:

 

or Exibit B:

I rest my case.

It’s disturbing to me how culture is so rapidly eating through its images of innocence.  What will be the next object of our affection that we turn into horror movie fodder, to the point that we no longer look upon them adoringly in real life?  An easy answer might be something like puppies, kittens, or bunnies, but I would suggest that next in line is definitely something of a human nature (though Bunnicula did keep me awake at night years ago).  Perhaps . . . mothers.  Laugh all you want at the idea now, but I don’t doubt for a second that psychos like Andrea Yates or Dena Schlosser will become the real-life basis for more terrifying cinema and literature down the road.  And what happens when that becomes commonplace?  What happens when the common perception of a mother with her children is not one of protection and caring, but one of impending danger and doom for the kids?  Well–it might not actually matter in the end, because the kids are creepy to begin with.

Confessions of a Closet Yahoo! Answers User

So if you don’t know, Yahoo! Answers is a question and answer forum designed for people to ask questions about a large array of topics, and other users can read these questions and offer answers to them.  There are also a few bonus features added in, like a ranking system, to help keep it interesting.  In theory, it’s a great idea and would and should be a wonderful resource to administer polls, get advice, or learn more about a topic or issue.  Instead, it’s a cesspool of ignorance, poor language skills, vulgarity,  hatred, and 12-year-olds.  But there’s still some worth there, waaaaay under all of that.  Granted, it’s hard to get answers on legitimate questions, but sometimes the site does come through.  The flip-side to asking the questions, though, is answering them.  I alone have answered, over the last three-and-a-half years since I signed up for it, 146 of them.  And I think I’ve provided some good ones–why, if my grandpa were to see these, he’d probably tell me I’m “full of it.”  Oh, Grandpa; how right he usually is.

So let’s look at a few.  By the way, I will be making no edits to any spelling or grammar or even language–to do so would ruin the effect.

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Question:  Myth????? i think not? if people say global warming is a myth and its not real then whats happening on the earth why is spring coming 6 weeks earlier….. why are the polar ice caps melting? can u tell me why

My Answer:   While I have not come to an official, personal stance on the issue, I do know that it is argued that the planet is simply going through a warm phase, and the symptoms we are seeing is due to the natural causes. It has been documented that the earth went through a cool phase over the course of hundred years or more during the middle ages, where the winters were longer and the summers colder, so it is possible that what we are living through is its opposite. I have also heard the argument that the “greenhouse gases” that are said to be the cause of all of this are either made up or are not as serious as some would have you believe, and many of the things we are told that are signs of global warming are not that at all (i.e. the melting snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which I will admit I do not know the alternative theory, just that this is one of the “examples” that has been disputed).

No one is denying the symptoms, but the reason for them is not conclusive, despite what Al Gore says (which brings up another point: that some believe that the global warming issues are blown out of proportion by political figures to increase governmental controls over personal property). However, in the end I personally think that the reaction should be the same: clean up the planet. Warm phase or no, we can certainly do a much better job taking care of things than we are now. I’m going to do my part and go crush some Styrofoam.

Mine was chosen as the best answer by the asker, a fact about which I would be proud except that she rated it 3 stars and explained her choice:  “longest answer.”  That suggests two things to me–First, she had her mind made up on her stance on the topic (“People who don’t believe in global warming are stupid”) and didn’t expect to get any intelligent answers, so, second, she didn’t read any of the answers and just picked a long one.  Or maybe I’m wrong.

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Question:  Do you think its rude? when people come over i want them to take their shoes off because im in a apartment and i have light beige rugs i dont want dirt track marks all over the place even more recently because of all the rain we had here and our apartment complex tore up all our concrete so they can fix it because we keep on flooding so everyone is walking through all the mud and dirt to get here when she came in last night i told her to take her shoes off and she told me no theyre not dirty weather they had mud on them or not i dont want people wearing shoes in here these carpets stain easy how do i get people to take theyre shoes off without sounding rude? and do you think that i had the right to get mad when she refused to take her shoes off or she had the right to get mad for me getting mad?

My Answer:  It’s not rude to demand that others take their shoes off in your home. It is, however, annoying that so many people have a complete lack of understanding of the uses of punctuation.

So I didn’t get best answer on that one, but did get a single “thumbs down” from an unknown user (my money’s on the asker).  I still think it’s funny.  This also demonstrates a common kind of question in Yahoo! Answers . . . the kind of question that makes you ask, “what’s the point?”

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Question:  If amateurs wrote the Constitution and professionals built the Titanic which would be best to lead a nation? …You ever notice Bush and Cheney blame evrything around them for what is wrong?Especially people-Ad Hominem/…aren’t these tactics creating disharmony in our society?

My Answer:  First, while that’s a clever quip, it has faulty logic because the writers of the constitution were not amateurs in the sense that it is implied, and Titanic or no, I’d rather have someone with experience build my cruise liner. While “new blood” can certainly keep things fresh in a culture, if you disregard experience and wisdom, you’ll be trapped on a treadmill.

On the Bush and Cheney part, I would agree with you, but take a bigger look at our entire society. It’s the common point of view these days that anything bad that happens is someone else’s fault, even if you’re the one that pulled the trigger. The disharmony that you speak of is not a result of the Bush Administration, but a result of a society full of grown-up, spoiled children. If we won’t take responsibility for our actions and accept inevitabilities with maturity, how can we expect that of our leaders?

This one’s clearly a bit dated, but is a really good example of one of the many kinds of abuses this site gets.  He’s not seeking to understand an opposing viewpoint here, he’s picking a fight.  Again, I received only a thumbs-down for this answer, and this guy picked a long answer that had someone who agreed with him ranting on how Bush and Cheney were going to destroy the earth.  You know what?  I STILL hold that people who had such an extreme reaction to the Bush Administration were just spoiled and entitled bozos.  “The guy in office doesn’t agree with my points of view, teh gud timz r ovr!!1!lol”

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Question:  What’s a good hairspray alternative? I’ve never really been into the make-up and hair stuff and I wasn’t raised to know much about it but I’m really into emo hairstyles and I want to get one myself, but no matter where I turn they’re saying to use hairspray or styling gel.

So I was wondering: is there an alternative to using hairspray? (I’m not allowed cause it makes my dad sick, but if it’s fragrance-free then it’s fine.) Preferably a cheap alternative.
(If possible, brand names that are easy to find.)

My Answer:  Stop calling it “emo.” Call it what it is – commercialized goth. A true “emo” hairstyle doesn’t require hairspray.

. . . blasted kids.

So it’s apparent that I have only dealt with the IMPORTANT topics on Yahoo! Answers.  Really, my goal has been to educate and enlighten where I can.

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Question: I’m debating in favor of prisoner rights and need statistics…help? I have to base my debate on these three reasons:

(1) Prisoners are humans, and therefore should be treated as such.

(2) Prisoners should be allowed rights because perhaps they were not the true criminal, and so why should they have their rights taken when the guy who really did it is out there getting privileges?

(3) The crime may have been an accident.

I’m having trouble finding statistics for any of these reasons. Please help!

Someone else’s Answer:  Hello Madysen. If it will help you at all, I can give some insight as to how the system is working today.

Up until the mid 70’s, we used Civil Death. When a person was convicted of a felony, he was kicked off the face of the planet and had NO rights. Recidivism was at 15% up to that point. The reason it was so low is that it forced the inmate to realize life was a living hell in prison and the thought of returning was enough to help reinforce the idea of becoming an honest and upright citizen in society.

Since the mid 70’s, we entered into a far more liberal “Rehabilitation and Correction” ideology. Prisons now look like college campuses with razor wire on the perimeter. They do NO work. We do not have the prison factories like the old days where an inmate actually did work for 8 hours a day and was grateful to go back to his cell and rest/sleep. Now they sit around all day pumping iron, watching 60 inch color TVs in the rec area and have full access to mandated legal libraries where they research obscure laws to find loopholes to file frivolous lawsuits at no cost to themselves. ( Two examples of such lawsuits that occured in the last several years: 1: An inmate claimed he needed chunky peanut butter for his digestive tract and we only served smooth. Pain and suffering lawsuit: $25,000. 2: Inmate claimed the stainless steel toilets aggravated his hemorrhoids, causing pain and suffering. Lawsuit filed for $50,000. Both thrown out as frivolous.). Although you might view this as funny or even ludicrous, remember that each and every lawsuit has to be heard in a court of law to determine validity at a cost of thousands of dollars per month. This is YOUR tax money being spent.

Now, in defense of the system today. Inmates ARE governed by Constitutional rights. The right to be free of cruel and inhumane treatment. Proper diet control. Medical, dental and mental health care. To be housed within an environment that is controlled ( we actually have maintenance people walk into the units with digital thermometers to register the temperature of the air and record it).Rights to freedom of accepted religeon ( I say accepted for the satanists within the system, whom are not allowed to practice). Rights of legal counsel and legal redress. I can guarantee that the inmates today are treated FAR better than they ever were in the past and in most cases, far better than they treated their victims that led them into prison.

When a person is convicted of a felony crime, certain rights and priviledges are either suspended or revoked. In Ohio, upon EDS ( Expiration of Definete Sentence), a felon regains his right to vote. A convicted felon, however, does not regain his right to weapon use or ownership. This is part and parcel to breaking the law, has been established as uniform throughout the state system and is applied evenly across the board.

Yes, a crime may have been an accident. Vehicular manslaughter is a representative example of an accident. Bear in mind, whether it was an accident or not, using this example, a life was still taken. Would you feel it would be appropriate for a person to walk away free and clear for driving a car that is a rolling accident that killed a family member by stating ” I didnt mean to kill them?” That is exactly what our Judicial system is in place for. A trial by a jury of your peers that must show a preponderance of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt PLUS the jury must be unanimous in a criminal trial ( versus a majority vote in a civil trial).

Although any of us could argue that there are flaws within ANY system, we still have the fairest legal system in the world today.

I dont know if this truly helps your debate. If you would like further clarification on any point, please post an addendum to your question. I will check back in a day or so and do my best to answer it.

Source(s):

19 years as a Corrections Officer in a max prison

I put this one here instead of my own because that’s a good answer.   In fact . . . this one got best answer by way of user votes, and I think I gave it the one vote it got.  See?  I have no problem with not being the best.

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Question:  Black people when you date your own race what do you prefer? Lighter or Darker skin?

My Answer: Dark.

Please note that my answer is right next to a cartoony avatar that is CLEARLY a white guy.  It still makes me chuckle . . . and I got five thumbs up for it!

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Question:  Tipping is optional. Who here agrees? responde would be, that they would put something extra in my food. I say thats just wrong. If your employer does not pay enough you can quit. You never mess with anyone’s food. Tipping is something I do ONLY when the server goes out of their way and really puts some effort into it. But tipping automaticall as Steve Buscemi put it in 1991’s “Resivour dogs”, is for the birds. They are no different than beggers except that they work and get paid for it. If not enough, I say tough. I’m tired of servers who think that by doing the job they are hired to do they are entitled someting for them. They can take that with their boss and the government. Am I totally alone in this aspect of thinking?

My Answer:  Disagree all you want, the fact remains that they DO only make $3-4/hour in most cases. If you don’t like pressure to tip, you should avoid restaurants with servers. Simply start eating only at places where you get your own food, then you never have to worry about it! Our culture has made it customary to tip, and refusal to comply is not “sticking it to the man,” it is not a social protest, it is simply you showing how selfish and thoughtless you are. And who are YOU to suggest that they take up some other profession? That is none of your business, and you don’t know the first of any circumstances that led to them taking that job.

Lastly, you cannot make statements like you have made if you’ve never worked as a server, and that’s the bottom line. There is more to being a server than just writing down an order and bringing it back; it involves tons of side-work, maintaining stations, keeping the dining room in order, watching drink levels, bowing to every whim of the management staff who sees them as cheap labor, and, most of all, dealing with the day-to-day @$$holes like yourself who expect some kind of extra service outside of REFILLING THEIR DRINKS, LISTENING TO COMPLAINTS ON THE FOOD, AND RE-DRAWING THE CHECK FOUR TIMES before they pay their waitress for doing everything for them as they sat around and complained about how ridiculous it is to tip. And they have to do all of it with a smile on their face.

Okay, back on more serious stuff.  The argument that people shouldn’t tip, and tip well, is one of my hot-button issues.  Like the whole emo thing, but worse.  It seriously gets me so mad I have to talk myself down sometimes.  I got Best Answer on this one by way of votes . . . but I think that was me who did the voting.

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Question:  That in the opinion of atheist comes of them after death?

My Answer: What?

This is among the things that is hard for me to fathom–if you’re going to take the time to type the question, check for duplicates, and then categorize it and post it, how is it that you didn’t stop to notice that you didn’t write a true sentence?

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Question:  Explain the context of setting in Oliver Twist? please help me, it’s for my english homework

My Answer: You’re never going to get far by asking other people to do your work for you.

It makes me happy that I was the only person who answered this question.  I know people can make lots of empty commitments about what kind of parent they will be some day, but I hold that I’ll be watching my kids like a hawk, especially in the earlier years, to make sure they’re not pulling crap like this.  It’s seriously all over this site, too.  It’s one thing to show up and say, “I’m having a hard time understanding this question,” or something, but most often you see kids copying their homework questions into the site, hoping someone will bite.  I’ll be popping the backs of some heads if I catch that in MY house!

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Question:  Will using nylon strings on my steel string acoustic guitar alter the sound? I wouldn’t know. My music teacher suggested it as it is easier to play with nylon then steel. But will it change the sound? My guitar is 4 years old, and has never been re-strung. I am a complete beginner…thanks, Alli B

My Answer: My jaw is on the ground. If your teacher REALLY recommended putting nylon strings on a steel-string acoustic, I cannot stress enough that you need to find a new teacher. You could go with lighter gauge strings, but honestly I’d stick with more mid-range, such as 12’s. As a beginner, a large portion of your focus needs to be on strengthening your hands and fingers.

This is a rare example of Yahoo! Answers to the rescue.  For a short while I started taking interest in answering questions about guitar, since it’s something I know a little about, and this one still blows my mind.  Nearly EVERYONE that answered suggested this person find a new teacher.  Of course, some of them berated him for not changing his strings in four years, and that makes them jerks.  One guy even said that people who don’t change their strings at least every month should be “taken outside and shot.”  Classy.

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Question:  Why is it that a cello performance major has to take piano and a whole bunch of other bullshit just to perform? So, I’ve been playing the cello for 11 years. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and it’s all I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s all I have really. But I’m a Freshman in college now and am bogged down with theory this and theory that, and, oh yeah, I have to be proficient it piano as well!! I have never taken a piano lesson in my ******* life! I’ve never even seen CM7, or CMm7 or anything like that in any music I’ve ever played because I don’t play modern music. I don’t play jazz. I don’t play guitar, I don’t ******* play piano! How the **** do they expect me to know all of that bullshit?! i just want to ******* play my god damned instrument! why do I have to take all these detours?

My Answer: You’ll find that expanding what you know about music in general will improve what you understand about your own instrument. Piano is arguably the most basic of all western instruments, and understanding it will help you with cello more than you may realize.

The avatar next to that photo provides an interesting source point for that question–it’s of a really pissed-off looking girl.  Re-reading my answer tells me that could have been a lot more mean than I was.  I hope that she, as I did, has learned the value of a well-rounded education over a narrowly focused one.  The sad fact, however, is that many never do.  (Oh . . . and did she say “C major minor seventh?”  What the heck is that?  She clearly needs those theory classes.)

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Question:  Is there a flaw in my logic? Many people try to work toward a goal of changing something for the better.

Often, atheists will work toward making this world better, as in an atheist’s eyes, this world and life is the only one we have.

Also often, Christians will work toward making the next life better, as in a Christian’s eyes, the main reward they receive will be after death. Many Christians do work for this world as well, but the very core of Christianity involves working for a reward in heaven.

Is it then logical to say, that the atheist’s view of working toward improvement is better for this world, and that the Christian view would be better for the next life? If we were to look at the perspective of only improving this world, and ignore all other worlds, wouldn’t global atheism be seen as the optimal situation for the best possible society?

Now I can see the other side of the coin. If there is a next world, then in terms of only looking at the next world (heaven or hell), the Christian view would be seen as optimal for the best possible outcome of that world (I’m ignoring other religions now for the sake of simplicity).

Which brings me to my point and conclusion. If there is no life after death, is it then safe to conclude that Christianity impedes us as a society in the only world we have? Even if Christianity is right, can we then use the same logic to prove that all other religions have impeded progress in society, and that the world would be better off without religion? And since no singular religion (including Christianity) can prove itself to be valid, isn’t it then logical to say that all religions impede progress, and that the world would be better off without any of them?

My Answer: I can at least let you know that there are some flaws in some of your logic:

1) The very core of Christianity is NOT working for a reward in heaven. If you meet honest, true Christians, they do what they do because they love Jesus for saving them, and part of loving Jesus is loving and caring for others. The promise of eternal life is a big deal, but we’re not doing what we do to earn points.

2) In its truest form, Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. If you read what Jesus and the Apostles taught, you’ll find that much of it was about not being fake and legalistic, but truly loving God and loving others and living to ultimately glorify and worship Him. It is unfortunate that so much of western Christianity has traded that reality for pushy and offensive evangelism and right-wing agendas, because doing so has confused the rest of the world as to what we’re supposed to be about.

3) A fully atheistic society faces an ultimate problem. At where we are now, it seems that it would be easy for everyone to move towards a goal of a better world, but the farther along you get, the more divided everyone will become on what that “better world” should look like. When you have no absolute truth or standards, no one person’s opinion is greater than another’s, and then how are you to decide where to go? I guess you could say that everyone should just go their own way and live peacefully with everyone else, but you cannot deny that also slows and impedes progress, and you also must face the reality that peoples’ own ways will on occasion be so polar opposite that both cannot exist at once. Then whose is right?

Do you see that?  As arrogant as it may seem to say this about my own answer, that’s a civil response to a fairly civil and honest question about the value of religion.  The answer selected as “best answer” was even better.  What were most of the answers, though?  Ones like this:  “because cristions worry about the torcure of hell; and try to get to heaven where the streets are paved with gold” I sometimes wonder how it’s possible that humans haven’t cured cancer or colonized Mars yet.

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Question:  To be emo do i have to have a lip piercing? plz help me they also say i have to cute my self is it true

This one was actually kind of recent, when I went on the site to ask a question of my own, and I couldn’t pass it up.  So I now conclude this painfully long post with this painfully long answer I wrote.  It’ll be up for voting for best answer tomorrow:

My Answer: You cannot “be” emo. Emo is not a kind of person, but rather a style of music with origins in early 80’s east-coast punk rock that evolved into a more artistic version of punk rock by the mid and late 90’s, based largely in the Mid-west (it was, in some ways, 90’s college rock). Please heed what I’m about to tell you–you’ll be much smarter and less annoying for it.

The term became bastardized in the early 2000’s with the rise of groups incorrectly labeled “emo,” like Dashboard Confessional and Fall Out Boy, despite those groups (and their kin) sounding nothing like the groups from the 90’s, such as Cap’n Jazz, Braid, Promise Ring, Jawbreaker, The Get Up Kids, and pre-“The Middle” Jimmy Eat World. It was also around that time that the store Hot Topic came into its peak, and it encompassed fashions of not only punk rock, but of the goth scene as well, and sold music and posters of many kinds of groups, some of them emo. Many people outside of the punk, ska, and emo scene at the time didn’t know what emo was (and honestly, it was a hard genre to really pin down, unlike punk or ska). Since many people had never heard of “emo” before going to or hearing of Hot Topic, it became synonymous for a while with those stores, as was the sub-culture “goth.”

This is where things started to get gross. Goth and emo were further associated by their quasi-similar, generic themes of “lamenting over broken relationships” (emo) and “I’m so dark and depressed all the time and wish I could die” (goth).

Since the general populace is rarely concerned with differentiating between sub-cultures, “emo” and “goth” were married together in popular culture’s eyes in the most unholy union since Japan and Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s, becoming this odd sub-culture (called “emo,” much to my annoyance) that was generically centered around the theme of “I’m so dark and depressed by lamenting over broken relationships that I wish I could just die; or maybe I’ll just cut myself,” and focused on music that was truly nothing more than watered-down Blink182, which was already watered-down punk rock.  Seriously–go to Grooveshark, look up and listen to “First Day Back” by Braid, and then go listen to something by My Chemical Romance. Outside of their instrumentation, do they sound even remotely similar?

So at the end of it all, you have a genre of music that represented the next natural maturation of the punk rock underground scene, which was unsuccessfully brought to the mainstream by people who had no idea what it was, thus confusing everyone else about it, leaving you with people mocking or trying to be something called “emo” that was completely created by commercialism and misguided groupthink.

Let me illustrate this a different way before concluding. In 1989, the prog-rock group Jethro Tull won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, amid much controversy. They were hardly a hard rock or metal group. So what happened? Well, the suits and stiffs in charge of the Grammys had absolutely no idea what Heavy Metal really was, and they just lumped those guys in with other groups like Metallica. There was such an outrage over this that the award category was dropped, but imagine for a second that instead of people being outraged, the general populace began to think that “Heavy Metal” bands have flutists and dress like out-of-work hippies. And then real heavy metal bands faded away and moved on with their lives in different areas, and anything called heavy metal from that point forward brings to mind art-rock. Now imagine that you were a Slayer and Metallica fan in 1988, and all that stuff happened, and by the late 1990’s, kids were asking you “do I need dreadlocks to be heavy metal? I also heard that you have to walk around outside naked sometimes, is it true?” Does that seem silly and ridiculous? If it were real, it would probably tend to piss you off. That’s how I feel when someone asks if they need a lip piercing or to “cute” themselves to be emo.

But I guess the short answer to your question is “no.”

But Can Any of Them Play Basketball?

This is for real, I guess.

I could write a 10-page rant on this, but I’m going to keep it short.

Seriously?  Does no one have a problem with this?  Let’s not be so foolish as to think that if these kids are not a disciplinary problem at school, then it’s all well and good.  Plus, in connection to that, allow me to express my COMPLETE disagreement with the mom at the end.  What is lacking in your direction of your son that he is making up his own philosophies to justify wearing a tail to school?  What have you not done that this guy, as someone just years away from full-blown adulthood, thinks it’s his identity to howl while hanging out at the mall?

“We’re not trying to be intimidating, we’re not trying to be menacing or anything.  We’re just trying to live our daily lives and just hang out, you know?”

Dr. Braden says–“These teenagers have suffered a number of social difficulties, not only with their peers, but likely from a somehow unsatisfying relationship with their parents.  They have chosen imagery for their fashion that suggests power and fearsomeness in an attempt to demonstrate that they have anger and fury within them, but are too insecure to express those things in an otherwise socially acceptable fashion.  Their passivity when it comes to their appearance vs. how they want to be treated is likewise due to insecurities and a lack of courage to stand up for themselves.  The extremity of the fashion choices are likely due to a combination of modern societal factors, such as praising individual ‘expression’ and encouraging young people to ‘find themselves.'”

Eventually we are going to have to stop re-writing the definitions of “acceptable” and “normal” just because someone wants to stand outside of them, and recognize that there’s something bigger going on.  And for the record, the excuse, “at least they’re not hurting anybody” is not only overused but completely misguided.

Props to Goninan for the idea for the title.

Let’s put this to rest once and for all.

I was going to write up a whole blog on how I have said time and time again that a “sugar high” or a “sugar rush” is not at all true – meaning that you, nor anyone else, anywhere, ever, have gotten a surge of energy from eating an excess of sugar.  No, not even kids.  (This does not account for caffiene). I was going to search and search and search and provide references out the proverbial butt to support my case so that all you nay-sayers can see what I have on MY side so you know what  you need in order to prove YOUR side, and thus effectively knowing that what I know is RIGHT.  I was going to do that, but the first place I looked turned out to be all I needed.  It’s The Straight Dope article from February 15, 2008, where this reality was first introduced to me.  In it, Cecil Adams (self-dubbed as “The world’s smartest human”) cites many studies that have been done over the last 30-40 years which have all effectively failed to prove that sugar has any effect on people even closely resembling what is commonly believed.  In fact, what HAS been observed is that parents’ behavior around children, when the children have been given sugar and the parents know it, is what changes.  If you still refuse to believe me after reading this article, then there’s no hope for you.

So in your FACES!  I love you all.

So in your FACES! I love you all.