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Helen Smith

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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How Many People Show Up to Work Stoned?

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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According to this article, 10% of Americans go to work high:

Showing up to work high? You’re not alone.

A new report has found nearly 1 in 10 Americans are showing up to work high on marijuana. Mashable.com conducted the survey in partnership with SurveyMonkey, and found 9.7 percent of Americans fessed up to smoking cannabis before showing up to the office.

The data analyzed the marijuana and prescription drug habits of 534 Americans. What’s more, nearly 81 percent said they scored their cannabis illegally, according to the survey.

Cannabis and the workplace seem quite linked lately. Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel recently chimed in on marijuana and work. While criticizing Twitter during an appearance on CNBC Wednesday, Thiel said Twitter is a “… horribly mismanaged company—probably a lot of pot smoking going on there.”

I find it amazing that this many people would confess to smoking at work and that 81% stated that they obtained the cannabis illegally. Some businesses drug test but others don’t or can’t afford it.

Do you mind if your barista or server is high? What about your doctor? Isn’t this a problem to be taken more seriously? How are these high people getting to work? I see a lot of people in my area riding bikes on the main roads these days. Maybe they are high just trying to get to work. I guess a bike is better than driving, but it still doesn’t seem like a great idea.

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cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image illustrated via shutterstock / gabriel12

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Are Video Games Sexist?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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What Is Your Take on Singles Now Outnumbering the Married?

Monday, September 15th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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The New York Post had this recent article on the state of marriage in America (via Newsalert):

Unmarried American adults outnumber their married counterparts for the first time since the federal government began tracking that data in 1976, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 124.6 million single Americans in August — accounting for 50.2 percent of the 16-and-over US population, the BLS data showed.

Eric Klinenberg, an NYU sociology professor who tracks marriage trends, predicts the unmarrieds will probably be edging their married peers by this small margin for the foreseeable future….

But while the numbers might look stark, Americans are still getting together — they’re just not racing down the aisle.

“Just because people are not getting married doesn’t mean they’re not partnering and cohabitating,” said Karen Guzzo, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University.

How much of the decrease in marriage rates is because men are on strike? How much of it is for other reasons? Whatever the reason for singles taking over in the U.S., it is important that the laws reflect equality in partnerships between men and women; or better yet, the law should stay out of personal relationships as much as is humanly possible.

However, I doubt that will happen, so men must be ever vigilant that they do not end up being responsible in traditional ways for women while the women pretend to be “empowered” as the society changes to one of a nation of singles  Given the lack of due process, the tendency to blame men for relationship problems, and unequal treatment in domestic relations, men might be better off not living too long with any one woman. This is bad for society and families, but might be a better solution for individual men.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image illustration via shutterstock /  Thomas Reichhart

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The New America: Shopping instead of Job Hunting

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I was not surprised to read that more unemployed people are shopping rather than job hunting:

On the average day, an unemployed American is more likely to be shopping—for things other than groceries and gas—than to be looking for a new job, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Only 18.9 percent of Americans who were unemployed (in surveys conducted from 2009 through 2013) spent time in job search and interviewing activities on an average day, according to BLS. Yet 40.8 percent of the unemployed did some kind of shopping on the average day–either in a store, by telephone, or on the Internet. 22.5 percent of the unemployed, according to BLS, were shopping for items other than groceries, food and gas…..

An unemployed person—on the average day—was more likely to spend time on shopping, sports and recreation, socializing and leisure, than they were searching for and interviewing for a new job, according to BLS.

According to BLS, 96.7 percent of the unemployed spent time during the average day participating in “socializing, relaxing, and leisure” activities and spent, on average, 5.93 hours on those activities—or more than twice the number of hours they spent job searching.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image via shutterstock / Rawpixel

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‘They Were Teenage Boys, and Their Alleged Assailants Were Female Employees Tasked With Looking Out For Their Well-Being.’

Saturday, September 6th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Slate:

So, what has been going on at Woodland Hills? A 2010 investigation by the Tennessean found a series of allegations that had gone largely uninvestigated and unpunished by authorities. One of the facilities’ kitchen employees, the newspaper discovered, had reportedly given a 17-year-old boy chlamydia, and later lived with a different male juvenile who she had been accused of abusing while he was in the facility. The woman was cleared in four separate state investigations despite failing a lie detector test. She was ultimately convicted only after she turned herself in to police. In another case uncovered by the paper, a different female guard went on to marry a former inmate after he was released from the facility. The woman kept her job even after her marriage came to light.

Such incidents are sadly common inside our juvenile justice system. In the most recent federal survey of detained juveniles, nearly 8 percent of respondents reported being sexually victimized by a staff member at least once in the previous 12 months. For those who reported being abused, two things proved overwhelmingly true, as they were in Woodland Hills: They were teenage boys, and their alleged assailants were female employees tasked with looking out for their well-being. Nine in 10 of those who reported being victimized were males reporting incidents with female staff. Women, meanwhile, typically make up less than half of a juvenile facility’s staff….

The attitude that these boys bear some blame, however small, is dangerous in a vacuum. It’s downright reckless when we know that 90 percent of reported incidents involve male juveniles and female guards. “That minimizing of a serious crime is really contributing to the crisis,” says Stannow, “and we are talking about a crisis here.”

The common theme with most woman on boy sex seems to be that whether the teen is being abused in a juvenile facility or is a 14-year-old forced to pay child support to the grown woman who committed statutory rape against him, somehow he is always to blame.

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image via shutterstock / Gts

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‘The Prenup Is Just Another Hurdle…’

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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CNBC: How Safe is a Prenup?:

Prenups are supposed to be the ultimate divorce insurance for the wealthy. Yet like insurance, prenuptial agreements are often challenged when there’s a claim. …

The main reason prenups are so rock solid is the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act, which was adopted by the majority of states and makes it very difficult to toss out a prenup. The law sets out basic guidelines for drawing prenups and strengthens their enforceability, attorneys said.

Yet there are a few conditions under which prenups may be tossed out. Attorneys said the most common challenge is fraud, where a spouse undervalues or hides assets. ..

Another popular challenge is the “coercion or duress” argument. This is Anne Griffin’s main argument. She said that after she expressed unwillingness to sign the prenup, they had an argument and Ken Griffin became “so angry, violent and intimidating that he destroyed a piece of furniture in their home.” ….

“If the wealthier party wanted it to be fair, they wouldn’t enter into a prenup,” he said. “Prenuptial agreements necessarily deal with degrees of unfairness. They give leverage to one side.”

That doesn’t mean that less wealthy spouses can’t get more than the prenup offers. In the recent divorce of Wendi and Rupert Murdoch, for instance, Wendi Murdoch negotiated a larger settlement during negotiations involving their assets and children. The Griffin divorce also involves the custody of their children.

“The prenup is just another hurdle for one side to overcome,” Auerbach said.

Yes, that’s the problem, the “one side” is generally the wife and since when is it “unfair” to get a prenup and to have leverage over one’s own earnings?

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cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image illustration via shutterstock / zimmytws

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Gender Affects Types of Crashes for Young Drivers

Saturday, August 30th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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A study finds that the gender of young drivers plays a role in the types of crashes they are involved in:

(HealthDay News) — The types of vehicle crashes involving young drivers often vary by gender, a new study has found.

Researchers analyzed data from 2007 to 2011 for all crashes involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 in Kansas and found a number of differences between male and female drivers.

Young women were 66 percent more likely to wear a seat belt, 28 percent more likely to drive on a restricted license and they had more crashes at intersections and with pedestrians. They were also more likely to have crashes on weekdays.

Young men, on the other hand, had more crashes at night, more off-road crashes and were more likely to have crashes on weekends, according to the study published recently in the Journal of Safety Research.

“There are often different risk factors for young male and young female drivers because their behavior and attitudes are generally different,” lead researcher Sunanda Dissanayake, a civil engineering professor at Kansas State University, said in a university news release.

The article mentions education materials being aimed at each gender to help them reduce car accidents: perhaps more instruction for girls are how to prevent driving errors at intersections and around pedestrians and instructions for guys on why wearing a seat belt is important, though this may or may not work. Any ideas on how to get guys to wear seat belts? It seems to be a big problem for them in fatal crashes.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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College Men ‘Going on Strike’?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Amy Alkon:

You’ve come a long way, baby — and then gone all the way back and then some.

Ashe Schow writes in the Wash Ex about the fallout from the campus sexual assault hysteria:

Thanks to an increased focus on sexual assaults on college campuses – mostly due to an overblown statistic claiming 20 percent of college women have been sexually assaulted – young college men are starting to rethink how they talk to women.

At first glance that might seem like a good thing – men learning to be more respectful of women and not be so rapey – but that’s not what this is.

This is about men actually avoiding contact with women because they’re afraid a simple kiss or date could lead to a sexual assault accusation.

Bloomberg reporters John Lauerman and Jennifer Surane interviewed multiple men from colleges like Harvard and Stanford who expressed concern over what was once known as a “hook-up culture” but is now labeled by feminists as “rape culture.” The change in terminology ensures that all responsibility is placed on men, just because of their gender.

Take Malik Gill of Harvard University, who said he wouldn’t even give a female classmate a beer.

“I don’t want to look like a predator,” Gill told Bloomberg. “It’s a little bit of a blurred line.”….

As I’ve written before, women used to demand to be treated as equals; now they demand to be treated like eggshells.

Count me out.

Yeah, me too. We will keep hearing the question from women, “where have all the good men gone?” as they live in their cocoons, never understanding that the guys went on strike a while back and many have left for good. Are college women to blame for this? Yes, because as Martin Luther King says: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. If college women do not understand the injustices they are witnessing against men in our colleges today and strive to help, then they are part of the problem. They reap what they sow.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

Image via shutterstock / auremar

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The Adventures of Sky Diving, Walking on Fire and Eating Out Alone

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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52 Things, 52 weeks is a blog where the author describes herself as “Entertainment attorney. IP nerd. Foodie. Coffee lover. Mac enthusiast. Yoga addict. Insomniac. Shutterbug. World traveler.” After reading my recent post, she decides this is the week she will try eating out alone:

Normally when I do something outside of my comfort zone on this blog it involves jumping out of a plane, walking on fire, or plunging into an ice-cold lake. While this week’s post seems mundane by comparison, it actually made me really uncomfortable to think about it. When I saw an article asking “Are You Ashamed to Eat Out Alone?” I decided it was time to mark this one off of the list.

Yes, I’ve grabbed a quick bite here and there by myself before. I have a favorite lunch spot back home that I sneak off to each time I visit and I’ve spent hundreds (probably thousands) of hours studying alone at coffee shops. But I have never gone to a nice restaurant and enjoyed an entire meal alone.

I set up a few ground rules:

How adventurous! Maybe next time, she should take along a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking just to complete the evening.

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cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image illustration via shutterstock / CandyBox Images

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Is Suicide Genetic?

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Some researchers say yes:

No one could have predicted that Oscar-winning comedian Robin Williams would kill himself.

Or could they?

When someone commits suicide, the reaction is often the same. It’s disbelief, mixed with a recognition that the signs were all there. Depression. Maybe talk of ending one’s life.

Now, by studying people who think about committing suicide, as well as brains of people who actually did, two groups of genome researchers in the U.S. and Europe are claiming they can use DNA tests to actually predict who will attempt suicide.

While claims for a suicide test remain preliminary, and controversial, a “suicide gene” is not as fanciful as it sounds.

The problem is that suicide samples are small and I often wonder how much gender plays a role in the lack of studies and data on suicide:

“We seem to be able to predict suicidal behavior and attempts, based on seeing these epigenetic changes in the blood,” says Kaminsky. “The caveat is that we have small sample sizes.”

Kaminsky says that following the report, his e-mail inbox was immediately flooded by people wanting the test. “They wanted to know, if my dad died from suicide, is my son at risk?” he says….

The bigger problem, says Dracheva, is that there are simply not enough brains of suicide victims to study. Unlike studies of diabetes or schizophrenia, where scientists can call on thousands or tens of thousands of patients, suicide studies remain small, and their findings much more tentative.

It’s because they don’t have DNA from enough people who committed suicide that researchers, including those at Hopkins and Max Planck, have had to try connecting the dots between DNA and whether or not people have suicidal thoughts. Yet there’s no straight line between the contemplation of suicide and actually doing it.

Of the more than 38,000 suicides in this country, over 30,000 are by men, yet the suicide studies remain small? Why?

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cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image illustration via shutterstock /  Youjin Jung

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How Does Institutional Bias Affect Men?

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I wondered about this a few weeks ago as I watched a Question and Answer session for perspective students at a large Washington D.C. Law School. The Q&A was about an hour and the admissions speaker was a lively woman who seemed very oriented to students and happy to answer questions about the LSAT, the law school and how to do one’s best in the application process. The future students were eager to ask questions and hands around the room went up quickly. There were around 50 people, about half men, half women in the room. But I noticed that the speaker mainly called on the women students, even if a man had raised his hand first. She even said “I will get to you in a minute” to a male student but then called on a couple of women instead: one woman was even called on three times! I wondered if the speaker even knew she was doing this.

I must admit that part of the problem was the way that the guys in the room were trying to ask questions. Their hand did not go up as aggressively as the girl’s hands nor were their voices as strong or as loud. They were softer and more hesitant than the women’s and I often could not hear them as well. Is this a function of men with softer voices applying to enter law school or were they more timid in this particular setting? Were they picking up that they were the underdogs in this situation and that they were not getting the same attention? If I am observing this behavior in one academic setting, how many more men are being affected by academics and administrators around the country who may be treating them differently?

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How Deadlifts and Squats Changed My Life

Friday, August 1st, 2014 - by Helen Smith

I have been following Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program twice a week now for a few months. I have to say it has worked really well for me.

Since having a heart attack many years ago, I was afraid to do squats and deadlifts with much weight, if at all. However, Mark gave me the confidence to feel that I could indeed, do them again, albeit with some modifications. I have been using lighter weight, mainly just the 45 pound bar for deadlifts and the same for squats. Yeah, it’s light but sometimes I add five pounds on each side if I feel like it. I do three sets of five reps of each of the exercises with rest in-between as Rippetoe suggests. At first, I thought it didn’t seem like this plan would do much but I have noticed subtle changes over the past few weeks.

My lower back rarely hurts and my legs are much stronger. I have been doing overhead presses also that help me keep my posture in line and my upper body no longer hurts from the computer as much as it did. I feel better and can easily squat down now to lift things more readily. The idea of these exercises is to give one more functional ability in his or her daily life and they definitely have done that for me. I am still doing some yoga and other exercise for variety but I think the squats and deadlifts have really been key to helping me achieve the goals that I wanted–less pain and more ability to do tasks in my daily life. Thanks Mark!

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

Check out some of Mark Rippetoe’s biggest hits at PJ Lifestyle:

You Only Need These 6 Things For a World-Class Home Gym

Why You Should Not Be Running

Maybe, You Should Gain Weight

Forget What You’ve Heard: 4 Reasons Why Full Squats Save Your Knees

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Which Variables Most Influence Where You Choose to Live?

Monday, July 28th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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It seems that people pick places to live on other variables than happiness:

If New York is so unhappy, why do so many people keep living there? That’s one of the many questions at stake in a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Researchers from Harvard and the University of British Columbia used people’s self-reported life satisfaction data from the CDC to try to determine a geography of American happiness. What they found is that among the biggest metropolitan areas, the Big Apple is the unhappiest. Scranton, Pennsylvania, takes the honor of the least happy metro area of any size. Meanwhile, Richmond is the happiest large metro area, and Charlottesville, Virginia, is the happiest of any size…..

The data also carries in it an insight into how people make major life choices. If people only sought to live in happy places, cities like Richmond and Charlottesville, Virginia would be swamped with people, while New York would be desolate. Clearly, that hasn’t happened.

“One interpretation of these facts is that individuals do not aim to maximize self-reported well-being, or happiness, as measured in surveys, and they willingly endure less happiness in exchange for higher incomes or lower housing costs,” they write.

That said, places with low income growth and low population growth also tend to be particularly unhappy, both currently and historically.

“[C]ities that have declined also seem to have been unhappy in the past, which suggests that … these areas were always unhappy — and that was one reason why they declined,” write the authors.

The upshot seems to be that people make decisions based on happiness, but only on a limited basis. So at least in the economics world, there’s more to life than being happy.

It seems that people go where the money or jobs are earlier in life and then often move to places that make them happy or that have lower taxes when they retire or maybe lower taxes makes them happy as they have more time to do other things with their money. The problem is that people ruin these places such as NYC etc. with their politics and then move to the lower tax states such as the South to retire and then try to ruin these places with their politics and the cycle continues.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image illustration via shutterstock / Ollyy

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How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra)

Saturday, July 19th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I have been reading Barbara Oakley’s new book A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) this week. It’s a fascinating and fun read if you want to learn math, science, or, like me, just want to improve your memory.

I was actually pretty decent at math as my father was a mathematician and I grew up learning to love numbers. However, I had no natural talent, just no fear, which is important in learning math. Oakley makes this point throughout the book as she believes most people can learn math (and science) with the right tools and mindset. She is an engineering professor who failed her way through high school math but tackled these skills as an adult. Here is more about the book:

In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to effectively learning math and science—secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they’d known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there’s only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions—you just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn math. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over. A Mind for Numbers shows us that we all have what it takes to excel in math, and learning it is not as painful as some might think!

Relaxing while trying to learn math sounds counterintuitive but it works, according to the book. One of my favorite chapters is called “tools, tips, and tricks” and it gives the reader positive mental tricks to use to their advantage in learning. She tackles procrastination and gets tips from experts regarding their student, such as “No going onto the computer during their procrastination time. It’s too engrossing,” “Before procrastinating, identify the easiest homework problem,” and “Copy the equation or equations that are needed to solve the problem onto a small piece of paper and carry the paper around until they are ready to quit procrastinating and get back to work.”

All this seems to lead to being a bit more creative and perhaps a bit more relaxed. Come to think of it, the above tips would be helpful in writing a blog post except the writer has to use the computer and cannot avoid it. Anyway, the book is great and goes into more detail about how to increase your memory with metaphors and visualization. Pick it up if you want to know more about how to succeed at math and science or if you just need to improve your memory and learning ability.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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Want to Get Rich? Buy a Walgreens

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I am reading a book by Tom Wheelwright called Tax-Free Wealth: How to Build Massive Wealth by Permanently Lowering Your Taxes (Rich Dad Advisors) and trying to figure out how to reduce taxes. Many of the strategies are a bit too complicated and risky for many people, including myself.

For example, in chapter nineteen on “The Magic of Real Estate,” the author suggests that you find a Walgreens to buy. You buy Walgreens property, they find the land, build the building, sell the land and building to the investor, and lease them back for 30 years. Okay, so now, you as the investor pay the mortgage. Then Walgreens sends you a check that you deposit in your account. “So you don’t have to do anything. You travel all over the world with the investment income for your Walgreen’s property til a ripe old age.”

The next paragraph goes into how one can use depreciation deductions to further shelter your taxes. All this “sounds” easy, right? Wrong, not to me anyway. You need accountants that are hard to get in touch with, constant documentation, and tax planning that sounds pretty complicated. In addition, I thought there was a depreciation recapture which means some of the money will have to be paid back at some point if you sell it. It sounds like a headache. And what if Walgreens goes bankrupt? What do you do then? Books like these always make it sound like nothing will go wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, the book is good, interesting and makes some good points about how to save on taxes but dealing with so many professionals, their costs and all of the accounting really sounds time consuming and if time is money, as the book mentions, aren’t you just trading one form of work for another?

If you have some simple tax saving strategies, please share them below (legal ones please!).

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cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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My Experience at the First International Men’s Conference So Far

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I have been at the men’s conference sponsored by A Voice for Men in Detroit for the past couple of days. It has been quite a delight to meet up with so many like-minded people on men’s issues. I met in person many of my personal heroes including paternity fraud activist Carnell Smith, columnist Barb Kay, author Warren Farrell, and more.

The crowd of what looked to be about two or three hundred people were diverse and ranged from all ages to all ethnic backgrounds. There were more men there but almost as many women it seemed! There were young men attending the conference who quietly came up and asked me to sign books and middle-aged and older who just stopped by and told me they had read my book and felt that it helped them in some way.

I met the young women who call themselves the Honey Badgers who fund-raised enough money to pay their expenses to go to the conference. Many people at the conference had sacrificed a lot to be there whether it was paying their own way, taking time off from work or struggling with physical problems that limited their ability to travel. I was in awe and amazed at the great group of intellectual speakers and the audience who asked questions that were critically thought out and challenging.

My only concern with the conference was the media that was present. I’ll explain on the next page.

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VIDEO: The War Against Men’s Sports

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog / image illustration via shutterstock /  Alan Bailey

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Great Advice from Clint Eastwood

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I am looking forward to seeing Eastwood’s new movie, Jersey Boys, and saw this article on his thoughts of directing as he gets older:

You have more experience as you get older. You have more to draw on, as long as you don’t lose your faculties. You can play on that if you’re lucky enough genetically or you take good enough care of yourself, or a combination of the two. You can go ahead and experiment with things. There’s so many different stories to tell out there. You can be 21 or 81. … If you tell yourself, “I’m too old to do that” bulls—. You’re not too old to do anything.

I have always wondered why people and our society in general try so hard to get older people to give up in life and often times, at a pretty early age. My experience is that once you hit 37, people start telling you that you are too old to do so many things. If you live to be Eastwood’s age (84), that is almost 50 years of negative messages coming one’s way. Good thing he probably never listened.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

Image via: cinemafestival / Shutterstock.com

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Dating is War

Monday, June 16th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I have been reading and re-reading the book this week and her chapter on dating was particularly interesting.

In a section called “Dating is War,” Amy describes dating rudeness and perceived rudeness. She makes a good point: “The truth is, in dating, a good bit of the hurt and anger people feel is caused not by rude behavior but by misconceptions about the opposite sex and the way things ‘should’ work as opposed to the ways they actually do.” The war between the sexes, according to the book, is one that goes back millions of years and has to do with the ensuing differences in what sex can end up costing us. Women want men who can provide if she gets pregnant and men like the sight of a good looking woman. Well, it’s more complicated than that, but you get the idea.

She says we need to accept that men act like men and women act like women when it comes to dating and that it is evolutionary. Perhaps, but then, many things are “evolutionary” but we strive to be better than that or to change our response to something that may have served us well as cave men but now, not so much.

That said, Amy has great advice for those who are dating, for example: Don’t date people you aren’t attracted to, assume that everyone you meet on the Internet is lying their ass off until proven otherwise, and how to politely tell a potential sexual partner that you have an STD (prior to having sex is the first step). Luckily, she provides good advice on how to deal with each of these areas so that you come out of the dating experience with some dignity!

The book is loads of fun and very entertaining. If you want to learn manners on anything from dealing with a bad neighbor to eating, drinking and socializing in modern times, read it.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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‘As a Male You’re Supposed to Enjoy It…’

Friday, June 13th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

A 36 -year- old woman in New Zealand gave birth to the baby of an 11 year old boy but not much can be done about it (via A Voice for Men):

An 11-year-old boy fathered a child after sex with a school friend’s 36-year-old mother.

Both the father and child are now understood to be in care after the principal at the boy’s school raised the alarm.

The case has caused counsellors working in the area of child sexual abuse to highlight the lack of attention given to women as potential offenders.

It has prompted Justice Minister Judith Collins to step in saying she will seek more information on the law. “This case raises an important point. I will seek advice from officials on whether or not a law change is required.”….

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse manager Ken Clearwater said if the case were proved, the woman should be held accountable for her actions. Making charges able to be brought dependent on the gender of the offender was wrong and the law should be changed. “It is a huge issue for us.”

He said male victims of sex abuse carried out by women were equally as damaged as any other victim of rape.

“As a male you’re supposed to enjoy it but we don’t say that about young girls. Males are not seen as victims. The psychological damage is huge – and they carry extra shale because it’s a woman and you’re supposed to enjoy it.”

Mr Clearwater said most abuse of the sort in this case was not reported.

And it has also highlighted disparity in the law of rape, which makes it impossible for a woman to be accused of the crime.

This is a sad case and an unfair one. The law should be changed and as soon as possible.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

thumbnail illustration via shutterstock / Sebastian Kaulitzki

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Should Halle Berry Pay Child Support of $16,000 a Month?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014 - by Helen Smith
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Actress Halle Berry and her ex-boyfriend, Canadian model Gabriel Aubry.

A reader alerted me (thanks) that Halle Berry has been ordered to pay child support to her ex-boyfriend:

A judge has approved a settlement between Halle Berry and her ex-boyfriend over child support payments for their 6-year-old daughter.

The agreement approved by Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon on May 30 calls for Berry to pay ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month or nearly $200,000 a year to support their daughter, Nahla. The Oscar-winning actress will also pay for their daughter’s tuition, but the former couple will split health care expenses.

The order also calls for Berry to pay her ex-boyfriend a retroactive payment of $115,000 and $300,000 to his attorneys to cover the costs of their custody dispute.

Berry and Aubry, a model, were involved in a custody dispute in 2012, and a judge blocked her from moving their daughter to France.

Gordon’s order only affects child support payments.

While these big custody and child support cases like this make headlines, the truth is, women still pay a small percentage of child support. I was recently watching the Independents, a Fox business show about the “War on Men” and Jill Filipovic of the Feministe blog said that women are now paying a great deal of the alimony and child support. This is hardly true. It may seem like it as the media and women complain if they have to pony up the cash, but men still pay the majority of child support and women rarely pay alimony.

What do you think? Is the settlement in the Berry case fair or unfair?

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

Image via: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

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Greg Gutfeld Reveals How to Defeat the Hipster Elite

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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I am reading Greg Gutfeld’s new book Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You. It’s a very funny book that looks at how our culture is infiltrated with those who think that being cool is the only way to be. The book’s premise is that being cool is not only annoying, it is dangerous. “We used to consider the right thing to do; now we consider the cool thing to do.” Rather than help parents through tough times, people adopt a tiger through the World Wildlife Fund. Rather than do anything hard, just do something cool, it is easier and gets one liked without sacrifice or risk.

According to Gutfeld, the cool conformists, mostly liberals, try to make you believe the following:

How do the cool enslave you? By convincing you that:
- If you don’t agree with them no one will like you.
- If you don’t follow them you will miss out on life.
- If you don’t listen to them you will die a lonely loser.

I laughed as I read this, thinking back to a few hipsters I had worked with once who told me that if I didn’t do what they wanted, I wouldn’t be invited to parties. I was dumbstruck. “Do I look like I care?” was all I could think of saying. But their behavior was intriguing to me, as well as a bit revolting. Who would respond to this type of incentive? Are they used to persuading people this way? If so, it must normally work. Why would anyone go along with this type of manipulation?

Gutfeld’s book explores why people desire so much to be cool and it seems to boil down to the fact that many people are conformists who would rather do something easy that makes them feel good about themselves than take a stand and risk not being liked: “Coolness is a replacement for a strong ego and operates as a safe ambivalent response to evil in the world. The result: We are left with a dreary planet of self-esteem sponges more interested in capturing the approval of phonies than actually doing something real or positive with their lives.”

My question is: Is being liked so important that people will risk everything this country used to stand for in order to be invited to the party?

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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Is Discrimination Against Boys Ruining the Economy?

Friday, May 2nd, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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This is an important question, but the more important one is “does the current government care?” “Probably not,” I thought, as I read this recent article at the New York Times titled “A Link Between Fidgety boys and a Sputtering Economy?”:

By kindergarten, girls are substantially more attentive, better behaved, more sensitive, more persistent, more flexible and more independent than boys, according to a new paper from Third Way, a Washington research group. The gap grows over the course of elementary school and feeds into academic gaps between the sexes. By eighth grade, 48 percent of girls receive a mix of A’s and B’s or better. Only 31 percent of boys do….

By kindergarten, boys already fare much worse on social and behavioral measures than girls. The gender gap is even larger than the class gap and some racial gaps…

And in an economy that rewards knowledge, the academic struggles of boys turn into economic struggles. Men’s wages are stagnating. Men are much more likely to be idle — neither working, looking for work nor caring for family — than they once were and much more likely to be idle than women.

We reported last week that the United States had lost its once-enormous global lead in middle-class pay, based on international income surveys over the last three decades.

The traits that boys have in our current school system are seen as destructive and annoying. Our society does not reward “knowledge” as much as it rewards conformity and feminized traits. Teachers who don’t like the way boys act, particularly female teachers, give boys bad grades.

Add to this discrimination the current administration’s war against college men and you have a recipe for men bailing out of the system, going to the underground economy, or saying “to hell with it” and getting disability payments. Perhaps this is the plan of the current regime.

Boys and men are marginalized (unless they take up with the PC ruling class as many do), the politicians are made to look like they are helping girls and women who turn to them for ever more goods and services, and the economy not only sputters but starts to sink. People groan about the poor economy, not realizing that they are the ones contributing to it by their compliance, and the circle is complete. Will we break it before it is too late?

What do you think?
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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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Why Men Cannot Trust Feminist Academics Who Write on Men

Thursday, May 1st, 2014 - by Helen Smith

Too many evenings hanging with these guys kept us from seeing too many movies this year.

I read with interest (and quite frankly, disgust) an interview with Michael Kimmel, author of books such as Guyland and Angry White Men, over at Just Four Guys blog. It made me realize why men should not trust Uncle Tims like Kimmel. Here is a summary of where academics like Kimmel stand:

PROF. KIMMEL: The United States has never been more gender equal. We’ve never been more sexually equal. We’ve never been more racially equal. Sure, on each front, we have a long way to go for full equality. There is still lots of discrimination against women, LGBT people, and people of color. But we have never been more equal. And we will be more equal tomorrow than we are today. And I’m happy to report that we are not going to go forward into the past. Women are not going to have some V8 moment in which they say “Oh, yeah, this equality stuff sucks, I hate voting, and driving, and serving on juries, and having a job, and having my own bank account, and having orgasms.” Let’s go back the way it used to be on Mad Men.

So the question for men, in my view, is simple: we can be dragged kicking and screaming into that more equal future, or we can walk courageously into that future, knowing that our lives, as men, will, be better for it, that the more equal we are, the better our relationships with our friends, our wives and partners, our children will be. Gender equality is not a zero-sum game; it’s a win-win. I support gender equality not only because it’s right and fair and just and patriotically American – which it is – but because I also know it is in my interests to do so.

No, Kimmel, men have real issues right now that you have not addressed. Campuses accusing them unfairly of rape without due process, fathers being torn from kids due to abusive family courts, men forced to pay for children that are not their own, and boys growing up without male role models. You talk about how teens like Trayvon Martin etc. need help from the men’s rights movement. Bullshit. Men like Chris Mackney need and deserve our help. I will be there to help them, will you? Somehow, I doubt it.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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