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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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Dick Cheney’s Health Miracle

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 - by Helen Smith


I saw that Dick Cheney has a new book coming out tomorrow with his cardiologist called Heart: An American Medical Odyssey. In an article about Mr. Cheney, his calls his health a miracle:

Cheney had his first heart attack over 35 years ago and has been the recipient of many modern heart treatments that seemed to come along at just the right time. He even had a pump attached directly to his heart while awaiting a transplant. He knows luck played a big role in his life. He says Dr. Reiner once made an analogy between the course of Cheney’s health and treatment and a person who gets up late and drives to work, but he sees all the traffic lights ahead are red. “‘Cheney,’” he says the doctor told him, “‘when you get to them, they all turn green.’ And that’s… a pretty good description,” says Cheney.

I also had a heart attack at 37 and am the recipient of modern technology. It truly is a miracle and we are lucky to be alive at a time when some medical problems can be corrected, at least for heart patients. I hope that other medical advances proceed at such a level.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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The Soul Mate Myth: There is No One

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 - by Helen Smith


Rollo Tomassi’s new book The Rational Male is very detailed with tiny print making it hard to read more than a chapter at a time. He really needs an index but that said, the information he lays out is informative and necessary for men to know as they enter the dating world or even if they have been in it for years. I was reading over Chapter I on “The Soul Mate Myth” and his thoughts on society’s obsession with it make sense. He defines ONEitis as:

“An unhealthy romantic obsession with a single person. Usually accompanied by unreciprocated affection and completely unrealistic idealization of the said person.”

Tomassi writes about how ONEitis can paralyze you and even lead to depression or suicide (thanks to commenter rayc2 for pointing out this link). If we believe that there is only one person out there for us, then it makes sense that to lose that person is upsetting to some and can be devastating to others, especially to a someone with emotional problems such as depression or a personality disorder. It is important to have some perspective. As Tomassi states:

“The definition of Power is not financial success, status or influence over others, but the degree to which we have control over our own lives. Subscribing to the soul-mate mythology necessitates that we recognize powerlessness in this arena of our lives.”

Not bad advice.


Shutterstock / Bruce Rolff

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What Books Does Dr. Helen Smith Recommend for 2013?">What Books Does Dr. Helen Smith Recommend for 2013?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

What books does Dr. Helen Smith recommend for 2013? Click here to see her picks at the Freedom Academy Book Club.


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An 8-Year-Old Fights the Patriarchy at Half Price Books in Berkeley

Monday, October 7th, 2013 - by Helen Smith


I was kind of shocked (okay,it’s Berkeley, nothing should shock me) when I read that a store had pulled books from a book store at Half Price Books, in Berkeley, Calif. because an 8 year old girl called them sexist:

Constance Cooper’s daughter, KC, is no shrinking violet. In fact, Cooper describes her 8-year-old as articulate, passionate and a great reader, qualities parents hope their children exhibit as they grow.

So it was not a huge surprise to Cooper when, this past summer, KC became upset after an ordinary trip to their local bookstore, Half Price Books, in Berkeley, Calif.

“We were browsing around in the bookstore, and suddenly I heard my daughter calling out, ‘Mama! You have to look at this!’” recalls Cooper. “So, of course, I thought she’d found something she wanted to buy, but it was completely the opposite. She was looking at two books that had made her so enraged she was actually in tears.”

The books, titled “How To Survive (Almost) Anything,” included a boy version and a girl version. In the boy version, the chapters covered topics such as “How to Survive a Shark Attack,” “How to Survive in a Desert,” and “How to Survive Whitewater Rapids.”….

KC was so upset at the sexist nature of the books that a bookstore employee took notice and asked her what was wrong.

“After looking through the books, the employee agreed they were offensive and pulled them from the shelves! She said if she had seen them first they wouldn’t have been there to begin with. She was great because she took action and validated my daughter’s feelings.”

Cooper, a science fiction writer, is proud of her daughter for drawing attention to the books and having them removed from the store, and took this experience as a lesson learned for both KC and herself.

So at my local Barnes and Noble, there are many books I find offensive and sexist. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg is one and Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men by Michael Kimmel is another. I was once in that bookstore reading Lean In (I don’t want to pay for it) and feeling upset by the sexism and flippant attitude towards men. Any chance they will ban those books? Hah!

And why should they? Is it fair to ban books because we don’t like what they say? The mom in this story is proud of her daughter–it’s fine if the daughter wants to speak up but she shouldn’t be proud that they removed the books from the store, she should be horrified that she and the store clerk are teaching an 8 year old that it is okay to be a PC fascist who gets her jollies from restricting free speech. How would mom feel as a SF writer if they banned her books from stores?


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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A Dwarf Kept Me Up Last Night

Sunday, October 6th, 2013 - by Helen Smith


No, it’s not as exciting–or face it, just plain weird–as the headline makes it sound. I was up reading Harry Stein’s new book, Will Tripp: Pissed Off Attorney at Lawabout a dwarf who takes on his PC opponents and actually wins. I have to admit, I typically don’t like fiction but the theme of this book was right up my alley and I could not put it down:

Will Tripp is a dwarf lawyer who despises all things p.c. and takes on only clients at war with the totalitarian left. In this first book in the series, Will and his idiosyncratic ‘dream team’ go after a ruthless campus feminist adored by a fawning media.

The lawyer’s older brother is a professor at an Ivy League college where he is accused of “verbal rape” when he speaks angrily about his ex-wife who ran off with another woman. A marine who has a Ph.D and teaches at the college is railroaded by militant feminists and their male sycophants. The lawyer seeks to help both men, often using his adversaries’ own political correctness against them which is all the more satisfying. This book is a real gem and fun for those of us who seek justice for everyone, not just those who follow the herd.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

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The War on Football

Saturday, October 5th, 2013 - by Helen Smith


Sadly, I saw that a former Amazon CFO, Joy Covey, died in a bike crash on Wednesday:

She died Wednesday after colliding with a minivan while riding her bicycle downhill on Skyline Blvd. near Portola Valley, Calif., according to Art Montiel, a public information officer at the California Highway Patrol in Redwood City. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

After this tragedy, are people calling out to ban bikes? Apparently, 677 people were killed on bikes in 2011 and many more were injured. The article I linked mentions that the health benefits of biking offset some of the risks. Why is it okay to get hurt or injured on a bike but when it comes to a sport like football that is safer than bicycling, the PC community is up in arms and wants to ban it? That is one of the questions that Daniel Flynn tackles in his new book The War on Football: Saving America’s Game. From Amazon:

From concussion doctors pushing “science” that benefits their hidden business interests to lawyers clamoring for billion-dollar settlements in scam litigation, America’s game has become so big that everybody wants a cut. And those chasing the dollars show themselves more than willing to trash a great sport in hot pursuit of a buck.

Everything they say about football is wrong. Football players don’t commit suicide at elevated levels, die younger than their peers, or suffer disproportionately from heart disease. In fact, professional players live longer, healthier lives than American men in general.

More than that, football is America’s most popular sport. It brings us together. It is, and has been, a rite of passage for millions of American boys.

But fear over concussions and other injuries could put football on ice. School districts are already considering doing away with football as too dangerous. Parents who used to see football as character-building now worry that it may be mind-destroying. Even the president has jumped on the pile by fretting that he might prevent a son from playing if he had one.

But as author Daniel J. Flynn reports, football is actually safer than skateboarding, bicycling, or skiing. And in a nation facing an obesity crisis, a little extra running, jumping, and tackling could do us all good.

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Why Am I No Longer Horny?

Friday, October 4th, 2013 - by Helen Smith


Dr. Dan Purser explains why in his book Improving Male Sexuality, Fertility and Testosterone: A Handbook Based on the Medical Literature. I was touched as I read the inside of the paperback version of the book and saw that Dr. Purser had dedicated the book as follows:

To those poor men who have been damaged and don’t even know it–instead they’ve been diagnosed as having a fluoxetine or alprazolam deficiency and are treated until they end their lives in desperation.

This book is for you, with a prayer that you are in the future treated properly and that you get happy and whole again, at least as whole as those of us who are broken ever get.

And to my best bud, Mike, God rest your soul. Your life and dedications will not be forgotten. Thanks for being an example for those of us who are not as capable.

It is good to see that a doctor is dedicated to helping men and searching for the correct diagnosis for men who have lost interest in sex and have become depressed and sad. In the first chapter of the book, Dr. Purser describes how men come into his office telling him they are depressed and sad and don’t know why, yet they never mention a low libido. He describes how instead, they tell him about not being able to sleep, headaches, digestive problems and high cholesterol, all symptoms he says, of low testosterone and low libido.

Often the guy says he has been to a doctor who tells him his testosterone is “fine.” Purser goes on to describe the labs he does and other chapters examine the many misdiagnoses that doctors often make such as depression instead of low testosterone and how doctors use Prozac or other meds that do not work.

The book is an easy read and seems to be helpful for guys who are dealing with some of these issues.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s blog

image courtesy shutterstock / PathDoc

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Do You Suffer from iPosture?

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 - by Helen Smith


I know I do even if I am over the age group they are discussing in this article at the Daily Mail:

Do you suffer from iPosture? Tablets and smartphones are causing an epidemic of back pain as people hunch over devices

84 per cent of 18-24 year olds have admitted to suffering back pain in the last 12 months, according to a survey by Simplyhealth
The results also showed almost all age groups spend as much time in front of a PC, laptop or tablet screen in total as they do asleep in bed
Brian Hammond, CEO of BackCare, warned hunching over handheld devices is a contributory factor in back pain reported by different generations

It sounds like the latest gadget from Apple. But ‘iPosture’ is being blamed for an alarming level of back pain among 18 to 24-year-olds.

The term is being used to describe the stooped body shape adopted by those texting, emailing or playing games on their iPad or smartphone.

Luckily, for my back, I have been standing at this Furinno Adjustable Vented Laptop Table Laptop Computer Desk and that has helped my back immensely.

But it is not just back pain but also eyestrain that is a problem for me. I seem to be addicted to screens, even at the gym, I find myself staring at TV screens when I don’t want to –just out of a bad habit. It’s hard to break.


cross-posted from Dr Helen’s blog

image courtesy shutterstock / Sergey Nivens

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The Bright Side of Pessimism

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 - by Helen Smith


Are you a pessimist who wonders how to get rid of the negative feelings? Maybe you don’t have to or want to, according to the book I am reading. Psychologist Shawn Smith’s book The User’s Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It is quite an interesting read, particularly if you tend toward pessimism. Stephen Hayes, a professor says about the book “You would not use your dishwasher without a manual. Come on. Time to take a look.” I doubt the human mind is that similar to a dishwasher but a manual wouldn’t hurt. Some goals of the book are to “find out how your mind tries to limit your behavior and your potential, discover how pessimism functions as your mind’s error management system, learn why you shouldn’t believe everything you think and how to overrule your thoughts and feelings and take charge of your mind and life.” The book’s premise is that your mind is not built to make you happy, it’s built to help you survive and so far, it’s doing a good job since all of us reading this are alive. We may not always be happy and anxiety-free but alive is good.

The Guide teaches the reader how to live more anxiety free and with less worry but it does so in a way that embraces pessimism, and doesn’t tell the reader just to “think positively!” In a section called “It isn’t Pessimism–it’s Error Management,” Smith says that it often pays to err on the side of pessimism. For example, an aversion to strangers is a universal experience that makes sense. There is no immediate cost if you avoid the neighboring clan but if you mistakenly think they are friendly and trust-worthy, it could be fatal.

Pessimism can also help to solve problems, according to psychologist Robert Leahy. When pessimistic, we tend to slow down and have a chance to think; we have the chance to devise solutions or simply to sidestep oncoming difficulties. How do you live with a pessimistic mind? Perhaps by becoming a “defensive pessimist.” “Hosogoshi and Kodama (2009) found that defensive pessimists experience better health when they learn to accept, rather than fight, their negative thoughts. They also noticed that people who become mired in fearful, depressive thoughts perceive little control over a situation. That prevents planning and motivation.

Defensive pessimists tend to perform best when they indulge their negative thoughts before they perform. Mark Seery and his colleagues (2008) point out that those negative predictions often come bundled with unpleasant feelings, but that those negative feelings actually facilitate preparatory performance.

So instead of submitting totally to negative thoughts or fighting against them, “simply notice what the mind is doing. It is calculating probabilities and helping us make the best possible mistakes in a word where mistakes are inevitable.” Remember that the next time some Pollyanna tells you to buck up and think more positively! It may not be the best advice–for your mind.


Cross-posted at Dr. Helen.

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A Family Friendly Guide to Allergy Free Cooking

Monday, August 5th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

allergy free cooking

If you have ever had food allergies, then you know how hard it is to find recipes and put together meals that don’t trigger them. I have some weird food allergies: carrots, pears, apples, and a host of other “good for you” foods that I am not supposed to eat. Luckily, Victoria Mazur’s book Allergy Free Cooking: A Family Friendly Cookbook – No Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Shellfish, or Nuts showed up in our mail the other day and I picked it up to get some ideas.

Unfortunately, I am not much of a cook, my husband does most of the cooking. It’s hard, however, to come up with simple tasteful meals that take into account food allergies and don’t take hours to make. Mazur’s book is a good one for those of us who are not chefs and who need to come up with good meals that are simple and don’t require time scouring the aisles of the supermarket for expensive, hard to find items that are allergy or gluten free.

The book is divided into food categories such as Soups, Poultry, Lamb, Beef, Pork and Fish and even I could follow the recipes. For example, a salmon dish uses only 9 ingredients and has clear instructions: Four 6 oz. salmon steaks, 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. Brown sugar, 1 T. Honey, one-forth cup Dijon mustard, 2 T. lemon juice, 1 T. finely grated ginger and salt and pepper. Basically, then combine all the ingredients (but the fish) and whisk and coat the salmon and cook.

Okay, even I can do that. I will have to try out some of these recipes and help out more with the cooking. For those of you wondering why someone who advocates for equality between the sexes is falling down on the job, I do the laundry and most of the cleaning in our house. But I would like to help out more with meals as it gets tiring for any one person to have to plan meals consistently.

Do you have any food allergies that require special cooking? If so, how do you cope with it? Or share a recipe in the comments.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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Hen-Pecking Does Not Work

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 - by Helen Smith


Psychology Today has an article on hen-pecked husbands by psychiatrist Jerry. R. Bruns (thanks to the reader who emailed this link):

A new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships by researchers at the University of Arizona assessed the sex differences in communication styles of heterosexual couples. It confirmed a 2011 study headed up by Neil Warner of Creative Conflict Resolutions that found that appeasement by the male is not the way to relational peace in our time.

The Creative Conflict Resolution study found that 68% of men preferred to say, “yes dear” or “uh huh” instead of sharing their true feelings to please their quarreling mate. The Arizona study found that girlfriends and wives are not fooled by this capitulation and that this “no mas” defense actually antagonizes and frustrates these women, who then have a lower opinion of the relationship because there is no real satisfactory resolution of the conflict.

The author starts off okay with the article but descends into blaming men for the problem:

After the thrill of the physical part of the relationship fades, many women discover they have bonded with a compliant wimp who observes the letter of the marriage or cohabitation and secretly years for just a little peace from a woman of clashing temperaments and few if any shared interests or goals. These hen-pecked men will kindle a simmering resentment from living with an incompatible mate, but rarely openly voice their true feelings. They will attempt to find opportunities to covertly do the things they really like such as hiding out in their “man caves” or volunteering for business trips so they can find a quiet refuge where they can eat pork rinds and corn nuts and watch their beloved ESPN in peace. Eventually many women discover that their one time Prince Charming has no core beliefs besides pleasing her. These wives and girlfriends will lose all respect for their spineless men who stand for nothing. Then the magic of the marriage or cohabitation will be over.

So close, but the author had to go and ruin what could have been a decent piece. Yes, hen-pecking doesn’t work and men are resentful, but in today’s modern marriage, what is he to do? If he raises his voice, he might be charged with domestic abuse. He doesn’t want to get mad because he might lose control — which society frowns on. Finally, if the wife wants to fight back, she has the force of the state, the legal system, and the culture on her side. He has little recourse. I definitely think there are ways to engage in more productive communication with one’s wife than stewing in the basement, but men are not taught these skills, any more than women are taught the boundaries of aggression. The author claims men are wimps but offers no solutions.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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‘The Majority of Service Members Who Are Sexually Assaulted Each Year Are Men…’

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 - by Helen Smith


The New York Times (Hat Tip: James Taranto):

But in a debate that has focused largely on women, this fact is often overlooked: the majority of service members who are sexually assaulted each year are men.

In its latest report on sexual assault, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 service members experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2010. Of those cases, the Pentagon says, 53 percent involved attacks on men, mostly by other men.


image courtesy shutterstock /  for you design

Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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Men On Strike at the Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

I talk with host Mary Kissel at the WSJ about my new book, why men are boycotting marriage and why men can’t speak out.


Crossposted from Dr. Helen’s Blog

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‘Fathers Haven’t the Same Sentimental Appeal That Mothers Have.’

Monday, June 17th, 2013 - by Helen Smith


I was researching Father’s Day and saw that it was Richard Nixon who made it a federal holiday:

The campaign to celebrate the nation’s fathers did not meet with the same enthusiasm–perhaps because, as one florist explained, “fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal that mothers have.” On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation’s first event explicitly in honor of fathers, a Sunday sermon in memory of the 362 men who had died in the previous December’s explosions at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah, but it was a one-time commemoration and not an annual holiday. The next year, a Spokane, Washington woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on July 19, 1910….

In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last. Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts.

It seems to me that with all that fathers do for our country, it is the least that can be done. Fathers are important, just like mothers and it is unfair to pretend that they are not.

So Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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Is a Man Doomed to Be Labeled ‘Immature’ No Matter What?

Saturday, June 15th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

The Telegraph has an article stating that men mature 11 years later than women and are 43 before they start acting respectable(!), according to this study (via Newsalert):

A study into the differences in maturity between genders revealed both men and women agree men remain ‘immature’ well into their late 30s and early 40s.

But the average age at which women mature emerged as 32.

Alarmingly, eight out of ten women believe that men ‘never stop being childish’ – with breaking wind, burping, eating fast food in the early hours and playing videogames their biggest bug-bears.

Staying silent during arguments, not being able to cook simple meals and re-telling the same old jokes and stories when with the lads were also hailed as signs of immaturity…

One quarter of women felt they were the ones made all the important decisions in the relationship with the same percentage wishing their partner would talk about themselves and what they’re feeling more often.

So, whatever men do is viewed as “immature,” even by the men themselves. Everything that men do is seen as immature; women’s behavior is viewed as mature. Silent during an argument? Immature. Yell, confront, and raise a man’s blood pressure? Mature. It’s very easy to play this game. Men are not displaying the behavior that women want; that’s always immature.

I wonder what would happen if the men truly opened up and started really talking about themselves and how they truly feel, not just how women say they should feel. Do you really think women would view this as mature? I would love to be a fly on the wall to watch that happen.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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The Sexual Harassment Industry

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 - by Helen Smith


Over at Minding the Campus, Peter Wood writes an important article called “Sexual Harassment–The Feds Go Way Too Far”:

The DOJ/OCR Montana letter is a grab for power. To that extent, it is self-explaining. Opposing sexual harassment is a profession and, to some extent, an industry. The self-interest of the people who make their living opposing sexual harassment lies on the side of lower standards of evidence, broader definitions, and minimization of obstacles to new regulations. Regulatory self-aggrandizement is not a mystery, though it is usually mysterious to the regulators themselves who have a level of difficulty in apprehending their own motives akin to that of anorexics attempting to form an accurate picture of their bodies.

But empire building is only part of the story. The Montana letter is a step in the long progression of feminism towards a surveillance society. Fifteen years ago Daphne Patai in her book Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism diagnosed feminism’s effort to write “a new chapter in the dystopian tradition of surveillance and unfreedom.” Patai saw the coming emphasis on “transparency, whereby one’s every gesture, every thought, is exposed to the judgment of one’s fellow citizens.” OCR is of course far from this level of intrusiveness, but not in spirit.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

Image courtesy shutterstock / Camilo Torres

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‘Mating Preferences, After All, Are Driven Not Only By Attraction But By Attainability.’

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

James Taranto at Best of the Web: “Rich Woman, Poor Man: Why do female breadwinners tend to have unhappy marriages?”:

Why are men averse to higher-income women? Perhaps because they understand that women are averse to lower-income men. Mating preferences, after all, are driven not only by attraction but by attainability. In theory all men should be attracted to supermodels; in practice few would have the confidence to ask one out.

If, as Mundy suggests, female breadwinners find it a “struggle” to remain attracted to their husbands, then avoiding such a marriage seems a wise defensive move for a man. If the evolutionary psychologists are right, it’s a relatively easy one to make, since a woman’s earning power would not exert much emotional or sexual pull on a man.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen 

image courtesy shutterstock /  Andresr

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In Today’s America, the ‘Evolved’ Man Is the Metrosexual

Friday, May 24th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

Samsung says men are idiots

Over at MSN, in the “Men’s Department,” an article cutely has a caption asking if a commercial portraying men as dirty, unkept imbeciles is sexist:

Television maker Samsung is taking heat over a new commercial portraying men as dirty, unkempt, flatulent couch potatoes.

In the new ad for Samsung Smart TV’s Evolution Kit called “Evolutionary Husband?” posted May 14 on YouTube, a woman daydreams about plugging in the Evolution Kit into her man, who then becomes an “evolved,” multitasking marvel – caring for the baby while simultaneously making breakfast, painting, decorating a cake and watering a plant.

Her daydream is brought to an abrupt closure by a loud emission of flatulence from said husband — who remains the same dirty, zombie-like caveman who appears to have not left the couch in several days.

“Samsung TV is an Evolutionary TV,” says the message on the ad.

The man in the commercial is acting like a woman; that is how one becomes “evolved” in our screwed-up society. The only man worth dealing with is a metro-sexual. It’s no wonder men no longer want to get married as often.

Watch video on next page.

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8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back

Sunday, May 12th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

I was reading Drudge and saw that he and other intense internet users were enlisting the help of Esther Gokhale, author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot:

Mr. Drudge is one of thousands of people who have trained with Esther Gokhale, a posture guru in Silicon Valley. She believes that people suffer from pain and dysfunction because they have forgotten how to use their bodies. It’s not the act of sitting for long periods that causes us pain, she says, it’s the way we position ourselves….

Mr. Drudge read Ms. Gokhale’s book, “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back,” before training with her in person. “I needed her touch, her observations and her humanity,” he said.

I read and reviewed this book several years ago and it has really helped with computer-related pain:

I tried some of the exercises in the book which show how to sit, stand, bend and walk correctly and was pleasantly surprised that they seemed to ease some of the stiffness of the computer. The exercises with bands (that I already had in the house) were most helpful and stretched my legs out and felt great! I very much recommend the book if you spend too much time on the computer. If nothing else, the photography and illustrations make this book worthwhile on their own.

And if these methods work for Matt Drudge with his sitting up to 17 hours a day, maybe they will work for the rest of us.

Cross-posted at Dr. Helen.

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Is 25 the New 15?

Saturday, April 27th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

That’s the question asked in the 1st chapter of a book I am reading called Escaping the Endless Adolescence: How We Can Help Our Teenagers Grow Up Before They Grow Old. From the description:

Do you sometimes wonder how your teen is ever going to survive on his or her own as an adult? Does your high school junior seem oblivious to the challenges that lie ahead? Does your academically successful nineteen-year-old still expect you to “just take care of” even the most basic life tasks?

Welcome to the stunted world of the Endless Adolescence. Recent studies show that today’s teenagers are more anxious and stressed and less independent and motivated to grow up than ever before. Twenty-five is rapidly becoming the new fifteen for a generation suffering from a debilitating “failure to launch.” Now two preeminent clinical psychologists tell us why and chart a groundbreaking escape route for teens and parents.

Drawing on their extensive research and practice, Joseph Allen and Claudia Worrell Allen show that most teen problems are not hardwired into teens’ brains and hormones but grow instead out of a “Nurture Paradox” in which our efforts to support our teens by shielding them from the growth-spurring rigors and rewards of the adult world have backfired badly. With compelling examples and practical and profound suggestions, the authors outline a novel approach for producing dramatic leaps forward in teen maturity, including:

• Turn Consumers into Contributors Help teens experience adult maturity–its bumps and its joys–through the right kind of employment or volunteer activity.
• Feed Them with Feedback Let teens see and hear how the larger world perceives them. Shielding them from criticism–constructive or otherwise–will only leave them unequipped to deal with it when they get to the “real world.”
• Provide Adult Connections Even though they’ll deny it, teens desperately need to interact with adults (including parents) on a more mature level–and such interaction will help them blossom!
• Stretch the Teen Envelope Do fewer things for teens that they can do for themselves, and give them tasks just beyond their current level of competence and comfort.

The authors point out that even young people who appear to be succeeding by conventional standards wake up in their mid-twenties clueless about how to find a job, manage money, cook, or live on their own. They are educated but unable to care for themselves. “Twenty-five is now becoming the new fifteen.”

According to the authors, teens are living in a “bubble” that is undermining their development. They have their room at home, school, the shopping mall etc. but it,

“cuts them off from meaningful roles in the adult world, cuts them off from close day-to-day contact with adults, and it hyperexposes them to peer relationships, which become their primary socializing influences.”

The last chapter of the book points out that the staples of the Adulthood Diet are Challenge and Feedback. Teens don’t get much of it in their lives. We have done away with competition (too masculine, I suppose) and real-world feedback (kids need high self-esteem!) and therefore they never learn to master the larger world.

The book instructs parents and adults in how to teach kids to grow up and be an adult in today’s modern world. That’s no small feat. But better late than never because twenty-five should never be the new fifteen.


Cross-posted from Dr. Helen’s Blog

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Men on Strike Now Available for Pre-order

Friday, April 19th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

My book, Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters is now available for pre-order.

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Will 3D Printing Transform your Life?

Sunday, March 10th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

That is the question sought to be answered by the new book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman, who discuss the pros and cons of a 3D world where we could possibly have a machine that could make everything. The authors state “[in] the not-so-distant future, people will 3D print living tissue, nutritionally calibrated food, and ready-made, fully assembled electronic components.”

The book looks at the history of 3D printing and how it came about and from there, the chapters discuss everything from what these machines can make to the legal difficulties that will follow from the technology. From the Backcover:

Businesses will be liberated from the tyrannies of economies of scale
Factories and global supply chains will shrink, finding themselves closer to their customers
The law, already reeling from digital media, will once again need to be redefined
Our environment might breathe easier in a 3D printed economy, or it could choke on a rising tide of plastic
3D printed digital and intelligent, adaptive materials will change our relationship with the physical world

What do you think of 3D technology: Is it the next best thing or will we choke on a rising tide of plastic?

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Queen Bees: ‘Their Assaults Harm Careers and Leave No Fingerprints’

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 - by Helen Smith

A reader sent me this WSJ article entitled “The Tyranny of the Queen Bee”:

Women who reached positions of power were supposed to be mentors to those who followed—but something is amiss in the professional sisterhood….

A 2007 survey of 1,000 American workers released by the San Francisco-based Employment Law Alliance found that 45% of respondents had been bullied at the office—verbal abuse, job sabotage, misuse of authority, deliberate destruction of relationships—and that 40% of the reported bullies were women. In 2010, the Workplace Bullying Institute, a national education and advocacy group, reported that female bullies directed their hostilities toward other women 80% of the time—up 9% since 2007. Male bullies, by contrast, were generally equal-opportunity tormentors.

A 2011 survey of 1,000 working women by the American Management Association found that 95% of them believed they were undermined by another woman at some point in their careers. According to a 2008 University of Toronto study of nearly 1,800 U.S. employees, women working under female supervisors reported more symptoms of physical and psychological stress than did those working under male supervisors.

The article points out that Queen Bees often assault careers in ways that leave “no fingerprints.” I find this interesting; I think that men are more direct in their tactics, often women tend to be more manipulative so that they do not have to take responsibility for their actions and can deny or disown them. And their victims barely know what hit them. Men’s directness is easier to spot and criticize, women’s tactics, not so much. It is more difficult to “prove.”


Cross-posted at Dr. Helen.

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The Single Women Transforming America’s Cultural Landscape

Monday, February 4th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

Women are driving the demand for the rental market according to this CNBC article:

In fact, even as housing and the greater economy improve, a shift in demographic trends will likely favor the rental apartment market for the foreseeable future. It is all about women….

“What drives demand for single family homes is, ‘Oh honey, I’m pregnant,” says Buck Horne, a housing analyst at Raymond James.

But those words are being uttered less and less. Horne claims the shift in female education, marriage and fertility rates will drive rental apartment demand going forward. He points to a growing educational imbalance, that is, 3.1 million more women enrolled in college than men and 4 million more college-educated women in the workforce than men.

“That creates a structural imbalance in the number of suitable partners. Women leave college with good income prospects and are not finding suitable husbands and fathers,” says Horne.

Consequently, the millennial generation is delaying marriage and motherhood, and birth and fertility rates are dropping. The female fertility rate is at its lowest level in recorded U.S. history, according to the Centers for Disease Control/Raymond James research. 41 percent of children are born out of wedlock. Horne’s research finds single mothers prefer living closer in to cities and staying in full amenity apartment rentals. This all points to more structural, long-term demand for rental housing.

Though this article is concerned about the impact of renters on the long term structure on the housing market, my main concern is the impact of single women and mothers on the structure of our culture and government. Will they demand a “full amenity” government just as they do a full amenity apartment rental?


image courtesy shutterstock / Rob Hainer

Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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