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How to Install a New Faucet in 7 Easy Steps

Thursday, November 21st, 2013 - by Builder Bob
Old Faucet - Lame.

Old Faucet – Lame.

I hate plumbing. I really, really hate it. Given the choice between doing a plumbing project or listening to a Miley Cyrus album, I would choose a root canal (at least a drill can stay on pitch). About the only thing I’m good at with plumbing is displaying copious amounts of hairy butt crack while working.

On the surface plumbing sounds relatively simple: pipes bring clean water in, and separate pipes take the poop water away. But with changing building codes and new developments in materials there is no standardized system, so you often don’t know if you’re going to be dealing with iron pipe, copper, pvc or cpvc, or new pex fittings, until you actually dig into a project.

There is a reason plumbers can charge $60+ per hour, and if you have more money than time or patience then I strongly recommend hiring one, particularly if you are dealing with a difficult issue. However, if you want to save a bunch of money and improve the look of your bathroom or kitchen, replacing a faucet is within the ability of most homeowners.

What You Need:

supplies

1. The first step in any plumbing project is to shut off the water to the area where you are working.

Most fixtures have shut off valves in the cabinet underneath. If yours are in good shape simply turn off the valves for both the cold and hot water, and move to step 4.  If however, you have ancient shutoffs from the 1970s and need to replace them you will have to shut off the main water supply to the house.  Most mainline shutoffs are located outside the house in an enclosed box underground. Beware if you live in the southwest like me; critters love the shade and moisture provided here, so look out for black widows, scorpions, and snakes. (Man aren’t you glad you decided to do this?) The other shut off should be located on top of the water heater. 

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Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse in a Hardware Store

Thursday, October 31st, 2013 - by Builder Bob

*Disclaimer: This article is intended for entertainment and exercising-your-inner-MacGyver purposes only.  The weapons in this article are potentially dangerous and should only be used on the living dead or surplus pumpkins.*

All

I have an obsession with everything Zombie-related. I love The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead – hell, I think I’m the only one who liked World War Z (I’ve always wanted a Macro zombie movie that focuses on the global ramifications of a worldwide outbreak instead of focusing on a small group of survivors). Now I know that there is no likelihood of the dead reanimating, but I think it’s a great mental exercise to prepare yourself for a disaster situation. On slow days at work I often wonder what I would do if a zombie outbreak occurred at work and I was stuck with only my bug-out bag and pistol that I leave secured in my car, while the heavy artillery is locked in a safe at home 35 miles away.

So you’ve survived the initial outbreak and are looking for a secure location to hole up for awhile and ride out the worst of it.  You find a hardware store that is defensible, probably close to a grocery and drug store, and chock-full of goodies to aid in your survival. The only problem is that uncreative looters have taken the most apparent weapons: machetes, hatchets, crowbars, and hammers. But you haven’t survived this long without some ingenuity. It’s time to build up an arsenal for you and your small band of post-apocalyptic warriors.

Steel Bar Stock Machete

A machete is a great tool for dismembering the undead hordes. While this homemade version may not be as graceful as Michonne’s katana, it will definitely get the job done

Supplies: 24″ x 2″ x 1/8″ piece of steel bar stock, Angle grinder or metal file,  Dremel with metal grinding cone, jigsaw or hacksaw with a metal cutting blade, honing stone,  5gal paint stir stick, duct tape, black spray paint

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How to Build the World’s Manliest Paper Towel Holder…

Thursday, October 24th, 2013 - by Builder Bob

When I start a new project I often dive in head first and make a big mess in the process. Paint splatters, sawdust, motor oil, spilled glue, calf’s blood, dismembered limbs–you know the usual workshop messes. So after I’m done digging wells and building hospitals for the underprivileged in Africa, I need a bunch of paper towels to clean up the aftermath of my construction destruction.

Sure I could just buy a cheap plastic paper towel holder for my workshop and  be done with it, or I could build an everlasting testament of testosterone for my man cave. Using 3/4″ iron pipe and some rust preventative you can build a beefy bar for your towels that will one day be discovered by future archeologist, inspire them to power down their construction bots, rediscover their masculinity, build something awesome, and stop making babies in the lab and start making them the old fashion way, thus reintroducing genetic diversity to the world and saving the future of mankind.

So for the sake of humanity I need everyone to to build their own beacon of badassery, to ensure they are found for future generations.  Here’s how you do it.

Supplies Needed:

Supplies

Supplies

Instructions:

1. The first step is to secure the fender washers to the end cap and base so the paper towels don’t move around or slide off the bar.  I used a combination of E6000 automotive glue–which works great on metal–on the contact surface of the washer and cap. Then I wrapped a bead of JB weld epoxy putty around the outside. The last step is overkill for the amount of stress put on this project, but hey, if you’re building something to survive the apocalypse why not?  Make sure you clean any glue over run out of the pipe threads before it has a chance to set, otherwise you will have a hard time fitting the pieces together later. Clamp the parts overnight to let the glue and epoxy cure fully.

2. I advise coating the iron pipe with a protective finish to prevent rust. Either a clear acrylic finish or rust-inhibiting spray paint (black is the only acceptable manly color). Tape off the thread areas of the pipe before you spray or it could interfere with joining the pieces.

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How To Hang Pegboard To Finally Get Your Garage Organized

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 - by Builder Bob
Hanging Pegboard

Hanging Pegboard

After moving to my new place, I had access to a great studio space. It had cabinets, shelves, and a large counter top work surface. But after my first few projects digging tools out of cabinets, tool cases, and packed boxes I decided it was time to organize my work space more efficiently. Adding Pegboard to your work shop, garage, or garden shed is a cost effective way to organize all your material. It makes your tools easy to find, close at hand, and up out of the way of your work surface.

Special mention to my wonderful co worker Miss Carol Ann for some helpful tips and advice before I started this project.

Materials needed:

Supplies

Pegboard Sheets, 1×3’s or pegboard spacers, High Gloss paint and rollers

Tools

Drill, Stud Finder, laser level and torpedo level, tape measure, straight edge, and a pencil

Hardware

2-1/2” and 1-½” wood screws, flat or finish washers

Accessories

Pegboard hooks, holders, bins, and lock downs. .

  1. The first step is to determine the dimensions and use of your project. Peg board comes in 2 flavors, you can use ⅛” hole board for small areas to hang hand tools, or larger ¼” hole board to cover an entire garage wall and hang heavier lawn equipment, folding chairs, etc. You will want to place your pegboard at a height and location that is easy to access but clear of your horizontal working space. Using your tape measure, laser level, straight edge and pencil mark the outline of where your board will be.

  2. You need about a ½” of space between the pegboard and the wall so the hooks have room to lock in place. There are two methods for spacing. I chose to use lengths of 1×3’s attached to the wall studs to act as a frame, however the lumber will block the peg holes behind it and limit your hanging options. The first step is to find the wall studs using a stud finder then mark the center line using your straight edge. I found my stud spacing to be 16” so after finding the first two studs you can make short work of the rest. Once located you can start hanging your framing using the longer 2 ½” wood screws. After inserting the first screw part way put your bubble level on top to ensure your frame stays straight while securing the rest of the screws.  I alternated full length board with half length  on each stud to maximize the peg holes available, you can also build a full box frame for the most stability but you will lose peg spaces. At this point I painted the wood frame to help hide it once the board is hung.

    • The other method of hanging involves using plastic spacers to offset the pegboard. This frees up a considerable number of pegs available but will require at least two people to accomplish.  While one person holds the pegboard in the position you want it, the other can mark the holes where the spacers will be. If not anchoring to the studs you can place hollow wall anchors to hold the screws. A trick to use is once you have your locations marked and wall anchors installed, use a small dab of superglue to attach the spacer to the wall and let them dry. This will save pinched fingers in the next step. Make sure your spacers are level at this point because you will not be able to adjust them later on.

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What the International Gendercide Crisis Must Teach America About Abortion

Monday, October 14th, 2013 - by Paul Cooper

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One month ago my wife and I did something that would be illegal in some parts of the world. We had our third child, and for the third time we had a girl.

It was one of the most joy-filled moments of our lives, but for millions of parents, having even a second or sometimes a first daughter is an impossibility. In China, India, and other parts of the world, girls are unwanted. They are viewed as having no value to the government and little value in society or even to their own families. The result has been widespread gendercide, the systematic and deliberate destruction of girls, typically through abortion. Sometimes through infanticide.

Some estimates say the world is missing over 200 million girls thanks to the practice of gendercide. Most of those come from China and India, where they eliminate more girls every year than America has births.

Since 1979, China has had a one-child policy, and boys are the preferred of the two choices for mostly economical reasons. The government penalizes families monetarily for having more than one child and also takes part in forced abortion and forced sterilizations if the women don’t take care of it themselves. This obviously has created an unbalanced male population, and some of the side effects have been increased child abuse and sex trafficking.

In India the government officially frowns on gendercide, yet they turn a blind eye to it. They outlawed using ultrasounds to determine gender because it led to so many abortions of girls. However, they ignore that the practice still goes on.

One study of 8000 abortions in India, for example, showed that 7999 of the aborted babies were girls.

In India, the problem is plain economics for families. Arranged marriages work in a way where the parents of the bride have to pay a large dowry to the parents of the groom. Having boys creates wealth, while having girls diminishes it. The girls who do manage to live often are born into a family that rejects them. In fact, one of the most common names for girls in this situation in India is a Hindi name that means “unwanted.”

The once ignored problem of gendercide is just starting to get attention in media, culture, and even among a few politicians. In fact, a new documentary was recently released called It’s a Girl! that looks at sex-selective abortions and infanticide of girls in depth. The movie is a heartbreaking expose, painfully declaring that the three most deadly words in the world are “it’s a girl.”

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The film is sparking a growing conversation in America. The filmmaker has even screened the film to feminist and pro-choice groups in hopes of getting everyone unified against gendercide. But we should take this conversation a step further: we should be asking if the elimination of female babies in other nations can teach us about abortion right here in America.

By asking questions about the commonalities gendercide shares with abortion in America, we might all learn something. Following are five thought-provoking questions, the answers to which require pro-choice Americans to question how they can support abortion in America while being against gendercide elsewhere.

You may find the first question and quote along with it a bit disturbing.

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How to Build a Picture Frame in 9 Easy Steps

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 - by Builder Bob

Working the paint counter at a local hardware store, I’ve made quite a mess of my apron. So after about the 300th customer made comments on how it looked like a piece of art, I decided, hey, why not frame it and see if I can make a quick buck? My hopes were soon dashed after a visit to a framing store. They wanted $80 for a basic framing. I though to hell with this, I’m a handy guy, I work in home improvement, why don’t I make a frame and keep with the hardware store look?

I’ll admit that 80% of the time I start a project it’s something I’ve never attempted. People nowadays are either too busy or intimidated to try a project themselves. But you can save a lot of money, get the precise results you want, and receive a sense of satisfaction when you build something with your own hands. I want to encourage people to take a chance and build something fun and personal.

A picture frame is a great starter project. With the exception of the miter box, you should have most of the supplies already in your tool kit. I’ve provided a list of materials with some recommendations of products I’ve found to perform better than most, as well as detailed step-by-step instructions to build a frame that is as unique as you want to make it.

Supplies Needed:

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

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The Bright Side of Pessimism

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 - by Helen Smith

guidetohumanmind

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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An Act of Radical Virginity

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

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Being over twenty and a virgin in NYC is enough of a radical act that a woman turned it into a one-woman show and built an entire comedy routine on it.

Alexis Lambright was a confirmed virgin in NYC for 10 years. Determined to hold on to her innocence, the Catholic schoolgirl was committed to a life of celibacy — until marriage. But when she realized that dating in the most superficial city in the world wasn’t virgin-friendly, the 28-year-old funnywoman living in Sunnyside, Queens, turned to comedy as therapy: She created the one-woman show “The Alexis Lambright Tell-A-Thon: Combating Adult Virginity,” which is running at the New York International Fringe Festival on select dates from Saturday to Aug. 24.

It used to be perfectly normal to be a virgin till marriage, at least for women. In fact, in most societies it was the expected thing.  The pivotal turning point in Jane Austen’s Pride and  Prejudice comes when one daughter, Lydia, elopes and lives with a man who has no intention of marrying her.

Even during my own upbringing, which, granted, took place in Portugal where things were twenty years behind the times, while virginity before marriage was no longer universal, girls at least still pretended to be holding out.

But I’d heard from Scandinavian friends that in their lands it was considered strange and indicative of something wrong with you if you were a virgin much past puberty – and that culture seems now to be here too.

To be sure, we always knew it was coming, since movies like Splendor in the Grass made it sound like not having sex could send an otherwise sane woman clean off her rocker. In a way it is a logical consequence of safe and reliable contraception.  Whether you believe that women are naturally as sex-crazed as men, or that women would have as much consequence-free sex as men given the chance, the fact remains that all of us, men and women, are in fact social animals.

When the society we live in decides that “normal” people are all rutting like deer in fall, and that if you don’t do it there’s something wrong with you, those who don’t fit the model will at least try to pretend they do.

Under those circumstances, holding on to your chastity becomes an act of radical defiance.

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The Lone Writer Against The Time Masters

Saturday, July 20th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
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One should don appropriate goggles and helmet before doing battle with primeval forces like Time.

Organizing Your Creative Life in 13 Weeks: Week 3

Prolific science fiction novelist Sarah Hoyt follows up her “Your Novel in 13 Weeks” PJ Lifestyle series with a new weekly experiment each Saturday to figure out the best way for all creative types working from home to better organize their efforts.  

Week Zero, Introduction: Organizing Your Creative Life In 13 Weeks
Week 1/2, Preparation: The Case For Making Lots of Lists
Week One: How to Make Your Mind Like Water
Week Two: What Are the Best Apps For Artists and Writers Desperate To Get Work Done?

****

As the title indicates, this has been an exciting week. Okay, not that exciting, but constructive and – ah – a learning experience.

This is my third week of trying to organize my creative life using Getting Things Done by David Allen.

First the good:

This week I experienced far less stress than normal. This is good since I had to meet a lot of crisscrossing, quite a few of them unexpected. I made less progress than I expected on the long-term writing and editing projects, but that is probably due to the fact that I’m still recovering from serious respiratory issues. I tend to overestimate my strength at this point of recovery, and don’t count on all the sudden naps demanded by my body.

I am hoping that getting my life organized and stress under control will mean fewer illnesses. This year has been exceptionally bad on the illness front, and that puts a dent in anyone’s creativity and time.

So far the less stress thing is working.

The bad:

I’ve now tried something like a dozen applications to organize my lists of chores and the sub-lists of tasks, and I’ve been less than impressed with all of them. They seem to presuppose those using them are already hyper techy or hyper organized, which defeats the purpose. It would be like going to a sports store to buy two tiny barbells to start weight training and being shown the most complex weight bench, with intricacies only dedicated weight lifters will understand.

So, as far as that goes, I’m thinking of going back to basics. I have my lists in a notebook. That’s not going to work because it’s really hard to work through. However it occurs to me that a bunch of colored note cards would work, with a color per long-term project and white for the single task projects. I can then tack these up on the cork board over my secondary desk. I plan to integrate these with the other innovation this week.

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Ten Weeks Of Guilty Pleasures

Saturday, July 20th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

Week One: Relaxing with the Regency

These last two weeks I’ve been trying to get over something weird that I picked up at a con, complicated by an asthma attack caused by stress.

You know those things you do when you’re feeling out of it and you want to boost your mood?

My very favorite thing is going for a walk, which is actually good for me, but which is impossible when I’m not taking in enough oxygen, or when it’s way too cold out, or when there’s too much smoke in the air.

For those days there are “guilty pleasures.”  Particularly guilty pleasures that reduce my stress.  So over the next ten weeks, I’m going to take some time off every weekend to enjoy one of my favorite “guilty pleasures.”

My number one guilty pleasure is the 1995 A & E mini-series of Pride and Prejudice.

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I can neither confirm nor deny an enjoyment of the pond scene!

 

First of all, Jane Austen has long been a favorite of mine, far before I found any of the dramatic representations of her work.  In fact my (not so) secret shame is that I used to write Jane Austen Fanfic at Derbyshire Writers’ Guild before I was published. In fact one of the stories started there, with my friend Sofie Skapski, has been edited and published as A Touch Of Night – pride, prejudice, dragons and werewolves… oh my.  (And that cover is slated to be replaced, because really, what we didn’t know about cover design back then could fill several specialty books.)

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I promise to redo the cover as soon as I have an hour to call my own.

So why is Pride and Prejudice a guilty pleasure?

Because since 1995 I’ve watched it so many times that even my sons know the lines by heart (a facility that will stand them in good stead when they get married.)  Because, the story is almost too girly for words and, in a way, the classical Cinderella story: Elizabethan Bennet the second of five daughter of an impoverished country squire, endowed with little more than her wit finds herself pursued by Mr. Darcy, who has ten thousand pounds a year and is as good as a lord!

Before this particular version of Pride And Prejudice was released, I enjoyed the BBC 1980 version which I watched with my mother the year I got married.

The BBC Pride and Prejudice is quite acceptable – but it fails in comparison to the sparkling dialogue and movement of the A&E version.  And the actor playing Mr. Darcy has been blessed in our house with the cognomen R2DDarcy.

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This is not the Darcy you’re looking for!

And, of course, no woman in possession of her full faculties approves of the movie version of Pride and Prejudice which bestowed on us an Elizabeth Bennet who would never need to tuck lace, (the manner of hiding a rather too ample bossom, which Jane Austen explicitly says Elizabeth used) and who walked barefoot in the mire, not to mention ending with the very Un-Austen line about everyone being fools in love. In fact, a group of us at Derbyshire Writers’ Guild declared an Austenite fatwah on anyone preferring the movie to one of the mini-series. A group of us will show up on your front lawn, carrying rock-hard muffins and bad tea! You’ve been warned.

The threat of being served extremely bad tea and hard muffins tens to subdue heretic Austenites.

The threat of being served extremely bad tea and hard muffins tens to subdue heretic Austenites.

For the full Pride and Prejudice guilty pleasure, I recommend the A & E mini-series, some fancy work to keep your hands occupied, and either your Austen-addicted best female friend or, if you should be so lucky (I am) your husband. Sit down. Turn on the TV and let your cares fly away as you immerse yourself in a timeless tale of love and misunderstanding which, like all good fairytales, ends happily ever after.

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Bad Advice: Stop Trying To Be Friends with People

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

Submit your questions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice!

Sad-man-in-Cubicle

Dear Bad Advice,

I have a coworker that I can tell is not doing well. Her work performance is fine, and I never have anything to complain about there. But I can tell she must be going through a rough patch in her life. She looks haggard and doesn’t seem to put as much care into her hair and dress as she used to. She doesn’t look happy and she’s gone frequently (for scheduled absences). I heard a rumor she might be seriously ill with something chronic. She’s single and lives alone, far away from the rest of her family. I get sad thinking she doesn’t have anyone to take care of her. But I don’t know how to approach her to offer help. I want her to know I’m here to listen, too, but I don’t know how to tell her that. We’ve worked together for years and never been close. What should I do?

- Concerned in the Cubicle

This is going to sound like bad advice, but don’t try too hard to be nice to this person.

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Bad Advice for 5 Game of Thrones Characters

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

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Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column every Wednesday!

George R. R. Martin is often accused of nihilism for his brutal treatment of his characters, without any discernible purpose or “moral” to the story. I say: not every author puts a moral in his story, but that doesn’t have to stop a thoughtful reader from finding one anyway. Now that season three of Game of Thrones is over and we have our Sunday nights back, it’ll probably take all summer just to recover from the trauma of this season and prepare for the next. Here’s my half-silly, half-serious attempt to put the “sense” in “senseless graphic violence.”

Sansa Stark: This is going to sound like bad advice, but it’s time to do something stupid.

Sansa is paralyzed by doing what’s right: sitting still and obedient in King’s Landing and playing the good little hostage. But her good behavior isn’t rewarded — in fact, it’s punished. Sometimes, despite all the morality tales we read as kids about how good behavior always leads to peace and happiness, life puts you in a situation where you’ve done all the right things and still find yourself trapped in an unbearable situation. In cases like those, it’s time to think the unthinkable — it’s time to make the seemingly “incorrect” decision. For Sansa, that would be running away. From the outside, show fans are cheering for her to do it — but from her vantage point, it’s the unconventional and wrong thing to do. My impression has always been that she shies away from it not only because it’s dangerous, but because it’s frowned upon. So when you feel like a hostage to your own circumstances, take a step back and ask yourself: what is my complete docket of options? Are there any obvious ones I’m ignoring because they come with some risk or they might provoke someone’s disapproval? Don’t be a Sansa. There are no castle guards holding you back. Take control of your own life.

Gendry: This is actually going to sound like great advice, but don’t accept oral sex from strangers.

Seriously. Leeches.

THE LESSON IS OBVIOUS HERE, PEOPLE.

Often people feel that way after meaningless sex.

Often people feel that way after meaningless sex.

Tyrion Lannister: This is going to sound like bad advice, but it’s time to put your parent(s) in their place.

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Get Used to Your Family Being Crazy

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column every Wednesday!

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This week, one of my regular commenters asks for advice on his (or her) self-destructive sister. The situation is below:

Dear Bad Advice,

Please allow me to complain about my constantly-complaining sister!

Actually, I try not to buy into her mindset. The constant complainer “wins,” if you continually allow them to get under your skin.

Not only does my sister complain a lot, but she has made some very bad choices in her life: cheating on a good husband, refusing to reconcile with him, not doing anything about finding a decent job, constantly antagonizing friends and family, etc., etc. And despite all of her very bad choices, she always finds someone else to blame for her self-inflicted misery. She even blames our kind, responsible, loving parents, who did not spoil us, but who, according to her bizarre thinking, supposedly ruined her life by not preparing her for every possible situation which might arise due to her own mistakes. And if you get into a conversation with her, she will be sure to let you know this.

People like my sister seem to wallow in their own misery, and have a “grass-is-greener” attitude about other people’s lives, which is, of course, completely unrealistic. And, there are times when I just need to tell my sister what’s what, even though that always creates a firestorm, and there are other times when I need to break off contact for at least a while. My sister needs to take responsibility for herself, and until that happens, she will continue to inflict misery on herself and others.

- Not Into Sister’s Act

This is going to sound like bad advice, but don’t treat your sister like she’s crazy for going through some ups and downs.

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Advice for Grads: Stop Working So Darn Hard

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

college-graduate

Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column!

This week, I’d like to offer some Bad Advice to recent college graduates. Here are some pointers, practical and spiritual, on how to cope with adult life. Share them with a grad you know and it might actually get him or her to stop bugging you with questions about how to be a grown-up.

Personal Life: This may sound like bad advice, but pay your friends for rides, and go to a bar by yourself every once in a while.

1) Whenever a friend drives you somewhere (especially if you asked them as a favor), offer them gas money. Okay, this is less of an “adult life” thing, and more something you should have learned since you were old enough for you and your friends to drive, but it becomes more important as your friends move off their parents’ bankrolls and start getting those fun student-loan notifications in the mail.

2) Friendship is a lot harder when class schedules and a multitude of school-run clubs don’t bring you together on a regular basis, and you no longer live in a building full of people your age who freely socialize between rooms or suites. So, put the work in on the friendships you want to keep: schedule lunch meet-ups or happy hours, ask your friends about their days (because you are no longer spending most of it playing Rock Band or going to class together — he might have done something you weren’t there to witness!), and then honor your commitments.

3) If you feel all alone in a new city and there aren’t many people your age at your office to befriend, join a Meetup group, take up a hobby, go to a networking event, and, in the meantime, while you build up your group of friends, don’t be afraid to do stuff alone. Don’t sit in your apartment by yourself every night because you’re still getting to know folks. Some people are so scared of being seen in public without a companion that they’d rather stay inside all the time and get to know no one at all. Don’t be one of those sad people.

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Take a Whine Appreciation Class

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg
Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column every Wednesday!

Dear Bad Advice,

My friend is absolutely driving me up the wall! She complains about everything. I know not a lot of things are going great for her in her life right now, but I wish she had a better attitude. If I tell her to have a better attitude when she’s complaining about things, she gets mad and storms off. How do I handle her? She’s fun and a great friend most of the time, but her complaining is getting on my last nerve.

- Not a whine appreciator

This is going to sound like bad advice, but quit complaining about your complaining friend.

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Stop Expecting Your Friends to Show Common Decency

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 - by Hannah Sternberg

Mindy feels you.

Submit your questions about friendship, relationships, careers, family, or life decisions to PJMBadAdvice@gmail.com or leave a question in the comments section, and I’ll answer it in Bad Advice, PJ Lifestyle’s new advice column!

Hello Bad Advice readers! This week I got a question that I’ve heard many times from friends, mostly millennials, who get the classic “I’m not really standing you up because I texted you five minutes ahead of time” line from their friends. As we emerge from social hibernation this spring, take heed: all your friends are jerks. Get used to it.

Dear Bad Advice,

Have you ever had a friend that seems to always bail on plans? Not only do they bail, but do they wait to the very last possible minute to not-so-gracefully bow out?

A close friend of mine is almost ALWAYS doing this to me and it absolutely drives me nuts!  Now, I hate double-standards, but are they necessary when it comes to teaching people a lesson?

Is it wrong for me to give her a taste of her own medicine a few times by doing the same exact thing she repeatedly does to me? Or, is this too childish?

I should note that I hate confrontation and yes, I admit to being a bit passive aggressive sometimes to avoid it.

- Fed Up with Being Stood Up

This is going to sound like bad advice, but stop expecting your friends to show up for things. If they don’t give a crap about you, don’t give a crap about them.

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3 Steps to Rediscover the Lost Art of Mothering

Saturday, May 11th, 2013 - by Rhonda Robinson

Although it was many years ago, the image of a young woman with a tear-streaked face and blank stare is forever etched into my memory. She sat in front of the television cameras, shredding a soaked tissue, telling her story. Once a happy new mother, now distraught and on trial for the death of her baby — the infant died in her arms. The cause of death was starvation and malnutrition.

The first-time mother said she loved her baby and breastfed her regularly. She cared for the child to the best of her ability. She claimed that she had no idea the newborn failed to get the nourishment she needed. Nevertheless, the baby languished in her arms until she became too weak to suckle. It was only then that help was sought.

Of course the outrage came quickly. Bony fingers of blame pointed in all directions. Some held the hospital responsible, believing the first-time mother got released too soon. No doubt a direct result, others moralized, of the cold, cost-calculating insurance companies. Always pressuring hospitals for earlier discharge of maternity patients. Others cast the blame on social services. The government let this poor young woman slip through the cracks. Over and over, the resounding cries filled the airways.

Their haughty laments over that young mother’s fate still echo in my mind: “Where were the pediatricians? Where were the lactation experts?”

The answers were never found. Perhaps because no one asked the right question.

Where was her mother?

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Does New Study of Burial Cloth Add to Existing Proof that Jesus Was Resurrected Around 33 AD?

Sunday, March 31st, 2013 - by Myra Adams
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After reading about a newly published scientific book titled The Mystery of the Shroud, which attempts to prove that the Shroud of Turin actually dates back to the time of Jesus, I planned on writing what you are about to read.

Then, an hour before my scheduled writing time,  I “just happened” to notice a Facebook post that read:

Christmas was the promise — Easter is the proof.

That phrase truly resonated with me because of the word “proof.”

But do believers really have proof that Jesus was resurrected from the dead?

After twenty years of reading about and studying the Shroud of Turin (and even viewing it in 2010), I have all the “proof” I need.  Although let me state emphatically that my faith — and the faith of most people who are celebrating “Resurrection Sunday” today — does not depend on any physical proof whatsoever.

For we know that Jesus is alive and His Spirit lives in us; that is all the proof we need.

Still, physical proof of Christ’s resurrection would be useful, especially when one tries to convince loved ones to believe in what more than a billion people around the world believe today.

So what if this new Shroud of Turin scientific study really does prove conclusively that the Shroud cloth dates back to the time of Jesus? Does that mean mankind finally has the proof it needs to believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead after dying on the cross?

We are certainly getting close to “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” and here are some reasons why this is happening now.

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TV’s Best and Worst Fictional Political Campaigns

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 - by David Forsmark

Most Overrated: The West Wing

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I have to confess I didn’t watch much of this show, after the first episode featured a group of antisemitic “conservative” teachers (as though that’s a bigger problem with conservatives) and President Martin Sheen, I mean Josiah Bartlett, telling a bunch of conservative pastors (in real life, Israel’s best friends) to “get your fat asses out of my office.” That easy, clichéd slander was enough for me.

This show was constant liberal wish fulfillment throughout its run, like any production from the much-overrated Aaron Sorkin that directly deals with politics. Knock down straw men that represent liberal nightmares about conservatives, then be all self-congratulatory for taking on the “tough issues.”

In 2002, President Bartlett’s campaign was against the typical Republican candidate, a stupid, Southern right-wing governor, so it was an easy victory — despite the fact that the most recent president was someone that Hollywood considered a stupid, Southern right-wing governor. And a year after 9/11, the central issue seemed to be green energy; and, of course, liberal goodness and farsightedness won the day because the president had the good sense to embrace it.

In 2005, the show presented the “ideal” Republican candidate. The one that liberals supposedly fear the most. A pro-choice moderate played by… wait for it… Alan Alda!

His most triumphant moment is his refusal to go to a conservative mega-church and a declaration against religious tests. But, alas, he is a Republican, so of course he is most afraid of a dynamic Latino candidate on the Democrat side, the idealistic Jimmy Smits, and uses immigration as a wedge issue to hurt him in his own primary, leading to this slapdown by a close aide:

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But aside from the constant liberal fantasy, there are two things that anyone who has ever worked for — or even with — government has to find laughable. First, the idea that government at any level doesn’t move with the speed of a glacier.

And second — adding to the ponderous pretentiousness of the show — did the White House not pay its light bill? The noirish atmosphere may be dramatic, but government buildings are anything but dimly lit, and their favorite type of lighting tends to be fluorescent.

During the run of The West Wing, every successful Republican for president in a generation had run as a conservative, while every successful Democrat had run disguised as a moderate. Of course, 2012 changed all that…

GRADE:  The Show Overall — C, the Campaign — D

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Worship Singer Paul Wilbur Just Made History Performing In Cuba

Sunday, January 27th, 2013 - by Myra Adams
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About five years ago, after my husband and I first heard Paul Wilbur perform at a messianic temple in Ft. Lauderdale, we became instant fans. Since then, we have played his CDs in our cars repeatedly.

Wilbur’s songs appeal to traditional Jews and Christians alike. He has performed in Israel on numerous occasions, and his love for that nation, coupled with his own Jewish heritage and love of Christ, is the hallmark of his music ministry, making him a unique performer.

As a result, Wilbur’s popularity as a singer, songwriter and praise/worship leader has grown tenfold around the world since we first heard him perform in a small venue.

His music resonates with me, and not just because we are both Jewish believers in Jesus Christ, but in the extraordinary way his songs fill any room (or car) with passion and love.

Now, as so often happens when I’m inspired to write something with a spiritual theme for PJ Lifestyle, a deeper dimension of the topic is revealed while I am doing “research.” (A quick Google search.)

Such was the case with Paul Wilbur. I had already decided to write about him because I thought PJ Lifestyle Sunday readers would appreciate knowing about him and hearing some of his music.

That was when I discovered, just this past December, Paul Wilbur made history as the first singer to perform at a religious concert event in Cuba with the full permission and “blessing” of the communist Cuban government.

Watch him here as he speaks about this historic trip.

His Cuban concerts were truly amazing events for this struggling nation and its oppressed people.

Perhaps, just the fact that Wilbur’s two “praise and worship” performances were even allowed to proceed, is a signal that some potentially major political, social and or spiritual changes are about to be instituted by the Cuban government.

Which begs the questions, “Is God at work in Cuba and if so, is HE using Paul Wilbur as a catalyst?”

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, check out Paul Wilbur Ministries and discover what a tour de force he has become around the world.

And, if you are ever presented with the opportunity to see him perform live, do not hesitate.  Trust me when I tell you your faith walk could be impacted, even if you have little faith or none at all.

Finally, I will close with a video of Paul Wilbur performing a song that ranks high among my favorites.

Please do watch until the very end, for this song builds and soars and I predict your spirits will be uplifted right along with it.

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5 Reasons Men Cheat

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 - by John Hawkins

Cheating always seems like such a black-and-white issue, doesn’t it? Of course, in one sense, it is. You cheated? Then you’re the bad guy (or girl) and your partner has every right to be upset, angry, hurt, and to never forgive you.

All true.

However, if you know a few people who cheat, you start to find out it’s not always so simple. That doesn’t mean the cheater’s justified, but it does mean he may have reasons for what he’s doing that go beyond not being able to keep it in his pants for more than five minutes at a time. The truth that no one likes to hear, especially after a person has been two-timed, is that happy, intellectually stimulated, sexually satisfied people who are deeply in love aren’t the ones who are playing around. Again, that doesn’t mean it’s okay or that the one who was cheated on is at fault, but cheating usually doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

If you know a lot of men (and women), what you’ll find is that there are a lot of common themes that come up.

Mystery will commit!

Mystery will commit!

1) He’s morally okay with cheating on his partner

Not everybody who cheats will cheat again, but on the other hand, the first question you should ask about whether someone will be faithful is, “Has he cheated before?” If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny how many women have an affair with a married man and then are shocked when he later does the same thing to them. It’s not as if you have to give women hints and signs about what they need to look out for because they already know; it’s just that they believe it won’t happen to them, too.

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The 5 Best Christmas Movie Fathers

Monday, December 24th, 2012 - by Paul Cooper

One of the best parts of the holiday season has to be Christmas movies. There are hundreds of them and a few dozen classics among them. As a father of two, I’m always interested to see how popular films portray dads, so it makes sense to find the best papas in favorite Christmas flicks who can teach us all how to be better parents.

Let’s focus on five who would make Father Christmas proud.

5. Clark Griswold, The Do-Whatever-It-Takes Father

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the third film in a series following the hilarious Griswolds. The family patriarch is the lovable goof Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), whose greatest desire is for his family to have the perfect Christmas. How many dads can relate to a guy with Christmas cheer who can’t catch a break in trying to make the season bright? Clark’s frustrations abound as he just tries to give his family a “good old-fashioned family Christmas.” Clark forgets the saw when finding the perfect Christmas tree, he can’t figure out how to get his million lights to light up (been there), he can’t make annoying in-laws happy (won’t say I’ve been there), and he buys a huge gift for his family and then doesn’t receive his Christmas bonus to pay for it. He struggles and fails, but he keeps on fighting for that wonderful family Christmas.

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Time rightfully put Clark in their top ten list of perfect movie dads. They praised him as the ultimate example of “determination.” He was always willing to go the extra mile to provide experiences his family would never forget.

Clark makes our list for doing whatever it takes to bring joy and special memories to his family for Christmas. Yes, he fails and sometimes fails miserably, but his heart is in the right place. While many men may ignore Christmas or leave it to others in the family, Clark takes the lead to bring his family the joys of the holiday. I can relate to that and so can countless other fathers. We are kids at heart and want our families to experience the wonders of the holiday season.

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5 Psychological Defense Mechanisms You Probably Use Without Realizing It

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 - by John Hawkins

Your behavior is influenced by information that surges through three different channels — your conscious mind, your subconscious mind, and your instincts.

Your conscious mind is easy to explain. Think about how you use your conscious mind and, congratulations, you’re using your conscious mind. Now, think about what that means — and again, you’re using your conscious mind and you know you’re doing it.

Your instincts are a little trickier and many people would even categorize them as part of your subconscious mind. However, because they’re more instantaneous and easier to read, i.e. “This just doesn’t feel right” or “Something tells me that guy is lying to me,” they deserve to be treated as distinct from our conscious and unconscious mind.

That brings us to the subconscious, which is the most fascinating of the three because it so often steers us without our being able to feel its misty hand on the reins. It’s like The Matrix Revolutions except with mediocre special effects and no Keanu Reeves. One day you’re a computer programmer and the next thing you know, you’re engaged in a seemingly endless stream of philosophy class banter while you wait for your ten-minute fight scene at the end of the movie with Agent Smith, which is the only cool thing left in the atrocity you call a movie…ehr, a life.

The message: Your life doesn’t have to be as crummy as The Matrix Revolutions. You can be better than that by spotting and correcting these psychological defense mechanisms.

1) Denial

In C.S. Lewis’s classic The Screwtape Letters, a devil instructs his nephew to try to corrupt a man by

(aggravating) that most useful human characteristic, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office.

Actually, it doesn’t take a devil to pull this off. Unless you have honest friends, a good psychologist, or are unusually introspective, that’s probably a good description of you as well. Taking a tough, unsparing look at yourself is painful and even scary because when you find problems, you feel compelled to change to fix them. Denial may be easy, but ultimately it’s those who know themselves best who go the farthest in life.

Denial

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What Classic Rock Album Covers Blew Your Mind?

Saturday, December 15th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

My new car comes equipped with a three month trial subscription to Sirius XM radio and when Patriot Channel talk gets repetitive, I occasionally switch to 60′s on Channel 6, where I know the words to every song.

So the other day I happened to hear a song which really jolted my memory bank. It was A Taste of Honey by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, but while listening, all I could think about was the album cover.

And if you are of a certain age, you know exactly what I mean.

In 1965 when the album, Whipped Cream and Other Delights, was released the cover was considered “veddy” racy.

And here is the hit song, A Taste of Honey from the album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whipped Cream was my parent’s album, but even as a Beatles loving 10-year-old I enjoyed it along with them. However, it was the cover that really made an impression.  I even remember spreading whipped cream all over my arms in tribute to the girl on the cover.

This Sirius XM Radio childhood flashback got me thinking about what other album covers made lasting, even mind blowing visual impressions. So here is that small stack of album covers which came tumbling off a dusty shelf in the far reaches of my brain — presented in chronological order.

The Mamas and the Papas — If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears

In the middle of 1966 Beatlemania, this album by the Mamas and the Papas was released. To me, the music and the cover were equally impactful, for sitting in a bathtub fully dressed struck me as rather extreme. Chiefly responsible for the brain dent was Michelle Phillips, who was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, wearing those jeans and cowboy boots. I remember getting into our dry bathtub pretending to be her.  Yes, I was an impressionable pre-teen!

The Beatles — Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Of course the most famous album cover in history absorbed hours of 1967 summer time fun for me and my friends as we tried in vain to identify all the faces on the cover. Since we were stumped by so many, I remember having to ask my parents. (Oh the horror of asking your parents to explain a Beatles album cover!) But I had no choice since Google was 31 years in the future. Now, in one Google second here is the complete list.  (How I love the modern age!)

Cream — Disraeli Gears

Psychedelic flower power anyone?  Released in November of 1967, this album cover fascinated me. On the inside I loved Cream’s music too, but something about the album design with all the fuchsia colors, totally blew my 12-year-old mind and opened doors of endless creative possibilities.

Traffic – The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

This 1971 album by Traffic was so graphically unique with its die-cut design, it truly broke new ground and decades later the title song is still one of my favorite classic rock tunes. So here is a 1972 live version to enjoy, especially if it has been awhile since you have heard Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.

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We must not fret about the passing of album cover art for it now lives on the net with many sites dedicated to its greatness. There are also numerous cover art quizzes that will be used as “game time” trivia at nursing homes around 2040 when I am in my 80’s. (Now at my mother’s nursing home they play trivia contest games with Broadway show tunes and my mother is often the proud winner of a new fluffy nap blanket.)

Speaking of getting old, here is the Whipped Cream girl from that famous 1965 album cover now age 76.

So what classic rock covers blew your mind at a tender age?

And if you can recall them now, remember them for later when a new fluffy nap blanket is at stake.

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