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Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A few thoughts on relationships

The best guess I have about how to find a lasting relationship.

1) If sex was removed from the equation, you'd still be friends. If Tananarive had been a guy, we would have hung out and chased chicks together. No doubt.

2) Your basic values should match. Basic attitudes about work, health, love, and the whole life-death thing should match, or at the very least there should be no drastic differences. Politics and religion should probably be close. Even if the partners have a differing political orientation, their beliefs about what this MEANS should be in alignment.

3) They need to have a system in place for "fighting fair." In my house, the first rule is that the relationship itself is NEVER at stake in an argument. If something has happened that DOES place the relationship in jeopardy, this is to be discussed in low voices and cold blood, not in the heat of battle.

4) Communication is king. Or queen. Whatever. There has to be a direct and honest route to fully understanding each other. The "talking stick" technique (each person, in turn, must demonstrate that they understand the other person's points and positions BEFORE they are allowed to go forward with their own argument.

5) Sex drives should be similar. A mis-match here can cause serious problems.

6) Money attitudes should be similar. Statistics show that money problems screw up relationships faster than infidelity. Predictably, women will commence divorce procedings against unemployed husbands far faster than men will press divorce against unemployed wives.

7) Similar senses of humor. Being able to make each other laugh, or at least tolerate each other's jokes, it critical. Humor places life in perspective, and without that, the small tragedies of existence, the wear and tear of it all can grind us into the dust.

8) Honesty. Just critical. This doesn't mean being cruel--it means that you understand the obligation to convey data clearly and with concern that the other party DOES get the message. No dropping critical pieces of information, or nurturing misunderstandings.

9) The partners should be attracted to each other physically, or bear the same attitudes about non-attraction. The ideal? You rock each other's world. Look at each other and can't believe how lucky you are. Aren't making excuses or "settling."

10) Spiritual attitudes that are compatible. You don't have to go to the same church, or any church at all...but relationships that last inevitably deal with issues of mortality. To be able to comfort your partner in language that she understands is critical.

July 20, 2009

http://funtuna.blogspot.com/2009/07/drunk-people-yoga-positions.html

Or as Todd said: so THAT'S where those poses came from!

##

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/19/AR2009071902154.html

No one can figure out why, but violent crime around the country is plummeting to levels unseen in four decades. It remains to be seen why or how or if it will continue. Here's a thought, though...if the drop in crime is particularly strong in black communities, I would suggest that it might have something to do with hope...and the fact that many blacks feel fully invested in the American Dream for the first time in 400 years. It's possible.

##

I heard someone complain that if there is a public option for healthcare, it will kill the insurance companies. I was unaware that there were no private health insurance companies in any countries with single-payer. Is that true? If not, what kind of b.s. is that?

More importantly, though...those companies couldn't go broke unless people preferred the Public Option to the private one. And that couldn't happen unless the private companies offered no goods or services that weren't trumped by the public service. And if a majority of Americans decided that, it STILL wouldn't drive all the private companies out of business. In a country of 300 million people, what percentage of people would have to decide that private insurance companies totally sucked? 80%? 90%? If 95% of the population decided that, there would have to be something terribly, terribly wrong, wouldn't there? If there are public and private schools, police, fire departments, mail services, trash collection and more, this is pure panic-mongering with no basis in reality.

32 comments:

Marty S said...

Steve: I agree with most of your points on relationships. Most of them reflect what has worked for my wife and I. On the health care issue I think your missing the point. As I indicated in a previous post I get my current health care, which I am extremely happy with, through the company I retired from. I can afford this health care for two reasons
1) The cost of the premiums is divided between me and the company.

2) The company is in a great position to negotiate price since it employes about 20 million people.

Where does this actually come into the current argument over health care. It comes in because when I get to 65 my company drops me from the plan and forces me to go on medicare. I get no choice. I view this as a sample of what will happen if the government gets in the health care business. Companies will save money by dropping their private insurance plans and gradually only the very rich will have any sort of private coverage.

Marty S said...

Oops that 20 million number is way off. Its actually only about 65000. I'm not sure just where I thought I remembered a number like 20 million from.

Christian H. said...

No one can figure out why, but violent crime around the country is plummeting to levels unseen in four decades. It remains to be seen why or how or if it will continue. Here's a thought, though...if the drop in crime is particularly strong in black communities, I would suggest that it might have something to do with hope...and the fact that many blacks feel fully invested in the American Dream for the first time in 400 years. It's possible.



I actually hope that my travels across the country helped this by forcing people to try and change me. As you all can see violence or the threat of same won't work on me.

I have noticed - arrogantly or not - that when I moved to Brooklyn, violence decreased, just like Seattle, LA, NC, etc.





As far as relationships we are free-thinking individuals who can decide to give rather than take, accept rather than reject and it works in terms of men and women.

Sure you want to search for someone compatible but in the end you'll give as much you want to receive.

Religion, etc are external forces and should never be in your bedroom. As is sexual preference. The only thing internal is intellect and desire.

Dan Moran said...

I actually hope that my travels across the country helped this by forcing people to try and change me. As you all can see violence or the threat of same won't work on me.

I invented standing in line. Before that people just milled around, it was a big mess.

Anonymous said...

Religion, etc are external forces and should never be in your bedroom."

Problem here is, true religion is totalitarian and permeates all aspects of life, especially sex. Indeed, barring some enlightened strains of Hinduism (consider Tantric practices and Linga worship) and Buddhism, the vast majority of faiths treat sex like immature, frightened adolescent boys. Religious sexual masochism reaches its zenith in Christianity, which touts celibacy (as the sage Arthur C. Clarke observed, the most egregious sexual perversion) as the sexual ideal. IMHO, a health sex life demands either Atheism or extremely liberal believers who conveniently forget most of scripture so as to experience true rapture

Ethiopian_infidel

Scott Masterton said...

"I invented standing in line. Before that people just milled around, it was a big mess."

Dan,
I was browsing through your novels on Amazon the other day. The above comment has now made it imperative that I now read 'em. You crack me up.

Peace,
Scott.

Dan Moran said...

Thanks, Scott. No need to buy off Amazon; the books are available as free e-books.

http://immunitysec.com/resources-dkm.shtml

Try "The Long Run," it's probably the most accessible. It's out of order from the other books, but it's the most fun.

Christian H. said...

I invented standing in line. Before that people just milled around, it was a big mess.




Hey, it was something I noticed. Wherever I move the violent crime rate goes down within six months.
I HATE IT.

I LOVE VIOLENCE.

I WOULD ENJOY BEING VIOLENT AGAIN.

Christian H. said...

Problem here is, true religion is totalitarian and permeates all aspects of life, especially sex. Indeed, barring some enlightened strains of Hinduism (consider Tantric practices and Linga worship) and Buddhism, the vast majority of faiths treat sex like immature, frightened adolescent boys. Religious sexual masochism reaches its zenith in Christianity, which touts celibacy (as the sage Arthur C. Clarke observed, the most egregious sexual perversion) as the sexual ideal. IMHO, a health sex life demands either Atheism or extremely liberal believers who conveniently forget most of scripture so as to experience true rapture



I agree. That's why I burned the Bible and the Qu'ran and the Torah and that Mormon crap too.

Stay out of my sex life you weirdos.

suzanne said...

Scott
not to contradict Dan
but yes
to contradict him:
by all means read
The Last Dancer
I've read it several times now
(and I only re-read the good stuff)

first time I had to fight with my son
to get it in my hands
as we were reading it simultaneously

seriously awesome

Anonymous said...

Steve,

A great many Americans who don't really want to send their students to public school do so, because they would have to be completely responsible for the out of pocket expense. I taught at Washington Prep, a horrible school in South Central, and kids didn't go there because the parents preferred that school to private alternatives. The private schools are usually better than the public ones. This is why private health care survives in countries with nationalized health care for those who can afford it, unless it has been made illegal, as it was in Canada - see the link below.

There is actually a big market in medical tourism for Brits. They go half way around the world, to India or elsewhere, to get cancer removed, bypass operations, and other life or death treatment because they are likely to die if they wait in the UK. Some Americans go to nearby Mexico to get cheap cosmetic surgery or to save money on other minor procedures. Brits go to India and pay for medical help because waiting for months at home for treatment by the National Heath Service can be a death sentence.

Marco

Under the Canadian system, it has been illegal to seek faster [medical] treatment and jump to the head of the line by paying out of pocket for public care. Private health clinics...are technically illegal

This was true until at least 2005. I don't really keep up on what is going on in Canada's health care, but I remembered hearing that the illegality of private health care actually became an issue that made it to their supreme court.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002324475_canmed10.html

Europeans paying for medical care abroad due to long waits in national health services...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/politics_show/7127602.stm

Anonymous said...

My concerns:

As currently proposed, Obamacare is quite unlikely to reduce medical costs, and in fact is likely to explode them.

It's sold as a "public option", but with the implicit belief that most ordinary citizens will find themselves shunted into Obamacare when their employers stop providing alternatives.

Although Obamacare nominally allows people to retain their old insurance, it will only allow private citizens to switch to new plans that are government-approved, which makes the idea of "choice" rather dubious. Will a Congress run by Nancy Pelosi really support having alternative plans that aren't mandated to pay for abortion? for extensive psychiatric care or orthopedics? for sex-change operations? for all the other mandated frills that are already making private health insurance nigh-unaffordable in Democrat-run states like New York?

Obama has already reneged on one promise, namely that he'd cut premiums by $2,500 per family. Now, admittedly, this promise was boob bait for the Bobos. But should I then assume that he won't renege on his promise to allow a real choice in health insurance providers?

One estimate of the effects of Obamacare is that it would cause 88 million people to lose their private insurance. Even if I were enough of a social democrat to want this change, and gullible enough to trust the federal government to take over that much of the private economy without harm, shouldn't it be at least debated honestly whether this large a change is what we want?

Why the frenzied rush to munge the entire biomedical industry without thinking things through? I thought only the Bush Administration liked to do things that way. And why the blanket description of critics as "fearmongers"? I thought dissent was supposed to be "the truest patriotism" -- did it stop being that on Inauguration Day 2009?


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

"Will a Congress run by Nancy Pelosi really support having alternative plans that aren't mandated to pay for abortion?"

Hopefully we'll see abortion access entrenched in National Healthcare and thus rendered unassailable beyond even Constitutional means. All the while Obama's mollifying the Pope and other medievalists bend on erasing reproductive freedoms with false promises to limit abortions. Sweet duplicity! I really like this smooth operator!

"And why the blanket description of critics as "fearmongers"? I thought dissent was supposed to be "the truest patriotism""

All-inclusiveness is indispensable when formulating policy, but rapidly becomes a liability when enacting it. Faced with relentless opposition, policymakers must fight to enact their agendas by any and all legal means. An effective means of muting the opposition is impugning their motives. Given the rampant mudslinging by Conservatives (National Heathcare equated with Socialism or Communism), such vilification is both excusable and, indeed, necessary.

Ethiopian_Infidel

Marty S said...

After reading Ethiopian_Infidel, my reaction was to say does that kind of reasoning mean if ten white guys attack a black guy its a hate crime but if ten Black guys attack a white guy its not. So I decided to google hate crimes to see how the law defined hate crime and what the statistics were. I found this link.

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/offenses_reported/hate_crime/index.html

The law does include attacks on whites as hate crimes and not surprising Blacks are way more likely to be victims than Whites. What was interesting was that based on the number of victims as compared to relative population a Jew was almost twice as likely to be the victim of a hate crime as a Black.

Brother OMi said...

1. Relationships: I agree with all you have written on it, but you forgot one more, MATURITY. In any relationship, maturity is something we seem to neglect.

2. Health care, man i am confused. all these numbers, projections, and such have really got me confused. Am I the only one that feels that way?

My beef is that hospitals charge too much for everything and want you to take everything they throw at you. and let's face it, unless you go to your own private doctor, customer service sucks.

3. about crime: I remember in Freakonomics, the authors discussed how abortion played a hand in the reduction in crime across the board.

Travis said...

"Hopefully we'll see abortion access entrenched in National Healthcare and thus rendered unassailable beyond even Constitutional means."

How would this make it unassailable? Shoot, all you have to do then is change policy or administrative rules, you don't even need a congressionally passed 'law'. I use law in quotes here to indicate a legislative statute as opposed to all binding legal rules.

Dan Moran said...

I dislike the entire idea of hate crimes. A crime is a crime and why someone did X is thought crime territory.

I am, for the record, completely OK with protected classes of people -- you want to make it more of a crime to murder a gay/black/female/atheist than to murder a straight/white/male/christian, it's OK with me, as long as there's a clear correlation between being gay/black/female/atheist and being likelier to get murdered. The idea of special classes is enshrined in the common practice of law to begin with; it's always been more of a crime to kill a cop than some shmoe on the street.

But the part where we define a crime by the individual's motivation rather than actual actions ... that way lies Orwell.

Anonymous said...

"Hopefully we'll see abortion access entrenched in National Healthcare and thus rendered unassailable beyond even Constitutional means."

I may have succumbed to wishful hyperbole here. I was envisioning a national healthcare policy (NHC) that provided for abortions, which would both erect additional legal hurdles for Anti-Abortionists, and placed pregnancy termination in the hands of HMO's or other entities charged with dispensing NHC services. Then said quesi-corporate entities could hyper-inflate abortion prices as is standard policy, giving corporate America a monetary incentive to support abortion rights.

"After reading Ethiopian_Infidel, my reaction was to say does that kind of reasoning mean if ten white guys attack a black guy its a hate crime but if ten Black guys attack a white guy its not."

I don't understand how Marty's racial attack example relates to my justification of Obams's political tactics. I was arguing that effective political practice consists of two stages: policy formulation and policy enactment. Formulation should be a rational and tolerant Jeffersonian process where a broad spectrum of opinions, facts and examples are solicited and rigorously considered. Enactment by necessity entails instituting said measures by available (and in extraordinary circumstances, extra-legal)means. In vicious political where the opposition exhibits little scruple, whatever permissible means of enacting said policies must be pursued. Specifically, the opposition must be politically neutered, which in democratic systems means muted and discredited. Republicans conduct smear NHC with baseless charges of "Marxism" or "Socialism" and attempt to scare Americans out of supporting its enactment; NHC supporters rightfully dismiss opposition as "Fear-Mongering", etc. During the enactment struggle, ratification and institutionalization are of sole importance.

Consider policy formation Jeffersonian; enactment Machiavellian.

Ethiopian_Infidel

Frank said...

Steve wrote

No one can figure out why, but violent crime around the country is plummeting to levels unseen in four decades.

Perhaps is has something to do with the record numbers of firearms being sold as tracked by FBI background checks

The June increase follows a 15.4 percent rise in May and increases of 30.3 percent in April, 29.2 percent in March, 23 percent in February, 28 percent in January, 24 percent in December and 42 percent in November when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed.

Background checks for the first six months of 2009 totaled 7,035,286, a 24.48 percent increase over the 5,651,584 for the same period for 2008.


Nationally, applications for carry permits have increased by large numbers as well.

Now I don't know that the two events are directly related, but it's certainly true that the increase in gun ownership didn't result in an increase in crime.

Many say that the increase in gun (and ammunition) sales is due to Obama's election.

And if your theory that crime is down because of Obama, I guess it's possible that the drop in crime and the surge in gun sales are related:

with the relating event being Obama's election.

But we need Marty to verify the statistical analysis.

mjholt said...

Steve, like your observations on relationships.

Comment on schools: they are only as good as the parents. I live part time in a suburbanish area, with declining schools, and I find that the parents like to complain about how bad they are, but they have not attended on PTA meeting or school board meeting. Some don't to to the teacher nights.

On the other hand, a friend my mine was sending her children to possibly the most expensive private school in Bellevue or perhaps the whole state of Washington, and the teachers were encouraging deception of the parents, allowing bullying, and the like. A few parent teacher meetings actually did turn things around, but as she told the administrators when she moved her kids to another school for the next year, they had screwed up by allowing the problem grow in the first place.

Parents must be involved and vigilant.

Anonymous said...

I do agree that parental involvement in schooling makes a difference, and can even make a huge difference. If a child's parents read to them from the time that they are tiny, if mom and dad turn getting a library card an exciting rite of passage (and if these adults model good behavior and read themselves), if household trips to places like museums and state parks are normal, if adults preach and demonstrate the value of accepting responsibility for one's actions, hard work, planning, and deferring gratification, a young person's education is likely to turn out far better.

But if you send your child to a school like Washington Prep, where disruptive students are not kicked out, where being suspended gives kids who act out something to brag about, where a small but significant minority of kids are already convicted criminals, where gang involvement is common, where vandalism occurs constantly, and where a typical 9th grader reads at a 3rd grade level, it is nearly impossible for even a student with two very supportive parents to get a decent education.

As a teacher, I greatly appreciate parental involvement, and know that it can make a huge difference. I also know that there are many schools which are so bad that a minority of students who attend them graduate with a diploma that worth more than the paper it is printed on, and that parental support makes little difference at such hellholes.

Marco

Christian H. said...

I am, for the record, completely OK with protected classes of people -- you want to make it more of a crime to murder a gay/black/female/atheist than to murder a straight/white/male/christian, it's OK with me, as long as there's a clear correlation between being gay/black/female/atheist and being likelier to get murdered. The idea of special classes is enshrined in the common practice of law to begin with; it's always been more of a crime to kill a cop than some shmoe on the street.






I disagree with you there. No one is special. Therefore no one should be "more" protected.
If a certain group is more likely to be murdered, making it "more" of a crime won't do anything.
Determining why and fixing that is better, even if it means murdering - excuse me EXECUTING - whole groups of people.

Wow, I definitely have to get out of NYC soon.

Christian H. said...

As a teacher, I greatly appreciate parental involvement, and know that it can make a huge difference. I also know that there are many schools which are so bad that a minority of students who attend them graduate with a diploma that worth more than the paper it is printed on, and that parental support makes little difference at such hellholes.

Marco





As a teacher you should be demanding a DRESS CODE. If kids are allowed to dress like bums that's what they'll be.

Marty S said...

Ethiopian_Infidel: Your comments triggered my hate crime thoughts because your apparent disdain for Republicans/Conservatives and argument that the ends justify the means seemed awfully one sided as would be a applying greater penalties on people of race A attacking people of race B then visa versa. As to complaints that Obama is leading us down the path to socialism, I see them as quite correct and his national health care certainly fits the bill. If I am a private company and it costs me $5 dollars to produce a widget and I sell that widget for $5 dollars I make no profit and will eventually go out of business. Private companies and that includes private medical insurance companies must make a profit so they must charge more for their insurance than they pay out. Government health insurance does not have to make a profit. It doesn't even have to break even. It can just raise taxes on the rich to pay for a shortfall. Therefore government insurance will be cheaper than private insurance and it will inevitably drive private insurance out of business leaving the government as the sole provider in the industry. That's called socialism.

Frank: Even if there was a statistical correlation between increased gun permits and the drop in crime it wouldn't prove anything. There are more spurious correlations around than real cause and affect relationships.

Dan Moran said...

Frank,

I'm skeptical. There are correlations between the economy and crime reduction, between the age of the population and crime reduction ... but I've never seen a good one between gun ownership and crime reduction.

Crime declined all through Clinton's 8 years. But it declined more in states with low gun ownership than in states with high gun ownership. And I'm not saying that the relative lack of guns caused a greater decline in the lower-gun states either, because in this area, cause, effect, correlation -- it's tangled stuff.

People buy guns because they're living in bad neighborhoods? Well, there's More Guns + More Crime ... but the guns are a response to the crime, not vice versa. People don't buy guns because they feel safe? Less Guns + Less Crime ... but again, the lack of guns didn't cause people to feel safe, the lack of crime did.

A lot of guns in a community is mostly bad for the community. But it can still be a sensible decision for a given individual.

Anonymous said...

"As a teacher you should be demanding a DRESS CODE. If kids are allowed to dress like bums that's what they'll be."

Christian H -

Do find out what you're talking about before you mouth off. My school has a dress code. In fact, our students wear uniforms.

Marco

Frank said...

Marty and Dan, I agree.

Actually, I was pointing out that there was at least as much justification for saying crime went down because of the increase in gun ownership as there was for believing that Obama has brought hope to criminals.

Anonymous said...

Marty,

You're response was illuminating and prompted me to reflect more substantively on my position regarding NHC. While I remain supportive of the IDEA of blanket national healthcare, indeed, the current plan does have heavy Socialist overtones. My knee-jerk dismissal of similar Conservative criticism stems from a "Cry Wolf too Often" perception. Ever since Militant Communism became a serious threat in 1945, Conservatives have habitually labeled liberal or progressive measures "Communist" or "Socialist", Integration, Detente, Medicaid and Healthcare among them. The tactic's been used so often that genuine instances of "Creeping Socialism" are frequently ignored by progressives like myself, who uncritically assume such accusations are yet more attempts to stonewall progress. In this instance, I may have been in error. Thanks for prompting me to reconsider.

I wish also to make clear that I have zero disdain for Conservatives or Republicans as such. I do vociferously object to the issues the party and ideology have lately chosen to embrace; i.e. Anti-Abortion, Christian Fundamentalism, Creationism, Civil Rights Rollback, etc. However, Conservatives often exhibit far more enlightened supportive science policy (Stem Cell opposition being an exception) than liberals, whose ranks are beset my Walden-enraptured Luddites. Republicans are also often more pragmatic and less sentimental regarding foreign policy.

For myself, I refuse rigid political categorization. As Lord Palmerston said of Britain's foreign policy (No permanent alliances; Permanent interests), so I say of personal politics; No permanent partisan or ideological allegiances; Permanent causes, mine being Anti-Racism and Anti-Sexism, Anti-Ethnocentrism, complete sexual and reproductive freedom, Atheism, scientific progress and space travel.

Ethiopian_Infidel

Marty S said...

Ethiopian_Infidel: Apparently we agree on a lot of issues. While I identify myself as Republican/Conservative I am also anti (Christian Fundamentalism, Creationism, Civil Rights Rollback,Racism and Sexism,
and definitely pro scientific progress and space travel. Probably our biggest disagreement is in the area of abortion, where I am pro life. That stand though is based upon my own internal ethical compass rather than religious belief.

Anonymous said...

"All-inclusiveness is indispensable when formulating policy, but rapidly becomes a liability when enacting it."

That's the sort of argument for squelching dissent that I would perhaps expect Dick Cheney's critics to attribute to him: are you really arguing that Obama and Pelosi also have that attitude?


"Faced with relentless opposition, policymakers must fight to enact their agendas by any and all legal means. An effective means of muting the opposition is impugning their motives."

I see. So, dissent's only patriotic when it's Dick Cheney who's in the White House?


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

"That's the sort of argument for squelching dissent that I would perhaps expect Dick Cheney's critics to attribute to him:"

I merely meant to describe the political game as played by ALL participants and the "rationales" behind their stratagems, be they Cheney or Obama. Congresses and Parliaments function like law courts in employing an adversarial Trial by Fire methodology to vet bills and propositions. Opposing parties zealously use all tactics prescribed by law, including rational persuasion, calling in "favors", theater, distortion, smear and tacit or blatant coercion to win consensus and enact policy.

I wish to stress that I'm not ADVOCATING the tactics outlined above; I'm merely describing the actual political dynamics of legislatures in representative systems. I'm following the lead of the astute political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli, who dispassionately and scientifically described the dynamics of power politics played to the limit. "Old Nic" was severely castigated for coldly dissecting and "justifying" the ruthless methods of the likes of Cesare Borgia, thus furnishing instructions and examples for the likes of Hitler. Yet Machiavelli (for the most part) didn't ADVOCATE assassination, slaughter and other atrocities favored by warlords and fuhrers. He simply described those actions necessary for victory where the total abdication of law and ethics have made the political arena truly cutthroat. Like Machiavelli and caliber scientists, we must distinguish ideals from fact, what should be from what IS. And, sadly, like Machiavelli (the last chapter of Prince, Exhortation to Free Italy from the Barbarians, departs from the detached analysis evident earlier by tacitly advocating the methods he outlined), we must sometimes advocate and act as necessity demands to enact the greater good. Or, as Malcolm X said more succinctly concerning Civil Rights: "By Any Means Necessary".

Ethiopian_Infidel

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