She is a sexy little bitch

Spacebunny: We don’t do Valentine’s Day in the Day household. Vox probably would, but I just can’t bring myself to care.

Pan-Gargler: uh huh… I bet he did something special for his Treo.

Spacebunny: I’m not saying he wouldn’t have, but alas, the poor Treo is still in the shop. I don’t know what special thing he could do for it anyway, since I already bought him all the accessories for it for Christmas.

Pan-Gargler: It’s sad ya know.. the poor guy’s idea of a menage a’ trois involves his Treo and his Dana.

Spacebunny: I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Spacebunny is nice and pretty and all that, but does she store a gig’s worth of ebooks AND emulate an Intellivision? I don’t think so. A man has his needs, you know.

A mysterious hostility

The NYT upsets a gravy train:

The [CBT] therapy dwells exclusively in the present. Unlike traditional psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapy, it does not typically require a long course of treatment, usually 10 to 15 sessions. When cognitive therapy was introduced, it met significant resistance to the notion that people could be cured without understanding the sources of the problems. Many therapists said that without working through the underlying problems change would be superficial and that the basic problems would simply express themselves in other ways.

Cognitive advocates convinced colleagues by using a tool that had not been systematically used in mental health, randomized controlled clinical trials.

I took three things away from this article:

1. Conventional psychoanalysis is about as scientific as Magic: the Gathering and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and about as likely to cure mental illness.

2. Therapists are going to actively oppose cognitive therapy as it hypothetically poses a serious threat to significantly reduce their ability to parasitize treat their hosts patients.

3. My suspicions about traditional psychotherapy being a useless con game were correct from the start.

The money quote: “Although randomized controlled trials are the gold standard of scientific research, for most of the 20th century such research was not used to test the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic methods, in part because psychoanalysis, at the time the most popular form of talk therapy, was actively hostile to empirical validation.”

Still, those charlatans needn’t worry overmuch. I’d guess that at least two-thirds of those in therapy are there because they are more than willing to shell out for a captive audience. And they’ll continue to do so. No one ever went broke by encouraging people to talk about their favorite subject.

Why not just tell them to shut up?

The New York Times interviews a linguistics expert:

Q. Many of the women you’ve interviewed for your new book complain of mothers who criticize their appearance. Are they right to be annoyed?

A. “Right” and “wrong” aren’t words a linguist uses. My job is to analyze conversations and discover why communications fail. The biggest complaint I hear from daughters is: “My mother’s always criticizing me.” And the mother counters, “I can’t open my mouth; my daughter takes everything as criticism.”

But sometimes caring and criticism are found in the same words. When mothers talk about their daughters’ appearance, they are often doing it because they feel obligated to tell their daughter something that no one else will.

The mother feels she’s caring. The daughter feels criticized. They are both right.

What I try to do is point out each side to each other. So, the mother needs to acknowledge the criticism part, and the daughter needs to acknowledge the caring part. It’s tough because each sees only one.

I find this sort of thing very amusing, as there seems to be more than a little overlap between the people who deny that women are overly critical in a male-female context, and those who readily accept that women are overly critical in various female-female relationships.

Here’s a basic rule of thumb. If someone doesn’t ask you for your opinion, keep your trap shut, barring the possibility of your criticism of an action that involves a high probability of a) danger to life and limb, b) losing a job, or c) making a lifelong commitment. Sure, everyone is going to accidentally offer unwanted criticism from time to time, but there’s no excuse for making a habit of it, especially when the criticized party has expressed a wish that you stop it.

The “caring” excuse if bogus. If you want to tell someone that you care, then tell them so. That’s a positive message everyone can appreciate. Otherwise, mind your own business. When someone wants your opinion, they’ll ask for it.

Of course, if you’re so desperate for maternal approval that you’re calling Mommy up everyday to tell her what you ate for lunch, you need to give serious consideration to getting a life.

People are even dumber than they look

The Telegraph on the EU’s latest legal atrocity:

The islanders’ revolt has been brewing for some time. First, this community of Swedish-speaking Finns lost the right to fish at sea with traditional nets. Then Alanders saw their beloved spring duck hunting virtually abolished. To the Alanders’ final outrage, local laws on consuming “snus” or Swedish chewing tobacco, are about to be quashed by the European Court of Justice….

Snus, a form of chewing tobacco, has been outlawed by EU fiat in every nation except Sweden, which secured a -special opt-out as a condition of its joining the EU, and in every region – except Aland. The Commission recently took Finland to court to quash Aland’s snus law. But Finland has no power to change that law. Finland does not control laws covering health in Aland; Aland does.

Aland is not allowed to defend its law before the justices in Luxembourg because the court recognises only nations. So the court is set to convict and fine Aland, without allowing the island’s government to plead its case.

In case you’re wondering why I am so contemptuous of people, this situation pretty much sums it up. Everywhere around the world, those seeking power over others dangle the supposed benefits of centralized government. It will make the trains run on time. It will be more efficient. There’s no need to have ten different villages/cities/states/nations replicating the work that can be done in one central office. Promises are made about how money will flow into the little village/city/state/nation and the bold new era of prosperity that will ensue. The matter is put to a vote.

And nine times out of ten, the idiots voluntarily stick their heads in the lion’s mouth. Only then do they discover that the naysayers – who have been dismissed as ultraconservatives too stuck in the past to see the benefits of this brave new future – weren’t anywhere nearly pessimistic enough.

I’ve seen this happen everywhere. I’ve seen it happen in the States and in England, I’ve seen it happen in local organizations and in supranational organizations, I’ve seen it in Italy and I’ve seen it in Japan. The same thing happens every single time: the newly centralized operation ends up costing more, taking money out of its new member and significantly interfering with even the pettiest actions of what used to be the local authority.

And in the end, the fools who voted for it are left lamenting their fate, like Aland’s Tomas Grunér. “I thought the EU was a good idea, but now I think it sucks.”

Note, by the way, that the EU Constitution is scheduled for its first attempt at revival later this year, as I correctly predicted when it was “killed” by the French and Dutch votes.

Brokeback soccer

Somewhere in Tennessee, the Pan-Galactic one is laughing himself sick:

he players—one capped several times for England— were caught on camera cavorting with a pal well known in the music industry in a homosexual orgy that will shock soccer. The three men—who cannot be identified for legal reasons—are pictured wearing just vests and boxer shorts as they tackle each other in ways fans never expected.

This is going to be a much bigger story in Europe than the Danish cartoons – it’s already cracked the Italian papers – and should lead to some amusing appalling chants at the World Cup in Germany this summer.

I’m just hoping Manchester United is involved somehow.