Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How To Interact With A Man’s Brain And Get Your Message Across

I was flipping channels this morning and landed on a new show hosted by a Dr. Oz (I watched part of it, I didn’t care for the show). He had someone on the show that was talking about what is inside a man’s brain. Seeing that I’ve always wanted to know what goes on in there, I watched for a while. (I am sure my husband wonders the same about a woman’s brain; too bad he doesn’t have his own blog where he can talk about it.)

The guest, whose name I did not catch, says that men can’t take in a lot of detail, so women need to speak with as few words as possible, as men get overwhelmed with details. He also said that women have to repeat information to men often because their memory center is smaller.

Tell me something that I don’t know. My husband and I have a standing joke about how he doesn’t always seem to hear me. Sometimes while speaking to him – sometimes he is looking me right in the eye when I do so – 30 seconds later, he’ll say, “What did you just say?” Or, when I ask him a question that requires a specific answer, I get a yes or no response. For example, “Would you like chicken for dinner or should I get Chinese?” and he responds “yes.” Many times I will give him a bit of information, and 10 minutes later he will ask me a question that makes me realize he didn’t hear a word I said. For example, he may ask, “What did you blog about today” and 10 minutes later, he will ask, “Did you blog today?”

Of course, I am far from perfect, sometimes flooding my husband’s brain with information when he asks a simple question like, “What did you do today?” which to his mind, probably sounds like I am reciting “War and Peace.”

So we came up with a solution. When there is something that is important that I need to say and I think he needs to remember, I preface it with warning beeps, similar to what they use for TV weather warnings and alerts. For example, I may say “Beep beep beep beep beep….I called the plumber and he is coming over on Wednesday.” Just like a TV warning, he looks up and pays attention. So far it has worked every time.

So if you think your husband is not listening to you, try the “beep” routine. It should work, and you won’t have to worry so much about how you should be interacting with a man’s brain. Just remember, keep your message brief, because he may tune you out before your message is over! Now, if I could just get a message to scroll across my head at the same time….

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are We All Becoming Germaphobes?

USA Network's Adrian Monk, poster boy for germaphobes

It seems that almost every time I turn on the television someone is talking about all the germs and bacteria that lurk among us. Just this week, I was informed that my purse is likely a cesspool of disease inducing bacteria, my shower head could kill me with the germs it can spray out, my makeup can be spreading germs all over my face, my shopping cart is likely covered in crud that could make me sick, my shower cap could be awash in nasty bacteria, and my toothbrush is probably dirtier than my bathroom floor.

One can only wonder how I have survived on this earth so long.

All kidding aside, while many people do not always think about the things that they touch on a daily basis and where it has been, I see no harm in raising a person’s consciousness about how he or she can come in contact with germs. But I sense that what seems like wall-to-wall coverage of where germs may lurk is an offshoot of the H1N1 (AKA “swine flu”) concerns. I feel as if someone is preparing me for some sort of viral Armageddon, not unlike Stephen King’s classic book, “The Stand.” I’ve noticed that completely healthy people are getting somewhat obsessive/compulsive when it comes to wiping down surfaces and slathering on globs of hand sanitizer and practically bathing in antibacterial cleansers.

I suppose there are many people who aren’t as clean conscious as I am, so all this media coverage about where people can come in contact with germs may be of help to some. But I think the whole thing can be addressed by a few common sense tips, without creating a country of germaphobes:

1. Wash your hands - a lot. If you can, wash them in your sleep too. You don’t know where your hands have been in your dreams.

2. Keep your kitchen and bathroom clean. In fact, never go in there because then you can be sure there are no germs in there.

3. Never put your purse or man-bag on the floor. Ever.

4. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth, preferably with your arm. Never use someone else’s arm.

5. Close that toilet seat when not in use. Quit debating the issue, just close it!

6. Never have children as they are nothing but large germ and bacteria magnets. If you already have children, well, you're screwed.

7. Bleach. Bleach everything. Just bleach it all.

Of course, if as in the case of the book “The Stand” we get a germ that is transmitted just by the air we breathe, all bets are off. In the meantime, I think I will buy stock in Clorox (CLX).

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Obama To Address Students, Some Parents Fearful

I’ve been following the many recent new stories regarding President Obama’s speech to schoolchildren scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday, September 8. (The speech was published today on the White House web site. )

It’s a pity that some parents have become so afraid of the President of the United States that they made every effort to block their children from hearing the Presidents address live. It seems that some parents are panicked that the President would somehow try to subliminally indoctrinate their children into some secret liberal and/or socialist society. Or, they were afraid that the President would somehow sneak in some kind of health care propaganda.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made reference to these overreactions as being an indication that we have entered the ”silly season” when parents want to block the President from talking to their children about studying hard and staying in school, a message that students should already be hearing from their parents.

I think Gibbs was being too kind when he referred to this as the silly season. I think the overreacting parents are just being obtuse, close-minded, fear-mongering idiots. (This is why I could never be a press secretary.)

I read the speech and find it that it should be an inspiration to students everywhere. It sends a message that if someone studies hard and applies themselves that they will be better prepared for those days when they must choose a vocation and go out and find work. It doesn’t matter if the student chooses a vocation that is easy or complex – everything requires an education of some sort. It also encourages children to be responsible for themselves, a philosophy that can never be ingrained too early on in a child’s life. It is a given that some children live in differing home environments, or have differing skills. With the President using his own life experiences as an example, he could serve as a perfect role model for those students who need to break out of the mindset that their current standing in life is where they need to stay for the rest of their lives.

The speech poses no harm whatsoever, and any parent who reads it still thinks that this poses some sort of threat to their child needs to have their heads examined. If anything, these parents should be thankful that the President is taking the time to show interest in their children and their future. The parents who want to censor the President’s speech are the ones politicizing this event, and those parents should be ashamed of themselves.

You can find the complete speech to schoolchildren on the White House web site, here. )

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Death By Fragrance

Like many women, I enjoy shopping. There are a few times, though, when I hate to shop. One example is when I am looking for something very specific and I can’t find it anywhere. Another is when I do find something I like but it is only stocked in size 2 or 4.

But the one thing that brings me to my knees is when I walk into a store and I am immediately assaulted by fragrance. This used to happen frequently in departments stores in the makeup and fragrance department, when sales clerks would spray the latest fragrance over anything that would walk by. Many stores have cut back on doing that to some extent, and now many hand out little cards with the scent du jour on it. Around the holidays, stores have Christmas scents around – like pine, or cinnamon – which are a somewhat more tolerable if they are not sprayed all over the place.

But today I was almost gassed to death when I walked in the local Bed Bath and Beyond store. The entire store was bathed in a heavy, perfumed smell that literally caused me to gasp for air. (We used to cause this kind of scent “eau de maggot gagger” because even a maggot would be repulsed by it.) After walking through the store, coughing and sneezing the entire time, and not finding what I needed, I left. My nostrils are still burning.

I come from a family with lots of allergies – myself included – so anything with a heavy fragrance was not welcome in the house. To this day, I buy unscented products when I can find them. I admit that I may be more sensitive to fragrance than many people. But, I am also not one of those people that wants to ban the wearing of perfume in the office because I understand that some people really do like it and it can be pleasant if done with a light touch. Some people need it, frankly, to cover up the odor of either cigarette smoke, an evening of drinking, or body odor, or any combination thereof.

Do we need to smell flowery perfume shopping in places other than a perfume department? No. In fact, too much fragrance is the one thing that drives me out of a store faster than a fire alarm. So I make my plea to retailers - please ditch the heavy fragrances. Your customers’ respiratory systems will thank you.

PS - Still coughing, 2 hours later.

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