Archive for March, 2007

I’m Not Crazy

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

The great thing about having a baby to push around in a stroller is you can talk to yourself to your heart’s content and no one will think you crazy.  Never mind she couldn’t possibly understand my recipe for chicken fettuccine or care whether or not I remember to put the towels in the drier when we get home.

Happiness is a Moral Obligation

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

A friend shared this essay with me today. I liked it a great deal and wanted to share it here. I consider myself a pretty happy person. Like everyone, I have my moments, but I try not to let them take over my day. When people are unhappy, they are toxic. This essay hits it right on the nose for me.

Happiness Is a Moral Obligation
By Dennis Prager
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

For much of my life, I, like most people, regarded the pursuit of happiness as largely a selfish pursuit. One of the great revelations of middle age has been that happiness, far from being only a selfish pursuit, is a moral demand.

When we think of character traits we rightly think of honesty, integrity, moral courage, and acts of altruism. Few people include happiness in any list of character traits or moral achievements.

But happiness is both.

Happiness — or at least acting happy, or at the very least not inflicting one’s unhappiness on others — is no less important in making the world better than any other human trait.

With some exceptions, happy people make the world better and unhappy people make it worse. This is true on the personal (micro) and global (macro) planes.

On the micro plane:

Consider the effects of an unhappy parent on a child. Ask people raised by an unhappy parent if that unhappiness hurt them.

Consider the effects of an unhappy spouse on a marriage.

Consider the effects of unhappy children on their parents. I know a couple that has four middle-aged children of whom three are truly extraordinary people, inordinately well adjusted and decent. The fourth child has been unhappy most of his life and has been a never-ending source of pain to the parents. That one child’s unhappiness has always overshadowed the joy that the parents experience from the other three children. Hence the saying that one is no happier than one’s least happy child.

Consider the effects of a brooding co-worker on your and your fellow workers’ morale — not to mention the huge difference between working for a happy or a moody employer.

We should regard bad moods as we do offensive body odor. Just as we shower each day so as not to inflict our body odors on others, so we should monitor our bad moods so as not to inflict them on others. We shower partly for ourselves and partly out of obligation to others. The same should hold true vis a vis moods; and just as we avoid those who do not do something about their body odor we should avoid whenever possible those who do nothing about their bad moods.

The flip side of the damage unhappy people do when they subject others to their unhappiness is the good that people do when they are, or at least act, happy. Just think of how much more you want to help people when you are in particularly happy mood and you realize how much more good the happy are likely to do.

On the macro plane, the case for the relationship between happiness and goodness is as apparent.

It is safe to say that the happiest Germans were not those who joined the Nazi Party. Nor did the happiest Europeans become Communists. And happy Muslims are not generally among those who extol death. The motto of Hamas and other Islamic groups engaged in terror, “We love death as much as [Americans, Jews] love life,” does not appeal to happy Muslims.

Cults, hysteria and mass movements all appeal to the unhappy far more than to the happy. It is one more example of the genius of America’s Founders to include “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. No other major civilization so enshrined happiness as a core value. This American belief in the moral and societal merit in pursuing happiness is a major reason America has developed differently than Europe. The American emphasis on happiness is one reason no fanatical political or religious movement, Left or Right, has been able to succeed in America as such movements have repeatedly succeeded in Europe.

The pursuit of happiness is not the pursuit of pleasure. The pursuit of pleasure is hedonism, and hedonists are not happy because the intensity and amount of pleasure must constantly be increased in order for hedonism to work. Pleasure for the hedonist is a drug.

But the pursuit of happiness is noble. It benefits everyone around the individual pursuing it, and it benefits humanity. And that is why happiness is a moral obligation.

Here is the link to Dennis’ site and with the original essay and comments it generated.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2007/02/20/happiness_is_a_moral_obligation

Asking for help is wise…

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

HELP!

I’d like to have this blog appear on my MySpace page without having to retype the content or cut & paste.  Any technically inclined in my readersphere who could advise me on how to pull this off?

Back Up

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Where I live, more and more people seem to be backing into parking spaces. As often as it happens, I’m still caught off guard with a person’s decision to slam their car into reverse and back into a parking space I had convinced myself they had passed up and would soon be mine. Luckily, I have yet to kiss bumpers with anyone. I do wonder what the appeal is to backing into parking spaces. It’s not exactly the easiest way to park. Perhaps they are all current or former valets who are overly dedicated to their profession.

Baby Wisdom

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

You’re never too young to show signs of wisdom. My 11 month old daughter asked me to pass on to the world a little nugget of brilliance. Are you ready? Here it is.

YOU ARE NEVER TOO FULL TO EAT A COOKIE!

I’m so proud. She clearly has a good head on her shoulders.

Birthmarks

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

For those of you who have been readers of this blog from the beginning, you know I have a daughter with a facial birthmark. She’s actually the inspiration behind “Use Your Wisdom.” You may read the section “About Use Your Wisdom” for the story on how my blog came to be.

My daughter’s birthmark is on her lower lip and upper chin. It is called a Strawberry Hemangioma and is very common. They appear shortly after birth and go through a process of development before eventually involuting and going away. Before my experience with my daughter, I never paid much attention to birthmarks. I also didn’t realize the negative stigma that has accompanied them for centuries. As an avid reader, I often find references to birthmarks I wouldn’t have noticed had I not shared this journey with Olivia. It’s amazing to me how often a villian’s face is marked or pitted in some way. There was one book that referred to the villian as having the nickname berry face. In another novel, a pregnant woman was worried her child would be born with a “red mark” because a loved one had died close to the birth of the child. Other references involve misfits or presumed predators who are/were marked in some way.

I know many of the negative references to birthmarks were a result of the mystery surrounding their occurance. To a large extent, we still don’t know for sure why they happen. The debate over how/why they form and whether or not there is a genetic tie rages on. When I read books or see movies where the ‘bad person’ is marked in some way, my heart breaks a bit. I’ll admit, my daughter is naughty at times. If I leave my purse on the floor she is more than likely to snag my money and debit card. At 11 months, she is already showing affinity for the almighty dollar. I’d hardly peg her a villian, however. Heck, with all of the money that ends up in her mouth I figure she’ll be made of money by the time she’s 5 and will never have a need to steal.

As I write this blog, I have to admit I often wonder what people think when they see Olivia. What reasons pop into their heads to explain her birthmark. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just that I often see the wheels spinning in people’s minds and am curious to know what they’ve come up with. The only ones that bother me anymore are those who worry I’ve allowed her to be hurt in some way (or worse, inflicted the hurt). Sometimes I don’t have to wonder at all as perfect strangers are willing to offer their unsolicited opinion. Let’s see, I’ve heard she must have a nut allergy, she’s eaten too much fruit, she has a cancor sore that is out of control…the list goes on. I’m sure it will continue to grow.

I decided to write this particular blog today because it has been a while since I openly discussed by daughter’s hemangioma. I think it is important to do from time to time just to give everyone a chance to broaden their knowledge a bit and be more aware. Awareness helps everyone. A woman and her son, who I’ve come to know through various channels, have written a fabulous children’s book about birthmarks. I’m actually going to link it to my blog for those with any interest. The book is called “Buddy Booby’s Birthmark”. It’s about a Booby bird in the Galapagos Islands who is born with a birthmark. It tells the story of how the world greeted him and all of the questions they faced. Donna’s son Evan was the inspiration for the book when he remarked at a young age that none of the characters in the books he read had a birthmark like him. Donna and Evan decided to do something about that and wrote a story together. I’ve purchased several for my local libraries. It’s great to have a book on the shelves where a character who isn’t a villian or an evil force of some sort has a birthmark.

Thanks for reading.

Well, that covers just about everything…

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Did you hear Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has confessed to being the mastermind of nearly every terror event our country has faced in the past 15 years? According to him, he planned the 9/11 attacks, personally beheaded Daniel Pearl, planned the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, arranged the attempted shoe bombing by Richard Reid…the list goes on. He’s been a busy boy. How handy the responsibility for all of these events rests on the shoulders of a man we’ve been lucky enough to have in captivity for several years. Cheers to the judicial process at Guantanamo Bay for getting to the bottom of things and exposing the truth. While he’s in the mood to confess, I wonder if they wouldn’t mind asking if he had anything to do with the massive door ding I received while at Costco a few years ago. Of course, no note was left. With all he’s played a role in, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was somehow connected to the violation of my flawless paint job.

By the way, does this mean we don’t have to worry so much about Osama? Cause that would be handy too, now wouldn’t it.

Interesting

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

MSNBC actually made an interesting point today…gasp. There was a piece discussing the downside of removing religious teachings in our schools. In an effort to be sensitive and respectful of all beliefs/nonbeliefs and cultures, schools have gone to great lengths to remove religious messages in schools. The exception is, of course, the private schools which focus on one specific faith. The growing problem is that much of the world’s conflict has a religious connection. Because our citizens are learning less and less about religion and religious history, few will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to promote a peaceful world. Look at how poorly the current generation of adults has navigated the conflicts in the Middle East. And this generation and much more exposure to religious teachings than kids have now.

I think we’ve over-corrected as a society in an attempt to do the right thing. We can discuss religion in depth without telling people they must believe or discount a faith. Arming our citizens with extensive information about various faiths and practices can only help us play nice in the global sandbox.

Wheely Annoying

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

When they first came out with shoes that double as roller skates I thought how cool. Kids must find them to be incredibly fun. I also imagined kids getting more exercise and fresh air as it would encourage them to wheel all over the place. Now that some time has passed, I’m less enthusiastic. My fickle side comes through. The masses of youth wheeling through the malls, grocery stores and parking lots are nothing short of disastrous. I am forever dodging pimply faced speed demons wheeling through life without care or concern. The real catch is one minute the kid is walking at a snail’s pace only to suddenly shift into overdrive and zoom forward. Attempting to predict another’s path or destination is nearly impossible. Part of me wonders if it wouldn’t make more sense to let the kids skateboard everywhere. At least you can hear those wheels coming before you find yourself entangled. My biggest fear is I will accidentally hit one of these rolling nightmares while backing out of a parking space. Though I wouldn’t mind crushing the shoes, I’d never get over hurting a child. The fact it wouldn’t be my fault would be little consolation.

$20,000 a day?

Friday, March 9th, 2007

Heather Mills contends she needs $20,000 a day to survive. My, oh my. She is willing to settle for $80M total, however. How frugal of her. Companies run on less money. I really hope Sir Paul McCartney escapes this marriage with as little damage as possible. Considering the absurd allegations of abuse she’s unleashed and the ridiculous monetary requirements, he’s been a complete gentleman. She’s clearly a tick looking to suck the blood right out of him. I imagine he’d be more aggressive in shutting her down if the Beatle could bring himself to feel comfortable squashing a fellow bug.  Maybe if he pours a little salt on her she’ll fall off and disappear.