Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

March Madness: Older Women?

March 10, 2010

Heard Mike Wise on 106.7 “The Fan” today (my Sirius Satellite radio wasn’t working) talking about seeding older women (I prefer not to call them “Cougars”) as if in an NCAA-style March Madness tournament.  Only problem is, it has already been done – by me more than a year ago: mikefrandsen.org/2008/12/05/most-beautiful-tv-news-women-2008/.  How about some credit?

There were a few older women on that list and even more on this one: mikefrandsen.org/2009/11/23/20-most-attractive-actresses-in-movies/.

So in no particular order (who am I kidding – Linda Hamilton and Lynda Carter are tied at No. 1), off the top of my head, here are a few older women.  Don’t talk to me about 40 or 41 – that’s not older.  Even when I was 35 I wouldn’t have said that was older.  You have to bee at least in the mid-to late 40s to make this list.

  • Christine McVie
  • Hannah Storm
  • Susan Lisovicz
  • Jill Clayburgh
  • Lynda Carter
  • Linda Hamilton
  • Michelle Pfeiffer (listening to the song “Tequila Sunrise” as I write this)
  • Karen Finerman (“The Chairwoman)
  • Anne Archer
  • Katty Kay
  • Sandra Bullock (reluctantly)
  • Sharon Stone
  • Jacqueline Bisset
  • Sigourney Weaver

I’m sure I missed a ton but that’s just a combo of my first two lists and also a little off the top of my head.

A Storm of controversy around Hannah

February 25, 2010

A couple of years ago at 2008/12/05/most-beautiful-tv-news-women-2008/, I wrote this about Hannah Storm:

“She is very sharp.  She’s gotten better in sports knowledge and looks as she’s gotten older.  I didn’t expect to include her but now I can’t keep her out.  Her work is absolutely stellar, way better than it was years ago.”

Hannah Storm

As for Kornheiser’s recent comments about Storm being too old to wear what she wears, I think she looks amazing even though I usually  favor women who are a few pounds overweight rather than a few pounds underweight.  But one thing is certain.  If I had a choice between a woman in her 40s (like Hannah Storm), her 30s, or her 20s, nine times out of ten I’d choose the one in her 40s, especially if she were like Hannah Storm.

LOGICAL WOMAN AND EMPATHETIC MAN MAKE HISTORY: First-Ever Instance of Man Understanding Emotions while Woman Uses Reason

January 20, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS – For the first time in recorded history, a woman used “logic,” defined as “reason or sound judgment,” ahead of emotion in dealing with her boyfriend, while her boyfriend simultaneously placed more importance on understanding her emotions than attempting to fix their problems using only his perspective.

The historic moment occurred Tuesday afternoon when Polly Piatkouwski and John Tuttle “validated” each others’ thoughts by listening and repeating back what each other said, a strategy that has been previously believed to be theoretically possible, but heretofore never actually been verified to have occurred organically.

“I decided to listen to what she was saying and tried to put myself in her position,” Tuttle said.  Meanwhile, Piatkowski said she used “reason,” defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “the power of intelligent and dispassionate thought, or of conduct influenced by such thought.”

“It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be,” Piatkouwski opined.  “But I’ll probably go back to letting my emotions rule my thoughts, being indirect, and expecting John to read my mind.”  Tuttle said he planned to return to trying to fix problems, taking things literally and ignoring intangibles rather than listening to his girlfriend and understanding where she’s coming from.

Still, the moment will be chronicled and celebrated for decades to come, historians say.  “If it happened once, it could happen again,” said Nicholas Johnson of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Sociologists say women have used logic before.  They also have multiple records of men being emotionally aware and validating what women say.  However, this has never been accomplished to anyone’s knowledge by the same couple in the same situation.

Psychologist Norman Greenbaum said he believes that the couple’s claims are plausible.  “With hundreds of millions of couples having argued throughout America’s history, I believe this may have even happened another time at some point before and just gone unnoticed.”

Greenbaum said that it would be statistically possible for a man to be empathetic while his girlfriend uses rational sense to solve a problem.  He stated that this phenomenon may even occur again at some point.  However, cynics say the couple may be perpetrating a hoax, claiming that the odds of such an event are just too high to have actually occurred during the same situation.

(Note:  The above is a satire and not related to any particular situation.  It is written in the style of articles on the onion.com. Sometimes I write blogs or website content that is exaggerated or intended to be humorous.  Not everyone will like it or get it. It reminds me of a story in which comedian Gilbert Gottfried was bombing, but continued to do more and more of the same material on purpose despite the audience’s reaction).

20 Most Attractive Actresses in Movies

November 23, 2009

I don’t think anything will top the Most Beautiful TV News Women of 2008 blog, but this’ll have to do for now.

So this is my list of the 20 most attractive actresses in movies.   I list them as the most “attractive” instead of “beautiful,” because though most of them are beautiful, “attractive” implies personality traits and other intangibles.  The roles are also important, though this isn’t a list of great actresses – it’s a list of the most attractive women in my opinion based on their roles in these movies.  So it’s sort of more the character than the person, since obviously I don’t know them.

Without going through the whole list, this competition was over before it began.  Linda Hamilton has the nice girl, innocent look in “Terminator” and she shows she has a lot of heart.  Then in “Terminator II” she becomes a bad ass.  Franka Potente in “Bourne Identity” has moxie and style.  If I had just seen her without her being in the role, she might not make the top 100, but she is pretty phenomenal in the role of Marie.

Sometimes it’s a particular scene that leaves the impression, like when Sigourney Weaver is possessed by a ghost in “Ghostbusters,” or when Phoebe Cates walks by the pool in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” with an assist by the song “Moving in Stereo” by the Cars (one of the most underappreciated rock bands of all time).  Then there’s the woman as authority figure, like P.J. Soles who played an MP in “Stripes,” a variation on the teacher theme.  In “Silver Streak,” Jill Clayburgh looked wholesome; in “Basic Instinct” Sharon Stone did not.

Back before older women were called cougars, you had Jacqueline Bisset (“Class”), Anne Archer (“Patriot Games”) and of course, Anne Bancroft in “The Graduate,” who just edges out Katherine Ross from the same movie.  Believe it or not, Linda Fiorentino of “Vision Quest” was also an older woman although she played someone who was only 21 in the movie.  Her suitor in Vision Quest was 17.  I always thought her character was more like 25 until I saw the movie again.  Cheesy movie but great.

The mention of Sandra Bullock reminds me that I saw her twice in bars in Washington, D.C. about 10 years ago.  Each time she had her hair colored blond (or was wearing a wig) like she has it in her new movie “The Blind Side.”  It was definitely her.  Once was in Atomic Billiards in Cleveland Park.  I honestly can’t remember where the other time was.  Anyway, I went up to her to talk.   I didn’t mention anything about her looking like (or being) Sandra Bullock – just tried to talk with her but I have to say she was pretty underwhelmed.  She blew me off both times.  Then after that I told her I knew who she was.  Again, she was a little bit unimpressed.  Oh well.

So here you have it.  I’m going to add pictures later.

  1. Linda Hamilton, Terminator
  2. Linda Hamilton, Terminator II
  3. Franka Potente, Bourne Identity and Bourne Supremacy
  4. P.J. Soles, Stripes
  5. Jacqueline Bisset, Class
  6. Sigourney Weaver, Ghostbusters
  7. Jill Clayburgh, Silver Streak
  8. Linda Fiorentino, Vision Quest
  9. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct
  10. Anne Bancroft, The Graduate
  11. Katherine Ross, The Graduate
  12. Anne Archer, Patriot Games
  13. Julia Roberts, Ocean’s Eleven
  14. Sandra Bullock, Speed
  15. Lucy Liu, Charlie’s Angels
  16. Jessica Lange, King Kong
  17. Debra Winger, Officer and a Gentleman
  18. Halle Berry, Swordfish
  19. Robin Wright Penn, Forrest Gump
  20. Ashley Judd, Double Jeopardy
  21. Phoebe Cates, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Honorable Mention:  Lynda Carter.  I know she was a TV actress and hardly did any movies, but I had to include her on the list. She can occasionally be spotted in Bethesda, MD and looks as great as ever.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ve missed a ton of attractive actresses but this is the list.  It was almost a year ago that I did the list of the most beautiful newswomen of 2008, and that blog entry has gotten more traffic than all my other blog posts combined.

So as I put this one up, and the previous one just below this, part of the hope is that more people will read the other parts of my blog that deal with www.mikeneedsakidney.com, which by the way, isn’t just for me but is designed to raise awareness for all people who need kidneys.  While I’m on the topic, check out the song that the Dirtbags, the Redskins Appreciation Club band did for me.

Relationship Notes from Gottman, Hendrix, Gray, and Kasl

August 22, 2009

I’m writing below notes I’ve made from a bunch of different books about relationships for married and unmarried couples.  A few years ago, I got really into the subject as I went to couples counseling with my girlfriend at the time.  As I look at the notes, I guess I got a little obsessed about it.  I underlined the best parts of the books and then typed out those parts.  It is possible that, like Rodney Dangerfield said in “Back to School,” “The guy who underlined those books could have been an idiot.”

(There’s another good line from that movie that I like.  Rodney asks his professor out for a date.  She says, “I can’t tomorrow, I have class.”  He replies, “Ok, why don’t you go out with me when you have no class.”  But enough about a guy who gets more respect than I do…)

Anyway, about the notes from the books, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being as prepared as possible.  It’s fun to wing it sometimes, but you can’t hurt yourself with preparation.  I believe in having a great marriage, not an average one or a good one.  Anyway, I have the notes, so I thought I’d put them onto my blog in case anyone is interested in reading the Cliff Notes versions of these books.

I include Martin Seligman’s “Authentic Happiness,” even though it isn’t specifically a book for couples.  Another book, “Raising the Emotionally Intelligent Child,” by John Gottman, is under the Disabilities, Autism section of my blog.  I am a Gottman disciple.  I think that his books on relationships are great.  So here we go.

Martin Seligman, “Authentic Happiness”

  • Authentic happiness comes from using your best strengths in work, love, play, and parenting.  Meaningful life adds using these strengths to forward knowledge, power, or goodness
  • Take particular care with the endings of relationships because that’s in large part how they’re remembered.
  • Doing kind and fun actions create a lot more satisfaction than doing things that are only fun.
  • Happy people remember more of the good events than the bad.
  • Happy people spend the least amount of time alone and most time socializing.
  • If you do not allow yourself to express an emotion it will squeeze its way out, usually as an undesirable symptom.
  • People often unravel as they ventilate in traditional talk therapy.  Cognitive therapy techniques, however, get people to change their thinking about the present and future.  Dwelling on anger produces more anger.
  • Change your thoughts by rewriting your past – forgiving, forgetting bad memories.
  • Good things and high accomplishments have surprisingly little power to raise happiness.
  • Once a person is just barely comfortable, added money adds little or no happiness.
  • All emotions about the past are driven by thinking and interpretation.
  • Dwelling on anger produces more anger.

  • Savoring the awareness of pleasure.
    • Sharing with others
    • Memory-building (photos)
    • Congratulation
    • Sharpening perceptions
    • Absorption
  • Gratifying activities
    • Challenging and require skill
    • We concentrate
    • There are clear goals
    • We get immediate feedback
    • We have deep, effortless involvement
    • There is a sense of control
    • Sense of self vanishes
    • Time stops
  • People often choose pleasure over gratification
  • 6 universal virtues
  1. Wisdom and knowledge
  2. Courage
  3. Love and humility
  4. Justice
  5. Temperance
  6. Spirituality and transcendence
  • You have to let yourself receive love in addition to giving it.
  • While real income has risen 16%, happiness has decreased 30%
  • Flow – positive emotion about the present without thinking about the future or the past.

Gottman’s harbingers of divorce as quoted by Seligman:

  • Harsh startup in a disagreement
  • Criticism rather than complaints
  • Displays of contempt
  • Hair-trigger defensiveness
  • Lack of validation (particularly stonewalling)
  • Negative body language
  • Positive signs
    • Partings – before you leave, find out one thing that your spouse will do that day
    • Reunions – at the end of the day, have a low-stress reunion conversation
    • Affection – physical intimacy
    • At least one weekly date
    • Express admiration and appreciation at least once a day.
  • When you have a hot button issue, mention it.   Use the gavel.
  • Raising children – Make sure they know what they are being punished for.
  • The good life consists in deriving happiness by using your signature strengths every day.  The meaningful life adds one more component:  using these same strengths to forward knowledge, power, or goodness.

John Gottman, “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail”

  • Do you have affection for each other even during conflicts?
  • Couples who initially had complaints about each other were among the most stable as the years went on.
  • Research shows that marital satisfaction is linked to spouses’ physiological responses to one another.
  • You must have at least five times as many positive as negative moments together.
  • Validating – letting each other know your emotions are valid.  Repeating back what the other said.  “So you’re saying….is that right?”
  • Pick your battles carefully.  “What do you suggest?”
  • You can “agree to disagree.”
  • Show interest.
  • Be appreciative.
  • Be empathetic.
  • Be accepting.
  • Joke around.

Four Horsemen

Criticism

  • Attacking someone’s personality or character.  i.e., saying “always” or “never.”  However, complaining about a specific event is healthy.

Contempt

  • The intention to insult and psychologically abuse your spouse.  Name calling, mockery, sneering, curling your upper lip.

Defensiveness

  • Believing you are not to blame.  Making excuses.  Cross-complaining.  Yes butting.  Defending yourself.

Stonewalling

  • Withdrawing during an argument – a very powerful act.  One spouse withdraws more, escalating the other’s demands.
  • The above four horsemen often fall into two categories of thoughts – innocent victimhood or righteous indignation.
  • Flooding – fight or flight.
  • Use conciliatory gestures – “Please let me finish.” “We’re getting off the topic.”  “That hurt my feelings.”
  • How to improve your relationship:
    • Calm yourself during flooding.  Don’t continue the discussion until you’ve calmed down.
    • Speak and listen non-defensively.  By dwelling on what is wrong, you miss out on what is right.  Recall specific happy memories.
    • Validate each other – “Go ahead, I’m listening,” “I can see why you’d feel that way,” “It makes sense that you’d feel that way,” or even “yeah.” Go far out of your way to validate.
    • Overlearn these principles.  Practice often.  Even when you don’t feel like it.
    • Set a limit of 15 minutes for disagreements.  Pick one major issue.
    • Sex – talk about what is good.
    • Since politeness vanishes early, make an extra effort to treat your spouse nicely.
  • Happiest couples accentuate the strengths and the bright side, downplay faults, elevate shortcomings into strengths.  If the good things about your relationship are considered the norm while the bad parts are fleeting and situational, that’s good.
  • Happiest couples are those who understand limitations.
  • Go out of your way to validate.  Especially during hot-button issues – use gavel.
  • Use “I” as much as possible rather than “you.”
  • Nothing foretells a marriage’s future as accurately as how a couple retells their past.  A negative spin on your past is a very bad sign.  Telling how you met.  Remembering details are good.  It’s best if you glorify your past struggles.  You can make an effort by changing the negatives to positives.
  • Mismatches in marital style aren’t good.

John Gottman, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”

  • Emotional intelligence is a predictor of a child’s success later in life.
  • Most happy couples do not do active listening when they’re upset. (different than Hendrix)
  • There’s a lot of affection and laughter as they hash this out.
  • The key to a happy marriage is finding someone with whom you mesh.
  • Happy spouses do not keep tabs on whether a good deed is payback.
  • No one style of resolving conflict is best – as long as both people have the same style.
  • Most affairs are about seeking friendship, support, understanding, respect, caring, and concern – feeling loved and appreciated.
  • The determining factor for both men and women in whether they feel satisfied with sex, romance, and passion is the quality of their friendship.
  • Keys to a successful marriage

-      Expressing little things day in and day out

-      Talk on the phone during the day.  Ask about things like doctor’s appointments.

-      Example – he’s not religious, but he goes to church each Sunday with her because it’s important to her.

-      They positively beam when discussing the life they plan to build.

  • Most marital arguments cannot be resolved. No sense in fighting over differences.

Predictors of Divorce

1. Harsh startup. 96% of the time you can predict the outcome of a conversation by its beginning.

2. Four Horsemen

Criticism instead of complaints.

Contempt (conveys disgust)

-      Sarcasm

-      Cynicism

-      Name-calling

-      Eye-rolling

-      Sneering

-      Mockery

-      Hostile humor

-      Belligerence contains a threat or provocation.

Defensiveness

-      Blaming your spouse

Stonewalling

3. Flooding – you feel severe emotional distress when dealing with your spouse.  Your body perceives the situation as dangerous.  Fight or flight.

4.  Body Language – The more flooding, the harder it is to respond to repair.

5.  Failed Repair Attempts – The failure of repair attempts is an accurate marker for an unhappy future.  You can even be high on the four horsemen and still have a good marriage if there are repair attempts.

Quality of the friendship is key.

6. Bad Memories

  • Couples who have a negative view of their spouse often rewrite the past.
  • In a happy marriage, couples tend to look back on their early days fondly.  They glorify the struggles they’ve been through.
  • When you find the past difficult to remember – bad sign.

***

  • Lack of knowledge about each other is bad.  You need to know what the other person likes, dislikes, fears and loves.
  • Emotionally intelligent couples are intimately familiar with each other’s world.  They remember the major events in each other’s history, and they keep updating their information as the facts and feelings of their spouse’s world change.
  • Know each other’s deepest longings, beliefs, and fears.
  • Getting to know each other shouldn’t be a chore.
  • At least once a week just go out and talk.
  • Talk about your triumphs and strivings, the difficult events you’ve gone through
  • Fondness and admiration are two of the most important elements in a marriage.  They are antidotes for contempt.
  • How you view your past.  If you put a positive spin on your history, that’s good.
  • Lots of chit chat means you are connecting.
  • There is deep drama in the little moments.  It’s important to turn toward each other every day.  Just remember you shouldn’t take your every day interactions for granted.
  • Asking each other about your day helps relieve stress from other areas that can spill over.  Talk about what is on your mind outside your marriage.
  • You have to let her know that you fully empathize with her problem.
  • Ask her to point out instances in which you are being controlling.
  • You don’t have to resolve all your conflicts.  You can agree to disagree.
  • Share with each other the personal dreams of your life.
    • Make sure your startup is soft and not harsh
    • Look for signs of flooding
    • Be more tolerant of each other’s perfections

John Gottman, “The Relationship Cure”

  • People headed for divorce disregarded their spouse’s bids for connection most of the time.
  • Happily married people engaged each other as many as 100 times in 10 minutes.
  • Humor and affection during a conflict is invaluable.
  • The probability that a person will attempt to re-bid once an initial bid has been rejected is close to zero.
  • Heart to heart exchanges are great.
  • Playfulness is great for relationships.
  • When you look for negativity you find it.
  • Being familiar with the details of each other’s lives can help you to have happier, more stable relationships.
  • The first three minutes of a conversation predict the rest.
  • Say “I” instead of “you.”
  • Don’t dismiss other people’s emotions.
  • 55% of people rely on facial expressions and other body language; 38% rely on tone of voice and pace of speech; only 7% rely on the spoken word.
  • 70% of marital conflicts never go away.  So, how you handle conflicts is huge, and what you disagree on early, you will probably still disagree on late.
  • Digging into each other’s hidden agendas provides a great opportunity for intimacy.
  • Talk about your life dreams.
  • Make list of absolute must haves, then another list of more flexible requirements.

Charlotte Kasl, “If the Buddha Dated”

  • Never try to control another person.
  • Don’t put someone on a pedestal, and don’t set them below you.
  • Confront everything inside that kindles fear or anxiety.  Walk right into your fears, sit down, talk to them, until they become our friends.  You can’t release what you won’t grasp or feel.
  • Live in the moment and appreciate what is life. 
  • Don’t grasp for security or predictability.
  • Emphasis on service, silence, and simplicity.
  • Never abandon yourself by compromising your integrity or discounting your intuition.
  • Gamble everything for love (Rumi).  This means you.  Don’t wait any longer.  Dive in the ocean.
  • Don’t live an isolated life.
  • Be honest about your faults and mistakes.
  • Clear out clutter. 
  • Resolving old hurts and expressing our gratitude releases tension and allows our energy to flow freely.
  • Four tips:
    • Stay tuned into the level of connection
    • Notice the flow of give and take
    • Trust yourself and your instincts
    • Have fun and remember it’s all a passing show
  • As you attune to a higher vibration you will more quickly see when there is potential.
  • If you make a commitment, you take this person exactly as they are.  You agree to the whole package the way it is.
  • The happiest people are the ones dedicated to helping relieve suffering.

Charlotte Kasl, “If the Buddha Married”

  • One step toward experiencing loving – follow your heart and give yourself fully to what you feel called to do.
  • Accept impermanence.
  • Speak simply and clearly from the heart.
  • Don’t hold back. Hiding anger sets off explosions.  Stockpiling anger is one of the most harmful things we can do to ourselves and others.
  • Counterfeit conflicts stem from hardwired nervous system responses to previous experiences.  When we yell at our spouse for being late, it might be a displaced scream at a parent who was unreliable.
  • Anything that reminds us of a childhood experience can cause “flooding.”  Ask yourself, “What are we really arguing about?”
  • Voice your appreciation.
  • There shouldn’t be the threat of someone leaving.

Neil Clark Warren, “Finding the Love of Your Life”

  • Your choice of whom to marry is more crucial than everything else you will do to make your marriage succeed.
  • Spend hours talking about the nitty-gritty aspects of life.
  • Intimacy – sharing deepest thoughts, feelings, dreams, fears, and joys.

John Gray, “Mars and Venus in Love”

  • Voice your appreciation.
  • You let go of your frustrations by talking about them.
  • Sit down and ask how your day went.  Little things mean a lot.  For a woman to talk about her day helps her figure out what’s bothering her.  Don’t try to fix her problems, just listen.
  • Do the little things – taking out the trash, dishes, etc.
  • Write love letters to each other.
  • It’s not good when you have nothing to report from your day.
  • You need to be best friends as well.

Phil McGraw, “Relationship Rescue”

  • Research shows that 70% of couples who attend counseling are worse or no better after one year.
  • Set aside time each day to work on things.
  • Applying logic to relationships doesn’t always work.
  • Don’t let arguments get too personal. 
  • You can agree to disagree. 
  • You have to achieve emotional closure at the end of an argument.  Don’t gunny sack your emotions. 
  • Good sex isn’t everything, but without it you have no chance.
  • Instead of waiting for your spouse to change, you can and will serve yourself much better by looking at yourself instead of your spouse. 
  • You are not a child anymore.  You have the chance to choose what you think, feel and do.  You cannot use events as excuses. 
  • Competition, score keeping is bad.
  • Bad signs: 

-      You make concessions in a negotiating fashion rather than offering them as a gift of support. 

-      You don’t do things to support your partner without making sure that she knows it, including why it created an imposition on you. 

-      You’re a fault finder, telling your partner what she should do.

-      You think everything has to be done your way.  You feel justified in everything you do.

-      Being self-righteous – same as keeping yourself from looking at your faults.

-      You purposely attach your spouse’s vulnerable areas.

-      You seem to thrive on the role of the victim. 

-      Being passive-aggressive, being a controller underhandedly.

-      You keep in the memory bank the problems with your spouse.

-      You interpret many statements and actions of your spouse negatively, based on little or no evidence. 

-      You put the relationship on the line with every problem, with ultimatums.

-      You use threats to manipulate your spouse. 

  • The spirit and attitude with which you do things is at least as important as your actual actions. 
  • You should not be afraid of adopting new thoughts and behaviors.
  • You need to face your fears.  Monsters live in the dark.
  • You need to let her know that you will be a safe, loving place for her to fall onto.
  • Spend a lot of time focusing on things to admire instead of criticize.
  • Better to be happy than right.  The harder you fight to win, the bigger you lose.
  • Make your needs known, and discover the needs of your spouse.
  • You must really know your spouse from the inside out.
  • Make it your goal to understand more about your spouse than you’ve ever known.
  • Take a quiz about your spouse (p. 171).

Harville Hendrix, “Getting the Love You Want” (non-Imago related stuff)

  • The old brain has no sense of linear time.  Today, tomorrow, and yesterday do not exist; everything that was, still is.  That’s why feelings sometimes seem alarmingly out of proportion to the events that triggered them.
  • During intimacy, you aren’t judging each other, or interpreting what your spouse is saying, or being self-absorbed.
  • Don’t use global words like “always” or “never.”
  • As romantic love fades, the power struggle begins.  Couples begin to
    • Stir up each other’s repressed behaviors and feelings.
    • Reinjure each other’s childhood wounds.
    • Project their own negative traits onto each other.
  • You have to take responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your spouse.
  • Become more intentional in your interactions.
  • Issues take a while to come to the surface.  So that is why counseling takes a while.
  • You need to throw in a curve once in a while.
  • Isolaters unwittingly recreate the struggle of their childhood by marrying fusers, who have an unsatisfied need for intimacy.
  • You have to understand the reasons behind behaviors to grow.
  • Complaints about your spouse are often descriptions of parts of yourself.
  • Most of your spouse’s criticisms of you have some basis in reality.
  • There is tremendous satisfaction in just being heard.
  • Call once a day just to chat.
  • Any suggestion of an obligation or expectation will reduce the exercise to a bargain.
  • One spouse’s greatest desire is often matched by the other spouse’s greatest resistance.
  • When you make someone else happy, a part of the unconscious mind interprets the caring behavior as self-directed.  Love of the self is achieved through love of the other.
  • Define what you want, ask, and reciprocate.
  • Adaptations that serve useful purposes in childhood drain the life from marriage.
  • The person who unleashes the anger feels equally assaulted, because on a deep level the old brain perceives all action as inner-directed.
  • The more one attacks, the more one retreats, the more one retreats, the more the other feels abandoned.
  • In times of stress, you retreat to old patterns.
  • Instead of fighting, ask for what you want.
  • What you are doing for your spouse is what you are doing for yourself.
  • Love keeps no record of wrongs.
  • People who perceived their spouses to be superior to them felt guilty and insecure.  People who perceived their spouses to be inferior to them reported feelings of anger.  When people perceived themselves to be equals, their relationships were relatively conflict-free and stable.

Best Female Names

April 25, 2009

My top 10 favorite names for women.  Many of them end in “ie” because they are fun sounding. 

1.     Katie (also Caitlin, Katy or Kate)

2.     Jennifer (also Jenny)

3.     Amy

4.     Susan (or Susie)

5.     Heather

6.     Sara

7.     Patricia (or Tricia but not Pat or Patty)

8.     Valerie

9.     Annie

10.  Stephanie

Rewarding AND Fun

April 4, 2009

I was going to wait until I start my autism blog for this, but this is as good a place as any for me to address something here – and it is about a misconception about what I do for a living.  I provide therapeutic services to children and adults with autism in the areas of sports and exercise, social skills, and academics.  It’s not that people always misunderstand what I do, but they often have some preconceived notions about it. 

The reactions I get are sometimes very positive – some people really appreciate what I do and find it very interesting.  For every time that I have received that reaction, though, there have been many times that people have had reactions that fall into one of the categories below.  Surprisingly, it’s often women who have these reactions – sometimes on a first date or upon an initial conversation that starts with “What do you do?” Then after I answer, the follow up response is something like: 

“Oh, that must be so hard.”  They say this with a really pained expression on their face.  (Remember those commercials a few years ago – the Bitter Beer Face?)  They say it as if to say, “Wow, I would never be able to do that, and I would never want to do that.  How unfun and boring.”  Their body language gives away the fact that the last thing they would want to do is work with kids on the autism spectrum.  I try to explain that it is hard sometimes but it’s also a lot of fun. 

Kids with autism are like neurotypical kids except that they have different skills and abilities.  They are just more extreme.  To put it simply, if you don’t like children with autism, then you don’t like children.  And I’m surprised at the number of women in the Washington area who don’t like children.  Your job, whether it is being a lawyer, a pharmaceutical sales representative, or a consultant, would be unfun and boring to me.  While you’re watching the clock, I’m in the flow and time is flying.  So have fun with your spreadsheet. 

(I don’t mean to imply that career oriented women aren’t good with children.  You don’t have to be a teacher, a pediatric nurse, or a volunteer to be good with kids.  And people need to make money, and careers should be important.  But if you think that your career is more important than anything else, and you don’t value the idea of having any experience with kids, that’s a little extreme.)

There is also an attitude that people have about children and adults with disabilities that they are to be felt sorry for.  While this may be a normal initial reaction, once you get over it, you can’t feel sorry for the kids too much because if you do then you’ll spoil them and let them get away with just about anything. 

“Wow…what you do is really great.  That must be really…rewarding.”  However, they say this with a hushed tone, and look at you as if you are from another planet.  How could someone want to do something like that?” I usually follow this one up with, “Yes, but it’s also a lot of fun.”  One time, I actually had someone reply back to me, “No, you mean rewarding, but not fun.”  I responded back, “No, I mean fun. 

The tone with which they say, “That must be rewarding,” again, seems to imply, “Wow, that must be so tough.”  “Rewarding” happens when you help a charity when you don’t really want to, but you make a sacrifice in order to achieve some good.  Like serving food to the homeless.  For me, that would be boring and tedious, though certainly honorable.  What I’m doing isn’t unselfish – it’s selfish – because what I do is highly enjoyable.  

“Oh, you’re a do-gooder.”  Usually they just think this instead of say it outright, but recently someone I met said that exact sentence to me, in a condescending tone.  She followed it up with, “I work in the hotel industry.  I get people drunk for a living.”  The implication seemed to be, “Oh, you’re a goody two-shoes.  I like to party and have fun.”  Now you might say that was just being self-deprecating and was actually putting what I do on a pedestal.  But no, in this case it was condescending. I agree that partying is fun.  I did it from the time I was in college through my early 30s.  Is that not enough?  I partied with the best of them and had a lot of fun.  But you can only do so much of that. 

Playing sports is also fun.  Catching a touchdown pass in a coed football game, hitting a backhand winner in tennis, scoring a goal in soccer, or throwing a long pass in ultimate Frisbee are all fun.  

Going to a great concert is fun.  So is seeing your favorite team win a big game.  Traveling to new places is fun.  Being at a party when things are rolling is fun.  Seeing a great movie is fun.  

And teaching kids is also fun.  If you can’t appreciate teaching a child to learn to read, converse, do math, play sports for the first time, develop a sense of humor, learn to make friends, and make progress in all these areas, all the while improving behaviors, then I feel sorry for you.  If you think that working with the coolest kids in the world isn’t fun, then what kind of a parent will you be?  These kids are miracles and miracles are happening, although slowly.  

It’s like trying to explain music to someone who doesn’t get it.  If you like Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” or any number of inspiring songs, and you try to explain that to someone and they don’t get it, then, well, they just don’t get it.  So if you don’t like kids, then you don’t like kids.  Just admit it.      

Of course, many people say these things with the best of intentions and really do admire this type of work, but many women have a high regard for men who work in more traditional roles such as lawyers or salesmen.  I’m not looking for admiration – I just don’t want someone to look at what I do as a negative.  You don’t have to love my job, but don’t hate it.  

My point is that this work is not only rewarding, but it is also fun.  In his book, “Authentic Happiness,” psychologist Martin Seligman says that using your strengths to forward knowledge, power, or goodness is great.  Doing all of that while you’re having fun is the best of both worlds.  So doing kind and fun actions creates a lot more satisfaction than doing things that are only kind, or things that are only fun.  

Or you can sit in your office and do neither.

Now and Then

December 15, 2008

“I know many fine feathered friends.  But their friendliness depends on how you do.”

- Cat Stevens 

A few years ago, I had a girlfriend who was a major TV network news reporter.  We dated for a year, traveled to Australia, New Zealand, and three corners of the U.S. – Maine, Florida, and Arizona, and almost got engaged.  She’s probably one of the best looking women on national news.  I broke up with her because I didn’t think we were compatible enough.   

But the point is that, when we were together, I got a lot more respect from people, probably because of her looks and her status.  Getting a huge amount of respect from people when I was with her was somewhat expected, and I understand it – it’s human nature to a certain extent.  But the difference between the way some people treated me then and the way they have treated me since then when I’ve been single has been so blatant and over the top.  It’s a sad commentary on society that so many people put so much emphasis on looks and status when it comes to how they treat people.  Here’s just one example.  I had a couple of acquaintances walk right past me on a narrow sidewalk a while ago, pretending not to see me.  If I had been with her, there is no doubt they would have stopped to say hi.  

I’m basically the same person now that I was back then.  In fact, I like to think that I’ve improved in many ways.  But without someone like her with me, I get a whole lot less respect.  It shouldn’t be that way.  But it is.  (To her credit, she was very down to earth.)  The difference between the way I am viewed overall now by certain people as compared to the way I was viewed then, is absolutely astounding.  There are people who are so fake and put so much emphasis on looks and status in how they treat people, it’s unbelievable.  It’s a good litmus test though, for finding out who your friends really are.  Or aren’t.

Most Beautiful TV News Women 2008

December 5, 2008
Here’s my very subjective list of the Most Beautiful Women on TV news.  Of course, it’s biased toward cable because I watch mostly cable, and I know there are many beautiful local reporters around the country (and the world) who I haven’t had a chance to see.  The truth is, you could put most of the top 50 on a list in any order and not be wrong.

 

(By the way, I know I may seem hypocritical, because in another blog entry I rip people who put too much emphasis on looks, but in that one I’m mainly saying it’s a shame that people treat people better based on looks and status.  You can admire beauty and still treat everybody equally.  I treat women who aren’t as beautiful just as great – probably even better.  This list is basically just a fun thing.)

 

Anyway, I think that personality (at least as much as you can tell on TV), humor, moxie, and intelligence count for a lot so that’s why there are a few non-traditional choices on the list. For example, I think that Karen Finerman and Nicole Chang are amazing.  Their pictures aren’t the best but they come across much better on TV. 

 

I decided to do this in a single-elimination “tournament” format after ranking the top 16 seeds.  See the attached bracket for how things ended up in the fantasy tournament (This is the one area where you can use the word “fantasy” and sports together and it actually fits.  I know – I need to get a life).  So let’s begin.

 

  1. Sharon Tay, Anchor/Reporter, KCAL, Los Angeles.  I think a lot of the women in TV news are good looking but many of them look the same (i.e. the ones on Fox News).  Not Sharon Tay.  My jaw dropped to the ground the first time I saw her on TV.  Forget about TV anchors – I think she is one of the most beautiful women in the world.  The only possible downside is that she is only 5-2.
  2. Mélissa Theuriau, M6, Paris, France.  Often called the most beautiful TV news reporter in the world.  You really can’t make an argument against her.  She is pretty stunning.
  3. Georgie Thompson, Sky Sports.  ESPN wouldn’t know what hit them if she came to work for them.  She is a superstar. 
  4. Amy Robach, NBC.  She just about has it all.  A beauty who became a newswoman who also has a lot of credibility.
  5. Jackie Johnson, KCAL and KCBS, Los Angeles.  Meteorologist.  Classic tall blonde looks.     
  6. Carmen Dominicci, Univision.  Awesome, devastating, exotic look.  After four blondes in a row, Dominicci crashes the party.     
  7. Lisa Sylvester, Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN.  Amazing eyes, hair, and smile. Ranks 6th on www.Super-Hair.net list of top ten hairstyles in the world.  I can vouch for that (we dated for a year three years ago.)
  8. Amy Poehler, Weekend Update, Saturday Night Live. Wow.  She is funny and great looking.  She has radiant eyes and an unbelievable smile. They will have a very hard time replacing her. 
  9. Karen Finerman, Fast Money, CNBC.  Obviously there are others who have better classic looks.  But there’s something about her.  She is so cool.  She has excellent knowledge.  And she is very good looking. 
  10. Kristine Johnson, WCBS, New York.  I haven’t seen her on TV but her pics look pretty great. Brown hair, brown eyes, awesome.
  11. Nicole Chang, Sports Action Team.  This is a fake show, and she isn’t even a reporter on the show.  She’s plays the producer.  But she is hot.  And humor and moxie rank highly.    
  12. Tracey Neale, former anchor, WUSA, Washington.  Both beautiful and cute.   
  13. Courtney Friel, Fox News.  Very solid.  I had to include someone from Fox but I think many of them are overrated.
  14. Susan Lisovicz, CNN.  Classy and older.  Represents the financial set along with the Chairwoman.
  15. Hannah Storm, ESPN.  She is very sharp.  She’s gotten better in sports knowledge and looks as she’s gotten older.  I didn’t expect to include her but now I can’t keep her out.  Her work is absolutely stellar, way better than it was years ago.
  16. Play-in game:  Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC vs. Campbell Brown, CNN.  Who says vanilla is boring? 

Honorable Mention:  Julia Boorstin, CNBC; Contessa Brewer, MSNBC; Erin Burnett, CNBC; Colleen Dominguez, ESPN; Erica Hill, CNN; Robin Meade, CNN; Arthel Neville, KSWB.

 

So here’s how the tournament played out.  The newswomen played a one-on-one game of basketball up to 11 – having to win by two.  There was one fairly significant upset, and a few minor surprises, but for the most part the games held to form.  Check out the brackets. (Obviously, this tournament is purely fictional.  Don’t you wish it was real, though?).

 

Click here for the brackets!  Most Beautiful TV News Women – 2008 Tournament Brackets 

Play-In Game

 

Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC vs. Campbell Brown, CNN.  This was a very evenly matched game.  O’Donnell’s tenacity gave her the edge in the end over Brown’s solid decision making as O’Donnell advanced into the main draw.

 

First Round

 

Sharon Tay, KCAL (1) vs. Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC (16).  O’Donnell couldn’t keep up with Tay’s repertoire of shots and moves in this one, as the speedy point guard ran around O’Donnell all game long despite O’Donnell trying to post Tay up. 

 

Amy Poehler, SNL (8) vs. Karen Finerman, CNBC (9).  Finerman pulled the minor upset here – the Chairwoman studied hard and analyzed trends to prepare, using fundamentals to get by.  Meanwhile, the spritely pixie had fun and entertained, but jokes didn’t result in a victory. 

 

Jackie Johnson, KCAL and KCBS (5) vs. Tracey Neale, WUSA (12).  You always have to watch for upsets in the 5-12 matchup and it happened here.  Johnson didn’t know what to expect from the underrated, scrappy former DC anchorwoman, who upset Johnson and her superb inside shooting by taking the tall meteorologist outside and playing tough defense. 

 

Amy Robach, NBC (4) vs. Courtney Friel, Fox News (13).  The opposing coaches, Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly, started arguing before the opening tip and were both ejected, resulting in a ban of all coaches from the tourney.  The actual game was much more civil, but wasn’t much of a contest with Robach using her jumping ability and elite athleticism to get past Friel.

 

Georgie Thompson, Sky Sports (3) vs. Susan Lisovicz, CNN (14).  The hard working Lisovicz put up a game effort, but this superstar from across the pond possessed superior athletic ability.  Thompson’s netball skills translated well to basketball as she sent the classy financial whiz packing.

 

Carmen Dominicci, Univision (6) vs. Nicole Chang, Sports Action Team (11).  Dominicci dominated this one from the outset, using quick and precise moves.  Chang’s skill at being a Bossy Boots didn’t help sway the refs in this one-on-one matchup.

 

Lisa Sylvester, CNN (7) vs. Kristine Johnson, WCBS (10).  This eagerly anticipated matchup of graceful, photogenic stars went to Sylvester in overtime with help from, or perhaps despite, Lou Dobbs’ incessant taunting of Johnson, reminiscent of Robin Ficker heckling opposing players at Washington Bullets games. 

 

Mélissa Theuriau, M6 (2) vs. Hannah Storm, ESPN (15).  Storm played like her name, making this a surprisingly close battle.  She just gets better with age, but Theuriau’s silky smooth, fluid skills did the prolifically talented Storm in.

 

Second Round 

 

Sharon Tay (1) vs. Karen Finerman (9).  In one-on-one battles, quickness and agility usually win out, and Tay’s athleticism proved too much for Finerman, who pored over stats and tendencies to prepare for the game, which was close only in the first half.  Critics questioned Finerman’s decision to play in a business suit, while Tay’s short shorts allowed for greater flexibility.

 

Amy Robach (4) vs. Tracey Neale (12).  Neale didn’t have much left after the upset of Jackie Johnson.   Robach, who never loses her cool, displayed a killer jump shot, and used crossover and spin moves to get to the hoop.  

 

Georgie Thompson (3) vs. Carmen Dominicci (6).  This one was a double overtime classic.  Fans lined up for hours for tickets.  Each player had vociferous fan support though Thompson’s UK fans became a little unruly.  Dominicci’s aggressive play led her to the Final Four in Hotlanta over Thompson and her creative arsenal of shots.

 

Lisa Sylvester (7) vs. Mélissa Theuriau (2).  Sylvester kept this one close, using her trademark great intensity and versatility, but Theuriau had a large contingent of French soccer fans who made the trip to support their countrywoman in the basketball game, inspiring the French star.  In the end, Theuriau had a little too much.

 

Final Four 

 

Sharon Tay (1) vs. Amy Robach (4).  Sparks were flying in this matchup, held in Hotlanta, of a national anchor against a local major market star.  Tay used her quickness to slash to the basket and create opportunities against the former gymnast, who had Bela Karolyi behind the bench exhorting her on, yelling, “You can doo eet!” Tay withstood Robach’s impressive athletic ability, overcame a 3-point deficit, and drove to the hoop for the game winner to make it to the final.  A few L.A. stars even showed up to support Tay as Hollywood beat the Midwest.

 

Mélissa Theuriau, M6 (2) vs. Carmen Dominicci (6).  Giving the Final Four an international flavor, French fans flocked to Hotlanta to support Theuriau while raucous Spanish speaking fans everywhere chanted, “Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole” to support the Puerto-Rican born Dominicci.  This was a true clash of the titans. Theuriau’s scoring mentality and determination helped her score almost at will at times, but she was a little overwhelmed, perhaps even intimidated by Dominicci.  The Univision model-journalist delighted fans by dancing during timeouts, and pulled the upset with strong, polished moves around the basket, getting the win despite playing the first quarter in high heels.    

 

Championship Game

 

Sharon Tay (1) vs. Carmen Dominicci (6).  A sold out crowd was on hand in Hotlanta to witness this historic battle of two 40-year old beauties in their prime, and they did not disappoint.   Dominicci threw everything she had at Tay, with an impressive array of spin moves, double pumps, fakes, and even rejected the shorter Tay 3 times.  However, the relentless number one seed twice stole the ball from the taller Dominicci, driving to the hoop and drawing fouls several times, and used her overall perkiness to win the championship.  Tay was virtually unstoppable in crunch time and showed why she is the best.    

 

It was a spectacular tournament.  Stay tuned for the real tournament – March Madness in 2009, when there will be a great deal of controversy over who gets the 64 spots in the tournament.  Millions will be glued to the tournament announcement show, studying brackets, making bets, watching intently, and wondering who will make it to the Final Four.  But enough about the Newswomen Tournament of 2009.  Don’t forget about college basketball…

 

 

 


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