24 August 2007

I hate "The Secret"

If you don't want to read a rant, please go over to Linkateria where there is some very funny and odd stuff today.
This piece on BoingBoing today made me start thinking about "The Secret" again, so I wrote this:

I'm not surprised that "The Secret" is on the NY Times bestseller list for its 31st week. People want to get rich, and they want to do it without working, and this book purports to tell you how to do both. The only thing that could make it more irresistible hardcover catnip would be if it told you how to get skinny at the same time.

I have mentioned my loathing for this book before. Most people could just ignore the subject and it would go away, but I am in a church where the so-called "Law of Attraction" is taught with great enthusiasm. With all due respect to my fellow parishioners, I just can't buy this idea.

I not only think that it is wrong, I think that it borders on evil.

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for positive thinking. I believe that focusing your thoughts and dreams is a good start to getting what you want.

What I can't bring myself to believe, however, is that if you ask the universe for a red bicycle, you automatically get a red bicycle.

Because if that is true, the dark and icky side of this coin must be the reverse: if you have bad times, you must have had a head full of bad thoughts that led you to have bad times, a secret wish for bad things to happen.

As a sister to someone who died far too young following years of suffering with a chronic illness (multiple sclerosis), I absolutely reject the idea that my sister either brought upon or attracted her illness through her thoughts and attitude. If you can say that, you never met my sister, who had an attitude that could not have been better.

I think that "The Secret" is sick and wrong and hurtful and that those who promote it are all messed up in the head and need a good hard reality check, if not an actual hockey stick upside the ear.

My sister read these ideas and believed them (even before The Secret, others were promoting the same idea, like Louise Hay). She spent a long time feeling guilty for being sick and thinking that if she could change her thoughts, she might get well. We had plenty of conversations where she admitted that, and where I had to try and talk her out of the black hole of those cruel beliefs.

Her problem was that, no matter how hard she believed, her virus wasn't listening.

It's bad enough that "The Secret" tells you lies. But to me the evil part is that it also gives people a convenient excuse to exercise their meanness and prejudice when they see people who are poorer, sicker and less successful than they are – “If they would just change their thoughts, they could change their lives.”

This denies the existence of powerful outer forces that bear upon us all – economic, societal, political, natural. People who get hit by hurricanes and earthquakes don’t have bad thoughts. They have bad weather, and there isn’t a thing that thinking about it can do.

That kind of philosophy is handy when you are relatively prosperous, well and live in a peaceful society. But what about those kids in Darfur who had rebels come in the night and kill their parents? What were they thinking that was so wrong?

Ugh. I get so worked up about this that I should just learn to ignore it, because it causes me real physical and emotional pain. It makes me seethe with anger to think that anyone else is going through what my sister went through. Not only did she have to deal with being sick, but she had to deal with the guilt of thinking she was responsible for it. That stinks.

If I have one message to give the world, it is this: believe what you want, but act correctly. You can have all the bad thoughts you want as long as you go out there, work hard, be kind and try to make the world a better place.

I saw a bumper sticker: “Don’t believe everything you think.” Amen.

I also hate Microsoft products, so this made me laugh hard:

23 August 2007

EZ Rider

I bought my first bike today. Well, the first bike that I have ever bought for myself. I did, of course, have a Schwinn Stingray with a banana seat, a hand-me-down. Though not with the shifter as shown in this picture. What were the Schwinn people THINKING? "Oh, we can have a cool-looking bike and damage children's gender-specific parts in the process?:

But after my pre-teen years, for some reason, I never got a bike. I was more of the walking type, and I was also very afraid of being crushed by cars.

In my 20s, I was deeply involved in cycling, if by "deeply involved" you mean "fantasizing about giving Andy Hampsten massages after Tour de France stages."

How could I not? Look at the gorgeous skinniness of this man:

AND he didn't take part in doping, apparently - another reason to love him. So talented, so cute...ah, Andy, I haven't forgotten...sigh.

In my 30's, my BF Phil built bikes. He also had a gorgeous, lightweight, handmade-by-a-friend tandem that we tried to ride together:

If you have any hidden issues in your relationship, riding a tandem will flush them right out. Power, control, intimacy, how you feel about sticking your nose in someone's sweaty buttcrack for hours at a time...it ain't pretty, my friends.

The other thing that wasn't pretty was that I apparently have the World's Most Sensitive Lady Parts, and I don't mean sensitive in a good way.

A couple hours of riding would leave me literally sobbing, feeling like the Little Mermaid when she was walking on knives. Except I was sitting on them.

So when I bought a bike, I decided to buy one of these:

It looks a bit dorky to ride, but it feels wonderful. I will be sitting on my well-padded butt, not hanging from my super-sensitive chickular area.

I bought it used from an 80-year-old man - who was selling it because he got a new bike. That is a good sign, isn't it?

I can't wait to get out there and ride it this weekend! Woo hoo.

21 August 2007

Goldie's problem has a name

Goldie has fence aggression. Thank you, Google.


In other googly news, my favorite search term of the day:

And my answer: go hide in the stockroom. Always worked for me.

At BlogHer, Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah and I came up with a party idea for bloggers: instead of having nametags, everyone would have tags with their sickest and most common search terms on them. I believe Sarah's was "transvestite porn" and mine would of course be "stories about peeing pants."

Suzanne's? That's easy: "Jewish Pussy."

I kind of regret having the search terms feature on my stat counter because it has let me into a sad secret: there are a lot more sick f**ks out there than I had ever imagined.

All right, tell me yours. I KNOW you have some good ones.

20 August 2007

Fernando's Hideaway

I came home to find a tiny Taco Bell Chihuahua dog strolling the street in front of my house all macho-like. He was only about 8 inches tall, but he had him a massive set of cojones for such a little guy.

No collar, no nothing. Apparently lost, but friendly. And in addition to vowing to help abused women, I have also vowed to help stray dogs. Damn all these vows! So much trouble.

I scooped up SeƱor Dog. As I did it, I imagined getting bitten on the neck by an enraged chihuahua - I'm not used to having dogs you can pick up in one hand, and I didn't know how he would react - but he was fine.

I put him in the house and I went back outside and tried to block the obvious high spots under the fence, since little Macho Man could fit easily squeeze under much of it, not a problem I have with Goldie.

And Goldie loved him. She is a bit tetchy with other female dogs, especially larger dogs who can challenge her Top Bitch status. But give her a tiny boy dog whose head she can fit into her massive maw, and she will play all day long.

She actually does love to put their little heads in her mouth, which is unnerving for other dog owners to see, but she never hurts them.

As the dogs romped and got spit all over each other, I got out the markers and poster board and made a sign.

(The reason I have markers and poster board on hand is that I am an aging hippie liberal who may need to go to a war/environmental/whatever protest at the drop of a hat. I am not joking.)

"FOUND: DOG male chihuahua. Inquire here."

As I was putting up the sign, the dog owners, a couple of 20-something guys, came looking for him. They were extra super happy to see him, so happy that I blanked on giving them the lecture about how neutered male dogs don't wander like intact ones.

They told me his name was Fernando. As soon as they got him out the gate, he changed from Goldie's little friend to The Enemy on the Other Side of the Gate, and she turned into a snapping, snarling beast, lunging at the fence. They looked at me like "How could you let our little Fernando in there with that dog?"

I had forgotten that Goldie's rule is that dogs on the other side of fences must be attacked. But dogs on the same side of the fence are pals. It must be weird to have a brain the size of a walnut.
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