Archive for July, 2010

What I’d Do for a Million Dollars

Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen. Photo: The CW/Patrick Harbron/Landov.

What would you do for money? A lot of money?

George Bernard Shaw, who was an English satirist, once asked a woman at a party if she would sleep with him for a million British pounds. When she said yes, he asked if she would do it for one pound. Angrily, she asked, “What kind of woman do you think I am?” Shaw said, “We’ve established what kind of woman you are. Now, we’re just haggling about the price.”

I’m still trying to figure out what kind of woman I am. Sometimes, I think I’d like to be the kind who

is going to win over all our teachers, wear that dress we couldn’t fit into, eat the last olive, have sex in our parents’ beds, spill Campari on our rugs, steal our brothers’ and our boyfriends’ hearts, and basically ruin our lives and piss all of us off in a major way. (Gossip Girl)

But in the meantime, anyway, here is my price list.

For a million dollars, I would

  • Kiss Justin Bieber. No tongue. And no, he doesn’t get anything else, not even for another million. What is he, like 12?
  • Become Chuck Bass‘s trophy wife. Though in all honesty, he can probably do better than me if he wants a trophy wife.

For a thousand dollars, I would

  • Wear a Winerack bra. For another thousand, I’d let a guy drink from it.
  • Dance around a stripper pole for a music video. Just dance. Nothing comes off. If Miley Cyrus shows me the moves, it’s free. Don’t read anything into that. Unless you want to.

For free, I would

Never, for any amount of money, would I

  • Kiss Rush Limbaugh.
  • Trade places with Lindsay Lohan.
  • Show my parents the very small tramp stamp I got last year (though they probably know about it).
  • Tell my younger brother that I’m proud of him.

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.


Self-Deception in Politics

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas). Not really all that crazy.

My recent blog “How Crazy Can Politics Get?” described some crazy things that Republican politicians have done recently.

A regular reader, who is incredibly nice and very perceptive, pointed out that it happens “on both sides of the aisle.” In other words, it’s not just Republicans who do crazy things. Democrats do them, too.

When I read his comment, it was obvious that he was right. But then I tried to think of examples of Democratic politicians doing crazy things.

And you know what? Apart from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s choice of wardrobe, and Senator Blanche Lincoln‘s frumpy hairstyles, I couldn’t think of any.

There’s a reason. It’s not because Democrats don’t do crazy things. They do. They’re people. We’re the human race, and “crazy” is our middle name.

The reason I can’t remember Democrats acting crazy is that I don’t notice it or pay attention to it when it happens. I’m not expecting to see it, and because of my political biases, I’m not interested in it. Democratic craziness slips right by me, unseen and unheard.

It’s not that I’m especially biased or un-observant. It’s that because of our psychological nature, we tend to perceive:

  • What we expect.
  • What supports our beliefs.
  • What we want.
  • What we’re looking for.

On the other hand, if we don’t expect something, or it doesn’t support our beliefs, or we don’t want it, or we’re not looking for it, then we ignore it.

It’s like going into the grocery store looking for toothpaste. You walk past aisle after aisle, you look at shelf after shelf, and finally you see it: Toothpaste!

If someone asked you at that moment to describe all the other things you had passed, you might not remember much of them. You saw them with your eyes, but not with your mind. They didn’t register because you weren’t looking for them.

The danger is that we do the same thing in politics and in other areas where we hold strong beliefs. We look for and notice things that support our beliefs, and we usually ignore things that fail to support our beliefs.

We’re not trying to deceive ourselves. But unless we are careful, we often end up doing it.

So let’s be careful and make extra efforts to see the other side of things! That applies on both sides of the aisle. 🙂

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.

People Want Ed and Jessica!

Ed and Jessica before they broke up.

People want Ed and Jessica!

Well, actually, I only want Ed. Mostly. Though I admit Jessica is very attractive and I’m not narrow-minded about those things. After all, I go to a women’s college. If Rachel Maddow or Camille Paglia wanted to buy me a drink, I’d be absolutely thrilled. 🙂

But that’s not the point I wanted to make. Ed and Jessica are Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr, who star on the hit TV drama “Gossip Girl.”

They were a couple for several months. Then Jessica cheated on Ed while he was in England making a movie. When he found out, he broke up with her in spite of her pleas for a second chance.

I don’t want to pass judgment on either of them. We’ve all been in relationships, and breakups, and it usually hurts everyone involved.

What I have learned from their experience is what most people want to read.

Two or three months ago, I wrote a short blog about Ed and Jessica’s breakup. It took about 10 minutes to write. I gave the basic facts, and referred people to for more information.

I’ve written about lots of other things, such as college parties, politics, libertarianism, the Catholic Church’s child-abuse scandal, Gen Y, neuroscience, and the time I got hypnotized by videos on YouTube. I wrote about a calculus tip. I wrote about eating healthy at McDonalds. After a seminar at Smith, I wrote about ethnic groups in China. I wrote about why atheists love breasts. I even wrote some very, very bad poetry after final exams at the end of last semester.

Some of those blog articles took me several days to research and write. One blog article about human rights took a couple of months to finalize, though about half of that was for research. To tell you the truth, I’m kind of proud of some of those blog articles.

But today’s blog statistics tell the story. People read the “Jessica and Ed” article 56 times. One person read an article about women’s rights in the Sudan, one time. That’s it.

How many times people read which articles today on my blog.

The week’s statistics from yesterday say the same thing. Jessica and Ed, 251 hits. My analysis of libertarianism, 6 hits. A warning and first-person story about hypnosis on YouTube, 5 hits. Crazy health facts 4 hits, Gen Y 2 hits, then it’s 1, 1, 1. The last 1 doesn’t bother me so much, because the fewer people who read my really bad poetry, the less I’ll have to hope they forget it by the time I’m famous.

Which of my blog articles people read in the last week.

So what is the lesson from all this? I never wanted to focus just on how many readers I got. I wanted to write a blog about things that interested me, in the hope that they would interest other people as well.

That’s what I still want.

So when the spirit moves me to write about Ed and Jessica, I will. When I want to write about libertarianism, religion, politics, college, guys, or Chinese ethnic groups, that’s what I’ll write about.

I hope that you enjoy reading it, but if you don’t, then God bless you, and come back because next time the subject will be something different!

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.

How Crazy Can Politics Get?

Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who claimed ... no, it's just too funny. (Talking Points Memo)

Heaven help me, I took a quiz about political trivia and got all the answers right!

Does this mean I’m doomed to be a politics geek? The kind who people see on the street and say, “Oh, no, it’s Rinth! Now we’ll have to listen to 20 minutes about politicians, lobbyists, filibusters, and procedural votes.”

I don’t want to be that girl. I’d much rather be Serena van der Woodsen or Lady Gaga. But politics is important. It’s also ridiculous, which makes its importance kind of peculiar.

New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote a “July 4th Quiz” for today. I’ve started reading her column because she was my school’s commencement speaker this year, even though I didn’t go to commencement because I don’t graduate until next year.

No, the quiz has nothing about Abigail Adams, the Articles of Confederation, or the Bill of Rights. Instead, the quiz asks about some of the stupidest things that politicians have done in the last year.

For example, question 1 is “Which of the following did NOT happen in Arizona this year?” The possible answers are:

1. Senator John McCain claimed illegal immigrants were deliberately causing fatal car crashes on Arizona highways.

2. Gov. Jan Brewer claimed illegal immigrants were beheading people and leaving the corpses in the desert.

3. Strapped for cash, the state sold its public buildings, including the Capitol.

4. State Legislature voted to require all schoolchildren to be able to recite the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

If you chose answer #1 or answer #2 because they were just too insane to have really happened, you got it wrong.

Yes, Senator McCain did claim that illegal immigrants were deliberately causing fatal car crashes, and Governor Brewer did claim that illegal immigrants were beheading people in the desert.

It’s not stated if the same illegal immigrants were doing both. If so, they might have been beheading people from Senator McCain’s car crashes. Those illegal immigrants are hard workers. It’s possible. 🙂

Other questions are:

  • Which of the following did NOT happen in the Senate this year?
  • Match the lovebirds.
  • Match the apologies.
  • Who said the following? (Thank goodness, for once, none of them was Adolf Hitler.)

Take the quiz. You’ll be amazed. Unless you’re a hopeless politics geek like me.

Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.