Wednesday, June 15, 2005 Life | My rich, beautiful girlfriend makes me feel like a loser Life | My rich, beautiful girlfriend makes me feel like a loser: "My rich, beautiful girlfriend makes me feel like a loser
In the great stock-market lottery, she won and I lost. I love her, but it's hard to hold my head up high."

This may not sound like a problem, but it is: My girlfriend is too rich. In a nutshell, I basically feel like crap all the time. We both worked in the same industry, only she's a stock-lottery winner while I was unemployed for almost two years, went broke, and finally moved in desperation to work in the city we both live in. She will not have to work for a very long time (or ever, as far as I can tell), dines like a queen, has a gorgeous house. I live in a small apartment and am ever the exhausted corporate cog, still financially making up for two years of having no money plus living far from friends and family. She travels everywhere, gets plenty of sleep, and generally has/does everything I've ever wanted or dreamed of. She is endlessly kind, smart, hilarious, and I absolutely adore her. But all the while I feel like a Grade A Loser, not to mention not much of a man. The envy and sadness eats at me rather constantly -- she has no idea how badly. Am I just a whiner or what? Please advise.


Dear Cashed,

The way we feel has a lot to do with what kind of story we tell. You could tell a story about a loser, for instance, who's always been a loser and will always be a loser. Fate identifies him as a loser by his loser looks and his loser walk and his loser tone of voice, and fate ensures that nothing this man ever does will come to anything because he is a loser. That's fate's job -- to identify losers and send them appropriate catastrophes. But just doing that is not enough for fate. Fate also toys with this man for amusement, sending him a beautiful and wealthy woman who eventually will leave him, breaking his heart. The killer part of it is that even when she's loving him and naked and all aglow he can't enjoy it, because all the loser can think about, even when they're making love, is what a fucking loser he is.

Fate sits on the bedroom dresser and chuckles noiselessly at all this.

There is another story in which an ordinary man is trying to live an ordinary life but meets an extraordinary woman. He encounters obstacles and struggles to overcome them. He doesn't know why the . . .

The View From the ICU - The alternative to doing everything for a dying patient. By David�Friedman

The View From the ICU - The alternative to doing everything for a dying patient. By David�Friedman: "The View From the ICU
The alternative to doing everything for a dying patient."

. . . Of the many billions of dollars spent on health care every year, a wildly disproportionate amount is spent during the final few tenths of a percent of a life, prolonging the inevitable, agonizing end for both patients and their families. It goes without saying that the billions of dollars spent on aggressive but futile end-of-life care would be more wisely directed toward education, food programs, medical outreach, and housing—all of which we know lead to longer, healthier, happier lives.

So in a different spirit entirely, I propose an alternative—the "life incentive." I urge the government to spend money on helping us to live well. Offer everyone a one-time payment to spend in our prime years, asking in return that we waive our right to end-of-life aggressive medical treatment in favor of humane hospice care. Use the money to take your children to the World Series, start a small business, ride a horse through the Sierras, learn to play the piano, set your watch to Old Faithful. And along the way, resolve whatever uncertainties or disputes that might prevent your family from saying goodbye when the time comes.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

One Nation, With Niches for All - New York Times

One Nation, With Niches for All - New York Times: "One Nation, With Niches for All"

E. B. White claimed he knew his wife was the girl for him when she referred to dental floss as "tooth twine." I take his point. I also tried to buy "tooth twine" recently. By any name, that is an exercise in frustration, or affluence-induced A.D.D., or option overload. If there is plain old standard issue dental floss out there, it is on the shelf with the all-purpose running shoes and the unadulterated, adjectiveless cup of coffee. . . .

Friday, June 10, 2005

Behind Every Grad... - New York Times

Behind Every Grad... - New York Times

. . . Every year, in addition to granting honorary degrees, Williams also honors four high school teachers. But not just any high school teachers. Williams asks the 500 or so members of its senior class to nominate the high school teachers who had a profound impact on their lives. Then each year a committee goes through the roughly 50 student nominations, does its own research with the high schools involved and chooses the four most inspiring teachers. . . .

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Science & Theology News

Science & Theology News: "Templeton grants bolster researchers� efforts
Michael McCullough was awarded $90,000 to study how religion and spirituality help bolster self-control. "

. . . I would say that self-control is an important topic to understand for positive psychology. It leads to many positive outcomes, deters many negative outcomes and can be facilitated with relatively low-cost interventions for many people.

I would say that learning about the factors that foster self-control, including perhaps religious or spiritual ones, certainly fits within the broad parameters of positive psychology. . . .

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Welcome to the Burnaby Now - Features

Welcome to the Burnaby Now - Features

Attitude important to reaching positive potential

Health Wise column by Dr. Davidicus Wong

In previous columns I introduced you to positive potential medicine, a new paradigm for health. The ultimate goal is to assist each individual in discovering and realizing his or her positive potential in life. Today I will review the essential attitudes and steps to achieving your potential.

Positive potential medicine seeks the most positive state of health under all circumstances. Health is not defined by the absence of disease, the maintenance of youth or the physical conditioning of an Olympian. . . .

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Old Nantucket Warily Meets the New - New York Times

Old Nantucket Warily Meets the New - New York Times

. . . The real estate frenzy, even in the dead of winter, is only the most visible reminder that over the past decade or so this 50-square-mile, fishhook-shaped island off the Cape Cod coast has come to be dominated by a new class: the hyper-rich. They emerged in the 1980's and 1990's, when tectonic shifts in the economy created mountains of wealth. They resemble the arrivistes of the Gilded Age, which began in the 1880's when industrial capitalists amassed staggering fortunes, except that there are so many of them and they seem to be relatively anonymous.

Like their precursors, they tend to be brash, confident and unapologetic. They feel they have earned their money, and they are not shy about spending it. They construct huge mansions, outdo one another in buying high-end status symbols like mega-yachts (100 years ago it was private railroad cars) and not infrequently turn to philanthropy. Their wealth is washing over the upper reaches of society as it did a century ago, bringing cultural and political clout as they take up positions on museum boards and organize presidential campaign fund-raising dinners.

And they seem unconcerned about being accepted by the old money. If the blue bloods want to mix with them, fine. But if not, the hyper-rich are content to stick with their kind. If they cannot join an exclusive country club, they form their own. They are very good at creating a self-enclosed world where the criterion for admission is not the Social Register, but money.

Once a low-key summer resort, Nantucket is rapidly . . .

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 Life | I am so beautiful I have been maimed by men's attentions Life | I am so beautiful I have been maimed by men's attentions

. . . Perhaps you do not even know what you enjoy. You say you excelled at the professional things you cared about. Does caring about them mean that you enjoyed them? By enjoy I mean activities that allow you to forget about yourself, activities that are so entrancing, so involving that while you are doing them you are simply in the flow, in the sense that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi uses the word.

I do not think that Csikszentmihalyi's theories, or anyone's theories, offer a complete answer. But they do offer a vivid picture of how ecstatic action can free us from a state of restless torpor and low-level desperation. They also suggest a route from self-objectification to self-actualization. . . .