Well, the weekend is here. It’s supposed to be in the 50’s (which is really warm for this deck of the woods to all you Vegas & Lala Land readers) so I’m thinking that a mini road trip may be in order…or at the very least, maybe hike a little bit around the lake or something. Maybe I’ll check out that West Shore that I’ve heard so much about. We shall see. Work has been busy…but what else do you expect when it’s the 2nd greatest consumer-inspired holiday of the year (behind Baby Jesus Day). Does anybody know the real story of Saint Valentine? Really? I’m sure if I asked Sam & Dean Winchester to look into it, they’d find some honest folklore on it…and I’ll bet there’s a demon involved…or some kind of witchcraft…or a flying baby deity that fires arrows with some sort of blood boiling poison tips. So stay indoors…and safety in numbers…and snuggle up with somebody you care about…cuz it’s gonna be a Valentine’s Day Massacre this weekend. How’s that for optimism? Or sarcasm? I get them mixed up sometimes. There’s only one –asm that I never forget. No matter how long it has been. Anyway, here’s a news-asm…
Hotties to the Rescue – I wonder if there are more hotties ready my blog around the world then I know about…because they all seem to be coming out to help Haiti. Want to help Haiti's earthquake victims? Do you enjoy the heavenly aroma of gently used women’s underwear? Well, not you can have the best of both worlds when you buy some women's underwear from Olympic snowboarding champion Hannah Teter. The 2006 Olympic halfpipe gold medalist said she was donating all her contest money this season to help the recovery effort in Haiti. After the last Olympics, Teter started a charitable mission through her website Hannah's Gold to help an impoverished town in Kenya acquire basic necessities like clean water. Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Teter has focused some of her efforts on contributing to the recovery effort there. "I have underwear coming out for charity. So all the ladies in here can get some sweet cheeks underwear soon -- sweetcheekspanties.com," Teter told reporters. The website says $5 from each pair of underwear sold will go to Doctors Without Borders for their efforts in Haiti, with a goal of raising $100,000 by May. Oh…so I thought this story was a little different and she was auctioning off some of her used undergarments. Sigh… Maybe she doesn’t understand how that can be used to help others too. Perhaps I will email her at Sweet Cheeks & give her my idea. And ladies…if you’re looking for a new crisp pair of undies, maybe consider Hannah’s Sweet Cheeks. I haven’t checked the prices yet but…it’s for Haiti. And Hannah, if you do read the blog, head my advice. You could really do a lot of good for those kids…and recycle some of those gold-stained undies.
Most Romantic Word? – Ladies & gentlemen, I’ve been told that I have a way with words…which is really remarkable since I have the vocabulary of a 5th grader (and not one of those spelling bee freaks). I’ve also been told that I have…a way with romance (by the way, that was said with a Spanish accent). So with those two compliments together, I would be an expert on romantic words, no? (Oh yes, the accent’s still there…and will continue throughout the story. Just picture a young Dennis Quaid with the voice of Antonio Benderas) Well, a survey was conducted by London-based Today Translations where they polled over 320 of their linguists to find what the most romantic words & languages were. Now I’m going to switch to Richard Dawson for a second…and then back to Antonio, “Survey says………..” - Amour, the French word for love, has been voted the most romantic word in the world in this pre-Valentine's Day survey of language experts. It narrowly beat "amore," the Italian word for love, although Italian was named the world's most romantic language. Italian words also dominated the top places in the list of most romantic words "Bellissima," which is both Italian and Spanish for "very beautiful," was voted the third most romantic word, while "tesoro," which is both Italian and Spanish for "treasure" (as in "Mi tesoro" / "My treasure") came fourth (oh, so Tesoro’s not a gas station?). After Italian, they found the second-most romantic language was French, which was way ahead of Spanish (Que?) and English in joint third place. In the same poll, the firm asked its linguists to pick the least romantic-sounding way to say, "I love you" in any language. The winner was Japan's "watakushi-wa anata-wo ai shimasu," ahead of the Welsh "rydw i'n dy garu di" and "qaparha," which, the firm noted, is Klingon, as spoken in the Star Trek universe (yes, alien languages were included). The “experts” have spoken. Do you agree? What are your favorite & most romantic words? Personally, amour and amore are all fine and dandy…but my favorite romantic word…is “Yes” or “Si” or “Ja” or any of those variations. A very close 2nd was “O’god!!!” Please, just call me $teve. Also, I’ve found…that if the girl you’re speaking to doesn’t know French or Italian or Spanish…then you can always whisper gibberish that sounds French in her ear…and if you say it right, she’ll melt her sweet, funky goodness all over you like hot Love gravy on a biscuit. As always, it’s not what you say…but how you say it. Go ahead, try it out…and you’re welcome. Ladies, if you don’t believe me…I’d be happy to take the Pepsi Challenge with ya.
Family & Bidness Don’t Mix – Isn’t it a shame when we have to buy Love? Well, without that market, we couldn’t have stories like this to lovingly mock. A Cedar Rapids, Iowa woman was accused of arranging her daughter's effort at prostitution. Mary J. Doolin (a.k.a. Sweet Mary Jane to Johns all over the 319 area code) was arrested Wednesday in connection with a September 29th incident in Coralville. Police said Doolin sent her daughter to meet an undercover officer who had contacted her during a prostitution investigation. According to police, Doolin's daughter, 37-year-old Debra Voshell, was later charged with pandering. Police said Doolin admitted to running a prostitution ring for a number of years (Really? This lady?) and has prior convictions for pimping and prostitution (a true success story, worked her way up & through that chalice ceiling). Doolin was being held Thursday in the Johnson County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond. When are people going to learn that Family & Bidness don’t mix? Pimpin’ out your own daughter? That takes some gumption. Well, Miss Doolin, it’s hard out there for a pimp…and sometimes you gotta do the time for the crime. Hmm, maybe the daughter got into the business because of her family…but according to this next story, that simply shouldn’t be…
A Lesson in Passion - Parents who want their children to discover a passion for music, sports, or other hobbies (like turning tricks) should follow a simple plan: Don't pressure them. By allowing kids to explore activities on their own, parents not only help children pinpoint the pursuit that fits them best, but they can also prevent young minds from obsessing over an activity, a new study finds. "Passion comes from a special fit between an activity and a person," said Geneviève Mageau, a psychology professor at the University of Montreal. "You can't force that fit; it has to be found." The study focused on what psychologists call autonomy, the basic need to feel like you're acting based on your own values and desires, not those of others. Controlling parents chip away at their child's autonomy, by pushing them into a hobby, the researchers say. So when the kid picks up his clarinet it's not out of a desire to play music, but due to a sense of obligation or a fear of disappointing his parents, according to Mageau. To connect passion to autonomy, Mageau and colleagues performed three studies in which they surveyed hundreds of athletes and musicians ages 6 to 38 with different skill levels. The surveys asked questions about the subjects' level of passion, such as how often they practiced a hobby or how much they loved it. The psychologists then measured how much volunteers agreed with statements such as, "I have a tough time controlling my need to do this activity" to determine if their passion was obsessive and interfering with other aspects of their lives. To measure autonomy, the researchers also asked participants whether they agreed with statements such as, "I have a say in what happens and can voice my opinions regarding my activity." In one study, the researchers followed 196 middle-school students as they picked up a musical instrument for the first time. After five months, the psychologists found that one major variable that predicted whether children developed a passion for music was if their parents allowed them the freedom to practice on their own schedule. The passionate kids on average scored 9% greater on the autonomy scale than the non-passionate kids, which is a big effect in a psychology study, Mageau said. The two other studies also showed that children who had little autonomy but did develop a passion for an activity were more likely than others to take it too far, becoming obsessed with the hobby. Not only could these children miss out on truly enjoying their hobby, the result could grate on their self-esteem, according to the researchers. Obsessively passionate people attach their self-esteem to the pastime: If they play the clarinet flawlessly one night, they feel great, but if they miss a note, they can get depressed. One of the three studies involved swimmers, skiers and musicians performing at a national level. Results showed that the participants' level of autonomy best predicted if they had an obsessive passion compared to a harmonious one, with higher autonomy linked with harmonious passions. This freedom mattered more than the child's own desire to specialize in their hobby. The difference between forming a healthy and an unhealthy passion is to strike a balance between, say, the clarinet and hanging out with friends. "They don't see [the activity] as defining their whole self. It's a big part of who they are, but they have other interests too." But the study's results don't mean parents should let their kids run wild. "I'm not telling parents to let their kids do whatever they want without limits. The most important message is to focus on the child's interests and not to impose one's own on them." Interesting results, huh? Yup, everybody wants to make their own decision…and that’s how it probably should be. Help them with the information, let them explore the options, and let them make the decision on their own. That’s all you can really do.
When I was reading this, I thought about stuff that I’m passionate about…and was passionate about growing up. Basketball, yeah my dad put up the hoop…but he never pushed me to do anything. Hell, I was the one pushing him to play pickup games when I was eight years old. By the time I was twelve, he didn’t want to play anymore because he was tired of the neighborhood dads making fun of him for losing to a preteen. “Why don’t you give it a shot, Mr. Alexander? You want next, ya p**sy?” Nobody makes fun of my dad except me…and maybe my stepmom. Growing up, I was really into learning school stuff too. I was passionate about learning math (calculus in 6th grade), history, dinosaurs, animals, wrote episodes of Batman and silly mini-action movies, all that kind of stuff…and my teachers didn’t push me. Heck, I only remember one that would let me go to the computer room to type up stories when I finished my math work in like five minutes when there was over an hour given to it. If I ever write a book (which has been suggested a few times), I’ll be sure to give Mrs. Ulibarri a shout-out. Oh wait, I think I just did. I just wanted to learn & pretend or something. Sure, my parents didn’t mind that I was a little kooky with wanting to do homework first thing when I got home, then go play basketball with my friends or whatever. Hell, it was probably the easiest part of their day. I was raising myself. Let’s see, what else am I passionate about. Oh yeah, p**sy. NOBODY’S pressuring me on that, yet every waking hour… Anyway, enough about that. You get the point. How about you? What are you passionate about…and any back-story that you think might be applicable?
Can’t wait to see your remarks. That’ll do it for today. Wish me luck this weekend as I boldly go where…I’ve probably never gone before. Will it be Sac Town? West Shore? Reno? Yosemite? All the way to San Francisco? We shall see. Send your suggestions in with your Passions. Have a passionate & incredible weekend everybody!!!