Archive for March 2008

How I Woke Up

March 31, 2008

I’m not exactly sure why, but it seems that Dating was the topic of choice this morning in the blogosphere (um… sorry if I just may you taste bile by using that word).  Dating politically, to be more specific.  Or, perhaps it would be more correct to call it “dating philosophically”.  What ever it is, it makes me so glad to be married to the AstroWife.

I took a stab at the chronology.  It appears that this article in the New York Times started it all sometime yesterday.

We’ve all been there. Or some of us have. Anyone who cares about books has at some point confronted the Pushkin problem: when a missed — or misguided — literary reference makes it chillingly clear that a romance is going nowhere fast. At least since Dante’s Paolo and Francesca fell in love over tales of Lancelot, literary taste has been a good shorthand for gauging compatibility.

Um… right.  That brought a response from one of the more (ahem) vocal feminist bloggers.

I have so been here. Yes, I judge people by their literary choices. Do you list The Da Vinci Code as one of your favorite books on Facebook? Talk about how great Ayn Rand is? Read John Grisham novels somewhere other than on an airplane or the beach? Think that God is super smart for having written the Bible? Even worse, say that you don’t like to read? I’m running in the other direction (especially when it comes to dating you).

Okay then.  No one to the right of Tom Hayden need apply.

With the left side of the blogosphere (there’s that word again) heard from, the right side got into the act.

I thought it might be fun to talk to some conservative women to find out some of their best and worst dating stories, to see if there’s a difference between dating conservative and liberal men, and just to get a little of the dating advice that seems to do so well on CG.

So, I interviewed some of my conservative female friends who blog, especially the ones I knew had some great dating stories, and you’re about to get an opportunity to read what they had to say.

The six were Cassy Fiano at Wizbang, Karol Sheinin at Alarming News, Dr. Melissa Clouthier, Sharon Soon at Conservatives With Attitude, Michelle Oddis at Human Events and Dawn Eden.

The consensus (at least for five of the six interviewed) was that although they all have dated liberals in the past, they are really careful about doing that again. That, and they don’t care for guys who come off as arrogantly overconfident.  (Duh!).  From Sharon Soon:

Guys tend to think women like these macho tough guys and they have to be sort of like masculine, powerful, and flawless. They put on this tough guy act and in all honesty, girls, make fun of guys for that. We can see right through it. We know that it’s just a put on and a joke.

Dawn Eden had (by far) the most interesting and intelligent things to say.

…My experience with liberals is that superficially, they may be more fun to be around. They’re a bit looser and more relaxed. They make an effort to be more sensitive, but the sensitivity only goes so far. It’s easy for a man to keep this illusion of being a great, sensitive romantic if he knows he’s just going to sleep with you and then say good-bye. Anybody can be Mr. Love God for one night or one week or one month.

When I became conservative, which coincided with my becoming a Christian, I realized that even though there were things I liked sentimentally about liberal men, I wanted somebody who shared my values. Conservatives might not always be so easy to get along with at first, but I thought it was worth my time to get to know men who were compatible with me and would eventually warm up.

Michelle Malkin picked up on the theme and links to a feature that gives the man’s POV.

[F]or those of you who are single and looking for politically compatible love, John Hawkins’ latest feature on conservative women and dating is an entertaining and useful read.

Finally, Ann Althouse speaks out of this most important issue of the day, clobbering both the original NYT article and the Right Wing News Interviews.

Ugh. This is almost as annoying as this essay the other day in the NYT — it’s now #1 on their most-emailed list — about these literary types who abhor love from people who don’t know all the authors or don’t like the right books:

Then I had my morning coffee, woke up, and was thankful for my wife.  In that order.

The Final Four

March 31, 2008

Kansas ended Davidson’s dream last night with a 59 to 57 heart stopper win in Detroit.  I don’t think Davidson had a chance, but for two things; a lot of heart and David Curry.  Oh, that and the fact that in this tournament, any ol’ Cinderella team can beat any giant on any given day in March.  It’s the reason that millions can be won (if not legally) by picking the brackets exactly right.  I went only 3 games for 4 this round.

So Memphis and Kansas join UCLA and UNC in the semis.  And am I not correct?  All four were seeded #1 in their brackets? &Why, I believe I am!  Considering how mediocre my picks have been this year, it’s good that I’m right about something.

For next Saturday,
Memphis will beat UCLA and UNC will beat Kansas.  There’s no reason why I say this, except that I see their names in bold when I look at the match up.  It’s an omen.

And for those of you who aren’t sports fans, cheer up.  March is almost over.

Bigger Is Better

March 30, 2008

…except when you’re talking about class sizes.  That’s “received wisdom”, isn’t it?  Eduwonk links to an article that begs to differ.

Breaking up large classes into several smaller ones helps students, but the improvements in many cases come in spite of what teachers do, new research suggests.

New findings from four nations, including the USA, tell a curious story. Small classes work for children, but that’s less because of how teachers teach than because of what students feel they can do: Get more face time with their teacher, for instance, or work in small groups with classmates.

Understand what this means.  When classes are made smaller, that means more mediocre and bad teachers are hired than good ones.  Then, more students are exposed to bad teachers and bad teaching.  So contrary to the received wisdom, smaller class size is not necessarily a good thing for most students, unless something else good happens to counteract that effect.

Fortunately, something else does.  Students behave better in small classes.  There are fewer places to hide, and they get a larger percentage of the teacher’s time.

The data, from the USA, England, Hong Kong and Switzerland, were presented Monday at the first day of the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting, the world’s largest gathering of education researchers.

The findings are consistent with what researchers already know, Gamoran says. “There is not good evidence that teachers modify their instruction in response to changes in class size. Some teachers are taking advantage of small classes and others are not. There’s a lot of variability.”

In other words (and to paraphrase a famous politician) “It’s the teaching, stupid.”

Cholesterol

March 30, 2008

Vitamins - Credit MSN UKFrom Don Surber:

New study shows people with high levels of bad cholesterol live longer than those with lower levels.

Maybe cholesterol is overrated.

Well, I don’t know if “overrated” is the right word. Not understood, maybe. Here’s a closer report of the study. It seems to be to be not something to be ignored.

A health study by Japanese researchers has found that people with low levels of LDL cholesterol — often referred to as “bad cholesterol” — are more likely to die than those with higher levels. The finding comes as Japan prepares to introduce special health checkups from April, which list high LDL cholesterol as a factor in deciding whether a person has metabolic syndrome. It is likely the results of the survey will stir debate over the designation of LDL cholesterol as “bad.”

The study was led by Tokai University professor Yoichi Ogushi, who surveyed roughly 26,000 people who had at least two health checkups between 1987 and 2006, following them for an average of 8.1 years. The subjects were divided into seven groups based on their LDL cholesterol readings, and the relationship between the readings and people’s deaths was examined.

Researchers found that in terms of overall deaths, men and women in the group with the lowest LDL cholesterol level (79 milligrams per deciliter of blood or less) had the highest death rate.

This is not the first time results like this have been hinted at. In fact, it looks like the FDA, with its relatively simple model of the effects of cholesterol, is the outlier. Or, at least, it testing results are.

I’m still taking my cholesterol medicine, but I’m no longer confident that this is much more than a waste of money. The more effective solution to worries about heart health appears to be to GET A CAT.

They Must Be From Georgia

March 29, 2008

I will not be able to get this rendition of Sweet Home, Alabama out of my mind. Haunting doesn’t begin to describe it.

WordPress doesn’t let me embed the video from YouTube, but follow the link to see it and the review. To The Point News says: We’re talking seriously off the wall here. Better have that Stoli ready when you watch it. And I agree.

A big hat tip to the AstroWife for the link.

A Story Too Good To Check

March 29, 2008

Every journalist fears (or, should fear) the story that is too good to check.  It’s too often just a trap.  But oh, me likey this news.

Rochester researchers showed for the first time that a natural antioxidant found in grape skins and red wine can help destroy pancreatic cancer cells by reaching to the cell’s core energy source, or mitochondria, and crippling its function. The study is published in the March edition of the journal, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.

The study also showed that when the pancreatic cancer cells were doubly assaulted — pre-treated with the antioxidant, resveratrol, and irradiated — the combination induced a type of cell death called apoptosis, an important goal of cancer therapy.

Woody Allen had it right.

Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called “wheat germ, organic honey and tiger’s milk.”
Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.
Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?
Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.
Dr. Melik: Incredible.

Mud-Vill-anova – Updated

March 29, 2008

Villanova BasketballMighty Casey struck out yesterday. Those of us hoping for a repeat of the wonder of 1985 will (like sports fans from Western New York usually do) JUST WAIT UNTIL NEXT SEASON!

Sigh.

So I was 4 and 4 in the predictions in the Sweet Sixteen round of NCAA basketball, which is pretty mediocre (and consistent with my first and second round record). The entire left side of my brackets got whipped out, but the right side remains.

Now, bravely onto the next round!

In the East, North Carolina will face a tough Louisville team, and squeak by them to make the Final Four.
In the Midwest, Kansas, looking cool and professional, will finally bring down a psyched Davidson, the one true Cinderella team this year.
In the South, Memphis will beat Texas, I think. And I will not be too surprised if they don’t.
And in the West, Xavier beats UCLA in the one (minor) upset.

And Thus, It Is Written.

If my record holds, two of those picks are likely to be wrong.

Update: Two of the four games this weekend are in.  Congratulations are due to Bruin fans and UNC fans.  UCLA rather destroyed Xavier (making a mockery of my prediction) 76-57, and UNC did get by Louisville  83-73 (but the game was much closer than that throughout).