Monday, February 28, 2011

Why You're Not Married (Yet Another HuffPo Comment)

RobotPigOv­erlord -- are you really arguing that a man's biological imperative is to spread his seed far and wide, while a woman's is to have one child by one mate whom she snares into longterm partnershi­p because having more than one child and/or doing so outside of a marital partnershi­p would endanger her and her child's survival??

Do you really think evolution would engineer men to such cross-purp­oses as potentiall­y killing every woman he mates with, as well as endangerin­g the offspring?

Hate to tell you -- hundreds of thousands of years of human history where women have as many children as they can deftly refutes your ridiculous argument.

Indeed, the trend towards fewer children has developed so recently that many of our own grandparen­ts had many children, and suffered the loss of at least one.

The simple fact is that men are not all that necessary for the survival of the race -- especially in agrarian cultures where the most men need to do is defend the community from (surprise) other men.

Even Joseph Campbell used to half-joke that much of culture -- economics, warfare, etc. -- was developed by men to compensate for their fundamental­ irrelevance­ to the species.

Biological­ly (and logically)­, the species is best served by women having many children by many mates within a large community that protects and helps rear the children.

If men were so necessary for the child's survival -- as with emperor penguins -- men would be compelled to stick around, would they not?
About Most Popular
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The Pitfalls of a Child-Centered Family (Another HuffPo Comment)

Agreed, Athena! What was it John Bradshaw used to say? That a dysfunctio­nal family was one where the parents expected to the children to fulfill their needs, rather than the children looking to the parents to get their needs met?

Ironically­, this hyper-indu­lgent style of child-rear­ing is extremely selfish -- as ubbeatdem notes below, these parents are terrified that their children will not love (or like) them; they can't bear the force of inevitable rebellious childhood emotions, and would rather break their backs pleasing their unruly tykes than take a stand and set boundaries and risk that their kids won't like them for a few hours now and then.

And so the children are left in charge of their parents' feelings of security and well being. I can't think of a more dysfunctio­nal arrangemen­t than that...

And from this, the children learn self-indul­gence from the parents' conscious example, and confuse selfishnes­s with selflessne­ss from the parents' unconsciou­s example -- as, no doubt, these parents view themselves as extremely selfless.
About Parenting
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, February 25, 2011

Why You're Not Married

Very well said, General Public!! I am also very impressed by the quality of comments, many of which are more thoughtful and articulate than the Ms. McMillan's article.

Patty Alvayay's comment, in particular­, makes me wonder if perhaps this article is less about getting married and more about staying married... as the thrice-mar­ried author admits she was "born knowing how to get married" but flopped, presumably because of these six character flaws which she assumes are shared by all unmarried women.

But even there, I must ask, why is marriage seen as a barometer of character and virtue?

Frankly, the craziest, most selfish, shallow, lying, insecure, slutty bitches I've known have been married! And some of the most selfless, deep, honest, secure, discrimina­ting, wonderful people I've know have been single -- and I'm talking about both men and women!!

There are only two reasons people get married: (1) marriage is their agenda and they are willing to twist themselves into whatever false image they need to be to be what their partner wants them to be; or (2) they meet someone they want to share the rest of their lives with.

Most often marriages are a combinatio­n of these reasons, and the ones more based on reason #1 usually -- hopefully -- end in divorce (or murder, I guess); marriages based on reason #2 tend to endure.

But in both cases, the marriage itself happens because each partner is, for whatever reason, what the other partner wants.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

I also recommend this heartfelt response posted on CNN.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Tango of Ego and Soul

Dear Judith,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply! I agree completely that a primary failing in our culture is the prevalence of the "unexamine­d mind" -- and I would even agree our fearful egos can prevent us from any examinatio­n that could reveal intolerabl­e informatio­n about ourselves.

But that kind of neurotic fear is the product of an unhealthy ego, not the ego itself.

Much of what you describe as bad about the ego seems to refer more to an unhealthy ego.

And, while you do not explicitly use the word "bad" you describe the ego in entirely negative terms: "fear," "illusion,­" "scarcity,­" "doomed," "fury." Compare these with your fulgent soul terms: "patient," "heal," "whole," "truth," even "higher" -- in your comment above. Further, most comments to this piece have reflected an "ego bad, soul good" attitude.

My point is that the ego is not bad -- rather, it's a grand accomplish­ment of consciousn­ess that allows us to be self-aware individual­s, and I doubt we'd be doing any blogging without it!

An unhealthy ego, however, that bases its self-aware­ness primarily on immediate, provisiona­l informatio­n reflected in the world around us can be troubling and causes a lot of suffering.

When you describe an ego "in service to higher dimensions of the Self" -- this sounds simply like a healthy ego with a flexible, internally­-based sense of itself as a unique, separate, individual personalit­y. Is that consistent with what you mean?

Regards -- and thanks for continuing the conversati­on!
About The Inner Life
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, February 18, 2011

Things Have a Way of Working Out -- Part II

So -- thanks to a bunch of margaritas and free internet -- five hours flew by at the airport and I even found myself rushing to the gate at 9pm for my 9:30pm flight.

The flight had many empty seats in the back, and I began to wonder if American just really, really wanted to free up some standby room on the 4:25pm flight.

My suspicion was confirmed when I arrived late at the luggage carousel at JFK (I figured since my bag had been the first on it would be the first off) and did not see my giant rolling duffel among the circling remains.

"Carol Anne Henning!" burst the speakers overhead, "Please report to the luggage security desk!"

I looked around and found the podium with a young woman standing next to my lonely bag. I walked over.

"There you are!" said the attendant, "I've been calling you for a long time. Here..." She pulled my bag up. "It's been waiting here for you for five hours!"

My jaw dropped.

"Yeah. They put it on the earlier flight, I guess."

She pulled the bag towards me. It flopped over. "Ah, it looks like they broke the wheel.... "

"What..??!" I spluttered. "You mean I waited five hours in an airport because they said they couldn't check my bag, and they checked it anyway??"

"Yeah," she signed, "Sometimes they do that."

"Well, this is not cool! I mean, I have to drag this all the way home with a broken wheel like this?" I turned the bag over. The duffel had three wheels sitting in the metal frame at the bottom. The part of the frame between the center and left-hand wheel had been crushed, leaving the wheel to flop at an angle.

"Come over here," she started walking towards the far corner of Baggage Claim, "You can file a complaint in the office over here. Sometimes they have a bag they can give you to replace it."

I did not like the sound of putting my belongings in some random bag, but I also didn't want to drag a gimpy wheeled boulder.

The clerk at the desk took my claim and gave me a number, then said, "They don't reimburse for luggage. You might get something, a replacement or repair maybe. But they never cover wheels or handles or anything sticking out..."

"But it's not the wheel," I protested, "It's the frame of the bag where the wheel sits!"

She looked at the bag blankly.

"They don't cover wheels."

I grabbed the paperwork in huff and stormed out. Waiting for the Air Train, I shuffled some of the heavier items so they sat directly above the right-hand wheel, shifting the weight mostly over the working carriage. Not ideal, but at least it rolled now.

When I got home, got some sleep and repaired my own broken frame of mind, I realized that even if American Airlines did not cover the bag -- American Express might!

I had bought this bag specially for the trip to Japan in mid-November.

For weeks I had been tearing my hair out looking for a bag that would fit the 35.5" uprights for the PURE Reflections mirror frames (which are actually collapsible standing clothing racks), without requiring an oversize charge -- as, say, a golf bag would.

Target came to the rescue with their 36" Rockland Rolling Duffel -- a mere $45 ($40.50 with my AAA discount!).

As we are planning to mount this show in other cities, we definitely needed this bag in good condition. So I checked my AmEx records -- sure enough, I had bought it within their 90-day Buyer Protection window (with only a few days to spare!).

I filed a claim pronto, pronto and AmEx reimbursed me with no questions asked.

The replacement is due to arrive next week!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sometimes Things Just Have a Way of Working Out....

It started with the hair crap.

And the magazines.

In LA for the week, I went to visit my Aunt Margaret in Palm Springs.

About 25 years ago, Margaret married a rancher/developer named Al who has created five or six lavish pieces of property in Texas and California to subsidize a sweet retirement in Palm Springs.

A girl from the Bronx, Aunt Margaret takes nothing for granted: she clips coupons and asks for senior discounts; and she is also extremely generous. She has hand-crafted countless semi-precious jewelry sets for her sisters and me, and warmly hosted me this week.

As I was packing to leave, she brought out a huge bag of expensive hair products. "Can you use any of this?"

"Um..." I fished through the bag, pulling a few tubes... "Well, if you really want to part with these..."

"Oh, yes, yes!" she said, "I mean, you have the long hair. What am I going to do with it?"

I grinned, stuffing them in my suitcase.

"You are overweight. Can you pull anything out?" Now it's 3:35pm, and I'm scrambling to check into LAX for my 4:25pm flight and the guy at curbside checkin has put my enormous rolling duffel on the scale.

I had gotten lost on my way to the Payless rental return, which cost me nearly 20 minutes, and I was already running a bit late (as usual). So I rip open the zipper to scrounge for removeables.

I can't take out any of the heaviest stuff -- the hair crap -- because it is liquid and can't go in the carry-ons. I pull out a tuft of magazines about Clearlake Oaks which my aunt Rose-Marie had given me to help lure my parents into visiting her. Then I pull out some heavy souvenirs, including a slab of dark chocolate I'd bought from an LA gourmet shop.

"That looks good," says the guy, and starts the checkin.

"You missed the deadline," he clucks his tongue at 4:42pm. "Let me see what I can do for you." He walks me inside to the main counter where every attendant is busy. The clock is ticking.

"There's not even a supervisor around," he shrugs and walks back to his post.

Finally a female attendant calls me to the counter. I explain the situation. "Is there anything you can do??" I plead.

"You missed the cut-off," shakes her head. "I can put you on a later flight. 9:30pm."

Everything sinks. I have rehearsal and meetings on Sunday. I'll be dead on my feet. I start to melt down, "Oh no.... Oh god... how much will it be?"

"Oh it's no extra," she chirps printing my boarding pass.

I sigh weepily and trudge to security.

And my carry-on gets stopped for "extra screening." Why? The irregularly-shaped slab of dark chocolate!!

Oddly, this makes me feel a bit better; no matter what, I probably would have missed the flight.

I trundle to little Mexican joint near my gate called "On the Boarder." "Do you have a place where I can plug in my laptop?" I ask, explaining my situation.

At first, the guy says no, but then he seats me at a tiny table near the wait station. "How long is your cord?" he asks. I pull it out and he plugs it into the a socket under their register! I order a bunch of margaritas, some food, and tip generously.

I turn on my wireless.

The only hotspot provider is T-Mobile -- my cellphone carrier! I try to sign up for their $10 monthly rate, figuring I'll use the account a few times when I'm back in NY, but each time I try to sign up, I get a dead page.

I call their tech support. There is a "problem creating new accounts at LAX" the rep tells me. Their solution? They GIVE me a free 24-hour account!!

So, here I sit, happily sauced and Facebooked, chowing down on a beef burrito.

In ten minutes I board.

Five hours have flown by as quickly as I hope to fly through the next five.