Tuesday, March 31

Guns & Fast Food

Angry customer blasts McDonald's drive-through
Man fired sawed-off into window after being told menu was breakfast-only.
The Salt Lake Tribune
"A McDonald's drive-through was shot up early Sunday after a customer was angered that the restaurant had shifted from the lunch menu to the breakfast menu, police said. The driver of a white Dodge Intrepid pulled into the drive-through at about 2 a.m. at McDonald's at 210 W. 500 South in Salt Lake City and ordered food from the lunch and dinner menu, police said.
When a clerk told her the restaurant was serving only items from the breakfast menu, the woman drove to the second window, police said. Two men got out of the car, and one pulled a sawed-off shotgun out of the trunk, police said. He fired once or twice into the drive-though window before the two men and the woman left on 500 South and turned north on 300 West, police said..."
What is it with fast food and guns? Just a few weeks ago a guy with a concealed permit stopped a robbery at a Burger King, killing the robber in a shootout... and then there's the young reactionary who "accidently" destroyed a toilet (and was injured by dangerous toilet shrapnel) while zipping up his pants at Carl's Jr.

The most important question: WHO on this planet prefers the so-called lunch/dinner menu at McDonald's over their breakfast? Big Macs over the delicious bacon egg and cheese biscuit? Really?
Perhaps Obama has inadvertently caused an increase in fast-food gunplay, in addition to free NRA memberships.

Thursday, March 26

New Group Blog: LDS Psychology

I have joined a group blog, ldspsychology.com, and will be posting there in the near future! It's just getting started, but if it fits your demographic and/or you are interested, check it out.

Saturday, March 21

Your Brain and Sex

...was the topic of a great presentation I went to today. Granted, when you have a choice between "Your Brain and Sex" or "Ethics in Counseling Management" the choice is clear.

Some highlights:
  • Marriage counseling is basically trauma work. "People say marriage counseling doesn't work, but statistics aren't very good in trauma surgery either." This is yet another case for PREVENTION! Work on your marriage before you need counseling.
  • Addicts, at a basic level, are addicted to dopamine. The presenter opined that "orgasm is the largest naturally occurring rush of dopamine. The initial heroin high is similar to a two-minute sustained orgasm... now I don't want anybody running out looking for heroin!"
  • Often women are blamed (or blame themselves) for a lower sex drive, and may be diagnosed with low sexual desire, but "How can you diagnose someone with decreased desire, when there’s not much there that is worth desiring?”
  • People get caught in the "Dopamine/Prolactin Rollercoaster" which occurs when a desire for a new partner increases dopamine, which can begin an addictive cycle of increasing amounts of dopamine followed by bursts of prolactin.
  • The "Coolidge Effect" - New sexual stimuli creates a quick fix that may start the cycle over again. More types or more frequency of sex for couples may actually make things worse in the long term. Variety to deal with sexual lulls are not enough. Couples need to know how to deepen their intimacy and bonding (which is associated with Oxytocin). Oxytocin facilitates stability in the desire/orgasm/resolution cycle shown below. This effect also suggests that moving quickly into a sexual relationship may result in a faster dissolution of the relationship.
  • People often interpret the dopamine rush with a new person as "there's something here" when there is really not. The presenter suggested that people should interpret is as "I need to do something more in my own relationship."
  • Regarding sex ed, if we are just teaching abstinence, or just that sex is bad, we may actually make the problem worse! When something is taboo it becomes more biologically enticing. He suggests that we teach our children what is happening with their bodies, and encourage them to find other ways of getting dopamine that involve bonding and commitment, such as through sports.

Wednesday, March 18

No God in School

...apparently leads to all kinds of things, including abortion, violent music, and the cessation of spanking your kids. Watch out! Anyone else get this email?

  1. God says he didn't save all the kids who have been killed in school shootings because he isn't allowed in school? Wha? What kind of God is that?
  2. We shouldn't have organized prayer in public school. Keep it personal, or keep it in seminary. No one should be subject to be around open religious practice in a public school if they don't want to be, especially when they're a minority. I don't want my son to feel like he has to pray to someone else's Jesus just because everyone else is doing it.
  3. The video tries to suggest that the Bible is only full of common sense and wisdom, and therefore should be allowed in schools. Really? The intention here is not to Christianize public schools? Actually, I think the Bible should be allowed in school, right along with every other religious text, but in that case it should be used for academic purposes.
  4. Did Dr. Spock really say spanking would warp our kids' personalities? It may not do that but it may make them more aggressive. This point really lost me. Is the cessation of spanking really a sign of the downfall of society? How about just better parenting?
  5. Teacher's shouldn't touch students? Isn't that a good idea? If you need to touch a student it better be an emergency and require a restraint. Otherwise, does the video suggest that smacking them around a bit is a good idea?
  6. ... and no spanking of the kids leads right to... ABORTION? wow where's the missing link there?
  7. Giving out condoms is a bad idea? Granted, I definitely believe in abstinence for high-schoolers, but I believe even more in not making babies in high school! As a poster in my supervisor's office says, "Become a High School Grad before you become a Quality Dad!" What the school nurse needs to do is tell the kids that the condoms may not work, and you may get pregnant anyway, so here's where you can get other forms of protection.
  8. It doesn't matter what people do in private, unless it affects other people. In that case I agree. Like if our POTUS was doing meth in the closet.
  9. BUT, this leads right to child porn right? Hmm.
  10. And child porn leads to bad music? Wow we're taking a step back here.
  11. And this leads to our kids killing strangers. Now that's a slippery slope!
Do you think organized prayer should be allowed in public schools?
Do you think not spanking is a bad idea?
What think ye?

Sunday, March 15

Marriage Sunday School Class

I am teaching a class on marriage and relationships at church starting next month... Please go to Mormon Matters and offer some sage advice!

Thursday, March 12

Poll on Marriage Counseling

Since my wife and I have started seeing a counselor (trying to make that 8/10 marriage into a 9.8 out of 10), we have had various reactions from friends and family. Some think it's a good idea for anyone, some are a little jealous, and some recoil with horror and try to make excuses for why we would need to do such a thing. "Surely it must be for your training, Adam." Little does that third group know, we like going. We are actually regular people with regular problems, and don't want to settle for anything less that pretty much amazing. Which is important because contrary to popular belief, people who have higher standards and expectations for their marriage have the best marriages, not the worst.

While I certainly don't think everyone needs to go, even if they have the opportunity, it is a great resource, and I am curious why many of us don't. Time for a poll!

For those voting "other," feel free to leave a thought in the comments. :)
NOT "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity NOT "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity by Shirley Glass

My review

5 of 5 stars

Excellent research/clinically based overview of infidelity, how to prevent it, and how to get over it. The first few chapters are helpful for any committed relationship, regardless of whether an affair has occurred or not. I recommend the rest as well to anyone who needs help, or is interested in understanding how affairs happen in good (and bad) marriages, and what the unfaithful spouse, betrayed spouse, and even the affair partner go through.

While I have often heard the idea that married couples should "never be alone with a member of the opposite sex" and in some cases going so far as to say you should not even be friends, Glass outlines a much more practical yet still safe way to work with and have relationships with those of the opposite sex (or same sex, depending on one's orientation):
  1. Be completely open with your partner about what is going on between you and the other person.
  2. Don't have lunch at work with the same person alone every time. If you have to travel with them, meet in public rooms, and never in a room with a bed.
  3. "Avoid emotional intimacy with attractive alternatives."
  4. If you need to talk to someone else about your marriage, be sure that person is a "friend of the marriage," i.e. they support your relationship. Make sure your friends are supportive of your relationship.
  5. Discuss your online friendships with your partner. (Currently my wife does not have facebook, for example, so we talk about my online friends occasionally.)
Facts about infidelity:
  • It is normal to be attracted to another person, but fantasizing about what it would be like to be with them is a danger sign.
  • A happy marriage does not prevent infidelity.
  • Emotional affairs are characterized by secrecy, emotional intimacy, and sexual chemistry. They can be more threatening than brief sexual flings.
  • Only 3% of unfaithful spouses end up marrying their affair partners.

View all my reviews.

Wednesday, March 4

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hold Me Tight presents an attachment-based view of adult romantic love and relationships, based on the author's own Emotionally Focused Therapy... a lot of great info on working with emotions in your relationship, and not getting caught up in the same patterns up conflict that plague pretty much all of us. However, I think that the attempt at putting the highly interactive and experiential (not to mention effective!) therapy into book form was not a complete success--if it is even possible.

Read the book, especially the parts you can relate to (there will be plenty). Then if you have the inclination, find an EFT therapist. My wife and I have been to 8 sessions now, and are loving it. It is quite liberating to have new emotional experiences in therapy that allow for new ways of dealing with old problems and cycles of conflict.

View all my reviews.

Movie: Taken

"I don’t know you who you are. I don't know what you want. If you're looking for a ransom, I can tell you, I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills acquired over a very long career in the shadows, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you. And I will kill you."
It may not be Oscar worthy, and the above line from Liam Neeson in the film (as a retired spy, but who cares) sums up the entire plot, but no matter, the movie was full of the bad guys getting their express version of karmic payback. No ransom negotiations, well, no negotiations at all after the warning above. Sometimes I love movies like this. You don't have to think much. You can just sit and feel the cathartic bliss that is Liam Neeson opening up a can on the bad guys--who aren't always black and white, but Liam doesn't care!

You know in movies when the protagonist goes into a building full of bad guys, and you start to worry about your hero--what might happen to him, will they catch him--well, in this movie the good guy goes into that building, and you start to laugh in a disturbing kind of way, because you know the bad guys are soon going to be kicking the bucket. Highly recommended if you like action, Liam Neeson, and shock and awe-ish revenge on kidnappers. Or any of the above.