A hypnotist re: The feminist who tells women to settle.

A peculiar newsworthy item, which I will write about with the understanding that this blog post is not aimed at any of my unmarried female friends, or divorced friends, or anybody at all.  The topic, the culture around mate selection strategies, interests me.

This woman writer, who wasn’t on my radar before, but who I’ve probably heard on NPR, has a book out that advises single women who hit 30 to settle.  Marry Him:  The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, by  Lori Gottlieb.

More interestingly, she has a gruesome-funny blog article, quite catty, arguing against a rival author.  This rival apparently contacted her saying, hey, we wrote similarly-themed books; take a look at mine; she said, no thanks; Rival Author wrote Slandarous Lies about her book on Rival Blog; and drama drama drama.

But there’s a hole in her thinking that I find disconcerting. (more…)

Published in: Uncategorized on February 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm  Comments (9)  
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Loving thy neighbor

Well, I went to church today.  Not something I normally do, but I’m looking for people who (a) speak English, and (b) aren’t here for the drugs and hookers.

Christians are kind of weird, and especially these guys. 

I also paid my rent today.  I gave it to the Grandma who appears to run the joint.  I wanted her to sign a receipt in my notebook.  She didn’t understand, and the 20-something girl with her didn’t understand either.  She went to get another girl, who was probably 17 or so.

She came out in her PJs.  I explained I wanted a signature.  She looked it over, explained it in Khmer to the other two, and after much nodding and chatter, signed it.  Then, after a discussion with Grandma, she asked me, “Do you want to come to my room?”

I smiled and said it was okay.  She walked away without another word.  (Hey, sorry.)  Then the other girl offered me a ride to town on her motorbike, which I pretended not to understand; I don’t know why.  I think at that point I was just trying to be consistent.

Published in: Uncategorized on January 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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American Muslims Not In the News

In my few-months-back post, “Whacko Kills 13: The Real Tragedy Is That This Will Make People Dislike Muslims, Imams Say,” I said that Muslims who say killing people isn’t the real Islam don’t need to tell me that, but people like Major Hasan, the alledged suspect in the killings.

In the interest of keeping a fair and balanced blog, I’ll add now that a recent study indicates that American Muslims have been telling their own that, and it has been effective.  American Muslims are less likely to tweak out than are their European counterparts, and when Muslims become radicalized in America it’s not through the Mosque system.

You can read the report here.  (If that link breaks, search for: Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans; David Schanzer, Charles Kurzman, Ebrahim Moosa.)

It also says that government has done comparatively little to prevent radicalization, and needs to.  I interpret that to mean that American Muslims are less likely to become radical because of the efforts of the American Muslim community itself.

Way to go, guys.

(A Cambodian Mosque, near where I used to live.)

Published in: Uncategorized on January 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Shocking News About Cambodian Hookers

From the stats that the blog software gives me, a surprising number of people are coming to my page looking for information on Cambodian hookers.  And particularly it seems there was a news story that people are curious about.

The news story was about a Westerner who was stabbed by a hooker.  Thoughts on that further on — see ‘the shocking news’ subhead.

So, the general information:  For Westerners, a night with a girl costs around $20.  For locals, it seems it’s around $5.  In some areas, probably less.  I was woken up late at night in the place where I used to live by a last-minute negotiation between a john and a hooker at the next door down.  She wanted $50.  He was saying, “No…  not fifty dollars.  I don’t know, I mean, you spent all night telling me you’re not that kind of girl, and now you want fifty dollars…”

Basic Misunderstandings

The primary thing to come to terms with as a john is that she’s not dealing with you because she likes you:  she’s dealing with you because she wants the money.  This is a basic understanding, but some men seem to have a lot of trouble with it.  For example: (more…)

Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm  Comments (7)  
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Whacko Kills 13: The Real Tragedy Is That This Will Make People Dislike Muslims, Imams Say

killerwhackoYeah, okay; so the guy was under psychological pressure, and it’s a coincidence that he said, “Praise Allah!” just before he opened fire.  Isn’t a strong religious background supposed to help you cope with psychological pressure?

While the media wrings their hands about what a U.S. soldier killing other U.S. soldiers in the name of Allah will make the American public think about Islam, Muslims ideologues tell us how deeply hurt they are that people might think that Allah wants Muslims to murder.  It seems to me these folks are confused:  I’m fine with Allah not wanting Muslims to murder.  They don’t need to tell me; they need to tell people like Major Hasan.

A PowerPoint slide from Major Hasan's presentation.

A PowerPoint slide from Major Hasan’s presentation to the military.  This presentation raised eyebrows, but no red flags.  Officials explained they didn’t want to discriminate.

Published in: Uncategorized on November 10, 2009 at 8:49 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Rainy Season in Cambodia

It hasn’t been too bad, all together.  But now, toward the end, we’ve gotten the tail-end of a local typhoon.  (In the States we have hurricaines; here they have typhoons.  The nature of the difference eludes me.)

I was at the bar I go to (Mary’s) when the typhoon hit.  It just started pouring.  Several of us were hanging out on the balcony.  Mary’s is a guesthouse, so I rented a room for the night.  Later, I found out that the host had made it on the house; or as the girl put it, “free for you.”

It rained so much that the river overflowed.  As of Saturday, this was the view from Mary’s:


The sanitation engineering is very basic in Siem Reap, so I don’t really want to think about what this girl is walking through.  The host on the day I took this photo said the previous night he’d pulled a leech from between his toes. (more…)

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 10:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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Health Care: Making a Killing in the Free Market

In general, this blog isn’t about politics.  But let me get this straight–

The Problem

America has about the best medical technology in the world, and the best doctors, and we have about the worst citizen’s health in the first world.  Because we allow insurance companies to suck sick people dry, chew them up, and spit them out.  In some cases, ambulences take sick people without health insurance out of hospitals and drop them off on a curb in the slums.  Old people smuggle legal drugs in from Canada.


Now the Republicans tell us that if we were to change this, we would be rationing health care.  Because what we have now isn’t “rationing.”  Currently we give health care to — we treat — people who can afford it.  People who can’t afford it, we don’t.  And that’s not “rationing” because (more…)

Published in: Uncategorized on September 2, 2009 at 10:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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Problems with Face

Cultures are generally complex, and I’m not interested in rating them, in saying one is superior to the other.  But I am interested in that kind of cultural troubleshooting which is so popular in the West, and which is done by both progressives and conservatives.

And in my reading of biographies written by U.N. social workers, I’m noticing a pattern.

Something inexplicible happens, very often, when young women and girls enter into prostitution.  A little over a third of the time, I seem to notice this pattern.

The girl — I’ll stick with that term because they’re very rarely of age — is tricked or forced into sex-work.  She’s promised work as a seamstress in another village for good money, and then shipped to a brothel; or she’s abducted; or she chooses to prostitute herself because she needs money, often to pay for medical treatment for a sick parent.

Sometimes her madam, who might be an aunt or other relative, pays her monthly as a means of keeping her dependant; and then sometimes refuses to pay her at the end of the month, or doesn’t pay the agreed wage.

Sometimes, she’s just molested or raped, and it has nothing to do with money.

After that, what we’ll call the initial contact, she very often may escape the (usually exploitative) situation and return home.  Then, inexplicably, she starts looking for work as a prostitute. (more…)

Rifqa Bary’s Interview

I have a strong suspicion that this kid


is lying. And the way she hangs on that guy — who I’m guessing is Lorenz, the married conservative Christian church leader to whose household she fled and in which household she was secretly sequestered during a frantic search for her by officials and her parents — there’s something about the way she hangs on that guy I don’t like.

It is technically true that anyone who converts out of Islam (an apostate) is supposed to be killed, but it isn’t done much in the first world. I imagine that when it is done, in modern society, the motivations wouldn’t be purely theological, but it would be the culmination of a domestic dispute.

But, be that as it may, this kid is very close to being incoherent. Her hysteria looks put-on. While I think some of the social norms of Islam are a big problem for secular society — they may be actually incompatible with our version of civilization — it looks to me like she’s playing to mainstream bias against Muslims.

She may have good reason to want to get away from her parents; but it doesn’t look to me like she’s being straight about them.

Also she looks like a wingnut. I can see the parents might not be too pleased.

And, for what it’s worth, I’ve met a few people with profoundly deep faith in Christ. None of them behaved like that.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 25, 2009 at 12:07 am  Comments (1)  
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