Our new religion?
"Not too long ago, at a party, a friend confessed in a group conversation that he didn't really recycle," Stephen Asma writes for The Chronicle of Higher Education. "It was as if his casual comment had sucked the air out of the room - I think the CD player even skipped. He suddenly became a pariah. A heretic had been detected among the orthodox flock. During the indignant tongue-lashing that followed, people's faces twisted with moral outrage. Many people who feel passionate about saving the planet justify their intense feelings by pointing to the seriousness of the problem and the high stakes involved. No doubt they are right about the seriousness. … But there is another way to understand the unique passion surrounding our need to go green. Friedrich Nietzsche was the first to notice that religious emotions, like guilt and indignation, are still with us, even if we're not religious."
Ain't we got fun?
When the going gets tough, the tough go on a date, according to a People Media Inc. poll. Despite the roughest U.S. economy in decades, a slim majority of single Americans reported the recession has had no impact on their attitudes toward dating. The poll revealed that men are far more likely than women to be undeterred by the economy as they play the dating game. Women, on the other hand, are more than three times as likely as men to refuse to date someone who is unemployed.
Hurrah, I've got big hips
"Carrying extra weight on your hips, bum and thighs is good for your health," BBC News reports, "protecting against heart and metabolic problems, U.K. experts have said. Hip fat mops up harmful fatty acids and contains an anti-inflammatory agent that stops arteries clogging, they say. Big behinds are preferable to extra fat around the waistline, which gives no such protection, the [University of]Oxford team said. Science could look to deliberately increase hip fat, they told the International Journal of Obesity. And in the future, doctors might prescribe ways to redistribute body fat to the hips to protect against cardiovascular and metabolic diseases such as diabetes."
Who's sorry now?
"Along with helping people reconnect with old flames, childhood friends and even long-lost relatives, the Internet is giving rise to a newer phenomenon: the decades-late apology," Elizabeth Bernstein writes for The Wall Street Journal. "The Web allows us to converse by e-mail, a form of communication that often makes us braver and more impulsive - and occasionally even more thoughtful - about what we say. There are even websites, such as ThePublicApology.com and PerfectApology.com, dedicated to facilitating our quest for absolution. … Of course, some apologies - for things like theft or backstabbing a colleague - are serious and really should be made. But we live in a self-help culture, where therapists, 12-step program guides and talk-show hosts are forever reminding us that forgiveness and gratitude are the way to happiness (and sobriety). Many times, a long-overdue apology, much like a confession, does more for the person offering it up than it does for the one receiving it."
"In a region known for conflict and religious conservatism, the Middle East's only stand-up comedy festival is determined to prove Arabs can laugh - and laugh hard," Taylor Luck writes for The Christian Science Monitor. "Arab humour is being showcased in the unlikeliest of places: Jordan, a country where residents have long embodied the image of the stoic Bedouin … Although religion, politics and sexuality tend to be off-limits, comedians still have plenty of room to push the boundaries, according to Arab-American comedian and Amman [Stand-Up]Comedy Festival organizer Dean Obeidallah. … Although far from daring, the medium is slowly breaking a major taboo in Arab culture: discussing personal lives in public. Not all are ready. The mention of family members or spouses on stage still attracts shouts of 'shame on you!' as well as laughter, American comic Amer Zahr noted. No matter which direction it takes, the popularity of stand-up proves that 'humourless Arabs' are eager to laugh at themselves, stresses veteran Jordanian satirist Nabil Sawalha. 'Why not? We came up with the greatest joke of all time,' Mr. Sawalha said. 'Arab politics.' "
Tampering with tools
Court papers allege that an Olympia, Wash., woman, angry that her husband left her, tampered with his power tools so that he received a powerful electric shock. Carolyn Paulsen-Riat was booked last week into the Thurston County Jail for investigation of third-degree assault, domestic violence and second-degree malicious mischief. On Jan. 1, the man was using a 220-volt table saw when he received a shock that knocked him to the ground. In the documents, The Olympian newspaper reports, it's alleged that the woman told sheriff's deputies she had reversed the wires on his power tools because she was angry he was leaving.
Source: Associated Press
Thought du jour
"There is no mistake so great as the mistake of not going on."
- William Blake