Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Laugh or Cry--The Weekly News

Oh, the shades of Lysistrata!  For those of you who do not know Lysistrata was a comedy written in 411 BC by the Greek playwright Aristophanes--a writer who knew his subjects well.  It is a simple premise: The women of Greece organize themselves and refuse to have sex until the men quit warring.  Now it seems that this ploy has been successfully used in Barbacoas, Colombia.  Apparently the the highway in and out of this community was in terrible condition.  It is so abysmal that it takes up to 14 hours to reach the nearest hospital, 60 miles away--far too long to save a mother and infant in a complicated childbirth.  Despite complains for a very, very long time the government did nothing to repair the road . . . so the women took matters into their own hands, or is that legs?  The women of the small community organized a "strike of crossed legs"--they decided to withhold sex from their husbands until the road was repaired.  The 300-some women were on strike for over a month before national coverage of the strike broke the story.  The government has promised to begin new paving work on the highway starting in October.  I wonder if that would work with our federal government?  You never know!

University of Texas economist Daniel Hamermesh states: "Ugly people earn less than average-looking people, and average-looking people earn less than the beautiful."  Apparently good-looking men earn an average of 17 percent more than average looking men, while good-looking women earn 12 percent more than the average-looking women--over a lifetime that could be as much as $230,000!  This is all proven through studies over the years.  Hammermesh's book, Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful, doesn't attempt to analyze this, but basically says that beauty does matter.  When asked whether or not unattractive people should consider plastic surgery to improve the odds of making more, he stated that plastic surgery doesn't help that much.  In fact, according to a study done by the Korea, plastic surgery pays back less than one dollar in salary for every dollar spent on it.  His advice? "Suck it up, live with it . . ."  Hmmmm . . . this probably explains why the state of Montana hasn't given me a raise in nearly three years!  Apparently I am not as good-looking as I thought I was!  This really puts a dent in my ego, but explains a lot--I always thought Brad Pitt and I were the spitting image of one another.

We Americans are a nation of "fast food junkies"!  A recent study by the Scripps Research Institute found that gorging on fast food actually changes the brain's chemical makeup, making it more difficult to trigger the release of dopamine (aka "the pleasure chemical").  That means that to find the pleasure of eating fast food one needs to eat more and more to achieve the original high.  I guess we now know why Kentucky Fried Chicken is so finger-licking good--its the Colonel's secret recipe!  Suddenly I'm craving a Big Mac!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics state and local governments have shed 611,000 jobs since August 2008, including 340,000 in the past twelve months.  They are also predicting that that tens of thousands of layoff are likely in the next year with states and cities now slashing their budgets.  Make you wonder if they were all unattractive?

Well, we all know who is going to get the blame--at least according to the New York Times/CBS News Poll--the Tea Party.  According to their recent poll negative views about the Tea Party are rising.  Forty percent of Americans now view the Tea Party unfavorably, up from 29 percent in April.  Only 20 percent view the movement favorably, down from 26 percent.  It sounds as if the pendulum is swinging to the left--watch out!  The Coffee Party might be next!

No looks, no jobs, a fast food addiction . . . well, at least we can all look towards retirement!  Right!  Maybe not . . . according to a poll conducted by Reader's Digest not too many Americans see themselves retiring and enjoying the "golden years" before the age 65.  According to the poll 46 percent of Americans think they will not be able to retire until age 65 or older.  Only 30 percent still think they will retire before 65.  The most optimistic countries in the world about retiring before age 65 were Malaysia (67 percent), Canada (56 percent), and China (46 percent).  Four nations were more pessimistic about retiring by 65--South Africa, Spain, Brazil, and the Netherlands.  Mexico, India, and the Philippines ranged from 42 to 49 percent believing they will never be able to retire.  It almost makes you want to cry . . .

A good cry always makes one feel better, right?  Wrong!  A study conducted by University of South Florida researcher Jonathan Rottenberg concludes that "crying is not nearly as beneficial as people think it is."  Rottenberg states that 61 percent of those who were studied did not improve their moods with crying, and nine percent believed that their moods were even worse because of the crying.  Only 30 percent felt better after crying.  It seems that the type of crying that produced the best results for feeling better were the more vigorous bawling complete with "screaming and body movements"--good old fashion lamenting of the biblical kind.  Researchers then theorized that the biological purpose of crying isn't to release sorrow, but to elicit "social support" from others.  It's the sympathy, not the release of tears, that can make people feel better.

Well, that is the news for this week.  I think I am going to take my unattractive, low-earning self down to the closest McDonalds for a Big Mac fix and have myself a good old fashion lament.  You decide--laugh or cry? It is always our choice!

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