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Way too sexy, way too soon: Levin and Kilbourne hit nail on head with book

I picked up this book because it covers a topic I’m very much interested in knowing more about. I’m planning on studying psychology next year in grad school, and the topic covered in Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne’s book, So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids is what interests me more than any other topic in psychology, mostly because I have a strong motivation to help children and teenagers with developing into productive and healthy adults. It also fascinates me how much of a factor the human mind plays into every aspect of human life, sex and sexualization being two of the biggest motivators and of the most powerful influence.

As is this book’s main focus, our society is only becoming more and more sexualized as the days go on. Levin and Kilbourne use examples to demonstrate this assertion such as teenage girls wearing thong panties and padded bras to school, and barely-there Halloween costumes each year. They also mention t-shirts that read “Chick Magnet” sold for toddler boys. All of these examples are true, as I’ve seen them with my own eyes.

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10 Web sites worth checking out

With a growing number of Americans working on computers or doing school work on computers, no doubt the number of people who play online games has increased. I’m not talking about World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons, but the games that you play when you’re bored…or procrastinating. In fact, it’s probably both.

When playing Brick Breaker gets old, here’s 10 Web sites that you can waste your time on and possibly actually do something productive.

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Honda Fit vs. Toyota Prius

It seems like only yesterday when the “cool” car to drive was a BIG SUV. Well, those days are gone, and now everyone wants to conserve gas and save the planet. There’s no easier way to do this than by driving a cute little subcompact car, or a hybrid if you’re nasty.

I’ve been driving a 2008 Volkswagen Jetta and my lease is just about up. I decided to be proactive for once and start looking at some possible cars so I checked out the (seemingly) two most popular options: the Honda Fit and Toyota Prius.

They seemed pretty similar to me at first, but there are some distinct differences. I found my information on Edmunds, which is an incredible Web site that can answer any question that you have about any car.

This is what I’ve found:

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Criticism of controversy is laughable

One of my favorite sports writers does a syndicated piece for Fox Sports and writes often on controversial topics that range from ethnic diversity to marriage, to articles on athletes simply being underachievers.  His articles are filled with substance and good points but are usually marred by the topic itself, with many readers who are blinded by the “politically correct necessity complex,” dismissing any of the just statements and label the works as garbage libel.

I’m sorry, but he’s billed as a controversial writer and paid to do exactly that.  He does it with tact and keeps it within the realm of understanding for many who couldn’t tell the difference between a technical foul or a personal foul.  

As with many controversial sports writers, Jason Whitlock takes flack for pretty much all he says, and I suppose it’s to be expected with writing the topics and toeing the line he does, but it would be nice to see the readers actually read his articles and absorb the content instead of reverting to gut reactions to things they may not want to hear.

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Fearing free speech: The American way

Years ago, I used to listen to a radio “Shock Jock,” as they were called, named Bubba the Love Sponge.  His show was probably the most entertaining way to spend the morning drive anywhere in Central Florida, and even in other states where his show was syndicated.  It was borderline crude and blessed with gratuitous amounts of controversial topics, often skirting the line best displayed by cable TV and HBO.  It was refreshing in its own way.  All the things that may or may not have been important were discussed, but they were talked about in a way that made sense and at least made you think a little about a topic, sometimes making a listener more interested in something thought to be obscenely boring at first.

Then some pitchfork wielding soccer mom brigade accidentally flipped on the radio and listened to the show for a minute, and to their horror, their teenage children enjoyed the show.  And of course, no good parent would ever dream of letting their child think for themselves or find interest in anything that was not written on the 30-year plan set forth at birth by the parents for him to go to med school, marry a nice Catholic girl and live in the house next door with a white picket fence.  

God forbid the kid show interest in anything that delved into the moral gray area between normal people and the zealots that follow faith with blinders.

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Dubya vs. Obammy: Some questions

In light of the recent shift — perhaps a better term would be plunge — in approval for President Barack Obama, I thought I might bring up a few questions that were forwarded to me by a friend in an e-mail, questions I found to be pertinent to what’s going on exactly right now with our oh-so-wonderful president, or at least, in my opinion, that’s what most of this country has become so gullible and weak as to actually believe.

I know I find it incredibly interesting how hated Bush became toward the end of his final term as president and how beloved Obama became so quickly as he slipped into the presidency, officially, this past January. All in the course of a few months and all over one word; a word he never fully defined; a word that won him the presidency: Change.

So feel free to read on and take a look at some of these questions and decide for yourself what you think:

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Speculating Kim Jong-un: North Korea’s future ruler

By now you’ve heard that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, 67, may or may not have pancreatic cancer. The Associated Press reported, according to South Korean TV station YTN, Kimmy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was hospitalized for a stroke last August.

Of course, he’s not going to be excited in admitting his sickness. (Pancreatic cancer is one of the worst cancers to have, after all.) You can tell though, just by looking at him, that he’s not exactly in ship shape.

According to the American Cancer Society, he shouldn’t last more than a year.

It seems like great news that someone as (you can fill in the blank) as Mr. Jong-il won’t be a problem to us for very much longer. Think it through, however, because you know that he’s got someone just as wonderful as he is lined up to succeed him. While it has yet to be officially announced, all signs are pointing to his youngest son Kim Jong-un.

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What’s love got to do with it? Apparently, not a whole lot

The following may or may not, as in my case, having been disillusioned with the concept a few relationships ago, come as huge shock to you: love isn’t the only key to a healthy, lasting marriage or relationship. It seems a team of Australian researchers from the Australian National University might have actually discovered the key ingredients to keeping those romance fires burning, or at least what outright extinguishes them.

As reported by Reuters, the research team found that age, previous relationships and whether or not a partner smokes are all factors that influence the length of a relationship.

Aptly named, “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” the study followed almost 2,500 couples, married or living together, from 2001 to 2007, and identified, analyzed and tracked the factors that surrounded those who remained together and those who divorced or separated.

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A better read: “The Reader”

“I wanted simultaneously to understand Hanna’s crime and to condemn it. But it was too terrible for that. When I tried to understand it, I had the feeling I was failing to condemn it as it must be condemned. When I condemned it as it must be condemned, there was no room for understanding.”
The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink.

After reading this book for the first time, I only wanted to read it again. Of course, I just had to race to the nearest Blockbuster and rent the film as soon as possible. Unfortunately with the film version, I was sorely disappointed.

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Celebrity narcissism reaching public?

Though I didn’t know it when I first picked up the book from my local library, one of the most interesting facts to me about The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America, initially, came with discovering the author’s background.

Dr. Drew Pinsky is the host of VH1’s Celebrity Rehab, a reality television show, thus making Dr. Pinsky a reality television star. The focus of his book is describing to America its fixation on celebrities and how a narcissistic behavior can result from that. Essentially, Dr. Pinsky tries to tell us that we’re all narcissistic in one way or another, and that this “pathology” stems from the media constantly covering celebrities and their lives. It’s a “celebrity fixation,” as Pinsky terms it.

Right off the bat I was struck with the pangs of hypocrisy, and I hadn’t even read the first page of the book; just the back cover and did a little research online about the author. (Actually, there are two authors – Dr. Drew Pinsky and social scientist Dr. S. Mark Young – but the second plays a minor role, aiding Pinsky in the actual studies with his expertise, and does not star on Celebrity Rehab with Pinsky. Therefore, when I pass a judgment like this one, I do not mean to include Dr. Young.)

So, to say the least, I wasn’t impressed at the start with this book, but then I began to dig into it.

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