the narcissist movement

Five psychologists have spent a few years looking at the fall out from the "self-esteem movement" that rose in the 1980s. They assert that the effort to build self-confidence has gone too far, and produced a population of narcissists. As entertaining as narcissism can be to onlookers with a sense of irony, they lay out the damage: "narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others." Narcissists are "more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors." Plus, their sense of reality is whacked.

In the study, they asked American college students for responses to "If I ruled the world, it would be a better place," "I think I am a special person" and "I can live my life any way I want to."

"We need to stop endlessly repeating 'You're special' and having children repeat that back," said the study's lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. "Kids are self-centered enough already."

The AP article is really interesting, with many points that could be explored and debated, and the study is sure to fuel some fires. It's Study: Vanity on the rise among college students

Jo Calvino, Britain's Olympic lifting queen

The London 2012 Olympics will star 26 year-old Jo Calvino, Britain's number one female weightlifter. Her recent lift of 89kg in the clean and jerk was enough to break the British record and her 63kg snatch equalled her previously set British best, which illustrates her dominance of the sport over the past 11 years.

She's got a few cool things going on in this Guardian piece. She mentions that "A lot of Olympic and world champions have been in their early 30s" and puts this reporter and misconceptions in their place. Is this theme of mine getting old to anyone? I hope so.

excerpt from Jo cannot weight to fulfil Olympic dream (yuk yuk)
by Stuart Pink - Croydon Guardian, UK

Meeting Jo at her training camp at the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace, it would be fair to say she does not look like the stereotypical weightlifter. But that's the problem. The stereotype is far from accurate and Jo believes that puts a lot of female athletes off the idea of becoming a weightlifter.

"People don't believe me when they find out what I do because with weighlifting, you get the crossover with body building, who are not as elegant as us." she said. "Most men say to me you can't be a weightlifter, you haven't got big enough arms or what do you bench press?' "It's not like that, you don't have to be big and muscley to lift weights."

Stuart mentions that Jo is 4' 11" (peculiar, since this is a UK paper) but not her weight.

Julian Beever's Batman and Robin

Julian Beever is an English artist who's famous for his art on the pavement of England, France, Germany, USA, Australia and Belgium. Beever gives to his drawings an amazing 3D illusion. His stuff is mindblowing. This isn't even the best example, but I had to post it for obvious batty reasons.

Julian's official site

when Niagara Falls freezes over

Ashtabula, Ohio? No, Niagara Falls. Here are rare pre-global warming photos of the falls frozen over in 1911.

more girls take part in high school wrestling

NY Times - Tamar Lewin - Wrestling may be the ultimate contact sport, and it can be a startling sight, teenage boys grabbing girls’ thighs, girls straddling boys, boys riding girls’ backs and trying to flip them onto their backs. For the most part, girls who want to wrestle — and they are slowly moving into the mainstream — must practice with, and compete against, boys. Nationwide, about 5,000 high school girls wrestled last year, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, nearly five times as many as a decade earlier. Those numbers are no doubt low, since many states failed to report girls’ wrestling participation, but whatever the full count, it is dwarfed by the quarter-million boys who wrestle.

Now that women’s wrestling is an Olympic sport, and, on some campuses, a college sport, girls’ wrestling is poised to take off. There is a Catch-22: Without many girls, there can’t be girls’ teams, and without girls’ teams, wrestling can’t attract all that many girls. The legal status of coed wrestling is not entirely clear, but in a few scattered cases, courts have ruled that if there is no girls’ team for them, they should be able to join boys’ teams.

read the rest and/or watch video report created for the online paper - a cool concept for newspapers and new media.

NY Times photo of Jessica Bennett, Montville High wrestler


I got these today...

"Who's the most handsome of them all?"

top Madrid fashion show rejects 5 underweight girls

Great news - things are happening. When's the last time you read anything like this? Note the models came from our own NYC. How rich - the NYC fashion industry needs slapped down.

AP: Madrid, Spain - The organizers of Spain's top annual fashion show on Sunday rejected five out of 69 fashion models as being too thin to appear in this year's event, acting on a decision to bar underweight women from the catwalk.

The show, known as the Pasarela Cibeles, decided in September 2005 not to allow women below a body mass to height ratio of 18 to take part.

One of the rejected models had only reached a ratio of 16, the equivalent of being 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing less than 110 pounds, said Dr. Susana Monereo, of Madrid Getafe hospital's endocrinology and nutrition department, who along with two other doctors was in charge of assessing the models.

Monereo said this represented "extreme thinness."

sshh - she's a big girl

One of the many unwelcome things white European invaders brought to America was the feminine physical ideal - the notion of the smaller, softer, weaker sex (oops - I threw up in my mouth a little bit). Here's some thoughtful journalism pointing out how female athletics are quietly subverting this ideal, and how the system is quietly subverting its subversion.

"...the weights of amateur female athletes are almost never published, in basketball or any other sport," writes Jere Longman, but the people behind it explain it is for the girls' own good...

By way of Stumptuous comes this NY Times article - Athletes embrace size, reject stereotypes. This interesting essay is good food for thought, and full of research to make it concrete thought.


The weights of male athletes are widely publicized by college teams, but 35 years after passage of the gender-equity legislation known as Title IX, and 25 seasons after the National Collegiate Athletic Association began sponsoring women’s basketball, the weights of amateur female athletes are almost never published, in basketball or any other sport. Even as women are embracing their size and power, projecting the notion that a wide body can be a fit body, the idea of weighing female athletes is under vigorous debate.

read full article at the NY Times

Laila Ali - a living American Amazon icon

Ali vs. O'Neil was a landmark fight for female boxing, and a perfect petri dish to examine the differences in attitudes between the U.S. and elsewhere. During her prep time in Africa, Laila met with Nelson Mandela. He was just one of an impressive A-list who turned out to witness her fight. Surfing 'round the media treatment overseas (cuz I sure don't see anything on this in the American papers), Laila seemed to be appreciated for what she is - the remarkable daughter of a boxing icon following in her father's footwork and keeping honor to the legacy he began. I have to ask...why doesn't she get that kind of honor here in the States?

Whatever you think of her skills (sounds like this was another mismatch farce, which is the only other context I've seen her in - Ali vs. Martin), it's inarguable that Laila has made historic contributions to the sport for females. After raising the specter of female boxing in Africa with a buzz-fueled fight, she defended her title.

Here are some details. Read the full story at Dispatch.

a butterfly that stings like a bee

AP--United States boxer Laila Ali knocks down Gwendolyn O'Neil in defence of her World Boxing Council and World International Boxing Association world titles in Johannesburg on Saturday in the first minute of the first round of their scheduled 10-round super-middleweight bout. Ali won on a TKO after 56 seconds. would probably be her last fight for some while as she intended having her first child and going into temporary retirement.

She has achieved a great deal out of the ring and made a striking impression in her highly-publicised visit to South Africa and it is a pity she could not have been afforded a better opportunity of demonstrating her wares as a fighter.

AP photo

the Mighty Kat's bran yammit muffins

Mix dry ingredients--

1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tsp gluten
1 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar

dash vanilla
dash cinnamon

Mix wet ingredients--

1 cooked, peeled yam (trust me)
1/2 cup (olive) oil
1 cup soy (milk)
1/2 cup apple sauce
3 TBS maple syrup
3 eggs

Optional - add chopped prunes, raisins, whatver

Combine dry and wet ingredients.

Fill muffin cups. Greasing muffin cups with Crisco really lets you slide the muffins right out.

Bake at 350 for 17 - 20 minutes. Toothpick/spaghetti stick test. Makes about 24 moist, delicious muffins chock full of great carbs, complex and some simple.