28 Dec 2009

23 Dec 2009


Problems with in-laws specially during X-Mas? You're not alone.
The following chronicle from the NYT is quite interesting.
Oddly enough, I couldn't find any photo or picture to go with it.


21 Dec 2009


 (photo: The Economist)


This article from The Economist reviews Nicholas Wade's: "The faith instinct. How religion evolved and why it endures".
Is religion an human instinct or a form of adaptability that has been useful for human societies for centuries?
Mr. Wade is a Darwinian  evolutionist and his book makes interesting reading.

20 Dec 2009



The article is about the different shopping styles. Apparently, it has to do with evolution. Men went hunting and with some luck they did. Women had to choose carefully among the food available (seeds, fruits,meat, etc).
Says Prof Kruger: "Women gained the skills of how to get the best quality food in cave man times because if they chose the wrong berry or nut it could kill". Women often did that with young children, while men were out hunting.
According to scientists, "the reason why women love to spend hours in shops while men prefer to be in and out of the high street in minutes is down to their hunter-gathering past".

Hmm... Food for thought.

(photo by rock_leonine)




An awesome video by AMNH!

19 Dec 2009


It's almost impossible to miss how the relationship between brands and consumers is changing. Traditional advertising in dying away while promotion on the net is increasing. Some brands have people monitorizing what is said about them in sites, blogs and social networks and trying to make ammends if anything is affecting their image.
Not so much in Portugal, I'm afraid. I've been propesting against the bad service Zon TvCabo is providing, specially in what concerns those new awful TV boxes but to no avail yet. Which is kind of amazing, since their CEO is someone who came from Microsoft. But then this country has ways of getting people soft.
With Dave Carroll things were different. During a trip with United Airlines, his most treasured guitar was broke. He complained, nobody paid any attention. So he decide to compose a song. It has already been seen by thousands of people in Youtube and it's a good song apart from being quite funny. Now the company is trying to make ammends, offering him reparations.

16 Dec 2009


"Anybody can be unhappy, but to make oneself unhappy needs to be learned, and to this end some experience with a few personal blows of fate simply won't do".
This paragraph was taken from Paul Watzlawick' s "The Situation is Hopeless But Not Serious" a great book written in the 80s but very actual.
Starting from a seemingly absurd point of view, Watzlawick gives special attention to issues like "why would anybody love me" and various self-fulfilling prophecies of the kind.  To sum it up, the book is about how we can make everyday life miserable and inflate small incidents beyond recognition.
A professor in Palo Alto, Watzlawick, who died in 2007, was a man of genius. You'll find this book both highly enjoyable and deep, two qualities that don't come together that often.

10 Dec 2009



I'm sure you familiarized with the technique of mystery shopping. it's world wide used, specially in services like banking, insurance, etc. The idea is that someone impersonates a regular customer, go to the bank and report their experience.
Malingering one’s way into a psychiatric ward to report on conditions within was first tried in 1887, when Nellie Bly, a journalist got herself admitted to the insane asylum on Roosevelt Island in New York City.
It was tried several other times. The article is about a recent experience in Amsterdam. Many questions are raised here, namely the secrecy and implicit trust between patients and carers.

9 Dec 2009


Look at what I found in Yoytube. The exact dialogue I was referring to in my comment on Ana's last post about movies.

7 Dec 2009

Movie quote

I know that it can be “corny” to quote a character from an everyday movie… But I always found interesting to look at everyday movies, everyday books, or news, and without judgment find that feeling that we all can relate to at some point in life… who never gave this same answer, even if to themselves…? Did you not?

“- Do you miss him…?
- Everyday.”

(Carrie in "Sex and the City")

6 Dec 2009


Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.


Yes, they exist. People who suck your energy up and leave you angry, depressed, confused, guilty or exhausted (or even all). The emotional vampires.
Sometimes they can be just acquaintances but unfortunately some of the time they are quite close to us. Too close four own good. And the closer they are, the more they can thrive on your energy and zap it out if you're not careful.
Judith Orloff  once wrote (in "Emotional Freddom") that there were five kind of vampires lurking around: the narcissist, the victim, the controller, the criticizer and the splitter.
The narcissistic vampire is always looking for admiration and is often charming and intelligent. The victimistic kind keeps complaining the world is against him. The kind is the kind of person who always knows what's best for you. The criticizer is always judging and belittling.The splitter is the most impredictable: you never know if he'll be raging against you or feigning the victim.
We need to establish firm boundaries against these people. You don't need to be too deffensive - I guess the most important thing is to make him (or her) understand you won't be manipulated.
I'm not saying these people cannot be friends. They can, and some of them will, as long as you set up clear limits. Don't idealize them. Be realistic about both their good qualities and their flaws.
Things get more dramatic when an emotional vampire is someone really close like, say, your own mother. In extreme and unfortunate cases like that, I can only suggest: be affectionate but firm and try to manage the relationship in small doses.

3 Dec 2009


It’s so good when we can finally open the door and invite someone in. But then, suddenly we realize we let our guest on the doorway… kind of awkward, kind of lost. Sometimes as the door is allowing the entry of others, the house is not yet prepared to do so… Then what shall we do…? Maybe one should forget formality, lay down the glass on the floor for a moment and ask that someone who is at the door to help pulling a couch and to offer some decoration tips…and ask that someone to sit, and – even though the glass is for now a plastic one –still enjoy a delicious drink and a good chit-chat…



Sensible advises about avoiding too much stress. Worth reading. We tend to forget these things in our daily life.
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