Thoughts of Black Friday and Its Business Practices

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One of the things I detest about the holidays is how stores turn a once sacred holiday celebrating the birth of Christ into the biggest excuse for excessive consumerism and profit. Already I’m seeing Christmas commercials on TV and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. And by this time, the only Christmas things I want to see are light up nights and school band kids practicing for Christmas concerts and parades. Also, bands practicing Christmas music in general. At least bands have a legitimate excuse to play Christmas music at this time of year. Still, once Thanksgiving rolls around, the Christmas Commercial Armageddon will be upon us and all hell will break lose.

Now in America, the Christmas season officially kicks off the Friday after Thanksgiving called Black Friday. Black Friday is said to be one of the biggest shopping days in the United States during the year and a business day when it’s all or nothing. A business not making a profit on Black Friday is one that won’t last much longer. Many Americans do their Christmas shopping on this day as well as trying to look for the best bargains for the latest gifts. And sometimes things can get pretty crazy with each store becoming as chaotic as a battle zone with every man for himself. I’m starting to wonder whether any Black Friday shoppers are among the craziest or most materialistic. I’m not trying to stereotype here since I guess every Black Friday shopper has their reasons for Christmas shopping on that day. I understand if some just want to get their shopping out of the way or can’t do it at any other time during the season. I understand those shopping on Black Friday for some last minute preparations for their family hunting trip during the weekend since deer hunting season starts that Monday in Pennsylvania. And growing up in Pennsylvania at least the start of deer hunting season gave me a day off from school. Yet, at least these people are planning to spend time with their family, even if it’s shooting Bambi. Of course, these two groups of Black Friday shoppers I have no problem with since they are pretty sane and have legitimate reasons.

Then you got your third type of Black Friday shopper who spends Thanksgiving night camping out in the parking lot of the mall or a big box store and scrambling into the place as soon as it opens at the crack of dawn. Now I may think camping in a store parking lot may be all right on a night the next Harry Potter book comes out. I’m not sure about spending Thanksgiving night in a tent at Wal Mart parking lot. I mean aren’t there plenty of other things to do on Thanksgiving night like spending time with your family. Is getting your kid the latest Xbox worth spending a cold dark night on the icy pavement? To me, lining up at 4 a.m. to shop to me seems ridiculous. To me, shopping is something you do to function or survive in a society. It’s not always fun and certainly not worth camping out at the crack of dawn for. Yet, for this group of people, shopping is a sport and Black Friday is their Super Bowl. They love the crowds, loud music, garish displays, and competitive atmosphere, all of which such shoppers see as a heaven. For me, this atmosphere is a personal hell hole since it consists of everything I hate about the holidays and why I avoid shopping on Black Friday like the plague. I can’t stand jammed packed stores filled with frenzied nuts shopping for the best deals and having fists fights break out over certain products. If I was working that day, I’d be thinking: Oh, God, please get me out of this nightmare! I can’t imagine how any retail employees ever manage to function normally with such unruly mobs creating a mess of things in their stores. Must drive anyone insane.

Of course, there have been reports of Black Friday shoppers doing strange things they wouldn’t normally do on other shopping days. There have been instances of violence in recent years ranging from unruly crowds stampeding employees, assault, shooting, stabbing, carrying weapons, and such. There have even been instances when people were killed, arrested, and rushed to the hospital. Sometimes police were called since employees couldn’t handle such ruckus. And for what? Over an Xbox? Parking Space? Seriously, I wonder how Christmas shopping can ever come to this. Maybe such shopping day simulates a customer’s insatiable desire to consume can bring out shopping rage turning your neighborhood Wal Mart into a scene from movies like Apocalypse Now, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Saving Private Ryan. Well, maybe not to that degree but pretty close. It’s said that dozens of people are injured each year by crazed crowds too eager for popular items. These range from bruises, sprained ankles, broken bones, and concussions. A good deal in a crowded store can turn the place into a mob scene with shoppers breaking into fights.

You think that retail giants would try to put a stop to this incendiary behavior but I’m so sure if you look at their business practices. And from what I see, these stores seem to encourage it since it causes such shoppers to overspend on cheap plastic crap made in China. Oh, I mean the cheaper plastic crap made in China. Retail giants have designed Black Friday in ways to put a shopper’s rational thinking out the window. Because when reason is out the window, people have a tendency to overspend and buy any kind of crap just because of a lower price tag. And if supplies are low, then customer turnout all the better. And even though Black Friday sales have been on the decline, retail giants continue to encourage such madness since it gives them publicity. Now many big stores are following Wal Mart’s suit and starting their big opening Christmas sale on Thanksgiving night. For me, such action gives me two questions. For one, who the hell shops on Thanksgiving night? And, seriously, is this all Thanksgiving is coming to? Besides, I don’t think retail workers would want to work on Thanksgiving, especially if they’ve been preparing the dinner. I mean they’re the ones losing family time to the unquenchable thirst of greed and consumer goods. And for many, Thanksgiving is one of the few days when they can sit back and relax since some retail employees work on weekends and not at good wages (except at Costco). Sure the Christmas season may be shorter than usual but sometimes I think the holiday rush seems to come earlier year after year with Christmas ads airing as early as September, which is way too soon. As far as I’m concerned, I think businesses need to clamp down on their holiday enterprising and put less emphasis on the rampant consumerism aspect. Instead, perhaps we need to see the holidays as a way of getting together with loved ones or just relax. Besides, everyone needs a holiday and you get better bargains in mid-December anyway.

The Cinematic Guide to Law

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Ah, the law, what would we be without it? Of course, the rule of law has the power to either put criminals in or let them go free. May not always be fair but tries to be. Now I’ve never been in a courtroom (though I’ve been in the Pennsylvania State House for a quiz bowl tournament), nor served on a jury. It may not always work out in the way we want it to but it always tries to be fair even if those working in it don’t seem to be so. Still, it is a very tricky subject since laws are different from certain jurisdictions. Yet, we should all know it doesn’t work like it does in Hollywood movies. And I’ve seen plenty of movies based in a courtroom and pertaining to crime since law and crime both go together. So before you can raise any objections, Allow me to list the inconsistencies (for this, I’m going to use US Law unless otherwise):

1. Almost every legal system and court procedure is basically similar in every developed country. (In Hollywood, being in a courtroom in a foreign country is like attending Catholic Mass. Sure there may be some small differences like a powdered wig and different language, but is mostly conducted in the same formula like in a Catholic Mass. Of course, in the legal arena, most movie court procedures and legal systems in developed nations work in the same way as they do in the United States. Actually, this is really not the case. For instance, you don’t have the right to remain silent in England, you don’t have a right to be tried by a jury in the UK, and you didn’t have the right to be legally represented during questioning in France before 2011. Also, British judges don’t use gavels, German attorneys don’t say “Objection!”, and very few countries outside the US use plea bargaining.)

2. Litigations usually take days and most of it happens in court. (Real litigation takes months and almost none of it happens in court. In fact, it’s preferable if most legal disputes are settled out of court and most guilty parties take a plea bargain. Court proceedings are best to be avoided because it costs money and used as a last resort.)

3. Bail is an easy way to skip a future trial and possible sentencing. (Hollywood tends to treat bail as a Get Out of Jail Fee option. It’s actually not quite the case. When an accused is released on bail, he or she is making a promise to show up for trial and won’t go to jail unless convicted. Those who can’t pay bail will remain in prison until trial. Those demonstrated as likely to flee the court are denied bail and will stay in prison until trial.)

4. All prisoners are convicted criminals. (Well, we may think that way, but it’s not exactly the case. Of course, all prisoners are in there on something related to a crime but not all are convicted for it. Sure many prisoners were convicted of crimes but many prisoners in the United States basically plead guilty and took a plea bargain sentence.Then there are some prisoners who are in jail just for being accused of a crime and are waiting for their case to be tried, which could take years. Of course, this group of prisoners weren’t released on bail simply because they couldn’t make it or it was denied. Then there are kids in juvenile detention who are in there because they were wards of the state and had no other place to go.)

5. Criminal proceedings start almost immediately after the suspect’s arrest. (Actually, other than bail and plea bargaining, most criminal proceedings don’t usually start until months after the arrest, sometimes years.People have spent years in jail awaiting trial.)

6. In murder investigations usually have a chalk outline of the victim’s body at a crime scene. (Sorry, Jerry Seinfeld, but chalk outline guy doesn’t exist. Using chalk could contaminate the area, making the investigation much more difficult. And investigators want as little contamination as possible. Besides, there are photographers who take pictures of the crime scene before the body is carried to the coroner’s office.)

7. Most lawyers work in both civil and criminal cases, with latter doing both prosecution and defense. (Actually there are many lawyers that do like Johnny Cochrane but most small towns have at least one lawyer who does one and/or the other but usually at small stakes like what Atticus Finch does. Yet, if such cases involve serious crimes or large sums of money, they usually go to someone who specializes in that area. And most US jurisdictions usually have prosecutors working for the state.)

8. The accused has a right to one phone call upon arrest to anyone at all. (If you are arrested and are guaranteed access to legal counsel, any outside communication is a privilege that can be witheld or given. However, most police officers allow suspects make as many phone calls as they like to whoever they please since such conversations can be recorded as evidence.)

9. Police can do a strip or deep cavity search on anyone. (These procedures are only reserved for people with reasonable suspicion of smuggling either drugs or weapons and are limited to such.)

10. Old people can be involuntarily committed to a retirement home for whacking a guy over the head with a cane who was struggling with him over his mailbox. (For one, involuntary commitment to a retirement home is something only a person’s next of kin can do. Since Carl from Up has no next to kin to speak of, he probably wouldn’t be sent to a retirement home unless if it was by his own accord. In fact, this would more likely happen to Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino since he has two sons and four grandchildren. Could be prosecuted or sued for assault but probably wouldn’t be. Second, tampering with a mailbox is a federal crime.)

11. When wrongfully accused or convicted of a crime, it’s okay to go on the lam until you’re exonerated. Even though you may commit other crimes along the way, all will be forgiven. (You should never go on the lam if wrongfully accused of a crime. No should you go around committing other crimes prior to exoneration either because they may come back to bite you. Also, Harrison Ford could’ve just gotten a better defense attorney and should’ve least gotten off on his wife’s phone call alone which pretty much exonerates him from the crime.)

12. You won’t be charged with killing someone if you were falsely convicted for his or her murder before. (Actually killing that person will result in getting your previous conviction reversed and then eligible for prosecution on a new murder charge. So, Ashley Judd, hunting your husband down in another city and killing him there isn’t really a good idea, especially if you’re on parole. Also, it doesn’t help if you commit burglary, theft, destruction of property, escape from custody, assault on a law enforcement officer, unlicensed possession of a firearm, transporting an unlicensed weapon across state lines, and assault with intent to kill. Man, you should’ve sought your husband out with his picture and a camera just to prove that he’s still alive. Yet, you ended up screwing your chances.)

13. It is easy to convict an innocent person and might have to serve a harsh sentence even if it’s for a legitimate but otherwise minor offense. (Sure innocent people do get wrongfully convicted but not at the frequency in Hollywood movies. And even if an innocent person is convicted on some minor offense, he or she will not serve a harsh sentence.  If there’s an incident where there is a massive railroading of innocent people in the legal system, then the authorities will start getting suspicious of judicial corruption akin to the “Cash for Kids” scandal. Racism can also play a factor.)

14. A ruthless criminal can be released on a meaningless bureaucratic procedure slip up despite being proven absolutely guilty of the heinous crime in question. (Well, not as often as many would think. A ruthless criminal will not get off on a “technicality” which will typically be overruled as a harmless error anyway like a spelling mistake. Yet, it is possible for a criminal to be let off on “loopholes” regarding serious policy concerns such as sloppy police work, vague legal definitions, or serious rights violations by police and prosecutors. Then there are some exceptions such as the “good faith exception” {police believing they were operating legally despite illegally obtaining evidence}, independent source {police discovered the same evidence through other legal means}, or inevitable discovery {police would’ve found the evidence legally anyway so it’s left in}. So a ruthless serial killer would be less likely to escape justice in real life than Hollywood would suggest. As for white collar criminals, well, they’ll probably get off due to having money for a good lawyer.)

15. Witnesses are called from the courtroom audience to the stand. (Witnesses aren’t permitted to attend the trial or even talk to other witnesses about the case before they testify. Witnesses can only sit in for the rest of the trial after they finish their testimony and it’s agreed they will not be called back. Calling a prosecutor to the stand is possible if a judge allows it but is almost never done.)

16. You can walk out of the courtroom free if your insanity defense works. (Unless it’s temporary insanity, you’ll probably walk out of court accompanied by a couple of burly orderlies of a mental institution. Whether you walk out free is at the discretion of a psychologist or psychiatrist. Only used less than 1% of all criminal case in the US and successful 25% of the time more or less. Also, in 20 states and under US Federal law getting off on insanity may mean prison time if “cured” of mental illness. And those who get off on insanity your time in a mental institution may be longer (like twice as long) than your normal sentence would be nor is it more comfortable or safer than prison. Those deemed criminally insane will be separated from everyone else, and no, they aren’t easier to break out of. So unless you’re facing the death penalty in a murder case, it’s not worth it. Now I can see why so many mentally ill people wind up in prison.)

17. Not having a motive proves your innocence and no longer makes you a suspect. (Only lawyers and jurors care about motive since it may have importance in sentencing or at if the crime was done in intent or by accident. However, to criminal investigators, motive is of minimal importance.)

18. Wrongful conviction can get you out of jail as long as you’re looking for the people who successfully framed you. (You’d be in jail and besides motives aren’t very relevant in the legal system. At best, you’d probably be serving a lesser sentence of involuntary manslaughter if convicted for murder.)

19. The reading of the will always happens after the funeral. (That usually doesn’t happen. Rather, the executor, spouse, or next of kin usually calls the deceased’s lawyer to see about the will. The lawyer and executor meet and take the will through probate court. Unless you’re a beneficiary wanting to see it, the lawyer, or the executor, you’ll probably never see it. As a beneficiary, you might receive a check, be told it’s your inheritance, and sign a receipt. Also, the will doesn’t really mean a great deal as the probate does. And if a will’s contested, it’ll probably be ignored so don’t hesitate to kill anyone over it even if you’re disinherited for “reasons you’re aware of.”)

20. You’ll be read your Miranda Rights when you’re arrested. (Actually, they can be read between the time you’re arrested and the time you’re interrogated, depending on crime or jurisdiction. Not to mention, it doesn’t get you out of providing a DNA sample.)

21. If a wrongly accused defendant is on trial, it’s very likely a witness may have actually done the crime. (Only a slim percentage of felonies make it to trial and the pre-trial process takes years. Also, if a witness actually did the crime, it’s exceptionally rare in a trail case and would’ve been found out by investigators long before the case ever made it to trial in the first place. Not to mention, the defense doesn’t really need to find the “real culprit” to win, just establish reasonable doubt. Still, criminal accomplices frequently turn on each other for reduced sentencing so they can testify against the defendant.)

22. Only a guilty person will ask for an attorney or call for his or her own. (You are always entitled to legal counsel regardless of whether you committed the crime and wanting a lawyer doesn’t make you guilty by default. Any sane person accused of a crime would do this.)

23. Acceptable courtroom behavior for lawyers: badgering witnesses, accusing witnesses, asking questions regardless whether the previous ones are answered, make inflammatory assumptions facts aren’t in evidence, introducing conspiracy theories, bullying a witness into confession, turning a courtroom into a circus, enter a plea change without the client’s consent, and other courtroom antics. (Many of these can put a lawyer in contempt of court, removal from case, or possibly disbarred. Also, may cause the judge to declare a mistrial. Not to mention, judges usually have different levels of tolerance so any smart lawyer would know what he or she could get away with when it comes to a particular judge.)

24. Accepted behavior for criminal investigators: using enhanced interrogation methods on suspects, destroying property to obtain information, badgering and verbally abusing suspects, psychologically manipulating suspects into confession, assuming a suspect’s guilt without a concrete reason, denying medical attention and legal counsel to suspects, and other things. (These are reasons why the law is used to protect criminals. Also, many of these are technically illegal and can result in a cop being kicked off the force.)

25. Evidence or testimony exonerating or condemning the defendant can be introduced to the trial at the last minute. (This can happen but rarely does. Still, both sides must make available all evidence they tend to use before the trial {except in the case of the defense which is actively barred from sharing possibly incriminating evidence}. Still, all witnesses and evidence must be approved by the court before used. In civil suits, both sides must turn over properly requested evidence without exception.)

26. It’s all right for a jury or judge to exonerate a defendant if accused of breaking a law that sucks or is just plain unfair or unjust. (Jury nullification is perjury which jurors have sworn against. They are sworn to reach a verdict according to existing laws. Not to mention, this undermines the separation of powers since judging the laws is the legislature or Congress’s job. Not that they’re good at it anyway these days.)

27. You can sue a firearms manufacturer for criminal misuse of their products. (Thanks to Congress, this isn’t currently possible. Still, doesn’t mean it should. But then again using guns to kill is kind of the point.)

28. Mistreatment of a suspect results in automatic acquittal, regardless of undeniable evidence. (It doesn’t. Coerced confessions are just excluded from evidence but the suspect can still be tried on what’s admissible.)

29. Income tax evasion is a state crime. (It’s a federal crime. Anyone who’s taken a social studies course would know that.)

30. Polygraph testimony can be used as admissible evidence. (It can’t, because people have passed polygraph tests despite lying while others failed despite telling the truth. In short, it’s not reliable.)

31. Police interrogations last as long as a therapy session. (They can last for hours or days and aren’t really that exciting since they involve a boring question and answer session in an attempt to wear the suspect down. Aggressive tactics are rarely used.)

32. Good defense lawyers only defend innocent clients. (They also defend guilty ones, too. Part of the job. Prosecutors go after any defendant regardless of guilt or innocence because that’s the job description.)

33. A member of a jury can conduct his or her own investigation and bringing a weapon into the jury room. (These are examples of serious juror misconduct. Juror #8 should’ve been replaced and charged.)

34. Only white men served on a US jury between 1920 and 1970. (Only in some parts of the country like in the South. Still, there are more diverse juries in Old Hollywood movies. Maybe 12 Angry Men had something to do with this.)

35. The system is useless in protecting victims of society. (Sometimes but Hollywood mostly exaggerates this.)

36. A judge can simply order a jury switch without the parties’ consent during a trial. (No judge can call a jury the parties’ didn’t select before the trial. If the jury falls to corruption, the judge can simply declare a mistrial and the process starts all over again.)

37. Cops can threaten to use lethal force against suspects. (This is mostly forbidden in most police departments. Not to mention, a cop shooting anyone in the line of duty results in suspension and internal affairs investigation.)

38. Frivolous lawsuits are almost always brought to court. (Most frivolous lawsuits are simply thrown out of court. Also, when suit is filed, lawyers have to make reasonable inquiries before pursuit. As for frivolous lawsuits, don’t use the one about the old lady who burned herself after spilling coffee at McDonald’s, she actually did have reasonable clout to sue.)

39. Making a citizen’s arrest is illegal. (Actually it is but like acting as your own attorney, not highly recommended.)

40. Executions happen right after the judge imposes death sentence. (Most convicts on death row stay there for years, perhaps decades. Also, many of them try to commute their sentence to life in prison through the appeals process which takes years and costs millions of taxpayer money. Many people oppose the death penalty on the basis that letting a criminal spend life in prison is actually cheaper than executing one.)

41. A lawyer using “disregard that statement” is only being polite when the opposing attorney objects. (Saying this might cause a lawyer to get disbarred.)

42. You can be put in jail for killing someone in self-defense. (Well, unjustifiably, but if self defense is proven, you get off on justifiable homicide or on “shoot first” laws if it involves a firearm and firing first, unfortunately. God, Zimmerman should’ve went to jail for manslaughter at least and shouldn’t have been allowed to own a gun {I mean he’s had previous run ins with cops and a domestic restraining order}. Yet, you can go to jail for firing a warning shot at an attacker, since it counts use of deadly force even if you didn’t intend to hit him or her. And not intending to hit the person is considered evidence you didn’t actually fear for your life. So if Zimmerman fired at Trayvon Martin and missed, he’d be in jail. Shit.)

43. Restraining orders are either ineffective or nonexistent. (They do exist and do work. A legal order for a person to stay away or face arrest is pretty effective. Still, why women in movies don’t file restraining orders against their abusive husbands is beyond me.)

44. You won’t get punished for taking the law into your own hands if the notorious criminal who wronged you goes free. (Uh, yes, you can and you probably will. In the real world, two wrongs don’t make a right.)

45. No one can testify for or against their spouse accused of a crime. (Spouses actually could if they wish to do so. They just can’t be forced to, as a spousal privilege, even if the couple later divorce. In other words, spouses can testify but they can’t be subpoenaed in cases involving his or her partner. Still, spousal privileged is suspended if both partners are on opposite sides.)

Love and Relationships According to the Movies

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At twenty-three, I’ve never had a boyfriend for some reason or another. Of course, for someone like me living in the country, you don’t have many options and most people at my age have other priorities like school or career. Yet, I’ve had guys who were interested in me as well as had my own crushes but these were few and far between. But even in the best of circumstances, something usually goes wrong. Still, though I’ve never really been in a dating relationship in my life, I know enough about the subject to figure out that romance in the movies doesn’t necessarily hold to the real thing in very obvious ways. And in some cases what could be a gesture of true love in the movies can translate as disturbing behavior in real life or even get you arrested. So here is a comprehensive list:

1. Women always have to be pretty and young to get the guy while men don’t need to be either. (There are plenty of ugly and older women who do find husbands and have longer marriages than many Hollywood celebrities. Also, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and looks only go skin deep. An attractive woman may have more options but her looks won’t necessarily guarantee that she’ll find true love or happiness or even make a good partner. Not to mention, most men usually marry women close to their own age anyway even in their thirties. So if a woman is still single and in her 30s, it doesn’t put her in a relationship dead zone. Still, almost every actress you see portrayed as a love interest is a young and attractive actress while the guy doesn’t need to be so.)

2. No woman is happy with a man who isn’t less successful than she is. (Though there are some women who do go after so-called “alpha males” most women would rather be with men who love and respect them for themselves as well as are nice people in general. Financially, most women are more concerned with a guy’s relationship to money than what he makes. More marriages have ended in divorce over poor money management than lack of income. Besides, these days most women aren’t really looking for a man who can financially provide or support them anyway. A financially trustworthy beta male will do just fine.)

3. A woman’s career success will hurt her relationship with her man. (Many guys may not be comfortable dating or being married to someone more successful than them, but most of them will try and learn to adjust. Sometimes a woman’s successful career can help her in relationship or perhaps save her marriage. Plenty of men are happily married to women more successful than they are. And there are plenty of famous examples of successful women having happy marriages like Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Mitchell, Annie Oakley, Nancy Pelosi, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, and the list goes on. So, ladies, despite what Hollywood says, career success won’t cost you your man, in most cases. And if it does, then he probably wasn’t good enough for you to begin with or you just got too caught up in it which could happen to men, too. Also, a lot of career women lose their men but not always because of it.)

4. A damsel in distress will fall in love with the first guy who rescues or tries to help her while he reciprocates her feelings. (If this was true 100% of the time I bet male rescue workers, cops, and medical personnel would have girls and women swarming at them. Though this might happen sometimes, for many people, saving others is their job and a lot of them usually already have a significant other or a family while others may not make good partners to begin with. Those who are rescued may also have a significant other as well. Still, no one should expect these people to fall in love with them or vice versa. Being saved from danger doesn’t lead to romance most of the time, especially if the rescuer is an obese cop with a wife and family.)

5. Hooking up under the influence is a good way to meet someone. (A drunken hookup with a stranger may be a good way to have an “accident,” yet it’s a terrible way to meet someone, especially if it’s the future co-parent of your child who may be the unexpected result of such encounter. For one, the stranger you sleep with may have issues with alcohol, which isn’t a good sign at all. Second, drunken hookups aren’t 100% consensual since anyone intoxicated is in no condition to give any consent. So having sex with someone who’s drunk is will less likely lead you true love and more likely to jail as a sex offender. Even more so if roofies are involved. Yet, in movies, drunken hookups seem to happen all the time and no one seems to feel violated and no one gets arrested. Drunk sex in real life just don’t work that way. So if you see someone who’s drunk, don’t have sex with them because it’s rape.)

6. Women like men with plenty of sexual experience while men prefer women with none. (Sexual experience is mostly irrelevant in relationships and while there are many who marry as virgins, there are plenty who don’t. So having pre-marital sex isn’t going to hurt anyone’s chances, as long as it’s in a monogamous relationship, even if it doesn’t lead to marriage. And there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin either, even if you’re a guy. However, having a sexual history like Casanova isn’t an attractive quality for either sex. Of course, we all know the kind of stigma against women having pre-marital sex and slut shaming so I don’t have to go into detail. Yet, women don’t really like players either, at least as husbands anyway and for good reason. After all, what woman wants to marry a man who may have a bunch undiagnosed STDs and a closet full of paternity suits? Nobody.)

7. No matter how much of a jerk he is, if he’s charming, handsome, likeable, and dresses nice, chances are he’ll end up with the leading lady by the end. (Of course, Cary Grant from His Girl Friday comes to my mind for no matter how much he tortures Ralph Bellamy to get Rosiland Russell back, you just can’t hate the man. And Cary Grant was such an awful person in that movie like trying to get his ex-wife’s fiance arrested with a hooker. Still, no guy can get away with all that in real life no matter how irresistible he is.)

8. No matter how crazy she is, if she’s pretty, fun-loving, rich, and/or sweet as can be, chances are she’ll end up with the leading man by the end. (In this, I’m talking about Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby who basically acts however she pleases like stealing other people’s cars, teeing off on other people’s golf balls, and shanghaiing Cary Grant to Connecticut with the help from a leopard named Baby. She also takes his clothes as well as make a further mess of things sometimes by accident and sometimes not. And all in a span of two days with one being a day he’s set to marry someone else. Nevertheless, she ends up with him in the end and they live happily ever after while the brontosaurus skeleton just falls apart {then again, brontosauruses never really existed}. Still, in real life, she’d probably get away with at least some of her antics anyway since she’s rich, but I don’t think most guys will pick a girl who puts them in a possible life-threatening situation. Girls who do that usually get restraining orders.)

9. Love means never having to say you’re sorry. (Most bullshit relationship advice ever. People who love each other always say they’re sorry when they’ve been wrong. It’s common courtesy, dammit!)

10. If you love someone, don’t give up the chase even if the object of your affections repeatedly rejects you and/or is seeing someone else. If you persist, chances are he or she will fall for you eventually. (This is only okay if you’re fully aware that the object of your affections is actually interested in you. In this case, your love interest is only rejecting you as a way of playing hard to get or other reasons so persistence isn’t going to hurt you, which he or she will encourage. And the person will let you know if he or she is into you {which won’t be hard to figure out}. However, this is the only scenario in where persistence  is okay since it’s giving what the other person wants, even if he or she’s going to reject you anyway. Yet, if you’re not sure the other person is interested beyond reasonable doubt, best not to persist, especially if he or she is seeing someone else. Yet, if you think you have a reasonable chance, it’s all right to ask again, but if he or she rejects twice without showing any apparent sign of interest, best leave it be. Everybody falls victim to mixed signals now and then. But if the other person has made it clear he or she isn’t interested and/or is with someone, don’t press it or try to do anything to get him or her to fall in love with you. In fact, repeated persistence in this situation won’t help your chances and may result in a restraining order or other law enforcement action. However, Hollywood keeps perpetuating this myth.)

11. It’s only natural for nice guys to feel entitled to date women they want, especially if they’re willing to be their friend and treat them with respect. And if their desired women reject them for someone else, it’s their fault. (Sure some nice guys may finish last in the dating world but a guy who feels entitled to any girl he wants just because he’s nice to her isn’t a nice guy. He’s just another kind of asshole and complete phony only pretending to be nice to get into a girl’s pants. Genuine nice guys aren’t like this. Sure they may be flawed but a genuine nice guy is a decent person who treats everyone with respect and doesn’t feel he needs a prize in basic decency. Also, a genuine nice guy respects women’s decisions even if they’re not in his favor or suit her best interest. And they don’t befriend women in order to date or sleep with them either. Real nice guys don’t care if they finish last.)

12. Women are drawn to bad boys, especially younger women and teenagers. (Of course, the Hollywood “bad boy” archetype who girls tend to be attracted to doesn’t win girls just by being bad and doesn’t really turn out that bad to begin with. For instance, James Dean’s characters in East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause are troubled teenagers with serious issues at best but turn out as fundamentally decent people. So maybe it is true to some extent that girls like the bad boys, just as long as they’re attractive and aren’t total jerks. However, there are plenty of bad boys out there who aren’t attractive and aren’t so nice. And by “bad,” I mean like criminally inclined, not good as friends, maybe not too mentally stable, abusive/physically violent, might have trouble keeping a legal job, and will more likely interested in the physical {sexual} aspect of a relationship than anything else. And probably not concerned with fidelity either. So even if the bad boys get the girls, they’re more prone to divorce, prison, or a restraining order. So to say that women want bad boys is to be badly mistaken in some ways.)

13. The love of/for a good person can reform someone who’s bad. (Well, maybe loving another person can make someone terrible not seem so bad but it’s not going to him or her change right off the bat if at all. In most relationships, if they were bad people when you met them, they’ll be bad when you marry them. And most people who believe this have a good chance of getting divorced, filing for a restraining order, as well as other legal actions.)

14. It’s all right to sacrifice everything for the one you love (like your career, friends, values, and/or sense of identity.) If your beloved doesn’t like a certain thing about you whether it be in appearance or what not, change it. (Really? How many movies have I seen this in? Look, this has been done time and time again in both Grease and Vertigo and such notion is utterly full of crap. Sure love requires some sacrifice but you shouldn’t be willing to sacrifice everything you hold dear for another person’s love. No one is worth that. And if your partner is unsatisfied with a certain aspect of yourself {that isn’t a problem}, just tell him or her to accept it or leave it. Those who truly love you, will usually accept while those who leave it didn’t really love you in the first place. Love may entail sacrifice and growing up to some extent but you should also think for yourself, too. Don’t sacrifice or change everything.)

15. Stalking, withholding sex, kidnapping, forcing yourself, isolating your beloved from others, exhibiting high levels of jealousy and possessiveness, breaking and entering, exhibiting controlling behavior, threatening with violence, and other forms of abuse are acceptable relationship behaviors. (For God’s sake, some of these things will earn you a prison rap sheet or restraining order. Oh, why Hollywood, why do you portray such behavior as romantic? It’s not!)

16. It’s perfectly all right to marry someone you’ve known for less than a month. (Happens a lot in movies before the 1960s for two reasons. For one, the wretched Hays Code and a quick elopement is probably the most acceptable way to get the couple having a sexual relationship {unless if the plot revolves around having an out of wedlock baby which in this case, the bio dad will be killed, lost, reunited with family, or having to assume care over a kid he didn’t know he had}. Second, helps drive the plot faster since most movie couples rush to the altar quicker than couples in real life. However, a whirlwind romance is something that shouldn’t be advised even if he or she is The One and you two are perfectly compatible. No need to hurry, just wait for a few months or even a year to make sure you’d really want to spend the rest of your life with this person. Let me just say that an unmarried couple living for 5 years is less likely to get divorced than a couple who’ve gotten hitched after knowing each other for like an hour.)

17. Playing hard to get will surely land you the object of your affections. Being open and forward about your feelings may cause the other person to lose interest. (Maybe, but please don’t make it impossible and don’t go too far, don’t hurt the other person’s feelings, and don’t give the other person unnecessary crap. And if the other person knows you’re playing hard to get and doesn’t like it, you might want to stop and admit it flat out. And even if you do, the other person will probably not lose interest and may even be happy you did. Also, playing hard to get may have a tendency to backfire since it might cause the other person to pass you aside in frustration, be deeply hurt, assume you’re not into him or her and move on, decide persistence isn’t worth it since you’ll reject him or her every single time regardless of feelings, may be afraid to ask again in fear of rejection, or even lose interest in you. Honestly, you don’t want to go too far with it.)

18. When things don’t work out in a relationship, run to the nearest airport where your estranged partner will realize his or her mistake minutes before the plane takes off, jump into a taxi, and despite post 9/11 security provisions will make it to the gate to stop you from taking your flight and profess his or her undying love for you. (You’ll be gone by the time your true love makes it to the gate, especially with the post 9/11 TSA provisions. If you don’t want your estranged partner to leave you forever, call before he or she ever decides to board that plane.)

19. To begin a stable relationship with a person who is ready for commitment, interrupt his or her beautiful ceremony to another person and declare your love. Running away with them also helps. (Sorry, Benjamin Braddock, but ruining a wedding is the last thing you want to do, even if your beloved is marrying someone else. Besides, calling off a wedding is emotionally harrowing and those who experienced this may need time to sort out their feelings before embarking on a new relationship. This is especially true if one of the couple dies before the wedding. If you want to declare your love for someone who’s marrying someone else, declare your love for him or her before the wedding, preferably when the wedding is in the planning stages. If he or she’s planning to marry in a Catholic Church, you’ll have at least 3 to 6 months time when the banns are posted so don’t waste any time.)

20. Becoming accidentally pregnant by a relative stranger will result in you bonding and falling in love with the person who knocked you up and inevitably you will have the family of your dreams. (Jesus Christ, Judd Apatow! Look, ladies, just because the guy may be your kid’s biological father doesn’t mean you should marry him. And just because he fathered the kid doesn’t mean he should raise it with you. In fact, he may not be a good partner to you or a good father to your kid. It’s said unplanned pregnancies outside of marriage are probably the single biggest way not to guarantee a happy ending with that person. Besides, you or the other person may already be married anyway. Still, a great stepdad or no dad is better for your kid than a shitty biological one.)

21. Some hookers have hearts of gold and are very much relationship material. (I’m not so sure about that, Richard Gere. What I can say is that though there may be some hookers with hearts of gold and that it’s possible to find true love with a prostitute, doesn’t mean pursuing a relationship with one is a good idea. Of course, many prostitutes and johns use condoms but many of them do have their share in STDs. Is true love with a hooker worth getting something like Hepatitis A-C, genital herpes,  crabs, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and AIDS? On a side note to parents, if your son ever thinks of being involved with a hooker, please get them the HPV vaccine or at  least talk to them about the possible risk. Still, anyone who’s been in a high school health class can tell you that pursuing a relationship with a prostitute is a bad idea.)

22. Good sex cures all relationship issues. (Good sex be important in a relationship but it’s not going to save it if you or your partner are unsuitable for such a relationship or downright abusive, especially if he or she’s anything like Stanley Kowalski.)

23. If you want your love back, do a grand romantic gesture like secretly filling her office with roses or standing in the rain with a boombox. That way the object of your affections will realize that he or she loves you, too. (This may seem romantic in movies, but in real life, this comes off as desperate and pathetic, if you’re lucky. If not, then actively deranged, idiotic, or obnoxious. This is especially a bad idea if he or she’s not attracted to you in the first place. In this case, you’re just wasting your money and don’t understand how relationships work in the real world. And if he or she doesn’t like you, chances are the object of your affections will be filing a restraining order or be calling the cops. If he or she does like you, then perhaps you should try something called talking or spending time with that person, especially if you make that grand romantic gesture. If you don’t make any effort to spend time with that person or communicate or try playing hard to get, you might risk breaking the other person’s heart.)

24. If you’re dating a terrible person, it’s okay to have a once in a lifetime romance in a random hookup with a stranger while on vacation. (Well, it’s not like Kate Winslet had any choice marrying a complete bastard but still, hooking up with Leonardo DiCaprio is probably not a good idea. Then again, at least she wasn’t like Paul Henreid doing the same with Bette Davis and he was married with two kids. Then there’s An Affair to Remember where you have Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr hooking up despite both of them being in a relationship with someone else who aren’t terrible or even make them unhappy. Still, even if you’re in a terrible relationship with someone, cheating on him or her while on vacation is perhaps the worst dating advice of all time. For one, it can lead to STDs, unplanned pregnancies, or paternity suits. Vacation adultery isn’t a good idea at all. Bad enough hooking up with a random stranger while single.)

25. Dressing up in drag might make you attractive to people within your own sex. (That is, if you’re in gay bar or pull off the disguise convincingly. Still, though I could believe Charles Durning’s attraction to Dustin Hoffman’s Dorothy in Tootsie, I can’t see how any straight man would hook up with Jack Lemmon  or Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot. Really, they don’t look any more like women than John Cleese wearing a dress and wig.)

26. There’s nothing illogical with making the life altering decision to spend the rest of your life with a total stranger who doesn’t know exist. (Really, Meg Ryan? Flying across country to be with the one you love is one thing, but a life-altering decision nevertheless. Flying across country to meet a total stranger you hear on the radio who doesn’t even know you exist? Are you out of your fucking mind? Not only is it stupid, it’s also dangerous and basically makes you a stalker.)

27. Women are man crazy hellions with a ticking biological clock and urge to rush in a committed relationship with a man. (Some women don’t want to get married and/or have kids while others are lesbians. Also, no, real women don’t act like women in romantic comedies. Really? Hollywood, I may love romantic comedies {when well done anyway} but please don’t portray women like this. It’s sexist, honestly. We’re not all wedding or baby crazy bitches or obsessed with clothes or shopping.)

28. It’s not creepy to have feelings for a stepsibling or an adopted sibling. (Just because you’re not blood relatives doesn’t make it less creepy. Besides, I don’t know if the latter is legal.)

29. If your love interest is gay, you can always win them over and get them to switch teams. (Uh, no you can’t unless they’re bi. But, do you really want to go there?)

3o. When men get into a relationship, it’s usually to get into a woman’s pants. (Really? Sure some men may be perverts, but there are plenty of guys who actually want to have a relationship with women and like them as people. Not to mention, a lot of them have emotional needs to and many actually want to get married. Seriously, Hollywood, most guys don’t really want to remain single all their lives.)

Statistics on Veterans

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Now I’m not a person who believes in war as a way to solve our problems nor do I advocate the use of arms in anything other than defense and only as a last resort. However, despite my pacifist leanings, I do believe that anyone who serves our country in the armed forces deserves respect and honor for their sacrifice. These men and women have given their time, energies, and even lives for this nation and its ideals. And I think many of these veterans bring out the best of what it means to be an American since they fought in our wars at great cost to themselves as well as in a time of peace. Many of them spent long stretches away from their families so many miles from home. Some of them got wounded in the line of fire while many came home never the same again. Some came home after losing a limb while a few of their comrades did not. Some answered the call of duty willingly while others did so under conscription, sometimes against their will. Some fought in glorious wars with the country behind them while others participated conflicts in which American involvement didn’t settle well with the American public. Yet, despite everything, these veterans served our country and did what many of us would not and all for the ideals we all hold sacred.

Now who just are these brave Americans who gave so much for this country? Well, here I give these findings courtesy of Infoplease which people don’t use very much. Yet, it does have the most recent veteran census I can go by. Most statistics are dated to 2012 estimates unless otherwise stated.

As of 2012:

There are 21.2 million military veterans in the United States.

1.6 million of them are female.

11.3% are black, 5.7% are Hispanic (which could be any race), 1.3% are Asian, 0.8 are American Indian or Alaskan Native, 0.2% are Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and 79.6% non-Hispanic white. (Numbers only cover those reporting a single race.)

9.6 million of them are 65 or older while 1.8 million are younger than 35.

7.4 million of them served in Vietnam, 5.4 million served during the Gulf Wars, 1.6 served in World War II, 2.3 million served in Korea, and 5.3 million served only in peacetime.

54,117 of them served in Vietnam and in both Gulf Wars while 50,004 served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

933, 315 of them served during both Gulf Wars, 307, 376 served both Gulf Wars (1990s) and in Vietnam, 209, 183 served in Korea and Vietnam, and 113, 269 served in Korea and World War II.

1.9 million of them live in California, 1.6 million live in Texas, and 1.6 million live in Florida.

They comprise of 13.6% of Alaska and 12.7% of Montana.

26.7% of them have at least a bachelors degree while 29.2% have just a high school diploma.

A veteran’s median annual income is $36, 264.

8.7 million of them are in the workforce between the ages of 18-64.

3.6 million of them have a service connected disability with 881, 981 having a rating of 70% or higher.

14.7 million voted in the 2012 presidential election (70%) while 12.4 million voted in the 2010 congressional election (57%)

Own 9% of all US businesses generating $1.2 trillion and employing 5.8 million.

It is said that 19% of them might have a traumatic brain injury and that 7% of them have that and PTSD.

As for US veterans as a whole, the rate for PTSD is unknown since the statistics are fuzzy since some may be diagnosed sooner than others. And many have struggled with PTSD for years, including veterans. Half of those with PTSD never seek treatment. Half of those who do, only get the “minimally adequate” variety. It’s estimated that 45% of veterans have experienced PTSD, 46% have experienced anxiety, and 28% have experienced depression. Nevertheless, veterans with PTSD are more likely to get divorced, have more relationship and parenting problems, and poorer family adjustment than those without it. They are also more likely to have more family violence.

It’s said that each day 22 veterans commit suicide and recent statistical studies show veteran suicide is more common than previously thought.

According to 2009 statistics, there are sometimes 529,000 to 840,000 homeless veterans sometime during the year comprising 26% of the homeless population and 33% of homeless males. 300,000 veterans are said to live on the streets or in shelters in the US on any given night. They are more likely than other Americans to become chronically homeless and women veterans are four times more at risk than their male counterparts. As of 2007, more than 1.5 million veterans are at risk of homelessness.

About 900,000 veterans are said to be unemployed, including a fifth of those aged 18-24.

As of 2007, 140,000 veterans are said to be held in state and federal prison. 127,500 for state and 12,500 for federal and reported longer sentences. 57% were said to be serving for violent crimes and 1 in 4 prison veterans is said to be a sex offender. Veteran violent offenders in state prisons were more likely to have victimized females and minors (perhaps mostly meaning their spouses and children). And a third of veterans in state prison had maximum sentences of at least 20 years, life, or the death penalty.

As of 2009, 23-29% of female veterans seeking VA medical care have reported experiences of sexual assault. 40% of homeless female veterans said they were sexually assaulted while in the military.

Because the standard policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the US military until recently, it’s unknown as to how many US veterans are LGBT though there have been LGBT veterans throughout all of American history. Still, LGBT veterans include Rock Hudson, Harvey Milk, Gore Vidal, George Cukor, William S. Burroughs, and Frank O’Hara.

1.3 million veterans and 948,000 are said to go without health insurance or don’t use VA care.

1/6 of military veterans are said to have an active duty related disability they can’t get the VA to recognize.

It’s said that 16,000 veterans are non-citizens.

As of 2006, 1.8 million veterans met the criteria for having a substance abuse disorder. 60% of incarcerated and 75% of homeless veterans have a substance abuse problem.

Why You Shouldn’t Date a Superhero

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Ah, superheroes, those crime-fighting vigilantes we all know and love who will always save the day using their powers, brains, or generous assets for the good of humanity. Sure these may be swell people who kids look up to and are loved by generations. And of course, they may seem to be the kind of people anyone would want to hook up with. Still, as I see it, I strongly think that superheroes should just stick with their own kind or super villains.= since it just makes things easier for them as well as with us. With mere mortals, it just gets too complicated. Though there have been few exceptions in relationships between superheroes and normal people, I wouldn’t take those kinds of chances. And here are many reasons why:

1. Expect your date to suddenly disappear during your time out with no explanation why. (Of course, your superhero date will be in secret identity mode during your date but still, he or she won’t tell you the truth because it would give his or her secret away.)

2. Dating a superhero will dramatically increase your chances of encountering life-threatening situations orchestrated by the super villain. (Sure you may be saved by your superhero in the end but there’s a good chance you may end up like Gwen Stacy. Still, if you’re kidnapped by a super villain and aren’t in any job relating to science, business, or government, you should know that you’re dating a superhero. I mean, if you weren’t, the super villain would obviously have no interest in you. Since many superheroes have played some role in a super villain origins so well, there’s a chance they may know your superhero’s secret identity and personal life. And if he’s Peter Parker, almost every one of his major adversaries will know him personally. Not to mention, your chances of being in danger don’t decrease after breaking up with that superhero as in Rachel Dawes’ case. Nevertheless, no one wants to worry about being in life-threatening situations all the time.)

3. There’s a good chance you might be exposed to some radiation upon contact. (Many superheroes in the Marvel Universe got their powers this way like The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Daredevil, The Incredible Hulk, some of the X-Men {well, before birth or conception}, and others. Of course, they were created during the Atomic Age when nuclear power was glorified and feared. Still, you should know what pro-longed exposure to radiation could give you, like cancer.)

4. There’s a good chance you may have kids with super powers if you and your superhero significant other have any sex. (Of course, there are some superheroes who don’t have superpowers but most of them do for some reason. Yet, for those who have them due to either radiation or genetics, they will very likely pass them to their kids. As difficult as raising kids are, you will have a much easier time raising a kid with special needs than a child with any kind of superpowers. At least raising a special needs kid will not result in your house being destroyed. Seriously, you don’t want kids with superpowers. Non-powered children between superheroes and a normal person are usually more the exception than the rule.)

5. If male, expect your superhero significant other to hold off popping the question or not even propose in the first place. If female, expect your superhero significant other to say no if you ever try to ask her to marry you. (Most superheroes may have committed long term relationships with their significant other, but most of them won’t end with marriage since this step usually involves having the normal person exposed to more danger as well as having to divulge his or her secret identity.)

6. A superhero significant other will not tell you why he or she may randomly cancel and break dates, that you’ll have a great chance of being kidnapped by a super villain or possibly killed, and why does the superhero featured in the papers looks suspiciously like him or her. (For Lois Lane, it should be obvious that Clark Kent is Superman. I mean glasses isn’t much of a disguise and Superman never wears a mask. Also, anyone who’s been in a heated argument with Bruce Banner should know he’s The Incredible Hulk.)

7. You could have the potential to unleash your superhero significant other’s powers if you aren’t too careful. And there may be consequences you wouldn’t expect or perhaps pay for. (Note to anyone in a relationship with The Incredible Hulk. One blow up from him could mean the end of your house as you know it.)

8. Popular Superhero Day Jobs: reporter, student, socialite, police/rescue worker, private eye, attorney, scientist, career superhero (if not using a secret identity), or just a freelance bum. (Not really jobs with people having good relationships are they? Also, if he or she’s rich, then he or she may be screwing around.)

9. There’s a high chance he or she may have had something terrible happen to him or her during his or her childhood. (I mean things like seeing parents getting killed, seeing uncle getting killed, losing parents as a child, losing parents as an infant and getting transplanted to a different planet, oh, well, you know stuff that can put one through years of therapy. I wonder what Batman’s therapist has to deal with if the Dark Knight even has one. His therapist might end up having depression after dealing with him. Of course, Batman’s issues go beyond childhood.)

10. Your superhero significant other may have many unresolved issues as an adults. (And I mean like failed relationships, boyfriends/girlfriends dying on them, getting dumped by a childhood sweetheart for a future super villain and later getting blown up, dating adversaries, having a secret identity, losing a child, having a tendency to take in teenagers as wards and assistants, destructive anger issues, split personality disorder, and the list goes on.)

11. If female, may have a tendency to be mistaken for a stripper when in their superhero mode. (Many super heroines tend to have very skimpy outfits that look like something a stripper might wear.)

12. If your marry your superhero significant other and if he or she is a career superhero, you might want to get a pre-nup since there’s a chance he or she may be sued for inflicting collateral damage. (And superheroes are very guilty of this so maybe having a secret identity is understandable for some of them. Of course, Batman and Iron Man don’t need to worry about lawsuits since they’re both extravagantly rich. Spiderman and Superman on the other hand…)

13. Your superhero significant other may have a tendency to show up all beat up with no explanation after mysteriously disappearing. (I wonder how many times this has happened to Batman on a date. Yet, some of them don’t really show scars like Wolverine.)

14. Your superhero significant other will be no help around the house or be a good parent to any kids you may have. (This may be due to secret identity, strength and function of powers, tendency to spend loads of time in the basement, getting into fights, or fighting evil. Of course, with the Incredible Hulk, you might find yourselves constantly moving to a new place almost after every argument. Still, at least Batman has Alfred and has teenage wards who assist him like Robin but he will never let you in his Bat Cave. Also, superhero kids don’t have very nice lives.)

15. You may not get to have sex due to your superhero’s significant other’s superpowers. (If you touch Rogue, you’d be dead. I mean she can never ever have sex with anyone who isn’t immortal and indestructible.)

16. If he or she doesn’t have a secret identity, you will have to deal with his or her celebrity status including fans, groupies, tabloids, and comic conventions. (Granted most of them come from comic books. Then you might have to deal with the same flack with dating Batman since Bruce Wayne is also quite famous. Also, do you want to be known for dating a superhero?)

17. You may have the tendency to be in a two-person love triangle. (Meaning you may like the superhero but not like the person behind the mask and vice versa.Of course, this could be a problem as we know with Superman’s relationship issues.)

The Cinematic Guide to Archaeology

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Throughout movie history, archaeologists seem to have a lot of interesting adventures such as discovering lost treasure, unleashing ancient curses, defeating the bad guys, solving hidden puzzles, smashing less valuable artifacts, and wait a minute, this doesn’t seem right. Of course, like many professions, archaeologists in the movies seem to have more fun and interesting lives than their real life counterparts (well, depending on anyone’s definition of “fun”). And if you’d stack someone like Indiana Jones by what most people would expect a real archaeologist would actually do, well, let’s just say he wouldn’t even make tenure even according to 1930s standards. Sure he may make archaeology look cool and has inspired many young fans to go into his field, but he sucks at his job. Still, he’s not the only one who doesn’t stack up with what anyone would expect a from a real archaeologist or even the worst offender. And when you think about it, even the subject of archaeology itself doesn’t really measure up to the real thing. So here is a list of what movie archaeology deviates from the real thing in many ways.

1. Most of archaeology focuses on discovering lost cities and civilizations, kings’ tombs, legendary artifacts, lost technologies, imprisoned evils, and long lost secrets. (Actually archaeology is about discovering knowledge about the past civilizations through the study and analysis of artifacts and what information it gives them about the past. Also, plenty of archaeologists have made careers by meticulous analysis of contents of the garbage dumps of old.)

2. The goal of an archaeologist is to find and obtain a legendary MacGuffin, which everyone else is after for themselves. (Most archaeologists would be perfectly fine with discovering worthless pottery fragments.)

3. Most archaeologists study ancient civilizations in exotic locations. (There are plenty of archaeologists who study artifacts relating to more recent history and have excavations that aren’t so far from where they live. And I’m not just talking about those who live in the Middle East and South America either or even in Asia as a matter of fact. Also, Aztec and Inca civilizations were around during the medieval period so they’re not really ancient.)

4. If an archaeologist stumbles on a tomb of an ancient king, it will be cursed and the curse will come true as well as unleash supernatural forces. (This never happens. Sorry Mummy franchise.)

5. It’s perfectly reasonable for an archaeologist to acquire the MacGuffin through any means, no matter how destructive, even if you have to destroy ancient machinery that still works after thousands of years just to obtain a gold monkey. (Most archaeologists would try to be careful with any kind of remnant of any past civilization encountered. They great pains in attempting to excavate with as little disruption as possible and carefully preserve whatever is found. Smashing your way into any and all historical monuments for a shiny trinket is just plain unacceptable in the archaeological community.)

6. Most ancient ruins are filled with booby traps set up as protection against raiders or modern archaeologists. (Most archaeologists manage to excavate ancient ruins without having to stumble in one of these. Also, plenty of Egyptian Pharaoh tombs had already been robbed a few thousand years before any modern archaeologist ever got to them. Of course, there are some ruins that do have them. Not to mention, ruins are rarely “abandoned” anyway.)

7. It’s perfectly acceptable for an archaeologist to neglect his or her students while hunting for artifacts. (Though archaeologists do go on excavations, neglecting academic responsibilities is not okay. And academic responsibilities for a professor don’t just include teaching either. In case you want to see why Indiana Jones would be denied tenure: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/back-from-yet-another-globetrotting-adventure-indiana-jones-checks-his-mail-and-discovers-that-his-bid-for-tenure-has-been-denied.)

8. A Pharaoh’s tomb will be intact and have unimaginable treasure inside it. (The significance of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the 1920’s is that it’s one of the few Pharaoh tombs found mostly intact. Most Pharaoh tombs were robbed not long after the funeral.)

9. As long as you plan to have the priceless artifact put in a museum, there’s nothing wrong with taking it without the natives’ consent. (Understand that the people behind these ancient artifacts and heirlooms have nearby descendants who are very much alive and wouldn’t be happy if an archaeologist takes something of great cultural value to them. Best keep the artifacts as close to the place you found them or at least within the country of origin. If you want the artifact in a museum, make sure it’s in a museum in the country you found it in. Also, nothing angers Egyptians more than taking a royal mummy out of the country without their consent. You don’t want a whole country to get angry with you. And if you want to take something back for further analysis, ask first.)

10. It’s perfectly fine to excavate a site without permission from the locals or taking cultural sensitivities into account. (Then why is it illegal for archaeologists to excavate a Native American graveyard in the United States? Because the Indians would get royally pissed off if you ever dare disturb their ancestors. Also, you don’t want an archaeologist to dig up your dead grandmother, do you? I mean there’s a reason why archaeologists don’t conduct excavations in cemeteries.)

11. Archaeologists don’t need to take local and cultural sensitivities into consideration. (Okay, I know many movies pertaining to archaeology take place at a time when most archaeologists didn’t really take native sensitivities into account. Nowadays this isn’t the case since pissing the natives can result in things that a mummy curse will be the least of your troubles.)

12. Archaeologists don’t need to do any documentation once you find a priceless artifact MacGuffin. (Archaeologists need to catalog every find and document exactly where they found this in order to establish provenance. Also, they need to record information and location of every artifact and its relation to other artifacts and features at the site. It’s a meticulous, systematic, and time consuming process. They need to map the entire site, make sketches, take photographs, sift dirt through screens to make sure nothing is lost, and put all artifacts in carefully labeled bags. Neglecting to do this could lead to suspicions of theft or forgery and, yes, this has happened.)

13. In archaeology, shiny museum trinkets are all that matters. (Pottery fragments may bring glory but can yield their own share of valuable information about a past civilization.)

14. A bad archaeologist goes after a priceless trinket to hoard for a private collection, give to the bad guys or sell to the highest bidder, or use it for his or her quest for world domination. (There’s more than that to describes a bad archaeologist. Indiana Jones could be described as one for example.)

15. Long dead civilizations possessed powers we no longer understand. (Really? You got to be kidding me.)

16. Archaeologists need to be armed and badass since they constantly have to deal with bad guys. (Well, they’ll have to deal with bad guys if working in areas like the Middle East or Latin America where there are plenty of things that can kill you, especially in this day in age. Yet, never to the same degree as Indy. Also, many of them didn’t take boxing lessons or even carry guns.)

17. If an archaeologist finds something he or she can carry, he or she can just take it. (Most archaeologists usually try to do more research into the artifact before they could even touch it.)

18. Most of archaeology consists of field work and adventure. (Actually most archaeologists spend 70% of their time in some sort of academic setting doing research, like libraries, museum, laboratories, and universities.)

19. Archaeologists get rich by selling lost treasures in museums. (Most archaeologists don’t sell their artifacts because they see them as clues providing information to the lives of people in the past. In archaeology, it’s not just the shiny stuff that matters here.)

20. Desecrating a grave is perfectly all right as long as you’re using a human leg bone as a torch to explore a crypt. (Doing this will land you in an international prison.)

How Medicine Works (According to the Movies)

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Okay, say what you want, but at least he’s a real doctor and in the movies.

As someone with family members in the medical field and as well being related to sports enthusiasts, I tend to know a little bit about medical workings more than I care to know. Not to mention, I know many people who use their health as a conversation piece which is seen as a safe but boring topic. For instance, if I want to know whether someone has health problems, I just want the person to cut to the chase and tell me in the simplest way possible. I don’t want jargon, full details, or anything disgusting or gross. However, as with the concept of guns, Hollywood’s take on medicine and health also doesn’t nearly stack up with reality and here I’ll compile a list why that is. Of course, I won’t list examples from fantasy and science fiction since most of their medicine either comes from the future or comprises of magic. And I won’t list details from horror movies either since there are no such thing as demon possession or vampirism.

1. You could survive tar and feathering without any permanent scars from the incident. (This is probably the most unrealistic thing in Little Big Man in which the townspeople tar and feather Dustin Hoffman. Still, his character survives the incident for 100 years, isn’t seen seeking any medical care, nor does he even have any scarring from the whole thing. In real life, Hoffman’s character wouldn’t have been so lucky. Being tarred and feathered was never a good or easy-to-overcome thing. Physical damage inflicted from the tar varied wildly depending on temperature. If relatively cool, the tar would cause mild irritations to the skin and the worst you could hope for was spending hours of scrubbing to clean off the skin {and remember this would mean on your entire body since you’d be forcibly stripped naked before they put the tar on you}. Sometimes removal would mean agitating the burns and ripping out hair {making a body wax seem like a picnic}. Near boiling {which would be more likely}, the tar could cause life-threatening burns {and will surely leave permanent scars}. And if the tar wasn’t the worst of it, you can suffer fairly serious injuries from being forced to straddle the rail coming from a splintery wooden fence. Still, though tarring and feathering is usually played comically in westerns, what it did to those subject to this treatment is nothing to be laughed at. I mean, everyone would remember what was done to you.)

2. No matter how badly an action hero is injured, he will never end up with permanent and visible scars. (Whereas a real life football player with milder injuries could possibly be out for the rest of the season.)

3. A young woman with terminal illness will grow more beautiful as death approaches. (I’m sorry but dying from a terminal illness doesn’t work that way. I mean just surviving from a near-fatal illness doesn’t really do much for you in the looks department. At best, you’ll probably look like a survivor from a Nazi concentration camp, may need to rely on pain killers, and will soon lose your ability to perform the most basic functions like swallowing. You may even be in a coma on life support surrounded by family members wanting to pull the plug. And if you’re suffering from a fatal illness before the 20th century, well, let’s not go there.)

4. Unprotected sex is perfectly safe and won’t lead to pregnancy as long as the encounter has little to do with the plot. (Seriously, with the kind of sexual lifestyle James Bond has, he’s got to have at least a paternity suit or an STD by now. Of course, he may be using protection off-screen or has had a vasectomy but there’s no way of knowing. Even so, contraceptives aren’t 100% effective. Still, Kirk and Indy each have at least one known child, but seem STD clean otherwise. Then again, Kirk is from the future so this doesn’t apply to him.)

5. Albinos have red eyes and are perfectly capable to shoot at a far distance and drive at night. (Sorry, Dan Brown, but most albinos have blue or slate gray eyes which may appear red tinged. Not to mention, most albinos have very poor vision and are often legally blind. In fact, vision impairment is the main aspect of the diagnostic criteria for albinism. So there’s probably no such thing as an albino assassin.)

6. People who suffer from a constant cough will soon die from the disease that causes it with a short period of time. (Kind of depends on the disease and the time period. Constant coughing isn’t really a big medical issue unless if leads to spitting out blood most of the time. Other than that the most serious diseases I can think of involving this symptom would be TB, whooping cough, or pneumonia. Still, if you have a coughing fit and seem perfectly healthy, you probably have the common cold, the flu, or bronchitis. As with TB sufferers in the 19th century, it may kill you but you’ll survive for a number of years, if it does. If it kills you much quicker, you probably had either pneumonia or lung cancer {and for much of the 19th century, all serious lung diseases were diagnosed as tuberculosis so as how many people actually died from TB is anyone’s guess though it was incurable and contagious}.)

7. An antidote or vaccine will instantly cure a disease with no ill effects. (Actually a vaccine isn’t going to help you fight an illness if you already have it most of the time. A vaccine is a preventive measure used to train your immune system to fight a certain pathogen so if the real thing comes along, they’ll be able squelch it before it gets the chance to infect. Of course, the rabies vaccine may be an exception. As with antidotes, though they may reverse some effects of a poison but not all. And they may not save your life. Nevertheless, they need to be taken as early as possible or before the body sustains so much damage that death is inevitable. Also, tends to be rather expensive. Sometimes there may not even be an antidote if you have a certain kind of poison in your system.)

8. Radiation exposure can give you superpowers. (What it actually gives you are radiation sickness, radiation poisoning, possible congenital mutations to pass to your kids {that may lead to birth defects}, and/or cancer. Many people who worked at nuclear facilities have serious health issues and don’t live too long. Of course, super powerology isn’t based on actual science but you get the idea radiation exposure is no fun at all.)

9. Alternative medicine and herbal remedies can help you just as much as traditional medicine could. (Well, not exactly. Of course, there are some medicinal herbs but they don’t always work 100% of the time. Also, they can carry their share of side-effects just like any other drugs sometimes serious or fatal. Still, you might want to consult your doctor on this one. And if you have no idea of what herb it is or what it does to you, don’t consume it.)

10. Being attacked in the nuts or castration can result in a dramatic voice change from tenor to soprano in males. (Actually while a groin injury can be very painful in men and boys, it will not result in a dramatic voice change, though it might impair reproductive capabilities. As with castration, it depends on the age of the man but it doesn’t change a guy’s voice. Talk to any war veteran who’s had his junk shot off in battle. Chances are they sound as much the same as before. Besides, most of your castrati opera singers during the 17th-18th centuries were castrated before puberty in order to retain their voices. Vocal chords just don’t shrink, boys, so you don’t have to worry about that.)

11. Potassium cyanide kills in seconds. (It takes effect after a few minutes and can be a messy affair involving strong seizures before it kills you through massive apnea and cardiac failure.)

12. Good drugs have no side-effects. (All medicines do, some worse than others. For God’s sake, have you’ve ever seen any pharmaceutical ads? Some of those side-effects just make me not want to take the drug.)

13. All drugs and poisons take effect upon consumption. (It usually takes time for the effect to be felt due to having to travel through the body. Also, matter of of how the drug is taken is a factor. Still, if you take something which doesn’t take effect right away, don’t take another dose whatsoever.)

14. Smoking marijuana can cause you to go into a blind killer rage. (Obviously, even Hollywood doesn’t believe this Reefer Madness nonsense but it probably won’t turn you into a peace loving hippie either. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

15. It’s easy to retain good physical shape regardless of diet and exercise. (Sure they may be in great physical shape but they’re actors with nutritionists and personal trainers. Thus, diet and exercise are very much a factor.)

16. Truth serum can make someone incapable of lying and will always give you complete and accurate information. (Sure it may cause hallucinations, never to shut up, or reduced inhibitions but it won’t make anyone less capable of lying. Using truth serum is a human and civil rights issue and any statements obtained in this manner are inadmissible in court. Thus, they’re more useless than lie detectors.)

17. A person can be revived after a few minutes of CPR and will later have a full recovery. (CPR rarely results in a full recovery since it’s performed when a person has less than a 10% chance of recovery at all. Also, it doesn’t take a few minutes and you shouldn’t give up until either the person starts breathing on their own or when the EMTs arrive. Not to mention, it’s expected for the ribs to break during CPR, which is never seen in film. The victim can also throw up and mouth-to-mouth isn’t even recommended.Still, you might want to call 911 first since CPR has a 2% survival rate on its own.)

18. If CPR fails, then it’s perfectly fine to start striking a patient in the chest in order to restart his or her heart. (It’s called a precordial thump and should be delivered by an expert in a life-threatening rhythm and only attempted once. Also, it should precede CPR and only works for a very short time period {but not in every attempt}.)

19. A proficient swimmer can save a person from drowning by jumping into the water or throwing the victim a buoy. (Only try to save a person from drowning if and only if there are no professional lifeguards around. Not to mention, lifeguards are instructed never to jump into the water or throw the buoy to the victim {but past them}, especially if that person has a possible spinal injury.)

20. When someone has a nosebleed, always put their head back. (You actually risk making them choke or puke from swallowing their own blood. Better to make them lie down if possible {well, it works form me whenever I had nosebleeds as a kid}.)

21. The first thing to do when someone has a foreign object in their bodies is try to remove it as soon as possible. (The object is serving as a plug on the wound and pulling it could kills someone in minutes. Best it should be removed by professionals where infections can be fought off by antibiotics. Also, some people live with bullets for years without any problems like Andrew Jackson.)

22. When someone has hypothermia, it’s best to throw them in hot water. (This would cause a person’s core temperature to shoot up, inviting the colder fluid and extremities in making the person even colder or worse, mess up their heart. Still, a person suffering hypothermia should get warmed up through a warm bath and only if they can get in unassisted. A person suffering from more severe hypothermia should be rushed to the hospital.)

23. Using a an article of clothing as a makeshift tourniquet for a gunshot wound can help stop the bleeding. (This is a very bad idea since the clothing will probably stick to the drying blood and cause other problems when real help arrives. If left on a limb too long can result in it becoming necrotic and falling off. Only should be done if pressure around the wound isn’t working.)

24. Giving birth only takes a few minutes with the baby looking dry and clean as well as little to no mess. Not to mention, the mother is perfectly fine. (Pregnant women can be in labor for hours as well as so exhausting that the mother is either drenched in sweat and red in the face due to exertion as well as passed out due to the pain or pain medicine. Also, it’s a very messy affair complete with amniotic fluids, blood, fecal matter, tearing the placenta, and other bits and fluids. Not to mention, the babies come out covered in bodily fluids and have noticeably deformed heads. Of course, since I have a lot younger cousins, I can say that a cleaned up two day old baby looks much cuter than many other newborn animals. Most of the “newborns” you see on film are usually about 3 months old mostly due to younger babies being more susceptible infections.)

25. You should always try to remove the bullet when someone is shot as well as requires simple tools and little expertise. (Pulling a bullet out is the last thing you want to do for a shooting victim. Even surgeons frequently leave them in while repairing the damage. Still, bullets are mostly harmless when they stop moving and it’s best to remove them after the immediate trauma has already healed. Of course, there are exceptions in which a bullet has a chance to explode or has a part of clothing in the wound which could cause infection.)

26. Anyone can perform a tracheotomy. (No one without an MD should ever attempt this.)

27. Antibiotics can instantly cure any kind of illness. (They are only effective against those caused by bacteria and only if that particular strain is sensitive to that prescribed antibiotic. Still, there are drugs that fight viruses, parasites, and fungus.)

28. A defibrillator will restart a patient’s heart from cardiac arrest, usually when you try the second time. (While it will help improve survival ratios for cardiac arrests, there’s a specific time window in which shock must be applied. If not applied within 4 minutes of onset, odds of successful conversion drop drastically. Also, odds of successful conversion go down the more shock a patient requires. Not to mention, a defibrillator doesn’t restart the heart but stops a dysfunctional heart rhythm in hope that heart’s mechanisms can restore an effective rhythm. A first responder will do this alongside CPR. Modern defibrillators are rubbed together to spread a conductive gel on them, not building up a charge. They also have one-use adhesive pads and don’t make that KACUNK! noise like older models did. And they don’t make the patient jump several inches off the floor.)

29. In case a defibrillator is absent, hooking up a person to a main power source will give the same results. (No it won’t! This is a horrible idea! Doing this is a good way to induce the conditions that need defibrillation so don’t try this. However, if you wish the afflicted person dead anyway, then I’m sure this technique will give them a great sendoff to the choir invisible.)

30. Everyone knows their blood type. (Only those who give blood do and  it’s not a big population. Heck, I don’t even know my own blood type.)

31. Anyone experiencing a fatal illness will exhibit mild symptoms at first only to have the disease get progressively worse after the diagnosis. (Usually by the time one is diagnosed with a fatal disease, the symptoms have progressed enough to be serious. Most people usually try to wait out mild and nondescript symptoms.)

32. Nothing wrong can come from yanking the I.V. once you wake up from a coma. (Yanking the I.V. will put the wound at risk for infection.)

33. If your friend is poisoned by a snake bite, you should always suck out the venom from the puncture wounds. (Don’t ever do this! For one, sucking could cause further infection on the wound, transfer the risk of poison from the victim to yourself, and will only make the wound swell which require another incision increasing bleeding (raising everyone’s risk of infection), an may result in the poison entering the bloodstream faster. Also, people survive the vast majority of venomous snake bites even without treatment. Still, if someone is bitten by a venomous snake bite just try to keep the person calm and prevent them from moving and arrange for them to be transported to a hospital. Sucking the poison can get you both killed on this one.)

34. Sedation only takes a few seconds to knock you out. (It depends on the type of sedation drug which can usually take from a few seconds to a few minutes or even several hours. Dosage is also a factor.)

35. You can knock out a person with a simple blow to a head. (It’s the least reliable way to make someone unconscious. Yet, if you successfully do knock someone out with a blow to the head, you might be in trouble. A blow to the head that causes unconsciousness is also severe enough to cause a skull fracture, concussion, intracranial bleeding, permanent cognitive impairment, amnesia, blindness, personality, change, and even death. Usually lasts for a few seconds but unconsciousness lasting for than a minute usually indicates brain damage which will take months and not years to recover and the injured person will likely have permanent impairment. And if a blow to the head doesn’t make the person unconscious, it will certainly make them very, very angry. Don’t do this! Please remember this is why professional sports has a major issue with head injuries and why people should wear helmets.)

36. You can travel an exotic location, eat the food, drink the water, and not have to spend a long time in the bathroom. (Depends on where you travel. This might apply to Europe and other developed nations, but if you’re in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, or some other Second or Third World dump, chances are that trying the local cuisine and drinking from the local water supply might result in spending countless hours of your trip on the toilet.)

37. Spending considerable time near the equator or other exotic locations won’t result in you spending some time in bed with a tropical disease. (Seriously, I have no idea why Indiana Jones doesn’t come down with anything. I mean he’s an archaeologist living in the 1930s so it’s not like he’s went through inoculations prior to every trip. For God’s sake, he has to have least gotten a case of malaria from a mosquito bite.)

38. All epileptics suffer from violent convulsions when having a seizure. (There are many different types of seizures that have symptoms ranging from losing consciousness and staring into space for a few seconds, losing control of a limb while maintaining consciousness, to full-blow writhing at the ground, and everything in between.)

39. Seizures are set off by flashing images. (Actually this is called photosensitive epilepsy which consist of 10% of all epileptic cases).

40. All heart attacks start with a shooting, radiating pain later resulting the person to stagger in pain while clutching his chest with face turning bright red before dropping like a stone to the floor unconscious and probably dead. (Heart attacks vary in nature which can range from this to ones you don’t realize you’ve had until an ECG years later discovers the damage left behind. Symptoms can range from fainting, puking, and collapse while a massive heart attack can make the sufferer think he’s about to have a bout with diarrhea, one reason why so many die on the toilet.)