Monday various

Thursday various

Monday various

Thursday various

  • A fascinating story about a young writer who disappeared. Although it’s arguably a story that has precious little to do with her having been a child prodigy and more the difficult circumstances of her life following her parents’ divorce. [via]
  • With New York bracing for more snow tomorrow, I think it needs to be said again: Bloomberg and the rest of the city really botched it two weeks ago. [via]
  • Meanwhile, New Jersey wants to seize your unused gift cards. I honestly don’t know enough about how gift cards work to know whether or not this is a terrible idea, but they’ve already been struck down in court. I’ve always been led to believe that stores view unused gift cards as essentially free money — they get the giver’s cash, but then never have to part with merchandise in exchange — but again, the bare-bones economics might be different. [via]
  • Meanwhile, Virginia revokes what may be the greatest license plate ever. Won’t somebody think of not eating the children? [via]
  • And finally, Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness. A fascinating article — and I think not just to folks like me who happen to work in the field of mental health publishing — about the battles being fought over the forthcoming DSM-5.This exchange is particularly revealing:

    I recently asked a former president of the APA how he used the DSM in his daily work. He told me his secretary had just asked him for a diagnosis on a patient he’d been seeing for a couple of months so that she could bill the insurance company. “I hadn’t really formulated it,” he told me. He consulted the DSM-IV and concluded that the patient had obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    “Did it change the way you treated her?” I asked, noting that he’d worked with her for quite a while without naming what she had.


    “So what would you say was the value of the diagnosis?”

    “I got paid.” [via]

Is this the face of an asshole?

So today was kind of weird, or at least started off that way.

I stopped off at a place near the office where I often grab breakfast. It looked like they were having some trouble getting the gate fully open in front of one of the doors, so I went out a different exit than I usually do. Walking right in front of me was an older gentleman, and I mumbled my thanks as he held the door open behind him. And after that, what I’m pretty sure I heard him say in reply was, “You’re welcome, asshole.”

I was already walking in the opposite direction, headed around the corner to get to work, and I was really confused by this. Did I mishear him? But I looked back, and he seemed to be staring after me, an angrily satisfied look on his face. I don’t know if I accidentally bumped into him and didn’t notice, if he thought I was being impatient and pushing my way through, or if he was just crazy. I was in a hurry, and he was moving quite slow, but I didn’t cut in front of him, ask him to move, or even knowingly throw him a dirty look. He held the door, I politely (if tersely) said thanks, and he called me an asshole.

So you know what, fella? Fuck you. I’m sorry if I unknowingly offended you, but you certainly offended me.

The rest of the day was largely uneventful by comparison, but maybe that’s only because I didn’t venture outside again until the end of the day. We had one of our semi-regular “brown bag lunches,” where they give us food and invite a guest speaker in to give a talk. Today’s was on “Fear of Feeling: Understanding and Using Emotion Effectively.” Maybe the guy from this morning should have attended. As it is, I’m not entirely convinced the talk was worth it. The gist seemed to be, emotions are good so don’t be afraid to have them. Which, y’know, is good advice as far as that goes, but not exactly profound.

And hopefully your emotions won’t leave you cursing at strangers for no apparent reason.