Have you turned into your parents?

by Finn

Are you turning, or have you turned, into your parents? Are your kids turning into you?


Ashley Fetters
March 16, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. HST
Where were you when you first got Dr. Ricked?

I was on my couch, chuckling blissfully along at the Progressive insurance commercial where a millennial-aged homeowner tries to “coach” an annoyed plumber fixing a pipe under the sink. That’s when Dr. Rick, an older, mustachioed mentor on the scene, gently pulls the homeowner away and reminds him that plumber is the expert here: “You hired him.” (Dads do love doing that, I thought.)

Then, the ad pivoted to Dr. Rick advising a young woman. If there are so many throw pillows on your couch that you aren’t sure where to sit, he told her, you have too many. And you’ve turned into your mom.

“Oh, no,” I said to the two chevron-print pillows and the squishy yellow “You Are My Sunshine!” cushion I had just neatly stacked off to the side of the sofa before I sat down.

For nearly a year now, Progressive’s Dr. Rick ad campaign — in which a tough-love Dr. Phil type helps millennials and Gen Xers avoid taking on their parents’ behaviors when they buy (and insure) their first homes — have been delighting audiences and then, often to their further delight, sucker-punching them with the cold truth about themselves.

Not only have the Dr. Rick spots managed to stand out in TV’s strange, highly competitive world of humorous insurance ads (packed as it is with Progressive’s Flo and her colleagues, State Farm’s Jake, Liberty Mutual’s LiMu Emu, Geico’s pun-happy new homeowners and President Palmer from “24” forever selling Allstate), these ads have carved out a space for themselves in the cultural lexicon of the moment that’s rare for an ad campaign: “You need Dr. Rick” has become an affectionate shorthand for “You’ve become everything that irritated you about your dad.” Fans of the commercials (fans of the commercials!) tweet at the insurance company almost daily.

It doesn’t hurt that when Progressive introduced the Dr. Rick ads in April 2020, they quickly became a warm, sunny island of gentle observational humor in a vast sea of grim commercials murmuring about “these uncertain times.” Or that they’re performed by a cast of veteran improv actors recruited from the Groundlings and Second City. (In one roundly beloved bit, two of Dr. Rick’s patients struggle not to stare at a stranger with blue hair. “We all see it,” Dr. Rick tells them under his breath, as they continue to gape. “We all-l-l see it.” That bit was largely improvised.)

And certainly some credit belongs to Bill Glass, the 49-year-old veteran improv actor with a self-described “resting goofy face” that only gets goofier when he puts on Dr. Rick’s stage mustache (nicknamed “the Beast”).

But what’s most unusual about the Dr. Rick ads is their appeal across generations that, in the “OK boomer” skirmishes of late, don’t always get along. The ads apply both a gimlet eye and a big heart to an instantly familiar but little-explored phenomenon.

Introjection — the phenomenon of humans absorbing the attitudes, values or traits of the people they spend the most time with — has never been one of the sexier psychoanalysis terms. Lacking the titillating mythological wink of the Oedipal complex or the sharp weaponization potential of passive-aggression, introjection never seeped into the popular consciousness. But in 2015, Progressive’s chief marketing officer, Jeff Charney, was hunting for a novel insight about the stages of life around which to build a new ad campaign. He stumbled across the concept of parental introjection — the absorption of the traits of the adults we’re around first and most frequently.

Talking to behavioral scientists and psychology researchers, “We found that there was a ‘grown-up switch’ that everybody has, and nobody had really mined when that switch turned on,” Charney said. The lurch into self-identified adulthood seemed to be precisely when people started becoming their parents.“We [initially] thought it was when people had kids,” he said. “But we found out it was when they buy homes.”

Soon, homeownership-induced parental introjection was recast by Progressive as “parentamorphosis”; that campaign’s first ads debuted in 2016. Eventually, the ad series would evolve to focus on the don’t-become-your-parents evangelism of Glass’s Dr. Rick.

On an advertising level, the Dr. Rick ads are textbook examples of good sales strategy. Barbara Mellers, a professor of marketing and psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, points out that they’re both simple in concept and surprising in content, which is a winning combination for a memorable ad.

Plus, advertisers are always going for relatability: “The more similar a person in an ad is to you, the easier it is for you to imagine yourself in that person’s place,” Mellers said. Adults of any age might recognize themselves in Progressive’s Dr. Rick spots, in the adult child being subtly roasted for becoming their parent, or in the parent — off-screen, but a palpable presence — being razzed for their distinctly parental ways.

That cross-generational appeal is unusual in its own right. For part of this past winter, my partner and I lived with my parents in Minnesota, where we spent weeknights doing one of the few things people can during a Minnesota winter and a pandemic: sitting on the couch watching TV together. Laughter usually had a 50 percent participation rate; whatever made two of us laugh usually made the other two roll their eyes or cluck their tongues.

Dr. Rick was the rare exception. I had always privately chuckled at my parents’ insistence on using their iPhones with their index fingers rather than their thumbs; now, here they were laughing at it too.

As Mellers pointed out, though, what may be making the Progressive ads stick so well in the public imagination is that they point out a phenomenon that’s familiar but hasn’t been parodied to the point of being a trope. “I think we all experience it, but I don’t know how much has been written on it or how broad a topic it is in the general conversation of life,” Mellers said. When she first watched a Dr. Rick ad, “I started remembering funny things about sounding like my mother.”

Charney, too, has thought a lot about his own parents — and his own parentamorphosis — over the course of developing and shooting the Dr. Rick ads. Certainly, he’s thought about the parental habits that irked him; his childhood friend’s mother had a “No cussin’, no fussin’, and no backtalkin’ ”-style mantra framed in her home for years, and the alarming fervor with which Dr. Rick throws a similar framed poster in a garbage can, Charney said, is in her honor.

More often, though, he thinks about how he’s developed the same impulse as his own dad to chase down drivers who speed past his home while his kids are riding their bikes — an impulse he’s grown to understand rather than resent. At the end of the day, the Dr. Rick ads are “an ode to our parents,” Charney said.

And although Bill Glass’s face is now the one many probably see in their nightmares about transforming into their parents, even Glass himself has experienced the stomach-dropping Dr. Rick moment. “I’ve caught myself running around the house turning off lights, going, ‘Do we have to have all the lights on?’” he said. “I’ve had a couple of, ‘The laundry’s not going to fold itself!’ And I’m talking to no one. There’s no one around,” Glass added with a laugh.

But for Glass — and probably for many — the Dr. Rick ads have helped illustrate that while he may be turning into his father, he’s far from alone in doing so.

“I love my dad, and I’m in no hurry to turn into him,” Glass said. “But maybe Dr. Rick has helped me lighten up a little bit on some of that stuff.”

Pointless business travel

by MooshiMooshi

Long before the pandemic, I was of the opinion that most business travel is pointless, an exercise in showing how “incredibly busy our company/our employees are” without accomplishing much. It is the most extreme form of butt-in-seatism. I saw the costs in terms of money and people’s time, but had not thought as much about the impact on climate change. This opinion piece makes the case far better than I can, that we should not return to mindless business travel ever again. Do you think companies will return to their bad old practices, or will business travel never pick up again?

Do You Really Need to Fly?
Videoconferencing is good enough to replace a lot of pointless business travel.

by Farhad Manjoo

March 10 2021
I once flew round-trip from San Francisco to London to participate in an hourlong discussion about a book. Another time it was San Francisco-Hong Kong, Hong Kong-Singapore and back again for two lunch meetings, each more lunch than meeting. I went to Atlanta once to interview an official who flaked out at the last minute. And there was that time in Miami: three days, 5,000 miles, hotel, rental car — and on the way back a sinking realization that the person I’d gone to profile was too dull for a profile.

I confess to this partial history of gratuitous business travel knowing that I’ll be screenshot and virally mocked: Check out the New York Times columnist whining about all the fabulous trips he’s had to endure!

But I’ll accept the flagellation, for I see now how I’ve sinned. We are a year into a pandemic that has kept much of the world grounded. Yet in many sectors that once relied on in-person sessions, big deals are still getting done, sales are still being closed and networkers can’t quit networking.

Face-to-face interactions were said to justify the $1.4 trillion spent globally on business travel in 2019. In 2020, business travel was slashed in half, our faces were stuck in screens, and yet many of the companies used to spending boatloads on travel are doing just fine.

Hence my regret for past ramblings. After a year of videoconferencing and suffering little for it, I look back on the profligacy of my prepandemic air travel with embarrassment. I think about my lost productivity and personal time, my boss’s money and the pollution spewing from my plane as it jetted to that very important event in Key West.

OK, I don’t really think about my boss’s money. Still: Mexico City, Austin, Hyderabad, D.C. How many of those trips would have been unnecessary if I’d only Zoomed?

My estimate runs somewhere between most and all. Aviation is a modern miracle; it is also expensive, annoying and environmentally costly. Now that videoconferencing has been shown to be an acceptable way to get work done, there’s no reason to quit it when the virus is gone. We can all afford to be much more judicious about traveling for work, even if Zoom isn’t perfect.

I say “we” because the airports and hotels on my less-than-necessary trips weren’t empty. Americans took more than 400 million trips for work in 2019. A lot of my fellow travelers were likely wondering, as I was, whether the benefits of each particular jaunt justified the expense and inconvenience.

I spoke to several erstwhile road warriors — mainly salespeople — who told me they were often of two minds about their nomadic ways. On the one hand, flying was terrible. A round-trip cross-country flight takes up most of two days just getting there. Then there’s the unhealthy eating, the poor sleep, the drinking.

But what choice was there? For years, it has been a truism that face-to-face meetings are far better than videoconferencing, for obvious reasons. They foster deeper relationships and perhaps better group decision-making.

“I grew up in a sales culture that said, ‘You want to close a deal, you go get in front of the client,’” said Darren Marble, an entrepreneur based in Los Angeles who used to travel to New York every other week. When the pandemic hit, he didn’t know how he’d do business. “Working at home was antagonistic to everything I’d learned over my career,” he said.

But in the Zoom era, everything worked out. In fact, Marble told me, 2020 was a “breakout year”; his firm, Crush Capital, recently raised more than $3 million from over 30 investors, all through Zoom. “Rapport is overrated,” Marble said.

That sounded glib, but several other former frequent fliers said something similar. Jack Duhamel, a software salesman who moved to a Connecticut fishing town during the lockdown, told me about a sale he’d made to a company based in Eastern Europe. The deal started cold; Duhamel had no prior relationship with the company. But over a series of more than a dozen Zoom meetings over four months, a big sale came together.

“In years past, we would have had to fly there and make a whole thing of it,” he said.

I’ve felt something similar with video calls. They’re obviously not as intimate as face-to-face meetings, but they’re not that much worse. And the virtual era has its own advantages. It’s faster, it’s cheaper and you’re not stuck in a middle seat for five hours.

Then there’s climate change, an inescapable cost of flying. Aviation accounts for just about 2.5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, but for complex reasons airplane emissions actually contribute more to warming the planet than their carbon output would suggest. Another problem is the per-use cost of flying; just one long round-trip flight can produce more carbon, per passenger, than the average person in many countries produces in a year. One round-trip trans-Atlantic flight is almost enough to wipe out the gains you might get from living car-free for a year, according to one estimate.

Suzanne Neufang, the C.E.O. of the Global Business Travel Association, said airlines are working on ways to make their flights carbon neutral. Her group predicts business travel will return to 2019 levels by 2025, but when it does, she says, it may have much less environmental impact. “It doesn’t have to necessarily come back in the same way,” she told me.

But I’m skeptical. It will likely be decades before the aviation industry becomes carbon neutral, if it ever does. In the meantime, we’ve found a perfectly reasonable alternative to meeting up in person. Log in, and fly less.

Your ‘weird’ upbringing

by Lemon Tree

A friend posted this article, and the discussion that followed was interesting about how diverse our upbringings are – both regionally and internationally, and did we continue on with our own children.

Is the Western way of raising kids weird?

The article mainly focuses on the Western world’s instances about co-sleeping and infant sleep habits. I’ll admit that baby did not sleep in our room, and our goal was to sleep through the night by month three. Why? Because DH only had a week off from work, and I was going back to work full time after 12 months. I was also terrified of SIDS and all the warnings of “never share a bed with baby”.

But let’s not make this all about sleeping. Is there anything that stands out as “weird” about your upbringing? Are there any unique parenting traits you inherited from your parents?

‘The Boredom Economy’

by Mémé

Investing as a way of coping with pandemic boredom has also fueled an amateur day-trading boom more broadly. New accounts at online brokers like E-Trade, Charles Schwab and Robinhood exploded.

Like all emotions, boredom provides us not just with information to act on; it also works through anticipation. With boredom, which is generally considered a bad feeling, we may be making certain decisions during the pandemic — about what we buy or do, for instance — in the hopes of staving it off.

Early in the pandemic, bread-making fervor prompted stores across the country to sell out of yeast. Puzzle sales have skyrocketed. Gardening has taken off as a hobby. Scotts Miracle-Gro sales increased more than 30 percent for the fiscal year that ended in September, to a record $4.13 billion. The newfound interest in lockdown gardening spurred the company to run its first Super Bowl commercial.

Home improvement, too, has boomed. According to the NPD Group, 81 percent of consumers in the United States purchased home improvement products in the six months than ended in November. Sherwin-Williams said it had record sales in the fourth quarter and for the year, in part because of strong performances in its do-it-yourself and residential repaint businesses. Pandemic boredom evidently has nothing on watching paint dry.

There has also been an increase in sales of things like video games to keep us occupied, as well as things to help relieve the stress of the pandemic (and, perhaps, boredom from being at home), including self-help books, candles and massaging appliances. Sales of loaf pans jumped nearly 60 percent last year.

Boredom may be driving people to more self-destructive behavior as well, though even that has economic implications. A study in September by American Addiction Centers, “Booze vs. Boredom,” reported that one-third of those surveyed said boredom during the pandemic had prompted them to drink more. Alcohol sales have soared.

Research has shown that mind-wandering, an activity that can happen during periods of boredom, can result in greater productivity. But during the pandemic, some of the best opportunities for mind-wandering, like the daily commute to work, have been lost for the millions of people now working from home.

Pandemic boredom, however, could be reorienting the economy.

Sandi Mann, a psychologist who has written a book called “The Science of Boredom,” said boredom could lead people and businesses to become more creative.

“That’s what downtime and boredom does,” she said. “It forces us to think differently because that’s what we do when we have time to think.”

People Don’t Quit Enough

by Denver Dad

University of Chicago economics professor and co-author of Freaknomics Steven Levitt is a big believer in quitting when the going gets rough. Sticking with things until the end is considered a big virtue, and people also fall for the sunk-cost fallacy. Levitt says people need to be much more open to quitting when the going gets rough:

“One of my great skills as an economist has been to recognize the need to fail quickly and the willingness to jettison a project as soon as I realize it’s likely to fail.”

“I try to talk my grad students into quitting all the time….Quitting grad school, yeah. A lot of people — you make choices without a lot of information and then you get new information. And quitting is often the right thing to do. I try to talk my kids into quitting soccer, baseball if they’re not good at it. I mean, I’ve never had any shame in quitting. I’ve quit economic theory, I quit macroeconomics. I’ve pretty much quit everything that I’m bad at.”

Totebaggers, where do you fall along the quitting/finishing spectrum?

The Upside of Quitting (and Why You Should Do It More Often)

The Upside of Quitting (Ep. 42 Rebroadcast): Full Transcript

Will University RAs go the way of the dinosaur?

by Flyover

From The Chronicle of Higher Education (may be behind paywall; complete article text at the bottom)

George Washington University recently announced that professional, live-in staff members will take on the first-responder role that RAs have filled in the past. Instead of the 140 RAs it had last year, George Washington will hire around 200 students for hourly, part-time work like mediating peer conflicts, manning front desks in residence halls, helping students move in and out, and communicating through emails and social media. The university hopes to serve as a model for other colleges looking to alleviate the pressures on RAs.

Since George Washington’s program overhaul has been largely kept under wraps until [the announcement], it’s unclear how those who were hoping to become RAs, with the accompanying room-and-board perks, will respond.

What’s your experience with Resident Assistants? There’s no doubt that the job they’ve been asked to do has grown in scope and complexity since we were in college. To the extent that they act as peer advisors, it’s probably better for them to not also be enforcers. But given how many students rely on the free room and board, this decision could have a big impact. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next year (or more), and if other schools move to a similar model.

Too Much for Students to Handle? Why One University Decided to Do Away With RAs
By Katherine Mangan

During his first semester as a resident adviser at George Washington University, Drew Amstutz comforted foreign students struggling with culture shock, reassured freshmen panicking over failing grades, wrote some students up for underage drinking, and found a referral for another who thought she’d been slipped a date-rape drug at a party.

Keeping students masked and six feet apart might have been added to his duties, had the university not paused its RA program this year.

An RA was expected to be “a jack-of-all-trades,” Amstutz said. “You had to be everything to everyone, from counselor to academic adviser” to social director and rules enforcer. “Absolutely no one can meet all of those demands and be excellent in all of them.”

Since Covid-19 broke out, the stresses of the RA job have hit a breaking point at campuses across the country. The role, which traditionally comes with free room and board, had already grown to include responding to crises, from sexual assault to mental breakdowns, at all hours of the day and night. Now, in a deadly pandemic, George Washington decided it was time to pull the plug.

The university announced on Thursday that professional, live-in staff members will take on the first-responder role that RAs have filled in the past. Instead of the 140 RAs it had last year, George Washington will hire around 200 students for hourly, part-time work like mediating peer conflicts, manning front desks in residence halls, helping students move in and out, and communicating through emails and social media. The university hopes to serve as a model for other colleges looking to alleviate the pressures on RAs.

“There’s a lot of stuff students are packing and bringing to college that I don’t think 18- to 19-year-olds are prepared to unpack,” said M.L. (Cissy) Petty, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “Covid was a wake-up call.”

Last fall, with only three of the campus’s 26 residence halls housing about 500 students, “we had time to think about what this role had turned into and what we wanted to change.” The university assigned a dozen paid staff members to the six dorms that had opened by spring, an approach that it will expand in the fall.

Petty said the decision to eliminate the all-encompassing role of an RA reflects “a philosophical shift to a more robust professional staffing model.”

Each dormitory will have at least one professional staff person living there to be the first point of contact for students. Because of their training, education, and experience, these staff members will be better suited, the university concluded, to handle parts of the job like safety compliance and behavioral intervention that many RAs found challenging and unfulfilling.

Charlotte McLoud-Whitaker, director of residential education, lives with her husband in a campus residence hall and is looking forward to having more professional staff joining her.
As the senior administrator on call in her building, she helped oversee some of the communication and planning during a tumultuous year upended by Covid-19 and racist attacks on the Capitol. When armed National Guard troops and military-style vehicles were stationed just outside the campus, in the heart of the Washington, D.C., her staff helped communicate with worried parents and students, letting them know where to get groceries and how to stay safe. The shift in residential-hall staffing, she said, “will allow the staff to build closer personal relationships with students” and make sure their needs are met.

Peter Galloway, president of the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International, said he’s not aware of any other campuses doing what George Washington is planning, but he’s heard of others that are looking at ways to take some of the responsibilities off resident advisers’ plates.

Galloway, who is also assistant dean of students at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, said more students are coming to campus with mental-health challenges, worries about sexual harassment or assault, and parents who call their RAs to check up on their well-being.
“The magnitude of issues they have to deal with has increased significantly,” Galloway said. “Depending on the institution, it could get to the point where it’s too much for a trained but still undergraduate student to handle.”

He said some campuses are delegating the enforcement part of the job to professional staff members who patrol the halls, checking for students who are violating drinking or other rules. When RAs are also expected to be enforcers, “it makes their position difficult because they’re trying to create community, but the next day, they could be documenting a student for some kind of inappropriate behavior,” Galloway said.

Since George Washington’s program overhaul has been largely kept under wraps until Thursday, it’s unclear how those who were hoping to become RAs, with the accompanying room-and-board perks, will respond. Over the past few years, some of the university’s RAs objected to a university decision to overhaul their responsibilities, requiring them to walk the halls to check for parties and misconduct.

The goal was to make it easier for RAs to check in with their students, but some complained that it strained those relationships. The demands of the job have caused relationships between RAs and the administration to be strained as well.

With cellphones and social media providing nonstop connectivity, the role of an RA has become a 24/7 job, said Stewart Robinette, an assistant student dean at George Washington who focuses on campus living and residential education. “It was getting to the point where it was pervading all aspects of students’ lives.”

As mandatory reporters in Title IX cases, RAs are required to report concerns about sexual abuse, putting them in uncomfortable positions when one of their residents wants to confide in them but isn’t ready to report. Campus safety became a troubling worry after the 2007 shooting deaths of 32 students and faculty members at Virginia Tech. And with Covid-19, on-duty RAs faced threats to their own health.

“The only good thing to come out of the pandemic is that it has put the world on pause and allowed us to re-evaluate the way we’re doing things,’ said Amstutz, the George Washington student and former RA.

Amstutz is looking forward to applying for a new role — possibly in program planning or social media — for this fall. He likes that he’d be able to clock in and out, focusing on what he’s most excited about. “I was good at events with residents and used to really enjoy Thursday-night dinners, pre-Covid of course, in my room. All of the paperwork and reporting I didn’t find as much fun.”

If he’s hired in a more targeted role, “I’ll be able to go all in on planning programs,” he said, “knowing that someone else will handle Title IX issues” and answer the middle-of-the-night calls.
Manvitha Kapireddy, a senior who serves as president of the university’s Residence Hall Association, said she understands that not everyone will immediately buy in to the changes.
“This is uncharted territory,” she said. “When you think of college, RAs are a staple of that experience. What’s going to happen to the sense of community when you remove them?”

But she believes that having 200 students involved in roles, including peer mediators, that are more carefully tailored to their interests and strengths should help alleviate that worry. It could also, she said, help avoid student burnout. “With an hourly student position, you can clock in and out with a predetermined set of hours. It’s a good way to prevent students from being overly burdened with issues that are above their pay grade.”

Katherine Mangan writes about community colleges, completion efforts, student success, and job training, as well as free speech and other topics in daily news. Follow her on Twitter @KatherineMangan, or email her at katherine.mangan@chronicle.com.

Unusual investments?

by Rhett

I have written before about my own fantasy for consumer securities regulation, which would solve all of these problems but which would probably face some political hurdles in getting enacted. It goes roughly like this:

1. Anyone can invest all they want in a diversified portfolio of approved investments (non-penny-stock public companies, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds with modest fees, insured bank accounts, etc.).

2. Anyone can also invest in any other dumb investment; you just have to go to the local office of the SEC and get a Certificate of Dumb Investment. (Anyone who sells dumb non-approved investments without requiring this certificate from buyers goes to prison.)

3. To get that certificate, you sign a form. The form is one page with a lot of white space. It says in very large letters: “I want to buy a dumb investment. I understand that the person selling it will almost certainly steal all my money, and that I would almost certainly be better off just buying index funds, but I want to do this dumb thing anyway. I agree that I will never, under any circumstances, complain to anyone when this investment inevitably goes wrong. I understand that violating this agreement is a felony.”

4.Then you take the form to an SEC employee, who slaps you hard across the face and says “really???” And if you reply “yes really” then she gives you the certificate.

5. Then you bring the certificate to the seller and you can buy whatever dumb thing he is selling.

6. If an article ever appears in the Wall Street Journal in which you (or your lawyer) are quoted saying that you were just a simple dentist, didn’t understand what you were buying and were swindled by the seller’s flashy sales pitch, then you go to prison.

With our past data it seems certain that many totebagers qualify as accredited investors. Do any of you invest in anything unusual? Do you have any investment tips or concerns?

Earning the Right to Get Swindled

Breakthrough technologies

by MooshiMooshi

MIT Technology Review’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2021! Fun for all!

The article is not behind a paywall – I could open it without a subscription

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2021

The synopsis
MessengerRNA vaccines (of course)
GPT-3 (new natural language processing model)
TikTok recommendation algorithm
lithium metal batteries
data trusts
green hydrogen
digital contact tracing (another pandemic technology)
hyper accurate positioning (I was not aware of this. Besides its advantages, it also has even scarier implications for data collected from our phones)
remote everything (yep,more pandemic tech)
multi-skilled AI

Are you guys familiar with any of these technologies? What do you think, hype or promise?

WTF, young fathers?

by Not Even a Little Bit Anonymous, Really

Through young relatives, I have become acquainted (from a distance) with some families with very young children. In all families, both parents work and are working remotely.

In all three of these acquaintance families, the young father does exactly jack with regard to childcare and housework. The moms of the infants and toddlers are losing their minds. One mom is going to move to her mother’s house in a different state for at least a month, and probably more, because her mother will help with the baby and the young mom can continue to work. In the second family, the young mom with a toddler and an infant is simply going quietly insane. There is some reason to be pretty concerned about her. The third family is just fighting nonstop. My young relatives seem to be doing much better but probably not perfectly in this regard; the mom is at least not officially working for pay.

So my question is: WTF, men? When I were a lass, decades ago, we were already telling men to step up and help. All these decades later, they still don’t. I don’t know if WTF? is an actual conversation topic, but it’s what I’m left with.


by Rhett

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, rumination is defined as “obsessive thinking about an idea, situation, or choice especially when it interferes with normal mental functioning.”

I have a problem with rumination. I didn’t think it was a big problem until I read that some people don’t ruminate. I would have been less surprised learning that some people don’t poop.

Does anyone else ruminate? Have you found anything that helps?

Your Morning Routine and its Impact on your Day

by Fred

A little guide:

7 Morning Habits That Can Affect Your Entire Day

I think she’s rather strong worded at the beginning “You line everything up for success, but one false move can cause it all to come tumbling down” and some things are definitely ‘duh’ for us (plan your day the night before) but maybe something fun to talk about. At least I might learn something from you all. What are your guilty of? Any “secrets” you want to share that might help others?

In order to set the right tone for the rest of your day, experts say you should adjust the following seven habits.
1. Hitting the Snooze Button. “Hitting snooze has a negative impact on your physical and emotional well-being”. Solution: get out of bed right away

2. Checking Your Phone. “Doing this first thing in the morning stimulates self-criticism and judgments in your mind”. Solution: charge your phone in another room.

3. Planning Your Day. “If you wake up and have no idea what’s on your schedule…your day is already off to a frantic start.” Solution: organize your day the night before.

4. Drinking Water. “what your body really needs is a glass of water.”

5. …and Coffee. “reach for the coffee pot after you’ve had your water.”

6. Skipping Breakfast. (bad for you)

7. Rising Early. A study found that early risers are happier and more successful. Both B. Franklin and the early bird were right.

Me? I’m sometimes guilty of #1, but not very often. Now that it’s getting light earlier, I find I’m pretty consistently waking before the alarm. #6: usually I’ll have a little, like 5 raspberries first thing, then (now that I’m wfh) a better breakfast a couple of hours later with more fruit, some instant oatmeal, more coffee.

How about you?

Tuesday open thread

We have an open thread today.

Topics coming up:

Wednesday — Your Morning Routine and its Impact on your Day
Thursday —  Rumination
Friday — Advice Column Friday
Sunday — Politics open thread
Monday — WTF, young fathers?