Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Qualities of a Good Instructor

Good instructors are more than just college educated individuals placed in front of a group of students and regurgitating facts and figures. A good instructor must captivate his audience and not only give them the information, but encourage them to learn, and ultimately get them excited about learning. A good instructor must have at least three main strengths in order to be effective: good speaking ability, knowledge of the subject, and an enthusiasm for the subject.

Good speaking ability is essential in order to keep the students interest (Smart, 2008). Oral communication is something that can come natural for some, but must be learned by others. Classes are available in oral communications which provide the basics in speech, but practice, and an awareness of how one comes across to an audience is essential. If the instructor can speak well and entertain the audience, the job is half way done.

Though it is not impossible, the ability to teach a subject that the instructor does not know well is less likely to be successful. Instructors that rely on the book to teach the class is far less effective than a knowledgeable instructor that can guide the students through the material and explain the subject matter. An instructor can never know too much about the subject they are teaching, and learning must be an ongoing process to keep on top of technology and changing subtopics within the subject they are teaching (McGraw). If an instructor isn’t on top of the latest data on a given subject, he cannot be effective.

Instructors must be enthusiastic about the subject they are teaching (McGraw). An instructor that doesn’t love their subject cannot be effective, and cannot pass their enthusiasm for the subject onto the students. Students can pick up the love or dislike of a subject from an instructor, and an effective teacher will be able to motivate the students with his own enthusiasm for the subject matter. By being excited about the topic they are teaching the instructor will go beyond the text books, raising the material above and beyond the level of curriculum that the course expects the instructor to teach. Enthusiastic instructors breed enthusiastic students, and enthusiastic students get better grades, and will try harder and go farther than those students bored to death by a subject.

Garbage in equals garbage out can be applied to many things, but the analogy is so true when it comes to instructors and students. No one can argue that a knowledgeable instructor in essential to teaching students, but as this paper has noted, it goes much farther than that. An instructor must also have good speaking qualities, and an enthusiasm for the subject as well. With all three, an instructor will be an effective teacher, and the students will be better learners.

McGraw, C. In Search of a Master Teacher: What qualities make a good teacher? Retrieved on May 8, 2008 from http://www.partnershipforlearning.org/

Smart, M. (Feb. 28th, 2008). Reflections on Teaching Quality. Retrieved on May 9, 2008 from http://www.toymn.org/reflections-on-teaching-quality.htm

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Michigan SEO Company

Natural search engine optimization (vs. pay per click) is an acquired art and internet marketing skill designed to ensure that website properties rank well when target keyword phrases are used in an internet keyword search query.

Michigan SEO Company SEOBrigade.com of Kingsley Michigan, is an search engine optimization firm offering proven Michigan SEO and internet marketing solutions that ensure client websites appears early and often on the keyword search results pages of; Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and more.

In the past, search engine optimization could often become as successful simply by adding meta tags to the source code of a website in the hope that when internet searchers searched the keywords, the website would list high in the search results.

Jaws still drop in company boardrooms and Internet marketing meetings when our Michigan SEO consultants demonstrate that meta keywords alone, rarely lead to premium keyword rankings on the major search engines, and in some cases, improper use of meta tags and meta keywords actually serve to restrict natural search engine placement.

In today's era of search engine marketing success, the meta keyword tags are ALMOST COMPLETELY IGNORED by the major search engine spiders. The meta keywords and related web page code although stillnecessary and 'banked' by the search engine spiders, rarely if ever lead to premium keyword 'rank' on today's major search engines.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

G.I. Joe in Pop Culture

G.I. Joe was invented in 1963 in a response to Mattel’s hottest toy, the Barbie Doll. Hasbro felt that young boys needed a “doll” of their own, but found that boys would not play with doll. Thus, the “Action Figure” was born.

G.I. Joe was essentially a 11 ½” tall military figure, and much of the product focused on the patriotism of WWII and the Vietnam War. Children could stage their own battles with Joe and were offered complete lines of accessories to equip their own army with the latest in military might. Everything from jeeps to highly classified secret weapons were available, as well as the coolest uniforms and guns.

By the 1970’s, G.I. Joe was no longer a military man. He was now a member of the Adventure Team due to rising dislike for the war in Vietnam. Joe was now and adventurer, seeking out giant squids, sharks, or space ships. He became an astronaut, deep sea diver, or sky diver. Still, Joe had all the latest gear at his disposal. All he needed was a hefty wallet, much like today’s military.

By 1982, sales of the 11 ½” action figure had slumped, so Hasbro released a new line of toys with the G.I. Joe branding. The new Joes were now 3 ¾” tall, but still had a wide range of accessories. Because of the smaller size, and lower cost, new equipment and vehicles could be purchased. Even a huge aircraft carrier could be purchased, though the high cost ensured it didn’t stay on the market very long.

Today the 3 ¾” figure is making a comeback, and collector’s editions of the 11 ½” figures are being sold as well, though targeted at the adult collector. G.I. Joe is a cultural icon, and has fans spanning many generations.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Car Culture

The memory of one’s first car is something that sticks with you forever. Those that were fortunate enough to own cars in the 1960’s and early 1970’s often long for the days when big engines and big horsepower ruled the day. Lay Lyman in the story The Red Convertible realized when he laid eyes on his first car, the car is more than an inanimate object. “There it was parked, large as life. Really, as if it was alive,” (Madden 237), wrote Louise Erdrich in 1984. Today the car culture faces an uncertain future in the wake of rising gas prices and tougher emission standards.

In 1951, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) was founded by Wally Parks to provide a governing body for the sport of drag racing. Up until this time the only place to race cars was on the streets. The NHRA began imposing rules and safety regulations to the sport, and the car culture got a stiff shot in the arm. Because of the advent of organized drag racing, the automobile industry witnessed the biggest jump in automotive innovations since the birth of the automobile over one half century earlier. Automobile motors became bigger and more powerful through a more efficient use of fuel. In the early years of drag racing, gas mileage was not an issue. Power and speed were the issue.

While the car culture was born with the birth of the automobile, and it began its boom in the early 1950’s, the car culture as we know it blossomed in the 1960’s. “Where were you in ’62,” was the tag-line from the trailer for one of the most famous car culture films in history, American Graffiti (Lucas). George Lucas saw the 1960’s as the era that touched the heart of the car crazy fanatics of the 1970’s when American Graffiti was released in theaters, as-well-as the time of his own youth (Filmsite). American Graffiti brought back the feelings that so many had begun to lose, such as the following: the love for cruising main street, drive-in diners, and young love. All of the sudden it was cool to have the shiny cars with the big motors. Unfortunately, almost as soon as American Graffiti hit the theaters, the gas crunch of the 1970’s began to take its toll on the car culture. Big motors were out of fashion, and big cars were left to the wealthy. Chrome bumpers were replaced with plastic bumpers that could withstand five miles per hour impacts. The economy car was taking center stage.

Fast cars with big motors, known as muscle cars, were becoming extinct. Emissions control standards were on the rise, and gas guzzling, pollution spewing cars of the day were under attack. The automotive industry was forced to produce more fuel efficient cars with better emissions in order to satisfy not only a more restrictive government, but a more demanding public as well. Gas prices were on the rise, gas rationing at hand, and people were tired of feeding fuel thirsty beasts of past years. Instead of eight huge cylinders sucking gas through two or more carburetors, the public was becoming happy with six or even four small cylinders and one small carburetor. Getting from point A to point B fast was no longer the object; getting there cheaply was the object.

As the 1970’s turned into the 1980’s, gas guzzling muscle cars from the 1960’s and 1970’s were being sold for next to nothing. Only a few cars held collector value: cars such as the Corvette, Camaro, and Mustang. The car culture faced an identity crisis during this time, and it appeared as though the car culture had died. There was, however, a side effect of all the emissions control that began to show itself in the 1980’s. By becoming more efficient, these motors showed potential to become more and more powerful and still remain within the standards set by the Government. Power, though still small by comparison to the monster motors of the 1960’s and early 1970’s, was beginning to grow. Before the end of the 1980’s, the muscle car would be reborn once again.

The Chevrolet Corvette had long been an icon of the American car culture since its inception in 1953. It improved and become the epitome of muscle cars through 1972, but as the energy crisis struck it began to become more and more anemic. Though the Corvette became more and more technologically advanced, its power remained a small fraction of what it was in its glory days. In 1989, however, Chevrolet made a bold move that pushed the envelope on technology and engineering. A new breed of Corvette was born. With an all new, four valves per cylinder motor engineered by Mercury Marine (A boat motor company of all things), the new ZR-1 Corvette was introduced and shook the automotive world. Pushing 380 horsepower, the LT5 motor of the ZR-1 Corvette produced more horsepower than any production car had seen in almost 20 years. Though it was designated the motor the LT5, Chevrolet chief engineer Don Runkle called it “the King of the Hill” (Liffingwell & Benford 165). Introduced in Geneva, Switzerland in March, 1989, the ZR-1 was greeted with open arms. Within the next few years Chevrolet managed to squeeze even more power out of the LT5 motor. A new muscle car was born, and enthusiasm for automobiles was on the rise. The car culture was making a comeback.

In 1992, in response to the Corvette ZR1, Dodge introduced the Viper. The Dodge Viper was a 10-cylinder 488 cubic inch motor (compared to the 350 cubic inch Corvette motor), and the fuse had been set for the next explosion in the car culture wars. Suddenly, cars with big motors could still get respectable gas mileage considering the power they produced. High output cars of this nature didn’t come cheap, but the technology they were spawned from began to filter down to the smaller cars being produced. Soon small cars with small motors were producing horsepower numbers that matched the monster motor cars of the past. People could once again be enthused about the cars they were driving, and they became much more than basic transportation.
As the 1990’s slipped gracefully into the new millennium, the youth that might have been overlooked by the car companies selling the high dollar, monster motor supercars, started a trend toward cars that until then had been largely overlooked. The cars that were considered economy cars, once used primarily as point A to point B transportation, became the basis for the car culture of the new generation. Called Tuners, the economy cars have been customized, personalized, and souped up in ways that few expected possible. Small four cylinder compact cars now displayed chrome, custom paint, turbo chargers, leather, and sound systems that cost as much as a new car. This was the trend of the modern car culture, and in the face of the new energy crisis of the first decade of the new century, it appears that this may be what all but the very wealthy have to look forward to.

While we fight to hold on to the past, we still must face reality. The beloved Corvette is facing its own mortality in the face of the ever tightening emissions standards coming in 2009. The big motors may be gone forever, and with the push to use more environment friendly fuels, the gasoline motor might just disappear for good. “The automobile retains its firm hold over our psyche because it continues to represent a metaphor for what Americans have always prized: the seductive ideal of private freedom, personal mobility, and empowered spontaneity” (Commondreams.org). But we may just have to change what we stand for. We may have to rewrite the definition of car culture. It may one day not evoke the memory of the smell of gasoline; it might just bring about memories of vegetable oil, or even water.

Works Cited

Erdrich, Louise .”The Red Convertible.” Exploring Literature 3rd Edition. Ed. Frank Madden. Pearson Longman, 2007. 236-242

Leffingwell, Randy and Tom Benford. “Corvette 50 Years.” St. paul:Motorsbooks International, 2003

“American Graffiti.” Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard. Universal Pictures, 1973

Filmsite. “American Graffiti (1973).” 1996-2008. http://www.filmsite.org/amerg.html (Accessed March 01, 2008)

Commondreams.org Newscenter. “Well, America: Is The Car Culture Working?” July 9, 2000. http://www.commondreams.org/views/070900-104.htm (Accessed March 2, 2008)

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. “Car Culture.” January 18, 2008. http://www.smoca.org/exhibit.php?id=70 (Accessed March 3, 2008)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Methanol Mess

In today’s world of high gas and food prices, consumers and government alike are searching for ways to reduce the cost of everyday survival. With the cost of oil going up daily, alternative fuels seem to be a good idea, at least on paper. However, with the use of Methanol as an alternative to oil, there comes an added side effect. Food prices are on the rise, not only because of the cost of oil used to deliver the foods, but because of the rising cost of corn that is used as feed for livestock now being diverted to methanol production.

“Methanol was first discovered in 1823 by condensing gases from burning wood. Methanol has been used for more than 100 years as a solvent and as a chemical building block to make products such as plastics, plywood, and paint. It is also used directly in windshield-washer fluid and gas-line antifreeze, and as model airplane fuel” (XRT, n.d.). Methanol (CH3OH) is also called carbinol, wood alcohol, wood spirits, methylhydroxide, or monohydroxymethane among other names. Methanol is a colorless, flammable liquid with a mild alcoholic odor when pure. By itself, methanol has little effect on our water supply should a spill happen, and it has less harmful effects to humans when contact is made than petroleum based fuels (Fishbein, 1997).

Currently about one quarter of the United States corn production is being diverted to methanol production (Mufson, 2008). This corn now used for methanol was once inexpensive feed for cattle and poultry. With less availability of feed for livestock, the price goes up. When the price of feed goes up the price of meat goes up. It is a vicious circle that has no end. We may save a few pennies at the gas pumps by using methanol, but we end up paying more and more elsewhere.

Feed prices are getting so high that some producers are even closing down. Pilgrim’s Pride has closed its Silver City, NC plant putting 1100 people out of work (Smith, 2008). Pilgrim’s Pride is the country’s largest chicken producer. Not only does the cost of feed reflect in the price of chicken, but with the loss of Pilgrim’s Pride the supply of chicken will go down, ultimately causing the price of chicken to go up. “Diverting corn from livestock feed to ethanol production has also already been blamed for rising food prices in the U.S. and Mexico. And then there's the question of environmental pollution from increased fertilizer and pesticide use as farmers try to improve corn yields” (Kemsley, 2007).

The United States Government has a policy in place which offers generous subsidies to corn producers for the production of ethanol and methanol (Smith, 2008). It is understandable that farmers who once produced grain or soy for feed and food products are now switching to corn (Peterson, 2007). Thus, because of lowered supply of grain, prices again go up. The CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride stated “Based on current commodity futures prices the company’s total costs for corn and soybean meal in fiscal 2008 would be more than $1.3 billion higher than two years ago” (Smith, 2008).

The media is slowly catching on to the problem, as Chris Jansing stated on the NBC Nightly News : "Farmers are replacing wheat fields with corn to meet the demand for alternative fuel, but that means higher flour prices - and in one Pennsylvania pizza shop, more expensive pies” (Poor, 2008). Still we see media promoting methanol and ethanol as a way to save money and oil. “Methanol is promoted as a cleaner burning fuel. The “Think Green” campaigns push the corn based fuel as a more environmentally friendly alternative to petrolium based fuels.

Unfortunately, this is not true. Although ethanol was once promoted as a way to slow climate change, a study published in Science magazine Feb. 29 concluded that greenhouse-gas emissions from corn and even cellulosic ethanol “exceed or match those from fossil fuels and therefore produce no greenhouse benefits.” By encouraging an expansion of acreage, the study added, the use of U.S. cropland for ethanol could make climate conditions dramatically worse. And the runoff from increased use of fertilizers on expanded acreage would compound damage to waterways all the way to the Gulf of Mexico” (Rebmann, 2008). It is obvious that the use of methanol and ethanol has a wider impact than just the fuel we use to fill our tanks.

Methanol, called M85 at the gas pumps, is less efficient to use as a fuel in our vehicles as well. A tank of standard gasoline will take us about 70% farther than a tank of methanol(“Methanol (M85)”, 2000). Motors need to be modified to accept M85, and special oil additives must be used to protect the motors from the more corrosive, less lubricating methanol. No matter how one looks at it, the use of methanol is more expensive.

President Bush stated in his State of the Union Address that he had a plan to implement a ten year program to decrease our use of oil by 20%. To meet this goal we must increase our supply of alternative fuels to nearly five times the current target. Though other sources could be used to produce methanol, only corn distilleries are ready to take on the demand and meet the President’s goal within his timeframe (Peterson, 2007). Other sources such as switchgrass and hemp could free up the corn and allow prices to drop.

As of yet, methanol has other disadvantages. There is no nationwide network in place to distribute M85, and it is available at only a small percentage of gas pumps nationwide (“Methanol (M85)”, 2000). With so little opportunity to use M85, and so many vehicles being manufactured to use M85, it hardly seems worthwhile to deal with the rising food prices related to the manufacture of methanol. Additionally, the United States is one of the few countries that is capable of producing enough surplus corn and other fuel products that could be converted into methanol. Countries like China require that all of it’s crops be used as food, and nothing is left over for methanol production (Kemsley, 2007).

Another concern for the use of methanol is that when it is burned it gives off more formaldehyde than standard gasoline emissions. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen it is only because the levels are low in our atmosphere right now that this doesn’t seem to be a concern. As smog levels rise, and more and more formaldehyde is released into the atmosphere, the use of methanol will become more and more dangerous (Meadows, n.d.)

It is conceivable that we need not use corn itself for methanol. It may not be necessary to grow special crops for methanol. What could be possible would be to use the waste products from the corn, wheat and barley that we already produce; corn stalks, roots and straw. By using these products, the corn could be used for what it is intended, and the waste products from these plants will now be an additional income for our farmers.

Other technologies need to be explored in order to turn the economy around. Wind power is an endless source of energy, as is solar energy. To power automobiles the use of hydrogen through a process called electrolysis could be one solution. Electrolysis converts water to hydrogen right in the car by separating the hydrogen and oxygen in water by passing an electrical current through the water. Though many hobbyists are converting their cars to water power, or using hydrogen to supplement their gas powered vehicles, the EPA seems unwilling to allow the car companies to use the technology in production automobiles. Though they have allowed the use of hydrogen fuel cells in cars, fuel cell technology is not as environmentally friendly as using electrolysis to create hydrogen within the automobile. Though emissions from a fuel cell automobile might be clean, the production of the fuel cells creates CO2 at the factory, which is a byproduct of standard automobiles anyway. Electrolysis production of hydrogen within the automobile produces only one safe emission: water. The cost of converting a standard gasoline powered automobile into an hydrogen powered automobile can be as inexpensive as $150, and can be done with basic tools.

Something needs to be done. The United States is slipping into a depression that might be hard to recover from. Rising fuel prices lead to higher food prices. The oil companies do not seem to want to take responsibility for the rising cost of living, nor do they claim responsibility for the price of petroleum products being so high. Though they post record profits every quarter it is their contention that the high prices are due to supply and demand, and not the greed of the corporations. Methanol production leads to higher feed prices, which leads to higher food prices. It seems to be a lose – lose situation. The solution must lie in the cost of oil. With so many oil barons in the White House, it seems unlikely that any time soon we will see Government regulation of oil prices here in the United States. Regulation, however, is what needs to be done in order to get people moving again. Food would not cost as much to deliver, and farmers would produce food for what it was intended for: human consumption if the gas prices were held at a lower level. These are dark days, and will only get darker unless someone in power wakes up and sees the writing on the wall. Decision makers must be able to see the whole picture. They must be able to see the consequences of any decision they make, and any policy they put into place. Without this insight we are just robbing Peter to pay Paul, and nothing is solved. We must explore all solutions before acting on one alone. Methanol does not seem to be the solution we all need.


Fishbein, Dr. L. (1997), Environmental Health Criteria 196: Methanol. Retrieved on 27 May, 2008 from http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc196.htm

Kemsley, J. (3 December, 2007). Methanol’s Allure. Retrieved on May 26, 2008 from http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/85/8549sci1.html

Meadows, D. (n.d.). Methanol is Not What It Takes to Clean The Air. Retreaved on May 27, 2008 from http://www.sustainer.org/dhm_archive/index.php?display_article= vn239moomawed

Methanol (M85), (n.a.). Retrieved on May 15, 2008 from http://www.altfuels.org/backgrnd/altftype/m85.html

Mufson, S. (30 April, 2008). Siphoning Off Corn to Fuel Our Cars. Washington Post. Retrieved on May 15, 2008 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/29/AR2008042903092.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Peterson, I. (2 February, 2007). Ethanol Juggernaut Diverts Corn From Food to Fuel. Retrieved on May 16, 2008 from http://blog.sciencenews.org/food/2007/02/ethanol_juggernaut_diverts_cor_1.html

Poor, J. (28 February, 2008). Media Finally Getting It: Ethanol Mandates a Dumb Idea. Retrieved on May 17, 2008 from http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jeff-poor/2008/02/28/media-finally-getting-it-ethanol-mandates-dumb-idea

Rebmann, M. (30 April, 2008). More on the Folly of Ethanol. Retrieved on May 17, 2008 from http://blog.freeny.org/?cat=18

Smith, F. (13 March, 2008). Ethanol’s Fallout – It Ain’t Just Chicken Feed. Retrieved on May 16, 2008 from http://www.openmarket.org/2008/03/13/ethanols-fallout-it-aint-just-chicken-feed/

XTR. Methanol, a Potentially Renewable Energy Source. (n.d.). (n.a.). Retrieved on May 27, 2008 from http://www.extraordinaryroadtrip.org/research-library/technology/methanol/history.asp

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Return of the Dot-Com Bubble
The Dot-Com Bubble, referring to the rapid rise of tech stocks and their inevitable rapid fall, made a lot of people very wealthy, and many more very poor. The rise began around the year 1995 when the Internet was beginning to take off, and the crash occurred in 2000. Many people speculated that the dot-com era has passed, but a new trend in the dot-com speculation market had begun making people thing that a new bubble is on the horizon. We must learn lessens from the past to save us from making the same mistakes twice.

eBay is probably one of the most famous dot-coms in the world. eBay was founded in 1995 as a marketplace for goods and services (Gomes-Casseres, 2001). It didn’t take long before eBay became the premier online auction house on the Internet. Though there have been many online auctions houses since, none have come close to what eBay has become. When eBay opened on the stock market in 1998 it had a share price of less than $5 per share. When the bubble burst just prior to the year 2000 the share price for eBay had risen to over $30 per share before dropping down to about $10 per share. This bursting of the bubble is very much the same thing that happened to hundreds of other dot-comes during this period. Unlike eBay, many dot-coms did not survive beyond the year 2000.

Though it was believed that the dot-com era in stocks was over, experts now agree that there is a new era in the making for dot-coms. For example, eBay stock has now risen again to over $30 per share after peaking at $65 in the year 2004. Likewise, other Internet stocks are also on the rise. Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation recently purchased MySpace.com for $580 million causing stocks to rise (Schifferes, 2006). Speculation is now focused on YaHoo.com and Google as Microsoft is making a bid to buy YaHoo.com, while Google.com is working with YaHoo.com to prevent the takeover. No matter what happens, stock prices of any of these three companies are almost certain to go up for a while.

All things seem to work in cycles, and the stock market is no different. If the past is any indication of things to come then the stock market, particularly Internet based stocks, are certain to follow the trends of the past. Bubbles tend to burst, and when Internet stocks fall, they fall big. It is important that we are aware of this when we spend our hard earned money on something that almost doesn’t even exist, like the Internet.

Gomes-Casseres, Ben. (2001, Spring). The History of eBay. Retrieved on April 15, 2008 from http://www.cs.brandeis.edu/~magnus/ief248a/eBay/history.html

Schifferes, Steve. (2006, Oct. 10). Has the dotcom boom returned? Retrieved on April 15, 2008 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6036337.stm

Search Placement http://www.peakpositions.com/search-engine-placement-why-website-not-found-on-search-engines.html

Understanding Narcissism - Handbasket, In a Nutshell

Narcissus, son of the river nymph Liriope and the river god Cephisus, sits by the river looking at a reflection in the water. Not knowing it is his reflection, he falls in love with the image. So enthralled by the man in the water, he decides that nothing can compete with the one he loves. Those that loved him could not touch him. (Melville, 1986, pp. 61-66). When he finally realized that the image he coveted was that of himself, he realized that it was he that he was in love with. (Melville, 1986, pp. 64-65). This early myth by Ovid sets the basis for what we call narcissism. Unfortunately, those that deal with narcissists do not find the experience as romantic as the ancient myth portrays it. Narcissism is a personality disorder with many easily recognizable symptoms that is not only difficult to live with, but is also very difficult, if not impossible to treat.
There are varying degrees of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). In the early 1900’s it was classified as a neurosis, schizophrenia, and psychosis. It was also connected with paranoia and suicide (Ronningstam, 2005, p.11). It was not until the around the 1960’s that narcissism started taking on a classification all its own, and real work began on the disorder by itself.

Bursten’s Typology from 1973 (Ronningstam, 2005, p.14) lists the various types of narcissistic personalities. They are as follows:

1) The Craving Type – This type is dependant and passive aggressive. The craving type is also without capacity to depend or rely on anyone else. They are demandingly clingy, and prone to disappointment.

2) The Paranoid Type – This type is hypersensitive, very rigid, suspicious of others, and very jealous. They are argumentative, blame others and ascribe evil motives to them. Their anger ranges from skepticism to jealous rage.

3) The Manipulative Type – These narcissists are deceptive, feel contempt, and are exhilarated at the success of their deceptions. They are clever and tricky, competitive, and focused on proving their superiority.

4) The Phallic Narcissist – This type struggles with the shame of being weak, and compensates with competitiveness, pseudo-masculinity, aggressive and arrogant attitudes, and self glorification.

Though there are numerous symptoms of narcissists, and not all narcissists share all of them, and though many people share some traits with narcissists, not all people have NPD. Those that live or work with narcissists find that their lives can become miserable. Some lives go to Hell in a handbasket.

The narcissist is often self centered. “It’s all about me” is the attitude most take on, and though they may speak of community, charity, and brotherhood, this is often a cover to advance them in the eyes of their peers, or in society. The narcissist’s primary motivation is self advancement, and always self-serving (Narcissism, n.d.).

Often, fantasies of brilliance fill the mind of the narcissist. They see themselves in positions of power and false ideas about their own success. Narcissists often see themselves as being good at things they are not, or try to convince others that they are but hide their true talents. In addition, the narcissists have a constant need for approval and admiration. They feel entitled to special treatment, and rules do not apply to them. They will lie, often when it is easier to tell the truth. Admitting they have problems is out of the question (Fay, 2004, pp.29-30).

The narcissist can switch from being Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde at the drop of a hat. They can demand immediate compliance with their demands, and they often have rages of anger, tantrums, and fits when things don’t go their way. In a failed relationship, the narcissist may resort to stalking or harassment. They cannot accept that a failed relationship is in any way their fault. If it is not the fault of the one they had the relationship with, then it is the fault of everyone else he or she had contact with (Fay, 2004, pp.29-30).

The narcissist will deny he or she has any issues and sees him or herself as perfect. Nothing that anyone does for him is good enough. In addition, the narcissist must have the biggest house, best car, largest boat, etc. The narcissist will have delusions of grandeur, and will always strive to be thought of as the best, own the best, or will get the best. If the narcissist does not possess these things, it is often important for them that others believe that he does (Fay, 2004, pp.29-30).

Sex for the narcissist is another issue that warrants exploring. Sex is a form of power, and is often used as a set-up for ongoing pain, manipulation, sadness and confusion. The narcissist uses sex as a way of dictating behavior, and because the narcissist does not know how to love, it is merely a tool to use to promote his own power within the household. Often the narcissist prefers unusual sex practices such as pedophilia. Though the narcissist may come off as passionate or understanding, this is always an act. Narcissists do not know how to love, and any similarities to love are only a means to promote the agenda of the narcissist. If the narcissist is homosexual, this fact will always be hidden in order to continue the appearance of perfection in his peers (Fay, 2004, pp.29-30).

In the workplace, the narcissist can be a major problem, especially in positions of authority. Those with NPD often blame others for their mistakes or poor performance. It is never their fault that production schedules are not met, or machinery breaks down. They will criticize or publicly belittle others as a way to make themselves look better. They find fault where they can, and are very picky. This is a tactic to ensure others fail and thus make the narcissist look superior. They discourage initiative because their way is the only way. They brag about their achievements, and often lie about what they have accomplished. They refuse to admit mistakes, and often take credit for the work or ideas of others. They expect favors and admiration from their subordinates, and make demeaning statements about others, all to promote themselves (Brown, 2002, p.4).

First impressions of narcissists are almost always good. They come across as the nicest, most courteous and understanding individuals. They are always there for a friend, or a damsel in distress. They are there for the community when it puts them in a high profile position. The narcissist is always there to lend a shoulder to cry on, or lend a willing ear, but this is only an act. Relationships start out well, and the narcissist continues the act until his or her specific goals are met, such as commitment to a relationship, or a particular position within a company is reached. This is when the transformation takes place, and it happens very quickly. The symptoms above come to the surface. Relationships, whether at home or in the workplace, turn abusive, and sometimes dangerous.

Unfortunately, there are no reliable treatments for NPD. The narcissist refuses to admit that there is anything wrong with them, and it is always someone or something else that caused the problems. Without the narcissists seeing fault within themselves there is little that can be done in the form of therapy (On Narcissism, n.d.). Many narcissists end up living alone most of the time, bent on revenge to those that wronged them. Often those with NPD end up in institutions such as prison because even something as concrete as laws do not apply to them. Those in committed relationships with narcissists find their lives to be a living Hell, and escaping the relationship is very difficult. The narcissist will often change back to the wonderful being they once were long enough to patch things up, only to return to their true self once things settle back down.
So where does the narcissist come from? From the book Why Is It Always About You, Sandy Hotchkiss wrote, “How well children manage shame is what ultimately determine who becomes a narcissist. It all begins with the task of forming a healthy sense of self as distinct from one’s caregivers, what psychologists call the process of separation-individualism”(2003). So it seems that it may be possible to raise our children to be narcissists, or not.

Narcissism is very common, and though some narcissists are worse than others, the traits of narcissists almost always hurt others. Dealing with them is difficult, and when the narcissist is one half of a relationship, it can be disastrous. There isn’t a cure for narcissism, and it seems that the only recourse in coping with a narcissist is to distance one’s self from them. Without a willingness to admit fault or need, the narcissist is unlikely to seek help, as well as unwilling to utilize help should one be forced into therapy. Narcissists will float from one friend or relationship to the next, burning bridges along the way. When they use up their welcome at one place or with one relationship, they will move on to the next without guilt. There is no graceful parting of ways with the narcissist. Once the relationship goes sour, then it is always the other’s fault, and it is always a bad situation. There is no middle ground. Dealing with a narcissist is always bad news. Narcissism is a handbasket (in a nutshell).

Brown, N. (2002). Working with the Self-Absorbed. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Fay, M. J.. (2004). When Your “Perfect Partner” Goes Perfectly Wrong. Parker: Out Of The Boxx, Inc.

Hotchkiss, S. (2003). Why is it Always About You? New York: Free Press
Melville, A.D. (Trans.). (1986). Ovids Metamorphoses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

On Narcissism. Retrieved on April 20, 2008 from http://www.friedgreentomatoes.org/articles/narcissism.php
Ronningstam, E.F.. (2005). Identifying and Understanding the Narcissistic Personality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Understanding Childhood Sexual Abuse

A young girl cries in her room and begins scratching her arm or leg until it bleeds. She calls herself Emo, short for emotive or emotional. She may try alcohol or drugs at a young age. She may even go further and try to kill herself. Yet, in all this turmoil, she fails to tell anyone what the problem may be. Talking about the problem may seem unimaginable, or impossible. Even her closest friends know nothing of what might be going on, other than the girl is a bit odd. Though the possible causes for such behavior could be any number of things, these symptoms often point to childhood sexual abuse, and recognizing them early is critical.

On the average, one in five girls has experienced some form of childhood sexual abuse, including rape (Levenkron & Levenkron, 2007, p. 11). Often the offender is a family member, whether it be a father, brother, or step-father or step-brother. Teachers, mentors, trusted members of the community can all be suspect. It is because of this that getting victims to open up is difficult.

In the 1800’s, childhood sexual abusers were rarely convicted due to the mistaken belief that young girls could not be raped. It was also not believed that any woman could be raped if they didn’t allow it. In a book published in the 1890’s entitled Medical Jurisprudence, Forensic Medicine, and Toxicology, it was written that “a fully matured woman, in full possession of her faculties, cannot be raped, contrary to her desire, by a single man” (Bourke, 2007, p. 25). Victims had no where to turn, no one to believe them, and no one to defend them if they spoke up. Lawyers wouldn’t take the case because rape cases could rarely be won. Women were suspected of lying about such abuse, and in a male dominated society they had no chance at justice.

Today we have learned that women have in fact been victimized. Sadly, it has not been limited to the mature adult women of our society. Young girls, even toddlers and babies are not safe from predators. We are, however, able to recognize the symptoms of abuse, and if acted on quickly enough, we can minimize the damage done in an effort to allow these poor souls to lead productive and happy lives.

The symptoms of childhood sexual abuse can be broken down into several major categories. They are self mutilation, aggressively seductive or fearful of others, feeling guilt over sexual arousal, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, early alcohol or drug addictions, sleeplessness, recurring nightmares, and mood or anxiety disorders.

Self mutilation can take many forms. The most common is cutting. Cutting takes on two forms. The most common is what is referred to as delicate cutters, where the abused takes to scratching oneself with a sharp, or sharpened object to draw a small amount of blood. The victim sees this as a pain that they can control. Often they make several scratches on the first layer of their skin, and though scaring is possible, these usually heal without a trace of the act. Gross cutters use sharp objects such as knives or razor blades to cut deeper into the skin which may lead to scarring. Often this action is mistaken for acts of committing suicide. As with delicate cutters, the abused looks upon this act as a pain that they can control.

Abuse victims often become either overly seductive, or fearful of others. This is often reflected in their dress by either dressing overly seductively, or dressing down to hide their features.

Often, as the abused reaches maturity, they feel a sense of guilt over feelings of sexual arousal. They associate the normal, pleasurable feelings they experience with the feelings they may have had when they were being abused. This can cause sexual dysfunction, displeasure, and feelings of guilt.

Eating disorders are very common among sexually abused children. The symptoms range from anorexia; abstaining from eating, bulimia; eating and then regurgitating, and compulsive overeating.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is very common among the sexually abused.
Alcoholism and drug addiction at an early age is another symptom of the sexually abused child. The child looks at this as a means of escape in much the same way as someone would use these vices to escape any other problem in life. The sexually abused child might display signs of addiction sooner than the average adolescent.

It is not uncommon for the sexually abused child to show signs of sleeplessness. They often stay up later watching television, writing poetry or in a journal, or just lying awake. Though often tired, sleep does not come. When sleep does come, it may often be accompanied by nightmares.
Many sexually abused children face mood or anxiety disorders brought on by low self esteem, guilt, and shame.

The treatment of the sexually abused child is not cut and dried. It is important to break through the victim’s protective shell. We must find a way into their guarded world in order to break down the walls that they have set up to protect themselves. We must find the way to relieve them of their psychosis, mood disorders, and anxiety.

Statistically, as the victims of sexual child abuse face a tough road. Often as they grow into adulthood they find themselves in failed relationships. The often become alcoholics or drug abusers. Some turn to lesbianism to combat the feelings of fear and resentment towards the male gender. If caught early enough the abused will have a better than average chance at leading a normal life. Childhood sexual abuse, though not preventable, is detectable, identifiable, and with the proper amount of care and caring, survivable.

Levenkron, S. & Levenkron, A. (2007). Stolen Tomorrows: Understanding and Treating Women’s Childhood Sexual Abuse. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Bourke, J. (2007). Rape: Sex Violence History. Great Britain: Virago Press

Watkins, C. (Ed). (2007). At Issue: Date Rape. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press

Welcome to my Blog

My name is Ken McClellan. I love to write and have recently discovered the joy of blogging. I ride motorcycles of all types, but I really love the small Harley Davidsons. I love shooting my guns. I will be writing more as I figure this thing out so stay tuned!