Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ode to Holden Caulfield: It's Been a Nice Life, Mr. Salinger

In 1951, Harry Truman was President of the United States. In a way, he was a kind of rebel; no college education but leader of the USA. That same year, J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye was published. The book was one of the first examples of a work that clearly supported the idea of the following decade, "don't trust anyone over 30."

J.D. Salinger died January 27, 2010. His most famous work, Catcher in the Rye, continues to showcase the beginning divide between teenagers and adults in American culture. This kind of rebellious youth character became a standard character in Hollywood, especially with actors like James Dean. Interestingly, Salinger pretty much hated the film industry. Salinger was actually something of a recluse.

Salinger may have kept to himself, and his book may be something you only vaguely remember from a middle school or high school English class. Catcher in the Rye, however, is an important piece of American culture, especially for America's youth. The baby boomers can tip their hats (the ones they never thought they'd wear until years later they became the Establishment) to Mr. Salinger for spurring the wave of youth rebellion that would later populate much of the 1960s. His work, though, extends to every generation of American adolescents. With Holden Caulfield, Salinger captured a mindset of American youth that pervades regardless of the decade. More importantly, Caulfield is an example of youthful rebellion. Caulfield reminds us that it's okay to rebel and be young.

James Dean was the rebel without a cause. Holden Caulfield was the kid that let every other kid know he, too, could rebel. In case you didn't pick up on the title, it's the same as a Boy Meets World episode that focuses on the favorite teenage rebel of '90s TV, Shawn Hunter. Caulfield surely got around or at least his influence did. Thanks Mr. Salinger for capturing the rebellious nature of teenagers. It's helping us all grow up and learn to meet the world as boys and girls.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What's in Your Wallet? : Today on Wall Street and Capitol Hill

The market was just barely up today with the Dow closing up 41.87 points. This gain was achieved in part due tothe introduction of Apple's latest and greatest product, the iPad tablet. As a result, tech stocks went up, but they weren't the biggest leaders. Sorry Geek Squad, better luck next time. Financials were the leaders. Here's looking at you Mr. Banker; wanna play some monopoly?The financials managed this feat because the Fed's statement left interest low and made a slightly better attempt at explaining economic recovery. And by the way, this day's gain was pretty much settled in the last hour of training. I looked at the market earlier in the day, and at that moment, I felt like I had found where Janis Joplin got her inspiration to ask the Lord for a Mercedes-Benz.

The market wasn't the only place hopping today, though. Capitol Hill was a true party with Secretary Geithner serving as the poor little donkey without a tail. The AIG bailout hearing left congressmen in the House trying very hard to pin the tail on Treasury Secretary. Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-Massachusetts) went so far as to scream at Geithner, "you had every opportunity to weigh in on behalf of the American people!" He was also accused of giving "lame excuses" by Rep. John Mica (R-Florida). Geithner simply responded to Rep. Mica, "you don't know me very well." Apparently, he didn't want to play pin the tail on the donkey any longer.

Here's looking to Obama's State of the Union address. What's in your wallet, Mr. President? And by the way, Mr. President, could you at least tell me what might be in my wallet?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Frosted Flakes are great, but how do you feel about Tiger?

When the news broke out about Tiger Woods and his many lovers, his wife threw a justified fit. Not only was he having an affair, he was having multiple affairs. Santa has his ho, ho, ho's, too, but at least he knows to stop at 3.

Tiger checked himself into rehab, claiming he is a sex addict. His wife, Elin Nordegren, went to visit him at the rehab facility Mississippi. She wants to stay married for the sake of their children. She's even okay with just living together as friends if they can't be lovers again. I understand she's doing this for the children, but it also sounds a little desperate. She may have been furious at Tiger, but she can't live without him.

With the marriage back together, Tiger would look more like a family man and could maybe finish those endorsements and get back to golfing. Even if Elin can't live without him, it looks like the advertisements can. Tiger has been removed from the various advertisements, and there seems to be little trouble.

It's a tough call. If I were Tiger, then I wouldn't immediately look at getting back together as a sure fire way to get my game back. Tiger needs to be careful how he plays his cards. If they get back together, then great, but before he jumps back onto the green, maybe he should consider running his own putt-putt for awhile. If all else fails with Elin, then he could hit on the mothers taking their kids around the course.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's Up Doc? : Mental Health in Haiti

What happened to Haiti was a disaster and is still a disaster. Many medical volunteers have been dispatched to help the Haitians recover physically, but the American Red Cross has now sent mental health specialists as well. These specialists, while primarily there to helps the Haitians cope with the trauma, are also there to help the other volunteers.

Being on an emergency relief team can be a significantly emotionally draining experience. The volunteers can experience what's called vicarious trauma. Volunteers can develop sleep disorders, anxiety, and social withdrawal. Oh, and they can also begin to suffer from that little thing plaguing more people than anyone likes to admit, substance abuse. A hallmark, though, of this vicarious trauma is something like disrupted spirituality-a term that doesn't quite sound like something you'd read about in your psychology textbook. The term is pretty self-explanatory, though, if you take away any religious connotation. It's simply a loss of meaning or hope.

The mental health specialists will be encouraging the volunteers to take breaks every so often, instead of just working non-stop off the adrenaline rush of being in such a tragic atmosphere. It's important that these folks take breaks and rest. Sure, the Haitians need their care and support, but for that support to be strong, the volunteers have to rest.

It's interesting that we're hearing about this vicarious trauma with Haiti. I'm sure it existed with Katrina and 9/11 among other events. No one said a word. But it seems definitively clear now that the best policy for relief is to give the doctor an apple a day, so he'll be able to stay.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Waiting on His Women to Change: John Mayer

Rolling Stone magazine recently interviewed musician and entertainer, John Mayer. The guitar-playing and sweet singing man has some complaints about his relationships. He feels he gets stuck with the same women time and time again. Sounds really terrible, right? Mayer wants an intellectual partner and a real-life partner, too. He is tired of hearing "but you're John Mayer! YOUR body is a wonderland!"

It's hard to say if Mayer is really done with celebrity relationships. It seems a little unlikely that the young lady depositing her teacher's salary at the local bank will catch his eye and explore the great indoors with him for the long haul. But, nothing is impossible. I won't say that there is no such thing as spontaneous attraction and subsequent affection.

And on the topic of men, Mayer says he's never had a homosexual relationship, but he can see why some guys do. Give him a few more years and he might just get together with Clay Aiken or maybe a Broadway actor would be more his speed. For now, though, Mayer continues to search for the perfect partner. Until he finds that special someone, it looks like it really is a love song for no one because I'm just guessing Taylor Swift won't meet his intellectual expectations either.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hell No We Won't Go...Well Maybe We Will

Maybe you're too young to remember. Maybe you remember your parents' stories. Maybe it's your grandparents' stories. Or maybe you do remember. But there was a time when college campuses were flooded with political and social activism. I'm not sure what happened. We had a momentous presidential election last year; college activism was scattered here and there, and sometimes it was nowhere. Sometimes it was closer to college apathy.

We have a war going on that's pretty terrible and pretty pointless. No one seems to care much. Even when Bush was in office and the Answer coalition was staging peace marches, the march goers seemed more concern with convicting Bush of war crimes than actually protesting the war. Moreover, a lot of the march goers were in their 50s or older. America's youth was too busy facebooking about their latest Coach purchase. Now, every so often you see a few kids with clipboards trying to get signatures for something like getting horses out of New York City. I'm not trying to trivialize their objectives, but there are some other more pressing issues.

Today, we give our military free passes to Disney world. Today, kids in a panic about finding a job, join the ROTC while in college. Don't get me a wrong. A national defense is important, and I support our troops just not the war. And it's okay if you do support the war. This post isn't about my politics vs. your politics. It's about showing a little bit of political or social activism.
Just get out there. Shake off your apathy. Let the sunshine in...the writers of Hair would be proud and so would the newest wave of seniors.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Better Off Ted: Senator Kennedy's Death and the Special Election

In August 2009, the nation lost the last of its princes. America has now said good-bye to Jack, Bobby, and Ted. Whether or not you'd rather be hunting with Dick than driving with Ted, the fact remains that Senator Kennedy was a powerful politician and filling his now empty seat will have serious implications depending upon who takes over. The former Lion of the Senate was a huge champion of healthcare and a key player in stopping Republican attempts to filibuster on the topic of healthcare. With Senator Kennedy's death, the special election for Kennedy's seat has become more heated than originally expected. Our contenders? Republican state senator Scott Brown and Massachusetts Attorney General Democrat Martha Coakley. Brown is against the healthcare bill; Coakley behind it.

Here's where it gets a little more interesting, although anything involving a Kennedy is pretty interesting to begin with if I do so myself. Can we talk about some of the prettiest politicians around? Obama has nothing on the Kennedy boys. The Democrats want to make sure the Senate seat remains with a Democrat. The seat hasn't seen a republican since 1972. The same year cynical hippies across America coined the phrase, "don't switch Dick in the middle of the screw; vote for Nixon in '72!" Democrats are opening up their wallets or at least trying to open their wallets. Maybe it's the recession or maybe it's the absence of Joe Kennedy's bootlegging money, but Democrats are scrambling to provide Coakley with the funds she needs.

Healthcare is a hot topic, and this special election is serious to the bill's own health. And this time, the Lion can't step in and set things straight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

10 Things I Hate About Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber, 15 year old pop sensation, I hate that I love you! I have a Justin Bieber problem. I know it is wrong, but it feels so right.

Dear Justin,
1. I hate the way you flip your hair
2. I hate the skaterboi clothes you wear
3. I hate the way your voice is changing
4. I hate that you are still ageing
5. I hate that you are BFFs with Usher
6. I hate that you live with your mother
7. I hate that you are Canadian and have a gansta accent
8. I hate that you are under the age of consent
9. I hate how your voice makes me tingly inside
10. I hate how your songs have succeeded worldwide
But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you - not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all!

Visit Justin Bieber’s you tube account at I do everyday. His new song comes out Monday, January 18! Watch out tweens.

Today on Wall Street: A Great Day for Up!

Tuesday January 12th, 2010 was a rough day for the market, in part due to Alcoa's dip in revenue. However, today (Wednesday January 13th) was a good day for Wall Street. The Dow was up 53.51 points. Alcoa even rose after it's fall yesterday. With U.S. Bankers doing some serious testifying and even a little, dare I say it, apologizing, consumer optimism was also up, which is always a good thing. Additionally, banking shares were up, namely Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase. Citi was unfortunately down, but I'm still keepin' the faith. Billy Joel would be proud. There are rumors of a positive season ahead for the corporate sector, but let's not hold our breath. A lot can change at any point, and it's safe to say that Wall Street still hasn't quite gotten its groove back.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

American Idol is Lame

American Idol premiered tonight with stale and tired results. The contestants were caricatures of the worst kind. The weirdos weren’t that weird, and the talented contestants weren’t that talented. It was entirely predictable as to which contestants were going to get through. The good-looking cancer survivor? Golden ticket to Hollywood. Hot Latina Berklee music student? Golden ticket. The strange, transgender-looking, Latoya Jackson-esque contestant? Made fun of by Simon. Yawn.

Good thing Simon announced that this season was his last. American Idol is officially over.

Here's Looking at You, Sarah Palin

Congratulations to the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin! She will now be a commentator for Fox news. I'm sure everyone at Fox is pleased to know that they have landed such a commentator with gifts and talents that include being able to spy on Russia from her very own backyard. Now that is certainly something ABC or any of the other major networks will have a hard time rivaling.

What does this mean, though, for Palin's political career? With deep regret, I feel it means that she will not be running for president in 2012. The GOP is probably delighted; Palin would have had zero chance of beating current President Obama, even if his ratings are slipping. In the 2012 election, he'll be an incumbent with a Nobel Peace Prize. The GOP will have to find a candidate who at the very least knows his geography and can talk his way into Nobel Peace Prize of his own.

Irregardless, here at Dirty Laundry, we do sincerely extend our congratulations to the former governor. It's a great business venture. We wish Mrs. Palin all the best, and we send our condolences to the Democrats who understand that come 2012, winning the election will involve more than a simple geography test.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Bachelor Sex Scandal

On tonight’s episode of The Bachelor, the big sex scandal finally occurred- except there was no sex! Super hot model/makeup artist Rozlyn engaged in “inappropriate behavior” with a staff member who worked on The Bachelor. Rozlyn was kicked off the show and the staff member was fired.

ABC only showed the aftershocks of the affair, with Rozlyn packing her bags and being escorted out of the house. I want to know the details of the “inappropriate behavior” that occurred! Did Rozlyn and the staff member kiss? Go to second base? Or was there more?

Since the point of The Bachelor is finding love, why is it so far-fetched that Rozlyn finds love (or at least participates in some inappropriate fondling) with the staff member? Jake, the bachelor, gets to date and make out with as many women as he wants to. He’s allowed to have strong feelings for multiple women at once. In fact, the entire premise of The Bachelor is that it is incredibly difficult to decide between multiple alluring partners. It would have added an interesting dynamic to allow a Rozlyn to struggle with the same mixed emotions.

This Day on Wall Street: Mao is finally helping Americans

Monday January 11, 2010 saw an upward market. The Dow was up around 45 points. Nothing huge, but it's a start. Hold the applause for Chairman Mao or at least the country he left behind. A country that thrives on capitalism and pretends to be communist. China reported an imports record and more exports than anticipated. Some of the important commodities involved? Construction machinery, like Caterpillar. Aside from helping the market out today, we can thank China for the tooth brushes resting on our sinks, the plastic cups in our cabinet, and even that rubber duck in the bath tub you hope no one knows about; here's to you, Mr. Mao.