January 30, 2007

A Women’s Guide to Men

Posted in Politics, Random Oddments, Relationships at 11:34 pm by Calico Jack

One of my favorite websites to read is the website Ace of Spades. Cleverly disguised as a conservative political blog, Ace of Spades is the funniest website you’ll find, and has the best dedicated group of commenters on the net, bar none. This group of “AoS morons,” as they like to be called, wax poetic not only on political issues, but also anything and everything they want to talk about. They might have the collective intelligence of a chimpanzee, but hey — nobody’s perfect.*

The AoS Morons are famous for a few things: over-the-top flame wars, haiku challenges, and arguing over the differences between women and men. A couple of days ago, Ace issued a challenge to his readers: write headlines for an AoS women’s magazine, written by men. The women were free to respond in like…and everybody rose to the occasion, although I’m not sure that it is an entirely apt description. Six hundred comments later, there is a veritable treasure trove of punchlines to howl at. Some of these are not entirely kiddie-friendly, so I’ve put them after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

August 20, 2006

Quality Dates Quality, Or, You’re Not Good Enough For Me

Posted in Personal, Random Oddments, Relationships at 11:01 pm by Calico Jack

Once in a while, I run across something on the internet that seems so laughable as to be a parody…until I find out that it’s completely serious. Take Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey, for example. I had never heard of her blog until I ran across a link to it this afternoon. It seems that a week ago, this woman decided to write her list of qualities that potential boyfriends should know about. That’s nothing new, right? I mean, people strew personals all over the internet in the hopes that someone will find them interesting and/or attractive. But Paisley Passey (sounds like a children’s book title) is apparently unique in that she is hit on by guys everywhere she goes, and she felt the need to try to fend off some of their advances. Let’s take a look at her lovely blog post, shall we? I’m being selective in what I put on here; otherwise I’d spend all day on this.

I’m slim (whereas 62% of American women age 20 to 74 are overweight)

I’m attractive (my new picture has been rated more attractive than 86% of the women on Hot or Not — and the women who upload their pictures are a self-selected sample that is probably already biased towards being more attractive than the general female population)

Ahem. Let’s look at the evidence.

I’m relatively young (whereas 82% of American adult women are over 30 years old)

I’m intelligent (IQ tested at 145 when I was a child, which is 3 standard deviations above the mean — higher than 99.85% of the population. Even if I’ve gotten dumber as I’ve aged I’m probably still at least a 130, which is higher than 97.5% of the population.)

Three standard deviations? Umm…I hate to break it to her, but three standard deviations above a mean only makes her smarter than 99.73 percent of the population — a full .12% lower than she thinks she is. That must account for her inaccurate statistics. I think she should stick to blogging; leave the math to people who actually know what they’re talking about.

I’m educated (whereas 77% of American women do not have bachelor’s degrees)

I really, really doubt this.

I have my financial s*** together (no debt, perfect credit history, 6+ months living expenses saved, adequate insurance, self employed)

And she curses? What a catch!

Most of my interests tend to be more popular with men than women: science fiction, libertarianism, blogging, politics, economics, guns, gambling, etc.

Given that self-improvement is an ongoing project of mine this list will continue to grow (I’m currently working on adding bilingual, very physically fit, well-traveled, higher income, and fantastic cook to the list). So even when “relatively young” (an important criteria for most men) drops off that list, I should have added enough other things that my overall dating market value should remain the same or even improve.

“Overall dating market value”? What is she, a commodity to be traded at a livestock fair along with other swine?

The above list explains why I typically receive 50-100 (sometimes more) responses whenever I post personal ads. This is in addition to getting hit on almost every time I go out alone (and all that those men know about me is that they like the way I look, they don’t even know about all the other qualities I have that make me more appealing than most other women).

I just have one tiny, insignificant question. If she’s such a great catch, why is she posting personal ads? Shouldn’t she have found a great guy by now? And if by “other qualities that make me more appealing than most other women” she means “arrogance, insecurity, and a forehead with its own ZIP code,” then yes, I agree with her.

I realize that some of you will find this post depressing because you’ll realize that you don’t qualify as a high quality man and thus won’t be able to get a high quality woman.

Now that I realize I can’t get a high-quality woman, my life is over. I have no future. I must cry myself to sleep, sobbing in my pillow. “Why can’t I be a high-quality man for you, Jacqueline? Why?”

You have a few options:

Whoopee! I’m saved!

Lower your standards and stop pursuing women who are out of your league. There are lots of fat single mothers out there who can’t find dates either.

Wait a second…if you’re implying that all of the guys who hit on you can’t normally find dates, wouldn’t that mean that you are a last resort for many of them, a desperate attempt to find a mate after going through the entire barrel? You’re the dregs, Jackie. Hate to break it to you.

Look in the developing world. If you’re literate with a home computer and an internet connection you are very wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Citizenship or legal permanent residency in a rich country makes you more attractive to women in poorer countries. Your value on the dating market is thus much higher there.

I have no comment.

Self-improvement! I used to be a fat unattractive college dropout who couldn’t get her life together. Now I’m thin, attractive, and successfully self-employed after graduating. You can make yourself over into a higher-quality man capable of winning a higher-quality woman too.

Hey! You don’t have a boyfriend, but you feel the need to write this long, self-love post because you’re insecure! We have a word for people like you, Jackie…loser.

I do still want to spend time with *friends* as *friends* over the next few weeks, but I am *not* in the market for a new boyfriend right now.

On this, I completely agree. You’ve just spent an entire post going over all of your ugly attributes, which means that every guy in America now knows to stay away from you. I’m so thankful you aren’t looking for a boyfriend; I’d hate to see you so disappointed.

One final note: on her About Me page, Jackie Mackie Passey (hey, that rhymes!) reveals that she has previously been married (read: damaged goods) to a guy for a year and a half before he revealed to her that he was, in his words, “GAY GAY GAY.”

I have no idea what could have brought on his sexual orientation switch. None whatsoever.

Read the 500-some-odd comments after her post, too. This woman has become the latest celebrity in the blogosphere, as everyone seems to be lining up to take a crack at her. We here at Ignorant Critics never want to be left out of the party, of course. This is true entertainment.

Thanks go to Ace, pretty much my favorite blogger of all time, for bringing my attention to this barrel o’ laughs.

Princess Sela adds: Woah! Some people take themselves waaay too seriously! While reading her post I constantly had to ask “Are you kidding me?!”

August 18, 2006

On Kissing

Posted in Personal, Random Oddments, Relationships at 12:14 am by Calico Jack

Thanks to Digg for this article

So how does one gesture come to signify affection, celebration, grief, comfort and respect, all over the world? No one knows for sure, but anthropologists think kissing might have originated with human mothers feeding their babies much the way birds do. Mothers would chew the food and then pass it from their mouths to their babies’ mouths. After the babies learned to eat solid food, their mothers may have kissed them to comfort them or to show affection.

In this scenario, kissing is a learned behavior, passed from generation to generation. We do it because we learned how to from our parents and from the society around us. There’s a problem with this theory, though: women in a few modern indigenous cultures feed their babies by passing chewed food mouth-to-mouth. But in some of these cultures, no one kissed until Westerners introduced the practice.

Other researchers believe instead that kissing is instinctive. They use bonobo apes, which are closely related to humans, to support this idea. Bonobos kiss one another frequently. Regardless of sex or status within their social groups, bonobos kiss to reduce tension after disputes, to reassure one another, to develop social bonds and sometimes for no clear reason at all. Some researchers believe that kissing primates prove that the desire to kiss is instinctive…

Scientists don’t entirely agree on whether kissing is learned or instinctive. There’s support for both arguments, just as there’s support for the different theories of why people started doing it in the first place.

There is quite a lot of disagreement over this issue, isn’t there? I, for one, suggest that we do some more research to solve this problem. Are there any volunteers?

August 15, 2006

Whom do you call?

Posted in News, Personal, Relationships, Technology at 1:03 am by Calico Jack

A new Swiss study reveals some interesting facts about the way we communicate in the 21st century. According to Stefana Broadbent of Swisscom, 80% of our cell phone conversations are only with four people. On first glance, such a claim seems rather unlikely. But then I thought a little bit more about the people I actually spend the most time talking to, and I think Broadbent’s right. Many of us don’t necessarily use our cell phones to get in touch with casual acquaintances. We have a myriad of options when it comes to communication, from cell phones to instant messaging to email to social networking sites such as Facebook and the cesspool of the internet, MySpace. With so many choices available, I often IM or email someone if I want to drop them a note or ask a question. It’s my close friends and family with whom I take the time to communicate personally.

This doesn’t mean that I only have a select few with whom I only talk to my cell; a quick glance at my recent calls displays quite a few names. But the ones who show up most frequently, and for the longest duration, are only a couple of people. If I’m planning a party, I’ll call a bunch of people to see if they’re able to come. But I doubt I’ll spend much time talking to them on the cell, especially if I spent an hour instant messaging them the previous night.

I’m not sure that this study actually means much. What it does point out is that we have many diverse ways of communicating, and we use each medium for different purposes. One hundred years ago, people didn’t profess their love for each other through telegrams — they wrote letters instead. But for business, telegrams were much more practical and efficient than waiting a week or more to receive a letter in the mail. Our ways of connecting are different than our forefathers’, but we are alike in one respect: we seek closeness with other people. However, I wonder if we aren’t less connected with each other than we used to be.

Nothing compares to actually talking to someone face-to-face. It is nearly impossible to read emotions through text, and a phone call removes our most important way of expressing ourselves to each other — through facial expressions. Communication has largely become something that is stripped down to its bare essentials; many people can’t even be bothered to write out full sentences when they write each other. The richness of sincere, leisurely conversation is absent, and I suspect few mourn its passing.

So check your cell phone records, and see how many people you actually call on a regular basis. And think about how many names are on your buddy list who you never IM. Instead of trying to have superficial relationships with as many people as possible, make an effort to develop true friendships with a few people. I suspect we’ll all be better off if we do that.

June 29, 2006

Being A Better Boyfriend, part 2

Posted in Personal, Relationships at 2:41 pm by Elizabeth Swann

This is the second of a two-part series. The first half can be found here.

11. Support and encourage her in whatever she does. A girl likes that feeling of acceptance from her man, and knowing that you are there to back her up one hundred percent will give her an added boost of self-confidence. If she comes to you with her problems, help her out and don’t just shrug them off, assuming they will pass in time.

12. Surprise her with a phone call or visit. Spontaneity is always good for a relationship, and what better way to brighten her day than with hearing your voice or seeing your face?

13. Try never to go to bed with unresolved issues. Working out problems and miscommunications quickly spares a lot of unnecessary pain later on. Staying upset or irritated isn’t going to help anything; it’s best to just forgive and forget.

14. Stay faithful and committed to her. I know many guys are at different stages in their relationships, and some are not ready for commitment. But as long as you are with a girl, don’t be on the lookout for some other girl to catch your eye.

15. Be completely open and honest, even if you are afraid of hurting her. It is more important to tell the truth than to hide something from her because you are afraid of what she’ll say. This kind of communication is a must for a healthy relationship.

16. Don’t compare her to past girlfriends, and speak well of her when she’s not around.

17. Listen and give value to what she says. Don’t ignore her; she may actually be right.

18. Never rush into anything, and don’t pressure her.

19. Forgive her, love her, accept her, treat her with respect, and tell her that she’s beautiful.

20. Remember that good things come to those who wait. If she really is the one for you, then she is worth every second of waiting, and the sacrifices you may have to make will mean the world to her.

Well, there’s my list of the top twenty ways to be a better boyfriend. I’m sure there are countless other ways that you could think of. No matter how big or little a thing you do for your girl, it is very much appreciated and loved by her. Love is the most important thing you can have in a relationship, but everything else flows out of that love.

Calico Jack adds: These are all excellent things to think about. I wonder why so many guys (and girls) don’t seem to understand the basics of a relationship and what makes it strong. Maybe you should write a post on how to be a better girlfriend; I’m sure that many girls would enjoy hearing what you have to say about the other half of the relationship.

June 27, 2006

Could having older brothers make you gay?

Posted in Politics, Relationships at 11:35 pm by Calico Jack

According to a new study funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, men who have several older brothers are more likely to be gay. Of course, the media is going to treat this claim with due consideration and careful scrutiny, right? Let’s take a look at the AP article to see how this information is presented to the public:

“It’s likely to be a prenatal effect,” said Anthony F. Bogaert of Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada, “This and other studies suggest that there is probably a biological basis for” homosexuality.

Okay, the conclusion is that a person’s sexual orientation could be biological, likely being formed while still in the womb. Therefore, the data must support that claim for it to be a valid conclusion. So far, so good.

S. Marc Breedlove of Michigan State University said the finding “absolutely” confirms a physical basis.

“Anybody’s first guess would have been that the older brothers were having an effect socially, but this data doesn’t support that,” Breedlove said in a telephone interview.

The only link between the brothers is the mother and so the effect has to be through the mother, especially since stepbrothers didn’t have the effect, said Breedlove, who was not part of the research.

First of all, why did the AP interview a professor who had absolutely nothing to do with the study in the first place? His credentials are never listed in this article; how are we supposed to know whether or not he is qualified to actually comment on this study?

I did some research, and here’s what I came up with: S. Marc Breedlove earned a Ph.D in psychology from UCLA in 1982, after which he became a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. He transferred to Michigan State University in 2001, receiving the Barnett Rosenberg Chair in Neuroscience and a tenured professorship in the departments of psychology and zoology. His areas of research include “sexual differentiation of the brain and spinal cord, morphological sex differences in the nervous system, and permanent and transient effects of hormones on neurons.” So what exactly does that mean? Well, he’s published papers on various subjects such as “Finger-length ratios and sexual orientation,” “Differences in finger length ratios between self-identified butch and femme lesbians,” and “Sexual dimorphism in digit-length ratios of laboratory mice.”

I’m speechless. Back to the study.

Bogaert studied four groups of Canadian men, a total of 944 people, analyzing the number of brothers and sisters each had, whether or not they lived with those siblings and whether the siblings were related by blood or adopted.

He reports in a paper appearing in Tuesday’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that having several biological older brothers increased the chance of a man being gay.

It’s an effect that can be detected with one older brother and becomes stronger with three or four or more, Bogaert said in a telephone interview.

But, he added, this needs to be looked at in context of the overall rate of homosexuality in men, which he suggested is about 3 percent. With several older brothers the rate may increase from 3 percent to 5 percent, he said, but that still means 95 percent of men with several older brothers are heterosexual.

Okay, let’s see…944 people divided into four groups means that there are 236 people per group. An increase in the overall rate of homosexuality among men from 3 to 5 percent means that the number of gay people in each group ranged anywhere from 7 to 11…hardly a noteworthy statistic. Keep in mind that this rate is an assumption by the researchers; without hard data it is hard to provide an accurate picture. The sample size may be large enough, but a variation of two percent is so small as to be almost meaningless. Also, notice the complete absence of a margin of error or confidence interval; this could easily eliminate any differences in the study.

Ignoring the shaky statistics, however, my one question is this: what kind of biological effect on homosexual inclination could possibly be caused by having older brothers? And why would this effect increase along with the number of older brothers that someone has?

Bogaert said he concluded the effect was biological by comparing men with biological brothers to those with brothers to whom they were not biologically related.

The increase in the likelihood of being gay was seen only in those whose brothers had the same mothers, whether they were raised together or not, he said.

Men raised with several older step- or adopted brothers do not have an increased chance of being gay.

“So what that means is that the environment a person is raised in really makes not much difference,” he said.

Just out of curiosity, where are the fathers in this research? I understand the need to study mothers, since that is the only way to support their biological claim. But solely looking at brothers and not fathers means that the researchers cannot claim with absolute certainty that environment does not matter. Have they eliminated all environmental factors in their research, allowing them to have a solid control? Or have they merely seen a correlation between two pieces of information, and made that their theory without adequate study?

What makes a difference, he said, is having older brothers who shared the same womb and gestational experience, suggesting the difference is because of “some sort of prenatal factor.”

One possibility, he suggests, is a maternal immune response to succeeding male fetuses. The mother may react to a male fetus as foreign but not to a female fetus because the mother is also female.

It might be like the maternal immune response that can occur when a mother has Rh-negative blood but her fetus has Rh-positive blood. Without treatment, the mother can develop antibodies that may attack the fetus during future pregnancies.

Whether that’s what is happening remains to be seen, but it is a provocative hypothesis, said a commentary by Breedlove, David A. Puts and Cynthia L. Jordan, all of Michigan State.

Okay, let’s review for those of you who may be lost by this incoherent mess. Based on a single small study with faulty testing and inadequate research, these “scientists” are suggesting the following:

  • There is a corellation between having older brothers and an increase in the likelihood of being gay…up to a two percent difference.
  • This effect does not matter whether or not the brothers were raised together, only that they shared the same blood, meaning that there must be a biological, not environmental, basis for this effect.
  • Since some of the brothers were not raised together, this biological effect must take place in the womb before birth, because the womb is the only invariable factor where this effect could occur.
  • To explain this pre-natal effect, these researchers raise the possibility that the maternal immune system could assault successive male fetuses, since the mother may recognize the male fetus as a foreign object and attack it.
  • Over time, as more male fetuses gestate, the mother’s immune defenses could become stronger, until eventually…what?

See, that last point is the hardest question to answer. If a predisposition towards homosexuality is caused by a reaction of the mother’s immune system, could that mean that such tendencies are an aberration? That raises a whole slew of interesting questions. However, the point is moot, since this study is inherently flawed. These researchers made a mistake that is inexcusable for a high school student, let alone professional scientists. They assumed that because there was a correlation between two things, a causation must follow.

I won’t rule out that there could be a biological predisposition towards homosexuality, but this study does nothing to advance that claim. The media are making a much bigger deal out of this than they should be doing. To spread this story–sans critique–all over television and the internet is irresponsible. I suggest that the next time a story such as this is released, reporters and scientists take a hard look at the data presented. Doing so will serve the public much better than blindly accepting a faulty study.

June 24, 2006

Being a Better Boyfriend, part 1

Posted in Personal, Relationships at 3:37 pm by Elizabeth Swann

I know there have been many of these lists in the past, but I thought I’d just write one of my own. This is directed towards guys about how girls like to be treated and ways to make them feel special. For you girls out there reading this, these are some things you could look for in your boyfriend. I know that every guy is different and each has his own way of caring and showing girls love. Since I’ve had such a great experience with the man of my dreams, these are my top things that he does for me; I know there are countless ways he has shown me love, but these are my favorite.

1. Treat her like she is the most special person in the world every day. This first one actually encompasses everything else that I’m going to write. But if you keep this thought in the back of your mind and if you treat her like your princess, she will know just how much she means to you.

2. Whisper “I love you” when she least expects it. Remember that a girl never tires from hearing these three, simple little words that have a powerful meaning behind them. With these she is encouraged and strenghtened by a love which only you can give her.

3. If you are ever in a group and are apart, glance, smile, and wink at her. This gives her a reminder that even though you may be talking with others, your thoughts are always upon her and that it is your desire to be with her at that very moment. One such look can instantly melt her, and without a word it can mean a thousand things.

4. Laugh and cry with her. No matter what may have caused the joy or the sorrow, she likes to share these moments with you. In times of sadness, you are the one that she leans on, and in times of joy she wants you to be just as happy as she is.

5. Be patient with her. Whether she is extremely talkative or a bit shy and has problems communicating, wait gently for her and don’t stay frustrated for very long.

6. Be a gentleman. This one may be a little obvious, but you may be surprised at how often this can be overlooked. Doing such simple things, as opening a car door or holding open a door for her to enter in a building, is greatly appreciated. Though she may persist that she’s independent and can do that for herself, deep down she really wants you to do it. It is good to start this habit early in the relationship.

7. Be a man of your word so as to gain her trust. This is one of those foundations upon which a great relationship is built. Once broken, a trust is hard to regain; so don’t do anything that would give her doubts, and be ready to stand by your word.

8. Initiate deeper conversations with her. Not everything has to be surface level, such as talking about your day or week. Share with her your secrets, dreams, desires, and struggles; and she will respond and do likewise. Doing this brings you into a deeper level of intimacy as you discover more and more about your beloved every day.

9. Cup her face, look into her eyes, and tell her how much you love her and how much she means to you.

10. Be her friend. Notice that in the word “boyfriend” we find the word “friend,” which implies that friendship is a key for a good relationship. Don’t be in a relationship just for the physical aspect of it. Get to know her as a friend first before you start anything else. Do all that being a friend entails. I know for me, I intend on marrying my best friend, who also happens to be the one man I will ever love-I get the best of both worlds!

June 8, 2006

On the Fine Art of Man-Bashing

Posted in Personal, Relationships at 12:43 pm by Edward Teach

Recently, I have started a new job at a major corporation. Before you get too excited, it is only a summer job, much like an internship. Unlike my last job, at this postion the majority of my co-workers are women. There are plenty of workers of both genders, but on my shift it just works out that a little over a half of the workers are women. Before you click ‘next blog’ or just tune out, this is not some post against gender equality, women in the workplace or asserting the superiority of either gender over another. I believe both genders were created by God and perfectly compliment one another. That, however, is another post entirely and not what I wanted to talk about. One woman, who for the purposes of this post shall be known as Nellie, is quite friendly and usually very cheery. She also has a black belt in the discipline of man-bashing. What is man-bashing, you ask? Good question… Man-bashing (mahn-bashing): {1} the practice of systematically ascribing the attributes of a one member or a group of members of a gender (in this case, male) to the entire gender. Usually done with absolute negatives and statements such as… ” Oh, it because he’s a man”..or “You know men, they are always..” and such. {2} Hitting a male homo saphiens repeatedly with a blunt object. [see also, bashing, man, woman bashing] For the purpose of this post, we will deal only with definition number 1.

In the few weeks that I have been working there, I have heard many phrases like those above come out of her mouth. They usually happen when she is mad at her boyfriend, but they can come from out of the blue. Frankly, they can make things rather awkward. Me, a male, standing there while she states that my gender cannot tell the difference between lust and love, that we are only after one thing in all relationships, that we are always unfaithful. Awkward can be an understatement. I did not write this post to complain about they way I am treated at work, or my job. I wanted to address a growing trend in society. Nellie is by far not the only man-basher around. Look at your TV set, the comics in your newspaper. At each one of those places, man-bashing can easily be seen. The most saddening is media portrayal of fathers as stupid, brutish, sex-focused beings. What is it that we are showing our young men? Granted, some of what Nellie says about men are true about some men. Although to say things about all men is wrong, sadly some men do fit the bill. It is disappointing that Nellie chooses to hang around those type of men and pursue relationships with them. However, just because the men of her acquaintance are a certain way does not mean that all men are that way. To stereotype is wrong, and BOTH (note the both) genders are guilty of that. I think the heart of the problem lies in the lack of character in today’s soceity. To keep on the topic of men, much less is expected of today’s young men than was expected in the past. Character is not something that most men are encouraged to develop. Without the right mindset and encouragement, many men will turn out like the subjects of Nellie’s bashings. Like many things in life, your expectations have an effect on your results. If Nellie only expects her boyfriend to be a selfish, sex-obsessed person and doesn’t do anything to encourage him to be otherwise (like break up) why should he change? I’ll leave you with this quote from John MacArthur. “Honest character is now seen as totally optional – or worse, hopelessly unfashionable.”

Men, cultivate character; and women, encourage the men in your life to do so.

Calico Jack adds: Quickly, name one sitcom that portrays a father figure who isn’t a lout or a fool. Can’t think of any? Neither can I. Okay, then why don’t we expand our horizons? How many television shows depict fatherhood as something noble…and then actually have a character who lives up to those ideals? I can think of three shows off the top of my head: Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galactica, and Everwood. However, Everwood is off of the air, and neither of the other two are exactly mainstream hits. Can anyone else think of more?

June 6, 2006

Life is precious…

Posted in Personal, Relationships at 10:12 pm by Calico Jack

I just found out from a friend that two fellow students were killed in a murder-suicide this past weekend. The couple had been together for over three years, and from all appearances were quite happily together. Apparently they got into a dispute, and the boyfriend left the apartment before coming back with a gun. He shot his girlfriend seven times before turning the gun on himself.

Our local newspapers are covering the story, but I’m not going to provide a link; tragedies such as this don’t need to be exploited. I didn’t know either of the students, but that in no way lessens the shock that I’m feeling right now. However, it didn’t hit home for me until I went on Facebook and looked at their profiles. They were both 21; the girl had celebrated her birthday fewer than ten days ago. She worked at Bed, Bath and Beyond; she liked the Cleveland Indians; and she was majoring in marketing.

Under the boy’s profile, he listed “shooting” as one of his interests.

It is strange to be a voyeur, to look at the summaries of two lives and know that they are no longer a part of this world. To most people who hear about this story, they are simply two faceless entries in the long litany of young people whose lives have been tragically cut short. But reading their profiles truly makes one realize that they are two people, each with their own friends and family. They had AIM screen names and favorite movies and workplaces. They went to college and hung out with their friends. They lived…and now they do not.

Life is ever so fragile. Don’t take it for granted.