That Think You Do Chapter 2 – Avoiding Deadly Silences

For those who didn’t know, I’ve signed with a new publisher and my first book out with them, That Think You Do, should be available late Oct-Nov ’22.


As always, let me know what you think.

Avoiding Deadly Silences

You know those movies about families’ hidden stories? Everybody’s happy and smiling and chuckles on the outside and anger and distrust and betrayal are like lava flows on the inside waiting to erupt leaving death and destruction in their wake?

Usually the climax is around a meal, a dinner table. Some little comment is said by this person and that person erupts. Or the child says something that only a child could say and the family suddenly has to deal with great uncle Poopah’s crimes against humanity.

There are reasons these types of things usually happen during meals. I’ve mentioned in presentations and trainings that there are two times when humans are biologically most vulnerable: when we’re putting stuff into our bodies and when we’re pushing stuff out of our bodies. Most people have had the experience of gathering around a table with an extended family and friends. Few people have then had the experience of gathering en masse in the loo.

The science of group, tribal and family behavior aside, there’s often much that goes unsaid in human relationships. You don’t like that they put dishes in the sink rather than the dishwasher. They don’t like the way you put toilet paper on the roll (men, did you know this one?).

Seem a little…umm…ridiculous? Small? Meaningless? Irrelevant?

Of course they do and of course they are. Their very triviality is what gives them their power.

Your significant other should know better, right? I mean, who doesn’t know there’s a preferred direction that toilet paper should come off the roll? Why would anybody leave dishes in the sink when it’s just as easy to put them in the dishwasher?

Here’s what you may not know about these little irritations that cause such major eruptions — people, feeling their life going out of control, will exert increasing control over trivial annoyances before they make any attempt to deal with major annoyances. The mistaken(!!!) belief is that by controlling the small they’ll gain control over the large.

Who Holds Back More, Women or Men?
What’s your guess? And let me up the ante while I’m asking. Do the genders go silent for the same or different reasons? Studies done at Fairhaven College and the University of Houston indicate that men resort to silence more often than women do but the reasons are different. Men use silence to maintain power (to keep their partner “on their toes”) or because they simply don’t know how to express themselves (and women everywhere are nodding in agreement. “You needed a scientific study to know this?”, they’re asking).

Women use silence because culturally and historically they have been second class citizens (women are really nodding now). Second class citizens’ role is to listen, not to speak, hence their emotions, feelings, wants, needs, and desires go unannounced by them and unnoticed by their partners.

What is true for both sexes? That self-silencing is dangerous. It causes depression and the more one self-silences the more one becomes depressed. Depression untreated is a death of the soul, folks, so let me share some methods for bringing both your and your partner’s souls back to life.

Avoiding the Silences
While there is no guarantee, talking and sharing our wants, needs, and desires often cures depression… or at least lets us know the individual we’re talking and sharing with isn’t as involved in the relationship as we’d like them to be. Talking and sharing — using certain guidelines — allows us to take back control or at least know what we can control in our lives.

And you need to know that talking and sharing — avoiding the silences — is hard work if you’ve never done it before. I wish I could say it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s as lively and exhilarating as a game of Stratego and I’d rather have you err on the side of caution than not. Here are some rules to help start the conversation and avoid the silences: Continue readingThat Think You Do Chapter 2 – Avoiding Deadly Silences”

Gender Specific Marketing Discoveries

Long ago and far away I presented my company’s research at conferences far and wide.

One such presentation (from 2007, so dated, I’m sure) dealt with marketing to men and women, and specifically the differences necessary to get the attention of one, the other, and both.

Here’s a podcast of that presentation, ressurected because it’s mentioned in “Sex on the Beach” chapter of That Think You do.


That Think You Do Chapter 1 – Manly Men Thinking Manly Thoughts Manickly (and Women Putting Up With Them)

For those who didn’t know, I’ve signed with a new publisher and my first book out with them, That Think You Do, should be available late Oct-Nov ’22.

That Think You Do is my first non-fiction title since 2016 and is based on a series of blog posts I wrote from 2008-16 for a California-based company. The blog posts were based on my company’s research and covered neuroscience, anthropology, linguistics, sociology, … My goal was (and is) to present useful pieces of information to readers, and evidently I did because my new publisher wants to publish them as a book (and possibly some of my other non-fiction blogs and books. Yeeha!).

So, until it’s available for purchase (I’ll post a pre-order link as soon as one’s available) and for your reading pleasure, That Think You Do.

Manly Men Thinking Manly Thoughts Manickly (and Women Putting Up With Them)

I can save you from reading this chapter by directing you to The Dancing Forest or The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine. Why did I entitle this “Manly Men…” then direct you to a movie about a women’s agricultural collective and a book written by a woman about women’s brain functions?

Because it’s a real quick way to show that men think differently from women (for those who didn’t know).

Perhaps the movie trailer for The Dancing Forest will help.

What follows is a shameless and I hope brief quote of some previous research we did on how women and men think differently in basic social situations, and how knowing this can benefit you the next time you’re out and wanting to make an impression.

I wrote in The NextStage Irregular #2 (the above mentioned company’s newsletter) that, as population ratios go, females tend to be the more…umm…inventive in the information they provide during social discourse, men tend to be more…umm…direct. Women (shown by pink in the chart) fabricate more (left) and tell direct truths (right) less often than men (blue) according to the chart here.

Quick and careful readers will note that being “inventive” and being “direct” are different metrics. And before I go further, let me clarify.

This chart shows that women (right), when fabricating, aren’t doing it maliciously. At least not any more than men (left) are.
Continue readingThat Think You Do Chapter 1 – Manly Men Thinking Manly Thoughts Manickly (and Women Putting Up With Them)”

From the Casebook of Ima Flush, HDP Certified Space Plumber, Quadrant 6E now in Harvey Duckman Present V9

Yes, it’s true…the long awaited and no longer a special plumber’s issue of Harvey Duckman (Volume 9) is now available for your reading pleasure.

Many writers contributed (including Peter James @Brennan_and_Riz Martin, Kate @KateBaucherel Baucherel, Liz @LizTuckwell1 Tuckwell, Robin @robinmoonwrites Moon, Will @will_nett Nett, Mark @DarrackMark Hayes, A L @ALBuxton2 Buxton, and Craig @CKRoebuck Roebuck). My offering is From the Casebook of Ima Flush, HDP Certified Space Plumber, Quadrant 6E.

This story has a strange history.

But then again, what story of mine doesn’t?

The special plumbers issue – which this story was written for – never came about. Kind of. The issue had been talked about for several years. It was on again off again and the seesawing (frankly) became tiring. I hadn’t written anything for it yet so no worries.

Then I drove to a master telescope maker to have our telescope repaired (it’s a beautiful Schmidt–Cassegrain I originally purchased back in the 1990s to learn astral-photography. finally getting back into it). I’m driving along and listening to music (must listen to music) when the protagonist, Ima Flush, appeared in front of me.

Naturally, I swerved.

After people stopped honking their horns and getting back on the highway, I listened to what Ima told me.

Even had to turn down the music. A bit.

Turns out Ima likes classic rock, too!

She had an amazing story to tell.

Here…let me share just the title. I thought Ima was changing her mind. No, she was sharing her genesis with me.

And an amazing genesis it is…

“From the Casebook of Ima Flush, HDP Certified Space Plumber, Quadrant 6E”

[no, that was true when we started, not any more]

“Choices made Manifest Through Self-Awareness”?

[too wordy and obscure]

“The Opening of Ima Flush”?

[no, nobody’ll remember the reference]

“The Silver Ring”?

[no, ditto… ah, I have it. how about…?]

Breaking Through

(Yes! That’s it!)

Hope you enjoy.


Katie Koestner and Claire Kaplan interviewed me last night for an upcoming segment of Dear Katie.

At one point, I mentioned some Principles Susan and I put together over the years based on our journey. These Principles are the ones we used to guide our lives and the company we created. They’ve appeared in many places over the years.

Someone once asked me if I lived up to the Principles myself.

“Hell no. That’s why I post them. So they can be a guide to me, so I’ll know when I’m not following them.”

Like so much in my life, they are for me. If others benefit from them, wonderful. But first and foremost, they are for me.

You may not like them all. You may only be comfortable with one or two.

Good start. Work to integrate them all. Find that difficult? As noted above, if they were easy for me to follow I wouldn’t have to write them down.

Katie and Claire took interest in the Principles and asked where they could find them. I posted the full list here on my blog as Principles.

Below are the first ten. Feel free to read through the rest of them. Feel free to make them your own.

  1. Do unto others as if they were you.
    In other words, cut out the middle man. Treat others the way you treat yourself. People do this anyway. All we do is suggest you become aware of it.
  2. Trust yourself.
    Until you do this, you’ll never be able to trust others and you’ll put what trust you have in people who will hurt you.

  3. Be Honest.
    With yourself first because it makes it easier to be honest with others. Honesty will cost you and what it returns is worth it. Tell tall tales, lie with the best of them and exaggerate all you want when people know that’s what you’re doing. The rest of the time, be honest.

  4. Respect people’s boundaries and limits.
    There’s a difference between being selfish and being selfless. Realize what this means for you and you’ll realize what it means for others.

  5. Keep it Simple.
    Because it’s so much easier that way.
  6. Take responsibility for your actions.
    When you make a mistake and before anybody else knows the mistake has been made, raise your hand and say loud enough for others to hear you, “That one’s mine. I did that.” If the people around you are more interested in pointing their fingers at you and distancing themselves from you than helping you clean things up, you’re standing around the wrong people. Let them distance themselves. They won’t be around you when you succeed, and you will, because you’ll have learned how to stand up tall, proud and free by recognizing, owning up to and cleaning up your own mistakes. From this you’ll also learn compassion and dignity and how to help others clean up their mistakes, as well. Along with this…
  7. Mistakes are just that; You can reach again.
    So learn to stretch when you have to and to recognize when what you’re reaching for isn’t something you’d want to hold in your hands. You’ll be better for it and so will those who love you.
  8. Innocence is not Naivety and vice-versa.
    Think of this as a self-recognition of “…wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

  9. Your rights end where your willingness to harm and hurt begin.
    If you need this one explained, you won’t get along here. If you needed a moment to put this into a context you could get comfortable with, you won’t get along here.

  10. Language is a tool, like Maslow’s Hammer.
    Some people think everything’s a nail. Be neither. This is part 1.

(read the rest)

Until the interview goes live, you can get a taste here from my tech check.