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Buz wrote a Letter to the Editor

Our own Buz Whelan is in the Pocono Record today. Thought I would share it with you all.

Read about it here.
Editor, the Record:

It seems public discussion in the Pocono Record has been elevated all the way to the heavens, wherever they may be. The writer of the Feb. 25 answer to any earlier article, which I missed, purports to give us the real facts on angels. Really.

Apparently this grownup actually believes in such things, and chastises those who would think otherwise. She uses the Bible as her reference. Now, I’m sure the people who wrote that holy tome were highly motivated folks who believed what they were writing, but they also believed that sickness was caused by evil spirits, demons possessed people, witchcraft and magic were real things and the world was flat. Using that good book as a source document for arguments on angels is like referring to the Harry Potter books to bolster one’s position on wizardry.

I realize it’s just possible that I missed the joke, that the letter was just a goof meant to amuse. But, just in the case the writer actually was trying to make a serious point, I have to ask: What is her position on faeries, trolls, elves and Santa Claus? Man, you can’t make this stuff up.


Long Pond

ELA Haunted Funhouse

Stefania Johnson

The gypsy knows your fate!

Are they laughs of joy and fun or demented laughs of terror?  Come find out at this year’s ELA Haunted Funhouse where our clowns have gone mad, our Ringmaster has lost control and the misfits were left behind to rot!  Will you dare come through to see what is left?  Are you afraid of being forced beyond your will to stay? Will the Gypsy Fortune Teller guide give you insight into your immediate future of whether you will stay or go?  Dare us!!  Better yet,  dare yourself!

Watch out for this fellow.

The annual Emerald Lakes Haunted House October 17, 18, 19 – 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. October 20 – 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Community Center. $6 for Adults and $4 for children under 10.

Atheists Advise Wishing

GODFORSAKEN, Nevada (FNS) According to a study commissioned by the Atheist Social Society (ASS), wishing may be the best way to help you get what you want. In a study funded by the society and carried out by Professor Cy N. Testa at Southeast North Dakota State Teachers Junior College, a group of wishers seemed to have a slight advantage over a group of prayers and a control group.

In the first part of the study, a group of Christians were put in a room with a clearly visible clock on the wall at precisely 12 noon. They were asked to pray for 3:00 PM. Simultaneously, a group of people who described themselves as agnostic were seated in a separate identical room with an identical clock. The second group was instructed to wish that it were 3:00 PM. A control group of mixed beliefs (and lack thereof) were settled in a third room with an identical clock at the same time. They were not told anything about time and were asked to amuse themselves by conversing or playing cards, which were provided. The clocks were not interconnected. Careful observation and precise measurements by the experimenters revealed absolutely no statistical difference among them. All three clocks reached 3:00 PM at the exact same moment.

In a second study group members were asked to seek happiness. The prayer group was told to pray for happiness, the wishing group to wish for the same, while the control group members were simply told to pass time while conversing and/or playing cards. At the end of a precisely measured 2 hours, members were asked to rate their degree of happiness on a 10 point scale, 1 being how you feel when you’ve just gotten a traffic citation, 5 like how you feel when you hit a $10 scratch-off and 10 being the feeling you get when that hottie tells you you’re the best lover ever. Members of the control group scored an average of 5.3 on the happiness scale, the prayer group 7.1 and the wishing group 8.5. Experimenters viewed this as strong evidence that wishing is superior to praying in the attainment of goals, e.g., happiness.

In a third experiment, patients who had been told they had a terminal disease were separated into the same three groups. The prayer group patients were told to pray for health, the second group to wish for it, and the control group to get their affairs in order. Death occurred at the same rate for all three groups, the only difference being that those that got their affairs in order seemed more a peace with the situation, as did their heirs.

ASS spokesman R. U. Kidden promises that there is more research to come and that no conclusions are final. “We want to look at all possibilities. With what we know right now, wishing seems the best way to win the lottery, cure disease and return lost pets. But we’re going to examine hoping next, to see what that can do. You never know,” he cautions.

(for more Nearly News click the button at the top of the page!)

NPD and the HOA: A Cancer in the Body

By Buz Whelan

Few personality types can be more destructive to a Home Owners’ Association than the individual suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The characteristics of the condition virtually guarantee anti-social behavior of a persistent and pervasive nature. Like a dog with a valued bone, they will pursue their goals, however unrealistic, over great periods of time, often decades. No matter how often they are defeated in the short term, they will persevere. All entreaties from the mainstream to join in cooperative behaviors will fail. And because their goals and fantasies are unrealistic, they will ever be chasing them.

The NPD sufferer is not to be confused with every seeker of attention at important meetings. Lots of folks with transient complaints or weak egos may pop up with inappropriate comments, but these can usually be treated with patience and even humor. The individual of which we write is a far different animal.

Here are the principal characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

  • Love of self/great self-interest
  • Preoccupation with success and power
  • Attention seeking
  • Boasting or bragging about one’s own achievements often
  • Exaggeration of abilities and achievements
  • Having unrealistic goals
  • Fantasies of success beyond what is likely or possible
  • Hypersensitivity to possible slights and insults from others, usually coupled with aggressive or angry responses
  • Arrogant behavior
  • Belief in one’s own uniqueness/entitlement to special treatment
  • Difficulty in understanding another’s emotions or perspective (lack of empathy)

     In addition to the characteristics listed above one might add a lack of humor, especially of the self-deprecating nature. However overblown the self-image of the NPD sufferer may seem to be it is much too fragile to tolerate even good-natured teasing if it is at his/her expense. A dour scowl is the most common expression exhibited, and what laughter there is usually is the result of schadenfreude, the joy one might experience at the misfortune or embarrassment of a perceived rival or enemy.

     I would add, somewhat parenthetically, that matching 3 or 4 of these listed characteristics would be cause for suspicion. Matching 5 or more might be considered a diagnosis.

     For purposes of this essay, we’ll refer to the sufferer of Narcissistic Personality Disorder as NPD and use the male pronoun for reference. And while NPD is more prevalent in males, it is not exclusive to the gender.

Recognizing the long-term behavior of the NPD:

Shortly after joining the HOA, or after a change in life status such as entering retirement, the NPD will become active in the association. He will join one or more committees and spend some time ‘learning the ropes.’ Before long, possibly less than a year, he will begin dissenting at meetings. As he becomes more and more comfortable in the dissenter role, he will become more vocal and louder. Often, after feeling he has made a particularly insightful objection, he will laugh at his own accomplishment, searching the room for approval. It is during this period that his adolescent ‘rescue fantasies’ will begin to take shape in his own mind. He will envision an association in disarray, with himself striding forward to take charge and bring order out of the chaos. The association newsletter or newspaper will trumpet his triumph. Perhaps down the line even a statue will be in order; remember, this is an adolescent fantasy, not a realistic one.

As time goes on, he will begin attracting disaffected others as a powerful magnet attracts iron filings. Those who perceive themselves to have been wronged or unfairly ignored by the association, failed candidates, and otherwise disgraced members will find in him a willing champion, and he, in them, a needed army. It’s a symbiosis made in Hell. The bonds will be powerful.

In order to create the conditions requiring his rescue, he will go on a years-long campaign against the association governors, whoever they may be. He will find himself at war with every change of leadership. He will trash, or attempt to trash, every major meeting. He will rail against any move toward progress. Since accomplishment of others is a detriment to him, he will attempt to undermine any new initiative. Proposed solutions to common association problems will always be too expensive or not comprehensive enough, and he will declare this loudly. No plans will ever be complete enough to satisfy the NPD, and his complaints of this will become a common rant. At meetings, he will be cheered on by his army of malcontents, and he will draw strength from this.

The NPD is given away by his own demands. He will never assist in improving conditions. He will accept only full power. Sharing power and credit are antithetical to his ultimate goal. Unless and until all his conditions are met, he will continue to disrupt and obstruct.

How does an HOA deal with such an individual? The first necessity is strong leadership. Attempting to placate the NPD only reinforces his negative behaviors. He must be dealt with firmly and publicly. Public humiliation is Kryptonite to the NPD. As shown in the list of characteristics, hypersensitivity to slights, such as criticism, provoke exaggerated negative responses, but to avoid criticizing him is a mistake and plays into the NPD’s hands. Bad behavior must never be tolerated, or it will be reinforced. When it occurs at important meetings, it must be rebuked, quickly and decisively. While that may not be sufficient, it is necessary. To allow meetings to be hijacked by an NPD is to become an accomplice. No chairperson or board member should ever allow that.

While there is no simple solution to the NPD, good governance is the best long-term answer. Honesty with the membership, inclusivity, above-reproach behavior by directors, and always keeping the best interests of the association at the fore make the rants of the NPD ever more pathetic to the observer. It’s well to remember that even the crying infant goes to sleep if ignored long enough.

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