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The Advice Goddess: July 2015
Thursday, 09 July 2015 16:19

Rise and spine

My fiance is good friends with his ex-girlfriend from college. (We’re all in our 30s.) She isn’t a romantic threat, but she’s become a source of stress. Long before I met my boyfriend, they began hanging out at a local bar together twice a week. They still do this, and I go along, but I’ve increasingly found these evenings a draining time-suck. When I don’t want to go, my fiance hangs at home with me. This prompts a tantrum from his ex-girlfriend, complete with a barrage of angry texts. I’ve tried reasoning with her, but she claims that when he was single, he “dragged (her) out constantly” so he still owes her. My boyfriend is a laid-back, nonconfrontational kind of guy and just says she needs to calm down. 
— No Wonder They Broke Up


They’ve translated the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it turns out they’re actually a 900-page list of everything this “friend” has ever done for your fiance.  

Okay, when he was single, maybe he “dragged (her) out constantly.” Unless he did this by unchaining her from the wall and yanking her to the bar on a choke collar, it was up to her to decline. Gotta love the notion that her companionship led to some unwritten indentured frienditude contract that he still owes big on. (One person’s friendship is another’s mob extortion scheme.) 

It’s your fiance’s job to be “reasoning” with his friend, not yours. (You’re marrying the guy, not adopting him and trying to get him into a good preschool.) You excuse his passivity by describing him as a “laid-back, nonconfrontational kind of guy.” Well, there’s laid-back, and there’s confusing onlookers as to whether you’re a person or a paperweight. 

The thing is, whether somebody gets to abuse you is usually up to you. In other words, your fiance needs to grow a pair (or at least crochet a pair and pop ‘em in) and then get on the phone. Tell him that he needs to tell this woman — calmly and firmly —something like, “You know, lovey, I’ve got a fiancee now, and I can’t be as available as I used to be.” He needs to shut down the abusive text storm the same way, telling her, “Not acceptable. Cut it out,” and then block her number if she keeps up the telephone thuggery.  

Sure, it’s uncomfortable standing up to a person who’s been treating you badly — an uncomfortable and necessary part of adult life. It’s how you send the message “Nuh-uh…no more” instead of “Forever your tool.” And here’s a tip: You don’t need to feel all cuddly and good about confronting somebody; you just need to do it, as opposed to cowering in fear as the Bing! Bing! Bings! of their texted multi-part tantrum come in on your phone. Start encouraging assertiveness in your fiance now, and keep letting him know how much you admire all the steps he takes. He could soon be a man who’s got your back when there’s trouble — and not just in the corner of his eye as he curls up in a fetal position and whimpers, “Donnnn’t hurrrrt meeee!”


 (c.) 2015, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ( 


‘Jacksonland’ offers harsh portrait of former president
Thursday, 09 July 2015 15:10
Special to the Daily Planet     

For the man on the 20-dollar bill, the night of June 1 at downtown Asheville’s Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café was not a good one.

Andrew Jackson is a main character in the new book  “Jacksonland” — and its author, National Public Radio journalist Steve Inskeep, was less-than-complimentary about the seventh president.

Inskeep’s address, which lasted about 45 minutes on the 33rd anniversary of the opening of the popular independent bookstore, drew about 175 people.

“This is Andrew Jackson,” said Inskeep, referring to a slide. “He’s run-down, his facial features are wrinkled and he’s painfully thin. He’s just fought a bitter duel where he’s killed a man....

“He was a slave trader and a greedy real estate speculator,” Inskeep, who hosts NPR’s Morning Edition, said of Jackson. “He was an unbelievable character.”

The biggest real estate deal brokered by Jackson was with Native Americans for the Deep South, termed Jacksonland. 

Inskeep’s book focuses on Jackson’s dealings with the Cherokee, in particular his dealings with one John Ross, principal Cherokee chief from 1827 to 1866.

“He was an unbelievable character, too,” Ingress said of Ross. “He was a man who considered options — he wanted the Cherokee to be ‘in’ on the system.”

But, according to Inskeep, being in on the system did not mean — to Ross  — ceding ancestral land. Several times Ross filed lawsuits with the Supreme Court to squelch Jackson-led removal efforts.

An 1835 ruling by Chief Justice John Marshall establishing a Cherokee nation was countermanded by then-President Andrew Jackson leading eventually to the Trail of Tears, which, Inskeep called, a sad chapter in U.S. history.

At bayonet point, about 46,000 Native Americans, including 1,600 Cherokee, were forced from their homeland. Because of heavy rains, snow, disease and starvation an estimated 4,000 Cherokee died on the forced walk to Oklahoma.

In “Jacksonland,” Ingress does not dwell on the tragedy’ instead the ending of his book focuses on Cherokee life just prior to the relocation. “They were planting corn, they were building houses,” he writes. “It was civil obedience.”

A photo in the book depicts modern-day Cherokee, N.C., heart of the Eastern Band Cherokee reservation and home of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, the mega-revenue-making for the Cherokee nation.

“It’s assimilation,” Ingress said of the casino. “It’s what John Ross envisioned.”

Inskeep then voiced even more harsh words about Jackson, who called Ross a “scamp” and who wrote that Native Americans “have savage habits....

“In addition to all this Jackson was a bigamist,” Inskeep said. “He married Rachael before her divorce was final....

An event attendee, Mary Olsen, said, “I don’t think he belongs on the 20-dollar bill. “I think it should be Susan B. Anthony.”

Attendee Toby Ives asked, rhetorically, “I don’t know why we’re so unpopular in the world? Do they hate us for our history?”

Charlie Walter added, “It’s like Winston” Churchill once said, referring to the late British leader’s famous quote: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.”

Earlier, Inskeep was introduced as someone who has appeared on national television news programs such as “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press.”

 “Let me say this,” Inskeep responded, “There’s no greater honor than to be speaking in an independent bookstore.”



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