Blog Posts by Erin Flaherty, Shine staff

  • Married to the War Part 3: Interview with a marriage counselor

    In Part Three of our Married to the War series, we speak with St. Paul, Minneapolis-based clinical psychologist and marriage counselor Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D. to get an expert's opinion on military couples and what they can do to cope.

    What are the greatest challenges couples face when they are split up due to circumstances they cannot control such as war?

    My basic position is that a husband and wife should not be split up. Even marriages where one spouse travels on business during the week can be at high-risk for divorce. I was teaching for 10 years and wasn't sure if I could support myself counseling, then I got started with employees of Northwest Airlines. Due to job-related separation, I had more work than I could keep up with. Besides airline employees and members of the armed services, physicians, lawyers, politicians and entertainers are others whose job puts their marriages at-risk, basically anyone whose job dominates their lives to the point where they forget they're

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  • New OTC paternity test saves you an embarrassing visit to The Jerry Springer Show!

    Concerned about the paternity of your child, but not interested in whoring you and yours out on any one of those tacky daytime "news" shows? If that's the case, never fear! The long awaited new over the counter Identigene DNA Testing Collection Kit is now available at your local drugstore!

    Why, Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern could've saved thousands of dollars in legal fees and international embarrassment if they had access to this far more discreet way to prove fatherhood! Of course, it takes a willing accomplice--both the father-in-question and child must submit to a cheek cell sample (easily gotten with a simple cotton swab, handily included in the kit). The kit is now being sold for just $30 at local Rite Aids and Meijer stores (conveniently located near the at-home pregnancy tests!), although as usual, the fine print is what really trips you up: Unlike your average pregnancy test, if you want to actually get these results, you have to mail in your test and pay a not so

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  • Dear Margo: How to smother a relationship

    DEAR MARGO: Last February I met an amazing woman online. We have been talking ever since, and we have met. On those occasions, we have been intimate. In many ways I feel I've found someone with whom I feel safe. However, I have always had many friends of the opposite sex. Recently, my best one, who lives locally, has been dealing with some personal issues. As a friend, I was spending time with her, babysitting for her and listening to her without the judgment she was receiving from her family. The problem is that I have been open about my friendships and what I do on a day-to-day basis. Now the woman I love is feeling betrayed, which has put a dent in my long-distance relationship with the woman I feel a complete love for. Had I told her nothing of my friendship, there would be no issue. Now I am trying to make her feel comfortable with a friendship that has never been inappropriate or intimate. She says she just needs time. In the meantime, I have become a recluse from my other

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  • Help put an end to rape in Darfur

    Amnesty International USAAmnesty International USA

    This weekend, join thousands to help put an end to the unimaginable human rights abuses taking place in Darfur. Amnesty International just released the following:

    "On the Global Day for Darfur on April 13th, tens of thousands of citizens around the world will call on their governments and the United Nations to act decisively to get the joint UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on the ground more fully and more quickly so that the children of Darfur - and the millions of civilians affected by five years of brutal violence and displacement - can live in peace.

    Many in the United States have become familiar with the human rights abuses that plague the Darfur conflict region. Others are just learning of these abuses, and what they can do to help. The conflict in Darfur, which has spread into eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic (CAR), has led to some of the worst human rights abuses imaginable, including systematic and widespread murder, rape, abduction, and

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  • Married to the war: Stop-loss, interview with director Kimberly Peirce

    Today our Entertainment Editor Anne Ichikawa interviewed Kimberly Peirce, the director of the new film, Stop-Loss (she also directed an Oscar-winning little film called Boys Don't Cry back in '99). I haven't seen Stop-Loss yet, but I've been reading the reviews, and the film, which chronicles the battles Iraq soldiers must face both overseas and back home, it sounds like something everyone should see. Here's what Peirce has to say:

    What made you want to make your current film "Stop-loss"?

    "I was in New York for 9/11 and I saw the towers fall and that was really devastating to me as it was to everyone. When we declared war, I immediately knew that I was most interested in the soldiers. Really deeply interested in why they were signing up, what their experience in combat was and their experience coming home. The stories of the soldi ers were so profound and moving; I started interviewing them across the country and what I discovered was that these soldiers signed up for these patriotic

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  • Have sexual side effects ever made you give up a prescription drug?

    "CDC: Antidepressants most prescribed drugs in U.S." Er, that's a recent highly um, depressing CNN headline. But it's no secret we're a nation of pillheads. Why, according to the article, 2.4 billion prescriptions were written in 2005 alone, and that's before an even higher percentage of Big Pharma advertising started not only appealing to doctors, but began occurring on TV, in magazines and other media more than ever before, beckoning us all to conveniently "ask our doctors" to fix problems we didn't even realize we had until now. But there's another problem that all this medication has presented, and all it takes is the proliferation of women dishing (not to mention Viagra advertisements), to realize that sexual side effects are a whole other side show being created by our voracious need for pills.

    Here's the crazy thing: Most women will tell you that they've experienced decreased libido and anorgasmia (failure to achieve orgasm)--not to mention the fun Ambien-related sleep sex

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  • Heavy petting: Who says elephants are the only animals that never forget?

    Daily Mail, UKDaily Mail, UK
    Welcome to "Heavy Petting," where love comes in all forms. (Aww...) Today, a love story so sweet and amazing that it has spanned decades: Last year, The Daily Mail ran a story about two '60s-era swingin' London chaps, Australian John Rendall and friend Ace Berg, who purchased a lion cub at the famous department store, Harrod's. (Um, sorry no, Harrod's does not sell exotic animals anymore.) The two King's Road furniture owners loved and cared for Christian the lion like one of their own until a chance encounter with the actors Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who walked into their shop in search of a pine desk, and got more than they bargained for, heh... According to The Daily Mail article, Travers and McKenna had recently starred in the film Born Free, which tells the true story of the wildlife conservationist George Adamson and his wife Joy, who raised a lion cub called Elsa in Kenya then rehabilitated it into the wild. Upon meeting Christian, they offered to take the growing cub

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  • Dear Margo: "When the girlfriend's mother is Mrs. Robinson"

    We're so happy to welcome Margo Howard, advice columnist extraordinaire (and daughter of Ann Landers).

    DEAR MARGO: I am a 32-year-old man. After a string of older women, I have happily, though uncharacteristically, been dating a woman eight years my junior for about a year. I am deeply in love with her, and we have been seriously discussing moving in together. She is unusually close to her mother and sings her praises every chance she gets. For the most part this praise is well deserved. Her mother gave birth to her at 16 years of age and still managed to give her a pretty good future, even as a single mom. Unfortunately, her mother has made some obvious passes at me. It started with affectionate behavior and light flirtation, which included playful allusions to my former lovers and how they were her age rather than her daughter's. One might dismiss those as mere jokes, but a few recent incidents can't possibly be dismissed as such. I'm not at all sure she would believeRead More »from Dear Margo: "When the girlfriend's mother is Mrs. Robinson"
  • Pete and Ashlee, engaged!

    Gustavo Caballero/Getty ImagesGustavo Caballero/Getty Images

    Maybe you've already heard that Johnny Depp is finally marrying long term partner Vanessa Paradis (sigh), but today miniature couple Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson made the following announcement:

    "We know there has been a lot of speculation recently about Pete and I, and we wanted our fans to be the first to know, because you guys are the best," Simpson said in a statement posted Wednesday on People magazine's Web site. "Yes, we are thrilled to share that we are happily engaged."--Yahoo News

    Somehow, this isn't nearly as upsetting as losing our beloved Johnnycakes.

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  • Surprising ways to bond with your partner (that don't involve mud wrestling)

    Maybe mud wrestling or nude volleyball is a tad extreme (or depending on what kind of couple you are, the answer to all your problems!?), but life being as stressful as it is, blah, blah, blah, it helps to remember that relationships take as much work as everything else in your life. And if you're a hopeless romantic like me, you'll agree that it's worth it to put a little time and effort into keeping your ties with your loved one strong, right? Suuurrree...

    Clean house together
    No, really. A new study may say that married women have more housework than singles (and it even goes so far as to suggest this is the husband's fault!). Ouch. But instead of taking this information and seething, you can turn lemons into well, Pledge!? and devote a weekend or even an evening to clean together. Play your favorite music and make a date out of it. Not only do you feel you're both pitching in an equal amount of work, the bonus is you get clean digs at the end of it.

    Form a book club of two

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