Monday, June 23, 2008

It's a Violent World and It's Your Fault!

I suppose that the majority of parents want their children to live full and happy lives, free of violence, murder, death, pain and suffering.

According to this article about school violence:

"The fact is, violence of one sort or another is part of many schools today. Fortunately, this usually involves a small group of people fighting amongst themselves...Since the 1992-3 school year, 270 violent deaths have occurred at schools across the nation."

So, in other words, it's fine for kids to shoot each other, as long as they only do it among themselves. Sounds like a plan.

The article goes on to report staggering statistics about how many schools across the United States reported violent crimes on school premises each year, stating that the rate of violence has decreased. They warn:

"We must fight against this complacency without overreacting. We must fight to make our schools safe."

Isn't that akin to "KILL ALL EXTREMISTS!"

But it is our own fault. We have taught our kids to be violent.

How? Language.

Case in point: what did I learn in English class in high-school? To Kill a Mockingbird, Macbeth, Julius Caesar (among others) - all wonderful and highly acclaimed works of literature about rape, lying, murder, assassination, treachery and death. Just the sorts of things you would want your teenage children to study in depth. And we say that movies and computer games are responsible for youth violence! Harumph!

That's not to mention the fact that the English language itself is rife with oft used violent expressions:
  • break a leg
  • give my eye tooth
  • give my left arm
  • cut off his nose to spite his face
  • kill time
  • roll with the punches
  • beat a dead horse
  • to step on his toes
  • to force one's hand
  • to bite the hand that feeds you
  • a dead ringer
  • she cried blue murder
  • stick out like a sore thumb
  • ankle biter
  • it's a slap in the face
  • you beat me to the punch
  • like banging your head against a brick wall
  • hit me with your best shot
  • keep your eye on the target
  • hit the target
  • He's such a riot
  • to tackle a problem
  • better than a kick in the pants
  • when push comes to shove
  • he's a real lady killer
  • keep your nose to the grindstone
  • to gang up on someone
  • won the battle but lost the war
  • on the warpath
  • blinded by the light
  • straw that broke the camel's back
  • to put your nose out of joint
By educating these children we are turning them into thugs. By teaching them language skills, we are helping them to destroy society. Literacy is dangerous. Plain and simple. Keep the kids in the dark. Better to be stupid and alive than educated and dead, I say. Drugs and alcohol don't cause gang wars, Mrs Miller's 8th Grade Book Club does!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's Good I'm Not A...

I'm scared of heights, so it's good I'm not a professional hang-glider. That knocks out one profession. Given that there are possibly hundreds and thousands of different professions, and variations thereof, I suppose it isn't really practical to decide your future career by process of elimination. There are other ways to choose the direction of your career.

I like straight lines, so it's good I don't design modern office buildings.

I guess the easiest way to decide what career you want to have is to create categories of professions and strike out the categories that don't suit your personality or abilities. This way you can eliminate entire blocks of careers. For example: outdoor jobs, indoor jobs, computer jobs, scientific jobs, jobs involving animals, community jobs, finance jobs and so on.

I faint at the sight of blood, so it's good I'm not a professional hit-man.

So once you have knocked out the categories of jobs you don't like, you can then focus on the careers that seem appropriate. Try to think of things you like doing and see what professions fit. While doing this, it is important to keep in mind that some hobbies don't translate so well into real paying jobs. For example, just because you beat the heck out of your opponent on your PC kick boxing game, it doesn't mean that you will be any good inside a ring. You have to be realistic.

I like my tongue moist, so it's good I'm not a philatelist.

Also, think of the special skills you might have that will come in handy in your chosen profession. For example, if you are good with numbers, an accounting or finance job might be interesting for you. If you get on well with animals, taming lions might be your cup of tea. Or not. It all depends on you, your personality, your skills and whether or not you have a death wish.

I have a memory like a sieve, so it's good I'm not a doctor.

So you really have to take into consideration all of the factors, make informed choices, research, ask questions, talk to people and decide carefully. Once you have done that you will finally realize that nothing you choose will be exactly what you want, you don't know yourself as well as you thought, circumstances are limiting and so you will probably end up wherever life takes you.

According to this article:

"The statistics show that workers between the ages of 18 and 38 change jobs an average of 10 times"

That doesn't necessarily mean that the 18 to 38 year olds change careers, they just change employers, but sometimes they change careers, too. So, you see, no matter how hard you try to plan, you are almost guaranteed not to get it right.

...and it's good I'm not a career counselor.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Do We Eat Too Much?

I have been mulling over the question of whether or not we eat too much. Do we really need three meals a day, or will one or two suffice? Even if we eat healthily, are we being wasteful by eating too frequently? And is there too much emphasis on food in our lives?

Do a quick Google search for "eat too much" and you will find all sorts of sites about eating too much meat, not eating enough meat, eating too much salt, and not eating enough salt. It seems like every few years something on the "do not eat" list becomes healthy and vice versa. So don't despair, in ten years scientists will announce that gorging oneself on salty, oily, sugary, snacks is good for you - only, gorge in moderation.

A rather long article in Time magazine boils it all down to society and culture: "We eat together when we celebrate, and we eat together when we grieve; we eat together when a loved one is preparing to leave, and we eat together when the loved one returns. We solve our problems over the family dinner table, conduct our business over the executive lunch table, entertain guests over cake and cookies at the coffee table."

We have moved food from being merely a means for survival into a social ritual. But, nutrition and parties aside, food has unquestionably infiltrated itself into other aspects of our lives. So much so that even our lexicon is overflowing with gastronomically related expressions:

- to chew the fat
- too much to stomach
- spews forth information
- hunger for knowledge
- thirst for the truth
- bit off more than he could chew
- bite sized pieces of information
- eating her words
- have his cake and eat it, too
- to eat humble pie

...and so on and so forth. No wonder we are all so food-focused.

As interesting a picture as this may paint for you, whether you like it or not, food is on your mind.