Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mid-Life Crisis

I just want to know when I am entitled to have a mid-life crisis. Is it possible to actually calculate how long I am going to live and then time my crises to occur exactly at middle age?

According to Wikipedia:
Middle age is the period of life beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. Various attempts have been made to define this age, which is around the third quarter of the average life span of human beings.
So I looked up the average life-expectancy of males and found that in Israel, that age is 76.46, at least according to the CIA World Factbook Estimates, 2008, as quoted in Wikipedia. So that schedules my mid-life crisis at between 38-57 years old.

I don't know if I can wait that long. I'm quite stressed out now and only 35. Actually, it's worse than that. Since I am from Australia, where the average life expectancy of males is supposed to be 77.8 years, I shouldn't have my mid-life crisis until I'm between 39-58 years old.

So this begs the question: what if I move countries? Do I take on the average life-span of males in that country, or am I stuck with the average life-span of my birth country? I'm guessing that since the average life span is a product of genes, environment and diet that it is a mixture of both. However, for the sake of argument, let's suppose that when you move to another country you adopt their average life-expectancy. It's only fair since you are also adopting their climate, health care system and crime-rate.

If I wanted to have my mid-life crisis earlier, I could move to any number of countries with lower life expectancies than Israel. New Zealand, UK, US, France and China all fit that criteria.

Swaziland has the lowest life expectancy, meaning that I could have had my mid-life crisis from when I was 15-23 years old. A bit early - I was married at 22 and hadn't even had the time to build up to it. I don't know how I would have managed to cope with a mid-life crisis at 15. That's just cruel. But according to the CIA, my next opportunity will be in Rwanda or Sudan, both of which will allow me to succumb to the pressures of life before my next birthday. Joy.

But what happens when you overshoot the average life expectancy of your country? By that stage you have already had your mid-life crisis, albeit too early. That could be a problem - what if you wanted another one? If you are still cranky between the ages of 47 and 71, does that automatically mean that you are going to live to be 95? Such questions should be left to the philosophers of the world. I undertook an extremely unscientific study of philosophers and found that the majority were German males who probably only have 75.96 years to figure this out.

But it really is comforting to know that I have the option to choose when I am going to break down under mountains of stress, and when I am not. Think about it, how much easier is it now that you know that you have a few years to save up for all of those expensive therapists? You don't need to spend time on the couch now, wait until you are close to the third quarter of the average life expectancy of people in your country and then pay a shrink to watch you go to pieces. Very economical.

But, of course, as long as you are at an age below the third quarter of your life expectancy there is nothing stopping you from practicing. Anything above that and, sorry, but I can't help you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Things That Make You Go Boom

A non-exhaustive list of flatulence-causing foods. Add more in the comments! Looks like nothing is safe!
Source: The Internet

Apricots
Artichokes
Asparagus
Baked beans
Bananas
Bagels
Bean salads
Beer
Beets
Black-eyed peas
Bog beans
Bread
Broad beans
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cereals
Cheese
Chickpeas
Chili
Corn
Cucumbers
Dressings
Eggplant
Field beans
Fruits
Garlic
Ice cream

You fall within the normal scale if you produce between 1 to 4 pints of gas per day.

Kohlrabi
Leeks
Lettuce
Onions
Parsley
Peppers, sweet
Seeds
Lentils
Lima beans
Mung beans
Peanut butter
Peanuts
Peas
Pinto beans
Most individuals release a little burst of air through the rear quarters approximately 14 to 23 times each and every day.

Potatoes
Pretzels
Prunes
Raisins
Red kidney beans
Sauerkraut
Sodas
Soybeans
Barley
Breakfast cereals
Granola
Oat bran
Oat flour
Pasta
Pistachios
Rice
Rice bran
Rye
Sesame flour

Cows actually burp and toot so frequently that they are responsible for about 15 percent of all the methane gas produced worldwide. This would mean that they are really not very environmentally friendly critters.

Sorghum, grain
Soy milk
Split-pea soup
Stir-fried vegetables
Stuffed cabbage
Sunflower flour
Tofu
Tuna
Wheat bran
Whole grain bread
Whole wheat flour

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hairdressers and Taxi Drivers

Everyone tries to be smart. Everyone wants to be clever. Everyone wants to get ahead. So you read newspapers, magazine articles and blogs to get to know what the pundits are saying about the latest economic data. You study the consumer reviews to make sure that you buy only the best value; and you work hard to obtain the right information to make the most informed decisions possible.

You just want to get that edge over the rest of the crowd.

So the name of the game is to keep all good ideas to yourself. Here's an example: Last time I went to vote I had to wait in line for a really long time. A friend of mine hobbled up next to me on his crutches. I was number 688 and he was number 734. Since they were only up to number 465, we both had a long wait ahead of us. Not so. Once they saw his crutches, Dave was given VIP Gold-Club, Presidential treatment. He was in and out of the voting booth in about five minutes. Next time they hold elections, I’m going in with a pair of crutches.

Look what I just did -I gave away my idea! At the next elections 300 people will turn up with crutches! Silly me. Now my brilliant scheme isn't worth the pixels it's written on.

Makes you wonder about all that information out there. Take the wall Street Journal, for instance. Here is a newspaper with a massive readership. Most of the world reads the Journal. So if the Wall Street Journal publishes an article in which they announce that investing in Brazilian offal exports is the next sure thing, you can bet your bottom dollar (and you just might) that they are misinforming you big time.

How so?

They say that those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, administrate (click here for the whole spiel). Like stockbrokers, if these supposed "experts" were any good at their jobs, they would be multi-millionaires. Why would they bother writing 2000 words about the latest financial Garden of Eden, when they could keep all that information for themselves and away from the hungry masses?

I'll tell you why: Hairdressers and taxi drivers.

Once Bob the taxi driver passes on the tip that stock in Paradise Ferrets is hot, it's too late. They don't mind telling you because once that info hits the papers, the opportunity is long gone. The financial analysts have already plundered that investment. There will be nothing left for you except the dregs. And the next time you let Pierre prune your mop, you'll find out that it's best to sell right now - everyone is doing it! By this time the price has dropped like polonium-filled potato and you've committed the ultimate sin of buying high and selling low.

So how do you get ahead of the game? What's the winning formula? I know the secret, but that would be telling, wouldn't it?