smart kiddies sacrifice life enjoyment for unneeded skill

I can’t remember how old I was but it must have been middle school and I got roped into the National Geographic Society Geography Bee by my school. I didn’t plan on this at all, I don’t even think I knew what it was. They threw all of us into the mix, but I was into history and that comes with maps. So all of a sudden I find myself in the finalists room for the entire school with 30 or so other kids. And I’m like, what the hell just happened?

I get one of the hard questions right and a fellow student of mine is so impressed/mad that he physically punches me in the arm with full force (in today’s stupid bubble wrapped school world, he’d sadly be expelled for such behavior). Then I get derailed by “what causes the planet’s U shaped valleys?” I said the Ice Age, they said glaciers. I still contend I was right enough to get the question called correctly! But back then I wasn’t the internationally recognized flintlock pistol dueling master I am today, so I had to take my loss with grace. I think I placed seventh in a very large school. Good, not bad.

I never ended up ever doing it again. It just didn’t matter to me and eventually I aged out of the competition’s block. I had other things to do too, I played oh so many, many, many sports, loved family and friends, read a lot, watched a bunch of television, played video games. As in, I was a kid. Later in life I ended up catching some of the Geography Bee on television (I can’t remember why or where) but I see this kid win it all. And in the victory interviews his Mom is like, (I’m paraphrasing), “Oh, all he does is read atlases.” And I feel so, so sorry for this kid. Somebody get the kid a baseball glove! For fuck’s sake.

Yesterday eight kids simultaneously won the Spelling Bee. Because apparently kid competition talent is so elite and trained these days that spelling “erysipelas” is a no brainer for 2/3 the side of a soccer team of kids. Spoiler alert, these kids don’t play soccer. They sit at home and read a dictionary. Some of them or even all of them actually hire private spelling tutors to compete in these events.

All for what? Well, $50K certainly helps. But really who needs to spell obscure words? I’m not sure how many common words are used in the course of a normal English conversation, but I’m pretty sure erysipelas isn’t needed. So is this a useable skill for these kids in their lives? No. Is $50K nice? You bet. Is it worth channeling these kid’s lives into a single comprehensive goal? No way. It’s why I find television cooking competitions for kids so personally offensive. I love to cook, but man, those kids, all they do is cook. It’s wrong. Kids should be kids.

And in general, I don’t really like the idea of a kid (or any human for that matter) channeling a life into one supreme task. There are too many awesome things to do in life. I don’t want to be the best at geography, I want to be good at many, many things. Or even average at a whole bunch of things. Kids should be the same way. We have a whole bunch of belligerent ideas on this degenerate blog, but I’d ban the Geography Bee, Spelling Bee, Robot Bee, Accountant Bee, Human Resources Bee, all of it. Let kids be kids.

smart kiddies

go get a basketball! immediately

3K chickens show humanity a potential path forward

If anybody ever tells you the game isn’t rigged, they are either:

a) Uninformed

b) Stupid

c) A member of the political, business, entertainment, and/or educational elite that rigs said game every day

Get used to it folks, it’s not going to change. For you see, the folks who the bulk of the population think are out to fix the game (usually politicians) are actually all card carrying members of (c) as outlined above. They’re like a plumber who offers to fix your water heater (for $2.3K) after he’s bashed it in with a hammer whilst on meth.

But not to worry, every once and a while the planet provides us a nugget of a potential way forward. In France, a few thousand chickens ganged up and got themselves a fox corpse. I mean it’s not like they downed a wolf or a komodo dragon, but it sure is something.

Do not doubt the power of numbers. We’re not necessarily saying that 3K or 6K or 10K peasants need to rush the mansions of Bezos or Zucky. But even their legions of Stormtrooper guards can’t possibly stand up to those numbers. Just food for thought, in case such tactics become necessary someday.

rigged game

“I want my daughter/son to get into Berkeley.”

“Why yes, ma’am, we can arrange that for a tidy application ‘fee’.”

[cluck, cluck, cluck]

“What is, what is that sound?”

[cluck, Cluck, CLUCK]

We support vicious teenage bar fights

Have you ever seen a movie of a future where the humans are enslaved or are otherwise some form of automaton drooling slug? It’s going to happen. Or is it? Yes.

Now most of you (none of you) are probably wondering what I think of the People’s Republic of Donetsk Air Defense Corps’ inability to read internationally recognized aviation identification codes. Well, to be honest, I don’t have it in me today. Maybe next week. I guess. Just say a prayer for everybody. Even the missile guy who pulled the trigger. Everybody. That’s enough for now.

So last week The Economist ran a long piece on why young folks aren’t the disaster society claims they are:

They reference trends that show drug & alcohol use, sex, and violent crime are beginning to decline among the Western world’s youth population. These are clearly encouraging changes. So why is this happening?

The Economist roughly sites:

– Increasingly aggressive enforcement by the enforcers

(because the enforcers love to enforce the rules upon your soul)

– The increasing average age of population as a whole

(we’re having fewer kids than pandas)

– Rising education levels that make teens less likely to act like fools

(although the overall value of said education is in question)

– High pressure by society for kids to perform

(because it’s important to know lots of math so you can forget it later)

– More supervision by parents

(even though the parents didn’t have their own lives wired when they were young)

– And a whole slew of other factors which may or may not be important

(randomness can fog an article, just ask this blog’s author)

Kids can’t expect to have the time & money to burn on fun when they’re six-figures into debt before their 23rd birthday. When you’re just short of your 24th birthday, and you discover you’re again living with your parents, it’s harder to bring that person home for the night. How are you to overturn a flaming trashcan on Main Street when you’re trapped with Call of Duty or Instagram in your parents’ creepy basement (because they turned your old room into a Memorial to Satan)?

The Economist states:

For much of the 20th century, children were largely ignored and allowed to roam free. If they acted up, they were typically punished with violence. Now, however, parents are expected to be intimately involved in their children’s lives, says Ms Gardner. They supervise homework; attend parents’ evenings; go to prenatal and parenting classes; read blockbusters about child psychology.

How far have we gone in the other direction? In 1930 you probably had your 11 year old working in a sweatshop. After hours, they’d go screw off somewhere with their friends and the parents didn’t have a clue. Yet somehow the universe didn’t collapse. Go figure.

Now in Connecticut, if you leave your 11 year old alone in a lukewarm car, you get arrested and charged by asinine bureaucrats that rule our lives even though they’re all too stupid to run a newspaper stand:

This brings me to the core of why I have a problem with all this. From the article, I’ll let the Leeds barkeep lead off with his view:

“Kids these days just want to live in their fucking own little worlds in their bedrooms watching Netflix and becoming obese,”

Even The Economist, that ends its article with the optimistic line, “They want to build something better.” is forced to admit the serious drawbacks of our newly well-ordered adolescence:

What this adds up to is a generation that is more closely watched and less free to screw up. So perhaps it is unsurprising that better behaviour has not, as yet, translated into greater happiness. For all their disavowal of inebriation and criminality, young people are still proving more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety. They are often obsessed with their careers—and rarely satisfied. Young people repeatedly report less job satisfaction than their parents or grandparents.

In other words today’s youth are better behaved but depressed and feel worthless. Gee, doesn’t this sound fun! Aren’t we all so glad that we’re gallantly obeying the rules?

Their lives are completely controlled, by society, by the law, by their parents, but most importantly by their own brains. This is not a mindset that encourages creative thought, ambition, risk-taking, open brains, or all the other crucial things that make humanity special and enable our joy.

We’re raising a generation of compliant, faceless, joyless machines. To me, better a pot-smoking-hippie-douche than an internet-obsessed-sober-student-indebted-introvert. At least the hippie is outdoors and (in theory) believes in something.

I’ve got a better idea. How about we let a dozen teenagers roll off to a bar to drink (illegal), after the government mandated curfew (illegal), they blow ton of money on booze (unwise), they hook up with abandon (unhealthy), get belligerent with fellow bar patrons (unwise), and close out the night with a vicious teenage bar brawl (illegal).

Why do I advocate this? For two reasons:

1) Because after this one night there’s no disputing that those teenagers are alive. Truly hopping in mind, spirit, and body.

2) Because I guarantee you those teenagers will have learned more about themselves, each other, and life in that one night than all the required educational moments the culture imposes upon them. Even if every single lesson was learned the hard way? So be it.

So here’s to drugs, alcohol, sex, petty crime, and other nonsense teenage behavior. Because ultimately, we’ll all be a lot happier and prosperous that way. The alternative is a future room full of joyless ants, under the warm gaze & tireless orders of Grand-Parade-Ground-Major Obey.

Your choice.

bar fights

Keep swinging, pot’s in the corner, the girls & boys are all watching while thinking about sex, have another round on the house, feel alive, be happy.

Want to keep schoolgirls safe? Shoot them in the head.

We all want girls everywhere to receive extensive education. The problem is some men (not real men) are in the business of ending girl’s education because they want to live in the year 300. If you’re reading this blog, you probably think this is a bad idea. And so you desire a fair and equitable solution to ensure girls everywhere get what’s their right. Well, here’s your answer:

Shoot them in the head.

Either those men (not real men). Or the girls. Your choice. You have to pick one. Sorry.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban for the unconscionable crime of promoting literacy. She now tours the world advancing this cause. She’s got more balls than 95% of the male politicians in Pakistan. But unfortunately, what she’s doing barely matters.

There are millions of girls in Pakistan that wake up every day with the reality that their school could end before sundown. Yousafzai is an international star, but the Pakistani Taliban remains. The situation is the same across the border in Afghanistan. A resilient Taliban has among its broad goals a return to their enlightened days where learning how to conduct basic math was an insult to their honor (not real honor).

And in keeping with these delightful themes is Boko Haram. They have an equally emphatic goal to burn down schools and eliminate knowledge. It’s even their name. Like Yousafzai, the abducted girls of Nigeria are now a global cause. Like Yousafzai, nothing substantial is going to come from it.

The various Taliban factions, Boko Haram, and so on, all have one thing in common. They are all lunatics. You can negotiate with them all you want, but they’re not going to change their minds. When a belligerent psychopath produces a moral and physical threat to your values, and is beyond reason, you’re left with two options:

a) Ignore them

b) Shoot them in the head

For years, the world chose option (a) with regards to Boko Haram. Despite all the noise of the last week, I assure you, the planet is still choosing option (a). Want to save these girls? Don’t login to a computer program unless you’re prepared to advocate for option (b). Want to support Yousafzai’s cause? Lobby for option (b).

You hate the idea of Western “boots on the ground”. You despise war. You are the first to shout at the West when it throws its weight around in the world like a “bully”. You wouldn’t pay $4 a year in extra taxes if it meant funding a UN force in Nigeria. But you’ll get onto Twitter and tweet your support for the girls all day. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

If you do not choose option (b), you are accepting that you don’t really care. In this case, don’t bother speaking your mind about “your girls”. You’re just a hypocrite who likes to support causes for a while. Until you don’t care anymore, or move onto the next trendy cause that has your support for exactly twelve calendar days.

1) Push your local representative to get a UN or AU force on the ground in northeastern Nigeria. Then push for them to establish an international offensive force to comb the bush until every Boko Haram zealot is shot in the face.

2) Push your local representative to keep a small Western footprint in Afghanistan. Then push for them to make sure that Western footprint enables the Afghani security forces to comb the mountains until every Taliban is shot in the face.

3) Push your local representative to pressure Pakistan to mount offensives into Yousafzai’s homeland until every Pakistani Taliban is shot in the face.

Or, do nothing. Or, don’t care. Or, login to a social media program and generate a bunch of pointless words or hashtags. Any of these will result in more girls getting abducted or shot in the head.

Your call.


Afghanistan circa 2012; a man with a gun will either burn down this school or another man with a gun will keep it safe


When you consistently act like a cult, don’t be surprised when folks don’t join

We live in an age of perceived extremes. Everything is life and death. Did you vote for the guy somebody else didn’t, then you deserve torture. If you disagree with an opinion, you’re not misguided, you’re in league with Satan. If you want to go a route the other gal doesn’t, you must want to steal her soul. And so it goes with every single issue according to our enlightened media (not actual journalists) and their business & political masters.

Today’s needlessly over-the-top main event is whether a bunch of college kids decide to form a union. Apparently, if Northwestern’s football team votes to join, every college athlete will instantaneously fail every class, and every university sports program will go bankrupt before sunset. If they vote against a union, slavery will be reborn before sunrise. Even the junior varsity girl’s lacrosse teams will be trudging around in handcuffs.

Hey! Folks, calm down. It’s just a bunch of people arguing over fucking money! There’s an old married couple doing that right now over coffee. It’s not that big of a deal! Let’s at least talk about it in a reasonable manner.

Now I could offer my thoughts on this issue for about four hours, and maybe I will later, but essentially I am drawn to the view that the players are right without question. The second most popular sport in America is college football. That’s a lot of cash and the athletes don’t even get one dollar. Yes, scholarships, I get it, but we’re talking billions here. They can’t even give them a small stipend? Come on guys, it’s not that hard to solve, just give them something. Figure it out.

So some Northwestern players have decided that the solution to their clearly inequitable situation is to form a union. Is that the answer? Probably not. This is not the kind of problem you truly solve except through negotiation. Everybody wants to rely on the courts, or wholesale actions like this union thing. Again, it’s all about extremes. Don’t talk with your opposition, crush them, total victory is your goal. Negotiation is for weak, limp-wristed losers.

The problem with this viewpoint is most people’s brains don’t work that way. Humans are naturally inclined to take the less controversial route. We avoid conflict where possible. We generally don’t like to argue with our neighbors. We hate to take a huge risk just because somebody demands that we be angry. And so, what’s probably going to happen today is the Northwestern players are going to turn down the union.

Now the union types will point the finger at the university and the NCAA. That they soiled the minds of the players to the point that they had no choice but to vote against it. That this is part of an effort to keep the athletes in check, any way they can. First off, this will show the shocking (not shocking) contempt that the union supporters have for the ability of a college athlete to decide things for himself, and vote accordingly.

But I also want to say to them, well, certainly union guys, what did you expect the NCAA to do? You went for the jugular of the universities on this. Did you think they’d lie down and do nothing? When you don’t compromise, don’t whine when the institution you oppose chooses to fight back.

This kind of belligerent rhetoric has become a more common theme lately, or again, whatever. And consequently, why would anybody join a new union? Now generally, I try to avoid brutally criticizing some things (lie). I’ve never been in a union, and I can’t really say I’ve known too many who have. Of those who I know that have, some hate them, others love them. But I do know that for the most part they’re declining in overall membership. Why? I think a lot of it is because of what I’ve discussed earlier in this post, the tendency toward the extreme.

Unions have made the Northwestern issue about unions, when it clearly isn’t. It’s about the players and whether they are properly compensated for the risks they take with their bodies. The union backers will tell you it’s one in the same, that the potential union and the player’s futures are intricately tied. They’re wrong. A union is just one potential answer to the player’s problem. It is not the one, final solution.

When all the union dudes show up and hammer the way they do, I think it really turns people off. When you tell a twenty year old college football player that if he doesn’t sign up for the union that he’ll continue to be a slave, I think you’ve achieved the exact opposite of your intention. He’ll look around, and roughly determine that things aren’t like that from where he sits. He’ll trust his coach and his university before he trusts the screaming, bizarre asshole demanding he join. I think he’d say something like this:

“Hey, you know what, I should get paid for what I do. But generally my deal isn’t all that bad, and I really trust my coach and kind of like my school. I want to get paid, but man, this union guy really sounds like a psychopath. I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got for now. There’s got to be another way.”

As another example, observe yesterday’s comments from Post Office union officials regarding the move to transition some functions to Staples. Based on what the union leaders said, you’d think that if this actually occurred, that the following things would happen:

1) Staples will steal your mail

2) All post offices will combust in flames, with kittens trapped inside

3) All postal employees will become unemployed and starving, their kids too

4) Staples will sell your mail to Hitler’s ghost, and use the proceeds to purchase narcotics

When you always reach for the fanatical, and brand those who oppose you as equivalent to religious enemies, after a while don’t be surprised when people tend to treat you like a cult. People don’t like cults. People don’t like extremes. People generally want to be talked to like they’re intelligent adults.

Personally, I’d be a lot more persuaded by a logical, coherent argument about why it’s a bad thing that somebody at Staples handles my mail. But it seems even the highest, most experienced Post Office union leader is incapable of doing anything but screaming on the street.

If the Northwestern players vote against the union today, you’ll hear the union supporters demonize everybody but themselves. Sometimes, the best thing you can do upon a defeat is look in the mirror.


One decent young man trying to do the right thing; surrounded by two cult members

Please don’t shuffle along until you die

We’d all like to believe that regardless of where we come from we can make it. There are literally trillions invested and tens-of-millions of people whose jobs exist to ensure we can climb the ladder. Guess what, friends? It’s all a waste. You’re doomed. Not only is the game rigged, but they’ve stopped pretending you’re even useful, let alone important.

Read the below link so you know what I’m talking. Or don’t read it, I don’t care, many of you might not understand what I’m talking about anyways because I’m a bizarre idiot. Or you’re an idiot. Or maybe we’re both just sleepy. Either way, if the website asks you for money, don’t read it. Jeff Bezos already has more money than Satan. He doesn’t need the 1.4 cents from your click: 

So essentially a corporation wants to open an egg plant in the middle of nowhere and hire forty people with good benefits. The point of the article is they can’t get it done because there is a lack of qualified applicants. These aren’t bad people, they just don’t have the skills and experience necessary to operate and maintain machines that will do the work that people used to.

First off note how a plant that breaks over one million eggs a day only requires forty people to run it. The robots are truly taking over. I have no idea but I assume that fifty years ago the same one million eggs a day capability required ten times as many people.

Remember that all the robot inventors and smart (foolish) experts will tell you that having machines do all our future tasks will liberate society to do other things. So the people in this article who were rejected from the egg plant all get to become artists, writers, and adventurers. Except that they don’t. They’re unemployed and desperate. Here’s what it’s going to look like folks. Don’t let the machine making men fool you. This future of gears, microchips, and tungsten is going to do wonders. But it’ll also be a horror.

Also note that our friend Bernie is supposedly a master at this hiring thing. Unfortunately for him, he’s also can’t seem to understand the very people he’s supposed to employ. Illustrated here is the growing gap between those who have made it in the knowledge economy and those who haven’t. Not only can they not work together, they can’t even relate to one another. Bernie believes in Japanese philosophy that is just as alien to these people as Arcturan battle tactics. Hey Bernie, they don’t care. They’re just trying to make it in this cruel world. You said you eat salad every night. They eat frozen chicken, store bought mac & cheese, and fast food. They’re not stupid people, they’re just not like you, please try and understand.

Thus those who run the knowledge economy have pointed to the importance of getting everybody educated to the point that they can perform. This is the reason for the efforts behind getting everybody through some kind of college. Apparently, attendance at university is going to prepare everybody for the enhanced worker skills necessary to build, operate, and maintain the robots necessary for the egg plant to work. Yet, as we can see here the education system is so broken that we have a substantial portion of society that can’t even fill out a competent resume. This is the most basic of tasks necessary to find work in the knowledge economy. And they can’t do it. Again, they’re not bad people. I just think nobody’s ever properly taught them.

We owe more on defaulted student loans than we have gold on Earth and this is the result? Now you’re going to kindly inform me that college graduates weren’t up for the interviews in this article so it’s not relevant. I substantially disagree. I submit the result would have been the same. Talk to anybody hiring these days and they will delightfully inform you how utterly worthless most young university graduates are.

I suspect the reason is that most degrees are of no use to our modern knowledge economy. So many are taught pointless, worthless subject matter that they’d be of no use in an egg plant just like most of the people in this article. Even allegedly hard core, necessary subjects like science and math fall short.

In theory, I have science degree. And yet twenty days after graduation I took a supervisory job over eighteen scientists and engineers. Anybody want to guess how much of my very expensive, hard worked degree was of practical value? Almost none. I could have studied occult worship and been equally as effective as their boss. I was truly shocked at how worthless it had all been. What did I get other than that blessed check in the block?

We’ve invested trillions in a system of primary, secondary, and university education that doesn’t deliver. The result is you can’t hire forty folks to break eggs anymore. How do we fix this? I think a lot of the growing efforts at apprenticeship and vocational schooling is probably the answer. Forget college, go take an apprenticeship as a plumber. Everybody’s needs water, right? Tell the social studies professor to eat it, go to a vocational school that teaches you how to program industrial robots. We’ll all need lots of robots, right?

My Grandfather was a heavy aircraft mechanic. My Grandmother worked as a librarian. They were so poor they could only go out to eat once a year. And when they did it was to the same small pizza parlor every single year. They did it to welcome spring. But all four of their daughters went to college with degrees in business, medicine, and hard science. What we need is this kind of social mobility. It’s essential if our functioning democracy is to endure. And I fear we either no longer have this or that we soon won’t.

So you’re probably asking why I consider this a good thing when I just got done trashing education. Well, I guess it’s because thirty years ago I think a degree actually meant something. I get the feeling that today’s university is about plush dorms & cool gyms. It’s a business model not designed to distribute educational content, but an experience. Back then the dorms sucked, there was no gym, but they had good classes.

As I grew up and developed the conception of what a job was I was surprised to learn what my Grandfather did. Why? Because in all the pictures of my Granddad he’s wearing a suit, tie, or at the very least a collared shirt. That was how it was done back then. Aircraft mechanics, store clerks, tax men, and so on. It didn’t matter. You got dressed.

Contrast that with the performance and attire of those mentioned in the article. Now granted, I’d commute to work each day in pajamas if they’d let me. And I’ve generally found that appearance and performance are not always equivalent. So I guess I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say here other than that this strikes my brain as a symptom of the larger issue.

Once you’ve got the job maybe jeans and pajamas are okay. But you’ve got to at least prove you can look reasonable. When a substantial portion of society can’t wear one decent set of clothes, show up on time, or hold a conversation then don’t be surprised when a substantial portion of society is permanently unemployed.

Everybody’s failed us. Each political party, social organization, or human entity has a plan to solve these problems. None of them are working. These people want your money or your votes. But you need to ignore most of what they say. They can’t help you even if they truly wanted to. Not because they’re evil people, but because they don’t know you. To them, you’re just a spreadsheet metric. But the guy interviewing you for the egg plant job wants to get to know you.

You’re on your own. Government, education, corporations, social organizations, whatever. You’re on your own. You have to make it as best as you can. Use the resources these aforementioned folks are offering you as necessary when you can. But be skeptical of what they’re extending to you.

It seems to me that as we grow into this newfangled modern world of ours that the further we go, the more we are separated and left to fend for ourselves. All our modern institutions are failing us. Don’t believe even the most dedicated, genuine zealot that there is help out there for you. There is, but they’re not going to fix things for you. They can’t. The problems are too big for them to solve. They’ll fall flat.

Take control of your life. Don’t plod along until you’ve consumed your share of oxygen and then die. Make something of it, fight back, try and live well.eggs

You can work for the robots here; but you have to earn it on your own.