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

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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:

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21606795-todays-young-people-are-held-be-alienated-unhappy-violent-failures-they-are-proving

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:

http://www.wfsb.com/story/25982048/bristol-mother-charged-with-leaving-child-unattended-in-car

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.

girl-school_full_600

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

#shootevilmenintheface