Dithering Gen X Caused By Dithering Sociologists

X stands for the unknown in mathematics and that is how Gen X (full disclosure: I am a Gen Xer) gets perceived by the world. It’s not just that both surrounding generations (the baby boomers and the millenials) have a much larger population and thus get the spotlight more often. It’s also that practically no traits have been ascribed to Gen X as a whole.

Can’t Gen X make up its mind what it wants to be? I definitely think that this is the case. But there is much dithering because there is no concrete definition of what a Gen Xer is.

The baby boomers began to be born just after World War II. This generation is supposed to end sometime in the sixties. When that is, exactly, is undefined.

The baby bust happened sometime in the early to mid sixties. Sociologists are still duking it out about when exactly this event occurred. Gen X is the baby bust. So the lead Gen Xers are undefined. The lead baby boomers got followed everywhere. From overcrowded nurseries to overcrowded schools to overcrowded work places and overcrowded retirement homes.

But how can you follow the lead Gen Xers when you don’t even know who they are? Gen X has been said to start anywhere between 1960 to 1967. I wouldn’t know where the press should begin even if it wanted to.

The end of Gen X is firm. Very close to the end of 1982 the baby bust ended. So those born in 1983 to 2000 are the millenials. They used to be called Gen Y but since they have firm leaders the term millenials has taken over. They don’t want to just follow Gen X.

And the current crop of babies and kids is “Gen Z”. What they choose to name themselves is still up in the air. After all they are still under age. Both latter generations have firm starts so they have firm traits.

Gen X still gets thought of as wishy washy or the unknown that I mentioned at the top of this piece. I’ve seen articles about millenials that confidently lists their traits. In this respect they have already outdone Gen X in their visibility and seeming assertiveness.

Sociologists I call on you to do something simple : agree with each other. Gen X may have fallen to the way side simple because of its lesser population. But if a beginning is struck, perhaps Gen X will get one tiny article on some obscure blog site one day that outlines its traits. Then I can finally see what we are.

Until that time comes I’d like to change that X in Gen X into its Roman numeral or the perfect ten that I know we are. Take that, other generations.

And sociologists are the true ditherers in the generational saga.

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Guaranteed Way of Beating the Freshman 15

The much dreaded “Freshman 15” refers to the gain of 15 pounds by university and college freshmen. We know this pitfall exists so why haven’t we done anything about this? In this era of increased obesity amongst younger people maybe we can use my guaranteed method of fighting the freshman 15 as the first salvo in a successful war on obesity.

I can hear many of you doubting that I actually have a guaranteed method to fight the freshman 15. Allow me to plant my seed of an idea. If all those young adults never leave high school, how will they encounter the freshman 15? I’ll say it more proactively. If students never leave their high school they are highly unlikely to encounter the freshman 15.

We can peek at all the possible causes of the freshman 15. There is the stress of leaving Mom and Dad’s house. There is the stress of living away from home. There is the forced learning of how to cook good nutritious meals for the first time. There is the opportunity to spoil your next meal with too many chips or cookies. There are the constant pizza parties. There is the sudden and new intake of large amounts of alcohol.

If you never leave home you will never encounter these stressors. If you never leave home your parents can continue to stock good foods for you. If you never leave high school you will never have to navigate new social groups ever again. The price your parents might make you pay for staying at home would be to not abuse alcohol like most college students. In fact they might limit you to your high school consumption levels.

But surely I don’t expect everyone to remain in high school. Students would get bored studying the same curriculum again and again. (Wouldn’t this drive them to drink and overeat?) How would society function if everyone were stuck in high school?

The grade 12s would graduate. Then return to classrooms of the high school where they graduated. But they would telecommute to universities and colleges all over the world. After they complete their post secondary stint they could graduate to the workplace – also in their school. We have the technology to telecommute to both work and school. Why shouldn’t we take full advantage?

Fine, I’ve saved everyone from the freshman 15 and even the possible first job 15, but where oh where are we going to put that next group of grade nines that wants to go to an already full high school?

I freely admit that we are going to have to build a new high school every 4 years but look at all the savings. Instead of all those expensive and award winning college and university buildings, all we have to build are boring high schools. I’m sure the government will end up saving more money after all.

Real commuting will all but cease, leaving the roads free to the pleasure driver.

But most of all we will have beaten the freshman 15. How much type 2 diabetes and all its costs will this move save?

Now that we have this under our belts, we can move onward to childhood obesity. Who will come up with that guaranteed plan?

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Replacing the Few With the Many

A couple albums ago, the band Yes was faced with the prospect of not having a keyboardist. Big things are expected of a Yes keyboardist because such people as Rick Wakeman, Tony Kaye, Geoff Downes, Patrick Moraz and Igor Khoroshev have filled that position. So, like any overachieving act, Yes filled the position of keyboardist with an orchestra.

Ever since, the rest of Yes have been quaking in their boots. Who knows what asymmetrical fixes might be tried if any other member were to leave? Previously it was thought that only a few of the top musicians would be eligible for membership in Yes.

But at the same time, all members must be smiling a bit amongst themselves. One Yes member had been replaced by a whole crew of musicians. I’m sure their chests must be puffed out with pride knowing this. So let’s look at what might be used to replace the other members of Yes.

Seemingly the central position in a lot of acts is the lead singer. Now I know you are a step ahead of me and think that the singer for Yes might need to be replaced by a choir. But not just any choir.

My brother Lani has oft described Jon Anderson, Yes’s most prolific lead singer, as sounding like “Mickey Mouse on helium”. So obviously a choir founded on bass voices is not a good replacement. Instead, let us scout out boys choirs, or (when the material is more adult), a woman’s choir might make a good replacement.

A committee of choir members might write the lyrics. Perhaps if we had every member of that say 20 person committee write a word and other words in 20 word intervals, perhaps we might end up with something as random as say Jon Anderson, Trevor Horn, Benoit David or the current John Davison might write.

It wouldn’t be right if the position of guitarist were taken over by another orchestra. Attrition might result and we might get only one orchestra to represent the one guitarist as well as the one keyboardist. So I say we go to jazz music and find a big band to replace the guitarist be it Steve Howe, Trevor Rabin, Billy Sherwood or Peter Banks. A big band would be wonderful to replace in-your-face lead notes like those coming from a distorted guitar.

The position of drummer, be it Alan White or Bill Bruford, could be filled by the rhythm section of a marching band. Plus you could have the band march and thus be a visual thrill for audiences.

Then what can you do about the position of bassist? Well every Yes album has Chris Squire owning this position. So much so that he is the man with the rights to the Yes name. Having never left the band he is perhaps the least prideful of all the members. I don’t think he has a need to challenge the rest of the band with more musicians than the other positions were filled with.

I suspect Squire would want the band to be progressive in his absence. As such they could replace him with one normal bassist, one slap bassist which can add punchiness to the band, a stand up bassist for some awesome slides not available with a fretted electric bass, and a cellist for that low and lengthy sustain.

So there you have it. The band Yes could easily be replaced by about two hundred musicians. Imagine the size of stage necessary. What a spectacle this would be. To some this might just be a fine end point for progressive rock music. It certainly is excessive and over the top just as Yes might want. Once and for all time Yes would have their most sought after feat. Yes would be the prog rock band with the most members ever in the line up.

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Baby Boomers Were Crooks

I may not prove the title in an air tight way in this rant. I am just going to posit this statement and make suggestions for how I see things.

Others have danced around the obvious here. They have shown that crime rates peaked when the boomers were young adults. Crime and especially the more violent crimes have fallen over the last number of years as the baby boomers have aged and have become more violence adverse. This has been a North America wide situation.

One of my assumptions is that young people commit the most violent crimes. Why? Because that young person is more likely to win in a fight or violence showdown than those over 40 and those under the age of majority.

I haven’t gone over the crime stats to see whether the police and others pointed the finger at baby boomers as being the cause of all this violence. I do suggest that someone should do the proper research to either prove or disprove my title assertion.

As well, it is possible that there were more crimes when the baby boomers were young adults simply because there are more baby boomers than people of other age groups. Really this comes down to a matter of degree. Real statistics are needed to assign severity to the correlation I have pointed out.

What I can show is that illegal drug culture expanded exponentially when boomers were young. These blatant drug crimes have become commonplace since the time of the boomers and thus is born the legalize marijuana debate and laws. This is because people (many who are boomers) still indulge. When even presidents of the United States admit publicly that they put marijuana smoke in their mouths, you know that most boomers were crooks – at least with regard to drug laws.

What I can also show is that baby boomers had the opportunity to be crooks. There are so many boomers that schools and hospitals had to be expanded all through boomers’ lifetimes right up to the point that now senior services are being expanded like never before. With that kind of a population bulge, boomers are left with less guidance per capita and less policing by their elders. Boomers had the opportunity to be crooks and many, I think, took it.

I know it will never hold but I, as a Gen Xer, suggest we change the term ‘baby boomers’ into the term the Crooked Generation.

I offer this post so it can go against the wind of marketers who are still telling baby boomers they are wonderful and even that they were wonderful in their youth.

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Maybe You Can Take It With You

‘You can take it with you’ is what the ancient Egyptians were told. This led to huge tombs for the rich, where not only did they mummify your remains, but they also gave you a large stock of what you might need from this earth in your next life. To me this was an age where capitalism reigned supreme. Not only did merchants have to supply the living but they supplied the dead as well.

Of course this unfettered capitalism also led to grave robbing, but that is neither here nor there.

A case might be made by a greedy modern corporation for ‘taking it with you’ at modern day funerals. Most people nowadays still believe in an afterlife, it’s just assumed that this afterlife is so terrific that you don’t need earthly goods in that place. A wise, super capitalistic corporation would question this.

It is also true that especially devout modern believers in heaven, also see a value in turning their backs on the goods of this earth. Many monks and nuns have been known to honour vows of poverty. Could it be that this is a good skill to develop on earth because any heaven might have a shortage of worldly goods? Yes, of course, it would be a hugely spiritual place, but that focus might forget or offer only as an afterthought modern amenities. So perhaps we should begin ‘taking it with us’.

When I first heard of this sound system in a coffin, I thought it was a simply stupid offer. Now that I see that the higher power might not provide this in a heaven of their own choosing, I see the practicality of it all.

But far from this coffin being an endpoint of luxury, now I see it as just a start. Why leave technology up to the higher power. After all it is widely known that one of the most dangerous sites to visit for computer viruses are often religious groups. We can work around this deficiency when we die by burying ourselves with some of that great tech.

And when we become pack rats even in death, we can leave the worldly plane with a smile on our faces. After all we will help capitalism and the economy of the world of the living by trying to take our goods with us.

Selling this idea I now leave up to the mighty corporations of this earth. After all, they are going to profit off this the most. They should tell us that we can take it with us in ads so cute we can’t resist doing as we are told.

Don’t forget if you’re a stockholder and your CEO and other hires don’t follow this greedy capitalist path, then they are communists. As such you will have to sue your hires into compliance. That’s what some recent laws are for – protecting the primacy of the shareholder. Carry on.

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Creating the Feel of an Incumbent

Being the incumbent is a giant aid in politics. That’s why the incumbent’s signs say re-elect so and so.If the incumbent wasn’t favoured, those signs would all say more simply elect so and so.

But right now the Kitchener, Canada mayoral race has no real incumbent. Mayor Carl Zehr is set to retire when this election is decided.

The first thing to do to try to create the feel of an incumbent is to have your name be vaguely familiar to the public in some way. Mayoral candidate Dan Glenn-Graham achieved this by working the last four years as a city of Kitchener councillor.

But Councillor Dan Glenn-Graham’s main trick to creating the feel of being an incumbent is that he has a working time travel machine. Imagine that for a moment. I’ll outline how that goes.

It is my belief that Glenn-Graham went about 5 or 6 years into the past. Upon arrival he of course invested in certain stocks that will outperform the market by a drastic amount. But most importantly he went into the past to whisper into a CTV (Canadian Television network) executive’s ear. He said commandingly that, “I believe you should start a television show about a run for mayor. It should be called, ‘Dan for Mayor.’”

All that is history now, and many Kitchener residents watched the national show religiously. Why? Because it was shot in Kitchener, Waterloo and Hamilton. Local residents could play “Where’s that location?” I personally remember Kitchener City Hall, a Kitchener appliance store, a Kitchener old timey water tower and Waterloo’s Heuther Hotel.

The fictional city of the story was called Wessex. But we all knew it in reality as Kitchener. The title is the slogan Dan for Mayor and I bet Dan Glenn-Graham did his best to stop himself from using that on his campaign signs. But still Dan and Mayor are of course used prominently in his Twitter handle of @electdanmayor .

Glenn-Graham could have done much worse with his time machine. This way he just has the feel of an incumbent, and someone else could still win.

Some will poopoo my time machine explanation. The only way to prove it would be to examine Glenn-Graham’s stock portfolio to see that he invested brilliantly some five or six years ago. I don’t have to. I know that Dan for Mayor is no casual coincidence. [Edit Sept. 21, 2014: That's Glenn-Graham and not Glenn Graham]

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Science Leaks

Not only does Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper muzzle government scientists, but now in a strange new twist he has begun taking the limelight for their discoveries.

One of the ships from the 1845 Franklin Expedition was found. The Franklin Expedition was sent to find a Northwest Passage from Europe to the western Americas or even Asia, through northern North America. This passage was never found until the modern era. Expeditions were foiled by ice and the other problems of the Arctic.

The scientists probably worked on this discovery for years. Stephen Harper traipsed on the scene very recently and suddenly he’s pronouncing a success. It now looks like Stephen Harper is promoting science when in reality he is a bigger driver of slowing science down.

Muzzling scientists and keeping them silent ruins transparency. Transparency is important so scientists can avoid unnecessary duplication and extreme specialists can keep tabs on their field from all over the world.

You may agree with keeping some science top secret and thus not transparent. This may be a wise thing to do but it surely slows science down. Suddenly all countries must have a team unnecessarily duplicating every other countries’ teams. Science and technology advance more quickly when everything is shared.

So might I suggest a new internet and world presence. It would be called Science Leaks. Maybe this organization would be best represented by an Ecuadorian, maybe someone named Jillian A. Sanchez. Sanchez would do best to have expertise in computers, politics and of course science. We pick a female because one is less likely to have real or imagined sex crimes against her.

Government scientists of any country would be encouraged to leak the science they feel should be part of the world conversation. This definitely includes Harper’s Canadian scientists working in the climate change field. Science would progress faster because of the sharing.

And if Sanchez were to be trapped in say the Icelandic embassy in Australia, she could simply point to military secrets that were also leaked to the site but withheld to maintain world stability. How zealous would America, Britain and Sweden be in prosecuting Sanchez if say all stealth technologies might be made freely available to the world? Science Leaks might have more teeth.

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) @ ^^ ^, I’m Good

I like to think of this site as having a sort of offbeat yet highbrow humour. But search results cut my ego down to size. One of the most popular searches that leads to this site is: “spelling sh*t with symbols”. Well I may not be highbrow, but I know when I have been popular and how to replicate that. So today we learn to spell d*mn with symbols.

I of course gave it away in the title of this post. There is a trick to using these symbols. I use two carets (also known as ‘hats’) for the m and one caret for the n. The trick to making them look like letters is to use a space between each. So I’ve used a space between all four ‘letters’. So thus we have: ) @ ^^ ^ , and of course thinking back to our earlier $#!+, we can get ) @ ^^ ^^ ! + .

These are good for using your typewriter’s keyboard. But to get that ultimate swear word we have to search far afield for different symbols. For the F, I say we start in music with the bass clef symbol. This symbol actually is an F but is so stylized I think we can get away with it. The symbol is such that the line between the two dots that represent the arms of the F is the note F. (Indeed, in the more popular treble clef, that symbol is a stylized G and where you finish drawing the G is on the line that stands for G.)

The U might be represented by the symbol which represents the short vowel in English. The C can of course be represented by ( . I have no way I know of for making a symbol K. If anyone has ideas say so in the comments. But sounding out the word makes the K almost unnecessary. Thus we have the misspelt word as:


H*ll is the last of the big five swear words. I could take the easy route and let you know that it can be spelled upside down in LCD lettering by 7734. The 4 doesn’t work out on most computers and software. I could fix it with the pound symbol, which also contains an upside down H. Thus we have 773#. Still, I think we might be able to do something right side up.

Decades ago during my childhood, we had an old typewriter that contained the pound symbol. I mean the symbol for the British pound currency. It was a stylized L which ought to be good for our Ls. The North American pound symbol or the number symbol might be on British keyboards, too, and thus be used for the H since it contains an H. The trick here is that I’ve always thought ampersand looks sort of like a curvy E. Thus, someone with a British keyboard might be able to spell out:


We North Americans will have to draw it out because, alas, our computer keyboards can’t make this either.

So what is the point of all this? Maybe we can hack the old strategy of substituting swear words with random symbols. This was usually done in the comics to allow kids to know that adults are swearing but not actually using the words. So all you comics artists out there, won’t those kids be surprised when they turn a little older and find meaning in those symbols? Won’t adults be angry when you slide this in for their kids? Don’t worry, if you lose your job I hear that drawing for a more adult market is more fulfilling anyway.

So due to the bad nature of my ultimate intent, perhaps I should have called this piece: ) @ ^^ ^, I’m Bad. But Michael Jackson has corrupted bad into meaning good, so as you see we are stuck with the original title.

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Does Nature Equal Cats?

doesnature=catsSo does nature = cats ?

Yes, if nature demands you feed and water it, clean its litter, and pet it if it is so inclined.

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Homophone Poem

“Don’t tarry Terry,”
Said hairy Harry,
“Parry Perry,
Bury Barry,
Carry Carrie,
And marry Mary!”

While this homophone poem may have been observed in the past, it might have been uncovered in another accent where bury might not be a homophone of Barry. So at least one line might be different. It seems my ears have heard brrrree from some people.

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