Generation Non Violence

Despite the hippie-trippy peace and love thing, the Baby Boomers were decidedly not the non violence generation. Indeed they were the opposite of that. In their time of youth, roughly when they were about 18-30, was the prime time for muggings. Remember muggings? They were a regular thing in the 70s. Muggings are a physical assault or a threatened physical assault for the purpose of robbing someone. Peace and love? The irony is pretty heavy.

Statistics all over North America show that violent crime was at its peak during the Baby Boomers’ youth. Then there was a long decline in violence that continued from the end of the Baby Boomers’ youth all the way until a handful of years ago when violent crime began to escalate again.

So which generation was responsible for the dropping numbers? The numbers dropped during Gen X’s youth. Of course there should have been a drop anyway as there were fewer Gen Xers. But the continued decline is more than the scant numbers of Gen X youth would attest. Gen Xers as it turns out were less violent than the preceding generation.

I’ve been racking my brain for reasons but I only have come up with one that makes sense. The Baby Boomers had fewer adults per each youth. Adults over 30 who could help put the Boomers on the right path. Gen X, in North America was also known as the Baby Bust. There were more adults over 30 for each Gen X youth. Supervising the youth over this time was easier.

Why Millennials kept up the non violence of Gen X, I don’t know. Maybe it was the complete eradication of violence as a punishment in schools. Or the gradual disappearance of corporal punishment at homes in favour of the famous time out. Maybe participation trophies actually do help society at large.

Why violence has started to increase in Gen Z, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the thought that they might be the last generation ever. (As noted by their end of the alphabet moniker.) But honestly, Gen Z, it just started with Gen X being the unknown generation. X stands for unknown. Millennials were very early on known as Gen Y. Thus you were known as Gen Z. Don’t ask me what they will tag the next generation with.

Anyhow Generation Non Violence could be Gen X’s new moniker. As a Gen X member, I would love to see an agreed upon name for my generation instead of the placeholder Gen X. Gen Z start suggesting names now for your generation or you will be stuck with a placeholder name for most of your lives.

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Bodybuilders in Space

Bodybuilders in space might seem like a pipe dream to you but there is one reason why it might happen. Astronauts in significantly longer trips than to the Moon (like to Mars) will need to exercise at least 4 hours a day.

The reason for this is because people lose bone density when they are under weightlessness. Exercise slows this progression. More exercise means it is slowed even more. Bodybuilders are known for their exercise tolerance. So maybe they will be the first ones sent to Mars.

Otherwise, the first words we hear from Mars could be, “That’s one small step for a AIEEE! man , one broken leg for a man!”

Bodybuilders may be a natural, but they have this nasty habit of preferring to exercise with free weights. “No,” their commanders will tell them. “You must exercise with resistance bands.”

The argument will go on for a long time. Then the commanders will say, “Absolutely not. Every kilogram of mass means it’s more expensive and harder to lift the rocket.”

“Are you saying you want scrawny bodybuilders, too? That’s it. I’m out.”

It would seem that the bodybuilders to Mars program is over. But the commander will have one more trick up his sleeve.

“Have you thought about doing a space walk while en route? In it you can touch the outside of the rocket and say you are going to bench press the whole thing without the bench. Just move your arms like you are bench pressing the rocket and have the selfie camera filming it like you are at rest and the rocket moves.”

“But everyone will know it’s a trick.”

“And you can say it’s a law of physics. Each time you pressed the rocket it moved a tiny bit. It’s all relative you might say. They might even think you know something about relativity.”

“I know. I’ll say work out smarter, not harder. I’ll get my own chain of gyms and become a national icon.”

With that settled they only had to fiddle with the details.

But no matter how hard they fiddled, the bodybuilder refused any exercise except free weights.

And that’s why there will be no bodybuilders in space.

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A Tale of Two Vices

Smoking obviously can cut back on your life expectancy, quality of life and can spread the risk to others (second hand smoke). As a result we’ve seen since the millennium a crackdown on where smoking is allowed and more and more grotesque warnings.

There has been uptake by the community on the topic of smoking. The percentage of people who smoke has shrunk and shrunk and shrunk. I believe even including the people who now vape, the percentage is lower than at the turn of the millennium.

On the other hand, alcohol consumption has really come out of the dark since the seventies in Ontario. From windowless hidey-place bars to glassy, who-has-the-best-view-while-getting-drunk bars of today.

Big wine was the first one to say that their product increased life spans. They said some mumbo-jumbo-resveratrol and, tadah, they had the suspected substance that made wine good for you. The reason they hadn’t realized it in the past had to do with mumbo-jumbo binge drinking. People had just been drinking wrong. If they just managed a drink or two a day, that would be good for them.

Big alcohol soon saw this and saw the error in their ways of promoting binge drinking. Mumbo-jumbo, tadah, suddenly studies found that 1 or 2 drinks a day of any alcohol would actually increase your life span.

That was the last decade or so. Finally big science had it’s say and slowly, tediously and methodically they said more than 1 or two drinks of alcohol per week cut down your life expectancy. And it can definitely cut down on quality of life with a number of cancers and other illnesses it can cause.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the consumption of alcohol had increased in the last couple decades, what with mumbo-jumbo studies backing them up and all. But now we know the truth.

I have seen some of the numbers and am going to cut my alcohol consumption in half. Take that big alcohol. If those of you who are annoyed with the ) @ ^^ ^ alcohol companies and also did the same, perhaps we could decrease their profits. Some could quit alcohol completely. Some might cut down less than me. But together we could affect big alcohol’s bottom line.

We could make sure every beer or serving of alcohol had a warning label. Perhaps covering ½ of the drink. We could banish alcohol to less visible spots. No windows on bars as they used to have in the province of Ontario.

But wait, some of you might say. Alcohol doesn’t have second hand smoke like cigarette smoking has.

Yes, but still some bad fights are blamed on alcohol and then there is also drinking and driving. Perhaps we should have stiffer sentencing for both of those?

If we put up a good, solid, kind of campaign against drinking we might get the numbers down against big alcohol. Like we did with big tobacco. I’m not the kind of optimist that thinks we can erase it like in prohibition, but we can get the numbers down.

Then, perhaps we can tackle vaping and marijuana consumption. It seems to take a decade or more for real science to evolve from the issues. Which means we might have good numbers about vaping now. And soon we should have some against marijuana use.

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A Lesser Super Power

I was probably 6 or 7 when my parents brought out a brand new pair of rubber boots for the younger kids in my family. They beamed when they did. It was almost as if they were giving us a lesser super power.

It was a beautiful spring day. The season was probably the reason for this gift. The mud of spring is almost legendary. So I put on my brand new boots and went outside. Our neighbour had just recently plowed his field.

But instead of circling this field, I knew that I could head through it in any direction I saw fit. So I headed out straight across it in the way the crow flies. And indeed it was more or less fine getting halfway across this field.

But I guess I just ran out of luck for suddenly one of my boots just went “Sploosh!” and I couldn’t lift it back out of the mud. I didn’t know what to do or what had happened. I guess it was just the suction power of the mud. I gripped on to the sides of the upper boot and pulled but still couldn’t get it to lift. No matter how hard I tried to pull I just couldn’t lift that boot out of the mud.

Nowadays I realize I could have dug with my hands at the outside of the boot and eventually I would have gotten it out. But my hands and upper clothing would have been very muddy. I didn’t think of this and eventually I just abandoned that boot. I slipped my foot out of the trapped boot and and walked back to the non muddy area.

My sock and pants were very muddy of course. Plus I no longer had a pair of rubber boots. Just a single boot. I don’t recall getting in trouble. I realized having the boots wasn’t a lesser super power. Or, if it was, it was one that you had to have knowledge about to wield properly.

I only had a lesser super power for about a half hour. I must say for most of that half hour I was enjoying it.

So that boot was stuck in the middle of the field. I don’t know what the neighbour planted that year, whether it was corn or a grain. But I can imagine a family with a bag of corn asking, “Doesn’t this corn taste a bit rubbery to you?”

“Why yes it does. Perhaps we should return it.”

I’m sorry family, I didn’t mean to mess up your meal.

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Another Grab Bag O’ Humour

In the latest television advertisement from the McDonald’s Corporation, they brag that there will be no leftovers. Well McDonald’s, I don’t think that’s something you want to shine a light on. Or people might think of portion size versus other restaurants.

It’s kind of like Lean Cuisine microwaveable meals bragging that there will be no leftovers. Their limited portion size (which is normally considered a feature) would be considered to be a detriment by the discerning consumer.

At McDonald’s you can have your crispy chicken and eat two. But it’s twice as much. And likely there will still be no leftovers.

* * *

We didn’t have a cottage in my family so we rented one when I was 5 and 15. The same cottage for a direct comparison.

When I was five, it had an outhouse to go to the bathroom in. Yes we were actually roughing it a bit. So my definition of a cottage back then was sort of between camping and a home. And you didn’t have to pitch a tent when you arrived, which was handy.

When I was 15 we had an indoor flush toilet at the same cottage. I much preferred living in this cottage. It was gradually leaning more towards a home than a camping adventure. A home directly on a lake that is.

This was 40 years ago! All those people who have cottages have added to them since then. There is no doubt that they are nearly as luxurious as the family home. I believe that you can no longer call them cottages.

Indeed, I know some people have wheedled out of going to the office and can now do it remotely via computers. Those people I bet will live at their cottage all summer. From now on they must call it their summer home.

* * *

Why do comedy trios always have a Larry? It was Larry, Curly and Moe in the three stooges. It was brothers Larry, Darryl and Darryl on the Newhart show in the eighties. What is it about the name Larry? I genuinely want to know because I share the same name.

Why it’s hil-LARRY-ous of course.

Which brings me back to my university days in residence. The group of us in our house included a young man named Hildeberto. We called him Hil for short.

Whenever someone would make a bad joke I would say, “That was Hil” and point at Hil, “Larry” and point at myself then twirl my pointed finger in a circle around the group and say “Us”. I must have done this about ten different times.

The moral of this story is don’t make bad jokes or you will be mocked by a serial bad joker.

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The King of Pop

Rolling Stone magazine has been taking a lot of flack for dubbing Harry Styles “The King of Pop”. Michael Jackson was known as the King of Pop in that era of music and his fans and family don’t think that Styles should be able to take up this nickname.

When I first heard about this I laughed so hard. I like when Rolling Stone gets into trouble. In my youth I tried reading a Rolling Stone review of the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe album. Rolling Stone panned it because they said it sounded like the band was playing different songs at the same time. Maybe different complementary songs. Rolling Stone probably also likes Chopsticks to be played with only one finger, too. Anyhow, I hate Rolling Stone.

But then again they may be on to something here. When royalty dies, there is mourning and immediately that royal figure gets replaced. So let’s look again at the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis died in the seventies and anyone at all could have taken his title. Since no one did at the time, the current generation can steal this. How about Ed Sheeran as the King of Rock and Roll?

Then how about Whitney Houston being known as The Voice? There’s a bit of debate to that as Paul Rodgers of Free, Bad Company and The Firm had some calling him that. Also a country star, Vern Gosdin was also known as The Voice. But Whitney’s fans have been the most vocal (get it?).

But again, Whitney has passed away, so perhaps the title ought to be passed on. To avoid Rolling Stone magazine getting naming rights, I suggest we name Adele as The Voice.

Then there is Bruce Springsteen, also known as The Boss. Now it’s true that he hasn’t died. However he is past retirement age. That’s when employees usually get shuffled into retirement. Yes, even bosses. The board of directors should have taken away his The Boss title years ago. Oh well, they can do it now.

I hereby dub Drake as The Boss. You may question, why him? But I live in Ontario near Toronto and in these parts no one questions him as The Boss.

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Groundhogs vs Farmers

Farmers hate groundhogs. I believe this began many, many, many years ago. It was when farmers first attached plows to horses and that first nasty incident occurred. Some poor horse put one moving leg inside a groundhog hole and it broke that leg. For those of you who don’t know, a horse with a broken leg almost always needs to be put down. So that early farmer was left without an animal to pull the plow.

Thus the long hatred began. While it’s true that farmers only rarely use horses to plow anymore, those groundhog holes can still do a number on a tractor or its many attachments. So farmers still hate groundhogs.

And maybe farmers would have wiped out groundhogs by now. But an odd spectacle called Groundhog Day began and suddenly some groundhogs were protected by other humans. Just to see if the animal saw its shadow on February 2nd.

It might seem like all you need is one groundhog. But the truth is, to have one successfully bred groundhog in perpetuity, you need many living groundhogs.

And Wiarton Willie, the Ontario, Canada groundhog is by preference white and therefore an albino. While the managers of this groundhog had been successful with having albino groundhogs for many years, last year they didn’t have a white groundhog and Willie was a normal brown groundhog. Still they are on the lookout for a white groundhog and if one is found, current Willie won’t last as the lead groundhog for life. He will be shamelessly replaced by any albino that is found.

Of course for one albino in a set of groundhogs to occur, you usually need thousands of groundhogs. That means that Wiarton Willie organizers, if they can get back to having an albino groundhog, are responsible for thousands of ground hogs being alive. These organizers are the antithesis of the farmer exterminators.

Naturally the farmers are angry and have been trying to usurp the pseudoscience of groundhog day with the pseudoscience of the Farmer’s Almanac.

The primary difference between the two is that Groundhog Day uses only one pseudo science and predicts the start of spring whereas the Farmer’s Almanac uses many pseudosciences to predict the entire winter season’s weather.

Who will win the epic battle of prognostication? The farmers or the groundhogs? We might never know for sure with such things as the end of winter being such a vaguely defined term.

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Leo the Libertarian

Leo sometimes liked to do things a bit differently than other people. So one night of camping saw him in his sleeping bag outside the tent. He had wanted to go to sleep under the stars and moon. He had gotten his wish but he was rudely awakened by a pain in his neck. Reflexively his hand swatted at the pain and hit something. Almost immediately his eyes opened and he was wide awake. He felt around his neck but the something was gone. He felt wetness at the site.

He got out of his sleeping bag and looked at his neck in his car’s mirror. The wetness was a bit of blood that came from a wound. He reluctantly drove down to the ranger station at the entrance of the park. They took it very seriously, proclaiming that it was most likely a bat bite. They cleaned the wound as best they could and declared that he must get rabies shots. When Leo objected they told him that the course of rabies vaccines aren’t nearly as painful as they used to be. This calmed Leo so he agreed to go to the emergency room of the nearest town.

Leo drove himself to the hospital. The doctor saw him almost right away. “It must have been a bat bite,” said the doctor. “Most likely a rabid bat bite. I’ll start the course of treatment with one rabies shot today, then we’ll follow up 3, 7, 14 and 28 days later.”

“Let me get this straight,” said Leo. “I am to give you five full chances of putting microchips in me. You’re in cahoots with Bill Gates!

“Your life is hanging by a thread. No microchip is small enough to be put through a vaccine needle. You absolutely must get the course of rabies shots or you’ll die! That conspiracy theory is nonsense. Wait ! You can’t walk out of here without treatment!”

“I don’t need your microchips and I sure don’t need your lectures!” Leo was already out the door before the doctor had a chance to reply.

All the way to the campsite and back home, Leo’s mind was racing. A bat bite on the neck, he kept thinking, why did that have to mean rabies? Then he saw it. Couldn’t vampires change into bats. Maybe. And it bit him on the neck. That meant it had fed. Wouldn’t Leo now turn into a vampire when the change occurred? And wouldn’t that mean immortality? They were keeping Leo from immortality! That must be it.

Still, Leo looked for clues about what might come from the rabies literature. There was the roughly weeks long incubation period. He took that time to set up his home properly. He got himself a coffin for his bed and got blackout curtains for the windows for when it was daylight. Although he didn’t believe the garlic myth he still rid himself of that food stuff.

Soon the flu like symptoms came with weakness, fever and a headache. He quickly set up a meeting amongst himself and his local libertarians. He was calling the meeting “The Myth of Rabies”.

That night came and he managed to get to the lecture room even though he had bouts with confusion and felt delirious. Although he meant to give a rousing lecture, he could barely croak out what had happened to him and his thoughts on vampirism. The first question he went right up to the asker and instead of answering, bit her on the neck. She screamed and it felt good to Leo,

Of the 20 libertarians, 10 ran away at this. A couple tried to pin Leo and the rest were frozen at first. Leo bit the wrestling ones on the arm and on the shin. But they finally managed to hold Leo. One of the frozen did the unthinkable and called the police.

The police took Leo into a private cell and left him there while taking the statements of the bitten. All of the bitten got their course of rabies shots while Leo, who had wanted immortality so badly that he started all this, died for his wish.

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A Strange of Aliens

This post will build on two previous posts. The first one was An RPG of Nerds, where we expand English’s creative side. Groups of animals are called very different things, like a murder of crows or a parliament of owls. Here we extended that to groups of humans.

The second post we are building on is The 6 Basic Characters and the 5 Basic Settings. In today’s post, we could care less about the 5 basic settings. And 2 of the 6 basic characters have been done – that of humans and animals. So lets have fun with the 4 other categories of characters in groups.

The first category is aliens. By the title, you can guess that I think a group of aliens ought to be called a strange. This is a good word to encompass a meeting up of a variety of aliens. Like a United Nations of different planets or one of those inter alien bars that is common in science fiction. Similar words for this might be a unique of aliens, or a kaleidoscope of aliens.

But what of a group of very similar aliens? Like Earth was being attacked by a BEM (bug eyed monsters) of aliens. Or if they act like social insects, they might be simply called a hive of aliens. Or, if they hand out technology to earth that is meant to improve the place, they could be called a benevolence of aliens.

The next category is robots or computers. How about a mass production of robots? A generation of computers? A logic of AIs (artificial intelligences). How about a prosaic of robots because they are so predictable?

The next category is godlike or near godlike creatures. I don’t even have to make up a word for a group of gods because English already has the term a pantheon of gods. Since gods can likely replicate themselves, if they so choose, a group of Thors could be called a thunder of Thors. There are so many gods and mythologies that this could be a fruitful area for someone to explore.

The near godlike creatures could be angels or demons. It might be possible to have an order of angels (notice that religion already uses this word for a group of adherents). On the other side you could have a chaos of demons.

Next we have the lesser magical creatures. How about a flight of fairies? Or a wise of wizards? Or how about the semi magical races? You could have a habit of hobbits. How about an ugly of orcs? A slender of elves? An adept of dwarves?

And since this piece has already mentioned science fiction characters, I am reminded of one that would likely fit under the category of humans. Clones would likely go under this label. I would call a group of them a repeat of clones.

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Grab Bag O’ Humour

Christians have been calling God, Father, since at least the holy trinity and the Lord’s Prayer. I say, why stop there? Why not liven religion up with other terms meaning father?

Why not call Him, Dad or Daddy-o? Suddenly religion feels less uptight and more interesting. Then the Lord’s prayer begins, “Daddy-o who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…” . His name would still be hallowed, just differently than before.

How about calling God, Big Daddy? There would be no way he could be confused with another Big Daddy. At their largest, a human Big Daddy might be 1400 pounds. But God is supposed to be everywhere, and be in everything. The mass of everything in just your house or apartment is probably much greater than 1400 pounds. Don’t forget to include the mass of your walls and roof as well! God is easily the Biggest Daddy of all! So the term fits very well.

* * *

You might say that you don’t fatten up cattle to eat, that you beef it up instead. While this may be true of most beef where you don’t want too much fat in your meal, it’s not true of wagyu beef.

There is a rumour that Japanese wagyu cows are given beer and massaged daily. This of course is not done in reality to even wagyu beef cows.

All wagyu cows are pampered a bit. Fattening them up properly is an art to behold. It takes them 3 years to reach 700 kg, something other cows do in half the time. The purpose of the pampering is to get perfectly fat marbled beef. It’s supposed to melt in your mouth when you eat this beef.

I would like to tell you from personal experience how it tastes, but I have never had the extra money needed to partake of this beef. And, for the last few years I haven’t eaten beef at all. So it looks like I’ll never know what this luxury tastes like.

* * *

Doesn’t “He’s got a screw loose!” sound sexual when you say it out loud? If you still don’t hear it, replace “got a” with “gotta”. Yes it’s very sexual.

If you say it to some huffy person, they might respond with, “I’ve gotta screw loose? I’ve gotta screw loose? No! You’ve gotta screw loose!”

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