Sunday, November 13, 2005

Numberless Broke Coeds Make Lemurs Into Pillows

These are the Stooges. Quizilla says I am this '77 punk band. How about you?

Yesterday was lost. Almost as soon as I finished the blog post, a foul mood descended. The kind full of self-hatred and existential terror where the sky seems the gray of despair viewed from the recesses of one's own navel. Fortunately, I know for myself at least, such melancholies pass. Live through them, and I come out on the other side downright chipper. So, here's some junk for you to mull over should you choose. The weekend isn't over for my novel.

1) John Cleese has a lemur species named after him. Here's a helpful page of strange taxonomic constructions including species named for celebrities, myths, naughty parts and practices, and fictional characters. There are lots of rocker names, huge amounts of Zappa, and the ubergeeky naming from Tolkien and scifi. It's chock-full of amusing gems for those willing to scroll and read.

2) The Straight Dope addresses numerology By the time they've surveyed a pile of competing systems, you'll find something you like. If that one doesn't consistently satisfy, you can always roll the dice and pick again.

3) As Chris Rock jokes, are people gettin' real proud of not knowin'? Being infected since birth with incurable curiosity, I can't empathize with people who don't want to know anything, and are proud of -worse, satisfied with- being ignorant and useless. But since longevity studies tie intellectual engagement to longer, heathier lives, I suppose the dumbest lemmings will fall off the cliff soon enough. But see now where my vocational school idea makes sense? I would say curiosity and willingness to embrace new information are key components of adaptability and innovation. These collegiate lumps of unambitious sediment actively repel education as it's classically defined. Certain types of high achievement require a larger, internal framework of knowledge than simply how to plagiarize a paper by Googling a Wikipedia entry. For these, we require the kind of big thinkers who grow their capacities through challenging studies. If you won't study a broad sweep of sciences, philosophy, history, or the arts in their most complex and rarified manifestations, you don't need a university. You need trade school. And journalism is a trade, too. So sue me.

4) As college grads complain and journalists concur that it's harder today to reach the milestones of life, they remain willfully clueless about what were common financial sacrifices people used to make for homes and families. Weddings didn't cost tens of thousands, restaurant dining was a treat, and the common amount of money spent today on personal grooming and adornment would, I bet (even in adjusted dollars) strike speechless the prototypical middle-class household of the 1950s and 1960s who supposedly had it easy. I'm not saying everything's wrong today, just that when one's modern priorities are very different, it's invalid to judge from that position what someone else accomplished who sacrificed what you won't.

In this article, one person blames circumstances for her unwillingness to follow a professional career that she (I believe ingenuously) claims is her "passion". Others keep throwing more money and school time into career fields oversupplied with candidates. College is an investment, and I think it's more important to make it wisely than just to show up. Today, you can almost name your price as a pharmacist after a 4-year degree. In fact, many below-MD level health care fields are sparse in employees and the wages, benefits, and competition for staff have gotten higher, likely not to subside in the next decade certainly. So what's up with the almost useless thousands of Media, Communications, and undergrad Psychology degrees from undistinguished institutional incubators of venereal disease? If people graduate these progams knowing its from it's, you're from your, and their from there, I'm knocked down. Only this generation's upper-middle class have grown up with enough thoughtless comforts to expect that unspecialized knowledge and/or skills, conspicuous status-driven consumption, and broad swaths of costly leisure which rival the lifestyles of those born wealthy in less developed countries are the natural analogs to fiscal security.

The way normal families used to live would be considered lowly, embarrassing, and poverty-scented today. People also tend to undervalue how ever-cheaper technology has diffused society at every public and private level. Today's very average life looks cushy (and longer) by comparison to a very average life decades ago. For example, 30 years ago, a friend of mine was one in the pile of kids jammed into the station wagon, without DVDs or Gameboys, but next to a tin of sandwiches made to last for crossing the country, and thereby avoiding roadside expeditures. This, not a Disney cruise or Camp Kidtainment, used to be a normal family vacation. Now, it's fodder for comedy. I still enjoy an old-fashioned road trip, but I'm defective.

5) Will a chirping pillow help you sleep in stressful times? Soldiers in Kosovo say yes. But I couldn't post the picture of this freaky Warm Whiskers pillow on a woman's face- not public domain- so link here and see if you think an, eyeball-nesting zombiepuppy looks desirable.

1 comment:

April said...

Sorry about your foul mood...wait until you get the weather we had today. 60 MPH winds and gray skies. Actual gray skies..not the ones brought on by intense navel gazing. I wanted to kill people. And it's heading your way, dear. Batten down your hatches, mentally. Lose yourself in the Nanowrimo!

Anyway...I realise that people should choose their college courses wisely...but my idea of college was that you should study stuff that's of personal interest to yourself...and then you try to make your niche, and a well paying career out of it.

I agree that if a person likes a high falutin' lifestyle..they should probably go into fields that bring the noise, money-wise. If I wasn't such a dolt at math and chemistry(which is math), I would have gone for the pharmacy gig. Lots o' bux there! I'm still thinking about it, actually. I could get tutoring.

My personal passion, though..lies in botany..and there's not much money to be had there, that's for sure.

So, what's a person to do? If I knew the answer..I could be an advisor at a university and make a decent living, LOL!