Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bachelors: Menace to Society or its Salvation?

Reader Mike emails this interesting article from New English Review entitled, "Bachelorhood And Its Discontents." This piece is definitely worth reading as it analyzes past and present thoughts on the state of bachelorhood. Some naysayers think that bachelors are a menace to society:

Essayist George Gilder thinks so. "The single man in general, compared to others in the population, is poor and neurotic," writes Gilder in his book Naked Nomads: Unmarried Men in America. "He is disposed to criminality, drugs, and violence. He is irresponsible about his debts, alcoholic, accident prone, and venerally diseased. Unless he can marry, he is often destined to a Hobbsean life--solitary, nasty, brutish and short."

But others indicate that single men might just be society's salvation:

“Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men,” wrote Sir Francis Bacon (not a bachelor, but perhaps wishing he were).

Or perhaps bachelors have the time to discover things that married men can't:

Some years ago a noted Japanese researcher analyzed the biographical data of some 280famous mathematicians, physicists, chemists, and biologists and discovered that all peaked professionally in their twenties, at which point their careers spiraled downward. Married scientists suffered the worst decline in productivity. However, those who never married remained highly productive well into their fifties. "Scientists tend to 'desist' from scientific research upon marriage,” the researcher told an interviewer, “just like criminals desist from crime upon marriage." One theory suggests married men lack an evolutionary reason to continue working hard (i.e., to attract females). Though it likely they similarly lack the prerequisite time and solitude.

My guess it that a certain amount of bachelorhood is good for society, too much, maybe is not so good, depending on why men do not want to get married. If it is because men enjoy a solitary lifestyle, are more creative or wish to stay single for positive reasons, perhaps it is good. But if the reasons are that marriage is not a fair and egalitarian situation for men and has fewer rewards than in the past, then perhaps bachelorhood is chosen out of discontent for the institution of marriage and the way that married men are treated, rather than discontent with married life per se. This type of discontent may not be good for society, the former, may be fine.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mike McNally has a good column up over at PJM on teaching human rights to toddlers: "The UN wants three-year-olds to learn about multiculturalism. How about learning right and wrong first? Or maybe just fingerpainting?"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Okay, this is a weird way to go:

A Russian woman in St. Petersburg killed her drunk husband with a folding couch, Russian media reported on Wednesday.

St. Petersburg's Channel Five said the man's wife, upset with her husband for being drunk and refusing to get up, kicked a handle after an argument, activating a mechanism that folds the couch up against a wall.....

The woman then walked out of the room and returned three hours later to check on what she thought was an unusually quiet sleeping husband.

So, the lesson here seems to be if someone is drunk, don't just fold them up in a couch and leave. Seems like it should have been obvious though.

Parenting Advice

MSN actually has a decent article on child rearing entitled "10 Big Mistakes Parents Make." Spoiling kids and inadequate discipline make the list as does not teaching kids to fend for themselves and making the mistake of not being a good spouse. Good advice.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Gardening for the Self-Sufficient

If you have been reading this blog lately, you will know that I have been growing tomatoes and strawberries in this EarthBox. I am proud to say that I now have a number of delicious tomatoes that I have been sharing with family members and have also been eating daily myself. I have gained a terrific sense of accomplishment from growing my own vegetables and fruit on a small scale. However, I decided to go beyond the basics and am reading a helpful book by Steve Solomon entitled, Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times.

Solomon is a gardening guru who has written eight books and is the founder of a seed company. His current book teaches those with access to 3-5000 square feet of garden land how to halve their food costs in most climates using just a bucket of household waste water, a few hand tools, and a few hundred dollars per year spent on supplies and seeds. One needs a bit of time to do this during the peak growing season--around two hours per day--but if one is around the house anyway, it would be time well spent.

Solomon is not a big fan of garden centers--frankly, I'm not either, some seem overpriced and the one near me has little help and the staff hides in the back or seems annoyed if you ask questions. Solomon explains to readers to beware of vegetable transplants and explains how to find healthy ones. He also describes how to grow your own seedlings and goes on to tell how to find quality seeds to plant. While I am not so dedicated to gardening and don't know if I will ever be, Solomon decribes his passion as follows:

...for me, gardening has never been a minor affair. It is life itself. It is independence. It is health for my family. And for people going through hard times, a thriving veggie garden can be the difference between painful poverty and a much more pleasant existence.

The book talks about the decline of cheap oil and the threat of hard times to come which may play a factor in prompting people to grow more food themselves. I don't know if I will get to the point that I will need to grow food to live (I sure hope not!) but I think it is important to be well-rounded and be able to grow a few things myself without relying solely on the grocery store or other means for food 100% of the time. If you feel the same way, you might enjoy Solomon's book.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Do Schools Overdiagnose Kids because of Financial Incentives?

Jay P. Greene, author of the excellent book, Education Myths: What Special Interest Groups Want You to Believe About Our Schools--And Why It Isn't So has a column along with Greg Forster at Pajamas Media entitled "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Special Ed Bounty." It's an interesting piece pointing out that schools have a financial incentive to diagnose students as "disabled" and then not serve them.

Take a look if this is a topic that interests you.

Monday, July 07, 2008

It's about Time

Good news from the New York Times: "The ’60s Begin to Fade as Liberal Professors Retire" (via Ann Althouse):

Baby boomers, hired in large numbers during a huge expansion in higher education that continued into the ’70s, are being replaced by younger professors who many of the nearly 50 academics interviewed by The New York Times believe are different from their predecessors — less ideologically polarized and more politically moderate.

Here's hoping Indoctrinate U will be a thing of the past.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Surviving and Thriving after a Crisis

Have you suffered from an unbearable situation such as an illness, the loss of a loved one, or some other tragedy that leaves you wondering how you'll get past it, if ever? If so, you might be interested in a new book that I am reading called I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis. The author, Jerry White, stepped on a landmine during a camping trip to Israel when he was twenty years old. The accident resulted in losing part of his leg and he had to wear a prosthesis but learned to be happy despite the horror of the minefield. The book is his story interwoven with other tales of misfortune in the search for answers as to why some people become crippled from their experiences and others survive and thrive. Lest you think the book is a downer (okay, it is a bit), there are many positive messages in the pages and clear, concise solutions are given to the reader who may not know where else to turn.

So what are the five steps to overcoming a crisis according to the author? White states they are to face facts, choose life, reach out, get moving and give back. He states he learned these steps after thinking a lot about what happened to him and how he got through it. He interviewed other survivors who had thrived (and those who didn't) and came to the conclusion that these steps were the way to survive the bad things that happen to us, often without warning. The chapters outline what each of the steps entails and how to improve one's life.

So, if you are going through, or have been through a recent life crisis and wonder how to cope, this book might be of some value to you. If anyone else has a good self-help book recommendation for those who are dealing with illness, a crisis or trauma, let us know.