Colins Blog 2009

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Not really a blog, but more some random thoughts. Some of these have been excised and transferred to Random Writings. Otherwise you might like also to look at:

Colin's Blog: 2009

2009/08/30 Middle aged ...

Reading about someone recently who has lost his job, he was complaining that at 55 he's middle aged and unemployable. It started me wondering how 55 can be called "middle aged".

The average life expectancy is now around 67. That includes many, many deaths due to poor sanitation and poor nutrition, so if we take the life expectancy in the countries where most deaths are from old-age, cancer, etc., then life expectancy is around 80.

So suppose 60 is the upper limit of "middle aged". That makes 60 to 80 "old age", and I guess we should assume that the middle years are also 20 in number. We become middle aged at 40.

But now that means that we don't really become people until we're 20. That accords somewhat with a semi-jocular, semi-serious contention I've had for a while, that children aren't human. They're exceptionally intelligent aliens, who acquire the knowledge to become human, and gradually do so through their teens. We all know that teenagers most definitely aren't human.

So there we are. From 0 to 13 (or so) we are aliens, then from 13 to 20 we mutate, becoming fully human at about 20, although obviously that varies from individual to individual. Then we have 20 to 40 not really thinking about our age, we hit 40 and become middle-aged, go on to old age at around 60, and then we're on borrowed time. It all fits.

I'm not entirely convinced I find that comforting.

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!"

You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key. You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey,you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . you Become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony ...


But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed? You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would! So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70!

After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.

And it doesn't end there.

Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!"

May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

- Sometimes attributed to George Carlin, but source unconfirmed.

2009/07/17 You can't help people any more ...

I was driving to work this morning, and noticed a young lady walking along, obviously going somewhere. There didn't seem anywhere obvious to be going that was really close - I figured she had about a five minute walk ahead of her, at least.

And it was blatting down.

She was getting quite wet, and I thought - if that were me, I'd like a lift.

But I couldn't stop and offer one, because no doubt I'd get a look that asked what rock I'd crawled out from under, and what kind of a pervert I really was, and did I really think she was stupid enough to get into a car with someone she didn't know, even if she was getting half-drowned and would prefer to ride.

But I figured she didn't know me, so even if she thought I was demented, and even if she refused point blank, nothing would be lost. So I stopped and offered a ride to a perfect stranger who was getting very wet. Those who know me will know that it's the sort of thing I would do.

What I didn't realise was quite how much vitriol could be inserted into what might otherwise be a polite declining of a simple offer to help.

I won't do that again. Shame, really.


2009/03/26 The fires in Victoria

The fires never really got all that close to my parents, or so I thought. Then I had this photo sent to me. The only credits I can find for it is that it was taken by the Mulherin family. It's taken from the roof of the shopping centre we occasionally went to, which is just a few kilometres from the house.

That was closer than I realised, closer than people said.

Of course, it's night, the fires were bright, perhaps they're not as close as they look. For many they were closer. Much closer.

Too close.

2009/02/02 A real time saver

See Time Functions ...

2009/01/01 Learning from other people's mistakes ...

See Graceful Degradation ...

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