Thoughts at Home
Original article :
Summary of article:
A Greek football player has been banned for life for exhibiting a supposedly Nazi salute after scoring a winning goal. He said he didn’t realize the significance of the gesture.
This story worries me for a number of reasons:
Firstly, are we still that touchy about the Nazi gesture that we are willing to prohibit rising stars from their careers for using it ?
The “Nazi” salute was around long before the Nazis, and a straight arm in the air has long been perceived as a gesture of “great – fantastic – brilliant” – much like a punch into the air would be. Had he raised his arm 10 degrees there wouldn’t have been any fuss, he just happened to hit the corresponding angle that was used by the Nazis during the 2nd world war.
Is this sensitivity purely because of the connection between the salute and the atrocities conducted by its users in the war, or is it something a little closer to home. Are the Greek media jumping on the salute and associating it with the worrying rise of neo-nazism in Greece, and summarily punishing anyone who even looks like they may be leaning in that direction ?
The other side of the coin that worries me is that the player said he was not aware of the significance of the gesture.
Do our children not know of the history of the 2nd world war? Are they not told of what happened, and why we are so nervous about seeing signs of the Nazi in public?
Surely, in Greece of all places, the history of what happened during the war is the stuff of family history, told again and again lest it ever be forgotten.
How can a 19 year old live to that ripe age and claim not to know what that salute used to signify?
I find myself asking the question, “how much have our children been told of the war?”, “how much of it do they connect with?”, and how much do they put down to “things that grandpa saw”?
How long before it is totally forgotten, and allowed to happen again?
Just my musings.
What is the Term life Insurance.
First of all, let’s clear up a linguistic misunderstanding; insurance versus assurance.
Traditionally, Insurance is where a party (the policy holder) pays an insurer an amount, or series of amounts to insure against a possible event happening. If the event happens the insurer agrees to pay the policy holder a sum of money. For example; you insure your car against an accident. The accident may not happen, but if it does the policy holder can claim an amount from their insurance company for the damages. Insurance is like a bet, you (the policy holder) are paying money betting that an accident will happen, whilst the insurance company is taking the money in a bet that it won’t happen.
Assurance (from the word “to assure”) is where an event is going to happen, there is no doubt. In this case the policy holder pays the assurance company a sum or series of sums so that when the event happens (it will) the assurance company pays out an agreed sum of money. Assurance is more like a savings plan, you (the policy holder) are effectively saving your premiums, so that when the event happens you get back them all back plus any interest the assurance company may have earned on them.
When it comes to life however, there is a problem. We know we are going to die (it is assured), but we don’t know when. So a large proportion of companies selling assurance packages (they will pay you when you die, not if) call their policies insurance because they don’t know when the event will happen.
Hence the term life insurance.
Life insurance is a financial instrument where you agree to pay a series of premiums, up until the point where you die, and the insurance company agrees that at the point of your death they will pay your next of kin a certain amount of money.
Of course life insurance comes in a variety of flavours:
There are policies where the money is only paid out at the time of your death to your next of kin. This money can be used to settle the deceased’s financial matters (paying off loans, taxes etc.), paying for funeral expenses, or just to give the next of kin a lump sum so that the death of the policy holder does not burden them financially.
Some policies exist where the policy holder can receive payments based on the amount already paid into the insurance scheme before their death, to cover things like disability costs, specialist care costs for the elderly, or just to boost their pension in their old age. These policies typically pay out less money at the time of death as money has already been extracted from the overall total paid.
Other policies may be temporary, you insure against your death for a set period of time (for example you are travelling abroad and insure your life for the period that you are away).
There are common limits to all life insurance policies:
- No benefits or amounts will be paid to the policy holder’s next of kin if their death is the result of suicide.
- Death during war is not covered in normal insurance policies (specialized policies are available for this)
- An Insurance company will not pay out if fraud is proven (e.g. You take out a policy on your spouse, knowing full well that they have a terminal disease, but hide those facts at the time of signing the policy).
- Curiously, civil disturbances and riots also nullify a life insurance claim.
Murder is a common method of obtaining a large sum of money in books and films when it comes to life insurance. The beneficiary of the policy arranges for the policy holder to be killed so that they can become rich. However, this falls foul to two legal problems:
- Firstly, it is insurance fraud, you – the 2nd hand murderer deliberately tried to force the claim with an unnatural ending of the insurance policy.
- Secondly, it is against the law for anyone to receive any monetary gains from an illegal act they have committed.
So, in conclusion, Life insurance is a method whereby someone can: make sure that their next of kin are taken care of in the event of their death, cover their lives when they are entering into an unknown area (temporary life insurance, particularly related to travel), or a form of savings that can provide for them in the event of disability due to accident or old-age.Pin It
As a teacher I have to proof read any article I may give to my students very carefully, to make sure that there are absolutely no errors (It is a universal law that regardless of how much the students understand the text, they WILL find the one mistake you missed – and query it)
But proofreading is a very difficult thing to do, either with a text that you have written, or with something from somewhere else.
It is difficult because your brain is an amazing machine. Your brain doesn’t actually read every single word it sees, it looks at chunks of words, picks out significant ones, and fills in the gaps with what it “thinks” should be in there. As your brain quickly grasps the context of the text it refines the possibilities of what can go where, and restricts it’s insertions to words relevant to the context.
- The car was speeding down the road, a long twisty road, when the driver, a 17 year old elephant saw his friend on the street and screeched to a halt.
- (Without knowing it – your brain will read that – hit a warning light, then backtrack and make sure it saw the word “elephant” – it wasn’t expecting it)
Similarly with :
- I went to the library to ask about a bok that my teacher had recommended to me.
- (Most people will read that as “book” – not “bok” – your brain compensated and put in the correct word)
So how does this help with proof reading ?
Well, basically you have to force your brain to read each individual word – not chunks – which is difficult, as it is unnatural for your brain to do so.
One way to do this is to read your text backwards – last word to first. As your brain can’t work out what is supposed to be coming up next it is forced to look at each word individually (great way to catch typos, and inappropriate wording)
Another way is to mix the sentences up (I have a little macro that does it) so that you read the last sentence first, then the penultimate etc until you read the first sentence.
This forces your brain to think outside of context and look at each sentence individually – was it constructed properly, was it actually a sentence etc
There are probably many other ways to improve your proof reading – but those are my two main ones.
Try them – they may work for you.
(Another thing you might like to do if you regularly have to proof read is to check your spell checker’s dictionary for words that you allowed – we all click on “add to dictionary” without really thinking about it when we are in a hurry – clean out the typos from time to time)Pin It
When you fill the kettle with water.
- Do you turn the tap off ? I do.
Come in from the cold.
- Take your coat off? I do.
Turn off the shower after you’ve finished?
- Yeps – that’s me.
I, for some unknown reason, switch things off, remove them, shut them down etc etc whenever I have finished with them.
I thought most people did that – I am apparently wrong – I must be strange.
Why do I make this self observation ?
Well, I made it as I was walking down the road observing people walking along, chatting, standing next to shops etc with open umbrellas.
Try as I might tho’ I couldn’t actually see, or detect any water coming down from the sky – rain I think it’s called.
It had been raining 30 minutes previously, I’ll admit – I even used my umbrella (that is what I had assumed was its use)
I was obviously wrong.
Being a pedestrian in a City in Italy is bad enough, as you have to; watch the floor for potholes or cracks that could break your ankle, avoid dog dirt left by those people who haven’t caught on to the craze of cleaning up after their pet, dodge round cars that are parked wherever there is a spare millimeter, work out routes that are going to get you past the people talking in the middle (no, the whole) street without getting killed in the process, etc, etc
Now you have to add to that.
You now have to flip-flop your eyes from the ground to eye level to see if the person walking towards you has actually noticed that it stopped raining last week, and is still carrying a lethal weapon ready to poke your eyes out.
I mean how difficult can it be ?
You’re looking at the ground admittedly.
- Haven’t you noticed that no water is hitting it ?
Didn’t you notice the distinct lack of pitter-patter sounds coming from your covering (nah – forget that one – Romans are deaf as a post).
Hasn’t the sudden arrival of Ambulances in your wake twigged you to the fact that you have just blinded, maimed or scared countless people behind you ?
I wonder at times.
Now I’m going to go away and have a bath ( wash the blood out of my eyes ) – and you know what ?
I might leave it running – I wonder if the people in the apartments below me will notice if it is raining or not in an hour or so ?
Isn’t it curious – for 20+ years of my life I lived on my own.
I went from take-away dinners to learning to cook for myself ( not only cheaper – but I actually enjoy taking the time to cook, and enjoy eating things I have created more than takeaways )
I learnt what to buy ( look in a supermarket – everything is designed for families or couples ) – hard to buy single portions – you have to search, think ahead – can I split that pack and freeze it – etc etc )
I learnt how to experiment – how to create – how to make a meal ( ok – not restaurant quality – but good damned grub )
Then I had to relearn the whole thing again – how to cook for two
Got there eventually – took time – but I got the knack of cooking for two down to a fine art.
Now I have to learn it all over again – how to cook for one.
Italian supermarkets really ARE NOT designed for singles – having to explore the mysterious world of local shops – how to make things I took for granted – all over again.
Curious life eh.
(And to add a touch of added spice – I now have to cook at least one thing that the cats like – and will nibble – as they insist on sitting with me when I eat – I love ‘em to bits )
Fraggy is a cheese freak – loves any melted cheese
Picky dies for any kind of fish (preferably raw) – need to learn to make suishi.
Onwards and upwards.Pin It
Why don’t people pay attention to the world that they live in ?
Ok – a rant.
Today I had to go to an office ( semi public sector )
I had been there before – but never to this particular location.
So before I went I made sure I had instructions on how to reach the appropriate place.
On arrival I went to the correct floor, followed the instructions and ended up in a room that didn’t look right.
Had a look around and that seemed to be the only room that fitted the bill.
During my look around I was accosted by someone who worked on that floor, who asked me what I wanted.
I told them.
They instantly referred me to another floor ( which was contrary to the instructions I had – I checked the instructions )
Sure enough same floor – so I went back – and sure enough there he was again.
Nervous this time – telling me I was on the wrong floor ( I actually thought he was going to phone security )
Phone calls , debates, etc later ( no-one actually knew the room number ) I returned to the same floor and decided to look a little further.
Sure enough there were two elevators.
When I came out of the 2nd I ended up in the correct room as per instructions ( the layout from both elevators was identical )
That got my curiosity up – so after I had finished what I had done I had a little look around.
The guy who had accosted me sat not 10 meters from the room I needed ( through a connecting corridor door )
He had obviously worked there for many years (public officer etc)
The room I wanted had been used for the same purpose for at least two years.
Now my question.
Are you telling me that this guy had never actually been through the connecting door in all the years he had been there, had never actually seen another teacher working in the room ?
The answer is apparently yes.
I wonder if he notices that he has a nose on his face – or not.Pin It
Talkies – some teachers love ‘em some hate ‘em – I am in the latter brand.
What is a talky ?
A talky is an unguided discussion session – basically anything goes.
You start off with a generic subject and start discussing it – as a teacher, it is your job to monitor it for errors, and to keep it rolling.
Some teachers love ‘em because it means all they have to do is arrive at the class, start the discussion, sit back and read the newspaper.
Others ( me ) hate ‘em
Why – because you have to listen to every single word, checking for errors :
Are the errors bad enough to stop the discussion and highlight them,
Or put them down for a board discussion later ?
Or just ignore them ( bad move – they will notice that you are not paying attention )
The discussion – you have to keep it going.
That means you have to be able to argue the toss of both sides of the coin for the subject you started.
Sounds easy – it aint – if they all agree with you then you have a short discussion, so you have to argue against them – against your own personal beliefs.
Grammar topics – unlike normal class work – where you know which grammar will be discussed ( and can mentally prep for it ) here you can hit anything.
And have to be able to get up and explain when things start to go wrong – coherently and accurately ( without any prep )
Same with vocab – go down any random path and explain the meanings, the synonyms, the antonyms – the lot – all without prep.
Get a talky right and it is a fantastic lesson – they walk away thinking “wow”
Get it wrong and you are on report.
You have to do ‘em – I hate ‘em – but they are a challenge.
(Had to do 3 today – I bounced from the “perfect tenses” , colloquial idioms for personality, to a discussion on whether we should allow our initial impression of a person affect our business judgment.
Phew – that were hard work )Pin It
This week looks to have been a productive one :
- Outstanding issue done and finished with.
- signed and ready – back in the groove re. employment.
- The wolves have left the building.
Future Business :
- It progresses (slowly but surely).
Past Business :
- Getting closer to finalising.
- It’s been sunny
- Haven’t felt better for a long time
Unlike British Rail – we’re getting there…………..Pin It
Fugu – or Blowfish – served incorrectly is absolutely deadly, with no known antidote to the toxin that kills you.
It is a subject that has always fascinated me – food that kills.
The food itself doesn’t fascinate me, there are probably countless plants, animals, and fish in every culture that will make you severely ill or dead, and I have no intention of finding out what they are.
The thing that fascinates me is the evolutionary process we went through to end up eating the stuff.
Take fugu (blowfish) – unless it is cut precisely, with no trace of the liver cut or left on the dish it’ll kill you.
How many people died before they worked out it was the liver that was killing them ?
How long did they go before the matre-de came running out of the ancient hut to sing
“This one survived – it’s safe now ?“
( What did they do with the pile of unhappy dead customers in the back who didn’t get the right dish ? )
It’s the same with kidney beans – the main part of chilli-con-carne – a very popular dish.
Unless you soak the beans over night they can cause sever illness.
What combinations did the Mexican chefs go through with their original beans before their customers stopped keeling over ?
(With fugu, at least you had a process of elimination to follow -
- Head – Nope killed him
- Heart – Nope, dead
- Fins – coughed, choked, then fell over dead
- etc etc )
I mean did they roast them, fry them, skin then, mash them, leave them out in the sun – how many different things did they try before someone said “Ok, guys we are running out of people – let’s try soaking them in water overnight” ?
The speculation goes on and on with every different type of poisonous food – eat that mushroom – boom dead – this one, pretty lights , that, ok with sausages.
How many people have been planted in an early grave just so that we can have a luxury ( and very expensive ) meal that might ( just might ) bring an end to all of our worries the old fashioned way ?Pin It
The on-going saga continues….
I am very curious to see how this pans out as it is getting very close to crunch time.
Either Greece pull out and default – or the money men at the EU back off and give them some space to breath.
Strangely I can’t see either happening – so am at a loss to predict what’s going to happen.
Greece cannot afford to continue with the austerity package it has, and the people have said a resounding “No – they aren’t prepared to continue with it”, and the money men at the EU still reckon that if Greece falls the rest will come down like dominoes, so are terrified of it going.
Something has to give – and soon.
As they say – watch this space.Pin It