Friday, July 06, 2007

so I almost killed a child today ...

... no, I wasn't overcome by rage, or recklessly shooting off a gun or anything crazy like that.

Just driving. And not driving recklessly or dangerously. Not driving and not paying attention to the road while fiddling with the radio. I wasn't even speeding.

Thank God.

I was going about 10 mph on a small road in my village when, all of the sudden, a little girl sprinted out from behind a parked car, running across the road. She saw me and stopped. I saw her and stopped. It wasn't really all that close, thanks to my low speed and reaction time, and then she just continued across after her brief stop. As if nothing had happened.

What's worse is two of her relatives (parents? aunt and uncle?) were on separate sides of the road, and neither made a big deal about it either; not to her or me -- especially not to her.

I think I'd have been a bit upset if a child (or young relative) of mine was so careless about crossing a street, especially when there was traffic and he or she had a real chance of being hit.

It was drilled into me when I was young that I had to look both ways before crossing a street. Just running across a road without paying attention to cars was not acceptable, leading to a yelling, admonition and, usually, a swat to drive the lesson home.

I guess not every parent does that.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

unwanted ...

... unneeded

... unattractive

.... unappealing

... uninteresting

... undesirable

... unbecoming

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

so it's not just us Americans ...

OTTAWA (Reuters) -- Most Canadians know so little about their own country that they would flunk the basic test that new immigrants are required to take before becoming citizens, according to a poll released on Friday.

The Ipsos-Reid survey showed that 60 percent of Canadians would fail the test. A similar poll done in 1997 showed a failure rate of 45 percent.

"Canadians appear to be losing knowledge when it comes to the most basic questions about Canadian history, politics, culture and geography ... (they) performed abysmally on some questions," the firm said in a statement.

Only 4 percent knew the three requirements a citizen had to meet to be able to vote while only a third could correctly identify the number of provinces and territories. Just 8 percent knew that Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state.

The survey was carried out for the Dominion Institute, which aims to boost knowledge of Canadian history and values. It said all high school students should have to pass a special citizenship exam before they can graduate.

"It is frankly disheartening to see the lack of progress made by our group and the countless other organizations working to improve civic literary of Canadians over the last 10 years," said institute co-founder Rudyard Griffiths.