Archive for September, 2012

Will The Real Dumb Person Please Stand Up?

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment

The other day I read an opinion in a newspaper titled Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest.  Within the first few lines, I recognized this to be a partisan, political rhetoric.  This senseless garbage should never have been published.  This unimaginative person’s diatribe isn’t the first but a many of filth that is run in the news, internet, magazines, newspaper and conversations.

Personally, I hate politics.  It is an evil that we must endure.  Politics has nothing to do with running a country, international relations or any other government related venture.  Politics exists only to ensure a particular party survives.  Democrat, Republican or even Independent matters not.  Politics is designed to denigrate others that do not believe as you.  Tea Party is an example or even the opposing factions – Republicans and Democrats.  The worst part of politics happen when people trounce a candidate, party or person without any factual intelligence.

Take the opinion I mentioned.  This benighted individual ranted about how stupid or dumb in this case were Bush I, Bush 2 and Romney.  His opinion was very juvenile and definitely not thought out.  Sorry, I won’t give him the satisfaction of having his name mentioned.  He offered nothing but insults about intelligence of these three men.  This man left me questioning his intelligence especially concerning the political landscape.  No attempt was made to persuade me to think differently about these three men.  Their stance on issues was never mentioned.  How can I take him seriously, and how can a newspaper publish rubbish such as this?

I am not taking political sides.  This goes across all political parties and in this case this solecistic life-form happens to be a Democrat.  My beef with this type of infected, audio/visual sputum lies with the fact these people can vote even when they display no comprehension of what they spout.  How can we allow people so ill-informed vote?  I really believe this person does not understand any of the issues.  If he favors Obama and the Democrats, GREAT!  Know why you support them.  Questioning intelligence only brings to question your intelligence.  How is it we allow ourselves to vote for candidates we know nothing about.  Can I honestly vote for a judge whose name I never heard of until the day I vote?  There have been many times I did not vote for I knew none of the candidates.

As November creeps closer, you should take the time to know all of the candidates.  You may find the opposing party more to your liking or not.  Ignore those that utilize ad hominem arguments.  Do not rely on news organizations for facts.  They too are political agenda driven.  This is when you need to use your brain and look into everything.  Who cares if Obama is black or Romney is Mormon?  What do they offer, and what do they stand for?


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Homeschool Truth #1

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Homeschool season is based on deception.  Just review The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons.  The truth is in the humor.  We homeschoolers give a good presentation.  The Educator laughed uncontrollably when reading volume 1 at a homeschool converntion.

It is very normal for me to see the 8′ dining room table 90% covered with homeschool litter and an occasional youth.  My seat at the end of the table has been relegated to sitting between Youth 1 and the Educator.  This is all too reminding of my youth as I sat between my Mom and Dad at the dinner table.  I expecting Youth 1 to cut up my food any moment during dinner.  There are times when the table is unable to be used for its now secondary purpose of providing a place for eating.  We eat in the kitchen on the counters.  Yes, the truth comes out!

There was a year we had the entire solar system plastered on the living room wall.  I must admit it was very neat looking.  Having to patch the pin holes were a pain.  Now the living room is a storage bay for a tri-board country and a nutrition tri-board.  There are scattered books around the room.  The Educator does not approved of these being there.

Our library is filled current year homeschool material and supplies.  What once was to have a nice leather chair for reading is now piled with homeschool goods.  It is the largest carrier of homeschool items with the living room being number 2.  I often look at this room and wonder, “when will it end?”  Sigh.

Our bedroom holds another contingent of homeschool material.  It has the past, present and future material.  It is neatly organized by the Educator.  I am banned from touching any of this without approval by the Educator.  This means the Educator will personally get what I need and put it away after I’m finished.  Wonder if the Educator thinks I don’t put items away.

The Educator does try to keep order, but it is difficult.  Schooling is never in one location and has sometimes been done at the local national park.  A pizza lunch and education on the rock.  Schooling ranges from rise to bed.  It is not uncommon for Youth 1 to be doing tomorrows math tonight as I dream of the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest and the sea of swirly twirly gum drops.

If you’re trying to hide one of the many truths of homeschoolers because of embarrassment, don’t fret any more.  You are not alone, and the perfect homeschooling family over there–>  well, they are as perfect as you and maybe worse.

History Lesson

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

I consider myself a type of historian.  Years have been spent studying the past.  There are locations I’ve visited such as Gettysburg, Fort Sumter and even areas of Colorado.  Numerous are the books that I have read concerning history.  There are the source documents that have been studied by me.  I am not unique to this habit.  There are plenty of people without a history degree that do this.  Our desire for knowledge of the past is great.  There is one truth I have discovered while studying history.

History is nothing more than one person’s opinion about the past.

The preceding statement says it all.  History is not about facts.  It is the interpretation of facts.  Some history is closer to the truth than others, but it all boils down to opinion.  Often times history goes to the winner.  Now there are those rewriting history to appease the minority or those who lost.  There are those who are self-haters and re-write history.

One such book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, provides an interesting read and an opinionated read as well.  This book indeed comes closer to the facts that our school textbooks.  The author applies his history to his story as well.  The author, James Loewen, is rather more interested in racial conflict and thus begins to instill his racial conflict beliefs.  I am not picking on Mr. Loewen.  He is a single sample of history writers that put opinion in their works.  He and I are closer to agreement on most issues.

It is difficult to not put forth your opinion when you have very little to write about, or you need to make it interesting.  I know this first hand.  I have been researching a battle for ten years and can only find little information.  Without conjecture or some form of opinion, there is little to write about other than a few paragraphs.

When we look at the Civil War we get two factions.  One group says it is about states rights and the other is slavery.  I can assure you that states rights is not true.  You don’t hear states rights until after the war.  Look at South Carolina’s “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” for a bit of fact about our past.  In fact the war between the states is very complicated and truly cannot be explained as a war to end slavery.  This requires more than a chapter to clear up.

We have to be careful of history books from religious institutions or groups.  These books can have many obvious lies.  I’ve read books where the central theme about Jamestown was God punishing them while the Pilgrims were being rewarded.  This is pure poppycock.  The reader comes away without an understanding of the two colonies and their interactions with the natives or how the environment affected them.  There are plenty of books like this out there.

When studying or reading history, we need to be aware of the lies we are led to believe.  Reading multiple sources do not make it true.  I’ve read three books that discussed the same lie.  It looked like the truth until I researched the source.  They each used the same source, and the source was wrong.

As a reminder, I will leave the gentle reader with the statement I used earlier.  History is nothing more than one person’s opinion about the past.

Wealth Redistribution

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

I just read an article title and was brought to a thought from a conversation I had yesterday. A friend was talking about his friend who was in debt for over $300,000. He went on to say that this person could not manage money. When this person’s mother died, he received a hefty sum of money. This individual bought items such as cars and blew the money away. I would not give this person a loan let alone a huge monetary gift.
I began to think about redistributing money and found many other people similar to this individual. They were in debt or had no savings. One family had the wife complaining about making their house payments but taking a “shopping” trip to New York City! Another family spent hundreds of dollars on a crab feast and mentioned the next month would be financially tight. I have not even mentioned those that have declared bankruptcy multiple times. There are plenty of people that can not control their money. Here lies the problem.
If we give these people two million, they will lose it all very quickly and be in the same place prior to the gift. I know people with money and if I give them two million, they will make ten million. If you give me two million, I’ll be conservative with it and stretch this money with properly researched investments and sound purchases. I do not need multiple muscle cars. They can not be taught responsibility with money. We like to think we can but it doesn’t happen.
The redistribution of wealth is a sham. This is a way to not only have someone receive payment for what they have not worked for but also to give power to a group that provides the free payment.
I am for helping those down on their luck but to redistribute the wealth?! It doesn’t work. It is a nice fantasy but reality is harsh.

U.S.S. Education, A Sinking Ship With Plenty Of Bailing Thimbles

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

There is a new educational system that is being planned for 2014 in the US.  Without much research, I’ve gathered that a lot of money will be spent training teachers and standardizing curriculum.  Another failing attempt at correcting a problem of which no one knows the source or do we know and wish not to take the difficult steps needed to correct the problem?  Sort of like our country’s debt.

The United States spends $809.6 billion on education while the rest of the world spends nowhere near that amount.  This amount averages to $7,743 per student.  The closest country is the U.K. with $5,834.  There are additional countries that are only a few bucks off of the U.K.  The bottom line is the U.S. spends a lot of money on its students with  the results being near the bottom of the 12 countries whose data I have.

There have been many proposed solutions to America’s education problem with money being the number one proposal.  If a ship is sinking, I am not going to throw in more buckets for bailing.  I’ll either repair the hole or accept the ship is no longer seaworthy and get another.  With education, our society does not look at correcting the problem or conceiving a new form of education.  Instead we continue to pump money into a dysfunctional institution.

Longer school hours and more school days has been around too.  The school year has been lengthened since the days I attend school.  Longer school hours are being thrown around now.  Funny how other countries with longer school hours are cited but never the side effects.  I recall in the early 90’s of how we should emulate Japan’s educational system.  The article or whatever it was also mentioned the suicide issue and other problems of stress among the students.

Some schools have eliminated physical education.  Removing recess and phys. ed. has done nothing.  No different than Mayor Bloomberg’s idea of limited the size of soft drinks.  If we use the sinking ship analogy, Captain Bloomberg is giving us thimbles to bail the water.

A popular educational area to tweak is teacher education.  How many times does a teacher have to go back to school?  Seriously, what has drastically changed that requires a math teacher, english teacher or any other teacher have to go back to school?  Basic mathematics has not changed nor have the methods of solving the problems.  The english language indeed changes but at a gradual rate thus not requiring the re-education of a teacher.  Now we have a mini-economy based on this re-education.

Curriculum changes have been the recent popular modification.  Generally, this comes from some person at a university level who says their way is better.  Homeschoolers are familiar with different methods of education.  The problem with these new ways is sometimes they are not new.  Look at the new math.  I’m not referring the new math of the 60’s.  This is the mathematics of the late 90’s into 2000’s.  It didn’t work.

What do I see as the problem with the educational system?  I believe the problem is a mix of small problems that have been compounded with the band-aid effect.  There are many places to lay blame in the American educational system.  Below, only a few are named, but there are plenty of other areas to look at.  I also place blame on unions.  Education is no place for unions.

I’ll start with unions.  The Chicago teachers strike is a perfect example.  Who is being served with this strike?  Only those who make money.  These teachers are not going to teach better with the new contract.  That city will still retain horrible teachers.  The students have suffered from the strike.   Strikes in education should be against the law.

There have always been bad teachers.  I have had my share of them.  I had a chemistry teacher that never taught the subject.  We took walks outside.  After half a year, he was finally removed.  I lost half of a year.  I had a physics teacher that should have retired years ago.   The reality is only the dedicated and idiots go into teaching.  The flunkies I went to school with now teach.  They had to cheat in high school!  The dedicated tend to be those that had parents as educators or are truly interested in teaching.  These people are the minority.  I have forgotten those pushed into teaching by society.  These are generally females.  Some are dedicated and some do not want to be there.  I see females ignore the sciences and select education as if that is their only choice.  In my high school days, females were thought of as teachers.  Sad is it not.  I still see this today even among homeschooled females.

Textbooks are the biggest farce!  No wonder why Americans do not know any history or geography.  Our textbooks are full of lies.  My history knowledge surpassed any of my history teachers from middle school on.  I give thanks to books, television and family.  I did have a good civics teacher; he cared.  You can not learn about a subject in two pages especially when it is slanted.  Another problem which is in the elementary area are the silly worksheets used in english classes.  They work if you have additional modes of teaching but are bad when used as the primary method of education.

Parents are the core foundation for education.  We tell the children that education is important.  If the parent doesn’t care, nor does the child.  I know quite a few teachers and have a few as friends.  They are consistent with their observations and experiences with youth.  All agree parents are the most important.  This is not a new issue, so what is going on here?  I have noticed that when the working mom became more common our education got worse.  Is there are correlation?

When you lack monetary resources you are prudent with your money; you only buy what is necessary.  This is called being fiscally responsible.  If there is plenty of money around you spend freely, buying indiscriminately.  Think about buying a car.  If you are limited on funds you purchase for use only.  If you have plenty of cash then the car ends up with every feature.  Do you need the moonroof?  No, but since I have the money for it.  This is our educational system.  We spend, spend and spend getting no results.

Throw all of these together and you have a huge mess.  There is no understanding, no coordination, no guidance and no responsibility.  I have not covered other problems of education.  Only the surface has been scratched.  This is a topic that is large but fixable, if we choose to correct it.

Having A Brew With Presidential Crew

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Our current President likes to have a beer with people from time to time.  There has been Joe and the G.I. to name two.  This got me thinking about drinking and the presidential past.  What are my top ten presidents that I would have a drink with?

As I pondered this question, I easily knocked out a few.  There was Carter.  He doesn’t have anything to add drinking with him is like his presidency, failure.  Kennedy would be out too.  I imagine he would be thinking about women, and he’s not as bright as most think.  Washington is too formal for me.  Buchanan, definitely not!  Adams #1 and I would end up in a fight.  He’s irritable and obnoxious.  I’d hit him just to get it over with.  Clinton was thought, but I imagine he’d be talking to any attractive female in the establishment or complaining about Hillary.  Taft, no.  Cleveland, nope.  Andrew Jackson?  Shrewd but not interesting.  As I continued thinking, the realization was I could not get 10.  This doesn’t mean they’re stupid, just not necessarily interesting for me to drink with.

Well, I did come up with 7.  Maybe if I think about it some more it will change.  Indeed the list line-up could change as I think about it.  Here they are:

7.  Grant – His military experience during the war would be very interesting to discuss.  I could glean much from him.  Questions about his administration would fall short for I believe he wasn’t the most competent president.  Sorry Jimmy, I think more highly of him than you.

6.  Obama – That’s right.  I would drink with him.  He’s a family man and has some knowledge of sports.  We would spend most of the time discussing our ideologies until he gets the prissy attitude of his.  He’d have to leave.

5.  Roosevelt I – Teddy that is.  This man has had quite a life, and it is very interesting.  He could become a bit of a bore talking about himself.  Still, the stories he could tell.  His political ideology would be an interesting conversation.

4.  Eisenhower – This man is similar to Roosevelt in some respects.  His military experience would be the number one topic.  Next would be Gettysburg followed by his farm.  A plug for Ike – visit his farm in Gettysburg if you’re in the area.  I’m sure he’d want that drink on the golf course.  He’s guaranteed a win golfing against me.  You wouldn’t have to tell me to throw the game.  I’d likely be arrested for hitting Ike with the ball, accidentally of course.

3.  Bush 2 – George is more common than we believe, but my interest is in sports.  We could talk sports a while and if I get him going, the hilarity would ensue with his butchering statements.  The downside is he doesn’t drink.  I guess it’s biking, and I’m left in the dust.

2. Lincoln – He was number one for a while.  Abe is funny, thoughtful and knows how to deal with those around him.  Discussing the Civil War based on his perspective would be excellent.  Knowing that it is getting too serious, his sense of humor will defuse the seriousness.

1.  Reagan – Originally number 2.  Dutch is a master of humor and wit.  He could discuss Hollywood and answer any gossip questions I would have.  Guess I would have to come up with some.  No, the most interesting part is his dealing with the Soviet government like the period where France actually did something right and brought to our attention a Soviet defector.  This Rooskie helped bring down the Soviet Union in an indirect manner.  There is so much the American public does not know.  I’d have to pass on the jelly beans as they are not my favorite.

There is my list.  If you noticed Jefferson wasn’t mentioned, don’t think he wasn’t on my mind.  In the end, this brilliant man and I would not have a great conversation.  Me thinks he would grow tired of me as I would of him.  This is a case of personalities not matching.


Country Board

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The Educator discovered a way for Youth 1 and Youth 2 to learn about other countries.  They learn where the country is (guess we are ahead of the curve for most Americans), the culture, food and history of the country.  Youth 1 and Youth 2 throw out the countries they want studied, and the Educator selects the most appropriate country.

We have studied Ireland, China, Canada and India.  There are a few others I believe but they are forgotten by me.  I want to say France and Germany.  On the list to study is Italy.  I’ve been pushing that country along with Youth 2 for a few years now.  We just can’t get the pisans in on the study.  Maybe next year.

We or I should correctly say, the Educator gets the tri-board.  The country is traced out on poster board.  Strange, the artist of the group doesn’t do this.  The outline is glued to the center of the board.  Now the fun begins.  Each person may select what they want to research.  Youth 2 researched food one year while Youth 1 studied the monetary system.  As the year goes along, another topic is studied and added to the board.  Pictures are cut out and pasted with a little text about the picture.  Ireland had a section on names.  For Canada it was the salmon; Youth 2 selected this topic.  As we work on this board, a recipe or two are tried from the country.  We have done Guiness Bread, the Canadians can’t cook (JUST KIDDING) and egg rolls from China.

My top countries to study are:  Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa and Uruguay.
This is a nice method of learning geography, a culture and a country in general.

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