Monday, January 28, 2008

Drug the kids into submission

More reasons "The Man" hates homeschooling and independent thought in general:

How Teenage Rebellion Has Become a Mental Illness

For a generation now, disruptive young Americans who rebel against authority figures have been increasingly diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric (psychotropic) drugs.

(two pages of fine info here)

Final paragraph:

It would certainly be a dream of Big Pharma and those who favor an authoritarian society if every would-be Tom Paine -- or Crazy Horse, Tecumseh, Emma Goldman or Malcolm X -- were diagnosed as a youngster with mental illness and quieted with a lifelong regimen of chill pills. The question is: Has this dream become reality?

Not in MY HOUSE!

Read the rest here.

Great Political Blog

I have a new favorite political writer, one who echoes my thoughts on issues with near perfection, and he has a frequently updated blog! Check him out for "Observations and commentary from a Christian Libertarian perspective"

Name: William N. Grigg
Location: Payette, Idaho, United States

Grateful follower of my Lord Jesus, equally grateful husband to my wonderful wife Korrin, inadequate father to five delightful children

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Divorce is bad for the planet

A study published in the December 2007 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (see abstract here) provides another example of the damaging effects of divorce, this one on the environment.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Perpetual Recess

Yesterday Serenity and I went to Perpetual Recess up in El Cerrito, about 34 miles from home. This is a monthly gathering of "unschooling" families and I wanted to go to see what sort of people they were, how they acted and so forth.

The gathering was in a big hall rented from the Boy Scouts for the occasion. There were probably 20 families there, and maybe 30 kids from toddlers up to late teens. I was the only adult male to be seen, which is no surprise actually, though it is disappointing. In any case the kids were generally very happy looking which is important I think. The atmosphere was uncontrolled chaos with parental intervention almost non-existent.

The result in the kids was varied. There was one teen boy, a huge kid over 6 feet tall with long hair down nearly to his waist, who never wears shoes, striding around inside and out unshod at all times. I would have been that way had I been allowed when I was his age I'm sure. One small boy who must have been 7 or 8 looked like a comb had never touched his hair, nor had clippers, it was down past his waist and matted, though it did look clean, not dirty. In fact although some of the kids looked a bit odd they were all clean, I mean the place didn't reek like a homeless encampment. :-) Some of the kids were not noticeably different from the kids in your local elementary school, but they were the distinct minority in this particular group.

After interacting with them for an afternoon I'm no longer quite so enamored with the "unschooling" idea, it may be just a tad more radical than I'm comfortable with. Next week Serenity and I will go to a Tri-Valley Explorers event or two and see if that is different. The Explorers are families who homeschool in many different methods while the Perpetual Recess people were all unschoolers.

All of that being said, Serenity had a great time! :-) She couldn't care less what anyone looks like and found several friends and had no problem fitting right in. It was grandpa who was just a bit weirded out by the chaos and odd looks of some of the people :-)

At the moment I'm still undecided on the unschooling concept, but certainly have more doubts now than before, perhaps a modified version of homeschooling would be in order, some discipline added for seasoning maybe, freedom is good, license is not ;-) I think Serenity may need some guidance and a firm hand from time to time. No matter what though homeschooling is going to be the way we go!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pick it up.

I got this from The New Unschooler blog, Serenity liked it, I liked it too:

My week so far

Yesterday I had "oral surgery" which is a nicer way of saying I had 8 teeth yanked from my head ;-/ I underwent general anesthesia so the process was painless. So far I have some swelling but no significant pain. I took two Vicodin yesterday, one right away after I woke up and got to the pharmacy and one later in the evening before bed. So far today I have not felt like I needed to use it. I have been taking Ibuprofen for the inflammation but that is all. I'm on a course of penicillin during the healing. On Friday I'm going in to my primary dentist, hopefully to get the dentures that should have been ready yesterday. Though I'm "missing" those teeth now it's not much different really since they were mostly gone anyway. At the start of the new year our company switched dental insurance and for a while there they were trying to deny service to me because I needed to wait 12 months. However, after working with our company, they decided to waive that provision, it really would have been unfair not to and they saw that. As a result instead of another thousand dollars I would have had to pay I ended up paying only twenty dollars over what I'd already paid.

Yesterday afternoon Serenity's former school called up to ask where she was, they hadn't yet received our letter from last week. I informed them that she is now attending Serenity School. The person on the phone said they would miss her because they all loved her, but wished us well, she was very nice about it actually. We'll see if they send the records or not, though I don't see that as vital anyway.

So now things are calming down for me, the combination of starting Serenity School and having teeth pulled was really stressing me out there for a while. Oh, there was one other thing, I was worried about and that was how our day care provider, Natalie, would react to the idea of our homeschooling Serenity but she was very positive and seemed to think the idea was wonderful. She even said we can send work with her on her days there if we want to and she will help out!

Prayers are requested that we might continue to settle into our new lifestyle without too much anguish, so far the Lord has given us smooth sailing.

Thanks be to God.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just some end of the day thoughts.

When we send a child off to school it separates them from us, from their family, for much of the day five days a week. This reduces our influence on our own children and increases the impact of the government, which is why I frequently call public schools "government indoctrination centers". When we stop sending them off to school it brings them back into our family in a big way, while cutting out the influence of those government indoctrination centers. But there may be some adjustments in our attitudes that need to be made along the way it seems to me. Homeschooling means involving our children (or in my case grandchild) much more intimately in our lives.

The idea that we can do a set number of things and then they go away is not one we can keep up in this project. We can't feed them, play with them a bit, maybe teach them for a couple of hours and call it good. No, they are involved in our whole life, pretty much morning to night. In our situation there are a couple of days a week when Serenity will need to go to daycare but other than that she is constantly with us and interacting continually with us, we talk and play and hug and are together all day long. Serenity is even willing and eager to forgo watching cartoons on TV, she would much rather be with me and with her mom. Normally she would get up and say, "can I watch cartoons?" first thing in the morning. Since I changed my attitude a bit toward the unschooling direction she has not asked to watch cartoons at all!

So far this experience has been wonderful for me! I can't imagine anything giving me more joy. I'm not so sure Lora is finding as much joy in it as I am, as of yet, but I'm sure she'll come around. ;-) Serenity herself is clearly responding in a joyful way to the new situation. She has noticed that grandpa is more prone to say "yes" and to ask her what she feels and thinks and wants, she really likes that aspect of this so far. It shows in her face and in her behavior already, I am convinced this was the right decision for her, and for all of us.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

And so it begins...

Lora mailed in the withdrawal letter to Serenity's former elementary school yesterday morning. She is now officially attending the Serenity School!

On Thursday evening Serenity and I attended the San Francisco Symphony together. That was her first experience at the symphony and I was quite pleased that she both enjoyed it and was able to act in such a way that everyone who saw her was encouraging and complementary about her being there. She was amazingly quiet and well behaved ;-)

We took BART to the city and had dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen. I had Chicken Chipotle Pizza and a beer while Serenity went with the plain cheese pizza and a Shirley Temple. She got a big pile of extra cherries on her Shirley Temple because of the enthusiastic way she responded to the "Do you like cherries" question. She was chatting with our server, Brittany, and had a suggestion about the way people were seated and how the servers were organized. Serenity ended up talking with the manager about it :-) One thing our Serenity isn't is shy!

There was a Bach set to open up that was very nice, chamber music with a harpsichord featured. Serenity declared that is was "OK" That was followed up with À L’ÎLE DE GORÉE (ON THE ISLAND OF GOREA) by IANNIS XENAKIS. That is a wild late 20th century piece also featuring harpsichord, though it is an amplified harpsichord. The main artist, Elisabeth Chojnacka had wild bright orange hair that looked like it was the result of electrocution. The music was very strange but somehow compelling at the same time, modern classical music at its best actually. I didn't think Serenity was going to like that one, she being a Mozart fan and all, but as it turned out that was her favorite music of the night! The finale was Schubert's "Great Symphony in C major" that I really liked but that Serenity declared was "Too loud". Here is a blog entry from the Civic Center Blog that has some photos of Chojnacka, along with a nice description of the music as well.

I think that was all far more "educational" than having her go to bed early Thursday, get up early Friday and listen to how wonderful Martin Luther King was and how great it is that government does this that and the other thing. ;-P Instead she stayed up late at the symphony and slept in Friday morning.

Fashion news:

The other day Lora made a dress out of a Hawaiian wrap that Mike brought back from his last trip to the islands:


This is the dress Serenity wore to the symphony, she picked it out herself at Burlington Coat factory where I went just to get her a jacket, she saw it and it was on sale, so what the heck ;-) The fact that it came with a matching dress for her doll is what got her I imagine.



More news from Serenity School in the days to come!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Unschooling

I last wrote here about homeschooling Serenity back on December 22. In the last month Lora and I have become committed to this idea, though we have yet to settle on curriculum and style issues. I, of course, lean strongly toward the Unschooling idea, while Lora is nervous about that and thinks that some structured classes are necessary.

Yesterday we did file a PSA (Private School Affidavit) here in California, what that means is that we are now a legal private school. We have not withdrawn Serenity from the local elementary school yet, she was sick yesterday with a cold anyway. We may do the deed some time today or tomorrow but I don't know for sure yet.

I'm going to take Serenity to an unschooling group gathering next week, I think, it's with SFBUN (San Francisco Bay Unschooling Network) and is called Perpetual Recess :-) Sounds like fun to me.

There is a "mushroom walk" with a naturalist we could go to today but I'm taking Serenity to the City for the symphony tonight and we won't have time since we are going early to make a day of it. Yeah, Serenity is going to be "sick" and stay home from school again today and then tomorrow she'll be to tired to go after the late symphony so she'll be home "sick" again. :-)

I guess we better do that "official" withdrawal thingy or the government indoctrination center will send the goons around to find out why one of their meal tickets is missing :-/

Monday, January 14, 2008

If George Bush hadn't been born rich...

The Nanny State Goes Nazi

Today, being described as a “constitutionalist” can have fatal consequences – as in death-by-government consequences.


The precise definition of “police state” may be elusive, but this one is suitable for our purposes: A police state exists anywhere an innocent, law-abiding family can have its home violated, and their lives threatened, by a paramilitary strike team -- who abducts one of the children at gunpoint -- as the result of an anonymous phone call. Boiled down to its essentials, this is what happened to the Shiflett family of New Castle, Colorado.

Last Thursday (January 3), 11-year-old Jon Shiflett fell and hit his head while attempting to grab the handle of a moving car. His father, 62-year-old Tom Shiflett, is a Vietnam veteran with adequate medical training to deal with minor emergencies of this sort. He's also something of a curmudgeon, a bearded patriarch who has raised ten children, home-schooling them all and raising them in commendable isolation from our depraved popular culture.

Read the rest of the story here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Serenity today at work and play



At play in her Sponge Bob Square Pants tent...
(click on an image for high-res version)



Then helping grandpa cut up the Christmas tree...







That's my happy helper :-)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cappadocian Fathers

Basil the Great of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa

Basil and the two Gregorys, collectively known as the Cappadocian Fathers, were leaders of Christian orthodoxy in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in the later fourth century. Basil and Gregory of Nyssa were brothers; Gregory of Nazianzus was their friend. All three were influential in shaping the theology ratified by the Council of Constantinople of 381, which is expressed in the Nicene Creed. Their defense of the doctrines of the Holy Spirit and Holy Trinity, together with their contributions to the liturgy of the Eastern Church, make them among the most influential Christian teachers and theologians of their time. [From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Commission on Worship]

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Mark Twain on Science

"In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. Therefore ... in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period the Lower Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long... seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long... There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."

Heh. :-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Police

This is the third introduction to the following article I've written so far. The previous two were full of venom and hatred and disrespect for the police. Now I simply present the story as written in our local paper with this comment. The police increasingly use deadly force when deadly force is not called for. To kill a single person with a knife, especially when there are more than one officer present, is not what we should expect from our protectors. It seems they are more concerned with their own personal safety than with protecting their employers, us. That said I am just as guilty of murder as these police are, I kill them with my hatred and must repent and seek forgiveness from the Lord for that sin. I am no better than they, and probably worse on some days.

SF Gate

(01-08) 18:17 PST SEBASTOPOL - The family of a 16-year-old boy shot and killed in his Sebastopol home by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the county.

The lawsuit said Jeremiah Chass was in acute medical distress and in need of medical assistance when his family called for help March 12, but instead was shot eight times.

Jeremiah, a junior at Analy High School, did not pose a threat to Deputies John Misita and Jim Ryan and had no criminal history or record of violent behavior, said the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

"The family called for an ambulance, and instead of an ambulance, they got law enforcement, and when law enforcement arrived, soon thereafter their son was dead," said Andrew Schwartz, a Walnut Creek attorney representing the boy's parents, Mark and Yvette Chass, and younger brother Isaiah.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, names the county, Sheriff Bill Cogbill, Misita and Ryan. It accuses the Sheriff's Department of failing to train its deputies adequately in dealing with people displaying symptoms of mental illness.

Steve Mitchell, a Santa Rosa attorney representing the county, said Tuesday that the deputies were respected and experienced and "deserve to have their names cleared."

"The outcome of this very dangerous and life-threatening incident was tragic and stressful for all involved, certainly including the Chass family, as well as the deputies and their families," Mitchell said. "They put their lives at risk in this incident, and their efforts likely saved the life of Jeremiah's younger brother."

Santa Rosa police, who investigated the shooting, have said Jeremiah was wielding a knife when deputies arrived at his home on the 1400 block of High School Road. Jeremiah continued to wave the knife threateningly after deputies tried to grab it and pepper-sprayed the youth, authorities said.

Jeremiah's slaying was the third over the past year in which Sonoma County law-enforcement officials shot and killed people with mental problems.

On Jan. 2, Santa Rosa police shot mental patient Jesse Nathaniel Hamilton, 24, of Santa Rosa, after he threatened them with a large kitchen knife and ignored their warnings to stop, authorities said.

On April 9, Santa Rosa police shot and killed Richard Desantis, a 30-year-old ironworker with a bipolar disorder, after he allegedly charged at them.

Rev. Dean Kavouras on "Evangelism"

I have some problems with the entire concept of "personal evangelism."

First I don't care for the term "evangelism." The vocable itself has been so terribly tortured, for so many decades, that anyone hearing it can't help but get the wrong idea. It automatically implies outlines, Saturday seminars for laymen, going for the close/conversion etc.

Secondly it wrongly binds consciences, telling Christians that it's everyone's duty to "evangelize" (as taught in Saturday seminars etc.) when indeed it's not.

Thirdly it springs from wrong notions, namely that we can "grow the church" and that if we don't do it, many will be lost un-necessarily. Untrue. Conversion and church growth is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is God, and who also loves the world and all its people.

Fourthly, mission work (not evangelism) is the work of the church, not the individual. It's accomplished by baptizing, teaching, absolving and feeding Christians with the Lord's body and blood. Every member has his part in it, but for the great majority it means: bringing their children for baptism, raising them in the faith, supporting the church in every way possible, most importantly by their presence at the Mass. Also being willing to contend for the faith, both its practice and doctrine.

Is there a time and place to answer people's questions in a simple way if you can? Yes. Is it proper for a young lady to tell her fiance: if you want to marry me, you have to come to my church and take instruction from my pastor. Yes. Should it be our goal to lead every person, and steer every conversation to matters of faith? No. Should we live in an "evangelism" frenzy, as do evangelicals? No. Do we need to mention, when we win an award, that we give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for His grace and blessing? No. Just take the award, say thank you and sit down. Can we invite people to church or a Bible class if they have questions? Yes. Can we ask our pastor to visit our neighbor in the hospital? Yes.

We've been living under the Moody/Graham/Kennedy/Friendship Evangelism deception for decades in America.

Live in your Christian vocation. Shed your false guilt about evangelism. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31). Support your church in the ways stated above.
-- Rev. Dean Kavouras

My kind of exercise program!

High hopes for diabetes drug that mimics healthy lifestyle effects

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A small Cambridge, Mass., startup is betting it can mimic the healthful benefits of diet and exercise with a pill, an entrancing possibility that has earned Sirtris Pharmaceuticals a ton of press coverage in the past few years.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Habakkuk Rejoices in the LORD

Habakkuk 3
17Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

To the choirmaster: with stringed[d] instruments.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

On reading the "news"

Psalms 37

8
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.

10In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Happy Epiphany!

And now the Christmas season is officially over.

The Wise Men Traveled from Afar

L M
Text by Walter P. Snyder, 1957–
St. Matthew 2:1–12
Suggested tune: Puer Nobis Nas­ci­tur

  1. The Wise Men traveled from afar
    To worship Him who, by a star,
    Was shown to be the Royal Son —
    King David’s Heir, Anointed One.
  2. A Child they found in Bethlehem,
    By Holy Ghost conceived, yet man:
    The Father’s Son in flesh and blood
    Was fully man and fully God.
  3. Their incense honored Deity
    And gold was gift to royalty;
    While myrrh foreshadowed death and grave
    As sinful men He came to save.
  4. Yet tomb was not His final end;
    He rose — our Wisdom, Savior, Friend.
    The Morning Star still beams His light
    And scatters Satan’s gloomy night.
  5. Salvation, pardon, life, and health —
    Richness beyond all earthly wealth —
    Through Word and water, body, blood,
    Christ gives these gifts of highest good.
  6. To God the Father and the Son,
    With Holy Ghost forever One,
    Be honor, glory, hymns of praise
    By men and angels ever raised.
— W. P. Snyder © 2004
May not be used or reproduced without permission

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hillbilly takes hillbilly land...

So, "Hee Haw wannabe" the Hillbilly Redneck "Huckster" Huckabee won in Iowa. Big deal, the ignorant redneck sweeps the ignorant redneck vote. Ignorant Rednecks, AKA "Evangelicals" gave him the pass there, we have yet to see how a state with an average IQ up in double digits plays out. :-P~

Meanwhile, on the neo-socialist side of the divide the tribal leader Obama beat out tribal leader Hillary. Gee should I assuage my guilt by voting for the black man or the white woman? Who cares what they actually stand for, which is NOTHING but LUST FOR POWER in both cases. In any case race guilt won out over feminism.

There is a storm coming

From the front porch this morning. There is a big storm coming our way.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Dulce et Decorum Est

Fred Reed at his very best I think.

Keeping a 6 year old happy

I bought a new bible for Christmas, really Mom bought it for me, thanks Mom! :-) It came wrapped in bubble wrap of course. I just walked into the other room where Serenity is watching Dora the Explorer on TV and handed the wrap to her. She perked up and said "You know how to make me happy!" and is now happily popping the bubbles while snuggled beneath a warm blanket in front of the fireplace where I started a fire this morning because it was frosty this New Years morning. Simple things can make a 6 year old happy, fancy toys get old quickly but a favorite stuffed cat has provided endless entertainment and comfort to her. :-) I do love Serenity, she is a joy to watch and live with.

I'm still thinking about the homeschooling idea and have ordered a book from

CHN Logo CHN Banner

I do need to be careful that I don't "over research" the thing. Sometimes I get so involved in researching things I never get around to actually doing them :-) On the other hand I don't want to jump without having a good idea of just what I'm jumping into.

Happy New Year! Just another day...

New Years is pure artifice. There is no corresponding religious event to go with it, no saint's day or event in the life of Christ to celebrate, except the circumcision and naming of Jesus is commemorated today, really though I don't think that is what people are out partying over. If it was maybe I'd participate, but not even my church does anything on this day.

It's not the winter solstice even, it's just an arbitrary cut off on a calendar set up hundreds of years ago. Yippee we changed from 2007 to 2008, for that we stay up till all hours of the night drinking? Not me! :-)

I brought in the new year last night in a dream like fashion... well not dream like, actually I was in a dream, I went to bed and fell asleep well before midnight. :-) Now that is the way to celebrate what is, after all, just another day.