Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lake Temescal

Thursday we spent most of the day with SFBUNies and others at Lake Temescal:


Friday, May 29, 2009

SCOTUS Follies

Well now, Sotomayor is a shoo in of course, even if she's not a lesbian the way the ultra-left crowd really wanted. Here is a bit from Chronicles Magazine about her, reading the whole thing is worthwhile:

The process by which Sotomayor was selected testifies to what we can expect in Obama’s America. Not a single male was in the final four. And she was picked over the three other women because she was a person of color, a “two-fer.” Affirmative action start to finish.

Reading 30 of her opinions, GW law professor Jonathan Turley found them “notable” for “lack of depth.”

Liberal law professor and Supreme Court expert Jeff Rosen of The New Republic reports, after talking to prosecutors and law clerks, that Sotomayor covers up her intellectual inadequacy by bullying from the bench.

Liturgy

This You Tube Video is not from our church but it is from one very similar, a Confessional, Ligurgical, LCMS Church, it explains why we do what we pretty well I think:


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Making the sign of the cross

Some Lutherans, most at our church included, make the sign of the cross at certain points in the liturgy. There are other gestures that are made as well, some by the Pastor and some by us, such as kneeling at the altar to receive the Lord's Body and Blood. There is a good description of these bits of ceremony in Weedon's Blog today. It's interesting, short to read and explains why we do what we do. And why it can never be required, it's a "get to" not a "have to." :-) There is good stuff in the comments section also, so don't miss that part.

Gesture in Worship.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Eating Vegetarian

I go back and forth on eating vegetarian, what I finally settled on is that I avoid meat for the most part and eat almost all vegetarian dishes. After all eating lower on the food chain is more efficient from an energy standpoint and better for the planet overall. Still, from time to time meat calls to me, and I answer, what can I say, on this one thing I am not a fanatic :-)

There is one thing I can say with certainty though, and that is:

Do not use "meat substitutes" ever.


If you are going to eat a meat dish, eat meat! Trying to put some soy substitute crap or tofu into a recipe that normally has real meat just seems lame to me, it never tastes the same and the very fact that you are using a substitute encourages you to compare it to the same dish with real meat. I will tell you now, the real meat wins the competition every single time. (Garden burgers not included, those are not really substitutes but a thing of their own.)

There are an infinite number of vegetarian dishes that are meant to be vegetarian dishes from the git go, those don't have to compete with meat dishes because there are no meat dishes to compare them to. You can make veggie lasagna or spaghetti with no meat substitutes and they are delicious! In fact there are many dishes where you normally have meat that you can just leave the meat out of them and they are pretty tasty, but meat substitutes would make you wish you were eating real meat. Veggies are veggies and meat is meat and we should not confuse the two.

The same goes for dairy substitutes and that Vegan silliness. I was kind of leaning toward going Vegan at one point, until I read some Vegan wacko say that I could not eat Honey and be a Vegan... say what? OK then I'm not going to bother with being Vegan, it's just way too extreme. Which, in the end, drove me all the way back to omnivore status actually. First it was, Honey is good, and so is butter and cheese and eggs... and the occasional steak or slice of bacon for that matter :-) Sure I'd like to do the right thing for the planet and I sure don't want to inflict unnecessary suffering on animals but dude, you gotta eat!

So, I try to buy organic free range eggs, dairy products from farms that treat their animals decently and meat from animals that have a chance to move around outdoors and are not juiced up with drugs... and I really don't eat meat all that much, but I'm not going to be a fanatic about it either.

The Science of Spirituality

Issues Etc. had Dr. Angus Menuge of Concordia University Wisconsin on last week talking about The Science of Spirituality. It is worth listening to. Sadly it seems Issues no longer has the "embed" feature that they had before so just go to the link and listen, the segment is about 26 minutes long.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

SCOTUS to become even worse... of course

Dear Leader Barry O has announced his pick for the highest court in the land. A "Latina" woman who believes that "Identity Politics" is the right way to make legal decisions. As Stephen the Irishman in Braveheart said to William Wallace, "God tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he's pretty sure you're fucked. "

Without rule of law we have nothing in America to distinguish us from any 3rd world dictatorship. As I've said many a time before, it's all over for the republic, and the empire ain't going to last very long either. The barbarians are inside the gates. Just as well I'm sick of America anyway.

Check out J.D. Tuccille's post in Disloyal Opposition where he explains it better than I:

Obama's Supreme Court pick has a taste for identity politics

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Done Right

Thomas Fleming talks in Chronicles about the disgusting spew of a speech at Notre Dame the other day by Obama, he gets right down to the nitty gritty of it with the final line: "Obama, like a latterday Rodney King, wonders why we all can’t just get along. I wonder why we cannot just get way–from him and 70 million baby-eating zombies who voted for him ." Full story here.

Memorial Day is not Veteran's Day!

I know that all of the millions of totally confused folk out there who conflate the two mean well but really it's not that hard to tell them apart.

1. Memorials are for the dead, thus Memorial Day.

2. Veterans are people who served, they are alive, thus Veterans Day.

We had a lady at church who made a big production out of "honoring our veterans" this morning. I'm a veteran but I'm not the person to be honored on Memorial Day, the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice are "memorialized" on Memorial Day.

Ah well, clueless but well meaning, that's America for you.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More on persecution

Father Hollywood has some pertinent comments on

Persecution, 21st Century American style



Kayaking


Today Lora, Mike, Serenity and I went Kayaking on Monterey Bay. It was a bit chilly but it was a lot of fun. I did not take my camera out on a kayak in the bay, so there are no pictures of our actual trip to post, but at least I still have my camera ;-) I'm good at destroying cameras and decided not to risk this one.

We saw hundreds of sea lions, a few harbor seals, a couple of otters floating on their backs in the kelp beds. We also saw flights of pelicans and some cormorants diving.

After paddling around for an hour and a half we had a late lunch at Bubba Gumps and headed on home.

What Constitution?

Barry O announced that the trouble with Bush was he paid way too much attention to that pesky Constitution thingy and we should just replace it with repeated references to "Rule of Law" which apparently means just making up rules to suit us as we go along merrily detaining people for, well what we feel like detaining them for:


Underground churches in America, it won't be long now...

Persecution, 21st Century American style



Friday, May 22, 2009

Writing on a computer

I once thought that writing my journal on a computer was the greatest thing ever, I churned out page after page of stuff.

Then it dwindled away to nothing. I spent most of my time browsing the web, playing Civilization, reading emails, writing emails, listening to music... anything but writing.


I suppose I could get an app like the one in the second panel but what I actually did recently was to get some pens and some paper and when I want to write I shut off the computer and sit quietly and write :-)

I still like computers, and if I had a big writing project to do, especially one I was going to print out or share around I'm sure I'd figure out a way around the distractions, but for contemplative journaling nothing beats the scratch of pen on paper, it slows my mind down, each word is more carefully selected, unlike typing on a computer where I can pretty much type as quickly as I think, which I will grant really isn't all that quick these days :-)

All of which may also explain why I think "Twitter" is not for me and I have no intention of ever touching it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Audubon Canyon and Stinson Beach

Today Serenity and I went to Audubon Canyon and Stinson Beach with some SFBUNies. We saw trees full of nesting herons with their huge chicks, very cool. We also played in the surf at nearby Stinson Beach, also cool.

Here is a slide show of pics I took today: (Note, after you click the start arrow click in the square in the lower right corner with the four arrows pointing out to go to full screen)




Or you can go here to look at the individual pics.

Unschooling, Christianity, Anarchy

What a wild combination that is. Some people, both anarchists and Christians, have told me it makes no sense. Obviously I disagree. So here is what exposing a child to these three things, unschooling, Christianity and anarchism, looked like yesterday.

Yesterday Serenity and I went to a park in Livermore and met up with some other unschooling families for some play time. Serenity, and her good friend Isabel, spent some time picking flowers just before we left the park to go to our house for the rest of the afternoon, Isabel came along with us for a "play-date." Serenity, anarcho-capitalist that she is, decided the thing to do with the flowers was to go around the neighborhood and sell them. So they got two small wicker baskets, one for the flowers and one to hold the money, and set out door to door around the area. I followed at a distance to monitor safety but did not interfere beyond insisting they not knock on the two doors that had "No Solicitors" signs on them. The sales area extended from our house to the park where they played for a while before going back home. They sold flowers for fifty cents each and when we finally returned home they had $5.00 in the basket. Pretty good take I'd say.

In the evening we all went to 7-11 to spend the loot. Serenity purchased a giant slushy and Isabel bought some candy. I rewarded myself for the effort of following them around all afternoon by picking up a pack of Fig Newtons, which is where the triple combo above finally comes in to play.

I had already eaten several Fig Newtons when Serenity noticed that I had them, I doled out a couple to her and her mom and continued to munch. A bit later when I went back to the package for more Serenity asked for more and I looked and saw that I had seven left, so I gave her three and kept four for myself.

Serenity asked for the fourth cookie, "Please Grandpa I really really love Fig Newtons!"

"No way," said grandpa, "I love them too!"

After a bit of back and forth pleading and refusing I said "If you get on your knees and beg I'll give you the cookie."

Serenity said "No way! I bow to no one but God!" in an indignant voice.

I handed over the cookie as a reward for such an awesome unschooling, Christian, anarchist answer :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Old media vs. New Media

There is a fascinating post on Disloyal Opposition about bloggers who go out and get original content, not just repost stuff they find... like I usually do with "news" stuff :-) Much of the old media likes to claim that bloggers are parasitic, just reposting things they find in the old media, but that is simply not true. There are many thousands of journalists out there now who report the news but don't work for newspapers, radio or TV. They say whatever they want without any restraint by some big corporate controlled editorial board. That means it can be pretty uneven in quality and accuracy. On the other hand stories that "the man" did not want to get out now get out with speed and regularity. So, check out:

'Parasitic' new media beats old media to the punch

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More joys of school

Abuse in Schools Widespread, Report Finds
Exclusive: GAO Says Misuse Of Restraints, Seclusion, Other Tactics Has Even Proven Fatal

May 19, 2009

(CBS) A new federal study, released exclusively to CBS News, reveals hundreds of cases of abuse of students at the hands of school officials -- and even deaths.

The report, done by the Government Accountability Office, finds incidents of abuse of restraints and seclusion, among other forms of mistreatment, in public and private schools alike, all across the country, says CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.

A congressional panel has scheduled a hearing about the findings for Tuesday, and child advocates are calling for better laws to protect students.

Students such as Cedric Napoleon and Paige Gaydos.

Paige's mother, Ann Gaydos, is slated to testify Tuesday at the hearing to be held by the House Education and Labor Committee about the abuse Paige allegedly suffered on multiple occasions in school in Cupertino, Calif. when Paige, who has Asperger Syndrome, was seven. She's now 15 and the family has moved to Monument, Colo.

Cedric's foster mother had no idea the Killeen, Texas eighth grader's teacher was physically restraining him when he acted up. Until, Cordes says, the day it led to Cedric's death.

"She took him down and sat on him," a tearful Toni Price told Cordes, "and straddled him. And uh... the autopsy report said that they had never seen anything like that except in a car crash, because she crushed his chest." Read the rest.

Keep them home.

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

Heh, now that's how it is :-) This is from "Secular Homeschooling Magazine", I think I might have to subscribe to it after reading some of this:

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

by Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling, Issue #1, Fall 2007

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

More about Issue #1

Child abuse and government


William N. Grigg writes about the connection between authoritarian government and child abuse in his blog post on Pro Liberate: "Don't Tase me, Big Bro!"

Here are a few excerpts, but you really should read the whole thing through, it's shriek of outrage inducing, at least for me:


When a police officer subdues a child as young as five years of age by treating him to a 50,000-volt shock, this is a law enforcement decision that will be the subject of an official review.

Sure, the officer's actions will eventually be vindicated, but in the interest of good public relations the officer, his superiors, and the local media have to undergo an intricate ritual, as stylized as Kabuki theater, before announcing the official inquiry's foregone conclusion.

When a group of Florida prison guards subject scores of children, ranging in age from 5 to 17, to 50,000-volt shocks as a kind of bizarre prank, this is a
lapse of judgment that may have adverse career consequences -- up to and including termination -- but no criminal charges or intervention by the Department of Children and Families...


...In one of the "playful" incidents, children were arranged in a circle holding hands so that they could share the charge when one of them was shocked. At another prison, children were shocked individually by having a stun gun pressed against their bodies. At least two of the kids were sent "sprawling to the floor, crying out in pain and clutching at agonizing burns on their arms," and one of them ended up in the hospital.

One would expect that criminal charges would ensue as a result of those incidents. One would be wrong. Three employees -- Lt. Russell Bourgault and Sgt. Walter Schmidt, 14-year veterans of the prison system, and six-yet vet Sgt. Charmaine Davis -- were fired. Maj. Seth Adams, a 19-year veteran, and Lt. P.J. Weisner, who had 11 years in the system, resigned. According to news reports, an additional 16 employees face unspecified "discipline."

Thus far, however, there are no pending criminal charges, and the Florida State Department of Children and Family Services (CFS), one of the nation's most energetic child-snatching bureaucracies (it produced Janet Reno, remember), has shown no interest in separating the injured children from their parents. This is a remarkably restrained official reaction, one likely influenced by the fact that the parents involved in this scandal are or were government employees...



...As the father of six children, none of which could be described as a quiet, placid introvert, I can understand the occasional need to administer discipline of an unpleasantly exemplary nature. Although I'm not disinclined toward corporal punishment, I consider it to be of extremely limited utility and employ it very sparingly.


Once,
while visiting an authoritarian church , I overheard a conversation in which a father, in a voice colored with concern, described his young son as a "willful, high-spirited" individual; with an expression of almost vindictive satisfaction, his interlocutor exclaimed, "Well, the good thing is that as his father, it's your responsibility to break that will."


Try as I might, I can't understand how anyone -- let alone someone professing to worship the Author of the Sermon on the Mount -- could conclude that raising children involves
breaking them in any sense. Certainly, it involves teaching them to restrain and discipline their appetites, to practice deferral of gratification, to treat others with respect and deference where appropriate, and to obey God's law (as summarized in the Two Great Commandments). It means helping them to understand and practice self-regulation.


But "breaking" another human being in any sense or context is abusive by definition -- irrespective of the means employed...

...
It stands to reason that the last thing the architects of a collectivist society want is a population of self-regulating, self-governing free individuals...

Full post is here if you missed the link at the top :-)

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Disobeying an officer" is a crime?

What the __________?

So it's somehow a crime not to obey every bizarre whim of some bottom feeding uniform wearing power tripping slug who supposedly works for the public as a "Peace Officer?" I'm sorry but the idea that I am expected to OBEY without question these lowlife scum just makes me laugh hysterically. Really, it just ain't gonna happen guys. Get over yourselves.

Read this is from Disloyal Opposition:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Motorhome Diarists now free (sort of)

The itinerant journalists of the Motorhome Diaries, who were arrested yesterday in Jones County, Mississippi, are now free on bond, but still face local charges. According to one of the diarists, the arrest -- which started with a traffic stop -- ultimately involved pepper spray and the ransacking of the travelers' vehicle.

Jason Talley, Peter Eyre and Adam Mueller were passing through the state on their journey across the country when they were pulled over in Jones County, Mississippi. Talley had time to report Mueller's arrest for filming the police officers via Twitter and to post a photograph he took of the encounter to the Internet before he and Eyre were also taken into custody.

Released this morning, Talley reported, again via Twitter, that he was "pepper sprayed and choked for refusing to give ID." He also said the RV in which the men are traveling was ransacked by the police and that footage of the incident captured on a camcorder was deleted by authorities.

It's impossible to get the police version of events, since the Jones County jail is now referring calls to the sheriff's department, and the sheriff's department says the one man who can answer questions is unavailable and insists the jail should be fielding inquiries.

The Motorhome Diarists say they've now left Jones County after meeting bond. They still face a grab-bag of throw'-em-against-the-wall-to-see-if-they-stick-style misdemeanor charges, including disorderly conduct, disobeying an officer, resisting arrest and possessing beer in a dry county. Pete Eyre also faces a state charge for "possession of a firearm across state lines."

This case is interesting not just for the arrests, but for the speed and ease with which the diarists documented and publicized the incident using technology.

For LCMS Lutherans only

Well, actually anyone can read this but it will really matter to members of the rapidly imploding LCMS, this is from The Brothers of John the Steadfast:

May 15, 2009
The Northern Illinois District Convention Part II - The Opening Devotion Includes Foul Language References, Another Example of How this is not Your Grandfather’s Church, by Pr. Rossow

The opening devotion of the Northern Illinois District (NID) convention included a couple of off-color references. When he was called on it, the presenter confessed the error before the whole convention and was given forgiveness by the District President. The whole thing was really weird. In the end, I think it illustrates all too poignantly how the new way of doing church promoted by President Kieschnick and many other leaders of the synod, has brought the world into the church.

(Read the rest here)

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose... again

So, back in November of 2007 I posted this cartoon with a link to some story about the violation of our liberties by the Republifacist Bush Regime.
And today "Anonymous" had a reply on that post that I have to agree with, except for the bit about flying, that's not at all how I felt when the newest corporate-military whore lied with his hand on the bible and swore to uphold and defend the constitution...

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thats..how I*m beginin to feel too!

and..when..bush..left..I..thought.

I..could..fly!! Now..that..Obama..

is.. doing..the..bush..shuffle

on..the..Photos..on..renditions.

.on..COMING..CLEAN..TOTALLY..CLEAN

I feel like I*m bein suffocated!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pragmatism


I've heard Barry O called a "pragmatist" and have always responded that this means little beyond indicating he has no principles. It seems I may be wrong, he has principles, he just won't admit what they are. As this post by Veith, Pragmatism to do WHAT?, points out :

But pragmatism fails as a political definition, says Robert Reich, who served as President Clinton’s labor secretary, because it describes how a politician moves toward a goal, not the goal itself. “It’s possible to be ruthlessly pragmatic in terms of how you get to an objective,” Reich said, “but the phrase is nonsensical in terms of picking an objective.” . . .

“Most presidents who were change agents . . . described themselves as centrists but clearly had a collection of values about what was good and right,” Reich said. “The question becomes one of how much you reveal about where you want to lead people.”

So that presidents keep most of where they want to lead people hidden? This does not sound fitting for a self-governing people.

These points about pragmatism apply not just to governing but to churches, businesses, and individual decisions. The goal has to be considered. Actually, the goal is especially paramount in pragmatism because it is not so much a philosophy as a tactic: the ends justify the means.

Full post is here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More on the no change change...

From J.D. Tuccille:

Thank God the new guys are in. Oh, wait ...

Last week, the Central Intelligence Agency upset a few political apple carts when it revealed what many people already suspected: that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of "enhanced interrogation tactics" -- torture -- against detainees suspected of terrorism as early as September of 2002. The revelation undercuts Pelosi's criticism of civil liberties violations committed by the Bush administration. It also helps to dispel the myth that either of the two major political parties in this country has much regard for individual liberty -- or basic decency.

According to CIA documents (PDF), Nancy Pelosi was one of the first two members of Congress clued in about the use of torture, the other being Porter Goss, the Republican then-Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on which Pelosi sat as ranking Democrat.

Pelosi briefing


Read the rest here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Dinner

So, Lora and Maryann made dinner tonight. Maryann did oysters on the half shell, Lora made a big chicken pot pie and strawberry stuffed crepes with cream cheese filling and whipped cream... urp... naturally I ate more of all of these than I should have, except the oysters of which I ate only one, which was pretty good, though I could not admit that since I'd previously declared I didn't like oysters :-)

Friday we saw the new Star Trek movie, which is by far the best of all the Star Trek movies, and I know what I'm talking about having seen every Star Trek thing that has ever come out :-)

Happy Mothers Day!

To all the wonderful moms out there, but mostly to my own terrific mom:






Here's the current 4 generations....




Here's a previous 4 generation shot, I'm the short guy in front

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bed Time Postings

I really should not post when I'm tired, or have been drinking, or worse, both. As I said on an email list this morning:

In the cool light of morning, in contrast to my mood last night when I was tired and grouchy to start with, I regret having posted this. There really is not enough information available for anyone to really know what is going on there.

There is an update posted on Will Grigg's blog, at the end of the original post that set me off in my grogginess last night. In the update he pulls back some and indicates that he was contacted by someone on the Federal side who says that, while the Patriot Act is not the appropriate way to deal with things there was certainly a minor crime committed. That may or may not be true but it does remind me that going off half cocked like I did is seldom a good idea :-/

Please disregard anything I post after my bedtime of 9:30 PM and I will endeavor in the future not to post in my sleep. :-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

...the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Just a little reminder that no, nothing at all has [expletive deleted] changed since Barry O took over the top job in Soviet Amerika.

Please read about the pointless and mindless persecution of an obviously innocent home schooled kid in Pro Liberate here.

Amerikan Government Drones, stupid, brutal and without morals or mercy, and those are their good points.

The local news coverage of this ridiculous farce is here.

The title of this post comes from the song Circumstances by Rush:



A boy alone, so far from home
Endless rooftops from my window
I felt the gloom of empty rooms
On rainy afternoons
Sometimes in confusion
I felt so lost and disillusioned
Innocence gave me confidence
To go up against reality

[Chorus:]
All the same we take our chances
Laughed at by time
Tricked by circumstances
Plus ca change
Plus c'est la meme chose
The more that things change
The more they stay the same

Now I've gained some understanding
Of the only world that we see
Things that I once dreamed of
Have become reality
These walls that still surround me
Still contain the same old me
Just one more who's searching for
A world that ought to be

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Math and pigs

Some unschooling life as it's happening today.

Last night Serenity was invited to stay overnight with her friend Isabel. Serenity met Isabel at some SFBUNie events and we've been meeting her family and several others at parks in Livermore most every week recently. Isabel and Serenity get along great.

When I was dropping Serenity off at Isabel's yurt, yes, they live in a yurt up on a hill outside of town, I got to talking to Cindy, Isabel's mom, about math and how it's taught in schools. She told me about this article "A Mathematician’s Lament" by Paul Lockhart. What a great read! I encourage anyone who had the love of math pounded out of them by schools the way I did to read this. It's pretty long at 25 pages but well worth the read, it's funny and sad at the same time. I saw myself in it all over the place.

Here are some of my favorite parts:

“…if I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of destroying a child’s natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I couldn’t possibly do as good a job as is currently being done— I simply wouldn’t have the imagination to come up with the kind of senseless, soul-crushing ideas that constitute contemporary mathematics education.”

“…if you can’t be real, then you have no right to inflict yourself upon innocent children.”

“This is intimately connected to what I call the “ladder myth”— the idea that mathematics can be arranged as a sequence of “subjects” each being in some way more advanced, or “higher” than the previous. The effect is to make school mathematics into a race— some students are “ahead” of others, and parents worry that their child is “falling behind.” And where exactly does this race lead? What is waiting at the finish line? It’s a sad race to nowhere. In the end you’ve been cheated out of a mathematical education, and you don’t even know it.”

(Larry) The preceding goes for most every subject I can think of, not just math.

“So not only are most kids utterly confused by this pedantry— nothing is more mystifying than a proof of the obvious— but even those few whose intuition remains intact must then retranslate their excellent, beautiful ideas back into this absurd hieroglyphic framework in order for their teacher to call it “correct.” The teacher then flatters himself that he is somehow sharpening his students’ minds.”

(Larry) This is why they kept saying show your work?

“SIMPLICIO: So we’re supposed to just set off on some free-form mathematical excursion, and the students will learn whatever they happen to learn?

SALVIATI: Precisely. Problems will lead to other problems, technique will be developed as it becomes necessary, and new topics will arise naturally. And if some issue never happens to come up in thirteen years of schooling, how interesting or important could it be?”

“SALVIATI: …There should be no standards, and no curriculum. Just individuals doing what they think best for their students.

SIMPLICIO: But then how can schools guarantee that their students will all have the same basic knowledge? How will we accurately measure their relative worth?

SALVIATI: They can’t, and we won’t. Just like in real life. Ultimately you have to face the fact that people are all different, and that’s just fine. In any case, there’s no urgency. So a person graduates from high school not knowing the half-angle formulas (as if they do now!) So what? At least that person would come away with some sort of an idea of what the subject is really about, and would get to see something beautiful.”

“And there you have it. A complete prescription for permanently disabling young minds— a proven cure for curiosity. What have they done to mathematics! There is such breathtaking depth and heartbreaking beauty in this ancient art form. How ironic that people dismiss mathematics as the antithesis of creativity. They are missing out on an art form older than any book, more profound than any poem, and more abstract than any abstract. And it is school that has done this! What a sad endless cycle of innocent teachers inflicting damage upon innocent students. We could all be having so much more fun.”

Oh yeah, the pig part of the title to this post. I sent an email to Cindy this morning asking how things went with the overnighter and thanking her for the article and she replied:

(Cindy) "Glad you're enjoying the article! We did have a fun and peaceful-in-a-very-loud-way evening! The girls went to bed at about 11:30 and Serenity was the first to wake up just after 7... She said "That NEVER Happens!" :-) So, just forewarning you that she may be a bit short on sleep... They are all up and around drinking hot chocolate now.

Oh boy! Our neighbors' pig just arrived for a visit and Serenity and Addison (another unschooling kid who spent the night) are going out to introduce themselves, this should be fun!"

CouchSurfing?

I was reading the blog Intense Lives written by an unschooler from Trinidad who mentioned "CouchSurfing" in a recent post. CouchSurfing is a network of people who agree to have travelers stay at their house for night or two. Check out this description of how it works, this sounds like an awesome, and way cheap, way to travel! I could for sure go with that, and I think it would be cool to have some stay over with us too... depending on the reactions of the more stuck in the mud members of my household of course ;-)

There is a related thing with the Good Vibrations conference directory, one of the questions there is "Are you willing to host traveling unschoolers?" I thought that was pretty adventerous by itself, but CouchSurfing expands that to a whole new level ;-)

Trust and hospitality, what a strange concept...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Biologos

There is a new science web site out that more closely matches my outlook on the interaction between science and religion than most others, even better than RTB in my opinion. It is called BioLogos and was founded by Francis Collins and involves Karl Giberson as well. I've read recent books by both of these men, The Language of God by Collins and Saving Darwin by Giberson. Both of these books were instrumental in keeping me from dumping Christianity as incompatible with reality. They are quite sharp with the science and are Christians at the same time. I think I'm going to enjoy following their blog too.

From the blog:

Francis Collins on the Goals of BioLogos

In a recent interview with Christianity Today, available from the publication's website, Francis Collins discusses what he hopes the BioLogos Foundation can accomplish through its website and other projects.

"My hope would be that we are hub of activity," says Collins. "There are other groups that have been pursuing these kinds of questions and trying to seek harmony instead of conflict, but they are relatively few and not all that visible. If there's something we can do to try to help build those links, we'd love to do that."

Our website, www.biologos.org, provides a wealth of other interviews and presentations by Francis, Karl, and Darrel that present the goals and ideas of BioLogos and a harmony between the worlds of science and religion. We encourage you to take the time to explore them, along with our other resources of recommended books, media collections, and articles.