Monday, June 29, 2009

Bonnie's Memorial

This last weekend we had family gather from around the world to remember our cousin Bonnie and to scatter her ashes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Kristi, Jason and Cole came from New Zealand, Michelle came from Virginia (I think), Joy Ann came up from LA (we won't hold that against her, much), Kari came from Arizona, Becky and Jaden came from Utah, Mike, Lora, Serenity and me came all the way from Pleasanton while Maryann and Topanga came from the other side of San Francisco.

After sailing the bay and sprinkling the ashes we had lunch at Aliotos and went out to the California Academy of Science. Although it was a sad occasion it was good to gather family from near and far and spend a little time together. I hope we can all get together some time with less time pressure and for a happier occasion some day.

Here is a slide show of a few pictures I took:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Oh man, it's all been a waste of effort... well not that much effort actually since I only pay for the gym, I don't actually go there :-), but it would not really matter anyway, the whole exercise thing is a myth, at least when it comes to weight loss or even maintaining weight. In the end it comes down to eating a bit less and cutting out a lot of carbs... or so says this story in New York Magazine by Gary Taubes back in 2007. I believe it to be true because it fits with my own experience. On a strict low carb regime I lost 35 pounds, then gained about 10 back and have been steady ever since eating whatever I feel like. No other diet or exercise + diet plan has ever been as successful for me as that, not the "Low Fat" diet, not the vegan diet not anything I've tried.

So... maybe I'll go back on the low carb diet and see what I can do with that :-) Oh, and exercise, in moderation is probably a good thing, I'll continue to ride my bike to work and take walks and hike and swim because it just makes me feel good, but that strenuous stuff is a waste.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Unschooling Course of Study

This is a "Course of Study" I saw on a home schooling email list, it was put into its form here by Pam Sorooshian and I made it ours by the simple insertion of Serenity School, it makes what we are doing sound almost respectable doesn't it? :-) Then there is why we do it which you can get an idea about by reading The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto, free in its entirety on line.

The World is Our Classroom


Course of Study
Elementary Students

Serenity School is a private full-time day school established in
compliance with the Education Code of the State of California. Because
we believe that the family is the most fundamental social institution
and the preferred means of caring for, preparing, and training children
to be productive members of society, Serenity School promotes and
supports a family-centered education through our independent study program.
At Serenity School , independent study, in which children learn
primarily under the immediate direction, guidance, and support of their
parents and other caring and involved adults, offers an outstanding
educational opportunity by providing a natural learning environment,
extensive real-world experience, flexibility of schedule, and the
ability to respond to the specific needs and inclinations of the child.
Each Serenity School student’s program is developmentally appropriate,
integrated and fully individualized, and continually built upon student
strengths and interests throughout the year.


Serenity School students will develop knowledge of, and appreciation for
literature and the language, as well as the skills of speaking, reading,
listening, spelling, handwriting, and composition.
Students will read from self-chosen or parent-chosen literature on a
regular basis and will engage in reflection on those literature pieces
in a variety of ways, such as: journal writing, book reviews,
conversations, drama based on the books, book clubs. Our educational
goal is for Serenity School students to read for pleasure, to gain exposure
to a wide variety of genres, and to be able to reflect critically on
what they read.

Students will read content-related non-fiction materials to support
their chosen areas of interest. They will reflect on these pieces in a
variety of ways, such as: journal writing, writing articles for
submission to magazines or newspapers, discussions, or development of a
scrapbook in an area of interest. Our goal is for Serenity School students
to learn to read critically for information, to understand and be able
to reflect on materials read, to be able to compare them to other
sources of information, and to learn how and where to find written
resources as needed.

Writing, spelling and grammar will be covered as part of Serenity School
students’ natural writing processes. Students will develop their ability
to write creatively, to write letters and lists, to create and write
drama pieces, informational essays, persuasive articles, etc. Our goal
is for Serenity School students to enjoy writing, to gain expertise in both
the writing process and in technical writing and editing skills, and to
develop a sense of power over the written word.


Serenity School students will develop their knowledge of the biological and
physical sciences, with emphasis on the processes of experimental
inquiry and on the place of humans in ecological systems. They will
relate these to areas of specific student interests by engaging in
hands-on activities, watching science videos, reading related written
materials, conducting scientific experiments, keeping journals, making
and recording observations, visiting scientists in their work places,
visiting local science museums, participating in science fairs and
workshops, and through cooperative learning. Our goal is for
Serenity School students to experience a wide range of scientific exposure,
to develop a positive interest in science, to learn to think
scientifically, to develop a respect for the work scientists do, and to
understand the importance science has in daily life and in the overall

Social Sciences:

Serenity School students will develop their understanding of the social
sciences and humanities by reading and discussing fiction and
non-fiction materials, participating in field trips to historic and
politically or culturally significant sites, or through discussion and
debate. Anthropology, economics, psychology, geography, history,
political science, and sociology are fully integrated into the students
studies in a wide variety of ways, such as: the use of time lines and
maps, discussion, journal writing, cooking, plays, road trips, invention
building, field trips, and art. Our goal is for Serenity School students to
develop a foundation for understanding the history, resources,
development, and government of California and the United States of
America; the development of the American economic system including the
role of the entrepreneur and labor; the relations of persons to their
human and natural environment; eastern and western cultures and
civilizations; and contemporary issues including the wise use of natural

Health and Physical Education:

Health and physical education will be fully integrated as a part of
daily living skills and participation in the wider community with an
emphasis upon the physical activities that my be conducive to health and
vigor of body and mind. Students will learn to care for their health and
physical environment in a variety of ways, such as: shopping for and
preparing food, discussing the necessity of a healthy diet,
participation in fire drills and other emergency preparedness
activities, exercise both as play and as part of a structured group
experience and through camping, hiking, and other outdoor activity. Our
goal is for Serenity School students to appreciate the necessity of a
healthy body and to develop lifelong habits of regular exercise and good

Visual and Performing Arts:

Serenity School students will develop their knowledge of art, music, and
drama through informal and structured methods in a variety of ways, such
as: art classes, instrumental lessons, choral singing, listening to
various styles of music, learning about the people who have influenced
music through history, or working on individualized or group projects
that relate to music, art, and drama, including acting and performing in
a variety of venues and genres. Our goal is for Serenity School students to
enjoy a wide variety of art, music, and drama experiences, including
performance, while developing an understanding and appreciation of the
importance of art, music, and drama as creative expressions of human
life experiences.


Serenity School students will develop mathematical concepts, operational
skills, and problem solving through participation in daily real-world
activities such as cooking, building, shopping, budgeting, computing,
etc. Mathematics materials will be chosen to support students’
individual learning styles in order to achieve competency in operational
skills and insight into problem-solving procedures. Our goal is for
Serenity School students to gain a strong conceptual knowledge of
mathematics as well as an appreciation for the daily applications of
mathematics in their lives.


Yes, it's my Friday at last! After 3 long days of work it's time to head off to the hills for camping and hiking and fun :-) Serenity and I will be spending Wednesday through Friday at the Sunol Regional Wilderness camping with some other SFBUNies and having a good time.

Then on Saturday we are off to the Vallejo waterfront for:

Woo Hoo... I mean Aaarrrrrrrgh!

Monday, June 15, 2009

There is a fountain

Tonight, as I was reading an email list called "5 minutes with Luther", there was a verse from the hymn "There is a fountain" at the end of the devotion. This is such a wonderful hymn I decided to post it here:

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains

Lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day
And there may I, though vile as he
Wash all my sins away

Wash all my sins away

E'er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die

And shall be till I die
And shall be till I die
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die

Wash all my sins away
Wash all my sins away
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die.

Here is a nice version on You Tube by Selah:

And, just for grins, here is a fast blue-grass version that's pretty fun :-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

On the Traditional Liturgy

This is about 50 minutes long so don't start unless you have a good block of free time to spend on it. It's a presentation given at a conference by Rev. Christopher Esget. Please note, I don't see any way to "link" to the video so it's embedded only, to watch the video if you are getting this via email and you don't see anything to watch, click on the title of the post to go directly to my blog where you will then find it embedded:

Gospel in the Psalms

I was reading the Psalms assigned for the evening of the 12th day of the month in Treasury of Daily Prayer and was struck by how clearly the gospel is announced at times in the Old Testament. I am thinking in particular of Psalm 65:2-4 here. First is the announcement that God "hears our prayers". Then we learn that "When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions..." and that it is God who chooses us and brings us near to dwell with Him.

How wonderful that the clear Gospel is there in the Old Testament where so often we think that there is little but "Law". "You atone for our transgression", we don't do it ourselves. Blessed is the one you choose..." we don't choose God, He chooses us!

Thanks be to God. Amen.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Struggling with Sin

Dan, over at Necessary Roughness, has posted a wonderful article about Struggling with Sin and the fact that we are all sinners, every day. It used to be I'd just repost the whole article here but I think it's better to link to stories other people have gone to the trouble to write. (It's just polite, but I still think copyright laws are a stupid idea.) You will find this one edifying I promise, it is not one of those snarky hostile political screeds I like so much :-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Criminal Money?

This is really amazing. How can making gold and silver coins be counterfeiting? Printing worthless scraps of paper backed by nothing but threats like the government does, that's counterfeiting! Read this and weep for what was a free country, then go out and spit on a government lawyer!

"It's The Money"

Fear Rules America

Paul Craig Roberts writes in Chronicles Magazine about Americans hysterical and mostly irrational fear of mythical enemies and claims this fear is the most powerful force in America, he may be right. Read "Fear Rules" here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

David after dentist

Sure, I'm probably the last person in the country to see this but it is so funny I had to put it here anyway, enjoy David after dentist:

This will make you smile

At least it made me smile. Thanks to "The New Unschooler" for this one:

Click here if you don't see the embedded video>

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On Free Will

Here is a great discussion of the issue of Free Will and original sin. Evangelicals and Catholics both mess this one up in one way or another, and it's important, because it takes us away from salvation by faith alone and plants us back in salvation by works, often without even quite realizing it. It's well worth a listen.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

On Freedom

Here's a guy, Doug Stanhope, who says pretty much exactly what I say about Freedom in America.
He says it in a way that will make you laugh, while getting ticked off and saying "Yeah!" Warning, he's pretty crude and cusses a lot, if you are not in the mood to hear some potty mouth, well you better skip this one. At least not listening to him is one freedom the state has yet to rip off from you:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Free College Courses

Oh cool! Someone on a homeschooling email list sent out a link to Free Online Course Materials offered by MIT online! Woo Hoo!

That looks way cool. Then, while browsing around seeing if other schools have that sort of thing I discovered that Stanford has some via iTunes... not quite what I think I'd like but if you just wanted to listen to some lectures it might be fun.

Then I found The Open University which is based in the UK. That one really looks interesting, in fact I decided to play around with that one and registered. You can log in on that site and engage in discussions on the course materials, very interactive and yet free somehow. I'll let you know how it works out. The MIT courses look pretty interesting as well but I'll hold off on them until I've tried out the Open University for a while.

This is the sort of thing the internet really is made for ;-)

This is also essentially unSchooling, you learn what you want, when you want, at whatever pace you want, with no pressure. No "credit" either but I don't care a lick about degrees or credit, just learning new things. As I said in the sidebar of my blog for a while when I had the timer showing how long we've been unschooling with Serenity, we are unSchooling with Serenity. We learn as much as she does. I'm going to have fun with these sites I think.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Close Prisons, not Parks

So the California leach society, aka. the Governator and His Enablers in the Legislature, want to close almost all of California's State Parks to help solve the budget crisis. What a load of BS that is! In the first place it only amounts to 70 million dollars, which when you are looking at a deficit of 25 BILLION dollars is just chump change. In the second place the state ends up getting back over twice what it puts in because of businesses paying taxes around the parks.

What this is amounts to is punishment of the people of California for daring to reject the absurd money grab recently attempted by the bloated parasitical vermin who infest Sacramento. A far better way of lowering the budget would be to fire each and every parasite who processes state licenses and permits or any other form of state paperwork for, well for anything at all. Then release each and every person in prison who is not there for crimes against persons or property, you know drug users and dealers who did not shoot anyone or steal anything. Then close a bunch of the now 1/2 empty prisons and force the sadistic thugs who work there as guards to get honest employment at a McDonalds or something. With a 10 BILLION dollar budget paying for prisons is a larger part of the budget than any part except "education" and healthcare for the "poor." As far as I'm concerned they can cut those two out totally as well :-) Then put that money into libraries and parks, the people would gain far more from that than they do from coddling lazy louts on welfare and keeping kids imprisoned in government indoctrination centers and calling it "education."

Bah! Government, who needs it anyway. Shut the whole darn thing down. Make the parks really public lands and tell people they need to take care of it on their own, bring your own TP, haul out your own trash... it could work :-)

Finally, in the event the parasite class does implement this mass punishment of the people for their defiance, I advocate civil disobedience. Jump the fences, use the parks anyway, knock down the gates and go on in, don't make a mess and take out your trash, show them we don't need them.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Last on Tiller

My last comment is this, I'm glad to hear that although Tiller was a Lutheran he had been excommunicated by his LCMS congregation, which is why he was at the ex-Lutheran ELCA "church" where he was killed.

Since I couldn't manage it myself

Here is a reasonable comment on Tiller:

George Tiller Murder Wrong on Multiple Counts

Deleted Post

I wrote two posts about a recent event in the news concerning the murder of an abortionist in Kansas. After a nights sleep I have deleted the second one which I had posted here, the first I never posted at all.

If you received the post in email or read it on a reader, please accept my apology for such un-Christian writing.