Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hunting Enemy Beasts

So the weenies are trying to rip GoDaddy CEO Bob Parson because he shot an elephant in Africa.

You watch the video and tell me if he's a mean as the New York Times would have you believe:

It was just a hunch but I Googled Mr. Parson's *politics* and instantly learned that they were antipodal to the NYT crowd. Go figure.


Do any of you clowns utilize Google Reader?

I only publish *partial* RSS feeds from my blog - forcing would-be readers to come to my site to see the pics, read the full post, and whatnot.

I'm just wondering if it irritates any of you. If there's a loud enough cry I'll start publishing full feeds.

Let me know. Thanks.

If I Only...

Hah! He's going to be going to work everyday now as a *civil servant* even more miserable than before.

But hey we all have those *hindsight downers*.

I sold 4,000 ounces of gold, gold that I vowed to hold forever, somewhere around $270 an ounce in the late 90s.

That'd be $4,000,000 today.

It almost goes without saying that as a trader for 16 years, I have plenty of *could-have* stomach-turning memories. But at least the sheer volume of them has numbed the pain. Plus I have too much other non-monetary stuff to be grateful for to even think about self-flagellation.

See also - Cheapness And Its Ramifications.

Revisit Boston Market

Shoot....after karate yesterday I took the kids out to lunch at Boston Market.

And I was shocked at what we experienced.

For $17.30 the three of us ate *the best meal ever* - according to my 50% Italian son. (Those people are prone to hyperbole.)

And it was good. Not only did they bring the food to our table, but I was also given the privilege of actual silverware and a washable plate. A sign on the table asked us not to clean up either - no doubt to avoid trashed silverware, etc.

I can't well remember the last time I ate there (10 years?) but I'm sure I didn't walk out so all-around satisfied.

It is amazing/pathetic the things that excite you as an aging family man!

Cheapness - An 'Old Coot' Disease

Somebody was recently lamenting to me the plight of their poor father.

The guy is in his 80s and dying of cancer.

Despite having over $1 million in the bank the guy carries on like a complete destitute bum.

In fact he dresses so poorly that out in public one day someone charitably GAVE HIM $5.

And guess what....HE TOOK IT!

Also, again despite being on his deathbed and having means, the crazy 'old coot' won't pay for home internet access because of a silly price dispute with the cable company. Instead he trucks everyday over to the library to check his email (AOL?).

The purpose of money in life is, well,! Tragically some of these misers never figured that out.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Math Rider Review

Check out my 4.80 year old daughter doing some multiplication practice on the computer:

Pretty impressive, right? Even I was surprised at her progress.

With my firstborn, the Prince, I basically took a workbook approach to math.

Despite eye-popping success (from counting to algebra in 1.5 years, by age 5.125!) I decided to experiment with his younger sister.

We did the introductory Kumon Math workbooks just as I did with the Prince, but then I decided to start making my own worksheets for the Princess.

And I also deliberately tried to incorporate more computer-based learning - but for the most part in the form of those numerous free websites.

That program above is called Math Rider and as you can see it rapid-fires math questions at the student.

It covers basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with three levels apiece (Easy, Medium, and Advanced).

Merely one week ago it took my daughter well over an hour, and many tears, to complete the medium multiplication level. But within a few days she started whizzing through it as you can see demonstrated above. That particular multiplication quest probably only takes her twenty-something minutes now. Tears have morphed into triumphant boasts! I'll let her bask in her glory for a couple of days....then I'll boot her up to the always-imposing next level.

Problems come in batches of 30. Each round is scored and added to a *quest total*. The better the scoring, the faster the quest can be completed. What you saw my daughter do was complete the final ride. I think it took her 8-10 rides, or 240-300 total questions to hurdle.

Again, it covers all the basic operations. She's also conquered the medium level on addition and we are working on subtraction at the moment - counting backwards is always harder for young'uns. Division shouldn't be started until multiplication is down cold, of course. I expect that within 1-2 months - if not sooner - she'll have mastered all the vitally important *math facts*.

What I personally like about Math Rider is that it's a time-intensive exercise. A kid might sit there all day long with a worksheet - alternating between daydreaming, nasal mining, computation, etc. - in a homeschool environment. So Math Rider effectively recreates the pressure and focus inherent in classroom quizzes and tests.

Of course, what I also like about this program is that it liberates me from the tedium of teaching, "If 7+7 is 14, then 7+8 is what?" for the one billionth time! All you parents afraid of *teaching* your kids the love/hate subject of math take special note.

Math Rider is $37 right now. If you have multiple's a no-brainer. And regardless you can try it out at home with a full money-back guarantee for 30 days. Use any of my links on this post (the Prince will appreciate the commission!), you can download the software immediately and set your child up first thing tomorrow morning. You watch, they might very well love it. After all it's a freakin' video game!

See also - Off-The-Chart Homeschooling.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big Government = Big Business

Mike Shedlock highlighted a most trenchant comment on his blog today:

Hello Mish

I find it interesting that people who hate big corporations embrace the ever-growing nanny state. The reality is the nanny state is nothing but a gigantic corporation that hires those who would not be hired in the private workforce at prices far more than they are worth.

In many respects, government is no different than big business. Governments, like business want to grow. Bureaucrats always want more employees and bigger budgets.

The difference is the nanny state is run by politics not by profit. It is run for a political agenda.

If you want a perfect example of a corporation too big to succeed, it's the government.

Take a look at those protesting in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and elsewhere.

Who is protesting government cuts? Why it's government employees. They protest for their benefit, not the benefit of the public at large and they want government to use even more force to take what it needs.

What does it take to stop the madness?

Super Pooper?

A relatively new friend of mine revealed to me the other day that he defecates *6-7 times per day*.

SAY WHAT???!!!


After composing myself from the mind-blow....I suggested *butt kegels or something*.

SuperPooper - No. I don't have that problem. It's not like it just runs down my leg. I can control it at will. I just have a fast metabolism.

Anyone else ever hear of (or experience!) such a frequency?

See also - One More Crudity From NH.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Big Government - Too Ridiculous To Keep Up With!

Check out John Stossel's blog post.

And he has another stomach-turner on Native Americans.

Of course the one party that most people think might have fought this junk HASN'T or HASN'T SUCCEEDED anyway....too worried about being called *racist*, too incompetent to get the job done.

Our Hardworking Pols!

This is apparently a recent pic from the Connecticut State Assembly.

Two pols are playing solitaire or something. Another is on checking baseball scores. And one in front of them is - though it's hard to see - on Facebook!

Even More Tim Ferriss!

The best selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body was profiled the other day in the *fashion & style* section of The New York Times.

Check it out. It was well-written and surprisingly informative.

See also:

Book Summary - 4-Hour Body

Book Review - The 4-Hour Workweek

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Socialized School Kids...

Oh, the irony of a *graduation* fight!

Optimistic Morons


I like how the guy in the article states, "...the cancellation reflects the current economy -- even though things are getting better, companies are still cautious about hiring full-time workers."

Do y'all remember the expression *jobless recovery*?

Throughout the earlier part of the previous decade, when the other party controlled Washington and when employment was SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER,....that was all we heard about - how we came out of the recession *with no jobs*. It was Big Media agitprop aimed at their political enemies.

But nowadays all I hear from the same, now regnant crowd is how *things are getting better*.

That's total bull$hit. Taxes, tuitions, healthcare premiums, food prices, energy prices, etc. are ALL HIGHER. Meanwhile unemployment and underemployment are at the worst levels in decades. Debt is at nosebleed levels and mortgages are all underwater.

The only things that are better are the mercurial stock and bond markets. While I understand if one is in the *skim biz*/Wall Street they are in fact doing terrific, but most of these buffoons waxing optimistic are not in that category. They run job fairs that have to be cancelled; they sell homes (one a year!); and they write for imploding Big Media organs.

Here's some nostalgia from March 2004 - Bush Jobless Recovery Hits Middle Class:

In his new campaign ads, President Bush speaks warmly of a nation on the rebound, with a growing economy that's producing jobs. But the America that Bush sees is not the reality for millions of workers, especially in the middle class.

The federal government's latest employment numbers are, again, dismal. The U.S. added only 21,000 jobs in February, less than one-tenth the monthly increase the country needs to stay even. Unemployment held at 5.6% - but only because almost 400,000 people fell out of the statistics when they stopped looking for work.

Against that bleak backdrop, Bush began his campaign against Democrat John Kerry with commercials touting his leadership through hard times - 9/11, a sinking stock market, a recession. Suggesting that better days are just ahead, he puts a decidedly optimistic gloss on the pocketbook trouble of average Americans.

They were bemoaning 5.6% unemployment!!!

And before that, in May 2003, they were bemoaning 6% unemployment:

Cute Little Fish

14 feet long?

See also - Swimming With Sharks.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thou Shall Be Holier!

You have to feel bad for Susan Wise Bauer, author of the terrific classical homeschool guide - The Well-Trained Mind.

Recently she's been besieged by some members of the Christian community for being *secular* - or at least she feels she's been besieged.

Susan, a minister's wife(!), has decided to defend herself through a couple of blog posts. After all a homeschooling book that's reviled by the largest (50-70%?) sector of its target market is going to suffer big time.

The thing is, Susan not only declares herself a devout Christian, but she also fought against her *secular* publisher to include a good deal of Christianity in her popular - Story of the World series for young'uns.

My son has actually listened to a little bit of that (audiobook); it was tough to get your hands on it at the library!. Ironically the only complaint I ever heard about The Story of the World was from a libertarian atheist who thought it *too religious*. This homeschooling *mom* told me she had to pre-screen each audio track and skip all references to *God*, etc. - because, obviously, her 5 year old daughter would be irretrievably harmed from listening!


I want to link to Susan's lengthy self-defense which is actually a re-print of hers from several years ago - obviously she's suffered this criticism continually:

A Golden Oldie

Apparently some speakers at a recent homeschooling conference, one in which she was also speaking, were bad-mouthing her.

I do feel bad for Bauer (no relation to 'Jack'). But hey, if you want to traffic in an inherently sensitive/political subject like *history* and market your take to the public....then controversy sort of goes with the territory!

Click here - to read her other blog post defense.

Coincidentally, I just borrowed the WTM tome from the library yesterday, for yet another reading.

See also my wonderful post from last year - Book Summary - The Well-Trained Mind.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bored? Over-Medicated?

Can you read that sign?

It says - "This Vehicle Has Been Checked For Sleeping Children" - and they are now displayed on the back of all the school jail buses in my area.

Of course I burst out laughing the first time I pulled up behind a bus and saw the sign.

And I was thinking that they really ought to *check the classrooms* for snoozers!

California - Occasionally 100% Right


They've been torturing me ever since I moved out of cities some 6 years ago.

Outside of the winter, all day long I suffer rickety gas-powered blowers around my house.

What kills me is that they are wielded by illegal immigrants AND that they aren't necessary at all.

It's not one guy either, when the landscaping gang of 'cans hits each house invariably 3-5 of them whip out the blowers in unison and sweep the entire property. Again, it's NOT NECESSARY.  Furthermore the ones around here also utilize a huge gas blower on wheels that's even louder.

I even proposed to some local official a new ordinance saying they couldn't blow each property every week - just cutting them down to *ever other week* would reduce the noise by a significant 50%.

Make the law so only homeowners themselves can use gas-powered blowers. Make the law so that landscapers can only use the quieter electric ones. ANYTHING to cut the noise down.

Everyone thought California was crazy when they cracked down on public smoking. But guess what, who among y'all wants to return to smoky restaurants and airlines?

The blind squirrel State has found another rare nut.

Yet Another Homeschool *Genius*

This one's an artist:

Akiane Kramarik is a young prodigy from Sandpoint, Idaho, who has been drawing and painting lifelike artwork since she was 4. Akiane (pronounced ah-KEE-ah-nah) says she first met God when she was 3. And now she's hoping to use her amazing gift to help feed needy children around the world.

When young Akiane's special gift was discovered, not much time passed before the humble 10-year-old was featured on Oprah, CNN, and other national media programs. Akiane began working in pastels when she was 5, and completed her first painting at 7. The self-portrait she painted sold for $10,000.

"It wasn't just art that was happening. Simultaneous with art was a spiritual awakening," says Akiane's mother, Forelli Kramarik. "It all began to happen when she started to share her dreams and visions. "Prior to that time, Forelli had been raised as an unbeliever, in an atheistic family from Lithuania. "And my husband was a former Catholic and did not share in the family beliefs. We didn't pray together, there was no discussion about God, and we didn't go to church. Then all of a sudden, Akiane was starting to talk about God."

Forelli's young daughter was homeschooled, she had no babysitters, and the family watched no television."We were with the kids all the time, and so these words from Akiane about God didn't come from the outside—we knew that. But there suddenly were intense conversations about God's love, His place [in our lives], and she would describe everything in detail."
Did y'all catch that?

HOMESCHOOLED, NO BABYSITTERS, and NO COLOR TV - just like I've been preaching for quite some time.

In order to reach anywhere near their human potential, children need to be around complete-sentence-wielding, working adults (not other juveniles!), they need solitude, and they need the brain exercise that naturally occurs from the absence of passive media consumption.

As my wife and I marvel at our off-the-charts homeschooled Prince occasionally one of us, though usually my wife, suggests that perhaps he's just a *genius*.

BUT I keep reminding her, and others, that there is no doubt that he's mostly a *product* of deliberate work and a manufactured environment.

See also:

Homeschooling - Enabling Concentrated Study


Thursday, March 24, 2011

On Alarmist, Inverted Quack Scientists

Enter Ann Coulter:

As I described in my book "Godless," both the government and the entire mainstream media lied about AIDS in the '80s by scaring Americans into believing that heterosexuals were as much at risk for acquiring AIDS as gays and intravenous drug users. The science had to be lied about so no one's feelings got hurt.

In 1985, Life magazine's cover proclaimed: "NOW, NO ONE IS SAFE FROM AIDS." In 1987, U.S. News & World Report reported that AIDS was "finding fertile growth among heterosexuals." Also in 1987, Dr. Oprah Winfrey said that "research studies" predicted that "one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years."

In 1988, ABC's "20/20" claimed the CDC had discovered a shocking upsurge of heterosexual infections on college campuses. It struck no one as odd that 28 of the 30 infections had occurred in men (with alphabetized spice racks and at least three cats, one named Blanche).

Two years later, CNN broadcast that same 1988 study, proclaiming: "A new report from CDC indicates that AIDS is on the rise on college campuses."

A quarter-century later, and we're still waiting for the big heterosexual AIDS outbreak.

But at least science achieved its primary purpose: AIDS was not stigmatized as a "gay disease." Scientific facts were ignored so that science would be nonjudgmental. That was more important than the truth.
Yeah, that's an actual product for sale on!

See also:

More Crackpot Conspiracies On AIDS


Medical Morons

Book Rec - Seabiscuit

The other day I finished reading Seabiscuit. What a nice little story that was. Check if your library has the illustrated version.

While it's not the greatest book out there by any means, I think it's definitely worth putting on the list of future reads for my kids. Almost as much as a the dramatic racing tale, it was a glimpse into what I would deem as *relevant* American history.

I mean I'm all for learning about ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, and the Aztecs....but personally I've always found local, recent American history to be far more fascinating. Heck I drove right by Belmont Park - scene of the cancelled Sea Biscuit/War Admiral grudge match - just the other day. Now, having learned a little about horse racing history I will forever look at that exit sign on the Cross Island Parkway differently; and I've gained a new understanding and appreciation for a *sport* that I had heretofore thought antiquated and ridiculous.

Put down those trash novels. Read some transformative history books!

Vocab Lessons - Buggery

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.—A South Carolina man who twice pleaded guilty to having sex with a horse has been released from prison after 16 months and ordered to stay away from the stable where the animal lives.

Vereen must complete two years of probation or he will have to finish the five-year sentence he received in November 2009 after pleading guilty to buggery and trespassing. The Sun-News of Myrtle Beach first reported Vereen's release.

Vereen was arrested after the owner of the horse staked out her stable and caught Vereen sneaking inside. She held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

The owner said she spent several nights in the barn after catching Vereen having sex with the animal on surveillance tapes. She feared he had returned because her horse was acting strange and getting infections again. She also noticed dirt and hay piled up near the horse's stall in Longs, about 20 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach.

Vereen was caught having sex with the same horse in late 2007 and was on probation from that incident when he was arrested a second time, authorities said.

The owner of the horse didn't immediately return a message from The Associated Press on Monday, but her husband said she knew Vereen was out of prison and she was scared he would come back to their stables.

Hah! All this time I had thought it was called "horseplay", when it fact it's actually called buggery.

I guess *rolling around in the hay* would have been anatomically he had to STACK the hay...

Alright I'll stop now.

See also - Accidental Horse Whisperer?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Little Fiat Bubble History

Wow - imagine that....the government blows a bubble and encourages the lumpen masses to keep pouring their depreciating paper currency into it!

Can you say *stock market bubble*?

Can you say *housing market bubble*?

Just what exactly do y'all think those tax incentives (401k) and bailouts were enacted for?

France, way back then, thought it was doomed when paper money was levered at 5 times the gold at hand.

Hah! At least gold had value.

Today the large banks, BAC, WFC, JPM, and C not only don't have ANY HARD ASSETS backing up their balance sheet....they only have about 1 PAPER DOLLAR at hand for each 15-25 they claim to hold!!!

Never before in history has it been so clear - that *wealth* is a tenuous political condition.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Education - Chalked Up For Morons

Realize that all he's saying here has already been articulated by mi hombre John Taylor Gatto.

I first mentioned Ken Robinson two years ago. See - On Creativity.

But thanks to Heather for bringing this latest clip to my attention. It really was well done and is definitely worth a re-watch, or three.

His Most Dryness

You just have to love how Bill Belichick Marginalizes these idiot sportswriters.

Of course in rhetoric the ultimate retort is to slay your opponent with their own argument.

Belichick bludgeons these buffoons with *clichés* so bad one can suspect outright sadism. You just KNOW he revels in it!

Check out his hilarious interview from the other day.

Marginalizing Writers

I almost never do this, but recently I *quit* a book some 80(?) pages into it - usually I stick it out to the bitter blissful end.

I was bored to death by Anne Lamont's critically-acclaimed - Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life.

Sure there was some practical information in this one - on how to overcome procrastination, blocks, etc. and finally write that novel one might have been threatening to publish, for years.

BUT, I found most of her spiel to be unhelpful din, the ramblings of a stereotypical, angry, destitute *writer*. I just have no respect for these clowns that think they can simply write for a living.

HELLO, you have to have some practical knowledge to impart if you ever want to get paid - appreciably anyway. The idea that the masses will pay-up for beautiful prose is not only delusional, ignorant, and's anti-empirical. The number of people, throughout history, who've managed to make a living writing about *lazy Sunday afternoons* and such is a microscopic fraction of the number of Morons who set out explicitly to do so. Sure, I'd love to play golf for a living BUT....I'm forever restrained (and redirected) by realism.

And it seemed like that was the entire focus of the book - how to motivate lazy/opinionated buffoons, i.e. aspiring New York Times writers.

Sure some people have indeed made living writing fiction (e.g. Danielle Steele, Greg Mankiw,...) but for the most part commercial writing has been held hostage by *utility*.

And now that the gatekeepers have been obliterated by ebooks and the web....before long there'll be a zillion more aspiring, middling, writers out peddling their paragraphs. If you put them all in a line they would look not unlike those hopeless American Idol auditioners!

Can Your 6 Year Old...?

Charlotte Mason included in her Original Homeschool Series books some lists of attainments, goals or objectives to be met by certain ages. She has one for 6-year-olds and one for 12-year-olds.

"A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six", a reprint of a curriculum outline from a CM school in the 1890's.

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns

2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm

3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters

4. to read--what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child

5. to copy in print-hand from a book

6. to know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows

7. to describe the boundaries of their own home

8. to describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach

9. to tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early English, and 3 from early Roman history (my note here, we may want to substitute early American for early English!)

10. to be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views

11. to mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them.

12. to do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees

13. to know 6 birds by song, colour and shape

14. to send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed

15. to tell three stories about their own "pets"--rabbit, dog or cat.

16. to name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences

17. to sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song

18. to keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations.

Hmmmmmm. That's an interesting list/test, isn't it?

Obviously Ms. Mason was big on perception and nature.

But times have changed since then. I ought to make up my own, updated list:

1. Knows their parents' phone numbers

2. Knows how to Google

3. Can log in and send an email

4. Can operate a cordless cell phone
For more on Charlotte Mason's 'old school' methods - click here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Watching A Bubble Pop in Slo-Mo

Old buddy Mr. Mortgage recently poked his head out of his bunker and offered up this:

In final, I am always asked about my predictions for total Foreclosures stemming from the bubble years. And I have said the same thing for years.

In short, there have been 3.5 million foreclosures and short sales to date stemming from legacy loans. There are presently ~7.5 million borrowers delinquent, defaulted, or in Foreclosure at present — grows by 100k to 125k per month — of which 75% to 80% will ultimately be liquidated. If another 7.5 million defaults — and modification redefaults — occur over the next three to five years then a total of 12 million to 15 million Foreclosure, short sale, and deed-in-lieu liquidations will occur, meaning we are now ~25% complete in cleansing the infamous 2003-2007 Bubble-Year’s toxic lending cesspool.
So figure the housing market has been in the $hitter for 2-3 years now...

So he's predicting ANOTHER 6-9 YEARS of housing market pain.

That time frame sounds about right to me - at a minimum anyway.

Of course unless Big Government withdraws a large percentage of *entitlements*....this whole economy is headed in the same direction as housing bubble prices....right into the $hitter!

FYI - As far as I can tell, NYC and its tony suburbs haven't even really been hit by a real estate price decline.  Seriously.  Neither has Washington DC.

Canine Age Warfare?

She's holding her dentures!

Brooklyn Granny Mauled By Rottweilers

An elderly Brooklyn woman was mauled in a terrifying, unprovoked Rottweiler attack as she took an early morning walk through Prospect Park yesterday.

"I was just walking on the sidewalk [inside the park], and two dogs ran after me. They attacked me on the hands and face," the still-trembling, 80-year-old victim, Yuk Ho Chan, told The Post after she was released from Methodist Hospital.

"They were clawing at my face."

"It was very scary. I didn't know what happened," said Yuk, who had dried bloodstains smeared on her jacket. "He [the owner] couldn't control the dogs. They were mean-looking and they were furious."

Christie Smythe, 28, who walks a Jack Russell terrier mix in the same area of the park, said, "My dog isn't always fond of elderly people. They move differently than other people and that seems to set off a reaction."

"He'll see older people power walking and he snaps. He growls and snarls, and I have to yank him back."

That's a pretty horrible story. It could have been anyone's grandmother, wife, or child.

I don't care what anyone says - those vicious dogs (pit bulls, bullmastiffs, rottweilers, etc.) should all be murdered and ground up into egg rolls or something.

It is curious though, that the *dog people* quoted assert that their mutts don't like the oddity of 'old coots'.

See my other posts on Moronic dog people.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Excuse the over-sized image. It's cool though, right?

Ever wonder exactly how artists create images like that?

Well I had never really before, but it seems that my 4.76 year old Princess is turning out to be quite the little artist. And with no real expertise in that department between her parents (or family) I'm researching how best to nurture this interest.

She takes an art class one day per week which is VERY GOOD - except that it's $35 per class!

For that rate I may as well look to hire a private instructor or figure out out to co-op a class with a few other budding, serious artists.

But I'm also trying be a little farsighted here.

What do you think will be more important in the future - painting with acrylics or computer graphic design? What do you think will open more doors from a career standpoint - a deft touch with pastels or aptitude for digital photography, photoshopping, and Adobe Creative software?

Yeah, the latter is freakin' expensive ($400+) so I'm not about to buy that for my daughter anytime soon.

So in the meantime I'm Googling, researching, and keeping my eyes open for low cost, high-tech approaches to further her artistry. If you have any ideas, feel free to help me out!

That pic can see a rough snapshot of its development here.

However it was done, that's the type of skill I'd like my daughter to be working toward.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lacrosse - New Territory

In my younger, less sagacious years I always thought it a meathead, provincial sport.

But like a total Moron my prejudice was based upon absolutely no first-hand experience.

On Long Island now, we're deep into lacrosse country.

And my wife signed the 6.33 year-old Prince up for the spring season. I was moderately against it but my wife insisted and promised to take him every weekend, and to practice with him.

However lacrosse is not exactly kickball so the kid has to practice a bit if he has any hopes of keeping up with his neighbors who've been wielding lacrosse sticks since they were 3. Seriously.

So I'm learning some of the basics and am so far enjoying flipping the ball around. Who knows - maybe I'll end up loving the sport?

Thinking back on my youth sports experiences, my father FORCED me (tears streaming down my face!) to sign-up and play Biddy Basketball (8.5 ft hoops) when I was 8. It turns out that despite that unenthusiastic introduction, b-ball became for me an all-consuming passion - my favorite sport even to this day some 30 years later.

Also, my own father grew up a huge baseball player. Sure he steered my brother and I down that road but after 2 years we both gave it up in favor of soccer - a sport my father had ZERO experience with (like me with lacrosse).  In fact a few years later my mother told me that she and my father actually *celebrated* when we gave up the passion of his youth, baseball. But guess what....he and his first wife became all-out soccer nuts themselves as me and my siblings took to the game.

BTW, lacrosse isn't exactly cheap - about $200 for equipment!

Tim Ferriss - First, Hype Thyself

It's a quiet Friday night here. Spring sprung the past two days here and I've been hitting range balls, doing yardwork, and spending time outside with the kids. It's going to get even quieter tomorrow when my first wife boards a flight for South America - another work trip. She'll be gone for 11 days.

Read this terrific blog post from Tim Ferriss' blog - 12 Lessons Learned While Marketing "The 4-Hour Body". True to the title, it gives terrific insight into the *Tim Ferriss Hype Machine*.

Furthermore, in true Ferrissonian fashion, he outsourced it!

See also:

Tim Ferriss - Hyping

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Seth Godin, A Bald-Headed Guru?

I don't care what ANYONE says, this guy is not even close to a modern-day Confucius:

Yet Morons and non-Morons alike worship the ground he walks on.

He's peddling yet another tiny book; Poke The Box is only 88 pages!

Who in this day and age can publish non-children's books so short?

Underwhelmed by his other book, I think I'll pass on reading this *pamphlet*.

Still Chugging With Workbooks

My son just finished - Kumon Reading - Grade 6.

While many homeschoolers parents who educate their own deprecate stale workbooks, and I sympathize with them, we've used them from day 1 and continue to do so.  Personally I like the fact that I have *standby work* for deploying at any time - in the car, at the library, for right when they wake up, for when I need to do something, for the doctor's office, etc.

This one was pretty good. As one might expect, it's simply short reading passages and follow-up questions. There's a whole lot of good, challenging vocab in there as well.

Luckily, my son doesn't complain about doing these, ever. I try to make him do 2 pages a day,  sometimes 4. A 74 page book, these Reading books are good for a month or so. In fact when he got near the end yesterday, he asserted that I had promised him a *prize* when he finished it. I probably did but couldn't remember. Egged on by material greed, he took the book outside and finished off the last 10 pages on the deck all on his own. It's amazing what kids/people will do when sufficiently and basely self-motivated!

The Prince is also chugging along with his algebra. Check out his latest blog post - Imaginary Numbers.

And to see the mountain of workbooks he did before he was even 5 - click here.

Fast Fractionally White Kid

I had no idea that Doc Rivers, the former NBA player and current coach of my Boston Celtics, had a kid who was ranked the best HS basketball player in the country.

Austin Rivers is Duke-bound.

I had thought that when Danny Ainge hired Doc Rivers to coach some seven years go, I had thought not so much that it was a stupid signing, but more so that Ainge had *overpaid* at $5 million per year.

But Doc has clearly earned his money. I've also learned over these years that not only can the guy coach but he's also a terrific golfer and overall a very impressive *high character* individual.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Gatekeepers?

Here's yet another feel-good story of an author who overcame *publisher rejection* via self-published ebooks:

Check out her books on Amazon. They're pretty cheap if you buy the Kindle versions - starting at .99 and climbing all the way up to a whopping $2.99.

See also - Ebook Goldrush.

Recommended Reading

Check out Amy's Humble Musings.

Y'all realize that I almost never recommend blogs no less *personal* ones.

Amy's a libertarian Christian. She's smart, a terrific writer, and damn funny (for a chick girl).

I believe she recently moved from Florida to the sticks up north, opting to subsist on a farm and homeschool her brood in hoped-for tranquility.

Boston Loses Jobs - Incumbents Rejoice!

Can you imagine that?

In an article on how Fidelity is moving yet another 1,000+ jobs from business-hostile Massachusetts to friendlier states the Globe runs a pic of a smiling Lieutenant Governor!

Is this some kind of Freudian slip?

After all, Massachusetts' incumbent statists are probably beaming at this development.

Not only can they use the opportunity to bash an *evil*, ungrateful corporation...

They've also just sent 1,000+ private sector employees and their families, people who might be inclined to vote against them, out of the electorate!

There are a lot of dying States out there. While most people are focusing on California, Michigan, and New Jersey....Massachusetts is also quietly well on its way to financial and demographic disaster.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Inroads Into The Bullying Epidemic?

Methinks the little punk a big Moron!

He might have been p'owned(?) there....but I'll bet the dork gets his revenge via *cyber-bullying*.

Old School - Breakin' Em In

It says, *I will not hit my sister in the face.*

After some thoughtful, chuckling deliberation I decided to make my son, the 6.32 year old Prince write that out on two sides of legal paper.

Admittedly, I did crack myself up - justifying the masochism by the fact that he not only really shouldn't be whopping his (deserving!) sister in the face, but also by the reality that he really needs the handwriting practice.

I vividly remember my father making me *write* for punishment. My depraved aunt did as well.

And I had a teacher in 4th grade - a crazy, lazy Armenian "Mr. Ellion"(sp?) - who sentenced misbehaving students to write, well, about every 10 minutes or so. Usually it was *2 pages, both sides* but occasionally he'd erupt to 3 or 4 pages, both sides. He made you write *I will not...* whatever it was you were doing at the time.

Once, now we're talking 1983-1984, he waddled into the classroom and a racial minority was doing the centipede on the radiator. Caught, Mike Burrell had to write *I will not do the centipede on the radiator in Mr. Ellion's classroom ever again.* on a cruel 4 pages of paper, both sides.

That was called *breakdancing*, you Moronic children (and forgetful-'old coots')!

Anyways, my son keeps walloping his sister in the face. Just the other day, he bloodied her lip up good in the middle of a pizza joint.

He doesn't have to tell me as I well know how FREAKIN' ANNOYING she can be.

But he's got to learn to pound her on her arm - charlie-horse style. That's what I used to do. I used to pound my sisters on their upper arm with a full punch. Anything near the face and my biological father would kill me.

I'm so exasperated with my son's incorrigible face-hitting that I'm contemplating teaching him my method from way back when.

We're not there yet though; next time he'll have to do four pages, both sides, and we'll see if that is effective.

Here's a better video:

Rereading this post I found an error - I was actually the racial minority in that school!

Big Kids Versus Little Kids

Somebody titled this - Scaring the (Poop) Out Of The Kids:


I imagine it took considerable *work* to pull this stunt off - though I think they could have somehow made it scarier. Perhaps they could have put the child's favorite stuffed animal out there or something?

I remember, heck I'll never forget the *tot finder* sticker that my biological parents put on my bedroom window.

It was freakin' oval-shaped - so it looked like someone or some alien was peering into my room, every night of my insomniac youth.

Book Rec - The Art Of Non-Conformity

Alright, I just finished yet another renegade *personal development* book - The Art of Non-Conformity.

While a notch below the work of Tim Ferriss, it was still a very good read.

Author Chris Guillebeau became famous for checking out on the corporate grind, moving to West Africa where he and his wife volunteered for 4 years, and for attempting to travel to every country in the world all the while broadcasting his adventures on the web.

Chris is a whole lot crunchier than the others in this *lifestyle design* space. He's a vegan, a do-gooder, and admirably far less obsessed with wealth than his peers.

While a lot of his message is unoriginal (ripped from Ferriss and Stephen Covey?)....Chris at least personally had the guts to do what everyone else wishes they could do. So The Art of Non-Conformity is not only an interesting story, it's a very inspirational work. No matter what sized your personal goals are, reading this book will most definitely get you closer to them.

Chris, along with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Tim Ferriss, and a host of exalted others, most certainly belongs in the category of *Self-Unconscious Homeschooling Advocates*. I continually laugh at these fools, the personal development types especially, who are all about life-planning at age 30. They have NO CLUE that homeschooling/unschooling children from the get-go would all but obliterate the demand for their books!

I have to thank Laura Grace for this one. She inadvertently recommended it to me.

Indian Dervish

Hah! Talk about uninhibited!

To see a classier Indian affair - click here.


Have any of y'all eco-pagans seen this one:

It looks interesting.

Relax! I'm not about to start worshipping Father Nature/Gaia or anything anytime soon.

But I am probably close to getting a Netflix subscription so I can see random motion pictures like this when I feel like it.

Though first I'm going to have to buy a color TV and upgrade my BetaMax player...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tree Killers - Much Funnier Than Tree-Humpers!

I almost urinated in my trousers hearing about the Auburn Tree Killer:

News that a rabid Crimson Tide fan poisoned 130-year-old live oaks at Auburn University's historic Toomer's Corner has whipped the state into a frenzy usually reserved for the Iron Bowl. The bizarre incident has exposed an old-fashioned hate that's not always clean.

"I think [Harvey Almorn Updyke, charged with the poisoning] is representative of a fringe element of fans right now who are angry about a lot of things," sports talk show host Paul Finebaum told the Birmingham News. "They are angry about Auburn winning the national championship, but they are equally angry about what happened at the game in Tuscaloosa, and about the fact that they don't believe Cam Newton should have been eligible, and they don't believe Auburn won a legitimate national championship.

"You get all of these different things working together, and I think the anger level for this is much higher than it's been," said Finebaum, who, on Jan. 27, received a call from an Alabama fan claiming to have poisoned the treasured oaks. According to an affidavit released by the Lee County District Court, Updyke admitted to making that call and one other, to a Auburn professor of turfgrass management and weed science, regarding the incident.

The trees are given almost no chance of surviving the Spike 80DF, or tebuthiuron, that Updyke is accused of applying in lethal amounts. "It'll take divine intervention" to save them, former Auburn Athletic Director David Housel told the AJC.

While the 62-year-old former Texas state trooper bragged about the incident, he told police he didn't actually spread the herbicide, according to the affidavit.

A $50,000 bond was set for Updyke, who spent Thursday night in the Lee County Jail. The Dadeville, Ala., resident was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with first-degree criminal mischief.

A childhood friend of Updyke's told the Opelika-Auburn News the Texas native -- who, according to a school spokeswoman, did not attend the University of Alabama -- had no criminal past.
"He was always fun-loving and enjoyed laughter," said Dadeville resident Howard Wayne Barnes.

I mean the Moronic dude called a radio talk show to boast!

They interviewed his *childhood friends* for crying out loud!

And they'll probably spend $10 million to try to save this tree - just you watch.