Monday, May 30, 2011

Extreme Couponing?

Now my first wife and I might possibly be the only people who hadn't heard of so-called *extreme couponing* - that is until we caught a few minutes of it on the hotel's color TV last week:

There are plenty more videos on YouTube, of course.

I myself as a stock option trader don't understand the *stockpiles*.

If you buy something you don't need for free (we'd say *bought for even*)....flip it to someone else for crying out loud - even at a below-market price. These cheapskates should be selling all that extra salad dressing and Powerade to their neighbors for 25-50 cents a bottle.

A few years ago, while reading Will Durant's Story of Civilization, I first learned that there were other forms of greed besides ambition for wealth. The precise example involved monks or something who'd camped out atop trees for weeks, naked, with nothing to subsist on. Durant characterized this as *spiritual greed* - and you may recognize a strain of it today amongst the radical earth-humping set. See - The Year Without Toilet Paper.

Watching these extreme couponers cursing at the register when they don't get the final price all the way down to a penny I couldn't help but think I was witnessing *miserly greed* or something.

Now I don't think it's worth my time and energy to spend 20 hours a week trying to buy $600 worth of useless, unhealthy groceries that I may be able flip for a $200 profit.

BUT it may be worth my homeschooled kids' time...

It, if successful, could be a great entrepreneurial exercise for them. For example I saw one woman buy 100 Butterfingers for free. She had a 50 cent-off coupon, *double coupons*, and they were retailing for $1. I'd have my kids sell those for 25 cents a piece outside of of the government schools here and they'd be sold out in no more than an hour.

You have to think though....

Once these strategies have hit color cable TV they are probably on their way out. I mean how long before stores and food manufacturers start putting quantity restrictions and whatnot on these coupons?

Intro To A Moron

Not having watched CNN in the past 20 years or so I had no idea who Nancy Grace was. Although I had seen her name a few times before (ratings on Drudge or something).

While she herself is a buffoon, she does reveal and highlight here the alarmist bent of Big Media.

Large news channels NEED large crises so that they can mass-market fear and hate, anger, misinformation, etc. Make no mistake a deadly tornado, a flu outbreak (or fear thereof), terrorist attacks, etc. are boons to entities - at least they think so.

Someone tell this Moron it's *sleight OF hand* - not *sleight OF THE hand*...

Here's my - alarmism tag. (Scroll past this post when it comes up.)

Golf, Golf, Golf

This past week I played golf three times at Eisenhower Park - the White Course. Curiously, I shot 81 all three days. And in between rounds I've been hitting the driving range, practice greens, and flipping flop shots in my backyard.

This upcoming week I will be golfing another 4 or 5 times. I'm playing in a two-man tournament on the South Jersey shore along with a bunch of my South Philly jabronis. Recall I threatened to do that last year. See - Triumphant Jabronis!.

I've played in it before - three times actually - but not in the past 8 years as I moved too far away - from NY, to NC for a year, and then to serve my 5 year sentence in Boston before returning to NY last May.

So the pretext, er excuse, for all this little-white-ball-whacking has been that I'm preparing for my tournament. Is it competitive?

Yeah, at the top anyway. 128 teams qualify on the first day and are then flighted for match play. You can treat it as seriously or as frivolously as you please. Lose a match and start boozing...

Now I'm not that good (7-9 handicap?) compared to the guys that play in these events. BUT I am smart enough to at least choose a partner who's better than me!

While I do practice hard, I don't take the game too seriously. I'll be content to just *not suck* and have a couple streaks of good play, a few low carb beers, and a dozen cheesesteaks/hoagies over the week. Heck you could put bird $hit on an Amoroso roll and I'd lap it up.

Of course the idea of hitting a ball around with a club is intrinsically Moronic...

But that's not the point. Golf, for me anyways, is a rewarding exercise in *self-mastery*.

The spring has been tough on my time. The kids were swamped with organized activities that I had to chauffeur them to; I had tons of yard work to do; and then there was my golf practice. After this tournament I'll be putting my clubs away for a while so I can get back working on my websites.

Marginalizing Beauty And Talent

In case some of y'all haven't seen any of this season's American Idol. Check out this young lass:

I mean, not only can she sing....she's exploding with personality and is one fine-looking broad! Watching her I'm reminded that I'm still one raging heterosexual...

Relax, she's of age, 21 or so, and I look 25 or 26 (despite my 37th birthday later this week).

It's hard to believe that this same girl auditioned the year before but didn't even make it to Hollywood. Heck she's as polished and poised as that invert Adam Lambert was as an amateur.

And like Lambert, she too was ousted by inferior competition, landing in third place.

Why did she lose?

Because of schools of course.

Too many kids - and that's who's voting here - grow up hating the beautiful, the competent, and the self-confident with whom they have to suffer *forced association*. Regular folk may secretly aspire to be them....but explicitly voting for them is another matter.

Another EPA Disaster

You know I had seen pictures of these fish - Asian carp - jumping out of the water in unison a couple of years ago:

But I didn't know that this particular fish was destroying freshwater ecosystems. Apparently they eat all the plankton(?) or something that the little fish need which threatens bass, perch, walleye, etc. up the food chain.

Years ago they brought them over to help clean up the water (they are *filter feeders*) at catfish farms. But they may have escaped into the waterways during floods. So we have another yet *cheap Asian import* that caused more problems than it solved.

Importantly it should be noted that back in the day, it was hardly just a few catfish farmers that were responsible for today's mess. No, in fact the Big Government was singing the praises of Asian carp, recommending them to treat and clean sewerage runoff and other dirty water situations.

Of course if you Google *EPA Asian Carp* it's pretty hard to find the true history of these invasive fish run amok. All that comes up in the search engine results are reports on how the EPA is going to SOLVE the mess it authored. Hint - it involves hundreds of millions of your taxpayer dollars!

And when it fails....the new solution will most certainly demand even more money.

See also:

Worcester Beetle - Another Ill-Conceived Bailout

Big Government Killing The Environment

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Me, A Boat Person?

No way, right?

I'm the type that likes to BEFRIEND people who have boats!

I'll bring the hoagies, the Meister Brau....every time. You just keep paying the slip fees and whatnot!

But now we live about 500 yards from Long Island Sound AND we have good access down there via a neighborhood beach. It's got a dock; a place to store small watercraft; a swing set; etc.

I'd be nothing short of a complete Moron to live here and not take advantage of this beautiful body of water.

So I've vowed to get either a canoe or a kayak as well as some fishing gear (but for shore fishing). I actually already have a couple of rods but am not sure they are suitable for fishing in the Sound. I grew up a freshwater fisherman so I'm ignorant in matters of saltwater.

Anyways. I'm surfing Craigslist looking for a kayak or canoe but I have no idea even what exactly I should be looking for. A 2-person kayak or a solo? What kind of material/brand? How much I should pay? Etc.

I even just read now that kayaking WAS NOT for people with bad backs. Really? Even if done with good form?

I've got some research to do so any help would be appreciated.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Unquestioning Morons

My wife recently spend a long afternoon with one of her old *friends*.

Afterwards she remarked that her pal, whom she hadn't seen in ages, didn't ask a single question about what was going on with my wife and her family - this was over a period of something like 6 hours.

As far as I'm concerned, that's not exactly a *friend* or someone worthy of spending any scarce personal time with. When one half of a relationship becomes acutely aware of this kind of imbalance....I say it's definitely time to short that friendship.

We all have acquaintances that, well, don't ever initiate getting together or even make any efforts in that regard. And there is certainly some real value in maintaining skeletal relationships with old friends.  (Of course, some of these clowns need to be severed too!)

But *not asking you any questions* is a clear warning sign and not just with friends; it also applies to strangers and random people that you meet. If you're sitting there at a party or something and some self-orbiting Moron doesn't express any interest in the basics (like where you're from!)....well, I quickly cross them off my list.

I submit that it's beyond merely a sign of vanity or social retardation.

People who aren't genuinely interested in the lives of others may very well be intellectually retarded to boot. Have any of y'all ever met an incurious, closed-minded genius?

I'd like to suggest a new metric for assessing IQ.

How often do you Google?

Seriously. It's sort of a corollary to that old maxim *there's no such thing as a stupid question* which casts the kid who's afraid to raise his hand in a government school classroom.

Think about it. The WWW holds the answers to almost every basic question imaginable. Only a certified Moron would not want to tap that resource, again and again.

Plus....I myself Google stuff all day long! Ergo I'm clearly very...

I Would Do This, Seriously

I particularly like the part of the daughter bashing her father's *big ego*...

Undocumented Tithing?

Some guy told me today that the reason the Catholic Church harbors border jumpers - and vocally lobbies for Amnesty and whatnot - is because as a group they are devout tithers.

Say what?

This guy insisted that undocumented Catholic Hispanics ALL believe in donating 10% of their earnings to the causes of the Catholic Church. He said that was the case at his Westbury, NY parish.

I'd never heard that before. I'd always presumed that the Church was supportive of the undocumented because well, it needs members to replace the departed eco-pagans and lapsed-Catholics. I'm probably right too but I wasn't aware of the money angle - if indeed it's true.

A Tax Increase AND School Cuts!

There's a nauseating letter to the Editor in my town's rag.

It defends/commends a $2 million hike in the local school budget (Yeah, in this economy!) as a *job well done* by the school district.

Why? Because:

The Citizens Advisory Committee on Finance (CACF) supports the adopted Manhasset School District Budget of $85,592,098 for the year 2011-2012. The budget represents an increase of $2,079,421 (or 2.49 percent) over the prior year. The largest factors in the increased expenses is a $1,340,620 increase in mandated pension contributions to the New York State Retirement System and a $940,530 increase in healthcare contributions, which by themselves would have increased the year-over-year budget by $2,281,150. The net impact of all other budget line-items was a reduction of $201,729.

The reduction in expenses exclusive of the retirement and healthcare expenses was made possible by the elimination of the Assistant to the Superintendent position and nearly 12 full-time equivalent positions. These steps were made while retaining all core academic, co-curricular and athletic programs with a limited impact on some elective programs at the secondary school.

The adopted budget increase in expenses is expected to be paid for primarily by a $2,065,151 (or 2.79 percent) increase in the property tax levy.

Did you catch that?

They conveniently blame *state pension and healthcare mandates* and further down in the article *cuts in State aid*.

Meanwhile they cut 12 teachers/staff members AND raised taxes!

Now this letter is written by some *citizens* group. Are they independent? Or merely cronies and flacks? You tell me:

The CACF, which is comprised of residents of Manhasset selected by the board of education, is responsible for advising the board on financial matters, specifically on the annual school budget. As in previous years, we note with appreciation the transparency of the budget process, the wealth of financial information made available by the administration and the administration’s responsiveness to CACF inquiries.

The entire letter is pure propagandistic sleight-of-hand.

It cherrypicks all sorts of statistics, focusing on relative tax rates, marginal increases, and spending compared to other towns - many of which receive a whole lot more *State aid* because they are more in need politically connected to Albany.


Here's the bottomline - the Town of Manhasset will spend $26,130 PER PUPIL next year!

I had to laugh at some guy in Ohio, a disgruntled government school teacher, who complained to me last weekend that his district spent *five or six grand per kid*. (Actually it's probably more like 7 or 8 grand.)

So by me keeping my two kids out of government school I save the town an astounding 52k annually, sort of.

And what do they get for all that money?

Well on some stupid standardized tests they show *high averages* - BUT that's because they are NO bottom-dragging urban MINORITIES in town, much like the mediocre yet self-congratulatory government school district of Hingham, Massachusetts - near where I just moved from.

But both of these towns SUCK at educating their best students - at least in terms of test scores and competitions.

How in the world could I possibly send my two precocious children to this school system?

Recall we're a math family here. In fact my 6.51 year old son just completed his study of algebra and is presently beginning calculus and intermediate (HS-level) geometry!

How do the best math students in town here do?

Yeah, how about an embarrassing *17th in the county*. IN THE COUNTY!

Heck my freakin' math team won the ultra-competitive NEW ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIP and my son is 7-8 years ahead of where I was already. It'd be nothing short of child abuse for my current wife and I to enroll our kids in the local system.

You know what? No one cares about this either. The rich old bastards just continue to pay their escalating property taxes. They don't want to consider the fact that perhaps the schools stink because their kids *graduated* from them. And they probably don't want to make waves politically in town either - lest anyone think ill of them, call them stingy, etc.

And the young people in town fall for the scare-tactics every time - they swallow whole the myths that money has anything to do with education, and that teacher cuts (in pay and hiring) will do irreparable harm to their precious(?) children, and they couldn't be more unreceptive to even the mere suggestion that the institutions charged with raising their kids aren't doing a good job.

See also:

Hingham School District - A Legend In It's Own Town

And be sure to read the post I wrote on Manhasset schools some two years ago - before I ever thought about moving here:

Manhasset, NY - Bloated, Underperforming Schools

The comments on that one are hilarious!

NY Times Readers, Complaining Of A Small World!

In the anti-spirit of Greg Mankiw....I'd like to *discuss* this:

While I think the subject is interesting in its own right, there was something nauseating about this particular buffoon, discussing the subject of closed-mindedness, amongst his boneheaded cronies at a TED convention.

It'd be like the Morons who've sequestered themselves away in say the Peoples Republic of Cambridge, Massachusetts wondering why their organic cocktail parties are dull - with everyone finishing each other's sentences in turn.

I mean the idea that in the pre-internet age newspaper editors were anchored by *gatekeeping integrity* is downright ludicrous. And anyone decrying an alleged dearth of web info TODAY ought to be branded a complete Moron.

While the speaker deprecates it, I do like and agree with this quote from the beginning:

Make no mistake, and don't ever forget that calls for *public mindedness* have never been anything but a Trojan Horse for those elitist, religious fanatics who are more accurately described as socialists.

How's this - if you're worried about suffering in Africa why don't YOU don't something about it - something that doesn't involve coercing others to help you?

And if YOU don't like the news feed from Yahoo or Headbook simply STOP using them. If YOU don't like the first couple Google search results....then YOU can scroll down or use another search engine.

Yeah Africa has problems, but here we have the burden of whiny *smart ignoramuses* and whiny *volunteer slaves*...

Thanks to jabroni LeagueIslander for sending me this one.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tim Ferriss, Interesting And Helpful

I told myself I'd only watch a few minutes of this thing....but ended up watching the entire 40 minutes.

The guy is just brimming with good ideas and cutting-edge suggestions, no?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Juicy Winner

A few years ago I was telling my wife about a restaurant business idea of mine.

The concept was simply high-end, meticulously prepared burgers in a variety of flavors.

Boy was I (sort of) pissed when I discovered that not only was this idea already actualized....but that a freakin' chain, a public company(!), had already taken my ball and run with it.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is the chain I'm talking about. Now they don't have much of a presence here in the Northeast so I'll bet many of y'all haven't been to one either.

We dined at one last Saturday and it was absolutely terrific. So if you have the opportunity, check it out for yourself.

It looks like the Street heard I was going to tout this ticker today....look what the stock did on Friday, up 23%!

Hah! The SEC's doing a heck of a job rooting out insider trading...

FYI, the stock is trading at a lofty 60 or 70 times earnings. And in this irrational market it's probably still a buy!

From Whom Did He Inherit This Sense Of Humor?

My 6.50 year old son was scolded harshly by his mother yesterday.

Prince - Mom, look down your shirt and spell 'attic'.

My first/last wife did go nuts. And mind you, it's not like her to ever discipline either. She's female AND Italian after all!

Still don't get it? Read it again. Act it out...try it on a female (or obese male) if you have to.

The source was, of course, one of his punk books - Simpsons creator Matt Groening's Childhood Is Hell - and it's been confiscated for the time being.

Later on, my wife and I couldn't stop laughing...

Discuss....Amongst Yourselves.

Okay watch this strawmanish video:

Now that dimwitted Harvard professor Greg Mankiw recently posted this clip on his non-blog.

But this is how he titled it - Libertarian Paradise? Discuss.


How the (bleep) can you DISCUSS something when the thin-skinned invertebrate removed all backlinks and all commenting from his pseudo-blog?


Apparently Somalia is actually much better off now than it was pre-1991.

And if this is fair, why can't I hold up Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as exemplars of Big Government, i.e. socialism run amok?

Finally Home!

My kids are in there somewhere...

So I'm baaaaack!

It took us 10 hours to drive back from Ohio on Friday - ain't nothing like hitting New York City at rush hour (5:40 pm) on a Friday night at the end of a long drive! Recall last week my family attended a homeschooling, er...UNSCHOOLING convention.

Unschooling is a subset of parentally-directed education where the parents, well, don't do much if anything at all. And this is particularly the case if these people self-identify, usually within a minute of meeting you(!), as radical unschoolers.

These lucky(?) kids are allowed to do whatever they please. WHATEVER.

They can and do watch color TV all day; they generally play video games to an excess; in fact many have never been told *no* in their entire lives - lest their self-esteem be irretrievably damaged - or something.

I met one proud unschooling mom who told me that her son, while almost 10, can't read yet. Though she comforts herself with the belief that he's really adept at some extraordinarily complex video games.

"He really wants to learn how to read too..."

Well, have you helped him at all?

"No. I want him to learn naturally, on his own."

Then, eager to mercifully change subjects I inquired if she ever had him tested for dyslexia and whatnot. To that she replied in the negative, and maintained, "I don't think that's the case....I really know my son well." I did point her toward that great book on illiteracy but I'd be shocked if she took action on my suggestion.

Another such unschooler unparent told my wife that she lets her kids eat junk food everyday, all day long if they want to.

It's all about allowing these precious kids to have a *carefree childhood*, or so I was told, over and over again.

Whatever. I maintain that they are just hippy kids of hippy parents. Tied-dye is pretty common among this set. Although I must say that I'll still take *parents* screwing up their broods over *institutions* any day of the week.

There were 300 families there and many of them, in hushed tones, admitted that they were more like myself and prone to utilizing workbooks and at least occasional reading instruction.

Overall I would say that our trip, once I stopped talking to people(!), was a tremendous success. What I've learned, now that I've been involved with homeschooling groups in Boston, on Long Island, and now that I've met a bunch more homeschooling families in Ohio....I've learned that homeschooling parents generally DO NOT want to discuss how they are educating their children EVEN WITH OTHER HOMESCHOOLING PARENTS. And why should they? After all, the manner in which parents raise their children really isn't, or should be, anyone else's business.

Last week we enjoyed some great and much-needed family time. The kids had a blast. After all the hotel sports *the largest indoor water park*. When the rain stopped we also made it to Cedar Point which is ranked, I think, the number one amusement park in the world(?). They have something crazy like ten rollercoasters.

Now we went there mostly for the kids and mostly to get out of the hotel for a day. But after spending $100 to get in I felt obligated to ride at least a few of these supposedly famous rollercoasters. I had previously asked my wife's cousins and they told me to ride the Millennium Force - that it was the best.

I had to wait 15 minutes in line (apparently it's usually an hour!) amongst a few hundred geeked-up kids from government junior and high schools. They were all scared to death and talking like, get the point.

I'm just about 37 years old and haven't been on a rollercoaster in exactly 20 years (Hershey Park). Guess what, by the time I got close to the front of the line I too was scared out of my wits. The initial descent is FREAKIN' 310 FEET HIGH. "Why the (bleep) am I doing this?", I wondered.

And in all seriousness, I told myself to constrict my anus once the ride started. I didn't need to be departing the ride with two-toned trousers. The last thing I wanted was to have 10 kids whip out their cordless cell phone cameras and make me a 7-digit hit YouTube sensation!

Here's the ride. Remember to squeeze:

Guess what - it wasn't that bad. I remember as a kid being more scared on regular rollercoasters like the behemoth at Riverside Park in Agawam, Massachusetts. There weren't even any loops on it but back in the day all these rides were wooden and you REALLY DID THINK they would break or you'd fly off the tracks.

But the Millennium Force is new and the ride was relatively smooth. In fact it felt like riding in a BMW and so I left the track with my scat contained...

I had to do at least one more rollercoaster and some guy, an employee there, recommended that I do the Maverick next. So I got in that 30 minute line.

(BTW, Cedar Point has no less than a jillion employees there staffing the rides and maintaining the grounds. It seems to me mostly college kids; they earn $7.40 an hour and live in dorm-like buildings for $20 a week.)

It doesn't look intimidating at all since it is so relatively low to the ground. And after conquering the Millennium Force I wasn't worried, or squeezing, at all.

But I should have!

This one made me sick - not all the way sick, but sick enough to delay lunch for another hour and sick enough to keep me off ANY MORE rides the rest of the day.

I do have a bit of a weak stomach for these things. The zero-gravity spinning rides killed me years ago a few times. BUT I've never been whipped like this from a non-rotational ride before.

It just goes so damn fast - like there's a rocket booster on the back of the coaster. I couldn't walk when I de-trained and my hands,...are still numb!

Since I was *done*....I didn't get to brave this one - the 420 foot high Top-Thrill Dragster:

Apparently there have been some issues with this one. It occasionally stalls out at the top or something. And get this...just before one group of Morons were launched, they paused the ride while a technician went under the train with a wrench in full view. I started taunted the kids on the ride; I told them I could see brackets dangling off; etc. They didn't laugh. And they didn't laugh either when the mechanic guy left and hollered, "IT SHOULD BE OKAY".   Should?  Seriously.

BTW, less than an hour after I rode the Maverick it malfunctioned - stalling out with people on the track.

Y'all go ahead there and have fun now!

Getting back to the unschooling event...

I'm going to have my kids blog this on some of the activities.

The real highlights for me were that I got 20 minutes of one-on-one time at the bar with James Marcus Bach - a very successful (Apple product tester) school dropout...

AND I also got 20 minutes of quality time with author and blog-buddy Laura Grace Weldon!

She didn't recognize me at first....because I had a shirt on.

Of the countless people CaptiousNut has become acquainted with online over the past 6+ years....Laura is the first I've had the pleasure to meet. So she knows I'm real and she knows I'm even more hilarious in person! Who's next?

Taylor stood me up once in NYC. WestCoastTom has threatened to come visit but apparently doesn't leave California, EVER...

For more on unschooling see - Sudbury Valley Empiricism.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Out Of Town

This week I've been mired out in Ohio for a homeschooling conference/family vacation.

I say mired because the weather has sucked big time. I mean 45-49 degrees and rain all day, everyday!

And it's not just this week either. One guy, who lives in Akron, told me that northeast Ohio enjoys suffers less sunshine than even Seattle. Who knew?

The internet connection in the room is a little goofy but I hope to get up tomorrow and publish a couple posts.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What Homeschoolers Are Missing

I found this crumpled-up on a government school playground yesterday. Click to enlarge.

The fine print reads:

From Girls in Real-Life Situations: Group Counseling Activities For Enhancing Social and Emotional Development...

Legendary Scat

Seriously, when these kids are uncles....their nephews will be bragging about them to the other kids in their homeschool co-op!

It is true can't be healthy to hold it in. Tell your critics, "IT'S ORGANIC!"

Thanks to the still-poop-obsessed Ukrainian Fop for this link.

'Old Coots' + Dumb Kids

From Sir Ken Robinson's The Element:

The other institution is the Grace Living Center, a retirement home.

Over the next few months, the district established a preschool and kindergarten classroom in the heart of Grace Living Center. Surrounded by clear glass walls (with a gap at the top to allow the sounds of the children to filter out), the classroom sits in the foyer of the main building. The children and their teachers go to school there every day as though it were any other classroom. Because it's in the foyer, the residents walk past it at least three times per day to get to their meals.

As soon as the class opened, many of the residents stopped to look through the glass walls at what was going on. The teachers told them that the children were learning to read. One by one, several residents asked if they could help. The teachers were glad to have the assistance, and they quickly set up a program called Book Buddies. The program pairs a member of the retirement home with one of the children. The adults listen to the children read, and they read to them.

The program has had some remarkable results. One is that the majority of the children at the Grace Living Center are outperforming other children in the district on the state's standardized reading tests. More than 70 percent are leaving the program at age five reading at third-grade level or higher. But the children are learning much more than how to read. As they sit with their book buddies, the kids have rich conversations with the adults about a wide variety of subjects, and especially about the elders' memories of their childhoods growing up in Oklahoma. The children ask about how big iPods were when the adults were growing up, and the adults explain that their lives really weren't like the lives that kids have now. This leads to stories about how they lived and played seventy, eighty, or even ninety years ago. The children are getting a wonderfully textured social history of their hometowns from people who have seen the town evolve over the decades. Parents are so pleased with this extracurricular benefit that a lottery is now required because the demand for the sixty available desks is so strong.

Something else has been going on at the Grace Living Center, though: medication levels there are plummeting. Many of the residents on the program have stopped or cut back on their drugs.

Why is this happening? Because the adult participants in the program have come back to life. Instead of whiling away their days waiting on the inevitable, they have a reason to get up in the morning and a renewed excitement about what the day might bring. Because they are reconnecting with their creative energies, they are literally living longer.

There's something else the children learn. Every now and then, the teachers have to tell them that one of their book buddies won't be coming any more; that this person has passed. So the children come to appreciate at a tender age that life has its rhythms and cycles, and that even the people they become close to are part of that cycle.

In a way, the Grace Living Center has restored an ancient, traditional relationship between the generations...

Wow, right?

Now I don't know that 'old coots', e.g. grandparents, reading to youngsters and spending time with them constitutes the restoration of an ANCIENT TRADITION. After all, it's only been a few decades since the welfare state and entitlements severed the generations.

And imagine that - one-on-one reading promotes literacy! Who knew?

The reduction in drug demand/supply however was a little more astonishing. But seriously, today kids need drugs (ADHD, etc.) in order to suffer through government it shouldn't be a shock that 'old coots' and 'old bags' sheltered from life (family, familiar places, youngsters, etc.) need medication to make it through their dreary days as well.

I enjoyed reading The Element because it was full of various interesting success stories: Paul McCartney, Julia Child, Ridley Scott, Vidal Sassoon, etc.

Although overall the book was a failure, tantamount to a long fly ball caught in centerfield.

Robinson is, at his core, a government education guy. While he nails a ton of arguments against today's school systems....he botches the prescription big time. In fact he doesn't prescribe much at all other than the *idea* that kids need to devote time and energy to their personal passions. But how are they possibly going to do that when burdened with 8 hours of school (including commute) and a few more hours of homework (THE proof that time in school is wasted!)?

He asserts that *the arts* should be promoted back to parity with math and verbal subjects. SNOOZzzzze.

Let me put it this way - in a 200+ page book on *education*....Ken Robinson didn't mention or even indirectly allude to *parents* or *family* A SINGLE TIME. Like I said, he's an institutional guy all the way. He actually makes his living advising governments on matters of education so don't expect him to stand up anytime soon and start singing the virtues of NON-GOVERNMENT schooling.

But a book doesn't have to be perfect, nor an author pure to be worth your time. If your library has it...

And give credit where it's due, his video was absolutely terrific.

Robinson DID NOT homeschool his kids. And this may sound chauvinistic but I just don't know that ANYONE, certainly I couldn't, can appreciate the full bounty of a parentally-directed education unless they themselves have walked down that path, and nurtured the minds of their own little ones. To this sub-population, homeschooling will forever remain at best a mere theory, a hypothesis even - and at worst it's a personal attack on their low, school-certified self-esteem.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

4.75 Years Ago...

That's what my son, the Prince looked like...

And THIS is the type of blog post a young C-Nut used to churn out.

Click the hyperlink 'THIS', thanks.

'Slim Pickings' On The Democratic Plantation

This story is making headlines today - that the black employment rate hit a new low of 56.9% (versus the white rate of 68% or whatever).

OBVIOUSLY that's Bush's fault or something!

Anyways, I want to throw a stat out there that I've never heard outside of an economics class I took in 1994 or so.  Whatever it was back then I imagine it's worse today.

It stated that out of the African Americans who ARE EMPLOYED....that a staggering 75% of them work for the government, either federal, state, or local.

BTW, I got very excited for a few brief moments today. At Wendy's, an irate customer came screaming up to the counter and threw her burger down. She was gushing expletives and demanding to know WTF those people working there thought *extra pickles and extra onions* looked like. I kid you not.

No employees would respond and she went ballistic - calling them *undocumented* mo-fo's and whatnot. Of course the lady threatened to *come on back there and whoop somebody*. You can't make this up!

I was paying for my meal and enjoying it all....then alertly I put my money down and dug for my Droid camera as she was only 7 feet away.

I did catch the last few seconds of it but unfortunately missed the really good opening barbs.

It's too bad because I yearn to be back on Drudge, again.

Shoot, that was four years ago now.

"Go Home, Homeboy!"

[Adult Language Warning]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Found This One...

I found it on December 20th, Googled for *mothers day 2011*, instantly, and pre-published this post!

Make Mistakes On The First....Ignore The Second One...

My 4.90 year old Princess is just about literate. She's somewhere between *sight words* and *sounding out* the unfamiliar. How long it will take to bridge that gap is anyone's guess - after all, the span between the first pot-pee and fully potty-trained was wide and TORTUROUS.

But she can read enough now to begin what I call the *content subjects*.

One of the best little websites I came across, and long-time readers will remember from 1.5 years ago, is that US Map Quiz. Click the link and try it for yourselves. You have to drag the name of the state onto the correct region of the map.

See also - Web Homeschooling.

So the Princess will be starting that soon.

Also, dovetailing nicely with our continuing *money studies*....I will buy her that $10 US State Quarter Map that her brother had a great time doing.

I also do have a United States placemat which we've had forever and will be under her food until she gets the States down.  And it should help that she's already been up and down the East Coast a couple of times!

It is kind of fun, and easier(!), to teach/introduce subjects the second time around when I sort of know what I'm doing.

Experimenting On My Homeschooled Kids, Still

We are trying something we haven't done before - NO COMPUTER.

Yeah, I've temporarily banned what's probably the biggest element of their home-based education.

It's been a whopping three days now since the computer next to me, theirs, was even turned on and there are no problems to report, yet. My son is just reading up a storm and both he and his sister have been playing outside a whole lot more. In fact today we went down to the beach (only 500 yards away, Long Island Sound) and the kids were cursing me for not bringing their swim trunks. was only in the low 70s!

Don't get me wrong, the computer wasn't a problem by any stretch. I just felt like mixing things up a little. I'll try to keep them off for the rest of this week right up to the departure for our trip to that homeschooling vacation/conference in Ohio. That way, by the time we get back, they'll have gone a full two weeks without the PC.

While they are getting a whole lot done on the web, I can't help but think it's *crowding out* a few other activities that we could be getting to.

I myself am also trying to spend less time at the computer. Heck for 6 years I've been blogging religiously and perhaps I'm tiring of it???

Lately I've been working hard on my golf game, doing a ton of yard work, I'm amidst about 7 books right now, and I'm focusing more on my kids and their organized activities than I have in the past. Life is very good here in New York for us, overall anyway. We're coming up on *one year* since we moved from Boston's South Shore and a full review of that important life-change is forthcoming.

Thank God The School Is *Socializing* Him!

Though obviously *mom* doesn't know what she's doing either.

It's child abuse to NOT DISCIPLINE brats.

Give me a week with that punk!

J-Lo's Butt Secret - Walking The Straight And Narrow

I've already mentioned this before.

I learned from Esther Gokhale that THE proper way to walk is *on a straight line*. That is, your footprints should not be on two parallel lines - railroad tracks if you will. She calls it *glidewalking* and the technique utilizes the buttocks, the abs, a perfectly aligned spine, you land on your heel, and it stretches out your hamstrings and hip flexors NATURALLY. This is in contradistinction to how most people walk - a hunched-over stumbling forward fall which they break only by raising the opposite leg with their quad muscles. Who knew you were supposed to walk with your rump???!!!

Esther basically asserts that you shouldn't have to go to yoga class to stretch out your legs and hips nor should you have to do squats to develop your hindquarters. Walking with good form is really all that is needed.

Now I've tried this. And it freakin' works! You'll feel it instantly too.

Recently, while watching a recorded episode of American Idol I noticed that when the big-butted, tight-tummied Jennifer Lopez walks, that she not only puts one foot straight in front of the other....but that she even goes a little further. Watch this clip from the 2:15 mark and you'll see, most easily on her right leg, that she practically *crosses the line* with each stride.

For a primer on glidewalking, click on and enlarge the graphic below which is from Esther Gokhale's landmark book - 8 Steps To A Pain-Free Back:

I mean her book was crazy insightful. Because I suffer from a particularly bad back (car accident) I would even go as far as saying it, for me anyway, was as on par with Tim Ferriss' juggernaut - The 4 Hour Body. And in a sense, the two books belong in the same category. No one really has time for yoga classes and whatnot. So why not learn how to stretch and develop the important parts of your body naturally - sitting, standing, sleeping(!), and walking with perfect kinesthetic form?

One thing about Esther is that unlike many of the workout gurus with sub-optimal bodies and who often hide themselves behind *clothing*....she's personally developed the body she asserts is possible:

That might not be the ideal picture but it's the best I could find. Note her tight stomach and developed hiney. In the book there are even better illustrations.

You might want to skip the first 5 minutes or so of this one:

See also - My Pelvis - A Game-Changer.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Roundtrip to Maine

Portland, Maine to be precise. We drove up halfway on Friday and dropped my kids off with my parents. Then on Saturday we drove up to a wedding at Portland Country Club - one of the girls that used to work for my wife.

The wedding was nice but the 7 hours car trip home today was a little brutal.

AND we'll be spending another 20 hours in the car next week going back and forth to Ohio for that homeschool conference/family vacation.

Despite having vacationed in Maine for much of my juvenile life, I'd never been to Portland before. Is it beautiful? Whatever. Ask somebody from Kansas who's never seen the ocean. And prepare to freeze your butt off!

Supposedly it's renowned for its food. And we actually discovered a Mexican place for lunch - El Rayo - that was absolutely terrific.

On the way home we walked by the most crass bumper sticker either my first wife or I had ever seen:

I mean I've seen men wearing crass T-shirts....but they can wear those to a poker game or NASCAR event with their buddies and be done with it.

But a bumper sticker is effectively a perpetual declaration of said crassness! I mean don't they have to go to a workplace? Don't they ever park their car near friends' kids or younger relatives?

My first hunch was that the car-owner was a sapphist.

However it was confusing to see what looked like a guy in the driver's seat. Though even if it was his car how much of a man could he really be, given the other bumper stickers?

Y'all can Google it. Apparently the expression came from a movie.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The First, Fast Mover Advantage

NY Man Makes 120K...

A quick-thinking New Yorker who started selling T-shirts celebrating Osama bin Laden's death made $120,000 in less than two days, TMZ reported Friday.

Maurice Harary, 23, went straight to his New York apartment when he heard Sunday that bin Laden was killed by US forces in a precision raid in Pakistan. He immediately began building a website to sell his "bin Laden is dead" T-shirts.

Harary claimed that his site went live at 3:30am local time Monday and sold 10,000 T-shirts at $12 each by Tuesday night.

The sales added up to $120,000 in less than two days as Americans expressed their relief that the man who masterminded the 9/11 bombings was dead.

Wow, right?

Well revenue should NEVER be mistaken for's still pretty impressive.

A Self-Teaching Curriculum

Forgive me if I already posted this. I just can't remember!

It's a very long video, and I still haven't watched past the 40 minute mark, but if you start it this guy will grab your attention:

The remarkable Mr. Robinson offers his full 12-year curriculum for $195.

And what....the tony town I inhabit here on Long Island spends $24,000 PER YEAR, PER PUPIL!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Homeschool Jabroni Meet-Up

I'm pretty busy these days.

Tomorrow I have to drive to New England for a wedding up in Maine. I feel like I haven't been to a wedding in 3 glorious years. Heck it used to be 5 or 6 per year!

Then the following week we are driving 10.5 hours out to Ohio to attend a homeschooling conference/event - Unschoolers' Waterpark Gathering.

It's essentially going to be our summer family vacation - and a cheap one at that. Four nights at $125 per plus $350 in gasoline. We'll see how it goes. Others in my homeschool co-op have raved about it, saying their kids never had so much fun.

Of course I'll have to be a little quiet about my strict academic regimen and the THOUSANDS of workbook pages I've had my two kids do!

Some of these self-described *unschoolers* can be a little fanatical...

See also - Unschooling Now?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Pennies From Heaven

I was talking to the *mom* of an 8 year old at the park yesterday:

Mother - I was helping my son with his math work and I realized that THEY didn't even teach him what each coin was. He kept confusing nickels and quarters. I literally had to GO AND DIG OUT SOME COINS AND TEACH HIM WHAT EACH ONE WAS WORTH! Can you believe that?

CaptiousNut - Well why the #&%$ didn't you teach him that yourself when he was younger?

Okay. I didn't really say that despite the urge to do so.

But this is the type of foolishness that pervades the culture. Parents defer the responsibility of raising their children to a government bureaucracy and then helplessly rail against the results.

I think I may have helped convince someone (else) to homeschool their kids the other day and that feels really good.

If, before I die, I could somehow provoke thousands of families to educate their kids *outside the system*....I think then I would die a happy, accomplished man. I guess this is developing into my life's purpose or something. Good luck to me!

Sell Everything!

I'll bet you don't know ANYONE who's moving their 401k to 100% cash these days. Some might be worried but their *action-plan* probably amounts to nothing more than crossed fingers.

And I'll bet you don't know ANYONE who bought gold under $400 an ounce ten years and 1,100 points ago either.

If only I had held the 4,000 ounces I bought, and vowed to never sell, at $270 or so!

If only I had held the cotton, sugar, coffee, and cocoa I invested in 4 years ago...

See - I Am Now Officially A Commodity Investor.

Getting back to stocks...

It is indeed hard to short the averages in the spring and summertime. I feel like whenever it's a warm and sunny day out in the Northeast the market just ratchets higher. Seriously. And I've never heard anyone else point this out.

Will the market blow off even higher, castrating the scant few bears left? Who really knows? - and that's a disclaimer I hear every bear promulgate these days. People are scared $hitless to short these days and why the bleep wouldn't they be after a 2 year downtick-less, reason-defying levitation? Heck in the old days, bears would short without fear and with only the disclaimer that if it goes higher....they'll gladly sell more!

I bought some more puts on Wells Fargo last week - January 22.5s for 1.90 or so. The stock is 29.50 today.

My puts? Well they don't expire until January of 2013!

The banks were bailed out not just by direct government handouts, but also by a surging stock market (after all, they are *skimmers* too), 4% mortgage rates, FHA absorbing all their new mortgages, a now since ceased re-fi boom, and the government-sanctioned license to lie about their balance sheets.

Now all that is done and much of it is unlikely to recur going forward save for the direct government handouts.

The stock, bond, and housing market bailouts were engineered to benefit the 'old coots'.

All of us young people are still screwed but dumping our investments here is at least one act of financial self-defense we can take. Stockpiling canned goods and ammo is probably not a bad idea either!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Moronic Tourists

That's what they do....they come to New York City which has the best food in America, and they waste their appetite at places like Sbarro, Ray's Pizza, Gray's Papaya, or someplace even worse like McDonalds or TGIF's!

I respect cheap, I really do.

But there are plenty of inexpensive delicious options in Manhattan.

I discovered Empanada Mama's last year. It's a tiny sit-down place so go for a 4pm dinner or some other off-peak time.

And a few weeks ago I found mouthwatering Mamoums. Get their signature falafel for something like $3 or even better, splurge for the lamb shawarma ($5-$6) which is out of this world. Go easy on the hot sauce though.

There are countless other hole-in-the-wall finds too - be sure to google (or ask someone) before your next trip.

When I'm going into the City I starve myself long beforehand and meticulously allocate my stomach space to the best foods. Seriously.


Hah! Dumb kids...

I myself was positive the guy was long since dead.

It does make sense that he was hiding in an urban area.

What threw me off was the fact that in all his *tapes*, not once did he have a copy of a current newspaper or anything that was *proof of life*.

In America I guess I'm just not used to celebrities and former celebrities who eschew the spotlight.

And it probably speaks to how scared $hitless he was to show his face anywhere.

Monday, May 02, 2011

4 Hour Body Chronicles - Shrinkage?

I stepped on the scale today and it read an eye-popping 162.5 lbs.

Now my weight has been tightly range-bound for almost 20 years between 166 and 171 (I'm 5'10.5). I mean it's NEVER been outside of that except for a few weeks of post-surgery muscle atrophy.

Recall I recently read and implemented many of the principles from Tim Ferriss' juggernaut - The 4-Hour Body.

Of course I've incorporated kettlebells into my workout regimen.

But I've also tried some of his dietary lunacy which for shorthand he refers to as *Slow Carb* and *Paleo* or something.

I actually gave up white-flour products for three painful weeks without really noticing or feeling any better. Thank God! Try living in New York without pizza...

And I did cut down a little on my sugar intake.

But all along I've been eating eggs (3) and beans or spinach for breakfast. Ferriss asserts that eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking really catalyzes your metabolism.

So after going back to sugar and bread/pasta/bagels/pizza(!) and seeing my weight continue to drop I have to assume that there really are legs to the early morning protein strategy. In fact my body shrinkage has even convinced my first wife to try it out. She'd doing the protein shakes instead though.

Believe me, I know it doesn't sound like a lot but I'm a thin guy so this 5 lb loss is a big deal.

However I must admit that I'm purely guessing that it's the protein that's thinning me out.

I've also done a few other things like drastically ameliorating my posture thanks to Esther Gokhale - and erectness definitely engages the core!

Or it could be the kettlebells that are really burning the fat away. I'm up to doing 3 sets of 30 with the 88 pounder every 2.5 days or so. I could definitely do more but between beating a million range balls and the kettlebells my hands keep blistering up horribly.

Anyone trying to do ANYTHING with their body ought to have a copy of that book!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

I Was Traumatized By My Circumcision...

Years ago I read about the crazy positive effects in HIV prevention from merely circumcising the at-risk population.

I said to a friend the other day, one who's CRAZY HEALTH-CONSCIOUS (raw food, no vaccines, etc.), and who has three young boys, "What do you think about circumcision?"

I knew what was coming...

"Oh it's awful!...", blah, blah, blah. She did not have her boys' boys mutilated.

Then I threw the African AIDS circumcision study at her. Surprisingly she had never heard of it.

I did some more Googling and came across that dude above earlier today. Now a lot of what he says is laced with elitism ("They are so dumb they will think they don't have to use condoms....the disease will spread more.") and stupidity ("We have to develop a vaccine...").

I still don't know. My foreskin is long gone (my balls are occasionally MIA too) and my only son was snipped upon birth and he seems to be over the trauma of it now. So the issue is personally moot.

But while these healthy people, the ones who eat crazy food and eschew all chemicals and medicine and whatnot, definitely make a whole lot of trenchant points....I just think they go a little overboard sometimes.

I mean there's no incentive for doctors to push circumcision. There's no Big Pharma conflict of financial interest. On the contrary, in the case of fighting AIDS in Africa the circumcision results should all but end the multi-billion dollar Big Pharma boondoggle that is government-subsidized HIV research. See my post from 5 years ago - Medical Morons.

Of course money isn't the only thing that corrupts - bad ideas can triumph through sheer inertia.

Someone, a non-blood relative, told me years ago that the only reason Americans are generally circumcised is because all the doctors here are/were Jewish. And it had something to do with identifying Jews by their penises during the Holocaust. Whatever. I remember!