Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Boozing Chronicles - Funny People

So on my last night out boozing in NYC...

We're at Spring Lounge - probably our favorite watering hole these days - and some adjacent chick kept looking in our direction.

That place is generally *hopping* - people in and out in waves, which is what we like about it - and eventually I get to talking to the eyelash-batter.

She tells me that she's a comedian comedienne and has her own show on HBO.


Except that I never heard of it; AND except that she wasn't very funny. But whatever.

She's the redhead in the clip above. It was her birthday *night out* and she was celebrating with a female friend, i.e. no man in her life at 34 years of age and despite *stardom*. Y'all know how girls are about these things!

Everyone tells her she's a cross between Kathy Griffin and Bette Midler - I guessed both correctly! And I must say that she looked a whole lot better in person, in the (dim lit?) bar than on camera. Had much better hair.

When she was informed that I was married she became visibly irate - which cracked my buddy up something fierce. I had no idea that a 4-minute conversation at a bar constituted the beginnings of a relationship!

So I go home and check out some YouTube clips of her show. Man was it crass and unladylike! I'm sure her parents are proud. [sarcasm]

Furthermore, I'm getting sick and tired of meeting professional *comedians* who aren't half as funny as I am.

Heck in the summer I went to a comedy club and I ripped more jokes at the table than were heard from the stage!

One more thing....

So I asked her if she could mention me on her Twitter feed or something.

She said she couldn't BUT she said she'd mention me in *her material*.

Oh the IRONY - check out this clip, starting at the 1:55 mark.

That is indeed Kathy Griffin, do you get IT?

Anyways, I right away fired back at this comedienne manqué, "HOW ABOUT I MENTION YOU IN MY MATERIAL!"

Present In The Moment?

I enjoy the pleasure of going out all night boozing in Manhattan, probably 1.5 times per month.

I just cannot believe, that these Moronic youngsters are soooooo addicted to their cordless cellphones.

EVERYONE you look at is staring at an electronic gadget: video games, Facebook, texting, etc.

I mean even if they are out in a group at least 75% of them are face-down in a phone, 75% of the time.

And if they are, God forbid,'s an automatic that they will be, ESPECIALLY nubile women.

That picture above isn't really even accurate. If it was, the chick would have her phone out behind his head too!

For a while now I've been thinking of a strategy to employ...

Perhaps I wear a shirt out in town that says, *Chicks who stare at phones all-night will stay single longer than Carrie Bradshaw*?

Or *The Ugliest Girls In Manhattan Stare At Phones In Bars*?

I know - they both suck. Still thinking hard...

The bars and restaurants in NYC are freakin' awesome - and this is what kills me. I can see this being an epidemic in a worse scene, e.g. Boston.

Self-absorbed in the youth culture, they have NO IDEA how stupid and insecure they look.

While they couldn't care less what I - an 'old coot'(?) - think....maybe instead of a donning a cleverly worded t-shirt I'll just accost them verbally?

Will Be Bigger Than Michael Scott!

For all y'all who watch and enjoy The Office:

It's more than a little crass but....whatever. I didn't really watch it for more than a second.

Tim Ferriss - Launching Again

I just pre-ordered The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life for my wife (a *Winter Festival of Trees* present).

While I obsess over exercise, posture, and whatnot...

She's Italian so she's genetically wired to obsess over food!

Seriously. Recently I asked her, rhetorically, what her favorite part of the government school penitentiary day was.

While the answer is supposed to be RECESS, she threw me off by saying *lunch*.

Though personally I'm not too excited about this subject, Tim's books have proven to deliver an enormous ROI. But there's simply no way this one will be as good as his others. So read them first:

4-Hour Workweek

4-Hour Body

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Your House Isn't Really Private Property...And Your Kids Aren't Really Yours

So a poor kid has cancer...

He undergoes long, torturous treatment...

The disease abates...

Except his doctors are trying to force him, i.e. overrule his parents(!), to undergo more chemotherapy and radiation.

But the doctors wanted to give Jacob several more rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, despite the clean PET scan. When asked why they wanted to keep giving Jacob these incredibly dangerous drugs, the doctors replied that this was “the standard of care” for his illness.

Jacob’s parents begged the doctors to make an individual diagnosis, rather than simply following unbending standards. But the doctors were steadfast. All children with this cancer needed multiple rounds of these drugs—regardless of PET scan results, the doctors contended.

Jacob’s parents did extensive study of the side effects of the five different chemotherapy drugs that the doctor wanted to administer. And they believed that the risk of the drugs was far greater than the risk of recurrent cancer, since Jacob had a clean PET scan. They said no to the doctors. No more chemotherapy treatment for now.

But the doctors would not take no for an answer. They called child protective services in Jacob’s county and asked the agency to file charges against the family for medical neglect.

After looking into the matter, both the local CPS agency and the local prosecuting attorney refused to file charges. They believed that the parents were making reasonable decisions for Jacob.

The doctors still would not take no for an answer. They called higher authorities in the state level CPS agency. The doctors had to make several calls before they finally found someone who would agree with them.

As a result of all of these calls, the local CPS agency was pressured into filing medical neglect charges against the parents.

The local prosecutor still refused to take a case against the family, so the state level CPS officials hired an independent private lawyer to serve as the prosecutor against Ken and Erin Stieler.

A jury trial is scheduled for early January to determine if the doctors will be given the authority to take over the medical decision-making for Jacob.

Click the link above, read the rest.

See also - Vaccinate Yourself Against Doctors.

I Use An Eye-Dropper...

I can't recall if I've ever blogged on this scam before...

But *concentrated* laundry detergent has got to be one of the biggest little rip-offs out there.

Every time someone over-fills the cap it's cha-ching, money in the bank for Big Laundry - sort of like every time a Vegas tourist hits with the dealer showing a 5 or 6.

And I'd wager that there are still plenty of 'old coots' out there filling the cap all the way up!

Running Out Of Self-Help Books!

Is that all you have to do, THINK?

In a sense, yes, Think & Grow Rich is about working *smart* rather than simply working hard.

I just finished it and my verdict...

I would say it is decent.

The background on it is that way back when, Andrew Carnegie (the steel magnate) commissioned this dude to spend 25 years studying *success*, er successful earthlings. And this book is allegedly the fruit of that laborious endeavor.

The more of these self-help, get-rich gurus I read....the more their theories blend together. In fact Tony Robbins, whom I just read, I feel rips substantially from this book which was published back in 1937.

To both of them, it's all about *mindset* - persistence, will power, self-control, etc.

I must note that there were two surprising parts to this book.

One, the author talks about sex a bunch. He asserts that highly sexed individuals are usually very successful - and they ought to be admired for their flirtatiousness rather than deprecated. (Throughout this subject....all I could think of was Bill Clinton.)

And the other section which was a little wacky was the part where Hill starts talking about, with considerable certainty(!), exactly what happens to people after they die.

In books like this I really look forward to great anecdotage and there was a bit (mostly Thomas Edison and Henry Ford), but not really that much considering all the alleged empiricism behind the text.

But that's not to say that Hill's suggestions on how to succeed in life don't constitute sound, if not profound advice. I will chew on his ideas and assess later on.

Anytime you hear people say *I've read that book 5 times* - as I did with this one - I think it can't hurt to check it out.

And, not for nuthin', but the book has actually sold over 60 million copies now.

Mounts For Color TV Morons

I finally got around to hanging that Sony Google Internet LCD color TV - or at least I got around to getting my handy BIL to do so. (I procured it for free with my Sony Points.)

To someone like me, who doesn't have much experience with things of this nature, it's always educational to watch plumbers, carpenters, and hands-people work. While many earthlings wonder how the bleep I can get toddlers to solve math equations....I'm equally amazed by people who can change tires without a cordless cell phone!

I'm not much of color TV watcher. Heck we barely have one. This lone TV is tucked away in the guest room and is really only for me to watch DVR-ed sporting events (i.e. golf and Tom Brady).

But nevertheless I am an expert from many years of prior vegetative experience.

Most Morons make the mistake of hanging or situating televisions TOO LOW. These buffoons put the sets at a level appropriate only for slouching, couch potatoes. I tease my parents about their *TV on the floor*. So if you are standing you have to tilt your head down to see what's going on. No matter how you watch, you are going to be *practicing* bad posture.

I myself have always watched TV while lying on the floor, aligned directly in front the screen, and WITHOUT a pillow prop for my head.

So I can lengthen my spine, get an ab workout in, and do other exercises from this position while the Morons are wasting away mind AND body on the couch.

Anyways, with an LCD you pretty much HAVE TO hang it - it's the whole freakin' point!

I went even higher than normal. I put the center about 5 feet 7 inches off the floor - almost as you would a picture frame. (I think since it's web-enabled I can turn on slideshows of my photos.)

But I got a mount that not only pops out and side-to-side, but one that also tilts down 15 degrees.

4.5 stars on Amazon

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Great YouTube Entrepreneurial Success Story

Yeah, it involves *dragon breath*.

Click here.

Google - Setting Its Sights On iTunes

I'm always rooting against Apple - much like I'm always rooting against the Red Sox.

While neutral on the products, I just don't care for the rabid fans!

And this reminds me...

One of these days I'm going to have to figure out a way to listen to music and whatnot in my car in a more modern way, i.e. NOT through the AM/FM car stereo.

I just can't bring myself to BUY an iPod and then BUY a thousand dollars worth of music.

Then I have to *manage* it: physically bring it with me, hide it in the car, sync devices, etc. Heck I'd probably get another $180 ticket from a cop for a *hands free violation* messing around with it.

I need a computer embedded in my car, with access to my stuff. Google obviously is positioning itself for such a future world.

For more info Google's latest salient - click here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

DIY Self-Defense?

I was informed the other day that Raid - the wasp and hornet killing variety - is *better* than mace or pepper spray.

Raid shoots 25 feet in a nice laser-like beam.

Apparently it'll blind a victim for *weeks*.

AND It's not illegal to have on your person.

So I was advised to keep a can in my car. And to let my first wife know where it is in the house for self-defensive reasons.

I'm not sure what that Moron is spraying...

But perhaps they ought to try it out on campus and down on Wall Street?

Just kidding!

Obama....Trying To Catch Me


I myself got round 31 in just this morning.

Went to bed at midnight. Got up at 3:35am without an alarm...

In line at Eisenhower Park by 4:35am. I was *second* this morning but they wouldn't let us tee off until 7:56am.

Started off at 40 degrees but was an unseasonal 60+ by the end of the round. (Couldn't buy a putt. Shot 83.)

I'm starting to really enjoy playing with the characters on this muni. These guys, the ones crazy smart enough to camp out early anyway, have just as much *personality* as my South Philly jabronis - which is no small feat either.

We get to play in jeans at Eisenhower too.

Oh, what did I do all that time this morning?

I sat in the car, reading my book of course.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Parents Versus Big Government

Here is the full story on Dave Parker. I'm really shocked that this happened in Massachusetts. [sarcasm]

Sheeple - Dumping The Dude/Broad

I lived in a freshman dorm all three years of my stay at UPenn.


Well the upperclass housing options stunk, I had plum jobs in the freshman residence, and....for *socialization tactics*. Infer from that what you may. And note that I've always been making savvy decisions!

I saw it every year so by my third year amongst freshman chicks it was easy to predict.

My floor that year was 80% female - and almost all of them had residual boyfriends from government high school.

Ever the antagonist I laughed and scoffed at all of them. From the first week I flat-out told each and every one of these nerd-girls that by Christmas break they would be dumping the old boyfriend (or getting dumped!).

"Oh,"..giggling..."Don't say that!"

And I continued to razz them all semester long. My favorite time to do so was after midnight, when they were in the hall on an outstretched phone line. I'd whisper, "He's going to dump you," "It's almost ooooover",...

Sure enough, after Kwanzaa break EVERY SINGLE ONE of them was no longer attached!  (Long distance phone bills, which I delivered, became much, much thinner.)

People are indeed SHEEP, living scripted lives.

Not only will they break up with their sweetheart in December of freshman year...

But they will marry whomever it is they are dating at age 28.

They will have kids right away....OR they will get a dog right away.

They will convince themselves that daycare is good *socially* but really it's the bills in mailbox (fancy horseless carriages, large mortgage, etc.) that chose daycare.

They will convince themselves that the schools in their town are *the best*.

And between the ages of 35-40, if not sooner, they will start to really hate their chosen career, their industry will implode, or they will get laid off/fired.

They will pay thousands for tutors and SAT prep for these same kids who attend *the best* schools.

They will fork over all of their home equity to send their kids to college.

Their stomachs will turn with every little blip in the stock market - which holds their retirement hostage.

They will PRAY that their graduates get a job, ANY JOB, that first year out.

And they will PRAY that their kids, at age 28, don't marry the loser they've been slumming with for the past 5 years!!!

My favorite part about the graphic above is the weekly cyclicality, i.e. the *Monday reconsideration*.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Women Ruined Schools?

A few years ago some dimwitted Harvard (Graduate School of Education) broad told me - out at a bar in Brooklyn - that the schools weren't doing well because of *rich people*.

She said that if only those wealthy bastards would keep their kids in government schools then magically Big Education would be a success.

It is amazing how to the neo-Commi's everything can conveniently be blamed on the rich. Certainly if the setting was 1930s Germany this young lady and her ilk would've been scapegoating the Jews.

But to shift topics...

Most people agree that the school system fell apart (whatever that means) gradually beginning around 1950.

So why did it stop working?

Is it because the textbooks became *revisionist*? Because the welfare state was growing? Because of teachers' unions? Because of moral decay and rising divorce rates? Or, like dimwit said, because of private schools stealing the best students?

How about this theory which I'm sure many people have never heard:

Schools worked back in the day because the smartest, most competent women in America became teachers.

Understand that 60+ years ago females didn't go to law school, med school, or slave away for corporate America. But today they do.

Consider my wife. She majored in Elementary Education and Economics at Boston College. She student-taught 5th grade during college but opted to become a stock broker upon graduation. There was no way she, "...was going to deal with all that bull$hit in schools."

Only a Moron would think that one day in the future our best women (and men) will return to teach at government schools.

They just could never raise salaries high enough to entice highly competent people - not in the numbers they would need to make a difference anyway.

Essentially, when it did *work* the school system was subsidized by male chauvinism.

So in that sense it was never really a natural success - a point all these tinkering *reformers* (charter school and voucher advocates, et al) would do well to consider.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Some Funnies...

...Deserve their own post!

As Big As A Pachyderm...

From halftime of last week's New England Patriot drubbing of the Jets:

But sans the *thick skin*!!!

(Fan yelled, "Rex, Belichick is better than you...)

Money - Can't Take It With You

My grandmother just became a complete ward of the State of Massachusetts.

Grandpa died 20 years ago. She lived on her own; then at a subsidized home; then at an assisted-living facility until recently when her money ran out.

She had - I believe - 300k after selling her house not long ago. But the monthlies on her care ultimately devoured all that cash.

So now taxpayers are footing the bill, er bills, but at a lesser place than she had been at.

When my father told me how this all worked (you have whittle your accounts down to zero to gain eligibility) I was a little surprised - but only because I was completely ignorant about typical end-of-life living.

It's all really sad. My grandmother doesn't recognize anyone and has all the usual maladies of a nonagenarian. She's not just dying alone, she'll have been living alone for many, many years before leaving this world.

I mean, is this what we all have to look forward too?

She is/was a very difficult woman and there was *no chance* that she was going to live with my father or his brother. Old folk, even if moderately healthy, do need around-the-clock care - even just for incontinence and whatnot. My father said he could have conceivably taken care of (butt wipe) his father but not his mother.

But still, theoretically my grandmother could have moved-in with my parents (or uncle)....they could have hired nurses to stop by here and there....much of that money would not have gone to waste....AND taxpayers could have been spared.

Obviously if they didn't have this *welfare* state those people that can afford their own end-of-life care would pay for it themselves - and the money would be spent a whole lot more efficiently. People would simply figure it out, as they did for thousands of years before the tyranny of Big Government entitlements.

And dotage might not be so lonely...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Fun

Thanks to LeagueIslander for sending me this slightly crass funny:

OWS apologists are bragging that 90% of their protesters have college degrees...

Hah! I've been telling y'all how worthless college is.

Now I don't follow this contemporary news din so maybe one of my readers can answer this question:

Is Obama taking any flack from Occupy Wall Streeters?

Because he's the head honcho at the moment. He's the one *printing money* and bending over to Wall Street with backdoor bank bailouts, 0% down FHA mortgages, suspended accounting rules, and whatnot.

I give it a month or so at most before the *winter* ends this protest FOR the status quo.

See also:

Peter Schiff - Not Just Brilliant

Occupy Wall Street Versus Greg Mankiw

Wealth Gap OR Reality Gap?


This video time-lapse images from space is getting TONS of hits and attention right now:

But quite frankly I don't see what's so enthralling about it. The music was grating to boot.

Of course I'm biased....Earth isn't even close to my favorite planet!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hired A Homeschool Legal Posse

Remember Elian? If not, Google...

30 years ago homeschooling was highly regulated and practically *illegal* in almost every state.

But homeschoolers and their lawyers quietly fought back and won reclaimed the freedom to education their own - a freedom many homeschoolers take for granted today.

I've been reading all about it in - Home Schooling, the Right Choice: An Academic, Historical, Practical, and Legal Perspective - which so far has been a compelling read.

I mean, what would I do if a Social Worker or agent from Child Protective Services showed up on my doorstep tomorrow and demanded to come in to meet my kids and inspect our living conditions (because we don't send them to government school)???

Even after watching 1,000 episodes of Law & Order I still didn't know what the right course of action is.

The author - Christopher Klicka - has represented several hundred, if not more than a thousand families over the years who've been persecuted and harassed by principals, edu-crats, social workers, et al.

I'll give a more comprehensive review of the book when I finish it.

But the stories of what Big Government can do to homeschoolers (i.e. throw your kids in a foster home!) got me a little scared (and grateful).

So just now I joined Klicka's Homeschool Legal Defense Association. It's $500 for five years of guaranteed legal protection. Over that time they will represent us in ANY disputes we have with our school district, social workers,...

Newbies can read about the little tiff I had with my district last year - here.

Retro Fighting

Someone told me about this *comeback* today - jousting!

Is it more Moronic/dangerous than UFC and whatnot - getting skewered?

Apparently there's a new show devoted to it on color TV too:

I have to admit....I've started getting into the UFC stuff - as gruesome as it is.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Whiz Kid Update

I was 14 when I first saw this done!

Of course it's essentially useless knowledge.

BUT learning how to stand up and deliver a lucid presentation IS an important skill.

Sure math has much practical application....but in many ways I see it more as a vehicle to exercise discipline, logic, etc.

Another thing he's been doing is messing around programming with Scratch - free intro-to-programming software from the geeks at MIT.

I'm not exactly sure what he's doing but he wanted me to embed two of his recent creations below.

Clicking on the images will take you to the website. From there you get to *play*. Use the arrows and space bar *to shoot*.

Scratch Project

Scratch Project

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Government Lie Of The Day - Illliteracy

Check out this chart:

Only a complete Moron would believe this self-serving Big Government lie - that by 1979 only .6% of Americans were illiterate.

And here's the *summary*:

The higher levels of education attained by young adults in the most recent decades suggest that the overall education level of the population will continue to rise slowly into at least the early 21st century.

Meanwhile, if you took away the graphics and order-by-number menu at - or at least the speed of the line - there would grind to a halt.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another Business Book, Eaten

Not a long post here.

I just read - Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive - my 26th book of the year.

It was OKAY but nothing special.

The book was all over the place, essentially anecdotage from a shrewd, experienced businessman.

I'm not quite sure why it is so widely read and critically acclaimed.

Its best feature?....That it was an easy, skimmable read!

Forget Trump's endorsement on the cover. Read his book instead.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mid-November Levity Injection

Sorry, illiterates and aliterates....some of these you will have to *read*:

Attention 'old coots' - you have to click the forward arrow on the slideshow!

Brookhaven National Boondoggle - Welfare For School Nerds

Today my son had a science class some 65 miles east at Brookhaven National Laboratory - pictured above.

I'd never even heard of it before and was AMAZED at how freakin' huge it was. I mean it was a few miles wide and I hadn't seen this many über-GEEKS since I was last in Cambridge, MA.

An alien visiting from outer-space and armed with today's conventional stereotypes would probably presume that these disheveled, socially-awkward pocket-protectors were homeschooled rather than in fact the *best and brightest* churned out by SCHOOLS.

While my son attended his class:

1) Blocks and Marbles: Students work in design teams to develop a solution to an engineering problem. Teams will construct a "ride" for a marble that must meet specified design criteria. Students will be introduced to the law of gravity.

2) Seeing the Light: What is light? How is a rainbow made? Through a series of experiments students will explore the properties of light. Discover how shadows are made, how light is reflected, and how light can be bent to make colorful rainbows. Students will also see the results of mixing the primary colors of light and experiment with our shadow wall.

3) Sounds Around: Discover how sound is produced and how it travels. Analyze how different pitches and volumes are produced. Experience sound waves as they pass through different states of matter. Watch your sound waves on an oscilloscope and try our invisible strings exhibit!
...I made my way around the *campus* and cafeteria and couldn't get over how much taxpayer money is essentially burned there. I mean all those Phd's make 6 figures+; and they were all moving at about the same speed as the obese women employed by the DMV.

Apparently it's an astounding $760 million a year - that's the annual budget for this boondoggle which employs 2,800 people.

The Republicans tried to cut its budget by 1/3 this year but failed - as they do in every other cost-cutting attempt. They fail so much a supporter of theirs ought to seriously wonder about sincerity.

Of course if I were President dictator....I'd close the whole thing up tomorrow!

I got real angry thinking about this but then I realized that there are probably a hundred of these boondoggles all over the country (esp. near Washington DC!) and that it's just the first one I really came into direct contact with.

My son's class? It was decent. And it was FREE....but only in a manner of speaking.

I was told that the 80s classic motion picture - The Manhattan Project - which I remember enjoying very much, was filmed at Brookhaven Labs:

It featured a young *Miranda* (aka Cynthia Nixon) as the girlfriend.

NY Times - Cherry Picking And Extrapolating, Again

The NY Times is up to its old tricks again...

They found a grown woman who was homeschooled in the psychedelic 70s and have paid(?) her to paint *parental education* in a horrible light. Her critique is laced with the stock Times casuistry and invokes all the usual bigoted, intolerant stereotypes.

It's a long and tedious article so I'll highlight the relevant parts for the lazy/busy set:

Today, according to a poll by the Department of Education (PDF), 83 percent of parents who home-school their children — nearly two million children are now taught at home — do so out of "a desire to provide religious or moral instruction."

Okay, that's total BS. "Or moral instruction" widens the category. Which freakin' concerned parents ARE NOT engaging in, or at least intending to morally instruct their children???

The *for religious reasons only/primarily* tag has been overdone, and over-estimated time and again. But it's typical, for propagandistic critics like the NY Times, to summon favored bogeymen...

The author repeatedly and vividly lamented how destitute their counter-culture (hippie!) family was:

We learned to make do. We had our teeth pulled by student dentists at a free clinic and shopped for bargains at the dented-can outlet. Very briefly, we stood in line for food stamps. When a broken collarbone demanded a trip to the E.R. during a blizzard, my father took me to the hospital via sporadic bus service — we couldn’t afford a car. To ease the pain of my injury (and my recovery), Dad gave me one pack of Juicy Fruit gum, which I was then made to share with my three siblings. It was such a treat that I slept with the remaining two sticks clutched under my pillow. My mother went without haircuts or date nights.

The insinuation of *stupid, uneducated, and POOR* homeschoolers just cannot be missed.

Then came the messy, painful transition to government school:

Our transition to formal schooling happened to coincide with the moment St. Louis was trying to address the problem of its segregated school system. To avoid forced busing, the city decided to open several magnet schools with specialized curricula to attract students of all races from around the city. To my parents (perhaps conveniently), these schools sounded as if they offered the kind of progressive learning atmosphere they had been seeking. They quickly enrolled us. James and I were to attend the school dedicated to math and science; Mary and John the one focused on performing arts.

One early September morning, our parents dropped us off in front of our respective schools. They didn’t walk us into the building. They didn’t introduce us to our new teachers. They didn’t even tell us what grade we were in. John remembers it this way: "Luckily, Mary and I deduced that, because I was 10, I would go into the lowest grade (fifth), and as an 11-year-old, she would go into the next (sixth)." As the youngest, only 5 that fall, I burst into tears when I was separated from my brother James. I hadn’t been warned that we’d be in different classes.

Going from yoga and tea (with parents) to gym and a packed lunchroom was a shock to our systems. And feeling lost wasn’t the hardest part. Looking like Goodwill poster children was. "I thought I looked great in my huaraches and striped, fiesta-themed peasant pants," Mary says. "But everyone else in the sixth grade was wearing a Led Zeppelin T-shirt and jeans. I was not too naïve to realize I needed to get some jeans. Quick."

Everything about the single-file, cliquey public-school system was counter to our counter-lifestyle. "I was in math class," John recalls, "sitting at a desk wondering, Am I going to have to sit in this same spot every single day from now on? The teacher was grilling kids on decimals, which I did not understand. To me it just looked like a dot! Then the teacher asked me to recite the nine multiplication table. I answered, totally nonchalantly, ‘I don’t know it.’ The teacher paused, eyes zeroing in on me, and said, ‘Boy, I’m gonna have fun with you.’" Slowly the meaning of being unable to recite lines from "Star Wars" (we’d never seen Hollywood movies) and not having feathered hair began to sink in. We were weirdos.

After asking, "I’m curious about how you basically stood it all day," Cokie Roberts repeatedly pressed my mother about our socialization. To gain independence and prepare children for the realities of adulthood, didn’t they need to be with their peers and suffer all the harsh experiences that entails?

"I don’t know if children should be put through bad school situations just so they can be socialized," my mom replied. It was a noble sentiment, but unfortunately bad situations were exactly what was in store for us, especially for John and James. "I was very green, and a few days into school this kid pushed me so hard I fell over a desk," John remembers. "I just couldn’t understand. Why would a kid want to fight me?...

At my schoolyard, James, in third grade, was instantly picked on. Within the first week, he recalls, "an older kid kicked me in the butt really hard. The other boys were laughing. A girl finally told me someone put a ‘kick me’ sign on my back. I never heard of that, teasing and pranks." James was also taken to the back of the bus and "punched incessantly" for the better part of grade school. "Oh, God, it was awful." James never told my parents. He just "took it." Was Cokie Roberts right? James thinks so. "I wasn’t around kids," he says. "The four of us were never threatened, so I didn’t learn how to stick up for myself."

My mother worried that when we went to school, she would lose her identity. But she flourished in her new job as an editor at St. Louis magazine. We were the ones who lost ours. Mary never told anyone she’d been home-schooled. "By sixth grade I knew that kids weren’t, especially back then. When you’re a kid, you don’t want to be different, you want to fit in." Mary conformed quickly and even liked the rules, like having to "write your name at the top of paper." John was picked on until he fought back, pushing his tormentor over a desk. James learned how to fit in by observing the other kids and copying what they did. "It was a chameleon act. I was never the most popular, but I eventually made friends."

I have often wondered how the home-schooled fared compared with their classbound peers. While advocates make glowing claims — that the home-schooled do better on their college boards and vote more often — there is little hard data on achievement.
Okay.  Kids get picked on at school by bullies....that sounds to me like an indictment of the school environment more than anything else.

Essentially, it was an anti-homeschooling piece written by a sullen anti-homeschooling, homeschooled girl for good measure. This is precisely how the Times operates with EVERY subject. It's like when they given John McCain space to bash the Republicans or Warren Buffet  a column to bash the wealthy.

The irony, of course, is that most of the Times-type people who homeschool, and there are plenty of them, take PRECISELY this bohemian, unschooling approach. I've personally met a bunch of them - organic eco-planet worshipers who post messages on homeschooling forums about supporting Al Gore and Occupy Wall Street.

Furthermore, the supposed 83% who homeschool for *religious/moral reasons* are the ones who most certainly follow curricula and provide academic rigor.  Most of the kids are wearing shoes too.

Now I want those 10 minutes back I wasted reading that tripe!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nut Family - Youngest Bloggers AND Oldest Pilots!

This headline/article hit the wires recently:

But guess what...

My grandfather was a pilot in the Polish Air Force too...

He escaped Hitler and made his way to England as well...

And he turned 98 just the other day!

So he's older than that gentleman (the *oldest*) that just passed away.

The difference is that my grandfather didn't actually fly combat missions in England. I'm not sure why but I do know there was a shortage of planes and other supply issues.

If he HAD FLOWN, there's a good chance he might not have made it, met my British grandmother, had the child that is my mother, etc.

But betting against his indefatigable man, over all these years, would have been unsavvy to put it mildly.

He's 98 today, still lives at home, has held off skin cancer for years with his herbal remedies, takes care of himself and gets about fairly well, and still can beat me at chess despite impaired vision...

For more on these Polish pilots that *saved* Britain see my book rec and post from nearly 6.5 years ago - Poland and FDR's Depraved Indifference.

Website Building Chronicles - 3 - The Sales Letter

Do y'all know what a *sales letter* is?

Of course you get them in your junk(!) mail nearly everyday.

But they are alive and thriving online too. In fact they are all over the freakin' place since stamps are cheaper on the web.

These days I've been working on my own for

One expert resource I've found is Dan Kennedy. I had previously read one of this other books and was very impressed. All these other guys (like Eben Pagan) mention him repeatedly and Kennedy certainly lives up the hype, IMO.

I just procured Kennedy's The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost your Sales., I devoured it, and must say it was very helpful.

You have to understand that these guys have VAST experience; they've split-tested everything from fonts to formats to diction; and have amassed expertise that we could never acquire independently.

Heck Kennedy's book is only $10 AND I did one better - borrowing it from my library.

The other thing you can do, of course, is just read a bunch of successful sales letters/pitches online!

In fact Tim Ferriss recently did a blog post on the dude who's made tens of million$ from "The Truth About Six-Pack Abs" info-products. So I watched his sales videos closely and jotted down a few important notes.

Building a sales page, website, ebooks, etc. is a *process*. What I've learned is to overcome my school-induced perfectionism and to just throw something up and tweak/refine on the go.

I grabbed some popular software to help make snazzy sales pages - OptimizePress - for $97 or so.

Actually when I'm done I will have SEVERAL sales pages to which I'll direct different audiences depending upon demographics, specific group bigotries, etc.

One thing that's holding me back, still, is that I'm not entirely clear WHAT I'm selling and TO WHOM.

But the more research and brainstorming I do, the more clarity I'm gaining.

See also:

Website Building Chronicles 1 - For Morons

Website Building Chronicles 2 - Eben Pagan Selling Me On Change

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Stubborn Country Club Math

So I tallied them up...

In 2011 I played 29 rounds of golf at various golf courses from Florida up to New Hampshire.

And I spent a grand total, conservatively, of around $1,900 - or $67 per 18 holes.

I must say I was hoping that the number would come in higher, much higher in fact.

Because then I could more easily rationalize joining a local country club at $8,300 per year (weekday membership + pool).

I've always known that joining a club (in the Northeast) was a jam-job but now, after totaling up my annual golf budget for the first time in my life, I have a better appreciation for my own powers of discernment.  Who would have thought that even possible?!

I mean I could take SEVERAL out-of-state golf excursions, get a many more quality rounds in, before I even came close to that $8,300 annual nut.

Heck I'd probably rather take golf lessons from top pros (Leadbetter?) with that money than waste it on country club dues.

After all, it's far more enjoyable to say *hit laser wedges* off a dog-track then it is to hit the ball sideways off plush, illegal-immigrant-mown fairways.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

A New Chili In My Arsenal

1 lb fresh chorizo (ground or removed from casings)
1 lb ground beef

3-4 onions, diced
2 green peppers, diced
6-10 cloves of garlic, diced

2 tablespoons jalapeno, finely chopped

roughly 32 oz tomato sauce
roughly 28 oz tomatoes (Mexican style like Rotel and/or fire-roasted style)

4 tablespoons cumin
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika

28 oz kidney beans, drained and rinsed
28 oz black beans, drained and rinsed

1-2 cups liquid (dark beer, beef broth, water or some combination thereof)

Simple Directions:

Brown the meat, add garlic, onions, peppers,...saute.

Add everything else but the beans, bring to a boil.

Add beans, simmer for 3-6 hours.

I got it started on the stove, then threw it all in a Crock-Pot (slow cooker) for several hours.

Obviously this is very easy - notwithstanding the onion tears - so you may as well make the big pot I've prescribed above.

It's not a gaseous chili either - for those of you who are easily activated.

Socialized Illiterates?

Consider this salient into the daycare/preschool *socialization justification*:

In 1950 the average vocabulary of a child entering first grade was 4000 words. By 1990 this figure had dropped to 1000 words. Why? Because children are not read to and do not have very much quality interaction with their parents. Plus they do not pick up new words at play with their peers. And it is hard for two tired, working parents or a single parent to do much with their children at the end of the day. Many kids are simply placed in front of the TV while mom and/or dad get supper ready.
I don't know about y'all...

But I'd most certainly take a quadrupled vocabulary and keep my toddlers mainly at home if the daycare application came with such an explicit disclaimer!

In fact that's what we did here at the Nut household.

Did y'all see the staggering book list I posted of my 6 year-old son on HomeschoolDad?

Occupy Wall Street Versus Greg Mankiw

From the bigoted, Moronic, puerile communists-in-training at Harvard's student newspaper:

Nearly 70 Harvard student protesters walked out of Economics 10 on Wednesday afternoon, expressing dissatisfaction with what they perceive to be an overly conservative bias in the course.

The walkout was meant to be a show of support for the "Occupy" movement’s principal criticism that conservative economic policies have increased income inequality in the United States.

"Today, we are walking out of your class, Economics 10, in order to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course. We are deeply concerned about the way that this bias affects students, the University, and our greater society," read a statement issued by the organizers.

Economics 10—more commonly referred to as "Ec 10" — is taught by professor N. Gregory Mankiw, and has the highest enrollment of any course at the College, boasting over 700 enrollees.

After walking out, the group gathered in the hallway outside of the theater, standing in a circle and speaking out about the event.

"Harvard graduates have been complicit [and] have aided many of the worst injustices of recent years. Today we fight that history," said Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash ’15, one of the students who organized the walkout. "Harvard students will not do that anymore. We will use our education for good, and not for personal gain at the expense of millions."

Gabriel H. Bayard ’15, another organizer of the walk out, said that he believes the course is emblematic of the economic policies that have led the financial crisis.

"Ec 10 is a symbol of the larger economic ideology that created the 2008 collapse. Professor Mankiw worked in the Bush administration, and he clearly has a conservative ideology," Bayard said. "His conservative views are the kind that created the collapse of 2008. This easy money focus on enriching the wealthiest Americans—he really operates with that ideology."

Sandalow-Ash ’15 said that the course too heavily asserts conservative economic claims as fact.

"It’s a class that’s very indoctrinating, and does not encourage diversity of views. Economic questions are not always clear-cut. Multiple views should be presented in this course," Sandalow-Ash said.

According to those who walked out, part of the discontent with Economics 10 stems from what they say is the limited number of opportunities to express skepticism toward the material taught in the course.

"I’ve definitely written question marks in my textbook, but we never really get to question [what he says] in section,” said Alexandra E. Foote ’15, who is currently enrolled in the course. "I don’t know very much about economics, and it’s not really fair that I’m getting a skewed perspective."



And you have to love that other über-idiot who reasoned that because Mankiw once worked for George Bush....that therefore not only is Mankiw *conservative*, that somehow that group of people (whoever they are) is responsible for *Wall Street*, *income inequality*, the *death of baby seals*, the cancelling of Party of Five, and every other travesty in America.

Now please don't misunderstand. Don't think for a moment that I'm defending Greg Mankiw here. It's a tough call for me - whom do I loathe more....the invertebrate econo-aliterate professor or the dumbest children at Harvard???

It's safe to say that I hate EVERY SINGLE THING about Harvard: the students, the graduates, the staff, the weather, the *aura*, and the tragic fact that millions of don't-know-any-better families and kids aspire to be there.

One of Mankiw's real crimes, and something his antagonistic students would be better off directing their anger at, is the obscene $216(!) price of his vapid textbook.

Realize that with 700 freshman taking this class each fall....that's $140,000 worth of revenue going straight to the professor from just this one class!

Then you have the fact that he *pays off* (er, encourages) professors all over this stable-climate planet to assign his textbook to their students.

I've tangled with this buffoon before - even directly.

In fact I was the one, the reason he removed all comments from his *blog*!

See my master link here - CaptiousNut dismantling Greg Mankiw - and scroll down through my prior posts. (You might have to hit *older posts* at the bottom of the page to enjoy them all.)

And for my previous post on Occupy Wall Street - click here.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Entrepreneurial Homeschoolers

That's a screenshot of the #1 Harry Potter fan website.  Needless to say, being the top dog it garners millions of hits each month.

It was founded by one Emerson Spartz way back in 1999 - when the web was still in its relative infancy.

Guess what...

The founder was still in his infancy as well - only 12 years old when he first put it up!

Notably, Emerson was also educated *outside the system*, i.e. he was homeschooled!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Tony Robbins - Review

Alright it took longer than I thought, but I finally finished self-help guru Tony Robbins' book - Awaken The Giant Within.

It was definitely good and worthwhile reading.

While I didn't take any notes I can share, I did take away several key ideas from this book.

I would say that the subtitle of the book captures its essence - *How to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical, and financial destiny!*.

Tony breaks down the mental processes which Earthlings use to determine their feelings, actions, etc.

The main lesson/message is that each one of us is indeed capable of fully controlling how we are going to react to the poop that life tosses our way.

It's not just some cheesy *look on the brightside* tripe either.

So it you are into self-improvement and appreciate the transformative power introspection I'd recommend you give Robbins a look. I'm sure your local government library has his books.

See also - Up Sheep-Creek Without A Paddle.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Dumb Animals

I just received this *clever* email forward:

The Question Is Not How Did They Get In...But Rather How Do You Get Them Out?

Kind of funny.

Though I'd be partial to a complete eviction of the scumbags stuck we're stuck with in Congress!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Color TV And The Voices In My Head

Remember Carol Anne from that terrific, classic motion picture - Poltergeist (25th Anniversary Edition)?

I'll never forget when that clown popped out from under(?) the bed...

I was seated on a couch with several other kids (family friends) and horrified - we all simultaneously kicked over the two separate TV trays holding bowls of popcorn.

Anyways this post was meant to be about how absolutely grating television has become for me.

It's gotten to the point that whenever I walk by a blaring TV in a bar, airport, or just about anywhere else I essentially go into an apoplectic fit.

I don't know if this is similar to the *secondhand smoke* effect.

Ten years ago I could sit at a table with 8 guys smoking cancer sticks and not be bothered.

But now, since smoking is less prevalent....even a single cigarette from far away smells disgusting.

Though I think the analogy doesn't quite hold.

Last night, after turning the TV on briefly I realized why the mere sound of the TV tortures the sh*t out of me.

It's because it is actually an *interruption* - the color TV din interrupts the important, internal conversations going on between my ears!

I guess before, when I used to watch the boob tube, there wasn't sufficient brain activity to be irritated by frivolous intrusions???

BTW, there are several major things my wife and I have done to get our kids launched....but removing the poisonous, mind-rotting effect of television is right up there near the top of the list.

Turning Off The Radio Now

"Dad, what's alien sex?"

Yeah, that's what my daughter asked me from the backseat of the car a few months ago.

Here are some of the lyrics:

Boy, you're an alien
Your touch so foreign
It's supernatural

Your so supersonic
Wanna feel your powers
Stun me with your lasers
Your kiss is cosmic
Every move is magic

Your from a whole other world
A different dimension
You open my eyes
And I'm ready to go
Lead me into the light

Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me
Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison

Take me, ta-ta-take me
Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction

Boy, you're an alien
Your touch so foreign
It's supernatural

[Kanye West]
I know a bar out in Mars
Where they driving spaceships instead of cars
Cop a Prada spacesuit about the stars
Getting stupid ass straight out the jar
Pockets on Shrek, Rockets on deck
Tell me what's next, alien sex
I'ma disrobe you, than I'mma probe you
See I abducted you, so I tell ya what to do
I tell ya what to do, what to do, what to do

[Katy Perry]
Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me
Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison

Take me, ta-ta-take me
Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction

Boy, you're an alien
Your touch so foreign
It's supernatural
There's no doubt that skanky broad - Katy Perry - can sing and perform...

But her *content* is a little over-the-top, don't ya think?

I mean she explicitly tells young girls to put on skin-tight jeans, let boys touch them, and to *go all the way*. Freakin' five year-old girls listen to Katy Perry!

In some screwed up way it'd be pure justice one day for Katy to catch her 11 year old daughter servicing some dude...

Of course it's all trash on the radio these days - so I've just about removed it completely from our family car riding.

Classical music elicits complaints (plus it puts me to sleep at the wheel!) so pretty much all we listen to is a lone Christian music radio station. Though generally I keep it low and the kids do their *work* in the backseat. For all intents and purposes those car-seats are their DESKS.

I do wish I could figure out a better system for listening to audio books in the car.

They come in too many disks; we'll stop in-between tracks; and then my kids want to listen to the rest in the house. It quite frankly is a real pain in the butt moving disks back and forth. It's a shame I can't download reasonably-priced audio books straight to the AM/FM car stereo!

I Hadn't See This Before

They hid out atop the building and shot a freakin' *crossbow*???!!!