Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dear CaptiousNut,

Well, my bank puts are gone now (this month)....and I'm not planning on buying more (but you should!).

If inflation picks up steam....rates will rise and housing will crash. Actually it's still so astronomically high, and over-supplied and under-demanded to the extent that it will crash EVEN with continued low rates.

Yeah, inflation can theoretically raise the price of homes...but you need *wage inflation* and sinking rates for that to happen which is unfortunately the opposite of current economic reality.

Also, inexorably rising property taxes and energy prices are working and will continue to work strongly against home prices.  Don't underestimate this phenomena like EVERYONE else is.

Inflation and deflation rarely permeate across all segments of the economy at the same time.

For example, from the mid-90s to the mid-00s' we had very low commodity inflation.....BUT we had ridiculous inflation in healthcare and education - two effin' big budgetary nuts for most households.

Yeah you can certainly lock in a very low long-term mortgage rate at the moment.

But I submit it's nothing short of a TRAP. Once rates climb (which they certainly will at some point over the next 30 years!) it will be *game over* for the entire real estate market/stock market/economy. And while you may be locked in at a low monthly rate.....that same piece of property will be on sale for a much lower sticker price but at a similar monthly cost of carry to whatever you are paying. But the guy who buys then will benefit from the massive appreciation of his house if/when rates drop again.  So my advice is to wait, horde your cash until there really is blood in the streets.  Unless of course the house is something you are 1,000% sure you want for the rest of your life and you have the means to think of it as a *sunk cost*.

Believe me....once real estate crashes everyone is simply going to stop paying the bank, squat and/or mail their keys back to the bank/government - a la my old landlord in Massachusetts who's still in his house despite having stopped paying the mortgage  AND property taxes 4.5 years ago (thanks GMAC, er taxpayers)!

Already Sweating...

Bit off a nice chunk on the first day of driving. Did 567 miles to arrive at swanky Motel 6 (Deluxe!) in Fayetteville, NC. $39.99 plus tax.

Temperature was 37 degrees Fahrenheit in NY when we left this morning....but on the road today it hit 68 down in NC!

Another Southern shock to my system was getting charged only $1.87 for a 40 oz bottle of beer just now - at a convenience store no less. Even though I'm in my room consuming it....I opted to leave the paper bag on.

Last year I was somewhat nervous about driving down my two young children all by myself. But it wasn't bad at all.  Although I did start to doze off around Baltimore...

It was a breeze today too. They were good for 8.5 hours until I caved and put a movie on for them (Swiss Family Robinson).

When I tell people that I've driven my kids up and down the coast without movies and video games they think I'm a freak. Most earthling parents can't make it to the grocery store without technologically pacifying the brats.

The key is nothing more complicated than outright, intense DEPRIVATION.

Chrissy did her artwork, read a little, and her math (Kumon Grade 5 Decimals & Fractions).

John read over 500 pages(!) of Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events) and he did some math as well (AMC 8 exams).

Next stop Orlando, then Bradenton, and then....whereverTF we can find a place to rent for February (Naples?).

This was dinner from Smithfield BBQ:

I was about to call it quits on driving tonight but realized we were only another 100 miles from this terrific joint. I had been thinking that we'd stop there for lunch tomorrow but realized that we'd hit it too soon. So in went the DVD...

And 75% of my provincial New England readers HAVE NO FREAKIN' CLUE what's on that plate!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Myself Would Kick Her!

This reminded me of the pics on an old post.

It Doesn't Work...

So they just need a higher dose!

In fact it ought to be MANDATED - according to this clown/fascist.

Is this another assault on educational freedom or just more empty, deflective rhetoric?

UPDATE - This almost too funny.

Ironically, Obama's State of the Union address registered at only an 8th grade reading level:

President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address again rated at an 8th grade comprehension level on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test — the third lowest score of any State of the Union address since 1934.

The University of Minnesota's Smart Politics conducted an analysis on the last 70 State of the Union addresses and found that President Obama's three addresses have the lowest grade average of any modern president. "Obama's average grade-level score of 8.4 is more than two grades lower than the 10.7 grade average for the other 67 addresses written by his 12 predecessors," they conclude.

"The Flesch-Kincaid test is designed to assess the readability level of written text, with a formula that translates the score to a U.S. grade level. Longer sentences and sentences utilizing words with more syllables produce higher scores. Shorter sentences and sentences incorporating more monosyllabic words yield lower scores," the University of Minnesota's Eric Ostermeier explains.

Reason #1 To Homeschool

Tomorrow morning I will rouse the brood and toss them in the car. We'll be driving down to Florida for the next month+.

Hopefully we will secure a place in a good area of North Naples. But as of yet I can't find anything to rent! (May have to settle for Fort Meyers.)

Regardless, I'm still going to hit the road first thing tomorrow and just figure it out later.

February is a better month for weather AND a better month for my wife - whose lighter work schedule will allow her to spend 2 full weeks with us.

And for the record, I don't understand the appeal of inorganic breakfast places like Waffle House, IHOP, or Cracker Barrel.

I think their *fans* are really just incompetent, obese people who wake up starving but can't cook!

I mean breakfast is the simplest and cheapest meal to prepare at home...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chess Lessons 1 - Breathing Room

It's pretty hard to win a game of chess when you only have a bishop against an opponent's two rooks, two knights, bishop, and a a three pawn advantage...

But I just did and my opponent was PISSED, to put it mildly.

It's not exactly a smothered mate....but it's the same idea.

Hee hee...

I Will Ace Your Kid's SAT For $4,999

So the smart kid gets caught taking the SAT for dumb kids here on Long Island...

Most of y'all have probably heard this HORRIBLE story by now.

While most everyone I have run into thinks this kid is the nothing short of the devil....I happen to find the whole thing HILARIOUS - particularly his *punishment*:

He has heard the notion that deserving students are being left out of those colleges as a result of his fraud, but Eshaghoff is not buying it. “He really wasn’t displacing somebody … I feel confident defending the fact that [my clients] getting into the schools that they ended up getting into didn’t really affect other people,” he says. Eshaghoff regrets the shame his arrest caused his family and says if he could start over, he “never would have done it.” He will serve no jail time. Instead, under a plea deal, he will tutor low-income students on how to ace the exams he received so much money to take for others.

Hah! He has to tutor the dumb low-income students from the Boroughs!

Why are the parents so mad?

Because they spend boatloads of money on SAT prep - at least here in the NYC Metro area - so that their junior and their princess can maybe score 75 points higher and get into a slightly higher esteemed worthless college. And for that privilege they will end up exhausting all of their home equity just so their kid can major in political science, Spanish, or something equally useless like *environmental science* (like my poor niece).

The parents' anger is really, IMO, just poorly articulated, unconscious anger at the whole stinkin' process.

Meek, Self-Loathing Homeschoolers

The mega-website Pioneer Woman has *homeschooling* blog that's becoming more and more an ANTI-HOMESCHOOLING blog.

The post - 3 Reasons NOT to Homeschool - just teed up all the haters, in the comment section anyway.

So why would a putative homeschooling blog essentially bash homeschooling?

I don't know.

I can only theorize that the Pioneer Woman would rather stay *popular* amongst her mass audience.

With friends/advocates like these out there....who needs enemies?! Really.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bad Samaritans

Kid is mugged....others act like they are helping him out...

Then they pick his backpack clean!

Book Rec - Pilgrim's Progress

I just finished - The Pilgrim's Progress - the Christian soul-searching classic that was never assigned once in the course of my *liberal arts* education. (free Kindle link .)

And I must say - what a terrific book!

I just can't believe that my Catholic high school didn't REQUIRE studying it.

Of course, after thinking about this omission it dawned on me that this masterpiece might have been deemed *too Protestant* by the Vatican.

Just Googled for an explanation and I came up with this:

As you pointed out, Pilgrim's Progress was and is a very anti-Catholic book. Seeing as its author, John Bunyan, was a Baptist writer serving time in jail for opposing an Anglican church in England at the same time England was living in fear of the even-more hierarchical Roman church, you can understand why he might be anti-Pope.

The basic tenant of the book - that the Christian life is a journey that must be accomplished on one's own, is as about as Baptist / Puritanical as it gets. Like all Puritans, he celebrated rather than suppressed emotion, and wanted to ensure the "personal relationship" with Jesus took center stage. (Yes, Puritans were not the dour people popularly portrayed. Want to read a theology that celebrates sex between man and wife? Look to the Puritans - not the Catholics!)

These two biggies - the unmediated experience and the anti-hierarchical church polity - are probably the biggest bugaboos for a Catholic.

Beyond that, the book presents salvation as an act of free will, and seems to completely discount election or predestination. These issues may also cause some interesting discussions.

That said, this is the second best selling book of all time, just behind the Bible. Even if a good Christian were to disagree, I'd suggest it is edifying to read and think. The praise of Acts 17:11 comes to mind:

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

As a Baptist believer in soul competency, Bunyan himself probably wouldn't have wanted you to accept his opinions without considering them against scripture. His genius was to rehabilitate allegory from static symbolism and push the metaphor into dynamic journey and learning that could be used to direct a believer's life.

Just imagine how many Harvard students have never read this landmark book or even the Bible...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fathers Promoting Their Pawns

So I'm reading one book - The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap - which is stupid by the way...

But in it is a deprecating reference/quote to Fred Waitzkin, the hard-charging father of the chess prodigy featured in that decent motion picture.

Having seen the movie already I suddenly got interested in the book - Searching for Bobby Fischer because it was written by the father. I was curious as to how much time they actually spent studying/practicing at such a young age. (Only 7-15 hours per week!) So I literally dropped the parenting book and went over to the nonfiction section to grab Waitzkin's account.

And I was riveted all night; and finished it in about a single sitting.

I would go so far as to say that *chess* is my son's #1 activity now. Recall we haven't done much math for well over a year.

John's got his second big chess tournament coming up this weekend. We'll see how he does....chess here in the NYC area is pretty darn competitive.

One note about the book/movie...

There was one kid, Josh's arch-rival, who *didn't go to school*.

And of course the parents all grumbled that it wasn't fair that he could play chess all day long in preparation.

Incredibly, their complaint was that the poor child would be *living on the streets* or something if he didn't go to school.


They were indeed right about one thing, though. It truly is *not fair* to try to compete against kids who are unburdened with school nonsense.

See also - Best Self-Reinvention Ever?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Had To Scratch Himself...I Guess

Are you ODD?

I just came across this one in the comments of a wonderful post by dear friend Laura Weldon- School ADD Isn't Home ADD.  Be sure to read that post!

ODD stands for Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

I think it's going to be my new favorite *disorder* - overtaking the ridiculous SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Here are the dead-giveaway signs:

  • Actively does not follow adults' requests
  • Angry and resentful of others
  • Argues with adults
  • Blames others for own mistakes
  • Has few or no friends or has lost friends
  • Is in constant trouble in school
  • Loses temper
  • Spiteful or seeks revenge
  • Touchy or easily annoyed
Well I've just about got them all covered - except that I don't blame others for personal mistakes!

Of course the certified experts suggest that if your kid/life-partner/MIL is exhibiting these symptoms....that you should have them see a CERTIFIED EXPERT - for medication, to be monitored, studied, etc.

Ever notice how all of today's ridiculous *disorders* are forms of non-conformity?

It's a little one-sided, don't you think?

The thing is....I know tons of people who genuinely suffer from pathological CONFORMITY - people who buy 700k homes with no money down, people who outsource the raising of their children to government agents, blindly dump money in mutual funds, stare at cellphones all day long, buy cars they can't afford, etc. all because their neighbors, the metaphorical Jones', do so.

I mean recently someone was telling me that they were told by their *financial adviser* that they had to save $1.2 million in order to send their three children to college.  Now there's NO WAY they could save that much before their kids were 18....but that's slightly beside the point, incredibly.

All I did was SUGGEST that there's no way college could possibly be worth that much money. After all, it's a staggering amount of $$$$$!

But they all but exploded on me and my mere suggestion.

TerminalConformist - But how are they going to ever get a job if they don't go to college?

Me - You mean like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell and the rest of the most successful people out there?

Then there was another outbreak/explosion and I dropped the subject, lest the ambulance with men in white jackets have to be summoned.

Libertarian Party - Winning Debates, Losing Elections

When I first learned about small-l libertarianism....I was struck and overwhelmed by its foundation in pure logic AND its support by empirical, i.e. REAL WORLD, economics.

And right away I was left wondering why such a perspicacious political philosophy had no traction.

Of course that's a deeper question with many explanations.

But ONE biggie, IMO, is *poor marketing*.

I mean look at that *platform* by the big-L Libertarian Party above.

The wars, the Fed, domestic spying, and legalizing drugs???

Those are hardly the BIG ISSUES; they hardly address the most pressing needs and most marketable agenda for a nation being strangled by Big Government.

My libertarian platform would be:

END Government Schools
END Organized Political Parties
HALVE Government
HALVE/END Entitlements
HALVE/END The Income Tax

Now I know someone is going to say, "libertarianism isn't appealing for no other reason than because people in America are Morons..."

But I've aggressively addressed that in MY PLATFORM. See the first item!

The big-L Libertarians have to understand that so long as future voters/citizens are having their brains caponized in the school system....that it won't matter if the CIA stops spying on American soil or if you can buy marijuana in at your local bodega. This country would be doomed to implode nonetheless!

How Many Of Them Are There Out There?

This comment just came in on Peter Gray's blog post - Why Children Protest Going To School - More Evolutionary Mismatch:

I am currently 17 years old, have always hated school. I started reading about homeschooling and unschooling some time ago and was absolutely in love with the concept. Unfortunately, it is impossible for me to leave school. Every single day at school is painful and I have to endure a year and a half more of that. It might not seem like much to some, but to me it is. I can't leave school for two reasons - it's not so easy to do in my country and my parents are saying I have to finish school, no matter if it makes me sick. I don't have the strength to. I was recently diagnosed with depression and put on Prozac - it's not entirely school's fault, but I'd say it mostly is.

Yes, some kids don't mind school. But must people like me get their education at the expense of our mental health?

Let's hope this youngster hasn't been so messed up by their *sentence*....that they don't commit suicide (or homicide!)....and that they haven't been irreparably damaged.

Still On A Roll...Enjoying It While It Lasts


It's been almost unfair though - how consistently good the Patriots have been over the past 10 years.

If the Pats and Red Sox hadn't been so successful over the past decade....I bet the region's population would have shrunk 5% over that time period. Seriously - think a horrible economy AND skyrocketing energy prices. Those people up there have very, very little going on outside of a pagan obsession with their teams.

(The Patriots just destroyed Tim Tebow's Broncos in a playoff game, 45-10, and are playing the Ravens this week for a berth in the Super Bowl.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Transferable Game Lessons

Pretty boring, eh?

The *endgame* is precisely that - the end of a chess game, marked by very few pieces on the board.

BUT, one wrong move and you're dead! Your opponent will promote a pawn, and that's it. You might have out-played her all game long only to cough up an embarrassing L.

It took me twenty years to fully understand that the *short game* (pitching, chipping, and putting) was the MOST IMPORTANT part of golf.

Thankfully, I've parlayed that experience to an early understanding of the importance of the endgame in chess.

In fact I would say that there's almost a 100% accurate analogy between the two.

It doesn't well matter if you're impressively splitting fairways and sticking pins if you are missing short-putts and flubbing chipshots. Take it from me!

I always found the short game a BORE to practice. I mean why would I want to chip and putt when I could pump my driver down the range and impress all the Asian wives there?

And I'd much rather play *games* on than study soporific endgame pawn puzzles...

Here's the key - you have to work at putting and pawn games SO MUCH, you have to FORCE YOURSELF to put the time in to the point where you relish 10 foot putts, where you relish trading pieces down to an endgame.

No one else really likes to practice these games-within-a-game's, so you have to look at this reality as an *opportunity* to gain on all the Morons.

I'm not quite there yet with the short game, not to the point where I really enjoy wedges and long putts....but I'm getting close.

And I'm just getting started with these tedious chess puzzles.

When I was in high school competing in math competitions...each math meet had 5 or 6 *rounds* delineated by subject; and each student participated in 3 of them.

Kids who did the earlier rounds saw the easier categories (algebra, number theory, probability, etc.) and the ones who took the later rounds were met with much more difficult questions (geometry, analytic geometry, trigonometry, complex numbers, etc.)

The wimps had much better chances of winning the awards each year.

BUT I asked to be in the difficult rounds - almost from day one. I dove into, and thrived in the stuff everyone else wanted to avoid at the expense of my *scoring*.

Regardless, it definitely paid off in the long run.

I think a lot of these self-help gurus suggest the same - to move TOWARDS discomfort. Confront weaknesses head-on and turn them into strengths!

Yet Another Homeschool Success Story

3.25 years ago her father wrote to me through this here blog...

He said:

My daughter at age 12 was invited to work in one of the top biotech labs in the UC system by the world-famous scientist who runs it. Two years later, the kid is still there doing advanced experiments on flatworms into the molecular basis of aging. She's applying to university next year at age 15. Just took her SATs 2 months into her 14th yr and scored 780, 790, 800.

She's a smart kid but no more so than lots of other smart kids I see around. The difference: she wasn't held back by the pedagogical hacks that run those wretched hoosegows called "schools."
Today I emailed him and asked him for an update - which you just watched in the form of that video.

Only a Moron would be surprised!

I have to credit her father, John, for giving me the expression *educated outside the system*.

I use it as often as I can in lieu of the misnomer *homeschooling*. (We're never at home....and we certainly don't do school!)

I mentioned this Peter Thiel before, see - The Brightest Bulbs Skipping College.

Lacking The Stomach For Gyno...

Adult language and crass content....but hilarious nonetheless!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ye Olde Megaphone?

It's *green* too!

Oh it synthetic rubber???

Mayor Nutter!

Seriously, that is the Mayor of Philadelphia's real surname - Nutter.

What vivid diction, no?

I really do miss living in Philly...

The Next Tim Tebow?

His name is Bud Cauley and it's okay if you can't remember that. Because he most likely will be reminding you shortly with his performance.

Last year, he was quietly only the 6th golfer EVER to qualify for the PGA Tour by circumventing the Qualifying School - joining the likes of Phil Mickelson and Eldrick Woods.

From Wiki:

After finishing his junior year at Alabama, Cauley qualified for the 2011 U.S. Open and decided to turn professional, foregoing his senior season.[1] In his short professional career, Cauley did not miss a cut in the first four PGA Tour events he played. which included a T4 at the Viking Classic. He also finished T4 on the Nationwide Tour's Utah Championship. Cauley made the cut at the U.S. Open, finishing T63 and guaranteeing himself a bypass to the second stage of Q School.

Cauley also finished third at the 2011 Open, earning himself $340,000 and a start at the McGladrey Classic, since Cauley used his last exemption and non-members who finish in the top ten in a PGA Tour event are guaranteed a start in the next tournament. During his limited time on the PGA Tour, Cauley earned $735,150 in eight starts. He finished the equivalent of 116th on the 2011 money list...
So how is Bud the *next Tebow*???

Well, just like Tim, Bud was HOMESCHOOLED by his parents.

It's just very hard to get those magical 10,000 hours critical to subject mastery in without *active parents*.

Bud shot 4-under yesterday at the Sony Open - good enough for a T5 early standing at this his first event of 2012.

See also - 10 Celebrities that Give Homeschooling a Good Name.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Since NO ONE Actually READS...

I was stunned (sort of) to get an email promoting that this morning.

Local libraries have also stooped to *video game* tournaments and sundry other inane, non-book events.

It's all about staying relevant and useful for local taxpayers, I guess.

And parents LOVE little activities like this....where they can *drop off* and relieve themselves of their children for a bit.

Today I went to the library with my kids to do their math work...

But all the tables were taken so we couldn't sit down.

Of course, there are only THREE TABLES in the entire children's section.

I mean who puts only three tables (4 seaters) at a library?

While I was standing and grumbling I noticed that there was a whole lot more space devoted to the nearly 20 computers!

So we have YouTube and candy competitions - that's what libraries are for now...and don't even get me started on how many people only go to the libraries around here to borrow DVDs that they can plop their kids in front of!

UPDATE - I just came across these:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

World's Biggest A$$hole?

Story - here.

Young Guys Sticking Together

I'm dropping my 7.12 year old son off at CCD (Church school) yesterday...

And the 'old coot' parking lot attendant (yes, traffic is INSANE - they need one/two) asked me,

"Hey, wait a're not his father are you?"

CaptiousNut - No. He's my little brother.

Of course then my son ruined it.

On my way out the guy accosted me again because he just couldn't believe that someone who looked like me was a father to a 7 year old.

Was he blind, dumb, and old? Perhaps.

Anyways this morning I had to have a talk with my son.

I told him that from now on....actually I ORDERED him, from now on to say that I was indeed his brother should that situation arise again.

And I told him that if the person asking is a female and he plays his part well....that I would take him out for an ice cream sundae.

When his sister got up this morning he ran over and eagerly announced, "Dad is now my brother!"

Frontrunner - A Bad Position In A Long Race?

Watch this video - but skip to the 9 minute mark to start.

39% Romney to 23% Ron Paul?

So, after the pretenders drop out, to whom will the other voters shift their support?

AND, to whom will Big Media shift its support?

Will they start propping up Ron Paul to take Mitt down a notch? I hope so!

The thing is, I don't think the *evangelicals* will be too excited about Mitt Romney, a Mormon.

Hopefully their ministers, sometime this year, will start reminding them that *Jesus was a libertarian*.

On Intimidation

I just read an *old* book (1973) titled - Winning Through Intimidation.

Surely some of you who know me well are derisively wondering if in fact I WROTE it.

I did not.

It was penned by one Robert J. Ringer. I kid you not - that is his real name!

I guess with a name like that you pretty much have to become an intimidator, no? Just as Thom Dammrich had to go into the yacht industry. Just as a young boy named *Howard Pressman* (an attorney I used for my car accident) HAD to grow up to become a personal injury lawyer...

Anyway the book is okay - a quick enjoyable read that probably has more appeal for real estate salespeople than anyone else.

Marketing guru Dan Kennedy highly recommended it; and if you know anything about him you can certainly understand why he has Ringer up on a pedestal.

I am definitely an *intimidator* - always have been. Heck when I was 15 years old refereeing youth soccer games the parents were all scared to death of me.

And now that I am doing one of the most *offensive* things a parent can do in educating my own children *outside the system*....while most people who do this are continually interrogated, mocked, scoffed at, questioned, and considered loons....well, I can't tell you the last time someone expressed to me even a hint of disapproval.

But I don't see intimidation as a *winning move* - at least not in my life. It's more a self-defensive attribute than anything else. And it probably costs me many things too.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Website Building Chronicles - 5 - Wasting Time?

For the first 15+ years after I graduated from UPenn I spent all my time, and some of my energy, on *trading*. I pretty much did nothing else on the side except blog, golf, read non-fiction, move (6 homes!),....and consume adult beverages.

But now that I'm trying to reinvent myself, and my career as an edu-preneur of some sort I've been drawn into all new intellectual territories, e.g. the fields of marketing, product creation, service, website development, and networking.  Just check out my reading list to see how my focus has evolved over the years from history and entrepreneurs and more practical subjects.

Here's a decent link-fest I just came across that some of you might find interesting:

The Best and Worst Startup Stuff - 2011

Although one item in particular on it caught me in the mid-section/balls:

Worst startup mistake: Having a big burn rate.

Runner-up: Procrastinating by reading (or writing) blogs. Excuse me, I gotta get back to work.

Blogs?  A waste of time?

Perhaps.  There's at least a point of *diminishing returns* to time spent on them - as with just about anything else.

While I continue to trudge ahead with the back of my mind lurks significant doubt that I should even be messing around with incorporating a blog of *free advice*. So that's why the content is thus far mostly light and self-promotional on that website.

But even with still scarce posting it seems like the work keeps piling up...

Because I could probably just create my info-products: videos, lessons, worksheets, etc. and just put them out on ClickBank with a high affiliate commission. That would effectively leave ALL of the pain-in-the-butt *marketing* to others.

See also:

Website Building Chronicles 1 - For Morons

Website Building Chronicles 2 - Eben Pagan Selling Me On Change

Website Building Chronicles 3 - The Sales Letter

Website Building Chronicles 4 - Facebook

Throwing More On My Full Plate

It's come to my attention, that just one town over, in Queens resides a huge potential market for my skills.

What are my skills?

Teaching math, of course. You see Queens is *all Chinese*, sort of. There are 500,000 Asians living in that borough.

And guess what....while your kids are playing sports on weekends, their kids (all of them!) are taking academic classes.

The other day, which was a Saturday, I met with some people who own a *tutoring center* at 4:30pm. I was amazed to see the place PACKED at that time with students (Asian).

In fact I met with them on Friday too. They are looking for someone to teach AMC Math Exam prep - at least that's what they told me.

Now there's NO ONE better than me at teaching math team stuff.  But I'm not cheap.  I told them $100 an hour, cash, to start out with.  And they agreed, sort of - promising 2 hours at a time.  But it's far from a done deal.

To teach these classes I would lecture the group AND give them homework to do each week. With my experience in this field the job would be *cake*, or course.  Oh yeah, but I'd also have to find someone to watch my kids once in a while. Although my kids can probably sit in on the classes as well.

All this will takeaway from my time working on and its info-products; and it will take away from the time I spend teaching facilitating my own kids' education.

But this all along was my hedge against website unprofitability - to get established as a high-end, in-person tutor.

I mean I knew the wealthy, highly-populated NY area was teeming with edu-gold....but the more I see, the more I realize how much I've actually underestimated the lode.

So much to do, so little time!

Wicked Cool Stupidity

X-Ray Vision?

Or is there just something about their strides???

See also - Marginalizing Swivel-Heads.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Fifty Funnies

It's a slideshow, you sillyheads.

Some images you'll have to click on and enlarge to *get*.

Nobody Likes Pittsburgh Anyway

My kids were cheering for the *homeschooled* quarterback today in that American tackle football contest.

I was rooting for him because Denver will be an easier opponent for my Patriots next Sunday.

Though it's too bad New England doesn't have a good defense anymore....

Back in the days of Teddy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison a horrible quarterback like Tebow wouldn't stand a chance.

Hey Rush Limbaugh, maybe your Steelers losing is an omen?

Sunday Cartoon

Some of you might be into this - music and animation similar to Pink Floyd's The Wall:

You can read more about it (whatever it is!) - here.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Watch The Sausage-Making!

I just came across an interesting post from a family that raised and slaughtered their own hog.

And there's another interesting follow-up post where they actually harvest the bacon and make the sausage.

I think I'm going to have cereal and milk for breakfast this morning...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

National Debt Analogy

What else can one say?

Okay, now let's go back to arguing over *gay marriage*, green jobs, torture, and all that MORE IMPORTANT stuff...

Born Under A Full Moon?

So someone on FaceBook posts:

1) Find the #1 song from the week you were born.
2) Find the song on youtube.
3) Post it without shame.
Now I'm sure it's partially a ruse to see how many Morons will post their precise birth-date online, right next to their real name for purposes of identity theft, password hacking or other *foul play*...

Anyways, that is the beyond-ridiculous #1 song that was blaring on the wireless, NATIONWIDE the day I popped out of my mother's vagina.

Mulit-Generation Parenting Failure?

I guess this is all the rage now - to put 'old coots' on YouTube dancing - to that lovely rap crap.

500,000 hits in 3 days?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Bull Market Ragin' In The Black Baby Killing Industry!

It is always fun and astounding to ask abortionists ("pro-choicers") if they believe that taxpayers should be subsidizing abortions...

I say fun, because you'll never get a straightforward answer.

I told one such person recently that *Planned Parenthood gets $300 million per year from taxpayers*.

First he played dumb; then he questioned the veracity of the figure; then he said that the money they got (which he only a second ago didn't know anything about) was for other services like mammograms and whatnot. Of course the other stuff that Planned Parenthood does is nothing short of a *ruse*. Their main business, by far, is killing black and brown babies.

And I hear that Planned Parenthood is sitting on $1 billion in assets too. In other words, they DON'T NEED any more money.

One of the most amazing books I've come across - in terms of being well-written, important, and informative - was Aborting America.  Definitely check it out if you can find it.

I Doubt He Was Homeschooled!

For a second I thought this Moron might be competitive with the Dumbest Male On Earth?....but I revisited the link and have concluded otherwise. It's still not even close.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Gadgets....WORSE That Color TV!

No $hit!

Of course they are becoming *addicted*. Our whole society (under age 40) is!

And parents have NO CLUE how bad this is - developmentally speaking.

Gadgets deprive earthlings of the all-important ability to entertain themselves.

And they are worse than color TV on account of *portability*.

Last week my jaw dropped and my eyes popped out of my skull as I witnessed a relative put their 2-YEAR OLD into bed with an iPad.

Imagine a 2020 version of Tom Hanks in Cast Away...

He dies on a deserted tropical island, not from starvation or injury....but from torturous *techno gadget withdrawal*. He can't tweet, update his HeadBook status, text, or kill any virtual Angry Birds!

He dies pathetically from flailing a la a mouse in a glue trap. Y'all realize that's how little rats die, right?

To disengage from this dependency, and I know it seems tough, parents might want to borrow from Tony Robbins. They might find it helpful to redefine the mental metaphor. Maybe think that every time they let their kids play video games it's akin to having them drink a glass of vodka or something?

Masked Incompetence


...and TELEPROMPTERS for politicians, no?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Are You Busying?

Now I'm a big advocate of Kumon workbooks...

But I don't think it behooves an educational company to hire *ESL admins* for its Facebook Fan page!!!

To see my Kumon posts - Click Here.

Exhausting John Gatto

Twenty years ago, John Taylor Gatto (at great personal expense) organized an educational conference/event at Carnegie Hall. The purpose was to give publicity to *educational alternatives* - in other words alternatives to government and government-facsimile private schools.

Of course the media ignored him and the financial interests of Big Education did what they could to sabotage the affair.

Here are a couple of excerpts I saw fit to jot down:

Our form of schooling creates an abundance of social pathologies and contradicts the way children actually learn - sacrificing human potential to an obsession with hierarchy, order, routine, surveillance, and the creation of lifelong dependence on "expert" authority. This latter function of schooling has come to support many parasitic forms of employment in our economy. Bertrand Russell once called American schooling the most extreme social experiment in Western history, a mechanism to realize Plato’s Republic. (p23)

Meanwhile, something even more sinister was taking place - a fact we learned to our horror two weeks before the show. In the financing of such events, fund-raisers regularly call on sources well known to be supportive of such things. In the case of "The Exhausted School," three such sources had taken the lead to contact Odysseus Group! Nothing could be more promising than that, it seemed. We were wrong. Each of our potential angels and a whole spread of others as yet untried were reached by some unknown agency and warned away from Carnegie Hall.

Who was doing this? Through some adroit detective work and drawing on favors owed, our volunteer fund-raiser disclosed her astonishing conclusion: It was the president of a prestigious foundation on Vanderbilt Avenue, she said, an institution which claimed hegemony in school reform! She confronted him, she continued, but he denied even knowing about Carnegie Hall. That was the clincher. She produced a photocopy of an informational inquiry about the event written by the president himself months before to a friend of hers!

Nothing could be done, of course, but press on. Eventually 1,024 people paid their way into Carnegie Hall in spite of the media blackout, the absence of advertising, and a desperate attempt on the part of "reformers" to destroy our attempt to establish a grass roots voice...(p24-25)

An education gives you the power to make your own decisions and a schooling teaches you to follow the lead of other people - not the same thing at all. (p27)

We live in a time of great school crisis, and that crisis is linked to a greater social crisis in the general community. We seem to have lost our identity. Children and old people are locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent - nobody talks to them anymore. Without children and old people mixing in daily life, a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present.

We live in networks, not communities. Everyone I know is lonely because of that. In some strange way school is a major actor in this tragedy, just as it is a major actor in the widening gulf among races and social classes. Using school as a sorting mechanism, we appear to be on the way to creating a caste system, complete with untouchables who wander through the subway trains begging, and sleep upon the streets

I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my 26 years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes any more that scientists are made in science classes, or politicians in civics classes, or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery because thousands of human, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides, and even as administrators. But the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very hard, the institution is psychopathic - by which I mean it has no conscience.

How on earth did we ever accept the idea a government had the right to tell us where to go to school? How did we ever come to believe the State should tell our children what to think? (p29-30)
Today, in 2012, it almost seems foolish to rent Carnegie hall for $50,000+ (some of which came out of Gatto's pocket!) in hopes of getting a message out, or starting a revival-type movement.

But back then, recall Al Gore's internet wasn't invented, there was no YouTube, no social networking, and thus no real cost-efficient way to spread *ideas*.

I've shared the rest of my excerpts on this Google Doc - The Exhausted School.

I was elated to discover this book. While it's far from his best work - being his earlier/earliest(?) work....I just can't get enough of Gatto!

But be sure to read his other books first, particularly - The Underground History of Education - which you can read online, for free. Click the link.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Can't Go Down

I employed my usual tactic...

I waited until the end of the month and lowballed several still-unrented-for-January places down in Florida.

Of course in these lean times there were some eager responses to my bear market bids.

I had the place above, a 3BR in the heart of Naples in my sights and was just about to pull the trigger today but my wife (and I, sort of) decided against it at the last minute.

Due to her busy work schedule she wouldn't be able to get down there for even a long weekend this month. So she wouldn't see the kids for almost a full month - a prospect that would have depressed the heck out of her.

How much?

That place above was (and still is) available for only $2,500 this month. I'm sure it was sticker-priced at over 4k originally - with a pool and all.

The wife is talking about going down for February instead this year. We'll see how the winter goes. Lot of stuff going on here at the moment...

Better Blogging Chronicles 12 - Facebook

I may be late to the party, but that's immaterial.

I've been researching Facebook as a marketing tool lately - mostly for - and have decided that it can provide some utility to this here blog.

I've set up a Marginalizing Morons Fan Page where I will start posting *supplemental content*.

It'll mostly be short blurbs, knee-slapping pics, and other morsels of my unparalleled sophomoric sense of humor.

In order to see this stuff you'll have to log into Headbook, click on my link above, and then LIKE my fan page.

I believe that once you *like* my page....that my updates should theoretically stream into your Facebook news-feed.  Although I'm hearing from some people that this isn't an automatic by any stretch; that without sufficient *interaction* Facebook's algorithm might not stream updates all the time, or to every fan.  Whatever.  We shall see.

This really is sort of a split-test. If I find that the blog is getting some traction from Headbook....I may strategically alter my posting. Also, there are some rumbles out there that if anything, Headbook will help my *backlinks* (for Google search rankings).

I understand that many of my most loyal readers are actually *haters* and wouldn't dare LIKE my site in full view of their *friends*. For them, reading my site is akin to sneaking a peak at g@y kiddie p0rn!

Believe me....I totally understand. We were out with our new, good friends here on Long Island last night for New Year's...

Somehow they got wind that I had a *blog*.

But despite passionate pleading, neither my wife nor I would divulge the name of it. NO BLEEPIN' WAY!

Even though I've toned down my harshly judgmental, screed-ish posts over the years most Morons are still highly insensitive to ideas that contradict their *firmly held beliefs*.

As Will Durant quipped, "There's nothing more unpopular to say than the truth"!

And, while you're logged into LIKE my HomeschoolDad Fan Page too. Thanks!

Here are previous 11 installments of Better Blogging Chronicles.