February 20, 2011

The Presidents

I saw a great idea over at Scheiss Weekly and I decided to copy it with my own favorites ... a quote from each of the Presidents. Whether we agree with their politics or not, everyone has something worthy of listening to.

George Washington
If freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

John Adams
In politics the middle way is none at all.

Thomas Jefferson
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

James Madison
A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.

James Monroe
The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.

John Quincy Adams
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

Andrew Jackson
One man with courage makes a majority.

Martin Van Buren
It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't.

William Harrison
To Englishmen, life is a topic, not an activity.

John Tyler
Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.

James Polk
The passion for office among members of Congress is very great, if not absolutely disreputable, and greatly embarrasses the operations of the Government. They create offices by their own votes and then seek to fill them themselves.

Zachary Taylor
It would be judicious to act with magnanimity towards a prostrate foe.

Millard Fillmore
May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not.

Franklin Pierce
Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion.

James Buchanan
What is right and what is practicable are two different things.

Abraham Lincoln
If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.

Andrew Johnson
The goal to strive for is a poor government but a rich people.

Ulysses S. Grant
Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.

Rutherford Hayes
He serves his party best who serves his country best.

James Garfield
Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.

Chester A. Arthur
I may be president of the United States, but my private life is nobody's damned business.

Grover Cleveland
Though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.

Benjamin Harrison
The bud of victory is always in the truth.

William McKinley
I have never been in doubt since I was old enough to think intelligently that I would someday be made president.

Theodore Roosevelt
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

William Taft
Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood.

Woodrow Wilson
We are citizens of the world. The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this.

Warren Harding
America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration.

Calvin Coolidge
Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.

Herbert Hoover
Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Harry Truman
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

John F. Kennedy
All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.

Lyndon Johnson
You aren't learning anything when you're talking.

Richard Nixon
Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.

Gerald Ford
Truth is the glue that holds government together.

Jimmy Carter
If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement.

Ronald Reagan
Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face.

George H.W. Bush
The anchor in our world today is freedom, holding us steady in times of change, a symbol of hope to all the world.

Bill Clinton
There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.

George Bush
To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States.

Barack Obama
If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress.

February 19, 2011

Way to Go

J is participating in our local Destination Imagination tournament today. GO TEAM!

UPDATE: They got third!!

February 18, 2011

Amalgamation #5

DePaul University no longer requires test scores for admission.

Football is dangerous.

Wisconsin. So I am going to editorialize for a minute. I don't like unions. Never have. I support Governor Walker.

Texas. More editorials. I love Texas. I love living here. I love the food. I love the music. I love the freedom. I really love Barbara Bush. I don't like Governor Perry. Never have. Never will.

February 17, 2011

Letting Go

It has been the most trying of times in our household. Sickness, death, arguments.

The realization that your kids will grow up and move away is more difficult for one of us to process than the other. It has caused some tension. How far do you let them go? When do you let them go? Who do you let them go with? When do you trust that what you have been teaching them is going to carry them through?

I have been reading Louis Markos' Restoring Beauty: The Good, The True and The Beautiful in the Writings of C.S. Lewis. I love the works of both C.S. Lewis and Dr. Markos (who is a personal friend of mine). A few of the passages that I keep going back to give me strength to believe that I am doing the right thing and to keep moving in the same direction.

Indeed, I cannot read through The Voyage of the Dawn Treader without a verse from 1 Corinthians popping into my head several times: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (10:13). Along with The Horse and His Boy, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader presents its audience with a picture of the the world that is not far removed from that of The Divine Comedy, Pilgrim's Progress, or Canterbury Tales. In an age when children (and their parents) are continually commanded to live in the now (not in the eschatological now of the kingdom, but the selfish, ephemeral now of immediate gratification), it is good that we be reminded that we are all pilgrims and sojourners in the land. We must be reminded (vis-a-vis the verse quoted above) that what we most need is daily grace to oercome the trials and temptations set before us on the road.

I have filled J's spiritual/moral bank account. I have read him the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. He has learned to love the story of Ulysses. We have read Shakespeare.

I have NOT allowed the public school system (which I am a strong advocate for, by the way) to reduce art and religions to mere feelings and nature and man to mere things (to paraphrase Dr. Markos). I have not allowed imagination to die in my home. I have taught them that there is a right and a wrong. I have shown the boys how to use a moral compass as a guide. I have told them it o.k. to be different and to not be afraid to be smart. We have discussed virtue and vice.

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22.

I have prepared them to go. I have taught them to try. I am not ready for J to leave forever. He is not ready to leave forever. But he is ready to try a few new things on his own. He is a good kid. Let him show you.

February 10, 2011

Amalgamation #4

Today I offer two sad stories from the literary world, both from the New York Times.

Brian Jacques dies

Powell's forced to lay off workers

February 1, 2011

Amalgamation #3

People With Small Vocabularies Also Have Small....Brains

Megan McArdle has the best description for Michelle Bachmann I have come across yet ... "what do you get when you cross a motivational speaker with an eighth grade social studies teacher? I'll tell you what you don't get: any serious proposals to fix our budget woes."

And more from The Atlantic on the future of writing and reading.

January Revisited


Wolf: The Lives of Jack London - James L. Haley
Non-fiction. Easy and immensely readable bio of a great autodidact. Proof that passion and a good book can take you anywhere and can save you.

Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Fiction. Classic. I enjoyed the translation, but I did not like her. At. All. Maybe in my great happiness with my marriage and life, I find it to difficult to imagine forsaking my children. Maybe Madame is just a little too much like some of the "ladies who lunch" in my neighborhood.

Blindness - Jose Saramago
Fiction. This is the best book I have ever read. Ever.

Shakespeare's Sonnets and Poems - Folger Shakespeare Library
No Fear Shakespeare - Sonnets - Spark Notes
Poetry. A year ago, I decided to expand my horizons with The Sonnets and try one a day. I finally had time to start. So far I have made it through number 25. One of my favorites has to be number 2.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use
If thou couldst answer, "This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,"
Proving his beauty by succession thine.
or, from No Fear Shakespeare
"The effort I spent raising this beautiful child explains the sorry old state I'm in."

The New Testament - NIV
This is my husband's pet project, but I got drafted as well and it has turned into a family project. We will read one chapter of the New Testament every weekday. The goal is to finish in a year ... so far we have made it through Matthew 21.

Apologetics for the 21st Century - Dr. Louis Markos
Non-fiction. Apologetic. Dr. Markos brings together some of the great apologists of the last century and distills their basic arguments into an accessible overview. I have attended Dr. Markos' lectures on C.S. Lewis for 5 years now and I am excited to say that he is as great a writer as he is a speaker. I feel extremely blessed to count him as a friend.

Have A New Kid by Friday - Dr. Kevin Leman
Non-fiction. Our Sunday-school class is watching Dr. Leman's series on Value Packed Parenting, and my husband and I are enjoying it. Dr. Leman has a great sense of humor; so, when someone handed me this book, I took it and read it in about 2 hours. We have had the end vision of what we want our kids to be in mind since they were born. The book didn't offer me much as we tend to agree with Dr. Leman on quite a bit (no TV in bedrooms, 11 year old boys don't need cell phones, controls on the internet), but did give me a few great ideas. My favorite - unless there is blood, let them work it out on their own. So when the boys were fighting this morning, they went into a room on their own with the door closed. They figured it out and I didn't have to mediate ... or hear it.

Bread Givers - Anzia Yezierska


The King's Speech - Theatre
I had no idea what this movie was about, but friends invited me and I needed a night away from the liars and stupid people who have been populating my life lately. Who knew a movie about the King's speech impediment would be so pleasurable. But then again, Colin Firth never disappoints.

Yogi Bear - Theatre
The only good thing about this movie was that it ended. But not soon enough.

The September Issue - Home
Well done documentary about putting together the September issue of Vogue. Anna Wintour did not seem as scary as I thought she would. I liked her creative director. And her daughter. Girl Detective, thanks for the recommendation.

UP - Home
This was a gem. Emotionally and visually satisfying. I did not expect this from animation.

Julie & Julia - Home
I felt like this was two movies. The movie with Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci was worth 4★.
The one with Amy Adams and Chris Messina was worth about 2★.
By the end, I was fast-forwarding through the parts about the modern Julie to get to the parts about Julia. I read the Julie book a few years ago and didn't much like it either. I think I'll put Julia Child's My Life in France on my someday list.

Expelled - Home
Issues are meant to be wrestled with.
By the way. I am a Christian and that does affect my beliefs. Right now, I believe that there is some truth in Creationism. I believe that there is some truth in Darwinism. I believe that there is some truth in Intelligent Design. I believe the whole truth rests in the person of God and will only be revealed at the end of the world ... whenever that is. I DO NOT believe that the population of our planet was seeded by aliens. It truly surprises me that Dr. Dawkins would think that is any more a viable answer than that there is a God.

In the interest of fairness, here is a link to Scientific American's rebuttal.

Singin' In The Rain - Home
Ahhh. This is how movies were meant to be. All the boys in the house said it was a "chick flick," but the next day my younger son came down the stairs singing, "Good Morning. Good Morning to you."

Toy Story 3 - Home
The best of the trilogy. Why is it that the best movies I have seen this month were animated? Or older than me?

Meet Me In St. Louis - Home
Our new subscription to Netflix has allowed us to watch a few of the classics recommended in The Best Old Movies for Families by Ty Burr. No one was singing songs from this movie the next morning, but the husband and I enjoyed it.


Christmas Put Away - You laugh, but this is a bigger project than you think. I love Christmas and all the trimmings. Maybe next year I will buy a pre-lit fake tree. No. Maybe next year I will scale back on the decorations. Not likely. Maybe I won't host that tea for my friends. Come on. As long as there is one person who BELIEVES in this house, we will DO Christmas.

J's 5th Grade Bottle Bio Project - I know. Parents aren't supposed to do homework for their kids. It is a learning process. But when someone tells me the value of making a person out of a 2-litre bottle, I will stop "helping out" quite so much. The research paper complete with a "real" bibliography. That made sense and he did that entirely on his own.

DH's birthday present - I made him a Blurb photo book of our 2010 adventures. The books chronicles our lives last year and encompassed 92 pages of photographs. We were blessed with travel opportunities last year and visited Colorado, Glacier National Park, and The Field of Dreams. I am starting now on 2011 and I also want to start going backwards in time. 2009 included a week in Disney World. 2008 had us in Reno for the National Championship Air Races. If I eventually make it back far enough the books will include our trips to Beijing, Chile and Normandy.

Planned WEBELOS Arrow of Light ceremony and Pack Pinewood Derby - This is one of the activities I am in the process of shedding. I have been with these boys for five years. I have watched them grow up and they are a part of my life. And while I will miss them, running a Cubs Scout den and pack are huge time sinks and I will not be sorry to see the responsibilities go. I will still be minimally involved as M's den leader, but that will be a joy.

Finished the *@# Drivers Course