April 29, 2011

Are we Moving?

Stay tuned...

But I am not unhappy about recent developments in our lives. I think I just might be ready for a change.

April 27, 2011

The Ugly American

Now we don't even have to travel for the rest of the world to think we are crass and vulgar ...

What the World See in America

April 19, 2011

Too Soon Gone

Grete Waitz died yesterday. She inspired me.

My grandmother also died yesterday. She prayed for me.

I suddenly feel very lonely.

The only reason I was able to get out of bed this morning is my belief I will see her again.

April 15, 2011

Read this Article

How to Get a Real Education

I understand why the top students in America study physics, chemistry, calculus and classic literature. The kids in this brainy group are the future professors, scientists, thinkers and engineers who will propel civilization forward. But why do we make B students sit through these same classes? That's like trying to train your cat to do your taxes—a waste of time and money. Wouldn't it make more sense to teach B students something useful, like entrepreneurship?

He gets it. Also why I am against 100% education. You don't need a college degree to be a electrician. Or a plumber. Or a car mechanic. Or a bank teller. Or a cop.

If you want a college degree, by all means get one. But don't ask me to pay for it.

This is a great article too ... but I wonder how much we had to pay someone for this "knowledge."

A small but growing body of literature suggests that exercising outside can help kids concentrate, learn and build important skills, says Rich, of Children's Hospital Boston.

Anyone who ever was or knows a boy in scouting could have told you this.

April 14, 2011

COOK'S ILLUSTRATED offers Extra Special Deal ONLY for their BEST Customers

I have been a subscriber of Cook's Illustrated for a few years now. I love the magazine and have always felt it was worth the cost. It tends to be a bit more expensive than other cooking magazines, but it is also higher quality and ad free.

So I was excited today when I received this e-mail ...

With this letter attached from editor Christopher Kimball ...

Dear Loyal Subscriber,

At Cook's Illustrated, offering recipes that work and call-it-like-we-see-it cookware and ingredient ratings to our loyal subscribers is our passion and singular purpose. I like to think that we're pretty successful at it, and hope you agree. I really do go over our records and note our "repeat customers" like you. It's a great way to measure our success.

This dedication to keeping our readers satisfied takes a lot of hard work — and a huge grocery bill — to overcook steaks, under-bake cheesecakes, and create thousands more cooking mistakes along the way to our foolproof recipes. And because we are 100% ADVERTISING FREE, our loyalty is to you, the subscriber, so you can always trust our objective ratings and reviews.

Obviously I'd like to keep you in the Cook's Illustrated family, so I'm extending this one-time opportunity to lock in tremendous savings with our early-renewal offer.

Thank you again for your support. I look forward to providing you with many more years of foolproof cooking.

Sincerely yours,

Christopher Kimball, Founder and Editor

P.S. This is the one and only time you will be offered this early renewal deal. It's a time-limited offer as well, so just click below and lock in your savings!

Needless to say, I want to take advantage of this special offer. I want to lock in savings reserved only for their very BEST customers.

Current Offer:
1 Year (6 issues) for $28.95 — Save 19%

But I don't want to pay more for being a loyal subscriber. I want to pay less. So I thought I would check out what the non-loyal subscribers are paying ...

Yes! Please send me a one-year subscription (6 issues) to Cook's Illustrated. I'll pay just $24.95 — saving 30% off the newsstand price of $35.70.

In this case there is a price for loyalty. It is $4.00.

April 13, 2011

My Favorite Poem

This has long been one of my favorite poems ...

The Things
by Donald Hall

When I walk in my house I see pictures,
bought long ago, framed and hanging
—de Kooning, Arp, Laurencin, Henry Moore—
that I've cherished and stared at for years,
yet my eyes keep returning to the masters
of the trivial—a white stone perfectly round,
tiny lead models of baseball players, a cowbell,
a broken great-grandmother's rocker,
a dead dog's toy—valueless, unforgettable
detritus that my children will throw away
as I did my mother's souvenirs of trips
with my dead father, Kodaks of kittens,
and bundles of cards from her mother Kate.

It was featured as poem of the day on Poets.org.

April 8, 2011

Do You Take Jesse Jackson Seriously?

Does anyone take him seriously anymore?

On Thursday’s “Martin Bashir” on MSNBC, Jackson, the founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said the budget battle on the Republican side represents an effort to make the federal government “dysfunctional.”

I don't know about that ... I think it already is.

“You have those who believe in states’ rights and those who believe in a more perfect union,” he said. “States’ right are anti-civil rights, anti-workers’ right to bargain, anti-social justice, pro-rich and significantly insensitive to poor people — that was the great divide 150 years ago and it’s the great divide today in the ideological sense.”

Mr. Jackson, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but they are also constitutional.

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Which way do you want it Mr. Jackson? Was the Civil War about slavery (as my 5th grader was recently taught) or was it about states' rights? Cause you can make a whole group of people feel bad about the first. But I don't think they will feel bad about the second.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/04/07/jesse-jackson-declares-federal-budget-fight-the-american-civil-war-all-over-again/#ixzz1IwNTCvhI

April 7, 2011

My Dream House

That is it. From House Beautiful. But I don't want it near a beach. I want it smack in the middle of a large tract of land in West Texas. A high fence and a gate code would be nice so no one could bother me. But that is a different post about my growing misanthropic tendencies.

I love the mid-century modern aesthetic of the house. I love the simple clean lines. I love the big windows and the porches. I love that I think you could easily drive a tractor right up to it. A green John Deere.

Mid-century modern with a touch of John Deere. My family. And some chickens. And a pool. And no one for miles. Doesn't that just about sound perfect.

And since it is Texas ... maybe a cow.

April 6, 2011

The Lost Fairy Tale

My kids have never seen Shrek. In the first place, I honestly just didn't care for the movie. In the second, I want a real fairy tale. I want the princess to be beautiful.

My friend, Dr. Louis Markos, wrote, "To most modern viewers, the transformation of Fiona into an ogre is 'no big deal.' Many would even hail it as teaching children the 'valuable' egalitarian lesson that external beauty is unimportant, an elitist, 'bourgeois' hang-up that needlessly divides and engenders low self-esteem in girls who can't make the grade."

But the Ugly Duckling doesn't stay ugly. He turns into a swan. The Beast turns into a Prince, and Cinderella beats out the ugly sisters for the love of hers. That is how I like my fairy tales.

Dr. Markos continues, "More and more, we are doing the same for ugliness: enshrining it at the heart of our culture, while beauty is left to atrophy and decay."

I've been thinking about this lately because of a 2nd grade project my younger son must complete. He has to recreate a fairy tale character out of craft supplies and return it to school. The most popular character this year ... Shrek. I kept my mouth shut during the discussion (I am learning), but I was just sad.

M will be recreating Prince Charming. And not the Prince Charming of Shrek or Into the Woods. He will be recreating the Prince Charming of Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. He will be the hero who rescues the damsel in distress. He will be dashing and defeat the dragon. He will be faithful. He will not be an ogre.

April 5, 2011

For Poetry Month and for My Son

When You are Old
by W. B. Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

April 1, 2011

March Revisited

March was a tough month. I don't really want to relive it, or revisit it. I was going to share my troubles, but I am not sure I have the mindset right now to allow me to view what has gone on with any sort of calm demeanor. Let me just say that I did not have to deal with the kind of crap my older son is dealing with until much, much later than 5th grade. Does he bring some of the trouble on himself? Well, yes, if being educated and outspoken causes trouble. I guess he does.

Let me just discuss history for a moment. It happened. It doesn't make it right. But it doesn't disappear from the history books because you don't like that it happened.


Shakespeare's Sonnets and Poems - Folger Shakespeare Library
No Fear Shakespeare - Sonnets - Spark Notes
Poetry. I didn't keep this up in March. Just didn't have the desire.

The Testament - John Grisham
Fiction. This was on the bookshelf at the home we visited over Spring Break. Typical Grisham fare. Not good. Not bad. Nice for the beach.

Moonwalking with Einstein - Joshua Foer
Non-fiction. Very disappointing. I expected something more like Word Freak by Fastis, which I absolutely loved. I am getting a little tired of these young reporters thinking that their lives are ALL THAT. There is Foer. Then there was the guy who read the encyclopedia and tried to live like the Bible. The guy who attended Liberty University. That was somewhat interesting. Maybe I just need to move on.

Crazy U - Andrew Ferguson
Non-fiction. See notes on Moonwalking. Enough already!

Decision Points - George Bush
Non-fiction. I'll just say it. I like the former President. Many, many moons ago, I worked for his dad. I like the whole family. I still don't agree with every decision 43 made, but I better understand why he made some of them.


Legend of the Guardians - Home
The boys liked it. I couldn't sit through it.

Chariots of Fire - Home
The only thing I remembered correctly from watching this movie years ago was the music. It was pretty boring and not that entertaining. I think I had it confused with the story of Roger Bannister. I can be excused. They are both about running very fast. Four Minutes/The Four Minute Mile. One of them was a much better movie.

Up In The Air - Home
About the middle of this, I had great hopes. By the end, I was just sad and depressed.


Planned all summer activities. This includes Scout camp for both boys, the EAA fly-in in Osh-Kosh, Wisconsin, Mount Rushmore, and Paris (without the kids). Gotta love those tag-a-long business trips.

Began 2011 Photo Book. I really did it. I did not procrastinate. I got the first three months of photos into the book and saved.

April is always better. One can only hope. I hope to finish some of the books I started (J and I are now reading Tom Sawyer together while he tackle 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on his own). I'm making another go at Mrs. Dalloway and Ulysses. I made the mistake of trying Mrs. Dalloway on the Kindle. The Kindle seems to work best for me for books I don't need to think about while reading. If the book requires much thought or even a pencil for making notes, I need the paper version.