Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Has this blog been abandoned?

Maybe, maybe not.

The Christmas song thing got boring.

Christmas came.

Planning for the new homeschool year is happening.

Housework needs to be done, kids need to be read to, a dog needs to be walked.

I'm sure there'll be fun blogging times ahead. Well, maybe.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wintry Mix

That has been our weather forecast for much of the last few weeks. And I am sick of it. A little rain, a little sleet, maybe some snow, then some freezing rain, then some regular rain to make it all messy. This morning the surfaces are covered in a very thin sheet of ice. The rain is coming.

We need some real weather! When we moved from Oregon (where we got one good snowfall every year or two) we told our kids we'd have snow! In our yard! More than once per winter! But no. Last year we had a morning to sled down a hill at a nearby church. That's it.

OK, I know winter starts today and there's a long way to go, but... it's hard to be optimistic. Especially when the people living in my old house in Oregon have had days and days of sledding down their (my!) hill!

I am not done with the Christmas songs, but have been busy baking, and watching A Christmas Story, and complaining about the weather.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great Christmas Songs #13

"O Holy Night" should be sung by a strong male voice, but I couldn't find one. This is nice though.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Great Christmas Songs #12

I am running out of songs. I guess I don't like as many Christmas songs as I thought I did. But all the Christmas cds came out of storage this weekend, so I'm sure more will come up.

"I Saw Three Ships" seems like a kids' song to me, but maybe it's because there are usually children singing it.

There are a lot of versions of this song, including one by Sting and Jon Anderson (of Yes). And that brings up a question: a lot of singers who I wouldn't expect believe in Christianity sing Christian Christmas songs. (Now that is a weird sentence and makes me wonder how there can be a nonChristian Christmas song.) Now maybe they are Christians - don't go calling Pharisee on me for questioning peoples' faith and all that. Somewhere, somehow I "heard" that singers will just sing a good song; it doesn't matter if they believe the words or not. So a musician might want to play violin or sing in Handel's Messiah because it's great music and they don't care about the words. I don't know how that could be true, but I can't say it's not.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Great Christmas Songs #11

In my research for this project, I've come to realize that I've been confusing two songs for a long time: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and "Please Come Home For Christmas." You could see the problem. But they don't sound alike at all. The first is just a fun pop song. Here are two versions, one by Darlene Love and the more familiar (to me) by U2.

"Please Come Home For Christmas" is a blues tune, pure and simple. I like the Eagles' (Don Henley) version the best. Loads of people have recorded this song.

I just think these are good songs. They aren't about Christmas but we only listen to them this time of year. Maybe they seem good because I don't hear them often.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Great Christmas Songs #10

"Christmas All Over Again" is really just a fun pop song with a Christmas theme. I am not a big Tom Petty fan but I look forward to hearing this at Christmas.

The video accompaniment is the '70s tv show "Scarecrow and Mrs. King." I knew it was the '70s because of the hair. I'd forgotten about Kate Jackson's mullet.

The other choices were images from "Desperate Housewives" and one with random shots including monkeys in Santa suits. Or maybe they're chimps, I don't know. Whatever. Dressed-up monkeys disgust me and I won't have them here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Special edition Christmas song

Because this is not one of my favorites, in fact I despise it, but I think my big brother used to like to annoy me with this song.

Isn't that what big brothers are for?

As I was playing it just now, my dog came running into the room barking, wondering where the intruders were. Good watchdog!

Great Christmas Songs #9

"O Come All Ye Faithful" is such a beautiful song but sometimes seems too familiar. I can remember singing it in Latin in church long ago. There are so many versions but I came across this one by Martina McBride which I think is just wonderful. I had heard her name before but never her voice.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dog hair and polar fleece...

do not go well together.

Actually, that's wrong. They do indeed go well together. In fact, they are inseparable.

Great Christmas Songs #8

"Do You Hear What I Hear" is not a particular favorite of mine but it was my Mom's so here it is. I just realized I have no idea what my Dad's favorite Christmas song was, if one existed. Probably he didn't like any of them much.

I think her favorite version was Perry Como's but the youtube on that one didn't sound so good, so here is Bing - close enough:

And here is a more recent rendering by Third Day

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One Weird Christmas Event

There is an organization here that puts on a Christmas event wherein people can dress up and have their photos taken in a nativity scene. So your kid could dress up as a shepherd and kneel in front of the manger and have a photo op with a statue of Jesus as a baby.

But it gets better!

You can put your own infant in the manger and have his photo taken as if he were Jesus. Or she, presumably. Actually it sounds as if Mom can dress up as Mary, Dad as Joseph, etc. Fun for the whole family.

It didn't say how much the photos of your baby as the Messiah cost.

Great Christmas Songs #7

"Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," like "O Come O Come Emmanuel," is not a Christmas song but rather an ancient hymn. And like the other, it is just best sung in church. This is the only halfway decent video I could find of it. I find the scriptures on the screen annoying. Fitting they may be, and certainly worth reading and pondering, but I find it a distraction when I want to focus on the song. The lyrics can be found here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Great Christmas songs #6

OK, the Beach Boys have no business singing Christmas songs but... how can anyone not love "Little Saint Nick?"

Monday, December 08, 2008

Merry Christmas, indeed

Aahhh.... some common sense... a breath of fresh air.

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas

Via Instapundit comes the news that Amazon has now banned the term "Christmas" from one of its advertising campaigns. It is now, on Amazon, "12 Days of Holiday," rather than "12 Days of Christmas." (This has since been changed back to Christmas.)


So, my Christian sisters and brothers, feel absolutely free to greet me with "Merry Christmas," and I'll greet you right back. You can say "Happy Hannukah" as well, or "Happy Kwanzaa." Say, in other words, what you feel. The important thing is to not be afraid.

My favorite line: It's a holiday season because it's Christmas.

Yes indeed.

Via, yeah, Instapundit.

"Why do you hate Western society....

so much that you want to see it destroyed?"

Asked here (via The Corner). Actually the question is asked as a followup to:

Whenever anyone points out the undeniable fact that multiculturalism is a cancer slowly killing Western culture, it is customary for left liberals to angrily demand to know why that individual hates people from other cultures. But one need not hate anyone to prefer the continued existence of one's culture and society.

Why is that so hard for some people to understand?

Related thoughts at Roger's Rules. (ibid.)

End of civilization, coming soon

Yes, I am being dramatic.

From the Telegraph:

Oxford University Press has removed words like "aisle", "bishop", "chapel", "empire" and "monarch" from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with words like "blog", "broadband" and "celebrity". Dozens of words related to the countryside have also been culled.

The publisher claims the changes have been made to reflect the fact that Britain is a modern, multicultural, multifaith society.

But academics and head teachers said that the changes to the 10,000 word Junior Dictionary could mean that children lose touch with Britain's heritage.

There's a list of words taken out. Many, many animal and plant names. Kids don't need to know what a newt is? Or what "poultry" means? The Christian words are basic words: disciple, saint, sin - and not as many as might be indicated by the article's headline. Also gone are some words related to the monarchy, including, well, monarch, coronation, and decade (I don't get the connection there).

There are some good additions, such as "common sense." Surprised to see that one!

Read the whole thing, and check out some of the many comments. (I could not read them all.) Naturally as with any set of reader comments there are silly things being said. But of course anyone complaining about the changes is... wait for it.... racist!

Great Christmas songs #5

It was hard to find a good version of "O Come O Come Emmanuel;" so many are too slow and ponderous, or the singers are over-emotive, even over-wrought. Here are two that are OK but not exactly right to me. Really, it sounds perfect in church with a bunch of amateurs singing. I guess that's how it was meant to be sung.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Great Christmas songs #4

Gotta have some Elvis! We have this cd and my girl always complains (whines, really) when we play it. Dad loves to annoy her by singing it loudly. He's got that deep voice and sounds pretty good. This year we played it and she finally admitted that "it's OK, it's just not my favorite."

Speaking of favorites, other than "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" these aren't really in order of preference. That's first mostly because until youtube came into my life, I rarely heard it. Even the oldies station doesn't play it much during the season. It's hard to choose a true favorite.

What's yours?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Great Christmas songs #3

This was going to be a daily project, posting songs for Christmas. But haha, who am I kidding.

"The Hallelujah Chorus" is such a well-known piece of music, but there are many other choruses in Messiah that I love more. So here are a bunch to listen to.

For Unto Us a Child is Born (the favorite in this house):

All We Like Sheep

And He Shall Purify

Really Messiah should be listened to from start to finish. I used to get a little snoozy in some spots when we'd see it performed live, but that was probably from the lateness of the hour and the wine at dinner.

It is, of course, not a Christmas "story" at all. But this is when we tend to listen.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Great Christmas Songs #2

Rearrangements of classic Christmas carols/hymns don't usually do much for me, but I think this is just a beauty:

We got our tree today, the earliest we have ever gotten it. It'll probably sit in the backyard for a week till we get around to getting it in the house. I don't usually like starting Christmas too early but I'm in the mood this year. And, we were at Lowe's anyway. Yeah, we bought it at Lowe's. It's a balsam, new for us; we usually go for the Doug Fir. Should have done so this year in deference to our Oregon roots (haha) but it sure looked good.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why I don't go to Philadelphia

We live in the 'burbs of Philly. Since we moved here in August of 2007, we haven't done too much sight-seeing downtown. We saw the Liberty Bell and the outside of Independence Hall. But that's about it. We do want and need to see more before we leave this area. But yesterday is a good example of why we have neglected these important sites.

The kids and I set off for a museum in the south part of town. I had my google map all set and knew where I was going. On the highway, we hit stopped traffic two or three times - just from people slowing down to watch cops write tickets. Ho hum, that happens everywhere. a 15-minute drive took 30. Then we got into downtown and approached the exit. Now this is Google's fault, not the city's, but the directions showed 1 exit to take whereas in real life there was a choice of 2 (one of those A/B exits). Since there were 5 streets on the signs, it was a little confusing and by the time I parsed it all out I realized I was committed to the wrong one. Detailed sign reading is hard at 65 mph. No, that's not the limit in downtown Philly, but that's the rate the traffic moves and woe to you if you hold anyone back.

Well, I knew I needed to get on a numbered street so figured I could double back easily enough. Well, no, because the freeway supports bisect the area and I was forced to turn just before the place the street I needed should have been. So I turned onto some side street in the scary part of town.

We managed to find a large shopping center parking lot to pull into and look at the Thomas Guide. Found our location and a way to get to the museum. It looked very easy. So we got on the road but the street suddenly became the highway we'd just gotten off. I don't know if I missed a sign to turn to remain on that road or what - I don't think so. But there we were on the highway again, going back the way we came.

Now this should have been a sign to us to just go home! GO BACK! "Surrender, Dorothy!" But no. This was the last week of a particular exhibit that my boy really wanted to see. We had to persevere. We got off at the next exit and once again I figured I could get to 26th Street pretty easily, But how did I get to 50th so quickly?

Once again we pulled over and got out the map. OK, we can do this. Just make this left, go down here... we started off and then came to a roadblock. There was a large intersection closed off and traffic was being diverted down another small side road. Two lanes into one. Oh yippee. That detour of 2 blocks took us about 30 harrowing minutes as people around us jockeyed for position - got to get ahead of as many people as possible, right?

By now we had been in the car for over 2 hours. I was trying so hard to control my temper - I have a bad problem of yelling when I'm frustrated in the car. (I knew this was a problem when my first child, at age 4 or 5, said "these people are all morons" as we drove around a crowded parking lot looking for a spot. Ooops.)

We got through the detour and once again I figured I'd hit the numbered street I was looking for. But no! Again I was forced to turn, back onto the same highway, but this time headed for a bridge to New Jersey!

There was one last PA exit so I took it. We were now down by the sport complex - hey, we got to see the Phillies stadium. By this time we had given up and decided to go home, if we could. We were all tired, hungry, and mad. And stiff from being in the car so long.

I found the highway back home and jumped on. Traffic flew. Then I made a tactical error. I missed a left exit and had to finish off our journey on a big city arterial that is easy to drive on, but slow and ugly. The kids hate that road: "Oh no! Not Broad Street! Aaaiiieeeee!"

Three hours after leaving, we came back home, defeated. The boy cried a little. We won't have a chance to try to get there again before the exhibit (some Lego thing) is gone.

Fortunately Dad cooked dinner and afterwards we had leftover pumpkin pie while I read aloud from a much-anticipated new book, about which I may write another time. I had been saving this ebay purchase for Christmas but decided to bring it out today. It was much appreciated.

"I've been on line since yesterday morning!"

That's what someone at that WalMart supposedly yelled when asked to leave the store after customers trampled an employee to death.

Bargains sure are important.

We don't do Black Friday around here. I browsed around online a bit but didn't buy anything. The things that go on sale on BF just aren't on our lists. Well, we don't have lists. But there is nothing there we need.

In years past I had a philosophical objection to shopping on the day after giving thanks for all we have. But then I guess Thanksgiving isn't about thankfulness for a lot of people; it's a chance to carbo-load in preparation for shopping.

I do know some people who enjoy the crowds and do BF shopping for the fun of it. I wonder if they are rethinking their post-Thanksgiving plans for next year.

Update: I can't stop thinking about this today. We told the kids about it at lunchtime and they couldn't believe such a thing could happen. Of course I still can't either, really.

I keep thinking about Michelle Obama's comment, way back during the campaign, about how America is just plain mean. Well I guess this incident is an example of that. But what makes people mean? Being conservative? Having a Republican President? No, the meanness comes from a feeling of entitlement. "I deserve this new object. My obtaining this desired object is very important; more important, in fact, than your life. Because I am more important than you." And which political party is the party of entitlement? Yes, it's the party of Michelle Obama. We're mean because we deserve to be.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

No, they aren't ALL MVPs...

Today was the last soccer game, played under clear skies on a windy 30-degree day. Our team won. They've won most of the games.

Afterwards we met at the coach's house for pizza lunch and trophy awards. As he was passing them out, one of the girls asked who the MVP was. Of course the adults all chimed in that "you're all MVPs!" Ugh. The girls were having none of that. They all knew who the MVP was and named her. One of the girls also named mine as the one who "got most better." "Most improved player" would be the award she'd get, if awards were allowed anymore.

It's so dumb. The girls know who is good, who is best, who has gotten better, who just isn't so great. They are all kind to each other; whenever the opposing team made a goal, everyone consoled the goalie, no matter what. Even if she was standing there checking her fingernails as the ball whizzed by. No one was nasty or snotty or acted superior. But they still know who the MVP is, and the adults don't do them any good by pretending they don't. What's that line from The Incredibles? "When everyone's special... nobody is."

My girl had a great first soccer season and is anxious for next year.

UPDATE: Oh, it gets worse! I just looked at the trophy! It says "Most Valuable Player." On the trophy! On everyone's trophy!

At least she agrees it's stupid.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Since the election...

the biggest excitement around here was coming home today to find an empty, torn up bread bag on the floor, and a very happy dog.

Later we found the rest of the loaf - some very nice seeded French bread, with only a few slices gone when we'd left the house this morning - "buried" under some clean laundry on the couch.

Yes, I sometimes do leave clean laundry on the couch. It's close to the laundry room and a good location for me to read to the kids while they fold it. Sometimes it takes a day or two.

Oh, the dog is now allowed to sleep on the kids' beds. So they are fighting over who gets the dog at night. The seminarian is wondering if we need a spare dog to keep everyone happy. Usually the girl gets him because the dog has become too lazy to walk up the stairs to the boy's attic room. Must be all the bread.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Scientific inquiry of the day

How did a sealed ziplock bag of dog treats go through the washing machine cycles still sealed yet full of water?

The once dry treats were all goopy and there was water in the bag, but it did not leak when I shook it upside after taking it out of the washer. The clothes that were washed with it did not stink of dog food. I rewashed them anyway. Just for the ick factor.

Yes, the bag was in the pocket of a nameless child's trousers.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another rock 'n roll(ish) birthday

OK, Joni Mitchell doesn't really fit. But I have a huge pile of laundry to do and dinner guests to prepare for, so I am spending my time wisely this morning, looking up rock and roll birthdays. Fun!

I always like Joni Mitchell though I don't listen to her much anymore. The seminarian doesn't really dig her. Something about trying to fit too many syllables into the music. Hm... yeah, he's right. Maybe not on this classic so much.

We mostly agree on music, but on those we don't... well, he doesn't listen to his REM and Kate Bush CDs much anymore either.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I wonder how many Obama voters...

are sitting at their computers, slack-jawed, reading this:

The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

I've heard and read a lot of commentary on this today. Some questions people are asking: Who's going to pay for this? How will they enforce it in schools? What about private schools? What about homeschoolers? What would be considered "community" service?

Here's my prediction for schools: first public schools will have to hire a volunteer coordinator to drum up work for the students. I am not sure how they'll get private schools into it, but maybe through the accreditation organizations (I am not sure of the right term for that): no accreditation unless you hire a volunteer coordinator and find some ways to put the kids to work. Oh, I am pretty sure that anything related to a church will be verboten. Maybe not right away, but, eventually someone will complain that that violates something. Or maybe they'll force Christian and Jewish kids to go "serve" at a Mosque - mandatory volunteerism and cultural reeducation in one fell swoop! Pro-life kids at an abortion clinic. Etc.

Anyway, then the homeschoolers. At some point we will need to be reined in. (I can't believe I had originally typed in "reigned" instead. While I was washing dishes and singing Johnny Rivers songs in my head, the error popped into my brain. Weird.) They could just criminalize it, but I don't think that'll happen, at least not for a while. I think eventually there will be a federal homeschool law with lots and lots of regulations. Oh, the Dept of Education will love getting their hands on us, won't they?

I also wonder how many Obama voters are wondering why they hadn't heard about all this before. But of course we know why, don't we?

UPDATE! The site was changed today. If you look at the paragraph I copy/pasted above, you will see that the "requirement" for middle and high schoolers is now a "goal" and there's a cash incentive too!

Lots of hope and change going on here these days!

Dr Helen and Joanne Jacobs are talking about it too.

More oldies inspiration

'Cause today is Johnny River's birthday.

Hmm... the soulful balladeer?

Love those dancers!

Or this one?

I don't know what movie that is.

Wonder why he is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Another good thing about having children...

among many others: Despair can't hang around too long. Life goes on! And so we have to go on, joyfully living the lives we have been given, in the circumstances we have been given. When we think of what others have endured, our lives look pretty easy.

When my kids got up yesterday and I told them who was elected, they both almost cried. But already I am not finding it so hard to take, and my kids will grow up respecting the Office of the President of the United States, and the person who holds it. Romans 13:1-7:

1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

People are going on and on about this historic time, of an African-American as POTUS. My kids understand this, but don't see why it is remarkable. Of course they have been taught about slavery and discrimination. The idea of separate restaurants, for example, is very weird to them. Some of our best "lessons" on this came from discussing early rock and roll, and the fact that sometimes a performer did two concerts in a city - one for the whites, and one for the blacks, and how people like Elvis and Ray Charles helped break down some of those barriers. But anyway, they haven't been raised to see black people as really different from white people. A different history, maybe, but not different now.

I hope that before too long, no accomplishment by a black person is considered historic. Maybe we've passed that now, and if that's the case, I will rejoice in this Obama Presidency. But I don't hold out much hope that we have; there are too many people who want to hold on to that victim status. But it's time to let that go, isn't it? Maybe that's easy for me to say. But, I see accomplished black people all the time: high-ranking generals, Secretary of State, etc. How long will we have to keep making such a big deal out of it?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

At U Penn

Today we had to go down to the U of PA for an orthodontist appointment - we use the dental school there. Somehow we got there way early so we took some time to wander around the campus. I was anxious to do this because I love the atmosphere of a campus, and it was a perfect fall day - cool, windy, lots of brilliantly-colored leaves flying around and crunching underfoot.

I also thought I would see some exuberance after the election. Surely an urban campus would have lots of Obama supporters.

But, no. No one seemed particularly happy at all. In fact, my girl made a comment that everyone seemed very glum. There were no signs except one old Obama poster hanging up, half-covered with newer announcements. And, no signs on anyone's face that something good had just happened the night before.

The waiting room at the dental school was pretty full, and, as usual, at least 80% of the population was African-American. (Just an aside: I'm thinking that "black" is no longer OK?) But no, everyone there was pretty glum-looking too. Of course the orthodontics clinic is not a super happy place for anyone. Still...

I think we were the most cheerful people we encountered today. Because, you know, America didn't fall apart overnight, it's a beautiful autumn season, the boy doesn't need his retainer anymore, and we have 3 months till we have to trek down to the clinic again! So, what's not to love?

Oh, and as a bonus, he got to keep the old retainer as a souvenir. Now how cool is that?

At the optometrist

Guy at the reception desk at the optometrist this morning, getting his new pair of glasses, chatting with the assistant. He's got that "dumb guy" voice, know what I mean? (Yes, I know that doesn't sound good, and "nice," but that's the voice.)

"So, wha'd you think about that election, huh? McCain never had a chance. Did you see those big crowds Obama drew, givin' that speech under the arch in Michigan? McCain couldn't fill an airplane hangar. I mean, he fought, you know, but Obama, oh man. It's gonna be great."

Anyone know what arch in Michigan he's talking about? Could it have been that famous one in Missouri?

And the lesson is - the guy who draws the biggest crowds must be the most qualified. Right?

Oh, the assistant was polite but noncommital. After he left and I walked up, she rolled her eyes and gave a rueful grin. I love having the opportunity to use words like rueful.

At the grocery store

Spoken by the clerk checking out my purchases this morning:

"My union told me to vote for Obama, so I did."

Is that something to be proud of? I just did what I was told.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Today's history lesson

Today in history we read about the aftermath of World War I - Treaty of Versailles, League of Nations, Article 231. As sometimes happens, the boy knew more than I did before reading the chapter. Here's the last bit of it:

And the debt imposed on Germany made it poorer and poorer, and its people more and more miserable. In a few years, the German people would be ready to listen to anyone who offered to revenge the wrongs done to Germany, and who promised to make their country great again.

And the boy said in his most ominous voice: "And then comes Hitler."

27 minutes

That's how long it took to vote today, not counting the walk to the polling station. We saw 4 neighbors while there. Fun!

It really is kind of cool to go into the little booth, look at the ballot and all. But, I live in a small suburban precinct - only 1100 voters total. I doubt it would be fun if we lived in the city of Philadelphia, where supposedly the vote fraud started early this morning... though I just saw an update that says "not so!" We will never know, will we?

So I still like Oregon's system better: vote by mail. I was dubious the first time I voted by mail (actually, by drop-off point since I don't trust the mail). But it really is the way to go. You get a ballot in the mail, and, separately, a big book of information on candidates and propositions. Oregon is a big state for ballot propositions, so it was nice to have all that information at hand. Then you fill out the ballot in the comfort of your own home, seal it up, and put it in the mail or drop it off at one of many convenient places. We usually took ours to the library.

No long lines, no voter intimidation . I don't see how there'd be much chance for fraud. The only downside I can come up with is lost mail.

Anyway, I am going to try not to check the internet for new information all day long, because it's not likely to be useful. I am going to my class tonight, I think - I am not sure I will be able to concentrate on the English Reformation. Class ends at 9:30 EST. Think it'll be called by then?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Dialing for votes

Today I spent a few minutes here and there making calls for the McCain campaign. It's very easy to do; just sign up at the site, get the script and a name and call. Record a little information, and move on to the next name. Because I only have little bits of time here and there, I only made 25 calls. Now I wish I had started earlier; it's really kind of fun. But that's me, always a little late to jump on the bandwagon.

Most calls were answered by machine, as you might expect during a workday. The few times I did connect were mostly pleasant. Only one person was borderline rude. Most people were happy to tell me they had voted or were going to vote for McCain. No one wanted to give me their email address - no surprise there. The women were more talkative than the men; one apologized for not being able to talk long because she had company coming. A few calls were to fax machines and on a few I got disconnect messages.

Also today we were visited by an Obama volunteer, a young mom with toddler in tow. She was very hesitant and I wondered why she had stopped since we have a McCain sign on our lawn. But she wanted to know if anyone in the house was voting for Obama. We were in the middle of a chaotic moment in a chaotic day so I did not engage her in conversation, but later wished I had. I would just have liked to ask her what it is about Obama that makes her support him. Ah well, another opportunity lost.

At a homeschool writing class today a friend told of working the phones in McCain hq. Now that sounds like a lot of fun.

This is the most involved I've ever gotten in an election. Oh, well, there was that time I worked a precinct, must have been 1992 and I was enthusiastic about Clinton. Imagine that! But I was just signing people in to vote, not helping a candidate. Next time we will do more. Palin/Jindal? I would like my kids to be more politically involved and informed than I have been, and there's only one way to do that.

Of course I'm assuming we will still have free elections in 2012.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

For your listening pleasure...

a great new tune:

Found at Powerline blog.

Wonder what George Benson thinks of it?

"Think on it"

This morning I'm in the "not despairing" part of the cycle.

Despair is a sin, and often a mistake. The polls do not record the "refused to respond" which in my judgment is a much larger category than any admit -- it includes me, five times so far this year since I'm home to answer the phone more than many people are -- and I suspect that more McCain people refuse to respond than the trendier Obama enthusiasts.

Read the rest.

Yes, it's anecdotal.

Why did Zogby poll show McCain up yesterday, only to be down again today? The polls are so crazy!

Be sure to vote. Don't fall to despair and stay home eating Halloween candy. But put some in your pocket in case there is a long line.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Remember when...

conservatives were saying that it would be better to have Obama win the nomination because he would be easier to beat than Hillary? He was such a lightweight, such an unknown... he could never win.

Ha ha. Looks like the joke's on us.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is really funny: Where's my bailout?

I thought it was going to be about people like me, and like you - you know, chumps who pay our bills, live within our means, all that stuff. But, no.

Via Instapundit, so you've probably already seen it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back in my working days...

I had zero respect for executives and other high-ranking employees who were consistently late to meetings. No matter how high up the food chain a person is, being late still wastes other peoples' time. And then to have to bring the miscreants up to speed on the already boring and repetitive proceedings! It just reeks of arrogance and self-importance, doesn't it, when someone is always late? It was almost like a badge of honor to be able to get away with being late. "See how important I am, I can't even get here on time and it doesn't matter."

So even if I had been an Obama supporter I think I'd have jumped ship after seeing this one:

via Ace of Spades.

Once when reminiscing about those working days, my girlie (who was maybe 4) asked "Back when you was a man?"

VDH: "The Messianic Style"

From The Corner: Victor Davis Hanson on Obama's Messianic style.

Individually, the extra-electoral efforts are irrelevant. But in the aggregate, they start to add up. In 1996 Obama goes to court, challenges the petition signatures of mostly African-American voters, and gets all his rivals eliminated from the ballot and so de facto runs unopposed.

In 2004 sealed divorce records were strangely released destroying the chances of his chief Democratic rival Blair Hull; then in the general, lightning again struck, and Republican front-runner Jack Ryan's sealed divorce records were likewise mysteriously released—and he too crashed, in effect, leaving Obama without a serious primary or general election rival.

There's more.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Cardinal's view of abortion

I keep wondering how Catholics can claim to follow the teachings of their church while being pro-choice. No matter how much I read about "social justice" and other important issues facing Catholic voters, I keep coming back to "Just Look" from the Archdiocese of New York. No excerpts, because there's a picture you have to see.

Obama on homeschooling

Think he's really for it?

"Now, I don't believe that government can or should try to solve all our problems. I know you don't either. But I do believe that government should do that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide a decent education for our children...."

Hm, seems like lots of people are providing decent educations for their children without the government's help. If my kids' recent standardized test scores are any indication - and I don't think test scores are the best indicator of learning, but people in the government school systems seem to think so - we are doing just fine, thanks. Beyond fine.

Real change is finally giving our kids everything they need to have a fighting chance in today's world. That begins with recognizing that the single most important factor in determining a child's achievement is not the color of their skin or where they come from; it's not who their parents are or how much money they have. It's who their teacher is.

Of course this was from a speech to the American Federation of Teachers. And he has to be sure to get their votes, so what else could he say?

Quotes stolen from Spunky Homeschool, but seen lots of places.

Also, see Semicolon's Monday's List: Obama in his own words

Update: More of that speech to the AFT:

In fact, his [McCain's] only proposal seems to be recycling tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice. Now, I've been a proponent of public school choice throughout my career. I applaud AFT for your leadership in representing charter school teachers and support staff all across this country, and for even operating your own charters in New York. Because we know well-designed public charter schools have a lot to offer, and I've actually helped pass legislation to expand them. But what I do oppose is using public money for private school vouchers. We need to focus on fixing and improving our public schools; not throwing our hands up and walking away from them.

Real change is finally giving our kids everything they need to have a fighting chance in today's world. That begins with recognizing that the single most important factor in determining a child's achievement is not the color of their skin or where they come from; it's not who their parents are or how much money they have. It's who their teacher is. It's the paraprofessionals and support staff and all of you in this room. It's those who spend their own money on books and supplies, come early and stay late comparing lesson plans, who devote their lives to our next generation and serve as role models for the children who need one most because you believe that's what makes the extra difference. And it does. After all, I have two daughters. I know what their teachers mean to them.

Note that his two daughters do not attend public school (from ABCNews Political Radar):

The elite charter school (Chicago Lab School) costs between $15,000 to $20,000 a year in tuition. Michelle Obama currently sits on the board.

Now I don't really care if politicians and other wealthy people send their kids to private school. I don't begrudge them that privilege. But I don't like it when they complain about others abandoning the public school system when they have done just that. Of course people who send their kids to private school, or homeschool them, still support the local schools with their tax money. But, obviously the Obamas have a lot more financial flexibility than the people he claims to want to help.

But then there's this: why would we expect him to be comfortable with the idea of kids learning from their parents and not from state-approved teachers? Why would we think a President Obama would want homeschoolers teaching something other than the government line?

Am I getting paranoid? I am more than willing to be wrong on this.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Iowahawk on polling

Worried about those polls? Let Iowahawk help.

Balls and Urns

No snips, because it just doesn't work for this one.

Language warning (not too much).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obama and Psalm 2

A few weeks or days ago I saw a news article about a McCain supporter's home being graffitied. I noticed "Psalm 2" written on the house and thought that was odd. Finally I got around to looking it up:

The Reign of the LORD’s Anointed
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,

"Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us."

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.

Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,

"As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill."

I will tell of the decree:The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.

You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."

1Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.

Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.

Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

I know there are goofballs on both sides of this campaign but really, I am more scared about people invoking the Psalms in support of Obama than of college girls claiming to be McCain supporters cutting themselves for attention.

PS: I don't know why that spacing is so weird.

"Most improved player"

That's what my girl's soccer coach called her yesterday. She is, I think, the only first-time player on her team of 4th and 5th grade girls, and is not very good. She's timid and hesitant in her kicking and often seems confused about where to be. Maybe it just seems more obvious because there are several girls who've been playing since age 3. But she loves the game and she is trying hard.

Yesterday she scored her first goal, to tie the game. I showed my true colors as a bad mom, zoning out and not really paying attention till I heard the cheering. I could see my girl was close to the action and quietly asked who made that goal, muttering that it couldn't have been my girl. Then I realized it was her!

She floated all the way home. I think this will give her the boost she needs to spend more time at home practicing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our calendar, not the school district's

One of the advantages of homeschooling that a lot of people don't recognize is the ability to control our schedule. We start our school year on July 1 and thus have a lot of freedom to work in our required 180 school days by June 30.

Today the wind is just howling, leaves are flying all over the place ("It's raining leaves!" someone says), and the kids are making kites. Oh, this morning we did our catechism, and went over some math and grammar in preparation for the standardized tests the kids are taking tomorrow. Yes, I confess - I'm teaching to the test! We will read history over lunch, just before we head out for Occupational Therapy for the boy, and a long walk in the park for the girl and dog (and me). When we come home we'll read some historical fiction about the Russian Revolution.

But right now, my kids are making kites, running around with them, fixing them, improving them... getting fresh air and exercise, and being best friends again.

Sometimes people express concern for my kids because they aren't with their age-peers all day. But most kids the age of mine aren't into making and flying kites. The boys talk about cell phones and tv shows and gamecube. The 4th grade girls talk about clothes and pop stars and compare Hannah Montana gear. Oh, there are exceptions, but most of the "schooled" kids we meet are way too sophisticated to run around the yard with a homemade kite.

Maybe my kids will take their kites, and some kite-making materials, to the next homeschool park day in case it's windy again. Then all the kids could have a blast together. But today, the two of them are happy to spend this time together, and I'm happy that they have the freedom to do this.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why does Biden get a pass?

Sarah Palin asks the question in a CNN interview:

Palin: I'm concerned about and focused on just the next two weeks, Drew, and again getting that message out there to the American public. Thankfully, too, the American public is seeing clearer and clearer what the choices are in these tickets. I think, some revelation just occurred, not just with Joe the plumber but revelation occurred with [Democratic vice presidential candidate] Joe Biden's comment the other night that, he telling his Democratic financial donors saying that, he said mark my word, there's gonna be economic, and, or international crisis he said, if Barack Obama is elected, because he will be tested and he said there are four or five scenarios that will result in an international crisis with an untested presidential candidate in Barack Obama and -- first I think we need to thank Joe for the warning there. But, Joe's words there I think, can shed some light, too, in terms of the contrast you have in the tickets. John McCain is a tested leader. He has gone through great adversity. He has the scars to prove it. He has shown his true leadership. It hasn't just been all talk, and Joe Biden's comments there about an untested, as he had said in the primary, unprepared candidate to be president, I think was very telling.


CNN: [LAUGHS] I mean, did Joe Biden get a pass?

Palin: Drew, you need to ask your colleagues and I guess your bosses or whoever is in charge of all this, why does Joe Biden get a pass on such a thing? Can you imagine if I would've said such a thing? No, I think that, you know, we would be hounded and held accountable for, what in the world did you mean by that, VP presidential candidate? Why would you say that, mark my words, this nation will undergo international crisis if you elect Barack Obama? If I would've said that you guys'd clobbered me.

The full transcript here.

Related item at The Corner, wherein Byron York corrects CNN's misrepresentation of his words.

And a hilarious piece from Iowahawk on Biden's prediction of doom.

Isn't voting a privilege and responsibility...

along with being a right? As I ponder the events with ACORN and possible registration fraud, and read that a dead goldfish named Princess was solicited to register to vote, and hear people in NYC tell of supporting Obama because they like his pro-life stance and running mate Sarah Palin... I wonder why we are so eager to get everyone to vote.

Go ahead and call me racist and elitist now. But really - are "get out the vote" drives a good idea? Why don't we just expect people who want to vote, to register and vote? Is it hard to do? I've registered to vote in 3 states (not all at the same time) and never found the process particularly burdensome. And if people don't care about informing themselves about an election, should we care if they don't vote?

Some other thoughts that came to me as I watched soccer practice tonight:

- Why don't we educate people on the rights and responsibilities of voting in school? Senior high school Civics, anyone? Students who turn 18 during the school year can be encouraged to register - if their parents aren't already taking care of that.

- Stop funding ACORN and other community organizer groups and give the money to county registrars of voters instead. This could enable them to set up registration events in neighborhoods throughout the year so the registrations don't come in a huge pile all at once, just before the election. If low-income neighborhoods have a particularly low number of registrations, put more resources there, but - no quotas, no bribes - if people don't want to register, don't force them. Oh, promoting a candidate in the course of work should be a firing offense.

- New residents of a community could get registration materials mailed to them. I am pretty sure that's how I've gotten registered at least a few of the many times I've moved - registrations forms just appeared in my mailbox. Surely the Postal Service is in on this?

- Stop new registrations 60 days - OK, maybe 45? - before an election so there is time to verify people. Maybe make exceptions for people who move close to the election.

- Don't let people vote if they can't answer basic questions about the candidates, such as "who is Barack Obama's running mate?" OK, I don't think we could do that. Could we?

Monday, October 20, 2008

More election talk

Monday is piano lesson day; during each half-hour lesson I sit on the lovely front porch of the piano teacher with one child and read or do some kind of schoolwork while the other has a lesson. Then, we swap.

Today I wanted to go over some math stuff with my boy but when we were trying to dash out of the house we couldn't find the book; funny how that is, in particular since when we got home I found the book immediately, in the exact place it is supposed to be, and where I swear I looked twice before we left.

So we talked about the election. He wanted some history; who had run in the last election, and how Senator Obama came to be known well enough to be running for President. We just talked about how all that worked out, and somehow came to talking about Obama as the first black man to be a candidate and how this would be a historic election. He went on to comment that either way it would be, because McCain would be the oldest (surely not a feature for most people) and of course there's Palin.

We talked a bit about the fact that it was historic for a black man to reach this point. This boy does not really get that. Surely he notices that most people around him are white; he also notices that when we drive through the really rundown part of town to the orthodontist, most people are black. But he doesn't really get why that is or why it should be that way. He doesn't see any real difference between black, white, Asian... isn't that the way it's supposed to be? I don't get into a lot of discussion of race except to say that some people might not vote for Obama because they don't want a black President, and some will vote for him simply because he is black, but that people should vote based on what a person has done in the past and how that compares with what they say they will do in the future.

We talked about other parties and he asked if the Communists had a candidate in this election. He is fascinated with the Soviet Union and the Cold War; the idea of communism really disgusts him. We talked a bit more about taxes and what taxpayer money (I try not to use the term "government money") should be used for. Of course the first thing he brought up was the military. As always we got on the topic of "poor people" and welfare and how some people do need help; he said something about "also needing to help people who don't want to work" - whoa, where did that come from? No, I said, we should not help people who don't want to work.

He always seems vaguely dissatisfied with these discussions, as if there is more to talk about but he doesn't know what it is. In a few days or weeks some unanswered question that has been percolating in his brain will come out, and we'll start all over again.

He is taking a series of standardizes tests this week; unfortunately none of the topics of this discussion will be covered. Still, I guess the way we spent our time was at least as useful as going over fractions, and much less frustrating than working on finding the lowest common denominator.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Check out that 45

at :17. Thanks to my big bro, we had loads of those in our house. Maybe even this one.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Will Obama be your President?

Though I am still optimistic about a non-Obama Presidency, I am thinking ahead to my response on November 5 if he does win. I need to know what to say to my children, and how to say it. Since they were born I've not had such serious reservations about a candidate. Of course they were a little young to even notice previous elections. Now, they know who we support but we don't talk about the details too much.

Well, sort of. Yesterday on a long car ride we (the boy and I; my girlie zones out of these conversations) talked a bit about economic policies. I asked what makes more sense for the government to do about taxes for a wealthy person who owns a business: have him pay high taxes so the government can give the money to poor people, or have him pay lower taxes so he can expand his business and maybe hire some people to work for him.

"Low taxes so he can hire people and give people something productive to do." (That may not be the exact quote but the "something productive" part is, for sure. We use the word productive around here a lot, sometimes when confessing our lack of productivity.) I don't remember the rest of the conversation. Of course we acknowledged that there will always be people who can't work, or can't work at jobs that pay a lot and thus must be helped. (At one time this was done by the family and the church, not the government. )

"But just giving people money even if they don't work is (dramatic rise of voice): communism!"

Anyway, I came across this via Instapundit and really like this philosophy:


You can talk about “voter fraud” and “stealing elections” all you want but the fact remains that if Obama is certified by the electoral college and the House of Representatives as President of the United States, that ends the discussion in our republic. There is no more important aspect of democracy than the minority accepting the will of the majority. The constitution gives the minority certain protections against getting steamrolled by the majority. But it doesn’t give the minority the right to torpedo the legitimacy of the winner.

This is more than a question of “fair play” or being a “sore loser.” The Constitution says we have only one president at a time. Given the importance of that office, it is stark raving lunacy to seek to destroy the man occupying it.

The fact that the Democrats and the left have acted like 2 year olds the last 8 years doesn’t mean that if Obama is elected we should throw the same infantile tantrums and look for ghosts in the machine – or accuse the opposition of foul play without a shred of physical proof, only the paranoid imaginings whipped up by people who knew exactly what they were doing – undermining the legitimacy of the elected leader of the United States government.

Today an NPR announcer (why do I do this to myself) made a sneering comment about conservatives threatening to leave the country if Obama is elected, and went on, with apparently no sense of irony, to talk about people who left the US when Bush came into office, and are now thinking maybe they can come back.

Update: Another point of view on the topic.

It figures.

Like so many others I was delighted to see "Joe the Plumber" all over the net, asking Candidate Obama a tough question and getting a telling answer.

But, natch, focus moved from the main point, which would be Obama's socialist tendencies, and into irrelevant interest into the plumber's life. I like Glenn Reynold's comment:

They've done more investigations into Joe the Plumber in 24 hours than they've done on Barack Obama in two years . . . .

It doesn't matter who he is, how much money he makes or even if he's really a plumber. What matters is Obama's response to his question about taxes. "Spread the wealth," "don't want to punish you for your hard work, but..." But no, it's more important to take the focus off Obama's socialist tendencies and trash this guy.

Somewhere I read that he is being harassed now. Obama really ought to make a specific and strong comment about that and call off his attack dogs - even if he didn't set them on the guy in the first place. It should be OK to ask a Presidential candidate a tough question. That it might not be is a pretty good indicator of the state of free speech and political discourse in an Obama administration.

"Surveying the Abyss"

The seminarian sent this to me with the question "feeling like this?" I read it over a few times and yes, this pretty well articulates how I've been feeling lately:

But I must confess of late to a recurring sense of foreboding, about a great many things. Now, prognosticating about the future is a fool’s game, to be sure; a review of most any futurist’s predictions invariable shows a predictive rate substantially less than could be had by tossing a coin.


In a world which incessantly rips its cultural chords at rock-concert levels, it is no small feat to listen to the still, small voice — and harder yet to distinguish it from the countless seductive whispers and wishes of life long lived in self-gratification and indulgence. Yet that voice ever quiet is nevertheless persistent — and it seems to be speaking with an urgency and clarity which is hard to dispel.

We are standing, I sense, at the edge of an abyss — and the earth beneath our feet is shifting and unstable.

Now I am not a Left-Behind reading kind of person. I don't have an "in case of rapture..." bumper sticker on my car. I know a couple of you might be thinking that... But, yes, this is about how I feel right now.

So it behooves us to stand back; to turn off the TV, shut down the browser, put down the paper, turn off talk radio, and truly listen — not to the screeching banshees with their banal hysteria, but rather to that inner source, be it spirit, or soul, or mind, or the wisdom acquired by life’s experiences.

Take a moment, if you will, for a brief look around, surveying our 21st-century world. Let yourself absorb the panoramic view, all 360 degrees, not averting your eyes at things which are unsettling or fear-provoking.


For years we have tolerated incompetence, corruption, dishonesty — and yes, greed — in government while looking the other way. On those rare occasions when politicians have made principled stands, we have rewarded them with a firestorm of political assault, full-throated media ridicule and criticism, and enormous financial pressure from lobbyists pouring money into the pockets of those who purport to represent the people. We have elected a government of the people, in the most literal and disgraceful sense: we have elected, and kept in office, those who share our desire for self-gratification and materialistic acquisition at the expense of character, moral integrity, honesty, and prudence. The cesspool which is our current Congress is what we have reaped by our own actions — or perhaps more accurately, by our inaction. We have elected those politicians who are like us in every way — and we hate them for it. They are, after all, created in our own image.

A young person dear to my heart recently told me that this is the most important election of his life. I've got news for him: every election from here on out will be the most important. Unless and until we somehow elect someone who can truly unite us, each election to come will have more anger, more corruption, more uncertainty, till this country is torn apart.

If you are a person of faith, it is time to dig in, hard, and quit playing games — your life may depend on it. If you are skeptical of such matters, consider: upon what will you lean when your world collapses? Will your considered indifference and intellectual smugness about us fools of faith save you? What will you do when all that matters to you is taken, and you are left, finally, profoundly alone with naught but that frightened face in the mirror?

If you are a person of faith, you might be nodding your head right now. If you are not, you probably think the writer and I are both crazy. But go read it all anyway. Think it over. Maybe you'll still decide I'm crazy. Or maybe not.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Today in History

In our history studies, I mean.

We are finally up to World War I. Now my boy has already read quite a bit about World War I but I was still surprised when he continually interrupted my reading to tell me what I was about to say. He may not be able to spell "Austro-Hungarian Empire" but he sure knows what it was and how it relates to the war. He knew about the Allies and the Central Powers, the Lusitania, and the battle of the Somme. I didn't even make him take notes (we're working on study skills now) but I bet he will ace the test for this chapter.*

So, it was a good "school day." But of course, if asked what he's doing in school these days, the kid will always reply with the classic answer: "oh, nothing much."

Oh, I found this passage particularly interesting:

...The Germans sent a secret telegram, in code, to the German Ambassador in Mexico, telling him to make a deal with the Mexican government. If Mexico would fight on the side of the Germans, and Germany won, Germany would reward Mexico. It would take the land thgat America had claimed during the Mexican War and give it back to Mexico....

Before the Germans could actually make this deal, British cryptographers managed to get a copy of the telegram and decoded it. American newspapers published the contents of the telegram, so that American citizens all across the country could read it. Both the British and the Americans were outraged by this sneaky attempt to pull the United States into the war.

If my kids were older, and it was appropriate to discuss the problem of media bias in this election, I'd ask: would the press handle this event differently today, and if so, how?

*I don't always give tests, and sometimes I just give open-book or open-note tests, but I need something for the old portfolio and everyone needs to learn how to take tests. I use the test booklet published for the Story of the World series.

Reading ahead in our History book

We use Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World series for History. The 4 volumes of the series are supposed to be covered in 4 years, but we'll probably do it in 6. It's hard not to get stuck in some time periods. We are getting close to the end, though.

Tonight I decided to read ahead a bit to our next chapter: the Russian Revolution. Somehow this sounds strangely relevant:

Lenin tried to tackle the problems of Russian poverty in a new way. To make sure that the rich people of Russian didn't own all the land while the poor people had none, the Communist Party decided that all of the land in the whole country would belong to the government! The government would allow people to use the land equally. Instead of individual Russians building business, making money, and perhaps forcing other Russians to work for little pay, the government would own and run most of the business - not just the electric and water company, but hospitals, school, grocery stores, bookstores, and even hot dog stands. [Hot dog stands in Petrograd? - ed]

This new way of living, "communism," was supposed to make sure that the government, instead of a small group of powerful people, had control over Russia. But who was in the government? That's right - a small group of powerful people, Lenin and his followers!

And look at how well that worked out for the Russian people! This will make for some great discussions, though I probably shouldn't scare my kids by comparing Lenin with Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A quiet rally and my first politcal sign

Today the Republican committee in our township held a rally at a local park. When I got the card in the mail announcing it, I was pretty excited - I'd never been to a political rally before. I thought maybe Palin or McCain themselves might be there! (They've been in PA the last few days.) Or maybe I'd see some of that Republican rage I keep hearing about.

The kids wanted to go to, and we took along a couple of their friends we brought home from church. On the way there I coached them in proper behavior. They were all thrilled with the prospect of being on the TV news. Then I told them they had to behave in a way that would be OK with their parents and grandparents if they saw it. That deflated them a bit.

Well, the excitement wore off pretty quickly and after getting their free cookie and pop they were off to the playground. (Yeah, the boy is a little old for a playground but this one had a climbing wall that's almost sort of challenging.) It looked more like a retirement home picnic than a political rally. I got to talk to a state-level candidate's handler, but not the candidate himself - he was talking with someone and she said he had to move on to his next event. No tv cameras. They may have been there earlier but left out of boredom.

I did get a McCain yard sign and yes we put it up. But I'm not voting for McCain so much as I am voting against Obama. Voting against the "socialist tsunami" that may ruin our economy. (Follow that link only if you want to be really scared.) Voting against mandatory volunteerism and universal not-yet-but-soon mandatory preschool. (Think it won't ever be mandatory and think once it is he won't be going after homeschoolers? Call me paranoid, go ahead.) Voting against the biased press and voter registration fraud. Voting against the idea that it's OK to call a sitting President a terrorist and call for his death, but not OK to say that a candidate has a terrorist for a buddy. Voting against abortion any time, for any reason. Voting against Nancy Pelosi. Voting for free speech and not worrying that the slightest critical comment toward the President will be an indication of my racism because I must dislike him simply because he's black.

I don't remember my parents ever speaking badly about any President. I think, though we never talked about it, that they would think it right to teach children to respect their elected officials. So if it's to be President Obama, I'll teach my kids to respect him even if we don't agree with his policies. But I hope I don't have to do that.

Oh, in church today our pastor prayed that God would grant us a better President than we deserve. Indeed.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Why do I assume objectivity?

Today in the car I found myself listening to NPR. We were on the way home from my kid's ADHD therapy and I was flipping stations. When I heard that they were going to speak with the Secretary of State of Ohio about voter registration, my ears perked up. Ohio recently had a week or so when people could register and vote on the same day. A news report on this went 'round the net because volunteers were rounding up homeless people and taking them to register and vote. There were concerns that people could vote even though ineligible, or vote more than once because they were using shelters as temporary addresses to register.

I was listening carefully, waiting to hear the NPR guy ask how they were going to verify the registrations of people without an address. He had his chance: Secretary Brunner explained the verification process, which includes sending a letter to the address on the verification form. If the letter comes back, they know there's a problem with the registration. So, a simple question: how would that work when the letter goes to a homeless shelter and the person is not there anymore?

Well, he didn't ask. Now this is supposed to be an astute news guy who has already researched this issue and should know more about it than me, a suburban homeschooling mom/housewife. But no. The question did not come up.

My head was ready to explode. It was all I could do to keep myself from screaming "ask her the question!" But there we were, on the way home from the neurobehavioral specialist with whom my kid spends 2 hours each week learning how to train his brain to pay attention, live in the moment, and control his responses to situations that cause him stress or make him angry. Mom is learning to control herself too.

But it still makes me angry. Then, there was a teaser for an upcoming segment: responding to reports about offensive comments from people attending McCain/Palin rallies. Not from the candidates, from the people attending. Oh, come on. As if no one ever made offensive comments about the Republicans at any Obama rallies?

When I had the chance to rant to the seminarian about it, he just said "you're assuming objectivity from these people." Oh, silly me.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Where will my children go to college?

Business as Usual on Campus

. . .professor Donald Hindley, on the faculty for 48 years, teaches a course on Latin American politics. Last fall, he described how Mexican migrants to the United States used to be discriminatorily called "wetbacks."

And guess what happened next...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Despair and back again

So I went to church this morning full of despair (my favorite word now, apparently) and then found this in the order of worship:

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
6 I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made." Isaiah 43:1-7 (ESV)

I don't know if that passage was chosen because of the election, financial crisis or other current events. Anyway, a good thing to hear and read.

But then I came home and saw this:

As the Gateway Pundit says:
Could you even imagine if a conservative group were to run dead Obama ad?

Of course not. And why are the pulling up that old rape kit story?

But then, when reading in Robinson Crusoe to my kids tonight, I came across this:

... how frequently, in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself we seek most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into it, is the most dreadful to us, is often-times the very means or door of our deliverance, by which alone we can be raised again from the affliction we are fallen into.

So, as of 9:14 pm EDT, I am in the not despairing part of the cycle. I'm also not reading any more news or blogs for the rest of the night. Well... maybe.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Hunting Mr. Good Will

WHO is "Will, Good"?

Mr. Good Will - who lists his employer as "Loving" and his profession as "You" - has contributed 1,000 times to the Barack Obama campaign.

All the contributions have been in amounts of $25 or less. But they add up to $17,375 - far more than the legal limit of $4,600. That's $2,300 each for the primary and general election campaigns.
If there are more suspicious donors to the Obama campaign, we won't know until long after the election as long as their aggregate contributions are below the legal limit. Mr. Timmerman was particularly curious about 11,500 contributions from overseas totalling $33.8 million.
CNN recently sent a reporter to Little Diomede Island, the westernmost part of Alaska (2.4 miles from Russia) to determine whether Sarah Palin had ever been there to see Russia with her own eyes. But CNN - and the rest of the media - have been incurious about the Obama campaign's fund-raising.

via Instapundit

And this video report on registering voters in Ohio.

OK, you might say, Republicans play dirty tricks too. Send me the links.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

This is really powerful


I'd really like someone to explain to me why high-profile abortion advocates are not being excommunicated. People like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. Why are they still allowed to take Communion when they so obviously flout the laws of their church? And looking at it the other way: they obviously disagree with this very basic doctrine of their church, so why do they still call themselves Catholic?

The best line of the night...

After Gov. Palin talked about her windfall profits tax in Alaska, Sen. Biden came back with:

And, look, I agree with the governor. She imposed a windfall profits tax up there in Alaska. That's what Barack Obama and I want to do.

We want to be able to do for all of you Americans, give you back $1,000 bucks, like she's been able to give back money to her folks back there.

Yeah, baby, she did it, so why don't we just vote for her since she already knows how?

I really, really hope to see that in a McCain ad tomorrow. Even though it may be too late...

Even smart people say....


Like my boy. He just cannot say it right. It's hardwired.

You can't argue with me on that. Well, go ahead and try.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More homeschooling validation

Someone asked why I am not blogging much anymore. Ever since we had the boy tested for learning disabilities things have been a little crazy around here. Neurofeedback twice a week. Occupational Therapy twice a week. Piano once a week. Then there' s the regular homeschooling to be done, and the scouts and his sister's soccer (let's not forget the other child here), and...

There is also more testing. He had a visual perceptual exam the other day. That is not a "regular" vision exam where one finds out if glasses are necessary. This has to do with visual processing. And we learned that this boy has a whole slew of left/right issues that are related to his sports difficulties, handwriting problems, reading problems, and potentially (!!) driving problems. The doc said that he would suggest occupational therapy if we were not already doing it.

I didn't go to this appointment but heard the report from the seminarian. The question I hate to ask was on the tip of my tongue: "was any of this the result of things we did or didn't do?"

No. When asked what caused this, the doc shrugged and said "we don't know." But he went on to confirm that homeschooling is the best possible situation. The flexibility and ability to tailor the education make a huge difference.

So here we are.