Monday, June 30, 2008

Sandra Shaw Sculpture

For your viewing pleasure I present a sculpture by Sandra Shaw called A Moment's Rest.




Now, I don't know about the rest of you ladies, but when I get A Moment's Rest, the last thing I want to do is precariously balance my nekkid body on the edge of an oversized drafting triangle. This is best left for the Welcome Home, Darling time of day.


It's striking, though, isn't it?

For more of samples of her art, click here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Independence Day.

This is an excellent encapsulation of what Independence Day means.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Logically Absurd.

I only liked Atonement, the book by Ian McEwan, but I really liked the movie (I’m sensing a trend on this front as I had the same reaction to The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini). But I did find what Mr. McEwan had to say about Islamism on Sunday quite interesting and the reaction to it even more interesting.

Should those of us who develop opinions based on the morality of life rather than allow the primacy of toleration to hold sway live in fear of prosecution because we opine Islamism to have strong anti-life, anti-freedom , and anti-enlightenment components? Should it be frowned upon, let alone illegal, to point out that these components in are direct and stark constrast to the American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

It is within one's individual rights to practice any or no religion as he chooses. When, however, that religion (or other group) begins to censor dissent with the help of the government, there is a real threat to freedom of speech and expression. It is logically absurd to consider a personal judgment against a set of standards, values, and customs held by a group of people as dictated by the religion they profess to be a crime (renaming it a hate crime in order to elevate its wrongness only makes it more absurd).

Negative opinions do not stop anyone from practicing religion, nor advocate violence against members of that religion, nor incite others to violence against them. Hearing dissenting opinions may cause someone to think twice about advocating tolerance at the expense of critical judgment. Is that the real crime? Thinking for one’s self? Rejecting multiculturalism as a value and holding individuals and their rights as a primary? Is the fear of being called a racist and bigot greater than the need for rational judgement?

Just how quietly tolerant must we be?
http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1798.htm
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25106145/

Inciting violence against a person, or group of people is illegal and should be demonstrable in an objective court of law and punished accordingly. Judging a philosophy, an act, a custom, an opinion, a group, an individual, and every other thing that you come into contact with to be in concert or at odds with your values is essential to your life.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This makes me smile.

Thanks to my BIL for bringing this to my attention.

And they were dancing, and singing...

This weekend my daughters had their dance recital. The oldest was in the opening and danced hip-hop to some song I’ve never heard (except when I saw her practice in the studio) and the youngest performed a jazz routine, a ballet to Sleeping Beauty Waltz, and a tap number to Popular from Wicked (I saw this on Broadway and LOVED it –the book, not so much), where she did a bit of acting in mouthing Elphaba's words in the beginning. Both girls performed quite well – exceeding my expectations, which were high for one, and admittedly too low for the other. Yesterday morning, the youngest started a musical theatre dance camp – on her 10th birthday! She is very excited to get to act, sing, and dance, while Stephen and I have been a bit sappy about her giant leap of confidence coincident with her reaching the double digits.

It is really quite satisfying to watch them work and succeed and be happy with their successes.

While the youngest was at camp for the day, and her older sister was surviving her last day of high school as a freshman, I decided to branch out from my video arcade dancing experiences. In a move which surprised even me (given my general dislike for video games and specific dislike for video games that simulate playing instruments when there is a real 7-piece drum kit two floors away, a real tambourine within an arm’s reach, and a real keyboard across the room), I filled in as a singer for my son’s video “Rock Band”, Naughty Dogs (his work was cancelled due to rain). By the end of my stint, I think the rest of the band and I reached an agreement: except for Creep by Radiohead, I basically sucked as a singer. Even for Long Time by Boston, I couldn’t match the little vocal riffs sung by the singer.

But, the very best part of playing in a virtual Rock Band, probably similar to the thrill of wearing different costumes in the dance recital, is that you get to make up your virtual rocker alter ego. Now that she has to hang up her Doc Martens, I’m going to miss my Evangeline with her expertly razor-cut asymmetrical black hair, runaway face, and ripped striped tights. No matter how old I get - it's all about the dress-up.

Oh. Were you all doing something more productive?

Nothing like a little Wild Cherry in the AM. For some reason, I find it almost embarrassing to watch these guys. It’s more than a feeling.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dance Dance Revolutionaries

So, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought…since yesterday. Why do I find this t-shirt

(brought to my attention by C. August of Titanic Deck Chairs) so incredibly compelling? And I’ve decided I know why. Let’s see if I can explain it.

First, I love to dance, alone, with others, in my car (caution: that is for the highly skilled only, particularly if you drive a standard, like me), or in line at the store. Whenever I hear music with a driving beat, or a waltz, foxtrot, a rumba, a salsa, or anything Bhangralicious, I want to move! I cast those sideways glances to the wind and celebrate life!!!

As I get older I realize that breaking into such rhythmic movement is not always desired in public places – and by “desired” I mean appreciated by my children. Of course, they’ll outgrow this and one day realize, “Damn, mom was fun!” Until then, I try to share my love of movement with them without repulsing them. Beside dance classes (which both daughters love), we are completely enamored of the arcade version of Dance, Dance Revolution. (Somehow, mother dancing on an arcade game is more acceptable - I'm going to have to give that some thought.) I know this makes me quite honky-tonk, but it’s an epithet I’m willing to live with. It’s a benevolent way to connect the cheap thrills of video games with the pure joy of dancing.

Secondly, I am passionate about the great men who helped to found this country. Their ideas coupled with their heroic fortitude, courage, discipline, and difficult struggles, both internal and external, to do the right thing and the incredible success of establishing the United States of America, has not been seen before or since.* While these particular founding fathers may not have written the words, they represent life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So, while some may think it is disrespectful to put these icons of American history into crazy, contorted dance moves on the video game platform, I think they're not so unrelated. To me, the thing that ties them together is the drive to live.

And it makes me laugh.



*In a decision relating more to optimism than realism, I am resisting the urge to comment about the current state of success of their vision.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Possession.

In addition to being 9/10ths of the law it would certainly explain my instantaneous digitus impudicus response to some kid who was cruising down our street today at about 40 mph. Because the speed limit is 25 and my oldest daughter and I were walking on our street and because I am nothing if not a paragon of adult responsibility, I yelled at him to slow down as he cruised by me. And he flipped me off! It was then that I lost all credibility with a sudden POOF! and returned his gesture and apparently, to my ill-spent youth. I have no other explanation.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t arrested.

On the bright side, I found out who the little punk was and that he just got his license. My question is, does my momentary immaturity disqualify me from an adult follow-up role in this case? Or... do you think his parents would be interested to hear about his fast, one-handed driving habits? Eeeee-heee-heee-heee-hee. (Now there’s a chin!)


Clearly, I'm not over the immaturity thing yet. I'd better give it a day or so.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's all about me.

After feeling so negative, I decided it was time to release this winner:



It's just plain fun (and weird). I wonder how this is done. Judging on this particular experiment, I'd say shininess of forehead and pointiness of chin are major determinants. And what's with that hideous picture of Katie Couric? I'll admit, despite Hideous Katie being second, I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now because for most of the photos I submitted (after all, I needed to test out the software), Kate Bosworth came out with a pretty high correlation. What do you mean you can't see the resemblance?


Oddly, when I submitted a photo of me in sunglasses, and one of my father, we both came out with Laurence Fishburne as the highest correlation - if that doesn't impart confidence in the matching system, I don't know what will.

Thanks to Rational Jenn for bringing this to my attention.

Scientific Consensus

I really don't like having two negative posts in a row, but I just found an interesting series of articles on "The Deniers" - a perjorative term used to describe scientists who question the cause, effects, and science behind the generally accepted catastrophic anthropogenic global warming crisis. ("Denier" is also a term used for those who deny that the Holocaust occured.)

After I was prompted to watch Al Gore's recent speech at the TED Talks, I was shocked by his blanket statements about scientific consensus and call for all of us to not only "change the lightbulbs, but change the laws". It seems Mr. Gore is now rounding third and heading for home (if I may use a baseball metaphor - and I may - it's my blog) in his quest to run the world.

The science is far from settled. Research is good. Premature preventative governmental interference is bad.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Immolation of America

I’m discouraged to say the least about our choices for President this time around, but I don’t generally bother talking about either because I dislike both candidates. I have resolved to vote for neither, but am resigned to the fact that one of them is going to be our next President.

When, on occasion, I hear or read the candidates own words, it is hard to ignore. Mr. Obama’s commencement speech to the graduates at Wesleyan University a few weekends ago is a must read. You can read it in its entirety here. There is a brief, but excellent dismantling of some of his inspirational collectivist buzz words here. The most telling is his phrase “the poverty of ambition.”

Despite his references to our second President elsewhere, Mr. Obama does not appear to have read any biographies of John Adams. Mr. Adams was well known to have recognized and struggled mightily with the potential problem of ambition – his own – in wishing to govern this great nation. It would appear that Mr. Obama recognizes and struggles mightily with only the ambition of others – also known as personal achievement.

He equates the American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with the immediate gratification of a young child rather than the long-term rational self-interests they are. He suggests that we are in debt to others for our happiness rather than responsible for it.

If you don’t like to follow links, just read some of his excerpts below and judge for yourself.

There's no community service requirement in the real world; no one forcing you to care. You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should by. You can choose to narrow your concerns and live your life in a way that tries to keep your story separate from America's.

But I hope you don't. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, though you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all those who helped you get here, though you do have that debt.


I ask you to seek these opportunities when you leave here, because the future of this country – your future – depends on it. At a time when our security and moral standing depend on winning hearts and minds in the forgotten corners of this world, we need more of you to serve abroad. As President, I intend to grow the Foreign Service, double the Peace Corps over the next few years, and engage the young people of other nations in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity. I ask you to seek these opportunities when you leave here, because the future of this country – your future – depends on it.


We'll have to face some hard truths, and some sacrifice will be required – not only from you individually, but from the nation as a whole.


I guarantee you, there will certainly be times when friends or family urge you to pursue more sensible endeavors with more tangible rewards. And there will be times when you are tempted to take their advice.

If I may paraphrase: While I can’t make you sacrifice your life, your values, your hard work for the lives of others, I will do my utmost to whip this nation into a frenzy of senseless self-sacrificing fodder and international humanitarians who turn their backs on personal productivity in order to wear the collectivist-altruist badge of service to others! Screw your own values – pursue what is of value to others! Live your life as if the lives of others – total strangers – depended on it….(purely in the immediate sense, of course).

Hmmmm? Doesn’t sound very American to me.

Independent of whether or not this turns out to be the new American ideal, it clearly reads like a plan for self-immolation.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Struck my fancy.

As my IP was once again unable to generate a DNS for my computer over the last two days, here are a few things which Struck My Fancy this weekend:

Salt by Mark Kurlansky. I’ve been trying to finish this damn book forever. It’s not that it’s a bad, boring, or belaboring book, it’s just that it’s chock full of fascinating stuff! My love of salty meat products notwithstanding, I didn’t realize that the simple white rock played such an important place in history from food preservation to rued taxation, sustenance to subsidence, mythology to geology. My curiosity was piqued by hundreds of ideas presented in the book. I was enriched by reading it.

I was really sad to hear about the death of Tim Russert. There is a nice tribute from his friends at MSNBC. His death reminded me of John Ritter’s sudden death during the prime of his popularity – both very tragic.

Finally, for you L.A. Lakers fans, did you ever notice how much Luke Walton looks like Richard Kiel?

Friday, June 13, 2008

I want one.


I know that sounds quite shallow, but I had completely forgotten about this incredible artistic display celebrating the importance of capitalism until today. Stephen and I saw it during the Art Deco tour which came to the MFA in 2004. The gate was created by Rene Paul Chambellan and was used in the Chanin building in New York City to "enter the executive suite on the 52nd floor" and it "represented the arts (violin at the top), industry (electrical bolts and gears), and commerce (the stacks of coins everything rested upon)."


Go here to read more about Mr. Chambellan and his work which I was fascinated to learn about only today.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sound Waves

Thanks to Homeschooled Twins for pointing to this awesome demonstration of the vibrations of sound waves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Physics made Head Boy by Headmistress Mathematica


As Objectivist homeschool parents, Kim and I have been struggling with presenting science in a pedagogically correct way. Okay, mostly Kim has been struggling with it - I have been making "helpful" suggestions or submitting "probing" questions wondering when she will next share her hard won insight.
In light of our recent discussions regarding why physics seems to be the foundational discipline in teaching science in a hierarchical manner, I thought this cartoon from xkcd was great!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Attack of the Killer Timaeus

Despite my constant behind the scenes kvetching, I managed to not only attend live, but also to stay live (as in awake!) throughout last night’s OPAR discussion group. (I do concede that Sunday night at 9:30 is very late for my brain to work well as opposed to my last comments on the matter, and that I have either missed, or slept through the last 3 discussions). Last night the members of the group (who actually spoke) discussed the second to last part of Chapter 1, subtitled The Metaphysically Given as Absolute.

First, I understood the metaphysically given as absolute. Facts of reality exist, are necessary and non-contradictory. It is what it is. This makes perfect sense to me. What makes less sense to me is that these given facts are put in opposition with man-made facts. While I understand that man-made facts originate with the choice of man and are therefore not metaphysically given, I don’t understand ….wait a minute. I think I’m onto something!

All facts created by human choice must be morally evaluated! It doesn’t matter if these choices spawned walls, castles, countries, institutions, traditions, etc. Only the metaphysically given requires acceptance without moral evaluation. Everything else must be judged! You’d think I would have appreciated
that earlier.

Okay, one stream crossed.

Now, I want to ford the river Creativity.

Making something out of nothing is a really cool idea that I’ve always attributed to the creative genius of man’s mind. Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Steven Spielberg, Bugsy Siegel (speaking of judgment - and that just occurred to me because of the example of making an oasis out of a desert) all built stuff out of nothing, right? Well, no. Creation is the arrangement of natural elements which had not existed before (notice: there is no evaluation of creation at this point, only a definition). Both Peikoff and Rand allow that the best expression of this power to arrange nature emanated from Francis Bacon, in his statement,


“Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

What I really need to keep clear in my mind is the difference between metaphysically given facts and man-made facts. Both entities exist, but only those metaphysically given facts are the facts of reality – unchangeable – immutable – that which must be accepted. Man-made facts also exist, but none are unalterable or beyond challenge. Mistaking the two can be ruinous.

To assume that man-made facts (which I would like to refer to as “conventions” and now wonder why they are not differentiated in this way) are beyond challenge is to admit you are a helpless prawn in the sea of life (prawn: sea:: pawn: game, ah never mind). To assume that the facts of reality will change in accordance with your desires or abilities to change them is to submit to a lifetime of contradictions and resultant unhappiness. This refusal, to accept the absolutism of the metaphysically given, gives rise to mind-body dichotomy which populates the foundation of almost every other philosophy.

In Plato’s Timaeus, he tries to explain that “matter is a principle of imperfection, inherently in conflict with the highest ideals of the spirit” (OPAR pg. 29). In short, Plato denies the primacy of existence.

A ha! I think I’ve got it! This is very exciting.

I was kvetching last night because I just didn’t get why we needed to beat this idea to death – but now I think I understand. It is in this foundational denial of a mind-body dichotomy and the embrace of the primacy of existence which qualifies Objectivism as unique among philosophies. It is a philosophy for life.

I look forward to the less abstract and more concrete manifestations of philosophy which we will discuss as we proceed in the book.

Title inspire by
this.

Good Mornin'!

This might be what is known as a lingering runner's high, but this is how I feel this morning.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

In Celebration of Milestone Birthdays

Because today is my mother's 70th birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom), I began thinking about milestone birthdays of my own. I need to figure out which activity I find more appealing: lunching at a Tuscan villa, or driving a classic yellow Mustang convertible.












I'm just trying to weigh the options for my 50th birthday. Before I know it, seven years will pass and POOF! I'll panic at the last minute and buy myself something practical, like a a nice pair of flats, or something anticlimactic, like a house plant, to celebrate. I don't want that to happen. These things take careful planning.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What can you do with a cup of cream?

I signed up to receive emails from this wildly enthusiastic science guy a while ago. Recently, I found that he had updated his website and sent all list members a link to his video experiment of the week. This week’s experiment was so awesome, that we finally ponied up and paid the $20 a YEAR (!) to be members.

I saved the experiment for this weekend knowing that someone in the house would be particularly interested in making his own fresh, sweet cream butter anytime he felt like it. Boy, was I right.
Compound butters, here we come!

Enjoy (both the butter AND the science)!

What's new?

Well...I sent a link to my blog to two friends and a sibling. This is big news for me because I have been using this blog as a scratching post for Objectivism and any related ideas that I might have. As such, it can be rough, ugly, and downright loopy sounding to people who are not familiar with Objectivism, or who don't know me personally as the rather persnickety, sometimes highly animated, but otherwise normal person I am. In light of these hopefully new readers, I have also enabled "anonymous comments", but would hope that he/she would leave an identifying mark in any comments made, if not a full name (says the lady with the two initials).

So DH, MP, and DT, welcome and I hope you visit often and make nice tasty comments upon which I can chew (or ones that make me laugh are also appreciated).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hard Working People: Go Home.

Not since the entire Elian Gonzalez debacle of 2000, have I given much thought to immigration. Sure, after 9/11 I was shocked at the inability of the government to even monitor, let alone control the admittance of those whose hostilities toward America could actually be a threat to us. But what about the vast majority of immigrants who come here to work, to better themselves and their families, to take advantage of opportunities still found in America? Apparently, some of them are just plain screwed.

Arthur Mkyon, 17, of Fresno, California, is currently
threatened with deportation back to Armenia, a country he left when he was 2 and knows only virtually through internet videos. While his parents attempted to jump through the proper hoops of the immigration process, their application was denied. Apparently Mr. Mkion’s claim of feared reprisal of the Armenian government about his whistle-blowing at the Armenian equivalent of the DMV did not satisfy the immigration officials as meeting the requirements for asylum.

It is worth noting that both of Arthur’s parents have been working since they came here, and that Arthur is the valedictorian of his high school class. Unless there is more, maybe some unreported sinister activity regarding this family, there seems to be
no objective reason (second comment) why these people should not be allowed to legally stay in America.

Again, this is only one case in the millions of immigrants who come to the United States each year. But it does highlight the need for the reformation of immigration laws based on objective standards. Why are we punishing people who choose to work, to make great efforts to stay in this country, and who embody individual achievement? Immigration reform should be of particular importance to those of us who were not only lucky enough to be born here, but also understand and appreciate the principles on which America was founded.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Six words or fewer.


Six-Word Memoir book preview from SMITHmag on Vimeo.

So, how about it? Write your biography in six words or fewer. Give it a try.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lochinvar

I was going to save this for tomorrow, but I couldn't resist.

Lochinvar
Sir Walter Scott

Oh! young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none.
He rode all unarmed and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.

He stayed not for brake and he stopped not for stone,
He swam the Eske river where ford there was none,
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate
The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
For a laggard in love and a dastard in war
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall,
Among bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all:
Then spoke the bride’s father, his hand on his sword,
For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,
‘Oh! come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?’

‘I long wooed your daughter, my suit you denied;

Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide
And now am I come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.’

The bride kissed the goblet; the knight took it up,
He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup,
She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand ere her mother could bar,
‘Now tread we a measure!’ said young Lochinvar.

So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
And the bride-maidens whispered ‘’Twere better by far
To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.’

One touch to her hand and one word in her ear,
When they reached the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
‘She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,’ quoth young Lochinvar.

There was mounting ’mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Fosters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see.
So daring in love and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?

In case you missed it.

From Parade Magazine (1 June 2008)

Should Home-Schooling Be Illegal?

In February, a California state appeals court ruled that unless parents have recognized teaching credentials, they must send their children to school. The judge, citing a state education law, said that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home-school their children.” Parents and politicians were outraged, and the court will rehear the case this
month.


At stake is the education of the 166,000 California children who currently are home-schooled. But the court decision also could influence laws across the country. Nationwide, up to 2 million children are taught at home. Experts estimate that the number is increasing 7% to 12% a year.

“If upheld, the California ruling will send shock waves nationwide,” says Richard Kahlenberg, the author of a number of books on education. He says the case “pits those who believe parental rights are paramount against those who place a premium on well-educated citizens.”

Right now, only six states have strict regulations for home-schooling, usually requiring parents to have their curriculum approved, to show test scores and, in some places, to submit to home visits. Fourteen states, including California, mandate only that parents notify the state of their decision to home-school.



LBQ: What is the most important sentence in this report?


Richard Kahlenberg implying that parents who have chosen to teach their children at home value flexing their parental rights over their children's education, and then equating recognized teacher credentials with well-educated citizens. But wait,...in this brief statement he may gloss over, but exposes the fact that the goal of institutionalized education (let's face it, primarily government institutions which insist upon government recognized teaching credentials) is to make well-educated citizens. Not well-educated individuals, but citizens.

What exactly is meant by that? That children, taught by teachers with recognized teaching credentials will be better able to make decisions regarding their lives with respect to the world around them? I think not. More likely, this means that those children will perpetuate the one-size fits all government education pap fed to them in pre-digested pieces year after year in those schools which is in no way related to individual education, but rather societal norms.

I do not in anyway suggest that every child is better served by learning at home; only that those of us who choose to educate our children at home have a selfish interest in seeing our children succeed as individuals, not as a by-product of, or sacrificial gift to society.

Can...not...resist.

Dollhouse Preview Featurette
Uploaded by FoxBroadcasting



Just saw this on NoodleFood. New from Joss Whedon. Cool beans, huh?

Olivia Williams and Eliza Dushku - Stephen could hardly ask for anything more! (Okay, maybe an occasional appearance by Summer Glau.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Excellence in History Education

While this is somewhat an update to my May 30th post on sensitivity, it's more of a reinforcement of just how great a history teacher Mr. Powell is. In his response to the article referenced in that post, he clearly and concisely described how to deal with children and their burgeoning definition of self when encountering some of the more unpleasant facts of history. He explains that it is important to be able to acknowledge that while they may relate to a certain ethnic, religious, or national identity, children need to understand that they are not responsible for the misdeeds of that group. The teaching of history should not be altered to accommodate certain sensitivities, but rather the teacher needs to assist any child bewildered by his connection to wrong-doings of generations past.

Mr. Powell's response is much more clear and concise and you can read it on his History At Our House email list. Again, I urge anyone who is interested in history or excellent pedagogy to join this list.


Description:
HistoryAtOurHouse is a forum for anyone interested in the value of a secular history education. Parents of homeschoolers and afterschoolers are especially welcome. The group serves as a complement to the HistoryAtOurHouse program and blog, but it is open to discussion of any secular history curricula and issues related to history and homeschooling.


I struggled with the contents of that article and had a knee-jerk reaction against over-sensitivity and the insidiousness of political correctness. But of course, children can certainly see themselves proudly belonging to any one ethnic, national, or religious group and only later learn about the horrors perpetrated by that particular group for the first time in a history class. They may need help to understand that they make their own choices in life and are not bound by the mistakes or violations of their ancestors.

It is the same for living off the glories of past ancestors. It may be an interesting thing to think about for a time, but it is up to the individual to make his way properly through life.

It reminds me of a phrase so eloquently stated in Rudyard Kipling’s If:


If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;


While the whole fabulous poem (found here) is devoted to individual choices, finding out about the good and bad of groups you personally identify with may feel like a triumph or a disaster, and should ultimately be treated the same: things which came before you. Your choices are up to you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Wait is Over!

So, I finished my first 5K yesterday afternoon and only now am beginning to feel the effects wear off. The effects were all good! I have been so pleased with myself it's almost unbelievable - I mean, I didn't cure any diseases or anything!

It was a very good thing for me to do. I hated every step, but loved the thought of it even as I plodded up this 5K's answer to a treeless Heartbreak Hill in 80 degree weather. My time? Well...that's not really important, is it? Okay...now remember, until a scant 3 weeks ago, the furthest I had run was to my car in a rainstorm...37 minutes and 30 seconds. That's pert near 5 mph. In my defense, I was in the back of the crowd (obviously) when it started and had to run very, very slowly (even by my standards) before there was any running room to set your own pace (at least 3 minutes).

Did I mention the hills?
I did, huh?

How about the heat?
Yup, mentioned that too.

Oh well, it was fun to start and finish with a bunch of my friends from high school. Our new motto is Triumph Over Inertia! We're getting jerseys. I'll be sure to add the link to the blog. Other shirt slogan contenders are No One Passed Out! and, I run because...shit, now I forget why. That's a special order for middle-aged women.

Also, since I've been chatting about it all day on a few lists I belong to, I think I'm getting some other people interested in doing a few in the summer, and another in the fall too! I guess they figure, "If she can do it, I can do it". I'm glad my former couch potato status could be such an inspiration to others.

Did I mention the free beer and sprinklers at the end? Clearly, I am easily amused.