Sunday, October 31, 2004

Hello to Those from the Homeschooling Revolution!

Thank you very much to Isabel (Izzy) Lyman at the Homeschooling Revolution for linking to me! Yes, I suppose I am eclectic. I am a Christian who loves Penn and Teller. I have all their books, have seen them in concert, and watch their profanely-monikered cable show with glee (Here's the link-- I wasn't kidding about the name). Penn and Teller make skepticism fun and interesting, and anything that increases critical thinking is a good thing. I do think they have an illogical hatred of religion, for whatever reason. I don’t understand why atheists of a certain stripe insist upon proselytizing, but I don’t find this one area of irrationality (based upon their own criteria) a reason to disregard the overall entertainment, and yes, educational benefit, the pair offers (But not to children! They are not appropriate for kids).

In the same vein, Cheryl at Konkadoo has a fabulous post on Halloween that precisely expresses how I feel about this contentious holiday. Thanks again to HR for introducing me to her blog. I am very impressed and indeed delighted to see such incredible homeschool talent and energy.

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding"
~~Proverbs 3:13

Happy Halloween!

We didn't decorate for Halloween this year, partly because I didn't want even more attractive nuisances scattered about the house to entice the toddling Varmit Marmot into party-colored death (“And here is an electric pumpkin with a pretty, delicate twinkle lite enticingly hidden in nooks just as big as your itty bitty finger. Don’t you want to touch it?”), and partly because I am lazy.

Wendy McElroy is a woman who is not lazy. Hey, my mother always said, when you set out to do something, you ought to do it right.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Thrasymachus on the Post-Christian Soul

"Modern man does not love, but seeks refuge in love; does not hope, but seeks refuge in hope; does not believe, but seeks refuge in a dogma." --Nicolás Gómez Dávila

I think that this outlines a central flaw in the modern soul. Everything good and great exists as a means to a pitiful and self-serving end. We justify our lives by the metric of personal satisfaction.

From Thrasymachus Online

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Scots have a great sense of humo(u)r.

Check out Under “Languages” at the upper right, click on “Scots.”

Apparently, they are serious.

With all due respect to the Scottish Parliament, it reads like the HUD Pamphlet scandal.

Black Judges

David Bernstein over at The Volokh Conspiracy makes a sound and numerate but politically-incorrect refutation of the supposed dearth of black Bush appointees to the federal judiciary. See, also, Eugene Volokh’s wonderful 1998 Wall Street Journal article “Racial Politics at the Supreme Court.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Future of America

The Oklahoman has done a two-part series on large Christian homeschooling families.
Large Families Mean Sacrifice
Families Know How to Live Large
Thanks to the Homeschooling Revolution.


It has never been a better time to be a diabetic. The Glucowatch is now available, and Interactive Healthcare founder Paul Wessel has now released Glucoboy, a blood glucose meter cartridge for the Nintendo GameBoy. Thanks to BoingBoing!

Of course this happened in Texas

DALLAS - A judge welcomed a former fugitive back to her courtroom with balloons, streamers and a cake before sentencing him to life in prison.

"Daddy, you’re a liar!"

Greer says, "The more I told her not to say such things, the more she insisted it was true, saying, ‘That’s what you do.’ The communication gap widened until I realized she was mispronouncing ‘lawyer.’ "

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Packing It In

I think to myself sometimes that if Mr. Blessed ever lost his job, we should just pick up and move to New Hampshire. This news would probably devastate my Texas-dwelling parents (and Mr. Blessed, who loves them so). However, I do have a lot of simpatico with the Free Staters who are walking the talk. I, myself, tend to be full of hot air, however. I just recently got down cold precisely where New Hampshire is. All those bothersome tiny little eastern states really mess up my average...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Cargo Cult Law & Medicine

Wonderful post over at Sheridan: Con-Law about false accusations made by both children and adults. Anyone following the "Satanic Panic"/child sex abuse scandals of the late 80's and early 90's will find this to be required reading.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Weekend Tidbits

Federalist No. 84 has some great tips for blog maintenance over at Notes from the (Legal) Underground. He states emphatically that everyone should move to Typepad. Now. And I just got listed in Google this weekend, too...

NFLU also has some good advice to young lawyers.
Frankly, I’m really getting tired of stories like yours. Just think for a minute about what you were doing. You were taking the time to eat lunch. Meanwhile, as you were stuffing your face, other associates remained behind at the firm, using the extra time to get ahead of you in the race for partnership. You're a real nitwit. You’re going to lose out to the grinders and get fat too.

Also, I can tell already that I will never get back to expanding on the Team America post. One rule of blogging seems to be: Post now or never.

VDARE has a good blog post entitled The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Lutheran. You guys post some great stuff, but where is your RSS feed? I still have to *shudder* go to your website to read it!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A Night At the Movies

Mr. Blessed and I saw “Team America” last night and loved it. I guess it really is just a generational thing, since, in our minds, the blasphemy, crudity, and obscenities of the works of Parker and Stone simply don’t interfere with the team’s brilliant comedy. They are probably the greatest, slyest satirists working today.

More later...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

IQ and the Poverty of (Our) Nation

In 2000, mathematician John Allen Paulos wrote a snarky column entitled "Who Wants to Be a Science-Savvy President?” playing on the format of the popular TV show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” In this thought-experiment, he posed some science and math questions to then-candidates Bradley, Bush, Gore, and McCain, and speculated on their respective scores:

How would the four major candidates do were they to take the above quiz sight unseen?

My guess — and it’s certainly nothing more than that — is that Gore and McCain would get 11 or 12 questions right, Bradley nine or 10, and Bush seven or eight.

What, if anything, would this test would tell us?

My opinion: All other things being equal, greater scientific literacy (which includes being realistic about what one doesn’t know and being open to the scientific advice of others) makes for a better candidate and a better president.

The combination of ignorance and power is a frightening one. (emphasis mine)

Mr. Paulos didn’t address the IQs of the candidates directly, even though he did imply that certain candidates were “ignorant.” Steve Sailer, on the other hand, has gone straight to the heart of the matter this election, and comes out with a titillating theory: Bush may have a higher IQ than Kerry.

How is that for frightening? As he has written several times already, “Are these two the best our nation of nearly 300,000,000 can put forward?”


Anyone who has ever played a Sim game has thought to himself, "I bet the real-world applications of this kind of thing are staggaring." It just takes a faster processor and more data points and Uncle Sam to make it happen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

On Mob Rule

It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.
-George Orwell

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
-C. S. Lewis

Democracy is only a dream: it should be put in the same category as Arcadia, Santa Claus, and Heaven.
-H. L. Mencken

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
-Hermann Goering

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
-Thomas Jefferson

Friday, October 15, 2004

"Reality, said Philip K. Dick, is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

John Derbyshire has written a wonderful piece at NRO on the 10th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Curve.

Tick, Tick, Tick...

My mother gave us a picture frame when our daughter was born, one that has a space in it for a photo from every month of the baby’s first year. The oval monthly pictures circle around a larger space for the child’s first birthday shot. We have this frame on our entertainment center, where we can look up at it and marvel at how she has changed. Sometimes, when I am feeding the Biscuit, I look up at the frame and imagine that it is a clock, ticking down the months. The first six months flew by, and I was happy to see the frame fill up. All parents worry about SIDS, and each month we put a picture in the frame was another month we could put between us and the dread disease.

After the sixth month mark, I began to see time running out. In my mind this past year, I have had several goals to meet before the frame strikes twelve. It will be twelve months on Sunday, and I am not as close to my goals as I would like to be.

In my heart of hearts, I always thought this SAHM thing was a part-time job. I could do the home-making quickly and easily and still find paying work, from home of course. (No matter what, we won’t be putting the critter in daycare.) This year has taught me that being a housewife takes more hard work and time than I had ever imagined. I have had a difficult time finding more time to do paying work.

So far, I haven’t been doing too badly. Certainly it would be arrogant and ungrateful of me to complain, because we would be hurting if we didn’t have my modest income. But I am now having to admit I want more. More work. More income-generating work. We could cut back expenses even more, but I simply don’t want to. Our food budget, for example, is moderate for a family of two-and-a-half, but compared to so many other frugal families, we are Dionysian in our Epicureanism.

The fact that I am admitting I want more paying work isn’t an epiphany, and doesn’t necessarily contradict anything else I have written on this blog. Lots of women who want to stay home are also looking for income opportunities, so long as they don’t come at the expense of their primary job, which is to keep Kirche and Kinder.

I was thinking about this in the shower this morning. Housewives have always been working women. The belief that SAHMs don’t do anything is silly and illogical. It crumbles under the most cursory of inquiries. Women who are in the home simply exempt themselves from taxable income. When thinking about this, what strikes me most is the question that I haven’t been able to answer, even though I am an ex-lefty:

Why do so many leftists, many of whom hate Corporate America, insist that women join the ranks of cubicle drudges and wage slaves? If I were interested in Culture Jamming (in the sense of a resistance movement to the hegemony of popular culture), it would seem to me that one of my first goals would be to remove as many cogs from Mega-Corp as possible. It would be especially beneficial to remove the more intelligent, better-educated ones. So, then, why does this threaten those who would otherwise rant about Big Business, capitalism, etc.?

In my cynicism, I think professional feminists realize that if women were to have a genuine choice, they would choose not to work, at least not when their children were little. Any fly on the wall on a baby-oriented message board can tell you how bad women feel putting their young children in day care. Most of these women feel they have no choice. I think these professional feminists have a vested interest in keeping women working so that the families’ inflated wages can be taxed at a higher level, and these very feminists feed on the trough of public programs. More two-income families mean more taxes, which mean more bureaucracy, more government bloat, and more grants funding untenable organizations which cannot compete without subsidies.

So, the year has passed. My baby is a toddler now. I feel like the time I had, a time out of time, is the most blessed of my life. I know that the coming years are going to be just as precious. And if anyone needs a graphic designer, let me know.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Random Links

I have actually been pretty productive for the past week, but have managed to temper this with a lot of, erm, research. Yes, research, that’s it.

Places I have visited recently have included a gallery of farewell missives from failed dot coms, a preview of 2005’s Spring Colors (yummy! Plus a swatch palette!), and a bleak day-in-the-life diary from a criminal defense attorney. And my family wonders why I never practiced...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

"It's different to talk about their right than what's the right decision."

Why do some women insist that being a homemaker isn’t real work? Why are feminists so tied to a corporate mindset that states that if work isn’t income-generating that it doesn’t matter? My mother called me Sunday night about the 60 Minutes story, “Staying At Home.”

Our favorite quote:

But isn't it their right to choose? "It's different to talk about their right than what's the right decision," says Hirshman. "As Mark Twain said, 'A man who chooses not to read is just as ignorant as a man who cannot read.'"

"These women are choosing lives in which they do not use their capacity for very complicated work," adds Hirshman.

Feminism has never been about choice, it has been about destroying families. I appreciate women like Hirshman making this explicit.

Family Size and the New Evangelization

The future is truly in the hands of large families. As the birth rates in North America and other developed countries continue to plunge, children from large families will fill the gaps left by the families that choose voluntary extinction. "Blessed are the meek", our Lord says, "for they will inherit the earth" — or, in this case, their children will.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004



Which are you?

A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know if she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he and turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her he asked,

"Darling, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee!" she replied.

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard- boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its' rich aroma. She humbly asked. "What does it mean Father?" He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, it's inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you," he asked his daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

How about you? Are you the carrot that seems hard, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength? Are you the egg, which starts off with a malleable heart? Were you a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a divorce, or a layoff have you become hardened and stiff.

Your shell looks the same, but are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and heart? Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean changes the hot water, the thing that is bringing the pain, to its peak flavor reaches of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water gets the hottest, it just tastes better.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and make things better around you. When people talk about you, do your praises to the Lord increase? When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, does your worship elevate to another level?

How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Voices, I Hear Voices

We post-moderns suffer from critical lack of self-esteem in certain vital areas. In areas where it doesn’t matter, such as academics, American self-esteem is at an all-time high. In some of the most important areas, such as parenting, we are paralyzed by self-doubt.

I see it in myself. Every time I discipline my toddler there is a little voice that tells me that I am crippling her creativity and inquisitiveness. Yes, I know that it is really my job to keep her from pulling the food processor down on top of her head, but I still feel like such an ogre when I keep her from killing herself in a new and imaginative way. Interestingly enough, my toddler tends to agree with this little voice.

Still, I am learning that she is much more resilient than I give her credit for being. The other day I told her to stop banging on the screen door (or was it to stop trying to pull out the bread machine cord?). Most of the time she responds to a simple verbal command, “No,” or “Don’t touch.” This time I picked her up and moved her away from the really fun death game, and put her near me while I washed dishes. She was not happy with this.

My daughter is really good at crying. Instilled with a seeming Protestant work ethic in regard to crying, she seems to view it as a virtue. She is the cutest thing I have ever seen when she is really angry. I know that I am going to see a really adorable fit when she has to hold her breath to work up to a loud bellow of protest. I can tell how good the crying fit is going to be by counting the number of seconds between the first appearance of her flushed, scrunched-up face and the wail of chagrin.

This fit was going to be a good one, judging by the silence that greeted my plopping her next to me on the kitchen floor. I thought at first she wasn’t upset when she quietly waddled away from me, across the long kitchen floor into the living room. But no-- she was so upset that she needed to throw herself onto the floor to express her disappointment via kicking and screaming. However, she had the foresight to eschew the hard linoleum for soft carpet. It was then that I realized that, far from being the delicate flower of my fantasies, this child had more understanding of life than I had even begun to give her credit for.

I haven’t heard from that little voice since.

Friday, October 08, 2004

". . . like a malignant lump, a festering murmur, in the karmic heart . . ."

Gadgets. I love gadgets, and I enjoy shopping (read: spending money). However, I do try to be frugal. For example, I spent much too much time in Wal-Mart six months ago trying to decide on the proper toilet brush (I know, I know). Our old brush was, quite frankly, disgusting, and I was tired of taking a pumice stone to the rim underneath (yes, people actually do that).

Since there have been some interesting developments on the toilet-cleaning front since last I purchased a toilet wand (1999, the year we got married). I read the outer packages, opened up the box and looked at the various devices as best I could, etc. Finally, I selected the Lysol Ready Brush. I figured it made more sense to purchase occasional refill bottles rather than use a new scrub pad every time.

The Ready Brush isn’t bad—the foam is thick and smells good, and the cost of refills are reasonable. However, it wasn’t what I was looking for. It doesn’t get under the rim well at all, and the brush head is an awkward size to get at the bottom of the bowl. So, after using it for awhile, I decided to swallow my pride and buy yet another toilet bowl cleaning system, the Clorox ToiletWand. This one really as great as the adverts say it is. And anything that gives the good folks in San Fran fits makes me smile inside.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

You Can't Go Home Again

It has been more than a year since Mr. Blessed and I quit EverQuest. We left when we found out I was pregnant. I remember being on raids where couples would casually comment on how they had locked their children out of the house for the day so that they could play uninterrupted. We had (only once!) grouped with a monk who would go AFK while pulling because she was trying to NAK (nurse at keyboard).

In the past year, I haven’t much missed the game. We played so hot and heavy (over 40 hours a week every week for three-plus years) that we were plenty ready to leave Norrath. Still, recently I have been experiencing bouts of nostalgia. My EQ coffee cups have faded pretty badly by now. One is four years old, with “Loading Please Wait” in familiar red letters. The other cup was crafted with our guild logo, the graphic file long gone, never to be CafePressed again.

We have been looking at World of Warcraft, with reservation. We will never play the way we used to (thank God!), but these games are designed to be addictive and time consuming.

Even if we never again play, I am personally very interested in MMORPGs from a sociological perspective. I am far from the first to comment on the compelling anthropological data that can be mined from player behavior. All major human themes are re-enacted in raw, painful detail day after day in these virtual realities—love, betrayal, conquest, greed, and honor, all played out in each and every guild, every server, every day. I find it fascinating that almost all DKP systems will evolve to share the same fundamental characteristics, for example, no matter how much the individual authors try to avoid it. All uber-guilds look the same, and all family guilds, well, don’t. Adamantine human nature, indeed.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Who can find a virtuous woman?

Proverbs 31:10 (KJV)

31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.