Sat. Sighting: Castle Farms Textile Art

Clickity click to see the castles in the corners.


"Hinky," or Follow the Money

Be careful what you blog, and be discerning about what you read: "Crystal Cox, the self-described 'investigative blogger' will not get a new trial and previously unreported facts in the case — revealed by the judge — suggest her claim of journalistic protection was undeserved.

Cox has been ordered to pay a financial company $2.5 million for a single blog posting in which she accused it of tax fraud."

Sidebar: The Internet, rewiring our brains, and personality disorders.

'Nother Sidebar: This article, about what a busybody Google is, was sent to me last month by Fred E. and was time sensitive. Oh, well.

Friday Fun: Is your home your castle?

On the right, is Castle Farms of Charlevoix, MI. Locals rent it out for weddings, banquets, and civic gatherings.

The main building is kitschy but cute. It's very well maintained, and, in it's own Middle American way, a work of art.

Inside, there's this castle doll house nestled on one the stairwell landings ...

... with many neat details like this little owl.

Castles, whether ancient or modern, fire up the imagination. I like how Wikipedia notes that, throughout history, castles have been offensive and defensive structures.


Excessive: 18,000 Seat Stadium for TX High School Football

File under 'Hunger Games Lite.'

The new Eagle stadium is located in Allen, Texas (a suburb of Dallas) and costs $60 million! A palatial temple for those who worship at the altar of 'faith, family, and football.'

Several photos of the construction. What recession?


The State is My Boo*

Behold Mr. Jones' rant against Katy Perry's newest music video. He started out strong complaining about feminism, agit prop, the glorification of violence, and the reality of life (for young women) in today's military. But he should have limited his spiel to ten minutes, as he starts to get carried away at the elevenish mark. Then, again, Alex always aims for tour de force.

If you want boilerplate, neoconnish, fake feminist commentary about Ms. Perry's artistic and physical efforts in making this vid, go here.


A Dissident Voice

The national conversation continues. At the DC, Jerome Hudson, of Project 21, weighs in on black-on-black crime.


College: Then and Now

College dorms through the years: A fascinating pictorial by Time magazine - go here.

Now here's an in-depth article, from the Heritage Foundation, which, among other things, notices several colleges that are using new business models with success. Those mentioned are: Western Governors University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and Southern New Hampshire University.

What's remarkable about Western Governors University? Faculty act as personal mentors intead of impersonal instructors; the university doesn't emphasize doctoral programs and tuition is less than $6000 a year.

What's different about Brigham Young University-Idaho? There are no athletics or lengthy summer break, and the university "allows technical certifications in core courses before moving on to electives, which means that students acquire official qualifications as they advance toward a bachelor’s degree." It's also an inexpensive option.

Southern New Hampshire University's claim to fame is that its online students outnumber the traditional ones. And get this, "SNHU expects online education to bring in more than $100 million — a windfall that subsidizes the money-losing undergraduate campus." Money-losing? Must be all those transgendered bathrooms they gotta build.

What I like about the schools emphasizing online learning is that they are also boosting the e-economy by offering employment to those who prefer to teach students from the comfort of their homes and who want to bypass office politics, tiring commutes, and classroom shenanigans.

The Time dorm photo essay could stand to add a picture of an iPad-wielding student, in her jammies, learning from her bedroom.

Typical, nondescript dorm room.

Bedroom morphs into avant-garde dorm room.


Sunday Inspiration: The Still Small Voice

You never know where you'll hear it.

1 Kings 19:12: New King James Version

12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

In the photo:
A tiny house in the big woods of Charlevoix, MI


RIP: Nancy Strait

Obama: The Straits Could Be My Grandparents

No, of course, the president didn't go there. But he could have, since he went here.

So, where's the national outrage for the barbarity that this kindly, elderly couple endured?

The Straits, an Oklahoma couple who were married for 65 years.

Sat. Sighting: Hunger Games Movie?

I wrote about the Hunger Games trilogy here. Despite the feminist girl power angle/teen romance triangle conundrum, the books' chilling anti-war games message is creatively presented.

Put it this way, oh, mature sort: If you like what Ron Paul stands for and you don't mind the occasional social safari into the pop culture, THG could be your cuppa. But if you are looking for a spiritual or traditionalist affirmation - ain't gonna find it here. "May the odds be ever in your favor" is a line in THG. That mindset is suitable for an evening at a casino ... or a bleak, violent futuristic novel. Nuff said.

Movie review, by TNA, here.

Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instrument for bringing the many under the domination of the few. - James Madison

Update: Adults, not just teens and tweens, are jumping on this "cultural zeitgeist."

Note: This adult saw the movie. I concur with those who think some of the content is too violent and unsettling for children.


Friday Fun: Nespresso!

Ken R., who is something of a foodie, delivers a snappy review about an innovative coffee-making gizmo. He writes, "Time to 'fess up. I bought a Nespresso machine. Espresso snobs will scoff, evironmentalists will glare, and frugal living folk will despair.

I was in a used-books store in Easthampton (MA), and this guy, Bob, who works there perkily asked me if I wanted an espresso. Bob isn't a perky type at all, so I knew something was up. He led me over to their new Nespresso machine. He made it, I drank it and found it good.

After wrestling with temptation for a few weeks, temptation finally won and I ordered a machine and have been drinking way too much espresso since it arrived.

The Nespresso espresso is, in my opinion, quite good. Is it the best espresso I've ever had? No, but I've had some pretty bad espresso in coffee houses. The Nespresso produces consistently good espresso. I bought their cheapest machine (around $150). The brewing mechanism is the same in all their machines from what I can tell.

They produce quite a good variety of espresso and lungo pods. The pods run about $0.65 per pod. The pods are aluminum and this does keep it fresh and with a good shelf life. Other pod espresso makers use paper pods that obviously have a much shorter shelf life and makes getting fresh pods a riskier proposition, even if they are a bit cheaper.

I would stay away from Nespresso's newest model, Pixie, which is made in Switzerland and has not been very reliable. The other models are made in China and have a good reputation for reliability. A sad commentary on our times."

In the photo: When he's not getting arrested, actor George Clooney enjoys nespressos.


Brian Lamb: It's All About You, Not Me

In this age of fast-talking-ambush-journo-gets-punked-and-I'm-still-the-center-of the-story, C-Span's Brian Lamb, who never made himself part of the narrative, is a dying breed.

USA Today offers an appropriate tribute to him, and his minimalist style of interviewing.

Young guns, aspiring to a career in the media, could stand to learn a thing or two from Lamb's willingness to eschew being a peacock pundit or an argumentative bloviator.

More here.

Soy Americano, Tontos

Fox News/Latino reports that immigration-insensitive jeering, at a nationally-televised sports event, doesn't pay: "Looks like there are repercussions if you chant offensive stereotyped things at an opponent during an NCAA March Madness game, especially when the chant is 'Where’s your green card?' and you’re attending college on a scholarship.

The University of Southern Mississippi revoked the scholarships of five members of its pep band who took part in the 'heckling' of a Latino Kansas State basketball player at last Thursday's NCAA men's basketball tournament game.

The school announced Tuesday that the five students also were removed from the band and will be required to complete a two-hour cultural sensitivity training course this week."

The lad that was being taunted - Angel Rodriguez - is a Boricua, so the green card business doesn't even apply.

Meanwhile, Frank Martin, the Kansas State mens' basketball coach and the son of Cuban immigrants, is well-known for his volcanic verbal outbursts. He also got himself in trouble when he made physical contact with a player.

Watch Frank go into one of his rages.

Watch Frank talking dirty to his players.

Dontcha think it's quite unfair that Martin can, repeatedly, belittle his players and those silly, thoughtless Mississippi students weren't given a second chance for their one-time indiscretion?



The team, located in a bluest-of-the-bluest locale, with the exceptionally foul-mouthed coach and an exceptionally sleazy QB, as well as the frat-house-style locker room problems, has acquired Mr. Tebow.

The N.Y. Jets will now have 4 quarterbacks! How absurd.

Maybe the 'front office' wants Tim to be a defacto inspirational guru and morally rehab this sorry group.

If so, what a thankless gig (albeit a very well-paying one).

In the photo: Coach Rex Ryan, Tebow's mouthy, crude new boss.

Vanity Fair indeed: Hmm.


Harsh My Mellow ... Mañana

The good news is that my PC's surgery was a success.

The bad news is that the weather has been so unusually mild that my synapses can't get fired enough to go into snark mode.

They are firmly stuck on mellow.

Consequently, I've been sighing at star-filled skies, enjoying seagulls make screechy noises, sleeping with the windows open, pouring over cross-stitch patterns, and basking in that glorious moment when those smart young Lehigh University Mountain Hawks politely kicked the foul-mouthed Coach K out of the tourney. Baby!

P.S. In keeping with the mood, the "Creativity Edition" of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up.


Let the Madness Commence

Congratulations to my alma mater for winning the ACC tourney! The Seminoles beat the Tar Heels; Chief Osceola has swagger; war chants work.

NFL Aside and a Prediction: Classy Peyton Manning is a quarterback's quarterback; John Elway, Exec. VP of operations for the Denver Broncos, was also a QB's QB. Thus, Timmy Tebow, the People's Quarterback, will soon leave Colorado for warmer climes. Tebow is going back home. A promotion for the homeskooler, IMO.

It's all good.

Partisan Update: Barry's bracket challenge. The Prez is an NC fan which is yet another reason to exult in FSU's victory.

Sun. Inspiration: Bloom Where You Are Planted

A clip from A Man Named Pearl which features a South Carolinian named Pearl Fryar. Mr. Fryar took dominion over his plot of land and turned it into a whimsical work of art.


Sat. Sighting: Dodgeball Flyer

The 5 on 5 annual tourney is coming ... March 17th ... Proceeds go to Orphan Helpers.


Friday Fun: Relic from a Politer Era

The last time I was back East, I spotted the relic below - a row of telephone booths.

The sight made my ears nostalgic for the days when public phone conversations were private and infrequent.


Hip Lovie Smith v. Intellectual Derrick Bell

So what if during his college days Barry the law student hobnobbed with Dr. Derrick Bell? That is so 1991.

And so what if the mainstream media didn't connect the dots. That is so 2008.

What matters is that in 2012 (now that we know how O actually governs) is that NFL Coach Lovie Smith has got the President's back.

To the masses (who are far more invested in sports than in politics) a telegenic football coach's approval will always trump a boring debate featuring earnest media watchdogs and a deceased Marxist professor.

Look at how smoothly the Coach cheerleads for Socialism Soft. Lovie is rocking the vote!


Subsidizing Sparta

Joel Turtel's short essay - "America's Public School System: Brutal and Spartan" - was published in 2009.

But it's worth revisiting. He writes, "Where the Spartans stole children from their parents to serve a lifetime in their military, our local governments create laws that let them, in effect, legally kidnap our children to serve twelve years in their education boot camps called public schools. The brutality of the principle is the same."

Bullying and inappropriate entanglements are the barbaric byproducts of this survival-of-the-fittest, God-hating school system. The spirit of Sparta is the spirit of the age.


Petoskey, Michigan in the Daily Mail

A troubling missing persons case, featuring a mild-mannered man/entrepreneur and his family, is a story of interest for the UK's Daily Mail.

Given the huge readership that the DM has, maybe the story will yield a helpful tip for Chief John Calabrese, head of public safety in Petosky.

In the photo: The Timothy Medsker family, who have been reported missing since Feb. 23, 2012.

New Videos from Empower the Taxpayer

In 3 months North Dakotans will vote on Measure 2 which, if it passes, will abolish their property tax. The lawyuh in the videos - Robert Hale - performs a much needed public service by calmly addressing the contentious issues that critics of M2 incessantly harp on.

N.J. Taxpayers to Gov. Christie: What are we paying you for?

The Chris Christie aficionados, who think he's such a hot tamale, need to read this article by the New Jersey Watchdog about all the double-dipping going on, among state employees, thanks to the NJ's Attorney General's office.

Here's the relevant sentence regarding the sleazy retiring and rehiring:

"A New Jersey Watchdog investigation in December revealed 23 of the Attorney General’s investigators and supervisors have collared $14 million in retirement pay —an average of $600,000 each — while still working for the Attorney General. Like Gilbert, two-thirds of them retired for one day or less."

Here's the other relevant sentence: "The revolving door of retired and rehired state employees is a controversial practice that drains money from the retirement system, already underfunded by $36 billion according to the State Treasury."

Well, so what have you been doing, exactly, Governor Christie? (Since you aren't doing anything significant about pension reform.) Bombasting?


Oklahoma Values: Can't Tell the Red State Gals From the Blue State Ones, These Days

1. GOP Governor Mary Fallin forgets to mentions Ron Paul. How convenient. Then, again, she doesn't get Greta's name right, either. Ditz or pol?

2. Broadway singer Kristin Chenoweth, who was born in Broken Arrow (a ritzy suburb of Tulsa) and was raised Southern Baptist, is no Kirk Cameron. She describes herself as a "non-judgmental, liberal Christian." She is also eager to sully the name of Christ by being an enthusiastic participant in this schlock.

3. The lady, holding the raunchy sign, is Judy Eason McIntyre, an Oklahoma state senator who, like Miz Chenoweth, is also a 'pious' woman. Give me a break! (Note: A Tulsa newspaper, not the Senatoress, blocked out the lettering on the sign when they published the photo.)

James 3: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."

High-Tech Prophet of Doom and Gloom

Jones draws a bigger audience online than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck combined — and his conspiracy-laced rants make the two hosts sound like tea-sipping NPR hosts on Zoloft. - Rolling Stone

The film below is called Blueprint of Madmen, and it sure isn't anything like you'd see at your local multiplex cinema. In fact, you may want to skip the buttery popcorn and sugary soft drinks after watching it.

In it, Alex Jones, of Prison Planet fame, takes a stand against democide: "This new film will serve as evidence to the fact that government is history’s greatest killer – with various regimes claiming more than 262,000,000 unnatural deaths in the 20th Century alone. Now, a 21st century technocratic global corporate tyranny seeks to kill not mere millions but billions – through their superweapons, central banking warfare model, and eugenics mindset."

Also mentioned - mandatory vaccines, an increasingly unwholesome centralized food supply, and snitching for the Dept. of Homeland Security. (The latter topic was presented with a lighthearted touch.)

Alex Jones isn't nuanced; he's brusque and propagandistic. But, in his case, those are positive qualities, not negatives, as he's trying to quickly disseminate complex information to the masses, and do it in a riveting, convincing fashion.


Sunday Inspiration: Ice

Ice is interesting. Icicles, ice cubes, ice skating, and even ICE.

But ice can also act as a crystal clear deterrent. Icy roads cause us to slow down or turn around; urge us in a different path.

Sometimes the road less traveled ...

should just be avoided.

Sidebar: Kirk Cameron enters a perilous paradigm: The Piers Morgan show. Given his non-squishy response, its obvious Kirk doesn't attend a seeker church.


Saturday Sighting: Attack Ad on Hank

Adorable, especially the part about Hank not releasing a birth certificate ...


Sat. Sighting: Fatherhood Coalition's Dissent

Writes JoeU of the Massachusetts-based father rights organization: "We oppose the 'White Ribbon Campaign' and Jane Doe's banner because they falsely promote the hateful idea that only men commit violence. Under this premise it is too easy and common to throw a father out of his home and take his children away. Even incarcerate him. All without real justification. The reality, as everyone knows, is that men and women are equally capable of violent acts. Singling out men, and the governor's approval of this message, is sexist and discriminatory.

The governor* also needs to answer for his double standards for it's clear that only banners with 'approved' messages are allowed under his administration. A message that honors fathers is not while another that spews hate against men and young men is just fine and dandy."

In the photo: The banner-in-question hanging at the Mass. State House.

Related: I blogged about the absurd spectacle of incorporating this PC White Ribbon campaign into the half-time show at a UMass/Amherst basketball game.

Sidebar: The Fatherhood Coalition argues that Dr. Paul, not Rick Santorum, is the candidate for guys and families. Massachusetts votes on Super Tuesday.

*Deval Patrick


Fri. Fun: Therapy for Body, Mind, & Soul

My friend Melanie, who is on sabbatical in Austin, Texas, blogs about her therapy: Running long distances. You keep going, girl!

Here's my semi-weekly therapy:

Full disclosure: I throw in some swimming, also.

But that whirlpool bath - ahhh!

Population Control Ideas Gone Wild: Cafaro Funded by Colcom Calls for "Coercion"

At the 5:34 mark is where the commentary begins in earnest regarding Philip Cafaro's incendiary, inhumane remarks.

Cafaro, a left-wing professor at Colorado State (translation: on the public dole) has been active in the immigration reform movement and is a true believer of Climate Change. He has had a blog at the Center for Immigration Studies and is president of Progressives for Immigration Reform.

Both have received significant funding from the Colcom Foundation, which is committed to a "sustainable population."

By any means possible, eh, Colcom?

Related: C.S. Lewis on how men play God (mentions eugenics).


A Word About Sustainable Agriculture

After I mentioned Polyface farmer Joel Salatin, of Virginia, Allan Wall, who grew up on a farm in the Heartland, sent this message: "My brother and his wife (who live a mile away from us) have 8 kids and homeschool. They have a dairy farm, sheep and poultry and sell mutton, lamb and eggs at a Farmer's Market each Saturday. They have a relatively small acreage, but rotate the dairy cows incessantly and utilize an 'eggmobile' for the hens and eggs. (I think they got that idea from Joel.)

Another 'guru' (using the word in the sense of a teacher and not a Hindu teacher) my brother keeps up with (who also runs in Joel's circles) is Allan Nation, the pasture expert. Nation encourages farmers and ranchers to obtain as much nutrition as possible for cows or other livestock from pasture. That, of course, implies different sorts of pasture in different places. A few years ago, my brother and his family won a Sustainable Agriculture award.

[In contrast] Big Agribusiness emphasizes things like those horrible feedlots where cows are trapped 24/7 and those horrible chicken houses where chickens are trapped in metal cages their whole miserable short lives. And, of course, hiring illegal aliens to do farm work. But these sorts of Salatin/Nation type operations have the potential of helping family farms get by with less land and without illegal labor."

Unwieldy: Computering with Punch Cards

We've come a long way in a short time. Thank you, Al Gore.