Linking for Thinking

Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell is an outstanding read, and now you can also enjoy Amanda Green’s chapter by chapter review. Bookmark it.

No, socialism is not cool, and yes, it has been tied. It’s deadly.
China is amending its Constitution to make Ji Xinping dictator for life.

Trump looking at steep tarrifs on steel and aluminum

Conservatives and cultural power. Part 2. I nearly stopped reading when David Brooks was called a conservative. He just plays one for money, but not with any sincerity or accuracy.

If you don’t already know about Appendix N, you should. This will make more sense if you do. I’d put it on the same shelf as books by John Taylor Gatto and Samuel Blumenfeld.

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Books Read in February

A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison- this was, of course, a re-read, but I hadn’t read it in probably 15 years. I still like it. It was fun reading my notes, too- there were a couple areas I once strongly disagreed with her and later revised my opinions. It’s a fast read, and a quick escape pod read to shoot you out of the public school mindset and into the nuts and bolts of a CM education. IT’s more about practice than principles, but sometimes that’s what you need to get going. She never pretends that what she’s written here is all anybody needs, but recommends repeatedly that people read the six volumes for themselves (even gives suggestions where to read for different topics). I have some minor caveats- I wish she sourced her statements more thoroughly. One or two minor points she makes are taken out of context, IMO, but overall, it’s a very useful read. She also has timetables from December, 1908 reprinted in the back of the book along with the timetable she uses instead, and she’s very clear on the fact that timetables are helpful primarily as examples, not as straightjackets. Still Recommended after all these years.


JFK: History in an Hour, UNABRIDGED by Sinead Fitzgibbon, Narrated By Jonathan Keeble.  An audiobook.

Planning and Implementing Retreats, A Parish Handbook by Nicki Vergloegen Vandergrift,a nifty little handbook aptly described by the title. It’s written by and for Catholics, but can be used by others.

Essay on Man & Other Poems by Alexander Pope.

Pope is out of style these days, but I like him.  He’s witty. His words are gems, finely cut, perfectly fitted in their setting. He sparkles.

The Jekyll Legacy by Robert Bloch and Andre Norton, I picked this up for about 20 pesos at a used bookstore, and for that price, it was a light, amusing, interesting read. IT was 2 parts obvious social commentary, 1 part mystery.  The gist of it is that Jekyll’s niece has no idea she is his niece because her father moved to Canada and changed his name years ago.  She happens to have come to England as a penniless governess who promptly loses her job because she’s too independent, and just before she’s about to starve, she discovers her surprise inheritance.  There are some murders and some mysteries as well as human trafficking, and yet, it’s still a light Read.

Two short stories by O Henry- The Ransom of Red Chief and Tobin’s Palm- both amusing, with Red Chief being the funnier of the two.

The Importance of the Electoral College by Dr. George Grant- “The architecture of the Electoral College established a procedure wherein the Republic’s Chief Executive would be chosen by the people as citizens of the States in which they reside.”  We don’t really have a single national election, we have fifty State elections on the same day.  This is so the President will be accountable to the citizens of each state. The various states have very different interests and the President should know about and try to represent all of them. Otherwise, in a winner takes all vote system (which we have never had), the presidential     candidates could completely ignore the middle states and just campaign in thhe two or three most populace states, which a recent candidate attempted to do and thus lost the election. It’s frustrating to me to try to explain this to people who hate the electoral college. They are recalcitrant in their lack of understanding that we are not a simple majority rules democratic form of government- and never were intended to be. WE’re a republic with a federal government, and it matters. The fact that we’ve grown so much larger both geographically and population wise is not a reason to dump the electoral system, it’s a reason to keep it. It keeps the Chief Executive paying heed to the varying needs and interests of the different states. We are not all Californians, and we are not all Minnestoans or Dakotans, either, and citizens of each of the States have some right to expect their President will have some knowledge of their respective concerns.

If we’re going to do away with the electoral college, then we would also need to look at something other than a simple majority. AFter all, Woodrwo Wilson received less than 42% of the vote, Truman and Kennedy receives less than half, Nixon and Clinton won with only 43% of the vote.
The president needs broad cross-national support or else the candidate could simply pander to a populous area, promise them the moon in exchange for votes and use the rest of the nation as a dump for the waste of the most populous states.

This little book explains that well enough. The chapters are short, and the book includes a copy of the pertinent sections of the constitution. It is a bit dated, in that it spends overmuch time on the election of 2000, but that’s understandable. Each chapter opens with a brief quote related to liberty, government,or specifically our government. Unfortunately, at least one of them is spurious- Grant relied a bit too much on Barton and David Barton allowed his enthusiasm to outstrip his careful scholarship in some cases.

Foundation of a Biblical Worldview by G. Thomas Sharp– a slim little volume. It was intended to be the first of a series, and may have been republished with the others here, I am not sure.

Some of it I agreed with, some I didn’t, some was very interesting for reasons not really related to the book itself.  From my notes: Secularization is the source of America’s problems, the foundation of that secularization is Darwinism, including the industrial revolution and its dehumanization of workers, however at the same time claims ‘trend toward secularization of Christian thought can be ‘traced to Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas’ (from the intro, but a Thomas Reid), and other places blames the enlightenment and renaissance eras.

Prefers term Hebrew- Christian to Judeo-Christian because he says Judeo-Christian is too connected to Zionism.

Culturally we are no longer either, but rather pagan largely because one generation (I think the 50s-80s) taught one worldview and lifestyle regarding biblical truths and God, but actually lived as if they did not believe what they were teaching.

He recommends all Christians be careful students of the Bible and then compare their attitudes, goals, and values with what they read. I can agree with that.

This was interesting because of the cultural implications (which you all know I am hungrily devouring while living in the Philippines)- Presuppositions, preconceptions, sets of assumptions, dominatn theoretical framework- these are nearly impossible for us to recognize in ourselves, and yet they filter everything,they determine what we see, how we see it, how we interpret it. These invisible filters, compasses, calibrations actually determine what we think is interesting and worth studying (what we even notice in the first place), how we respond to information.  We truly almost never challenge our own worldview because we almost never even recognize those underlying presuppositions.  We interpret new information through them and ignore or reject observations or conclusions which contradict our own presuppositions.

We are vulnerable to cultural sins for those reasons.  Hebrews 12:1- the sin that besets us could be interpreted as the sin that surrounds us, the surrounding encompassing sins, sin which clings too easily…

He quotes Alfred North Whitehead, and this quote is one all of us should consider:

“…students of the history of ideas should not look for those ideas which are under constant discussion in any age, but instead should look for those basic assumptions which are so fundamental to a man’s way of thinking that he does not even realize he is assuming them. ”

The Russian Revolution: History in an Hour
By: Rupert Colley
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Series: History in an Hour
Length: 1 hr and 20 mins

I like the History in an Hour series, and I like Keeble as a reader. The History in an Hour series is useful for review, helpful as an introduction. By nature, most of them have to be a somewhat superficial overview. You can’t cover the Russian Revolution in depth in two hours, let alone 80 minutes (this one is a bit over an hour). But the recordings in this set are usually very inexpensive and accessible and give you some background and highlights that will help smooth your path should you pursue more in depth studies.

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Giant Whiteboard for Cheap

We once had a whiteboard that was about 4′ X 8′.  It cost us around five dollars because we bought it from another homeschooling family.  They had bought it at a home improvement store, but it wasn’t sold as whiteboard, so it cost them around ten dollars (prices a bit higher now, but not much). Compare coats- according to comments on the above post, the Home Depot version has a better coat so is erasable longer.


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Me, Too hits K-Dramas

Jo Jae Hyun, who is currently acting in Cross, is
being written out of the show due to recent allegations of sexual harassment.
I think Cross producers were able to deal with it because of Jo Jae Hyun’s admission. I don’t usually place much value on the cookie cutter confessions and apologies in these things but his did sound a bit more sincere than usual. That could just be because of the cultural devide, so what is typical for Korean apologies sounds fresher and different to American ears.  It could also merely mean he’s better at apologizing. I’m pretty cynical about serial sexual abusers and their apologies.
Jo Min Ki was let go from his professor position, dropped out of a drama he was supposed to do (Children of a Lesser God) and was booked by the police. There are at least 8 allegations, mostly from his students, and one possible attempted rape.
Oh Dal Soo stepped down from My Ajusshi (probably with some urging from producers and maybe other actors), and he also apologized, after several denials and threatening to sue.  He finally apologized when one of his victims, Uhm Ji Young , had the courage to come forward and accuse him in a public interview.  This is really tough for an actress in Korea to do- it may end up ruining her career.  It’s a risk she took, saying that since he’s teaching students, and he was so arrogant about denying it she just couldn’t live with the silence anymore, that younger actresses needed to know who he was.
Notice how many times he makes himself the victim, tries to elicit sympathy for himself, attempts to preempt doubters by saying nobody will believe him, and ever so subtly tries to raise doubts about one of his accusers- telling her that he doesn’t remember her, then that maybe he does but he remembers events differently (a common theme in the American ‘apologies’).  And then, the worst part is when he says that if it’s the person he’s remembering then he told her that she should write stories and plays (ie fiction) because she’s so good at writing. He’s calling her a liar.
Oh Dal Soo had finished his work (or most of it, I gather) in filming Along With the Gods 2, but the company will be re-shooting his scenes and replacing him, as well as actor Choi Il Hwa , who also has faced charges of sexual harassment-  and assault of an actress who was so traumatized she left her career behind. 
This is all so depressing, partly because it’s got to be just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. You know there’s so much more.=(
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Random This and Also That

K-Drama: For those of who were interested in Mystery Queen, the D-Krama about a housewife with a knack for detecting and a cranky tempered elited detective who team up together and solve crimes- the reason for the bizarre ending is that there was supposed to be a season 2.  You can read more about that here.  And now there is a season 2.  I watched episode and it was really funny.  I’m not sure if I will stay up to date with this one or wait until it’s done because:

~I now have trust issues because of the abrupt way they turned off the lights and closed the door, leaving viewers with gaping mouths, attempting to find our way out of the dark. I don’t trust them to resolve the issues.
~I don’t love this actress, and I especially don’t love this actress continuing to play cute ingenues.  IT’s kind of weird, because last season it felt like they tried to have her a tiny bit more grown up than the stuff she usually plays- she was married, after all.   And this season they are making her too cutesy and much younger and it just doesn’t work for me.  I just don’t think she matches well with the parts she plays in the last few years.  That’s possibly not her fault- that may be the only work she’s offered that pays the bills.  It just means while watching my cynical self is rolling its eyes and commenting that she seems more like his aunt than his girlfriend, and she’s too old and too experienced with crime to be this dewy eyed bashful about whether or not to hold hands with the guy she’s been crushing on for two years.
~I don’t like this pairing as a romantic pairing. They are fine as friendly co-workers, and a good detecting team. But I’m just not sold on their chemistry/romance. And they act like bashful teenagers who have never so much as kissed another person before, when she’s been married for years, and he was in a very serious relationship. Everything is off.
~ I’m not really drawn in to the life history stuff here- the reasons for her marriage and the reasons for her divorce, whatever is going on with the cop’s previous girlfriend, none of it worked or felt true to me. I know it’s fiction and really, any one of these things and I would love the show anyway (given a good season 2). But all of them make me disengage while watching.  But, again, the first episode was mostly incredibly funny, even while dealing with a pretty nasty set of criminals.

Baking in the Philippines

Living in the Philippines, my oven is a tiny toaster oven. I’ve had trouble finding recipes w/ingredients I can get adapted to my little toaster oven. I realized today I should be searching for Easy Bake Oven recipes.

I baked 3 1/2 batches of sugar cookies. In my oven that means 21 cookies. My Visaya language teacher was very impressed, so that was worth it.

I baked 2 batches of peanut butter cookies yesterday.   That’s 12 cookies for those keeping score at home.

The only pans I have that fit it are the flat tray it came with (that’s what holds six cookies), and four very small pans- 3 of them hold about 1 1/4 cups of cake batter, and the fourth holds more like 1/2 to 3/4 cups of batter.  Only 3 of those pans fit in the oven at the same time.



Leftist: Pence wants to kill gay people so he’s bad.

Fellow leftist: I think we should kill Trump and then kill Pence.
1st Leftist: No, I don’t know when he said that but it’s objectively true.
What ‘conversation’ is possible here?

Call out culture:  I forget what it was I was reading, but it was recommending somebody call out somebody else very publicly for something that was really quite minor and in circumstances that made calling them out more obnoxious than usual.  It reminded me of TTW  my son was called out by his high school teacher because he said something like ‘she’s disabled’ and she overheard it and rebuked him in class (politely enough, but still irksome) because he should have said she is a person w/a disability’ instead because otherwise he was ‘depersoning’ the person and making it about her disability and not her.  She thing  boasted of her own roll as ‘activist for the disabled community’.
Not ‘community of people with disabilities?
Also, my son was referring to his his own sister, and in the context of the discussion the disability part was the point anyway.  And also, my son later when he told me about it: “I don’t remember seeing her around here at breakfast this morning, helping my sister get dressed and fed, in fact, I haven’t seen her around here, ever, so she maybe she should save her ‘advocacy’  corrections for people who don’t live with and love and take care of somebody with a disability 24 and 7.’ (I’m paraphrasing, but yes.)

Life in the Philippines

They are building a house next door to ours and by next door I mean it’s essentially a condominium and our house is the other side.  The wall of the other house is flush to our fence- out fence is part of that house wall. That’s about 3 feet from my bedroom and bathroom windows.  It’s noisy and dusty.  So dusty that the sheets on the line had to be washed a second time the other day.  The construction workers annoy the dog by existing, and then he annoys them by barking like an idiot all day and then they get irked and yell at him and sometimes throw things at him.  Also, they have started calling him Afritada, which is basically like calling him “Dog Stew for Dinner.”

Mom to College Boy thousands of miles away: I send him a box of food via Amazon every month (or Walmart) – a constant tension between competing factors- my budget, me wanting to feed my kid because I’m the mom and he’s the youngest, him being kind of picky, me wanting to feed my kid healthy food and him wanting to eat junk. Mostly, I lose.  I draw the line at some things, though. We have a long tradition of everybody just knowing that I don’t buy sugary cereal except for dessert for very special occasions (.99 sale is a legit special occasion).   So I have not yet added a box of his favourite, frosted mini-wheats, to the package.  I seriously considered it last month and at the last minute changed my mind.
Instead, I bought him a five pound bag of peachies.

I know. I don’t know what came over me.

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