Saturday, August 25, 2012

To educate schoolchildren, just assign lots of books!

    Ash was given a reading assignment recently to read a book that could have really happened. Both Ash and Lucy are good readers, but as a practical matter Lucy reads more than Ash does.
    Lucy has surprised me from time to time with little tidbits of knowledge that she's obviously picked up from reading. Even fiction books are full of factual knowledge.
    I suggested that Ash read To Kill a Mockingbirdand he got started. After about three minutes he asked me what a "trot line" was. So even though he was reading a fictional book he was learning about something in real life. And something important, too, as Hank Williams Jr. says those who can skin a buck and run a trot line will survive while those who can't presumably will not.
    I did a quick Google search of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "trot line" and what do you know but I found some teacher's vocabulary list for the book. A student who reads this book and masters the vocabulary is certainly going to come out a more educated student!

Here is the vocabulary list:
assuaged: provided with relief from something distressing or painful
apothecary: a pharmacist or pharmacy
piety: strong belief in a god or God and strict observance of religious principles in everyday life
chattel: slave
impotent: powerless
strictures: limits; restrictions
taciturn: introverted; socially reserved; uncommunicative
trot-line: a long heavy fishing line to which several hooks are attached in series
county seat: a town that is the seat of county administration
spittoon: a container for people to spit into
unsullied: pure
synonymous: meaning the same thing; identical
dispatched: sent off
imprudent: reckless; irresponsible
tyrannical: oppressive; ruling with absolute power over a population cruelly kept submissive and fearful
vapid: lacking interest or liveliness
malevolent: spiteful; having or showing a desire to harm others; having a harmful effect or influence
morbid: showing a strong interest in unpleasant or gloomy subjects such as death, murder, or accidents
predilection: a particular liking or preference for something
domiciled: lived in (“domicile” refers to where a person lives)
flivver: a small, inexpensive, old car
beadle: a messenger of a court of law
probate judge: a judge that handles the distribution of property of people who have died
nebulous: unclear; vague
foray: a short trip or visit to a place

Battle of Hastings: an important battle in 1066 that left England open to invasion by the French
John Wesley: founder of Methodism
Hoover carts: during the Depression, some people couldn’t afford to buy gas for their cars and so cut off the front part of their car, turning it into a cart that a mule could pull

neighborhood scold: a neighbor who gossips
stumphole whiskey: illegal whiskey, usually hidden in tree stumps

    Okay, now admit it, were there any words you didn't know? I didn't know beadle, nor flivver, and was unfamiliar with Hoover cart. I guess I've heard of stumphole whiskey.
    Oh, and this vocabulary list is only from Chapter One! I'm going to go ahead and print out the vocabulary words for the entire book, since some conscientious teacher has placed her study guides online. I used to like the Dickens and other books that had the explanations of unusual words and events at the bottom of each page. Too bad Ash's "To Kill a Mockingbird" doesn't have that! But at least he'll have the printed lists.
    I'm convinced that if our schools want to do a better job educating students, they can start by requiring them to read more books! My experience is that the kids are only required to read a few books each year. Too little reading and too little education in my view.

For those of you who want a copy of Ash's vocabulary words, click right here. Also,I found a website that serves as a study guide for the book. To access that site, click here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If Tampa police can hand out GOP schedule, then here's the Dem schedule

    The Tampa police department is actually handing out guides for protesters at the Republican National Convention that lists the schedule of events. Even worse, the Drudge Report has a developing headline that says Vice-president Biden actually plans to be on hand to help disrupt things. Surely not!
    One of the commentors on the CBSTampa site pointed out that if the Tampa police were going to hand out the GOP schedule it was only fair to post the schedule for the Democratic schedule. So for anyone planning to protest at the Democrat convention, here's their schedule:
4:00 PM – Opening Flag Burning Ceremony
4:05 PM – Singing of "God Damn America" led by Rev. Jeremiah Wright
4:10 PM – Pledge of Allegiance to Obama
4:15 PM – Ceremonial I hate America led by Michelle Obama
4:30 PM – Tips on Dodging Sniper Fire – Hillary Clinton
4:45 PM – Rev Jessie Jackson Leads Castrati Choir in Singing "Great Balls of Fire"
5:00 PM – UFO Abduction Survival – Joe Biden
5:30 PM – Eliot Spitzer Speaks on "Family Values" via Satellite
5:45 PM – Tribute to All 57 States
6:00 PM – Joe Biden Delivers 100,000-Word Speech Featuring 23-Minute Question and 2-Hour Answer
8:30 PM – Airing of Grievances by the Clintons
9:00 PM – Bill Clinton Delivers Rousing Endorsement of Obama Girl
9:15 PM – Tribute Film to Freedom Fighters at Gitmo – Michael Moore
9:45 PM – Personal Finance Seminar - Charlie Rangle
10:00 PM – Denunciation of Bitter Gun Owners
10:30 PM – Ceremonial Waving of White Flag for IRAQ, & Afghanistan
11:00 PM – Obama Energy Plan Symposium/Tire Gauge Demonstration
11:15 PM – Free Gov. Blagojevich rally
11:30 PM – Obama Accepts Tony and Latin Grammy Awards
11:45 PM – Feeding of the Delegates with 5 Loaves and 2 Fish – Obama Presiding
12:00 AM – Official Nomination of Obama by Bill Maher
12:01 AM – Obama Accepts Nomination for Lord and Savior
12:05 AM – Celestial Choirs Sing
3:00 AM – Biden Delivers Acceptance Speech

h/t/ Yahoo commentor BJC of Tennessee

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Diversity for thee, but not for me

    If there's one thing liberal elites love it's diversity. There's just one catch: they don't want it for themselves.
    And so for years we've had to live under the subjugation of politicians who would go to any lengths to "diversify" society while avoiding such rules themselves. The politicians who so eagerly touted the joys of forced busing never had their children bused for several hours into a slum. Most judges who ruled ability grouping unconstitutional never had a bright child forced to spend each school day in a classroom full of low-IQ students.
    When faced with the possibility of living the hellish life they were forcing on the rest of society, our political overlords simply sent their children to private schools or bought their way out of the problem. You see, the ruling class sees social engineering as something that they do to others, not something that they actually participate in themselves.
    The photo above was taken from the Obama 2012 Chicago Twitter site. It is his Chicago campaign staff as it existed a few months ago. Can you, dear reader, tell me what's missing from this picture?
    The Obama administration has been filing disparate impact lawsuits like mad against American businesses. These suits literally force businesses to practice aggressive reverse discrimination. Essentially, any job requirement which has a disparate impact on minorities is considered against the law. One exception to the disparate impact rule is the requirement for a college degree; thus jobs such as policeman and fireman in some areas now require a college degree, as job candidates can't be given any sort of test.
    But when it comes to his own campaign staff, Obama doesn't have any diversity at all. Just a bunch of white folks in a city that is almost half black.
    In other Diversity-for-thee news, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra just informed two Cobb County high schools that they wouldn't be invited to join with the symphony for the annual Christmas program as they have for the past four years. The Cobb schools are known nationally for their high quality choral program, but there's certainly nothing wrong with inviting another area school to participate in the Christmas program.
    What is wrong is the reason given for dis-inviting the Cobb County schools. They were told the reason they weren't wanted this year was that they weren't "diverse" enough, and indeed, the Cobb County choral groups are overwhelmingly white.
    "We want the stages of the Atlanta Symphony, whether here, Verizon (Wireless Amphitheatre), or Chastain Park to reflect the diversity of Atlanta," ASO President Stanley Romanstein told a local TV reporter. In other words, the Cobb County kids can't come because they're white.
    Spokesmen for the Atlanta Symphony refused to answer questions about the racial makeup of the orchestra, afraid perhaps that to answer would show them to be hypocrites. Pictured below is a photo of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (click on it to enlarge it).
    Once again the liberal credo in action: Diversity for thee, but not for me.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jinny found the glider she's been looking for

    When I was a kid my grandmother, Momma Hurdle, always had a glider on the front porch of her house. It finally gave out and was replaced with a "modern" glider that she never really liked too much. What she really wanted was another glider like the one pictured above.
    Jinny has been wanting one of these forever and finally found this one at a shop in Alabama. As for cost, well it was a lot less than they are selling for on eBay. It certainly has a sturdy feel to it. I guess these things have too much metal in them to be affordable today.
    Our new glider comes with two matching chairs. All of them are free of rust or dents and feel pretty sturdy.
    Jinny has found a place in Memphis that will soda blast off the old paint and bits of rust and then paint the furniture with a paint powder that somehow sticks to the metal with an electric charge. The paint is then baked onto the metal, so it won't peel or chip off. That's the plan, anyway. The paint job is going to be pretty reasonable, just over $100, although we may want to do some two-tone stuff that will run up the price a little.
    I'll post photos of our finished lawn furniture in a few weeks.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oxford education group wins new car in Facebook voting

    Teach for America - Delta, headquartered in Oxford, is in a new set of wheels thanks to receiving the most votes in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good promotion yesterday.
    The contest presents five charities each day and the charity with the most votes gets a new car. Teach for America - Delta was yesterday's winner in Facebook voting and will receive a new Toyota Camry.
    You can learn about the contest here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oxford-Lafayette football game to be televised regionally to millions of households Aug. 30

    The Oxford Chargers are used to playing before thousands of fans in their annual match-up against the Lafayette County Commodores, but on Thursday, August 30 they will be playing to a potential crowd of millions.
    The annual Oxford-Lafayette showdown is scheduled to be the Sports South High School Game of the Week, with a potential viewership in the millions. I suppose this can change, but that's the plan for now. So television time ain't just for the Rebels these days!
    This announcement was made at the Meet the Chargers Monday night, hosted by the Chargers Booster Club. If this comes to pass certainly it will be a real feather in the cap of Oxford coach Johnny Hill, who has ably coached the Chargers since shortly after I graduated high school. I hope that doesn't make him feel too old.
    The Booster Club is offering a season pass to athletic events that is a pretty good deal. Booster Club membership with a season pass is $50. An additional pass is $40. Student passes for Oxford School District students are $25 each. So a family of four can get season passes to all athletic events for $165. For $250 one can become a "Super Charger," and no doubt be identified as such, and get four passes plus reserved chairbacks for all the football games, which might come in handy, as seats can be hard to come by.
    For $500 one can get eight reserved chairback seats at football games and eight season passes. I'm not sure we have that many friends, but I'm kind of fat and don't like to sit next to strangers, so I guess having eight seats would give me plenty of room to spread out!
    In reality we're debating whether to spend $165 or $250 and have the reserved seats. But $165 for four passes to every sporting event all year is a great deal. A family that attends only a few football games, a few more basketball games and a few other sporting events will easily save money with the pass. And since the pass is paid for it makes supporting the home team a no-brainer.

Click here and it should bring up an Acrobat file that is an application for Booster Club membership and season pass purchase. If that doesn't work, pester Booster Club president Cal Mayo.

Friday, August 10, 2012

California school district financing proof that the worst is yet to come

    If you want proof the worst is yet to come in the municipal and state funding ponzi scheme that we've been running, just look at the graphic above from the Voice of San Diego.
    This graphic represents a recent bond deal that was agreed to last year by the Poway Unified School District in California. Under this agreement, the school district agrees to pay a high interest rate, but doesn't actually have to pay anything for 20 years, at which point it starts paying on the debt.
    It's called a capital appreciation bond, and presupposes that the value of both the buildings and the tax base will increase in value. But the fact is that California real estate remains overvalued and the economy is in a shambles. Deals like this one ensure that it won't recover in the future.
    Poway isn't alone in using these ridiculous bonds. San Diego Schools recently agreed to pay $1.1 billion in interest on a $164 million loan. Other school districts are joining in with the borrow now, pay 20 years later plan. Of course, if the taxpayers don't have the money now, what makes them think the citizenry will have five times more money in 20 years?
    If you want to know where the economic growth is going to be in the next 50 years, find states with the lowest unfunded pension obligations and the least amount of down-the-road debt that some many states are willing to accept. States which have huge unfunded liabilities are going to have to raise taxes to such high levels that industry will have to leave. California is one of these states. Unfortunately, as we've seen California's fiscal woes have a way of spilling over into the nation at large.
    The Voice of San Diego has led the way in educating the public about the dangers of these bonds. They've even put together a guide, including a spreadsheet, showing how to find which districts have issued these bonds. Currently there are more than $18 billion of these bonds outstanding in California. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
    We've known about the problem on unfunded pensions for some time now but have done nothing due to the power of public-employee unions. Now you can add to that problem these balloon bonds, or capital appreciation bonds, high-interest bonds on which payments don't start until long after the idiots who approved them are out of office and retired. Oh, and to add insult to injury many of these bonds are not callable. They can't be paid off early.
    Sort of gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Let's do it for the children," doesn't it?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What's with steak places offering heavy steak sauces but no Worcestershire?

    The Col. Reb family went to Rooster's Tuesday night for the steak special. It was a great deal, $15 for a ribeye, plus a trip to a pretty good salad bar, plus a baked potato. They got swamped with their first night of offering the special again and ran out of potatoes, so our potatoes ended up being undercooked and inedible, but our steaks were great.
    When I asked for some Worcestershire sauce, I was brought instead a very heavy barbecue sauce and after questioning this was told this was their only steak sauce. I don't find any "thick," heavy steak sauce good, and this was no exception. In fact, the barbecue flavor just has no place on a steak in my view.
    Of course, many people would say that Worcestershire shouldn't go on a steak, either. But it's a traditional condiment, and as steak sauces go it is a very light one. To me it adds the perfect blend of salt, spice and deliciousness to any steak. It's simply not in the same league with A-1 or Heinz 57, which are so heavy that they completely cover up the flavor of the steak.
    I hesitate to single out Rooster's. I've noticed a lot of places that will offer up heavy, overpowering steak sauces to their customers but fail to carry light, delicious Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. I just don't understand.
    And while we're at it, why do those chefs who do have Worcestershire feel the need to make it from scratch and serve it in a little cup? It's not better than Lea & Perrins. Mr. Lea and Mr. Perrins have been making this stuff since 1838. There's no need to reinvent the wheel!
    I respect those who want nothing on their steaks but salt and pepper. Likewise, I respect the right of steak-eaters to slather their steak with heavy steak sauces. All I want is a couple of dashes of Lea & Perrins, and given the cost of steaks these day, I don't think that's too much to ask.
    I'm certainly not going to boycott Rooster's over the lack of Lea & Perrins. The steaks and too good and the Tuesday night special is too sweet. But from now on it will be B.Y.O.B. for me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Good moms allow their kids to blow their money on beer, not soap and deodorant

    In the category of advertisements I don't quite understand, points out to parents that college students frequently waste their money on such things as "binge drinking," with 30 percent of college students slamming down an average of more than nine drinks at a time.
    As a result of all the fun times, many students don't have enough money to spend on necessities, such as deodorant, laundry detergent, and healthy snacks. So what is a loving parent to do?
    Send a care package from home, of course, through! As the ad says, "College is a time for coming of age, making big decisions and becoming independent…and while all that is important, it’s a lot for a student to handle! Let them know they’re loved by Mom, not snubbed by Mom." That way their children won't have to suffer any ill effects from their decision to blow their whole budget on beer.
    So drink up lads, snacks, soap, and deodorant are on the way!

The ad was too big to include in my blog, but to see the ad, click right here.

Or click here to see a Acrobat version of the ad.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lusa's to have three locations while cheap steaks return to Rooster's on Tuesdays

    Lusa's Cafe is opening in two new locations, with scheduled openings in about a month. The current location on North Lamar will remain open.
    They will have one location in the shopping mall across from Wal-Mart, a few storefronts up from Newk's. Another location will be on Thacker Road in the old Bungalow location.
    In other dining news, discount steaks are back at Roosters. In the past they've offered 2-1 steaks on Tuesday nights. This changed to 50 percent off the second steak. Now they are offering a $15 special which features a ribeye, filet, or Grove kebob, plus a trip to the salad bar. My guess is the steaks may be a bit smaller than the regular menu steaks, but we'll see. Anyway, this is a good deal, and Rooster's usually does a good job on their steaks.
    For much of the summer Rooster's had brown paper over their windows downstairs, so they clearly were remodeling. I'm eager to see what changes they've made and to try out the new steak special.
    I wish the proprietors of both establishments well!

Addendum, 8-13-12: My wife and I tried to eat at Lusa's for brunch on Sunday. We sat down and waited for 10 to 15 minutes to be waited on as several servers walked by, working hard not to make eye contact lest they have to actually serve us. We left. I guess I won't be back for a while until they can get some servers who want to wait on the customers.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vince Gill coming to Ole Miss's Ford Center Sept. 13

    For those of you who are into country music, Vince Gill is coming to the Gertrude Ford Center at Ole Miss. As I often mention, this is one of the finest performing arts centers you will find at any university, or for that matter many large cities. It's just unbelievable.
    You can visit the Ford Center webpage announcing the event here. For some reason if you go directly to the Ford Center webpage the link is broken, so use my link if you want tickets (I've emailed them about the problem with their website and I'm sure they'll fix it soon).
    Also, it looks like the Ford Center and the University Box Office once again have made it possible to buy event tickets online. Last year we couldn't do this and could only get them by calling. Once again we can go online and get an idea of how many tickets are available. I really think if buying for a group it will still be necessary to call.
    The system from two years ago would actually show the seats which were sold. I liked this, and it would allow me select an aisle seat. I don't like sitting next to strangers, and by getting an aisle seat I can reduce the number of strangers we sit next to by 50 percent.
    The new system, unfortunately doesn't allow you to pick your seats. But it does allow you to pick your section and then tell you which seats you will receive. You can then take them or go back to the main screen and choose another category of seats.
    For the Vince Gill concert, the Orchestra Pit is sold out and it is impossible to buy more than two seats together in the Orchestra (downstairs) area. This leads me to believe that this even will be a sellout, so get your tickets soon.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Most Chick-Fil-A giving highly laudable; $5 million 'hate' group claim is bogus

    If you've noticed the rabid Internet postings of late, you've seen claims that Chick-Fil-A has donated $5 million to anti-gay "hate" groups. It's not true, and is a claim that is arrived at by classifying any organization that isn't out beating the bushes in support of gay marriage as a "hate" group.
    Chick-Fil-A's charity is WinShape, which in addition to funding scholarships makes a number of grants each year. Let's take a look at where WinShape's donations went in 2010 (and the 2009 donations are similar):
Marriage & Family Foundation: $1,188,380
This isn't a "hate" group. It's a group that offers marriage counseling and retreats for married couples. Some of the original founders of this group were active in the Prop 8 fight or other ballot initiatives, but participating in an election isn't a hate crime and this organization hasn't been involved with opposing gay rights in any way as far as I can tell. It's limited to counseling and retreats.

Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
This group is like the Boy Scouts, in that it wants its leaders to refrain from sex outside marriage or homosexuality. But that doesn't make it a "hate group." If you do a web search of this organization that excludes the term "Chick-Fil-A," you'll find that no one was calling it a "hate" group until a few weeks ago (with effort you can find a few web postings without the word "Chick-Fil-A" addressing the issue, but precious few). I can respect that many would disagree with FCA's policy, but the policy doesn't make it a "hate" group.

National Christian Foundation: $247,500
Okay, nobody knows where all this money goes. The group and its charities dispense roughly half a billion dollars a year to various causes. I hardly think this qualifies it as a "hate" group.

New Mexico Christian Foundation: $54,000
I can find nothing that this group has done except take money from Chick-Fil-A. Apparently in the eyes of some that makes them a "hate" group. That and the word "Christian."

Exodus International: $1,000
Okay, I can see why gays would get a little antsy about this one. Just think about Exodus as a place where gays can meet other gays to establish long-term relationships, because that's what usually seems to happen when they get together. But we're talking a thousand bucks here, not five million.

Family Research Council: $1,000
Chick-Fil-A is guilty as charged. The president of this group has a history of making remarkably inflammatory comments about gays, but it's a thousand bucks, not five million.

Georgia Family Council: $2,500
The Georgia Family Council had a statement on its website supporting California's Prop 8. You know, elections aren't hate crimes. And again, we're talking $2,500, not $5 million.
    Okay, so now that we've gone through the list there are indeed a few donations that I think are legitimate targets, and so to those who object, complain away. But complain about the thousands of dollars donated, not the millions.
    I suspect if you were to go over the charitable giving of any company or foundation you would find a few donations here and there that some segment of the population would find really objectionable. Our own government manages to squander our money on a regular basis on projects that average Americans find to be outrageous and often un-American. I personally find a few of Chick-Fil-A's small donations objectionable but find most of its giving highly laudable.
    The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is not a "hate group." A group that provides marriage counseling and offers marriage retreats is not a "hate group." This is where the bulk of Chick-Fil-A's money has been going. As a citizen, I thank them for making the world a better place in which to live.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Internet kills the LafaShopper News

    I understand the LafaShopper News will soon be a thing of the past.
    Back in the day when newspapers were worried about competition, shoppers were a good way to keep competing newspapers from opening up shop. The LafaShopper, which started showing up in driveways in 1975, once was a robust publication featuring 12 or more broadsheet pages each week. Today it's a broadsheet page or two made into a tab paper.
    There was a time when the only way to get a phone number for a business was the phone book. Businesses too new for the phone book had to rely on massive advertising in the newspaper. No more. Today I can type any name into my computer and quickly get any phone number I need.
    I still go to the newspaper for classified ads, but Craigslist has gobbled up a huge share of real estate and for sale ads. Newspapers are struggling with this reality, and so apparently there is no longer a demand for a "shopper."
    Postal regulations allow newspapers to distribute a certain number of "free" newspapers while still maintaining their second-class permit. It can be a great boost to ad sales to have a blanket-the-county day for the local paper, where every driveway in the county gets a copy of the actual daily newspaper. The Oxford Eagle would be wise to do this from time to time, both as an effort to boost circulation and as a way to sell advertising.
    I guess the LafaShopper served its purpose and now its time has come and gone.
    I guess Mr. Abbot will have to rewrite his exam question about the foreclosure notice published in the LafaShopper.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In the chicken sandwich squabble, masses turn out to support Chick-Fil-A

    Some people, at least, agree with me that Chick-Fil-A has been treated unfairly because of the comments of its president to his church newspaper opposing gay marriage.
    Whether or not you agree with the man, he ought to have the right to express his opinion without his company coming under attack. Most of us are used to liberal company owners having a host of opinions we may not agree with, yet we don't go ballistic every time we disagree.
    Part of that fallout of these vitriolic attacks has been the death by heart attack of the company's public relations director, Donald Perry. Now he no doubt had a bad heart anyway, but certainly the unprecedented stress of the past few weeks didn't help matters.
    Following an amazing showing of intolerance against the company, which included its exclusion from expansion into the city of Chicago and other locations, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee urged his viewers to treat Wednesday, August 1 as "Chick-Fil-A Day," to show support for the company's president and for free speech.
    I decided to check things out, and let's just say that it looks like the local Chick-Fil-A has done a month's worth of business in one day. At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the parking lot was full, cars were parked in the mall parking lot, the restaurant was packed, and the drive-in had cars backed all the way out of the parking lot, down through the mall entrance, with four to six cars in line waiting in line to turn in off University Ave. In the photo above, the Chick-Fil-A is on the right. The line of cars on the left is waiting for their chance to turn into the Chick-Fil-A parking lot for the drive-thru. There are cars on University also waiting. (I decided they didn't need my business and enjoyed a sub from Firehouse).
    I said three months ago that now was a terrible time to have a nasty fight over gay rights. We've gone through a period of pretty massive change, and I think folks need a short period of stasis. For whatever reason there are those who want to drag this issue onto the political front burner and into presidential politics, and I think it's going to do more harm than good for everyone.
    It's absolutely insane that we've managed to make a chicken sandwich into a political issue, but we have. And today is proof that there's plenty of backlash out there for those who want to provoke it.