Sunday, December 31, 2006

Dinner for One-"Same procedure as last year"

So this silly eleven minute flick is what they do for New Year's in Germany-they did alright giving the world Christmas trees, but I'm not so sure about this one.(it is a British flick so I guess we can blame them) It has become the Rocky Horror Picture Show of Germany. It is quite funny-just not that funny

From Wikipedia;

Dinner for One, also known as The 90th Birthday, or by its corresponding German title, Der 90. Geburtstag, is a comedy sketch written by British author Lauri Wylie for the theatre in the 1920s. German television station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) recorded a performance of the piece in 1963, in its original English language. This short comical play subsequently went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records, 1988-1995 eds.; later editions no longer have the category).

The 11 minute black-and-white 1963 TV recording featuring British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden has become an integral component of the New Year's Eve schedule of several German television stations and an absolute cult television classic in Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Austria: On New Year's Eve 2003 alone, the sketch was broadcast 19 times (on various channels). As of 2005, the sketch has been repeated more than 230 times. It is famous in other countries as well — including Denmark, Finland, German-speaking Switzerland and South Africa.

More here

It is a curiosity that this sketch has become a tradition in Germany, where up to half the population may see it every year, but it is almost totally unknown in Britain. It is also shown on New Year's Eve in many other mainland European countries, particularly Scandinavia and also by Australia's SBS channel. In Norway, however, it is shown every year on the eve of December 23. It is known as far away as South Africa. In Sweden, the show was put on hold for a period for six years, deemed "unsuitable" because of butler James' heavy drinking.

Although the sketch is most popular in non-English speaking countries, it is typically shown in the original English without dubbing or subtitles. Curiously, the film remains practically unknown to the English speaking world (except for Australia). It has never been broadcast on TV in Britain.[1].

The line "Same procedure as last year" has become a very popular catchphrase in Germany, according to Tim Gruhl, the programme editor at the Hamburg-based television Channel NDR. The phrase "has made its way into everyday vocabulary, and even crops up in newspaper headlines and advertisements.

Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Have a Wonderful New Year

Just a quick post, so my blog doesn't look quite so abandoned.
I am throughly enjoying the holidays-we have had wonderful Christmas and we are actually cooking a goose for New Years. We are also going to attend the annual Polar Bear plunge at the Flathead lake. My 8 year old daughter can't wait to jump in with (as per tradition) a bathing suit and ear muffs .
She says it's practice as she wants to be researcher in Antarctica one day.

Oh ya-of course, I am organizing the house and such but am taking off from running for a couple of weeks; I refuse to be seem working out right after New Years.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Santa Claus Conquers The Martians

Gather round with the popcorn and your pithy, smart assed, MST 3000 style commentary; Santa might be in over his head with this one!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Feeling stressed? Hold Your Husband's Hand

This is another in a series of "no duh" stories. It is up there with the breaking news that taking vitamins and eating healthy keeps your heart healthier. It is nice to see it in print, though, something positive about marriage. You've got to love this part,

"subjected 16 married women to the threat of electric shock "

LOL-I hope they were paid well. A little too Milgramesque for my taste. I think most women in a healthy marriage felt less stressed holding their husband's hand because they knew that when faced with the

"threat of electric shock "
that their husband was about to kick some researcher ass (I know mine would). Then we'd have a whole new study.

"Researchers feel far less stressed coming to from unconsciousness, when holding the hand of a fellow researcher(if they had a strong relationship.)"

If they didn't, the other researcher would have bolted for the door and all the years spent running from bullies would have finally paid off for him.

-Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Girl Montana Homeschool

Feeling stressed?

By Belinda Goldsmith
NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters Life!)
- Women feeling stressed this holiday season could find help is closer than they think -- by holding their husband's hand.

A study by a University of Virginia neuroscientist has found that happily married women under stress show signs of immediate relief when they hold their husband's hand, with this clearly seen on their brain scans.

Dr. James Coan, who led the limited study involving 16 couples in marriages judged to be strong, said he was surprised by the extent this gesture made on stress levels in women.

We've known for decade that being in a good, committed relationship makes wounds heal faster, makes you sick less often and even live longer," Coan told Reuters.

"But the main point of this study is that no one had been able to quantify the mental benefits of a close relationship in terms of improved health," he said.

Coan, whose study "Lending a Hand: Social Regulation of the Neural Response to Threat" is published in the December 2006 issue of the journal Psychological Science, subjected 16 married women to the threat of electric shock while either holding their husband's hand, the hand of an anonymous male, or no hand. More here

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Reading Shakespeare has Dramatic Effect on the Brain

Cool, another reason to strain your brain and not just to look smart carrying around a Complete Works of Shakespeare book(with the Sparknotes stowed away somewhere out of sight).
-Tasha Adams Rhodes Libertarian Girl Montana homeschool Tasha Rhodes
Research at the University of Liverpool has found that Shakespearean language excites positive brain activity, adding further drama to the bard's plays and poetry.
Shakespeare uses a linguistic technique known as functional shift that involves, for example using a noun to serve as a verb. Researchers found that this technique allows the brain to understand what a word means before it understands the function of the word within a sentence. This process causes a sudden peak in brain activity and forces the brain to work backwards in order to fully understand what Shakespeare is trying to say.

Professor Philip Davis, from the University's School of English, said: "The brain reacts to reading a phrase such as ‘he godded me' from the tragedy of Coriolanus, in a similar way to putting a jigsaw puzzle together. If it is easy to see which pieces slot together you become bored of the game, but if the pieces don't appear to fit, when we know they should, the brain becomes excited. By throwing odd words into seemingly normal sentences, Shakespeare surprises the brain and catches it off guard in a manner that produces a sudden burst of activity - a sense of drama created out of the simplest of things."

Experts believe that this heightened brain activity may be one of the reasons why Shakespeare's plays have such a dramatic impact on their readers.

Professor Neil Roberts, from the University's Magnetic Resonance and Image Analysis Research Centre, (MARIARC), explains: "The effect on the brain is a bit like a magic trick; we know what the trick means but not how it happened. Instead of being confused by this in a negative sense, the brain is positively excited. The brain signature is relatively uneventful when we understand the meaning of a word but when the word changes the grammar of the whole sentence, brain readings suddenly peak. The brain is then forced to retrace its thinking process in order to understand what it is supposed to make of this unusual word."

More here

Sunday, December 17, 2006

From Mercury to W Cephei

Video showing the scale of Earth to the other planets and stars. It all goes so well until about Neptune.
If you've ever felt small when you look out on the endless plains or rolling hills or looking out at the ocean;watching this will make you feel like an ant.

Ya-I know, everyone wants to see W Cephei-a little patience, it's at the end and ya it's really really big.

-Tasha Rhodes Tasha Adams Rhodes Libertarian Girl

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Most dangerous toys of all time

I love this article,especially the part about the Atomic Energy Lab
"kit came complete with three "very low-level" radioactive sources"

- Tasha Adams Rhodes Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Girl

Pray for Coal
The most dangerous toys of all time

Last month, Target recalled 10 of its Kool Toyz-brand play sets, citing hazards like "lead paint," "sharp points," and "puncture wound potential." The toys, which included plastic aircraft carriers, dinosaurs, and tanks, all appeared harmless enough. But according to the killjoys at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, children—at least those prone to eating plastic objects as big as their head—were at serious risk. A week later, Mattel recalled 4.4 million Polly Pocket dolls and accessories because kids were swallowing the toy's magnets. The Associated Press reported, "If more than one magnet is swallowed, they can attach to each other and cause intestinal perforation, infection or blockage." Three children required surgery.

In the last year alone, some eight million units of toys were recalled in the U.S., according to W.A.T.C.H., a toy-safety advocacy group. But Kool Toys and Polly Pockets are kids' stuff compared to the hazardous baubles of yesteryear. In the spirit of the holidays, Radar presents the most dangerous toys of all time, those treasured playthings that drew blood, chewed digits, took out eyes, and, in one case, actually irradiated. To keep things interesting, we excluded BB guns, slingshots, throwing stars, and anything else actually intended to inflict harm. Below, our toy box from hell.

1. Lawn Darts
Removable parts? Suffocation risk? Lead paint? Pussy hazards compared to the granddaddy of them all. Lawn Darts, or "Jarts," as they were marketed, would never fly in our current ultra-paranoid, safety-helmeted, Dr. Phil toy culture. Lawn darts were massive weighted spears. You threw them. They stuck where they landed. If they happened to land in your skull, well, then you should have moved. During their brief (and generally awesome) reign in 1980s suburbia, Jarts racked up 6,700 injuries and four deaths.

STOP TOSS MEASURES The lawn dart was put on the permanent no-fly list in 1988
The best part about Jarts was that they eliminated all speculation from true outdoor fun. (Is this dangerous? Hell yes, now chuck it!) And they were equal opportunity: All it took to play lawn darts was a sweaty grip. For good measure, it was also nice to have a small sibling around to stand on the other side of the house and tell you how your throw looked (and by how much you cleared the chimney).

The actual rules of lawn darts, as laid out by the manufacturer, were never important. No one is known to have used Jarts for their intended purpose. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that an accident involving a wayward spear and the semi-permeable head of a seven-year-old resulted in the toys' being banned from the market in 1988. Sadly, today's underage boys will never know the primal excitement of a summer's evening spent impaling friends before suppertime.

FISSION BUDDY Fallout shelter not included
2. Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
Honey, why is your face glowing? In 1951, A.C. Gilbert introduced his U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, a radioactive learning set we can only assume was fun for the whole math club. Gilbert, who Americanmemorabilia claims was "often compared to Walt Disney for his creative genius," had a dream that nuclear power could capture the imaginations of children everywhere. For a mere $49.50, the kit came complete with three "very low-level" radioactive sources, a Geiger-Mueller radiation counter, a Wilson Cloud Chamber (to see paths of alpha particles), a Spinthariscope (to see "live" radioactive disintegration), four samples of Uranium-bearing ores, and an Electroscope to measure radioactivity. And what nuclear lab for kids would be complete without an Atomic Energy Manual and Learn How Dagwood Splits the Atom comic book? (The latter was written with the help of General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project.)

MUTUALLY ASSURED INSTRUCTION Junior Einsteins had everything they needed, except a hazmat suit
Kids do the darndest things, but not, apparently, nuclear physics. The toy was only sold for one year. It's unclear what effects the Uranium-bearing ores might have had on those few lucky children who received the set, but exposure to the same isotope—U-238—has been linked to Gulf War syndrome, cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma, among other serious ailments. Even more uncertain is the longterm impact of being raised by the kind of nerds who would give their kid an Atomic Energy Lab.

Read the rest here

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Man Regains Sight After 60 + Years


December 13, 2006

Monticello - Bells tolled last week for Dec. 7, 1941 — the date that lives in infamy. This story starts the day after.

Young patriots rushed to the nation's defense. Don Karkos tagged along after school as his older brother, Eddie, went to enlist at the Navy recruiting station in Lewiston, Maine. The boy hunched in the back of the room as Eddie answered questions and filled out paperwork. A recruiter barked out at Don, "Hey, kid, whatsa matter, you don't like the Navy?"

"Sir, I'm not old enough," Don told him. "I don't turn 17 until Friday."

"Good enough," snapped the recruiter.

Seaman Don Karkos shipped out of Boston and sailed into the North Atlantic. His was the USS Rapaden, a tanker whose mission was to skirt the German U-boats off the English coast and refuel Allied battleships. On a warm morning in the summer of '42, Karkos was on the Rapaden deck when there was a loud explosion. Twisted metal flew everywhere. Something heavy hit the boy above his right eye, cutting his forehead open.

When Karkos woke up, he was in a military hospital in Iceland. Doctors told him he would never see out of his right eye again. They wanted to remove the right eye. Karkos said, no, might as well leave it in, just for looks.

Karkos returned home to Lisbon Falls, Maine, a small mill town with a woolery. He worked in the mill's weave room for three years, not leaving until he paid off the mortgage on his father's house.

Karkos never regained sight in his right eye. It severely limited his peripheral vision. He'd bump into walls, never knowing what was coming 'round the corner. He had to be extra careful, because if anything happened to his good eye, he'd be completely blind. More here

I love stories like that. What an amazing experience that must have been. This story is close to my heart not only because my dad, who passed away last month, was a WWII vet; but also because my husband is also blind on one side. Unfortunately, though,my husband's eye was removed as it was just so badly damaged.

He lost it a shooting accident some fifteen years ago. The bullet went directly into his eye, stopped before it got to his brain, came back out of his eye socket and was resting just under the skin above his ear. So really miracle enough that he is here at all.

-Tasha Tasha Adams Rhodes Libertarian girl

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Edvard Munch's birthday

Anyone who has done a Google search today, and is not homeschooling and therefore does not have so many art cards laying around that they are using them as coasters may be wondering why Google has a
Van Gogh logo today, but ooohnoo (said in an annoying Alex Trebeck tone) it is an Edvard Munch logo; The Scream
But like Van Gogh, he was also a cheery guy,
"Sickness, insanity and death were the angels that surrounded my cradle and they have followed me throughout my life."
Remember; just as depressed but with two ears.

Fourteen Things That It Took Me Over 50 Years To Learn—by Dave Barry

Dave Barry rocks. I swiped this off the web somewhere, but lost where.

  1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

  2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

  3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

  4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

  5. You should not confuse your career with your life.

  6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

  7. Never lick a steak knife.

  8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

  9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

  10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

  11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.

  12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.

  13. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)

  14. Your friends love you anyway.

Plain English Campaign's annual "Foot in Mouth" prize

Former England cricketer Geoffrey Boycott got two nominations while US President George W. Bush chipped in with one.

Boycott, now a commentator, mused that "the proof of the pudding is at the end of the day" and "I'll cross that chestnut when I come to it".

On the sticky problem of six-party talks on

North Korea, Bush -- whose idiosyncratic use of the English language has spawned the term "Bushism" -- said: "One has a strong hand when there's more people playing your same cards." More here

Naomi Campbell actually won the award with this statement "I love England, especially the food. There's nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta,"

So our president can now take solace in the knowledge that his metaphors aren't as convoluted as those of a pill popping super model.

Discovery Channel; Night Owls Are More Creative

Dec. 11, 2006 — Not a morning person? Take solace — new research suggests that "night owls" are more likely to be creative thinkers.

Scientists can't yet fully explain why evening types appear to be more creative, but they suggest it could be an adaptation to living outside of the norm.

"Being in a situation which diverges from conventional habit — nocturnal types often experience this situation — may encourage the development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions," lead author Marina Giampietro and colleague G.M. Cavallera wrote in a study to be published in the February 2007 issue of Personality and Individual Differences.

The researchers, who are both in the Department of Psychology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy, studied 120 men and women of varying ages.

A self-report questionnaire evaluated degrees of morning and evening dispositions. In fact, true morning and evening-oriented people are actually rare, since most of us fall somewhere in between.

Once the subjects were categorized into either morning, evening or intermediate types, they underwent three tests designed to measure creative thinking. More Here

No real surprise here. I'm not so sure genetics are responsible for as much of it as they think. I'd say there may be some genetic relationship to the tendency to stay up a little bit later or to get up a little earlier. But when it comes to staying up late and being more creative, I think that's just lifestyle. People that live their lives inside a set of appropriate lines of what they "should" do and seem fearful of going outside of those rules and are bitter and angry and look down on anyone who doesn't do the same; are probably going to go to bed early and get up early because they are suppose to.

It really is just another one of the benefits of homeschooling. I have one child who is just a night owl. He reads and thinks and paces, sometimes all night. Even as a toddler, he would sometimes draw all night. But since he is not in school-he is not sleep deprived and he has the opportunity to use the quiet time in the house to be creative. Of course, he is then in the dilemma of not wanting to miss out on daylight, so he puts a lot of effort into matching his schedule to ours by the time the weekend rolls around. This is a skill most people don't develop until college.

Of course, if you're reading this it's probably about 3A.M. -when I get the bulk of readers. Incidentally, Ben Franklin came up with the cute but very annoying, "Early to bed, early to rise. . ." thing but we all know he was like the all night, opened shirt, menage a' trois king even in France.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Biracial Kindergartener Used as Class "Prop" Told she was Adopted

MORGANTOWN -- The West Virginia Human Rights Commission is investigating charges that an elementary school teacher used a biracial kindergarten student as a prop to illustrate differences in skin color and ethnic backgrounds during a world cultures class.

Rhonda Bennett, a preschool teacher at Peterson Central Elementary School in Weston, is also accused of telling schoolmates that the child had been adopted -- a fact the family of the 5-year-old girl says she did not yet know.

Joseph Mace, superintendent of Lewis County schools, also has refused to return phone calls and e-mails from The Associated Press but acknowledged the incident to a local television station last week.

The Human Rights Commission supplied a copy of the family's complaint Wednesday after the AP filed a request under the state's Freedom of Information Act. More here

I love the public school system-I shall extol all the benefits of it later but for now; I'm recovering from a broken tail bone and sitting at the computer is not the most comfortable place to be.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Half Wolf Dog Digs Massive Tunnel and and Drags Owners Through it to Save Them

This story absolutely made my whole day.

Half-Breed Wolf Dog Hero Rescues Elderly Owners From Snowstorm

NEW YORK — When Eve and Norman Fertig rescued a sick, two-week-old half wolf, half German shepherd puppy from a breeder almost seven years ago, they'd never dreamed that the animal one day would save their lives.

"God is watching; he's watching all the time," Eve Fertig told FOXNews from her home at the Enchanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary in Alden, N.Y.

He apparently was watching on Oct. 12, when the 81-year-old Fertigs were treating injured animals in the forest sanctuary on their property. One such animal is a near-18-year-old raven, while another is a crow who was shot, blind in one eye with two broken legs.

It was routine for the couple to feed and exercise the dozen or so animals there around 7 p.m. every night.

"While we're in there, the lights go out and I realized something's wrong," Eve Fertig said. "We go outside to see what's happening and down comes one massive tree … the trees came down across us."

The massive storm that hit upstate New York that night felled trees, blocking the Fertig's path to the other sanctuary buildings — such as the school and storage building — and to their home, which was at least 200 feet away.

We were in big trouble. … I said to my husband, 'I think we could die out here,'" Eve said.

'The Most Heroic Thing I've Ever Seen'

The Fertigs huddled in a narrow alley between the hospital building and the aviary, where they were sheltered from falling trees. They couldn't climb over the trees without injuring themselves. Neither had warm clothes on since it was a clear, crisp fall day just a few hours ago. They hugged each other for warmth, since by 9:30 p.m., temperatures had dropped.

"I wasn't prepared for this … I thought, 'we're trapped, we're absolutely trapped,'" Eve said. "That's when Shana began to dig beneath the fallen trees."

The 160-pound dog that habitually follows her owners around — Eve likens it to "Mary had a little lamb," when the lamb went everywhere Mary went — eventually found the Fertigs and began digging a path in the snow with her teeth and claws underneath the fallen trees, similar to a mineshaft, and barking as if to tell them to follow.

A reluctant Norm said, "I had enough in Okinawa in a foxhole," referring to his service in World War II.

"'Norman, if you do not follow me, I will get a divorce,'" Eve said to her husband of 62 years. "That did it. He said, 'a divorce? That would scandal our family.' I said, 'all of our family is dead, Norman!'"

After Shana tunneled all the way to the house — a process that took until about 11:30 p.m. — she came back, grabbed the sleeve of Eve's jacket, and threw the 86-pound woman over her back and neck, which Eve described as "as wide as our kitchen shelf."

Norman grabbed Eve's legs, and the dog pulled them through the tunnel, under the trees and through an opening in a fence to the house, at which they arrived around 2 a.m. Read the rest here

Monday, December 04, 2006

Boy, 4, attacks armed robber with toy sword

A four-year-old changed into his Power Ranger costume and attacked when his family were held up by an armed robber.

Stevie Long sneaked out of the room while a robber was pointing a gun at his five-year-old sister Mary and mum Jennifer.

Minutes later, he leapt back into the room dressed as a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, reports the News and Observer.

"Get away from my family," he shouted, swinging his plastic sword and shouting "yah, yah."

More here

I just love this story except for the awful last line,
Stevie's aunt, Heather Evans, said a counsellor had suggested Stevie needs to improve his distinction between fantasy and reality: "He fully believed he morphed," she added.
A counselor, how awful, a four year old does something so wonderful and everyone thinks he needs mental help. No wonder we are becoming a society of wusses. And what four year old doesn't think he has magical powers!? That's why they run around with towels around their necks as a cape and swear they actually flew a little when they jumped off the chair. And it goes to show you what a little attitude can do. Okay, so this reminds me of a little story that, in our family, we can't tell without doubling over with laughter.

My husband, way back when, was a firearms instructor, in Las Vegas. He had a CCW(Concealed Carry Weapons Permit) and all that and carried a gun everywhere. Since we were at the range most of the day; everyday, there was plenty of time for practice. My husband, especially, practiced drawing from his holster and firing again and again.

One day we were out late and I don't remember why but for some reason he was not carrying that day. We were in a pretty bad neighborhood and as we were getting out of the car a man approached us and my husband told him to back away. He did not. You could tell by the body language and just the bad feeling in the air that no good was going to come from this.

My husband reached for where his holster usually was and automatically motioned as though he was drawing his gun.

Now, hubby's eyes are focussed on the guy approaching our car, but I'm looking at hubby and can see his hand is not drawing a gun but just his hand with his thumb up and his pointer finger out(like when kids play cops and robbers) hubby draws his imaginary gun and points his finger, with great authority, at the guy.The guy sees the ominous finger pointed, raises his hands in the air, backs away slowly, then runs off! We got in the car to take off and only then did hubby realize he was unarmed and with disbelief says "but he put his hands up!"


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Most Important Advice for New Homeschoolers Ever

Like most Saturdays, I am hiding from the news today. It is a beautiful day here in northwestern Montana. The snow is piled high and the sun is shining and the snowboard is calling. So my only post today is a single piece of advice for all homeschoolers and unschoolers. This is something that I read years ago in one of those Questions and Answers for Homeschoolers books and it has been the most relevant and needed advice I have ever received. This advice is not just for homeschoolers but also goes for all college students. Please be ready to receive this advice into your whole being so that it is not just intellectual knowledge but something that you live and follow. Here it is;

The library is only free if you turn the books in on time.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Coffee Snobs Move on to Homemade Roasts

Okay,I think I've got a new hobby. I did not know you could roast your own beans so easily. I am so very in love with dark roasted coffee. As a girl who grew up Mormon; coffee is not only good but better than that, it's actually a sin! So roasting my own beans is really on a par with moonshine. And speaking of illicit drugs; Happy Meth Day! Yes, today is, in fact, National Meth Day! I'm not sure how to celebrate that, though,maybe it's a good day to start a new diet.

Roast Your Own
America's most finicky coffee drinkers tout their caffeine connoisseurship in many, often contradictory, ways. They spend a bundle at Starbucks, or refuse to patronize big chains. They only drink espresso, or decline any cup of joe they didn't brew themselves.

Then there are people like Chris Becker of Arlington, whose coffee worship involves a ritual that places him at the outer edge of the country's java culture.

Becker roasts coffee beans at home.

''Even my less-than-good batches are fresher than any (beans) I'd buy in a store,'' said Becker, a 30-year-old government employee who uses a gas grill to transform flavorless green coffee beans into savory dark-brown kernels that he then grinds and brews within a few days, if not hours.

It doesn't require a lot of time, money or equipment to roast coffee beans at home — less than 10 minutes in an air popcorn popper does the trick — but enthusiasts devote plenty of each to the craft.
More here

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Century of the Self

I am still trying to make the time to watch this one-maybe at 3 A M, I'll get the chance. I've heard it is really freaky and interesting-mostly,I'm posting it so I won't lose it in bookmarks or in my Youtube Favorites.

Here is a Wikipedia quote on the film;

Among the main characters are Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in advertising. He is often seen as the "father of the public relations industry". Freud's daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned in the second part, as well as Wilhelm Reich, the main opponent of Freud's theories.

Along these general themes, The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, representative democracy and its implications. It also questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitude to fashion and superficiality.

Women talk three times as much as men, says study


It is something one half of the population has long suspected - and

the other half always vocally denied. Women really do talk more than men.

In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day - 13,000 more than the average man.

Women also speak more quickly, devote more brainpower to chit-chat - and actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices, a new book suggests.

The book - written by a female psychiatrist - says that inherent differences between the male and female brain explain why women are naturally more talkative than men. More Here

I'll just stay quiet on this one.

Tasha Rhodes libertarian Girl breastfeeding blog

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Birth Story

It's funny this is the first birth story I've written, even though I have had three other wonderful home births. It is posted on just about every birth story board there is but it never occurred to me to post it on my own blog,so here it goes;

This is the story of the midwife attended, homebirth of our fourth baby, Liberty Sage.

My first three were also born at home, with the assistance of midwives.

My first child (who is now nine) was born after six to seven hours of labor and was “caught” by a close friend of ours, who is probably the most well known and experienced (and most wonderful) midwife in southern Nevada.

Our second baby was born two years later in a state where midwifery (with the exception of CNMs) is, basically, illegal. So our wonderful friend flew up to play catch again. This time we were quite lucky to have a midwife across the hall instead of across town because from first mild contraction to nursing baby was just at an hour. This birth was somewhat less than straightforward as our baby was not breathing right away and her cord broke in half as she was coming out. But because of our friend’s extensive experience these things really went by without a hitch.

For the birth our now 3 ½ year old, our very wonderful and very well traveled (thanks to us) friend flew yet again, this time to Connecticut (my hubby was in law school there) but this time the baby was just not ready yet. So we called on our local back up midwife, who was still an apprentice, and asked her to attend the birth. The baby was posterior and the pushing was difficult. I think a more experienced midwife would have had me move around and try to get the baby to turn anterior but she was new and still learning. And after five hours of labor we had a happy new baby.

I did, however, suffer a mildly prolapsed bladder from pushing so hard. And while it was mild, I found it very frightening because it really feels like everything is falling out even when it’s just a slight bulge.
(You know all those stories you overhear as a kid-“Aunt Bertha’s uterus fell right into the toilet,”

“You don’t say!”
“Yes, just like cousin so and so’s did”)

Because of this, I decided three babies was enough. Although, the problem was solved by becoming Keagle obsessed.

Fate, of course, had other ideas.
With baby four on the way, our very wonderful and very well traveled friend was also very busy with babies and more babies and a phone that kept ringing. So we opted to find a local midwife. This was easy to do, with the very uptight law school in Connecticut behind us, where almost all the midwives are being threatened with prosecution for giving pitocin to hemorrhaging women, and the D.C/Virginia rat race where homebirth is basically illegal also behind us, we were now living in a “normal” place (Montana) where you can actual have a baby without a surgical team on hand.

We found a fabulous, knowledgeable, and experienced midwife whose apprentice was also very fabulous and knowledgeable and experienced. They’re also hopeless coffee addicts, so while I couldn’t drink the stuff at least I could take in the aroma at appointments.

My due date of May 8th came and went and so did the days after it without much of anything going on. My other babies had been with a day or to of “the date” But I tried not to get impatient. More time to clean the house, I could always use that.

By the 11th I started having some contractions, three or four of them, but then they stopped. Then I lost a little mucus had a few more contractions and then they stopped. I made red raspberry tea and mixed it with ginger tea. It didn’t bring on contractions but it did taste good. On mother’s day, the 14th, came the calls. “Happy Mother’s day” and, of course, “Have you had that baby yet?” This did not bother me as this was baby four and all I had to do was think of all those poor women, three weeks overdue with their first baby and the phone just ringing off the hook. I did think it was funny, though, that people really do call and say that same thing, again and again just like I always read about.

I lost a little more mucus and a little more blood and thought, ”Hooray” and then wondered why I would think that, I mean we are talking about childbirth here.

That Sunday night my husband had tons and tons of work and stayed up all night typing away while I slept. I woke up with a few contractions and by about four in the morning I noticed they were every twenty minutes or so and I had to breathe a little with them. At about 6AM I had to get a little vocal and that’s when I told my hubby to stay home from work. He had to drop off the work he had done that night at the office. I told him, no problem, as these contractions were like twenty to thirty minutes apart. As soon as he left, the contractions stopped. It took him an hour and a half to get back and I had not a single contraction the whole time. When he got back, I started feeling crampy. And when he asked what he could do, I said sleep as much as possible
(he had been up the whole

night). He wanted me to sleep too because he said he felt guilty sleeping while I was cleaning like a maniac. Our other three kids were still in bed. They are homeschooled and we had taken the week off.

After hubby fell asleep I snuck out of bed to clean, of course. Like the baby or the midwives care if my towels are folded. And the contractions went the same, some cramping, some contractions that were mild, and then every hour or so a whopper. I was calling our midwife periodically to update her. She is an hour away and was a little worried because of the speed of my other labors.

At about 3pm I lost my mucus plug and thought, “Here it comes, baby tonight, for sure”.

But still, the pattern stayed the same. My “real” contractions (the whoppers) were still an hour apart. Soon, though, they started coming every thirty minutes. This is when hubby woke up. And by 6:30pm they were every ten minutes. This is when I told hubby to call the midwife. He had had the phone in his hand for some time now-“Can I call her now? How ‘bout now? I really think we should call. If you think it’s too early, I can just tell her to bring a book.”

By 7pm I got worried (a word of thanks to hubby here for not saying, ”I told you so.”) I could tell I was headed for transition and that this labor was starting to feel very much like my second baby, with the one-hour labor. Contractions on top of contractions, no breaks at all, and double, triple peaks with each one. I started to feel like I had to go to the bathroom and I thought.”Oh no, not yet.” But happily when I did try to go, it was my water breaking and not a baby coming out.

By 7:20 the midwife flew into our driveway. I knew I was in full transition when she got there. She checked baby and me. Baby was good and my cervix was like butter, with just a lip. I started pushing a little. And soon, I started to feel that burn.

I was standing at this point. I had been pacing until I decided to push. I was facing the window and just clutching the curtains. When I felt that burn, I thought,” I can get this baby out. And I don’t need to wait for any contractions.” So I squatted down. And just pushed and pushed and pushed. I had not even felt the first pushing urge yet. I just thought if I pushed and pushed, as long as I could feel that baby moving, I could avoid, at least, experiencing five maybe six contractions. So I pushed on contractions and between contractions. And the whole time that burning was just overwhelming. But I took it as reassurance that I had done enough pelvic floor exercises and my bladder was not going to fly out across the room like it did in my nightmares. During this time, I was screaming and screaming and screaming until my voice quit, and then I was screaming in a whisper. And at this, I was glad, because I wanted to hear any instructions the midwife might have as the baby crowned. I heard her asked me to go on all fours and I thought, “Almost there.” Then I heard her say blow, so I knew the head was out or almost out. Then I pushed again, and she was out. She was born at 7:52pm; the midwife had been there thirty minutes. My kids were all in the room. And it was wonderful.

I realize the word empowering is sooooooooo overused but nothing else fits as well.

I carry my homebirths with me always and when faced with running an extra mile (literally or figuratively) I looked to them to push me on. This birth was really the icing on the cake for me and I know will inspire me on through any obstacle in the future.

Big Brother: Watching, Listening And Shouting

Behavioural control agenda continues as cameras will now record our conversations in the street and determine whether we are aggressive
Steve Watson
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

In an amazing story, that was passed over as if completely by-the-by, it was revealed over the weekend that London police and councils are considering monitoring our conversations in the street using high-powered microphones attached to CCTV cameras.

The microphones, which are already in use in the Netherlands, can pick up "aggressive tones" on the basis of 12 factors, including decibel level, pitch and the speed at which words are spoken. They are so advanced that background noise is filtered out, enabling the camera to focus on specific conversations in public places. More here

I'm telling you what-I can't tell if the UK is turning into TeleTubbie Land or if it's more like something out of V for Vendetta.
I only know I don't want to follow that example,but of course, once they do it in the UK, it will be seen as reasonable to the powers that be here in the States.

Where is that Guy Fawkes when you need him most?

Tasha Rhodes libertarian Girl Libertarian Blog

Monday, November 27, 2006

Port-a -Potty Breastfeeding

I thought I was being a little over the top and sarcastic when I placed the title," Ever been asked to feed your baby in a toilet stall?" next to my T-shirt photo but apparently not.

The whole week in Las Vegas was an emotional roller coaster going from funeral at my mom's to Thanksgiving at my mom-in-law's and trying to visit with everyone as much as possible in the time we had.

While with my hubby's family we went to this cute Christmas village put on every year by Opportunity Village in Las Vegas.
Every time I look out my window here in Montana and see the evergreens, thick and heavy with snow until each branch is bent straight down, I think of the plastic, snow painted trees at the Christmas Village-no kidding. Until we moved here it was my only memory of such a sight, in fact, I didn't know there were places that
actually looked like that until my first winter here.(I was born in Las Vegas)
Anyway, while everyone was in line to watch the kids on the carousal, I found a somewhat quiet bench to feed my little nursing but it was very crowed and people were literally walking over my feet as I sat, so not very private. Just a few minutes after I sat down came a young mom with a beautiful five day old baby. She recognized the blanket over the head deal right away. She said she'd been looking for a place to nurse and finally asked at the information desk if there was a place she could nurse her baby.
Ya-you guessed it, they suggested the port-a-potty!

Rhodes Breastfeeding blog nursing Las Vegas Magical Forest

Teens Frustrate Military Recruiter's ASVAB Scam

by Scott Horton
With bulletins and a handful of homemade flyers, two teens have struck a blow against the American Warfare State, Lindale, Georgia Division.

On a Friday afternoon the 17th of November, 17-year-old high school seniors Robert Day and Samuel Parker decided to act after Day overheard some teachers at Pepperell High School saying that first thing Monday morning the school's juniors would be made to take the ASVAB military aptitude test.

Often administered under the guise of a career aptitude test, the ASVAB's purpose is to better equip the State to prey on young people tricked or pressured into taking the test. According to Debbie Hopper of Mothers Against the Draft, it is often given under the pretext of being a "career placement" test. (In some cases it has in fact been used that way, no doubt in an attempt to legitimize what many Americans regard as not legitimate: the use of government schools as military recruiting grounds.)

The school board answered a concerned email from Parker's mother with a suggestion that the test is not mandatory but "customary." Sane Americans might ask, "Where, in Prussia?" more here

Group mentality gone wild!-I love the way the principal ( part by claiming the test is mandatory and also the threat from the military thugs of all your peers hating you if you tear up the stupid test. But good for Robert Day and Samuel Parker for standing up against unimaginable brainwashing!

Tasha Rhodes, libertarian girl; homeschooling blogger; libertarian blog

'YOU BELONG IN HELL' High school preacher teacher uses classroom to condemn non-Christians

Upate here
KEARNY - A Kearny High School student has accused a history teacher of crossing the line between teaching and preaching - and he's got the tapes to prove it.

Sixteen-year-old junior Matthew LaClair says he was shocked when history teacher David Paszkiewicz, who is also a Baptist preacher in town, spent the first week lecturing students more about Heaven and Hell than the colonies and Constitution.

"I would never have suspected something like this went on in a public school," LaClair said yesterday.

He said Paszkiewicz told students that if they didn't accept Jesus, "you belong in Hell." He also dismissed as unscientific the theories of evolution and the "Big Bang."

More here

This is my favorite quote from the article;

"I would never have suspected something like this went on in a public school," LaClair said yesterday.

Why wouldn't you expect that? When someone holds authority over you, they''ll do whatever they can get away with.

It doesn't mean this teacher is a bad person, I'm sure he feels that he's literally on a mission to save souls and if he risks his job then, so be it, the children's souls come first.

The longer I homeschool the more absurd it seems to send your kids off to a group of strangers to learn what they know and what a committee has approved (if all goes well).

Actually, this teacher/preacher is doing more to prepare the students for college and the tirades of professors by espousing his thoughts as hard facts than if he were to keep his opinions to himself.

Of course, by the time you get to college, you've already been to enough pyramid scheme meetings to learn that just because someone pounds their fist on a podium and deems every word to be the only truth doesn't mean they have even read passed the cliff notes. High school students still suffer under the delusion that the person at the front of the room always knows more than they.

Until the day they discover about half of their history lectures are listed on Snopes.(the story linked there is one I was actually tested on)

Tasha Rhodes homeschooling blog libertarian girl blogger

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dad passed away Updated

Update; I learned some things about my dad I did not know. One is that he was not fourteen when he went in as family lore told, but the ripe old age of fifteen.

He joined the Marine Corp on December 10, 1941.

Three days after Pearl Harbor he and his school buddies all lined up. He served his four years, which included his part in the sixth wave at Iwo Jima (something I never knew, even amid his endless stories) and was back in civilian life at nineteen.
We are awaiting a copy of his records and I'll post more, as I know more.

I'm taking off from blogging for a few days. My dad passed away from colon cancer yesterday.

It was not a long illness; he did not know he was sick until a month ago. He was in his mid eighties and a veteran of WWII (marine). He joined up at fourteen years of age.

He was master of story telling. He told stories of his school as a boy-how back in the Ozarks, all boys were required to carry a knife to school but they weren't allowed to have any feathers on them (you could be expelled for that). If they had a gun they were suppose to bring that too, but with the action open.
He told stories of the South Pacific. When asked how many Japanese soldiers fell in sights-he just said, too many.
He told stories we all knew weren't true but we loved anyway.
Whenever we drove passed Zzyzx Road on the route from Vegas to L.A., he always told the story of how the proper pronunciation was Zachery Road (named for Zachery Taylor). It's just that the two ol' boys who discovered that road and spring didn't know how to spell Zachery. They came up with all kinds of other spellings but they all read something else or when one thought he found a good 'un the other didn't like it.

I had heard that story so many times that when I drove it alone at eighteen years old, it felt strangely quiet in that car, so I turned off the radio and told the story to myself.

Tasha Rhodes John William Adams

Homeschooler Barred from School dance

Even though other kids, who were not students of that school, were welcomed
I think this school (reach them here) is about to feel the wrath of homeschoolers nationwide. This story is making the rounds in a big way, through the national media (like Warnetdaily). I'm thinking they've got all their office phones off the hook as I type this.
Obviously, they just hate homeschoolers. The kid probably could have gone to the dance if he'd had the girlfriend buy the tickets and just showed up. But since he is used to being straight forward and upright and all that, they were suspicious of him.
Well, not to worry, what started out as some sneaky, conniving anti-homeschooling, public servant (reach said public servants here) rubbing his hands together and laughing at how no homeschooler is going to show him up, will turn out to be some sniveling principle(here and here) looking like an idiot, making a public apology, through gritted teeth to the national media.

Published November 19, 2006

INVERNESS - Steven Goforth says he spent $140 in clothes and tickets to the homecoming dance. His friend, Samantha Kelley, a freshman at Citrus High School, had invited him to come along.

The dance, held in the school's cafeteria on Oct. 13, was supposed to be a semiformal event. The theme was "Disco Like a Hurricane."

Steven bought new boots and a pair of blue jeans. He couldn't make up his mind on a dress shirt so he bought two. He filled the gas tank on his Buick. Everything was set and ready to go.

But the night before the dance, Samantha's mom, Theresa, got a call from the school.

Her daughter was not allowed to take Steven to the dance because he was not a student at Citrus High. Steven, who is 16, is homeschooled. More here

Tasha Rhodes Librtarian Girl

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Red Wine; drink lots

Whooo-hoo! Now this is a happy news story. More news on the benevolence of red wine. I'm gonna live forever! Oh, and I am going to put a homeschooling label on this post because you really need a drink by Friday after the work is done (preferably at 3:01P.M.)

-Tasha Rhodes Libertarian

Red wine ingredient increases endurance, study shows

A drug already shown to reverse the effects of obesity in mice and make them live longer has now been shown to increase their endurance as well.

Experts say the finding may open up a new field of research on similar drugs that may be relevant to the prevention of diabetes and other diseases.

An ordinary laboratory mouse will run one kilometer on a treadmill before collapsing from exhaustion. But mice given resveratrol, a minor component of red wine and other foods, run twice as far. They also have energy-charged muscles and a reduced heart rate, just as trained athletes do, More here

Tasha Rhodes That Girl Tasha Libertarian blogger libertarian girl

Illness unmasks generous ‘Secret Santa’

Missouri exec gives money to needy, reveals ID to pass mission to others

Frank Peterson, 93, left, shakes the hand of Kansas City's “Secret Santa” after receiving $1,000 from him in 2004 in Arcadia, Fla. Larry Stewart, who has become known as Secret Santa for handing out Christmas cash to the needy, is allowing his name to be publicized after 26 years.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The answer to one of the happiest mysteries in the Kansas City area is being revealed this year.

A man who has given away millions of dollars and become known as Secret Santa for handing out Christmas cash to the needy is allowing his name to be publicized after 26 years.

But the reason for the revelation is an unhappy one. Secret Santa has cancer. He wants to start speaking to community groups about his belief in random acts of kindness, More here

This one will make you tear up.

Skip the news today(it's Saturday!).Read this and forget the troubles of the world for a while.

How cool would it be to hand a thousand bucks to someone whose car just stalled?

Of course, you'll now expect a rant on the virtures of private charities and such;no such solilaque today-I'll let the man handing out the hundred dollar bills say it for me.


Tasha Rhodes Libertarian blogger That girl tasha blog unschool blog

Friday, November 17, 2006

John Taylor Gatto Speech

Below I've posted the famous,John Taylor Gatto , speech from 1991. Like most homeschoolers I read it when I first started homeschooling. But it seems to be making the rounds on the internet again so I thought I 'd post it.

Sometimes it's good to just reread things like this-the things that inspired you to homeschool in the first place. It's nice to be reminded that you really are doing the best thing. I mean, intellectually, we all know that it doesn’t get better than homeschooling or unschooling, the facts are there, our kids are just light years ahead of their public school peers. But during day in and out struggles we sometimes forget.

One of my kids struggles a little in math and when he gets frustrated, I question myself. And then I remember, this is just how he learns. He doesn’t learn the exact same way some text book says all children are suppose to learn. He learns in leaps and bounds. He tends to get a little behind the curve, then after struggling a bit, he puts it all away for a week or two, then he suddenly flies ahead. Actually, I think most children (maybe adults too) learn this way, as I've heard this same story again and again. But this learning style is not convenient for the masses. You can't prescribe when a leap or bound will occur. It just happens.And it really is a beautiful thing when it does- even more so because you are there to share in it.
-Tasha Rhodes Tasha Adams Rhodes

The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher

by John Taylor Gatto

Call me Mr. Gatto, please. Twenty-six years ago, having nothing better to do at the time, I tried my hand at schoolteaching. The license I hold certifies that I am an instructor of English language and English literature, but that isn't what I do at all. I don't teach English, I teach school -- and I win awards doing it.

Teaching means different things in different places, but seven lessons are universally taught from Harlem to Hollywood Hills. They constitute a national curriculum you pay for in more ways than you can imagine, so you might as well know what it is. You are at liberty, of course, to regard these lessons any way you like, but believe me when I say I intend no irony in this presentation. These are the things I teach, these are the things you pay me to teach. Make of them what you will.


A lady named Kathy wrote this to me from Dubois, Indiana the other day:

"What big ideas are important to little kids? Well, the biggest idea I think they need is that what they are learning isn't idiosyncratic -- that there is some system to it all and it's not just raining down on them as they helplessly absorb. That's the task, to
understand, to make coherent."

Kathy has it wrong. The first lesson I teach is confusion. Everything I teach is out of context. I teach the un-relating of everything. I teach disconnections. I teach too much: the orbiting of planets, the law of large numbers, slavery, adjectives, architectural drawing, dance, gymnasium, choral singing, assemblies, surprise guests, fire drills, computer languages, parents' nights, staff-development days, pull-out programs, guidance with strangers my students may never see again, standardized tests, age-segregation unlike anything seen in the outside world....What do any of these things have to do with each other?

Even in the best schools a close examination of curriculum and its sequences turns up a lack of coherence, full of internal contradictions. Fortunately the children have no words to define the panic and anger they feel at constant violations of natural order and sequence fobbed off on them as quality in education. The logic of the school-mind is that it is better to leave school with a tool kit of superficial jargon derived from economics, sociology, natural science and so on than to leave with one genuine enthusiasm. But quality in education entails learning about something in depth. Confusion is thrust upon kids by too many strange adults, each working alone with only the thinnest relationship with each other, pretending for the most part, to an expertise they do not possess.

Meaning, not disconnected facts, is what sane human beings seek, and education is a set of codes for processing raw facts into meaning. Behind the patchwork quilt of school sequences and the school obsession with facts and theories, the age-old human search lies well concealed. This is harder to see in elementary school where the hierarchy of school experience seems to make better sense because the good-natured simple relationship of "let's do this" and "let's do that" is just assumed to mean something and the clientele has not yet consciously discerned how little substance is behind the play and pretense.

Think of the great natural sequences like learning to walk and learning to talk; following the progression of light from sunrise to sunset; witnessing the ancient procedures of a farmer, a smithy, or a shoemaker; watching your mother prepare a Thanksgiving feast -- all of the parts are in perfect harmony with each other, each action justifies itself and illuminates the past and the future. School sequences aren't like that, not inside a single class and not among the total menu of daily classes. School sequences are crazy. There is no particular reason for any of them, nothing that bears close scrutiny. Few teachers would dare to teach the tools whereby dogmas of a school or a teacher could be criticized since everything must be accepted. School subjects are learned, if they can be learned, like children learn the catechism or memorize the Thirty-nine Articles of Anglicanism.

I teach the un-relating of everything, an infinite fragmentation the opposite of cohesion; what I do is more related to television programming than to making a scheme of order. In a world where home is only a ghost, because both parents work, or because too many moves or too many job changes or too much ambition, or because something else has left everybody too confused to maintain a family relation, I teach you how to accept confusion as your destiny. That's the first lesson I teach.


The second lesson I teach is class position. I teach that students must stay in the class where they belong. I don't know who decides my kids belong there but that's not my business. The children are numbered so that if any get away they can be returned to the right class. Over the years the variety of ways children are numbered by schools has increased dramatically, until it is hard to see the human beings plainly under the weight of numbers they carry. Numbering children is a big and very profitable undertaking, though what the strategy is designed to accomplish is elusive. I don't even know why parents would, without a fight, allow it to be done to their kids.

In any case, again, that's not my business. My job is to make them like it, being locked in together with children who bear numbers like their own. Or at the least to endure it like good sports. If I do my job well, the kids can't even imagine themselves somewhere else, because I've shown them how to envy and fear the better classes and how to have contempt for the dumb classes. Under this efficient discipline the class mostly polices itself into good marching order.

That's the real lesson of any rigged competition like school. You come to know your place.

In spite of the overall class blueprint, which assumes that ninety-nine percent of the kids are in their class to stay, I nevertheless make a public effort to exhort children to higher levels of test success, hinting at eventual transfer from the lower class as a reward. I frequently insinuate that the day will come when an employer will hire them on the basis of test scores and grades, even though my own experience is that employers are rightly indifferent to such things. I never lie outright, but I've come to see that truth and schoolteaching are, at bottom, incompatible just as Socrates said they were thousands of years ago. The lesson of numbered classes is that everyone has a proper place in the pyramid and that there is no way out of your class except by number magic. Failing that, you must stay where you are put.


The third lesson I teach kids is indifference. I teach children not to care about anything too much, even though they want to make it appear that they do. How I do this is very subtle. I do it by demanding that they become totally involved in my lessons, jumping up and down in their seats with anticipation, competing vigorously with each other for my favor. It's heartwarming when they do that; it impresses everyone, even me. When I'm at my best I plan lessons very
carefully in order to produce this show of enthusiasm. But when the bell rings I insist that they stop whatever it is that we've been working on and proceed quickly to the next work station. They must turn on and off like a light switch. Nothing important is ever finished in my class, nor in any other class I know of. Students never have a complete experience except on the installment plan.

Indeed, the lesson of the bells is that no work is worth finishing, so why care too deeply about anything? Years of bells will condition all but the strongest to a world that can no longer offer important work to do. Bells are the secret logic of schooltime; their logic is inexorable. Bells destroy the past and future, converting every interval into a sameness, as the abstraction of a map renders every living mountain and river the same, even though they are not. Bells inoculate each undertaking with indifference.


The fourth lesson I teach is emotional dependency. By stars and red checks, smiles and frowns, prizes, honors and disgraces I teach kids to surrender their will to the predestined chain of command. Rights may be granted or withheld by any authority without appeal, because rights do not exist inside a school -- not even the right of free speech, as the Supreme Court has ruled -- unless school authorities say they do. As a schoolteacher, I intervene in many personal decisions, issuing a pass for those I deem legitimate, or initiating a disciplinary confrontation for behavior that threatens my control. Individuality is constantly trying to assert itself among children and teenagers, so my judgments come thick and fast. Individuality is a contradiction of class theory, a curse to all systems of classification.

Here are some common ways it shows up: children sneak away for a private moment in the toilet on the pretext of moving their bowels, or they steal a private instant in the hallway on the grounds they need water. I know they don't, but I allow them to deceive me because this conditions them to depend on my favors. Sometimes free will appears right in front of me in children angry, depressed or happy about things outside my ken; rights in such matters cannot be recognized by schoolteachers, only privileges that can be withdrawn, hostages to good behavior.

The fifth lesson I teach is intellectual dependency. Good people wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. It is the most important lesson, that we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives. The expert makes all the important choices; only I, the teacher, can determine what you must study, or rather, only the people who pay me can make those decisions which I then enforce. If I'm told that evolution is a fact instead of a theory, I
transmit that as ordered, punishing deviants who resist what I have been told to tell them to think. This power to control what children will think lets me separate successful students from failures very easily.

Successful children do the thinking I appoint them with a minimum of resistance and a decent show of enthusiasm. Of the millions of things of value to study, I decide what few we have time for, or actually it is decided by my faceless employers. The choices are theirs, why should I argue? Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity.

Bad kids fight this, of course, even though they lack the concepts to know what they are fighting, struggling to make decisions for themselves about what they will learn and when they will learn it. How can we allow that and survive as schoolteachers? Fortunately there are procedures to break the will of those who resist; it is more difficult, naturally, if the kid has respectable parents who come to his aid, but that happens less and less in spite of the bad reputation of schools. No middle-class parents I have ever met actually believe that their kid's school is one of the bad ones. Not one single parent in twenty-six years of teaching. That's amazing and probably the best testimony to what happens to families when mother and father have been well-schooled themselves, learning the seven lessons.

Good people wait for an expert to tell them what to do. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that
our entire economy depends upon this lesson being learned. Think of what would fall apart if kids weren't trained to be dependent: the social-service businesses could hardly survive; they would vanish, I think, into the recent historical limbo out of which they arose. Counselors and therapists would look on in horror as the supply of psychic invalids vanished. Commercial entertainment of all sorts, including television , would wither as people learned again how to make their own fun. Restaurants, prepared-food and a whole host of other assorted food services would be drastically down-sized if people returned to making their own meals rather than depending on strangers to plant, pick, chop, and cook for them. Much of modern law, medicine, and engineering would go too, the clothing business and schoolteaching as well, unless a guaranteed supply of helpless people continued to pour out of our schools each year.

Don't be too quick to vote for radical school reform if you want to continue getting a paycheck. We've built a way of life that depends on people doing what they are told because they don't know how to tell themselves what to do. It's one of the biggest lessons I teach.


The sixth lesson I teach is provisional self-esteem. If you've ever tried to wrestle a kid into line whose parents have convinced him to believe they'll love him in spite of anything, you know how impossible it is to make self-confident spirits conform. Our world wouldn't survive a flood of confident people very long, so I teach that your self-respect should depend on expert opinion. My kids are constantly evaluated and judged.

A monthly report, impressive in its provision, is sent into students' homes to signal approval or to mark exactly, down to a single percentage point, how dissatisfied with their children parents should be. The ecology of "good" schooling depends upon perpetuating dissatisfaction just as much as the commercial economy depends on the same fertilizer. Although some people might be surprised how little time or reflection goes into making up these mathematical records, the cumulative weight of the objective-seeming documents establishes a profile that compels children to arrive at certain decisions about themselves and their futures based on the casual judgment of strangers. Self-evaluation, the staple of every major philosophical system that ever appeared on the planet, is never considered a factor. The lesson of report cards, grades, and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents but should instead rely on the evaluation of certified officials. People need to be told what they are worth.


The seventh lesson I teach is that one can't hide. I teach children they are always watched, that each is under constant surveillance by myself and my colleagues. There are no private spaces for children, there is no private time. Class change lasts three hundred seconds to keep promiscuous fraternization at low levels. Students are encouraged to tattle on each other or even to tattle on their own parents. Of course, I encourage parents to file their own child's waywardness too. A family trained to snitch on itself isn't likely to conceal any dangerous secrets.
I assign a type of extended schooling called "homework," so that the effect of surveillance,
if not that surveillance itself, travels into private households, where students might otherwise use free time to learn something unauthorized from a father or mother, by exploration, or by apprenticing to some wise person in the neighborhood. Disloyalty to the idea of schooling is a Devil always ready to find work for idle hands.

The meaning of constant surveillance and denial of privacy is that no one can be trusted, that privacy is not legitimate. Surveillance is an ancient imperative, espoused by certain influential thinkers, a central prescription set down in The Republic, in The City of God , in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, in New Atlantis , in Leviathan , and in a host of other places. All these childless men who wrote these books discovered the same thing: children must be closely watched if you want to keep a society under tight central control. Children will follow a private drummer if you can't get them into a uniformed marching band.


It is the great triumph of compulsory government monopoly mass-schooling that among even the best of my fellow teachers, and among the best of my students' parents, only a small number can imagine a different way to do things. "The kids have to know how to read and write, don't they?" "They have to know how to add and subtract, don't they?" "They have to learn to follow orders if they ever expect to keep a job."

Only a few lifetimes ago things were very different in the United States. Originality and variety were common currency; our freedom from regimentation made us the miracle of the world; social-class boundaries were relatively easy to cross; our citizenry was marvelously confident, inventive, and able to do much for themselves independently, and to think for themselves. We were something special, we Americans, all by ourselves, without government sticking its nose into our lives, without institutions and social agencies telling us how to think and feel. We were something special, as individuals, as Americans.

But we've had a society essentially under central control in the United States since just before the Civil War, and such a society requires compulsory schooling, government monopoly schooling, to maintain itself. Before this development schooling wasn't very important anywhere. We had it, but not too much of it, and only as much as an individual wanted. People learned to read, write, and do arithmetic just fine anyway; there are some studies that suggest literacy at the time of the American Revolution, at least for non-slaves on the Eastern seaboard, was close to total.Thomas Pane's Common Sense sold 600,000 copies to a population of 3,000,000, twenty percent of whom were slaves, and fifty percent indentured servants.

Were the colonists geniuses? No, the truth is that reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about one hundred hours to transmit as long as the audience is eager and willing to learn. The trick is to wait until someone asks and then move fast while the mood is on. Millions of people teach themselves these things, it really isn't very hard. Pick up a fifth-grade math or rhetoric textbook from 1850 and you'll see that the texts were pitched then on what would today be considered college level. The continuing cry for "basic skills" practice is a smoke screen behind which schools preempt the time of children for twelve years and teach them the seven lessons I've just described to you.

The society that has become increasingly under central control since just before the Civil War shows itself in the lives we lead, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the green highway signs we drive by from coast to coast, all of which are the products of this control. So, too, I think, are the epidemics of drugs, suicide, divorce, violence, cruelty, and the hardening of class into caste in the United States products of the dehumanization of our lives, the lessening of individual, family, and community importance, a diminishment that proceeds from central control. The character of large compulsory institutions is inevitable; they want more and more until there isn't any more to give. School takes our children away from any possibility of an active role in community life -- in fact it destroys communities by relegating the training of children to the hands of certified experts -- and by doing so it ensures our children cannot grow up fully human.Aristotle taught that without a fully active role in community life one could not hope to become a healthy human being. Surely he was right. Look around you the next time you are near a school or an old people's reservation if you wish a demonstration.

School as it was built is an essential support system for a vision of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows as it ascends to a terminal of control. School is an artifice which makes such a pyramidical social order seem inevitable, although such a premise is a fundamental betrayal of the American Revolution. From colonial days through the period of the Republic we had no schools to speak of -- read Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography for an example of a man who had no time to waste in school -- and yet the promise of Democracy was beginning to be realized. We turned our backs on this promise by bringing to life the ancient pharaonic dream of Egypt: compulsory subordination for all. That was the secret Plato reluctantly transmitted in The Republic when Glaucon and Adeimantus exhorted from Socrates the plan for total state control of human life, a plan necessary to maintain a society where some people take more than their share. "I will show you," says Socrates, "how to bring about such a feverish city, but you will not like what I am going to say." And so the blueprint of the seven-lesson school was first sketched.

The current debate about whether we should have a national curriculum is phony. We already have a national curriculum locked up in the seven lessons I have just outlined. Such a curriculum produces physical, moral, and intellectual paralysis, and no curriculum of content will be sufficient to reverse its hideous effects. What is currently under discussion in our national school hysteria about failing academic performance misses the point. Schools teach exactly what they are intended to teach and they do it well: how to be a good Egyptian and remain in your place in the pyramid.


None of this is inevitable. None of it is impossible to overthrow. We do have choices in how we bring up young people; there is no one right way. If we broke through the power of the pyramidical illusion we would see that. There is no life-and-death international competition threatening our national existence, difficult as that idea is even to think about, let alone believe, in the face of a continual media barrage of myth to the contrary. In every important material respect our nation is self-sufficient, including in energy. I realize that idea runs counter to the most fashionable thinking of political economists, but the "profound transformation" of our economy these people talk about is neither inevitable nor irreversible. Global economics does not speak to the public need for meaningful work, affordable housing, fulfilling education, adequate medical care, a clean environment, honest and accountable government, social and cultural renewal, or simple justice. All global ambitions are based on a definition of productivity and the good life so alienated from common human reality I am convinced it is wrong and that most people would agree with me if they could perceive an alternative. We might be able to see that if we regained a hold on a philosophy that locates meaning where meaning is genuinely to be found -- in families, in friends, in the passage of seasons, in nature, in simple ceremonies and rituals, in curiosity, generosity, compassion, and service to others, in a decent independence and privacy, in all the free and inexpensive things out of which real families, real friends and real communities are built -- then we would be so self-sufficient we would not even need the material "sufficiency" which our global "experts" are so insistent we be concerned about.

How did these awful places, these "schools", come about? Well, casual schooling has always been with us in a variety of forms, a mildly useful adjunct to growing up. But "modern schooling" as we know it is a by-product of the two "Red Scares" of 1848 and 1919, when powerful interests feared a revolution among our own industrial poor. Partly, too, total schooling came about because old-line American families were appauled by the native cultures of Celtic, Slavic, and Latin immigrants of the 1840s and felt repugnance towards the Catholic religion they brought with them. Certainly a third contributing factor in creating a jail for children called school must have been the consternation with which these same "Americans" regarded the movement of African-Americans through the society in the wake of the Civil War.

Look again at the seven lessons of schoolteaching: confusion, class position, indifference, emotional and intellectual dependency, conditional self-esteem, surveillance -- all of these things are prime training for permanent underclasses, people deprived forever of finding the center of their own special genius. And over time this training has shaken loose from its own original logic: to regulate the poor. For since the 1920s the growth of the school bureaucracy, and the less visible growth of a horde of industries that profit from schooling exactly as it is, has enlarged this institution's original grasp to the point that it now seizes the sons and daughters of the middle classes as well.

Is it any wonder Socrates was outraged at the accusation that he took money to teach? Even then, philosophers saw clearly the inevitable direction the professionalization of teaching would take, preempting the teaching function, which belongs to everyone in a healthy community.

With lessons like the ones I teach day after day it should be little wonder we have a real national crisis, the nature of which is very different from that proclaimed by the national media . Young people are indifferent to the adult world and to the future, indifferent to almost everything except the diversion of toys and violence. Rich or poor, schoolchildren who face the twenty-first century cannot concentrate on anything for very long; they have a poor sense of time past and time to come. They are mistrustful of intimacy like the children of divorce they really are (for we have divorced them from significant parental attention); they hate solitude, are cruel, materialistic, dependent, passive, violent, timid in the face of the unexpected, addicted to distraction.

All the peripheral tendencies of childhood are nourished and magnified to a grotesque extent by schooling, which, through its hidden curriculum, prevents effective personality development. Indeed, without exploiting the fearfulness, selfishness, and inexperience of children, our schools could not survive at all, nor could I as a certified schoolteacher. No common school that actually dared to teach the use of critical thinking tools -- like the dialectic, the heuristic, or other devices that free minds should employ -- would last very long before being torn to pieces. School has become the replacement for church in our secular society, and like church it requires that its teachings must be taken on faith.

It is time that we squarely face the fact that institutional schoolteaching is destructive to children. Nobody survives the seven-lesson curriculum completely unscathed, not even the instructors. The method is deeply and profoundly anti-educational. No tinkering will fix it. In one of the great ironies of human affairs, the massive rethinking the schools require would cost so much less than we are spending now that powerful interests cannot afford to let it happen. You must understand that first and foremost the business I am in is a jobs project and an agency for letting contracts. We cannot afford to save money by reducing the scope of our operation or by diversifying the product we offer, even to help children grow up right. That is the iron law of institutional schooling -- it is a business, subject neither to normal accounting procedures nor to the rational scalpel of competition.

Some form of free-market system in public schooling is the likeliest place to look for answers, a free market where family schools and small entrepreneurial schools and religious schools and crafts schools and farm schools exist in profusion to compete with government education. I'm trying to describe a free market in schooling just exactly like the one the country had until the Civil War, one in which students volunteer for the kind of education that suits them, even if that means self-education; it didn't hurt Benjamin Franklin that I can see. These options exist now in miniature, wonderful survivals of a strong and vigorous past, but they are available only to the resourceful, the courageous, the lucky, or the rich. The near impossibility of one of these better roads opening for the shattered families of the poor or for the bewildered host camped on the fringes of the urban middle class suggests that the disaster of seven-lesson schools is going to grow unless we do something bold and decisive with the mess of government monopoly schooling.

After an adult lifetime spent teaching school, I believe the method of mass-schooling is its only real content. Don't be fooled into thinking that good curriculum or good equipment or good teachers are the critical determinants of your son's or daughter's education. All the pathologies we've considered come about in large measure because the lessons of school prevent children from keeping important appointments with themselves and with their families to learn lessons in self-motivation, perseverance, self-reliance, courage, dignity, and love -- and lessons in service to others, too, which are among the key lessons of home and community life.

Thirty years ago [in the early 60s] these things could still be learned in the time left after school. But television has eaten up most of that time, and a combination of television and the stresses peculiar to two-income or single-parent families have swallowed up most of what used to be family time as well. Our kids have no time left to grow up fully human and only thin-soil wastelands to do it in.

A future is rushing down upon our culture which will insist all of us learn the wisdom of non-material experience; a future which will demand as the price of survival that we follow a path of natural life economical in material cost . These lessons cannot be learned in schools as they are. School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know.

Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Girl homeschool blog

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