Sunday, May 29, 2016

neato mosquito

Pencil tip sculpting

O Captain! My Captain!

This poem was written by Walt Whitman for Abraham Lincoln at his death. I read it at the funeral of my grandfather, a retired Navy Captain and pilot in WWII and the Korean War.

I found this poem a fitting tribute for my grandfather -- a Harvard-educated renaissance man, lover of poetry, graceful ballroom dancer, a veteran -- dashing and courageous. He introduced me to the poems of Robert W. Service and the stories of Bret Harte.

My father is a veteran, also, and my uncle flew combat air missions in VietNam. David's grandfather and at least one of his great uncles were veterans, as well. The USS Loeser (pronounced LOH-zer) was named after David's "Uncle Art," who was killed in WWII.

On Memorial Day we remember those who died in war. And by extension, it seems right to remember those who are and were willing to die in war.

Soldiers and farmers are frequently given as examples for believers in Scripture. I am blessed to have both in my family.

(This copy from Poetry Foundation website):

O Captain! My Captain!

Related Poem Content Details

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, 
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 
                         But O heart! heart! heart! 
                            O the bleeding drops of red, 
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies, 
                                  Fallen cold and dead. 

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; 
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills, 
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding, 
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; 
                         Here Captain! dear father! 
                            This arm beneath your head! 
                               It is some dream that on the deck, 
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead. 

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, 
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, 
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, 
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; 
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells! 
                            But I with mournful tread, 
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies, 
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

Source: Leaves of Grass (David McKay, 1891)

Monday, May 9, 2016

So This Happened

I'm often the last to read the thing everyone is buzzing about, but in case you missed it, too:

Confessions of Liberal Intolerance is an article about intolerance of and condescension towards different ideas in academia, written by (progressive) Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. Interestingly, in the article some black professors describe being discriminated against as Christians and conservatives in academia as being like the prejudice they face outside of it.

Heterodox Academy's line-up of contributors.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Friends' Moms

I love this piece. Thinking of all of my friends' moms growing up, and the Navy moms on different bases, and my own delightful friends who mother my own kids, too, in their own way.

The New YorkerMy Friends' Moms

A Naranj and Other "Mondegreens"

A discussion of how the mind interprets sound into words and then meaning.

 The New Yorker, The Science of Misheard Lyrics (and other Words)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Last Day

It's 10:30 pm on a Friday night and I'm about to clap shut my laptop. Today is my last day as a homeschooling mom.

I have taught anywhere from one to three of my kids at home for the past 12 years. (And none of them have ever been in five-day school.) All three are headed to a regular, brick-and-mortar, five-day-a-week school next year for 8th, 9th, and 12th grade. Radical.

Like all big endings, it has been a little anticlimactic: hassling one child to finish one final test, shuffling through files, last minute grading, an impromptu grocery store run, realizing transcripts will be polished up next week rather than today. Not with a bang but a whimper.

But it feels momentous to me.

Thank you, and goodnight, to homeschooling's curious, wild, busy, funny, angsty, peaceful, "lovely, dark, and deep" ride.

Our family has been viewed as kooky and offbeat.

We been viewed as conservative and authoritarian.

We've been viewed as rebels, madmen, and saints.

Of course we are none of these -- or perhaps all of these. Just like any family trying to creatively "do" life in the way that seems to fit with our lifestyle, resources, values, and needs.

I've been a terrible mom, I've been an amazing mom -- sometimes all in the same hour.

My children are quirky in some ways, brilliant in some ways, regular in most ways. Just like yours.

I have a shrewd, natural test-taker, and one who used to bomb standardized tests.

I have kids with different learning styles, different strengths, and different test scores. I have a math avoider and one who "hates" reading. (Though lately this kid has started talking animatedly about his reading.) One has been in learning therapy pretty regularly (and benefited greatly).

I have a philosopher, an engineer, and a pragmatic businesswoman. I have a child who carefully lines up pencils and ruler in the workspace and keeps a detailed calendar; I have one who can't find homework.

I've taught my kids in China and America, on the east coast and in the southwest. In the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the library, in the car.

I've used material from the internet, from neighbors, from friends, from books.

I've personally seen and experienced the kind of resources and co-ops that spring up in freedom-rich cultural and legal environments (Texas!) -- and the dearth of same in educationally narrow-minded and culturally parochial parts of the country.

Some of my best friends are other homeschooling moms. And some of my other best friends are not. I have gained wisdom from both about parenting.

The kids and I have worked so closely together, with all of our flaws and strengths. I have learned some basic things.

It's counter-intuitive, but start work each day with the youngest before you work with the older kids. Make sure everyone reads aloud each day. Let each do math at the time of day when they are mentally fresh. Take a short break every 30 minutes. Pick the curriculum that appeals to you as much as it appeals to them. Encourage each kid to study in his own way (eg, one kid may study by orally telling you all about what is going to be on the test, one kid may study by making flashcards. Both ways are fine and I only figured that out this year). Three words: Saturday morning chores. Have a short family devotion every morning -- ie, reflect on the forest before you head for the trees. Laughter really is the best medicine. Laugh easily, pray hard.

Most of these things I learned the hard way. And so many other things I still have not figured out. Homeschooling did not come naturally to me.

Somehow, the kids are alright. Not amazing. Not terrible. Like yours.

Gooodnight, homeschooling. I'm going to miss you.

And tomorrow I am finally going to catch up with the laundry.

"He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace at home." Goethe

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What's Deuteronomy Got to Do With It?

One segment in Nancy Guthrie's series "Help Me Teach the Bible"

Scott Redd on Deuteronomy

In this audio, Scott lays out ideas for how to teach and explain Deuteronomy to lay people. Included is the following: a discussion of the context for the book historically and a descriptive word picture of what is happening among the Israelites at the time, the covenantal framework of the book, the idea of using the Ten Commandments as an outline for the laws, a handling topics like slavery and punishment within the context of Scripture, and how we are to view sacrifice and purity laws, theocratic laws, and moral laws as believers today -- as not one jot or tittle of the law has passed away. Scott also discusses something he calls Mosaic Eschatology -- Moses looks ahead, and at the end of the discussion, grave errors he has encountered in approaching teaching OT Scripture.

"The Old Testament is not rejected, denied, or refuted by Christ and the apostles...They [the OT books] still make claims on us....How do they, in light of the work, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ."

"We are still called to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, and all of our selves, and all of our strength today."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"My Fellow Clergyman"

Here is a neat link to photos of the original and entire text of the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King, Jr. I am slowly reading through it and love reading the words as they were on the original document.

Patient and reasonable terms

"O Judgement, thou hast fled to brutish beasts and men have lost their reason..."

More on Shakespeare. The Guardian has done a series of actors reading lines from Shakespeare called Shakespeare Solos.

Zawe Ashton's presentation is brilliant.

And this famous monologue from Shakespeare is performed really beautifully by Damian Lewis. It's short. "Lend" him less than 3 minutes, will you?

Damian Lewis as Antony

From Blueprint to Building

One way of understanding/processing the flow of the Bible from Old to New Testaments. Author is mein bruder, Scott Redd:

The Building Paradigm

"For they looked for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is the Lord."

There is nothing at all surprising about the world being drawn to baseness and power.

That is what people are drawn to, in their nature. And people are easily deceived. The sheep look for a shepherd, but often they pick a king -- or a wolf -- instead. We look for Cincinnatus, but we follow a Caesar.

It is wrong to assert that political concerns and exertions are meaningless or worthless for the believer -- political ambivalence smacks of a gnostic approach to loving one's neighbors. As if it isn't my concern if my neighbor lives under the oppressor's thumb or has his day in court. We can lament cultural injustice and decline. We can discuss when began the grounding of "the ship that sailed the moon" (1973?)

"For they looked for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is the Lord."

But as we rightly labor and exert ourselves in this country (our national neighborhood) to love our neighbor by advocating and appealing for truth, protection for the innocent, just laws, and freedom and mercy, which acknowledge the divinely-decreed, deep and intrinsic value of each and every image-bearer -- we do so at rest in our souls, as citizens of the better country.

For no matter what, with respect to our Job Description: Nothing has changed from yesterday to today and nothing will change in November 2016 or November 2020 or November 2200.

Love God.
Love your family ("little platoons").
Love your church.
Love your neighbors.

These are subversive acts.

Do the things God has given your hands to do with vigor and pleasure.

Fill the earth and subdue it with your work, knowing the good work of your hands done by the grace of God will never perish or tarnish and not be lost.

-- Anne

Monday, May 2, 2016

Happy Birthday, Will (Shakespeare)!

"All the perfumes in Arabia cannot sweeten this little hand....what's done cannot be undone." Dame Judi Dench as Lady MacBeth

Kenneth Branagh as Hamlet

‘To Be Or Not To Be’: Words Spoken by Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 1

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.

Manufacturing Job Growth in America

Good news for those who worry that manufacturing in America is dwindling -- though number 20 is sobering.

Top 20 Facts about Manufacturing in America

The Body Electric

How the body fights against you, to regain weight you have lost.

The New York Times discusses the science behind it all