Thoughts On A Sunday

The January thaw has ended here in New England with the return of winter weather (snow yesterday) and plunging temperatures.

A lot of the errands I would normally taken care of on Saturday were delayed until today and today's errands I took care of yesterday as the weather was more conducive to that swap and my chores easier to complete. I am nothing if not flexible.


I'm not going out to snowblow until noon today as it's still snowing as I write this, though lightly, and I don't feel the need to have to perform a follow-up 'clean up', particularly if it occurs during today's game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos. Nope. Not gonna happen.


Our friends over at GraniteGrok got a plug today in Chris Muir's Day By Day cartoon.


Yes, America is the Single Mother Nation, and that explains a lot, including poverty and crime. According to Maria Shriver, the solution to the problem is anything but men.

Yeah, that's worked out so well over the past 50 years.


Skip brings us seven data points about the Obama Economy.

I can sum it up with two words: It sucks.


Who'd a thunk it?

If you increase the cost of something the demand for that something will go down.

That's what 175 employees of a buffet restaurant within a casino found out after they won a huge pay increase from $5/ hour plus tips to $12/hour. The restaurant went from making money to losing money and the casino decided to close it rather than take a perpetual loss. Their pay increase by way of an arbitrator was a Pyhrric victory because it cost them their jobs.

This begs the question whether a big increase in the minimum wage, such as the type congressional Democrats have been pushing for, will have a similar effect across the American economy? Of course it will. In fact it will give incentive to replace human workers with machines that will cost less and be more efficient, just like this burger-making robot would do for fast food restaurants.

Whenever labor costs are artificially raised people lose their jobs because it becomes cheaper for businesses to automate functions previously handled by those now out-of-work humans.


Thought this dates back a little over a week, it does express a number of virtues that I have experienced all through my life.

Sippican delves into the subject of wood, specifically fire wood, and the labor it entails during the winter.

We heat The Manse with a woodstove, going through about 3 or 4 cords between October and April. And while we haven't had to fell trees, cut, split, and stack the wood for drying for the past couple of years (we now buy it from one of the local suppliers), we have had to move it and restack in the back of our garage to make it available during the winter. Refilling the wood box next to the stove is a daily chore, requiring two or three trips between the wood stack and the stove.

At the end of this coming week we will take delivery of the last 2 cords we purchased, meaning more work to move and stack our supply. And like Sippican, we will show no enthusiasm for the task, nor will we complain. It is merely something that must be done.


Glenn Reynolds points us to a Reader's Digest piece that puts the American public education system in a bad light, stating that as it is structured it is damaging our children. They'll get no argument from me about that.

Children are required to be in school, where their freedom is greatly restricted, far more than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades, we’ve been compelling them to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there’s strong evidence that this is causing psychological damage to many of them. And as scientists have investigated how children naturally learn, they’ve realized that kids do so most deeply and fully, and with greatest enthusiasm, in conditions that are almost opposite to those of school.

Most students—whether A students, C students, or failing ones—have lost their zest for learning by the time they’ve reached middle school or high school. In a telling research study, professors Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeremy Hunter fitted more than 800 sixth through 12th graders, from 33 different schools across the country, with special wristwatches that emitted a signal at random times of day. Each time they received a signal, the students filled out a questionnaire indicating where they were, what they were doing, and how happy or unhappy they felt at the moment. The lowest levels of happiness, by far, were reported when the children were in school, where they were often bored, anxious, or both. Other researchers have shown that, with each successive grade, students develop increasingly negative attitudes toward the subjects taught, especially math and science.

With few exceptions I always found school to be interesting, even fun. Then again, I grew up during the Space Age, when anything was possible and our schools promoted that belief. Again, with few exceptions, most of my teachers were enthusiastic about their subjects and made them interesting. More than one science teacher let me and my fellow students go “off curriculum” when a subject of interest caught our attention. After all, back then learning was what was important and not the method used to achieve it.

Most of that changed, particularly in the past 20 years, where the amount of time spent in class, an inflexible curriculum, and the maintenance of 'discipline' became far more important than the students actually learning something. (I could go on about so-called discipline, but that would take an entire post devoted just to that subject and I don't have the time today.)

Is it any wonder our kids are bored and are exhibiting learning and behavior 'problems' that are in fact the fault of the learning environment?


In regards to the ongoing Twitter war about #WhiteWomanPrivilege, where it appears a Blue on Blue engagement has heated things up, the best tweet has to one from actor Adam Baldwin (no, not Alec Baldwin, Adam Baldwin) commenting on this Blue on Blue battle:

Nobody expects the #TwitterInquisition!



By way of Cap'n Teach comes this story from the Lonely Conservative, who reveals information about ObamaCare that the White House and the ObamaBots might not want to be revealed.

What earth-shattering news could that possibly be?

Most of those enrolled in ObamaCare had health insurance until ObamaCare killed their coverage.

Oops. I'd call that a major #FAIL.


To quote Glenn Reynolds, “They told me if I voted Republican, we'd see McCarthy-style blacklists, and they were right!”

Actress Maria Conchita Alonso was fired from a San Francisco theater production after she endorsed Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly.

Alonso has never hidden her stands on illegal immigration (she's against it) and she has never shied away from taking unpopular positions. (Translation: conservative views, something banned in ultra liberal San Francisco and barely tolerated in slightly less ultra-liberal Los Angeles.)

So much for the oh-so-tolerant Left.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter has returned, the temperatures are headed for the cellar, and where wood boxes will be kept full to hold off the coming arctic chill coming our way.