Friday, January 27, 2012

Michelangelo Revealed -- posted by Mother

Here's the PBS Secrets of the Dead episode I told you about. According to this art historian, Michelangelo somehow came to know truths such as, we are saved by grace through faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Remember, he was on salary with the Roman Catholic Church. Interesting, no? The following is from their website:

Program: Secrets of the Dead

Episode: Michelangelo Revealed

More than five centuries ago, Michelangelo Buonarroti was the darling of the Catholic Church. The Papacy commissioned him to create many of its most important pieces. Historians have long wondered about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death, but now, art historian Antonio Forcellino believes he has pieced together evidence of a deep rift between the Church and the esteemed artist.

Watch Michelangelo Revealed on PBS. See more from Secrets of the Dead.

This Is The Way We Iron Our Shirts So Early In The Morning -- assignment posted by Momma

Dear Gentlemen,

This is important, so lend me your ear. A well-pressed shirt is a beautiful thing; I don't care what your disheveled peers say. Some fads are not for noblemen. Trust me; we baby boomers are heavily laden with regret from our unredeemed '60s and '70s. Live your lives such that embarrassing photographic evidence doesn't follow you as my shag haircut, patchwork denim maxi skirt made from a pair of Levis (worn with a tube top and bare feet, no less), follows me. And don't remind me of my decade stained with angry music and punker spiked hair.

Your Uncle Sonny wore his dress shirts heavily starched (he saturated them), and believe me, he turned heads. He always looked like a beloved son/brother/husband, and although I'm sure he was, he nevertheless did his shirts himself. Although that degree of starch isn't practical for your purposes at this stage, ironing is, and you should know how, even though you, too, are beloved.

Some things to remember:

Keep distilled water in the iron at all times. (Actually, follow the manufacturer's instructions on this.)

Spray your shirt with starch and let it soak in a minute, otherwise when you iron it, it will get flaky.

I do the collar, yoke, cuffs, and sleeves first, since they are least likely to re-wrinkle with all the subsequent maneuvering on the board.

You may need to dampen the last bit again if you take too long ironing it. You perfectionists know who you are.

When you do the sleeves, find the seam and lay it flat from there, brushing the fabric up to flatten it.

I like the sleeves with a crease, the cuffs and the collar rolled, without a crease, except for the back of the collar like this gentleman suggests. I could be talked out of these opinions if you know something I don't know.

Demonstrations are given daily. See you there.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I May Be Paranoid, But That Doesn't Mean They Aren't Really Out To Get Me -- posted by Mom

My maiden voyage on my new Nook the children gave me for Christmas was a book called None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen. Oh, it was so good I read it in a few hours. And it was free! Fortunately it was a rainy day and everybody was reading something, so there were no interruptions (except, of course, that bothersome eating business they insist on doing periodically). It was written in 1971, I think, and that makes it all the better to be able to read it with hindsight. I couldn't put it down.

I've been a "conspiracy theorist" for years simply because I've been a Bible believer for years, and every Bible reader knows the scriptures teach of the ancient conspiracy toward a one world government in order to usher in the Antichrist during the Apocalypse. Jesus and Paul tell of the evil men who'll wax worse and worse, and wickedness in high places, and of course John spills the beans on the whole thing in the book of The Revelation... that book which is so rarely read that John starts it by dangling a blessing for whosoever would read it to the Church. But the "church" is too busy running coffee houses and sending teenagers on "missions" trips, and all sorts of things Jesus never said to do, to bother with something that requires sobriety, or at least some semblance of an attention span.

I'm pretty sure the dumdums snicker at me being totally enthralled watching the conspiracy unfold because they are Biblically illiterate. Or maybe the predictable ploy of the conspirators to portray the theorists as kooks has been just that effective. Oh well, I can handle snicker-ers with aplomb.

Speaking of scoffer-types, Aunt Mary went to see Tintin by herself last week, and on her way home she looked for some place to eat in hopes it would wake her up for the drive. She went to a certain place she knows but the restaurant was closed so she was only able to order from the starters menu at the bar. There were a couple of big know-it-all men there who got all negative when she mentioned the Lord. One fellow challenged her to prove there is a God and she laughed and said that puny she need not try to prove God; he does a good job of proving Himself! One poor soul, not knowing the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary Lucia, boldly declared he didn't believe in God for this and that and she finally asked him if he owned a Bible. He said he did, but she looked him up and down in disbelief, yet he insisted he did own one. She told him he better hurry home and read it so as not to be such an ignoramus. Somehow, even though she was exposing them for the boobs they were, they kept the bar open for an extra hour and begged her to come back to continue the conversation later. As she was leaving, she overheard a waitress, who had been snippy earlier, say that Mary is the kind of woman who knows everything she always wanted to know! Somehow the Lord had those haughty people eating out of her hand. One fellow admitted that he set out to give her a hard time because she was confident.

I'll say she's confident! One time she was on the scene of a terrible jaws-of-life car accident with a boy pinned to the steering wheel. The car caught fire, so Mary jumped in the passenger's side, and started praying and laying hands on him. Folks were hollering for her to get out for fear the car was going to blow any minute. She refused, yelling, "IT WON'T BLOW WITH ME IN HERE!" She stayed in the car with that boy until the fire department and ambulance arrived and they safely got him out. She believes he actually died during that ordeal and God put his life back in him, and I don't doubt it. Oh my Mary. Oh my Lord.

Next up on my Nook: Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time by Carroll Quigley. It's free too! (Snicker, snicker)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

For Brett -- posted by Mrs. Allen

Welcome to a veritable brussels sprout festival!

Since I neglected to send the promised email with our favorite roasted brussels sprout, bacon, and onion recipe, I decided to give you a shout-out on our wildly popular website, responsible for entertaining and educating tens of readers! Just don't let the fame change you.

Onward now to an awesome teaching, as usual, by Alton Brown:

Nevertheless, none of those recipes are what we do, although perhaps we should. We usually use the following recipe, just not with such a breathy "hi."

Precooking the bacon a bit has always worked for us, although one chef I watched said it's hard to synchronize the doneness of the bacon and sprouts when they're cooked together. We've never had that problem, but then, we also like the little crispy burnt-ish leaves, and especially burnt-ish onion... num, num, num.

Now I'm off to find out why I say brussel sprouts, but Merriam Webster says brussels sprout for the plural.

Bon appétit!

Gird Your Loins, My Sons -- posted by Momma

The Lord tells men to gird their loins. In our vernacular that would be something like "man up" or "zip it in the front," in addition to some other choice anatomical expressions that may come to mind! Don't miss this Mark Steyn article, my sons. And especially don't neglect to click and read page 2. Oh my days you'll think... and probably lol along the way.

The Sinking of the West

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America -- assignment posted by Mom

I had heard of Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt's book, the deliberate dumbing down of america, through homeschool circles I run with, but I had never read it, nor had I seen any interviews with her until yesterday. You are going to love this salty ol' whistleblower! I could barely get anything done for listening to everything I could get my hands on with her. Sorry if I ironed accordian pleats in your button downs, but this broad (and I mean that with all due admiration and respect) pushes all my buttons, in a good way.

By the time Will and Sarah Grace started school, it was common knowledge that the Department of Education was well infiltrated by collectivists, or at least collectivist doctrine. I'll never forget my horror when little Sally came home from a day of CELEBRATING the Chinese New Year in the name of multiculturalism! No, they weren't just learning about it, they were celebrating a goddamned pagan holiday, complete with personal horoscopes! (And this was in one of the most conservative counties in the country, Marietta, Georgia-- just down the street from Newt "The Roamin' Catholic" Gingrich, leader of the 1994 "Contract with America" 104th Congress.) As you know, the result of that multiculturalism nonsense was a couple of million of us pulling our kids out of school.

What I didn't know was that Mrs. Iserbyt was blowing whistles from within the Department of Education while she was serving as policy head in the early 1980's, resulting in her being fired by her boss, Ronald Reagan. Not only that, but she's another credible voice to spill the beans on Yale's Skull and Bones, of which both her father and grandfather were members! Fascinating, fascinating stuff.

Once I rummage through our library to make sure we don't already own her book, I'll place an order for it. Meanwhile, it can be downloaded for free at But watch this interview first, and then check back to this post for more interviews below when I get a chance. I'm meeting myself coming and going right now, but this should keep y'all busy until I can get to it.

By the way, my favorite interview is this earlier one, where she comes off a little kooky and potentially off-putting... my kinda gal! Unfortunately this one was before Dubya, or maybe Obama, I can't remember. Nevertheless it's lacking in some way, other than video quality, compared to the one above. On second thought, watch this one first. Lol.

Oh, and Mr. Billy, this exposé is of international significance, in case you're interested. Also, there were intriguing comments by Brits that I didn't quite understand, being unfamiliar with the "Big Society" campaign. As you know, my housework load has increased exponentially with my stay-at-home-daughter slave being on sabbatical. (Ha! Ha! It's not funny.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crying Wolf -- assignment posted by Mom

Here's an excellent independently produced documentary film by Jeffrey D. King, a 20 year old homeschool graduate. Although I'm not crazy about the popular jiggly cinematography he employs at times, I thoroughly enjoyed this piece.

Here's the trailer:

Click here to watch the film:

Crying Wolf

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Libertarianism with Milton Friedman -- assignment posted by Mom

I think this short interview with Milton Friedman does a good job of explaining some of the basic tenets of Libertarianism. Be sure to read his bio on either the Wiki page I linked to his name above, or google him yourself. All the copy below is pasted from National Review Online.

Milton Friedman, recipient of the Nobel Prize for economic science in 1976, was a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution from 1977 to 2006. He passed away on Nov. 16, 2006.

Chapter 1 of 5
What is a libertarian? Milton Friedman responds in this Uncommon Knowledge classic.

Chapter 2 of 5
What produced the dark and dirty London of Charles Dickens? Was it laissez-faire economics like some argue? Milton Friedman sheds light on the issue.

Chapter 3 of 5
Are regulators like the FDA necessary to safeguard consumers? Milton Friedman says no.

Chapter 4 of 5
Should the government mandate that nutritional labels be placed on food packaging? No, argues Milton Friedman.

Chapter 5 of 5
Of 14 cabinet departments, Milton Friedman says he would only keep a handful.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Dialectizer -- posted by Mom

This thing is so much fun. Pages and sites can be "dialectized" into Cockney, Jive, Redneck, Fudd, Bork, Moron, Pig Latin, Hacker, and Censor.

We've laughed ourselves silly reading Milk and Honey Acres in Cockney-- a tribute to a certain someone-- our own pocket-picking, chimney-sweeping Fagan. I'm kidding, you know I don't know anyone by that description. What's a Cockney?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dino Sings "Things" -- posted by Mom

We can't get this song outta our heads. James even fantasizes about singing it as a duet with Zooey Deschanel!

The kids pulled out Ma's collection of The Dean Martin Variety Hour, and if you can get past the boozing, chain-smoking, and skirt-chasing, which we did, you're in store for some great entertainment! The skits are corny, but funny because they are performed tongue-in-cheek. He was known for never rehearsing, so he doesn't take himself seriously, nor does anyone else! Oh how I miss the variety show format.

The celebrity guests are faces from my childhood, and I've loved introducing the children to the likes of Jonathan Winters, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Hacket, Jimmy Stewart, Bob Newhart, Orson Welles, Petula Clark, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Bing Crosby, and the list goes on and on.

The crooning is fantastic with incomparable romance. If you see the infomercial, order it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower -- posted by John, Georgi, and Richard

We love the week or two after New Years because we leave up the tree and do school by the glow and crackle of a blazing fire. The boughs of fragrant Fraser Fir are still on the mantle, entertainment stage, and above our big window that overlooks the pond. It makes our wood-paneled den look like a lodge in the mountains.

Today, er, yesterday we lounged by the fire with our individual reading. Richard was reading a favorite out-of-print Bible book he was reminded of since we gave a copy to our neighbor's little granddaughter. George read the Bible and Tintin The Land of the Soviets. John read a Hardy Boys book. Mom was reading Stendhal's Le Rouge et le Noir. Spencer and James were reading we don't know what, and Dad, Will, and Sarah Grace weren't here.

We had Bible time together and we Young Guns had our read aloud, Snow Treasure, which is a true story about Norwegian children who help smuggle gold bullion past the Nazis by hiding it on their sleds. We also looked up Belgium in the encyclopedia and online as well as Bruges to see the Tintin Shop that Mrs. Sarah and Billy were talking about down there in the comment section. We saw pictures, but someone's comment said it went out of business. We also saw one in Covent Garden, London.

As wonderful as the day was, it can't compare to what happened after 3am. Mom keeps up with different astronomical events, and at 2:45am she woke us up to see the Quadrantid meteor shower! We bundled up in ski bibs, snow pants, and down jackets with the idea of going out for a short time (since it was 19 degrees) to catch seeing some of the meteors, when Mom had the idea that we get out the sub-zero sleeping bags to lie out under the heavens to watch the event. And watch it we did... UNTIL DAWN! Oh how toasty and warm we were with just our eyes poking out to see one meteor after another!

James had the best view because he got as far away from the light pollution of our house as possible while being within hollering distance of Mom. We stayed in the football field in front of our house, and we doubled up in the sleeping bags. It got down to 19 degrees while we were out there but we were good and warm in those bags! In fact, we agreed we were warmer than when we are in our beds on very cold nights.

While we were watching, we played a trivia game with questions like: "Who had the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence?" It was John Hancock, but we had to give hints for everyone to get it. Also, "Who caused a big deal when he slapped a soldier during WWII?" Everyone knew George Patton.

The funny thing is that when we came in after the sky got too light, we passed the dogs in the laundry room that we brought in since it was predicted to get down to 18 degrees, which it did. They came in, and we went out!

One time we got all bundled up and zipped up in the sleeping bag, when someone THEN decided they had to go potty, so we all did. HaHa! It took ages to get all situated and zipped again! Oh what a great time we had! We played and cuddled and cozied up and laughed and sang and prayed and praised the Lord for his creation... and drank a lot of hot chocolate! And every single time Mom saw a meteor, she gasped like it was the first time she'd ever seen one!