Unschool Yourself

Before I start this, may I ask that anyone who wishes to write for ATH or MGC send me a guest post? Make sure you put Guest Post in the subject, though, otherwise I lose them in my inbox, because– well, because I’m juggling about a million things.

The next month is going to be hell, and if I don’t have guest posts, there are going to be a lot of non-post posts.



I was talking with some friends about the difference between art and craft, and things we only find out we can do in our middle years, or something, when a light bulb went on.

I’ve long been really upset at our schooling methods. Not because they are startlingly ineffective (they are) or because they create a tendency to be conformist to immediate surroundings (they do) but because they create humans with deformed guidance systems.

I first started being irritated by this when I realized that people sending me manuscripts for my opinion asked if I was doing it “correctly.”

I can’t answer that. There isn’t a correct way to do this.

And then I realized this extended to the bizarre credentialism. You can’t write cozy mysteries, because police are trained and know the right way to solve murders. You must trust the credentials. (If you read ANY true crime/investigation books, you realize this is bullshit. The number of mistakes, and paved over stuff is amazing. And yes, rank amateurs an stumble on a solution. Sometimes it’s just seeing things from another angle. Getting the police to listen to you, OTOH might be impossible.)

By the time a bunch of mentally deficient teens invaded my blog to tell me I had to respect their English teacher (who was a disaster at grammar and vocabulary, btw, judging by how she corrected my kids paper) because of her credentials and position, I was about ready to blow my top.

You see, spending 12 years of our lives in schools fosters the idea that not only is there a “correct” solution for everything, but also that someone “up there” in the non-identified credential heaven knows “the right way.”

Most innovations, inventions, and new ways of doing things were created by rank amateurs. And there was no “right” way to do it, until they did.

Public schooling, even before it became all indoctrination all the time, is a killer of thought, of creativity, of ability.

And then it channels kids into narrow paths, and they never know what they could do, if left to try.

Now, when I home schooled, there was a group called Unschool. They just sort of let the kids learn. The lazy man’s way to teaching.

Yeah, that’s perfectly fine, if your goal is to have your kid be able to read basic sentences and do simple math. (Which I’ll add is more than most public school manages.)

I of course got newsletters from all the groups, and eventually decided against them all, because their goals were not my goals. But the unschooling group, bragging that their 14 year old could finally read proficiently didn’t help.

That would be fine if I were raising a farmer, but we don’t have acreage.

Now, the group I wanted didn’t exist.

It used to be kids could read write and do arithmetic proficiently by 10 and might have some Latin and a little bit of Greek. That requires time with them sitting down and working. (Not a ton of time. What I found homeschooling is that in two hours the little sponge absorbed more than in 8 hours days in school. Which is why we went through 3 years of curriculum in one.) And it requires goals. And frankly, like learning to speak, and learning to walk, is probably BEST done by parents. These are basic skills after all, or used to be.

And you know, you’re not letting that kid near any kid of college till 14. So why not let them explore the world of learning after that, so they at least have an idea of what’s possible?

Seriously. I picked a career with no idea what it entailed. All I knew was school.

In the same way, most of us did that.

And that was fine, when the world of the late 20th century was all credentialism and careerism.

However, I think even us, late-middle agers need to unschool ourselves now. There is a great transformation coming, and the only thing I can tell you is that you have to be agile. You have to learn new things, new skills, new abilities. All of us do.

Unschool yourself. And make sure your kids know there isn’t a secret perfect answer to any problem. Some are easier than others, or better than others. But —

But there isn’t A teacher holding the perfect answer. (Except maybe in the moral/religious sense, but that’s something else.)

The future isn’t written. You have to write it as you go.

And we’re all amateurs at life.

298 thoughts on “Unschool Yourself

  1. It didn’t help me in school that I was born a cynic and my family’s native language was sarcasm. I have the unique honor of being suspended from Kindergarten for arguing with the teacher.

      1. Is there a thing with odds getting in trouble in kindergarten?

        I managed to end up with a parent teacher conference because I did do exactly what I’d been told to do.

        Nobody had told me that other teachers were not considered strangers…

        1. I protested a grade because I wrote F for “finch” instead of the proper B for “bird.” My parents were birders who insisted on using the correct name for things. So of course I should get full points!

        2. I dunno, but add me to the list of those who did. Apparently I was supposed to go straight into first grade and they put me in kindergarten anyway. And thus did my parents and the school system go to war…. Not because my parents wanted what was best for me, mind, but because they had their ideas about me being a genius and the school was determined that I was “average with pushy parents”.

          (Unfortunately for me, I was definitely not average. And profoundly Odd.)

          (If a certain set of schools in New England ever goes up in flames, I need an iron-clad alibi.)

          1. I appear to have been lucky in that I went to the teacher training school attached to Northern Michigan University, and they decided to use me as the guinea pig for a program where all grades would have math and English at the same time, and if you were ahead of your grade, you went up to the appropriate grade, and if you were behind you went into the side room with the assistant teacher until they could get you up to speed.

            I was reading with the third graders by the end of 1st grade.

            And then we moved to upstate NY, a small K-8 with one of each grade. By the end of the first week or so of 2nd grade I had worked my way through the entire reading and math programs. So they ultimately decided it was best to skip me a grade. The third grade teacher hated me. I hated that school. (It didn’t help that that was the year they figured out I was blinder than a bat.) I have absolutely no memories of school that year where it wasn’t grey and raining. Even though it was mostly sunny or snowy in Waterloo NY. That was also the year that the parents discovered that if I really, really didn’t want to go someplace it would take two of them to physically make me, and they might not win even then. I was only 7 and not an overly big 7.

            1. I was also seven when they found out that I was blind (extremely nearsighted). I had to come to the board so I could read the assignments. At first the teacher thought I couldn’t read until she saw the books I brought with me for when I was bored. Almost failed that grade because I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do an oral review of all the books I read that year.

            2. Oh man, I hear that – I finished all the first grade work in the first 2 months, so the school decided to put me in second grade the first half of the day, first the second half.

              Needless to say this led to resentment from all the teachers and all the students in both classes, and the rest of my life in that school system (through 8th grade) was nightmarish.

            3. I spent a total of one school year in 1st and 2nd grade and left high school to go to college at 16 after 11th grade.
              Obviously I’m not that unusual in this group, although very unusual in the “real world”.

              1. I could have graduated after 11th grade, technically at 15 (my 16th would have been a few days later), but then we moved to Ireland just before I started 11th, so I ended up finishing up a Leaving Certificate just after my 17th birthday.

          2. I think the only reason I wasn’t one of the people who finished school early was because I am child #3 and was super-determined that my parents realize that I was NOT my sisters. I was quite happy being the smartest person in my grade instead of being average one or two grades up.

        3. Is there a thing with odds getting in trouble in kindergarten?


          A lot of the kind of folks who are mentally formatted for dealing with 30 five year olds are not mentally prepared to deal with a five year old who use “insufficient” in a sentence, correctly, or have the self-confidence to ask questions about some system and then apply the answers, and hold the teacher to them. Especially if it’s days later.

          It took me being a parent to figure out that last part, by the way– it sucks when someone pays more attention to your answers than you did, especially if you don’t have the time/resources to figure out what on earth they are going on about and thus put it down to “being stubborn.”

          1. They didn’t have kindergarten when I was five, so I entered first grade at 6. My main distinction is I missed 30 days of school – having been the only child of fairly unsocial parents to that point, I caught everything but mumps, and “stomach flu,” four or five times. And I still passed.
            28 days in 2nd grade. And passed. And was reading 7th grade level at least.

            1. We moved to a new school about 300 miles away from the last school so I spent most of that year sick. Still passed with high marks.

          2. Yeah, that last part is… interesting…

            Ours is actually generally very well behaved. Persistent, but we’ll behaved. But there are things that freak her out, and its not always clear at the time.

            At one point, I thought she was throwing a fit because she wanted to go outside. Turns out, she was afraid of fans, and one of the overheads that’s normally off was turned on that day. And she was freaked out by it. Took us several hours to figure out that’s what was up.

            She’s gotten over that, but it’s a different way of thinking.

          3. Younger son got in trouble for quoting Macbeth at his pre-school teacher. And the bint thought we were abusing him, because we clearly forced him to memorize stuff. (rolls eyes.)

        4. I’m one more Odd on that pile. I started out at a Catholic private school and was about to be held back for behavioral issues despite doing well academically. Or moved into something like pre-1st grade or something. It was ages ago and I’m too old to remember. Either way that was the end of my time in that school and it was off to public school after that. Not that it was much better in terms of, well, anything but at least when I ran the risk of it it was due to academic laziness and crap at home than anything. I did complete my K-12 sentence on time, though. As for college, which remains incomplete, that’s a story for another post…

          1. I have a friend who says when you get a psychiatric referral from maternity, it’s the obstetrician who really needs it.
            Well, when the teachers want to medicate your kid, they’re the ones who need medication in 90% of the times.

      1. I never went to kindergarten, but started first grade at age 5.

        My parents had an IQ test administered to me, and were bemused by the results. For the first time (and only time ever, I think) when asked to print my name I meticulously wrote it in reverse order, with all the characters backward. When asked to draw a picture of a man, I drew a stick figure. My parents had seen me draw detailed cowboys with hats, boots, guns, etc. on the home chalkboard I played with all the time, and asked me why I just drew the stick figure. I’m told I said that I didn’t want to take up the man’s (test administrator’s) time…

          1. I noticed some 3-4 year olds go through a “phase” where they write in mirror image. I decided it was part of development and let them do their thing. (Preschool teacher twelve years). I had a student break his writing arm in third grade and when he switched to his other hand, he wrote mirror image also. That was strange, but I felt he was a bright kid.

            1. I was born a lefty. Went to Catholic school, and was switched to the right. I wrote mirror image until they beat it out of me. Even today, if I mouse on the right, what appears in the screen is the mirror image of what I intended to put there.

              1. I don’t recall it myself, but my mother claims that when I was young I could recite the alphabet backwards at high speed. Never tried to write backwards that I can recall, but maybe the alphabet thing is related?

        1. When I was in kindergarten at age 5, the teacher was concerned because I wouldn’t go out and play with the other children. So she called my mother in for a conference. My mother said “That’s because he likes to read rather than playing outside.” The teacher said “He can’t read, he’s only 5.” So my mother said “Give him a book and ask him to read it.” The teacher did and of course I read it without difficulty. So the teacher said “A lot of children can pretend to read books that they have had read to them many times; that doesn’t mean they can read.” So my mother said “Give him one of the books off your desk that he hasn’t had read to him.” She did, and I read that too, without difficulty other than that I pronounced “architect” the way it is spelled, never having heard anyone say it before. My teacher’s eyes got very round and she said “You have to have him tested. I’ll arrange it.”

          (Story continued later)

      2. Ah, expelled from Kiddy-garden.

        A friend I graduated with (1970) was sent home the first day. He walked into class and promptly kicked the teacher in the shins. This was a full swing, going for a field goal kick. He said he was scared, and this was before he kicked her.

        My own kindergarten teacher didn’t like kids all that much, and most especially didn’t like boys. Years later I discovered she was a victim of domestic violence, which probably had something to do with it.

        I was a constant problem because I had a large vocabulary and was literate, yet I didn’t do well in school. All of my instructors save one blamed the student (me), so – misery.

        A huge part of the problem is that the public educational system is designed for students with an IQ of 100 or less. If you’re bright, and some are, you’ll be bored and eventually come to realize that the grown up in front of the class is, charitably speaking, not the sharpest knife in the drawer – unless he’s the only knife in the drawer. This is not necessarily a problem for the school system, as the system prohibits merit raises and bonuses. Take, for instance, an instructor fresh out of college who is given an honors class to teach. There aren’t any discipline problems in the class, and any instructor will look good here. Little wonder, as this is a job anyone could do.

        By contrast, take an instructor that (as it happens) none of the other instructors like, and that the administration doesn’t like. Put that instructor in a classroom with a group of students that no one else will tolerate. At the end of the year, the class competes in debate and comes in second in the State. This is an instructor worth his weight in c-notes, but he won’t get the raise he richly deserves. I think this took place in NYC, and one of the students started out with a black accent so thick that the instructor needed a translator. Eventually, the young man learned English, and that was that.

        I don’t hold out much hope for the future of our school system. The system has no reason to change, and no motivation to do so.

      3. I was too young to remember, but my mother says she tried to put me in a Montessori school a year before I started kindergarten. I wasn’t interested in the toys meant for my age and kept trying to play with the ones meant for older kids. The staff wouldn’t tolerate it – which is not what I’d have expected given what I’ve read of Montessori schools – and I would throw a major fit. Mom had to pull me out and put me in public school.

        I don’t remember getting into any real trouble in kindergarten – though I may have just forgotten – but I do recall freaking out one of the teachers by asking a math question above my age level. She flat out refused to answer and even seemed a little afraid for some reason.

        1. A lot of the “Montessori” schools attract folks who are willing to enable kids to be free and exercise their natural curiosity in the way the workers expect. 😀

          Just as with kindergarten teachers who are great for dealing with 30 5 year olds, this isn’t a ding on them, and they do the job in most cases that select them.

          1. I went to a Montessori kindergarten at age 4. As far as I can compare based on my memories, it was exactly like a regular kindergarten, except that every few days we would have “Montessori time” where we would play with wooden puzzles like putting different size circles into different size holes. IIRC we all thought it was kind of dumb but played along because the teachers thought it was important.

            1. Addendum: I think they were teaching us to read, so I guess that’s “advanced”. I already knew how to read so it didn’t seem like much at the time.

      1. tokhe straav’

        works surprisingly well for what passes for “teacher” or “professor” these days.

      2. I swore in German, learned from my grandmother. Heh. Fortunately no one at school spoke it.

    1. ROFLMAO! That’s some distinction there.

      My claim to fame in this space is reading at the collegiate levels in science books at the Second Grade.

      School should be more focused on learning the fundamentals to be able to train/teach yourself the rest and do it QUICKLY. That’s all I really gained from all of it, to be honest. And…what they’re teaching these days is atrocious.

    2. I don’t know that I got in trouble, per se, or it was very early on, and then the teacher just left me alone. They stuck me in a bilingual kingdergarten class (though alas, I did not acquire Spanish. I’m not even sure I was aware it was bilingual…) and once it was established I could read–and read silently at that–I was left to my own devices. The parents didn’t want to skip me a grade (actually, I think the schools wanted to skip me two grades) because I wasn’t advanced in math, and also was very small at the point in my life and had enough social troubles as it was, heh.

      I don’t remember running into real issues until second grade. First grade teacher, bless her, ended up with TWO of us in the same class, but just gamely smiled and let us read whatever we liked. Second grade teacher was brainless–that was the year that I really started getting screwed up in math (she decided to assign us stuff that involved things we had not actually learned yet), and also when Mom had a fight with the principal because they’d put me in charge of teaching other kids to read (I was at a post-high school level at that point–but Mom felt that if I was going to do the teacher’s job, then they’d damn well better be paying me and giving me health insurance).

      I don’t remember getting much of anything out of the elementary school years, honestly. I spent a lot of time in the school library…

      1. My first fight with rampant credentialism came toward the end of second grade. The teacher used the word millennium to mean a million years. I politely raised my hand and said “Millennium means a thousand years”. No it doesn’t, I was told. Let’s check the dictionary right over there on the shelf, says I. No, I am the teacher, and I am right. I got up, took the dictionary, and showed her the meaning – 1000 years, of course. Got sent to principal’s office. My Dad arrived and asked me what the story was. I told him, and then asked “Was I supposed to let the teacher teach the other kids wrong?” My Dad looked at the principal and said “Well, answer Geoff’s question, I would like to hear your answer.” Never got one that made sense.

        1. Our science teacher tried that on my brother.

          With invertebrate.

          For snakes.

          The idiot actually tried to make it stick because my brother made him look bad.

          You’d think he’d have learned better after surviving that boy’s two older sisters!

          1. There is but one greater sin than being right when those in power are wrong — proving it!

            1. Amen brother! Especially in Catholic school. Don’t ever *prove* the sister is wrong!

          2. You’d think he’d have learned better after surviving that boy’s two older sisters!

            Hubby had similar problems because he had 3 older siblings go through the system before he did. Different challenges. They had 5 years to forget. But the problem was, he was the one doing a lot of older siblings homework, especially the older brother’s, as he was dyslexic, both reading and numbers. (OTOH put a schematic in front of the brother …)

  2. A friend told me that the folks he knows who are happy in retirement have 3 pre-occupations to keep them from obsessing or bogging down in just one. Since I have only contemplated writing, that got me thinking what the heck I always wanted to do. So far what I’ve come up with is learn to play the saxophone. Yeah, going to have to find some place where my obnoxious noise-making while learning won’t annoy too many people. But the point is that, if I do it, I intend to just pick up the instrument and try to make good sounds come out of it. I don’t think learning to read music is necessary to learning to play. I’ve known too many great musicians who even now can’t read music. I think picking it up and learning how to make nice sounds come out of the instrument is a better starting place. If I decide to do it, I’ll let you know the results.

      1. Agreed. “The image is there in my head! Why can I not get it written down on the paper?!?”

        …And then you take your best stab at it, and gnash your teeth, and try to do better the next time.

            1. I started with a plan and an outline. The smallest change was that the original bad guy became one of the key good guys. Then things got out of hand. 😛

  3. Going to have to chew on this one for a bit. Not all problems have solutions. Not all problems have one solution. Processes and tools have ways to apply them, but can be applied to problems they were not made for. The rigor in a proof comes from showing the answer is, in fact an answer to a problem, so one must be both flexible and rigid, in different ways.

    I’m reminded of the other kid that built a reactor in his garage. His parents didn’t tell him no; they told him to prove he could do it safely.

      1. I honestly don’t remember. It was the one who didn’t end up in jail over it. As I understand it, he started contacting nuclear scientists and worked out all the stuff for doing it up to code and safely.

        It was pretty impressive all told.

  4. My older brother’s kindergarten teacher was appalled that he already knew how to read. He had, in fact, already read the reader’s digest version of Moby Dick before entering any sort of official schooling. There was nothing, except socialization, that kindergarten could teach him, and my brother still isn’t really socialized because that’s just the way he is. The school didn’t want to pass him up to the first grade because they were afraid he wouldn’t ‘fit in’. My mother didn’t want him hanging around in kindergarten because he was bored out of his gourd. The school finally gave in because an intelligent child who is bored in kindergarten can find ALL SORTS of interesting ways to amuse himself, and that wound up being an even bigger worry than him fitting in, which he never has and probably never will because it’s not a priority for him.

    The one-size sort of fails everyone method of ‘teaching’ employed these days is one of the biggest arguments in favor of getting rid of state run schools that I have ever come across.

    1. The one size fits all has been there for a LONG time. Was happy in Kindergarten as mostly for me it was meeting people (only child with not too many kids nearby). Got to 1st grade and was bored stiff. I’d been reading Seuss books since I was 4, was reading 3-4th grade level. Dick, Jane, Tip, and Mitten could take a long walk off a short pier. similar for math I could already do addition and subtraction, 3rd and 4th grade girls on the bus had fun playing teacher so I was learning multiplication tables. Ancient 1st grade teacher (My mom had had her as had one of my uncles) thought I was just memorizing stuff. Ended up inside writing things a lot as I was considered a smart aleck. This seems to be common here 🙂 .

      1. Thanks to a touch of dyslexia I couldn’t read reliably until sometime in second grade. My poor sister had it a lot worse and was lumped in with the ‘problem’ students until we finally forced the school to test her in fifth grade, and their response was that it was too late to really help her catch up and she’d just have to get used to being behind for the rest of her school life. So we worked with her over the summer and got her caught up ourselves.

        Once someone helped us get our heads wrapped around it we took off like a shot. My sister got caught up over a summer and between 2nd grade and 5th I went from not reading to reading college level stuff. All that tax money given to schools per student should jolly well be given to the parents so they can either see to their kid’s school themselves.

    2. My school used my younger sister, whom I had taught to read, to prove how well their students could read while putting me in the lower level math class because anyone who spoke that badly had to be stupid. (Speech defect.)

  5. Yes! Even though I was unschooled from 2nd grate to junior college, I still struggled with the “formula” mindset when I started homeschooling my own kids. Part of it was because my husband is in engineering, and is from Europe, so he’s all about credentials. But reading Ivan Ilych and John Taylor Gatto helped loosen me up again.

  6. I do a lot of needle crafts and knitting and crocheting. I’m trying to get back into the writing groove. What breaks my heart is music. I still have a clear high voice even after thyroid surgery. Very little lung capacity anymore. Last night I woke up to “If I loved you” in Mario Lanza’s voice. It was heartbreakingly beautiful.

      1. Ooh, that is sad, Sarah. My dad lost his hearing (over many years) and he loved music. 😦

      2. That is sad, Sarah! I have trouble hearing music too, and I love to sing. I can sometimes pick up the melody or the harmony, but once I pick out either, that’s all I ever hear. I hope your not hearing hasn’t robbed you of still feeling the song!! 🤗

  7. There are right answers for the question asked, sometimes. As I had to explain last year, if the answer put on the page is completely unrelated to the material being discussed, it might not be the correct answer, even though it is factually true. (I don’t entirely blame the kids, but it showed me that we needed to work on “correct vs. correct in context.”)

    1. I’ve run into that issue. Once had a student turn in a beautifully written, wonderfully argued paper that had absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. I asked her to rewrite based on topic and she simply dropped the class. Bummer.

      1. One solution might be “I’m giving you extra credit for this excellent paper, but you still need to do the assigned work.”

      2. “beautifully written, wonderfully argued paper that had absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand” Yup. Recycled paper.

    2. The one year my wife taught high school, the yearbook staff asked her for a quote for the yearbook. She said, “Always seek to know the truth, not just the answer to the question.”

      1. I retired in 2008 after more and more students were unable to answer “study questions” I’d been successfully using for more than 10 years. “We can’t find the ‘answers’ to the questions.” Some just googled the question and copied the response.

        1. When my wife taught chemistry at junior college, she wrestled with the dilemma of insisting on homework and its futility. She couldn’t get it back in time to show them what they were doing wrong before it was too late. Also she realized that if you didn’t score it, few were disciplined enough to do it. What she finally settled on was doing the problems her way and leaving several copies in the library for them. She told them if they turned it in it would count towards their grade, but it was only whether they did it that counted. She told them even if they just copied the problems the way she did it, she’d count it, but she recommended trying it on their own first, then looking at her solutions. That way they had examples of the right way to do the problems, and even if they only copied it, they would train themselves in good habits.

    3. There are answers and answers are important. Getting the right answer is the carrot at the end. Even if you get it wrong you STILL want to know the answer.
      The most pissed off I have ever been was when I took a NCO course in the Air Force. One of the problems luckily toward the end was a question that we were to work on in groups. The real point of it was to see the group dynamics and contrast that between the groups. Also the different ways of going about finding an answer. How the group did it how they worked together. They NEVER said what the answer was. With what they were trying to teach, the answer was unimportant. I stayed after class that day and asked what the answer was, they said they didn’t know, it was unimportant. They said I was not getting the point of the problem. I asked them to remember the discussions, didn’t my points show I understood what the purpose was. They said that yes my part was good. I then asked why didn’t they have an answer, that getting the correct answer was important. Again they said I didn’t get it. I told them that I got it but they didn’t get why I was asking. I was nice, I didn’t say what I wanted to. I did ask them Why work on a problem if there was not going to be an answer. If there were more questions or problems like that I wouldn’t be motivated to work hard because they had shown that the answer didn’t matter. I was confused and upset because I expected more understanding from them.

      1. I had to take a test to transport Hazardous Materials on a semi. Taken at a state Dept of Motor Vehicles office.

        The question was, While transporting a flammable load, one of your tires catches fire. Do you;

        A: Drive fast and hope the wind puts it out.
        B: Stop the truck in the middle of the road and run away.
        C: Pull off the road away from structures and call for help
        D: Stop and remove the tire.

        Needless to say, the state approved answer required me to pick up an 80,000 pound vehicle with one hand, while removing lug nuts tightened to 400 ft/pounds (car tires are generally around 80) with the fingers of the other hand, while hoping the fire doesn’t light up my hair.

          1. Bare minimum to extinguish a burning semi tire is a 30 BC Fire Extinguisher. DOT code requires I carry a 5 BC, I’ve yet to be in a truck that doesn’t have a 10 from the factory. But never anything big enough to put out a tire fire, unless I was delivering a case of them! 🙂

    4. Mine definitely need this.

      When I say “show your work,” I do not need a lecture on Kerbal space program. I need you to show how you did the math problem so I can show you where you went wrong, so neither of us have to bother with it again.

        1. My grandfather–who only had an 8th grade education–was like that. (Also profoundly dyslexic, and didn’t really learn to read until in his 60s. When he found something he really, really wanted to read–and then there was no stopping him.) He could, apparently, do complex trigonometry or calculus in his head. As in, show him the problem, he could tell you the answer. But he didn’t know WHY he knew the answer, or how he got there. He just knew the answer.

    1. OR, it’s still stupid; and you were either lucky or had a good NCO covering for you. (USMC version)

  8. I sew and cook and grow vegetables and do a lot of DIY on the house, and I’m getting into woodworking by way of cabinet making.

    The lesson I’ve learned is: RTFM and then just go ahead and do it. (My shelf of Taunton Press books is quite impressive.) And eat your mistakes, for various values of “eat”.

    But definitely RTFM. When I rewired my bathroom when I bought the house, the inspector asked if I had a background in electrical. Nope, I just read the book all the way through and then actually did what it said. The stuff I’ve uncovered where the previous owners … did not do that have been kind of mind-boggling.

    Oh, and recognize when you’re out of your depth. Plumbing waste lines (other than rebuilding the gooseneck under my kitchen sink) are that for me. I understand what’s going on and why, but the codes are too complicated for me to follow precisely, and you don’t want to screw that up. Best leave that for someone with years and years of experience.

    1. The lesson I’ve learned is: RTFM and then just go ahead and do it.

      Summary of some 20 years of training from my parents, right there. 😀

    2. Whenever I am in the mood to horrify myself I look at the DIY gone wrong websites. The memory of the circuit breaker in the SHOWER always give me the shudders. And always, I think “Why didn’t they check out a book on it?!?!”

        1. OMG “circuit breaker in the shower”! I. Cant. Even.

          I know little about electrician works. “It’s broken” is about my best. But even I know that this is bad.

      1. Right??? That one had me going “How do the people that did this remember to breathe in and out…?”

        The worst part is, there was more than one example of electrical stuff that had no business being in or near a shower/tub that was in or near a shower/tub…

  9. Today’s daily gravity test had the same results as the previous tests. Still approximately one second interval from liftoff to touchdown, self-powered, with deacceleration to zero at max altitude followed by constant acceleration until touchdown.

    PK testing on subject bird feather still with zero results.

    Smell testing still 100% accurate distinguishing between bacon, cinnamon, coffee, bleach, tobacco and Chanel #5. (Apparently still Covid-free. Yippee!)

  10. Not only is the Cake a Lie, school is too.
    I homeschooled my 6 kids at a time when we were the only homeschooled family in our little forest town. They were reasonably bright and out of the box thinkers.
    Then they went to university where they learned to listen only to the experts and became automatons. Very successful automatons, to be sure, who make more money then we, their parents, ever will. But slaves to the cancel culture and all it entails.
    So, yes, the thing you love to do the most will break your heart. I LOVED every minute I spent at home with my kids because raising them, while it was not a pleasure, was a joy.
    But I am rather irritated that I have seemingly raised a flock of sheep. I do have some hope for the grandkids though because they seem to have a very cynical eye toward experts in general and education in particular thanks be to COVID.
    I was particularly pleased this last week when my two grandsons -who are just now eligible to vote- coined the phrase “You really Bidened that up.” when someone made a foolish mistake during a boardgame. (Much to the discomfort of my daughters-in-law. Heh)
    I suspect that the whole idiocy surrounding the current regime and it’s various non-scientific mandates etc. will backfire in the long run. If just turned 18 year-old men know we have a dementia patient “in charge” when their parents do nothing but sing the praises of our betters in government, then I still have hope for the future.

    1. There’s a good chance that the Zoomers will save us – they’re almost as cynical as GenX, and better socialized.

      1. Yeah. Us Gen-Xers seem to be of the “Leave me the hell alone” brand of cynicism. I don’t have the energy to try and change all the idiots’ minds, so I wish the Zoomers all the best when it comes to that job.

  11. Looking for work, I know that because I don’t have my white collar union card (i.e. a college degree), it’s going to be hard to get any kind of job that isn’t warehouse or “do you want fries with that” or similar kinds of “entry-level” positions.

    Fingers crosses. I’m getting interviews, at least, and hope to get something before we have a whole lot of desperate people trying to get jobs because they’ve run out of unemployment.

    1. I don’t know if it would work these days, but you might try this. If they like you and would hire you except for your lack of credentials (no matter how inappropriate said credentials are to the job), offer to work for them for two weeks for free. If they like what you do, they hire you; if they don’t, you leave, no harm, no foul.

      With so many jobs going wanting for lack of people willing to work, you might be able to convince them this way.

      1. A lot of companies these days have HR departments that act as gatekeepers. For example, I’ve been told that my current employer’s HR department won’t even let a resume for a permanent position past the Inbox if it doesn’t include a four year degree on it somewhere. It doesn’t matter what the manager thinks of you if you don’t have a degree (and the specific degree doesn’t really matter).

        1. Well, that’s an argument for degree mills, where you just pay your money for the sheepskin and don’t have to do much of anything else.

          1. It hasn’t all become performance metrics yet, but if you want a job with a big company, you need to have that sheepskin, because of degree inflation. It used to be a four year degree was your white collar union card. Now, it’s a graduate degree of some kind, any kind that is becoming the big foot-in-the-door thing. I’m just hoping to get something that lets me get inside before it gets too bad…

        2. Yes. That is entirely normal for large companies. It’s stupid but HR departments have to justify themselves somehow and putting up arbitrary barriers to entry is one way they do it.

          My best friend from school ended up getting a degree in his 40s because he was told there was no way he could become a manager unless he had a degree. The fact that he had in effect been managing a development team beforehand and continued to do so while studying for the degree made no difference what so ever to HR. The degree did give him a pay rise to go with his new title but made little or no difference to the job he was doing.

          A couple of years ago the company shut down all development at his location and he was made redundant (now in his 50s). He hasn’t got a new full time job but he has noted that all s/w dev jobs now, even entry level ones require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, which is demonstrably rubbish because he (and a large number of other people I know) went straight from (high) school to programming and had little more than a company coding style guide and some code reviews to get them going.

          I note that when my company hires developers we still need to give them a style guide and code reviews to get them to produce decent stuff. The difference on how many reviews are needed before they figure it out does not seem to correlate with credentials but does correlate with time spent writing code

          1. Further compounding the absurdity of the matter is that software and IT are fields that have a wide range of industry-standardized credentials. In theory, you should be able to point to a four year degree *or* a stack of credentials. But the HR department doesn’t care about the latter.

          2. “he has noted that all s/w dev jobs now, even entry level ones require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, ”

            Blame at least some of that on government. I’m a Big 5 company tech delivery consultant, and starting in the 90s, boilerplate regulations started requiring college degrees for submitting proposals. As in “The position of database Developer I must be filled by a person with a bachelor’s degree minimum, or equivalent experience of at least 5 years.” And the company had to promise they would only submit a team whose members had that qualification. Over the years, “or equivalent experience” has been dropped.

            So if you’re a tech company that wants to compete for government projects, that requirement trickles down. You don’t hire people who don’t meet it, because what if you don’t have enough private sector work? And of course, that “private sector” is increasingly controlled by regulations written to keep higher ed indoctrination profitable.

            1. He’s in the Netherlands. But I imagine there’s been a very similar progression there too.

            2. My last job was a government cost accounting system, target was county level, but some cities had it too. Had morphed into the preferred system for CA, WA, and Federal Tribal lands, PNW and working on SW by the time I retired. When I hired on, the degree was nice, but not required, because of my experience. Nor was I asked for citizenship proof. Was not put under either drug testing nor background check.

              However, since I’ve retired, all the employees were required to have background checks ran, and citizenship documents submitted. Not sure about the degree requirements. There might be a few reasons for this to occur now. Expanding into a State that requires this or the Feds caught on because of the Federal Tribal lands. Adding full payroll into the system (already had everything but writing the actual check for more than a decade that I was aware of). Or because the company was bought by a Canadian private entity that is collecting small non incorporated software firms as owners retire. (There was an heir apparent. But he and his wife chose not to put themselves in that kind of debt. Owners daughter and SIL.)

        3. Because if they hire a useless idiot with a degree, they can blame it on the college. Saves them from having to do any work or take any responsibility.
          Not everybody should go to college. Some folks, you send ’em to college and you just wind up with an educated idiot.

          1. I’m going to say that in fact most people would do better NOT going to college. Or at least not going as a late teen/early 20s person. If you know you want to have a career in something that needs further education (STEM etc.) then go. If you don’t know your career path and/or want to do something that merely requires you to be literate/numerate then all you gain by going is a piece of paper and (these days) a ton of debt. Far better to get a bit of work experience first then study for a relevant degree to what you want to do

      2. Also, they CAN’T let you work for two weeks for them for free–it is very illegal, and they’d get in very big trouble over it. But persuading them to hire you on probation isn’t a bad idea. 🙂

        1. I’ve had that kind of work recommended to me as well but for me it’s a hard pass even if Covidiocy wasn’t happening. I’m not a people person at all on top of the messy part so I wouldn’t last long.

          1. Most of us odds aren’t what I’d call, “people persons”. Not that we can’t fake it for short periods of time, but it’s not our default mode. And our form of empathy tends toward the academic; we can conceptualize it, but it’s not like we can really ‘feel’ it. In many cases, this resembles the low empathy of autistic-NOS individuals. Highly competent in the skill department, we could do IVs and injections perfectly; we just don’t ‘care’ whether it hurts when the needle goes in or not. And we’re not the world’s best comforters either. You can cry on our shoulder, but that’s just because we know you need one to cry on.

            1. It’s a little like guy-caring vs girl-caring– we’re all familiar with the “I don’t want you to try to fix it, I want you to listen to me about it!” thing, right? Maybe even the “I don’t want you to agree with me when I tell you about it, I want you to listen and help me fix it” version?

              It’s not exactly that we don’t care the shot hurts, it might even be that we are more aware that it hurts than someone who is very tender about not causing pain– but we think THIS WILL FIX IT, get RID of the hurt.

              Or the “gee, I wish I could just not care about what people think like you do, you just do your own thing no matter what people think!” and said Extreme Social Anxiety person is thinking: no, no I don’t, I am very worried about what people think, I just am looking beyond the immediate response because I can’t dance around and get out of trouble by always saying what they’ll like right now, even if I could figure it out.

              1. Last example, it is technically possible to decide not to care what certain people think, to carry through with not caring what a bunch of people think, and at the same to have a lot of incoherent anxiety when it comes to social interaction with one’s few actual contacts. There is more than one type of caring what people think, more than one area of the brain which can carry out that function. So, one can be disordered, and others can be under careful deliberate control.

                So, there can be a paranoid and over active ‘what about the negative social consequences of this act’ function, and at the same time one can recognize that while charity to strangers is worth caution when judging, some people are too malicious to pay attention to the opinions of.

                1. Very important advice for caring about what people think thing:
                  “Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t ask for advice.”

              2. >> “we’re all familiar with the “I don’t want you to try to fix it, I want you to listen to me about it!” thing, right?”

                Its existence has been noted:

                1. I guess I should explain WHY that response exists– a lot of the time, the “fix” isn’t taking in the information that is needed to do an effective fix.
                  It’s doing something fast, and if there’s bad results well you tried.
                  Women are especially sensitive to this, if they’re hurting, because there are a lot of toxic gals who specialize in “oh I’m helping… well, you didn’t like my help? Here take punishment on top of whatever else you’re trying to deal with, on top of the problem I just created!”

            2. Sounds about right, and why I’ve always been horrible at customer service type positions and have always tried to get jobs in the back accordingly. Didn’t work last time I was in a retail store, unfortunately, and damn did that suck (especially since I didn’t even have the vaguest idea how bad my life training had been or how to deal with it in a way that actually makes sense to me at the time). I always get hung up on the “this makes rational sense, dammit, why are you being so insane about this” part. Which is where so much of my anger and depression from the Covidiocy is coming from, come to think of it. Just one more thing making this career thing hard to figure out…

        2. Back during my aircraft maintenance career, I’d entertained thoughts of working for an air ambulance sevice. Then my first summer in Alaska ‘my’ helicopter got commandeered by the state to do an airlift for an emergency patient from the boondocks. Cleaning the bodily fluids out of the back of the bird cured me of that ambition. Folks I know who have done it say you get used to it. No, thanks.

          1. There’s jobs related to that field that I could do. In an emergency. As needed. Not as a career. The empathy I would have to the carnage would be far too much and the “what ifs” would hit me too hard.

    2. Depends on your skill-set and your ability to market yourself. Also the “game” of each prospective job.

      I got one “fab tech” job by impressing an HR person through bypassing the “gatekeepers” at her “engineers only” job fair.

      That firm had mandatory promotions based on skill-points earned. I devoured the various adjoining job manuals, and accumulated two promotions of skill points before my 60 day probation was up.

      There are rules to the “job” game. Learn them fervour targets, and how creatively obey and creatively break them.

      1. That is, and I’ve gotten a second interview with a company that I’m interested in. Clearly PT when I start, and moving up to full time in 4-8 weeks, which I can live with. And, yes, interviews are good. I just hate the uncertainty.

    3. If you’re bright and disciplined, you can make it far from any starting job as long as it isn’t a union job. Corporations are full of barnacles, but any work where there is local control will be delighted to have a bright, dedicated worker, credentials or not.

      1. My wife, who has a Ph.D. in astrophysics, who was between contracts, and had not been able to find anything. So she decided to create a resume in he maiden name without all the education to look for a lower level position.
        So one day she went for an interview at one of the science agencies and there were two older women there there and they each had a couple of papers. When the interview started, one of the women read from the both of her resume’s and asked her which one was hers. Having grown up in a communist country, she quickly replied “Which one do you want me to be?” Both the women laughed and she was hired. She is still with that agency in a senior administrative position. We still laugh at how she got hired.

        1. Totally off topic but my daughter wants to study astrophysics. I just need to win the lottery so I can afford out of state tuition for her.

    4. Good luck! That’s almost the boat I’m in, except I actually went from retail hell to warehouse hell and the current job is causing me a lot of headaches both there and in my personal life. No degree either so not sure how to get around those gatekeepers the others mentioned. It’s also frustrating to see job postings where I know I could do the work but because I don’t have a minimum of three years experience doing the exact same thing I don’t even get considered for them, usually for much lower pay than what I’m making now at that. I still have no idea how I’m going to break out of that circle even with the discussions here.

    5. Back in the mid 1970s (no, we did not have printers that worked on clay tablets. Marble slabs, yes. Clay no.) we hired a technician who had gone through 2 years of the DeVry Electronics stuff. The guy was smart and was working at the freshly-hired engineer level.

      So we made a deal; he got promoted to full engineer, but had to take two years worth of San Jose State EE courses. Not sure if he was reimbursed, but at that time, Cal State was pretty affordable.

      I imagine such an approach would cause HR heads to explode if it were accepted by higher-ups.

      1. No way you could pull that off these days. Tuition rates for the CSU is along the lines of $2900+fees per semester for a 6.1 and above course load and materials. I’d like that, mind you…

      2. Late ’80s. I already had a 4 year degree, but in Forestry. Since I wasn’t willing to commute to downtown Portland, I had gotten a 2 year programming degree, ’83 – ’85. I was 28. My first programming job, 6 months in, owner calls me into the office. He and his partner (wife) were all about the credentials. Said he’d pay for me to finish up with a 4 year Computer Science degree. One class a term for 36 months, which employer paid for class and any materials needed. Class time, regardless of time was my lunch “hour”, which included the class time, and time to walk there and back. Then was about 3 terms to complete degree, on our dime, because employer moved out of town. Otherwise another 12 months at one class a term. Went to work 9 months after I finished for a new employer. Didn’t even look for 7 months … The fact our son, first, and only child, was born 2 weeks (exactly) after my last final, had a little to do with that. Not only that, but found a job that required degrees and experience in both disciplines. Used them too, just not field work. I was 32.

        Last time I looked for work, I was 46. It was not fun and a long 18 months. I know of one programmer who changed careers to programming at age 50, and got an entry level job. But did it through a jobs rehabilitation program, which paid 1/2 his salary for a year. But beyond that, every programmer that was let go during the bankruptcy that unemployed me at 46, I was one of the few to ever find work again. No matter how willing the programmer/developer was willing to move.

        1. When I was laid off from Agilent (instrument half of HP, split off a year before), my RF test knowledge was minimal. Had no luck finding other forms of test engineering (dot com bust, circa Sept 2001). However, I was familiar with a non-HP tester and got invited onto a team developing calibration software for that company’s brand new RF test hardware.

          Mercifully, the lead on the project was the RF specialist, and I learned what was necessary from him. A bit of what I got from that made the studies for the Ham license exams that much easier. The consulting gig lasted 10 months (9 of which were well paid) until the tester company went bankrupt, bringing the consultancy with it.

          Still, this got us enough to get the San Jose house ready for sale (had to do some heavy carpentry in a back section, due to termites), and the proceeds from the house, plus $SPOUSE’s savings got us through the lean years in Oregon. Once we could access retirement savings, then Social Security, we got to “fairly well off”.

          I’ve learned more construction up here over the years, but haven’t tried doing any of it for pay. A brief look at Oregon business regulations was fairly discouraging, so some of the stuff that could have been done for money was done for hobby/entertainment. I can live with it.

          1. My Aug ’02 cut was a continuation of the ’01 dot com bust. We’d been bought out early ’01 by PSC. Almost immediately it wasn’t good. Hubby asked about buying PSC stock, like we had with the original company. I told him “No way in hell”. Also refused to partake in employee discount for buying stock. Know those who did, who lost everything. It was early ’03 before everything was parted out and sold. Core pieces got picked up by DataLogic. Another piece that had been shelved was purchased/picked-up and restarted in ’10; found out ’12. Thought about calling them up and jumping ship from where I was at by then. Salary would have been higher, a lot higher. But would have been jumping ship for a startup and all the long days and deadlines all that implies, with no guaranties. I’d been where I landed for eight years, it wasn’t going anywhere; and long days/deadlines were not part of the package … usually (I mean what programmer doesn’t go “it is almost done/fixed” then “OMG it is after 6 PM!”).

  12. hmmm … I love this idea of “unschooling” or better, to be agile and flexible as you move thru life, work, etc. etc. etc …
    I have made a very fruitful career as an IT Business Analyst in the financial service industry because (as I look back on it) I have never accepted that what I didn’t know was a barrier to learning what I needed to get the job done.
    I have a BS in Ocean Engineering from the Naval Academy (and this was before everyone had a computer of any kind) which gave me zero technical skills in IT but it did teach me to learn … but what I had and have (again I have NO IDEA how I acquired this) is a very curious mind and no fear around acquiring new skills to get the job done.
    Every single skill I bring to bear in my job was a skill I didn’t have at the start of the project that required them. Every time I ran into a problem that required someone else to assist me I asked them to teach me how to do it for myself. (Teach a man to fish, don’t bring me a fish).
    And thus, I have become a jack of all trades and yet a master of none.
    I can program but I am not a programmer.
    I can manage a database but am hardly a DB Admin.
    I can query data in a table but nobody would ever claim I’m a sql query genius.
    I have cut and pasted more sql and/or code from Google and them tweaked it to my needs than I have ever written queries or code from scratch.

    My point is, in my line of work there are no real credentials … when I look to see how good a BA someone is, l look at how curious they are and how fast they are willing to learn new skills. Everything else flows from that. Being a problem solver starts with the right attitude and the skills required are added later.

    1. Spouse took a job once that required competency in Lotus 1-2-3. He didn’t know it -then. But he worked his head off to the point he was happily writing macros and was more or less the “expert.”

        1. I had a job once where the boss told me on Friday that I needed to be a SQL Server tuning expert on Monday. I had never even used SQL Server up to that point.

          I said “Okay, but you’ll have to pay me for the 18 or 20 hours I’ll have to put in over the weekend to become an expert.” He objected but gave in because he had promised the client (it was a consulting job) that he could fill the position on Monday.

          To be fair, I did know a lot about RAID volumes, which turned out to be a fertile source of tuning advice for the SQL Server installations in question because the people who had set them up had no idea what they were doing.

          But in the event, no one at the client (other than the manager, whom he had told) ever knew that I had become an expert over the weekend.

  13. I’ve done a wide variety of things for a living. All legal. I’m now writing and actually earning (albeit small amounts) money. I never thought I could write. So, I liked figuring out how governments worked, so I did all my degrees in political science. And, in the process learned to write fiction that passed as research. I’m on hold right now for more things as we’re in the middle of husband trying to change jobs and we want to move out of here. All these things preclude for now picking up new hobbies. Especially as I’d like to take up pottery again. And maybe go back to the clarinet.

  14. Any high school course that takes a whole semester of classes every day gets crushed into 3 weeks for summer school. And they do it online.

    What does this tell us? That normal high school is a babysitting service at best.

    My experience of going to university twice was discovering they didn’t teach me the important stuff. Twice. I learned it on my own, later.

    Welding school, they actually teach you how to weld. About the only school experience that turned out as advertised. By the end of it I could weld with stick and MIG. Certification was extra, mostly to do with having your welds x-rayed for voids and cracks. Pass the x-ray, you’re a Real Welder. You can go Weld with the professionals. You will learn lots of tricks as a pro that they don’t teach in school, but at least when you graduate you’re employable doing the thing they taught you.

    Can the same be said for university? No. Not even medical school. In fact, I’m told that in residence a not insignificant amount of time is devoted to fixing the stuff they taught wrong in medical school. Physical therapy was certainly that way for me, but by then I was a grown man and I expected half what they taught to be wrong.

    Buyer beware.

    1. Yup. Trade schools actually teach you how to do things. At a guess, because if you screw up the things you’re supposed to learn there they might be open to legal liability if they passed you. But universities have no such liability worries as no one expects them to prepare students for anything remotely realistic and useful.

      1. One of the reasons for credentialism is, if I recall correctly, that the courts ruled companies could not administer aptitude and iq tests in the 60’s. Since they had no semi-direct way to ascertain capability, they turned to universities for a proxy, the college degree.

        The market pressure on the universities was then to provide credentialing at a minimum cost to themselves. Political pressure was to provide it to as many as possible. It’s much easier to dose up basketweaving with some pseudoscience drivel and call it a degree than say biology, chemistry, logic, philosophy, literature, history, etc. Charge huge amounts of money for a prestigious, naked emperor credential and it’s a gravy train…until it all collapses.

    2. I can’t go into detail, because of privacy rules, but after listening to a parent, I thought, “Sir, if this worksheet is considered college-level work, civilization is toast. Or that college needs to be gutted and completely re-made.”

      1. At this point, are there any forms of tertiary education that /don’t/ pretty much need to be gutted and rebuilt?

    3. Yeah, when I was in college, I cleverly took the subjects that were required but I didn’t like during the summer quarter. Six weeks instead of 14, figured they’d have to stick to the basics. And that’s about how it worked out.

      1. My MSEE program didn’t go that way. The normal programs were 2 hours/session, twice a week, while the summer had the same length of sessions, 4X a week.

        I only took one summer course, partly so I wouldn’t go crazy. The work was pretty intense for four years. Class sessions ran from 7-9AM, so my sleep schedule was pretty odd for the while.

    4. The online summer school courses are “click through” courses. The student merely clicks through until they get the correct answer. Once the have clicked the correct answer on enough problems to pass they are done. They don’t have to learn the material or even read most of it. Their main purpose is to provide”credit recovery” for students who didn’t pass the regular class.

    5. “Any high school course that takes a whole semester of classes every day gets crushed into 3 weeks for summer school. And they do it online.

      What does this tell us? That normal high school is a babysitting service at best.”

      Let me offer the counter. The summer school online class is BS in which the student learns nothing. They can look up the answers on their phone and redo each question until they get the correct one. Summer school online is designed to provide credit, not to provide learning. So perhaps you are looking at this from 180 degrees off.

      I say this as a high school math teacher who is constantly frustrated at the “credit retrieval” programs offered. The biggest problem isn’t kids who get the credits, graduate, and go on to do just fine. The biggest problem is the kids who get Algebra “credit” during the summer and then are put into Geometry, where they don’t know how to do any Algebra. Then they get Geometry “credit” the next summer and are put into Algebra 2, which they need in order to graduate, even though they still don’t know how to do basic Algebra. I then spend half my time helping the ten kids who have no idea how to do basic Algebra so that they can collect enough points to graduate(note 1), instead of spending that time coming up with a better curriculum so that the class could be more interesting and more challenging, while still being passable for the average kid.

      Note 1: Algebra 2, also known as Advanced Algebra, is a requirement in our state, even if you have no intention of going to college and have no use for it, and barely made it through Algebra 1.

      1. “Let me offer the counter. The summer school online class is BS in which the student learns nothing.”

        That’s certainly true, but unfortunately so is the regular school year. Most kids don’t learn much math. Speaking as someone who utterly failed mathematics in grade school and high school both, and suffered horribly from the experience, picking up credits in summer school was a pretty good thing. I didn’t learn any less at summer school, let’s just say.

        Later on as an adult I learned mathematics properly, and having gotten all the way up to differential calculus I stood in awe of how BAD my Canadian public school math education really was. I mean, it was egregiously bad. Example, they didn’t teach us the theorem that proves division. It is quite hard to do algebra when you don’t understand how division works, and you make do with following instructions by rote.

        Current experience with young relatives and the school system indicate things have gotten -much- worse, even since the 1990s. The kids make up for it with on-line resources. They spend quite a bit of time researching the proper way to do things that the teacher blithely brushes past in lectures. When the kid gets a good mark it is generally more a reflection of Kahn Academy than the instructor they have at school.

        I’ve also noticed that during the years when the young relatives were home schooled, meaning not schooled at all and left to mess around with whatever the hell they wanted, they progressed faster and did more advanced work than they would have in school.

        One of those not schooled kids ended up in engineering. So I don’t really believe anything that comes out of the public school system anymore. When they say “[subject] is critical to future advancement!!!” I look at the engineer kid and remember when that kid picked it up off the internet for a laugh while doing a project.

  15. Buried in the infrastructure monstrosity is a national mileage tax:


    The mileage tax is set by the Transportation department rather than Congress, and there is no apparent limitation on what that amount can be. It is initially a “pilot” program, but we know that will end up if Democrats get their way. This is in the so-called bipartisan bill, not even the even bigger monstrosity that Democrats seek to ram through as they push for “{communism now”

  16. There’s an old jingle I think I first heard around 1961:

    Patience is a virtue;
    Possess it if you can.
    Seldom in a woman
    And never in a man.

    That’s not 100% true, of course; some men have it. It’s rare though. Hence, I would suggest that, but for the odd subject in which a man may be the familial subject matter expert, home schooling is just going to be better done by Mom. There are probably exceptions, yes, but as a general rule…

    I was discussing with a Brit friend of mine, recently, what I want kids to be able to do by the time they’re out of high school. It boils down to:

    I want them literate and numerate, of course. They should have a solid grounding in _western_ history. I think I’d like them to have a healthy appreciation for Chesterton’s Fence, to understand economics in the sense that there are few genuine solutions, but only trade offs, to understand why socialism just fails and why it’s evil to start with, ditto fascism, and to have developed some built in defenses against propaganda from _either_ side. I think I want them all, to include the rather bright ones, to have some exposure to the trades, because we need carpenters and plumbers and electricians a lot fucking more than we need social workers.

    I also think we should give zero money for higher education absent an honorable discharge from the armed forces. Part of the reason for that latter is that after a couple of years with the colors, under the cruel-tyrant sergeants, academics don’t seem nearly so intimidating, leading to wonderous screaming fights with the swine in class. (Why, yes, now that you ask, I have. No, it didn’t do my GPA a lot of good.)

    1. I’m going to disagree only in that we desperately need social workers, or anyone who wants to deal with the social problems. We unfortunately, need social workers who aren’t trained to create more social problems than they solve.

  17. For quite a while I’ve been posting links in the common swamps (social media) predicated with ‘Caring, responsible parents should not allow their children attend university.’

    Lately I’ve been linking germane posts following, ‘Caring, Responsible parents should not allow their children attend public school!’

    Hey, if one parent reads it and follows the link and it saves the mind of one rug rat, it’s all worth it! 😉

  18. Number two son flamed out in the 7th grade. He is cursed in that he sees clearly. The wife and I “unschooled” him. This was not the airy fairy thing that goes by that name, rather we taught him math and Latin. We went all the way back to counting since we didn’t know where he’d got lost in math. For the rest, well there are quite literally thousands of books in this house on a wild spread of topics — perhaps some here know what I’m talking about 😃. We had him read some of the books and write an essay once a week. We sent him to HS, a good Catholic boys school that understands boys — they do exist — with strong athletics, which is what he wanted. Under no circumstances would we send him to the local public school even though it’s one of the “best” in the country. my wife said she wouldn’t let the atheists have him. if we didn’t get him into the HS we did he would have home schooled him all the way.

    He hasn’t had any problems since, is very well read for his age, speaks three languages, and is learning Russian since that seems to be his passion. I think it’s the “and then it got worse” aspect of Russian history that attracts him. he was also a Boy Scout who made three trips to Philmont and so is very self reliant with a good set of skills.

    Our only regret is sending our children to elementary school in this country at all. We loved the school they were in in the UK and thought it would be OK. We left #2 son way too long.

    1. Teens love “and just as people started to get excited, [name] invaded” sorts of history, especially guys. Some of the girls, too. Hearing about Poland being flattened yet again, or Louis XIV getting clobbered for the umpteenth time makes their day. *shrug* If they listen and learn, I’ll go with it.

      1. Russian history, and the Slavs in general, seems to come down to “and then everybody died messily”. We’ve both been on a Tsushima kick recently and it’s actually funny in a not get very funny way, at least the voyage. There’s a great piece on the repair ship Kamchatka on the tubes of you.

        One thing that does come through is that you might beat the Russians, but you’ll take a lot of punishment doing so. They’re like an old punched out heavyweight boxer who doesn’t know when to quit.

    2. >> “my wife said she wouldn’t let the atheists have him.”

      Can’t say I blame her; we’re known for eating children. 😛

  19. Almost all I learned in 6th grade came from the Heinlein collection that was on the bookshelf in the back of the classroom.

    1. One summer between 6th and 7th grade n Shreveport I went through the local library’s SF section all of it. I also hit some history, historical fiction and others. After that summer I got glasses. My Dad was in Nam and my Mother was an RN. They would only let me check out 4 books at a time. Had to walk there and back, not a long ways but I kept trying to get them to let me check out more books. They wouldn’t RULES. Learned a lot that summer.

      1. It might have been because the library would only let a kid check out 4 books at a time. I remember those bad old days. I would have read all four books in 2-3 days depending on how thick they were.

        1. I started writing the week before we went on vacation and we had to return all our library books and get no more out.

        2. My mother got me a special dispensation as I would have read the four books by the time I walked the 11 or so blocks home. I still remember that librarian fondly. Her daughter’s name was Stephanie, a friend of my sister’s, I don’t remember her name at all. Mrs. Something. 😁

          1. My Dad would take me to the library once a week. The librarians kept trying to restrict me to the children’s section. When I got upset that they wouldn’t let me check out an adult meteorology book, my Dad got *the Look ™* and called all the librarians to the desk. Then he stood me on the desk and told them, “This is my daughter. She is 7. Anything she CAN read, she is ALLOWED to read.” No trouble after that. Dad rocked.

    2. My dad read Heinlein. One day I saw him Reading “Glory Road,” and asked him if I could have it when he was finished. (This was pretty routine). I was in junior high at the time. He looked at me and said, “No, you’re not ready yet.”
      I had discovered the library Heinlein collection when I ran out of Andre Nortons and one day I pulled out this big book titled, “Stranger In A Strange Land.” A day or so later, Dad caught me with it. He didn’t say a word, but later he brought me, “Glory Road,” and said, “I think you’re ready.”

      1. Ah yes, Stranger in a Strange Bed. I too read all the Heinlein I could get a hold of also, in jr hi/high school.

  20. Cameron was unschooled until he reached the age where he would enter 8th grade and then his mother insisted on enrolling him in an on-line school. He did well with that, but after two years she insisted he enter the West Lafayette Public Schools. At that point, he had acquired enough credits that they would have graduated him at midyear, save we argued to have him classified as an 11th grader so he wouldn’t graduate at barely over 16. He also did FAR better in the less structured environment outside the brick and mortar school. It wasn’t that he did poorly – in almost every class he pulled As, but where he ran into difficulties they just snowballed. We found out that he was afraid to ask his AP Chemistry teacher for help until we and the teacher forced the issue and made him stay after school for tutoring (since he wouldn’t let Dad with a chemistry degree help). I also had some issues with his precalculus class….for example, on one homework assignment you could NOT solve the trig problem with the information they got from the textbook OR the teacher’s handouts. I have a chemistry BS and doctoral work in economics and epidemiology, so I am pretty good at math, and it gave me issues.

    The unschooling environment is, IMHO, ideal to capture a kid’s curiosity and let parents channel that into creating a self-motivated learner. Cam taught himself to add and subtract using elevator buttons, taught himself to read at 28 months with a US map and Leapfrog phonics bus, learned multiplication and division with Legos, and at three identified a fossil pelvic girdle correctly as coming from a sauropod by the shape of the pubis bone. A visit to the Tut exhibit at the Field museum had him reading every book he could find on ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. After having a gingko leaf pointed out (“brachiosaurus ate those!”) he started a leaf collection and learned to identify trees with a field guide. He decided at age 4 to read in order a biography of every American President and was excited when he got to visit Mt. Vernon when he was finished. I brought him home some DoD country information books from an exercise and he threw himself into learning about the Horn of Africa. We studied WW2 by picking a campaign, identifying a unit, and modelling a company from it for the Flames of War game (he painted the tanks), then watching a movie about the campaign after he prepared a report on the campaign. We mixed in visits to see a P-51 and a B-17 (he met a pilot who flew both Schweinfurt raids and asked him for his autograph!) as well as him talking to one of my parent’s friends who was born in Ste. Mere Eglise and watched the US paratroopers land on the night of June 5/6, 1944 when she was 9, his age at the time. He went to a Civil War Roundtable to see me talk when he was 5, won a graphic novel about Gettysburg, and stalked around in a Robin Hood costume with a wooden pistol claiming he was a “Dinosaur Civil War Sharpshooter” (because his uniform was green). He saw a board at the Fort Ouiatenan blockhouse with Shawnee and French phrases on it when he was four, and decided to learn French. At the Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum at the same age, he became fascinated with a four pounder howitzer and had me teach him how it was loaded and fired (I had been taught by a guy at Stone’s River National Battlefield in the late 1990s using a 6 pound James RIfle). The next time my parents visited, he taught Grandpa how to serve the artillery piece! He found butterfly eggs in his vegetable garden (a 4×4 bed I made him) and for years would collect and raise them, releasing them when the butterfly emerged from the chrysalis. We took hikes where he learned to identify and stalk animals – I have seen him get close enough to a wild doe as well as a wild rabbit to touch them. He watched Little Brown Bats roost in a nesting colony in the garage fascia. He would go to work with me and was sitting in my undergrad and graduate public health classes from the time he was four – by nine he was pressing students into better performances by asking good questions in class. He was also helping a grad student write lectures for her freshman health class when he was nine. He liked me to walk him across the street from my office so he could see the Apollo command module and moon rock on display in the Armstrong Engineering Building on the Purdue campus. When he was six, he talked some Purdue engineering students into teaching him about the different ways I-Beams were attached to each other, and had a neuroscience grad student teaching him brain anatomy when he was five. He talked my mom into buying him a small anatomical skeleton from the UMinn Med School bookstore when he was three. At that age, his favorite book was his “Great Big Book of Everything,” a DK Children’s Encyclopedia targeted at grades 5-6.

  21. On the other hand, gotta give credit where credit’s due.

    One of the major purposes of public education was to turn them thar farm boys and furreners into factory workers. The idea of do a job ’till it’s done, milk the cows ’till their empty, harvest in the fall, plant in the spring had to go.

    Public schools taught them to be there on time, start work when the bell rings, 30 minutes for lunch, not a second more, work’s done with the last bell or steam whistle, no matter if the job’s done, set down the wrench and go home, -but you better be back and in your place when the 8 a.m. whistle blows.

    Public school taught them to work by the clock, a rather un-natural way to approach a job.

    This was brought home to me after coming to Alaska interacting with Indians and Eskimos that, then, were sill, pretty much, living a subsistence life;

    “Hey Joe what time is it!”, Joe looks at the sky, the clouds, how high the sun is, “Goose season , we go down to the lake.”

    “Hey Maggie, I see Josh’s boat, the striker’s standing waving, think they got a bowhead!” “Everybody! Everybody, down to the beach, we got a whale to haul in, butcher and store!”, which meant 24 hours days working, one breaks to sleep or eat, another takes his/her place until the job is done.

    “Looky there, sun’s touching the big rock. Salmon run will be starting. Time to move everybody down to the river, to the fish camp we’ve weeks and week of catching, slicing and drying to do!”

    Yep, gotta give credit where it’s due.

  22. What are you looking for in a guest post?

    Are there hard limitations, rules, or formatting issues to be aware of?

    Any topics or themes we should gravitate towards?
    Or to avoid, (besides the ACW)?

    Any guidelines to wander between?

    (I also don’t remember the current address to submit to.)

    A couple things I can write up come to mind that might be useful, perhaps some things that might earn a chuckle; but then, I’ve also been known to spend a page or three contemplating belly button lint.

  23. OT. Yesterday we had a contractor come over to our house to bid on some work we want done. He brought a couple of his subs. Dh told them they didn’t need to wear masks for us. The contractor said they’d all been vaxed and didn’t put one on. But the subs all had masks on, and one of them replied, “Oh we wear these all the time,” and then they all kept them on.
    Now normally, I’m a live and let live person. But this Covid stupidity really makes me upset. I am actually considering telling the contractor I will find a different sub to do that part of the job … grr. Yeah, I know it’s stupid.

  24. Yeah, I’ve a guest post promise outstanding. Not written yet, much less sent. Maybe I have time to do it soon. Been a difficult summer.

    I may have a few other ideas, but chasing those also is probably a really bad idea.

    I’m feeling a little tired to reiterate my ‘Education the major is not theoretically sound’.

    Sex Ed and some other matters have left me deeply skeptical of the character of educators.

    Yeah, I definitely found that public schools had a continuing bad influence on my thinking.

  25. First, as always, good luck with everything from me and the kitties! It still doesn’t quite feel like August is here yet… Wish I had something of substance to add to the subject here. For me K-12 was definitely time served rather than anything enjoyable (see above for kindergarten issues) and college just felt…dull and isolating, in no small part because I wasn’t leftist or fond of drinking, much less until puking or passing out. Things improved a bit at a small, but pricey, private college when my family’s financial situation collapsed, leaving me adrift without the sheepskin and painfully limited work options (thanks, 2008 financial collapse). I still have no idea how I’m going to get out of this mess and it doesn’t help that the black dog is back in full force either (thanks, Covidiocy fearmongering and workplace diaper mandate coming back). Maybe something less conventional from this kind of unschooling is what I need, but even finding a starting place is proving extremely tricky. Thanks for continuing to put these thoughts out there regardless.

    1. Trade school. It almost sounds like you don’t really like school or academia. Take a look at Mike Rowe’s stuff on dirty jobs. I’m sorry about the black dog… sometimes you have to put one step in front of another until you see a light.

      1. I’m trying to get out of manual labor, not keep doing it, so I’m not sure that would work. Not that I have time for any of it with my current job’s hours anyway. Hopefully the black dog will back off soon but I’m feeling even more drained this morning to be honest.

        1. When you say manual labor… what do you mean? And welders make a nice chunk of change … also car mechanics… Also trade school stuff. Hell– plumbers make more than doctors.

        2. I worked as an electronics tech for a long time– still considered a trade btw. My training was in the US Navy. You can get certification online if you are good with book learning. Also Amateur radio can get you started. Anyway– trade schools and trades can be quite a range.

        3. Also find a book on something you would like to do. I can’t stress how much information you can gain from reading and then applying it.

          1. Covering all bases here… By manual labor I mean something like what I’m doing now in the warehouse. I know not all of it involves heavy lifting but enough of it does, plus I’m hopeless at driving anything bigger than a mid-size car when it comes to some trade jobs. I’m also done with any and all poop not coming from me or my cats after my last job so no plumbing for me thanks! Welding I’d burn myself to death in no time and car stuff just bores me for that one. Electronics tech stuff, maybe… I’ve built two PCs on my own, after all. IT stuff I could probably handle, too, as long as it’s someone else getting screamed at by irate people and I just do the actual work. And since it doesn’t usually work like that that’s probably out too.

            It’s not that I dislike academia in theory and I always did well with schoolwork. I’d be plenty happy with a research job to be honest. Academia is just so expensive, petty (I’ve read a few of Becky’s horror stories and heard them from others too), and fanatically leftist there’s no way I’d survive it. Still, it and K-12 always just felt like needless, waste of time stuff instead of practical skills. Maybe something in trades will catch my attention, maybe it won’t, but I’m going to have to give this black dog several kicks first.

            1. Every job has bad parts as well as good parts. Sometimes you have to suck it up and say that it is 70 percent good so okay. If you want something out of the trades, you’ll might need some academic. Also look into your 2 year colleges and community colleges. Or look online and see what is involved in schooling. As for black dogs (I have a real black dog so don’t kick it) you might want to look into finding someone to talk to about it– therapist or something like that. Taking care of the dog might be the first priority.

              1. That it is on the black dog, but even here finding a decent therapist is tricky and expensive, not to mention how woke psychology/psychiatry as a whole is these days. I’m sure they’ll tell me my problem is that my privilege hasn’t been properly checked. I’m making more progress just talking to the Huns and Hoydens here and on MeWe to be honest, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

                1. Hmm… You could test a doctor’s competence and honesty by asking if a vaccine is completely safe. If he says yes, you know you need a better doctor.

                  I wonder if there’s an equivalent test for therapists?

            2. Don’t forget a lot of the lower level nursing is trade and certification. Police is certification also. To become an RN or some technical (MRI tech, etc) you might have to get some schooling for it. Look into medical. That area will stay around for a long time.

              1. Hard pass on both of those for reasons described above with An Author in Charge and Mike for the medical and general environment, crap pay, and crap treatment from everyone on police.

                  1. My husband has asked if there’s some sort of a law that ALL THE MRI AND ULTRASOUND TECHS are REQUIRED to be cute young ladies, because it’s overwhelming.

                    By “cute” he really means like cute, the way our daughters would be in like ten years. 😀

                    1. I refer you to the “Kawaii Act” of ’83. 😛

                      More seriously, though… It’s probably just something about young women who want babies of their own being attracted to that sort of job.

      1. We’ll see. One of the local schools is running something similar but it’s taken a hard fundamentalist bent in these last 10 years and its degrees aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on before I get into the issue that I have to choose between that and moving. Yeah, I’m being chewed up by all this even worse this morning.

    2. We managed to get son through school despite ’08. By “we”, I mean college fund, started when he was born, his scholarship (which he didn’t keep), him working, and dad and I continuing to contribute. ’08 crash broke two revenue strings: The college fund tanked, lost all the tax free increases. We were credit jacked on the home equity fund; they changed the maximum allowable amount to the amount we already owed. Then too, we’d never fully recovered from the ’02 – ’04 years when I was unemployed and hubby’s net salary didn’t quite cover bills, so savings, we’d planned for his college, was drained

      Eventually the first, state was sued, so we got some of that lost money, which was good because we were about ready to consider a 6% parents plus, then didn’t have to. That with a few awards, which covered books and fees, helped. The last year or so, we were coming up with the money the term before he needed it. As for the credit jacking … we refinanced and paid off the balance. Saving us $500/month, which is partly how we were able to save the last few terms. Not the original plan, but we did get him through without loans (not the original plan but 6% loan from the time the money is distributed, and pay back starts before graduation … um, no? Ultimately we were some of the lucky ones. Double lucky … our son emerged from college as conservative as his parents … without getting into trouble.

      1. And the only luck I have in that area is bad luck. To compound it I’ve only got enough money for school, dealing with an even worse political environment than when everything fell apart in 08, or moving away from my newly blue state. Glad things worked out for all of you, though.

        1. When I went to college in the 80s, I could only pay for a few semesters and then it was bad luck the rest of the way. I ended up doing a long hard look at where I was– I abandoned my plans and went into the Navy. When I finished my Navy service, I did get my degree– at 40 years old.

          Anyway, I’m not saying “join the Navy.” I’m just saying you may need to list your resources and what you really want in the next five years and then start your goals. I think the reason I am still pinging you is that I see some of the things that happened to me in my early to mid 20s. It was really rough until I finally figured out where I was supposed to go. I was also dealing with parents who kept pulling me back to the family to take care of the younger children. They did it with my over-responsibility feelings towards my siblings.

          It’s hard… And it doesn’t look like it will ever end. BUT “THIS TOO WILL PASS.”

          1. I’m in my late 30s now so I’m too old for that, even if having my now-former stepfather run the house military-style hadn’t completely soured me on serving myself, and perhaps that’s the biggest reason my black dog is so large, aggressive, and well-fed. I only just recently got a grasp on why he was like that and have managed to at the very least wound that particular demon. No family obligations, though, thankfully. Those ended when my grandparents and mom both passed and I was able to handle my own bills apart from my uncle and his family’s assistance with the current job.

            It’s true that I’m at a loss and it feels like I’m running out of time in all areas of my life, and the greater political situation isn’t helping either. There always seems to be large-scale political f-ery every time I get ready to move forward with my life (2008 collapse and Obama’s rise back then, Covidiocy and the FICUS planting now) and it makes me feel like whatever’s out there just wants to keep setting me up for failure. Considering the current paths ahead for the country seem to be blood, a decline into something resembling the modern UK, or, miracle of miracles, an actual correction taking place within proper channels next year and in 24, I’m feeling even more pessimistic about that part since odds are I won’t survive anything resembling Mad Max, the fast or slow collapse into the USSA or Weimar America, or any of those other nightmare scenarios.

            List my resources and what I really want, huh? That’s going to take some work since for the past 13 years in particular it’s always been about what I have to do, not what I want to do, so I didn’t even bother thinking about that. I figured it was always going to blow up in my face one way or another anyway so what was the point? We’ll see how it goes if the gloom breaks, though. I do have plans to get some work done in this area Friday unless something comes up.

            1. OH yea– and we can talk about chronic illness because since 2003, my life has been all about it. — Thankfully I still do things in spite of it.

              1. I hopefully got rid of a serious one by losing 53 lbs this year. We’ll see if it turned out like I hope next week once the results from Friday’s labs are in. The situation you described does sound similar, and like another Hun noted on MeWe it really does feel like I’ve lost control of my life right now and I have no idea how I’m going to get a handle on it again, especially not with the feeling of pending doom from all this government insanity hanging over my head. Not much I can do about that personally, which makes it all the harder to deal with sometimes. I hate that we’re in an age where we have to lend so much weight to politics in things but the Marxist and Marx-orbit idiots and psychopaths running the institutions just won’t stop until they get submission or death from everyone not of the body. What’s been keeping me up at night is the nagging fear that the general public, even if they aren’t on board with this crap, is at the very least too scared to do anything other than go along to get along, even if that means doom. Or, the thought that really scares me, is that they think people like us here are the real villains, especially when it comes to the Covidiocy because as nonsensical as the crap proposed is, “at least they’re doing something.” I really hope that Mrs. Hoyt, Jeff, and the others saying “Be not afraid” are right but I’m afraid Herb, Steve, and others who have voiced a far dimmer view of things are.

                  1. Hey, Ashen Baron, if you need to talk I’m around. Sometimes just talking helps.
                    We’re on discord, btw. If you get a discord account we’ll pull you in.

                    1. Thanks for the offer, Mrs. Hoyt. I actually do have a Discord account and I’ll send you my name on there over MeWe.

                    2. Ashen Baron, I’m not on Discord, but willing to get an account and listen too. Sarah and you can let me know if I should.

                      We’re doing fine too, now. Did something right, in retrospect. But when we were going through everything, at times, it didn’t look like we were. Hindsight, being the 20/20 it is, we had the solid foundation to build on, and with. Also, key, is “we”. It helped that we were on the same page, sometimes, pages. Watched others who weren’t and didn’t make it, at least not together. Us? There was the always the question is who got custody of the fur kids, even now. LOL.

                    3. Thank you as well, d. Having someone committed right there with you helps for sure. Aside from cats I’ve been living alone for 13 years if that explains some of the strain coming through here. I wish I had found a community like this much earlier in my life, that’s for sure. So much of geekdom is hard left and anti-Christian, and while I may be cynical and barely passable on the Christian front these attitudes still grate on me. Still, better to find your family of Odds later than never. 🙂

                    4. >> “I wish I had found a community like this much earlier in my life, that’s for sure.”

                      Hmm… I feel like we should have some kind of “Odd outreach program.” Through a strange event a week or so ago I realized that someone I read on Twitter is basically one of us. But even if I were willing to get on Twitter myself I doubt she’d listen to some rando telling her to come hang out at a blog she’s never heard of, so I don’t know what to do about it.

                  2. That’s one part of the bad training that stays with me, the way my stepdad would come at me from so many angles and make it feel like things beyond my control were my fault makes me think I need to have every last base covered before I take any action. This leads to getting bogged down by analysis and planning and led to me missing who knows how many opportunities at this point…

                    1. That is a common practice to get people to walk the line– So yea… I wanted to be a violinist. My dad used the — play the piano for a few years and learn to read music and I will teach you. So when I was ready by his standards he would come up with a lot more goals most of them unrealistic. I finally had to realize what was going on– and break with it. It is very hard to break that type of training. It can be done.

                    2. Plus it took me many years to realize I could go where I want and do what I want — within reason. I didn’t have to have an invite. Let me tell you that was freeing. I still have a bit of that construct in me and have to climb over that need to be invited. I have a problem with asking– because I have entire conversations on how I am not wanted in those places. Definitely these structures have to be rooted out every time. The courage comes from confronting it and not from being fearless. I don’t know the meaning of the word fearless.

                    3. Yep, and given his past (25 years in the military including being a Vietnam veteran) I get why he ran the house in such a way now that I read that book about how combat PTSD can manifest. It was still the last thing I needed as an Odd kid, though, especially with the public school system on the other side of it. I’m not sure how I even got to this point sometimes, to be honest. The whole thing about feeling unwanted is a constant struggle for me and it took a while before I decided to connect with the people I did on MeWe, especially MHN, the Diner, and Huns because of similar fears. Commenting here was an even bigger step but I figured if there was any place I could repair my creativity and get it working this would be it. Having a place full of geeks and odds that I can actually be myself around is incredibly refreshing, too. No worries about setting off some crusading wokester with the slightest thing.

          2. I’m guessing joining the Navy put a stop to parental pulling you in to care for younger siblings. OTOH that must have been hard on you too. Don’t know the circumstances but question is “Why?” did they need you to do this?

            1. Yes it stopped them. I was the oldest of nine. My parents were very religious and believed it was my duty to help them raise their kids. I had other plans.

              1. That’s another thing we have in common, deeply religious environments turning into scandals in the old Biblical sense of the word. My grandmother was much more religious than my mom and while she was loving and sympathetic my own constant issues with faith could be worth some headaches. It was more being Odd in southern church culture on top of the other things in my life that left me so jaded with regard to church and faith rather than them, but it can wound deeply.

                1. I never ‘got’ faith, either. Believing in strange things just because you’re supposed to never sat well with me.

  26. I’ve just had issues getting to two apparently unrelated sites.

    This early signs of boogaloo?

  27. I’m trying to get the Ham radio station set up, but it’s been a tough few days. Sunday just before dinner, Sara the 16 year old Lab/Aussie lost her lunch. Turns out she couldn’t hold anything down (even empty stomach fluid), and the seizures were getting worse. It was time.

    We got her in this morning. Yesterday, she slept a lot, and we gave her as much love as we could. At the vets, I found she had lost a third of her weight over a year (was still a happy girl until Sunday).

    So, we said goodbye as she went to cross the rainbow bridge. Her younger partner in canine (passed last December) will be there, as well as our two Italian Greyhounds. Sara knew Mary, but will get acquainted to Knight. All were good dogs.

    We’ll start the search for a new puppy when we’re ready. It’s been 27 years of dogs in the house.

    She’s out of pain (hid it damned well, she did). Our hearts will heal sooner or later.

    1. I’m so sorry. It is so hard even when you know it is the right choice. May she frolic with her sibling that preceded her. I’ll tell Andy, Snoopy, Shilo, Taylor, Bandit, Tasha, and Cody, (my childhood, ours, and hubby’s childhood, dogs), (should I add the 11 cats to the list) to help her siblings with her transition.

      In other news, we have a new kitten, she’ll make #4, should no one come forward and claim her. Given where she was found, she was thrown out of a car. Hint. Her name is Freeway. She was found in the freeway medium by the inlaws. At the location one side is the city police complex, the other side is the Willamette River. Within city limits so someone could come forward and claim her still for 90 days (not without solid proof and a very very good explanation on how she got there). She is not chipped (too young). Inlaws were going to keep her, but the cat they rescued that her dad had been feeding when he passed away went red-eyed demon when he saw her, and didn’t get over it the entire week. Sweet, loving kitten, probably 12 weeks old. Our cats have done the obligatory hiss the first 30 hours or so, but now the two younger ones are playing with her, she came over mid-day last Thursday. The older cat, miss grumpy, is less than thrilled. But she isn’t red eye demon about it.

    2. My condolences as well. I had to put the 16 year old queen of the house to sleep myself earlier this year when she had a stroke or a brain tumor caught up to her, leaving her paralyzed. She had already gone blind from detached retinas earlier, yet she still kept the other cats in line. The tortie princess succeeded her on the throne but still can’t match her presence. I still miss both her and her brother, who passed on his own last October, since I knew them both since they were newborn kittens.

    3. We just took a look at the animal shelter website (now open by appointment only–not that many dogs on hand, so I think it makes sense). $SPOUSE is falling in love with a Lab/Poodle cross (four pups, two girls), so we might not be dogless for long.

      (There’s some Rottie/Lab crosses, but I think they’d be too big for us. Really cute as pups, though.)

  28. I’ve been teaching myself how to TIG weld aluminum. Eventually I want to be able to fabricate vehicle structures, and maybe attempt an ultralight. I’ve been a bit inspired by this local kid who posts things on youtube. (I’m a little envious of his workshop, but I have one of my own now, after all these years.)

    I’m supposedly an aerospace engineer. And yet, outside of some mickey-mouse abstract academic exercises, I’ve never designed and built an airplane. Need to fix that. Also dusting off all my grandfathers old RC planes.

    1. Check out the YouTube channel ‘Wintergatan’. A Swedish musician, now living in France, is building a real-world AniMusic machine that plays several instruments by dropping 16mm steel balls on them. He has over 100 videos ranging from 6 to about 30 minutes long detailing the machine’s design and construction. He’s taught himself 3D CAD, use of a CNC milling machine, TIG welding and more.

      1. >> “Check out the YouTube channel ‘Wintergatan’.”

        Might as well include a sample along with the plug:

        1. That’s the old machine. He’s building a new one, much more advanced. Here’s a test from last year:

          Of course, a week later he tore half of it apart to make improvements.

          1. Didn’t care for that song nearly as much as the one I linked to, but the new machine looks impressive.

            >> “Of course, a week later he tore half of it apart to make improvements.”

            Of course he did. How am I not surprised. 😉

            1. One of his first projects will be to play the original Marble Machine Song on the new one when it’s finished.

              The improvements are real. Performance and reliability are getting much better. He wants a machine he can take on the road, a centerpiece instrument for Wintergatan’s live performances. His goal is a machine that can play a million notes on stage with no failures.

                1. He’s built a sort of mutant synthesizer he calls a Modulin, a music box controlled by paper tape, and a couple of other things. He’s got breathtaking musical talent AND engineering skills. He seems able to pick up anything and play music on it, even completely new instruments he’s just built.

                  He likes to visit the Speelklok museum’s collection of automatic musical instruments, some hundreds of years old. There are a few other people building unique instruments, too. And who can forget the Theremin?

                  1. He seems able to pick up anything and play music on it

                    Man, I hate people like that. 😀

                    My ex-brother-in-law could do that too. Sigh.

                  2. >> “And who can forget the Theremin?”

                    I’ve heard of theremins, but as rare as they are I don’t remember it being one-of-a-kind.

  29. Pedagogy is interesting to me. There is so vast a range in outcomes (even accounting for ability) that future generations will probably look back in horror at how we’ve been crippling our kids.

    Many of the scientists who would eventually figure out the atom and develop the atomic bomb for the United states all came from one highschool in Hungary. (I believe they called themselves “The Martians”.)

    JS Mill (yeah, I know …) and Norbert Weiner were both intensively educated by their fathers. A direct personal relationship with a tutor seems to be a way a lot of impressive figures learned what they did.

    Kelly Johnson just worked tons of different jobs and went to a standard American highschool in Michigan. But back then a standard American highschool seemed to produce far better outcomes.

    Eric Hoffer was blind until he was 15, when he suddenly recovered. He educated himself by working months on as a migrant laborer, then taking months off and basically camping in a library and reading everything he felt like. Taught himself enough chemistry to solve a significant problem in California agriculture, but was allergic to formal salaried employment for some reason.

    1. Maxwell.

      He’s known for electromagnetics, but his father was a professor, and around highschool he was doing some work in mechanical stress.

      I’ve been reading History of Strength of Materials by Timoshenko, from Dover. (I’ve slowly finishing, I’m at the bit where Prandtl and Von Karman are mentioned for their contributions to /solid/ mechanics.) Dover has some other interesting histories, like Crowe’s History of Vector Analysis, and Struik’s Concise History of Mathematics.

      Bit interesting how the authors’ mention some freakishly young (by modern standards) experts, really effective instructors, schools, writers, etc. May be a bias in the historical analysis of some sort.

      I find it a bit appalling how many of these modern graduate degree folks are good at specialty thinking, or even at teaching advanced subjects, and at the same time think the Education majors can do a better job at teaching their own children. Sure, one’s kids are not going to be following one into one’s own specialty, but one could give them a foundation to be secure in finding happy work for themselves, and possibly to really excel in a field of their choosing.

      1. I find it a bit appalling how many of these modern graduate degree folks are good at specialty thinking, or even at teaching advanced subjects, and at the same time think the Education majors can do a better job at teaching their own children.

        Part of it is defensive– the people who didn’t teach their kids couldn’t have been doing something wrong, they are too important to the folks thinking you need an Education Major.

        Heck, my mom minored in education, flatly states that what it gave her was classroom management tactics (and that could’ve been done in a few months of trade school), and she still worries about us homeschooling. While mentioning how they’re very mature, intelligent and well-read for their ages. She did stop pushing about socialization when I pointed out that most of my issues with people were from school socialization, and it’s gotten worse than when she went in and made Bad Teachers behave.

      1. *points at electricians*

        Please, don’t get my uncle started on the quality of apprentice training. When Mr.-nearly-blacks-out-at-the-sight-of-a-bubble-sheet thinks testing in leu of training would be an improvement, the system has issues.

          1. Everyone involved was Union– after the Navy, that uncle went civie electrician– but they got so much wrong that it was just not even a mistake, it was “what planet did you hear about electricity on, it clearly wasn’t this one!”

            1. Wow… We had an electronics tech trained by a 2year college who could only adjust caps in monitors. I couldn’t believe the quality of the techs coming from the civie schools– underwhelming. I’m not sure about the quality of Navy schools now– but in the late80s and early 90s it was good. We could troubleshoot any system and circuit with enough technical materials. *sigh

              1. No on the job training anymore as of about 2000, but the schools are pretty good. The only stupid stuff I ran into was pencil-whipping, not failure to know how to do electricity.

                There was the connections thing if you wanted to count having been an electrician in the Navy as an apprenticeship, though. THAT one was entirely who you knew, not what you knew. (In fairness, that’s what wings and all turned into as well. /sigh)

                  1. I’ve been worried since I noticed that we had lots of admirals, but couldn’t manage to get important offices even fifty percent staffed.

                    The calibration lab was supposed to have over 30 people in it. We had between four and nine, depending on if the Marines were there.

                    One of the Crypto shops had exactly one guy for two years running– they had to get a chief from something totally unrelated to be the supervisor. For an 8 person shop.

                    But hey, we got admirals coming out of our ears.

                    1. I’ve worked with Admirals as a contractor– not fun people to be around. Only found one good one. That is not good– The Navy will collapse onto itself as the techs leave.

                    2. “A good sign that an army has been around too long is that it starts getting top-heavy with officers.”
                      — Joe Haldeman, The Forever War

            2. What I found stupid is that this guy with a two year certificate could get a job in Lockheed Martin … because his resume was good. But was a one trick pony. I’ve wondered if he stayed in the field. I know the other techs were not impressed.

    1. For what it’s worth, the (actual) cover by “A Perfect Circle” is the only one I can listen to, since I think the arrangement underscores the horror of the lyrics, rather making them sound “happy and shiny” like the original and most other covers do. Not sure if that was their intent, but that’s how I hear it.

      I’d put in a link, but not sure how…

      1. Go to YouTube and get the video you want on screen. Right-click on the video and pick ‘< > Copy embed code’ from the pop-up menu. Paste that code into a comment here. Add any text you want, before and after the embedded video.

        1. You can also just cut-&-paste the video address from the address bar (which is what I do). As long as you put the address in its own paragraph the video should get displayed. If you just want to give the link itself rather than show the video then include it in another paragraph.

        1. Actually, watching the video, I don’t think they meant it that way, but ignore the video and just listen to the arrangement, and I think it still works.

          Besides, every postmodernist knows that what the author thinks they’re writing (or even every other person for hundreds of years thought they were writing) doesn’t matter, and every clacisist knows the muse can produce the most divine are from the most fallible vessels, so I’ll stick with my interpretation.

  30. Eclectic homeschooling That’s what I always said about our approach. We home schooled our three kids, and the youngest is going into his second year of college. All finished their high school studies at 16 or 17 and took a gap year, which gave them enough time to explore interesting activities, work in low-wage jobs with ordinary people, and get bored enough to want to study. It was the hardest work I’ll ever do, but the most worthwhile. It was hard partly because I had no evidence that I wouldn’t screw my kids up. Not that I thought that public school was a benign option. I just didn’t know whether I could manage to guide them into adulthood able to take care of themselves and do some good in the world. The jury is still out about how they’ll approach the complexities we face, but I know that they’ve had the chance to grow outside the box for a good long while. I hope it’s enough.

  31. Most innovations, inventions, and new ways of doing things were created by rank amateurs. And there was no “right” way to do it, until they did.

    I’m reminded of the “reveal” at the end of The Phantom Tollbooth where King Azaz and the Mathmagician tell Milo what they declined to tell him before his quest. It was an impossible quest.
    But many great things have been accomplished by people who didn’t know they were impossible.

    1. This is quite apropos for me right now because next week my patent application for an “impossible” algorithm is going to publish. I just could not accept that it was actually impossible, and it turned out not to be.

  32. In Defense of Teachers:

    Not saying all teachers are like this, but a few thoughts as a high school math teacher.

    1. I have five classes of 25 to 32 students. They are required to be there whether they want to take the class or not and whether they understand the subject or not.

    2. I have to get through a certain amount of material regardless of the students’ ability level because some of them want to go to college and it is expected that they will have a certain amount of knowledge. As a part of that process, they need to be ready each year for the following class. Since we aren’t allowed to track students by ability that means I have to teach at a pace that the average student can understand and follow while covering enough that they have the prerequisites for the next course. That leaves the smart kids bored and the less smart kids lost.

    3. I work from 7:30 til 4:30 most days. I skip my lunch break because it gives me and extra 30 minutes planning. I am not complaining, I am well compensated and I get summers off and a long Christmas break. I love my job.

    4. The kids are wonderful. I try to make sure they understand the what’s and why’s of the material we are covering. I am brutally honest about the concept of “you will probably never use this”. My philosophy regarding what I am teaching, which I pass on to the students is “I am not teaching you math, I am teaching you to think and math is a good way to do it”.

    5. A significant percentage of the students in my classes are absent on a regular basis due to family issues. When they come back they have no idea what I am talking about which means that while I am teaching the new lesson I am trying to get them up to speed, without having them fall farther behind. (You homeschoolers ever had a student leave for three months to go to a foreign country for a family wedding and do no school work while they were gone?)

    6. Half the parents are uninvolved. Sometimes because they are horrible parents, sometimes because they are working three jobs as a single parent in order to pay the bills. Which means that they aren’t at home to tell the kid to go get on the school bus or do their homework. And if they are, they might not speak English so I have to get a translator to call home for me if the student is absent or misbehaving.

    7. The state doesn’t make our life easier. There is a program that students can join that provides them with job training and GED classes as an alternative to high school. The kicker is that they have to fail a bunch of classes for a year in order to be allowed into the program. So now I have three kids in my classes who are failing because they don’t do anything. I don’t know why even though I suspect. So I have to take all the remedial action including calling home, assigning them to study halls, bringing them in for extra time with me, all for nothing. Guess where that time comes from and who suffers the most?

    So in conclusion, for those of you who think that we are no better than baby sitters, maybe consider what we are asked to do. Create an individual lesson for 150 students five days a week to take into account their ability level and learning interests? Make each and every lesson entertaining and relevant for every student, even those who don’t have any idea what I am talking about? Neither of those is realistically going to happen.

    I am not complaining because in spite of all that I wrote above, I truly do love my job. The kids are great, even when they have no interest in the subject and don’t care if they pass. But I can tell you from my perspective, and without having any idea how many teachers are like me and how many really don’t care, that it is not easy and there is nothing I can do except be there if a student decides that they do want to learn.

    So I’ll finish with a homeschooling joke I read last spring. It goes like this:

    “Three weeks into homeschooling. Expelled two students today and the teacher was fired for drinking on the job.”

    1. My kids had some wonderful teachers. Many of them struggling against the crap hamstringing them.
      The curious thing is that in the 3 years between the kids, the most outstanding ones had quit.
      If you think I was complaining about teachers, you missed the point of the post.
      It’s the industrial-educational complex that must go. It’s outdated, and no longer performs to any useful degree.

      1. It’s a symptom of a good teacher– they feel attacked when the issues are pointed out, like a good parent does when child options are discussed, because the good ones tend to get blamed for the damage of the bad and/or lazy ones because they actually respond.

        Think of it as trying to balance out the problems.

    2. You homeschoolers ever had a student leave for three months to go to a foreign country for a family wedding and do no school work while they were gone?)

      No, but we did have one go visit The Grandparents for two and a half months and figure out how to FAKE that she was doing her math… and any time they visit the other grandparents, there will be no lessons done unless it’s a “distract the kids for ten minutes” situation.

      That said, I have gotten through to some folks by explaining my kids are the kind that break good teachers. Not because they’re horrible, but because when they lock on to something, they absolutely love it— and you CANNOT DO THAT when you’re responsible for hand-holding 29 other kids through the subject.

    3. I teach at a private, religious school, so my experiences are a world away from public school teachers. Parental pressures are different, student needs/wants are different, and we have very little administration to work with/around/through. My had is off to the public school folks who teach core classes and stick it out while doing the best they can. I’d never make it.

    4. Okay, I had the one teacher in elementary that was apparently preying on some other students. That makes me a little bit more cynical, but that is not the core of my issue.

      The core of my issue is something you identify in 2.

      Breaking the tasks down in to subject and grade seems to make sense. It is definitely similar to what works for widget assembly lines.

      Twelve or thirteen grade years, with five, ten, or fifteen subjects in each amounts to spreading the work over maybe 120 people. This can appear to work in some circumstances. The measurement problems are difficult compared to ‘is this hole drilled so that I can tap it?’, and the bureaucracy over those 120 people may be /unable/ to provide them with the information or the direction that the teachers would need for real success.

      Okay, you can do better than what the bureaucracy can provide by knowing your students personally. My issue there is that you can only really know your students for a narrow slice of their lives, so there is information about your results that you cannot see, which effectively limits the skill level that you can achieve.

      Furthermore, there is the issue of how students are shaped by spending most of their time with teachers, who are themselves shaped by spending so much of their time with students in a particular grade and subject. Teachers have an opportunity cost in relative isolation from adults who do other kinds of work. Now, this is not my own extreme level of isolation, that contributes to my own extreme levels of being strange. But teachers are a little bit strange, and because I was only spending time with teachers and my parents, the world view I had while in school was strange. This world view very much did not serve me well later in life.

      The bureaucracy over the teachers deliberately favors masters degrees in Education, and doctoral degrees in Education. These degrees come from universities, and because doctoral degrees require ‘research’, people with the doctoral degrees have to purport to have done research in Education. So ‘experiments’ are done with teaching methodology, or bureaucracy, and the results are considered to have wider application. From a wider research perspective, measuring humans is very hard, and Education probably does not understand the limits of methodology applied to that well enough for the field to actually learn anything and get better over time. It actually looks like endless blind fiddling with epicycles has made Education the field substantially worse over decades, but that may simply be an artifact of university study of humanities and the social sciences going to hell over the same period. From the narrower perspective of how people are shaped by these graduate degree programs, it would either seem to select for stupid graduate students, or to develop dishonesty in intelligent thoughtful graduate students. I would expect the school and district level bureaucracies to be blind and dysfunctional even by bureaucratic standards.

      So this stuff is unsurprising where the national bureaucracy is making everything worse, and where the bureaucracies generally have broken the fixes that made grade/subject specialists seem effective.

      So, I think your employer is setting you up for failure, even if you are very smart and working hard.

      Now, I may have a drive to understand and to explain, even if done very badly, but I do not have a teaching vocation. I very much do not have a teaching vocation. So, the career advice I would offer is not useful to those with a teaching vocation.

      My big regret is that when society said ‘working through the tick boxes results in an education, and success’ I believed it. The tick boxes can overlap with an education, and an education can contribute to success. But, I thought the tick boxes were sufficient for success. They are not sufficient, and they are not necessary. I was a kid, I was not very discerning, I was spending a fair amount of time around teachers, and I trusted the bureaucracy to know what it was doing far too much.

      PS “you will probably never use this”. Issue is, we cannot have complete information about what students will need over their next forty or sixty years. Learning math builds on itself, so accepting a hole in one’s math training closes a lot of doors. Another of my significant regrets is accepting that a door was closed, instead of just trying harder to learn the math, because later I wound up learning the math, and the other side of the door was fun. Math basically builds a map for navigating numbers. When you don’t have the map, numbers disorient you, you get ‘lost in the wilderness’. This makes it easy to cheat you when it comes to numerical things like money. Since con men are outright looking for people that are easier to cheat, a lot of them will find you. Not taking math seriously is an invitation to being cheated out of most of one’s money for the rest of one’s life.

    5. One item you didn’t mention. How long have you been teaching? Private or Public school?

      * Past your first decade yet?
      * Have you been attacked by a student? Physically? Then have the wrath of administration come down on you? Not to mention the parents? Just for holding the student off?
      * Had administration change a grade for a student because kids were failed? Not (just) for failing a test, but doing absolutely nothing, when *homework* is actually done in class with the answers posted around the room?

      I believe most if not all teachers start out just like you’ve described. They don’t get past their student teaching practicum requirements otherwise … I know more than one someones who went “Oh Hell No” and changed career paths after student teaching. The problem is burn out. Not everyone has the option to quit when it gets bad. All they can do is, well, babysit … in some areas it could be the difference in living or not.

      The teacher I personally know, I can guaranty the following never happened: “ever had a student leave for three months to go to a foreign country for a family wedding and do no school work while they were gone”. Wrong demographics. OTOH the teacher did have multiple students lost because it came to light that they were showering at school, only meals were eaten at school (already on free breakfast, lunch, etc.), because they were getting themselves, and sometimes siblings too, up and to school, because the parents were who the heck knows where. Lost because then the kids went into foster care and (usually) into another district.

      “Three weeks into homeschooling. Expelled two students today and the teacher was fired for drinking on the job.”

      I can totally see this. Heck with our kid in public school, we were accused of doing his homework for him, more than once. (No. My hand writing is a lot better, and his dad’s is worse.) OTOH we did threaten to stand over him until it was done. We also checked homework and made him correct, whatever. (Although these days this might be a problem in some subjects. As it is “Guess & Check” is NOT a valid math solution!) But then, we weren’t “those parents”. Or maybe we were. I can never remember if parents who care and support their child and the teacher, are the one of “those parents” or not. We were also guilty of supplementing learning outside of school – Scouting and National Park Junior Ranger programs, not to exclude OMSI programs and camps …

  33. I think the most important thing I’ve learned in aging is that the generations coming behind me will bring change. I may not like it at all……that doesn’t matter because they out number me. My parents probably felt the same way but back in the 40’s/50’s, well, life was very very different than it is now in my old age years. Would I go back? Would I want those years to come back? No. And what you learn in your 70’s is that even if you wish for that, it’ll never happen. The World always moves forward……..sometimes when we hate the direction………But, it moves…generation through generation. Old folks like me just try to find a way to “stay”.

  34. There is a reason appeal to authority is a basic fallacy.

    It’s one thing if the authority can justify it with data (or in other fields, citations of the law, etcetera). But just something that reduces to “I’m an authority – trust me” they are more likely full of it than the diaper of a baby given a double dose of ex-lax.

    In real estate, there is no more blatant Red Flag of Bull**** than, “I’ve been doing this X number of years and this is the way you do that.” Over the last eighteen years, I’ve heard that used to justify all kinds of crap from steering (completely illegal per RESPA, although it is the most common violation of the law among agents) to not even having a valid listing agreement despite having put the property in MLS claiming they did. Loan officers are just as bad. In both cases, if you hear one of them telling you they’ve been doing something for a large number of years, I will bet money on no further data that they’re about to tell you something they’ve been doing wrong all that time.

    School most emphatically follows this pattern. Elder daughter’s third grade teacher was inordinately proud of her doctorate in Education – but couldn’t get even basic rules of arithmetic correct. We finally put younger daughter in a homeschool charter in seventh grade, and it’s made all the difference. In the 7 years before that, and Elder Daughter’s 13, we had precisely ONE teacher who didn’t botch the basic rules of arithmetic in a way that even the least mathematically inclined of my elementary school classmates would have embarrassed by.

  35. I just thought this, so I’m posting it. Your explanation about how leftist in businesses prioritize their mishmash of moral posturing and statist politics over being good at something *besides* than “the thing” finds a nice exclamation point in the flameout of the US Womens’ soccer team.

  36. *muses*

    I’d write you a guest post but I don’t know what on! Maybe you can make a post asking people what topics they’d like?

    1. Hmm.
      I was kind of thinking the same thing. Musing topics,a few things bubbled to the top of the brew of mind.
      Philosophy? (If every culture has stories of the supernatural and afterlife, doesn’t that lend these things automatic credence?)
      Science? (If microtubules cause quantum entanglements that make up the structure of the mind and memory, does that mean consciousness exceeds the limitations of the physical? -oops, that’s probably philosophy too.)
      Writing? ( My detective’s name is Hoagey Rohl. do you think that’s ok?)
      Book marketing? (I posted my new book on Amazon but nobody is buying it… Does that mean is sucks?)

      Please feel free to add to this list.

      1. Probably means nobody has noticed it to see whether it sucks or not. There have to be millions of books on Amazon competing for folks’ beer money.

    2. (Throwing ideas at the wall)

      I’ve heard that there’s a pirate festival in Florida.
      Any interesting encounters with anything/anyone?

      What do you do to maintain your imagination/ability to remain creative? (Sometimes I feel like I’m “going blind in my mind’s eye” – it becomes difficult to do much beyond the routine, and to visualize things.)

    3. Ms Hogarth:
      I’ve really enjoyed Sarah’s stories about growing up in Portugal and how it was different there. If you have similar stories about Cuba, I would love to hear them. Of course, Sarah is a lot more open about her life than I would be, and perhaps than you would be, so please view this as more of a request or inspiration than a demand.

  37. Grumble Grumble

    I spent centuries schooling myself to be a gentleman of a Dragon.

    Now you’re saying that I have to “un-school” myself to be a Nasty Dragon? [Very Very Big Crazy Dragon Grin]

  38. >> “Before I start this, may I ask that anyone who wishes to write for ATH or MGC send me a guest post?”


    Love to help you, Sarah, but I still need a way to get content to you that actually works…

  39. “Let’s pool our ignorance” needs to be the Creed of the build under build over build around era that we are creating. I should write a guest post .for you Sarah. That catch phrase has changed a lot in meaning since I first stated it 10 years ago at work. Covid had made it more apropos than ever

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