Public De-Education   1 comment

Mark Twain cautioned us not to let school get in the way of our educations, and never have truer words been spoken.

The public school system is rife with high school graduates who can’t add two plus two or even read this blog, let alone make basic connections between the food on their table and the animal it came from, balance a checkbook, or perform other miminal reasoning skills necessary to be a productive member of society.  It should be clear to everyone that the public school system is failing woefully in its duty to educate our nation’s children, and perhaps the only reason there has been no public outcry is that multiple generations have had their educuation squelched to the point that they are incapable of independent thought.  It’s hard to notice that your children aren’t learning, if you didn’t learn yourself.

I remember an exercise we did in Kindergarten which clearly sums up the state of the public de-education centers we refer to as schools.  We were given paper and crayons, and told what to draw.  Not a vague idea, but rather, a teacher standing in the front of the room telling us step by step what lines to place in which direction on the page.  The result was twenty six identical drawings from twenty six kids who had been sucessfully taught that drawing meant following another’s instructions rather than independently expressing their own creativity.

The twenty seventh was sent to the principal’s office for failing to follow instructions.

My parents were proud of my drawing nonetheless, and praised me for doing what I thought was right in the face of systematic oppression.  And thus began my introduction to a life of political activism, though at the tender age of six I was merely miffed that I had missed recess.

I was lucky.  My parents instilled a lifelong love of learning by showing my sister and I the value of a true education early on.  We visited museums, historical markers, parks, and monuments throughout my childhood.  My dad would explain the significance to us, connecting the dots from the time of early explorers to our present way of life.  It was on one of these road trips, long before that fateful day in Kindergarten where I learned how to draw the government approved way, that my mom taught me to read from the old family Bible – King James Version.  Trips to the grocery store taught the value of math in every day life, as well as the value of a dollar.

And then, there was the faux education I received in public school.  Pledge allegience every morning to a flag that no longer stands for what it once meant, and learn to fit into the identical mold to which all students must conform.  I learned to play the game, to give the answers they expected even when equally correct alternatives existed.  I learned to make the marks they expected me to make, and store up my creativity for other outlets, for the most part.

There were things I couldn’t ignore, however.  When the Physical Education teacher demanded that fifty some odd students perform fifty some odd identical exercises to the leadership of a Jane Fonda exercise video, one student again was sent to the principal’s office.  This time several joined me, after an impassioned speech against the idea of being taught by a war criminal and traitor given from a locker room bench.  Again, I received my parent’s full support.  Many of my co-conspirators were not so fortunate, their parents having been thoroughly de-educated to the point of expecting blind obedience to the government sanctioned teachers.

And that is the true failure in the education of our nation’s children.  It is not the state’s responsibility to educate, and parents who blindly expect it to do so shouldn’t be suprised when all their kids learn is conformity.  If you are a parent, it is your job to educate your children and instill a love of learning.  It is your job to monitor what is being taught and demand correction when necessary.  It is your job to support your children when they stand up for their right to really learn in the face of mandated de-education.

What did your kids learn today?

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Posted June 19, 2013 by Wendi5000 in Uncategorized

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Conflict vs. War   Leave a comment

Conflict vs. War

U.S. military personnel fight there every day.  People die in battles involving ships, planes, tanks, guns, bombs, and other weapons of war every day.

Iraq.  Afghanistan.  Egypt.  Lybia.  Syria.  Isreal/Palestine.

Conflicts.  Police actions.  Peacekeeping missions.

The politically correct terms never include the word “war.”  We can’t call it what it is, because officially it isn’t.  Legally it isn’t.  Constitutionally it isn’t.  And so, both the government and the mainstream media call it something else, as if a rose by any other name simply isn’t.

Only Congress has the Constitutional authority to declar war, and none of these conflicts have been legally declared by Congress.  And so, they are not wars.

Despite the guns.  Despite the tanks, the planes, and the ships.  Despite the very real bullets, and the very real body counts.  They aren’t wars.  They are merely conflicts.

A half dozen of them, around the globe, involving our soldiers.  Trillions of dollars a year of tax money that the government doesn’t have and thus has no moral right to spend in the first place.  But it’s not a war.  It can’t be a war.

Because the government and the media didn’t call it that.  They called it a conflict instead.

Welcome to 1984.  Whatever Big Brother says, must be true.

Why do we accept this obvious denial of reality?

Posted June 18, 2013 by Wendi5000 in Uncategorized

Quick Note On Navigating Site   Leave a comment

Hi!  I got a few comments that navigation was difficult.

“Home” takes you to the front page of the blog.  “About” takes you to my profile.  These links are at the top.

There is a list of “recent posts” to the left… this is what xanga called “archives.”  There is also an “archives” section on the left which will allow you to display posts by month.

Comments require either (a) a wordpress or gravatar account, OR name & email.  I don’t care if you use a non-existent email such as none@nospam.com 😉

Most comments will display immediately.  However, if the contain links or only one word, they may be flagged as “spam.”  I will manually approve these about once per day.  Once you have had one approved, future comments should display automatically.

Welcome aboard.  Hope this helps 🙂

Posted June 8, 2013 by Wendi5000 in Uncategorized

Before The Internet   Leave a comment

Before The Internet

I don’t have internet where I am living right now.  I have to sit in a parking lot with a laptop using a wifi hotspot in order to upload my blog entries.  But that, while inconvenient, isn’t the main “issue.”  I found myself sitting here tonight (typing this on my PC to upload later, I should add), wondering what the heck people used to do before they had high speed internet always connected in their homes.

What did we do with our time before we could sit down at the computer at any hour of the day or night to check our email and facebook accounts?  How did we entertain ourselves before Stumbleupon, Cracked, and Dailybreak?  And were we really this lost without Hulu, Spotify, and Itunes?

I know we weren’t.  I know we used to be able to live without all of the perks.  I know better than some, having spent every summer as a child in an RV in small, isolated, rural parts of Wyoming.  In the days before internet was even heard of for the vast majority of Americans.  Cell phones?  Non existent.  And even when they did come about, getting a signal where we spent our summers was unheard of.

And we liked it that way.

Yes, we enjoyed the freedom from the constant connection of electronics.  I hold dear the memories of my dad driving an hour into town to call my grandparents back in Houston from a pay phone in Douglas, Wyoming.  Using a prepaid calling card – remember those?

I also have not so fond memories of sleeping in the RV in parking lots with the windows open when it was forty degrees so we could hear the payphone ring… so we would know if that hurricane in the Gulf was threatening our home.  Because these were also the days before twenty four hour news from Fox and CNN … and even if it had existed, we wouldn’t have been able to get a cable TV connection anywhere.

What did we do?

We played cards and board games.  We listened to music.  We read books.  And we talked.  We spent time as a family in conversation.  That’s a lost art these days, and the family unit suffers for it.  But yes, we actually spent time eating meals together and talking about things that interested us, things that happened in our lives, and things we cared about.  

You should try it sometime.  It can be very enlightening.

And yet… having said all of this… I find myself sitting here tonight bored out of my mind and wondering… what did we do before internet and cable television?  How did we spend our evenings before we had the lure of electronics to keep us from having to interact with one another?

We have become a society that is at once more connected than ever – and more disconnected from those closes to us than ever.  And that, in my opinion, is tragic.  I challenge my readers to turn their devices off for one evening, and spend time with their immediate family (or those who live in the same household – whatever that may look like).

Can you do it?  Can you turn your devices off for one evening and spend time with those in “real life?”

Posted June 7, 2013 by Wendi5000 in Uncategorized

Fire And Rain   Leave a comment

Fire and Rain

An event back in the spring of 1993 that the world knows as “Waco,”  has been on my mind a lot lately.  Those who followed my first blog a decade ago – building_a_mystery on Xanga – know how much “that issue” means to me.  I missed the memorial last year, and had but a precious short time there this year.  

I miss the times when I could arrive in Waco days before the memorial, get a hotel room, and stay the whole week.  Spending time with dear friends who have become like family to me, reminiscing about old times and making new memories all at once.  

I miss those old times.  When life was simpler.  And I spend a lot of time thinking about “what could have been.”

But “what could have been” wasn’t meant to be.  Life goes on.  We learn to deal, learn to live, with the hand that we’ve been given in this world.  It isn’t easy, and I’ll be the first to admit that I often fall prey to the traps of bitterness, anger, and yes hatred.  I constantly look to folks like Clive Doyle and Shiela Martin for inspiration and example of what true faith and grace look like when put into action on a daily basis.  

I am convinced that either one of them would welcome Janet Reno or Bill Clinton into their home as a long-lost friend, feed them dinner, and never once mention that they were responsible for murdering their families.  Because that is what God would have them do, and they strive to live up to that.  I will also the be first to admit that I don’t really think I could do it – but I pray every day that I *can* live up to that example. and display that level of grace and forgiveness to those around me.  It is a worthy goal, even if it is one that most of us will fall short of.

Two songs bring powerful emotions to mind when I’m thinking about this stuff.  James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain,” and Casting Crowns’ “Bring The Rain.”

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end, I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought that I’d see you one more time again.”

Through the good and the bad, God is with us.  And always will be.  Our plans are not His plans.    Dreams come crashing down.  Lives are cut tragically short.  And we may never understand in this life how these devastating events fit into the big picture of God’s perfect plan for us, ultimately leading to the Kingdom that He desires for us to live in forever and ever.  A perfect world, where there is no more pain, where there are no more tears.

“But if that’s what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain.”

Fire and rain will come to those who follow God.  We live in a broken, fallen, sinful world.  This was not His plan for us, but it is the lot we are cast because of the transgressions of those who came before us.  The mistakes made ten thousand years ago – and the events they set in motion – will plague the human race until the end of the age.

The case in point is that of the conflict between Christianity and Islam.  God promised Abraham that he would give him a son who would father many nations.  However, when Sarah, his wife, appeared to be infertil he took it upon himself – as was the custom of the day – to have a child with his servant and bring it to Sarah to raise as their own.  This child – Ishmeal – is the ancestor to which Muslims trace their heritage.  Later, God did fulfil his promise, in His perfect timing – giving Abraham and Sarah Isaac, to which Christians and Jews trace their heritage.  

The wars and conflicts and revolutions and police actions and ‘peacekeeping missions’ which are being fought today around the globe, in Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Lybia, Iraq, Iran, etc., are a direct result of this disobedience to God.  Imagine what the world would be like without this conflict – if we all shared a single common ancestor, and a single common faith, as God intended.

But these things are necessary for the big picture.  As hard as it may be in our human understanding to imagine, God intends to use these trangessions for our personal growth.  He is with us through the dark times, when tragedies come our way, when we have no where else to look but UP, to Him.

Sometimes it takes the world crashing down around us to realize how much we need Him.  And in that moment, we understand the wisdom of the lyric… if the rain in our lives causes us to look back to our creator, then it is to be welcomed.

Posted June 7, 2013 by Wendi5000 in Uncategorized

Discussing Central Texas Tragedies & Odd Occurences   Leave a comment

On April 17, the anniversary of the disasterous Texas City explosion in which the USS Grande Camp, loaded with ammonium nitrate, exploded (destroying the town, killing scores of people, and launching the ship’s several ton anchor like a rocket it’s current resting place several miles from the harbor), an ammonium nitrate fertilizer plant in West, Texas, exploded – doing serious damage to the surrounding community and killing several people.

It has been widely reported that one of the first responders was arrested for having bomb-making materials in his truck, but investigators do not believe he is a suspect in the West explosion.  What hasn’t been so widely reported is the other truck that was found with explosives in it, on a highway in Waco (just a few miles down the road), a few days earlier.  It was reported in the Waco Tribune and on local television stations at the time, but I’ve seen no mention of it since the explosion.

The truck which was stopped in the middle of the night for running a stop sign and found to contain what was called “an explosive device” caught my attention only because it was near in Waco, and near the anniversary of the Branch Davidian tragedy.  I tend to follow news in the area around that time of the year, especially news that involves bomb squads from Fort Hood and the BATF.  But I digress.

When I saw the article about the truck, I posted it to Facebook and noted that typical procedure was not followed.  Rather than disarming the device on the scene, a special transport vehicle was used to carry it back to Fort Hood.  Explosive devices are generally not transported by law enforcement officials unless absolutely necessary to protect life and property, and then no further than required.  I thought it odd at the time that they would place soldiers and agents at risk by unnecessarily transporting the potential bomb all the way to Fort Hood in Killeen some thirty miles away.

A few days later, when I saw the fertilizer plant explosion, I expected to see mention of the truck they had found a bomb in a few nights earlier.  As of yet, I have seen no mention of it – though I did see a few headline stories on local news trying to link it to the ‘Waco’ memorial, which sadly doesn’t surprise me.  And on some level  though I hate to say this for fear of being taken out of context – I was glad that the media was preoccupied with covering West and largely left us alone to have our memorial in private, for once.

Please don’t misunderstand – I would wish that sort of tragedy on no one – but if faty arranged it so that something which was going to happen anyway occurred at a time that allowed us the tiny side benefit of being able to have the memorial out of the spotlight, then I am thankful for that tiny side benefit while praying for the victims of the tragedy and wishing with all might that no one would ever have to know that kind of loss and pain.

I want to wrap this up by pointing out the interesting fact that the fertilizer plant in question was involved in a lawsuit against Monsanto.  Those who would question the official story but because they see no motive may find reason to start asking hard questions in that little largely unreported detail, which has been largely unreported, and is at least every bit as relevant as the widely reported fact that the chemicals used in the manufacture of fertilizer are also used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine (implying a “Breaking Bad” type theft may have been involved).

While that is certainly a logical possibility, there are too many “coincidental” happenings that appear to at least potentially be related for one to simply dismiss them in favor of the easiest scapegoat.  Until clear evidence is presented as to the cause of the explosion, we must ask the hard questions.  It’s the least we can do for the victims in West.

A New Chapter   Leave a comment

I’ve always thought of my life sort of like a book.  Various times and circumstances compose the chapters; people who come and go at various times are the characters.  The plot is your story – your life – the things that happen, the experiences you have.

Way back when, I started writing a novel that focused on one chapter of my life.   I never finished it, not really. I wrote the story, and shared it on my first blog.  But I never went back and pieced it together, cleaned it up, edited it, or made a real novel out of it.    Sometimes I wish I had done so; most of the time I am glad that I told it the way I did, shared the story, and left it at that.

There are times I consider writing another novel, a new one, encompassing my whole life and the strange twists and turns it has taken.  I feel right now that yet another chapter is in the making.  A chapter in which I write my blogs beneath a tarp outside of a store with wifi on a busy street corner in a not so great part of town.  A chapter in which I’m not entirely sure where our next meal is coming from, or if we’ll have lights in the morning.

And yet, it is also a chapter in which I’ve seen the best of humanity, and a side of it that so many overlook.   Drinking a beer  or sharing a meal with a homeless guy and hearing his life story.   Or having a homeless person I befriended years ago offer me $30 that he got from panhandling because “you need it more than I do.”  Yes, that’s what a guy who lives under a bridge told me, even though I have a roof over my head.  I didn’t take it – not then.  But I took something more valuable, something I am not sure he knows he gave me.

Hope.  Hope for humanity, faith in the human race.  And a new perspective on what one really needs to get by in this world.
I’m pretty sure friendship tops the list.  What about you?

Posted June 4, 2013 by Wendi5000 in Uncategorized