So I’m reading JR’s blog and he refers to this article from DirtCrashr. The article talks about the so-called “GIVE Act”. What actually hit me about the blog post wasn’t so much the content of the posting, but that along with the visual that hit me when I was reading it. Here’s a screenshot (you can click on it to see it larger):

Just look at that. Yes, read the words… then look at the pictures, especially the one on the top-left and the one on the right. Just take in the whole visual state of the blog posting.

You see, Wife and I homeschool our children. What’s the #1 thing that people say to us regarding homeschooling? Why, the “S” word of course: socialization.

Kinda takes on a whole new meaning now doesn’t it?

April 2009 Rangemaster Newsletter

The April 2009 Rangemaster Newsletter is now available. Almost all the content of this edition is devoted to an article by John R. Lott, Jr. on media bias and how it shapes public perception. A good read.

This is not parenting

Consensual living. When I first saw the headlines I thought it would be about something between adults, in this case an adult child still living at home with parents probably due to economic reasons but yet still living as an adult on their own (e.g. you may live here but you’re going to pay some rent, buy your own food, do your own laundry, etc.). 

How wrong I was.

Back in our early days of parenting, Wife and I bought into this new-agey parenting bullshit. Thankfully we realized the error of our ways and reverted to proven old school techniques. You know… where the parent is the parent, the child is the child. The parent is the one in control, the child obeys; if the child doesn’t obey, there are negative consequences but if the child does obey, there are positive consequences. The child and parent are not equals, as there is a hierarchy and the parent is on top. Parents are not to be friends to their children; they can and should be friendly, but they need to be something far more to the child — their parent!

I will say, there’s some worth to the new age bullshit. For instance, I was raised fairly old school, and I never appreciated that some edict would be handled down and I wouldn’t be told why. I was told this was the way it was and not to question it. I hated that. I wanted to know why, I questioned to know why, not because I was questioning the authority (as it was assumed) but because I was seeking to understand. If I can understand, then I can better extrapolate that knowledge and the reasoning behind it to other situations, which better serves me in life. So I am willing to explain to my children, not just expect blind obedience (although sometimes that is required). If my children wish to question, I’ll answer. If they wish to object, that’s fine… it doesn’t guarantee they’ll get their way, but if they wish to present a well-reasoned argument I’m certainly willing to listen. But of course, this only applies to older children. A 3 year old just learned, maybe, to wipe is own butt, he doesn’t understand what where and why. If you ask why he did something the answer will likely be “I don’t know”… so if they admit they don’t know, how can you say they know best?  I’m not saying not to listen to your child, you certainly should, but remember that you are supposed to be the parent. You are supposed to be the one that guides them, that teaches them, and helps them learn how to be a functioning member of society. Sometimes you will have to make decisions for them and that’s final, because you as the parent ought to have more life experience and be able to better understand long-term consequences of actions.

But then… we have movements like this, which I guess shows that perhaps not everyone does understand the long-term consequences of actions. There’s some merit to this approach, as it seems to encourage communication and understanding. However, if you take it too far and let the child rule the roost, you’re only going to succeed in raising a spoiled, uncontrollable brat that is going to fail in life because the world will not cater to their whims like you are so willing to do.

An old man and his LEGO

TXGunGeek isn’t an old man (well, he’s older than me and I’m just ribbing him), but he does lament where his old LEGO has gone.

I deal with this on a daily basis at my house. I grew up on LEGO as one of the coolest toys ever, and I still think they are. So of course as soon as my kids were old enough to not view them as little cubic candy pieces, there was LEGO in the house. Heck, Oldest just used the money he’s saved up to buy himself a Brickmaster subscription.

I do understand where TXGunGeek is coming from. My first LEGO kit was just a giant box. You opened the lid and there were lots of little compartments that just held bricks. Nothing fancy, but just oodles of bricks and endless imagination. No mini-figs in sight. But man, once Town and Castle especially Space came around, dude, that was so cool! Now it just wasn’t basic bricks, but you had other pieces in shapes like cones or wings, so now you could build airplanes or rockets. The mini-figs were cool too because now you had “to scale” people that you could put in your creations. 

When I got a new LEGO kit, sure I built the model that the kit was designed around. But then I built more. Many times the box had pictures of other things you could build with the set, and it was always a challenge to build those things because you maybe got only one shot of the thing and so you had to figure out for yourself what bricks you needed and what you had to do to fill out the rest of the model. Then of course there was just happy free-form creation. One of my cousins was a bigger LEGO nut than me (I swear he lived for LEGO; I recall him writing a paper for school on LEGO), and his free-form creations were awesome. I remember visiting him one time and he had just made this double-decker 6 foot long space ship. It was incredible. Then, one of our younger cousins proceeded to throw it down the stairs… yes, we were livid.

So recalling my memories, I look at how LEGO is now and I have to wonder a bit. I often think there is too much emphasis put on the models, on merchandising. I mean, there’s Star Wars, Spongebob Squarepants, Indiana Jones, they did a thing with the NBA, there was that stupid Galidor thing that wasn’t even LEGO, Harry Potter, Batman, Thomas The Tank Train, Bob the Builder…. and there’s been many more things they’ve done. But is that so bad? If this allows LEGO to stay in business, if this helps to get some kids interested in LEGO that maybe they wouldn’t otherwise be, is that so bad? Plus I’ve seen a lot of the pieces that come in these model sets, and there’s some really cool pieces. Not to mention one of the larger consumers of LEGO, especially Star Wars, are adults.

Let’s not forget LEGO’s own creations. They still have City, there’s always something Space (now it’s Mars Mission), they’ve got Pirates, Vikings, Castle, and we can’t forget Bionicle. Bionicle is a huge hit at my house. I’m not so hip to the latest Bionicle because it’s certainly more about milking a franchise now, whereas the original Bionicle was truly an extension of the Technic series (gears and levers and “doing stuff”). Then there’s Mindstorms. What a great thing that is.

The thing is, certainly some LEGO kits remain as-is. Some people like the model aspect of it all, and really this is no different from any other model making, be it Revell models or basla wood planes or whatever your choice of medium. But without question, the kids still take things apart. They still use their imagination to create their own things. They still play. They still have to be challenged to think, or even just learning how to follow the directions and pay attention to detail… these are all good and positive things for kids.

Yes LEGO isn’t the same as it was when we were kids, but in all the ways that matters it still is.

HB 1893 update

Went looking for information on HB 1893 and found this, which didn’t add a whole lot, then found this and this which was somewhat of a live blog of the hearing coverage.

Apparently it was not passed out of committee and the committee adjourned at 10:56 PM after hearing several hours of testimony.

So, I guess we continue to wait….

Interesting to consider some of the testimony mentioned in the hearing. Some was the same old claptrap from the anti’s, based on emotion and ignoring all facts and evidence. One interesting pro argument was the disabled on campus, wanting to ensure they could defend themselves. The live blog contains a lot of chatter, but it is interesting to review.

Updated:  The bill’s official page has been updated to say it was considered in public hearing, testimony was taken and recorded, and it was left pending in committee. Hopefully just means the hour was late, everyone was tired and wanted to go home, and they’ll pick things up today. More updates as I find ’em.

As well, I see there are now 66 co-authors listed. There were 65 when I last checked.


This is new to me, but you just can’t help but watch this and smile and laugh a little. Even my kids thought it was funny… weird, but funny. (h/t to Fark)

You can learn more about it from NPR. Check out the tutorial and samplers.

Current tactics? Engage.

The nursing home rampage in North Carolina is a horrible tragedy. However, one bright spot (if you can call it that) is what Officer Justin Garner did that brought an end to the rampage.

He actively engaged the shooter.

He did not wait for backup. He did not wait for the SWAT team. He did not wait for anything. He was the first to arrive on the scene and entered the nursing home alone to bring an end to the situation. He was successful.

I’ve mentioned before how active shooter tactics have changed. What we see here is an application of those new tactics, and that they worked.

HB 1893 to be heard today

Texas House Bill 1893 is to be heard today. With 5 authors and 65 co-authors there’s some strong backing for this bill in the House. JR provides his input.

If you live in Texas and haven’t contacted your Representative yet, today is the day. You may also want to contact the members of the House Committee on Public Safety and let them know — briefly and politely — of your desire for them to support and pass this bill.

I know how my Representative stands on this. I just sent her a reference to a study containing much empirical evidence on the matter, but I don’t expect the facts, research, and evidence to sway how she feels.

Teach your children

how to shoot!

I recently blogged about kids and guns. And if you’re no stranger to my blog, you know that my kids are no strangers to shooting.

Which reminds me… it’s Daughter’s turn to go to the range. I need to schedule that in. I also need to get the scope remounted and re-zeroed on the Ruger 10/22. Furthermore, I need to restart my quest to find a good .22 pistol.

Liberals that we can’t stand

(h/t to Caleb)

The chorus sings “If you don’t like it, go write your own and start up your own band.” Yeah, but their response would be to whine, bitch, scream, cry, call for a ban, thereoughtabealaw against….

And there are a lot of so-called “conservatives” that I can’t stand either, but I haven’t picked up a guitar or written a song in years….