Category Archives: Blogging

Shameful Behavior

The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans:  they can’t come up with $400 for an unexpected expense.

A couple of things.  1:  a lack of funds should not be a source of shame.  Shame connotes the idea of wrongdoing.  Is the fact that you have no money the result of your own wrongdoing?  Then feel shame.  Otherwise, feel free to be poor with a guilt-free conscience.

2:   “I know what it is like to have to tell my daughter that I didn’t know if I would be able to pay for her wedding.”  That’s awkward.  I know what it is like to be a daughter who knows her parents shouldn’t pay for her wedding.  I explained it to my fiance, then prepared to explain to my parents, in the event that they attempt to do so anyway.

They knew better.  They did pay for my wedding dress, a perfect compromise because the investment amount was unknown and yet still manageable.  They certainly did not use retirement funds to pay for my wedding.

3:  “I know what it is like to have to borrow money from my adult daughters because my wife and I ran out of heating oil.”  Okay.  I remember a time in my youth when my dad had to borrow a bit of money from me.  Dad is accomplished, but also a man who puts principle and posterity ahead of his own prosperity.  Rather than causing him to be a sympathetic character, his willingness to borrow made him a heroic character in my eyes.

4:  Then, the writer wrote a lot of words, from which it is apparent I should have empathy for those with financial insecurity, financial fragility, and/or financial distress.  I want to have empathy, but the wordiness and the statistics make it hard.  Having lived a life of financial insecurity/fragility/distress, hearing that it is a “liquidity problem” makes me roll my eyes.  Someone with a billion dollars of physical assets can still suffer a “liquidity problem.”  The real source of a “liquidity problem:” the failure to live within your means.

5: The article continues with a lot more historical background about who can pay for what.  Then, it theorizes that credit card debt the main culprit.  I don’t doubt that credit card debt is huge, but I do wonder whether such debt is a cause or merely a symptom the real problem.  Perhaps the real problem is a deeper cultural issue.

6:  The article just keeps going.  I can’t even.  Given the fact that we can come up with $400 if unexpected circumstances require it right now, we must be considerably more successful than the article’s author?  Perhaps it is geographical difference in expenses, or the willingness to drive a POS car.  Or the fact that when extra money is coming in, we obsessively but unobtrusively hoard it.  I dunno.

7.  “And then, on top of it all, came the biggest shock, though one not unanticipated: college.”  M’kay.  Here’s the thing.  I didn’t expect my parents to pay for college education any more than I expected them to pay for a wedding.  And here we are today, a military family.  The expectation is not that we parents will pay for college.  Rather, we tell our sons:  if you can’t get an athletic or academic scholarship, you can go ROTC or enlist and use the GI Bill or go “Seaman to Admiral.”  Or . . . (seriously scandalous these days) you can attend a trade school and learn a skilled trade instead of college.

8.  Thank you Neal Gabler for giving me a reason to post after a long hiatus.  I hope you find a reason to take that brown bag off you and your family’s heads.

9.  As a blogger that vowed not to disappear and yet did with no explanation, I have a real reason for shame.  Fellow bloggers and other readers:  I am so sorry.  I loved writing yet never imagined how much I would love not writing.  Not writing is both easy, and fun.  Given this fact, I’m not sure when I’ll post next.

What I’ve Learned: Tending to the Garden

I’ve been quite neglectful of my blog garden, and you readers are always so understanding.

Thanks for that.

Over at Da Tech Guy, where I am still faithfully blogging once a week, I recently lamented the fact that I live in a seemingly impenetrably blue district.

In my really real world, I have hit yet another wall in that endeavor known as Teaching Older Son Math.  I have fled my free-wheeling ways and started teaching straight from a textbook again.  Standardized testing in May will give me an idea of how much progress has been made.

I haven’t posted about my garden since July 2013, and a follow-up post is in order.  I had a really successful crop of yams.  Between the periodic harvest of “just enough for tonight’s dinner” and the two major harvests (first when I pulled up all I found, then when husband turned the plot over and found a bunch more), we easily grew ten pounds worth.

Nevermind the fact that yams are less than a dollar a pound, meaning that this crop was worth less than ten dollars.  It’s all about the learning curve, and the satisfaction derived from growing your own food.

Especially when the crop is not devoured by cut worms.

The asparagus that I planted has predictably not provided anything more than salad garnish.  But.  I planted it against the side of the house, and it has unintentionally prevented soil erosion from the gutter run off.  So I’ve got that going for me.

This year, I have kept the peppers and tomatoes in pots on the porch, in an effort to keep the bugs away.  Also, I’ve chosen the types that mature quicker, so no beefsteak tomatoes or bell peppers for me.  It’s all about the banana pepper and the cherry tomato.

A second generation of yams, sprouting from the bounty of last year, is well on its way to thriving.  I added summer squash and okra plants, and they are growing.  We’ll see how much actual produce they, well, produce.

The mint cannot be eradicated.  It now grows all throughout the garden plot, and I just keep pulling it up when it gets too competitive with the rest of the garden.

Cilantro seems to love the Tampa climate.  I should have started with that herb, instead of the Italian parsley that has refused to die and yet refused to thrive for a whole year.

Have a great week, everyone.  Here’s a pic of some of my harvest, including our garnish-sized asparagus, oranges from our Charlie Brown orange tree, and limes from our neighbor’s tree:

Tampa Harvest

Latest Posts


I found a particularly egregious error in the social studies textbook used in Hillsborough County’s sixth grade classes. You know how much fun I have picking on educators and their horrible textbooks, so click to share the mirth.

I found a spam email in my inbox that used Obamacare in its sales pitch.  You know how much fun I have picking on leftists and their horrible policies, so click to share the mirth.

I found a humorous phrase that feminists use to sound academic, and you know how much I enjoy offending feminists, so click here to share the fun.

I found another layer of Orwellian doublespeak that may go into usage now that the shine is wearing off the old Common Core lingo.   You know how much I enjoy picking on the academic sounding, but ridiculously empty Common Core Standards, so click here to share the joy.

Okay, I’ll see you when I see you.  Hopefully soon, I really need to post about my garden.

A Post List

I keep failing to link to my work over at the Da Tech Guy. So I’ve got quite the list.  As you will see, I am really stuck on the subject of education, but hey.  I’s kinda my raisin duh etra lately. I did throw in a little about food, and about introversion.

Dot Gov Sites for Children: We Make Propaganda Fun!

Our History, Gone Like a Dream of Yesterday

Common Core Standards:  The Measuring Stick with no Measurements

The Culmination of Progressive Education

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

The Post in Which the Introvert Navel-Gazes

Okay then, folks.  Click em and read em if you have the time and inclination.  I sure appreciate every single reader I get, now that I’m no longer as dependable nor sociable a blogger.






I should be working on my Tech Guy post right now, but the urge to say something on my own turf is too strong to ignore.

I haven’t been writing much here anymore, and the reasons are so myriad that it’s hard to put into words.  First of all, there’s the apathy that comes from realizing we are doomed unless a major correction of some sort.  This apathy has plagued me since the 2012 election.

Then there’s the fact that I write for someone else once a week.  It turns out, my standards are much higher when someone else’s reputation is at stake.  Which means I spend too much time on too few words.  But I’m happy with the arrangement and will continue it.  Frankly, I may have quit blogging altogether without the impetus of a commitment made.

Next is the school situation.  Now, I pulled the boys out of brick-and-mortar way back in aught-diggety-eleven (2011).  Being a chicken, I signed up for Kansas’ virtual school program.  Which was worth the public school baggage, given the fact that it was run by a man whose wife homeschooled their children.

He knew that the social component was important.  Fun Fridays were not to be missed.  Folks from other districts would sign up to his district and drive the distance, because their district simply didn’t have an equivalent program.

But the point is, I wasn’t in charge of the curriculum.  Someone else was.  All I had to do was sign up and follow the schedule.

Our first year in Tampa I signed up for so many private homeschool opportunities, there wasn’t much time to think.  Math was neglected as a result.  It’s pretty easy to neglect the thing that causes the most pain.

This year is really the first in which I have taken full responsibility for the education of my eight and eleven year old boys.

It has been glorious.  With help from the Khan Academy, math results have been positive.  I could write a whole series of posts on the adventures of teaching math, but maybe another time.

The Sonlight curriculum is great for marrying literary material with the history material.  Mostly, though, I have ignored the rest.

That means that it’s up to me.  STEM and TAG classes for both.  Multiplication drills for Younger Son, math problems daily for Older Son, grammar lessons for both, typing and cursive, impromptu vocabulary lessons, whatever reading material they choose, a random geography project, and whatever else crops up.  It’s amazing how much there is to teach and to learn.

Children have a saturation point, unfortunately, and I run up against that point on a regular basis.  Cross that point, fine.  But don’t expect them to absorb a thing.

There’s another important aspect.  Homeschooling is as much an educational endeavor as it is a mission.  Get active, and before you know it, you are coordinating field trips, offering carpooling, and generally looking after the welfare of your community.

Fills up your time quite nicely.

But I just wanted to say hello anyhow.


World’s Tallest Midget, Reporting

Here’s my Da Tech Guy post from three weeks ago:  Is the Duck Pond the High Water Mark?  (Answer:  Yes.  Yes it is.)

Here’s my Da Tech Guy post from two weeks ago:  A Conservative New Year’s Resolution

Here’s my Da Tech Guy post from last week:  History Matters

I am terrible about posting and making the rounds nowadays, but nevermind.  At least my kids should be able to pass tests like these by the time they are in high school.

That’s kind of like being the World’s Tallest Midget, perhaps, but I’ll take it.

See you soon, raccoons.

The Sneaking Common Core In Our Schools Act of 2013

My next post is up at Da Tech Guy’s place!

Please do click over to read it.

I will be getting back to additional posts here, soon.  And also visiting my fellow bloggers.

Part of the problem has been the fact my email notifications stopped coming.  Without the email prompt, my OCD-like need to sort didn’t get triggered.  Instead, my procrastinating tendencies set in, and my Instant Gratification Monkey kept leading me elsewhere.  Like to the WaitButWhy blog.

I got on my reader and found that notifications were for some reason blocked.  I unchecked that box and hope to get my email box filled again soon.

Cheers folks.