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Monday, June 30, 2014

Sports and Stories - How it's Done - Simmons and Michaels

Sports can be a colossal waste of time.  Of all the things to spend time on, sports are high on the list of premiere time wasters.  Once I started to think more independently (embarrassingly late in life), I pretty much ignored the sports world as I saw it for what it was: entertaining nothingness for the masses.  Material for the Sheeple to get worked up over and then argue with each other rather than think about and discuss REAL things.

Well, I still like sports.  I really can't escape the lure.  No, I don't watch every Yankee game like I used to in the mid to late 1980's.  (Alvaro Espinosa was an underrated shortstop if you must know).  Watching the Spurs win the NBA title this year was wonderful. They play a great brand of basketball, there is a lot of ball movement, everyone can shoot and move, the team has an obvious plan and no ego.  In MLB, I think you're foolish if you don't watch Clayton Kershaw pitch at least once, and you should watch Mike Trout play outfield for the Angels.

The sports reference sites are good to get your stats.  I'm a stats person of the old school and I can't imagine what my HS years would have been like if I'd had a site like this.  I had to read the stats on the page in the baseball encyclopedia or in Total Baseball.  I probably would have failed out of high school - I would have been on stats overload.  The other site I go to for sports is  Except for the liberal slant when it comes to anything not sports related (the pop culture is a waste of time as were the comments on the Donald Sterling Afffair), Grantland is an information rich and entertaining place.

The podcasts are well done.  What made me do this post is the podcast with Al Michaels and Bill Simmons.  This will show you how sports can still be worth your time.  Al Michaels has been an announcer for a long time - notice the Old Man Shorts.  Simmons is a Serious Fan with an eye for detail, a great memory, and an entertaining writing style.  Simmons does the smart thing.  The entire last 2/3 of this interview is Simmons simply asking Michaels if he as a story about (fill in the name of a sports star).  He lets Al Michaels talk, and the stories are funny, interesting and entertaining.  Michaels gives you the inside stuff without being salacious.   It is good storytelling in the world of sports, and I have to admit - I still enjoy it immensely.  I think you'll enjoy listening to this, especially if you're a sports fan:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Martenson's Updated Crash Course - A Great Learning Experience

There were a few things that completely changed my worldview for the better.  These things made me think rationally, clearly, independently and thoroughly.  The writings of Theodore Dalrymple and John Taylor Gatto, the campaigns of Ron Paul, the 'Peter Schiff was Right' youtube videos and the works of Gary North and Tom Woods are some of the main sources from what was a serious philosophical change for me from 2005 - 2011.

A video series that put together the absurdity and danger of our monetary system and the FED was called "The Crash Course" by Chris Martenson.  It provided a visual link to the things that are never discussed in mainstream circles, and certainly never in school.  I had never had such things explained to me as a young person. The Crash Course opened my eyes instantly.  I think I watched the whole thing twice upon discovering it.

Martenson's premise is simple: the next 20 years will be nothing like the last 20 years.  He focuses on the E's: Economy, Education, Energy and Environment.  Recently he released a condensed and updated version of The Crash Course.  It will probably me more informative and useful to you than any social studies, civics or economics class you'll have in school.  It certainly contains more information and depth than your teacher, who thinks that 'Obama will take care of things' or 'once the Republicans get back in charge things will be better'.  People who still think that way should be taught how to escape that limited mindset.  The first thing to show them is this quote by Zora Neale Hurston: “Anybody depending on somebody else's gods is depending on a fox not to eat chickens.”  The second step is to watch the updated Crash Course:

Friday, June 20, 2014

3 Years In A Downward Spiral In School

As the school year is now just about over, I reflect on the unusually large academic and social gap between the current juniors and this year's freshmen.  Two years ago, with the students who are now in 11th grade, I was able to cover all of the literature I planned, as well as quite a bit of secondary material in history, politics and economics.  I remember that we often got off track, and I had to make the conversation go back toward the literature that was originally intended.

What prompted this podcast was my discussion with one of my former students who just finished her freshman year in college.  I was reminded that, with less time, we did more material with more in depth analysis.

The causes?  Ridiculous and meaningless high stakes testing (euphemistically called 'assessments') is one of the causes.  A major cause is the current students have much less desire to learn.  They are more used to being spoon-fed every thing.  I had more discipline issues than ever before these last two years. If things continue to devolve, I'll request 10th grade for the 2015 - 2016 school year.  I'm sad to make that statement because I have chosen to work with 9th graders for the past 8 years because they are younger, fresher and more eager.  Unfortunately, this seems to be changing.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

We Have Come Full Conspiracy Circle

My high school students here on this site and in the flesh have long known that I abhor the Mainstream Media, that I see it as little more than a constant and clumsy propaganda machine for the State and its actors.  There isn't much need for me to 'prove' this point any longer.  Newsweek, and its cover article by Kurt Eichenwald, has proven my point for me.

In the article, you will read about how people who believe in conspiracy theories are a clear and present danger.  They focus on people who don't want to vaccinate their children, the 9/11 'truth' movement, people who have exposed the UN's Agenda 21, and the people who dislike Common Core.

Let's look closely at two of these points.  First, the Common Core should be opposed, and it isn't just 'conspiracy theorists' who oppose it.  The woman who was the only academic on the panel for English (and didn't sign off on the standards) now tours the country speaking out against the standards.  You can watch her here.  The only Math Professor on the panel, who also did not approve of the standards, speaks out against the total inadequacy of the standards.  You can watch him here.  Are these people trying to destroy America?  According to Eichenwald and Newsweek, the answer is yes.

Secondly, the article looks at the 9/11 Truth movement as one of the 'Plots to Destroy America'.  This is an interesting one.  During the W. Bush administration, the Truth movement was acceptable, trendy, and totally acceptable.  It's funny, but the only place you really saw these people made fun of was on Fox News, the network whose job it is in the Fake Left v. Right Debate to make 'Democrats' look bad. Now that the head  and party of the regime have changed, the 'Truthers' are fair game.  I miss the days when Progressive Heroes like Van Jones and much of Hollywood were part of the movement.  Eichenwald, of course, ignores this.  Jones, by the way, when his association with the movement was going to cost him personally, asked to have his name removed from the petition.  The guy changed his mind.  Was he a threat and now he's not?  Are these people trying to destroy America?

This puff piece is an example, although a poor one, of attempt to control the narrative.  Of course, citizen, you will listen only to the Establishment Narrative, and anything not on that 3x5 card of Acceptable Opinion is a 'conspiracy' and is therefore a 'threat'.  Eichenwald should be ashamed.  The article lacks any depth, and basically says, 'look, these people are silly and weird, and these conspiracies are stupid'.  This is considered reporting.  On top of this, Eichenwald uses the Southern Poverty Law Center as a source.  This is an organization that is sitting on a $190 million dollar war chest and not only is tax exempt, but hides money in the Cayman Islands!

Not only that, but notice how it is the conspiracy theorist and their theories that are a problem.  Not the NSA spying, the PATRIOT Act (renewed and strengthened by this administration), NDAA, endless warfare, endless welfare, the FED and the large banks and corporations rapaciously running the planet. No, it is the people who disagree with the Official Story, they are the threat.

I am constantly amazed that the Elite expect us, the Herd,  the Masses, to read this material and just accept it at face value.  It is as if they operate as if there is no internet, no movement of information. This article is just one sad example of the death of mainstream media - and now you can see why I will be glad when the whole operation disappears.

By the way, here is the cover of Eichenwald's best book.  It's a good one, but pay particular attention to the title.  Remember, according to Eichenwald, conspiracies are just silly and stupid: