About That Knife Maker

You all may recall one of the Christmas presents I got two weeks back:

Well, thanks to Alert Reader Mark D, we learn the truth about “knifemaker” Ed Mehler (my emphasis):

Ed Mehler is a knife seller for Knives Ranch and that he had previously been told to stop representing himself as the maker of Knives Ranch knives he was selling (at least those with the Knives Ranch logo stamp on them).

Note that this dates back to 2014, which means this asshole is still in business.

Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) — in my case, emptor morsus est (the buyer was bitten).

Oh well… at least I have the best-looking boxcutter in Texas.

Would Flogging Be Appropriate?

Try this bullshit:

An Iowa middle school principal has apologized for being “overly strict” after he confiscated pizzas that were delivered to a class for an end-of-the-year party over fears that it could make students from other classes feel left out.

The principal apologized for his actions in a note to parents later that day, writing that he overreacted in an attempt to be fair to all students.
“That applies to everything from the chances they have to learn in the classroom to rewards and recognitions by our teachers and staff.”

I know what I would have learned from this particular classroom:  authority figures suck.

And by the way, if you read the whole thing (after first moving guns and/or throwable objects out of reach), you’ll see that the self-righteous prick’s “apology” was no such thing.  And:

The situation was made right Friday after Mr. Hoffman said he threw another pizza party for the class and several local businesses also volunteered to donate pizzas for the school’s nearly 750 students.

…thus negating all the incentive for performance — if everyone gets a prize, why bother trying harder?  (No doubt that’s  the lesson they’re trying to teach the kids.)

As His Excellency The Instapundit says so often:  putting kids into the public school system is no less than child abuse.

Water Sports

Here we go again:

A Florida teacher’s aide was arrested for allegedly having sex with two 15-year-old students in a community pool near her condo building, a report said. The aide, 27-year-old Kirstie None Rosa, allegedly had sex with one of the students several times at his house and her condo.

She seems to be quite a babe, judging from her (non-mugshot) pic, which leads me to ask why she would go after 15-year-old boys;  but such is the derangement of Modern Grrrls, I guess it’s pointless to question her motives.

And no, we never had such luck when I was 15… we had to put up with rejection from girls of our own age group, like everyone else.

It’s getting to where I should consider changing the tag from “Men & Women” to “Boys & Women”, FFS.

No Surprises There

Like we couldn’t see this one coming:   we suck.

Results of the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) found American teens showed no actual improvement in reading, math, and science compared to the 2015 results.

Our ranking improved, though. Why?

The ranking of U.S. students improved only because the scores of students in other countries dropped.

So we’re getting dumber at a slower rate than the rest of the world’s kids?  How nice.  And guess what?

As Education Week reported, PISA reading results indicate American teens are able to comprehend the main idea and draw simple inferences in a medium length text, but comprehension and comparison skills when other texts and ideas are introduced – so-called critical thinking skills – are lacking.
Despite a decade of the Common Core State Standards, an Obama-era progressive education reform that was touted as one that would improve students’ critical thinking and eliminate the achievement gap between white and minority students, U.S. public schools appear to be failing in both areas.

So Common Core is failing… along with just about every other nostrum provided by the education establishment, most notably No Child Left Behind, which should now be renamed “Every  Child Left Behind”.  Here’s some more on the topic.

But all is not lost:  I see that SecEd Betsy DeVos has managed to shed 600 useless functionaries from the Education Department in just a couple of years.  Go, Betsy, go!  MOAR reductions!!!!

Educating Immigrants

From Gates Of Vienna comes a “tl;mr” (too long / must read”) post by a teacher at the sharp end — probably literally so — of the effort to get newly-arrived immigrant children to integrate into the host society.  As you can well imagine, it’s going to fail dismally:

I know I will be called a “damned whore”, “damned pussy”, and I know I will hear, “You don’t decide for me.” There will be mess and noise in the classroom, the hallways, the schoolyard and the dining room. Changing rooms where classes change for physical education classes will, as usual, be places where girls don’t dare change since boys will show up and sneakily photograph the girls.
Showering is not on the world map for girls and even for some boys in school. It is enough that one or two pupils refuse to follow the instruction and scream “shut up” at me every time I am going to say something; thus is the lesson destroyed for 28 other pupils who want to learn something.When I call parents in for a conversation, I hear that I don’t have the right to tell their children off, that I should be careful so that I won’t be reported to the principal or school inspectors. They know where my family and I live, what car I drive, and I know that the risk is great that my car will get scratched or destroyed in some other way. I know that certain pupils threaten other pupils, but I don’t dare get in the middle because I risk being beaten.

Read it, and don’t weep;  get angry.  Because this (and the mindset which enables it) either has come, or will soon be coming to a school near you.

Reading Lists

This article got me thinking, because it’s not something I’ve been involved with since the kids finished homeschooling (if such a thing ever happens) and went off to college.  Go ahead and read the thing first, as it sets the stage for what follows.

I’ve often been asked what books I steered my own kids towards during their schooling, so here’s the group from which I drew.  They are the books that every child should have read before age 18, in alphabetical order by category*.  It’s very biased towards Western Civilization, for obvious reasons, and is by no means comprehensive, but enough to provide a good foundation.  (The Son&Heir, for example, was so taken by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca  that he ended up reading everything she ever wrote.  Whatever they find interesting, let them run with it.)

Kim’s Recommended Reading List For Homeschoolers

Politics:
1984 —  George Orwell
Animal Farm —  George Orwell
Of Civil Government — John Locke
On Liberty — John Stuart Mill
Our Enemy, The State — Albert Jay Nock
The Prince — Niccolo Machiavelli

Economics:
Basic Economics — Charles Sowell
The Wealth of Nations — Adam Smith

History:
From Dawn To Decadence — Jacques Barzun (this book is required reading; it can serve as a general history work and in a pinch, can be the only  history book read before college)
Heroes — Paul Johnson (biographies)
A History Of The American People — Paul Johnson
A History Of The Jews — Paul Johnson
The Iliad, The Odyssey — Homer
The Proud Tower — Barbara Tuchman
United States Declaration of Independence (together with the Articles of Confederation; United States Constitution and the Federalist Papers)

Military History:
Carnage And Culture — Victor Davis Hanson
The First World War — Martin Gilbert (or John Keegan)
A History Of Warfare — John Keegan
The Second World War — John Keegan
A War Like No Other — Victor Davis Hanson

Philosophy/Religion:
The Bible
The Book of Journeyman — Albert Jay Nock
Confessions — St. Augustine
Essays Moral and Political — David Hume
Intellectuals — Paul Johnson
Meditations — Marcus Aurelius
Memoirs of a Superfluous Man — Albert Jay Nock
The Republic — Plato
Summa Theologica — St. Thomas Aquinas

Plays (Shakespeare):
Coriolanus
Hamlet
Julius Caesar
King Lear
Macbeth
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Othello
Richard III
Romeo & Juliet
(Shakespeare’s major History Plays — Henry IV etc. — require a concurrent English history lesson, otherwise the characters are meaningless and the dialogue almost incomprehensible.)

Plays (Other):
Billy Liar — Keith Waterhouse (the novel is good too, but the play is the thing)
Faust — Goethe
The Importance of Being Earnest — Oscar Wilde
Lysistrata — Aristophanes
‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore — John Ford
Waiting For Godot — Samuel Becket

Poetry:  (all their works, with recommendations)
Alfred, Lord Tennyson — The Eagle,  Charge Of The Light Brigade
Matthew Arnold — Dover Beach
Rupert Brook — The Soldier
Samuel Taylor Coleridge — The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
John Donne — The Good Morrow and A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
John Keats — Ode To A Nightingale
Rudyard Kipling — The Gods Of The Copybook Headings
Richard Lovelace — To Althea, From Prison
Shakespeare — all the Sonnets (as many as can be digested)
Percy Shelley — Ozymandias
Walt Whitman — Leaves of Grass
William Wordsworth — Tintern Abbey, The Solitary Reaper

Long Fiction:
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — Mark Twain
Alice In Wonderland — Lewis Carroll
The Grapes of Wrath — John Steinbeck
The American — Henry James
Anna Karenina — Leo Tolstoy
As I Lay Dying — William Faulkner
Fahrenheit 451 — Ray Bradbury
A Handful of Dust — Evelyn Waugh
The Chronicles of Narnia — C.S. Lewis
The Count Of Monte Cristo — Alexandre Dumas
Don Quixote — Cervantes
A Farewell To Arms — Ernest Hemingway
Emma — Jane Austen
To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee
The Invisible Man — H.G. Wells
Zorba the Greek — Nikos Kazantzakis
Gulliver’s Travels — Jonathan Swift
The Mayor Of Casterbridge — Thomas Hardy
The Sound and the Fury — William Faulkner
Fathers and Sons — Ivan Turgenev
Stranger in a Strange Land — Robert A. Heinlein
Les Misérables — Victor Hugo
Carry On, Jeeves — P. G. Wodehouse
Lord Of The Flies — William Golding
Crime and Punishment — Feodor Dostoyevsky
Madame Bovary — Gustave Flaubert
The Harry Potter Stories — J.K Rowling
Women In Love — D.H. Lawrence
The Complete Sherlock Holmes — Arthur Conan Doyle
Catch-22 — Joseph Heller
The Portrait Of A Lady — Henry James
The Wind In The Willows — Kenneth Grahame
Rebecca — Daphne du Maurier
Robinson Crusoe — Daniel Defoe
Sons And Lovers — D.H. Lawrence
Uhuru — Robert Ruark

Short Fiction (Authors, with recommendations):
Daphne du Maurier (The Birds, Don’t Look Now)
Ernest Hemingway (The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Killers)
Edgar Allan Poe (The Pit And The Pendulum)
Herman Melville (Bartleby the Scrivener)
Ambrose Bierce (An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge)
Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book)
Flannery O’Connor (A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Good Country People)
Guy de Maupassant (Boule de Suif, The Necklace)
James Thurber (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, The Unicorn in the Garden)
O. Henry (The Gift Of The Magi, The Cop And The Anthem)
Raymond Carver (Where I’m Calling From, Little Things)
Saki (Sredni Vashtar, The East Wing)
William Faulkner (Mountain Victory, A Rose For Emily)

Erotica:
Ars Amatoria — Ovid
Delta Of Venus — Anaïs Nin
Lady Chatterley’s Lover — D.H. Lawrence
Memoirs Of A Woman Of Pleasure (or Fanny Hill) — John Cleland
The School of Whoredom — Pietro Aretino


*Please note that your opinions may vary — and indeed they should — depending on what direction you’re setting your kids along.  (For example:  if your bent is more to the religious, then obviously the Bible and / or St. Augustine will require more time and dedication, and so on.)