Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Day Before Thanksgiving

This week I gave all my students an extra credit assignment: Read three Thanksgiving Proclamations: George Washington (1789), Abraham Lincoln (1865), and Ronald Reagan (1988) then write a 6-10 page Chicago Style essay comparing and contrasting the proclamations. I gave them until next Monday to turn it in. Some of them have submitted their essays early, and they are beautiful.

Today I expalined to my stuents how NPR broadcasts Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish recipe every year, let them hear some recordings of the broadcast from years past, then let them taste it. I've heard the recipe many times over the last thirty years but this was the first time I ever made it. It tasted good and most of my students liked it.

Now I am baking two cranberry walnut pies. I just put them in the oven. Once I finish writing this post I'll get to work on two peanut butter chocolate pies (recipe below), and then I'll make pheasant pate (we have lots of pheasants in the fridge!) for tomorrow. We are going to be at the cathedral in San Francisco.


Peanutbutter Pie Recipe
Use two Keebler chocolate pie crusts or two Graham cracker pie crusts. The filling is one cup of creamy peanut butter, 8 oz cream cheese, 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar beaten together, then fold in 8 oz of cool whip (refrigerated but not frozen). The filling is enough for two pies. Top with whipped cream. I like to whip 8 oz of heavy cream with 1/4 cup powdered sugar. That way it doesn't separate as quickly as it would otherwise.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Pheasant Shooting

It was a busy week. Basil had school (student), I had school (teacher), and Kathleen had school (teacher). Yesterday, Veterans Day we did not do our usual activities. Instead, I slept all day, Kathleen did stuff with her kids, and Basil did homework.

Today the three of us went pheasant hunting. The dogs were not doing their job; acting more like pets than working dogs, but we each got one pheasant. Later we had lunch in the clubhouse and Kathleen picked out a new shotgun. All our shotguns are a little bit to big for her so she tried out this Syren and really like it. Now I just need to save up the money for it.

Well the timer on the oven just went off so I better take the pheasant out.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Fruitcakes and civilization

Kathleen and I made 10 more fruitcakes today. We were going to go pheasant hunting but it was raining this morning so we decided to stay home and bake. The house smells beautiful; like cinnamon, butter, and whiskey.

Last week it dawned on me that in my world history class (we have been reading the about the pagan world; the Indians, the Japanese, the Aztecs, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Chinese, the Akkadians, the Incas, the Nubians, the Minoans etc.) that the whole pre-Christian world (except the Hebrews), all of them practiced human sacrifice and canibalism. Right now we are on ancient Greece and we have just finished reading Hesiod's Theogony, a gruesome tale of murder, incest, infanticide, cannibalism, rape, and war. I think we will be right up to Caesar Augustus in early December. And then I will assign my world history students the Gospel of Mark. I didn't plan it this way but isn't it amazing to be able to make the transition from the horrors of the demon-ruled pagan history to the Christ-filled history of the years of our Lord right at Christmas time.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

So much news.

Well, dear reader, there is much that goes on in life. I'll start with work, which is going wonderfully. I teach two sections of U.S. history, and one section each of civics, world history, and A.P. goverrnment. It is so much fun I can hardly stand it. Here is an example: In my civics class I have had my students read Aristotle, Cicero, John Locke, parts of Isaiah, all of Judges, and the first two chapters of Forest McDonalnd's Novus Ordo Seclorum. I was going to have them read the third chapter, which deals with the economic ideas underpinning the American Revolution and our ConstItution but I realized that most of my students don't have the background to understand that chapter. So, what are we doing? We are reading childrens books together! Yes! I read A Year at Maple Leaf Farm to them and had them identify every instance of production, consupmption, capital preservation, life preservation, and conservation of natural resources. Then we did the samething with The Ox Cart Man but this time I told them to keep in mind John Locke's discusions of property, waste, savings, and surplus. Then, on Friday I assigned each of them one of Laura Ingalls Widler's Little House books and assigned them a 10 page essay (in Chicago Style) on the economic ideas contained in the books. And in addition to the classes I teach I am the faculty advisor to the gardening club and the internatinal relations club. It is just so much fun!

My son Basil Wenceslas (I think I mentioed in a previous post that the graduated from high school two years early) just registered for twoclasses (U.S. history and U.S. government) at EVCC. He says he is prepearing for transfer to the Maritime Academy but he just turned 17 and his plans might change. Also, he is my hunting buddy. We go pheasant hunting on Saturdays.

I have cooked two pheasants and pheasant sausauge, and have smoked pheasants in the fridge. The only thing is that I don't enjoy running the dogs. I think from now on I'll leave that to Kathleen. I can't manage the dogs and shoot at the same time, and she likes running the dogs and is better at it than I am. Basil just likes shooting and then rewarding the dogs when they bring him the pheasants.


Anselm has a girlfriend. I haven't met her but Athanasia has has met her and says the girl, (Woman actually, she is a 23 year old speech therapist.) is good to our son. But Anselm is about to go on a 7 month mission and we will see if the relationship will last; 7 months is a long time to a 23 year old.

I am making 12 more fruitcakes today. This brings the total up to 30. It is much fun and is probably my favorite Christmas tradition. I think I have enough dried fruit to make another 16 but I'll Not make them today; maybe next week. It is hard to believe I've been doing this for 11 years. While I am baking thim I am listening to a recording of the Fireside Christmas Stories. It isn't even Advent yet but I am already enjoying Christmas.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Pheasants and Fruit Cakes

The last two Satudays I have been pheasant hunting. Kathleen and I went the first Saturday. We came home with four. Then the second Saturday, Basil went with me and we got three. I've roasted two, had three truned into sausage by the club butcher, and have two in the freezer.

LAst Saturday afternoon, after pheasant shooting, Basil and I made 8 fruit cakes. I just got off work and we are going to make 14 more.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

A new high school graduate

Six days ago my youngest son, Basil Wenceslas completed all the requirements to graduate from high school. Two years early. He did it by being co-enrolled in college and transferring the college credits to his high school. He worked hard and I am very proud of him.

To celebrate we got together and made this pork loin recipe. It was amazing.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

A Fundraiser

I am raising money for my class. My students need so much stuff! Books, maps, a pencil sharper, etc. Most of the parents of the kids I teach are not wealthy and are stuggling just to pay the tuition. I've been using books from my own library but the students really need access to classroom sets of several important history, philosophy, and econoomics texts. For that reason I have started a GoFundMe page. If you think you can help, please click here.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

A Joyful Day!

Today Basil Wenceslas, who has been suffereing from Long Covid, was well enough to return to Church. It was his first time to be in Church since Holy Week. He was exhausted by the end of Communion and we left before the Prayers of Thanksgiving but he was there. I am much relieved and very happy.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Planning Classes

All day Friday, all Day Saturday, and all night to this very moment all I have been doing is planning my World History Class. From Sargon of Akkad to the Global Communist Conspiracy I think I have covered all the highlights. Oh, my poor students. They had better be good readers. Now I have to get in bed and get a sleep before I get up for church in three hours.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Update on my children

My son, Anselm Samuel has been on a couple of short training missions, each one only a few days, aboard the U.S.S. Hampton. They were just off the coast of California for the short missions and all they did was test equipment and run through some drills. Today he told me they are leaving for a real mission (I didn't ask what it is because I know he can't tell me.) in a couple of weeks and will be gone until after Christmas.

My son, Basil Wenceslas is doing better. Last night he went out of the house with some friends for the first time in months. When I called him about 11 p.m. to read Exodus together he was whiped out and feeling exhausted by the exertion of going to a movie but I am just so happy he was able to get out of bed and go outside!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Truth Is Truth No Matter Who Says It

I wish this were an Orthodox preacher but like a bee I'll take nectar where I can find it. From minute 9 through minute 20 is the best explanation of the reality of the bread and wine truly being the Body and Blood of Jesus. Following that he goes down list of some of the Church Fathers of the first 3 centuries, including Ss. Ignatius, Justin, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom.

On a personal note, I remember when I was about 11 or 12 years old hearing, as though for the first time, my Dad do a communion service in Ukiah, California. Like most of the pastors in that denomination at that time, he read St. Paul's words from I Corinthinans 11:23-26, and when I heard the words I was astounded. And I was confused when I tried to reconcile those words with that denomination's teaching that the bread and grape juice are not really the Body and Blood of Jesus. I mean, we were Protestants and our whole religion was supposed to be based on the Bible (I first learned the Five Solas when I was 10 years old at Sunnyvale Christian School.), and we weren't just Protestants, we were Pentecostals who believed miracles and in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Why would we not interpret "this is my body" and "this is my blood" literally? Why would we think God couldn't do this miracle? The disagreement between the words I heard from St. Paul and the teaching of my denomination made no sense to me. It is no wonder I became Orthodox when Orthodoxy found me.

Monday, August 08, 2022

David McCullough, Dead

I was just looking up something for work (I'm dealing with the close of the western frontier right now) and saw this very sad news. David McCullough was one of the most important historians of America who ever lived. I mentioned on this blog one time that there are different schools of history. In the late 20th and early 21st Centuries there was no more powerful proponent - all the more powerful because he was quiet about it - of the proviential school of historiography, that idea held by some historians that Providence guides history. We are richer for the work he did. We are poorer because of his death. Memory Eternal!

I do not often post sermons on my blog but when I do...

Friday, August 05, 2022

So Excited!

For the past few days I've been writing syllabi and planning my classes. Tonight I made it up to Thanksgiving week in my U.S. History courses. And guess what I am going to do. I am going to have my students read Thanksgiving proclamations from Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan, and then write a comparitive essay. I can not begin to tell you how excited I am about this assignment!

Thursday, August 04, 2022

What We Call Fun at Our House

Fun thing #1: Basil was feeling well enough to get out of bed yesterday. We sat at the table and played three games of 7 Wonders and two games of Go. (I am a 30th degree white belt. The boys laugh every time I remind them of that.) He is paying for it today, however. He has not been able to get out of bed at all today.

Fun thing #2: Kathleen and I are both history, government, and economics teachers, and we have been sitting in the living room most of the day with computers on and surrounded by books as we plan out our courses, share sources, write syllabi, and refine lectures.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

A Day Off

Until today all I'd been doing since Friday was reading textbooks and preparing for the coming school year. While reading the McClay history textbook (mentioned in my post) I came accross a small error so I looked up McClay's email and sent him the information he needs so he can fix the error in the second edition. He wrote back. It turns out he is a really neat guy. We are getting together later this year.

Today, Kathleen and I went to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse and Scott Creek Beach. I think it was the first time I've been to that beach since my boys were little. Scott Creek Beach, Waddell Creek Beach, and Bonny Doon Beach were the beaches I used to take them to all the time. It was Kathleen's first time at Scott Creek Beach.

There were lots of kite surfers today. Just before we came home the dog dug up a large crab, shook it ferrociosly, ripped it to pieces, and rolled in it. The smell in the car was horrible. We stopped at dog wash and got him all cleaned up before we let him in the house.

It was fun reading about Righteous Gamaleil today. As I was reading about him today I learned that he was a famous rabbi and the Jews still cite some of his decisions. I wonder how many secret Christians there are today. My guess is many.

This is thesecond day of the Dormition Fast. I am always surpised about hw good the food is. Also, meal prep and clean up is much easier when there is no meat, fish, dairy, or oil. I did make some vegan pesto for Katleen yesterday (Yesterday was an oil day. I don't know why.) I don't like pesto but she does so I made it for her.
A normal pesto recipe has five ingredients: fresh basil, Pamagiano Regiano, olive oil, fresh garlic, and pine nuts. To make it vegan, and thereby fast-friendly, all you have to do is leave out the cheese, add a little salt and, bingo, you have vegan pesto.

Monday, August 01, 2022

Oh, no, I said it.

The other day, because 98% of the Monkey Pox cases in the U.S. are in men who have sex with other men, I said the spread of Monkey Pox could be halted if men would stop having sex with men. I was astounded by the reaction. People were quick call me a bigot, to inform me that the disease is spread easily between people and not just by sodomy, that it is possible for non-homosexual men to be immoral, and more. It was just astounding to me. All one has to do is look at the SCIENTIFIC FACTS to see that what I said is true. But it seems that the Overton Window has shifted and we are no longer able to say what is true about the link between homosexual behavior and disease. But I am going to say it anyway because it is not love to not warn people when they are in danger or, even worse, to encourage them to engage in the behavior that will kill them. Just like my parents who used to warn me to lose weight, like my sister who used to tell me to not drive too fast, like the Church that warned me not to commit suicide (because sucides are separated from God forever) when I was suffering from depression, like the U.S. government that warns people not to smoke cigarettes, love also demands that we warn the homosexuals that what they are doing is deadly.

Here are some facts about homosexual behavior and disease.

Only about 4.5% of the U.S. population (male and female) engages in homosexual activity but just the men in that 4.5% account for:
83% of primary and seconday syphillis cases
10% and 20% of hepatitis A and B cases
Between 64% and 72% of the people who have HIV

Those are facts. But what should be done about them? In the early days of the HIV epidemic the mayor of San Francisco closed all the bath houses (it's a euphemism for orgy club) in the city. (I'm not arguing that the closure stopped the spreead of HIV.) In 2020 the whole country was shut down to halt the spread of Covid-19. (I'm not arguing that the shutdown stopped the spread of Covid-19.) What I am arguing is that if we could shut down private sex clubs and even the whole country, we should be free to say what is obvious. We have laws that forbid the sale of tobacco to minors but it is the social and moral approrbium that have really cut the percentage of cigarette smokers to historic lows. Maybe, a good first step to reducing HIV, syphillis, monkey pox, and hepetitis infections is to speak the truth about homosexual behavior leading to disease instead of celebrating their behavor in Pride Parades and Up Your Alley street orgies.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

American History and the Divine Liturgy

Yesterday and today all I did was go page by page through a history book writing down questions for class discussions. I'm using three different texts for my history classes, which star in two weeks. The book I've been in all of Friday and yesterday is Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story by Wilfred McClay. I don't really like history textbooks which are written by committes, and read like they were written by comittees. In general, monograph narratives of specific events such as Patriots: The Men who Started the American Revoluiton by A.J. Lannguth which only deal with the American Revolution and The Second Work War by Winston Churchill are much better, having been written by experts, having one point of view with which the reader can grapple, and having lots of footnotes so the reader can see what the author's sources are. History textbooks for highschool try to cover so much in so few pages that it is difficult to really know anything, there is often no point of view, and they always lack footnotes.

What McClay has done, however, is really good. Land of Hope might be the best history text book I have ever read. It has a point of view, e.g. America is good but flawed and we are still struggling to perfect it, so let's be thankful for the past, hopeful for the future, and get to work living lives worthy of our ancestors' hopes for us. Land of Hope is written in such a way that even though it doesn't go into much detail about anything it leaves you wanting to read more. Sadly, there are no footnotes but for those who want to go deeper into the knowledge of the people and events McClay wrote about there is, in the back of the book, a four page list of the kinds of history books I prefer to read. And finally, Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story is one long flowing narrative, which is in itself, a huge improvement over every highschool history textbook I have ever read. I think my students will learn much from it.

Today I went to the Divine Liturgy at Saint Stephen Orthodox Church in Campbell, California. My parish, Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Saratoga has been hit by Covid-19, and both the priest and choir director are suffering. After liturgy I ate an ommelette and took a nap. Now I have to get back to preparing for the semester.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

A Vacation, a Job, and My Youngest Son

Last week Kathleen and I went fishing on the Rogue River in Oregon. I caught no fish but Katheleen caught a beautiful steelhead smolt. I cleaned it and cooked it for her. On the way to Oregon we stopped in the charming little town of Winters. Then we drove on to Red Bluff, at the north end of the Central Valley where we spent the night. While we were there someone stole our anchor off the the trailer. I had read it was a high crime area but I never would have thought someone would steal an anchor. We drove past Mount Shasta (I had never seen it. Wow! It is amazing. Even in July the peak was covered with snow.) It was fun going over the Siskayou Pass. I can now say I have traversed all the mountain passes that lead out of California. After Passing Mount Shasta we stopped in Yreaka to mail postcards to the kids. I talked to the postmaster and saw something interesting. She sprayed my money with a chemical that neutralizes meth and cocaine. She said that cocaine isn't a problem in the area but meth is everywhere. Cute town, though.

When we got to the Rogue River we had to go get a new anchor. The owner of the Rogue River Boat Shop was friendly and helpful. And then one of the fishing reels broke. I bought some new ones. They are better than the old ones. Talked with the owner of Bradbury's for a long time. He was an MP in the Army a few years before I enlisted. He gave me the fishing line for free and gave me some good information about fishing on the Rogue River, mainly, that I was there at the wrong time of year and that I shouldn't expect to catch anything. We stayed there four nights. The river was beautiful.

On the way home we stopped in Yreka again and had a picnic at the Greenhorn Reservoir Park. Deer walked within 30 feet of us. The dog almost died trying to break his leash to get to them but the deer didn't care.

On Monday I applied for a job teaching history, government, and economics at a private school in San Jose. I interviewed on Tuesday. On Wednesday I found out I got the job. Later this afternoon I'll go in to fill out all the HR paperwork. On Monday of next week I'll start training to get AP certified.

Basil is still very sick from having Covid back in April. He has many of the long covid symptoms but the doctors do not seem to know what to do. It is very alarming. Please, pray for him.

Thursday, July 07, 2022

A Trip to Reno.

I went to Reno for one night, just to buy ammo for rabbit and pheasant hunting. The shortage in California is severe and the prices are sky high. The prices are almost as bad in Nevada but, at least, they had some for sale. I like Nevada.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

How are my kids?

Anselm reported to his submarine, the U.S.S. Hampton last Friday. (Today is Wednesday). He drove all the way to my house from Connecticut. He had a fun drive out. He drove by Ft. McHenry in Maryland to see where the battle that inspired the Star Spangled Banner was faught. He visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Bass Pro Shops pyramid in Tennessee. He visited the Petrefied Forest in Arizona. He camped in national parks and forests to sleep at night and pocketed the money the Navy gave him for hotels. He stayed with Kathleen and I for about 12 days. We went fishing and clay shooting. He served as the sponsor for Katheen's son when he was baptized. My sister and brother-in-law came over for dinner. He bought a surf board he found on craigslist.org for $50 and tried to learn to surf but the board is too small for him.

Basil is still very sick from covid. He has all the long covid symptoms and is miserable. I go over to his mom's house where we pray the hours and play chess. He beats me all the time now.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Judicial Review

It is June and that means the Supreme Court of the United States is announcing it's decisions. Another one was handed down this morning and that prompted one pundit I heard on the radio to opine that the Constitution does not give the Supreme Court as much power as it currently exercizes, meaning the Court does not have the power to limit or abolish the legislation passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President. In short, according to the man on the radio, judical review is an unconstitutional agrandizement of the Supreme Court that began with Marbury vs. Madison in 1803. Over the course of my life I have heard many people say the same thing, that Chief Justice John Marshal invented the power and foisted it on the American people in the Marbury vs. Madison decision, and that the Congress and the President should resist the Supreme Court's usurpation with patriotic vigor. Strangely, even the U.S. judiciary's official website goes with the Marbury vs. Madison origin story. I think this is wrong.

Just as I look to the authoress of the New Testament to expalin the New Testament, I look to the authors of the Constitution, reveranlty called "The Framers", to the Founding Fathers, and the Patriots to explain the Constitution. And among The Framers, Founders, and Patriots, three stand out as explainiers of the Constitution: John Jay, (Member of the Continental Congress, writer of the Olive Branch Petition, ambasador to Spain during the American Revolution, signer of the Treaty of Paris, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Governor of New York, and founding member and first Vice President of the American Bible Society), James Madison (colonel in the Orange County militia, drafter of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States, and respondent in the case of Marbury vs. Madison), and Alexander Hamilton (founding member of the Hearts of Oak militia, officer in the Continental Army, member of the Congress of the Confederation, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, founder of the Bank of New York which is now known as BNY Mellon Bank, founder of the New York Post, and first United States Secretary of the Treasury, and founder of the U.S. Coast Guard) After the Constitution was written, debated, and passed by the delegates it was sent to the 13 States for ratification. It was a touch and go thing as one State, Rhode Island was totally against the Constitution and several were on the fence. Many of the Founding Fathers and Patriots were opposed to ratification and lead a campaign against the ratification. But these three, Madison, Hamilton, and Jay gave themselves the task of convincing the people of New York to ratify the Constitution. They wrote a series of essays for publication in the various nwespapers in New York, that explained and defended the Constitution to the New Yorkers. The essays are now called Federalist Papers.

In Federalist Paper #78, published in the New York Packet 17-20 June 1788, Alexander Hamilton explained the judicial branch of the new Constitution, and was not ambiguous about the Supreme Court's power to define the limits of Congress's power to make laws, and that the Supreme Court is a buffer between the Congress and the People who have to live under the Congress's laws.

"If it is said that the legislative body is themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their will to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority.

Furthemore, that the Supreme Court is the final barrier to legilative tyrrany, interpretting the laws pased by the Congress and judging them according to the Constitution, the Constitution being superior to any act of Congress.
If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents. . . .where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental. . . [W]henever a particular statute contravenes the Constitution, it will be the duty of the judicial tribunals to adhere to the latter and disregard the former.


Thus we see that the authors of the Constitution considered the doctrine of judicial review to be fundamental to the Supeme Court's role in our government, and, therfore judicial review should not be though of as an arrogancy of Chief Justice John Marshall only invented in 1803.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Teaching High School in the Age of Wokeness

The HR director in the the school district I work in the most has asked me to apply for one of their vacant social science positions. It would be a lot more money (and benefits!) than I get as a long-term sub. And I would LOVE to teach American history, U.S. government, and economics. In fact, because of all of the prep-work I've done for Kathleen over the past few years I've already written all the lectures and tests I'll need if I take the job. That part would be easy. So what is the hard part? Why don't I apply for the job?

There are two problems. The first is something called the Cal TPA. It is a tool the State of California uses to winnow out people who don't agree with the pedagogical philosophy and social mission of the system. I wrote a TPA a couple of years ago and it was rejected. I could do another one, I know what they want me to say, but I think it is wrong. I think, that for teaching history, especially, that reading history and writing history (with Chicago style footnotes and bibliography) is the best way. But the state wants teachers to embrace the idea that different people have different styles of learning and to use all those styles at once, to adapt each lesson every day to every student's imagined learning style, even though there is no evidence that that helps students learn more. But the woke mob doesn't want kids to read and write real history, such as those books written by Thucydides, Julius Caesar, James McPherson, SShelby Foote, Paul Johnson, David McCullough, and Winston Churchill. But the woke mob just sees white male opressors in that list of names. The woke mob only wants Howard Zinn the plagiarizer, the communist, the liar, the perverter of the minds of children. (I do think students need to know about Zinn, but not because he is right. They need to know about him because he is influential and wrong. Very extremely wrong.)

I think that for teaching U.S. Government one must start no later than the Mayflower Compact, but preferably with Moses and Plato for one,really, can't understand The Mayflower Compact without reference to the Bible and The Laws. and deal with the English Civil War, Separation of Powers (No, it did not start with Montesquieu, but with Moses and Isaiah. But I would still have my students read Montesquieu.), John Locke's Two Treatises on Government because they are the foundation of The Declaration of Independence, and the Declaration of Independence because it it is the foundation of the Constitution, and the Constitution (article by article with accomanying readngs from the Federalist Papers for who better to the explain the Constitution than the men who wrote it?) because the Constitution is the foundation of all our laws. But the woke mob only sees white male oppressors. They (according to a recent poll, more than 90% teachers in my area) think training studendents to "change the world" a la Paulo Freire, Saul Alinsky, and Angela Davis is what they ought to be doing, not teaching them what our civilization has learned over the millenia, which is what I think teachers ought to be doing.

My economics class would start with watching two movies. Yes, this is such an enormous departure from the book-based pedogogy of the history and government classes but these are such a good movies for introducing economics and illustrating why economics is important. The movies are I, Pencil and The Road to Serfdom. From there we would talk about the history of economics beginning with Sargon of Akkad, ancient Chinese economic philosophy (special attention to Confucious since he was and reamins so infuential) and coming up through the French Physiocrats, Adam Smith (with special atention given to the impact of coastal geography on the economies of Japan and Africa),William Bradford's diary of telling of the first communist expiriment in the New World, culminating with reading the The Law by Frederic Bastiat. That would all be in the first three weeks of the semester. Then we would read through Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics, one chapter at a time, culminating with an assignment to read and criticize The Communist Manifesto in 10 to 15 pages. The woke mob would freak out at this because it deals with facts of how the world actually works; how people deal with scarcity, how people make decisions to allocate time and physical resources, and how people reckon costs and benefits of economic opportunities instead of the fantasy of a state-coerced collectivest utopia.

But why do I keep saying the "the woke mob"? Well, this brings me to the second reason why I am not going to apply for the job the HR department wants me to aply for. Like a mob they act as one are irrational and dangerours. While working in the distrct I see lots and lots of indicators that I, really, would not be welcome here as a full-time teacher. First there are all the social-justice activism signs, posters, flags, and murals. The people who put up all these eblems of anti-racism, and [insert oppressed group here] pride are a mob that shouts down disagreement, that looks at the ideas I hold as true and beautiful but sees oppression and hate; their reaction being one of attack and censor. I was only here a couple of days when another history teacher told me the classroom I am subbing in had a teacher but that teacher "was never on-board with the social-justice part of the job." They got rid of him. I know the same thing would happen to me. So there is no future for me as a history, government, and economics teacher in California.

But, maybe, you suggest, a private school would hire me. I've tried that but there are three problems I keep running into:
1. All the schools I have looked at require a state teaching credential and that puts me right back in the TPA problem. (See above.),
2. They are as woke as public schools, or
3. Or they require agreement with a non-Orthodox statement of faith.

But today I came across a school that is looking for a 3 month high school history substitute. I know a couple of the founders of the school, one since I was a little boy in the early 1970s. I know one of the teachers. They are all Fundamentalists Protestants but don't require adhearance to an Orthodox-excluding statement of faith, hmmm, at least, it is vague enough that I think I can sign it. It will pay less than I make working for the government schools but I will apply. Maybe, it will turn into something good.

Friday, June 03, 2022

Gun Laws

I used to sell guns. I know something about gun laws. I have refused to sell guns to people who were intoxicated, who failed back ground checks, or just seemed a little bit weird. I have sold guns to transvetites who feared for their safety, to brand new citizens thankful for freedom, old women who lived alone and were afraid at night, to hunters who traveled the world looking for trophies, and to collectors of specific brand names or designers. I know someting about what the American people think about guns.

Over the last few days I have heard politicians making absolutely crazy statements. I have heard bans proposed for guns that don't exist. I heard the President claim that a 9mm bullet can rip a lung out of a human body. (It is physically impossible) I heard the President say that when the Constitution was written a person couldn't buy a cannon. (In reality, up until the 19th century more cannons were owned by private citizens than by the United States government. Even the Washington Post knows this, and they pointed it out over a year ago but the President keeps lying.) I hard a lawmaker describe a gun that holds a 17 cartridges as having a "high magazine capacity clip" which tells me that the lawmaker has never held a gun or read a gun operator's manual. I've heard politicians call for increased and expanded background checks instead of just enforcing the laws already on the books, such as putting the President's son in prison for lying on his background check form. I heard a congresswoman call for the banning of 9mm pistols, as though they are more deadly than 10mm, .45 calibre, .44 calibre, and .38 calibre pistols. All of this does not mean that I am opposed to changing some laws to reduce the number of murders.

Here are some facts which inform my ideas for changes to the law:

1. According to the U.S. Department of Justice "Seventy percent of violent felons had a prior arrest record, and 57% had at least one prior arrest for a felony. Sixty-seven percent of murderers and 73% of those convicted of robbery or assault had an arrest record."

2. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinguency Prevention, the young are responsible for most violent and physically dangerous crime.
2a. 28% of vandalism is commited by people under the age of 21. 12% by poeople 21-24.
2b. 26% of arson is committed by people under the age of 21. 8% by people 21-24
2c. 26% of car theft is committed by people under the age of 21. 12% by people 21-24
2d. 24% of murder and non-negligent manslaughter is committed by people under the age of 21. 17% by people 21-24.
2e. 39% of robbery is committed by people under the age of 21. 14% by people 21-24.

3. I have observed that somewhere between 10% and 30% of teenage boys hate school. I do not mean they dislike it. I mean they utterly hate it. It does nothing but tell them that they are failures and treats them like they are in prison or a mental
hospital. School turns these boys into defeatist anti-social malignancies, who have no regard for their neighbors or larger society. I hear these boys talking about illegal car racing, sideshows, getting high, and vandalism. Many of them seem to be attracted to the apparant freedom and power of gangs, whether those gangs are the Nortenos, Crips, or the Aryan Nation one thing they all have in common is that they disregard the "system" the boys experience as oppressive, and, vicariously (none of my students are actually in the gangs) make the boys feel successful.

4. Because they are legally adults 18 year olds can buy any gun offered for sale. Though some States have recently passed laws reguiring people to be 21 before they can buy handguns, those laws are sure to be stuck down by the Supreme Court on 2nd and 14th Amendment grounds.

5. Most Americans who die from guns are suicides.

6. Most mass shootings in schools are committed by boys under the age of 21.

7. If you can trust the sample survey methodology (I am always a little skeptical of statistical extrapolations.), an estimated 4.6 million American children live in a home where at least one gun is kept loaded and unlocked.

8. According to the F.B.I.s Crime Data Explorer in 2020 there were 17,813 homicides. Of those, 662 were committed by people using only their hands and feet as weapons, and only 455 were commited by people using rifles of any kind.

So what changes would I make to our laws if I could?

1. I would do away with compulsory academic education. If kids can't stand sitting behind a desk and doing mind-numbing worksheets and struggling to learn how to do quadratic equations don't force them to. Let them train to be heavy equipment operators, electricians, farriers, or anything else that involves physical labor. The teacher unions will hate it, just like they hate vocational education in highschools now. (Just try being a master machinest and getting a job teaching high school students to be machinists. You have to stop earning money, for at least, three years and go to college to get a degree, then work six months as a student teacher for no pay, then put up with all the educational beaurocracy bullshit. This is why the school I work at has two vacant vocational education teacher position open since September.) This will help get a lot of kids out of the place that feels like prison and into a place where they can grow and achieve, and hopefully, forestall the building of resentment and desperation that results in school shootings.

2. I would ammend the Constitution of the United States to make the age of majority 21. This will free the states to outlaw the purchase of some guns or all guns by people under the age of 21. Merely keeping guns out of the hands of the young will lower the death by gun rate.

3. Require that guns be stored in a safe, even if there are no children in the house. This will keep guns out of the hands of people who do not own them.

4. Because the vast majority of murderers have a history of felony violence convictions and people under 25 make up such a lage percentage of murderers, I would sentence violent criminals to 20 years for the first offense, no matter the age. BUT (this is a big but.) change the way the prison works. Instead of just locking people into giant concrete warehouses like we do now, assign the young men 12 to 25 to prisoner brigades that live in the rough out in the deserts of Arizona or Utah. Work them hard everyday. Subject them to something similar to the harsh military life of the late 18th/early 19th century. After a few years, after the inclination to bad behavior is worked out of them, train them in more skilled jobs, such as forestry, soldiering, and construction. After 20 years, or longer if their sentence is for more than 20 years, they will will be set free, and with a good recommendation, maybe, they can stay in the prisoner brigades as cadre instead of as prisoners. And even those who do not stay in the prisoner brigades and return to freedom will be older than the prime age for committing murder.

6. Boys and girls distract each other and change their behavior to show off for each other which lowers academic performance. Also, boys and girls, on average, have different academic strengths that are displayed in divergent patters of academic success , with boys on the losing end. Therefore, to keep boys from feeling humiliated in front of girls, which is a factor in school mass shootings, I would make all K-12 schools single-sex.

7. Because an armed society is a polite society, follow the example of Kennesaw, Georgia and require every head of household to be armed. Actually, I am joking about this, kind of. It makes me wonder, why is Kennesaw so much safer than Detroit when the gun ownership rate in Kennsaw if much much higher in than in Detroit? I don't think it's because of guns. I think its because of the cultural differences between those places.

8. Though the evidence linking mental illness to violent crime is sketchy the link between mental illness and suicide is well established. Expedite hearings for temporary removal of firearms from people for mental health reasons, that they are a danger to themselves or others. But I would want them represented by a court appointed lawyer if they can't afford their own, and be able to require the government to prove within a reasonable amount of time (48 hours to a week) that they are not okay in the head. I would want that decsion made by a jury, not by judges and psychologists. And I'd require the government to prove again the danger from the person possessing guns every thirty days or return them to the owner.

These changes won't stop all homicides but it might stop a lot of them.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

A Baptism

Kathleen and her son, Maximo were Baptized and Chrsmated yesterday. The priest's daughter was Kathleen's sponsor. My son Anselm (He drove all the way here from the submarine school in Connecticut. He has to report for duty at the submarine base at Point Loma in a few more days but until then he is having fun. He is seeing friends, going to the beach, we went skeet shooting.) was Maximo's sponsor. Originally, the plan was for Basil, my youngest son to be his sponsor but he is still too sick from Covid-19. (He has "long covid" and hasn't been out of the house since the last week of Lent, except for trips to the emergency room and doctor's office. I am very worried about him.)

Today was Kathleen's and Maximo's first Communion, and Maximo worked as an acolyte. After the Divine Liturgy today, Anselm went to buy a surfboard and have a surfboard rack installed on his FIAT 500, Kathleen and Maximo went home, and I bought doughnuts at Manly's Donuts on Lincoln Avenue and took them to my son, Basil along with the prosphora from church, some water from Mary's Well, and a wooden cross that had been blessed by being laid on the burial slab in Jesus' tomb. Basil and I played few games of chess. He's better than me now.

I have a pork roast in the oven. I'll serve it with zicchini and potatoes in a few hours.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Death, Statistics, and Politics

From April 24, 1980 to December 31, 2000 the United States saw 448,060 of her citizens die from AIDS. This resulted in protests, sit-ins, an AIDS Quilt, and massive politicization. That is an average of 22,403 deaths per year.

The same period saw an average of 41,400 people die from the flu each year. There is no flu politics. There are no flu protests. There is no Flu Quilt. Why not?

A couple of days ago, in Texas, a sick man killed a bunch of kids and teachers in a school. And it isn't the first school shooting. The first school shooting I remember hearing about happened in Columbine, and it inspired a movie. From then until this week there have been been a bunch of school shootings. Here is a list of school (Kindergarten through university) shootings designated as "mass shootings" by the F.B.I. (There might be more but this is all I could find.):

Date (Deaths) Location

4/1999 (13) Columbine High School
3/20000 (9) Red Lake High School
10/2006 (5) West Nickel Mines Amish High School
4/2007 (32) Virginia Tech
2/2008 (5) Northern Illinois University
4/2012 (7) Oikos University
12/2012 (27) Sandy Hook Elementary School
5/2014 (6) University of California Santa Barbara
10/2014 (4) Marysville-Pulchick High School
10/2015 (9) Umpqua Community College
2/2018 (17) Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool
5/2018 (10) Santa Fe High School
11/2021 (4) Oxford High School
5/2022 (21) Robb Elementary School
TOTAL: 167
YEARLY AVERAGE DEATHS FROM SCHOOL MASS SHOOTINGS: 7.59


There is a political movement to require licensing of gun owners, banning of certain guns, there are marches that oppose the right to bear arms, there are politicians giving speaches and introducing bills, and there are activist organizations agitating for the abolition of private ownership of guns. They even have quilts.

During the same period of time hundreds of Americans were killed by lightning. In 2021 there were 42,915 people killed in vehicles on America's roads. That is just one year!!! Are there marches protesting this?
In 2019 (the last year for which I could find the number) there were 5,333 Americans killed by injuries at work. Are there grandstanding politicians? No. Are protesters marching in the streets? No. There is just one labor union that is trying to do anything about it.

We don't panic over the numbers of people dying on the roads, at work, from lightening, the flu, or from drowning. And we shouldn't freak out over school shootings. Kids in schools are safe, at least, from mass killings by gunfire. So why are people on the news and in the Democratic Party acting like they aren't? I don't believe it is because they want to save lives. If it were they would be opposed to abortion on demand (629,898 killed in 2019) in America. No, I think this, like the AIDS movement is about something other than saving lives.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Two Days of Greeks and a Chinese Recipe

Kathleen and I went to the Greek Festival in Oakland on Saturday. It was okay. We were there too early in the day (11 a.m.) so there were no singing or dancing acts. But I don't really like street fairs, church festivals, art and wine festivals, and things like that, anyway. The best parts of the trip were talking about the cathedral architecture with with a young priest and praying with some nuns from Calistoga. They were there selling books and honey. The nuns and I prayed for my son, Basil, who is still not recovered from Covid. I spent way too much money on food (Kathleen is always surprised when she likes lamb. She thinks she doesn't like it.), more than I would have paid in a resturaunt but I thought of it as an offering more than paying for lunch: Church festivals are fundraisers. Kathleen bought wedding rings and a prayerbook.

On Sunday morning we went to the Divine Liturgy. We left after the sermon since neither of us could go to Communion; Kathleen because she isn't an Orthodox Christian yet (her Baptism is not for five more days.), I because I wasn't prepared. (Kathleen: "But you went to confession just last week. You haven't done any sins since then." Me: "I can't walk across the living room without sinning.")

The sermon was about St. Photini (AKA the Woman at the Well). In the car afterwards, Kathleen asked me how many sermons I've heard on that text. When I said many she asked if they were all different and if I could remember any of my Dad's sermons on the text. They were all different and I do remember two of my Dad's. In one of them, I remember he was talking about how ignorant the disciples were, how they never understood what God was doing, and that we are all like that because God is infinite and we are not, because his ways are not our ways, and God is always going to know things we do not know and do things we do not understand. The other sermon I remember him preaching on that text was about how we don't get to decide who is in the Church. God chooses whom to include and we have to accept them. The main point of Fr. Basil's sermon yesterday was that Jesus always did the will of his Father, and that it was the Father who wanted him to go through Samaria and meet the woman at the well. If we desire to know the Father we must look at Jesus.

After Church we drove over to Santa Cruz on Hwy 9. We wound trough the hills, hills I've been winding through since the early 1990s, where all my sons and I had many adventures. In Boulder Creek we stopped at my favorite grocery store and got roast beef sandwiches. At the antique store across the street Kathleen found a sealable porcelain jar with a mallard painted on it. We ate the sandwiches at the covered bridge park in Felton. Then we drove on to Santa Cruz.

In Santa Cruz we saw a play, "An Iliad" at the Jewel Theater. (I've known the story, or parts of it for most of my life. As an adult I've read several different translations, in prose and verse, and have even atempted to read it in Homeric Greek but my knowledge of Koine Greek was not up to the task.) I was sobbing at the end of the performance. It was very moving.

We got home and Kathleen took a nap while I did some work, listening to reruns of A Praire Home Companion at the same time. When she woke about 8:30 p.m. I made supper: My Mother's twice cooked pork. She used to make this for the anual dinner for my Dad's colleagues on the board of the Florida District of the PCG. It was such a good dish but she only ever made it for that one event. She, really, did not like cooking.

Recipe
-cooked pork roast. My mom always used boiled loin. I like a mixture of left over oven roasted shoulder and boiled loin. About 1 pound in total, cut into 1 inch cubes.
-one shallot, peeled and minced
-one head of garlic, peeled and minced
- fresh ginger root, about as big as your hand, peeled and minced
-sesame oil, about 3 table spoons
- a head of green cabbage, chopped into long ribbons
- soy sauce, 2 tablespoons is enough for me, but I don't like too much salt. Most people, I've noticed, like to add more soy sauce at the table.
(sometime my Mom would use a yellow onion istead of shallot. Also, she would sometimes shread green bellpepper and add it to the wok at the same time as the cabbage.)
- 1 tablespood sesame seeds.

heat the oil in a wok until crazy hot, but not smoking. Add the the garlic and ginger stir constantly when the garlic turns brown, add the shallots and pork and keep stiring until the pork browns and gets crispy edges. add the cabbage and soy sauce. Keep stiring until the cabbage is soft. Toss in the sesame seeds. Serve.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Anselm, Basil, and Baptism

Anselm was graduated from his final training (I think they put him through three different courses) as a junior enlisted man at the U.S. Navy's Submarine School. He is a qualified navigator and navigation equiment repairman now. Oh, he is a pistolero for the Navy, too. That last qualification, I am sure, will not be used on a submarine, but the more qualifications a sailor has the faster he gets promoted. Today he began driving from Connecticut to California. He'll stop by San Jose for a couple of days but then he reports for duty at Point Loma.

Basil is still very sick from the Covid, it has been since just before Palm Sunday. He is able to keep up with his classes (regular high school classes + an art history class from Evergreen Valley Community College but easly spends 15 hours a day in bed. He has no active virus but his heart and lungs are taking a long time to recover. The doctors changed his meds a week ago but say not to expect any improvement for at least another week.

Kathleen and her son are scheduled to be baptised on May 28. She ordered baptismal gowns from someplace in Greece. It was 45 years ago when I was baptised but I think I remember wearing brown couduroy pants and a brown and white striped cowboy shirt with mother-of-pearl snaps. It was just what I had on. No one had planned on me being baptised that day. I don't remember a lot about it. I remember visiting a church in Mountain View (The church my Dad pastored was in the neighbring city of Palo Alto.) where a whole lot of peole were being baptised. I remember having to convince my Mom and Dad that I really believed. And I remember standing in the water with my Dad and Uncle Harry (He was a preacher in the same denomination as my Dad.) I remember the question, "Do you believe in and choose to follow Jesus as your only Lord, God, and Savior" When I said "I do" they laid me down in the water saying I was being baptised in the "name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." When I came up they said to me, "You are a new creature in Christ". It was shorter than the Orthodox way of baptizing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Equity

For the last few years I've been hearing the word equity used in a non-business/non-finance context but in a race politics context. One of the most terrifyig uses of the word was in a Biden/Harris 2020 advertisement. The ad said equality isn't good enough but that America should strive for equity, which to Marxists means equality of outcomes. Or in the words of the advertisement "means we all end up at the same palce."

I see this happening in high schools. Kids who's parents imigrated from China and who should be doing calculus are forced into elementary algebra classes so everyone stays together as they progress through highschool. I've seen imigrant kids from India with excellent fluency in three langueages, outstandng musical ability, and completion of the whole caluculus series turned down by U.C.L.A. because too many Asians get accepted there. I've seen a black student who can't write a sentence with both a noun and a verb accepted to Cal Poly simply because he is black and his high school teachers felt sorry for him and gave him good grades for the sake of equity.

How are we served by forcing kids to take classes they don't need, by keeping them out of the U.C.L.A. because of their race, and by letting unqualified kids into Cal Poly? California is not served. But the Marxist goal of equity is served. For a little while.

There is aphenomenon that has been observed all over the world, in diverse poplations, even in diverse species: About 20% of a population winds up with 80% of the stuff everyone wants, are responsible for 80% of an organization's sales, get As in the hard classes. No matter how hard the Marxists try to stop it, the cream will rise. Unless, they follow Marxism's internal logic and pull a Pol Pot.

Friday, May 13, 2022

No Pigs. Maybe Pheasants.

Last summer Kathleen and I joined Golden Ram. Our our goal for the year was to kill 4 or 5 wild pigs, 5 or 6 turkeys and a bear. I wanted a pig head and a bear skin on the wall and the freezers full of food. We spent 14 days hunting and were not successful. We saw plenty of doves but why shoot doves?. And we saw a bear and a lot of turkeys and a few coyotes as we were driving to the various hunting areas. We saw a pig at the bottom of an inaccessable canyon. In short, the game we saw was all in the wrong places. Essentially, we paid for nice places to go camping and that is all. We are not renewing the membership.

Today we joined Bird's Landing. It's not big game but it should be fun. And maybe we'll each get a pheasant to hang on the wall. Also, the membership includes guest passes so we can take our friends.