Friday, August 27, 2010

Heteros vs. homos; zeros on "Ground Zero"; ingrates vs. immigrants

We Americans (that roughly includes newspaper people) could be discussing the extraordinary nuances of mental induction explored in David Harriman's brilliant new book "The Logical Leap," or we could be heaping praise upon the fascinating and riveting movie "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

But, alas, Heteros (that roughly includes Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich and Charles Krauthammer) are obsessed with telling Homos that Homos can't get married cause, by Jesus, it's an institution of God, and God don't like Homos -- or more specifically, the like lying down with the like.

Before catching their breath on Homos, the Christian Godistas vent their viral spleens on the Muslim Godistas' decision to have Muhammad spying from a few blocks away upon Ground Zero. In a uniquely Christian Alzheimer's moment, Beck and Gingrich and Krauthammer forget about that nagging little thing we have in America called private property rights that the Christians use so effectively to avoid taxation of their beloved mystic palaces (aka churches).

The oxygen-starved conservatives aren't done yet. There are just too damned many Hispanics in America having too damned many baby Americans. And many of those Hispanics are drug runners violating the drug laws created by the Conservatives to keep Americans from (ready for another Alzheimer's moment?) putting things in their bodies that they have a right to put in them. All of which is not to mention that Hispanics tend to be, heaven forbid, Catholics, and they tend to vote for the Obama liberal cabal.

The Tea Party cabal seems to be pretty much aligned with the above lunacy, so just when you think the Conservatives/Tea Partiers might be regaining some sanity, they go and show their true mystic/subjective bright colors.

All of which brings me back around to induction (that's that pesky rational method of forming mental conclusions strictly upon the facts of reality). When one sees the clear, effervescent landscape of one's own mind, illuminated by the facts of reality and the concepts relating to it, and then sees Conservatives in full, confident mental meltdown, one is reminded of the Oscar Wilde quote: "Illusion is the first of all pleasures."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Principles first -- Unschooling second

The headline on this blog post isn't meant to diminish the importance of unschooling. It's meant to establish the fact that I have to have principles in place first before I can determine if unschooling is the proper method for raising my child, Livy. I determined before her birth that unschooling was, indeed, the proper way to raise her.

In working out my principles in the early 1990s, I determined the propriety of Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand that states four primary things: 1) reality is real and understandable to humans; 2) humans have free will and rational brains that can figure out reality by forming facts; 3) because humans can make mistakes while working with reality, they need a code of ethics (honesty, independence, integrity, etc.) to help guide their minds; 4) because humans are rational and work by a code of ethics, they are the only ones who know how to make themselves happy and are, therefore, entitled to be left alone by other humans and by governments.

Because of the above four true generalizations about humans and reality, I determined that the best way to raise my child was to honor her right to her own life, to not get in the way of her extraordinary fact-finding mission and personal trail to happiness.

I also expect her to respect my rights and others' rights as I respect hers. This means that there are rules such as "you've got to clean up after yourself," "noise levels are limited in a room where some don't want noise," "fix your own food, if I don't want to fix it," "always be honest with me," "do not take others' stuff or violate their right to be left alone," "don't expect others to share or do something for you simply because you wish it," etc. We have been talking with each other about these rules for years now, with me giving explanations many times on why I think they are objective rules of conduct for not only kids, but also for adults.

I don't see unschooling as "unparenting." An objective parent has much to teach and much help to give about the facts of reality and what is right. I see that as my role, with my longterm plans of helping create an individual who will be not only my bloodline writ large in her own way, but be among my best and dearest of friends for life.

That is what she has turned out to be so far, an amazingly independent, thoughtful, caring, insightful individual who knows that in order to be free to run her own life, she must recognize the same for others and their lives.

Livy is a joy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Breast milk is a wonder, new study reveals

As my ex-wife Kelly and I learned many years ago, breast milk is the healthiest food for infants and toddlers. We read several studies on the matter before having Livy, and Kelly breast-fed Livy until she was almost 3. Livy is supremely healthy now. She also wasn't vaccinated, and I attribute her great health partially to that as well.

Anyway, a new, in-depth study reveals new information on the wonders of breast milk. Check out the study HERE.

If one of the goals of parenthood is to help create the healthiest child possible, then not utilizing breast milk, it would seem, would be irresponsible and reckless.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The biggest "Ayn Rand" name ever

After driving more than 12,000 miles around America, one enterprising Ayn Rand fan made the lady's name big enough to read from the moon. Check it out HERE.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

"You choose who you want to be" (from movie)

(No plot spoilers in this movie review)

I have a new mystery/drama in my top 10 list of all time: "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Actually it is in my top 5. Actually, I think it's my favorite movie of all time.

It is riveting, fast-paced, perfectly written drama that is steadfastly about justice and independence, uncompromisingly so in the main character: Lisbeth Salander (played with stunning virtuosity by Noomi Rapace, photo). At one point in the movie, a hard-ass journalist tries to make a few excuses for a murderer/rapist. Lisbeth, who suffered enormities as a child that continue into the present, turns her fierce eyes to him and says about the murderer: "He had the same choices as everyone else. You choose who you want to be. He wasn't a victim. He was an evil motherfucker who hated women."

That scene doesn't end with the stare. Lisbeth continues to quietly but ferociously watch the journalist to see if he will face up to what she said. She wants to see who he has chosen to be! As hard as Lisbeth is, she is played with unsentimental vulnerability in scenes that are breathtaking in their acting and their writing.

The second time I watched the movie (within 10 days), I replayed that scene about five times, and each time, my spine got shivers and my head shook with disbelief at perfection that you will rarely see in modern-day cinema.

If that scene sounds fantastic to you, you will find other scenes that are more powerful graphically.

There are a few, sympathetic anti-capitalist remarks in the movie and a few other tangential problems, but nothing that egregiously takes away from a nearly perfect movie. I have never given a movie a "10" rating, but I would give this one a 9.9 -- even above my beloved "Shawshank Redemption." It has better pacing; it is more visceral in its life-threats; it is more awe-inspiring in its evocation of how the main character handles the life-threats and those who threaten her; and it shows Lisbeth as an ingenious person with the singular focus of a moral predator.

Go see it and let me know what you think.

(I no longer reveal plot lines or key plot scenes on movies, so the moviegoer may go into the movie fresh.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How I found out I was debt-free

I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February, and on Monday I found out that it was finally successful and that all of my debts had been legally discharged.

Know how I found out?

Several car dealerships sent me letters saying that had special deals for those who'd just gone through bankruptcy and had their debts discharged.

Yep, private businesses beat the government in letting me know my bankruptcy was successful. Imagine that!

Finally, yesterday (Wednesday), the government got around to sending me the official letter.

Well, either way, it's good to know I've finally got a clean slate again after the government murdered my successful real estate business in 2008 and 2009.

If my new company gets going in the next couple of months, as I expect, I may just have to go visit a car dealership nearby and take them up on one of their offers -- and thank them for letting me know that I was out of bankruptcy.

She wants to be an archeologist and a fashion designer

My Livy girl loves to dig up bones.

And she's meticulous about how she dresses, ensuring that colors match and that the appropriate outfit is worn for the right occasion -- though sometimes she absolutely MUST wear a dress no matter the occasion, she reminds me (see black dress in photo in 98-degree Atlanta heat with her friends Ethan and Tori, me, and visiting dog "Rocko")

At her request, I've bought her several of the online bone-finding kits for dinosaurs. She's spent hours delicately picking through the faux hardened sediment to discover hidden bones and then to assemble them into the form of a T-Rex or sauropod or brontosaurus. She proudly displays the menacing prehistoric reptile each time.

She has a wide range of other interests, including clay-making, soccer, Xbox gaming (Gears of War and Halo), computer games, badminton, tennis, having books read to her, swimming, math, photography (she has an extraordinary eye for detail and shaping photos and loves candid shots), music and dancing (LOVES Lady Gaga and can dance remarkably well, showing her lovely, creative spirit), art drawing, gardening, government (keeps asking me questions about what it is exactly and why it takes our money), anthropology, evolution, tea parties, movies, cartoons and happy preteen shows (she LOVES iCarly), Harry Potter (Kelly reads these books to her all the time), board games like UNO and Sorry and Monopoly.

So I asked Livy the other day what she thinks she might like to do for work and money when she grows up. She said, "Mmm, I don't know, probably an archeologist ... probably a fashion designer ... mmm, probably both."

I can just see her out on archeological digs!

It amazes me that a child that won't even be 7 years old until next month could have such a wide range of interests. It reminds me of how complex the human mind is, how much the world has to offer a child, and how much children can enjoy and choose from when they are free to do so -- free of improper constraints of "no" and "you can't" and "you must" and "that's not right for a girl," etc.

I don't know what my Livy girl will finally choose to do, but whatever it is, I'm sure she'll be dazzling at it, have loads of fun, and look DAMN good while doing it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ayn Rand Facebook page hits 100,000 followers

Ten years ago, it would've been unthinkable to suggest that any kind of Ayn Rand web site or organization could receive 100,000 interested followers, but the Ayn Rand Facebook site has just done that.

This kind of milestone gives me great optimism for the future.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

"Thank you, Daddy"

When some people say "thanks," you can tell they mean it, and vice versa, of course.

One of the wonders of Livy for the last couple of months is her expanding on just "thank you" to "thank you, daddy." And it's in such a sincere voice with a look in the eye of earnestness, like she really feels greatly about what I'm doing for her, even if it's making her coffee the way she likes it (lots of honey and LOTS of heavy cream) in the morning.

It makes me realize what kind of child you can get when you simply let them run their own lives. Their spirits expand. The see things as THEY see them, not as someone tells them they must see them. They run their lives virtually completely and take responsibility for their lives and understand and appreciate the effort it takes to do something -- and for someone doing something for them.

And she loves doing things for me. She likes to make my coffee still. She makes me chocolate milk MY way before bed sometimes. She cleans my car. She puts dishes away. She takes care of my possessions as if they were her possessions and abides by my rules on my stuff as it were her own stuff. She always is extra careful with my expensive phone.

I adore her and the person she has become and greatly anticipate the little lady and woman she will become.

And I hope she always calls me Daddy.

"Bad idea, Livy!"

For the first time ever, I heard my daughter address herself.

She's playing Xbox's Halo3 right now on the TV. Evidently, things aren't going so well, and I just heard her say, "Bad idea, Livy."

It was one of those parent-shaking-his-head-in-wonder moments. When a child's self-identity advances to where she can objectively see herself and monitor herself, such remonstrations occur.

Yet another turning point in my lovely girl's life. Wow!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Daughter, not even 7 yet, learns about inflation and more

Livy and I had a full hour of conversation yesterday afternoon on our porch about government and money that started with her asking for the Xbox game "Halo 3" (she's an avid and terrific player of Xbox's "Gears of War").

I told her we might not be able to buy Halo because money was a bit tight. She understands this viscerally because two years ago, we lived in a bigger home, had nicer things and never really had to talk about money being tight.

She asked why money was tight. I said the government stole more than a quarter million dollars from me by regulating and taxing my previous real estate business out of business, as well as interfering with the U.S. economy and ruining it, and by printing too many dollars.

"Printing too many dollars?!" she exclaimed and then paused. "The government can print money? Does it make money?"

Yes, I said, whenever it wants to print more money to give to people besides us, it just makes its printers work longer and make more money. This causes inflation. I told her that milk, which now costs about $3.5 a gallon, used to cost just 10 cents a gallon, and I gave other examples.

She was aghast. "They can't do that, daddy! They can't just print money when they want it!"

I agreed, of course. But what astounded me was how many questions she voluntarily asked and how she drew her own conclusions from simply hearing facts from me. She said such things as, "We are the boss of ourselves; the government can't tell us what to do."

Along the way, she asked "Who is government?" "What is government?" "Why are people so stupid and choose people (politicians) to take our money?" etc.

Several times, she said, "I wish government would crash in a plane." I said, "Me, too, but then another government just like it would come along because people want it."

This completely exasperated her. "Why are adults so stupid?"

Ha, that was question of the hour and took some explaining. I told her that I and my friends that she knows aren't stupid. People like her mom, Kelly, and Julie and Jenn and Brendan and Aquinas and Aaron and many others. Then I explained about the god people and others like them and how it starts with bad parenting and that schooling was connected as well, and that it was caused by not being brave enough to look at facts and live in the real world and think about stuff and put it all together and then feel good about yourself because you do all those things.

I goofed up near the end and called the vast majority of people dumb. She corrected me. "No, daddy, they're stupid."

Touchez, my darling.

"I am all the government, daddy"

Livy and I have had many conversations about the theft that government enjoys calling "taxation," as well as the proper role of government and how modern America is unlike the free America of 150 years ago -- in terms of laissez-faire, not slavery.

So, with a wink in her eye, she announced yesterday morning with arms sweeping the sky "I am all the government, daddy, and you are my SLAVE!" Giggles.

She meant by "slave" that I was to be a slave to her taxations and whims. I was to do exactly as she said and give her money upon demand. More giggles, then totally serious look in her face (with wry eyes), "No, I'm serious. I'm all the government, really!"

I reminded her that she already got a lot of my money, but she promptly answered that that wasn't nearly enough. I said I might have to move to another country, but she reminded me that "all the government" means "ALL the government."

Alas, I put out my hands and said, "Please put the handcuffs on since I'm to be a slave."

More giggles on both sides.