Monthly Archives: May 2008

Quote of the Week

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.
               – Plato

Scooters Rule!

Gas prices are going up over $4 per gallon in some areas of the country. The solution?  Get a scooter! 

One “scooter-ite” bought a Vespa GTS that uses about $7 of fuel every two weeks.  Wow!

Consider the cost of a 50 mile round-trip commute based on a fuel price of $3,79 a gallon:  the scooter (Vespa S) would cost $2.65 per day; a Honda Accord, $6.10 per day, and a large SUV (Ford Expedition), $10.50 per day.  A Vespa can travel 80 miles on a gallon of fuel.

There is a downside to scooters, however:  dealing with potholes, having to get a motorcycle license in most states, no protection in bad weather, and vulnerability around other vehicles, which are usually a lot bigger.  Nonetheless, scooter sales have gone up 25% in the past year.  Scooter prices range from $3,000 to $9,000, depending on size and “fanciness.”

In 2005, the latest year with complete data, the death rate for scooter riders was 129 per million scooters registered, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  In comparison, the death rate was 78 for cars and light trucks, and 645 per million motorcycles registered. 

I believe this is a growing trend.  It’s not an accident that you’ve been seeing so many more motorcycles and scooters on the road.  In addition to being more cost-effective, it’s fun and “cool” to be on a scooter.  I have a Harley-Davidson Road King that’s been converted to a trike for safety.  I had it “muralized,” and it’s a show-stopper.  I’ve had a Vespa scooter, too, and that’s also a fun ride.

New Global Warming Threat

“Obese and overweight people require more fuel to transport them and the food they eat, and the problem will worsen as the population literally swells in size,” a team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says.  This adds to food shortages and higher energy prices, say the School’s researchers, Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts, who wrote about this subject in the most recent issue of the medical journal Lancet.

At least 400 million adults worldwide are obese.  The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that by the year 2015, 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.  The researchers calculate that these fat and obese people require 18% more energy than someone with a stable Body Mass Index (BMI).

Is the next step giving tax breaks to those who are thin and fit?

Britain Forsakes Families

Besides the assault on Western civilization from the outside by Islamist jihadists, we are deconstructing our own society by declaring null and void basic concepts of mother- and father-centered lives for children.

Forget the biology:  Male and female create offspring

Forget the psychology and sociology:  children who do not have Mom and Dad-centered home lives tend to have higher poverty rates, and more problems on all levels with education, violence, and substance abuse,

Forget everything that is basic and makes sense, because some women are so selfish and/or incompetent to have a healthy relationship with a man that their desire – desire – is to have a child, intentionally robbing that child of a father and a mom and dad-centered home.

Well, permission to do so has been granted by the British government to do just that.  The British government voted just last week to remove the requirement that fertility clinics consider a child’s need for a father.  Let me repeat:  they removed the requirement that fertility clinics even consider a child’s need for a father.  Can you believe that?  The best interests of a child are eliminated from discourse, because a female wants to make a baby for her own pleasure – and a historically civilized government backs her up?  Sheesh!

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, in an interview with London’s “The Times,” said, “I think it strange that the government should want to take away not just the need for a father, but the right for a father.”

This action effectively declared fathers an irrelevance in modern Britain.  It is scary that only 60% of Brits who were polled believed that a child should have a mommy and a daddy – that’s the power of the “feminista” movement!

Here are some letters that were sent to London’s “Daily Mail:”

1. Raised in a single-parent family, I can say from experience that a child needs a father.  Mothers alone cannot take his place.  It’s a selfish act and implies women are more concerned with fulfilling their own needs to have a child than thinking of the child’s welfare.  Men:  STOP DONATING SPERM!

2. What about a man’s right to have children without a mother?  In order to avoid sex discrimination the [government] must surely now provide surrogate mothers for any would-be father who asks for one in order that he might have children.

3. With all our problems with ‘feral, fatherless’ youngsters in modern Britain, this vote seems utterly baffling, and frankly, obscene.

4. Is there really any need for a mother either?

Octopus Mating Games

California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute has found out some fascinating things about the mating behaviors of octopuses.

First, some general information:  these particular octopuses are about as big as a human hand, and most of that size is in their sucker-covered tentacles.  Their bodies are just walnut-sized.  To procreate, the males deposit “sperm packets” in the female’s body through a specialized tentacle.

Second:  this particular species (aculeatus octopu) is normally yellow with dapples of brown, tan, and grey.  But when a male sees another octopus, he puts on his fighting and flirting colors (both of which look the same), turning nearly white with dark stripes.  That signals that he’s a male, and is ready to fight OR mate. 

Third:  the females will mate with any male octopus that wanders by.  The males are more selective and are more enthralled with the more voluptuous females – skinny girls need not apply.

Fourth:  the little itty-bitty guys don’t want to fight the regulation-size guys, so they crawl along the ocean floor to one of the voluptuous females in a den guarded by the larger male.  These clever smaller dudes remain brown and yellow (typical female behavior).  By hiding and “cross-dressing,” these little guys often manage to get close enough to the female to mate….and, as I reported, she’ll mate with anybody, anytime, anywhere.

Moral to this story??

Quote of the Week

Please remember our fallen heroes this Memorial Day Weekend:

And I’m proud to be an American,
Where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
Who gave that right to me

               – Lee Greenwood
                 Songwriter, “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Home-schooling Does Not Hamper Socialization

One of the criticisms lobbed at the home-schooling community/movement is that home-schooled children are being shielded from diversity and a multitude of challenging influences which will ultimately handicap them in their ability to function in the “real world.”  In other words, “How will these children function in our diverse, multicultural society when they are raised in a setting with monolithic views and beliefs?”

Research examining home-schooled students’ academic achievements have consistently found that they score higher than the national norms on standard achievement tests.  So the only grenade left to throw at home-schooling parents is that they are hurting their children socially and emotionally.  The few studies in these areas have generally found home-schooled children to have equal or better self-esteem than traditionally schooled students.  Then the argument becomes one of how to truly know you are measuring self-esteem.

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi recently published their findings in Home School Researcher (Vol. 17, No. 4, 2007, pp. 1-7).  They decided to study home-schooled students’ ability to successfully adjust to college life as an important criterion for demonstrating a positive outcome (or not) of home-schooling.

They compared Christian college freshmen who had previously been home-schooled with a matched sample of traditionally schooled Christian freshmen on the College Adjustment Scale.  The average scores of the two groups were compared across nine scales designed to measure emotional, behavioral, social, and academic problems as typically presented to university counseling centers.

The home-schooled students scored significantly lower on the anxiety subscale, while no difference was found between the two groups on the remaining scales.  Additionally, there was a general trend characterized by home-schooled students reporting fewer symptoms of emotional distress and social problems, and achieving higher first semester GPAs:

The results suggest that home-schooled college freshmen successfully adjust to the social and academic environment of a Christian college with a diverse student population.  The college does not require that all students attending the college assent to a personal faith in Christ.  The previously home-schooled students are also confronted by many peers who make lifestyle choices different from their own.  Most of the college peers of the home-schooled students would be considered less conservative in their dress, entertainment interests, moral values and behaviors, than those typically experienced in most Christian home-schooled families.  Therefore, these students are not entering a homogeneous social community that necessarily mirrors their family backgrounds.”

Obviously, home-schooled students have additional adjustments to make when leaving their homes and entering a university or college environment:  social relationship, peer pressure, classroom structure, etc.  They are being forced to adapt to a social environment decidedly different from their homes or home school support groups.

The results demonstrate that home-schooled students are able to successfully adapt emotionally, interpersonally, and academically to their first, and most challenging, semester in college.  That is probably because, having had the consistent teaching and support of a family and a community, they have developed strengths and convictions that provide a bridge over the troubled waters of a multitude of challenges and temptations.

I personally believe that home-schooling helps students who have problems with focus and difficulties with energy control.  The traditional school environment required “Stepford Child” control, and the teaching techniques required for a group of thirty do not necessarily assist the learning needs and talents of each individual student.  So, instead of drugging kids to be docile, perhaps we should turn to the successes of home-schooling.

Americans Still Support Handgun Ownership

A majority of Americans (59%) say they would oppose a law that banned the sale of handguns.  This number is up substantially from the 1990′s, when it was quite chic to be against the personal ownership of handguns.

Public attitudes (according to www.pewresearch.org/pubs/835/handgun-ban) are divided along political, gender, and racial lines.  73% of Republicans oppose a ban on handgun sales, which is a view shared by 59% of Independents and 50% of Democrats.

More men than women are opposed to the banning of handgun sales (65% vs. 53%) and more whites than blacks (61% vs. 49%) oppose a ban.