Friday, May 25, 2012

Education of a Wandering Man- book review

What is education?
"Education should provide the tools for... increased appreciation of all one sees or experiences.It should equip a person to live life well, to understand what is happening about him.
No one can 'get' an education, for of necessity education is a continuing process. If it does nothing else, it should provide students with the tools for learning acquaint them with methods of study and research, methods of pursuing an idea. We can only hope they come upon an idea they wish to pursue." p.3

What is wrong with our system:
" also seems obvious that a child should be taught some methods of reasoning... it might clear the air of a lot of loose thinking, and the kind of questionable statements that fill the air during political and other campaigns. We do not at present educate people to think but, rather, to have opinions." p.74-75

The Mind
"Personally, I do not believe the human mind has any limits but those we impose ourselves. I do not believe that man has even begun to realize who he is or what he can become." p.175

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from "Ulysses"

Titles he mentioned which I want to read:
The Man Who Laughs. Victor Hugo
Toilers of the Sea. Victor Hugo
Shah-nama. (Iran's great Book of Kings/history of Persia). Reuben Levy translation
Hung Lou Menq (Dream of the Red Chamber). Tso Hsueh-chin (Traditional Chinese society)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Pray?

I just had a very wonderful conversation with my Dad. Especially considering I rarely see him, which means that most of our conversations are short and to the point, or solving a problem. (PS I like our problem solving conversations, they are usually about how to make a dream come true. :)

I mentioned a goal I have, and "if I can make this work, then...".

He right away said he wanted to share some things he has learned with me.

1. Believe in it
2. Think about it 
3. Don't be too specific
4. Talk about it
5. The more people thinking it the better
6. Be happy
7. Write down goals

You've heard of the Law of Attraction, right?
The law of attraction is a pseudoscientific belief or theory,
that "like attracts like," and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts,
one can bring about positive or negative results.

So think about the things you want and believe in! Don't stop thinking about them. Keep them constantly on your mind and you are putting those wavelengths out there into the universe. Now, is that not like faith? Perhaps that is how prayer works. We visualize, vocalize, and constantly think about (pray always) the things we are striving for, and the things that mean the most to us. That can potentially be a lot of positive energy we are sending into the universe! (Or towards God, however you like to think about it).
Now imagine lots of people doing the same thing about one same issue- a family member, a buisness deal, a sickly friend. Let the positive energy flow!

Thinking about it is good (something tangeable, visualizing something real). Saying it out loud means at the same time visualizing it. Both things send out positive energy. This is why mindless repetitive prayers don't work- you're not sending out anything, not creating any images. And if this principle holds true, then the more people sending out that positive energy the more power it has.That is how group prayer and fasting works.

Pretty cool stuff, if you ask me. Thanks for the great conversation, Dad!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Political Cartoons, part 2

Jimmy Margulies - The Record of Hackensack, NJ - JP Morgan Chase - English - JP Morgan Chase, Wall Street, Financial regulation, Banking
I personally really appreciate the political cartoons about the US's finances, the big banks and wall street. I am glad their idiocy is getting some attention. Something needs to be done about it!

Pat Bagley - Salt Lake Tribune - Banking While Intoxicated - English - Banking,Wall Street,Wall St,Dimond,J P Morgan,Capitalism,Banks,Casino,Bet,Trading,Stocks,Regulation,Dodd Frank


Joe Heller - Green Bay Press-Gazette - Outrage Fatigue - English - Outrage Fatigue, cable news, tanning mom, time magazine, breast feeding, dog, obama, rush, stay at home, pundit, gaffes, media
Political Cartoon
Can we just ask our government officials to be a bit less frivolous in their expenses? Maybe one day...

BP Officials Seek New Strategy for Oil Spill in Gulf
Um, the government some really BAD decisions? Ya. It is possible that the same sort of thing led to the war in Iraq.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Political Cartoons

I have been analyzing some political cartoons with a tutoring student, and then found myself really enjoying them! (Said student eventually fell asleep during that session, while I was glued to the screen... Ah, tutoring)

A sampling:

I hadn't realized that Dr. Seuss was a prolific political cartoonist. He does a good job, without dipping into crudeness.

This one is especially moving, I think because the statue is so familiar as a noble and proud figure, so the depicted change of mood is shocking. Besides that, we tend to immortalize Lincoln, and so thinking of him feeling like this about the state of our country sends daggers to the heart. (Although he probably felt that way plenty of times when he was alive).

I'm quite certain this is exactly what a bank is.

For analysis' sake, this is full of fascinating views. Republicanism and democracy are pitiless servants. What is Wall Street doing? The gold standard was the final blow? I have been learning what happened to currency once the dollar was taken off the gold standard, but I'm not yet familiar with the problems surrounding it. I realize this is not religion-sensitive, but after looking through pages of them, I realized that it does the job of being extreme enough to get the reader to care about the issues, which is the goal of a political cartoon, politically correct or no. (not that I condone that).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rose Wilder Lane

The rest of the story...

My interest was peaked, because we have the first stint of Rose's life in story-form, but no hints as to what happened with the rest of her life! Her mother was Laura Ingalls Wilder- the Laura of the Little House books. Rose grew up between farms and towns, first in the Dakotas, then in Missouri. She witnessed the turn of the century (1800's to 1900's) when she was around 12 years old. She was an excellent scholar and went to high school in Louisiana where her aunt lived, because there was no high school in her town. After that she became a telegrapher, going to school in Kansas City and taking various jobs, ending up in California. The books of her early life end with a potential love-interest taking her with him to go sell real-estate in what is now Orange County.

I did some research to see if I could find out what happened to her after that. She had quite the life!  She did marry that love interest. She had a baby boy who died, after which she was not able to have any more children (the same thing happened to her mother and grandmother. Fluke?) She eventually divorced, sources citing that she was a better real-estate seller than he was, which caused tension. She became a great journalist, editor, and ghost-writer. She had some pretty strong views that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, so I'll add them to this post. During the Depression she moved back to her parent's farm in Missouri and that is when Laura approached her with the manuscript of her young pioneer days. They were turned down for publishing several times, but eventually made a children's story out of the first part, which was published as "Little House in the Big Woods." After it's success, they published the rest of the stories in the same format. No one knows if Laura actually wrote the books, or if Rose was her "Ghost-writer," or if Rose just helped her edit and publish them.

Quotes from the Rose Years:
"Where are we going?" Rose said.
"Anywhere you want to go, as long as it's with me."
"Then let's just keep going and never get there," Rose said.

"She was growing bigger. Even her thoughts were growing bigger. She knew the joy of mothering a little baby, and she had felt the heavy weight of grief. She had begun to speak her mind and learned to hold her tongue. And yet, the more grown-up she became and the more she understood life's secrets, the more she yearned to know."

Strong views and political advocacy:
(Quoted from Wikipedia)
She combined advocacy of laissez faire and anti-racism. The views she expressed on race were strikingly similar to those of black writer, and fellow individualist, Zora Neale Hurston. Lane's columns emphasized the arbitrariness of racial categories and stressed the centrality of the individual. Instead of indulging in the "ridiculous, idiotic and tragic fallacy of 'race,' [by] which a minority of the earth's population has deluded itself during the past century", it was time for all Americans (black and white) to "renounce their race". Judging by skin color was comparable to the Communists who assigned guilt or virtue on the basis of class. In her view, the fallacies of race and class hearkened to the "old English-feudal 'class' distinction." The collectivists, including the New Dealers, were to blame for filling "young minds with fantasies of 'races' and 'classes' and 'the masses,' all controlled by pagan gods, named Economic Determinism or Society or Government."[4]

She is one of the founders of the American Libertarian Movement in the mid-century.

(On principle the following story isn't funny. But from a story-telling perspective, it is a chuckle-jerker! And I agree about the Ponzi scheme.)
In 1943, Lane was thrust into the national spotlight through her response to a radio poll on Social Security. She mailed in a post-card with a response likening the Social Security system to a Ponzi scheme that would ultimately destroy the US. The subsequent events remain unclear, but wartime monitoring of the mails eventually resulted in a Connecticut State Trooper being dispatched to her farmhouse (supposedly at the request of the FBI) to question her motives. Lane's vehement response to this infringement on her right of free speech resulted in a flurry of newspaper articles and the publishing of a pamphlet, "What is this, the Gestapo?," that was meant to remind Americans to be watchful of their rights, despite the wartime exigencies.
There was an FBI file compiled on Lane during this time, which is now available under the Freedom of Information Act.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


What kind of a mother will I be?
I believe that question can be answered with many different outcomes, all of which are ultimately determined by me. I have diagnosed myself as a learning-by-example type. I see, and I can do. So I began searching for mother-models in books, to widen my pool of seeing how others mother. This is sort of a compilation of the sources I've gathered thus far.

I tried to think of books and other sources with a mother-figure that is positive. The first book I came up with was Ella Enchanted. There are only a few moments of wonderful memories with her mother at the beginning of the book, and of them this is my favorite:
  • ...remembering the times mother and I slid down the banister. We didn't do it when people were around. "We have to be dignified," she would whisper then, stepping down the stairs in an especially stately way. And I would follow, mimicking her and fighting my natural clumsiness, pleased to be part of her game. But when we were alone, we preferred to slide and yell all the way down. And run back up for another ride, and a third, and a fourth. --Ella Enchanted, p 8-9
D&C 121: 41-43- no power or infuence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile-- reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

When reading the scriptures I often pause to think about the women behind the stories. While Helaman was out leading the 2,000 stripling warriors, his wife was at home raising Helaman II. While he responded to the call of duty, his wife was at home raising two future leaders: Nephi and Lehi, brothers. Later, while those brothers were off converting the Lamanites and preaching in the North countries (they were gone for many years), did their wives go with them? Or did they stay home with extended family raising the children? Either way, those women were amazing, and maybe one day I'll write "historical fiction" novels about them.

Hymn 336 reminds: Passion shatters reason's tower, condemnation never pass.

Little Women
The mother in this book, Marmie, is an absolute angel. Too perfect for reality, she still gives some very good lessons and examples to follow. She is forward thinking, takes care of others, and is kind and understanding in her relationship with her daughters.

Little House on the Prarie Books
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Before writing this post I read through the ENTIRE Little House series, as well as the Rose Years books, the daughter of Laura. Each book is a quick read, but they are packed with information. You could learn how to survive in the wilderness from those books.
I read them with the intent to observe the parents, and it was fascinating-- It was like they were whole new books!! It helps that in the first few books, I am a similar age to the mother and father, and so I could imagine myself in their shoes-- living in the wilderness with two young daughters, and my husband always wanting to move away from civilization... I was touched by the type of discipline they used with their daughters, and noted that they tried to always be soft-spoken. Here are a few quotes I took from the books:
  • "Least said, soonest mended."- as Ma would say. These Happy Golden Years, p52
  • "A grown-up person must never let feelings be shown by voice or manner."
  • "Wooden Swearing"= losing your temper and slamming things is as bad as saying the words.
If wisdom's ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
  • During the long winters the family would memorize scripture verses each Sunday- the mom too! They had recitation contests, to see who could remember the most scripture verses. I think that would be a fun game to play. 

I want to: Love abundantly. Have music and singing everpresent. Have fun! Explore the world.
I want to let my children learn how to do things with me, but I also believe that I will need space to do things on my own. There must be a balance. Let the kids help, but not so much that they take over. That becomes overwhelming and disheartening. As the French do, I want to intsate "Adult time," perhaps in the evenings, or maybe just once in a while for my husband and I, or when friends come over.
I learned a lot from reflecting on the mothers and parenting styles in these sources, and I think that one of the most important aspects to me is to be gentle. Gentle with words and actions. Kindness and gentility are worthwhile attributes.