[That's a statue of Odysseus---not Perfesser Plum.]
Don't we sometimes wonder, "Hey! Just how did I get here?"
Odysseus wondered [also wandered], far from home, but never gave up on making it back.
Even when he'd turned old, Odysseus was ready for more.
Death closes all; but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done, ... The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks; The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die. It may be that the gulfs will wash us down; It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles, And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. Though much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are--- One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. [From Tennyson's Ulysses, 1842]
Quite a guy! I hope I have one-tenth his guts.
The research, teaching, and writing I've done since 1968 was paid for by fellow citizens of this nation---through taxes and college tuition. This website is my effort to thank them and to repay them with something of value.
I've been blessed to learn from persons smarter and more virtuous than I. The material in this website will I hope increase your knowledge and skills, and assist you---the Esteemed Reader---to replace the arrogance, corruption, confusion, incompetence, and staggering nonsense in public education with technical proficiency, wisdom, honesty, and moral responsibility.
You want a few hints? Okay.
Everybody in Ed Land [state departments of public instruction, ed schools, district central offices, national education gurus] blabs about how "We need to close the achievement gap." Gee, yah think?! 60% of minority and poor kids can't read. [They'll make informed political and life decisions.] Why can't they read? After all, you learn the sounds that go with letters, and then you sound out words so often that it's automatic. Big deal. The reason is that their teachers don't know how to teach reading. In fact, teachers leave ed schools not knowing how to teach much of anything. Ask them to write a procedure for teaching the color blue. You'll get 50 procedures---most of them simply foolish. Why don't recent ed school graduates know how to teach? Because most of their ed perfessers don't know how to teach, either. Ask an ed perfesser what a concept is (the set of features signified by the words "democracy," "red," "straight"). They'll give you a synonym--"It's an idea." Oh, gooood.
Let me ask you something. If the ordinary teacher can't come up with the half dozen procedures needed to teach the half dozen skills involved in reading, or even the simple procedure for teaching blue, then what CAN she teach? How many years before she finally has a clue? How many kids ruined while she's (maybe) picking up some good methods?
And what makes you think ed schools are even about turning out proficient teachers? Almost NONE of them even has a set of objectives that all graduates must meet before they are certified. Even McDonald's has objectives that must be met by employees.
And if it weren't for parents and consumer groups becoming angry about how poorly our kids do in public school, and suing, districts wouldn't care, either.
For years, I thought I was working in cloud cuckoo-land. I couldn't believe the nonsense that came down from "the state," or the idiotic workshops and conferences and "initiatives" on social justice (put on by organizations whose only mission is their own power and privilege), or the "reforms" (even more insane ways of "teaching" math, or assessing achievement with student "portfolios"---as if a scrap book tells whether a student can solve equations).
So, I ended up with this simple guide, from one of the last good Roman Emperors, Marcus Aurelius. "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."
In the end, Dear Reader, you and I must be as brave as the Spartan hoplite (below) who stood with 300 of his comrades against overwhelming odds---refusing to kneel, to complain, or to lay down his weapons---in defense of his civilization. To the Persians, "You want our weapons? Molon Labe'. Come and take them!"
You've noticed that I haven't identified myself. Well, I'm not trying to be mysterious or coy. The reason is simple. The administrators at the college where I work would be real unhappy, and some of them would be vindictive, if they read what is in the Rant Archives. You see, they don't want the public (you) to know what goes on in "universities" and in "colleges of education." I'm not afraid of them. I just don't want to waste any more time reminding them of the First Amendment.
If you want to know, email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Some things that are important to me.
** Protecting our Constitutional Republic and our Liberties from disguised (and now naked) Tyranny. Long ago, my brothers in arms and I (Army Infantry: rifleman, squad leader) swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. We meant it. The oath stands.
** Motorcycles. This younger generation is nuts. Riding with flip-flops, tank tops, and shorts. Nothing like leaving your skin all over the road. I wear body armor, a leather jacket, jeans, and boots. Sure, I get heat exhaustion. But I like it.
** Marathons (20) and 10Ks and half marathons in New
England. My running Buddy, Mohammed, a
Kurd from Iraq, and I trained for marathons at a 7:15 per mile pace in my 40’s.
Naturally, I always injured myself
during marathons---hamstrings mostly---and so I never finished at a 7:15 pace. [Isn’t that interesting?] Mo could run under 7:00 minute miles all
day. Gorgeous form. We were so skinny you could see our hearts
beating behind the ribs. [Well, almost.] My resting pulse was 48. [More fun facts!] Those
were brilliant times, training along the Charles River in the fall; or running
from downtown Boston to Brandeis U. in Waltham and back in winter; or running
up Mount Lafayette in New Hampshire, trying the beat the 30 minute record.
** Firearms: combat and long distance marksmanship with semi-automatic pistols (Ruger Mark II .22; Springfield XD .45, Kimber Stainless .45, Springfield Mil-Spec 1911 .45), revolvers (Smith and Wesson .357 magnum, Taurus Tracker .357 magnum, and Ruger Super Redhawk .44 magnum), semi-automatic rifles (M1 Garand, WWII and Korean War battle rifle, 30.06; Yugoslavian SKS, 7.62 x 39; Ruger 10/.22), bolt action rifles (Russian Mosin-Nagant, 7.62 x 54, sniper), shot guns.
** Weight training: high intensity interval.
** Blacksmithing. I use
a forge made of bricks, with a hairdryer for forced air (2700 degrees needed to
melt steel), tongs, hammers, anvils, pedestal grinder, vice, metal files,
Dremel, and high carbon steel railroad spikes and plates I find on railroad
beds. I make replicas of ancient and
medieval daggers, knives, short swords, and battle axes. It keeps me in shape and ensures that I
destroy my right elbow and shoulder joint.
** Archery with compound bows and English long bows. I make medieval arrows from oak dowels, crow feathers, sinew, and forged steel or carved bone bodkins (arrow heads) of traditional and weird design (e.g., shaped like a shark jaw, or razor sharp cork screw, or winged). They hit hard and make a heck of a hole.
** Shakespeare, ancient Greek (language, philosophy, plays), The Odyssey, New Testament, T.S. Eliot, Arthur Schopenhauer (19th century philosopher, The world as will and idea), van Gogh, Monet, Mozart, Baroque music, Beethoven, Sinatra, 30s and 40s Big Band and jazz, 50’s doo wop, Joni Mitchell, Nanci Griffith, Beach Boys, Moody Blues, AC/DC, Queen, Fred Astaire and his lady partners, especially Cyd Charisse.
** My students. Some students say I'm the best teacher they’ve had. They’re probably right. Or maybe they’re grubbing for grades. Two coeds were murdered on campus one year. At least two are assaulted or raped each year. So, I teach women students how to disable (if they can't escape from) an attacker, with and without weapons.
I also tell my students that if a psycho or a jihadi breaks into the classroom and starts shooting before I break his neck, I'll try to take the bullets for them. They say, "Why would you do that?" I reply, "Because your lives are worth more to me than mine is, Dear Hearts. Besides, I've drunk an ocean of beer, grilled 10,000 cheeseburgers, and had a fair number of Lady dance partners, many of whom loved me---why, I could not say."
Links on the left side bar take you to pages containing materials of different sorts. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions for improving the materials.