Time for some goat-based humor.

The weather report I saw go through my Twitter feed said, “Not as cold tonight! Lows of -8!” I had to laugh; when did -8 become “not as cold”?! I guess since our lows at night started regularly falling to -15. Anyway, between the grey skies, cold temperatures and really horrible news headlines, I was feeling the need for a bit of silly humor this evening, which the children supplied.

They have been begging my husband for a goat (or preferably multiple goats) since we told them we were moving out to the country. Their pleas have fallen on deaf ears thus far as the man of the household has declared our property a goat-free zone.

They have dealt with this setback by downloading this hilarious app which they showed me and which I will highlight here now for your amusement. It’s called “Goat Simulator”:

Goat Simulator is the latest in goat simulation technology, bringing next-gen goat simulation to YOU. You no longer have to fantasize about being a goat, your dreams have finally come true!

Gameplay-wise, Goat Simulator is all about causing as much destruction as you possibly can as a goat. It has been compared to an old-school skating game, except instead of being a skater, you’re a goat, and instead of doing tricks, you wreck stuff. Destroy things with style, such as doing a backflip while headbutting a bucket through a window, and you’ll earn even more points! Or you could just give Steam Workshop a spin and create your own goats, levels, missions, and more! When it comes to goats, not even the sky is the limit, as you can probably just bug through it and crash the game.

Disclaimer: Goat Simulator is a completely stupid game and, to be honest, you should probably spend your money on something else, such as a hula hoop, a pile of bricks, or maybe pool your money together with your friends and buy a real goat.

FEATURES
  • You can be a goat
  • Get points for wrecking stuff – brag to your friends that you’re the alpha goat
  • Steam Workshop support – make your own goats, levels, missions, game modes, and more!
  • MILLIONS OF BUGS! We’re only eliminating the crash-bugs, everything else is hilarious and we’re keeping it
  • In-game physics that spazz out all the time
  • Seriously look at that goat’s neck
  • You can be a goat

I was laughing until tears ran down my cheeks as eldest daughter read the description to me, especially when she read the part about “You no longer have to fantasize about being a goat, your dreams have finally come true!”  Who comes up with this stuff? Ah, a much needed laugh…

But we’re all still holding out hope that our possible future pole barn will someday have possible future real-not-simulated goats.  So I’ll end with a cute video that our youngest loves – fainting goats!

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Prayer for the 21 Coptic Christian martyrs.

Pray with me:

All-powerful, ever-living God,
turn our weakness into strength.
As You gave Your martyrs
the courage to suffer death for Christ,
give us the courage to live in faithful witness to You.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

– Revelation 20:4

 

 

 

HOW the news is presented is as important as WHAT is presented.

Given how conservative I am, you may be surprised to learn that I often read the news at NPR. The reason I do this is because NPR does an excellent job finding and publishing human interest stories that are quite fascinating, and I enjoy reading those stories.  Still, it can’t be denied that, despite being publicly funded, NPR is very politically biased toward liberalism and the far left.

They demonstrate this bias both in what they report and how they report it. It is important that readers understand that they aren’t just seeking to inform you but also to influence you.

Consider: this was the top headlined news story on NPR’s website this morning; it concerns a shooting that took place four days ago.

religion

Some See Extreme ‘Anti-Theism’ As Motive In N.C. Killings

The suspect in the shooting deaths of three Muslim students in North Carolina is a self-described anti-theist, what some some experts see as a new extremism developing among some atheists.

The alleged killer’s face is shown. His “religious” affiliation is right in the title; the religious faith of the three victims is in the subheading. If you click on the article, the word “Islamophobia” is in the very first paragraph.

Nine stories down from this, under more important items such as global warming, a second story about the N.C. shootings highlighting how “radiant” the Muslim victims were, and Jack White’s guacamole recipe (which looks pretty tasty, I must agree), we find this little apparently not-very-important news story about two killings and five shooting injuries that took place only yesterday.  Notice how this story is categorized (news, not religion) and how it is headlined as compared with the one above:

the two-way – news blog

Suspect In Copenhagen Attacks Killed, Police Say

Police in Copenhagen believe they killed the man behind two attacks that killed two people over the weekend, one at cafe and another outside of a synagogue.

 

It was just a “man” who killed “people”, that’s all. No ideology involved. Certainly no religion involved; never mind the fact that the alleged killer was reportedly screaming something in Arabic and that one of the shooting sites was a synagogue. Nothing to see here. The accompanying image is not of the suspect, but rather of a heavily armed police officer. Nothing to see here, nothing to worry about. It was just a man who killed random people less than 24 hours ago but the police have it all under control.

Whether you are reading a conservative news site or a liberal news site, always pay attention to how the news is being presented to you. Don’t let the media think for you; think for yourself.

How to fix a slippery driveway hill without damaging the environment.

It snowed again last night and now the temperatures are dropping and the wind is whipping. By tonight, the air temperature is supposed to fall to -13 F (-25 C) with wind chills of -30 to -40.

Despite having our driveway professionally plowed now, the constant light snow, cold temperatures, and high winds have turned our long driveway with its steep hill up to the house into a sheet of glass-like ice.  We’d been wondering what to do about this – should we salt the heck out of it? We didn’t know if that would even work on a gravel driveway, but not only that we also don’t like to use road salt because of its environmental impact.

There is a gravely mistaken belief among some conservatives that because environmentalists are largely extreme left-wingers who come up with incredibly foolish and destructive ideas, we therefore should embrace wastefulness and not care about polluting the environment. I suspect this foolish belief comes from wealthy fiscal conservatives who want us to be wasteful so that we will consume more and thus have to work more, thereby lining their already-stuffed pockets.  I don’t believe it is either morally-licit or wise to embrace this wasteful attitude; I lean toward the orthospherian side of reactionary politics, which makes me very conservative, but I care about taking care of the natural world as much as possible. While I don’t go for any silly Gaia-worship, neither do I want to needlessly destroy God’s beautiful creation if I can avoid it.

But we knew we couldn’t safely drive on this glare ice up a steep hill, so what to do? Well, it turns out our plow guy grew up on a big farm in this area, and he told us his family spreads diatomaceous earth that is specially processed as an industrial absorbent on the steep hills that their farm equipment and pick-up trucks need to get up and down.

What is diatomaceous earth?

“Diatomaceous earth…is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder…Depending on the granularity, this powder can have an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and has a low density as a result of its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of oven-dried diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90% silica, with 2 to 4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5 to 2% iron oxide.

Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It is used as a filtration aid, mild abrasive in products including metal polishes and toothpaste, mechanical insecticide, absorbent for liquids, matting agent for coatings, reinforcing filler in plastics and rubber, anti-block in plastic films, porous support for chemical catalysts, cat litter, activator in blood clotting studies, a stabilizing component of dynamite, and a thermal insulator.”

I had used diatomaceous earth that I bought at a garden store years ago to kill grubs in our lawn without using pesticide. I had also read at Rural Revolution about using food-grade diatomaceous earth as an additive to grains like rice when preparing them for long-term storage because it prevents pest infestation of the food.  But I had never heard of using it as an absorbent or for traction.

We were a bit skeptical and weren’t sure if it would work, but we were getting sick of sliding off our driveway, so Phil went to The Parts Peddler in Dexter (I love small-town, independently-owned businesses) and bought some. This is the kind he got, but there are other brands I’m sure:

DSC03993

The package says the contents are 100% diatomaceous earth.

This is what it looked like when he spread it on the driveway – like dirt, basically.

DSC03994

 

But oh my goodness, it works! I mean, it works perfectly. You can drive right up that hill like you’re driving on bare gravel, not a slip or a slide. Phil went back and bought several more bags to keep in the garage; several times a week now, he will go out and spread a fresh layer. I believe he uses one bag each time he does this and each bag costs about $8.

My advice to anyone who needs to get up and down a steep driveway hill in the winter is to try spreading diatomaceous earth that has been processed as an industrial absorbent. You won’t damage God’s beautiful green earth but you’ll be able to drive right up the hill no matter how icy it is.

They see us as something to be busted.

How do our cultural elites see us?

I wandered around the local public library of my small, rural town this afternoon when I got done with work, looking for a book to read. Shelves of new self-help books shrieked my inadequacy at me – Clean up your clutter! Clean out your colon! – as I made my way toward New Fiction and finally, in exasperation, toward regular old Fiction. Honestly, I resolved to read six new books this year, but I’ve found myself rereading Barchester Towers instead because there is nothing new that I can stomach the thought of reading; here’s what the New York Times posted today for its paperback bestsellers list:

  1. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, by E. L. James
  2. GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn
  3. FIFTY SHADES DARKER, by E. L. James
  4. ORPHAN TRAIN, by Christina Baker Kline
  5. FIFTY SHADES FREED, by E. L. James

Kinda heavy on the sadomasochism there. I’d probably read Orphan Train, but I didn’t see a copy of it.

But I will try to read something written in this decade, I decided, and leave Trollope on the shelf for today. I idly pulled out books, read the backs, and then reshelved them, which I know you’re not supposed to do, but I’m so careful, you know, it seems a shame to make the librarian do it.

A hopeful choice sporting a bride on the cover turned out only to be the latest Sophia Kinsella Let’s all fantasize about buying lots of stuff and sleeping with rich, hot men! novel but written under her new pseudonym (which is actually her real name); apparently even she must not be able to stand her own books anymore. I must confess that her Shopaholic series having sold nearly six million copies does make me think less of womankind as a whole.

I spotted a book with an interesting looking cover entitled Now Is the Hour by an author with whom I was unfamiliar, Tom Spanbauer, written in 2006, so it fulfilled my must-be-from-this-decade requirement. I flipped it over to read the reviews on the back cover.

Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, writes:

In Tom Spanbauer’s Now Is the Hour, white small-town America gets its cherry busted in an orgy of cigarette smoke and racism.

I stood there in my 96.1% white, nearly crime-free small town, and felt a flash of anger. People here work hard and are generally kind; before the sun comes up, the roads are already crowded with men in their pick-up trucks on their way to work. But you know, Chuck Palahniuk, with his orgies and his cigarette smoke and his racial hatred is clearly so superior to these men.

Something must be wrong here because I find myself possibly for the first time ever in agreement with The Guardian, where Patrick Ness, himself a homosexual man, writes scathingly of the much-lauded Now Is the Hour:

“The plot, if I must, begins with Rigby John Klusener hitchhiking to San Francisco in 1967 from rural Idaho, wearing flowers in his hair. The novel is the story of how he got there, including a devout Catholic upbringing on his parents’ farm, skinny-dipping with handsome Mexican labourers, falling in deep platonic love with rebel girl Billie Cody, and finally falling in actual love with 35-year-old alcoholic Native American George Serrano, who likes dressing up as a woman but who nevertheless is hired by Rigby John’s racist, homophobic father to work solo with his “spineless ass” son. Yes, okay, sure.

This is all told in a flood of Oprah-ready sunny aphorisms (“Miracles are out there somewhere. You just got to find them”), and most grandly emotional scenes end with the participants collapsing in laughter at something funny the reader’s missed. There are fantastically improbable and melodramatic deaths, an excruciating appropriation of pseudo-Native American myth, and three whole pages of Rigby John saying goodbye to his dog.

So the question is, why would such juvenile, navel-gazing nonsense be served up as “a triumphant return by one of America’s finest novelists”? I can only conclude that it’s to do with the novel’s “queerness”, its explicit sexuality blinding otherwise intelligent people to its manifest shortcomings.

Well, no wonder the novel was a runaway hit with our cultural elites, when there are whites to be mocked as evil, racist, bigoted homophobes –  just cherries to be busted. It is rather refreshing that a gay man like Ness took the time to note that the novel is actually a piece of trash and only the fact that it was “queered” made it a best-seller.

This is why you cannot give liberalism and modernity an inch. Not an inch, not a millimeter. They don’t want to live and let live. They see you as a cherry to be busted. And don’t think this is about being white; it isn’t. If you are black, don’t imagine that people like Palahniuk really care about you. They care about using you to validate their sick self-absorption and further their destructive agenda.

So, did I give up? Will I be spending another night with Trollope on my bedside table?

No, I found a book entitled The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, published in 2011:

The Night Circus is a phantasmagorical fairy tale set near an ahistorical Victorian London in a wandering magical circus that is open only from sunset to sunrise. Le Cirque des Rêves, the Circus of Dreams, features such wonders and “ethereal enigmas” as a blooming garden made all of ice, acrobats soaring without a net, and a vertical cloud maze where patrons who get lost simply step off and float gently to the floor. The circus has no set schedule, appearing without warning and leaving without notice; they travel in a train disguised as an ordinary coal transport. A network of devoted fans styling themselves “rêveurs” (“dreamers”) develops around the circus; they identify to each other by adding a splash of red to garb that otherwise matches the characteristic black and white of the circus tents. The magical nature of the circus is occluded under the guise of legerdemain; the illusionist truly transforms her jacket into a raven and the fortune teller truly reads the uncertain future, and both are applauded for their ingenuity.

The circus serves a darker purpose beyond entertainment and profit. The magicians Prospero the Enchanter and the enigmatic Mr. A.H— groom their young proteges, Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, to proxy their rivalry with the exhibits as a stage.

I am trying not to let the fact that it spent seven weeks on the NYT Best Seller’s List or that it was a candidate for The Guardian’s First Book Award bias me against it, as the synopsis sounds delightful. I will let you know how it is, but surely it will be better than having my white, small-town cherry busted with orgies and cigarette smoke courtesy of Mssrs. Palahniuk and Spanbauer.

Have you read anything good lately? Tell me about it in the comments or I fear I shall be doomed to reread the entire Chronicles of Barsetshire series.

Do “helper incomes” increase fertility?

I live in a rural area and I work in a (different) rural school district, and one of the things that has pleasantly surprised me is how many children everyone seems to have. Despite being working mothers, the women I work with all have 3-4 (several have even more) children and my kids’ friends’ parents all seem to have 3-5 children, too. Is this a factor of being in a rural area? Maybe, but I’m also wondering if it isn’t something else, too.

Many of the women I know earn what I think of as “helper incomes”. This is how I loosely define “helper income”:

  • flexible about full/part-time
  • even when full-time, does not regularly require in excess of 40 hours per week
  • in a safe environment
  • weekends/holidays off if needed
  • allowed to take days off to care for sick children or family members, either paid or unpaid
  • remuneration not enough to easily raise a family on by itself but a perfect complement to a husband’s income

Men do have a fairly large say in the number of children a married couple has and in my experience, many women say they wanted more children but their husbands did not, with the reason given often being concerns about finances. In short, the husbands were quite reasonably worried about their ability to support a larger family and wives respected their husbands’ preferences.

But is it possible that a helper income can take enough of the pressure off a man that he is willing to entertain the thought of a third or fourth child? I don’t know for sure, and I don’t feel like I know any of my colleagues well enough yet to say to any of them, “So, tell me about your reproductive choices!” 🙂 But I do wonder.

So here is my working hypothesis: I posit that for white, married, lower middle, middle, and upper middle class women (and the only reason I’m limiting it to these demographics is because those are the demographics of the women I know), having a wife who earns a helper income may take enough financial pressure off the husband so that he is willing to have more children. It may also make women feel like they can afford that third or fourth child and give them the confidence to suggest it to their husbands.

If there were any data on this, I would hypothesize that fertility would look like this, from highest to lowest:

Helper-income wives – highest fertility (most that I know seem to have 3-5 children)

Housewives (stay-at-home wives who do not earn an income) – second highest fertility (most that I know have 2-4 children)

Career wives – I don’t know a lot of heavy-duty career women, but those that I know have 1-2 children and several have none at all.

This is not to be understood as me encouraging women to work outside the home! That is absolutely not my intention, as only the individual couple can determine what is needed and what would be best for their family. This is also not me suggesting the superiority of one group over another.  What I am trying to do is generate a reasonable hypothesis to explain my observations of the consistently higher fertility of the working, rural, married, white women that I know.

I’d love to hear what others have observed. Also, I’d be interested in hearing about other demographic groups as a comparison. For instance, do working Hispanic women have higher or lower fertility than their non-employed counterparts? What about African-American women?  The one trait I’d like to keep the same in any comparisons, though, is “married”.

I cannot prove or disprove my musings because I could find nothing about this in the published research. I could not even find a single statistic comparing the average number of children between housewives and working women – nothing! But if you are able to find data on this, I would love the link. I’m also curious to know if you can suggest an alternative hypothesis that explains what I am witnessing with the increased fertility of these women.

If my hypothesis were somehow proven to be correct, then to any young woman reading this who is interested in having a larger family, I might suggest that she prepare herself for the possibility of working to earn a helper income if her husband would feel aided by that (not all husbands would want or even allow this, of course, and the husband’s vision for his family should be given the respect that it deserves by virtue of his position as head of the household).

By the same token, my advice for young men who want a larger family but fear not being able to support them: perhaps consider looking for a young woman who would be willing to earn a helper income if needed.

In any case, my observations have provided me with food for thought.

 

But is it art?

I don’t think we can blame feminists for this one.

cloud8n-1-web

 

Get your mind out of the gutter; according to the New Zealand Herald, the artist says it’s supposed to be a cloud:

The Auckland Council-commissioned Transit Cloud has been created as part of a project to breathe new life into traditionally working class New Lynn.

The aerial component – four aluminium mesh cloud forms – hangs more than 8m over a lane linking New Lynn’s shiny new railway and bus station with the town’s library and shopping mall.

The public sculpture cost more than $200,000.

Being mere plebes and not elite art critics, the public reaction was less than enthusiastic.

“What the hell is that? It’s certainly not a cloud. It looks like a penis,” said Joy Dale, of Mt Roskill.

Now that we’ve had a chuckle, let’s ask ourselves this: why is modernity so ugly? And why are the elite vanguards of modernity hell-bent on *inserting* their ugliness into the public’s face at every opportunity?

Recall this grotesque stunt at Christmas (highlighted in the post Public Porn in Paris by The Thinking Housewife):

It’s supposed to be a Christmas tree. Uh-huh.

In the thread from several days ago about feminist art, Scott gave a partial explanation for this impulse by moderns to uglify the world:

…the mantra of Avant Garde is “shock the middle class.”

At this point, there are no more middle class values to shock, because absolutely nothing is sacred. Every boundary has been crossed.

and also added this truth:

Beauty is an objective truth. This has been known for a long time.

Yes. And unlike this monstrous mesh dong cloud in the sky, the male form in art need not be ugly. Consider:

adam

“Adam And Eve Expelled From Paradise” Giuseppe Cesari – 1568-1640.

 

 

 

 

[Note: This post was edited to move my comment into the body of the essay.]