Sunday, November 6, 2011

Teaching the Children

Marybeth Hicks recently wrote a compelling statement regarding the protests that are being staged throughout the country. I am posting this here, because I believe it is worth reading.
Marybeth Hicks:

Here are 5 things that OWS mothers should have taught their children, but didn't.

Call it an occupational hazard, but I can't look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking, "Who parented these people?"

As a culture columnist, I've commented on the social and political ramifications of the "movement" - now known as "OWS" - whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: "Everything for everybody."

Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it's clear there are people with serious designs on "transformational" change in America who are using the protesters like bedsprings in a brothel.

Yet it's not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather the fact that I'm the mother of four teens and young adults. There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters' moms clearly have not passed along.

Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters' mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn't, so I will:


1 Life isn't fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, "You can't always get what you want."

No matter how you try to "level the playing field," some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they're dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupid question.


2 Nothing is "free." Protesting with signs that seek "free" college degrees and "free" health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don't operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and "slow paths" to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.

While I'm pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens. Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.


3 Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don't require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It's a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for - literally.


4 A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn't evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don't dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don't seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.


5 There are reasons you haven't found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gouged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn't a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It's not them. It's you.


Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom.

Appendix: Personal opinion. I believe these are important lessons. Further, I believe there are parents out there who taught their children these lessons. And, I believe that there are some children, who in spite of the best teachings, choose to behave in unseemly ways. What am I saying? I am saying that the spectacle to which we are being subjected is not entirely the fault of the parents of these people. We are free moral agents, and even Adam who was taught by the Best chose to "kick over the traces." --vanilla

Sunday, April 17, 2011


My friend was known to one and all as "CJ". In fact, many people who knew him for years did not know his first name, and there were only a handful who knew his middle name. CJ was born the same year my father was born. Though there was a generation between us, we became close friends and confidants.

I first met CJ when I took a job in the school where he taught. I was 35 at the time, he was 59. We had work-related business together, since his academic charges and mine were basically the same bunch of twelve- and thirteen-year olds. But we soon discovered that we had "leisure time" business, since we would meet in the gym after school hours for fiercely fought contests across the ping-pong table.
Table tennis was a passion for us both at the time, and we were fairly evenly matched. He was older, but it has often been said that age and guile trump youth and enthusiasm. Well, sometimes. Often when he would lose a closely-fought point after a long rally, he would say, "Well, I'm a sad man."

CJ served in the US Army during WWII. He fought in North Africa, and landed on the Continent at Anzio. Needless to say, he saw much action. He could still get into his uniform when he was in his seventies and eighties, and he enjoyed talking with interested groups about his experiences in the war.

CJ's wife succumbed to cancer shortly after I met them, and he was left with the youngest of his four children, who was in junior high at the time. Whatever else he may have accomplished in his life, he raised his children in the way in which they should go, and all of them are very successful in their own right. CJ never remarried, but he had a blast traveling the world, literally seeing every continent and meeting many interesting people.

CJ took up tennis at about the time he retired, and while I could handily best him on the court at first, he was never satisfied to come in second. He worked at his new-found pastime, joined a tennis club so that he could play year round, and it was not long before I found myself on the short end of the scoreboard more often than I liked. Eventually, though, when he was in his late eighties, I made a miraculous comeback!

Golf was another passion of this wiry old man. He always walked the course, and often "shot his age." I did not participate in this with him, as he had a cadre of buddies who were able to provide him better competition.

CLAVIS JEWETT HINSHAW, July 29, 1910 - April 17, 2005 RIP

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Story by John the Apostle

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not ...

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth ...

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

to all our Friends in the Blogosphere!

vanilla and BBBH
(aka David and JoAnn)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Living Room

The entire house is furnished largely in retro, since antiques and old stuff are appealing to us. We especially like small tables and things with drawers. In the living room alone we see an oval gate-leg table where many people have a coffee table (in front of the couch). I have an aversion to coffee tables in the middle of a room. Chalk it up to clumsiness on my part; but I dislike barked shins. This table is quite ornate, with eight "twining vine" legs. It is two feet wide and just under four feet long when opened. Closed, it is a foot wide.

There is a very ornate table in front of a window. It was "found" at auction by my dad many years ago in a much-too painted state. He stripped the table and finished it au naturel wuth Min-wax. It has four curved legs converging on a center post, then splaying outward to their original width. The top is 18" x 30".

The third table sits at the foot of the stairs. It is a 24" round pie-crust table on a fancy post with three delicate legs spreading to a circumference equal to the table top. The top is hinged and can be stored in a vertical position.

The fourth table in this room is a small 2' x 4' drop-leaf that sits at the end of the couch. The legs are spindled and quite delicate, arranged in a trapezoidal array at each end.

Then behind the couch and serving as a divider between the living room and the dining area is an 18" x 66" library table, a very sturdy piece which BBBH had in her shop and which was covered in way-too-many coats of paint, the which I have removed. The object is now bare and unfinished. The debate continues (after two years of preparation). I prefer a natural, Min-wax finish. She prefers an ultra-glossy polyurethane finish. So far, the compromise is a naked table.

The sixth "table" is really a horizontal file cabinet from an old railway station. It sits against the stairwell wall and is the perch for the flat-screen TV. I met it in an antique shop eleven years ago, and such an object with 24 drop-front drawers was a "must have".

On the kitchen divider wall is a sewing cabinet. I have seen several of these in antiques stores, but I believe we have enough of our own!

Finally, next to my recliner from which I write, view TV and nap, and nap, there is an end table on which I keep the remote, the kleenex, the coffee cup, some telephones. Under its top is an L-shaped bookshelf in which to store my current reading material.

Now, if you only knew about the seating, the fireplace and the china cabinets, you could picture this room in your mind's eye!

These tables are pictured on "String Too Short to Tie".

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Moving Van

Cliched though it may be, it is true that all good things come to an end. One's fondest hope is that the end of one good run is but the beginning of an even better one.

Over the past six years, we have elevated ourselves to the point that we are able to rent a moving van, and thus we do not have to rely on borrowing a farm truck. So the truck is backed up to the front porch steps and the loading process gets underway. Our possessions are not sufficient in bulk to require a second trip, especially since we are able to get our clothing into the trunk of the automobile. We are leaving Loonville behind to take up residence in Perfect.

The attempt to find a rental property in our new "hometown" led to a certain degree of frustration. The real tooth-grinder was the following conversation on the telephone.

Runner of the Newspaper Ad (Hereafter designated "RNA"): Hello!

I: Good morning. My name is Vanilla (or perhaps I used my real name) and we are planning to move into this community. I understand you have a house to rent.

RNA: Yes, sir, I have. May I ask what you do for a living?

I: I am a teacher and I have been hired by your local school board to teach math at the junior high school.

RNA: I see. Well, Vanilla, this house is located on Green Street, which is a pretty desirable location. Teachers tend to be transient and unreliable, so I think I shall have to let the place to someone else. But thank you for calling.

I wish I were making this up. But sometimes the most aggravating experiences are blessings in disguise-- deep disguise sometimes, as in this case. We did find a suitable place-- less than a block from Green Street. As it turned out, we eventually bought the house and lived in it for twenty-two years. Then they let me move to Green Street.

Loonville faded into the distance in the rear view mirrors as the vehicle smoothly cruised between the walls of corn on either side of the road. We were moving ahead, forward into the Perfect phase of our lives.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Break in Loonville

Usually during the last week of October, schools all across the state closed two days for "Teachers' Institute". Teachers were expected to spend these days attending workshops which were held at various sites across the state, ostensibly to "improve the quality of instruction" in the schools. Most of the larger functions were conducted by the largest of the teachers' unions; though to be sure it was never called a "union"; nor is it to this day. Please, on with the story.

Since at the time, teachers were paid for these days, but were expected to be able to show that they had indeed attended workshops, it was important that one select a site which offered the best opportunities for "extracurricular" activities. I don't know, don't want to know, what this meant to anyone else, but to me, it was an opportunity to take the family to Ft. Wayne, home of the wife's parents and extended family. Thus the kids got to see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and so on, and I was able to "fit in" a couple of workshops at the old "institute." Worked for everyone.

Some years I attended sessions in Indianapolis, particularly if there was to be a high-powered (famous) speaker at the opening session. Like you, I am (was) drawn to power and fame, even if it belonged to someone else. I've pretty much outgrown that.

One year, and as Dave Barry says, I am not making this up, Eleanor Roosevelt was the keynote speaker. I know some of you youngsters are saying, "Eleanor who?" but nevertheless, the educated or older ones amongst you know that Mrs. Roosevelt was a Force. And, yes, I am name-dropping. I haven't seen that many famous people in person.*
This two-day period is now and has been for many years, simply "Fall Vacation" and thus what one does with her or his time is, well, vacation.
*I could probably tick them off on the digits of my hands, and have two thumbs left over.

© 2010 David W. Lacy