Sand in the Gears

Archive for the ‘Curmudgeonry’ Category

On the Tweedledumbing of America

Monday, November 1st, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 5 Comments »

In the closing hours the advertisements are redoubled; we see the candidates peddling their functional families, juxtaposed with a grim gallery of closed factories and soup lines and dead children, for which the fresh-faced candidates' grainy-faced opponents are responsible, either ...

On the virtue of getting over being offended

Friday, October 29th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

The AP headline is certainly startling: "41% OF NON-CHRISTIAN AF CADETS CITE PROSELYTIZING" My goodness, the reader is invited to think. What's going on in Colorado Springs? Are little bands of dogmatists policing the halls like a pro-Jesus Taliban, seeking out bearers ...

On the conservative as warmonger

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 2 Comments »

The problem with political science professor Corey Robin's claim that warmongering is woven into the DNA of conservatives is that he can't seem to define his subject. One minute a conservative is a Burkean, the next he's a tea-partier, then ...

Suffer in silence, please

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 2 Comments »

It just never gets old, the article by an academic detailing all the work that academics have to do. Rob Faunce offers the latest installment: We have to plan for our courses weeks in advance. We have papers to grade. ...

The NCAA’s hypocrisy

Saturday, August 7th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

Here's a shocking bit of news: rather than go with calls for coaches to have their performance evaluations tied to the graduation rate of their players, the NCAA has opted for a metric that sounds valuable, but instead simply measures ...

Breathe easier?

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

I'm always leery of research by people who desperately, desperately want a certain answer. So when I hear shouts of joy over a new study running counter to previous studies in its conclusion that putting small children in daycare has ...

Memo to the NCAA

Sunday, March 28th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 4 Comments »

Perhaps it's a new phenomenon, or perhaps I'm becoming more curmudgeonly, but it's gotten that I cannot abide watching the aftermath of NCAA basketball games. It's almost a certainty now that, in the event of a close game, at least ...

Walking vices

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

From Anthony Esolen's "Filthy Rich: The Unnoticed Gift of Trickle-Down Decadence:" "The poor teach us what our vices mean, because we have not the self-knowledge to see through the disguises we ourselves have given them. When we see the poor doing ...

The new Conservatism

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 29 Comments »

Mickey Edwards explains why he didn't go to CPAC, the annual Conservative self-lovefest, arguing that the traditional conservatism of America has been supplanted by a state-aggrandizing European-style conservatism. I'm not sure if the shift is even that intellectual, or if ...

Smart is knowing what you don’t know

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 Posted in Business Reviews | Comments Off on Smart is knowing what you don’t know

Call me crazy, but maybe it's a good thing that the University of Iowa -- and by extension, a great many schools in financially troubled times -- has to decide not to have an Asian studies program, among other marginal ...

Christian America?

Sunday, February 14th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 4 Comments »

Maybe instead of pouring all this energy into haggling over claims in watered-down, non-primary source, lowest-common-denominator, utterly de-contextualized, ponderous textbooks, we ought to try harder to get kids to read more, and read more of what matters. Does anyone really think that ...

From rags to riches to the tater farm

Saturday, February 13th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Artful Life | Comments Off on From rags to riches to the tater farm

My favorite sometime nemesis Caitlin Flanagan has a piece in the recent Atlantic about this trend in urban schools to orient the school day and even the curriculum around the cultivation of big gardens. On the surface it sounds brilliant, ...

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

"There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action." (Bertrand Russell)

We was never much for yer books n such . . .

Monday, February 8th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off on We was never much for yer books n such . . .

Writer and teacher Nancie Atwell on the distressing need to convince government education officials of the benefits of literature: ". . . giving corporate interests a role in setting education policy is like letting foxes supervise the henhouse. These foxes are ...

Gotcha

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

I always hate to see thoughtful, well-meaning people get mau-maued into apologizing for lucidity.

Because names are not snowflakes

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

The Texas Board of Education strikes a blow against communist tracts cleverly disguised as children's books. In other news, the author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is discovered to be a former manager of the New ...

Genuine reform?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

President Obama, The Washington Post tells us, will propose a major increase in education spending tonight. At first glance, one might be tempted to roll the eyes. It's not like we haven't been trundling along on this up-escalator long enough, ...

Perhaps draw a random name from the phone book?

Monday, January 25th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | 2 Comments »

I recently saw a news clip about a mother who ordered her son to kill his pet as punishment for bad grades (the son's, not the gerbil's). An investigator says the woman was raised by a good family. Maybe so. When ...

Short-sighted

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 7 Comments »

If this really is "...the best example of violation of the separation of church and state in this country," then I think we're all going to be just fine. And I have trouble seeing how a coded Christian verse on ...

Pat Robertson, pagan

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry, Theology | 17 Comments »

Believing, as Pat Robertson does, that the suffering of those you despise is inflicted by a god on your side, and that the suffering of those you pity is the result of a devil's curse, seems to come awfully close ...

Criminalize this

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | 9 Comments »

Perhaps most disturbing about Robin West's attack on homeschooling is that it's published in a scholarly journal, even if it does come out of the University of Maryland. One might expect more thoughtfulness, even from a second-rate scholar. But instead we ...

Sometimes cleanliness is next to impossible

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 Posted in Business Reviews | 3 Comments »

Here's a conundrum. We put automatic sinks in public restrooms because we can't trust our fellow man to turn off the water properly. We put automatic flushers on the toilets because we can't trust him to flush. (We can't trust ...

Relative risk

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 1 Comment »

I'm wondering if these researchers would have been fine with The Goonies if only all the kids had worn bicycle helmets while pedaling to the treacherous caverns.

It all begins with an apple

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 Posted in Business Reviews | 4 Comments »

Ordinarily I'm not a fan of government meddling, but sometimes I am ready for a regulation requiring products made in whole or part in China to be labeled as such. Poisoned toothpaste, animal food, infant formula, building products that rot and ...

If only that communion bread were really holy…

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry, Theology | Comments Off on If only that communion bread were really holy…

It's no secret, my belief that, no matter how fetching or emotionally available a vampire is, the only proper response to him is a stake through the heart. Now Father Orthoduck opens a new can of worms, suggesting that one ...

What my kids call theirs are just fine, thank you

Monday, January 4th, 2010 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | 4 Comments »

I don't know which is creepier, the fact that U.K. public schools are going to start teaching five year-olds the names of private body parts, or the fact that the U.K. has a "Children's Secretary." And given the aberrant practices ...

Memo to the Nabisco Food Goliath

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 Posted in Business Reviews | 5 Comments »

Dear Nabisco MegaCorporation, Once upon a time there was a delicious little cracker called Harvest Grain. This cracker didn't ask for much, nothing, really, other than to be crispy and nutritious and delectable in Tony's mouth. Tony and his Harvest Grains ...

Why we don’t invite crazy uncles to dinner

Friday, October 9th, 2009 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 9 Comments »

Really? I mean, really? I know the Nobel Peace Committee has a sad history of defaming itself, beginning, some would say, with its award to Henry Kissinger in 1973, and solidified, any reasonable person would agree, with the award to ...

Otherwise reasonable people

Friday, October 2nd, 2009 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 11 Comments »

On a long drive through red-state country yesterday I decided to listen to talk radio. I heard Rush Limbaugh mock the First Lady, in his extended rant about her lobbying Olympic officials to place the 2016 games in Chicago, because ...

Yeah, he is your president, jackass

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 Posted in Curmudgeonry | 3 Comments »

In the parking lot of a local college I saw a window sticker that I'd forgotten, a grainy picture of George W. Bush with the treasonous slogan: "Not my president." As a southerner who believes Sherman brought with him the ...