Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hot for Teacher

Research has shown that having a crush on the teacher can result in better academic performance.

Most of my students are not very good, so I guess I don't have to concern myself to much with unwanted attention.

The only situation involving me as teacher was last year when a young man proposed to me in class. It didn't help him though; I dropped his grade a letter!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Water Your Lawn or Else!

An elderly woman in Utah was arrested for not watering her lawn then resisting arrest.

There are different ways to look at this. If you desire to live surrounded by beautifully manicured lawns, there are ways to ensure it. One way is to pay your neighbors to maintain their lawn or maintain their lawns for them. Another is through planned communities. The deed can state that certain colors of paint must used on the homes' exterior, certain trees planted, and certain lawn conditions maintained among other conditions. However this can all be handled by a private developer. There is NO reason the local government should concern itself in such affairs. A majority vote doesn't morally justify harassing an elderly woman over the condition of her lawn.

If this poor lady lived in such a privately planned community with directives on lawn care written into the deed, she is liable to be fined. I see no morally justifiable reason why she should have been arrested.

I for one would never want to live in any community that had directives on lawn care, exterior house color, or landscaping or that was zoned. (Perhaps I'll blog on my views of zoning sometime.) If other people want to live in such a way, more power to them! Either move into a privately planned community with such restrictions or buy up a large portion of land, build homes on it, and write lawn care directives into the deeds. Violators can then be fined and removed from the community if conditions warrant. Whatever type of community, cosmetically planned or cosmetic free choice, you desire to live in' there is no reason government has to play the role of enforcer.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Kling's Order and Disorder

If you go to Tech Central Station (sorry but I couldn't get a direct link to the article) you should check out Order and Disorder by Arnold Kling.

It's a good article that provides some Hayekian insights.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sports and Character (or lack thereof)

Here's a good article by Anthony Bradley of the Acton Institute on why he thinks sports do not build character.

The whole problem falls back, in large part, to having a short time horizon. When it's all about winning right now, the incentives to account for future effects is diminished. So the New England Patriots stole signals; they've got 3 Super Bowl titles (who's to say they wouldn't have them anyway?). Now the Pats will pay a fairly steep price. Jason Giambi took steroids and got a huge contract from the Yankees out of it. Then his body started breaking down. There was a complete and total lack of long term thinking in both situations. It is the same basic ailment that causes people not to save enough for their retirement.

Then you have situations like Travis Henry. Henry has nine children by nine women because the only time period he obviously thinks about is right now. (Incidentally, how about sending him over to Russia. He's already repopulated several NFL cities. He could really do some good for humanity in Russia.)

Maybe the problem isn't entirely one of time horizons. These folks obviously thought long term sometime otherwise they wouldn't have worked hard enough to get to the professional level. Maybe they are just too stupid to realize all the consequences of their actions. Either way, the short time horizon plays a role in the sports cheating incidents and many other social phenomenon, especially on college campuses. And I have no idea what could be done about it.

What the.....?

I started reading the Waco Tribune Herald online again and was reminded this morning of why I stopped.

I'm not sure whether this letter to the editor is a joke or if this young lady is serious. Wherever she is being educated should be ashamed of the flawed logic if nothing else.

Here's the link and you'll have to sign up if you want to get into much of anything on the Trib website now:

Green and mean

"If I had to think of one phrase to describe myself, it would be environmentally concerned. Because I do not believe in harming anything pertaining to Mother Nature, I do not own a house. I live in a tree.
I encourage others to do so. It does not matter if it is on my property or someone else’s. Although trespassing is a crime, the real criminal is the person who wants to chop down that beautiful, 200-year-old, rotting, termite-infested tree. Of course, I am the only one aware of this, seeing as the truth would not agree with my agenda."

First of all, yes there it really does matter if the tree is on my property. If anyone is in a tree on my property without my consent, the tree being chopped down should be the least of the person's worries! The last sentence of the second paragraph has me stumped (pun intended). I can't out figure what the heck she's saying. I'm not sure she knows either.

"If someone did decide to chop down the tree, I would do my best at making him feel guilty for ending the lives of the tree and the termites. They have rights, too."

FYI, if the tree is rotting, it doesn't have life in it.

"When I move, it doesn’t matter where, as long as there is an organic grocery store within a five-mile radius. I do not believe in cars, or anything else for that matter. Cars cause global warming; it is too hot already.
I wonder how many more lies we will be told in order to convince us that global warming does not exist.
And even though I may be totally off, completely wrong, and practice bad personal hygiene, I will eventually come out on top, knowing I have done my part and made a difference."

Katie Samples
10th Grade

Somehow I believe her when she says "I don't believe in cars, or anything else for that matter." Especially the anything else part.

I'm not sure who should be more ashamed; the school where she was educated (or not) or the Trib for printing such nonsense. Can't they find a better article advocating a green lifestyle than that?

P.J. O'Rourke had it exactly right. I can't remember where he said or wrote it, but it applies to high school students as well: "College students will do anything for the environment except take classes and learn about it."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Football Fans Are Nuts!

A friend sent me this story and I can't stopping asking myself Why? Why?,2933,296466,00.html

Here's the summary: University of Texas football fan walks into an Oklahoma bar with UT shirt on. UT fan becomes the center of trash talk from OU fans. It is alleged that one OU fan grabbed the UT fan by the testicles and almost castrated him.

I take some flak for my views on sports fan: when a team you like wins, YOU didn't win unless YOU are on the team (see my previous post on this topic). I don't care if you went to the school, the team won, YOU didn't. Consequently, I never get worked up over whether teams I like win or lose. I like it when teams I support win (its been a lot easier to be a Rangers fan lately), but watching sports with a certain detachment makes the games that much more interesting. The game itself becomes more enjoyable, not just your team's play.

Granted, the above incident is an extreme example and the vast, vast majority of sports fans would never think of doing something so stupid. But for fans who will go to such lengths, what does it say about the meaninglessness of their lives that they will get worked into such a frenzy over a sport or a particular team? And what does it say about such fans grasp of reality?

With that in mind, I propose the following Constitutional amendment: "If an individual in any of the several states has ever gotten into a physical altercation over sports, their right to vote in Federal elections shall be abolished." I would encourage the states to pass similar amendments.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Thomas Sowell's Random Thoughts

Always worth the read:
Two particularly good ones:

"Despite people who speak glibly of "earlier and simpler times," all that makes earlier times seem simpler is our ignorance of their complexities." Amen!


"I can't get as fiercely involved as some other people do in controversies about the origins of human life on earth. I wasn't there." Preach on Brother Sowell!

I can think of many other more prosperous ways to spend ones time. How about instead of trying to find out how we're here, what about contemplating why we're here?

I'll try to blog more regularly this month. I'm back to work now so I have plenty of free time.