Utterly Meaningless » 2006 » April


Filed on April 16, 2006 at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

Natalie passed along this cute Easter Rap.


Filed on April 15, 2006 at 8:55 pm under by dcobranchi

Lydia found this one. Time is of the essence; the court hearing is Monday in Alabama.

Dear Homeschooling Friends and Family;

As administrator of our church school, Pathways Academy, I was subpoenaed to Etowah County Circuit Court today regarding one of our enrolled families. I have the family’s permission to speak about the situation, and do so at their attorney’s request.

Janan Brown is in her second year of home educating her son, who has just turned 9 years old, with our church school. He attended a public school for Kindergarten and First Grade, but began homeschooling in second grade. Janan is remarried and has two younger children. She diligently files an educational plan with our office each fall, and has never missed a suspense date for attendance or a progress report. She has researched learning modalities and educational methods, has gotten involved in our homeschooling community and activities, avails herself of the experienced homeschoolers in our school and local support group, and regularly visits the Resource Center to ask questions or borrow materials to supplement her son’s learning. If there had to be a “poster family” for a challenge such as this, I can assure you that this family is it.

The father has filed a petition accusing the mother of being unfit because she homeschools their son. Because homeschooling is the ONLY issue on the table, the attorney believes this will be a precedent setting case. The ex-husband and his attorney have admitted that she’s a “fine woman, and good mother . . . except for her decision to homeschool.” The judge has made it clear that we will be proving that homeschooling is legal, effective in general and working for this particular child, as well as addressing the issue of socialization. In other words, we sell the judge on homeschooling or she loses custody of her child and he gets placed in public school.

Before some of you dismiss this as not applicable to you because you aren’t divorced, let me tell you that the attorney feels strongly that this can affect all of us. If a non-custodial parent can challenge custody, and win, based solely on a decision to homeschool, it will open the door to other challenges to custody — by grandparents, by extended family, by well-meaning “friends,” and eventually the state. A custodial parents’ right to choose whichever of the four legal educational options he or she feels is in the best interest of the child must be protected. When that right begins to be chipped away, we all become at risk.

While there are implications for parental rights, there are also grave implications in the spiritual realm, in my opinion. I believe that homeschooling is a ministry of reconciliation, of restoration, of reclamation and revival. It is restoring the family to the center of society. Attacks such as these on homeschooling are attempts to thwart those efforts. In other words, and I can not say this strongly enough, I believe they are attacks by the Devil himself on a move of God. For those of us whose lives are directed by our faith, we must be able to listen to the prompting of God in decisions regarding our homes, our children, our family and our responsibility as parents. This kind of a threat speaks directly to us all.

Please help us get the word out to the homeschooling community. We need everyone to pray for this situation to be resolved in a manner that is best for Ian and request that you offer your support to Janan and her family in any way that you feel led.

Thank you, Tammy Jackson

…SO WHAT CAN YOU DO? First, PRAY. Please see the prayer focus outline on this site or request a copy from us by email.

Second, the attorney would like to fill up the courtroom… the lobby… the courthouse… with homeschooling PARENTS and Homeschool GRADUATES for the next hearing. We are calling for parents who are truly committed to their homeschooling, who believe it works, who support a parent’s right to make this legal choice to stand together as a united front. Take a day off work! Bother a friend to babysit for you! Do whatever it takes to stand up and be counted! We will notify everyone of the next court date, and we will provide as much notice as we possibly can by posting on this site and sending to the homeschool email loops. The attorney hopes to give us approximately one month’s notice. The attorney is particularly interested in speaking with the professional parents who made this choice — doctors, lawyers, nurses, former teachers, anyone in the judicial or legal systems, and prominent people in the community or churches.

Third, share your homeschooling story. Send us a letter, no more than one page typewritten, including why you chose to homeschool, how long you’ve been homeschooling, your personal successes, and the ages of your children. Information about your educational level, and present or former profession would be helpful as well. Be sure to proof it for grammar and spelling, then send it to us by email. We’ll take it to the hearing — as silent voices for all those who are unable to testify.

PLEASE NOTE: At this time, the attorney is asking us NOT to write scathing editorials (or any editorials specifically about this case). This will serve only to alienate the judge, rather than educate him. Nor are we at the point of a letter writing or phone campaign. We need prayers and commitments to support this family. Please do not contact the attorney directly. He is doing a wonderful job on this case, but it isn’t his only case . . . and he bills the family for the time. They simply can not afford to pay for him to explain this case to us, when we can do that for one another.

Please let us know if you need further information. We are asking that you share this with all homeschoolers without internet access, and that directors–especially those with families in the Etowah County (Gadsden, AL) area–let your families know of this opportunity to support a fellow homeschooling family. Thank you!

Send your letters of support by email.

93 oF

Filed on at 4:28 pm under by dcobranchi

It is still April, isn’t it?

UPDATE: Easter egg hunts don’t work very well when the eggs all contain chocolate soup.


Filed on at 3:44 pm under by dcobranchi

Home educators are notoriously difficult to poll. So the Harris Poll asked “normal” folk why we homeschool.

U.S. adults think that parents’ main reasons or say their own main reasons for homeschooling their children are dissatisfaction with academic instruction (65%), to provide religious or moral instruction (60%), and concern about safety at school or on the school bus (53%). Half of adults (51%) say one of their main reasons for homeschooling or think that other parents homeschool their children is because of dissatisfaction with state or government regulations at school.

There’s a fair bit of data, but I’m not sure any of it is too meaningful. (via Homeschoolbuzz.com)


Filed on at 11:11 am under by dcobranchi

This one literally brought a “Wow!” Unbelievable.


Filed on at 10:35 am under by dcobranchi

This is pretty cool. I didn’t know I could have voted in the Italian elections.

*The title refers to Jewish and Italian law. My mother and her mother are/were Jewish. And, I’ve a direct male descent from my great-great-grandfather, Pietro Cobianchi, who left Italy around 1898. No one seems to know when the last name was corrupted.

UPDATE: The connection to this strange voting law is stronger than than at first glance. Family lore has it that my great-great-grandfather was quite wealthy. He went back to Italy sometime before WWII where he backed the wrong side.


Filed on April 14, 2006 at 8:44 pm under by dcobranchi

Mr. Bussell wanted me to post this email exchange:

Ross Bussell wrote:
Congratulations, you got your cronies all over my page. It’s obvious that you sought me out to attack me. I’m normally read by about 10 people. But you can’t have that can you? You’re obviously very educated and highly opinionated, and no matter what I say, you’ll point out where I misplaced commas and prepositional phrases. I’ve never understood people like you, who feel that because of their place as highly educated people, that gives them the right to go and shit all over everyone else. I apologize for not having a Phd, if it makes you feel better, I am working toward one, so maybe in another 6 years we can have a nice debate without you feeling the need to treat me like a child. Just please leave me alone, I don’t care about your views, and never will.

Daryl Cobranchi wrote:
I didn’t seek you out. How could I? Your post got caught in my normal Google Blog scrape. You do know that Google scans your blog, right? Anyone searching for the word “homeschooling” would have found the post. I followed the link, and the rest, as they say, is history. Yeah, I made fun of your post. It was eminently mock-worthy. Believe it or not, your anecdotal history with a few homeschoolers does not make you an expert. You ran your “mouth” in a public forum and got caught. Perhaps next time you’ll be a bit more circumspect.

BTW, the spelling critique you received (I don’t believe I mentioned your grammar) is no worse than any other public school teacher who criticizes homeschooling gets. The NEA routinely rails against parents thinking that they’re capable of teaching their own. How dare they?! Only the professionals can do that job. So, whenever a public school teacher steps in it, I point it out for comedic value. You happened to be the target today. Tomorrow, it’ll be another pontificating g-school teacher.

Ross Bussell wrote:
Well, I know this oversteps my bounds here, but fuck you. I had a nice weekend going here, and I always enjoy blogging, but you’re a god damned piece of work, and that’s the end of it. I’m glad you feel the need to shit all over everyone else, and by the way, you’re still nothing but rhetoric. I haven’t heard ANYTHING from you to actually say that homeschooling is superior, other than you pointing out a few spelling mistakes I made in my non-proofread blog post, and you use that to discredit me. Fuck you Daryl, you’re a piece of shit. I’m sure you’ll post these words in your blog, and that’s fine. You obviously need to mock others, so good for you, I guess I let my emotions get the best of me. I shouldn’t care what you and your little special interest group say, you’re a bunch of filth. I love it how you try to place these nice “scholarly” words in your e-mails and posts, you really have proven your knowledge my friend. By the way, I think you’re a big fucking liar, you’re no Phd, you’re some uneducated little fucker from the east coast who feels that he is superior to everyone west of the Mississippi. I know the type. Again, fuck you Daryl. How about this for an idea. Have a blog of substance, rather than pointing out those who disagree with you and mocking them. Of course, all of the few home school people I’ve known are exactly like you, and after dealing with you and your group, why would I be inclined to think differently? You’re a bunch of bullies, and you sit behind your computer screen and play the big man. You have no idea the anger that I’m feeling toward you right now. I know it’s unintelligent, but if you were here right now, I’d beat the living shit out of you. Good day “doctor.” Go ahead, post this, I know you will, you can’t handle this on your own, you have to involve your whole group. You people are all the same, safety in numbers, you feel like you need validation from your cronies, and so that’s fine. They can all e-mail me too and tell me how ignorant I am for calling you a fucker and what-not, or they can mock my grammatical flaws in my e-mails. God, you think I sit here and proof read this shit? Re-reading my words piss me off even more. Plus, well, forget, you’re not worth the time. Congratulations again on pissing me off. Kiss my ass. Leave me alone. Fuck off. Please.


Filed on at 12:35 pm under by dcobranchi

Our friendly neighborhood comedian g-school teacher doesn’t seem to have such a good sense of humor after all.

Via email:

Hey, I don’t appreciate you linking to my blog. I don’t care what you think about education, or what your agenda is, my blog is personal, and shared with family and friends. If you don’t like it, don’t read it, delete that link, I would appreciate it. I’m not here for your amusement. If you don’t like my ideas, stay away, and I’ll do the same for you. If you can’t do that, then you’ve proven my point, that you are a selfish piece of shit.

Perhaps he better keep his day job after all.

A hint to Mr. Bussell– The internet is a public forum; blogs, especially so. Ranting about how we shouldn’t get you started on homeschoolers is guaranteed to get you ridiculed throughout the homeschooling community. If you want to stay anonymous, don’t post about that of which you know nothing.

And, finally, you might want to read Rudner. It’s less than perfect, and now a bit dated. But you might be surprised what real researchers have found about homeschooling.

UPDATE: Bussell declared victory and ran away. FWIW, I went easy on him.


Filed on at 7:06 am under by dcobranchi

Andrea is looking for someone to take over the hosting job for the Carnival of Unschooling. I’d volunteer, but we’re the wrong flavor of homeschoolers. Boycotters might want to note that, unlike the CoH, the CoU doesn’t seem to pull any submissions from HSB.

I thoroughly enjoyed the one time I hosted the CoH, and hope to be able to host again some day. Hosting the CoU would be a good gig for a newbie blogger looking to build traffic.


Filed on April 13, 2006 at 6:24 pm under by dcobranchi

Don’t forget over the long holiday weekend to get them in by 6 p.m. Monday. Details here.


Filed on at 6:16 pm under by dcobranchi

Not an anti-Bush rant.

Forgive my absense. I’ve been sick and I’ve been at Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature. Quick rundown:

Senator [MsBlackandWhite] Cannot Read

Well, one of the bills that came up in session at OIL was the bill prohibiting home schooling in Oklahoma. The poor girl who wrote it had no idea of the trouble she was getting herself into. I was serving as the President’s clerk at the time, but the moment I knew that bill was going to be up on the floor, I got down as quickly as possible. I and another girl who was home schooled offered our perspectives of the bill. Needless to say, by the end of questions and debate, there was only one person (the author) who voted “yes.” Even the people arguing in proponency of the bill turned their arguments into a joke, holding me as example, “Look at Senator [MsBlackandWhite]! Clearly she cannot read or function in society, so vote yes to prohibit homeschooling!”

Thank goodness it was just a mock legislature.


Filed on at 6:09 pm under by dcobranchi

This g-school teacher ought to do stand-up:

Parents who home school have an alterior [sic] motive. I’ve seen it myself. Whether it’s for religious reasons, personal issues, over-bearing parenting, or because that child couldn’t handle the social aspect of public education. I’ve personally seen lots of extremely socially inept home schooled children who go off to college and can’t handle the rigors of large classrooms and having to socialize in an educational setting.

…How do we know that home schooled children aren’t basically being taught how to take the SAT’s? At least in public education we’re held accountable to teaching standards. The inequities in public school are present in both private and home schooled education, they’re just magnified when a public school has 500 students as opposed to a home setting of 2.

The rest is just as entertaining. Worth a read to see just what kind of thinking (and I use that term very loosely) we’re protecting our kids from.


Filed on at 7:59 am under by dcobranchi

Doc didn’t like it, but I think Molly does an excellent job here. Pretty good discussion in the comments, too.


Filed on April 12, 2006 at 8:56 pm under by dcobranchi

Spunky has a really good post explaining her position on the Pearls’ teachings.

When asked by a woman what to do with an abusive husband Michael responds, (emphasis added)
If you or your children have been hit (other than the children being spanked) so as to leave discernable marks two hours later, and you genuinely fear that he will repeat his battering, you can take legal steps without divorcing your husband….

At the time of that writing and still today it is unclear whether Mr. Pearl believes it is okay for a man to hit his wife as long as he doesn’t leave a mark lasting over two hours.

Don’t misundertand, this is not the same as accusing Mr. Pearl of hitting his wife. However, his answer does not provide sufficient clarity to leave it without a doubt that a man should NOT hit his wife under ANY circumstances no matter how long the mark lasts. I cannot in good conscience recommend the materials of someone who cannot say in no uncertain terms that hitting a wife is WRONG the first time and intervention of some sort is necessary so he won’t repeat it. It may not be the legal authorities but a wife should not have to watch how long the mark lasts or “fear that he’ll do it again” before seeking help. He did it once, that’s reason enough.


Filed on at 5:35 am under by dcobranchi

Predict the date this guy will finally be officially fired.

A former assistant principal at a Manhattan high school has pleaded guilty to the possession of child pornography and to enticing a minor after he tried to arrange sexual encounters over the Internet with two undercover investigators posing as 13-year-old girls, federal authorities said on Monday.

…[B]ecause Mr. Rubinstein was tenured, he was still collecting his salary of $79,357 a year but that the department was doing all it could to fire him.

“We’re moving to terminate him as quickly as possible under the education law,” she said. “He was already assigned away from students a month ago, so he’s not at the school at all, and he isn’t teaching anywhere right now.”

Since it’s NY, I’m in for April 1, 2009.


Filed on at 5:29 am under by dcobranchi

Yeah, some really sick, evil people are counted among us.


Filed on at 5:20 am under by dcobranchi

WV home educators ought to think long and hard before taking the State up on this “offer.”

Some students who are home-schooled in Cabell County will have the option of taking the WESTEST in May with the Cabell County Schools. The following information came from David Tackett, the coordinator of student services for Cabell County Schools.

Q: Is it important for home-schooled students to participate?

A: Not only is it important, but it’s required that home-schools turn in to their home county either the WESTEST, an approved private independent test or a portfolio that is assessed by a certified West Virginia teacher so that the home-school can demonstrate it meets state standards.

Every time we submit voluntarily takes us once step closer to compulsion.


Filed on at 5:10 am under by dcobranchi

These parents seem to have taken “school at home” to an unhealthy extreme.

Between lectures on Pythagoras and discussions about early American history, Mr. and Mrs. Hutchings have implemented techniques they claim replicate the normal interaction their son would be having at school with bullies his age.


Filed on April 11, 2006 at 6:53 pm under by dcobranchi

Yeah, I’m still here. I’ve been tied up with painting (a job I love) and filing taxes (a job I loathe). The move in ’05 really complicated the tax situation. I got half-way through my NC taxes when I was informed that I needed to fill out the DE taxes before I could proceed. Half-way through DE, of course, I got the exact reverse directions. Catch-22. Several iterations later, I’m done.

Now all I have to do is wait for the refunds and the inevitable audit from the State of DE, as my tax form won’t match my W-2 by some $40,000.


Filed on April 10, 2006 at 5:52 am under by dcobranchi

Home Schoolers Sweep Physical Science Category at N.M. Fair

That’s the New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair.


Filed on at 5:30 am under by dcobranchi

The NYT has an interesting article on how Brazil has achieved energy independence through the production of sugarcane-derived ethanol. The really interesting part– cane is 6 times more energy efficient than corn.

Ethanol can be made through the fermentation of many natural substances, but sugar cane offers advantages over others, like corn. For each unit of energy expended to turn cane into ethanol, 8.3 times as much energy is created, compared with a maximum of 1.3 times for corn, according to scientists at the Center for Sugarcane Technology here and other Brazilian research institutes.


Filed on April 9, 2006 at 2:25 pm under by dcobranchi

Check out the three proposed designs for the WA state quarter. Design number 3 has a huge lead.


Filed on at 9:00 am under by dcobranchi

I rarely link to homeschoolbuzz.com because this kind of stuff pops up all too often.

More surfing through homeschooling
This is not one of the typical reasons to homeschool. It seems these kids are focused on surfing rather than learning. Unfortunately, any legislative fallout may affect serious homeschoolers.


Filed on at 8:49 am under by dcobranchi

According to this Computer Business Review Online article, NASA has launched a new site aimed at kids K – 4. Unfortunately, they forgot to include the URL.


Filed on April 8, 2006 at 12:28 pm under by dcobranchi

But, so what?

A toddler with severe peanut allergies is being kicked out of his daycare. The center states that they “cannot guarantee” his safety. It seems to be a violation of the ADA, but why would the parents want to send their child to a place where he might die?

Of course, a lawsuit is in the offing.


Filed on at 7:18 am under by dcobranchi

to blog this story.


Filed on at 7:15 am under by dcobranchi

Here’s a nice post from a brand-spanking (not THAT kind of spanking) new home educator. It’s a good read.


Filed on April 7, 2006 at 9:23 pm under by dcobranchi

Today’s APOD is pretty cool.


Filed on at 7:43 pm under by dcobranchi

Ron and Andrea are providing FREE OF CHARGE space on their server and the software to set up a blog. All homeschooolers are invited. OK, HSBers, what’s your excuse for continuing to hang with the Pearl defenders?


Filed on at 9:14 am under by dcobranchi

from the midwifery thread below:

Hi all: I am the midwife who was interview by Home Education Magazine and author or the (still) forthcoming book, Close To The Root: Simple, Sustainable and Earthy Alternative for Family and Community Life. I am available as a resource, via e mail, for anyone with questions relating to midwifery, homebirth, homeschooling/unschooling and all other “crunchy” endeavors. I have been involved in all of these things since 1981 so, I think that qualifies me for “veteran” status. I am heartened to see so many still thinking and living their lives around these good and noble aspirations. My e mail address is Quakeratwork@wowway.com. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you all! Michelle Wilbert, midwife, author, cultural creative….


Filed on at 6:13 am under by dcobranchi

The court date to settle the aftermath of the wreck is finally here. Blogging will resume this evening.


Filed on April 6, 2006 at 7:46 pm under by dcobranchi

A Christian homeschooler thinks we want to sic social workers on them.

Come on people, think ahead a bit. Think what these people (think VERY liberal, gays/lesbians, aethiests, ANTI-Christian anything people) are really about. You’ve all seen the cases where psycho case workers/social workers come into our homes and decide THEY know what’s best for our children. You *do* realise that many of these people also think homeschooling should be illegal. COME ON!!!


Filed on at 7:27 pm under by dcobranchi

Harvard Unschooling Survey

Hello. I’m a second year student at Harvard Business School, and I’m currently writing a business plan for an online high school that may be of interest to parents who “unschool” their children. I’m conducting a survey of the unschooling community in New England to better understand homeschoolers and their educational needs. If you have a couple minutes, I’d be very much interested in your feedback regarding my project. The survey link is http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=173561941203

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will hopefully contribute to the development of a valuable service for unschoolers everywhere. Thank you for your help!

All the best,


Filed on at 6:46 pm under by dcobranchi

A home educating mom seems to think that this is a problem.


Filed on at 6:29 pm under by dcobranchi

Jana, who inspired my “Am I really a homeschooler” and Tim’s “Blessed are the peacemakers” posts, is back. I don’t know why she decided to open old wounds, but she feels it necessary to call us “ignoramuses.” C’est la vie. She still doesn’t get it. At this point, I just don’t care enough to correct her.

BTW, she’s really homeschooling this year.


Filed on at 6:05 pm under by dcobranchi

And so does the DI’s God of the same. Scientists have found a fossil of an animal that was somewhere between a fish and an amphibian. It lived 5,999.99999999999 383 million years ago.

In short, fishapod adds one more brick, and an especially important one, to the edifice of Darwinian evolution—and at the same time puts the so-called theory of intelligent design into even greater question than it already faces. That would be true if only because any designer who deliberately made such a queer fish would have been more of a practical joker than anything else. But it also demonstrates that while evolution has plenty of missing bits of evidence, they keep showing up all the time to strengthen it. Evolution is, as ID supporters love to say, “just” a theory. It also happens to be one of the most successful scientific theories in history, whose predictions of what should be found in the fossil record have been proven out… for the zillionth time.

Zillionth is scientific talk for A REALLY BIG NUMBER.


Filed on April 5, 2006 at 6:23 pm under by dcobranchi

Life in Fayetteville:

Are mastodons to blame for rising sea levels?

The latest report on global warming tells us that melting glaciers in the Arctic threaten to raise sea levels by 3 feet. At the same time we are told that 130,000 years ago sea level was 13 feet higher than it is today.

Obviously, this was the fault of prehistoric man who went around riding those huge mastodons instead of the smaller, more hay-efficient aurochs. It wasn’t until we got rid of those hay-guzzling mastodons that things got better. Can you imagine all the methane they must have emitted?

Harry Meinhardt

I guess that’s supposed to be creationist snark. I hope he keeps his day job.


Filed on at 3:54 pm under by dcobranchi

Jeanne found a terrific LttE of the CS Monitor by none other than HE&OS habitue’ Diane Keith:

Universal preschool would mean universal disaster for US kids

Your March 27 editorial, “Universal preschool, universal benefits,” was extraordinarily biased.

The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project referred to in the article only focused on 123 disadvantaged African-American kids. The sample group was too small to make generalizations across all preschool populations. The results not only couldn’t be duplicated, they came under fire for biased reporting. Using such a flawed report as a basis for a cost-benefit analysis to justify public universal preschool programs is absurd.

The article says Head Start is successful. But the whole program may be a $50 billion boondoggle and is being revamped by President Bush due to concerns that it hasn’t helped the children it claims to have helped. Saying that Head Start helped 900,000 kids in 2005 get a leg up on language arts and math skills is a gross assumption.

To follow that outrageous statement by saying a study of 14,000 students (referring to a Policy Analysis for California Education study) shows that middle-income children who “attend preschool also progress significantly in developing these skills” is misleading. The PACE study actually says, “Children from middle- and upper-income families experience modest gains in pre-reading and math skills, stemming from preschool attendance….”

Additionally, the PACE study notes, “We find that attendance in preschool centers, even for short periods of time each week, hinders the rate at which young children develop social skills and display the motivation to engage classroom tasks, as reported by their kindergarten teachers.”

The social-behavioral growth of white middle- and upper-income children is stunted as a result of preschool attendance. While there may be slight cognitive increases, there are detrimental and harmful effects in social behaviors.

Universal preschool may offer some benefit to disadvantaged children, but it is not what is best for the majority of children. Universal preschool will only really benefit teachers’ unions and other special interest groups that stand to gain from government-subsidized preschools.
Diane Keith
Founder, UniversalPreschool.com
Millbrae, Calif.

The original editorial is now pay per view.

As an aside, why would a newspaper ever want to discourage people from reading and linking to their editorials? I thought their purpose was to influence public opinion. Pretty hard to do that when you hide the damn things behind a wall after only five days. Proving, once again, that the MSM still doesn’t grok the internet.

UPDATE: Joanne Jacobs has a post on CA’s similar proposal.


Filed on at 3:44 pm under by dcobranchi

This is just plain idiocy.

Part of a teacher’s hand was blown off when a 40 mm round the instructor used as a paperweight on his desk exploded in his classroom.

Robert Colla struck the round with an object Monday afternoon while teaching 20 to 25 students at the Ventura Adult Education Center on Valentine Road.

Part of Colla’s right hand was severed and he suffered severe burns and minor shrapnel wounds to his forearms and torso, fire Capt. Tom Weinell said. No one else was injured.

Colla was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where he was described only as stable.

“It was just a horrible accident,” said Dennis Huston, who teaches computer design alongside Colla. Huston said he had his back turned to Colla and was only about three feet away when he heard a loud bang.

Colla found the 40 mm round while hunting years ago, Huston said. He used it as a paperweight and “obviously he didn’t think the round was live,” Huston said.

When you assume…

The guy is just plain lucky that he didn’t kill himself or one of his students. (Tip Credit: Jason the CIA Agent)


Filed on at 2:40 pm under by dcobranchi

It may be cold comfort, but it appears that we’re still a bit more free than our English cousins.

British anti-terrorism detectives escorted a man from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track by punk band The Clash, police said Wednesday.

Detectives halted the London-bound flight at Durham Tees Valley Airport in northern England and Harraj Mann, 24, was taken off.

The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash’s 1979 anthem “London Calling,” which features the lyrics “Now war is declared — and battle come down” while other lines warn of a “meltdown expected.”


Filed on at 8:21 am under by dcobranchi

What an arrogant SOB! Check the comments in Stubby’s post from yesterday.


Filed on at 5:51 am under by dcobranchi

This one is a fun one to play with your older kids.

EvolutionBlog has a good explanation of the “Monty Hall Problem” in statistcs. Basically, the situation is that you’re on LMAD and have to choose among Doors 1 through 3. After picking, Monty shows you one of the doors that you didn’t choose. It’s never the really big prize. He then gives you the opportunity to trade doors (your unopened one for the remaining unopened one). Do you switch? Does it make a difference? See EB and the comments for what may be the surprising answer.


Filed on at 4:40 am under by dcobranchi

Hey, Traci– Chris found one for you. Claymont was just a couple miles up the road from our old place in DE. I’ll see if I can find any additional info in the Wilmington News-Journal.

UPDATE: As expected. The money quote:

Robert J. Shoop, Kansas State University professor of educational law, said sexual exploitation of students by teachers is far more prevalent than most people realize.

“Between 5-10 percent of all students have had some inappropriate behavior with teachers,” said Shoop, author of “Sexual Exploitation in Schools: How to Spot It and Stop It.” A U.S. Department of Education report issued in 2004 cited similar figures.

“Although the vast majority of teachers are competent, caring and ethical people, some are not and take advantage of their position of trust,” he said.


Filed on April 4, 2006 at 8:37 pm under by dcobranchi

At least for only children:

Carolyn White, editor of “Only Child” online magazine in Los Angeles, wrote a book called “The Seven Common Sins of Parenting an Only Child: A Guide for Parents and Families.” She outlines parenting sins and suggests remedies.

…Sin #2 : Overprotection. It’s tempting to shield your only child from pain and challenges as much as possible, but this well-intentioned practice has damaging consequences. Plus, children need plenty of social interaction and peer relationships, with all of the joys and heartaches.

“Keeping your kids from experiencing the slings and arrows of life will not make him or her become a competent human being,” says White, who discourages homeschooling only children for the same reason.


Filed on at 8:26 pm under by dcobranchi

Tonight for a brief second the clock and calendar will read 01:02:03 04/05/06.


Filed on at 8:17 pm under by dcobranchi

This anti-home ed post really just comes down to the “S” word. It’s a really good read, though.


Filed on at 7:54 pm under by dcobranchi

Pretty weird. (HT: Laura)


Filed on at 7:48 pm under by dcobranchi

German home educators are in desperate need of support. The government really seems like it is attempting to completely eliminate all vestiges of educational freedom.


Filed on at 7:39 pm under by dcobranchi

If I find out that anyone following the boycott is threatening folks via email or phone, I will personally kick the crap out of them. That is utter bullshit!


Filed on at 6:20 am under by dcobranchi

Stubby Stumbaugh, a right-wing candiate for the Republican nomination for 1st CD-Arkansas, is using blogspot to push his views. This bit got caught in my Google scrape:

Berry joined other “libeal” [sic] democrats [sic] in voting against the College Access & Opportunity Act. Fortunately the Act passed the House inspite [sic] of his vote! Berry voted NOT to support:

*Remove barriers that may prevent home-schooled students from pursuing higher education.

Comments are open but moderated. I wonder if mine, pointing out that we don’t want to be included in any federal legislation and that a “no” vote was good, will ever see the light of day. I’m guessing not.

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