rivendell frodoI have just been re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and tonight I came to the account of the banquet given by Elrond in Rivendell to celebrate Frodo’s recovery from the knife-wound he suffered at the hand of the Black Riders at weather-top. There is a marvelous description of Elrond seated at the head of the table with Glorfindel seated on his right and Gandalf on his left in places of honor. And under a canopy, Arwen Undomiel. It is achingly beautiful.

In comes Strider, also called Aragorn and hailed as the Dunadan by Frodo’s uncle Bilbo who has retired to Rivendell. Bilbo and Aragorn retreat to a corner where they put their heads together over a new song which Bilbo has written. And then, Frodo hears him singing it. When I was younger, I tended to race through the poetry in order to get to the next section of narrative that moved the story along. Tonight, I savored the poetry.

And I pondered what a glorious way to spend an evening: at a banquet of elves with the wise Gandalf and the deep and brave Aragorn. It touches a deep longing.

I can’t believe how blessed I am to have found a calling where I am expected to read such great literature every year and guide young students through it, many of them reading it for the first time.

And I long for the banquet feast…

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israel wayneMy good friend, Israel Wayne has put up a web site with profiles of some of the home school pioneers from the 1980s & 1990s. He’ll be adding more, but Cyndy & I are honored to be included among such an august company.

The other profiles on his site so far are of David & Shirley Quine, Chris Klicka, Sam Blumenfeld, Chris Davis, Michael McHugh, and the De Jonge family of MI.

I love history, but this is much more personal – and these are stories about the early days of homeschooling that you just won’t find anywhere else.

Chris Klicka and Sam have already passed on to glory. How great to see there stories preserved and promoted here.

I can’t wait to read more profiles as he adds them. I want to read YOUR story, Israel!

Check back often, or subscribe to the sites RSS feed in your reader.

Our profile is at http://homeschoolpioneers.com/2015/09/14/rob-cyndy-shearer-founders-of-greenleaf-press/


4 slain marines

The news wires were full of press releases from elected officials (both D & R) last week denouncing the killing of five servicemen in Chattanooga as “senseless violence.”

All of them are wrong.

It wasn’t senseless.

It was carefully calculated and very logical.

Radical Islamic leaders wanted revenge on US soldiers who have fought them overseas. They achieved that.

Radical Islamic leaders wanted to initimidate US solders and their families and to make them fear being attacked and killed in their own country. They achieved that.

Radical Islamic leaders wanted to initimidate any civilians who might be considering signing up for service in the US military. They achieved that.

Radical Islamic leaders wanted to strike fear into all US citizens by striking on US soil, in the heartland. They achieved that.

Radical Islamic leaders wanted to embarrass the US military and make them appear weak and unable (or unwilling) to protect their own troops. They achieved that.

Radical Islamic leaders wanted to undermine and tarnish the image of the US President. They achieved that.

Stop saying it didn’t make sense.

The target was carefully chosen. The specific location was carefully chosen.

This wasn’t the first attack, and it won’t be the last.

Because with each attack, they achieve more of their objectives.

And they will keep attacking as long as they continue achieving their objectives.

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220px-Glenn_ReynoldsFor laymen with an interest in constitutional law, I highly recommend the article linked below.

“The penumbras of the Third Amendment, in conjunction with those other provisions, may impel stricter limits on official intrusions than would be provided by the Second or Fourth Amendments alone.”

“And going beyond sex, one might imagine that intrusive governmental regulations of childrearing, education, diet, and other domestic elements might fall within the Third Amendment’s penumbral protections. All seem as closely related to the maintenance of unmolested domestic bliss as, say, the right to have a diaphragm or condoms in the nightstand.”

Prof. Glen Reynolds is a Tennessee treasure. I’m very grateful that he is training future lawyers for this state. Denizens of the internet may recognize him as “Instapundit.”

NB: You’ll have to download the article in order to read it.


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tartuffe thank you


To: Shakespeare Theatre Company

To say that I was disappointed by the recent production of Tartuffe at the Shakespeare Theatre Company would be an understatement.

I attended the performance last Friday with ten of my students and four chaperones.

We expected to see an up-to-date performance of Moliere’s classic and looked forward to hearing a new translation.

My students all study the play, using the Richard Wilbur translation, and are quite familiar with its structure and message.

We were appalled by the performance.

The adaption went out of its way to excise almost all of Moliere’s humor. This was a mirthless, sinister Tartuffe.

In addition, the performance went out of its way to import blasphemy, misogyny, and obscenity into the play in ways which would have appalled Moliere.

stc tartuffe5  stc tartuffe10

The two strong women’s roles in Moliere’s play (Dorine and Elmire) were reduced to impotence and utterly defeated by Tartuffe.

The actresses were very talented. The fault was not theirs. The fault was with the twisted adaptation of the script and the staging of the scenes.

stc tartuffe3Adding a second servant to Tartuffe, and then having two servants accompany him as a constant entourage altered the balance of power between Tartuffe and the other characters in profound and disturbing ways.

They physically intimidated every other character and overwhelmed them. Keeping the servants onstage, at times perching in positions overlooking the room, turned them into voyeurs and vultures.

Tartuffe no longer relied on rhetoric and deception alone to effect his plans – now he had the threat of violence constantly on display.

There was no need to transgressively introduce bread and a chalice of wine and mock the sacrament. It’s not in Moliere’s script.

stc tartuffe8There was no need to provide Tartuffe with his own cross to carry (with a leer to the audience) as he exited at the end of Act 3.

Perhaps most appalling was the elimination of any element of farce from the famous “table scene” which begs to be staged as a slapstick tag game between Tartuffe and Elmire, but with Elmire always (if only barely) in control, and preserving her integrity as she becomes increasingly exasperated with her hidden husband.

There was no humor in Serrand & Epp’s staging. Elmire did not dodge Tartuffe as he pursued her around the table.

tartuffe-berkeleyIn this production, Elmire was offered up as a sacrifice on the table – violated and essentially raped by Tartuffe.

It was obscene. It was totally unnecessary. It violated the text and message of the play.

The closing scene was completely at odds with the text and intention of Moliere.

In the Serrand & Epp production, AFTER Tartuffe is arrested and led away (bearing his cross!) by the officials of the king, the family, with terror written on their faces, stacks furniture up to block the door to their house and throw the latch.

The implied message is that Tartuffe has won. The family is destroyed and lost – alienated and violated.

The redemptive intervention of the king to exact justice and restore harmony was undercut with a vengeance.

Serrand & Epp’s disdain is clearly for religion in general and Christianity in particular.

Moliere hated hypocrisy, not Christianity.

I am profoundly disappointed in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s decision to host this production.

It has violated the trust we placed in you in bringing our students to see the staging of one of the classics of the 17th century.

We had no warning that this was to be a radically different version of Tartuffe.


I do not know if I can bring students to any productions in the future.


How will I know what to expect?


Rob Shearer

Director, Schaeffer Study Center

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Here’s a photo published in their story today on the attack in Texas by American Muslims on the AFDI’s event awarding a $10,000 prize for the best caricature of Muhammed.


By blacking out the artwork, they show their obesiance to Islam. How brave.

In November of 2000, the voters had a choice between two candidates:

Al_Gore_vp_small GeorgeWBush_small

Here’s my question, gentle readers: Do you think Al Gore would have been a better president than George Bush?

Vote below.

[poll id=”2″]

Christen und Islamischer Staat im Irak: Frankreich bietet Asyl an - SPIEGEL ONLINE

The story is only on the German side of Der Spiegel at the moment. I applaud the government of France!

Christen und Islamischer Staat im Irak: Frankreich bietet Asyl an – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Quick translation:

It was an Exodus in fear of death: Thousands of Christians had to leave the northern Iraqi city of Mosul a few days ago because they were threated by the terrorist group ISIS. Now France is offering the refugees asylum. “One must help every person who fled to Kurdistan because of the threats of ISIS,” reads a joint declaration from the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Monday in Paris. “We are prepared to give them asylum in our country, if they wish.”

Proud of the French.

Listening and waiting for the joint Declaration by John Kerry and Jeh Johnson.



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This one still has me shaking my head in disbelief, but I’ve verified it.

The news is coming out of Germany and hasn’t broken big in the English speaking world yet, but it will.

Trust me on this – this is going to be a BIG story very soon.

Der Spiegel (the German equivalent of Time magazine) came out with the story today, but the real hero is German professor, D. Kriesel, at the University of Bonn. The story at Der Spiegel has not yet appeared in English. But, even better, here’s a link to the professor’s story (and blog) (in English) where I suspect things will be quickly developing.

To summarize, the good professor was working on some building plans which needed to be copied. He used a standard Xerox WorkCentre 7535 copier and suddenly noticed that some small numbers, placed in the center of each room giving the size of the room in square meters had been altered by the copier. Not just blurred, altered – swapped. A room which the original plans showed as 21.11 m2, showed up on the copy as 14.13 m2.

Again, the importance of this observation – The numbers were not just blurred, they were altered – swapped in fact for numbers taken elsewhere on the document.

Compare the images below:

-Original Building Plans- ——Xerox Copy——

Original Building Plans

Original Building Plans

Xerox copy

Xerox copy


Professor Kriesel has been able to reproduce the phenomenon on a number of documents and a number of copiers. Numbers set in small type, especially 7 points or less, seems most susceptible to being altered. The numbers are still quite readable by the human eye, and they are clearly altered.

Why is this happening?

Professor Kriesel’s hypothesis, which is being confirmed by lots of technical analysis, is that the Xerox copier is using an image compression algorithm that replaces tiles in the original with “similar”tiles found elsewhere in the document.

Professor Kriesel contacted Xerox, which at first seems to have dismissed his allegations as a joke.

They’re not laughing anymore as lots of other Xerox copier owners have been able to reproduce the behavior.

The implications are staggering.

What about document centers which have used Xerox copiers to produce digital images and then destroyed originals?

What implications are there for financial records? engineering documents? medical records?
How long has this behavior been going on? (hint: It has likely been happening undetected for years.)

Hacker News appears to have some of the liveliest early analysis.

Stay tuned – there will be lots more on this story over the coming weeks – a prediction by RedHatRob!


marriage game overDOMA was doomed from the start, as many (including the Red Hat) pointed out when it was passed back in the 1990s, and signed into law by President Clinton. He probably knew at the time that it was doomed as well, and cynically signed it anyway.

A federal judge in Ohio today ordered state officials to recognize the marriage of two men that was performed in Maryland. This, in spite of the fact that the constitution of the state of Ohio forbids the recognition of any marriage other than that between “one man and one woman.” Such a ruling was inevitable. And, though it may be appealed, it is inevitable that it will be upheld by the federal courts.

In these matters, it helps to have some acquaintance with the text of the Constitution. In this case, specifically, the “full faith and credit clause,” found in Article IV, Section 1. Recall that Articles 1, 2, &3 outline the functions and powers of the 3 branches (Legislative, Executive, Judicial). Article 4 defines relations between the states.

The “full faith and credit” clause is a fundamental principle of US law. It explains why, when certain states adopted no-fault, no-waiting, divorce statutes in the 1960s, it spelled the end of any legal discouragement of divorce. A divorce granted in Reno must be accepted as a binding official act by the state of California (or any other state), because of the “full faith and credit” clause.

In the same way, once any one of the 50 states began to recognize homosexual marriages, it became inevitable that they would have to be recognized in the other 49 states as well.

The state of Ohio adopted an amendment to the state constitution in 2004 defining marriage as “one man and one woman.” It was ratified by a vote of 61.7% to 38.3%. That will not matter.

Tennessee adopted a state constitutional amendment in 2006 defining marriage as “one man and one woman.” The amendment was approved by 81.25% of the voters. That will not matter.

Both states will be forced by the federal judiciary to recognize homosexual marriages.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how states with such diametrically opposed views on key matters of public policy will remain peacefully in union with each other.

God help us.

Hat Tip: Stand Firm | Gay Marriage Goes National, Act 1.

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