Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eat at McDonalds. Or Else.

Have you ever complained about the quality of McDonalds’ hamburgers?  Do you order hamburgers from other places, or even go so far as to make your own, because of this lack of quality?
Shame on you.
You ought to know that some people are poor enough that they can’t afford to eat elsewhere.  Your abandonment of the fast food joint ensures that they’ll never ever be able to eat a decent burger.
You see, we all need to stop searching for better burgers and eat at McDonalds.  That way, we’ll have a vested interest in trying to convince the company to create a better burger.  If no one ever goes to their competitors, they’ll be sure to come up with a perfect burger.  You’ll see.
Sure, we might have to put up with lame and disgusting burgers for a few years.  We might end up with diseases from lack of nutrition and extreme amounts of indigestion.  We might find that the thought of one more burger is enough to make our stomachs rebel.
But in the end, McDonalds will be sure to hear our vehement complaints.  They will realize that if they don’t create a better burger, we’ll all… er… whine when we order our next burger.  Yeah, that’ll teach ‘em.  Tell ‘em that if their burgers don’t improve, we’ll keep whining… as we order them.
Yes, folks, the way will not be easy; the burger might take years to improve… but future consumers will thank you.
And if you dare buy from WhatABurger?  Or Hardees?  Or Burger King?  Or Wendys?  Well, then it’s quite obvious that you are a bad person.  Stop complaining about food which you aren’t willing to eat and start making a difference.  Order a Big Mac today.
*Cough*
No, I have not lost my mind; I don’t really want you to buy from McDonalds.
The above is my attempt at a loose parody of this “manifesto”: “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person”
Now, this article is so flawed that if I were to address every single fault, I’d probably end up with a book.  I’m attempting to write a reasonably-sized blog post; I’ll only touch on the three most obvious (to me) flaws.

1. – Eliminating Competition.

“Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better.”
“[I]f every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve.”
Competition is not bad. It forces good businesses to excell in at least one area, and gives the consumer the leverage needed to get a good deal.  Quite a few stores, for instance, will lower the price of an item for you if you let them know that another store in the area is selling it cheaper.  Why?  Because they won’t make a profit if you choose to buy from that other store, and therefore they will do their best to ensure that you are pleased.
Eliminating competition is not a good way to ensure better customer service, better products, or better education.  This should be obvious to anyone.  It really isn’t that complicated, people.  You don’t need to have a Ph.D. to be able to figure this out.
Obviously, McDonalds and Public Schools aren’t exactly the same.  One is tax-funded, and you are required to pay for it.  The other only takes your money when you order a burger.

2. – Taxpayer-Funded Education

“This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)”
This smacks of socialism.  Make sure that everyone is certain to have exactly the same thing, assume that they deserve it, offer it as a government program, force everyone to pay for it, etc, etc.

God didn’t order give the civil government the authority or duty to ensure that everyone is educated.  God tells parents to educate their children.  Public schools shouldn’t even exist.  They are unconstitutional, unbiblical, and as they have proved over and over, utterly incompetent.
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. -Deuteronomy 6:6,7

3. – Is Education Important… Or Not?

Honestly, I’m still not sure what this lady is saying.
On the one hand, she is arguing that high-quality education for everyone is vital.  That you ought to make sacrifices to make certain that everyone gets a good education.
On the other hand, she assures you that your child won’t suffer when you ensure that they receive a mediocre education. They’ll do fine; the experience will be good for them.
Huh?

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” -Romans 1:22
“Give [instruction] to a wise [man], and he will be yet wiser: teach a just [man], and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.” -Proverbs 9:9,10

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pumpkin Squares

Ingredients
For the Cake:
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups brown sugar (or sucanat)
  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour, all purpose or whole wheat pastry or spelt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
For the Frosting:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
Cake:
  1. Mix together the oil and sugar, add the pumpkin.
  2. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add to wet ingredients. Stir until thoroughly combined, do not over mix.
  4. Pour batter into a greased 9×13 pan.
  5. Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until tests done.
Frosting:
  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together until smooth, add powdered sugar.
  2. Spread on cooled cake.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

{Awkward & Awesome}

Quite a few of my bloggin’ friends have weekly “Awkward and Awesome” posts.  While I’ve often considered joining in on the trend, I always decided against it, as I’m really bad about posting things on schedule.
Since I really enjoy reading others’ posts, however, I’m going attempt to at least do an occasional A&A post.  Whether or not they’ll be on schedule or not… well, we’ll see.  
ANYWAY.  Without any further ado…
Awkward:
  • Sipping a mocha frappuccino and feeling something lodge in my throat – I  assume that it’s just a chunk of ice and wait for it to melt, only it doesn’t, and I finally cough up a miniscle piece of foil.  What. on. earth.?!
  • Babysitting and not being able to understand half of what the energetic five year-old is saying.
  • An alarm clock which doesn’t pay attention to whether or not it’s set to go off or not.  Augh! 
  • Walking outside and nearly tripping over the huge black dog who insists on laying on the top step.
  • Not wanting to print out a sheet of music without first hearing it, so I set my iPod on the piano and squinted at the tiny notes on the screen while trying to play them… fail.
  • Casting my fishing line over a telephone wire instead of into the lake.  Don’t ask.
  • The amount of homemade dill pickles I’ve consumed in the last week or so.   I’ve refilled the jar twice.
  • Deciding to re-upholster the seat cushion of my desk chair and pulling 31 tack-thingys out to get the current fabric off.  I think someone went overboard?  Slightly?

Awesome:
  • Thrift stores.  Seriously, where else can you get 3-4 items of clothing for less than $10?
  • Having sisters *cough*finally*cough* agree with my opinions on how our room should be “decorated”.  Now to find some black paint to “fix” that bright red bunkbed…
  • Getting home and having little siblings run out to meet me while squealing with excitement – even though I’ve only been gone for a couple hours.
  • People who “get” my corny, rather bizarre, and kinda-sarcastic sense of humor.
  • The fact that our road (as far as I know) isn’t going to be re-paved.  I know that sounds like an odd thing to list as “awesome”, but I really don’t want to have the amount of traffic coming down our road increase.  I like things quiet.  
  • Taking a day off from normal activities to go fishing and four wheeling.
  • The fact that the end of summer is in sight.  Which means that my three favorite seasons are just around the corner.
  • Pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins for breakfast.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Feminism

e, that we can pick and choose which parts of the Bible to follow?
Yes, I’m being sarcastic.  Obviously.
According to feminists, the mother who stays home to teach her own children is less-than successful.  Were she to teach someone else’s children in a classroom miles away from her home while sending her own children to different classrooms down the hall, she would be successful.  But to sit in her own house, teaching her own children?  Is she even qualified for that?
To work as a cook in a restaurant is an acceptable way for her to spend her time, but to cook for her own family, up to a thousand or so meals per year?  Why would she want to do that when eating out is an option?
Since a career is supposed to be the most important thing, children are no longer a blessing, but are instead an obstacle to the betterment of self. An individualistic mindset is praised and extolled.  We have broken through the glass ceiling, we don’t have to be oppressed with the responsibility of caring about the welfare of anyone but ourselves, you see.
Marriage is optional and should never ever hamper your career, and children should be put off until the time that they are affordable and convenient and “planned”.  Oh, and two children are more than enough, right? The only reason that anyone would want more is because they want their own TV show like the Duggars, of course.
To be politically correct, children have to be put in government schools. After all, it’s the job of the government to educate kids, right? The family isn’t qualified for such things, and why would they want to put so much time and effort into their children when they could be expending their energy on more important things?
Yes, women are just as important and valuable as men, but the only way that they can prove this is by acting just like a man and eschewing every element of their femininity.  This is how they are able to achieve worth and value.
According to the feminist mindset, anyway.
But rather than helping women as they claim, however, feminists have demeaned women.  If a woman has to be able to act like a man to prove that she is a fulfilled person, than obviously, it stands to reason to conclude that a woman is inferior to a man, and that only by leaving her natural passions and sphere of influence, only by trying to be a man, does she achieve worth.  Femininity is attacked, and the truly successful woman, we are told, is one who is able to do everything a man does just as well as he does it, or better.
Is a women equal to a man in worth?  Absolutely.  God did not create humans and sub-humans.  But having her try to prove this by acting just like a man is contradictory in the extreme.  God did create man and woman different, and it is ridiculous to attempt to prove that they aren’t different.
What if the US Air Force tried to prove its value in the same way that feminists try to prove theirs?  What if they all abandoned their airplanes and built a fleet of ships, insisting that they were just as good as those in the Navy?
Wouldn’t it be easy for us to recognize the fact that their words and their actions were at odds?  That if they truly are as important as the Navy, then the abandonment of their roles in the Air Force is incredibly detrimental to our country’s defense?
Why then can’t we realize that feminism follows the same sort of twisted logic?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chocolate-Swirl Coffee Cake



Although we haven’t done it as often lately, our family’s traditional Sunday-morning breakfast for the last several years has included coffee cake or muffins. This may not be *the* healthiest breakfast recipe ever, but it certainly is good – and if you don’t wish to serve it for breakfast, it’ll work just fine for snacking or dessert.
I personally like to use freshly-ground flour and sucanat or coconut sugar for this, but all-purpose flour and white sugar work fine.  I also double the recipe to ensure that we don’t run out, and since we don’t have two tube pans I divide the extra dough between two loaf pans and reduce the amount of baking time slightly.
I personally think that the best way to serve this is with a little butter – some members of my family like to pour yogurt on top.

Chocolate-Swirl Coffee Cake

Ingredients
Cake:
  • 4 – 4½ cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp instant yeast
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
Chocolate filling:
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Crumb topping:
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts, optional
Instructions
Mixing the cake:
  1. In a small bowl, combine 1½ cups of flour and yeast.
  2. Combine the sugar, butter, water, milk, and salt in a medium saucepan and heat until the butter is nearly melted.
  3. Pour heated mixture over flour mixture, stir well.
  4. Mix in eggs.
  5. Knead in the remainder of the flour, loosely cover bowl and let dough rise for about an hour.
Making the filling:
  1. In a double boiler, combine the chocolate chips, milk, and cinnamon. Heat until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Crumb topping:
  1. Cut together the flour, sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Add nuts and chocolate chips.
Assembly:
  1. Grease a 10″ tube pan.
  2. Place dough on floured surface and roll out to make a rectangle about 14″ x 22″.
  3. Spread filling over dough, leaving a 1″ border on all sides.
  4. Starting with one of the shorter ends, roll the dough up cinnamon roll-style.
  5. Pick up dough and place it in the tube pan, forming a circle. Pinch the two ends together.
  6. Let cake rise until nearly doubled.
  7. Sprinkle topping on top of cake.
  8. Bake cake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, or until tests done.