Why We Home-School, Lesson #49
Posted on 04.15.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:09 pm

We want a better return on our investment in terms of educational quality than today’s public schools can even hope to offer.

Public education is so bad these days that no matter how much money the government throws at the problem, nothing changes for the better and it often gets worse.

The bonus ROI for homeschoolers: hours of extra quality time with our children because of how much less time it takes to educate them and when we choose to do it.

(Read previous “Why We Home-School” lessons.)


Filed under: Government and Home Schooling and Why We Home-School
Comments: None

The Worm For The Win
Posted on 04.14.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:52 pm

As a tee-totaling redneck, I’ve always been annoyed that beer brands make some of the most clever TV ads. But you gotta give props where props are due, and Keystone Light has a winner in my book with its fishing ad that glorifies the lowly worm:

I’ve always been partial to the worm as bait. During my high school years, I earned some hefty pocket change catching dozens of nightcrawlers a night in my hometown and selling them for 50 cents to 65 cents per dozen. My biggest problem as a businessman was not using the inventory myself in the Ohio River and its tributary streams on the West Virginia side of the river.

Some of my fishing mentors and companions razzed me over my choice of bait. Even the hillbilly hollers have their share of anglers who look down their noses if you use live bait, and especially nightcrawlers, instead of tying a fly, a spinner or some other lure on the end of your line. Dough balls, corn and even stink bait for catfish ranked higher in their minds than dirty worms.

“A River Runs Through It” memorialized this brand of redneck elitism in a scene where the bumbling bait fisherman showed up late and drunk, with a coffee can full of worms. The uppity fly fishermen, the movie’s main characters, found him hours later, naked and sunburned because he fell asleep in the grass with the hussy he brought with him.

But no matter how much mocking I endured, I never wavered from the worms. I also usually caught far more fish than my friends who were loyal to their lures, as did the fishermen who came knocking on my parents’ door for bait — sometimes to the tune of 20 dozen or more at once.

The pinnacle of my fishing youth came on the day when the man who taught me the most about the sport asked if I’d share my worms with him. He had been fishing all day with his favorite lure, white Curly Tail Grubs from Mister Twister.

For every bass he tricked with those lures, I hooked two to three with my nightcrawlers. They were biting within seconds after my bait hit the water. His “luck” improved dramatically when he swapped the plastic for the natural.

My mentor was a teetotaler, too, but if a non-alcoholic version of Keystone Light had existed back then, he just might have bought me a brew to toast the worm for the win.


Filed under: Advertising and Business and Family and Fishing and Rednecks and Sports and Video and West Virginia
Comments: None

5 Great Reasons NOT To Watch ‘Noah’
Posted on 03.29.14 by Danny Glover @ 12:04 pm

I’ll admit that I was excited about seeing the “Noah” epic that opened in theaters yesterday when I first saw this trailer:

But now that it’s out and I’ve read about both the movie and its atheist maker, I’ve decided not to waste my money. Here are five reasons why you should think twice about wasting yours, too:

  • Noah is portrayed as a psycho who butchers unicorns and tries to kill his kin.
  • The snakeskin shed by Satan as a serpent has magical powers.
  • Adam and Eve were space aliens who became human after they ate the wrong fruit.
  • A magic seed snagged from the Garden of Eden grows a forest of wood for the ark.
  • And rock monsters, the form taken by fallen angels, roam the Earth and build the ark.

The film’s director admits that Noah is “the least biblical biblical film ever made” and a disclaimer for the movie adds that “artistic license has been taken.” But that’s typical Hollywood. I would not have expected any less from an entertainment community that glorifies evil and maligns goodness, and I would have paid a few bucks to see a movie based even loosely on a Bible story.

Defenders of director Darren Aronofsky’s interpretation of the Great Flood also fairly point out that he had to take artistic license to make a two-hour movie from a few verses in the Bible. As a writer, I appreciate the enormity of the challenge of writing a script that wouldn’t alienate the people most likely to watch the movie — Christians who have heard the story of Noah from the Book of Genesis since childhood.

But this movie sounds like a real dud that not only makes a mockery of God’s word but also is plain laughable from a worldly view. “It’s tiresome, exhausting, bizarre and self-serious,” a secular writer at The Awl concluded in a piece headlined “Why Won’t Anybody Say That ‘Noah’ Is Terrible?

The best reason to blow your entertainment budget elsewhere is because, as one reviewer put it, “Noah” is the “stupidest movie in years.” I’ll go see “God’s Not Dead” instead.


Filed under: Culture and Entertainment and News & Politics and Religion and Video
Comments: None

A Speeding Bullet Can’t Even Pierce Obamacare
Posted on 03.26.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:04 pm

Joe Manchin may regret shooting a piece of legislation with a high-powered rifle in his 2011 West Virginia Senate campaign, but his “Dead Aim” ad has spawned another enlightened redneck imitator this year.

In his race for an Alabama House seat, Will Brooke takes a few shots, literally, at President Obama’s healthcare law — and makes a statement in defense of gun rights at the same time:

The moral of this video story: Not even a speeding bullet fired from the barrel of a high-powered rifle or pistol can penetrate the mountain of bureaucratic language that now governs American health care.


Filed under: Government and Health and Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and People and Video and West Virginia
Comments: None

Gun-loving Rednecks In Obama’s White House
Posted on 03.11.14 by Danny Glover @ 12:24 am

Something happened in the White House that you don’t see every day: President Obama hosted gun-loving rednecks in a celebration of college athletics. Or to be more specific, he hosted the West Virginia University rifle team, which has won a record 15 championships.

“This is a great honor,” Mountaineer rifle coach Jon Hammond told WAJR.com. “We’re honored to be the first WVU team to attend the White House. This promises to be a great moment for the student-athletes, and I’m glad they have the chance to enjoy this experience. Hopefully, this day will be something they’ll look back on fondly when they’re older.”

But I’m sure WVU’s shooting stars weren’t clinging to their guns while they were there. They also weren’t the only guests, as Obama invited championship teams from multiple sports. Watch video of the event:


Filed under: Government and Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and Rednecks and Video and West Virginia
Comments: None

The Realities Of Russian Life
Posted on 03.01.14 by Danny Glover @ 1:36 pm

Russia has been in the news a lot these days thanks to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and now the turmoil in the Ukraine. The coverage has triggered memories of my trip to Russia a decade ago.

I went there for about three weeks in May/June 2004 to visit the preacher our congregation supported in Nizhny Novgorod and to meet the brethren there. We also spent a few days site-seeing in Moscow. It was one of the most enlightening experiences of life.

I initially laughed like every other spoiled American at the gripes from journalists as they arrived in Russia last month to cover the Olympics. But an article about the #SochiProblems later reminded me that, sadly, they were reporting realities that Russians face every day.

Here are two telling excerpts from the blog PolicyMic:

  • “Most Russians don’t drink water from the sink due to fear of illness, and the ones who can’t afford bottled water just boil it and hope they don’t get sick. Only around half of Russians had access to drinking water that met reasonable health standards in 2002.”
  • “Russian corporations ended up denying their 70,000 workers wages, sanitary accommodations and, in many cases, basic human rights” while building Olympic facilities.

The article prompted me to revisit my Mission To Russia blog, where I made observations like these about life in Russia:
(more…)


Filed under: Blogging and Culture and Human Interest and News & Politics and Photography and Travel
Comments: 1 Comment

There’s Gold In Them There Cans!
Posted on 03.01.14 by Danny Glover @ 12:19 pm

Imagine taking the dog for a walk one day and coming home a millionaire. Sounds crazy, right? But it’s reality for one Northern California couple.

The world only knows them as John and Mary. They understandably want to remain anonymous after finding a stash of gold coins that had been buried on their property in eight cans for decades. The 1,411 coins are worth $28,000 face value, $2 million if melted for the gold and an estimated $10 million in collectible value.

The Los Angeles Times reported these details about the “Saddle Ridge Hoard,” the largest ever found in U.S. history:

All dated between 1847 and 1894, 13 of the coins are the finest of their kind. One “miraculous coin,” an 1866 $20 piece made in San Francisco and missing “In God We Trust,” could bring $1 million on its own, Hall said.

When the motto was added to the coin in 1866, some were still minted without the phrase, he said. Had the couple attempted to clean the delicate surface of the piece, they could have reduced the value to $7,000 or $8,000 in under a minute, said David McCarthy, senior numismatist for Kagin’s, who evaluated the hoard.

The last big find was uncovered in 1985 in Jackson, Tenn. It had a face value of $4,500 and was eventually sold for around $1 million.

When I heard the story on the news one morning this week, I told our daughter to go get our son and tell him to take the dog for a walk. You never know what you might find!

The story also got me excited about using my metal detector again. My wife bought it for me for Christmas in 2012 and gave me some accessory equipment this past Christmas. I’ve only used it once on my father’s property in West Virginia, and the only coin I found was a wheat penny from the 1940s. (I also found an old, rusted pocket knife and other metallic odds and ends.)

But we’ve only just begun. We have more than 30 acres to search. National Geographic’s coverage of the Saddle Ridge Hoard says there are few hoards of gold coins in the United States.

Here’s a quote from Douglas Mudd, the director and curator of the American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum: “You get a lot of hoards in Europe — coins buried for hundreds or thousands of years, but they’re less common in the U.S. Our history isn’t that long, and for most of the time we’ve had banks, so people have tended to put their money there. … Sixty, 70, 200 coins — yes. Fourteen-hundred? That’s exceptional.”

But that’s OK. I’d be happy to find a few random silver coins and maybe an Indian arrowhead or two. It’s all about the hunt to us diggers. And as National Geographic says, “People who sweep metal detectors over fields as a hobby, and backyard dog walkers casually kicking up a bit of dirt, can always hope for a lucky strike.”


Filed under: Coin Collecting and History and Human Interest and News & Politics and Technology and West Virginia
Comments: None

Wild, Miserable West Virginia?
Posted on 02.21.14 by Danny Glover @ 11:49 pm

Ask any West Virginian what he or she thinks of the Mountain State and you’re likely to hear how wild and wonderful it is. The phrase “wild and wonderful” — or sometimes just “wonderful” — has defined the state for decades.

But when city slickers dig a little deeper with probing questions about life, work, physical and emotional health, behaviors, and basic access, West Virginians appear to be a pretty miserable lot.

The evidence is in Gallup-Healthway’s annual “State of American Well-Being” index. The latest report for 2013 was just released, and my home state is dead last — for the fifth year in a row. The only time West Virginia didn’t rank No. 50 was in 2008, the first year of the index, and we were 49th that year.

Cue the negative media coverage of those rednecks in the hills:
(more…)


Filed under: Business and Culture and Health and News & Politics and Rednecks and West Virginia
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An Inspiring Adoption Song
Posted on 02.04.14 by Danny Glover @ 9:38 pm

Somewhere within my heart is a song about adoption looking for a voice. I have a title for it that comes from the last paragraph of our adoption story and even drafted some lyrics several years ago.

But I’ve never been able to finish the song. I guess I’m a writer but not a songwriter.

John Waller, on the other hand, is a songwriter. And he tells an inspiring adoption story in “Orphan,” a song about a little girl’s quest for her “forever home.”

The song is even more powerful when you realize that little girl at the beginning and end of the video is Waller’s adopted daughter, and the people who play the parents are his sister and brother-in-law.

I hope someday I can find the words to pen our adoption story in lyrics, but for now, I’ll just listen to John Waller’s and appreciate all of the parents and children who found each other through adoption. “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27).


Filed under: Adoption and Family and Music and Video
Comments: None

Beyond The West Virginia Stereotypes
Posted on 01.15.14 by Danny Glover @ 9:41 pm

You’ll never read this description of West Virginia (or any like it) in the media because it’s way more fun to mock stereotypical, imaginary rednecks than it is to report the boring reality of enlightened rednecks:

My father and mother both have good jobs. My sister and I both attend college. I’ve never thought about fornicating with a family member. I’ve never chewed tobacco or made moonshine. I have all my teeth. I’m friends with a black kid. I’ve never seen Crystal Meth. Welfare checks don’t feed me. I wear the brands other states wear, listen to the Billboard Top 100, and I even have internet access. Take a step back and look at us, America- West Virginia isn’t just one big mud hole…it’s where I call home.

There’s more at the Gateway Connector blog in a post titled “The Real West Virginia,” including a short list of celebrities from the Mountain State such as premier college football coaches Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban.


Filed under: Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and News & Politics and People and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: None

How To Cover Tragedy In West Virginia
Posted on 01.14.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:34 pm

If you’re an elite journalist, there are apparently only two ways to cover tragedy in West Virginia — ignore it or mock the people who are impacted by it. Both happened over the past few days as more than 100,000 residents of the Mountain State lost easy access to clean water, a resource that too many Americans take for granted.

The tragedy, officially declared a disaster by the Federal Emergency Management Agency last week, occurred after a chemical plant near Charleston leaked a substance known as MCHM (short for 4-methylcyclohexane methanol) into the Elk River. As a result of the spill, people in nine surrounding counties were told not to drink, cook, bathe or wash clothes with water piped into their homes from that source.

Had this tragedy happened where I live now, in a Virginia suburb outside the nation’s capital, or in another major media center like New York, it would have been the top story in every major news outlet for days. But because it happened in my home state, nothing but a land of “Buckwild” hillbillies and rubes to many journalists in the big cities, it’s an afterthought.

Ironically, it took one big city journalist to make that point before anyone paid attention. Jason Linkins of The Huffington Post mocked the Sunday news shows for ignoring the West Virginia chemical spill.

But look, it was really important that Sunday pundits cover this whole “Will Chris Christie Survive This Scandal To Run For President In 2016?” story. Time is of the essence on that one: They’ve only got two years left in which to have Really Deep Thoughts about it.

Plus CBS’ “Face The Nation” just had to commemorate the Hudson River landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 — the five-year anniversary of that is in three days!

And Martha Raddatz had some important breaking news that definitely supersedes coverage of the Elk River spill: “Take a look at the newest star at the Smithsonian National Zoo. We got a sneak peek at Bao Bao getting ready for her big public debut this week. But you might catch her during a nap. The four-and-a-half month old panda sleeps 20 hours a day.”

… And so on. I guess if you want coverage of a chemical spill, it better happen inside the bubble.

More irony ensued when Detroit journalist Zlati Meyer decided the chemical spill was a good time to take a page from Jay Leno’s “Big Joke Book of Bigotry”. “#WestVirginia has its tainted water problem under ctrl. Now, it can work on incest,” she tweeted.

Yes, you heard that right. A journalist in Detroit, which these days is far more backward than West Virginia ever has been, albeit in a different way, got on her high horse to look down her nose at all those imaginary kissin’ cousins in the boondocks.

Meyer quickly deleted her tweet, no doubt because she caught so much justifiable heat for it. But it will live online forever as a testament to journalistic bias and ignorance.


Filed under: Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and News & Politics and People and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment

Sweet Dog, Mean Cat, Strong Mouse
Posted on 01.11.14 by Danny Glover @ 2:56 pm

Two funny animal videos made their way into my Facebook feed this morning. The first illustrates the difference between mama dogs and mama cats:

The second is a commercial from 2010 that looks like it’s sure to infuriate the “animals are people, too” crowd but ends on a happy note for the mouse:

Both videos made me laugh, which is a good way to start the weekend. Enjoy yours.


Filed under: Advertising and Business and Just For Laughs and Pets and Video
Comments: None

‘How’s Your Relationship With God?’
Posted on 01.10.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:16 pm

Twelve-year-old Taylor Smith of Tennessee began a letter to herself with those words back in April, and her mini-sermon to the future Taylor Smith got better from there.

Have you prayed, worshiped, read the Bible or gone to serve the Lord recently? If not, get up and go do so NOW! I don’t care what point in our life we’re in right now, do it! He was mocked, beaten, tortured and crucified FOR YOU! A sinless man who never did you or any other person wrong.

Smith wasn’t going to open the letter until 2023. She died Sunday from complications of pneumonia, and her parents found the letter. Now she is speaking to you and me instead. They are profound words worth remembering today, 10 years from now and always.


Filed under: News & Politics and People and Religion and Technology
Comments: None

Phil Robertson’s Faith, Rick Warren’s Words
Posted on 12.28.13 by Danny Glover @ 3:37 pm

If you say something profound and people online repeat it often enough, there’s a good chance someone more famous than you will get credit for those words some day.

It happened to Lewis Napper when he authored “The Bill of No Rights” back in the 1990s. Now, thanks to ongoing online chatter about the “Duck Dynasty” controversy over what the Bible says about homosexuality, it has happened to mega-church evangelist Rick Warren.

Warren is a celebrity in his own right, but Robertson is the man of faith in the news these days. And thanks to the popularity of an article about Robertson that included a famous Warren quote, a whole bunch of people think Robertson actually spoke these words of Warren’s:

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

Warren shared that view not when talking about homosexuality but when defending himself against a newspaper’s claim that he thinks Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

The Christian Post asked Warren, “Why do you think people who call themselves Christians sometimes say the most hateful things about Muslims?” His insight into how Americans have perverted the meaning of the word “hate” was part of this answer to the Post’s question:

Well, some of those folks probably aren’t really Christians. 1 John 4:20 says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” And 1 John 2:9 says “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” I am not allowed by Jesus to hate anyone. Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

So how did Robertson end up being credited with the latter part of that quote? The path toward confusion began when the Christian-to-Muslim context in Warren’s answer faded amid the culture war over gay marriage.
(more…)


Filed under: Culture and Entertainment and Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and News & Politics and People and Rednecks and Religion
Comments: None

Walmart’s ‘Black Friday’ Fail
Posted on 12.26.13 by Danny Glover @ 1:16 pm

My wife and I have never been interested in braving the crazy masses to Christmas shop on Black Friday, and we’re even less inclined to join the insanity now that “Black Friday” actually begins a day early, on Thanksgiving Day. We’d rather enjoy the evening with family than waste it on conspicuous consumption for a holiday that has become far too commercialized.

But this year a confluence of events convinced my wife to go shopping on Thanksgiving night: 1) Our son really wanted Beats headphones; 2) God blessed our new communications business with a surplus of work and income, so we could afford to splurge on the children; and 3) Walmart had a great deal on headphones for anyone who shopped that night.

Many people who shop on the wildest day of the year can’t get the gifts they want because they fly off the shelves. Walmart didn’t have any Beats headphones by the time she trekked to the Walmart nearest to my parents’ house in West Virginia.

But as promised because she shopped during the allotted time, Walmart gave her a rain check and promised to deliver the headphones to our local store in the Washington, D.C., area between Dec. 14 and Dec. 22. One big item off the shopping list early, right?

Wrong. We started getting antsy about Walmart’s ability to deliver on time midway between the two promised dates. Then on Dec. 21 we received this email: “Your Walmart.com order is almost ready for pickup. … You’ll receive a separate email when your item is ready for pickup. We will also be emailing you a $10 eGift Card for any inconvenience that may occur if your item does not arrive” on time.

Less than 24 hours later we learned that “almost ready” in Wally World doesn’t mean “sometime in the next three days before you have to wrap the gift and leave town for Christmas.” We received that $20 gift card but not the gift that our son wanted most this year. Thanks for nothing, Walmart!

Thankfully this Christmas story has a happy ending. We’re regular customers of Best Buy, and they sent an email the morning of Dec. 22 advertising a one-day special on select Beats headphones. Even better, they cost $15 less than what we paid for a rain check that Walmart couldn’t manage to fill in three weeks’ time.

Our son got his headphones; we got a gift certificate that we’ll use at Walmart the day we go to get a refund on the headphones that were never delivered; and we learned never to shop at Walmart on Black Friday. There are better ways to fill the emptiness underneath our Christmas tree.


Filed under: Business and Family and Holidays and Music and West Virginia
Comments: None

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