Category Archives: Education

Rule Five Tenth Annual Commencement Speech Friday

It’s that time of year again when high school and college graduates all over the country are trying on caps and gowns and making post-graduation plans. Today, for the tenth year, (holy crap, I’ve been doing this for ten years?) I will present here my own carefully prepared commencement speech to those grads – presented here because there’s damn little chance of my being asked to deliver it in person to a group of impressionable yutes.

So, here it is. Enjoy.

“Graduates of the Class of 2023, let me be the first to extend to you my congratulations on this, your day of entry into reality.

For the last four years, you have been working towards this goal, towards this day. That’s a good thing. One of the most important skills you will ever need, one of the most important ways to achieve success in the world into which you are about to enter, is the ability to formulate goals, plan how to achieve those goals, and see things through until you reach those goals. Today you’ve shown you can do that. Congratulations and good job.

Now, before you go out to enjoy the rest of this day, before you go out to celebrate this goal you have achieved, let me tell you a few harsh truths about the world you’re entering. I’m not going to give you any trigger warnings; if you can’t handle what I’m about to say, there’s damn little future for you out there in the real world, so cowboy up. Moments ago I congratulated you on your day of entry into reality, so to get you started off right, here is a hefty dose of reality for you.

Despite what you may have been told during all your years of education, nobody owes you anything, and you aren’t special. Any perceived ‘need’ you may have does not entitle you to anything – most especially, not to one red cent of the product of anyone else’s effort. If any of your professors have told you that, then they are economic illiterates, moral frauds, or outright charlatans.

Our wonderful Constitution, which has stood for well over two hundred years as the founding document of our Republic, guarantees you the opportunity to your pursuit of happiness. It does not require anyone to provide you with the means to your happiness at their expense. You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You have no moral claim on anyone else’s productivity. Accept that fact and you are already one step ahead of most of your peers.

You are entitled to what you have earned through your own efforts, and not:

One.

Damn.

Thing.

More.

If you are accepting a degree today in LGBT Studies, or Women’s Studies, or any of the other assorted bullshit Underwater Dog Polishing degrees our universities crank out today, then you have my sympathies. You are the victim of a fraud perpetrated by our university system, a vicious and cynical fraud that has resulted in you spending a lot of money for no gain. But more importantly, you are the victim of your own poor judgement. You decided to pursue a useless degree, and now you’re stuck. Here is another harsh reality: You are responsible for your own situation. It’s not anybody else’s fault. Nobody else is responsible. You are.

Your university experience had one goal – producing a young adult with marketable skills, someone who can provide value to an employer and to the economy. In this your university has failed, and in choosing this degree, so did you. You have relegated yourself to uselessness in the workplace, and when a few years from now you are working as a barista or checkout clerk and crying over your six figures of student debt, remember what I said a few moments ago: You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You made a decision; now you get to deal with the consequences of that decision. Pull yourself up, look around at the other opportunities around you, and figure a way out of this mess your youthful indiscretion has landed you in.

But you still have one thing going for you. You have shown that you can set yourself a goal and achieve it. Do so now.

So, where do you go from here?

Because nobody owes you anything, including a living, one of the tasks ahead of you now is finding gainful employment. If you’re going to find employment, it will only be because you can demonstrate to the employer that you can provide value to him or her in excess of your costs of employment. Employment is an economic transaction. In any free market transaction, both parties have to realize a perceived gain in value or the transaction won’t happen. If a prospective employer doesn’t think you’re able to provide value to his/her business in excess of your cost of employment, which includes not only your salary but all the extra taxes, fees and other various government extortion that you never see in your pay stub – then they won’t hire you. So be able to present yourself as someone who can provide value, in whatever field you have been studying these last few years.

Once you have gained that employment, once you are in the workplace, remember these three rules for success:

  • Show up a little earlier than the other guy,
  • Work a little harder than the other guy,
  • Never pass up a chance to learn something new.

Words that should never pass your lips include such things as “that’s not my job,” and “I don’t have time for that.” Your reputation in the workplace should be, to put it bluntly, the one who can get shit done. Results matter. Be the one that the boss can count on. Be the one who brings things in on time. Be the one who finishes the job. Be the one that produces value and you will never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

Bear in mind also that you are entering the workforce as a tablua rasa as far as potential employers are concerned. You’re not going to leave these halls and be CEO of General Motors. You will be working in an entry level job, probably not making a lot of money, probably doing work your longer-term co-workers don’t want to do. Suck it up. There are no lousy jobs, only lousy people. Any work that produces value is worth doing. How do you know if your work is producing value? The answer to that is trivially easy: If someone is willing to pay you to do the work, then you are producing value. Bear in mind also that the job belongs to the employer, not to you, and if you don’t meet the employer’s expectations, someone else will.

How do you meet those expectations? Better yet, how do you exceed them? When you are doing that job, keep these things in mind:

Be known for your integrity. Don’t say anything you don’t believe and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who means what you say and who delivers on your promises.

Be known for your reliability. Show up on time, every day, for every event. Show up on time for meetings. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who will always be there when you’re needed.

Be known for your responsibility. If you take on a task, finish it. If you commit to a timeline, meet it. If you accept responsibility for something, own it. It’s yours. Don’t expect anyone else to take care of it for you. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who, when put in charge, takes charge.

Be known for your dependability. Plan your tasks to bring them in on schedule. If that means long hours, work them. If that means working a Saturday, work it. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who can get the job done.

Success isn’t a mysterious thing. It’s not that elusive and it’s not even all that hard. I did it, and you can too, but it does involve one four-letter word:

Work.

Thomas Edison once said “people often fail to recognize opportunity when it knocks, because it usually shows up in overalls and looks like work.” At these commencement events it’s common to be told to follow your dreams, and that’s nice, flowery stuff, but in most cases nobody is going to pay you to follow your dreams. They will pay you to produce value, and that means work. Follow your dreams on your own time.

Finally, I will leave you all with some unsolicited advice:

All through your life, people will promise you things. Most of them won’t deliver. Many of those people will be people seeking political office, and many more of them will be people pushing some sort of supposed business opportunity. Some years ago the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein observed a fundamental law of the universe, which law is represented by the acronym TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Remember that; if someone offers you something for nothing, they are lying. If someone is offering you something at someone else’s expense, they are offering to commit theft on your behalf. The only moral answer to such offers is outright refusal.

There are only three types of economic transactions and only one of those – a free, unfettered, voluntary exchange of value – is morally acceptable. If a transaction is done by force, that is theft. If a transaction is done by deceit, that is fraud. Have no interaction with anyone who advocates either.

Accept responsibility for your own successes. Accept responsibility for your own failures. Learn from both. Rely on yourself. Rely on your own skills, your own abilities. Many other people will let you down, but you can always rely on yourself.

In her epic novel Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand presents the protagonist, John Galt, describing his decision to solve society’s troubles by an epic act of creative destruction. He describes the ultimate moment of his decision process with two sentences, two sentences which I have found more inspiring than any long-winded ethical or political monologue ever delivered since the times of Plato and Aristotle. These words are the very essence of the self-directed man of achievement:

‘I saw what had to be done. I went out to do it.’

Those are good words to live by. Now, today, you graduates see what has to be done.

Go out and do it.

Thank you and good luck.”

If anyone was offended by anything contained in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, The Daley Gator, Flappr, Whores and Ale, and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!

Now then: Who the hell thought this was in any way appropriate?

Deer Creek School District released a statement Friday afternoon after a video was sent to Fox 25 that showed students licking toes during an event for the school’s Wonderful Week of Fundraising.

“It was surprising,” an anonymous student told Fox 25. “I didn’t think they were going to do all that. I was just shocked. I didn’t really have like a feeling. I was kind of disgusted, and then kind of glad I wasn’t over there.”

“Whenever she told me yesterday that was happening, I had to ask her, ‘Wait, what? They’re licking peanut butter off of toes,” an anonymous parent said. “What?”

The week was spent raising money for Not Your Average Joe Coffee, which employs people with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities.

“I am all for fundraising and all for really fun and silly things, but that right there just seems a little excessive,” the parent said.

What the actual fuck?  Here’s the video:

The statement claims that no Deer Creek teachers or faculty took part in this disgusting exercise, which begs the question: “Then who did?”

Oklahoma’s State Secretary of Schools had the right reply:

Damn right, this needs to be cleaned up.  Anyone in the school system who enabled this in any way should be cashiered, forthwith.  If the schools, or indeed any organization want to use school-aged kids for fundraisers, let them do sack races, or chili cook-offs, or something sensible.  For example:  Here in the Great Land, every April there is a gun show down in Big Lake, that raises money for the Big Lake High School boy’s hockey team.

Plenty of folks on the left will no doubt rheeeee about that, but it’s sure as hell a lot saner and healthier than having school kids lick peanut butter off adults’ toes.

Honestly. Just when you think you’ve hit Peak Stupid, some shit like this comes up.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I can’t believe this is already the last Hump Day post of 2023!  Watch, though, for Friday’s Rule Five post, as we will be announcing some changes and some fun new stuff for the sight.  Rest assured our Blue Monday, Hump Day, Rule Five Friday and Saturday Gingermageddon displays of toothsome totty will continue, as well as me bringing you my take on the events of the day.

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I’ve written before about the possibility of small, modular nuclear reactors and their possible use in providing clean, reliable electricity to remote communities – like, say, much of Alaska.  Here’s another interesting piece on that topic.

SMRs are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit, equivalent to around one-third the generating capacity of a traditional nuclear reactor. SMRs are much smaller than traditional reactors and are modular, making it simpler for them to be assembled in factories and transported to site. Because of their smaller size, it is possible to install an SMR on sites that are not suitable for bigger reactors.

If these live up to expectations, they could be game-changers for small rural communities.  But that’s a pretty big ‘if’ – and don’t underestimate the odds of the government regulating them out of existence.

Now then…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

This mess in the Middle East has now officially gotten out of hand.  More on that in the links.

When you’re a nation the size of Delaware, surrounded by people who want to kill you, it’s in your best interest to keep your military and your intelligence services dialed in, but in this case Israel obviously missed something.

Now then…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Housekeeping note:  Since my Wednesday links posts have always been long, and are getting longer, I’m going to try sticking the actual links below a “Click to Read More” tag.  This will help me to keep my already crowded front page a tad less cluttered while I consider how to go about a more involved revamp of the site. I’m still using the 2014 theme for WordPress, and while I like the looks of it, it may be time to update.  It’s been almost ten years since the last major site revamp, so we’ll see.  And, of course, please do let me know in the comments if you like/dislike and changes or have any other comments.

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Boy howdy, have we made up for our cold, wet, rainy early summer over the last few days with unseasonably warm temperatures; at least the sun is out.

Tomorrow:

Yeah, yeah, I know.  A friend of mine lives in Arizona, and he has been regaling me with tales of triple-digit temps.  But this is Alaska.  74 is hot, dammit.  We moved up here to get away from warm weather.  I know, I’ll get back to you in six months when it’s twenty below.

And so…

On To the Links!

Major revelations from the whistleblower hearings.

Shocker: Net zero is economically illiterate.

Democrats, FBI Are Struggling To Cover for Biden’s Lies

Try That In a Small Town.

Job growth in government is not a good thing.

Because it’s really cool to be able to write “Giant Viking House.”

Jan 6th was, at worst, hooliganism.  It’s nice to see Gov. DeSantis recognizes that.

I love a happy ending.

Ya think?

No shit, the Democrats started it.

They can create money from nothing, why can’t they erase debt for nothing?

No shit, Sherlock.

These assholes aren’t even trying to hide it any more.

Haw haw haw!

Some of us never did believe Biden.

Not only is this a stupid idea, the FDA has no business regulating cigar flavors.

Now if only we could have some American politicians regenerate some brains.

My RedState Stuff:

In Shocking Turn of Events, Gallup Poll Shows Americans Less Favorable to Immigration

Jason Aldean and the Conflict of Rural vs. Urban

Rents Are High—Regulation Is Driving Them Even Higher

Shocking Study: Bowel Regularity Connected to Mental Health

America’s Accelerating Debt, Rising Interest Rates, and Fiscal Irresponsibility Require a Balanced Budget

Brazil: More Guns, Less Crime

Mohamad Barakat: Serious Omissions by Legacy Media

What Is a Nation—And How Can We Protect Ours?

New Data Shows Hot Weather Devastating for the Endurance of Electric Vehicles

The Border Crisis, Texas, Washington, Jackson, and Calhoun

Diversity, an Undefinable Proposition

Retail Thieves Aren’t Starving

The American Economy Suffers Under Bidenomics

Did the Justice Department Illegally Fund Red Flag Laws?

The Barakat Case: Are There Larger Implications?

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon’s Heather Parton is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Michael Cohen (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

RealClearPennsylvania’s Brendan Boyle is an idiot.

The Boston Globe’s Kimberly Atkins Stohr is an idiot.

The Nation’s Jeet Heer (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Poor Jessica Tarlov.  I used to kind of like her, but she’s descending into idiocy.

Amanda Marcotte (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Ja’han Jones is an idiot.

NPR’s Julia Simon is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Tony Bennett was one of the all-time greats, and his passing at 96 last week was saddening.  While he’s probably best known for I Left My Heart in San Francisco, the state of that formerly-great city today has kind of soured me on the whole thing.

Instead, here’s another great Tony Bennett tune: What The World Needs Now, from his 1969 album I’ve Gotta Be Me.  We’ll miss you, Tony!

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Your chances of being bitten by a venomous snake are rising.  Not mine, though.  There are no venomous snakes in Alaska.  And no, St. Patrick never set foot in the Great Land.

In fact, the only reptiles found in Alaska are sea turtles, namely, the Green, Loggerhead, Leatherback and Olive Ridley.  Now when I was a little tad back in Allamakee County, we had timber rattlers.  The Old Man and I once killed one that was damn near six feet long.  A snake like that can kill a grown man.

So, if you live in the lower 48, watch where you put your feet.

And so…

On To the Links!

John Lott drops some truthiness.

BAM! POW!

Buy your own damn e-bike.

I love a happy ending.

Biden can’t turn things around.  He’s senile, stupid and incompetent.

My money’s on Hunter.

Down in Norway’s deepest hole.  No, not that!  Get your mind out of the gutter.

Gross.  Ew.  Gross.

A few decades ago this guy would have been a circus freak.

Tucker Carlson grills GOP candidates in Iowa.

“Crisis” is something of an understatement; our schools are in free-fall.

China offering bounties for dissidents.

The Anti-Racism racket.

Democrats hate America.

Chatbots aren’t taking our jobs.

He who laughs last, laughs best.

This is why our armed services are an utter mess.

Mike Pence fucks up, bad.

Americans favor nuclear power.  See, we ain’t so dumb.

My RedState Stuff:

Dylan Mulvaney, Frying Pans, and Fires

Politics, Political Parties, and Modern Whigs

Racism and the Military: Worst Practices by Biden Joint Chiefs Nom, Gen. Charles Brown

Joe Manchin, Missed Messages, and 2024

‘Homeless Encampments’ on the Rise as Leftist Cities Get What They Vote For

George Will Weighs in on Trump and DeSantis in 2024: Who Can It Be Now?

Three Great Movies That Couldn’t Be Made Today

China’s Great False Front May Be Cracking

Iowa’s Red Shift

The Homeless Problem: Why Aren’t More Families Stepping Up?

Michelle Obama for President? Not Only No But…

To Fix Failing Education – Privatize!

Manchin and Huntsman: Nobody’s Dream Team

President Trump’s Second Term: Fire at Will!

Wanted: Warriors

Alaska’s Pizza, Unions, and Economics

Heat Wave Aside, Climate-Related Damage Is at Historic Lows

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon’s Heather Parton is an idiot.

Mother Jones’ Arianna Coghill is an idiot.

The Nation’s Robert Borosage is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Slate’s Evan Urquhart is an idiot.

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Cori Bush (Moron – TX) (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Charles Barkley outs himself as a raging asshole.

The incoming Mayor of Chicago is an idiot, and all his people are idiots.

Ilhan Omar (Horse’s Ass – MN) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

No music this week; instead, something else fun.

If you look up “noodling for catfish” and “adorable” on an internet search, you’ll find Hannah Barron.  Her vivacious attitude, entrancing Southern drawl, zest for the outdoor life and skill at pulling huge catfish out of muddy river bottoms make her well worth watching.  Here’s a sample:

Check out her YouTube channel here.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Writing for RedState has been a lot of fun so far.  As I said Monday, in the list of links below you’ll see a new section with my RedState works.  While a few are paywalled (unless you have a Townhall Media Group VIP membership) most are not, so go give them a read!

And, to help me stay abreast of breaking news, I also (sigh) reactivated my Twitter account, which I started and never really touched.  Here it is.  If you twit, or whatever they call it, toss me a follow, I’ll follow you back.

Now then…

On To the Links!

On having cake and eating it, too.

And nothing will come of it.

DeSantis calls the dog out.

War is profitable, as long as you’re not in the middle of it.  That’s probably why we see so much of it.

Humans have secret stripes.

Bud Light sales still dropping.

Tucker on wannabe dictators.

More on the Bud Light issue.

Energy:  Virtue Signals Vs. Market Signals.

Well, duh.

The Utter Failure of Merrick Garland,  Failure?  How about incompetence?  Deliberate malfeasance?

Fetterman (The Lump – PA) has lost it.

Real work requirements mean real work.  Who knew?

Is America Faltering?

Yeah, nothing will come of this.  Hunter might get a slap on the wrist. If that.

My RedState Stories

The Bud Light Fiasco – Why Companies Go ‘Woke’.

Student Loans – Pay Your Own Debts!

Russia and The WW3 Watch.

Ethics and Synthetic Embryos.

How Science Is Bent to the Will of Activists.

In Economics, There Are Three Kinds of People: Takers, Fakers, and Makers.

Father’s Day Reflections.

Equity and Identity Politics: The Real Meanings.

Ranked-Choice in the Great Land.

To Meat or Not to Meat? The Consummate Hypocrisy of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Capitalism: The Only Economic System Consistent With Liberty.

Biden/Harris: A Succession Not Worth Contemplating.

Statistics: Figures Can Lie, and Liars Can Figure.

This Week’s Idiots:

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Eric Swallwell (Fang Fang – CA) (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Vox’s Emily Stewart is an idiot.

Vox’s Fabiola Cineas is an idiot.

U.S. Non-voting Representative from the Virgin Islands Stacey Plaskett (Dimwit – Virgin Islands) is an idiot.  But she did at least (accidentally) say the quiet part out loud.

The LA Times’ Jackie Calmes is an idiot.

Whitney Phillips, Mark Brockway and Abby Olheiser are all idiots.

Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy is an idiot.

Salon’s Chauncey DeVega is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

In the late Eighties and early Nineties, the Aussie band DiVinyls made something of a splash.  This was when the music-video thing was hitting its high-water mark, and the DiVynils certainly made the most if it for their tune I Touch Myself.  Smoking-hot lead singer Chrissy Amphlett played a central role in a variety of sexy outfits, making the video one big smoke-show, and one that elicited a… strong reaction from young men.  I was a young man at the time and can personally confirm this.

This was, of course, a time when a beautiful woman could just be beautiful and sexy on screen without drawing the ire of shrieking harpies of both sexes RHEEEing about ‘exploitation.’  Well, not as much as today, anyway.

Sadly, Chrissy died of breast cancer in 2013, but her performance lives on.  Here it is; enjoy.