The State of the Union Address: A Guide For Kids!

Hi Kids,

The State of the Union speech is when the president visits congress and gives a BIG speech and it’s all over TV. Exciting, huh? It wasn’t always that way. A hundred years ago and earlier, presidents wrote down the speech and just turned it in like a homework assignment. But starting with Woodrow Wilson, they go to congress and give a BIG speech. That also happens to be when radio became popular. So because of radio, we get to listen to somebody read their homework. COOL!

When the president arrives, a man called the Deputy Sergeant at Arms announces it.  I’m not exactly sure what a Deputy Sergeant at Arms does, but I think he’s like an assistant vice principal at a middle school — he kicks butt when somebody gets out of line. When the president is ready, the Deputy Sergeant at Arms yells (See. He “yells”. That’s assistant vice principal stuff right there), “Mister Speaker, the President of the United States!” And then the place gets all kind of Wrestlemania crazy.

The president now walks up to the front of the room. High fives. Handshakes. Kissing. Yuch. Not to belabor a point, but some WWE entrance music would help here.

The speech begins and soon parts of the audience take turns clapping. Here are a few points to help you follow along.

1. When half the audience applauds: that half is getting ready to take some of your mom and dad’s money or freedom.

2. When the all the audience applauds: they are getting ready to take even more of your mom and dad’s money or freedom OR they are clapping for something along the lines of Mom and apple pie. (I ♥ Mom and apple pie, don’t you?)

3. When you hear the word “free”: it does not mean “free”.  When a presidents — any president — says free, it’s a magic word with a special magic meaning!

Free: when you say it
“I was hiking in the woods and came across a berry bush. I picked and ate some. Dee-lish! And they were free.”

Free: when a president says it
“That guy bought berries. My friend took his berries and gave some to me.  Dee-lish! And they were free.”

See the difference? I knew you would. In the second example the berries were bought by someone else, then stolen, and then the thief labeled them as free. Isn’t language fun?

4. When you hear numbers: if Bobby Peterson was caught taking cookies from your lunch bag and he said,  “Twenty-seven! Thirteen! FIFTY-FIVE PER CENT!!!”, you’d pretty much know he was doing that to distract you from the fact he took your cookies, right? Presidents and congress folk are even better at this than Bobby Peterson. They rule!

5. When the president asks an unknown person to stand up in the balcony: see #4, substituting the balcony person’s name for the numbers.

6. When you hear the words “pay their fair share”: that means the people who hired your mom and dad will have less money to pay your mom and dad because the government wants its “fair share”.  Sharing is awesome!

The next two points are just for President Obama, but every president has his own magic phrases!
7. When you hear “Common Core”:
When your mom and dad are helping you with your math homework and they use potty language, say to them, “Thank you, Common Core!”  Good times.

8. When you hear “Affordable Care Act”: see #7, substituting the “trying to pay bills” for for the helping you with your homework.

9. Why are two people sitting behind the president? Imagine a standing in front of every kid in your school with two kids behinds behind you. One of the kids is your little brother. The other kid either really, super, awesome likes you OR wants to beat you up after school. Could go either way. But here’s the nifty part: all three of you get take lunch money from other kids in school!

The speech will usually end with something like “God bless America”. That’s like when you spend all day goofing off then blame your big brother for the mess you made.

That’s all for now. Have fun.

Keep It Old School, Kiddos!



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26 Things That Are The Building Blocks Of Successful Communication (#7 Is The Beginning Of Greatness)

1. A

2. B

3. C

4. D

5. E

6. F

7. G

8. H

9. I

10. J

11. K

12. L

13. M

14. N

15. O

16. P

17. Q

18. R

19. S

20. T

21. U

22. V

23. W

24. X

25. Y

26. Z

Categories: humor, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Extra Credit

The Amphicar

It is an accepted trait of the Old School man that he is a little nuts. A man with no interesting past times gets boring, but quick.

Built in Germany from 1961 to 1968, the Amphicar is the only civilian amphibious passenger automobile ever to be mass produced. A total of 3,878 vehicles were produced in four colors: Beach White, Regatta Red, Fjord Green (Aqua), and Lagoon Blue–the color of President Lyndon Johnson’s Amphicar.

President Johnson enjoyed surprising unsuspecting guests when taking them for a ride in his Amphicar. — The President, with Vicky McCammon in the seat alongside him and me in the back,was now driving around in a small blue car with the top down. We reached a steep incline at the edge of the lake and the car started rolling rapidly toward the water. The President shouted, “The brakes don’t work! The brakes won’t hold! We’re going in! We’re going under!” The car splashed into the water. I started to get out. Just then the car leveled and I realized we were in a Amphicar. The President laughed. As we putted along the lake then (and throughout the evening), he teased me. “Vicky, did you see what Joe did? He didn’t give a damn about his President. He just wanted to save his own skin and get out of the car.” Then he’d roar. Special Assistant to the President Joseph A. Califano, Jr

Benefits Of Carrying A Walking Stick On Hikes

My boys and I like to take walks in the woods on our hill at our homestead (“homestead”, good word).  There we find adventure in the trees, rocks, bones, squirrels, but mostly in their imaginations (Example: A few days ago we found what look like deer bones, but to my six year old are DINOSAUR FOSSILS!!!) It’s a good time.

A useful item for these treks (“trek”, yet another good word) is a staff or walking stick. It’s occasionally handy for added support on rough terrain, but much more frequently is used for pushing back brush. “Yes, my five year old son, I know you walked through the brush easily, but Dad is 6 feet, 3 inches tall.”

In the event we’re walking in the woods and I’m not carrying my .38 (Yes, Virginia, there is a 2nd amendment.) a staff would be useful in warding off a raccoon that won’t mind its business. For less gun rights friendly areas, I recently found a design for one online that might interest you.

The staff also helps with my Gandalf impression.

Keep It Old School, My Friend

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Extra Credit

Russia: Surprisingly Old School

At least half of these 16 traits give Russians Old School street cred.

Uphill, both ways, yada yada …

“A story about a teacher assigned to a one-room schoolhouse in South Dakota in the 1880s will confirm suspicions that America has gone soft when it comes to dealing with the cold. The story is from These Happy Golden Years, the second-to-last book in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved “Little House” series about growing up on the American frontier. It describes the protagonist, a 15-year-old teacher named Laura, traveling a half a mile in the snow to get to school.”

She Ate Four And A Half Pounds Of Steak In Less Than Three Minutes

“Molly Schuyler of Bellevue, blew away a world record during a recent trip to Portland, Oregon. She knocked out a 72-ounce steak in 2 minutes and 44 seconds. The old record was 6 minutes and 38 seconds.”
I’m not sure why this is Old School.
I’m not even sure if it is Old School, but because my bucket list includes winning the “Big Texan Challenge” at The Big Texan in Amarillo, TX, this woman has made the blog.
UPDATE: I recently booked two gigs in California and Texas in April with a day in between them. There may be time to cross off an item on the bucket list. Amarillo, brace yourself.

A Weight Room Without A Squat Rack Is Like A Table Without Legs

“Planet Fitness regularly touts how it’s not like all the other gyms and encourages soft people to indulge in its purple haze of mediocrity. And now they’re taking it one step further: Getting rid of squat racks for being “intimidating.””

Keep It Old School, My Friend

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Extra Credit

Helping The Homeless One Man At A Time

Instead of driving by a homeless guy and avoiding eye contact, Joe Manzaneres gave him a job. “Chris Rezac holds a different sign today, one that advertises realtor Joe Manzaneres’s business, and his life has changed because of the new and guaranteed income. Not only that, the realtor has helped him get new clothes, a cell phone, a bus pass and a resume.”

40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative

“From tiny writing desks to giant painting studios, the only thing all of these creative studios have in common is that they inspired their successful inhabitants to create greatness.”

You now have tool chest envy

I’m in the beginning stages of reinventing, redesigning and rebuilding my workshop. This video clip about the H.O. Studley Tool Chest is the ultimate inspiration. It’s practical, beautiful, ingenious and a work of art.

Keep It Old School, My Friend


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Why Krispy Kreme Is Better Than Starbucks

Starbucks calls a large coffee a “venti”.

Krispy Kreme calls a large coffee a “large”.

And they call a small coffee a “tall” and a medium coffee a “grande”. There’s no logic there. How about this, Starbucks: call a small a “tall”, a medium a “super tall” and a large an “Andre the Giant”? Stupid? Yes. But at least it’s consistent. The few times I’ve been to a Starbucks I REFUSE to use these moronic terms.

Me: I’d like a large coffee please.
Starbucks: That will be one venti.  Would you like anything else, sir?
Me: No thank you. Just a large coffee please.
Starbucks: Would you like room for cream in your venti coffee?
Me: Listen up, Sunshine. First, it’s a large. Second, when I get french fries the guy behind  the counter doesn’t ask me if I want room for ketchup. Third, we’re at a turnpike rest stop and I just need some caffeine to make it the next 100 miles so can we please ditch the Euro-Organic-Fake-Words-Affectations?
(OK, that last line is just in my head.)

Starbucks sells “pastries” from some vendor you don’t see.

Krispy Kreme makes the doughnuts right in front of you and, if you bite into one seconds after it’s prepared, you, my friend, have been kissed by a sugar angel.

Have you ever had a Krispy Kreme doughnut seconds after it’s made? No? No!! Your life sucks.

Starbucks moronically lawyers up on a local bar.

Krispy Kreme lets a guy with ALS steal a doughnut truck.

Click on both links and watch the brief videos and tell me what they say about the corporate cultures of the two companies.
Enough said.

Keep It Old School, My Friend


Categories: food, humor, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Start Your WINTER Reading List

Summer reading lists are off by about six months.

A winter reading list makes much more sense. It’s cold outside. Barely anything is green. Winter is THE time to get in your big leather chair by the fire place or wood burner stove (central air vent?) and dig deep into a book or ten.

But summer? Sure, if you’re a college prof you have the summer off, but on behalf of the other 99% of us, We’ve to got stuff to do. Lawns, gardens, livestock, painting, restoring the flux capacitor — the stuff of summer.  But what about summer vacation? You know, beach reading? Yeah, I can see that. I’m at the beach with my fives sons, ages seven, six, five, two and one. I say to the Smokin’ Hot Wife, “Honey, I know you want my help while you’re trying to keep Josiah from drowning and while you keep Junior from kicking over Danny’s sand castle, but you’ll just have to wait because I’m really into this chapter.” Yep. Aside from the pleasant vision of the Smokin’ Hot Wife in a bathing suit (insert my best Roy Orbison tiger growl at this point), this scenario just ain’t happening.

Winter is the time to march through a reading list.
The early night makes it a little easier to get the kids in bed early.
There are very little major outdoor projects (Exception: maple sugarin’ time. The stuff is so good it has a street value. Haven’t done it yet, but it’s on the list. If it doesn’t make the list, I have to start being nicer to a friend of mine who does do it.)
Except for Christmas break, the school age kids are in school (apologies to our much respected homeschooling parent readers).

So sit down with a good book, an adult beverage of your choice, a cigar, or if you want to rock that C.S. Lewis vibe, a pipe, and read.

Novels Jumpstart Your Brain

This article explains “Being pulled into the world of a gripping novel can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that linger for at least five days after reading, scientists have said.”

Some (Additional) Thoughts on the Reading of Books

Albert Mohler offers six suggestions for better reading.

My list? Here’s a start:

The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier by Terry L. Anderson Consider this book myth busters for cowboys. “Mention of the American West usually evokes images of rough and tumble cowboys, ranchers, and outlaws. In contrast, The Not So Wild, Wild West casts America’s frontier history in a new framework that emphasizes the creation of institutions, both formal and informal, that facilitated cooperation rather than conflict. Rather than describing the frontier as a place where heroes met villains, this book argues that everyday people helped carve out legal institutions that tamed the West.”

My Life For Yours by Douglas Wilson This book was a gift from a friend when we moved into our new home back in July 2013. It digs into the nooks and crannies of the Christian life without pragmatism and sound theology. “The driving desire of the Gospel is “my life for yours.” Our desire should be to have this love transform everything we do, room by room. This book works its way through every part of the house, examining each part in light of Scripture. The claims of God are always total, and this should be evident on the doorposts and in a sink full of dishes. Self-centeredness destroys in monotonously similar ways. Giving up life for another produces a harvest of kindness and mercy. Household questions should always begin with, “Is this my life for yours?””

The Good News We Almost Forgot by Kevin DeYoung The author “explores the Heidelberg Catechism and writes 52 brief chapters on what it has shown him. The Heidelberg is largely a commentary on the Apostle’s Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer and deals with man’s guilt, God’s grace, and believers’ gratitude. The result is a clear-headed, warm-hearted exploration of the faith, simple enough for young believers and deep enough for mature believers.”

Fast Jack, The Last Hustler by John Farrell “The last of the old-time dice and card “mechanics” recounts his colorful adventures in and outside the mob running crooked dice and card games all over the country and world. Think Good Fellas meets The Sting.”

A book on 19th century Western U.S. economics and property rights, two books on Christian theology and a biography of a professional gambling hustler. Yep. I’m normal.

Feel free to share your book recommendations on the OSR Facebook page.

Keep It Old School, My Friend

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Extra Credit

“There are no new sins, only more diverse and efficient ways of committing them. Before we let the mainstream of 21st Century culture catch us in its current, let’s hit pause for a moment and get our bearings. Perhaps it’s time to swim against the information flow.” (I originally found this article linked on

Thou Shalt Not Commit Illogical Fallacies

The only thing better than using this site for batting down foolish arguments on Facebook is not wasting time on Facebook and actually getting off your butt and meeting a bud for a brew.

Wood Stove Cooking

“Most people only consider their woodstove useful for heating a room. And when we purchased ours to cut oil costs, we never gave a thought to using it as a cooking stove. But one day, bolstered by the surprising amount of heat dispensed by our stove, we tentatively approached it with tea kettle in hand. Once we were successful (with a little patience), we quickly graduated to soups and stews.”

Our new home – we moved in July – has a wood stove in the basement. In addition to keeping the basement toasty during these cold winter months, it helps warm the entire house. It’s also beginning to serve as the Man Cave Culinary HQ.

Men Waiting For Their Ladies At The Mall

The first indoor enclosed shopping mall opened in 1956. Five minutes after it opened, the first guy sat down and waited while his wife looked for a new pair of shoes.

Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man






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Extra Credit

OSR Man Of The Day: Patrick Angelo

Patrick Angelo stops at the McDonald’s on Ontario Street, where his order of 80 hamburgers and 47 coffees is ready and waiting. He found it in 2001, he said, sitting in his Jacuzzi on a bitter February day. “I thought, ‘How can I sit here, in this warm bath in my beautiful home, when I know people are hungry and cold?’ I got up, got dressed and went downtown … and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

OSR Over The Top, Tongue In Cheek, Inspirational Video of the Day

Conan gets it.

The Upside Down Fire?

They say it’s a firewood stacking method that will last for hours with minimal maintenance.

The Sting Meets Goodfellas Meets Real Life

In “Fast Jack – The Last Hustler,” the last of the old-time dice and card “mechanics” recounts his colorful adventures in and outside the mob running crooked dice and card games all over the country and world. Think “Goodfellas” meets “The Sting.”

Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Miley Cyrus And The Location Of Your Bathtub

I didn’t want to write about this. Everybody and their Facebook uncle has written about it. So against better judgment, here we go.

A twenty year old female danced like a trollop in front of millions.

What’s so surprising about this?

Is it because she’s so young?
No. I think it’s a safe bet there have been thousands of woman that age involved in x-rated pornography.

Is it because she came from what people thought (or still think) was a “nice family”?
No. See previous answer.

I think WHAT she did in no way caused the fuss because what she did is virtually ubiquitous.
I think it was all about the WHERE. She did it at the MTV Video Music Awards, a show traditionally targeted at young people.

Still, being shocked at the location is a stretch. My upstairs bathroom is directly above my downstairs kitchen. If I leave the bathtub running and it overflows, should I be surprised if water comes through the floor? No. Why? Because of where the bathtub is. As realtors like to say, “Location. Location. Location.”

The world (both real, media and cyber) is filled with vulgarity, licentiousness and pornography. This isn’t the first time it’s leaked into a place that, in naiveté, shocks many.

“But it’s always been this way. Lighten up.”

If you mean by “this way” that it has always been filled with this sort of thing, I agree. If you think that it doesn’t ebb and flow and increase, I don’t agree. All In The Family debuted on TV when I was a kid. It was frequently preceded by a mild warning that told viewers it dealt with adult topics. Now the show is on during the day with no warning and is thought of as family fare. (Please don’t misunderstand and think I’m indicting, or even evaluating, All In The Family. It’s simply a benchmark to make the next point.)

Fast forward thirty years. There’s a show on HBO called Cathouse. It’s a reality show about a Nevada brothel. It’s not a documentary. It’s a reality show. In other words, the real life (and, yes, no doubt very staged) ongoings of a real life brothel, or to use a less legal but more common term, whorehouse, are meant to entertainment …just like Miley Cyrus.

And so, the bathtub continues to leak. Don’t be surprised when the kitchen is flooded.

Categories: entertainment | 5 Comments