Extra Credit


A reproduction of Thoreau's actual cabin near Walden pond. (The statue of Thoreau is a reproduction of the actual guy, too.) Credit: RhythmicQuietude.

The Omega Man of Alaska

My family moved two weeks ago. The new homestead is more than twice the acreage we have now and surrounded by farm land. Our six ducks stayed at the old place (along with the pond) and our three goats came with us (we didn’t give them the new address, but they’re clever suckers). Soon we will have new chickens and, next spring, a bigger garden. Considering the size of the old garden, this is truly damning with faint praise. Despite all this “country livin'”, we are far from self-sufficient.

Ask the electric company if we’re self-sufficient.
Ask the grocery store if we’re self-sufficient.
Ask the gas station if we’re self-sufficient.
Ask the phone company and internet company if we’re self-sufficient.

Want to see the real deal?

Meet Heimo Korth.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter established the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the Alaskan Interior, cutting off 19 million acres of prime boreal wilderness from the mitts of fur trappers, oil tycoons, and would-be lodge owners alike. Only six families of white settlers were grandfathered in and allowed to keep cabins in the refuge—of them, only one still stays there year-round living off the land. His name is Heimo Korth, and he is basically the Omega Man of  America’s Final Frontier.

Mr. Korth is the subject of a fascinating five part, hour documentary, Far Out: Heimo’s Artic Refuge. You can find the complete video here.

Lew Rockwell wants to know: “Are you smarter than a Kentucky eighth grader …from 1912?”

How would you do on this test for eighth graders from 1912? More importantly, how would the average eighth grader of today do on this test?

Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man

Categories: Uncategorized | 12 Comments

You’re Not My Kids’ Dad. I am.

My family and I are moving.

This means visiting houses.

In our case, this frequently means visiting houses with 5 small boys in tow — our 6 year old, 5 year old, 4 year old, 2 year old and 6 month old sons. (Yes, I know what causes this.) Recently we were at a house and, like they always are, my three oldest boys were more than a little excited. I don’t begrudge them this. They’re young boys and going to a new place, particularly the kind of rural places we’re looking at with barns and stables must be like all-American-boy-catnip to them. I let them explore a little with the expectation they are to come to me immediately when I call and obey immediately.

At one home the boys were a little more excited than I wanted them to be and doing more exploring than I wanted.

I told them to come to me. Not sternly. Lovingly and confidently.

The realtor then looked at the boys and said, “Oh, kids, it’s all right. Just make sure you don’t touch anything.”


If you think it was OK for the realtor to say that, please keep reading.

#1. She doesn’t have knowledge about my kids. I do. She doesn’t know their weaknesses, predilections, abilities and the things that make them go cuckoo for CoCo Puffs. I do. What may have looked like a harmless room to her looked like a minefield to me. She spoke from ignorance.

#2. She doesn’t have responsibility. If my kids break something, who pays for it? I do.

#3. She doesn’t have authority. I wanted my boys to be by my side. She essentially said, “It’s OK to disobey Dad.” Who has a problem with that? You guessed it, loyal OSR reader. I do.

What should she have done?

Discretely address the Smokin’ Hot Wife or me. We are the ones with that knowledge, responsibility and authority stuff. A quickly whispered, “It’s OK with me if they go back there” would have been the thing to do. Frankly, my wife and I were annoyed that she, albeit unintentionally, was undermining our parenting.

Is this lady a “bad person” for doing this? No. I can understand someone being overwhelmed by the roguish cuteness of my sons. It’s only years of exposure that have enabled me to build up at least a partial immunity to their charm.

Her heart was in the right place.

Her judgment wasn’t.

Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man


Categories: fatherhood | 12 Comments

A Lesson From Dad

One evening when I was 13 years old my dad arrived home from work unusually late. The bus that took him from downtown to our home didn’t show up because of a mechanical failure. He told me to get in the car with him. Dad was driving the few miles back to the bus stop to give rides to the ladies who were stranded because of the bus problem. We arrived and Dad, shouted out the window, “Hello, ladies.”

The ladies smiled and said, “Oh, THANK YOU, Oscar.” I’m not surprised they knew him by name, as Dad made friends easily.

The ladies got in the car. A guy got in our car, too. There were still a couple of people left at the stop, but there wasn’t room in the car for them. They were women.

My dad’s demeanor instantly changed. He went from happy and chatty to quiet.

We drove the ladies and the guy to their homes. All of them were effusively thankful. Dad smiled and said, “You’re welcome.”

The guy was the last person we left off before we headed back to get the other stranded bus riders.  A few moments after we dropped off the guy I asked Dad, “That guy should not have got in the car before the ladies, right?”

Dad said, “No,” and that was all.

The terseness and look on his face told me more than a dozen soapbox speeches could.

When we arrived back at the bus stop, the ladies were gone. We assumed another bus finally came through.

I’ve thought about that incident many times over the years and these have been my takeaways:

#1 Yet another example of Dad being a stand up guy. When he walked home he knew those women were stranded downtown at night and needed help so after walking several miles he got in his car and took action.

#2 Dad took me along not only to set a fatherly example. He took me a long because he was a married man and thought it would be inappropriate to be alone in his car with another woman. (Old school smarts)

#3 Brevity is the soul of wit and it’s frequently the soul of wisdom. His terse “no” and the visible disgust he had for this guy sticks with me years later. That which does not add detracts.

#4 Real men notice when other men aren’t manly. They may not say it, but they notice.

#5 Dad should have said something to the guy. He should have told the guy to get out and allow one of the ladies to take his place. Unfortunately, tactful correction wasn’t one of the best tools in Dad’s toolbox. A big smile and a look right in this guy’s eyes saying, “Hey, friend. You may have not noticed there are ladies waiting. I’ll be back later on. Let’s let them go first,” would have expedited matters. A man needs to be able to occasionally show an iron first in a silk glove.

Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man


Categories: fatherhood | 12 Comments

Women & Sandwiches

This morning began with the Smokin’ Hot Wife, my six year old son, my five year old son, my four year old son, my two year old son and myself in bed. And our chihuahua. The hilarity and fun of it made me think …

“How crappy would my life be if I had married someone else?”

With that deep thought, I bring you The Tale Of The Girlfriend & The Sandwich.

Sixteen years ago I’m at my then girlfriend’s apartment. She had bought one of those pre-fab cabinets (Did you know “IKEA” is Swedish for particle board?) and I was putting it together for her. She asked, “What can I do to help?”

I realized it was a one person job and there was nothing she could do to help, so I replied, “No, thanks, babe. There’s really nothing.”

She asked again, “No. Really. What can I do to help?”

I thought to myself, “I’m hungry,” so I said to her, “Would you make me a sandwich?”

Or at least that’s what I thought I said. What she heard was, “Yo, she-witch. Know your role and shut your mouth. Get your barefoot, not-a-man bein’ self in the kitchen and make me some grub. Pronto!” She got up in a huff and left the room. No sandwich but plenty of huff.

During the remainder of our time together as a couple (or if Facebook was around then, “in a relationship’), she repeatedly replayed this scenario to me. With every performance — and yes, it reached “performance level” by the fifth retelling — my overbearing sexist level of evil steadily increased.

I questioned myself. I asked a mutual friend, Caroline, “What did I do wrong?”

She said, “Beats me. I would have made you a sandwich.” It should be noted that I once installed an air conditioner in a second story window for Caroline, so I was pretty sure I had her vote.

I told the ex what Caroline said. The fact that I assumed this would help the situation shows how little I knew about women.

A few months later we broke up and I assume she still has that cabinet. I never got that sandwich.

I bet as I type this my ex is standing next to a guy in line at a vegetarian food co-op, both of them wondering why they don’t subscribe to Mother Jones instead of buying it at the newsstand. Suddenly she blurts, “Do you believe it? He asked for a SANDWICH!!??”

Two things:

#1. I love my wife. She is God’s gift to me.

#2. Sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich.

Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man

Categories: humor | Leave a comment

Extra Credit

While you’re here, be sure to visit and LIKE our Facebook page. Thanks!

40 years and 150 miles from civilization

The Siberian taiga in the Abakan district. Six members of the Lykov family lived in this remote wilderness
for more than 40 years—utterly isolated and more than 150 miles from the nearest human settlement.

This Russian family “camped” in the wilderness, without seeing anyone outside their family, for forty years. For 40 years, this Russian family was cut off from all human contact, unaware of World War II. In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered this family of six, lost in the taiga.

Putting aside their reasons for bugging out, the unbelievable resourcefulness and Old School grizzledness displayed here is off the charts. There are lessons to be learned.

The most valuable resource is knowledge.

Bigfoot Isn’t B.S.
Bigfoot Is Chocolate Ice Cream.

Here are the “top ten Bigfoot videos”. Do I believe Bigfoot is real? Of course not. Do I think Bigfoot is one of the great harmless humbugs of all time. Yes, Oh, YES! Lighten up and enjoy the fun.

And finally, from our Facebook page…

Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man


Categories: Uncategorized | 12 Comments

An Open Letter To “Men” That Complain About Overweight Women On Airplanes

I’ve seen dozens of posts or tweets expressing this sentiment:

I’m sitting on a plane next to a FAT person …she should have bought two seats …she’s on my seat

If this is the kind of stuff you complain about, you need to find a new hobby.
Sad and definitely not Old School.
This kind of complaining is unmanly, inelegant, rude, self-serving and more than a bit whiny.

I’d like it if the passengers next to these complainers could read minds and post this:

I remember when gentlemen had enough class not to make such painfully self-involved, whiny statements. Yes, I know I’m overweight. Hopefully I’ll lose weight some day. When will this putz next to me lose his hubris? There was a time when people barely noticed life’s inconveniences. Apparently men have become so soft they not only notice, but feel compelled to broadcast them online. Does he think this makes him look cool? Superior? No. It makes him look small, and not just in comparison to me.
I am sorry for the inconvenience I’ve caused.

And thank you, because the next time someone inconveniences me I will use
your example to remind me to respond more graciously than you.

And if overweight prospects or customers read what a “trial” this Nancy boy thinks it is to sit next to them, how likely is it that they will want to do business with this whiner?

Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Making Fun Home Movies That Won’t Bore Your Friends

(OR How We Made An Epic Bible Movie In Less Than An Hour. Take That, Cecil B. Demille!)

The 8mm camera. My dad had one. If you’re my age, your dad probably had one. If a guy in the 60s and 70s wanted to make a movie of a party or vacation, he took out that 2 pound hunk of steel, plastic and glass. Memories captured in 5 minute chunks.

Thankfully, the 8mm has gone the way of the buggy whip. Say, “Hello smartphone movie!”

Because this blog is equal parts opining, ruminating AND autobiography, let me tell you how we made our epic cinematic debut …

David vs. Goliath (In Our Living Room)

Last Sunday (Mother’s Day), after church, we’re sitting around the house. We had planned on going to our church’s evening service, but our soon to be two year old son’s slight fever nixed that. Junior, my six year old son, was eager to do something. See the way I put “to do something” in italics? The discriminating reader has already discerned that means his eagerness was at the level that only an ALL BOY six year old can muster.

He wanted to do things like “weed whacking” or “build something” or “shoot the .22”. Those are the actual things he suggested.


* ‘merica, noun, (mair’-ick-uh)an American man’s response to another man saying something manly, uplifting a.k.a. Old School.
Example — First man, “When another kid rudely bumped into my wife, my six year old son got in his face and told him to watch his step.”
Second man, ” ‘merica.”

Wanting a calmer, Presbyterian-friendly, Sunday afternoon experience, I came up with this idea.


With four sons and a wife that indulges my goofiness, we were on our way. I decided to give my cinematic interpretation — don’t worry, I’m not going Hollywood — to the account of David vs. Goliath.

Why David vs. Goliath?
It’s from the Bible, so it’s perfect fodder for Sunday afternoon.
It’s a story the kids know.
There are enough parts for all four of my sons.
It has a giant and weapons. Boys love giants and weapons.

First step: You need a story

Because this was a spontaneous thing, writing a story wasn’t the way to go. It may be in the future, and that will make for some fun writing sessions with the kids and the Smokin’ Hot Wife.

Not writing a story obviously meant we would go with a pre-existing story. We do regular bed time stories, but Bible accounts are the stories the kids know the best. While we quickly settled on David vs. Goliath (yeah, I know it’s usually phrased David AND Goliath, the “vs.” just sounds manly) there are other stories I think would be great for future movies — Noah, Wall of Jericho …probably going to avoid Phinehas for a while.

Second step: Plan the shots aka story boarding

I made a list of the scenes in the movie.

Here they are:
1. Goliath taunting Israel
2. King Saul afraid
3. David volunteers
4. King Saul asks David to wear his armor.
5. The armor doesn’t fit David.
6. David gets fives smooth stones …
7. … and a slingshot (I was somewhat loose in my definition of slingshot and opted for a wrist rocket)
8. Goliath taunts David
9. David shoots
10. Goliath is hit (This was done by lightly sticking the “stone” to my son’s head with tape and having him jerk his hid to get it off. Then I played the footage backwards in the movie.)
11. Goliath is down and David thanks the Lord.

Third step: secure the props

You’ll see in the movie, we just improvised with stuff around the house.

Fourth step: shoot the movie

Keep it fun. Don’t care how much footage “ends up on the editing room floor”. That’s most of the fun.

Fifth step: edit a.k.a. Dad plays with iMovie.

I think the actual shoot took about 30 minutes, the editing took a little more. Simple fun stuff with plenty of cheesy sound effects.

Sixth step: Make some popcorn and watch it.

Is our “movie” a minute and thirty-two seconds of art? Will you find it boring? Maybe. But that’s not the point. The point is to get you to make your own movies with your kids. This was seriously fun, family-bonding stuff. And it sure didn’t hurt to have another way to talk about God with my kids. That’s about as Old School as it gets.

Want to see our epic?

Visit our Facebook page and be sure to like us while you’re there.


Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man

Categories: entertainment, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Look To The Ant

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
Proverbs 6:6-11 ESV

This passage is ripe with smarts. Let’s look at it line by line, getting as much Old School Entrepreneur smarts as we can.

“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.”

Not the bear, lion or tiger. A little itty bitty ant. Put the ego aside. Humble yourself. If you want to learn, get smarts no matter where they are.

“Without having any chief, officer, or ruler…”

The ant is self-motivated. Doesn’t need a boss or life coach (whatever that is). The ant works because that is its very nature.

“… she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”

The ant lives by a plan. Prepares. Doesn’t get itself in situations where it MUST have this crumb of food (or close this sale) because it sat on its backside for the past three months.

“How long will you lie there, O sluggard?  When will you arise from your sleep?”

Sluggard. A great, wonderfully insulting word. The reader isn’t coddled. The line doesn’t read, “Oh poor baby, I understand. You were out late last night, snookums. Don’t worry about getting into work on time this morning.” Instead the line says (in less 17th century language) “Get out of bed, you lazy sack of $#!^1”

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest…”

The key word here is little. Just a little slacking off in a man’s character will bring on the pain.  What kind of pain?

“and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”

Slacking off won’t cause you to lose a few bucks that you wouldn’t miss any way. No, laziness steals money from you. And it’s not the theft of a pickpocket. It’s a mugging. An “armed man” points .357 magnum at your head, demands you money, takes your money and then shoots you in the butt for spit. THAT is what laziness does.

Keep It Old School,

The Old Man


Categories: Business | Tags: , | 12 Comments

Do Something

Picture a Barney Fife look-alike, but less muscular and bowlegged. He’s in a dance club. He’s sitting with a couple of buddies. He sees a woman that strikes his fancy on the other side of the dance floor.

He decides to make his move.

He stands up. Hitches up his plaid trousers in true Don Knotts fashion. He walks what seem to be about twenty-five feet to the object of his desire. He begins talking to the woman.

He’s making his move.

He’s a winking, gesticulating bundle of testosteronal smoothness.

Eighteen seconds later. He walks back. Alone.

He has made his move. His move was rejected

If you know anything about geometry, you know the distance from point A to point B equals the distance from point B to point A.

If you know anything about dance floors, you know the distance from the woman back to your buddies at the bar is infinitely longer than the distance from the bar to the woman.

Can you spot the loser in this story?

Hint: It’s not the guy who was turned down.

The losers are his buddies who sat at the bar and never talked to a woman.

Old School Entrepreneurs don’t sit on their butts at the bar.

They ask for the order

They write the copy.

They send the email.

They call the prospect.

Will they occasionally, or even frequently have to make that long walk back alone? Of course, but they are always better off than the losers who sit on their butts at the bar.

Old School Entrepreneurs are always doing something.

Keep it Old School, my friend

The Old Man

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Three Things I Love About Easter

Some days I aspire to be a semi-competent armchair theologian. This is one of those days.

#1 Candy

Yeah, let’s get that one out of the way. It’s the 800 pound chocolate gorilla in the room. It’s no where as deep as the next two, but I have to think even Dr. Atkins got his marshmallow peep jones on at least one day a year.

#2 There’s no downside


I don't know when this was decided, but there's a rule that every ark picture MUST feature a giraffe. It's like the Beatles saying, "No, we're not putting Ringo upfront. Not going to happen."

The account of Noah (“account” — good word. Better than story. Story has an ambiguity regarding truthfulness and accuracy. Account signifies a real life incident.) doesn’t really belong on nursery walls. All those cute, out of proportion animals looking out over the edge of the ark, with Noah looking like Santa in a bathrobe. The problem is millions of people died from drowning about five minutes after the Noah’s version of the S.S. Minnow took off.

Millions of drowned, rotting corpses. Better get an extra teddy bear in the nursery, Mrs. Howell.

What about Christmas? The baby Jesus was born. Awesome! Herod kills hundreds of male newborns. Not so awesome.

But Easter? All the sadness is in Good Friday so Easter can be pure unadulterated joy!

#3 It’s history

Jesus rising from the dead isn’t a philosophy.
Jesus rising from the dead isn’t a way to live.
Jesus rising from the dead isn’t a morality.
Jesus rising form the dead isn’t a way to become a better you.
Jesus rising from the dead is a historical event.

I caught a pastor/politician being interviewed on TV a few years back. He was asked, “What’s the proof of Christianity to you?” The pastor responded with accounts of lives that have been changed through faith in Jesus. I cringed.

Here’s how Jesus answered a similar question.

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:38-40 ESV)

Lives change many ways. People of all faiths and no faiths do amazing things. Coming back from the dead — 3 days and 3 nights worth of dead? That isn’t one of them. Only Jesus did that.

Look at the Apostle’s Creed, an early statement or summary of faith from the early church.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

A philosophy, moral code or self-improvement program would not need to site an otherwise obscure Roman government official like Pontius Pilate. A historical claim would site Pontius Pilate to further ground the claim of events in a specific time and place.

It’s not just any historical claim. Christ’s resurrection and ascension is both the beginning and center of the Christian faith, the gospel. Read what the apostle Paul wrote.

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. (I Corinthians 15:14)

Paul didn’t write, “And if live and let live isn’t true (fill in the life enhancement advice of your choosing), then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. Paul said everything rode on one thing, the physical, historical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

George Carlin was a comedic genius. As a kid during the seventies I could quote many of his routines chapter and verse (irony intended). George Carlin once said, “Religion is like a pair of shoes. Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.” This statement would apply to Christianity if it was a self-improvement program or a philosophy. It isn’t. It’s a truth claim about an historical event. It’s like saying, “Thinking the Allies won WWII is like a pair of shoes. That may fit you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.” The shoe analogy simply doesn’t work with historical events.

I’m not so naive to think that every reader of this blog believes in the reality of the resurrection, but it’s a category error to think this is something that could fit me, but not fit you. History isn’t a “fit”. It simply is. Understand, a person is perfectly free to believe the Allies lost WWII, but they’d obviously be wrong. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Why is this topic on OSR?

The about page of this blog reads, “Old School Rules uses truth & humor to cut through the trendiness, hype & bull that is today’s culture.” Like much in this fallen world, Christianity is assaulted with “trendiness, hype & bull”. Sadly, these assaults are frequently self-inflicted.

Cut through the bull. The candy, brighter than usual dresses, emotions, family sentiment and Easter hams are great. I enjoy all of them. At their heart all of those things center on how they make you feel. Easter isn’t a feeling, philosophy, way of life or moral viewpoint.

Easter is a celebration of a profoundly powerful historical truth claim. He is risen. He is risen, indeed.

Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man

Categories: Theology | Tags: , | 1 Comment