Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.” Neuroscientists tell us that people get better at everything when they stretch their minds.
Every second alive is a blessing. Why not make 2013 the year you commit to broadening your intellectual capabilities? That’s the message from today’s guest on Off the Grid Radio, Dwane Thomas. Thomas is a Latin teacher of 15 years and the instructor in the Video Latin instructional language series for kids available in a variety of media formats.
When we incorporate learning into our everyday lives, more than just a greater vocabulary is experienced. We process solutions to problems more quickly, we open ourselves up to the new and the novel way of doing things, and we learn that we are not slaves to civilization, but free and capable men and women, endowed from our Creator with life, liberty, and the ability to pursue our dreams and happiness as we see fit—the very essence of the principles upon which our country was founded.
Off The Grid Radio
Release Date December 27, 2012
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Off The Grid News—the radio version of OffTheGridNews.com. I’m Brian Brawdy here, as always with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, how are you sir?
Bill: Brian, Merry Christmas to you. Merry post-Christmas. How was your Christmas?
Brian: Well, my dog Brash got to the… He’s a lab so I guess I should say that going in. But he ate all of the ornaments on the Christmas tree that were lab height.
Bill: That’s off the grid.
Brian: Well, no. The real off the grid is when he got a hold of the bowl of individually wrapped chocolates.
Bill: Those are great though.
Brian: Yeah—until you’re out in the front yard cleaning up after the dog and there’s these little shredded pieces of Three Musketeers and Snickers tinfoil.
Bill: Oh boy. I think that’s enough information.
Brian: Yeah, that’s glitter. You know?
Bill: That’s glitter. That’s the jingle though.
Brian: That’s the jingle bell. That’s the garland that was… Oh, that’s some real garland you got going there, Brash. So that was my Christmas. But how was yours?
Bill: Well, a lot less traumatic than that. It was kind of a normal, old-fashioned Christmas and everybody came to… We had a lab in our house as well. So my son Nick’s got a lab and didn’t do quite the damage though he’s always… He’s very young and I know Brash is a little bit older. This dog is very young and so this dog’s out looking for trouble, just going around the house and looking for trouble. Every square inch is a potential place for some event. So that’s…
Brian: Well, send him over. He can hang out with Brash. Brash will teach him.
Bill: But you know it sounds like we both had a… It was a dog lover’s Christmas. Can we just say it that way—that we both just…? And we enjoy dogs especially. Both of us enjoy animals and dogs we like. So that’s just a good thing. And you know my dog Max passed away this last year so as we go into the new year, I’m feeling a little like I don’t have a dog so I’m kind of feeling a little funny about that but… Anyway, I’ll be okay.
Brian: I can send Brash over.
Bill: If you see me sort of… I mean you know my dog’s been around. The dog was… You know a dog is a man’s best friend. I don’t care what people say. There is a lot of truth to that. And boy, when I lost that dog I lost a lot so… Here we are, getting ready for the New Year.
Brian: You know and I was thinking about that a lot before we started doing the show this morning is that there are a lot of things that we have grown accustomed to over the years but with every New Year there are things where you go, “All right. It’s time to look at the year ahead with a different set of eyes.”
Brian: Right? A different… It’s a brand new year. There is no better time to be alive. This is the best time to be alive since last hour. You know what I mean? It’s the best…
Bill: Every second above ground is… You are making some real hay with that and we’re doing great. I thought about… Most years set… The next year we say, “Well, I’m going to try to do this” and usually it’s losing weight or they see something about themselves that they don’t like. And so we did an interview not too long ago, Brian—I was telling you about it—where I thought, “Wouldn’t it be really cool to encourage people to take on something that would be a little bit of a challenge, kind of a rough go, as it were, a little bit intellectually but a rough go that might have a lot of fruit. And I… There’s nothing wrong with losing weight and there’s nothing wrong with doing better at being nicer to people—all of those things.
Bill: But what if you said, “Hey, I’m going to learn a language in 2013” and then you just…? Maybe you and your family said, “You know we’re just going to do this thing.” So it was odd that when I talked to you this morning about this interview I did with my friend Dwane—Dwane Thomas from Visual Latin—you said Latin was your first language that you learned as well.
Brian: You know it was. My grandfather… Golly Bill. Before the age of kindergarten… Kindergarten—I think that’s how you pronounce… I never went so I think that’s how you pronounce it.
Bill: That’s the way Arnold Schwarzenegger…
Brian: That’s how Schwarzenegger pronounces it?
Bill: …would pronounce it.
Brian: The first time I read a Bible scripture my grandfather had taught me to speak in Latin. So I was reading. You know I did the normal English stuff but he would teach me the reading of the Latin. It was the—outside of his tutelage—it was the first language that I ever then went on to study in junior high school and high school. And I kind of smile now thinking back that when it came time to pledge a fraternity I had the Latin alphabet nailed. Once you get alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, you never lose it. You know what I mean?
Bill: Sure. Sure.
Brian: So… But what fascinated me not just about Visual Latin is that neuroscientists all over the world now Bill tell us that you have the benefit of learning a new language, right? But there is also a benefit of getting your mind to think in a different way and I believe that’s why scientists are saying, “If you spend time outside, you’re smarter.” If you spend time studying something new, it’s because… It’s like if you’ve ever flown a great distance on an airplane and you’re stuck in the seat and you stand up and you give one of those really nice, big stretches and your whole body just feels great because it hasn’t been slouched over in the seat. Well, neuroscientists now tell us that when you do the same thing like studying Latin, your mind goes “Oh, it’s great to stretch outside of my normal boundaries.”
Bill: And you get better at everything you do.
Brian: You get better at everything you do. Yeah. Your mind… What was it? Oliver Wendell Holmes said that our minds once stretched never regain their original dimensions, right? So once you stretch your mind—if Latin—your mind isn’t going to shrink back. You’re going to have all of that extra space, if you will, and when people say, “Well, Brian your brain doesn’t get any bigger,” that’s not what the doctors are telling us now, Bill. Your brain absolutely… It doesn’t matter what age you are. Your mind absolutely can grow in connection, in size, in strength and stamina. So that’s why I was fired up to hear this interview.
Bill: Well, let’s give a listen to it right now.
Brian: All right Bill. Let’s hear what Dwane Thomas has to say. And it’s called Visual Latin.
Bill: As we end the year, we thought it would be cool to speak today… A lot of people like to make New Year’s resolutions. We’re speaking today with Dwane Thomas and we’re going to speak about—of all things—Latin. Welcome, Dwane. All right, Dwane. Let’s talk a little bit about Latin. And I think one of the things that probably just from my background—and I know you’re an expert—I’m just the recipient of what I know about it and here’s my little story. Remember, I’ve… We met years back with you working at Eagle’s Nest—when you were working for Eric—years ago.
Dwane: That’s right.
Bill: And so I knew that you taught Latin and did a good job. You were… Everyone talked about you and… But here’s the practical side of Latin from my standpoint. Our kids went to a Christian school. Part of them did. It’s sort of a mixed family, as it were. And… But my sons went to New St. Andrew’s and once they got there they had to learn Latin, right? So here’s the cool thing about it. They had to learn Latin and they had to learn Greek and Hebrew and they had to take classes on that too but when my son Nick got done with Latin, he decided he was going to take an LSAT to see if he could get into law school. Well, he scored remarkably high on it and I asked him… He actually even got a scholarship based on it. So I ask him, “How did you get such good scores on your LSATs—on your law exam?” and he said, “Dad, everything’s about the meaning of words and if you know Latin you’ve got it.” So that’s kind of a good beginning to this, Dwane. I mean I… So there is the carrot and the stick. Why do people want to learn Latin? I can tell you there is a financial reward. I’m sure that there is a lot of other rewards that people have but I’m just telling you right, as a very pragmatic—as a father—he saved me some law school money.
Dwane: That’s interesting. I was on my way to law school, right out of college and took the law school admissions test and I suppose I did decently well on it. I have not attempted that test again since teaching myself Latin so I wonder what the difference would be. I may go back and give it another shot. But we’ll see. In practical terms, you’re right. English is about 50% Latin and so it’s… When you learn the language, you’ve learned the source for half of our language immediately. So blow the doors off of any barrier to entry, in terms of learning vocabulary and the meaning behind the vocabulary. But it gets a little more interesting than that and this is what would show up in the LSAT or the GMAT or some of the higher tests that you would have to take to get into advanced courses.
Latin is actually the source of 90% of our multi-syllable words in English. When we speak we… Our daily conversation is typically Germanic. Most of our English words—our little words that we use on a day to day basis—are of German origin. For instance, the word for “house” in German is “haus” and the word, of course, for “house” in English is “house.” But in Latin the word is “domus” and of course it’s D-O-M-U-S—that’s where we get words like “domesticated” and “domestic,” “domesticity.” So just learning the source of the word “domestic” or learning that word—domus—it’s helping the door to… I don’t want to say more intelligent vocabulary but perhaps higher, more powerful vocabulary than the everyday, run of the mill German words that we typically use. So very practically, Latin exposes a student to a great amount of vocabulary that they possibly wouldn’t learn or they wouldn’t learn on a deeper level unless they had learned Latin.
Bill: And on a practical level, Dwane, I think from… I am also an employer and we have about 45 employees. One of the problems that I see just with folks coming in—and this is more true of current graduates and it gets worse as… The newer graduate you are, the worse it is. The older people that I employ—there seems to be a little bit of a knowledge and understanding but it seems like one of the problems that we have is just a basic grasp of the language and so… And in public schools and in Christian schools, is that something that’s not being…? I mean I know they still have English classes but… And I know this is outside perhaps just the context of the talk that you’re willing to have but I’m kind of curious from somebody that knows Latin well and knows languages well, what’s happened to English and why is it just…? It’s almost the Van Til, downward integration into the void, where there is… we’re going to be grunting at each other in about a decade, I think.
Dwane: Yeah. I don’t know exactly what has happened. I don’t know where we got off the rails. I don’t know if that was the public schools or if it’s just a general cultural malaise that we’re in right now. But I agree with you. I have taught Latin in schools for 15 years and what I find is that I have to teach English grammar first to my students and then once they have the concept in English, then I end up teaching what I was going to teach them originally in Latin. But I first have to cross a threshold that the students… I have to expose the students to English that they’ve never even heard of. Yesterday I was teaching some students what relative pronouns were and they had no idea what a relative pronoun was. Well, we were going into a section of a book that we’re reading in Latin where I needed them to know what a relative pronoun was and so I first had to teach it to them in English.
You’re absolutely right. The command of our own language is disintegrating. Earl Nightingale in one of his books said years ago, “Before you do anything else, master your own language.” And I feel like our schools have certainly done a disservice to our students by not teaching English well and by not teaching other languages. There is actually a German proverb that says, “If you don’t know another language, then you don’t know your own” and perhaps that’s part of the problem. We simply just don’t teach foreign languages and in particular we don’t teach Latin and Greek, which are source languages to English. We just don’t teach those in school much anymore and perhaps that’s really a big part of the problem. Because students don’t know another language, they really don’t know their own. I heard once that you don’t really appreciate your own culture until you visit and live in another culture for a while and then you can look back and see what you loved about your own culture. And maybe it’s the same with languages.
Bill: Yeah. Dwane, and another thing that I think… One of the things that this audience really enjoys and we talk a lot about colonial life and we talk about life as a little bit later with the founders and I wanted to also talk to you a little bit about… I think if it comes to… What’s Brokaw’s…? The Greatest Generation. I don’t buy in to his greatest generation but if you want to go back and talk about our founders, I think you had a pretty great generation with the Adams boys and that whole bunch of people as our founders and you know, you’re quite aware of this but you had to know Latin and Greek to even get into Harvard. It’s not something you learned… Like as I said, sending Nick to New St. Andrews and he comes out with Latin. During those days you couldn’t get into Latin. And so it started when you were in… I mean things were just more rigorous. And the point I’m getting Dwane—I’m sure you’ve got a lot to comment here—but I think it built a very mature society. You had guys like Paten Randolph being the king’s attorney for the state of Virginia when he was 16 years old.
Dwane: That’s absolutely right. I’ll tell you what. On a personal level though, learning Latin and in teaching myself… I’ve taught myself Greek and Latin. Teaching myself both of these languages has been the most strenuous, most difficult mental challenge I’ve ever faced. I’m doing it with my own children at home. I didn’t even start until I was in college. Actually, I was almost done with college. I was 23 years old when I started teaching myself Latin. I heard a lecturer speak. I was inspired by the things he said. I believe he may have been talking about some of the American founding fathers and referencing some of the things that you were just mentioning. When I heard him speak I was inspired by what he said and then I read the biography of Benjamin Franklin at one point and he was lamenting the fact that he did not know Latin, Greek and Hebrew and so I think at the age of 40 he sat down and he taught himself those languages. And I figured if Franklin could pull it off, I could pull it off. He got a late start. I’d get a late start.
Dwane: But it was absolutely… The past 10-15 years that I have dedicated to this has been absolutely the most difficult, strenuous mental challenge I have ever faced. And to face that beginning in third grade, I think that you would develop a hardiness—a mental hardiness—that you wouldn’t develop without it. First thing every morning I try to work out and I hate pushups—absolutely despise pushups. But I try to do a certain number of pushups and then when I’m done I kind of just lay there and think, “Well, today can’t get any worse.” And I think it’s similar with learning Latin or Greek when you’re young. You know? If you knock that out when you’re little— when you’re young—if you’re done with it by the time you’re in 8th, 9th or 10th grade, well then what else is the world going to throw at you that’s going to be tougher than that? I know there are mentally challenging subjects out there. I’m not denying that at all. But once you’ve done your pushups, everything else looks easy. And in some respect, I wonder if Latin and Greek at a young age are mental pushups, making the rest of your life not easy but maybe easier.
Bill: Well, and I think that’s a great point. And to go back to the founders a little bit, listen, I don’t think you’re going to have the articles. I don’t think you’re going to have the Declaration. I don’t think you’re going to have the Constitution unless you have a literate bunch of people. So I mean… And not just literate in the sense that we sort of maybe have read some books but language was—and understanding and grabbing at even the legal meanings for the founders—was a big… I mean they were willing to haggle on pronouns that… You see what I’m saying? They… You couldn’t have that conversation.
I think this is the difficulty we go over to someplace like Iraq and we say, “Hey, here’s a template for a Constitution that’s similar to ours” and we hand them this template—a people that have no basis or undergirding so there’s no foundation for even understanding the Constitution. And I’m talking about understanding the language of the Constitution. So the stuff we’re talking about, what it sounds like—“Oh, Bill and Dwane are talking about something that’s arcane.” No. This is basic to your freedom. Basic. And without this undergirding you can’t even have the discussion. Earl Nightingale said something else that when you said that, it struck me and he said there is a direct relationship between people in prison and the words that they know. The fewer words you know, the more likely you are to be in prison. Isn’t that interesting?
Dwane: That is interesting. I’ve taught for years and as a teacher—I don’t know if you’ve been in the school system—but as a teacher, it’s often a tough way to make a living and so during the summers years ago I would spend my entire summer on construction sites. It’s just an easy job to walk onto. They are always looking for workers. It was a quick and easy place to make a little extra cash for my family. And I was always struck by the grunt laborers and the foremen. And in terms of skills with their hands, there really wasn’t a difference. In fact, some of the laborers were more skilled than the foremen. What separated them were their vocabulary skills—their linguistic skills. The foremen could talk the way you and I are talking and the guys who were stuck doing the manual grunt labor—often they could—but most often they couldn’t. They were limited not by their technical skills. They were limited by their linguistic skills.
Bill: And I think the more—what a great point—the more our culture… It used to be that we… You could shovel corn for a living and even the people—upstate farmers in New York were pretty articulate during the founding period—but let’s just say that you are a grunt and you’re just shoveling corn. You don’t need to know a lot of words but as our society and culture changes, as a division of labor ramps up, if we have machines—even electronic machines do more and more of our work—I think it becomes pretty important the leaders then in the new culture are the leaders that understand how to use language, how to facilitate things, how to talk to people. That really is the new world, as far as I am concerned. And you can’t go… There is no going back, I don’t think.
Dwane: I agree. We’re in the information age now and some people are saying we’re moving even beyond that. Well, we’re certainly not going back to an industrial age where labor is valued—physical labor—is valued like it once was. It’ll be brainpower. It’ll be linguistic power and vocabulary power from this point forward.
Bill: Before I forget, John Adams’ dad had one trick. Now Adams didn’t like studying Latin and so he did, even when he was little, sort of run away from it a little bit but his dad would give him a choice and say… Maybe you can do this with your kids as just a test, almost Pavlovian. He said, “You can go dig a ditch or you can study Latin” and a couple times Adams chose to dig a ditch and then he just said, “You know, I don’t like digging ditches. I’d rather study Latin” and he mastered Latin and really it became a huge part of his life as a lawyer and then as a politician and one of our founders. So you know, you might want to throw that on your kids. I know the ground doesn’t freeze down there where you live so you might… You could have them digging ditches all year round if you needed to, Dwane.
Dwane: Well, I’ve actually done exactly that already. Some of my kids want iPads and Kindles and iPods, etc. and I’ve thrown the gauntlet down and I haven’t backed down. We’re reading through a book called Lingua Latina, which I recommend constantly on my blog site and on my website. It’s completely in Latin. It’s basically a novel in Latin but if you read through it, it teaches you Latin and it’s about 300 pages long, 350 pages long. It’s an extremely tough book but when you come out on the other side you’re able to read the New Testament in Latin with ease. And so I’ve told my kids “Sure. Any of those things you want, I’ll buy them for you. No big deal. After you can answer all the questions when I ask you them out of that book.” And when I ask them—when I speak to them—when I’m using the questions in the book, I speak to them and converse with them completely in Latin and they have to respond to me in Latin. So they’re a little annoyed at me and they roll their eyes at me but they’re about halfway through because they want what’s on the other side.
Bill: So you’re kind of tough. You’re sort of the Vince Lombardi of language. You’re sort of tough… cruel but fair, like Dinsdale and Doug Piranha. Do you remember that from Monty Python? Maybe not.
Dwane: No. Sorry.
Bill: Cruel but fair. So the first book that you ought to read really, if you’re doing… once you learn Latin… What’s the first book that you think would be a good book to read?
Dwane: Well, if you’re still in the process… If you just want to… Let’s say you’re starting at ground zero—this is what I recommend for all of my students. Get the book Lingua Latina by Hans Orberg and just start reading on page one. Now I’m going to warn you, this is the one I’m making my kids read and I’m not going to say “letting my kids read” because they don’t want to read it. They’re like John Adams. They don’t want to do it. So I’m making my kids read it. It’s a tough, tough book. It starts off with very, very simple sentences and then you just gradually read your way into an ability to read in the New Testament in Latin and then beyond. But it’s a gradual and an arduous climb. It has absolutely—I want to warn your listeners—it has absolutely no English explanation in it at all. The book is written entirely in Latin. In fact, the name of the book is Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata, which means, “The Latin language illustrated through itself.” So it uses what you learned in a previous chapter to teach you what you’re learning in the next chapter.
Now I’ve recommended this book for years and years and years and I’ve used it myself with great results. It’s just a fantastic book. But a lot of my students were complaining that they just didn’t get the grammatical concepts behind the book and that’s when my friend and I—Thomas Purifoy who is the producer at Compass Cinema here in Nashville—that’s when my friend and I developed Visual Latin, which is a series of videos explaining the grammar behind the book so that if you do want an English explanation, it’s available. Some people would rather just read straight through the book and learn it the natural way, which is throw yourself completely into the language and just sink or swim. But if you need an English explanation, that’s totally fine. Nobody is going to think less of you. That’s why my friend and I produced Visual Latin to help out with that.
But I always recommend people start with Lingua Latina and then immediately after that, as soon as you finish that, I recommend that my students read two or three of the gospels from the New Testament in Latin and then from there you’re pretty much able to spring into whatever you want to read. There will always be new vocabulary words. For instance, Julius Caesar—if you read The Gallic Wars—there is going to be a lot more military terminology in that book than there would be in the book of Mark. So even though you know the grammar and you know the structure of the language, you’re still going to have to learn new words but it’s that way with anything. If you read Norman Schwarzkopf’s book about the Iraqi War, you’re going to encounter a whole lot more military terminology than you would if you read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Bill: Sure. So when… And I want to talk about your course, Visual Latin, in a second. But when is a good time to start teaching this to kids?
Dwane: I still teach. I’m in the classroom every week—three or four days a week—and at the school where I teach, which is actually a ministry for inner city children in Franklin Tennessee—New Hope Academy—we start in third grade. Now it takes a lot longer if you start in third grade and I have them start in Lingua Latina even in third grade. It takes us a long time to get through the book but we actually never reach the end of it but by the time the students reach sixth grade at New Hope Academy—so four years later—my goal is to have them reading parts of the New Testament in Latin. If we can make it to Chapter 23 or 24 or 25 in Lingua Latina, that’s good enough for me. There’s 35 chapters in the book. But starting in third grade is…
There’s pros and there’s cons, you know? You have to have a long term, patient view because they’re just little kids. But they do gain a lot of traction if they start that young. Some students wait until they’re in fifth or sixth, seventh grade. If they wait until they’re in fifth or sixth or seventh grade, they’ve got the mental maturity to move a little faster. So there are advantages to waiting as well. If you start in third grade be patient and be prepared to repeat a lot of what you say and repeat a lot of chapters. Don’t get in a big rush. Make sure you master what you’re teaching your kids. Maybe teach it to yourself along with them and then just slowly plod forward. By the time you’re in seventh or eighth grade you should be able to read the book and from then I tell my students to move onto French, Spanish, Greek, German—move onto something modern. My goal at New Hope Academy is for the students to leave high school not bilingual but trilingual, if possible.
Bill: Which gives them a huge advantage again, in the workplace, an advantage in life—just whether you’re going to sit down and have a conversation over a glass of wine. I mean it’s enormous to do this. But I have another question and it’s something that I appreciate Dwane, about what you have started to do because whether you’re starting in third grade or you’re starting in seventh grade, you need a sense of humor. And I think, “What is it about being able to laugh as you’re doing this?” which you do in your course. But what is…? Listen, parents need to get this because you can’t… We don’t live in the founding fathers’ age anymore. You can’t jam kids. It has to be fun. And I don’t know—maybe… In other words, the John Adams treatment—I like where that’s going but that’s… I’m an old world guy and I’m not so sure the applications are as strong with the negative side. But you’ve done something different because you recognized something as a long time teacher—that it needs to be fun, right?
Dwane: That’s right. It’s rigorous. Visual Latin is a tough course and when you get to the unid [sp] you’re going to be in some serious stuff. There is some very complicated concepts that you’re going to end up in and you’re just going to have to plow through them and work through them. And you know this as well as I do, Bill. At some point hard work turns into work that you enjoy, so long as you stick with it and that the difficulties of it don’t seem as unbearable anymore—at some point. You cross a threshold and of course, I can’t tell you exactly where that is. But on your way to that threshold you may as well laugh a little bit, right? My students… Again, I teach in an inner city school. I teach third-graders so you can imagine how difficult that is—third grade through sixth grade. I have to throw in something from time to time to lighten them up. If it’s a lame joke, if it’s a funny story—I’ve just got to throw something in to almost release the tension in the room because I’m requiring them to work so hard. So I actually use humor as a tool to lighten a very, very difficult load on the way to an extremely noble goal. But I’m afraid a lot of my students would just throw their hands up in the air and quit if all I did was drill them and yell at them.
Bill: So you also, when you’re doing this, you’re trying to have some fun and you… Do you sort of try to instill—I mean it’s hard to do with third graders—but do you try to instill this idea that there is something for you at the end of this that this is going to be something good that your life will change as a result of this?
Dwane: I give them at least a few jokes that they can tell their friends and have some fun with so there is instant gratification, I hope. Some of the jokes are lame. I think a lot of my students just roll their eyes. That’s fine. It relieves the tension. But I also try to inspire them. I blog every day. I try to upload new content on the website but also in the actual classroom—in the physical classroom—often I’m just encouraging my students and reminding them “Hey, you can’t see it right now, I know. The horizon is on the other side of that mountain. You cannot see it. This is hard. But trust me. I’ve been there and I speak several languages. It’s worth it. You’re going to appreciate it in the end and let’s just keep pushing through it. Let’s keep slogging through.” And sometimes it’s just an encouraging word like that and sometimes it’ll be an inspiring story. Sometimes it’ll be just humor to… Like I said, instant gratification—just lighten everybody up, let’s calm down, let’s do something different for a minute, let’s lay down our mental labor and just have some fun for a few minutes and then we’ll snap back to it when we get a chance.
Bill: Well, is there ever an idea…? Like people used to learn Pig Latin just so that they could communicate around their mothers, not knowing that their mothers already knew that, right? Is there any sense that you could try to say—it’s not really tricking somebody—but it’s sort of saying, “Hey, if you learn Latin you can have this conversation and nobody’s going to know what you’re talking about and you might have a lot of fun that way.” Is that something that…? Do you ever hear any kids having conversations in Latin that adults don’t understand? It’d be kind of funny.
Dwane: I was actually confronted by a mom two years ago at New Hope Academy where I teach here in Franklin. She said, “Look, I appreciate what you’re doing with my kids but my son and my daughter are in the back of the car some mornings speaking to each other about their day and when they don’t want me to understand, they’ll switch into Latin and I find that highly annoying.” So she’s like “Thank you for what you’re doing but what are you doing?”
Bill: That’s awesome. That’s what I was looking for actually. No. I have another challenge for you. Tell me a joke in Latin. Obviously I’m not going to laugh because I didn’t… I haven’t gone through all that broken glass and pain that you did and I didn’t have parents that gave me the option of digging ditches or learning Latin. So tell me a joke. Can you tell me a little joke in Latin?
Dwane: I can. Jokes are weird. I tell my students “If you can tell a joke in another language, you’re fluent in another language” and here’s the thing—a lot of Latin jokes just—to us—they aren’t funny because they’re cultural. If I said, for instance… Well, here is an English joke. How many bureaucrats does it take to change a light bulb? Two. One to tell you everything is going to be just fine and the other one to screw the light bulb into the faucet. Well, that only makes sense if you know what a bureaucrat is and you know how inefficient they are. The same in Latin or any other language—a joke will only make sense in the language if you really understand the language. So here’s a famous one by a guy named…. I think it’s Marshall. But he says, “[inaudible 0:33:40.4]” and the translation is “Fayette [sp]”—and this is a woman’s name—“has black teeth. Lacinia [sp] has white teeth. What am I to think? Fayette has her own and Lacinia bought hers.” So he’s making a joke about false teeth in ancient Rome, which you could actually buy false teeth. But it really only makes sense…
Bill: No Dwane. That works anywhere. That works in Pittsburgh, I think.
Dwane: Okay. Maybe it does nowadays. We’ll run into people who have supremely white teeth and still we would wonder, “Are those his teeth or did he buy those?” So I guess it’s sort of the same joke. I guess that one does work.
Bill: Yeah, that works. That’s universal. So yeah. So there’s another application. Maybe you don’t want to go to law school. As we kind of close here, sort of paint another picture. I mean you learn Latin. You’re kind of there. What is—and we talked about it a little bit but I guess I want to sum up—how does it change your student’s life? Have you seen some people graduate? You’ve had some kids move on. You’ve got testimonials on your website, www.VisualLatin.com. So talk a little bit more about that before we end up.
Dwane: Well, and back to what Earl Nightingale said in one of his books—“Before you do anything else, master your own language” and then back to that German proverb, if you don’t know another language, you really don’t know your own. And if you combine those two, then the clear implication is you need to study other languages so that you can truly master your own language. But I’ve had several students who have actually dropped Latin. I’ve taught them Latin and they completed the course but then they kind of moved on to other stuff and for all I know, they don’t remember a whole lot of what they learned in Latin. But what it did do was open the door in their brains to how languages work.
So I had one student—famous example of mine that I like to tell my students—I taught him Latin. He really enjoyed the class, really… It really clicked with him how languages work. He saw the connections. After that he went on to learn Spanish and then he decided to learn Chinese and so he literally just moved to China and still lives there to this day. He’s been there for four years now simply because he wanted to learn Chinese. And that door was opened when he studied Latin. Here’s a beautiful thing about Latin. Latin is an ancient language so there is about 75,000 words in the Latin language. English has about a million words in our language, roughly. The estimates are varied but about a million words in our language. So you can imagine what it’s like trying to learn English while English speakers keep creating new words and bending their own rules. However, if you go back to an ancient language that’s much smaller, it’s more bite-sized. Not only that, Latin doesn’t break its own rules that much.
So you can learn things in Latin about how a language works. All languages, for example—so far as I know—all the languages I’ve ever studied have eight parts of speech. Well, if you learn those eight parts of speech in Latin, then you can take that knowledge and apply it to a living, misbehaving language—and English is certainly a living and a misbehaving language whereas Latin is an older and more well behaved language. And so you can… And in a sense you can learn in basic training—and that would be Latin—what combat is going to be like—and that would be English or Spanish or Chinese or whatever living language you’re learning—and you can take the principles that you learned in the smaller ancient, more well behaved language and apply those principles to a modern, fluctuating language.
Bill: So it adds a… It’s sort of stable. There is a stabilizing effect…
Bill: …that Latin brings.
Dwane: Yeah. You have a foundation to stand on. When I started teaching myself Spanish, I got so sick of hearing, “Well, this is an exception. That’s an exception. This is an exception. That’s an exception.” It was over and over again. But fortunately, I had a foundation to stand on and so it was a little easier to handle Spanish because I knew where Spanish was coming from. But the fluctuation within the language today is wild. And English is worse. Thank God we both speak English.
Bill: When you go to someone else that speaks Latin—maybe they’re from a different country or something—is it the rules are generally still the same? Is that what you’re saying?
Dwane: Oh yeah. Latin is an established, pretty much concrete language. A lot of people say Latin is a dead language. I prefer to say Latin is a frozen language. It developed for a while and then it just stopped and if you start digging around in the language you’ll find that you don’t have to deal with truckloads of new vocabulary, for instance. So it’s a very stable environment to learn a language and then you can apply that knowledge in any direction you like.
Bill: And as you said, I think, that you’re probably never too old, even though it’s a bit of a bite because look, we’re at the end of the year, getting ready to close this year out. People make New Years resolutions. Why not—even if you are adult—make a resolution that “Hey look, I’m going to learn another language. I’m going to do this or I’m going to take my children on this journey” or better yet, do it with them and then you’ve got some other synergistic things going on with that too that will all turn out for the positive. So I think it’s a great time of year. Tell us again Dwane—how do you get Visual Latin?
Dwane: Well, that’s simple. Just go to the website, www.VisualLatin.com and I blog there every day. You’re welcome to contact me there, ask me questions. I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have and if I don’t have the answer, I can find another Latin teacher who does. But information, go to www.VisualLatin.com.
Bill: Dwane is a great teacher and I thank Dwane—I thank you for your time. I think it would be a great website just to go check out and I think the course, especially since you know how to use a laugh here and there, it makes a big difference. So Dwane, as we close ‘er out, we just want to say thanks for your time. It means a lot and just would invite everybody to go to www.VisualLatin.com.
Dwane: Thanks for having me, Bill. It’s been a pleasure.
Bill: Alrighty. Take care.
Dwane: Take care.
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off The Grid Radio. But you know Bill, it’s… Sometimes we’re talking about getting you ready to prepare for the worst but what’s kind of cool about today’s show is we’re getting you ready to prepare for the best. Right? New Year’s Eve is just around the corner so it’s not always doom and gloom. It’s not… I mean if you’re listening to our voice, congratulations. You made it past the Mayan calendar and December 21st and….
Bill: Boy do I have egg on my face.
Brian: Not you, my friend. There are some people…
Bill: Just kidding. I am suspicious of wacky prophecies but…
Brian: Well, you know what my friend? I get asked that a lot about “Oh, well you know all that fear-mongering” or “Oh…” What was my favorite line, Jeremy? “Tilling the earth with a human femur?” Isn’t that what our friend…? What’s his name, Jeremy?
Bill: Steve Colbert.
Brian: Stephen Colbert. That’s right. We’ve got to make sure we send him roses or flowers again.
Bill: We should try to get him to review another one of our products. You know what? I’m going to make that my goal this year. I’m going to try to be back on his show with some product like the seed bank. I don’t know what it’s going to be. Maybe it’s our new secret weapon over there in the lab—the secret weapon—My Power Buddy.
Brian: Oh that… You know what? I have to tell you. Since the Hot Water Rocket, what you showed me this morning—that’s like the second coolest thing on my list. The stuff that was in your office before we came to the studio?
Bill: Yeah, yeah.
Brian: Oh yeah.
Bill: That’s amazing. That’s like something we’ve never released.
Brian: Yeah. Remember that old commercial—American Express—“You are about to witness a crime.” You leave that thing sit for a couple more minutes, that will be eastbound and down when I’m out of here later today.
Bill: You’re going to steal it.
Brian: Oh, thank you so much for the belated Christmas gift, Bill. No. I just think that’s amazing.
Bill: Well, and it’s… I think it’s a bit of a break for us and it’s an usual… We’ve given our buyer, Jarrod Brewer… I say to him “I’ve got to have a new product like this” and we sort of look at all these different things now. Jarrod has just done a… “From the folks that brought you the Hot Water Rocket…”
Bill: So… And do you know how many of those we sold? And we had to shut off the thing. Do you know how many we sold?
Bill: I mean people listening to this may have tried to order one. We just sold them all out and we sold like 700 in a couple days.
Brian: It’s an amazing piece of gear.
Bill: And we just had to shut it all down again because we… I told you guys that it would resonate well. Did I not? That it was a winner?
Bill: Well, and when… So we’re ordering thousands and thousands of them to come back in and we’ve got just… I mean it’s just a fantastic thing. And this is the next one of those things that I’m telling you people are going to love. Now that was a little inexpensive thing. This is a little bit higher cost because there is a lot of gear but we won’t… This isn’t a show… This isn’t a show about that particular thing.
Brian: Right. Because we’ll be doing James Bond type of bling when we highlight that thing.
Bill: You would have heard them. The Bond music before the show if we were going to introduce that product.
Brian: Oh man. That’s something cool. I’m looking forward to that. But as I said, starting off this segment, we’re getting you ready to prepare for the best. We hope that everyone is able to achieve their vision for a healthy and prosperous 2013.
Bill: And so in keeping with that Brian, one of the things that I sort of challenged you this morning with is what is it that we’re going to prepare for? So this is our time to be sort of not prophetic in the Mayan sense or in the sense that we think the world is going to end at a certain time but rather prophetic maybe small pea—just looking at the ideas and saying, “Look, you’d have to be an idiot not to see this coming,” right?
Bill: That kind of prophetic, where we just say, “Look, here is where we find ourselves. Here is Point-A on the map.” More than likely, you’re going to experience… It’s almost like the meteorology thing. They don’t get it always right but if they say it’s going to cloud up and they see a storm front coming through, it usually does. If they say there’s a hurricane is going to hit New York and New Jersey, it usually does with a greater or lesser… If they say eight inches of snow, sometimes you get four. But…
Bill: So you might as well prepare for the eight inches of snow because what happens if you just get four, it’s just easy to deal with. That’s what this particular podcast episode is about—is what should we expect next year? And of course the first thing that is on everybody’s minds because of what’s just happened is more and more gun control and then I think we… We just have to admit that that’s coming. If you look at the media, if you look at the election, here is what happened in the election—and I said this—if you remember, I called the election and said… Look, we’ve got to the point where there are more people who are on government payrolls and all the way around than there are sort of… I’m hesitant to use the word “producers” because I know people that work at the post office are producers in some sense.
But what I mean is there is kind of more people receiving government money than paying in and that tipping point has already happened and I sort of called that before the election and said—and I wish that was true. I wish conservatives would rise up and sort of say, “Enough is enough” and they did and they voted because they didn’t want a repeat of the last four years and everybody that I know went to the polls to vote against something and it still wasn’t enough because that it’s not 47%, as Romney said. It’s probably closer to 67% of people who are just on the other side of the transaction and they got too much to lose, right?
Brian: Sure. Sure.
Bill: So there also, that group—and I think everyone that’s listening to this needs to understand—that group that voted for President Obama for the most part—I understand there’s exceptions—they are against guns, right?
Brian: Sure. Sure.
Bill: Now they all own guns just like this congressman from Illinois that is a big proponent of gun control and then he got on a plane here the other day and he was packing a pistol. So they all own guns themselves but they’re against you having them.
Brian: Right. And you know what? He will—so the polls say—even with the felony…. And let me just say that he has been charged—not convicted, not by a jury of his peers—but even with the charge of that felony weapons possession, he is now at 60-some odd percent in the polls to replace Congressman Jackson, who is vacating his seat.
Bill: And he won from a mental institution.
Brian: In the great state of Illinoid. So stay tuned.
Bill: Winning from a mental institution. I think one of the predictions that I’ll make for next year is—and into 2000, so the congressional elections would be two years from now—I will say more and more candidates winning from mental institutions.
Brian: Well, clearly you know my position on it.
Bill: It’s a platform that wins.
Brian: I think it does. I would say to you that when you look at a majority of the politicians… You know me. I call them the “pachs and the jacks,” two rival gangs reporting to the same cartel. And I don’t mean cartel like old, top secret, black helicopter stuff. I just mean two rival gangs in the same… in the same bigger gang—the jacks and the pachs—you’ve got the donkeys and the elephants. To-may-to, to-mah-to. Whatever.
Bill: Can you imagine voting for a guy that admittedly says, “There is something wrong with me”?
Brian: Well, there’s something wrong with me and I hope if I ever run for office, people would vote for me so my heart goes out to mental patients because I’m one. But what grabs me even more is…
Bill: Touché. Okay. I guess you’ve got me there.
Brian: Do you know what I mean? It’s like hey…
Bill: That’s a hard rejoinder to…
Brian: No. Not at all. You’re my friend. You know I’m as nuts as the next guy. But here you go—you’re an outspoken… And we should say about this state senator here…. You should say about this state senator here that he is an outspoken fan of stricter gun control and he goes to the airport with not only the gun but the ammunition. So what it strikes me as—and all of this political debate about it… Mayor Bloomberg from New York, Mayor Emanuel from Chicago, the president—President Obama—for that matter, governors. Look at the people that are now for gun control. Right Bill? I mean you and I both know it’s not about guns. It’s about control. Look at the people that are for gun control but have a full time, on-to-the-teeth bodyguard staff.
Bill: Oh yeah, the guy that owns FOX—Rupert Murdoch—he’s pounding the drums with a full entourage of people with weapons. They’re all licensed to the government because it’s a fascist system that he has his guns through. But they just…
Brian: Yeah. Look at the governor…
Bill: They just don’t want you… I mean everyone needs to get this because this is not nice people trying to make the world safe for children and schools. This is… These are people trying to take your guns away and making sure that they have their own stash.
Bill: That’s what this is all about. It’s never ever been anything different. They will only use sappy language. Now sappy language is easy when children perish because it’s… It’s… I’m not over this and it’s been a while, right? I mean I try to put my own family in this place and so… But we have to resist this concept that it’s external things that make people bad. So what would we end up taking? You know there’s two sides of that and we’ll move on from gun control in a second but there’s two sides to this. The people always say, “Well, what’s the problem?” and I’ve got to diagnose the problem. The problem is always something else other than human nature and so they’re always extricating man’s relationship with God and they’re saying, “Well, the problem is guns. The problem is alcohol. The problem is…”—whatever thing it could be—video games and it’s constant environmental problems—anything except you.
And then of course “What’s the answer?” and if you get the problem wrong, if you get the diagnosis of the problem wrong, the answer then becomes “Well, we just should have… We need to do a number of things. We should hire… I’ll put full body scanners at every school. We need to hire more government, sniper tower, more psychologists, more… We need to put scanners up—video scanners—to watch people so when we see them slouching forward, we know they’re about to kill people.” And it’s just more and more and pretty soon… Orwell says, “Wow. I hadn’t even thought of that yet. You guys beat me way to the punch here.”
Brian: Orwell’s like, “You guys. You kidders, you.”
Bill: You’re always on. I can see Orwell coming on our show. If you’re listening…
Brian: Stay tuned.
Bill: No. Just kidding. But no. I think that what we’re going to see is more and more answers to a misdiagnosis of the problem and those answers are always more and more government tyranny.
Bill: So back to… Before Brian, I used to talk to you about ducks and remember you had told me one time that that made a sort of profound thing in your head.
Brian: It really did.
Bill: Abraham Kuyper, man. Abraham Kuyper said this so profoundly. He said, “You know, government begins internally.” And so there’s these spheres of government and there’s self-government and there’s family government and there’s church government and school government and finally, after you get them all mastered—if you get good at all of them—someone says, “Hey, why don’t you run for civil government?” So when the word “government” comes up, it means really, principally, can you control yourself? It doesn’t mean “Well, I’m not sure who my congressman is.” It means… And here’s that Christmas thing—“and the government shall be upon His shoulders.”
Well, it’s sort of a cosmic government that may leaven itself into civil government but this is a big thing. Government—this idea of “Can we control ourselves?” because if individuals can’t control themselves in a society, guess what happens? The government comes in and says, “You either”—in this case—“You hire more game wardens,” as we talk about, down by the river or if you’re in the situation like this, you have full body scanners at every school and you have… Remember our friend wanted to…? One of our friends that we know wanted to put them in every school. So that’s where it ends up. I mean that’s my prognostication and I don’t think it takes that big of a jump to see this cause and effect relationship if one is misdiagnosing the patient’s illness.
Brian: And what happens in the very beginning of the misdiagnosis, Bill—I would agree—is that it’s just disingenuous. If you want to take gun control—and whether you think and believe in the second amendment or you don’t, you take all of it out—when you look at the studies, the states that have concealed carry, of which the state of Illinoid where you and I broadcast from does not yet, although the Supreme Court… the appellate court decided that that was unconstitutional, when you look at states that have concealed carry, guess where the crime rate is?
Bill: Yeah, it’s in the tank.
Brian: It’s in the tank. When you look at the young gentleman that went into the movie theater in Colorado and did all the shootings—the Batman premiers—do you know of the eleven movie theaters, he picked the one not closest to his house, not easiest drive, not closest to his favorite restaurant. He picked the one—the one of the eleven—that didn’t allow concealed carry in their own movie theater. Bad guys know. They want easy targets. They… Look, bad guys—they’re evil. They’re not stupid, right? So if your main goal Bill—and I’m saying this as an ex-cop—bad guys are evil. They’re not dumb. Now some bad guys are. You know what I mean? I remember one time making an arrest for a burglary. Kid climbs through the window and his wallet falls out while he’s climbing out. You know? Those kind of people you’ve got to put in jail because you can’t run the risk of them having kids. You’ve got to put them away. You’re just too stupid to be out running the streets. But the majority of the criminals—they’re not dumb and they’re going to pick the targets where there’s someone that’s not going to return fire, aren’t they?
Bill: Well, that’s just the course of least resistance and it’s… It’s basic… It’s life in the Serengeti. I mean a lion or hyena pack is always picks the weakest because they just want the course of least resistance and so that’s… We all sort of gravitate towards the course of least resistance and here’s someone that’s kind of reasonably bright. I don’t mean that in the sense if you’re bright, you shoot people. That would be kind of dimwitted. But in any sense, I think it’s just… It’s really a non sequitur. It’s really just something that we shouldn’t even be discussing. You know 100 years ago you’d never be even having a conversation like this because everyone would just know that that’s the case. But yeah… I think the next thing too that I think that goes along with what you’re saying and goes along with this basic idea of misdiagnosis would be the economy. And so here you go—the what’s wrong with the patient? And what’s wrong with the patient is he’s not getting enough money flow, right?
Brian: Sure. Sure.
Bill: It’s not that he’s already… that blood’s flowing out one side of this patient but he’s not getting enough new blood. So no one’s saying, “Hey, let’s stop the bleeding.” They’re just saying, “Well, we don’t mind how big the hole in this…” Maybe he got shot and “We don’t care how big the hole in this patient is. We just need to give him money at the other end. So even though he’s got a hole coming out his backside, let’s make sure we get an IV in his arm and the blood flow equivalent to going out…”
Bill: And common sense would say, “Well, we should stop the bleeding.” That’s an appropriate analogy because people say that in economic discourse and I think this country is bleeding financially. So what’s that mean? What are we going to see? You’ve got another bad… You have another bad diagnosis and so what’s the answer?
Brian: More gauze.
Bill: More blood going well.
Brian: More gauze.
Bill: I wish they’d put gauze on it to try to stop the bleeding. I’m making the case for they’re just saying, “Well, the patient needs more blood.” It’s obvious the patient and then meanwhile he’s… There’s a pool of blood on the floor is growing and growing and growing and no one sees it. So you have a matrix-like world where no one can see this and the answer becomes more of what the problem was.
Bill: And so it gets worse and worse and worse—this can-kicking. Eventually… We know historically that all cans—an object in motion tends to remain in motion until it stops. And so it’s difficult to predict when that can, after being kicked, finally stops but what we do know about history is that all can-kicking has an end. All can-kicking ends. It doesn’t go on forever. And so like musical chairs, the question is “Who ends up with the last one—without a chair?” and I think the answer is “Will this happen in the next year? Will it happen in the next four years?” Personally, I think that it can’t not have consequences. We are a resilient economy and we have a lot of hardworking people yet. But as I said, more people don’t produce than do and if you start making it… punishing them to produce, you’re going to get less production yet, which gives you bigger deficits.
A lot of people will just say… The problem with taxing rich people for the most part is the same thing with making gun control for rich people and politicians. They figure out a way around it. So in the same way this state guy had his gun—he found a way around it, at least in his mind—they’ll always find… Rich people find a way out of these things and they… Or… Either they shift capital and they say, “I don’t want to play this game anymore” and they move their assets, which it’s going to hurt the stock market because they move their assets off. So perhaps you could see finally the stock market take a hit if it’s not continued to be buoyantly kept afloat by more blood that way. But I think it’s going to be a murky year financially because you just losing production, people decide if they get taxed to produce less.
Brian: Now you know, it makes me think of that story that we heard a few weeks back about how General Electric—they’re calling them in these group of reports the greatest tax dodgers because they’re moving all that off to Bermuda. So when you say, “Hey, wealthy people are going to find a way around it,” well, wealthy people want to be like GE. It’s capitalism. You can’t blame them.
Bill: Google is the same way. And these are all Obama buddies.
Bill: That would be a name of a good product—The Obama Buddy.
Brian: That would be. You know… And you and I have kind of danced around this but I’m your most liberal friend. When you look at the liberal platform, when you look at helping people that need help, that giving people a fresh start or doing all these other things—I’m the biggest fan of that. What I am not a fan of is what people say then they’re doing this to help a human mind—to help a human being. But what we find time and time again is when you coddle a human mind—and this goes back to my part about the disingenuous conversation in our country—you’re not helping them. You’re hurting them long term. They think they’re being helped but they’re being hurt long term and that’s…
So for me, if there were a way—and I think there is a way—you want to find a way of helping people? Help them in those moments where it’s truly a tipping point and then get them out, get them doing the things that allow them to use their God-given gifts, right? So there’s more than just inalienable rights. There’s an inalienable prowess that comes along with that. So as a liberal—I’ll label myself that today—as a liberal, I want to do the things that are best for those people. And the things that are best for those people—getting them in the workforce, let them be proud, let them create, let them… That to me is the way to help folks. That’s the way I help myself. It’s the way people have helped me. So I’m the most liberal person I know.
Bill: That used to be the meaning of the word “liberal.”
Bill: Back at the beginning of the country if you were liberal you sort of believed in the things you just articulated. And now of course, language has changed and liberal means “I want to give… I want to make somebody else dependent and on the system. I want them on the grid. I want them as being a slave to the system so that they never have to get off.”
Brian: Sure. And that slavery doesn’t sound to me a lot like pursuit of happiness.
Bill: It’s… I think it’s another misdiagnosis because it just assumes something about people. And here’s where it… A little end of the year knock against progressives and President Obama—I think you and I think that this class of people that ends up with benefits and entitlements—I think we think a lot higher of them than do our pretended friends.
Bill: I think that we see people of all—I’ll play Dr. King for a second—of all races, of all socioeconomic types having a spirit—some spark of God in them—capable of great things. And I think that really… Do we believe in the depravity of man? Are people capable of doing bad things? Sure. But we also see the spark of God in people and there is no race that that’s exempted and no economic class that that’s exempted. As a matter of fact, all immigrants when they first come in usually end up being poor for a while, right?
Bill: There hasn’t been a situation where that has not been true. So they eventually work themselves out of the ghetto and into middle class society. That’s been the miracle that is the US of A is that we do have that wonderful middle class thing and people come from the south. I want them to come legally. I want them to fill all the same paperwork out that my grandparents filled out when they came to this country and be legal citizens. But we know that they’re capable of great, great things. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or Hispanic or anything. It just—Muslim—it just doesn’t matter. You can bring something to the table—that is the greatness of this country—and be a servant of others, right? I mean really be a producer and serve greatly. We always use… We have a lot of examples but we always talk about Carver.
Brian: George Washington…. I was thinking the same thing. Absolutely.
Bill: Yeah—as being someone that really… How could you start from a more lowly estate? He didn’t have a dad either. He didn’t have anything and yet he had a couple pairs of pants and six rocks and he really changed America forever. So…
Brian: I’m with you.
Bill: And he continues to change America today because the people that read him… A lot of people don’t want you reading him. And I think that’s an interesting phenomenon too. The left doesn’t like him.
Bill: They have all kinds of names for him—most of them you can’t say in public anymore. And…
Brian: Nor would you want to. Right.
Bill: Yeah. Nor would you want to. And… But he just… Well, I can’t say them. I think if you’re a black comedian you can say them but I can’t say them and they really don’t like him because he was his own man. He did pull himself up by the bootstraps and changed the world forever and that’s what we’re asking people to do. I see food prices… Brian, we’ve only got a couple things, along with that thing. I mean do you want to talk about food prices for a second? This is not a good year. We’re in the Midwest and what’s problematic in the Midwest is the fact that it’s drier than a bone here and so once you go down a couple inches, the water table is really, really gone and it’s moist for a couple inches. Once you… We just had somebody that we know that’s in the excavating business and also a farmer. He just gave me a report and saying it’s like dust down there. So 2013 could be a real trying year, especially here in the Midwest where we’re already dry. If we don’t get relief quick food prices are going to really, really go up the following year. So all of this takes longer than what anticipated and sometimes we think, “Well, it’s going to happen right away” but it’s a slow, gradual thing when you see this…. Well, it’s really kind of the decline and fall of America in some sense.
Brian: But in that, as we said before, this is to prepare yourself for the best. I think my final thought—and I was thinking of this as you were talking and leading up to George Washington Carver—Emerson’s quote that being poor consists of feeling poor. Right? Being poor consists of feeling poor. So if you’re not into all the bling, if you’re not into all the tangential, 2013 has the ability to be a great year given everything else that could befall us. Talk about someone that was a huge fan of self-reliance—both George Washington Carver and Ralph Waldo Emerson—it’s on you. And you make life what you make life. And…
Bill: Take a good look in the mirror, right?
Bill: I mean that’s what we’ve… You and I have talked about that more and more. What’s a good year look like? You’ve told me this over and over. If you look in the mirror and you see a little less of yourself and a little more of God in the mirror over time… We call that in theological circles “sanctification.” Other people have different phrasings for it but I think that’s a great goal to have for 2013.
Brian: And I like the… You will remember the name of the band but “Signs, signs, everywhere signs”—remember that group from back when we were younger and the…?
Bill: The five-man electrical band.
Brian: His final riff is “So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign. I said thank you God for thinking about me. I’m alive and doing fine.” And if you take that attitude into 2013…
Bill: You’re going to be successful.
Brian: You’re going to be successful beyond your wildest imagination. So Bill, I look forward to seeing you right after the first of the year and I know you’ll hit the ground running. Any last thoughts for our listeners?
Bill: No. No, I’m just… I’m with you Brian. Thanks for the admonition there about really just being thankful—that idea about grace is one of the most powerful currencies—grace as a currency—in the universe. So you want to tap into the most powerful force in the universe? Think about grace.
Brian: Think about grace. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much. We hope you… We know you had a fantastic holiday season and we wish you—on behalf of everyone here, not just Bill Heid but all the staff at Off The Grid News, the parent company of Solutions From Science, all the friends, all the families, everyone that’s responsible for bringing you our two voices—we wish you a fantastically amazing New Year.