A recent television show, titled Forever, offered the intriguing tale of a man who experiences a kind of immortality. He’s a couple hundred years old and if he dies or is killed, he returns. The premise had promise but earlier this month, after just one season Forever was cancelled. (I suppose when it comes to episodic television, there’s no such thing as Forever … unless it’s Law & Order.)From the moment we’re born, it seems we consider ourselves invincible. It’s in our nature to view the world through what I would call forever eyes. As I’ve noted before on this blog, C. S. Lewis explained it this way: “… we were made for another world.” Because we were made for another world, our eyes want to envision forever, our fingertips ache to touch forever, our hearts long to connect with forever. Each of these impulses is innate.
Children are known for acting foolishly. Teenagers are notorious offenders, sometimes showing reckless regard or on other occasions failing to weigh the risks. As one example, we’ve all read the tales of teens driving and texting. Not every teen ends up slamming into a tree because of his or her poor judgment, but some do. (The statistics are sufficiently troubling.) Because children (especially teens) believe they’re invincible, they rarely spend time considering possible unintended consequences.
Since children don’t always have the maturity necessary to make good decisions, we give them the benefit of the doubt. When a child has a run-in with the law, his or her records are usually sealed and sometimes expunged after a certain period of time. Today, I’ve mused several times how different the world would look if the records of all juvenile lawbreakers were unsealed and open to public scrutiny. The media frenzy surrounding Josh Duggar’s admission of “inexcusable” behavior in his early teens is a case in point. Continue Reading →
In other countries around the world, “marriage” often looks remarkably different than the celebrations we have in America. In recent days, reports from the Middle East (specifically countries where ISIS continues to gain more ground) have revealed even prepubescent girls are being married off to adult men. Other girls are being sold into sexual slavery. Either way, the situation is dire.
According to Zainab Bangura, a special representative to the UN general secretary, facts on the ground reveal the disturbing and inhumane treatment of young girls who are stripped naked, exposed to “virginity tests,” and many of them are sent to “slave auctions” after their villages have been attacked, and they’ve been subjected to the “killing their husbands, fathers and brothers.” Bangura speaks of one girl who was traded off 22 times to different men. Other girls are exposed to repeated rapes and subsequent surgeries to “restore” their virginity. Continue Reading →
Now that 2015 commencement exercises are mostly completed around the country, the wedding season is definitely upon us. At least one source states April is when wedding season actually begins, while other sources consider May the beginning of the “season.” I’ve usually considered May the most common month among my friends and acquaintances.
We’ve already attended one wedding this month. It was a beautiful ceremony with the stunning bride dressed elegantly and the groom all smiles as she walked down the aisle toward him. Venue decorations were stylishly appointed and it was (in my estimation) every bit the fairy tale event a young woman imagines for her day. Continue Reading →
Thinking this week about the death of 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning poet Franz Wright, I couldn’t help but wonder about the ways in which he was depicted through numerous obituaries. He was “troubled,” he endured many “dark years,” a man who was “celebrated and tormented,” he suffered “clinical depression” and eventually “became addicted to drugs and alcohol.” These descriptions don’t paint an encouraging picture!
Wright holds a unique position in the world of poetry. He was the son of another poet who also won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry! Not surprisingly, the elder Wright (James) has also been described as a tormented individual. James was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1972. Continue Reading →
Fifteen years ago, the Mel Gibson / Helen Hunt film, What Women Want, was released. The film is an entertaining look at what happens when a charming and seductive man named Nick experiences a freak accident. The morning after his accident, he realizes he has a new ability … he can hear the thoughts of women around him.
The movie presents an interesting dilemma. With the tag line “Finally … a man is listening” giving voice to the almost universal longing of women to have the listening ears of their men, it’s understandable this film was generally well received. Flip that scenario around and Gibson experiences why there are hazards in hearing a woman’s unfiltered innermost thoughts. Continue Reading →
When our five-year-old grandson is here for the day (as he was today), he’s always anxious for the male members of the family to show up at end of day. He looks forward to playing video games (XBOX) with our oldest grandson … and he can’t wait for my Beloved to arrive home so they can “drive” the big white truck (a Ford F150) together. The child hops onto his granddad’s lap and they motor around our 3+ acre lot. (The other grandchildren are equally thrilled when they’re given opportunity to get behind the wheel.)
If this little guy were allowed to drive a truck like the one pictured above, I think he’d be more than pleased to give it a try! He has been interested in vehicles since he was a baby. The other day he showed me one of his Matchbox cars, which I immediately identified as a fire truck (it was red, had a fireman insignia painted on the side) and he respectfully (but adamantly) corrected me: “It’s actually a tanker truck.” (Yes, he uses the word actually.) Continue Reading →
Detroit. Discussions of this once-regal city abound online. These are just a few: The Remains of Detroit (a photoessay), The Abandoned City of Detroit (another excellent photoessay), Detroit’s Beautiful, Horrible Decline (more photos), The Post-Post Apocalyptic-Detroit (an article naming entrepreneurial investors who are sinking big money into the city in hopes of reviving its greatness), and The Unions Didn’t Bankrupt Detroit, But Great American Cars Did (a Forbes piece that offers an interesting point of view).
I imagine there is nothing quite like having watched this awful decline as it happened through the years. Over the weekend, my Beloved and I traveled to Detroit to attend our niece’s wedding. (A beautiful and memorable occasion, I must say.) Our trip gave us an opportunity to grasp what the links above present in their photos. Time‘s description – a beautiful, horrible decline – is amazingly apt. I would add two other descriptors … curious and weirdly fascinating. Continue Reading →
There’s a website that offers an entertaining variety of top ten lists, one of which is the Top 10 Smartest People in History. Topped by Albert Einstein, the list provides food for thought. There’s no prologue to explain how the author determined the basis for inclusion on the list. I was amused to see Jesus Christ at number 5, with Tesla, DaVinci and Isaac Newton rounding out the top 5. I’ve never thought before about the brain-power of Jesus – Son of God, the Creator! Is it even possible – in His humanity – He was not the smartest guy in the galaxy?!
Differentiating smarts from wisdom would be a challenge. On the top ten list mentioned above, I have to wonder how many of the individuals listed possessed significant brain-power but lacked the sagacity one would hope goes with it. But just to be certain they’ve covered the bases, there’s also a Top Ten Dumbest People In History. (Adolf Hitler lands on both lists.) Continue Reading →
Celebrations abound! It’s the season of Mother’s Day (on Sunday) and weddings and graduations … and the usual complement of commencement speeches through which we patiently sit and to which we attempt to listen. With Hollywood celebrities, high-profile news figures, politicians, scientists (and the occasional pseudo-scientist), CEOs and sports figures, the range of speeches will run from light comedy, on the one hand, to a more serious challenge for graduates to conquer the world … or at least find a job!
Given the sheer number of commencement speeches delivered every single year, it’s worth asking: how many of the addresses will be remembered in a year … in five years? Obviously, memorability – even for an excellent communicator delivering an excellent speech – depends a great deal on whether or not the speaker touches a cord that resonates with listeners. Further, a speech that’s memorable to one may be totally forgettable to another. Continue Reading →