Where Is Excellence?

Earlier this month, I posted a video of the most honest “commencement” speech young graduates of today should be required to hear. Almost every day this week, I’ve talked with at least one person (most of whom were educators) who expressed his or her deep concern about the current state of education and learning in our country.Scholarship-clip-art-300x264In my state, there’s been an ongoing discussion about Common Core and the state Board of Education has been re-evaluating. Earlier this week, it appeared they’d be adopting another curriculum. However, decision-makers have ruled against the recommendations of a review committee and the process is dividing educators and reviewers. Continue reading “Where Is Excellence?”

Poetic Artistry

Yesterday in this space, I saluted my brother and sister-in-law on the occasion of their 48th anniversary. They enjoyed an anniversary getaway in a town near us and because they were nearby, that allowed us to meet for lunch. Since they are both talented artists, we settled on the perfect meeting place, the spectacular Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.Crystal_Bridges_at_night

When I say this is the perfect lunch outing, I’m not kidding. Lunch at the museum was delightful and a splendid first course (if you will) before the entrée – feasting on world-class artwork in gallery after gallery. There’s never enough time to relish it all, but the atmosphere (and menu, if I may continue with the food metaphor) invites one back for follow-up visits. Continue reading “Poetic Artistry”

Wrestling With The Devine

The total number of poetic forms probably exceeds anyone’s ability to compile a complete list. Some of the forms are obscure while others are well known and are represented by numerous familiar examples.bullwinkle-poetry1

When I first got serious about writing poetry half a lifetime ago, almost every time I ran across a new form, I challenged myself to write at least one poem with that form. I thought it would be a helpful exercise in learning the specific form as well as a means of exercising my poetic muscles through new challenges … though the sonnet will probably always be my favorite poetic form. Continue reading “Wrestling With The Devine”

Refuse To Be A Victim

Back in the days when I was in eighth or ninth grade, my girlfriend and I decided we’d work out together. (In those days, we called it exercise.) It was summertime, we planned to sunbathe in our two-piece swimsuits, and a sudden interest in boys dictated we look our best.VintageAdWe were fourteen or fifteen, easily impressed by the silly advertisements in newspapers. No doubt, we were conscious of ads like the one above. How Do You Look In Your Bathing Suit? We wanted to look good.

So we did what people usually do … we took our measurements, height and weight, and recorded them on a chart. The chart was tacked to a wall in my friend’s basement where we exercised. Everyday, we recorded how many sit-ups and jumping jacks and other calisthenics we did as well as noting changes in our weight. We were consistent with the routine for several weeks. Continue reading “Refuse To Be A Victim”

Joy In Mudville

Baseball is in the air. Here at the Wiseblooding abode, there’s a high level of anticipation as the Arkansas Razorbacks (#WooPigSooie) play host on their home field to the NCAA SuperRegional. The #OmaHogs (as fans are calling them) will face the Missouri State Bears on Friday.
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Hog fans can get a bit crazy when it comes to cheering for their team … hearing a stadium full of fans rocking the stands as they call the Hogs is an impressive experience. Friday’s game is sold out and they’re expecting a capacity crowd for this event. The fans will start early and make a festive day out of it. Continue reading “Joy In Mudville”

Imperfect Family-hood

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 “Imperfect Family-hood”

Spring Blooms

Though I ended up working past dark (good thing I’m not afraid of the dark!), I completed my garden work this evening. All those tomato and pepper plants are safely ensconced in the soil – surrounded by a generous helping of Miracle-Gro garden soil – and ready to drink in the rain my Beloved tells me is expected overnight.2015-05-05 21.26.35

While I was working in the garden, my Beloved was also busy outdoors, spiffing up the shrub and flower beds around the house’s perimeter. When we next spoke, he surprised me … he had cut a stalk from the azalea bushes on the north side of our house and presented it to me! (See above picture.) Continue reading “Spring Blooms”

Eradication Meditations

The saga of my garden continues. A couple weeks ago, I posted about my concern that last year’s raspberry canes I pruned (drastically) back in February weren’t going to sprout new canes. There’s good news to report on that front! Not only have they sprouted nicely but they look to be thriving! I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a partial victory on this! See the picture below.2015-05-04 20.14.16When my Beloved announced over the weekend he was going to purchase tomato and green pepper seedlings and maybe a few other vegetables for planting, I was both surprised and goaded into action! Until now, he had more or less ceded the raised-bed garden space to my care … but I wasn’t going to refuse his sudden interest, no, no, no! So I knew I had to take immediate action! Continue reading “Eradication Meditations”

Mother, May I Mayday?

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Today is the first day of May. Having watched numerous television shows in my youth where the pilot or ship’s captain grabs up his microphone and utters those three words in hopes of rescue, every May 1st, I’m reminded of those dramatic scenes of video terror.MaydayLandPlaneOf course, I would never actually utter this standard distress call in real life (I’m neither pilot nor ship’s captain) … since making a false distress call is a federal offense. Continue reading “Mother, May I Mayday?”

Looking for Good News

All of us appreciate hearing Good News. Am I right?! When a person has waited on Good News the better part of fifty years, it can’t come too soon. Nearly a year ago, I posted about my good friend Joseph Wood who has been researching the details of his parentage, having been abandoned as an infant and found wrapped in a blanket-lined basket, mere hours after his 1965 birth.

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Joseph and June, 2015

Joseph’s delightful story has now made its way to the pages of the Chicago Tribune where it will (hopefully) garner attention and lead (at long last) to a reunion with the family of his birth. (Thanks to Mary Schmich for kindly featuring Joseph’s story!)

There’s already a basket-load of Good News related to Joseph’s story … even as he was abandoned, he was lovingly placed where he’d be found, he was lovingly adopted, he was nurtured in a loving home and all along the way, God had His hand on the lad – who grew into a man, husband, father, as well as a respected and admired friend who currently serves the State of Arkansas as our Deputy Secretary of State. Continue reading “Looking for Good News”