About the time our grandson entered his second year of college, my Beloved and I began having serious doubts about young people (in general) seeking a college education. It wasn’t our first time to entertain these doubts. Back when our older son was in college, we noticed he was less engaged than we thought he should be.
A number of years ago before he became president, Bill Clinton used to say he wanted to make it possible for everyone to attend college. Even then, we disagreed with him. Not every high school graduate, in my opinion, needs to attend college. Then and now, a good number of young people would be better served by attending vocational schools or community colleges. Continue reading “The Cost of College”→
Back in April, I posted (here) about the physical transformation former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner was undergoing in order to stake his claim to be a woman. At the time of that post, I intended never again to bring up this subject. However, when I heard the announcement today that ESPN will honor Jenner on July 15 by giving him the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, I found myself unable to hold back.
Allow me to cover a few things right from the get-go. Bruce Jenner is not now – nor will he ever be – a woman! He may have had his body surgically mutilated and redesigned in order to have the physical appearance of a woman … but that doesn’t make him a woman. He may take hormones to soften his features and raise his voice … but that doesn’t make him a woman. He may wear feminine garments and own a houseful of girlie-girl items … but that doesn’t make him a woman either! No matter what he chooses to believe, no matter what he tells himself to abet his delusion, he will always … always … ALWAYS be a man. Continue reading “Genuine Courage”→
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 “Adieu, Tormented Poet”→
Ever since we first viewed the 2007 film Bella, I’ve paid attention to Eduardo Verástegui and the projects with which he’s been involved. Bella tells the story of an international soccer star (José played by Verástegui) whose life takes a sharp turn that abruptly ends the man’s career. As the movie begins, he’s working as a cook in a restaurant.Lest I ruin the pleasure you’d have in watching this film, I won’t provide more details. It is well worth viewing. The movie earned multiple awards and honors, and though it didn’t fare well in reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, audiences liked it well enough to reward the film with RT’s Golden Tomato award. Continue reading “Not A Sour Note”→
In a recent New York Times post, columnist David Brooks opined on The Cost of Relativism. Brooks references a recently-released book by Harvard professor Robert D. Putnam entitled Our Kids (with the subtitle The American Dream In Crisis). Putnam’s book provides data with incisive analysis and the stories of real people to conclude kids (and young people) no longer have a shared system of values.
In his column, Brooks uses one comparison to make the point. In the 1960s and 1970s, whether parents were college graduates or never went beyond high school, the norms of behavior for parents and children were roughly the same. Families ate dinner together, attended church together, engaged in activities as families.
Today, family wholeness is diminishing and the norms of behavior within the family have been shaken. There’s a huge and worrisome gap between offspring of college grads and high school grads: only about 10% of children born to college grads will grow up in a single-parent home, while nearly 70% of children born to high school grads will. That’s a sobering reality! Continue reading “That’s How It Should Be”→
A dear friend and I try to share lunch at a local restaurant at least every couple weeks. She and I have known each other for many years and our lives have traversed similar paths. Over the last year or so, both of her brothers have died so that now, only she and her 88 year old mother remain.
The privilege and joy of having siblings doesn’t end when we grow up and move away from our birth families. In my view, siblings become more precious in our lives as we age; they especially take on added importance after our parents’ deaths.
For my friend, this is certainly true. She’s facing the frightening prospect that once her mother is gone, she will be like an unmoored ship, bereft of the family connections she has enjoyed her entire life since she was brought into this world as the youngest among her siblings. Continue reading “Outside The Touch of Time”→
Today is a day for sober reflection. No matter how often I interact with people from all walks of life who are suffering through various challenges in life, the question invariably crops up: Why? and just as often, Why, God?
It’s an understandable question, almost as natural to our humanity as breathing. In some respects (no matter our age), we are like three-year-olds investigating a complex world we’d like to understand. Asking Why? is our common standard that (hopefully) leads us to understanding.
Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs let their tongues hang? Why do I need cash when you have a credit card? These are the kinds of questions children tend to ask, but in our own way, we adults express an identical inquisitiveness, though we often do so with guarded sophistication … for fear of being perceived as ignorant.
There was a time I didn’t mind fighting December crowds at the mall, was being the operative word. In more recent years, my policy has been if Amazon doesn’t carry a product, I don’t need it. (The mall isn’t quite as accommodating about bringing their products to me.)
As Christmas Day draws nearer at hand, my excitement heightens thinking about family members who’ll be coming for a visit! Whether they’re guests for a day or guests for a week, their presence is my present, the gift I most cherish. Continue reading “Over The River?”→
As a long-time user of Microsoft products, I remember the bad old days. I recall a time when MS Word was a stand-alone product. It was one of the first pieces of software I installed on my Windows 3 computer (maybe 1991 or 1992?) and the software was called Word for Windows. Going from a plain text screen to What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) was a huge step forward, but it was only a word processor. When I needed something fancier for a brochure or newsletter, I had to devise work-arounds to make the word processor emulate desktop publishing functions as best I could. (This was before Aldus Pagemaker became available.)
As far as my own writing manuscripts (whether poetry or prose), I only needed Word … but every so often, I’d be temporarily lured away by another product hoping its advertised promises might actually exceed my passing-fair experience with Word (now part of the MS Office package). No matter what product I tried, I always came back. In some respects, my search for another word processor was a never-ending quest. My familiarity with Word is so ingrained, I’ve remained a consistent user … though not always a fan.
This week, though, I’ve wandered off the Microsoft reservation once again – and this time, I may have found a winner!
There’s a phrase from The Scarlet Pimpernel that often comes to mind. “Sink Me!” (I can’t recall if it’s in the Baroness D’Orczy book of the same name, but in the film, Sir Percy Blakeney uses the phrase very effectively to depict the foppishness of his character.)
Instead of sink me! today, psyche me seems a more appropriate title for this post because the psyche (my psyche) has ways of sinking me. Hence, a little whimsy for a Thursday that’s feeling like a Friday. (Maybe I’m just anxious to close this week out early?) There are plenty of people who share my personality quirks. This poem is for all of us.
Read it and then we’ll quickly gather for an early, end-of-the-week group hug!