With the dawn of this storm swept year of Two Thousand and Thirteen, there’s much more than coastline geography, that appears to have been swept away. Most of those watching The TV Weather Channel or scanning their I-Pads won’t be aware of it but the Art of Conversation has also been swept away. Not much of a loss, to those hip-deep in complaints to local officials or state and federal politicos but a guy, named Jonathan Swift, who wrote about this subject more than three-hundred years ago, would counsel that the speediest way to action on any subject is via the path of free and forthrig
These days, movie-going can be an expensive proposition-- and I would hate to have to plunk down some hard-earned money in the hope of finding relaxation in a darkened movie theater and end up sitting through a comedy that is crass and unfunny or a thriller that simply is not thrilling, not to mention the very real possibility that the person sitting next to me will be yapping away on his or her cellphone while I am trying to soak in all the on-screen dialogue.
The asteroid “DA14”, which will hurtle past us sometime after lunch today, was discovered by Spanish observers last year.
Our highest satellites, used for GPS, are just over 22,000 miles up, and DA14 will pass underneath that level – coming about 17,000 miles from us. Fortunately, NASA assures us we are safe.
Now Earth and Moon have been hit many times, over the eons, by asteroids.The explosive 1908 Tunguska asteroid, a similar size to the one passing us on Friday (which for a while many suspected might have been a mini-black hole) damaged 800 square miles of Siberia.
At a recent writing workshop I attended, I read a short, painful piece about the illness and death of a high school friend to my fellow writers. For some time since writing the piece, I have been struggling with the wisdom of attempting to publish it because some of my friend’s family members are still alive, and much of what I wrote might be quite distressing to them if they saw it in print. The group told me to stop worrying about this, specifically because they felt that the essay honors her memory, and that the main goal of personal essay and memoir is honest self- expression. Still
Last week a sports writer visited campus to talk with students. Before the big presentation, a student asked him what he thought about Orlando Cruz, a professional boxer who recently announced he is gay, the first and only professional boxer to do so. And the writer simply said this issue is going to be the Jackie Robinson of this generation. The handful of 20 year olds sitting around the table got what he meant, maybe even more than 70 year olds that lived through baseball’s integration.
For elderly women who cut coupons in order to survive in their Florida apartments; for pensioners accustomed to monthly checks; for those who were saving for that condo in Tucson, the world as they have known it will be gone. Although politicians cannot say it for fear of generating public panic, the globe is so awash in debt that fiat money, cash reserves and savings will all be in a perilous state in the not too distant future.
I’d like to address the debate over guns from an angle very different than the general conversation. Most of the conversation is about whether guns increase or decrease the risk of homicide or suicide. I’m pretty well convinced that the most likely victims of guns in the house are the people in the household, just as most car accidents happen within a short distance from home. But that’s not what I want to talk about. I see another problem that I think is quite significant.
There’s a danger for commentators who gather listeners with age. It’s a trap to be avoided at all costs; too easy to fall into and escapable only with the greatest of difficulty… as this commentator can now attest, from bitter experience. The trap? A wily metamorphosis that turns commentators into ‘cussed’ curmudgeons.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with team captains center field shortly after tossing the coin at the start of the Army vs. Navy college football game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., Saturday, December 10, 2011.
The President of the United States has some tough questions to answer. And how he answers might determine what he can do over the next four years, whether he’s effective or lame-duck, an elitist or a man of the people.
It is now customary for lies to drip from the fountain of public discourse. “I did not have sex with that woman,” “your investments are safe with me,” “doping did not play a role in the Tour de France victories”, a film about Mohammed was responsible for the raid in Bengazi,” are merely recent examples of dissimulation. Whether the liar is former President Clinton, Bernie Madoff, Lance Armstrong or President Obama, there is the belief you can pull the wool over the public’s eyes. And, as events have shown, this is often true.