Mother’s Day in the Poetry Corner (Reposted)

I posted this two years ago, but I can’t resist reposting it.  Happy Mother’s Day all around. Read the rest of this entry »

The Dumbest Generation

That’s the generation many of us on this blog belong to, according to an interesting piece by Neil Howe in today’s Washington Post.  Americans born in the early 1960s apparently lag behind both older and younger Americans in standardized test scores and educational achievement.  Howe calls us “early Xers” — though I must say I prefer the “Generation Jones” moniker Howe attributes to another writer.  Read the rest of this entry »

A Random Cultural Indicator

I’m not sure if this says more about professional life or family life, but the ABA Journal‘s headline is certainly arresting:

35% of Professionals Would Choose BlackBerry Over Spouse

I went to the Chicago Sun-Times for the original report, and found that the ABA Journal‘s crisp summary is, sadly, absolutely correct.  In addition, Read the rest of this entry »

Kindergarteners for Fiscal Discipline — UPDATED

I’ve been silent for a long time — not because I’ve been sunning myself, as Fitz recently alleged, but because I’ve actually been busy at the day job some of you insist I don’t have. Sadly, I even worked through most of a family vacation in Lake Tahoe. But during that week in Lake Tahoe, I did have one Great Moment in Parenting.

We were still on Eastern time, and my son, who will start kindergarten in the fall, is an early riser anyway. So we were up before the rest of the clan, walking around and killing time. Changing abruptly from whatever topic we had previously been discussing he looked at me and said — I wrote this down right away so I would remember it — he said:

Dad, I’m beginning to think that the government is lying to the people. Because they say they’re only borrowing the money, but they’re never going to pay it back. It’s a big fake.

Read the rest of this entry »


It has been more than four years since Wicked began to wow audiences and win awards. I saw it for the second time two weeks ago in Rochester, New York, taking the kids this time. On the way out, I told them the bad news: They may have to wait forty years to see another show this good.

People who live in the New York City area have already had plenty of opportunity to see the show, which is nice: there should be some compensating benefits for people who live in the New York City area. But after four years, I know many non-New Yorkers who would love this show but have barely heard of it. It is for those people that I offer the following thoughts on what makes this musical so great. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Say Auf Wiedersehen, Just Go Away (a Clinton campaign wrap-up)

In the last week, Hillary Clinton cheated to pick up a few more delegates and then gave what sounded for all the world like a victory speech just moments after her opponent mathematically eliminated her. Her cringe-worthy focus on her strengths as a candidate at the very moment of her defeat was all the more remarkable because it coincided with a legitimately historic event in our country’s unhappy struggle with the phantom of “race,” and one might have hoped for more perspective from one who aspires to lead. Senator Clinton’s solipsistic performance tells us plenty about her, but more importantly, I think we now know three important things about the country as a whole. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Citizenship, Parenting, Politics. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Don’t Say Auf Wiedersehen, Just Go Away (a Clinton campaign wrap-up)

Mother’s Day in the Poetry Corner

Mothers’s Day takes us to the poetry corner for the third time this week. There is an unavoidable element of confession in passing along this particular poem. I sent it to my own mother, and — naturally — she absolved me. Read the rest of this entry »

Eliot Spitzer and the Gospel of Matthew

I had not planned to write anything about the flame-out of Eliot Spitzer, largely because Schadenfreude is one of those things that tastes so good you know it must be bad for you. But as we move through the wave of “why would he do this?” articles, like this one in yesterday’s Washington Post, I wonder if we are overlooking one important factor, an explanation we might draw from the Gospel of Matthew, as unlikely as that seems. The answer is: Read the rest of this entry »

Gospel Reflection for November 4

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel (Lk 19:1-10)

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.

When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Reflection Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Education, Gospel Reflections, Parenting, Religion. Comments Off on Gospel Reflection for November 4

Halloween in the Poetry Corner

It may be set “in the bleak December,” but I think “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe deserves its spot in the Poetry Corner for Halloween. It blends generic spookiness with the remembrance of the departed that lies at the root (or at least the trunk) of All Hallows’ Eve. If there’s a poem that does that better, I can’t think of it.

By the way, I’ve always been a little suspicious of Halloween, and I confess some sympathy with the people who deplore its celebration, even if their fervor frightens me nearly as much as the occult does. For now, I overcome my doubts about the social practice by observing the innocence of my own children’s delight in it. But if my daughter ever follows the pre-teens featured in this Post story (H/T to Fitz), I may change my tune.

But I digress. Here is “The Raven”: Read the rest of this entry »