Archive for December 2012

Downton Abbey vs NCIS

Only Oscar Wilde could say it so tartly: “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without passing through civilization.” And yet most of today’s European literati enjoy agreeing with him. It has much to do with our raw New World lifestyle of frontier bravado. While most Americans savor their Yankee reputation... Read more »

That Red-Faced Generation-Gap We Don't Talk About

I’m not a researcher, but I’ve done a little hands-on work with this subject. Happens every time I strike up a conversation with someone younger than me [which at 82nd means damn near everyone!]. Things start off nicely enough, for we have the usual topics in common: weather, sports, Washington hammerheads, and those ET-twins the... Read more »

Everyone Prays At Least Once In Their Life

….they pray for a miracle. All right, I perfectly understand how the idea is trampled by our neurological attack-dogs and triumphed by our true-believers. However, I propose we leave behind the battle-over-evidence inasmuch as the evidence on each side is equally irrefutable. One is using science, the other faith; the evidentiary twain rarely if ever... Read more »

hicago Time-Travel From Giotto To Goya To Gottfried Avenue

At one time masters like Giotto and then later Goya could seize and capture the meaning of life in one sweeping piece of art. Each of their paintings orchestrated the central elements of their culture into a visual perfection. They dramatized how angels and devils, lords and peasants, fish and fowl could somehow make sense... Read more »

Here's A Secret That's Been Hiding In Your Keypad All Along

What secret? One which may help us see our zeitgeist in a better context. In effect, see how the-way-it-is has not always been the-way-it-was. Here’s the secret: [ ! ] I’m suggesting one of the secrets to figuring out our times is that exclamation mark [ ! ] on your keypad. Really! You see, before... Read more »

Why It's So Cool Today To Be An Atheist

Atheists have been around for hundreds of centuries. They were usually that 4-5% of the tribe who sulked on the outskirts of the ceremonial tribal fires so angry with the gods that they denied them. Although not in public. Not cool back then. In fact it was so uncool, atheists could get themselves burned at... Read more »

Street Smarts On Streets Like Chicago Could Save More Than Your Life

We all know the visual cliches — fuddy-duddy professor & ruthless gang member. Stereotypes like these may be extreme, but they reflect an urban reality that plagues our large cities: Book-smart vs street smart. On dark nights, the contest between the prof and the punk is no contest! The NRA might issue a new solution:... Read more »

The Myth Of The Perfect 10

Like everyone else in the world, Americans cherish their national myths. The Wild West and The Victory of the Underdog are two of our enduring favorites. Then at this time of year, Ratings are another myth. We somehow seem to be in control of our big brawly world if we can take the measure of... Read more »

The Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own

The heart has a mind of its own. This is a law of life most biologists have not heard of….nor studied…nor understood. However I am one of millions who has found it to be as true as the winter solstice, the Christmas holyday, the North Pole’s year-round resident, and all those remarkable once-a -year good... Read more »

Why I Still Hate Andy Vail 74 Miserable Christmases Later

Once you hear my story you’ll hate Andy too. Nice kid and all that, but as we walked together to 2nd grade that November morning, he suddenly transfigured into this little four-foot monster foaming and laughing scandals about the big guy in the red suit. It was only a few weeks before Christmas, and I... Read more »