Archive for August 2011

What's Ancient Greece Got To Do With Football?

Baseball has always been “America’s game.” Although football has begun challenging for the title. Because our democracy has its roots in ancient Greece, sports fans might wonder what the Greeks would have thought about this. OK, most sports fans could care a flying fig. But somehow I do. Doggedly pursuing my wonderment, I found at... Read more »

So Who Really Owns The 60s -- Hefner Or Hoffman?

Most social historians agree the 1960s were a defining [more like a re-defining] time in American history. Our views and values changed sharply. But here’s the problem. There are two competing claims for ownership to the fabled 60s. The cool, buttoned-down Playboy cult personified by the eternally cool bunny-hopper himself: Hugh Hefner. Then there’s the... Read more »

Did The Butler Do It? But Wait -- Who's The Butler?

Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, Raymond Carver, Anton Chekhov. Names which speak mystery to the reader. Masters at weaving whodonit tales you can’t wait to find out the answers. Right…? Wrong…! At least according to a new study at the University of California in San Diego. Jonathan Leavitt tells that, contrary to expectations, their... Read more »

Our 10 Absolutely Worse States

In another of those top-ten surveys we love to take about ourselves, a new one lists our 10 “worse states” in terms of their costly vulnerability to natural disasters: 1. Louisiana 2. Florida 3. Texas 4. New York 5. Mississippi 6. Oklahoma 7. Alabama 8. California 9. Missouri 10.Ohio Wait. That’s only 10 states. What... Read more »

The Reign Or Ruin Of The Blue Jeans??

What are blue jeans doing in the old royal courts of Europe…? Glad you asked! Films like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and the countless tales of the elegant-speaking Elizabethan and Victorian eras are attended today by droves of blue-jeaned popcorn-munchers who couldn’t tell you the difference between a split infinitive and banana... Read more »

Living With A Casino 6 Minutes From Your Frontdoor

First, a little name-dropping….! I spent a weekend seminar in the late 60s with Dustin Hoffman and Marshall McLuhan just as their respective achievements were becoming widely-acclaimed (the movie “The Graduate” and the book “The Medium is the Massage”). Hoffman spoke of the power of the film, McLuhan of the television set. What they addressed... Read more »

Is God Really In Your Coffee Beans??

So there I was, grinding my morning coffee beans. Their deep brown color, their aromatic fragrance, their tongue tingling taste. Why I wondered do I like coffee so much. Why indeed do billions of us. Every day, every hour, every country. I suppose it’s not an especially crucial question. And yet…. Could it be, as... Read more »

The Pendulum And The Pit

A pendulum can suggest different things. In Edgar Allen Poe’s grisly tale The Pit And The Pendulum, it’s the horror from the next sweep across your imprisoned body. In Hallmark’s birthday cards, it’s more the pleasant tick of another year. Either way, by its very nature pendulums involve two very extreme points along which it... Read more »

The Time Of Your Life

What’s something everyone has, but defines and uses differently….? Time. We live in a culture where everyone talks about it with furious concern. Being on time… timely…time sensitive…we even have Time Magazine. And yet the only time time seems to hit home is when we run out of it. Sick beds…wakes…funerals. Hardly the best way... Read more »

Life Is Not A Spectator Sport

Spotlights are funny things. They’re big and they’re bright, but so often they’re wrong. Wrong as to whom they shine on. As a result, we travel life mostly noticing the headliners bathed in light, often missing the indispensable people in the shadows. People without whom the headliners could not be. What’s a general without the... Read more »