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Monday, May 20, 2019
  • Friday, May 17, 2019 2:15 AM
    Bricks and mortar store fronts are dwindling. Motion pictures elude movie theaters favoring our cell phones. Heck, we can even purchase cars from vending machines.
    Can our communities be any more different than what we remember?
    Technology and its expedience — it’s even more convenient shipped-to-our-door deliveries — has made everything attainable with just a simple mouse click.
    I half-jokingly wish that I could return in 100 years, just to look down Main Street. I predict that all I will see will be restaurants, pizza places, a few electric car charging stations, and 30,000 UPS and FedEx trucks scurrying from house to house.
    Technology changes almost every aspect of our society, even how we want to live.
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  • Monday, May 13, 2019 1:52 AM
    Have you ever noticed a curious inconsistency in our U.S. holidays? It’s the apostrophe.
    Valentine’s Day separates the “s” from the singular Valentine. Who sends just one Valentine? Patriot Day — September 11 — has no plural, but we know there were plenty of patriots that day.
    Mother’s Day they have right.
    By placing one little apostrophe where it is, we not only commemorate mothers in general, we are celebrating the mother most meaningful to our existence. Ours.
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  • Friday, May 3, 2019 4:00 AM
    The first time I met Richard G. Lugar he politely — with his trademark broad smile — walked around three sides of my science fair project, and then proclaimed in that mellifluous voice, “That’s some paint job there, young man.”
    That was Lugar at his best, always the diplomat.
    I was proud, but I also had the feeling the then-mayor of Indianapolis was letting me down gently. I’m pretty confident that neither Niels Bohr nor Enrico Fermi had a judge comment on their science fair paint job.
    Lugar was right. I had spent twice the time on the plywood backdrop that I had on the project itself, concluding that Newtonian Law couldn’t match the Humanities, and that the only way I was ever going to get near a petri dish was if it was full of Grape Nuts.
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  • Friday, April 26, 2019 4:00 AM
    Waiting is one of the most frustrating experiences in our lives. We wait on something every single day. We wait for the alarm to go off; we wait for the shower to free up; we wait for the coffee machine to finish brewing our morning starter fluid.
    We wait for all sorts of things. We wait in traffic. We wait in airports. We wait for lunch. We wait in line. We wait in the movie theater. We wait for our prescriptions to be filled.
    We wait, and wait, and wait.
    Waiting determines our mood, and is determined by our mood.
    Whenever I get stuck facing a long wait, I always focus on the acronym PEEL –– Patience, Expectation, Enthusiasm, Location.
    Patience is the heart of waiting. We either display it, or we don’t. People who can bear up to the annoyance of waiting without complaint are said to be patient people. Patient people have a deeper respect for time than those of us who lose our patience, and get angry.
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  • Friday, April 19, 2019 4:00 AM
    I’ve often wondered, if Jesus was God, and God knows all that has happened, is happening, and is about to happen, was Jesus afraid when he was brought before Caiaphas, setting into motion what would ultimately end in his death?
    After years of thought, the answer for me is, “Hell yes, he was afraid!”
    Before we delve too deeply into biblical history, let’s include a prudent disclaimer: I am neither a scholar of ancient history, nor am I a student of the bible. I went to Sunday School, but mostly for the snacks.
    While the other children rushed upstairs to class, I would lag behind with the other youthful backsliders in our church kitchen ‘sampling’ the cookies and juice, until Mrs. Phillips, our Sunday School teacher, would beckon us upward with a stirring rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” in the key of deaf.
    I have read the bible front to back several times, but honestly, it always leaves me with more questions than answers.
    Actually, on any given subject — like the story of Noah’s ark, for instance — I have a flood of questions (every pun intended). I’m still trying to figure out if there were any mosquitos onboard. If there were, and Noah accidentally swatted one of them, did he instantly regret it, or was his utterance of “Got the sucker!” the first in ancient history?
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  • Friday, April 12, 2019 4:00 AM
    For the record, the headline is cause for punishment.
    One of my Mother’s strict rules was that she always be addressed in the formal in public. Using the word “Mom” demonstrated laziness and poor upbringing.
    She was equally perturbed by the words “Momma” and “Mommy,” too.
    I’m not really sure why Mother was so pedantic about the use of the formal name for the female parent, but if there was ever doubt that she was serious about it, the old ping-pong paddle lay in wait in the kitchen cabinet to drive home the point.
    If you are thinking, “My gosh, this guy’s Mother must have been a tyrant,” you couldn’t be more wrong.
    Mother was hilarious, and full of fun. Truly, she was the best. Whether it was the time she killed a six-foot black snake with a toy rake, or the time while lugging two armloads of decorator sample books, she tried to grab hold of her fast food drink by clenching the straw in her teeth, we laughed with our Mother every single day.
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  • Friday, April 5, 2019 4:00 AM
    Just this week, I decided to seek professional help. I’m talking about a professional photographer.
    I take the worst pictures of myself. I take pretty good pictures of other things. Other people, too. But when I’m the subject, something happens every time. I usually end up hating the results for one reason or the other.
    The two best shots of me were my high school and college graduation photos, each while wearing a cap and gown — a big flowing gown, which concealed image issues. In both cases I had no idea the photographer was about to snap the picture.
    That’s the key, I think. Every time I know that camera is about to click, I tense up, freezing a contorted grin into photographic immortality. The results are even worse when I take my picture myself. 
    Need proof? What do you think of the pictures that accompany my columns? Yep, those are mine. In the newest one, I look as if I left my teeth in the glass on my nightstand.
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  • Saturday, March 30, 2019 4:00 AM
    There is nothing in the world more valuable than a good barber.
    Not only does a good barber skillfully reconstitute our dreadlocked mops into something stylish, they do so without using those little plastic guards that snap onto the electric clippers.
    You know what I’m talking about. They look like brightly colored cowcatchers, and attach over the razor sharp blades of those home barber kits that our mothers purchased to give us home haircuts. With them, the manufacturer claimed that anyone could cut hair like a professional.
    As long as the profession is sheep shearing.
    My Mother lined us grade school boys up in kitchen chairs, and — starting with the biggest cowcatcher first, of course — systematically hacked away inches of perfectly good hair, all to the accompaniment of the electric motor, which sounded eerily similar to the garbage disposal.
    Mother would have us hold the mirror as she trimmed counterclockwise, starting with an ear, and then circumnavigating the skull, with Magellan-like accuracy, until the same ear was reached again. If the cut was uneven, she started over, repeating the process until she was satisfied the two sides matched or your were out of hair.
    When you are in grade school, outcomes are not that important. However, there comes a time when boys get serious about how their hair looks — usually about the time that training bras are discovered.
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  • Friday, March 22, 2019 4:00 AM
    Celebrating the arrival of Spring Break is nothing new. The ancient Greeks, for instance, staged elaborate overindulgent celebrations in honor of their god of wine and merriment, Dionysus. The Romans called him Bacchus, which is where we get the term “bacchanalia,” a word meaning “drunken revelry”.
    Yep, that sounds like Spring Break to me.
    According to historians, our modern Spring Break dates back to the 1930’s when Fort Lauderdale, Florida opened its first Olympic-sized swimming pool, luring hundreds of east coast college swim teams and fellow students to the perpetual warmth and sand. At its peak, Fort Lauderdale’s Spring Break population soared to nearly 400,000 visitors, fueled by MGM’s 1960 release of Glendon Swarthout’s coming-of-age movie, “Where the Boys Are”.
    Spring Break is a rite of passage for young people, utilizing adult decision-making skills to seek wild parties, beautiful beaches and elaborate resorts.
    Many years ago, three buddies and I piled our golf clubs and meager travel gear into a beat up Chevy Suburban for the 12-hour drive to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was Spring Break during our sophomore year in college, and we kind of broke tradition by doing something other than heading for the Florida beaches.
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  • Friday, March 15, 2019 4:00 AM
    The psychologist Abraham Maslow was a great believer in human potential. In the course of uncovering the reasons that motivate human behavior, he developed five stages of human need — now known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs — to describe the levels of achievement required to reach our maximum capabilities.
    When federal prosecutors charged dozens of wealthy parents with counts of fraud and bribery to win their underachieving kids a place in the best colleges and universities, Tuesday, it called to mind that climbing Maslow’s pyramid is much harder in real life.
    Maslow’s first two levels include our basic needs —food, water, shelter, clothing, health, safety, and financial security. It is safe to say that the celebrities and well-off have those levels sufficiently covered. From that point on, the alleged schemers really struggled.
    The next two levels of behavior leading to full potential are social needs, which include love and a sense of belonging, plus being accepted and valued by others.
    The college admissions scandal is Maslow 3 and 4 run amok.
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  • Friday, March 8, 2019 4:00 AM
    Have you ever been betrayed or disappointed by someone you care about? Yeah, I know. Haven’t we all? Sometimes the betrayal burns to the point of tormenting our very souls. In that instance, can you even imagine giving that person a second chance? 
    No way!
    Nevertheless there is something fundamental in the human spirit that values forgiveness. Giving up on people — whether it is your favorite hip-hop star, a politician, your best friend, or your lover — seems incompatible to that value.
    Science generally defines forgiveness, according to Psychology Today, as the deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward another person, whether they deserve it or not.
    That’s the key. Who hasn’t fought the temptation after betrayal to scheme the ultimate pay back? How can we make the person who hurt us feel the same suffering — or worse suffering –– we are feeling now?
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  • Friday, March 1, 2019 4:00 AM
    I’ve been dealing with insomnia. I’m trying to fend off pesky emotions, and my mind just won’t quiet down when I settle in to sleep.
    Most people would assume that the 12 hours of night-time — customarily from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. — are identical to the twelve hours of daytime. They should be, but really there is something different about the night.
    Years ago, when I needed a second job, I took a position an hour’s drive from my house. My shift was roughly 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., but could extend later if the work wasn’t finished.
    I learned a great deal about the night on that lonely drive across town in the wee hours of the morning. First, there are two kinds of night-time. The initial seven hours of night are filled with bright lights, and the hustle of fun seekers using the shroud of darkness to overcome the inhibitions of the day. It is a time almost exclusively for the young, who drain the night of its vitality like sucking a whiskey Coke™ through a straw.
    From two o’clock on, the world is serene, as if the day was taking a deep sigh before beginning anew. The denizens of the predawn morning are an odd mix of early risers heading out, and the late-night owls coming to roost.
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  • Friday, February 22, 2019 4:00 AM
    I consider labels to be an unnecessary way to categorize people. Not only is a label often derogatory, but at the very least it is intended to illicit some kind of emotional response toward a person or group. I do my best to limit labeling, because quite frankly, using labels is lazy.
    Just like a soup can label, social tags are totally superficial. They don’t begin to tell a person’s life story. Calling your neighbor a Conservative or a Liberal, for instance, only scratches the surface. She is also Mother, employee, lover, teacher — all sorts of things.
    For the record, I believe most people would consider me a social moderate, and a fiscal conservative. I hate to spend money, but if I do, I want my money to help the people most in need of it. I don’t care what they do in private.
    Some people think differently.
    An Indiana Senate panel this week voted in favor of moving a hate crime bill to the full Senate. The legislation is aimed at adding Indiana to the list of 45 other states that have hate crime laws on their books. Currently, only Indiana, South Carolina, Wyoming, Georgia, and Arkansas do not.
    The Republican-led Senate will consider the proposal advanced from the Senate Public Policy Committee in a 9-1 vote. Republican Governor Eric Holcomb has endorsed adding a hate crime law this year, citing it is “long overdue” legislation.
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  • Friday, February 15, 2019 4:00 AM
    Valentine’s Day wasThursday this week. By the time you read this, you’ll know if you’re in love. It’s a state that you know you’re in, not sure how you got there, yet know you never want to leave.
    I know what everyone else knows about love — nothing. That validates me as an expert.
    The real authorities, however, are the Greeks. They had seven types of love they believed everyone experiences over a lifetime. There is Eros, the love of the physical body. Eros was the Greek god of love and sexual cravings.
    Another love is Philia, or a heartfelt love that you have for a brother or sister, or for a best friend. Pragma is time-honored love. It was the highest form of love known to the Greeks. Think of the love your grandparents share.
    Ludus is playful love, a flirting, carefree love. Ludus folks would now be called “friends with benefits” — no deep roots, no strings attached. Agape is the love of the soul. The Bible talks about Agape, a deep unconditional love that never expects anything in return — a love from the goodness of the heart.
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  • Friday, February 8, 2019 4:00 AM
    Tuesday, President Donald Trump delivered his second State of the Union address, and I’m tempted to spend the next few moments adding some color to his speech. However, I first have to admit something.
    I didn’t watch it.
    To my credit, however, I did listen to the whole speech. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I believe that listening to an audio account — the radio, in my case — is the only truly impartial way to absorb the content of any Presidential message.
    You see, well . . . really you don’t see. That’s my point. Only by shunning the advantage of visually descriptive images can you isolate the President’s message from all the distractive antics in his audience.
    The State of the Union address has long left the realm of the statesmanlike in favor of the childlike. I really don’t care whether you believe in the President’s message or not. I just have to ask: If your kids were in the SOTU audience, would you let them behave that way? I think I know the answer.
    The SOTU has become a badly orchestrated kindergarten pageant: a marshmallow-drama of catcalls, phony applause, the Pelosi clap-back, smug glances, Cheshire cat smiles, and veiled threats.
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