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Wednesday, March 20, 2019
  • 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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  • Friday, February 1, 2019 4:00 AM
    I’ve always found it easy to talk with people I don’t know. I’m sure that I drove my Mother nuts as a kid, but I’ve always been able to strike up a conversation with perfect strangers.
    One of the places I seem to meet the most people is when we are waiting together in line. The line to get into a ballgame, the line at a theater, the line at the license branch have always been great sources for meeting new people.
    The one exception is the grocery store. I don’t know why, but I’ve learned that people waiting to check out are inherently unfriendly.
    It gets me sometimes. They are willing to wander the store for 45 minutes or more, and will spend seven minutes trying to decide between the Rice-a-Roni™ and the Betty Crocker Tuna Helper™, but they can’t relax for another ten minutes while people are separated from their paychecks.
    So, I’ve adopted the policy of clamming up when the fish sticks hit the conveyor.
    Tuesday, I was standing in line at a major grocery retailer. My line was particularly slow that day, so when I heard the floorwalker suggest that I switch to checkout station No. 15, I decided to make the move, even though I wasn’t in any hurry.
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  • Friday, January 25, 2019 4:00 AM
    There are lots of times that I just scratch my head over the political horseplay in our nation’s Capitol. Just when I think things can’t possibly get more ludicrous, they do. I used to worry about stupid stuff that comes out of Washington, but the ridiculousness is so commonplace now, it hardly registers with me.
    My younger brothers and their friends can’t understand why I’m not up in arms about the government shutdown, why I can’t understand that Trump is an idiot, why I can’t see how this is hurting our country.
    I assure them that I do see. In fact, I do see and I have seen — seen it all, almost. And that’s why I don’t react with the shock and awe-shucks of many of their generation.
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled that young people are engaged in politics. I will never squelch critical discussion of our national direction. It’s a good thing that young people care. Given that, my only concern is that young people make the effort to care about the important stuff.
    There is so much misdirection — aka “spin” — coming out of our national dialog, who could blame folks for getting caught up in the emotion. My cure for this is a simple one, but it does require some imagination.
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