What America is

On the occasion of the first Presidential inauguration to occur during the BlueBattingHelmet era–and for all I know, maybe the last one too–I want to say a few words to all Americans, and all people around the world, too. This blog goes out to a lot of other countries, after all. America is a democracy.Continue reading “What America is”

America’s troubled days

I took this picture on a beach in Evanston, Illinois a number of years ago. It was a cold and windy day, with the wind whipping in off of Lake Michigan and not another soul around me. The red sign on the empty lifeguard’s chair reminded me that I was on my own. But thatContinue reading “America’s troubled days”

The American giant, and a pathetic little man

The “town hall” meeting that Donald Trump filmed for Fox News (because who else would think this up?) yielded a hilariously bad image for a president who cares about little else besides that. He claimed the setting was Fox News’ idea, but a smarter and less vainglorious man than Trump would have nixed the idea.Continue reading “The American giant, and a pathetic little man”

American Hash

I’ve never written about this before, but I was in a fraternity when I was in college. Drinking and hazing and general stupidity have given fraternities (I don’t like using the term “frats”) a bad name, and I wouldn’t disagree with much of the criticism of them. But one element of the fraternity life seemsContinue reading “American Hash”

Hamilton and what makes America work

I’ve written before of my fondness for Hamilton: An American Musical. I’ve listened to the songs–over and over and over again–but haven’t seen it on stage, and don’t think that I will for a long time, if ever. Not because I don’t want to, but the price of tickets precludes that from happening right now.Continue reading “Hamilton and what makes America work”

A beauty of a poem about America

One of my favorite books is titled “Our American Heritage” and it was edited by Charles L. Wallis, and published by Harper & Row in 1970. My recollection is that I purchased it at the Newberry Library‘s annual book sale at least 10 years ago, and perhaps even closer to 20 years by now. It’sContinue reading “A beauty of a poem about America”

American Ugly

This is what Donald Trump appeals to. This big scary guy filled with rage wants to intimidate anyone who he doesn’t see as “American.” This guy is only one Trump supporter, but he’s also a symbol for the dark, destructive urges that Trump plays to. If Trump wins, this guy wins, too. That simply can’tContinue reading “American Ugly”

A kick ass American weekend

The first time that I ever felt any national pride over a sporting event was the Miracle on Ice hockey team at the 1980 Winter Olympics. I was 11 years old, and giddy at the prospect of beating the big, bad Soviets at what appeared to be their own game. Flash forward 35 years, toContinue reading “A kick ass American weekend”

There’s nothing more American

The Coca-Cola commercial that was aired during the Super Bowl this year had it exactly right. America is beautiful, because people from all over the world have always come here. They bring their languages and their customs and their foods and their traditions with them, and they hold onto them because it’s what they knowContinue reading “There’s nothing more American”

America, America

I really love living where I do. The street where I live, and a few blocks on either side of mine, is listed on the National Register of Historic places. It has a high concentration of brick bungalows, which are relics from a bygone era. There’s no split-level ranches or McMansions where I live, andContinue reading “America, America”

Ain’t that America for you and me

When I moved into this part of Chicago 13 years ago, there was a smallish hot dog place on Western Avenue, a few blocks from my house. When my kids were little, we would go there from time to time. The food wasn’t fantastic, but it was good enough and they also served ice cream.Continue reading “Ain’t that America for you and me”

America the Beach

Let’s imagine that it’s a summer’s day, and you want to go to the beach to cool off. You pack a few things into a beach bag, grab a chair to sit in, and you’re on your way. When you arrive at the beach, and there’s just a couple of others already there. You canContinue reading “America the Beach”

The American way?

In my mind, this picture sums up a lot of what’s wrong with this country. Our manufacturing base has declined to the point where we don’t even make American flags in this country. In our seemingly fanatical zeal to save a few pennies, we’ve taken the very symbol of this nation and sent it offContinue reading “The American way?”

An act of American Appeasement

Three-quarters of a century ago, Jesse Owens thought his work at the Summer Olympics was done. He had gone to Berlin and beaten Hitler’s athletes, and everybody else’s, in three events: the 100 meter dash, the long jump, and the 200 meter dash. He had spoiled Hitler’s planned demonstration of Aryan superiority, and had one-uppedContinue reading “An act of American Appeasement”

An attack on America

The killing of Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin over the weekend wasn’t supposed to happen. None of these shootings, like the ones in Aurora, and Tucson, and Fort Hood, and Virginia Tech, and many other places, are supposed to happen. But when a crazy guy (and they’re always guys, aren’t they?) who’s had his mindContinue reading “An attack on America”

America, as it always has been

Sunday afternoon, River Park, Chicago My daughter is meeting some classmates at the park, and the waterpark that is attached to it, for a mid-summer’s playdate. The kids are edging their way toward middle school, and so that term won’t be acceptable to them someday soon. But for now it’s still all right to callContinue reading “America, as it always has been”

Appreciating American music

As I was returning home from a long and most enjoyable vacation today, I commenced the battle of finding something on the radio. I wrote about this once before, and it makes me appreciate the concept of satellite radio. You pick a station you like, and never have to worry about whether it comes inContinue reading “Appreciating American music”

Ted Nugent and the American Way

I really don’t want to spend time on Ted Nugent. What he said to the NRA convention in St. Louis, as disturbing as it sounds, is still within his right as an American. But his contempt for the system of government that we have in this country is another matter, altogether. To put it plainly,Continue reading “Ted Nugent and the American Way”

America must be better than this

The Trayvon Martin story is now getting media attention, and I’m glad to see that. When I originally got an email about his story, asking me to sign an online petition calling for an investigation into what happened, I signed it without a second thought. It really was the least that I could do, puttingContinue reading “America must be better than this”

Stupidity and greed in corporate America

The culture we now live in makes it impolite to question corporations and their business practices. Banks make risky loans, people lose their life savings and/or their house, and instead of  doing anything to punish the banks, the government offers them incredible amounts of money as “bailouts.” They’re just too big to fail, you know.Continue reading “Stupidity and greed in corporate America”

It’s the thought that counts

My next door neighbors are good people. I think of them every time I hear some people on TV railing about “illegal immigration.” It seem like a bigoted, racist term directed at people that the speaker doesn’t know the first thing about. “If they speak Spanish and have brown skin, get them outta here.” It’sContinue reading “It’s the thought that counts”

Do you really think you can say that?

I don’t get religious very often in this space. In fact, religion is probably my least favorite subject to write about. But I’ll make an exception in order to directly address the self-professed “Man of God” making the speech above. You don’t understand what America is about. This man–Pastor Dennis Terry– says that if someoneContinue reading “Do you really think you can say that?”

Stuck in the Middle with Bruce

The Super Bowl, in earlier days, was as much about consumerism as it was about football. With the largest TV audience of the year watching, the network airing the game could charge millions of dollars for a 30-second spot. And the companies who were paying these top-dollar rates spared no expense to put the WOWContinue reading “Stuck in the Middle with Bruce”