Fair Questions to Ask

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Did Subway know about Jared Fogle’s predilections for child pornography?

If they did, and did nothing to address it, was this the wrong thing to do?

Does Subway have any sort of responsibility to keep the face of their brand on the straight and narrow?

Does Jared Fogle have any ownership stake in the company at this time?

How much of a Subway purchase today will end up in Jared’s pockets?

The answers to these aren’t clear, and may never be.

But I’ll never spend any money at Subway again, I know that much. I’ve grown tired of the food, for one thing, and even the possibility that money spent at Subway will go to Jared, directly or indirectly, is more than I want to consider.

It’s been a fun ride, Subway, but this train will be off on a different track from now on.

Carry on

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A terrible storm blew through my neighborhood on Sunday, and its aftermath is still with us, in tree limbs and, in some cases, entire trees that sit along the curbs of my neighborhood. It’s rare to find a block that doesn’t have some natural debris in it still, five days after the storm.

The tree above caught my eye today, because it was damaged and the solution was to leave it in place, with its sweeping side branches in place, and its main trunk shorn off. I don’t know if the tree can survive like that long-term, but I suppose we’ll find out.

Like the storm that ravaged my neighborhood five days ago, unfavorable life events have recently visited my own world. nobody’s dead or wounded, fortunately, and I still have a life that many people wish they had. the knowledge of this helps to keep me going, and I’m grateful in many ways for the things that I still have.

but like the tree in the picture above, I’ll go on from here, probably in a different form than what I was before. But life does go on, in ways we sometimes don’t anticipate. And I’m grateful for that.

The fragile nature of trees

As I understand it, the Chicago neighborhood I call home was built in the 1920s, in response to general prosperity and a desire to move away from the race riot that happened on the South side in 1919. This means that there are many tall, mature trees where I live. And that’s usually a good thing. A tall, majestic tree can provide shade and pretty up a block like nothing else can.

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But mature trees don’t fare too well in high winds and storms. I learned that today, as a microburst swept in and cut a destructive swath in a matter of minutes. Some pictures of the damage are provided here, but they can’t really do it justice. I don’t literally live in a war zone, but it feels like great destruction has been brought to the streets and parks where I live.

Nature nourished these trees throughout my lifetime and beyond. And then, in a reminder of its great power, it called some of them home. May we always remember that this is Nature’s planet, and we are lucky enough to live here, for however long we are given.

American anticipation

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I took the picture above on July 3, on Central Steet in Evanston, Illinois. There’s an annual parade down Central on the 4th of July, and people set out chairs to reserve their spots along the parade route the day before.

Whoever sits in these chairs today, we can be sure that they love this country and want to celebrate its birth. Their ancestors, whoever they may be, once came to this country in the hope of finding a better life for themselves and their descendants.

I want to say something about how ugly Donald Trump’s comments about Mexicans coming to this country are. Such a man has a profound misunderstanding of what America has always been, and is in no way qualified to lead it.

America will endure as it always has, because it will be collectively wise enough to reject Trump and his foolish thought patterns.

Happy birthday, America. May your parades down Central Street never stop taking place, and may the chairs always be filled with people who love and understand you.

A win for progress and love

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Whenever I discuss gay marriage with somebody, particularly a male, I say something along the lines of “I don’t want to marry you, but I should have the right to do it, anyway.” I’ve been married to the same woman for 23 years this summer, so the chances I’d ever carry through with that are very slim. But the Supreme Court gave me–and every other American–that right today. And it feels great.

The news is creating a buzz here in the public library in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where I find myself as I’m typing this out. A decade ago, Massachusetts set the trend that the rest of the country caught up to today.

The problem with being ahead of the curve, as I’ve discovered myself on occasion, is that the rest of society is generally unwilling to understand or embrace something new. John Kerry was branded a “Massachusetts Liberal” back in 2004, and that term didn’t apply to issues like independence from Britain or universal schooling for children or abolition of slavery, all of which Massachusetts led the way on once upon a time. No, a “Massachusetts liberal” was code for “he’s from that state where gay people can get married.” We had another four years of George W. Bush as president because that line of attack on John Kerry was so effective.

But that’s all over now. Today I can marry a man or a woman, in any state in this country, and that marriage must be recognized as valid. It doesn’t directly affect me, but it affects my children as they grow up, and it affects everyone in this country, whether they like the idea or not.

Progress and love won today. God Bless America always sounds good, but it sounds especially sweet today.

The wonders of a blog

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I wish everyone had a place to go with their thoughts and ideas, before they disappeared into the ocean of life. Some place where one moment or one sensation could be left behind for posterity.

I’m in such a moment right now, on a cold, wind-swept beach in Evanston, Illinois. Waves are crashing, birds are doing what they always have, and the smell of Lake Michigan is invigorating. It’s bad news for those wanting a summer’s day at the beach, but those days will come in time. For now, leaving an image and a few words behind to remember this moment seems fitting.

Life is filled with beauty, when we open our minds and our hearts to look for it.

Step right up and sweep the Mets

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A couple of weeks ago, I was checking into a hotel in Brooklyn. The woman working at the front desk was a Mets fan, and I congratulated her on her team’s recent ten-game winning streak.

Without missing a beat–and in true New York style–she said “Eleven.” I promptly stood corrected.

As I’m now waiting to take off on a flight for the other coast, I’m thinking of her and that exchange. The Cubs just finished off a series sweep of three games over her Mets. Four games, actually. I believe that’s pronounced touché.

I surely do love baseball and, as a Cubs fan, this year is shaping up to be a one like I haven’t seen before. Talking smack to the Mets fans out there is a new one for me, but I could get used to it in a hurry.