Welcome to Ishmael’s Legacy
My 10-year-old daughter is an aspiring Broadway stage actress. It may sound like just a kid’s childhood fantasy, like playing professional sports or being President, but she takes her dream very, very seriously. When she starts a new show she doesn’t just read through the script, she devours it, highlighting her lines, underlining choreography, and … Continue reading Rational Adulting is Getting Harder
Full disclosure, I have never been one to fully immerse myself in pop culture phenomena. Perhaps it’s because at a very young age my dad instilled in me that “because everyone else is doing it” was not a reasonable impetus for doing something. Perhaps it’s because my parents infused in me a strong penchant for … Continue reading The Real Reason for Record Unemployment
There is a growing consensus that the root of America’s divisiveness problem is social media giant Facebook. The most-viewed documentary in the history of Netflix (and if you haven’t seen it, you really should) is “The Social Dilemma,” which digs deep into how the major social media platforms have grown into the equivalent of Frankenstein’s … Continue reading Facebook is Not the Problem with America
Do we live our lives remembering a past that didn’t actually exist? “Where I’m from we believe in all sorts of things that aren’t true. We call it history.” – The Wizard of Oz – Wicked A couple of weeks ago a colleague recommended that I read Wright Thompsons’s book, entitled Pappyland: A Story of … Continue reading The Lost History
I have spent much of my adult life working with special needs kids, in one way or another. I’ve tutored and taught mildly disabled students and now work with severely disabled students, and throughout that spectrum I have found kids to be delightful, loving and appreciative, for the most part. The best thing about special … Continue reading Special Education: Handicapping America
One of the world’s favorite pass times is sports. In America it tends to be football, in many other parts of the world it’s soccer, and in some places it’s even cricket. No matter what your favorite sports may be, your second favorite pass time is probably armchair quarterbacking. This is the wonderful phenomenon that … Continue reading Armchair Quarterbacking Afghanistan
One of the most celebrated authors in the history of British literature is none other than Charles Dickens. Perhaps most famous for A Christmas Carol, which has been made into countless movies, he also wrote such classics as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Bleak House. What you find consistently in … Continue reading Is It Time to Mandate Vaccines?
I am a huge fan of video games, going way back. When I say “way back,” I mean I can remember the first time I saw a Pac-Man arcade machine and the immediate addiction that ensued upon insertion of that first quarter. That was before there were video arcades with dozens of machines lined up … Continue reading Seashells and Waterfalls
Summer has always been my favorite time of year. As a teacher, it means I have a few weeks off work, but even when I wasn’t a teacher I dearly loved the hot summer days, warm and breezy nights, the smell of neighborhood barbecues and freshly mown grass, days spent at the pool and enjoying … Continue reading The Order In Which It Was Received
Lin Manuel-Miranda is a musical genius. If you don’t know, you better ask somebody. After watching and listening to “Hamilton” dozens of times I read the book by Ron Chernow that inspired the musical and I was blown away by Miranda’s ability to take complex relationships and situations and boil them down to a few … Continue reading Social Media Is NOT News
It seems like every day there’s another big crisis that we’re supposed to do something about. There’s another mass shooting, another forest fire raging out of control, another human rights atrocity in Africa, another hate crime committed against (insert any one of dozens of groups being singled out), more evidence of the horrible things we’ve … Continue reading America Suffering From Cruelty Sickness?
In 1987 Paramount announced that they were launching a reboot (a relatively new concept at the time) of their classic and iconic space opera, Star Trek. Like everyone else, I was dubious. After all, central to the enduring success of Star Trek was the relationship between Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy. How good … Continue reading Getting Out of Your Mind
“Spiritual, but not religious” – Frequent pick on multiple-choice demographic questionnaires Over the past decade there has been a steady decline in the number of Americans who identify as Christian church-goes. According to a recent study, only 65% of respondents said they actively attend religious services, down from 77% to 65% in just the past … Continue reading Religious, But Not Spiritual
“A person is smart. but people are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.” – Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black.I often sit around with friends talking about “the good old days” of Hollywood, the days when risks were taken, breathtaking advances were made and iconic movies defined our summer vacations. It was the age of … Continue reading Self-Fulfilling Headlines
“We didn’t know who we were, we didn’t know what we did…we were just on the road.” – from “On The Road” by John Denver It seems like these days it’s easier and easier to get caught up in the day-to-day struggle of keeping up with the speed of life. We have the demands of … Continue reading The Power of the Road Trip
“A lie will fly around the whole world while the truth is getting its boots on.” – Mark Twain The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and … Continue reading Time To Restore The Fairness Doctrine
“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” – Marilyn Ferguson Not long ago I was dropping my daughter off at play rehearsal when I witnessed something truly astonishing. The procedure, of course, is that everyone has to have their temperature taken before entering the facility, and this is done … Continue reading Be Afraid! Very Afraid!!
“If we truly believe in a vibrant Democracy, then we must have the highest voter turnout in the world.” – US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) For over a week now I’ve been stewing on the voter suppression effort currently underway in Georgia. If you haven’t been following it, last Thursday Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) … Continue reading Voter Suppression Is Not the Answer
No one can save us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We must walk the path alone. – Buddha Working with high school and college students can be both rewarding and frustrating. It’s rewarding because you’re seeing kids in a time of their lives when they are starting to figure out what … Continue reading We Walk the Last Mile Alone
Saint Nicholas of Myra was a remarkable man. No, not because he flew around in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer (nine, counting Rudolph) or because he went down chimneys on Christmas Eve to deliver toys, but the real person was a marvel, nonetheless. In fact, it’s a wonder we don’t have a religion based … Continue reading Santa Claus and Jesus: A Parable
“I am the Lorax who speaks for the trees, which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please!”― Dr. Seuss I spend a lot of time walking outside. It’s good for me, it’s great for my young beagle, Twix, and it gives me some time to breathe in fresh air, be in touch with … Continue reading I Speak For the Trees
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw Yesterday afternoon I sat on my back patio, the sun shining brightly and warmly on the Western horizon, a strong breeze challenging my ability to both read my book and hold my drink, and I pondered … Continue reading Most People Don’t Change
“(Prayer) does not change God, it changes me.” – C. S. Lewis One of the first real challenges to my Christian faith came when I started doing some critical thinking about prayer. In order to discuss it, however, we have to set some ground rules and definitions. For the point of this discussion, “God” refers … Continue reading Prayer and Meditation
I really, really love watching The Rise of Skywalker. I know, I know, a lot of people give me the stink eye when I say that, but hear me out. This morning my daughter and I were watching this, the ninth installment in the Skywalker saga (well, really 8th, but I’m about to fix that), … Continue reading One Quick Edit Fixes The Star Wars Sequels
“You try to improve and do better; it’s a journey, not just a destination.” – Hakeem Olajuwon It was an incredibly beautiful day. Sunny, 65, light breeze blowing … it was one of those days where if God reached down out of Heaven and invited you to come for a visit you would ask him … Continue reading The Importance of the Journey
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has long been one of my political heroes. I don’t always agree with his policy ideas, but he always tells it the way he sees it and he doesn’t kowtow to political interests when he speaks about what’s best for this country. In the 20 or so years I’ve been listening … Continue reading A Liberal Questions $15 Minimum Wage
This is not a book review, per se, however it is a response to a book I got for Christmas from my parents. Amy-Jill Levine’s The Misunderstood Jew (The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus) starts off on very familiar ground for me, as I have spent more than two decades reading scholarly … Continue reading Exciting News About Heaven (Really!)
“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, and particularly in an age of social media, where so many people are getting their information in sound bites and snippets off their phones, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems.” – Barack Obama Congress shall … Continue reading It’s Time to Talk About the Truth
“You need not attend every argument to which you’re invited.” – Anonymous It is pretty much your knee-jerk reaction, and was mine for years. When someone attacks you verbally, whether accusing you or upset with you for some reason, the natural response is to snap back at them. That’s also the absolute worst thing you … Continue reading The Strength in Silence
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James It’s incredibly easy to be kind to people we like; in fact, it comes naturally. You greet friends with a smile, a warm hug, perhaps a … Continue reading Kindness Is A Super Power
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