robertsgriffin.com

THOUGHTS

In this section are thoughts on whatever comes to mind, no limit on topics, written for this web site.  When I get the impulse, I’ll write thoughts and add them to what’s already here (I don’t plan on ever deleting any thoughts).  For each thought, there will be a title, length, the month and year I wrote it, a blurb on what it’s about, and a PDF of the  thought. 

To get a sense of who I am and how I see things and what's going on with me, you could read these thoughts in order: start with "On Foucault."  The thoughts are self-contained, however, and you can read them in any order.

If the PDFs are oversize, adjust them to accommodate your reading preference.

  • On Foucault.  19 pp.  June, 2007.

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was a philosopher who taught at the College de France and other universities, including in the United States. He authored critical studies of social institutions, including psychiatry, medicine, and the prison system.  He also wrote about the history of sexuality and the relationship between power, knowledge, and human discourse. I first read a biography of Foucault by James Miller, The Passion of Michel Foucault, in, I believe, 1995, and have revisited it regularly since, once or twice year, reading a chapter or two or three and browsing sections here and there before setting it back on my library shelf.  This last time I pulled the book off the shelf—in June of 2007--I noted the phrases and sentences, sometimes a paragraph, I had underlined, I suppose, ten or twelve years ago.  For this thought, I reproduce the underlines and offer my comments.  This thought provides a sense of the impact this book has had on me, including my writing, this past decade, and gets across something of what I am like in 2007.  Also, I hope this thought will prompt readers to reflect on their own lives, as well as look into Foucault and the other philosophers mentioned in these pages.    Read the full thought here.

  • On Mishima.  8 pp.  July, 2007.

Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) was a Japanese author and playwright, who gained international recognition and acclaim, including being on a short list for the Nobel Prize in Literature.  He is most remembered, however, for his ritual suicide at 45 by seppuku (disemboweling oneself with a knife and then being beheaded by a colleague).  I’ve read a good bit of Mishima’s fiction, but I have been most drawn to his outlook as an artist and as a man and to his personal story.  Every couple of years for the last fifteen, I’ve checked out from the library two biographies on him and his philosophical essay and memoir Sun & Steel.  In this thought I comment on excerpts from Sun & Steel.  I hope I explain Mishima some here and encourage readers to look into his writings and personal example, but most of all I use Mishima’s writings to explain myself.   Read the full thought here.

  • On the New McCarthyism.  18 pp.  July, 2007.

The topic here is the current attacks on racially conscious and active white people by those who would marginalize, silence, and punish them for their beliefs, expressions, and actions.  I use a memoir on the McCarthy era, as it was called, in the 1940s and ‘50s, written by Walter Bernstein, Inside Out: A Memoir of the Black List, and an encounter I had in late 2006 with the Southern Poverty Law Center to frame an analysis of this phenomenon, drawing parallels between what went on in the McCarthy years, and at other points in history, and what’s going on now.  I offer some suggestions on how racially committed white people can deal with attacks against them.  Read the full thought here.

• On A Very Big Regret.  22pp.  July, 2007.

I’d like this thought to speak for itself.  The title says as much as you need to know about it before you read it.  Read the full thought here.

• On Personal Health.  16 pp.  August, 2007.

I’ve never gone after good health for all I was worth at any time in my life, and that has held me back in significant ways.  I’m making that commitment in this thought, and I’ll describe how I plan to carry out this commitment over the next few months.  I hope this thought gives guidance and inspiration both to me and to the reader of these words.   Read the full thought here.


On Three Films That Touched Me 3 pp.  August, 2007.

This past year, I saw three old Japanese films by the same director, Yasujiro Ozu, that touched me more than any films in my memory.  All three feature the actress Setsuko Hara.  This is my report on those three films.  Read the full thought here.

•On Living the Martial Way.  8 pp. August, 2007.

In the same way I did with the Foucault and Mishima thoughts, I record underlines I made in a book years ago and comment on them, a book I have gone back to a number of times since that first reading.  The book is Living the Martial Way by Forrest Morgan.   My focus is on the application of what Morgan calls the warrior mind-set to daily life.  Read the full thought here.

          •On Big Sur.  2 pp. September, 2007.
                  
          Excerpts from the book Big Sur by Jack Kerouac; although in some cases I may not have copied them down
          exactly as  they were in the book.  Read the full thought here.

          •On Chuck Davey  7 pp.  October, 2007.

           Chuck Davey was a boxer prominent in the 1950s.  I went back to a few pages I had written about him back in
           2002 and  filed away.  This thought is about what came up for me as I revisited this writing. 
           Read the full thought here. 

         •On Victoria’s Dogs  6pp. November, 2007

          Victoria Stilwell is an animal trainer who straightens out unruly dogs on the Animal Planet show, "It's Me or the
          Dog." I think I'm learning something from Victoria about straightening out unruly people. Read the full thought here.

       •On John Cheever   3 pp. November, 2007

          Entries from the journals of novelist John Cheever written in the last months of his life.  Read the full thought here.

       •On Man in the Holocene  2pp.  November, 2007 

           Excerpts from the novel by Max Frisch, Man in the Holocene.  Read the full thought here.

        •On Hemingway’s Politics  2pp.  November, 2007

        
Some passages from the book By Force of Will by Scott Donaldson about the political outlook of Ernest
         Hemingway.  Read the full thought here.

       •On Leonard Schiller  2pp. November, 2007

      
From the novel by Brian Morton, Starting Out in the Evening.  A young woman has contacted Leonard Schiller, a
       novelist in his seventies, requesting to meet him as part of writing a masters thesis on his work.
       Read the full thought here.

       • On the Death of Faron Young    2pp.  December, 2007
                                   
        Faron Young was a country music star from the late 1950s to the 1980s, a honky-tonk singer and entertainer
        in the mold of Hank Williams.  Read the full thought here.

       • On The Beans Story  2 pp.  December, 2007

       Beans, a Boston terrier (at least nominally), was the beloved family dog when I was little.  Beans was “put to sleep,”
       as they say, when I was about three—I think he had just gotten old.  Beans was often the subject of discussion
       when my much-older brother and sister and their spouses came to the house for Sunday dinner.  There was one
       Beans story, so to speak, that was repeated time and again.  Read the full thought here.

       • On Falconer 2pp. January, 2008

       John Cheever’s novel Falconer ends with convict Ezekiel Farragut’s escape from prison (New York: Knopf, 1977).
       Read the full thought here.

       • On War 1p.  January, 2008.
         Read the full thought here.

       • On Self-Abuse, 4pp., February, 2008.

       
David Crosby is a singer/songwriter who was prominent in the 1960s and ‘70s.  He developed a very serious
        drug problem in  the years of his prominence, the subject of this thought.   Included are excerpts from two hospital
        in-take  reports in late 1983.  Following the excerpts is my commentary.  Read the full thought here.

       • On Aldous Huxley, 14 pp., February, 2008.

        Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was a British-born novelist and essayist who lived the latter part of his life in the United
        States.  He is best known for his novel Brave New World, published in 1932.  Brave New World is the ironic 
        depiction of a “utopia” in which people are brainwashed into subordination, accommodation, and a mindless,
        shallow,  though happy, existence by the  government and its agents.  Later in life, Huxley became associated with
        spiritual and mystical concerns and experimentation  with drugs reputed to be mind-expanding, such as mescaline. 
        This thought contains my commentaries on excerpts from a biography of Huxley.  Read the full thought here.
  
      • On Living the Artist’s Way, 10 pp., February, 2008.
      
       Robert Henri (1865-1929) was a prominent American painter.  Not long before his death, the Arts Council of
       New York chose him as one of the top three living American artists.  Henri was also a popular and influential
       teacher of art. Henri’s ideas on art and life were collected by a former student and published as a book in 1923
       entitled The Art Spirit. This thought is made up of  excerpts from that book.  Read the full thought here.

      • On Personal Health II: From Fear to Rage, 9 pp., March, 2008
                      
       This thought is an update on “On Personal Health,” which I wrote back in August of 2007.
       Read the full thought here.

      • On Jack Nicholson, 3 pp.,  March, 2008.
                
       Things the actor Jack Nicholson said about himself to journalists over the span of his lengthy career in films. 
       In one instance it is something a friend attributed to him.  Read the full thought here.

     • On Woody Harrelson, 5 pp., March, 2008
                                  
       Actor Woody Harrelson first came to prominence as the bartender on the hit television series “Cheers.”  He has gone
       on to an active big screen career, including starring in director Oliver Stone’s film “Natural Born Killers.”  He
       continues to act in both lead and supporting roles in films, and has become an environmental activist.  This thought
       is made up of quotes from Harrelson.  Read the full thought here.

      • On the Death of James Whale, 2 pp., March, 2008
                                  
       British-born film director James Whale is best known for directing the sophisticated and morbidly
       humorous horror classics “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein” in the 1930s.  By the 1950s he was
       retired, essentially discarded by the Hollywood movie studios.  Read the full thought here.

      • On Arthur Bremer, 3 pp., April, 2008.      
            
        On May 15, 1972, twenty-one-old Arthur Bremer shot presidential candidate George Wallace at a rally
        in a Laurel, Maryland shopping center, paralyzing Wallace for life.  Read the full thought here.

     •On The Punisher, 1 p, April, 2008.

      Comic book superheroes tend to abide by the law and stay away from killing.  One of Marvel     

      comics' characters, however, created in the 1970s, The Punisher, had a very different 
      outlook.  Read the full thought here.

      • On Monsieur Hire, 2 pp., May, 2008.

       “Monsieur Hire” is a 1989 French film directed by Patrice Leconte.  This thought is dialogue from the film:
        Read the full thought here.

      • On Dashiell Hammett, 1 p., June, 2008.
     
      Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) was an American author best known for his hardboiled detective fiction.  This
      thought is the last words he wrote for publication.  Read the full thought here.

     • On Two Romanian Films, 3pp., June, 2008.
                            
      This past week, I saw a couple of films I found remarkable, compelling, personally transforming. 
     Read the complete thought here.

     • On Samuel Beckett, 2pp., July, 2008.

      In 1982, at 76 years of age, the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett (“Waiting for Godot,” “Endgame”) wrote
      a play without spoken words for German television entitled “Nacht und Traüme.”  This thought is a description
      of the play.  Read the full thought here.

     • On Arthur Schopenhauer, 1p., August, 2008.
                         
    Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher.  From the age of 45 until his death 27 years later, Schopenhauer
    every day followed the same routine.  Read the full thought here.

    • On Steve Ditko, 4 pp., August, 2008.

     The success of the recent Spider-Man movies has brought new prominence to the artist who drew Spider-Man,
     Steve Ditko.  This is my explanation of what to many is a very enigmatic man.  Read the full thought here.

     •On Philippe Petit, 3pp., August, 2008

     Last night, I saw a documentary, “Man on Wire,” which recounted the planning and execution in 1974 of a high
     wire walk by Frenchman Philippe Petit across the space between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center
     in Manhattan.  This thought is my reaction to it.  Read the full thought here.

    •On Gorgeous George, 5 pp., September, 2008.

     Gorgeous George was the biggest name in professional wrestling  in the 1950s.  This is an account of one of his
     matches.  Read the full thought here. 

    • On the Death of Eddie Waitkus. 3 pp., September 2008.
                    
     In June of 1949, Eddie Waitkus was a 29-year-old veteran of the Pacific war and an all-star caliber first
     baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies major league baseball team.  Read the full thought here.

    • On John Lennon, 7 pp., October, 2008.

      This thought is essentially a reflection on the ex-Beatle John Lennon’s relationship near the end of his life
      with a woman named May PangRead the full thought here.

    • On Hayden Carruth, 2 pp., October, 2008.
           
      Hayden Carruth was best known as a major poet, but he was also a critic, essayist, novelist, and autobiographer. 
      He died at 87 on September 29th, 2008.  Read the full thought here.

    • On the Barber, 5pp., November, 2008.

     The barber was born in rural Georgia in 1890.  This is his story.  Read the full thought here.

    •On Sartre, 3 pp., November, 2008.
                                   
    Philosopher, critic, novelist, and dramatist Jean-Paul Sartre has singular eminence in world letters.  His earliest
    novel, Nausea, was published in 1938.  It is made up of the diary entries of a French writer Antoine Roquentin
    (a stand-in for Sartre himself?) that depict Roquentin’s struggle to come to grips with the meaning and direction
    of his life.  This thought is excerpts from this fictional diary.  Read the full thought here.   

   • On Richard Yates’ Former Girlfriend, 1p., December, 2008.
                                 
    Natalie Bowen had been an old girlfriend of writer Richard Yates (1926-92).  Yates is best known for his 1961
    novel Revolutionary Road.  In 1972, Bowen received a phone call from Yates.  Read the full thought here.

   • On Sending A Message With Joan Allen, 1 p., December, 2008.
                               
     Producer Jeremy Bolt says casting three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen in his 2008 film “Death Race”
     was to send the message that “Death Race” is an A film and not a low-class genre movie.  Read the full thought here.

   • On Don Logan’s Bad Attitude, 2pp., January, 2009.

    Don Logan is a character in the film “Sexy Beast” (2001).  Portrayed by the actor Ben Kingsley, middle-aged, working
    class Brit, fierce bird-of-prey persona, small, compact, muscular, ramrod-straight posture, shaved head, mustache and    
    goatee,  form-fitting short sleeve dress white shirt, grey dress pants, shined shoes.  The scene, a commercial airliner filled with
    passengers,  ready to take off.  Read the full thought here.

   • On Ginger’s Dress, 3pp., January, 2009.

   Ginger Rogers (1911-1995) was twenty-three years old in 1934 and preparing a duet with the legendary dancer Fred Astaire  
   (1899-1987) for the film “Top Hat,” their second film together.  This thought has to do with a conflict that arose over what
   dress Ginger should wear for her dance with Fred.  I think the way Ginger handled this episode illustrates exemplary care for 
   one’s work, and great personal integrity and courage.  And I think it also says something about how a parent can encourage
   those qualities.  Read the full thought here.

   • On John Updike, 2 pp., January, 2009.
                  
   The writer John Updike died of cancer on January 27, 2009.  He was 76.  The evening I learned of his death, I retrieved my
   copy of his memoirs (entitled Self-Consciousness) from the bookshelf and paged through it, pausing to read a few pages here
   and there.  A couple of passages particularly caught my eye.  Read the full thought here.

   • On Ted Hughes. 4pp., February, 2009.

   English poet Ted Hughes (1930-1998) near the end of his life was designated Poet Laureate of Great Britain.  This thought
   is made up of excerpts from his letters.  Read the full thought here.

   • On Philip Roth, 1 p., March, 2009.

   This thought is an excerpt from Philip Roth’s novel, The Dying Animal.  “The only thing you understand about the old
   when you are not old is that . . .”  Read the full thought here.

  • On the Death of Jean-Paul Sartre, 5 pp., April, 2009.
                                        
   Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980, was a French philosopher, novelist, playwright, and political activist.  He was one of the
   leading intellectuals of the twentieth century.  An earlier thought on this site deals with his novel Nausea.  The material
   in this throught was taken from Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre, written by Sartre’s lifelong companion, Simone de Beauvoir.
   Read the complete thought here.

   • On Personal Health III: George Valliant and Vitamin D, 7 pp., June, 2009.
                                      
  I recently read a magazine article (“What Makes Us Happy?,” Atlantic, June 2009) about the Harvard Study of Adult 
  Development, the most exhaustive investigation of personal well-being ever conducted, and the chief analyst of its
  lessons, psychiatrist George Valliant.  Read the full thought here.

   • On Being a Modern Day Spinoza, 7 pp., September, 2009.
                                        
    Even the quickest perusal of this web site makes it clear that my outlook doesn't play well at all in the university in which
    I am a professor.  From time to time, people ask me how my university deals with me, as well as how I manage both
    personally and professionally in such a context.  This thought discusses what I make of what is going on with me currently
    in this regard.  Read the full thought here. 

   • On The Captive, 3 pp., September, 2009.
         
    An excerpt from the film "La Captive" (2000), written and directed by Chantal Akerman.  Read the excerpt here.

   • On The Last Days of Elvis, 2pp., October, 2009.                                                         

     Elvis Presley on stage in Los Vegas, 1974, having just finished the song, "You Gave Me a Mountain."
     Read the full thought here.

   • On Coetzee, 1 p., October, 2009.

    A page from J.M. Coetzee's autobiographical novel, Diary of a Bad Year.  Read the page here. 

   • On Priorities and Next Steps, 5pp., December, 2009.

      You and I will live better to the extent that we know what we are fundamentally about as individual, mortal human
      beings.  Read the full thought here.

   •  On Class Even Without Joan Allen, 2 pp., January, 2010.
                                     
   In a thought for this site back in December of 2008 entitled "On Sending a Message with Joan Allen," I reported that the
   producer of the film "Death Race" had said that he cast the prestigious actress Joan Allen in his movie in order to send the  
   message that his was a high-class film.   I thought about this producer while watching the DVD of season one of Showtime's
   hit series "Dexter."  Read the full thought here.

   • On Hyenas, 2 pp, January, 2010.
                                          
   In our time, anyone writing from the perspective of respect and concern for European heritage, white gentiles, as I have, is going 
   to come under fire, and I've taken some hits in the media, on the Internet, and from organizations.   Particularly interesting to
   me, much of it has come from other white gentiles.   I've come up with ways to perceive and deal with these people. 
   Read the full thought here.

   • On Twyla Tharp, 3pp., March, 2010.

    Twyla Tharp is one of America's greatest dance choreographers, with a career spanning over forty years.  In her book,
    Twyla Tharp: The Creative Habit, she poses and answers the question, When faced with stupidity, hostility, intransigence,  
    laziness, or indifference in others, how do you respond?  Read the full thought here.

   • On Cocoons and Butterflies, 7 pp., March, 2010.
                                
    Dear Jack--

    Give my regards to Watson.  Next time I get to the Twin Cities it would be great for the three of us to get together. 
    I haven't seen him since high school.  Read the full e-mail message here.

    •On "Unchained Melody," 4 pp., March, 2010
                                       
     With my deafness, I can't hear music at all, except in my dreams, where I hear it perfectly, magnificently, I'm sorry
     to wake up.  Last night I heard, experienced fully, gloriously, the popular song "Unchained Melody." 
     Read the full thought here.

    • On the Death of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. 1p., May, 2010.

    Rainer Werner Fassbinder (May 31, 1945 – June 10, 1982) was a major filmmaker, writer, and actor in post-World War II 
    Germany. On June 10th, 1982, Juliane Lorenz, with whom Fassbinder was living, arrived home at 3:30 a.m.  Read the full  
    thought here.

    • On "Cloud 9," 5 pp., May, 2010.
                                      
    I was captivated by a film on DVD last night.  The film was "Cloud 9," German, 2008, directed by Andreas Dresen. 
   Read the full thought here.

     • On Scaredy Squirrel, 2 pp, June, 2010.
                              
      Scaredy Squirrel never leaves his nut tree.  He'd rather stay in his tree than risk venturing out into the very scary
      world.  Read the full thought here.

     • On the Death of Artie Shaw, 3pp., July, 2010.

     In the decade from 1935 to 1945, no musician was more famous and admired than Artie Shaw.   Shaw--handsome,
     brilliant, outspoken--was a clarinetist and bandleader whose hit recordings sold millions.  Shaw lived life to the hilt:
     his swinging personal life and marriages to several movie stars made headlines.  He became an iconic figure of his time.
     But now it is 2004 and Artie Shaw is over 90 years old.  Read the complete thought here.

     • On Dick W. C. Anderson . . . And Me, 15 pp., July, 2010.

     A memory came to me in a quiet moment a couple of weeks ago of a man I encountered just once many, many years
     ago by the name of Dick W. C. Anderson.  Anderson wasn't one of the pillars of the community, as they say.  Just the
     opposite.  He had brutally murdered a thirty-four-year-old mother of four children ages six to thirteen, Carol Thompson,
     early one morning in her up-scale home in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I grew up and around where I was living at the
     time.  Read the complete thought here.

    • On Lessons for Our Daughter, 10 pp., August, 2010.
                                    
    I have a just-turned-six-year-old daughter.  Among the concerns her mother and I are dealing with currently is what to do
    about lessons for her--dance and music lessons and so on.  Read the full thought here.

    • On Lessons for Our Daughter 2, 5pp., September, 2010.
                                
    My six-year-old daughter's mother and I are communicating from long range--she and my daughter live on the west coast
    and I live in Vermont--about what to do about lessons for her, in dance, piano, and so on.  This thought is a continuation of
    the last thought on this site, "On Lessons for Our Daughter," and reading that one before reading this one would help put this
    writing in context.  Read the full thought here.

    • On Lessons for Our Daughter 3, 10 pp., October, 2010.
                                     
   This is the third in a series of thoughts that involve my correspondence with her mother about lessons and schooling for our 
   six-year-old daughter. You could read the two previous thoughts--On Lessons for Our Daughter 1 and 2--before this one to get
   some context, although I don't think you really need to.  This thought, in the form of a hypothetical email message, is compiled 
   from parts of five emails I have sent over the past several days.  What I'm trying to get across here is something of how I see
   schooling and the responsibilities of parents in that regard.  Read the full "email" here.

   • On Lessons For Our Daughter 4, 6pp., November, 2010.
                                           
  This is the fourth in a series of reports of conversations between my six-year-old daughter's mother and me about lessons
  and schooling for her.  The first three are the last three thoughts on this site, and reading them in order will give you
  background for this thought as well as provide you with an overall picture of my perspective on these concerns.  My daughter
  and her mother live on the West Coast of the U.S. and I live in Vermont.   Last week, I spent the better part of a week with
  them.  I met my daughter's teacher during that time.  This thought includes excerpts from an email from me following my
  return to Vermont.  Also here are portions of an email to a student in an undergraduate university course on sport in society
  I am instructing.  She had emailed me with her thoughts in response to concerns I expressed in class that my daughter will 
  participate in sport activities at the expense of other involvements and areas of her development.  Read the complete email
  excerpts here. 


    • On David Foster Wallace, 2 pp., December, 2010.
                                     
    David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist, and university professor. 
    In May of 2005, he delivered the commencement address to the graduating class at Kenyon College. With minor editing, this 
    thought is a portion of what he said on that occasion.  Read the excerpt here.

   • On Evaluating Academic Scholarship, 3 pp., January, 2011.
           
  There is movement afoot to assess the worth of scholarship in higher education by objective, quantitative methods--citation
  count in publications, Internet traffic, where something was published, that sort of thing--and thus take human judgment out
  of the equation.  This thought is a position statement on this approach I shared with the faculty at the university where I teach.   
  Read the full statement here.

  • On Saul Bellow, 1 p., January, 2011.
                                       
  Three sentences from a letter the writer Saul Bellow (1915-2005) wrote in 1975.  Read them here.

  • On An Evening Meal, 3 pp., February, 2011.
                                         
    After five o'clock, Cheese Outlet--a gourmet market, so the sign says--sells sandwiches for half price. 
    Read the full thought here.

   • On Jerry Lewis' Socks, 6 pp., March, 2011.

    This thought is to call attention to a possible area of inquiry: how people who aren't better than other people make
    these other people think they are.  Read the complete thought here.
 
   • On Trying to Charm the Uninterested, 3 pp., April, 2011.
                                         
   In her recent memoir, Tina Fey shared that she spent a lot of her early years trying to, as she put it, "charm the
   uninterested."  I can personally relate to that.  Read the complete thought here.

   • On the Death of Lincoln Kirstein, 2pp., June, 2011.

   Lincoln Kirstein (born May 4, 1907) was an American writer, art connoisseur, dance impresario, and cultural figure in
   New York City.  Kirstein's remarkable commitment, capability, and energy stimulated creativity and accomplishment in
   a number of the fine arts from the 1930s through the 1980s.  Now it was the 1990s and he was well into his eighties.
   Read the complete thought here.

    • On est and the Human Potential Movement, 19 pp., August, 2011.

   A few weeks ago, I watched a DVD from Netflix of a 2007 documentary called "Transformation: The Life and Legacy of 
   Werner Erhard."  Werner Erhard (born Jack Rosenberg) had his fifteen minutes of fame (and infamy--is this guy a huckster,
   a con man?) back in the 1970s as a personal-growth mogul.  Werner Erhard's prominence was linked to a self-improvement 
   training program he devised in the early 1970s called est (lower case).  I took the training in 1979.  The documentary prompted 
   me to think back on a very formative period in my life, from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, when I was engaged with what
   was known in those years as the human potential movement.  The est experience was part of that.  This thought is a recollection
   of those years, and it amounts to an intellectual autobiography.  The human potential movement has been forgotten, and the
   major point of this thought is my contention that there is much to be gained in our time by revisiting it.  The list of names and
   writings here should be of help in that regard, and I stand ready to assist anyone who wishes to explore any or all of
   the aspects of the human potential movement.  Read the thought here.

   • On Brian Daubach, 2 pp., September, 2011.
                                   
   The past couple of days I read a biography of the labor leader Joe Hill (William Adler, The Man Who Never Died,
   Bloomsbury, 2011).  In 1914, Hill was convicted of murder, and in 1915 he was executed by a Utah firing squad amid 
   international controversy.  Many thought Hill was framed and put to death because of his radical leanings as a prominent figure in
   the International Workers of the World labor organization, or Wobblies as they were called.  Hill became labor's most venerated
   martyr and was immortalized in the ballad "I Dreamed I Saw Joe  Hill Last Night," a song celebrated by Woody Guthrie and
   Bob Dylan and such. Hill's real name was Joel Hagglund, and I got to thinking about whether he would have gone over as well,
   or at all, if he hadn't changed his name.  Read the full thought here.

    • On Dog Shows, 4 pp., November, 2011.

   I watch dog shows on the USA channel, I guess it is, or maybe it's Animal Planet, or both.  Well, and this past weekend I
   saw one on CBS.  Read the full thought here.

    • On Bloody Bill and Bloody Sam. 3 pp., November, 2011.
                                     
    This past week, I read about a couple of men associated with savage violence, one of them for committing it and the other
    for portraying it.  One of them was William T. Anderson (1838-1864), a pro-Confederate guerrilla fighter during the Civil War, 
    whose untamed brutality toward Union soldiers and pro-Union partisans prompted the nickname Bloody Bill.  The other was 
    film director and screenwriter Sam Peckinpah (1925-1984), whose innovative and explicit depiction of feral violence evoked
    great controversy during the 1960s and '70s.   He was called Bloody Sam.  What has come to mind this past week prompted
    by my encounter with Bloody Bill and Bloody Sam is what this thought is about.  Read the complete thought here.

   • On Being a Good Student in My Course, 3 pp., February, 2012.
           
   At this writing, I am three weeks into the semester as a professor instructing an undergraduate university course in the social, 
   historical, and philosophical foundations of education.  It is a required course for students in the elementary and secondary
   education programs in my college.  A student in the course emailed me asking about writing we do during the three-hour class
   sessions on Wednesday afternoons and wanting to set up a meeting with me to talk about it.  Here is a portion of my reply. 
   Reading it over, you'll pick up what I see going on in teacher education in my college and my attitude toward it, and more
   fundamentally, what I think is involved in being a good student in my course, and a good student generally.  Read the reply
   portion here.

   • On Unimpressives, 6 pp., March, 2012.

   In this thought, I set out a construct and work with it some.  It is a category of human being: the Unimpressive.  Read the
   full thought here.


   • On the Death of Telek, 2 pp., April, 2012.

  Kay Summersby was a young, vivacious fashion model who became General Dwight Eisenhower's driver in Britain early in
  the U.S.'s involvement in World War II.  Summersby's relationship with Ike, as she called him, grew in intimacy to a companion   
  and confidant and woman-at-his-side in public events, and eventually they began a romantic relationship.  Together, Kay and Ike 
  bought a little black Scottie puppy that Ike named Telek.  Read the full thought here.

  • On Being Hearing Impaired, 7 pp., May, 2012.
                                    
 A student enrolled in two courses in education I teach at the university was also that semester in a communication disorders
 course and was assigned in that course to interview someone with a communications disorder. She chose me as her interviewee.
 I am severely hearing impaired and use a cochlear implant.  She gave me a list of questions and asked me to write out my answers 
 to them.  This thought is a copy of her questions and my answers.  Read the interview here.
 
  • On Paul Fussell, 3 pp., June, 2012.

  Paul Fussell died on May 23rd, 2012 in an assisted living facility in Oregon.  He was 88 years old.  Fussell was an American 
  cultural and literary historian and professor at Connecticut College, Rutgers University, and the University of Pennsylvania. His
  scholarship dealt with a wide range of topics, including eighteenth-century English literature and the American class system.  He 
  was best known to the general pubic for his writings on World Wars I and II, which underscored the gap between the romantic
  myths and grand justifications of wars and the terrifying and horrific realities confronted by the very young men who fight them
  and are maimed and slaughtered in them.  Reading his obituary in the New York Times put his name in the back of my mind, and
  a couple of days ago as I browsed the biographies section in the library I noticed a memoir he had written in 1996 entitled Doing
  Battle: The Making of a Skeptic (Little, Brown) and checked it out.  Read the full thought here.

   • On Michel Houellebecq, 22 pp., June, 2012.

   Michel Houellebecq (born 1956) is an award-winning and controversial French writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His 
   admirers consider him a literary provocateur in the tradition of Marquis de Sade and Baudelaire, while his detractors see him
   as a sex-obsessed, racist, misogynist, Islamophobic peddler of sleeze and shock.  An email exchange between Houellebecq and
   the equally controversial intellectual and journalist Bernard-Henri Levy was published in the 2008 book Public Enemies: Dueling
   Writers Take on Each Other and the World.  I'll go through my copy of Public Enemies and take note of what I either underlined
   or wrote in the margin when I read the book about a year ago--the Houellebecq half--and offer whatever comments or
   thoughts those responses back then prompt in me now.  Read the full thought here.

   • On Making Sense of Michael Haneke’s Films—And Things in General, 6 pp., July, 2012.

   The past couple of weeks, I watched films of Austrian director Michael Haneke.  Immediately after watching a film I
   compared what film scholars wrote about it with what had come up for me.  Read the complete thought here.

    • On Playing One Game at a Time and Putting Numbers on the Board, 8 pp., July, 2012.
             
    A good way to study the sport culture, or any culture, any area of life, is to look at how it uses language.  In this thought,
    I list some words and phrases one hears a lot in the sports world.  Read the complete thought here. 

     • On Being a Good Student in My Course (Revised), 5 pp., August, 2012.
                            
     As I write this thought, it is four days until the beginning of the fall semester, 2012 at the university where I am a professor.
     I've decided this semester it would be helpful if on the first day of classes I were to distribute and discuss with my students a
     statement outlining, as precisely as I can, how I want them to approach their work in the course and why.  I wrote a three-page 
     statement with the heading, "Being a Good Student in This Class."  It is an expanded version of the February 2012 thought on
     this site with this same title.  It's different enough, I've decided, to warrant it's inclusion here as a separate thought.  Read the
     complete statement here. 


     • On a Dream, 1 p., September, 2012.

     A dream I had a couple of nights ago: I was in a bathroom.  Or was it a bathroom?  There were no walls.  There was only a 
     bathtub overflowing, water rushing out, gushing; and a washbasin, a foot or two away, the same, water pouring, falling,
     reminiscent of a raging waterfall.  Someone had turned on the faucets full out and left them on.  Read the complete dream here.

     • On the Death of Lillian Hellman, 2 pp., November, 2012.
                                    
      Lillian Hellman, born in 1905, was a much-honored author of plays, film scripts, and memoirs and an outspoken advocate for 
      left-wing causes.  For thirty years, she maintained a high profile relationship with the mystery writer Dashiell Hammett that
      ended in his death in 1961.  She famously declared in a written statement distributed following a 1952 appearance before the  
      House Un-American Activities Committee, which at the time was investigating communist influences in the arts, “I cannot and
      will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”  She was one of the most prominent and controversial women of her
      era.    But now it was the early 1980s and Lillian Hellman was well into her seventies and her health was failing drastically. 
      Read the full thought here.

      •On a Big Grey Poodle-Looking Dog, 1p., November, 2012.
                                       
       It was 4:30 in the afternoon on a crisp, overcast mid-week day in early November in Burlington, Vermont.  I was driving
       to my townhouse, which is at the top of a long hill.  A hundred feet or so from my destination, on my left, I approached five
       people clustered talking.  Amid them were three dogs, one of which was a big grey poodle-looking dog.  Read the complete
       thought here.


     
     •On  Nietzsche's  Maxim,  3 pp., November, 2012.

     “That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”  That’s one maxim just about everybody knows and takes to heart.   It's a 
     hopeful idea, but we need to keep in mind that everything is what it is and isn’t everything else.  In this case, a maxim is
     a maxim and real life is real life.  Read the complete thought here.

    • On Becoming Who You Are, 5 pp., December, 2012.
                                    
    On the home page of this site, I note that my writing is part of my personal quest to live out philosopher Friedrich
    Nietzsche’s injunction to become what I am.  I wrote that when I began the site, over five-and-a-half years ago at this writing,
    and considered it to be true of me at that time.  This last year it has come home to me just how true that statement was, and is
    now: it is really true of me.  In this thought, I offer suggestions that may be helpful to others who wish to follow this path. 
    Read the full thought here.

    •On the Sparrow, 1p., December, 2012.
                                 
   A baby sparrow was thrown from its nest high in a tree by a heavy storm.  Read the complete thought here. 

    •On “The Woman in the Fifth,” 5pp., January, 2013.
                                    
    The most arresting and thought-provoking film I have seen in recent memory is “The Woman in the Fifth” (the Fifth refers to
    a district in Paris) with Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas.  It was released in theaters in 2011 and, at this writing, is 
    relatively new on DVD, where I saw it a week ago.  Read my thoughts on the film here.

    • On Agreements and Pictures, 4pp., February, 2013.
                              
    Ideas from two self-help books I read a few months ago have proved useful to me as rules to live by, guides to living, however 
    best to put it.  The books: Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements (Amber-Allen Publishing, 1997); and William Glasser,      
    Taking Charge of Your Life (iUniverse, 2011).  Read the thought here.

   • On Obituaries, 4pp, March, 2013.
                                      
   My advanced age prompts me to read a lot of obituaries.  I’m struck by how admirable all these people were in their lives and
   how their deaths weren’t all that bad as far as deaths go, dying peacefully surrounded by their loved ones and so forth.  But
   people whose lives weren't so rosy and didn’t end so peacefully die too--what about their obituaries?  Read the complete
   thought here. 


   • On Precision, 6pp., March, 2013.

   In the summer of 2010, LeBron James, the best professional basketball player in the world, was a free agent, as it is called. 
   Up to that point in his career he had played for the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise in the National Basketball Association, as
   he was forced to do by the way the player allocation system in the league operates.  Now he was able to sign a contract with
   any team in the league.  The big sports media story that summer was should James re-sign with the Cavs or go with another
   team.  As the decision date got closer, the scuttlebutt was that James was going to take a multi-year offer from the Miami Heat.  I
   decided it was in James’ best interests to stay with the Cavs.  As it turned out, James signed with the Heat, and it is clear now
   that he made the right choice.  Where, I ask myself, did I go wrong in my thinking in 2010?  The answer to that question
   intrigues me because while it doesn’t matter a whit whether I was right or wrong about what sport exhibition company LeBron
   James ought to work for, answering it might teach me something about good decision-making, as well as help me avoid being
   wrong about truly important things up the line.  Read the complete thought here.
 
   • On Doing My Job, 4 pp., April, 2013.

   A few months ago, I spent time thinking about what my job is, or better, what my jobs are, not just in the university where
   I teach but in the whole of my life.  Read the full thought here.

   • On Impeccable Word, 2 pp., April, 2013.

   A self-help book I found useful and recommend is The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
  (Amber-Allen, 1997).  One of the four agreements is to be immaculate with words, with language.  Ruiz calls it Impeccable     
  Word.  I can’t remember exactly what Ruiz writes about Impeccable Word, but the basic concept hit home and got me thinking 
  about how people use language to depict and make sense of reality.  Read the complete thought here.

   • On Pseudo-Self-Effacement, 6 pp., May, 2013.
                                           
    In March of 2011,  I wrote a thought for this site entitled “Jerry Lewis’ Socks.”  I was trying to establish a field of inquiry, I
    guess you could call it:  how people get it across that they are better than you are.  I’ve been paying attention since that 2011
    thought to how people who are fawned over get themselves in that position when they don’t really deserve to be that high on
    life’s totem pole.  One of ways I've picked up I’ll call the pseudo-self-effacement technique.  The basic idea with this   
    maneuver  is you seem to be putting yourself down, but what you are really doing is building yourself up.  Read the complete
    thought here.


    • On The Daily Puppy, 2pp., June, 2013.
                                      
    A highlight of my life these days is The Daily Puppy.  It’s one of those gadgets you can put on the home page of the computer. 
    Every morning without fail, I check out the picture and biography of the puppy for the day (here's Frankie, the last one mentiond
    in the thought).  Read the complete thought here.

    • On Skyline Pigeon, 1 p., July, 2013.

    Skyline Pigeon is an Elton John song, with lyrics by Bernie Taupin.  Read the lyrics here.
                    
     • On Bullying, 14 pp., July, 2013.

     I certainly don’t consider myself any kind of expert on bullying.  Take what I offer here as simply food for thought as
     you ponder and act upon this concern.  Read the full thought here.
       
     • On The Mower. 1 p., August, 2013. 
                               
     A poem by Philip Larkin (1922-1985) entitled The Mower, written in 1979.  I am realizing it has been a difficult year for me.  
     Read the poem here.

     • On Camus, 2 pp., December, 2013.
                                       
     I was taken by a comment on the Nobel Prize-winning French writer Albert Camus (1913-1960) I read in The American
     Scholar magazine online in December of 2013.  Read the full thought here.

    • On Ernest Hemingway and Manhood, 5 pp., March, 2014.
                                            
    I’ve been reading a lot about the writer Ernest Hemingway lately with an emphasis on Ernest Hemingway the man; I haven’t 
    been reading what he wrote.  Read the complete thought here.

    • On Honing the Instrument, 5 pp., April, 2014.
                                           
     By the instrument in this case, I mean the tool you use to forge the best, most productive, most satisfying life you can in your
     time on this earth:  your physical and mental health and capability.  Read the complete thought here.

    • On Fighting Up Close, 4 pp., April, 2014.
                              
    Years ago, when I was in West Virginia writing a book about the white racial advocate William Pierce, something an aide of
    his, Bob Demarias, said to me has stuck with me since.  “If you are going to be one of us,” Bob shared with me, “you are
    going to have to be willing to fight up close and get good at it."  Read the complete thought here.

    •On Toxic People, 3 pp., April, 2014.
                                 
     Perusing the shelves of my local public library, the title of a book, Toxic People: 10 Ways of Dealing With People Who
     Make Your Life Miserable, caught my eye.  Read the complete thought here.

    • On The Present--And Future—State of Higher Education in America, 1p., April, 2014.
                                
    Public expressions of three finalists for a professorship at the University of Vermont.  Read the complete thought here.

    • On Sticking to Business, 3 pp., April, 2014.
                                     
    These days, when I feel the call to do something, I stop and ask myself, “Is this any of my business?”  Read the complete
    thought here.


    • On What the Donald Sterling Flap Brought Up for Me, 5 pp., April, 2014.
                                
     At this writing—late April, 2014—there is an enormous flap over what were deemed the racist remarks of Donald Sterling,
     the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team, in a telephone conversation with his girlfriend that has
     gone public.  I was struck by the contrast between what I heard on the tape of the conversation online and what I had gotten   
     from media reports and from people I talked to.  Read the complete thought here.
   
     • On Free Throws in Basketball. 2 pp., May, 2014.
                                         
      One of the challenges in life is to see commonplace things with new eyes; another way to say it, make the familiar strange. 
      One very familiar phenomenon that has suddenly seemed strange to me is the free throw in basketball. 
      Read the complete thought here.

     • On The Woman in the Fifth (2), 2 pp., July, 2014.
                                  
     Fine works of art lend themselves to multiple encounters and interpretations.  With each re-viewing, re-reading, whatever
     the medium, come new experiences and meanings.  That has been true for me with the superb film “The Woman in the Fifth,” 
     which I first saw in January of 2013 and wrote a thought about in this site.  I watched it again this week (early July, 2014) and
     saw it very differently and, I'd like to think, more clearly.  Read the complete thought here.

     • On Doing Here Now, 4 pp., August, 2014.
                                     
     I just finished reading Ram Dass’ latest book, Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart, and had a
     markedly different response to it than I would have had in years past.  Read the complete thought here.

      • On Arthur Schopenhauer and the Life of the Mind, 9 pp., August 2014.
                               
      Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a German philosopher best known for his book, The World of Will and
      Representation.   This thought is a series of Schopenhauer quotes from his writings followed by my comments. 
      Read the complete thought here.

      • On Paul Schrader, 8 pp., October, 2014.
 
      Paul Schrader is a screenwriter and director in his late sixties and still active—at this writing he has a film with Nicolas Cage
      about to be released—but his prominence was at its peak in the 1970s and ‘80s, when he received a great deal of attention from
      critics and film buffs.  Schrader is best known for his screenplays for “Taxi Driver,” released in 1976, and “Raging Bull,” 
      1980, and for writing and directing “American Gigolo,” also in 1980.  I have spent a good amount of time the past couple of
      weeks looking into Schrader’s life and work and letting it take me where it takes me—watching and reading about films,
      Shrader’s or others’, reading books and periodicals about someone or some topic that came up in the Schrader study, and
      reflecting on my own history and current circumstance.  This thought is to share some of the outcomes of my Schrader-focused  
      inquiry, invite you to check out Schrader and his films, and to suggest that you think about whether the sort of thing I did with
      Schrader would be a useful activity for you.  Read the complete thought here.

       • On Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, 3 pp, October, 2014.
                                     
      Elsewhere on this site, I have written about my involvement with what came to be known as the human potential movement,
      which was prominent in the 1970s and ‘80s (see the August, 2011 thought, “On est and the human potential movement"). 
      Names associated with this thrust in its heyday included psychologists Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Fritz Perls;
      journalist and tai chi instructor George Leonard; writer on Zen Buddhism, Alan Watts; the founder of the Esalen Institute in   
      California, Michael  Murphy; and the founder of the personal growth training program est (without capital letters), Werner    
      Erhard.  This thought is to add a name to the above list of people associated with the human potential movement, Chögyam
      Trungpa Rinpoche, and to recommend one of his books.  Read the complete thought here.

      • On William Hazlitt, 2 pp., November, 2014.
                                            
        William Hazlitt (1778-1830) was an English philosopher, essayist, social commentator, lecturer, journalist, literary critic, and
        portraitist.   Little known in our time, his essays are arguably among the best ever written in the English language.  He also
        dealt with candid and revealing personal material: the title of one of his essays, “On the Pleasures of Hating.”  Hazlitt has been
        called “the original blogger.”  Read the complete thought here.

      •On Going On, 2p., November, 2014.

      A speech by Macbeth very near the end of the Shakespeare play.  Read the speech here. 

      • On Laura Jane Jones, 5 pp., December, 2014.

      It was the day after Christmas, 2014, in the early afternoon. The legendary British pop singer Joe Cocker had recently died,
      and that prompted me to check him out on YouTube.  I watched a performance of him singing his classic hit, a cover of the
      Beatles song, "With a Little Help from My Friends."  I found myself taking notice of the taller of two women backup singers, 
      who was standing perhaps ten feet to Cocker’s left with a microphone of her own.  Read the complete thought here.
       •  On Factoids, 3 pp., January, 2015.
                                 
      I took note of a letter written on March 21st, 1985 by the late author Norman Mailer to David Irving Shapiro in which Mailer
      talked about the concept of a factoid.  Read the complete thought here.

      • On a Problem in the Fifth Grade (Part 1), 9 pp., January, 2015.
                                 
      My ten-year old daughter, who lives across the U.S. continent from me with her mother is in the fifth grade.  Her mother has
      been reporting problems for her in school.  Read the complete thought here.

      • On a Problem in the Fifth Grade (Part 2), 10 pp., January, 2015.
                                 
     My ten-year old daughter, who lives across the U.S. continent from me with her mother, is in the fifth grade.  Her mother has
     been reporting problems for her in school.  This continues the consideration of this issue begun in Part 1, the thought
     immediately preceding this one.  You can decide whether you need to  read Part 1 before you read this one; you probably
     should, but I'm not sure.  Read the complete thought here.

     • On a Problem in the Fifth Grade (Part 3), 5 pp., January, 2015.
                                 
     My ten-year old daughter, who lives across the U.S. continent from me with her mother, is in the fifth grade.  Her mother has
     been reporting problems for her in school.  This continues the consideration of this issue begun in Parts 1 and 2, the thoughts
     immediately preceding this one.  You should read those two thoughts before you read this one.  Read the complete thought here.

     • On This-and-That, 3 pp., January, 2015.
                              
     A reader of my writings, both in journals and on this web site, wrote me several times using the “contact me” email address on
     this site.  I was very impressed with his messages.  In his last correspondence before this reply to him, he referred to the novelist
     and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982).  Read the complete reply here.
 
     • On Losing My Mind, 7 pp., January, 2015.

     I had gotten an emailed reminder that I had a dental hygiene appointment the next Wednesday.  So I'll enter it in my 
     appointment  book--eleven o’clock and hygienist’s name.   What’s her name?   I had no idea.   Read the complete thought here.

     • On Serving Yourself, 2 pp., January, 2015.
                                      
     The 2015 Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriot is a few days away.  Speculations about the
     game itself have taken a back seat to a controversy over whether in the playoff game won by the Patriots to get them into the
     Super Bowl the Patriots illegally lowered the air pressure in the footballs they used in the game, making them easier to control in
     the adverse weather prevailing during the game.  In particular, suspicion has centered around whether star Patriots quarterback,
     Tom Brady directed Patriots personnel to decrease the air pressure in the balls.  At this writing, Brady’s culpability is still being
     determined.  Whether or not Brady is guilty of any wrongdoing isn’t the focus here.  What is is a statement he made during a
     radio call-in show during the heat of the allegations.  Read the complete thought here.

     • On A Ticket to Anywhere, 1 p., February, 2015.
                            
    With thanks to “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman.  Read the complete thought here.

     • On Lance Armstrong, 3 pp., March, 2015.
                                       
     I just finished watching an Australian produced documentary, “Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story.”  It wasn’t one
     of my favorite films.   Read the complete thought here.

     

     •  On Sheep to Slaughter, 3 pp., April, 2015.

                                        

      On July 22, 2011, 32-year-old Norwegian Anders Breivik set off a bomb outside the offices of the Prime Minister and the  Ministry of Justice in central Oslo killing
      eight people.  He then traveled to the nearby island of Utoya and shot dead 69  participants of a Workers’ Youth League summer camp.  In August of 2012, he was
      convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism.  This writing isn’t about Breivik and his motivations, personal or political—was he a madman
      or a revolutionary?—or the larger ideological and ethnic issues that provided the context for his actions.  Rather, it is about my response to how ten teenagers died on
      Utoya Island that July day.   Read the complete thought here.


      

      • On John Berryman, 1p., May, 2015.

 

      From the poem “Despair” by John Berryman (1914-1972).   Read the poem excerpt here.


      

      •  On Poe Ballantine, 6pp., May, 2015.

      

     Two days ago, I was browsing Amazon looking for a film to watch.  I came upon a new (2015) documentary with an over-the-top title that grabbed my attention,
     “Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere.”  Read the full thought here.


    

     • On Serving Somebody, 1p., June, 2015.

             

     From the Bob Dylan song “Gotta Serve Somebody.”  See the lyrics here.

 
 

    • On Embarrassment (And Other Unpleasantness), 12pp., June, 2015.

 

    In these web site thoughts, I’ve identified topics for study—perhaps even academic, scholarly, investigation.  This thought invites explorations 

    into the phenomenon of embarrassment.   Read the full thought here. 

   

     

     • On Emily Dickinson, 1p., June, 2015.

 

     A poem by Emily Dickinson I sent to my ten-year-old daughter.  Read the poem here.


    

      • On Mortality, 13pp., July, 2015.

              

      Last month, I turned 75.  That got my attention.  That is geriatric old, no getting around it.  For obvious reasons, mortality has been on
      my mind this past month.   Consider this thought to be notes on what has come out of it.   Read the complete thought here.


       

      • On “Cache” and Quality, 4 pp., August, 2015.

 

      A project I’ve set out for myself is to use the idea of quality—high quality—as a guide to what I do in all aspects of my life from here
      forward.  Read the complete thought here.


       

      • On the Boxer, 1 p.,  August, 2015.

                                      

      With my serious hearing impairment I can’t hear music at all.  I don’t know a trumpet from a saxophone and can’t tell you what anybody’s
      voice sounds like, and I can’t discern melody at all.   But there’s one place I can hear perfectly: in my dreams.   Last night, I heard the old
      song “The Boxer” sung by Simon and Garfunkel with perfect clarity, including the last verse.   Read the complete thought here.

 

       

        • On So Yong Kim, 4 pp.,  September, 2015.

                                         

       This past couple of weeks, I viewed three films by the Korean American independent filmmaker So Yong Kim.  I found them
       remarkable, absolutely top of the line, and more, I believe these three films have had a significant and lasting positive impact on me
       personally.  Read the full thought here.


      

       • On America, 1p.,  September, 2015.

 

       Let mortal tongues awake.  Read the lyrics here.

 

         

        • On Annie’s Song, 1p., October, 2015.

 

        By John Denver.  Read the lyrics here. 


        

         • On “River of No Return,” 5pp., October, 2015.

            

        This past week, I read a biography of the bad-boy-but-talented actor Robert Mitchum (1917-1997).   The book discussed a movie Mitchum
        made in 1954 with Marilyn Monroe called “River of No Return.”   It hit me that I had seen that movie with my parents in
        Milwaukee, Wisconsin when it first came out.  Read the complete thought here.

 

          

         • On Yogi Bhajan, 12 pp., November, 2015.

                                      

        In the late 1970s, I lived in Los Angeles for a year.  Just about every day during that time, I would drive to an ashram—a center of
        Eastern thought and practice--to take an hour-long yoga class.  I learned eventually that I was getting the kundalini form of yoga, and
        that the ashram was the creation of a Sikh guru from India who went by the name of Yogi Bhajan (1929-2004). 
        Read the complete thought here.

 

         

        • On Living Blind, 11 pp., January, 2016.

                                    

       This thought is a movie recommendation and a report on the personal meaning I gave the film, and it is a commitment to do some
       work on myself.  Read the complete thought here.


         

        • On Waiting  10 pp., February, 2016.

                                  

        I took note of a story I read in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago about a dog in Japan named Hachiko, an Akita breed, born in 1923. 
       
It got me thinking about waiting, both generally and in my own life.   Read the complete thought here.


         

       • On Two Old People,  4pp.,  March, 2016.

 

       Dialogue from the 2015 film “Youth.”   A film director in his late seventies and his lead actress, who is around his age.  
       Read the dialogue here.


     

     • On the Personal Worth of Fiction, 10 pp., March, 2016.

 

     After a long lifetime of almost exclusively reading non-fiction, in the last six months or so I’ve noted that my life goes better if I
     regularly read fiction.  Read the complete thought here. 

       

      • On How a Kids’ Golf Tournament Could Have Better, 6 pp.,  May,  2016.

              

      Recently, my eleven-year-old daughter played in a kids’ golf tournament.  In general, the tournament was nicely organized.  
      Still, I was left with the impression that it could have been set up to be even better than it was.  Read the complete thought here.

  

      

      • On Jenny Diski, 6 pp., May, 2016.

 

      An April 29th, 2016 obituary in The New York Times reported the death from cancer at 68 of a British writer with the odd name of
      Jenny Diski that I found intriguing.  Read the complete thought here.


       

      • On Modeling the Best, 9 pp., June, 2016.

                                 

      I have an eleven-year-old daughter.  A recent message from me to her mother contained some things about learning and personal
      growth, or development, that I think have general applicability.  Read the email excerpt here.


       

      • On “The Assassination of Richard Nixon,” 3 pp., August, 2016.

                                     

      This is a recommendation for film buffs that liked “Taxi Driver.”   Not to disparage “Taxi Driver”--indeed, it is a fine film, a classic—but
      the real deal in the loner-menace genre is an obscure 2004 Sean Penn film, “The Assassination of Richard Nixon.”   Read the complete thought  

      here.


     

      • On Hank Williams, 1 p., August, 2016.

 

      Song lyrics by Hank Williams.   Read the lyrics here.


       

       • On The Hollywood Argyles and Kinji Shibuya, 9pp., September, 2016.

 

       The Hollywood Argyles was a band and Kinji Shibuya was a professional wrestler back in the 1950s and early ‘60s.  Read the complete
       thought here

    

       

      • On "An American Trilogy," 1p., October, 2016.

 

      A song Elvis Presley popularized.  See the song's lyrics and its creator's version here.


     

      • On the Decline of NFL Television Ratings, 4 pp., October,  2016.

                                 

      An email from me to a newspaper sports columnist.  Read the email here.    


       

      • On Leonard Cohen, 1p., November, 2016.

 

      Singer, songwriter, poet, novelist Leonard Cohen died on November 7th, 2016.   The lyrics to his song, “The Bird on the Wire.” 
      Read the lyrics here.

      
       

      • On Football Players Making a Better World, 4 pp., December, 2106.

        

      On December 17th, 2016, The New York Times reported that University of Minnesota football players rescinded their threatened boycott and
      will play in the Holiday Bowl game in San Diego on December 27th.  They had said they would not play in the game if the university didn’t
      lift the suspensions of 10 players involved in what an
internal university investigation concluded was sexual assault and sexual misconduct with
      a woman, who, according to some accounts, was 22-years-old and a student. It is clear that the woman had had a lot to drink and behaved
     very foolishly, but the players were barbaric.  But what I find most interesting in this case at the time of this writing, mid-December, are
     three things that didn’t happen.   Read my thoughts on the case here.

 

      

      •On Epitetus, 38 pp., January, 2017.

 

     Epictetus (50-135 AD) is the best-known philosopher associated with the orientation to living known as stoicism.  In this thought,
     I offer my commentaries on Epictetus quotes.   Read the quotes and responses here.


     

      • On Rider’s Rules for Cowboys and Cowgirls, 2 pp, February, 2017.

                                       

      As a kid back in the 1940s and ‘50s I was a big fan of movie and TV cowboy Roy Rogers.  Roy had what he called “rider’s rules,” ten
      standards for how to conduct your life he’d send on a card if you wrote him.   Read the complete thought here.


      

       • On Snow Days, 2 pp., February, 2017.

 

      To her delight, my twelve-year-old daughter had a snow day today; no school, bad weather, too much snow.  Ah yes, snow days. 
     
I remember back when I was first started my career in teaching in a high school.  Read the complete thought here.


       

       • On An Academy Award Injustice, 6pp., February, 2017.

 

       “John Wick” is a 2014 film starring Keanu Reeves directed by Chad Stahelski from a screenplay by Derek Kolstad.  Fine film.  I was
       particularly taken by Kolstad’s brilliant screenplay.  Read the complete thought here.

        

       • On Children’s Writing, 4pp., February, 2017. 

 

      My 12-year-old daughter Dee’s mother and I have been concerned that the middle school Dee goes to—she’s in the seventh grade—isn’t
      having her do enough writing.  Read the complete thought here.


      

       • On "Manchester by the Sea," 2pp., March, 2017.

 

       Dialogue from the 2016 film, “Manchester by the Sea.”   Read the dialogue here.


        

       • On Chuck Berry, 1p.,  March, 2017.


       Rock and roll legend Chuck Berry died on March 18th, 2017.   Read the lyrics of his 1959 song “Memphis, Tennessee" here.


      

      • On Derek Cianfrance, 2pp., March, 2017.

 

      Derek Cianfrance is an American film director I recommend you check out.   Read my commentary on one of his films here.


        

      • On Bert Cardullo, 6 pp., April, 2017.

 

     Looking for a published interview with the late film director Eric Rohmer by scholar and critic Bert Cardullo, instead of the interview
     I found a retraction notice.  Read the complete thought here.


    

     • On Shirley Jackson, 2 pp., June, 2017.

 

     Diary entries by the American writer Shirley Jackson (1916-1965).  Read the entries here.


      

       · On Cool Names, 4 pp., September, 2017.

                                       

        I’ve got a thing about people’s names.  Read the complete thought here.

 

       

       • On Al Franken, et al., 4 pp., December, 2017.

                                      

      Senator Al Franken from Minnesota has just announced that he intends to resign for the Senate because of his alleged sexual improprieties.
      He is the latest