November 2015

Let's Talk About Urinals

Harry Potter Toilet PaperWal-Mart started this thing where they didn’t turn on the lights or keep their stores tolerably warm or cool. Presumably this saved tens of thousands of dollars per location, but that wasn’t the stated motivation for the change. Rather, they were doing it for… ‘the environment’.

Needless to say, this approach was tempting for any number of organizations, including the public education institution in which I daily shared wisdom and inspired greatness at that time. We arrived one day to discover that the urinals in the faculty restrooms had been altered. They'd taken the handles off of our urinals.

An Early Xmas Venti

Starbucks CupI’m not looking to defend an ‘Old Fashioned Christmas’ or to lament the cesspool of humanity that is Black Friday. Spend your holiday with family and feasting, in prayer and meditation, or naked on the couch Netflix-binging – it’s your call. This is ‘Merica!

But I’d respectfully suggest that the aches and fears some have over the ongoing de-Christing of the season may not be proof they are fascists, or oppressors, or Fox News morning show hosts (except the ones who are). It may simply be that they feel like something special is being taken away from them for reasons they don’t entirely understand.

Teacher Books (Gifts That Makes YOU Look GOOD)

Teacher BooksSome people love edu-books, it seems. I’m fine with that, but several I've started and discarded struck me as rather pompous – driven by edu-babble and postulation – which I despise.

That being said, there are several rather dramatic exceptions which I’d like to recommend, either for your personal consideration or as holiday shopping ideas for that aspiring #11FF in your world. Books make such a nice mid-level gift – as fillers to open along with the ‘fancy’ presents, or as modestly upscale purchases (by their very nature implying that both you and the recipient are at least KINDA smart) for people you care enough about to stuff some tissue paper and warm thoughts into that decorative bag you saved from last year, but won’t be spending Xmas morning drinking hot chocolate next to.

The Death of Captain Waskow

Ernie PyleErnie Pyle (1900-1945) was a journalist specializing in bringing the normal to intimate life through the written word. When World War II began, Pyle became what was then a very odd sort of war correspondent. He went to where the war was, but he wrote about people. Real soldiers, instead of the Captain America types otherwise put forth in the name of patriotism.

He made every mother, sister, wife, or other loved one back home feel like he was writing about their boy – their soldier. He made the lowest grunt feel like he was doing something worth doing in tangible, personal ways. Here’s to the power of the written word.