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{ Monthly Archives } December 2010

Hell Flight

12/27/10 If this isn’t the longest day of my life, it’s at least in the top twenty—probably because it’s more like two days, literally. Old man winter vented his fury on the New York area yesterday morning, just as I was to return home from visiting my folks: a foot or more of snow in […]


Aunt Linda has arrived early to spend Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day with us, and with her comes Wrigley, the dog she stole from Mom and Dad’s next door neighbor. Good job, too; that jerk thoroughly neglected Wrigley. And he a minister. After lifetime penned alone in the back yard, and after a […]

Art Crud

We visited the Rockford Art Museum today, to see the “Spaces Within” exhibit. Very disappointing, and I say that relative to the modest expectations one might have of any large, suburban art museum. Judging modern, abstract art can be difficult even for aficionados; merely saying something meaningful about it lies on the edge of art-ignorant […]

Bread and Shaving Water

No cloud but has its silver lining. My parents have hard water. It’s not so bad as the private well water they had when they lived on the farm just outside Rockford, but it’s still palpably hard water. That makes it somewhat unpleasant to drink, and I’m still on my 48-unwanted-ounces-of-water-a-day diet to prevent kidney […]

Cold Front, Home Front

I flew into O’Hare today feeling somewhat harried by the season. I rode the bus into Rockford with a swelling Christmas spirit. What made the difference? A few inches of snow. It blankets the fields, turning the ugly stubble of November into winter wonderland. It dusts the trees, especially icing the evergreens. It feeds icicles […]

Joy to the World

Because the radio couldn’t pick up NPR in our basement, where I was wrapping Christmas packages, I was forced to search the dial for another station. When I came across one playing Christmas carols, I stopped. Without any snow, I need all the seasonal signals I can find to get into the holiday spirit. They […]

Center of the World

As regular readers realize by now, I’m a fan of the Great Lectures series, whichever name it goes by. Only the Egyptian history lectures have disappointed so far—but I have to say, the lectures on religion in the classical Mediterranean world come close. On the whole, the lectures are enjoyable, informative, and well narrated. But […]

Watch and Learn

Observational instruction—“student teaching,” to use a familiar but not-technically-accurate term—varies with the subject, but even more by the student teacher’s supervisory instructor. The difference between strictly observing and “hands-on” observation is particularly significant. The latter is tiring, to be sure, and often frustrating. The exhaustion, at least, is a good sort of exhaustion. But just […]