Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Go Irish!

I'm watching the Notre Dame women's basketball team dismantle the University of Maryland's Terrapins. An awesome display.

Go Irish!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Proud Dad of a New Grad

As of today my older son Matthew is a college graduate. He finished the last of the coursework for his bachelor's degree in accounting at California State University at Los Angeles. Hail, hail, Matthew! I couldn't be prouder if I had just won a Nobel Prize.

Matt has come a long way. He took some detours after high school, but finally found his direction. He not only has earned a college degree, but he also has become a mature, educated person who thinks seriously about important issues. I love talking with him. He is going to do great work for whoever is smart enough to hire him.

I love you, Matt.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lawless Florida and the Rule of the Gun

The newest descriptions of the killing of young Trayvon Martin remind me of nothing so much as the scene in the movie "Shane" in which the gunfighter Jack Wilson, played with exquisite menace and malevolence by a young Jack Palance, stalks and kills the sodbuster "Stonewall." Wilson took care to make it look like self-defense, but it was murder, simple and premeditated.

In the case of Trayvon, he didn't even have a weapon, unless you count a can of iced tea. George Zimmerman, the newest evidence suggests, stalked him, probably provoking Trayvon to turn, confront him and "threaten" him--perhaps with a lethal squirt of tea?

In the stories I've read about this case, Florida sounds like the Old West of Shane's day, where the law might as well be a three-day horse ride away. In "Shane," the result of that lawless situation was that people resorted to engaging gunfighters. Hope it doesn't come to that in Florida--for George Zimmerman's sake.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rebutting "The Stone"

Michael Tomasky has written an excellent rebuttal on the Daily Beast website to Gary Gutting's critique of big-time college athletics last week on The New York Times' philosophy website, "The Stone." I heartily commend it to everyone's attention.

Yes, there are abuses in college athletics. But if these programs did nothing more than offer the student-athletes the opportunity to work their way through school, they'd have justified their existence. Obviously some of the athletes elect not to avail themselves fully of the opportunity, but that happens in every field of endeavor. Wasn't it John Thompson, the former coach of the Georgetown Hoyas, who would tell his players, "If you leave here without a degree, you've been underpaid."


I drove back to Evanston from South Bend on this eerily warm late winter evening. The bright orange sun was beginning to drop below the horizon as I was leaving South Bend. Around LaPorte, the playlist on my iPod reached Betty Buckley's "Memory," the iconic song from the musical "Cats." The song put me in mind of my trip with my son Grant to New York for what must have been his tenth birthday. Thanks to my friend Buzz Palmer, we got a tour of the United Nations and had lunch in the delegates' dining room. We went to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. And on a Saturday night we went to the Winter Garden Theatre and saw "Cats."

I had ordered tickets far in advance and Grant was eager to see the show. I played a little joke on him by suggesting a couple of hours before the show that we sell our tickets on the street and just spend the evening seeing the bright lights of New York City. Grant thought about it for a few seconds and then replied almost sheepishly, "No. Let's not."

So we went to the show. We arrived about half an hour early, found our seats and waited for the show to begin. At 8 p.m. the house lights went down and the theatre was totally dark. Then, gradually, lights began to twinkle above us, creating the effect of stars in the night sky. It was a magical moment. Grant leaned over to me and whispered, "Aren't you glad we didn't sell the tickets?"

Every time I think of that, tears well in my eyes. Tears of joy, of course, that I was able to experience such a special moment with my child. God has been good to me.

It's hard for me to believe that Grant is now almost 24 and is about to take off on a trip of his own to Turkey. And a few weeks after that, he'll head to Mississippi for his first teaching job.