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By any measure, we know that to do well in school, reading is fundamental. That is not just a catchy phrase, but a fact that teachers will talk at great lengths about, no matter the subject area.
Being a writer does have its perks. For one thing, I get at least a couple of interesting emails a week.
I read a newspaper story about 20 years ago with a statistic that struck a chord. It said that in New Jersey, the average age of the buildings was 50 years. This, of course, factors in homes, businesses, schools and other structures.
The story is familiar to us all. A gaggle of white men in powdered wigs sat around a table voted to declare our independence from the British Empire. There was Thomas Jefferson, the planter intellectual, John Adams, in many ways the man behind the scenes, and old Benjamin Franklin, the homes…
Fifty years ago, the landmark legislation known as the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 became the law of the land. It's very passage was the culmination of a century worth of sweat and struggle to codify the gains made during the Civil War.
"And I would like to thank those that were there to ensure that I am standing here before you today. Let’s start with my family, principally mom and dad. (The camera pans the audience in search of the proud parents; they are looking down at their programs), and my fifth grade teacher, for le…
“Why do men like me want sons?" he wondered. "It must be because they hope in their poor beaten souls that these new men, who are their blood, will do the things they were not strong enough nor wise enough nor brave enough to do. It is rather like another chance at life; like a new bag of co…
Last week I received an email from a longtime reader who has moved out to California, but occasionally sends me emails about things on his mind. Since he is older than me and has seen more of the world, I tend to take his missives to heart a little more.
Friday marks the 70th anniversary of WWII's Normandy landing. On the morning of June 6, 1944 Lt. Colonel Robert Lee Wolverton, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Divisio,n gathered his men for a final prayer before they went off to battle off the coast of…
I don’t recall at what age I learned to ride a bike. It was probably when I was 5 or 6, a pretty normal age for a skill that gave me a way out of the little world that I inhabited.
Every year, sometimes more often, I sit in as a judge at the district level for the We the People competition. This offers a great opportunity to think about the foundation of our nation and its guiding principles.
One of the great pleasures of this column appearing on a Sunday is that every once in a while the date coincides with something great, like Mother’s Day.
Sometime in early April the signs started popping up like mushrooms in yards all across the region. Campaign season will do that to most any disciplined political organization.
As is customary, the Boston Marathon kicked off the annual running season Monday. The events of the last week show that Boston Strong truly means something.
This is one of those columns that I think should be taped to the refrigerator door or pinned to the bulletin board. Not because its a Pulitzer Prize-winning piece of literature, but as an important reminder of why we like April so much.
I still remember the first time that I rode to Chicago on the South Shore Railroad by myself. It was 1982, my senior year in high school, and I was going downtown to be inducted into the military at the old MEP Center on Michigan Avenue.
I don’t watch a lot of television. My family can attest that to me at least, most of what passes for entertainment is pretty low brow.
When I was a history teacher, many years ago, I used to ask my students trick questions. Really, they were thought provokers.
When I was a young, idealistic writer for the Purdue University Calumet Chronicle, I wrote a great deal about two subjects - the U.S. Steel strike of 1986 and the sad condition of the Borman Expressway.
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
In honor of the start of Women’s History Month and my own dear Mom, in retirement in the warm climes of Arizona, I present to you the lessons she taught me over the years.
When next this column appears in print, it will be Women’s History Month, so I thought what the heck, close enough.
As a rule, I generally remain pretty quiet when I am on the train. I sit in the same seat with my right leg on the aisle side to alleviate cramping. There, I read my book and take a short nap. It is a nice little routine if I can pull it off three times a week.
Over the last several months I have taken up the art of letter writing. Rather, I have found someone willing to read my letters, rambling though they may be.
Last year, I wrote a column about the escalating number of deaths on Illinois highways. Every day, it seemed, the numbers kept climbing on the macabre overhead signs along the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Super Bowl XLVIII. . . I am sure looking forward to a much shorter title.
Many students and teachers likely marked the end of the 100th day of school without acknowledging its significance. After all, we are in the depths of winter and the boredom of the whole routine has probably affected our good judgment. Don’t be so quick to discount the meaning, though.
It has been a while since I wrote about Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The reason is pretty simple; there isn’t much that I can say about an American icon that hasn’t already been said.
Our modern lives consist of numbers and their accessories. For every passion, there is a set of associated data, whether that passion be the arts or sciences.
Before looking forward to 2014, I want to take a moment to thank some people who made last week much easier for the rest of us. We’ll start with the snow plow drivers who, while their families were snug in their homes, went out in the deep freeze to plow our streets Christmas Day.
Whenever we get this close to Christmas Day, I always think of my Aunt Judy. Oh, I think of her at other times of the year, too, but at this time of the year she was at her most focused.
More than 10 years ago, I was in the hospital for the Fourth of July holiday and for more than a month. I mention this because I was reminded of it as the holidays approach.
Among my little notes, I have nuggets of something that is a great quote, wonderful ideas and things I have to do. I am an inveterate note writer. I keep them in my pockets and surrounding my computer monitor. What bothers me right now is that somewhere in that stack is a Christmas shopping list.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about tradition. The first is a more secular holiday that is all about hearth and home, while the latter is a celebration of home and things above our poor power to comprehend. We take our traditions and habits seriously and moving the needle takes a great …
How is your shopping list coming along? I’m sorry, I meant, how are your preparations for Thanksgiving coming along? I am easily confused at this advanced age; I thought we took one holiday at a time.
For the last week or so I have been bugging my wife about a book that I am reading. Barb usually finds a way to shift the conversation, a skill honed during 20+ years of marriage.
It is hard to imagine that 100 years ago a U.S. celebration of Veterans Day would have been considered an idea in some warped person’s imagination.
I have been holding two presumably opposite concepts in my head for the last week.
A friend asked me a few years ago where I picked up my political and social views. I told him that was easy, I generally changed the radio station or TV channel when someone started to give his or her opinion.
All around us, we have the newest technology either at our fingertips or close enough to be able to access it. There is the computer, the handheld electronic device, smart phones and other gadgets that would have been hard to imagine a mere 20 years ago. A touch of the button or a key strok…
In my office I have a calendar, a collage really, of Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post and Life magazine covers. As we approach his 119th birthday with a new biography coming out this year, we would do well to look at those paintings as snapshots of a world, in many cases nearly 100 years old.
About a week ago, I had the honor of attending the annual Lake County Taste of Care at Avalon Manor in Hobart, with proceeds to benefit Honor Flight Northwest Indiana.
Right in the middle of our commemoration of the Civil War and the bicentennial of The War of 1812, we find ourselves thinking of still another conflict, one largely lost to history.
Communities are made up of different kinds of neighborhoods. There are some neighborhoods that have a population that comes and goes pretty frequently. While that might not be a bad thing, depending on your needs and your situation, most of us prefer to live in an environment that is familia…
“The pen is mightier than the sword.”
They say that golf is a perfectly nice walk interrupted by that confounded little ball. To that, I add a host of other disruptive activities, most of which I am not really very good at.
Approaching Griffith’s Central Park on a beautiful Friday evening a week ago, I was pleasantly surprised at how much was going on in the park. The playgrounds were full of children, grandparents chasing after them and parents catching a couple minutes of rest.
After so many years out of school, I still remember scenes from grade school.
Back in the early 1950s, faced with debilitating allergies and in need of a place to breathe free during the summer months, my grandfather bought a piece of land along the Lake Superior shoreline and built a modest cabin. At about 750 square feet, it would never qualify as a villa, more like…
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