Monday, November 28, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How to Do Thanksgiving With Your Sister

1). Get text from sister asking if you can bring walnuts and paper plates.

2.) Stop at Meijers to get paper plates and walnuts. Remember you're out of milk.Get milk and egg nog and cereal (it's on sale) and, of course, the walnuts and paper plates.

3.) When you arrive home, realize you can't find your phone. Anywhere.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


My beliefs about politics and community are ever evolving.  I am never one to scold politicians--or anyone, for that matter, for changing their mind.  If John Kerry was for the war in Iraq and then against it, I give him the benefit of the doubt that he altered his view after getting more information, hopefully not from an opinion poll.  Of course, I like my politicians like I like my drinkers:  politics only on weekends and in moderation.  Or at least not a 12 pack of legislative actions a day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rich vs. Righteous

My pastor delivered, as usual, a mostly wonderful message on Proverbs last week, using Gone With the Wind as illustration (he's doing a series with a movies theme). Much of the lesson centered on the importance of prizing spiritual treasure over material treasure.  At one point, the pastor turned to us and said, "It comes down to this:  Would you rather be rich, or would you rather be righteous?"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bohemian Therapy

Sometimes my practice of crisis intervention with families is informed by my own experiences, as you might expect of a mental health practitioner.  I was reminded of this earlier today when I heard Queen's  Bohemian Rhapsody on the way home from work. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Don't Really Blog...

I'm still miffed about this.

A month ago, someone pointed out that my Facebook page indicated that I "know" French, and insisted after I didn't pass a "test" he gave me (translating a sentence involving a couple of different future tenses into French) that "Americans can't speak French" and "It always surprises me to see the difference between what people say they know and what they actually know." 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Calculus: The Original Series, or: The 12 Most Important Things in College I Learned in Math 112

Trying to get back into Calculus inevitably brought thoughts of my instructors at Michigan State. 

He gave me a D.  It broke my heart.  But I got a lot out of the experience anyway.  Here is a note I posted on facebook about it:

  • I'm thinking about sending this to the professor who taught the above-mentioned class. It was in 1981. He is now approaching his mid-seventies, so I feel some urgency to send it, if I ultimately do. 
  • I am not lying about the title or exaggerating it in any way.
  • 12 through 9 may seem puzzling, but each of them are answers to the first question on one of the tests throughout the term (10 weeks; this was Michigan State in the eighties).
  • 5 through 7 each, in some way, refers to the bar where he and four other guys played in a bluegrass band once a week.  
  • These are not all direct quotes from the instructor; sometimes, they are paraphrased, or merely inferred.
The 12 Most Useful things about College, I learned in Calculus (in which I got a D)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Marx thruogh Brown to Conservatism part 3

By the time I was going door to door for Clinton for the 1992 election, I was doing brief psychotherapy at an agency in southwest Detroit, with kids and families…. very poor kids and families. And I’d started to think that, maybe the awful state of Detroit since the 60s was because of the increased entitlements it soaked up, not in spite of it.

The clencher for me was when I was treating a 14 year old for school refusal. She was different than other kids with that problem; usually, there is some underlying depression and anxiety or a messy dynamic with the parent or parents. But not with her. She just plain thought school was stupid -- which it is; but she didn’t have any ideas of anything practical to replace it with.
Wondering if “poor self esteem” was causing her to not want to jump out of bed in the morning in order to sleep at her desk at school, I asked her, “But what will you be able to do as an adult? What kind of job will be you able to get?”

She looked like me as if I had just asked what 2 plus 2 was. “Job? What do I need with a job? I’ll just go on welfare, like my mom.” After questioning her a little about this, I realized that everyone in her extended family was on welfare, and everyone she knew in the generation before was on welfare. She never saw anyone getting up to an alarm clock in the morning, never saw anyone pay a bill, never was told mom or dad or auntie or whoever couldn’t take her to visit grandma because they had to work, never saw anyone around her sacrifice or delay gratification in anyway. And she had no ability to project what it might be like to be different, so she didn’t feel at all ashamed or guilty for her plan to just have other people take care of her for the rest of her life. Something clicked right then:

Throwing money at people was making them dependent.

I remembered a plaque my 6th grade teacher had had on her wall at the Catholic school I’d attended: “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.” I felt like Helen Keller must have when she figured out the sign word for water meant something wet and cool that she used to call “wah”.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marx through Brown to Conservatism, part two

More excerpts from my blurb on a private forum:
The “diversity training” that was part of my job as a resident director at UM  was also a revelation. We were all broken into groups to do tasks together. First, we were shown a few short films about several people who were having different problems related to their “diversity.” Each group was supposed to come up with the solutions to one of the problems in the films.
Our group had the film about a young black undergrad pledging a traditionally white sorority.

No, it’s not what you’re thinking.

The sorority loved her, she seemed to fit right in with them, they shared her interests, and she really wanted to be there. Her problem was that all her black friends were angry at her for pledging the white sorority and not their sorority. It was such cognitive dissonance for them that she feared losing some of the social support she’d counted on if she joined the white sorority.
“Well”, I thought, “this is an easy one”. I hate these group things and like to get them over with so I just took the lead. “You know, she needs to sit down with each of her friends and talk about their concerns. Are they worried this sorority won’t accept them as her friends? Are they worried she’s getting involved in a group that has been tied to racist problems in the past? And if then they won’t support her, she can move on; she needs better friends than them.”
No one said anything. I wondered if a green tumor had sprung up in the middle of my face. Four of the people just stared at me, another had his head down and was fiddling with a piece of paper on his desk. Finally, one of the woman straightened up in her chair and said, “I can’t believe you would think she should join that sorority! Clearly, her friends need to put more pressure on her to make her stop!”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From Marxism through Jerry Brown's Bedroom into Conservatism, Part One

What follows is an autobiography I recently contributed to a private forum.  I've wanted for a long time to explain how I got from passing out literature for Communism in college, to writing conservative and libertarian stuff in the 21st century.  Here are some of the highlights:

Friday, May 13, 2011