What The University of Chicago Can Teach Yale

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nathan_hale_statue_flanked_by_two_soldiers_yale_university_1917They took all incoming freshman on a special tour within a day of our arrival at the campus in New Haven. Those were ancient times, when many (like me) had neither the time nor the treasure to visit colleges prior to matriculation (let alone application). To this day, one fact from that introductory outing stands out in my much more crowded brain – the visit inside and around Connecticut Hall. Completed in 1757, this last remaining survivor of Yale’s “Old Brick Row” served as a dormitory for nearly two centuries. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

But that’s not what I remember.

Here’s what I remember: First, there was some obscure graffiti left on an interior wall. Supposedly more than a century old, I don’t remember what it said. All I remember feeling upon hearing this story is that college students have always been rascals and Yale apparently didn’t mind – and even glorified – these youthful misdemeanors.

The second memory carried far greater weight. Outside of Connecticut Hall stands a Continue Reading “What The University of Chicago Can Teach Yale”

Welcome to the Real New Year

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wildflowers-1353003-1919x1278The calendar doesn’t say summer ended during that first week of September, but we all know it did. How many of us squeezed out those last few days, those last few hours, those last few minutes, together with family, friends, or just within our own thoughts. Each year, the long Labor Day weekend becomes a bittersweet reminder of the promises of June, soon to become forever just another memory.

For me it’s the tastes, the smells, and the sounds I remember most. They’re all so interwoven I can no longer distinguish one sense from another. Is it the taste of the aroma from a field full of wildflowers? Is it the smell of those late summer nights, its muggy air thick with the chirps of crickets and twinkling with the flicker of fire flies? Is it the sound of those sumptuous family meals, whether cookouts, roasts, or omnipresent macaroni dishes? It’s all a blur, a collage of happiness, a pleasant memorial to the waning moments of freedom.

What I most forlornly recall, though, are the last visits. For far too many times, the Continue Reading “Welcome to the Real New Year”

Olympian Thoughts…

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beach-volleyball-1252930-300x225What’s with the pageantry of the opening ceremony of the Olympics? I’m sorry. I just never got into watching the Rose Bowl Parade. Show the actual game, then I might be inclined to sit a spell and take in the sport.

You can well appreciate, then, my attitude going into this year’s Summer Olympics presented a less than enthusiastic air. Left to my own devices, I would have skipped the entire spectacle, opting instead for a series of classic John Wayne movies. Alas, we have a “stay-at-home-son” (as he refers to himself) who, doing his best to maintain male stereotypes, can’t go a day, an hour, a minute, a second, without sports. Thus was I imprisoned in my own home, forced fed a steady diet of Olympian athletic cuisine.

“What the heck,” I thought. “Why not turn lemons into lemonade?” And so, what follows represents the good, the bad, and the ugly of my experience perched in front of the magic Continue Reading “Olympian Thoughts…”

All Quiet on the Email Front

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email-or-e-mail-1243632_300For nearly two days now the many email folders in my universe have remained quiet. It’s called “propagation” in the jargon of internet specialists. I call it “bliss.” I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be off the grid. A long, long time ago (in what seems like a far distant galaxy), I shunned email. Does this surprise you? It should and it shouldn’t. I’ve always told people I was either born fifty years too early or fifty years too late. The former is revealed in my affinity for such things as classic trains, old time Americana, and the Marx Brothers. The latter manifests itself through my enthusiasm for astronomy and space exploration, the social possibilities of crowd-based technology solutions, and the new media.

Truth be told, for all the technology edges I’ve found leading, I’m really a stubborn old coot. Yes, it’s true that in 1989 we were able to start a weekly community newspaper in no time because we utilized the strange new world of “Pagemaker” and “laser printers.” But, do you realize, I had still avoided all use of ATMs? I had no problem digitizing print media. I abhorred the thought of ceding my preciously small bank account to some soulless Continue Reading “All Quiet on the Email Front”

Trump, Truth, and Confirmation Bias

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rorschach-fantasy-1617886_660x395I’ve been retired from active politics for more than two decades. In that time, I’ve focused on my primary business – picking winning stocks and avoiding losing stocks. It’s almost impossible to bat a thousand doing this, but I believe (and hope I’ve demonstrated) there’s a way to increase your odds.

Shortly after I left the political realm, I began in earnest to take on the financial industry establishment. (Truth be told, as readers of my initial run as publisher of The Sentinel know, I actually started this years before.) As a new firm, I had to find a position that differentiated our services from our competitors. Taking on the establishment wasn’t a rebel yell, it was a marketing imperative. Quite simply, no new business can survive if it Continue Reading “Trump, Truth, and Confirmation Bias”

America’s Pastime Sadly Past its Time

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worn-out-1423626I’ve been blessed to have lived a Norman Rockwell youth. Sure, I grew up in the gritty shadow of the Bethlehem Steel complex in the snowbelts south of Buffalo. Indeed, my elementary schools and my church were literally in those shadows. And, with my house abutting the New York State’s most famous interstate, the rush of Thruway traffic lulled me to sleep every night. (To this day people wonder how I can get to sleep when staying on the lower hotel floors in noisy New York City.)

Yet, despite the seemingly urban nature of my childhood environs, it endures as an idyllic Continue Reading “America’s Pastime Sadly Past its Time”

A Parent’s Lament

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helicopter-3-1310424Has this ever occurred to you as we enter the season of celebration for all those graduating from high school: There are an awful lot of speeches made on behalf of these newly minted scholars, but precious few devoted to their parents.

It’s been a year now since Betsy and I officially became empty nesters. We’ve been told there are two typical responses from new empty nesters: Building a shrine in the suddenly vacant room of their now adult children; or, Reverting back to the hectic social life one had before those same children entered the picture. Or course, if you’re like us and had no social life to begin with, there’s a third way: Be too busy to notice anything.

But I’ll leave the various strategies for empty nesters for a later session. Here the lament of which I speak is akin to the “letting the birds fly” concept. Life peanut allergies, it appears this affliction occurs more frequently today than in past generations. But we need to go back a few generations to identify the Continue Reading “A Parent’s Lament”

Letting Go

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There’s a scene at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy, despite being precariously perched on the cusp of certain death, desperately reaches 525200_73544751_balloon_release_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300for the elusive Holy Grail. “I can get it,” he gasps to his father, “I can almost reach it, Dad…”

Professor Henry Jones, who had been searching for the Holy Grail his whole life but now just as desperately is trying to save his suddenly smitten offspring, gently says, “Indiana.” His surprised son looks up at him. “Indiana,” continues the father, “let it go.”

And so he does.

Imagine spending your whole life striving to achieve that one goal, only to purposely back away when it lay within your clear grasp. How would you feel? What would be so important to have you “let it go”? And could you ever again hold as deep a conviction as what once drove you to that precipice?
Continue Reading “Letting Go”

How to Declare War

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the November 29, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259What the Constitution says: The Constitution of the United States of America clearly states only Congress can declare war on another nation. Our founding fathers correctly determined the impropriety of putting an entire nation at risk as a result of one person having too much authority. Though naming him Commander-in-Chief, they astutely forbade the President from declaring war.

Constitutional scholars call this juxtaposition the separation of powers. The separation of powers between the three major branches of government creates a very durable system of Continue Reading “How to Declare War”

Penalize Colorado! Ethics Begins on the Football Field

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the October 18, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Sure I wanted Notre Dame to score on that last second touchdown pass. Just like a lot of other people, I was disappointed when the receiver dropped the ball. Yet, something else occurred on that particular Saturday which upset me even more.

College football bashing seems to be a regular event among the more erudite columnists. Many people complain the big money business of NCAA football runs counter to the spirit of the educational university. Certainly, we can’t encourage putting bucks ahead of books. But a solid education must Continue Reading “Penalize Colorado! Ethics Begins on the Football Field”