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. Like 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”

The Speed of Light

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the October 11, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259One hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second. It takes light about one and one-third seconds to go from the Earth to the Moon. We know this because scientists have shot lasers at the reflectors the Apollo astronauts left on the lunar surface. The Moon orbits at a distance of 240,000 miles from the Earth.

One hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second. The light emitted from our Sun has aged a little over eight minutes by the time it hits the Earth. The Earth circles the Sun from a span of 93 million miles away.

One hundred and eighty six thousand miles per second. That’s equal to nearly six trillion miles in one year. We refer to this distance as one light-year. The nearest star (Proxima Centauri) looms a mere 4.3 light-years from our Solar System. That translates to just Continue Reading “The Speed of Light”

More Lasting Than Bronze

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Exegi monumentum aere perennius.

Horace begins a sarcastic ode on his own immortality with the above phrase, which translates to “I have erected a monument more lasting than bronze.” 967194_45349181_Roman_Ruins_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300Ironically, in our continuing study of this poem, Horace has, indeed, achieved a form of immortality, one invulnerable to the physical ravages of time.

Last week I wrote a fanciful speech I never intended to deliver (“Et tu, Espagnol?”). This week, however, fate guided me to the School Board meeting where, with no preparation I delivered the following remarks (perhaps slightly embellished for the purposes of this page):

“I am reminded of a time some twenty or so years ago when a different Continue Reading “More Lasting Than Bronze”

Et tu, Espagnol?

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Cesar-sa_mort_wikipedia_public_domain_300

Students, teachers, administrators, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Latin, not to praise it.Continue Reading “Et tu, Espagnol?”

“Remember, You are Just a Man!”

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There’s this part of the Catholic Mass called the “homily.” It’s like the “sermon” of other denominations, albeit usually a lot shorter. For whatever reason, I tend to 1242681_27218650_roman_statue_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300do my most creative thinking during homilies. That’s probably true of most people. According the Catholic Encyclopedia, the homily, in brief, intends to mix the specific practicum of everyday experience with the generic spiritual/philosophical treatise offered by the Gospel. It’s said to be the oldest form of preaching. These inspirational words must therefore prod one into reflexive thought; hence, my tendency to brew ideas as the priest speaks in the most general of terms.

Today was different. Not only was it Scout Sunday and I was dressed in uniform to accompany a small covey of Boy Scouts as they brought up the gifts, but today the priest didn’t communicate merely in generalities. Today he named specific names. Today, he pointed to me and proclaimed Continue Reading ““Remember, You are Just a Man!””

Extreme Centrism

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Warning: If you’re a Republican or Democrat you probably won’t like this essay. If you’re a self-described “centrist” you’ll downright hate it.

On December 13, 2010, hoping to offer a “third way,” a group (ironically) labeling itself the “No Labels” held its inaugural convention in New York City. Call it the 1131328_99750835_road_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300blue-blooded elitists’ Cocktail Party response to the red-blooded Cletus-ts’ Tea Party. Unlike the out-from-nowhere built-from-the-group-up political force of 2010, however, this group appears willing to use the power of publicity to build an organization from the top-down (at least according to the New York Times).

Unfortunately, after featuring an “A” list of political names, the initially favorable publicity fell away when it was discovered the “No Labels” party apparently not only Continue Reading “Extreme Centrism”