A Christmas Letter

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the December 21, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Dear Gentle Reader:

As we find ourselves in the midst of the hectic holiday season, let us each make a personal commitment to enjoy the tranquil pleasance which surrounded that solemn manger scene some two thousand years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. In no way am I pressing piety on anyone. The aura of which I speak blesses all. The wonder of repose can – and should – be tasted by those of any persuasion. Divergent traditions – from ancient philosophy to modern psychology – all address the importance calmness and rest can have to the human spirit.

Silent Night. Holy Night. All is calm. All is quiet.

These short words pointedly proclaim that which pervades the very foundation of this season. For anyone who doubts the truth to these words, open your door or window at Continue Reading “A Christmas Letter”

Mega-Mall Mania

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the December 7, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Those picture postcards really have it. The small chateau with the roof thickened by a foot of snow. The gentle rolling hills of white. The soft pillar of smoke rising mildly from the brick chimney. The Charlie Brown size snowflakes feathering down from the pleasantly gray sky. The scene conjures all the familial imagery of a country Christmas.

A far cry from the maddening malls of suburban shopping centers. These hubs of hysteria make even the slushy city glisten with tradition. Somehow, when they invented Continue Reading “Mega-Mall Mania”

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”

Europe and Cultural Maturity

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the November 30, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259When sociologists look into a civilization, they often discover certain underlying consistencies. These attitudes, actions and customs all fall under the heading of “culture.” While culture can be invented – through folklore and mythology – time typically nurtures and creates the mores of a society.

 

America has its own richly refined experience. The cowboy, fighter pilot and even Superman represent that which has been imbued into and upon every citizen of these United States. Marginally irreverent, but always gallant, our country has historically taken up the challenge few others can Continue Reading “Europe and Cultural Maturity”

Pittsford-Mendon High School Highjinks

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the October 26, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259For those of you who don’t know or don’t care, Pittsford-Mendon High School’s homecoming weekend fell victim to rude behavior and mass disciplinary retaliation. It seems a few passionate students took it upon themselves to start an egg throwing contest during a Friday pep rally. The ensuing food fight left plenty of smashed eggs, messy clothes and at least one egg-faced teacher.

Not tolerating anarchy in the least, the administration promptly cancelled all homecoming activities (except the games). So much for a fun-filled weekend of parading and dancing. The action of the powers that be so upset the student body that about Continue Reading “Pittsford-Mendon High School Highjinks”

How Have You Rediscovered Christopher Columbus?

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Last week, a good friend of mine wrote a piece called “Don’t Be a Social Media Debbie Downer” (see MarkFrisk.com). In it, he says “overdoing it on the negative 400129_8598_Christopher_Columbus_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300is maybe not the way you want to go.” While ostensibly written for the social media space, he quickly adds the lesson applies to any space.

Today is Columbus Day. No one has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous Debbie Downer Syndrome more than the man who discovered America. Almost every event, person, place or thing in the human record stands as a glass either half empty or half full. Throughout history, we’ve taken the “half full” approach when defining our heroes. Why?

The best answer I’ve seen lies within a 60+ year old movie directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Henry Fonda called Fort Apache. In this classic western, Ford both unmasks and makes the Continue Reading “How Have You Rediscovered Christopher Columbus?”

Excelsior!!!

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the June 1, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259 Latin. What a great language. I’m glad I took it in high school. I wish I had more time to study it now.

Excelsior. I first remember learning the history and importance of the word from Miss Dispenza in 11th grade. After a many year hiatus, Gates-Chili High School brought Latin back to the classroom my junior year. I thought the course would offer insights into grammar, linguistics and history (particularly Roman history), so I took it. Thanks to Miss Dispenza, the class rewarded me – an upperclassman – and about twenty freshmen with a vast array of fascinating and useful morsels of the mind.

New York State chose Excelsior as its motto with good reason. For many, many years, New York State led the United States, (at least until everyone took the Continue Reading “Excelsior!!!

3 Reasons to Never Resort to a Panel of Experts

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I sat in on a lecture at a prestigious enclave recently. The guest speaker enthralled the audience with an exciting and informative lecture. As with all good speakers, he left the audience wanting by giving them a question to ponder. One by one the members of the audience – all certified experts in the subject matter – rose to offer commentary and ideas. More of an outsider, and certainly without the credentials of all 1259922_90458881_light_switch_panel_royalty_free_stock_xchng_300others, I mulled over my own thoughts. A mortal fear the esteemed scholars would laugh me out of the room should I ask a stupid question kept me at bay. Here’s what I did instead.

I listened.

Set aside your first thought (i.e., “there are no ‘stupid’ questions” – we’ll get to this later) and instead focus on the opportunity provided by foregoing my own ego and simply listening to these intellectual chieftains. In my sedentary yet attentive state, a profound idea stuck me.  It exposes a problem that represents the biggest sin every policy maker Continue Reading “3 Reasons to Never Resort to a Panel of Experts”

Mr. Spock’s IDIC

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the April 13, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259IDIC, to paraphrase the Star Trek Concordance (Bjo Trimble, 1976), represents the fundamental Vulcan philosophy of nurturing diversity to produce synergistic good. IDIC – short for Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations – sets Vulcans apart from other species by elevating their demeanor. Essentially, these green blooded people, by the very way they live their lives, demonstrate a courage unique to their race – they not only tolerate diversity, they recognize its advantages and readily seek it out. Spock, in the episode “In Truth There is No Beauty,” explains “diverse things come together to create truth and beauty” and “the glory of creation lies in its infinite diversity and meanings.”

Fine, so what does this mean to the average person, i.e., one who can’t tell the Science Officer of the USS Enterprise from a baby doctor?

Continue Reading “Mr. Spock’s IDIC”

Only Heels Can Be Heroes

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the March 23, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryOldLogo_300This flows in the same vein as “No Guts, No Glory.”

Essentially, Heels and Heroes come from the same stuff. Only the outcome of their deeds differs (or at least we view them differently). Ultimately, the critical factor leading to labeling a man (or a woman) may result from nothing more than mere luck.

Today’s essay, however, does not concern what distinguishes Heels from Heroes. Rather, it will focus on the fundamental traits shared by, indeed vital to, the soul of both. You see, only Heroes can be Heels and only Heels can be Heroes.

Within us lies a drive from the moment of our very birth. Each of us has an innate desire Continue Reading “Only Heels Can Be Heroes”