To The Class of 2020

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You live in strange times.

You dream of greatness, of achievement, of success. Others have captured their dreams. You’re no different from them. You can earn your desires. You either have a plan or you know you can make a plan, by yourself or through the aid of helpful allies.

But now, at this very moment, your life has been disturbed, uprooted by forces you cannot control. Your carefully crafted plans, your jubilant expectations, your equitable share, all have been stripped from you. Together, they represent a loss you can never regain.

You are not alone.

Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a question long asked by theologians, pondered by philosophers, and analyzed by psychiatrists. Yet, for all the mental, physical, Continue Reading “To The Class of 2020”

The Secret Salve of Sunday Sauce

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It begins with a wild rush, a whirlwind of frenzied activity.

You might not realize it at first. After all, the pace you set as you collect the necessary essentials can be as leisurely as you desire.

But once you make the commitment to start, you’re on the clock. And it’s a fast clock. A very fast clock.

Chopping and dicing. Dicing and chopping. Opening cans. Pouring contents. Mixing water. Adding spices. (In precise amounts). And you have to do these before the concoction reaches its boiling point.

The succession of activities must be quick, lest you burn, overcook, or merely miss the Continue Reading “The Secret Salve of Sunday Sauce”

Given a One-in-a-Million Chance, Always Take the One

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This crisis, like any other crisis, reveals the inner-most souls of many. For some, that means sharing a brightness that exudes hope, honesty, and optimism. For others, it’s a darkness of depressing despair.

It’s a glass-half-empty/glass-half-full sort of thing. People are different. Sometimes it’s easier to hide those differences. Other times it’s not. We were already in one of those times when it’s not before the crisis hit. The crisis only makes it even more difficult to hide the secrets of our souls.

We see this national Rorschach Test being played out in the media – both social and traditional. The two came together recently in a group I belong to. It gave me pause to think. Not about the superficial issue the group was discussing, but about the underlying philosophy it entails.

On the face of it, the post mentioned an article that exposed how journalists and certain Continue Reading “Given a One-in-a-Million Chance, Always Take the One”

Winning The Battle Of Bedford Falls

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“Gower and Uncle Billy sold war bonds. Bert the cop was wounded in North Africa, got the Silver Star. Ernie, the taxi-driver, parachuted into France. Marty helped capture the Remagen Bridge. Harry, Harry Bailey topped them all. A Navy flier, he shot down fifteen planes. Two of them as they were about to crash into a transport full of soldiers.”

“Yes, but George…”

“George? Four-F on account of his ear, George fought the battle of Bedford Falls… Air raid warden… paper drives…scrap drives… rubber drives… Like everybody else, on V-E day he wept and prayed. On V-J day, he wept and prayed again.”

If you’re a red-blooded American you immediately recognize these lines from the move It’s a Wonderful Life.

Good ol’ George Bailey. As honest and sincere a guy as you can come by. He’d give you his Continue Reading “Winning The Battle Of Bedford Falls”

Just Get Past The Peak

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There’s a bridge between here and Toronto. It’s in St. Catherine’s. It’s not high, but it’s high enough.

As you cross the Lewiston Bridge, the 190 turns into Route 405 in Ontario. The 405 quickly merges into the QEW and from there its straight on through to Toronto.

By way of this “high enough” bridge.

It’s called the “Garden City Skyway” and it soars 130 feet above the Welland Canal at its greatest height. Not too high. But high enough.

Nearly a mile long, when approaching from the east (which is what you do when you’re travelling to Toronto) before it crosses the canal, it ascends to a gentle curve. But not gentle enough.

To compound matters, the Canadians built the Garden City Skyway as an open road. There is no high structural steel to cocoon you comfortably within its path.

This, combined with it being as tall as a 13-story building and a curve that hides your ultimate destination leaves you with a feeling of flying unbound, high above the endless horizon of Lake Ontario.

And that’s just enough to give one smitten with a not-so-mild case of acrophobia sweaty palms.

I happen to be that one.

We all have a fear of falling. It’s natural and it’s meant to protect us. Acrophobia – the fear Continue Reading “Just Get Past The Peak”

Banzai!

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[This Commentary originally intended to appear in the March 22, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

 

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Banzai!” shouted Joey as he thrust headfirst straight down the side of the mountain.

Banzai!” yelled Ricky shooting through the narrow gap of eerie outcroppings of ragged rock before gliding into a white abyss of sheer ice. His monoski barely touched the gritty granular snow which provided the only hope for braking his fall.

Banzai!” echoed Ken, a tequila primed fireplug of non-stop energy and exuberance, following his comrades off the 11,000 foot peak at nearly ninety miles an hour.Continue Reading “Banzai!

Creative Chaos

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the March 8, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

 

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259There used to be a car repair commercial about the Second Law of Thermodynamics: The Law of Entropy. Here’s something you might not know: Entropy actually lists as the third law of thermodynamics. For a while, physicists viewed entropy as the second most important idea in thermodynamics. Then, they discovered what they now consider the utmost concept in the field. Unfortunately, by the time of the discovery, everyone used the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Law of Entropy interchangeably. The scientists could not very well shift everything down one. It would cause too much confusion.

Physicists, however, can often act as astute problem solvers. Since the nomenclature had already included the terms First and Second, they needed to invent a higher order Continue Reading “Creative Chaos”