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Opinions

Bad ideas

Food For Thought

In 1890, a New York City man named Eugene Schieffelin had the not-so-bright idea to import every species of bird mentioned in the plays of William Shakespeare. Among the few species he managed to actually introduce to the city’s Central Park, was a flock of European starlings (referred to in Henry IV). Within 50 years, starlings colonized the entire North American continent– with dire results.

Before Dr. Seuss, even

Food For Thought

It has been said that J. K. Rowling has coaxed more kids into the reading habit in this century than Dr. Seuss did a generation ago. Her Harry Potter stories enchant and entertain adults and kids alike, and while both authors have influenced movies and television, I think their greatest contribution to society has been in the cause of literacy. Tempting children to read, to prefer books to the more passive activity of sitting and watching the screen, not only establishes the reading habit; it requires the exercise of imagination.

The green menace

Food For Thought

Many years ago, I enrolled in an art class to learn more about painting with watercolors. I’d majored in art in college and had concentrated more on oil painting, but had always wished I knew more about this more portable form of painting. The watercolor class was in the summer and most of the sessions were held outdoors. I became acutely aware of the many different shades and variations of green there are in our landscape and eventually became seriously tired of green paint.

When is a rose a weed?

Food For Thought

For all the years since 1971 that I’ve lived at my present address, a single wild rose plant has survived at the edge of the gravel road that dead-ends at my house. Every year, it has bloomed in June or July and, every year, it has been mowed off soon afterwards by the county crew that keeps the roadsides trimmed so tall weeds and grasses don’t obstruct the view of drivers and cause accidents. I appreciate the need to keep obstructions from growing at intersections and access roads, but I’ve always thought mowing off everything that grows beside the road to be a bit of overkill.

Making your own good luck

Food For Thought

I’ve come to believe our perceptions and expectations affect things that seemingly happen to us by chance. Aside from birthday candles and chicken wishbones, we halfway believe praying or wishing for something will increase its chances of happening. Sometimes, even though we’ve given up hope, the thing we’ve dreamed of actually comes true and we start to believe in Lady Luck. Such things happened to me often enough I have become curious about the role of luck (or the lack of it) and dug out an old magazine article I’d saved.

Touring the past

Food For Thought

A recent visit to my hometown involved my usual tour of former homes and other familiar places. This is a slice of pure nostalgia sprinkled with both dismay and amazement at some of the things that have changed since I lived there.

Citizen’s speak

Walkin'

I see in last week’s Economist that the Solon City Council is considering changing policy for the Citizen’s Speak portion of their regular meetings. Apparently, the council wants to get away from the status quo, which allows for citizens to speak up whenever on whatever topic is discussed.

Looking back–’way back!

Food For Thought

Now that Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the graduations are out of the way, we have time to sit back and think about what those observances mean to us. They are about people in our lives, their achievements and the contributions they made to the world in one way or another. While most such celebrations honor the past, graduations are more about the future. Granted, the graduation ceremony itself recognizes accomplishments and celebrates the completion of a stage in learning. Graduation is also called Commencement, and that word means “beginning.”

So it’s happening again

Walkin'

I always thought I’d write volumes when retired and had time to devote to putting fingers to keyboard, but the reality is, well, I don’t know. It keeps getting harder and more challenging for me to come up with a topic that seems new and fresh for this space. And when I do come up with an idea, the old gray cells just don’t have the same capacity to turn an idea into a story that has a common thread.
So to hell with the thread, here’s some things going on in my life of late.

Just what, exactly does that mean?

Food For Thought

I seem to watch more television these days than I once did. I suppose it’s because I’m not as busy– physically, at least, though my mind continues to flit around like orioles in the orchard and has me believing I’m busy even if I’m not. I used to hear television more than see it. I’d catch the news while I was cooking supper but it was mostly audio– the video consisted of mere glimpses, and continuity was spotty since the remote was always in someone else’s hands. Today, I get control of that little black box and am allowed to sit and watch every minute of a program.

Learning more about racoons

Like the displaced persons who have fled from war, floods, forest fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters, animals whose homes and food sources were devastated first seek food and shelter. Often they occupy temporary “refugee camps” and are usually driven out in short order by the established residents of the area.

On the road

Walkin'

It’s been a busy few weeks for us– we visited Sabra’s parents in Denver, my parents in Chicago and our daughter in Indianapolis.
Some notes from the road: