…are genuine at all times…inspire us to do more…provide truthful explanations for their actions while taking responsibility…show compassion…ask thoughtful questions even at the most difficult of moments…understand which boundaries they should maintain and which ones they should transgress…rethink their current approach…believe in a myriad of possibilities…fight like hell to uplift the human condition…demonstrate their gratitude…know […]

“We are born with a chance.  Rise above!  We’re gonna rise above!  I am gonna have my chance.  Rise above!  We’re gonna rise above!”  -Black Flag It’s hard to believe that another fall semester is just weeks away.  Can someone please tell me what happened to the spring?  The last several months have passed so […]

Michael Battey, President of Vegan for Life and a host on Vegan World Radio (KPFT, 90.1 FM in Houston), asked me to be a guest on his show, so I joined him in the studio tonight (along with Angela Villanueva, M.P.H.) to discuss punk, veganism, activism, and teaching.  I really appreciate the platform to share […]

It has been a long five years.  Too much has happened.  If I think about all of the changes and disappointments, I start to feel dizzy.  If I think too much, the stress manifests in my head, chest, and abdomen.  It gnaws at my insides as the tension grows.  There are fleeting moments where everything […]

“Yeah, I heard it in your voice tonight.  It’s got you feeling like there’s nothing you can do.  But there’s something you can do.  You can light the way.” -Betrayed Whether it’s trying to find the hope in a demoralizing situation or the truth hidden behind all of the political drivel, the struggle to understand […]

Earlier today, I hiked over seven miles on a series of trails at Huntsville State Park.  Rays of sun pierced the tree branches to illuminate the forest.  Leaves rustled in the strong breeze to produce a soothing, white noise.  The solitude that I found during my visit provided the time I needed to disengage thoughts […]

When I think about it, I can’t exactly pinpoint where my desire to follow the news originated.  I delivered papers as a young kid in the early 80s, but I don’t know if that experience is the independent or dependent variable here.  My memory is a bit fuzzy.  It has been 35 years.  Whatever the […]

Marriage?  I don’t know much about it.  While I’ve been in several long term monogamous relationships since high school, I’ve never been close to reciting vows because the circumstances haven’t been conducive to taking that step.  So, periodically I ask some of the married people I trust and respect about their experience of making a […]

We hear a lot about emotional availability in our culture, but what about emotional awareness?  To me, emotional awareness is the sense of self that one develops from reflecting upon life experiences, which includes examining your own feelings along with how your behavior affects the well-being of other people.  You have to admit and own […]

Geographic location.  Career direction.  Interpersonal relationships.  There’s a lot in life that can be negotiated, however, time will never make the list.  After all, we only have so much to divide up in a variety of different ways.  I know who and what matters to me; I’m focused.  It probably has something to do with […]

Recently, I rewrote a presentation on political parties because I felt that it needed to be updated.  While looking for supplemental materials that will be used to generate an in-class discussion, I found polling data from earlier this year that indicates 42% of people surveyed self-identify as “political independents,” i.e. they don’t claim either the […]

Routines.  I really like them.  I embrace the consistency of a healthy pattern because repetition brings me comfort.  That said, sometimes routines have to be intentionally broken.  Why?  Challenging yourself is vital to a purposeful existence.  A couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to do something in addition to teaching over the […]

Some nights you can’t forget.  I remember pulling into the driveway of the suburban Chicago home where I spent my adolescence one July evening twenty-five years ago.  The sun had not yet totally disappeared from the sky.  You could still feel the warmth of that summer day lingering as dusk approached.  I longed to take […]

When I listen to Ignite’s A War Against You (2016), I can’t figure out if it’s an arena rock-influenced melodic hardcore record or a melodic hardcore-influenced arena rock record.  In my opinion, many of the guitar leads and chord progressions, combined with the vocals and slick production, make it sound like more of the latter.  […]

As a teacher, it would be really easy to resign yourself to defeat when students don’t follow directions or meet your expectations.  Those of us in education have all been there.  You grade a round of assignments or exams that leave you feeling befuddled and exasperated.  At times like that, I think we really need […]