Monday, March 26, 2012

On Trayvon Martin

Those close to me often hear me use the term "memories."  It has actually almost become a mantra for a few of my close friends and the way we live our lives.  We talk about making the most out of the time we have, and if we aren't living to make memories then we probably aren't living at all. 

As I listen and follow Tray's story it becomes increasingly difficult for me to internalize it.  This kid never even had a chance.  At only 17 years old his life was just getting started.  No 18th birthday, no senior prom, no graduations, no 21st birthday, no college, no kids, and now nothing left but his spirit.  No longer will he have the chance to make memories, but memories, in fact, are now all that his family and friends have to remember him by. 

Why? Because human beings for some unconscionable reason cannot find a way to live without hating one another.  Specifically hate for anyone who looks, sounds, smells, or talks differently than they do.  That is what it boils down to and that is why, among many reasons, this story makes me so angry.   

We held a student education day this year at a Lake Erie Monsters game.  The central focus of the entire event was to teach our kids about respect.  To make sure the youth of our community understand the importance of treating others as you would want to be treated.  We're all different and unique.  Not everyone is going to be in your group of friends or believe in what you believe in.  The human race has never and will never allow for all people to be the same.  We should be thankful for that every single day, but instead we choose to let it fill us with hate.  I guess my point is, how the hell can we teach our kids about respect when things like this happen?  Hate is such an enormously powerful and scary emotion.  It can drive a human being to pull out a gun and shoot a 17-year-old teenager in the chest.  And because he looks different?  In my opinion, there is not a more cowardly act that can be committed. 

Guns coupled with hate are a disastrous and lethal combination.  And now unnecessarily we've lost another young black man.  It is ever going to stop?  Probably not.  That doesn't mean we can't fight.  Social media can be a very dangerous tool, but in this case it has brought this story to homes across the entire country.  I hope that it can be an opportunity for us all to hold our society accountable for the intolerance that still exists. Change is driven by energy, commitment and passion.  It won't happen on its own.  Live your life to love, not to hate.


I thought it unlikely that I'd see a black president in my lifetime.  Shows what I know.  Now I'm wondering if I'll live to see the day when a young black man walking down the street is not, as a matter of course, suspicious.  Turns out that's the taller order.  Critics who said the 'stand your ground' law would be a license to murder can now call checkmate on that argument.  Trayvon Martin, armed with a bag of Skittles, got shot for having the gall to pass through a neighborhood clad in dark skin.  Yeah, and he was also wearing a hoodie.  I own a hoodie.  I have two of them.  They're comfortable.  They keep me warm.  I wear them often.  I wear them in public.  No one has ever looked twice, let alone stalked me, pulled a semiautomatic pistol, opened fire and blown a hole in my chest.

If I could have switched my skin for Trayvon's, I gladly would have.  If he could have shed his black and slipped into my white for the duration of that walk, I'm sure he would have survived the night.  I'm sure he would have gone unnoticed--hoodie or not--by the murdering cowboy wannabe of a neighborhood watchman.  But why should I even be thinking that way?  Trayvon wasn't.  He was walking.  And talking on his phone.  And wearing a hoodie.  And minding his own business.  All of it legal.  None of it suspicious.  George Zimmerman had only to let him walk away, as he was instructed by the police to do.

In the aftermath, local authorities seemed satisfied with Zimmerman's tale of self-defense.  I have to believe he will eventually go to prison.

Or else it's open season in Florida, and black men are big game.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Meet Us in St Louis!

St. Louis!  There's a town for you.  The Ohio U men's basketball team was there for its once-in-a-generation Sweet 16 matchup with UNC, so naturally as loyal Bobcats we spent the duration hanging around the Conference for College Composition and Communication, better known as CCCC.  Now, for my money, there's no better time to see a city than when it's teeming with rhetoricians.  Sadly, as a literature major, I was excluded from the bulk of the proceedings.  No matter!  While my sometimes-popular wife was flitting from panel to caucus to workshop, the McBonerito and I got to spend the better part of three days exploring the banks of the Mississippi.  Boy, did we make the most of it.

These are just a few of the literally billions of highlights.

Our hotel was five stars all the way, and super well-ventilated.

Can you believe this view???

Shopping is a must when in St. Louis.

 Oh, there's plenty for the kids to do, too.

We took a leisurely stroll through the botanical gardens one afternoon.

I'm something of a foodie.  Of course we made a point of sampling the regional fare.

It seems every corner features some quirky little independent coffee house.  

You could tell architecture was a big deal for city planners.

Check out this stunning pair of neoclassical columns designed by an architect of great renown. 



Speaking of architecture, it wouldn't be a trip to St. Louis without visiting the world famous arch.

As you can imagine, we were pretty gassed after three days of that.  Here we are recharging the batteries for the night ahead.

I'd let you in on what happened once the sun went down, but I value my marriage too much, and I think you all know what they say about What happens in St. Louis... 

Well, that's it.  I hope the photos do the trip justice.  Anytime you want to meet us in St. Louis, and there happens to be a swarm of academics in town, just say the word!  We'll be there faster than you can say Cicero.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Everyone Wants a Piece of Lincoln; Parks and Rec Edition

Exhibit #54.  The City of West Lafayette, Indiana Department of Parks and Recreation wants a piece of Lincoln.


Thursday, March 15, 2012


The beauty of this blog is that we don't care.  We don't care if one other human being on the planet reads a single word.  This is a place for us to go write what we feel like saying.  Put down in words what we are feeling about any topic imaginable.  Sometimes it is mayonnaise.  Sometimes it is politics.  For me sometimes it is just about life.  Sometimes our thoughts make sense, sometimes you wonder what the hell we're talking about.  This post may lean towards the latter. 

I got smacked in the mouth today with another reminder of why I live the way I do.  Why when I wake up in the morning I make the decision to be the way I am, and to leave it all on the table every single day.  You think tomorrow is going to look like today?  NO CHANCE.  You have no idea.  How can we all not live everyday to create memories, and how can we not be driven by the memories we've already made?  I've got Aram tattooed on my arm.  I've got Cleveland tattooed on my rib cage.  I don't make decisions based on what other people think is right, I make decisions based on having nothing left to give on the day I take my last breath.

Nate, Krystl - how do we not see each other more?  I mean, seriously...What the hell.  Just make sure your beautiful children get a chance to spend as much time as possible with mom and dad.  What would you do just to get a couple more days with gram and grampa?

My family and my friends formed who I am. You guys are the reason I'm motivated to destroy everything, anything and anyone in my path. Never forget where you came from and never forget how fragile our lives are.  Live.One.Day.At.A.Time.  All out.  All the time.  No regrets.  Life is amazing, so need to constantly work to keep it that way.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Safe, Legal and Rare

This week's super controversial run of Doonesbury has been pulled by many newspapers.  That's fine.  While the daily rags cower over something topical and relevant, we are happy to endorse it here.  To those of you who think the likes of Rick Perry know what's best when it comes to women's health, close this page and enjoy your daily dose of Hi and Lois.

With apologies to the great Garry Trudeau:

Bill Clinton said it best.  Abortion should be safe, legal and rare.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Momma Idiot turns 65

My mom turned 65 today.  I suppose that calls for some kind of celebrating.  This post should probably consist of examples of the amazingness that is Jean Bowler, list out all her wonderful qualities, and talk about how she is the greatest mother to ever walk the face of the Earth.

But the fact of the matter is that moms most signficant accomplishment is not her 65 years of being an above average human being.  Without question her biggest contribution to planet Earth happened 30 years ago when she gave birth to her youngest child.  A boy with an unequaled level of genius, athleticism and handsomeness that this world has never seen, and will probably never see again.

So let's take this opportunity on  my moms birthday to celebrate me. 

Happy Birthday Mom!  This guy loves you!