So, I’ve not posted anything in just about a year, and really, what am I going to say…it is just plain weak sauce.  Part of it is that  (and here I won’t lie) finding content to post about, even just once a week, was more challenging than I thought.  So time has gone by and my blog has languished in the void of dead and out of date content.  At first is was just slightly embarrassing, but by the time I got to month four or seven, it began bordering on the line of just plain silly.

So I need to find a way to write more often, and I need to have a way to have content regardless of if I can’t think of something I consider interesting.  So that means I need to have a fallback, and since the only thing I know really well is me, I guess that means that is what I’m going to have to write about.

So in the time since my last post, there has been positive movement  on most aspects of my life.  I was dating a wonderful lady when I was posting regularly last year, and we are still together.   That’s a nice change from bouncing around the dating scene .

I was a contract worker at a law firm for a long time, and I’ve finally gotten put on full-time, which means after years of simply spending a little bit of extra money on my food at Whole Pay-Check, I have health care.  It’s almost odd not having to worry about when the axe is going to fall.

On the not so rosy front, I applied to several law schools, and was rejected from them all.  That’s a bitter pill to swallow, and it makes you wonder if you are just dumb.  I’m not, and I know that, but it was frustrating; however, that experience finally gave me enough perspective to really come up with my own personal motto: I’ve been knocked down, but I never stayed down.

I think part of the learning I’ve done in the last year is figuring out that last year was harder than it needed to be, as I did not have a schedule.  I’ve since, in an effort to lose a bit of weight, bought a bicycle in order to commute to work that way.  Because it is kicking my butt, riding is, by default putting me on more of a schedule.  Now, I’m tired at ten or eleven at night, whereas before I would be up till three at night.  Ah, sleep is a good thing!

And so I sit in a coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon, having already put about 20 miles on the bicycle today.  The radio is pumping out jazz tunes, and my fingers are moving over the keyboard in an attempt to restart this blog of mine.  Not a new endeavor, but nevertheless, an endeavor made new by the act of beginning again. So here is to a more tempered approach and to finding a way to learn from failure. If in the past you read this, as have left, my apologies; I hope you give me a second chance.  If not, well I understand, and wish you the best.  To anyone new that stumbles upon these musings of mine. Welcome!  And now…to begin again.

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As I watched Christopher Nolen’s latest movie, Inception, I had a line from another one of his movies, The Dark Knight, pop into my head:

You know, they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.

I thought of it, because at the heart of the movie Inception are schemers.  People who are trying to control their world by planting the idea into a man’s head that he wants to break beak up the company his father built.  It is against this backdrop and lost in a world endless possibility the Leonardo DiCaprio’s character makes the pronouncement: “What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.”

In the end I think that I agree with this idea, which brings me to my real topic: Facebook.

Although this is what prolong exposure can feel like.

About two months back I committed was is most commonly referred to as “Facebook suicide.”  There are a myriad of reasons I did this that include things like I never really used it, that I was sick of all the Farmville and mob requests I received, and finally there were all of the on-going privacy concerns.  Taken together I decided that it was just not worth my time and effort to keep my account, espically if I had to deal with such a large baggage train.  And behold, my life has become so much better!  My inbox is much less cluttered, I don’t see all of the updates that I could have lived without from people I only was vaguely curious to know about, and it makes it harder for people to “tag” me in photos or otherwise link me to some of the stupid things I’ve done over the years.

I love previews.  And when I watched Inception there was a preview for a new movie called The Social Network, which more or less tells the story of the inception of Facebook.  Meaning that one idea has changed the way 500,000,000 people act on a day-to-day basis. To put that into perspective the idea that you can share your life with your “friends” via the computer has affected the lives of more people than are currently living in the USA, Canada, and Mexico combined.

Facebook is really a place where people should be able to share parts of their lives, and to connect with those they wish to, but like all great ideas it has evolved (or devolved, depending on your point of view) into something that is only a parody of that initial goal of connecting people.  Size changes things.  Sometimes in very unexpected ways, and the behemoth size Facebook has reached and the onslaught of information it provides about the lives of its users has brought forth some unexpected consequences.  Take for example this article, which is basically about how kids are now showing up to college without the interpersonal skills they need to deal with the dreaded freshman-roommate.   Or stop at your local bookstore and pick a book in the vain of The Dumbest Generation, which is basically about how being connecting all the time is taking people away from the quiet time you need to grow as a person.  Or just look at this final article in which the “tell-all” generation learns the value of omission. These are things that are being eroded away by social networking, and who is to say if that is a good thing or not?

And while I can’t say what the long term consequences of the social revolution are, the unflinching truth is that for a growing portion of the people that use it, Facebook has become so puerile that it is the equivalent of always having that ex-girl/boyfriend calling you when you’ve not returned a phone call of theirs in FOR-EV-ER!  The sad part is that Facebook, like those exes has the the audacity or stupidity to assume you are always happy to hear from them. The problem is that if Facebook connects someone to a distant and dimly remembered name from the past, it is increasingly only in a cursory or perfunctory manner.

In many ways, Facebook represents the exact opposite of all the things it takes to build a real connection with somebody.  Of course not everyone is going to be your “bestest-friend-ever!;” however, for any real connection the basics still remain.  You have to make time for a friendship by taking time out of something else you are doing.  You, usually, have to go out of your way to make a new and lasting friendship, and in doing so you have to share something of yourself that is more than just a trite summary of what you’ve been doing to today or geo-tagging (that is the most annoying thing ever…unless you are my girlfriend or immediate family, I don’t care where you are if you are not sharing space with me) the restaurant you are eating at.

I'm gonna give it to em!

I’ve never thought of myself as a Luddite, as I generally enjoy seeing new technology in action, but the faster things move in this world, the more prone humans seem to be to throw the baby out with the bath water, and if the rising trend of teenagers who can’t hash out simple roommate problems is any indication, it may be a good time to stop and ponder if, like the good people of Gotham, we have a monster running rampant though the streets, who is fixated on mayhem as yet undreamed.  Or perhaps we have simply slipped too many levels down into the dreams of a digital age.  Or it might just be the case  that Facebook is “not a monster, [it’s] just ahead of the curve!”  Time will tell, but it would be nice if this was one dream that we didn’t have to kill ourselves to escape.

I remember bar none the most shocking purchase my mother ever made when I was a child.  We were in a Sam’s club, and it was myself, my brother, Jon, and our mom.  If pressed, I could not give you the exact year, but it must have been around 1993 or 1994, and she bought us a Sega Genesis.  Now, we had the original 8-bit Nintendo at my house, but this was THE upgrade, and what shocked me is that my mother always seemed to hate video games (to be honest, I think I have Tetris to thank for her softened attitude).

Mine was the first generation that really grew up with video games.  I think I was ten or eleven when the Nintendo came into the house, and 13 or 14 when we got the Sega…but even before that my father had an Apple IIe computer, and I remember playing Pac-Man on it.  All of this is along way of saying I grew playing games.  Were they Grand Theft Auto IV or God of War, or Gears of War? No. But I remember being a kid and walking by the video arcade and seeing Sub-zero in Mortal Combat rip someone’s head off and the blood drip down the dangling spine.  So mine was not a blood-free gaming experience.

Like all people who commute on a large mass-transit system, I have a routine I follow in the morning.  I’ve bought an iPhone not too long ago, and already I’ve made the switch form my morning paper to surfing the BBC or Foreign Press app, but normally I read the news on my commute into work. This past week though, I had to leave my phone in my pocket one day and to stop and pick up the free daily, the Express.  On the cover was a shot of a video game, where one character is about to bludgeon another from behind with a baseball bat.  In a blood-splatter caption the headline is: CHILD’S PLAY? Do states have the right to forbid the sale of Violent games to kids? The Supreme Court will decide.” Personally, I think the splatter was overkill, but then this is about video games, and in those you can literally pick up the BFG-5000 (That’s Big-Fucking-Gun for those of you who don’t know), so who am I to take umbrage over aesthetics.

Now, I should add that I do own a Playstation 3 and five games, of which one, Fallout 3, is rated M for Mature.  The others are rated T for teen, but there is also an E, which is for everyone.  It’s like the moving rating system before the introduction of the PG-13 rating for flicks, and as you would expect, the games are rated based of the level of the sexual content, violence, and maturity of themes.  Now, the fact that this system exists and is voluntarily followed by all the video game makers is a fact excluded from the article, but it does point out that every state that has passed a law targeting video games to date has been shot down. The gist of the argument against the games is not necessarily that they should not be made, but that they should be treated under laws that restrict the sale of sexually explicit materials to minors and the like…in essence people are asking society to alter their definition of obscenity under the First Amendment.

I could see why this would fuss people.

Now for the real irony in the story: the law under appeal is from California and has who names on it? Oh, yes. You guessed correctly: Schwarzenegger, hisownself—the man who single handily ran his car though a building and then executed an entire police station full of officers in Terminator; who made such peace-loving flicks like Conan the Barbarian— where he responded in all seriousness to the question of what are the best things in life are with “to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women;” and who’s taste must be called into question if only because he voluntarily got on board with the making of Batman and Robin (not to mentioned a few other like Jingle All the Way or Junior).  But let’s be fair, as here is what he says in regards to the subject at hand: “We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of game that depict ultra-violent actions.”  I hate to burst the bubble on the governor, but I don’t think a law will do anything.  And what is this we?

Parents have a responsibility to their children.  The article points out that there are several psychological studies that strongly suggest that “participating in the playing of violent video games by children and youth increase aggressive though and behavior; increase antisocial behavior and delinquency; engender poor school performance; desensitize the player to violence; and reduce activity in the frontal lobes of the brain.”  I will not disagree with one point of any of that, but I will ask the question how much playing are the kids in these studies doing?  I’m guessing it is a solid amount of time.  I’m also guessing those are the same underage kids I see at the R-rated movies with their parents.  Whereas, my parents not only made sure that I never played games for hours on end (Sunshine and running around is, in fact, good for children), but they also denied me violent content until I was old enough.

Now, we had cable, and when I hit puberty, I got really, really interested in Showtime late nights.  I also began to watch more violent movies and play more adult games.  But by that point I was firmly rooted in reality, and my parents made sure I knew the difference between fantasy and reality.  This, I think, is more of a challenge for people today.  Part this may, in fact, be due to the reality that video games are much more realistic today then they were when I was a kid.  From in-game-physic-engines that make sure cars crumple the way they do in the real world, to graphics and high-def TVs that just about allow the user to smell the stench of cordite, stale sweat, and the rank odors of the bodies left over from the aliens or people you just went head to head with.  I think the second reason though has a lot to do with parenting style.  Heck, they put video games in cars anymore.  My suspicion is it is not so much to entertain kids as it is to save parents the trouble of keeping their kids in line on those long road trips.  Much like TV, they are frequently used as a babysitter by many parents.

Not the attitude we are looking for!

Of course it is a mistake to over-generalize, but I was a teacher at one point.  From my own personal experience I noticed a direct correlation between my students who were problems and the amount of time they spent playing video games.  There was also a direct correlation between those students and the amount of involvement their parents had in their lives.  The more time the parent spent, the fewer hours of video games played and the better adapted the student was to life in general. To my way of thinking, I would like studies that break down the amount of parental involvement vs the time played and the degree of social acceptace of these kids.

Do videos games need to be banned?  Not so much in my opinion.  Are all parents using videogames as baby sitters?  Of course not.  But bottom line, anytime someone calls any form of entertainment is a corruption of youth, or that “we” need to protect “our” children all my red-flags get raised. I say, “Fuck you,” Jobu, I do it myself.”  And besides laws like that never work.  Kids will just their older siblings to buy the game, or if they don’t have an older sibling, there is always one store somewhere, that won’t check the ids.  It happens all the time.  So, it is time for that old nasty phrase, “parental responsibility,” to apply to video games.  Know what your kids are playing, and mom and dad don’t like it, hit the power button.  That’s what it is for.

I’ve been writing things for years. Stories; poems; really, really bad poems; parts of novels; screenplays; this blog.  The funny thing is that in all the years I’ve been doing it, I’ve never had writer’s block.  I would just sit down, stare off into space (it looks like I’m goofing off), and after a minute or two my fingers would just start moving.  Lately though I’ve been off.  Not off in the sense of sour-cream that’s been left in the fridge for half a year and now has fungus growing out from under the lid, but more like cheese that has the flecks of mold growing on it that you know needs to be thrown out.  Since my last posting I’ve attempted to compose at least three posts, all of which I’ve deleted most viciously.

This is that point where I could let this blog wither and die a slow painful death as I post tripe, just quit, or I grind it out and go for the sweet stuff.  Not really a choice that.  First the world is just too bizarre and fun not to comment on, and second, what else do I have to do?

Take for example this story I stumbled across about keeping pot illegal in California.  Or if that is not your thing, you could try the poor guy who got hauled to court for having the audacity to drink coffee while naked in his own house.  I have to admit that both of these stories make me laugh.  The first one because for years pot growers have been working to have pot legalized, and now that they may get their wish, they realize they could just be killing the golden goose. And the second story, well you have to ask yourself, what the hell was the plaintiff doing that she was looking so intently into someone else’s house?  I guess that the saying “against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain,” is just as relevant today as it was in during Friedrich von Schiller’s lifetime

In thinking on it though, I realize that where I’m a bit dim, is that I have that very human drive to always want to put my best foot forward.  I can spend all day commenting on snippets of news, but ah…the lure of original content.  I enjoy throwing muck at pristine white paper, just to see what comes out.  It is almost an indecent thrill. And then I remembered something else.  In a recent(ish) post of mine, I commented on Calvin and Hobbes. Now I’m no Bill Watterson, but I like to think I always put my best stuff forward, and while I do not work for a syndicate or for money I am a perfectionist in my own way.  I always want things to be just so, and the end result of that truly is like this:

It be that way sometimes!

It’s true: all the best things in life are simply done for the joy of the activity itself.  You can’t take money with you—although I guess you could buy a platinum coffin if you liked.  Time also erodes the fame of all but a miniscule few, who are so lionized and to be dehumanized.  So it must be that as the bard says, “the play is the thing!” So here is to that most overlooked quality of being stalwart.  It may mean, in my case, putting something up I’m not happy with (hopefully not often) or it could just mean taking setbacks with equanimity.  On the upside though, it also means you get to cheer louder for yourself, because you become the dependable one.  And that is always worth a pip-pip!.

Oh, and if  you think this is just a little self-indulgent, here is the real punch line!

So true for bloggers as well.

So I had a really crappy Monday, and I tried to blog about it, and failed most spectacularly with about  six different incarnations of this post.  But I’m back at it, because it feels important.  Part of what made the start of this week so abysmal had to do directly with my habit of giving people my opinion completely uncensored when asked, and part of it had to do with a relationship I’ve been working on.  Nothing unexpected has happened, which is cryptic at best, but here is my point:

It’s true; someday even the luck rocketship underpants don’t help.  What I love about this strip though is Hobbes being that quite cheerleader we all need on the days when nothing goes as planned.  In that respect, I have to give a big thank you to one of the most awesome bosses a person could have: so THANKS Greta. Greta is one of the most over-worked, people I know, and even though she was so sick she didn’t come in (but was still working from home), she took the time to call and offer me support and wisdom during the middle of a horrid day.  And no, you can’t have my boss…she is too awesome to just give away.

The main issues that occupied my Monday have not gone away, but at the moment I’m in a place where all I can do is wait.  But now I’m a few days after the fact and even that small space gives me more perspective. Part of which comes from my Twitter thought of the day from that same horrible Monday.  It was a Latin proverb: Dum spiro, spero, which means “While I breath, I hope.”

Waiting has to be one of the hardest things in the world for me to do.  Over the past few years I’ve become much more decisive than I was as a child.  This is partly because I got sick of having the endless “where do you want to eat?” conversations with my friends, and partially because I’ve never been overly patient in the first place.  But this is an odd place for me to be in.  For a long time, I didn’t know what I wanted, which resulted in inaction.  Now I know what I want, but to get what I want (if that is even possible) I have to wait.  I think that is worse then not acting because you are unsure of what you want.  So I choose to breathe and hope I get my wishes (as I’ve already done everything I can), which at the moment are fixed firmly on two very large components of what is generally regarded as “the good life.” Namely I’m waiting on news from law schools and to see if the relationship I’ve been cultivating is going to wither or bloom.

I have a love hate relationship with The Rolling Stones.  By that I mean that I either love a song they wrote or hate it.  There does not seem to be any in-between, nor could I tell you why I like some Stone’s songs and hate the others.  But one song that I am enamored of is You Can’t Always Get What You Want.  It has a very catchy little piano and organ bit, which I love and the lyrics are just on point:  “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.”  Such a concise statement for so much of my day-to-day existence, and I guess it has been rattling around in the back of my skull since Monday.  I know this is true, and I actually tried to use this paragraph as the introduction to this post as I thought it was relevant.  But it dawned on me that is the exact opposite of what also must be true.  Sometimes you get what you want, and it turns out to be exactly what you need.  Now that is some hope I can get behind.

It’s odd though.  Monday was not what I wanted by any stretch of the imagination, but it may just have been what I needed.  It’s nice every once in a while to see your life turn into such a flaming effigy.  It reminds you that the numbing routine of work is not what we are on this planet for, and it pushes me to be better.  So thanks to all those quite cheerleaders out there for helping me push through, but I made this mess and it is mine to revel in.  And like my dad says, “The Boss has a way of giving you what you expect.”  To which I add my corollary: be sure to expect the best, even when in the middle of a quagmire.  You will still have a few of those days where the awesome pair of rocketship underwear doesn’t help, but if nothing else, there is always Calvin and Hobbes to read.

I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport as I write this.  To be more accurate, I’m sitting on the floor of the Atlanta airport, waiting for my flight to San Antonio, during a four hour layover.  I’m heading to see my friend Mike get married, which will occur on St. Patrick’s Day.   But at the moment what is on m mind is the airport.

Airports, so far as I can tell, do not rate highly on the list of places people want to go, and they are the butt of many a joke.  For example, my dad is fond of telling this one:  A man is trying to make up with his girlfriend, and after several rounds of pleadings, she acquiesces to go out to dinner with him, so long as he takes her to the most expensive restaurant he knows. So, he takes to eat at the airport.

Not the best joke ever, but considering I just paid $20 for what looked like a microwavable sandwich and beer, it is not too far from the truth either.  But that is only a small part of it.  For if you stop to consider what an airport it, you come quickly come to realize that they are nothing more than a modern-day way station: a temporary shelter for the voluntarily displaced.

A not so modern way station.

Now, over the years I’ve been in lots of airports from tiny towns in America to Frankfurt, to the International Airport in Bangkok.  And without exception there are a few constants.  First, no matter where you go, you are always guaranteed to find someone sleeping across a row of seats.  This weary travel is usually the one that the airlines are screwing over or they simply have an inordinately long layover. This latter situation usually having been forced upon them when required to take an early flight out of their departure city, only to doze in a terminal, while waiting for the one flight they need, which always seems to leave at six at night.

The second thing you notice is that most people don’t smile as they walk around.  They are focused on getting from point A to point B, and it has also been my experience that, generally speaking, the faster the mode the transport, the more frowns you see.  In recent years this has been exaggerated by the proliferation of electronic communications.  People are fixated on where they are going and what they are missing, and it has becoming increasingly difficult for people to simply enjoy the journey.

This is a shame, and here is why.  Right now there is an absolutely adorable little girl just playing with her mother (well to be fair she’s using her mom like a climbing wall, and doing assisted wall-flips off of her).  She has straw-coloured hair, blue chalk on her face, a flower dress, pink shoes, and a devil-may-care smile.  Occasionally she runs up next to the window that I’m sitting at to investigate the planes, and in general she provides more entertainment than any phone or TV.  Yet for all her energy and antics, she is largely ignored.

Then look, just as I’m typing this out, she is gone.  Poof! Boarded a plane at the last minute.  Who knows who will sit next to her, but they should be grateful that her mother let her vent so much of the youthful energy by using her body as jungle gym.  There are hundreds of these moments in your average airport everyday,  of that I’m positive. Yet they are largely ignored.  Of course people have places to go and people to see, but if everyone is wearing frowns or that detached, board look that clearly says “don’t-bother-me-as-im-functioning-on-autopilot-and-you-are-invading-my-space-by-trying-to-be-social,” and they can’t smile at such a simple display of exuberance for life, what does that say about the average adult human?

The whole of humanity is on display at the airport.  There are men with Churchill shoes and thousand dollar suits who seem to be vaguely uneasy about being forced to travel with the rabble.  College logos are on display from all over the country, as chartering mobs of late teen, early twenty-somethings swarm though the corridors.  There was a very sweet couple sitting quietly watching the plane that had been delayed for over an hour, as they mused that their two boys (ages 14 and 10) who were on board wouldn’t taking kindly to sitting idly on the tarmac.  There are other couples snuggled up to one another as they try and get comfortable, and, finally, there are folks like me…solitary individuals who are working on their laptops. So I guess that even I’m not immune.  And maybe that is the answer.  Airports are the place that people hone the skills they need to successfully kill time, and maybe the reason so many people look board is they don’t know how to just sit and enjoy the world going by…they have to “fill time.”

Well…it’s a thought.

I came back home from my first day back at a full time job on Monday, and I decided to relax.  So, I did what I enjoy, I started puttering around while I turn my TV on so I can have noise in the background.  Normally I don’t pay much attention to what is on the TV, as I want something mindless that won’t distract me.  Monday night I failed, as I ran across a program on VH1 that blew my mind a bit.  It was talking about the “new virginity movement” that is currently working its way through American pop culture, as exemplified by Abstinence Balls and the Miley Cyrus firestorm that broke  when she had her “racy” photo shoot.

In watching the show I was struck as I thought about two things: first, March 8th was International Women’s Day.  This is a day for celebrating the achievements of women past, present and future, be they social, economic, or political.  In my Peace Corp home country of Bulgaria it was a national holiday.  The second thing that struck me was how solely focused on women the whole abstinence program stayed.  Don’t kid yourself people, the virgin—in the religious sense of the word—and the whore are two stereotypes that are alive and well, thank you very much.

As I sat there watching it (I admit I got hooked) there was very little talk about the role that boys or young men play in the role of young people’s sex lives.  The aforementioned Abstinence Balls were the only thing I could see that outright featured a male presence, which in this case was a father.  The ball is where a father takes his daughter to a promesque-dance so that they can both publicly declare that she will remain pure.  I was, to say the least, a bit shocked.  The funny part though is that I’m not shocked at any of the ideas behind the ball, and I do actually think waiting to start knocking bones is a good thing.

No, I was shocked because it is events like this that exemplify the complete lack of trust these young girl’s parents must have in regards to their daughters.  Now, I don’t have children, but I have been a teacher.  Thus I have seen the good, the bad, and the down right ugly results of different types and styles of parenting.  I’ve also know several women who have made it into their mid-twenties before having sex (which I am going to define as intercourse, but only because it makes it easy to write about).  I can think of three examples, all of whom have admitted that they traded oral pleasure with guys and tried a few things before they had sex, but they did wait on sex.  The only two common traits that I can see between all three of these ladies is that they all related to me personally that they knew their parents trusted them to do the right thing, and they never felt lots of pressure from their parents either way as a child or teen.

This trust-centric approach just seems so much healthier to me, and I guess I was not the only one to find something objectionable in these activates. The program (which as it is on VH1 is admittedly designed to be inflammatory) also brought on a few feminist, who seemed to take an inordinate amount of glee if pointing out that there was a high failure rate in the sex-free camp when it came to keeping those vows. They also noted that a higher proportion of the kids who broke their vows either got pregnant or contracted an STD than someone who had gone though sexual education.

But neither camp seemed to speak a great deal about boys, which I found interesting.  Maybe it was because it was women’s day.  I don’t know.  But in thinking on it, was instantly transported back to high school. Now, I did not have a normal high school experience.  I went to Subiaco Academy, which is a private Catholic boarding school that is run the Benedictines.  It was an all boys school, so for the most part my sexual education (discounting what I learned growing up with a gynecologist) consisted of porno magazines, the weekend trips into the next town over, and whatever female friends I made while home over the summer.  However, being good educators, I was actually not allowed to graduate without taking a course entitled “Love and Marriage” and without having to watch one of the most horrific sex-ed films ever devised (when you get you close-ups of what some of those disease do…I swear that film would scare the ever-loven-crap out of anyone with half a brain!).

That said it was the class that has stuck with me through the years.  It was taught by Fr. Brendon.  The good padre had spent much of his life in Southern California, and he use to say things like, “God! I used to be on the beaches, with margaritas and senoritas. Now I’m stuck here with you!”  But maybe his most memorable line was on the first day of class.   Fr. Brendon always wore Birkenstock sandals, carried a gianormous, bottomless cup of coffee, and even though he could not have been more then fifty, he would peer at you from under a neatly trimmed head of steal-gray hair.  And let’s face it, even though I’d been around monks for three years, and I know they didn’t start out as monks, you still have that image in your mind.

But  on the first day, Father shuffled into the classroom, and once he had settled his notes and coffee on the podium, turned to the senior class (all 28 of us) and pronounced, “Gentlemen!  Relationships are not wham, bam, thank you ma’am.”  I think every teen jaw dropped at that.  Of course, I don’t know the personal stories of the guys I went to school with, so I can’t vouch for how effective the class was, but I think the effort was worth it.

Yes, Sometimes Trust is hard to come by...but keep trying!

From the problems that we face as a society over sexting to how easy it has become to get free porn via the Internet, we seem to be living in an increasing sexual society.  Who is to say if that is good or bad.  I just think it is.  I understand that sex appeal sells records, and I don’t begrudge an artist who is comfortable with showing some skin the right.  Besides, as the saying goes, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it!  Flaunt it!”  I think it will all come down in the end not to education, or promises, but to trust.  You have to teach girls its ok to wait till they meet someone they trust, but in the meantime, don’t spend every waking moment telling them not to learn about the world.  Conversely, you have to teach boys to be respectful, because without trust, it’s just a meaningless encounter.  Yet the fact that this is a topic of every age just shows how difficult it is to meet those twin goals.  Funnily enough though, you never hear anyone address that topic.  But hey, maybe if we are luck that will be one of the future achievements of women.