Et tu, U2?

OK. Take a deep breath. I NEVER EVER thought I would agree with Sharon Osborne (the British television talent competition judge and wife of Ozzy Osborne…of Black Sabbath fame) on anything. But now I find myself having to agree with her tweet about U2’s latest venture with Apple.  I’m just going to say it:  U2 has joined the ranks of those excellent musicians who have sold out completely to crass commercialism.  I hate it doubly because you may remember that I studied for my PhD in Ireland so I am an honorary Irish citizen so to speak.

Here is what she tweeted:

Sharon Osbourne tweet

I come to this opinion with a heavy heart.  You see I am one of the original U2 fans.  Continue reading

“Trigger Warnings” for Hamlet


This week the British publication The Guardian reported that “Students in America have been asking for “trigger warnings” to be included on works of literature which deal with topics such as rape or war.”  Works that were of concern to students at the University of California at Santa Barbara included Things Fall ApartMrs. Dalloway, and The Great Gatsby, all of which I have taught.  This demand for fair warning so that those who have been traumatized can adequately prepare for the shock of what they read assumes that having something in a syllabus (which may or may not be read by students anyway) will insulate students from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that may come up in any given text.

I’m not so sure.
Continue reading

How Football Can Prepare You For Final Exams

The time between December first and December fifteenth can be a stressful one for college students of all levels.

For my freshmen, of whom I have few, this might be the first time you are taking a full round of college examinations.  Don’t let the feigned serenity of those sophomores fool you!  They are just play acting.  Feeling a little stressed, I assure you, is completely normal.

For my sophomores, I know that you will not let the advantage of experience dull your sharpness or your commitment to becoming a junior.

For my juniors, your exams are harder because you are juniors.  Otherwise, it would be super boring.  That is the price of the ticket!  But the rewards are well worth the feeling of accomplishment you can revel in once it is all over.

And for my seniors, I think you should watch this video over and over and apply it to your academics–even if it is the last term, the last class, the last day, and the final minutes of finals!

It is amazing what you can do in the very last moments…..

Zombie Apocalypse

Today in the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another day just like today, and there will never be another just like it again. Today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.  – Frederick Buechner

Buechner will inspire you if you read his work. He writes short fiction and reflective Christian books. Take a look again at this quote; he wants us to imagine just the here and now. We pine for the future and carry around so much regret from the past. We always end up frittering away the precious moment in hand because we’re not careful, we’re not watchful, we’re not grateful.

We live in a world that is so future oriented. I teach college students every day. And each day it seems more and more as if we’ve just gathered together for a dress rehearsal. We’re all spending so much time, energy and thought preparing ourselves for the future: career, family (gulp), citizenship, taxes, etc.

What has ended up happening to us all is that we’ve missed the moment at hand. I don’t think college is really supposed to be a rehearsal for the future. It’s supposed to be magic, momentous, and meaningful right now – for what it is right now, not for a promised investment in the future.

I look out at all those bored and disengaged faces. What could this class have to do with my future? How is this going to help me make more money? All the while this very moment is lost again and again.

By the way, I’m trapped in this zombie movie as well. I make all kinds of speeches about “preparing for your future”. Isn’t that what I should be doing? Training current students to become future people?

It’s that Evangelical Mind again.

We are all living in a zombie apocalyptic existence of our own making. We’re dead to the here and now because we’re so completely absorbed in making a successful future for ourselves. The only antidote is to wake up and get engaged with right now. With the only reality we can possess.

Buechner encourages us to live in the present moment, to awaken and to invest our minds and souls into this very second. It’s as fragile as a lightening bug held in the shaking hand of a five year old.

But it’s all we’ve got.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. – Jesus