H-Town Diary: The Pathways of November

I know it seems like civilization is falling to pieces, and that we cannot agree on anything, and that uncertainty can fill up a little too much real estate in your head.

And that even though Houston seems far away from Paris and Beirut and Tel Aviv, that things are so terrible all over, and that perhaps more turmoil is heading our way.  It seems that chaos and pain are as close as a television, or a radio, because in a way, they are.

But sometimes, you can have an adventure, take a break from the debates in our heads, and allow the people who are doing good take center stage, distract you from the tragic, take your breath away.  Fate can lead you upward—it does not always bring you to your knees.

This is what happened to me, in November, when so much pain was in Paris, Beirut, Tel Aviv, well, all over.

So first of all, the weather sent us a message:  that it can be cloudless and sunny and 65 in November, a reminder that we can’t mess up everything here on earth.  Sometimes, things are gorgeous and fantastic and we haven’t done a thing to deserve it.  But we are grateful for the gift.

So I turned off the talking heads, turned off my radio, accepted an invitation to remember that while terrorists get so much press, there are quiet deeds going on all around us in Houston, Texas, America, and we need to make sure those get enough air time to sustain us, let us breathe. Continue reading

All Trails Lead To…Houston!

tomball trail riders courtesy of yourhoustonnews

Picture from yourhoustonnews.com. Click for source.

Well, it’s that time of year again and we are all gearing up for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Have you got your boots ready? I’ve got mine.
Last year, I shared my experiences about what it takes to get a steer ready for a livestock show.

This year I want to discuss a different road to the rodeo. If you don’t get out of the Houston metropolitan area much, you may not realize that this week thousands of trail riders from 13 different groups are making their way to our fair city. Ultimately, they all camp out together in Memorial Park on Friday (February 27th). They then join bands and floats to parade through downtown Houston on Saturday (February 28th) to officially kick off the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo season.
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In the Shadow of Salvador Dalí in Spain

A land of good food, remarkable culture, and the siesta.

If you ever get the chance to go to Spain, just go.  Get there as fast as you can!

Several years ago I was blessed with the opportunity to give a guest lecture on public sphere theory at the Instituto de Empresa (IE) in the heart of Madrid’s financial district.  I must tell you this is an awesome campus in an amazing city. It has approximately 1900 students from 90 different countries, so it is very cosmopolitan.  There is also a satellite campus in the ancient city of Segovia.  There, classrooms are built above and around archeological sites. The whole experience was simply extraordinary.

All guest faculty at IE in Madrid stay in the Residencia de Estudiantes.  This was the first cultural center of Spain and it has hosted a number of artistic and scientific scholars…including the painter Salvador Dali. All faculty members in residence eat meals together and gather in common areas to encourage dialogue between the arts and sciences.   Other scholars who have stayed there include Albert Einstein and Jose Ortega y Gasset. I was humbled to be in the shadow of such great minds. Continue reading