Graduating

Last year, I was honored to deliver the commencement address at my alma mater, Penn State.  It was held in Beaver Stadium, where over 100,000 fans stream in each Saturday during football season.

The students graduating that day would go out into an uncertain world.  A pandemic still wore on, the country and specifically their state was deeply divided.  

Yet they were graduating with a college degree and into a strong job market.…


Golf

Each year, I play anywhere between 4-8 rounds of golf. The infrequency of my play is presumably a key contributor to the lack of improvement of my game.

I have over my life taken golf shots that defy the laws of physics. Balls careening in directions and angles that I could not replicate if I tried (including once where the ball went backwards.) I have hit trees, water and even golf carts with an almost impressive frequency.…


Fame

Spiderman came to Hastings this week. More specifically, Tom Holland was in my town shooting a new anthology series for Apple TV.  Throngs of kids lined up in a marked off area to catch a glimpse of him. When he finally arrived, clad in period 70’s garb, they screamed.  Calling out his name, filming his every move, clamoring for him to come by and say hello – which to his credit he did.…


Savor

My friend recently told me the story about a lunch he had with another friend of ours. They were getting together at an old stomping ground where we had all had lunch dozens of times before. The circumstances this time were different.

Our friend had terminal cancer, was very weak, and it was clear that this would be their last lunch together. Eating his burger took longer than usual and the waitress seemed to hover a bit.…


Belief

What or who do you believe in?

Beliefs can be a tricky thing. We all have them, in fact hold them dearly. Yet seldom do we explicitly state or share them. More often, beneath the surface, they inform, influence or dictate many of our actions.

Beliefs, according to the Oxford dictionary, can be defined in two ways:
One is “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.”…


Chairs

It is a common misconception that Thoreau was a hermit. That when he went to “live deliberately and confront only the essentials of life” it was an act of seclusion.

His choice of furniture and its reported use is a direct contradiction of this.

Among the few possessions in the tiny cabin on Walden Pond, were three chairs. He said one was for solitude, two for friendship and three for society.…


Fans

I have always been a huge sports fan. Perhaps to an unhealthy degree. My mood is excessively impacted by the actions of a group of strangers who often make millions of dollars and sometimes seem less upset than I am over the outcome for any given game.

For the first half of my life my fandom of Boston sports teams brought exponentially more suffering than joy.…


Humility

The word humility means freedom from pride or arrogance. Stated more simply it means not believing you are better than others. Interestingly the use of the word humility seems to have peaked in the early 1800’s and has been on a precipitous decline of the last two hundred plus years – with a slight uptick over the last few.

It is worth noting that this decline coincides with our shift from a hunter/gatherer society to one focused first on agriculture and then on industry.…


Rich

Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke is a charming and wisdom filled slim book. It is written as a letter that one of his ancestors left his children before heading off to a battle from which he was unsure to return. He shares twenty values that his children should live by – if they wish to be a noble knight like himself. Within each there is a brief fable that illustrates the value in practice.…


Listening

Each Wednesday, I commute into the city to teach. It affords me the rare opportunity to relax, read, listen and think. As I travel by train for forty minutes and then walk the thirty blocks from Grand Central to Union Square, I often listen to podcasts, some that make me laugh and others that make me wonder. You could even occasionally catch me singing along to a tune on Spotify.…