The Magic of Coffee and Caffeine

I didn’t regularly drink coffee until reaching my thirties. I didn’t need it. People used to make any variety of this faux-joke, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my first cup”, and I thought that was just a nice way of telling me to shut up or go away. It seemed like a bad idea to start habitually using a “drug” that could so enormously impact your day. Continue reading

Thinking About Memories and Anniversaries

“It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.”

–Lennon/McCartney

The year of anniversaries. Ten years ago, 2009, Obama was inaugurated and I tried to get my students interested in watching history in the making. Not everyone is interested in history. Kids ask, “Why do I need to learn history if it already happened?” “Why do I need to learn about dead people?” I usually respond with some confounded response about how history lays bricks for future roads. Continue reading

I Remember Robin Williams

He made a man dressing as a woman seem like a normal way to avoid the disturbing reality of divorce. He made Vietnam seem like a terribly scary playground. He made genies appear fragile and emotional. He made Walt Whitman’s words come alive. He made developing disposable cameras frightening. He made forced therapy…therapeutic. He made a plausible adult of Peter Pan. He made aliens look like cokeheads. He made me laugh and cry. The two opposite ends of the human emotional range, touched by one hirsute and hilarious man.  Continue reading

Pearl Jam is Back

There was a time, between hair metal and boy bands, when MTV still played videos, and radio wasn’t streaming online, that scruffy dudes in flannel and Doc Martens ruled the airwaves. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and, arguably, to a lesser degree, Soundgarden were the kings of rock radio. They wrote songs about teenage angst, depression, suicide, drugs, metaphors for the new comfortable life our generation was provided and the emptiness that was found within such coziness. Continue reading

I Remember This. Do You Remember That?

I remember in university, taking a Toni Morrison literature class. My African-American  teacher graded my final paper and told me I didn’t understand what the writer was trying to say about identity, helping me realize how it must feel to be black and read William Faulkner. It’s not easy to identify with something outside your identity. Despite that class being my only C of my last two years of school, that teacher did teach me something that stuck with me; the idea of re-memory. That is, remembering a memory. We all tell stories from memory. Homer, the ancient blind storyteller, conveyed great epics orally from memory. But, why do we only remember some things. Why are some memories, some smells, and some moments more memorable than others? Continue reading

Remembering New Jersey in Korea

It’s no surprise that many of my blogs of reminiscing begin with: “When I was a kid at the Jersey Shore.” It was and remains a magical place for our family. There is a wide, off-white sandy beach, a small downtown with ice cream shops, miniature golf, a small arcade, a movie theater, and even a boardwalk for romantic post-pizza strolls. That’s not even to mention the Sabia/Sedlacek compound. We have the “dock on the bay” complete with boats and jet-skis, railings and pilings for karate kid bay jumps—a semi-private haven for all our tomfoolery. It made for great vacations. Continue reading

To: Ice Cube RE: “Today was not such a good day.”

“In my younger and more vulnerable years” my mother used to read me a book called: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Paraphrasing, it was about some punk kid who was having trouble tying his shoes, got gum in his hair, got yelled at by the teacher, his sister took his favorite lunchbox to school, he didn’t get a toy in the cereal box and perhaps some other little kid problems. At the end, I think he got a hug from his mom, and everything was better because tomorrow is another day is Australia or something. Continue reading

Music: of the People, by the People, and for the People

Did you ever wish you could go back to the first time you heard a song? Back to where you were when “Thong Song” blasted out of your friend’s convertible one crazy midsummer night, or any of the wonderfully great rap songs of the 90’s that helped define summers. What about the first time you heard “November Rain” or “Sweet Child O’ Mine” ripping your eardrums open without ever thinking of turning it down. Continue reading