Sunday, December 31, 2017


Every year is full of anniversaries. We celebrate those 365 days passing with reflections on what we’ve achieved and what we would do different for the next year.

We do it on our birthday.

We do it on our wedding anniversary.

We do it for our special events.

The one we do for “New Year’s” is full of a wide range of reflections, based in large part on our collective social identities and the contexts we define those identities in.

This has been a “ying-and-yang” year for me. In many ways it has come to remind me of which of my identities are most salient to me.

My “goals” for 2018 are a reflection of this. I value my role as a father, as a husband, as a Professor, as a Liberal/Progressive, and as a Boozefighter.

Based on those identities in 2017, I was mainly satisfied with my performance and social production. The students at Kennesaw are great, the job was much better than I could have ever anticipated, and the Chapter is doing fine and is well respected in East Tennessee.

What I didn’t do “well” was the father and husband end of things.

Not to appear that things are “bad”, because they’re not. But it’s just that I have so much more to give to family and I haven’t done as much as I know I can do. And over the past few weeks I’ve done a good job starting off being more of a “family” person, and I can see it starting to produce rewards, especially with my son Devin.

I also haven’t re-connected with the “few” liberal and progressive friends I have up here in the region. Our Knoxville friends—I haven’t seen them as much as I want to. They’re riders too so this shouldn’t have been much trouble to coordinate. But things got in the way (mainly club activities) and being around my progressive riding friends took a back seat.

This will not happen in 2018.

As much as I felt “happy” in 2018, I still cannot shake the fact that our society has such an idiot (with power) in the presidency. As much as my mental health would be richer without thinking so much about the daily issues and problems he puts our society in, I cannot avoid reading the news, the tweets, and the other various forms of social media that chronicalize his daily disasters.

I can see that 2018 will not be a good year for me as long as that blowhard idiot is in office.

So, this is how I start the New Year. Hoping to spend more time with family and progressive friends, and perhaps to dive into new adventures voicing my dissent to Drumpf. Perhaps a march or two in the streets will be in my forte for 2018.

To you all, Happy New Year! May 2018 bring you renewed prosperity and joy!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Goals for 2018

1. I want to spend more time with my family.
2. Specifically, I want to spend more time with my son Devin.
3. I want to spend some more quality time with Susan.
4. I want to read more, especially academic articles and applied research.
5. I want to socialize more with people who see the world and its problems in similar ways that I do.
6. I want to socialize more with those people who see similar solutions to today's problems as I do.
7. I want to see a more musicians playing original music in small venues this year.
8. I think many of us "want" this during this time of year, but I really want to seriously get back in shape again. Lose a few points (30 would be nice), walk a mile each day, lift some weights just to build some strength again.
9. I want to sponsor at least four Salons this year.
10. I want to see more baseball games this year.

That's if for right now. I may add a few later.

It's All Good!

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Xmas Story

Been a while since I posted here.

Here's a Xmas story I've told often to my students. It's a story about working class poverty and the children who live in those conditions.

One of the most memorable Xmas' I've ever had was our first one in Placerville. December 1965. We had just moved to Placerville a few months prior. My dad had landed a job as a Deputy Sheriff in El Dorado County. He would keep this job until he retired 24 years later.

We lived in a small duplex in downtown Placerville, close to Marshall Hospital. We had a tree, but there weren't going to be any presents this year. Dad's new job really didn't pay well, though it had benefits. Mom wasn't working yet but she would eventually take on two full-time jobs to help make ends meet. This Xmas, though, was going to be rough. The only presents (and food for that matter) would be brought up to our house from San Jose by my grandparents. They were set to arrive later in the day.

When my sister and I woke up in the morning, we were surprised to find a present for each of us under the tree. Santa had found our house, even without the chimney! We were beyond happy.

We opened our gifts. We both got a "rip-cord" dragster! We immediately set out to race them down the hallway!

What we found out later was that Dad had earned these two dragster toys as a free gift when he filled up the car at the gas station. Back in those days, if you filled up your car with a tank of gas, you would often receive a free gift.

We would never really be that poor again. We struggled for the next two-or-three years, but we would never be that poor. I learned much during that time, though. Family means lots, my father loved us deeply, and you don't really know you're poor until you interact with those who have more. Otherwise, you don't see yourself as different.