Non-fiction

62 articles in category Non-fiction / Subscribe

I took my grandkids to the Seacoast Science Center the other day to enjoy the beauty of where I live and give them a day to discover and basically play. It was a great day that ended up at the playground that was more of a ‘Ninja Obstacle Course’ then a playground.

My granddaughter is extremely athletic, so she ran up to the zip line in order to fly between two platforms. While she was waiting her turn, a young boy literally pushed her aside in order to get on the line first. My granddaughter just stepped aside and decided to leave the line, feeling a bit hurt.

I looked over at the mother of the young boy who was watching him play. She looked back at me and simply shrugged. I decided not to say anything for two reasons. One was because my granddaughter now became part of my right leg. The other was why would I promote a controversy that I couldn’t possibly win for, after all, we were at a fun place. Continue Reading →

 

Teachers across the country can no longer survive on the salaries they are offered to do the most important job of all. This is teaching our children the tools and honing their talents in order to have them do well in what is a very complicated world. Teachers are paid on a yearly contract that runs around 185 days.

There are many professions that do contracted work. If the contract is for 365 days or 100 days it makes no difference. The important thing is to get the job done and done well. Some believe in the concept of those who do, do and those who can’t teach. I do get a kick out of this statement because those who can do because they were taught how too.

Teaching has always been equated with the success of its students. The profession has never been defined by money even though the ability to live and teach at the same time has always been difficult. I can define teaching because I am a retired teacher. I wrote the following 25 years ago about one of my days teaching.

I had a great day…… Yesterday. But, even the greatest of days doesn’t make it any easier to get up at 5:00 in the morning. If only I could get to bed before 11:00 PM on school nights. That would make my life so much easier. With mountains of correcting being precipitated every day that possibility is basically impossible. So here I am, shocking myself awake with a cold shower so I can stay alert for the approaching new day. Continue Reading →

There is nothing nicer that the beginning of Spring, after a long cold winter. I actually saw a little green the other day as I dared to go out into my backyard. I haven’t attempted that particular excursion since a few weeks before Christmas.

As I walked beside my home I noticed that many of the bulbs, that I planted years before, were sprouting and the air had that feeling of newness because it was filled with scents of the blossoming spring.

While Spring bellows in the coming of a new season it also introduces us to the newest of our backyard pests. They seem to change every year. I’ve gone through the appearance of ants, yellow-jacket bees, grubs, beetles, and even multiple families of snakes. For a few microseconds, I loved spring with all its newness and promise of things to come.

Then I walked around to view the back of my yard. It looked like a satellite photo of an estuary with all its tiny streams that were coming together into a giant pond. There were multiple runways that connected tiny openings in my lawn. Something that must have been living beneath the three-foot snow pack decided to make its own neighborhood with all of its streets and alleys in my backyard. Continue Reading →

A rather famous statement made by people who hope to explain that something is not difficult because it is not rocket science has been around for my entire life. If something is too difficult people go on to explain it is rocket science.  Stephen Hawking showed the world that rocket science is simply looking into our sky in order to wonder where we all came from, when it all began, and where we are going.

Like most people who lived through a time when science fiction became science reality I’ve always been interested in the physical sciences of chemistry and physics. In fact, for the past four decades I’ve taught both these subjects. Dr. Hawking made this task easy because he described his theories of physics and time in understandable terms. He did not bury it in calculus but rather described his ideas in terms of wonderment and possible explanation of subjects that have been studied since people’s history began.

On March 14, 2018, Dr. Hawking died of a disease that should have killed him 50 years ago. That alone should make him remarkable. He never let his disorder get in the way of his mind. His brilliance never let his mind confuse what he was trying to describe. His genius was never allowed to elevate his legacy above those of us who look into the sky in order to attempt to understand why we are here.

Continue Reading →

The winter months expose people’s souls to anyone interested in observing them. Many people become ‘snow bunnies’ this time of year by traveling south to warmer homes. Those who decide to stay observe what is truly a remarkable event.

All of the seasons of the year demonstrate the natural beauty of our coast. By far the most exciting observation I can make is becoming part of a coastal storm. These storms always start with a lull. Not you’re ordinary quiet, but a time so serene you can’t hear anything, only the void promising to become exceptional.

The gulls and the winds whistling through the cottages near the beach have been told to be silent in hopes they will be left alone by the upcoming storm. It is a time when those who can walk to the water’s edge to watch the low tide go ever lower in preparation for the waters destined to explode on the beach.

The people are not the only ones who flock to the beach in the lull before the storm. The gulls also come to a collective realization they must fly to the beach in preparation for what is destined to begin. They are more courageous than their human counterparts. They stand precariously perched on one leg near where the surf meets the sand to stare into the water en masse like members of a religious cult awaiting their messiah. Continue Reading →

Everything that means anything is local. Many people think national news is what makes all of our futures. This is wrong. Where we live defines how we live. What our neighbors believe and what our children are being taught defines what we are and what we will become.

In other words, what kind of a world do we want our children and grandchildren to live in.? Anytime anyone discusses the concepts of gun ownership, laws, and definition there are many people who immediately label you as being a left-wing radical socialist.

I wrote an essay the other day at which time a right leaning web site published it. Many of my friends asked me why I do this? Why would anyone express their ideas to people who agree with them?

Many people were against the article but at least determined I had the right to write it. A couple of people not only didn’t like the work but called me things I had no idea as to what they were. I even wrote back for a definition of some animal that wore a towel. I never heard a response. Continue Reading →

On March 23, 1872, the concept of “Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see” was published by The Raleigh Daily News. This statement is also associated with an 18th century statement English publication.

The concept has also been associated with Edgar Allen Poe. This idea is now at the forefront of our political realities. With the onset of “fake news” and the obvious attack on our nation’s political system, the idea that you believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see takes on a more important objective. It also takes on a responsibility.

I’ve been writing most of my life that now encompasses almost 7 decades. Every time I express political views I’ve been called things I don’t understand. In fact, I don’t even know what their definitions are.

I sincerely don’t care what anyone’s political views are. It is not up to me to judge and I believe any judgment is up to how one feels about themselves the future of their families. Continue Reading →

This has been the winter of ice. The season hasn’t given us much snow. However, it has given us record cold temperatures for early January and has produced an inordinate amount of freezing rain and ice.

Walking out to the end of my driveway with my supposedly invincible snow shovel It was bought from BJ’s and was made in Viet Nam by people who have never even heard of cold, I attempted to clear out ice left from the previous night.

Chipping away I felt a give that had little to do with the ice and everything to do with the shovel. The shaft then shattered to never resemble a shovel again. Straightening out my back before I threw the shovel into a snowdrift, I felt the subtle scent of spring.

It was a clear cold smell that was different from the frigid pure smell of the ongoing winter. It actually had an aroma to it that reminded me of something more subtle than that of the smells of winter. In other words, it actually smelt like something nice. Continue Reading →

Education is once again changing. I am a retired teacher and have suffered through many education systems that were all said to save our public education system.

Some of these include the open classroom (at which time I taught the entire school chemistry), differentiated learning (as if we weren’t doing that before), no child left behind (when would any teacher leave any student behind), and now the beginning and end of common core.

Yes, you guessed it; I am old. When I began teaching the Carnegie System had subject over process. This had been in place since the beginning of public education. I clearly understand this is no longer viable in our technological global society.

I taught for close to 40 years and retired a few years ago. I still keep my mind in this important profession by substituting at the local schools. I still see teachers who are compassionate and dedicated to what they do. In fact, I’ve never met a teacher whose primary task was not the success of their kids. Yes, I did say “their kids” because that is exactly what they are. Continue Reading →

As I lean on my shovel that has not been used a few too many times I look over the winter wasteland that no longer looks like a winter wonderland. As a view the non-existence of anything white I reminisce about other times I found myself involved with winter survival.

One year was 1962. Everyone around me was proud and happy to be living in a nation of prosperity and hope. We had just elected Camelot and my mother was proud to wear what looked like an upside down box on her head in order to align herself with the wife of Jack Kennedy.

My father was watching the small black and white television that had become the center of our universe. Sunday afternoon was his time because the New York Giants were finally going to defeat their archrivals The San Francisco 49ers.

This made total sense because everyone knew that New York was the Empire State and all this talk about the west coast taking over the popularity of the country was hogwash. At least that is what my father used to say.

I used to like watching football with my father. He used to tell me that I was destined to play the sport. This was probably true because I was an over-sized 12-year old kid. Continue Reading →