Non-fiction

65 articles in category Non-fiction / Subscribe

As I was mowing my lawn for what seemed to be the millionth time this summer my neighbor wandered over from his task of allowing weeds to take over his lawn to ask me if I was sick of summer yet?

OK, I answered, but I reminded him of a time in mid-February as we were attempting to liberate our families from the snows and cold of winter, when he asked me if I was sick of winter yet? Because I am old as dirt, my mind started to question which season was easier to survive? Being the teacher I’ve always been I started to compare the two seasons.

First of all summer produces an incredible amount of heat. Winter, on the other hand produces an incredible amount of cold. As a science person I clearly understand that cold does not exist. Cold is simply the absence of heat. As to what is easier to survive is an interesting question. The heat of summer can be defeated if you have air conditioning in your home.

The cold of winter can be subdued by one’s heating system. Both are expensive. Air conditioning explodes one’s electric bill while heating either defeats one’s budget or breaks one’s back if they are apt to heat their house with wood. This question seems like a draw. In New England if you ignore these problems you will probably die. Continue Reading →

I was at a neighborhood party the other day and ended up having a conversation with a group of people who were determined to talk politics. Personally I am getting sick and tired of having my physical and mental health being determined by how much I know about the world around me.

I was cornered by a group of neighbors who knew my opinion of how our nation is evolving. I smiled, took sips of a drink I was desperately trying to replenish, when one of my neighbors starting to talk about the need we control our own energy.

Maybe it was the third vodka tonic or the 85 degrees temperature that July always supplied. I simply asked him if he knew what the definition of energy was. After a few seconds of silence one of my more voracious neighbors smirked and stated that of course everyone knows what energy is. OK, I responded. What does it mean?

He told me energy means power. I agreed with him but then asked what he thought the definition of power was? Our little circle of friends and neighbors got a bit wider either because they were interested in what was being said or they thought a bit of a verbal battle was in the works. Continue Reading →

Clothes and souvenirs are not the only things stored away for the trip back home. Summer tales are also packed as memories to be brought out during various parties and family get-togethers.

Most of the stories are family tales about how the baby ate his or her weight in sand or how some aunt got her finger stuck in the lobster’s claw and had to be taken to the hospital to get it freed.

An Irish American named Jimmy Teague told by far the most interesting story about an affair on a mini-vacation on the beaches of New Hampshire. His title would be, “Fifteen seconds with the nude stranger.” Seeing him tell his story gives the listener the impression that his story is total fiction. However, all who were there support his rendition.

The night before their journey home, Jim, his wife Jeanne, and two of their friends, Dick and Jana stayed in a motel in Hampton, New Hampshire. This was a small motel that had a swimming pool and a small restaurant. It was the middle of the week so they were able to get adjourning rooms. Continue Reading →

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 →