Welcome to Molarity Redux, the 45th strip in the updated, continuing adventures of Jim Mole and friends. First dates can be so slippery.
Dick Conklin died this past Tuesday (May 28). The news of his death came as one of those sudden blows that stops you in your tracks. And so you sit and stare out the window, and one of the reasons you do is because it is hard to imagine Notre Dame without Dick Conklin.
When the sun finally makes its annual reappearance for spring in South Bend, there is much justified rejoicing. But when you are a bald man, the celebration is blunted by the challenges warmer weather brings to those with a cleaner pate.
We are at our 20th college reunion, but we are not fully here. We are here with the ghosts of ourselves. We are walking around the lake with the 20-year-olds we were. They are wearing shorter shorts. They have stronger legs. They have never had lower back problems.
On May 9, 2013, hundreds of men and women in uniform, their families and Hawaii residents lined the streets at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as a C-17 Globemaster taxied to a halt on the tarmac. They watched in solemn silence as a six-man carry team in crisp ceremonial dress retrieved a brushed chrome casket adorned with the brilliant red, white and blue of our nation’s flag.
I’m making a “healthy breakfast” recipe I pulled from the New York Times. I core the apples, slice them in thin circles, cover the slices in peanut butter, layer them on top of each other, sprinkle them with brown sugar and cut the apple slices in half. The coffee is brewing, the dog has been out and fed and he is now asleep in the front room, the heat works and I’m happy. I’m having a good time, until my kids show up.
The deluxe supermarket represents the new Haiti, perhaps even the coming Haiti, but not the economy of the real Port-au-Prince, which is found on the streets, alleys, tap taps and sidewalk markets. Economists might label it the black market or underground economy, but in a country with seventy percent official unemployment, the underground drives the commerce engine that keeps the city alive.
Did a benevolent God finally send poor Jim a beautiful woman?
There might not be a more universally feared and derided form of communication than the commencement address. Every spring, individuals of various altitudes of notoriety and self-awareness have to stand in the heat talking to the legions of the sunburned and the hungover, charged with inspiring them in (preferably) 30 minutes or less.
It’s Commencement time at Notre Dame, several days of celebration, satisfaction and pride for graduates and their families. But how is it experienced by the faculty and staff, many of whom have seen a good number of these events come and go, year after year?
The temptation we have at Notre Dame, or in any community which nourishes us in faith, is to cling to it. We want to stay and have more and more of the good things. The sustenance is so great; why leave it behind?
It was six months away. Then two weeks away. And now, just days away. Each passing moment brings us closer to the day that perhaps all Notre Dame seniors simultaneously yearn for and dread: graduation day.
To those soon-to-be graduates, the class of 2013: because Notre Dame is the amazing place it is, when you leave, you may find a dark cloud overhead. It is a real, almost tangible loss, so of course it’s going to leave an ache. Probably more than you expected.
Mother’s Day is supposed to be about me, so I’m not supposed to do anything. My family tries to do the stuff I would normally do: make dinner, clean the house, pick up the dog poop in the backyard.
“How long have you had the mass in your breast?” I ask Natalie, a 43-year-old woman, in Creole. “Some time,” she replies, an indicator of the Haitian measurement of time. I prod and she eventually reveals that she has had the tumor for about a year. The first question to come to mind is simple and inevitable, but is so often tinged with judgment: Why did she wait so long?
Welcome to Molarity Redux, the 44th strip in the updated, continuing adventures of Jim Mole and friends. Learning from the success of the football team after new uniforms, the University has released new faculty uniforms.
My kids think a great vacation is staying anywhere that has a pool, a vending machine and a television. But we decided to super-size that idea and instead of just taking them to the Holiday Inn Express on the back side of Phoenix, we went to an all-inclusive family resort in Mexico.
Port-au-Prince is by far the dirtiest place that I have ever been to. Plastic shopping bags cling to hillsides and ledges, randomly distributed by the drainage of repetitive torrential rains. Pieces of old clothing, shredded and discolored, protrude from layers of dirt like the strata of an archeological dig, marking the time in history when they were deposited there.
Flipping through Oprah’s magazine one day, an article titled “What Men Really Want” snagged my attention, especially one man’s “hidden fantasy.”
The mayhem from abroad continues.
The only marathons for which a runner has to qualify are the Olympics (every four years) and Boston (every year). Only the best worldwide marathons are Boston qualifiers. For long distance runners the Boston is both Mecca and Jerusalem and it’s the world’s oldest annual marathon. Yet into this environment came unspeakable evil. But through that evil, the world, and I, witnessed tremendous good.
Last March, 2008 Holy Cross grad and former Notre Dame trombone player Kyle Kincaid found himself once again immersed in the world of marching band. But instead of the grass field of Notre Dame Stadium, this time he was to march among the coconut groves of a far more tropical locale: Samoa.
There is a lot to support the idea that Hollywood and pop culture are becoming ever more repetitive and unimaginative, with seemingly every film cannibalizing already popular books or just remaking older films. But what Oz and its ilk prove is how much we can always fall in love with an origin story.
Web Extra: Santiago X The Natural, the musical duo featured in our Spring 2013 issue, recently spoke with Notre Dame Magazine about writing music at 3 a.m., their hopes of playing Lollapalooza and drawing musical inspiration from Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Wanna Wait.”
An introvert and loner for my first 26 years, I married into a big, Midwestern, Catholic family. There’s just no preparing yourself for that.
I have an organized linen closet. It’s the only thing in my life that is organized. I’ve got the sheets folded and stacked according to size, the towels sorted by color, baskets for washcloths. Every time I open the door it makes me happy, this microcosmic fantasy life in my upstairs hall.
Anyone familiar with German composer Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle or even Elmer Fudd’s “Kill da Wabbit” song would recognize the tune they’d hear when Notre Dame vocal instructor Deborah Mayer makes her Metropolitan Opera House debut this Saturday in New York.
For thousands of Notre Dame fans, especially those devoted to women’s basketball, the Skylar Diggins story should have ended with a national championship.
At first, my guard is up, casting glances around every corner, suspicious of every man I pass on street. As he recounts the histories of the buildings we pass, many of them destroyed by the earthquake in 2010, he senses my taut body language. “Don’t worry. This is Jacmel, not Port-au-Prince. You are safe here.”
A simple brilliance lies at the heart of the AMC show Mad Men, which premiered for what will likely be its sixth and penultimate season this week. For a show that is fundamentally about identity and the process of creating, destroying or denying who we are, is there a better setting than an advertising agency?