Ambition. That's what Hamilton: An American Musical is really all about.  It's the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of our famous Founding Fathers. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury. His picture is on the ten dollar bill.  He was brilliant. The musical is easily the best musical or play I have ever seen, and along with the Super Bowl, is the only mega-hyped event that can actually live up to it. Hamilton actually is better than the hype, if that's possible. After months of waiting, my wife and I finally got to see it this week in Chicago. "My Shot" is one of the first songs in the play and ...

I got to visit an old friend this holiday weekend who is recovering from surgery.  He is an energetic guy with a long rehabilitation in front of him.  It is his energy that probably makes him feel caged right now, but at the same time, it is that energy that will ultimately lead him back to the freedom he currently misses. But even after his doctors say he is as good as new, he will still be an incurable and loyal Republican. During our visit, he asked me a good question. He pried, "what do you think it is that caused the ...

There aren't many things that are as difficult as winnng the election for President of the United States.  One of those things is quite predictable though.  And that is actually being the President of the United States. Campaigning for office is a brutal endeavor these days.  It's hard to feel good about our nominees at the top of the ticket when the voting decision is reduced to a mere comparison of their most offensive sins and doomsday scenarios.  The campaign noise is blocking the electorate from learning the real men and women running anymore. To the victors of our modern style of ...

One of my favorite political movies is "Charlie Wilson's War." It's a story based on actual events surrounding "Operation Cyclone," a covert war funded by the U.S. Congress to combat and eventually defeat the Soviet Union during their invasion of Afghanistan. Rep. Charlie Wilson, R-Texas, takes time out of his busy schedule of boozing and philandering to do something historically important, a feat unexpected of a congressman with so little potential. This defeat of the Soviets is credited by many as instrumental to the Soviet government's ultimate demise. At the end of the movie, while celebrating a milestone in the conflict, the ...

Rock and roll will see us through this rough patch we have had. It's the kind of purpose music serves after all: to calm, to comfort, and to inspire those who need it. My wife and I got to see one of our favorite performers a couple of weeks ago.  Amos Lee treated the people at the Murat Theater to a typical show featuring his distinctive vocals and his trademark subject matter of relationships.  He sings about relationships to people and places. He sings about symbolic and otherwise insignificant objects from time to time and then rips into rockers about his ...

I have plenty of friends who are Republicans.  But as some may have guessed, many of my Republican friends are embarrassed by their presidential nominee. I feel their pain. So what's a smart and logical, yet loyal Republican voter to do? Among my friends who still plan to vote for Donald Trump, it is common for them to say their main reason is to "protect the court." This means that the one thing they want from Trump, and apparently trust him to do successfully, is to nominate quality members to our highest court. Sort of that is. Many of my conservative friends claim ...

I was overcome on Saturday with the urge to do some research on a great quote from a great man.  "Knowledge is good." Oh, how difficult it is to argue with the elegant simplicity of that. And who is the inspirational leader who said those words? Why Emil Faber of course! Faber is the fictitious founder of the fictitious school, Faber College, home of Delta Tau Chi fraternity.  Which is otherwise known as "Animal House." Laugh all you want, but "knowledge is good" are words we need badly right now. So this week I have chosen seven random incidents to put on a list ...

Keith Cooper is becoming a household name around here these days.  It's ironic because all he wants from the State of Indiana is to have his name given back to him. Cooper is an African American convicted felon who lives in Chicago. He was released from the Indiana Department of Correction in 2006, after spending nearly ten years in prison, much of it at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. He wants Gov. Mike Pence to issue a pardon for his conviction for an uncommon reason: he is innocent. In 1997, Cooper was convicted in Elkhart County of armed robbery and sentenced to 40 years in prison. ...

Donald Trump’s campaign got creamed on Friday with the release of video evidence of unprecedented lewdness. It has forced his supporters to rethink that support to some extent. These last few days in the world of politics have been challenging in a remarkably strange way. The emotional reasoning, over-generalizing, black-and-white thinking, unreal ideals, etc., are descriptive of differing types of something. That “something” is a called a “thinking error.” “Thinking errors” are irrational patterns of thinking that can cause you to feel bad and sometimes act in self-defeating ways. Reminiscing back to my days as a counselor, thinking errors were things we were ...

Donald Trump will never be president.  And neither will Mike Pence. It has certainly been an interesting week for all of us who are paying close attention to the details of this campaign season. While I was reasonably certain my first statement was true long ago, I am now almost equally certain the second one is as well. On October 4, I had a busy night live blogging for NUVO during the vice presidential debate. With the aggressive approach taken by Sen. Tim Kaine, and the rapid shift from topic to topic by the moderator, it was difficult for a middle aged ...