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 ...

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his caucus have kept their word. Normally that is an admirable statement, but not this time. Shortly after the February passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, McConnell pledged that the Senate would not even consider a replacement nominee put forward by President Barack Obama.  Any nominee.  McConnell made the argument that the next president should fill the vacancy, even though the next president would not be inaugurated for nearly a year.  Again, he has kept his word. President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland in March any way.  Garland's nomination has become the longest nomination to not receive ...

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 ...

A couple of weeks ago, we replaced the television in our bedroom for one main reason: the “smart” part of our old smart TV quit working and we couldn't watch Netflix. I need Netflix because of its endless library of stand up comedy. My wife on the other hand decided the first order of business was to re-watch all of “The West Wing” from the start. I had forgotten what an awesome show that was. Oddly, Martin Sheen’s performance as the fictitious President Jed Bartlet is incredibly believable. The character is not perfect, however. In season one, we learn that he withheld ...

Sadly, I am old enough to have seen the tone and intensity of patriotism ebb and flow wildly over the years. Of course, nothing causes it to shoot up like national security threats, Olympic Games, and political campaigns using different versions of it to curry favor with voters. Enter 2016, where we have had all three in large doses. There is not necessarily more of these three types of fuel for our fodder, but the exposure to that fuel is off the charts due to the seemingly unlimited access to all of it. Were the Olympics on twenty-four hours a day? It ...

I had a fascinating conversation this week with a young man about the two national conventions.  This college student described the two gatherings in Cleveland and Philadelphia accurately, but viewed through the eyes of someone really paying attention for the first time. He described the differences between the campaigns as "being like high school."  It seems to him that the issues at hand have been reduced to a low quality popularity contest where the debate among voters is almost exclusively cosmetic and void of substance. The description he gave of the conventions was generically just like mine: the Republicans seem scared and ...

On March 4, 1933, in his first inaugural address, President Franklin Roosevelt spoke the famous phrase “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Oh, how welcome that sentiment would have been in Cleveland last week. Like many Americans, I couldn’t look away during the Republican National Convention. I watched with fleeting hope that the GOP would at least try and find a way to put together a coherent message as to why we should have faith in their nominee’s ability to advance our common goals. It's not that the convention failed that is most bothersome. The clear lack of ...

In 2014, I finally read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, the satirical novel about World War II experiences and time traveling. In the classic 1969 book, the main character is thrown into the future and sees a bumper sticker that says “Reagan For President.” I thought: “Vonnegut is a psychic genius! How could he have known?” It's simple really. Reagan had sought the Republican nomination in 1968. Shame on me for not paying attention to presidential politics when I was one year old. This week, and I don't know why it hit me so hard this week, I have been a little preoccupied with ...

GOP presidential candidates seem to think basketball is the key to Hoosier voters. Admittedly, many of us like talking basketball.  As a general rule though, we prefer talking it with others who know just a little about it. With our great state serving as the center of the GOP nomination circus this week, the two leaders both tried to connect with us.  It would be a waste of time to make fun of their embarrassing attempts if they had filled our ears with substance following their gaffes.  But since they haven't, I get to write another column about the field's utter ...