CHICAGO -- Let's be real: Sometimes it's just plain hard to give thanks.
It may be because of personal issues like a job loss, a death in the family, the end of a relationship or an illness. Or it could be the accumulation of terrible events in the world whether it be natural disasters, mass shootings, the daily drumbeat of sexual assault news ...Read more
CHICAGO -- There's a moment in John Hodgman's new book, "Vacationland," when we find the author and comedian at his cabin in the great disappearing emptiness that is the woods of Maine, impaled on a hook on a barn door.
For anyone who's ever sustained a serious injury -- when you realize that you're going to need immediate medical attention -- ...Read more
CHICAGO -- If you think there's no one on the planet who doesn't understand that yanking up the corners of your eyes is offensive to people of Asian descent, well, you're absolutely wrong.
The most recent examples come from one of the most diverse and integrated corners of society -- professional sports. The first, in late October, occurred ...Read more
CHICAGO -- Last week, I spent about $2 on a tube of ChapStick lip balm for one of my students who showed up to school with a mouth so dry and cracked that his bottom lip was bloody.
The week before that, I witnessed Halloween classroom celebrations at my elementary school -- where 98 percent of students come from low-income homes -- in which ...Read more
CHICAGO -- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment is down to 4.1 percent -- about as near to full employment as it gets. And according to the Pew Research Center, the overall national poverty rate dipped to 12.7 percent last year, almost to its pre-Great Recession level.
But things are never as sunny as suggested by averaged,...Read more
CHICAGO -- There are few things in life that inspire more joy than being exposed to the enthusiasm of someone who is deeply in love.
Such it is with "Why Read Moby-Dick," a slim, 2011 volume by Nathaniel Philbrick that not only convinces you that the classic whale tale is worth the read, but romances you into taking it on.
Truthfully, it's ...Read more
CHICAGO -- If you're in the mood to get away from adult concerns and feel young again, just spend some time with this year's toy catalogs.
Several showed up in my mailbox last week, and it was nostalgia-inducing to browse the offerings for the upcoming Christmas buying season. Old classics like Easy-Bake Ovens (now in an "Ultimate" version that...Read more
CHICAGO -- If it's true that perception is reality, then perceptions can be both advantageous and burdensome when applied to education.
This occurred to me as I played a "Flocabulary" video for a group of fourth-grade students who struggle with math. Ostensibly, it was about how easy it is to multiply by ones and by zeroes, but the creators ...Read more