HomeAboutProfessionalVolunteerOpinion ArticlesInspirationContact
Practically Idealistic blog
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  John Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.
Archive Newer | Older

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tomas Young’s “Last Letter” about the Iraq War

One of my oldest and closest friends, Jeff, is a U.S. Army veteran who yesterday recommended Tomas Young’s "The Last Letter" on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War.

3:15 pm edt 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Remembering Eli Richbourg

From a mutual friend, I just received terrible news – of the sudden death of Eli Richbourg.  Peace and comfort to his widow and son.  Eli was a talented, conscientious, warm and good person.

11:44 am edt 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

UConn, Yale: Senior Day, Senior Night

This weekend’s New York Times included an article, “One Way to Cheer Up: Cheer Harder” – a piece that evoked a January 2010 (January 24) post, as well as an April 2011 post, which followed an improbable NCAA championship by the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team.

This past Friday, my kids and I were at Yale to see that university’s men’s basketball team defeat Princeton.  Last night, we were unable to attend when the team defeated Penn.  It was “senior night,” the final game for Yale's seniors, whose plans range from architecture to law school.  Sophomores, including two known for their sobriety, helped lead the victory.

To the northeast, the University of Connecticut men also concluded their season yesterday.  UConn’s “senior day” ceremony honored a graduate student, who played a part in the team’s overtime win.  I was in the crowd to applaud his effort and that of the team, throughout the season. 

Appropriately, as both Yale and UConn anticipate promising seasons in 2013-14, they can prepare for one game in which they will directly compete, according to Yale’s tentative schedule.

3:30 pm edt 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Public Service, Staffing the U.S. House

John Lawrence, who recently retired after 38 years working in staff roles for the U.S. House of Representatives – including the last eight as Nancy Pelosi's chief of staff – has launched a blog called DOMEocracy.

6:51 am est 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

MBAs Across America

Casey Gerald, a 2009 Yale graduate, sent me information about MBAs Across America, a new venture of which he is one of four founders.

3:12 pm est 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Network of Men, “BMe”

The Black Male Engagement Initiative (BMe) is a network of men in cities across the country.  Among those men is Samuel Reed, a middle-school teacher in Philadelphia who has been a leader in the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia.

I voted for Sam Reed here, by clicking on Philadelphia and scrolling through the alphabetical list to view his one-minute interview and a written description of his project.  He writes:

“The ‘BME—Artistic and Literary Cafe Showcase’ will bring a collective force of young people together to leverage their talents and connect their passions and creativity to address youth issues…. This project will connect … with traditional literacy skills and provide inspiration and foundational skills for reading, writing, making and thinking skills required for the creative economy.  Engaging disengaged African American males will be particular focus of this project.  This project will produce performance art through an interactive video documentary and digital media using art and literary works produced for and by youth participating in the project.  This project will draw muse from comics, sports, art and literature and run parallel with the work I am doing with students at the Beeber Middle School….  We will … disseminate the work-in-progress via electronic forums (web sites), professional workshops and out-of-school forums. The culminating multi-media installations will be presented at community art venues.  After completing the community art showcases, interactive commentary will be posted on the BMe website and other community sites.”

5:58 pm est 

Archive Newer | Older