Nov 302018

“Movies are the most important artistic medium of the last century, where we learn how to love, fight, live and die.” Evanston RoundTable, Nov. 27, 2018 A month ago I was “tagged” by retired Columbia College film professor Judd Chesler, an Evanston resident, to take “The Facebook Movie Challenge.” The “rules” are simple: just post an image from each of […click to read more…]

Nov 162018

Evanston RoundTable, Nov. 15,2018 I’m obsessed with knowledge. I want to know everything. Well, not everything, of course, that’s impossible, but the big things: quantum physics and plate tectonics and macroeconomics and…all the stuff I didn’t get around to studying in school because I was too lazy or preoccupied with other, more important stuff, like getting a date. But that’s […click to read more…]

Nov 012018

Evanston RoundTable, Nov. 1, 2018 We know this much about life, that it will contain its share of hardship and there is no way to avoid the end. So we must learn to endure, otherwise suffering is certain. Churchill famously said. “Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in—except to convictions of honor […click to read more…]

Oct 182018

Evanston RoundTable, Oct. 18, 2018 Research tells us that music education is critical to the development of young minds. At Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Lab, directed by Prof. Nina Kraus, studies have shown that music training helps strengthen speech and reading. People who regularly make music have “enhanced neural speech processing” important also for reading, and these benefits build up over […click to read more…]

Oct 072018

Evanston RoundTable, Oct. 4, 2018 Things go better when we’re attuned to the task at hand. A disciplined focus allows us to avoid the mindless and usually fruitless and frustrating ruminations that seem to hijack our thoughts when we lose our concentration. And yet something seemingly so simple—staying engaged and on task—is one of the hardest things to do. The […click to read more…]

Sep 202018

Evanston RoundTable, Sept. 20, 2018 Imagine that the presidency, instead of being a four-year term, rotates among common citizens. Everyone gets to be the chief executive for 24 hours. And today is your turn. What would you do? Here’s a speech draft you can use to address a joint session of Congress. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have only one goal, […click to read more…]

Sep 062018

Evanston RoundTable, Sept. 6, 2018 Are we tied implacably to our personalities or are we free to reinvent ourselves? That’s a question scientists, philosophers and even novelists have long explored. One take on this question comes from an unlikely source, the 1929 noir masterpiece “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett. Film buffs remember Hammett’s gumshoe anti-hero Sam Spade, played in […click to read more…]

Aug 232018
Remembering the '68 Democratic Convention

Evanston RoundTable, Aug. 23, 2018 Next week marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic Convention, held in Chicago at the International Amphitheatre. I remember it well: I was there. Reports had been circulating for weeks beforehand about planned demonstrations by anti-Vietnam War activists. The more radical fringe elements, led by master provocateurs Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, were intent […click to read more…]

Aug 122018

Evanston RoundTable, Aug. 9, 2018 Aug. 16 is International Apostrophe Day (right, who knew?) and to celebrate let us examine a short story, “Displaced,” in the current New Yorker by the estimable Richard Ford, winner of the Pulitzer, Pen/Faulkner and many other fiction awards. In the piece he writes from the perspective of a 16-year-old who has lost his father: […click to read more…]

Jul 272018

Evanston RoundTable, July 26, 2018 During these difficult and trying times, we find comfort in heroism and inspiration. That’s why the rescue of the 12 young soccer players and their 25-year-old assistant coach from the flooded Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand has been so satisfying: it reinforces the notion that global teamwork, individual courage and effective decision-making can still […click to read more…]