Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nothing Like Being Harassed by Your Own Employer

Since when does a Marquette harass it's own employees, let alone a law professor?

Well it's happening.

Marquette Warrior: Marquette Warrior Blogger Harassed by Provost John Pauly

It's a lengthy read for those of you who are faint of heart and focus. So if you're not into proof or facts and only understand hearsay, you can skip this reading exercise altogether. So just remember this instead: if your employer is John Pauly and you agree with his politics (instead of the other way around), you're probably just fine. Until you change your mind. And someday, you will.

Dear God;

Thank you.


Monday, March 28, 2011

I Wasn't Planning to Post This to the Blog... but....

Since I've given up Twitter and Facebook for Lent, I'm left with fewer options to promote my participation in the UPAF Ride for the Arts. You see, I'm going all in. Not only am I going to finish my route - starting with biking across the Hoan bridge - I'm going to raise an additional $500 for UPAF.

I'm still pretty new to cycling, so this will be very challenging for me. I'm also about as new to fund raising as I could be, but I'm ready to put myself out there and ask you for your financial support for my ride. Even if you can make a small donation, it will be very appreciated. Not just for me, but for kids and young adults in the community who like me, derived much benefit from the arts while growing up.

Knowing you've supported me will provide the extra motivation as I bike across the Hoan bridge. How so?

Donations through the blog will earn you the best advertising money can get. Well actually it's not advertising per se...

If you donate through the blog - I will write your name and donation amount on my very own limbs on the day of the ride. Just enter "Go Phel!" in the comment section for your donation and "Whallah!", you're a write-in for race day. Prime real estate such as quads and forearms go to the highest donations.

So don't let me down... help me give back to the community :)

Here is the link to my donation page. Or cut and paste the URL:

And thanks for your support!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lent, Unplugged

Like last year, I gave up Twitter and Facebook for Lent. A couple of weeks ago, I wasn't sure how I would spend the time (yes, I do spend a lot of time on both). My random thoughts couldn't be shared via text... I might actually have to say it to another person.

I'll admit that social media has influenced the way I think and communicate, and not necessarily for the better. For as shy as I can be, I have always been a people person, and my social skills have atrophied as a result of social media. Now, social media isn't all bad. Do I know more people as a result of social media? Yes. Am I close with all of them? No. It's networking in the classic sense. Perhaps my biggest complaint is my tendency to default to social media instead of turning around and saying hello to the person next to me, or cracking a joke in my Monty Pythonesque way. My inability to turn to the person next to me and make eye contact or say anything is wreaking havoc on my life, and I don't like it.

These thoughts have been winding around in my head at least for the past year. The loss of creativity, flexibility and spontaneity I had not so long ago, are a true loss to me. When I came across this article by Fr. James Schall, SJ, I thought that someone finally understood what I had been experiencing. As human beings, we are made for relationship. If we don't have relationship, the part of us that is able to bond to another person will suffer. That part of us that bonds can never be written out of our code... it will always come back to remind us.

Fr. Schall captures this very well...
"The truth of Christ is the full and authentic response to that human desire for relationship, communion and meaning which is reflected in the immense popularity of social networks." But the limits of friendship and finiteness remain. "He who is a friend of everyone is a friend of no one," as Aristotle said. And I suppose that he who communicates with everyone knows no one in any meaningful sense.
Something else that is interesting about social media... real everyday relationships are full of ups and downs and moments we can't control. In the virtual world, we actually have more control over our interactions with other people. We can think of something clever to say, cite our positions with google searches and links, shut down the conversation or delete it entirely. Nobody would ever know that we disagreed with someone, been incorrect, said enormously stupid or vile things. And the people we hurt or hurt us can never see our facial expressions, hear the changes in our voices, or truly know the impact of the interaction with the other person.

The exception to this, is the group of folks that I have met via blogging since 2006. We are a very close group, see each other often, and are a part of each others lives. Damn, I miss them lately too... So much is lost in the digital age.

Including time that we can be spending with people in real life. So I gave up Twitter and Facebook for Lent so that I could do a few things:

- clear my mind
- focus on priorities of my life (which are conveniently forgotten when you're getting attention at will online)
- to spend time with people, in person

And how could I not put at the top of my list....focus on faith. Lent is my favorite season. I'm very fortunate to belong to a parish that is gentle and instructive. Every year I learn more about what it means to have faith and what God asks of us. It's not always fun to educate your conscience, but it sure makes life more satisfying (albeit challenging).

So it has been good so far... I have more work ahead of me, and more brain space at my disposal.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Everybody needs good neighbors

I got home a little late this evening and noticed that my neighbor Tony's door was open.  I figured he might step out and say hello. But as usual, I rushed in and got settled. 

I thought of Tony a few times today.  How I call him "Mr. Tarantino" even though he's my neighbor, this morning I wondered if the alarm I set in the kitchen to keep me on schedule ever wakes him up in the morning.  His parking spot is near the back entrance to the building, and I recalled when one of the windows fell off the building and smashed the back window.

My garbage.  Man, it stunk.  Snuggy pants and a sweatshirt are not the way you want to be seen in your building on any given day, but the stinky stuff had to go.  At the elevators, my neighbor peeked out of her door and said that my neighbor Tony had died... the coroners were there at that very moment tending to his body.  I took the trash out so that I could get back upstairs and talk with my neighbor.  The door to Tony's apartment opened and I was about to see what I really didn't want to... the suited coroners bringing out the gurney with his body in the bag.  Police.  My apartment manager Mark, who is a sensitive soul and is also who received the call from Tony's daughter that he hadn't answered the phone. He opened Tony's door for her today, and thus there when his body was discovered. 

The coroner said that he collapsed in the kitchen, probably after hanging up the phone with his son. I've said this many times, but they always wait until they've been able to say goodbye or otherwise touch base before they sneak away.

I think of Tony as a man the way men used to be.  He carried himself like an adult and had a good sense of humor, you always felt valued around him.  He was a gentleman.  So much so that I called him "Mr. Tarantino".  He said, "please, call me Tony."