The first lesson of the new school year is delivered even before classes convene, when Mom and Dad download the kids' supply lists. Call it Socialism 101. If the course had a textbook, it would be Hillary Clinton's "It Takes a Village."
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and be not green, I am nothing" (Book of Gore, 32:15).
When it comes to objectification of the opposite sex, society definitely has a double standard.
If you like to spend your leisure hours prowling Facebook, as a startling number of grownups apparently do these days - and not just perverts, either - you're going to have to learn how to speak young adult.
Dear Shaquille O'Neal,
(Author's note: The following was found in the dustbin outside a certain British author's home, then smuggled into the U.S. by a pair of Wiccans disguised as University of Florida football fans.)
Whatever adventure you've had this summer - cruising the Caribbean, backpacking across Europe, trying to sell your home - I think I can top it. The first few weeks, I divided my time between London and a remote Scottish castle. Then I hiked several hundred miles to climb an active volcano. Lately, I've just gotten back from Mars. Of course I'm not talking about "real life" - why would I? It's depressing - but about books. Specifically, I'm talking about some of my favorite books, which I've been revisiting this summer. I say "revisiting" because that's the way the best stories always seem to me: places to visit, like Hogwarts or Middle Earth or Malacandra. In many ways, these places are just as real to me as some of my favorite non-fictional destinations, like New York City or the Lawrenceville-Suwanee Target. And it's not just the places I love. It's the people. I know this sounds weird, but some of my best friends are fictional characters. In fact, I'd probably rather hang out with Harry, Ron and Hermione, or with Frodo and Sam, than with most of the non-fictional people I know.
I've complained before about the short shrift fathers get in the popular media. I don't even know what a shrift is, but you can bet that if Hollywood is involved, fathers will get a short one.
When I was a teenager, I thought maybe when I grew up I'd start to understand women. Well, here I am, some 30 years later, and I still don't know anymore than I did back then. Or maybe I just never grew up.
If there's one thing I know - and there may, in fact, be only one thing - it's higher education. I've been teaching college students for 25 years, or long enough to retire if my 403b weren't worth less than a pick-up-bed full of GM stock.
A teenager's take on parents
I'm not exactly a yard guy. I know I've mentioned that before, but now, on the cusp of summer, seems like a good time to reiterate the point. OK, it's also a good time to aerate, but I'm not even going there.
A recent trip to the ball park reminded me of the years I spent as a Little League dad - 12 years, in fact, during which I served as a head coach, a hitting coach, a pitching coach, a base coach, a scorekeeper and an umpire, all without leaving the comfort of my folding chair behind the backstop.
If you're wondering where to invest your money in these dark economic times - assuming you have any to invest - you might want to consider drug companies that market anti-depressants. Unlike banking and automobile manufacturing, depression is a growth industry these days.
My youngest son's musical education - OK, indoctrination - seems to have hit a snag.
Contrary to what your mother told you, the most dangerous thing you can do during the holiday season is not venturing out on New Year's Eve, when the highways are full of drunk drivers, including some who aren't local politicians. Oh, no.
A lot of people have the wrong idea about Halloween: they seem to think it's mostly for kids. The truth is, it's as big a holiday for adults as Super Bowl Sunday or the "American Idol" finals.
As writing gigs go, penning the daily horoscopes has got to be one of the best. I mean, it's not hard to predict what's going to happen to people. They're going to fall in love, break up, get raises, lose jobs, find happiness, wallow in misery.
Don't let the label fool you.
My daughter was four years old when the movie "Father of the Bride" came out back in 1991. That's probably why I enjoyed it so much.
Etiquette, they say, is the oil that lubricates social interaction. Unfortunately, like oil, most people these days seem to be trying to use as little as possible.
Twenty-five years ago next Thursday, my wife Bonnie and I were married. I've never regretted it. Can't speak for her.
"Equal Time" by Bonnie Jenkins
When I read that the house specialty at Big Judd's Diner in Ririe, Idaho, is a hamburger made from a whopping 1 pound of ground beef - appropriately known as the "Big Judd" - I could think of only one logical response:
You don't have to be particularly religious to recognize God was onto something with that work-six-days-rest-on-the-seventh idea.
You might not know it from reading this column, but I'm a pretty scary dude.
On May 10, Brooks Mosley will graduate from the University of Georgia. Next October, she'll turn 21.
No less a philosopher than Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) once hypothesized that human beings may be little more than microbes on some giant's dust speck. Me, I sometimes wonder if we're not just a bunch of extras in a "Seinfeld" re-run.
So I finally went downtown with my son to see all those old fossils. And no, I'm not talking about the state Capitol. I'm talking about the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
Getting older is not for weenies - although it's certainly true that weenies get older, too. Have you seen Al Gore lately?
Remember your New Year's resolution to get in shape? How's that working out for you?
As Valentine's Day approaches, our thoughts naturally turn to love, relationships, and the fact that the IRS tax filing deadline is only two months away.
For once, I actually passed a fatherhood test. OK, I made like a C+, but still.
I know all you Northern transplants had a good time recently making fun of the way we Southerners deal with snow. That's OK. We make fun of Northerners all the time for living in places where snow is a constant aggravation, not just a pleasant distraction.
As a matter of fact, I have seen "The Golden Compass."
Who in their right mind would want to be famous?
Several readers have pointed out that last week's column was lamer than usual. I accept the criticism but insist that my poor performance was due to man-made global warming.
I owe an apology to the entire town of Helen, Georgia, which I once described as "Hell in Georgia."