Matthew Dunaway January 2018 · 205-705-3590

January 2018

FAREWELL TO THE YEAR OF THE GREEKS How to Make 2018 Worthwhile

There are 8,760 hours in a single year. How did you spend those hours in 2017? After all the time we let slip away to social media, re-watching shows on Netflix, or getting caught up in the latest breaking news, only for it to be old news 24 hours later, how many of those precious hours do we really experience?

condition.” The grand tales of heroes and the wise words of philosophers continue to inspire us through the ages. I doubt any American could watch a performance of Aechylus’“The Persians” and not find themselves wanting to cheer. Entering a new year, I knew I wanted to follow the pattern again with a new topic. I considered going chronologically and moving to Rome, or staying closer to home and digging into American history. Ultimately, I was inspired by an episode of the podcast “What Should I Read Next.”When discussing poems, a guest remarked, “You don’t consume poetry; you experience poetry.” This really resonated with me, because it’s true. Even when you have a challenging book, you tend to consume it. But poetry reaches into our minds and our hearts, demanding our attention. We hold a poem in our hands and have to fumble around with it, because the language and artistry is dense. The words often stick with us even after we walk away from the poem. With this in mind, I have decided 2018 will be the Year of Poetry. By this point, I’m certain someone has rolled their eyes once or twice. Poetry and Greek literature must sound terribly boring to some people. That’s fair, but I’m not suggesting everyone spend 2018 getting to know Robert Frost or Pythagoras. Instead, I’m encouraging you to spend 2018 expanding your mind on a topic you genuinely enjoy. Your 2018 could be a year of anything. I elected to pursue poetry and Greek literature because these are things that fascinate me, but as my

I encourage everyone to consider what they will consume in 2018 and how we can use those 8,760 hours for something worthwhile.

wife reminds me, not everyone is interested in such “highbrow” topics. Honestly, a topic doesn’t have to be stereotypically intellectual to be worth pursuing. If you’ve always been interested in gardening, why not spend 2018 creating a garden in your backyard? Or you can immerse yourself in the history of cinema, learn how to play an instrument, or read the greatest science fiction novels of all time. Pursuing new topics doesn’t demand much time. Audiobooks can replace annoying radio DJs during your morning commute, and reading before bed is a much better way to unwind than endlessly scrolling through social media feeds. I encourage everyone to consider what they will consume in 2018 and how we can use those 8,760 hours for something worthwhile. Please, feel free to share with me what kind of year your 2018 will be. And if you know of a poem I should include in my Year of Poetry, I’d be happy for the recommendation.

Last year, I made myself step away from the cycle of vapid consumption. I know there are certain gaps in my education, and I challenged myself to start filling them. By calling 2017 the “Year of the Greeks,” I dove into the writings of Homer’s “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” reacquainted myself with classical Greek tragedies, and really got to know the works of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. It was a wonderful experience! I’d read some of these works before, but it’s different reading them as a 16-year-old, a 20-something, and again as a father in his 40s. The words I read were penned 2,500 years ago, and yet they continue to impact our society and culture, mirroring this thing we call “the human

–Matt Dunaway

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Every parent wants to see their child do well in school, and there’s one fun activity that benefits students of all ages: reading. In a world with so much stimulation, however, it can be difficult to motivate kids to put down a screen and pick up a book. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity to make reading a priority. Here are a few tips to make 2018 the year your kids become bookworms. WANT TO SEE BETTER REPORT CARDS IN 2018?

over 2 billion books added, you’ll never run out of inspiration. Biblionasium offers the same services, but it’s designed specifically for children. Talk to other parents and create a network of friends and classmates. After all, nothing is cooler to a kid than what their friends are doing. Avid readers tend to do better academically from kindergarten through college. In fact, a study from the Journal of Education and Practice found that reading comprehension predicted success in other subjects more than any other factor. If you want to see improved report cards, make a reading resolution for your entire household.

Sudoku Positive reinforcement will propel your kids to keep reading long after the calendars have turned. For a certain number of books completed or hours spent reading, offer them a prize. You can even create a big end goal to really cement those reading habits. Better yet, set a combined goal that the entire Make It a Family Resolution There’s no better motivator than solidarity! Plus, we’re guessing everyone in your household could stand to read a little more. You don’t have to read the same books or set identical goals, but it’s a lot more fun when everyone participates. Schedule weekly reading discussions so everyone can share the cool stories they’ve read. Stack your completed books in your house somewhere as a monument to all the knowledge your family has gained. Set Reward Milestones

family can work toward. Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops. If your kids know that reading one book per week through June means an extra- special summer vacation, their enthusiasm won’t wane come spring. Use Reading Apps Goodreads is a social

network for bibliophiles. You can find recommendations, share ratings, and create lists of both completed and to-be-read books. Users also create reading lists based on topic, genre, decade, and more. With

“After my initial meeting with Matt, I was already feeling better about my options. Matt explained everything up front — how the process worked, how long it took, what to expect. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to help me and my family out. The entire process went smoother than we could have ever imagined. I would HIGHLY recommend Matt to anybody who is looking for options that best suit their current situation. I’m very happy that we made the call, and I look forward to our fresh start, thanks Matt.” – Shaun K


Bankruptcy and ‘The Dark Knight’ BATMAN! Holy Homestead Exemption,

In the movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” supervillain Bane goes after the source of Batman’s power: his wealth. It’s a solid plan. Without the Batmobile and the Batcave, with all of its high-tech gadgets within, Bruce Wayne would be little more than an eccentric martial artist. Through a convoluted scheme in which Bane takes the stock exchange hostage, the villain manages to send Wayne into financial ruin. Unfortunately, the criminal mastermind seems to have been unaware Gotham has the most lenient bankruptcy exemptions in the country. After Bane’s plan comes to fruition, we are informed Bruce Wayne is bankrupt. He morosely tells Catwoman, “They’re letting me keep the house.” This is an extremely lucky break for Batman, considering the millions of dollars’ worth of illegal, military- grade hardware he has stockpiled in the caves beneath his mansion. But under what circumstances would the fictional billionaire be allowed to keep his family manor after filing

for bankruptcy? Well, it depends on what state “Gotham” is in.

Most bankruptcy laws fall squarely in the jurisdiction of the federal government. However, states are allowed to adjust certain parameters, especially those tied to exemptions. Homestead exemptions vary wildly across the country, though few would be lenient enough to let Wayne keep his lavish mansion. New York, Gotham’s closest analog, caps the home exemption at $150,000. A generous sum, but nowhere near the value of a mansion. Had Batman resided here in Birmingham, he’d really be out of luck. As a man under 65, Wayne would only qualify for $7,500 dollars’ worth of homestead exemptions, a fraction of what the palatial Wayne Manor must be worth. The full value of his home could be made exempt were he permanently disabled. While Bane does break Batman’s back shortly after bankrupting him,

the hero miraculously recovers and goes right back to crime fighting.

Ultimately, one shouldn’t fault the filmmakers for this fanciful portrayal. While the trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan, is grim, the harsh reality of losing one’s home to bankruptcy may have been too much, even for Batman.

Leftover Turkey R AME N Recipe of the Month:

Bible Verse “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

Ingredients • 1 leftover turkey carcass • 6 scallions, divided • 8 slices ginger • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms • 16 cups water Instructions 1. Remove most of the meat from the turkey carcass, shred, and set aside. Put carcass in a large stockpot, along with 3 scallions, ginger, mushrooms, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 3 hours. 2. Place eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove pot from heat and let sit for 4 minutes. Transfer eggs to an ice bath to cool. (Recipe inspired by

• 4 eggs • 4 ounces bacon • 4 portions fresh, not instant, ramen noodles • 2 cups leftover turkey, shredded

3. Cook bacon until crisp. Drain, chop, and set aside. Chop remaining scallions. 4. Once the broth is done

simmering, prepare the fresh noodles according to package directions. Divide noodles among 4 bowls and cover with broth. Add shredded turkey, chopped scallions, chopped bacon, and an egg to each bowl.

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NSIDE 8,760 Hours Later ......................................... page 1 The Resolution That Leads to Better Grades............................................................ page 2 Testimonial ................................................... page 2 When Batman Goes Bankrupt...................... page 3 Revive That Leftover Turkey! ..................... page 3 Books to Inspire You in the New Year.......... page 4

YOUR READING LIST for 2018 Can you believe 2017 is behind us? Elections, weather, and just about everything on the news left us feeling uncertain. We could all use a dose a gentler, sweeter kind of storytelling than we’ve come to expect.”

a planet where each person has a “currentgift,” a special power they develop. But for heroes Cyra and Akos, currentgifts are more of a curse. The two must work to overcome their distinctly different pasts and unite to save their world — or die trying. When You Need a Hero School is tough, and no one knows it better than George Heffley. In installment 12 of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, titled “The Getaway,” Jeff Kinney takes us on a tropical vacation with the Heffleys as they attempt to escape the cold weather and frenzy of the holidays. But the island isn’t the relaxing sanctuary it’s supposed to be. The suggested reading age is 8–12 years old, but this book would make an excellent listen for the whole family during a road trip of your own.

Overcome a Harrowing Year Few have done more to earn the title of modern- day hero than Scott Kelly, who has served as a military fighter pilot, an engineer, an astronaut, and now, an author. “Endurance” is Kelly’s memoir, and it recounts the year he spent on the International Space Station. From sharing everyday space adventures to letting us in on the physical toll space takes on the body, Kelly helps us understand what it’s really like to be in the great unknown. If you’re looking for inspiration in the new year, reading about Kelly’s harrowing year of challenges will surely give you the courage to overcome your own. If You Loved the ‘Divergent’ Series Veronica Roth brings us a new sci-fi/fantasy series with “Carve the Mark.” Roth whisks us to

of optimism in the new year. Here are some books that celebrate the triumph of the human spirit, even in the most challenging situations. Finding Forrest When an actor tries their hand at other creative mediums, the results are varied, but the buzz about Tom Hanks’ new book, “Uncommon Type,” has been largely positive. His literary debut is a collection of 17 short stories, all featuring, in some way, a typewriter. At their heart, though, the stories are about human relationships, and Hanks manages to inject his most memorable character’s charm into his writing. As NPR reviewer Heller McAlpin puts it, “In a world where the news is unrelentingly bleak and much fiction tends toward the dystopian, postapocalyptic, dark, or edgy, this is


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