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EXPLORING OUR COUNTRY’S JOURNEY Where Do We Go From Here?
Lately, I have been wondering about what the Fourth of July really means. I keep thinking to myself that it’s a journey. On July 4, 1776, our forefathers issued the Declaration of Independence, declaring that all men are created equal, that we are endowed with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that because the king of England had violated those rights, the colonies were just in their declaration of their independence from England. That same year, the forefathers started work on the Articles of Confederation, which was the basis for the original United States government. But as I said, it’s a process. Folks soon realized that the system needed tweaking, and in 1789, in the continuing journey to form a “more perfect union,” the Constitution was adopted. Again, folks soon realized that the journey needed to continue, and the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, was added two years later. The process has continued. There have been other amendments to the Constitution, thousands of laws passed, more states have been added to the U.S., and so much more. This evidence is really shown by the passage of our most recent amendment (this is your bonus July Fourth trivia). The 27th Amendment, which says that no laws affecting the salaries of senators or congressmen shall take effect until after the next election of U.S. Representatives, was ratified on May 5, 1992. The amendment was originally proposed on September 25, 1789, so the process of this amendment lasted 202 years, 223 days. What a journey! Unfortunately, I feel that in our journey as a country, we have recently been moving from a “more perfect union” to disunion. We are no longer “we,” but are more commonly “us” and “them.” We don’t talk to people we disagree with (in fact, we throw insults at one another on social media). We don’t have conversations, and we generally just don’t get along. I know there are ways to bridge those gaps. One way is sports. We had the pleasure of traveling to watch our son’s college baseball team on their last road trip. These are guys who are racially diverse, have different economic backgrounds, have different political beliefs, etc., but because they spend time with one another and get to know one another, they are also brothers. They get along and work together despite these differences.
During that trip, we also heard one of my heroes, Father Greg Boyle, speak at a book festival. Father Boyle is a Los Angeles priest who started Homeboy Industries, which is now the largest gang intervention and rehabilitation program in the world. Father Boyle has written several books (and I recommend them all) and is now asked to speak at gatherings all over the country. When he goes to speak, he often takes a pair of gang members in the Homeboy program to come along and tell their stories as well. When doing this, Father Boyle says he always makes a point of bringing members from rival gangs. Not only are the two rivals, but often they have literally spent time shooting at one another. When they put that aside and spend time with one another, joke with one another, and share fears and successes with one another, these rivals become friends. It is possible to bridge these differences. On this Fourth of July, I’m left pondering how do we bridge these differences as normal folks? Can we talk with one another instead of at one another? How do we start moving us back toward a “more perfect union” so we can really celebrate this great country just as our forefathers intended on that July Fourth so many years ago? Hopefully, we can start to develop some answers over the next few months.
-C. Brooks Schuelke
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‘Mom, Dad, There’s Nothing to Do!’ Keeping Kids Entertained Through Summer
Kids look forward to summer vacation all year long, but it often only takes a few days before the “I’m bored” whines begin. It gets worse; many kids will happily spend months staring at their devices, wasting time they’ll never get back. So, how do you get children active and keep them entertained? Make a summer bucket list. It even happens to adults: We blink, and the season is over. All those things we “meant” to do somehow end up having to wait another year (or more). Don’t let that happen to you or your kids this year. Make sure everyone gets their fill of summer fun by making a list of can’t-miss activities. Include staples like visiting the pool or the zoo — but also entertain ideas about
something else to do very quickly!) What interests do your kids have? Whether it’s firetrucks, dinosaurs, fashion, or something else entirely, they have countless opportunities to learn more through your local library or the World Wide Web. You don’t have to restrict them to book learning, either. Your kid might love the opportunity to try countless hobbies like sewing, sculpting, or even gardening. Camp close to home. Most kids love the outdoors, and they’re easily distracted by a bit of novelty. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy nature — you just need a backyard, a tent, and some sleeping bags. The prospect of spending the night outside will sound thrilling to most kids. If you have young children,
backyard crafts and water balloon fights. Don’t forget to incorporate plenty of things the kids can do at or near home. The next time they’re bored, point them to the list and urge them to complete one of their activities. Learn something new. Hear us out — this is designed to be fun. The goal here isn’t to make your kid memorize multiplication tables over summer break. (Though, if you suggest it, they might find
make it a family affair with a campfire, roasted marshmallows, and songs. Let older kids invite some friends for a unique sleepover, complete with flashlight tag and scary stories.
Summer will be over before you know it, but you and your kids can have more to show for those months — and great memories, too! Forget about “I’m bored,” and prepare yourself for a new mantra: “When can we do that again?”
In November 1970, George Harrison released his first solo single and biggest hit, “My Sweet Lord.” The song shot to No. 1 internationally and achieved the rare feat of bringing religious devotion to the pop charts. Only one problem arose — despite what the record label said, George Harrison didn’t write it. “He’s So Fine” was written by Ronnie Mack and recorded by The Chiffons only seven years earlier. It became a hit in its own right, with Billboard ranking it as the fifth-biggest single of 1963. Though Harrison had dramatically rearranged the song and written new lyrics, the similarities between “He’s So Fine” and “My Sweet Lord” were undeniable to even the casual listener. Despite Harrison’s lyric that “it takes so long,” the song’s owner, Bright Tunes, wasted no time filing a plagiarism lawsuit in February 1971. It also didn’t take Harrison long to realize his mistake. In fact, the “quiet Beatle” later confessed to the similarities in his book “I Me Mine,” asking, “Why didn’t I realize?” Harrison’s manager, Allen Klein, thought he could make the matter go away by throwing money at it. He suggested that the wealthy Harrison buy Bright Tunes so that he would own the rights to both songs. Bright Tunes rejected the offer, and the case went to court. The judge found Harrison guilty of “subconscious plagiarism” in 1976 and ordered him to pay lost royalties. He’s So Fined George Harrison’s Plagiarism Saga
But Klein had a ruthless reputation and made an unexpected move. Having been fired by Harrison in 1973, Klein began pursuing a purchase of Bright Tunes on his own starting around 1975. By 1978, Klein owned the catalog and had effectively switched sides in the case, leaving Harrison stunned. It took several more years of legal wrangling (the case was finally resolved in 1998!), but in 1981, Klein sold Harrison “He’s So Fine” for $587,000. Many experts declared that price to be a steal. Despite the public spectacle, Harrison had few regrets about his copycat hit. “I don’t feel bad or guilty about it,” he wrote in his autobiography. “It saved many a heroin addict’s life. I know the motive behind writing the song in the first place far exceeds the legal hassle.” In fact, the ordeal served as inspiration for his tongue- in-cheek single, “This Song,” released in 1976 — proving that a good artist can find inspiration anywhere.
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TAKE A BREAK
Strategies to Fight Distraction OVERCOMING INATTENTION With our phones always on standby, we’re more easily distracted than ever. Then there are also interruptions by coworkers or family members, emails or instant messages that divert our attention, household chores that will “only take a minute,” coffee breaks, and daydreams. Constant distraction hurts us more than we realize, creating a feedback loop of inattention. It’s time we understand what all this multitasking is doing to our minds and figure out how to break the cycle. No matter how good you think you are at it, multitasking doesn’t exist. What we’re really doing is called task-switching. Our brains can concentrate on only one thing at a time, and the quicker we go back and forth between tasks, the less we pay attention, and the more likely we are to make mistakes. Even worse, research says it takes us a whopping 23 minutes to regain our concentration after being interrupted. But what can you do? If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know that willpower has its limits. Simply promising you won’t check your email or phone rarely results in long-term success. But if technology is a big part of the problem, it can also be part of the solution. Try putting your email or phone notifications on silent. Or, consider a website blocker to keep you off distracting websites and an app that will lock distracting features on your phone. Low-tech solutions like a “do not disturb” sign and putting your phone in another room can also help. And mental tricks can still have their place. You probably tend to become productive when you’ve got a deadline crunch, and there’s a reason for that. Tasks have a way of stretching out unnecessarily when we don’t have to follow any restrictions. So, make some! Determine how much time you need to complete a task, and then don’t allow yourself anymore. Ask a colleague for help staying accountable. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done.
SUMMER CRAB AND LEMON CARBONARA
Fresh crab and lemon make this crowd-pleasing pasta dish perfect for summer.
• 12 oz bucatini pasta • 1/2 cup olive oil
• 3 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, grated • 1/2 cup fresh chives, thinly sliced • 8 oz fresh crabmeat
• 2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped • 1/4 cup drained and rinsed capers, chopped • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper • 6 large egg yolks, beaten
• 1 tbsp grated lemon zest • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice • Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
Though we each have to fight our own battles, this isn’t entirely our fault.
Popular apps make billions of dollars by sucking our attention away from everything
1. In a pot of boiling water, cook pasta until not yet al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. 2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook oil and garlic until lightly toasted. Add capers and black pepper, then stir for 2 minutes. 3. Add reserved cooking liquid to skillet and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in pasta and cook until al dente. Remove from heat. 4. Stirring constantly, pour egg yolks quickly into the mixture. Add cheese and chives, stirring well until sauce is creamy. Add crab, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Toss together and season with salt.
else, so we’re automatically at a disadvantage. And there may be even more than meets the eye. If you have difficulty concentrating, stress could be the underlying culprit. Get that under control, and distractions might suddenly lose some of their allure.
Inspired by FoodAndWine.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Reflecting on the Meaning of the Fourth of July
Beating Summer Vacation Boredom Ex-Beatle Sued for Plagiarism Summer Crab and Lemon Carbonara How Distractions Are Hurting Us
‘The Repair Shop’: Relaxing and Heartwarming Television
Reality television can be a great way to turn off your mind, but most options are full of petty drama and sarcastic remarks. For some of us, it can get a little tiring. One show out of the U.K. is taking a refreshingly gentler approach. “The Repair Shop” follows passionate craftspeople as they fix antiques, and every object they work on has a story behind it. There are no high-stakes prizes or biting comments in “The Repair Shop.” Instead, viewers peek inside a warm and inviting workshop filled with collaboration and sentimental stories. In each episode, you watch the experts perform amazing transformations and hear heartwarming tales about the connections people build with family heirlooms. The main cast includes upholsterer Jay Blades, woodworker Will Kirk, clock repairer Steve Fletcher, leatherworker Suzie Fletcher, ceramicist Kirsten Ramsay, and metalworker Dom Chinea. They are joined by a painting restorationist, stuffed animal repairers, and experts in glass, jewelry, and musical instruments as needed. The eclectic mix means viewers are in for a new treat every episode. The cast may work on a grandfather clock and rocking horse in one episode, only to restore a beloved teddy bear and repair a pinball machine in another. A Slower, Kinder Type of TV Cozy Up With ‘The Repair Shop’
Some of the best moments happen when the craftspeople work together. When an old writing desk has a leather inlay or an antique clock needs a newly painted face, everyone in the shop is glad to pitch in and help restore any object. They do so with good humor, a collaborative spirit, and dedication to their craft. But the show’s real heroes are the guests who bring in their beloved keepsakes. From war mementos to antique furniture and favorite toys passed down from parents, each person who visits has a deep connection with the object that needs repairing. They tell their stories, and we see their emotional reactions to their items receiving new life. U.S. viewers can catch “The Repair Shop” on BBC One or stream it on Discovery+. Cozy up with a cup of tea — plus a box of tissues, if you’re the sentimental type — and prepare to be moved.
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