The fun of being good

Found in, of all places, a 100-year-old poetry textbook:

being goodNothing gives a man more happiness than the expression of that which is best in himself. Nothing, to speak colloquially, is more fun than being good.

Let a man once get a good strong taste of any particular virtue and know what it is like to practice it and the chances are that he will enjoy it so much that Satan will have little power over him with the opposite vice. That man will have to be tempted in another way.

When a rich man gives away large parts of his fortune in philanthropics of one kind or another, he is enjoying the virtue of generosity. When a man who could earn an excellent living in business continues to preach and teach at a low wage, he is enjoying his self-abnegation.

The virtue which we have tried, the virtue in which we believe, that alone will content us. And it is only the person who has never made a fair trial of “being good” in one way or another, who does not like it.

To be sure it is not always easy to be good in a world where goodness does not altogether control the popular imagination and where it is not always understood. But that fact makes it the more interesting.

— Marguerite Wilkinson


Shazam! It’s Captain Marvel

captain marvels

One of my favorite all-time comic book superheroes flourished in the decade before I was born. A spunky orphan boy who was the world’s youngest radio newscaster met a wizard named Shazam who gave the boy the power to switch places with the awesome Captain Marvel simply by saying the wizard’s name, which was an acronym that stood for the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. Continue reading “Shazam! It’s Captain Marvel”

A small rant concerning concerning


I had an English teacher early in life, probably in sixth grade – they didn’t call it middle school then – who had a problem with substituting the word “like” for “as,” such as in the advertising jingle, “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”

I thought it was silly at the time to get your undies in a bundle over it, but as years have passed, I think my teacher and I are like minded.

My brain feels a discordant jolt when someone uses “impact” as a verb. Once upon a time, my teacher’s concerns had an impact on me. It would have been improper to say her words impacted me, as if I were a tooth. Continue reading “A small rant concerning concerning”

How to fix baseball

Baseball in the Grass

When I was a 9-year-old boy in New Jersey, a brand-new National League team started in New York. Now, to my knowledge, there had never been a National League baseball team in New York … there was only the prideful American League team, the Yankees. Nine-year-old boys like shiny new things almost as much as they like battered old things, and so I was instantly a fan of the New York Mets.

Years later my brother gave me a cassette of a 1965 game between the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Braves. It was wonderful to hear Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy calling the Mets game again.

Two things struck me after the top of the first inning. The first thing was that Lindsey Nelson read a commercial for Viceroy cigarettes. Cigarettes! You can’t even advertise cigarettes anymore. Continue reading “How to fix baseball”

Wisconsin assimilation

snow day

It was 22 degrees below zero, officially, on Saturday morning in our neck of the woods.

I’ll always remember a sunny morning in Ripon, Wisconsin, my freshman year of college and my first winter in the state I made my home. The weather had been brutal for many days – my memory says it was below -10 for as much as two straight weeks, but that may be fuzzy recall – all I know is it was ridiculously cold for too long. Continue reading “Wisconsin assimilation”

A day lost and found

above the contrail

The day had come and gone without his notice. He had buried his face in the everyday and could not say whether the sun had shone all day or if snow had dusted the neighborhood. It was as if he had slept all day, but he remembered waking.

Outside, he knew, there was a cold colder than the coldest cold and a land anxious for spring, but he hadn’t glanced out the window, as far as he could remember, so he couldn’t say if the ground was softer or harder or ice-covered or some lingering grass was visible. He thought he may have communicated with the outside world but couldn’t remember the details. Continue reading “A day lost and found”