November 2009

The Heart of Fools

The House of Mirth is a dark and depressing Edith Wharton novel about a self-absorbed young woman obsessed with fitting into the upper-crust of wealth and society in turn of the century New York.

Lily Bart is a striking woman “to the manner born.” Although … Read More

A Word of Action

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. – Benjamin Franklin

When he was a mere 26 years of age, Benjamin Franklin conceived of writing a book about living rightly.  Always a student of new ideas, Franklin was constantly examining … Read More

Coach Wooden

Some people think that the only way you can teach college athletes and build a winning basketball season is to intimidate, bully and demean. It’s a good thing John Wooden and his students never paid much attention to that kind of “conventional” wisdom.

Always there … Read More

Speaking of Emperors…

Are my guiding principles healthy and robust? On this hangs everything.   – Marcus Aurelius

In writing these commentaries, it’s interesting to see how one topic will lead to another.

Last Friday’s discussion revolved around the ethical question of whether the end justifies the means, a … Read More

Character as Destiny

There’s a scene late in the film The Emperor’s Club when William Hundert, a teacher who believes that character is the path to true success, dispenses a final lesson to an errant student.

“All of us, at some point,” Hundert tells an older but no … Read More

End of the Road

“What he has accomplished is really nothing short of extraordinary.  We are not saying that this extraordinary story should give him a pass.”

Those “extraordinary” words were spoken by defense attorney Robert P. Trout regarding his client, former congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana, asking the … Read More

Fluffing Towards Gomorrah

Several conversations about ethics and art led me to revisit Friday’s commentary.

An article from the New York Times (Nov. 11) raised my interest about “concerns in the art world over the propriety of a coming show at the New Museum [of Contemporary Art in Read More