Posts By Author » Thomas Purcell
The Swimsuit Issue
24 Feb 2014 12:05 am
It disgusts me more every year.
I speak of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, which is published the middle of February every year.
I’m not the only one disgusted. Other folks, such as those in the American Decency Association (ADA), often criticize the publication.
“Sports Illustrated disrespects women by displaying demeaning stereotypes of female sexuality,” says the ADA’s website. “The swimsuit issue features women models posed not as athletes of strength, skill, and endurance but as playthings …”
That is surely true, but here’s what is also true: We men are also being exploited.
Losing Ourselves in Snow & Cold
23 Feb 2014 12:05 am
Let’s keep it together, people.
I speak of the way we are responding to record snow and cold sweeping across vast regions of the country.
People are cussing at snowplow drivers and each other. Panicked shoppers are fighting over toilet paper and milk. Americans are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder in unprecedented numbers.
For goodness’ sake, my fellow Americans, what kind of weak, chaotic image are we portraying to the rest of the world?
Worst of all is the way our nation’s capital is responding to the weather. As soon as forecasters predict an …
16 Feb 2014 12:05 am
Get this: The government is incentivizing people to not work.
So said the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office last week. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told lawmakers that millions of workers could either cut back their work hours or opt out of the job market completely because of ObamaCare.
The CBO report says millions of people will opt to keep their income low to stay eligible for federal health-care subsidies or Medicaid – resulting in losses equivalent to 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021.
But who can blame them?
Working is no fun. …
For Valentine’s Day – a Return to Romance
16 Feb 2014 12:05 am
For the past 40 years or so, a movement has been afoot to make men more like women and women more like men. This movement has been successful. I cite exhibits A and B as proof: Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health magazines.
According to one past issue of Cosmopolitan, women are in a panic to “follow sexy strategies to ignite our desire.” But you ladies need not waste your time. We’re simple creatures. If you want to ignite the desire of normal men, just show up.
As for men who subscribe to Men’s …
Why Americans Want Smaller, Cozier Houses
8 Feb 2014 12:05 am
Get this: Americans are getting sick of McMansions.
So says The Wall Street Journal in a recent report. Americans are favoring more historic designs, such as the arts-and-crafts houses their grandparents once lived in, over gargantuan suburban houses.
A new style of housing developer is emerging to serve this demand. These developers are designing and building more modest size homes – in the 2,500-square-foot range – that look historic on the outside, but that have modern amenities on the inside, such as custom kitchens and walk-in closets, that the original homes did …
Why Groundhog Day Should Be Outlawed
3 Feb 2014 12:05 am
Punxsutawney Phil must be stopped. The lovable little groundhog must be stopped.
You know Phil. Every Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, he is yanked from a tree stump in Punxsutawney, Pa. If he sees his shadow, his organizers allege, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring will be just around the corner.
Millions have enjoyed this primitive ritual for years, but now there’s a problem.
Groundhog Day evolved from Candlemas Day, a Christian tradition commemorating the purification of the Virgin Mary. As this tradition evolved in Germany, it got ever …
It’s Later than Men Think
2 Feb 2014 12:05 am
The illusion was good while it lasted. I speak of the male biological clock.
Yet another study, reported at PsychCentral.com, finds that children of older fathers are more likely to suffer “from mental health issues, including schizophrenia, mood disorders, neurotic disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders and other developmental and childhood disorders such as autism and mental retardation.”
And this news is a real bummer for middle-aged fellows.
Oh, how glorious things used to be before these male biological constraints were known. We fellows were free to believe we could dilly-dally through our 30s …
Forward and Back with the iPhone
26 Jan 2014 12:05 am
The Huffington Post is onto something.
In a recent report, the website listed seven things that the iPhone, first released to the public only seven years ago, has made obsolete – though there are surely plenty more than seven.
Up first, says the website: roadmaps. Thanks to Google Maps, which anyone can use on his or her cellphone, nobody uses paper maps anymore.
I can’t begin to imagine how much stress this is saving vacationing families.
Pre-Google-Maps horror stories were legend when I was a kid in the ’70s: Neighbors who thought they were …
Little Sisters vs. Goliath
19 Jan 2014 12:09 am
It’s a story about how freedom is all.
I speak of the Little Sisters of the Poor, an international congregation of Roman Catholic nuns who have devoted their lives to caring for the elderly poor.
I am lucky to know more about this remarkable organization than many.
In 2007, I wrote a column about Gorman Johnston, who was living in the Little Sisters retirement home in Pittsburgh, PA. I was scheduled to interview him one wintry December night, but didn’t want to go.
It was dark outside and bitter cold. The roads were icing …
Elegy For The Incandescent Bulb
12 Jan 2014 12:05 am
Farewell, old friend. I am going to miss you.
I speak of the incandescent bulb – the light of my life for all of my years. As of Jan. 1, you have been shut off. That was the mission of a 2007 law that raised energy-efficiency and wattage standards far beyond what you are capable of reaching.
You had a fine run, my friend. Perfected by Thomas Edison some 135 years ago, you stand as one of the greatest inventions of all time.
Your brilliance was in your simplicity. By sending an electrical …
Obama Channels Nixon
5 Jan 2014 12:05 am
President Obama, despondent over his low poll numbers and the lack of trust many Americans have for him and his policies, did something drastic. He met with the psychic medium who once helped Hillary Clinton contact the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt. With the medium’s help, Obama summoned the only presence in America who could help him: Richard Milhous Nixon.
Obama: Hello? Mr. President, can you hear me?
Nixon (sitting on a cloud playing a harp): What do you want, you ninny!
Obama: I’m in big trouble, Dick. My approval rating has fallen steadily …
The Key To New Year’s Resolutions
29 Dec 2013 12:05 am
There’s a reason why only 8 percent of New Year’s resolutions are kept: Too many of us make resolutions that lack resolve.
“Resolve” is a powerful world. According to one dictionary, it means “to solve a problem, or to find a satisfactory way of dealing with a disagreement.”
Bill Gates elaborated on the concept in his 2007 commencement address at Harvard. He said the first order of business in resolving a problem is seeing it. Then all you need to do is cut through complexity, so you may solve it.
Gates made it …
Looking Forward this Christmas
22 Dec 2013 12:05 am
I’m turning into my father.
About this time every year, my father pulls me aside and asks me to tell my five sisters that he doesn’t need any gifts for Christmas – and, “for Godsakes, please tell your sisters I don’t need more sweaters. I can’t wear the sweaters I have now. Use the money to get something nice for your mother!”
Nonetheless, every Christmas, my father receives five sweaters (I usually get him things like lug nuts), and we always get something nice for my mother.
At 51, I am beginning to …
A Christmas Toy Story — Back to the Basics
16 Dec 2013 12:05 am
Boy, do we need to get back to the basics in America – especially with our Christmas toys.
Consider: In the basement of any kid’s home you’ll find once-trendy, dust-collecting gadgets that are no longer played with.
So I was delighted to stumble across a Geekdad.com article by Jonathan Liu that ranked “The 5 Best Toys of All Time.”
First up: the stick, a simple branch or hunk of wood you can find in your own backyard.
Though doing so is no longer acceptable today, when I was a kid I made several slingshots …
Gender Differences Hard Wired
15 Dec 2013 12:05 am
A new study has come out that finds men and women really do think differently.
According to The Independent, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania used a new and very precise brain-scanning technique, diffusion tensor imaging, to create a neural map of the human brain.
The technique has found that male and female brains are wired differently.
“Researchers found that many of the connections in a typical male brain run between the front and the back of the same side of the brain, whereas in women the connections are more likely to run …
Dog Days of Obamacare
8 Dec 2013 12:05 am
I’ve heard a lot of interesting stories of people trying, and failing, to sign up for ObamaCare, but this one takes the cake.
According to UPI, Shane Smith, of Fort Collins, Colo., had his new ObamaCare insurance opened under his dog’s name.
As it goes, Smith’s existing plan was canceled because it failed to meet the requirements of ObamaCare. After considerable effort, he was finally able to establish an ObamaCare policy – but the government service representative accidentally assigned the policy to Baxter, Smith’s 14-year-old Yorkshire terrier.
I’ll bet that could lead to …
Why There’s Lots to Celebrate This Thanksgiving
1 Dec 2013 12:05 am
Sure, the country isn’t doing so well at the moment, but there are still plenty of reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.
I sit at the “big people’s table” now, just to the left of my father. It took me years to earn that coveted spot, and for that, I am thankful.
Everyone in my family is healthy this year. My parents are 80 and 77, and doing well, and for that, I am surely thankful.
This will be my 51st Thanksgiving. I’ve celebrated most of them at my parents’ house, with various …
Bill Clinton, First Guy
24 Nov 2013 12:05 am
Last week, when Bill Clinton said President Obama should allow people to keep their health-insurance coverage – an early attempt to distance Hillary and himself from ObamaCare – I began to worry that the Clintons may be serious about another run at the White House.
I surely don’t want Hillary to be our next president, but I think it would be great if Bill became America’s first “first guy.”
How can you not like the man? He’s clever and witty. He was born into modest circumstances and, through his considerable wits, achieved …
Obamacare Backlash No Surprise
17 Nov 2013 12:05 am
Sheesh, what did they expect?
I speak of the backlash to the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which passed along purely partisan lines. Not one Republican in the House or Senate voted in favor of it. More than half of the American people were against it in 2010.
In fact, according to Politico, ObamaCare was the most partisan bill to become law in the past 100 years.
Politico points to a study conducted by JPMorgan’s Michael Cembalest, who reviewed major legislation that became law during the past century.
Cembalest reviewed a variety of bills …
For Veterans Day — Quiet Sacrifice
11 Nov 2013 12:05 am
Ida Ayres never served a day in the armed forces, but she knows a thing or two about the sacrifices of war.
When we think of war and conflict, we think of the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way, as we should. But what about the parents, children, siblings and spouses who are left behind to worry and pray?
“Through four wars, I have been the daughter, sister, wife and mother of men who served their country,” Ida explained to me.
During World War I, Ida’s father, Sam DiRenna, fought …