Articles

NOTIONS: The spark of one soul relights a somber space

It’s 9 a.m. midweek in late May. While it’s cool enough to warrant the wearing of wool socks, faded jeans and an old sweatshirt, the sun shines from a cloudless sky into my little downtown courtyard. After ostensible eons of dreary, drizzly, rainy days, the bright stuff factors mightily into my mood this morning. In its midst, I write to you from my living room sofa, my feet propped on a colorful, oversized ottoman piled neatly with magazines, newspapers and…

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NOTIONS: ‘Hard to Say I’m Sorry,’ but do it

Bruce Hetrick is off this week. In his absence, this column from April 10, 2000, is being reprinted. A dozen years ago, my employer landed an intriguing client-the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn. The assignment: Create some advertising that would lure lapsed Catholics back to the flock. We did some research and found that many of these lost sheep blamed their wanderings on the church itself. And they weren’t about to return without an apology. So my friend the Jewish copywriter…

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NOTIONS: Readers weigh in on the quest for ‘something more’

Two weeks ago, I asked readers whether they’d witnessed what I have: More and more folks wanting “something more” from life and work. And if so, why? And why now? And how might “something more” manifest itself? Many responded-so many that I’ll share this week some of the “whethers” and “whys” and next week some of the “hows.” I heard from several readers who’ve dealt with this issue professionally. An Indianapolis placement consultant said, “I talk to people every day,…

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NOTIONS: A primary primer on the need for simpler government

Do you know the name Kelly Bentley or Derek Redelman? Michael Brown or Michael Rinebold? How ’bout Barbara C o l e m a n – K n i g h t , Barry Campbell, Judie Williams, Karon Williams, Maureen Jayne, Milton Baltimore Jr. or Olgen Williams? Even if you’ve heard these names, do you know these people’s backgrounds, what experience they bring to the table, what they preach and practice? Do you know who, if anyone, supports them financially…

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NOTIONS: Seeking your input on satisfaction

Dear Reader: For six years, I’ve filled this weekly space with notions, gnashings, drivel and diatribes. From time to time, some readers have responded-often with nods of agreement, occasionally with headshaking disbelief, once in a while with outraged indignation. Now that we’ve built something of a virtual community (call it a Neanderthal blog), I want to ask you a question. Yes, I mean you. Please don’t assume someone else will answer. And please, don’t feel that your insights and opinions…

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NOTIONS: After Easter, a resurrection of the theocratic kind

On a recent Saturday, after a week of visiting colleges, my son Austin and I found ourselves with most of a day to kill before our return flight from Boston. The Red Sox were on the road. We’d already walked a fair piece of the Freedom Trail. So my friend Alan suggested we hit the Museum of Fine Arts and he’d drive up from Hartford to join us. Austin has a thing for Monet (I’m not sure how many other…

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NOTIONS: College tour reverie: How we got from there to here

The Lenox Hotel, Boston-My son, Austin, doesn’t remember this, but we’ve stayed here before. Last time around, he and his twin brother, Zach, posed in the buff for a Beantown photographer. Now, don’t get the wrong idea about my sons. That was 17 years ago. And they’re nearly 18 today. So we’re talking infant shots here. Baby pix. Neophyte photo fare sans Pampers. Back then, I worked for an East Coast ad agency. One of our clients, a Massachusetts hospital,…

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NOTIONS: A lesson in contemporary communication: Trust me?

I spent March 24 at Ball State University, sitting in a small conference room with some grand poobahs of public relations. A few Hoosier colleagues and I were matched with these industry mavens to discuss the rise of a phenomenon known as “citizen journalism,” “participatory communication,” “peer-to-peer (or p2p) communication,” and other, occasionally less-flattering, terms. Whatever the moniker, the notion is this: With the proliferation of digital media and the Internet, every Dawn, Dick and Mary can create and disseminate…

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NOTIONS: A kid, a shave, a health care dilemma

For the second time in his young life, 9-year-old Joey Chamness had his head shaved last week. This time, the skinhead look is voluntary. Last time, it was chemotherapy. On a Thursday afternoon in January 2005, Joey was playing soccer when he felt pain in his left leg. He’d experienced this before, but not this bad. So Joey’s parents called the family pediatrician to schedule an appointment. The following Monday, the doctor took a look and said it was probably…

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NOTIONS: The power of persistence in work, art and sport

Bruce Hetrick is off this week. In his absence, this column, which appeared on April 19, 2004, is being reprinted. During spring break, my wife, Pam, and I took our sons, Austin and Zach, to Chicago. Because Zach is a budding photojournalist and Austin likes to write, we arranged through a friend to visit The Chicago Tribune. One of the newspaper’s photographers, Nuccio DiNuzzo, arrived at work an hour before his Sunday shift to meet with us. He gave us…

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NOTIONS: As fumes meet fare, my restaurant boycott begins

Recently, I testified before the Greenwood Common Council. I spoke in favor of that community’s proposed ban on workplace smoking. The stuff killed my wife, Pam, a 49-year-old nonsmoker, so I encourage practitioners of good government to spare others the same fate. When all the witnesses had filled the allotted 30 minutes, Greenwood’s council members spoke up-most in favor. But an opponent, Councilman Ron Deer, said smokers ought to have choices. No, he said, people should not be able to…

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NOTIONS: Little ditty ’bout livin’ in the wake of dyin’

Several months ago, I broke bread with two editors of this esteemed journal. Over soup and salad, we concluded I’d said enough in this space of my bout with Grief. We figured you readers had grown weary of the topic, as had we. But Grief has a way of lingering. She shows up, unannounced, for cameos. As you stand at the shore, the wave of your future finally, joyfully rolling in and crashing ’round, Grief plays the undertow, luring you…

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NOTIONS: Of battles, musicals: Let kids think for themselves

My son Zach was in town two weeks ago. He came to take photographs for a school newspaper story written by his twin brother, Austin. My sons’ words and images, published Feb. 10, told the tale of two recent graduates of their high school (Fort Wayne Homestead) who were entering the Marine Corps via a military processing center in Indianapolis. After finishing their story, Austin and Zach talked a lot about their close-up view of the USMC’s front gate: How…

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NOTIONS: On Valentine’s Day, wishing you less war, more love

AT T E N T I O N READERS! We interrupt your regularly scheduled life to bring you this special emotional bulletin. For one day-and one day only-you’re encouraged to ease off the throttle of an existence so anxietyridden that Americans last year ordered up 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills just to bring themselves down from their insomnia-inducing days. So if you’ve been violently protesting cartoons portraying Muhammad as, well, violent, you can use this day to ditch that…

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NOTIONS Playing both sides against the political middle:

Last weekend, I took my sons to see Woody Allen’s “Match Point.” It’s about a former tennis pro named Chris who gets himself into a jam. Chris is working at an upscale London tennis club when he meets a wealthy fellow named Tom. Tom introduces Chris to his sister, Chloe, with whom he falls in love (or, at least, “in like”). To help enhance Chris’ social stature and bank account, Chloe gets Chris a cushy job with her daddy’s firm….

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NOTIONS: Will House protect Hoosier families?

Last fall, the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce invited members to an event called “Pancakes and Politics.” The invitation said that Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma would preview the upcoming legislative session. Ever curious, I e- mailed the Chamber and said I’d attend. When I arrived, I was puzzled. There were, indeed, pancakes. Bosma was working the crowd. But instead of signaling a legislative overview, the PowerPoint slide on the screen said we’d be hearing about the accomplishments and goals…

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NOTIONS: Will House protect Hoosier families?

Last fall, the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce invited members to an event called “Pancakes and Politics.” The invitation said that Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma would preview the upcoming legislative session. Ever curious, I e- mailed the Chamber and said I’d attend. When I arrived, I was puzzled. There were, indeed, pancakes. Bosma was working the crowd. But instead of signaling a legislative overview, the PowerPoint slide on the screen said we’d be hearing about the accomplishments and goals…

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NOTIONS: Failing to learn from the past, condemned to repeat it

It was raining in London the morning before New Year’s Eve. As we emerged from the St. Paul’s tube stop to a gust of wintry air, my friend Cheri wrapped her black topcoat a bit tighter, I buttoned my Navy blue, and we pulled on our gloves and scarves, and opened umbrellas to ward off the cold and damp. We walked briskly past the north churchyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral, turned the corner and climbed the front steps. Inside, we…

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NOTIONS: Throwing out the book on ‘remedial’ education

On the first day of school, eighth-grade history teacher George Barnes took aim at tradition. With all the arm strength of the former Butler University football player he is, Barnes heaved a history text across his classroom. The book flew past his students’ stunned faces and crashed against the wall. Barnes asked the shocked teens: “If you were recording for history what you just witnessed, what would you say?” “Some,” said Barnes, “said, ‘That Mr. Barnes, he’s a crazy man….

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NOTIONS: Resolved: No dropping the ball after the ball drops

Does your January break With a master plan? A savvy scheme? Sophisticated strategies and tactics? Or will you wing it, Taking each day as it dawns, Making the most Of each passing moment? Do you begin with an honestly clean slate? Or do lingering regrets, (Unsaids and undones), Cloud your New Year’s premiere? Was the year just past a good one for you? Did it enrich your mind and spirit? Did you enjoy good health? Did you give and get…

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