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Practically Idealistic blog
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Sports and the Campus Climate for Women: ‘It’s on Us’ Men”

Recently I wrote an opinion piece occasioned by a controversy involving the Yale basketball team.  An apology underscored the team’s support for “a healthy, safe and respectful campus climate.”

Similar versions of the article appear at an online outlet of Sports Illustrated (the Cauldron) via Medium, and at Connecticut Viewpoints.

7:05 pm edt 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

“Naturalization of Immigrants: Connecting the U.S. to the World”

As detailed in a January 2016 article, my wife recently became a U.S. citizen.  Now the Times of India has published a similar version of the news, intended to convey to the Indian diaspora some information about U.S. naturalization and citizenship.

10:05 am edt 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

College Basketball (and Football), Athletics and Academics

Last week, Joe Nocera of the New York Times featured UConn's pursuit of membership in one of the “Power 5” athletic conferences.

Last year, my own op-ed – at Connecticut Viewpoints and Medium – included some similar arguments about the academic as well as financial risks of trying to be serious about college football in a state and region unfavorable to that sport.

Despite my skepticism about football, I remain a fan of both UConn and Yale basketball.

On March 6, my brother and I observed as my son and nephew had an opportunity to participate in the introduction of the “starting five” before UConn’s “senior day” — its final home game of the season and of the seniors’ (and two graduate students’) careers.

On March 13, my son and I and friends attended the Yale basketball team’s celebration of its selection in the NCAA tournament, with an announcement event at the university’s gym.  On March 17, we returned to that gym to watch  on a large screen on the team's home floor — Yale upset Baylor for the first NCAA tournament win in school history.

9:30 am edt 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Caste, Politics, and Water in India

Turmoil erupted last month over caste in Haryana, a state where my parents-in-law lived until recently (when they moved back to New Delhi proper).  The water supply in Delhi faces pressure.

The BBC, NPR, and New York Times reported on the events in Haryana and their implications nationally in India.

In 2015, a piece I wrote in the Times of India touched upon caste, politics, and opportunity as embodied by B.R. Ambedkar, principal writer of India’s constitution.

My April 2014 reflections followed a third trip to New Delhi and included mention of issues related to social class, politics, and the urban environment.

7:15 am est 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Basketball, Bedtime, and a Boy Growing Up

Tonight was Yale men’s basketball’s senior night.  After the ceremony where we recognized the seniors and their families, my brother and his son joined my son and me in watching the first half.  By halftime, it was already 9 p.m., and the boys were sleepy.  So we drove a mile home.  As my wife put our son to bed, our daughter returned with me to the Yale gym for the second half.  Yale defeated Dartmouth in dramatic fashion, in overtime, as my daughter and I joined the home crowd.

Previous posts, for example in March 2013 (March 10) and February 2015 (February 1), addressed Yale (and UConn) basketball.

Also, readers: Please indulge this father’s personal prerogative to record a seemingly mundane family milestone.  My son finally lost his first baby tooth at school yesterday, on February 26 – news that he delivered with glee and pride, as he greeted me with a hug upon my return home in the evening!

11:05 pm est 

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