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It’s All About You

If you’ve ever been to a professional sporting event you’ve probably witnessed this scene: The game has grown decidedly boring and overlong, eyes are beginning to glaze, smart phones emerge from pockets, and minds begin to wander toward post-game festivities. Snap back to reality, and all of a sudden the cameraman has honed in on your section! You find yourself instantly bursting with enthusiasm – dancing, ...

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Wonder from the Airplane Window

When I fly, I'm captivated by the view. Peering out the window of an airplane gives me a new perspective, as I soar above the earth, far below. Roadways are dotted with tiny, slow-moving cars, each with its own destination. Commercial centers, baseball fields, and residential tracts have been constructed between the forests and lakes that have preceded them. The landscape below is expansive and complex. Loo ...

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Talking and Listening

Small talk is painful. It is social dentistry. Other forms of talking, however, have much potential. Talking is the way we communicate most easily and serves as a social currency. But what is actually going on when we talk? Many of us haven’t thought about this much. It is as intuitive for us now as tying our shoelaces--but not all of us learned how to tie our shoelaces the same way. We all are way more aff ...

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Fairy Tale Philosophy

Fairy tales are ridiculous. Myths and fairy tales go to imaginative places, using creativity to explore the brink of comprehension and storyscapes entirely surreal. This method is utilized in fantasy, science fiction and all genres of art that intentionally construct alternate worlds, full of characters both realistic and foreign. As an art form, myths have been used consistently over time, revealing an ove ...

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Words I Want to Drop-Kick

Words can be powerful, or useless. It just depends. What worries me, though, is the pervasiveness of certain words and phrases that seem untruthful to me and just sort of “bleh.” Particular words and phrases have somehow become social norms but don’t hold any weight. They are coffee stains in our conversations.  If I had Will Smith’s memory-erasing pen from Men in Black, these are some of the words and phra ...

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Spaces that Make Us

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” -Winston Churchill After a long day of interviewing countless new architecture-school graduates, my dad, who is principal of a medium-sized, but award-winning firm in South Texas, told me a story about one of the candidates. “I love the new student center,” he recalled a bright-eyed architecture student raving. “When I’m in it, I feel happy – and I look ar ...

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The Curse of Middle Class

We are becoming a people characterized by obesity; I am not referring to stretched waistlines, but to our insatiable appetites of all kinds.  We are a people who have forgotten the meaning of enough.  In a conversation between authors Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller, Vonnegut claims that their host, a rich hedge fund manager, makes more in one day than Heller would in his career of book sales.  Heller wisel ...

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Irony and Sarcasm in the United States of ‘Murica

“USA! USA! USA!” I’m in a throng of people. They are chanting, sweating, and drinking from red, white, and blue emblazoned cans of Budweiser as one. They love America. At least, I think. Everyone here is between 20 and 30, and suddenly I am terrified. There are sparklers and tank tops aplenty, and as the chants die out someone starts telling a story about how he witnessed a chicken fight at the pool earlier ...

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Which Values Are Legitimate In a Pluralistic Society?

If you have ever engaged in a discussion concerning any number of hot-button political issues you have almost inevitably spoken or heard a declaration to the effect of: “You can believe whatever you want, but you can’t impose your beliefs on other people.” Until relatively recently, I would wholeheartedly agree with this assertion and would often be the one saying it. The more I think about it, however, the ...

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Now Boarding, Classism

Inequality is best dealt with exposed. Racism, ageism, sexism and other -isms have all at one time or another been swept under the rug to one day be revealed as the hidden dirt in need of an overhaul. I wouldn’t dare to claim that the aforementioned partialities have been made extinct, but there is a type of inequality that often flies by our noses unnoticed. We watch it happen and the eccentricities of the ...

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© 2012 The Pender Journal

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