Friday, August 18, 2017

The Generation Gasp

Saturday, March 31, 2012


In last week's column, I reported on how the students I led on a study-tour of China over my university's spring break managed - within three hours of their arrival in Beijing - to have Mickey D delivered directly to their hotel rooms. Closely rivaling this passion for fast food was their penchant for shopping.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


How long does it take an American student to find fast food in Beijing, China? I learned the answer to that question last week, while leading a short-term study tour of the Middle Kingdom. Answer: under three hours … and that's at four in the morning.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


My dad is traveling in China this week, so I'm taking over the column – and it's a good thing, too, because as a full-blooded Italian man, my dad knows little of what I'm about to say.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


As you are reading this, (God willing) I'm in Beijing. Along with a Chinese colleague on my university's faculty, I'm leading 32 students on a short-term study tour of China over Spring Break. In a breathless 10 days we'll also do Xi'an, where the famous clay warriors reside, and Shanghai, one of China's showcase cities.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


"The Internet's not written in pencil, it's written in ink." -The Social Network

Two weeks ago, a man living in Taiwan who happens to read this column emailed my dad to ask him if he could submit the term "generation gasp" to, a fairly popular and well-known website. Yesterday, the submission was approved and posted on the website, and now anyone in the world might stumble upon a term that my dad made up on a Saturday afternoon with the modest goal of getting it published in the local newspaper.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Saturday, February 18, 2012


What are our children's dreams? They are as varied as the kids themselves. Here are two examples, both from youngsters still in elementary school. They span the spectrum from the sublime to the silly:

I have a plethora of dreams, but today I'd like to write about my dream of being a traveler.


My dream is to own all the Barbies in the world.

Saturday, February 11, 2012



A wit once said, "If you remember the sixties, you weren't there." I was there and I do remember. The decade is characterized as a revolutionary period: the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War protests, and the Sexual Revolution. Concerning the latter, a joke circulating at the time made fun of the older generation (as I write this column, MY generation now):

Saturday, February 4, 2012


The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a special Van Gogh exhibit running right now. Don't imagine that you can go to see this exhibition on the spur of the moment. No, to the contrary, the museum's website admonishes us, "Your tickets will be issued for the date and time you choose, based on availability, and include a complimentary exhibition audio tour and Museum general admission to both the main and Perelman Buildings. Select your dates carefully, as tickets are nonrefundable and subject to a $2.50/$3.50 exchange fee prior to the selected date." Adult admission is $25.

Monday, January 30, 2012


"Alma Mater" is Latin for "nourishing mother." The term is usually applied to some school or college from which we graduated. In my case, it's Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. When I attended in the late 1960s, F&M was a men's college. We students joked that the letters stood for "Frustration & Masturbation." The fall semester after I graduated was the first time F&M admitted female students. We frat boys joked that, once we were gone, it was safe enough to let them on the campus.