I don't know if it's the weather, or that it's January and so the new year. But about every twelve months I get a strong urge to cook up a batch of bean soup. And when I get the urge, I call my dad for the recipe.
It's not that I can't, or haven't, written it down. But somehow the phone call is one of the ingredients that makes for good soup. "About half an hour before it's done," my dad says, "add about half a cup of ketchup."
"Ketchup!" I always say, wondering. "Why ketchup?"
"For color," he says.
Lately I've been reading "The Fourth Turning," by William Strauss and Neil Howe.
I've written here before about their earlier book, "Generations." "The Fourth Turning" hits most of the same themes: four basic generational types cycle through an arc of institution-building, followed by a profound challenge to cultural values, followed by an eventual renewal of those institutions based on new values.
Let me say at the outset that I have never watched Oprah Winfrey. There's no particular reason; I've never watched any of the daytime talk shows.
But suddenly Oprah Winfrey is making big waves in the world of libraries.
It seems that Ms. Winfrey, an astute and avid reader, has launched a once-a-month "Oprah's Book Club." The results are astonishing.
Recently, national and local League of Women Voters groups have begun to talk about the need to restore faith in government.
Have people in fact LOST faith in government?