The summer before my senior year of high school, my family moved from northern Iowa to the southwest corner of the state. I was angry with my parents for most of the following school year. And that wasn't my only attitude problem.
I was one of three new students at Manning High School. The other two were foreign exchange students from Kenya and Germany.
Manning had a tradition. Foreign exchange students were featured in the school paper, involved in every extracurricular activity and automatically on the homecoming and prom king/queen court.
The men had just left morning Mass when they spotted the flames on the roof. It was the second Monday of November, 2011, and they'd been without electricity since Saturday. Torrential winds had toppled trees and power lines, so they'd been keeping warm with a big fire in their lounge.
Whenever election season comes around, editors get blasted. In the past few months, I've been accused of being a Marxist, an out-of-touch radical conservative and a handful of other labels that I'm not comfortable printing.
In his 1958 book, "Reflections on America," the great French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain claimed that Americans, for all their commercial endeavors, "are the least materialist among the modern peoples which have attained the industrial stage." Well, that was then, this is now, and it isn't Jacques Maritain's America anymore.
Still, there remains a link between money-making and idealism in these United States that is distinctive, and perhaps even unique.
During the Summer Olympics, like many of you, I was glued to my TV trying to catch up on the latest medal counts. While it is true that the episodes being shown had already taken place and the medals had already been won, seeing the actual event was still worth it.