Brown vs. Harvard

Feb 10

In: College

Wow, many Brown University graduates feel life is going well for them. Many Harvard College graduates feel the opposite.

With teenagers in the house, college admissions has become a fairly regular household topic. I’m a big believer in due diligence. Comes with my job. I assume that all the pretty college web sites, school tours, and various collateral are this: marketing material. They may or may not accurately reflect what life really is like at a college.

I’m also a data fan and stumbled on The site is great. Current students and alumni can fill out surveys online. A very interesting question is asked of alumni: “Are things going well in general?”

I was stunned by how disparate the average answers are. For example, the site lets you compare colleges. There is a pre-set table for some selective schools. You can hit the link or blow up the pic below.


Of course, these surveys have huge limitations, but, given that these are relative rankings, any systemic flaw should affect all schools.

Ultimately, IMO, college is about “fit” between the school and the student. I’m sure there are many, many happy Harvard College graduates. But, all this data are worth pondering, given private colleges cost over $200K.

Crowd-sourced data are pretty cool.

Ash Wednesday 2016

Feb 9

In: Personal, Spiritual

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Amazingly, it is one of the busiest days of the year at Catholic churches, and, unlike Christmas and Easter, is not an obligatory day for attending services.

I’m giving up alcohol for Lent. I do it every year and am actually looking forward to it. Mrs. T. usually gives up sweets, but this year, also will give up alcohol.

Lent is a very curious time for me. Some of my biggest life decisions have come during Lent. For whatever reason, it’s a time of clarity and peace for me.

In a time when there is more and more encouragement to buy stuff, I like Lent’s counter-cultural encouragement to make do with less.

No Super Bowl for Me

Feb 7

In: Personal, Philosophy, Sports

I love football. But, I’m not going to watch the Super Bowl.

As a kid, I was the one, who, on New Year’s Day, would watch all three Bowl games in a row, barely leaving the TV to eat. I remember being in my pajamas all day.

As an adult now, I read a great deal about the Patriots and follow quite a few analysts and bloggers.

But, all that has changed.

More and more evidence has come out that NFL players are suffering significant brain damage after retiring. And, I’m starting to really realize that the “NFL is a business,” enjoying legal status as a monopoly and doing their best to control their image.

Finally, while I could watch the Super Bowl, I’m thinking instead: why should I? The league has done their best to disparage the Patriots and fine them for a crime that science says they didn’t do.

So, after many decades of watching the Super Bowl, I won’t watch this one. It’s OK to help billionaire owners make more billions. If the Patriots had advanced, I would be watching it, frankly. Normally, I’d watch the game as a general football fan.

But, not this year. It just doesn’t feel right to me.

So, I’m cooking a massive lasagna for my family. It’s Sunday Dinner. We’ll open a nice bottle of wine and have sparkling cider for the children. It will be a good evening.

And, I’ll wake up at 5 am and read about the Super Bowl then. For me, it’s not worth the time or the emotional investment right now.

My Saturday Morning

Feb 6

In: Fly fishing, Personal


Serving the Vulnerable in Tanzania

Feb 5

In: Personal, Philosophy, Social justice, Spiritual

Living in Tanzania. That’s what Stephen Pope is doing.

After graduating from Roxbury Latin, Boston College, and working for a few years, he is now serving as a Maryknoll lay missioner in Tanzania.

I just stumbled upon his blog, in which he has started to chronicle his experiences. It’s a fascinating read.

After a few searches, I’ve learned that Stephen is working at a school for children with disabilities. Here is the description from the Maryknoll site:

The most vulnerable of East Africa’s millions of at-risk children are those with disabilities.  Traditionally regarded as a family disgrace, or even as a sign that a family has been cursed, many of these children are cast aside by society–and sometimes by their own parents, who are unable to provide them with the degree of care that they require.  Rarely do disabled children in Tanzania have the opportunity to pursue even a basic education.

“Literally you are barred from coming to school if you have a disability,” says Maryknoll Lay Missioner David Rosser, a certified teacher with a concentration in special education.  But at Huruma School for Children with Disabilities in Mwanza, Tanzania, kids with special needs are embraced as human beings who also have gifts to share.

As special education advisor at Huruma (which means “compassion” in Swahili), David sees students who are blind, deaf, autistic, epileptic, paralyzed, or developmentally disabled as unique revelations of the Word Made Flesh – the utterly vulnerable Christ Child in our midst.  David and Huruma staff help Huruma students get the education and support services they need so that each may develop to his or her own full potential.

What Stephen is doing certainly is counter-cultural. I suspect the experience will change him and the many people with whom he is meeting and working.