Bonus Years Institutions

Columbus Day celebrates “big idea” not just a person

By Phil Burgess | October 17, 2021

Musical prodigy James Deacon once observed that “What you see depends not only on what you look at but also on where you look from.”   In plain English, that might be called “perspective” or “point of view” or “frame of reference”. I thought of this last Monday as our family joined other Americans to celebrate…

Shared stories make lasting memories among the generations

By Phil Burgess | September 12, 2021

Are you familiar with the Paw Patrol? Perhaps not, especially if you’re in your bonus years. In that case, I’ll bet you remember Disney’s Popeye the Sailor Man or Steamboat Willy.  And who could forget Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner from Looney Toons?  All these guys, plus Minnie Mouse and Olive Oyl, “performed”…

Engaging the next generation requires learning their language

By Phil Burgess | August 15, 2021

Many of a certain age will remember the film, Grumpy Old Men.  That was back in 1993 when two curmudgeonly neighbors, a cantankerous John Gustafson (Jack Lemmon) and a belligerent Max Goldman (Walter Matthau), were constantly at each other’s throat.  Despite the constant nagging and bickering, Grumpy was a box office hit.  Maybe it was…

July 4th gives voice to the ideas of America across generations

By Phil Burgess | July 4, 2021

Today, we celebrate the Fourth of July, one of our nation’s favorite holidays. Measured by holiday air and automobile travel statistics, travel for Independence Day is rivaled only by Thanksgiving and exceeded only by the Christmas-New Years’ holiday, a time that, in some years, overlaps with the eight-day Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, helping to boost…

Plant a tree, water a flower, trim a perennial and change the world

By Phil Burgess | April 11, 2021

Adm. William McRaven, a retired four-star and Navy SEAL – and retired Chancellor of the University of Texas System – used his commencement speech to the UT-Austin Class of 2014, to advise, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”  McRaven, who directed the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin…

There’s no stopping the Showstoppers, not even the coronavirus

By Phil Burgess | December 6, 2020

Three years ago, I dropped in on the South County Senior Center in Edgewater just to see what was going on. Though I was familiar with the Wiley Bates senior center in Annapolis – an impressive place with many benefits, from history and art classes to hot lunches, for area seniors – the south county…

The American Thanksgiving is likely to be different this year

By Phil Burgess | November 22, 2020

Michael Lindell is a friend of mine.  I’m not talking about Minnesota’s Michael Lindell who is seen daily on TV promoting “My Pillow” – the one with the Giza cotton.  I’m talking about Michael Lindell, the Australian cartoonist, the one who signs his work “Mikko”. During the nearly four years I lived in Australia (2005-08),…

Berkman’s “lifequake” sent him on a mission to end prison slavery

By Phil Burgess | November 15, 2020

Just when everything seems to be going smoothly, life sometimes hits you in the head with a brick: cancer, a heart attack or other life-threatening illness; the loss of a loved one; a business failure or financial crisis; a physical disability, depression or other mental health challenge.  Most of us have had our share of…

Inter-generational signs of civility give hope for a future without demonizing

By Phil Burgess | August 16, 2020

Some years ago, I remember a Today Show interview with an age 60+ grandmother who loved to ride her Harley.  She and her husband had planned a motorcycle trip around America, but he passed unexpectedly, so she did it herself.  Thousands of miles. Mostly on state and county roads.  When asked, “What about your trip…

From WWII island hopping and the A-bomb to surgeon, civic leader, centenarian

By Phil Burgess | August 9, 2020

This article was originally published with the title “Phil Burgess: World War II vet says Truman’s decision to use A-bomb saved U.S. lives”. Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the first wartime use of an atomic weapon when, on August 6, 1945, the US bombed the Japanese port city of Hiroshima. Today is also a…