Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the May 8, 2002 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Between the Lines
Last year in this space we made a horrible mistake:
In the course of inviting writers to submit their work for our annual
Summer Fiction issue we made a passing reference to the highly popular
HBO television series, "The Sopranos." The popularity of the
series, we guessed, might be due to the fact that people still enjoy
a good story and the Soprano family certainly had no shortage of good
stories to recount.
That triggered (no pun intended) a fusillade of submissions dealing
with crime and violence. Our initial readers, faced with the difficult
task of cutting a stack of roughly 100 submissions down to a printable
number of 40 or so, were so shell shocked by the violent themes that
they suggested the entire issue be dropped from our editorial line-up
Fortunately time heals many wounds, and certainly this one. We now
look forward — positively look forward — to our sixth annual
Summer Fiction issue. The publication date is Wednesday, July 24.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 28 (see page 39 of this
issue for details). As always, we remind prospective contributors
that this is not a contest, and that we are not trying to rank order
the work from best to worst. Rather we are seeking a representative
and entertaining sampling of the writing being created by our
in the greater Princeton business community and our neighbors in
New Jersey — in short the people who read this paper.
If we play favorites it is in the direction of our readers. The
short story writer who works at the Carnegie Center may well be chosen
over the veteran writer from northern New Jersey who heard about our
issue from his nephew and wants to add another publishing credit to
his resume. So, to tip the balance in your favor, please include with
your submission a brief biography and resume information.
Another factor to be considered: Simple fairness — every year
someone who has patiently submitted works in prior years but has never
been published gets the nod over someone whose work has been
After it’s all over we will greet all the writers — published
or not — at our annual Summer Fiction reception in August. The
time and place of that event has yet to be determined, but we can
safely say it is one of the highlights of the social season in
in August. We welcome and encourage your submissions, and look forward
to meeting you in person. As our call for entries on page 39 says,
allow your imaginations to soar.
Bart Jackson wrote an article about my participation
as a speaker with the Special Libraries Association this past month
("Tracking Through the Invisible Web," U.S. 1, April 3). I
just fell across your website, and the article, and am glad I did
Mr. Jackson eloquently put into words what I often fumble in
Thank you very much. This article made me look good and feel great
about the work that I do. It is much appreciated.
Services, Elmwood Park, NJ
My two kids are learning the art of boxing, under
the watchful eye of Muhammad Ali.
That’s right, Muhammad Ali, the onetime champion of the world,
one of the greatest sports heroes of all times, the Vietnam era
objector and civil rights era black activist turned peaceful Muslim.
My kids, ages 10 and 8, are learning a little boxing, and it’s all
happening right under Ali’s eyes.
In the old days it wouldn’t matter who was watching over the kids
when they strapped on the pair of red Everlast gloves (youth size)
and started throwing lefts, and rights, jabs and upper cuts, and
combinations thereof into the heavy bag (40 pounds, just right for
kids). But in the old days you could play guns with BB rifles that
really shot, you could get into fights with the kids on the other
side of town, and you could do a lot of other things without your
Today it’s different, of course. Parents no longer sit back and let
kids set their own agendas for life and leisure; instead they
through carefully orchestrated sessions of pre-school, school,
play dates, play groups, and — if necessary — play therapy
under the direction of a trained psychologist. Some people are
to call it "push parenting" and it’s become such an obsession
in certain chic centers that Princeton freelance writer and National
Public Radio correspondent Ralph Schoenstein has written a book about
it: "Toilet Trained for Yale." (He appears Tuesday, May 21,
at Barnes and Noble to discuss it.)
So when the bright red boxing gloves came out of the gift wrap at
my son’s eighth birthday party, some of the mothers there raised their
eyebrows. "Are we encouraging violence?" one of them asked.
Others volunteered that — given the energy of young boys —
a martial art of some sort might be an appropriate choice of physical
activity, but only in the proper context. Context? One parent
that her elementary school son was participating in a new wrestling
program directed by the head coach of Princeton University’s varsity
program. Another parent had enrolled her son in fencing — again
taught by someone from the university. Tae Kwon Do was another
activity, and one in which the children no doubt absorbed eastern
wisdom even as they shed their western pudginess — win, win.
I knew that — if I wanted to escape the opprobrium of the push
parenting crowd — I would have to do better than put my kids in
front of a punching bag and tell them to beat the stuffing out of
Last Saturday, May 4, the opportunity presented itself.
The Princeton Young Achievers was holding a benefit art auction at
the Third World Center on the Princeton University campus. The benefit
was run by one of those auction houses that specialize in selling
art at a profit to also raise money for the sponsoring charity —
win, win. And there, between Norman Rockwell’s "Bottom of the
Sixth" (a plate-signed offset lithograph, one of who knows how
many) and Vincent Van Gogh’s "Pont de Langlois" (offset print,
one of who knows how many), rested "Ali Over Liston"
photo, forensic verification of the signature, one of who knows how
The auctioneer said that the photograph — a color print of
Ali towering over the fallen Sonny Liston at the moment of Ali’s
upset knockout — was even more valuable because Ali had signed
it "Muhammad Ali aka Cassius Clay." I knew that the photo,
taken by — I believe — a Life Magazine photographer, was one
of the subject photographs in a recent HBO documentary on sports
and the delicious irony for the photographer was that he not only
captured the view of Ali relishing his triumphant moment, he also
captured one of his arch-rivals in the photography business, visible
on the other side of the ring, framed by Ali’s legs and obviously
missing the action. Win, win.
Now Ali, in spirit, at least, looms over the heavy bag as my boys
take turns slamming those bright red gloves in whatever combinations
they see fit. The boys can dream they are champs or just contenders.
They may also learn something about history. Or they may just learn
that fighting with your hands is plain hard work.
In the meantime our family has made a small contribution to the
Young Achievers (609-924-5601), a group that supports children from
lower and middle income families who might otherwise be unsupervised
in the time between the end of school and the end of the work day
for the parent or parents. Far from push parenting, this is practical,
common sense support for parents and children in need. So to a small
degree Muhammad Ali is now watching out for these kids, as well. Win,
Rickard K. Rein
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