Nick’s Knack

Nick's Knack: A column column

This week started just like many others do. Sunday was filled with relaxation and procrastination. Monday was typically dreadful. Tuesday rolls around with little hope of the weekend in sight and the standard barrage of tasks and assignments doing all they can to hold one back from basking in the change in weather that assails…

Nick's Knack: Frogs

This column is about frogs.
One might think a zoological topic is atypical of Nick’s Knack. On the contrary, many of my writings have been on the human animal and the “zooification” of our species. Failure to recognize this reinforces many of the points I have made over the past two years. But, if I…

Nick's Knack: The replacements

Arguably the most unpleasant and least empathetically understood periods in the life of people in government positions are known as the “lame duck” session. This is the time after a person’s replacement has been hired but before the new official takes office. Not much longer than a couple months compose this period. Of course, most…

Nick's Knack: Picking favorites

“Hey, Streaks! What’s your favorite color?” went the ice-breaking greeting of former John Carroll track captain Tony Mihalic. Or, at least, that’s Managing Editor Brian Bayer’s impression of the most enthusiastic Blue Streak I’ve ever known. My memory is either not strong enough or has been corrupted by the caricatures of Tony over the years…

Nick's Knack: Roadblock

Everyday, the members of the John Carroll community receive Speedbumps emails, “offering a chance to slow down, reflect and proceed.” The marked words of religious, philosophical, literary and business figures offer advice and insight on spirituality, vocation and all components of life. These words can be insightful, inspirational and comforting, and all are meant to…

Nick's Knack: Senioritis: Part 1

Subject: Male, Age: 21
Condition: Senioritis
Symptoms: Instability, immaturity, apathy, fatigue, inactivity, distractability, ineconomism, revelry, intoxication, sociability
Status: Chronic, Malignant
I’ve spent 16 years in the American education system. This time has brought me triumphs and failures, good times and bad, friends and enemies; it has improved me and worsened me.
The standard time for…

Nick's Knack: Blessed are the meek

The weather turned cold, freezing remnants of precipitation on the roads and quickly frosting them with freshly falling snow. Around this time, motorists begin to be cautious when operating their vehicles. Cars spin their wheels when they take off from a stop which they nearly didn’t to come to gently in the first place. The…

Nick's Knack: Till all success be nobleness

Every Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day, America celebrates itself. From our declaration of political independence from Great Britain, to the sacrifices of servicemen and servicewomen, we’re annually grateful for the actions of Americans that have helped to make this country better. At least that’s what we said in our fifth…

Nick's Knack: Don’t be a softie

Hurricane Sandy came upon residents of the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic region like, well, a hurricane. Many were unprepared for the storm and its approach offered little time to prepare for what was in store.
Those of us a little further inland merely got a lot of rain and wind, with minor power outages, downed…

Nick's Knack: Slow your roll

A week ago, Saturday afternoon found me hunched over, taking wind to the face, one trouser leg rolled up to my shin and my legs pumping more powerfully with each flick of my right finger, violating traffic etiquette in almost every situation I encountered. With the downhill advantage, my 20-year-old Trek bicycle flew me three…

Nick's Knack: Morning magic

Seven o’clock in the morning is a great time for a lot of things. Waking up, smelling the air while it’s still crisp in the summer and ever crisper in the fall, winter and spring cleans the sinuses and clears the brain, filling it with smells of growth or decay, warmth or frigidness. The olfactory…

Nick's Knack: Un-regrettably forgettable

Being a Jesuit University, trying to cultivate people for others, the idea of having an impact on people at a very personal level is prevalent in seminars and sermons across campus. We are people who want to help people and want other people to help people, too. It is the hope that the things we…

Nick's Knack: Me, Ph.D.

As I get older and closer to having to get a steady job, the streams of people asking me what I’m going to do with my prospective philosophy degree grow more quickly than mold. Inevitably, nearly everyone in those herds is going to ask me if I want to teach. I’ll say, “Sure, it’s a…

Nick's Knack: For the love of humanity!

Rampantly playing across television and computer screens all over the world are virtual representations of concrete things. In our day and age, people have even attempted to digitize intangible experiences and bring them to our finger tips so we can experience real life without having to leave our beds. Facebook, LinkedIn and other forms of…

Nick's Knack: Old man river

This past weekend, I reached perhaps the most longed for chronological milestone in one’s life, and the final one until the ever-so-sought after event in two septet allowing one to run for president of the United States. That is, I turned 21.
I’ve been around long enough to have earned the rights to consume alcohol,…

Nick's Knack: The great human road trip

The arrival of summer vacation, Spring Break and other intermissions from the normal rhythms of life, bring with them the aroma of adventure. It’s a flavor consistently resident in the caverns of the human brain and spirit that’s tasted at all opportunities of deviation. When a period of liberation presents itself, it seems to have…

Nick's Knack: Who, if not we?

Presently, we are at a very tense juncture in time. The end of the scholastic year is here and the seniors, our friends, are graduating in just over two weeks. Without a doubt, they have learned a lot throughout their 21 years, however short of a period that seems to some.
The over-used advice about…

Nick's Knack: Back to the start

Nearly every person I know loves Chipotle. Whether it’s the $1.80 guacamole, the allure of a baby-sized burrito or the feeling of immobility that comes after finishing one or two, the Mexican grill has become a regular spot for many college students when the dining hall just won’t do the trick. During the Super Bowl,…

Nick's Knack: The pursuit of happiness

During my junior year of high school, a teacher of mine asked the class a common question, but of underestimated difficulty. “What is your goal in life? What will make your life successful?” Long answers could be given, with specific details and 10 year plans. Though I didn’t take a count, my guess is that…

Nick's Knack: What is and what is right

The general opinion about the world is that it is filled with corruption and misery. The noble intentions of “Kony 2012” were dimmed by the news that only 30 percent of the company’s income goes to the cause. A dark shadow was further cast over the cause when Jason Russell allegedly frolicked around in his…

Nick's Knack: Destined to dwindle?

Late last May, I sat in a historic theater hosting the high school graduation of the class of 2011. The class president, who happened to be one of my closest friends a few years my junior, came up to speak and offered to his classmates a reflection on the typical topic of many graduation speeches:…

Nick's Knack: Progressing backward

There is the constant impression that everything we do should be improved upon. In fact, progress seems to be an innate part of the human condition.
Day in and day out, we, as students, are generally working on improving our knowledge or abilities on a given subject. In turn, our grades will improve. That will…

Nick's Knack: Simplify me, Captain!

When the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer was turned on in 1947, it was the first general purpose computer. It took up 1,800 square feet of space and was made of millions of parts. Indubitably, it was the most3 intensely complex machine to ever exist. Its purpose was to ease and simplify the solving of…

Nick's Knack: Let’s win

It is the fifth week of the semester. The weather has been decent for this time of year, but it’s Cleveland and hasn’t remained pleasant for too long. The general conditions of the world right now aren’t the best and it’s difficult to find happiness or success everyday. Fear not, where there is a will…

Nick's Knack: Nice guy syndrome

If you don’t know how you got home from the last party you went to, chances are it was a nice guy who helped you stumble down the sidewalk and took measures to prevent you from drowning in your own vomit while you slept.
Though nice guys are everywhere, few people understand their way of…