People keep asking me how my summer is going. I usually respond with something halfway sarcastic like; “ok… It’s a different set of problems.” Of course, it’s less about actual problems and more about responsibilities. In the course of the summer I go from being a high school lit teacher to an events coordinator for my son, and it’s also imperative that those events should be both educational and entertaining. This summer we had him enrolled in any number of vacation bible school programs, trips to the discovery Science Place, and afternoons spent at the pool. But our favorite new activity by far, has been his enrollment in classes at Matt Bare’s Taekwondo in Tyler.

My son is a hyperactive nine- year- old, who best functions in a structured environment. Taekwondo has helped to give him focus, and forced him to move and act intentionally rather than impulsively. We have found it to be an invaluable tool for disciplining both the mind and the body. It educates the brain by using physicality to appeal to my son’s athletic nature. And what’s more, it’s a year- round activity so the learning doesn’t have to stop when fall rolls around.

Matt Bare’s is a local, family owned and operated training gym as well as an accredited member of Taekwondo United. The gym has a number of summer programs and camps running right now, in order to build interest in the sport and in the business. It was this program by the way, that got my son in the door (as well as referral from friends) and once in the door he was hooked. We’ve been at Matt Bare’s nearly every evening of the week this summer. The staff and trainers are really great. They challenge the kids and draw them into new territory where they may be apprehensive. And the school attracts students of all ages from all around our area. They come from Lindale, Whitehouse, Bullard, and north Tyler.

Matt Bare’s Taekwondo is located at 1901 Deerbrook, just past the Grande Paluxy intersection. For more information visit their web site at; http://www.mbtkda.com/index.html .



Well, it’s June again and for some area students the summer is just beginning. For others, the first month is nearly in the books. I’ve been a teacher for nearly twenty years now, and in all those years I’ve noticed that when it comes to student registration it’s always the elementary families that get out in front of the rush. It’s the high school families that tend to wait until the last minute of summer vacation to sign up for classes. And as a parent and a teacher I understand why families who close out the school year in great anticipation of summer would not want to start thinking about reenrolling right away. But with that said, it’s never really, too early to have a plan. (My wife would love that last statement by the way). And many private schools offer tuition or registration reductions for early enrollments.

And speaking of tuition values, Christian Heritage School in Tyler is a great value. The school offers a private, classical, Principle Approach education at one of the lowest costs either in Tyler or in East Texas. While the school is small its impact is not. Classroom size allows for good individual attention and a multi- national student body helps to enrich the experience of all the students.

CHS- Tyler is an institution dedicated to traditional education and Christian faith formation. The staff is devoted to mentoring their students both in faith and learning, as well as building critical reasoning skills. Thankfully there is room for reenrollment and the school is really looking and hoping for positive growth. For those perspective students looking for something new and a bit different, this school is a great option. For returning students I have three words: referral, referral, referral. We’re looking for students who are serious about their education, their character, and their future. For more information on CHS visit the schools website at http://chstyler.org/ .



These days Tyler Texas may actually, have more coffee shops than it does private schools, and that is quite a statement. They range from every- day, drive through spots like Starbucks to cool hipster locations like the Foundry downtown. I should say I approve of all of them for specific reasons. I like Starbucks, taken for what it is. I’ve had really, good Starbucks coffee, and I’ve had not so good Starbucks coffee, depending on the day. If I’m out with my wife I would probably choose to go to the Foundry, for its atmosphere. The place is full of nooks and crannies, corners, and side rooms where patrons can hold private conversations, or study in relative seclusion. And I should add the coffee is consistently quite a bit better than Starbucks.

But there’s another option; my favorite option actually. Brady’s has been in Tyler for a long time! Almost ten years ago now I was a new single dad, I was teaching literature and history at a local private school, that could not afford to pay me a salary during the summer, and I was subsisting largely on the money I was making writing articles for this Directory. And every day that and the next couple of summers, I would spend hours at what I called “my office,” sitting and writing at Brady’s. Of course, I have other associations, like the summers my church men’s group spent our Thursday evenings studying and discussing scripture and theology.

Romanticism aside Brady’s is locally owned and operated with an established clientele, every bit as loyal as I am. I’ve have encountered priests of every denomination, nuns, lawyers, teachers, doctors, chefs, retired persons… And they all know what I know; that despite the coffee shop’s small size and open floor plan, Brady’s really does have the best coffee in town. Brady’s is located at 309 West Rusk in Tyler. Week day hour are from 7am to 4pm, and Saturdays 8am to 2pm. They are closed on Sunday.



I really hate Public Service Announcements, (PSAs). The whole notion of taking a truism or belief and boiling it down to the simplest possible sound bite and then hammering the public with it over and over until it works its way into the collective cultural brain is so manipulative, and frankly sounds a lot like brainwashing. The assumption is that the public lacks the ability to follow a line of thought to its logical conclusion on its own… but then again… I remember watching the old Mystery Science Theater (MST) versions of PSA’s from the 1950s and 60’s when everything from good hygiene to economics were addressed. Of course, looking back they were absurd. Why should some entity like the government care who washed their armpits in a circular or a vertical motion?

But the contemporary public should be careful about passing too much judgement on the social priorities and causes of previous generations. The propagandists of the past certainly had no corner on the absurdity market. I would like to enter into the record a current series of announcements whose purpose is to induce the viewer to recycle. The PSA’s in question are so lacking in creativity, so childish in their design they make the famous MST short “What to Do on A Date,” look genuinely helpful.

These most recent bits of propaganda are narrated by an empty bottle of soap or shampoo that is grateful it has had the opportunity to be recycled into a more “heroic” item like a comb or a brush? Ok, let that sink a moment. They’re anthropomorphizing garbage! Really? I’m supposed to empathize with the hopes and dreams of actual trash?! And then there are questions like; What are we to extrapolate about concepts of life, death and reincarnation? I mean the plastic bottle dies and comes back as a heroic brush… And wouldn’t that make the landfill nirvana? And then there’s the use of the word HEROIC to describe a metamorphosis the plastic bottle can’t even choose for itself, because it can’t think anyway, because it’s really, just a piece of garbage!

Ok look. My problem is not with recycling. I think people should do whatever they honestly perceive to be the right thing in matters of their day to day life. In terms of the choices of others I prefer a live and let live policy. What I object to the most in all of this is the notion that I or the public, should be in anyway convinced by such a stupid use of pathos. I have every confidence that the next generation of MST writers will be mocking our PSAs every bit as much as we’ve mocked those of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations.


The Old West Cafe in the Dallas Area Metroplex

May 30, 2017

Last week was a busy week. It involved multiple trips to Dallas including: one airport pick- up, a staff conference for my wife’s work, and a soccer tournament for my son’s team. During the course of these events, we ate at numerous area restaurants, (always trying to hit the establishments we lack in Tyler or […]

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