Empathy across neighborhood lines

My latest op-ed, “Love Thy Neighbor: In the wake of an attack on the Men’s Cross Country team, it’s time to rethink University-community relations,” appeared in the Chicago Weekly today. You can find the op-ed and add your comments here, and I’ve also pasted it below. Thanks, as always, for reading. —Love Thy Neighbor: In the wake of an attack on the Men’s Cross Country team, it’s time to rethink University-community relations

Transitions: A personal update

No more than three weeks after making my final decision to move to Ann Arbor to pursue an M.A. in Education at the University of Michigan and become a high school history teacher, it is happening: my furniture is being sold or moved, my possessions are being sorted into boxes. Yesterday was my last day at the bookstore I’ve worked at as a manager since August. On Friday I’ll be on the road to Muskegon with a stuffed car and another empty apartment behind me, and on Sunday I’ll be in Ann Arbor to begin the next stage of my life.

For many in Chicago, driving is a necessity, not a luxury

My most recent op-ed, “For us, Mr. Daley, driving to work is a necessity, not a vice” (registration required) was published today on and will appear in this week’s issue of Crain’s Chicago Business. You can find the article here as well as reprinted below: — For us, Mr. Daley, driving to work is a necessity, not a vice Ryan McCarl It is exceedingly difficult for many commuters living on the North Side to find free parking after they return from work.

Becoming a teacher and a Michigan Wolverine

I’m excited to report that I have decided to enter the University of Michigan School of Education’s Secondary MAC (MA in Education with Secondary Certification) program in mid-June. The program is 12 months long and includes over 1,000 hours of classroom experience as a student teacher and substitute teacher, resulting in full certification. I look forward to finding unique ways to show my students the importance of learning and reading as well as the value of informed engagement with current events and politics.

Quotes from Harrison's 'Returning to Earth'

It was good to finally know that the spirit was everywhere rather than a separate thing. … Clare fed our leftover sandwiches to a stray mutt, who didn’t chew the proper thirty-two times. … All of my jobs had kept me grounded in actual life whereas simply sitting in my room with my studies tended to make me unstable. … In New York City the endless blocks of huge buildings say to us, I’m serious and within me serious people are doing serious things even though five thousand people in a building might only be playing with the market edge.

Highly recommended movie: 'The Pool'

A personal update, and last quotes from Growth of the Soil

The internship is over and I am home in Muskegon, happy to use the weather as an excuse to spend entire days reading in coffeeshops. I am leaving for Japan on September 5th and my Japanese is very rusty, and there is plenty of IR and political theory I would like to cover before school starts in late September. This should be a wonderful week: home, family, friends, books, bowling, Muskegon, running on the lake.

A personal update and four quotes

I am excited about the weekend. I’ll be walking straight from work to Union Station tomorrow afternoon, and then the usual, happy routine of a quick trip home: the #370 Pere Marquette accompanied by caffeine and books (and, since it’s summer, a wonderful sunset over the harbor in St. Joseph, MI), a late-night outing to Pints & Quarts and Pablo’s Tacos with Muskegon friends, a Saturday morning trip to eat breakfast and shop for used books in Grand Haven, a few intense games of ping-pong with Tyler, and a run on the beach.

Photos of a beautiful Chicago day

Some mornings I wake up and feel an urgent need to go somewhere, to break up my routine - but in a pinch, the traveling urge can be satisfied simply by eating in a different local restaurant, sitting at a different window in a favorite coffeeshop, and exploring different streets downtown. I woke up at 8:15 this morning, took the #6 bus downtown, walked to Lou Mitchell’s (the best breakfast restaurant in America), and then spent the day exploring the West Loop, reading at Border’s, and buying some summer clothes.