Monday, August 29, 2011

Aretha Franklin can brighten up any Monday

Who can sing any better?

She has a voice from heaven.

Take it away, Aretha!

Here she is with one of my all-time favorite songs:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Days left in our M/W MCOM 333 (Fall 2011) course

Days left in our M/W MCOM 241(Fall 2011) course

Days left in our T/R MCOM 241 (Fall 2011) course

Let the countdown begin...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Convocation keynote speaker writeup is puzzling

I marched in our university's annual Convocation ceremony yesterday.

Lots of pomp and circumstance and high praise for all the good, positive things that have happened at Winthrop University over the past 125 years. Faculty strutted like proud (colorful) peacocks into and out of historic Byrnes Auditorium.

However, in the "Convocation 2011" printed program that accompanied this yearly ritual I noticed this puzzling sentence about the keynote speaker:

"He was honored by the university as the 2008 Outstanding Young Alumni" for his dedication to the campus and his community."

Question: How could he be more than one person?

Get it?

Another topic: I'm glad that "Freedom of Speech" is part of Winthrop University's "Dedication For Excellence"--read verbatim and with spirit by hundreds of people at Convocation yesterday.

"I will recognize," thousands of us in the audience intoned aloud, "that I can exercise the full range of my freedom of speech and will respect the rights of others to express themselves as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."

Valuable, lofty thing this ideal we call "Freedom of Speech" at Winthrop University.

So fragile in some respects, but nevertheless enduring and monumentally important.

Because if we don't have and don't genuinely practice freedom of speech, then what's the point of any of us being here?

Farewell to Nick Ashford

Legendary Motown songwriter Nick Ashford died yesterday at the age of 70.

Kick back and enjoy "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," one of my Nick Ashford favorites, by clicking here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beautiful family pictures--from the Midwest

I forget that I have the most beautiful family in the world. Some of them are pictured here at a recent weekend visit to the zoo in St. Louis, Mo.

In one photo is granddaughter Lucy and daughter Elizabeth.

In the other photo are, from left, son-in-law Patrick, Lucy, daughter Dorothy and granddaughter Clare.

Love and hugs to you all!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Intriguing animal story (and photos)

Larry Walsh, my first cousin, emailed me the photos of these wayward juvenile Sitka black-tailed deer.

Seems the deer swam directly toward Tom Satre's 62-foot charter vessel in the icy waters of Stephen's Passage, Alaska.

Once the deer reached the boat they began to circle, looking directly at the humans on board. Clearly, the bucks were distressed. With help from those on board the vessel, the typically skittish wild animals came willingly into the boat.

The deer then collapsed with exhaustion, shivering.

All four deer were transported to Taku Harbour. Once the group reached the dock, the first buck that had been pulled from the water hopped onto the dock, looked back,then jumped into the harbour, swam to shore and disappeared into the forest.

After a bit of prodding and assistance from the humans, two others followed suit...but one straggler needed more help. (He's the one being moved in the wheelbarrow.)

Folks at the scene did not know how long the deer had been in the icy waters or if there had been others who did not survive.

The good Samaritan humans describe their experience as 'one of those defining moments in life.'

Bet the deer, if they could talk, would agree.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Escaping life's ruts

Tommy Tomlinson, a columnist/story teller for the Charlotte Observer, recently wrote that too many of us find ourselves in ruts that tend to keep our lives on hold or kill our spirit.

Maybe part of our ruts are rooted in comfort zones (those places that we settle into and don't want to leave lest someone drags us out kicking and screaming.)

Are you in a comfort zone rut?

Here are Tomlinson's thoughts:

"Some days inertia feels like the most powerful force in the world, stronger than gravity or anger or love.

"How many of our problems would vanish if we just quit doing the same stupid things we do every day? Or started doing the things we keep putting off?

"I read "The Family Circus" every morning on the comics page. A lot of people love "The Family Circus" - we find that out at the paper every time we try to get rid of it. In all the years I've read it, I don't think it's ever given me an honest laugh. But it just takes three seconds. Maybe this time Jeffy will be funny. OK, maybe next time.

"Routines become habits, and habits become ruts that run so deep it's hard to see out. When inertia kicks in, your mind clicks over to autopilot. You could live your life blindfolded. You know exactly where to go.

"That's why one of the best ways to get out of a funk is to change your routine. It can be as simple as driving a different route to work, or turning left instead of right on your morning walk, or sitting on the couch instead of in the easy chair. Those little changes alert your brain that something new is going on. It makes you more aware. You see the world instead of just passing through."

Thank you, Tommy Tomlinson.

Now to dedicate myself to breaking out of my funk.

Some will kick and scream when I do that, but so be it.

A funky, rutty life is not what we were put here to live.