Monday, April 23, 2012

Farewell slideshow created by student

Dana Farrior, a student in my Multimedia Storytelling and Production course, created this slideshow retrospective of yours truly.

Dana is in the photo accompanying this blog post. This was my very last class at Winthrop University. We took a group photo on the front steps of Johnson Hall, home of the mass communication department. (Photo courtesy of Sara Workman).

Thanks, Dana!

Turn up your sound and click below to enjoy:

Sunday, April 22, 2012


With 23 days till my career as a college professor ends, it's time for reflection.

So this blog post'll be about some of the men and women who helped get me through my 27 years at Winthrop.

First my faculty colleagues, past and present in the Department of Communications (for the past 20+ years the Department of Mass Communication.)

Bob Bristow

Louis Rosso (Corvette-driving chair of the department when I got hired in 1985)

John Sargent (deceased)

Anne Beard

William Fisher

Cathey Ross (yes, that's correct spelling of her first name)

Elizabeth Williams

Vivian Robinson

Leo Kivijarv

Glenn Surrette

William Click (current silver-haired chair of the Department of Mass Comm.)

Haney Howell

Stewart Haas (deceased)

Arny Pickholtz

Ironda Campbell

Marilyn Sarow

Robert Pyle

Beverly Horvit

Karyn Campbell

Guy Reel

Bonnye Stuart

Mark Nortz

Padmini Patwardhan

I've been blessed to work with three departmental administrative assistants who could have made their mark anywhere:

Zeta Sistare (saved my life)

Donna Coker

Jamie Low (saving my life)

Favorite technical support gurus:

Keoni Everington (marshal arts expert who taught me WebCT from the ground up and then, sadly, left Winthrop for UNLV)

Kimarie Whetstone (knows everything about Blackboard--successor to WebCT--and always returns my calls and emails)

Joey Martin (savvy crackerjack about all things Mac)

My favorite deans of the College of Arts and Sciences:

Betsy Brown (my former wife and the smartest person I've ever known)

Debra Boyd (now vice president for academic affairs)

Winthrop's presidents during my 27 years:

Phil Lader (never really knew him; ran (unsuccessfuly) for governor of S.C. my first year here.

Martha Kime Piper (a feisty leader who was with us at Winthrop for only a couple years before succumbing to leukema.)

Mike Smith (acting president who gave the coolest welcome back party ever--a beach party outside the President's House on campus)

Tony DiGiorgio (current, longstanding president who has put Winthrop on the map with all its new buildings--one named after him--and nationally accredited programs)

Other Winthrop faculty, administration or staff who I will never forget (in a good way):

Cristina Grabiel (learned a lot from her; universally respected woman)

Patricia Cormier (generous, good-hearted and smart); became president of Longwood University in Virginia after she left Winthrop; husband played a mean golf game.

Gregg Marshall (the always impeccably well dressed head coach of the the Winthrop men's basketball team); let them to the NCAA "Big Dance" seven times; established a coaching legacy in basketball at Winthrop that will never be equaled.

Melford Wilson (has visited the People's Republic of China dozens of times); is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge of all things Winthrop and Rock Hill.

Tom Moore (always knew he would ascend; now president of Upstate University in Spartanburg, S.C.)

Jonathan Marx (has a California cool about him; impresses with his sense of humor.)

Annie-Laurie Wheat (loved and respected by every student who ever had her as a professor; bakes scrumptious cookies)

Judy Longshaw (the hardest working woman at Winthrop)

Bethany Marlowe (the university's toughest job is in capable hands)

Scott Conant (taught me about leadership, coaching, teaching and encouraging others through time spent with him on the Ropes Course)

Lynn Harand (good to the core; a university key player and faculty/student valued resource for many years)

Sarah Stallings (knowledgeable,knowledgeable and knowledgeable, and bakes the most delicious cakes in the world!)

Mickey Taylor, Bert Bobb and Linda Ashley (good-hearted and selfless; represent the best of our university community)

Debbie Garrick (my former student, now part of Winthrop's powerstructure; once upon a time brought me food from the grocery story when I was too depressed to shop.)

Frank Ardaiolo (no one can spell his name, but he's a good guy; savior for the severely injured player (in the early 90s) on the Winthrop tennis team.

As faculty adviser to The Johnsonian, I served with the following editors (won't forget them!):

Carly Forsht

Lauren Huntsberger

Mary Dolan

Rebekah Woodson

Jeremy Harriot

Keri Todd Boyce

Christy Mullins

Arthur Takahashi

Anna Douglas

Lastly, I learned tons from the 5,000 or so students I had the honor of having in my courses from 1985-2012. Wouldn't begin to name them here, but I'm proud and honored to have been their mentor and instructor. So many memories, good times and lifetime friendships...

I interviewed at Winthrop College in 1985. I mused at the time: "Wouldn't it be neat to work here? So beautiful. So like a college campus should be." And amid the crepe myrtles, azaleas and magnolia trees, there stood stately, antebellum looking Johnson Hall. The home of the then-Communications Department struck me as something right out of "Gone With the Wind."

"Well," I thought, "if I can just get this job and stay awhile, I won't ever ask for anything else..."

Never dreamed I'd spend my entire career here. But life has a way of surprising us.

Three wives, four dogs, clinical depression (which I defeated), a double-bypass and a treasure trove of memories later, here I am.

It's all worked out pretty well.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Greener pastures...

Well, the old gray mare may not be quite done with journalism when he retires on May 15, 2012.

Comes word that I might be coaching a few reporters or editors this summer--via a "senior mentors" program created by the S.C. Press Association.

Read about it in the screen shot accompanying this blog post.

Police misbehaving?

I always say that cameras and camcorders are everywhere in 2012.

Accounts for a spectator (or two or three or more) capturing this "take-down" of a man at Folly Beach (near Charleston), S.C. (After you've read this post, turn your sound up and click on the clip at the end.)

Were the police acting correctly here? Listen carefully and you'll hear some of the witnesses to this incident imploring the officers to lay off. "What'd he do, sir? That's not right. He's didn't do anything...," (or words to that effect) can be heard on the video.

By the way, police pepper-sprayed the man.

I've never been pepper-sprayed, but I'm told it's not pleasant.

Here's the first few graphs of a story, reprinted from the Post and Courier in Charleston, that appeared in today's Herald in Rock Hill:

YouTube video of Folly Beach arrest draws mixed reaction
Bystander video of Folly Beach police grappling with a man on a tourist-filled strand Sunday is racking up thousands of hits on YouTube and sparking debate about the lengths officers went to make an arrest.

The two-minute video, titled “Police doing wrong!?, Charleston, SC,” shows an officer straddling and pepper-spraying a struggling suspect as he tries to place the man in handcuffs. A large crowd surrounds them, shouting questions and taunts.

The man yells that he has done nothing wrong. “I am not fighting,” he shouts, as he continues to squirm. “I am not resisting.”

An image taken from a video of a Folly Beach police officer arresting an unruly man on the strand Sunday is racking up thousands of hits on YouTube and sparking debate about the lengths officers went to to apprehend the man.
The video appears to have been shot with a camera phone. Another video is said to exist, but the man filming that footage was shot with a Taser stun gun and arrested after he reportedly became combative with a Charleston County sheriff’s deputy, authorities said.

The video that surfaced on YouTube had received more than 4,600 viewings since it was uploaded Monday. The video drew a mix of responses, with some viewers alleging police brutality and others commending the officers. Several people said police exercised remarkable restraint given the unruliness and close proximity of the crowd.

“The crowd you hear yelling is a bunch of drunken fools with no respect for the law,” wrote one viewer who claimed to have been on the beach that day.”I just hope Folly Beach hires ten more officers like these two!”

Folly Beach Public Safety Director Dennis Brown said as a matter of procedure his department is conducting an internal investigation into the use of force during the episode. The officers involved in the incident remain on duty, including Cpl. Ryland Reed, the officer seen struggling with the suspect in the video.

Brown said the episode lasted some 20 minutes, and he has called on the person who shot the YouTube video to release the entire footage out of fairness to everyone involved.

Okay, here's the video:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another dog story

The white one is my loveable Bichon Frise. His name is Michael Jackson.

The sheltie (looks like a little collie) is the one who keeps me company day and night; we are inseparable. His name is Little Joe, but I just call him Joe. (Photo of Joe and me by Hannah Flemitis)

While I'm on the subject of dogs, I watched an interesting YouTube clip about a dog that tried its best to keep traffic from running over another canine.

Click on the clip, from South America, and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

All dressed up and nowhere (almost) to go...

Feels sort of strange to be decked out in a brand new suit.

For one thing, people notice you and make interesting comments to you.

Things like: Larry, who do you think you are? Why are you wearing that? What's got into you? Are you preaching today?

Your dog even gives you the curious eye.

As I always say, if you look like a slob, people won't notice you and will keep to themselves.

If you want attention, buy yourself a new suit, like the one I have on in the photo accompanying this blog post.

Got it for a steal (sort of) at Jos. A. Bank.

Favorite quotes for today

1. "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."--anonymous

2. "Stay young. Stay foolish."--the late Steve Jobs

3. "Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?"--the late George Carlin

Congrats to our student journalists at Winthrop Univ.

I always say that we have two of the strongest student newspapers (The Johnsonian and the Roddey-McMillan Record) in South Carolina.

Proof in the pudding is how our student journalists did in the 2011 S.C. Press Association Collegiate News Contest. (Names of the winners from Winthrop were released to the public a few weeks ago.)

Congrats. to the following students! (Listed here are the winners and the contest categories they competed in.)

Feature Story

Over 5,000


The Johnsonian

Catherine Zende

Winthrop University

The Biology of Dating and Mate Selection

Front Page Layout and Design

Over 5,000


The Johnsonian

Claire Byun

Winthrop University

Collegiate Journalist of the Year


Honorable Mention

The Johnsonian

Jonathan McFadden

Winthrop University

Feature Story

Over 5,000

Honorable Mention

The Johnsonian

Jonathan McFadden

Winthrop University

Winthrop employee retires after 46 years, friends, family celebrate

Website for a Student Newspaper

Over 5,000


The Johnsonian

Winthrop University

Illustration or Informational Graphic

Over 5,000


The Johnsonian

Courtney Niskala

Winthrop University

Entertainment Guide

Winthrop Survival Guide


Over 5,000


The Johnsonian

Sarah Auvil

Winthrop University

Rosetta Cureton

General Excellence

Over 5,000


The Johnsonian

Winthrop University

Arts and Entertainment Story

Over 5,000


The Johnsonian

Monica Kreber

Winthrop University

“Chicago”: And All That Jazz

Arts and Entertainment Story

Under 5,000


Rodney McMillan Record

Crystal Booker

Winthrop University

Student’s Persistence Leads to Opportunity...


Under 5,000


Rodney McMillan Record

Jasmine Rutledge

Winthrop University

The Reality Check

Monday, April 9, 2012

Article in my hometown daily newspaper

My hometown newspaper, The Elizabethton Star, published my piece about "the blue house" that had been in our family for almost a century.

Click here for the link to the newspaper article.