Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Unthanks

Heard colleague Guy Reel listening to a fresh, intriguing sound

this morning. It comes from "Songs From the Shipyards," by The Unthanks (a British group.)

Click here--and then on the player on right side of the web page--for a cool new sound.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Class act on the field when Gamecock hurt

I've been watching football for about 50 years---pee wee, high school, college, professional.

So I've seen a lot of what makes this game so addictive--speed, strength, ballet-like coordination and balance, drive, determination and competitiveness, last second heroics...

But I've never witnessed the humanitarian good will and prayers extended by players of the opposing, visiting team when the home team's best player suffered a serious (maybe career ending) injury.

That happened yesterday at Williams-Brice Stadium (home of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks) when the Gamecocks battled the visiting University of Tennessee Volunteers.

When star Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore got hit with a vicious (but legal tackle) to his left knee, bringing him to the ground writhing in pain, paramedics raced out onto the field to attend to him.

The 90,000-plus fans at the stadium (Gamecock and Volunteer fans) went silent and lots of them said a silent prayer for Lattimore, I'm sure.

And then something really remarkable happened: Players from the University of Tennessee walked out onto the field, kneeled next to the hurt Gamecock player and prayed or bowed their heads respectfully.

Gamecock players followed suit.

Players from both benches soon surrounded Lattimore, still in excruciating pain, while medical personnel continued to work on him.

Lots of folks teared up--including yours truly.

Even the sideline reporter for the network that broadcast the game got emotional.

One of the color coverage reporters in the broadcast booth put it well: Marcus Lattimore is not only an excellent football player, he's also an excellent man. And all those players paying their respects are his brothers.

Football's a rough, demanding sport, but it also has a tender side.

Here's a YouTube clip of what I'm talking about. Bear in mind, it's a seven-minute clip (has a commercial or two in it) but be patient. You'll see something very special.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crappy fonts

Colleague Guy Reel sent me this video titled "If Movies Had Crappy Fonts."

Click here to have a look/listen.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Caroline Cooney--prolific author

I'm always impressed with published writers. So imagine how much I was moved when I got the opportunity to listen to and meet Caroline B. Cooney.

That's Caroline with yours truly in the photo accompanying this blog post.

Cooney has written more than 90 suspense, mystery and romance novels for teens. These 15 million copies have been published in multiple languages, and one of her books--The Face on the Milk Carton--became a television movie.

Meanwhile, I've yet to publish my first book, but I'm trying. Hopefully my co-author (Michael Manuel) will complete it and get it published next year. (It's a Civil War-era set novel about romance, betrayal and murder in a small mountain community in Tennessee.)

Cooney spoke last week at a dinner for the "Friends of Dacus Library." She saluted libraries as the "caretakers of knowledge" and urged the "Friends" to continue their good work of financially supporting our university's library.

Later, Dacus Dean of Library Services Mark Herring spoke of how these were uncertain times for many libraries--given the financial straits universities find themselves in and given, too, that some folks believe (erroneously) that the Internet or electronic data bases of information are fast making libraries obsolete.

But libraries like Dacus are here to stay. Bless Cooney, Herring and all those of their ilk who remind us of their value.

We need that gentle reminder from time to time.

The library as the "caretaker of knowledge."

I like that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Email might be the best form of writing

Veteran Charlotte Observer columnist/sports writer Tom Sorensen said recently that he thinks email is the best form of writing. His reasoning: email is terse, to the point and clear. There's no mistaking what most of us mean when we put our thoughts in writing in an email.

Sorensen knows a bit about writing.

He's an award-winning journalist (many, many awards) for the Observer, where he's worked for the past 25 years (20 of those writing about sports.) He's interviewed the likes of Steve Smith, Cam Newton, Jake Delhomme, Larry Johnson, Dale Curry and Mugsy Bogues. (Remember those magical years of the Charlotte Hornets?!)

Frank Barrows, former managing editor of the Charlotte Observer and currently president of the Charlotte Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, says Tom is the best sports writer in North Carolina.

The man who's written hundreds of thousands of words about the Hornets, Bobcats and Panthers is also a cancer survivor.

I'll never forget that a few years ago the Winthrop chapter of SPJ invited Sorensen, a native Minnesotan, to come be our guest speaker at Winthrop. The sportswriter was too weak to come to Rock Hill but he met us for dinner (half way between Charlotte and Rock Hill) at Shoneys. He had just gotten off a jet from Phoenix, where the Panthers played an NFL game.

Today, judging from his appearance last week at a Charlotte Pro SPJ chapter event, the accomplished journalist seems much stronger.

We at Winthrop wish him the very best. And we'll keep in mind what he said about email.