‘Fake News’ has become a fake issue

news sources

Are you sick of hearing about “fake news”? I am. The term has been rendered useless, devolving into an empty rhetorical device. People on both sides of the political divide have taken to simply calling something they disagree with “fake news,” as seen in a recent exchange on CNN. Here’s a hint: using that term now labels you as a shallow parrot.

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Everyone has challenges–overcome yours


I have mixed feelings about what some people call “disability porn.” Whether photos or videos, they feature someone with some sort of disability accomplishing something that would be a challenge for anyone, or maybe would just be an everyday thing for most people, held up as inspiration for the rest of “us.” Stella Young clearly articulated the dark aspect of disability porn in her TED talk.

On the other hand, such things really are a reminder that people–everyone–can overcome challenges. What may be missed in all this is that we all have challenges. Nobody has it easy, although when you look at someone else from the outside, it may look as if everyone else has it easier.

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Thoughts on Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day is tomorrow. It’s a difficult holiday in a convoluted sort of way–convoluted, because you want to celebrate mothers everywhere, but you also want to be cognizant of all the people who, for various reasons, find it a difficult day.

Be clear: I’m not arguing that you should not celebrate the holiday. Enjoy your joy. Recognize that others experience certain sorrows. And if you are one who finds it sorrowful, allow others their joy also; your day of joy will come another time. Continue reading “Thoughts on Mother’s Day”

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‘Be kind’ depends on kin


It seems built into our biology that we are tribal creatures. Much of what passes for racism or nationalism or sports rivalries are simply specific applications of this human tendency: I prefer members of my own tribe over those of any other. Continue reading “‘Be kind’ depends on kin”

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Meaning just hits you broadside sometimes


It’s funny how things can just hit you right out of the blue.

My wife and I were driving in town recently, when a pick up truck going the other way went by. In the back was one of those small plastic kitchens, typically aimed at five-year-old girls. You wouldn’t think something like that would have the power to induced tears, but it did. Continue reading “Meaning just hits you broadside sometimes”

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Communication lessons from my daughter

Road Closed Detour sign

I’ve mentioned my special needs daughter here before. I don’t talk about her here a lot, although in many ways she is the center of my life, because the focus of this blog is on communication skills. But every once in awhile these major areas of my life intersect. Today is one of them. Here are some things Hannah is reminding me of today.
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Marking passages

Glass graduated cylinder-50ml pl

If you’ve been around a science or medical laboratory, you have almost certainly dealt with a graduated cylinder, one of those ubiquitous devices marked off for measuring liquids. It is no coincidence that we use the word “graduation” to mark a passage from high school, from college, from graduate work. Graduation isn’t an ending; it’s simply a mark in the larger cylinder of life, though a significant one.

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Connect while you can

Carolyn and Amma

This has been a rough semester.

Three weeks ago today the college’s beloved choral director, Bill Brewer, died after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Yesterday my friend and fellow speech professor Carolyn Buttram died after living with cancer for nearly 20 years.

There’s no way around it. It sucks. But there are aspects around Carolyn’s passing that are sweet, as well as aspects I regret.

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