Go with the flow and discover

Huge sandwich
Food Network UK’s chef Tristan Welch unveils his two stone heavy meat monster

I used to be a picky eater. I still have control issues along those lines. Recently, when the fam thought Arby’s sounded good for supper, I decided to just go with the flow and try a sandwich I’ve had my eye on. I usually will be really specific about what I want on a sandwich (“hold the pickles, add mayo,” etc.), but I decided this time, what the heck, just get the Loaded Italian sandwich, and get it the way it comes.

I really liked it, even with banana peppers on it (which I’ve always assumed I didn’t like).

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How pelicans got their beaks

Pelican

You can’t force creativity, but you can remove the roadblocks.

At the risk of sounding like an old fart (because, after all, I am one): I believe I have noticed a decrease in the ability of incoming students to think outside the pigeon hole. I don’t think students are any less intelligent, but I do think it is one of the unintended side effects of “No Child Left Untested” foisted on the American public in a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to improve public education.

I don’t want to trot down that side path right now. Regardless of the cause, I am sure I see students struggling to think creatively. You might struggle as well.

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Old ties, new media

phone

I just got off the phone with an old friend I haven’t talked with for probably 40 years. I still hear my friend from then in his voice. The call came to my phone, but I really had no idea what the actual connection was (turns out it came through Facebook Messenger).

Old ties are important, and relatively rare in American culture. Continue reading “Old ties, new media”

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‘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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If you want it to live, embody it

seed_start

Everyone has ideas. But like most everything else, ideas cannot live without flesh.

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Love is what you make it

alone

Happy Valentine’s Day! At least, I hope it is a happy one. I hope that you have someone to love, and someone who loves you. That doesn’t necessarily mean romance, by the way. Just that you care about each other–relatives, friends, lovers, it doesn’t matter, and it’s none of my business. But I wish something good for you.

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What does coaching really mean for teaching?

Peabody High School 1940 ChampionsA colleague commented on Facebook recently about the “coaching method” for teaching college composition. That label carries with it quite a bit of detail regarding approach to teaching, but there is an aspect that, I think, should be a part of every college teacher, and every speaker to some degree.

When I hear “coaching method,” I think of the football coach at my high school, Walter Kilzer. Continue reading “What does coaching really mean for teaching?”

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Time to get serious

Serious dog

It is time to get serious.

I have preached before about the need to create regularly, to write regularly, and to do so whether you feel like it or not. On the other hand, I am quite sympathetic when people struggle with this, because of my own circumstances.

I seldom mention it here, because I don’t want to whine. But these are facts: I have a severely disabled daughter who requires around-the-clock nursing, and my wife is partially disabled (in a wheelchair mostly, because of arthritis. I’m also the sole breadwinner in the household. Though we have tried to navigate the swampy morass of disability for both my daughter and my wife, we have been overwhelmed by the bureaucracy. No doubt we could crack through it, but it takes time–and time is my shortest resource.

Despite the importance of writing to me, I often find myself going days at a time without writing, mostly because all my time is taken up with taking care of The Princess (as we call my daughter), The Queen (my wife), or one of my two jobs. Plus, you know, every so often, sleeping. But writing is right up there with sleeping and eating in importance to who I am, so I am slowly starving to death.

Growing up in West Tennessee, in farming country, I learned that if you want a crop in the fall, you have to plant seeds in the spring. I am planting some seeds this month. To help get the time I need to help more people more often with effective writing and speaking, I am now offering a subscription through Patreon.

With enough subscribers, I could quit my second job, which would give more time for writing and speaking–a real win/win situation.

For most of my life, I made part or all of my living through writing–on a newspaper staff, freelancing for magazines or business publications, writing advertising copy, writing academic materials. In the last few years, as most of you know, the economy for writers has changed dramatically. The very Internet that has, to a great degree, killed traditional outlets for writers now makes it possible to connect directly with readers.

If you have never dealt with Patreon before, you may not know that it is not just a subscription model, like a year’s subscription to Time magazine for $40. There are tiers of support, and I can offer various incentives to those different levels of support. Which is what I have done.

I’m happy to share content here on the blog, and I will continue to do so, but I will also be producing content exclusively for Patreon subscribers as a way of saying thank you for the support. Would you consider checking things out and seeing if it would give you satisfaction (and a meaningful reward) to support our efforts?

You can check out the Patreon page here.

TL;DR: I’m setting up a Patreon subscription for those folks who would like to support what we’re doing here. Please consider?

 

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End of your rope?

End of rope

This is not a post about religion, but it is a post inspired by religion, I suppose. Continue reading “End of your rope?”

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The power of objects to evoke

kid-balloon

As I write this, I am in my disabled daughter’s bedroom looking at some of the balloons that float over her bed. She has no volitional control over her body–can’t sit up, can’t roll over, can’t communicate. She has never even been able to do something like blink once for yes and twice for no. We see evidence that she hears and understands what goes on around her, though–for instance, now that she is 13, if I come in and say something like, “How’s Daddy’s baby today?” she will roll her eyes like any 13-year-old would. Since she has no volitional control, it suggests to me that eye-rolling is simply a teen-aged reflex.

She follows things with her eyes, and that’s one reason for the balloons. They can float in her field of vision and provide some entertainment and diversion for what must be a very isolated experience, even though they are starting to lose their helium and dangle just above her headboard now.

As I watch those balloons, I am suddenly transported to a Nash automobile in 1959.

Continue reading “The power of objects to evoke”

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