Jul 10 2015


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I’m easily distracted.

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Sep 12 2014

Bears, penguins and Mr. Natural

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Walking1When I was in college (the first time), my roommate made fun of the way I walked. He was probably right.

Has that made me sensitive to the way other people walk?

In the last year or so I’ve found myself noticing other peoples’ odd strides, weird wobbles and peculiar pacing.

Occasionally I find myself mimicking, clomping along in elephantine strides, or puffing out my chest and elbows for something more ursine.

What’s most fun is pushing out my hips and exaggerating my stride in order to become Mr. Natural. Keep on truckin’, Man!

But, “Hey, mocking people just isn’t cool, man,” you might say. Agreed. But who’s mocking?

I’m rehearsing.

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Sep 08 2014

Dr. Coyne and the ethics of literary non-fiction

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Prof. Steve Coyne kicked off this year’s Friday is Writing Day schedule with a  presentation of “Taken In,” a work in progress.

When the discussion turned to the ethics of writing literary non-fiction I thought of John Hersey and an article I read long ago: “The Legend on the License.”

While journalists cannot be issued licenses, or have their reporter badges taken away, that does not mean they are without responsibilities. Hersey, author of Hiroshima, described one critical difference between journalists and novelists: “There is one sacred rule of journalism. The writer must not invent. The legend on the license must read: NONE OF THIS WAS MADE UP.”

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Sep 25 2013

What is this person doing?

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FlowerWomanIt was late. I was in a hurry. The flowers are all going to be pulled up in a few days, so who really cares? This seemed brazen, nonetheless. But I could be wrong.

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Sep 02 2013

Why am I here?

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Last night, Rylie was staring into space. When my wife asked what she was doing, I said she was contemplating reality and questioning the existence of a god. (Because that’s what I would do if I was a dog.) In response, I received a look of skepticism.

I was only half serious when I suggested she was considering the existence of a supreme being, but then I thought, “Why not?” Why should humans be the only creatures to ponder big, philosophical questions? Animals sure have plenty of time for it. What else are cats going to do if they’re not eating?

Rylie has doggie dreams. Her legs will twitch. Sometimes she’ll yip. Or whine. Yeah, maybe she’s just dreaming about bunnies or squirrels.

Or maybe she’s being touched by god.

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Aug 29 2013

Student writing needs to be appreciated

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OK, so maybe my tweet wasn’t as clear as it could have been.

The blogs linked at the right are students in my fall semester reporting class. Throughout the semester they will be posting a variety of writing assignments. The writing process only works — and isn’t complete — until someone reads the words, decodes the information and provides feedback.

Commit now to reading their work and showing them you appreciate their hard work.

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Aug 28 2013

Bet you can’t!

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Rylie invented this game. It’s called “I bet you can’t take this out of  my mouth.” It’s a little like keep away, but there’s a lot more teasing. She pokes me with her nose until I try to grab whatever she has, then she jerks it away.

She has the most fun when the object — dry leaves work best — fits completely in her mouth. She pushes a little piece of it out of her mouth, then begins to poke. When I grab for the leaf, she hides it in her mouth. She usually wins.

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Aug 25 2013

Damn! it’s hot

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oneBFrom my perspective, as an Iowan, heat is a necessity. Cool is a luxury.

I didn’t grow up with air conditioning. Not in our house. Not in the cars we had. The first car my parents bought with air conditioning was a 1978 Dodge Diplomat. In 1978 I was a junior in high school.

Not having that history with AC is probably why it’s not a critical luxury for me now. (Yes, I said luxury.) We probably run it less than a month out of every year. We have it on in the house now, but yesterday when I got in the car, the first thing I did was roll the window down. Once you get used to the noise it’s not that big a deal.

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Aug 22 2013

Day Ones are done

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College students know what to expect on Day One: Here’s your syllabus. Here’s what I [the prof] expect. Do this for next class. See you then.

I hope I disappointed.

Day One of Intro (Comm 101) meant discussing the relevance of the mass media–content AND technology. The media have a huge impact on all of us, so having a mass comm class is more than just relevant, and it definitely should not simply be an EPV credit they can cross off their progress charts. I’m looking forward to our discussions, class.

Day One of Fundamentals meant a frothing monologue about the importance of writing and of the media, a little bit of profanity and George Carlin, and the students’ introduction to Hawkwind.

Again, I’m looking forward to the semester and the discovery — or at least recognition — that writing can still have impact, and can still change people’s perceptions.

Buckle up, ya’ll. It’s going to be a good semester!


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