Friday, February 29, 2008

Branding With Brahms .....

Those of you who have officed with me over the years can tell, by the photo to your right, that I am now officially installed in my new job.

All in all, the first week was a good one ..... I'm inclined to come back for a second week, and Midland College seems inclined to have me back ..... so, that's a good sign ..... Johannes doesn't go where he's not appreciated!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Giant by Anyone's Standards .....

... and a wordsmith nearly without peer ... "William F. Buckley, Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right’s post-World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died Wednesday. He was 82." CLICK HERE for the rest of the story from

While Buckley and I were near-polar opposites on so many issues, he had my near-total admiration for the way he elevated rhetoric to an art, and for his integrity. He was something of a Renaissance man who brought the same passion to scholarship, journalism, music, fiction and travel that he did to politics ..... and he was someone who truly practiced what he preached. Regardless of your philosophical stance, your world is lessened, to one degree or another, by his passing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

XM Moment: The Rest of Respighi .....

Quick ! ..... Name a work by Ottorino Respighi ! ..... Chances are, you did not think of Concierto Gregoriano ..... HERE is a snippet of that 1921 concerto for orchestra and violin, from, performed by Sir Edward Downes and the BBC Philharmonic, and violinist Lydia Mordkovitch. It's a work I had never heard before, and I loved it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My First Day At the Office .....

... went just fine, thank you! After a couple of interviews, checking references and going over my work experience, transcripts, and all that, Midland College offered me the job of Web Designer, and I accepted. I am primarily responsible for the design, update and maintenance of pages related to Midland College's website, but I'll also be expected to contribute to other projects, in other media, as well.

I'll be working for Chip McCarver, who knows a thing or ten about the Internet, himself, and I expect I'll be expanding upon what I already know - on an almost daily basis. They've taken me around MC's public information & media office, and it's as fine a group of co-workers as one could ask for, and the equipment is great! It's a Monday-Friday, eight-to-five kind of job ..... which will actually be a refreshing change from the all-days, all-hours kind of work I've done in television and print the last twenty years.

I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I'm heading to the southside Starbucks for coffee and conversation this evening ..... sharing my first-day stories, while listening to another West Texas blogger - Becky at Knitting Barista - with her own first-day stories to share.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Someone You May Not Have Read .....

..... but probably saw. The Associated Press reports that Robin Moore, author of books including "The French Connection" and "The Green Berets" (both of which were adapted for film), has died after a long illness. He was 82. Here is the rest of the story from AP. You can read more about the man, his life and career at his website. (Hat tip to Frank at Books, Inq. Epilogue)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Preach What You Practice, Redux .....

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name. Hebrews 13:15

Coming home meant, among other things, gretting back to work in support of
Upward Basketball and Cheerleading in the Tall City. Upward is "an evangelistic sports ministry specifically designed for K5 through sixth-grade boys and girls that promotes salvation, character, and self-esteem in every child." But one doesn't need to have a child in that age group - or even have a child - to get involved as an adult volunteer.

My material for today's devotionals was provided by Astrid, the head of a Christian ministry in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, that brings young people to Christ through sports and English-language-instruction. Here is what I prepared from her contributions .....

"Sawatdee ..... Greetings from the people of Thailand. I recently return from Thailand as part of a mission team that met with, and worked with a number of Christian ministries in that country. One was an athletics ministry that is bringing young people to Christ through sporting events such as this one we are attending today. They provided me with devotional material that they wanted to share with their brothers and sisters in Midland, Texas, in the United States of America."

"They wanted me to remind you that there is a referee. In basketball, there is a referee and, like it or not, he or she is the official, the arbitrator and the judge of the game. In the game of life, there is one true God. Like it or not, He is the creator, the judge, and the arbitrator of each of our lives."

"What does the Bible tell us about God and his role in creation, and the beginning? In the Old Testament, in the Book of Genesis, we are told, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (New International Version) And in the New Testament, in the Book of John, we are told, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”

"They also wanted me to remind you that there is a plan. In basketball, the coach wants the team to succeed and has a game plan for that, where each player has a role, a purpose, in helping his or her team succeed. In the game of life, God has created each of us with a purpose, because of his great love for us. God has a game plan for all our lives."

"What does the Bible tell us about God’s Plan? In the Old Testament, in the Book of Jeremiah, we are told, “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (New International Version) And in the New Testament, in the Book of John, we are told, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

"I'd like to extend an invitation to you ..... if you are looking for a church home, perhaps you have found it, here, at First Presbyterian, where we proclaim the good news of Christ's resurrection and share the forgiveness and new life found in Him. Each of us is a minister called to respond to suffering and to celebrate the joy of others. Our witness is to one another, our neighbors and the world - whether it's in Midland or in Thailand. We find strength through the study of the Word of God, through fellowship, worship, prayer, stewardship and service."

"In closing, won’t you join me in prayer ....."

Friday, February 22, 2008

And Now, This Word From ... Uh .....

Frank at Books, Inq. Epilogue put me in touch with this report by Fox News' Michael Park, asking, "how big do you have to be to earn the wrath of the United Nations and Internet giant Google?"

I'm no great fan of Faux News, and the report admittedly left me with questions about
Inner City Press, its "news judgment sometimes" being "more than a little off the mark," and its vagueness about staffing.

However, there is something bigger at work here, and I share Frank's dislike for "the idea of Google - or anybody else - making up my mind for me." In the past, there might be some solidarity among journalists, covering stories where another media outlet (even if it was a competitor) was up against some freedom-of-the-press issues. Whether this story gets much attention remains to be seen.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words .....

... include this shot of a 'broken buckle' in downtown Midland (of special interest to ARCO alumni) at Bleu Chocolate; this beautiful rendition of a room for beautiful music at Pen In Hand; and a wonderful winter scene at Just Pictures.

And let's not forget words AND pictures ..... such as
this poem by by Robert Bly at Blue's Blog.

The Blogosphere Has Spoken .....

Regardless of what some might say about us debauched harlots of the mainstream media ..... or what others might say about dang Yankees from back-east ..... this quiz by Captain Stampede tells me that ...

Thanks to the GOOD Jim at Serotoninrain (who got it from the NEUTRAL Rach at Precipitation) for the heads-up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wish Me Luck .....

I have another job interview today ..... it's a second interview with this particular organization, so I guess I made the first cut ..... that's a good sign.

I have been back in-country for a few days, and have hit the ground running in terms of work. One West Texas-based magazine for whom I have written a lot over the past couple of years, folded in January ..... but there's a new magazine that should be showing-up on local stands in the next few weeks, and I've already done some work for them.

The JBS Institute at UT-Permian Basin sent me a letter ..... 'thanks, but no thanks' ..... didn't even get to interview for that one, which is a shame - I think I could have done a good job with that one. But, at least it brings an end to a job application process that began months ago.

I'm also thinking of looking up and out in the months ahead ..... tripped over A LOT of story ideas during my mission to Thailand ..... and I need to dust-off my copy of Writer's Market (heck, just get a new edition), and start sending out some queries.

Can't rule out a return to television, either.

I'll keep you posted .....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Super Tuesday Update .....

..... from Missioner, with this post at West Texas Missioner about a landslide victory for Barack Obama in the Democratic primary ... in Jakarta, Indonesia. Apparently, their Super Tuesday got under way while we were still fluffing-up the pillows Monday night ... pesky time zones!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Yeah? So What? .....

Considering the topic of yesterday's post, I find myself hearing the latest development in the soap opera that is Bobby Knight, and thinking, "Yeah? ..... So what? ..... I'll take John Wooden over Knight any day."

Don't let that chair hit you in the butt on your way out, Bobby.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Recalling the Greatest Generation and WWII .....

This past week has featured two stories that harken back to Second World War, and the heroism of those who fought that war ..... the men and women of what Tom Brokaw called, "The Greatest Generation" .....

Fought and covered that war. First, there is this story ..... NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP) - The figure in the photograph is clad in Army fatigues, boots and helmet, lying on his back in peaceful repose, folded hands holding a military cap ... he could be asleep. But he is not asleep; he is dead. And this is not just another fallen GI; it is Ernie Pyle, the most celebrated war correspondent of World War II.
CLICK HERE for the complete story.

I love of news journalism, and I admire those who raise the bar for all of us in the profession ..... I wouldn't mind being something like Ernie Pyle when I grow up.

Then there is this story, known to all of us who have been fortunate to live in the company of Marines, but not so well known to the country at-large ..... REDDING, CALIFORNIA (AP) - Raymond Jacobs, believed to be the last surviving member of the group of Marines photographed during the original U.S. flag-raising on Iwo Jima during World War II, has died at age 82.
CLICK HERE for the complete story.

Semper Fi, Sgt. Jacobs, sir.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Could'a Knocked Me Over With a Feather .....

Considering how fast and how high the cost was rising, is anybody out there REALLY surprised by this report that the U.S. Department of Energy officially quashed the $1.8-billion FutureGen project slated for central Illinois, leaving the experimental venture to Congress for survival. Mlost of you will remember that speculation over this very development was circulating in both the actual and the virtual worlds even before the final selection of a project site, last month.