Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's About Education ... and Compassion ...

World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. It is common to hold memorials to honor persons who have died from HIV/AIDS on this day. Government and health officials also observe the event, often with speeches or forums on the AIDS topics.

The same will be happening right here, in the Tall City.

The MC Student Government Association, Midland/Odessa Area AIDS Support (MAAS) and the Texas Department of State Health Services will host a ceremony honoring those who have lost their lives to AIDS, and those who are dealing with AIDS on Tuesday, November 30, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the F. Marie Hall Academic Building, Rooms 110/111. The ceremony will also include the reading of an official proclamation by Midland Mayor Wes Perry. The public is invited to attend.

On Wednesday, in observance of World AIDS Day, these same groups will offer FREE HIV/AIDS testing and 10-minute counseling sessions from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the F. Marie Hall Academic Building, Room 110/111.

For more information, please contact Stephanie VanCuren at (432) 685-4543.

According to reports prepared by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007, and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV as of 2007, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. UNAIDS goes on to report that, despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 2 million lives in 2007, of which about 270,000 were children.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Blogging from The Game, Wrap-up

And that's it ... game over .. the Midland Bulldogs fall to the Coppell Cowboys, 7-49.

An end-of-game custom - the team and the cheerleaders gather in front of the home stands, swaying, singing as the band plays the alma mater. There's usually a large gathering of fans, too - but only a small group of stalwarts remain, this time around.

Let's be clear on one thing - WE SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF OUR BULLDOGS. They have flaunted the predictions and ignored the pre-season prognosticators over the course of the season, and into the playoffs, and have done the Tall City proud!

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 10

Keeping spirits up ... The Bulldog Band is playing La Bamba, and EVERYONE is joining the conga line - bandsters, the guys who carry the M, H and S banners, cheerleaders from Coppell, you name it.

While praising the football team, we also need to tip our hats to the band, too. They've done an outstanding job this season.

Midland High's Air Force ROTC has come over to the sound of the music - these young men and women have been at every game, playing an important role in presenting the colors. They've also been an enthusiastic spirit section during the games.

Two minutes left in the game. Still 7-49 in favor of Coppell.

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 9

Now into the fourth quarter. It's been a back-and-forth thing ... Midland turns the ball over on an interception. Then Coppell turns the ball over on downs. Woods is back in at quarterback. Then Midland punts ... then Coppell punts. Then Midland turns over the ball on another interception. Score still 7-49 in favor of the Cowboys.

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 8

The second half is underway. Holifield is on at quarterback on the Bulldogs' first possession of the game, moving up the field and into the wind.

Halftime was good. Both Midland and Coppell boast outstanding bands. The Bulldog Band's drum line positively ROCKS.

Coppell takes over on downs. Six minutes into the third quarter, the Cowboys score. They now lead the game 7-49.

I'm surprised at the number of empty seats in the Midland stands ... still in line for concessions, I guess.

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 7

Twenty seconds left in the first half, Coppell scores again, and now leads Midland 7-42.

There's the whistle - halftime. This one will have performances by both schools' band - two large and very good ensembles.

Wondering what's being said in the Bulldogs' locker room right now, and what adjustments we might see in the second half.

Bulldog highlights in the first half include Donovan Anders. It is SO exciting when he gets the ball and runs it down the field. During the second quarter, Coppell used the wind at their back to full effect, with kickoff going out of the end zone, and away from Donovan.

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 6

(sigh) 2:45 left in the first half, and Coppell scores again. They now lead 7-35.

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 5

Two minutes into the second quarter, score still 7-21, and the Bulldogs are moving down the field - but they lose it on downs at the Cowboys' 30-yard line.

Good turnout today. The Midland stands are full, except for the student sections - and they're slowly catching up.

Coppell has a good turnout, too. I'm guesstimating 500+ fans, plus band, cheerleaders, dance team, etc. And more Coppell fans are still arriving.

Four-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter, the Vowboys score again. They now lead 7-28.

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 4

Five-and-a-half minutes into the first quarter, Coppell gets the ball for a second time, drives down the field, and scores again. They lead 7-14.

Two minutes later, the Bulldogs are forced to punt - and it's a doozy, finally stopping at Coppell's 2-yard line.

it theCownoys step up to the challeng, driving nearly the entire length of the field. And they score, now leading 7-21.

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 3

WOW!!! ... Talk about responding in kind!

The Bulldogs receive their first kickoff and - 4 plays, and 75 seconds later - go in for THEIR first score. Game tied 7-7.

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 2

And we're under way ... and OUCH!

Coppell received the first kickoff and- 3 plays, and 75 seconds later - went on for the game's first score. They lead 0-7.

Blogging from The Game, Pt. 1

It's 62 degrees out. Very sunny, with only a light layer of high, thin clouds. Kind of windy ... but, hey, it's West Texas. Mostly, it's out of the south and, IMHO, it's enough to impact kicks, passes, etc.

All in all, not a bad afternoon for football, as the Midland Bulldogs prepare to take on the Coppel Cowboys in the third round of the 5A high school football playoffs.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What's In a Word? .....

William Shakespeare once suggested that "beauty is bought by judgement of the eye." With a deeply deferential bow to the Bard, I would go on and add my own scribble, that "sense is bought by judgement of the ear."

Which brings me to a verbal gaffe by Sarah Palin, the uproar - or lack thereof - over said gaffe, and the ensuing backlash towards those who did choose to raise an uproar.

Apparently, in the course of a radio interview Sarah Palin told Glenn Beck that America "has got to stand with our North Korean allies" in the situation that has arisen after the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong was devastated by a North Korean artillery attack.

Okay, so she made a mistake ... it happens to all of us at one time or another ... Beck corrected her, she corrected herself, let's move on with it, alright?

Heck, I didn't even hear of it until well after the fact. I don't care for Beck's program, and there was little or no mention of Palin's gaffe in the major news websites, in the papers, or on network television news broadcasts.

But the blogosphere? That was a different matter. The goof was added to a long list of "Palinisms" assembled by the bluer bloggers ... and you've probably noticed that news searches on engines such as Google are continuing to give weblogs and social media a greater profile - all of which served to help the gaffe find its place on the major news sources.

Even then, though, the story (if we can justify calling this a "story") might have withered, if Palin had not stoked the fire herself, "lashing out" at critics with jabs at others who have made mistakes of their own. Personally, I wish she would have just let the thing go. Like I said, it happens to all of us at one time or another ... let's move on with it, alright?

It's happened to our current President (one of the targets of Palin's jabs), and it happened to his predecessor, and to HIS predecessor. They all moved on, placed their gaffes in their proper perspective, emphasized what was truly important to the American people, and achieved success in their political ambitions.

As the son of a man who was one of "the Chosin Few," I can't help but think that our attention to developments on the Korean Peninsula are better devoted to other topics than Sarah's slip ... let's move on.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I took these shots earlier this week, during a walk around the mall and Beal Plaza, at the heart of the Midland College campus where I work. I hope you enjoy them. If you have some time during the long holiday now underway, you and yours might want to come up here yourselves, walk around, and enjoy the fall colors in person ... my pictures really don't do them justice.

I'll leave these with you as a seasonal postcard, of sorts. Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Call It What You Will ... But MARK It .....

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved,
and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt. Col. John Alexander McCrae, MD - Canadian Expeditionary Force

Here in the U.S., one doesn't see the poppies on people's lapels so much, as we used to when were children ..... One of the most ridiculous victories in America's 'war of drugs' was the declaration by 'drug czars' and their staffs that the poppy reminded people of addiction to drugs, rather than appreciation to those who gave the 'last full measure of their devotion' in service to their country. Such is not the case in Canada, England, and other countries that once formed the 'Commonwealth.' The paper poppies - and the fundraising for veterans' relief that they represent - have been prominent in photos and video the past couple weeks.

Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day ..... call it what you will ..... but find some way to mark this day. Here, in America, the focus of the day has been expanded to honor all men and women who, throughout history, have answered their country's call to serve. There have been many in our own family, but - mindful of the origins of this particular holiday - I will tell the boys of their great-grandfather Frederick, a sergeant with the 102nd Balloon Company, U.S. Air Service, American Expeditionary Force, and his service in France during the First World War.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ooops!!! ...

With a tip o' me bonnett to Robert Burns, "the best-laid schemes (and demolition charges) o' mice an 'men gang aft agley." From msnbc.com's PhotoBlog comes this report that a 275-foot smoke stack in Springfield, Ohio fell toward spectators and surrounding buildings as it fell the wrong way during its demolition.

If you look closely at the photo, you'll see that most of those spectators are are shown in mid-stride ... I know I would have been!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Texts from the sidelines ...

In the "For What It's Worth" department, here's a transcript of the texts I was sending a Bulldog fan, from the sidelines at last night's football game between Midland High and Abilene-Cooper. TRUST ME, no words of mine could match the excitement of being there ...but here it is anyway ...

Grande Stadium is ROCKING!!!

MHS went ahead, 42-35, with about four minutes left in the game.

Cooper's ball. MHS intercepts a Cooper pass with about three minutes left in the game!

MHS has the ball on Cooper's 35, trying to burn up that clock, and maybe get another score. Cooper's using its timeouts, trying to save time and get the ball back.

Both schools' bands are CRANKING ... both schools have a large, loud cheering section.

Two-and-a-half minmutes left, MHS went for it on fourth down - and MISSED it by a couple of inches!

Cooper gets the ball on downs :-(

Cooper driving down the field - 48 seconds left.

Cooper into MHS territory - 31 seconds left.

Penalty on MHS - Cooper has first down on our thirty - 20 seconds left.

EVERYBODY is on their feet - 7 seconds left.

Cooper makes a "Hail Mary" into the end zone - MISSES - game over!



Okay, back to here and now. After the game, I visited for a while with a reporter/still photographer from Abilene. A gentleman about my age, with a fine moustache and an easygoing, friendly manner. We shook hands, and complimented one-another's hometown teams. We both agreed that we had just watched a GREAT game.

"Aren't you glad we're back together in district," he asked. "You bet I am," I answered.

The Cooper team held a long meeting in the southern end zone, then headed up the field to their locker room. They passed in front of the MHS Bulldog Band, which gave the Abilene players, coaches, cheerleaders and supporters a long and enthusiastic round of applause. Plenty of the visitors waved back, held up their helmets or tipped their hats ... some smiled.

It's nice to see that there are those who take seriously that standard speech read at the start of every game, asking everyone to respect one another, to respect one another's efforts and achievements.

"Take care on the road home," I heard more than one Midlander tell a visitor up in the locker room parking lot, where teams, bands and cheerleaders were loading up their busses.

All in all, a wonderful night ... glad I was there.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Poor Lebron ... what SHOULD he do? ...

Okay, so I'm still in social media mode ... this time jumping from Twitter to YouTube, where I am confronted with one question from Lebron James - "What should I do?" - and two different answers.

Here's the answer from Mr. James, and Nike ...

... and here's an answer from some folks up-north, especially those whose hearts beat a little quicker in close proximity of Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena ...
Now, as a one-time Pennsylvanian, I rarely find myself siding with my brothers and sisters of the Buckeye State ... especially during football season. But I gotta admit - I feel more than a little sympathy for THEIR response on what Mr. James should do.

"Tweets" offer some perspective on rapper's release ...

Maybe I'm demonstrating my social media savvy ... or maybe it's something not-so-great that I'm demonstrating. Either way, when I sign-off from my Twitter account, I stay in front of the computer a few minutes longer, to watch their rotator of current tweets on a variety of trending topics.

I know, I KNOW ... I could be reading books and magazines, surfing the web, or even - gasp! - getting out and talking to people. But there I am, nonetheless, parked in my chair and soaking up someone else's virtual wisdom, 140 characters at a time. Today, there's more than a lil discussion of Lil Wayne.

Earlier today, the headlines started sharing the news ...

Rap star Lil Wayne released from NYC jail
NEW YORK (AP) — Lil Wayne has been freed from jail after serving eight months in a gun case, emerging with a hot new album, well-wishes from a former president and a deepened appreciation for his fans. The city's Department of Correction website said Thursday the Grammy Award-winning rap star had been released from the Rikers Island jail complex.
CLICK HERE for the rest of the AP story

"FREE AT LAST!!!!!!!" the rapper's longtime manager, Cortez Bryant, Tweeted Thursday morning. And A LOT of the rapper's fans have been tweeting their love right back. But, at the same time, some are tweeting a different tune ... one that caught my attention.

sammyjay77African Americans tweeitng hard about lil #Wayne Released after gun crime but didn't tweet this hard about voting on Tuesday. Amusing!

DontezGripnemIf as many ppl that's excited about weezy coming home was excited about voting the other day, maybe the republicans wouldn't be in office.

Adri_ManeYou should be more excited about whats going on in the government than about Lil Wayne getting out of Jail. He aint helping you survive.

YourFavWhiteGuyNo blacks at the voting polls and every black celebrating Weezy's release at Rikers. Do I even need to add a punchline to this?

MrMason251Black people care more about a rapper being released than Voting. Let's see if Wayne pays for your Healthcare. #welcomehomeweezy

I seem to find myself in a smaller and smaller minority - I enjoy some coverage of entertainers and their work, as much as the next guy. But there are times when I find myself saying, "enough already!" I don't need round-the-clock television networks devoted to entertainment news, I don't need an intense panel discussion of why a celebrity did - or did not - do whatever is being trumpeted in the tabloids. And I can't help but think there are bigger stories going on around the world.

Back to those tweets ... one can say a lot, even when confined to just 140 characters - and I've gained a lot of respect for the ability of some to say a lot with a little. And while those who specialize in composing headlines and sub-headers for newspapers may no longer be in such great demand, there is a place for them in social media such as Twitter.

On a related note ... while watching that rotator, something I saw on NUMEROUS occasions was a retweet of "Open google maps, get directions from Japan to China, and skip to the 43rd step." So, I finally did ... it WAS pretty funny.