Sunday, January 30, 2011
We owe these guys a debt of gratitude for their perseverance in roaming the hallways so many years ago, taking the pictures for our yearbooks and whatever copies of the school newspaper still survive. Now I know that any excuse for getting out of class to do something more interesting was an enjoyable perk and taking pictures isn’t too strenuous. Yet, for the most part, whatever visual record we have left from those years at EH is to the credit of LeRoy and Dick. LeRoy was a school yearbook photographer all three years he was there, 1960-63, and was one of the top class scholars. I think he worked with Steve Franks (’62) for a year or two.
During the years my offspring were growing up I noticed that the photographic quality of their yearbooks was not as good as ours of the early 1960s. One likely reason for that is that LeRoy and Dick used a medium format camera which can be seen in the accompanying picture of the two of them. By the time our offspring went through those years, everyone was using smaller format 35mm cameras…the pictures just weren’t as sharp, largely due to the smaller negatives.
Both Dick and LeRoy are still living in the DFW area as far as I know. It would be a good project for someone in the area to look them up to see if, per chance, they still have those old negatives packed away in a closet. If so, we could pull some sharp scans from them that would knock your socks off.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram negatives from the 1960s are in the Special Collections section of the University of Texas at Arlington Library. Electronic copies of specific pictures in a .tiff or .jpg format can be purchased for a nominal fee. You would need to be able to estimate the date of the picture with some accuracy in order to narrow the librarian’s search for the right picture. The closer, the better.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Bette Perot taught a class called "Health & Safety" to 8th grade students at Meadowbrook Jr. High during the 1950s. She moved and spoke just like her brother, H. Ross, who at that time had not yet made his mark. In my memory, she came across as a feisty sort. I made all "As" in her class, about which I remember essentially nothing. I think it was 1950s version of sex education, but I could be wrong about that.
Come to think of it, that NHS chapter formed at Meadowbrook was so exclusive that a straight "A" card was not enough! Kiddies, that's how tough some our old days were...sad to see that recently Meadowbrook Middle was on the State's watch list for poor academic performance.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
There was a State of the Union speech last night. I didn't watch it. Figured that if anything worthwhile occurred, today's news would spew it out, ad nauseum.
Neat little slogan seemed to be launched...WIN THE FUTURE. It took me about 2-3 seconds to notice the obvious acronym. Difficult to believe that some snarky little speech writer thought himself clever beyond all reasonable expectation when he dreamed this one up. Will be interesting to see if it has any legs today.
Monday, January 24, 2011
For much of our lives we’ve all heard about “honest Abe” and honesty is the best policy. Long-time House Speaker, Sam Rayburn (D-TX), was known to counsel his younger colleagues, “Son, always tell the truth, that way you don’t have to remember anything.”
Abraham Lincoln (R-IL), was known for his forthright honesty and was also responsible for the South becoming a solid Democrat voting block for over a century.
Guys, if you’ve been paying attention to the ladies in your life, then you’ve probably noticed their amazing propensity for phrasing questions that are either unanswerable or incredibly risky to sustained harmony, should you offer an answer…any answer at all.
As men, we utterly hate to admit that we don’t know something—we feel it diminishes our stature to say, “I don’t know.” It's in the DNA. And also as men, we recognize that there are some questions our ladies ask that cannot be answered in any manner that would avoid us being emotionally pummeled. Do we tell the truth, or do we lie, or do we try to find a quick way out of the room?
This great commercial wonderfully illustrates ours, and Honest Abe’s predicament:
Friday, January 21, 2011
I first recall hearing of email in the late 1980s with the arrival of CompuServe and Prodigy for the masses. However, since the use of those services required that you have someone else online to receive your messages, the early years were slow going with respect to common usage--together both services had slightly more than 1,000,000 subscribers and there weren't any other significant ISPs in the business then. By the mid-1990s AOL came on with strong marketing push and simple software. Millions of new users started going online and email began to flourish as a new communication mode.
We belatedly went on line about 1999 in our office, together with a clumsy email client program and began emailing with utter abandon. Unfortunately many of the people flocking to email communication had little or no training in the downside of written communications. Those of us who had been communicating in professional capacities for decades immediately recognized the inherent risks with this new form of communication.
Boston political boss Martin Lomansey was an individual that understood the value of discretion. He is attributed with the famous quote: “Never write if you can speak, never speak if you can nod, never nod if you can wink.” Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is attributed to putting a modern twist on the famous quote, “and never put anything in an email.”
Early on, I noticed that people were writing email messages I would never dream of writing—although I might consider voicing those sentiments now and then.
As a fledgling professional years ago, I was ready and able to engage in corporate battle over a number of issues until I circulated one especially caustic report castigating a headquarters dolt. Although I had the dolt over a barrel on that particular issue, a senior manager took me aside and explained the fine points of written communications within a large company, which more or less followed the advice of Boston's Mr. Lomansey. He specifically pointed out that whatever you write down can come back to haunt you even years later. The lesson: be very careful what you write.
I don’t think many companies have been formally training their employees in the prudent use of written communications; perhaps like me, those lessons are still taught one-on-one. However, if you are interested, one of the online magazines today published an 18-point list of things to consider when writing emails that can be found HERE.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
These sheets are probably quite rare as there was no yearbook published during our junior high years; just these composite pages printed in the school newspaper. You've got to be quite a pack rat to have saved this kind of stuff all these years, and that I am.
Then you have to fumble around with the scanner to get the oversize sheets digitized in pieces and stuck together. Enjoy the memories.
I think I counted about 230 pics here which would be more than 2/3 of the 1963 EH senior class. However, a fair number of these kids went to Poly after this and we picked up a contingent from Handley at EH.
Any idea how many 6th grade classes fed this school and from which elementary schools?
Sagamore Hill Elementary
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
I like to group a few similar strips together and post them here as a means of storing them for later reference. Hope you enjoy them, too. But if you don't, no matter...they're in storage for now.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I'll probably pull this post back after a few days...didn't really want to deal with it. However, the cartoon someone sent me today was too pointed not to share. The outrage is, as most of us know, just another incident in a long line of similar senseless violent incidents stretching back at least to JFK and Dallas. I'm sure there are some actuarial calculations that would accurately predict losses like this over any given period of time.
That's not to diminish the profound loss to the families. However, the vulgar media and political circus that quickly sprung up immediately after the crime was truly repugnant. Leftists of all stripes took their wild shots at anything they could, to see if anything stuck. I think they have been successful in further exposing their own decay. I don't know what good can come of something like this...but maybe something can. We can hope.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Power has never been one of my driving ambitions, nor has respect for it. However, I do recognize that situations vary and so do definitions of POWER.
This picture of a heavy cell closing in on downtown Miami some years ago is one that I've liked and have wanted to use as an illustration of one of my thoughts about POWER. Donald Trump may not be the best person to use in illustrating my thought, but until I can find a better image, I hope he doesn't mind my use of his image. I think he was actually defending his wife when that picture of him was taken.
There are plenty of times that you have to pick your fights carefully due to an imbalance of power. Some fights are worth the fighting, and many aren't. The writings of Sun Tzu are based on those notions.
In this illustration I imagine a situation where a powerful man, a substantial land owner, and an employer of other men in his service is confronted with a situation that he can neither master nor control. He is the master of and controls much of those people and things around him, but alas, he is much smaller than the little dot.
Imagine that powerful man (personified by Mr. Trump, or a suitable substitute) standing on the very pinnacle of his tallest building, surrounded by a cluster of his other tall buildings as he screams, shakes his fist, and demands that God take his crap somewhere else...then, imagine the lightning bolt.
Friday, January 07, 2011
Williams came out of the deal sitting pretty. He's got a big book deal and is being used more as a commentator on Fox News.
Meanwhile, today in the 112th House of Representatives first business session, the United States Constitution is being read into the record. This is a useful thing to do, since the 111th House, led by former Speaker Nancy Pelosie, showed clear signs that the Democratics had no idea that such a document existed. They took no time to read the legislation they rammed through, so the notion that any of them might have read the Constitution lacks merit.
As for Vivian, keep in mind that there is no way that Ellen acted in a vacuum when she fired Juan Williams. Ellen almost certainly acted on orders from her supervisor....Vivian. H-m-m.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
I didn't hit the bird, of course, but a lot of others did hit a lot of other birds. Maybe the locals saw it as an opportunity to thin the numbers of a predator that troubled them in other ways. I don't know. This New Zealand video illustrates how the birds behave...the first minute or so tells the story well enough-they won't leave the meal.
Late that afternoon into early evening an amazingly clear face formed in the clouds right over the lake...all of us saw it, clear as a picture. It was a huge Maori mask...maybe it was Matau. I don't know, but its appearance stayed there for a long time and abruptly ended any further ambition on my part to go see the Milford...several people died that night down the lake. True story, so help me.
See where my mind can go from a few thoughts about some dead birds in Arkansas?
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Photography is only about 150-years old and although good portraits can be found of people taken about 100-years ago, really good portraits much older than that are nearly non-existent. However, with recent advancements in computer modeling technology it is possible for scientists to start with mummified remains or even an accurate painting of George Washington and produce a 3-D likeness that is most likely very accurate to the original.
Enlarge the picture and imagine viewing someone from another time as they were at a point in their lives. What would you say if they could talk?
Fascinating, isn't it?
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
John...it was too fast and too short, mate. Thanks for the laughs and God bless you.
Monday, January 03, 2011
Anonymous posted this story in one of the comments sections and swore it was true. I don’t know, but thought I would share it in case someone else had heard of it.
“Almost 50-years ago, sometime during our senior year a master key to the school mysteriously showed up in the hands of one of our close circle of friends. I don’t recall exactly who had it when I first saw it, nor do I recall the story of how it came into our possession. However, I clearly recall some of the things we did and I am still somewhat troubled to have been a part of it.
“Apparently some prominent members of the Class of 1962, and maybe even of the classes before them, had established the practice of purloining 6-weeks exams and semester final exams. This was done during the second or third 6-wk period of each senior year and involved what was, simply stated…breaking and entering.
“About mid-way through the first senior semester the basic information of how to do it was passed from a ’62 to a ’63 Highlander. The means of entry was by breaking a window in the shop garage door near the latch handle, raising the door and walking in. I think the 1963 Third Shift Scholars used the broken glass method only once, then someone came up with a master key to all locks in the entire school.
“Of course, this was done in the dead of night and there were no burglar alarms, night watchmen, or video surveillance to worry about. The point of entry was in an area that was well below ground level and hidden from any passing traffic. Once in the school, there was still the problem of locked classroom doors, but seldom were the transoms locked. For a small group of lithe seventeen-year olds, boosting one of them up and through the transom was no problem and once in, the door was simply unlocked. After the master key appeared, even this bit of gymnastics was unnecessary.
“Teachers were creatures of habit, so the tests tended to be in the same place each time—Coach Willingham kept his American History exams under his small desk top lectern, other teachers used a certain desk drawer, and still others used a shelf in their cloak closet. We took only one copy of each test and checked to determine if more than one test version was being used. Although it is of little solace, we never caused damage or took anything but the tests.
“With the test in hand we retired to one of the guy’s houses to conduct a ‘study session’ where we would work out the answers and determine who would miss what questions and how many of them. We thought it important that we not all score 100 on the exams when a 96 or 98 would do and we also thought it important that we not all miss the same questions or finish too quickly.
“Once the answers were worked out, which often took more time than was allowed for the test itself, we had to commit everything to memory. Frequently the test questions were nebulous which triggered a spirited debate about their true meanings.
“I recall only one occasion that a teacher became suspicious and that was Mrs. Priddy in her English class. One of her tests was very, very difficult, probably designed to drive class grades down to enable her to implement a curve for reasons I never knew. We spent an inordinate amount of time working that test out and arranging the execution plan—who would miss what. When she returned the graded tests, I recall her having an exasperated expression on her face each time she reached one of our desks.
“Since our Third Shift Scholar program started so late in our matriculation, there could have been very little effect on the final standings which had been accumulating for almost 3-1/2 years at that point. Our goal was not to improve our class standing, it was to improve life our final few weeks in school before we would move on to the next 50-years or so.
“We caused some mischief on only a couple of occasions. Otherwise, nothing was ever stolen or vandalized. One of those occasions was very late in our last semester when we raised Mr. Johnson’s glass desktop with everything on it undisturbed and inverted his desk beneath it, then replaced the glass top with everything on it on the upturned legs, phone and all. I would love to have seen his reaction the next morning as he then knew for sure that he had a problem.
“For the next few weeks we knew that Tommy Castillion had been tasked to help find the culprits. His questions and conversation tone gave him away, so all we needed to do was not talk to him and we didn’t.
“The last time I went in was late in the summer after we had graduated. I suppose this was a kind of last hurrah before we struck out for colleges scattered around the country. Once inside the school, with no particular purpose in mind we noticed that all the card files for the fall 1963 registration were set up on tables in the hallways. Someone thought it might be amusing if those cards were missing when folks came in the next morning. So we relocated all the card boxes in some upstairs lockers leaving the tables bare. I never heard how that came out and never went inside the school again.
“Not knowing how your clever jokes played out was one of the downsides to the mischief. But talking about that stuff at all was simply not something any of us wanted to do. That is my story"
Gus says, "I'm speechless"
Sunday, January 02, 2011
If you’ve thought there have been a lot of tech stuff thrown at you in recent years as I have, you’re right. Google: “ the decade's 30 biggest tech flops “ for an interesting pictorial essay showing and describing flops picked by Cnet. There are articles there for 2009 and 2010. It’s an entertaining read if you are at all interested in this topic.
Now and then something comes along to provide a succinct illustration of a complex problem that would require lots of words to describe. Yahoo's list of 10 things to avoid in 2011 provided a great example of why I'm a little slow to accept new technologies. Read the words within the red box above.
It's not that I'm against new technology, it's that I'm not one to support racing to market with things that are not well thought-out and I'm unwilling to waste my time and money on "beta" products that serve mostly to assist over-anxious marketeers in their quest to get to market first with their wares. Wait a couple of years, the bugs will be ironed out, and the marketeers will be focused on the next generation while closing out the things that are now debugged and reliable. It's always been the best time to make your purchase.
I suppose it's the age-old battle between sales and production within a company. "Sell the sizzle" scream the marketeers while "the damned thing doesn't work and it's dumb" grumble the production folks. "Never mind" say the bosses, "ship it."
The coffee maker described above illustrates something that can happen when one company faction has technical skills, but no common sense, another faction builds it even though it's dumb, and the boss knows nothing more than how to read a balance sheet.
Apply this illustration to almost anything you see that causes you to wonder if people are really dumb enough not only to build it, but also to buy it and you could probably explain why so many dumb things occur.
And keep in mind that the techie crowd is pushing to operate airliners without pilots and the bosses can see only the balance sheet where the reduction in labor costs would appear as an increase in earnings. Can it be done? Well, it's being done now where armed drones over Afghanistan are being remotely "flown" from Tampa, FL.
We can...but should we? Call me old school...I would not get onto an airplane without a pilot; in fact, I wouldn't get on one flown by a pilot named Kristin or Misty, either. But that's just me.