Archive for July, 2012

Rare Birds

Author Elizabeth Gehrman

My friend Elizabeth Gehrman‘s book “Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction” is being published this October by Beacon Press. Publisher’s Weekly calls the book “bittersweet“: “Nature and travel journalist Gehrman shares the quirky tale of an eccentric Bermudan ‘born naturalist,’ David Wingate, who nearly singlehandedly saved the cahow—otherwise known as the Bermuda petrel—thought to have been extinct since the 1600s. … Wingate’s single-minded passion and his ability to foster the birds, habitat, and Bermudans’ environmental awareness should make readers wish for more ‘rare birds.'” I’ve pre-ordered my copy!

Elizabeth and I worked together on a few projects back in the day.

Wan Yong Chon

RIP, Professor Chon. Your children are all amazing and profound.

The Boy Scouts

The reaffirmed ban against gay participation in The Boy Scouts of America is dispiriting. I hope that local troops ignore the ban and continue to foster safe environments and adventurous, educational times for school-age boys no matter their orientations.

Back in the day, my brother and I were boy scouts, in Fairport, NY’s Troop 209. We both made the rank of Eagle, though I was nowhere near the ingenious camper my brother was. We were each known, though, as story-tellers around the fire. And the crowd of boys around the fire with us, in real fellowship, could not have been assembled the same way in the schools, where cliques and ethnic, socioeconomic status often erected dividing walls between us.

Update: Even Boy Scouts Of America’s PR Firm Opposes Anti-Gay Discrimination.

Richard Chon’s Soundtracks

Richard Chon

My good buddy Richard Chon – leader of that great Western Swing band The Saddlecats – has launched a new website, called “Dancing About Architecture,” to provide an online venue for his wonderful soundtrack work. Listen. (See some of the films themselves here.)

**Update** (July 28): Dancing About Architecture is now also home to Richard’s new blog. What a joy it is to read his prose! His first post is called “Guilty Pleasures: The Music of Sam Spence.”  Spence was the “house composer” for NFL films. Chon writes: “Spence’s music has high artisanal integrity. Its abundance of craft – he never sets a foot wrong – bespeaks a rigorous musical training, and his arguments are executed in bold, confident strokes of orchestral color.  One always feels that Spence is hitting his marks, that he’s gotten the effect he is going after. His sequences have a gratifying sense of logic, a thrilling sense of sequence and escalating tension, and they provide splendid pay-offs. Spence’s juggernaut cues build inevitably to grand and eloquent climaxes. And they speak with a confident rhetorical self-possession that just can’t be faked. That’s probably the most attractive thing about Spence’s music: it has the courage of its own convictions. Like William Holden and company in ‘The Wild Bunch,’ it walks the walk.”

Teaching Public Communications: Practicing Privacy, Protecting Copyright

This summer I’ve been preparing materials for a class I’m teaching for the first time (an upper-level marketing class, focusing on digital / social media) as well as reformulating two other courses (an advanced professional communications class for the Entrepreneurial Leadership program and a workplace communications class for students in the Special Education Teaching Assistant program). Kwantlen directives have been “evolving” this year on the issues of both privacy (on the internet and otherwise) and the use of copyrighted materials in the classroom.

I’m a bit astonished by how much additional preparation this is requiring in terms of selecting and organizing academic activity in and out of the classroom. Privacy and copyright are serious but not always completely defined issues – especially as far as “privacy” is concerned; “solutions” are therefore even *less* defined. Professional writing is about appearing, verbally, in public. How am I going to teach this?

My answer is something I don’t want to screw up. (I’ll let you know what I come up with!)

It is a good thing that my funky pad in Olympia has no TV, because I can’t afford to blow any time this summer. There’s just enough time for preparing classes, studying, writing, taking pictures, and enjoying friendship.

Update: Links to Privacy Protocol (from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner) and Copyright information added.

July 4 & in the USA

Photo: “Motherhood,” sculpture by Simon Kogan, at Percival Landing, Olympia.

After American Thanksgiving, July 4th – American Independence Day – was always my favourite holiday when I lived in the States. There were no obligations beyond conviviality and bringing bean dip and the like to pot luck BBQs in your friends’ back yards or in the park nearby. Friends always seemed to bring someone new to these happy events, and sometimes frisbees, too.

I’m blessed to be back in the States for the summer, among cherished friends, and for today’s celebrations of what is good in the nation in which I was raised. “To be with those I like is enough.”