My First Tattoo – July 1988

60 days until my birthday. 25 years ago, in honor of my sobriety, I got this tattoo. It was my first one. In Madison, WI, it was all the trend to get a tiny quarter-sized tattoo on your shoulder. Drinking is self-destructive. I wanted to something that was symbolically the opposite. The tattooist said, “You think this is all you’ll…


Graduation at BRCC 2013

Of all the graduation ceremonies in higher ed that I’ve seen, BRCC’s are the best. I’ve attended a couple that were bittersweet due to specific personal relationships. Overall, however, BRCC ceremonies are the best delight. Nowhere are the students and their parents more joyous, proud, and celebratory. The things these students do to earn their place in line are astounding.…


What is Communication, Exactly?

This week I encountered a moment of synchronicity that sheds light on the state of affairs in my academic discipline of communication(s), aka communication studies, aka speech communication, or well, the major commonly known as “it’s kinda hard to put into words.” The moment is circular, a snake eating its tail. I received yet another email stating professional concern for eliminating…


Gratitudes: Grandma on Mother’s Day

Keeping track of gratitudes helps keep me positive and appreciative. The only rule is people can't be on the list because there are too many to name. Focusing on the small things keeps me mindful. Here's my gratitudes for today.

Grandma Gratitudes: Three things I’m grateful for

1. Always work for peace.

2. A love of ballet and the arts; the lifelong lesson that “high” art does not belong to the elite.

3. A map for how to live fully as a senior citizen and how to approach death with readiness.


Mother’s Day 2013

In the 1870s, Julia Ward Howe attempted to start a Mother’s Day for Peace. Anna Jarvis started Mother’s Day as a memorial for her mother, and did not appreciate its commercialization. My grandmother, a “right on woman,” completely agreed, but ate the candy anyway. Here is my grandmother, Anna Zuckerman, accepting an award for her service to the Susan B.…


The Big Book – How It Works

Fifty years, twenty five sober, my birthday is near, and here I am, all full of reflection. Continuing the theme of influential books in my life, and these books are all about power… The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is like the Bible to me; I have internalized its principles, incorporating them into my breath. When I say “like the…


In Praise of Amateurs

Deciphering the tension between expert and amateur power/knowledge is always a challenge. We live in an anti-intellectual culture, and our easy rejection of experts and our bootstrapping, overweening self-confidence make me enormously uncomfortable. On the flip side, I find the undeserved sense of superiority deeply embedded in intellectuals, particularly academic intellectuals, to be offensive. (I’m the biggest offender, too.) Plus,…


Saul Alinsky, the Quintessential Radical

In honor of May Day and my approaching semicentennial, here’s a gem of a video, a portion of a documentary about the famous community organizer, Saul Alinsky. Talk about brilliance. This particular excerpt is simply prescient. Alinsky is best known for his book Rules for Radicals, a primer on community organizing. This book earned the right wing’s ire because Obama…