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 ever get, but you’ll be back.” I said, “naw…..”Read More →

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. It is 65 days until my 50th birthday and I am grateful for the chance to witness such an amazing celebration.Read More →

The place of public speaking in the general education curriculum is constantly questioned. The image of communication majors in pop culture sheds light on why. Because “it’s kinda hard to put into words.” I experienced a moment of synchronicity to illustrate this. The moment is circular, a snake eating its tail. First, I received yet another email stating professional concern for eliminating public speaking in the general education curriculum. Then, later in the week, I watched a disturbing scene that negatively portrayed the communication major in the popular sitcom, Two and a Half Men.  This moment is circular because I don’t know which is the chickenRead More →

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. Anthony branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.     We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth aRead More →

Fifty years, twenty five sober, my birthday is near, and here I am, all full of reflection. Continuing the theme of influential books, and these books are all about power… The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is like the Bible; I have internalized its principles, incorporating them into my breath. When I say “like the Bible,” I mean that I haven’t read the Big Book the way most Christians haven’t read the Bible: not often enough, not fully enough, and without as much mindfulness. The book is too historically specific and cumbersome to make it all the way through, so I cherry pick. Nonetheless, itRead More →

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, the undeserved sense of superiority deeply embedded in intellectuals, particularly academic intellectuals, can be offensive. (I’m the biggest offender, too.) Plus, the long history of “expertise” that locked out the voices and experiences of non-dominant people from major cultural forms has caused centuries of erasure and lost knowledge. As I say often, there are good reasons for the slogan, “The Personal is Political.” Forgive me for rehashing theRead More →

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 used it as his textbook for community organizing. Then they snapped to its brilliance and co-opted it, all the while trashing it for its socialist leanings. Indeed, the right’s non-stop Obama Bashing is a page right out of Alinsky’s book. Well played, my friends, wellRead More →