The 62,715 miles BLOG (28 Februrary 2010)

(I have walked 60,000 miles over the past 9 years as of 28 August 2009 and am now heading toward 65,000 by this time next year.)

Sunday, 22, January, 2006

Another 6,000 miles down and what do I know?

Keyword reading, thinking,talking, and writing is not helping matters at all!

Some laughed and some cried when they realized that politics and public discussion was reduced to sound bights. Those, now, were the good old days when even if thoughts were reduced to kernels, at least they were complete thoughts or sentences.


Now, after 30 years of insane teaching methods and two President Bush's who only keyword speak, we find people are just as disconnected from each other and reality as are keywords designed to mean: whatever, Boomers. Xers, entropy, take responsibility, word, stay course, honor, no way, money sings.

The object of keyword marketers and politicos is to have you fill in spaces between the keywords with your own context or meaning, so their product or candidate will not be all that it, he, or she can be but whatever you want them to be -- as long as you buy what they are selling.


Beware of unintended consequences! Working to the test score for funding in education led to 20 or more years of students looking at the test or assignment, see what it wants and then look for keywords in what was to have been read for learning and comprehension -- read only, consume only what you needed to fill in the blank, then empty your mind and regurgitate it on paper or in digital speak.

What did I just say?

Twenty years of teaching and learning to the test and score only has produced people and leaders who cannot think in complete thoughts, let alone sound bights.

Now do you understand why Uncle Johnny cannot read, talk, or vote in complete thoughts.

Now do you understand why we seem to be going in circles on a descending slope?

Our best hope is that today's or tomorrow's rebellious youth discover that complete thoughts, speech, sentences, and writing is beyond their parent's comprehension and upsets them to the maximum and therefore creates the space these young people need to find their feet and chart a new sane course backed by sound thinking.

Thursday, March 03, 2005:

Had some losses over last few days.

Lost a friend (40 years old) who knew he had to change but didn't, or thought he still had time. He didn't.

I'll miss him, I'm sad he's gone, I'm pissed at him for not changing and myself for not being able to find a way to move him

May well lose an organization friend, the Symphony Orchestra Institute ( which has worked hard for nearly ten years, I think, to help symphony orchestras rethink and reinvent themselves into positive futures for the people in them and their audiences. So I am sure that its founder Paul Judy of Chicago, must feel somewhat the same as I do about my friend and myself -- a mixture of sadness and being pissed off at those who know they should change but don't and at our own efforts to help them change.

I like symphony music (not to the exclusion of other types of music -- I bleed blues.) and I think society in general will lose something when more symphonies close or shrink because they cannot get "out of their box," or the way they do business and the way they see their possible futures.

They have "boxed" themselves into being more and more dependent on corporate funding and a shrinking number of well-to-do patrons. They are trapped into working harder at doing the things the way they always have rather than working smarter and in ways that will enable them to live on, grow, learn, innovate.

They cannot "see" themselves as an entertainment and cultural destination competing for a family's discretionary spending -- and that they are competing with destinations as varied as casino resorts, entertainment parks like Kings Island or Seven Flags, and events like NASCAR, the NFL or even major league baseball. The funny and sad part is that even if not structured for the whole family as yet, they are the "best buy" because it costs less for a family of four to go to the symphony for an evening or afternoon than it would cost the same family to go to any of the destinations noted above.

Instead, some - most - see themselves as competing with the theater, opera, and ballet for a fixed or shrinking "fine arts" marketplace.

I could BLOG-on but I think you get the idea -- a little clearer view of where they really are and a willingness to get an expanded view and do something about it could change the situation.

The same applies to my friend who is now gone.

I suppose my hope is that in reading or hearing about processes that work and people and organizations that have changed will help them change.

But. I can't count on it, so I will keep rethinking and working at getting out of my own boxes to find better ways to help people and organizations change.

May Fifth, 2005

Cinco de Mayo - The day the Mexican Army beat the French invaders in 1862, thus closing off Mexico as a route for the French to help the Confederacy in its war to retain slavery and leave the United States of America.

Yes, that's right -- it's not just a day to party on dude with Corona beer -- grin.

I hit mile 26,875 yesterday - whew! Not really but really. Change, personal or organizational, of habits and behaviors long in use is never easy.

Walking 15 to 20 miles a day, seven days a week, is now part habit, part enjoyment, and part agony.

I do not always feel that well, even though I am more fit now at 60 years than I was at 50, 40, or even at 30.

The heat, cold, rain and snow, as well as ice on occasion do not make things easy or pleasant. And the mind -- arrgh!It keeps trying to replay the old patterns. Ever see one of those cartoons in which a guy has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? It's really a battle of patterns and habits battling it out.

One says: "You can do just do 12 miles today and make it up tomorrow," or "You can have an ice cream or candy bar -- you've earned it! You can "cut" back later." The other one, the one who is more self-aware now, says: "You got to be kidding! That's what got you fat and out of shape before - time and time again. Do the miles, refrain from "treats" you don't need. It's just old habit trying to break through again -- habit of deluding or lying to us just to be "comfortable" for the moment."

I get home with the 15 miles done and am satisfied that I have made it another day, learned more, seen more, dreamed more, and worked out some puzzles.

Never easy but for me -- worth it!


November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving is behind us - more behind for some of us; grin - and both Christmas and New Year is looming ahead. Mt. Healthy, where I live, and it high school made the regional playoffs in football again and again lost in the first round. but making it four times in four years is quite an accomplishment for the kids and this year they were 10 and 0 -- Good on you guys!

Monday next I will begin teaching college freshmen English composition at ITT-Tech. Most of the classes are are online and I meet with each class just two hours per week for 12 weeks. Should be fun since these young and some not-so-young folks are all taking technical courses of study and usually do not think of themselves as writers and may not have paid much attention to such classes in high school. I'll focus on helping them become more effective communicators and connect their course work to their technical studies and work.

The not-so-funny aspect of this is that while my community's school district has just made it back from in dire need of improvement to improving, they seem to have excluded me from substitute teaching this year because they are giving preference to "teachers" who have standard certification. So they see me as less than "qualified" to teach middle or high school kids. ITT-Tech which gives associate of arts degrees the same as many other colleges thinks a published author with 18 plus years writing and editing experience, as well as an MA degree is just fine for their students. But none of the teachers in my local school district who are "certified" to teach k-12 would not be considered "qualified" to teach freshmen English as I will next week or political science, as I did 30 years ago as a graduate student.

And people wonder why public schools don't seem to get it? Not so much the teachers but their administration, the state school board and local school boards. If being qualified on paper is all it takes, then all public schools in the US should be doing just fine but they are not. Enough of that for now.

I continue to track coverage and events in the impending flu pandemic. When I have a little more time, I'll share what I have found to be a disturbing pattern of reporting that is scare oriented which is followed by politicians and people getting all excited and then other interests trying to calm things down. The end result is fewer and fewer people trust any news source or government official. All this more or less guarantees public crises, don't you think?