Monday, March 29, 2010

Walking Your Talk

I have written about my friend and colleague, Earl Hipp before, but I want to share with you his latest blog post and what he is doing to help mentor boys become men. I have known Earl for about twenty years and we have shared the stage together, had many long discussions about our speaking topics and watched each other's careers develop to where they are today.

Earl and his wife, Gwen spend about six months a year in Tucson and he keeps busy with his passion of men mentoring boys on their journey to manhood. I received his latest post on Saturday about an event they just held. I want to share it with you. You can read it by clicking here. It is very good!

We all know about the problems today's generation is dealing with and how many of them are not handling those issues very well. It is great to see people like Earl, and all the people he is working with, to help boys become successful young men.

Way to go Earl!

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name ...

You have all heard the quote, "A rose by any other name is still a rose." Am I correct? It seems the new terminology for what we referred to people who had extraordinary mental gifts like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man is no longer Idiot Savant, but rather the politically correct term is to put the person's gift in front of savant and refer to them by their gift. If Rain Man were made today, Raymond would be called a mathematical savant.

This piece ran on 60 Minutes a week ago and it has taken me a while to post. I must say, I despise using the term Idiot to describe anyone, and I believe we should call a rose a rose. According to, Savant Syndrome, (which is what we should be calling this form of autism), is Below normal intelligence combined with a special talent or ability in a specific area. You can read the rest of their piece by clicking here.

That being said, this is truly an amazing story about thirty-year-old Derek Paravicini:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

If the piece does not play, click here.

The human brain is truly unique. We are just beginning to understand it. One has to wonder just how an individual can do what Derek does musically and yet cannot figure out how to button his shirt or hold up three fingers.

I look forward to your comments.



Friday, March 12, 2010

Quick History Lesson

I have always said this blog was about learning, and I want to give you a quick history lesson. Many of you are old enough to remember Billy Joel's 1989 song We Didn't Start The Fire. Chances are pretty good you have heard it. If you have never heard the song, it is simply a list of historical events and names from 1949 to 1989. You can read the lyrics by clicking here and see and hear the song by viewing the video.

This page of lyrics comes from a terrific learning website entitled School For Champions. If you are a teacher, you may find many ideas on this site you could use in your classroom. There is something for every teacher! In a matter of minutes, I found several things I will be using. You can go to their home page by clicking here. It is linked in to many cool education websites.

Recently, a friend sent me this YouTube video of the song. The thing I find fascinating about it is how fast the names and images come at you. It is incredible how quickly I had to focus on an image and a name, then move on to the next one, and do it time and time again.

Are we learning anything from getting our information at such a rapid rate? In the new Information Age, is this the best way for all of us to get information? I would like to know what Billy Joel was thinking about the effect his song was going to have on people. I wonder if he saw the song as a teaching tool?

Studies are telling us our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter all the time. Is a history lesson like this song helping to shorten our attention spans?

I look forward to your comments.



Friday, March 5, 2010

Darcy Pohland 1961-2010

If you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and watch WCCO TV, chances are pretty good you have seen one of the only quadriplegic reporters in the United States reporting on a wide variety of stories. Her name was Darcy Pohland.

Darcy passed away in her sleep last night at age 48. Darcy broke her neck in 1983 when she dove into the shallow end on the pool where she lived in the Washington, D.C. area. Like all the rest who have broken our necks or backs in accidents, her life was drastically altered in a heartbeat and became a member of the largest minority in the country — people with disabilities.

A friend in Berkeley referred to the disability community as the Equal Opportunity Minority. He used to say, We'll let anybody in. You can become a member of our group at any time.

Click here for the WCCO report from the evening news:

I will miss watching her reports because I take great pleasure in watching a person with a disability pursuing her or his passion despite his or her disability. It is what I have built my entire career on.

Rest in peace, Darcy.

I welcome your comments.