Uncle Walter

I miss Walter Cronkite. But there’s a part of me that’s glad he’s not having to witness the presidential election of 2016.

Today’s Google Doodle is Walter Cronkite. Today is the 100th anniversary of his birth. (I wrote about him in 2009 when he passed away.)

It’s difficult to explain the influence of the trusted Uncle Walter to someone too young to remember Walter Cronkite’s tenure as the CBS Evening News’ anchor. In my memory, the two most historic events of my childhood–the assassination of JFK and the moon landing–are as much about Watler Cronkite as they are about the events themselves. In my home, he narrated the Vietnam War each evening right before supper. I don’t know why we didn’t turn the TV off.

The local newspaper, Time magazine and Walter Cronkite, were my family’s consistent news media staple through the 1960s and early 70s.

When we were in our late twenties, my wife and I spent a couple of nights on Martha’s Vineyard. Knowing that Cronkite spent the month of August there, we joked constantly about what we’d say if we ran into him. I recall we agreed that it wouldn’t be anything related to the comment, “and that’s the way it is,” his nightly signoff phrase.

I’ve forgotten what we agreed it would be, but on our last night there, we were walking down a narrow alley to a restaurant and had to squeeze up against a cottage wall to let an approaching car by. As the car crept by in order not to hit us, we looked at the driver and recognized immediately it was Cronkite. Instead of having something pithy to say, all my wife and I could do was laugh at our actual encounter with the icon. I think we said something dumb like, “hey, you’re Walter Cronkite.”

I miss Walter Cronkite. But there’s a part of me that’s glad he’s not having to witness the presidential election of 2016. I’ve done all I can to ignore it.

The Confederate Flag is NOT a Part of Who I Am

It’s time to end the myth that the Confederate flag is anything other than a symbol of racism.

By birth, choice and the grace of God, I am a Southerner.

I grew up in Alabama and have spent most of my life in Tennessee. In other words, I’ve lived all my life way down yonder in the land of cotton. My love of the South is about home, family and place. It’s about language and literature. It’s about football. It’s about the creativity and cadence found in the way people paint pictures when they recount even the simplest of stories. It’s about food and the aroma of the places where food is prepared. It’s about music. It’s about so many of the people I love. It’s about those things, and so much more.

But my love of the South has nothing to do with the Confederate flag and the racism it so thoroughly symbolizes.

In the wake of the Charleston Church killings on Wednesday night, the state of South Carolina should stop flying the Confederate flag on the grounds of the state capitol.

But let that be just the start. Get rid of the symbol from any state flag or any crest or any shield from any state. And now that the Supreme Court has ruled that states can deny Confederate flags from being on vanity license plates, those states that have them, starting with Tennessee, should get rid of them as soon as possible.

I am NOT suggesting the purging of history. I am advocating the purging of the glorification of a mythological history that never existed.

Read more “The Confederate Flag is NOT a Part of Who I Am”

Even if You are a Baseball Hater, Enjoy This Photo

When I see a photo of young baseball players getting to meet the President of the United States, I think we all should put aside our differences over what we think about baseball for a few moments, and join together in a singing a robust chorus of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

It makes me happy when I see a photo like the one above from the White House Tumblr account.

I mean, what’s not to love about the President of the United States giving some Little Leaguers a memory of a lifetime?

However, I know lots of people — including several of my friends — can’t stand baseball. Even a wonderful photo like this isn’t going to make them feel any different about their negative opinions on baseball.

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Remembering a Miracle

miracleonice-20100221-204045This morning, in a preliminary round Sochi Olympics hockey match, the USA defeated Russia. It’s hard for any American not to reference the “Miracle on Ice” whenever the hockey teams of Russia and the U.S. play in the Olympics. Today, however, such teams are made up of NHL players from both countries, something quite different from the dynamics of that 1980 Lake Placid match.

Here are another couple of miracles:

(1) My wife and I attended the game in Lake Placid.

(2) I’ve been blogging so long, that it has been 12 years since I first described the experience on this blog. Here’s a link to a 2010 “repeat” post where I re-ran the original post with some updates.

Kate visits the office, sleeps, runs-in-circles

A few weeks ago, when my wife was out of town, our dog Kate came to the office for several days. She loved being here, and vice versa. (For the record: She likes hanging out with my wife, more.)

While Kate spent the vast majority of her time sleeping, she did spend a few moments each day trying to get someone to chase her in circles. That’s her favorite exercise. Thanks to Taylor Zimmermann for her video of Kate zooming by her iPhone from which I created this animated GIF:


Recently on SmallBusiness.com, we started a feature called Small Business Pet of the Week through which I’ve learned a little bit about the benefits of having pets as part of the workplace (no doubt, from research funded by the pet food industry). I didn’t know, for example, that Google has an official “dog policy” that excludes cats: “Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.”

As much as I’m sure cats are the greatest animals ever to exist, your’s especially, Hammock is a dog company also.