A Minute with the Mayor: Greenwoodian attempts World Record for Burpees | Greenwood Calendar

A Minute with the Mayor: Greenwoodian attempts World Record for Burpees | Greenwood Calendar

via A Minute with the Mayor: Greenwoodian attempts World Record for Burpees | Greenwood Calendar.

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Zombie’s Out and About in Greenwood

Brown Sugar Substitute transform into Zombies and they join the other walking dead at the Mill House to kick off the Zombie Craw in Uptown Greenwood. And, thanks for the shout out, Will.

zombies music video with familiar faces from Greenwood Calendar on Vimeo.

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Media: Big Business or Fourth Estate

The First Amendment gives media awesome power, which has earned them the unofficial designation of the “Fourth Estate” by some and “watchdog” by others. However, with this awesome power comes immense responsibility.   When the media focus on profits over truth, then democracy is in danger.

When the founding fathers penned the First Amendment to the Constitution in 1789, they sought to create in this country a “marketplace of ideas.”  This concept, later articulated by Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, provides that only through the exchange of all ideas, not just those of the majority, can some ideas be determined to be unworkable and other ideas be proven of value.

Without “the marketplace of ideas” there is a real danger of tyranny of the majority, meaning that only the ideas of the majority will be deemed true or untrue. Without the First Amendment’s protection, how could the Civil Rights movement or Women’s suffrage have succeeded? The ideas fueling these movements were not held by the majority at the time. Their success was dependent on the fact that all ideas need to be heard and considered.  

The year before the First Amendment was passed, George Washington acknowledged his wish that America would have many outlets for free speech, “For my part I entertain a high idea of the utility of periodical publications; insomuch as I could heartily desire, copies of … magazines, as well as common Gazettes, might be spread through every city, town, and village in the United States.”

A quick review of the history of newspapers reveals that our first president’s wishes were realized at least for a time. By 1856, there were 2,526 newspapers in America, and by 1880 Americans had 11,314 different newspapers (www.historicpages.com). That translates into 11,314 potential venues to raise ideas in the marketplace of public discourse.  

To facilitate an unfettered marketplace of ideas within communities across the country, the founding fathers insisted, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . or of the press.” The founding fathers wisely predicted that in order for democracy to flourish, the press must reveal to potential voters both the good and bad actions of their elected officials. Prior to the First Amendment, it was illegal to criticize the government even if the criticism was true.

Within the framework of the marketplace of ideas, the American press is charged with printing the truth. And while it’s easy to print what someone says is true, printing what is actually true is an often exigent responsibility. When news media do their jobs well, it makes our communities and country stronger.  Woodward and Bernstein come to mind.

However, in their frenzy to be first with the news, media have frequently sacrificed credibility for ratings and readers. Richard Jewel, who was incorrectly accused of the Centennial Park bombing, comes to mind, as does the more recent, erroneous reporting of the coal miners’ survival in West Virginia in 2006. 

On a more individual level, for most of us, everything we know about a public figure or national or international event was told to us by the media. In a sense the media help shape our reality. Underlying this reality is a basic agreement between the reporter and the reader. The reporter agrees to present a fair and accurate account of the news, and the reader agrees to believe it.

In short we are dependent upon newspapers and other media, so that we may be informed consumers and make educated decisions. There have always been obstacles to reporting the truth and preserving the marketplace of ideas, but the challenges are becoming increasingly insurmountable. Newspapers and other media have become big, BIG business.

Newspapers have been gobbled up by chains, which through years of mergers and acquisitions have resulted in the concentration of media ownership into five global, multi-media conglomerates. Pulitzer prize winning journalist Ben H. Bagdikian wrote in his book “New Media Monopoly, “These five huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — own most of the newspapers, magazines, books, radio and TV stations, and movie studios of the United States.”  Thus the potential venues for the marketplace of ideas have been severely restricted. This is not what the founding fathers had in mind.

The First Amendment was not written for big business, it was written for purveyors of truth. “What is at stake,” according to Bagdikian, “is American democracy itself. A country without all the significant news, points of view, and information its citizens need to be informed voters is risking the loss of democratic rights.” 

The effects of the concentration of media ownership while subtle are tangible.  The journalism textbook I use in my classes defines news as a change in the day’s events that is important and/or interesting to a significant percentage of the readers. On the other hand, media mogul Ted Turner, who launched 24-hours news into America’s living rooms, once defined news as “$”. He drew a dollar sign and said if any news company says differently, they’re lying. The point Turner was making is that big media have big bills, and they are operated less by purveyors of truth than by businessmen.

In Mediated politics: Communication in the future of democracy media critics Delli Carpini and Bruce Williams described the new media managers as, “. . . a new generation of media operatives who hold little allegiance to prior codes of journalistic ethics.” Furthermore, according to Bonnie Anderson, veteran reporter and later executive manager for NBC and CNN, “Major news outlets are no longer content with news divisions generating reasonable profits. They are demanding profits some call obscene.”

“If it bleeds, it leads,” has been the mantra for media, often more interested in the bottom line then conveying an accurate account of the day’s events. Hungry for ratings and readers, much of today’s major media are also blurring the line between news and entertainment. When “infotainment” precludes important news, democracy suffers.  When newspapers and broadcast media are chasing celebrities, what significant news stories are not being reported? In her recent book, Newsflash:  Journalism, Infotainment, and the Bottom-Line Business of Broadcast News, Anderson said she believes the United States is at a very critical juncture — that irresponsible journalism has become a threat to democracy.

Media consumers are partially to blame for the state of the media. With ratings for shows like Jerry Springer and Reality TV in the stratosphere, Americans have all but demanded sensationalism over substance. Nevertheless, media professionals must take the ethical high road, and resist lowering their standards to attract consumers. Lowering standards has proven unsuccessful in boosting ratings, and it has exacerbated credibility problems. Media outlets must be required to uphold the responsibility entrusted to them by the founding fathers. Media must return to their charge of being purveyors of truth.

Fortunately, it is not too late to clean up the media mess. In his Media Monopoly (5th edition), Bagdikian proposed a series of solutions to America’s media problems. They include the following:

* The Telecommunications Act of 1996 needs to be replaced by a new law that can begin to break up the most egregious conglomerates, reinstate mandatory local community access, and put teeth in the requirement that stations demonstrate their record of public interest programming.

* Public broadcasting must be financed through a new, nonpolitical system, as is done for the best systems in other democracies. Today, non-commercial broadcasting depends on appropriations by federal and state legislatures that themselves are heavily beholden to corporate interests.  

* The Federal Communications Commission needs to be reconstituted to include specified representatives from nonpartisan groups like the Parent Teachers Association, as well as presidential appointees.

* The country needs easy, inexpensive licensing of low-power, city- and neighborhood-range radio and TV stations. Japan has them and so can the United States.

* Teach serious media literacy in the schools, using independently created curricula.

Individuals can also participate in organizations devoted to improving the media. The following is a list of media watch groups with a brief description as supplied by the organization: 

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. 

MediaChannel is a media issues supersite, featuring criticism, breaking news, and investigative reporting from hundreds of organizations worldwide. As the media watch the world, we watch the media. 

The Center for Creative Voices in Media is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving in America’s media the original, independent, and diverse creative voices that enrich our nation’s culture and safeguard its democracy. When independent, creative voices are locked out of that marketplace by media conglomerate “gatekeepers,” not only are the artists harmed, so

 is the public. As a nation, America is poorer for a homogenized media concentrated in the hands of a few corporate behemoths that too willingly sacrifice creativity before the altar of maximum profits.     

Free Press is a national nonpartisan organization working to increase informed public participation in crucial media policy debates, and to generate policies that will produce a more competitive and public interest-oriented media system with a strong nonprofit and noncommercial sector. 

No the sky is not falling, but the marketplace of ideas is falling apart. If democracy in this country is to continue to be “Of the People, By the People, For the People”, America needs the Fourth Estate back. Thiscountry depends on the media for governmental checks and balances. For too long, the media have been preoccupied with their own checks and account balances. Citizens must demand the return of purveyors of truth. Democracy depends on it.

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Enjoy popcorn without all that hassle

Do you find that there are some foods that require extra effort to consume, but are, sometimes, simply worth the reward? I mean couldn’t the waiter remove the crab from its legs before it got to my table, c’mon! And what’s up with that whole peel your own shrimp thing? Geez.

And what about popcorn? Who can resist the allure of buttered popcorn?

Well, apparently,  until now not everyone partakes in the mini puffed-up kernels of  happiness.   That whole, reaching in the bag thing for a popped corn niblet or two, can put a serious hampering on the entire popcorn experience. BUT NO MORE. Now you can join the cool people who eat popcorn totally hands free. Check this out!

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Gravity? BUSTED!

Gravity shmavity. Look up in the sky – It’s a bird!  It’s a plane.  No. it’s your neighbor on the way to work?

Go back 100 years and try to Skype your 20th Century friend in Europe that your Gravity Busting video blog post went viral, and, well,  the men in white coats may well come after you. Now look down the road with me a century or two at what seems equally impossible, and consider the possibilities. Will man fly?


I’m not talking gliding – like famed rock climber Dean Potter. Nor am I talking comedy, like Funny Man on Turkish TV. I’m talking about science and technology.  According to a post published yesterday in the Discover Magazine blog, “80 Beats,” “To keep droplets of liquid floating in midair, the device in the video above relies on a hum of sound just above the range of human hearing. This technology, called an acoustic levitator, suspends these tiny balls of liquid using two speakers that project sound waves in opposite directions, counteracting the force of gravity. ”

According to HowStuff Works.com, the acoustic levitator, which was developed by NASA to simulate Zero  Gravity, isn’t as simple as it sounds. For one thing, “The intensity of the sound must not overwhelm the surface tension of liquid droplets being levitated. If the sound field is too intense, the drop will flatten into a donut and then burst.”  Ouch!

For now, I prefer to defy gravity for a second or two on a roller coaster.

But . . . I can’t say I believe Man will never fly.

How about you?

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Blogging: Keep ’em coming back for more!

The best way to get your visitors to return to your blog is to reward them with your writing.

All the available social networks and blog marketing tools will do little to increase return visits to your blogs unless you first polish your posts. Follow these suggestions to improve your posts, and readers will keep coming back for more. Keep in mind that you are competing with millions of people for your readers’ attention. You’ll need to reward your visitors by giving them well written posts. (The bold italicized terms in this article link to my earlier posts and are not necessary to understand this post; they serve only to provide a greater depth of information on the various topics)

Online writing is a unique, hybrid form of communication because it combines the benefits and challenges of mass communication and interpersonal communication (see Communicating Online: Opportunities and Obstacles). Understanding this uniqueness will help you tailor your writing to your target audience.

Here are some helpful tools to polish your post successfully.

1. Most importantly, make sure you have something to say. All the writing tips in the world can’t help the writer without an interesting or provocative topic. Posting writing without a clear purpose may cause readers not to return. It’s difficult to get new readers, but it’s even more of a challenge getting disappointed readers to return. (If your well of inspiration is running dry check out: Overcoming Writer’s Block).

2. In the first sentence or two of your post, tell your readers what’s in it for them – explain how your post will make a difference in their lives.If your readers can’t find anything that impacts them right away, many will leave after the first paragraph. Consider How to use News Values such as impact, timeliness, prominence, and novelty when determining your posts potential value for your readers.

For those who stay past the first paragraph, remember: you’ve made your promise; now it’s time to deliver.

3. Write to express, not impress. Put the thesaurus away. If you’re writing to inform or to entertain, prefer the simple to the complex. Write like you talk. (say “use”, not “utilize”; write: “I was aware of”, instead of “I was cognizant of”).

4. Brevity is an important goal because readers prefer conciseness. The average sentence should be about 15 words. Avoid wordiness (instead of writing members of the group, write group members). Also avoid redundancies (instead of writing the children completely surrounded me, just write the children surrounded me). Unnecessary words can detract from your meaning. If you have difficulty with this, try pretending you had to pay for each word that you included.

5. Avoid terms that can cause confusion. (i.e. “She was young;” young is too vague – it means different things to different people). Remember words have denotations and connotations, so avoid ambiguous terms. Instead of saying that she was young, say: she was nearly 8 years old. There are also many commonly confused words in the English language. Be aware of the meaning of all your words. Further and farther, fewer and less, and accept and except are just a few of the common errors found in careless writing. (See Commonly Misused Words)

6. Say what you mean. If your purpose is to convey information, eliminate euphemisms. Euphemisms are meant to soften the blow of a potentially offensive or blunt idea, such as “collateral damage” for unintended civilian deaths. Euphemisms can cause loss ofclarity. (Read about editing out euphemisms in Layers of Revision). If your post lacks clarity, it’s doomed. Readers won’t spend time on posts they can’t understand.

7. Use examples and anecdotes. When explaining something complicated or something your readers might not have experienced, give an example. For example, explain that learning to use CSS to design a webpage is like learning how to play a sport or a musical instrument; first you must learn the rules, then you must practice to improve. Similarly, an anecdote is a very short story included to elaborate on and emphasize the facts. Instead of saying the girls were mischievous, consider using an anecdote to show us. Limit anecdotes to one (or two at most) per post. (See: Writing is like Baking a Cake)

8. Punctuation matters; people do judge a book by its cover (See: If Punctuation Marks were People). If you have spelling and grammar mistakes in your writing, people will lose confidence in you. They will question your facts and assumptions if they catch that you were careless with your pronouns and commas (See: The Problem with Pronouns)

9. Use vivid description. Keep in mind the maxim: Show, don’t tell. Don’t tell us that Billy was happy with his new puppy; show us. Readers appreciate it when you use your senses to describe details. They want to hear, see, feel, smell, touch and taste what you’re describing. (See: Think visually).

10. Proofread: take the time to polish your post. We often find errors when it’s too late. Edit your posts prior to publication. You don’t have to be a walking, talking grammar book, you just need to know when to turn to one. (Check out: English Handbook for the Game of your Life)

The best way to get visitors to return to your blog is to make them happy. While social networks and search engines are useful as treasure maps, your posts are the treasures –the pot of gold at the end of the Google search. Follow these tips to polish your posts, and let them shine.

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Dr. Rob Retro Show – Special Edition

Hello. Play my latest show by clicking on the program name below: Dr. Rob Retro Show.

The  Dr. Rob Retro Radio show airs on Lander University’s XLR radio station.

This episode explores some music which have special meaning to me, and I hope they do for you as well.

I hope you enjoy it!

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Rob’s Selected Silly Stuff

Greetings folks,

I’ve compiled some of my favorite

silly posts from

Rob’s Megaphone

I hope you enjoy them.

Silly Signs 37: Why does this happen?

robertstevenson wrote 9 hours ago: Why does this happen? Maybe somebody is happy he learned how to add. Maybe there’s a competit … more »

Silly Signs 36: You can’t exit this road

robertstevenson wrote 2 days ago: Sometimes we all just want the world to stop spinning so fast, so we can get off and get away from … more »

Silly News: 14: News during the writers’ strike.

robertstevenson wrote 1 month ago: … more »

Silly Signs #31: Signs that make you go Hmmmmmmmm!

robertstevenson wrote 1 month ago:  That’s one way to end your worries Maybe if they used someone who actually GRADUATED!!! H … more »

Silly signs #30: Come n ‘git it: used food for sale!

robertstevenson wrote 1 month ago: You can really talk ‘em down on the price for that used food. Police don’t get to go h … more »

Silly Signs #29: What were they thinking?

robertstevenson wrote 1 month ago: limit 2 cases . . . ? I guess the other side says: Do not exit, exit only. This must be an invita … more »

Silly sign #28: I’ll take the F

robertstevenson wrote 1 month ago: I’ll take the F   I guess this qualifies as a sign   … more »

Silly sign #27: No bare feet on this beach

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: Seems people can’t go on sand or sidewalk either.                       … more »

Silly News 9: The day the copyeditor was sick (part 2)

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: Mailbox sale: What a bargain!!!! … more »

Silly stuff 2 (pics)

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly News 8: the day the copyeditor was sick

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: We must conclude: In an effort to reduce costs, all newspapers have laid off all copyeditor. … more »

Silly News 71 comment

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago:   … more »

Silly stuff (pic, news, ad)

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly signs #26

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly News 6

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly News 5

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: Once you’re completey out of debt, win a free trip to Las Vegas!!! … more »

“Signs” by the Five Man Electric Band

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: After the video, check out my tribute to Silly Signs “Signs” by the Five Man Electrica … more »

Silly Sign #24

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly news 2

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly Sign #23

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: NAMES YOU CAN TRUST … more »

Silly Signs #22

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago:   Maybe it would help if I spoke the language, but if I were approaching these signs doing 55, I  … more »

Silly News

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly Signs #21:

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly Sign #20

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago:   … more »

Silly sign #19

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly Sign #18

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly Signs #17

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly Sign #16

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly sign #15

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly Sign #14

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly sign #13

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly sign # 12 . . . . the long wait

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago:  How long before YOU  honk? … more »

Silly sign #11:

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: Woof woof woof:  (I’ll add to my collection) … more »

Silly sign #10

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly Sign #9

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: Location, Location, Location … more »

Silly sign #7

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly sign #6

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: … more »

Silly sign #5

robertstevenson wrote 2 months ago: Just in case you didn’t notice … more »

Silly Sign #4

robertstevenson wrote 3 months ago: … more »

Silly Street Sign #3

robertstevenson wrote 3 months ago: … more »

Silly Road Sign #2

robertstevenson wrote 3 months ago: Fortunately, this does not apply to visitors to Rob’s Megaphone. … more »

Okay, Everbody: What time is it?

robertstevenson wrote 3 months ago: … more »

Stupid sign #28

robertstevenson wrote 3 months ago: … more »

This sign is 20 minutes from my house

robertstevenson wrote 3 months ago: … more »

add to del.icio.usDigg itStumble It!Add to Blinkslistadd to furladd to ma.gnoliaadd to simpyseed the vineTailRank

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When the children cry let them know we tried

little child little child

crying eyes dry your crying eyes

how can I explain  how can I explain

the fear you feel inside


evil world You were born into this evil world

where man is killing man and noone knows just why

jesus-crucified what have we begun?

just look what we have done nuclear bomb

all that we destroyed – you must build again

when the children cry

let them know we tried

cause when the children sing

then the new world begins

One United World Under GodUnder God

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Court takes “Supreme” too literally

10 Commandments

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Wok this way

American music has been influenced by many cultures. Like America itself, it is a melting pot of sorts. There’s the British Invasion, lots of lyrics from the land down under, and the rock of Gibraltar. But one culture which has supplied us with numerous musical influences, without receiving due credit, is the Orient. In addition to the obvious, like China Grove, Wang Chung, and I think I’m turning Japanese, there are many lesser known influences. Here’s just a few.

Jailhouse Wok – Elvis Pressley

Sushi and the Banshees

Chop Stick at Budokan

but perhaps the most overlooked oriental influence is the Mariah Carey song –  Ken Lee.

See if you agree:

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Do something nice for yourself today

Mondays can be tough. They often mean a long wait until the next weekend, hard work, less time with those you love,  and a bunch of other challenges. Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats immortalized an infamous Bloody Monday back in ’79 when a young girl shot up an elementary school because according to her, “I don’t like Mondays.” Perhaps this tragedy can be a reminder that we all need to take it easy every now and then, reward ourselves, focus on the positive, relax and listen to some good music . . . . like this.

Thanks Michelle for reminding me about this most excellent song.

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