TWTWTWID*

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* These Were The Weeks That Were In Davenport

In case you missed it the first time around some thirty-five years ago, editor Seth Magalaner and illustrator Ed Sevilla have reunited to share their rare collection of wit, fantasy, and creative prowess by allowing us mere non-Master’s aides a chance to peek behind the curtain that once was. Since many of you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ve no doubt returned to your daily (hourly? minutely?) reflection on Facebook and are no longer reading this. That’s good. We only want those in the know to take advantage of this once in a lifetime offer. That’s right, now is the only time you will be having your 35th reunion from Davenport College and you are therefore accorded a glance at the original TWIDs from your senior year.

Just click on this link and go back in time to a time when your primary worry was reading, writing, and money to buy pizza. It was a time when the last thing you thought of doing was reading TWID. Well now, after all these years, after most of your reading and writing is behind you, and at a time when your doctor says to lay off the pizza, now you finally have the time to read TWID.

Click here to enter the past you never knew.

Leadership Lessons of Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the first president to die in office, but he was the first president to be assassinated. While credited as being the president who unified a divided country and cementing the notion of a single United States of America rather than a group of states united on the American continent, he came into office as one of the most controversial and divisive presidents. Yet, today, we revere him for his character, his wholesomeness, and his willingness to make personal sacrifices to get the job done.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville, Kentucky and, unlike William Henry Harrison, was a true frontiersman, having grown up in Kentucky and Indiana before moving to Illinois. During the era when we celebrated Lincoln’s birthday as a separate holiday, we’d hear stories of his life. Whether apocryphal or true, it didn’t matter, for they burned into our minds and hearts an ideal we were inspired to make as our own life’s work to continually strive for. The totality of Lincoln’s life offers many lessons. Here are just three:Continue Reading “Leadership Lessons of Abraham Lincoln”

Leadership Lessons of William Henry Harrison

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Our nation’s Founding Fathers were well studied men. When called upon to forge a new nation, they looked upon the lessons of the Classical Age for their source. But it wasn’t merely a litany of Greek and Roman heroes they sought. They dug deeper. They wanted to learn not only what succeeded, but what failed. They learned this about great nations, great government, and great men. Greek literature teaches us that every heroic character contains both good traits and bad traits. We learn the good traits to know what to mimic. We learn the bad traits to know what to avoid. So it is with the leadership lessons we learn from our presidents. Not all those lessons teach us what to do. Some teach us what not to do.

William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773 on his family’s plantation in Charles City County, Virginia. The ninth president of the United States, he was the last one born as a British subject (his father signed the Declaration of Independence), but the first one to have his picture taken while in office. He’s also the only president whose grandson would later become president (Benjamin Harrison served as the 23rd president from 1889 to 1893). He’s perhaps best known as the president who gave the longest inaugural address (taking almost 2 hours to read its 8,445 words) and served the shortest time in office (31 days). At 68 years of age, Harrison was the oldest president to be inaugurated until Ronald Reagan topped him by a year in 1980 (who was then surpassed by Donald Trump who was age 70 when he was sworn in).Continue Reading “Leadership Lessons of William Henry Harrison”

Leadership Lessons of Ronald Reagan

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February once offered two holidays: Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd. In 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, moving “Washington’s Birthday” from February 22nd to the third Monday in February. Gone was “Lincoln’s Birthday” and the holiday soon became the generic “Presidents’ Day” we celebrate today (though the federal government still officially calls it “Washington’s Birthday”). It is in the spirit of “Presidents’ Day” that we mark February as “Presidents’ Month.” We will do so by devoting each weekly Commentary to the leadership lessons learned from the four presidents born in February.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. After a workmanlike acting career, Reagan served as governor of California before becoming our nation’s fortieth president. He remains one of the most popular and successful of our chief executives and is often referenced by Republicans and Democrats alike. (On a historical note, it wasn’t always that way, and those old enough to remain recall how the establishment’s reaction to Reagan’s inauguration was just as dour as what we see happening with President Trump today.)

Much has been written about Reagan’s leadership style and how it fueled consistent accomplishment. Some characterizations of Reagan unintentionally revealed the secret of Continue Reading “Leadership Lessons of Ronald Reagan”

It was 50 Years Ago Tonight I Decided to Become an Astronomer

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Ever since I can remember I loved science. All sorts of science. My mother was a substitute teacher. Before I went to kindergarten she would bring home books from her third grade class and teach me to read. My favorite book was the science text book. I particular enjoyed reading about dinosaurs. When you like dinosaurs, you tend to like fossils and rocks. When you like fossils and rocks, you tend to like volcanoes and earthquakes. When you like volcanoes and earthquakes, you tend to like hurricanes and tornadoes. When you like hurricanes and tornadoes you tend to like weather and atmospheric phenomenon. When you like weather and atmospheric phenomenon, you tend to like planets and stars.

Yep, I liked science. But of all the flavors of science, I liked astronomy the best. Growing up in Buffalo, I just happened to be in luck. In 1966, SUNY launched a pioneer program in what could only be described as one of the first distance learning experiments in the country. Called University of the Air, the pilot program contained only two courses with credite and was available only to the Buffalo and Albany campuses. The courses would be aired on the local PBS station. Now here’s the twist: one of those courses was an Continue Reading “It was 50 Years Ago Tonight I Decided to Become an Astronomer”

The Secret Power of Multitasking No One Ever Talks About

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“If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” I first heard this famous adage from Benjamin Franklin in my early twenties. I had just joined the Data Processing Management Association and the new president asked me to volunteer for a position. She was a smart, motivated, and very successful woman. So it goes without saying she was more than prepared for my inevitable (and lame) response. “I’m kinda busy,” I sheepishly replied. That’s when she said it.

“You know what they say, Chris, ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person.’” She didn’t know it (or did she?), but, Continue Reading “The Secret Power of Multitasking No One Ever Talks About”

Why Trump Won’t Lead The Reagan Revolution

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In the spirit of this week’s Presidential Inauguration, I’m going to do something I rarely do: I going to share with you a personal correspondence. Early last year, just as the Republican primary was starting to get interesting, a classmate of mine who writes for the National Review went full speed into the “Never Trump” camp. In March, I penned this letter to her:

Maggie:

Too bad most of the comments on your “Good-Bye Reagan Revolution!” article are ad hominem attacks on you; thus, have no validity. I’ll speak to you on a more personal level since we grew up together in the midst of the Reagan Revolution. First some background, in case you forgot (and I have no reason to believe you remember). In 1979/1980 I was (and Continue Reading “Why Trump Won’t Lead The Reagan Revolution”

The Rink of Dreams

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The stories we choose to tell (and re-tell) not only reveal what we want others to see in us, but what we wish to see in ourselves. These vignettes, often relayed in brief summary, possess a certain magic. They hit upon the highlights, the “best of” reel of our real life. Their brevity, however, demands the tale be spun in a crisp black-and-white fashion rather than the nuanced shades-of-gray more suitable for the novel form. It’s how we select to reduce those ambiguous shades of gray to the stark black and white where we (and others) discover our true inner nature. Does it matter that these short-cuts skirt the definitive facts? Philosophers (and psychologists) may say truth lies more in perception than reality. That might be hard for a Group IV major like me to swallow, but, I must admit, it does make for a very compelling narrative.

The Rink of Dreams” represents just one such tale. It captures both the myth and the actuality of The CTO, a group which simultaneously existed and didn’t exist. (There, now that sounds like someone trained in quantum physics.) This superposition of states applies to The CTO as much as it applies to Schrödinger’s cat, and for reasons even we (or anyone else) at the time didn’t realize.

But you won’t know why until you’ve finished reading “The Rink of Dreams.”

Warning: This is an e-book presented in a “flip-book” format familiar to those who read on-line magazines. It’s like a real book. Just point your cursor in the lower corner of the “page” to turn it. If you’ve got your volume on, you’ll even hear the page turning. Also, the flip-book requires Flash, so make sure you’re using a browser that supports Flash.

Cuomo’s “Free” Tuition Plan Reveals His Techno-Ignorance

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And away we go… Even before Donald Trump’s Inauguration, the 2020 presidential race has begun.

During last year’s presidential primary sweepstakes, the ever plucky Bernie Sanders (can you call a septuagenarian “plucky?) infamously declared he would abolish all college tuition. Plenty practical folks brushed this Marxist rhetoric aside, but those were the adults in the room. The kids ate it up. (And I wouldn’t doubt the idea appealed to a few of their parents, especially after seeing the burden of the obnoxious levels of debt modern college attendance can require.) Still, no one considered this a serious policy. For any number of reasons, common Continue Reading “Cuomo’s “Free” Tuition Plan Reveals His Techno-Ignorance”

Why I Can No Longer Stand the Buffalo Bills

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After living above the Pizzeria on South Park Avenue in Blasdell, my grandparents moved to Lake Avenue in Orchard Park. It wasn’t more than three miles away, but they decided to go to a new parish, one closer to their new home. Our Lady of Sacred Heart sits on Abbott Road just north of the intersection with Lake Avenue, about a mile away from what would soon become Rich Stadium, home of Western New York’s National Football league team the Buffalo Bills.

At the time the Bills still played their games in downtown Buffalo on a field lovingly referred to as “The Rockpile,” (it was officially known as War Memorial Stadium). However, the team Continue Reading “Why I Can No Longer Stand the Buffalo Bills”