Suspended in Stereotypes

This essay was my contribution to: A. M. George and T. Thomason (Eds.), Race, gender and other stereotypes: A reader for professional communicators (pp. 7-13). San Diego: Cognella. ISBN 978-1-6092763-0-0. Available mid-2012. Suspended in Stereotypes Niels Bohr, an icon of 20th-century physics, was also an astute observer of language and behavior. “Our task is to communicate experience and ideas to others” (Petersen, 1985, p. 301). “It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature …

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From Ciao to Chuy’s in 24 Hours

August 2001 There travels a young rebel named Jack On the road, packing only a sack. No one knows his location Save one friend in the nation, So send mail to Jack, care o’ Wack. (Van Horn, TX)   Pulled into town about 1:30pm, after leaving Phoenix at 3:15am. Terrific clear sky star scenery. Decided not to kill myself driving back, plus I wanted to watch the final round of the PGA championship, so I stopped. Very ironic that David Toms …

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2010 Year-end Review

Three weeks ago, I became the object of a discovery that resulted from a misunderstanding. (Sort of like America, but on a slightly smaller scale.) The consequences of this misunderstanding will play out over the course of 2011, but since it currently occupies a position of prominence in my prefrontal cortex, I thought I’d go ahead and lead off my 2010 Year-End Review with it. Recall from my 2009 review that I had self-published an eBook titled Here’s Something About …

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2009 Year-end Review

January 1, 2010 And then suddenly … 16 years have passed. I started these year-end reviews in 1994. Since 2001, I’ve adopted metaphors that seemed relevant to commemorate the preceding year, such as: “Crossing Rivers” (2001); “From Turning to Turned” (2002 and 2003); “Balance Sheet” (2004); “Living Patiently Frustrated” (2005 … okay, that was literal, not metaphorical); “Chasing Rainbows” (2006); “Work to Do” (2007 … metaphor/irony mix). Last February I wrote about 2008 and explained how I had landed temporarily …

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2008 Year-end Review

Email to Friends and Family (February 5, 2009) Subject: Yes, I know the way to Santa Fe Once again, my preceding year didn’t really end in conjunction with the calendar. In this case, 2008 concluded, and my 2009 started, on Groundhog Day when I left Phoenix for Santa Fe. I’ll be here at least through May, and with any luck, longer. How did I get here? (“I took I-25 up from Albuquerque” … [rim shot]) On the day after Thanksgiving …

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2007 Year-end Review

Email to Friends and Family (January 11, 2008) Subject: a brief personal update I knew I had created a set of unrealistic expectations when a former boss wrote me the other day to ask what was going on, that he had expected to hear from me and my “year-end” report by now. Here are a few important points to bring you up to speed with what’s been going on, and about to go on, with me as 2008 begins. After …

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2006 Year-end Review

Email to Friends and Family (January 1, 2007) Subject: Last Year (2006) Following the laws of evolution, today marks a milestone in the natural progression from: Primitive Christmas Card … to Neanderthal Year-End Letters … to So-’90s Webpages to … Personal Vanity Movies (PVMs)! That’s right, my annual year-end review goes digital and audial (?) this year. Don’t try this without a broadband Internet connection, but as long as you have a (flash)media player you can view my “Last Year …

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2005 Year-end Review

My 2005: A 5-Quarter Year of Living Patiently Frustrated So there was this year, see, that had so much packed into it that it couldn’t be finished in just 12 months, or even 4 quarters. That year was 2005, which for me took another 3 months, another quarter, and another birthday to catch up with where I felt I should’ve been 3 months ago. And the deal is (well, one of the deals is) that most of what happened in …

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2004 Year-end Review

My 2004 “Balance Sheet” January 9, 2005 Three of the things I learned in 2004: Good things come to those who don’t wait for good things to happen. Persistence doesn’t necessarily “reward,” but it usually “allows.” The bank closes at the same time, regardless of whether you’re making a deposit or withdrawal. I turned 50 last March and I haven’t taken care of myself. I’ve worked too much, eaten too much, exercised too little, my hair is grayer and my …

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2003 Year-end Review

My 2003: From “Turning” to “Turned” January 1, 2004 Two years ago I used the metaphor of “crossing rivers” as a theme for relating the events of my life during 2001. That year was all about change. I mentioned the story about the frustrated little girl, her pennies, and a turned piggy bank. I included the quote from Wendell Johnson, author of People In Quandaries: “If we are ever to become what we might have been, we must cease being …

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