The buzzword buzzing around lately is “clickbait.”
You know what clickbait is – an online, eye-catching photo or ridiculously trumpeted headline that offers something so enticing that one simply must click on it; in reality, the tease is just a way to route you to an advertiser’s webpage.
Clickbaits include lures like “WHAT HAS ANGELINA JOLIE DONE TO HER FACE??!!!”
And “THE MOST INSANE WEDDING DRESSES Of ALL TIME – No. 19 IS AGAINST THE LAW!!!”
Stuff like that. Then you click on it, and you’re down the cyber-rabbit hole.
Clickbait creators are tricky, knowing what sort of topics will appeal to which audience at a specific time.… Read the rest
So what is this mystical “heart of the matter” that people talk about? Or for that matter, what’s the matter?
No, I didn’t just ask you what’s wrong. I realize that we often use “what’s wrong” and “what’s the matter” interchangeably, but that’s a false assumption. “What’s the matter” means that there is a matter at hand that needs to be identified so that it can be properly considered. Getting to the “heart of the matter” means that we look deeply into the core of the matter at hand.
Last week I began a discussion of core values. In that column I shared the first two of my four recently identified core values.… Read the rest
This column first appeared July 10, 1980.
At the Fort Worth Public Library I found a tiny little book edited by Eleanor Allen called Canvas Caravans. It is the journal of Esther Belle McMillian Hanna, the 18-year-old bride of a Presbyterian missionary named Joseph A. Hanna. She wrote it as she traveled to the Oregon Country in 1852.
They left Canonsbury, Pennsylvania within an hour after their wedding ceremony and traveled by boat to St. Louis and St. Joseph, Missorui. And then by wagon train to Oregon.
It took six months from March to August. She knew she would never see her family again.… Read the rest
About a week ago I noticed Atticus Finch listed as a trending topic on Facebook.
I became a huge fan of To Kill A Mockingbird and Harper Lee 15 years ago when I first read the book in high school.
Atticus reminded me a bit of my grandpa, which is enough for anyone – fictional or not – to solidify a favorable status in my world.
I very nearly named my only child Atticus when I found out he was a boy, but I digress, that’s a story for another time.
Back to Facebook, I couldn’t help but wonder what could possibly make the character a trending topic.… Read the rest
Lawmakers gathered at the state Capitol in their respective houses on Jan. 10, opening day for the 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature. The 140-day session will conclude on May 29.
After taking the oath of office and being sworn in, the Texas House of Representatives, on a vote of 150-0, unanimously re-elected Rep. Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to a fifth term as speaker of the House, tying a record for the most terms as speaker.
Meanwhile, after being sworn in, the Texas Senate voted unanimously in favor of Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, as speaker pro tempore.
Seliger will wield the Senate gavel in the absence or temporary disability of Lt.… Read the rest
The tree crashed down outside.
I wouldn’t even have seen it had I not glanced up to look out the window. In a blink, the old oak was gone.
Actually, it was a goner before the gigantic digging machine (GDM) swatted it down; years dead from oak wilt, the tree still stood in the front yard where we left it – erect – so birds could get a leaf-free vantage point.
At dusk, the Bride and I sit on our westward-facing “Sunset Bench” to watch not only the sun sink and impress but to see which sorts of birds pause in the tree.… Read the rest
Sometimes you should just listen to people who are smarter than you.
In my case, at least for the last two weeks, that was everyone around me.
For two weeks I had been sick and for two weeks people who are, as you are about to read, obviously more intelligent than I am had been telling me to go to the doctor – and for two weeks I ignored them.
I have always had this thing where I think I am invincible and nothing bad can happen if I just ignore a problem.
It is not as if that philosophy has not led to the edge of disaster before, I am just hard headed, and sometimes it takes me awhile to learn things.… Read the rest
State legislation proposes to regulate access to restrooms, locker rooms – Texas’ own ‘bathroom bill’
Texas now has a “bathroom bill.”
The Lone Star State has joined Alabama, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington as states where legislation has been filed in an effort to restrict access to restrooms, locker rooms and other sex-segregated facilities on the basis of sex or gender.
On Jan. 5, Texas Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, filed Senate Bill 6, titled the Texas Privacy Act. The legislation, she said, would address “the personal privacy concerns of many Texans.”
The legislation comes after a May 13, 2016, “joint guidance” from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice “to help provide educators the information they need to ensure that all students, including transgender students, can attend school in an environment free from discrimination based on sex.”
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal agencies said, “schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status.” The federal agencies signaled their intent to treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX.… Read the rest
We don’t do what we believe in; we do what we value.”
That statement has stuck with me for over 20 years. It was spoken by our adjunct professor in my first doctoral seminar in 1994. Here was his point: Often, when we say we believe in something, what we mean is that we agree with it in principle.
We believe in honesty until a “little white lie” gets us out of a jam. We believe in living within our means until we see something shiny that’s on sale for a limited time only. We believe in God but can’t really bring ourselves to surrender our lives to Him.… Read the rest
This column first appeared June 29, 1989.
German immigrants came to Texas to settle in great numbers in the 1840s and 1850s, many to escape political oppression at home. Fortunately, a historian collected some of their letters and reminiscences and published them, so we can know about their experiences in settling the now-familiar towns of New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Boerne, and others.
One young lady named Auguste Ervendberg was the daughter of a Lutheran minister who came with the group of settlers and Prince Solms Braunfels to establish a German colony named after the prince, New Braunfels. These first immigrants arrived in 1845 when Auguste was two years old.… Read the rest