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Monday, May 28, 2012

Former Gov. Mike O’Callaghan on what Memorial Day meant to him.

Saluting those who died

(Blog editors note: This is from today's Las Vegas Sun - click here) reprinted as we lost an historian, conscience and true journals a few years ago...remembering Governor O'Callaghan, who was a mentor as well as a teacher.)

Image
Farideh Ghane grieves at the grave of her son Alexander Ghane after a Memorial Day ceremony at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City May 30, 2011. Alexander Ghane, a graduate of Sierra Vista High School and a Navy Seal, was killed during training exercise in 2008.

Mike O'Callaghan, Governer of Nevada from 1970-1978, and an editor at the Las Vegas Sun.
Mike O'Callaghan, Governer of Nevada from 1970-1978, and an editor at the Las Vegas Sun.
There are few people who could write about Memorial Day like the late Mike O’Callaghan. The former two-term governor of Nevada and executive editor of the Sun served in the Marines, the Air Force and the Army and was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. The following is from a column first published in 2000:

All Americans should have memories that are enriched every time Memorial Day comes around. This shouldn’t be just another day we don’t have to work or go to school. During the first six years of my life, we had a farm near the small river town of Dakota, Minn. 

This was the day for decorating the graves of the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I veterans. It was also the day for eating homemade ice cream, cake, lemonade, potato salad, hamburgers and hot dogs, sitting on the grass beneath trees.

In addition to playing and eating, we found time to hear the folks talk about the people in the nearby graves. My father, a World War I vet, and his friends would be talking about their experiences. 

A special place was always reserved for the town’s three remaining Civil War veterans, who were also my friends.

The Civil War stories of Oliver Tibbetts, who lived above a granary, were my favorites. During the school year, I would climb up the stairs to his room and look at his uniform and encourage him to tell me about Gettysburg, President Lincoln and his experiences as a soldier. He referred to his soldiering as being a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. 

All the graves of Civil War veterans had headstones with G.A.R. carved into them.

Oliver Tibbetts instilled in me a continuing interest in the men who fought the Civil War. Later in life, I found a professor who also had a deep love and understanding of what happened during that divisive conflict. 

The late Dr. John Wright of UNLV not only provided enriching classroom experiences, but spent many additional hours discussing the Civil War and Reconstruction with me.

Those years living near Dakota were less than 18 years after World War I ended. Discussions of that war were often dinner subjects or on the front porch where the family visited during evening hours.

The discussions about our nation’s refusal to pay the veterans a promised bonus were sometimes heated. Always there was some reference to the friends who didn’t return from what was called the Great War.

What meaning does Memorial Day have for the school children of today? Some of them tell us that World War I and the Korean War are skipped over in many classrooms with little meaningful discussion. ...

Wars don’t happen in a vacuum and have causes and results that color the conduct of people for many generations. When studied and learned about, they provide a rich history for us to use in making decisions for the present and future.

I treasure the history learned as a youngster from the veterans of past wars. These experiences gave me the thirst for additional knowledge and an appreciation for Memorial Day and the people we honor on this day. ...

This is a day to show our appreciation for those who have given their all and relate how their accomplishments have made ours a great nation.

PowerPoint Pointers


Graphic Credit: http://www.actden.com/PP/

 

The following contains PowerPoint presentation advice collected from postings by experts on an industry discussion board…
See Also: http://art-lynch.blogspot.com/2010/02/public-speaking-advice.html 

Includes, if you to to their page and use it, very valuable tips on design, wordage, use, application and what to do and not to do...


First appeared February 11, 2010

For details on Power Point Pointers, click "read more" below.





We are too PowerPoint briefing dependent. Just talking, using only essential slides, a few words or key points is being lost to cluttered screens, flying graphics, music, Internet age infotainment in the form of a PowerPoint. It should be there just to support what you are saying, up slightly after you introduce it and up only when you are talking about that particular point. We have become PowerPoint lazy, treating it as if it were a book and a presentation in and of itself. 


There has been a lot of attention lately on new research demonstrating that people actually demonstrate lower information acquisition when confronted with both spoken and written content simultaneously. 

 

Hence, the "death by powerpoint" perspective. 

 

If we are giving a presentation or seminar, the focus needs to be on the speaker. A few supporting slides, especially ones that provide some value that is hard to deliver verbally, is great. Bullet points are, generally speaking, just a distraction.

I'd urge everyone to read
Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. Fantastic book, and the forward by Guy Kawasaki (done as a short PowerPoint presentation) is fabulous.





Powerpoint was developed by technical people who built an application. This application was then embraced by people who were terrified to present and thus hide behind too many slides.


Simple rule when building a presentation, don't start with PPT. 

 

PPT is just another form of Visual Aid, make it part of your presentation not your presentation. Too many people build their entire presentation flow on the PPT slide deck, the presenter should be driving the agenda, not what is on the next slide (also never use PPT wizard). Think of different ways to convey your information.



PowerPoint is just another tool, but it doesn't actually contribute to the learning experience itself. That's up to us, as is deciding whether PowerPoint is the right tool.



Serif graphics hard to read on a computer slide, upper and lower case, full long sentences or worse paragraphs, hard to see or read colors against backgrounds without the proper contrasts, cluttered graphics, video when video is not needed….

Keep in mind it is only a tool, not the entire message. 



 

It’s a tool. I've seen it used in some of the worst and some of the best presentations I ever came across. Here are some basic guidelines I use:

1) The human mind is hard pressed to give its undivided attention to any one speaker for more than an hour.  In most cases the most engaged audiences will loose interests much faster if you do not use tools, techniques and presentation skills that go far beyond PowerPoint’s.

2) No more than six bullets (and not too lengthy) on a given page. Also use animation to make the bullets appear one by one as you speak to them. Otherwise readers will read ahead of what your saying.

3) Use sound effects sparingly/selectively. This is an art that can easily be abused. If I have a long presentation (say 20-30 slides) I usually will put in a sound effect every 4-5 slides. They can vary to very modest to more dramatic depending on the circumstance and the point being made. At this rate it’s frequent enough to keep they’re attention but not too frequent to distract from the presentation themes.

4) Use pictures, charts, drawings anything non-textual. Don't be afraid to use animation effects with them (sparingly).

5) Take advantage of embedding links to web pages within the presentation if you have interesting web sites to show.

6) Don't be afraid to "ad-lib".

7) When appropriate, music (embedded wav sound files) can help. Again, don't abuse it but use it selectively, as it can also distract.

8) Set up your presentation so that you can ask questions of your audience thru out (whenever appropriate)

9) Do not read the words on the screen and do not look at and talk to the screen. Assume your audience can read, and that the screen already knows what you are going to say.

10) Do not put 113 slides in a two-hour presentation because you want to use the PPT as a handout for the audience members. PowerPoint’s are not the same as handouts!


Get the book, "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience" by Carmine Gallo.  It is the best presentation book I've read. There is one header in the book that reads, "Bullets Kill" It's great. This book will make us better trainers as well as better presenters.

From Life By PowerPoint presented at Training 2010. The handout is free to all at http://www.offbeattraining.com/extras/LBPPTTrn2010.pdf . Follow the link on the left below the photo.

Too many acronyms and too many words. If you write a presentation you should choose your words carefully, to meet the needs of your audience. Many times presentations are too wordy and not suitable for all audiences. Also the way it’s prepared it not for the regular person it becomes too technical and loses the attention of the audience. I went to one presentation it lasted one hour and all they talked about was techniques and other non-essential things the audience needed to know. I wanted the bottom line. Be careful with terminology. If the PowerPoint presentation is for executives then suit their needs, but if it’s for line personnel then it should be suitable for them without too much terminology.

For briefings as opposed to presentations made by the author of the slides I recommend http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFfFQ9XU7Jw&feature=related

 

And finally PPT after lunch. Lights dimmed. Don't do it! Trust me! :-/

Two Lobes Divided: The Battle for the Brain.




While this does not hold true from individual to individual it does in terms of party platforms, basic beliefs and doctrines. And for a western democracy this is considered normal and even healthy, despite the polarized paralysis we have today. Since for better or worse, emotion is a right brain function, Democrats have usually been more successful in selling emotional need. The current "tea bag" movement and a major well financed move to blog, e-mail and capture the Internet by the Republican Party may just reverse that, at least in the short term.

So, it works for democracies? Or just democracies based in the Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Anglo (English) tradition? Eastern societies have a much more balanced perspective. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, that may be changing. A capitalistic China, sweat shop Asia, unemployed middle east and Africa for sale look at the early 21st century may mean it is time we all take a step back, try to work with each other, and think about where our brains may be leading us.

The beginning of a Wall Street Journal look at the Brain, its two halves and social evolution can be found below. The full story may require subscription. The link is  to the full story is attached .

(partial from story in Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2010, W9)
Why is the brain divided? If it is about making connections, why has evolution so carefully preserved the segregation of its hemispheres? Almost every function once thought to be the province of one or other hemisphere—language, imagery, reason, emotion—is served by both hemispheres, not one.
There is nonetheless a highly significant difference in how the two hemispheres work, giving rise to two wholly distinct takes on the world. Normally we synthesize them without being aware that we are doing so. But one of the two hemispheres can come to dominate—and just as this may happen for individuals, it may also happen for a whole culture.
[BRAIN]illlustration by Douglas B. Jones 

The neuropsychological evidence shows that the right hemisphere pays wide-open attention to the world, seeing the whole, whereas the left hemisphere is adept at focusing on a detail. New experience, whatever its kind, is better apprehended by the right hemisphere, whereas the predictable is better dealt with by the left. And because the right hemisphere sees things in context, as inseparably interconnected, it recognizes the vast extent of what remains implicit. By contrast, because of its narrow focus, the left hemisphere isolates what it sees, and is relatively blind to things that can be conveyed only indirectly.

In humans, the left hemisphere controls the grasping right hand and the bits of language that enable us to pin down meaning unambiguously. It helps us manipulate and use the world, in pursuit of our aims. The left hemisphere's world is sharply delineated and certain, along the lines of the general's strategy map on the command room wall, where the complexity of the world is stripped away. Yet we still need to see the essentially human world as it is before we simplify and disconnect it. A general needs to be in touch with the world in which his soldiers actually fight. The knowledge that is mediated by the left hemisphere is knowledge within a closed system. It has the advantage of perfection, but such perfection is bought ultimately at the price of emptiness.

The right hemisphere's take on the world is far more complex and nuanced. Instead of distinct mechanisms, the right hemisphere sees interconnected, living, embodied entities. In communication the right hemisphere recognizes all that is nonverbal, metaphorical, ironic or humorous, where the left is literalistic. The right is at ease with ambiguity and the idea that opposites may be compatible.
There is a reason we have two hemispheres: We need both versions of the world.

Without the right hemisphere, we are socially and emotionally insensitive, and have an impaired understanding of beauty, art and religion. Effectively autistic, we have no sense of the broader context of experience. Meanwhile, without the left hemisphere, we struggle to bring detail into focus. If a culture were ever to rely excessively on one take alone, there would sooner or later need to be a correction.

Yet in the West there has been such an imbalance. And as a consequence, over the past 2,500 years, there has been a kind of battle going on in our brains, the result of which has been, despite swings of the pendulum, an ever greater reliance on the left hemisphere.



(continuned at Wall Street Journal.com)

Labor Unions made the Democracy and Growth of the 20th Century Possible

America’s last hope: A strong labor movement


From Saloon.com
The fate of the labor movement is the fate of American democracy. 
American Labor took this country to the most productive in the world, making the American Century possible.
Without a strong countervailing force like organized labor, corporations and wealthy elites advancing their own interests are able to exert undue influence over the political system, as we’ve seen in every major policy debate of recent years. 
Yet the American labor movement is in crisis and is the weakest it’s been in 100 years. That truism has been a progressive mantra since the Clinton administration. However, union density has continued to decline from roughly 16 percent in 1995 to 11.8 percent of all workers and just 6.9 percent of workers in the private sector.
So why the strong concentrated effort to undermine collective bargaining, advance Right-to-Work and erode workers rights? 
Because now they can, and a Indiana and other states have shown us, now they are set on taking control and ending the voice of the worker.. 
Without a democratic voice we are all on your won, and those who seek only profit are in full control.
Stand up for unions, for America and for your right to have an organized democratic voice.

Why a duck?

The issue of Gay Marriage is one of which way you look at the duck.

Is it a religious duck?

Or is it a civil rights duck?

Is it about imposing moral imperatives?

Or is it about protecting individual freedoms?

Is it about judgement?

Or is it about our right to not have our private beliefs and practices judged?

Is anyone listening to the other's side?

Or is it all a jumble of religious and political platitudes (or platypus's)?

So in the words of the immortal Marx Brothers:

Viaduct?

Was life really better when the Mob ruled Las Vegas?

By J. Patrick Coolican (contact)

Click to enlarge photo
J. Patrick Coolican

Things were better when the Mob ran this town. We hear this often enough to make it almost a cliché, and with last week’s opening of the Mob Museum, er, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, it seems like an argument worth examining.

Here are the commonly heard supporting statements:

The old guys were part of the community
“They wanted to be engaged in the community because they came to a place that allowed them to operate legally, and they appreciated that,” Mike Sloan, gaming lawyer and ultimate old-timer, told me.
Now, many of our casino executives live elsewhere or spend half their time globe-trotting. By contrast, the old-time operators lived here, and you might run into them at the country club, coffee shop, church or synagogue. America has always had a fascination with outlaws, and Las Vegas residents got to live among them. “They certainly were more colorful people,” Sloan said, employing his rich skill with a euphemism.

And, they gave back. Moe Dalitz and partners famously built, with a Teamsters loan, Sunrise Hospital. Nevada historian Michael Green also noted Dalitz gave UNLV money for the first furniture in the first building. Sloan recalled stories of casino operators generously paying hospital bills for the sick children of employees. (I should note, of course, that many casino operators in old Vegas were not Mob-connected, and those that were unfairly tarnished the entire city.)

Better schools, less crime, less traffic
Perhaps true, but not because the Mob was invested in good government. Educational challenges, crime and traffic are the result — at least in part — of growth, not Mob-free corporate ownership of hotels. Of course, you could argue that once corporations were allowed to own casinos, they would bring massive capital to bear, which would lead to bigger resorts and therefore rapid population growth. But really, growth vs. no growth is a different argument.

Also, think of the extreme irony of claiming there was less crime when the Mob ran the town. “They were out doing burglaries!” Green quipped, referring to the “Hole in the Wall Gang.”

As I learned at the museum, which opened Valentine’s Day on Stewart Avenue downtown, the skim at the Stardust was $7 million per year; at the Flamingo, it was $36 million from 1960 to 1967; at the Tropicana it was $150,000 per month. That money was stolen from the community and sent to criminal gangs back East.

(Given the events of the past few years, I can appreciate that, for many people, banks vs. organized crime is a close call.)

Cheaper food, better shows, and you could make a good living
As Sloan notes, cocktail waitresses, bartenders and maître d’s made great money in Mob days, in part because the IRS wasn’t as rigorous about collecting taxes on tips. The casinos didn’t have to report when someone won a big jackpot, and let’s remember that there was no competition from Atlantic City or anywhere else.

As for the food? If you look hard, you can still find a $7 prime rib dinner, though I’m not sure why you would. Our food these days is more expensive, but it’s also far better.

Finally, yes, I would love to see Frank Sinatra. And I would take Sinatra over any show currently in Vegas. But so what? I would take Frank Sinatra over any performer at any time in the history of the planet. Unfortunately, he’s dead, so it’s a little unfair to say we had it better when Sinatra was here. Of course we did. The human race had it better when he was alive.

But our entertainment lineup here is rich and getting more diverse.

Green summed it all up: “In some ways it was better. In some ways it was worse. But there’s too much mythology” about the past.

In any case, the question is academic. As Oscar Goodman said at the museum this week when asked who won the war between law enforcement and the Mob, “Who won? There ain’t no Mob.”
Indeed, all we have now is the Mob Museum, a remarkably restored neo-classical building with impressive historical artifacts inside that detail Las Vegas’ gangster past.

But if it’s in a museum, that usually means it’s dead.

From the Las Vegas Sun (click here).

Memorial Day Edition of KCRWs The Business

Skipping Commercials, forming a Community, GI Joe postponed, War Movies: 'The Tillman Story' and 'The Hurt Locker'

War Movies: 'The Tillman Story' and 'The Hurt Locker'
Produced by:
For Memorial Day weekend we revisit interviews about two recent war movies: The Tillman Story and The Hurt Locker.

The Tillman Story is the 2010 documentary about Pat Tillman, the former NFL star turned soldier who died in Afghanistan. The original story from the military about Tillman's death turned out to be a fabrication. Filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev made the movie with the Tillman Family, which sought to tell the true story of Tillman's life and death.  The movie was given an R-rating for language. Bar Lev and the Weinstein Company unsuccessfully appealed.

The Hurt Locker was an Iraq war movie that no one in Hollywood wanted to make. Then it went on to hit it big at the Oscars, including winning for Best Picture. We talk with Mark Boal, the reporter-turned-screenwriter who also produced the film and faced many many no's on the road to the screen.

Today's Banter Topics:
- FOX and NBC file lawsuits against Dish Network over Auto-Hop and Dish counter-sues. Massive e-mail and blog auto robot responses. Free TV is not free...how will programs be paid for?
- Sony Pictures Television fires Dan Harmon off of Community, the NBC show he created. Harmon vents on his blog. Will Community survive without its creative center?
- Paramount Pictures pushes GI Joe from its planned 2012 release to next year. 3D and a hot summer of releases by other companies blamed for the delay.
Music:
Interstitial music post-Banter:  "Intro" by The XX
Midshow:  "Intro" by The XX
Outro music: "Land of 1000 Dances"
Banner image: Brandon Wade/Getty Images

Keep Government Out of My Life!


A whole new Windows, gambling on youth

Windows 8: Big changes, big challenges


The upcoming Windows 8 is about Microsoft using its existing heft to power its way onto smaller screens.
Apple televisions, new Facebook features, the latest nifty smartphone app -- sure, this is the cool stuff, but let's be honest: few technologies will have a bigger impact on more people's lives in the near future than a new version of Windows.

Windows still runs more than three-quarters of the world's PCs. And the upcoming Windows 8 is about Microsoft using that existing heft to power its way onto smaller screens too. Consumers can try out Windows 8 starting Leap Day -- Feb. 29th.

Joe Wilcox at BetaNews.com says this is not like previous Windows updates. “Windows 8 looks dramatically different from the Windows that you're used to today,” he says. “Microsoft is trying to reinvent Windows for post-PC era.”

If you want to get a sense of what Windows 8 will be like, go to a store and play with a Windows Phone. Instead of icons, the screen features a series of colored boxes that overlap and relate to one another, a design Microsoft calls "Metro." Folks in the tech world have gotten some demos, and Wilcox likes it: “It's kind of fun to use, it's very fast and fluid the way you touch it and move things around. Microsoft is really trying to simplify things, make the whole computing experience straightforward and easier in way it's never done before.”

Want a quick look at what makes Windows 8 different? TechRadar.com does a nice job.

Business will resist, but resistance if futile.

Online opinions differ wildly on whether consumers will dig it. Wilcox thinks they will, after getting hooked on swiping, pinching and zooming the past few years. Businesses, on the other hand, “have this approach: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Many of them are just now in the process of moving from Windows XP to Windows 7, or will have finished that process when Windows 8 is available. They're not going to be looking to make a change anytime soon. Particularly because the user interface is different and some other things that Microsoft is doing different under the hood, it's going to dissuade many businesses from leaping right away.”

But it’s do-or-die time for Microsoft.

Matt Rosoff of BusinessInsider says Microsoft “has lost its safety net”: at one time, 95 percent of devices that connected to the Internet used Windows. Not any more. “If you look at last quarter, Apple sold enough iPads to be equal to about 17 percent of what used to be the PC market,” Rosoff says. “And of course none of those iPads run Microsoft software, they don't run Windows, they don't run Office.” So with Windows 8, Microsoft is both trying to keep its existing Windows customers happy and come up with a really good tablet solution that can take on the iPad.”
Also on today’s show: We construct a boffo campaign speech from nothing but the titles of songs in President Obama’s Spotify playlist.

Here's one more helpful video from Microsoft, introducing some of the most visible changes in Windows 8:

About the author

Jeff Horwich is a sometime-Marketplace reporter and occasional substitute host of the Marketplace Tech Report.

Acting Classes Forming


Acting classes now forming through the Boulder City Park and Recreation Department. All ages.

Also, join us at Casting Call Entertainment...specialized courses for beginners to advanced plus the opportunity to gain on-camera experience.

Contact me.

Art Lynch
Createcom@gmail.com

Take Care of Your Teeth..."Reeling", a dental horror story..

Michale O'Toole's "Reeling"

Michael O'Toole
  • I'm going to design new postcards to this cultish short that refuses to die. Two things: Any ideas for a new tagline and if you had to describe my appearance with just one word...the word?


  • My first screenplay to hit the big screen, okay...my first screenplay.
    Length: ‎5:17