Impossible is nothing

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
The White Queen, Alice in Wonderland

What impossible things do you believe in?

I believe in the power of telekinesis. I just haven’t mastered yet.

I also believe I can levitate under the right circumstances.

I believe a well-written work – be it essay, play, poem, and so on – can change your whole life. It can cause you to think differently, pay attention to something you’ve never noticed, open your closed heart, or take action. It can cause you to dance, cry, or be a better person.

I believe in the transformative power of love to change a family, a community and a society. People can treat each other better: use more loving language, choose more loving actions, advocate more loving policies. Loving shifts can make a huge difference in our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Love can render greed obsolete.

Difficult, maybe.

Slow, yes.

Impossible? Nah!

Telephone and Politics

We sat in a circle. Maybe there were 15-20 of us, I’m not sure. But there we were, all sitting crossed-legged in a circle on stained, graying berber. We ranged in age from maybe 6 or 7 to perhaps 11 or 12 and it was one of the many games we played at the nursery center after school.

We called it Pass it Down, but you might know it as Telephone. The chosen person began by whispering a word, phrase or sentence into a nearby ear. The owner of that ear “passed it down,” and relayed the message to the next person. And on it went around the circle until the message got back to the originator.

“That’s not what I said!” was the originator’s oft-heard reply. Whatever word or words were passed down were distorted by the time they got through everyone. He said, she said, and apparently almost everyone said or heard it wrong.

It’s a game, but sometimes versions of it happen in real life, too. Notably, in politics. Something happens and folks “hear the message” and get all up in arms about what they think the message is, when what they heard (or read via social media) is a word or phrase or sentence removed from the truth.

Today, the FAMU Board of Trustees had an “emergency called meeting” to discuss the FAMU-FSU college of engineering.  The Chair, Solomon Bader, released a statement which read, in part,

We are aware of an amendment filed on Tuesday evening by Senator John Thrasher that would create a second college of engineering in Tallahassee at Florida State University.

The statement was cause for alarm for those who support the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering – a joint venture between the two universities. The college was founded in 1983 and shares resources including facilities and professors. Students can attend either Florida A&M University or Florida State University and take classes at the college.

I wanted to know what Senator Thrasher’s amendment actually said, so I went searching.

I found out Senator Thrasher’s amendment did not create a second college of engineering. Instead, it added $3 million to the proposed Senate Budget (See SB 2500) which already provided $10 million of capital outlay to “FSU – College of Engineering.” The amendment did not “create” a second college, but it added additional funding to a new college. A previously non-existent FSU College of Engineering is listed in the proposed budget, and there is no accompanying narrative to explain the capital outlay.

Section of SB 2500 funding the FSU College of Engineering.
Section of SB 2500 funding the FSU College of Engineering.

As I discovered this, the Florida Senate debated the budget and passed it, 37-2. The Florida House debated and passed its own version of the budget (HB 5001) which did not include the controversial item.

Some are calling for pressure on Senator Thrasher. I’m not sure what that can accomplish. After all, the Senate has already voted on the measure in question. Others are lamenting it’s over and nothing else can be done. The new FSU College of Engineering is on its way. But this fatalistic approach ignores the conference that must occur to reconcile the bills, and any additional steps required to approve a new program.

Whether you support or oppose an FSU College of Engineering, it’s time to do your own research and stop playing Telephone with politics.

Flowing water

Writers write. But it’s also true that writers read. I’ve not been writing or reading much as of late and therein lies my problem. I mentioned yesterday that I felt stuck. And although I blamed it on a shortage of time, that’s only partially true.

More true? My writing has stagnant been because I haven’t been doing much to prime the pump and get the water flowing.

practical ethnographyThere are several unread or barely read books on my Kindle, and I received a hard copy of an ethnography book in the mail yesterday. (Yes, I’m still a research nerd.)

Spring is springing and it’s time to get on with it. So two things are now on tap for April: daily blogging and daily reading.

It’s amazing how we let useful things fall by the wayside. What have you been neglecting? Will you recommit to it this spring?

April Fool Freewrite

There’s been a lot on my mind in recent weeks. Days. Hours. Even just now as I started to write this entry, I decided against any number of topics and decided to simply say hello.


I’m being indecisive, but I’m almost sure this is my first entry in another #30in30. Once in a while I challenge myself to blog every day for a month. Generally I decide on a whim and just go for it.

I’ve felt a little stuck with my writing lately. No shortage of ideas, but time is at a premium as of late. Maybe this will help me work around and through a few things.

Here’s to the ride. You coming along?