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Saturday, December 31, 2011
Ever since we moved to the corner of Seminole Drive and MorBihan Street 8 years ago - the private drive was in dire need of repair. Since is it a private road - I was under the impression that the 6 people that lived on it were "tenants in common." I thought we owned it as a group. It seemed impossible to get all 6 residents to agree on anything about the street. The pot holes got bigger and bigger because everyone could not agree on what to do.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
From the NY Times
Thursday, December 15, 2011
It never happened before - an ACC team in the volleyball final four.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
My Lovely Wife Was on a Committee To Honor Outstanding School Librarians - Caroline Kennedy was Honoring Speaker
The event was at the New York Times headquarters.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
FSU advanced to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament with a 3-1 win over Purdue last night - scoring the last 8 points in the final game - to come from behind.
Tonight they play Iowa State at 9:30 to hopefully advance to the Final Four next weekend.
FSU is the tournament 12 seed - highest seed to advance so far. 2 favorites - Penn State (who won the championship the last 4 years) and Hawaii (who lost in fornt of a home crowd of 10,000 last night) are OUT.
Iowa State will be tough - they are a 4 seed - Purdue was a 5 seed.
You can watch tonight's 9:30 at espn3.com on your computer. I am surprised at the HD quality. You can go there now and watch last night's game too.
Friday, December 09, 2011
All but taboo in the United States 50 years ago, cremation is now chosen over burial in 41 percent of American deaths, up from 15 percent in 1985, according to the Cremation Association of North America. Economics is clearly one of the factors driving that change.
The percentage of bodies that are cremated has risen steadily for years, for reasons ranging from spiritual to environmental. But a recent study shows that the increase has accelerated during the downturn, and many funeral home directors say they believe the economy is leading people to look for less expensive options.
The disposition of Ms. Kelly’s remains cost about $1,600, and that total included a death notice, a death certificate and an urn bought online. It was a fraction of the $10,000 to $16,000 that is typically spent on a traditional funeral and burial.Although state cremation rates vary widely, from 13 percent in Mississippi to 73 percent in Nevada, every state has experienced an increase since 2005.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
According to the results of a November 2011 Gallup poll of 1,012 adults across the country, the average male weighs 196 pounds, and the average female weighs 160 pounds. These numbers are nearly 20 pounds more than they were in 1990. As weight has increased, so has American's ideal weight. Men, on average, wish they weighed 181 pounds, and women say 138 pounds is their ideal weight.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Friday, December 02, 2011
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Florida A & M Campus Is A Mile From My Home - This Morning At Breakfast I Get To Read This in the NY Times
It is nice living in a capital city with several college campuses nearby. It provides tons of positive entertainment. Just when you think nothing could happen worse to a campus town than what happened at Penn State and Syracuse - a murder of one of the top students at "your school" happens.
Student’s Death Turns Spotlight on Hazing
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ and ROBBIE BROWN
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Before they even arrive at Florida A&M University here, the freshmen who are hand-picked for the famous marching band know all about the hazing, an unsanctioned tradition that goes back decades.
In the ultracompetitive atmosphere of the Marching 100, as the band is called, the verbal, emotional and physical pain that is doled out is viewed as an extra source of pride and strength among the relatively small number of band members who participate in hazing, former members say.
Punching, paddling, slapping and forcing band members to eat certain things, do certain favors and endure verbal abuse for mistakes is part of the code, carried out by subgroups within each section: “The Clones” in the clarinet cluster, for example, and “The Soulful Saxes” in the saxophone section. Drinking is seldom involved, former members say, and much of the hazing is voluntary.
“A lot of people who come to the band come expecting these things,” said Phillip Stewart, 29, a former university drum major who said hazing was part of a subculture within the band. “They think that in order to be amongst the best and to be accepted they have to do certain things. This isn’t true.”
But those decades of tradition — a longtime concern of the university administration — are now the focal point of an investigation into the death of a drum major 10 days ago, and the reaction so far has been significant.
The band’s longtime director, Julian White, has been fired, and four separate investigations have been ordered, including one by Gov. Rick Scott, who asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to step in, and one by the university president, James H. Ammons. The marching band has been suspended from performing indefinitely.
The death of the drum major, Robert Champion, 26, also raises a perplexing question: Why was a drum major — a campus celebrity whose position reflects outstanding leadership skills and talent — being hazed, if that is what in fact contributed to his death? No cause of death has yet been determined but the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, where Mr. Champion died, said it suspected that hazing was involved.
“I vow as the president of FAMU that Robert’s death will not be in vain,” Dr. Ammons said Wednesday at Mr. Champion’s funeral in Decatur, Ga.
The church was packed with 500 mourners, including many band members and Dr. White, who also spoke at the service. Promising to “end hazing on the campus of FAMU,” Dr. Ammons told mourners that he would introduce his own brand of R & D to the university, “and I don’t mean research and development; I mean respect and dignity.”
Mr. Champion, a hard-working clarinet player, tried out twice before being selected as one of six drum majors in the spring of 2010. He died just hours after marching on the field at the Florida Classic, a football game between Florida A&M and its longtime rival, Bethune-Cookman University.
He collapsed in a bus parked at an Orlando hotel, where the band was staying. It was evening, and the buses should have been locked, Dr. White said. After interviewing band members, he said, it appeared that Mr. Champion had been punched repeatedly by a small group of band members on the bus as part of a hazing ritual, then vomited and passed out. When others in the bus could not revive him, they called for an ambulance. He died a short time later at a hospital.
His parents have hired a lawyer and said they planned to sue the university to prevent such a thing from happening again.
“It’s kind of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ culture,” said Christopher M. Chestnut, the family’s lawyer. “No one’s shocked. Everyone knew it happened.”
Dr. White, a tenured professor who was been at the university for four decades and became band director in 1998, has also hired a lawyer, saying he had done everything he could to stop hazing over the past two decades.
Hazing is not uncommon among marching bands around the country and has been a longtime practice at historically black colleges like Florida A&M. The university, whose enrollment is roughly 13,000, has had its share of serious hazing incidents. Two students were beaten or paddled so forcefully they suffered acute injury, one in 1998 and the other in 2001.
To back his claim of trying to end hazing, Dr. White released documents this week showing letters of band suspensions dating to 2001 that he had issued to dozens of students and correspondence with university administrators and the university police. He also held workshops for students and meetings with freshmen, created an anonymous reporting system and issued routine admonishments, among other things.
A few weeks before Mr. Champion’s death, Dr. White suspended 26 trombonists and clarinetists from the band for hazing in October and November.
Bria Hunter, a clarinetist, was repeatedly punched in the legs so badly this fall that a leg bone was broken and a knee damaged, her parents told WXIA-TV in Atlanta on Tuesday. The Tallahassee Police Department is now investigating her case.
Dr. White sent letters regarding the 26 recent suspensions to university administrators and the university police. Although he was director of the band, he said, he lacked the authority to suspend or expel students from the university or cancel major marching events, the sort of harsher punishment that he said he had sought over the years.
The Marching 100 is the marquee organization at the university — the equivalent of a powerhouse football team — and is crucial in raising money for it and attracting new students. It has performed at events like the Grammy Awards and the Super Bowl and was scheduled to play at Carnegie Hall. The band has 375 members this year.
In an interview, Dr. White said of the recent suspensions, “I would have liked the administration to terminate the students," and he added that he had made such a recommendation to the university’s vice president, its dean and other officials. “They did not do that,” he said. “We need to be stronger in our punishment.”
While some say that as band director he should have asserted greater control, others, including Ms. Hunter’s parents and former band members, have rallied to Dr. White’s defense, saying he was hypervigilant about hazing.
“Dr. White has been trying to champion eradicating hazing from the band for years,” said Timothy A. Barber, a former head drum major who graduated in 2003 and is now the executive director for the Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida. “He took a strong stance. But it goes underground. It happens away from campus, at night. You can’t control it.”