"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Huck Finn's calling, thanks Mark Twain

"I've got to buy and read Huckleberry Finn," I said.
That's the first thing I said, as we  got in the car after watching  Hal Holbrook be Mark Twain the other night at UCO, part of the Broadway Tonight program bringing actors to town, directed by Greg White.
Holbrook's been performing Mark Twain Tonight! for more than 50 years in more than 2,200 performances. Though he is now 89 and stooped, he held us mesmerized for almost three hours with wit, wisdom and acting so fine you know you are in the presence of Mark Twain himself.  Not only does Holbrook look like Twain, he is Twain.
Asked ahead of time for a program, he declined, saying that would inhibit his inspiration. The Emmy and Tony award winner  chooses material as he goes along, with every word spoken coming from Mark Twain in the early 1900s, plus an excerpt from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
I found it interesting that his words from 1905 were so true today. Most of the program included Twain's comedic remarks, sarcasm and wit with barbs thrown to  three major subjects--Congress, the media, and religion. I get the feeling those were selected with conservative Oklahoma in mind.
If you wonder how this red state crowd took to it, there was lots of laughter and tears of laughter, and some very silent moments when the truth was painful or almost brought tears of sadness. Twain could have been writing those words yesterday, they fit our country so well, congress owned by corporations and big money, the media full of opinion and distorted facts, and religions full of hatred and judgment, and making fun of them ignoring science.
       We were in the presence of greatness.
The other highlight was when he recited and acted out a large portion of a chapter from Huck Finn--without notes, using different voices for different characters. The scene took at least 15 or 20 minutes, and the audience was dead silent at the story telling, the power of the words, and the art on state. The stage was sparse--an oak library table, some books, a chair, and a small podium...and Mark Twain.
We found out later that instead of going out to eat at fancy places, he preferred I-Hop, and paid for his own meals.
His closing lines were, "Well, my teeth are loose, so it's time to go. Good Night."
I've since bought The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn at Full Circle Book Store, and after just a few nights, am halfway through it. The reading is so easy, in spite of the dialects, and the story so strong...like the current of the Mississippi, and irony so powerful. I've found the excerpts Holbrook acted out, and they are as alive as he performed.
I hear Huck Finn calling.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pete Seeger--a voice in truth telling.

There  is a silence in the land,
A voice for the people missing,
A banjo without a player,
A voice stilled from truth-telling.



Pete Seeger died yesterday at age 94. He was another Woody Guthrie, singing and active as a champion for common people. His musical force touched generations, including "We Shall Overcome."
Though Malvena Reynolds wrote the song in 1961, it is Pete's singing of "Little Boxes" that strikes closest to me as I age and teach at a university. Over the years, I've learned and observed how our education system...at all levels...follows the corporate model of exterminating individualism.
The great ones in all areas of our societies don't bend, but like Steve Jobs, Ray Bradbury, Martin Luther King, and Pete Seeger go their own way and set an example I try to instill in students in today's mass-market university system.
That's why I play this and other You-Tube Videos, trying to prompt individuality and success in my students. Deep down, I hope there will be more Pete Seegers listening.

If you haven't, you should read  three articles in the New York Times today about Pete.
Folk Revivalist 
Complete Obituary 
Singing and Saving the Hudson

Monday, January 27, 2014

Janus--Record month "blogstone"

Screen shot of stats at 2:36 p.m. today
January, month of Janus, the Roman god of two faces, looking back and forward, set two  records, reaching a 'bloodstone" for Coffee with Clark. 
Roman god Janus
The blog surpassed 6,000 page views this month between 2 and 2:30 pm CST today, about 500 more than last month, and more than 6700 page views in the last 30 days. 
Boosting the traffic this past month have been the numerous articles about my twitter for journalists class at UCO, #clarkclass, which generated a lot of interest. As with the new year, I don't know where this is going, but Coffee with Clark will continue to change and grow as it approaches its sixth birthday.
And during the month, a reader from Cameroon in Africa notched the 131st country to have readers of the blog, and 19th in Africa.
Cameroon
Cameroon, located just north of the equator, was colonized by Germany in the 1880s, but divided by Britain and France after WWI. After about 10 years of fighting against those colonial powers, the country gained independence in 1960-61. 
With more than 20 million people, Cameroon is slightly larger than California. While it is relatively stable and economically strong compared to its neighboring countries, there is a lot of poverty. In the early 2000s, unemployment was about 30 percent. French and English are official languages.
It has the same authoritarian president since 1984, and corruption is rampant, ranking it 144 out of 179 countries, according to one report. Still, it is a haven for many refugees from neighboring countries. Its flag was adopted in 1975. 
With more than 200 linguistic groups among the population, and a widely varied geography, Cameroon is often referred to as "Africa in miniature."I have no idea who the reader from Cameroon was this month, but these visitors help me travel the world in my imagination.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Captain and Tennille tree

What a difference a day makes, or in Oklahoma, an hour for that matter.
Yesterday the high was in the low 40s and the wind chill probably cut it to 20 degrees less than that. My layered coats and sweater from the Alaska trip--which worked there--weren't enough.
Bitter. From Beast to Beauty.
Today it's in the mid 60s, no wind, beautiful sunshine. Time for my neglected walks in Hafer Park, and sure enough, the kids and dogs and parents and lovers and old folks were out, walking the trails, most in short sleeves. I was one of few with a sweater, and worked up a sweat.
Almost at the end of the walk I though it was strange I hadn't stopped to take a photo. Then I saw this tree I hadn't noticed before. "Captain and Tennille, " I thought as I walked by. I stopped and turned around to take a photo.
I post it here, not to make fun of, or mock, or judge the divorce this week of the long-married couple famous for the song "Love will keep us together" in the 1970s. I think it's sad, but a story many people are familiar with on a personal level these days.
The tree said to me, "Life goes on." So I added some special effects, beyond usual old-time darkroom burning and dodging, just to emphasize the subject, and the emotions involved.
Every trip, every walk, every tree, every marriage, is a journey.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gridiron foolery, at the bottom of the barrel

The Oklahoma City Gridiron show has been around since 1928, raising thousands of dollars for college journalism student scholarships by putting on an annual show poking fun at politicians, national, state and local.
Members of the club are either journalists, current, former or retired and they put long hours into rehearsals for the three day show. That follows long hours of script writing, and adapting popular songs to the script. It's all volunteer work, with lots of fun, comedy  and satire, and musical parody of politics and politicans.
Every year the club adds new members, and in an act of desperation, members conned me into joining. It proves you can find a fool at the  bottom of any barrel. You can come to the show this year and see me make even more of a fool of myself.
I only have a few minor parts, and fittingly ironic, two of them are Republican politicos. The other actually requires me to sing a short song, I the man of such musical talent that my friends pay me not to even try to sing. Actually, I'm honored to be included, because I think I'm the only college professor in the club--they probably count me as a journalist, and I'm fine with that for sure.
At any rate, rehearsals have already started--Sunday afternoons, and some Tuesdays and Thursdays.
You can buy tickets, learn the history of the club, and see photos of previous shows on the Oklahoma City Gridiron Website.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Jetting" along, Blue Highways Journal--IV

Oklahoma's small towns, while dwindling, are proud of their histories. Almost all of them have murals painted on old brick walls or signs, helping tell the stories of who the people are and were. No matter for these towns that the art work is in various stages of artistic ability. They represent dedication, hard work and pride by local rural artists and townsfolk.
Jet, population 213, on US 60-64, is no exception. On the eastern outskirts of town are four colorful murals on signs telling the story of the town. They're part of the town's veterans' memorial, etched in granite, behind  an old US Air Force jet trainer on stilts. That probably comes from nearby Vance AFB at Enid, where later that day I saw jets still zooming through skies in training.
In town were two more examples of brick buildings with finely crafted arches over windows and doors, typical of Oklahoma Territorial architecture. It was refreshing to see the local bank, Jet State Bank,  renovate one of the buildings for its operations, rather than building some ugly and modern box to do business in.
Also outside the town is a sign heralding it as the "goose hunting capital of the world." Now it may or may not be, but if they claim it, it is so. (This comes from someone who used to live in Waurika, "the parakeet capital of the world.") The town's location just south of the Great Salt Plains State Park and a federal wildlife refuge probably explains this.
Jet was established with a post office June 28, 1894, named for a local miller and the first postmaster, W.M. Jett.
Jet's school district for years was consolidated with Nash, seven miles east in Grant County. Nash's post office was established Feb. 14, 1894 as Nashville, and the named changed to Nash March 23, 1911. It was named for the first postmaster, Clark L. Nash.
(Information on town histories and names comes from Oklahoma Place Names, by George Shirk)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Back roads, no chain stores journal--Part III

Have you heard of Greasy Steve's restaurant or Ugly Fixer Liquor? If you get off the chain store main roads, and drive through Pond Creek, Oklahoma, population 856, you will.
I'm sorry I didn't stop and take a photo of those establishments, for they tell you a lot about the independence of living in rural Oklahoma. 
Straddling the center line of US 60 was a sign in front of the school announcing a bean and stew supper that night.  Everybody in rural Oklahoma knows of those Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, volunteer fire departments and other clubs' pancake breakfasts and bean and cornbread suppers, raising funds for local events. 

I did turn around and snap photos of the water tower, an abandoned gas station, and two brick buildings with the distinctive arches of late Territorial and early statehood architecture. Such craftsmanship and care, instead of the plastic, all- look-alike facades of today's urban world.  No wonder we call them "Big Box Stores."
Distinctive arches of early Oklahoma archtecture
Pond Creek was originally named Round Pond, post office established in September 29, 1893. It was the county seat of Grant county from statehood till June 9, 1908 when it was moved to Medford. I bet there are all kinds of stories about those early day Oklahoma politics on the northern edge of Oklahoma, repeating a story about Waurika and Ryan in Jefferson County, at the  southern end of the same U.S. 81.
Oh, the stories to be told.
The original town site is now at Jefferson, four miles north, and Pond Creek is actually located closer to the Salt Fork River, on the intersection of US 60, 64 and US 81, which follows the old Chisholm Trail.
Oh, the stories to be told. There is a book, Trails to Old Pond Creek, by Jim Fulbright,  copyright 2006, that tells lots of stories about the Kansas connections.


(Information on Pond Creek from Oklahoma Place Names, by George Shirk)
  • Next:  the "goose hunting capital of the world."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

"Blue collar roads" Journal--Part II

Highway 60/64 west of Tonkawa may be red on our state map, but it is a blue collar highway these days, a testament to two Oklahomas--the urban affluent, and rural poverty. It is one of William Least Heat Moon's "blue highways" for me.
People who live in booming metro areas in medieval-thought gated communities or stuck like ants in rush hour traffic have no idea of the poverty in most of rural Oklahoma, and a trip down roads like this makes it clear.
Veterans' Memorial at Lamont
water tower and grain elevator in distance
I love roads like this, even though today there is increased oil-field truck traffic. There is some road construction on bridges, and wide open spaces, sparsely populated with cattle, old houses, vacant brick silos, barren fields and dwindling small towns, marked with water towers and grain elevators where railroads used to be.
First settled in the 1890s, and home to booming populations, the small towns every 10 miles are testaments to long gone prosperity and hope. Today, the highest paid people in town are probably school teachers--other than a few bank owners, probate lawyers, and retired large landowners. Everyone else is working in a garage, driving a truck, serving coffee at a cafe or cashiering at a convenience store, serving as a flagman on a road crew, all trying to make a living. You see this in the multitude of old frame houses and mobile homes, with a few brick homes interspersed.
There are two Oklahomas
There's usually a bank and a post office. Source of pride in every town, the last thing really holding it together, is the school, even if it is consolidated with another town.
At Lamont, population 417, 12 miles east of I-35, there's not much, but the street to the school is clearly marked. The Eagles roost here, and there are signs pointing the way, and eagle tracks painted on the pavement.
Urban folks and politicos who want all these small schools consolidated have no idea of the distances involved and the communities sustained with local tax dollars. They speak out of two sides of their mouths, fleeing intercity schools, but that is a different journey and subject, except that it illustrates the divide between urban and rural in this state in more than just economics and politics.
A testament to lost hopes...
Lamont, settled in 1893 was named for President Cleveland's secretary of war, Daniel Lamont. Today, there is a veterans memorial, with an aging armored military unit out front of the granite memorial, in the town park, with the slender water tower overhead. There are lots of boarded up buildings and houses, testaments to lost hopes and happy times. The most modern building in town is the Methodist church, a heritage of steadfast  faith that continues from settlement to now.
I could have spent more time here taking photos, and wish I had. In fact, as I kept driving west, I saw multiple grain elevators off on side roads, beacons or tombstones to other small towns, beckoning for a trip and more photos, more stories of the good people of rural Oklahoma.
First Methodist Church, Lamont, a heritage of steadfast faith
(Information on Lamont from Oklahoma Place Names, George Shirk)

  • Next, Greasy Steve's, and Pond Creek.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Highway 60-64 "Blue Highway" journal-I

Did you know Oklahoma has a Nashville?
You get off I-35 at Tonkawa and head west on U.S. 60, through Lamont till it joins US 64 at Pond Creek, and slides through Nash and Jet and past the shimmering whiteness of the Great Salt Plains before turning north seven miles to Cherokee.
Welcome to the backroads, to William Least Heat Moon's "Blue Highways."It's not a coincidence I'm rereading that classic.
On my way to Steve Booher's retirement reception, I breathed at last, free of mind numbing stoplights and traffic in Edmond, and the incessant 70 mph+ trains of semis on I-35.
So there are stories to tell, photos to take. But first, I have to share this photo for friend Zach Nash.
Nash, population 204, was not the first stop, but I couldn't pass up the photo, with a mural on the side commemorating John Dillinger's visit. So many memories on the backroads.

  • Next, Greasy Steve's and more

The world's most fantastic cake

What a story I discovered yesterday, right here in Oklahoma, in far northwest Oklahoma to be exact, in the Alfalfa County seat town of Cherokee...
The world's most fantastic cake...and therefore, cake baker.
I drove 151 .7 miles from the house to attend the retirement reception for old friend Steve Booher, editor and publisher of the Cherokee Messenger and Republican.
Steve and I first met years ago, on the sidelines at Ringling, Oklahoma, covering the Waurika Eagles playing the Ringling Blue Devils. He was working for the Duncan Banner and I'd just started as part owner of the Waurika News-Democrat.
It was cold, perhaps with a hint of rain and sleet, I think I remember, and from those years, we've developed a warm friendship.
Steve has gone on to develop one of the best newspapers in Oklahoma, covering Cherokee and environs, population 1,500 in a county of less than 6,000. 
People who think newspapers are dying, don't know much about the newspaper industry, especially community papers. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and more to make a small town weekly survive, a special breed of people. Steve's one of those who has poured his talent and heart into it. He's also served as president of the Oklahoma Press Association, supported by the patience and tolerance of his wife Sonya.
So I had to go to this reception. When I walked in, he said something typical among friends: "I thought I told the police chief not to let you in town."
As I gravitated toward the refreshments in the rear, I saw this most fantastic cake in the world. Steve told me the cake is a specialty of a Cherokee homemaker, June McGee, who makes cakes that are as delicious as they look--usually the store bought ones look good and don't taste that way, we agreed. Then there is high school student Maci Starks who transfers an image to the top of the cake.
If you don't know, it's the image of Steve on a replica of the Cherokee newspaper's front page.
There was a come and go crowd, including friends and members of the press who drove in from Sallisaw, Enid, Clinton, Hennessey and Oklahoma City. I left before I got to taste the world's most fantastic cake (though it would have been a sin to slice it). 
Then I found out Steve's diabetic and can't have the cake, so it was taken to the nursing home.  Cakeless,  I came away with a refreshed taste of friends, rural Oklahoma  and her great people, that I just had to tell you about.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Lady...Shirley Goin

We journalists don't use words like "lady" or "gentlemen." They are terms of quality,  not facts. It's "woman" and "man." I have to beat that out of my students when they're writing stories. And since we're in America, the term "lady" is never used as a title either.
That said, I attended the funeral of a "lady" this afternoon, Shirley B. Goin.
I don't have a specific definition, but to note I've known very few "ladies" in my life, and she was one of them. As was my mother, and some aunts, and as is my daughter and her mother, and a few other women I've known.
I know they're bound to be out there in profusion, women who rise above being women, or housewives or professionals, and most of them never get recognition beyond their families, or certainly in the news.
What makes a "lady"? You define the word as you wish, but for me certain qualities come to mind.

  • They're genuine.
  • They love people and life, especially children.
  • They have a certain grace that transcends problems and politics and pettiness.
  • They work hard, at any task.
  • They subordinate their egos to the people they love.
  • They are strong in character, and beliefs.
  • They have high standards of behavior and expectations.
  • They smile, and forgive, and are never mean.
  • They are loved and respected by everyone they know.
  • They are our culture's and civilization's real leaders.
  • They embody what Christianity is supposed to be about.
So here's to Shirley B. Goin, 1934-2014, who I knew in Waurika years ago, whose husband Don was probably the most spiritual elder I've ever known, who reared a wonderful family, whose children I got to know, who taught some of my children in Bible class,  whose brother is a loyal friend no matter the years and sins.
Services were at Memorial Road Church of Christ, and I cried. I think I cried most at the wonderful sound of a cappella singing, and at the photos of Shirley and her family, and of the memories, of a gracious lady. 



Monday, January 13, 2014

Taking an 'F' to the top of twitter


@okieprof #clarkclass



"Dr. Clark gave me the only 'F' I ever got in college," said Rob Crissinger, @rcrissinger, speaking on the last day of the twitter for journalists intersession class Friday.
He was smiling when he said it--in fact he smiles all the time he's talking--and the students looked astounded. Here was this enthusiastic, with-it young looking 40-year-old entertainment PR guy wowing them with stories and advice.
I'd forgotten about it, but Rob explained he'd turned in first person writing in my feature writing class when it called for third person. He said I gave him a chance to revise it. He went home, decided not to and took the 'F.'" And aced the course.
He was one of those "older' students, going back to college after bouncing around doing different things.
And after graduating, bouncing around from one PR job and location to another, he's got the job he loves doing PR for arts and entertainment in OKC for Bumbershoot PR @Bumbershoot PR. Accounts include the Plaza District, among many more.
He came in nervously, sat down, and loosened up, chatting with the class about twitter, PR, music and more. Smiles and laughter and questions followed in quick order. He was a walking quote machine.
He said graduating from UCO was an advantage because city media and PR is dominated by UCO grads.
What really impressed me was the two-page list of OKC twitter uses he passed out to the class. The night before, he sat down, put on his headphones, and started typing off the top of his head who you should follow in OKC. The list is golden, (and includes three previous speakers @MyJRNY, @HeideWrite, @jdavehrea, and I'll share more of it later.
In our debriefing, with Rob sitting in, here is what the students said made the biggest impressions.

  • The people using twitter effectively are #winning
  • You have to have an edge to dominate
  • I want OKC to be a place I never want to leave 
  • Doing what you love, you can’t put a price tag on it.
  • Re-invent and adapt
  • Make a list of people to get to know
  • Know people who are in your pond. Swim fishy swim.
  • LOVE your town, love OKC.
  • Tell your boss to hire you, be risky. Create your own job
  • Be versatile in your work, work with many different groups.
  • Write relevant things on twitter and people will follow you
  • Don’t be afraid to go someplace new and learn things the hard way.
  • Someone young can be relevant on twitter, it’s so easy
  • Take risks and then you can have the reward of a great career.
  • Don’t be afraid to be the new person, adapt and enjoy yourself.
  • “We’re all scared, but WHO CARES? Have the willingness to be scared but still do what you need to do.”
  • Don’t be so interested in yourself, but yet be interested in others.
  • Really listen to what others are saying.
  • Twitter is his number 1 social media.
  • The phone is everything. (Only using laptop to send out releases)
  • If everything comes easy, you don’t get the edge to dominate.
  • Go with the flow and you’ll just be mediocre.
  • Don’t put a price tag on what you love doing everyday.
  • The fact that we have an advantage graduating from UCO in OKC because we know people, we are connected. This made all the May graduates feel so much better!

You can see many more student comments about Rob by searching  #clarkclass on twitter.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Swamped with transcending twitter ideas

@okieprof #clarkclass
My twitter for journalists class climaxed (I can think of no better word) with the ideas and enthusiasm of the last two speakers, Desiree Hill @dezhill and Rob Crissinger @rcrissinger.
I scrawled more than eight pages of notes from Desiree, a former broadcast journalist who is now my colleague and advisor for our student broadcasts. Then Rob, a former student and Oklahoma City entertainment PR guru with Bumbershoot PR @Bumbershoot PR, kept me writing too.
I'm still digesting and will have more to write soon based on their thoughts, but I came home literally exhausted by their energy, enthusiasm, ideas.
"This class transcends twitter--it's about life"
"This class transcends twitter, it's about life," I told the students earlier, and these last two speakers added exclamation points to that. I've never taught a class where there was so much life-practical learning and advice.  In fact, the class has literally exploded with possibilities, as has twitter. More on that later too.
She based much of her comments on research she's done on broadcast stations in Tulsa, and continues to explore how twitter is evolving.
But first, here are the debriefing comments from the students about what they learned from Desiree, transcribed by student Lacey Rhodes @laceymrhodes.
   •    Don’t settle for what's coming down the pike; keep your mind open to other things.
    •    Be real, don’t try to be someone you’re not online.
    •    The traditional media is trying to use the new media in traditional ways and should be using it in new ways.
    •    Twitter should be included in the newsroom meetings.
    •    Humor is subjective, so be careful.
    •    Less can be more.
    •    Build your niche.
    •    All experiences are unique so be the eyes and ears for the world.
    •    Use twitter to communicate with other journalists, and build accountability.
    •    Be specific.
    •    Don’t tweet things that are already out there.
    •    Separate yourself from the average person.
    •    The newsrooms that used twitter during the national disasters were being helpful.
    •    Evolve with technology.
    •    Be relevant to your followers and your audience.
    •    Twitter is the new reality, you have to stay constant.
    •    Don’t tweet the same things over and over again...your credibility goes down.
    •    The more involved applicant (on social media) gets hired for the job.
    •    If there is smoke there is fire, and there is reason to take notice to the situation.
    •    We are the inventors.
    •    You give up some of your image when you get hired, because you represent the organization.
    •    Setting your goals before you start tweeting.

You can see many more student comments by searching @okieprof and #clarkclass








Next post--Comments from Rob Crissinger 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

#clarkclass--twitter trending in Ok!

Screen shot from Oklahoma Trends
Wow! #clarkclass has arrived. First @MikeSherman made us into a verb, when he said "I'm going to #clarkclass it." Now, because of the professional speakers I've brought in, including Professor Desiree Hill @Dezhill, and my students twittering and other activity, we're trending even above Christie.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Disruptive technology, twitter & an ex-rock star

@okieprof #clarkclass 
Speaker in the twitter for Journalists class today was friend and multi-talented journalist Dave Rhea, @jdaverhea, now general manager of the Oklahoma Gazette.
Dave Rhea and @okieprof
He spoke about still having to write, even though he's now in management--formerly with the Oklahoma City Journal Record business newspaper. 
"If I didn't write, I wouldn't be a journalist," he said. (He writes for Blade Magazine, about knives.)
A former rock band star and musician with a record contract, he related the changes journalism is going through to the changes in the music industry where making money off records collapsed, talking about the Internet as "disruptive technology." He urged students to always adapt to the new technology, or to better yet, invent the "disruptive technology."
I, and my students, were really impressed with how many people he knows in many different fields , and his wide range of reading. He's always learning. My students are amazed at how many really cool people this old prof knows.
So after he left, here's what the students commented on in our debriefing. Thanks again to student Lacey Rhodes @laceymrhodes for the note-taking. More student comments by searching #clarkclass on @okieprof.
  • Twitter is just a tool in the toolbox.
  • Don’t worry about the outcome, focus on the work to be happy.
  • Do something for a half hour a day that you thoroughly enjoy.
  • Don’t do your writing for the outcome but remember what pays the bills.
  • Disruptive innovators create new ways to do old things.
  • At the end of the day publication credibility is the most important thing.
  • The bat belt of many different skills is to create story-telling abilities.
  • Twitter distributes power.
  • Be here now, live in the moment.
  • Story telling is always going to be there.
  • Be a Renaissance man, have a big skill set.
  • Classic forms of networking aren’t always as important anymore.
  • How he uses his personality type to do his job to the best ability.
  • Pay attention to the creative flow.
  • Journalism isn’t stiff and old school anymore.
  • The more ways you can tell a story the more ways you can sell that story.
  • Be authentic in your work.
  • Use writing to give yourself a creative drive.
  • He says his personal tweets are personal and do not represent the company.
  • When you get calls it’s not usually someone praising you, unless it’s your mom. 
  • Everybody is a critic.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

twittering at UCO-a social media university


@okieprof #clarkclass

Twitter for journalists class  is back in session, and our guest professionals today were Adrienne Nobles, assistant vice-president in University Relations, and Monica Helms, social media and web marketing director.
They spoke about UCO's use of "social media," offered advice and answered questions from my students.
Subjects included everything from law and ethics to common sense advice. Both with-it women are stars in UCO's modern approach to education. Adrienne is like me--more a viewer of twitter than a user, but seasoned with experience in media and public relations. Monica is an unending source of quotes.

They also have their own twitter accounts, and know that they always represent UCO, even when it's personal.
After they left, we conducted our debriefing. Each student offered at least one insight learned. As we've done with three previous speakers in earlier blog posts, and in the next three the rest of this week, here's a summary.  You can see more comments by searching @okieprof #clarkclass. Here's what was mentioned, dutifully recorded by my student Lacey Rhodes, @laceymrhodes.

  • “There is freedom of speech but not freedom from consequence.”
  • Don’t be afraid to tweet your passions.
  • “It only takes one match to burn down the house.”
  • Monica plans out her tweets, seasonally and around activities.
  • It’s not the things that are relevant it’s us that has to stay relevant to those things.
  • Sometimes we have to bite our tongue.
  • A healthy sense of paranoia is probably a good thing.
  • Commit yourself to life-long learning.
  • Know what your peers are doing. 
  • Be relatable and approachable.
  • Act on the idea that the “internet is forever”
  • Always pretend you are on the clock. You still represent your employer.
  • UCO needs to be the social media university.
  • Don’t be shy but yet approachable.
  • Make connections with people you don’t necessarily follow.
  • You always represent your employer.
  • Main goal: get others to share your content.
  • Build relationships in your community.
  • Be able to adapt to the different stories of the different people.
  • The bad weather was communicated through social media.
  • You should always be learning even when you are out of school.
  • Every once in a while you should do a google search of yourself. 



Gray Samsonite kind of guy

Jerry, Mom and I getting on train at
Albuquerque for trip to Texas
In the 50's, with baggage
"Everybody's got baggage," said a friend at lunch today.
"Yes," I said, "I think mine is old gray Samsonite."
"Yeah, you're sort of a gray Samsonite kind of guy," he said, laughing.
The other friend chimed in.
"Yes, and it's pretty beat up with lots of dents and scratches," she said.
In between laughing, we were talking about people getting older and getting along with others, finding people to live with.
We agreed it was important that people's baggage pretty well match, or at least go together, if it was going to work. (That said, Susan's baggage is a lot classier than mine.)
"Having baggage isn't bad," said one friend.
"Some people have more baggage than others," added the other.
I started thinking about my gray Samsonite life. Not only is it dented and scratched and scuffed, the latches barely work, the handles are flimsy, and the hinges are almost sprung, from being crammed too tight with clothes and stuff  I didn't really need over the years. It squeaks and groans every time it moves.
I usually need to have a rope, or a belt, or strap wrapped around it to hold all the heavy junk in. It's sure not packed neatly, stuff just thrown in, wrinkled at best.
Thinking back, I find it interesting that my parents and aunt gave me two pieces of really good luggage for high school graduation. They knew I was going to travel and needed good luggage to hold all the baggage I would accumulate. Those pieces are long gone now, of course. 
They weren't gray Samsonite, but that's the first image I thought of when we started talking about baggage. I remember bright smiling people in ads in the National Geographic, boarding trains with shiny, perfectly matched Samsonite luggage.
It's no wonder today that I like to travel really light. One small bag, with rollers on it, or a duffel bag is all I need for most trips...even a week long trip to Europe. I hate the weight and having to tote things around. It takes me five minutes to pack. I'm trying to get rid of baggage.
Of course, it takes longer to pack what used to be called an "overnight" bag, carrying medicines and toiletries. You can tell the age of people by what kinds of toiletries they carry. If you're young, you've got a toothbrush, tooth paste, deodorant, a comb and brush, a razor, and some shaving lotion and aftershave. That's all.
Now the container includes all kinds of salves and ointments for various aches and pains, anti-diarrhea medicine, pain killers, stuff for stomach upset, band aids, sore throat medicine, mouth wash, eye drops, hemorrhoid ointment, nail clippers, and much more. Of course now you have to have it in a clear plastic bag if you're traveling by air so everybody can see your personal problems.
Makes you wish for gray Samsonite.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ancient Oklahoma forest

Did you know that Oklahoma has a primitive forest? I didn't, until I read friend and blogging adventurer Alan Bate's New Year Day adventure in this crosstimber preserve. Alan lives in Tulsa, works in oil and gas, is a geocacher, photographer, and great husband and Dad. 
Read Yogi's Den's story of the Keystone Ancient Forest. It's now on my must go see list.

The blog at 130 countries!

Readers in two more countries found Coffee with Clark this week, bringing to 130 the countries where I've had readers.
Today, someone in French Guiana in South America clicked onto the blog, and earlier this week, someone in Jamaica did. Soon, I'll post something about those countries. One of my birthday blessings, and things I'm thankful for, is that people find something  interesting here. And it allows me to travel the world in my imagination, wondering about the people and their stories. Thanks.

January, 1944, while I was snug in my crib

 We sometimes forget how fortunate we are to live where we do, amid the turmoil and dangers and poverty and disease elsewhere in the world. 
While I was snug in my crib 70 years ago, children and grown ups were starving, being murdered, dying, with no possibility of safety, much less warmth.
Here's the evidence:

Jan 1st - Army defeats Navy 10-7 in football "Arab Bowl," Oran, North Africa
Jan 1st - Gen Clark replaces Gen Patton as commander of 7th Army
Jan 2nd - 1st use of helicopters during warfare (British Atlantic patrol)
Jan 3rd - Top Ace Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington is shot down in his Corsair by Captain Masajiro Kawato flying a Zero.
Jan 4th - Ralph Bunche appointed 1st Negro official in US State Department
Jan 5th - The Daily Mail becomes the first transoceanic newspaper.
Jan 7th - Air Force announces production of 1st US jet fighter, the Bell P-59
Jan 10th - British troops conquer Maungdaw, Burma
Jan 11th - Crakow-Plaszow Concentration Camp established
Jan 12th - Churchill & de Gaulle begin a 2-day wartime conference in Marrakesh
Jan 15th - European Advisory Commission decides to divide Germany
Jan 15th - General Eisenhower arrives in England
Jan 15th - Vught Concentration Camp puts 74 women in 1 cell, 10 die
Jan 16th - Gen Eisenhower took command of Allied Invasion Force in London
Jan 17th - Korvet Violet sinks U-641 in Atlantic Ocean

Jan 18th - 1st Chinese naturalized US citizen since repeal of exclusion acts
Jan 18th - The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City hosts a jazz concert for the first time. The performers were Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden.
Jan 20th - RAF drops 2300 tons  of bombs on Berlin
Jan 21st - 447 German bombers attack London
Jan 21st - 649 British bombers attack Magdeburg
Jan 22nd - Allied forces begin landing at Anzio Italy
Jan 24th - Allied troops occupy Nettuno Italy
Jan 27th - Leningrad liberated from Germany after 880 day seige with 600,000 killed
Jan 28th - 683 British bombers attack Berlin
Jan 28th - U-271 & U-571 sunk off Ireland
Jan 29th - 285 German bombers attack London

Jan 29th - USS Missouri the last battleship commissioned by the US Navy is launched.
Jan 29th - The Battle of Cisterna takes place in central Italy.
Jan 29th - About 38 men, women, and children die in the Koniuchy massacre in Poland.
Jan 30th - US invades Majuro, Marshall Islands
Jan 30th - United States troops land on Majuro.
Jan 31st - Operation-Overlord (D-Day) postponed until June
Jan 31st - U-592 sunk off Ireland
Jan 31st - US forces invade Kwajalein Atoll

On a wing and a prayer

Six months before D-Day, this 9" by 12" birth announcement was sent out by my parents. My dad, a technical illustrator at Consolidated Aircraft between Dallas and Fort Worth where the B-24 Liberator bomber was built, drew this stork flying in, with a B-24  radial engine. 
"Coming in on a wing and prayer," was the war-time phrase of many bomber crews flying home with planes shot up in combat and perhaps with wounded on board. So here it is, glued to a  brittle and yellowing page out of a family album.
Dad drew the announcement, had some printed off, and then did the color paints individually. He didn't go to the war, like three of his four brothers, because he had a wooden leg, having lost it under a freight train in Tucumcari 11 years before. That's probably why I'm here at all. If he hadn't lost his leg, he'd never have met my mom. His example led me to do individual birth announcements for each of my children, but they were never works of art.
Seventy years later, I'm still trying to wing it, and praying.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Three score and ten

My daughter Dallas and I
Tomorrow I will reach three score and ten...Lord willing.
The blessings of those years are uncountable, but four of them are at the top...Vance Conrad, Travis Austin, Dallas Page and Derrick Rogers.
Last night Dallas, husband Todd, and grandchildren Erin, Abby and Max drove in from Amarillo, spent the night, and took me, Susan and Travis out to lunch at Hideaway. This has to be the best birthday present ever. 
More reminiscing, some black and white photos,  and my unique birth announcement tomorrow.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sunset--Western skies

Rush hour lights--Edmond
"Out here there's the sky," wrote Willa Cather. Yep!

Gospel of Back Roads

Narrow is the way--3 by 5 watercolor
"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and  only a few find it." --Matt 7:14
Jesus had only three years to do his work, and we never see him in a hurry or late.
Why are we? Our technology and Interstate culture makes us hurry and fear being late. He walked or rode a donkey.
When he spoke about living, it was about a narrow, twisting trail where your feet got hot and dirty, but where you could also "consider the lilies of the field."
We live on Interstates, and ride at 60 plus miles per hour, chafe at "stop" lights, always work on a "dead" line, and wonder why we don't get more out of life. He was right--it's no wonder so few find life.
What are we afraid of? Do we even know how fearful we are of everything in our high-speed culture? Of how controlled we are by a man-made clock? Why do we consider those who slow down as abnormal, or even threats to our lives?
I know this sounds hypocritical coming from me, who hates traffic lights, mutters at slow drivers, and glories in covering many miles in record times. Long-time friends will be sure to point it out with snide remarks. My oldest son refers to me as "the patient man that you are." I am indeed a creature of my culture, and on top of that, a first-born Capricorn, who expects timely results and perfection.
But as the miles and years roll by, I'm finding more and more enjoyment in taking the back roads, slowing down, walking in the park, sitting silently on the back porch with a piƱon fire in the chiminea. One high-achieving friend says she's never happier than when she's on her bicycle, pedaling long miles across country. Another friend says I seem the happiest when I'm painting, mind completely slowed down from the surrounding world.
I think Jesus must have spoken those words about the narrow path to life after a long day walking a dusty trail, enjoying cool water and a meal with his friends; but 2,000 years ago, he somehow knew about the dangers of Interstate "living."
On those narrow dusty trails, I find the Gospel of Back Roads, where  you can slow down and find  the vibrancy of life in full color.
***
Numerous other chapters with photographs in the Gospel of Back Roads appear in earlier posts on this blog. If you're interested, just type in "Back Roads Journal" or "Back Roads" in the search box. Here's Back Roads Journal-I.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A better bucket--vivid watercolor lessons

A better bucket
One of the lessons that is finally soaking into my painting life, and I hope my life this year--is to be more vivid.
I should have learned that from Frank Francese's watercolor workshop here last June, and indeed it helped some.
But when I was posting paintings of December Christmas cards, and most recently, the bucket for the bucket list article yesterday, I've found myself computer-enhancing the paintings, which makes them more vivid. I tried it on the bucket, and then decided to just use the original.
But then I painted a better bucket...much more vivid. This one is not computer-enhanced. 
Watercolor tends to "dry down" and lose some color,  and my landscapes tend to be earthen colored, because of growing up in New Mexico. I try to achieve impact with contrast, but it's time to change.
Here's to a vivid year.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A year's story begins, a day at a time

A walk in Hafer Park today sets me to thinking. If I did this every day for a year, I'd have walked 730 miles by Dec. 31, 2014. And if I took a photo every trip, I'd have quite an album of ordinary things, consuming storage on my computer.
But today was blustery and cold. Few people were out. There will be days when it will be snowing, or icing, or raining, or threatening. There will be days when I'm out of town.
I know this though, if some higher power would guarantee me another year of life if I did walk it every day, I would. But there ain't no 730-more-mile guarantee on this 1944 model.
Anyway, I took two photos today, of a tree stump and a diseased tree, both of which hint at continuing life. Some lovers sat down and carved their names into the stump. Some bug bored a hole through a pasting designed to keep bugs out of a diseased tree. There is a future. These have been enhanced on the computer, because there was no sun for contrast.
This reminds me of the remarkable accomplishment of friend and colleague Mark Zimmerman, who took one second videos every day last year, and pasted them together. 
It's quite a project (warning, one second involves me).
Here are Mark's Facebook comments:

"Each day in 2013 I recorded one second of video. Never thought I would make it to today. 
Some observations on this project-
1. The easiest month was the first
2. The hardest month was the last
3. Had a few technical difficulties (I lost 3 videos throughout the year)
4. If you want to see a much better every day project, see by brother-in-law's Everyday People here
5. I hate "selfies" - but I did a few.
6. The majority of my subjects are my cameras, my pets, and my family (not listed in order of importance).
7. I am ready to have my iPhone storage space back.
8. I lead a pretty boring life (but I am ok with that).
I used an APP called One Second Everyday http://1secondeveryday.com/"

Here is Mark's fascinating journey through 2013, one second at a time, for 365 days. Enjoy