NFA Hall of Fame pin on AFA-NIET All-American Award

NFA Hall of Fame & AFA-NIET All-American Award

The National Forensic Association (NFA) and the American Forensics Association – National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) at the turn of the millennium established awards aimed at honoring collegiate forensics competitors beyond the scope of the tournaments they respectively hosted. The two organizations had already established awards for distinguished service to their organizations and the wider forensics activity, yet both organizations saw the need to recognize contributions by competitors and former competitors beyond individual events.

In the approaching 20 years these awards have existed, who has been honored, how did they receive these honors, and what can we learn about the honorees? To try and make sense of these questions I complied the data of every NFA Hall of Fame inductee and AFA-NIET All-American Individual Events Team. (more…)

Detail of comic book cover from Black Panther #9

Black Panther and Diversity

I am reading Marvel’s current run comic book Black Panther. Black Panther’s writer is Ta-Nehisi Coates (pronunciation: Tah-Nuh-Hah-See Coat-s), winner of the National Book Award for “Between the World and Me”. Mr. Coates is the reason I am reading the comic book, the first I have purchased and read during its print run.

Like a lot of comic books, there is a letter section at the back. I enjoy letter writing, but have had no reason to write beyond “I like your comic book.” In April, that changed. First, a Marvel VP decried diversity as the reason for sales declines. Then, the letters in Black Panther issue #12 contained a long diatribe opposed to the LGBTQ issues and themes in Mr. Coates’ Black Panther.

I have no idea if my letter to Mr. Coates will be chosen for print.  So here are my thoughts on Black Panther and diversity. (more…)

Movie theatre marquee advertising The Hateful Eight

Mass Infantilization Plaguing Movies #TBT

A. O. Scott, the venerable, initialed movie reviewer and societal critic for the New York Times, wrote an article a few years ago on a disease he saw plaguing movies entitled “Open Wide: Spoon-fed Cinema.” Scott’s diagnosis: “Forty is the new dead” for cinema as mass infantilization engenders profit at the box office, while stealing profit from culture and the soul. I have thought a lot about this article off and on since its 2009 printing. Initially, I agreed Scott’s diagnosis was a chronic condition of Hollywood. Now I believe it to be a seasonal affliction. (more…)

Police wearing face masks to protect against influenza

Still Sick Despite Flu Vaccine?

Every flu season I hear someone say, “I received my flu shot, but I’m still sick!” Usually it is simple crankiness caused by not feeling well, but often others will comment they skip the cheap or free flu vaccine every year because they do not want to waste time on an ineffective vaccine. Sound like someone you know? Maybe even you?

Hold up there overreact-er. Vaccination is what made influenza (the scientific name for the flu) a seasonal annoyance. Before you take the path of least disease resistance, read about why you should vaccinate, how the flu vaccine is made, and what you should do with your new knowledge.  The flu shot is not a panacea, but your flu symptoms are not likely caused by a bad flu shot. (more…)

Image of the movie posters for The Talented Mr. Ripley and Hell or High Water superimposed on each other.

Reel Comparison: The Talented Mr. Ripley and Hell or High Water

I recently watched two movies within the span of a week I had never seen before. Taken jointly, they articulate the economic anxiety many currently feel in society. They are the psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and the modern day western Hell or High Water. The movies are critically acclaimed and have strong ensemble casts. I hated Ripley. I loved Hell.

In a three reel comparison, the economic arguments of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Hell or High Water.
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Photo of the painting "Moses Presenting the Tablets of Law" (1648) by Philippe de Champaigne with the word AGILE written over the tablet closet to Moses.

Adopting Agile Misconceptions

When I joined my last company I was transitioning from healthcare public policy to private healthcare IT. New to IT, I was a little behind the eight ball when it came to the project delivery methodologies discussion raging in my, then, new company. The discussion was over transitioning from a Waterfall approach to delivering solutions to our customer to a more collaborative Agile one. I came in naïve and left a proponent of Agile. Nonetheless, I do not reject or disparage Waterfall; a methodology is simply a way to approach an activity and therefore may or may not be useful depending on personnel or circumstances.

So when Stuart Hamilton’s article – Why Agile Doesn’t Work for Large Projects – appeared in my LinkedIn feed one morning I approached it inquisitively. “Hmm, I wonder in what ways Agile might not work for larger projects?” I clicked. (more…)

Detail photo of the picture and flavor text of the card Senior Staff Meeting from Star Trek CCG.

Ideal Star Trek Senior Staff

Star Trek is a cultural phenomenon. Attempting to show what humanity could become in the future if we embrace a universal humanity and “boldly go where no one has gone before” (as well as comment on current society via narrative lens), Star Trek has spawned six TV shows (plus a new one for 2017!), 13 feature length movies, books, comics, conventions, and endless geek trivia.

At the backbone of each of these fictional voyages and adventures is a senior staff, the protagonists, who collectively work together to explore or administer their part of the galaxy. Every Trekkie has their favorite crew, but what would be your ideal Star Trek senior staff if time, space, and series were not limiting factors? (more…)

Spilt picture. On the left, Tom Cruise Musicals Phantom of the Opera Logo on the right.

Tom Cruise Musicals

No Apologies Advocate and I saw “Phantom of the Opera” recently. After the show, amongst discussing the darker tone of Cameron Mackintosh’s national tour, the sumptuous sets, and the crowd-pleasing chandelier, we did a little research on Andrew Lloyd Webber. Amongst the standard biographical information came this revelation: Sir Lloyd-Webber has created a sequel to Phantom entitled “Love Never Dies.” (more…)