December 16, 2012

The Weekly Blab

Volume 7, Issue 16—December 16, 2012


Almost Done

Graduation is over and Christmas is nearly here.  We just finished lighting the menorah for the eighth and final day of Chanukah.  Mark got some Skylander Giants that he wanted—it’s a pretty good game, where they have these little figures that stand on a platform and link in to a video game.  The game is different for each figure, so it’s like dozens of games in one.  Of course, the Skylander Giants operate on a different platform than the original Sklynanders do, so you have to buy that too.  Very clever, these game manufacturers.

Last week was filled with parties, starting with the University Holiday Luncheon on Monday afternoon.  As always, the food was very good and I ate entirely too much.  An elementary school chorus sang some Christmas songs, and then joined us in the traditional singing of The 12 Days of Christmas, where each table at the party acts out one of the days as the song progresses.  As it turned out, we had a delegation from Anyang Normal University (China) visiting, so Rich Bennett brought them to the party and they happily joined in the singing at Table 1—“and a partridge in a pear tree”—and all were flapping like partridges too.  I’m pretty sure that they’ve never run into that before, back home or anywhere else.

Tuesday had two parties, starting with the ECET Christmas Luncheon at noon.  It’s always nice to see Charlie Bachman again, as well as several other retired faculty and people’s families.  The luncheon is a potluck, so I got to enjoy all sorts of nice homemade goodies.   I went home a little early to get Jill and Mark, and it was off to the University Christmas Party that evening, which was held at the ETC.  The food was superb (love the shrimp and the roast beef!) and the company was good, with lots of friends of the University dropping by, including Sam Olens (Georgia’s Attorney General), Betty Siegel (Kennesaw State’s former president), and John Fuchko and Marci Middleton from downtown, among many others.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Jill, me, and Mark went down to Callaway Gardens.  The Adult Learning Consortium was meeting there on Thursday, so this was a good excuse to go there the evening before to see the Fantasy in Lights Christmas display there.  I read that the National Geographic rated Callaway Gardens as one of the 15 best light displays in the world, so I was definitely up for it.  We got to the hotel at about 7:30, checked in, and hopped into the car to go to the light display.  We had tickets for the 9:00 PM show riding the trolley.  We got to the loading zone at about 8:20, which was a good thing since there were more than 1000 people ahead of us in a big tent with lanes like you see for security at an airport.  Who would have thought it would be that crowded on a Wednesday night? It took almost until 9:00 to get on the trolley, and then off we went.  There are some 15 displays of lights on various themes (“Christmas Tree Lane”, “March of the Toy Soldiers”, “Enchanted Rainbow Forest”, and so on).  Some of the displays were pretty simple, but some were quite elaborate, with “Enchanted Rainbow Forest” and “Snowflake Valley” being the nicest, in my opinion.


After the light show, Mark spotted a stand that sold grilled cheese sandwiches, and just had to have one.  The next morning, he was sick as a dog—maybe it was the late meal, maybe he picked up a stomach virus.  So, I had to leave the conference early on Thursday to take him and Jill home.  There’s always something.  Mark seems to be getting better today, so I’m hoping that he’ll be back to normal tomorrow.

Since I got back early, I was able to attend the City of Marietta’s public forum on how they hope to revitalize the US-41 corridor that goes past Life University and us.  The forum was held at Life (who put on a nice spread for the occasion) and it was interesting to hear some of the statistics and arguments that make the city believe that the area can be revitalized into a restaurant/entertainment/upscale business area.  My own view is that positive results will be achieved primarily through our own growth—as our enrollment increases and as more students live on campus, they will provide the economic base that will allow the area to develop.

Thursday evening also featured the Architecture and Construction Management holiday party, hosted by Rich Cole, his wife, and his daughter at the Marlow House, just off Marietta Square.  Former Dean Bill Barnes had hosted an annual party there since before I came to SPSU, and it was really nice to see that Rich was continuing the tradition.  As always, it was great to see all the faculty and their significant others.

Graduation was on Saturday, and as usual, it was great.  How can you help but enjoy yourself around so many happy students and proud families?  As it has been for the last six years, this year’s graduation was the largest Fall graduation in the history of the University. Regent Willis Potts gave greetings from the Board of Regents, and Regent Kessel Stelling gave the commencement address.  Some funnier aspects of the ceremonies included literally everyone commenting on Meighen Dillon’s cap (a “Beefeater” special), trying to fit the graduation medallions over some very big hair, Russ Hunt trying hard not to go into “commercial announcer” mode when reading ETM’s names, and Tom Currin telling the afternoon crowd that they were being too reserved—they needed to cheer louder (and they did!).  All in all, very cool.

I’m pretty sure this coming week will be considerably quieter.


The World Intrudes

December is a time of goodwill and holiday fun, but unfortunately, the world (as it always does) brings us back to reality.  The killings that just took place in Connecticut are impossible to fathom—what kind of darkness has to be present in someone’s head and heart to be able to murder so many innocent people?  It’s not just a lone psychopath in the United States, of course.  The drug wars in Mexico rage on, as does the civil war in Syria, as does the war in Afghanistan, and too many other conflicts to mention.

President Eisenhower said it very well:  “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in a final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed—those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending its money alone—it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

As at least a tiny step, let’s all join in with the international Prayer for Peace:

Prayer for Peace


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest focused on holidays, and our winner was Kelli Tracy (President Rossbacher’s secretary), with a fabulous four right.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Favorite flower for Christmas.  Poinsettia
  2. Bing Crosby movie about a hotel that’s only open 12 days a year—the big hit song was “White Christmas”.  Holiday Inn
  3. Name of the candelabra used on Chanukah.  Menorah
  4. The Hindu festival of lights, it comes on the last day of the Vikram calendar.  Diwali
  5. Muslim holiday that falls on the 9th and 10th days of Muharram (December 5 this year).  It’s an optional fast day, commemorating the saving of Moses and the Israelites from Pharaoh.  Ashura


Last Week’s Music Contest

I also challenged BLAB readers to tell me their favorite Christmas album and why they liked it, with the most interesting response winning a prize.  Our winner is Diane Payne, whose hippopotamus reference put her response in the winner’s circle.  She wrote:

“This isn’t very high-minded, but I still play songs from A Very Special Christmas I and A Very Special Christmas 2 every year at this time. However, my all-time favorite Christmas song is “Silent Night” by Manheim Steamroller. I listen to it with all the lights out except for the Christmas tree, and it gives me chills at the end. Of course, my No. 2 pick is the polar opposite — “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” by 10-year-old Gayla Peevey (1953). Who can resist lyrics like “No crocodiles or rhinoceroses, I only like hippopotamuses”?


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

No contest this week.  The BLAB Trivia Challenge will return after the holidays!


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One Response to December 16, 2012

  1. Jon Preston says:

    Zvi, glad you were able to catch Fantasy In Lights; our family has enjoyed the beauty of Callaway Gardens and the lights as part of our Thanksgiving/Christmas tradition for years. We’re always amazed at how busy the place gets. Hope Mark’s feeling better!

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