Friday, June 20, 2008

West Virginia Celebrates 145th Birthday

Today is Friday, so the boss man had meetings to discuss upcoming projects, a couple of which I'll be back hard to work on come Monday. I took today to finish up a story for the Roanoke Times, concerning the historic Pearis Theater in Pearisburg, Va., reopening its doors. I believe as of right now you'll see it in Tuesday's edition of the paper!

Oh, while I'm thinking about it, happy birthday, West Virginia! June 20, 1863 is the day West Virginia became a state, after legislators in Richmond decided to become part of the confederacy, much to the dismay of citizens in the northwestern part of the state.

I'd like to share with you a quote my boss shared with me today, from West Virginia's own Homer Hickam. Mr. Hickam has a special place in my heart because he grew up in small-town West Virginia, had coal miners in his family, and he attended Virginia Tech. In fact, Hickam received an honorary doctorate in literature at my graduation from Marshall University and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from VT the same year. Another connection I share with Hickam is that he was in the U.S. Army. He served as an officer in Vietnam, and he later went on to become a great NASA engineer and a heck of a writer. He's even taken up amateur paleontology and has been credited with finding two Tyrannosauruses. And for Hokie football fans, Hickam designed the first-ever Skipper, the cannon fired by the Corps of Cadets after VT touchdowns (the original cannon by Hickam is now retired and in the corps' museum). This guy is one great American, and one of the few who represents West Virginia well. Now, on to the quote:
When you go out into the world, you will be surprised to discover that you have a great strength not shared by very many people left on this planet.

You are from a real place, one of the last real places left in this country.

You are from a place that has put its stamp on you for the rest of your life
whether you know it now or not.

You are from the toughest, most
exasperating, demanding, stoic, stolid, warm, and gentle (as long as you don't cross them) people in the world.

You will carry with you all the days of your life this place, this grand,
infuriating, rich, poor, magnificent, beautiful, ugly, challenging, and comforting place.

You are part of these mountains and they are part of you.

Leave them as you must, or if you must, but do so with the calm certainty
that you carry with you for the rest of your days a strength borne from these hills that nearly everyone you encounter for the rest of your lives will admire and even envy.

— Homer Hickam
Here's a photo from the Salem Avalanche game I blogged about recently. These are some of the Marshall alumni and friends who came out to the game.

Well, this evening we had a cookout at my friend Rachel's place. She lives in Blacksburg at the Foxridge complex, and they have a great little barbecuing area with a large field, a serene little pond and whatever you need for fun. It was a good time seeing all the friends from the department who are around this summer and just hanging out. I shot some video, so I'll try to get that up soon.

Speaking of video, Shari got a good one of me sticking my head out the bathroom door and yelling last night too. Not sure if I will put it up on the blog or not, but you never know. Let's just say she's kind of a prankster... and she thinks it's funny to hear me scream in the shower from being burned or frozen when she's messing with the water temperatures from elsewhere in the apartment. Funny, yeah, unless you're the guy in the shower.

I'll leave you with a cool picture and a cool link. This photo is of my news reporting professor during my undergraduate education at the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Marshall. This is (now retired) Professor Marilyn McClure, who is enjoying her retirement on this amazing 150cc scooter. I imagine it gets much better gas mileage than my SUV. She calls it "the poor man's red convertible," but I think it looks really cool, and I'm sort of jealous. I think I would turn a lot of heads driving one of these through downtown Blacksburg. Thanks for all the words of wisdom throughout the years, Prof. McClure, and coolness points to you.

Finally, the Orlando Sentinel is changing its layout for the print edition, and they've put together a cool little preview. What do you think?

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