Archive for April, 2010

I began a new job this week: I am the Executive Director of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light. This is a statewide organization here in Ohio whose mission . . .

. . . is  to empower a religious response to climate change
and to promote energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
We focus on tangible results in religious communities – putting our faith into action.

OhIPL is part of a growing nationwide network, with chapters in most states, that brings together people of faith to address the great issue about which we share one concern — the Care of Creation. We present educational programs and work with congregations of all kinds to reduce their carbon footprint, increase efficiency, and save money.

We work with many partners such as the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, which has been described as “ground zero” of the green building/energy efficiency movement in communities. This week GCEA announced the receipt of $17 million in stimulus money to pay for energy audits and retrofit projects throughout southwest Ohio.

A unique aspect of this program is the eligibility of non-profits, including communities of faith, to receive funds. OhIPL will work with GCEA on outreach to those communities. Houses of worship as a group are among the “leakiest” buildings in the country. But people of good will in those communities can be a powerful force for real change.

As I told the Board of OhIPL, it’s very exciting to me to be working with them at this critical time. Everywhere I’ve gone, when I explain to people the work of OhIPL, the reaction is the same: “What a great idea!”

I’ll be working with OhIPL on a contract basis through December 31, 2010. My task is to help OhIPL move toward the next chapter in its future (at present we are an affiliate program of the Ohio Council of Churches). I’m still engaged in wrapping up my teaching duties at Miami-Hamilton, which will keep me busy through next week.

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At least, according to HowManyofMe.com. Supposedly their conclusions are based on census data.

The good news is I’m unique. The bad news is I can’t claim those bills belong to someone else. At least it makes my LinkedIn profile easy to figure out.

Actually, I’m the 3rd of 4 people with my full name, Tolliver Cleveland Callison. My grandfather was Papa to his grandkids and Mr. Callison to just about every else, including my grandmother. My father was T.C., Jr. (known as T.C., aka Top Cat, aka Yip). They’re both deceased now, and greatly missed. My son Todd is actually T.C. the IV, but he lives in Mexico so the qualification “in the U.S.” still applies.

I don’t know what they mean by “1 or fewer” people with my name. How can there be fewer than 1 of me? Oh no! It’s like that Twilight Zone episode with Rod Taylor as the astronaut who knows he’s about to disap . . .

For my wife Jenny they’re emphatic: “There is 1 person in the U.S. named Jenny Callison.” The 1 and only. They got that right.

–Thanks to the J-Walk Blog

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Maybe not.

I don’t care.

I want one.

I tried to put an iPad through its paces at my local Apple store. I am doing an increasing number of presentations, and something about using this sleek little hunk o’ user-friendliness was singing to me. I don’t have the unencumbered cash now, but here are my impressions:

Maybe not (see this post from The Speed of Creativity blog):

  • You have to purchase a video-out adapter, so you’re tethered to the projector and can’t walk around. I’m not aware of a remote control such as can be used by a laptop.
  • The version of Keynote used by the iPad apparently differs from that in the Mac OS. For example, you can’t (or with great difficulty) embed videos; hyperlinks may be problematic; the font set may not be compatible; themes aren’t quite the same.


  • I WANT one. Really.

My overall impression is that the iPad is not a smaller laptop, as I had hoped, but a larger iPod Touch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Update 4/18/10: it seems that the Boy Scouts are celebrating their centennial year this week, which I didn’t realize when I wrote this post. Happy 100th!

One of my favorite books from younger days is the Scout Field Book — as in Boy Scouts, but way better than the Boy Scout Handbook. It’s basically oriented, as the name suggests, to hiking, camping, swimming, felling trees, tracking animals, identifying trees and more. As Bertie Wooster says of young blighted Edwin the Boy Scout, “They spoor, and creep about, and what not, don’t you know.” I pulled it down from the shelf today and got great nostalgic retro pleasure from leafing through  it after many years.

The illustration shows how you tie a half-hitch. I’ve never forgotten how to do it after all these years. And a bowline, which allows you to make a loop that won’t slip. I still know how to tie both these, although I’ve never mastered the sheepshank.

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MacSE from Wikimedia Commons

This morning I presented the blogging workshop I wrote about in a previous post. Amazingly, not one of the folks who showed up at Cincinnati’s Return to Work Center were blogging right now, but several of them seemed eager to try (possibly today!). So I definitely hit the target audience.

I had several requests to make available the PowerPoint from the session. It’s a little more information-oriented than some presentations I’ve done, so it’s probably a good candidate. Not every presentation makes sense without commentary, but I guess this one does. There’s no audio — I guess you had to be there.

I’m also trying to post this on my LinkedIn profile via SlideShare. SlideShare tells me the presentation exists, but I’m not seeing it in my profile. Hmmm.

Like all my presentations, I created this in Keynote on a Mac. But I don’t have a fast laptop these days, and because of concerns that the room might be set up only for PCs, I made up a PowerPoint version which is pretty close. That’s what’s linked here.

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A blog can lead to bigger and better things.
–Personal Branding guru Dan Schawbel

I‘m presenting a blogging workshop Wednesday, April 14th, 10 am at Cincinnati’s Return to Work Center. It’s based in large part on my experiences with this blog and another I maintain and sometimes contribute to. It’s aimed at newbies and those contemplating starting a blog. The focus will be on blogging as a component of your personal brand, with an eye to job seekers.

I’d love to hear from bloggers who can share experiences; specifically:

  1. What motivated you to start a blog?
  2. Was it more or less difficult than you expected? Why?
  3. Has it made a positive difference in your job search? (examples would be great.)

You can use the Comment section below to write or post a link. Thanks.

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Johnny Bench is Grand Marshall. Go Reds!

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Our English words for common terms often set us apart from speakers of  European languages, especially the Romance languages of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and others descending from Latin. In English only one name for a day of the week (Saturday) comes to us from Latin. The others are from the ordinary English words sun and moon, or from figures in pagan Germanic mythology such as Tiw, Woden, Thor, and Freya/Frigga (spellings vary).

Most Greek and Latin church traditions name Easter from the Hebrew Pesach (Passover). But once again, English turns to pagan roots and uses the name Eostre. This is possibly a female fertility figure associated with spring rebirth, but there’s not a lot of hard evidence left to be able to draw definitive conclusions.

That doesn’t stop the neo-pagans and New Agers from coming up with all sorts of speculation, of course. They share with some extreme fundamentalists the notion that this makes the English term Easter somehow “really” pagan.

Nonsense. The early (7th century) missionaries from Rome who came to Britain to convert the heathen Angles and Saxons simply made over existing traditions to Christian concepts — baptizing the names, as it were, or causing them to be born again. An English speaker using the word Easter is not any more or less pagan than a French speaker using the term Pacques. Pagan is as pagan does.

The illustration (from Wikimedia Commons) is by Johannes Gehrts and reflects a late 19th-century German Romantic view of Eostre. With a few Italianate putti flitting around and a tidy-looking purple martin house.

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Maimonides teaching

Don’t you just love that? As Dave Barry would say, Rambam would be an excellent name for a rock band, and I think Guide for the Perplexed would be a great album title, too. But they’re neither.

Rambam comes from the initial Hebrew letters of ‘Rabbi Moses ben Maimon.’ Moses Maimonides (1138-1204), as he is better known, was one of the leading Jewish scholars of the Middle Ages. His 1168 commentary on the Mishnah, the Siraj (‘Luminary’) was “a notable contribution to exegesis and scholarship,” says the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.

His Guide for the Perplexed (‘Dux Neutrorum sive Dubiorum’) appeared in 1190. It deals with the existence of God, the creation of the world, the problem of evil and more. It exercised a profound influence on later Jewish and Christian thinkers (St. Thomas Aquinas, for one).

But not, so far as I can tell, on rock bands.

Note: This post is #151 since I started blogging in 2009. I wasn’t sure I’d get that far. I’ve been experimenting with a new blog, wordsmatter (aka clevecallison.com), and put a short post on this topic there. I’m planning to have that blog be more  devoted to questions of writing and language usage, and keep the personal-interest posts (such as this one) here.

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