Get fierce, or get ready to fall

June 30, 2010 Can a single conversation ruin your business?  Or end your marriage?Author and leadership expert Susan Scott says, “While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship or a life — any conversation can.”Scott, the author of “Fierce Conversations,” writes, “Our lives succeed or fail gradually, then suddenly, one conversation at a time.” Which is kind of a scary thought given that most of us don’t spend much time thinking about, or planning, our daily conversations.

Friendship Outreach is organization, not church

June 29, 2010 Dear Editor:We just received the Progress 2010 edition in the Guard. Great job! But I do have one significant correction. Friendship Outreach, Inc. is not now, nor has it ever been a church, but a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit, faith-based community service organization.

Press meeting

June 29, 2010 Another year has gone by, at least for the Arkansas Press Association’s annual meeting, and it was apparent that it’s been a tough one for newspapers in general. Much of the focus was on revenue (such as the loss of, where it’s going, how to generate more, etc.). While the recession is making somewhat of a turnaround, that news isn’t necessarily translating into the newspaper industry at an equal pace.

Necessity mother of invention

June 29, 2010 What makes someone a great friend?Here’s a sentiment that helped make America great: Necessity is the mother of invention.Ted Conley offers a fine example.Conley, a 48-year-old software engineer, was laid off from a large financial services firm in February 2009.With four children to support — two teenage daughters from a prior marriage and a young daughter and son from his current marriage — he began looking for work immediately.His 3-year-old son, Pierce, added to his worry.

Happy 4th of July

June 29, 2010 Take a moment this Sunday on the Fourth of July as we’re gathered around picnic tables, pool sides, at the beach or in a town square or city park to say a little something about what you’re grateful for about America.Put down the hotdog and the sparkler and really give it a little thought.We have all come through so much together in recent years and it hasn’t given us much time to reflect about anything. If you were laid off from a job it’s probably even been a little harder to come up with much to feel good about but it’s there and it’s worth remembering.

What’s old is new

June 28, 2010 If you thought nail polish like black, green, yellow and the like were new — you and I were both wrong. The first time I saw someone wearing yellow nail polish on their fingers last year I couldn’t believe it and until the lady proceeded to tell me it was the “new red,” I still couldn’t believe it. Sure the woman worked at a prominent makeup store, but she also looked like she had taken a yellow highlighter to her nails, and in my opinion, it failed to suit her pale skin and blond locks. Then again, I probably wouldn’t care for bright yellow nail polish on anyone.

What makes a great friend?

June 28, 2010 What makes someone a great friend?Is it being supportive and accepting you just the way you are?Or is it someone who has the guts to kick you in the tail and demand that you do better?I had an abysmal book signing several years ago that gave me a different perspective on what it really means to be a friend.

Vampire nation

June 28, 2010 Taking a breather from our Gulf Coast miasma in order to focus on an even ghastlier blight of cultural crude washing up on American shores. No, this is not about Lady Gaga. Although, I do intend to address walking parasites. Demon fiends. Bloodsucking vermin. The Ushers at the Gates of Hell themselves, of which we are experiencing a veritable glut, and I’m here to say that my soul is so weary of vampires. Bleh.

Role of a free press

June 25, 2010 The real value of a free press in American life is being demonstrated dramatically these days, from the Gulf of Mexico to Afghanistan and Washington, D.C.As the Gulf oil spill — with its political turmoil and environmental impact — continues to spread, there are disputes over how much oil has leaked, whether the cleanup is working, where sea-borne slicks are headed, and how much damage the spill is doing.

Soccer too dull for America

June 25, 2010 A good showing in the World Cup by the United States will not launch soccer as a major sport in the United States anymore than the 1980s “Miracle On Ice” Olympic hockey gold medal made ice hockey mainstream. If the American team gets out of the first round, it will increase interest in the World Cup, but that will not lead to all that many people becoming Major League Soccer fans.