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The Weekly Blab

The Weekly Blab

Volume 6, Issue 17—January 16, 2012


Home and Away…

It’s now late January, but beloved Chelsea is still in 4th place in the Premier League, not having made any headway (nor lost any ground) over the holiday break.  Meanwhile, I bit the bullet and bought a new computer for home.  The new computer (mac mini Intel core I5) is an updated version of the old one (mac mini 2.1 Intel core duo), with much more RAM (8GB vs. 1 GB) and a faster processer.  What could go wrong?  Item 1:  It occurred to me while still in the store to see if my old monitor would plug into the new mac.  Nope—I needed an adapter.  Item 2: When I got home, the first task was to transfer the data from the old mac to the new one, which took about four hours (the countdown clock read 2 minutes for about 40 minutes, which was really annoying).  Item 3: I then tried to open a document that I was working on, and ran into another problem—the version of Microsoft office I was using wasn’t compatible with the new Lion operating system on the mac.  So, I had to rehook up my old mac and finish the work on it.  I’m now totally updated with Office 2011, so there’s no stopping me now—I hope.


Baby Update

Loyal readers of the Blab will be glad to know that Cassie Howley-Wood, who I spoke of in last week’s issue is the proud mom of an extremely cute baby boy, named Dean.  His weight is now up to 5 lbs, 1 oz., and mama notes (on Facebook) “Can’t believe how much he’s changing already…it’s going too fast!!!”


Family History…

My grandfather on my mother’s side was a well-known musician in Romania in the 1930’s.  He went by the professional name of Bela Chitaristul (Romanian for Bela the guitarist), and had a great career until World War II hit, and as a Jew, wasn’t allowed to perform any longer (and in fact, was forced to do slave labor).  After the war, my mother’s family left Romania for Israel, where he resumed up his career, and lived a long life.  We have a phonograph record of his songs that was released in Israel (all scratched up from the many plays over the years), but I’ve always wondered what his singing was like in his heyday. 

The other day, I got an email from my uncle Ze’ev in Israel, who has now put up a bunch of videos of my grandfather singing on Youtube.  Some are from the phonograph record mentioned above, and others are of my grandfather singing at age 83.  Anyway, one of the songs he posted that I’ve heard a thousand times is a Romanian folk tune called “Sanie su Zurgalai” (Sled with Bells, click on the link to hear it).  My uncle then wrote that it was my grandfather who popularized the song in the 1930’s in Romania, and then in the 1950’s, a Canadian heard him sing it, loved the tune, and wrote new English lyrics (having nothing to do with sleds or bells) to it.  The English version of the song became a hit in 1953, and is called “Johnny is the Boy For Me”, and was sung by Les Paul and Mary Ford.  It turns out that in French, the song became an even bigger hit, known as “Johnny, Tu N’es Pas Une Ange” (Johnny, You’re Not an Angel), and was sung by the fabulous Edith Piaf, the most famous French singer of all time.  Other versions are in various other languages, and supposedly, this is one of the most sung melodies around the world.  And if the story is true, I never knew that my grandfather started it all.  Pretty cool.


SPSU in the News…

The U.S. News and World Report ratings for online programs were published last week, and the results contained good news for SPSU.  Our graduate program in Information Technology was ranked #17 in student services and technology, and (drum roll please) #1 in the nation in student engagement and accreditation.  How cool is that?  Congratulations to our IT colleagues for their fine accomplishment.

Not to be outdone, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) student competition team from the Construction Management Department made the cut to participate in the national finals—they are one of four teams still remaining.  The final competition will take place at the MCAA National Convention in Orlando on March 18-22.  Members of the student team include Trent Anderson (Captain), Daniel Epps, Billy Hancock, Larnell Jewell, Brian Nelson, and Charles Wall.  Other students who assisted include Sean Bardon, Eric Pagan, Tyrone Sheffield, and Phillip Young.  The team is ably advised by Prof. Maureen Weidner (CM Dept.).  Congratulations, and please congratulate the students when you see them.

Also not to be outdone, our colleagues in our brand new Education program are also the proud parents of a brand new grant.  Governor Deal, last Wednesday, announced the recipients of Round 2 of “Race to the Top” federal funding.   SPSU’s and Kennesaw’s Education programs will share $50,000 to work with Cobb County schools to create the “STEM Inventors Academy”.  Additional information can be found in an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Some Organizational Changes

As most of you have probably read on SPSU’s website (and more details appearing in the Hornet’s Nest), the former Division of Engineering is now the School of Engineering, with Tom Currin as its Dean.  Also, the Department of Civil Engineering Technology has moved over to the School of ETM, joining the other Engineering Technology departments.  ACC will now be known as the School of Architecture and Construction Management (ACM). 


It’s Not Too Late

If you haven’t volunteered yet to be a judge or timer or to help in some other way with Future Cities, it’s not too late, and we can certainly use you.  The big competition is this Saturday.  To volunteer, please contact Dawn Ramsey.


Last Week’s Issue

I know everyone was busy last week getting started with classes, but when you get a chance, take a look at the article on “Failure is an Option” in last week’s issue, and definitely take a look at the video entitled “If You’ve Never Failed, You’ve Never Lived”.  It’s only 1 minute 17 seconds in length, and well worth a look.


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest focuses on that icon of America, Mickey Mouse.  The winner was Stephanie McCartney (BCP), with a fabulous four correct.  She’s the proud winner of a set of DVD’s called the “Boy Meets Girl Collection”.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. What is Mickey’s girlfriend’s name?  Minnie
  2. In what movie did Mickey appear as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”?  Fantasia
  3. What was the name of the first cartoon released that Mickey appeared in?   Steamboat Willie
  4. What are the names of Mickey’s friends who look like a cow and like a horse?  Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar
  5. What song, from the 1934 musical “Anything Goes”, mentions Mickey Mouse?  Quote the line where he’s mentioned.  The song is “You’re the Top”.  The relevant lyric goes as follows:  You’re the Top, You’re the Coliseum, You’re the Top, You’re the Louvre Museum, You’re a melody from a symphony by Strauss, You’re a Bendel Bonnet, A Shakespeare Sonnet, You’re Mickey Mouse.  You can hear Cole Porter himself singing the song by clicking here.


This Week’s Contest

This week’s contest focuses on another great icon, James Bond.  First with the most gets the prize, which this week is a copy of Mel Brook’s “Blazing Saddles”.

  1. What is James Bond’s assigned number, and what does he have a license to do?
  2. Which James Bond actor was knighted in 2003?
  3. What do Bernard Lee, Edward Fox, and Judi Dench have in common, Bond-wise?
  4. Name an actress that has appeared as a “Bond Girl” that has also won an Oscar.
  5. In “The Man with The Golden Gun”, what was the name of Scaramanga’s tiny assistant?