An Octave Below Alto
. . . and other things that happen to you in middle age.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002  

Went to ImagineNY training workshop last night. Coworker Vanessa and I were trained to be workshop facilitators in preparation for holding a workshop at the Commission. The purpose of ImagineNY workshops is to receive the feelings and ideas of ordinary people about what should happen to the World Trade Center. It's sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society of New York. You can see more about the project at

It's a noble undertaking. However, I can see some limitations. The training took the form of a shortened workshop. Except for Vanessa and me (from New Jersey), the group was all from New York City. This meant that the focus was NYC, whereas our workshop at the Commission will have a completely different focus.

The idea is to start with our feelings about what happened, push through to what we would like to see come out of this, and wind up with specific proposals. However, that's not what happened last night. It may be because we did the workship in half the time with twice as many people, but the visions and strategies that came out of it were so general that create an image in your mind of what people intended.

For instance, our group which was to develop visions and strategies for "rebuilding and memorializing" discussed some very dynamic specifics. To give a little background into what the workgroups were doing: At one point in the workshop we made a list of some pretty specific ideas we would like to see. Each workgroup was supposed to select items from the list that related to our assignment and work with them until we had visions and strategies. From the list we chose: the need of a space at the WTC for contemplation; a place for people to grieve; to relate to the communities that lost individuals; meeting social needs of survivors; keeping development on a human scale.

From this our group envisioned a non-denominational chapel at the WTC site for contemplation and prayer where the public could grieve for all who were lost. However, at the site, you could take a card with the name of someone who died on 9/11 and find out the town where they lived. There would be travel directions to the town. The town itself would have a memorial for the person or persons who died in WTC. The approach would be for the memorials to be highly person and individual, so that people would have a sense of personal knowing. Accomplishing such a memorial would be a cooperative undertaking between business, government, communities, and people. The result would be the construction of a pilgrimmage that individuals could take to learn about New York, the World Trade Center, the people who worked and died there. It would also rejuvenate neighborhoods by encouraging visits from all over.

Now, how was this expressed. It was long a windy, talked about a linked memorial, but nowhere did you get the sense of a specific, humanity centered pilgrimmage that accomplished several goals at once.

posted by Prince | 1:10 PM

Sunday, March 31, 2002  

I was talking to a person who cannot be mentioned. I mentioned that a young man in Toastmasters reminded me of Wally Cox. I mentioned it because we are all great fans of Wally Cox here. Then I said that it took me listening to Bob three times before I was able to make the connection. Bob has sly intelligence, humor, a message to deliver, and it seemed to me that he needed to bring that Wally Cox nature more to the fore. As a public speaker, you rarely get more than one occasion to have your audience "get" you. Bob lost a speaking contest recently not just because two of the other speakers were more "in your face" than he was, but because the Wally Cox quality wasn't dynamic enough for the judges to understand what he was doing.

I was treated to a tirade about what it means to be a misfit. And how lucky I was that I had presence and a persona. I countered that I was also a misfit. That the so-called presence (size 22) and its attendant stereotype was not one that I wanted, and that the persona was developed as armor to shield me from a sometimes nasty world. The persona did not bring me closer to people; on the contrary, it is generally a warning to people that if they are going to underestimate me, or mis-estimate me, they are in for a huge surprise.

Well, anyway, Happy Easter!

posted by Prince | 1:54 PM

Saturday, March 30, 2002  

I seem to have fallen off the face of the earth for a while. But I'm back.

Up to several things: I was learning how to use Greymatter. I am using it for another journal I'm doing. I'm trying to get it online at work to post things like press releases and such. I'm having a problem there because the server is not where my office is; the server is run by Rutgers University and the people there don't seem to want to let me do things for myself and drag their feet when I ask them to process things. But I'm going to get around that.

I have successfully put Greymatter up on a site that I'm doing as a volunteer. It took a while to get it formatted they way they wanted it, but it's up and running now, so that feels really good.

If that weren't enough, I've joined Toastmasters with my daughter-in-law and have been getting involved there. Busy, busy, busy.

posted by Prince | 10:33 PM

Friday, March 15, 2002  

If you ever wondered how sensible personal writing is, here is a wake up call. I found a site that takes your url and creates a poem out of what you have on the page. Well, here it is.

An email from my
computer troubles again. Moreover, is
in the difference
between ancient and they were
written decades after church I stand on
my spiritual dimension
and a way supposed to
make the oral tradition have no
actual torture.
by talking
about a newspaper reporter is
that would not at Toastmasters tonight. It The aspects of sensual things
considered a family stories. “were puzzles,
complaint letters
that the connection was that she was
called an Octave Below Alto

Want to get your own poem? Go here

posted by Prince | 11:27 PM

Monday, March 11, 2002  

Computer troubles again. Windows Millenium is the worst operating system I have ever had. I've lost files, had hang-ups. I've installed a memory manager. If that doesn't work, I'm going to switch to Windows 2000.

posted by Prince | 12:31 AM

Tuesday, March 05, 2002  

On Sunday, Tracey Lewis, who is Dean of the Virginia Seminary preached. After church I asked him what he thought of Spong's book. I told him that the book was upsetting me. He told me that there are other voices besides Spong, and gave me the title of one: The Real Jesus. It's by a Catholic New Testament scholar who challenges the Jesus seminar. I've put in a request with the library. I'm looking forward to reading it.

posted by Prince | 8:45 PM

Sunday, March 03, 2002  

Went to the study group Thursday night. It was interesting. Very free flowing and open, but I found myself upset that they were so easily accepting of Spong's theories.

We had the Dean of the Virginia Seminary at church today. He's a specialist in New Testament. He gave me another book to read that counters Spong and the Jesus seminar. He warned me that the author is just as vehement as Spong, but in the other direction. However, I can deal with that. The Dean pointed out that Spong is not a scholar and would not survive the academic world because he limits his discussion to people who agree with him. It will be interesting to read this other book, The Real Jesus.

posted by Prince | 3:35 PM