Henry Styron–Advice for Shaving a Beard Off

Hello, friends!  In my quest to provide more regular content while I’m building up my backlog of interviews, I thought I would provide you some helpful counsel for shaving a beard off.

This is what I looked like a few weeks ago:  




I usually wear facial hair.  The few times I’ve been clean shaven over the past twenty years have been when I was in some play or other that required it.  I’m currently in a play that needs a shaved face, so this is what I look like at the moment:



My wife has always preferred the beard, and one of the conditions of me shaving it off was that I promised to grow it back just as soon as the show was done.  I’ve gotten, in all due modesty, a lot of compliments on how nice I look without the fuzz, but the missus gets the deciding vote.

And NOW, when the end of the play is upon us, she’s thinking I should stay shaved for awhile.  She’s started to like it.  Go figure.

So, advice for shaving a beard:  Start with clippers, and get the hair as short as possible before moving to a razor.  Use plenty of warm water and a new, sharp razor, and take your time.  If you haven’t shaved in years your skin will be very sensitive and you can nick yourself very easily.  Don’t shave again the next day–give it a solid thirty-six hours before you shave off the stubble, to allow your skin some time to recover, and allow extra time for shaving until your face gets used to it.

Oh, and here’s a picture of a sleeping puppy.  No particular reason.

Thanks for reading, and God bless.

Grace Hopper–Advice for Boot Camp

Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USN (covered).

I’d like to welcome to the blog Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneering computer scientist.  Admiral, thank you for being with us today.
You’re very welcome, but you know you’re not talking to me any more than you were talking to President Truman a few weeks back, aren’t you?

Yes, ma’am, I know that, but I am going to be using your exact words.  Among lots of other accomplishments, you’re credited with popularizing the term “bug” to refer to a computer problem. Can you tell us how that came about?
I had to remove a 2-inch-long moth from the Harvard Mark II experimental computer at Harvard in 1947 that was stopping it from running.  From then on, whenever anything went wrong with a computer, we said that it had bugs in it.

What did you do when you had to demonstrate how far electricity could travel in a billionth of a second?
In total desperation, I called over to the engineering building, and I said, “Please cut off a nanosecond and send it over to me.”

What do you think of your nickname, “Amazing Grace?”
I’ve received many honors and I’m grateful for them; but I’ve already received the highest award I’ll ever receive, and that has been the privilege and honor of serving very proudly in the United States Navy.

What do you think about change?
Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, “We’ve always done it this way.” I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.

Tell us about the Harvard Mark 1, the world’s first large-scale digital computer.
It was 51 feet long, eight feet high, eight feet deep. And it had 72 words of storage and could perform three additions a second.

What do you think about building bigger computers?
In pioneer days they used oxen for heavy pulling, and when one ox couldn’t budge a log, they didn’t try to grow a larger ox. We shouldn’t be trying for bigger computers, but for more systems of computers.

What do you think about management?
You manage things, you lead people. We went overboard on management and forgot about leadership. It might help if we ran the MBAs out of Washington.

What won’t computers ever do?
A human must turn information into intelligence or knowledge. We’ve tended to forget that no computer will ever ask a new question.

What’s the most damaging phrase in the language?
The most damaging thing we can say is “It’s always been done that way.”  I am now going to make you a gift that will stay with you the rest of your life. For the rest of your life, every time you say, “We’ve always done it that way,” my ghost will appear and haunt you for twenty-four hours.

Thanks much, Admiral.  Can you offer some advice to new recruits in boot camp?
There’s something you learn in your first boot-camp, or training camp: If they put you down somewhere with nothing to do, go to sleep — you don’t know when you’ll get any more.

Admiral Hopper, thank you so much for being with us.  Anything else you want to tell us?
One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.

Dealing With Depression

Hello, friends!  It’s been a while since I’ve had any new interviews for you.

More WILL return.  I believe in this project and I’ve had a lot of fun doing it, and look forward to having a lot more fun coming up.

But I probably need to tell you about something that’s been going on in my own life.  First, I’m feeling much, much, much better than I have been.  Honestly, as I’m typing this, I’m having a pretty good day.

I was diagnosed a couple of months ago with major depressive disorder.  Evidence suggests that I was suffering from it a couple of months before the diagnosis.  We’ve been busily playing around with medication levels, and I’m very happy to report that we appear to have arrived at a good level, and I’m feeling much more myself.

However, it’s been a very rough few months, and it’s been a struggle just to get out of bed in the mornings and get through the day, and LOTS of things, including this blog, have gone by the wayside.

So, I’m better, and I’m back, and I’m looking forward to getting going again.  But I’ve lost a lot of traction and momentum and it’s probably going to be awhile before I have enough interviews to make a regular posting schedule.  I’ll be posting SOMETHING every Monday and Thursday until I get a margin built up again, just to keep things interesting.

I appreciate you bearing with me.

I hope all is well out there, friends.  Thanks, and God bless.

Dori Colborn–Advice for Visitors to Hannibal

What is your name?
Dori Colborn. I usually introduce myself as “Dori, like the fish on Finding Nemo”… kids love it and usually remember my name!

What do you do for a living?
I am the Payroll Accountant and HR Benefits Coordinator at Hannibal-LaGrange University, a Southern Baptist University located in “America’s Hometown” (aka Mark Twain’s hometown) in Hannibal, Missouri.

How old are you?
Twenty-three, although my birthday is on Thursday!

That would make you twenty-four when this publishes. Happy belated birthday! Where do you live?
I live in Hannibal. I moved here for college in 2012. I fell in love with the town (especially Calvary Baptist Church and HLGU!). Plus, I met and fell in love with my husband here. So, I thought it would be a good idea to stay. 😉

Do you have a website or a blog or a Twitter account or anything where people can learn more about you?
Sorry, but I do not. I am not your average tech savvy mid-twenty year old. Haha. I am really good with Microsoft office and all that stuff, but when it comes to social media, I just stick with Facebook.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Oh, how I love to travel and see new places! I cannot leave out perhaps the most meaningful trip of my life, my trip to Germany to meet my grandmother’s side of our family. The summer of 2010, my grandmother, mom, and myself went on a trip to Germany where I met many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was one of the most magnificent things to see my grandma in her element. She was so excited to show my mom and me places from her childhood and share some of the memories that she had growing up. It was so awesome to see her interacting with her siblings and speaking German nonstop. She would sometimes stop mid conversation to translate for my mom and me. I don’t know how she can switch from one language to another so quickly! Germany is such a beautiful country where the people are so eager to express their joy for their freedom. One thing I found interesting was how much pride the people took in caring for their homes. All of the apartment buildings were painted a bright and happy color. There were gardens on almost all of the rooftops and yards of the buildings, and the streets were always swept. There was no litter anywhere and the people were so friendly and hospitable – I could see why my grandmother takes so much pride in her home and being hospitable. My favorite part of that trip, aside from meeting my family and seeing how much joy the trip brought to my grandma, was to see her childhood home. One day we went to the apartment building where she grew up. We stood outside for a long time, I don’t remember who suggested it, but we thought that maybe we could go see if the owner was home, and he was! The current resident welcomed three strange ladies into his home so we could see the actual apartment where my grandma grew up as a child! I will never forget that. My grandmother is such an inspiration to me. She had so much faith in God, that she trusted Him with her entire life and entire future by coming to America.

Also, I must share about the trips to Virginia that are near and dear to my heart, my family trips to Virginia to see a very special man. Some call him Pastor, Chaplain, or Doctor. Some might even know him as a Knight (which I just found out about on the last trip! – mind blowing!), but I call him “Grandpa Parker”. Every time my family has traveled to see GP, it is like we take a trip back into history. No matter where we go, even if it is just a little shop in a historical part of town, GP knows the story behind it. It is like going on a trip with your own personal historian, actually it’s not “like” that… it IS that! He is so knowledgeable about history and has lived through many events, which makes him the wisest person I know. Not only is he the wisest person I know, he is probably the wittiest person I know. A trip with GP always leaves me with new life lessons and wisdom as well as many fond and funny memories.

Sidebar – If there are any teenagers or twenty somethings reading this – my advice to you would be to put down those devices that you depend on so much for entertainment and go talk to your grandparents or parents. I’m not saying that Netflix or TV is bad, trust me, I watch my fair share of TV. All I’m saying is are you really living life if that is all you are doing? The generations before you have entertaining stories. They have REAL stories, not like from the movies, but real tales. They have LIVED through and seen things that you don’t know about and probably couldn’t even image. Instead of watching a movie or Netflix show about a war, go talk to a veteran who was actually there. Want to watch a romance movie? Ask your parents or grandparents how they fell in love. The same is true for Biblical history. Instead of watching shows about magic, read about REAL miracles that happened in the history of mankind. Did you know that for those who believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is their Savior that He has sent the Holy Spirit to live INSIDE of them? The person and the power that performed those miracles so many years ago, is INSIDE of those who believe today! Now, that is a story that is not only better than anything that you could find on TV, but what makes it so great is that it is true and it is everywhere around you and maybe could be a literal part of YOU and your own story… maybe your story will be something that your children or grandchildren will want to ask you about someday too.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”. 1 John 4:4

Thanks much, Dori! Moving on, if you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
In the spare time that I have had recently, I have begun doing art projects. I usually do a painting or drawing of some kind every week. Art is something that I discovered I was good at and loved at a young age. I kind of lost track of that during my college years, but now that I am married and have some more free time, I have rediscovered my passion for art. Thankfully, my husband supports it and encourages me to do it. On any given day, our kitchen table is usually covered in painting supplies rather than cleaned off for a meal! Unfortunately, I am running out of wall space in our house to display things! I have toyed with the idea of selling art, but (1) I’m not sure that I am actually good enough to do that because I am just self-taught and (2) then I would feel pressure to only do art in my spare time and I’m afraid it would become more of a demand instead of an enjoyable hobby.

Thank you much. Can you offer some advice for visitors to Hannibal?
he advice that I would give to visitors in Hannibal is to do everything! The Main Street of Downtown Hannibal offers a lot of historic experiences such as a candy shop, an old time ice cream store, as well as the Mark Twain childhood home, the famous white washed fence, and the Mark Twain Museum. It does help to know why the town is so special, so it is a good idea to read the book “Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain before you visit!

The Mark Twain “must see” attractions are the cave, trolley ride, and the riverboat. The cave is an absolute must see because it is like you are right there going on an adventure with Tom and Becky. The tour guide will take you through the story and the hiding places mentioned in the book. Riverboat is a really cool experience because it is kind of like a dinner show, if you go in the evening, they not only share the adventures of Mark Twain on the river (and share some insights about the Tom Sawyer story), but you also get a nice dinner and a live music performance. If you go downtown during the summer months, you may even see Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher strolling on Main Street. This is one of my favorite things about Hannibal. Every year, 8th grade boys and girls enter a contest to see who will representing Tom and Becky for the town of Hannibal for an entire year. These kids study the material and take on the persona of the book characters. They travel all over the US, and sometimes overseas to make appearances. Mark Twain is famous all over the world. In fact, during the summer months, it is not uncommon to see people from all around the world in small town Hannibal. The small town of historic Hannibal is a great place to come visit!

Dori, thanks for being with us and sharing some of your adventures. May your journey be blessed.