Winding Back and Up Tobacco Roads

green autumn leaf with touches of yellow

Green autumn leaf with touches of yellow

It’s October in NC, and nature’s colors are glorious right now.

With familial roots stemming in eastern NC, I know well the colors of the NC countryside, and a portion of my collective memory is devoted to the colors that I’ve seen while cruising down tobacco roads.

One of the most distinctive colors of the field that stands out in my mind, besides the white of cotton bales, is the yellow-green color of North Carolina’s tobacco leaves.

So many of us from eastern NC have connections to the tobacco plant. For example, my childhood home was located two blocks from a downtown tobacco warehouse, and my father’s law office was located on the same block.

One night, that huge tobacco warehouse burned down. I’ll never forget awakening to learn that local firefighters were spraying water on my dad’s law office building to prevent it from burning. And, I’ll never forget how all the homeowners on our block were stricken with fear, as burning cinders from the tobacco warehouse blew down our street, landing in our yards and along our rooftops.

Looking back now, that tobacco warehouse fire seemed to signal a new time and thinking about the tobacco plant, thinking that had more negative connotations than in the past.

Yes, it seems that as I came of age in NC, the tobacco plant alternatively began to lose its luster. As world health organizations made the connection between smoking cigarettes and the incidences of lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease, tobacconists and those with livelihoods connected to the tobacco plant seemed to wane and disappear. Tobacco warehouses didn’t burn, but more and more stood empty.

The tobacco plant, however, never became non-existent in N.C., and now, ironically, a relative to the tobacco plant of old is helping to turn people’s thinking back to the positive when it comes to the topic of tobacco.

How? “Biopharming,” or developing plant-based drugs is the answer. You’ve probably already heard how Owensboro-based Kentucky BioProcessing has developed the Ebola-fighting serum, ZMapp, from tobacco plants. Have you heard of the NC-based biopharmaceutical company, Medicago, who recently produced 10 million flu vaccines in 30 days using tobacco plants? You can learn more about these two positive applications for tobacco in the CNN article, “Tobacco plant may be key to Ebola drugs.”

The nostalgic part of me will never let go of my roots tied to traditional NC tobacco farming but the more modern side of me is prouder than ever of the new biopharmaceutical, plant-based drug development and manufacturing efforts that are underway, and, best of all, happening right here in, “The Old North State.”

And, I admit…I’ve always loved a comeback story.  What about you?

Advertisements

On Pines and Needles

NC pine needles surrounding a tree

NC pine needles surround a tree

The air is full of excitement in North Carolina right now.  You might even say that folks are on “pines and needles,” anticipating one of the largest golf weekends of the season.

North Carolina, in fact, is making golf history this week by hosting both the women’s and men’s U.S. Open Championships at one of the most revered sites for golf, the No. 2 course of the Pinehurst resort in Pinehurst, N.C.

For North Carolina natives, like me, it’s a time to celebrate and share all of the things that make our state great with golf fans and U.S. Open golf spectators around the world.

Those who attend the championships this week will see a lot of golf but no doubt will also witness the beautiful, majestic pine trees that line the greens and surround the small village of Pinehurst and its neighboring communities of Southern Pines and Whispering Pines.

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I had the pleasure to befriend natives of the Pinehurst area, several of whom invited me to visit their childhood homes. I’ll never forget the simple beauty of the countless pine trees that I saw while visiting my friends’ special “neck of the woods.”

In honor of those friends and in celebration of the N.C.-hosted 2014 U.S. Open Championships, I’m sharing the official North Carolina State Toast, which was adopted by the N.C. General Assembly in 1957 and which opens with a reference to N.C. pines:

Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here’s to “Down Home,” the Old North State!
Here’s to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
‘Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!
Here’s to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron’s rosette glows,
Where soars Mount Mitchell’s summit great,
In the “Land of the Sky,” in the Old North State!
Here’s to the land where maidens are fair,
Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
The blessed land, the best land, the Old North State!

Yes, here’s to our state, in this week, and in all those that follow!

Big Memes and Big Data

Wordle: Memes and Data
Internet memes are one form of Internet phenomena that I haven’t exactly gravitated towards.

What about you?  Do you have any favorites?

If you want to see some Internet memes recently highlighted as best of breed, check out these “best of” lists:

The Best Memes of the Last 15 Years
The 25 Best Internet Memes of All Time
The 100 Greatest Internet Memes of All Time

If you’d like to create your own meme, there are many sites that you can access to do so, such as Imgflip or Makeameme.

Working for a business analytics software provider, the topic of data and data analytics is always top of mind for me. However, all you have to do is browse the Internet, turn on the TV or open a newspaper or magazine to see how the word, “data,” is dominating the collective mindset today.

Without doubt, more and more companies across a variety of industries and locations are recognizing the tremendous business value that they can realize from better managing and analyzing their organizations’ “Big Data.” Yes, it seems that more and more eyes inside organizations are focused on examining data to gain insights for enhanced business decision-making that yields increased efficiencies, customer satisfaction and profits.

Recognizing this new data-centered world that we’re all living in, I was inspired to create my own Internet meme.  Check it out:

ShowMeTheDataMeme

 

 

 

Replacing a Dream Ski With a Shoe

a snowshoe

a snowshoe

When I was young, I imagined myself cross-country skiing. Growing up in eastern N.C., snow was a rarity, so, looking back, I think my cross-country skiing idea must have been sparked by watching Winter Olympics coverage on TV.

Over the weekend, my childhood fantasy resurfaced, as I made my way up Snow King Mountain in Jackson Hole, WY. I didn’t tackle the mountain’s slopes with skis. Instead, I wore snowshoes. But, as I walked upward on the pristine, white snow beneath a gorgeous blue sky, I remembered my childhood dream. I even said to another person who was climbing beside me, “When I was young, I thought I wanted to be a
cross-country skier.”

After making the comment, I laughed out loud, but, I admit that a small part of me also felt sad in that moment, realizing that a childhood dream of mine had not been fulfilled at 30+ years out from its inception.

After leaving the mountain, though, my smile returned, because I realized that I had accomplished something that I’d never even dreamt of in snowshoe climbing. My inaugural snowshoe climb on Snow King Mountain was a fantastic, unforgettable experience. I will never forget how it felt and how “the view 
from the top” looked.

I’m sharing a picture that I snapped while on Snow King Mountain looking down at the town of Jackson, WY. I hope the picture and this post will remind you that God sometimes answers our dreams with unimagined, unexpected, yet, equally marvelous realities.

Snow King Mountain

View from atop Snow King Mountain, Jackson, WY

 

Trend Lines and Valentine’s

heart art

art with a heart

Many marketers today are using Google Trends to conduct simple, “at a glance” market research.

Even if you’re not working in marketing, though, you may still find the SEO-related online research tool fun and easy to use.

For example, this month is February, a month often associated with Valentine’s Day here in the U.S. as well as the color red. So, I just visited the Explore Trends portion of the Google Trends site and added the search term, “red,” to see how well that term has been trending lately.

The results page provided some interesting stats related to “red” searches:

  • Interest Over Time – the trend line showed the number of global searches with “red” since 2005, and I was able to discover that the most searches occurred during the month of May, not February, during the year 2010.
  • Regional Interest – Broken out by region and by city, this section of the results showed that the most users searching “red,” were found in the region of Croatia and the city of Boston.
  • Related searches – Broken out by topics and queries, I learned that Google visitors were also interested in the related topic, “red – color” and were also searching with the related queries, “red hot,” “red bull,” and “red sox.”

Considering these results, you can probably understand how marketers could use the Google Trends tool to conduct a quick assessment of how well the names of their products and services are resonating in the market.

What about you? Have you ever wanted to gauge the interests of those around you in a particular topic?

I’ve wondered whether Google may use the tool to see how its own services are trending. I just revisited the Google Trends site and submitted the search term, “google.” Glancing at the trend line on the results page, I think Google would be pleased.

And back to what’s trending during the month of February every year, though the search term, “red,” seems to be lackluster, the search term, “Valentine’s,” seems to continue to rule. Don’t just take my word for it, check out the trend line.

A Broad Metrics Reveal

small globe image

small desk globe

Well, I’m sure that Cissy Houston would be proud.

After glancing through WordPress metrics for MySheCave.com, I’ve discovered that, out of 115 available prior posts, the blog that I wrote following Whitney Houston’s death in February 2012 has garnered the most views.

Want to know the other topics that have been the most popular among MySheCave.com readers? Check out the below list. From Whitney, to peanut butter, to prosecco, to crybabies, one of these 10 posts should catch your interest, if you missed reading the first time:

Top 10 Most Viewed MySheCave Posts: 
Play Whit Again, Sam.
Find your golden mind
Peanut butter, poetry and sticky things
When Love Means Nothing
Forget Grey, We’re Talkin’ Shades of Green!
Are You Hooked?
Bubble gum and Prosecco
Calling All Crybabies…
Jacks in Boxes, Surprises and You
Do You Know Any Reverse Snobs?

On a personal note, I was surprised and pleased to see the below Country Views metrics table that reveals the location of 2013 MySheCave.com readers.  Like I’m guessing Cissy might be about the Most Viewed stat I referenced above, I’m also a bit proud to have a global MySheCave.com audience.

I want to thank each of you who are MySheCave.com readers, from those of you here in the U.S. to those of you in lands abroad.  And, if you enjoy reading MySheCave.com posts, please pass them along.

Country Views
United States 2,124
Canada 109
United Kingdom 89
Australia 33
India 26
Germany 19
Italy 18
France 18
Russian Federation 16
Republic of Korea 16
Netherlands 15
Spain 14
Philippines 13
Portugal 12
Hong Kong 11
New Zealand 10
Egypt 8
Mexico 8
Croatia 7
Denmark 7
Finland 6
Greece 6
Japan 6
Brazil 6
South Africa 6
Indonesia 6
Norway 5
Singapore 5
Belgium 5
Switzerland 5
United Arab Emirates 4
Latvia 4
Nigeria 4
Viet Nam 4
Poland 3
Bahrain 3
Bulgaria 3
Qatar 3
Pakistan 3
Taiwan 3
Malaysia 3
Ireland 3
Thailand 3
Sweden 3
Saudi Arabia 2
Aruba 2
Romania 2
Estonia 2
Turkey 2
Ghana 2
Iraq 2
Tunisia 2
Israel 2
Gibraltar 2
Bolivia 2
Venezuela 2
Guatemala 2
Cambodia 2
Colombia 2
El Salvador 2
Zimbabwe 1
Myanmar 1
Kuwait 1
Sri Lanka 1
Morocco 1
Argentina 1
Austria 1
Guernsey 1
Paraguay 1
Jamaica 1
Ukraine 1
Mauritius 1
Palau 1
Bangladesh 1
Mozambique 1
Maldives 1
Serbia 1
Algeria 1
Cyprus 1
Kenya 1

Strength Times Three

three roses image

flickr three roses image

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., and I gave myself a break in posting.  To make up for the omission, I’m distributing a second post today.

Part of my mission in authoring this MySheCave.com blog is to share inspirational stories about women and to encourage equal rights for women across the world.  Today’s post is dedicated to three brave and inspirational women and has been drafted in that spirit:

Diana Nyad  – What more can be said about the 64-year-old woman with a 35-year-old dream who never gave up on achieving that dream?  Her advice to “never, ever give up,” is not only good advice for women and girls facing hardships and challenges but is also equally valuable advice for men and boys.  And, from now on, when we hear or read the words, “Cuba-to-Florida,” we’ll certainly remember Diana and the fact that a woman was the first person to achieve the milestone of swimming from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage and without swim fins

Venus Williams – The final women’s match of the 2013 U.S. Open Tennis Championships is being played today.  Though she’s not playing, Venus Williams deserves some recognition by the two women who are playing (one of whom is her sister) and by all the other women who play on today’s professional tennis circuit.  Why?  Because Venus took a major step to advance the reality of equal pay for women tennis players.  Do you know the story of how Venus argued for equal pay among women at Wimbledon?  Though I’m not a professional tennis player, I still would like to say “thank you” to Venus.  It’s hard to believe that it was only six years ago that female Wimbledon winners were being paid less than their male counterparts.

Sushmita Banerjee – Also known as Sushmita Bandhopadhyandian, Sushmita wrote a memoir about her dramatic escape from the Taliban that became a Bollywood movie, Escape from Taliban.  On Thursday, Sushmita was shot dead by militants, allegedly members of the Taliban, in Afghanistan.  Sushmita was a brave woman who likely endured 20 bullets for her beliefs related to freedom and equality for women.  I want to ask every woman who is reading this page to consider these questions:

  • Who among you wishes to live in a world where you can’t run a business, because you’re a woman?
  • Who among you wishes to be ordered to wear a burkha or another article of clothing, because you’re a woman?
  • Who among you longs to be denied the right to walk outside of your home unaccompanied, because you’re a woman?
  • Who among you wants to be forced to have your husband’s name tattooed on your left hand, because you’re a woman?
  • Who among you is willing to die, as Sushmita did, to defend and protect your rights as a woman?

In October 2012, feminist Gloria Steinem told a San Diego, California audience that the global women’s movement still has a long way to go.  Women like Diana, Venus and Sushmita are the ones lighting the way.

Screaming Data Means Streaming Data

streams image

streams of water image

I love the violin music in HP’s latest moonshot server commercial.

Besides that fact, I also like the way the video makes reference to today’s Internet and includes stats about the voluminous amount of Internet data that’s being shared, such as:

  • …43,000 searches a second”;
  • …16 million tweets an hour”;
  • …900 million dollars in online transactions”; and
  •  “…doubling in size every 36 months.”

Without doubt, if the Internet could talk, it would be screaming.  Data sharing over the Internet is happening with terrific force today, and one way that data is being shared if via online stream.

Are you familiar with the concept of streaming media?  If so, are you an active participant in the process?  For example, how often do you access your favorite music via online music streaming sites such as Pandora.com?

What about videos?  Do you enjoy posting or watching videos on Youtube.com or other video streaming sites?  Have you ever used a streaming player like Roku or streaming device like Chromecast to stream your favorite TV episodes?  Last, but, certainly not least, have you benefitted by learning something new after viewing a streamed educational video on a site such as Academic Earth?

If you haven’t joined the streaming media user trend, chances are that you will soon.  According to a 2012 US Digital Future in Focus report by comScore, 105.1 million Americans now watch videos online daily.

If you’re a streaming media newbie, here’s a list to help introduce you to some of the most popular streaming media sites in existence today:

If you’re an experienced streaming media user, I’d love to hear about your favorite streaming media sites and content.

I’ll admit that a favorite streamed media content example of mine is this YouTube clip posted by a friend that shows a surprise tango performance delivered by twin sister and brother-in-law at my wedding reception back in 2010.

Come on…what about you?

Duex Dames et L’Artiste

Do you know the name of the below French artist?

wikimedia.org image

wikimedia.org image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know the identity of the two ladies from Baltimore pictured below?

The Jewish Musuem image

The Jewish Musuem image

The Jewish Musuem image

The Jewish Musuem image

I hope that the number of those of you who know the answer to the second question above equals or surpasses the number of those of you who know the answer to the first question.

If you do know the identity of the ladies and gent above, I’d like to ask this follow-up question: do you think the ladies may have made the man?

I’d love to hear your opinion as to what extent the duex dames’ interest and funds may have influenced the artist’s career and impact on art history.

Last, if you’re a Research Triangle area local, don’t miss catching the “Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore” exhibit at Duke University’s Nasher Musuem of Art before the exhibit concludes on February 10.

I had the pleasure of doing so today, and I can attest that viewing the works of Matisse, Van Gogh and Picasso up close and personal was a treat.  My thanks to Claribel and Etta for providing the opportunity.

Which Gal Would You Walk a Mile For?

Are you familiar with the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes organization?

Founded in 2001 by Frank Baird, the organization highlights the contributions that “tens of thousands of men” are making to raise “millions of dollars for local rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs.”

Maybe you’ve seen fun photos like this one of Walk the Mile charity walk participants, including men walking wearing women’s high-heeled shoes?

In light of the news of yet another gang rape in India, it’s refreshing to remember the fact that there are countless men in this world who support women and women’s rights.

Speaking of the idea of “walking in her shoes,” I was able to walk in my mother’s shoes, so to speak, this past weekend.

While attending the 2013 North Carolina Governor’s Inaugural Ball, I wore a dress that my mother wore back in the early 1970s.  Here are photos of my mom and me in the dress:

photo

 

photo

 

 

 

 

 

What an honor it was for me to wear the dress of a woman who continues to inspire me.  I could never fill her shoes, but, for one night, I did give her dress a whirl.

What about you?  Which women do you admire?  Which ladies inspire you?  Which women would you walk a mile for?

%d bloggers like this: