Some weeks are better than others. This week was a tough week. The last printed edition of our newspaper was delivered. From now on the news is delivered through the computer. I am not sure why the change bothered me as much as it did –must be an aging thing.

I learned of several very serious matters: a friend had a serious heart attack and died, another friend reported her young granddaughter has leukemia, yet another friend has an adult daughter battling cancer. I count it a privilege that my friends trusted me enough to share their burdens.

Since my stroke I have a deeper appreciation for each day. I see each day as a privilege for which I am thankful, even the difficult ones.

John Smart is in the middle.

John Smart and the Smart Brothers Band. Last fall my I threw a birthday party for my high school class. Most of us either were or would soon be 80 years old.

One of my classmates, John Smart brought his saxophone. I knew he was a musician, but I had never seen him perform. He played Happy Birthday and interspersed other music in a stunning and sometimes humorous performance, Not only was he a great musician, but he was also a splendid entertainer.

He was one of 8 brothers who all graduated from Wichita High School North. My classmate was the youngest. In school I knew him as an athlete – not as a musician.

After we graduated, I left Wichita and our paths did not cross for several years. He, his brothers and other North High graduates formed a band: The Smart Brothers. They were not all brothers but the Smart family was the core of the band. In 2017 they were inducted into the Kansas State Music Hall of Fame for their pioneering contributions to music in the 1960s and 70s.

After his performance at our party, I decided to nominate my classmate and the band to the North High Hall of Fame in the Arts/Entertainment category. My thinking was – if a group is good enough to be in a statewide hall of fame, surely, they are qualified to be in the hall of fame for a local high school.

In developing the information for the nomination, I learned the band recorded songs in the 60s, but the Wichita record stores would not carry them because they were a predominantly black band. When confronted with the prejudice, they made the decision to open their own successful record store.

Sadly, I have lived all these years unaware of this prejudice faced by my classmate. I am sure there were many more. When people argue we should not discuss racial issues as a part of our history, I deeply believe they are wrong. I want it taught for three reasons: First, to demonstrate the problem in the hopes of prevention in the future; second to show how much endurance it takes for minorities to face up to difficult circumstances, and third to have successfully role models for overcoming prejudice. Learning about the problem increased my personal awareness and deepened my respect for him.

Headlines and Quality Journalism. The lawsuit by Dominion against Fox News commentators raises the issue of truth in journalism. The commentators shared private emails showing they believed the presidential election results were correct, but publicly made claims trying to discredit the election. In my opinion in this example, Fox commentators were practicing bad journalism.

That is just one of many problems with modern journalism. For example, I believe we could greatly improve truth in journalism if we started with true headlines. Exaggerated, misleading, untruthful headlines is a pet peeve of mine,

The following are a few examples from a quick glance at today’s Google headlines. They easily demonstrate my concern.

Former NFL star player arrested for strangling son’s boyfriend

(He was far from being a star- exaggerated to try to create interest)

  • Sports World reacts to Britney Griner demand

(A few twitter responses are hardly the “world.” The “world” exaggeration is a frequent part of headlines. Additionally, Griner’s request was not a “demand.”)

  • Lebron James brutal reaction to injury goes viral

(Brutal is defined as cruel. Lebron had a brutal injury. Lebron did nothing cruel in his response.)

  • NFL team proposes massive rule change

(In my opinion, suggesting a replay review of one item is hardly massive.)

I could go on and on. When I start an article reading a falsehood, my confidence in the material is reduced.

Brandon Miller. A major topic in Alabama involves a star player on the Alabama basketball program. Alabama is currently rated second in the nation. Brandon Miller is the freshman star on the team and a top pick in the next NBA draft.

His roommate owned a gun. The roommate asked Brandon to bring it to him. Brandon did as he was asked. The gun was later used in the killing of Jamea Harris.

His roommate is in jail and off the basketball team. Brandon was not charged with anything and continues to play. Many people believe he should not be playing.

I am not certain of all the details so I am slow to have a final opinion. I do have an opinion that the decision is not as clear cut as many believe it to be.

First, should we punish a 19-year-old, when he is innocent of legal charges? In the litigious society in which we live, I have no problem believing an attorney would sue the university on his behalf if he were not allowed to play.

Second, if my roommate asked to borrow my car, got drunk and committed manslaughter, am I responsible? If he were already drunk, yes. If he left sober, I think the answer is no.

Third is the really tough issue. I am not a person who carries a gun, but I am surprised by how many do carry. I know several members of our church carry guns at all times. If one of them said they forgot their gun and asked me to get it for them, would I be responsible for their behavior with it?

As I said the third is a tough one. It is even tougher because I do not know the culture in which Brandon was raised or currently operates. I would not race to judgement without some understanding of more circumstances.

I know he lives in a culture stupid enough to have a “pat down” as a part of his pre-game introduction. Maybe they trying to show he does not carry, but came off in very bad taste.

The good news is the shooters are known and will face punishment.

Good News

Teens doing good works.

80-Year-Old Janitor May Get To Retire Again, Thanks To Kindness Of Students (

Teen Jumps Into Icy Iowa Lake To Rescue 83-Year-Old And Dog Trapped In Jeep (

Happy ending

A Toddler Was Lost In The Woods For 24 Hours. A Volunteer Trusted His Gut And Found Him (



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