Author Archives: Bob Welbaum

The Language of Songbirds and Us

Remember the song “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing”?  There may be some truth to it. Could there be a link between human speech and music, and birdsongs?  Is there a connecting biological process?  Recently published research provides evidence that there is a common hardwiring in how songbirds and humans produce and understand sounds. 

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Original Poetry — Communication

Here’s a quick poem while I try to think of something better to write about.   The Art of Communication We don‘t always say what we mean and language is our co-conspirator. “It’s all good” usually isn’t. “Yeah, right” is usually wrong. A double negative is positive. “I’m okay” means you’re not. “Nothing’s wrong” is

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Celebrating Failure

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. ” — Sir Winston Churchill Do you remember the Sony Betamax?  (I still have one.)  How about coffee-flavored Coca-Cola? These are obvious failures most people would like to forget.  But according to an article in the December 2017 issue

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How To Sell A Car

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be car salesmen. Okay, that’s not how the original song lyrics went.  But that’s what I thought of while listening to a podcast from National Public Radio’s This American Life.  This episode is entitled “129 Cars” and originally aired December 13, 2013; it was recently rebroadcast. “We

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Honoring Childhood Victims Of Cancer

In 2009, Rik Zortman lost his three-year-old son Armstrong to brain cancer.  How can you honor a child who dies so young? As a 44-year-old runner from Avoca, Iowa, Rik thought of a novel way — he would trace his son’s name in the streets during his next run.  “Armstrong” appeared on September 1st, beginning

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Happy Birthday Charles de Gaulle

On November 22, 1890, Charles de Gaulle was born in Lille, France.  He is best known for leading Free France against the Nazi occupation in World War II, then becoming the symbol of post-war France by organizing the Fifth Republic in 1958 and serving as president until 1969.  He was also a decorated officer in

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Have You Heard About Zipper Merge?

When you are driving and come to a construction zone that requires traffic to merge out of a lane, what do you do? I usually merge into the first available open space.  Frankly, it’s always bothered me when people speed down the soon-to-be-closed lane despite the signage, then merge at the last possible minute.  That

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