A. Craig Baird Debate Forum: Going Home for the NDT

A. Craig Baird Debate ForumAs a member of the Department of Law and Society here at HBU, I teach a course on “Argumentation and Advocacy”.  I have been putting my students through their paces with weekly assignments and presentations on argumentation strategies this semester.  They will also have to debate each other at the end of the class.  They are a little nervous.  However…there is a select group of university students preparing for the debate of their lifetimes this week.  How do I know?

As an undergraduate student I was a policy debater at Washburn University in Kansas and I competed at the National Debate Tournament (NDT). While a graduate student at the University of Iowa, I was also a member of the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum.  I assisted the Iowa team with coaching and judging.  I also participated in public debates for the on-campus community.

Now I am going home (so to speak)… to the NDT… at Iowa. I am representing HBU as an alumna of the forum.  Yes, just so you know, I will take my stuffed Husky for a “selfie”. Continue reading

Kissed by a Dolphin in a Pirate Paradise

dolphinyawnHappy 2015 folks!  I hope ya’ll have a good one.  I can think of no better way of getting a new year off to a great start by ending the previous year with an adventure in Roatán, Honduras.

Roatán (aka The Big Island) is the largest of Honduras’ Bay Islands which lie off of the coast of the mainland. It is well-known for its flora, fauna, and friendliness.  It is beautiful, with long white sand beaches and tropical plants galore. It also has an interesting history as being the safe harbour for the Dutch, English, and French pirates (or buccaneers) that raided cargo ships on their way to Spain during the European colonial period.  Included among them? Henry Morgan and John Coxen. In fact, pirate caves can still be found on the eastern end of the island.

While the scenery and history were very intriguing, my main focus was the fauna and friendliness nexus. Yes, this was another intercultural/interspecies communication experience. However, it is VERY different from the one in Malaysia that I discussed previouslyContinue reading

Snakes Alive! Me Oh My Oh!

Alright, it is that time of year. Yep. Halloween. A time for creepiness. Except, sometimes creepiness happens when you live near a rainforest in Malaysia…and you have a Hank Williams song in your mind while running. Talk about a weird intercultural/interspecies encounter. Perhaps the weirdest. Ever.

Do remember that I grew up in Kansas and that it is rattlesnake country. I often came across them in my front yard and the pastures when I brought the cattle in for the evening. I even encountered one on a grade school field trip to Coronado Heights in Lindsborg, Kansas, where Francisco Vásquez de Coronado gave up searching for the seven cities of gold and headed back to Mexico.

I now am known to be able to spot snakes in any hiking group before anyone else. Consequently, I have become the lead guide when in the jungle, prairies, or woods.

Continue reading

Guns, Gas Cans, and Goats

One of my favorite ways to experience a culture is through shopping.  You learn much about what a culture values when you observe it engaging in commerce.  You also learn about the communication differences in how that culture buys and sells.  Most mainstream Americans are quite used to going to a brand name store and paying the listed price for the item(s) they desire.  Other cultures (and some American co-cultures) handle the shopping experience differently by engaging in bargaining or swapping.

Believe it or not, you do not have to leave the United States to experience a unique shopping experience.  While visiting relatives in central Indiana at the end of the summer, I went to Lynch’s Croy Creek Trader Fair.  This fair has been in operation every other weekend for an amazing 44 years.  The fair sits on at least 40 acres in the middle of the Indiana woods.  Thousands of people arrive at dawn to shop from the backs of pickup trucks, blankets and booths.  For $3, you can buy or sell.  (Children under 10 are admitted for free).

croy creek shoppers

People can find ANYTHING at this fair.  Seriously.  Continue reading