The Armistice on This Day in History

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

This image of the poppy is courtesy of the Guardian.

On this day, November 11, 100 years ago, an armistice was signed to end the “War to End All Wars.” Today, the world remembered.

Obviously, this lofty objective for mankind didn’t happen.

And, based on what’s taking place in some parts of the world, unfortunately, the end of war won’t happen — at least not any time soon.

But to put the armistice ending World War I to perspective, here’s a short account of wars the United States has been involved in since 1918, and when the fighting stopped:

  • World War II — The Axis powers surrendered on May 8, 1945.  The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945.
  • Korean War — Fighting ended on July 27, 1953, with an armistice that approximately restored the original boundaries between North and South Korea.
  • Vietnam War — On January 15, 1972, all U.S. combat activities were suspended. Unfortunately, the fighting continued until April 1975 when Saigon fell to the communists.
  • Gulf War — With the code name of Operation Desert Shield, this war in Iraq ended January 17, 1991.
  • War in Afghanistan — The U.S. involvement started in 1999. The U.S. still has armed forces in this war-ravaged nation.

Of course, there are many, many other wars that took place since the armistice was signed a century ago — and some were undeclared conflicts like the Cold War.  (Is that conflict really over?)

Regardless, I just hope the powers of the world can revisit what led to the start of World War I and want led to its end. Perhaps it will take less than 100 years to mark the end of a war that really means the end of all war.

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Questions on “Ghosting” This Halloween Night

By Edward M. Bury. APR (aka The PRDude)

Note the subtle “shadowing” around the image — my effort to add a little “ghostly” drama.

To get started, the topic of this post on what’s purported to be the “scariest night of the year,” has nothing to do with the celebration of Halloween.  Rather, my focus here is on a new addition to the modern lexicon: Ghosting.

As noted in this headline from an editorial published in today’s Chicago Tribune, the word “ghost” and its present participle form, “ghosting,” take on a particular meaning these days. The Urban Dictionary listed a definition for “ghosting” from 2016, which I’ll summarize: Halting communications without notice.  According to further research, the word is often used in personal relationships (ignoring a text from a person you have dated) and in the job market (failing to show up for a job you accepted).

Now, to my questions:

  1. How did “ghost” evolve from a noun for “spirit” into verb?  Who initiated the re-interpretation of the word?
  2. Why does modern society accept this ongoing bastardization of the language? (See this 2015 post on “doxing” for a somewhat related example.) Because it’s cool? Edgy? Modern?
  3. Why did the Chicago Tribune resort to what many may consider a colloquialism in an editorial?  And, in the headline, no less! Also, I dispute the use of “ghost” in the headline because Chicago Public School kids are not purposefully or intentionally causing the enrollment decline.
  4. What’s the next common word to get reinterpreted due to unforeseen and unfathomable justification?
  5. Can “ghosting” still be used should someone want to practice being a ghost?  Example: “I will complete a stringent ghosting regimen this week to prepare for Halloween.”
  6. What are the perspectives and insights from real ghosts on this dictionary-centered phenomenon?

Okay, I don’t anticipate a response to #6, although replies are welcomed; but please feel free to share thoughts to the other questions noted above.

But, in the spirit of Halloween, I’ll leave you with a link to a 2010 post, where I outlined public relations strategies and tactics for the holiday, one once primarily celebrated by kids. Speaking of kids, I better head home now. Don’t want to ghost neighborhood trick or treaters.

The Pallor Across America This Day in Autumn 2018

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

The intention was simple: Visit the local forest preserves to take in the remaining days when the trees around metropolitan Chicago still had color before being stripped bare by the passing of another season.

This path led me to a quiet place within nature. What path is America on right now?

Periodic light rain and the predominant overcast cloud cover would not prevent me from spending an enjoyable 60 or so minutes surrounded by nature and silence.

And, I did take in quiet time away from the our home in the Avondale neighborhood, as evidenced by the image at left.  But while I intended to just reflect and ponder nothing during my walk, my thoughts kept returning to the unsettling state our nation is in right now.

Yes, of course, I was stunned and distraught by the alleged actions of the Florida man now charged with sending pipe bombs to elected officials, including two past Presidents; and, I was emotionally deflated and enraged after learning yesterday that 11 people in Pittsburgh were fatally shot while practicing their faith at a synagogue.

The first scenario reportedly was motivated by political beliefs. The second has its foundation based in hatred.

But what also triggered my emotions beyond the pipe bomb scare and mass murder was something much less horrifying, yet certainly disturbing to me. It took place in a small community in southern Illinois.

At a rally yesterday led by President Donald Trump, some in the crowd in the community of Murphysboro chanted, “Lock her up,” echoing the chant often heard during the 2018 presidential election.

Think about this: A purported madman uses the U.S. mail to send explosive devices to elected officials and another man is now being held on charges of murdering fellow Americans in a house of worship.  However, those at the rally could not put aside their political differences for an evening; they were swept up by the moment, actions to me that dishonored the law enforcement officials who captured the bombing suspect, shot and later arrested the shooter, and most of all, the worshipers killed in Pittsburgh.

Shouldn’t Americans be better than this? Shouldn’t the people of America put their political beliefs aside following the two national news stories just mentioned?

Perhaps, I need to continue walking this fall in order to find an answer. Next week, I plan to follow a longer path.

 

 

What I Took Away from PRSA 2018 Assembly

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

DATELINE: AUSTIN, TX.

Thought I would incorporate that now bygone phrase and practice as a way to provide a “newscast” kind of perspective to the following, a post about what I learned and observed as a delegate at the 2018 PRSA Assembly on October 6.

Like any organization comprised of passionate, strong-willed individuals, there was often spirited debate during the 2018 PRSA Assembly.

The gathering of Public Relations Society of America leadership, staff and members earlier this month is the Society’s one day to have delegates present thoughts and cast ballots on how PRSA is governed. As this was only my second time as a delegate, I took my responsibility seriously.

(A disclaimer: Please excuse the delay in sharing this post as three things got in the way: Work, school and life.)

Without precedence, here are a few thoughts I scribbled during my time at the Assembly.

Ready, Set, Debate: From a parliamentary perspective, the Assembly opened with a debate on how to debate: Specifically, the time allowed for delegates to address the big issues on the agenda — proposed Bylaw changes.  (More coming up.) Some found this a poor use of time; I found it a reflection of the passion some members have for PRSA and its future.

State of the Society: In his remarks, 2018 PRSA Chair Anthony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, cited accomplishments made by the Society, including growth in diversity and advocacy issues; but he cautioned that the profession itself was “losing market share” in the communications arena due to factors like apathy and “free stuff” — digital resources. Millennials, he noted, find some forms of governance (like PRSA) irrelevant.

The Bylaw Debate: Prior to the Assembly, five proposals were made to amend existing Bylaws; learn more from this report published in June, but the focus was on ethics. I’ll refrain from much commentary. I had to depart to catch my flight home and missed some of the debate on the Bylaw proposals; however, I provided my proxy decisions to colleagues from PRSA Chicago. Two of the five amendments passed. During his remarks, Mr. D’Angelo noted that the issues were not relevant to the challenges facing the Society. But from this perspective, I’m glad PRSA gives members the opportunity to undertake changes to the way the Society is governed.

APR “Self-Improvement” Project: Of course, I had to comment on news shared that relates to the Accredited in Public Relations credential. What I learned is that there are plans to institute modules in the APR program, award “badges” to candidates, allow for online Panel Presentations and launch an online mentor match benefit. Good — no great — news.  More needs to be done to encourage professionals to seek Accreditation; more needs to be done to keep the credential a vital factor in the growth and development of public relations professionals today.

Other things learned: PRSA has developed a Speakers Bureau database, the Society is on good financial standing, membership (21,550 as of this month) has been static but is trending upwards, and there’s a new Strategic Plan being crafted.  I look forward to following these and other developments in the months to come.

But a final thought on the Assembly: PRSA will only be as vital to public relations as its members contribute to the way the Society functions and the profession is perceived in society.  After leaving Austin, I’m encouraged by the future.

 

 

The PRDude Reaches Another Plateau: Post 400

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

This question has left me in a quandary the past several days: What should be the focus of this post — the 400th published here on the PRDude blog?

Perhaps a retrospective of my “favorite” post over the past (could it really be that long?) nine years? No, who really cares, and I think I’ve already written a post on that topic, somewhere back in the 200 or 300 post library.

Announce some new feature or improvement?  Well, I’ve started to categorize posts, but that job will take a little longer than anticipated.  But stay tuned.

Image courtesy of Geo G Wiki.

Or, maybe a list of the “best 400 moments” in the public relations profession? Of course, this is absurd and who determines what’s “best” in any subject or genre?  (Actually, I addressed this topic with a post way back in 2013.)

So, I’ll take the safe and easy road on this journey:

Appreciation. A sincere thank you to all who have read, commented and shared PRDude posts. Please continue to absorb my thoughts and perspectives, and please share this blog within your network.

Supporting Public Relations. And, a mention that next week I’ll join hundreds of public relations colleagues from across the nation in Austin, Texas at the Public Relations Society of America 2018 Assembly, which precedes the International Conference.

Regarding the latter, I’ll be representing PRSA Chicago, where I serve on the Board of Directors and chair the Accreditation Committee.

For those who follow the workings of PRSA, there’s been a rather “spirited” (emphasis intentional) debate underway related to existing PRSA Bylaws. This topic is on the agenda for the Assembly October 6.

I’ll reserve any thoughts or comments on the Bylaw proposals — which address ethics, a foundation of PRSA and public relations — until I return from the Assembly.

But speaking of ethics, earlier this month I published an article through my LinkedIn account:Leadership in Defending Misrepresentation of ‘Public Relations.'” The premise of my article centers on the need for members of PRSA, especially those who hold the Accredited in Public Relations credential, to address instances where the profession is misrepresented — often equated with propaganda.

Why?  Because the Advocacy component of the PRSA Code of Ethics requires members to be “responsible advocates for those we represent.” I interpret that provision as being at the vanguard for correcting erroneous references to “public relations.”

Thanks again, and watch for post #401 soon.

Honoring an American Worker This Labor Day 2018

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Throughout the summer months, the man in this photo brings refreshment — and certainly a little bit of joy — to people in our Avondale neighborhood and beyond.

His name?

I don’t know; but when I hear the sound of bells breaking the silence of an afternoon, I frequently race out of the house to purchase a few lime, mango or strawberry frozen treats. Given his weathered face and hands, it’s apparent that this American worker logs a long day.

This American Worker more than likely will be on the job this Labor Day.

On a bike ride earlier this summer, I witnessed the man with his cart a good mile-plus north of our home. He is employed by the Paleteria Arco Iris, a shop located a few blocks north of us on Belmont Avenue. In researching this post, I learned that a paleteria is an “ice lolly vendor,” and a paleta is a Mexican ice pop.

We’ve purchased frozen bars from the store in the past, but I prefer to get mine from this man, who’s always very cordial, always very welcoming. His job is simple: Stroll the sidewalks and sell a little happiness for $1 or $1.50.  Yes, he performs this task with dogged persistence and pride.

Too often, we only recognize those titans of the American workforce — those women and men who make headlines or have jobs deemed important or vital to the economy or society. Often, those performing the menial or less-skilled jobs frequently fall under the proverbial radar.

So, on Labor Day 2018, I offer a salute to the Paleta Man, who assuredly will be on his rounds today, and to all American workers who are unheralded or forgotten.

Later, I will listen for the sound of the bells, signaling happiness in the form of a flavorful frozen treat. And, I will savor the ice pop, knowing that with the decline of summer days, the Paleta Man will be done for the season.

* * *

Labor Day posts have been published on the PRDude blog over the years.  Here are a few:

 

 

Marvelous, Madcap Munich: Words and Pictures

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Where to start with an account of our recent trip to Germany’s third-largest city?

First, words about Munich, the Bavarian capital and gateway to the Alps.  Here are some random thoughts jotted down in my journal.

Outside the Munich visitors center in the heart of Altstadt.

Overall Impressions:  Munich is a thoroughly modern metropolis with much of its centuries-old architecture and history intact. It’s a multicultural place, also very orderly and remarkably clean, especially given the throngs of people strolling its streets and plazas. Church towers, especially the twin domed spires of the Frauenkirche, dominate the skyline rather than modern office buildings. Quiet places, like small, well-maintained parks, were easy to find.  People were respectful — most didn’t even jaywalk! While in Munich, this Chicago guy knew he was in a much, much different place.

Beverage and Food:  Yes, there is beer available everywhere — in the famous bier gartens, in restaurants, in the outstanding Viktualienmarkt outdoor market and in the Hauptbahnhof train station. The beer tastes really good; but we also sampled wines from Germany and nearby Italy, and many venues featured gin-focused cocktails. And, we certainly dined on sausages and kraut, and enjoyed snacks of big pretzels.  All were delicious, but some of our best meals were had in Italian restaurants or outdoor venues. A highlight: Braised beef with fresh vegetables, whitefish and sausages with goat cheese at an outdoor wine festival in the Odeonsplatz.  We also favored soups from a vendor in the Viktualienmarkt.

Transportation: As a transportation guy, I found Munich’s public transit network of UBahn, SBahn, trams and buses exceptionally clean, safe, whisper-quiet, fast and reliable, although navigating the system required thought and patience.  Munich transit operates on the honor system: There are no turnstiles at the subway stations, and tram and bus operators don’t ask for a pass or ticket. (Better buy one, as it’s a 60 Euro fine if you’re caught.)  We traveled using a day pass that cost 12.8 Euros for the day — for both of us.  And, then there’s bikes; Munichers take their biking seriously and travel on bike lanes installed between the sidewalk and street.  Most ride well-equipped cycles with fenders, lights, racks and bells. I did not see a hipster-favored fixie while in Munich.  Motorized vehicles leaned sharply (as you’d expect) toward German manufactured-cars and trucks, especially BMWs.

The Outdoor Spaces:  As noted, there are plenty of green spaces between the 18th and 19th century plazas within most neighborhoods of Munich. But two stand out for their size and prominence. One day, we took the the UBahn to the Olympia Park, site of the 1972 Summer Games.  We visited the impeccably-maintained grounds, with its iconic space needle-like tower, on a flawless Sunday afternoon while a carnival was underway. From an outdoor bar near the site’s lake, we enjoyed our drinks while people boated or piloted paddle boards along the shoreline. At the nearby BMW Museum, we fantasized over gleaming sedans and sports cars. Getting back on the UBahn, we made our way to the Englische Garten — Munich’s large urban park. This is an example of an urban oasis that works:  Harmony of man and nature, with walking and biking paths, a river with waterfalls, vast open spaces, stands of trees and — you guessed it — a beer garden!  On our visit, we were serenaded by a traditional German band while enjoying our beverages.  Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of our Sunday in the park: Everyone was respectful, everyone was courteous.

The Day Trips: As much as we enjoyed Munich and its environs, we ventured on three day trips, using the Deutsche Bahn regional train system; like the local service in Munich, these trains were an outstanding value, comfortable and set-your-watch-on-time reliable. Our first excursion took us to Nuremburg, a walled medieval city around a two-hour ride north.  En route, we enjoyed vistas of farms and small towns. Upon arrival, we strolled through a gate and were enthralled by the charm of this city, bombed heavily during World War II, but remarkably restored. Susan was fascinated by the small shops, including one operated by a toy maker. Another day, we ventured east to Saltzburg, home of Mozart and flanked by the Alps, a river and lots of natural beauty. This Baroque gem in nearby Austria is defined by music, as one would expect. Unfortunately, we missed a classical performance, but enjoyed modern interpretations of songs by the Foo Fighters and Tom Petty at an outdoor festival. The views from the 900-year-old Hohensaltzburg Fortress  were truly breathtaking.  And, less than an hour away lies Augsburg, an historic smaller city that was founded by the Romans.  Augsburg was surprisingly cool and compact, with buses and trams that led us to the Fuggerei, the oldest housing settlement for the poor, the home of Mozart’s father and the most spectacular church I’ve ever entered — the Cathedral of St. Mary.

I could go on, but I encourage you to visit marvelous, madcap Munich. I’m sure you’ll cultivate memories that will endear long after you return home.

And, now, some pictures.  I’ve just selected a dozen. But visit my Facebook page to view more.

The Marienplatz blended people, history, modern retail, street music, and more — but no cars.

The Theatine Church on the Odeonplatz, one of many houses of worship within Munich.

While we failed to take in a classical performance, we enjoyed the musical stylings of street performers.

The freeway near the Olympic Park did not at all resemble the highways I’m used to driving.

The twin towers of the Frauenkirche are visible from many points throughout Munich. For us, they served as a point of reference.

Ah, if I only had access to a kitchen. Produce available at the Viktualienmarkt.

“The hills are alive, with the sound of music.” The view of Saltzburg from the Fortress.

The grand garden of the Nymphenburg Palace, the summer get-away for the Bavarian royalty. Not too shabby for a summer place.

A tranquil view of the river in Nuremburg. Hard to believe much of this city was destroyed; glad it was rebuilt.

Preparing to board a UBahn, or perhaps and SBahn.

Revelers at a street fair in the Sedlinger Tor neighborhood of Munich.

Prelude to our final meal in Munich.