By now, most have probably heard about the “25 Random Things About Me” effort that is circulating around the Internet. It is essentially a modern-day chain letter, but one designed to provide greater insight about the people we deal with on a day-to-day basis. The concept is simple, once you’re tagged, you are to reveal 25 random things about yourself. You are also expected to “tag” 25″ colleagues on the Web to do the same about themselves. An interesting concept, particularly if one believes that information is key to forward movement.
Although I was tagged on Facebook (and will be tagging back through the social networking forum), I thought I would share my list, giving readers a better sense of the unique personality behind this blog. So without further ado, here are 25 random things about Eduflack:
1) I am the son of educators, and am reminded of it each and every day. My mother was a high school English teacher (10th grade) and my father is a presidential historian, author of more than a half dozen books, and retired college president.
2) As a child, I grew up in six states and one foreign country (NY, NJ twice, MA, NM, WV, and Japan) as my father moved up the higher education administration ladder.
3) In 1984, I canvassed door-to-door for then-Senator Al Gore. Did the same for Bill Clinton in the 1992 primaries, Bill Bradley in 2000 and Obama in 2008. Somewhere in between Gore and Clinton, I went through a “Republican phase,” thanks in large part to Family Ties and Alex P. Keaton.
4) In high school, I was an International Science Fair Winner and the 1991 West Virginia Science and Engineering Fair Grand Prize Winner for a social/behavioral sciences project on the effects of verbal conditioning.
5) At the age of 21, I had the honor of serving as Managing Editor of The Cavalier Daily, one of the top collegiate newspapers in the nation. At the University of Virginia’s CD (an independent newspaper, mind you) I managed a staff of 150 and turned out 16 pages or so of well-written news each and every day. That meant 80-hour work weeks for no pay and no college credit for an entire year.
6) At the age of 22, I was named press secretary for U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the senior senator from West Virginia and the once and future chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. One cannot describe how much I learned about government, politics, and community from Senator Byrd.
7) As a senior press aide to U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, I helped manage Bill’s retirement announcement in 1995. That meant calls from everyone from Meet the Press to SportsCenter to Saturday Night Live. George Magazine’s JFK Jr. even called me himself and provided me his cell number for an upcoming piece.
8) My greatest professional highlight was shepherding the National Reading Panel from infancy into the cornerstone of federal education policy.
9) My second greatest professional moment was helping Senator Bradley pass the “drive-through” deliveries bill, ensuring newborns and their mothers received at least two days of hospital care before being discharged.
10) My third greatest professional moment was stopping the U.S. Department of Treasury from allowing foreign companies to print U.S. currency paper. Our dollars have been, are, and always should be printed by Crane & Co. in western Massachusetts.
11) I have written speeches and opeds for cabinet secretaries, U.S. senators, congressmen,and Fortune 500 CEOs. There is no greater challenge and no better high than findings an individual’s “voice” for an effective speech. A life goal is to write, just once, for the President of the United States.
12) Despite a career in politics and public relations, I am a classic introvert.
13) My wife, Jennifer, is the only true love of my life. And I knew after our first date that I would one day marry her. It took me two and a half months to convince her of that fact.
14) I am the proud father of two children, Michael and Anna. Both are adopted from Guatemala, and they are full birth siblings born 17 months apart. They are now the center of my universe and what drives me in all corners of my life.
15) I am a bit of a clothes horse. When it comes to everyday wear, it is Tommy Bahama and Nat Nast. When its professional time, I’m all about Italian suits and Brooks Brothers shirts (I know it isn’t the ideal mix, but it works for me).
16) I subscribe to nearly 20 magazines and publications, and read each and every one of them. I even get USA Today delivered to my home. And if I am spending the day in the office, I gather information from nearly 100 websites and blogs daily. I have a long favorites list and use each and every one of them to stay on top of things.
17) I have owned four Ford Mustangs in my life. A 1981 Mustang that was my first car, a 1966 Mustang sold to buy post-wedding furniture for our home, a 1998 Mustang, and my current 2006 school bus yellow Mustang convertible.
18) I desperately want to own a motorcycle, as my Teamster grandfather once did. But my mother and wife have conspired against me to block that dream.
19) I am an eBay addict.
20) I am a rabid New York Mets fan, due in large part because my die-hard Yankee fan of a father took me to Mets games as a kid because it was easier and safer to go to into Queens than it was to go into the Bronx.
21) To badly paraphrase from Bull Durham, I believe in scientifically based education research, national education standards, 21st century skills, and strong, legitimate efforts to close the achievement gap and improve our schools.
22) My life dream is to move to a small town and run its local newspaper. I recognize print is dying, but with a good advertising director, I’m certain I can make it a success.
23) I am the oldest of three siblings. One sister is an investigative attorney for the City of New York. The other sister is a professional jazz singer in the city that never sleeps. Although we come from the same stock, the three of us couldn’t be more different.
24) There is nothing I enjoy more than a terrific, high-quality pen (green or blue ink) writing on good, heavy cardstock. I’m still searching for the ideal pen ( a 20-year pursuit), but the note cards from Levenger meet my paper requirement. And I take all my notes on index cards, no notebooks or legal pads for me.
25) I have written Eduflack for just about two years now, and it continues to provide me true joy and professional satisfaction. There is nothing more cathartic than writing about issues you care passionately about.
Of course, it was pointed out to me that I did not reveal anything terribly embarrassing, so I will go ahead and add an unnecessary 26th thing. As a child, I had a horrible stutter, and hated anyone to hear. It was only made worse by having a wicked bad Boston/New Jersey-blended accent (the result of our moves). Terribly amusing now that I spend much of my time speaking for a living.