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obamaThat government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.

-Thomas Jefferson

If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance.

-Abraham Lincoln

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

– Barack Obama

I whooped it up with the rest of the people who voted for Obama last night, because I believe that his spirit of optimism, his call to service for all Americans, and his ability to inspire people are all going to make a difference in how the rest of the world views America and we as Americans view ourselves as a people.    But until I watched Obama’s acceptance speech, the full impact of what it means that a man of African-American descent has been elected to the highest office in our country didn’t really sink in.

It hit me when I saw Jesse Jackson weeping:

jessejackson

Barack Obama’s win is proof that devoting one’s life to the cause of equal rights has made a difference in our country.   Jesse Jackson hasn’t always been popular, and sure he’s made some mistakes, and maybe he wasn’t the right guy for the job when he ran for the Democratic nomination a few decades ago…but even if I can’t understand personally what it’s like to be African-American, or have first-hand knowledge of how the civil rights movement changed our country back in the 60s, I could see from the tears of joy on his face that it was literally his dream come true to see enough change in his lifetime that Barack Obama could be elected President.

Not because he’s African-American…but simply because he’s the right guy for the job.

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I was very saddened to hear this weekend that Pulitzer Prize winning author, radio broadcaster and activist Studs Terkel had died at 96. I’m not going to go into huge amounts of detail about his career and his life, because his hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, has created a fantastic tribute to his life and works here, where you can spend a few minutes learning about Mr. Terkel’s fascinating life and his many professional accomplishments.

I would, however, like to pay a very small personal tribute to Studs Terkel today because although he wrote about subjects as diverse as the great musicians of the early years of jazz, the subject of race relations in America, and his own personal search for faith — there is one book that stands out for me among his many works, because if it weren’t for that book, then “My Cool Job” probably wouldn’t exist, and I wouldn’t have made the acquaintance of so many Cool Jobsters, and so many awesome readers who’ve now become my blogging “family”!

The book is entitled Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, and was published in 1972. I first read it in the late 80s, as I was starting my own working life and things I read in “Working” back then still affect me today. Studs Terkel spent many years interviewing people from every walk of life and every level of the economic scale about their jobs and how their working life changed their outlook on the world. Although some of the people in the book had fascinating, glamorous careers, the majority of interviewees had the sort of blue collar, industrial and service jobs that keep the real world operating smoothly — the sort of jobs that most of us never even stop to think about.

After the first few pages, I couldn’t put “Working” down. It wasn’t filled with clever, witty descriptions of colorful characters doing menial tasks, and it wasn’t filled with detailed analyses of how each profession fit into the grand scheme of American Society. After each short chapter introduction, “Working” was filled with the words of the workers themselves, as told to someone who they felt comfortable enough with to share in depth not only the tasks that comprised their jobs, but the feelings they had about their work and their lives.

For years after that, and still today here on my blog, I’ve been inspired to ask everyone I meet the same sorts of questions that Studs Terkel asked about work, and have never been bored with any of the answers.

I regret that it took his passing for me to let you readers know that if there’s a “patron saint” here at My Cool Job, it’s certainly Studs Terkel. I hope I can do justice to his memory by continuing to share the world of work with all of you.

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I originally had more monumental plans for this movie, but now that it’s Halloween it’s time to post what I’ve got, and I think it came out just fine.  Happy Halloween, Cool Jobsters!

oh, and long live the S.L.O.B.S.!

Awesome costumes courtesy of CurlyWurlyGurly!

Awesome costumes courtesy of CurlyWurlyGurly!

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This is NOT the prize for the contest...

This is NOT the prize for the contest...

I know some of you link to my “silly” blog through My Cool Job, and I want to make sure no one misses the exciting conclusion of the “about me” contest.   If you missed the contest but would still like to see how well you might have done, click here.

If you’re simply dying to know who won and which amazing facts about me are true, you can click here to see if you’re a winner and get some details on those crazy facts!

Now if you’ll all excuse me, I have only 24 hours left to finish my entry for the pumpkin carving contest here (which I’m hoping to win, of course!).  See you all next week!

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I know I’ve been away for a few days, but I assure you that I have been diligently surfing the globe for Cool Jobsters!  Now I’m back to share with you my latest find: Juggler Steve Thomson from Stirling, Scotland.   Steve began juggling in 1993, “turned pro” in 2001 and hasn’t looked back since.  In fact, he’s so passionate about juggling that he’s also the proprietor of an online juggling supply company!

I’ve never been able to master juggling myself, but I was lucky enough to date a juggler for a while (yes, flaming torches on your birthday are pretty romantic!) and I can tell you from experience that it requires an enormous amount of practice and dedication to attain the level of skill required to be a professional juggler.   The jugglers I’ve met also seem to have a passion for sharing their skills and teaching the art of juggling to anyone who shows an interest, and Steve is no exception.   Next time I’m in Scotland (and I’ve been to Stirling before, it just might happen) I’m certainly going to look him up and get a lesson!

So what’s it like to “juggle” a performing career,  a strong Christian faith, volunteer work with people of all ages, an online business and The Stirling Juggling Project (not to mention a bunch of balls and flaming torches)?   Let’s ask Steve!

When people ask you “what do you do?” how do you describe your job?

I am a Professional Juggler with an Online Juggling Equipment and Novelty Items store!

What are the things about your job that you love?

Working with Nursery and Primary School aged children (age 3-13yrs). They have such an enthusiasm for trying out Circus Skills (diabolo, juggling, devilstick, poi, plate spinning etc) and they love to be entertained! I wouldn’t want the (more…)

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I assure you that within the next 24 hours there will be a new “Cool Job” appearing on the site — you asked for more Cool Jobsters in the performing arts, and I’m happy to oblige.

In the meantime, for the benefit of my stalkers I have updated the “About” page on my other blog to include some interesting personal facts that will astound and amaze you…if you can figure out which ones are true!

Come see me here to join in the fun!

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Today I’m going to play a little catch-up on various things that have been transpiring lately on My Cool Job. Here are a few updates for you, a few minor pleas for help, and a fun video to wash it all down with:

1. Sadly, although I tried my very best, apparently I am not fabulous enough to be a contestant on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” (see post here for more info). Despite all of the good wishes and positive vibes you all sent out, alas I will have to find a million bucks some other way.

2. On the plus side, longtime reader and Cool Jobster Khyri was entertained enough by the recent adventures of Flat Tony in New Jersey that she invited “Flat Carrie” to come and visit her in Arizona! You can view my enjoyable visit to the desert, the gynecologist and KFC here. (I wonder if the activity list would be the same if I visited in “real life”? 🙂 ) Thank you for the video, Khyri! You rock! (And OF COURSE if anyone else would like to have “Flat Carrie” come visit, you have only to ask and her atoms will be transmitted via email and will rearrange themselves in your inbox as a “Flat Carrie” image that you can do with what you will — you have only to ask!)

3. As is my usual habit, I always have a few feelers out in cyberspace for Cool Jobsters, but nothing has come to fruition in the last few days so I’m on the prowl again. The people with the coolest jobs are of course the busiest people around, but if you know a potential Cool Jobster that you’d like to see on the site (and has a few minutes to spare), please send them my way!

4. CurlyWurlyGurly had an iSketch party last night, and a great time was had by all. Due to my lack of artistic skillz, CurlyWurlyGurly, thedailydish, and morethananelectrician kicked my butt all over that whiteboard, but I had a great time anyway and am looking forward to doing it again soon! Thanks for the invite, CWG! I can’t tell you all how much I miss Acrophobia — if it’s reappeared online somewhere and actuall works, would someone please let me know?

5. After a bit of director’s block, my latest film is coming together well, and should be available for your viewing pleasure in the next day or two. It’s about pumpkins. Aren’t you excited?

6. As promised, here is your video reward for being kind enough to read this far. One part german talk show host Stefan Raab, one part Will Smith, and one part ukelele. Coolest version of “Men In Black” ever! Enjoy and have a great weekend, all!

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