Professor presents on life of Flannery O’Connor

first_imgSouthern, Catholic and bird lover are some of the words used most frequently to describe author Flannery O’Connor, the subject of a lecture delivered Tuesday afternoon by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, professor at Fordham University and associate director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies.O’Donnell touched on these three facets of O’Connor’s life in her talk, entitled “Between the House and the Chicken Yard: The Life and Legacy of Mary Flannery O’Connor.” O’Connor was born in Savannah, and her family moved to Andalusia, a rural Georgia farm, Alaimo O’Donnell said, where the author took a great delight in raising chickens.“O’Connor’s first brush with fame occurred courtesy of her bird collection — when a Pathé newsman caught word of a Georgia girl who taught a bird to walk backwards, he made his way south and filmed Mary Flannery and her trick chicken,” she said. “She had a hunger for fame after this, and from that day forward she began to collect chickens, though of course her fame would come from other things.”The author received an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop and moved to New York, actively participating in literary and intellectual circles, Alaimo O’Donnell said. However, O’Connor was forced to return permanently to Andalusia, after she was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease.“O’Connor would endure this exile gracefully and with good humor until her death on Aug. 3, 1964,” she said. “Flannery no longer belonged to Georgia, to the small-town world of Milledgeville, and her mother’s friends. Her childhood sense of herself as a freak returned, a preoccupying idea that appears in the stories she wrote. … O’Connor’s stories often feature characters who clearly do not belong, sometimes by virtue of some physical affliction or deformity, or by virtue of a radically different way of seeing the world from those around her.”O’Connor’s fiction became her lifeline, and she drew inspiration from the people and events in her Southern community, Alaimo O’Donnell said.“She wrote every morning – two hours was all she could manage, despite the painful and debilitating effects of both the disease and the medication prescribed to remedy it,” she said. “Against all odds, O’Connor would produce two novels, 32 short stories, and many essays, reviews and commentaries and hundreds of letters in her thirteen years at Andalusia.”O’Connor may not occur to many readers as a Christian writer, Alaimo O’Donnell said, for she does not appear to write from a particular religious viewpoint. However, although O’Connor’s characters are rarely Catholic, they require an experience of grace.“O’Connor’s characters, like the freak chickens she raised as a child, are grotesques of every imaginable kind. They include mass murderers, social misfits, religious zealots, moral cretins, fake bible salesmen, one-legged women with Ph.D.s,” she said. “The one thing that binds all of O’Connor’s characters together is the fact that they are all in need of conversion or radical change.”Implicit in her creation of characters in need of conversion, her use of violence as a means of grace and her mingling of the comic and tragic, is a deeply religious vision, Alaimo O’Donnell said.“Flannery sees the possibility of redemption available to humanity in all places, at all times and through the most unexpected of means,” she said.While O’Connor saw her life as utterly ordinary, Alaimo O’Donnell said O’Connor was an author who integrated her faith and art so thoroughly that they became one practice.“Her own art becomes sign and symbol of the creative force that generates and governs the world, and so her own writing becomes, both in practice and in fact, a form of sacrament,” she said.Tags: Catholic writers, Flannery O’Connnor, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Artslast_img read more

Make your credit union small in a big way

first_img 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mansel Guerry Mansel Guerry is President and CEO of CU24, operator of the country’s largest credit union-owned POS and surcharge-free ATM networks, and also provides a range of other services to … Web: Details Before I joined CU24, I was fortunate enough to be the CEO of a small credit union for nine and a half years.  During this time, I developed a healthy appreciation for what it means to be a small to midsize credit union, and I learned some really valuable lessons.Here are some that stand out the most:Don’t Be a Stranger. As credit unions go, we’re all in this together.  Don’t be afraid to engage with other CEOs of small to midsize credit unions.  For that matter, don’t be afraid to befriend a trusted CEO of a larger credit union as well.  From your peers, find out what’s working for their credit union and how can it can be applied to yours?  What are some of the challenges they’re facing?  As for the larger credit union CEO, it’s good to have a mentor. More than likely, they’ve all been where you are and can offer some wisdom.  A healthy, thriving exchange of ideas makes us all better.Resist keeping up with the Dow Joneses! When you look out your office window and see the behemoth bank down the street, it’s easy to get lured into trying to be just like them.  If you’re not careful, you become the jack-of-all-trades, which means you master none. Focus on what your members really need from you; a low cost checking account with reasonable services, a car loan at an affordable rate, a place to save some money.  Pick out what you can do best and be the best at it.  While the one stop shop financial institution is great, if a small credit union isn’t careful, it can crash and burn trying to be like the big ones.This business is personal. Remember that even though big banks can offer everything, in doing so, they often become very impersonal.  Many consumers continue to want to do business with a small financial institution – where they are more than just an account number.  This is where small to midsize credit unions can beat the big banks.  Teach your team how to interact with members in a personal way, stress how important this is, and above all else, lead by example! Come out of your office, be present on the floor and speak to your members.   Sometimes a friendly smile and a kind word can really resonate.  Think about it: when is the last time the CEO of Bank of America stepped into the lobby to talk to a customer?  Probably never.Be nimble. Your competition often gets bogged down in the minutia of procedures.  As such, decisions often have to be run up the ladder a number of times, before they can be made.  Don’t bog your team down with unnecessary policies or practices that make you just as difficult to deal with as the big bank down the street.  Move quickly; your members are waiting.Your success depends on everyone else. Always, always, always respect your team. If you don’t, they surely won’t respect you.  And if they don’t respect you, they won’t help you accomplish what needs to be done in order to make your credit union succeed.  Remember, the frontline teller will have an easier time finding their next job than you will have finding another CEO position.  And it doesn’t take much to show you care. Talk to your staff.  Get to know what’s important to them; the name of their child or their pet, where they vacation, what they aspire to do in their careers.  Yes, it’s cliché but true; your people are your most valuable asset.Don’t be ‘that’ boss. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Don’t hide behind an administrative assistant, don’t reserve a CEO parking place near the front door, and don’t try to act like your organization is a Fortune 500 company.  These actions only serve your ego and, in the end, will build a barrier between you and your team, as well as your members.  I once worked with an individual who had a military background.  He often repeated a saying from his military days: “your troops, your horses, yourself.”  When your priorities are in the right order, most everything else will fall in line.last_img read more

NBA playoff standings 2020: Updated odds for Grizzlies, Trail Blazers & other teams to clinch No. 8 seed in West

first_imgThe NBA playoff field in the Eastern Conference is set with the Wizards officially eliminated from postseason contention.Over in the Western Conference, however, an intense race for the final playoff spot continues to rage on. If the No. 9 seed in each conference is more than four games behind the No. 8 seed at the conclusion of the regular season, the No. 8 seed will earn the final playoff spot. If the No. 9 seed is four games or fewer behind the No. 8 seed, then those teams will enter a play-in tournament (double-elimination for the eighth seed, single-elimination for the ninth seed). NBA Playoffs Qualification 🏆— NBA (@NBA) June 26, 2020Play-In Tournament Format— NBA (@NBA) June 26, 2020″Seeding games” will be played through Aug. 14, and a play-in tournament will be held Aug. 15-16 if necessary with the first round of the playoffs starting Aug. 17.The playoffs will follow the typical format with full best-of-seven series all the way through the NBA Finals. When the Grizzlies entered the NBA’s campus in Orlando, Fla., they held a 3 1/2 game advantage over the Trail Blazers. That cushion disappeared after four consecutive losses inside the “bubble,” and now Memphis will be without a key player in Jaren Jackson Jr. after the 20-year-old forward suffered a torn meniscus.The battle for the No. 8 seed in the West is down to a four-team dash toward the finish line (Grizzlies, Spurs, Suns, Trail Blazers), and given the lack of separation in the standings, it appears we are heading toward a play-in tournament ahead of the first round of the playoffs.Let’s take a look at the overall landscape and the latest playoff odds for those four teams.NBA RESTART: Schedule | Playoff bracket | Bubble, explainedNBA standings 2020Here are the current NBA standings as of Aug. 11.Eastern ConferenceSeedTeamRecordGames back1.Bucks**56-16—2.Raptors*51-1943.Celtics*48-237.54.Heat*44-2711.55.Pacers*43-2812.56.76ers*42-2913.57.Nets*35-3620.58.Magic*32-4024*clinched playoff berth**clinched conferenceEliminated: WizardsWestern ConferenceSeedTeamRecordGames back1.Lakers**52-18—2.Clippers*47-2353.Nuggets*46-256.54.Rockets*44-2685.Thunder*43-2796.Jazz*43-289.57.Mavericks*43-31118.Trail Blazers34-3919.5—Grizzlies33-3920—Suns33-3920—Spurs32-3820*clinched playoff berth**clinched conferenceEliminated: Kings, PelicansNBA playoff pictureSeedTeamRecordGames back8.Trail Blazers34-3919.5—Grizzlies33-3920—Suns33-3920—Spurs32-3820(Playoff probability via FiveThirtyEight)8. Trail BlazersRemaining games: vs. NetsPlayoff probability: 81 percent— GrizzliesRemaining games: vs. BucksPlayoff probability: 4 percent— SunsRemaining games: vs. MavericksPlayoff probability: 12 percent— SpursRemaining games: vs. JazzPlayoff probability: 3 percentHow do the NBA playoffs work?Each of the 22 remaining teams is scheduled to play eight “seeding games” in order to determine playoff positioning in both conferences.last_img read more