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Stephen Kerr's Blog




A Marriage Made In Heaven

With all the statistics about the divorce rate getting higher and higher, here's a change of pace: a couple who was married 72 years, and ended up passing away together. Read this incredible story by clicking here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2051047/Gordon-Norma-Yeager-married-72-yrs-die-hour-apart-holding-hands.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
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A True Sense Of Community

This past week has been one of deep reflection for me. No, I'm not going to espouse philosophy or anything; it's quite simple, really. The devastating wildfires here in the Austin area, along with the 10th anniversary of 9/11... both events have stirred a myriad of emotions in me, and, I'm sure, in many of you as well. We probably know at least someone who was affected by the wildfires in some way. I know three people personally who had to evacuate, but thankfully they were able to return to their homes with little or no damage. But there were countless others who lost everything, including their homes, and my thoughts and prayers go out to them. You always hope that there is no loss of life with these events, but unfortunately, two people died from the wildfires, and my heart goes out to their families as well. Even if many of us weren't directly affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001 in the sense of losing loved ones or friends, I don't think we can ever forget the sense of horror and outrage we felt when the terrorists struck. Our country was being violated, and it didn't matter whether you lived in New York or Austin, if you saw the images on television or heard about it on the radio, you felt as if you were right in the thick of it. The dominant thought running through my mind as I ran through both events this week is the way people pull together in times of tragedy or great crisis. We worry and complain daily about our local, state, and federal government, about the economy, the unemployment rate, health care, etc. But when something or someone threatens our community, state, or country, all that goes out the window. When you hear about people opening their homes to total strangers because they had to evacuate, or give generously of their finances or material possessions, it shows more than just a sense of duty or responsibility. It demonstrates real compassion, a feeling of togetherness. It's one of the many reasons I'm proud to be an American.
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Austin's Own Miss America

Most of us are familiar with the Miss America pageant, which has been crowning winners from all over the country since 1921. There is another pageant you may not be as familiar with, but is no less important in its concept. The Miss Plus America pageant is dedicated to celebrating the inner beauty of women, along with their commitment to the communities in which they live, and the 2011 Miss Plus America Elite winner lives here in Austin. Spruce Dickerson competed with women from all over the United States last month to capture the Miss Plus America Elite crown, which is the highest honor in the Miss Plus America pageant system. I first met Spruce several months ago, when we were paired as co-emcees for the Statewide Independent Living Council Convention. Her positive, energetic personality and passion for advocating for the voice of plus-sized women is both refreshing and unmistakable. "All women are worthy, and all women have a voice," she told me as we talked in my office recently. "It doesn't matter what our size is. All women are beautiful." Her mantra: "love who you are, where you are." All contestants are required to choose a platform, and Spruce chose volunteerism, because, as she put it, "I already do that. It's not a hat that I put on and take off. My life is volunteerism." Spruce is excited about her opportunity to represent the Miss Plus America Elite crown, which is not affiliated with the Miss America contest. She will have numerous opportunities throughout the year to promote her volunteerism platform, and her theme, "give... so that others can live." In December, she will travel to Nigeria to speak and emcee at the Miss Plus Nigeria pageant. While there, she will visit orphanages and schools, where she'll be passing out school supplies. She is also currently working on a campaign called Flip Flop To Nigeria, to collect flip flops to hand out to people during her visit. For more information about Spruce, or to line her up for a guest appearance, email Melissa Stamper at: director@missplusamerica.com You may also visit Spruce's website at: http://www.sprucedickerson.com/
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Going To A Ball

Actress Betty White has been asked out on a date--by a Marine, no less! The 89-year-old actrss was invited to a Marine ball through a YouTube video from Sgt. Ray Lewis. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wAkurLwCmEw
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Braille Awareness Day

Have you ever seen or felt what Braille is like? Have you ever run your fingers across a page of Braille? If not, have you always been curious to find out? Your chance comes this Saturday, June 25, as the Austin Council of the Blind hosts a Braille Awareness Day at Barnes & Noble, 10000 Research Blvd. in the Arboretum from 1 to 4 Pm. Come see what the alphabet looks like in Braille, along with books that contain both Braille and print so blind and sighted children can read together, and watch a demonstration of different writing tools used to write Braille. As a special treat, have your name or a special message written in Braille for you to keep. For more information about the Braille Awareness Day, visit: http://www.acbaustin.org/bn_braille-awareness.htm In conjunction with Braille Awareness Day, Barnes & Noble is also hosting a Book Fair, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Austin Council of the Blind. The Book Fair will run from June 25 through June 30. Virtually any item purchased at Barnes & Noble can be used to support the Book Fair. If you shop online, all you have to do is enter the code 10512481 at checkout, and a percentage of your purchase price benefits the Austin Council of the Blind. For further instructions on how to shop in support of the Book Fair, visit: http://www.acbaustin.org/bn_bookfair_2011.htm
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Royal Couple Has A New Addition

William and Kate are about to hire a housekeeper-dresser for their new London home. To find out more on that, and other goings-on with the Royal Couple, click the article below: http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20395222_20500584,00.html
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Help Meals OnWheels and More This Summer

Summer can often seem busier than other times of the year, with vacation, entertaining the kids while school's out, etc. In the midst of all this activity, we sometimes forget that not everyone is able to do these things, particularly people who are homebound du to illness or other reasons. That's why Meals On Wheels and More is so vital to our community, providing meals for people who are otherwise unable to cook for themselves. The organization relies on dedicated volunteers to transport 90 percent of the one million meals it distributes each year throughout the Austin area. With summer approaching,MOWAM is facing a shortage of drivers to cover its routes, and more cancellations are expected due to summer commitments. 40 of these routes are currently open, which means they don't have regular drivers assigned to them, and are having to be covered by paid drivers. This raises administrative costs, including gas. Meals On Wheels and More is looking for both regular and substitute drivers, particularly in north Austin and areas east of I35. If you can help, visit their website at: http://www.mealsonwheelsandmore.org/volunteer.
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Which Prince's UniformDo You Like?

Which prince had the most charming uniform at the Royal Wedding? Prince William sporting his Colonel of the Irish Guard uniform, or his best man, brother Prince Harry, in his Captain of the Household Cavalry uniform? Find out more about the princes' military garb at: http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20395222_20485858,00.html and let me know your thoughts.
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Counting Down To Zero

Reality TV shows are quite the rage these days. Even our City of Austin is getting into the game, and it's all for a good cause. The city has launched a program called Dare to Go Zero. Four local families have accepted a five-week challenge to reduce the amount of trash they generate, and will document their progress on camera. Each family is competing for a chance to win a sustainable home improvement package worth over $2000! Dare to Go Zero airs Friday nights, 7 Pm, on Austin's local Government Access Channel 6, as well as on YouTube. For more information about the Dare to Go Zero project, visit http://www.cityofaustin.org/sws/daretogozero.htm
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Taylor Comes To Town Again

If you're a fan of Taylor Swift, you'll be excited to know the lovely singer/songwriter is coming back to Austin--again! Swift, who was here last year, is bringing her Speak Now World Tour 2011 to the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday, October 26. Tickets willgo on sale Friday, April 29, 10 Am, at the usual Texas Box Office outlets. You can also charge by phone at (512) 477-6060, or online at: http://www.texasboxoffice.com/ Prices are: $25, $59.50, and $69.50. Check out this cool video of an appearance she made on "Late Night With David Letterman" late last year, playing a song from her current album "Speak Now". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HevhxkMWfU
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What's Your Favorite?

I've started a new feature on my afternoon show that allows you to decide what song i should play at 5 Pm! Each afternoon at 3:30, I will tell you what key word to text in to the number 32961. You'll be presented with a list of songs to vote for, andthe one with the most votes will be played at 5 Pm. That's it; nothing to it, and you get to choose the music! I'll be waiting for your vote.
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Another Reason To Drink Coffee

For many years, scientists have cited many reasons to not drink much coffee: it causes cancer, it's addicting, it's bad for your heart, etc. Not surprisingly, more recent studies have begun to reverse those myths, and are coming up with reasons why we SHOULD drink coffee. Alex and Terri mentioned some benefits this week on Majic In the Morning, including weight loss among women. I happened to come across an article in USA Today that touts another excuse to have a cup o' joe: it reduces the risk of stroke, particularly among women. Read the article here: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/medical/story/2011/03/Coffee-may-reduce-stroke-risk/44747710/1
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Stop the Cyberbullying!

Bullying has been a problem for centuries. I certainly was a victim of my share growing up, and, I'm ashamed to say, even occasionally dished out the insults myself. My son was also a victim during middle school. It's no secret that bullying can have major consequences, some of which can be tragic. Many teen suicides and highly-publicized school shootings over the years have been linked to youths being pushed over the edge as a result of either being bullied or feeling ostracized by their peers. Over the past few years, the advent of the Internet, texting, and other forms of technology have created another form of bullying that can be even more destructive: cyberbullying, where humiliating messages and images are sent and forwarded to many people. Unlike face-to-face bullying, victims of cyberbullying suffer widespread public humiliation and don't have the chance to defend themseelves before the damage is done. What can be done to stop it? The Texas Child Safety Organization, in collaboration with the Austin Independent School District and the National Day of Cyberbullying Awareness, will hold its first-ever Cyberbullying Prevention and Intervention Conference. The event will be held Sunday, March 6, 2:30 to 5:30 Pm, at the Anderson High School Performing Arts Auditorium. Parents, students, educators, and others are encouraged to come together in an informative, interactive session to address what is being and can be done to reduce, or even totally eliminate, this growing problem among teens and preteens. Studies show that as many as one in every three children will be cyberbullied in their teen or preteen years, so organizers of the conference believe this is a timely and potentially life-saving first step in putting a stop to it. State Represenative Mark Strama, an internet and child safety advocate, will moderate the conference. For more information, contact Natalie Kloss-Biagini at (512) 947-3385, or email her at: natalie@texaschildsafety.org To register for the event, go online to: http://www.texaschildsafety.org/
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Bowling For Blind Baseball

Once a year, I get the privilege of emceeing an annual Bowl-a-thon that benefits an Austin area beep baseball team, to raise money for them to travel to the sport's annual World Series. What is beep baseball? It's a modified version of baseball played by blind individuals. The ball has an electronic mechanism that beeps, and the cone-shaped foam bases emit a buzzing sound, allowing the runner to hear where the base is. The Bowl-a-thon is more than just a fundraiser, though. It's a chance for blind and sighted people to come together, bowl a couple of games, and just have fun. All proceeds go to the Austin Blackhawks, a team that has been in existence since 1986, and is the proud winner of several World Series championships. I happen to be a former player, although I haven't swung a bat in a game in over 20 years. The World Series of Beep Baseball is held each August in a different city, and the Blackhawks have been every year for as long as I can remember. This year's Bowl-a-thon will be held this Saturday, Feb. 12, at Highland Lanes, 8909 Burnet Rd. from 1 to 3. It's $15 per person, and you get to bowl two games. There are also door prizes given generously by numerous local businesses, and many merchants also sponsor a lane. The 2011 Beep Baseball World Series is coming up July 31-August 7 in Indianapolis. Watch this video to find out more about how the game is played: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNXqN_QVmpk
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Meals On Wheels Needs Your Help!

Things have certainly been interesting here in Central texas due to the extremely cold temperatures: frozen pipes, rolling blackouts, and such. My apartment complex is being affected by the rolling blackouts, but I barely managed to still have my morning coffee and fixed a quick hot breakfast before the power shut off again. However, especially in times like this, I realize not everyone is able to cook their own meal, particularly those who are ill and/or homebound. That's why I want to take a moment and pay tribute to the wonderful people at Meals On Wheels and More, thank them for their dedication during this cold snap, and to ask for your help on their behalf. The good news is that meal delivery for today will take place as usual. The agency will continue to make deliveries unless inclement weather or other emergency makes it dangerous or impossible to do so. However, many of their high-risk clients are in need of heaters and blankets, and the agency currently has none available. If you have extras of these items and you'd like to donate, Meals On Wheels and More would greatly appreciate it. You can drop them by their Central Kitchen Headquarters at 3227 East 5th Street in Austin. For business hours and other information, call 476-6325, or visit their website at: http://www.mealsonwheelsandmore.org/blog/article/mowam-open-today-seeking-blankets-and-heaters-for-clients/ Be safe, and stay warm!
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How To Make Money in 2011

I know a good number of people who are looking for jobs; some have been unemployed for quite a while. Though the economy is improving, it's doing so very slowly, and companies aren't hiring fast enough to bring the unemployment rate down significantly. If you are still employed, congratulations; you may have escaped, at least for now, the dreaded layoff frenzy that has put so many people out of work the past few years. But you want to keep that job, right? Here are some helpful tips from cnnmoney.com to do that. http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/111306/make-money-in-2011-your-job?mod=career-salary_negotiation
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What Gets Under Kim Kardashian's Skin?

In case you missed it, Kim Kardashian was interviewed on this morning's CBS "Early Show". Erica Hill talked with the popular reality TV star about her new book, her favorite laser hair removal process, and what really gets under her skin. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7133510n&tag=cbsnewsVideoArea.0
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Top 10 Toys For Small Children

So many toys. Which ones are appropriate? What's safe? Check out this great online resource for some ideas that are low-tech but creative, and educational. These are mainly for toddlers and preschoolers, but I found myself wishing I could play with some of these. http://www.bestchristmastoysonline.com/top-10-christmas-toys-2010-top-ten-christmas-toys-2010 For more Christmas toy ideas, you can also check out a recent blog from the Majic Morning Show's Alex O'Neal: http://blogs.majic.com/alexoneal/2010/11/16/must-have-toys-for-christmas-2010/
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See Spot Shake

You may not spend the majority of your day pondering such questions as, "why do dogs shake themselves after getting a bath"? But, just in case that question has always piqued your curiosity, maybe this video will clean up the mystery. http://news.yahoo.com/video/science-15749654/the-science-of-the-shake-22596980
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A Car That Drives Itself

You never know what Google is going to come up with next. Case in point: they have now introduced a RoboCar, a vehicle that can drive itself, and it's being tested in California. Ok, there is still someone in the car to make sure there isn't a catastrophe, but would you trust being on the same road with one of these babies? Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLFLA829KIU
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Get In On the Winning!

I don't know anyone who would turn down $100, $200, and especially $1000! Especially if all you have to do to earn it is listen to your favorite radio station (that would be us, right?) That's exactly what the Majic 95.5 Payroll Payoff is about. If you're a majic Loyal listener, you can enter for your chance to winn $100 an hour up to $1000. Each weekday between 9 Am and 5 Pm, we'll call out Loyal Listener Club Member names at the top of each hour. That person has 10 minutes to call in and be put on the clock for $100 an hour, up to $1000. If the person does not call within minutes, the contestant currently on the clock will stay on it for another hour, thus earning another $100. Come on, what have you got to lose? If you're not a Majic Loyal Listener Club member yet, join here: http://loyallistenerclub.majic.com/
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The American Idol Guessing Game

Ok, soFox isn't quite ready to reveal who will replace Simon Cowell and Ellen Degeners as judges on American Idol next season. But there are plenty of names being talked about, including Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. I say let the audience vote. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2010/08/03/2010-08-03_no_order_yet_in_idol_court_names_and_number_of_judges_still_uncertain.html
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A Successful Plastic Boat Ride

David de Rothschild, skipper of the boat Plastiki, sailed all the way from San Francisco to Sydney, Austrailia, a voyage that covered 8000 nautical miles over a four-month period. This doesn't sound particularly unusual, until you discover this was no ordinary boat: it was made almost entirely of plastic bottles, over 12,000 of them, to be exact! Rothschild wanted to increase awareness of the dangers of plastic waste, after reading a United Nations report that claimed plastic waste was posing a serious threat to the world's oceans. The 60-foot catamaran had to fight fierce Pacific storms, but docked in Sydney to the cheers of 100 people who gathered to see the unusual boat. Very clever, indeed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlBE9sf8--M
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A New Theory On Obesity

I'm filling in for Alex on Majic In the Morning for the next couple weeks, and Friday morning, I talked about an article that has another take on why there is increased problems with obesity in the U.S. A White House Task Force recently released a report citing a class of chemicals in our food called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDC's, that are making us fat. See the entire article here: http://www.newsweek.com/2009/09/10/born-to-be-big.html
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Someday, I'll Have An iPad

I finally got to put my hands on the new iPad today. John, our IT guy, was gracious enough to let me play with his. It sure is amazing what we can do through this constantly changing technological landscape. It even has the Voiceover program, the same one used on iPhones that helps blind people navigate the touch screen using speech. But, I've always been cautious about jumping up and buying something when it first comes out. Many of my reasons are summed up in the following article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31322_3-10443887-256.html Someday, one of those iPads will be mine. But not yet.
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Christmas Memories

As an adult, I still look forward to the Christmas holiday. But things change so much from childhood to when we're grown up. When I was a kid, I had very few responsibilities, I was carefree, and able to just enjoy the family gatherings, the food, and of course, believing Santa Claus was really the one who brought all the presents. My, how time flies, and how different things are! The pace of being a grownup just seems so much more hectic and stressful during the holidays than I remember. Now, merchants have Christmas decorations up before Halloween. Now, I have a job, and it's my responsibility to buy gifts as well as receive them. More than ever, I find myself reflecting on those cherished memories I had as a child, like the Christmas Day when i was about eight, and I awoke to find my first bike under the tree, something I didn't expect. I remember all those times I used to help put up the tree (we always had the real ones). I loved the smell of the pine needles, and feeling so proud of being a part of putting up the decorations. I also loved going Christmas caroling, especially to retirement and group homes, bringing holiday cheer to those who were lonely or less fortunate. I've had the pleasure of experiencing many of those same memories with my own kids. But as I've grown older, I've come to realize something even more important than all of those things. Yes, it's fun to open presents, eat good food, laugh and spend time with family and friends, and sing those wonderful Christmas songs. But to me, the real meaning of Christmas is that Jesus Christ was born, that he is our Savior, and he gave his life for all of us. That isn't just a memory for me; it's a belief that will live in my heart forever. On behalf of everyone at Majic 95.5, I wish you a very Merry Christmas! May it bring you much peace and joy.
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