Menu

Comrades True

Cambodian Landmine Relief: An Update

July 13, 2020

Bill Morse '71, dressed in the fatigues worn by the demining teams of Cambodian Self-Help Demining (CSHD), an organization dedicated to finding and disarming landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs) in parts of Cambodia deemed "low priority" by the government's mine-clearing efforts. Photo courtesy of Landmine Relief Fund

William Morse ’71, dressed in the fatigues worn by the demining teams of Cambodian Self-Help Demining, an organization dedicated to finding and disarming landmines and unexploded ordnance in parts of Cambodia deemed “low priority” by the government’s mine-clearing efforts. Photo courtesy of Landmine Relief Fund

William “Bill” Morse ’71 gave up retirement in Palm Springs, California, and moved to Cambodia to clear landmines. Now the COVID-19 pandemic threatens his entire operation, which includes a school system and museum.

As of July 12, Cambodia had a total of 156 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. The Cambodian government took swift protective measures at the borders, including the requirement of a COVID-19 negative medical certificate for all foreign travelers entering Cambodia and a $3,000 deposit for testing and potential treatment services. If one or more travelers on an arriving flight or vessel tests positive for COVID-19, all passengers must quarantine for 14 days “at a location designated by Cambodian authorities,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia. If all travelers test negative, travelers have to self-isolate for 14 days at their homes or lodging.

“The tourist industry has collapsed,” said Morse, whose Landmine Museum and Relief Center has been closed since March. “And it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.”

Morse’s Landmine Relief Fundalso supports The Rural Schools Village Program. The organization’s schools are located in 20 villages and serve nearly 3,000 children.

The Cambodian Ministry of Education closed schools in March and announced this month that all schools will remain closed for the rest of the year. Though the Ministry of Education set up free online courses for students preparing for the national exams, as well as videos of classroom sessions available on TV and social media platforms, none of the schools in the Rural Schools Village Program are connected to the internet, Morse said.

Instead, teachers in the program are traveling to villages to teach small groups of kids.

Morse also started a small food distribution program in Siem Reap, a cultural center near popular temples, to help people who had relied on income from the tourism industry. In May Morse provided 30 tons of food, and another 30 tons the following month.

To help:

www.landmine-relief-fund.com

A documentary detailing Morse’s landmine removal efforts, Until They’re Gone, is available on Amazon Prime Video.

Coronanomics 101

April 21, 2020

Getty Images © djvstock

Getty Images © djvstock

I sit here coviding day after day with my circa 1978 hair missing my seasonal part-time jobs. There are no games or concerts to work. I’ve cleaned as much as I can clean. I’ve attended numerous Grey’s Anatomy cast reunions at Walmart. I have plenty of thoughts and plenty of time to think them.

A friend and former teaching colleague suggested I share some thoughts about the economics of this pandemic. I’ll take the approach I used with my classes with just a brief thought or two on basic concepts.

With an abundance of caution in these unprecedented and uncertain times, here’s my take on Coronanomics.

Let’s start with needs, wants and choices. Remember the classic dilemma about being stranded on a desert/deserted/desolate island? Well, let’s substitute facing being sheltered in place.

When you went to the store or stores, what went first? What were you willing to buy/eat/use?

Where did chocolate fall?

While you are isolating you’ve probably discovered parts of your home and things in it you haven’t seen in a while. Did you use the alone time to sort, discard or create a donate pile? What did you decide was a need?

Next, supply, demand, price (curves and shifts). What was instantly in high demand? Toilet paper and hand sanitizer became economic superstars. Beyond their obvious uses, they suddenly became commodities to trade for other items.

On the plus side, there is a surplus of gas leading to much lower prices. Good for us, bad for the producers.

What about elasticity? Was price even a consideration? How much were you willing to pay for certain things?

In an instant, our markets were in disequilibrium. Demand far outpaced supply. This has created temporary shortages on the shelves, not necessarily in the supply chain. It’s out there, they just need to catch up. Thank you, Capitalism!

And factors other than price? The vast number of sellers was a blessing. If one place was out, maybe another still had it. A loss of income weighed on purchase decisions. Can it wait? Do I really need it?

Our expectations also come into play. How much money do I have left? Will I be laid off? Should I rethink this socialism thing? (Just kidding!) How long will this last? How many rolls of toilet paper is enough?

The market always recovers, eventually.

Technology has also impacted the supply and demand curves. We are able to work remotely. Kids can learn online at home (Ahhh, teachers’ revenge!). Stores are still selling and fulfilling our needs and wants online.

And speaking of selling, you’ve seen a shift in advertising to more good will, “we’re here to help” kinds of messages. Our inboxes are full of emails from every place we’ve ever shopped telling us about measures they are taking to keep our money flowing to them while keeping everyone safe.

Let’s consider every company’s best friend — brand loyalty. How often did you shop at stores you’ve never been to before? There are some who never expected to be one of the “People of Walmart” until they ran out of Charmin. Did you buy substitutes for your favorite brands? Were they as good as your favorites?

The more desperate we become, the more likely we are to compromise.

Our circular flow has become a slow drip. It now includes dominoes and snowballs. Where do you fit in? Did you lose a job and income? Are you buying less goods and services? Is a small business going to be able to survive? What about the restaurants we go to on a typical workday? What does a loss of tax revenue mean for your community? Some businesses are actually accelerating hiring, like Amazon and grocery stores.

We are seeing irrational markets. For a variety of reasons, we are in panic mode thinking we have to buy everything now. This is a rare and severe market disruption. Businesses are being forced to shut down “in an abundance of caution.”

There is now in place a host of market interventions, the most extreme of which is the shutdown by the government. Businesses have responded by rationing so we can all be Charmin clean. Stores have adjusted hours to be able to restock and to allow senior citizens to shop. The government also outlaws price gouging of essentials during an emergency. We’ve all heard about HandSan Guy in Tennessee. Normally the market would work itself out. If someone voluntarily wanted to buy hand sanitizer for $80, we would let them (and laugh). Adam Smith’s invisible hand would have eventually smacked both of them.

Don’t forget your ethics and to lend a helping (and clean) hand.

This is as good a spot as any to mention ethics or the “Is it okay to…?” Is it okay to buy up essential goods during a state of emergency in hopes of making a profit? The pure free market capitalist would say, “Of course it is.” As a society we have said, “No.” Is it okay for an employer to dump their employees out onto the street during a crisis? I think we know the answer.

The production possibilities model has been transformed. The private sector has shifted from normal production to making masks and ventilators to address shortages. Distilleries are now making hand sanitizer.

We are witnessing the business cycle in overdrive. Not long ago we were at full employment and our economy was in great shape. Within a few weeks, we now look at potentially massive unemployment and a looming recession.

As unemployment increases, we are again faced with choices. Do I pay this bill? If you don’t, how does that impact the circular flow? I might now be willing to consider a job I once considered beneath me.

Monetary policy considerations: Lower interest rates? Quantitative easing? How much and for how long? Will it be coordinated with fiscal policy?

Fiscal policy considerations: Is a stimulus plan appropriate? How much? Who should get help? Should businesses be bailed out (again)? Can we afford it? Can we afford not to?

We are seeing wartime-like public/private partnerships in an effort to produce goods and to save lives. Thank you, Capitalism!

And while we’re on the subject, this is a sneak peek at socialism. The empty shelves and long lines should have gotten our attention. Venezuelans experience this on a regular basis. The shortages we are seeing are temporary. Our shelves will be restocked in a matter of days if not hours. Our needs will be met along with many of our wants. Thank you, Capitalism!

As of this writing, the stock market (there’s more than one) is down approximately 30 percent from its all-time highs earlier this year. Saving and investing involve understanding risk, reward, and opportunity. You’ve probably learned a great deal about your personal risk tolerance over these past few weeks. I understand it but I have a financial advisor to handle it.

Don’t panic. The market is unforgiving to those who do.

I don’t know when and by how much but I do know certain things. Invest early and often. The market has had more ups than downs historically. Bull markets last longer than bear markets. The market always comes back. It did after the Great Depression. It did after 9/11. It did in spectacular fashion after the Great Recession. It will again, eventually. Buy low, sell high.

This wouldn’t be complete without a word about globalization and international trade. We have become globally interdependent and are now seeing the ugly side of it. We have known for decades about the substandard food safety and health practices and standards in China. We’ve gambled with risk/reward for a long time. Is it time for us to rethink our dependence on this market? Take a look around your house (you’re not going anywhere) and see how many items have “Made in China” on the label. Maybe we should practice social and economic distancing.

I’m optimistic. We will survive the virus. We will survive the Great Hoard of 2020.

Robert Jacobs is the author of My Thoughts, Exactly (independently published, 2019).

Defeat of Baylor

March 3, 2020

On a day for fate, Acropolis opened its whirly gate
Then out of the fog, emerged the mighty purple frog
Sending its seers, prophets of magic starling the years
Their words of justice would soon be what blessed us
Thus rang out a clarion call, “twas a day for Baylor to Fall.”
Atavars smile, angels ascend, “tyranny now: sure to end.”
Hence came of what belies, a piddling half of no surprise!
The demons gave praise of rankings from recent days
Memories leapt from furtive zeal, giant frogs became real!
Thus therein foggy fog, Green people were lost in a bog
Dunks, defense and deadly threes, knocked bears upon their knees!
No Mason at hand, the court belonged to the Dixon band
As Drew fell in sorrowful weeping, Frogs upheld to upset keeping.
Be ye of wisdom and charm, These are days for Worth’en storm!

— Jim Stovall ’65 (BDiv ’68)

TCU's victory against Baylor on Feb. 29, 2020, marked the Frogs' highest ranked home win in school history. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Gregg Ellman

TCU’s victory against No. 2 Baylor on Feb. 29, 2020, marked the Frogs’ highest ranked home win in school history. Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Gregg Ellman

More Than a Number

April 5, 2018

Thomas “Tommy” Sharp ’88 (MBA ’89) and senior linebacker Tyler “Ty” Summers ’17 have a few things in common. For starters, they both wore jersey number 42 as TCU football players.

In 2014, Sharp was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Throughout his battle, Sharp remains a loyal Horned Frog fan and attends many athletic events.

Last fall, TCU Football Coach Gary Patterson surprised Sharp with a signed #42 jersey.

“We both laughed at how much the jerseys have changed,” said teammate and longtime friend William “Bill” Tommaney ’88 (MS ’91).

In addition to the TCU jersey number, Sharp and Ty Summers wore the same number in high school– 11. From there, the list of commonalities grows: Ty Summers’ father Jerrod Summers and Sharp went to the same high school in Alvin, Texas. Jerrod Summers was a quarterback in the ’80s and Sharp was a defensive back. They’re even recognized as Alvin High School All-Decade Team of 1980. Jerrod Summers and Sharp both have sons named Tyler.

The Sharp and Summers families shared memories in December 2017. Tommy Sharp (center) posed for a photo with son Bryce, wife Marie, daughter Megan, Ty Summers and his parents Jerrod and Kelly. Photo courtesy of Billy Tommaney.

The Sharp and Summers families shared memories in December 2017. Tommy Sharp (center) posed for a photo with son Bryce, wife Marie and the Summers family: Faith, Ty, Jerrod and Kelly Summers. Photo courtesy of Bill Tommaney

Sharp went on to be part of TCU Football Coach Jim Wacker’s first recruiting class in 1983. Football wasn’t Sharp’s only priority; he married Marie in 1984. Sharp nearly quit football after the birth of their daughter Megan, but with Marie’s encouragement, he continued to play and even clocked more game time.

Tommy Sharp (center) shows off his #42 jersey with longtime friend Billy Tommaney and TCU linebacker Ty Summers. Photo courtesy of Billy Tommaney.

Tommy Sharp (center) shows off his #42 jersey with longtime friend Billy Tommaney and TCU linebacker Ty Summers. Photo courtesy of Bill Tommaney

While attending the Valero Alamo Bowl in December 2017, Sharp and Jerrod Summers reunited. Later, Sharp and Ty Summers met each other in person for the first time.

“It was great hearing Tommy and Ty share stories of the bowl game, playing for Coach P and other football-related topics,” Tommaney said.

Ty Summers also signed the jersey Patterson gave Sharp at the start of the season.

“TCU is a special place,” Tommaney said. “This story illustrates the bond we share as players no matter what the age. It shows the love we all have for TCU, the friendships, the memories and, most importantly, the brotherhood of TCU Football.”

An online fundraiser in honor of Sharp can be found here.

Frogs at the 2018 Olympics

March 8, 2018

Terry Smith ’02, producer for U.S. Army & Air Force Exchange Service, traveled to Pyeongchang, South Korea, to cover the soldier-athletes of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program as they competed in the 2018 Olympics. Smith and his team followed the story of the athletes since their training and world competitions in Lake Placid, New York, in 2017. Three luge and three bobsled athletes were accepted to Team USA and competed, representing the U.S. Army and the United States.

Smith said the athletes also represented “every soldier that helped put them there.”

Terry Smith '02, traveled with a camera crew to Pyeong Chang, South Korea, to see U.S. Army athletes compete. Smith stands in front of the main press center building and Olympic rings. Photo courtesy of Terry Smith.Terry Smith '02, traveled with a camera crew to Pyeong Chang, South Korea, to see U.S. Army athletes compete. Smith stands in front of the main press center building and Olympic rings. Photo courtesy of Terry Smith.

Photo courtesy of Terry Smith

South Korea’s winter was an obstacle for the crew, but the experienced alumnus got the job done. “The shoots proved challenging with 11 degree temperatures and snow,” Smith said. “Equipment froze up in the bitter cold and batteries died, but [the crew] came back with some remarkable interviews and competition footage from the week.

“Unfortunately, the six Olympians came close, but did not medal, but the experience was well worth the trip.”

Smith said he hopes to travel to Tokyo in 2020 to cover the U.S. WCAP Athletes as they compete in the Summer Olympics.

See Smith’s Olympics videos on the Army & Air Force Exchange Service YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Olympic Congratulations

Congratulations to the Soldiers and Airmen competing in the 2018 #WinterOlympics on #TeamUSA, representing U.S. Army and United States Air Force and U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program- WCAP! Continue following the journey of other military Olympians by streaming the games through from shopmyexchange.com. This benefit is provided to service members, retirees and family members plus all honorably discharged Veterans by Comcast NBCUniversal, in partnership with local cable, satellite, dMVPD and Telco providers. Visit shopmyexchange.com for details.

Posted by Exchange on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

_______________________

Laura Carmichael Bozeman ’92, stationed in South Korea with the U.S. Army, went to the Olympics to see the sport she loves and represent TCU.

“When I found out that I would be here during the Winter Olympics, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend at least one day of the games,” Bozeman said. She is the equal opportunity program manager for the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Red Cloud, South Korea.

Photos courtesy of Laura Bozeman

She chose the men’s figure skating finals because of her connection with ice skating. Bozeman grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, home of the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

“I have wonderful memories of watching Scott Hamilton skate in his Olympic days,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed watching figure skating competitions.”

Bozeman also attended a men’s curing round robin and one of the short track speed skating finals. She made sure she wore her TCU purple.

“This year’s Olympics organizers chose purple and white as the theme colors, and I wore TCU’s colors proudly to the event,” she said. “It was an amazing experience!”

Alumnus Travels through Southeast Asia

November 29, 2017

Glynn Thompson '78 hiking in Southeast Asia. Photo courtesy of Glynn Thompson

Glynn Thompson ’78 hiking in Southeast Asia. Photo courtesy of Glynn Thompson

Glynn Thompson ’78 trekked across Southeast Asia and “talked up the great programs at TCU.” His latest ventures brought him to Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

“High elevations to support a high flying university,” Thompson wrote in an email. “Grateful for my time at TCU – and even at 62, still desire to explore and learn more from others. Thanks, TCU.”

TCU–UT Game Brings Back Memories for Couple

November 9, 2017

The November 21, 1967 edition of The Skiff courtesy of TCU Archives

The November 21, 1967 edition of The Skiff courtesy of TCU Archives

Memories from 50 years: The 1967 TCU-UT football game, a purple dress and a poem.

Elizabeth Lee Smith ’70 was a sophomore at TCU when she met Michael D. Smith, a senior at the University of Texas. It was 1967.

Michael invited Elizabeth to Austin for the TCU-UT football game that November.

“I wore my favorite purple dress, not realizing that our tickets would be in the middle of the UT student section of the stadium,” Elizabeth wrote in an email to TCU Magazine.

TCU won the game 24-17. The Horned Frogs wouldn’t see another victory over the Longhorns until 1992. TCU wouldn’t defeat UT in Austin until 2012 when TCU joined the Big 12 and the series resumed.

In 1996, nearly 30 years later, Michael wrote a poem to remember the game and Elizabeth’s purple dress. They celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary this year.

 

That Purple Dress

(for Elizabeth, September 9, 1996)

 

There we were

practically strangers

 

together in a sea of orange

and ‘horns’ –

you in that purple dress.

 

Darrell was still coach,

what could go wrong?

 

On their own four,

simple handoff,

straight into the line.

 

It was a magic act:

Chris Gilbert rematerialized

in front of the linebacker,

only the two of them

alone in the world –

the poor linebacker

a mere traffic cone.

 

Ninety-six yards,

six points,

‘immortality.’

 

Is it possible:

4 first downs, 17 points?

TCU 24 Texas 17?

 

It is possible 29 years later

to remember

how sweet she was,

how pretty,

in that purple dress.

 

 – Michael D. Smith

 

1994 grad’s film takes on poverty, gang life

January 25, 2016

Arturo1Today is a big day for actor and film producer Arturo Muyshondt ’94. His new film “The Pastor” debuts at 400 theaters nationwide, including two in Fort Worth — Ridgmar 13 and Hulen Movie Tavern — and four in Dallas.

The film is billed as “a gritty, strong-messaged, gang thriller,” and it has personal meaning for Muyshondt, who grew up amid a violent civil war in El Salvador. He also conducted much of his research for the film in United States cities with gang activity and jails in the U.S. and Central America.

The movie draws from his own life. Muyshondt plays the title character who is a former gang leader in Brooklyn who survives a knife attack in prison and then discovers his faith in God while in solitary confinement. Upon his release, he becomes a pastor, finding his true purpose, and seeks to serve underprivileged youth of the community to steer them away from the gang life he once led.

Turf wars ignite between two prominent gangs, and the new-found pastor finds himself and his growing community targets. Will he maintain his faith or turn back to the cold-blooded killer he once was.

“The film and my character have taken a life of its own as they relate to my personal story,” said Muyshondt, who also wrote and produced the film.

He’s also a global spokesman. Earlier this month, the United Nations invited him to speak at its conference on Poverty, Inequality and Social Violence. Afterward, he showed the film to audiences in his native El Salvador.

Muyshondt’s interest in acting and filmmaking dates back as far as 12 years old, when he created short films in El Salvador.

But it wasn’t until 2003 when he really tried his hand at acting after a successful but tiring career as an investment banker in Miami, where he worked for Dresdner Bank AG, a German financial conglomerate. After advising governments, banks and corporations in Latin America and structuring investment products for wealthy clients, he wanted something new and began acting training at Coconut Grove Playhouse.

By 2007, he launched his own production company WolfGang Cinema and went to Los Angeles to intensify his new career at The Joanne Baron Studio. His goal: Establish himself as a leading Hispanic producer in Hollywood.

Today, Muyshondt has turned WGC into a cross-cultural enterprise, producing films that focus on a multicultural audience.

Hiking the Pacific Coast Trail

October 20, 2015

Hike

TCU alums Bradley Lovell ’10 and David Smart ’13 were reppin’ the Horned Frogs this week at the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. The 2,658-mile route follows a continuous hiking trail from the California-Mexico border to the Washington-Canada border. “It took us nearly six months,” Smart wrote us just three days after completing the journey. “We started the journey on April 23 and completed on October 17. We’re so glad we had the opportunity to represent such an amazing school!” Smart and Lovell are graduates of the Neeley School of Business and hail from Dallas.

TCU spirit at L.D. Bell High School

September 15, 2015

Bell-faculty2This week for College Colors Day, Teresa Baker ’87 and her fellow Horned Frog alums at L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, Texas, proudly showed their school spirit.

Baker is in her 8th year as a counselor at Bell after teaching English for 20 years. She is one of six TCU graduates spanning three generations in her family.

“We like to say we’ve been through the good, the bad and the ugly, and it’s nice to be around for the awesome,” she wrote us.

At Bell, TCU alums are a strong and loyal following and enjoy sharing the excitement of football season, Baker said.

In an effort to promote the school’s annual college fair and to generate excitement for preparing for college in general, Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district sponsors a College Colors Day when employees are encouraged to wear college gear from their alma maters.

“I thought it would be fun to get a picture to the magazine. I’m pretty sure the alumni from the different universities were jealous,” she wrote.

Bell High School faculty wearing TCU gear included (top row, left to right): Eric Oglesby ’83, Kathleen (Chapman) Chase ’97, Louis (Harris) Woodruff ’82, Natalie (Rodriguez) Caruso ’06, Lee (Anderson) McGuire ’71, Sandra Honc ’85.  Bottom row left to right:  Holly (Lewis) Gregg ’02, Teresa Baker ’87, Amy (Lester) Stach ’95, Bobbi (Brack) Choe ’07.