E.E. Cummings

March 28, 2013

Popular American poet, author, playwright, and painter E.E. Cummings remains an iconic literary voice of the 20th century. Born Edward Estlin Cummings, E.E. Cummings lived from 1894 until 1962. In addition to approximately 2,900 poems, Cummings’ vast body of work also boasts four plays, two autobiographical novels, a number of essays, and assorted drawings and paintings. E.E. Cummings is known for a writing style that often eschews traditional rules of capitalization and punctuation.

E.E. Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cummings’ father presided as Professor of Sociology and Political Science at Harvard University before transitioning to the role of Unitarian minister. A relatively nontraditional woman, Cummings’ mother regularly read poetry to her children and encouraged Cummings to write daily. In addition to gifting him with an excellent education, Cummings’ parents continued to encourage him throughout their lives.

As an undergraduate, E.E. Cummings attended Harvard University. Cummings earned a BA through Harvard in 1915, graduating magna cum laude. Cummings remained at the Massachusetts school for an additional year and at the end acquired his Masters degree in English and Classical Studies and also discovered the works of writers like Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. Upon graduation, Cummings delivered a notorious commencement speech entitled The New Art. E.E. Cummings then served in the military during the First World War. While active in the army, Cummings was stationed in Paris and it was during this period that Cummings first fell in love with the city where he would return many times throughout his life. During the war, E.E. Cummings suffered political and legal problems for his anti-war perspective.

E.E. Cummings composed his first poem at the age of three and produced a prolific body of work throughout his life. In recognition of his tremendous contributions to literature, E.E. Cummings garnered numerous prestigious awards, among them Cummings was honored with the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and Harvard University’s Charles Eliot Norton Professorship to name a few. In the vein of his poetic tendencies, E.E. Cummings was sometimes given to signing his own name without capitals. However, Cummings’ tendency to use the two versions interchangeably has been thought to show the lower case version indicative of an act of humility rather than a stylistic reference.


Videos About the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

February 7, 2013

by Refel Rushing

I am a proud supporter of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, one of the premier cancer treatment and research facilities in the world. I contribute funds the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center on behalf of myself, my friends, and my family on an ongoing basis, and I wanted to take a few moments to share a little bit about the Center’s activities.

The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center treated over 96,000 individuals in 2009. Of those, over 11,000 took part in clinical trials or alternative therapies that have helped to develop new cancer treatments. The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has ranked number 1 in the nation for cancer care in 6 of the last 10 years, according to U.S. News and World Report. In addition, last year the institution provided over $260 million in charity care to Texans suffering from cancer.

The following video shows M.D. Anderson’s dedication to comprehensive patient care. The institution regularly brings in musical acts to perform for patients, and this video is a retrospective of a St. Patrick’s Day concert given in 2009:

Entertainment for Patients and Caregivers at M. D. Anderson Rotary House

As I mentioned above, a good number of the patients at M.D. Anderson participate in alternative or experimental treatments. The following video talks about the institution’s “laughter yoga” program, which has proven useful in helping patients cope with a cancer diagnosis:

Finally, here’s an interview with the President of M.D. Anderson, Dr. John Mendelsohn. Conducted in February 2009, this interview touches on the history of the institution, its research, and why patients come from around the world to receive treatment here:


Texas State University: A History of Growth and Success

December 13, 2012

By Refel Rushing

Texas State University – San Marcos, formerly Texas State University, ranks among the top 50 colleges in the Western United States and 12th among public universities in the west according to US News & World Report. Also recognized for producing two Fulbright fellows in the 2009-2010 school year, Texas State holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It also served as the alma mater of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Higher Education Act of 1965 at the school.

Founded in 1899 as Southwest Texas State Normal School, Texas State began with just 11 acres of land, a grant for $25,000, 17 employees, and 303 students in its first class in 1903. Originally, the school focused primarily on creating future teachers, Texas State underwent a number of name changes, and it eventually created the Round Rock Higher Education Center in association with Westwood High School to provide expanded education and business administration classes.

Today, Texas State offers roughly 200 degrees, ranging from Bachelor’s to doctoral degrees. It supports more than 34,000 students on a 457-acre campus. Welcoming students from around the United States and the world, the university emphasizes integrity, honesty, compassion, respect, and fairness, as well as open communication. Boasting a long history of traditions, the school’s mascot is the Bobcat and its colors are maroon and gold, representing the colors of the gaillardia flower.

Texas State University’s Business School Offers Opportunity for Students, by Refel “Ralph” Rushing

November 27, 2012

The McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State University, a learning community centered on students, is dedicated to the sharing of knowledge, skills, and values. These important qualities allow students to take on responsibility and embrace success in a global business environment.

With an enrollment of approximately 450 graduate students and 3,200 undergraduate students, the McCoy College of Business Administration has 90 qualified full-time instructors on board to teach and mentor students.

The school offers a Bachelor of Business Administration and master’s degrees in business administration and accountancy. All programs are accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

Refel “Ralph” Rushing was President and CEO of LoanSTAR Funding Group, a diversified finance company. The organization helps students and families with education loans as well as other financial services. Rushing was born in Harlingen, Texas, and received a BBA and MBA from the McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State University.

E. E. Cummings: The Life of One of America’s Premier Poets

December 12, 2011

By Refel Rushing

Born in 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Edward Estlin Cummings was raised as a Unitarian, and he maintained a relationship with God throughout his life. His passion for poetry began early, and he began writing at age eight. After attending Harvard University, E. E. Cummings worked at a bookstore and subsequently joined the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps when World War I began. During this experience, he developed an admiration for Paris.

However, he was also arrested during this time under suspicion of espionage, because he expressed his lack of support for the war in letters back home to the United States; this event influenced his autobiographical novel, The Enormous Room, which was published in 1922. Upon returning to the US, Cummings had a child, Nancy, with a friend’s wife, Elaine Orr, and was drafted into the army. He returned to the US from France for the second time in 1921 and began publishing poetry. He married Orr in 1924, they divorced nine months after, and she kept him from seeing his daughter for more than two decades.

Several years later, his father was killed when a train collided with his car, causing Cummings to reevaluate and refocus his poetry on more serious subjects. Throughout the following decades, Cummings traveled throughout Europe. In 1929, he married Anne Barton, and they stayed together for three years, after which he met Marion Morehouse; he remained with her indefinitely. In his later life, Cummings became a speaker and lectured at Harvard. He died in 1962 at the age of 68 from a stroke.

Throughout his life, Cummings earned numerous recognitions, including two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Boston Arts Festival Award, and a fellowship with the American Academy of Poets. A primarily avant-garde poet and writer, some of his notable works include Tulips & Chimneys and No Thanks. In addition to creating poetry, E. E. Cummings also wrote plays, books, and short prose, and painted.

The Music Project: How to Self-Publish Without a Label

October 18, 2011

By Refel Rushing

It is a good time in history to be creative. Not too long ago, getting your writing or music published was a difficult process that involved finding a label or publisher to accept the work and vouch for it. Many very talented people have never been able to publish their work, or have had to wait decades because they did not know the right person, or because the timing was simply off.

Self-publication by no means guarantees success, but being able get their work out there in the first place has allowed many creative individuals to get the credit that they deserve. Though there are many ways to get your music self-published, these are some of the most basic steps.

It is a good idea to start out by joining ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) or BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.). Both of these companies can provide you with an easy way to set up licensing rights and receive future royalties from those who may use your music. You will probably also want to acquire a DBA license; although some sources indicate the need to become incorporated, this is rarely necessary, especially this early in the process.

After the legal requirements have been taken care of, the next step is of course creating your music, if you have not already. There are studios all over the world that are available on a rental basis. Thanks to advancing technology, it is not uncommon for budding musicians to create a makeshift studio in their home and record music there.

Once you have acquired the pertinent licenses, created your music, and made an appropriate number of copies of your record, then it is time to promote yourself. You have to be a good self-promoter if you intend to make money off any type of self-published work. Be ready to upload your music to sites like YouTube and seek out a fan base through social media websites. The more you can get your name out there, the better.

Getting published today is easier than ever before. The negative side of this is that there is far more competition. The positive side, however, is that you have an opportunity to promote yourself and present your talent to an unlimited number of fans on a daily basis. This is just one more way that the Internet has broadened our horizons.

Refel Rushing is currently in the process of recording his first music CD. Refel Rushing was born and raised in the South. He lives on a ranch in Texas, where he is also completing a do-it-yourself building project.

Living “Off the Grid” By Ralph Rushing

December 30, 2010

On my ranch, a weekend retreat of sorts, I rest and relax while overseeing my cattle operation. When not busy at my desk, I work on the construction of a new rustic cabin. A number of the tasks I perform without commercial energy, as I like to live completely “off the grid,” totally self-sufficient, without relying on public utilities.

A battery/solar panel system provides the electricity, with a propane generator automatically starting and charging the batteries when the sun does not shine enough to keep them fully charged. Operating this system costs a fraction of the cost for conventional utilities. Heating comes from a wood-burning stove and fireplace. Water, collected from a rain-catch water system and natural seepage from underground water sources, goes into an underground cistern and then a large holding tank adjacent to the cabin via a deep-well solar pump. The cook stove, refrigerator, and hot-water heater all use propane and function as well as electric appliances. By following a few basic tips, anyone can live this innovative lifestyle.

First, test the water on your land and consult with local officials and laboratories about the results. Clean water remains a primary concern in the wilderness, where no access to pre-established plumbing exists. Learn the basics of home water-treatment and the devices that make water treatment possible. Understand how a home water-system functions, even if you create one with the help of professionals.

When living off the grid, knowledge becomes your best friend. You must intimately acquaint yourself with Mother Nature. In addition, estimate your energy consumption as accurately as possible and adopt a system that will furnish an adequate amount. If water runs nearby, look into hydroelectric systems. Otherwise, wind turbines harness a great deal of energy, and many households function off solar panels alone. Plan and prepare.

With enough forethought, anyone can live off the grid with the same amenities that others enjoy. For a more in-depth view of off-the-grid living, check out the following video:

Refel Rushing on Future Farmers of America

November 18, 2010

by Refel Rushing

I spent a good part of my career helping students across the United States gain access to education, through LoanSTAR Funding Group. Since retiring from LoanSTAR several years ago, I have dedicated myself to cattle ranching and philanthropic activities. By contributing to Future Farmers of America, I am able to do both at the same time. Below is a description of Future Farmers of America and what the organization does. Founded in 1928 by a coalition of young farmers, Future Farmers of America (FFA) helps to prepare the next generation for the agricultural industry. FFA provides agricultural education, encourages the sustainable use of the country’s natural resources, and helps individuals to achieve the technical and interpersonal skills necessary to create a successful career in agriculture. In addition to representing young farmers and ranchers, FFA supports biologists, chemists, veterinarians, entrepreneurs, engineers, and the host of other professionals working to produce the food that Americans eat. FFA runs a number of programs designed to address virtually every aspect of agricultural education. FFA maintains outreach programs for school-aged children, helping them to understand where their food comes from. For older students, FFA provides information on agricultural industry careers and food science. At the collegiate level, FFA creates opportunities for professional development through a network of local campus chapters. Members have access to job opportunities, a career expo, and internships at some of the most important agricultural businesses in the United States. In addition, FFA offers numerous grants and scholarships. Committed to ensuring that American agriculture remains the best in the world, Future Farmers of America also runs a number of global programs. Through these exchanges, students and teachers develop a perspective on how agriculture is conducted in other parts of the world. Below is a video produced by FFA on their Learners to Leaders program. You can find many more FFA videos on their SchoolTube.com channel.