Birthdays for Friday, Dec. 11

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to a pair of wonderful folks…


Karl Gude is a journalism instructor at Michigan State University. One of the better infographics brains in the known universe, Karl spent the better part of three decades as a graphics director for United Press International (1979-1985), the New York Daily News (1985-86), the National sports daily (1989-1991), the Associated Press (1986-1989 and 1991-1995) and Newsweek magazine (1999-2006). Find examples of Karl’s infographics work here and of his fine art work here. His series of instructional videos is especially notable: Check out this one on how to draw butts:

Because, after all, you never know when this type of assignment will come up.
Find Karl’s Twitter feed here.


Artie Apple is a maintenance foreman with CSX railroad in Augusta, Ga. A huge sports star for Long Cane Academy in McCormick, S.C. way back in the early 1990s, Artie played two years of college football and also was a heck of a motorcycle racer in his younger days. He also has two gorgeous daughters — neither of whom I can believe inherited any of our family genes. My theory: They’re both aliens from the planet Cute. My “baby” brother turns 43 today.

Karl and Artie share a birthday with actors Monique Imes (better known as Mo’Nique), Hailee Steinfeld, Terry Ann “Teri” Garr, Donna Jean Miller (better known as Donna Mills) and Ron Carey; musicians Jermaine LaJaune Jackson, Brenda Mae Tarpley (better known as Brenda Lee), Rosita Delores Alverío (better known as Rita Moreno) and David Gates (of Bread); heiress Christina Onassis; sports greats William Lee “Willie” McGinest Jr. (football) and Javier Pedro Saviola Fernández (soccer); writer Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn; physicist Max Born; radio host Bill Cunningham and politicians John Forbes Kerry, Thomas Emmet “Tom” Hayden and Fiorello Henry LaGuardia.

In addition, today is International Mountain Day and Official Lost and Found Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, you two! Have a terrific birthday today!

Birthdays for Thursday, Dec. 10

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to three wonderful visual journalists…


Phyllis Bailey is a wire editor for the Gannett Design Studio in Nashville, Tenn. A 1981 graduate of California State University, Long Beach, Phyllis spent four years as a reporter for the Des Moines (Iowa) Register and two years as a reporter and copy editor for the Times of Trenton, N.J. She became a copy editor on the metro desk of the Milwaukee Journal in 1989 and moved to the St. Petersburg Times in 1992. She left that paper after 19 years as a senior copy editor and designer and started work in Nashville in 2012. Find her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.


Matt Erickson is assistant editor for, part of USA Today’s sports media group. A 1997 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Matt immediately joined the the Times of Munster, Ind., and worked there for 13 years as a designer and, eventually, director of presentation and visuals. He spent time as a regional director for the Society for News Design and coordinated the SND annual contest in 2005. Matt left the Times in 2010 to strike out on his own as a freelance sportswriter specializing in coverage of Mixed Martial Arts. He spent a year or so working with and joined in 2012. He also sells prints of amazing urban landscape photos he’s been taking with a technique called High Dynamic Range. Find his gallery here and my write-ups of his photo work here and here. This year, he even sold a photo to be used on a book cover.


Find his Twitter feed here. Matt turns 40 today.


Tim Thorsen is senior editor at Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers of Stuart, Fla. A 1995 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Tim spent two years as a sports editor and designer for the Reporter-News of Abilene, Texas, before moving to Corpus Christi as assistant sports editor. In 2002, he moved to the Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., as a news designer. He slid over to sports copy editor and designer in 2004, became 1A editor in 2007 and was named night news editor in 2011. He moved to Florida in 2012. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Tim turns 42 today.

Phyllis, Matt and Tim share a birthday with actors Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman, Michael Clarke Duncan, Kenneth Charles Branagh, Susan Hallock Smith (better known as Susan Dey), George Young Newbern, Emmanuelle Sophie Anne Chriqui, Bobby Dan Blocker, Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton (better known as Dorothy Lamour); TV chef Robert William “Bobby” Flay; comedian Greg Giraldo; sports greats Matthew Garrett “Matt” Forté (football), Gonzalo Gerardo Higuaín (soccer) and Robert Bowlby Blake (hockey); poet Emily Elizabeth Dickenson, politician Rod R. Blagojevich and TV newsman Chester Robert “Chet” Huntley.

In addition, today is Human Rights Day, Jane Addams Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Nobel Prize Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, all! Have a truly great birthday today!

Birthday for Wednesday, Dec. 9

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to Ryan Tipps, editor of Smith Mountain Laker, a bimonthly magazine in Smith Mountain Lake, Va.


A 2000 graduate of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., Ryan spent four years with the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind., before moving to the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va. He moved on to the Roanoke Times in 2007, with his wife Gretchen Tipps, who also made the move from the Pilot to the Times. Ryan edited wire copy, metro copy and the travel page. He eventually became night news production team leader. He also writes and edits for, a web site devoted to Division III football. In 2014, Ryan earned a master’s degree in agriculture and life sciences from Virginia Tech University. He left newspapers earlier this year. He and Gretchen own Cherry Lane, a Certified Naturally Grown farm specializing in blackberries, sour plumbs and four types of garlic. Find Ryan’s Twitter feed here.

Ryan shares a birthday with actors John Gavin Malkovich, Felicity Kendall Huffman, Michael Dorn, Simon Maxwell Helberg, Lloyd Vernet “Beau” Bridges, Judith Olivia “Judy” Dench, Richard Vincent “Dick” Van Patten, Issur Danielovitch (better known as Kirk Douglas), Margaret Hamilton and Douglas Elton Fairbanks Jr.; musicians Marie-Josée Riel (better known as Emjay), Frank Edwin Wright III (better known as Tré Cool of Green Day), Neil James Innes, Kara Elizabeth DioGuardi, David Kersh, Jakob Luke Dylan and Donald Clark “Donny” Osmond; comedians John Elroy Sanford (better known as Redd Foxx) and Henry Zuckerman (better known as Buck Henry); talk-show host Sean Morton Downey Jr.; politicians Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill Jr. and Thomas Andrew “Tom” Daschele; sports greats Richard Marvin “Dick” Butkus, David D. “Deacon” Jones, David Roy Akers (all three football), Thomas Oliver Kite Jr. (golf), Kurt Steven Angle (wrestling) and McKayla Rose Maroney (gymnastics) and writers John Milton and Joel Chandler Harris.

In addition, today is Cremation Day, Weary Willie Day and International Anti-Corruption Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, Ryan! Have an excellent birthday today!

Birthdays for Tuesday, Dec. 8

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to three excellent visual journalists…


ArLuther Lee is a content strategist for Arlubic Design of Atlanta, Ga. A 1997 graduate of the University of Florida, ArLuther spent four years at the Fort Myers News-Press and then another two years at the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel before moving to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2003 as a designer and copy editor. He left newspapers earlier this year.


Therese Shechter is an award-winning filmmaker specializing in quirky, humor-tinged documentaries. She spent ten years as associate graphics editor and a features art director of the Chicago Tribune before leaving newspapers to go work for Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Productions in New York City. She’s now on her own as an independent filmmaker, having made I Was A Teenage Feminist and How I Learned to Speak Turkish. Her most recent projects both premiered in 2013: How to Lose Your Virginity and SlutWalkNYC. Learn more about the Trixie Films operation here. Find Therese’s design portfolio here. Find her Twitter feed here.


Woody Vondracek is a graphic artist in Youngsville, N.C. A former mechanic for Eastern Airlines, Woody spent several years at the Miami Herald and then the News & Observer of Raleigh. His big claim to fame, though, was as a poster artist during the art deco revival of Miami’s South Beach in the 1970s and 1980s. Find his web site — and order copies of his prints — here.

Arluther, Woody and Therese share a birthday with actors Teri Lynn Hatcher, Kimila Ann “Kim” Basinger, Wendell Pierce, Ian Joseph Somerhalder, John Arthur “David” Carradine, James Gordon MacArthur and Maximilian Schell; musicians James Douglas “Jim” Morrison, Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor, Onika Tanya Maraj (better known as Nicki Minaj), Corey Todd Taylor (of Slipknot), Gregory Lenoir “Gregg” Allman and Samuel George “Sammy” Davis Jr.; comedians Samuel Burl “Sam” Kinison and Clerow “Flip” Wilson Jr.; director Richard O. Fleischer; fitness guru Bob Greene; painter Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez (better known as Diego Rivera); sports greats Philip Rivers (football), Michael Cole Mussina, Vernon M. Wells III (both baseball), Dwight David Howard (basketball), Drew Doughty (hockey), Amir Khan (boxing) and Ryan Joseph Newman (auto racing); inventor Eli Whitney; political commentator Ann Hart Coulter, Popeye creator Elzie Crisler “E.C.” Segar and cartoonist/writer James Grover Thurber.

In addition, today is Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, folks! Have a wonderful birthday today!

Birthday for Monday, Dec. 7

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to Erica Howard, marketing and special events coordinator for Florida State University, Panama City.


A 2006 graduate of the University of Central Florida, Erica spent six years as a copy editor and page designer for the Panama City News Herald. When Freedom Communications sold the paper to Halifax in 2012, she became slot editor. She left the paper in 2013 to take her current position. Find her portfolio here. Erica turns 31 today.

Erica shares a birthday with actors Emily Jane Browning, Jeffrey Wright, Nicholas Caradoc Hoult, Edna Ray Gillooly (better known as Ellen Burstyn) and Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka (better known as Ted Knight); musicians Harry Foster Chapin, Thomas Alan “Tom” Waits, Dominic James Howard (of Muse), Aaron Charles Carter, Sara Beth Bareilles and Louis Prima; sports greats Larry Joe Bird (basketball), Terrell Eldorado Owens (football), Johnny Lee Bench, Constantino “Tino” Martinez, Yasiel Puig Valdés (all three baseball), John George Terry (soccer) and Luke Campbell Donald (golf); linguistics professor Avram Noam Chomsky; Sears co-founder Richard Warren Sears and Sweet ‘N Low inventor Benjamin Eisenstadt.

In addition to Pearl Harbor Day, today is National Cotton Candy Day and International Civil Aviation Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, Erica! Have a wonderful birthday today!