Aug 14

Larry Langford will miss the World Games

I’m in the slow and frustrating process of trying to add a few more miles back into my typical bike ride. I probably complain about this all of the time: this or that doesn’t allow for as much time in the saddle as I’d like.

Life is really hard, right?

This spring and summer my time has been split between triathlon training and travel and other worthwhile pursuits, but that takes its own sort of toll on a guy with already shaky form. So it was that I set out today to add a few more miles than the small amount of miles I’ve been doing recently. And I cracked nicely, right about here:


A friend, and fellow rider, sent me this article and suggested I not worry about it so much.

“I would distinguish ‘easy’ from ‘slow.’ Easy doesn’t mean always going slow, but going at a pace that’s comfortable.”

Indeed, what I consider slow is twice as fast as my girlfriend would go—whereas Fabian Cancellara, out for a casual spin, would drop me as if I were doing a track stand. Novices and unenlightened amateurs see good riders going fast without realizing they might also be going easy—hence the perception that you must ride strenuously to be good.

“Quality training is when you go fast compared to the effort you feel like you’re making,” Saifer explained to me. “If it feels mellow but you’re actually going pretty quick, that’s great. But if you start out hammering, and then you find you’re tired for the rest of the ride, it’s not benefiting you. Those are junk miles.”

Junk miles was what I found today, there was a great deal of hanging on, and hoping the county had flattened a few of the hills I’d chosen for myself.

They had not.

But, I told myself, the next time I add five more miles to the total, it won’t be as bad as this. We’ll see.

Things to read … because reading helps us all see. We’ll start with the journalism stuff.

Attacked on the job: A Post-Dispatch photographer’s tale

The growing pay gap between journalism and public relations

Over 4,000 BuzzFeed Posts Have Completely Disappeared

Teaching the Digital Media Revolution Without Disregarding the Past

It’s a true fact!!! People who edit things no longer neeeded

That last one I’m passing out in class this fall.

I’m pretty sure there’s no way we make it to a point where the next revelation in this huge story is a good revelation. It all just seems more shameful at every unfortunate turn. Local VA finds another 1,146 unread patient images:

A review of the imaging system at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System prompted by 900 lost X-rays revealed there were an additional 1,146 unread patient exams going back to 2011.

According to a statement from CAVHCS, they conducted a “broader review” of the imaging system but didn’t specify what the review involved. CAVHCS generated a report dating back to 2001, when the imaging software was installed, and didn’t find any unread exams from before 2009.

Birmingham one of three to submit bid for 2021 World Games:

The Magic City has submitted a bid to host the eleventh edition of the World Games in 2021.

Birmingham had until the end of July to place a bid to host the games and it was announced Monday that the city made the cut for the final three bidding municipalities. The games will feature more than 30 sports like Tug of War, Sumo and Water Ski, according to a release.

Not quite the Olympics that former mayor (and current guest of the federal prison in Ashland, Kentucky — until 2023) Larry Langford had hoped for, but it is something.

Childhood cancer survivors going to Rangers vs Rays baseball game:

That picture was in the June 8 edition of The Birmingham News and caught the eye of Susannah Higgins Moreland. Moreland read about the boys’ mothers meeting in a waiting room at Children’s of Alabama when the boys were toddlers and diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia).

According to Children’s of Alabama, every year 150 Alabama children are diagnosed with cancer.

“It’s a life-changing diagnosis that is devastating to the family and is the first step of a grueling treatment journey,” said Kathy Bowers with Children’s of Alabama.

During that journey, the boys grew to become close friends and each others biggest fans on the baseball diamond.

Some recovery. Study: New jobs pay 23% less than those lost during the Great Recession:

The results sync with those of the National Employment Law Project which finds that during the recovery (measured from February 2010 to February 2014), employment gains have been concentrated in lower-wage industries.

This is an amazing feature, just over a decade old, on Robin Williams, the cyclist. Robin Williams: “I’m Lucky to Have Bikes in My Life”:

He also admires how the racers mirror his own go-for-broke style. “These guys spend everything they have, day after day,” he says. A typical Williams stand-up performance is nearly 2 hours long, and reviews of last summer’s comedy tour universally marveled at the entertainer’s exhaustive drive. Biking, Williams, says, helps sustain that drive. The sport became especially important to him as a substitute for a darker passion; in the 1980s, just before seriously taking up the sport, Williams struggled with a well-publicized drug habit.

An important angle to the sad Williams story. Suicide contagion and social media: The dangers of sharing ‘Genie, you’re free’:

More than 270,000 people have shared the tweet, which means that, per the analytics site Topsy, as many as 69 million people have seen it.

The problem? It violates well-established public health standards for how we talk about suicide.

That’s the first place I’ve seen this mentioned. It should be discussed more.

Aug 14

Nanu nanu

“Robin Williams can be yours for a mere $1.99.”

One of his first credits was Laugh-In, 1977. This was how America met him:

That’s a collection of clips from the re-launched Laugh-In. No one really knew who he was, but he quickly became the standout performer.

Mork & Mindy, though, was where he began to show his real spirit:

Then you consider his filmography. They aren’t all classics, but they make an impressive, impressive body of work. (At one point tonight, eight of the nine trending items on Twitter were related to his filmography.) And, to think, there was a time when people thought he couldn’t do dramatic works.

Things to read … that can be dramatic or sublime.

I could just begin and end with #AskJameis.

Someone in Tallahassee thought this was a good idea. No one in Tallahassee was able to change their mind.

And now for some links on journalism topics:

Times-Picayune returns to five print days (for now)

Another day at Local 10, another act of stupidity

Publishers try crazy idea: fewer ads, higher pricing

BuzzFeed Raises $50 Million for Expansion, Motion Picture Division

50 Million New Reasons BuzzFeed Wants to Take Its Content Far Beyond Lists

White House provides non-response, response to letter opposing excessive PIO controls (Where has SPJ been?)

Despite generous-sounding records law, public documents often hard to get in Alabama

How Dan Snyder Bought Off The D.C. Media

Let’s talk about that one. No one in D.C. seems to like Dan Snyder. Maybe it is mutual. If he couldn’t shut them down he’s taken plenty of steps to slowly things over. He’s been so successful that the owner of the NFL franchise has become the gatekeeper about the NFL franchise.

This is opportunistic and brilliant, from his point of view. In any other context, it would be reckless. (But this is football! What could go wrong?) It is the logical extension of brand journalism, native advertising, marketing and going around the media to talk to your audiences. Those of us in the particular audience will have to trust that the content is being created and distributed in good faith. (Some will be better than others.) And we’ll get to point out when we think it isn’t. (Some will be better than others.) It all makes for some interesting credibility issues.

What Happened to the Cord Cutters?:

Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV and the Internet at large are supposed to kill off pay TV … someday. But right now, pay TV seems like it is doing okay: Cord-cutting, which was supposed to accelerate with help from tech disrupters, looks like it may be slowing down.

New data from analysts MoffettNathanson shows that the pay-TV business lost about 300,000 subscribers in Q2. But that’s basically flat compared to a year ago, and that’s a change from the year-on-year declines of the previous few quarters.

I heard this same stance from several newspaper executives in the last 15 years. “We’re slowing down less!”

As for the answer to the question offered in the title: the early adopters have all done it. Others will come, in slower waves. Finally, the rest of us will go when there are answers for the programming that is important to them, like sports.

Quick reads:

The creator of Godwin’s Law on the inevitability of online Nazi analogies and the ‘right to be forgotten’

Remember The Titans Is A Lie, And This Man Still Wants You To Know It

American startup rates are declining: Brookings Institution study

Grand National to host PGA Tour event in July

Finally, my favorite video of the day:

Aug 14

Catching up

The post with extra pictures returns to the place that needs them most, the Sunday space on this sleepy little site. Let’s get on with it, then.

Sometimes you just have to go to the big box stores. My second cousin needed a toy and candy and I needed to have some keys duplicated. Somewhere in all that I found a Spiderman mask. Why wouldn’t you take that opportunity?


These aren’t, by any means, the largest elephant ears my grandmother has ever grown, but they are pretty.


She’s growing things that she says are from Africa on her porch right now, huge plants that are probably trees that are threatening to overtake the place. And then she tells me she can’t grow anything, that it was really her mother that had the green thumb. A lifetime of evidence to the contrary.

Listened to this on the drive home on the 1940s channel. I’ll take it as a sign of good radio programming. Also, there are no vocals in this song:


Hodges Chapel, on the Samford University campus. I shoot this building a lot, I know, but it is on the way to my building. Also, see the crane in the background? That’s working on the construction site for the new business building, which everyone is excited to see completed:


Allie is enjoying her afternoon nap, or she would be if only I would stop disturbing her for pictures:


Aug 14

Nixon on the subway

I was raised in a suburban and exurban lifestyle. It was grand. And, like so many Americans, that involved cars. Many cars. A lot of miles. A great deal of time on interstates and highways.

So, when I was however old I was, when I spent time on a mass transit bus and subway systems I noticed something. Everyone on board the thing would rather be somewhere else. Anywhere else. It is an energy-sapping experience and you can see it on everyone’s faces.

I make the joke, which my beautiful wife hates, that it is like “Lord of the Flies.” She hates it because she’s spent plenty of times on the subway, so she always rolls her eyes, which means the jokes continue until someone inevitably brings up the conch shell.

Well. I’m going to take this video as a piece of evidence for my side of the joke. The Broadway cast from “The Lion King” delivered a performance on the subway. Watch the commuters:

In contrast, when the Australian cast did it earlier this year, people actually enjoyed themselves. And they were on a plane:

Which brings up a good idea. If you’re organizing a flash mob — and why are you doing that, again? — you might want to have four or five people who have the very important job of acting shocked and amazed.

If you’re organizing a flash mob, be sure you top this one, which is perhaps the best one ever:

OK, one more video. This was 40 years ago, today, Richard Nixon had resigned amid the Watergate investigations, and was addressing the White House staff. It remains a fine speech lost in all of the important things that were happening.

He was wrong about one thing, well a few things, in that speech. There was a book written about his mother.

I wonder if Nixon would have liked The Lion King. I wonder what he would have been like on the the subway.

Something like this. Thanks, Internet.

Aug 14

You can see it coming

The you-can’t-see-this-enough idea meets with the notion that life exists to be recreated as a Techmo Bowl video game and provides us with this piece of art, which, really, we should have seen coming:

You can quibble about the jersey colors, but there’s a still of Chris Davis and his grandmother (at 3:20 in this video), canceling out that quibble. And then there’s a screen shot of Bo Jackson’s Techmo status, which is the only real quibble. He was never average in Techmo Bowl.

Things to read … because reading interesting things makes us all superlative.

Because it would be a disaster if they did … Dear Twitter: Don’t use an algorithm for the stream:

If Twitter were to implement an algorithmic feed, it would lose its point of differentiation that would likely damage its de facto real-time information/news status unless a greater value proposition was offered (although it’s hard to see what this would be). Both as a professional tool for journalists and a point of record for regular users, Twitter offers a totally different kind of feed than say Facebook does because of its unfiltered stream of forced brevity. Every tweak with photos, cards and potentially new sell buttons drastically changes the delicate balance on the nuance — a nuance that should be protected.

Twitter is noisy, but it can be calmed.

The piece goes on, making excellent points that won’t be heard enough.

The answer is, it depends. Should you outsource your social media? And that article will help you figure out your best path.

This is India, but still interesting, and short-sighted. Newspaper asks staffers to refrain from tweeting other outlets’ stories

If you’ve read enough job advertisements and know how to read between the lines, this is an interesting collection that Jim Romenesko is offering. Here are the job descriptions for Gannett’s ‘Newsroom of the future’

This is just what it says it is, an all digital, invaluable resource. Verification Handbook: A definitive guide to verifying digital content for emergency coverage

This isn’t a standard thing, but it happens. And the HuffPo piece might have pulled back the curtain a bit too far for the comfort of some. Spy Agency Stole Scoop From Media Outlet And Handed It To The AP:

The government, it turned out, had “spoiled the scoop,” an informally forbidden practice in the world of journalism. To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have received. Tuesday’s AP story was much friendlier to the government’s position, explaining the surge of individuals added to the watch list as an ongoing response to a foiled terror plot.

HBO trails in profits, but this is another in a series of interesting media tidbits in the last 18 months. Netflix now has more subscription revenue than HBO

This story is about health issues, and rightly so, but it applies in a lot of other respects, as well. What ails Appalachia ails the nation

Whoa boy. Relief official says Ebola crisis more serious than reported:

In stark, often chilling congressional testimony on Thursday, an official with a relief organization responding to the Ebola crisis in West Africa labeled efforts to control the virus a failure.

Ken Isaacs, a vice president with Samaritan’s Purse, a North Carolina-based Christian humanitarian organization, also said the number of Ebola cases and deaths reported by the World Health Organization are probably 25 percent to 50 percent below actual levels.


At one point, Isaacs even disputed the earlier testimony of a physician from the U.S. Agency for International Development, who said his agency had provided 35,000 protective suits for health care workers in West Africa.

Isaacs told lawmakers he had received an email in the last 90 minutes from a hospital in Liberia “asking us for more personal protection gear. This a problem everywhere,” he said.

It is virulent, sounds exotic, comes from an unfamiliar place, travels well and there are scary films about this general health theme. You can just see the panic coming.