Nov 14

Bono in history

I found this clip last week and was waiting for the right time to use it. Turns out today is the right time, which is to say I didn’t want to wait any more. Bono walked around on Samford’s campus one night. I’m not gushing about Bono, but enjoying the perceived incongruity of that. Bono taking an impromptu tour, doing who knows what:


The band was in Birmingham that November, 1988, touring in support of Rattle and Hum. Desire had topped the charts in the UK and Australia and had peaked at number three in the U.S. A few days after their stop in Birmingham Angel of Harlem was released as a single. They made the video the year before, in Memphis:

Wikipedia suggests that Bono has forgotten a lot of the lyrics to the song.

But imagine it, walking around on your small private college campus and there suddenly is one of the biggest young musicians in the world standing in front of you. Crazy.

Not everything in 1988 was good news. Here’s an example from earlier in that year where a writer does a pretty nice job of localizing a compelling slice of one of the biggest stories of the decade.


It is always interesting to see how stories like these evolve over time.

Both of those reporters are still in town. One of them is now a consultant, the other is in corporate communications. We always tell students where their peers intern or their first jobs — because a lot of those are great jobs. But knowledge like this makes me want to say to students, “Yes, when you work your way through that first job or two, there are some even cooler roles in your future.”

Things to read … because reading will be important in the future, too.

I’ve interviewed Pat Sullivan. He is a modest man, a gentleman, and he likes to understate things and put the spotlight on others. Q &A with Auburn great Pat Sullivan as he brings Samford to Jordan-Hare

Since we’re coming up on that time of year, I’ll link to this, but you have to click over and read the very end yourself. It is worth the click. Behind College Football’s Most Amazing Play:

Davis was an offensive dynamo in high school, but Auburn’s coaches pitched him on two other roles: playing cornerback and returning kicks. After Davis committed in Dec. 2009, he said: “They think I can make history down there.”


“Touchdown, Auburn—an answered prayer!” shouted veteran CBS broadcaster Verne Lundquist, who was calling the game. After the 109-yard touchdown return, Lundquist allowed for 65 seconds of silence so viewers could drink in the fan celebration as the TV audience swelled to 21 million people. Above the field, in the coaches’ box, Johnson and his fellow assistants were high-fiving. “We had never worked on it,” Johnson said of the play. “It was the most amazing thing.”

One last sports story, where the New York Times apparently wants FSU fans to do their job for them, F.S.U. Coach’s Call-In Show Is a No-Sin Zone.

And now a few drone links … Gorgeous Drone Video of the Tallest Church Tower in the Netherlands Bursting Through a Sea of Fog:

To get the perfect aerial drone shots of the Dom Tower of Utrecht, Dutch filmmakers Jelte Keur and Reinout van Schie had to wait a full 10 months for the perfect weather conditions to arrive. But once they did, the minute forty-five of footage they captured made it all worthwhile.

Penn State crop educator explores drone-driven crop management

Drone Flights Face FAA Hit

A few local stories … Birmingham dropped from list of 2016 DNC contenders

Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits against businesses on the upswing in Alabama

Man, I hate clickbait headlines. So here’s the part the author really wants you to read, This guy is fixing the U.S. Capitol dome, but what he says about Alabama workers is the real wonder:

He tells of the way guys who learned to work with metal as mechanics and automakers – regular guys with problems and pasts and views that didn’t extend much beyond their own homes – “can challenge and perform the task before them” in a way that lives up to the expectations of the very architect of the Capitol.

“They are typical Alabamians who work with their hands, and I’m proud of them,” he said. “I tell them you will have a job in this country as long as you can work with your hands. And you will.”

And, now, how a bill becomes a law:

Some tech links … How 3-D printing is revolutionizing medicine:

The researchers began by taking a CT scan of the baby’s chest, which they converted into a highly detailed, three-dimensional virtual map of his altered airways. From this model, they designed and printed a splint—a small tube, made of the same biocompatible material that goes into sutures—that would fit snugly over the weakened section of airway and hold it open. It was strong but flexible, and would expand as the boy grew—the researchers likened it to “the hose of a vacuum cleaner.” The splint would last for three years or so, long enough for the boy’s cells to grow over it, and then would dissolve harmlessly. Three weeks after the splint was implanted, the baby was disconnected from the ventilator and sent home. In May of 2013, in The New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers reported that the boy was thriving and that “no unforeseen problems related to the splint have arisen.”

This sort of procedure is becoming more and more common among doctors and medical researchers. Almost every day, I receive an e-mail from my hospital’s press office describing how yet another colleague is using a 3-D printer to create an intricately realistic surgical model—of a particular patient’s mitral valve, or finger, or optic nerve—to practice on before the actual operation.

Medical science development is amazing stuff.

And so much of it started right here, The First STAR TREK Scene Shot 50 Years Ago This Week

Introducing Charted A new way to share data:

Charted is a tool that automatically visualizes data. Give it the link to a data file and Charted returns a beautiful, shareable visualization of that data.


Charted is open-sourced and available for anyone to use at charted.co. The publicly-hosted charted.co works with files that are already publicly accessible to anyone with the link (e.g., Dropbox share links). For protected or sensitive data, you can serve your own instance of Charted on your secure network, which is what we do at Medium.

A few journalism links … This will be interesting, Vine shifts from comedy clips to a valid journalistic tool

This is a fine idea, but I always wonder about the efficacy. Not everyone sees the top-down organizational plea. But some is better than none, and that some will, in time, influence others, making it more efficient. So, then, it is worth the try, Establishing Social Media Hashtag Standards For Disaster Response

Hard Comparison: Legacy Media vs. Digital Native

And, finally, for you history buffs and forensic fiends, New mystery arises from
iconic Iwo Jima image

You have seen this photo because on Feb. 23, 1945, in the middle of one of the fiercest battles of World War II, a group of U.S. Marines carried a flag up the highest peak on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima. As six men struggled to plant the flagpole into the ground, an Associated Press photographer, who was worried he would miss the shot, clicked his shutter without even looking through his viewfinder. You have seen this photo because it’s one of the most famous photos in American history.

Eric has stared at this photo for hours. He has zoomed in on the black-and-white image until he can see the creases in the men’s helmet covers and can study the unique shapes of their noses. He has combed through dozens of other photos taken that day atop Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi. He has watched a film clip of the famous flag raising so many times he has each frame memorized.


He has stared at the photo for the better part of a year, and he’s convinced that he and another amateur history buff have discovered something that has apparently eluded military leaders, World War II experts and historians for nearly seven decades.

Ultimately, I think I agree with Professor Sherrard. Compelling, but perhaps not necessarily to the level, yet, of proof.

I love everything about this story. People with passion and attention to detail, an explanation for that thin strap, the dismissal by their “betters,” the source material for us to make up our own minds. I love all of it.

It is perfect. Perhaps not in the sense of IDing the specific Marines (I wasn’t there, after all) but it is a lovely dash of storytelling.

Now, to write my way back to the beginning, I’ll humbly suggest a new meme where Bono is inserted into historic photographs. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Nov 14

Catching up

The weekly post of extra pictures! Some of them are more worthy of inclusion than others, I’m sure.

This was from a sunny day last week in Homewood, Alabama. Autumn is lovely, for the three days we have it.


I always enjoy the thematic names placed on restroom doors and wonder if they’ve ever confused anyone. Oh, wait, I know one person who has been stymied by them:


The tomato & mozzarella caprese we had at Brio on Tuesday:


I picked up doughnuts and, today, ran the Krispy Kreme Challenge in our neighborhood. That’s 2.5 miles of running, eating the doughnuts and then 2.5 more miles of running.


It wasn’t pretty, my run never is. But it wasn’t terrible. That first half mile or so after the doughnuts was unpleasant, but after that it was just like any other run.

Allie mugging for the camera:


A group picture last night at the tailgate. That’s Amanda in the center. Next to me are Tim, Mackenzie, Steve and Amanda’s Friend Whose Name I Did Not Catch.


That’s her name, really.

Nov 14

Samford at Auburn

Slept in. Rode my bike around campus, which was very quiet. I watched the Minnesota at Nebraska game, which was the only early game that sounded promising. It was a good one, too.

If only I’d known about that Wake Forest-Virginia Tech game, though, right?

Got out to the tailgate in time for a late lunch. Visited with friends and then we all made our way in to see the game. It got off to a slow start, but briefly gave us an amazing stat:


As the second half began I realized that one of our Samford students was sitting behind me:


I’ve had him in class and he worked for me for two years and now there is right behind me in a stadium. What are the odds? 1:87,450.

Auburn won, of course, but Samford looked good and fought hard throughout. This is the second time I’ve been fortunate enough to see them play one another in football. It doesn’t happen all of the time, of course, but it is a special treat to see.

Nov 14

Before you head into your weekend

Today I looked through a 1976 edition of the Crimson. This newspaper was produced before I was born, and the ads inside it were great. Here’s one:


That IHOP is now a pizza joint. That pizza joint is now closed.

You can see the front page and several of the ads on my Tumblr, here, here, here and here.

Isn’t this a lovely photo that I snapped from the car?


That plane was pulling up as I was driving under its flight path. I dug out my phone and pointed it in that general direction — eyes on the road — and pressed the shutter button one time at what felt like the last moment.

And maybe it was the last moment. Another second or two of fumbling and the plane is out of the frame. But never mind that, look at all of that beautiful empty space.

Things to read … because the cat has currently strapped herself to me and is not interested in this typing business at all. (Seriously, she is being ridiculous.)

The fall of 2012 I don’t remember all that well, but I remember we sat near Kiehl Frazier at Barbecue House and took the “Oh look who is over my shoulder picture.” I also remember, prior to that, that he once felt the need to apologize on social media for the outcome of a football game. When you get beyond how unnecessary that is, you remember he was a freshman at the time. You can’t help but cheer for a guy like that, no matter where he plays, Auburn to Arkadoo:

Marquez knows sooner or later Kiehl Frazier will be one of those calling. When Auburn’s former quarterback-turned-defensive back-turned receiver is asked about the whereabouts of his 2013 SEC championship ring, he’s like all the rest who use Marquez as a lost-and-found.

“I haven’t picked it up yet,” Frazier admitted, 10 months and 550 miles removed his former school, an SEC title, and the ring that went with it. “I bet Dana still has it. I haven’t seen it at all. Right after the national championship game I came down here.”

Here is Arkadelphia (Arkadoo, they sometimes call it), a slow, sleepy Arkansas town 30 miles from Hot Springs, an hour and change from Little Rock, and light years from big-time football. Here is Ouachita Baptist University, a tiny private school that has to share space in a town of 10,000 with fellow Division II football power Henderson State.

Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped in October

Here’s a way we might have actually had it better than kids these days. Teens Are Sharing Gross Pictures Of Their School Lunches With The Hashtag #ThanksMichelleObamaNanny statism neither looks nor tastes delicious.

That’s all I have. Enjoy your weekend.

Nov 14

Does this guy look familiar to you?

Yesterday I spent a few minute hanging some newspapers in our newsroom. I took a few ancient issues from frames that were tucked away in a corner and replaced them with more recent and better copy. Now we have a wall that shows off a strong front page from each of the last four years. It looks nice.

But that means I have some old yellow newspapers on my desk. And that means I got to read through them today. And that means I took pictures of the good stuff. Like this guy:


This pair were in the paper because they’d just had a great run at a national debate tournament. They placed in the top 10, having beaten Harvard and MIT and others along the way. Samford’s second team had a great showing, too, but, really, I think we can all admit now that the hair had something to do with it.

He has a very common name, which is a bummer, or I’d look him up and see what what road life has offered him. The newspaper is from 1978, and so many of the folks here are often well placed in their careers. Indeed, among the 1978 newspaper staff there is now a university provost, a reverend, an attorney, pediatrician, professor and more. They seem to have done well for themselves.

You can see a few more items from this 1978 newspaper on my Tumblr site, here, here, here, here and here.

The lead story in that issue was this guy who would soon have a concert on campus:

I have an entire drawer of clips from the 70s and 80s in my office. I’ll get to them soon. The Crimson is celebrating its 100th anniversary in the spring, so we’ll be looking at things a lot farther back than the Carter years. Even still, that hair was worth seeing, right?

The best 3:40 commercial you’ll see this year, and it is based in historical truth some 100 years ago:

There’s also a “making of” video and an “about our video” video. Because if you’re going to run a 3:40 spot, even online, go all out.

A history teacher friend of mine found that online. I was just having a conversation about why history is or isn’t interesting to people, and it so often comes down to the person in the front of a classroom somewhere. I had one great history teacher that made the things she taught about people and their emotions and motivations and not just names and dates, and here I am. I suspect that my history teacher friend, passionate as she is about her subject matter, inspires her students too.

Things to read … because a simple story can inspire, too.

100 years young, Tennessee woman sees the coast for the first time in Orange Beach:

Ruby Holt has seen a lot of things in her 100 years and counting (she’ll turn 101 next month) on this earth. She’s seen two world wars, a Great Depression, 17 presidents and more than a few hard times. But she’d never seen the beach until this week.

Holt made the six-hour trip from the Sterling House senior living facility in Columbia, Tenn., to fulfill a long-time dream of seeing the shore.

(That story made it on the BBC, too.)

Unfortunate news here, Boeing layoffs target 130 jobs in Huntsville, elsewhere

I’d want to change them too often, so I better not put my pictures on my shoes, How adidas puts your images on their shoes:

adidas has let the buying public in on a little secret: the ability to step into a production line with their own shoe design.


The concept started when adidas began promoting their own product with satellite images of cities such as London, Moscow and Berlin. “The design team was really amazed by the quality of the prints, which led to lively discussions about what other prints we could create,” Schumacher says. “This sparked the idea for an app.”

Customization, the micro-wave of today, the artist’s feet of the future.

The rhetoric being used here is something else, Apple and Others Encrypt Phones, Fueling Government Standoff:

The No. 2 official at the Justice Department delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc. executives: New encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone, according to people who attended the meeting.

If Disney features animals and toys talking behind our backs, and Tron was about the inner-workings of video games … well, wait until someone like Pixar gets a line on this, The Secret Life of Passwords

And that should just about be enough for today. Come back soon. There is always more to see.