16
Apr 21

There’s an animal video in here, and other good stuff

A morning shoot and auditions in the studio this morning. And a Zoom meeting and a phone meeting and a canceled project, too. It left me just enough time to take a walk in the sunshine.

I made a new friend.

They’ll come right up to you if you take a little interest in them. They are used to attention and always hungry. Clearly. Look at him. Hasn’t eaten in days, poor guy.

Also took a few photographs that’ll wind up on the site at some point next week. Here’s a teaser.

We also lined up a podcast for next week, and scheduled some other projects so it was a fair Friday. And now we can turn to the weekend. But first …

Two shows to watch right here, a sports highlight program with a brand new anchor making his debut. Nice guy, always smartly dressed, and he did a fine job here.

The talk show is all about soccer. So much soccer. So much good soccer. And good soccer talk, too.

We sat on the deck for a bit this evening, under blankets. For as mild and warm as we’ve had it the last few days, we get more clouds and more cold coming next week. So that’s something.


15
Apr 21

Let’s go back in time

I had a fine meeting with a lovely gentleman yesterday. And that meeting has somehow carried over into this afternoon. But at least the company is nice. And there a few emails and my computer froze in a way that took some doing to remedy and, finally and importantly, I had to write a letter of recommendation for a star student. And if nothing else today was good I hope that letter was.

And then I went into the television studio and watch the sports folks put together two nice little shows and then sat back and watched the seniors run things and wondered, not for the first time, why we let them graduate just as they are really coming into their own.

There are always leaders, of course. And there are always people willing to take useful information from them and they all have agency and they work together, but if you get to see people grow in those important years, you really see some visions come together. It is, I think, the confluence of knowing what they want to do next and understanding how to do it. It’s the transition from commodity to normal good, the maturation from student to professional.

And that’s when we send them out into the world. Why can’t we keep them two or three more years? The things we could accomplish if they all enrolled in grad school.

Let’s look back to this same date, 106 years ago. Clear your calendar, you’ll be here for a few minutes.

I was going to pick a different year, but this story was a big part of why I went with 1915. This child had ambition, argumentation and no problem giving dad the slip.

I enjoy the earnestness of the story, and the eloquence of the child.

“I have been wading in the dusty road and have had a dood time,” he said. And his shoes looked it.

Dood time is probably a typesetting error rather than a phrase of the day, and I’m sorry I’ve ruined that for you. Anyway, H.R. Barrow only shows up a few times in the paper beyond the performance of his professional duties. He gets bought out in 1917. A month or two earlier he rolled his horse-drawn hearse after a service. Maybe that’s why he left the business. The new guys, local boys done good, advertised motorized ambulances. And in the fall of 1915, just when Mr. Barrow’s friends were tiring of hearing about Jack’s wandering adventures, the roof of their house caught on fire.

What’s with that kid?

No word on whatever became of Jack as he experienced the roaring twenties as a teen and so on. We’re thinking he had a dood time, though. We must always think this of young, adventurous, Jack. Young, adventurous — and have we ruled out pyromaniac? — Jack.

Also on the front page, the Dixie Highway plans:

You don’t often hear about this, by name, anymore. The road was going to stretch from the south side of Chicago to Miami. Then Michigan got added, within a week. The designers wanted to serve as many towns as possible, so there’s an eastern route and a western route. Some of these roads are still in service today. Some parallel the modern U.S. Highway 31, or run near the I-65 corridor or the old Federal Highway, U.S. Route 1. In Kentucky it’s still called the Dixie Highway. And the part of it that runs through this part of the world is something you endure to reach Indianapolis.

On the inside of the paper there is more on these new fangled things, highways:

You have to remember that Eisenhower’s famed (and brutal) coast-to-coast journey was still four years in the future. This is very cutting edge stuff, these highways.

It would be another century, December 2015, before the first interstate finally opened here, however. Take that as a statement for whatever it is worth.

This is front page news, and if you can’t see it, then you’re not ready for community journalism in any era.

Lauron and Rosa had five children, including Henry. At least three of them lived and died here. Henry passed in 1949.

Also on the front page:

A quick search doesn’t give game-by-game results from the early part of the 20th century, but the team went 2-7 that year, so it’s a safe bet they might not have one both of those games. Which is a shame, because the team might have been bad, but they looked great.

How do you lose games when you’ve got swag like that?

Now here’s a term you don’t hear anymore:

Blind tigers, or blind pigs, are carnival-style promotions. “Come in and see the blind tiger!” By which the person meant, “I’m giving away free hooch.” You assume there was a donation somewhere, or you paid handsomely for a bar stool or a bad sandwich or something.

Indiana went dry in 1918, two years ahead of the 18th Amendment kicking in. So maybe the local area was dry. Maybe it was just bootlegging for the sake of bootlegging.

Hurst, I learned from a later edition of the paper, was …

a son of Mack Hurst the man who blew up the house on the corner of Seventh and Morton streets with dynamite, killing himself and daughter. Young Hurst has made the same threat against his wife for disclosing his guilt of the blind tiger charge.

Bootlegging couldn’t have been that good to him. He couldn’t afford a lawyer! Nevertheless, he’s threatening to blow people up. Real pride of Indiana, that guy.

Meanwhile, part of an ad on page two. Countless men!

And 1.4 million tires. How is it that they have the units sold, but not the customers? Let’s do the basic math here. If everyone bought a complete set, that’s 369,970 customers. Of course it wasn’t four-apiece. Remember, the roads and the highways and byways still left something to be desired. There were a lot of flats is what I’m saying. It could be that we are talking 1.4 million customers. Which is still not … countless.

But “countless” sounds good, especially when it’s right next to a number.

Norine Dodds was, I believe, a teacher. I’m not sure what became of her.

And I want you to notice that they just bought a volleyball. The net, you imagine, they had to save up for, special. Or maybe they made their own. But, in another example of how their time was similar to ours, but not ours, the sport of volleyball had only been around for about 20 years. Basketball, just four years older, was thought by some businessmen and older YMCA members to be too vigorous. One mustn’t work up a sweat. So a man named William Morgan designed the game to be a combination of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball. And here, when the young ladies at the local high school put their pennies together to obtain a ball, the game was still in its relative infancy. The rules weren’t uniformly formalized for another 14 years. Someone in the Philippines, while Nodds was writing this little blurb, was developing the spike.

Sorta makes you wonder how these kids went around with their new volleyball, and what they wound up doing with it.

Wanda Mottier was the daughter of David Mottier, who ran the botany program at IU for about 40 years. He’d also done his undergraduate work here and is regarded as one of the first people to advocate for preserving the woodland campus aesthetic.

If that’s true it was an excellent choice on his part. I submit as evidence these four photographs I took just outside of our building during a seven-minute break between tasks.

Mottier was on the faculty until the late 1930s.

Maybe somewhere in these woods there’s a tree he knew.

Maybe somewhere out there we could find leaves and shade we owe to him.

Also, this same paper notes that tomorrow, April 16th (albeit in 1915) was Arbor Day. The paper demanded that you plant a tree. We mark Arbor Day this year on April 30th.

Anyway, his daughter, Wanda, would later marry a doctor and they later retired from Indianapolis to Florida in the early 1960s. She passed away down there and is buried up here.

I found her Florida home on Google Maps. Nice, humble little post-war subdivision. Three beds, two baths, built in 1958, meaning they built it or moved in soon after. Plenty of room in the backyard to pass around a volleyball. There’s a giant oak tree out front today. The tree has a wonderful looking tire swing on it.

In my mind Wanda planted that tree and thought of her dad whenever she looked out the two picture windows of her home.


14
Apr 21

To put the sun at your back and the wind in your face

It was a lovely afternoon for a bike ride. I did not dawdle, and so we set out for an hour, with the slightest chill in the shade and the perfect amount of warmth in the sun.

It could be that the wind whisked it all away. Wind is the thing that demands the most of us. It’s a cycling thing — some 30 percent of your energy, says the almost-science/sorta-old-wives-tale, is devoted to overcoming wind resistance. It’s also a regional thing. Nothing moves the seasons here like the wind. And today things were moving.

So was she. I looked down and looked up, that’s all it took, and she’d put that gap in between us. My lovely wife is up there, powering her way through some ridiculous gear. If you peer into the picture you can just make her out, small dots in the middle-distance. Sometimes you can’t blink and she’ll be gone. When she does that I have to use all the tricks I know to pull my way back up.

I can never tell her all the tricks or she’ll be up the road and it’ll just be me back here with my shadow.

Or, if you prefer the video version …

That might have actually been on the same road. This one was a different road.

Shows I should show you, include this show, which I told you about last night. There’s a comedienne interview in here, among some other fun stuff.

And you can get all of the news and then some right here.

And this, which I neglected from Monday … I don’t know what you do at a distillery, it’s not my scene, but doing it in the morning seems like a tough assignment.

I have a full day tomorrow, and an even more full day on Friday, if that’s possible, so we’ll leave it here for now. If you have some more time to kill right now, however, there’s always more on Twitter and check me out on Instagram, too.


13
Apr 21

Not sure why there’s not more to this

And how was your Tuesday morning?

Mine was a bit like a Monday. By the afternoon it wore off, but the time in between a quick run and the p.m. hours it was a Monday. This was dropped. That was forgotten. This got broken and so on.

Days like that it is imperative to always, always, know where your keys are at all times.

The day’s many emails went without incident. And I started the first halting steps of a new Twitter thing I’m trying for work. (It involves work and, eventually, Twitter. There, we are caught up.)

And then there was the studio, where fun things always happen. (One of our cameras is malfunctioning, but the students persevered and actually finished slightly ahead of schedule, to their credit. Also they brought in a comedienne. I hope there are clips of her work, otherwise it’s just a conversation. We’ll see tomorrow.)

So I’m down to showing off my pocketsquare, but isn’t that what Instagram is for? (It is a good one. Go on over and check it out. We’ll wait for your return.)

Classic blue shirt, a basic Brooks Brothers shirt I like, but it’s getting a little old, sadly. And those little seasonal flowers in a little spring-time purple. That’s fun. Makes up for the jacket. I’m weary of this jacket.

Fun fact: Google has never crawled a page where the preceding sentence was written. Weird, right?

My peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch wasn’t much to write home about — weird how that same thing can vary so widely from day-to-day — but the grilled chicken this evening was tasty. Oh, and I managed to not spray water all over the kitchen when I did the dishes afterward!

I could get about 600 words out of that. Already I’m sitting at 300.

Best leave it where we are then, right? Right.


12
Apr 21

And, finally, in mid-April

Well happy spring to you, too! I saw this guy at a red light on the drive back from campus last week, but didn’t share it here for whatever reason. But, since the front page went full bloom, it seems like a good time for this one.

It just appeared. One day it was all sticks, and then, this. By tomorrow it’ll be leaves. That’s what’s happening to the blooms in our yard, anyway.

One of the weather services is talking about long range freeze potential.

We had some rain and gray this weekend, but it’s all easily ignorable because, long range potential notwithstanding, it’s obvious and apparent that we’ve finally, finally shifted into a new season. We’ve made it once more.

It rained on us Saturday when we got our customary weekend takeout. It rained during parts of that afternoon, as well, and into the evening. All of this came after Friday evening sprinkles. So we worked in the exercise room.

The previous owners of this house had added on a little exterior kitchen on the back so that they could make their traditional Vietnamese fare. They were going to have it torn down as part of the sell, but we asked them to keep it up, thinking we could use it, and we’ve made a great use of the space after finishing the walls and doing some general cleaning. The upside is we got a little bonus room and a basically brand new kitchen, since the regular one was seldom used.

Anyway, we’ve been using a light industrial throw carpet over plywood in there for a good long while. But some friends put down some new flooring in their pain cave and had very nice things to say about it, and so we are keeping up with the Joneses!

Now, the first thing you have to know about flooring is that it is a virtual certainty that no room is perfectly square, and your walls aren’t likely to be perfectly straight. No difference here. And the second thing is we decided we’ll just make peace with the notion that this is where we store things and, when the weather is bad, where we sweat. So if something is a little off, so be it. We aren’t making the floor of the Sistine Chapel, after all.

(We count ourselves fortunate to have seen the Sistine Chapel. It’s beautiful. The floor is a mess.)

Anyway, the flooring came in this week and we started installing it Saturday. We did the easy parts, building out two walls and leaving the tricky sections until yesterday afternoon. Yesterday there was a lot of sliding around on the floor and measuring odd angles and cutting and insisting on making things fit. And, to be honest, I am more satisfied with the outcome than, perhaps, I should be.

Here’s the tricky part, the non-corner corner. There’s a lot of stuff going on here, two angles, a threshold overhang, door trim, inserting an extra piece because of the way I put all this down. And, without too much consternation — which is how I’ve come to define progress in most any project — it just all clicked together nicely.

Because that dismay never arrived I wondered, and am still curious, about what I’ve done wrong with this stuff — and when I’ll realize it. But, for now this means we can happily put all of the things back in that room.

So, reviewing last week: we dug up a tree (and The Yankee did a lot of other things in yard, besides) and I replaced a faucet and we did that floor. This feels industrious.

The cats like the new floors, because it meant a weekend of access to a room they’re seldom allowed into. And that meant new windows to sit in, where they can see the exact same view of the yard and the woods they can from … seven or eight other windows in the house. Maybe it smells different from there, I don’t really know.

Phoebe took advantage of the clutter to try out the outdoor cushions.

We don’t leave them outside, and so they get stored in the exercise room, generally. So they are kind of new to her, and she was happy to enjoy them all weekend. If a cat can sit in a box, that’s great. If a cat can sit on a half-dozen cushions in a box, that’s better.

A few nights ago we had some potatoes for dinner and Poseidon was very interested.

He never touches the food, I’m sure because he knows we’re standing there waiting to give him grief about it. But he will reach out from time to time. I liked his toes were spread out there, ready to give it a try, if only we weren’t standing right next to him.

Tonight we got takeout Chipotle. First observation, takeout Chipotle is a smaller serving than if you’re dining in. Nice. Second, both cats were very interested in the bag of chips.