adventures


14
May 18

Where are we?

This guy just sits up there all day and keeps time. Him, a roller and a lonely squeegee. I wonder how long it took to create that. At least an hour, right? And when does that guy gets a break, who keeps things on schedule up there?

This particular art is in the Amsterdam airport:

Oh, by the way, we’re traveling. And Amsterdam was a layover, but also your first hint. We left Indianapolis this evening — it was supposed to be this afternoon, but that flight got canceled for whatever reason. So, instead of going through Detroit, we went through Minneapolis:

We saw cool clouds. I sent a picture of this to one of my former students:

He said that’s a virga cloud, which produces rain, as we see here, but the dry air evaporates it before the rain gets to the ground. He said that is what often creates the classic wispy look in clouds.

Anyway, our flight cancellation meant we got an upgrade. So we had those nice first class seats that all but turn into beds. This became a red eye, but I can’t sleep on planes. So I watch movies. Only this time the inflight selections were, I felt, somewhat lacking. I did watch Darkest Hour:

I fell asleep in the last few minutes, just before Gary Oldman’s big speech before Parliament. But I woke up in time to have breakfast, or lunch, or who knows, and watched the end of the movie. And then we landed in Amsterdam. And then another flight. And a car rental, and a brief drive and checking in and then dinner. Oh, finally food and sleep.

Where are we?

Here’s your second hint:

We didn’t have calzones, because the regional food here is bistecca fiorentina. (That’s your third hint.) Our host recommended a place, we went there, and had the bistecca fiorentina. And that was a delicious steak.

And now, the jet lag. Tomorrow we’ll figure out where we are.


2
May 18

What’s your super power?

I think we all have super powers. They vary, and some are more useful than others. I have two super powers. One has no practical benefit. The other is that I can always determine the right container for leftovers. It’s a small thing, this super power, but it’s useful.

But it occurs to me that a great super power would be able to see, in the smallest moment that this little moment is special.

I don’t have that one. I’d like it, but instead I just look back on a moment many hours later and realize there was a sweet little perfection today.

The Yankee and I went out for lunch. We walked down two blocks to the local fast food fake burrito shop and then we walked back up toward our building on campus. Just across the street we stopped at that flowerbed and I took a few pictures and a little sliver of video and this was a delightful moment to be with someone important. I’d like to be able to more often realize that sort of thing during, rather than after.

Everybody has one, or two or more. Everyone should have that one, I think. What’s your super power?


20
Apr 18

Welcome to a lovely springtime weekend

It takes forever to get here, but for the late start and short term of it, the spring isn’t too bad at all. Here are a few quick flowering trees that prove the point:

Each of the last two years, this has been the weekend where we could really say, with resignation and weariness and confidence, that this was when spring had arrived. This is also the weekend of the big bike races. The women’s Little 500 was today. Here’s some of the pageantry:

And the repeat champions:

One of The Yankee’s students was on that team. I had students interview them the year before. They work hard, they all do, it’s a big race and the students that take part treat it like a big deal year-round. It’s a big part of the tradition on campus. They race hard and fast and put on a great show.

Tomorrow, the men will take their turns around the track.


9
Apr 18

Stuff from after the conference

We were in Nashville over a long weekend at a research conference. It was nice to see friends and do smart-people things. And we stayed with friends who happen to live by the conference location. So we’re going to need them to move around and follow this event around the region. They should do this to the detriment of their own social lives and careers so that they could have the pleasure of hosting us for three or four days each year, and enjoy barbecue and the like, and our delightful company.

So we’ll start sending them some brochures.

Anyway, some extra things I saw over the weekend.

Look! Up in the right corner!

That doesn’t look like a familiar Sears font. A commenter on Flickr notes:

Sears Department Store was located at the southeast corner of Church St and 8th Ave North (the building is still standing) … Remember that agriculture was, for a couple of centuries, The primary source of revenue in and around Nashville. Sears, like Montgomery Wards and others, sold farm supplies and equipment.

Just south on 8th, right behind the main store, was the farm and auto supply store … The “Ghost Sign” you photographed is located across 8th Ave North from where the farm and auto store once was and this sign once had an arrow that pointed across the street. Sears moved to their new brick bldg on Lafayette (Now the Nashville Rescue Mission) in the late 60’s. I suspect this sign was repainted in the 60s just prior to Sears moving, hence it has survived (sans arrow).

That comment is eight years old and, today, it is just a parking lot:

But you can see a picture here, it was a grand old 1930s art deco building. Sears, this Nashville history site tells me, stayed in the building until 1956. A Ben Franklin went in, and then a jewelry store. Eventually it became a building for state offices. That site, in 2014, said the building was still there, but its fate was nigh. And the Google Street view, from 2017, tells the tale:

They paved downtown shopping and put up a parking lot. But The Tennessean put together a photo gallery.

Hey, look, this is where my folks got married!

Union Station in Nashville, Tennessee.

Farmland when we got back on the road:

And I don’t know what these are for …

Some agricultural concern, no doubt.


6
Apr 18

Still conferencing in Nashville

Yesterday mass comm, today student work and poli comm. That’s the way of things, and so today I presented student work from The Media School, and from the programs at Middle Tennessee State and East Tennessee State University at the SSCA digital showcase.

And then we took a selfie:

Also, I responded to the top student papers in the political communication division. One of them was an analysis of the 2016 RNC speech. Another looked at the charisma in presidential campaign speeches. (It looked at the texts alone, which seemed a limited choice.) The third looked at the great Shirley Chisholm. These were graduate students and so you want to give them good feedback. I hope I did that.

And tonight I finally got a piece of Prince’s hot chicken. We went to a place that sold it as a part of their own menu. And the restaurant gave me one piece with my chicken and waffles. It was hot. And tasty!

(It’s the one on the right.) Now, it might not be the hottest. And I’m a spice wimp, but it was hot. And good. By the time I finished that piece I … I wasn’t used to it, but I’d come to terms with it, I guess. One of our friends said to me “Kenny, you’re glistening.”

At that precise moment I had started wondering whether I was perspiring or my eyes were watering.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It was hard to tell.

A sign we found in a restaurant at breakfast:

And now I want some more Prince’s hot chicken. Or barbecue.