May 15

Brown shoes in my size, the second hardest thing to buy

This morning it was laundry. This afternoon it was errands. I had to buy shoes. Buying a specific kind of shoe in my size — and at a price I want to pay — is sometimes very difficult. This is one of those times. But, on the third store, I picked up some nice brown casual shoes that might feel comfortable.

Since we’ve started doing triathlons I’ve come to think of the comfort of my feet as a very important thing.

I also bought some new running shoes this week. I just eclipsed 400 miles in the old shoes and they were letting me know. Three times in a row I went for a jog that turned into an aching-calf shuffle. Well, you don’t have to tell me a fourth time. So that’s two new pairs of shoes in one week.

Didn’t get all of my errands done. The loafers took too long. So we’ll push that on to next week. Today there’s baseball. And then dinner, with friends. And we met our friend Sally Ann and her niece.


We all dined with our friends Jennie and Jeremy, who we bumped into by chance:


Oh yes, I bought a selfie stick today. You’ll soon see why.

Mar 15

Got any AP Style?

I was looking for a book, a new Associated Press Stylebook, but one place didn’t have it. A second store was closed.

Going to a third place I had your standard “Don’t see that every day” moment. A bicycle-mounted police officer pulled over a car. The officer turned on a little blue light and the car pulled over.


You can almost imagine the mental calculus going on in the car. But that was a good move, stopping. Oh you’ll get away from the guy on the mountain bike with the fat tires. But he has friends just down the street. And those people aren’t riding bikes.

I believe that’s the first traffic stop I’ve seen by a cycling officer. Now I want to see the officers on the ruggedized Segway-trike get someone making an improper turn.

I rode 22 miles on my bike this afternoon and I didn’t see anyone that would stop for me. But I don’t have a badge or a blue light. I just have the lycra.

Anyway, the third bookstore didn’t have the book. I can try another place tomorrow. I hit Walmart. I was looking for two things, but I only found one. I got a watch battery for an old watch. (Still works! Now I have three watches that might, from time-to-time, help me out. I’ll be late somewhere tomorrow.) So I only found the one thing at the retailer, that let me make a withdrawal at the cash register. These are the details of my day.

I needed the cash because as I was going from one place to the next I got a message from an e-bay seller. We’ve been negotiating the sale of two Gloms. A deal had been reached. He’s in town and so we set up a meet.

So I find myself watching the sun go down from the Kroger parking lot, waiting on this guy to show up. He brought two books. I paid cash. He felt like he got a good deal. I felt like I got a good deal. We were both happy.

Turns out the guy’s a picker. He’s telling me stories about how he used to go dumpster diving, how it is different now. Once, he said, people would come up to him and strike up a conversation. Now he’s afraid they’ll just call the police.

But is it the times or his age? You can probably get away with more in your 20s than 40s, I’d guess.

He feels like he covered the entire area, going through old abandoned buildings, salvaging and scavenging. I wonder how many of those roads I know because of my bike and how many I have no idea about.

The newest condos being built are going up on a large tract that previously had several old, decrepit houses. He says he got the call to go into those houses, that he was the only guy, and that he got to pick them clean for leftover property, repurposed fixtures and, of course, the copper.

The stories of all of the local stuff he finds sounds like a lot of fun.

We probably talked for an hour, mostly with me just trying to get him to show me his collection. Never know what else he might be willing to sell.

Probably should have asked him if he had a Stylebook.

Jan 15

Things I’ve received

I got a pair of broken glasses in November and an eye appointment two weeks ago to replace them. Ignored at that doctor’s office, I made a new appointment, today, with another eye doctor.

I got my appointment rescheduled earlier this week. Seems the doctor didn’t want to come back to the office after lunch. So this morning, then, I waited 75 minutes to meet the doctor. I got this picture of the chart while I waited. I zoomed in on my camera phone, and then zoomed in on the picture so I could read them. When the doctor did come in he managed to not introduce himself.


I got into a long debate with this new doctor because he somehow ascertained that his machine told him a radically off result for my vision. That meant a lecture by the doctor because, I think, he somehow assumed that this error was something I was advocating. We followed that up with the pleasure of someone sticking their fingers in my eyes.

And I got a trial pair of contacts and the persistent sensation that something is in my eye. Perhaps because something was in my eye. Even now, with them out, and maybe I did that right, it feels like there’s something in my eye. Also, so far, I find that putting them in is easier than taking them out.

I’m still not sure what all of the letters are on the last line.

I got the perverse pleasure of watching my 16-gallon gas tank fill up beyond 16 gallons. Coasted in again. And I received the joy of filling up for less than $40, which was great after the expense of the eye test.

I got a very average haircut from a stylist perfectly uninterested in small talk. The extent of it was pointing out the cowlicks.

And, tonight, we got to have dinner with Mae Margaret, an old Auburn friend.

Dec 14

Where I amend my reindeer antler policy

Enjoy the Glomerata post I put up earlier today? Have you been checking out the Battle of the Bulge map posts? I’ve got about two more weeks of those, tracing my great-grandfather’s time in Europe.

I woke up this morning and did one of my favorite things, which is sit with breakfast, or tea or both, and read. I got a lot of reading in this morning and then we did some paperwork errands this afternoon.

I drove The Yankee to Target and she picked up two shirts. We walked down the street to a store called Ulta, which is not missing an R from the sign. I’m not sure I knew this store existed until this afternoon, but then I’m so rarely on the cosmetics market these days.

We picked up grain and sourdough bread at the grocery store. I remembered we needed some eggs, so I hustled to the back corner and got the six-pack container. The first one I opened had a busted egg, which reminded me of my best poultry story. I told it to my lovely wife and the cashier at the front of the store. One of them found it funnier than the other, but they both smiled politely.

We saw this car. Now, ordinarily, I’m not a fan of the reindeer antlers, but I’m willing to change this stance. The rule now is this: if you put those things in your windows, you must commit to the giant red nose on the hood of your car.

Red Nosed Mercedes

We had a dinner guest tonight, one of our sweet friends who brought a soup and stayed for brownies and a movie and uses the word “assuaged” correctly. It was a lovely evening.

Things to read

I remember waking up on this December morning in a full sweat. It was unseasonably warm. That afternoon we watched the F-4 tornado ravage Tuscaloosa, just 35 miles away, on television. That night, up the road in Birmingham, I drove home under the largest snowflakes I’ve ever seen in the South. It was a tragic and weird day. Celebration Of A Life Saved

Many of your remember this remarkable photo by Michael E. Palmer that was in the Tuscaloosa News, the day after the December 16, 2000 EF-4 tornado that killed 11 people. Michael Harris carries an unconscious Whitney Crowder, 6, through debris in Bear Creek Trailer Park after the tornado passed through. Whitney’s father and 15-month-old brother were killed in the tornado.

That post is two years old, when young Whitney was graduating from high school. It was a nice bookend to that tale.

So these two guys are political activists. They represent different parties and they are brothers. They were on C-SPAN to promote this documentary about the weird dynamic all of that creates. They got into a political name-calling debate and then the show started taking phone calls. Then … well, just watch and see:

This is worth a read. Former AP Reporter: I Didn’t Leave Journalism, It Left Me

A journalist for more than 40 years, Mark Lavie was based in Jerusalem for most of them and then in Cairo for two – during the “Egyptian Revolution.”

Lavie is no longer a journalist.

But he didn’t leave the profession, “it left me,” Lavie says.

Now Lavie is speaking out in as many fora as possible. He seeks to alert the public about the dramatic difference between what journalism used to be – and still pretends to be – and what it actually is.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, Advertisers Will Pay Up To 40% More For TV Sponsorship Deals Linked To Social Media, Says TV4

“It means that we need to work with story-telling on digital platforms, and that we need to engage and potentially also reward our users,” she said. “This is obviously very interesting for us, both from our perspective, and also from a commercial perspective, in terms of what we can offer our advertisers on these platforms.”

Lundell said that TV4’s experiments with extending linear TV formats into the social media sphere had shown that “you need to pay more than for ordinary sponsorship – and advertisers are prepared to do that. So, yes, we’re making money.”

The first thing I thought when she said “work with story-telling on digital platforms” was wondering why plots of scripted shows aren’t continued on other platforms. You already see supplemental webisodes of some of your more engaged shows, why not story arcs on Instagram?

First there was ESPN, the movie channels, last month it was CBS and now … Up To Speed: NBC to jump into live-streaming

This is solid. 5 tips for streaming live video from a smartphone

Livestreaming video from a mobile phone is a way for journalists to get footage which may not be possible to film with more traditional broadcast equipment.

“There are sometimes these stories where you don’t want a big camera crew, you want to try and keep a relatively low profile, in riots, in public disorder, or in places where you need to be sensitive,” Sky News correspondent Nick Martin told

“You can use that technology which is smaller and more compact to still get what you want to, but not [have] all the big crew considerations that we have.”

Media organisations such as ABC News have also started looking at mobile livestreaming as a developing part of their video programming.

For journalists who want to incorporate video streaming into their work …

As I told a colleague this evening, within the next year or two we’ll likely say if you’re not doing video with almost everything, you’re going to find yourself behind.

That’s why I spent the better part of my Saturday night building up video templates for future projects.

Dec 14

Why I’m still wearing broken glasses

Before Thanksgiving I broke my glasses. There was a wire bookshelf thing in the newsroom, it fell and a bundle of newspapers landed on my nose. Somehow the arm of the wire frame snapped off right at the lens.

Life, being so busy, meant that I could finally this week get an appointment to go get new glasses or contacts — which I was due for anyway. So I booked that appointment on Monday. That appointment was today.

I drove over, parked, walked in, announced I was there for my 1:15 and was directed to sit down. I sat down.

For the next 65 minutes I watched people come in, sit down, get called back and take their appointment. For 65 minutes I did this. And then I left. That was better than trying to express how off putting the entire situation felt. There are, after all, other eye doctors in town.

Smith’s Rule of Business: Don’t make it hard for me to spend my money with you.

And so I now have an appointment on New Year’s Eve, at a different eye doctor.

Things to read … because I can see up close just fine, thank you.

How newspapers lost the Millennials:

The inability of newspapers to resonate with digital natives has left them with a daunting demographic challenge. Two-thirds of the audience at the typical newspaper is composed of people over the age of 55, according to Greg Harmon of Borrell Associates. “The newspaper audience ages another year every year,” he adds. “Everyone’s hair ought to be on fire.”

As the newspaper audience grays, the readers that newspapers – and most of their advertisers – would like to have are, instead, busily racking up page views at places like BuzzFeed, Circa, Mic, Upworthy, Vice, Vocative and Vox.

(I)t is easy to see that publishers and editors have a higher regard for their products than the next-gen consumers they need to attract. Now, the only question remaining is whether newspaper folk have the gumption – and time – to turn things around.

‘Experiential Journalism:’ How Virtual Reality Could Depict News in 3D:

The news industry is currently grappling with a challenging problem: How can it make news interesting to the younger generation?

Virtual reality offers one solution: Strap them in vision-encompassing helmets and let them experience the news like a video game.

This is about three kinds of silly. Google axes News in Spain in response to royalty law

We’ll let our old friend and colleague Jeff Jarvis take it from here. Spain’s link tax forces Google News to shut there:

Thus a link tax intended to protect Spain’s publishers will only end up harming them — depriving them of untold audience — and could even end up killing the weakest among them. Spain will also bring damage to the web itself and to the country’s reputation, establishing itself as a hostile environment for investment in technology.

Be careful what you wish for, you old, threatened institutions of media and government, huddling together against the cold wind of the new.

A lesser thing is that it helps diminish the spread of information, but that’s most likely a tertiary concern here.

3 Steps to Leveraging Storytelling in Your Presentations:

We no longer want to be lulled to sleep by complicated graphs and bullet points. We expect to be excited, challenged and to reflect on our own experiences. And you can do that many times with the use of stories.

Here’s how you can harness your own personal stories and use them to touch your audience the next time you present.

That’s a fine essay from SlideShare. Click on over.

For a different kind of thing, Storytelling on the Radio Builds Community, On-Air and Off:

What separates radio documentary from any documentary? And what separates public radio journalism from any journalism?

Radio gets inside us. Lacking earlids, we are defenseless, vulnerable to ambush. Sounds and voices surprise us from within. As radio documentary makers, we have this tactical advantage over our colleagues in print, film, television, photography. Our tool is aural story, the most primitive and powerful. Invisibility is our friend. Prejudice is suspended while the listener is blind, only listening.

This is a great read. Just after her retirement from ABC, Ann Compton offers a great look back from her ringside seat for some of our most important recent history. I Spent 40 Years Covering the White House:

I retired from ABC News on September 10, 41 years to the day after I arrived as a network correspondent in 1973. Back then, the Cold War was hot, the Middle East was in flames and Watergate was coming to a boil. When Richard M. Nixon finally resigned to avoid impeachment the following year, the president of ABC News in New York deployed me, his youngest recruit, to the White House beat. No network had ever assigned a woman there, and coverage would demand near constant travel. Being the first woman assigned was not the challenge. It was age. I was 27 years old, inexperienced and untested.

These go together, in order:

Police officer buys eggs for woman caught shoplifting to feed her family in Tarrant:
A woman caught shoplifting eggs in Tarrant Saturday didn’t leave with handcuffs and a court date. Thanks to a Tarrant police officer, she left with food for her family.

Grandmother caught stealing eggs to feed hungry children ‘overwhelmed’ by kindness of police:

By Saturday, the family had gone two days without food. Johnson went to Dollar General on Pinson Valley Parkway with $1.25 and thought that would be enough to buy a carton of eggs. When she realized she was 50 cents plus tax short, she stuffed five eggs in her pocket out of desperation.

Tarrant police officer delivers groceries to woman caught stealing eggs at Dollar General:

Helen Johnson stared in amazement at the piles of food accumulating in her small Tarrant apartment on Wednesday.

“The last time I saw my house this full, I was 12-years-old and staying with my grandmother,” said the 47-year-old mother and grandmother. “I’ve been crying all day.”

Score one for the good guys.