Friday


5
Apr 24

We interrupt our regular update for this special report

EARTHQUAKE PALOOZA WATCH 2024

I was in one room, my lovely bride in the adjoining room, and there was a rumble and a rattle. I thought, at first, that a particularly noisy garbage truck had gone down the road to fast. Or maybe a helicopter was on low pass maneuvers. Maybe the helicopter ambulance service.

To the USGS!

The steady hands in the Office of the Department of Shake Studies say it was a 4.8 temblor. This, of course, was too close to the media center of the world, and so with in a matter of minutes and hours texts and calls filtered in from the family and friends, earthquake experts and structural engineers, all.

I had dutifully walked the grounds and nothing was amiss. Except for this woeful damage.

This was my first earthquake. It is possible I’ve slept through some small ones — if they could be felt where I was at that time, that is. And I’ve been in some stadiums that erupted to the point of registering on seismographs. But this was a true parts of the earth rubbing against one another first for me.

Turns out, on this side of the country, you can feel them over greater distance. Has something to do with the soil and stone composition, I’d imagine. And we don’t even know where all of the faults are in this area. Indeed, we don’t know the precise location of the one we felt this morning, which is said to be the biggest one in this region in the history of the country.

Late in the day, we felt, barely, a 3.7 aftershock. I’d thought I’d imagined it … until The Yankee asked me if I felt it too.

So that’s two for me. Earthquakes are old hat now, and we can return back to normal sunny days with the occasional storm cloud rolling by, please and thank you.

The camellia did not seemed bothered by the rumbling of the earth beneath it.

That’s a credit, I am sure, to the big, strong root system. Not too deep, not too shallow, just right.

And also the soil they are planted in. This guy is rooted firmly in the sandy mix, here, on the inner coastal plain — where the heavy land and the green sands meet.

Things are really starting to grow around here. Now … if we can only start the process earlier in the spring.

Since we’re talking about beautiful weather and beautiful places and earthquakes, let’s have a look at a few more videos from our trip to California last month.

This is just a randoms spot where you could pull off on the Pacific Coast Highway. Just a view, unique in its ubiquity, glorious in their splendor, outstanding in their anonymity. Nothing in the world has ever happened here, except for people that stop, look down and marvel at the size of it all, the beauty of it all, and just how simultaneously timeless and ephemeral it all is.

 

That’s a lot to put on waves, maybe, but the waves are used to it. I stood on this beach for a long time wondering how long it takes to grind the big rocks into little pebbles, and how long before those little pebbles become sand and dust. In that light, the waves are not impressed by our meager notions of time or our literature.

Mehmet Murat ildan wrote, “The greatest pleasure of the wave is to bring the stones to the beach and then try to get them back into the sea! Everyone and everything has a toy to play with!”

And that’s true.

 

But waves take as much as they give. It’s a good thing they give us a lot. One is mindless, and the other we think of as a kind benefactor. How interesting that we assign conflicting personas to the opposite sides of the same wave.

No, the waves, the oceans, they are not impressed by our meager notions of time or our literature. Or our silly notions of time. Slow motion, regular speed, the few hours I spent on that beach, the thousands and millions of years some of those great big rocks have been worn down, it all means nothing to the waves. It’s mindless, yet patient. It’s off-putting, but liberating.


29
Mar 24

The 1946 Glomerata, part four

More photos, via the new desktop camera, with which I am, so far, pleased. Eventually I’ll grow more proficient with it, but, already, like a better way to transcode the ancient photos.

So here are a few more selected shots from the 1946 Glomerata. Today we’ll wrap up this volume, having shared 40 photos and just a few of the interesting stories we find therein. The first 30 shots are on the blog, as a regular Friday feature. You can find all 40 shots in the Glomerata section, of course.

Let’s see a bit more of what was worth memorializing 78 years ago, shall we?

These are the officers of the Women’s Athletic Association in a not-at-all posed photograph. The WAA was aptly named. They offered a yearly cup to the winningest teams, sororities, it seems. They also ran the campus blood drive.

Anne Grant is second from the left. She graduated and went home, became a preacher’s wife. She studied home economics, and stayed active in the Methodist church for six decades. When she died in 2012 she was survived by three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The one on the right is Constance Graves. Her father, Eugene Hamiter Graves, attended API in the 19th century, and was on the first football team in 1892. He served during the Spanish American War and World War I. He became a colonel and, later, the mayor of Eufaula, Alabama. She went back home after school, and lived there all her life. She died in 2004, survived by three children and six grandchildren.

The other women have very common names, making the quick web search too challenging and pure guesswork.

These are the Auburn Collegiates, directed by Byron N. Lauderdale Jr., himself a student, a senior studying veterinary medicine. He served in the Army during World War II and in the Air Force during the Korean War. He would run a veterinary practice, a family business, in Illinois for 40 years. Byron died, at 77, in 2000. He was survived by his wife, his brother Harry (a WW2 sailor and Auburn man who passed away at 85 in 2011), two sons, four daughter and 10 grandchildren. On the face of it, that sounds like some kind of life.

I cropped her out of the photo because she wasn’t in focus, and I have this lovely headshot anyway, but her’s was the voice that people heard when the band played. This is LaHolme McClendon, a senior from Attalla, Alabama, studying science and literature.

I photograph these because they are interesting or, perhaps, because I think the person will lead us on to glimpses of a full career and life — such as we can get from a few obvious Internet resources. And I thought, for certain, we’d get just that here. A singer, an attractive young woman and, most importantly from our great distance, a distinctive name. But the Internet doesn’t tell us much about her. She appeared in her local paper when her father retired from the postal service — a front page, above-the-fold story, mind you — and I know she died at 53, in 1979, but that’s it.

These don’t always pan out.

But sometimes there’s gold. And while I didn’t want to do a lot of headshots and posed photographs, this is the ag club and the FFA, which is important for me. But it’s important for you, too. Look how the farmers were dressing in the 1940s.

One of these young men is Buris Boshell, president of the ag club, and a future medical superstar from tiny Bear Creek, Alabama, population 240. I believe that’s him on the front row, fourth from the left, standing next to the older gentleman. Boshell studied veterinary medicine at Auburn, went to med school at Alabama, but finished his studies at Harvard. He would become an endocrinologist and eventually came back home, where he built an absolutely world class diabetes research and treatment program at UAB. The Diabetes Hospital would become a reality with an outpatient clinic, a specialized inpatient unit for diabetics, and several floors devoted to diabetes related research projects. He has a building named after him at UAB, and a program in vet medicine at his alma mater takes his name as well. There are also scholarships, endowed research chairs and something called Boshell Diabetes Research Day. He died, aged 69, in 1995.

There’s a Bob Scofield in that photo, too. He was a north Alabama farmer and business man. He owned a radio station for a time. Everyone in town knew him as the owner of the Ford dealership. He made it to 90, and died in 2016.

Ralph Hartzog started out as a teacher, went back to school and studied agriculture and became a county extension agent. He worked in a handful of counties until he retired in 1978. He and his wife had two daughters. He died in 2006, just shy of 87, and his name is now on a memorial plaque at the state’s 4H Center. When they remember you as fondly as they did that man, who’d retired 28 years earlier, you must have been living right.

There’s another guy in that group photo who I met, a lifetime later. Dr. Claude Moore graduated from the College of Agriculture, did his graduate work at Kansas State and Purdue, where he became the assistant director of regional poultry breeding, until he returned to Auburn in 1956 (almost everyone goes home again). He became head of the poultry department in 1959, and stayed in that seat until he moved over to the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station in 1986. He retired from there a few years later. And after another decade or so, I would intern there. He was president of the national Poultry Science Association, a fellow in the National Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the New York Academy of Science. He was a deacon at a church we attended, and a Sunday School teacher. When he passed away, in 2008, he was survived by his wife, five children and 13 grandchildren. He was a good man.

His headstone, naturally, has a rooster on it. It also says “A steady man.” He was an Auburn man.

Which brings us, quite logically, to the debate council’s not-at-all posed photo. Didn’t we all sit around discussing the finer points of rebuilding Europe or trade relations with South America or whatever they were discussing here? Or was that just me and my friends?

Anyway, the guy on the right is Bill Ivey, a local boy, and a sophomore, who was the council president. He was listed as studying business administration. His is a good story.

Bill met his wife, Julia, while she was working as a librarian at Auburn. He was a grade student at UNC. They were married in 1954 at her family home; she was the fourth generation of her family to wed there in the front parlor. (And don’t you hope that tradition has persisted?) They moved to Chapel Hill, and then to Arizona in 1969, before heading to South Carolina in 1975. Bill became the president of a hospital there. He died, and was buried in, South Carolina in 1998, age 70. His wife passed away in 2013. They had three children and nine grandchildren.

This is a simple little highlight placeholder in the Greek section of the yearbook. The cutline simply says “Alpha Gam affair.”

Alpha Gam, where the women were charming and the candles seemed unnecessarily long.

No one wanted you to linger at their parties long enough to watch those giant stacks of wax disappear … but the blurb about their sorority tells us they held an event called the Sunrise Dance … so, maybe?

There’s nothing with this photo, but it’s obviously a fraternity house mother fulfilling the other duties as assigned part of her job. I don’t know anything about either of these two people, but it’s a charming shot.

Cosplay has gone on for longer than you thought. These are the women of Delta Zeta guarding … something.

Just a few pages later, mixed among the ads, there’s another shot of these same women showing off their combat boots. Or their knees. Who can say what the photographer’s risque intention was there.

Most of the ads are all text, just a few with clip art. The interesting ones are the few ads for businesses that existed until my time on campus, or a few famous local names.

WJHO was, back then, a station in neighboring Opelika. It is the ancestor of the modern WANI, which is one of the five stations five stations I was on in my time. This advertisement likely misses the legendary Smilin’ Jack Smollon by just a year or two. He’d come along and work there and run it for the next 40 years, definitely a character.

At some point the call letters went to a station just to the north. In 2022 it became a classic rock station, but it looks to be off the air these days. Shame, too. WJHO took it’s calls from the station founder, a radio and magnetic tape pioneer, John Herbert Orr. He taught college students Morse code while he was in high school. He helped maintain the original campus station, and then dismantled it, which I’ve written about here before. He attended school for one term in the 1920s, and then went out into the working world. The man was a real genius of his age. But his was a different age.

And that’s where we will end this look at the 1946 Glomerata. Forty photos in four installments (parts one, two and three) was a pretty good start, and I thank you for skimming along with me.

The idea, now, is to look back on the obvious anniversary years. So 100 years ago, the 1924 Glomerata, is where we’ll turn, starting next Friday. Should be a lot of fun, and there will so much to enjoy before then, starting with the weekend!


22
Mar 24

An unusually quick Friday post

We will return you to your regularly scheduled Friday post next week, perhaps. Right now, I am ahead, busy and behind in all of the most unusual ways. As it relates most to the Friday material, I don’t have anything in the queue. Shame on me for only scanning three weeks worth at a time, when, clearly, there should be six weeks prepared at any given moment.

The lamentations will continue at another time, and quietly, but, for now, this is a quicker way to work through a few Friday things.

The forsythia looks beautiful. We have several in the backyard, like this one here.

And there’s one proud and well shaped one that stands on one of the front corners of the property.

These, I wish, stayed just like this all year. They are gorgeous from any distance, any time of day.

Welcome back to California, where we enjoyed this spot a little over a week ago. This is Spooner’s Cove, a part of Montana de Oro State Park, near Los Osos, California.

  

Spooner’s Cove is where Islay Creek empties into the Pacific Ocean. It’s a beautiful spot, in California’s lifetime undergoing the long, patient process of turning from a rugged and dramatic place where land meets the sea into a beautiful and calm beach. All of California feels like it is in that process. The human impression and human memory seems so long, but it is so fleeting to the waves and the winds and the rocks. We think we understand, we’ve only begun to realize what we don’t know.

Anyway, the cove has a pebbly beach, tide pools, caves, and unique rock formations to climb around on especially at lower tides. (There was an arch, so typical of the central California coast, but it collapsed from the weather and erosion just a few years ago.)

Oh, and if you want to see something wonderful, take an adult who grew up around tide pools back to tide pools. A remarkable thing happens.

I often tell journalism students that the difference between them and nursing students and engineering students is a simple one. Nurses work on anatomical models to learn their craft. Engineering majors will use popsicle sticks and other materials and some complex software before they’re ever allowed to touch plans that will lead to a bridge or a dam. We learn our craft in public. And here’s further proof.

Student journalists from the Daily Iowan, a non-profit paper, have purchased two local newspapers saving them from shutting down. Students from the University of Iowa will help both papers cover their communities. Iowa student journalists buy two local papers saving them from closure

What will kill cable television, and severely hurt the business of the regular networks in terms of revenues? The diminution of sports on regular TV. Do NFL Sign-ups Stick Around?

While some may assume a majority of users who sign-up around tentpole events (like big NFL games) will quickly cancel, this isn’t borne out in the data. In the case of Peacock, by the end of February, nearly seven weeks after the AFC Wild Card Weekend, Antenna observed 29% of the AFC Wild Card sign-up cohort had canceled their subscription, meaning 71% remained subscribed. Peacock’s one month survival rate across all 2023 sign-ups was 78%.

For Paramount+, Antenna observed that at the end of February 65% of the Super Bowl LVIII sign up cohort either remained subscribed to their paid subscription or had converted their free trial to paid. Antenna’s initial Paramount+ estimate does not include iTunes distribution, which Antenna estimates was 21% of the Paramount sign-ups.

I hope everyone is paying attention, and programming and planning accordingly.


15
Mar 24

Your weekend meditation

This is probably the sort of deep philosophy you can get from a weather-beaten, or even an artificially weathered, plank at Hobby Lobby, but I saw this at a restaurant in Cambria this week and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before, and look …

Sometimes, you get a thunderclap. Something short of an epiphany, but no less important. Sometimes they happen in dreams, or staring in the mirror, or in random moments at red lights. But this one was a carefully stenciled platitude on a weight-bearing column in a seaside restaurant and it was perfectly timed …

There’s a few ways you can use that expression, perfectly timed. It could mean, in this context, that you receive a quick stab of clarity. Or it could mean the introduction of new information or a new concept when you’re ready to be receptive, and willing to give real thought to what you’re told. I suppose it could also mean both. That’s how I’m choosing to take this. I was ready for the sudden 2×4 across my brow, and willing to learn what it meant. And at that moment, as I passed this on the right, and looked up, there it was.

Maybe it was having just come off the sand, or having that persistent feeling of salt on my skin. Maybe it was the jet lag. But, most likely, I’m just ready to accept real wisdom when I see it, even if it is from a fortune cookie or, as in this case, a restaurant motto.

It seemed fundamental. It seemed obvious. It was like any straightforward invention where you smack your head and wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Why didn’t I think of that?

It doesn’t hurt that it was a restaurant with really good fish tacos, either. So, thanks John and Kernn. (And thanks for the tacos, too.) There are a lot of ways one could take to heart. I’ve already started pondering them. And will continue to do so.

That word, the one at the end, that’s powerful.


8
Mar 24

The 1946 Glomerata, part three

More photos, via the new desktop camera. The workflow is getting a little bit better. The quality of photos seem a bit nicer, and I expect they will continue to improve. I am, so far, quite pleased. This feels, at least, like a more efficient way to share ancient photos.

So here are a few more selected shots from the 1946 Glomerata. The first few shots can be found, here in the blog, where this seems to be becoming the Friday feature. The full collection lives in the Glomerata section, of course.

Let’s see a bit more of what was worth memorializing 78 years ago, shall we?

So here are five freshmen. You can tell from their rat caps, which we touched on last week. Also, you can tell from the caption.

Why are the freshmen running around in their pajamas? This is about the Georgia Tech game. This yearbook is from 1946, and this is from the 1945 football season. This is an event commemorating Auburn’s first home game against Georgia Tech, their first ever home game, as it turns out. That was in November of 1896 and Auburn wrecked Tech, 45-0, a score that might have had more to do with Zzzzs than the now-traditional Xs and Os of football.

Tech, you see, was coming in by a special train in the early morning before that 1896 game. Some API students decided to head down to the tracks and coated the rails on either side of the train station with grease, lard, soap and who knows what else. The train couldn’t stop, so the visiting team had to walk back, several miles, on that same railway, football gear in hand. When they got wise, Georgia Tech got mad. They refused to play the Tigers the next year, and only suited up in 1898 when the university threatened expulsion over any similar pranks. But the legend was by then, well, legendary. The Wreck Tech Pajama Parade, an annual (but sadly discontinued) commemoration and symbolic reenactment of the hi-jinks featuring a pajama-clad march to the Train Depot for a pep rally and even more questionable hijinxs.

Hence the pajamas. After this parade, the Tigers lost 20-7 in Atlanta. Blame the freshmen.

Which brings us to the athletics section of the 1946 Glomerata. Here’s a generic shot that fronts the section. If there was a caption, I’d tell you all about it. Alas.

I’ve settled on avoiding headshots for this feature, but this is Curtis Kuykendall. Curtis Kuykendall was a bad, bad man. In 1944, against Miami, he rushed for 307 yards rushing, still a school record, and probably it always will be. (In the 80 years since, just five SEC running backs have broken 300 yards in a single game.)

He was a two-time team captain, a Blue-Gray all star, and was drafted by Washington, but he never played in the NFL. Kuykendall became a veterinarian, something of a family tradition.

Here’s a wide shot from a football game. This one was played in nearby Columbus, Georgia. This is the annual meeting with rival Georgia, who won this game 35-0.

The legend goes that, for years, the two head coaches would sit down and separate the gate money between the two schools. One dollar for yours, one dollar for mine.

Those buildings in the background aren’t there anymore. In their place now are parking lots and the town’s civic center.

This is one of my favorite photos in the book, and perhaps from the decade. Let’s jump in.

The guy on the left is Robert Larry Riedel, a pre-vet major from Florida. He passed away in 1967, two kids. His daughter was in the jewelry business. His son became a champion saddle bronc rider. His wife survived him by 50-plus years.

The next guy over is Herman Smith. He’s listed as a pre-law junior. A quick search doesn’t yield much definitive about him. Blame the last name. (No relation, by the way.)

The third young man is Bill Cook, who would become a veterinarian. He worked in Tennessee for almost 60 years. Loved the lake. He died in 2016 at the age of 91.

On the far right is Louis McClain, also a pre-vet major. He died just three years after this photo, in Birmingham, in 1948. He was just 24 years old. I don’t see any stories about his death in the local paper. He’s buried back in his hometown, in Anderson, South Carolina.

I love the photo because of the young women who are leaping. Leaping into the future, really. Helen Walden is on the left. She was a local girl, a sophomore, and she was studying the perfect 1940s hairstyles and, more importantly, aeronautical administration. A little under two years from this photo she married a man named Curtis Silvernail, a sailor during the war, and an International Paper employee thereafter. They were together for 50 years before she died, in 1997. They lived around Mobile.

Then there is this confident, intent look on Wyleen Hill’s face. She’s jumping into the future, and she sees it all before her. You can just tell. A native of Dalton, Georgia, she was a senior and a pharmacy major, one of only two women to graduate from the program that year. She went home and worked in her father’s pharmacy. She helped start a school for children with developmental disabilities in 1957, a concern that is still in operation today.

She died in 2010, in her mid-80s. The second sentence in her obituary noted her smile, which was still radiant even into her later years. The fourth sentence mentions her time as a cheerleader. It also mentions her additional work with another health care foundation. It looks like she has six children and five grandchildren. Wyleen sounds like a wonderful woman.

The cutline here says this is from the Mississippi game. Modern iterations of the 1945 basketball schedule tell me that Auburn didn’t play Mississippi that year. They did, however, play Mississippi State four times — twice in December and twice in February. I guess if you were taking a train you decided to play two days in a row.

Auburn won three of four.

Let’s check on the track team. On the left we have Don Harper, a sophomore from tiny Elba, Alabama, population of less than 3,000 back then and not much more today. Harper was studying agricultural engineering. He caught on with Thiokol Chemical in 1955 and worked there for 34 years. He worked on the Saturn V rockets and on ballistic missile and space shuttle programs, specifically the solid rocket boosters.

He helped found his church. He was married for almost 48 years, until his death. He and his wife had two children. One of them is a now-retired business professor.

Running alongside Harper is Harold Hartwig, who was a freshman from just up the road in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I haven’t uncovered much about him, however. (The year book cut his head off, not me.)

Similarly, I found a Tom Tabor, who is the young man jumping on the left, here. He is listed as a junior studying business administration. But I’m not sure if the older man I found has long jumps in his past, so I’ll leave it alone.

This other fellow, though, getting ready for the hurdles, on the right? That’s Richard Lasday. He was studying veterinary medicine, which seems to be a theme, this week. Born in Pittsburgh, he was a gardener and a painter, and active in his Jewish communities. He went to Cornell, and then Auburn. He served, domestically, in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He married, in 1950, a woman he met on a blind date. They had three children, and they had five grandchildren. Lasday lost his wife, who seemed incredibly active in every community they would call home, in 2011. They were married almost 62 years. Richard worked in the veterinary field until he was 85. He passed away at 95.

There’s a building on campus named after this man. I took classes there for three terms. At that time, I thought it was named after two people. Most buildings get the shorthand, last name treatment. This one got two names and, for a student concerned about making it into classroom on time, it just seemed like this building was named after two folks. Nope. Just the one. Just this one. This is Telfair Peet.

His middle initial is B. I just learned his middle name was Boys. Peet was the drama department chair in his day. He died at just 60 years old, about two decades after this photo was taken. He’s younger in this photo than I am today. His wife survived him by decades. I was still attending plays in the building named after her husband when she died.

Speaking of performances, our last photo of the day is of Dr. Hollace Arment. He was the director of the glee club. You can tell he’s excited, because he’s just heard of these new inventions called briefcases and backpacks. He’s just waiting for the first ones to arrive in local stores.

He graduated from an Idaho high school, and would wind up singing all over the country. Probably you and I will never know how he wound up at API, but Arment was a singer of some renown. He was a tenor, and he performed all over the country. In the 1930s, he was in a group called The Balladeers. I believe he might be singing lead on the song Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming.

He retired from the Daytona Beach Community College in 1973, where he spent the last nine years of his career. Soon after the local paper wrote a profile on the man, his childhood in a covered wagon, singing for others, traveling, and teaching. He was also an accomplished puppeteer and, possibly, an amateur geologist. His wife was a high school teacher. They had at least two children according to that first story. He died, just three years after retiring in Florida, at 70.

If I keep looking these people up they will just get more and more interesting, so this is probably a good place to wrap it up for now.