Jan 22

May your weekend move more slowly than your week

Bright and early once again this morning, headed in for a first-thing-this morning meeting, and was rewarded with a bright and clear morning for my effort.

I run a small Friday morning meeting and 80 percent of us were in attendance, a success given these pandemic times. The rest of the people are all students and, at the end of their second week of classes, they are all in full-on “Let’s just get to Spring Break mode.”

Oh, but aren’t we all?

When that meeting wrapped I went into one of the television studios, because there was television to produce. We will see the first shows on Monday, or thereabouts, but I was taken back by a philosophical conversation that evolved while we were transitioning between shots.

The host of the film show was discussing his move to wear suit coats this semester, because it is cold, you see. But he likes the cold. Prefers it. But he also likes warm temperatures. He might even prefer that, we decided, as he leaned into the bit. And before long he found himself saying that he imagined a place where he would be all the temperatures at once, and what would that feel like? Would it feel like anything at all?

Which gave us the moment to wonder what the absence of temperature would feel like. Certainly it couldn’t be room temperature, for obvious reasons. It also wouldn’t be the cold vacuum of space, for similar adjective-driven logic. So what would it feel like, the absence of temperature? And I found myself wondering about that for the rest of the day.

Mind you, this is a group that debates about which prepositions make the best puns.

After they’d wrapped up their second show in the studio I was able to retreat to my office to do office stuff. Until it was time to go into another studio to teach a few students how to use a new software setup.

It was there that I realized that, for the next week and a half, when I have to be in tight quarters with any of these people I will ask them if they were at the Purdue basketball game. If they rushed the court. You can find the footage online. Lots of people. Filled the stadium and then filled the court. The only people wearing masks were the cheerleaders.

I don’t know any of the cheerleaders right now, but, it turns out, I know a lot of these other people who enjoyed their moment of fandom. The rest of us are doomed.

If there is an outbreak I wouldn’t be surprised. Of course it might be difficult to find in the current trends. Of course “what even is an outbreak?” is now a thin rhetorical device. Well, here, it’s …

Computer, enhance …

We’re breaking records across this state, and locally, every day now. Consider that for a moment. Two years in and we are still breaking daily records of most any metric you’d care to examine. It has all led to some interesting stratifications. (Further complicating apathy and exhaustion.) I could spell this out, but I’m sure the same is happening around you.

Around my family, it is happening again. The testing positive part, I mean. Someone with youth and vigor and the general healthiness that most of us are blessed with in our younger days is out doing things without regard for the impact of others, then brings the disease to their older, infirm relatives.

And not for the first time, because we can fix neither indifference nor selfishness.

(Which is as kind as I could be toward specific family members after two re-writes.)

Anyway, near the end of the day I had a pleasant conversation with someone I don’t normally have the chance to talk with. That chat ran longer than I realized and so I left the office at about 5:30.

I worked late all four days this week, then.

Next week I hope to only do it twice.

The daily duds: Pictures of clothes I put here to, hopefully, help avoid embarrassing scheme repeats.

This is a new jacket. Bought it in the fall, cut the tags off last night. And it’s a shirt I bought ages ago, but have maaaaaybe worn once or twice, and a new pocket square. I like all three of these things.

Just not together.

Jan 22

Give me a three-day weekend

On Wednesday I overslept because my phone’s battery died and there was no alarm. I was on time to my first scheduled part of the day but, nevertheless, it’s always difficult to shake that feeling. So, this morning I managed to overcompensate the other way. My brain insisted on waking me up several times throughout the night.

At some point, when that happens, I’d rather just stay awake all night. But despite the fitful sleep I woke up on time this morning. Good thing, too! I had a meeting first-thing. I actually had two of them scheduled at the same time. One of them was a meeting I was running, so I chose that one. It was the right choice.

It looked like this today.

That’s just the way of things.

On the plus side, I got everything off my card for the day. Each day I prepare an index card for the following day. One side has all of the known and planned tasks. On the back are things coming up on the radar, and things that could be cause for trouble, worry or concern. It’s a helpful and effective system. And, today, I got to it all.

I even had enough time to write a card for next Tuesday, but I never write them on Friday evenings. There’s no reason to unnecessarily clutter the mind over a weekend. So, instead, I left on time. I think that made twice this week.

Amy Ray sent me a guitar pick.

I guess that’s what you get when you complete the catalog. I recently purchased her live show, The Tender Hour. It’s a live show, featuring a:

treasure of a night with a top notch country band and her “home away from home,” hometown crowd! With local hero Jeff Fielder heading up the band on guitar, dobro, banjo, mandolin and vocals, this record features all the songs from Goodnight Tender, as well as songs from her previous 4 studio records, plus a ripping rendition of the Bob Seger classic, “Night Moves.” Seattle’s Eric Eagle and Keith Lowe joined in on drums and bass with the rest of her core band, Adrian Carter on fiddle, vocals, and guitar; Matt Smith on pedal steel and banjo; and special guest Phil Cook on keys, banjo and vocals. The Tender Hour does what any satisfying live record should do-it puts the listener in the room and immerses them in the humanity of the show-complete with stories, blunders, an incredible band, and a energetic heartfelt night of music!

Haven’t listened to it yet. It seems a bit weird, but I feel like I have to wait, or at least I want to wait. I’m going to have to listen to it, eventually. When the weather turns I’ll certainly want to. How could I not? But Amy Ray is just not winter music. There’s too much passion and hope and nostalgia, too many breezes and sweaty, sticky nights in her sound and lyrics. Call it, I dunno, March through November. There’s too many places in her music I’d rather be, and you can’t get to any of them from here, particularly in January.

And, also, “Night Moves?”

But I appreciate the pick. Thanks, Amy! Now I need to pick up an instrument that needs a pick, I guess. Or, what else can you do with a single guitar pick?

Skimming my way through this evening and I found a page deep in a 1929 issue of a small town paper that had a lot of wire copy filler.

As I tried to find out more about Sparkes and Morehead, I discovered that this same copy was publisehd in an upstate New York paper…four years later. There’s evergreen, and then there’s evergreen.

King Zog? He was born into a bit of nobility, fought in the Great War, took some government jobs, became Albania’s youngest prime minister, and was then forced into exile. He went back, became president, and then, after this 1927 copy was written, he made himself a dictator-king. That lasted for about 11 years. Wikipedia suggests he might not have been well liked. “About 600 blood feuds reportedly existed against Zog, and during his reign he reputedly survived more than 55 assassination attempts.” But he held the proverbial crown until Italy invaded in 1939. He lived in England, Egypt, and then France, where he died in exile…in 1961.

His wife, Geraldine, was half-American. She lived until 2002. After the smokey Zog died, she lived in Spain, Rhodesia and then South Africa. Here she is 1999.

In her last months, she was allowed to go back to Albania:

On 5 April 2004 her grandson, Leka, Crown Prince of Albania, accepted the Mother Teresa Medal awarded to her posthumously by the Albanian government in recognition of her charitable efforts for the people of Albania. Leka’s daughter Geraldine (born 22 October 2020 at Queen Geraldine Maternity Hospital in Tirana, on the 18th death anniversary of queen Geraldine) was named in her honour.

Most readers probably didn’t know that much about Albania. Some would struggle to find it on Europe‚Äôs Balkan Peninsula. You could hardly be faulted if this is all you knew about the people known as the Children of the Eagles.

I wonder what the reaction was, in 1927, when they read that little clip about the king of this sleepy little place half-a-world away. That’s a lot of cigarettes! Maybe it was a bit less imposing 95 years ago. Do you think anyone, back then, went to Wikipedia to look that guy up?

That last brief? I’m pretty sure that last one was optioned to HBO Max.

Jan 22

Is it the weekend yet? Yes.

Back to the office today, which had an appropriate early-21st century temperature inside. Good thing, too. It was cold outside. Cold, but not as cold.

So warming?

Well, yes, but to say “cold, but warming” would seem silly.

As opposed anything else that goes on here?

I don’t know what you could be —

You’ve created a fictional construct to advance this joke.


That’s silly. And, what’s more, you’ve made me rude. I just interrupted you, after all.

I see what you mean.


You interrupted yourself for a joke. One that doesn’t have a punchline and is neither original or funny.

Yeah, OK. It was cold, but warming.

It’s going to be cold all weekend, too. And then next week we’ll see some 40s again.

Really, this whole post is filler. I received an email that my new chair was going to arrive today. This seemed improbable since I’d ordered it after hours yesterday. And then, this evening I received another email telling me it wouldn’t arrive tonight but, instead, on Monday.

Yeah, no kidding. I’ve been staring out the window at the porch all night, like a kid expecting Santa or something, but Santa was bringing me a new desk chair.

So I could write extensively about that, but I’ve already invented one character for you today. I could complain about my telephone customer service woes of the week, but that — two nice, but ultimately unhelpful people, a few hours of over modulated and highly compressed hold music and carefully recorded reassurances of my importance before being disconnected while on hold — has been done to death.

All of this just gives us something to look forward to enjoying together next week.

See you then.

Dec 21

Christmas Eve

Dec 21

Let’s start the family holidays

We have arrived in Pennsylvania. We departed Nashville this morning, an airport experience without incident. Checked a bag, got a free offer to check another bag and so we did. From the ticket kiosk to the desk agent, through security, no problem. The Yankee did the pre check and I went the conventional route. We found ourself on the other side of the security checkpoint at almost the same time.

We had plenty of time for the plane, so we sat and read things for a bit. Boarded our plane, and were told about the upcoming turbulence. There was minimal turbulence. Everything was great, except for the people who don’t understand masks. And also the landing. It was a bit hard, but as I’ve been told before, it wasn’t the pilot’s fault, it was the asphalt.

We taxied a bit, and then the plane was brought to a halt. There was, the pilot said a VIP moving through the airport and everything was coming to a halt. Clearly the pilot didn’t know about the guy sitting in 20F, me, who is literally wearing a VIP arm band.

I got a good two minutes of material out of this, which earned polite chuckles from the people around me. The Yankee, meanwhile, had looked it up. How many VIPs could there be, anyway? It was the president, of course. Air Force One was landing at about the same time, and the president was heading home to Delaware. They shut down everything for these sorts of moves. Entire airports, surrounding interstates, and all of that. But it took a while.

I sent him a note.

I did not send him a note. But it got another good chuckle.

And then our plane moved to the terminal, we got off the miraculous flying tube and went through the building and out the front. My godbrother-in-law (just go with it) picked us up and drove us to his home. We’re spending two nights with their family before moving on to other family events.

An event they had scheduled tonight was postponed because of some of the scheduled attendees tested positive and, following the news, this is obviously going to be the theme of the holidays. But there are children involved in all of this and you roll with the punches, and the kids are used it at this point.

So they decorated gingerbread houses and we had lasagna and I taught one of the girls a little bit about volleyball and everyone had fun. There were three couples and five kids, four of them 10-and-under. It was a whirlwind. That will also be a theme!

How are your holidays starting? I hope they’re pleasant and safe and full of promise.