friends


5
Feb 19

We were somewhere in England …

I haven’t told this story in a while, so I may as well tell it again.

We were somewhere in England, see. I know precisely where we were, but it just seems to sound better that way. We were somewhere in England when someone took this picture:

We were in England, you see. And that was the first leg of a terrific multi-nation trip. And I was tired of taking pictures where you could see a lot of us and a little of what was going on behind us. Rather impulsively, for me, I went to a store that sold clothes and other odd things that people think are a good idea in the store and bought a selfie stick. A friend took the picture above. The picture I was taking looked like this:

Right now we’re discussing a vacation for this summer and starting to dive into the details of it. We’re planning a friend trip. And one of the selling points is, apparently, that I have a selfie stick.

Oh, sure, The Yankee made fun of it, but she quickly came to admit that it occasionally helps make better photos. She still makes fun of it.

Also, the selfie stick is pink.

(It was the only color the store had that day.)

(I told you it was impulsive.)


21
Jan 19

Traveling again

We’re traveling back into the barren and cold northlands today, after a fine weekend that was capped off by a fourth visit to Clary’s, a little time in the park, a massage and watching Savannah’s Martin Luther King Day parade. (It was two hours long and still going when we had to leave.)

It was a great visit to a lovely city that we enjoy a great deal. We discovered a fine little Mexican restaurant out of necessity today for our late lunch-on-the-go. Today’s Uber driver had just moved to the low country from the Smokies. She’s still getting used to the entirely different weather patterns, which is funny considering she’s only about 300 miles from home, but that’s an important 300 miles. That was a retirement 300 miles for her and her husband, she said. Our Uber driver on Thursday night had a similar story, but for a lifetime in the Navy and then retiring to coastal Georgia. Neither of them looked old enough to be even semi-retired. Maybe that’s the autobiographical aging process, or maybe its just the latitude.

Anyway, I mentioned Our Tree. Here it is now:

That’s The Yankee reading under Our Tree on Saturday. The weather was so perfect that day we spent most of the day in that spot. Coincidentally, that is about the same view I had in December of 2008 just before I proposed. We’d been sitting under that tree and I was waiting for The Sign. You know, the one you sometimes find yourself asking for. Eventually a leaf fell on me and I took that as the requested sign. My plan involved me leaving, so that I could come back. I excused myself to visit the restroom and, right about where I’m standing to take that photograph above, a man intercepted me and we started talking about families and marriage and biblical passages and I said, “OK, fine, that is my sign.”

So I went back to the tree, hung her engagement ring on some of the bark and called her over to scratch our initials into it. And there was her ring. She was there, I was there, it was Savannah, there was a ring and I didn’t even think up a speech. Which is odd, because this is me. I asked her if she would like to keep having adventures with me, and then another guy came up and “What’d she say? What’d she say?” as he offered to make us one of the little bamboo flowers they sell to tourists here.

I knew he’d want to be paid for that, and he should. It was ornate and involved and quite nice. We had eight dollars between us. He was disappointed, but gave us the flower and she finally said yes. Now here we are. I have at least nine dollars in my pocket today.

Anyway, we enjoyed our Saturday beneath Our Tree. It was bracketed by breakfast and a nice run, but that was pretty much the day, and it was perfect. That night we also went out for crabs on Tybee Island:

We also saw some birds:

And from the It’s Been Too Long Department, we saw Wendy!

Something like 17 years I’ve known her now. She’s even more wonderful today than she ever was.

Sunday the weather was a bit dank and I was tired and sore and still trying to overcome a few days of fun with my sinuses, so it was a low key thing. Today the parade, a spa trip and then the car ride to the airport. We made one other stop, but I’m saving those pictures for tomorrow. Be sure to stop by for those. It’ll be lovely.

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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.


5
Apr 18

We are at a conference in Nashville

This morning I responded to papers at the Southern States Communication Association. I listened to people talk about their work and then, having read their work, I asked them questions about it. You try to make a good point, share something interesting, maybe make a suggestion if something wise comes to mind. (Something wise always comes to mind.) And then, of course, you say nice things. It is important to be nice. But it is also easy, because I was responding to the top papers panel, which means that these were scored higher than all of the other academic submissions.

One paper was on the true crime niche of podcasts. Another paper was a content analysis of photos published after airplane crashes and the third paper had to do with co-parenting in the age of social media. It makes sense if you read the paper.

So I heard the 15-minutes each presentations and then responded in kind, because that’s the task of the respondent. And then I took a selfie, because that’s just du rigueur.

I was also on two panels today. The first was a media literacy panel. Spoiler: We still haven’t solved that problem, though we’d like to do so. And we seem to think that college courses on media literacy would do the trick. Hammer — nail, and all of that.

I think they would be helpful, but not everyone is going to college, or is going to come back to college for your new media literacy course. So it doesn’t completely solve the problem. No one has figured that out, yet, so we were only mildly disappointed that we didn’t resolve the problem during that 75 minute panel session.

But I did coin two phrases and drop some big names in media research!

Also, we had another panel about the midterm elections. I didn’t coin any phrases, but I talked about the unprecedented number of women who are running for congressional seats this time around. This is all taking place in Nashville, so I tried to mention one of the women in that race. A Republican congresswoman is vying for the retiring senator’s position. In a normal year in Tennessee this would seem to be an easy leap. Literally moments after the conclusion of that panel, however, new polling data was released that the leading Democrat has the upper hand in the fall vote. This is not a normal year. And maybe there will be fewer easy leaps.

This evening we got to see Bill Monroe’s statue. There’s a sign nearby noting that in 1945 the Father of Bluegrass took the stage at the Ryman with Lester Platt and Earl Scruggs and created the genre. There’s only so much you can put on a historical sign, I get that, and maybe that’s enough. Hey, there’s a statue, and you should take a picture of it on your way down to the more touristy areas.

We were in the pursuit of good barbecue and I do miss good barbecue. I mean, sure, you can get ice cream with your conference friends in any city that is big enough to hold a small conference:

But you have to be in the South to get barbecue that a group of Southerners from all parts of the South can agree is worthwhile.

Tomorrow: More conferencing! And probably more selfies. Maybe there will be more good food, too.


16
Mar 18

No wendigos allowed

Here is today’s podcast. And if you’re hungry before you listen, we’ll either solve that problem or give you some ideas. It seems there’s a new kind of meat that may be making its way into your grocery shopping list. I doubt, very seriously, that it will happen, but it is fun to contemplate, as you will soon see.

I went for a run after work, sneaking in a quick four miles around the neighborhood before our dinner with friends. And I told them about this episode. Everyone agrees it is an unusual one, even the guy sitting at the table next to us.

We were at an upscale fancy kind of place, our friend who suggested it promised the best burgers in town. And that’s always one of those things you should follow up on. Because it would be a shame to not know where the best burger in town is, first of all. Plus, the previously nominated best burger in town was merely pretty decent. There was nothing wrong with it, but we went the one time and haven’t been back in 15 months, for whatever reason.

But this place, maybe we’d go back. The burgers were certainly good, if a bit overpriced. But you’re paying, you see, for the pleasure of sitting quite close to the next table over. And those people are paying for that same privilege. So it only seemed right that I should talk about recording a podcast where we discussed what is called clean human meat.

The guy at the next table was a little put off by this. Probably because I was talking about it. Definitely because I was talking about it with a little volume. Hey, these podcasts don’t publicize themselves, you know.

Anyway, we probably stayed at that places for about three hours, on the strength of burgers and fish. And everyone had a lovely meal and time. Our dinner dates work in the library and the art museum, so they have plenty of interesting things to tell us about. And we decided in the course of all of that that there are movies we all haven’t seen, but should.

How do you know which movies those are? It seems like we’d all need the input of someone else on this. But who knows all of the movies you’ve seen? No one, really. So it is down to self reporting. And so we decided on a methodology — because this is what you do on a Friday night in a college town. After much debate and thought, we figured we would self-nominate five films each from the Oscar nominated Best Screenplay and Best Film categories dating back to 1980. So you have to go over those and find five movies per. Mine were:

Her
Grand Budapest Hotel
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
The Savages

Elizabeth
In The Bedroom
The Theory of Everything
Get Out
The Post

Next, someone is going to gather all of those in a spreadsheet and we’re going to start watching the common overlaps. There will be popcorn and merriment and, I’m sure, endless critiques.

There will be no human meat.

Happy weekend!

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