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20
Mar 18

The day of the spring equinox, and more winter

No one told the weather it is now spring:

So this is all about weather today, then, I guess.

A podcast I made today, which is not about the weather at all, as it turns out. Except today’s guest is enjoying more winter than we are. Well, he’s receiving more winter. I don’t know if he is enjoying it:

A video I shot this afternoon:

‪The first day of spring, and the return of #AShortFilmOfNoConsequence #XVI‬

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One of those things you never shake:

I did two nights of this in Little Rock, and a few of these in Alabama, including two on the national news. The outtro in the late night and early morning hours is always so sadly similar. “Authorities are waiting until the sun comes up, when daylight shows us what the true scale of the damage is … ” I always hated those stories, standing out there listening to people wondering what their lives had become is no way to spend an overnight. And so it is in Jacksonville, Alabama, right now, where I know many of the folks covering the storms, and the people there are seeing a lot of damage, but fortunately the campus of hard-hit Jacksonville State was enjoying Spring Break. That fortuitous timing, and early warnings, probably helped saved lives and kept the injury count low.


13
Mar 18

Everything is local, except Perth, Australia

Spencer Elliott came back to the podcast today to talk about the “buy local” marketing phenomenon. He started all of this out with a little anecdote designed for my neck of the woods …

Little could he know that Milo’s has become a too-important part of my routine these days. It’s a little bit of home. Indeed, the stuff is brewed just eight miles from where I grew up. I can plot out three routes from A to B without thinking about it and there was a time I could have probably driven the thing with my eyes closed.

I’ve never done that, because I drink tea and that keeps me awake. It’s an expression. But, then, so is the phrase “Buy local” and its many derivatives. The point is a clever marketing of something here at home. Makes you feel good. Propping up the local economy. Sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars, as Elliott explained.

But, he said, there are no tea plantations in Alabama. Fair enough, but I’m assuming that water — and I don’t know anything about their actual production — ran down Muscoda Hill and directly into some fanciful and terrific tea cistern they have on site.

Why, look, they put it right out front!

Obviously that’s a drainage system. In point of fact the taste comes from the red clay, it gets into everything else, may as well be mixed with the international tea leaf blend.

Anyway, fun show. It wasn’t all about tea. I tried to ask of him all of the questions a shopper might ask. To do that I imagined myself at a grocery store, standing next to a guy who knew about this stuff and was ready to answer every nagging thought and worry and concern I had about things from produce to artisanally stirred, fair trade stomped, sustainably green LEED certified, child labor law obeying, down the street pasta sauce some fictitious grandma made, buongiorno!

But it’s interesting how we are attracted to that, isn’t it? I had a family member, years ago, that made these fried fruit pies. This aunt of mine would go door-to-business door selling them to the local shops and they’d put them right up on the counter and they sold like, well, hot fruit pies. It was a thing in her hometown for a little while, and that’s probably all it ever needed to be. But you would have sworn they tasted better just because, maybe, you knew her, or you’d heard of her name, or because the merchant told you it was the lady who lived over by the river, you know the one. But everything is local if the world gets small enough, anyway. That local appeal might not be entirely instinctive, but it’s got to be fairly close.

Instinctively, I know this is the wrong time of year for this:

‪Do not want. #snow #March‬ #Indiana

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This morning it wasn’t even in the forecast, now we’re going to be in a squall for an hour or two. I don’t even know what a squall is, really. Turns out it isn’t about volume at all. Nor is it about the weather hating me in mid-March.

A bit more of yesterday's snow squall. Yesterday, as in mid-March.

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Stuck to the ground, but not anything to worry over. No need rush out to the grocery store. All the local stuff has already been picked over anyway.

You’ll find more on Instagram and still more on Twitter. And you can hear more podcasts on Podbean as well.


8
Mar 18

My part has, hopefully, been done for the day

I did my part this morning. It was either that or just accept my plastic and aluminum and cardboard fate. As I did all of the on-site sorting, it started flurrying again.

‪"Now stop the snow and make with the spring."‬

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And I’m not even asking much in return, except for a little meteorological recognition of the time of year.

It’s springtime. It should be sunny and warm. People should be taking vacations and … oh … well, I sorta wrote myself into a corner with this one. The podcast today was about vacation photos and a very popular Instagram account.

And, finally, I did an impromptu and unscripted sports show tonight. I played co-anchor with the guy on the right, in the video below. It was entertaining, at least. And then they all sat down and produced this show, which is still pretty neat to me:

More! On Twitter, on Instagram and more podcasts.


6
Mar 18

Very quickly …

Saw this on our walk to lunch today:

John and Paul were wrong …

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Clever sign. Didn’t eat pizza, though.

Today’s podcast featured an interesting talk about the design of the bicycle. And I got to do it with someone who rides bikes and designs things and teaches design for a living. It’s a delightful example of a person explaining things in an approachable way, and me asking questions about it.

And the news crew was back in the studio tonight. Here’s what they did:

More on Twitter, check me out on Instagram and more podcasts on Podbean as well.


7
Feb 18

There’s an 88-year-old jazz standard at the bottom

We talked for like 10 solid minutes and we never made a “braaaaains” joke.

We did talk about the Olympics, CTE, brain donation and the women who are offering theirs for chronic traumatic encephalopathy research. It is an interesting conversation, and a timely one. And of course I’ll be long-tailing this episode through the Winter Games.

I’m sure you saw the big rocket launch yesterday. It was of course terrific, but the booster landing was the best part. That was a somehow-inspiring bit of theater. Not the least of which for its economic impact, or the somehow nonsensical rockets descending visual, but the whole thing just looked like science fiction, but you watch that a few times and you have to come to realize that is our aeronautical reality.

Oh, the car was fun. It was a silly gimmick and a great because-we-can moment and apparently it was a placeholder for some actual payload or scientific effort. And the car won’t last terribly long in the harsh environment of space but —

Wait a minute … Oh this can’t be a good thing:

By now you know that #falconheavy sent a car into space yesterday. Welp … #tesla

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I have that car in my office. It was a stocking stuffer one Christmas from Santa and his helper, my mother-in-law. So I have four or five cars sitting on a shelf. That’s not exactly accurate. I found a chunk of broken asphalt outside the office one day and that seemed like a dangerous thing to leave in the road, so I picked it up. Before I could figure out what to do with it I took it inside. Since I have five Hot Wheels and they now park on the six-inch chunk of road on a bookshelf.

If anyone on my floor ever brings their children to work I’ll be able to offer them a toy. Maybe they’ll know what to do with the bit of road the cars sit on.

I’ve thought about getting a lot of that old orange car track and turning my little office into a racing wonderland, but then I’d spend days just trying to figure out which car is the fastest.

John Mahoney died a few days ago. He came to acting a bit later in life than most, having taught English for a time and then becoming the editor of a medical journal. But he built a remarkable career on stage and screen. I knew him as a college professor in Moonstruck, a manager for the White Sox in Eight Men Out and a copy in Striking Distance. He was a G-man in In The Line Of Fire. He was a newsman in Hudsucker Proxy and a lobbyist in The American President. Just recently we saw him playing a grieving character on E.R. But it was Frasier where I learned he had a gift for comedy.

This isn’t a strong Mahoney episode, but it is illustrative of one of the things he did, and remains my favorite episode:

What you see throughout the series, during the times when they wrote Niles as a cartoon and, later when they had to humanize him and, thus, made Frasier a more silly character, there was always their father, giving the show this terrific even keel. And then there were moments throughout the show that you found this thing had heart, this 11-year series had soul, which is a lot to say about a sitcom. And every time you had those scenes, every time you got that sense, it was because of Mahoney’s character and his portrayal. It is a remarkable thing.

Some Marty Crane scenes …

Sing us out, John Mahoney: