Sunny. No shade. And 84 degrees in the prime of the day. Spring has arrived. I went for a ride in it.
And this is the wall I hid behind about three-quarters of the way through my ride. A banana, a bit of water, a deep breath.
My bike is dirty.
It was good to get outside. I spent time today grading and coordinating student-journalists who were covering the second student death in the last two weeks.
You hate that all of this happened — another young person taken far too soon — but at the same time I can’t help but be proud of my particular students. They did a fine job in challenging circumstances. This time our paper is on hiatus for the summer, our new editor is still building his new staff and the students had just started taking finals.
Samford student Caroline Neisler died this morning. The university held a memorial service this evening. Our student-reporters got a couple of quotes, some art and wrote a story, all within a few hours, and under finals pressure.
I didn’t know Caroline, but having read the things her friends are writing about her she seemed like a fine young lady:
The adult bald eagle was found nearly a year ago in one of the Fisheries’ ponds. The eagle recuperated and is now flying well on its own, hopefully back to his old nest after being released near the location where it was found.
The experts said they couldn’t find anything wrong with the eagle, despite a full battery of tests, it just didn’t seem to have the necessary endurance or desire to fly. Looks good now though.
The Raptor Center says it takes in between 200 and 275 birds of prey from across the Southeast and has treated and released thousands of birds back into the wild.
So I downloaded Vine. I haven’t done anything with it yet. I’m waiting to see something amazing and use it one time, and then walk away. (At some point you have plenty of ways to capture atmosphere, after all.)
Like other newsrooms, KSDK uses Vine to show the personalities and the processes behind the curtain, but Anselm says the tool is also useful for finding stories.
She suggests searching local hashtags, like #STL in her area, and #breaking. “A lot of people think it’s a really lighthearted, fun thing, but you can get serious content from it,” Anselm says.
There is a video, which is useful. Just like Vine, it is 9:13 long.
The next video is more entertaining. Someone mentioned the Golden Trailer Awards earlier this semester. Those are the awards given for best movie trailers. The Golden Trailers began in 1999. That’s because in 1989 they saw the best trailer ever, recovered for a decade and then started judging every other inferior product.
This being the best one ever:
This movie, Captain Phillips, is coming out in October:
You might remember the circumstance behind it in 2009.
This part better be in the story. They downplay it here, but this an impressive series of shots by the SEALs:
Zachary is a fourth grader at a large New York City public elementary school. Each day he reads the Department of Education lunch menu online to see what is being served. The menu describes delicious and nutritious cuisine that reads as if it came from the finest restaurants. However, when Zachary gets to school, he finds a very different reality. Armed with a concealed video camera and a healthy dose of rebellious courage, Zachary embarks on a six month covert mission to collect video footage of his lunch and expose the truth about the City’s school food service program.
A spokeswoman for the Education Department, Marge Feinberg, said in an e-mail that vegetables and fruit were served daily and she suggested that Zachary must have chosen not to take the vegetables served in his cafeteria.
“It would not be the first time a youngster would find a way to get out of eating vegetables,” she wrote. Zachary responded that he always took every item he was offered.
On Monday, Zachary thought he was in trouble again when he was sent to the principal’s office and found two men in black suits waiting for him.
They turned out to be representatives from the Education Department’s Office of School Food, he said, who complimented him on his movie, asked for feedback on some new menu choices, and took him on a tour of the cafeteria kitchen.
Then he sat down for lunch with the officials. The adults ate the cafeteria lunch of chicken nuggets, carrots and salad.
Zachary had pork and vegetable dumplings – brought from home.
Went running tonight. We realized that the trail near our home is measured out perfectly, so I can say that, this evening, I shuffled along a 5K, here:
It is blurry because, when my feet are pounding and I have no breath and the blood is flowing everything sort of looks that way. But at least there was honeysuckle:
So there we were this evening beside the green leaves, the light green weeds, over the brown runoff dirt and through the honeysuckle, running and walking and shuffling five kilometers. I do not know what is happening.
(This phrase is now protected as winded-intellectual property. It will probably be used quite often.)
(So is the expression “winded-intellectual property.”)
We held the last critique meeting of the school year for the newspaper. The newsroom closes down for the summer. Some people graduate, others take a deep breath. I thanked them for their hard work. I bragged on them, despite the huge error in the headline of the lead story.
Class was held. Things were discussed. Everyone’s mind is outside because the beautiful spring weather has shown up and it all feels very real and, finally, incontrovertibly here.
The newsroom folks gave me two doughnuts. That’s how you end a Wednesday:
Made it home in time to see the last half of the baseball game. Auburn hosted Samford. Everyone wanted to know who I would cheer for. Samford pays me so …
Auburn won 9-3, in yet another comeback. Both teams are in their respective conference post-season hunts. The two teams have almost identical conference records. Samford hits for power, Auburn has lately been looking for any hits that drive in runs. They’ve spent their conference schedule getting beaten up by the baseball teams in the country. Auburn has won both of the two mid-week games this season.
The last time Samford beat Auburn was March of last year, at Samford, and it was dramatic:
Here’s a mystery: After tonight’s game The Yankee, Adam and I caught dinner at Mellow Mushroom. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed this on the ground next to the door. I’ve boosted the contrast so we can see it a bit more clearly:
It says “Heard & Swope 1905.” A quick search of the genealogy sites tells me there was a Sylvester McDaniel Swope (1852-1923). He was a preacher in Talladega, which is about 90 minutes away today. It was a little different in his day. But Sylvester had a son in 1877, Arthur, who married Addie Lee Heard. Arthur is buried here in Auburn, so maybe these are the right people. (There were 31,000 people in the county and about 1,600 in the town at the time. How many different Heards and Swopes could there have been?)
The first gas pump was four years away and the year before there a total of 37 party line phones in town. Those tidbits, and this picture, come from Logue and Simms’ (1981) incomparable pictorial history.
That map is from 1903, when College Street was still Main. See that empty spot at lot 34? I think that’s where this Heard & Swope marker would go in in 1905. You can count the front doors today and it makes sense, for the most part. But I’m not sure what Heard and Swope were building. Yet.
Every year, at the end of the year, I buy dinner for the people who work on The Samford Crimson. There is a giant platter of Roly Poly.
That night was tonight. We commemorated it with a Twitter photograph:
Not everyone is there, of course, but there is a fair amount of talent sitting at that table, and a good bit of potential beyond that, too.
Later in the evening, we’d worked our way down to the “I-can’t-believe-it-is-over” end. The outgoing editor and the incoming editor, putting this last paper to bed:
Katie Willis, who aspires to run her own photography business, handed the reigns to Zach Brown, who draws philosophical stick figures for fun. We asked Katie to consider running the paper last year on the basis of her success at everything and a year’s experience as the editor of the literary arts magazine on campus. She is an incredible talent and she proved it again this year.
She’s worked for me in some way or another all four of her years on campus. I’d like to find a way to prevent her from graduating, just so she has to stick around for one more.
Zach, meanwhile, is someone I met in perhaps his second semester in school. I gave him advice on his website and watched him handle everything in the class with ease. He’s a thinker, sharp guy. He’s been the opinions editor for the last three semesters and one of those people who, you can tell, is probably going to do big things. I expect him to start doing those big things next fall with the paper.
We get some fantastic students in our program. At the picnic last week the faculty sat and observed many of the seniors, who’d naturally circulated to the same tables. We were impressed by the collection of their talent. The hardest working of them all come through the Crimson and spend time working over InDesign and getting their hands dirty with newsprint. And even when the seniors move on, there is always another group of promising students who eagerly jump in as freshmen and sophomores. Would that they all did, but I’m proud and grateful for all those that do.
And so at the end of the night, right around midnight, they sent the final copy to the publisher. The last speeches, the last jokes. Everything was commemorated with Vine, which is how things must be done these days. Programs were closed. Lights were turned off. Doors were shut.
New ones are opening.
And then my phone rang: “My car won’t start. Can you help me?”
Sure. Of course.
If there’s anything better I haven’t found it, and only because I’m not looking.