IU


12
May 17

I do not want to hear Tubthumping when I’m 85

Musical encoding is a powerful thing. Researchers are only just beginning to understand its importance, and I imagine it has a lot more value than even the hefty weight of reminiscence.

Now think of it, think of the music someone is going to play for us one day.

Which brings to mind two quick stories.

A colleague here is doing oral histories with alumni who are now in their 90s. She stopped by my office the other day and mentioned some interesting little tidbit in the ongoing process. Two students were in my office at the time and I looked at them and said something like “Just think, someone is going to approach you one day, in 2087 or so, and ask for your recollections about this place.”

And the student goes “2087. That’s not a real year.”

I hear ya, pal.

And, today, we learned that next week my colleague will do an oral history with a woman who is 102 years old. I wondered where that put that woman on the list of oldest living alumni. There’s a story in here somewhere, I figured.

So I called the alumni association and they did a bit of digging and we found out that, last September, the oldest surviving alumnus on record was a 111-year-old alumnus.

Think of it, 111. That’s a life born around 1905 who saw all but the very first planes, and then saw us go to the moon, and then perhaps has learned that we have people living in a tin can circling 250 miles above us. Those and all of the other things that they have seen. All the stories that person must know.


3
May 17

A new thing in the video below

I had a nice meeting today with some thoughtful and talented people and we discussed creating a podcast that highlights some of their interesting work. We’re just getting started with the idea, but it could be a very promising project, based on all of the enthusiasm in the room. This one is not the podcasts about podcasts. Nor is it the one which is just the ranking of things. (I’m going to call that one “We Rank Things.”) No, this one will be full of interesting topics and experts. It should come online in the summer or fall.

On my desk there is actually a notepad full of potential show types. It is a slightly annoying thing, this list.

I also spent time in a production studio today. And I spent time in email today. I spend time in email every day. This long note here, this short note there, a summary that probably has more information than any one reader will need, but all of them might think to consult, and recommendation letters.

There’s a late semester rush for references. I am happy to provide them, especially for some of the more talented people like I discussed today, but it does seem unusual that there are places out there still filling their internships.

Also, right as I was walking out the door to go home for the evening I learned of another graduating student’s big interview come next week. If my math is correct that means fully a half of the seniors I’ve worked with this year have jobs before graduation — not too shabby in the journalism and broadcasting game — and another one interviewing 48 hours after graduation. I believe almost every member of the underclasses will be either in school or interning over the summer. That must say something about the quality of their work and the curriculum they’re in.

Also, today, I picked up this book:

I’ve read pretty much the entire book online. This was the source material for the map that we made to help us understand my great-grandfather’s time in the Army. There are a lot more photographs in the book, of course. Here’s the map I made a few years ago:

I tried to look up the men that compiled that unit history book, but they all have remarkably common names, good, solid, middle America names. People of that sort, from that particular era are sometimes hard to find on simple Internet searches. Now, in the back of the book there is a partial roster of the regiment. Probably recalled from memory and various early rosters and whatever names showed up on subsequent reports, so not hardly complete. My great-grandfather isn’t it. But there is one man who had the same last name, a Texan. He was a lieutenant, got married, shipped out, made it home and lived a long life as a successful rice farmer and rancher. He died in 2003 at 86. My great-grandfather passed away just shy of 82 in 2001. (And think of all that you would see in a lifetime of that span.)

The commander of the 137th was Maj. Gen. Paul Baade. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and educated at West Point, Baade was in the 87th Infantry during WWI, fighting in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in the final hours of that war. And then, three decades later, he returned to the region commanding the 35th Division and maneuvered them over 1,600 miles through the end of the war in Europe. Must have seen some familiar territory. He retired in 1946 and died in 1959. And his is a fine obituary. The regimental commander during my great-grandfather’s time in Europe was Col. William S. Murray. He was a highly regarded commander, and after the war Murray taught at the Infantry School, before retiring in 1948 and dying in 1949. We don’t know what battalion my grandfather was in, so everything about his service is at a basic, bird’s eye level.

I like to wonder, then, if my great-grandfather, the medic, knew the medics in those photographs in the video above.

Anyway, my Google searches have now started wandering for the evening, obviously. So let’s wrap this up … rain tomorrow, starting tonight, even. We are wearing jackets again, like you do in May.

Hey, what did you think of the new video bumpers? Didn’t notice? Scroll up and play it again.


3
May 17

I don’t yet know where this is going

I rode my bike to work this morning, thinking I would pedal slow, so I wouldn’t get my heart rate up. Didn’t want to break a sweat before a day in the office. I walked outside with my bike and it was a bit chilly. More than a bit, really. So I figured I would pedal a bit, just to get warm. Then, of course, I was in the breeze and getting chilly.

So I broke a little tiny sweat. And then spent the rest of the morning trying to convince myself I didn’t have a chill. By lunch I was better, but it was lunch time, which of course meant going outside. But the sky! It was blue! Of course it was. We’re into May. It is supposed to be nice weather. It is supposed to be routine and shouldn’t be a novelty. That’s the point. If you are saying “But look! The sky! She’s blue!” That’s pointing out the novelty. In May.

But at lunch someone complained about the pollen. And later, in an evening meeting, someone else complained about the pollen. It has been bad. It has been horrible. I haven’t noticed, thankfully. No big piles of yellow powder, no sinus difficulties. So there are trade offs, I suppose.

My meeting this evening, by the way, was with new student media leaders. Think of that. This is finals week. They’re in a long planning meeting for next year. They could be cramming. They were in a conference room. I love that about people who work in student media. They could be most anywhere, but there they are, giving you good work and devotion to their product.

When I rode my bike home it wasn’t cold. And I could ride my bike home. I think of that a lot on the four miles in. Didn’t notice any pollen, either.

I mentioned yesterday the bull fighting frame I got at the Surplus Store. I got one other thing there, too:

map

This is a giant poster. A re-creation of a 19th century map, complete with period advertisements on the side. Even the water stains are a reproduction.

Now, normally, I don’t go in for reproductions. I’m snobby like that, but this cost me $.50, and it represents the work of an 1856 cartographer:

map

Plus, it’ll be fun figuring out the stories about the advertisers on the borders. Whatever became of them and their businesses and dreams? Do they have descendants still here? Whatever I find will wind up here, too, and that’s worth the half dollar I spent on it. 

Just like a good map, to tell you where you’re going. 


28
Apr 17

And we’re clear



27
Apr 17

What day is it?

I skimmed through Twitter before I sat down to write this, as I sometimes do. And I had three intelligent tweets in a row. That’s worth pointing out:

Elsewhere, another day at the office. We’ve wrapped up all of the shows, except for one final shoot tomorrow. There are oral histories being booked and recorded. Classes are winding down. Parties and end-of-the-school-year meetings are being held. I attended two of the former and one of the latter. I got a nice thank you card.

And I thought I might start going through some old videos. I had this idea last week while I was working on new video graphics. (I have three new opening and closing videos after spending some quality time with After Effects.) So here is something I shot in Belgium in 2015:

The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is a Roman Catholic church in the heart of Brussels. Beautiful church. Worship here is thought to date back to the ninth century. The current structure was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. The stained glass windows and confessionals go back that far. The pulpit was added in the 17th century and the carillon, heard here, was installed in 1975. During 20th century restorations the remains of a Romanesque church and a Romanesque crypt were discovered.

And now I want another Belgian waffle.