Monday


14
May 18

Where are we?

This guy just sits up there all day and keeps time. Him, a roller and a lonely squeegee. I wonder how long it took to create that. At least an hour, right? And when does that guy gets a break, who keeps things on schedule up there?

This particular art is in the Amsterdam airport:

Oh, by the way, we’re traveling. And Amsterdam was a layover, but also your first hint. We left Indianapolis this evening — it was supposed to be this afternoon, but that flight got canceled for whatever reason. So, instead of going through Detroit, we went through Minneapolis:

We saw cool clouds. I sent a picture of this to one of my former students:

He said that’s a virga cloud, which produces rain, as we see here, but the dry air evaporates it before the rain gets to the ground. He said that is what often creates the classic wispy look in clouds.

Anyway, our flight cancellation meant we got an upgrade. So we had those nice first class seats that all but turn into beds. This became a red eye, but I can’t sleep on planes. So I watch movies. Only this time the inflight selections were, I felt, somewhat lacking. I did watch Darkest Hour:

I fell asleep in the last few minutes, just before Gary Oldman’s big speech before Parliament. But I woke up in time to have breakfast, or lunch, or who knows, and watched the end of the movie. And then we landed in Amsterdam. And then another flight. And a car rental, and a brief drive and checking in and then dinner. Oh, finally food and sleep.

Where are we?

Here’s your second hint:

We didn’t have calzones, because the regional food here is bistecca fiorentina. (That’s your third hint.) Our host recommended a place, we went there, and had the bistecca fiorentina. And that was a delicious steak.

And now, the jet lag. Tomorrow we’ll figure out where we are.


30
Apr 18

What I did at work on Saturday

We are going to finally, officially say it:

Spring is here, at last:

It was late, but is not here to last. We’ll probably move directly into summer in a week or two. But for the moment, you revel in it. This is what I was doing on Saturday. Outside, dancing between the daylight and the shade, enjoying the breeze and the temperature and my sunglasses and the sun, waiting on a donor to show up to our building on campus.

A gentleman wanted to give something to the Media School. It fell to me to help get the thing in the building. The gentleman chose Saturday, so there we were. And he was on his way, late, but on his way.

He hopes out of his SUV, his two middle school children and a film student, and they all start offloading chunks of cast iron. I knew what it was, or what it would be again when he had it indoors and reassembled, but in its constituent parts it didn’t look like much. And then you started looking at details. It’s an old car:

It has great tags, and easy-to-use controls:

The thing still worked, the donor said.

And this particular tag gave you the timeline. This is from about 1937. Still in working conditioning. Mechanically mint.

It was all made in the US. The East Coast and the Midwest. Do you know what it is yet?

The only problems are a few scratches on the finish, like this one:

And some peeling 80-year-old paint:

It has a glass piece on top, still original, still pristine:

And if you’re still trying to figure it out, this piece should look a bit familiar:

Here’s the top part, beneath is the big heavy cast iron setup:

And here’s the full machine:

This is a movie projector.
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It was donated by a locally-based actor, James Lee Guy, who is very successful in Chinese cinema. He donated it to The Media School because he is a passionate, passionate film fan. He’s owned it for several years, having picked it up from a man who was running a private screening room in his home a few towns away. Before that this had been in a drive-in theater. Guy estimates it was made in about 1937. It still works and now is a fine display piece.
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A most generous donation, indeed.


23
Apr 18

Social media embeds

It’s a busy week. Things are liable to be light here, in places.

More on Instagram and check me out on Twitter as well.


16
Apr 18

More of that, again

I wrote this on Saturday: A slow(er than usual) four-mile jog, but at least it finally felt like spring. Finally, begrudgingly, not-without-a-fight, spring. And, look! It was! Spring!

Today, a whole new season! That’s not true! This season never really left!

Look, there’s video proof!

Status …

A post shared by Kenny Smith (@kennydsmith) on

We live in a snow globe! And why not it is … checking the calendar … April 16th!

‪We live in a snow globe. ‬#Bloomington #Indiana #indianauniversity

A post shared by Kenny Smith (@kennydsmith) on

Maybe March’s spring weather will show up in May.

But don’t count on it.

I did a monologue. Why not?

Dishwashing music:


9
Apr 18

Stuff from after the conference

We were in Nashville over a long weekend at a research conference. It was nice to see friends and do smart-people things. And we stayed with friends who happen to live by the conference location. So we’re going to need them to move around and follow this event around the region. They should do this to the detriment of their own social lives and careers so that they could have the pleasure of hosting us for three or four days each year, and enjoy barbecue and the like, and our delightful company.

So we’ll start sending them some brochures.

Anyway, some extra things I saw over the weekend.

Look! Up in the right corner!

That doesn’t look like a familiar Sears font. A commenter on Flickr notes:

Sears Department Store was located at the southeast corner of Church St and 8th Ave North (the building is still standing) … Remember that agriculture was, for a couple of centuries, The primary source of revenue in and around Nashville. Sears, like Montgomery Wards and others, sold farm supplies and equipment.

Just south on 8th, right behind the main store, was the farm and auto supply store … The “Ghost Sign” you photographed is located across 8th Ave North from where the farm and auto store once was and this sign once had an arrow that pointed across the street. Sears moved to their new brick bldg on Lafayette (Now the Nashville Rescue Mission) in the late 60’s. I suspect this sign was repainted in the 60s just prior to Sears moving, hence it has survived (sans arrow).

That comment is eight years old and, today, it is just a parking lot:

But you can see a picture here, it was a grand old 1930s art deco building. Sears, this Nashville history site tells me, stayed in the building until 1956. A Ben Franklin went in, and then a jewelry store. Eventually it became a building for state offices. That site, in 2014, said the building was still there, but its fate was nigh. And the Google Street view, from 2017, tells the tale:

They paved downtown shopping and put up a parking lot. But The Tennessean put together a photo gallery.

Hey, look, this is where my folks got married!

Union Station in Nashville, Tennessee.

Farmland when we got back on the road:

And I don’t know what these are for …

Some agricultural concern, no doubt.