Jun 14

Why didn’t anyone ever recognize Forrest Gump, anyway?

I ran five miles in 75 degrees with 79 percent humidity tonight. Think I just exercise for Shot Bloks, which is fuel that tastes like candy to me. But you’re not here about that. Right. Back to our regularly scheduled observations.

One of the joys of having a cat around is watching a cat sleep in the sun:


A lot of things have to happen to make that work out. Someone, years ago, had to decide to orient this neighborhood along an east-west axis. Development behind us had to thin out the western tree line to allow the sun through at that time of day. My brilliant wife had to be motivated to purchase that cat condo at some point in time. We had to put it in front of that window and I had to be sitting in an adjacent chair, which we also put in place almost four years ago, to capture the moment. To say nothing of the phone and camera and Internet technology.

All of that so I can say “One of the joys of having a cat around is watching a cat sleep in the sun,” and you know it to be one of the singular truths of pets.

Just file that away under things that the subdivision developer, Steve Jobs and Tim Berners-Lee didn’t think about when they did their heavy lifting. I bet the cat condo people knew what they were doing, though.

Turns out it was made in Tennessee. I’m not sure what bearing that has on this conversation.

Things to read … because reading always gives us answers.

Maybe Vox — which is trying to brand itself as the explainer of things, can tell us. You’ve been using paper towels wrong your whole life. Here’s how to completely dry your hands using only one.

Jeff Bezos is looking more brilliant by the moment, no?

The New York Times’ Lively Morgue featured a photo of speed boat queen Loretta Turnbull. For some reason I did a little more Googling and reading about her, and was rewarded with this quote: “The odds of a shark biting a 67-year-old are remote; I’m going in.”

Sounds like an awesome lady.

This one is worth bookmarking. Multimedia reporting with mobile devices

Normally you’d watch out for the word “complete” but this is a pretty thorough discussion on the topic. The Complete Guide to Getting Started With Podcasts

Another soccer video:

This video is titled “How video from drones can be useful during news events,” but it misses a big a point.

We, the audience, still need the context of a reporter’s collected efforts to tell us the story. Where was that subdivision damage? Was it from a storm? Why were all of those people gathered at night? What were they protesting? How many structures or lives had been lost in that fire?

It also demonstrates that not all drone videos are created equally.

Forrest Gump was released 20 years ago next month. Finally, there is an Honest Trailer about the film, and it makes a great point about the recognizability of the character:

“And Lieutenant Dan kept his word. The end.”

When I saw Apollo 13 — which was released 19 years ago next week, by the way — there was a woman behind us who was getting caught up and emotional in the drama. Her kid, her child, said “Don’t worry Mama, Forrest Gump is driving.”

The end.

Apr 14

Being impressionable

I am not a food blogger. I am not a food blogger. I am not a food blogger.

But I went to The Paw Paw Patch, which does a cafeteria style meat-and-three. And the vegetables were a childhood memory. I often eat things in a certain order, for whatever reason, and I eat each option without swapping out to a new part of the dish. But these, as a child I mixed up.


So when I saw them on the food line I smiled. I knew what I was getting. But I did not stir up the entire plate. Funny how something like that can make an impression on you. Maybe we don’t often realize it until after the fact, if even then. And how we make our impressions upon others? That’s always a mystery. Something to think about.

When I was eating the owner came out and offered some of those ice pops you had in elementary school. Apparently he was just trying to make some space. He began talking with an elderly man and woman a few tables away. Somehow the conversation turned to the owner’s wife and how she once worked at a fur store about 15 or 20 years ago. This elderly lady had purchased a fur coat there during those same years. She said she paid $7,000 in cash and does your wife remember that?

So he had to call his wife to find out the level of impression and the older pair ate their little popsicles.

The older gentleman had apparently just gotten out of the hospital for some reason or another and he said that this, at Paw Paw Patch, was the first good meal he’d enjoyed in several days. And I thought back to when I visited a friend in the hospital and her husband had gone out to get her a plate from Paw Paw Patch because it was one of her favorite restaurants. I can’t ever go there without thinking about, because that was, I think, the first time I’d heard of the place. That’s an impression to make.

I also will forever think of the time I walked in there and the staff and I did lines from Coming to America. They seemed entertained that I knew most of the script.

Things to read … because the Giants can’t play the Packers every night.

Limestone, Lincoln EF-3 tornadoes remained on ground for about 30 minutes each, tracking almost 16 miles each

Lee County tornado placed in F3 category

Volunteers, donations needed for county’s storm victims

Day care worker dies saving child in tornado

Those are some stories worth remembering. Here are a few more worth keeping in mind.

Average visit at newspaper site: 1.1 minutes

We’re headed for a really big ‘collision’ between content and connection networks

Hard Evidence: How Does False Information Spread Online?

The Onion sets its sights on BuzzFeed, Upworthy

I also have an impression of one of the first pieces from The Onion that I read — though I thought it was older. How many stories from 15 years ago can we recall?

Feb 14

I’ve been needing to get this off of my chest

Before it was a commercial …

It was a movie …

And before it was a movie it was graffiti …


And also, apparently, a rather famous poem.

This has been troubling me for a while. Mostly, I just wanted to let you know about the high quality of scrawls on the restroom walls on campus.

Jan 14

First day of classes

As I got out of the car we were in the process of temperatures dropping from the low 60s into the low 30s. It isn’t usually as noticeably dramatic as all that, but I can say that after class I went from my office to the gym and from the gym to my car and it was dramatic.

And by the time I made it from the car to the restaurant it was cold. In the restaurant the staff was quoting Coming to America.

So I quoted it with them, which they found amusing. And then a lady asked me if I knew the name of the elephant in the movie. Like everyone knows the name of an elephant in a quarter-century old movie. I said as much online, where I soon learned that everyone knows the name of the elephant.

First day of class today. I had notes and had practiced the syllabus speech and all of the opening day material, as I always do. It never plays out in the classroom the way it does in my mind. So maybe I should just develop the syllabus and wing it from there.

It is a fun class, though. We take field trips. I always enjoy this one.

It is really cold now. The weather moves in tomorrow. Are you ready?

Jan 14

Mugshots liked on Facebook

Overcast this morning. Clear in the afternoon. The high was in the mid 40s. It was the kind of day that suggested a feeling that implied what flirting with spring might, one day, be like.

The forecasts call for another cold snap in a few days, making it our second of the year, meaning we’ll have an extra one that no one ordered. We’ll convince ourselves that, somehow, this means we’re going to have an incredibly nice spring.

Hit the pool, swam a mile. That makes three times in a week. Suddenly, I feel like I can breath in the pool again. That’s always a nice comfort-level skill to have. I’m a very bad lap swimmer, but I only kicked the lane lines twice today, so there’s that, too.

Appropos of nothing I came home the other night from somewhere and The Yankee was watching City of Angels. I remember seeing this in the theater, it was probably the perfect late-90s date movie, after all.

So we ended up watching the whole thing, because she likes the movie, and I can make Nick Cage jokes. And then, toward the end, at the climactic scene:

She yells at the television screen, “Wear a helmet!”

It has just become a reflexive thing, at this point.

Things to read … no helmet required.

The New New “it seems like every time you turn around there’s a new”

I remember when I first subscribed to Newsweek. It was the 7th grade. It was a class assignment. I was never that big of a nerd. We had the same English teacher four times in junior and high school and she gave us writing assignments out of the old magazines. Those were my first, real, writing assignments, summarizing news copy each week, every week, for four years. It was a decent start on learning the craft of writing. I remember when I finally dropped Newsweek, when they were running wildly divergent covers for different parts of the world. What you saw from one to the next was so different as to be insulting. And if that wasn’t insulting the American copy got the job done. I doubt I’ll be subscribing again anytime soon, despite new editors and a third round of new owners and so on, but having more publications out there is never a bad thing.

Survey: Obamacare worries Hill aides:

A vast majority of top congressional aides say in a new survey that they are concerned about the effects of Obamacare on their staff, ticking off worries about changes to their benefits, higher costs and whether they’ll have access to local health care providers.

Ninety percent of staffers surveyed for a report released Monday by the Congressional Management Foundation said they are concerned about benefit changes under the health care law, while 86 percent are anxious about the financial hit and 79 percent cited worries to access.


“The elimination of staff’s traditional health care has been a complete disaster,” one aide said in the survey. “If you wanted a legislative branch run by K Street lobbyists and 25-year-old staffers, mission accomplished.”

Guess you should have had your bosses read the bill before they passed it, huh?

What Secrets Your Phone Is Sharing About You:

Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.

Businesses are tracking their customers and building profiles of their daily habits using a network of startups that have placed sensors in restaurants, yoga studios and other sites. Chris Gilpin, founder of one such site, Turnstyle, joins the News Hub.

And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.

Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.

The sensors, each about the size of a deck of cards, follow signals emitted from Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones.

Whenever I talk in class about how we’re going to be leveraging technology in the near future — which is here, now — this is the one that always makes the students squirmy. You can see why.

This is the best story of the day. I have a feeling no one will mess with Jeanna Harris anymore, except maybe reporters, to whom she gives great quotes. Woman with shotgun chases away burglar:

Jeanna Harris, of Decatur, said the man she woke up early Tuesday to find rifling through her bedroom belongings is welcome to come back and try to steal from her again.

“He better be glad I had my nightgown on. The Lord’s hand was on him,” said Harris, 43, who armed herself with a 20-gauge shotgun and chased the intruder from her home. “I’m waiting on him, and I will not have on my Victoria Secret nightgown. I will have on my running shoes. It didn’t scare me; it made me mad.”


Harris said she’s glad she didn’t fire, partly because “it could have been a very dirty mess to clean up.

A suspect was arrested. And, Decatur, where this happened, puts mugshots on Facebook. People comment. “They” would do that without booking information being published online, but fewer people would hear about it. In some circumstances that could be a good thing.