Oct 14


Sometimes you spend all day in your office, doing office things. Sometimes you do office things and it doesn’t even seem like you’ve done office things. But, then, sometimes, you spend all day doing office things, questioning your progress on doing those things and then walk outside at just the right time.


And that, as they say, is its own reward.

My other reward was veggies.


Things to read … because reading makes us big and strong.

(That’s what you’ve been told your entire life, anyway.)

Help for victims of sex trafficking: priest Becca Stevens wants Birmingham to do more

This will stick with you, How to Spot a Trafficking Victim at an Airport

Here’s the trailer for American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper, detailing the nation’s best sniper. As movie trailers go, that’s incredibly intense.

This story never gets old, Sportsmanship allows middle school boy to live football dream:

Dalton, diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth, had just realized a long-time dream — playing football for his beloved Bears. Dalton had been hoping to dress with the team all season. Finally approved to participate, assistant Bears coach J.T. Lawrence and the other coaches had an idea.

“We thought it would be a great experience for Dalton and for the rest of our kids if he could get into a game and score,” Lawrence said. There was one problem. Dalton did not need to have any physical contact.

Lawrence talked to Prattville Christian athletic director Sam Peak and asked if his school would allow Dalton to go into the game and score a 2-point conversion if Billingsley scored a touchdown.

“That was an easy answer,” Peak said. “We coach our kids to be thankful for each opportunity to touch someone else’s life. This was an opportunity for us to do something good.”

A friend found the video:

UAB gets $47M grant for low-income education initiative

The Cult of Neil deGrasse Tyson

One System, Two Media: How China, Hong Kong Are Covering The Protests

The second half of this is great, Young Protesters in Hong Kong Have Found an Ingenious Way Around Cyber Censors

Occupy Hong Kong: Macro scale, micro-adaptations

Speaking of adaptations:

Could have told them that at the beginning … Facebook is more important to news distribution than you think, and journalists are freaked out:

At ONA, anxiety about Facebook’s increasing control over our traffic revealed itself in lots of questions: If I have 250,000 fans of my page, why don’t they all see everything I post? Why does my journalism seem to reach fewer people than it used to? Is Facebook trying to pressure my news organization to spend money to boost my posts or take out ads?

But there are more existential fears behind this conversation, too: If Facebook isn’t interested in exposing users to content that might be important but won’t result in high engagement like softer news and quizzes do, what will happen to news literacy? What will happen to civic engagement? What happens to The News That Matters, if only Facebook gets to decide what matters?

From the department of obvious things that could be understood but for interest, Editors who don’t use Twitter undercut their pleas to innovate.

If you’re from anywhere near where I’m from, this sounds a bit like home:

The sounds are the same, but those North Carolinians have their own unique vocabulary. You get the sense that even that language is falling away. Some of those words were things a parent said, some of them took some recollection. Good that it has been recorded in documentary form — and I want to see the full thing. How else would we have seemingly random blog post titles?

Aug 14

There is Star Trek at the end of this post

We went for a run in the middle of the day, because running takes less time, and we haven’t done it in a while. Here’s the more-sunny-than-you-realize path.


I discovered today that I’m big on the mind deals — slightly different than Ray Romano’s mind bets. Today’s was fairly straight forward: if you stop running, you’re going to run another mile.

I did not have to run the fourth mile. I had a fairly decent time on the 5K. But not fast enough.

I do not know what is happening.

As I finished the run, I was looking for some shade, stepped under a promising pine tree and found this guy:


That’s the Actias luna caterpillar. You might be more familiar with the luna moth version. I didn’t see one of those, but I did watch that caterpillar climb and climb:


There’s probably a metaphor in there, or we could just be impressed by the closeup quality of my phone’s camera. Probably a metaphor in that, too.

Brian came down for a weekend visit. He and I went to Niffer’s for dinner. Turkey burgers and corn nuggets are for dinner.

Afterward we spent the evening in the pool. Colleagues and neighbors were there. It was a fine time with friends and more friends. We stayed so long the bottom of my feet are raw. And we’ll probably go back tomorrow.

Things to read … to prepare for tomorrow.

Alabama’s unemployment rate at 7 percent

The Re-Return of Chuckie Keeton

Inside the College Football Hall of Fame playground in Atlanta:

First and foremost, know this: This isn’t your father’s Hall of Fame.

Often ignored for nearly two decades in South Bend, Ind., the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta represents today’s game and media world while respectfully giving a nod to the past. The National Football Foundation’s decision in 2009 to move the Hall of Fame into the deep South symbolizes how the sport has changed demographically and through television.

Located within a five-minute walk from the Georgia Dome and the future Atlanta Falcons stadium, the Hall of Fame craves connectivity and a personal experience above all else. There are interactive videos and games, selfies with digital face paint, countless screens, and a field for activities and events.

It sounds like a nice experience.

Now the fanfic looks better than the source material …

Interestingly, everyone you see in that prelude has played multiple characters across the sprawling Star Trek franchise, except for … Richard Hatch. This is his first time in Rodenberry’s universe. They’re making a movie out of it. They’ve received more than four times their Kickstarter goal and their making a feature film, of the independent variety. It’ll be low-budget but, if you watch the entire prelude, you can see there’s some really great quality there. And Garth of Izar.

“Donors will receive either a digital HD copy, or a DVD or Blu-ray copy, depending on their donation level. It will also be released for streaming on YouTube for all to enjoy sometime later!”

The movie is in pre-production now, according to IMDB. I find it a bit more exciting than it probably should be.

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.