Mar 18

Its still winter, in spring

I’m not accustomed to seeing cotton bolls in March. Then again, I’m not accustomed to seeing snow in March, either:

It’s still spring, by the way. And at lunch I saw this second, or third, sign of spring:

It’s hard to keep count, there have been daffodils and the eternal budding-but-not-opening of trees and my first robin of the year, and pointless, too. Winter isn’t hardly done with us yet.

But, for this afternoon’s neighborhood 5K, when it had warmed up to an impossible 46°, I wore a sweatshirt. I did that for the first 1.8 or so, and then discarded it. I ditched it just before the shady and cold segment.

Now, normally that would be one of those things you’d laugh and shiver about. Timing, am I right? But I did this in the neighborhood. I did this in the neighborhood, the place where, presumably, I know where the shady spots are.

So this was a lovely experience. Ten years ago we were at Peju, got a few of these and held on to one. And held on to it and held on to it and held on to it. After a while it became a joke.

Then, as I tend to do, I got sentimental about it. We got some more, so that solved the nostalgia problem. And by then we figured we should probably ought to wait until the 10th anniversary.

And here we are. Tonight was the 10th anniversary. The cork didn’t cooperate, but we filtered out the debris.

It was quite tasty after we let it breathe. I don’t know if it was worth hanging on to for all of that time, but it was worth getting sentimental about.

Mar 18

The day of the spring equinox, and more winter

No one told the weather it is now spring:

So this is all about weather today, then, I guess.

A podcast I made today, which is not about the weather at all, as it turns out. Except today’s guest is enjoying more winter than we are. Well, he’s receiving more winter. I don’t know if he is enjoying it:

A video I shot this afternoon:

‪The first day of spring, and the return of #AShortFilmOfNoConsequence #XVI‬

A post shared by Kenny Smith (@kennydsmith) on

One of those things you never shake:

I did two nights of this in Little Rock, and a few of these in Alabama, including two on the national news. The outtro in the late night and early morning hours is always so sadly similar. “Authorities are waiting until the sun comes up, when daylight shows us what the true scale of the damage is … ” I always hated those stories, standing out there listening to people wondering what their lives had become is no way to spend an overnight. And so it is in Jacksonville, Alabama, right now, where I know many of the folks covering the storms, and the people there are seeing a lot of damage, but fortunately the campus of hard-hit Jacksonville State was enjoying Spring Break. That fortuitous timing, and early warnings, probably helped saved lives and kept the injury count low.

Mar 18

This got a little Twitter heavy

This was Saturday morning:

I’m not sure who’s fault this was — or put another way, stayed in bed longer — but I’m sure it wasn’t Allie. That’s a Saturday morning, though, and that’s not too bad.

Here are a few things I found interesting this weekend and today …

Think about that. A man born before the Civil War, became president twice and had kids comparatively late in life. And then most of his children were long-lived. Three of them into my lifetime. His youngest died when I was in college. If you were in New Hampshire, you might have met the man who died as the oldest presidential offspring. Francis Grover Cleveland was in the poultry business, and was in the theater. He ran a barnstorming summer stock program that he founded in the 1930s.

Starting in 1966, Mr. Cleveland perennially talked of retirement and the possibility that his aptly called nonprofit theater might have to close. Yet, despite failing eyesight, Mr. Cleveland again directed some of last summer’s fare, opening the season with “The Front Page” in July and closing with “The Fantasticks” in early September.

Mr. Cleveland was born in Buzzards Bay, Mass., the youngest of four children of Grover Cleveland, the nation’s 22d and 24th President. His father, a frequent summer visitor in Tamworth, died in 1908, when the boy was 5.

Mr. Cleveland graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard College. He briefly taught private school in Cambridge, Mass., but then opted for the stage. He acted in Boston and later in New York, where he had cameo roles on Broadway in the original productions of “Dead End” and “Our Town.”

Speaking of history:

This was about five months before I started blogging, so thankfully there are no archives to look through, but I remember that trip well. I got some pretty good tape for my journalism career out of the deal, and I landed a terrific friend out of the trip, and some other friends still carry on the long-running Ann Taylor gag because of this trip. I remember much about it and have yet to figure out what it should feel like in a capitol city when the nation has just gone to war. I walked through Dupont Circle thinking everyone seemed very casual, considering.

Just casually moving on in the WNIT tournament:

The only time of year I even take a stab at paying attention to basketball is during the postseason, of course. And, of course, the women’s game is always more entertaining.

Somewhat entertaining:

And, finally, this is very entertaining, some people re-made the Avengers trailer on the cheap:

I’d watch that movie.

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Mar 18

Turns out, it isn’t that cold

I went to Menard’s Monday, which has become a source of fascination for me. You can buy a lot of stuff there! From Pop Tarts to post hole diggers, from clothes to claw hammers. From deck chairs to dish soap, it’s amazing!

I looked at a few things, I picked up a few pieces of wood for future projects. I went outside because, for everything that the inside holds, the outdoors setup behind the store has to be twice as big.

Here’s one of the two drive-through warehouse shed things:

This one has siding, insulation and drywall and the like. The other was just stuffed full of lumber. You can get just about any kind or cut of cedar you want. I don’t think you can find a dimensional lumber they don’t carry. And then there’s the island in the middle of it all, the Ray’s Discount section. Right next to that, the railroad ties:

Used, mind you. I bet no one ever asks them what they were used for.

So, that’s what I did Monday, I shopped. But I bought no railroad ties. (I don’t have a train.) It was chilly, but not so bad you couldn’t walk around in a giant retail wonderland. Tuesday, I shot footage of the snow in our backyard. And now there’s a cat to be held. I have mentioned here before the lava blanket game. Allie will tolerate the brown fuzzy blanket. There’s something about the white blanket, which is of exactly the same material, that she will go out of her way to avoid. If you cover up from shoulder-to-toe under the white blanket, she will lay on the part of you that is exposed. Anything but that blanket, which must be lava. And if she tolerates the white blanket, you know it is quite chilly, indeed.

Anyway, I was under the white blanket, and she came to lay on me, and managed to park herself on the blanket. She’s getting over the lava game, I figured. And then I covered her up with the back half of the blanket. I looked over and said “Look! She likes it!”

“No, she doesn’t,” The Yankee said, took this picture.

Often when I greyscale a picture for the site it is a subtle reminder to me that I didn’t take this picture. But those eyes are the point, and so I returned the saturation, so that you could get a true sense of the “Get me out of here, hooman!” that was playing out on her face.

Mar 18

A human typed this

Yesterday, and today, under Daylight Saving Time, in three photos:

We talked robots and bricks with journalism professor Joe Coleman today.

I remember I worked for a news director at the beginning of my young career and she said ours was a business that would never be taken over by robots. Machines won’t report and write our copy, she said. But that was 17 or 18 years ago and now AI is writing basic stories. Of course we have more wonderful ways to tell great stories today, too; there are always tradeoffs.

This is what made the second half of the program so interesting to me. There are a lot of people in declining or changing industries who can see or feel, that that change is coming. There are people at certain points in their career where they fear that it will happen to them, or they’ve been told as much. Industry comes and goes, and a workforce can be adaptable, but a person, a singular individual at the wrong point of their career might be less so. And when an industry begins to fade away due to advancing tastes, or innovation or regulation or anything, there can be a lot of those individuals thinking “Now what?”

This has long been a part of the cycle, if you think about it. But think about it a little bit more: It is possible that we’ll soon AI and blockchain and quantum this and that our way into more of these types of change than any generation before us. Which, hey, more time off. But a person still has to pay those bills. That person still has to work. You’ll have to retrain a workforce at various stages of their lives, in various family and medical conditions, in a rapidly evolving professional ecosystem.

Coleman, my guest, wrote a book titled Unfinished Work: The Struggle to Build an Aging American Workforce. Here’s a blurb:

The era of the aging worker is here. The forces driving the first decades of the 21st century — globalization, technology, societal aging, and jarring economic instability — have made later retirement a necessity for many, but those who choose to stay in the workforce are frustrated by a job market that fails to take advantage of their talents. As government’s ability to finance retirement and health care declines, making space for older workers in the labor force has emerged as a chief challenge for the coming century.

This starts pretty much now through a time when the labor force is entirely aged out of working, or we radically shift economies. It’s hard to see any reason why it wouldn’t end.

But, for now, we learn in this episode, we’re still laying bricks faster than robots. It’s a great conversation. Scroll up a bit and give it a listen.