Apr 18

Welcome to a lovely springtime weekend

It takes forever to get here, but for the late start and short term of it, the spring isn’t too bad at all. Here are a few quick flowering trees that prove the point:

Each of the last two years, this has been the weekend where we could really say, with resignation and weariness and confidence, that this was when spring had arrived. This is also the weekend of the big bike races. The women’s Little 500 was today. Here’s some of the pageantry:

And the repeat champions:

One of The Yankee’s students was on that team. I had students interview them the year before. They work hard, they all do, it’s a big race and the students that take part treat it like a big deal year-round. It’s a big part of the tradition on campus. They race hard and fast and put on a great show.

Tomorrow, the men will take their turns around the track.

Apr 18

Here, listen to this

One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about doing this little show is getting students involved. Sure, I talk to great reporters and I have on talented professors, but giving students a chance to step out of their normal routine and maybe try a little something else is what this is really all about.

And here’s one now. Daniela Molina is an aspiring investigative reporter in the Media School at Indiana. She’s new to podcasts, and she’s developing her reporting and writing skills now and I had the chance to sit down and talk with her today:

Saw this on my way out of the building this evening:

And tonight, over the sink:

Apr 18

Photos for Wednesday

We are a third of the way through spring. We hit 50° yesterday. It snowed all day Monday. But it is spring. (Or so “they” would have you believe.)

It is not important if you’re late. It IS important that you arrive.

Meanwhile, indoors, I call this “Chair In Isolation.” It is intended as a withering critique on the subject of artistically withering critiques and the isolating folly of men and women putting their impressions into the work of others.

Or its a simply dressed movie set. One of the two.

Allie was unimpressed:

Apr 18

Raise your mug, and look underneath

I went to the library this morning. This is the Herman Wells Library on the IU campus. It’s the main library, there are 10 or 11 others. And inside there are 4.6 million volumes. It’s a big library:

But the book I was after wasn’t among the many millions they keep. So I made use of the interlibrary loan system, which is a wonderful thing. You fill out a form, they find the book you need, wherever it might be, and they send it to your home library. A few days go by and you receive an email: we found your book. And here it was:

That came from the Rutgers University library. It was a reference book, so it couldn’t leave the library, but that’s no problem. I leafed through the book there. I was looking in the book because of this:

That’s the bottom of a mug that my mother-in-law found while she was cleaning up some things. There was a note included that said the mug belonged to a great-great so and so. On the side was the seal of Frankfurt, Germany. And this was the bottom. It was obviously made in Germany and that looked like a maker’s mark and so here we are. The book that Rutgers sent me is the definitive book on ceramic maker’s marks. And while the Internet is awesome, and there are quite a few pages of maker’s mark samples collected online, I haven’t seen that one anywhere yet. But today, I have about 300 pages of logos to go over. And some of this stuff is art.

And if you want something a little more classic:

Anyway, the book was organized by region and by period and also by the style of maker’s mark. It was well done. And this page had something that closely resembles what is on the old mug:

Assuming I have found the right mark, this is a place in Coburg, Germany. A man named Julius Griesbach founded his factory in 1890. This mark was used from approximately 1950 until the factory was bought out by the W. Goebel company, of Rödental, in 1973. Now, the graphics on the mug suggest it is too modern to be considered old — even by American standards of antiquities. (There’s a passage in the book that dives into what old really is in Germany; we don’t think of old like they do.) Since the stamp says Germany, and allowing for the ballpark estimates of the years of usage that the book qualifies, I’m thinking this mug was produced somewhere around 1950. (Afterward it would have said West Germany, surely, right?) Or maybe it is the wrong mark altogether.

Anyway, it was fun leafing through the book. The old logos were neat, and the writing in the text was pretty good, too:

These were some of my favorites:

And if you want crests, we’ve got crests:

What’s it all mean? Was the mystery solved?

I don’t know, and probably not. And there’s likely nothing to it, anyway. What’s one more stoneware mug from a factory that produced them en masse? It isn’t really a mystery worth diving into in that context. More interesting is the great-great so and so that owned the thing. And how did they come to have it? We don’t know any answers down that line of thinking, but the mystery is sometimes the fun part, all its own.

Apr 18

Random Thursday things

I spent time in the television studio today. Here is a photo of a decorative lightbulb which descends from the conduits above to prove it!

But I obviously picked the wrong profession:

An installation at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto is more hands-on than your typical exhibition.

“YOKO ONO: THE RIVERBED” by the 85-year old artist, musician and activist, asks visitors to do several physical tasks, including pick up river stones —some of which include handwritten inscriptions by Ono herself—and place them in a pile.

But one woman appears to have taken the “hands-on” suggestion a little too literally. Rather than place her rock in the pile, she allegedly stole it, Laura Snapes reports for The Guardian. The rock, valued at a cool $17,500, was inscribed by Ono with the words “Love Yourself.”

Things are worth what people are willing to pay. And what a person is theoretically willing to pay and willing to insure are different things. And we’re a nonsensical people when it comes to former almost-celebrities. But still … and this part is worth repeating …

Seventeen thousand dollars?

And this evening I discovered Durand Jones & The Indications. Now you will too. They’re IU guys and they have a lot of soul: