Jan 21

Light day around here

Web work today, and if only I meant Spider-Man work. But I updated a lot of pages I update around the web for work things, leaving only many of these pages un-updated. There are two glaring areas on this site to deal with, and I’m going to get into one of those this evening.

I did add one thing to this site, on the front page. Careful observers will note one of the old photos has been replaced by a new photo. Check it out. Maybe you’ll see it. You’ll definitely see it. There are only so many photographs to look at in that display. Maybe you’ll notice it.

So there’s a new student loan grace period in place thanks to an executive order President Biden signed last week. So I talked with Phil Schuman, who is the executive director of Financial Wellness and Education at Indiana University, to see what this means for alumni, students and potential borrowers.

Dozens of people will listen to this, and you should, too.

Nationally, student loan debt reached $1.6 trillion dollars last year. Average monthly payments are between $200 and $300 and the U.S. Department of Education says about 20 percent of borrowers are in default. Tough economic times, to be sure.

And I spent part of the afternoon looking for the next podcast idea. And that’s the day. Some days are more fruitful than others, what can you say?

Dec 20

The week with bad titles, part three

I forgot to include this here earlier this week. So, without prelude, give us the fancy old-fashioned banner.

I talked with Dr. Siering a week or so ago about pedagogy and remote learning and all these sorts of things that faculty and students are dealing with just now. It’s a good episode if you’re a faculty member or a student. (And you know they all stop through here.) It might be only for them. But, nevertheless, we’re covering all the bases.

And now I have to go out and find a few more people to interview. Should be fun! What topics should we cover?

We haven’t filled out this space with other stories recently, let’s do that now.

Birmingham woman raising 12 kids after sister, brother-in-law die from COVID

Already raising seven biological children ranging in age from 2 to 17 as a working, single mother, the 40-year-old Birmingham resident’s last conversation with her dying sister in UAB Hospital about the arrangements for their kids was no longer hypothetical.


And her sister’s children are not without anxieties of their own, she said. On top of the grief of losing both their parents, the children are reluctant to go outside out of fear of catching COVID-19, Francesca McCall said.

But all things considered, she said, “We’re doing OK. They have their [tough] moments at times, processing everything.”

The GoFundMe account has raised $40,000+ since that story was published.

These seem like charming people. Philly’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping dishes the dirt on the news conference heard ’round the world: ‘It was nothing we anticipated’:

The merchandise sales of Four Seasons Total Landscaping have taken on a life of their own. The conference room at their office has become a makeshift fulfillment center, as Siravo and the company’s 28 full-time employees take turns bagging orders and printing labels, starting at 6 a.m and racking up overtime hours working long into the night.

Partnering with half a dozen local vendors (all but one is located in the Philadelphia region), the company has sold over 35,000 orders for T-shirts, ugly Christmas sweaters, face masks — totaling $1.3 million in sales. (Much of the money will be used to pay back vendors, shipping costs, and more, Middleton said, making clear that Four Seasons won’t be putting $1.3 million in its bank account.)


In hopes of helping others during Four Season’s moment in the sun, Siravo said the company is participating in a Toys for Tots drive with St. Christopher’s Hospital. Through Dec. 11, visitors can drop off unwrapped toys at the office in exchange for a Four Seasons sticker. Separately, Siravo said the company is also collecting coats, hats, socks, and other cold-weather clothing to donate to local charity.

This looks like a nice place to visit. The Munich Atelier where stained glass comes to life:

The Mayers oversee the business from a series of sunny, art-filled rooms on the top two floors of the building. Dozens of warrenlike workshops and ateliers crowd the four floors beneath — here, workmen restore historic stained-glass windows and mosaics, while others make contemporary works. The labyrinthine basement archive houses an extensive collection of vintage stained-glass works.

The only problem is that he’s going to look like Carlton Banks for the rest of his life. The hardest-working man in show business:

Yet as much as the world equates Ribeiro to Carlton, the years following The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air may have revealed more about the man—his persistence, his versatility, and his undeniability. If you let him tell it, for a while the role Ribeiro played so well was the role that held him back. “Imagine for a second you do a role so well that they tell you you’re not allowed to do anything else ever again because they can’t believe that you’re not that guy,” he says. But the ceiling Ribeiro hit as an actor forced him to develop other skills, which helped him emerge as one of the most versatile—albeit underrated—performers in Hollywood.

I’ll never understand. You’d think casting agents and directors would be … imaginative.

More on Twitter, check me out on Instagram and more On Topic with IU podcasts as well.

Nov 20

Another “We’ll say ‘We knew him when'”

This is, I told Drew, one of my favorite parts. He’s a sports guy. One of the co-directors of the sports division this term. And he’s going to graduate in a few weeks. But he came over to the news shows this evening to do a bit of fill-in work:

He was, of course, ready, prepared, hit all his marks and drilled the delivery of a concise sports segment in a larger newscast. Did it in one take, as cool and as confident and as comfortable in the contrivance of television as someone can be.

It’s one of my favorite parts because I knew I got to watch him present tonight, and I’ll get to see him work one last time on Thursday and then he’ll start making his way out into the world, where the real work and the real learning begin. But I’m not thinking about that. I’m stuck remembering when he showed up as a freshman. When he somehow became the A1, and then talked the upperclassmen into letting him do extra segments if they found extra studio time. So he came to productions camera-ready, just in case, for several weeks. And, finally, he got his chance.

He’d written a new timely segment every week, just on the prospect of getting to stand in front of the cameras. And now it was here and they put him in front of a monitor and ran some graphics over it and he worked through the thing. It was obviously his first time, but he learned a lot, and quickly. He took the advice to heart. And now, three-and-a-half years later, he has a year of those solo social media hits under his belt. He’s taken all the classes, had the internships. He’s done the reporting and live shots. He was a beat reporter for tennis one year and football one year. He’s been a sports director. He’s hosted the talk show for about a year-and-a-half or more, now.

I stood off from the camera and watched him present tonight and thought about all those starts and stops along the way and enjoyed watching him carry himself like the young professional he is. It is, easily, the best part of my job, watching them grow like that. It’s fascinating to see. The really talented people we get, and we get some real talent, you can just see it all blur together for them. First they were halting and then they become dynamic and ready to really hone their skills.

I wish I had more time with those students, focusing on some specialized finishing school stuff, but those that go into broadcasting will get a terrific crucible experience in that new first job. May they all land somewhere exciting and sooner than later.

I did this interview on Friday, I think, and I sound exhausted! I had no idea until I listened to it on playback. Then again, I’m about six weeks into waking up tired. Everyone is pretty much in the same boat right now; keep your stones in your stone satchel.

Sorry, Kyle. It was at the end of a long week near the end of this crazy semester and I had some small degree of sleep and then I got to talk about economics.

But it’s kind of important stuff, as describing forecasts and prospects go.

Despite my exhaustion, economists are fun interviews. If you talk with them consistently you can learn a great deal about economists.

Oh, and I feel much more awake today. It’s only Tuesday, after all. No one is allowed to be tired on Tuesday. By mid-Wednesday, all bets, however, are off.

Here’s the morning show from Monday! Which they shot on Friday! And it’s a semester-ender, so, as is tradition with this show, they got a bit reflective.

They have a good time with it.

Useless fact: they were recording that show while I was talking with the economist. What does it mean? Who can say?

Nov 20

Plenty to hear and see

Have you ever had a day that started with the best of intentions, but then the clock did something weird and you don’t get any of the planned morning things done? You’re not sure how, but you’re left saying, Well, today’s list just became Thursday’s.

No? Just me? OK then.

I recorded something yesterday and it’s out there today, so, please, enjoy:

It seemed a logical line of questions to me. Should we do this? What should we do? How should we do this?

And I’ll tell you a little secret, I got into one of these topics and I was just trying to keep the question on track and under control and thinking How can I do Christmas? Should we even be talking like this? and it’s a little bit heart rending. So, as you might imagine, the question wasn’t going so well.

But just as that happened an alarm on my phone went off. And that gave me the opportunity to re-frame and re-phrase the question. And Shandy Dearth, who is the public health professional here, is a total pro. Also, she’s got really solid advice and perspective and you should listen to what she has to say.

I got home tonight, shed the clothes that had been exposed to the elements of semi-public society, took the cleansing and decontaminating shower and came downstairs to a plate almost ready for dinner:

All I had to do was put the meat on the rice. That’s thoughtful, and full service romance.

Also, it was pretty tasty, too. And, I’m told, we’ll have a flaming onion tomorrow …

It was a studio night tonight, which is an excellent reminder for me to get caught up on studio stuff. Here’s a sports show from late last week:

And here’s a talk show, where they talked about the greatest of all time in all the big sports.

I think they should do a greatest of all times in lesser-known-in-America sports. Make them work at the show prep, and really stress having to sell the argument to an audience who already doesn’t think about Tom Brady or Michael Jordan or Lebron James or whomever.

You know what I need to know? I need to know the best flat to ever swim in water polo, and the greatest brakeman in bobsledding history.

Now that’d be a show worth sinking your teeth into.

Until we get that, please scroll back up and listen to that podcast. Please, and thank you. And wear a mask and social distance and stay home when you can.

Oct 20

A true multimedia day

Happy Catober! We’re showing off the kitties in a separate post every day. While shot is of the two of them sitting together, most of the upcoming photo feature will show them off one at a time. You’ll have a nice shot of Phoebe tomorrow, and Poseidon on Saturday, for example. Today’s opener is also a classic photo, from this summer. They’re both relaxing on a cover I built to keep them … off … the stove top.

So, in a sense, that cover works. In a sense.

My day started with a morning meeting about spreadsheets. At least I wasn’t filling them out, because this particular database is organized in a somewhat mysterious way. The end product promises to be promising, but the front end has unique demands. Fortunately, a very nice person was interpreting what I had to say about the information involved and she was able to make that work within the spreadsheet.

If you can be lucky enough to find pleasant, talented people, the database mysteries become less mysterious.

And so it was a long day, because it started in that Zoom meeting and then it moved directly into a podcast, and then into a whole host of other things.

Careful and attentive listeners — and that’s you, right? — might remember I interviewed Dr. Baggetta a few months ago about running a political campaign during a public health crisis. (And tonight, boy, that seems like an interesting topic, doesn’t it?) I wrote him during the debate and asked if I could follow up with him on one quick point. He wrote me right back and said “We need to talk about all of these things.”

So we did. It is public service podcasting, basically. People in this state have a few days left to register to vote, and he gets into that and much more. It was an easy interview, a clean edit and I had it all online in a few hours, including lunch and actually driving in to the office.

The work day ended after 8 p.m. in the television studio. And in between it was a blank, windowless world. It looked like a nice evening from the studio, though:

They did sports tonight. I watched from the studio, and peered into the crowded control room and remain impressed by how it feels more like March than September. Which is to say there’s a degree of prompt professionalism already coming into the group. You never know how each group within each year will go. Interpersonal dynamics, a new team and new leadership every year and all that. And then you add in the time we lost in the spring, the longer layoff, and maybe, just maybe, all the other things going on in the students’ regular lives this year, and I really had no idea what to expect this year.

They’ve been focused and efficient and ready to get the job done. Now, in the case of the sports crew, they just need more sports. But until that happens, they’re starting to expand their boundaries, which we are encouraging. It is, I keep saying, a great year to experiment.

Here is a brief news show from Tuesday. Just needs some more news.

And a real-life celebrity on the pop-culture show.

I hope they figure out ways to get more of those types of interviews on their shows.

Anyway, home just in time to shower and have dinner and then do the dishes and stare at the many different glowing screams.

It was worth it, for this: