May 18

Now here’s something of a different time

I had lunch with this guy today. It was, as you might imagine, very cool.

Dean Martin died when I was a freshman in college. And I wasn’t yet hip to who or what could bring about a lasting cool. I suppose he was always the guy that played drunk, or did the occasional telethon. He was one of the old guys that ran around with Sinatra and was old. I’m sure I knew he had done movies, but I didn’t know much about the Rat Pack and I certainly didn’t know much of his music. It was too far removed for me to be anything but too far removed myself, I suppose. (“Little Ole Wine Drinker Me” was a Charlie Walker song that Martin covered. It stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks. It peaked at fifth on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart and was also a hit in Australia that year.)

I really discovered him after college. His music. His cool. His sound. Dean Martin had the best sound of the Rat Pack.

And, man, he was funny. Just look who is on the stage with him here:

There’s a great Christmas-themed Pillsbury Flour spot and a too-artsy for 1975 America Revlon promo in the middle of the video, too.

And even when he was playing a song for laughs he could sing and sing:

I love that song.

One of our hallways at work has a lot of historic photos from the program. This lady is a part of one of the pictures:

She’s a copy editor in the 1940s at the IDS. But she’s given up her seat in the slot for Ernie Pyle, who has returned to Indiana to visit family and friends. And when he was home he was never far from campus, so here he’s back and reading the paper. The front page story that he’s reading is about the Romanian armistice, so she is looking over his shoulder as he reads a late-August, early-September paper from 1944.

I wonder what she was thinking about, sitting there, posing with the great Ernie Pyle in her seat. He’s a legend now, and he was well-venerated then. I wonder where those lamps got off too.

I looked her up. She might have become a school teacher. The woman I found online passed away just a few years ago. But I’m not 100 percent convinced I have the right person.

Tonight I’m hanging out with Allie, The Black Cat:

No better way to wind down an evening.

Apr 18

There’s so much to hear and see

I did an important podcast today. You should listen to this one, please:

If you haven’t listened to it yet, I talked with a reporter who has been covering the Rohingya refugee crisis and the genocide that precipitated it. This is a good conversation. You should listen.

Also, the religion in media conference wrapped up today, but not until we enjoyed two more sessions. This quote was somewhat thematic of part of the day:

If you weren’t there you missed out, but we streamed them, so you can still catch up. If you’re interested in visual storytelling the first panel is for you. The second is about gaming and while that’s not my thing I must say the presenters were quite compelling. You can watch both panels right here:

Then, another night in the studio with these guys:

I think I hit my 40 hours for the week before noon today, but the shows must go on. And these were the last sports shows of the semester. The sports folks are graduating their sports director. He’ll be working in the production unit for some professional franchise before long. He did a nice job here, and we’re expecting more big things from him, and from the rest of these guys too.

And tomorrow, an entirely new conference begins here. That kind of week.

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

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:



Apr 18

We are at a conference in Nashville

This morning I responded to papers at the Southern States Communication Association. I listened to people talk about their work and then, having read their work, I asked them questions about it. You try to make a good point, share something interesting, maybe make a suggestion if something wise comes to mind. (Something wise always comes to mind.) And then, of course, you say nice things. It is important to be nice. But it is also easy, because I was responding to the top papers panel, which means that these were scored higher than all of the other academic submissions.

One paper was on the true crime niche of podcasts. Another paper was a content analysis of photos published after airplane crashes and the third paper had to do with co-parenting in the age of social media. It makes sense if you read the paper.

So I heard the 15-minutes each presentations and then responded in kind, because that’s the task of the respondent. And then I took a selfie, because that’s just du rigueur.

I was also on two panels today. The first was a media literacy panel. Spoiler: We still haven’t solved that problem, though we’d like to do so. And we seem to think that college courses on media literacy would do the trick. Hammer — nail, and all of that.

I think they would be helpful, but not everyone is going to college, or is going to come back to college for your new media literacy course. So it doesn’t completely solve the problem. No one has figured that out, yet, so we were only mildly disappointed that we didn’t resolve the problem during that 75 minute panel session.

But I did coin two phrases and drop some big names in media research!

Also, we had another panel about the midterm elections. I didn’t coin any phrases, but I talked about the unprecedented number of women who are running for congressional seats this time around. This is all taking place in Nashville, so I tried to mention one of the women in that race. A Republican congresswoman is vying for the retiring senator’s position. In a normal year in Tennessee this would seem to be an easy leap. Literally moments after the conclusion of that panel, however, new polling data was released that the leading Democrat has the upper hand in the fall vote. This is not a normal year. And maybe there will be fewer easy leaps.

This evening we got to see Bill Monroe’s statue. There’s a sign nearby noting that in 1945 the Father of Bluegrass took the stage at the Ryman with Lester Platt and Earl Scruggs and created the genre. There’s only so much you can put on a historical sign, I get that, and maybe that’s enough. Hey, there’s a statue, and you should take a picture of it on your way down to the more touristy areas.

We were in the pursuit of good barbecue and I do miss good barbecue. I mean, sure, you can get ice cream with your conference friends in any city that is big enough to hold a small conference:

But you have to be in the South to get barbecue that a group of Southerners from all parts of the South can agree is worthwhile.

Tomorrow: More conferencing! And probably more selfies. Maybe there will be more good food, too.