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

Views around the building

Presidents Hall is set up for an event:

Sometimes it is a reading room. Sometimes there are lectures there. Sometimes they have meals and other sort of events. Up on the wall there are oil paintings of each of IU’s presidents. It’s a neat space.

Oh, thank goodness someone thought to post a sign:

I walked by one of the student archival projects the other day. An April 3rd, 1939 edition of the New York World Telegram was about to go in the scanner. Al Capone, the TVA and the war dominated the front page. (Roy Howard’s byline is why this paper was being scanned.)

The Roy Howard archive is at IU, and that’s what this effort is all about. Here’s the next story in her To Scan pile:


Apr 18

The weather is better, almost springlike even

It is warmer today, and sunny. So that’s better than yesterday. But I saw this at one of the nearby sandwich shops.

So I am not, as they say, shook.

So I went back into the studio. I played with the jib and made visual composition jokes:

No jokes here, its an important and serious and informative podcast we created today. Dominick Jean is a smart guy like that:

A late night show some of our students produced:

And their news show:

So much media!

Mar 18

More videos for you to watch

We have students doing a late night show. We’re not just news and sports around here, after all. You can watch an episode online right now:

My friend, Dominick, made me watch this video today:

He said it made my life better. I don’t know about all of that, but it was worth seeing.

So was this:

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.