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15
May 17

Mondays never have clever post titles

The best restive kind of weekend. Slept in and and then did only what I wanted to do on Saturday. This included turning on lights seldom used and in random combinations throughout the evening. Also, I cleaned out the leftovers from the refrigerator. To most people this means dragging the garbage can over and doing the transfer of goods routine. Or the Transfer of Foodstuffs That Were Once Good and No Longer Are routine.

Me, I just ate them. Two dishes from last week that made their way into the fridge were lunch and dinner on Saturday. Then I cleaned my office.

Sunday, I made the mother’s day calls, went to the grocery store, watched a bike race and road my bicycle.

I made several passes on that deer, so I got plenty of fuzzy photos:

deer

Also, nearby, was a rabbit:

rabbit

Maybe they’ll both come over and help with the next set of leftovers.

Today, back to the office, where things are taking place and some work is getting down and meetings are being held. Then home and, while walking to the car, I saw another rabbit:

rabbit

I’m guessing it was a different rabbit. It could be the same one. The two sightings were only about a mile or so apart. I don’t know why that first rabbit would need to hop this direction, but it is possible. (Not pictured, another rabbit, which was hiding in the shrubbery.)

And then another bike ride. I did an hour in a low gear, mashing and lifting the pedals as quickly as I can, on the flattest course I could find, where I still managed to gain 503 feet over 16 miles. But I held my highest pace of the year so far. That deserves a handlebar shot:

trail

And another ride tomorrow.


12
May 17

I do not want to hear Tubthumping when I’m 85

Musical encoding is a powerful thing. Researchers are only just beginning to understand its importance, and I imagine it has a lot more value than even the hefty weight of reminiscence.

Now think of it, think of the music someone is going to play for us one day.

Which brings to mind two quick stories.

A colleague here is doing oral histories with alumni who are now in their 90s. She stopped by my office the other day and mentioned some interesting little tidbit in the ongoing process. Two students were in my office at the time and I looked at them and said something like “Just think, someone is going to approach you one day, in 2087 or so, and ask for your recollections about this place.”

And the student goes “2087. That’s not a real year.”

I hear ya, pal.

And, today, we learned that next week my colleague will do an oral history with a woman who is 102 years old. I wondered where that put that woman on the list of oldest living alumni. There’s a story in here somewhere, I figured.

So I called the alumni association and they did a bit of digging and we found out that, last September, the oldest surviving alumnus on record was a 111-year-old alumnus.

Think of it, 111. That’s a life born around 1905 who saw all but the very first planes, and then saw us go to the moon, and then perhaps has learned that we have people living in a tin can circling 250 miles above us. Those and all of the other things that they have seen. All the stories that person must know.


10
May 17

The Indigo Girls show

We went to a rock ‘n’ roll show tonight:

marquee

Which means there’s fuzzy video from a dark room, but the sound is pretty decent. Well, the performance was great; the recording of the sound was not bad. I’ve been listening to the Indigo Girls for more than 20 years now, and so have most of the people in the audience. We’re all aging together, people! Except for the young people. They are somehow not moving at all.

Anyway, this song is almost 30 years old and who knows how many times they have played it over the years, but Amy and Emily still put a lot of energy into it:

I think they’re singing the “time is not on my side” line with a bit more emphasis these days. Who isn’t, though, right?

Look! This song is only 20 years old and I have no idea how that happened!

While you play that, a little story. I don’t sing in front of people really at all. I sing a lot, in private. In public I’ll sing in church and that’s about it. I’d rather stand in front of hundreds or thousands of people and give a speech — hey, I have! — than sing in front of four people. It’s just a shy, privacy, thing.

When The Yankee and I had just started dating we sang this together on a road trip. And I always think about that when I hear that song, that part of the song, when the shy singer was trying to pretend to hit a note. Voice, just like anything else, can be a great vulnerability if you choose to see it that way, but there I was, sharing it out loud, on a supremely sunny springtime day somewhere in south Georgia. I still don’t sing around people. But I sing with her. (She sings Emily’s parts because I can’t.)

Yeah, it is a banjo and a mandolin, and yet the back half of that song is some of my favorite rock ‘n’ roll. It’d be pretty high up on a folk list, too.

Speaking of rock ‘n’ roll shows … The Yankee has seen the Indigo Girls something like nine times over the years and I’m at six, I believe. Chickenman is still crazy good:

You could get into whole essays on who, or what the Chickenman is. This is the Internet, of course people have launched into historical allusions, literary metaphors and references to Springsteen lines and 1960s radio programs and all manner of things. I met a Chickenman once. I’ll never not think it wasn’t The Chickenman.

(Aside: I felt a tiny bit let down that they didn’t do the Mountain Top medley.)

Isn’t it weird how things can become biographical, even if you didn’t consciously intend for that to happen? There was this one 12-mile stretch of road, an almost-home road, where I’d pop this in play it three good times before the drive was over.

Each of the three times I’d sing it differently. All were probably sung poorly, but they had feeling. A loud and noisy and jangly feeling. It makes for a good show.


3
May 17

A new thing in the video below

I had a nice meeting today with some thoughtful and talented people and we discussed creating a podcast that highlights some of their interesting work. We’re just getting started with the idea, but it could be a very promising project, based on all of the enthusiasm in the room. This one is not the podcasts about podcasts. Nor is it the one which is just the ranking of things. (I’m going to call that one “We Rank Things.”) No, this one will be full of interesting topics and experts. It should come online in the summer or fall.

On my desk there is actually a notepad full of potential show types. It is a slightly annoying thing, this list.

I also spent time in a production studio today. And I spent time in email today. I spend time in email every day. This long note here, this short note there, a summary that probably has more information than any one reader will need, but all of them might think to consult, and recommendation letters.

There’s a late semester rush for references. I am happy to provide them, especially for some of the more talented people like I discussed today, but it does seem unusual that there are places out there still filling their internships.

Also, right as I was walking out the door to go home for the evening I learned of another graduating student’s big interview come next week. If my math is correct that means fully a half of the seniors I’ve worked with this year have jobs before graduation — not too shabby in the journalism and broadcasting game — and another one interviewing 48 hours after graduation. I believe almost every member of the underclasses will be either in school or interning over the summer. That must say something about the quality of their work and the curriculum they’re in.

Also, today, I picked up this book:

I’ve read pretty much the entire book online. This was the source material for the map that we made to help us understand my great-grandfather’s time in the Army. There are a lot more photographs in the book, of course. Here’s the map I made a few years ago:

I tried to look up the men that compiled that unit history book, but they all have remarkably common names, good, solid, middle America names. People of that sort, from that particular era are sometimes hard to find on simple Internet searches. Now, in the back of the book there is a partial roster of the regiment. Probably recalled from memory and various early rosters and whatever names showed up on subsequent reports, so not hardly complete. My great-grandfather isn’t it. But there is one man who had the same last name, a Texan. He was a lieutenant, got married, shipped out, made it home and lived a long life as a successful rice farmer and rancher. He died in 2003 at 86. My great-grandfather passed away just shy of 82 in 2001. (And think of all that you would see in a lifetime of that span.)

The commander of the 137th was Maj. Gen. Paul Baade. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and educated at West Point, Baade was in the 87th Infantry during WWI, fighting in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in the final hours of that war. And then, three decades later, he returned to the region commanding the 35th Division and maneuvered them over 1,600 miles through the end of the war in Europe. Must have seen some familiar territory. He retired in 1946 and died in 1959. And his is a fine obituary. The regimental commander during my great-grandfather’s time in Europe was Col. William S. Murray. He was a highly regarded commander, and after the war Murray taught at the Infantry School, before retiring in 1948 and dying in 1949. We don’t know what battalion my grandfather was in, so everything about his service is at a basic, bird’s eye level.

I like to wonder, then, if my great-grandfather, the medic, knew the medics in those photographs in the video above.

Anyway, my Google searches have now started wandering for the evening, obviously. So let’s wrap this up … rain tomorrow, starting tonight, even. We are wearing jackets again, like you do in May.

Hey, what did you think of the new video bumpers? Didn’t notice? Scroll up and play it again.


27
Apr 17

What day is it?

I skimmed through Twitter before I sat down to write this, as I sometimes do. And I had three intelligent tweets in a row. That’s worth pointing out:

Elsewhere, another day at the office. We’ve wrapped up all of the shows, except for one final shoot tomorrow. There are oral histories being booked and recorded. Classes are winding down. Parties and end-of-the-school-year meetings are being held. I attended two of the former and one of the latter. I got a nice thank you card.

And I thought I might start going through some old videos. I had this idea last week while I was working on new video graphics. (I have three new opening and closing videos after spending some quality time with After Effects.) So here is something I shot in Belgium in 2015:

The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is a Roman Catholic church in the heart of Brussels. Beautiful church. Worship here is thought to date back to the ninth century. The current structure was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. The stained glass windows and confessionals go back that far. The pulpit was added in the 17th century and the carillon, heard here, was installed in 1975. During 20th century restorations the remains of a Romanesque church and a Romanesque crypt were discovered.

And now I want another Belgian waffle.