Mar 17

Alone in the woods, with sunglasses and soup

Each day I make use of at least one weather app, the smart thermostat which is still patiently trying to convenience me it somehow knows what is going on outside and a variety of windows which display both front and back yards. I do all of this at night and again in the morning, before I put a single thing in my pockets to leave. And then I put the things I carry in my pockets, so many things. And then I go to the garage, because that is where I park my car.

I open the garage door, because that is easier than driving through it and replacing it every week. And then I settle into my car, crank it and undertake the normal procedures one uses. I put my foot on the brake, select reverse and then throw my arm over the other seat and look backward because that’s how everyone did it when I was growing up and that’s still the coolest move in a car. I snicker at the idea of a backup camera. No, seriously, every day, that makes me chuckle. And then I move the car, each time I am amazed by my good fortune of avoiding hitting things with the passenger-side mirror. And then I am in the driveway, and I back up about 15 more feet and I’m in the road.

Only, today, I was confronted by this thing that I knew from both ancient DNA and my own dim, distant memory.

That’s actually overselling it. Of course it was the sun. I was pleased to see the sun. “This is,” I thought to myself, “a sign of things to come.” That thought was immediately followed by “My, but that’s bright!”

Don’t I own some device that was designed to aid in the filtering of the bright and magical UV rays which are now descending on me for the first time since, oh, November? However long ago it was I had to really struggle to remember — and this part is legitimate — where I store my sunglasses in my car. But I used them today. So pleased was I that, in the parking lot at work I had to find a sunny spot for this picture:

I used to use this article in writing classes. It is about a man who stayed a true hermit, in the woods of Maine, for 27 years before police picked him up on a series of cabin break-ins. One reporter, the author of that piece, was the only person the guy talked to. (Turns out, I just learned, that story has become one of GQ’s most-read pieces ever. I’d give students that article on a Monday and would ask them to discuss it the following Monday. The few that would actually talk about it thought it creepy. At 20 pages of intriguing brilliance, most just thought it too long and admitted they gave up on it. Their loss.)

Anyway, the story appears again, by the same talented reporter, Michael Finkel, who has now written about it in The Guardian. And now he’s got a book on the story, released earlier this month. Read the GQ version, it is worth the time.

Tonight I learned that Allie likes minestrone:

She likes it a lot. Licked the bowl clean. Worked hard at getting the edges. I’ll have to leave her a bit of the broth next time.

Mar 17

You know you want to see my air guitar movie

Best thing I’ve done today:

Still writing and typing and copying and pasting and hacking away on my week-long project. Actually we’ve made good time on it, and this is because my co-authors have all written interesting and important information. Trimming that is sometimes a challenging thing — That part was important! And this over here was so well-written! — but that’s the task. We have been given a deadline for Friday and we’ll hit it. Deadlines are magical focus magnifiers. Plus I’m working with some sharp people on this.

Here are some more sharp people, they were getting ready to shoot a weekend sports talk show:

Big, bright futures ahead for all of those folks. Some talented young broadcasters are coming along right there.

And here is a show some of our students produced on Tuesday night:

Mar 17

And now, some notes about my day

A know a guy who works on reaching new audiences. Basically, he gets hired to talk to people in new ways as efficiently as possible. I asked him one time, suppose I wanted to hire you to talk to high school juniors and seniors, what would you do?

He said he wouldn’t try talking to the juniors and seniors of 2017, but he’d be thinking about the juniors and seniors of 2022 and 2023. I think about that answer when I read things like this:A new study says young Americans have a broad definition of news

Younger Americans have a broad definition of news that expands beyond the output of traditional news organizations and includes information gleaned from social media and user-generated content, according to a report out Wednesday from the Data & Society Research Institute.


“I think you have to really just listen to everything, and then pick out what you believe and what you think is really truthful,” said a 22-year-old African-American female who participated in


“If I don’t see it on social media, I’m not going to hear it,” a 17-year-old African-American said.

However, many of the participants said they were reluctant to share news and their thoughts on the news on social platforms publicly. Instead, many said that they will send links or screenshots to friends in messaging apps or other more private channels.


The study says “the most striking point of consensus across the groups was their shared lack of trust in the news media.”

“Even if it’s factual, it may be sort of tainted,” a 23-year-old Hispanic and African-American female said.

This morning I ran seven miles, my last run before the weekend. And then I went to work and it was all about work for about 10 solid hours. Here’s a show the students shot tonight. They posed for this, somehow mustering up a flair for the dramatic they otherwise surely didn’t know they had:

Also, this show launched today. I watched them tape the first episode last Friday night, and it is pretty clever stuff:

I work in a place that lets students develop and create their own shows. You have an idea you want to try? Feel like experimenting? Want to realize your dream? You show up, put some skin in the game and you’re doing that here. And it is part of my job to oversee the television station that helps you do that. I get to help students do that. We’ve launched three new shows this year, in addition to moving into a multi-million dollar studio.

Also, there is movie night, like tonight:

We make original content and we are serious about journalism.

Feb 17

I’m editing, this will be brief

I started a new memoir today. It isn’t really a memoir, or an autobiography. The blurbs may be right, it is a first-person account. But pretty quickly, this one suggested it would stand apart:

That’s Robert Leckie in his first book, Helmet For My Pillow. I generally find memoirs interesting, though often the writing isn’t of a high quality. Leckie is writing about his time in the Pacific in World War II — so far he’s just made it out of boot camp — but he’s not just a Marine, he started out as a sports writer and became a reporter, a family man and the author of more than 20 books. The guy has chops.

Makes me wonder why I waited this long to read it. As a Marine of the First Division he fought in two of the bloodiest island campaigns of the war, and he kept those stories alive here. This book, his first, was published in 1957 and again in 2010. If you remember the HBO miniseries, The Pacific, you met Leckie. This was one of the pieces of source material for the production. Leckie died in 2001.

Here’s the news show the students shot last night:

And here’s the entertainment show, where you can learn all about what to wear in this season’s fashions and various other goings on:

I liked the sunglasses myself.

A talk show tonight, and then a late night dinner and early to rise to do it all again tomorrow!

Feb 17

A little something for a lot of people

Here’s your mid-week upside down motivation, brought to you by Allie The Black Cat:

She’s always concerned about morale, now if only she could read, so she’d know the words were upside down.

She spends enough time staring at screens and books and paper. Maybe she thinks she can read. Maybe she just looked at that upside down. Maybe I’m the one that is wrong. Maybe she actually can read. Anything is possible, it says.

We went for a run late this evening, before it was time to head back into the studio. I thought we would be running indoors, so I just had shorts and a t-shirt. But we ran outside, where the windchill was 34 degrees. I am smart. So I got in five miles before I had to cut it short to go back to work. I didn’t get my full eight, but I did get this view after I showered and set out to walk back to my building:

That’s going to be a banner on the site one day soon, I think.

These two pictures are from last night. The news show I oversee now has a weather segment. This was from last night, when we finally broke in the green screen. Pretty cool opportunity for the folks studying the weather:

I spent some time in the control room last night, too. Mostly because there are a lot of lights and cool buttons in there:

Things to readHere by the owl:

CADIZ, Ohio — Don Jones supports students as an FFA adviser, represented by the owl during FFA meetings.

In FFA tradition, the owl is a time-honored emblem of knowledge and wisdom, and Jones has served in the adviser’s role for 22 years. Some of his students jokingly refer to him as the “wise old owl.”

In his classroom at Harrison Central Junior and Senior High School, he provides real lessons for real life as the agricultural education teacher. He sees 140 students a day, in grades 7-12.

Being the only educator in the program, with just one classroom, he has to turn away students from his program, which is an elective for the nearly 650 youth at Harrison Central.

That headline is no accident. That’s actually part of the opening ceremony the FFA uses at levels ranging from school meetings to the national convention. The teacher, or the adviser, is represented by the owl.

Last year I wrote about my advisors:

I had many valuable experiences, and this could go on and on, but the most important thing the FFA gave to me was the leadership of two good men. Mr. Swaffield and Mr. Caddell were battle-tested teachers. They are two solid, stand up, good, decent, morally upright father figures I benefitted from as a teenager, when a boy needs them most.

Scott Pelley, Lester Holt, David Muir: The Unprecedented Joint Interview:

And, finally: Lost songs of Holocaust found in University of Akron archives:

In the summer of 1946, the psychologist interviewed at least 130 Jewish survivors in nine languages in refugee camps in France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. With a wire recorder — then considered state-of-the-art equipment — and 200 spools of steel wire, Boder preserved some of the first oral histories of concentration camp survivors. He also recorded song sessions and religious services.

A portion of Boder’s work has been archived at The University of Akron’s Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology since 1967. But it wasn’t until a recent project to digitize the recordings got under way that a spool containing the “Henonville Songs,” performed in Yiddish and German and long thought lost, was discovered in a mislabeled canister.

As I’ve said before: A significant portion of the 21st century is going to go toward the preservation of the works of the 20th.