winded-intellectual property

Oct 20

A fancy item, a fancy idea

Homemade pocket square achievement badge unlocked:

No one said a thing. No one noticed it was homemade. Given the few people I see, and how focused they are, probably no one noticed. But the color adds a nice touch, and I got spend part of an afternoon making three of these. I’ll have to make a few more. Perhaps next week.

Today, at the office, and this evening, in the television studio. The sports gang produced two sports shows. They’ll be online tomorrow and over the weekend.

On one show they showed off the university’s new golf course. It was due to open this year but, then, you know, Covid. But they are apparently taking reservations from the public right now. And in the program you can see some of our broadcasters play the course. They really bragged about the experience. I guess I’ll have to dust off my sticks.

My clubs are dusty.

The second show was the talk show, and they discussed the best college sports traditions. Things to do, mascots, music, experiences, and so on.

And it brought to mind a good idea for a class on sports culture. Here’s the short version: You feature guests from various other college programs, athletic directors, ambassador types, foundation people. You research the fan experience to get an overview of the atmosphere of the place. And then you go take part in the game day experience, not as a fan, but as an observer of the operation.

Think of it. We go to see the same show every time. The tailgate. The souvenir place. The must-have restaurant or bar. The game, and all the attendant ceremonies before-during-and-after the game. And you go back, again and again. The only thing that changes are the players and the game itself.

You may argue that that is why you spend the money and go and do all of those things, and you’re right! But you also go for the other things, too. The whole experience is part of your personal cultural journey into the collective experience. It’s all a part of the pageantry, brought on when ol’ State U comes to town. Universities put on a great show. The band has to be over here by this time, the other thing starts precisely 10 minutes later and then you’re in your seats for the precisely worded announcement from the PA, it’s all a part of your scheduled program. It’s all a part of the culture. I’ve seen enough, and worked in a few, to know a good show when I see one. And the ones that keep bringing you back those are good shows. And they all feature a “if it ain’t broke” mentality. We like that sameness, that familiarity, that timely link to a timeless time that we’re all trying to cling to.

So what if you did an examination of your own school’s setup? And then did the same with two or three geographically close programs to see how the other guys do it? What a class experience that would be. The guys tonight were talking about this and that, and it’s all a surface-level appreciation. Some of it they have maybe experienced, or only read about or watched on TV. But they don’t know what prompted that song to be a thing, or how it came to be there, and who really deserves the credit.

And, as college sports are grounded in that sameness, the tradition of it all, you need to be able to appreciate those things to know what you’re taking part in. Here’s my forever question: when does something contrived become a tradition? We’d like to think our favorite elements of this sort of pageantry evolved organically, on our own fan terms, but you’re mistaken. They started deliberately from somewhere. The selectivity wasn’t necessarily ours. It’s a great way to see it, and it’s a clever way to sell it to us, as appreciators of the old ways and all that. When does something contrived become a tradition? To answer that you have to ask: does anyone really remember, and do we individually know? And from the program’s standpoint, why is it this way? Because it works and the people want it that way. The entire experience would be thinner if you took away those favored elements. The whole trip is the experience, then, not just the game.

So, from the perspective of students of sociology or anthropology or people who want to go into sports administration or operations, this is a solid idea.

It will never go anywhere.

Anyway, the TV shows they produced tonight should be fun. I’ll put them here when they get them online.

Oct 15

Now fully in recovery mode

You have a lot of time to think when you’re trying to actively not think about how you’re torturing your body for 70.3 miles. Somewhere along the way you can give up thinking about times. For most of us they are just arbitrary goals anyway. And pretty quickly I got down to the “Next power pole — next shade on the asphalt — next step” mantra. Breaking things down into increasingly smaller goals works for a while. After that I just start noticing things. And then my brain turns into what I can only describe most closely as that fuzzy world between being awake and being asleep. Oh, the things you think on your pillowcase. Or on a warm race day.

I was jogging through a wooded exurban landscape and looking at the trees, this was probably around mile nine or so, and thinking Why is the phrase ‘You can’t see the forest for the trees’?


Shouldn’t it be forest for the leaves?

When we came through the finish line the announcer reads off your name and your hometown and cheers you on. it is a nice little touch. “You haven’t been forgotten out there for the better part of eight hours!”

We went back to the finish line for that traditional photograph and the guy says “Hey, weren’t y’all from Auburn? Did you hear about Nick Chubb?”

Dude, we’ve been dragging it up and down this course. And at mile 10 of my run was when the Georgia game was getting ready to start. I know this because they were packing up the aid stations to go inside and watch. So, no, I didn’t hear. But what about him?

He just thought we’d like to know. Not that it will matter in the larger scheme of things. He’s a great running back. Hope he heals up nicely. But it is interesting how football just weaves itself into everything.

Still so tired. But at least I’m not eating everything in site today. Maybe I’ll do something tomorrow. I’ll go run. Yeah. That’ll be good.

May 13

Green, light green and brown

So I downloaded Vine. I haven’t done anything with it yet. I’m waiting to see something amazing and use it one time, and then walk away. (At some point you have plenty of ways to capture atmosphere, after all.)

But, if you’re interested in Vine, here are some tips from Poynter: How journalists ‘can get serious content’ from Vine:

Like other newsrooms, KSDK uses Vine to show the personalities and the processes behind the curtain, but Anselm says the tool is also useful for finding stories.

She suggests searching local hashtags, like #STL in her area, and #breaking. “A lot of people think it’s a really lighthearted, fun thing, but you can get serious content from it,” Anselm says.

There is a video, which is useful. Just like Vine, it is 9:13 long.

The next video is more entertaining. Someone mentioned the Golden Trailer Awards earlier this semester. Those are the awards given for best movie trailers. The Golden Trailers began in 1999. That’s because in 1989 they saw the best trailer ever, recovered for a decade and then started judging every other inferior product.

This being the best one ever:

This movie, Captain Phillips, is coming out in October:

You might remember the circumstance behind it in 2009.

This part better be in the story. They downplay it here, but this an impressive series of shots by the SEALs:

But here’s the movie you’ll really want to see this year, Yuck: A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary About School Lunch:

Zachary is a fourth grader at a large New York City public elementary school. Each day he reads the Department of Education lunch menu online to see what is being served. The menu describes delicious and nutritious cuisine that reads as if it came from the finest restaurants. However, when Zachary gets to school, he finds a very different reality. Armed with a concealed video camera and a healthy dose of rebellious courage, Zachary embarks on a six month covert mission to collect video footage of his lunch and expose the truth about the City’s school food service program.

Here’s the trailer:

The guy is hysterical. Here’s another clip, which is the direct inspiration for this post.

Of course the New York City school system doesn’t believe him:

A spokeswoman for the Education Department, Marge Feinberg, said in an e-mail that vegetables and fruit were served daily and she suggested that Zachary must have chosen not to take the vegetables served in his cafeteria.

“It would not be the first time a youngster would find a way to get out of eating vegetables,” she wrote. Zachary responded that he always took every item he was offered.

And then:

On Monday, Zachary thought he was in trouble again when he was sent to the principal’s office and found two men in black suits waiting for him.

They turned out to be representatives from the Education Department’s Office of School Food, he said, who complimented him on his movie, asked for feedback on some new menu choices, and took him on a tour of the cafeteria kitchen.


Then he sat down for lunch with the officials. The adults ate the cafeteria lunch of chicken nuggets, carrots and salad.

Zachary had pork and vegetable dumplings – brought from home.

Went running tonight. We realized that the trail near our home is measured out perfectly, so I can say that, this evening, I shuffled along a 5K, here:


It is blurry because, when my feet are pounding and I have no breath and the blood is flowing everything sort of looks that way. But at least there was honeysuckle:


So there we were this evening beside the green leaves, the light green weeds, over the brown runoff dirt and through the honeysuckle, running and walking and shuffling five kilometers. I do not know what is happening.

(This phrase is now protected as winded-intellectual property. It will probably be used quite often.)

(So is the expression “winded-intellectual property.”)