Oct 20

Sometimes you can get a lot into a Wednesday

Attended a virtual meeting today were the future of the future was definitely not decided. We did hear about other meetings, however. Seminars here, movies there, presentations and workshops from near and far. Everyone is keeping busy as best they can.

After the meeting I recorded some audio. And after recording the audio I took it to the office to edit. And then some of it was uploaded. It is a cycle and it has its place. Keeping busy.

The afternoon was a bit slower than the morning, then. I was able to catch up on email and the news and many of the other attendant things that make up normal days. Even in abnormal times, they’re always there. Always there.

Returned to the house after work and went for a bike ride. It was an easy hour. I pedaled alongside The Yankee as she condensed two days of webinars into an hour of highlights. I could ride like that all day. She talked, I tried to keep up. Usually her training rides are designed to be more brisk. She rides harder and I … try to keep up. So it was a pleasant thing to do, riding along, listening to the conversation.

It was gray and humid and moist. Yes, both adjectives are required here. It was 64 degrees when we left and 61 when we got back in and for some reason I could see my exhalations. It was the first “I can see my breath!” ride of the year. The dew point was very high.

This evening I tried working on three projects. And two of them went nowhere. I need to replace the button on a pair of blue jeans and that’s harder than it should be, apparently. There are a few methods to this, the Internet tells me. One destroys the denim, which seems besides the point. Another is poorly described. The third is pretty straightforward though: Grab the button on either side with pliers and unscrew the thing.

Well, that didn’t work tonight. I managed to ruin another button from a pair of ruined jeans, and since it was dinnertime anyway, I put that project once again on the back burner. We’d cooked everything on the front burners anyway.

I wanted to make a little carrying sling for a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep in the car, but the initial plan didn’t go according to … well … plan.

So, back to the drawing board, which I don’t have. Maybe that’s the problem. I shouldn’t draw things up in my mind. The specs are never that good up there anyway.

But my third project, it has real potential.

I have to use my university ID for various things on campus. It’s a key, it grants printer access, you check out books with it and so on. I’ve recently decided that maybe I don’t want to carry it around in my wallet. Maybe I don’t want to pull my wallet out every time I need the card. Too many cooties, and who knows how repeated hand wipes will treat the leather.

So I’ve had in mind a few different things I could make as a minimalist card holder. And I’ll probably wind up trying several of them out before I ultimately settle on one. So tonight I started working on the first idea which will be a slimmer version of my homemade business card holders:

I had some leftover wood from those projects which were already perfectly cut to size. To create the depth I ran the jigsaw over the thinnest paint stirrer I could find. Now the glue will cure overnight. Tomorrow evening I’ll sand the thing down and try to find some way to make white alder wood look interesting. And, when it’s done I’ll show you this solution. Because every project comes down to having material to put here, for you, dear reader.

Here are some TV shows the TV people did. This is the morning show, and they are on location, and that seems like an early time of day for a spot like that …

All the stories came together for the news team this week. I believe I counted seven produced pieces within the episode and 10 or 11 different voices all told. This is the pace we’d like to keep for every episode. Sometimes we’re more successful at it than others.

And there’s a really cool little feature in the pop culture show. Carillons are oddly fascinating, once people are reminded to think about them. And a student who has an abiding interest in music sought out the story of the impressive instrument that you can hear on the IU campus.

And that should be enough for now.

More tomorrow, though. And, until then, don’t forget to catch up on Catober, since Phoebe and Poseidon are putting on quite a show. And did you know they have an Instagram account now? Phoebe and Poe have an Instagram account now. Keep up with me on Twitter, and don’t forget my Instagram. There are also some very interesting On Topic with IU podcasts for you, as well.

Oct 20

Colors of the season

On Monday I sanded two pieces of wood. They are very long pieces of wood. And I worked out all of the splinters with 60- and 100-grit paper. Which means I only have to take eight pieces of wood, large pieces of wood, through grist 150, 220 and 400, so I can finally stop sanding wood.

But! Progress! That funny feeling of progress! Vibrating through the entirety of the upper body! There’s just no bettering that. Or is it just the remnants from the orbital sander? Probably it’s that.

But progress!

Also, I’m experimenting with making pocket squares. Measure twice, cut and trim your way with bad scissors into something resembling a square shape for all of eternity! You could sew these, but I don’t have a sewing machine. I found some nice hem tape, though, and you iron it into place to save the day. Also, I had to learn the hard way that hem tape is double-sided and you have to remove the covering first. If you don’t learn something, you don’t leave any room to laugh at yourself. Anyway, I’m now a costume designer, or something:

You’ll notice I’m not wearing any of those today. Today’s pocket square is a nice orange, autumnal number:

I took this picture right after a student called me by someone else’s name. There was a question mark on the end of it. He thought I was his professor. I am not. Imagine there’s another guy around here that has to look like this.

Anyway, autumn! It was a beautiful day and I indulged in taking seven whole minutes outside in it.

I am a party animal. A wild man, in my mask and pocket square, which clashes with my lapel pin. But the leaves are impressive.

This is just one lively maple, don’t you think?

A version of this shot might wind up elsewhere on the website.

This little guy is sitting in the window sill above the kitchen sink.

That’ll give you something to contemplate when you’re washing dishes.

Jun 20

Pictures of small fossilized creatures

Here are more marine animals turned to stone by time. I picked these up off the shore of a lake and now that they’ve been documented here for no reason I will return them whence they came. It’s important that these things go back to the wild. They’re destined to roam free, stepped on and kicked and maybe picked up and marveled at by children of all ages.

And, also, to take up a good day’s worth of space here on this humble little website. And maybe on social media. There’s always a need for content over there.

Check out these articulations. I believe these, at least some of these anyway, are comatulida, which is an order of crinoids.

Those layers, I just learned, are called synostosis.

Even on the broken ones, I like the ridges. These things have so much character.

If you squinted just right, and I put some greenery and fake foliage on the paper I might be able to trick you into thinking these were castle towers or something. Maybe you’d think I got them from a train set.

Donut or Cheerio?

OK, that’s a Cheerio. This is definitely a donut.

So there’s three types of the common crinoid fossils things in my experience — and the third one is relatively new to me. There’s the one that’s got dirt or mud or fossilized sediment inside. The more desirable version are the ones that are still hollow, like our friends above which resemble tasty treats. Through that axial canal runs, which ran through all the stem segments of the living organism, you would find the nerves and the digestive system that sent nutrients along the body.

Most of these look like they might be cyclocyclicus or pentagonacyclicus, according to this 1968 study I’ve suddenly found myself reading. And the new type, to me, are the ones with the specific shapes through the columnal feature. Like these.

Let’s take a closer look. This one is a floricyclus.

I just found something called The Fossil Forum and two things are clear. The little samples I find are relatively modest and, second, I can’t be sucked in my something called The Fossile Forum.

That 1968 paper — Classification and nomenclature of fossil crinoids based on studies of dissociated parts of their columns by Raymond C. Moore and Russell M. Jeffords — has almost 30 pages full of photos. I don’t see this one there, and it’s not even especially rare.

I’ve seen it’s kind in similarly vague and casual photographs like this one before, so it’s nothing new.

Please remember, dear expert reader who finds this at some point in the future, this is obviously and quite clearly not my field. I’d love to be corrected, however, on any of these errors, big or small.

Jun 20

Got 20 minutes? There are two great videos below

I found some fossils down at the lake yesterday. We have to spread these things out for content just now, plus I’ve been playing around with a new light box setup at home. So yesterday’s crinoid samples would have to wait. They’ve been sitting around for a few hundred million years, so what’s a few more hours, really?

Anyway, I am trying to remember how to take pictures of small things.

They look like shriveled Cheerios, don’t they? Really crunchy cereal bites with ridges. Don’t eat these, they aren’t that tasty, and probably difficult to digest at this stage.

It’s amazing, really. I’m taking these pictures and I’ll put these back out by the lake or a creek or something and maybe one day someone else will see them.

Or maybe they’ll just wait for another few hundred million years until the insect citizens of Perpaplexiconia dig through a few more feet of soil and who knows what they’ll think of tiny fossils. Maybe they’ll eat stones for their digestive properties.

Stuff from Twitter, to pad this out.

This is sort of self-explanatory. But I always wonder how people select the takeover person, and what that negotiation is like. Do you have to leave your license and car keys behind or something? Now, a full on swap for a day or so would be enlightening. I think it might be better on Instagram than Twitter, actually.

George Taliaferro is one of those people that, the more you read about him, the more you want to know about him.

He led the Hoosiers to their only undefeated season, helped end segregation in Bloomington by a few different methods:

He became the first African-American drafted by the NFL, and spent a lifetime, I mean the rest of his life, lifting up others. I regret not having had the chance to meet him before he passed away. But there are plenty of great stories about him, I mean plenty, and football is merely the way you learn about an otherwise great man.

Midway through this piece Taliaferro talks about he and the university president managed to desegregate the businesses of Bloomington. It’s a little choppy, but it goes like this: There was a photo in a popular restaurant right across the street from campus that had a picture of a championship IU team on the wall. Taliaferro said to Herman Wells, my picture is on the wall, but I can’t eat there. And Wells said, we’ll just see about that. It’s a big little story about two amazing men.

They don’t make many like that anymore, and they never did make enough of them to begin with.

I have an idea about this, don’t:

Can you imagine? One day you’re going through life’s drudgeries, the next day you’re in a pandemic, and then suddenly you’ve lost your father and your step-mother and now you’re the caregiver to five children and a stroke victim.

Where a mask, wash your hands, give the people around you plenty of distance.

Jun 20


Here are some crinoids I picked up last weekend. I was wondering down by the creek bed enjoying myself quite nicely and it quickly became a scavenger hunt. Right there at my feet I found three of these at a glance. Why, then, I had to wonder around a bit to discover a few more.

Old seaborne fossils. Or, around these parts, definitely freshwater fossils. You can find them most anywhere that has water, seems like. Why do I still pick them up? Why do I bring them back to the house to take pictures of them?

These are, I believe, crotalocrinites. They are the sort I’ve always found. They are extinct now, but they appeared about 300 million years before the dinosaurs.

I’ve just discovered, online, there are star-shaped fossiles called pentacrinites. I want to find some of those.

Let’s jump in the time machine, though, and move up a few hundred million years. I pulled back the break lever just a bit too soon, however, and we’ve stopped 103 years before. It’s June 4, 1917. What’s going on in the world?

Oh. That. So the summer before there was a massive sabotage in New York. And two weeks after this Congress passed the Espionage Act, something Woodrow Wilson had been on them about for several years. I can’t find any details today about this person. So we’ll just have to be satisfied with these news briefs:

The next day you had to go sign up for the draft. Married men couldn’t duck it. You’ve already seen that peaceful registrations were predicted. And we now from earlier editions of the paper that several American men, even some locals, are going off to war in some capacity or another. Just down the page there’s a brief listing another handful of names. In New York, when the draft went into play, it was anything but peaceful. So, I’m sure, people were hoping for the best.

There are two creeks on either side of us that have these names.

And while people are out surveying damage, and you’re reading in another column the news that a former local who had moved to Illinois just had his house destroyed in the storms, you get this little ad:

A.H. Beldon had been a grocer. By the teens, he was doing insurance. He made it to 80 or 81 and died in 1939, the same year as his wife. Their son flew planes for the Army in World War I, in Texas, it looks like. That guy’s son served in the Army during World War II.

Enoch Hogate had some paralysis, and then he did not. Much improved was he, a relief to all it was.

Hogate had joined the law school in 1903 and served as the dean from 1906 to 1918. He also had a turn in the state senate prior to all of that.

Polio caused paralysis. I wonder if that’s what it was. He passed away in 1924.

This was the vessel, The Success. It was not built in 1790, but rather 1840. It was not a prison ship, unless it was. Sometimes Internet searches are contradictory. Anyway, it was by now a museum ship. A good fraud well executed, from the looks of things.

She was scuttled in 1891, re-floated the next year, restored and then sailed to England. In 1912 the vessel came to the U.S. and returned to cargo service in 1917, after which it sank. It was re-floated and turned into a museum in 1918, appeared at the Chicago World Fair and fell apart. The Success was to be scrapped on Lake Erie, but it sank for a third time. Someone pulled it up again in 1945 and it promptly ran ashore. In 1946 there was a fire that consumed it. The moral to that story, I guess, is don’t make up a fake history about your ship.

Get ’em a camera!

I wonder if they’re still hiring …

The second and third pages of the four-page rag were just poorly scanned photos of the graduating high school class, which is why we jump immediately to the scolding baby.

Look, baby, nobody likes a scold.

This one had a column jump, which is why it looks weird at the top. But let’s get a load of those people. George Washington Henley had graduated from the law school here three years prior. He went into private practice and got married soon after.

The well-known home boy would serve as a state lawmaker for a decade and, later, sat on the state Supreme Court bench for two months. He was a replacement until the end of a term, but he didn’t want to stay on. He needed to get back to his own clients and he just wanted, Wikipedia says, the prestige. He died in 1965 and was eulogized by the university president. His wife survived him by a dozen years, and was living in California when she passed away.

This is why you should keep Googling names. One of the attendants of their wedding was Paul Feltus. He would become a newspaper editor, witnessed and reported on the atomic bomb tests in 1946 and served as a board member for the university. He wrote four silent film scripts, served in the artillery in World War I and was a colonel in the state guard in the 1940s.

Now, a life of 81 years can’t be distilled into a paragraph, but a paragraph like that hints at an interesting life.

Because the second and third pages were poor artifacts, and because the last page was torn right through the copy, you’re getting a second wedding announcement.

This was Melvin’s second wife. His first died young after just six months of marriage. She was ill most of that time. They had 17 years of unalloyed happiness, I hope. His second wife had a child and died in her 40s, in 1934. Fender kept on farming, retired, and passed away in 1958 at 74.

OK, “Bobby.”

I spent a lot of time looking into this ad. I’m not sure Bobby was a real person.