Jul 21

What is the community risk? Here’s a podcast to answer that

I got up in time for a run this morning, a simple neighborhood shuffle to cover 2.75 miles. I made it back inside just in time to grab a shower and then record a podcast.

After which I made a quick to drop off the recycling. Which I did just as the best part of the day’s rain decided to fall upon us. So I was soggy for much of the day.

And later in the morning I edited the podcast, making this officially the most productive day of the week. It’s going to be difficult to top Tuesday, rest of the week, he said without looking at his calendar.

Here is that podcast. This is IU Northwest economist Micah Pollak. He’s part of a team of a physician, a med student, a biostatistician and more. They got all of the data from the school districts across Indiana this past year and tried to create an understanding of the risk involved with sending more kids back into their classrooms. What is the risk to the larger community? Take it away, Dr. Pollak.

Now, what expert am I going to ask questions of next? It’s not that easy of a question to answer in the summer. You’d be surprised how many people don’t check their email when they aren’t in their regular weekly campus routine. (Lucky.)

When I pitched this program last year I said I could do a lot of shows within the context of Covid-19, and this conversation with Pollak makes 50. Soon I’ll be expanding it into other topics, I think.

That’ll be something to start figuring out tomorrow morning.

Jul 21

Highlighting research

We haven’t done this in a while. Let’s look at some of the things I’ve posted on the ICR Twitter account. The point here is to highlight some of the really cool research coming out of The Media School and, specifically, the Institute for Communication Research.

These studies are all published or appearing at conferences and so on. All of the work is quite brilliant and there’s a little something here for everyone. But check all of these out.

If you play them simultaneously you’ll get an incredible symphony. Give that a try, too.

Jun 21

I’d like to draw a bit of attention to my pisiform

I mentioned that I’d made some new cufflinks, and I did. Here’s the proof you’ve been waiting for.

You were waiting for this, right?

Anyway, cut the fabric, adorn the cufflink face, attach a bit of chain and add the little toggle button thing on the back. After that, take a few pictures for you, dear reader, and then wait to wear them.

And make more in the meantime. It’s t-shirt season, of course. But eventually I’ll have to go into the respectable wardrobe closet and I’ll get to try my hand at accentuating colors.

And I have some really nice material waiting for the next batch. I’ll get pocket squares and cufflinks from them. And then I’ll probably be ready for an intervention.

It’s impressive how quickly things can accumulate if you don’t pay close attention.

Like this, this got out of hand in a hurry. I thought we should talk about the book. My lovely bride co-edited a book that was published recently and we should try a little, you know, publicity. And so I recorded some of her talking about it and I can put it in some places. I decided it’d be a good idea to put it in a tweet and then tag all of the co-authors and their outlets and that was basically my entire afternoon, trying to track those people down.

A copy of the book has been sitting on our coffee table and there’s a little something for everybody there. Someone even wrote about the NCAA and mascots, after all. All of these scholars who have devoted their time to researching this organization and they have a lot to say. (There are problems. Some you’d imagine, and others that probably you haven’t yet considered.) It’s a bold and important book. And it is available to you at …

So order your copy today!

I went out for a run this evening.

I’ve been having a conversation with a friend about how evening runs can be almost meditative — and I am not a person that finds my harmonic zen in running — and so I decided to honor the idea. (Lately I’ve been doing my shuffling in the morning, where the only virtue seems to be that ‘At least that’s out of the way.’) Only, this evening, I had to do it in-between rain showers.

Some people think running in the rain is great. I am not sure why they tell me that. But it’s like anything else. If you’re passionate about it, you have to tell everyone and they have to know it’s the best thing in the world! Just try it! You’ll see! Except running in the rain is not the best thing in the world. Sorry.

So I walked out of the neighborhood and up the small little hill and dodged a few raindrops that arrived earlier than scheduled and then ran back through the neighborhood. And, before I knew it, I had two more humble little miles under my shoes.

This, of course, is nothing. I took a long break from running, as is my routine, and I’ve been slowly easing into it. Because that’s what you do now. You enjoy every ache and pain, aware that this wasn’t there two years ago, or maybe even last time. I figure I’ll try a few more runs at that distance and pace, and then a few more runs at that distance with more pace. And then I’ll marvel at how the slower pace and the faster pace really aren’t that far apart anymore. Because I’m slower now! Never to be fast again! But still moving! And after that, I’ll really start to add some miles in. Just when summer decides to really impress us.

Maybe this approach, I hope, will delay the next inevitable break from running.

It’s funny, I always see someone else riding a bike and think “Wow, look at him go!” or “What a great bike she has!” And I find myself just the tiniest bit jealous that they’re going for a ride and I’m not on my bike just then. But I never see a person running and go “Wow! I wish I had my jogging shoes on right now!”

I thought that again this evening while a guy rode past me during my run. I think he had an e-bike. I was on a bit of a downhill flat section, and feeling OK, but still a bit jealous.

Bet he wasn’t thinking, “Oh, this is fine, but I’d much rather be shuffling around on foot like that guy!”

Just wait until he sees my personalized, bespoke wrist accessories.

May 21

Showing off, but just a little

Quite day at the office. Most everyone had taken the day off for the long weekend — or they were working from home. I talked with one person face-to-face. So, really, it was perhaps an almost-average day.

Here’s a new thing from work. We’re going to be rolling out a lot of this sort of thing before long, just trying to show off the work of colleagues. (Somebody oughta do it.)

I got 10 or 11 cuts from her on that study and her recently published NCAA book, and we’re going to show those off a lot, of course.

Speaking of showing off, she got on her time trial bike this afternoon. Working through the geometry shakedown rides, so still getting everything finely tuned after the latest round of adjustments. It was windy, she was getting acquainted and wearing this rain jacket — because it is cold and stupid here. That jacket parachutes and adds unnecessary wind drag. And she was still cooking.

I jumped ahead of here in a little bit of a road that suits me better than her. I figured I should get ahead and stay ahead because, when she got all of this figured out she’d go right by me. So for the next 10 miles.

She did not catch me. Today. She won’t do it tomorrow, because I will have a great ride tomorrow, but that bike is so fast and she’s so powerful on it that it’s only a matter of time. We rode the last two miles together, because it is a fun little chase. I was holding her wheel and glanced down to see was doing 31 mph (for context: that’s respectably fast) on that last little strip. I’ve ridden thousands of miles with her, so trust me here: she wasn’t even trying.

I need to install rockets on my pedals in the next week or two.

May 21

One more little Wonder Woman thing …

“Wonder Woman (2017) has been one of the most lucrative entries in the recent superhero film canon. With a female lead and director, it has also proven a rich text for feminist analysis. Here, the film’s engagement with questions of gender, aesthetic judgment and disability is explored through the lens of feminist geopolitics, and connected to the alignment between immorality and disfigurement in Hollywood more broadly. It is suggested that aesthetic value is used in the film as a key organizing principle for spatial and geopolitical claims. Through this analysis, the paper suggests the potential for further studies of disability, including disfigurement, in popular geopolitics.”

I’m just saying there’s a whole bunch of Wonder Woman scholarship, some of it is quite interesting.

No one that worked in pulp and ink in the 1930s and 1940s figured that work would have this kind of longevity, or inspire such devotion. How could think that? They didn’t have time to consider it. There was always the next issue to produce.

I wonder if you had some of those old authors still around, what would be the reaction to the ever-expanding things being written about their work? There’s a wide range of possibility, from ‘That was exactly the point,’ to ‘I hadn’t thought of that at all.’

And you’d know whether they meant it or not if the minor villain in the next issue was some hastily cobbled together BookWerm, or the hero or heroine just had to make a tough choice and the frazzled, frumpy, harried professor just couldn’t be saved …

Comic book writers and illustrators being among that ink-by-the-barrel class, after all.

I saw this at the end of my run this morning. If it is out-of-focus it is because I was still trying to catch my breath.

Three Zoom meetings this morning. Three all in a row. The third one sprung up in the middle of the second one. One of those sorts of days.

Later there was an impromptu hallway meeting about an earlier meeting.

Make sure they get their money’s worth on meetings, I always say.

Right after that I ran into a woman who was in the office probably for the first time since last spring. She’s due to retire soon. I asked her if she was counting the days. And what day was her last day and all of that.

Tuesday. Her last day is next Tuesday.

She’s getting the three-day weekend out of the deal, and that’s brilliant.

I asked her what she’s going to do, and what she’s going to do first. On Wednesday, she said, she won’t be doing much. But on Thursday she is babysitting the grandchildren. So her kid will let her have one whole day off before she starts her new role as a doting and omni-present grandmother.

This, I think, is why she lined this up to take the three-day weekend.

Anyway, she’s a delightful lady and always wears a great big warm smile and I’m both jealous of her Wednesday plans and sad to see she’ll be leaving. There should be a send-off, you’d think. But these days being these days, perhaps not. Perhaps that’s the way she wanted it.

Either way, terrific use of the Memorial Day weekend on her part.

I stopped to pick up some plywood this evening. It has gotten terribly expensive at the waste pile at the condo construction site near the house.

Not sure what I’ll do with these off cuts, but they’ll find some use. And that’s part of what my weekend will be, sifting through and organizing a bit of the lumber in the garage. I did this just a few weeks ago and I’ve no idea where anything is. Couldn’t draw you a mental map if you made me. “The wood? Oh, it’s over there. An extra piece, behind the good stuff … ”

So maybe I’ll return things to their previous level of disorder.

And though I am already making such ambitious Monday plans I assure you we will be in the office and also here tomorrow with … something.