Mar 23

There’s so much here to see and enjoy

I forgot to brag on this sunset from yesterday. My bad, sun. You know that big ball of fusion has been hurt by that oversight all day. And the skyline, poor emotional skyline. I’ll never be able to make it up to the skyline. And my thoughts are also with the remnants of those clouds, wherever they are a day later.

It was one of those sunsets of a fleeting sort. As I left the building I though, Take a picture, forget to post it, and give the clouds and all that some human emotions in a poorly framed joke. But by the time I got to my car, just a block away, and up to the top of the parking deck, that’s what I was left with. But, sun, you made a lovely one yesterday.

Probably today’s, too, though I didn’t have the chance to see it.

After darkness fell we walked over to the IU Auditorium to see the traveling show of Chicago. The old man sitting in front of us, and the younger man sitting behind us each obviously had no knowledge of the play. Their surprise at Ms. Sunshine was delightful.

And the performers were good. But almost everyone on stage looks so young all of a sudden. Indeed, quite a few of the people in this photo are making their national touring debut.

The audio guy had some trouble, but of the sort you’ll forget in a few days. Billy Flynn and Mama Morton and Amos and Roxie and all the rest pressed through and gave us a nice version of the musical. I think this is my third time seeing it.

I wonder which song will be stuck in my head for weeks this time.

Remember those flowers that I noted, last Wednesday, as a trick of winter?

Almost all of them have unwrapped themselves now. It’s quite a site, even at night.

Forty-five days until the bike races and the official arrival of spring, but it is starting to feel as though we’re closer than that.

It is time, once again, for the Tuesday feature that allows me to close some tabs on my browser. Some things are took good to X out of and see them disappear forever. Much better for me to memorialize them here, on the off-chance that one day they’ll come to mind, and I’ll do a good keyword search, find a particular thing, and hope the original link is still active.

It isn’t a long shot, but if the first real step is my coming up with the text from memory it might take two or three ties to find the right page.

But I digress.

I’m a sucker for all of these job interview type pieces you see on CNBC and Forbes and the like. The titles are outstanding click bait — case studies, almost — but every now and then you’ll find something good in the body of the piece.

I’ve helped hundreds of people land 6-figure salaries. These 5 job interview phrases got them hired ‘on the spot’:

Nailing a job interview isn’t just about listing skills and experience directly from your resume. You want to paint a picture of your accomplishments through concrete, detailed examples.

To do that successfully, you must know how to communicate effectively. As a career coach who has helped hundreds of people land six-figure jobs, I’ve found that there are certain words that will get the interviewer to pay attention.

Here are five job interview phrases that will make companies want to hire you on the spot.

An Amazon applicant who Jeff Bezos hired ‘on the spot’ shares 5 ways to ‘instantly impress’ during the job interview:

I started my 12-year career at Google in 2006, where I held positions as chief of staff and executive business partner. Before that, I worked at Amazon as an executive business partner to Jeff Bezos.

After spending so much time with some of the world’s most successful and influential leaders, I learned what to look for in new candidates. In fact, Bezos hired me on the spot after my first interview with him in 2002.

Based on the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted throughout my decades-long career, here are my top tips on how to instantly impress a hiring manager during the job interview.

See what I mean about those titles? SEO bait and plenty of optimistic gold. They’re quite well done. Speaking of …

Why did I even open this one? To see what her side hustle was, of course. How one woman turned a part-time side hustle in her spare room into a gifting company making over $3 million a year:

Put up your hand if you’ve ever stared out your office window, daydreaming about launching one of your imaginative inventions, being your own boss, and getting very rich in the process.

If your hand is firmly raised, then listen up: The fantasy—which you’d be forgiven for thinking is restricted to those in Silicon Valley or movies—is not entirely unrealistic.

London-based Steph Douglas did exactly that when in 2014 she left her job as a branding marketer for EDF Energy to devote herself full-time to …

It’s an online gift company. You can order custom-made care packages and the like.

Finally, I see variations of this idea every spring now, and it is something I’ll try one day when I don’t have neighbors. You can turn your backyard into a biodiversity hot spot:

People have long stoked an urban-versus-rural rivalry, with vastly different cultures and surroundings. But a burgeoning movement—with accompanying field of science—is eroding this divide, bringing more of the country into the city. It’s called rurbanization, and it promises to provide more locally grown food, beautify the built environment, and even reduce temperatures during heat waves.

And, with that, I am now down to 28 open tabs in my phone’s browser.

I don’t remember how I got the next CD to appear in the Re-Listening project. I don’t even have the liner notes. But I never had those in this case, and I’m sure that’s part of the story, which I’ve forgotten entirely. I assume someone gave it to me, probably a radio station. “Fear” was released in 1991, but the last CD we played was from the first half of the 1997, and this one got added to my collection sometime soon thereafter.

Anyway, this is the first Toad the Wet Sprocket CD I owned, and the only one until the last year or two. “Walk on the Ocean” and “All I Want” seemed to be everywhere on everything. Both made it into the top 20. And, seriously, until looking through Toad’s entire discography just now, I thought they’d been put on multiple records for some reason. They released those and three other songs from “Fear” as singles. Eventually, in 1994, this record went platinum, having peaked at #49 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums.

Of the deep cuts, I always enjoy the “Nightingale Song.”

Sonically, this is an acoustically perfect alt rock song.

The very next track ups the ante.

And, remembering that this was recorded in 1991, they were bringing back the organ before bringing back the organ was cool.

Or, if you want some of the modern live experience, we saw Toad twice in 2022. Somehow I’d always managed to miss their live shows, to my chagrin. They’re now adding dates for this summer, but none yet so close that we’ll be able to see them. At least not yet.

I’d go back to see a bit more of that “confident, laid back urgency,” that the band has been able to mine for decades now. If this was the summer of 1997 for me, this was my first apartment, and I was desperately trying to personify my own version of confident, laid back urgency — failing miserably at that, no doubt. It was that, going to class and filling time while everyone else was out of town. This record, and the next one we’ll hear from on the Re-Listening project, became big, big parts of filling that time.

He said in early March, not at all thinking about the summer ahead.

Feb 23

I complain about fruit, rather than late nights

This was my third late night in the office in a row. They’re not all long days, because I can shift things, but sometimes, sometimes they are long days. And sometimes the days get longer. This is hardly something to complain about, but you grow tired and keep busy working 10 and 12-hour days.

So I’ll complain about this. I am out of apples.

That’s a Cosmic apple, which I discovered last fall and have enjoyed since. The tangy skin is the real treat, a perfect complement to the sweeter flesh. They’re also quite colorful. Only now, they’re at the store, because there are none in the refrigerator. This is a problem of sorts.

Here’s a photo of equal importance, from our walk last Sunday. I forgot to do anything with it, but we can celebrate maple buds for several more weeks, yet.

We walked down the newest part of the multi-use path, too. This part has just opened in the last month or so, and is a nice chunk of progress to the overarching goal. At some point, apparently, the path behind our house is supposed to connect to pretty much everything in town — if you’re willing to take a trip of that sort. With this addition they’re pretty close to reaching, if not already at, that goal.

It’s a nice feature, all these paths and trails. The city’s tourism site boasts 200 miles of trail, and, I assume, the number is ticking upward, though I’ll need to explore the other side of this recent addition. The city’s maps online are months — and, in some cases, years — out-of-date.

The view when I headed into the studio this evening, another painfully bare tree. In a month and change, there will also be leaves in the way of this obstructed sunset view.

It was a comedy show. They did something with gingerbread houses, that traditional St. Patrick’s Day treat, and discussed Halloween costumes. I’m not sure why, but that’s collegiate comedians doing something semi-sorta avant-garde. Or so I assume. It was a long day, I could be wrong about all of this.

Feb 23

En garde!

Here is shaky visual evidence of my first robin(s) of the spring — another of the false signals. The first being two days in the 60s. The next will be emerging tulip leaves. But, for now, a small flock of robins are flittering around looking for worms.

It was snowing on me at the time.

We are 63 days away from spring arriving here.

Also, does it look like that robin might be a bit of a litterbug and a smoker? I think that robin is a bit of a litterbug. And I have to think that this bird is setting itself up for some longterm health problems.

This was going on in the studio this morning.

Members of the university’s fencing club came to give a demonstration for the morning show. I talked with their two student coaches. Fencing, it turns out, is a thing that enjoys competition against other club teams and varsity programs. They said there’s a big difference between varsity and club teams. And, sometimes, they face off against teams that have people in the Olympic pipeline. That, they said, is another sort of thing altogether. It was interesting to hear them talk about that. And, having run by an Olympic distance runner, and swam in a pool lane next to an All-American, I can appreciate, a little, what they’re saying.

So I said I just wanted to get all of this kit and then spar a bit with my lovely bride on the walking path near our house, just to make the neighbors wonder what is going on. Apparently the equipment isn’t that expensive. They priced it all out, and I figured it’d be more.

But the skill, I don’t have any of those.

What was fun, though, was watching the fencing team members give a crash course to the show hosts, and then watching the two of them face off.

That was good fun, and now I have one more anecdote about the things that take place in our television studios.

Here are some things to read.

A new study found that having at least one conversation with a friend a day increases happiness and lowers stress levels.

A new study published in Communication Research sought to find out what types of conversations people need to have, and how often they should have them, in order to improve their well-being. The researchers found that having at least one conversation with a friend can increase happiness and lower stress levels by the end of each day.

“While other research on well-being focuses on things like grateful thoughts or journaling, my focus as a researcher is about what we can do in our interactions to improve our well-being. This gives us a valuable list of things people can do to improve their days,” Jeffrey Hall, one of the researchers, told VICE.

Previous research showed that talking about one’s problems can reduce stress, strengthen our immune system, and reduce physical and emotional distress, but this study suggests that people don’t necessarily need to bond over their misery.

Hall and his team identified seven types of communication that are commonly found in social interactions: catching up, meaningful talk, joking around, showing care, listening, valuing others and their opinions, and offering sincere compliments.

Most stories about active research want to jump the gun, but this seems straightforward, which is a good sign.

So talk to more people, I guess.

Just not in front of your devices.

Google exec says Nest owners should probably warn their guests that their conversations are being recorded:

Google’s Nest smart devices are always listening — their microphones detect loud noises and cameras track sudden movements in a home, and can start automatically recording at any time.

Because of that, Nest owners should probably warn their house guests that they’re on camera, according to Google devices chief Rick Osterloh.

When asked by a BBC reporter whether homeowners with Nest have such an obligation, Osterloh first said he hadn’t considered it.

“Gosh, I haven’t thought about this before in quite this way,” Osterloh said. “It’s quite important for all these technologies to think about all users… we have to consider all stakeholders that might be in proximity.”

Osterloh then acceded that warning houseguests about Nest devices’ recording capabilities is proper etiquette, stating that he already does so.

Do you see the contradiction?

Then again, we’ve come a long way with reconciling contradiction.

COVID-19 is a leading cause of death in children and young people in the US:

COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death for more than 940,000 people in the US, including over 1,300 deaths among children and young people aged 0–19 years. Until now, it had been unclear how the burden of deaths from COVID-19 compared with other leading causes of deaths in this age group.


Among children and young people aged 0 – 19 years in the US, COVID-19 ranked eighth among all causes of death; fifth among all disease-related causes of death; and first in deaths caused by infectious or respiratory diseases.

By age group, COVID-19 ranked seventh (infants), seventh (1–4 year olds), sixth (5–9 year olds), sixth (10–14 year olds), and fifth (15–19 year olds).

COVID-19 was the underlying cause for 2% of deaths in children and young people (800 out of 43,000), with an overall death rate of 1.0 per 100,000 of the population aged 0–19. The leading cause of death (perinatal conditions) had an overall death rate of 12.7 per 100,000; COVID-19 ranked ahead of influenza and pneumonia, which together had a death rate of 0.6 per 100,000.

This is where I always bring up my carefully researched polio trivia.

The polio epidemic in the United States peaked in 1952 with 57,000-plus cases. That year, 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with paralysis. Stark contrast.

And if you want to see another sort of contrast …

Why does the South have such ugly credit scores?:

“The reason why credit scores are so low in the South has gotta be connected to medical debt, because that’s the most common type of unpaid bill that people have,” Braga said. And the South, he said, easily has the highest levels of medical debt in the country.

Of the 100 counties with the highest share of adults struggling to pay their medical debt, 92 are in the South, and the other eight are in neighboring Oklahoma and Missouri, according to credit data from the Urban Institute. (On the other side, 82 of the 100 counties with the least pervasive medical-debt problems are in the Midwest, with 45 in Minnesota alone.)

And sure enough, when you look at areas across the nation where adults are struggling to pay down medical debt, they have similar credit scores.

That’s some map. Click through and check your county.

And then go out and have a great weekend. You’re due!

Feb 23

A Valentine’s Day serenade

For Valentine’s Day one of the TV shows brought in an a capella group for a quick three-song set. Here’s Another Round‘s big finish.

They told me they have about 30 songs in their current catalog, and that they add about nine songs a semester. Given that they are all students and guys come and go every year, it seems a big task.

The guy singing the lead there is a music education major, but not all of them are in music. Not all of them started singing in church, either, though if you know what you’re listening for you can hear it in some of them.

I think it is because they joined us for a live studio performance tonight, but their touring is starting to take off again now, presumably post-Covid. They’re headed north for a show or two next week, he said.

Turns out there are four a capella groups on campus. (I’ve heard two in that studio.)

Clearly, we need a doo-wop off.

Feb 23

If this feels thin, blame Wednesday, or the first of the month

We are showing documentaries all this month — and much of next month. In my role as vice deputy to the assistant auxiliary button pusher, I get to put the discs in the player. (“Soon I’ll be on fries! Then the grill … ” ) Some of these are going to be really, really good.

This one is up tomorrow.

In the office until late in the evening, because we were in the studio tonight. Looking out the window, someone got pulled over on Indiana Ave.

I guess you just park in the two lane road when the lights go on behind you. Having a car on campus is a perpetual exercise in defensive driving anyway, today’s morning commute involved five lane changes in just three blocks, and then you get things like that.

We go back to the car, back to the CDs and return to the Re-Listening project once more. This is an August 1992 record, but it’s 1997 or so when I finally picked this up. A friend gave this to me, or perhaps we traded for it. Either way, it was a solid deal for me.

Six of the 12 tracks on the Gin Blossoms’ sophomore album were released as singles, but I bet you didn’t know that. (I didn’t know, until just now, that “Lost Horizons” was the first single. What a choice that was.) It took more than a year for this record to gain any traction, even within its own record label — what can we say, the music industry is weird — and so you’d be forgiven for not knowing any song here until 1993 or 1994. But about that time, it became hard to escape Robin Wilson and the rest of the guys. This thing ended 1994, it’s second full year in the wild, at 54 on the US Billboard 200, and went platinum four times.

Only their hits fill the emo category. The deep cuts offer a lot of other emotional styles. Here’s the accordion-tinged “Cajun Song.”

Maybe that’s my favorite song on the record.

Here is their September 1994 Farm Aid version of “29.” Robin Wilson is 29, singing about being 29. They all look like kids.

Or maybe this deep cut is my favorite song on the record.

There’s some simple poetry in there that’s appealing.

Then, of course, there’s the last track, which is my other, other, favorite song. Jesse Valenzuela sings the proto-country pop tune, “Cheatin.” This is from a 1993 live show.

If you see the Arizona boys play these days — and we saw them twice last year — they of course play all the hits. Wilson is still Wilson. Valenzuela is still the key to the whole thing. It’s a good quality nostalgia show. Their last new record was 2018’s “Mixed Reality” which will show up in the Re-Listening project much, much later.

Up next in the Re-Listening project, we’ll move to the east, to hear from a Texas-based band occupying the seemingly odd intersection of late-stage folk rock and alternative rock.

Hey, it was the nineties.