journalism


27
Apr 21

The week of the last shows

This is that weird time of year. Sad and happy. Sad to see some young friends go; happy to have a regular schedule over the summer. Sad to know I won’t see them in the fall; happy to see them take their next great steps. Time marches us on.

This is the the second group of people who I’ve had for four years. Last year’s senior cohort was a bit small, and, of course, truncated by global events. This senior class, though, there’s a bunch of people that have spent all four years of their college experience working on this. What a commitment that is, to spend four years of your college life working in one place! And this is the week when we kick them all out of the nest. Time plays this cruel trick and, clearly, I should stop doing this.

There’s a lot deal of talent right there, and those three are off to great, exciting things. They’ll continue to make us proud. Tomorrow we start talking about how we follow them next year. We continue on, as time demands.

Tomorrow there are more projects aplenty. Time is relentless.


23
Apr 21

New site look

There’s a new front page on the website. It looks similar to this, and if you click this image you can see it for yourself. So click this image. We’ll be here when you get back.

Here are some television programs I didn’t share in this space this week. Let’s get caught up.

The award-winning late show:

The award-winning morning show:

The award-winning pop culture show:

The award-winning news show:

The award-winning sports highlight show:

And a sports talk show that will be winning awards very soon:

Happy weekend! Make it an award-winning weekend, why don’t you?


15
Apr 21

Let’s go back in time

I had a fine meeting with a lovely gentleman yesterday. And that meeting has somehow carried over into this afternoon. But at least the company is nice. And there a few emails and my computer froze in a way that took some doing to remedy and, finally and importantly, I had to write a letter of recommendation for a star student. And if nothing else today was good I hope that letter was.

And then I went into the television studio and watch the sports folks put together two nice little shows and then sat back and watched the seniors run things and wondered, not for the first time, why we let them graduate just as they are really coming into their own.

There are always leaders, of course. And there are always people willing to take useful information from them and they all have agency and they work together, but if you get to see people grow in those important years, you really see some visions come together. It is, I think, the confluence of knowing what they want to do next and understanding how to do it. It’s the transition from commodity to normal good, the maturation from student to professional.

And that’s when we send them out into the world. Why can’t we keep them two or three more years? The things we could accomplish if they all enrolled in grad school.

Let’s look back to this same date, 106 years ago. Clear your calendar, you’ll be here for a few minutes.

I was going to pick a different year, but this story was a big part of why I went with 1915. This child had ambition, argumentation and no problem giving dad the slip.

I enjoy the earnestness of the story, and the eloquence of the child.

“I have been wading in the dusty road and have had a dood time,” he said. And his shoes looked it.

Dood time is probably a typesetting error rather than a phrase of the day, and I’m sorry I’ve ruined that for you. Anyway, H.R. Barrow only shows up a few times in the paper beyond the performance of his professional duties. He gets bought out in 1917. A month or two earlier he rolled his horse-drawn hearse after a service. Maybe that’s why he left the business. The new guys, local boys done good, advertised motorized ambulances. And in the fall of 1915, just when Mr. Barrow’s friends were tiring of hearing about Jack’s wandering adventures, the roof of their house caught on fire.

What’s with that kid?

No word on whatever became of Jack as he experienced the roaring twenties as a teen and so on. We’re thinking he had a dood time, though. We must always think this of young, adventurous, Jack. Young, adventurous — and have we ruled out pyromaniac? — Jack.

Also on the front page, the Dixie Highway plans:

You don’t often hear about this, by name, anymore. The road was going to stretch from the south side of Chicago to Miami. Then Michigan got added, within a week. The designers wanted to serve as many towns as possible, so there’s an eastern route and a western route. Some of these roads are still in service today. Some parallel the modern U.S. Highway 31, or run near the I-65 corridor or the old Federal Highway, U.S. Route 1. In Kentucky it’s still called the Dixie Highway. And the part of it that runs through this part of the world is something you endure to reach Indianapolis.

On the inside of the paper there is more on these new fangled things, highways:

You have to remember that Eisenhower’s famed (and brutal) coast-to-coast journey was still four years in the future. This is very cutting edge stuff, these highways.

It would be another century, December 2015, before the first interstate finally opened here, however. Take that as a statement for whatever it is worth.

This is front page news, and if you can’t see it, then you’re not ready for community journalism in any era.

Lauron and Rosa had five children, including Henry. At least three of them lived and died here. Henry passed in 1949.

Also on the front page:

A quick search doesn’t give game-by-game results from the early part of the 20th century, but the team went 2-7 that year, so it’s a safe bet they might not have one both of those games. Which is a shame, because the team might have been bad, but they looked great.

How do you lose games when you’ve got swag like that?

Now here’s a term you don’t hear anymore:

Blind tigers, or blind pigs, are carnival-style promotions. “Come in and see the blind tiger!” By which the person meant, “I’m giving away free hooch.” You assume there was a donation somewhere, or you paid handsomely for a bar stool or a bad sandwich or something.

Indiana went dry in 1918, two years ahead of the 18th Amendment kicking in. So maybe the local area was dry. Maybe it was just bootlegging for the sake of bootlegging.

Hurst, I learned from a later edition of the paper, was …

a son of Mack Hurst the man who blew up the house on the corner of Seventh and Morton streets with dynamite, killing himself and daughter. Young Hurst has made the same threat against his wife for disclosing his guilt of the blind tiger charge.

Bootlegging couldn’t have been that good to him. He couldn’t afford a lawyer! Nevertheless, he’s threatening to blow people up. Real pride of Indiana, that guy.

Meanwhile, part of an ad on page two. Countless men!

And 1.4 million tires. How is it that they have the units sold, but not the customers? Let’s do the basic math here. If everyone bought a complete set, that’s 369,970 customers. Of course it wasn’t four-apiece. Remember, the roads and the highways and byways still left something to be desired. There were a lot of flats is what I’m saying. It could be that we are talking 1.4 million customers. Which is still not … countless.

But “countless” sounds good, especially when it’s right next to a number.

Norine Dodds was, I believe, a teacher. I’m not sure what became of her.

And I want you to notice that they just bought a volleyball. The net, you imagine, they had to save up for, special. Or maybe they made their own. But, in another example of how their time was similar to ours, but not ours, the sport of volleyball had only been around for about 20 years. Basketball, just four years older, was thought by some businessmen and older YMCA members to be too vigorous. One mustn’t work up a sweat. So a man named William Morgan designed the game to be a combination of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball. And here, when the young ladies at the local high school put their pennies together to obtain a ball, the game was still in its relative infancy. The rules weren’t uniformly formalized for another 14 years. Someone in the Philippines, while Nodds was writing this little blurb, was developing the spike.

Sorta makes you wonder how these kids went around with their new volleyball, and what they wound up doing with it.

Wanda Mottier was the daughter of David Mottier, who ran the botany program at IU for about 40 years. He’d also done his undergraduate work here and is regarded as one of the first people to advocate for preserving the woodland campus aesthetic.

If that’s true it was an excellent choice on his part. I submit as evidence these four photographs I took just outside of our building during a seven-minute break between tasks.

Mottier was on the faculty until the late 1930s.

Maybe somewhere in these woods there’s a tree he knew.

Maybe somewhere out there we could find leaves and shade we owe to him.

Also, this same paper notes that tomorrow, April 16th (albeit in 1915) was Arbor Day. The paper demanded that you plant a tree. We mark Arbor Day this year on April 30th.

Anyway, his daughter, Wanda, would later marry a doctor and they later retired from Indianapolis to Florida in the early 1960s. She passed away down there and is buried up here.

I found her Florida home on Google Maps. Nice, humble little post-war subdivision. Three beds, two baths, built in 1958, meaning they built it or moved in soon after. Plenty of room in the backyard to pass around a volleyball. There’s a giant oak tree out front today. The tree has a wonderful looking tire swing on it.

In my mind Wanda planted that tree and thought of her dad whenever she looked out the two picture windows of her home.


3
Mar 21

Just some Wednesday stuff

Students are making this. They conceive and write and produce and create all of this material. They’re on a learning curve in public, and they have to overcome dealing with me, and they do a nice job with all of it, week in, and week out.

I think putting up with me might be their biggest obstacle.

You can feel a slight loosening of the tensions that have been created for all of us this past year in the younger crowd. They know people who’ve been sick, or they had Covid themselves and they are well aware of the rules put in place around them and that they aren’t the biggest at-risk group. And they, just like me and you and everyone else, are rushing right up to a year of this. The little groups of people are getting a bit larger. The concerns about space and cleaning and germs and health and all of that, they aren’t diminished, but they’ve become lived in. They’re successful in that context, the students, but all of the rules aren’t.

The numbers of positive cases here, right now, are just tremendously low, and that’s registering with them, too. And it’s interesting to see the casual way some people can behave and perform given all of this. But still, the clumps of people — and we’re just talking friends hanging out in traditional little circles and human nature and stuff — give me a bit of pause.

I like to joke that I didn’t come into this thing a germaphobe, but I’m going to leave it as one. Everyone sorta laughs at that, or acknowledges it to the degree that they identify with it.

And so people gather in these little groups, because you don’t want to shout to be heard over distance. And you’re still fighting the urge to speak louder because you think this mask is going to get in the way. And some of us don’t have a good spatial awareness of what six feet is — even now. And, if we really stopped to think about it, six feet is a silly number as to be almost arbitrary.

All of which is to say, we are so close to something here. I know it’s finally spring in a lot of place — and Bloomington, it’s time for the annual talk about why spring and blooms and flowers are appearing in almost every other part of the continental United States and not yet here — and the promise of a happier season is before us. Not every day is a shoutfest on social media — but it’s there if you want it, sure. And vaccines are moving in so much faster now. It isn’t equal or even or easy in every place, but that Johnson & Johnson influx is going to change things. Some people think they prefer it, for whatever reason, and that’s great. But the sheer numbers, changing the supply, and the refrigeration needs, changing the logistical demands, are huge factors.

Consider, in no particular order this week. Monday it was announced that Indiana had put one million shots into arms. In mid-late February the state opened up vaccinations to the 60+ crowd. And in a day, of that announcement a third of the eligible population had signed up. Also on Monday, the state, which has focused almost exclusively on this as an age breakdown, moved it to 55+. On Tuesday, a day later, they dropped it down to 50+. And now, from the feds, come a push to start vaccination for educators. The Yankee and I might land in that crowd before they get to our age bracket, which would be just fine. You’re also going to see some surveys mentioned this week about how vaccine demand is on the rise. Sure, some diehards are still holding out for their own reasons, but the percentage of wait-and-seers is, as you would imagine, on the decline.

We’re not rounding the corner just yet. We might not even be at the corner, but it surely does feel like it is in sight. So it’s important to not give up hope, not give in to rash choices, and not throw caution to the wind. Now is the time to remember why we should refocus our efforts, because that will make these next few weeks and months just a tiny bit easier.


24
Feb 21

And happy Wednesday to you, too

The Yankee and I had a picnic in the old K-Mart parking lot. It was a drive-thru Chick-fil-A sort of experience, best part of the day with little doubt. The parking lot is next to the restaurant, which is still all drive-thru and curbside pickup and so we got our food and moved off to eat. When I’d finished my spicy chicken sandwich I looked up through the sun roof and noticed this view:

It was a mild day here, if you actually made it outside. I seldom seem able to do that. I live under fluorescent lights in a beige and dirty-cream color office with orange carpet and no windows most of the time. If I get a different view it’s under a handful of LEDs in the studio. But to get outside is nice, to get away for a few minutes is even better. And to see more fake signs of seasonal change is a delight.

As I noted yesterday on Twitter:

And the same thing applies today. So, when I was done with my work day I went up to the top of the parking deck to watch the sky whirl by. It was a pretty good choice, I think. The stratocumulus made for some dramatic views.

And why share one when you can share three? So here are two more pictures from the same parking deck.

Something to see, huh?

Here are some other things to check oiut. These are the videos from last night’s television productions.

News:

Pop culture happenings:

Oh, and I forgot the other day, there’s a morning show to check out, too.

That oughta hold you until tomorrow.