Dec 21

1,400 words for a Tuesday

The Yankee’s car is in the shop. It’s a radiator issue. Easily fixed, after a time. Which means she has my car. Meaning I have no car. Her car needs repairs and I need a ride. Weird how that works.

So she’s taking me back and forth to work, which is what I do, while she goes to physical therapy or athletic massage or to a dive meet or to buy a present or get the groceries. I’m not sure how I can get any present shopping done this way. But at least I didn’t have to get the groceries.

Tomorrow, on the way into the office, I’ll go to the grocery store for the third time this week anyway, just to stare at the empty shelves. It’s a hobby, I guess.

I was going to take part in some binge watching of television this evening, just to clean some things off the DVR. There’s a little meter on the side of the screen that shows the percentage of the DVR’s space still available, and I pay far too much attention to things like that. We were down to 28 percent, which is pretty low since the memory is large enough to store all of the images we’ve ever captured of space and every movie that’s ever been set in space and every television show that’s used the word “space” in any context.

But I was able to delete some accidental recordings instead. A few buttons on the remote control and 36 hours of content no one wanted disappeared, never to be seen again, or for the first time. Thirty-six hours. After that, the DVR’s little meter told me 46 percent of its memory was now available. That oughta hold through the holidays!

Speaking of things to watch, I just discovered some early 1990s television programs are on NBC’s streaming app, Peacock. It’s made for good doing-other-stuff listening, because a lot of the early episodes are of the “Why did I watch this again?” genre.

It’s Highlander. I’m talking about Highlander. The universe that’s so poorly conceived that there are two different universes. The universe so poorly conceived that in the third movie (of the first universe) they retconned the second movie and called it a dream. And the bad guy in that third movie, to bring a little gravitas to the franchise, was Mario Van Peebles. And, for the fourth movie, they started making movies in the second universe, where the first universe intervened, sort of. Which brings us to the fifth movie. It was supposed to be the first installment in a trilogy, but the movie was so bad they released it not in theaters, but on the SciFi channel.

On iMDB, which frequently has a very forgiving scoring system, that last movie earned 3.1 out of 10.

The movies are a mess, is what I’m saying. They always will be. The series, though, was better. Well, it gets better. Skimming through a few of the first season’s episodes … woof.

What’s better? Dopesick.

Recently finished this show, which I tried after a few random suggestions. Michael Keaton stars as a country doctor in the middle of the OxyContin epidemic. You know where this is going, even if you only vaguely know and you’re guessing. And then this show, based on Beth Macy’s best-selling book of the same name, comes along. It’s an eight-part series, filled with great character actors and a slow, tense build.

It’s something of a composite of recent history, and so you have the gift of hindsight. You know what’s happening, so you find yourself saying “Use your brain!” But scruples and good sense are sometimes thwarted by trust. And you want to have a word with the intransigent people at Purdue Pharma. But sometimes deserve doesn’t have anything to do with it.

That’s what the show is ultimately about, trust, searching for a way out of a hopeless situation and, now, how the people at the top of the food chain at Purdue Pharma are squirming out of this in perhaps the most frustrating way possible. It isn’t a happy show, but it is an important one. And while the show ends just before all of these please and settlements and immunities, if you watch this those recent stories will play a bit differently.

Also today, I updated some of the images on the blog. There are now 113 new images for the top and bottom of the page. Click refresh a bunch and you’ll see them all. Buried on the back of the site is a page with all of those banners, now loading 226 images. Each has a little cutline, just so I can keep all of the memories and locations straight. So I had to update that page. Then I went through that whole page updating changes to the style. Because, every so often, the Associated Press makes updates and, yes, I have to make corrections on a page no one will ever see.

Ed Williams would be proud.

Williams was our Journalism 101 professor. He called the class Newspaper Style and that class was the weed out course in our curriculum. Four exams. Score below an 86 on any of them and you failed the class. A lot of people failed the class. He drilled us for an entire quarter on the “AP Stylebook” and Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” …

… which, as you can tell, is still an influential text. I paid $5.95 for that book. It was the least expensive, and most important, textbook in the entirety of my college career.

People that survived Williams’s class could still complete this Strunk and White quote: Vigorous writing is concise.

He was also the adviser of the campus newspaper. We were all required to spend a semester there as a part of the formal curriculum. That one credit hour requirement worked it’s magic, as it was intended, and I stayed at the paper for a few years. We won two Pacemakers — essentially the collegiate Pulitzer — while I was there. And somewhere along the way Williams told us his first name, King. He disliked that and we were sworn to secrecy, or to never use it, or both, under pain of newsprint paper cuts.

I had his class almost halfway through his 30-year teaching career, and I saw him in the newsroom thereafter, of course. He always wore a tight, closed-up smile, and an air of knowing things we weren’t allowed to understand yet. Eight years or so into my career I started thinking a lot about all of that, and my student media experience and the impact all of it had on my own career. It’d be gratifying to be a small part of doing that for others one day, I thought. Soon after I had the opportunity to do that same sort of work, and now I’ve been doing that for going on 14 years.

The last time I saw him he still had that same expression. It was heartening. I was a decade or so into my career and there was still much to learn. There always is.

And a quarter of a century (good grief) or so after his class, I’m still thinking about Associated Press style.

Thanks for that, Ed.

When I was advising a campus newspaper I told students that, at the very very least, we were going to change the way they read everything, but it was likely they were going to get much more out of it. And today, at the TV station, I say the same thing. We’re going to reshape the way you consume video as you learn how to produce works of your own. We’re making critical observers. That’s the lesson and the gift.

Ed retired a few years back, and established a scholarship to honor his former students. It fits him.

Which is what I was thinking about while updating the style on a page that even the search engine spiders don’t crawl. Which is what I was doing while waiting for my lovely bride to pick me up. In my own car. While her’s is in the shop.

Maybe we’ll get it back tomorrow.

We better. I’ll soon run out of basic things to clean or update on the website while I wait to be taken from the house to the office and back, over and over.

Dec 21

The persistence of chlorophyll

Just a bit of the nature from Savannah. A lovely Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcata) was near our place. I love how the green of chlorophyll is fighting it out with the red of inevitability here.

Such spirit! Whereas this fruit tree looks like a cheap Renoir knockoff. But the joy

Some of them, I think, don’t even turn there. But this little bit of color right here made me realize: I should be in a place where the leaf turn takes place in December.

It’d be nice to be around these Maidenhairs (Ginkgo biloba), too.

It’s just fun watching their leaves fall.

And back to work today, hence my cool campus banner, there. This evening marked a turning of the page for these two guys.

I had them in a class in their freshman year, and I’ve had the good fortune to work with Will and Jackson for IUSTV sports ever since. My favorite thing — I mean the absolute best part of my job — is watching the freshmen grow and mature into leaders and, ultimately, the people they’re going to be. It’s a great time of change, those three or four years, and it’s a unique thing to be a very small part of.

Will is setting out to be a play-by-play guy, Jackson is going to be working for some big sports franchise before long. I’ll miss them here. We all will.

At the end of their sportscast, the producers put in a sneaky little package all about these guys. And as that rolled everyone in the control room came out to be with them for the final shot. I’m not sure if that’s ever happened before.

It speaks, I think, to the place they have helped build over all of that time. Which means they’re leaving us something stronger than they started with, that we’re better for the experience.

I don’t know how many 21-year-olds get that, I doubt I did, but it sinks in eventually.

The daily duds: Pictures of clothes I put here to, hopefully, help avoid embarrassing scheme repeats.

It was new tie Wednesday. And an almost new pocket square. It was one of those clearance purchases that help get you over the line for free shipping. You know the ones, there’s a carefully calculated formula that always puts you three bucks under that line, so now you have to spend another 25 minutes looking for something that costs four bucks that you actually like. But it saves you 34 bucks! Or whatever the shipping would cost. So you click, click, click until you find something and then you think “Ha! I spent more! I showed you! I win!”

They know exactly where they’ve got us with that carefully calculated formula. (But I would like to understand how that pricing structure so often almost works … )

Well, sneaky actuarial type person, I did win. I like this one a good deal.

Nov 21

Some day

It was a pretty day out there. A nice fall chill in the air. But lovely all the same, if you stayed in the sunshine.

I stayed indoors. It’s a studio day, and I spent four-and-a-half hours in various studios. And the rest of the day, seemingly, on phone meetings or in meetings about phone calls.

It passes the time, I suppose.

Funny how some of it seems to move slowly, and some more quickly, but it all goes fast. And faster in retrospect. Except for the slow parts.

Time is relative, is what we’re saying. We all agree to that. Time is relative to all of us. I just don’t know who it is related to.

Maybe time is the neighbor or colleague or partner that you see every day. Steady, slow, certain, and therein difficult to see the changes. Or maybe time is that cousin you see at reunions and every other annual holiday. The one that stands out in sudden changes compared to the memories, both fleeting and lasting. The half-shocked “He’s getting old,” is more autobiographical that way, whether we know it or not.

It was a sports night in the studio. I also helped out with one of the classes and then taught a student about the audio studios. And I have nothing to show for any of that. At least until the sports shows land on the web tomorrow.

Today, though, I can show you the news shows, which were shot last night. We had a freshman on the desk for News Source. He did a fine job for his first time out. I’m excited to watch him progress.

Here’s the pop culture show, which, as a production, is running quite smoothly these days.

And we’ll have some sports for you in this space tomorrow!

It was a leave-at-8:45-dinner-at-9-and-straight-to-bed sort of day. Tomorrow is coming quick.

Today’s look, which I put here in the hopes that I’ll look back and avoid repeating it again too soon …

Autumnal! And getting old, too. This pocket square is one of my oldest, only coming out in a certain season. Another example of a slow-moving measure of time. It’s more autobiographical that way.

Nov 21

500 words on Tuesday

This is one of my favorite views of fall here. It’s a morning view, the parking deck is oriented to the east and the colors really pop. Aside from resizing it, this is an unedited photo.

I’m not sure what, but it is trying to remind me of something. The wonders of memory, no? Some place I had to go as a kid, a piece of art in a book, or some other thing, but it wants to be vaguely evocative. I never can put my finger on it, but there are a few really great days, this time of year, when I have the opportunity to try to figure it out.

It turned into a lovely day today. I stepped outside for a quick photo at 6 p.m.

It was one of those nice-in-the-sun, chilly-in-the-shade days, I guess. I spent almost all of it indoors under fluorescent lights or studio lights. So I’m inferring a lot about my two brief trips into the great wider world.

Speaking of studio lights, here’s a comedy show that some of the IUSV students produced in Studio 5 last week. That apartment set isn’t bad at all.

And this evening it was back in Studio 7, with the news team. Here’s a freshman making his collegiate anchoring debut. He did a nice job and he’ll get better and better. I’ll encourage him to do packages every week because that’s what he’ll need out in the great wide world.

They have a segment where they cover the wide world in just a few minutes. Karlie and Larmie, who I name-dropped here, started that a few years back. Karlie is anchoring in Fort Wayne and Larmie is reporting in Morgantown.

File it under We Must Be Doing Something Right, since I mentioned two IUSTV alumni above: I worked on alumni list last week. There are at least 56 former students who’ve come through our little station in the last six years that are working in broadcast in some capacity. That’s surely not a complete list, but it is an impressive one.

One is about to start a new sports director-type job, too. Pretty cool, huh? We get them here for a while, help shape them, and then someone hires out in the world, and the long climb up the chain begins. We must be doing something right.

Today’s look was a navy suit, blue tie and a blue pocket square. Trust me, they are blue.

It’s an old purple shirt and bespoke cufflinks which sport a tiny little splash of green and pink as accents.

Hardly anyone sees the cufflinks, so I may as well show them to you.

Oct 21

A full and exciting day to wrap an incredibly full week

Studio this morning. Two shows were shot, one included an interview with a tarot card reader.

And another discussing student films.

And then I hosted this conversation.

We had a full room for the Emmy-award winning director and Murrow-award winning producer. We talked about skillsets, they told media war stories, discussed hard days, good days, and how to do all the things you want to do in those broadcast internships and first jobs. They were, of course, terrific. I wish you’d been there to hear it.

While that was going on technology was breaking in the TV studio. Good thing we have backup cameras! There was an event to shoot and stream tonight, celebrating five exceptional alumni. And that was to be streamed — on Zoom?

On Zoom.


Yep. Three branded platforms to choose from, and that important program highlighting prestigious graduates was put on Zoom.

So there’s no feed to show you, unfortunately. Perhaps the recorded version will be uploaded somewhere eventually. (I’m an optimist, and team long-tail.)

Anyway, it was about 7 p.m. before I left campus. An 11-hour day today, and five of the last six days have been late days for me. I’m … tired.

The daily duds: Pictures of clothes I put here to, hopefully, help avoid embarrassing scheme repeats.

But I looked good! Old Calvin Klein shirt and a cheap Apt. 9 tie (hey, it has some heft and a great texture). It was Friday, so a casual dark blue suit.

How about the mespoke pocket square though? I made that one this summer. It got a nice compliment by a random person passing by today.

I was also sporting mespoke cufflinks, which I made earlier this year.

Now I just need to make a way to take better pictures of the cufflinks.

And a nice long nap. I need to make a way to take a nice long nap. I feel like I’m due a weekend and, wouldn’t you know it, we have one of those coming up. I hope you do, too! And I hope it is great!