Oct 21

Discharged and resting comfortably

The only minor surgery, my mother said, is someone else’s surgery. And I suppose that’s probably true. As this week drew closer, I found myself doing a great job of concentrating on all of the other things in life, but on Monday during the pre-op stuff, when you walk by a sign that says Vascular Surgery you are unavoidably confronted by the thing.

My wife’s surgery yesterday went well, before, during and after. Today, a staff physical therapist came by and before long The Yankee was walking down the hall of the Cleveland Clinic unassisted. It was slow, but she put away the crutches. This is about 28 hours after having two chunks of muscle removed from her leg to improve arterial blood flow. (And, I am contractually obligated to say, just nine days removed from an Ironman.) Maybe the worst part of the whole thing was having to say goodnight, last night, and leave her hospital room. The people we’ve met in the Cleveland Clinic have been amazing — and who knows what kind of 18 months these people have had — so I didn’t even make jokes about how that visiting hours rule didn’t apply to me.

I walked down the hall at the appropriate time, before anyone had to run me off, and a woman passing the other way wished me a good night. I was thinking about what one of the staff members had replied to almost everything we’d said earlier in the day, “It’s a blessing.”

So I was in a philosophical mood as I walked back to the hotel room, just two blocks from where The Yankee would fitfully try to get some hospital rest. Probably because we had to spend so much of our relationship apart — a year while we were dating, and five years-plus after we were married — I am keenly aware of the distance when we are close, but apart.

I walked by this on the way back to the room. It’s not a Spock thing.

I knew the gesture made famous in Star Trek had Jewish religious origins, and I stood there for a while trying to remember if I’d ever read what the salute Leonard Nimoy incorporated into the show meant in the real world. We go to Chabad for an explanation:

(T)he Vulcan salute is an authentic imitation of the manner by which Cohanim spread their hands in most congregations when blessing the congregation to this day.

Cohanim are those people that today comprise about four to five percent of the Jewish population, all of whom trace their paternal lineage back to Aaron, brother of Moses, who was also the first High Priest. The Cohanim performed the offerings in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. They are still afforded certain honors, and they still bless the congregation with exactly the same words with which Aaron blessed us over 3,300 years ago when we finally got the first Tabernacle up and standing.

All of that is very interesting, but we’re after the real substance here:

The reason the Cohanim raise and spread out their hands is because that’s just what Aaron did when he blessed us: “And Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people and blessed them …”

But why do they spread their fingers? The Midrash explains that the Shechinah—the divine presence, peers through the fingers of the Cohanim during the priestly blessing, in keeping with the verse, “…behold, He is standing behind our wall, looking from the windows, peering between the cracks.”

The explanation notes the priestly blessing ends with “and give you peace.” A reference in between hospital buildings which is surely welcome to those who know what they are seeing.

Also welcome today was the discharge from the hospital and getting back to the room with ease, via the hospital’s shuttle. I had to pick up some prescriptions and a late lunch and then, finally, we could take a nap. No one sleeps well in the few nights before a surgery — even a minor one! And no patient can sleep well in a hospital bed. So this was one of those late afternoon naps which was so necessary that it didn’t in any way seem indulgent.

There’s a nice little restaurant in our hotel, and I picked up a light dinner there. We had a cookie treat which was in every way an indulgence, before calling it a night.

The doctor had asked us to stay in town an extra night as a just-in-case. Better to be here than six hours away should something unexpected arise, he said. I think he was simply doing me a favor. The idea of driving back today would have been daunting. Today’s nap and a full night of sleep will make a day in the car easier to manage tomorrow.

Oct 21

We had an important, historic night in the studio

Tonight it was the sports group in the studio. The producers came to me and talked about a special program they were considering and they teased out all the necessary details. They wanted to walk about the health of women’s sports. They had topics, subtopics, timing, guests, all of it figured out. They wanted to break their normal routines and do something they felt was important. They took the initiative and those are the days that make the rest of the days worth it. One of the shows looked like this.

It was timely, topical and pointed conversation about where we are in women’s sports, and why, and where we should be. They were excited to do it, and excited afterward, as they should be. Every episode deserves this much gusto.

Also, since I have mentioned this show in this space in the last week, we can make one more historical note.

Today’s shows will be up later this week. I will, of course, share them here.

For now, here are the shows the news team produced last night. First, HNS:

And after Hoosier News Source we have What’s Up Weekly:

And here’s today’s pocket square. I must warn you, it’s a loud one.

Tomorrow … I have no idea what will be here. But you can at least count on the continued presence of Catober.

Sep 21

Late night, so just a few quick things

Something for you to listen to, if you haven’t already heard this one.

These school board meetings, around here, around the country, the angst, the rage, parents targeting students. It’s a bizarro world driven by the insecurities of a few preying on school board members who didn’t sign on for this. And everyone knows it.

Read this statement from a school district in northern Indiana:

A person’s beliefs notwithstanding, harassing and trying to intimidate others because of what you read on Facebook or have seen on OAN is some kind of performance. People are going to have to live with this one day. Righteous indignity and a lack of self-awareness don’t stay merged forever.

Except, of course, when they do.


It was a part of a big show. They shot it like proper television, and it worked well. They only had to loop two or three pick-ups.

I stopped by their post-production meeting — which I do about twice a year at most, even though they always look like a lot of fun — to compliment them specifically. The sports folks are doing some really nice work to be this early in the year.

And the news side, a bit younger but no less enthusiastic, is coming along, too. These were the shows they produced when we were in the studio last night.

And on this show, Anna was riding solo. It was a bit of last-minute planning. Unfortunate that it had to happen, but this is a good place to have to learn to deal with curveballs.

And if you like baseball talk, come back later tomorrow, and Friday, for a lot more sports, here in this same space. Until then, listen to that show above. And if you see yourself in a television, be just as cool as Ta, up there.

Sep 21

A case of pareidolia not smooshed flat after all these years

I park in a parking deck on campus. It’s a block from the office. I like the walk, most of the time, because it’s almost enough to separate the parts of your day. (Plus it keeps my car out of the weather!) So you figure I’ve parked there almost every working day for five years. Which means I’ve made that walk more than 1,000 times, allowing for parking in other places and what not.

Which means I’ve made that walk, back and forth more than 2,000 times or so.

Which means I’ve walked by this speed bump that same number, whatever it is, and never noticed …

But I saw that expression this evening and my immediate thought was, Now here’s a speed bump that’s seen some things…

Today it saw a classic pocket square.

It’s all a part of my fall collection. I did not make that square. It came with a tie I bought years ago. Later this autumn I’ll wear the tie.

Here are today’s bespoke cufflinks.

I made these last summer. The colors mean they’ll match a lot of shirts.

I’m a fan of that sort of utility.

Last night’s TV productions … the news!

And the pop culture!

Tonight we were in the studio again, and it’s all about sports.

This episode, which I’ll share here tomorrow, boasts of origins from Indiana to Thailand to Alabama. And, no, that part isn’t me. Noah, the third person in that gif, is from Montgomery. Studios may as well be home, and you always want to have a bit of home around you. But it’s even more fun to talk about the same towns and schools and restaurants and such with someone who grew up not far away from where you did.

Someone has to tell all these midwesterners about good food, after all.

Sep 21

More studio time

It was the semester’s first 11-hour day, and third after-hours night in a row. It did not have to be an 11-hour day. Someone scheduled a meeting and then stood me up, without so much as an apologetic email. I’ll try to not remind him of that with bad jokes the next time I run into him.

It was a studio night, the third night in a row for that, too. And, tonight, the sports gang was in to do two shows.

Those shows will be up tomorrow and Friday.

To hold you over, here are two shows the news team produced last night. (This should give you a reasonable sense of the production flow … )

I teased you with Olympic silver medalist Andrew Capobianco yesterday. Here he is now.

And here’s the news show. A nice installment for their first official show of the semester.

Seems late in the semester for firsts, but that’s just time playing tricks on me. We are, in fact, right on time. Remember, on-camera and off, from pre-production to editing, these are all student-produced shows. Young group, too, but full of ambition and energy and good spirit. Given how they’ve started, I suspect they’ll be making great progress in the next three or five weeks.

Today’s look worked out well. Silk pocket square …

… and bespoke cufflinks.

Made those myself this summer. I made a lot of cufflinks this summer. You’ll see them here from time to time. Hopefully they won’t all be late nights.