RexBlog.com http://www.rexblog.com Rex Hammock's RexBlog.com Mon, 21 Aug 2017 19:03:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Thoughts on Today’s Solar Eclipse (August 21, 2017) http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/21/52228 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/21/52228#respond Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:02:29 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52228

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(Update: Bottom of post.)


I keep forgetting. Am I supposed to stare at the sun until my eyeballs bleed? Or is it, poke holes in them with a pin?

(Notice: That was a satirical jab at the ubiquitous warnings not to stare at the sun. Do not attempt to stare at the sun or poke holes into your eyes. Don’t believe anything you read on the internet, either. Except, of course, when it concurs with something you already believe.)


How come so many people make reference to “total eclipse of the heart” when a better reference is “flew your lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.”


How to take a photo of the Eclipse: Wait until NASA takes photos and posts them on their website. Since NASA is funded by the federal government, such photos are public domain. So, you can *take* any photo they post and use it anyway you’d like.


In Nashville, the grocery stores were jammed up this morning — people looked like they were preparing for 1/2 inch of snow.

What’s going on, I asked someone.

Eclipse parties, they said.


Happy eclipse day. And don’t forget to stare at the sun, no wait, don’t forget not to do that.


Update (after the event.)

With the use of eclipse glasses I survived. I took a few bad photos during first few seconds of totality but then decided this should be a non-lens event.

I now know how a total eclipse is celebrated. People all over my neighborhood started cheering and a few even used up some July 4 fireworks. I even gave up a whoop or two.

Incredible is all I can say. Here are three photos from my backyard in Nashville.

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A Statue of Robert E. Lee is NOT a Part of Who I Am | 2017 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/15/52215 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/08/15/52215#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 01:33:12 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52215

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Two years ago, I wrote a blog post titled, “The Confederate Flag is NOT a Part of who I Am,” right after the horrific Charleston church murders. The title was from the response Lindsey Graham (at the time a candidate in the GOP presidential primary) gave when a reporter asked him why the confederate flag should continue to fly on the grounds of the South Carolina capital. “It’s a part of who we are,” he said, somewhat baffled.

Flash-forward to today and another hate-crazed neo-nazi-zealot attempts a mass murder, this time in Charlottesville, by plowing his car into a group of people protesting the spewed-hatred of white nationalists.

That earlier post seems sadly similar to what I may have written today. Even sadder and more tragic: Today we have a president who equates white nationalists with those who protest white nationalism.

Desperately looking for something positive I can say to end this post, I can only think of one way: Freed from being a GOP presidential primary candidate, Lindsey Graham now knows what the correct answer is when asked why people in the south should not wrap themselves up in confederate symbols.

When asked about the white nationalists, he did not hesitate to say, “Their cause is hate, it is un-American, they are domestic terrorists and we need more from our president,” Graham said.”

“This is an opportunity for the Trump administration to come down like a hammer on white supremacists,” Graham said. “And I hope they do.”

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What You Can Learn From Damn Research http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52204 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52204#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 17:27:45 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52204

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I grew up in a household where profanity was rarely uttered. At least in the presence of parents. I do recall that I had my mouth washed out with soap by my kindergarten teacher. I have a feeling such corporal punishment would now be verboten, no?

Anyway, this article showed up in my newsreader this morning and the first thing that popped into my mind was my kindergarten teacher who was, other than that time at the sink, a wonderful teacher:

A study published last year with the title “Frankly, We Do Give a Damn: The Relationship Between Profanity and Honesty,” notes, “the consistent findings (of) studies suggest that the positive relation between profanity and honesty is robust, and that relationship found at the individual level indeed translates to the society level.” It’s true, some research shows that people who swear may be likely to violate other social norms, god bless ‘em, but they are also less likely to lie during police interrogations.

(via | Open Culture)

People Who Swear Are More Honest Than Those Who Don’t, Finds a New University Study

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USA Yesterday http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52195 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52195#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 15:37:48 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52195

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Over the years, I’ve written a few scathing observations about Gannett (owner of the daily newspaper in my hometown of Nashville, The Tennessean) and the lawyers and corporate finance people who ruined lots of independent newspapers by buying them, calling them Gannett, slashing budgets, and then killing them in various ways. Employees and customers got screwed in all of these deals, but lawyers and corporate finance people did just fine. Here some examples of those posts:

Gonenett

Final thoughts on the whole newspaper thing

Stop blaming me for killing your newspaper

And, with irony that Nashville’s NHL Predators are today sold-out every game, this response to learning, several years ago, that the Tennessean no longer sent reporters to road games in 2009:

Observing the Tennessean die is like watching the Titanic sink in super slo-mo

Fast forward to today.

It has taken me several weeks to realize “The Tennessean” newspaper has been rebranded online as, merely, Tennessean. (Or, Tennessean.com or Tennessean Dot.) Yet another strange decision by one of the nation’s stranger media companies.

The re-branding is part of a nationwide re-branding of Gannett newspapers as the “USA Today Network. While they say in the article (below) that online, the brand is simply “Tennessean,” every reference to the publication I’ve read in an article, including the announcement article, calls it “The Tennessean.”

It’s kind of funny, if you think about it.

Like the way Facebook would never call itself, “The Facebook,” new media and old have different ways of defining what and who they are by the nuanced references they use to define themselves.

The corporate marketers at Gannett are pushing out the brands “USA Today Network” and Tennessean.com, while the creators of the content on that network and web news-service are still referring to the digital version with the print-focused “The” in front of the corporate marketer’s brand.

I would never suggest this is a conspiracy on the part of the reporters, but I’d like to think it is.

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United, We Fall http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52193 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/27/52193#respond Thu, 27 Jul 2017 15:08:51 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52193

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This GIF sorta says it all.

 

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The Doodle is the Message http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/21/52185 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/21/52185#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:28:28 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52185

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A Google Doodle today commemorates the 106th anniversary of the birth of Marshall McLuhan.

A few years ago, I submitted an article to an editor describing Osmo Wiio as the Marshall McLuhan of Finland.

“Our readers will have to google Marshall McLuhan and Osmo Wiio to figure out what you mean,” the editor emailed me back.

“That’s okay, I responded, Google is merely an extension of their central nervous systems,” I responded.

“?” emailed the editor.

“You know. The medium is the message,” I responded.

“The message is not a medium, it’s a large. Here it is.: You can’t reference two communications theorists in one sentence.”

Bonus: A review by the late David Carr (RIP) of a biography titled Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work.

The title of the book comes from one of the greatest movie scenes of all time (if you can use google).

 

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Malcolm Gladwell Just Provided the Tipping Point to My Understanding of Country Music http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/20/52177 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/20/52177#comments Fri, 21 Jul 2017 00:28:46 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52177

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I’ve lived in Nashville for almost 40 years, but I’ve learned more about country music in the past 40 minutes than I had in all those years.

The current episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History, is titled “King of Tears.” It centers on a talk Gladwell had in Nashville recently with legendary songwriter Bobby Braddock, now in his 70s. (Minor spoiler: He’s the person being referenced to in the title of the episode.

You may not know who Braddock is, but you’ll be tracking down all of the songs he wrote by the time the podcast episode ends.

While the short version of what Kings of Tears is about is this: Gladwell seeks and finds out, “What it is about some kinds of that makes us cry.”

I finally have an answer to those questions.

Just listen.

Here is a link to “King of Tears.”

(Sidenote: The Revisionist History website includes links to a couple of books Gladwell refers to in the episode and provides links to the various ways you can subscribe to future episodes.)

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When Searching for a Satirical Legal Document, Don’t Use the Words Satirical and Legal http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/19/52165 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/07/19/52165#respond Thu, 20 Jul 2017 01:41:26 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52165

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Until I read this funny parody of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) on NewYorker.com, I had never considered the possibility that satirical legal document humor could be a thing. Perhaps that’s because while jokes about lawyers are funny, legal documents aren’t — except to lawyers or people forced to sign documents written by them.

Quote from parody NDA:

FINALLY, Contractor agrees never to disclose to anybody, including and ESPECIALLY himself/herself, that he/she has only taken this job because signing an N.D.A. made it seem more important than it probably is, and deep down he/she is a little disappointed about where he/she is at this point in his/her life.

Wondering if there were other examples of this kind of legal document humor, I did a Google search and found that Google was incapable of finding anything that has “legal” and “satire” in the same sentence that was legal satire. Despite spending billions on artificial intelligence, Google couldn’t guess that I was using legal and parody in the same sentence to see if I could find parodies about legal documents.

So I stopped looking.

Then, a few days later, just like when you wake up in the morning after not being able to solve a crossword puzzle word the night before and suddenly you know the word, I thought to myself, just use the word “funny” instead of parody. It worked.

Turns out, funny legal documents are a thing.

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Update: My Decade Old ‘9 Steps of Political Scandals http://www.rexblog.com/2017/06/24/52163 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/06/24/52163#respond Sat, 24 Jun 2017 23:20:46 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52163

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Ten years ago I posted on this blog a chronological list of fill-in-the-blank steps called “The 9 Steps of Political Scandals.” I wrote then, “It doesn’t matter what the politician does — accept bribes, shoplifts or, well, just fill in the blank.” Since then, my list has been cited in subsequent scandals. Here is the list:

1. Politician _______s.
2. Rumors circulate that politician ________s.
3. Politician denies rumors.
4. Politician caught _____ing.
5. Politician says, “I did not _____, it was a misunderstanding.”
6. Politician blames media and bloggers.
7. Past partners, victims or witnesses show up to prove politician _______s all the time.
8. Politician admits he’s __________ed.
9. Politician apologizes to his family and to those who trusted him, blames it on alcohol and enters rehab.

I have two update observations.

(1) The list is not limited to politicians. It works for licentious VCs.

(2) I’ve discovered that at least one politician is impervious to scandals, and thus, this list.

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A Surprising Role Model for Turning Content Into Knowledge http://www.rexblog.com/2017/06/09/52152 http://www.rexblog.com/2017/06/09/52152#comments Fri, 09 Jun 2017 16:52:41 +0000 http://www.rexblog.com/?p=52152

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I wrote this for Hammock Inc.’s Idea Email.


Click the photo to find the Library Journal cover story about the Nashville Public Library being named U.S. Library of the Year. (Note: This photo is a thumbnail of a wonderful photo shot by my friend and photographer hero, Bob Shatz.)

Because an Idea Email is sent every other week to subscribers across the United States and globally, we try to keep our references universal, not local. But when something big happens a few blocks from the Nashville office we call Hammock HQ, we can’t help wanting to share.

And no, I’m not talking about the unprecedented way in which locals (including us) have gone nuts over the success of the Nashville Predators and their first appearance in the finals of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoff (#GoPreds).

I’m talking about the Nashville Public Library being named Library of the Year by the trade publication Library Journal. You can read all the reasons why here in the magazine’s cover story.

Because the word library is associated with the physical book (or codex), many have mistakenly placed libraries on the endangered species list. But in addition to the resources and programs great public and academic libraries have embraced in the digital age, these libraries also serve as role models for making content—the core value a company provides its customers—organized and accessible.

The professionals who run libraries are experts in gathering and organizing information critical to workers and customers (or any audience served). They are trained in creating ever-changing taxonomies of knowledge. They’re on the frontlines of finding new ways information can be there when you need it—not just when a writer clicks submit.

As we move into an era of more complex digital media, the skills of trained librarians (and the many other titles they go by) will increasingly become a model for capturing, organizing and making accessible the knowledge that gives your organization a unique and unbeatable competitive advantage.

Wait. Did I just write the word “unbeatable”? #GoPreds

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