We had a spectacular weekend, weather-wise. I bet you did, too, as I gather this blessing of sunshine and warmth was granted to most the country east of the Mississippi, and after last weekend, we wuz OWED. So both days had a bit of work, but also fun, and nothing you say will make me feel guilty about that.
So’s how about some photos, then?
Saturday’s big event was a brunch to honor the retiring head of the journalism fellowship I did back in the day. Over to Ann Arbor to eat eggs, drink mimosas and enjoy some fellowship one more time. I took a walk though Wallace House, too. Charles, the retiring director, loves editorial cartooning. In 2000-01, Milt Priggee, who worked for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, was a member of the class and drew the seminar speakers. Many of these pieces are framed and hanging on the wall. Never noticed this one before:
Of course, the subject doesn’t look like this anymore, and he has a new title now, too:
“In happier days,” as they say.
Pat Oliphant visited during our year, and many others. He talks about current events and sketches at the same time, and these great, loopy caricatures emerge from it. Charles always has the best ones framed, and they’re really filling the place now. This one is over the stairs:
You really can see why cartoonists truly mourned Nixon’s exit from public life. The nose, the brows, the hairline and boom, there he is.
Took a bathroom selfie, and yes, the whole quote runs around the perimeter. (Improperly attributed to Voltaire, some say.)
And after all the catching up and email addresses were exchanged, it was off to north campus to shlep a few things home for Miss Kate, who will be rejoining us in just a couple more weeks. Where did the year go? Michigan dense-packs its academic year, and then that long summer — it’s great for out-of-classroom learning for sure. I found her enjoying that perk of college, outdoor studying:
Change a few details, and that could have been me, once upon a million years ago. Also, she’s prettier, and studies more.
Seeing her with her devices reminds me that we saw “Steve Jobs” later that night, which was perfectly fine, if you like Aaron Sorkin talkfests, which I must say don’t always hit me the right way. I give it points for taking a different approach to the ol’ biopic, and structuring it in a novel way, but I did doze off for a few seconds here and there. Worth a watch if you’re an Apple person, maybe less so if you’re not.
And then Sunday was a bike ride, first long one of the season, maybe 15 miles, followed by a draft beer. If you had a better Sunday than me, well, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Not a lot of bloggage — the newspapers are oddly uninteresting on weekends like this — but maybe two things. First, the aforementioned Farm to Fable package from Florida (and everywhere, really), which pries the lid off the locally-grown myth. Like a lot of great reporting, it points out things that are lying in plain sight, but it does it in a readable, genial, well-designed package that seems perfectly suited to the content. We’re talking food here, not rapacious charter schools, so the amble-with-me-into-this-thicket-of-lies approach works really well:
What makes buying food different from other forms of commerce is this: It’s a trust-based system. How do you know the Dover sole on your plate is Dover sole? Only that the restaurateur said so.
And how can you be sure the strawberries your toddler is gobbling are free of pesticides? Only because the vendor at the farmers market said so.
Your purchases are unverifiable unless you drive to that farm or track back through a restaurant’s distributors and ask for invoices.
For several months, I sifted through menus from every restaurant I’ve reviewed since the farm-to-table trend started. Of 239 restaurants still in business, 54 were making claims about the provenance of their ingredients.
For fish claims that seemed suspicious, I kept zip-top baggies in my purse and tucked away samples. The Times had them DNA tested by scientists at the University of South Florida. I called producers and vendors. I visited farms.
My conclusion? Just about everyone tells tales. Sometimes they are whoppers, sometimes they are fibs borne of negligence or ignorance, and sometimes they are nearly harmless omissions or “greenwashing.”
This approach is getting some meta-journalism attention, too. It’s the first investigative series I’ve seen compared to Netflix. So there’s that.
A charter-school smackdown Brian should enjoy.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy the golden light of the day’s magic hour and mentally prepare for the week ahead. Hope yours goes well.