Friday Four

Friday, August 15, 2014

1. Pumpkin has become interested in helping me lately, so I come up with "jobs" for her whenever I can, like holding doors or carrying things from the kitchen to the family room. But she shows good initiative, particularly with my phone, which sometimes falls out of my pocket when I play with the kids. (She's handed it back to me numerous times after that.)

My favorite example of her assistance came after I'd taken my phone out out and left it on the coffee table. She tracked me down afterwards and asked, "Did you mean to leave this out?" Yes. That's a direct quote. It does sound like the way an adult would ask it.

Little Man has been matching Pumpkin's initiative with an often radiant benevolence. He frequently smiles and really likes the song, "If You're Happy and You Know It". Going between the kitchen and the family room one day, I encountered him walking, smiling, and clapping. Now, if I can just get him to stop trying to put toys into the Diaper Genie...

I am very fortunate: There are very few people who easily improve my mood, and two of them are my children. (If that makes me sound like some kind of a grouch, so be it.)

2. John Cook offers high praise for what he calls an "open source dissertation".

He's not being secretive, fearing that someone will scoop his results. There have been a few instances of one academic scooping another's research, but these are rare and probably not worth worrying about. Besides, a public GitHub repo is a pretty good way to prove your priority.
In terms of having the idea, yes. But ...

I haven't looked at this dissertation, but one caveat would be that making something like this public may cause problems getting patent protection down the line, if that is an objective. Other than this, I find the idea of an "open source dissertation" intriguing.

3. Mid-century architecture buff Toby Weiss, calling it "too young to save, too old to matter", has created a good web site memorializing the Northland Shopping Center, a 1950's-era shopping center in Jennings, Missouri, that has long since been demolished and replaced.

I, too, would have loved to see this:
Saving a shopping center is practically unheard of, but the architectural and historical aspects of Northland made it a special case. I still imagine how cool a multi-story Target inside the Famous-Barr building would have been, how the properly-marketed genuine retro buzz would have made it a truly one-of-a-kind shopping destination, and how trailblazing ... the resurgence of a retail legend would have been...
Having driven past the Target at Northland's old location during errands last Friday caused this site, which I encountered long ago, to pop back into memory.

As a bonus, re-visiting this site helped me realize that a really odd-looking building I occasionally pass in Clayton was once a Famous-Barr.

4. Football season is upon us -- at least for the kind I usually just call soccer. The English Premier league begins play this Saturday, and I really liked this thorough and entertaining team-by-team preview. Although I am an Arsenal fan, I thought the "Why You Should Watch" fan quote about Newcastle took the cake:
Perhaps more than any other Premier League team, Newcastle United have no idea where they'll finish in 2014-15. After 5th and 16th place finishes in the previous two campaigns, they were 6th on Boxing Day last year, then were the worst team in the entire Football League by several measures to finish the season. Where they belong this year is anybody's guess. Alan Pardew has brought in seven players to refresh the squad, and Siem de Jong and Rémy Cabella could be the bargains of the summer. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Rolando Aarons has been a force in every preseason match so far. There's reason for hope for Toon fans -- but of course it could all go very south, very quickly. Newcastle is a bullet train that could go off the rails at any moment. Who doesn't want to watch that?
Say what you will of the EPL, but thanks to the time difference between Old Blighty and the States, it is no maker of football widows here.

-- CAV

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