Time, Time mag, mag*

Back when I used to go over to my mother’s house in the 1990’s, I would sometimes sit in her living room and read a magazine while she watched the Braves or NCIS reruns. There were a few of the classics, like National Geographic, or a good consumer magazine, like Consumer Reports. I would also find the occasional issue of Money magazine. I never could figure out why she subscribed to that magazine. I couldn’t find anything interesting in it, and I doubt she could either. Maybe that’s why we weren’t rich.

Anyway, so time passed, my mother went to live in Virginia for a year with my brother while he finished seminary school, and then moved into an assisted living facility for a few months, and then went back home to die.

And still the Money magazines kept coming. They ended up being mailed to my brother’s house in Chattanooga. I don’t think he thought much about it. He just assumed my mother had a subscription that would soon run out, and he wouldn’t renew it, because he never found much to read in the magazine either, so he’s also not rich.

But still they kept coming. And, as is so often the case, the whole matter just sort of drifted along just below his conscious mind. Eventually, however, as the months became years –almost four years, in fact – it occurred to him to look at the subscription information on the mailing label. My mother’s subscription to Money magazine was good through 2047.

I can imagine very well what happened. Someone called my mother and urged her to subscribe at a good rate, a tremendous rate, a truly Trumpian rate, and she agreed, despite the fact that she had been retired for 30 or 40 years and did not have any money to speak of. And then they kept calling her back, because she wouldn’t want to let a subscription to such a wonderful magazine as Money expire. And of course my mother agreed that that would truly be a tragedy, so she re-upped. And they called, and they called, and they called, and my mother renewed and renewed and renewed. All the way out to 2047, when she would be 124 years old.

I’m sure it never occurred to the truly wonderful, tremendous magazine subscription salespeople that no one alive in, let’s say 1997, would want to read Money magazine for the next 50 years, no matter how interesting and useful the articles might be. I’m sure they didn’t even consider the fact that it is as near a certainty as one is likely to encounter that Money magazine will not even exist in 2047.

So my brother called the Money magazine subscription department and described the situation. To their credit, when the staggering absurdity of the situation was explained to them in a manner befitting an ordained Presbyterian minister, they agreed that there might need to be some adjustment in the subscription particulars. They agreed to refund payment for some of the excess subscription. Quelle surprise.

Just last week my brother sent me a check for half of the refund. It was nearly $300. So, imagine that, if you will. The people behind convincing little old ladies to renew useless magazine subscriptions out decades beyond their likely death squeezed almost $600 out of my mother.

*Thanks Joan Baez. Yes, it’s Money magazine, not Time. But Time Inc. owns Money, so I think the title of this post is appropriate.

Who is it

When I took the dogs out for their morning walk, this is what I saw in the garage.

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This was the best shot I could get in the dimly lit (for photographic purposes) garage. It was flying around frantically trying to get out. It finally settled on top of some shelves in the far corner of the garage. The only entry into the garage from outside was under the partially-open garage door, which gave about eight inches of clearance to get in.

I opened both doors fully and, after some encouragement, it flew out and through the trees. I think it was a screech owl. Here are some screech owl calls.

Leah and her family had an owl for some time (before I knew her). It sat outside on their window air conditioner and never flew for the months (Leah thinks) it was there. They fed it raw meat. Leah’s mother was not pleased to have the bird there. One day it was gone, and, according to Leah, no one seemed to know anything about it. Leah has her suspicions.

We have had numerous hummingbirds find their way into our garage, both at our old house and at the new house. I was quite surprised to find an owl there. I certainly hope no others find their way in.

Dark Side with a new phone

My old iPhone was having problems holding a charge, so I took it to a shop to have the battery replaced. After two new batteries, it wouldn’t charge. It turned out that the logic board was bad, so rather than spend the money to keep a three-year-old phone working, we changed cell providers and I got a new iPhone 7 for “free”.

One of the major advancements of the iPhone 7 is a better camera, so after a hiatus of three weeks or so, we went back to the Dark Side of the Moon bar for jazz night on Tuesday and I took a shot of the band.

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The iPhone 7 camera has a significantly faster lens, and I think it shows in the photo. It’s hard to see all the band members in this. We like the saxophonist. There are two keyboard players, a drummer and a bass player.

As you can tell, the bar was not exactly hopping. We don’t know why, but at least we got a good choice of seats.

Berry College

On Sunday Leah and I drove out to Berry College for some sightseeing. I also wanted to use my new camera.

Berry College has about 27,000 acres, most of which is a wildlife reserve. It stretches from the Rome city limit on the south to beyond Lavender Mountain on the north. The college campus is almost entirely within the original 30 acres at the southern edge of the current campus. About three miles north there is another set of buildings called the Mountain Campus.

When I was growing up my family lived on Redmond Road., at the southern edge of the school. When summer came, we roamed the neighborhood on our bikes and occasionally followed a path through the woods onto the Berry College campus. Once there we roamed the campus like we owned it. We rode past the faculty and staff houses, through the classroom building areas, around Victory Lake and down what I believe was called the Three-Mile Road to the Mountain Campus. At the Mountain Campus, we biked past the swan pond, sometimes detoured out to see Frost Chapel, sometimes up the steep hill to the dairy buildings, and then out the gravel road to the Old Mill.

Much of this is the same, but much has changed. Campus access is controlled at a gate where you have to show your driver license. Of course the “guard” is a coed who is not very scary.

When we were kids, Victory Lake looked a lot like this.

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This was an image on a sign at the lake. On the far edge of the lake there is a line of cypress trees. I remember Jimmy Carter talking about the northernmost cypress trees, which were considerably further south than these. Maybe he was talking about naturally-occurring cypress trees. I assume these were planted when the lake was formed by the dam that the cypress trees line.

The lake was originally made in the 1930’s. Unfortunately, sink holes formed in about 1986 and drained the lake. The college gave up on refilling the lake after trying for five years, so the lake now looks like this.

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The Ford complex is visible from near the lake. That’s where we attended the school’s jazz concert.

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Out at the Mountain Campus, the old dairy buildings have been taken over by the WinShape Retreats, an organization founded by S. Truett Cathy, the ostentatiously Christian founder of Chick-fil-A.

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There is another set of buildings behind where I stood to take this picture. From this vantage, looking behind me, you can see Mount Alto, which appears in my sunrise photos.

The Old Mill is still like I remember it.

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The overshot waterwheel wasn’t working, of course. It’s fed by a pipe from the Berry reservoir up on the mountain. I have seen it running on rare occasions, but the mill is no longer used for its original purpose of grinding corn for use at the campus.

You might have seen the Old Mill if you were one of the very few people who watched the one-season NBC television series “Constantine”. When the main character went to his secret hideout, he was shown approaching the locked door to the mill. Once he was inside, he descended into a large underground lair. I am pretty sure such a facility does not exist beneath the mill. I only watched the series a few times because I had heard it was filmed in Georgia. Once I saw a few recognizable landmarks, the show itself was not enough to keep me watching.

But back to school. When we left the Old Mill I noticed some bottlebrush-stage longleaf pines.

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There was a thicket of young longleaf pines just beyond that. I think they are part of the Berry longleaf pine project.

Here is the Frost Chapel.

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It would have been prettier in spring or early summer with green grass.

This is a small pond near the swan pond. There was one swan and a good number of Canada geese, who, according to some students I spoke to, are permanent residents.

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We drove back to the main campus where I was confused about what was where. There are so many new buildings since I last saw it that I had some trouble orienting myself. Of course I had not seen some parts of the campus in more than 50 years.

Berry opens large parts of the campus to the public. There are about 80 miles of public-access trails for walking, biking or horseback riding. Maybe Leah and I will take our bikes out there someday.

The Berry College Wikipiedia page gives a reasonably-complete account of the school. There is also a class project called the Marthapedia, named for the school’s founder, Martha Berry. There is also the Berry College Website, of course.

Jazz and Culture

Thursday night we went to a Berry College concert featuring the Berry College steel band “The Berry Breeze” and the Berry Jazz Ensemble. We both thought it was very good. We were surprised by the steel band. They use steel drums (or steel pans, or just pans).

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I used my new camera, the Olympus EPL7. I used the relatively slow “kit” lens, which required me to shoot at a fairly long exposure. That caused some blurring of the performers. Maybe one day I’ll get a faster lens for things like this.

My favorite piece was Paul Simon’s “Late in the Evening.” The Berry Breeze performed for about a half an hour, and then the jazz ensemble performed for another half hour. Their repertoire was mainly jazz from the ‘40’s, with some slightly more modern.

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I know very little about music, but I thought these students were professional quality. One of the things I enjoyed most was seeing how much the students seemed to enjoy their performances.

The performance was held in Berry College’s Ford Auditorium, one of seven buildings constructed in the late ‘20’s and early ‘30’s in the Collegiate Gothic Style. According to the marthapedia (from Martha Berry, the founder. The marthapedia was actually a class assignment at Berry) says that the buildings were financed by Henry Ford, but were not named for Ford until after his death. Apparently Ford was afraid if they were named for him he would be expected to maintain them during his lifetime.

The Berry Department of Fine Arts gives over 40 free concerts every year. We’re thinking about attending more.

On Saturday we decided to go to the Intercultural Fest held in downtown Rome. It was supposed to offer food, music and lots of other stuff. We first attended our own Intercultural Feast at our favorite Mexican restaurant. The Intercultural Fest was supposed to go from noon to midnight. Unfortunately, it had slowed down considerably by the time we got there. A Columbian dance group had just finished when we walked in. After that there was a West African bell and drum solo, which, I have to confess, did not impress except through the soloist’s enthusiasm. After that a local Latin rapper performed. By this time there were only about 30 people watching.

The event was almost entirely Hispanic. The mistress of ceremonies would speak a few sentences in Spanish, then say a few sentences in English, and then switch back to Spanish. I don’t know Spanish but I could tell that she was not just translating herself.

The light was so dim that any shot I took required an even longer exposure than at the Berry concert. The most visually interesting thing we saw was this.

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A little baby’s hand and foot. I had to put the camera in my lap and shoot for about a second.

The Intercultural Fest was a disappointment, but we’re hoping they do it again next year. If they do, we’ll go earlier in the day.