Tonk

During some moment in my first few years here at UL, I noted that I had seen the building’s cleaning crew playing cards in the faculty lounge after hours, and I wondered what game they were playing. A few days later I found a note in my mailbox from Phil Gooding, one of our folklore students at the time:

Phil Gooding's Note

Phil Gooding’s Note

Icon Resources

I’m still thinking about creating an iOS app for field researchers. If I do, then I definitely want it to have a decent-looking icon. [Icon Resources](http://www.iconresource.net) offers a series of tutorials and materials that are useful — and the designer behind them has nice taste.

Second Thoughts on Notebooks

My trial of the Whitelines notebook was short-lived. I had forgotten its one great limitation, which many may find a feature and not a bug: the spine is not designed to lie flat. The image above pretty much tells the story. In the middle is the Moleskine I use for fieldwork; on the bottom is the Whitelines. Great notebook. Great paper. But it doesn’t lie flat, no matter how much you flip through the thing and press down on the open pages in an attempt to get the spine to “break” a little. (Oh, the simultaneous shudder of bibliophiles everywhere as those words were writ.)

Listen to This

Every folklorist I know should listen to the Radio Lab short podcast entitled “Loop the Loop” which tells the story of Lincoln Beachey, a daredevil pilot who established many of the genres of air show acrobatics. More importantly, he is all but forgotten to history, except for his presence in a jump rope rhyme:

Lincoln Beachey had a little dream
To go up to Heaven in a flying machine
The machine broke down and down he fell
He thought he’d go to Heaven but he went to…

As is often the case, Radio Lab does good work here. If this podcast excited you, then you should also listen to their podcast on Tic-Tac-Toe where they first sent listeners to ask for the game by that name, and got few results, but when they sent listeners out to demonstrate the game, they found it was quite common. I plan to use this with my field research class as an example of being careful how you ask a question. (There’s a lot more to unpack there, but I think most of my folklore colleagues will get it.)

By the way, RadioLab people, if you are reading this, then you don’t always get it right. Your hosts completely blew it in the episode on talking to machines when they belittled the computer scientists for staying inside too much and not knowing enough about the “real world.” Hmmm. Sounds a lot like the pot calling the kettle black when you have your show narrated by two guys sitting in a  sound booth. That is, we all have our moments when we spend too much time inside — be it rooms or just our heads — and when we need to get outside, whatever that outside may be.