Categories
Uncategorized

Back Up (and Running)

So my site was down for the past month, because… well, I’m now hosting everything from home. Which means I’m now the sole line of tech support, in addition to everything else.

Because of the downtime, I also now know my backup protocols are severely lacking, which you may notice from the many missing posts and images. Thus a more thorough automated backup practice is priority #1. It’ll take me a while to fix everything, but in the meantime it’s a good reminder: always backup your sites!

Categories
Artwork Blog Uncategorized

Santa Claus According to George Hinke

George Hinke - Baking Cookies

Every December for as long as I can remember, we’d eagerly retrieve our Christmas decorations from their long-boxed-up slumber. Probably the most prized of which were our Santa Claus dinner placemats, which depicted various scenes of St. Nick, Mrs. Claus, elves and reindeer all prepping for their Yuletide escapades. A little internet sleuthing revealed that these scenes were actually illustrations commissioned for a children’s book by the name of “Jolly Old Santa Claus,” painted by German/American artist George Hinke.

George Hinke - Confectionery

From the Museum of Wisconsin Art Website:

George Hinke was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1883 and schooled in a classic style of painting. Mr. Hinke came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1923, where he worked at a printing shop until he opened his own studio. From 1944 until Mr. Hinke’s death in 1953, Ideals commissioned him to create many works of art. In addition to Santa Claus, Mr. Hinke’s subjects included American small-town life, American flags, and religious scenes – all in his classic, nostalgic style. The paintings in the 1961 Ideals Magazine Collector’s Edition of Jolly Old Santa Claus are rendered in oil on stretched canvas. The influence of Mr. Hinke’s German background is evident in the Santa Claus series: from Santa’s castle, which resembles the castles of Bavarian King Ludwig, to the Black Forest clock on the wall of Santa’s workshop to the elves themselves, who are reminiscent of those characters in stone that decorate many German gardens.

George Hinke - Christmas Tree

For me, these placemats provided the archetypal representation of what Santa Claus looked like — er, I mean — looks like, and all the little details were so fun and interesting to us as children. We still use them at mom and dad’s every year, and though the book can still be found easily enough through retailers like Amazon and Thriftbooks, actual full prints of the scenes are difficult to find. Thus I wanted to share them here for everyone to enjoy.

George Hinke - Reindeer and Sleigh

I’ve uploaded them here as HD photos taken with my iPhone 6 and cropped in GIMP. At some point perhaps I will use my limited photo-editing skills to restore some of the color and hide some of the placemat defects. But for now: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Categories
Uncategorized

Nate Silver

One thing that I’ve really grown to enjoy as a (relatively) young professional is the opportunity to hear successful professionals speak. In college, we would often have the opportunity to hear authors, publishers, professors and activists come and speak through what was called the “Major Speaker Series.” As a web developer in NOVA, we had “Refresh DC.” And I’m sure most of you are familiar with “TED – Ideas Worth Spreading.”

At ESPN, we’re very fortunate to have similar events called “Newsmaker.” Since I started working there in 2010, I’ve made it a point to attend as often as possible. And I’ve gotten something out of every one, from Mark Murphy to Billy Crystal, Maureen Dowd to the Farrelly brothers.

This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a Q&A with Nate Silver, the famous statistician, sabermetrician and author of the blog “Five Thirty Eight.” Nate spoke on a number of subjects, from the recent Baseball Hall of Fame vote to the 2012 Presidential Election, and each of us received a copy of his newest book, “The Signal and the Noise.”

I’ve never much cared for math, and the thought of reading a book on statistics makes me yawn. But one thing I came across in what little I’ve yet read was the a concept of which I’ve thought much about recently:

“The instinctual shortcut that we take when we have ‘too much information’ is to engage with it selectively, picking out the parts we like and ignoring the remainder, making allies with those who have made the same choices and enemies of the rest.” [p. 3, 4]

To me, that really cuts to the heart of what I feel to be the reason why public discourse is so heated today. We have access to more information than we’ve ever had before, and yet rather than being more knowledgeable for it, ignorance reigns supreme. People are so gung-ho to prove themselves right, they grab any internet factoid or rumor they deem relevant and ignore the rest – so long as it aids their position. There’s precious little time spent gathering knowledge, and even less for reflection.

But at any rate it’s a Sunday night, and I hope to get a few more pages in before bed. And sign up for the next “Newsmaker.”