Friday Follies: Eggs Marks the Spot

I stole that title from this 1920s-era article I found in a student scrapbook:

I bet the cleanup was epic.

Bonus: Spotted in Huff House.

You first.

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An Airplane Ride, 1934

I’m on my way to Omaha for a meeting and I wish I could say that I was as excited about my flight as young Joan Wilson was about hers:

Bonus:  I don’t really like Terminal B very much.


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Parking Problems, 1948

Over the years I’ve amassed a nice collection of campus parking memos and other automobile-related altercations from a half-dozen universities. They are among the most unintentionally comic of all university communications (despite lots of competition in this genre) and I began collecting them in earnest them after I came across a set of instructions from an administrator at Tulane that dealt with how to park so as to avoid inconveniencing the neighborhood peacocks (and their wealthy owners).

These two pieces turned up in the Dean of Students collection. The first thought I had was to wonder how this poor fellow wound up with responsibility for parking. My second thought was astonishment at his quixotic appeal to the reasonableness of faculty members about what is after all the highly fraught topic of where you get to put your car:

And this little postcard, sent to campus scofflaws, just made me laugh. It’s the contrast, I suppose, between the high seriousness and elevated language of the threat and the utterly mundane matter at hand:



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Veteran’s Day Celebrations, 2019 and 2001

Once again this year’s Veteran’s Day celebration on campus was beautiful. Hank Hudspeth ’40 and George Hirasaki ’67 were honored for their service and Rocky Villafranca, currently a Midshipman First Class in the Rice NROTC made me weep with his strong and heartfelt remarks. One of the keynote speakers was Dale Spence ’55 of Kinesiology, who happened to mention in his talk a classmate of his, Rear Admiral Austin Scott, Jr., also ’55.  As soon as I heard the name I knew where I’d encountered him before so I went back to the Woodson and scanned a copy of what he had said at the 2001 Veteran’s Day event. That year the class of 1955 commemorated the worst day in the history of Rice–July 17th, 1953–and dedicated a plaque to the  ten Rice NROTC cadets who were killed in an airplane crash that night on the way from the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station to the Little Creek Base in Virginia.

Here are Admiral Scott’s powerful and moving remarks:


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Sprint Relay Team, no date

This is picture is unidentified except for this bit on the back: “track sprint relay team.” So not only do we not know the date, we’re also in the dark about who they managed to get to wear those goofy uniform shirts:

I’ve never seen them before and frankly I’m not surprised.

Bonus: Mech Lab again.

Two notes: First, someone on Facebook (I think) asked for more posts about the 1980s-2000s era. I accept this challenge.

Second, I will be out of town the rest of this week for a family funeral in Iowa. See you Monday.


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Homecoming 2019: The R1 Computer

I don’t know why I never thought of telling everyone they were welcome to visit the Woodson during Homecoming before but I’m glad I did it this year. We saw a significant amount of action, all of it hugely enjoyable, and took in some great stuff as well. Interestingly, things took a decided R1 turn. First Gene Mutschler ’69 ’70 ’73, who worked on the R1 as a graduate student and wrote the program that powered it down for the last time, came in on Thursday bearing gifts. Here he is with one of the R1 panels we have in the Woodson:

He brought in some wonderful artifacts including the master oscillator card, a smaller circuit board, and this glorious and well used set of instructions that sat on the console:

Here’s what one of the pages looks like:

My favorite piece, though, was something I hadn’t realized existed–a “key” to the computer. This is identified on the back as key 59, by the way, which makes me wonder if this were a way to record who was using the machine:

The keys fit into a slot on the middle panel of the console, near the top left corner:

We’re extremely grateful to Gene for these important donations to our R1 collection.

Bonus: The next day up turned Adam Thornton ’94, the author of a fine piece on the history of the R1 which I have turned to many time for its clear, understandable explanation of the workings of that machine. If you’d like to know more his paper is where you should start.

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Friday Follies: “Just wait ’till he finds out we’re not even having tea!” 1961

I wonder what they were having . .

Bonus: I’m having a nice Homecoming so far. It’s been very busy but I’ll have a lot to show you next week.


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