Archive for August 10th, 2010


8.10.2010 … Jack’s flying in on the redeye …

yesterday:  In celebration of 8-9-10,  John and I had a delightful lunch with the Trobichs  at the Cabo Fish Taco in NODA.

advertising, billboards, blogging, random:  So why am I posting this?  Because of all my clippings, the one about the McDonald’s billboard -[Big cup of coffee] “If coffee is Joe, consider this Joseph” ,  has generated the most hits.

McDonald’s. posted its biggest monthly increase of a key U.S. sales figure in more than a year on Monday, saying its new fruit smoothies and frappes were a hit with customers during a hot and steamy July.

via Smoothies, coffee spike McDonald’s July sales –

kith/kin, Harman, Carson:  The kids are growing up!

Congratulations to nephew Harman and his 2014 USMA classmates for completing their six week basic training today. I swear it’s Harman smiling at 2:40/3:07!! Congratulations, Harman!!

– and – Carson is at preseason camp at Villanova.

new ideas: I agree …  I did something similar … a homemade version for jack’s 5th grade teacher in Wilmette.  All the kid’s came in and recorded whatever they wanted … some just told her what a great year they had had; some read a poem; one played the violin.  It was great.  i wonder of she still has it?  VoiceQuilt Recorded Messages and Voice Memories Are A Unique Gift.

movies:  My brother said this was a great movie.  I think I will study the chart before I go.  😉

Sure, Inception may have been great, but didn’t you feel like it was the kind of movie where you needed a chart to keep things straight (well, another one)?

via How To Understand Inception, In One Easy Chart – Techland –

travel, Orlando, Wizarding World:  I’d go.

No question, the Wizarding World is a hit. That’s clear from all the blogs grousing about the hours visitors can spend waiting to get on a ride or even to be admitted into Potterland. Some of the shops are so small that crowds often must line up outside just to buy stuff. (Guests staying at Universal hotels get into the park an hour before the official opening. Or you can just wait for an off-peak month in the fall.)

But even if you don’t have time for the Forbidden Journey, you can get the full Potter experience just walking around, admiring the evocative precision of the decor, immersing yourself in Hogsmeade. Here, as at Disney, the park is the ride. And the Wizarding World is one fabulous trip.

via Inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – TIME.

sports, golf, people:  I feel sorry for Tiger.  He really screwed up.

Tiger Woods has never looked worse.

via Tiger Woods Plays Worst Finish Ever As Pro.

globalization, legal careers: I am glad I am not in law school now …

America and American lawyers are less and less at the center of the legal universe, he said. “Even before the crash, many would argue that London had become the center of the economic world. How far east or south will it go? Shanghai, Mumbai, Sao Paulo or all of the above?”

Governments are investing in law and legal innovation as an export item. China and India have both created transnational law schools in which students are trained in English about U.S. and international law. The school in China even plans to seek ABA accreditation so its graduates can take the bar in any U.S. state, he said.

“We’re facing a different kind of competition. We used to think of the quality of legal services was measured by inputs, like where a lawyer went to law school or how much time was put into the matter,” Wilkins said. “Now people are looking at outputs—how much value was delivered.”

via Harvard Prof Sees Legal Profession in Turmoil – ABA Journal.

technology, education:  My children were at the forefront of computers and education and now they are at the forefront of e-books and education.  they have been lab rats for their whole lives.

Compared with traditional textbooks, the iPad and other devices for reading digital bookshave the potential to save on textbook costs in the long term, to provide students with more and better information faster, and — no small matter — to lighten the typical college student’s backpack.

Yet the track record on campus so far for e-readers has been bumpy. Early trials of the Kindle DX, for example, drewcomplaints from students about clunky highlighting of text and slow refresh rates. Princeton and George Washington universities this spring found the iPad caused network problems. Federal officials in June cautioned colleges to hold off on using e-readers in the classroom unless the technology can accommodate disabled students.

Though many of those problems are being or have been addressed, some of the most tech-savvy students aren’t quite ready to endorse the devices for academic use. And some educational psychologists suggest the dizzying array of options and choices offered by the ever-evolving technology may be making it harder to learn rather than easier.

Publishers, meanwhile, have big ideas for personalizing student learning. “That’s the great promise,” says Don Kilburn, president of Pearson Learning Solutions, a publisher of education materials.

More glitches are perhaps inevitable. But the technological advances “represent very real potential to remake education for the better,” says Kaplan’s Olson. “The potential for the textbook to come alive with interactivity … will make the next several years of e-book innovation fascinating to watch.”

via Back to school: Do kids learn as well on iPads, e-books? –

culture, law, religion, gay marriage:  I struggle with this one.  I think this article highlights many of the issues, whether I agree or not, and is thus very helpful in my own analysis.

So what are gay marriage’s opponents really defending, if not some universal, biologically inevitable institution? It’s a particular vision of marriage, rooted in a particular tradition, that establishes a particular sexual ideal.

This ideal holds up the commitment to lifelong fidelity and support by two sexually different human beings — a commitment that involves the mutual surrender, arguably, of their reproductive self-interest — as a uniquely admirable kind of relationship. It holds up the domestic life that can be created only by such unions, in which children grow up in intimate contact with both of their biological parents, as a uniquely admirable approach to child-rearing. And recognizing the difficulty of achieving these goals, it surrounds wedlock with a distinctive set of rituals, sanctions and taboos.

The point of this ideal is not that other relationships have no value, or that only nuclear families can rear children successfully. Rather, it’s that lifelong heterosexual monogamy at its best can offer something distinctive and remarkable — a microcosm of civilization, and an organic connection between human generations — that makes it worthy of distinctive recognition and support.

In this landscape, gay-marriage critics who fret about a slippery slope to polygamy miss the point. Americans already have a kind of postmodern polygamy available to them. It’s just spread over the course of a lifetime, rather than concentrated in a “Big Love”-style menage.

If this newer order completely vanquishes the older marital ideal, then gay marriage will become not only acceptable but morally necessary. The lifelong commitment of a gay couple is more impressive than the serial monogamy of straights. And a culture in which weddings are optional celebrations of romantic love, only tangentially connected to procreation, has no business discriminating against the love of homosexuals.

But if we just accept this shift, we’re giving up on one of the great ideas of Western civilization: the celebration of lifelong heterosexual monogamy as a unique and indispensable estate. That ideal is still worth honoring, and still worth striving to preserve. And preserving it ultimately requires some public acknowledgment that heterosexual unions and gay relationships are different: similar in emotional commitment, but distinct both in their challenges and their potential fruit.

But based on Judge Walker’s logic — which suggests that any such distinction is bigoted and un-American — I don’t think a society that declares gay marriage to be a fundamental right will be capable of even entertaining this idea.

via Op-Ed Columnist – The Marriage Ideal –

education:  This highlights some very serious issues about college education in America.

If you have a child in college, or are planning to send one there soon, Craig Brandon has a message for you: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

“The Five-Year Party” provides the most vivid portrait of college life since Tom Wolfe’s 2004 novel, “I Am Charlotte Simmons.” The difference is that it isn’t fiction. The alcohol-soaked, sex-saturated, drug-infested campuses that Mr. Brandon writes about are real. His book is a roadmap for parents on how to steer clear of the worst of them.

…Repealing Ferpa might be the best place to start: The adults who pay the bills need to know what is happening to their kids on campus.

via Book review: The Five-Year Party –

e-books, literature, technology:  End of the Gutenberg era?

In the hit 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail,” Meg Ryan’s independent bookstore couldn’t compete with the big chain-store competitor. Underdog-rooting moviegoers couldn’t have known how lucky the independent stores were, having enjoyed so many decades of being the only booksellers. The megastores, which became dominant in the 1980s, have been undermined by technology in less than a generation.

Still, Mr. Ross, now a literary agent, is optimistic. He points to “new competitive pressure among e-book companies to get better deals for authors.” The multimedia e-book, he says, “means a lot of potential for creativity,” changing what it means to be a book.

At a time when distracting digital technologies threaten to reduce people’s attention span, it may take an evolution in the art form of a book to retain our interest in long-form story telling. Books that combine text with other media could be more informative and perhaps lead to a new kind of literature.

It’s ideas that count, not how they’re transmitted. Independent bookstores gave way to chains, which are fast giving way to Web-based retailers. At least for now, the printed book will live alongside the e-book. These are new pages in the history of the book, whose final chapters are yet to be written.

via From Gutenberg to Zoobert –

teenagers, girls, health:  Very obvious to any mom of a girl.

Hitting puberty at a young age can be confusing and distressing, Herman-Giddens says.

It also increases the odds that girls will develop low self-esteem, eating disorders and depression. Girls who hit puberty sooner are more likely to attempt suicide and to have earlier sexual activity. As adults, these women are at greater risk for breast and endometrial cancers, possibly because they have a longer lifetime exposure to estrogen

via Early puberty for girls is raising health concerns –

freedom of religion, Ground Zero mosque:  Another good article to help define the issues on a difficult question.

The much larger issue that this center raises is, of course, of freedom of religion in America. Much has been written about this, and I would only urge people to read Michael Bloomberg’s speech on the subject last week. Bloomberg’s eloquent, brave, and carefully reasoned address should become required reading in every civics classroom in America. It probably will.

Bloomberg’s speech stands in stark contrast to the bizarre decision of the Anti-Defamation League to publicly side with those urging that the center be moved. The ADL’s mission statement says it seeks “to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” But Abraham Foxman, the head of the ADL, explained that we must all respect the feelings of the 9/11 families, even if they are prejudiced feelings. “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted,” he said. First, the 9/11 families have mixed views on this mosque. There were, after all, dozens of Muslims killed at the World Trade Center. Do their feelings count? But more important, does Foxman believe that bigotry is OK if people think they’re victims? Does the anguish of Palestinians, then, entitle them to be anti-Semitic?

via Fareed Zakaria: Build the Ground Zero Mosque – Newsweek.

cities, Detroit, Great Recession:  Will Detroit be the first great American city to disappear?

The Ruins of Detroit

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last decade or so, it’s nearly impossible that you haven’t heard of the Motor City’s dramatic decline. The Ruins of Detroit ($125) is a 200-page photographic tour through some of the city’s now-decrepit landmarks, interspersed with looks at near-downtown residences that have been trashed, abandoned, and in some cases destroyed completely. It’s quite sad, but on the other hand, it provides plenty of hope for the possible PS3 title Fallout: Detroit 2015.

via The Ruins of Detroit.

religion:  So another article that makes you think …

Why religion? In the face of pogroms and pedophiles, crusades and coverups, why indeed?

Religious Americans have answered the question variously. Worship is one answer. Millions gather each week to acknowledge their higher power. The chance to experience community is another. Healthy congregations are more than civic clubs. They are surrogate families. The opportunity to serve others also comes to mind. Americans feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless largely through religious organizations. Yet as important as community, worship and service are, I am convinced that religion’s greatest contribution to society is even greater.

Religion makes us want to live.

Here’s the point: I think religion makes it easier to be decent. The positive core values, mutual accountability and constant striving for self-improvement help one to be a better person. And I want to be a better person. Not because I’m afraid of God. Because I’m grateful for another trip around the sun and, like a good house guest, want to leave this place in better shape than I found it.

via Why do we need religion? –

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August 2010