Archive for March, 2011


3.31.2011 … It is time for April …

random, LOLBride Orders Giant Wedding Cake Shaped Like Herself.

travel, lists:  I have only been to one … Beijing … but it was pre-Olympics.  “Secret” List of World’s Best Airports Revealed –

Target, Wal-Mart, discounters:  Good news for me … I prefer Target.

For the first time in four years, it appears that Target is beating Walmart on pricing, according to this article.

In my experience, I have frequently compared Target to other online retailers, including, and found it to be one of the priciest. But research has shown that Target is becoming more aggressive in its grocery pricing.

via Target cheaper than Walmart | Atlanta Bargain Hunter.

political cartoons:

Libya Speech –

apps, lists:  There’s a (free) app for that –

gardens, community:  I would love to share mine!

Alas, in the tree-filled Piedmont, once they look up, many people realize the trees will produce dense shade once the new leaves emerge in coming weeks. Where the gardener imagined bright sun shining on tomato plants will be only narrow streaks sliding through chinks in the canopy.

However, there is an answer, and I am surprised more people don’t do it: Join with a neighbor, friend or family member with sun and create a shared garden. You can share the work, the cost and the results.

This works best among neighbors because you will be more inclined to share the work when the garden is in walking distance. Getting in the car and driving is not the same as walking down the block to see if the tomatoes are blooming. Perhaps you have sun but don’t feel up to doing a garden alone; ask around to see who might be interested in teaming up. No sun? Make your wishes known.

via Good gardens make good neighbors –

philanthropy:  I like this one.

Charlotte businessman created a poster of homeless people holding up words to The Lord’s Prayer, which inspired a Winston-Salem surgeon to create a similar poster with words to a Bible verse, which in turn inspired a former teacher from Thomasville to create a poster.

Sales of the three posters have brought more than $14,000 to help the homeless.

And there’s no telling where Brian Hadley’s idea may turn up next.

Hadley, who is 44 and works as a sales manager for Royal Paper Products, created the first poster in fall 2009.

via Charlotte man’s poster of the homeless inspires and multiplies –

March Madness 2011, restaurants, Charlotte:  Some new places to try …

May we present the Burger Brackets’ Final Four competitors?

— Brooks’ Sandwich Shop emerges the winner of the North, its classic old-school style and taste helping it past Dilworth stalwart The Comet Grill, which produced an uncharacteristically dryish burger for the matchup.

— Mueller’s Neighborhood Grill wins the South bracket, nipping the much-heralded granddaddy Zack’s Hamburgers with heft and flavor.

— The Liberty edged past Pinky’s Westside Grill in the closest match of the Elite Eight competition. Though quintessentially different in style, the beefy quality of the former came through in the head-to-head, with Pinky’s serving up a slightly overcooked patty.

— And Big Daddy’s Burger Bar rolls easily to the East crown with a juicy performance that outdid Lulu’s efforts.

That pits Brooks’ against Mueller’s for the Old-School Bracket bragging rights, and The Liberty faces Big Daddy’s for New-School honors. Those and the final will now be judged by a tasting panel, and the results announced in the April 1 CLT section.

via Burger Brackets: The Final Four –

education, Great Recession, Charlotte, CMS, middle school:

Almost 600 parents and students gathered in southeast Charlotte on Tuesday night to talk about ways to keep middle school sports alive in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with fees and private money.

Superintendent Peter Gorman’s preliminary budget for 2011-12 calls for eliminating the program. Organizers of Tuesday’s meeting plan to create a nonprofit group to raise about $3.6million, enough to cover costs for three years, from big corporate gifts, smaller donations and booster-club fund-raisers.

“There’s no reason we can’t be frying fish and cooking pigs on the weekends to raise money for sports,” school board member Rhonda Lennon told the crowd. Two of her eight colleagues, Tim Morgan and Joe White, also attended.

Organizer Tripp Roakes, publisher of The South Charlotte Sports Report, said CMS should at least triple the $50 “pay to play” fee for middle-school sports, noting that many private leagues charge $200 or more.

“There is nowhere in Charlotte that you can play something for $50,” Roakes said.

He and Lennon added that they’re dedicated to making sure there’s money to offer scholarships for students who can’t afford fees and support for schools that don’t have booster clubs.

via Backers hope to save middle school sports –

midwifery, professionalism, NC:  NC is a little late to the game …

A month after the arrest of a certified professional midwife, N.C. legislators this week introduced a bill to legalize the practice of these trained experts in home-based maternity care.

The bill, sponsored by two Democrats and two Republicans in the state house of representatives, would create a licensing board for CPMs and allow them to practice legally, as they do in 27 states, including South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

“With or without licensure, we’ve got CPMs out there and they’re practicing and they’re going to keep on practicing,” said State Rep. Winkie Wilkins, D-Durham. “It becomes so simple. My whole thing is if they’re going to keep on doing what they’re doing, I want to know who they are and where they are and how they’re doing it.”

Wilkins served on a midwifery study committee two years ago The final report recommended that a working group propose a method for licensing of certified professional midwives.

Since 1983, N.C. law has required midwives to be registered nurses who have completed midwifery education and passed an exam by the American Midwifery Certification Board. They must be supervised by doctors, who can back them up in complicated deliveries.

via Legislators introduce bill to license certified professional midwives –


3.30.2011 … Definitely a year in reverse … March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb … joke … Can’t wait to see what April brings …

old sayings, quotes:

The old saying goes “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb,” due to the fact that the month generally starts unsettled and chilly, while the end of the month typically turns milder as spring begins.

This saying looks to be opposite for March 2011 since just over four weeks ago, the month came in like a lamb with quiet weather across the eastern half of the country. High pressure was in control of the weather, bringing near- to slightly above-normal temperatures to residents living along the I-95 corridor.

To round out the month, meteorologists are monitoring the potential for a winter storm to track up the East Coast, effectively sending March out like a lion this year.

A disturbance currently moving inland over the Pacific Northwest will track into the Plains states by Wednesday before diving into the Gulf of Mexico Thursday.

via March may roar out like a lion |

Chicago, Cubs:  I was in Chicago last weekend at a wedding and of course the bride was a Cubs fan and the groom was a White Sox fan … had to be mentioned!  But saw this today and loved it … always hope!  I am a Cubs fan, btw.

Join the Heckler and Rick Telander for their celebration of the Cubs inevitable march to World Series glory (…) and get down on $2 Old Styles, a free buffet, and giveaways of Cubs tickets and rooftop passes, so you’ll have absolutely no hassle getting up to the best place to throw yourself off.

via Next Year Day | Thrillist.

random, apps, guys vs. girls:  I am not sure I care … but guys are into cars … funny.

In many ways cars are better than girlfriends — you can get in whenever you want, they don’t complain when you take their tops off, and spare tires are actually a plus. To follow up on old flames that could be covered in them, hit up Check My Ride.

A recently launched social network affiliated with a major auto data company, Check My Ride lets you build and share a comprehensive personal vehicle history and check up on old whips using their “Where in the World is My Car?” tool, not to be confused with the Dude Where’s My Car? tool, as no one cares where Stifler is (spoiler alert: it’s rehab). Start by building a detailed history of your vehicles (age when purchased, year/make/model/color, year sold, etc.), including awesome road trips you took, how many miles you put on, and “why [it] was memorable”; once complete, it’ll calculate the total mileage you’ve accrued since you started driving and generate a bar graph timeline of your life in terms of car ownership, which will be low if you’re wont to take “bar graph” literally. Next, enter a VIN into the car-finder widget (powered by AutoCheck) to see deets on an old whip’s current whereabouts, including a GMap with connected pins showing the places it’s been registered since you ditched it, unless you literally ditched it, in which case, um…it’s in a ditch.

via Check My Ride | Thrillist.

aging, parents, happiness, culture:  85 is the happiness peak … Well, my mom should be in a good mood come October!

Traditional wisdom states that our younger years are the best of our lives, with the milestone of 40 meaning we are “over the hill” and already on the wane.

But in fact satisfaction and optimism steadily increase after middle age, easily eclipsing the earlier years and peaking as late as the eighties, according to research.

An easing of the responsibilities of middle age combined with maturity and the ability to focus on the things we enjoy combine to make old age far more enjoyable than one might expect.

This is greatly increased by having good health, a stable income and good relationships with family and friends, according to scientists.

Lewis Wolpert, emeritus professor of biology at University College London, who explained the findings in a new book called You’re Looking Very Well, said most people were “averagely happy” in their teens and twenties, declining until early middle age as they try to support a family and a career.

He added: “But then, from the mid-forties, people tend to become ever more cheerful and optimistic, perhaps reaching a maximum in their late seventies or eighties.”

A study published by the American National Academy of Sciences, based on a survey of 341,000 people, found that enjoyment of life dwindled throughout early adulthood but began an upward trend in the late forties, and continued to increase until reaching a peak at 85.

via Happiness peaks in our eighties – Telegraph.

Apps, lists: I really like a few of these and look forward to trying others … Top 10 Apps That Will Change Your Life –

9/11, Muslim Community Center, update:  Why is this a regional story?  We were just talking about this in Chicago … seems it should be national?

Two co-founders of the plan to build a Muslim community center and mosque in downtown Manhattan have begun exploring a new, and possibly competing, project: an interfaith cultural center that they said might be located at the currently proposed site, two blocks from ground zero, or elsewhere in the neighborhood.Daisy Khan, the executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, said on Tuesday that she and her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, two co-founders whose involvement in the controversial community center plan was curtailed this year after a falling out with their real estate partner, might develop a new project that was “larger in concept” than what is now proposed at 51 Park Place.The new project would be interfaith in character, rather than predominantly Islamic, she said, and it would include a center for inter-religious conflict resolution.

On Tuesday, Ms. Khan said that since last summer, she and her husband had been meeting privately with family members of 9/11 victims and first responders in an effort to understand the source of some of the opposition to the original idea. She said that as a result of those meetings, the story of the 9/11 families “will be housed in our center.”

via Planned Downtown Mosque Could Become an Interfaith Center –

museums, trends, change, globalization:  Everything trends toward sameness … even museums.

But the relocation of the Barnes is about more than the dismantling of a single museum. It also marks the end of an era in American cultural history. Over the past 15 or so years, some of the most original and idiosyncratic art institutions in the country — the Barnes, the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston — have embarked on major expansions to modernize (and in some cases, to generate more revenue), significantly transforming their identities.

All three museums, each built by a wealthy eccentric, once represented intensely personal visions. All were conceived as alternatives to the offerings of the elite cultural establishment. And by the time the Barnes completes its move, all will have been remade into slick, corporate artistic institutions of a sort that their founders no doubt would have deplored.

Yet even more striking is what these transformations suggest about what we’ve become as a culture. The three museums’ iconoclastic collectors, and the institutions they built, embodied an America that still embraced an ideal of stubborn individualism. That spirit is now mostly gone, a victim of institutional conventions and corporate boards, and by a desire for mainstream acceptance that has displaced a willingness to break rules.

via Eccentricity Gives Way to Uniformity in Museums –

Davidson College, D2s (Children of Davidson friends@Davidson): Look at the D2s – Boyce and Betsy – being role models!

Davidson College seniors shared their experiences with Davidson Day School students recently. They are (from left): Bryan Droll, Rayna McKenzie, Boyce Whitesides and Betsy Lyles.

Four Davidson College seniors fielded questions about dorm rooms, study habits and what to expect from the food from high school students at Davidson Day during the private school’s second “College Life 101″ presentation last week.The 45-minute forum focused on transitioning from high school to college. Davidson College students included Betsy Lyles, who grew up in Davidson and is an English major at the local college. She was joined: Bryan Droll, a psychology major from Duluth, Ga.; Rayna McKenzie, a philosophy major from New York City; and Boyce Whitesides, a religion major from Wilmington, N.C.“The purpose of College Life 101 is to help our students become more prepared to adjust to college,” said Stacy Allen, Davidson Day’s college counselor. “They hear a lot from us but it’s different when what they’re hearing comes from a college student who is actually living the college experience.”

via Davidson seniors give a college preview at Davidson Day |


3.29.2011 … humerus is healing … but 6 more weeks of sling … :(

silly joke, kith/kin:  When Jack was baptised at 3 months he had a yeast infection (from antibiotics) and a  columnist had this story in the paper … we all died laughing reading it …

SAD NEWS – Please join me in remembering YET ANOTHER great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes to the belly. He was 71. Dough Boy is survived by his wife Play Dough, three children, John Dough, Jane Dough, and Dosey Dough,plus they had one in the Oven. Services were held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.

technology, retirement: scary …Want To Retire Wealthier? Start by Scanning Your Photo –

kith/kin, death penalty:  Go, Bob!

While the news conference was under way, an Iredell County judge imposed consequences against the state in a double-murder trial halted last week by the late handover of evidence.

The judge declared a mistrial and barred prosecutors from pursuing the death penalty against defendant Al Bellamy. Last week, three weeks into the trial and after prosecutors finished presenting their case, defense attorneys were given about 1,700 pages of interview notes taken by a former narcotics detective.

Fair-trial advocates like Mumma were joined at the news conference by men who were wrongly convicted in cases in which their lawyers did not learn crucial investigative details. They included Greg Taylor of Raleigh and Darryl Hunt of Winston-Salem, who both spent more than 17 years in prison on faulty murder convictions before being exonerated and pardoned.

“When we have fairness in our system, then the chances of human lives being taken is slim,” Hunt said.

via Critics target NC bill limiting DAs evidence risk –

Bible, history:  Great story …

A little English village church has just made a remarkable discovery.

The ornate old Bible that had been sitting in plain view on a table near the last row of pews for longer than anyone could remember is an original King James Bible – one of perhaps 200 surviving 400-year-old original editions of arguably the most important book ever printed in English.

In fact, the Bible at St. Laurence Church in Hilmarton, England, was sitting right under a hand-lettered sign saying it was an original.

The sign said it had been found in “the parish chest” in 1857, that the cover had been added, and that it was the second of the two impressions published in 1611 – the year of first publication.

But no one knew whether to believe it, parish council member Geoff Procter said. As the anniversary of publication in 1611 approached, they decided it was worth investigating.

“We had no way of knowing whether it really was a 1611 Bible so we had to get it verified somehow,” he said.

He and two other church members took it to a specialist, the Rev. David Smith at the Museum of the Book in London.

Smith knew immediately what he was looking at, Procter said.

“We put it on his table and he opened it and immediately he said, ‘Yes, this is a 1611 Bible,'” Procter remembered.

via Tiny church finds original King James Bible – CNN Belief Blog – Blogs.

technology, media, paywall, ethics: Is it ethical for me to work around the paywall?

But the argument over the paywall has taken on a strangely moral cast for what is, after all, a business decision by a for-profit company. At Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow—who admits that he is against charging for news regardless—cited eight reasons he thinks the paywall will fail. Advertising Age’s Simon Dumeneco responded with a column that said, essentially, that people should pay for the Times because it has reporters risking their lives in Libya (unlike Boing Boing).

All of which may feel satisfying to argue. But the whole argument is based on a conundrum that would challenge the NYT magazine’s Ethicist columnist: when exactly is it immoral to go around the Times’ paywall, considering that the Times intentionally put the holes in the wall itself?

I won’t go into all the ins and outs of the paywall’s workings (see here for the Times’ FAQ). But essentially, you pay a certain rate for different kinds of unlimited access—web plus smartphone or tablet or both. Free web visits are limited to 20 articles a month. But the number of articles you can read if you access them through outside links (from blogs, Facebook, etc.) are almost unlimited. [Update: also, if like me you already subscribe to the paper version, you get digital access included.]

This is deliberate: the Times doesn’t want to lose the relevance that comes from being linked. But it also wants money, which it won’t get if you—legitimately, by its own design—read it mostly through social media and other linkers. In the eyes of the Times and its defenders, in other words, there is a certain level of reading for free that becomes freeloading. But it will deliberately not say what that is.

via The NY Times Paywall Goes Up. When Is It Immoral to Go Around It? – Tuned In –

RIP, Elizabeth Taylor, icons, science:  Rest in Peace, Elizabeth Taylor … but to think your gorgeous eyes were a genetic mutation.

Elizabeth Taylor wasn’t one for understatement: she had eight marriages, two Oscars, and she was a bold pioneer in AIDS activism. And let’s not forget those captivating violet eyes. Now, according to Slate’s Brow Beat blog, Taylor’s large, liquid eyes had the unusual benefit of a genetic mutation, one that left her with a double row of eyelashes.

via Were Elizabeth Taylor’s Double Eyelashes Linked with Her Heart Failure? – TIME Healthland.

RIP, Harry & David:  What … no more Christmas pears!!

Harry & David, the purveyor of fruit-filled gift baskets, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday morning as part of an effort to reorganize its troubled finances.

The company filed what is known as a “prearranged” Chapter 11 plan in Delaware bankruptcy court, under which bondholders would take over by converting their debt holdings into equity.

via Harry & David to File for Bankruptcy –

twitter, lists:  Who do you follow … I follow the NYT … to get around the paywall!

TIME picks the 140 Twitter feeds that are shaping the conversation.

via Full List – 140 Best Twitter Feeds – TIME.

DC, Politics and Prose, Resurrections:

The Washington Post reports that two former Post reporters will buy Washington DC’s Politics and Prose bookstore.

The bookstore has become a hub for media events, hosting everybody from Mika Brzezinski to BookTV. When co-founder Carla Cohen fell ill last year, the owners decided to sell the bookstore. Cohen (pictured, via), passed away in October.

Here’s more about the sale: “Former Washington Post reporters Bradley Graham and his wife Lissa Muscatine are purchasing the iconic upper Northwest bookstore … [the owners narrowed] a flurry of propositions down to about six serious bidders, the most prominent of which was a group that included ex-New Republic editor Franklin Foer and Atlantic magazine writer Jeffrey Goldberg.” (Via Don Linn)

via Politics and Prose Bookstore Sold To Former WaPo Reporters – GalleyCat.

RIP, Geraldine Ferraro, politics, icons:  Rest in peace, Geraldine Ferraro.  You brought us a long way!

There are two things to remember when we try to make out the lessons of Geraldine Ferraro’s career. The first is overwhelmingly historic: as Democrat Walter Mondale’s running-mate in 1984, the three-time Representative from New York was the first woman (and first Italian American) to be part of a major party’s presidential ticket. The second is much more sobering: after Mondale’s defeat, Ferraro never again won elected office. Making history lasted less than four months, from Mondale’s announcement of her choice to be his vice-presidential candidate on July 19 to Ronald Reagan’s landslide re-election on Nov. 6. The consequences of history would complicate the rest of her life.

Her brief star turn at the center stage of American politics had not really been part of the Ferraro’s own plan. Logically, the next step would have been to turn her six years as a tough but efficient congresswoman into the first of many six-year terms as U.S. Senator from New York. But Mondale and the Democrats needed drama on the ticket to offset Reagan’s overwhelming lead in the polls. So, why not a woman? A shortlist was drawn-up and, after much anticipation and last minute deliberation, Ferraro was picked over Dianne Feinstein, who was then Mayor of San Francisco.

via The Pioneer: Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011) – TIME.


3.28.2011 home … at 1 am … Spring Break is over … now I need a break!

random, zoos, snakes:  Reminds me of Harry Potter …

An Egyptian cobra was still on the loose at the Bronx Zoo Sunday after slithering out of its enclosure Friday afternoon.

Zoo keepers shut down the Reptile House “until further notice” to look for the venomous 20-inch snake. Officials said the cobra’s reclusive nature meant it posed little danger to the public.

Visitors to the Bronx Zoo were unfazed on Sunday afternoon after hearing that a venomous Egyptian cobra was missing from its enclosure in the Reptile House.

“Snakes are incredible escape artists no matter what you do,” said Frank Indiviglio, who worked at the zoo for two decades and now writes a blog about reptiles at Still, he said, the cobra would likely have a hard time getting out of the Reptile House. “It’s not going to be the kind of thing where there’s a snake out running down Southern Boulevard.”

Egyptian cobras, like many ground-dwelling snakes, crave confined spaces, said Susan Barnard, a longtime reptile curator at Atlanta’s zoo and the author of the “Reptile Keeper’s Handbook.”

via Snake Escape Makes Zoo Squirm –

travel, Seattle:  Second favorite N. American City!  And I love these articles … I should write them.  36 Hours in Seattle –

March Madness 2011:  As I said before, I am out …

Of 5.9 million brackets predicting the men’s college-basketball tournament filled out by users, 192 brackets — or about one in 31,000 — correctly predicted Butler and Virginia Commonwealth would meet in the Final Four. What’s remarkable isn’t that so few people picked the matchup; it’s that so many did.

Shelvin Mack and Butler have advanced to the Final Four again, in an even bigger surprise than last year.

That isn’t meant as a slight on the teams’ accomplishments this March. Both undoubtedly have earned their trip to Houston next weekend. Butler knocked off the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 seeds in the southeast region on its way to the national semifinals. VCU took out the Nos. 1, 3 and 6 seeds in the southwest — after playing its way into the final 64 by beating USC in a play-in game; the Rams remain the only team in tournament history to win another game after winning a play-in game. Butler has impressed by prevailing in close games, while VCU has been more impressive by beating USC and its next two opponents by double digits.

via 2011 NCAA Tournament: Counting the Ways Butler and VCU Defied the Odds – The Daily Fix – WSJ.

glee, Simon CowellYouTube – THE X FACTOR – Simon talks GLEE.

technology, iPad, business model, contracts, change:

Ms. Witmer said she thought some of the resistance by channel owners stemmed from a lack of understanding of the technology. “In fairness, truthfully, to all the executives in this industry that are trying to run businesses that are part of this ecosystem, it is exhausting — exhausting — keeping up with everything that is changing rapidly,” she said.

via Time Warner Ad Campaign Defends Streaming to iPad –

state law, state budgets, welfare of children, Bill Gates, TED:

In theory, all states but one (Vermont) must balance their budget. But that’s “a pretense”, said Mr Gates. Instead, states cook their books with accounting tricks that would make the guys at Enron blush. Using California as his example, Mr Gates walked his audience through asset sales, deferred payments, revenue securitisations and other gimmicks. California spends several times as much as Microsoft or Google, he showed. But whereas armies of analysts study these companies, hardly anybody really looks at the states.

And yet, the states and municipalities have—or lack—the money that is supposed to fund the schools and universities which are meant to produce the employers and taxpayers of the future. “We need to care about state budgets,” said Mr Gates, because they are failing America’s children.

via State budgets matter: Even Bill says so | The Economist.

policy, Libya, Khamis Gadhafi:  Amazing tidbit …

The monthlong internship was sponsored by AECOM, a global engineering and design company based in Los Angeles, and with the assistance of the State Department.

AECOM has business dealings with Libya.

Khamis traveled from coast to coast meeting with high-tech companies, universities and defense contractors. His itinerary included stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Colorado, Chicago, Houston, Washington and New York City.

Khamis left the U.S. for Libya on February 17.

Paul Gennaro, the senior vice president and chief communications officer for AECOM, issued a statement saying, “The educational internship, which consisted of publicly available information, was aligned with our efforts to improve quality of life, specifically in Libya, where we were advancing public infrastructure such as access to clean water; quality housing; safe and efficient roads and bridges; reliable and affordable energy; and related projects that create jobs and opportunity.”

Gennaro said the company was “shocked and outraged” to learn of Khamis’ role in the Libyan crisis. “We were aware of the student’s family relationship, but we were not informed of any military connection whatsoever,” Gennaro said. It was the company’s understanding that Khamis was an MBA student from an accredited university in Spain. “The student was positioned to help oversee improvements in Libya’s quality of life and infrastructure initiatives, which the country had been advancing since 2007,” he said. The U.S. State Department was aware of and approved all the meetings, Gennaro said.

via Gadhafi son was on U.S. internship until crisis –


3.27.2011 … Great wedding … John is off on the direct flight .. After a few hours in the Windy City, Molls and I come home on the indirect flight … at midnight. :( … oh, and 0 for 4 in the final four :(

restaurants, Terzo Piano, Chicago, me:  Whirlwind day in the city …After a very good lunch at Terzo Piano at the Art Institute, Molls and I did the one hour tour of the museum, then off to see the Bean at Millennium Park and some quick shopping.  Great day!

March Madness 2011, Final Four 2011: 😦

Such is the state of this NCAA tournament, that I could wake up Friday morning in New Orleans thinking there were strong odds Houston’s Final Four would include two No. 1s (Ohio State and Kansas) and a No. 2 (Florida) … and then be in Newark on Sunday night, watching No. 4 Kentucky clinch the last spot — alongside No. 3 UConn, with No. 8 Butler and No. 11 VCU filling out the other half. I was stunned to witness the Bulldogs’ second straight Final Four-clinching win, and am still stunned when I see the teams printed on this bracket t-shirt.

But it’s actually for sale. Beautiful chaos in the bracket gave us our first all-mid-major semifinal in the history of the expanded tournament, and the highest-seeded final quartet ever. The Wildcats are now the log5 favorite and Vegas’ favorite, which means that, if the tournament holds true to form, they’re doomed.

via NCAA Tournament – Luke Winn – » Posts Final Four, First Look: The Unbelievables «.


3.25.2011 … Wonderful luncheon at the Ivy in Wheaton …. Weddings can be such fun …

restaurants, Wheaton IL, Chicago:  Near perfect experience at Wheaton’s The Ivy!

You no longer have to look for an excellent steak, chop and seafood restaurant in the Wheaton or Chicago area. We specialize in fresh seafood, assorted steaks, and chops. We are recognized for our hearty portions and outstanding service. Almost everything is made daily, in house, by our Executive Chef Brian Goewey and his staff; from our salad dressings and sauces, to our desserts. To complement the outstanding traditional American fare, Ivy offers an extensive wine list with some of the finest wines from around the globe.

via Ivy Restaurant.

weddings, culture:  Learned a lot about regional differences in weddings … and enjoyed this history.

Kidder would change all that when, soon after opening, her company became a wholesale gown producer. It didn’t hurt, of course, that Americans, flush with postwar prosperity and eager to spend and to be seen spending, had adopted an economic moral code that made consumption a sort of virtue. After the war, an opulent wedding — with the dress being only one ingredient in a smorgasbord of flowers, cake, music and champagne — became acceptable and even expected for nearly all classes. The plight of the middle-class father, forced to indulge the far-reaching marital ambitions of his daughter and wife, was demonstrated to legendary effect by an alternately anguished and resigned Spencer Tracy in 1950’s “Father of the Bride.” By the time Johnson walked down her 400-foot marble aisle, the vision was cemented in the American consciousness: Everyone had the right to be a princess bride.

There’s a paradox in Kidder’s success: She made her dresses seem exclusive, yet they were actually made en masse in a factory in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood. But for the middle-class bride, an embellished gown handmade by a personal dressmaker would have been prohibitively expensive. A Priscilla gown, though not unique, offered high-end luxury at a relatively reasonable price — starting at $69 in the early 1950s — though custom-made masterpieces could fetch several thousand dollars. “Priscilla of Boston,” wrote Vicki Howard, author of “Brides Inc.: American Weddings and the Business of Tradition,” “was thus responsible for bringing the exclusive white wedding gown to the masses.” The name — her name — became a status symbol. Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier and even Oscar de la Renta owe her a debt.

via The founder of ‘Bride Inc.’ – WWW.THEDAILY.COM.

nature,earthquakes, science:

Seismologists have revived a longstanding question in the wake of recent earthquakes: Can a giant temblor in one location trigger another large one thousands of miles away?

A new study provides the first compelling evidence that such big, distant events—which may appear to be linked when they occur within months of each other—are likely not connected at all.

“A big quake rings the earth like a bell and can trigger little quakes” halfway across the planet, said Tom Parsons, geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., and co-author of the study just published in the journal Nature Geoscience. “But apparently it doesn’t trigger other big quakes” over such great distances.

via Major Earthquakes Can Set Off Small Eruptions but Not Big Ones, Researchers Say –

Ursinus College, J.D. Salinger, capitalizing on a name, random:  Good luck!

Ursinus College had been trying to figure out how to capitalize on the fact that J. D. Salinger had spent one semester there in the fall of 1938.

Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

Callie Ingram and Anton Teubner, prior winners of a writing contest with a prize that included a year in Salinger’s old room.

Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

Logan Metcalf-Kelly, current occupant of J. D. Salinger’s dorm room at Ursinus College.

They were hoping to attract publicity for Ursinus and tried everything they could think of to lure Salinger from the secluded world he’d lived in for his final 50 years. They offered to make him a guest lecturer; to build a literary festival around him; to award him an honorary degree. “No response,” said Richard DiFeliciantonio, the vice president for enrollment at the small liberal arts college here. “Absolutely nothing.”

Then Jon Volkmer, an English professor, had what Holden Caulfield would have called a goddam terrific idea. They could establish an annual J. D. Salinger Scholarship in creative writing for an incoming freshman, and as a bonus the winner would get to spend the first year at Ursinus in Salinger’s old dorm room. “Any college could offer money,” Professor Volkmer said. “Nobody else could offer Salinger’s room.”

On Jan. 19, 2006, the college announced the $30,000-a-year Salinger scholarship, and within a week, the writer’s literary representatives were demanding that his name be removed. In retrospect, this was not a big surprise. All his life, Salinger had done everything possible to protect his privacy from the same stinking phonies who’d so unnerved Holden Caulfield. He removed his photograph from the jacket cover of “The Catcher in the Rye” and successfully sued a biographer to prevent the publication of his personal letters.

“Salinger’s representatives sent us a warning; it was only one paragraph, but it was blunt,” Mr. DiFeliciantonio said. “They may have used the word ‘exploit.’ ”

College officials pleaded that they were just trying to help worthy students. “I don’t think they used the term ‘cease and desist,’ ” Mr. DiFeliciantonio said, “although they may have used the word ‘desist.’ ”

In deference to what some would refer to as Salinger’s artistic sensibilities and others would call his nuttiness, the college changed the name of the scholarship to the Ursinus College Creative Writing Award. But the part about sleeping in Salinger’s room remained. “I mean, we own the room,” Professor Volkmer said. “They couldn’t stop us from that, I don’t think.”

In the next few weeks, Ursinus will announce the sixth annual winner of what is now known here as the “Not the J. D. Salinger Scholarship.”

via Ursinus College Trades on Its Salinger Connection, Cautiously –


3.24.2011 … was wonderful … Coffee with the brain trust … info session and tour of Northwestern … Lunch with Julie Mc in Evanston at LuLu’s (very good) … Toured our Wilmette home … Thank you, Jeanne … Dinner at Homer’s with Marcia and Michael … And Vanna ….

restaurants, Evanston, IL, Chicago, LuLu’s:  Great lunch with Julie … at Lulu’s – Dim Sum and Then Sum … where we caught up on each other … kids … and discovered we share a favorite painting at the Art Institute (see here).

law school, Yale, LOL, random:  I love this!

Bob Child/Associated Press

Black’s Law Dictionary? Check.

Details about Monty, the Yale Law School therapy dog, have been kept quiet. The dog pictured is Mugsy, who had a stint as Yale’s mascot, Handsome Dan, starting in 2005.

An Introduction to Legal Reasoning? Check.

Small, cute dog? Check.

Yale Law School, renowned for competitiveness and its Supreme Court justices, is embarking on a pilot program next week in which students can check out a “therapy dog” named Monty along with the library’s collection of more than one million books.

While the law school is saying little so far about its dog-lending program, it has distributed a memo to students with the basics: that Monty will be available at the circulation desk to stressed-out students for 30 minutes at a time beginning Monday, for a three-day trial run.

via Yale Law School to Counter Stress With a Dog –

March Madness 2011, Cinderellas:  🙂

The two universities sit five miles apart, one amid the manicured grass of the suburbs and the other rising from the concrete of the city.Track your picks and follow Nate Silver’s 538 forecast throughout the N.C.A.A. tournament. You can win an iPad.Mens BracketWomens BracketStay on top of all the news, on and off the court, on The Timess college sports blog.Go to The Quad BlogMenSchedule and ResultsA.P. and Coaches PollStandingsStatisticsWomenSchedule and ResultsA.P. and Coaches PollStandingsStatisticsEnlarge This ImageRick Wilking/ReutersThe Spiders of Richmond run a version of the Princeton offense.Enlarge This ImageJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesThe Rams of V.C.U. are reminiscent of Nolan Richardsons uptempo teams at Arkansas.They are connected by a boulevard dotted with large monuments to Confederate generals. And now, they find themselves linked as part of the most unlikely story of this year’s N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament.The University of Richmond, seeded No. 12, and Virginia Commonwealth University, seeded No. 11, have defied the odds and made it to the Round of 16, joining predictable heavyweights like Ohio State and Kansas.As a result, the city of Richmond, the capital of a state normally filled with rabid football fans, is suddenly a place known for basketball. More unusual things have probably happened in Richmond’s history, but maybe not many.

via For Now, Richmond Is Virginia’s Basketball Capital –

sites:  Just like this one …Wordle – Beautiful Word Clouds.

icons, Chicago:  I don’t think you can change the name of an icon … it will always be the Sear’s Tower to me.

When Willis Group Holdings bought the rights to rebrand Chicago’s Sears Tower as the Willis Tower on July 16, 2009, the London-based insurance company had no idea how strongly the Windy City felt about its 110-story icon. To be fair, Sears had not actually occupied the the famous skyscraper for 17 years — but that didn’t stop angry residents from protesting the name change. More than 97,000 Facebook users joined the group People Against the Sears Tower Name Change, and thousands more signed the online petition It’ Willis executives shouldn’t have been surprised by Chicagoans’ strong sense of tradition. Residents are still mad at Macy’s for changing the name of its local department-store chain from Marshall Fields — a move that happened back in 2006.

via The Sears Tower to the Willis Tower – Top 10 Dubious Name Changes – TIME.

college search, Northwestern University: NU gets 5 stars for academics, tour guides, internships, interdisciplinary studies … but cold March day was a negative … It was my favorite of the week, but my opinion does not matter.

Northwestern combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries.

Home : Northwestern University.


3.23.2011 … From 87 to 37 in 3 hours … :( … On the plane in Ft. Myers … in three hours and it will be 39 …Just landed…very gray, very cold in Chicago … can’t even see the Sear’s Tower.

green, innovation: Melt Tag Saves Trees, the Earth, and Your Skin – Design – GOOD – StumbleUpon.

yard sales, random:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his casserole dish?

The crowd streamed through the gates of the Scrushy estate as the opened on Saturday. By the end of the day, the sale had raised $164,000.

Items on sale included the mundane as well as furniture and designer clothes.

These are the wages of sin for Richard Scrushy, the Alabama businessman who rose from working-class roots to become one of the highest-paid chief executives in the United States, and fell just as quickly to become federal prisoner No. 24463-001.

His name was pried off libraries and campus buildings, and his 16,000-square-foot and helipad-equipped home was opened up to paying gawkers. In the two years since he was ordered by a judge to pay $2.87 billion to HealthSouth, the company he started in 1984, his 19 cars and his wife’s jewelry collection have been auctioned and his houses sold. Then, over the weekend, came perhaps the final indignity: a yard sale.

via Richard Scrushy’s Household Sold Off in a Yard Sale –


‎3.22.2011 … Happy birthday, ET/ King Me!

kith/kin: Happy 19 to my ET!

toys, lists:  What are your favorites?  History’s Best Toys: All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys – TIME.

Supreme Court, Wal-Mart, sociology issue:

When the Supreme Court considers on Tuesday whether hundreds of thousands of women can band together in an employment discrimination suit against Wal-Mart, the argument may hinge on the validity of the hotly disputed conclusions of a Chicago sociologist.

An analysis from Prof. William T. Bielby, a sociologist, is at the heart of a case that the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday.

Plaintiffs in the class-action suit, who claim that Wal-Mart owes billions of dollars to as many as 1.5 million women who they say were unfairly treated on pay and promotions, enlisted the support of William T. Bielby, an academic specializing in “social framework analysis.”

A central question in the case is whether he should have been allowed, in preliminary proceedings, to go beyond describing general research about gender stereotypes in the workplace to draw specific conclusions about what he called flaws in Wal-Mart’s personnel policies.

“Bielby made a conclusion that he had no basis to make,” said Laurens Walker, one of two University of Virginia professors who coined the term for the analysis almost 25 years ago. “He hasn’t done the research.”

But a brief supporting the plaintiffs from the American Sociological Association said that Professor Bielby’s work explaining how Wal-Mart’s policies may have led to discrimination “is well within our discipline’s accepted methods.”

The sharp arguments are a testament to the central role that social framework analysis has come to play in scores of major employment discrimination cases. Describing what was at stake in such cases, a 2009 article in The Fordham Law Review defending Professor Bielby said the debate was “about the existence of unconscious or implicit bias, the continued seriousness of discrimination as a force in the modern workplace and the appropriate reach of legal remedies to challenge discrimination.”

via Supreme Court Gets Sociology Issue in Wal-Mart Discrimination Case –

2014 World Cup, Qatar, technology:  Science Fiction?

So it was back to the drawing board for the desert nation, and scientists have hatched a plan to hover giant robotic clouds over the venues to keep out the sun. The clouds are essentially massive blimps, filled with helium, and will be floated above stadiums. Four onboard solar-powered engines will allow the clouds to be controlled from the ground, shifting along with the sun’s zenith, serving as a huge umbrella in the sky to shade spectators and athletes.

The clouds come at a cost of $500,000 each, pocket change for the Middle Eastern nation. The emirate is touting their World Cup hosting endeavor as an event where we can “Expect Amazing.” Robotic clouds – that definitely qualifies. What’s next, Qatar?

via Robotic Clouds Will Provide Shade During Qatar World Cup – TIME NewsFeed.

Apple, Maiden NC, changes: What is next?

Scheduled to go live sometime this spring, Apple’s 505,000-square-foot North Carolina data center is, according to COO Tim Cook, intended to support iTunes and MobileMe. But we don’t yet know in what capacity, and Cook’s remark, which is at once unambiguous and utterly cryptic, leaves plenty of room for speculation. And theories about the potential capabilities of this new facility abound.

In a research note this week, Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi reviewed a few of the more plausible ones, which run the gamut from the long-rumored iTunes streaming service to the back end for a natural language voice interface and navigation service for its iOS devices.

via Apple Could Use North Carolina Data Center For Video and Music Streaming, Voice Navigation Service | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD.


3.21.2011 … Another sunny day … Visited Henry and Trissy … And Carol … For breakfast … Then lunch outside with Joe and Suzy and Michelle and Molly … Nap time or sun time?

technology, privacy:

ICorrect went live this month and has about 35 founding members, or correctors, as they are called, plucked mostly from the pages of Sir David’s very thick book of contacts. Anyone can join, with payment and proof that he is who he claims to be; the site does not post items from nonmembers.

Sir David said that the site, apparently helped by a positive Twitter message from Mr. Fry, had 225,000 hits its first weekend. “It’s minimally designed to make sure that even the most stupid person can work it and understand it,” he said.

via Site Helps Slighted Stars Feeling Internet’s Sting –

college: ???

On the second floor of the downtown campus, a motley group of students listens to a lecture titled “Palliative and Curative Relief Through a Safe and Effective Herbal Medicine.” Not the sexiest of topics on the face of it, but there’s a catch: this is Oaksterdam University, and the medicine being discussed is marijuana. At “America’s first cannabis college,” in Oakland, Calif., the sallow-faced hippy-skater types that one expects to find sit beside middle-aged professionals in business attire, united in their zeal for the pungent green leaf. No one dares speak out of turn, until instructor Paul Armentano, a marijuana-policy expert, cites a news report that U.S. antidrug authorities plan to legalize pot’s active ingredient exclusively for drug companies’ use. “More stinking profits for Big Business,” mumbles a young man wearing a baseball cap. His classmates groan in agreement.

via Marijuana College: Oaksterdam Focuses on Higher Education – TIME.


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March 2011