Archive for June 6th, 2011

06
Jun
11

‎6.6.2011 … I turned off all my school day alarms this morning … life is good …

summer: If you didn’t figure it out … School’s out!  Hello summer!  By August,  I’ll be excited for fall …  It’s that optimism bias at work. (See yesterday’s post.)

food-Southern, food-drink, Southern sodas, Coca-Cola, Atlanta:  Growing up in Atlanta, Coke was a Southern soda, albeit one that conquered the world. Later I learned that Pepsi is too.  But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I learned about the rest of these …

What’s your favorite Southern soda? Vote now!

Cheerwine; Salisbury, North Carolina

Bleheim Ginger Ale, Hamer, South Carolina

Sun Drop; Tullahoma, Tennessee

Ale-8-One; Winchester, Kentucky

RC Cola; Columbus, Georgia

Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale; Birmingham, Alabama

via What’s Your Favorite Southern Soda?.

China, change, role of women, history, Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth:  When you read The Good Earth, did you think about any of this?  Great Article!!!

“Impossible is nothing,” said my Chinese host in March, when I told her the English proverb “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. She had just passed me a plateful of what looked like tiny, shiny, caramel-and-white striped silk purses. They turned out to be sliced pig’s ear, one of many traditional delicacies at a banquet that included fried ants, sea slugs and geese feet.

Of course almost nothing is impossible in a country where acrobats still juggle wooden chairs as if they were feathers or ping-pong balls—and where the gristle and cartilage of a pig’s ear turn up on your plate as an absurdly elegant appetiser.

What makes foreigners gasp and stretch their eyes in China now is the almost inconceivable speed and scale of the changes that, in the past ten years, have swept people off the land like a giant magnet. In 1990 three out of every four people still lived and worked, as they always had done, on farms. More than 40% have now moved to the cities. By 2015, according to an article I read in China Daily, based on a United Nations forecast, half the population will be urbanised.

The creative energy released by this frenetic development is palpable almost as soon as you step off the plane. It comes like a buzz off the people, especially the young women. When I arrived in the university town of Nanjing on my first visit to China in 2007, I spent days on end watching and talking to students, marvelling above all at the confidence, competence and poise of the girls. I was working on a book about Pearl Buck, who grew up in the Chinese countryside before teaching on the Nanjing campus in the 1920s, so I knew a lot about the world of these girls’ grandmothers: a slow-moving world where traffic went by river steamer or canal boat, and the only wheeled vehicle most people ever saw was a wheelbarrow. Girls were shut up at home on reaching puberty with no further access to the outside world, and no voice in their own or their family’s affairs. In traditional households they were forbidden to speak even to their husbands, except behind closed doors in the bedroom at night.

I found similar indignation from polite but insistent students. Didn’t I know how much China had changed, they asked. The modern world had made a clean break with the sad primitive outmoded countryside depicted in “The Good Earth”. Didn’t I realise how little that world had to do with them now? People everywhere wanted to know what I meant by the title of my biography, “Burying the Bones”. I explained that it came from a passage in Buck’s memoirs about how, as a small girl, she made secret grave mounds for tiny dismembered limbs or fragments of skull—the remains of newborn girls thrown out for the dogs to devour—that she found in the tall grass beyond her parents’ back gate.

It seemed to me an image of amnesia, public and private. Heads always nodded in my audience when I said that all of us have bones to bury, things that are never talked about in families, things a whole nation might prefer to forget. People in China now dismiss their ugly memories just as people all over Europe dismissed the Holocaust for many years after the war. “Children can’t bear to remember what happened to their parents,” says Xinran, who recorded the life stories of men and women in their 70s and 80s in “China Witness” (2008), the only one of her books that remains banned today even in translation.

Buck insisted that our grandparents’ world belongs also to us. The past made us what we are now, and we forget it at our peril. At the end of my last talk at Nanjing university, a student pointed out that burying the bones has a further meaning in China, where the dead are traditionally returned to the earth from which they came so that they may find peace. He might have added that it is only when the past has been acknowledged and accepted that it can finally be laid to rest.

via WOMEN IN CHINA: A SOCIAL REVOLUTION | More Intelligent Life.

China, globalization, history:  Another great article.

When the United States took over from Britain as the predominant world power 100 years ago, the transition was like one between brothers — or cousins, at least. And the two countries remain close allies to this day. The rise of China in relation to U.S. predominance presents a somewhat different challenge — with decades of sometimes outright hostility and an ongoing fractious relationship.

As it reemerges as a world power, the question is: Is China’s awakening to be welcomed — or feared?

Some look to the past for clues — all the way back to the 15th century.

Today China’s role in Africa seems to me to be very similar to that of other countries. I see China following, for better, and possibly for worse, an American model of needing to secure energy sources and seeking to do so in a great variety of ways, wherever the energy can be found.”

Six hundred years ago, Zheng He’s treasure ships went out and came back peacefully, partly because China didn’t need anything from outside its own realm. Now it does. How it deals with that search for energy and natural resources could be what decides whether China’s rise will in the end be peaceful or not.

via China’s Rise: A Quest To ‘Hug The World’? : NPR.

business, global markets, globalization, Africa, China, :  Very interesting article about business in Africa.

Cummins joins a growing number of U.S. companies vying for a stronger foothold on the continent. Caterpillar Inc., the giant maker of construction equipment, is selling more trucks to Mozambique and Zambia. Harley-Davidson Inc. is opening dealerships in Botswana and Mauritius. General Electric Co. has its first aircraft-leasing office in Ghana for Central and West African airlines. Google Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are among the dozens of other U.S. companies moving in or expanding.

Until now, “Africa has been just a rounding error for us,” says Brady Southwick, Cummins’s new head of Africa operations.

U.S. companies’ game of catch-up shows the perils of waking up late to the next big frontier market, Africa. The continent’s economy is forecast to grow to $2.6 trillion in 2020 from $1.6 trillion in 2008, fueled by booms in mining, agriculture and development of ports, roads and other infrastructure, according to McKinsey Global Institute. The middle class is growing, and total household spending now exceeds that of India.

Getting in early to a developing market allows companies to build up strong brands and sales channels that can reap big profits in the long run. That’s what China has done in Africa over the past two decades. It has aggressively promoted trade and investment, courting countries by offering aid in exchange for favorable trade terms. China’s government has provided funds to build a telecommunications network in Ethiopia, the Merowe Dam in Sudan and railways in Libya and Nigeria, among many other projects.

Western European companies, many of which had lingering business interests in Africa from colonial days, also took their eye off the ball. Western Europe’s share of overall trade—the sum of imports and exports—with sub-Saharan Africa dropped to 30% in 2009 from 52% in 1990, according to McKinsey. The share of China and other Asian countries in Africa trade more than doubled to 30% from 14% in the same period, while North America’s share slipped to 13% from 16%.

A few American companies have been entrenched in Africa for decades. Coca-Cola Co. established its first African bottling plant in 1928, in Johannesburg, and its soft drinks now are available throughout the continent.

But many other U.S. companies only now are “starting to wake up to the African opportunity,” says Acha Leke, a Lagos-based director of the McKinsey Global Institute. To succeed, he says, they will need to find good local partners and send in some of their best executives. In the past, he says, some American companies “just sent whoever wanted to go there.”

via U.S. Companies Race to Catch Up in African Markets – WSJ.com.

Apple, iCloud, new products, iconic images:  Sounds like this is inevitable … but that for once Apple is behind … I loved the last line: “On Monday, unless Jobs pulls another magic trick out of his jeans pocket, you’ll have alternatives.”  Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck and jeans is an iconic image!

On Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to announce a new product that allows iPhone owners to stream music from their personal iTunes collections to their phones.

Rumormongers say the music will be stored “in the cloud” — tech jargon for “on Apple’s servers” – although the CultOfMac blog claims inside knowledge that Jobs will instead sell customers a personal storage drive that holds the music and does the streaming from home.

Whatever Apple announces, it follows recent offerings from Google and Amazon that offer cloud-based personal music streaming for Android phone users. Both work similarly: You sign up, then download an application to your Mac or PC that uploads your music collection to Google or Amazon’s servers, and keeps it in sync. To play your music on your phone, you install an Android app that’s a music player which connects to your cloud-stored collection to stream it to your phone.

On Monday, unless Jobs pulls another magic trick out of his jeans pocket, you’ll have alternatives.

via Amazon’s and Google’s Cloud Services Compared – NYTimes.com.

Katie Couric, media, change, glass ceiling:  I like Katie Couric.  I wanted her to succeed at CBS and smash the glass ceiling.  But I always thought she was smart and professional, but too perky.  I think she will succeed at ABC, but she’s under the ceiling again.

The negotiations over Ms. Couric’s future in television unfolded over the last few months and involved three of the four broadcast networks, as well as CNN. They also featured top media executives including Mr. Burke, Robert Iger of Disney, Leslie Moonves of CBS and Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner. Perhaps unexpectedly, because Ms. Couric had not succeeded in stemming the long ratings descent at “The CBS Evening News,” she remained something of a hot property.

At a time when Oprah Winfrey, syndicated television’s biggest star, has just left the stage, the courtship of Ms. Couric suggested that the networks, looking to cash in on the enormous revenue potential of syndication, were still willing to make a big bet on stars — even ones like Ms. Couric who have taken their share of blows in the media.

The details of Ms. Couric’s impending deal with ABC have not been disclosed, but as co-owner of the show Ms. Couric will claim a share of the profits. Syndication has such a great financial upside because successful shows make money from both station fees and advertising revenue — and they are generally inexpensive to produce.

via In Pursuit of Couric, ABC Made the Best Pitch – NYTimes.com.

random, local theater, sitcom parodies:  I just laughed …

Welcome to “Gilligan’s Island…of Death.”

The characters in this way-off Broadway send-up are familiar to viewers of the original show, which featured seven castaways stranded on a desert island. All the characters from the sitcom, which ran on CBS for three years in the mid-1960s, but found eternal life in reruns, are there: The Skipper, Mary Ann in pigtails, Ginger in a clingy evening gown. But the plots are darkly twisted. This Gilligan’s Island is the setting for multiple murders. And every character who doesn’t die becomes a suspect.

“If you were trapped on an island for years with a bunch of people you don’t know, you’d want to kill each other,” says Traci Connaughton, who runs Without a Cue Productions, the small Pennsylvania acting company that created this noir version of the show.

It’s all in good fun. But not everyone is amused.

Some of the media conglomerates that own the rights to the shows are cool to the sendups and at least one has expressed copyright complaints.

But Ms. Connaughton says she is undaunted. She says her most immediate problem is getting new material.

“I am running out of TV shows,” she says.

via TV Dinner Theater: Parodies of Old Sitcoms Draw Blood, Crowds – WSJ.com.

medicine, cancer, treatment, technology, miracles, policy:  Change comes fast and change comes slow.

New research is signaling a major shift in how cancer drugs are developed and patients are treated—offering the promise of personalized therapies that reach patients faster and are more effective than other medicines.

Studies show gains from targeting cancer patients more individually. Work at a breast-cancer clinical trial at George Mason University.

At the heart of the change: an emerging ability for researchers to use genetic information to match drugs to the biological drivers of tumors in individuals. Studies released at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology here are helping to support previous findings that personalized medicine—introduced more than a decade ago—is closer to being realized as a weapon to fight cancer.

“A pattern is developing at an accelerated pace where we are able to match genetic information about a tumor to a new agent and get results,” says John Mendelsohn, president of Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center.

via Genetic Information Shifts War on Cancer to Personalized Therapies – WSJ.com.

Jane Austen, film/lit, ersatz, words, Mike Ditka, quotes, phantom Bible quotes, technology:  One of the things I love about the computer/internet is that you start one place and in a few clicks a whole world opens up to you.  I went from a blog post on Jane Austen movies with inauthentic quotes and scenes to ersatz  to Mike Ditka to phantom Bible quotes in 2 minutes … great way to start my morning.

“I have been alert for a while now to the danger that Austen film
adaptaptions can be seduce unwary Janeites into believing that certain
scenes and/or lines of dialogue are taken from the novels, when they
have actually been written by the modern screenwriter.

Sometimes the screenwriter’s changes are very well done, and that makes
it harder to spot them as ersatz.”

Definition of ERSATZ: being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation—

via Ersatz – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

NFL legend Mike Ditka was giving a news conference one day after being fired as the coach of the Chicago Bears when he decided to quote the Bible.

“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season.  “This, too, shall pass.”

Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.

Others blame the spread of phantom biblical verses on Martin Luther, the German monk who ignited the Protestant Reformation, the massive “protest” against the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church that led to the formation of Protestant church denominations.

“It is a great Protestant tradition for anyone – milkmaid, cobbler, or innkeeper – to be able to pick up the Bible and read for herself. No need for a highly trained scholar or cleric to walk a lay person through the text,” says Craig Hazen, director of the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University in Southern California.

But often the milkmaid, the cobbler – and the NFL coach – start creating biblical passages without the guidance of biblical experts, he says.

“You can see this manifest today in living room Bible studies across North America where lovely Christian people, with no training whatsoever, drink decaf, eat brownies and ask each other, ‘What does this text mean to you?’’’ Hazen says.

“Not only do they get the interpretation wrong, but very often end up quoting verses that really aren’t there.”

via Actually, that’s not in the Bible – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

Gustave Caillebotte , art, Impressionist paintings, Musee d’Orsay, Paris, history:  I get more and more excited about my upcoming trip. 🙂

But because he was a great patron of the arts, Caillebotte’s first-rate art collection became what today is the crux of the Impressionist holdings at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Although for a while, he (or his executors) couldn’t even give the paintings away. “It’s a pity,” Garnot says. “When he offered all [of] the collection to the French state, the minister of fine arts wasn’t pleased at all by the donation. He refused it. He turned them away.”

At the time, the custom was for the state to only accept works by dead painters. But that wasn’t the only reason the paintings were rejected by the state: “You must understand,” Garnot says, “that they didn’t appreciate … the style.” Critics of the day felt the Impressionist works looked hasty, crude and unfinished. There was no place for them in prestigious, official French collections.

Caillebotte died in 1894. Seven years later, after much bickering, wrangling and negotiation, 40 of the 60 paintings in his bequest of Impressionist treasures were accepted by the government of France. Now, more than a century later, the names Renoir, Monet, Sisley — and, yes, Gustave Caillebotte — have become part of the Pantheon of French painting.

via Gustave Caillebotte: Impressions Of A Changing Paris : NPR.

 

travel, bus travel, frugal traveler:  Of course, just as I plan my journey to DC on MegaBus, this comes out ….

On Friday, federal authorities also subpoenaed records of GoToBus.com, TakeTours.com and 2001Bus.com. Those websites, run by a company called Ivy Media Corporation in Cambridge, Mass., sell tickets online for a number of low-fare bus companies, including Sky Express.

Many of the bus companies linked to from GoToBus.com have nearly identical websites. For example, Sky Express, I-95 Coach and Horse Run Tour all use much of the same identical text, such as “We are always thrilled to hear from our customers. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments!”

Tracking operators who resurface under new names is difficult.

Congressional watchdogs found in 2009 that nearly 10 percent of interstate bus operators who have federal permits revoked for safety violations quickly resume business by reopening under new names.

On August 8, 2008, a bus carrying a group on a religious pilgrimage crashed in Sherman, Texas, killing 17 people.

The carrier was a reincarnation of a company ordered out of service two months earlier. It re-registered using the same mail and email addresses.

The problem of unraveling who is responsible for operations of closely linked bus lines isn’t new. In 2005, the government noted how hard it is to disentangle the web of relationships and said it was cracking down on low-cost carriers for safety violations.

via Low-fare bus industry faces more scrutiny | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

John Edwards, slime bags, criminal law:  Don’t like the guy … I am beginning to think I never like VP candidates from either party.  Was with some trial lawyers and their thought was Edwards is so good at this, he will probably get off … Interesting thought to me is by having the plea bargaining in the national press, he, in effect, is admitting to some level of criminal culpability.  What do you think?

Edwards and his lawyers were concerned. They wanted the ability to at least argue to a judge for alternatives, such as a halfway house, weekend releases, home arrest or some other arrangement that would allow Edwards time to be with his school-age children. He is a single parent since his wife, Elizabeth, died in December.

But the way the possible plea deal was structured, the Edwards lawyers believed they would be muzzled from advocating at all about Edwards’ confinement before a judge, according to multiple people who were involved in the negotiations. Those sources described the plea negotiations in detail on a condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.

It was the last significant issue to be resolved for a plea. If Edwards didn’t agree, he would be indicted on multiple felony charges.

Edwards, 57, understood the risk. As a successful trial lawyer, he had sometimes spurned offers of settlements to take his chances with a jury, often winning big judgments. Would he do that again?

The clock was ticking.

Edwards, just as he had refused to do in cases for his clients, would not accept a deal. For now, he would gamble on motions to a judge to dismiss the charges. And, if necessary, a jury.

via Edwards dealing went to the wire | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

history, medicine, midwifery, kith/kin:  Because one of my best friends is a CNM, I find midwifery interesting.  I enjoyed this tidbit of history in this book review.

Colonial Midwifery began with the Mayflower’s journey in 1620. Bridget Lee Fuller delivered three babies during the two months long voyage and continued practice as a midwife in Plymouth for 44 years until her death in 1664. In addition, it is documented that one birth took place aboard the Arabella by a midwife that was brought on board from the Jewel. (1)

via Colonial Midwifery.

Carl Sandburg, goats, public art, random, followup:  NB: THIS IS A PROPOSED STATUE …

 

 

Goat, or no goat for statue?

The plan to put a statue of Carl Sandburg in Public Square has stirred a great deal of public debate. A deal breaker for some critics is the inclusion of a goat next to a standing Sandburg. It’s been well-documented that Sandburg and his wife admired goats which they raised on their North Carolina farm.

City reporter Eric Timmons, who has done several stories detailing the statue, received an e-mail Tuesday from Shannon Nelson of Alabama. Shannon asked, “Carl Sanburg (sic) owned Toggenburg dairy Goats, as his most famous Toggenburg doe “Puritan Jons Jennifer” held the world record in 1960 for the DHIA 305 continuous days of 5,750 lbs. Why was his most famous doe not put on the statue with him?

“This was a big thing in the goat world, especially for the smallest of all dairy goat breed of Toggenburgs, and just think ‘she belonged to Carl Sanburg’. I think the statue is a wonderful idea. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.”

Asked where she heard about the Sandburg/goat statue, Shannon said, “I read about the article on a goat group I’m on.”

Who knew … a goat group?

via Goats and Carl Sandburg; Public Square history; Bunker Links “open” – Galesburg, IL – The Register-Mail.




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 617 other followers

June 2011
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930