Archive for September 23rd, 2011

23
Sep
11

9.23.2011 … ‎lucky me … i get to take two dogs and a cat to the vet and its pouring … cat is MIA right now … and nightime viewing …‎… watched The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965) … Why are old movies so slow?

pets, Armstrong Animal Clinic, followup:  It’s a good thing I love my pets and my vets … all animals are healthy … but the bill was $779!  I am getting pet insurance on my next pets.  And why are we talking about adding another to the pack??? Shout out to the best vets in Charlotte … the Drs. Williston at Armstrong Animal Clinic.  We have been seeing them for 26 years … Thank you for great vet care.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965), movies, old movies: Why are old movies so slow? Did we not think they were slow way back when?

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Poster

1966 Nominated Oscar

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Richard Burton

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White: Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen, Ted Marshall, Josie MacAvin

via The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) – Awards.

Jenna Huff , Deb Guthmann, high school sports, high school cross-country, sportsmanship, kudos, NC:  sometimes you just need a feel good story.  Kudos to Jenna and Deb!

Eleven months ago, a spontaneous act of good sportsmanship at a girls’ cross country meet in Salisbury transformed a simple race into something bigger.

The ripples from that moment keep widening. Tonight, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jenna Huff is scheduled to receive a national sportsmanship award from the U.S. Olympic Committee for what she did for Deb Guthmann.

They were bound together last Halloween morning at a regional meet, where Jenna trailed Deb for all but the final few yards of the 3.1-mile race.

As the two approached the finish line – behind the race leaders but well ahead of the majority of runners – Deb still led Jenna.

Then something awful happened. Deb’s right hip basically tore apart. She screamed in pain and stopped.

Jenna had never met Deb and had been taught to pass every runner she could no matter the circumstances.

Instead, Jenna stopped and helped.

“C’mon,” Jenna said she told Deb. “We’re going to run, and we’re going to do it now.”

Jenna took Deb’s left elbow with her right hand and helped her jog the last few yards of the race. Then, at the finish line, she pushed Deb in front of her, reasoning Deb would have beaten her anyway if not for the injury. That act helped Deb’s Waxhaw Cuthbertson team win the regional race and advance to the state meet.

via Act of sportsmanship one that keeps drawing praise | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

death penalty, last meals request, cookbooks, random:  The main part of this story is that Texas Prisons ended special last meals because the inmates facing execution were being unreasonable.  Nothing funny there.  However, I just had to laugh at the last paragraph …

A former inmate cook who made the last meals for prisoners at the Huntsville Unit, where Texas executions are carried out, wrote a cookbook several years ago after he was released. Among his recipes were Gallows Gravy, Rice Rigor Mortis and Old Sparky’s Genuine Convict Chili, a nod to the electric chair that once served as the execution method. The book was called “Meals to Die For.”

via Special Last Meals: Texas Prisons End Special Last Meals For Inmates Facing Execution.

cohabiting, culture:  Twenty plus years ago a special friend asked her girlfriends what we thought if her boyfriend moved in with her.  We all twenty-somethings told her the world judges women harsher than men, but that we would not judge her negatively because we knew her. He moved in … and pretty soon they got married and had three kids … happy ending.  This article strikes a chord ….

Is a Bad Idea For Some.

But if you are a young adult who thinks you might want to have kids one day and maybe even get married but you aren’t sure that your current sweetie’s The One, please don’t move in with him or her.

I can hear the grumbling; “How will I know if we’re compatible or not if we don’t live together?” Easy — you know because you’ve spent enough time together as a couple. If you really don’t know if you can live with his smelly socks in the hallway or her panties hanging in the bathroom, then you either haven’t known each other long enough or you haven’t been paying attention. In either case, you’re just not ready to marry. Please, date some more.

Couples rarely split up over socks and underwear; they split because of affairs, alcohol, addictions and abuse. They split because their expectations of marriage differ. And they split because they never should have been together in the first place — probably because they moved in together to see if they could live with the socks and panties while they were ignoring other, much bigger issues.

So what’s so wrong with living with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Let’s forget the studies pointing out the booze (cohabitors drink more), weight (they’re heavier) and happiness (they’re not quite as happy as married couples but they aren’t more miserable, either), because those aren’t the issues. Nor are the results of the latest NMP study, “Why Marriage Matters,” which predicts doom and gloom for the children of cohabiting couples. The NMP has an agenda; it wants to promote marriage. Still, even a recent and presumably agenda-less Pew Study finds similar results, at least when it comes to cohabiting couples’ economic well-being; they’re poorer, and that puts stress on a relationship. A lot of stress.

As a society, we need to pay attention because there are 12 times as many cohabiting couples today as there were in the 1970s.

The real problem with cohabiting is that many couples who enter into it don’t give it a lot of thought; it’s one of those “just kind of happened” things. You like him, he likes you and a few months later you’re jamming your stuff into his closets. And those are the couples who, if they end up “sliding into marriage,” as research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver Scott Stanley would call it, are more likely to divorce at some point.

Commitment is a decision. And if cohabitation is being offered as a replacement to marriage — as the Alternatives to Marriage Project and many sociologists and family psychologists see it — then a little more thought about it needs to happen, especially if you know you want to have kids one day.

For Linda Lea Viken, head of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, that would mean a cohabitation agreement. Even if a couple doesn’t end up signing one, at least they’ve been thinking about things like property, spending, saving and — this is a big one — expectations. If you can have unrealistic expectations in a marriage, you can have them living together, too.

Of course, none of this matters if we’re talking about two child-free adults who live together and then split. It’s just a heck of a lot worse if there are kids involved — his kids, her kids, their kids. According to the ATMP, 40 percent of the first babies of single mothers are actually born to cohabiting couples. And some 42 percent of kids will have lived in a cohabiting household before they turn 12 years old.

Still, no one’s pushing for marriage (well, except the NMP), but it you want to live with someone happily and for the long haul you really do need to be committed, especially if you have or want kids. “To me, the biggest issue is commitment not marriage,” says psychologist Joshua Coleman, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families. “A lot of people are opting not to marry, but I wonder what is the context in which you have a child.”

For our most famously cohabiting couple, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the context seems clear. As Jolie said when asked if she and Pitt will grow old together, “Of course; we wouldn’t have six children if we weren’t absolutely sure of that.”

No one can ever definitively know if a relationship will last, whether married or not. But making a conscious decision to start off that way sure helps.

via Vicki Larson: Why Cohabiting Is a Bad Idea For Some.

Shel Silverstein, Every Thing On It, children’s/YA literature:  I loved Siverstein’s poetry with my kids …. and now he has a post mortem (11 years) new book!

Every Thing On It, published eleven years after Shel Silverstein’s death, arrived yesterday. Homework was instantly abandoned. The Girl Who Hates To Read simply had to dive into this collection of 139 poems.

This speaks volumes.

Shel Silverstein’s books are said to be for children 9 to 12. Nonsense. We started reading him when The Girl Who Hates To Read was six, and now we have the full collection. Only Roald Dahl comes close — and he’s a distant second.

What is Silverstein’s appeal?

Simple: He’s not full of the mealy-mouth bullshit that used to pass for children’s books. Starting way back in the ’60s — when Ozzie and Harriet values were finally starting to wither and die everywhere but in kids’ books — he talked to kids with respect. He thought they were smart. And creative. And they needed to be encouraged, not sedated.

via Jesse Kornbluth: Hey, Kids! A Decade After His Death, Shel Silverstein Has a New Book.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry:  I learned a lot from this analysis using debate team analysis as the basis.  Without this new understanding, I agree, anyway:  timing is everything, and Perry didn’t have it.

In any debate, contestants must make decisions given their limited amount of time to speak. On Thursday night, Rick Perry made the wrong ones. The Texas governor came across as forced and all over the place — awkward, unsure, with no clear strategy for how to answer questions or when he should go on attack. At one point he tried to fit three attacks on his nearest challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, into one sentence.

In short, Perry misused his time.

Academic competitions set rules and speaking times, and the debate teams I coach cannot change them. Debaters must make argumentative decisions about what they need to say to win. You have to pick and choose your best argument and stick with it. You should have a theme, limit your attacks, clarify your positions. In the presidential debates, the candidates must also do so.

As we have learned by now, these debates are a bit stacked. Front-runners Romney and Perry get more questions, making the job harder for the other candidates. They have to win over voters with less speaking time. Some did well with their limited time at the Florida/Fox News/Google debate in Orlando, others not so much.

via Timing is everything, and Perry didn’t have it – CNN.com.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, illegal immigration:

My friend Gov. Perry said if you don’t agree with his position on giving that in-state tuition to illegals, that you don’t have a heart,” Romney said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando. “I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart. It means that you have a heart and a brain.”

via TRENDING: Romney tweaks Perry over illegal immigration – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney:  I found this review helpful …

Reporters look at five moments from the debate in Orlando, Fla., and their importance going forward in the Republican race.

via The Caucus | Key Moments From the Debate – Video Library – The New York Times.

2012 Presidential Election, President Obama, Israel, analysis:  Israel is becoming the  key foreign affairs issue … so far neither party is looking very good … “As I said, Mr. Obama can’t win this election, but the Republicans can lose it by being small, by being extreme, by being—are we going to have to start using this word again?—unnuanced.”

A small secret. In writing about the White House or Congress, I always feel completely free to attempt to see things clearly, to consider the evidence, to sift it through experience and knowledge, and then to make a judgment. It may be highly critical, or caustic, even damning. But deep down I always hope I’m wrong—that it isn’t as bad as I say it is, that there is information unknown to me that would explain such and such an act, that there were factors I didn’t know of that make bad decisions suddenly explicable. Or even justifiable.

I note this to make clear the particular importance, for me, of Ron Suskind’s book on the creation of President Obama’s economic policy, “Confidence Men.” If Mr. Suskind is right, I have been wrong in my critiques of the president’s economic policy. None of it was as bad as I said. It was much worse.

The most famous part of the book is the Larry Summers quote that he saw it as a “Home Alone” administration, with no grown-ups in charge. But there’s more than that. Most of us remember the president as in a difficult position from day one: two wars and an economic crash, good luck with that. But Mr. Suskind recasts the picture.

Mr. Obama isn’t as resilient as a Bill Clinton, with his broad spectrum of political gifts and a Rasputin-like ability to emerge undead in spite of the best efforts of his foes. His spectrum of political gifts is more limited. That’s a nice way to put it, isn’t it?

But consider what happened this week in New York.

Mr. Obama’s speech Wednesday at the United Nations was good. It was strong because it was clear, and it was clear because he didn’t rely on the thumping clichés and vapidities he’s lately embraced. When the camera turned to the professionally impassive diplomats in the audience, they seemed to be actually listening.

“It has been a remarkable year,” he said: Moammar Gadhafi on the run, Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali deposed, Osama bin Laden dead. “Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way they will be.” Technology is putting power in the hands of the people, history is tending toward the overthrow of entrenched powers. But “peace is hard. Progress can be reversed. Prosperity comes slowly. Societies can split apart.”

On the Mideast conflict: “The people of Palestine deserve a state of their own.” But the proposed U.N. statehood resolution is a “shortcut” that won’t work: “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.” Peace can be realized only when both parties acknowledge each other’s legitimate needs: “Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.” Friends of the Palestinians “do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.”

“I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress,” the president said. “So am I.” All in all, it was a measured statement at a tense moment. It was meant to defuse tensions, to cool things down.

Contrast it with the words of Rick Perry, who zoomed into New York to make his own Mideast statement the day before the president’s speech. The Obama administration’s policy, the Texas governor said, amounts to “appeasement.” It has encouraged “an ominous act of bad faith.” We are “at the precipice of such a dangerous move” because the Obama administration is “arrogant, misguided and dangerous.” “Moral equivalency” is “a dangerous insult.”

This was meant not to defuse but to inflame. It does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Perry that when you are running for president you have to be big, you have to act as if you’re a broad fellow who understands that when the American president is in a tight spot in the U.N., America is in a tight spot in the U.N. You don’t exploit it for political gain.

Perry competitor Rick Santorum responded: “I’ve forgotten more about Israel than Rick Perry knows about Israel,” he told Politico. Mr. Perry “has never taken a position on any of this stuff before, and [the media is] taking this guy seriously.”

The Israeli newspaper Ha’artez likened Mr. Perry’s remarks to “a pep rally for one of Israel’s right-wing politicians, and a hard-liner at that,” adding that the governor “adopted the rhetoric of Israel’s radical right lock, stock and barrel.”

I’d add only that in his first foreign-policy foray, the GOP front-runner looked like a cheap, base-playing buffoon.

As I said, Mr. Obama can’t win this election, but the Republicans can lose it by being small, by being extreme, by being—are we going to have to start using this word again?—unnuanced.

via Amateur Hour at the White House – WSJ.com.

“The Good Wife” , tv, culture, gender issues, monogamy:  I don’t really like tv’s portrayal of our culture … “there are worse ways to betray your partner than by being unfaithful.”

Are men meant to be monogamous?

Alan Cumming from “The Good Wife” says there are worse ways to betray your partner than by being unfaithful.

via Video – Breaking News Videos from CNN.com

Morgan Freeman, President  Obama, race relations, politics, Tea Party:  Makes you think … I personally had hoped Pres. Obama’s election would be a great leap forward for the U.S.

Morgan Freeman, in an interview to be aired on CNN Friday evening, says that President Obama has made racism worse in America.

Chatting with Piers Morgan, the Oscar-winning actor also blames the Tea Party saying they’re “going to do whatever [they] can to get this black man outta here” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

via Morgan Freeman: Obama Made Racism Worse, Tea Party Will Do ‘Whatever [It] Can To Get This Black Man Outta Here’ | NewsBusters.org.

Troy Davis, capital punishment, understatement, GA:  “Take the case settled yesterday in Georgia.”  SETTLED!  Talk about effective use of understatement.

The idea that if you do wrong you get what’s coming to you animates Westerns and crime fiction, both distinctly American genres; small wonder it should find fertile political ground too. But here’s the thing: life is not a movie or a novel. Reality has no obligation to provide us with a clear narrative or villain, and it rarely does.

Take the case settled yesterday in Georgia.

Speaker after speaker harped on the same two points, one sound and one largely but not wholly irrelevant. The former, of course, concerned the injustice of the death penalty and the large amount of doubt concerning Mr Davis’s guilt. He was effectively killed on the word of nine people, seven of whom changed their minds. Reports said that Georgia’s parole board, which denied Mr Davis clemency on Monday, split 3-2 on that decision. Eyewitness testimony is profoundly unreliable; that it, and only it, was used to kill someone is unjust on its face and sets a terrible precedent.

The largely irrelevant point concerned the large numbers of supporters Mr Davis had around the world. We were told that rallies were held in Europe and across America, that hundreds of thousands of people had signed petitions, that death-penalty supporters such as Bob Barr and William Sessions (a former Georgia congressman and a former FBI director) and luminaries such as Jimmy Carter and the pope all opposed Mr Davis’s execution. But the problem with Georgia’s decision to kill Mr Davis is not that it’s unpopular; it’s that it was wrong.

When it was all over, Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Church, where Martin Luther King preached, said, “This is one of those moments when the nation is called to examine itself and ask, ‘Is this who we are?'” It seems that it is, alas.

via Capital punishment: A death in Georgia | The Economist.

President Obama, Jobs Bill, ” A Bridge To Nowhere”, 2012 Presidential Election:  Is the jobs bill nothing more than a first swing at the 2012 election … “This Cincinnati trip is the latest in a series of jobs events Obama has held across the country. Before this he was in Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Columbus, Ohio. No coincidence those are also swing states he wants to win to get re-elected in 2012.”

“It’s a short-lived fix,” he says. “I mean, the guys will be working on the bridge for a couple years, and then they’re out of work again.”

The truth is, construction on the Brent Spence Bridge would not begin right away even if the bill passes tomorrow. The White House says it never claimed this project was shovel-ready. One reason it was chosen was its political symbolism.

The Brent Spence connects House Speaker John Boehner’s home state of Ohio with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky. On the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell said it would be great to fix this bridge, but the president’s jobs bill won’t get it done.

“Don’t patronize us by implying that if we pass the second stimulus, that bridges will get fixed right away,” McConnell said. “The American people heard the same thing when the administration was selling the first stimulus.”

But small-business owner Jeffrey McClorey says the first stimulus really helped this community. He runs Bromwell’s Fireplace and Art Gallery, which calls itself the oldest business in Cincinnati. He says the first stimulus helped spur a mixed-use condo development along the river, called The Banks.

“There’s 300 new families living down at The Banks, and more coming. And those people are buying products from me and other people downtown and in the region,” McClorey says. “And it also benefits and helps to repopulate the city center, which I think is very important.”

This Cincinnati trip is the latest in a series of jobs events Obama has held across the country. Before this he was in Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Columbus, Ohio. No coincidence those are also swing states he wants to win to get re-elected in 2012.

via Obama’s Jobs Bill Pitch: A Bridge To Nowhere? : NPR.

“How I Met Your Mother”, tv, Katie Holmes,  “Slutty Pumpkin”, random, LOL:  OK, I watch some shows because my kids watch them.  I admit I have grown to love “How I Met Your Mother” and look forward to Season 7 and Katie Holmes as the “slutty pumpkin.”

Shockers abound in Season 7 of “How I Met Your Mother.”

Just days after the season premiere return of Season 1’s cupcake girl, Victoria (Ashley Williams), the identity of the elusive “Slutty Pumpkin” has been revealed.

First reported by Vulture, the elusive character first mentioned in Season 1 will appear this year in the form of Katie Holmes.

“Katie is a lovely and talented actress,” co-creator Craig Thomas tells Vulture, “which is why we’ve saved for her perhaps the most classily named character in our show’s history.”

“The Slutty Pumpkin,” also the name of the series’ sixth episode, was a potential love interest Ted (Josh Radnor) met at a 2001 Halloween party and never saw again. She’s since been mentioned several times — and cannot possibly be the mother.

via ‘How I Met Your Mother’ revelation: Katie Holmes is the ‘Slutty Pumpkin’ – chicagotribune.com.

Michael Warner, public lectures, UNC-CH, evangelical Christianity: ” Michael Warner, a professor of English literature and American studies at Yale University, said Thursday that evangelical Christianity is the mother of all social movements.”

When one thinks of evangelical Christianity, “nation-shaping” is not the first concept to come to mind.

But Michael Warner, a professor of English literature and American studies at Yale University, said Thursday that evangelical Christianity is the mother of all social movements.

Warner defined evangelicalism as a “transnational movement” that focuses on converting strangers. The movement is loud and unafraid to adapt to technology, he said.

He focused on the rise of evangelical Christians as a “counter public” in America from the late 18th century until the mid-1970s, which he claimed was the turning point for modern evangelicalism.

He discussed early American evangelical publications created for the purpose of converting readers, including “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” a sermon delivered in the 1740s by theologian Jonathan Edwards.

“The idea of evangelicalism follows the assumption that a reading of these texts anywhere by anyone leads to a conversion,” Warner said. “To read it is to imagine a spectacular conversion happening somewhere.”

“Free speech created a very special kind of culture,” he said.

Many students attended as part of their “Introduction to Fiction” class, said John Weeks, a junior psychology and political science double major.

“The religious discussion relates to the theme in the book we’re studying, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle,” said Tara Jeffries, a freshman journalism major.

“I enjoyed the references to American history and how the Puritanical religious views shaped the country,” Jeffries said. “His analysis of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon and the way he deconstructed it were especially interesting.”

The lecture was part of the Critical Speaker Series of UNC’s Department of English and Comparative Literature.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Yale professor lectures on social importance of evangelical Christianity.

Silent Sam, public monuments, Real Silent Sam movement, UNC-CH, history, traditions:  I clipped about silent Sam before.  It is difficult … should it go … I will say I was very moved by The Unsung Founders Memorial.  I am interested to see how this plays out.  My opinion is that it should stay and be a reminder of a history that you cannot deny … but be a discussion point.

0919_silentsam_sweeney

The statue in McCorkle Place has again sparked community-wide debate about the implications of having a monument to the Confederacy so prominently placed on campus.

But despite outrage from some, the monument has never been seriously threatened, at least during the past few decades.

Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost, said he has heard of no formal petition to remove the statue in his 31 years at the University.

On Sept. 1, a group called the Real Silent Sam movement, composed of concerned community members and students, held a protest to attract attention to the statue’s history.

Senior Will McInerney, a member of the movement, said the group wants to start a discussion about monuments with racist backgrounds.

University officials said they support the students’ right to protest the statue.

“I do fully support robust and earnest dialogue about this and similar issues, and I fully support student’s rights to raise this issue before the university community,” said Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs.

About 10 years ago, University officials heard from a senior class that wanted to commemorate another aspect of UNC’s history.

The Unsung Founders Memorial — the stone table situated less than 100 yards away from Silent Sam — was erected in 2005 by the graduating class of 2002 in memory of enslaved African-Americans who helped to build the University.

David Owens, chairman of UNC’s building and grounds committee, said careful considerations were made about the placement of the Unsung Founders monument.

“Silent Sam was the second monument to be placed inside the sidewalks at McCorkle Place,” Owens said, adding that the first was the burial site for Joseph Caldwell, the University’s first president, who was also a slaveowner.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Real Silent Sam movement holds protest focused on statue’s history.

Sebastian Junger, Reynolds Lecture, Davidson College:  Great lecture … “He also noted that on the battlefield, it’s not hard for a group of 22-year-olds to come together and overcome their differences, united behind a common purpose. In one of the few political statements of the evening, he added: ‘And then there’s Congress.’”

His talk touched on themes recounted in his books “War,” “The Perfect Storm,” “A Death in Belmont” and “Fire.”

He describes his time embedded with an military unit in Iraq. We all almost died, he said. Soldiers come to know that “you die or survive because of a random set of circumstances. … It’s meaningless,” he said. “It really torments these guys.”

The horrors and meaninglessness of war create problems when veterans return. On the battlefield, they come to know brotherhood and loyalty. For brotherhood, he said, all that’s required is that you value others’ lives above your own. “It’s there in the platoon,” and soldiers know they all can be brave.

That accords them respect that is hard to find in civilian life, Mr. Junger said. In combat, “every 19 year old can be encased in all the respect he can ever want.”

Once back home, they miss that and find they lack the same sense of purpose. In response to a question after his talk, he said as a nation, our goal for veterans should be to make them feel necessary. “A hug is great,” he said, but we need to ensure they have a purpose.

He also noted that on the battlefield, it’s not hard for a group of 22-year-olds to come together and overcome their differences, united behind a common purpose. In one of the few political statements of the evening, he added: “And then there’s Congress.”

Mr. Junger also recounted the death of his friend, collaborator and photojournalist Timothy Hetherington, with whom he made the award-winning documentary “Restrepo,” about Afghanistan. After they appeared at the Academy Awards ceremony to received an award for the film, Mr. Hetherington headed off to cover the civil unrest in Libya. There, he was killed by a mortar shell.

As Mr. Junger mourned, a friend emailed him. Apologizing for being so blunt, he told Mr. Junger that he and Mr. Hetherington had come closer than most to capturing the meaning of war. “The central truth of war is not that you might die, it’s that you’re guaranteed to lose your brothers,” the friend wrote. Now you understand, the friend said.

via At Davidson, Junger talks about war and its meaning | DavidsonNews.net.

Freshman Cake Race, Davidson College, traditions, goats, followup:  A Davidson tradition is the freshman cake race … I just saw this and loved its creativity … someone made a kudzu eating goat cake!

Today’s Freshman Cake Race scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Baker Sports Complex has inspired people all over town. One of the college’s crack strategic planning analysts, Janet Werner, was so moved by the college’s summer goat story that she confected this decorative entry, complete with tiny goat on top of kudzu fondant:

Not Baaaad!

And irrepressible math prof Tim Chartier concocted a real Wildcat paw/M&M cake on his computer, then brought it to life in the kitchen.

via Daybook Davidson.

Davidson College,  first night down, college life, student life, traditions, change:  Change is hard .. What college tradition would you be upset about if the college changd or banned it?

In 2009, First Night Down was officially renamed the Opening of the Court. Related events were moved from a Friday to a Monday in an effort to deemphasize drinking and encourage Patterson Court houses to better present their unique qualities to first year students. These changes, however, failed to achieve their desired effect.

This year, administrators from Student Life and Patterson Court chose to completely eliminate First Night Down, a decision that also precipitated a new set of recruitment rules for Patterson Court organizations.

Students were informed of this change on Aug. 15 in an email from Patterson Court Council President Lee Dorsey ’12. Dorsey attributed the decision to a year-long conversation involving the Patterson Court Council, the Dean of Students Office, Campus Police, Counseling and Student Health Center, the Union and the Residence Life Office.

Dorsey stated in the email that the event had lost its original focus and needed to better maintain its primary purpose: “to provide first-year students a comprehensive and welcoming experience, and to favorably introduce the pillars of our Patterson Court organizations and the Patterson Court Council to the outside community.”

In eliminating a formal opening date, Dorsey said that they hoped to “diffuse a frequently stressful and intense environment.”

Current students have mixed feelings about the decision. Krista Catafago ’14, a member of the last class to have a First Night Down, said, “As a freshman, I kind of resented the first night down rule, but as a sophomore, I’m able to understand the reasoning behind it. That being said, I think including students from all years from the very beginning has made the court more fun.”

Ace Coumas ’14 felt more strongly about the loss of the tradition. “I wouldn’t have known my [freshman] hall as well as I do today had First Night Down not existed,” he said. Though Meg Shamburger, Patterson Court Advisor, previously told The Davidsonian that she felt students were more upset about the changes to recruitment than the elimination of First Night Down, Coumas disagreed.

“A tradition has been stripped from Davidson College. It is certainly different. Of all the changes that have been dropped on returning students this year, this is the one that I am most concerned about,” he said.

via First night down: – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

Anne Wills ’88, Associate Professor of Religion, also suggests that First Night Down may have meant more to recent classes. “As a historian, I would have to point to this occasion as yet another recent invention/innovation that has disguised itself as an ancient (or at least generations-old) tradition,” she said.

Though First Night Down may not have left as great an imprint on the memories of Davidson’s older graduates, the loss is more strongly felt among current students and recent alumni. This loss of tradition reflects the larger goals of the administration to overhaul Patterson Court culture. The measure is officially a “preliminary solution to a long-term concern,” though it remains to be seen what steps will be taken next.

via First night down: – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

$16 Muffins, government waste,  Justice Department, oversight:  I am glad there were no $16 Muffins, but it does show you how we can get overhyped by phrases … and the bottom line is there is a lot of waste.

There was a whole host of over-priced items: $5 meatballs, $7.50 beef canapes, $8 coffees. But the sound-byte everyone took from the story was the $16 muffin.

Journalists and auditors arrived at the startling price when they discovered that 250 muffins at a hotel conference had cost the Department $4,200. Many were outraged, and pointed to the muffins as a prime example of governmental waste. Senator Chuck Grassley even said that whoever was responsible should be fired. Obama, for his part, seems to be complying. Obama Foodorama reports that POTUS has ordered a systematic review of all conference spending, and put Vice President Biden in charge of oversight.

It sounds like the new oversight is worth it; the government undoubtedly wastes a lot of money on catering and hospitality. But there’s a fantastic irony at the heart of the entire story. Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum has a great explanation of why the $16 muffins didn’t really cost $16. The calculation was based on the invoice price of the muffins — which included overhead and service charges for the use of the conference space.

UPDATE: Peter Yost of the Associated Press just wrote a story denouncing the idea of the $16 muffin as well; interviews with Hilton indicate that the apparent $16 price included free drinks, service and fruit. Here’s the full AP story:

via $16 Muffins, Which May Not Be Real, Get Justice Department In Trouble.

college search, virtual campus tours:  Anybody found these useful?

Virtual campus tours have been an active part of the higher ed web space for over a decade. Designed as the online sibling to the physical campus tour, they have the potential to reach prospective students and have a major impact on the recruitment process. Yet despite this great potential, the vast majority of virtual campus tours in existence today are disappointing, at best.

via Virtual Campus Tours | Higher Ed Live.

1895 Cotton States and International Exposition, history, Atlanta, followup:  I posted the anniversary of the Epositions’s opening a week ago.  I have always been fascinated it because my great-grandfather JJ Dennard, a Georgia state legislator, attended.  His ticket/pass with his photograph on it (remember 1895!) was always in a drawer in my grandparents home.  My sister has it now.  It just fascinated me.  So here is a little history for you.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
U.S. President Cleveland

The most ambitious of the city’s cotton expositions was staged in 1895. Its goals were to foster trade between southern states and South American nations as well as to show the products and facilities of the region to the rest of the nation and to Europe. These objectives found expression in the official name of the event—the Cotton States and International Exposition. There were exhibits by six states and special buildings featuring the accomplishments of women and blacks. Also showcased was the latest technology in transportation, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and other fields. Amusements such as the “Phoenix Wheel” and an early version of the motion picture were set up as part of a midway to attract visitors.

On opening day, September 18, military bands played, followed by speeches from political, business, and other leaders, including the prominent African American educator Booker T. Washington. In a speech that came to be known as the Atlanta Compromise speech and that was greeted enthusiastically by white advocates of the New South, Washington did not challenge

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
1895 Cotton States and International Exposition

the prevailing ideas of segregation held by advocates of the New South; putting aside all claims to political power and social equality, he urged blacks to make progress as agricultural and industrial laborers. In spite of lavish promotion, fewer than 800,000 attended the three-month exposition, which was plagued by constant financial problems. The Cotton States Exposition did showcase Atlanta as a regional business center and helped to attract investment. Although most of the 1895 exposition’s buildings were torn down so that the materials could be sold for scrap, the city eventually purchased the grounds, which became the present-day Piedmont Park.

via New Georgia Encyclopedia: Cotton Expositions in Atlanta.

BofA,  Countrywide, bankruptcy, business ethics:  I am a big supporter of  Bank of America (my spouse has worded for BofA or a predecessor for his entire career).   But passing the Countrywide debacle off on the American people bothers me.  However, BofA took a huge hit with Merrill Lynch for the country … and has taken huge hits with countrywide already … Opinions?

The threat of a Countrywide bankruptcy is a “nuclear” option that Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan could use as leverage against plaintiffs seeking refunds on bad mortgages, said analyst Mike Mayo of Credit Agricole Securities USA. … “If the losses become so great, how can Bank of America at least not discuss internally the relative tradeoff of a Countrywide bankruptcy?” Mayo, who has an “underperform” rating on the bank, said in an interview. “And if you pull out the bazooka, you’d better be prepared to use it.”

via Report: Bank of America could consider Countrywide bankruptcy – Charlotte Business Journal.

Facebook, changes:  I do not get too upset about Facebook changes … but some pretty creative people do …




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