18
Feb
13

2.18.13 … Happy Presidents’ Day … rest and relaxation …

Presidents’ Day:  These were the most interesting Presidents’ Day posts to me.  most interesting … Does anyone else feel that President’s Day has no significance … I liked it better when we celebrated the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington …

Five apps filled with fun facts about US presidents | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

The Essentials: Five Books on Thomas Jefferson | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine.

front porches,  rest and relaxation, home:  I spent a great deal of time on my grandmother’s front porch.  My cousins who lived next door and were also Atlantans, would bring down city friends to “teach them how to rock on the porch.”  The first picture is personal … a painting by my sister from my great aunt’s porch looking at my grandparents’ porch …

(1) Mary-Stewart Lindsey.

We could all use a little relaxation. Unfortunately, between work, school and kids, it’s hard to find some time to get away and unwind. So, if you’re not able to actually sit on a pretty porch and take in the summer breeze, we’ve put together a little something that will at least help create the setting in your daydreams. Click through our slideshow, take a deep breath and enjoy.

via 8 Front Porches Designed For Rest And Relaxation (PHOTOS).

God,  ‘Downton Abbey‘: All things Downton … The first is a must see!

How It Felt Watching Season Three Of Downton Abbey As Told By “Downton Abbey”.

Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost)

2/18/13, 7:58 AM

Why that #DowntonAbbey development isn’t a bad thing (no really!) huff.to/12ZJnmO

I know it may be hard to hear this, but all things considered, I think Matthew Crawley’s death was for the best.

Before you charge off to the comment area to tell me I’m history’s greatest monster, please take note of what I am not saying.

I’m not saying it’ll be easy for the show to lose Dan Stevens. It’s an enormous loss; Stevens is one of the best actors in the cast.

But let’s be honest: The actor, who talked about his decision to leave the show late last year, was saddled with some of the show’s dumbest story lines. In Season 2, Matthew went from wheelchair-bound invalid to healthy chap in less time than it takes for Carson to serve tea, and in Season 3, he kept turning down a fortune (a magical fortune that fell from the sky at just the right moment, of course), thanks to hidebound morality that even Queen Victoria would have thought was a little too uptight. That’s to say nothing of the endless, repetitive obstacles that were placed in the path of Lady Mary and Matthew, whom we all knew were going to get hitched as soon as we saw them start to spar in Season 1. We all had to sit through storylines that pretended that they weren’t meant for each other, some of which were reasonable diversions, some of which were not (Don’t we all miss Lavinia and that guy Lady Mary almost married? The guy who’s name I can’t even recall? I didn’t think so.)

It’s a miracle that Stevens and Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) were able to make much of that malarkey work, or almost work; in the hands of lesser actors, those storylines could have been truly painful. But, as I said in my “Downton Abbey” Season 3 review, they, like most of the rest of the cast, are able to elevate creator Julian Fellowes’ dodgier ideas and make his good writing really sing.

To get to the good moments, though, we usually had to put up with half a season or more of preposterous plot devices and silly repetition. And the latter is one of the big problems with Fellowes’ writing: He really only knows how to do one or two things with each character. As a storyteller, he just doesn’t have that many moves, so the characters stay in tight, shallow orbits.

via Maureen Ryan: ‘Downton Abbey’ Finale: Don’t Be Mad About That Shocking Death, It’s For The Best.

The third season of the megahit PBS series “Downton Abbey” wraps up on Sunday (Feb. 17), capping another must-see run of ruin and redemption at Lord Grantham’s stately English manor. Yet some are still left puzzled over the absence of what should be a leading Upstairs player in this colorful cast: God.

Writing last month in the flagship evangelical magazine Christianity Today, Todd Dorman wondered why — despite the heart-rending melodrama and all the “divine trappings” that gild the 1920s scenery — “God is a peripheral presence at best.”

“There are numerous fascinating blog posts … that search for implicit Catholic and Christian themes in the show — good and evil, suffering for cause, various types and grades of love and devotion,” Dorman wrote. “At some point, though, especially with a vicar in the family’s employ, it seems odd for such connections to remain unnamed, unspoken, and, for all we can see, unperceived.”

The Rev. Ian Markham, president of (Episcopal) Virginia Theological Seminary and a big “Downton” fan, also discerns serious spiritual themes beneath the surface of the narrative. Yet as Markham told Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, faith itself is “relatively invisible. But you would expect religion to be more present in their lives.”

“It’s “a bizarre omission,” Telegraph columnist Robert Colvile wrote after the second season wound up. “Perhaps it’s this godlessness, rather than any malice on the part of writer Julian Fellowes, that explains why Downton’s residents appear to have such a peculiarly cursed existence?”

There are, to be sure, a few glimpses of spiritual pathos, as in Season Two when Lady Mary — eldest daughter of Lord Crawley, the Earl of Grantham — beseeches God to keep her beloved Matthew safe in the trenches of World War I. “Dear Lord, I don’t pretend to have much credit with you,” she says. “I’m not even sure that you’re there. But if you are, and if I’ve ever done anything good, I beg you to keep him safe.”

via Is God Missing in ‘Downton Abbey’?

Lent, plenus uenter facile de ieiuniis disputat, yoga, Lenten photo-a-day challenge, Rethink Church:

… it is easy to talk about fasting when your stomach is full …
I will end with St. Jerome’s remark that “plenus uenter facile de ieiuniis disputat“, or, it is easy to talk about fasting when your stomach is full.  This discussion becomes easier when people undertake a serious Lent.

via QUAERITUR: Feast days during Lent, or “plenus uenter facile de ieiuniis disputat” | Fr. Z’s Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?.

… Lent and yoga … 🙂

How Yoga Can Make Lent Meaningful

Diana Morgan writes:

I am studying for the ministry at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. I am also a yoga teacher.

Perhaps as a result of those two pursuits, I spend a lot of time thinking about ways in which we can connect with God when we are not in church — and many of the techniques I’m drawn to come from outside the Christian tradition. Yoga poses and breath control, for example, migrated to the US from India. Practices of penance, abstinence and reflection are hallowed in the Old Testament and followed today in the Jewish tradition.

I’ve discovered that periods of time that are set aside as holy are especially powerful means of coming closer to God. Lent is such a time, and for a little over a month we may be called to daily renunciation or service to others, or simply to opening up a poem each morning — all acts of connecting with the divine in ways most of us don’t do during the rest of the year.

via Lent 2013: A HuffPost Community Observation Of The Lenten Fast (LIVEBLOG).

… I love these photo-a-day challenges …

Lenten photo-a-day challenge | Rethink Church.

labyrinths, Chartres, Norwich Cathedral, Green Man:  Researching labyrinths … found this interesting bit about Norwich Cathedral … very confused by the Green Man picture!  And by the way … it’s a labyrinth, NOT a maze …

Maze in Norwich Cathedral

Green Man in Norwich Cathedral

This maze is in the cloisters of Norwich Cathedral. It was built to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (in 2002). As you can see, it is greatly enjoyed by these school children. The entrance is on the left. By the way, these cloisters have some of the best examples of Green Men as roof bosses anywhere, and they have been beautifully re-painted. Nothing to do with mazes, but equally intriguing.

via Chartres and other church mazes.

Benedict XVI,  Pope’ retirement,  retirement home, TIME.com, Conan O’Brien, leaked documents, Vatican rivalries, The Washington Post, political cartoons:

Nice digs …

On Feb. 28, he’ll be the Holy Father of the Roman Catholic Church, his prayers and benedictions craved and coveted by more than a billion faithful around the world. But come March 1, Pope Benedict XVI will settle back into a quiet, austere life as Joseph Ratzinger. After announcing his retirement on Feb. 11, the 85-year-old pontiff has promised to devote the rest of his life to prayer. But where? Would he return to his native Germany or remain in the tiny city-state which he’s called home for at least the last eight years?

After he steps down at the end of the month — becoming, incidentally, the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years — he’ll head to Castel Gandolfo, a small town in the hills southeast of Rome that houses a majestic papal residence. The Pontifical Palace has been used as a summer home for every pope since Urban VIII in the 1600s.

via The Pope’s New Pad: Where Benedict XVI Will Live After He Steps Down | TIME.com. 

I already quoted this tweet by Conan … but given this article on Vatican intrigue, maybe Conan is not so far off … 🙂

Conan O’Brien Presents: Team Coco

The Pope resigned earlier today & Dan Brown has already written two thrillers about it.

via The Pope resigned….

VATICAN CITY — Guests at the going-away party for Carlo Maria Viganò couldn’t understand why the archbishop looked so forlorn. Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Viganò ambassador to the United States, a plum post where he would settle into a stately mansion on Massachusetts Avenue, across the street from the vice president’s residence.“He went through the ordeal making it very clear he was unhappy with it,” said one former ambassador to the Vatican, who attended the Vatican Gardens ceremony in the late summer of 2011. “And we just couldn’t figure out, us outsiders and non-Italians, what was going on.”2487CommentsWeigh InCorrections? Personal PostGraphic Pope Benedict’s bureaucracyVideoWhen he became Pope, many considered Benedict to be much more conservative than his predecessor John Paul II. Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. interviewed Benedict — then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — nearly 30 years ago and now reflects on the Pope’s legacy.There was no such confusion within Vatican walls. Benedict had installed Viganò to enact a series of reforms within the Vatican. But some of Rome’s highest-ranking cardinals undercut the efforts and hastened Viganò’s exile to the United States.Viganò’s plight and other unflattering machinations would soon become public in an unprecedented leak of the pontiff’s personal correspondence. Much of the media — and the Vatican — focused on the source of the shocking security breach. Largely lost were the revelations contained in the letters themselves — tales of rivalry and betrayal, and allegations of corruption and systemic dysfunction that infused the inner workings of the Holy See and the eight-year papacy of Benedict XVI. Last week, he announced that he will become the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign.The next pope may bring with him an invigorating connection to the Southern Hemisphere, a media magnetism or better leadership skills than the shy and cerebral Benedict. But whoever he may be, the 266th pope will inherit a gerontocracy obsessed with turf and Italian politics, uninterested in basic management practices and hostile to reforms.

via Pope Benedict XVI’s leaked documents show fractured Vatican full of rivalries – The Washington Post….

and comic relief …

cartoon5 | Cartoons of the Week: February 9-15 | TIME.com.

red-carpet, Academy Awards party,  at home:

 

As the ultimate night of old Hollywood glitz and glam, the Academy Awards is a yearly celebration of awe-inspiring movies, gorgeous celebrities and, of course, over-the-top dresses. Although most of us won’t get the chance to make a red carpet appearance, there are several ways to celebrate the night in style — whether you’re spending time with your family or a large group of friends. In 2013 that night is Sunday, February 24. You can see the nominees here.http://pres-outlook.org/news-and-analysis/religion-news-service-rns/17892.html

To give your own living room that elegant Tinseltown feel, you don’t need a celebrity-size salary; in fact, you need just a few carefully selected accessories and some creativity. These ideas, taken from a stash of ubercrafty bloggers, will help get you started.

via Create a red-carpet stir right in your living room with these clever ideas for an Academy Awards party at home.

2.16.13 snowstorm, Davidson College baseball,  DavidsonNews.net: 🙂

Davidson Baseball Blizzard 2013 – YouTube.

A sudden snowstorm blew onto Wilson Field at Davidson College on Saturday afternoon, forcing suspension of the Wildcats’ game against George Washington. Davidson was leading 6-5 and was later declared the winner.

via Video: Snowstorm blows in on Wilson Field | DavidsonNews.net.

2013 Festival of Legal Learning, Free Legal Information on the Web:  Nothing’s free … caveat emptor …

Free Legal Information on the Web

Sara Sampson, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, UNC School of Law and Deputy Director, Kathrine R. Everett Law Library; and Nick Sexton, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, UNC School of Law and Reference/Information Delivery Services Librarian, Kathrine R. Everett Law Library

this presentation will focus on legal research. the presenters will give an overview of the leading sources of free legal materials and describe the pros and cons of incorporating these sources into your practice.

via Festival of Legal Learning.

New York City Schools,  gifted v. just well-prepared,  early-childhood education, NYTimes.com: My question is … how successful are the children who are admitted because they are  “just well-prepared”?

The city’s leading private schools are even considering doing away with the test they have used for decades, popularly known as the E.R.B., after the Educational Records Bureau, the organization that administers the exam, which is written by Pearson.

“It’s something the schools know has been corrupted,” said Dr. Samuel J. Meisels, an early-childhood education expert who gave a presentation in the fall to private school officials, encouraging them to abandon the test. Excessive test preparation, he said, “invalidates inferences that can be drawn” about children’s “learning potential and intellect and achievement.”

Last year, the Education Department said it would change one of the tests used for admission to public school gifted kindergarten and first-grade classes in order to focus more on cognitive ability and less on school readiness, which favors children who have more access to preschool and tutoring.

via New York City Schools Struggle to Separate the Gifted from the Just Well-Prepared – NYTimes.com.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Philip Yancey, Paul Brand, Arthur Rubinstein,  Beethoven, ‘Moonlight Sonata’ 1st Movement,  YouTube, ChristCare:  While reading Philip Yancey, Paul Brand’s Fearfully and Wonderfully Made for my ChristCare group, the book referenced Arthur Rubinstein performance of Beethoven, ‘Moonlight Sonata’ 1st Movement.  So much fun to listen to it on You Tube with the group.

Arthur Rubinstein: Beethoven, ‘Moonlight Sonata’ 1st Movement – YouTube.

Maria Popova, Twitter, @brainpicker, young college graduates’ earnings: As the parent of one recent grad and two college students … this concerns me …

Maria Popova (@brainpicker)

2/10/13, 9:41 PM

Yikes! The nosedive of young college graduates’ earnings, visualized j.mp/VZA70O

The average earnings of young college graduates are still falling. Counter the trend by learning how to find your purpose and do what you love.

Explore – The average earnings of young college graduates….

Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman  bookshelf, USATODAY.com:  I liked this book … 4/5 … but I have some issues and most of  them are around the characterization of  some young adult choices are presented as assumptions.

With the presence of third-wheel best friends and the age-old divide between the arty kids and the jock social circle, the book could easily turn into a mass of well-worn clichés — or at least a John Hughes movie. Yet Handler keeps that from happening by showing Min and Ed, their positives and negatives, even from just one person’s perspective.

Min’s our girl and the reader sees what she sees, but Ed has his moments, too, of being a complex guy who’s not just a one-dimensional star athlete out to bed every girl at school. To him, Min’s not “arty” — she’s just “different” and that’s not a bad thing.

She hates watching him practice basketball and his taste in music. He hates that people know he’s good at math and carries around a protractor. However — for a while anyway — those differences create an interesting romance that unite these two oddly matched teens and flies in the face of any and all conventional wisdom.

Alas, the book is called Why We Broke Up. Min gives many, many reasons on why this ultimately happens — some good, some not so much — and in the end, there is a boffo one that puts you clearly on one person’s side. But while she wants to part with all her symbols of their romance, many will find this book a true keeper.

via Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman: Book Review – USATODAY.com.

C. S. Lewis quotes,  Twitter, @CSLewisDaily:  One thing I love about Twitter is how it  leads me to dig deeper.

C. S. Lewis (@CSLewisDaily)

2/16/13, 2:34 PM

Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. #CSLewis

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

via Goodreads | Mere Christianity Quotes By C.S. Lewis.

Project Gutenberg,  Dropbox, technology, Geek Beat Technology News:  No excuses … Project Gutenberg Adds Dropbox Support – Geek Beat Technology News.

 


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