Archive for April, 2013

28
Apr
13

4.28.13 “gracefulness and stealth nastiness”

Steph Curry, gracefulness and stealth nastiness, SportsonEarth.com: “gracefulness and stealth nastiness”  🙂

Everything about Stephen Curry, it seems, comes coated in sugar. Even his tattoo is sweet, just three letters and his jersey number — “T.C.C. 30” — delicately inscribed on the underside of his left wrist. Its shorthand for the motto of Davidson basketball coach Bob McKillop, “Trust, commitment and care,” and Currys ink matches that of four teammates.

via Steph Curry plays with gracefulness and stealth nastiness. | SportsonEarth.com : Gwen Knapp Article.

Chile, earthquakes, Earth,  LiveScience:  Very interesting!

In northern Chile, “the driest place on Earth, we have a virtually unique record of great earthquakes going back a million years,” Allmendinger said. Whereas most analyses of ancient earthquakes only probe cycles of two to four quakes, “our record of upper plate cracking spans thousands of earthquake cycles,” he noted.

via Chile Earthquakes Permanently Deform Earth | How Earthquakes Work | LiveScience.

Lambeth Palace,  1,400 stolen publications, thieves note, MobyLives:

When a librarian noticed a gap in the shelves in 1975, sixty volumes were suspected to be missing. Booksellers in the UK and abroad were on the lookout for these rare editions, but none turned up. In fact, 1,000 books were recently recovered from the thief’s attic, and a grand total of 1,400 publications were eventually found to be in his possession. Many were among the collections of three 17th century archbishops of Canterbury: John Whitgift, Richard Bancroft and George Abbot.

In February 2011, a new librarian at Lambeth Palace received a letter written by the thief, forwarded to a solicitor after his death. It contained a full confession of the theft and detailed instructions about where the books were stored. The report carefully avoids disclosing the name or location of these books: “The librarian and a colleague were dispatched to a house, where they discovered a vast quantity of books hidden in the attic, along with three drawers of cards from the old catalogue,” reports The Spectator.

“We were staggered,” said Declan Kelly, director of libraries and archives for the Church of England, in an interview with the BBC. “A couple of my colleagues climbed into the attic. It was piled high to the rafters with boxes full of books. I had a list of 60 to 90 missing books, but more and more boxes kept coming down.”

via Lambeth Palace recovers 1,400 stolen publications, thanks to thief’s note | MobyLives.

history,  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, citizenship, Slate Magazine:  

WiIlkie argued that the exercise of a citizen’s freedom of thought—even by a foreign-born American Communist years after his naturalization—did not mean that he’d done anything fraudulent at the moment of naturalization. Schneiderman had not lied: He’d never been asked if he was a Communist, and being a Communist did not bar an immigrant from being naturalized in 1927. Willkie won. The court decided that denaturalization could occur only for acts that took place beforehand and that could be demonstrated through clear and convincing evidence.

via History lesson: Why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can’t be stripped of his citizenship. – Slate Magazine.

18
Apr
13

4.18.13 … bombs = terrorism … “And this warping of perspective is exactly what terrorists aim to achieve. “Terrorists are trying to induce fear and panic.”

terror, brain science:  “And this warping of perspective is exactly what terrorists aim to achieve.  ‘Terrorists are trying to induce fear and panic.’”

“When people are terrorized, the smartest parts of our brain tend to shut down,” says Dr. Bruce Perry, Senior Fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy. (Disclosure:  he and I have written books together).

When the brain is under severe threat, it immediately changes the way it processes information, and starts to prioritize rapid responses. “The normal long pathways through the orbitofrontal cortex, where people evaluate situations in a logical and conscious fashion and [consider] the risks and benefits of different behaviors— that gets short circuited,” says Dr. Eric Hollander, professor of psychiatry at Montefiore/Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York.  Instead, he says, “You have sensory input right through the sensory [regions] and into the amygdala or limbic system.”

Every loud sound suddenly becomes a potential threat, for example, and even mundane circumstances such as a person who avoids eye contact can take on suspicious and ominous meaning and elicit an extreme, alert-ready response. Such informational triage can be essential to surviving traumatic experience, of course.  “Severe threats to well-being activate hard wired circuits in the brain and produce responses that help us survive,” explains Joseph LeDoux, professor of psychology and neuroscience at New York University, “This process is the most important thing for the organism at the moment, and brain resources are monopolized to achieve the goal of coping with the threat.”

But once the immediate threat has passed, this style of thinking can become a hindrance, not a help. “The problem is that often people have these intense reactions and are not able to think about the situation or concept more realistically,” Hollander says.  The fear can become generalized so that ordinary experiences like being in a crowd or seeing a backpack trigger intense anxiety.

And this warping of perspective is exactly what terrorists aim to achieve.  “Terrorists are trying to induce fear and panic,” says Hollander, noting that media coverage that repeats the sounds and images of the events maximizes their impact. The coverage keeps the threat alive and real in people’s minds, and sustains the threat response, despite the fact that the immediate danger has passed. The marathon attacks were particularly damaging, he says, because “All of sudden, there’s trauma associated with what had been a meaningful, communal event.”

It doesn’t help that the most common coping mechanisms can make matters worse. People who live in fear tend to want to sleep, drink alcohol or turn to sedatives to ease their anxiety. But, says Hollander, “It turns out that you are better off staying up than trying to go to sleep.” Sleep tends to consolidate and lay down traumatic memories. And that’s partly why the Israeli army, for example, tries to keep traumatized soldiers awake immediately after a difficult experience and engage them in warm social contact, both of which help reduce the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Fortunately, our brains are designed to modulate fear responses and at least 80% of people exposed to a severe traumatic event will not develop PTSD. Studies show that the more support, altruism and connection people share, the lower the risk for the disorder and the easier the recovery. Because such interactions aren’t always easy in the immediate aftermath of a harrowing experience, Hollander is investigating whether medications based on oxytocin— a hormone linked with love and parent/child bonding— might help to ease this connection.

If fear short circuits the brain’s normally logical and reasoned thinking, social support may be important in rerouting those networks back to their normal state. Which is why the selflessness and altruism we see in the wake of terror attacks is often the key to helping us to process and overcome the shock of living through them.

via How Terror Hijacks the Brain | TIME.com.

 terrorism, vocabulary, linguistics:  murky word?

But, in the public discussion, there was already a palpable hunger for the term. “All the right words but one,” was the headline of an analysis by the Defense Media Network. “Only safe assumption: It was terrorism,” another editorial was headlined in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.Within hours of Axelrods remarks, and with no suspects or motive announced, Obama said: “Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror.”In times of tension and uncertainty, words can become malleable vessels — for cultural fears, for political agendas, for ways to make sense of the momentous and the unknown. In 2013 America, the word “terrorism” exists at this ambiguous crossroads. And the opinions youll find about it — this week in particular — often transcend mere linguistics.Obamas conclusion about bombs and terror made perfect sense to Jay Winuk, whose brother, a lawyer and volunteer firefighter, died on September 11, 2001 while trying to evacuate the World Trade Center after it was attacked by fanatical Muslims.”Based on what we know so far, I do consider it an act of terrorism,” Winuk said Wednesday, before news broke of a possible suspect in the case. “I dont know that for me personally, political motivation is part of the equation.””Whoever did this, it seems clear that their intention was to harm, maim, kill innocent people en masse who are going about their normal activity. To me, thats terrorism,” said Winuk, a co-founder of “My Good Deed,” a group that has established 9/11 as a national day of service.

“The problem we have is that the term has been so freighted with politics, it’s taken on a life that it probably really shouldn’t have,” said Andrew McCarthy, a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted the terrorists responsible for the 1993 Trade Center attack and is now a senior fellow at the National Review Foundation.

Without the context of Fort Hood and Benghazi, McCarthy said, how to define what happened in Boston “would have been a big nothing.” He agrees that the Boston attack was terrorism, noting that the bombs were filled with nails and ball bearings to cause maximum carnage.

And yet, he said: “Terrorism has to have a logical purpose.”

Part of the reason Boston feels like terrorism without knowing the motive is that bombs were used, rather than the guns used in recent mass murders, like the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo.

via Is it ‘terrorism’? Anatomy of a very murky word

comfort, Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto, Love and Hope in the Wake of Boston:  Well said …

 And we didn’t stop hoping yesterday when a moment of victory for runners and spectators was shattered by crude violence. First responders and onlookers alike rushed to the aid of others in the midst of potential danger. My Facebook wall lit up with prayers and cries of hope. In response to casual cruelty, the world reacted with compassion.

Why?

It may be that despite the many instances of malice that seek to tear us apart and to cause us to lose hope what binds us together is stronger. It may be that “love never ends” as the Apostle Paul once wrote to a Corinthian church community fraying at its edges. Love, he said, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7).

This is not the sappy love of pop songs or the fleeting infatuations we incorrectly label as love. This love, true love is at the very core of whom God has made us to be. This is persistent love, love that refuses to give into the cruelties of this world. This is an indefatigable love.

As a Christian, my faith has shown me that God dwells in love, inhabits love, embodies love. This radiant, ever-present love is the source of my hope in times like these.

And this love binds us not because we believe the same things or attend the same church or even because we are citizens of the same nation. This love binds us because we are humans created in the very image of God. In moments of great inhumanity, it is the miracle of God’s love that our true humanity, what most makes us the people God created us to be, crowds out the darkness. In the end, it is our love for another that shines most brightly.

When we heal the wounded, we love one another. When we pray for the grieving, we love one another. When we hope against hope for a better world, we love one another. The perpetrators of violence never succeed as long as love abides.

By this point, we should have stopped the race, given up hope of ever seeing the finish line. We should have counted all our hopes as vanity and delusion.

But we don’t because even on a day like yesterday, love wins. Love always wins.

via Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto: Love and Hope in the Wake of Boston.

Boston Marathon Bombings, history, future, Cognoscenti:

 I asked him how he was feeling. Was there a sense of something being “over” in Boston? He said, “No. I’m angry. I’m angry at the temerity of someone who would do this. But you know what? If they wanted to kill a lot of people they picked the wrong marathon. They picked the wrong city. We must have saved 20 people today just at our hospital. There are five others.”

I don’t know if all the runners will decide to run again next year. But if they do, they will be, to me, as heroic as those farmers years ago in Lexington. And we who live here pledge to be there as well. Screaming our heads off.

As Dr. Medzon said earlier, whoever did this, they picked the wrong marathon. They picked the wrong city.

via Boston Marathon Bombings: Our History Will Be A Guide For The Future | Cognoscenti. 

Boston Marathon bombs, The Washington Post: simple design … <$100.

The bombs that tore through a crowd of spectators at the Boston Marathon could have cost as little as $100 to build and were made of the most ordinary ingredients — so ordinary, in fact, that investigators could face a gargantuan challenge in attempting to use bomb forensics to find the culprit.

Investigators revealed Tuesday that fragments recovered at the blast scene suggest a simple design: a common pressure cooker of the kind found at most discount stores, packed with an explosive and armed with a simple detonator. A final ingredient — a few handfuls of BBs, nails and pellets — helped ensure widespread casualties when the two devices exploded Monday near the race’s finish line, law enforcement officials said.

The devices’ design was immediately recognized by counterterrorism experts as a type touted by al-Qaeda for use by its operatives around the world. Similar devices have been used by terrorists in mass-casualty bombings in numerous countries, from the Middle East to South Asia to North Africa.

via Boston Marathon bombs had simple but harmful design, early clues indicate – The Washington Post.

Pressure-cooker bombs,  do-it-yourself , guardian.co.uk:  easy to make, with simple instructions available on the internet … who needs expensive guns?

 The highlight from the latest FBI briefing on the Boston bombing was the disclosure that pressure-cooker bombs might have been used in the attacks. Such devices are frequently used in trouble spots around the world and the homeland security department has been warning of their potential appearance in the US for almost a decade.Pressure-cooker bombs are relatively easy to make, with simple instructions available on the internet. The attempted Times Square bomber used a similar device in May 2010 in a foiled bid to cause mayhem in New York.

via Pressure-cooker bombs in Boston: lethal do-it-yourself | World news | guardian.co.uk.

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16
Apr
13

4.16.13 … A few more words of comfort … What comforts you?

Pope Francis, 2013 Boston Marathon Terrorist Attack, Rom 12:21, Religion News Service:

In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.

via Pope Francis tells Bostonians to “combat evil with good” | Religion News Service.

Patton Oswalt, Facebook:  I noticed that several people quoted/shared/retweeted this quote from Patton Oswalt, and then, a few took his comments down.  I had no idea who he was.  For those of you who do not know who he is, like me …

Patton Oswalt (born January 27, 1969) is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and voice actor known for roles such as Spencer Olchin in the popular sitcom The King of Queens, and voicing Remy from the film Ratatouille.

via Patton Oswalt – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

And here is what he said …

“I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, ‘Well, I’ve had it with humanity,’” the post on Oswalt’s Facebook page read. “But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths. ”

“But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.”

The post concluded  by saying “So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

via Patton Oswalt and other Notable People Share Thoughts Online About the Boston Bombing – Speakeasy – WSJ.

16
Apr
13

4.16.13 … splitting hairs … “terror,” “terrorism,’ “terrorist,” “acts of terror,” “acts of terrorism”…

President Obama, linguistics, political speech, doublespeak, 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, linguistics, leadership:  Yesterday, the conservative media was upset with the President because he failed to use the word “terror” or “terrorism.”  Today he “embraced ” the word “terror/terrorism.”  But  it was too late.

It is a matter of linguistics, but it is also a matter of  political language. The President  took the safe side yesterday because he had missed the mark on multiple occasions before. When we split hairs, we are doing a disservice to all those involved. Sometimes we need to look at common use. It is only the fourth definition of terror that requires that the act be “committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands.” Clearly no one thinks this was not intended to bring about a “state of intense fear.”  (definition 1)  Since the President has had problems with this issue, understnding that there are legal and political definitions that are applicable, I think maybe his inner circle should have come to terms with this before he opened his mouth yesterday.  The country needed him to issue words of comfort and strength and instead he was caught in the usual political speech/doublespeak  conundrum.  He lost an opportunity to lead.

Common use –

Definition of TERROR

1: a state of intense fear

2a : one that inspires fear : scourge

b : a frightening aspect

c : a cause of anxiety : worry

d : an appalling person or thing; especially : brat

3: reign of terror

4: violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands

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

Today …

“This was a heinous and cowardly act, and given what we know about what took place, the F.B.I. is investigating it as an act of terrorism,” Mr. Obama said in a brief appearance at the White House. “Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror.”

“What we don’t yet know, however, is who carried out this attack or why,” the president said, “whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual. That’s what we don’t yet know.”

via Obama Calls Marathon Bombings an ‘Act of Terrorism’ – NYTimes.com.

After choosing not to call the Boston Marathon bombings “terrorism” on Monday, President Obama used variations of the word “terror” four times in a public address on Tuesday. “Given what we know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism,” Obama said. “Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.”

His definition of terrorism was inaccurate, at least according legal guidelines that have been adopted by federal law enforcement. But the President’s decision to embrace the term put him on the politically safer side of a linguistic problem that has bedeviled his presidency for years.

But in an unusual move, an aide to the President spoke to the press moments after the President had concluded his remarks about the classification of the bombings.  “Any event with multiple explosive devices—as this appears to be—is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror,” the White House official said.

Nonetheless, Obama received some criticism overnight about shying away from the word in his Monday remarks. On Tuesday, the clear emphasis of the term seemed designed to head off another Benghazi-like controversy. “The American people refuse to be terrorized,” Obama said.

via President Obama Embraces The Word “Terrorism” A Day After Boston Marathon Bombings | TIME.com.

Yesterday …

However, the content of his three-and-a-half-minute speech Monday—in particular his notable aversion to labeling the incident as “terror” or “terrorism”—seemed to reflect a continuing desire not to stoke fears or make premature public judgments even as he made sure to offer the public presence that he’d initially avoided during his first experiences managing terrorist attacks as president.

The most searing of the Obama White House’s previous terrorism experiences is likely the Christmas Day 2009 attempted bombing of a Delta airliner headed for Detroit. After that incident, Obama took three days to appear before cameras and talk about the episode. That delay led to sharp criticism from Republicans in Congress and led some in the public to conclude that Obama — who was vacationing in Hawaii at the time — wasn’t taking the incident seriously.

Obama and his aides were careful not to repeat that mistake Monday as he appeared in the White House briefing room just after 6 p.m., in time to be included in evening TV newscasts about the Boston explosions and the investigation.

“We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this; we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice,” the president said.

“I just want to reiterate we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable,” Obama added emphatically.

via What President Obama has learned about talking about terror – Josh Gerstein – POLITICO.com.

But in an unusual move, an aide to the President spoke to the press moments after the President had concluded his remarks about the classification of the bombings.  “Any event with multiple explosive devices—as this appears to be—is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror,” the White House official said.

Nonetheless, Obama received some criticism overnight about shying away from the word in his Monday remarks. On Tuesday, the clear emphasis of the term seemed designed to head off another Benghazi-like controversy. “The American people refuse to be terrorized,” Obama said.

via President Obama Embraces The Word “Terrorism” A Day After Boston Marathon Bombings | TIME.com.

16
Apr
13

4.16.13 … Kate Spade, this is interesting … but why would I pay for this self-colored windowpane print (and the markers are extra!)? …

fashion, random, Kate Spade: Oh, and I can get windowpane print in PF Flyers, jeans, dresses, skirts, shirts, bags ….

Color It In – Saturday.com.Color It In – Saturday.com.

16
Apr
13

4.16.13 … Can you have “Marathon terror” without a “terrorist attack” on the Boston Marathon?

todays paper

Front Page Gallery

15
Apr
13

4.15.13 … without words … “As all our eyes turn to Boston, as our prayers surround the people there, may we be ever reminded of the stillness we are called to, and the presence the God of us all offers.”

I am not a wordsmith, and so I am often at a loss for words. Following, the “terrorist attack” at the 26 miles mark of today’s Boston Marathon, there have been many opportunities for many to speak. I was most impressed, moved, and comforted by these. I’ll start with one that quotes my favorite Psalm.

Psalm 46 closes with this:

“He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. ‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

As all our eyes turn to Boston, as our prayers surround the people there, may we be ever reminded of the stillness we are called to, and the presence the God of us all offers.

Boston, you are in our prayers. We will continue to follow this unfolding story, reminded that the world is hurting. While it would be easy to explain this away, I think the best we can offer is that the presence of God follows us all the day long of our transient life. In these moments of fear, that presence reminds us to be still, and remember that our refuge and our strength has been there and will continue to be there in the days ahead.

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

via Rob Lee: Psalm 46 and the Boston Marathon.

A collection of comforting words from the Episcopal Church:

Unapologetically Episcopalian

~ PRAYERS FOLLOWING EXPLOSIONS AT BOSTON MARATHON

This afternoon, Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, officials reported that at least two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. In the midst of the chaos and as reports continue to come in concerning those who were injured, discovery of additional explosive devices, and the potential for further threats, let us pray.

• Prayer for Victims of Terrorism

Loving God, Welcome into your arms the victims of violence and terrorism. Comfort their families and all who grieve for them. Help us in our fear and uncertainty, And bless us with the knowledge that we are secure in your love. Strengthen all those who work for peace, And may the peace the world cannot give reign in our hearts. Amen.

• A Prayer for First Responders

Blessed are you, Lord, God of mercy, who through your Son gave us a marvelous example of charity and the great commandment of love for one another. Send down your blessings on these your servants, who so generously devote themselves to helping others. Grant them courage when they are afraid, wisdom when they must make quick decisions, strength when they are weary, and compassion in all their work. When the alarm sounds and they are called to aid both friend and stranger, let them faithfully serve you in their neighbor. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

– adapted from the Book of Blessings, #587, by Diana Macalintal

• For the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to your merciful care, that, being guided by your Providence, we may dwell secure in your peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of Massachusetts, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do your will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in your fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

• For Peace

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

• A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

• A Hymn

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, singing “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”

via ~ PRAYERS FOLLOWING….

And as is often quoted, but worthy of quoting, Mr. Rogers:

Our thoughts are with those affected by the explosions at the Boston Marathon today and the people of Boston. As with many tragedies that are covered extensively in the media, children who hear about them may be confused or scared. Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood once shared a thoughtful approach for comforting children and instilling a sense of hope in them in the face of tragic events:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Fred Rogers

I first saw this in a post by Rev. Mary Katherine Robinson. From St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen – St. Francis of Assisi

From my favorite politician, Edward Lindsey:

Today as one people we should be concerned for the injured and dead in Boston, show thanks to the rescue workers who are bravely responding, binding their wounds and comforting the victims and their families, and pray for all who have been touched by the tragedy in Boston.

And my home church, Fpc Charlotte:

From “A Declaration of Faith”

Death often seems to prove that life is not worth living,

that our best efforts and deepest affections go for nothing.

We do not yet see the end of death.

But Christ has been raised from the dead,

transformed and yet the same person.

In his resurrection is the promise of ours.

We are convinced that the life God wills for each of us

is stronger than the death that destroys us.

In the face of death we grieve.

Yet in hope we celebrate life.

No life ends so tragically

that its meaning and value are destroyed.

Nothing, not even death, can separate us

from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer: O Lord, hear our prayer for those who suffer in Boston. And speak tenderly to those who cry out “why?” in the face of this cruel and senseless act of violence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Liked by a friend on FB:

Gregory Wolfe: My rule of thumb: you grieve before you blame.

Another from FB:

Momastery:

When the world seems loud, we must be quiet. When the world seems evil, we must be good. When the world seems terrifying, we must comfort each other.

Sending quiet, good, and comfort to all of you, and to all of Boston.

From the Washington Post:

We have gone from knowing nothing to … knowing practically nothing. Along the way we learned a New York Post report about a Saudi suspect in custody had no basis in fact. We learned that no, a John F. Kennedy Presidential Library fire was unrelated. We shouldn’t write before we know, but the urge to describe, define and understand is so strong any rumor or gossip is seized upon.

I broke my own admonition on Twitter today, using poor phrasing to convey my dismay with outfits like the New York Post racing to be first (and wrong as it turned out) before they knew the extent of the attack. But that sort of observation should wait.

What do we know? First responders behaved heroically. The president was exactly on the mark, admonishing us not to speculate but assuring the country that an investigation was underway. He refrained from using the term “terrorism,” which at this point is appropriate. His job, before there are concrete answers, is to exude calm. He did that. Speaker of the House John Boehner, after speaking with the president, put out a statement calling for unity, also a restrained and appropriate comment. (“Words cannot begin to express our sorrow for the families who are grieving so suddenly right now. The House of Representatives offers its prayers to the victims and the city of Boston.) As after the Arizona shooting, both leaders were at their best.

We’ll find the culprit, in all likelihood. We will be reminded that we live in a dangerous world and the greatest threats are not from improbable government conspiracies but from those domestic and foreign who seek to do us harm. Looking for answers to evil, however, we have learned, is generally fruitless. We should be comforted by the bravery of those responders, the calmness of local and federal officials (a vast improvement from the Christmas Day bomber fiasco) and the knowledge that, tragically, our law enforcement and national security forces have gotten very good at their jobs. God bless, Boston.

via Boston bombing.

15
Apr
13

4.15.13 … all natural Breyer’s vanilla bean is still my favorite! …

ice cream, Breyer’s, all natural, kith/kin, childhood:  I love this not so much for the investigative journalism but for the capturing life when I was a kid.  Breyer’s was magical …

Back then, we knew something was up if our mother returned from ShopRite with a half-gallon of Breyers ice cream. It meant that another 8-year-old first communicant had feigned an understanding of transubstantiation. It meant that someone was celebrating her first birthday, or that someone had seen his last.

Most of all, it meant a reprieve from the cheaper fake version of ice cream that usually defiled our freezer, a store-brand ice milk that tasted like nothing so much as frozen sadness. Ice milk represented dessert as punishment.

Things have changed.

First, as part of typical trompe l’oeil packaging, the cartons now hold 48 ounces, not the half-gallon’s 64. (The good news is that your hands have not become freakishly large; the bad news is that you’re not suddenly much stronger.) Second, that age-old Breyers boast of “All Natural” has been replaced with “Quality,” which is one of those impressive words that loses impact the more you think about it.

Lastly, not all Breyers is what we once understood the name to mean. A Breyers carton in the store’s freezer might be ice cream, but the Breyers carton right beside it, identical in nearly every way, might be something called “frozen dairy dessert” — which, when translated from the original Orwell, means: not ice cream.

Why, Breyers, why?

Before Häagen-Dazs, before Ben & Jerry’s, before ice cream became an artisanal product that could not be fully appreciated unless you had personally squeezed Elsie’s udder — there was Breyers. So: why?

Breyers natural vanilla ice cream: milk, cream, sugar, tara gum, natural flavor. Period.

Breyers extra-creamy vanilla frozen dairy dessert: milk, sugar, corn syrup, cream, whey, mono and diglycerides, carob bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan, natural flavor, annatto (for color), vitamin A palmitate, tara gum.

Granted, the ingredients in Breyers frozen dairy desserts do not include plutonium, or motor oil, or Kraft Singles American Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product. And granted, this is a big country: some people out there might be demanding more corn syrup, less cream, in their frozen treats.

But something more than ice cream is melting away. This is what I brood about, late at night, as I apply basic ice cream to my psychic wounds.

via Remembering When Ice Cream Was, You Know, Ice Cream – NYTimes.com.

14
Apr
13

4.14.13 … random stuff … Megabus ride … You never know who you will meet …

MegaBus:  You never know who you will meet.  We had a spirited conversation about politics and education.

Nathaniel White Jr. graduated from Duke and went on to become director of the Public Health Sciences Institute at Morehouse College.

via Duke University to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Its Racial Integration : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

Downton Abbey Season 4, spoilers, Wetpaint:  S I’m missing DA

We’ve already read that she’ll be getting a new boyfriend. But, thankfully, we shouldn’t expect more major character deaths. “We don’t want it turning into Midsomer Murders, where they live in the same village and 450 people get murdered,” Julian laughed. So no other actors are allowed to suddenly leave the show!

via Downton Abbey Season 4 Spoilers Roundup: Who’s Coming, Who’s Going, What’s Next? – Wetpaint.

sermons, education, teaching:  Very interesting …

 Discipleship. Our generation may be drowning in ideas, but we’re starving for real human contact.

The problem is, our churches are structured to deliver sermons and music. If there’s any energy left, we disciple people.

What if we could turn that around? What if there were a way of organizing believers around a weekly discipleship experience, instead of a weekly lecture-and-singalong?

Universities are doing it. They’re moving lectures to the web, and turning classroom time into small group and individual “discipleship.”

Funny. That’s exactly what the early church was like. Sermons were for nonbelievers, but the church was essentially a small group discipleship experience. Perhaps it’s time to experiment once again with this ancient strain of church planting, less reliant on a weekly sermon, and more dependent on believers spurring one another on toward good works.

via Are sermons becoming obsolete?.

Thunderclap, Twitter, Facebook, AllThingsD:  

 To do that, they’re using Thunderclap, a startup designed solely to promote mass social media messaging. It works by getting Twitter and Facebook users to essentially hand over control of their feeds in order to broadcast a single message, at a given time, for a specific campaign.

via Laurene Jobs Uses Thunderclap to Push Issue on Twitter, Facebook – Peter Kafka – Social – AllThingsD.

Tiger Woods, Vanity Fair: Article is very good, if you can get past the scintillating parts.

Earl was always convinced that this child would achieve greatness. When the boy was less than a year old, Earl gave him a golf club. At the age of 2, Tiger putted with Bob Hope on The Mike Douglas Show, at 5 he appeared on That’s Incredible!, at 13 he received his first recruitment letter from Stanford University, and by the time he was 14 he had won five Junior World Championship titles. His dad was always at his side.

“My heart fills with so much joy when I realize that this young man is going to be able to help so many people,” Earl told an audience at an awards dinner to honor his son as America’s outstanding college golfer of 1996, just before Tiger reached 21 and turned pro. “He will transcend this game and bring to the world a humanitarianism which has never been known before. The world will be a better place to live in by virtue of his existence and his presence. I acknowledge only a small part in that, in that I know that I was personally selected by God Himself to nurture this young man and bring him to the point where he can make his contribution to humanity.”

Earl Woods told Sports Illustrated’s Gary Smith, “Tiger will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity.” Anyone?, Smith asked. More than Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe, Mandela, Gandhi, Buddha? “Yes,” Earl answered.

‘Hello, world,” Tiger announced at a press conference when he turned pro, in 1996. That year brought the first major endorsement deal of his career: $40 million over five years from Nike. There is a pivotal, untold story from that time, and to hear it I have to find Woods’s early adviser, a pioneering African-American attorney named John Merchant, who had known him since the early 90s. We have dinner in a dimly lit restaurant in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where Merchant, now 77, loudly and emotionally laments the fall of not only a sports superstar but also a universal symbol of hope. “This is worse than one of Shakespeare’s tragedies,” he says.

It’s the result of ignorance and greed, Merchant declares, and it all began when IMG, founded in 1960 by the agent Mark McCormack and the golf legend Arnold Palmer, entered the picture. In the mid-1990s, an agent named Hughes Norton spoke with Merchant, hoping to negotiate a deal. “Just out of curiosity, for a person of this stature, what kind of commission does IMG get?,” Merchant says he asked Norton. “And he said, ‘Our regular commission is 25 percent.’ And I said, ‘Hughes, you don’t know me and I don’t know you. But I bet you a dollar that you know something about American history, don’t you? Well, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, and I’m not about to let you or IMG make a slave out of this young man. Twenty-five percent is ridiculous.”

via The Temptation of Tiger Woods | Vanity Fair.

quotes, Twitter:  I’ll have t.o remember this one next time I go through a breakup with a young person

“@efasheefaa: Dont kill yourself over a boy, hell bring another girl to your funeral.”

via 7 Twitter.

greenhouse, greenhouse kit, backyard:  Really like this greenhouse … It’s made from a kit!

Plus, isn’t it a lovely idea to nurture creativity inside a structure designed to nurture plants? While weight and price were practical considerations, Vendrolini says the warmth of a greenhouse also appealed to him.

via See how an inventive work-from-home designer made an office from a greenhouse, for some inspired thinking in the backyard.

Phillips Academy Andover Election, culture, Christina Huffington: Unlikeable?  Really?  Another, I thought we had moved beyond that…

Girls — and later women — decide not to run for office because they don’t want to be unlikeable, not because they are lacking leadership qualities. We often hear that the more successful a woman is, the less likable she becomes. Let’s try to change that.

via Christina Huffington: Andover Election: The Girls Are Not All Right.

Smash,  tv, Marilyn Monroe, Speakeasy – WSJ:  Always the case … just when I start likeing a show, it gets cancelled, or at least probably cnaceled.

The fledgling Broadway show “Bombshell,” about Marilyn Monroe, holds a dress rehearsal for invited guests, and among the technical problems is a costumemalfunction that leaves lead actress Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) naked at the end of a scene with the actor playing President John F. Kennedy.

The positive audience reaction–and jump in ticket sales–prompts producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston), director and composer Tom Levitt (Christian Borle), and book writer and lyricist Julia Houston (Debra Messing) to ask Ivy to keep the nudity in the show. She wants time to think it over.

via ‘Smash’ Recap: Naked Truth about Marilyn Monroe – Speakeasy – WSJ.

The Bible: Miniseries, Mark Burnett, Roma Downey,  Satan-Obama Controversy:  Would they really do that?

Downey hadn’t expected public discussion about “The Bible” series to center on Satan at all; rather, she’d expected people to be talking about Jesus. “The night before that [Satan-Obama controversy] broke in the news, Jesus had made his first appearance on the screen,” she tells Oprah in the clip. “And I was so looking forward to [the next day], knowing that Jesus would be on the lips of everyone… For Satan to be the point of conversation was really heartbreaking.”

In the clip, Downey also points out that “The Bible” had been screened prior to airing on the History Channel and that no one had mentioned Satan’s resemblance to Obama — a resemblance, Downey says, that was completely unintentional. “We love the president,” she says. “We have nothing but respect for the president. We felt somehow hijacked.”

Burnett says that when you work on highly publicized projects as he and Downey did with “The Bible,” criticism comes with the territory. “It’s a free country,” he says. “And you’ve got to accept that.”

via ‘The Bible’: Miniseries Producers Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Respond To Satan-Obama Controversy (VIDEO).

Princeton Man, marriage market,  MRS. degree,  gender equality, WSJ.com:  Worth reading …

 Finally, at a time when women outrank men in education and income, it no longer makes economic sense for a woman to marry up in terms of education. The most economically productive marriages for professional women are ones in which husbands are freer to care for the needs of the family while the women focus on their lucrative careers.

In her letter to Princeton women, Ms. Patton acknowledges that these young women could delay marriage and “choose to marry a man who has other things to recommend him besides a soaring intellect.” On this point, she is right. In fact, economic theory predicts that this is exactly the decision that many Princeton women will make—not because they have to but because they can.

via Why Settle for a Princeton Man? The Marriage Market – WSJ.com.

14
Apr
13

4.14.13 … Life of Pi … gorgeous …

Life of Pi. movies, cinematography, film lit, Roger Ebert, French India: a boy, a tiger and a boat … that’s all i knew … And now that I have watched it, twice, I am still trying to figure it out.  The cinematography was absolutely gorgeous … but i had still had many questions after I’d watched  it twice.  I am motivated to read the book to really understand. Somethings I thought were interesting …”French India” being first and foremost.

Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” is a miraculous achievement of storytelling and a landmark of visual mastery. Inspired by a worldwide best-seller that many readers must have assumed was unfilmable, it is a triumph over its difficulties. It is also a moving spiritual achievement, a movie whose title could have been shortened to “life.”

via Life of Pi Movie Review & Film Summary (2012) | Roger Ebert.

French India is a general name for the French establishments set up by the French East India Company in India from the second half of the 17th century onward, and officially known as the Établissements français dans l’Inde from the resumption of French rule in 1816 to their de facto incorporation into the Union of India in 1949 and 1954.[1] They included Pondichéry, Cawnpore in Uttar Pradesh, Karikal and Yanaon on the Coromandel Coast, Mahé on the Malabar Coast, and Chandernagor in Bengal. French India also included several loges (subsidiary trading stations that all European East India companies maintained in a number of Indian towns), but after 1816 these were to be nominally French only.

The total area amounted to 510 km2 (200 sq mi), of which 293 km2 (113 sq mi) belonged to the territory of Pondichéry. In 1936, the population of the colony totaled 298,851 inhabitants, of which 63% (187,870) lived in the territory of Pondichéry.[2]

via French India – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.




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