Archive for June, 2014

24
Jun
14

6.24.14 … “The New Right values extremism, obstructionism, partisanship, and–frankly–ignorance. I am disappointed to realize that the New Right seems to want to walk hand-in-hand with the horrible strain of anti-intellectualism that sees universities as vocational schools and vilifies anyone expert in a field as somehow not living in the ‘real world’ or representative of ‘real people.'” – Kate Cochran

Leading up to the Runoff, Kate Cochran, Thad Cochran, Mississippi Senate Primary Runoff 6.24, GOP, New Right, Tea Party: Excellent piece by Ms. Kate  Cochran, daughter of Sen. Thad Cochran of MS, who faces a serious primary challenge from Tea Party-endorsed Chris McDaniel.  Kudos to Ms. Cochran for taking the time and effort to explain what many on the right see as an alarming shift away from traditional Republican principles to those of the “New Right.” I am fortunate to know a few “statesmen” on both sides of the aisle. It is these men and women who make this country work by understanding that a balancing of power within our legislative branch and the balance of powers among our three branches is essential to our greatness.

The New Right values extremism, obstructionism, partisanship, and–frankly–ignorance.  I am disappointed to realize that the New Right seems to want to walk hand-in-hand with the horrible strain of anti-intellectualism that sees universities as vocational schools and vilifies anyone expert in a field as somehow not living in the “real world” or representative of “real people.” But because no one can be an expert, everyone is, which is where the New Right finds its loudest voices: those with no training, education, or experience shouting down those who bring expertise to the table.  I think this is the reason that so many seem swayed by my father’s opponent: he is valued for his lack.  Lack of experience (he is not a “career politician.”)  Lack of wisdom (he relies solely on Jesus, the Constitution, and common sense*–combined in the veneer of “goodness”).  Lack of judgment (he vows to refuse federal monies and to try to impede legislation).  Lack of specificity (what are “Mississippi values”?).  Lack of perspective (how does he believe for one moment that a junior Senator from the poorest state will have any influence in Washington? How can he believe that he will not want his family to live with him in the D.C. area?).  I see these “qualities” as a disingenuous pose, engineered to appeal to the very worst in our electorate.  Hence, the illegal and immoral actions of his followers make sense–both in my mother’s nursing home and at the Hinds County Courthouse–because he trades in mindless fanaticism.  I find his campaign appalling on intellectual, moral, and idealist levels.  The fact that Mississippi voters are even considering his candidacy saddens me more than I can say.  Mississippi used to be recognized as the most backward, prejudiced, ignorant holdback in our nation, hands down.  This sea change makes me very afraid that we might deserve that mantle.

via Leading up to the Runoff.

Field & Fork: An Evening at The Parklands of Floyds Fork, 21st Century Parks’, The Parklands of Floyds Fork:  I’m in!!

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The evening begins with cocktails along the banks of Floyds Fork, followed by a three-course dinner set in a beautiful walnut grove, not yet open to the public. After dinner, there will be a private concert performed by the 23 String Band in the nearby meadow.

via Field & Fork: An Evening at The Parklands | The Parklands.

Modern Origami: ‘Surface to Structure’, WSJ:

 

Modern Origami: ‘Surface to Structure’ The ancient art of paper folding has come a long way from planes and cranes. “Surface to Structure,” a new exhibit at New York’s Cooper Union (June 19 to July 4), showcases the complexity of modern origami with 134 works by 88 artists.

via Photos: Modern Origami: ‘Surface to Structure’ – WSJ.

Pentatonix,  ‘Pitch Perfect 2’,  Inside Movies | EW.com:  OK, Trobs … what do you think?

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It seems only natural that the country’s favorite a cappella group will appear in the country’s favorite a cappella-based movie, right?

‘Sing-Off’ champs Pentatonix talk competition, their future album, and (of course) Nick Lachey’s puns Enjoy an a cappella ‘N Sync medley, no strings attached — VIDEO Rebel Wilson posts the first photo from the set of ‘Pitch Perfect 2’

Pentatonix, the five-person ensemble that rose to fame after winning the third season of NBC’s The Sing-Off, has joined the cast of the upcoming Pitch Perfect 2. The band reveals exclusively to EW that they’ll play a rival group to the Barden Bellas, the collegiate a cappella singers at the center of the sequel to the 2012 blockbuster, due in theaters in 2015.

The members of Pentatonix spent just one day on set in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a 12-hour whirlwind that included full makeup and wardrobe treatment for members Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan, Kirstie Maldonado, and Kevin Olusola. “We’re wearing some pretty interesting things,” teases Hoying. “You can definitely tell it’s the five of us, but what we’re wearing and who we’re portraying is definitely not Pentatonix.” Grassi adds: “You’re going to love it.”

Pitch Perfect 2 finds the original Bellas—Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, and others—returning for another year at Barden University, where they’re ushering a new crew of members into the national-winning group. Expect the five members of Pentatonix to offer threatening competition to the Bellas’ well-oiled machine.

via Pentatonix joins ‘Pitch Perfect 2’: Get details on who they’re playing | Inside Movies | EW.com.

Here Are The Biggest Companies By Revenue In Each State, graphics, maps: Any surprises?

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“We noticed that many states did not have companies included in the [Fortune 500] list, so we decided to perform our own research to find the largest company by revenue in each state based on the location of the corporate headquarters,” wrote Russ Fordyce, a managing director at Broadview, in a Tuesday blog post about the map.

Many of the results are pretty intuitive. There’s Walmart in Arkansas, General Motors in Michigan and Exxon Mobil in Texas. But in some states, especially the smaller ones, you’ll notice some surprising corporate heavyweights. Johnson & Johnson rules in New Jersey, while CVS is the big fish in Rhode Island’s little pond. Additionally, in the state of Washington, it turns out Costco trumps Microsoft.

via Here Are The Biggest Companies By Revenue In Each State.

Google Glass, DVF frames,  third-party retailer, Tech News and Analysis: Anybody I know tried google glass?

 

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Announced last month, the new Diane von Furstenberg frames for Google Glass are now available. Google announced the news early on Monday morning through its Glass Explorer Google+ page. While you can purchase the frames and shades directly from Google, anyone can purchase Glass and the frames online at Net-A-Porter, with the bundle costing $1,800. That’s an expansion from the Google-only sales of the wearable computer. Will Google get many takers at this price? It’s not likely but at least those who do opt-in for Glass will look a bit more fashionable with the DVF frames.

via Google Glass with DVF frames now available through third-party retailer — Tech News and Analysis.

1,600 Papier-Mâché Pandas,  Pandemonium, WSJ:

French sculptor Paulo Grangeon has created pandemonium in Asia with his tour of 1,600 papier-mâché pandas — one for every giant panda left in the wild. http://on.wsj.com/ToiY47

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Photo: Hundreds of pandas sit on the stairs leading to the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. (Credit: EPA)

Before the arrival of the papier-mâché pandas, Paulo Grangeon lived a quiet life at the foot of the Alps designing knives with handles in the shape of baguettes, croissants and carrots.

Even as his 1,600 pandas caused a stir in Europe, Mr. Grangeon, who runs a store in Grenoble, France, was largely ignored as visitors literally embraced and occasionally damaged his creations. Each papier-mâché panda, ranging from 5 to 18 inches high, is supposed to represent one of the remaining 1,600 giant pandas in the wild.

But when the pandas came to Asia, Mr. Grangeon’s handiwork put him in the spotlight. At their first stop, in Taipei, he says crowds waited in “kilometer-long” lines to take pictures of the pandas, and, to his astonishment, the artist.

“I was a bit overwhelmed, but it was good,” he said. “In two or three days, I came back to France and it was fine.”

Now Mr. Grangeon, 63 years old, has brought his pandas to Hong Kong. They were unloaded this month from a jet for a two-week tour. At the airport’s arrival hall, lines of people jostled to take snapshots of the monochrome gang.

via In Asia, 1,600 Papier-Mâché Pandas Bring Pandemonium – WSJ.

 

24
Jun
14

6.24.14 … skiing by the light of the moon …

The Perfect Summer: Lake Life, Garden and Gun, Lake Rabun GA, kith/kin, Lake Toxaway NC: I adore this pic from my daughter’s  recent visit to the Lake Rabun to visit a Davidson friend, her family and  their 4 footed friends. And, of course, she returned last  weekend, her last in the US for a while. Ah, the good life! (And her summer mountain lake weekends reminded me of many weekends I spent at Lake Toxaway in NC (one in particular when I was a college student at the Black’s lake house … skiing by the light of the moon. 🙂

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Lake Rabun

Lakemont, GA

There’s one marina and a twenties-era inn, and the closest grocery store is a thirty-minute drive. But it’s exactly that quiet charm that has kept families returning for generations to this North Georgia hideout, just a hundred miles from Atlanta. Summer highlights include the Fourth of July Wooden Boat Parade—the area is home to one of the country’s largest concentrations of classic crafts.

via The Perfect Summer: Lake Life | Garden and Gun.

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, 9/50, Gregor Turk:

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I had great fun at the Opening Gala for 9/50: A Southeast Arts Presenters Summit at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center 6.20 with Catherine W.. Seriously thought about buying a Gregor Turk original dish. As a matter of fact, I may go back … It is not often that you can own a dish designed by one of your first crushes.

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2014 FIFA World Cup, viewing venues, Germany:  I would go and watch!

This Stadium In Berlin Was Transformed Into A Giant Living Room For The World Cup

World Cup fans in Germany transformed the Union Berlin stadium into a giant living room Thursday, packing the pitch with sofas to lounge on while watching the opening match between Brazil and Croatia.

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AP Photo/Axel Schmidt

Organizers estimate that 12,000 fans showed up at the home field of 1 FC Union Berlin for the first World Cup game. 780 sofas were registered and an estimated 3,000 watched from a couch on the field. End tables and lamps were also provided.

via This Stadium In Berlin Was Transformed Into A Giant Living Room For The World Cup.

baking,  the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies,  tweaking:  Useful info!

Some like their chocolate chip cookies soft and chewy. Others prefer it a little crispier. No matter what your cookie preference is, a simple adjustment in ingredients will help you bake your perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies.

OZY took insights from several science-focused food experts (UCLA Science and Food teacher Kendra Nyberg, cookbook author Tessa Arias, Serious Eats, and cookie videos) to come up with rules of thumb for making different kinds of cookies.

For example, if you want a crispy cookie with a soft center, use 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Want it more cakey? Use more baking soda to puff the cookies up.

Hit up the link below for more cookie variations.

via Bake the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies by Knowing What to Tweak.

UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites, CNN.com, lists, bucket list:  I keep adding places … the Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc (France)

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New World Heritage Sites include the earthen remains of a Louisiana civilization dating back to 3700 B.C., Myanmar’s Pyu ancient cities (Myanmar’s first-ever site), and evidence of the end of the age of dinosaurs at the cliffs of Stevns Klint in Denmark.

Trading routes that crossed modern borders across South America and Asia were also inscribed on the list. The Qhapac Nan, the Andean road system, runs through Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. A 5,000-kilometer section of the Silk Roads known as the routes network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor crosses through China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

In addition to being of “outstanding universal value,” an inscribed site must also meet at least one of 10 criteria such as “representing a masterpiece of human creative genius,” containing “exceptional natural beauty” or being an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement.

Other new sites include the Okavango Delta (Botswana); the Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc (France); Rani-ki-Vav (India); Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands (Israel); the vineyard landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato (Italy); Namhansanseong emergency capital city (South Korea); and Saudi Arabia’s historic Jedda, the Gate to Makkah.

UNESCO has been gradually adding to the World Heritage List since 1978.

via UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites – CNN.com.

22
Jun
14

6.22.14 … On the summer solstice, three siblings and one lone outlaw spouse …

On the summer solstice, three siblings and one lone outlaw spouse  enjoyed an outdoor fire in Atlanta after a delightful dinner and several glasses of delightful wine or other spirits … followed by  a spirited discussion of all things political and religious …

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The Gift of Siblings, NYTimes.com:  Worth reposting … .

“Siblings are the only relatives, and perhaps the only people you’ll ever know, who are with you through the entire arc of your life,” the writer Jeffrey Kluger observed to Salon in 2011, the year his book “The Sibling Effect” was published. “Your parents leave you too soon and your kids and spouse come along late, but your siblings know you when you are in your most inchoate form.”

Of course the “entire arc” part of Kluger’s comments assumes that untimely death doesn’t enter the picture, and that acrimony, geography or mundane laziness doesn’t pull brothers and sisters apart, to a point where they’re no longer primary witnesses to one another’s lives, no longer fellow passengers, just onetime housemates with common heritages.

That happens all too easily, and whenever I ponder why it didn’t happen with Mark, Harry, Adelle and me — each of us so different from the others — I’m convinced that family closeness isn’t a happy accident, a fortuitously smooth blend of personalities.

IT’S a resolve, a priority made and obeyed. Mark and his wife, Lisa, could have stayed this weekend in the Boston area, where they live, and celebrated his 50th with his many nearby college buddies. Harry and his wife, Sylvia, could have taken a pass on a trip to New York: they’re traveling all the way from the Los Angeles area, their home. But we made a decision to be together, and it’s the accretion of such decisions across time that has given us so many overlapping memories, which are in turn our glue.

via The Gift of Siblings – NYTimes.com.

Davidson College, Document Legacy of Lake Norman Online:

Lake Norman, the largest manmade lake in the Carolinas, was created in 1964 when Duke Energy built a hydroelectric dam on the nearby Catawba River. As buildings and roads vanished underwater and backyards suddenly turned into shoreline, Lake Norman transformed the local community.

The anniversary prompted college archivist Jan Blodgett to think about cataloguing the history of this prominent environmental feature. At the same time, Duke Energy officials approached her about creating an online educational resource for the public.

“The creation of Lake Norman changed the landscape of the region both literally and figuratively,” said Tim Gause, Duke Energy district manager. “It was and continues to be a catalyst for growth and vitality. We certainly appreciate the need to preserve its colorful history.”

Blodgett subsequently collaborated with Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Brad Johnson and Professor of Economics David Martin to conceive the DCLNP as an assignment for environmental studies majors.

Johnson said this project also comes at an important phase in the lake’s history. “We are right at the point of losing the people who still remember what this area was like before Lake Norman. It’s important to hear the stories of these people so that they can be preserved,” he explained.

via Students Document Legacy of Lake Norman Online – Davidson College.

South Africa, Much too fat, The Economist:  First world problems …

South Africa’s latest ailment could herald a dangerous trend across the rest of Africa and the poor world, where obesity is projected to increase dramatically in the next two decades, along with urbanisation and economic development. It is a paradox that in places where malnutrition in children is high, adults are increasingly likely to be overweight or obese, say researchers.

Most South Africans sound comfortable with their waistlines. A health-and-nutrition survey published by the country’s Human Sciences Research Council found that two-thirds of South African men and women reckoned that they ate and drank healthily, with no need to change their way of life. Indeed, 88% of 25,500 South Africans interviewed indicated that the body image they deemed ideal was, in fact, fat.

via South Africa: Much too fat | The Economist.

Reflections On a Davidson College Reunion Weekend | Paul Dryden:  I have to ask if any of my ’79 friends were there when the police arrived?

My hope takes form in a rumor swirling around during reunion weekend about the class of 1979. Those 56- and 57-year-olds, so said the chatter, stayed up all Friday night to catch up and get rowdy with drinks. They say the campus police came in to breakup the frolics at 5 a.m. This makes me smile. I hope it’s true because inside that party I can imagine many old classmates thawing the friendship freeze that came as life marched on; reconnecting in ways they haven’t in the 35 years since their graduation. Their kids are grown up, and their careers are winding down. They have time that we simply don’t right now. I hope they take these rekindled friendships home, pick up the phone a little more often, and act like dumb 20- year-olds together.

via Reflections On a Davidson College Reunion Weekend | Paul Dryden

 

 

 

14
Jun
14

6.14.14 … greedy seniors … really?

Medicare, seniors:  My siblings and I have spent a great deal of time in the last 3 weeks making sure my mom gets the full benefits under her Medicare, AARP Supplemental policy and paid for contractual benefits from her continuous care facility. It is exhausting and challenging.  One slip up and she can be denied benefits that are worth thousands of dollars.  And this is wrong.  And now we have a people who have a misperception that these seniors are greedy?

Whatever image you may have of America’s seniors and of people on Medicare, the reality is that when more of us baby boomers are “seniors,” most will have very modest means and will be dependent on their families and public programs such as Medicare and Social Security for their retirement security.

via The Truth About Those ‘Greedy’ Seniors – Washington Wire – WSJ.

Remark by Obama Complicates Military Sexual Assault Trials:  Another from my backlog, but you have to wonder why Obama keeps getting criticized for muddying issues …

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

Published: July 13, 2013

WASHINGTON — When President Obama proclaimed that those who commit sexual assault in the military should be “prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged,” it had an effect he did not intend: muddying legal cases across the country.

President Obama at a meeting on sexual assault in the military in May. Judges and defense lawyers have said his remark on the issue has tainted prosecutions.

In at least a dozen sexual assault cases since the president’s remarks at the White House in May, judges and defense lawyers have said that Mr. Obama’s words as commander in chief amounted to “unlawful command influence,” tainting trials as a result. Military law experts said that those cases were only the beginning and that the president’s remarks were certain to complicate almost all prosecutions for sexual assault.

“Unlawful command influence” refers to actions of commanders that could be interpreted by jurors as an attempt to influence a court-martial, in effect ordering a specific outcome. Mr. Obama, as commander in chief of the armed forces, is considered the most powerful person to wield such influence.

The president’s remarks might have seemed innocuous to civilians, but military law experts say defense lawyers will seize on the president’s call for an automatic dishonorable discharge, the most severe discharge available in a court-martial, arguing that his words will affect their cases.

via Remark by Obama Complicates Military Sexual Assault Trials – NYTimes.com.

 

The Decline of North Carolina – NYTimes.com:  This is an article worth revisiting.  It is from July 2013.  I fear we have moved even farther  to dismantle our good reputation.  We have always been “conservative”  so the issue is really the extremism of the tea party and the religious right, not the traditional conservatism.  The Republican Party needs to refocus and redirect.  It needs to once again be a “beacon of farsightedness.”

North Carolina was once considered a beacon of farsightedness in the South, an exception in a region of poor education, intolerance and tightfistedness. In a few short months, Republicans have begun to dismantle a reputation that took years to build.

via The Decline of North Carolina – NYTimes.com.

Abortion Provision Among Practicing Obstetrician–Gynecologists:  I have several friends with whom I debate many social issues.  One thing that concerns me about abortion is that quality doctors are completely hands off.

Objective

To estimate prevalence and correlates of abortion provision among practicing obstetrician–gynecologists in the United States.

Methods

We conducted a national probability sample mail survey of 1,800 practicing obstetrician–gynecologists. Key variables included whether respondents ever encountered patients seeking abortion in their practice, and whether they provided abortion services. Correlates of providing abortion included physician demographic characteristics, religious affiliation, religiosity, and the religious affiliation of the facility in which a physician primarily practices.

Results

Among practicing obstetrician–gynecologists, 97% encountered patients seeking abortions, while 14% performed them. Young female physicians were the most likely to provide abortions (18.6% vs. 10.6%, adjusted OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.57–4.08), as were those in the Northeast or West, those in highly urban zip codes, and those who identify as Jewish. Catholics, Evangelical Protestants, non–Evangelical Protestants, and physicians with high religious motivation were less likely to provide abortions.

Conclusion

The proportion of U.S. obstetrician–gynecologists who provide abortion may be lower than estimated in previous research. Access to abortion remains limited by the willingness of physicians to provide abortion services, particularly in rural communities and in the South and Midwest.

via Abortion Provision Among Practicing Obstetrician–Gynecologists.

Other resources: US National Library of Medicine , National Institutes of Health

Congressman Responds Like Real Human Person Would After Getting An Absurd Letter From His Co-Workers:  This is another old one from my backlog, but again, it is worthy of thought.  Definitely a teachable moment.

When some anonymous congressmen sent around a draft letter addressed to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) to see if they could get some co-signers to protest the immigration reform bill, a high school teacher decided to make it a teachable moment. Said teacher, now-Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), unleashed his markup pen on the letter to grade the accuracy of the work. This write-up avoids most of the partisanship we see these days and goes straight for the fact-checking.

via Congressman Responds Like Real Human Person Would After Getting An Absurd Letter From His Co-Workers.

Detroit, Bankruptcy,  Pension Protections, NYTimes.com:  This is from a while back, but I think it is worthy of cataloging.  I have friends this week in Detroit for the PC(USA) General Assembly.  i am interested to hear their perceptions of this dying city.

In a ruling that could reverberate far beyond Detroit, a federal judge held on Tuesday that this battered city could formally enter bankruptcy and asserted that Detroit’s obligation to pay pensions in full was not untouchable.

 Protesters outside the courthouse in Detroit. “This once proud and prosperous city cannot pay its debt,” Judge Steven W. Rhodes said.

The judge, Steven W. Rhodes, dealt a major blow to the widely held belief that state laws preserve public pensions, and his ruling is likely to resonate in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and many other American cities where the rising cost of pensions has been crowding out spending for public schools, police departments and other services.

The judge made it clear that public employee pensions were not protected in a federal Chapter 9 bankruptcy, even though the Michigan Constitution expressly protects them. “Pension benefits are a contractual right and are not entitled to any heightened protection in a municipal bankruptcy,” he said.

via Detroit Ruling on Bankruptcy Lifts Pension Protections – NYTimes.com.

 

 

13
Jun
14

6.13.14 … We’ll have to wait until June 13, 2098, for the next one …

Honey moon, strawberry moon:

Honey moon!!

Tonight, get ready for a Honey Moon…

Starting at exactly 9:11 p.m., you can see the Honey Moon at its very fullest.

A champagne-colored full moon will appear in the sky, a celestial event that hasn’t happened in almost a century.

A “Honey Moon” is what the June full moon is called since it glows amber…And the last time it fell on a Friday the 13th was in 1919.

At this time of year, the moon is closest to the horizon, which makes it appear bigger, and it glows amber as the light reflects through the atmosphere.

We’ll have to wait until June 13, 2098, for the next one.

Source: Facebook

13
Jun
14

6.12.14 … Happy birthday to my great great great grandmother, Agnes ….

Agnes Irvine Scott, Agnes Scott College, Flat Agnes”, kith/kin:  Happy birthday to my great-great-great-grandmother, Agnes Irvine Scott, born this day 1799 in Ireland to an impoverished family.  And this is “Flat Agnes” a fun alumni gimmick found in their Fall ’13 Alumni Magazine … She travels the world over.  Quite a beauty, don’t you think?

 

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The story of Agnes Irvine Scott and the college that bears her name is one of faith, courage and independence. The college’s late-19th century beginnings, rooted in the generosity, faith and progressive thinking of a small group of Presbyterians, very much reflect the values and ideals of Agnes Irvine, mother of one of the college’s original founders. Irvine was born to an impoverished family in 1799.

Agnes departed her homeland in 1816 at 17 with her twice-widowed mother, leaving behind her home in Newry. Buoyed by the works of Burns, Shakespeare and the Bible, and hoping for a better life with family members, she journeyed to Alexandria, Pennsylvania. There she married John Scott, a widower with five children. Together they had seven more children.

Agnes Irvine Scott lived long enough to see her family divided by the Civil War. One son, John Scott, became a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. Another, George Washington Scott, became a successful businessman in Florida and Georgia. He, along with the Rev. Frank Henry Gaines and a group of Presbyterian leaders, founded an institution of higher learning for women in Decatur, Georgia, in 1889.

via Agnes Scott College – About Agnes Irvine Scott.

And a little bit more about Agnes and her local descendants: Full text of “The Story of Agnes Irvine Scott, 1799-1877: A Family Memoir”,  Betty NOBLE Obituary: View Betty NOBLE’s Obituary by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

10
Jun
14

6.10.14 … troglo life? …

France’s Cave Homes, Travel | Smithsonian, Tours FR, Loire Valley, Saumur FR, troglo life:  Anyone ever heard of France’s Cave homes? The pastoral care minister at my childhood church, North Avenue in Atlanta, mentioned them when he was visiting my mom on Friday. Sounds fascinating!! They are near Tours FR where Molly will be studying this fall.

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In the morning, I headed toward Saumur on old highway N 952, along the Loire. An hour or so later, I arrived in Saumur—not just where Bonnells live, but the epicenter of troglo life in France. There are hundreds of miles of caves in and around Saumur, some bored into the hillsides, some under the plains. Most are abandoned. Others have been revamped as troglo hotels, restaurants, museums, artist galleries, wineries, farms for mushrooms, silkworms and snails, a rose water distillery and a disco. Even a troglo zoo, where large animals live in open quarries and enclosed caves display bats and other lovers of dim light.

via A Tour of France’s Cave Homes | Travel | Smithsonian.

William Dabney of Virginia, American balloon flyer, D-Day, Omaha Beach,  French Legion of Honor medal, segregated 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion:

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Per Donna Morris … Per Linda Hervieux : William Dabney of Virginia was an American balloon flyer. He landed on Omaha Beach early on D-Day and was lucky to be alive when he got his TNT-armed blimp aloft, protecting our troops from German planes. In June 2009, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal, which he’s wearing in this photo. Until then his unit, the segregated 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, had been forgotten. Rarely are they mentioned in history books and Hollywood has never shown them in a D-Day movie. But they were there, the only black combat troops to land with the white infantry. Since meeting Bill, I’ve been researching a book about his battalion.

Palace Malice, Dogwood Stables, Campbell/Umhau Family, 2013 Belmont Stakes, 2014 $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park, kith/kin: Congrats Dogwood Stables, Cot and Ann Campbell, Campbell/Umhau Family!! Pretty extraordinary!

Palace Malice proved his class in the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park, winning the second Grade 1 of his career for Dogwood Stables a year after taking the 2013 Belmont Stakes.

Fourth with three furlongs left to go, the 6-5 favorite in a 12-horse field shifted off the rail and split rivals to run down tiring pacesetter Broadway Empire, then put away 2013 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents while driving clear by a length, Romansh came in a half-length back in third.

“It’s pretty extraordinary to have a horse win the Belmont a year ago and come back and win the Met Mile from the No. 1 post carrying 124 pounds and beating last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner,” trainer Todd Pletcher remarked. “In the process, it’s an unbelievable accomplishment.”

Broadway Empire struck out for the early lead in the Met Mile and was tracked with about a one-length advantage by Goldencents, making his first start of the year. A quarter went in :23.01 seconds and a half in :45.76 seconds while 124-pound highweight Palace Malice, getting the rail trip from post 1 under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, moved up from seventh race third, then fourth as Romansh made his outside move in pursuit of Goldencents and the leader.

Rounding the turn Palace Malice shifted gears and found running room between horses, easily clearing the tiring Broadway Empire on his inside before digging deep to pass Goldencents to his outside within the furlong grounds. The 4-year-old son of Curlin ran the mile in 1:33.56.

“When I finally got him through, he started running,” Velazquez said. “He was [hesitant to go through]. The room was there, but I kind of have to keep him busy, keep him busy. The spot was there, but he went to jump from one side to the other one and I almost lost my spot. I got after him again, and he finally got through. Once he got through, he started running. [Out of the gate], the first jump was OK and the second jump he kind of grabbed himself a little. He didn’t really bobble, he just stumbled a little bit, just a jump. After that I had to make sure I got him in the race.”

Goldencents’ connections said they were also pleased with their runner, who had not raced since finishing seventh in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Racetrack last November.

“We needed a little tuneup,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill. “This was his first race since he finished seventh in the Cigar. Too bad we couldn’t have a race in between. We did all we could. We’re extremely happy. We ran a great second, so we’re fine. We’re going for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.” Palace Malice returned $4.70, $3.70, and $2.90 while Goldencents paid $5.80 and $4.80. Romansh brought $7.90, while Shakin It Up, Clearly Now, Broadway Empire, Scarly Charly, Declan’s Warrior, Vyjack, Normandy Invasion, Capo Bastone, and Moreno completed the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish out of the Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor, Palace Malice is undefeated in four starts in 2014, all of them graded stakes. He earned an automatic berth to the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita Park in the Met Mile, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event.

via ESPN Horse Palace Malice takes Met Mile.

California Chrome, 2014 Belmont Stakes, Triple Crown:  Speaking of horses …

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High Museum of Art/Atlanta, 6.3, Elizabeth Musser’s The Swan House:  Childhood friend Elizabeth Musser wrote a wonderful historical novel using this tragedy as the historical backdrop.  It was truly a sad event in the history of Atlanta.

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Fifty-two years ago today, more than 100 Atlantans were killed in an airplane crash outside Paris at Orly Airport. The group had just completed a three-week trip sponsored by the Atlanta Arts Association and were headed home to Atlanta when the crash occurred.

From that tragedy, the Atlanta community came together to create the Memorial Arts Center as a tribute to the people who had long supported the arts in the city. The Woodruff Arts Center of today grew from those beginnings and today is one of the largest arts centers in the world.

In memory of the individuals and families affected by the Orly tragedy, and in recognition of their meaning to all of us associated with the Woodruff Arts Center, we have placed commemorative flowers by the Rodin sculpture on our front lawn today.

via High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

09
Jun
14

6.9.14 … Ordinary Time: Today, the Monday after Pentecost, is the beginning of the longest of all the Christian seasons: Ordinary Time …

James Howell, Ordinary Time:  From James Howell’ emails:

Today, the Monday after Pentecost, is the beginning of the longest of all the Christian seasons: Ordinary Time.

And yet, no time is “ordinary,” as in “average,” as in “he’s an ordinary-looking guy.” Time is precious, and unfathomably valuable, God’s marvelous gift to us of our days and years, time given so we might know and love and serve God. Christian time is punctuated by the grand festivals of Christmas and Easter, when God changed everything. And our lives are punctuated by huge days when everything changes: you graduate, you marry, you learn you have cancer, she dies, he leaves, a child is born.

But most of our days are a bit ordinary – and what I want to do with these emails during Ordinary Time is to think about how to connect deeply with God when it isn’t Holy Week or Ash Wednesday or Christmas Day or Pentecost. I hope you will read, and ponder, and talk with God – and maybe with somebody else. Sharing this journey into God with others is a rich blessing.

Cape Town Guide,  Gazelle with Porcini and Asian-Inspired Tapas, Hungry Crowd | Food & Wine:

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The lush Cavalli Wine & Stud Farm, a half-hour from the city’s center, has an art gallery and food that looks like art. At Equus, Henrico Grobbelaar cooks refined South African dishes like gazelle with porcini; for dessert, lemon tart with meringue. Strand Rd. (R44), Somerset West; cavalliestate.com

Mondiall

Peter Tempelhoff, chef at the famous Greenhouse in the suburbs, has opened a place in town. At Mondiall, the food is simple (cheeseburgers and chocolate sundaes). Alfred Mall, V&A Waterfront; mondiall.co.za.

The Pot Luck Club

The biggest name in the South African dining scene is avant-garde chef Luke Dale-Roberts. At his new place, he cooks Asian-inspired tapas (oysters with ponzu-dashi jelly). 375 Albert Rd., Woodstock; thepotluckclub.co.za.

Publik

This wine bar in a butcher shop pours around 30 bottlings from up-and-coming South African producers. 81 Church St.; publik.co.za.

via Cape Town Guide: Where to Find Gazelle with Porcini and Asian-Inspired Tapas – Hungry Crowd | Food & Wine.

 The Atlanta Opera, The Metropolitan Opera in Atlanta:  I remember my parents gong to see The metropolitan Opera in Atlanta and they always wore formal attire.  It was magical to watch them go out the door  …

Atlanta’s taste for opera began in the early years of the 1900’s with the Metropolitan Opera’s annual week-long tour to Atlanta. Performing at the Auditorium-Armory, the fabulous Fox Theatre and finally the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, the Metropolitan Opera’s annual tour was a major social event.

Every night of the week featured the performance of a different opera starring opera legends including Enrico Caruso, Marian Anderson and later, Luciano Pavarotti. The audience included a who’s who of Atlantans and was celebrated with posh parties at the Georgian Terrace, Piedmont Driving Club and other upscale venues. In the late 1970’s, the Metropolitan Opera stopped touring to Atlanta, leaving a void in the region.

via The Atlanta Opera | Our History.

 

 

 

08
Jun
14

6.8.14 … going back to being just random … Can I go back to College …

Words Matter and Student Translators Have “Mercy”, Davidson College, kith/kin: I think this is one of those classes that will stay with the students for their entire life …

Just think about that: In any language, we are indeed at the mercy, at some point, of some translator, somewhere. This night in the Carolina Inn, six Davidson students rose to offer some details of just how.

They worked from across a diverse range of traditions: a wartime radio address delivered by De Gaulle from London; a previously untranslated 1992 Gamoneda poem from Spain; a page of idiosyncratic screenplay from the recent French blockbuster The Intouchables; a ribald Roman comedy by Plautus from the first century B.C.E.; an ambiguous Greek ode by Sappho six centuries before Plautus; and a feminist revolutionary’s poem in Chinese about an early 1900s visit to Japan.

Just as telling as the original readings and translations were the students’ commentary on their projects, collected in a handsome chapbook. A sampling:

• “To complicate matters, cárdenas does not correspond directly to any color in English…. And while I believe that ‘purplish lilies’ is the best option, it still is far from perfect. Alas.” —Peter Bowman ’16, on Antonio Gamoneda’s “Book of the Cold”

via Words Matter, and Student Translators Have “Mercy”.

Senior Art History Majors Study Original Works in Vienna, Davidson College:  Can I go back to college?

At the beginning of each spring semester senior art history majors find out the title of their capstone seminar-the title reveals not only what they’ll be studying, but also where they’ll be traveling. This spring, Professor of Art History Larry Ligo announced to the nine majors that the course would be “The Art and Architecture of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna.”

“It’s a significant period not only in terms of painters, but also sculptors and architects,” said Ligo. Artists and architects, including Oskar Kokoschka, Adolf Loos, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and Otto Wagner, produced work during this 20-year period from 1890 to 1920. Two major driving forces were the 1897 Secession, during which artists hoped to transition from the traditional ornamental baroque style to a new visual language, and the Wiener Werkstätte, a production community of painters, architects and designers that evolved from the Secession.

Ligo added, “It wasn’t solely a revolutionary time for the visual arts. Freud was developing his ideas in psychology, Wittgenstein in philosophy, and Arthur Schnitzler in theatre.” To explore these subjects further, he invited three outside lecturers to lead class discussions: Professor of History Patricia Tilburg, Professor of Psychology Cole Barton and Professor of Theatre Caroline Weist.

However, the students delivered the majority of class lectures. Ligo said, “Although I designed the course, I wanted the students to take over.” Students were randomly assigned an artist, architect or movement to study in depth throughout the semester and then teach to the class. “The topics are randomly assigned because the course is meant to be a time of discovery rather than learning more about something you already know.”

The students’ individual research culminated in final lectures presented on site in Vienna.

via Senior Art History Majors Study Original Works in Vienna – Davidson College.

Vienna’s chocolate cake war, BBC News, sachertorte, Hotel Sacher or the Demel cafe:  I need to go back to Vienna … 30 years this week.

For many visitors to the Austrian capital, enjoying a slice of delicious sachertorte is an essential thing to do during their stay.

And there are two famous, rival places to go for the cake – Hotel Sacher or the Demel cafe.

“Sacher has been incredibly good at building on their brand, the famous cake, the story line, and, most importantly, maintaining the perception [of being the original]”

Martin Lindstrom, Brand expert

A classic example of a duopoly, the two businesses more than dominate the sachertorte market, both in Austria, and overseas via online sales.

The legal battle, which ran from 1954 to 1963, was centred on which had the right to call its sachertorte the “original” one.

The case was complicated by the fact that the son of the chef credited with inventing the cake, in the 19th Century, had connections to both businesses.

However, eventually an out-of-court settlement was agreed, under which Hotel Sacher became the one that could say it was the original producer of the sachertorte.

via BBC News – Vienna’s chocolate cake war.

Startup Hires “Fake” Mandela Sign-Language Interpreter for Bizarre Ad,  Re/code, can’t make this stuff up, Tel Aviv-based Livelens (which recently raised $2 million for its social live streaming app):

An Israeli startup’s new ad features the “fake” sign-language interpreter from Nelson Mandela’s memorial service — and the company says it pulled him out of a psychiatric hospital to film it.

The commercial featuring Thamsanqa Jantjie is a stunt from Tel Aviv-based Livelens, which recently raised $2 million for its social livestreaming app.

via Startup Hires “Fake” Mandela Sign-Language Interpreter for Bizarre Ad | Re/code.

VP Joe Biden, ‘Elizabeth Warren-type speech’,   CNN Political Ticker, CNN.com Blogs:  Sometimes I can’t avoid politics …

Biden did not mention his own White House ambitions. But several Democrats at the event were struck by one remark he made about Bill Clinton’s presidency: Three sources there told CNN that Biden said the fraying of middle-class economic security did not begin during President George W. Bush’s terms, but earlier, in the “later years of the Clinton administration.” Biden, of course, could face off against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 if they both decide to run.

Biden’s speech was described, to a person, as “populist.”

“He gave a stem-winding, almost revival-type speech today,” one Democrat said of the vice president. “I have never seen him this good. He was on fire. Sometimes when Joe gives a speech that goes on for 30 minutes, people are kind of drifting off or looking at their watches. But he was more enthused, more passionate. He was a preacher delivering a sermon.”

via Biden delivers ‘Elizabeth Warren-type speech’ at fundraiser – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

The Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, The Bright Cloud of Unknowing, Transfiguration (Matt. 17-1-9): From a while back, but I wanted it in my researchable database …

For those of you who keep the Christian calendar along with the one that says this Sunday is March 2, you know it’s the swing Sunday between the seasons of Epiphany and Lent–the day those who follow Jesus look down at our maps and say, “Uh-oh,” because it is time to turn away from the twinkling stars of Christmas toward the deep wilderness of Lent.  As gloomy as that may sound, it is very good news.  Most of us are so distracted by our gadgets, so busy with our work, so addicted to our pleasures, and so resistant to our depths that a nice long spell in the wilderness is just what we need.

No one can make you go, after all.  But if you’ve been looking for some excuse to head to your own mountaintop and pray, this is it.  If you’ve been looking for some way to trade in your old certainties for new movement in your life, look no further.  This is your chance to enter the cloud of unknowing and listen for whatever it is that God has to say to you.  Tent or no tent, this is your chance to encounter God’s contagious glory, so that a little of that shining rubs off on you.

Today you have heard a story you can take with you when you go.  It tells you that no one has to go up the mountain alone.  It tells you that sometimes things get really scary before they get holy.  Above all, it tells you that there is someone standing in the center of the cloud with you, shining so brightly that you may never be able to wrap your mind around him, but who is worth listening to all the same–because he is God’s beloved, and you are his, and whatever comes next, you are up to it.  Amen.

via The Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor – The Bright Cloud of Unknowing – Transfiguration (Matt. 17-1-9) – Day1.org.

Handwriting Analysis of Jane Austen, My Strength and My Song:

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Jane Austen, well-loved author of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and others, has beautiful and unique writing that reveals much about her personality.  Click on the image above to view a larger version.  Here are a few of the traits I found in her writing:

1. Rightward Slant – Miss Austen noticeably slants to the right in her cursive.  This is normal for people of highly expressive natures.  She shows her emotions, feels comfortable expressing herself, and demonstrates compassion.  She easily sympathizes with others.

2. Desire for Culture – The lower case ‘d’ (as in ‘Friday’ at the top of the letter) that ends with a stroke high and to the left instead of returning to the baseline indicates a love for elegance, high art, fine dining, literature, and music.

3. Enthusiasm – Miss Austen’s long, rightward ‘t’-bars (as in ‘told’, ‘the’ and ‘weather’ in the first line and many following words) indicate a high level of enthusiasm, especially with regards to her interests.  This is a common trait of very successful people.  Those with this stroke are future-oriented and driven.

4. Independence – Though I said above that Miss Austen likes people and relates well to them, she also has an independent streak that shows up in her ‘y’s that end in a straight stroke below the baseline but do not veer out toward the left (as in ‘Friday’ and ‘My’ at the top).  People with this stroke prefer to get things done on their own, to not need anyone and not be needed in return.  They also do not mind spending time alone and have a need to be away from people now and then.  Not all of Austen’s ‘y’s look like this, so this personality trait would likely have shown up in some situations and not in others.  This can be a desirable trait as it also includes a sense of determination when the ‘y’ is especially heavy and straight.

5. Argumentativeness – The ‘p’ that separates from the stem and reaches high into the middle (and even upper zone) of handwriting reveals an argumentative nature.  Those with this trait might argue just for the fun of it and enjoy good verbal banter.  For examples of this ‘p’, see ‘prevent’ in the second line and ‘opportunity’ in the last line of the first paragraph.

6. Diplomacy – Many of Miss Austen’s ‘m’s begin with a hump that is taller than the others.  This is the sign of diplomacy, or the ability to approach even potentially sticky subjects with tact and grace.  This, coupled with the fact that she writes with a rightward slant, leads me to believe that Miss Austen probably had excellent social skills and was good with people.

All this talk about Jane Austen makes me want to pick up a book!  I’m off…

All the best,

Allie

PS – See handwriting analysis of more well-known figures by clicking here!

via Handwriting Analysis of Jane Austen | My Strength and My Song.

Atherton HS- Louisville KY,   Gay Straight Alliance, policy,  transgender controversy:

The controversy comes nearly two weeks after the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights issued guidance under its Title IX programs extending federal civil-rights protections to transgender students. However, it doesn’t offer specific advice on the use of school facilities.

The issue was brought to Aberli’s attention about a month ago when the freshman student, who was born male but identifies as a female, asked for permission to use the school’s female facilities.

“We have two facilities for all female students to use,” Aberli said. “Initially, the student was allowed to use both facilities. However, in addressing concerns raised by parents and students, I wanted to respond to those concerns, so at this time, the student is only being allowed to use one of the two restrooms.”

The situation has ignited a firestorm among some parents and community members.

Clint Elliott, an attorney with the Christian-based legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, asked the Jefferson County Board of Education on Monday night on behalf of several parents to overturn Aberli’s decision granting the student access to the girls’ facilities.

“Imagine this scenario — a transgender student, a biological boy who decides that he wants to identify with the female gender, and yet he acknowledges that he has a girlfriend and is sexually attracted to girls,” Elliott said. “Are parents supposed to be OK with allowing such boys to use the girls’ restroom and locker room facilities?”

Elliott argued that Title IX “certainly doesn’t require opening up opposite-sex facilities.”

“(This is) a violation of parents’ rights regarding the oversight of their children and educational environment of their children and it is certainly a violation of a student’s rights to privacy,” he told board members. “What about those girls and their rights to privacy and safety? What about the First Amendment rights of all students?”

Other parents and students have rushed to defend the student.

Lorenna Cooper, a junior at Atherton and a member of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance, said the student is a friend of hers who has “fought exceptionally hard for acceptance.”

via School rethinks policy after transgender controversy.

Facts In Your Face ‏@FactsInYourFace, zip code, acronyms: I guess I should have figured it was an acronym … In my mind I assumed it had something to do with speedy delivery.  🙂

The ‘zip’ in ‘zip code’ stands for ‘zone improvement plan’

via (1) Twitter.

The New York Times ‏@nytimes, N.B.A. fan maps: Interesting …

N.B.A. fan maps. Which team do you cheer for? http://nyti.ms/1sBvhEZ  pic.twitter.com/knWYLsZMUd

via The New York Times (nytimes) on Twitter.

At this point, you might be thinking that we’ve run out of ideas. Not exactly. It’s just that we happen to love maps, and Upshot readers seem to as well. In particular, you spent a lot of time with our interactive map and accompanying article detailing the borders of fandom for Major League baseball based on Facebook likes. The most common question from readers was: What about other sports?

Today, basketball fans can stop wondering.

We’re also able to answer what may have been the second-most common question about the baseball maps: What about Canada? Facebook data shows that the Raptors own Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, but haven’t made many incursions into the United States. Though much of the rest of Canada looks Laker purple on our map, many of those areas are sparsely populated or have the Raptors as a close second.

via Which Team Do You Cheer For? An N.B.A. Fan Map – NYTimes.com.

 

06
Jun
14

6.6.14 … “We will accept nothing less than full victory. Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.” ~General Dwight D. Eisenhower giving the D-Day order on June 6, 1944. — at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France.

D-Day Anniversary:

“You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely….The free men of the world are marching together to victory. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory. Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

~General Dwight D. Eisenhower giving the D-Day order on June 6, 1944. — at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France.

 

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August 2011 Visit to Normandy FR: visited Normandy in 2011. Prior to visiting I thought I had no interest. I was both fascinated and overwhelmed.

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D-Day Deja Vu: Normandy-Era Sites Then and NowPhotos from time of June 1944 invasion are combined with present-day images for startling then-and-now effect

via D-Day Deja Vu: WWII Photos From Time of Normandy Invasion Matched to Present Site for Startling Comparison – WSJ.

 

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British artists Andy Moss and Jamie Wardley, representing the Sand In Your Eye sand and ice sculpture gallery, created an unforgettable and thought-provoking work, entitled The Fallen 9000, to commemorate International Peace Day (Sept. 21st).

via 9,000 Fallen Soldier Sand Drawings Commemorate Those Who Died On D-Day Beach | Bored Panda.

The Scotsman was 19, a member of 13th Battalion the Parachute Regiment, part of the British 6th Airborne Division, and he and his comrades were spearheading the Allied assault on German-occupied Europe. D Day was hardly an hour old when John James McDonald Hutton joined the fight.

After parachuting into Normandy once and getting away with it, one would think Jock Hutton had had enough of such an experience.

But today he is back, jumping again on to that same field near Ranville, together with hundreds of British, Canadian and American paratroopers re-enacting that fateful operation.

via D-Day veteran, 89, parachutes into Normandy again – Telegraph.




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