Posts Tagged ‘annoyances

29
Jun
10

6.29.2010 … happy birthday, alex! … sunny day … lots in the news … braves win against the phenom … Do you have a favorite earworm … or is that an oxymoron?

baseball, Braves, Strasburg: I hope et enjoyed the game!

Stephen Strasburg came to town as the toast of baseball, so dominant through his first four starts that a Washington reporter asked Braves manager Bobby Cox whether the Nationals rookie should be in next month’s All-Star Game.

Cox was diplomatic in his response, but a couple of hours later his Braves delivered a response of a different kind.

After Strasburg sailed through six innings, the Braves knocked him out of the game during a five-run seventh that lifted them to a X-X win against the Nationals in a series opener before an excited crowd of 42,889 at Turner Field.

via Braves, Hudson win duel with phenon Strasburg  | ajc.com.

csr, culture: Another article right in line with some discussions we have been having at our house.

Two-and-a-half years later, Danone teamed up with Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi who later won the Nobel Peace Prize for his microcredit program that lends money to poor entrepreneurs. Mr. Riboud and Mr. Yunus, having met over lunch, set up a joint venture called Grameen Danone Foods Ltd.

The idea was to sell an affordable seven-cent yogurt product called Shokti Doi—which means “strong yogurt.” Fortified with vitamins and minerals, it was to be sold through local women who would peddle it door to door on commission.

For the 54-year old Danone boss, who eschews ties and gets around by scooter, the Shokti Doi initiative was something of a personal mission. His father Antoine, who preceded him as chief executive, had instilled in him an interest in ventures that had a chance to both make money and give a lift to the poor—the “double project”, as he called it.

Within a year, though, Grameen Danone hit a wall: Milk prices soared, factory openings were delayed, and the saleswomen couldn’t earn a living selling yogurt alone. Today, a significant portion of sales of Shokti Doi come from urban stores, not rural villages as planned.

via Danone Expands Its Pantry to Woo the World’s Poor – WSJ.com.

culture, South Africa, FIFA World Cup 2010:  Because of the World Cup and that my daughter will soon spend 9 weeks in SA, I am fascinated with it’s culture, history, problems … and hope.

At moments, as during this first African World Cup, the rainbow shimmers. This was supposed to be the competition of smash-and-grab and of machete attacks. Many stayed away.

The fear merchants, always hard at work, have been proved wrong. German grandmas do not lie savaged on the road to Rustenburg.

Unity has unfurled, calm broken out. Smiles crease black and white faces alike. To the point that the most asked question here is: Will this moving honeymoon last beyond the World Cup?

via Op-Ed Columnist – The Black and the White of It – NYTimes.com.

media:  How often do you read Rolling Stone?  Will you read it more often now?

“Everything was kind of hunky-dory under Clinton,” Mr. Wenner said in a telephone interview last week. “With Bush, between 9/11 and his response to it, he put the country in pretty serious danger. And that kind of got our juices going again.”Rolling Stone’s explosive piece “The Runaway General,” which last week brought a disgraceful end to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s career, was just the latest in a string of articles resonating in the nation’s corridors of power.Its excoriating takedown of Goldman Sachs last summer was one of the most provocative and widely debated pieces of journalism to come out of the financial crisis. In the article, the writer Matt Taibbi described the investment bank as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”And this month, the magazine published a critical take on the Obama administration’s regulation of the oil industry, which started a firestorm on cable news and in the blogosphere. The current issue contains a follow-up on BP’s plans to drill in the Arctic.

via Rolling Stone Back on a Roll With Investigative Articles – NYTimes.com.

RIP: Interesting perspectives from many who knew him well … to me, he was always the old guy in the senate.

Op-Ed Contributors – Robert Byrd, Living History – NYTimes.com.

media:  I don’t produce YouTube videos … but if I did would I pay the fee … I am a rule follower …

You’ve shot the video and edited it down. It’s ready for YouTube. But what about the soundtrack?

Publishing a video with copyrighted music requires a license for the song. And securing that can be a cumbersome task — track down the record label, make a deal — especially for amateurs just looking to post a video of the family vacation.

But on Tuesday, the music licensing company Rumblefish is introducing a service that allows users to buy a license to a copyrighted song for $1.99. For that price, the user gets the full version of the song and can edit it as well.

via Rumblefish to Offer Music for YouTube Users – NYTimes.com.

basketball: A Curry is probably the only thing that could make me watch or, god forbid, pull for Duke.

Blend in Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, plus Andre Dawkins, Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry and beefed-up Ryan Kelly (232 pounds), and it’s easy to see how the Devils could win their fifth title.

via Despite roster changes, Duke could win it all again – CharlotteObserver.com.

economy, Dublin: The City Center seemed vital and bustling … but John and I got off the map (directionally uninhibited/challenged …by me :)) and we saw the multitude of “for let” signs, the unfinished developments … it is truly a global recession.

Signs of the decline encrust Dublin’s streets. Boisterous crowds still mash onto the cobbles of Temple Bar. Yet farther out, “To Let” posters obscure the hollowed shells of once-vibrant cafes and clothing shops.

Fifteen minutes north of the city center, hulks of empty buildings form stark symbols of why Ireland must now hunker down. At Elm Park, a soaring industrial and residential complex, 700 employees of the German insurer Allianz are the lone occupants of a space designed for thousands.

In the impoverished Ballymun neighborhood, developers began razing slums to make way for new low-income housing. Halfway through the project, the financing dried up, leaving some residents to languish in graffiti-covered concrete skeletons. “Welcome to Hell,” read one of the tamest messages.

via In Ireland, a Picture of the Cost of Austerity – NYTimes.com.

economy, Charlotte, urban development: 30 years ago as a college student, we favored Eastland over South Park … times change … demographics change.

The polished corridors of Eastland Mall, once abuzz with shoppers and cash registers, held only hissing escalators and echoing elevator music Friday. Darkened storefronts lined the hallways.

It will close Wednesday – 35 years after its debut as the region’s premier retail destination. Though a Houston company last week bought the core of the 1.1million-square-foot shopping center with the hope of reinventing it, the old Eastland is almost certainly finished. A new identity, a new look, a new name could take its place.

via Why Eastland went from bustling to bust – CharlotteObserver.com.

Kagan nomination, Supreme Court: modest … how does that mix with snarky and brassy?

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan sought Monday to counter assertions by conservatives that she was a liberal activist with an agenda, promising to be a modest jurist, respectful of the “often messy” democratic process.

Ms. Kagan told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the court’s role should be “a modest one, properly deferential to the decisions of the American people and their elected representatives,” in her first comments since her nomination.

She added, “The court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people.”

via Kagan Hearings Get Under Way – WSJ.com.

R(etire) in Peace, Supreme Court: Justice Stevens you will be missed … even your bow ties.

Bowtie-wearing lawyers and spectators dotted the U.S. Supreme Court chamber on Monday, a nod to retiring justice John Paul Stevens and his signature neckwear.

Stevens, 90, officially retires Tuesday, the first day of the Supreme Court’s summer recess.

“If I have overstayed my welcome, it is because this is such a unique and wonderful job,” said Stevens, who on his retirement will be the third-longest serving justice.

via John Paul Stevens Retires From Supreme Court, Bow Tie-Clad Lawyers Say Goodbye.

media, politics:

On most cable newscasts, the people who are writing new financial regulations are called congressmen. But on “The Dylan Ratigan Show” on MSNBC, some are called “banksters.”

Dylan Ratigan says that the financial overhaul bill is “nothing more than window dressing.”

That term, a twist on gangsters, tells viewers a lot about Mr. Ratigan, a financial news apostate who has transformed himself into an outspoken opponent of too-big-to-fail banks and the politicians whom he calls their servants. In the recent fight over financial reform, he lent a megaphone to people who wanted an end to “too big to fail,” and he called on viewers to lobby the Senators in his imaginary Bankster Party.

All this from a man who, until recently, hosted a stock-picking show on CNBC, the cable personification of Wall Street. Now Mr. Ratigan, who labels himself a taxpayer advocate, rails against the “vampire” banks who “have assumed control of our government.”

“It’s like being the guy who was running the casino, and then having an awakening and realizing that the casino is what’s killing the country,” Mr. Ratigan said in an interview last week.

via A Business Journalist Turned Anti-Banker – NYTimes.com.

parenting, culture, teens: Fine line … most parents almost can’t win …  except the perfect ones …

Kids whose parents are either too strict or too lenient may be more likely to engage in binge drinking, according to a new study out of Brigham Young University.

Researchers found parenting style doesn’t make a difference in whether or not your kid will try alcohol, but it does affect the relationship teens have with adult beverages.

The Los Angeles Times reports that of 5,000 teens surveyed, those who had the healthiest relationship with alcohol also had parents who strike a balance between watchful and loving.

via Parenting Style an Influence on Teen Drinking, Study Says – ParentDish.

great headlines:  Just had to read about a real life jason Bourne!

Detectives are focusing on the contents of four computer hard drives in hopes of unraveling the case of the so-called “real-life Jason Bourne,” an ex-con who sparked a six-week international manhunt after police found his Los Angeles luxury loft stocked with loaded weapons, counterfeit bills and photos documenting his changing appearance.

via Brian Alexik, ‘Real-Life Jason Bourne,’ Mystifies Detectives.

culture, women’s issues: No class ceiling … but I don’t particularly like beer.

“We have found that females often are more sensitive about the levels of flavor in beer,” says Barry Axcell, SABMiller’s chief brewer. Women trained as tasters outshine their male counterparts, he says.

If practice makes perfect, men should have the clear edge in beer tasting, since they account for 72.8% of the world’s beer sales, according to market-research firm Datamonitor Group. But SABMiller, which makes Pilsner Urquell, Peroni and Grolsch in addition to Miller and Coors brands, says its empirical evidence shows that females are the superior sex when it comes to detecting such undesirable chemicals as 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, which makes beer “skunky.”

via No Glass Ceiling for the Best Job in Whole World – WSJ.com.

media, culture: After seeing the picture, I scared to go find the video!

Last week, Mr. Wilson released a spoof of Gaga’s “Alejandro,” a video that has been generating attention because of its religious overtones, this time as sung by Old Lady Gaga. The character is played by comedian Jackie Hoffman and the act involves tubes of Fixodent, walkers and granny panties.

via Jackie Hoffman a Hit as Old Lady Gaga – WSJ.com.

work, culture: … more seamless blend of work and life …hmmm

Over the past couple of decades, a new way of working and a new kind of workplace have evolved. It began in Silicon Valley, where companies ceded a certain degree of autonomy to knowledge workers, recognizing that too much rigidity could stifle creative output. Khakis and shirtsleeves replaced gray flannel suits. And 9 to 5 sometimes became 9 to 9 or 11 to 1 in the morning. But the time was broken up by espresso runs and bike rides, or ultimate Frisbee games during lunch.

The trend has spread to the point that our lifestyles and our work styles are becoming increasingly blurred. Though my factory-worker father might not have believed it, those people you see hunched over their laptops in coffee shops and thumbing instant messages on their BlackBerrys as they walk through the park are actually working.

This new way of work has given rise to what the sociologist Ray Oldenburg calls “third places” — the Starbucks where we go not just to drink coffee but also to send an e-mail; the hotel lobby where we take a meeting; or the local library where we write a report, edit a document or revise a business plan.

Increasingly, places are supplanting plants — corporate headquarters and factories — as the principal social and economic organizing units of our time. There are several reasons for this.

Mass migration from farms to urban centers generated new prosperity after the Long Depression of 1873-79. The expanding suburbs underpinned the great economic boom of the 1950s and 60s. We are now at the cusp of another such far-reaching movement — with the magnetic pull of urban centers strengthening our economy and leading to a more seamless blending of work and life.

via Preoccupations – The Urban Lands of Opportunity – NYTimes.com.

culture, annoyances: Ranks at the top of my list!

IN a recent Consumer Reports survey about everyday annoyances, with 10 being “annoys you tremendously,” respondents rated the failure to get a human being on a customer service line an 8.6, second only to hidden fees (8.9) and more irritating than spam e-mail (7.5) and inaccurate meteorologists (4.3), which was at the bottom of the list.

The Web site lets consumers hang up when put on hold; later they are called when a service representative is available.

A new company, LucyPhone, is offering a solution: when put on hold, users can hang up, and are then called back when a customer service representative finally picks up. On the free service’s Web site, LucyPhone.com, users type in a customer service number (or click on one of many stored on the site), as well as their own. The company also has submitted a free iPhone application to Apple, which it expects to be approved soon.

via Advertising – An Escape Hatch From Being Stranded on Hold – NYTimes.com.

icons:  Does anyone know where this DAWG statue is … I assume in Athens?

annoyances, culture:

The Web site lets consumers hang up when put on hold; later they are called when a service representative is available.

A new company, LucyPhone, is offering a solution: when put on hold, users can hang up, and are then called back when a customer service representative finally picks up. On the free service’s Web site, LucyPhone.com, users type in a customer service number (or click on one of many stored on the site), as well as their own. The company also has submitted a free iPhone application to Apple, which it expects to be approved soon.

via Advertising – An Escape Hatch From Being Stranded on Hold – NYTimes.com.

vocabulary, random, music:  Do you have a favorite earworm … or is that an oxymoron?

Earworm, a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm,[1] is a portion of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one’s mind, put colloquially as “music being stuck in one’s head.”

via Earworm – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

OK, so here is mine ….

culture, teens, children: a little troubling, but worth reading …

Everyone warns parents about the drama of the teen years—the self-righteous tears, slamming doors, inexplicable fashion choices, appalling romances.

But what happens when typical teen angst starts to look like something much darker and more troubling? How can parents tell if a moody teenager is simply normal—or is spinning out of control? This may be one of the most difficult dilemmas parents will ever face.

via Worried About a Moody Teen? – WSJ.com.

blogs: I like this new blog.

About Johnson

In this blog, named for the dictionary-maker Samuel Johnson, our correspondents write about the effects that the use (and sometimes abuse) of language have on politics, society and culture around the world

That said, a lot of meetings are still bilingual, and the English spoken in Euro-Brussels has some quirks that come directly from French. One of my favourites is the word “normally”, which is a real marker for speakers of Euro-English, including native English speakers who have been in the city a long time. The adverb is a false friend, with “normally” and “normalement” carrying subtly different meanings in English and French.

via Johnson | The Economist.




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