Posts Tagged ‘architecture



15
Oct
11

10.15.2011 … RIP, Dr. Partin, a most beloved Davidson professor … and missing my prematurely empty-nester friends Bob and Joni … not fair you get a fall week at the beach without us!

Dr. Malcolm Partin, RIP, Davidson College faculty:  So many friends consider Dr. Partin their favorite Davidson professor.  Rest in peace, Dr. Partin. I never had Dr.Partin but his  “Catherine the Great” lecture was well-known in Davidson lore  … and everyone would try to get in to hear it.  I listened in once.  🙂

During the funeral service, the Rev. Jody Seymour had reminded us all of Malcolm’s insistence that people made history, not social forces like the economy and political ideology. And the people in attendance to celebrate Malcolm today at Davidson United Methodist Church were a living history of Davidson.

It is tempting to think in a crowd like this of the Davidson of yore—”old Davidson” as someone else in the receiving line said. It is a comforting thought, in its way, attached as it is to more youthful days. Look, over there are Sam and Ava and John and Missy and Will and Sue and Hansford and Earl and Leland…. Of course, Leland. I’ve never laughed as much as I did when Malcolm and Leland would get on a roll. I hear Leland laughing even now in the receiving line, sharing happy memories of his friend with all who reach out to shake his own hand.

This is a solid group of good people, I think, and I’m honored to be in it. And when I back up a few steps (away from some very delicious homemade cookies), I see that there is no real distinction here of old or new. Just flow, here we all are right now. You never jump in the same river twice, and that. Someone is always arriving or leaving. It is Davidson in its terquasquicentennial glory, the Davidson of people who’ve gone before for nearly 175 years and who are here now and who are yet to come here, that matters….

via Daybook Davidson » Malcolm Overstreet Partin: May 24, 1936–October 12, 2011.

He engaged students with anecdotes and insights, inviting them to join him in discovery of two centuries of triumphs and tragedies that ultimately helped explain their own circumstance in history. He began one segment by saying, “Dig in your heels now, because we’re about to tackle the ‘Eastern Question’ in all its dreadful splendor…”

The benevolent dictatorship of his classroom was balanced by his behavior outside that personal domain. Students stopped by his office regularly in the afternoons for conversation and help, and he frequently dined with them. “He’s a friend an confidant who takes time to know you as a person, and not just as a student,” wrote one admirer.

via Davidson College News Archives.

empty nesters, kith/kin:  I hate experiencing the empty nest vicariously! Missing my prematurely empty-nester friends Bob and Joni … not fair you get a fall week at the beach without us!

Constitution, Second Amendment, Gene Weingarten: Enjoyed Weingarten rewrite of the Second Amendment … look forward to reading more of his rewrites!

The old version: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

What a mess! It’s got mangled syntax, extraneous punctuation, and, above all, mealy-mouthed caveats and qualifiers. If you are going to allow arms, allow arms.

My new Second Amendment:

“You have the right to bear arms, including but not limited to handguns, tommy guns, assault rifles, bazookas, zip guns, grease guns, blunderbusses, howitzers, flamethrowers, grapeshot cannons, shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles, medieval-style catapults that can launch a putrifying, disease-ridden horse carcass over a castle wall, and Al Pacino’s ‘lil’ fren’ from ‘Scarface.’ This amendment should not be construed to rule out ordinarily, non-lethal devices that might be weaponized, such as plowshares, pitchforks, and handheld, riled-up roosters.”

via Gene Weingarten: Get me rewrite – The Washington Post.

history, Great Depression, Great Recession:  Is history repeating itself?

Toward the end of his book, Allen sums up the mood of the country. By 1939, people were weary of hard economic times, but they were also weary of Roosevelt’s endless experiments. Many modern historians believe that Roosevelt’s biggest problem was not that he’d done too much, but that he’d done too little — that the Depression required a response bigger than even Roosevelt’s New Deal. Implicitly, Allen agrees with that.

Still, he writes, “Despite all the miseries of the Depression and the recurrent fears of new economic decline and of war, the bulk of the American people had not yet quite lost their basic asset of hopefulness.”

He concludes: “A nation tried in a long ordeal had not yet lost heart.” When our current long ordeal finally ends, will we be able to say the same?

via The 1930s Sure Sound Familiar – NYTimes.com.

The Phantom Tollbooth, children’s/YA literature:  Did you like The Phantom Tollboth?  It’s 50!

It’s a commonplace of scholarship to insist that children’s literature came of age when it began to break away from the authoritarian model of the moralizing allegory. Yet “The Phantom Tollbooth” is an old-fashioned moralizing allegory, with a symbolic point at every turn. Milo finds that the strange land on the other side of the tollbooth is sundered between words and numbers, between the land of Azaz the Unabridged, the King of Dictionopolis, and his brother the Mathemagician, the ruler of Digitopolis. The only way to reunite the kingdoms is for someone—why not Milo?—to scale the Mountains of Ignorance, defeat the demons, and release the banished princesses of Rhyme and Reason from their prison. (They were banished because they refused to choose between words and numbers, thereby infuriating the kings.) Along the way, each new experience makes funny and concrete some familiar idea or turn of speech: Milo jumps to Conclusions, a crowded island; grows drowsy in the Doldrums; and finds that you can swim in the Sea of Knowledge for hours and not get wet. The book is made magical by Juster’s and Feiffer’s gift for transforming abstract philosophical ideas into unforgettable images. The thinnest fat man in the world turns out to be the fattest thin man; we see them both. We meet the fractional boy, divided in the middle of his smile, who is the “.58 child” in the average American family of 2.58 children. The tone of the book is at once antic and professorial, as if a very smart middle-aged academic were working his way through an absurd and elaborate parable for his kids. The reality is that when Juster wrote “The Phantom Tollbooth” he was a young architect in Brooklyn, just out of the Navy, unmarried and childless, and with no particular background in writing or teaching, working out a series of jokes and joys for himself alone.

via Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth” at 50 : The New Yorker.

Breast Cancer Awareness, “pinking of America”:  Too much media hype  … does it do any good?  Actually pinking seems far less pervasive this year here in Charlotte.

THE Dallas Cowboys just got “pinked.”

And not just the Cowboys. The entire Cowboys Stadium here. Pink is everywhere: around the goalposts, in the crowd, on the players’ cleats, towels and wristbands.

In case you haven’t noticed, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when the entire nation gets painted pink. This is also when “pink” becomes more than a color: It becomes, for better or worse, a verb.

In marketing circles, “to pink” means to link a brand or a product or even the entire National Football League to one of the most successful charity campaigns of all time. Like it or not — and some people don’t like it at all — the pinking of America has become a multibillion-dollar business, a marketing, merchandising and fund-raising opportunity that is almost unrivaled in scope. There are pink-ribbon car tires, pink-ribbon clogs, pink eyelash curlers — the list goes on.

via In the Breast Cancer Fight, the Pinking of America – NYTimes.com.

piracy:  Modern piracy is not glamorous … makes you rethink 18th century piracy.

SOMALI pirates can be persistent. They have attacked the Maersk Alabama, a container ship owned by an American subsidiary of Denmark’s Maersk Line, no fewer than five times, most recently in May. In the first attack, in 2009, the captain was held hostage until the US Navy rescued him. Then Maersk put private armed guards on the ship. Since then, it has successfully repelled all boarders.

Maersk says it is only arming a few ships plying the pirate-infested waters off East Africa. But the practice is spreading rapidly among shipping firms despite the cost, which can run to $100,000 per voyage for a four-man team. That is because the number of attacks, off Somalia and elsewhere, has kept growing despite the strengthening of naval patrols (see chart). The European Union’s NAVFOR task-force, NATO warships and other navies patrol the waters off Somalia, but this has only pushed the pirates out into the open ocean, extending their attack zone towards India’s coast and as far south as Mozambique’s. This has forced the shipping industry, its insurers, and the national and international authorities that oversee them to accept that private armed guards are a necessity.

viaPiracy: Prepare to repel boarders | The Economist.

politics, what ifs …:

Hillary Clinton is going to swap jobs with Joe Biden at some point between now and the 2012 election, okay? I can just tell.

Yes, I understand that I should rightly be embarrassed for making this claim. But no, it’s not because of the obvious fact that both Biden and Clinton have repeatedly claimed that they want no part of such a swap, or that there isn’t any indication that the White House would do such a thing, or that even if the White House and Biden and Clinton wanted to it would be treated by the media as a fundamental sign of desperation and by their opponents as a sign of weakness. It’s not because of the unambiguous absence of any compelling reason to make a change like this. And it has nothing to do with the fact that such a change-up would not result in a single needle being moved in the White House’s favor.

via Here Are Some Thoughts I Had For America!: This Week In Pundit Pontifications.

iPhone 4S, SIRI, LOL: OK I laughed … Shit That Siri Says STSS

violence, Christianity:  Interesting analysis … an issue that has come up several times recently.

There was a simple lesson we learned that day: skepticism is good; because life is far more interesting and complex than our assumptions would have us believe, especially those assumptions about other people.

But at a deeper level, what we learned was our faith is a resource, the deepest of deep wells. It is not only a tool for coping with difficulties, but it provides some sense of both meaning and direction.

That is where I’d like to address the question for this panel today. And as a way to talk about what Christianity says about peace, I’d like to do so from the side by answering this question: What is the Christian response to violence?

There are typically two answers to this question from the Christian tradition that many of us would be familiar with.

First, there is what is known as the “just war” theory, first developed in a Christian sense by St. Augustine in the 4th and 5th centuries. Without going into too much detail, it is the theological rationale that there is such a thing as permissible violence, but within a very clearly prescribed set of circumstances that limit behavior during war and also limit the reasons for going to war. In short, the good must outweigh the bad.

Second, there is pacifism, which roots itself in Christ’s teaching to “turn the other cheek”. It had its proponents in the early church, and has continued as a Christian way of thought. We know it best in the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who employed it as both a strategy and a way of life.

But in both cases, what is not an option is revenge. It is not a Christian value. There is no justification, from a Christian perspective, for getting even.

Listen carefully to Jesus’ response to the crowd: “Do you think these suffered in this way because they were worse sinners? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.”

In that, I hear Jesus issuing a warning: lives lived without repentance – without the humility and honesty of acknowledging wrongdoing – are destined for tragedy. And not in the sense that either Falwell or Robertson might believe.

Repentance is, after all, a turning to face God. It is a shining of light on that which is shrouded in darkness. It is painful, but it is restorative. Before anything else, there is the need to confront our brokenness, our imperfections, the evil we harbor within ourselves. And repentance is not confined to the individual. It is a collective responsibility. How are we complicit? How do we participate in systems which allow violence to flourish?

It is my conviction that it is the asking of these difficult questions that begins the Christian path to peace. It is the moral consequences of the answers that give us direction.

via What Is the Christian Response to Violence? Reflections for an Interfaith Panel « i feast therefore i am.

Louisville KY, river cities:  I love this description of Louisville!

I love cities on rivers. They always remind me of the great Raymond Carver poem, Where Water Comes Together With Other Water … and the lines “I love the places where water comes together with other water… They stand out in my mind like holy places. . .”

The mighty Ohio River from our hotel room

Louisville isn’t quite holy, but it is a quiet, likeable city of beautiful old brick facades, lots of fountains, and the KFC Yum! stadium, picturesquely situated on the banks on the mighty Ohio. Our hotel room overlooks the river, where we can watch coal barges floating by, loaded up with great mounds of black grit. When I drove in Monday night, I missed my turn and ended up driving across the river into what I thought was Ohio but was actually Indiana (and yes, I am directionally and geographically challenged).

via My new Kentucky home. | What Gives 365.

‘The Rosie Show”: I am not sure I will ever like Rosie again … she just got mean and ugly …

On the premiere of her show on Monday, Ms. O’Donnell performed a mock cabaret number with her own lyrics to “The Night Chicago Died.” (“Remember my problems on ‘The View’/I told Hasselbeck a thing or two.”)

She also discussed rehab with Mr. Brand, a former drug addict, and breast cancer with Ms. Sykes, who caught hers early and is in full recovery. But serious issues don’t get in the way of what Ms. O’Donnell does best: amiable, free-floating conversation that seems unscripted and unpretentious.

“The Rosie Show” is an OWN program that doesn’t ask viewers to look inside themselves; it just entices them to watch.

via ‘The Rosie Show’ and ‘Oprah’s Lifeclass’ on OWN – NYTimes.com.

White House, President Obama, BlackBerry messages,  Solyndra, Executive Privilege:  New area … blackberry communications … Solyndra is getting bigger …

President Barack Obama won’t be sharing his BlackBerry messages with House investigators seeking communications about Solyndra, the White House told Hill Republicans on Friday.

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders that they should still be happy with the trove of Solyndra-related documents they’re getting from federal agencies including DOE, the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget.

But Ruemmler said the investigators’ request for all internal White House communications about Solyndra — dating back to the first day of the Obama administration — “implicates long-standing and significant institutional Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

Obama had to fight his lawyers just to be able to become the first president to use a BlackBerry, and so far no one has successfully gotten access to the messages.

via White House won’t turn over Obama’s BlackBerry messages on Solyndra – Darren Samuelsohn – POLITICO.com.

Google, Steve Yegge,  “Jerry Maguire moment”:

I’m not sure if Yegge interrupted his fervent writing spree to assume yoga positions, as Jerry Maguire did, but his memo about Google+ shook the tech community as much as Maguire’s memo shook the fictional sports agency world.

The only difference: Yegge does not seem in danger of being fired and forced to start up his own tech company with a spunky sidekick/secretary. (At least not yet). But his missive left me cheering for Yegge, imaging a Hollywood symphony swelling to a crescendo when I reached the final line: “But we’ve gotta start doing this right.”

To recap for the non-tech-obsessed: An engineer at Google, Yegge poured out his angst about the struggling Google+ on Google+. His diatribe was meant for Google employees only, but even Yegge can’t figure out how to use the platform and he mistakenly made it public. He took it down, but nothing dies on the Internet, so copies are still posted all over Google+. (He also has an archive of long posts around the Web, most amusingly “Stevey’s Drunken Blog Rants” about his time at Amazon.)

His Google+ post is a fascinating glimpse inside the world of one of the largest tech companies. It’s long, but worth reading — even if you don’t understand half the tech jargon (I write about the Internet, and there were parts I stumbled over). By the time you reach the end, you’ll be cheering for Yegge too.

While there’s plenty for the tech crowd to enjoy (especially the inside gossip on Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos, or “Dread Pirate Bezos,” in Yegge’s words), what stuck out to me were the simple rules he laid out for thinking about how a company should be run.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say, for all his complaints about the company, Yegge does a pretty great job making Google seem like an incredible place to work.

via Google engineer Steve Yegge has his Jerry Maguire moment – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

 ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Coming Out, Web: Way too public to me.

LIKE a lot of people who post videos of themselves on YouTube, Kristina Cecil wants the world to know a few personal facts:

She is an avid hiker.

She is a Minnesota Vikings fan.

She is a member of the United States Air Force, which is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to serve in the military.

And she is gay.

“It’s really nice to say that now, because the whole ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been repealed,” Ms. Cecil, a 22-year-old with short-cropped blond hair and a tattoo on her right arm, said excitedly to the camera. “I’m just really happy to say that I’m gay, and I’m an American airman.”

Ms. Cecil’s on-screen declaration, shot in her disheveled bedroom, is one among a wave of coming-out videos posted by gay soldiers on YouTube in recent weeks. With National Coming Out Day this past Tuesday, less than a month after the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed, the genre of military coming-out videos gained force this week.

via After ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Coming Out on the Web – NYTimes.com.

Philip Johnson, Glass House, architecture, design, icons, bucket list: Glass House is on my bucket list … but isn’t a glass house counterintuitive to the idea of a house?

The architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House is one of the most important icons of modern architecture. For nearly five decades, Johnson and the art collector David Whitney lived in the 47-acre grounds in New Canaan, CT, sculpting the landscape and adding new buildings.

In 2007, two years after both men had died, the site opened up to the public as a National Trust Historic Site.

via Is Philip Johnson’s Glass House The Most Beautifully Designed House In The World?

social media ads, politics:  clicks = votes ….

The other problem with television: Live viewers are diminishing rapidly. A recent poll by the advertising company SAY Media reported that one in three voters had not seen any live television during the previous week. And politicians want to go where the conversation is.

Romney, for example, records short video messages and pushes them out on social media sites, including Facebook and YouTube. “You need to have digital embassies on every one of those sites,” Moffatt said.

Whether this form of advertising will be effective, or whether it will fall prey to the same arguments Malcolm Gladwell made about the efficacy of social media influencing world events (he disowned Twitter’s role in the Arab Spring), remains to be seen. There have been no major studies proving the success of online political advertising.

And in social media, all users — not just politicians — wield influence. New tools are allowing voters to tout their favored politicians. Votizen launched an endorsement tool last month on Twitter and Facebook to help people publicly vouch for candidates — and solicit their friends to get behind them.

via Will clicks on social media ads translate into votes? – The Washington Post.

pictograms, graphic design, Jesus, LOL:  Famous lives in minimalist pictograms!  Even, Jesus!

From Milan-based creative agency H-57 comes this brilliant series of minimalist pictogram posters for the life-and-times of famous characters, both fictional and historical, from Darth Vader to Marie Antoinette to Jesus — part Isotype, part Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, part something entirely and ingeniously its own.

via From Darth Vader to Jesus: Famous Lives in Minimalist Pictograms | Brain Pickings.

08
Oct
11

10.8.2011 … off to see some fall leaves and a few campuses … Warmer here than in Charlotte … amazing leaves and unbelievably funny signs to this Southerner …

road trip, college search, New England, fall leaves, road signs:  Off to see some fall leaves and a few campuses … Warmer here than in Charlotte.

On I-95 in Connecticut on a big yellow road hazard sign:

Do Not Stop

Correctional Facility Area

Now my question … How often do the inmates get loose?  I am not the only one concerned. DO NOT STOP [Correctional Facility Area] – Goatload.com. And I now understand that in some states they don’t care if you stop, just don’t pick up any hitchhikers … Correctional Facility: Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers photo – Paul Marcus photos at pbase.com.

Todays colleges:

Brown … Thanks to Ashley  and Justine for a great tour, lunch and Nutella milkshakes!  Yale: Thanks Katie and Carolyn … what a great place … the colleges, bladderball, master’s teas,  weddings … and Thai food …

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and loved this public art at Yale …

 

 

The Women’s Table, 1993

Maya Lin (b. 1959; B.A. 1981, M.Arch. 1986, D.F.A. 1987)

Location: Rose Walk, by Sterling Memorial Library

Maya Lin’s monument-making began during her undergraduate years at Yale, with her 1981 design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Like the black wall of names cutting into the grassy Mall, the simple granite blocks of Lin’s Women’s Table organically emerge from the pavement as both a lament and a tribute. A string of figures marks the number of female students at Yale each year since its founding in 1701. These numbers grow with time as they spiral out toward the table’s edge, swelling like the rings of water that bubble from the central spring and spill over on all sides. Anonymous gift, commissioned in 1989 and installed in 1993

via Public art at Yale – The Women’s Table.

Rural America, USPS, kith/kin, Pineview GA:  Growing up visiting my grandparents in Pineview GA, I know how important a post office is.  Not only does it provie services connecting a community to the world, it also provides identity and is a “meeting up” place.  In my opinion, rural post offices should be subsidized before many other entitlements.

Many here note that the people who would be hurt most by the closings — the rural elderly — often do not use computers or e-mail.

Susan Brennan, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service, defended the proposed closings. “Regarding rural America, the fact is that our network of post offices was established decades ago to serve populations that in many, many cases moved on years ago,” she said. “The residents in these communities already go to neighboring towns to shop for food, go to the drugstore, purchase gas, go to the bank — they can take care of their postal needs there.” Postal authorities have also proposed installing branches in some retail stores, with Ms. Brennan suggesting that the move might buoy ailing small-town shopkeepers.

Inside Neville’s post office building, which was once a grocery store, the Postal Service’s notice of “possible closing or consolidation” remains tacked to the bulletin board. Citing a “declining workload,” the Postal Service letter noted that the branch’s “walk-in revenue” declined to $15,487 in fiscal 2010, down from $21,806 the previous year. A closing, it estimated, would yield savings of $347,126 over 10 years — almost all from eliminating Ms. Blackburn’s job.

The letter stated, “Savings for the Postal Service contribute in the long run to stable postage rates and savings for customers.”

Ms. Blackburn is anything but a faceless bureaucrat — she plays community booster, historian and newscaster, telling people why that ambulance came to town a day earlier and warning people to lock their doors when an escaped convict was in the area. She also played an important role in arranging a paddleboat excursion to mark Neville’s bicentennial in 2008. (The Postal Service has ordered local postmasters not to grant interviews about the proposed closing.)

Mr. Burke said that to avoid shutting rural post offices, the Postal Service should first pare the number and salaries of upper managers and close more urban post offices. (Postal officials say they have been making such moves, but they would not save nearly enough money to avert rural closings.)

Some residents here also argue that just as the federal government subsidizes oil companies and other industries, it should subsidize rural post offices. Right now, the Postal Service, which is financed through sales of postage, receives no direct federal appropriations, although it is exempt from most taxes.

Townspeople also say the threatened closing insults the region’s lore. Six miles north lies Point Pleasant, the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant. And these river towns served as havens for the underground railroad.

Shelby Lucas, who has lived all of his 64 years in Neville, complained about the inconvenience that would accompany a closing. “It may save money for the post office, but it will cost us money, and it’s a hassle for us,” he said. “I’ll have to drive four miles each way to the post office in Moscow, but with the price of gas, that can really cost. It won’t be easy for retirees like me.”

Currently Neville has no mail delivery to homes or to curbside boxes, but the Postal Service says it might begin making deliveries to “cluster post boxes” of six or eight if the building is shuttered.

“I get retirement checks,” said Mr. Lucas, who used to work at Cincinnati Milacron, a machinery manufacturer. “If you put those post boxes on the street, I worry my retirement checks would disappear. There’ll be vandals. That’s happened before.”

Shirley Keller, 75, Chilo’s mayor, gets weepy about the post office. As a girl, she used to cross to Kentucky by rowboat with the postman to help him collect mailbags.

“There are quite a few old people here” said Ms. Keller, the mother-in-law of Chilo’s postmaster. “I don’t drive. It’ll be real hard to get to the post office in Felicity,” nearly five miles away.

Many rural residents have heard how the rise of e-mail and electronic bill-paying has caused the Postal Service’s volume and revenue to plummet.

“Everything is going to be the Internet,” said Carolyn Breisler, who is protesting the threatened closing in Decatur, Ohio. “Well, half the people in rural areas don’t have access to high-speed Internet. We’re not the ones putting the post office out of business. Yet we’re becoming the victims.”

via In Rural America, Fears That Beloved Post Offices Will Close – NYTimes.com.

death penalty, redemption:  There are so many facets to this complex issue.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After a quarter century on death row, Gaile Owens walked out of prison Friday with a few belongings and a simple wish: to walk in the park with her family.

The 58-year-old Memphis woman came within two months of being executed last year before her sentence was commuted — not because she was innocent, but because then-Gov. Phil Bredesen thought her punishment was excessive.

Owens admitted to hiring a hit-man in 1985 to kill her husband and the father of her two children. Supporters who tirelessly made the case to release her say she was an abused wife who has rehabilitated herself in prison.

via Woman inmate who came within 2 months of being executed leaves Tennessee prison on parole – The Washington Post.

Steve Jobs, Apple, Afghanistan, media, global issues:  I am guilty.  Steve Jobs’ death has occupied my space … and there really are more important issues.

There are many good reasons to mourn Jobs. He helped  transform communications and inspired many. Amid the gloom of the present, the brainy, bespectacled Californian represented the possibility of the future. He was, as Alexis Madrigal writes for the Atlantic, “the white wizard in the black turtleneck holding the forces of decline at bay.” Only a small fraction of the world could afford his wares,  but that didn’t stop a not-so-small fraction from coveting them—or from admiring him. As Madrigal put it, “We could all want to be Steve Jobs.” For most of us, though, “the occasional glimpse of our better selves in the reflection of an iPad is enough.”

To catch that glimpse, we’re willing to forget. We forget the harsh realities of globalized labor that lurk just beneath those brushed metallic surfacs. We pretend that it was the iPod and the iPad, not war, that defined the  decade. Steve Jobs and the iPhone may be the American dream, but Afghanistan is American reality.

via With All Eyes on Apple, It’s Easy to Forget Afghanistan – Global Spin – TIME.com.

design, architecture, form v. function, advertising, random, landmarks, icons:  Any in your area?  Saw the Hood milk jug recently  and the chest facade is in my state.

This one’s a Boston institution. In 1933, Arthur Gagnon wanted to open an ice cream stand in nearby Taunton, and he designed his new business to look like a giant milk bottle. After several changes in ownership (and a sail from Quincy to Boston proper), the structure is now known as the Hood Milk Bottle and resides at the Children’s Museum. It’s 40 feet tall and could hold 58,000 gallons of milk.

Furnitureland South’s 85-Foot Tall Highboy is more statue-attached-to-building than building itself, but the North Carolina landmark is still worth a mention

via mental_floss Blog » 10 Buildings Shaped Like What They Sell.

Skype, Facebook, Apple iPod, Amazon, cloud computing, personal computers, Foxconn City,  globalised supply chain, consumerisation, cloud-based “ecosystems”, global economy:  Very interesting article.  Read on …

ANYONE WANTING TO get a better idea of the scale of the changes taking place in the world of consumer electronics should take a look at Foxconn’s giant factory complex in Shenzhen, in southern China. Known as Foxconn City, it covers an entire square mile and is crammed with manufacturing operations and company-managed housing, medical facilities and educational centres. About 400,000 people work there, roughly as many as live in Oakland, California.

Like several other Taiwanese firms that operate factories at home and in China, Foxconn churns out electronic devices on behalf of a number of Western companies. By tapping into cheap Asian labour, Apple, Samsung and other consumer-electronics giants have been able to drive down the prices of their phones and other gadgets, broadening their appeal to consumers. A handful of insurgent Asian firms, including China’s Huawei and Taiwan’s HTC, which make devices that run on Google’s Android mobile operating system, are using their cost advantage to build their own global brands.

A globalised supply chain is not the only thing helping consumer-electronics companies to cut costs. They are also benefiting from economies of scale as the incomes of more and more people in more and more countries rise to the point at which gadgets are affordable.

Technologically impressive as all this is, the biggest change that the new devices have wrought is to transform many people’s experience of computing. The PC may have been personal; a smartphone or tablet, held in your hand rather than perched on your desk, is almost intimate, and you can take it almost anywhere. This shift has been driven by Apple, which likes to boast that most of its revenue now comes from “post-PC” devices such as iPods and iPhones rather than from its Macintosh computers. This is partly marketing talk: crack open an iPhone and you will find many of the paraphernalia—including a motherboard and microchips—that make up the guts of a PC too.

The Gucci of gadgets

Yet Apple has indeed ushered in a new era in which personal technology is finally living up to its name. That is because the technology is starting to adapt to the people who use it rather than forcing them to adapt to it. The most obvious manifestations of this are the touch-screens and intuitive operating systems on many tablets and smartphones that have allowed even toddlers to take to them with gusto. It is also reflected in the way that phones can now be tweaked to reflect people’s increasingly connected lives by, say, bringing up a friend’s latest Facebook posts when he calls. “The PC is personal but nowhere near as customisable as the smartphone,” says Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies, a consultancy.

Pioneers such as Amazon have built cloud-based “ecosystems” that make content such as its electronic books widely available. Even though the firm has its own e-reader, the Kindle, and has hatched a tablet computer too, it has also created apps and other software that let people get at their digital stuff on all sorts of devices, including PCs.

The rise of the cloud has also created an explosion of other consumer-focused web services. These include the big social networks such as Facebook, which has over 800m users, and a host of smaller firms such as Foursquare, which was created specifically to let people tell their pals where they are. This combination of social networking, location-signalling and mobile computing—nicknamed “SoLoMo” by John Doerr, a prominent venture capitalist—has given birth to outfits such as Badoo, a site for people wanting to chat, flirt and date. Mobile computing is also encouraging people to use web services more often than they would on a PC. Facebook reports that people who visit its network via mobile devices are twice as active on it as those who tap into it via other means.

Like many other technology executives, Mr Bates is convinced that consumerisation is an unstoppable force and that it has raised people’s expectations hugely. “It used to be that the best IT experiences people had were in the office,” he says. “Now that technology has been democratised, they have become used to doing new and exciting things themselves.” For their employers, this is creating both opportunities and headaches.

via Consumerisation: The power of many | The Economist.

05
Sep
11

9.5.2011 … Happy Labor Day … highly recommend The Conspirator … if you are into historical (not hysterical) drama …

The Conspirator, movies, Mary Surratt, Frederick Aiken, history, kith/kin:  Two movie nights with the Trobs make for a fine Labor Day Weekend … and what fun it is that they too like to follow-up with a little research on the internet.  and Joni is very good.  As for the Conspirator, I loved it.  It was intense.

So here are my questions:

1) Where is the picture they were obviously setting up to take of the hanging?

 

 

Execution of Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and

George Atzerodt at Washington Penitentiary on 7th July, 1865.

via Mary Surratt.

2)What happened to Mary Surratt’s children?

Anna Surratt moved from the townhouse on H Street and lived with friends for a few years, ostracized from society.[218] She married William Tonry, a government clerk.[218] They lived in poverty for a while after he was dismissed from his job, but in time he became a professor of chemistry in Baltimore and the couple became somewhat wealthy.[218] The strain of her mother’s death left Anna mentally unbalanced, and she suffered from periods of extreme fear that bordered on insanity.[218] She died in 1904.[216][219] After the dismissal of charges against him, John Surratt, Jr. married and he and his family lived in Baltimore near his sister, Anna.[218] Isaac Surratt also returned to the United States and lived in Baltimore (he never married).[218] He died in 1907.[216][220] Isaac and Anna were buried on either side of their mother in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.[218] John Jr. was buried in Baltimore in 1916.[218] In 1968, a new headstone with a brass plaque replaced the old, defaced headstone over Mary Surratt’s grave.[221]

Mary Surratt’s boarding house still stands, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.[222] Citizens interested in Mary Surratt formed the Surratt Society.[218] The Surrattsville tavern and house are historical sites run today by the Surratt Society.[181] The Washington Arsenal is now Fort Lesley J. McNair.[181] The building that held the cells and courtroom, and the brick wall seen in back of the gallows, are all gone (the courtyard where the hanging occurred is now a tennis court).[181]

via Mary Surratt – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

What happened to the Frederick Aiken? See Colonel Frederick A. Aiken biography | thisweekinthecivilwar.

 

Artisan Social Designer, shopping, Paris, France, artisan:  There is that artisan word again. 🙂

Artisan Social Designer, a new gallery and concept store in a converted grocery store in Paris, is giving traditional craft a makeover.

The shop was created by a freshly graduated fine artist couple, Rémi Dupeyrat and Naïs Calmettes, with the aim of showcasing young “artists with an artisan’s approach and vice-versa,” said Mr. Dupeyrat.

All the pieces on display, which are sold exclusively at the boutique (68, rue des Gravilliers; 33-1-4996-5605; http://www.artisansocialdesigner.fr), were handmade according to traditional techniques, or ones developed by their creators: tables made out of sea salt and resin, chairs of softened wood following an age-old architectural method, vases of traditionally blown glass.

The shop also takes a hard ethical line: only local materials are used, and all the pieces are limited to series of 20. “We don’t want a micro-factory-type production,” Ms. Calmettes said. “The artist should stop when he/she is bored.”

The space will also hold quarterly exhibitions, timed for the beginning of each new season. The first, “2011 Automnes,” running from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8, will have a theme of wood and tools. The group show will include shoes of carved wood by Simona Vanth and Manon Beuchot, photography by Irwin Barbé and an special installation by the shop’s founders.

via In Paris, a New Shop Where Art Meets Wares – NYTimes.com.

Georgia, history:  Wonder why?

September 5, 1774

Georgia was the only colony not represented at the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

via Atlanta History Center, September 5, 1774.

colleges, college ranking, US New & World Report:  History of the rankings is very interesting.

He’s also one of the most powerful wonks in the country, wielding the kind of power that elicits enmity and causes angst.

Morse runs U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges guide, the oldest and best-known publication to rank America’s premier colleges.

The annual release of the rankings, set for Sept. 13 this year, is a marquee event in higher education. Some call it the academic equivalent of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Colleges broadcast U.S. News rankings on Web sites and in news releases, tout them in recruiting pamphlets, alumni magazines and “Dear Colleague” letters, and emblazon them on T-shirts and billboards. Institutions build strategic plans around the rankings and reward presidents when a school ascends.

“U.S. News doesn’t advertise the rankings,” Morse said in a recent interview at the publication’s headquarters. “The schools advertise for us.”

Morse, 63, has endured for two decades as chief arbiter of higher education’s elite.

No one can stake a credible claim to academic aristocracy without a berth on the first page of a U.S. News list. He is to colleges what Robert Parker is to wine.

The rankings have changed the way colleges do business. Critics see their influence every time an institution presses alumni for nominal donations, coaxes noncommittal students to apply or raises the SAT score required for admission.

Twenty-eight years after the release of the first U.S. News lists, Morse and his publication dominate the college-ranking business they spawned. Last year’s publication drew more than 10 million Internet hits on launch day.

via U.S. News college rankings are denounced but not ignored – The Washington Post.

Google Fiber, technology:  100x faster …

Google has changed the way people search on the internet. Now it’s changing the way some people surf the web.

Hundreds of lucky residents in the San Fransisco Bay area are now accessing Google’s one-gigabyte broadband service, which is being touted as the fastest internet connection in the world.

CBS affiliate KCBS tested the Google Fiber internet service, which is being offered for free in a neighborhood just south of Stanford University.

According to the station, a 95-megabyte high-definition movie trailer downloaded in about nine seconds.

Download speeds on the network were up to 300 Mbps, with an upload speed of 150 Mbps. Comcast’s cable service, which has an average speed of 13Mbps, is about 1/20th the speed of Google Fiber.

Kansas City is the only other place to receive Google Fiber. It’s part of an experiment involving as many as half a million homes to improve ways to build the network, to see what apps people invent and how it would change the way we use the internet.

via Google Fiber world’s fastest broadband service, 100 times faster than norm – Tech Talk – CBS News.

President Obama, politics, Great Recession:  bottom line – we are in a mess.

Liberal critics of Obama, just like conservative critics of Republican presidents, generally want both maximal partisan conflict and maximal legislative achievement. In the real world, those two things are often at odds. Hence the allure of magical thinking.

via What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama – NYTimes.com.

twitter, Jim Cramer, banks, The Government: We have a long road ahead of us.

Jim Cramer (@jimcramer)
9/4/11 6:16 PM
As for the banks, i have to tell you, the government isn’t going to let them lift. Even the great ones are getting killed. Bad sign…
9/11 Memorial, architecture:

Mr. Arad, who started designing a memorial before there was even a competition, was invested from the start in making what he called a “stoic, defiant and compassionate” statement. Born in London, he had grown up all over the world as the son of an Israeli diplomat who was once ambassador to the United States, and has lived in New York since 1999. He watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center from his roof on the Lower East Side and saw the south tower fall from a few streets away.

“I think my desire to imagine a future for this site came out of trying to come to terms with the emotions that day aroused,” he said.

Like everything else about ground zero, the story of how the memorial got back on track is complicated, and involves many players. But it is also at least partly the story of Mr. Arad’s evolution from a hot-headed 34-year-old novice whose design bested some 5,200 others to the more sanguine and battle-tested — if still perfectionist — architect he is today. It’s a tale that surprises many of those associated with the project, not least Mr. Arad himself.

“When I started this project, I was a young architect,” said Mr. Arad, 42, as he toured the site during the summer. “I was very apprehensive about any changes to the design. Whether I wanted to or not, I learned that you can accept some changes to its form without compromising its intent. But it’s a leap of faith that I didn’t want to make initially — to put it mildly.”

“I had a dual role: designer and advocate,” said Mr. Arad (pronounced ah-RAHD), who comes across as thoughtful and intense.

The memorial occupies about half of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, which is a busy place these days, with four towers in various stages of construction. It includes a plaza with more than 400 swamp white oak trees, an area that will serve as a green roof over an underground museum designed by Aedas Architects with an entrance pavilion designed by the Norwegian firm Snohetta. (The budget for both memorial and museum is now down to $700 million.)

Most significantly, the footprints of the original World Trade Center towers have been turned into two square, below-ground reflecting pools, each nearly an acre, fed from all sides by waterfalls that begin just above ground level and bordered by continuous bronze panels inscribed with the names of those who died there and in Washington and Pennsylvania.

via How the 9/11 Memorial Changed Its Architect, Michael Arad – NYTimes.com.

Jesus Daily, Facebook, social network, define: church:  All in all an interesting article.

A North Carolina diet doctor has come up with a formula to create the most highly engaged audience on Facebook in the world, far surpassing marketing efforts by celebrities and sports teams. He draws on the words of Jesus and posts them four or five times a day.

The doctor, Aaron Tabor, 41, grew up watching his father preach at churches in Alabama and North Carolina, and his Facebook creation is called the Jesus Daily. He started it in April 2009, he said, as a hobby shortly after he began using Facebook to market his diet book and online diet business that includes selling soy shakes, protein bars and supplements.

For the last three months, more people have “Liked,” commented and shared content on the Jesus Daily than on any other Facebook page, including Justin Bieber’s page, according to a weekly analysis by AllFacebook.com, an industry blog. “I wanted to provide people with encouragement,” said Dr. Tabor, who keeps his diet business on a separate Facebook page. “And I thought I would give it a news spin by calling it daily.”

Facebook and other social media tools have changed the way people communicate, work, find each other and fall in love. While it’s too early to say that social media have transformed the way people practice religion, the number of people discussing faith on Facebook has significantly increased in the last year, according to company officials.

Over all, 31 percent of Facebook users in the United States list a religion in their profile, and 24 percent of users outside the United States do, Facebook says. More than 43 million people on Facebook are fans of at least one page categorized as religious.

But the increase in the number of people finding faith communities via social media platforms provokes the question of what constitutes religious experience and whether “friending” a church online is at all similar to worshiping at one.

Although Pope Benedict acknowledged in a recent statement that social networks offered “a great opportunity,” he warned Roman Catholics that “virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.”

via Jesus Daily on Facebook Nurtures Highly Active Fans – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession, movies, Hollywood:  Well, it’s not my fault.  I go to no more than 4-5 theater movies a year.  I am actually up for the year. Hollywood spends an enormous amount of money and produces little of real worth.  Maybe they need to rethink.

From the first weekend in May to Labor Day, a period that typically accounts for 40 percent of the film industry’s annual ticket sales, domestic box-office revenue is projected to total $4.38 billion, an increase from last year of less than 1 percent, according to Hollywood.com, which compiles box-office data.

The bad news: higher ticket prices, especially for the 18 films released in 3-D (up from seven last summer), drove the increase. Attendance for the period is projected to total about 543 million, the lowest tally since the summer of 1997, when 540 million people turned up.

Hollywood has now experienced four consecutive summers of eroding attendance, a cause for alarm for both studios and the publicly traded theater chains. One or two soft years can be dismissed as an aberration; four signal real trouble.

via Summer Movie Attendance Continues to Erode – NYTimes.com.


history, technology, John Donne:  Technology can be amazing.

Gipkin-Pauls-Cross.jpg

With a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, professors John Wall and David Hill and architect Joshua Stephens are working to virtually replicate the architecture of the old St. Paul’s Cathedral to recreate what early modern Londoners would have heard on that day. Their model of the structure is based on the work of John Schofield, an archaeologist who works for St. Paul’s, who has surveyed the foundation of the old cathedral, which is still in the ground though partially underneath the existing cathedral.

To recreate the experience of hearing Donne’s sermon, linguist and historian David Crystal is working with his son, the actor Ben Crystal, to craft a reading that will follow the specific accent and style of 17th-century London English. Ben will make his recording in an anechoic (or acoustically neutral) chamber. Wall, Hill, and Stephens — together with Ben Markham, an acoustic simulation specialist in Cambridge, Massachusetts — will then be able to mash up that recording with the architectural design to simulate how Donne’s voice would have traveled when he stood in the churchyard. They are also mixing in ambient sounds that would have been common in London at that time, such as neighing horses, barking dogs, and running water.

By the end of 2012, Wall plans to have the recreation up and running as a website, where people can go to hear Donne’s sermon. They’ll be able to adjust the sound for different locations on the grounds and crowd sizes. The only thing missing are the delightful aromas of 17th-century London. Some things are perhaps better left in the past.

via Travel Back in Time (Virtually) to Hear John Donne Preach – Rebecca J. Rosen – Technology – The Atlantic.

history, history myths:  Fun resource!

Washington’s Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales—Some of Which are True

By Mollie Reilly, Washingtonian, August 29, 2011

This week, Washingtonian magazine corrected misconceptions about why buildings in D.C. were given a height limit in 1899, whether D.C. traffic circles were designed to stop an invading army, the symbolism of D.C.’s equestrian statues, and more.

Myths of the American Revolution

By John Ferling, Smithsonian, January 2010

Read this careful examination of the American Revolution by historian John Ferling and shed beliefs you may have acquired in grade school, but which are “not borne out by the facts.”

Lincoln Myths

The National Park Service has posted a page specifically on Lincoln Memorial Myths to answer questions like, “Is Lincoln buried at the Lincoln Memorial?” The official blog of President Lincoln’s Cottage lists “10 Myths about President Lincoln”: that he owned slaves, that he wrote the Gettysburg Address on an envelope, and so on.

What history myths can you debunk? Let us know in the comments.

via AHA Today: U.S. History Myths.

Apple, Android, smartphones:  just out of curiosity, does anyone ever talk about how much they love their android phone?

New data from Nielsen paints a revealing, if not all that unexpected, picture of the current smartphone market here in the U.S.

While earlier this year we saw Android’s lead over both RIM and Apple’s iOS continue to grow, many (including us) expected that extraordinary growth to curb.

Well that didn’t happen.

According to this latest data, Android now accounts for an intimidating 40% of the overall smartphone market, versus 37% just in May. As for Apple’s iOS? It saw a mere 1% increase from 27% to 28% over the same period.

via Guess How Big Android’s Lead Over Apple Is Now – Techland – TIME.com.

Great Recession, careers, free-lance:  

The country’s freelance nation has always been a diverse lot, some of whom were pushed out of full-time jobs and others who actively pursued this pathway with entrepreneurial zeal. But the recession has forced a growing number of people to grudgingly pursue this path. Do some of them end up “loving it”? Of course. Will some devote their extra free time to creative pursuits, perhaps to become indie rock darlings? Sure. But those who want to pursue the freelance life to support themselves full time are having a far harder time doing so.

via Has the recession created a freelance utopia or a freelance underclass? – Ezra Klein – The Washington Post.

foreign languages, language learning, humiliation:  I just have to open my mouth and they know I am foreign!

A few weeks before that, in the course of work, I visited a school in Complexo do Alemão, a notorious conglomeration of favelas, or slums, in Rio. The head teacher, Eliane Saback Sampaio, did what good teachers everywhere do: she turned the occasion into a learning experience. She brought me from class to class, introducing me as a visitor—but a visitor with a difference. “Listen to our visitor speak,” said Ms Sampaio said each time (in Portuguese), “and tell me whether you think she was born in Brazil.” Thus set up, I gamely said, “Boa tarde, meninos,” (Good afternoon, children)—and in every room, immediately faced a forest of flying hands as the children called out: No, No! She’s foreign! “That’s right,” said Ms Sampaio, happily. “Doesn’t she sound strange?”

The children guessed I was American, European, Spanish, Argentinian—and then came the next humiliation, trying to explain where and what Ireland is. (Brazilians universally think I’m saying I’m from Holanda, not Irlanda. There are strong trade links with the Netherlands, and Brazil is one of the few places in the world with hardly any Irish emigrants.) I really enjoyed the school visit—Complexo do Alemão was until recently run by drug-dealers, and it was inspiring to see a school doing such great work there. Too bad it came at my expense.

via Language learning: No, she’s foreign! | The Economist.

children, play, signage, preschool:  I hope my children will remember me for letting them play!

 yet as i prepare to start a year with a stated goal of “better preparing children for kindergarten,” i don’t want to forget the necessity of play. it is cause to celebrate!

via c is for caution {or celebration} | preschool daze.

twitter, Conan O’Brien, taxes:  🙂

Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien)
9/4/11 12:05 PM
Just taught my kids about taxes by eating 38% of their ice cream.
media, print v. paper, Amazon, e-readers, magazines, serendipity:  “And magazine buyers tend to enjoy the serendipity of stumbling upon something that turns out to be fascinating.”
I agree with this comment about the serendipity of stumbling … but I do that with twitter by following a whole host of magazines and bloggers.  hmmm
The more general question, however, is whether publishers like Amazon (and particularly Amazon) represent a threat to the older magazine model, in which a variety of articles are bundled together and sold for a price that, even on the newsstand, is lower than what a reader would expect to pay if buying everything piecemeal. Part of the reason readers buy magazines is because they are comfortable outsourcing some of the decision-making about content delivery, and welcome the fact that magazines curate the news. The last issue of the New Yorker, for example, included articles about Mr Perry, the gold standard, tarot cards, Wikipedia, Syria, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia, and Rin Tin Tin.

Few readers are interested in every article, but most will enjoy several of them. And magazine buyers tend to enjoy the serendipity of stumbling upon something that turns out to be fascinating. I don’t think I’ve read anything serious about tarot cards, for example, but I am more likely to read about it the New Yorker than I am to buy something a la carte, given that the subject never interested me before. It may be that e-publications will eat up part of the magazine market, but brands with a strong editorial line and loyal readers should fair pretty well.

via E-readers and magazines: It’s still good to have gatekeepers | The Economist.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney, politics:  OK, he is officially getting on my nerves.

Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t president, but Dick Cheney says that if she were in the White House rather than Barack Obama, then things might be different today in the country.

Cheney isn’t getting into specifics, but he does think that “perhaps she might have been easier for some of us who are critics of the president to work with.”

The former vice president tells “Fox News Sunday” that it’s his sense that the secretary of state is “one of the more competent members” of the Obama administration and it would be “interesting to speculate” about how she would have performed as president.

Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic nomination to Obama, who went on to beat Republican John McCain in the general election. Obama named Clinton as the country’s top diplomat.

via Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton As President Would Have Made Different U.S..

education, reading, digital v. paper:  No surprises here.

British kids are more likely to read texts, e-mails and Web sites than books, according to a new study.

Almost 60 percent of the 18,000 8- to 17-year-olds who were part of the study said they had read a text message in the past month; half said they had read on the Web. That compares with 46 percent having read a fiction book and 35 percent having read a nonfiction book.

Does that surprise you?

Here are some other findings about kids and reading from the survey, which was done by England’s National Literacy Trust.

● About one in five kids surveyed had never been given a book for a present.

● About 30 percent of children said they read every day. But 13 percent say they never read at all.

● Boys are almost twice as likely as girls to say they never read.

The survey findings called for kids to be challenged to read 50 books a year, or about one a week. Do you read more or less than that? Go to kidspost.com to vote in our online poll. (Always ask a parent before going

via Study: Kids read Web sites more than books – The Washington Post.


05
Jul
11

7.5.2011 … travel to Boston … then dinner in Chinatown … at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Boston, travel, Pho Hoa, restaurants, Chinatown, Zagat Review, InterContinental Boston, hotels, history, architecture:  John and I ventured into Chinatown to have Vietnamese comfort foodfood at his  favorite dive … Pho Hoa.  (Maxwell:  “I believe I saw a drag queen use that name one time- Faux Ho.”)  John had sweet and sour soup and spring rolls, and I had rice in a clay pot with chicken and shrimp. … Both very good.  One of the more intriqguing parts of the meal was the Bubble Tea. The bubbles were very soft gummi like black candies at the bottom. Weird. The peach infused green tea was excellent. The ambiance was a little lacking … piped in radio music … SoundHound – F**k You by Cee Lo Green. (Eleanor : “Couldn’t ask for finah music…”; Liz: “charming”).  Zagat gave it a good review … I think they have reviewed every restaurant in Boston!

However our hotel, the InterContinental made up for it … beautiful from the outside … The historic tall ships were the inspiration for the hotel and once I was told, I could see it. 🙂 And the site of the hotel was 1/2 block from the real tea party.

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I do have one question: Boston InterContinental … Why do I need a pass thru to the bath?

Al Capone, Atlanta:  Al Capone served part of his sentence in the Atlanta Penitentiary.  I learned recently that his family rented a very nice home in Druid Hills during this period, around the corner from my great grandparents.  Anyone else heard that?

“To be 27 years of age and own Chicago, and run that whole empire, that’s one helluva mind, and one helluva desire, do you know what I mean?” said Graham. “And a passion to achieve.”

Capone achieved all of it with a splash of style. The best clothes, the biggest cars, and more.

“The big difference is that Capone talked to the media and really welcomed the spotlight, so that people heard more about him,” said Eig.

But away from the spotlight …

“If you had a butcher shop and you weren’t paying your contribution to the local protection association, the first thing is you’d get a broke window,” said Eig. “The next thing is you might get a pineapple – a homemade bomb, hand grenade equivalent which would cause not only a broken window, but some fire damage.”

“So a brick, a hand grenade …” said Reynolds.

“Maybe a baseball bat to the head, to the knee,” said Eig. “And then finally, you know, if you still didn’t get the message, somebody might get killed.”

While that sort of thing went on, Capone would likely be out on the town. The Green Mill cocktail lounge was a favorite haunt. “I’m guessing he didn’t have to pay for his own drinks

Owner Dave Jemilo tends bar nowadays at the Green Mill – right above a subterranean escape route used by gangsters. He showed us the tunnels: “You went this way, you’re under the street. And then it was boarded up. Then you go down this way and there’s a whole other set of tunnels.”

“So this was pretty elaborate,” said Reynolds. “I mean they were serious about escaping.”

via In search of the real Al Capone – CBS News.

slime bags, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, prosecution of sex crimes, justice:  Makes you think real hard about how to serve justice in these situations …

SO what’s the moral of this Manhattan immorality tale?

That the French are always right, even when their hauteur is irritating?

They were right about Iraq and America’s rush to war. And they may be right about Dominique Strauss-Kahn and America’s rush to judgment.

In both cases, French credibility was undermined, so we resisted seeing things from their point of view.

They say it is roughly analogous — not in terms of the maid’s sexual history but her record of veracity — to a case in which a prostitute is raped. It’s hard to prosecute, and the perp can often get away with it.

The upright-looking Vance is not like the scoundrel prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case. He did not ignore evidence that was contrary to the case prosecutors were trying to build. It just took several weeks, after they tried to deny DSK bail and after they indicted him, to do a thorough investigation.

via When a Predator Collides With a Fabricator – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession, executive compensation:  23%???

Brace yourself.

The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. The earlier study had put the median pay at a none-too-shabby $9.6 million, up 12 percent.

Total C.E.O. pay hasn’t quite returned to its heady, prerecession levels — but it certainly seems headed there. Despite the soft economy, weak home prices and persistently high unemployment, some top executives are already making more than they were before the economy soured.

via Executive Pay at Big Companies Rose 23% Last Year – NYTimes.com.

twitter, TweetScan:  But what will I do with my 140 character tweets?  I don’t think I will win any awards or even a favorite of the day!

Using the amazing tool TweetScan, you can actually generate an archive of all your tweets that goes back to the olden days of December 2007. Follow this link to create your own archive–a fascinating look at your microblogging evolution.

AllTwitter explained the service: “You can choose whether to view just your old tweets, or include and one or more of the following: @replies, your friends’ tweets, your followers’ tweets, direct messages, or favorite tweets. Your tweets are presented in a “TiddlyWiki” format, which means you can make notes and edit the pages. This service is great for an at-a-glance view of your older tweets, or if you want to review your tweet strategy in more detail.”

via How To Read Your Old Tweets – GalleyCat.

politics:  🙂

Bill Clinton says he called Vice President Joe Biden after last month’s “golf summit” and said he must have thrown the game to lose to President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Obama and Boehner each won $2 from Biden and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).

“I called Joe Biden, who’s the best golfer in the foursome, and carded an 89,” Clinton told the Aspen Ideas Festival on Saturday evening.

“I said, ‘Joe, I don’t mind if you go to funerals. I don’t mind if have to do go to budget [talks]. But, you know, no vice president should have to throw a golf game to make America a better place.’ [laughter] And he proceeded to swear to me he didn’t throw it.”

via Bill Clinton teases Joe Biden on golf summit – Mike Allen – POLITICO.com.

Great Recession, foreclosure, loan restructuring:  Wow, I’ll be happy to give BofA my number.

As millions of Americans struggle in foreclosure with little hope of relief, big banks are going to borrowers who are not even in default and cutting their debt or easing the mortgage terms, sometimes with no questions asked.

Last year, JPMorgan Chase cut in half what Rula Giosmas owed on her condominium in Miami.

Two of the nation’s biggest lenders, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, are quietly modifying loans for tens of thousands of borrowers who have not asked for help but whom the banks deem to be at special risk.

Rula Giosmas is one of the beneficiaries. Last year she received a letter from Chase saying it was cutting in half the amount she owed on her condominium.

Ms. Giosmas, who lives in Miami, was not in default on her $300,000 loan. She did not understand why she would receive this gift — although she wasted no time in taking it.

Banks are proactively overhauling loans for borrowers like Ms. Giosmas who have so-called pay option adjustable rate mortgages, which were popular in the wild late stages of the housing boom but which banks now view as potentially troublesome.

Before Chase shaved $150,000 off her mortgage, Ms. Giosmas owed much more on her place than it was worth. It was a fate she shared with a quarter of all homeowners with mortgages across the nation. Being underwater, as it is called, can prevent these owners from moving and taking new jobs, and places the households at greater risk of foreclosure.

via Banks Easing Terms or Debt on Some Option ARM Loans – NYTimes.com.

sex crimes, prosecution, slime bags: Thorny issue …

Strauss-Kahn, 62, who was arrested hours after the allegation and resigned from the IMF, was ordered released from home confinement in Manhattan on Friday. But the district attorney’s office has not moved to dismiss the rape case.

“She said it happened, and he’s sort of a pompous guy with a reputation . . . for grabbing women, so they thought, well, of course, it must have happened,” Greenspun said. He said police generally spend too little time investigating such cases before making arrests, especially when the suspects are prominent men.

A housekeeper at a Manhattan hotel accused the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund of attacking her. In a July 1 court hearing, the sexual-assault case appeared to shift in his favor.

Prosecutors have serious questions about the credibility of a hotel housekeeper who has accused former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn of raping her, a person familiar with the case said Thursday. (July 1)

Even if Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys have information about his accuser that they could use in court to cast doubt on her veracity, prosecutors have a “moral obligation” to proceed with the case if they believe that the woman is being truthful, said lawyer Mai Fernandez, director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.

“You could have Attila the Hun come to you and say he’s a victim, and the truth of the matter is, in this particular case, he may be,” Fernandez said.

“You have to look first at the evidence that’s directly related to the case at hand,” she added. “The victim? Well, everybody has a past. None of us is without sin. There’s always something that a defense lawyer can use to tarnish your reputation.”

via In sex-crime cases, credibility a thorny issue – The Washington Post.

tweet of the day, misleading headlines:  Why is this misleading … look who is modeling the sexy mommy jeans … not your average mom …

InStyle (@InStyle)7/3/11 5:00 AMSexy mom jeans…they do exist!http://ht.ly/5vmLW

http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20190744_20360203,00.html?xid=twitter-momjeans.

Nicole Kidman


tweet of the day:  Actually, this is a few days ago …

Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien)
6/30/11 12:13 PM Is it me, or do people on Segway scooters look pre-wedgied?

02
Jul
11

‎7.2.2011 … Au revoir to Molly!

architecture, bridges, lists:  This one impressed me!

The Henderson Waves Bridge

The Henderson Waves Bridge in Singapore is Southeast Asia’s longest and highest pedestrian bridge.

via The World’s Coolest Bridges – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

George C. Ballas, weed wacker, inventors: RIP Mr. Ballas, inventor of the weed wacker.

George C. Ballas loved tending to his lawn with meticulous care, but the 200 or more trees crowding a two-acre expanse behind his house in Houston posed a problem: how to get around the bulging roots and manicure close enough to achieve the near perfection he desired.

Then one day in 1971 he took his car to a car wash and was watching those whirling soapy brushes sweeping the grime away. Aha! Could something like that trim the grass and slash the weeds around the trees, between the rocks and under the fences?

via George Ballas, Inventor of the Weed Whacker, Dies at 85 – NYTimes.com.

Leonardo da Vinci, lost paintings, art,  Salvator Mundi:  Doesn’t Jesus look like the Mona Lisa?

A Leonardo da Vinci painting lost for centuries, is now found.

The painting, called Salvator Mundi, or “Savior of the World,” went missing for most of the 17th through the 19th centuries, but was discovered in a private collection in the United States and sold to a consortium of art dealers around six or seven years ago.

Though the group suspected it was an original da Vinci, it is only now that scholars have confirmed it, ARTNews reports.

The oil on wood panel measures 26-by-18 1 / 2 inches, and depicts Jesus Christ with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand holding a globe. Over the years, attempts at restoration, including overpainting, damaged the original work, turning it gray. It was painstakingly cleaned to restore the image beneath. There is speculation that an original offer to buy the painting for $100 million was turned down by the consortium and that it is now asking for $200 million. Members of the group have remained silent, however, as to the details of a potential sale.

The art will be exhibited in London’s National Gallery as part of a showcase of da Vinci’s work Nov. 9.

via Lost Leonardo da Vinci painting found after hundreds of years – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

owls, Myers Park, Charlotte, kith/kin, LOL:  Years ago we lived in Myers Park and yes, indeed, there were owls.  Our good friends and neighbor Herb (married to Lea) used to tell his toddler daughter that id she did not go to sleep the owl might come and get her … DSS would be after him these days!  Recently we had an owl on our basketball rim … for several hours … eery.

Here are two great stories about the in-town owls.

That haunting cry at evening – hoo-hoo-to-hoo-oo! – has the ring of the wild about it. Coming from high in Charlotte’s dense tree cover, it sends mice, chipmunks and small songbirds scurrying for cover.

Yet it’s music to the ears of many Charlotteans who live in old, long-established urban neighborhoods such as Myers Park, Eastover and Plaza-Midwood. To them, it’s a signal that “our owls” are about their nightly business of communing with a mate or warning off rivals.

In these in-town neighborhoods, barred owls have made themselves an integral part of the landscape. In spite of barking dogs, honking traffic and even helicopters whose rotors split the night air, some 300 pairs are estimated to be living within 10 miles of uptown’s Square at Trade and Tryon.

They and their fuzzy, big-eyed babies have become a living science lesson for neighborhood kids as well as a source of entertainment for adults.

”Everybody loves their owls,” says Rob Bierregaard of UNC Charlotte. “They’re very noisy. Every neighborhood knows they’re there.”

A nightly ritual for one Myers Park family, a neighbor says, is to head for the patio, take a glass of wine and listen to the owls.

“It’s almost as though they want our attention,” says Chanee Vijay, who lives near the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. She remembers once when an owl “was sitting on the nook of a tree maybe 10 feet up, not 4 feet from the sidewalk. And we’re all sitting there taking pictures of him . . . they’re used to getting oohed and aahed at.”

via Guess whooo? | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Hundreds of barred owls are living in the graceful willow oaks of Charlotte’s older neighborhoods, but the man on the ground who tracked their habits for 10 years is leaving.

Rob Bierregaard, an ornithologist who taught at UNC Charlotte, became such a presence in the owls’ lives that many recognize his whistle.

A few years ago, he hung a nesting box high in a pine in Marsha Gaspari’s front yard on Hermitage Road. She said Nellie, who raised two owlets there, knew Bierregaard so well she once swooped down at the sound of him locking his car. He had won her affection by bringing her mice to eat.

The Owl Man is moving to Philadelphia, where his wife took a job and where he will write up his research. He discovered that the urban trees of Myers Park, Eastover and Dilworth suit barred owls just as well as old-growth forests.

When he trolled for the birds at dusk, whole families tagged along. His departure, Gaspari says, is the city’s loss.

About 300 owl couples live within 10 miles of uptown, and he named many of them: Billy the Kid and Paulita, King George and Wilhelmina, and Ned and Nellie, whose secrets he documented with a hidden camera in their nest.

via Who’s watching hoo? Charlotte’s Owl Man is moving on | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Michael Vick, Nike, animal cruelty: From the comments on Facebook by my animal rights and animal rescue friends … there is one group that is not supportive of Vick or Nike.  I guess it is good that dog walkers are not big Nike wearers.

Michael Vick is back in Nike’s good graces.

“We have re-signed Michael Vick as a Nike athlete,” Megan Saalfeld, a Nike spokeswoman, confirmed to CNN in an e-mail.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback, who lost his lucrative endorsement deals after serving 20 months in a federal prison because of his involvement in a dogfighting ring, was the NFL’s comeback player of the year in 2010. He has been active in speaking out about against dogfighting

“Michael acknowledges his past mistakes,” Saalfeld said. “We do not condone those actions, but we support the positive changes he has made to better himself off the field.”

He signed a two-year deal with Unequal Technologies — his first since his return to the NFL — in January. He began wearing their equipment after injuring his ribs in a game against the Redskins.

via Eagles quarterback Michael Vick makes a comeback with Nike, too – The Early Lead – The Washington Post.

travel, North GA, Dahlonega GA, Atlanta, day trips, kith/kin, memory lane, lists:  Almost every fall, we all loaded into the wagon and went for a day trip to see the leaves … and Dahlonega was our destination.  Anybody else go on one of the day trips listed here?

Atlanta to Dahlonega, Ga. (66 miles)

This town has multiple claims to fame: It was the site of an 1828 gold rush (you can visit an old mine), boasts ultra-punishing bike trails (according to pros like Lance Armstrong), and has the state’s tallest waterfall (a 729-foot beauty) at Amicalola State Park.

via Road Trip Atlanta to Dahlonega | Parade.com.

J.K. Rowling, Pottermore, publishing, media:  One lucky literary agent.

UK literary agent Neil Blair will be leaving the Christopher Little Literary Agency, taking client J.K. Rowling with him. The Bookseller reports that Blair will be setting up his own firm, The Blair Partnership.

Here’s more from the article: “Blair’s current base is at strategic digital agency TH_NK’s offices in east London. TH_NK and Blair worked together to develop the Pottermore site, through which Rowling’s Harry Potter books will be sold exclusively as e-books, though it is not yet known if TH_NK will be involved in Blair’s new company.”

According to scotsman.com, freelance readers  convinced agency founder Christopher Little to sign the author in 1996.

via J.K. Rowling Follows Her Agent & Leaves Christopher Little Literary Agency – GalleyCat.

politics, US debt limit, Great Recession:  We were discussing this at dinner the other night … does that make us old?

The stand-off between congressional Republicans and the Obama administration over raising a legal limit on how much the nation can borrow has been filled with dire warnings about what will happen if the U.S. government fails to pay its debts.

In truth, it could be bad for the economy if global investors even begin to doubt the ability or willingness of U.S. officials to reach agreement on the debt ceiling. The U.S. government can borrow money more cheaply than almost any other entity on Earth, and that could change abruptly if investors conclude that the government is too dysfunctional to pay its bills on time. That would make it far more expensive for the federal government to service its existing debts, and increase interest rates across the economy.

These leaders have played an influential role in shaping the politics behind the debate over U.S. fiscal policy.

“Given that we’re not on strong economic footing to begin with, higher interest rates and dislocations in the financial markets would probably have very bad ripple effects,” said Raymond Stone, co-founder of Stone & McCarthy Research Associates, a group that studies the economy and bond markets. “You’re treading on dangerous territory when you play with the credit worthiness of the federal government.”

So what are the early warning signs? If the bond market starts to panic over the U.S. government’s creditworthiness, how would we know?

Discontinuities in the Treasury bill market.

A narrower spread between rates on Treasury bills and other forms of short-term credit.

Spikes in the credit default swaps market.

Higher volatility.

A narrower spread between Treasuries and near substitutes.

via How to tell if financial markets start to freak out about U.S. debt limit – The Washington Post.

technology, smart phones, batteries, Duke University:  Interesting.

If you ever get the sense that someone on the wifi network you’re using is hogging all the juice, you may be right. Not only does sharing wifi with others downloading large files interfere with your enjoyment of the latest viral video, but it can majorly drain your battery as well.

A new solution from a Duke University computer science graduate student could alleviate your frustrations and potentially double your battery life by allowing your wifi device to “nap” until more bandwidth is available. This means you might have to wait a couple minutes to watch your video, but that could be a productivity boon anyway.

via New Wifi Tech Could Double Your Phone’s Battery Life – The Washington Post.

apps, Penguin Classics, literature:  Another one for me.

Penguin Classics–publisher of lit guides, special editions, and classics ranging from The Odyssey to On the Road–is doing for iPhone book browsing what Urbanspoon did for restaurant searching.

The Penguin Classics app for iPad and iPhone, the publisher’s complete annotated listing (free in the iTunes store starting Tuesday), lists every Penguin Classics release searchable by author, title, newest releases, essentials, and more. You can search for books about art in the 7th century or check out the list of Pulitzer Prize-winning classics; if you’re using your iPhone, you can even shake your phone like you would Urbanspoon to find something new to read at random.

via Penguin Classics App Shakes Up Book Browsing With A Pub Quiz For Lit Lovers | Fast Company.

12
May
11

5.12.2011 … Happy birthday not so prime husband 51 is NOT a prime number! … but you are definitely prime in every other way …

culture, psychology, fear of failure:  Interesting …

While failure may be an integral prerequisite for true innovation, the fact remains that most of us harbor a deathly fear of it — the same psychological mechanisms that drive our severe aversion to being wrong, only amplified. That fear is the theme of this year’s student work exhibition at Stockholm’s Berghs School of Communication and, to launch it, they asked some of today’s most beloved creators — artists, designers, writers — to share their experiences and thoughts on the subject. While intended as advice for design students, these simple yet important insights are relevant to just about anyone with a beating heart and a head full of ideas — a much-needed reminder of what we all rationally know but have such a hard time internalizing emotionally.

via Famous Creators on the Fear of Failure | Brain Pickings.

consumers, material things, Great Recession:  It’s good I always liked Target and Costco!

Bentleys and Hermès bags are selling again. Yet the wealthiest Americans are emerging from the financial downturn as different consumers than they were.

Lyndie Benson says she now mentally calculates the “price per wear” of designer clothing. As the wife of saxophonist Kenny G, Ms. Benson, a photographer, can afford what she wants. She used to make a lot of impulse purchases, she says. But when shopping in Malibu, Calif., recently, she stopped herself before buying a gray Morgane Le Fay suit she’d tried on. “I walked outside and thought, ‘Hmmm, I don’t really love it that much,’ ” she says with contentment.

A number of surveys released in the past six weeks suggest Ms. Benson’s new selectiveness is widespread among the wealthiest Americans. Though many of these people might seem unscathed by the financial crisis—they didn’t lose their homes, jobs or retirement savings—they were deeply affected by what took place around them. “If you’re conscious at all, it just seeps in,” Ms. Benson says.

via Post-Recession, the Rich Are Different – WSJ.com.

photography, organization: Overwhelming is right!

It’s easy to post your photos on Facebook. What’s not so easy is managing them—organizing all your digital files so that you can find individual pictures without scrolling through hundreds.

Bradly Treadaway, digital media coordinator and faculty member at the International Center of Photography in New York, knows how overwhelming the task can be. He recently digitized about 5,000 printed photos and slides from his family, some of which date back 180 years. Developing a system for managing your photos is “like learning a new language,” he says.

The key to staying organized is doing a lot of work up front to sort and label the photos when you first transfer them from camera to computer. Mr. Treadaway keeps his main collection on a hard drive, rather than in a Web-based archive, because he feels that photo-management programs for computers offer more choices for how to edit, share and retain the photos.

Mr. Treadaway uses Adobe Photoshop Lightroom; for nonprofessionals, he suggests programs like iPhoto or the desktop version of Google’s Picasa.

via Make Organizing Your Photos a Snap – WSJ.com.

food, favorites, recipes:  Pasta Primavera is one of those dishes that I still remember how good it tasted the first time I had it ….

Pasta primavera, which means “springtime pasta,” is an American invention — at least as American as, say, fettuccine Alfredo. It first appeared on the menu at Le Cirque in the 1970s, and Sirio Maccioni, that restaurant’s owner, not only takes credit for it but was also quoted in 1991 in The Times saying, “It seemed like a good idea and people still like it.”

But with all due respect to Mr. Maccioni, is pasta primavera still a good idea? Which is to say, pasta tossed with every vegetable under the sun, spring or not — broccoli, tomatoes, peas, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, green beans, you name it — and enough cream to smother any hint of freshness? I’m all in favor of pasta with vegetables, but I want to be able to taste them. And I want them to be prepared thoughtfully.

via Mark Bittman – The Pasta Primavera Remix – NYTimes.com.

food, Paris, blog posts:  Fun post from Gourmet Live – App Exclusive: French Women Heart Frites. And Nine More Parisian Lies — Gourmet Live.

high school, testing, SAT, Apps:  I may utilize this list …

Apps that help teenagers study for the SAT (or, for those not living on either coast, the ACT) are improving, as traditional test-prep businesses like Princeton Review and Kaplan refine their mobile software to compete with start-ups.

Several to consider on this front include Princeton Review’s SAT Score Quest for iPad (free) and SAT Vocab Challenge for iPhone ($5), Kaplan SAT Flashcubes (free) and SAT Connect ($10 for Apple). For math, Adapster ($10 on Apple) is designed nicely.

via New and Better Apps Help Students Study for SAT – NYTimes.com.

Osama bin Laden’s death, twitter:  Tweeting for a missing snake is one thing … this one disturbs me.  Let him rest in peace, wherever he is.

In the days after Osama bin Laden was killed, a number of anonymous parodists created fake bin Laden Twitter accounts, tweeting what they called excerpts from the terrorists’ journal, his thoughts as a ghost, and observations from his new residence in hell.

via Osama bin Laden tweets from the dead – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

tv, soap operas, end of an era:  I loved watching soaps when I visited my grandparents in the summer … and in law school.  I wonder if my children even know what a soap opera is?

In today’s Academic Minute, Quinnipiac University’s Paul Janensch discusses the radio roots of a rapidly disappearing entertainment genre, the soap opera. Janensch is emeritus professor of journalism at Quinnipiac.

via Demise of Soap Operas / Academic & Pulse / Audio – Inside Higher Ed.

iPhone Lite: Rumors, rumors, rumors …

These are all tweaks that would significantly reduce the production price without necessarily degrading the user experience (particularly relevant is the smaller memory, which means the phones would benefit from Apple’s overhaul of MobileMe, widely expected to be cloud-centric). A drop in price like this would let Apple sell an iPhone Lite at a knock-down price, much as it has done previously with earlier edition iPhones, without necessarily fragmenting its platform, and enabling it to scoop up more of the low-end market that it’s partially ceded to Android.

via More Evidence That An iPhone Lite Is En Route | Fast Company.

iPhone Apps, neighborhood watch, Brookwood Hills:  Beware kids … when we started a neighborhood watch in Brookwood Hills in the 70s, our block volunteer was the wonderful “old maid” across the street. Well, a college girl was home for the summer … she loved about ten houses down … her parents were out of town … and her boyfriend would come stay every night and leave his car in front of Ms. Mackie’s house … guess what she did … she called the police!

It’s not the only instance of becoming the virtual. Home Elephant bills itself as “the world’s first app for neighbors to connect.” It serves as a sort of virtual neighborhood watch.

via Mister Rogers’ App | Fast Company.

libraries, architecture, University of Chicago:  UofC’s new library does from the outside what a library is intended to do … opens up the world to the user.

The library’s reading room, which sits directly beneath the building’s curving dome of steel and glass, will be open to university students, faculty and staff. But books and other printed materials won’t be moved to the library’s underground storage area until next fall. The dedication of the library won’t happen until October.

via Cityscapes: Reading room of Jahn’s U. of C. Mansueto Library to open next week.

To Kill a Mockingbird, movies, bookshelf,  Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird, 
documentary:

Fifty years after it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, filmmaker Mary Murphy’s documentary explores the continued influence of “To Kill a Mockingbird” through interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brokaw, Wally Lamb, as well as author Harper Lee’s family and friends.

via The Real Story Behind ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ – Speakeasy – WSJ.

guerilla improv/spontaneous musicals, new term:  “Guerilla improv”  … don’t you just love the term.

Guerrilla improv troupe Improv Everywhere struck again last month at GEL Conference, the annual gathering of tech/social media/business voices in New York City.

With the help of GEL founder Mark Hurst, the covert entertainers pulled off one of their signature “Spontaneous Musicals” at the top of Twirlr founder John Reynolds’ presentation. Just as he tells the audience to politely turn off their mobile devices, a man suddenly rises and begins singing about the audacity of the request.

via ‘Gotta Share’ The Musical: Improv Everywhere Strikes Again At GEL Conference (VIDEO).

Coca-Cola, culture, quotes:  “Coke ‘started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. … A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.'”

The 125th anniversary of the first Coca-Cola sold — on May 8, 1886, for 5 cents — has inspired the release of “Coca-Cola,” a collection of images of the beverage, in realms real and imagined, from Assouline. Arguably the world’s most ubiquitous brand, the jolly red logo has been pasted on just about every susceptible surface on the planet, and this book serves to remind us youngsters of the breadth and endurance of its appeal, just in case it wasn’t already stitched into the fabric of our pop culture psyches. Indeed, at times, “Coca-Cola” seems less a birthday tribute to the stamina of a yummy, fizzy black taste with mysterious origins and more a tribute to several generations of successful advertising. And let’s not forget its importance as a symbol of what’s great about our republic. As Andy Warhol, no stranger to ubiquity or commercialism, contests on Page 8, Coke “started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. … A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.”

via Pop Culture – NYTimes.com.

Three Cups of Tea, bookshelf:  Lots of discussion … I am reading it now … it is a good book … sad that it is fabricated.

With the first cup of tea, you are a stranger. With the second cup of tea, you are an honored guest. With the third cup of tea, you become family. This Balti proverb lends Greg Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, its name. But with a class action lawsuit filed against him in early May following investigations by writer John Krakauer and 60 Minutes, what is needed now is three cups of compassion.

The story of Greg Mortenson’s journey in his first book, Three Cups of Tea, tells the story of a young man listening and learning from those in a distant valley in Pakistan and the good that came from it. Krakauer in his Three Cups of Deceit tells how this story of a heart in the right place has been prettied up for publication and followed with financial mismanagement, as well as building schools in places unprepared to begin educating students in the buildings. As we act on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25 that we are to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty, we must not lose sight of those in developing nations as fellow members of the Body of Christ with gifts to offer and wisdom born of a deeper understanding of the local geography, weather, and culture. We must learn from each other and work together, not merely applying a solution from elsewhere, even another valley in the same mountains, to a new setting unthinkingly.

via Episcopal News Service – COMMENTARY.

The one thing in this story that makes me eternally grateful

is that we still have a 60 Minutes and New York Times doing investigative reporting and practicing real journalism. In an era where opinion-spewing and celebrity-swooning routinely pass for news, it’s good to know a few people are out there doing the hard work of covering–and uncovering–things we need to know.

via Three cups of humility. | What Gives 365.

consumerism, material things:  OK, I like this iPad case … in case you want to get me a present. 🙂

Image of iPad case in red and white gingham wool

Thrillist.com.

alcoholism, recovery, AA:  Very interesting …

But I believe that when people are in positions of power related to addictions — treatment providers, policy makers, etc. — it’s imperative that they be transparent about their associations and connections. It’s fine to be anonymous about your own path to recovery when you are the only one being affected, but it’s not appropriate when you seek to influence public health or policy.

via Taking the ‘Anonymous’ Out of AA: Should Recovering Addicts Come Out of the Closet? – – TIME Healthland.

ObL Family: 

But at the end, his rosy portrayal of being married to jihad was sorely tested. His family must have driven him nuts. During his last days in Abbottabad, Pakistan, bin Laden had to contend with three wives and 17 noisy children under one roof. He had no escape from the din, save for furtive pacing around the garden late at night or vanishing into his so-called Command and Control Center, a dank, windowless room. Swathed against the Himalayan chill in a woolen shawl, he recorded rants that displayed an ever widening disconnect with the daily grind of terrorism: his last oddball offerings were on climate change and capitalism.

via Big Love: Bin Laden Tried to Keep Wives Separate but Equal – TIME.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney, healthcare, states’ rights:

Mitt Romney says last year’s Democratic-passed health care law is a federal government takeover of health delivery. But he says his somewhat similar Massachusetts law was right for his state.

The likely Republican presidential candidate on Thursday defended the law enacted in 2006 when he was Massachusetts governor. Both the state and federal laws require people to obtain health insurance.

Romney said his program was a state solution to a state problem. He said the Obama-backed law is a power-grab by the federal government to impose a one-size-fits-all plan on all 50 states.

via Mitt Romney Tackling Health Care Vulnerability.

12
Mar
11

‎3.12.2011 … Thinking of E and her happiest of days … Wondering if she stays up for the official changeover to Eleanor Daylight Time …

events, time change, DST, touché titles: “Cosmic courtesy” for you E!

The change is disconcerting. But more unsettling still is the mystery we’d rather not face: If clock time isn’t real, what is time, anyway? We don’t understand time, and we definitely don’t want to admit that our allotment is limited. We just want to get on with our day.

via Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? – NYTimes.com.

Then in 2005, Congress granted Americans a cosmic courtesy: a little extra sun.

In the Energy Policy Act of 2005, intended to strengthen the electricity grid and increase domestic fuel production, Congress inserted a section that moved the start of daylight saving time back to the second Sunday in March and the end to the first Sunday in November.

Before 2005, the last major amendment to the Uniform Time Act came in the mid-80s when the start of daylight time was moved back to the first Sunday in April.

Many countries around the world observe some form of “summer time,” but set their dates individually. — March 7, 2008

via Daylight Saving Time – News – Times Topics – The New York Times.

Japan Earthquake/tsunami, facts:  Wow … moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet and shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches.

The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.

“At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass,” said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters).

The temblor, which struck Friday afternoon near the east coast of Japan, killed hundreds of people, caused the formation of 30-foot walls of water that swept across rice fields, engulfed entire towns, dragged houses onto highways, and tossed cars and boats like toys. Some waves reached six miles (10 kilometers) inland in Miyagi Prefecture on Japan’s east coast.

via Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet; shifted Earth’s axis – CNN.com.

YouTube, lost and found, photography :  Loved the story … loved the video … But think about it  .. almost no one uses film anymore …

A young New York filmmaker, whose attempt to locate the owner of a canister of film he found in a Brooklyn park during the recent blizzard

turned into an Internet quest, has solved the mystery: She’s young, she’s French, she lives in Paris.

Todd Biebers’ original video, in which he showed the lovely photographs taken around New York City after the snowstorm, drew more than 1 million views, which prompted a second one as he began his quest for the mystery photographer.

Then comes the third, in which he documents his travels to Europe to reconnect with the owner of the film, who found out about his online search, and to meet some of the Europeans who had contacted him during the search.

via New Yorker’s online quest for owner of lost film roll ends in Paris –.

ultra marathons, kith/kin, good to know:  J was thinking about running this one again … Good to know that “An ambulance will not be stationed on the course. There are four major hospitals located within limping distance of the course, on the other side of Lake Shore Drive.”

Aid Stations will have water, Gatorade, Coke, cookies, pretzels, potato chips, candy, fruit, first aid supplies and all the goodies you expect from us. An ambulance will not be stationed on the course. There are four major hospitals located within limping distance of the course, on the other side of Lake Shore Drive . Aid station volunteers and others will be able to call 911 for help if necessary.

via Chicago Lakefront 50K George Cheung Memorial Race – Information.

YA/children’s literature, Curious George, museum exhibits, San Francisco: If I remember correctly, this exhibit first opened in Skokie.  Very interesting true story …

The Curious George stories were an international hit, allowing for a few cultural variations. In Britain his name is given as Zozo; the publishers thought it would be disrespectful to have a mischievous monkey named after the sitting king. Whatever the case, children around the world were taken with George’s unwitting mischief, and charmed by the cheerful, brightly coloured illustrations. But his story of travel, migration and cultural collision has a paradigmatically American dimension.

Against the backdrop of the Reys’ own dramatic travels, these children’s stories assume a poignant cast. The Reys became American citizens in 1946, and moved to Cambridge, Massachussetts in 1963*. They never talked much about their narrow escape, and even today the story is not widely known. This is perhaps because, despite the direct biographical parallels, the Curious George stories give so little indication of their dark historical backdrop. The outlook is resolutely cheerful. George explores his new world fearlessly, and his confidence is justified. Strangers are kind to him. Authority figures are corrective, not punitive. The inevitable misunderstandings are quickly sorted out and forgiven. He is just a fictional monkey. But those would be good standards to help any newcomer feel at home.

via THE CURIOUS JOURNEY OF CURIOUS GEORGE | More Intelligent Life.

architecture, Easter Island Statues, Miami:  Only in Miami?

CONCEIVED during the boom and taken over by its lenders after the bust, the Icon Brickell has become the most visible symbol of Miami’s property renaissance. The Philippe Starck-designed condominium complex is, depending on taste, either hugely sophisticated or utterly naff. The columns at the base of the building are shaped like Easter Island statues (see picture); tables and chairs sit voguishly in the water of an outdoor pool; the walls of an enormous spa are lined with books wrapped in white paper. It’s seductively ridiculous.

The complex had been largely pre-sold, but when the bottom fell out of the market buyers refused to pay up. Units are now being marketed at heavily reduced prices. Sales, at around 60 units a month, are running at twice the expected level, says one agent. The main source of demand is cash-rich international buyers, most of them from Latin America. Local agents say Venezuelans are the most active buyers, followed by Brazilians.

via A special report on property: A world apart | The Economist.

country v. city, free market, competition: All I know is most town centers die when Wal-Mart moves … what is the long-term effect?

But after reading an anti-Wal-Mart missive from another small business owner, I’ve been wondering: what message do these guys think they’re sending?

I mean, can you imagine a television station running ads asking you to complain to your government about the existence of other channels? Or if every brand of peanut butter on the shelf carried a sticker demanding that other brands of peanut butter be removed?

As a customer at the hardware store, I have to say I was a little insulted. The message couldn’t be more clear—as a business we’re concerned that your decision to seek a better selection of goods at lower prices will force us to close. Actually, I suppose it’s worse than that—we think you, enlightened customer, appreciate the benefits of an uncompetitive business enough to deny others the option to buy from a store with more attractive goods and prices than our own. Honestly, what sort of patron is moved to action by the call to kill off the competition?

via Business: The confidence to compete | The Economist.

travel, Europe, hotels, lists: Let’s go …

In addition to being a discriminating where-to-stay resource, National Geographic Traveler’s 2010 Stay List is an in-a-nutshell look at the geography, history, and architectural styles of five countries whose total acreage is less than California’s. Selections from England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales range from humble farmsteads to over-the-top castles.

via Best Hotels in Britain and Ireland — National Geographic Traveler.

photography, history, Statue of Liberty, NYC :

A group of immigrants traveling aboard a ship celebrate as they catch their first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York Harbor.

via American Classic: Lady Liberty – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

college basketball, Duke, Seth Curry, kudos:  I thought I could cheer for Duke because of Seth … but I find I can only cheer for Seth.  Kudos, Seth!

On Friday night, Smith’s teammates finished in spectacular fashion while he watched from the bench. Within a span of 46 seconds, Seth Curry drove for a three-point play, made two free throws and passed to Miles Plumlee for a layup as Duke scored seven straight points to stretch its lead to 72-60.

“I was comfortable out there, and I didn’t feel any pressure at all,” Curry said.

via Seth Curry eases Duke’s pain after Nolan Smith injured – CharlotteObserver.com.

Middle East Uprising/Awakening, China, Jasmine Revolution:  China next?

Since late December, Chinese pro-democracy and human-rights activists have watched, cheered and agonized over the events unfolding in the Arab world. There has been a surge of online traffic, with Chinese activists sharing links to blog posts, photos and YouTube videos in order to show solidarity with protesters in the Middle East. When Hosni Mubarak stepped down, one Chinese Twitter feed declared, “Today, we’re all Egyptians!”

Online calls for a “Jasmine Revolution” in China first appeared on Twitter shortly thereafter and were followed by details about the proposed protests on the overseas Chinese Web portal Boxun.com. The calls drew small crowds of onlookers and foreign journalists on Feb. 20 and 27 in designated locations in Beijing and Shanghai, but those who gathered were outnumbered by the police, who dispersed them quickly. Many activists had been warned to stay away; others were forced to go on “sightseeing” trips, put under surveillance or house arrest, or detained.

Still, the events in Tunisia and Egypt were immensely encouraging. As one activist explained to me, “The Middle Eastern protests soundly rejected the claims that countries with Islamic traditions cannot embrace democracy and that people in developing countries only desire material subsistence.” For activists in China, the revolution in the Arab world has rendered obsolete the familiar argument that democracy is unsuited to certain cultures.

The Chinese, especially young people, are no less wired than their Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts, and they are deft at climbing over the “Great Firewall” erected by government censors. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are banned in China, but activists find ways to use them. More important and popular are domestic social-media services like QQ and Sina.com.

via In China, Activists Watch and Cheer the Middle East’s Democracy Wave – WSJ.com.

travel, lists:  I think I am stuck with Calgon … take me away.

FORGOT to plan for a spring break? Haven’t gone skiing yet this year? It’s March, people!

Which means two things: You’re overdue for a break, and it’s not too late to plan one. Even if you just slip away for a weekend.

Want to be on the beach by midafternoon? There are new flights to Destin, Fla., and the Turks and Caicos that are ready to make that happen. Feeling the urge to hit the mountain before the snow melts? Heavy snowfall and spring rates as low as $99 a night are making resorts like Breckenridge, Colo., and Snowbird, Utah, good bargains. Or are poolside cocktails more your style? There are plenty of options in Palm Springs, Calif., where newly renovated hotels are showing off freshened digs.

So, here you go. Whether you want high desert landscapes, powdery slopes or pristine blue water, we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. Here are 14 top-notch escapes that require fewer than four hours in either a car or a plane from more than a dozen major cities. Wherever you live, we’ve got you covered.

via 14 Easy Weekend Getaways – NYTimes.com.

faith and spirituality, death and dying, bookshelf, nonfiction:  Sounds interesting …

Just two months shy of his fourth birthday, Colton Burpo, the son of an evangelical pastor in Imperial, Neb., was rushed into emergency surgery with a burst appendix.

Colton Burpo and his father Todd Burpo sign copies of “Heaven Is for Real” in their Imperial, Neb., home.

He woke up with an astonishing story: He had died and gone to heaven, where he met his great-grandfather; the biblical figure Samson; John the Baptist; and Jesus, who had eyes that “were just sort of a sea-blue and they seemed to sparkle,” Colton, now 11 years old, recalled.

Colton’s father, Todd, has turned the boy’s experience into a 163-page book, “Heaven Is for Real,” which has become a sleeper paperback hit of the winter, dominating best-seller lists and selling hundreds of thousands of copies.

via ‘Heaven Is for Real,’ Boy’s Tale, Is Publishing Phenomenon – NYTimes.com.

music, Billy Joel:  Enjoy!  We Didn’t Start The Fire.

faith and spirituality, labyrinths, Charlotte:  I think I would like to do a labyrinth tour of Charlotte.  Anybody interested?

Almetto Howey Alexander was a woman with a dAream.And as she approached artist Tom Schulz that November day in 2007, she knew he was the one who could help her make it come true.The two had never met, but both had come to the center courtyard at Charlotte’s Presbyterian Hospital for the public unveiling of Schulz’s latest labyrinth – a geometric flat surface with a circuitous path that leads to a center and often brings spiritual peace, even transformation, to those who walk it.”I want one of these,” Alexander told Schulz.”One of what?” he asked.”A labyrinth.”Before that first conversation was over, Schulz had said “yes ma’am” to this elderly black woman and to her dream to have a labyrinth – a place of prayer in motion – for her community in northwest Charlotte.Today at 1 p.m., the McCrorey Family YMCA on Beatties Ford Road will unveil the Almetto Howey Alexander Labyrinth. Schulz’s latest concrete creation is an inspirational outside space that measures 40 by 55 feet and combines ancient African symbols with elements from Alexander’s life and philosophy as a teacher, church member and civil rights activist.It’s believed to be the only Afro-centric labyrinth in the United States and, according to officials at the McCrorey Y, the only labyrinth at a YMCA anywhere in the world.

via Her gift to us: A path to peace – CharlotteObserver.com.

 




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