Posts Tagged ‘artisan

08
Jul
14

7.8.14 … canned soup …

Progresso “Artisan” Creamy Potato Soup with Sausage and Kale, canned soup, artisan: Progresso “Artisan” Creamy Potato Soup with Sausage and Kale was very good … But doesn’t soup hermetically sealed in box go against the definition of “artisan?” Obviously if you follow my conversations, you know of my discussion of the use/misuse of this word.

 Crumbs cupcake empire:

When news broke last night that the Crumbs cupcake empire crumbled, outlets were quick to declare (yet again) the end of the cupcake trend as we know it. While the shuttering of a major chain is certainly noteworthy, this isn’t actually the end of a era—we still have Magnolia, Sprinkles, and countless other sugar-laden chain bakeries. There are still Sex and City tour buses and bachelorette parties, not to mention people who just generally enjoy the taste of cupcakes (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Even Robicelli’s, a Brooklyn bakery that happens to bake quite excellent cupcakes, admits that cupcakes are still a hot-ticket item:

Here’s my theory: Crumbs closed because it made awful cupcakes (and some questionable financial decisions). Despite its attempts at vaguely innovative flavors like Oreo, Crumbs did not produce a good product. Maybe the rest of the population finally wised up to that fact—down with mediocrity! If you want to eat a cupcake, great. But it should at least be a palatable one.

What’s more, this may be evidence of an overall trend: Americans are developing a sense of taste (at last). Other bland, mass-market food categories are down as well. Domestic light beer sales will hit a 10-year low in 2015, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. Why the plummet? Because people are veering toward craft beer, imports, and cider. Translation: People want to drink things that taste good.

The frozen food industry is hurting as well, according to both National Journal and the Wall Street Journal. ”Within this foodie culture the last few years, I think there has been a change in how some people define healthy foods,” Rob McCutcheon, president of ConAgra’s consumer frozen-food division, told the WSJ. “There is definitely a push toward products that are more real, higher quality, more homemade and closer to the source.”

Even the salad dressing industry is feeling the pain of consumer discernment; sales for premium salad dressing are growing at two to three times the rate of regular dressing, the WSJ reported last year. (Bonus: It’s really easy to make your own.)

No one even wants cereal anymore either! Why? Because cereal—whether ultra-sugary or ultra-healthy—can’t quite live up to the morning hero du jour: yogurt!

Does this mean the artisanal food revolution has succeeded? Have we home cooks won the war? Will parents be rolling out kouign amann for their kids’ birthday parties? Will shoyu ramen replace the Quarter Pounder?

Maybe not quite yet. Though casual chains such as Olive Garden and Applebee’s are struggling to stay relevant, TGI Friday’s actually just launched a new “endless appetizer” special: a neverending deluge of mozzarella sticks, potato skins, and more—for only $10. So you know what? Forget what I just said about people caring more about quality than quantity (and price). This is America. Cupcakes may crumble, craft beer may bubble up, but we will always have our fried cheese. Only, perhaps a little more now than before, it may be burrata.

via Crumbs Is Closing—Are Americans Developing a Palate?.

Bonaparte, Joseph Bonaparte, US, history:

Mental Floss ‏@mental_floss 1m

Napoleons older brother Joseph Bonaparte lived for many years in New Jersey.

via 3 Twitter.

 AS a former king, he entertained on a lavish scale. In exile, he surrounded himself with European artwork. He was oldest brother to the conqueror of Europe, but he far preferred gardening to warfare.

Beginning in 1816, Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon, was a New Jersey resident. Once king of Spain and Naples, Bonaparte made his home in exile at Point Breeze, a promontory overlooking the junction of the Crosswicks and Thornton Creeks with the Delaware River.

In the last two years, students from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, led by Richard F. Veit, an associate professor of anthropology, have worked to unearth the foundations of Joseph Bonaparte’s first house, which was destroyed by fire in 1820. In two six-week summer digs this year and last, some 125 students recovered more than 14,000 artifacts, mostly remnants of china, marble and glass.

“Uncovering the foundation cornerstone was hands down the most exciting find we made,” Sean McHugh, a graduate student from Brick, said about finding a portion of the mansion. “It helps orient the whole site.”

Monmouth University’s find was showcased at a recent open house at Point Breeze, hosted by the Divine Word Missionaries, whose seminary now sits on the property. “The university’s undertaking of archaeology here has helped bring the hidden pages of history back to life,” said Pierre Villmont, France’s ambassador to the United States, who attended the event.

Little remains on the property original to Bonaparte’s time. The former estate is honeycombed with underground tunnels, which were used to bring in supplies and also offered a quick escape route if enemies came to call. A brick archway now teetering in the woods may have once supported a carriageway to Bonaparte’s house, according to Keri Sansevere, a Monmouth student from Middletown.

While Joseph Bonaparte’s time in New Jersey may be obscure to some, residents of Bordentown City are well acquainted with his story. Mayor John W. Collom III talked of exploring the underground tunnels as a teenager. Kathleen Pierce, who would have been a close neighbor of M. Bonaparte, said a local repairman once asked her, “And what Bonaparte artifact do you own?”

Bonaparte, who escaped to America from France after his brother’s defeat in 1815, purchased Point Breeze in 1816. He quickly set about enlarging the existing house and acquiring more land, eventually owning more than 1,800 acres in the Bordentown area.

His first mansion burned on Jan. 4, 1820. Bonaparte was away but arrived in time to see the roof collapse, Dr. Veit said.

But his Bordentown neighbors rushed to the property when they saw the flames, and rescued most of his artwork, furniture, silver and other valuables. Bonaparte later publicly praised their efforts in a letter written to local newspapers.

He then built a second, grander mansion, set farther back from the river. This residence was judged by many visitors to be the “second-finest house in America,” after the White House, according to Patricia Tyson Stroud, author of “The Man Who Had Been King,” which was used in Dr. Veit’s course work for the dig.

When he was king of Spain, Bonaparte loved wine and dinner parties — his nickname was “Joey Bottles” — and Monmouth students unearthed generous evidence of this in the hundreds of broken wine bottles recovered at the site. Bonaparte also loved to garden, and Dr. Veit said his estate was a forerunner to Central Park — with an artificial lake and marble statues — that Bonaparte often opened to the public.

In 1839, Bonaparte left New Jersey for Europe, where he died in 1844. His second home was bought by Henry Beckett, the son of a former British consul, who promptly razed it to build another mansion. He was dubbed “Beckett the Destroyer” by local residents.

via History – Unearthing the Home of That Other Bonaparte, the One Who Lived in New Jersey – NYTimes.com.

Why Every City Needs a Labyrinth – CityLab, maze v. labyrinth: Not really a labyrinth, but very cool!

 

I’m the kind of person who probably couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag, so it was with some hesitation that I stepped into the BIG Maze. This is a project at D.C.’s National Building Museum, a summer folly designed by the always-entertaining Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group, a plywood playground where kids will snap selfies all season long. For a person with a sense of direction like mine, though, it couldn’t be worse if a Minotaur were lurking in the middle.

The labyrinth swallowed me. Though the structure is dwarfed by the cavernous museum itself, this maze is no slouch, spanning more than 3,000 square feet. In a word, it’s big: The maple-wood walls rise 18 feet high, and each side is is 57 feet long. Welp, I thought, as I assessed my inventory: If I was going to have to live in a maze for the holiday weekend, at least I had a Perrier.

via Why Every City Needs a Labyrinth – CityLab.

quotes:

As Edward de Bono would say, “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

via CATHERINE WILMER | CACHE Worldwide.

MegaBus: I’m on the MegaBus with Steph Curry’s mother-in-law. She is one of the most down to earth women I have met in a long time … And one very proud grandmother. She paid a dollar for her trip.

 

25
Jul
13

7.25.13 … Freakonomics: “Jane Austen, Game Theorist”… conspicuous consumption: $1.3 million paddle tennis project … in case you need some help getting into the new season of ‘The Newsroom’ … since I made less than a week with my first fitbit … Fancy getting creative in the kitchen? …

Freakonomics, “Jane Austen, Game Theorist”, strategic thinking, decision analysis, Michael Chwe, social movements and macroeconomics and violence , Freakonomics Radio Podcast:  Some things just catch your attention … enjoy!

Okay, a bit more explanation is necessary. Michael Chwe is an associate professor of political science at UCLA whose research centers on game theory and, as he puts it, “its applications to social movements and macroeconomics and violence — and this latest thing is about its applications maybe to literature.”

The literature in question? The novels of Jane Austen. Chwe discovered that Austen’s novels are full of strategic thinking, decision analysis, and other tools that would later come to be prized by game theorists like those as the RAND Corporation just after World War II. (They included some of the brightest minds of the time, including Kenneth J. Arrow, Lloyd S. Shapley, Thomas Schelling, and John Nash.) And so Chwe wrote a book called Jane Austen, Game Theorist.

via Freakonomics » “Jane Austen, Game Theorist”: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast.

Wilmette Parks, paddle tennis, $1.3 million paddle tennis project, conspicuous consumption, Wilmette Life:  Given the economic situation, this seems to be conspicuous consumption to me.

The Wilmette Park District’s $1.3 million paddle tennis project has shifted into high gear, with a June 29 groundbreaking at West Park, and the hiring of a head platform tennis professional to manage programs and lessons at the four-court complex.

District Director Steve Wilson said last week that Brad Smith, who spent the last decade as racquet director for the Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, will be responsible for creating new programs, events and lessons in Wilmette.

via Wilmette Parks break ground, hire pro for paddle tennis – Wilmette Life.

‘The Newsroom, ‘First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers’, Speakeasy – WSJ: In case you need some help getting into the new season. ‘The Newsroom,’ Season 2, Episode 1, ‘First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers’: TV Recap of Season Premiere – Speakeasy – WSJ. And here is episode 2’s recap …

The first episode of this season was fast-paced and interesting. This first half of this new episode dragged and the second half featured one too many speeches, (Lisa, Don, Charlie, Will, Mackenzie) although Will’s mini breakdown at the police precinct was interesting to watch. This episode differs from all the episodes last season because it doesn’t cover one day or one news event; it covers a span of a few weeks and focuses on Troy Davis and Occupy Wall Street.

via ‘The Newsroom,’ ‘The Genoa Tip’: TV Recap – Speakeasy – WSJ.

 fitbit, fitness data, OutsideOnline.com:  Since I made less than a week with my first fitbit …

If what you’re looking for is an overall health boost, the current wave of wristband trackers—Fitbit Flex, Jawbone UP, and Nike+ FuelBand—will give you a baseline measure of how much physical activity you’re getting each day. Unlike the cheap pedometers of yore, these devices are powered by robust accelerometers that detect motion in three dimensions. But their biggest advance is in usability: they’re small enough to wear 24 hours a day, and they sync effortlessly with smartphone apps. More important, they provide a simple tally—Nike calls it a Fuel-Score—so users need to compare only a single data point from day to day. “People like to see how they’re progressing,” says Trent Stellingwerff, a physiologist at the Canadian Sports Institute Pacific. That desire alone is enough to get you active.

If you’re more motivated by competition, look for something that quantifies your effort rather than just your distance. Under Armour’s new chest-strap-mounted Armour39 tracker combines heart-rate data with motion sensors to calculate a real-time “willpower” score. “Our vision was a single number that tells you how hard you’re working, no matter what the sport is,” says Christy Hedgpeth, Under Armour’s head of digital sports. Nike’s FuelBand and Adidas’s MiCoach offer similar cross-sport scoring systems, letting you track your fitness output across activities. They also allow you to compare scores and compete with friends and worldwide leaderboards, basically making a game of working out.

But it’s a third category, which aims to help you maximize your training—telling you when to push hard and when to slow down—that represents the boldest leap yet. “This is the holy grail, but it’s also a black hole,” says Shona Halson, who heads the performance-recovery division at the Australian Institute of Sport. Over the years, scientists have struggled to pin down the physiological indicators of overtraining, like heart-rate variability (the fluctuations in the time between heartbeats) and stress-related hormones like cortisol.

For coaches, two of the more trusted indicators of overtraining are mood and sleep cycle—and naturally, there are apps for those. With Moodscope, which keeps daily tabs on your emotions, you use a virtual deck of cards to rate feelings like alertness and nervousness. A sustained downward trend is a sign that you should probably back off. For sleep, there are a handful of top-end trackers that detect various stages, like REM and deep sleep, but Halson uses a simple wristband accelerometer to measure sleep time in her athletes. She’ll watch for patterns of disruption and suggest tweaks in bedtime habits, caffeine consumption, and training.

via Making Sense of Modern Fitness Data | Fitness – Health and Fitness Advice | OutsideOnline.com.

KITCHEN AID Artisan mixer, selfridges.com, artisan, conspicuous  consumption: I saw this in a Selfridges advertisement and it just jumped out at me.  It’s lovely, but artisan and copper  … just scream conspicuous consumption.  i wouldn’t mind one on my counter, but still …

KitchenAid® 5-Quart Artisan™ Custom Metallic Stand Mixer

This attractively styled stand mixer is reason enough for you to get busy in the kitchen. Lasting durability is ensured by using a five step custom plating process on the metallic finish. With a powerful 325 watt motor, it can handle any task you put to it. The tilt-back head allows for easy access to whatever you’re mixing and the 5-quart bowl features an ergonomic handle for comfort. The durable, all-metal construction is built to last. The unique mixing action reaches every part of the bowl. Five rubber feet protect countertop, while helping to stabilize the mixer. 10-speed control. Includes: flat beater, dough hook, wire whip, pouring shield and 5-quart, polished stainless steel bowl. UL listed. Hassle-free replacement warranty within the first year from purchase. Model # KSM152PS.

via KitchenAid® 5-Quart Artisan™ Custom Metallic Stand Mixer – Bed Bath & Beyond.

SELFRIDGES SAYS

Fancy getting creative in the kitchen? KitchenAid’s Artisan stand mixer, now in a beautiful satin copper finish, has a large capacity to make mixing in batches a breeze, as well as a tilt up head design to ensure easy cleaning and usage. The combination of high quality craftmanship and good looks will make food prep a pleasure.

via Artisan mixer – KITCHEN AID – EXCLUSIVES – Home & Tech | selfridges.com.

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.





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