Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

02
Dec
18

12.2.18 … Advent Worship: There is indeed hope! …

During the month, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite Christmas traditions in random order. I’d love to hear of yours too!

Christmas Tradition #2: Attend Advent Worship.

I’ve been a classic C&E Christian since my children have flown the coop, but in my current state, I make an effort to be a A&L Christian. So today, I made it down to my church for the First Sunday of Advent. The music was excellent, the children’s time was a nice reminder of the purpose and meaning of Advent and Pendleton B. Peery’s sermon was just what I needed. There is indeed hope!

Do you have a tradition at your house you would like to share?

12.2.18

05
Nov
13

11.5.13 … “Remember, remember the fifth of November when gunpowder, treason and plot. I know of no reason, why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!” …

Guy Fawkes Day, British history:  Love seeing on twitter the bonfires in London …  “Remember, remember the fifth of November when gunpowder, treason and plot. I know of no reason, why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!”

Here is a fun English holiday to celebrate…

On November 5, 1605, Guy Fawkes was found in the cellar of the Houses of Lords with a large amount of gunpowder, while attempting to blow up parliament.

To celebrate parliament (and King James I) being saved, every November 5th in England, an effigy of Guy Fawkes is burned on a large bonfire and the evening ends with an extravagant fireworks display.

Now that my family lives in the U.S. we have chosen not to burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes… it seems a little strange to explain to our kids when no one else is doing it! We do however eat British foods, like Scotch Eggs, and talk about the political structure of the United Kingdom and how democracies give their citizens a voice. This year I made my girls each a spoon doll of Guy Fawkes.

\”Remember, remember the fifth of November when gunpowder, treason and plot. I know of no reason, why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!\”

by Helen Bird

via Guy Fawkes | Spoonful.

 kith/kin, baseball, replica bats: An interesting story about an interesting member of my husband’s family!

Rayburn really likes baseball, and he has ever since he was a kid.

“Baseball, I think, was a little bit of an equalizer,” he says. “You didn’t have to be the best looking kid in the class – the best liked in the class, but if you were good, or at least worked hard and tried to be good, you could be an equal on the playing field.”

Credit Austin Ramsey/WKMS News

He’s retired now, but he spent years in real estate, freight and university athletics. And in retirement, he builds baseball bats that resemble those from the game’s early history. He even restores bats – many of which were used in the game’s early history.

Plus,  he single-handedly produces the entire line of bats for one of the nation’s largest classic baseball memorabilia producers  in his garage.

Each day, Rayburn occupies the small shop adjacent his home west of town.

Inside, walls are lined with bats of various shapes and stages of completion. He has a series of new bats with oddly-shaped handles. He says they represent the dead ball era, when a baseball was softer and more emphasis was put on field positions and strategic bunts.

With each new bat, he starts with a three-inch billet of Ash or Maple, which he marks and whittles down on a lathe, carefully carving away excess wood in one-inch increments. As he carves away, using different sized tools, the corrugated form of a bat appears.

via Local Man Brings to Life Replica Baseball Bats from Past | WKMS.

Christmas, The Christmas Scale:  An early Christmas Gift. I may re-gift it in a month!

via ▶ The Christmas Scale – YouTube.

Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, movies:  Add this to my movie list.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Charlie Trotter, Charlie Trotter’s Restaurant-Chicago,  RIP:  I ate at Charlie Trotter’s once while we lived in Chicago. It was very good, a true culinary dining experience.  I cannot say I would do it again, but I can thank my lovely in-laws for the once in a lifetime experience.   RIP

Trotter burst on the scene in 1987, when the self-taught chef opened Charlie Trotter’s restaurant on Armitage Avenue. In short order, the chef’s intense creativity and never-repeat-a-dish dictum made Trotter’s the most talked-about restaurant in Chicago, and his fame quickly spread throughout the country and beyond.

He was named the country’s Outstanding Chef by James Beard Foundation in 1999; in 2000, Wine Spectator magazine called Trotter’s the best restaurant in the nation. More awards and accolades followed, including a 2002 Beard Award for Outstanding Service; at the time, Trotter called it the award he was most proud to receive, as it represented “a team award.”

The mercurial chef was a stern taskmaster who demanded the absolute best from everyone who worked for him. He was also a man of uncommon generosity, creating the Charlie Trotter Education Foundation to provide scholarships for culinary students. He received the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year award in 2012.

“Charlie was an extreme father figure to me when it came to not just cooking, but life, and seeing things in a different way,” said chef Graham Elliot Bowles, one of many famous chefs who worked for Trotter. “I just can’t put into words how saddened I am by all of this. It’s a huge loss, not just personally, but for the culinary world.”

via Charlie Trotter dead: Famed Chicago chef dies – chicagotribune.com.

Just earlier today I posted 11.5.13 … I don’t talk sports that often … but I have to admit I pulled for the Red Sox because I like their fans a wee bit better …  and now I have to take two exceptions:  Davidson Basketball and the Carolina Panthers.

Davidson Wildcats at #4 Duke Blue Devils

Friday November 8, 7PM (ESPNU)

I’m not sure how much a chance Davidson has against Duke, but I\’ve learned to never count out Bob McKillop and his Wildcats. McKillop is one of the few who won\’t \”abandon all hope\” when he enters Cameron Indoor Stadium on Friday night.

Though Davidson lost Nik Cochran, Jake Cohen, and others, the Wildcats still return a talented squad who will compete with Elon for a Southern Conference title in their last year in the conference. Leading that veteran laden group is De\’Mon Brooks. Brooks has been the SoCon\’s Player of the Year before and is a two-time SoCon Tournament MVP. The 6\’7 forward averaged nearly 14 points and 6 boards a year ago and is going to need all of that and more against the Blue Devils.

Beyond Brooks, McKillops will rely on the rest of his senior core Chris Czerapowicz, Tyler Kalinowski, and Tom Droney to step up big on Friday.  This may also be the coming out party for Miami (Ohio) transfer Brian Sullivan, who averaged over 10 points per game his freshman year while being named to the All-MAC Freshman team.

Duke is the other Tobacco Road team that struggled a bit in their preseason warm up. The Blue Devils found themselves down to Drury 38-34 Saturday afternoon, but they pulled away in the second half for a 81-65 victory. Freshman Jabari Parker and Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood will be the story for Coach K\’s team. Parker is expected to be a top five pick in the NBA Draft, while Hood is considered among the nation\’s top transfers. Rasheed Sulaimon missed the Blue Devils tune up due to illness, but expect him and Quinn Cook to be firing on all cylinders Friday night in Durham

via Mid-Major Upset Alert: Opening Weekend Trouble on Tobacco Road? – Mid-Major Madness.

Last year I wore red socks inside my boots to the Panthers v. Falcons game … This year I left the red socks at home. I figure the Falcons are a lost cause and I really ought to put my mouth (and socks) where my money is.

2013 Georgia Florida St Simons Island Beach Celebration: And then I could not pass this one up from last weekend’s GA FL Game:

2013 Georgia Florida St Simons Island Beach Celebration

via ▶ 2013 Georgia Florida St Simons Island Beach Celebration – YouTube.

Mexican Coke:

Well, fear not, soda snobs. All those reports are wrong.

Monterrey, Mexico-based Arca Continental, which bottles Coca-ColaKO -0.03% in glass bottles for U.S. consumers as part of a nostalgia project that began in 2005, assures that its fizzy pop destined for the U.S. market will continue to be sweetened entirely with cane sugar.

A street vendor carries bottles of soda to customers in Mexico City

That’s not the case for Coke sold in Mexico. The soda chugged in vast quantities by Mexicans has long been sweetened with a mix of high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar. The mix varies, depending on which sweetener is cheaper, with local bottlers aiming to limit HFCS to conserve taste and their relationships with Mexico’s powerful sugar industry.

Currently Mexico’s largest soft drink bottler, Coca-Cola FemsaKOF.MX -3.25%, uses HFCS to cover 60% of its sweetener needs, CFO Hector Treviño told analysts last month. Mr. Treviño said his bottler is at maximum capacity for HFCS and that, if anything, going forward it will buy more cane sugar—which is very cheap right now. Mexico is the world’s fifth-biggest sugar producer, and domestic bottlers have their own sugar refineries.

via Have No Fear, Your Mexican Coke Will Remain as Sweet as Ever – Corporate Intelligence – WSJ.

 Roman Sculpture, London, archeology, new discoveries: 

Archaeologists excavating at the future site of a 16-story hotel in London have uncovered a 1,800-year-old statue of an eagle with a writhing serpent in its beak.

The statue was carved in limestone from the Cotswolds and stands two feet (65 centimeters) tall. The right wing has broken off from the body, but otherwise the sculpture is intact.

The foundations of a mausoleum were also found at the site. Experts have concluded that the sculpture once adorned the tomb of a Roman-era Londoner, likely a high-ranking official or a prosperous merchant.

via Finest Roman Sculpture Ever Found in London Uncovered.

man’s best friend, corgis: 

In today’s edition of worst possible news ever: corgis — the dogs popular among the entire Internet and, of course, Queen Elizabeth — could soon earn a place on the endangered breed list. The stubby-legged bundles of cuteness are now on Britain Kennel Club’s “at watch” list and are set to be classified as a “vulnerable native breed” by January, AFP reports.

The club said only 241 Pembroke Welsh Corgis were registered this year, and it seems unlikely that they’ll reach the 300 registrations needed to stay off the vulnerable breeds list. The club says this decline correlates with the rise in popularity of smaller foreign breeds, like French bulldogs. (Which, for the record, are really ridiculously cute too.)

The Daily Telegraph, however, blames the decline on a 2007 ban on tail-docking, the practice of cutting off part of the animal’s tail. The Telegraph reports that many breeders say they can’t achieve the desired corgi look without tail-docking, and so many have simply given up on the breed.

So, it’s probably a combination of factors — horrible, terrible, no-good factors — that are coming together to try to wipe out our precious corgis and deprive us of the most divine cuteness the world has ever known.

Of course, it’s the viral content factory BuzzFeed that will probably take this news the hardest, as the site’s business model can be summed up as “mo corgis mo money.”

via Corgis Becoming Endangered: Queen’s Favorite Dog Breed At Risk | TIME.com.

Raymond Loewy, Google Doodle,  “Father of Industrial Design”, TIME.com:

Today’s Google Doodle honors what would have been the 120th birthday of Raymond Loewy 1893-1986, often referred to as the “father of industrial design” who ”made products irresistible at a time when nobody really wanted to pay for anything,” as TIME once wrote.He is the man behind the Lucky Strike cigarette pack, Coca-Cola vending machines, the Greyhound bus, the S1 Locomotive, logos for Shell and Exxon, plus the interiors of President John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One and NASA’s Apollo and Skylab “orbiters.” When he “streamlined” the Coldspot refrigerator design, sales at Sears went up, illustrating his famous line “between two products equal in price, function, and quality, the better looking will outsell the other.”

via Raymond Loewy Google Doodle Honors the “Father of Industrial Design” | TIME.com.

Moving Dollies, Buckhead’s Randolph-Lucas House, Around Town – Buckhead GA Patch:

On Wednesday morning, the moving dollies arrived onsite at the historic Peachtree Road home that was built in 1924 for Hollins Nicholas Randolph, a great, great grandson of Thomas Jefferson.

Due to the wet weather in Friday\’s forecast, the move will likely not take place this week. But it is coming and soon as foundation work at the Ansley Park locale has continued throughout the month as the attached Youtube video depicts.

For the move, the home will be horizontally split above the first floor, lifted by cranes and then transported on flatbeds. Utility lines will need to be moved temporarily as well.

Every piece of the home, except the kitchen, will be completely renovated and moved to the new location at 78 Peachtree Circle, about two miles away. The kitchen will be updated to a more modern one, but will still complement the home, according to HGTV Front Door.

via Moving Dollies Arrive for Buckhead’s Randolph-Lucas House – Around Town – Buckhead, GA Patch.

60 Signs You Studied Sociology In College:  I learn a lot from my children, so I actually got a few of these.

26. You’ve given up on trying to bridge the “natural science vs social science” divide.

via 60 Signs You Studied Sociology In College.

04
Jan
13

1.4.13 Pot machines … hmmm?

new, Colorado:  Pot machines … Why if we do not sell liquor by vending machines or cigarettes for that matter, are we now going to sell pot?  Hmmm?

(NBC News)

Now that Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use, businesses are clamoring to get a piece of the action, and coming up with some entertaining ways to do it. For example, a pot vending machine already exists for medical use, so why not introduce the same kind of devices for anyone in those states looking to buy some legal bud? One company is working on adapting its vending machines for just that purpose.

via Such A Thing As A Pot Vending Machine Exists, Might Be Heading To Colorado & Washington – The Consumerist.

Margaret Atwood, publishing, serial form, Positron:  I may have to read this!

“Once upon a time, novelists of the 19th century, such as Charles Dickens, published in serial form,” Atwood tells NPR’s Audie Cornish. “They would put out maybe three chapters or so, and then they would respond to readers’ reactions. And then, that moved on and serial publication got taken over by magazines and newspapers, and that was where it was in my youth. But that died out as the 20th century neared its close, so a whole way of publishing, a whole platform vanished.”

Now, Atwood says, the advent of the Internet means that platform has reappeared, and she’s in the middle of writing Positron — the third episode went on sale last week at Byliner.

via Margaret Atwood’s Brave New World Of Online Publishing : NPR.

Jane Austen, Christmas, Steventon UK:

A Jane Austen Christmas card by David Price, All Port Editions (2012)

A Jane Austen Christmas to Everyone! « Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog.

Contemporary drawings of Steventon rectory

Ms Stiller said: “You have to think about where she was living. This was an isolated village, roads were impassable in bad weather. I find it astonishing she had such a big social life.”

via BBC News – Unlocking secrets from Jane Austen’s Steventon home.

apps:  I agree with his choices.  To Take the Hassle Out of Traveling, Pack These Apps – WSJ.com.

15
Dec
11

12.15.2011 … CLS Half-way There Party a hit! Now to get ready for Christmas … and Edward’s home … just one little one still out …

CLS, Half-way There Party, Winter Break:  Half-way There Party a hit! Now to get ready for Christmas …

kith/kin, travel: Edward’s home … just one little one still out …

Christopher Hitchens, RIP, Cancer victimhood, living dyingly, friendship:  So the answer is … be there for your friends … that is what matters.

“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.

“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.

via In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011 | Blogs | Vanity Fair.

Christmas, shopping, retail: Black Friday, Sofa Sunday, Cyber Monday, Red Tuesday, Mobile Sunday, Green Monday,  Free Shipping Day and Super Saturday … oh my!

A sharp drop in shopping since Thanksgiving weekend has prompted worried retailers to slash prices, extend specials, stay open later — and rewrite the calendar.

Usually one of the most heavily discounted shopping days of the year, the Saturday before Christmas — it falls on Dec. 24 this year — is too crucial to retailers’ holiday sales to be left in the hands of procrastinating Christmas Eve shoppers. Instead, many of the promotions pegged to “Super Saturday,” as the day is known in the retail industry, are now scheduled for this Saturday — a full eight days before Christmas.

“If you wait until the 24th, you have no time to recover,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks consumer spending.

But not all stores are making the switch. And that is creating a good amount of confusion in the retail world.

The dueling Saturdays might seem like a lot of consternation about nothing to consumers weary of faux shopping events: Black Friday, Sofa Sunday, Cyber Monday, Red Tuesday, Mobile Sunday, Green Monday and Free Shipping Day (Friday this year, for those keeping track).

But the worries are real for retailers who are seeing the season slip away from them, and the potential effects on the economy are considerable.

via Stores Shuffle a Saturday in Hopes of Saving the Season – NYTimes.com.

tweet of the day, PostSecret, criminal acts:  What gives!

Kendra Wells (@kkendrawellss)12/8/11 4:42 PM At our local bookstore, they keep the @postsecret books locked up because people often steal them.

 journalists, authors,  tips:  Never thought about this …

Writers embarking on their first book-length project respond to the challenge in different ways. Some panic, staring blankly at their screen as fine beads of sweat form on their foreheads. Some luxuriate in the expanse of real estate and begin wandering to and fro around their subject, leaving no random thought unexpressed. Some try to take a 3,000-word piece and inflate it to 300 pages.

via When journalists become authors: a few cautionary tips – Nieman Storyboard – A project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.

really stupid, criminal acts, butt dialing:

Madison police say two men in their late 20s stole DVDs and computer games from a Target store Tuesday and discussed their plans to fence the goods while driving away.

Investigators say the duo didn’t realize one of them had accidentally pocket-dialed 911. A dispatcher listened in for nearly an hour as they discussed what they had stolen and where they might sell it. Police say they even described their vehicle.

Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain says the pair decided to sell their goods at a video store. When they pulled into the store’s parking lot, officers surrounded their vehicle with guns drawn.

via Police: Thieves pocket-dial 911, leading to arrest  | accessAtlanta.

The Price Check, Amazon, apps:  I’d be angry, too.

“The Price Check by Amazon app is primarily intended for customers who are comparing prices in major retail chain stores,” an Amazon spokesman said Thursday. “The goal of the Price Check app is to make it as easy as possible for customers to access product information, pricing information, and customer reviews, just as they would on the Web, while shopping in a major retail chain store,” he said.

The Price Check app features prices from Amazon and its many third-party sellers, he added.

An Amazon spokesperson told the New York Times this week that the promotion was not aimed at small competitors, but rather big box stores.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R., Maine), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, had recently likened that to “incentivizing consumers to spy on local shops,” calling it “an attack on Main Street businesses.”

via Why Amazon.com’s New App Is Creating a Stir – WSJ.com.

12
Dec
11

12.12.2011 … I’m up to my ears in cupcake balls! …

holidays, food – desserts:  I’m up to my ears in cupcake balls! Cake Balls « bakerella.com.

.

Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, marketing, Middle East, North Africa:

Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are huge in the Middle East and North Africa, where they account for 55 percent of mobile Internet traffic, according to a new survey by Dubai-based Effective Measure. The iPhone and iPad in particular are doing well, splitting top device honors among the countries covered in the study.

During the month of October, Apple iPhone accounted for 29.6 percent of traffic from mobile devices, with the iPad accounting for 24.1 percent. The iPod touch added another two percent to the total for Apple devices. Apple’s iPhone was the most popular device overall, and the iPad second. RIM’s BlackBerry devices came in third, with 7.6 percent combined.

via Apple devices winning big in the Middle East and North Africa — Apple News, Tips and Reviews.

iPad:  iPad 3 on the way?

Now that Citi analyst Richard Gardner has kicked the rumor mill up a notch for those awaiting the next iPad, the speculation will likely being flying fast and furious.

Digitimes is reporting that the next Apple tablet will be coming out in three to four months — right about in line with Apple’s normal schedule for iPad releases. The Taiwanese tech site, which has a spotty record when it comes to predicting Apple’s next moves, has tapped into its supply line sources once again and reported that Apple will begin cutting back on iPad 2 production ins the first quarter of 2012. Why? To make way for the next generation, of course.

Apple is infamous for the control it exercises over its image — especially its retail stores. Customers often know Apple stores at a glance, since the company’s storefronts often employ the same stark, simple lines as its products while also reflecting the character of their surroundings.

Apple is known for having many successful product launches. But it had some unsuccessful ones too.

The report says that new iPads are expected to reach 9.5 to 9.8 million production units in early 2012.

The rumors could have a negative effect on Apple’s holiday sales, as consumers expecting an iPad3 to come soon may decide not to take the plunge and buy an iPad 2 now.

There was definitely some buyers’ remorse out there when Apple released the iPad 2 last March, adding cameras and slicing down the thickness. And, yes, there are some rumored features for the next iPad that would be nice to have, such as an HD screen and LTE connectivity. But, as is the nature of these kinds of rumors, there’s no guarantee than any of them is accurate.

via Report: New iPad coming this spring – The Washington Post.

 myths, all women’s colleges, lists:

1. We are all major feminists who are concerned with women’s issues

3. For fun, we have late night pillow fights in our underwear

5. We are all lesbians

via Top ten myths about all women’s colleges | USA TODAY College.

Penn State Scandal, Mike McQueary:  Key Witness’ Story Changes …

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 9:00 AM EST – ABC News 2:33 | 4,558 views

Questions raised about Mike McQueary

Penn State Scandal: Key Witness’ Story Changes

Questions raised about Mike McQueary, an eyewitness in the case.

via News Videos – Yahoo!.

‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, movies,  pregnancy handbook, romantic comedy:  Movie adapts pregnancy handbook into romantic comedy … go figure!

Lionsgate has released a trailer for the romantic-comedy adaptation of the pregnancy handbook, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

We’ve embedded the trailer in the video above–what do you think?

Here’s more from Indiewire: “[Pregnancy] makes Elizabeth Banks hysterical, Dennis Quaid embarassed and Brooklyn Decker…well, she stays hot. Cameron Diaz, Anna Kendrick, Chris Rock, Matthew Morrison, Rodrigo Santoro, Chace Crawford, Jennifer Lopez, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tom Lennon and Rob Huebel all round out the cast on this one.”

The film reportedly also contains celebrity cameos from Black Eyed Peas musician Taboo, reality starlet Whitney Port and UK singer Cheryl Cole. Director Kirk Jones helmed the project. Heather Hach and Shauna Cross wrote the script. The movie hits theaters in May 2012.

via ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ Trailer Released – GalleyCat.

 La Rochefoucauld, quotes, happiness:

“We are so accustomed to disguising our true nature from others, that we end up disguising it from ourselves.”
 La Rochefoucauld

lawyers, careers, Great Recession, internet, websites, Shpoonkle: A new site lets jobless young lawyers underbid their more-experienced competitors for work! Welcome to Shpoonkle! Where Lawyers and Clients Connect..

New Lawyers Hang a Shingle on Shpoonkle, to Some Colleagues’ Chagrin

via Recent Law Graduates Offer Cheap Legal Counsel on Web Site, to Lawyers’ Chagrin – Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

websites, cooking, Cooking with Caitlin:  Another fun one…

Cooking with Caitlin (CWC) began Mother’s Day 2007, on Molly’s front porch, over a bowl of cherries. Caitlin was a brand new wife and mom, and had recently returned to Cincinnati having completed culinary school in Chicago. Molly and Kelly also had moved back to Cincinnati recently. Together they hatched a plan to be their own bosses in a food-focused business built around their growing families. The initial idea was simple: catering. A nights-and-weekends company that would give Caitlin the opportunity to play with food, Kelly would plan the parties, Molly would promote the business, and they would come together to make the events happen.

via Cooking with Caitlin.

toys,  retailing, Christmas:  No hit toys … another sign of the Great Recession?

With Christmas less than two weeks away, the toy industry has no runaway hit — leaving many toy shoppers bored and complicating how stores sell holiday inventory.

“We are not seeing people clamor for any single item,” Stephanie Lucy, vice president for toys at Target, said by e-mail.

The hitless season has retailers stocking less, leaning on classic items rather than new ones and possibly discounting less in the final days before Christmas. And with no Tickle Me Elmo or Zhu Zhu Pets to draw crushing crowds to the toy aisles, most retailers are being careful not to get stuck with unsold toys.

“As retailers look at consumer confidence numbers, they are skeptical about consumers’ willingness to spend this holiday season, and they are trying to avoid getting caught with too much inventory,” said Josh Green, chief executive of Panjiva, a supply-chain data company.

LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer, Hot Wheels Wall Tracks, Lalaoopsy Silly Hair dolls and some Lego sets are sold out or hard to find in many parts of the country, but that is mainly because of consistent demand rather than growing waves of frenzied shoppers.

via No Hit Toy to Brighten Retailers’ Christmas – NYTimes.com.

Christmas, Go-To Gift, Soul by Ludacris:  Since I have never heard of SOUL … must not be that big of a hit.

SOUL by Ludacris headphones are featured as the perfect gift for the audiophile in Newsweek Magazine‘s December article, “Tech for One, Tech for All: Stocking Stuffers for the Gadget Guru” by Brian Ries.  Along with SOUL he plugs the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire as this season’s go-to gifts.  (on newsstands now)

via Newsweek Magazine’s, “This Season’s Go-To Gift” [feature] | Soul by Ludacris.

science, biology, leaproach:  Yuck … Leaping cockroach discovered!

Cockroach haters beware: scientists have discovered a roach that jumps.

The newly discovered leaproach, which looks like a cockroach but acts like a grasshopper, is described in the journal Biology Letters.

via Leaping Cockroach Discovered – NYTimes.com.

Zoran Milich, NYC, photojournalism, Gothamatic, LIFE :  I love how LIFE has returned on the web!

Gothamatic: 12.12.11 – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

law school, education, practical applications:  Very well written … “The emphasis on practical short-term payoffs has already laid waste to the traditional project of the liberal arts, which may not survive. Is the law next? The law is surely a practice but it is also a subject, and if it ceases to be a subject — ceases to be an object of analysis in classrooms and in law reviews — its practice will be diminished. When a Times editorial declares that “[l]aw is now regarded as a means rather than an end, a tool for solving problems” rather than something of interest in its own right, one wants to say more’s the pity.”

This week marks the last sessions of my Yale law school class on law, liberalism and religion. In the course of the semester my students have learned how to read religion clause cases against the background of long-standing debates in philosophy and theology about the relationship between religious imperatives and the obligations of democratic citizenship. They have become adept at recognizing the arguments behind the arguments the justices are making explicitly. They can see how a case ostensibly about vouchers or school prayer or Christmas trees on courthouse steps is really about whether principle or history should inform a court’s decisions. They can see how a case about head coverings or beards in the military (a topic that has surfaced once again) turns on the distinctions set down in John Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration” (1689), a tract the justices may never have read. They can see how the majority and dissenting opinions in a free exercise case often reflect a tension between negative and positive liberty as these terms are defined by Isaiah Berlin, an author the justices will likely not have referenced. They can see how the entire history of religion-clause jurisprudence at once illustrates and is an extended critique of John Rawls’s attempt in “Political Liberalism” to devise a form of government that will be fair to religion while at the same time keeping it at arm’s length.

The question asked by an article and an editorial published recently in this newspaper is whether what my students have learned will be of any help to them when they enter practice. At first glance the answer seems to be “no,” if only because Berlin, Locke, Rawls, Hobbes, Kant, Unger and Rorty (writers whose work took up half the semester) are not currency in legal arguments; citing them in front of a court or in a memorandum is likely to be regarded at best as window dressing and at worst as showing off. (Not to mention the fact that few practicing attorneys are likely to be engaging with religion-clause issues anyway.)

In his response to Segal’s essay, Brian Leiter, a professor of law at the University of Chicago, rejects the question of whether what one learns in law school is of any help: “The criterion of scholarly inquiry is whether it makes a contribution to knowledge and understanding, not whether it ‘helps.’” Leiter adds that what he calls “genuine” knowledge often does help with “a host of concrete and practical problems.” But he refuses (rightly, I think) to justify the academic study of law on that basis, for, he explains, “it is the central premise of a research institution that the measure of its achievement is the quality of the scholarship, i.e. its contribution to knowledge — whether of law or biology or literature — not its practical payoff in the short-term.”

The emphasis on practical short-term payoffs has already laid waste to the traditional project of the liberal arts, which may not survive. Is the law next? The law is surely a practice but it is also a subject, and if it ceases to be a subject — ceases to be an object of analysis in classrooms and in law reviews — its practice will be diminished. When a Times editorial declares that “[l]aw is now regarded as a means rather than an end, a tool for solving problems” rather than something of interest in its own right, one wants to say more’s the pity.

via Teaching Law – NYTimes.com

Christmas, Christmas album, Christmas traditions, history:  Love this …

I’m a Christmas music traditionalist. Whereas I happily seek out new bands and explore new music throughout the year (and not just because it’s my job), around the holidays I become so conservative, so unyielding in my song choices — it’s Bing Crosby and Dean Martin or nothing — that the very mention of a contemporary Christmas album confuses and alarms me. Michael Bublé’s new Christmas record? Why don’t you just shave off Santa’s beard while you’re at it.

I just don’t approach Christmas songs the same way that I do regular ones. I’m not looking to broaden my musical horizons with a new rendition of “Jingle Bells.” I just want to listen to the same old songs (and watch the same old movies and drink the same old eggnog) that I always have. I’m probably doing it in a futile attempt to recapture some sense of childhood wonder. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Besides watching the A Christmas Story marathon on TV, that is.

But this year marks the first time that I’ve fallen for a new Christmas collection: A Very She & Him Christmas. The album — which came out in October because bandmembers Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have fallen prey to the diabolical “Christmas creep” marketing machine — is a compilation of classic Christmas tunes that have been stripped down and injected with just the right amount of contrived nostalgia to trick me into into thinking that I’ve been listening to it all my life. Their version of the Beach Boys’ “Little St. Nick” deserves to be a new holiday standard. I’ve finally entered the world of the annual Christmas album and what a big, scary world it is. I have a lot of catching up to do, so I might as well start at the beginning.

Christmas music as we know it today didn’t really get going until the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria married her German cousin, Prince Albert. Suddenly, England had an excuse to adopt all of Germany’s fun Christmas traditions, like that of the decorated tree laden with presents. The customs were also picked up by the United States, which had only recently invented the concept of Santa Claus. All of this newfound holiday cheer helped revive the practice of group caroling. Carols had existed for centuries, though their popularity waxed and waned as different governments and religious movements periodically declared them sinful. (I’m look at you, Puritans). But in the 1800s they finally had their heyday. Between 1840 and 1870, the following carols were written: “Good King Wenceslas,” “Jingle Bells,” “Up on the Housetop,” “Away in a Manger, and “We Three Kings.” Those are just the ones that have stuck around; there are plenty of others that have long been forgotten.

via Music Monday: The Rise of the Christmas Album | Entertainment | TIME.com.

Steve Jobs,  Computer History Museum: Wonderful retrospective!

The “Blue Box” was a simple electronic gizmo that bypassed telephone company billing computers, allowing anyone to make free telephone calls anywhere in the world. The Blue Box was illegal, but the specifications for hacking into the telephone network were published in a telephone company journal and many youngsters with a flair for electronics built them. The “two Steves” had a great deal of fun building and using them for “ethical hacking,” with Wozniak building the kits and Jobs selling them—a pattern which would emerge again and again in the lives of these two innovators. (Wozniak once telephoned the Vatican, pretended to be Henry Kissinger and asked to speak to the Pope—just to see if he could. When someone answered, Woz got scared and hung up.)

via Computer History Museum | Steve Jobs: From Garage to World’s Most Valuable Company.

Illustrated Histories and the American Imagination, 1840-1900, online exhibition:  So much neat stuff out there!

In this online exhibit, explore and contrast the production histories of two mid-19th-century pictorial history projects.

Through interactive graphics, magnified images and text, come to understand the personal agendas and the two-way and three-way collaborations at work in the making of pictorial histories; that is, the relationships among publishers, artists and historians.

via Clio: Picturing the Past – American Illustrated Histories Online Exhibit.

Christmas, Christmas traditions, Christmas feast, recipes, history:  A Victorian Christmas Feast!

“Nothing pushes the nostalgia button at Christmastime more than Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, with its warming images of a candlelit tree and Victorian plenitude. Yet prior to the 19th century, Christmas was a very different holiday, and it was only in the Victorian era that our concept of Christmas as a child-centered family holiday arose. After reviewing the evolution of Christmas holidays, we will use 19th-century English cookbooks, such as Charles Francatelli’s The Modern Cook and Eliza Acton’s Modern Cookery for Private Families, to create a groaning board of Victorian delights, including Jerusalem Artichoke Soup; Lobster Fricassée; Baked Goose with Chestnuts; Roasted Filet of Beef à l’Anglaise; Endives with Cream; Christmas Pudding; Gingerbread; and Twelfth Night Cake.”

Cathy continued, “This is upper class food that we’re making tonight, that took a large staff in the kitchen to prepare, with no expenses spared, using the most luxurious ingredients. It’s also infusion cuisine made with expensive stocks, showing the French influence in this period. There’s also a fair amount of cream in many dishes with a touch of cayenne pepper, an influence of the British colonials in India. The French at this time would have just used nutmeg. There were many women cooks in the kitchens of the wealthy in England, and in France there were more men in the kitchens.”

via A Victorian Christmas Feast « Jane Austen’s World.

websites, design, Colossal:
If you haven’t seen Colossal, don’t worry: you will. It’s an art and design blog which is, well, what it says it is. It’s getting mentioned everywhere, including here on Hyperallergic. It so happens that the blog’s creator, Chris Jobson, and I have known each other for years, and we live about three blocks from each other on Chicago’s north side. So I thought I would see if the guy who’s responsible for bringing such cool stuff to the world’s attention would overcome his modesty and talk about himself for a few minutes.via An Interview with Chris Jobson, Creator of the Art and Design Blog Colossal.
 Zombie Borders, Germany, history:  My favorite article of the day … Read on …
Now defunct by just over two decades, the border between the two Germanys already seems like a surreal relic from a much more distant past. Was there really ever a 540-mile Strip of Death separating the two halves, from the Czech border to the Bay of Lübeck? There was – and it was quite hermetical, and very deadly [2] – but today a visitor might be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

These days, the so-called innerdeutsche Grenze is almost completely erased from the landscape, marked only by the occasional memorial placard along the Autobahn. The fences, the spotlights, the guard dogs and the tanks have all been withdrawn. But that doesn’t mean it’s gone. The line that separated the Federal Republic of (West) Germany from the (East) German Democratic Republic is a zombie border: it’s been dead a few times in the past, and that hasn’t stopped it coming back. The line between east and west existed long before the postwar split.

The Iron Curtain that divided Europe (and Germany) is gone. The European Union now includes much of Eastern Europe, and indeed some bits of the former Soviet Union. In Angela Merkel, Germany has its first chancellor raised in the former East Germany. Although many socio-economic indicators for the ex-GDR are still not up to par with the western half of Germany, the border itself has been thoroughly erased from the landscape.

So is that the end of Henry the Fowler’s thousand-year-old border? Maybe not. Erased borders are like phantom limbs – sometimes it feels like they’re still there, even when they’re manifestly not.

via Zombie Borders – NYTimes.com.

09
Dec
11

12.9.2011 … So glad two of my children’s names are on the list … the list of most popular pet names in 2011 … :)

random, names, kith/kin, pets: So glad two of my children’s names are on the list!

Does your dog have a popular name? Many names are personal or silly, while others have stuck with pets throughout history.

If you’re curious what other people name their animals, be sure to check out our cutest pets of 2011 slideshow.

Does your pet’s name reflect where they came from? A recent poll by AP and petside.com suggests that most people get their pets as gifts or rescue them.

Want to get a dog and give it some fantastic name? Check out Petfinder.com and the ASPCA website to help a dog in need of a home.

If you think your pet has a unique name, check out Banfield Pet Hospital’s list of the top 25 dog names for 2011, accompanied by some of our favorite dog pictures from this year. Click here to also check out the top cat names of 2011. Be sure to vote for your favorites!

via Top Dog Names Of 2011 (PHOTOS).

Christmas, decorations, random, Anthropologie:

“book Christmas tree in a NY @Anthropologie . So smart. I’m doing it. ”

via Instagram.

“Miracle on 42nd Street”, YouTube, viral videos:  🙂

Dancers Alex Karigan and Zac Hammer from the hit YouTube video Miracle on 42nd Street video chatted with readers. They answered reader questions, broke out some dance moves and more.

via Challenge the “Miracle on 42nd Street” dancers – The Washington Post.

Christmas, Christmas traditions, Christmas sweaters:  Fad Returns?

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David Wright examines the ugly Christmas sweater trend.

via Christmas Sweater Madness: Fad Returns | Video – ABC News.

Niall Ferguson, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, books, tv:  On my list …

Among yesterday’s selection of 5 must-read books by this year’s newly announced TED Global speakers was The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Harvard historian Niall Ferguson. But the book was actually meant to accompany a 2008 six-part documentary commissioned by Channel 4 — the same folks who gave us What Is Reality?, The End of God?: A Horizon Guide to Science and Religion, How Music Works, What Is Time? — and distributed in the US by PBS.

The program is now available online in a clip of questionable legality that may or may not get pulled down by the copyright watchdogs at any point. But, while it lasts, it’s very much worth a watch — eloquent and digestible, it distills one of the most powerful driving forces of our civilization and its multiplicitous impact on just about every aspect of our lives.

via The Ascent of Money: A PBS Financial History of the World | Brain Pickings.

technology, iPhone apps, hardware:  a Home Theater Powered by iPhone?

Everything changed when people started writing their own apps for the iPhone. Suddenly its talents as a phone — which, at least at the outset, weren’t particularly impressive — paled in comparison to its abilities as a computer.

These days, this business of phone-as-brain goes way beyond stand-alone apps. Nowadays, the iPhone handles the computing, connection and display tasks for a huge range of hardware from other companies. Why should they jack up their products’ prices by selling you a screen, memory, processor, microphone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’ve already got all of that in your pocket?

There are blood pressure monitors (iHealth), bathroom scales (Withings), physical activity monitors (Jawbone), sleep monitors (Zeo), credit card readers (Square), security cameras (iZon), remote-control helicopters (Parrot) and, of course, about 73,001 speaker systems. All of them rely on the iPhone as a brain.

Until the Epson Megaplex came along, however, one screamingly obvious iPhone accessory didn’t seem to occur to anybody: a home theater projector.

Why is it such an obvious idea? Because these days, millions of people carry around their photos, videos and music on their iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. The world is teeming with charging docks that also play their music. It shouldn’t have taken so long for someone to create a dock that also plays the photos and videos.

via Epson’s Megaplex Is a Home Theater Powered by iPhone – State of the Art – NYTimes.com.

Twitter,  redesigns:  Twitter works just fine for me …

Twitter unveiled a product overhaul for its Web site and apps today that it says is simpler and faster, with navigation built around its service’s key functions.

The new layout puts additional content and context inline within tweets, rather than off to the side. It’s also supposed to be 500 percent faster than Twitter was three or four months ago. And it looks different and sleeker; for instance, the navigation bar is now on the left instead of the right.

Nope, this is not a new product or feature — which by now seems to be Twitter’s least favorite thing! — but rather a conceptual and visual redesign.

via Twitter Redesigns to Be Simpler and Faster – Liz Gannes – Social – AllThingsD.

college application process,  college essay questions:  quirky, tweety, eccentric?  What are we doing to our kids?

Imagine you have to wear a costume for a year of your life. What would you pick and why? — Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

What is your favorite ride at the amusement park? How does this reflect your approach to life? — Emory University in Atlanta.

“Colleges have really thrown us a curveball,” said Eric Apgar, director of guidance at Sandburg High School in Orland Park. “In years past, we would tell students not to veer too far from the middle, to not be too strange … but it seems like that’s exactly what post-secondary institutions want.”

It’s not just content that has undergone a makeover, but the format as well. Along with the usual essay, many campuses have added short takes of 20 to 25 words, such as:

The best movie of all time — Columbia University in New York City.

“It just reinforces that there’s some secret code that needs to be cracked to gain admission,” he said. “How angry would an adult be if we had to answer these kind of bizarre questions on a job application?”

While other schools may just be retooling, the University of Chicago has long taken great pride in its provocative essays. Over the years, the application has asked students to reflect on everything from “How do you feel about Wednesday?” to the massive jars of mustard at warehouse stores.

“There’s no right or wrong answer … we’re looking for students unafraid to talk in their own voice,” said Evan Cudworth, assistant director of admissions.

The eccentric prompts have become such a hallmark of the U. of C. application that the admissions office annually solicits suggestions from incoming students and alumni.

The condiment question, for example, was submitted about six years ago and elicited a wide range of responses, from rants on consumerism to a physics equation, with one student calculating how fast a swimmer could travel in a pool of mustard.

via College essay questions get a quirky, tweety makeover – chicagotribune.com.

college application process, early action, early decision, “expectation management”:  As I have said before, “what are we doing to our kids?” “Expectation management?” At one school … “85-90% of the seniors applied Early (ED and / or EA), and most of the remaining 10-15% submitted application(s) in September, October or November under Rolling or Priority options.”

In Philadelphia, Daniel Evans, director of college counseling at William Penn Charter School, also emphasized the high proportion of students who took early application action this fall. He wrote:

85-90% of the seniors applied Early (ED and / or EA), and most of the remaining 10-15% submitted application(s) in September, October or November under Rolling or Priority options. All of this created a first trimester that was a blur for my colleagues and me. On the other hand, the majority of students will have some decision(s) in hand before the new year.

Mr. Evans of Penn Charter reported that the heightened early application activity had increased the need for “expectation management” and counseling regarding how to navigate the complex web of restrictions surrounding early applications for those filing a mix of early decision, early action and rolling applications.

via Field Notes From This Year’s Application Season – NYTimes.com.

Breaker, alternative learning,  social innovation,  interdisciplinary teams, creative collaboration, problems of the world:  Wow, impressive … makes me want to b young again!

Juliette LaMontagne, Ed.D., is a career educator: New York City public school teacher, Columbia University professor and professional developer. She’s a TED Senior Fellow and innovation consultant for the Asia Society’s International Studies School Network, the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers and the Student Press Initiative. Her new project, which she recently discussed with Change Observer, is Breaker.

Tell us about the pilot program you ran this summer. What is Breaker?

Breaker’s goal is to drive alternative learning and social innovation by mobilizing interdisciplinary teams of young creative collaborators to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. We connect our teams of 18- to 24-year-olds with global thought leaders and industry experts to answer major challenges like, in the case of our summer pilot, the future of the book and its impact on literacy. We facilitate a creative problem-solving design process and teach the entrepreneurial skills necessary to transform ideas into businesses.

Each unique Breaker project is a 12-week collaboration between the Breaker team, the visionaries who pose their challenge, and the industry experts who support their process. We work with multiple partner organizations across New York City to ideate, build and test real solutions with real market value.

In the Future of the Book project, our techno-bibliophilic visionaries, Charlie Melcher of Melcher Media and Tom Uglow of Google Creative Labs, inspired the team to imagine the future of the book. We then tasked them with designing a product or service that would get kids reading — and keep kids reading — during those pivotal middle school years when 12- to 14-year-olds either adopt reading as an independent practice or read only to get by. From the outset, the team was primed to make their concepts marketable.

via A new initiative recruits young adults to create ways to promote adolescent literacy: Change Observer: Design Observer.

kids, careers, really stupid, Twitter:  How NOT to use Twitter!

Kids these days! Three young staffers in the office of Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) were fired Thursday after a political blog printed a series of messages they’d apparently exchanged on Twitter about drinking in the office and how much they hate their boss. The NW Daily Marker preserved the tweets from the now-deactived accounts. Among the sentiments:

• “My coworker just took a shot of Jack crouching behind my desk. We have unabashedly given up on just about all things work related.”

• “I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pass a field sobriety test right now. Looking forward to a day in the office.”

• “I could have used another day away. The silver lining is that I don’t have to see my idiot boss.”

The tweets were written under pseudonyms from non-work accounts; the blog editor Bryan Myrick told us he connected them back to Larsen’s office via unspecified sources. The staffers could not be located for comment. All appear to be under 30 — and now, out of work. In a statement, a rep for the lawmaker said Larsen’s office said neither the congressman nor other staffers were aware of the alleged hijinx until the story hit Thursday, which prompted their quick firing. Larsen “has made it clear that he will not tolerate this kind of behavior,” the statement said.

via Rep. Rick Larsen fires three staffers over crass tweets – The Reliable Source – The Washington Post.

heirlooms, heirloom silver, art, memories:  So what makes a piece or set of silver an heirloom … the memories …

With so many pressing problems in the world, I’m going to confess to a slightly guilty conscience about my absolute happiness in working/creating/growing Silver Magpies. When I expressed this feeling, a very wise friend said to me, beautiful things enrich our lives. A piece of heirloom silver – whether it’s been passed down in your family for generations or it’s something you recently purchased and plan on passing down as an heirloom – is so much more than just a beautiful thing.

via Once and Future Heirloom Silver.

recipes,  Chicken Cutlets Meunière:  This one just made me hungry …. 🙂

The recipe, which I wrote about in an early Minimalist column, is infinitely variable, but here I’ve done it about as simply as possible. Dredge the chicken in flour, cook it in a skillet with oil or butter until nicely browned and just cooked through — as long as you get really nice browning on one of the sides, you’re fine — and finish with lemon juice and chopped parsley. The brown butter is luxurious and totally optional.

As for the variations, you can change the coating, using cornmeal, breadcrumbs or finely ground nuts instead of flour. You can season it with chopped fresh herbs, dried spices or parmesan. You can flavor the butter with herbs and garlic as it browns, or make any number of pan sauces — with wine, stock, butter, mustard, vinegar, capers, etc. — after you sauté the chicken.

via Chicken Cutlets Meunière — Recipe and Video — The Minimalist – NYTimes.com.

 ‘Young Adult’, movies, movie reviews, Therese Theron: Life after high school?  This one sounds fun …

By turns amusing and annoying, Young Adult could be the flip side, plus the sequel, of Juno, another film written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman. You’ll recall that the pregnant teen played by Ellen Page was mature beyond her years. But at 37, Mavis is still a young adult: stunted, selfish, believing her glamorous past is somehow her destiny. To grow up, she will need a few face-slaps to her pride, and perhaps a realignment of her ideas about the sort of man she should be with.

So maybe Matt, the drone, is Juno. Mavis doesn’t recall him; he reminds her, “My locker was actually next to yours, all four years.” Finally she recognizes him as “the hate-crime guy”: Matt had been beaten and crippled by jocks, exercising a more virulent version of the blithe bigotry Mavis showed him. “They mangled my c—,” he tells her, “so I have to piss and come sideways for the rest of my life” — a line that instantly jolts Young Adult out of Romy and Michele comedy-nostalgia land and into the psychic-horror terrain of Jennifer’s Body, another high school movie written by Cody. Except that, in Young Adult, the victim survives to haunt his pretty predator, and perhaps to convince her that he’s worth caring for.

Whether Mavis is Cody’s vision of her teen self or a portrait of the bitch-goddesses she knew way back when, Young Adult packs some ornery truths about compromise as the key to an arrested adolescent’s survival as an adult. In a thorny role, Theron is splendid; she instinctively reveals everything Mavis doesn’t know about herself and offers an intimate peek into a wayward soul.

via ‘Young Adult’ Review: Theron’s Life After High School | Entertainment | TIME.com.

digital learning, education:  I can’t wait to see where education is in another 10 years …

An expert educator working group with more than 25 innovative and master instructional technology leaders from across the country worked to develop these toolkits filled with helpful resources for all stakeholders.  The toolkits include links and references to instructional strategy ideas, lesson plans, sample outreach, ways to collaborate, and resources organized in a succinct way to meet the needs of the following stakeholders recommended by practitioners just like you. These resources are not the totality of good information available. Instead, this resource is designed to help you think about how technology may strengthen your insructional strategies.  Click on the Toolkit below to get started.

Showcase/Promising Practices:  The showcase of promising practices offers educators in at the district, high school, elementary school and libraries short videos highlighting ideas of incorporating digital learning into students’ daily activities.

Project-Based Learning Frameworks for Lessons:  This section provides project-based lessons or links to lesson repositories that have options for different technologies and length of implementation. Maybe your schools can start or finish one on Digital Learning Day!

Pedagogical Approaches and Professional Development: Find information about flipping the classroom, simulations, mobile learning, professional development, and more.

Lesson Ideas: Visit this large repository of lesson ideas and plans that incorporate digital learning into various content areas.

Collaboration Tools: Through a free collaboration site powered by Epsilen, Digital Learning Day participants can join a special Digital Learning Day group and begin connecting with other teachers and librarians across the country.  The site provides opportunities to create an ePortfolio, begin or participate in discussions, share lesson plans and documents, and learn from one another.  Educators will be able to participate in live chats, webinars, and other professional learning opportunities.

via Digital Learning Day :: Classroom and Teacher Toolkit.

 Read It Later, data, culture, media, blogging: What does engagement look like in a time-shifted world?  Good question … I actually read everything I save … and most of it I post here!

Because, if my own use of Read It Later and Instapaper are any indication, a click on a Read Later button is, more than anything, an act of desperate, blind hope. Why, yes, Foreign Affairs, I would love to learn about the evolution of humanitarian intervention! And, certainly, Center for Public Integrity, I’d be really excited to read about the judge who’s been a thorn in the side of Wall Street’s top regulator! I am totally interested, and sincerely fascinated, and brimming with curiosity!

But I am less brimming with time. So, for me, rather than acting like a bookmark for later-on leafing — a straight-up, time-shifted reading experience — a click on a Read Later button is actually, often, a kind of anti-engagement. It provides just enough of a rush of endorphins to give me a little jolt of accomplishment, sans the need for the accomplishment itself. But, then, that click will also, very likely, be the last interaction I will have with these worthy stories of NGOs and jurisprudence.

What does endure, though, the Read It Later info suggests, is the human connection at the heart of the best journalism. While so much of the most-saved stuff has a unifying theme — life-improvement and gadgets, with Boing Boing’s delights thrown in for good measure — it’s telling, I think, that the returned-to content can’t be so easily categorized. It runs the gamut, from sports to tech, from pop culture to entertainment. What it does have in common, though, is good writing. I don’t read all the folks on the list, but I read a lot of them — and I suspect that the writing itself, almost independent of topic, is what keeps people coming back to them. When I’m looking at my queue and see Maureen O’Connor’s byline, I’ll probably click — not necessarily because I care about the topic of her post, but because, through her snappy writing, she’ll make me care. The Read It Later data suggest a great thing for writers: Stickiness seems actually to be a function of quality.

Or, as David Carr might put it: The ones worth saving are the ones being saved.

via New Read It Later data: What does engagement look like in a time-shifted world? » Nieman Journalism Lab.

Nicholas Sparks, ‘The Lucky One’, movies, Zac Ephron:  Well, i am not a big fan of Nicholas Sparks.  So Zac Ephron certainly will not get me their … I’ll wait ’til its free on Netflix.

Zac Efron will now join the ranks of men including Richard Gere, Channing Tatum and Ryan Gosling who play the lost heartthrobs opposite their fragile but charming female leads in Nicholas Sparks adaptations. Efron stars as Logan Thibault in “The Lucky One,” as a marine who believes he was saved by a picture of a woman while serving a tour in Iraq. Logan returns home and seeks out this woman, played by Taylor Schilling, and love/lust/anger/frustration ensue. And there’s the classic moment in a boat.

via Nicholas Sparks’ ‘The Lucky One’ Trailer Premieres – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Christmas, Christmas commercials, Best Buy, LEXUS,  Christmas commercials: Are ads getting meaner? I thought it was just me … but I definitely think they are mean-spirited.

A heartwarming Christmas documentary, “Becoming Santa,” is interspersed with moments of Grinch — thanks to the interruption of Christmas commercials, The Post’s TV critic Hank Stuever found.

Best Buy, in particular, is running a terribly callous series of commercials called “Game On, Santa,” in which obsessed female shoppers purchase the gifts that their loved ones really want at Best Buy and then wait up on Christmas Eve to accost Santa Claus in their living rooms and gloat that they’ve already beat him to the punch. In your face, you outdated fat man with your outdated presents!

Are ad companies all naughty and no nice this year? From a roundup of some Christmas ads, it seems to be so. Which company should get the most coal in its stocking for its blatant bah-humbuggery?

via Best Buy Christmas commercials: Are ads getting meaner? – Arts Post – The Washington Post.

‘You’re A Mean One, Newt Gingrich’, YouTube, Newt Gingrich, Dr. Seuss,  Parody: 🙂

As the holiday season and GOP primary both draw near, it’s only natural that the two would eventually merge in a politically-charged Christmas video titled, “You’re A Mean One, Newt Gingrich.”

The star of the show? The controversial GOP candidate, of course.

The video features some of Gingrich’s most notorious sayings set to a modified version of the theme song to Dr. Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (get it?) along with some pretty amusing graphics.

via ‘You’re A Mean One, Newt Gingrich’ Depicts GOP Candidate As Grinch In Dr. Seuss Parody (VIDEO).

“of the year”, images, photographs:  Very interesting …

It’s the “of the year” time of the year: a few weeks spent naming the best books or music or music films, or the most significant events or people, of the year.

As a reader I enjoy this mini-season, an annual excuse for me to (silently) disagree with everyone else’s lists. As a writer, I tend to avoid it. But this year I’m making an exception, because for months I’ve had a pretty good idea what I would choose as the “image of the year.” And for reasons that will become apparent, I’m going to cast my vote for book of the year, while I’m at it. But I’ll get to that.

The image of the year, hands down, is the image of Osama Bin Laden, dead. I haven’t seen it of course, and unless you have fairly rarified security access, you haven’t either. That’s why it’s the most compelling image of 2011: At this point, there’s nothing more surprising, and fascinating, than an image people might want to see, but can’t.

After all, we’ve all observed the long-term shifts that surely made 2011 the most image-soaked year of all time — and that will make next year, and the year after that, even more so. Cameras and video recorders, built into various other devices, are increasingly ubiquitous; space for storing them online is basically limitless. Grotesque evidence of a despot’s violent death and all manner of other corrosive images are just a click away, and sometimes difficult to avoid. Surveillance (by security cameras, by drones, by Google’s roving Street View cars, by average citizens) is routine. And so on.

So when news of the Bin Laden killing was accompanied by calls from many quarters that images of his corpse needed to be shared with the public, I assumed that it would happen promptly. An interesting question is why people wanted to see those images. The official answer is that it would provide proof. But the explosion of images has been accompanied by an explosion of doctored, faked, manipulated, and overtly remixed images. It’s also been accopmanied by the apparent deterioration of any given image’s authority.

Which brings me to my book of the year: Errol Morris’ Believing Is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography). The book is not about digital-era image culture, but it’s vital reading for anybody interested in photography as “proof,” or really photography in general. Over six chapters, Morris examines photography, and how we look at it — what we project into images, sometimes including even the intentionality of the photographer, or the morality of the subject. We see things that aren’t there, and miss things that are. “Our beliefs,” he argues in a pivotal passage, “can completely defeat sensory evidence.”

via Image of the Year: Rob Walker: Observers Room: Design Observer Mobile.

faith v. spirituality, science, God:

If you believe that the truth lies in strange scrolls, dug up by somewhere or other, written by someone, then there’s no logical counter to that.” ~ Sir Richard Friend

via 50 Famous Scientists on God, Part 2 | Brain Pickings.

Lissa Rankin, TEDxFiDiWomen,  OwningPink.com, women’s health, wellness, holistic medicine:  Loved this oe …

Lissa Rankin, MD is an OB/GYN physician, author, keynote speaker, consultant to health care visionaries, professional artist, and founder of the women’s health and wellness community OwningPink.com. Discouraged by the broken, patriarchal health care system, she left her medical practice in 2007 only to realize that you can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling. This epiphany launched her on a journey of discovery that led her to become a leader in the field of mind/body medicine, which she blogs about at OwningPink.com and is writing about in her third book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013).

She teaches both patients and health care professionals how to make the body ripe for miracles by healing the mind and being healthy in all aspects of life, not just by promoting healthy behaviors like good nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep, but by encouraging health and authenticity in relationships, work, creative expression, spirituality, sexuality, finances, and living environment. She is leading a revolution to feminize how health care is received and delivered by encouraging collaboration, fostering self-healing, reconnecting health care and spirituality, empowering patients to tap into the mind’s power to heal the body, and encouraging women not to settle for being merely well, but to strive for living vital, joyful, authentic lives full of “mojo.”

When not spreading the word, she chills out, paints, does yoga, and hikes in Marin County, CA with her husband and daughter.

via TEDxFiDiWomen – Lissa Rankin – YouTube.

human, history, woman’s issues, philosophy, What Does It Mean To Be Human? A Historical Perspective 1800-2011, books:

Decades before women sought liberation in the bicycle or their biceps, a more rudimentary liberation was at stake. The book opens with a letter penned in 1872 by an anonymous author identified simply as “An Earnest Englishwoman,” a letter titled “Are Women Animals?” by the newspaper editor who printed it:

Sir, —

Whether women are the equals of men has been endlessly debated; whether they have souls has been a moot point; but can it be too much to ask [for a definitive acknowledgement that at least they are animals?… Many hon. members may object to the proposed Bill enacting that, in statutes respecting the suffrage, ‘wherever words occur which import the masculine gender they shall be held to include women;’ but could any object to the insertion of a clause in another Act that ‘whenever the word “animal” occur it shall be held to include women?’ Suffer me, thorough your columns, to appeal to our 650 [parliamentary] representatives, and ask — Is there not one among you then who will introduce such a motion? There would then be at least an equal interdict on wanton barbarity to cat, dog, or woman…

Yours respectfully,

AN EARNEST ENGLISHWOMAN

The broader question at the heart of the Earnest Englishwoman’s outrage, of course, isn’t merely about gender — “women” could have just as easily been any other marginalized group, from non-white Europeans to non-Westerners to even children, or a delegitimized majority-politically-treated-as-minority more appropriate to our time, such as the “99 percent.” The question, really, is what entitles one to humanness.

via What Does It Mean To Be Human? A Historical Perspective 1800-2011 | Brain Pickings.

openings, essays, breakfast:  I read this blog entry because it was about Maira Kalman … but honestly I thought it a great start to a book …

Breakfast people tend to be different.

My father was a breakfast person; nothing made him happier than sitting down at a morning spread comprised of anything from scrambled eggs (with ketchup) and bacon, to coffee cake, to leftover apple strudel from Mrs. Herbst, to bagels and schmaltz herring, to Spam fried in a sad little teflon pan that he used for nothing else.

My mother generally preferred black coffee and a cigarette. They divorced when I was 15.

via Breakfast with Maira Kalman: An Interview.

Maira Kalman, interview, breakfast:  Love Maira Kalman … enjoyed this interview!

I would take a walk and hopefully end up in a place with an outdoor table. I would have my sketchbook with me so I could draw my breakfast. And hopefully there would be really, really good coffee. And no music except for classical music. But mostly the sounds of the day beginning and the clink of silverware and the murmur of conversation.

via Breakfast with Maira Kalman: An Interview.

08
Dec
11

12.8.2011 … used bookstores are wonderful … so loved my find – The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas … Spotify is great … mourning for the VT community …

used bookstores, A Reader’s Corner, Louisville KY, The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas (Jeff Smith), Christmas, Christmas traditions: I found a wonderful book in a used bookstore, A Reader’s Corner, over Thanksgiving . The book is entitled The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas and is by Jeff Smith. It is not a cookbook . ” I hope you use this book to help your family better understand the profound and joyous holiday.” I have always enjoyed the Frugal Gourmet and think this a very interesting twist to his usual cookbook. He does in contain a dish for each representative in the traditional creche scene.

social media:  🙂

This video is an artistic take on how the story of the nativity might have read had a social network existed at the time of Jesus’s birth. Follow this historical period as it unfolds as a digital narrative. This vignette is great for highlighting the truths and circumstances of our Savior’s birth in a fresh, unique way.

Like the song? O Come Emmanuel, by Folk Angel, is available for free when you purchase and download the video from IgniterMedia.com.

via A Social Network Christmas – YouTube.

liberal arts, education, careers, success:  Worked for me …

I never figured out the admission formula, but as a former CEO with more than 30 years in management at a Fortune 50 firm, I can offer advice on that second big question: pursue a liberal arts education. For most people, it’s the best foundation for a successful career.

… But as someone who spent many years assessing the skills and talents of management prospects for a wide range of disciplines and industries, I know that the candidates who were the most attractive manager prospects were those with a well-exercised mind, leadership potential, and the passion to make a difference. These success factors can be cultivated in many ways, but all are best developed by taking courses in the liberal arts and sciences.

Developing one’s mind is no different from developing a strong body: exercise and, specifically, cross training. By studying art, science, the humanities, social science, and languages, the mind develops the mental dexterity that opens a person to new ideas, which is the currency for success in a constantly changing environment. And just as an aspiring major league pitcher needs a live arm and a calculating, cool head to pitch effectively, so too does a management prospect need to be educated broadly to respond effectively to ambiguity and uncertainty. Completing a broad liberal arts curriculum should enable a student to develop the conceptual, creative and critical thinking skills that are the essential elements of a well-exercised mind.

via A.G. Lafley: A Liberal Education: Preparation for Career Success.

Davidson College, Davidson basketball, Vanderbilt: Davidson shows no fear!

As the game began to wind down, as Vanderbilt threatened to push the lead into the 20s, the Wildcats stopped taking turns and found their scorer – De’Mon Brooks, a 6-7 sophomore forward out of Charlotte Hopewell.

If you were to ask somebody how Brooks gets his points, there would be no obvious answer. He has no stunning go-to move, no crossover dribble that entices fans to jump and shout, nothing terribly pretty.

A fan held up a sign early that said: WE WILL NOT FEAR.

Brooks did not fear. In the first half he scored six points on four field goal attempts and grabbed two rebounds. He couldn’t back the bigger and burlier Commodores down.

In the second half, Brooks scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He forced his way into the lane and hit jump shots. He spun. He fought.

One play more than any other attests to his work: Blocked out, he followed a miss by going one-on-one, one-on-two, one against the world. He somehow grabbed the rebound over the two Vanderbilt big men, drew a foul and hit two free throws.

The 18-point deficit became 14, 12 and seven. With 31 seconds remaining the Wildcats cut the lead to six. With nine seconds left, Davidson cut the lead to three.

But the Commodores had enough. They won 87-83.

You don’t have to go to the Triangle to see big-time basketball. This was a taut, dramatic and exciting game on a small campus in a gym full of noise.

Be interesting to see what Brooks does Saturday against an athletic Charlotte team when the Wildcats and 49ers play for the unofficial championship of Mecklenburg County.

via Davidson shows no fear | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Spotify, Christmas music, Amy Grant: Amazing thing about Spotify is that I can listen to whatever Christmas album I want and do not have to go to the basement and dig out the box that has tapes and cds in it. Love that … am currently listening to my usual first christmas album … Amy Grant’s A Christmas Album  (1983).

Coca-Cola Company, secret formula:

The Coca-Cola Company has moved its secret formula for the first time in 86 years, taking it from a bank vault to a new repository on exhibit at its downtown Atlanta museum.

The world’s largest beverage maker says the new vault containing the formula will be on display for visitors to its World of Coca-Cola museum. However, the 1886 formula itself will remain hidden from view.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola says the decision to move the formula from a vault at SunTrust Banks Inc. had nothing to with the bank’s decision in 2007 to sell its long-held stake in Coca-Cola.

via Coca-Cola moves formula for 1st time since 1925  | ajc.com.

 

Christmas traditions, nativity scenes, zombies: Where can I get one? 🙂

… and, finally, in keeping with our current cultural fascination with all things zombie, i give you the etsy craftiness of: the zombie nativity. really, just, no comment.

via 27 worst nativity sets: the annual, growing list!.

Facebook, value:  Long term staying power …

Rightly or wrongly, what’s caused me to start to evaluate whether Facebook has peaked is my own declining use of the site. I find myself using it less and less each day, sometimes going days or weeks without checking it. Interestingly, I have also observed that many in my network are posting less often. What may be happening is that consumers are experiencing Facebook fatigue.

I recently polled almost 500 high school students in San Jose, and shockingly, not all of them were on Facebook. But perhaps not surprisingly, nearly all who were said they were basically bored with the site and had been using it significantly less.

Now, depending on how heavy of a technology user you are, you may find the idea of Facebook on its way out surprising or not surprising. For example, many of the young people I surveyed conveyed that they were ready for something else. Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that Facebook has either peaked or is on the cusp of peaking.

All of my thinking on this comes, of course, on the heels of news reports about Facebook’s preparing its IPO. But it also comes at a time when Facebook has to overcome negative press due to a settlement with the FTC over privacy issues. Those events are on opposite sides of the spectrum and could potentially be used to argue for or against Facebook’s long-term staying power.

If you’ve been using Facebook for more than a few years and think back to how you used it in the beginning, you’ll most likely remember using it quite frequently for long periods of time. Much of this initial time spent connecting with friends and family or rediscovering old friends was what made Facebook great. Even many who are new to Facebook may still find themselves using it heavily by doing some of those same things.

But at some point, Facebook usage becomes more about profile management and quick checkups than heavy usage. Now, although this isn’t bad, it’s not what Facebook wants as it looks to maintain a large, healthy business.

via Facebook on Decline? Some Users Bored, New Competition | Techland | TIME.com.

 

07
Dec
11

12.7.2011 … Remembering Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 … Davidson v. Vandy … behind by 6 … 28 seconds ‎… lost … 87 – 83 … again, respectable …

 Pearl Harbor Day, times they are a chang’in…: Fewer veterans to remember Pearl Harbor Day.

For more than half a century, members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association gathered here every Dec. 7 to commemorate the attack by the Japanese that drew the United States into World War II. Others stayed closer to home for more intimate regional chapter ceremonies, sharing memories of a day they still remember in searing detail.

But no more. The 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack will be the last one marked by the survivors’ association. With a concession to the reality of time — of age, of deteriorating health and death — the association will disband on Dec. 31.

“We had no choice,” said William H. Eckel, 89, who was once the director of the Fourth Division of the survivors’ association, interviewed by telephone from Texas. “Wives and family members have been trying to keep it operating, but they just can’t do it. People are winding up in nursing homes and intensive care places.”

via Fewer Veterans to Remember Pearl Harbor Day – NYTimes.com.

Sidwell Friends, Pearl Harbor Day, irony:  I just had to laugh … careless error.

 

A lunch that will live in infamy? That’s what at least one parent at elite Sidwell Friends (yes, Sasha and Malia’s school!) wondered upon seeing what the school cafeteria listed as its “Pearl Harbor Day” menu Wednesday: A heavily Japanese-inspired lineup, including teriyaki chicken and edamame (as well as more generically Asian delicacies like tofu, fried rice, fortune cookies and “oriental noodle salad”). A school rep told us this was just a fluke — not a meal intended to commemorate the 1941 Japanese attack on U.S. forces: The contractor that prepares school lunches randomly assigned an Asian menu to Dec. 7, and the subcontractor that prints the calendars automatically marked Wednesday at Pearl Harbor Day. “It was completely coincidental,” said Ellis Turner, associate head of the school.

via Sidwell Friends’s surprising Pearl Harbor Day menu – The Reliable Source – The Washington Post.

Davidson College, Davidson basketball, Vanderbilt, Steph Curry, Twitter:  Steph tweets the loss … I love it that the NBA lockout reconnected him with te college!

Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30)

12/7/11 9:38 PM

Tough loss for Davidson boys. Fought hard to the finish. Hey! In ’08 we lost to UNCC, Western MIchigan, NC St. and 3 top 25′s. Long season

(@StephenCurry30)

Pinterest:  I haven’t figured out Storify, yet … and now Pinterest.  TIME Magazine (time_magazine) on Pinterest.

Amherst College, typewriters, letter writing, college social life:  OK, I loved this one …

At Amherst, 'Clack Clack Clack' Drowns Out 'Thump Thump Thump' 1

Manual typewriters are enjoying a comeback at Amherst College.

Like most American institutions, the college has a thriving party scene, where students who want to socialize can knock back a few drinks and grind the night away to pounding bass lines.

“But we also have a large part of the population who really aren’t inter­ested in dancing in a dark basement,” says Crista Reed, assistant director of student activities. So this fall the college started “Amherst After Dark,” a 10 p.m.-to-2 a.m. program meant to provide consistent social options for students who want to stay out late and remain sober.

As one of September’s activities, Ms. Reed proposed a “letter-writing social,” hearkening back to her own days as a “slightly dorky undergrad” at Roanoke College who eschewed late-night parties in favor of things like writing letters to relatives and high-school friends. This fall Ms. Reed ordered three manual typewriters, some hand-cut quill pens, stationery, postcards, postage stamps, and even wax cartridges for a hot-glue gun so that students could art­fully seal their letters without using open flames.

She was expecting 150 to 200 students to show up. She drew 350.

“I was elated by the response that Crista got to this event,” says Rohan Mazumdar, a senior physics and economics major. “It’s filled a huge gap.” Mr. Mazumdar says he wrote a letter to a faithful correspondent back in his native India, and a couple of postcards to friends at Amherst.

“A lot of folks were writing to friends,” says Ms. Reed. “We had a lot of international students writing to people back home. And we had a couple people writing to professors, so that was really sweet.”

via At Amherst, ‘Clack Clack Clack’ Drowns Out ‘Thump Thump Thump’ – Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Alec Baldwin, AA flight, Twitter, Twitter war:  Alec Baldwin needs to just be quiet for a while.

“On an AA flight at LAX. Alec Baldwin removed from the plane. We had to go back to the gate. Terrible that everyone had to wait.”

Baldwin was aboard AA Flight 4, which was delayed an hour, when the “30 Rock” star was booted for not listening to the flight attendant.

Passenger Steve Weiss, who was sitting across the isle from Baldwin, described the scene.

“Apparently he said he was playing a game, but he was actually talking on the phone. She [the flight attendant] was very nice. The door was closed they just announced that they were pulling away from the gate. He got up threw his papers on the floor stormed into the bathroom slammed the door closed, beat on the wall and then came back.”

“He said ‘If you want to kick me off, kick me off.’ He was just crazy, he just flipped out, the guy has problems.”

A crew member who dealt with the hotheaded Hollywood actor said he couldn’t stay on the flight.

via Alec Baldwin thrown off AA flight at LAX for ‘playing game’ on phone – NYPOST.com.

Christmas, Christmas traditions, Charlie Brown Christmas, tv:  Interesting background story …

“In 1963, I did a documentary on Willie Mays, the world’s best baseball player and one on Charlie Brown, the world’s worst. We sold the Mays documentary, but never sold the Charlie Brown documentary. Three years later, TIME Magazine put the [Peanuts] characters on its cover and we got calls from advertisers and networks asking if we were still thinking of doing an animated show, and that’s what led us to A Charlie Brown Christmas.

We had done a couple of minutes of animation in the documentary but people said, “You can’t have kids who talk like adults.” We had given up, but when Coca-Cola called after the TIME cover they asked if we’d ever thought of doing a Christmas show and I lied and said, “Oh, absolutely.” So they asked us to send them an outline on Monday. I called Schulz on the phone and said, “I think I just sold A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and he said, “What’s that?” and I told him, “It’s something you’re going to write tomorrow.”

via How TIME Saved ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ | Time.

 

 

Twitter:  Interestingly, most of the most tweeted stories are not why I follow twitter … Twitter’s 2011 Year in review.

Charlotte, Banktown:  I will be interesting what we are after the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Home to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, NC isn’t New York City, one of my artist friends reminded me the other day. We’re not Los Angeles or San Francisco, not London and we are certainly not Paris. One extremely popular parlor game around these parts, enjoyed particularly by those from the above-referenced burghs or those even further afield, is the blood-sport of city relative comparison. The dissection of what exactly the Queen City is – or more fashionably, what it is NOT – seems to fuel endless discussion amongst those smarter, hipper and infinitely-more-urbane-than-us lowlies here in “Banktown

via LikeTheDew.com, What Charlotte Is Not by Michael J. Solender | LikeTheDew.com.

productivity, how to’s:

Not only do unproductive days like this detract from the success of your projects, your team and your organization; they can endanger your own well-being.

We discovered that nothing makes people feel happier and more engaged at work than making meaningful progress on something they care about. We call that the progress principle. But this progress principle has a serious downside: Nothing makes people feel worse than being stalled in their work – and this negative effect is much stronger.

Most often, the cause of an unproductive day is fragmentation – trying to juggle many competing, and usually unexpected, demands on your time. It’s what happens when you’ve worked like crazy all day, and still you have the sense that you haven’t been productive. Sound familiar?

via How to Save an Unproductive Day in 25 Minutes – WSJ.com.

Flipboard, iPhone, apps:  I like the iPad app … so I will try the iPhone version.

Now for iPhone

Your (pocket-sized)

social magazine

via Flipboard — Now available on iPhone.

acne:  Very interesting!

Every day, Cassandra Bankson wakes up, washes her face and does a makeup routine that dramatically transforms her looks.The California teen has severe acne. It’s so bad that it covers most of her face,  as well as parts of her neck, chest and back.But Bankson is now able to model, and her shots are picture-perfect. How?Bankson performs a daily makeup makeover, expertly hiding the extensive blemishes that cover her face and neck with a technique that she says she learned after hours of research and practice. She demonstrates her method in a before-and-after YouTube video that’s had more than 2 million views.

via Acne-Scarred Teen Model Undergoes Amazing Daily Makeup Transformation – ABC News.

technology:  Seems short-lived …  Web-connected printer creates personalized mini newspapers …

alttext

Web-connected printer creates personalized mini newspapers

Little Printer enables users to set up subscriptions to a range of publications, which it then prints as one miniature newspaper.

via Web-connected printer creates personalized mini newspapers | Springwise.

Advent, Advent Calendars:  OK, this one is funny … .:.The Art of Dancing by Lewis & Luke.:..

 

06
Dec
11

12.6.2011 …. icbg … .. time for a second opinion … I think I will just go for the bg part … and don’t you think Jane looks lovely :)

yoga, Ayn Rand:  Makes you think …

The great appeal of yoga is that you are doing something selfish and virtuous at the same time. You are sweating and suffering and honing a “watchful mind,” but also taking a break from your daily burdens and acquiring fantastic-looking abs. And that’s the genius of Ayn Rand: She made egoism the ultimate good. What Christianity labels as the unfortunate consequence of original sin, Rand saw as man’s natural and best state. (Interestingly, while Ayn Rand’s atheism bothers conservative evangelicals, it seems to bother some of them less than does yoga, which they view as paganism parading as a health movement. John Galt, at least, would have shared their hatred of Obamacare.)

— Slate on the Who Is John Galt quasi-meme and what Aynd Rand and yoga have in common

via curiosity counts – The great appeal of yoga is that you are doing….

eternal youth, Tony Bennett, music, kudos:  Never liked him, but kudos!

In a youth-oriented industry, Tony Bennett is enjoying some of his greatest successes at the age of 85.

In September, the acclaimed vocalist scored his first-ever No.1 album on the Billboard 200, becoming the oldest living person to top the chart. Last week, he garnered three Grammy nominations for his hit album “Duets II.” And when he stopped by the Wall Street Journal’s acoustic music showcase the WSJ Cafe he talked about collaborating with such stars Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and Amy Winehouse, the British vocalist who passed away earlier this year at the age of 27.

via Tony Bennett: How To Be No.1 Your Whole Life (WSJ Cafe) – Speakeasy – WSJ.

apps, NPR:  Mu local station  has an app … which is great … now I can just pull up NPR.

NPR News: The ultimate portable NPR experience for your iPhone or iPod Touch. Follow local and national news and listen to your favorite NPR stations wherever you are and whenever you want to.

via App Store – NPR News.

Campbell Soup Company, csr, kudos: Idealistic Realistic …

Instead of making lethal cuts, we decided that our dream — our vision — was to transform Campbell into a place where employees wanted to be…and wanted to stay. You can’t have an organization that consistently delivers high performance unless you have a consistently high level of engagement predicated on trust. We needed to restore both — trust and engagement. If we could do that, then we were sure the profits would follow. There were a lot of things we changed, from the leadership team to package design — you’ve read about those. But what took the momentum at Campbell to an even higher level in terms of employee engagement happened more recently.

One of the primary things that makes Campbell a place where people want to come to work is the company’s earnest and ongoing commitment to our communities around the globe. We forged an ambitious plan to make Camden, our hometown for more than 140 years, a better place. That is what is helping employees feel more fulfilled despite even this latest economic crisis.

As a food company, working hand-in-hand with a cadre of strategic local and national partners, we centered our efforts on health and nutrition. The project, still in its infancy, is focused on cutting the BMI (Body Mass Index) of Camden’s 23,000 children in half over the next decade. It includes bringing nutritionists into schools and having Campbell’s chefs help parents think about ways to serve healthy food at home. And that is just the beginning: Today, Campbell is working to attract food retailers to Camden’s food desert — the city has only one supermarket — and helping to build neighborhood gardens to get children closer to the food supply. Campbell is also sponsoring activities for youth to increase physical fitness in schools and to help them remain active and occupied when school is not in session. And the company is developing the areas all around its world headquarters — leveling run-down buildings to attract commerce.

It is an ambitious agenda but it is right in Campbell’s sweet spot. And why not? It has advanced our corporate agenda. Focusing these efforts on food and nutrition has allowed us to smartly leverage our resources. Another part of the corporate social responsibility plan — committing to cut Campbell’s carbon footprint by half — has saved money and lowered costs. Campbell is earnestly and sincerely helping to build a better world within the scope of what the company does well. But even more than that, employees are proud to be associated with a company that is doing this kind of work, and consumers in the community and beyond have supported our efforts and our business.

The flywheel effect is astounding and ongoing: Winning in the community leads to winning in the workplace and winning in the marketplace. The more the Company takes care of the world, the more the world responds. The more the company leans into building a better society in a strategically focused way, the better the company performs.

Gallup, the polling and research firm, studied the engagement levels of Campbell’s managers back in 2002 and found that for every 2 people actively engaged in the business, 1 was actively disengaged. Anecdotally, those numbers were the worst for any Fortune 500 firm at the time. As of 2011, the story is far different: 17 Campbell employees are actively engaged for every 1 employee who is actively disengaged. Gallup considers twelve to one to be world-class.

via The Idealistic Realistic: What Really Helped Elevate Campbell Soup Company – Douglas R. Conant – Harvard Business Review.

short film:

Beautiful animated short film about a racist barber in 1930s New York, who moves away from bigotry after a magic trumpet arrives at his shop

via curiosity counts – Beautiful animated short film about a racist….

Christmas, cake balls:  This is my life for the next few weeks!

Easy to make and delicious to eat, cake balls can be made out of any of your favorite cake recipes.  All you do is make the cake, crumble it up and mix it with frosting or cream cheese then roll the cake mixture into balls, bake and dip.  But, don’t take our word for it, look at  Bakerella‘s video below.

Karen Chiumento uses only fresh, all natural ingredients in her hand made cake balls. Yes, they ship! Photo by Jacqueline Marque

Bakerella explains it very easily.  She also wrote the Cake Pops book (below) with recipes and decorating ideas. Cake Pops are Cake Balls with a lollipop stick in them!

Christmas Cupcakes, Cake Balls and Mini-Pies Baking Supplies | The Daily Basics.

journalists, media:  As a lawyer, I often feel “attacked” … never thought about the journalists feeling that way!

Writers from around the country have posted pictures and life stories at the ‘We Are Journalists‘ blog on Tumblr.

Launched  by St. Petersburg Times reporter Emily Nipps (pictured, via) the site gives journalists a place to share why they keep writing despite a challenging economy and a rapidly changing profession. Why do you keep writing?

Here’s more from the site: “We are journalists. We are proud of what we do. We are tired of bad press about the press. We are trying to be ‘team players.’ We are terrified of more layoffs and paycuts. We would like to produce quality work without ‘obamasux99′ posting some non-sequitur rant at the end of it. We complain because we want things to be better. We would like some respect, plz. We are journalists.”

via Writers Proudly Post at ‘We Are Journalists’ Blog – GalleyCat.

design, dichotomies, makes you think …:  Excellent essay … makes you think …

We’re at the apex of our power, but the nadir of our potency. Let’s start with the biggest heartbreaker of them all: We are at a moment in history when, as designers, we are at our most powerful. There is almost nothing we cannot make, enjoying the triumphs of research and development in materials science, manufacturing technology, and information systems. We can get any answer we seek through social networks, peer communities, or hired guns. We have sub-specialties at unimaginably thin slices of expertise—from ubiquitous computing to synthetic biology—and a plumbing system in the Internet that is simultaneously unprecedented in human history and entirely taken for granted.

At the same time, unbelievably, we have never been in worse shape: We are witnessing the collapse of every natural system on earth. Take your pick—on the ground we’ve got clear-cutting, desertification and agricultural run-off. Underneath we’ve got fracking and groundwater contamination. In the air, greenhouse gasses; in the oceans, ice sheet melting, acidification and Pacific trash vortices; in space we have the ghastly and ultimately impossible problem of space debris (we won’t be able to leave even when we’re ready to, and nobody will be able to get in to help us if they wanted to). We carry body-burdens of toxic chemicals leached and outgassed from our homes, our cars, our food packaging. The consequences of industrialization metastasize out to slave factory labor, massive river diversions, obesity, malnutrition, gender inequality, rampant poverty, minefields. We tax our economies with war machinery instead of fueling healthcare and education provision. We feel helpless on the one end and hopeless on the other.

How can we be so strong and yet so weak? How can it be that we, as a species, are at the absolute height of our power at exactly the same moment that we are on the precipice of self-annihilation?

via 1000 Words: The Critical Dichotomies of Design – Core77.

psychology, the mind, makes you think…: Another good essay …

If someone asked you to describe the psychological aspects of personhood, what would you say? Chances are, you’d describe things like thought, memory, problem-solving, reasoning, maybe emotion. In other words, you probably list the major headings of a cognitive psychology text-book. In cognitive psychology, we seem to take it for granted that these are, objectively, the primary components of “the mind” (even if you reject a mind/body dualism, you probably accept some notion that there are psychological processes similar to the ones listed above). I’ve posted previously about whether the distinction between cognitive and non-cognitive even makes sense. But, here, I want to think about the universality of the “mind” concept and its relationship to the modern view of cognition.

In fact, this conception of the mind is heavily influenced by a particular (Western) cultural background. Other cultures assign different characteristics and abilities to the psychological aspects of personhood. Wierzbicka (2005) delves into this problem in detail. She argues that speakers of a particular language make assumptions about what must be universal based on their own ability to imagine doing without a certain concept. Important cross-cultural differences in meaning become lost in translation. For instance, Piaget’s “The moral judgment of the child” was translated to English by substituting the French “juste” with the English “fair.” So, English readers think they are reading about the development of fairness in children, when this was not the author’s intention.

via Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists: How Universal Is The Mind?.

Christmas, Christmas carols, history:  this is a great history of Christmas carols in particular and Christmas generally.

At face value, the Christmas carol may be the least captivating style of occasional song. While other popular tunes arise from passion or desire, heroism or defeat, the Yuletide songbook is a catalog of modest thrills and postindustrial neuroses. A quick survey turns up portraits of manic stress release (“Jingle Bells”), overwrought hallucination (“Do You Hear What I Hear?”), complex Freudian trauma (“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”), desperate midlife lechery (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”), forced enthusiasm (“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”), and thinly veiled xenophobia (“Dominick the Donkey … the Italian Christmas donkey!”). It was apparently decided long ago that we can overcome these demons by frightening them away with feckless vocalization. Carol-singing, like drinking, accounts for a large part of boisterous group behavior in this country. If a large posse of merrymakers rings your doorbell in the quiet suburban night, there is an equal chance that you should call the cops or offer them a nutmeg-flavored snack.

Consider, too, that Christmas carols have no obvious counterparts among the other holidays. Large group odes are not sung in anticipation of Memorial Day.

If anything, their legitimacy as tradition has only increased in recent years. Today’s carols are one of our few genuine access points to the history of Western pop music, the centuries of mainstream fare buried beneath our own.

via The Long, Strange History of Christmas Carols – Slate Magazine.

flash sites, fashion, GILT:  I have never bought anything from a flash fashion site … new term for me … but have bought from groupon, etc.

It’s not surprising that fashion deal sites like Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and Ideeli, which often offer designer merchandise discounted up to 80%, have garnered more than 5 million members in just a few short years. Known for “flash sales”—deals that typically last just 36-48 hours—these members-only websites feature excess inventory from more than 1,000 brands at steeply reduced prices.

Gilt Groupe launched in fall 2007, and the industry has quickly become packed with competitors, with Amazon.com’s MyHabit launching in May. “There are lots of outlets that offer consumers huge assortments that take a lot of time to shop,” says Steve Davis, president of Rue La La. “The beauty of the flash business is that we’re perfect for that time-starved consumer. You can shop our site for five minutes every day. It’s a very specific, curated assortment, and we help to pick the right things for you.”

But the bargain sites aren’t just booming among consumers. In May, CNN Money reported that flash sites made $1 billion in sales in 2010, with a projected $6 billion revenue figure by 2015. As these retailers expand to include travel, home and culinary deals, TIME Moneyland asked the presidents and CEOs of the top five fashion flash sites about making the most of the online deal-hunting experience.

via Taking Advantage of Flash Fashion Sites | How Online Shoppers Can Make the Most of Fashion Flash Sites | Moneyland | TIME.com.

Jane Austen:  New picture … changed perception … This discovery reminds me of the movie Possession …

Jane Austen scholar Dr Paula Byrne claims to have discovered a lost portrait of the author which, far from depicting a grumpy spinster, shows a writer at the height of her powers and a woman comfortable in her own skin.

The only accepted portraits of Austen to date are her sister Cassandra’s 1810 sketch, in which she looks cross, and an 1870 adaptation of that picture. But when Byrne, biographer of Evelyn Waugh and Mary “Perdita” Robinson and with an Austen biography due out in 2013, was given a portrait of a female author acquired by her husband, Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, at auction, she was immediately struck by the possibility that it could be a lost drawing of Austen.

The portrait drawing, in graphite on vellum, had been in a private collection for years, and was being auctioned as an “imaginary portrait” of Austen, with “Miss Jane Austin” written on the back. “When my husband bought it he thought it was a reasonable portrait of a nice lady writer, but I instantly had a visceral reaction to it. I thought it looks like her family. I recognised the Austen nose, to be honest, I thought it was so striking, so familiar,” Byrne told the Guardian. “The idea that it was an imaginary portrait – that seemed to me to be a crazy theory. That genre doesn’t exist, and this looks too specific, too like the rest of her family, to have been drawn from imagination.”

Byrne pointed out that Austen did not become famous until 1870, 50 years after her death, and the portrait has been dated to the early 19th century, around 1815, on the basis of the subject’s clothes. “Why would someone have wanted to draw her from their imagination, when she was not popular at that time?” she asked.

via Jane Austen biographer discovers ‘lost portrait’ | Books | guardian.co.uk.

media:

One of the coolest and most charming book releases of this year, The Influencing Machine is a graphic novel about the media, its history, and its many maladies — think The Information meets The Medium is the Massage meets Everything Explained Through Flowcharts. Written by Brooke Gladstone, longtime host of NPR’s excellent On the Media, and illustrated by cartoonist Josh Neufeld, The Influencing Machine takes a refreshingly alternative approach to the age-old issue of why we disparage and distrust the news. And as the book quickly makes clear, it has always been

via The Influencing Machine: A Brief Visual History of the Media | Brain Pickings.

 Kathryn Schulz, psychology, regret, TED: TED provides me with some of my favorite information.

My friend Kathryn Schulz, who penned the excellent book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error and who is, in my opinion, one of the finest, bravest, most thoughtful journalists working today, recently gave a TED talk about regret. As the new owner of ink that makes me very happy, what got me to pay even closer attention was Kathryn’s extended example of her own tattoo as a lens for examining the psychology of regret, a vehicle for her characteristically potent formula of universal wisdom channelled through personal anecdotes and hard data.

Make sure you watch to the very end, it’s well worth it.

via Kathryn Schulz on the Psychology of Regret and How to Live with It | Brain Pickings.

Twitter, ideal life:  I follow a couple of these …. Martha Stewart Wannabees …

 For more holiday ideas and inspirations, pop over to the rest of the #HolidayHQ posts today and discover what the experts are decorating, cooking and planning for a festive December.  And then join us on Twitter Thursday 8 December at 8pm EST for the popular #HolidayHQ tweet chat for even more holiday ideas.

http://www.housewifebliss.com/?p=1029.

Christmas, salt dough ornaments:  Add another to the list?

 

My fondest Christmas memory is sitting around our kitchen table watching my mother turn dough into works of art, she effortless hand crafted a jointed Santa Clause, an ornate rocking horse and many other keep sake ornaments while I fiddled around with gingerbread cookie cutters wondering why I did not inherit her creative gene.  While those around me are turning their kitchens into cookie factories, churning out confections for countless recipients, parties and hostess gifts, I am recreating my favourite Christmas memory and creating the most delightful decorations for our holiday tree, gift toppers and garlands.  While many of us think of salt dough crafts as the back bone of elementary school projects (and granted mine do have that air about them), artisans have been working with salt dough for centuries creating elaborate works of art using the most basic of ingredients:  salt, water, flour and paint.

viahttp://www.housewifebliss.com/?p=1029.

07
Oct
11

10.7.2011 … grocery, grocery store or HT, Kroger, etc? … Christmas in October? … Since I mentioned Christmas – Amy Grant … Pez dispensers … OK a very random day!

words, local customs, retailing, Christmas, Amy Grant, PEZ dispensers, random, holiday traditions:  Ok … It’s October 7 … I went to the grocery (do you say grocery, grocery store or call it by its franchise name… Harris Teeter, for me?), and I smelled cinnamon. Looked up and saw a display of McCormick holiday spices, next to that display Christmas tree shaped Little Debbie cakes, next to that fake Oreos filled with peppermint cream, and finally Christmas cookie cutters. Has someone gone mad??

Speaking of Christmas, I just saw a e-mail which lists Amy Grant’s Christmas holiday tour, and I  have to admit Amy Grant’s early Christmas album is still my first to listen to every Christmas season … old habits die hard. Thank you Mary Phil  for introducing me to her a million years ago.

And while I am discussing holidays … found this fun quiz … HowStuffWorks “PEZ Quiz”. ‎:) … I wish I had saved 21 years of PEZ dispensers from my children’s Christmas stockings, Easter Baskets, Halloween surprises and birthdays …

Steve Jobs, RIP, tributes, speaking ill ... :

Gizmodo Tribute Video To Steve Jobs – YouTube.

When Steve Jobs resigned from Apple in August, 7,000 miles away in Hong Kong, graphic design student Jonathan Mak Long, “shocked” by the CEO’s departure, did what he knew best: He created a design to honor the Apple co-founder.

The 19-year-old posted the image, the Apple logo with the bite changed to a profile of Jobs, to his Tumblr blog. Known as Jonathan Mak, he initially received about 80 notes on the image. Then word came this past Wednesday that Jobs had died, after a long battle with cancer. Mak reposted the homage, which this time caught fire on the Web, attracting an almost immediate response of 10,000 likes and reblogs on his Tumblr site and surging to 180,000 — in one day. Comments included “awesome invention like steve jobs.” One thought it should be the “new Apple logo.” Another wanted to “use it as a tattoo.”

Speaking in fluent English (which he said he learned from watching the TV show “Friends”), the Polytechnic University School of Design student told Yahoo! in a Skype interview that the image was a tribute to Jobs’s contributions to the world: “I wanted to commemorate him. He’s such an integral part of Apple. I thought it would be fitting to include him in the Apple logo.” Long added, “With Jobs gone, Apple is literally missing a piece.”

via Apple tribute logo a Web hit | Today in Tech – Yahoo! News.

Everybody fails. It’s what comes next that counts.

Jobs wormed his way back into Apple, first as an adviser, then as interim chief executive, then by dropping the “interim.” What followed must be among the greatest comebacks in business.

He proved himself to be the Thomas Edison of our age: prickly, yes, but adept at combining technology and business to change peoples’ lives.

Edison has the more impressive portfolio — you can get by without your iPod more easily than you can without lightbulbs. No, really, you can.

But Jobs has the more impressive following.

For many people who heard the news of Jobs’ death, there was an immediate lurch of sadness.

On the sidewalk beside the Apple Store along Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue, Jobs’ fans on Thursday created a shrine to his memory. They left flowers, lit candles and placed fresh apples on the concrete. The same spontaneous tributes occurred at Apple Stores in London, Paris, Tokyo and elsewhere around the world.

“I promise to always take the next big step,” said one message left for Jobs in Chicago.

“Let’s go invent tomorrow,” said another, invoking a Jobs quote.

via The amazing reaction to the death of Steve Jobs – chicagotribune.com.

mike10072011

Political Cartoons from Mike Luckovich.

 

“Everyone always wanted a piece of Steve,” said one acquaintance who, in Mr. Jobs’s final weeks, was rebuffed when he sought an opportunity to say goodbye. “He created all these layers to protect himself from the fan boys and other peoples’ expectations and the distractions that have destroyed so many other companies.

“But once you’re gone, you belong to the world.”

Mr. Jobs’s biographer, Mr. Isaacson, whose book will be published in two weeks, asked him why so private a man had consented to the questions of someone writing a book. “I wanted my kids to know me,” Mr. Jobs replied, Mr. Isaacson wrote Thursday in an essay on Time.com. “I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

Because of that privacy, little is known yet of what Mr. Jobs’s heirs will do with his wealth. Unlike many prominent business people, he has never disclosed plans to give large amounts to charity. His shares in Disney, which Mr. Jobs acquired when the entertainment company purchased his animated film company, Pixar, are worth about $4.4 billion. That is double the $2.1 billion value of his shares in Apple, perhaps surprising given that he is best known for the computer company he founded.

Mr. Jobs’s emphasis on secrecy, say acquaintances, led him to shy away from large public donations. At one point, Mr. Jobs was asked by the Microsoft founder Bill Gates to give a majority of his wealth to philanthropy alongside a number of prominent executives like Mr. Gates and Warren E. Buffett. But Mr. Jobs declined, according to a person with direct knowledge of Mr. Jobs’s decision.

Now that Mr. Jobs is gone, many people expect that attention will focus on his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, who has largely avoided the spotlight, but is expected to oversee Mr. Jobs’s fortune. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Mrs. Powell Jobs worked in investment banking before founding a natural foods company. She then founded College Track, a program that pairs disadvantaged students with mentors who help them earn college degrees. That has led to some speculation in the philanthropic community that any large charitable contributions might go to education, though no one outside Mr. Jobs’s inner circle is thought to know of the plans.

Mr. Jobs himself never got a college degree. Despite leaving Reed College after six months, he was asked to give the 2005 commencement speech at Stanford.

In that address, delivered after Mr. Jobs was told he had cancer but before it was clear that it would ultimately claim his life, Mr. Jobs told his audience that “death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent.”

The benefit of death, he said, is you know not to waste life living someone else’s choices.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

via With Time Running Short, Steve Jobs Managed His Farewells – NYTimes.com.

Personally, I think this person should have just stopped “talking.”  I was taught not to speak ill of the dead …

In the days after Steve Jobs’ death, friends and colleagues have, in customary fashion, been sharing their fondest memories of the Apple co-founder. He’s been hailed as “a genius” and “the greatest CEO of his generation” by pundits and tech journalists. But a great man’s reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.

We mentioned much of the good Jobs did during his career earlier. His accomplishments were far-reaching and impossible to easily summarize. But here’s one way of looking at the scope of his achievement: It’s the dream of any entrepreneur to effect change in one industry. Jobs transformed half a dozen of them forever, from personal computers to phones to animation to music to publishing to video games. He was a polymath, a skilled motivator, a decisive judge, a farsighted tastemaker, an excellent showman, and a gifted strategist.

via What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs.

food, comfort food, chicken pot pie, recipes, kith/kin:  I cooked for a friend’s family following surgery the other night.  When I asked my husband asked what I should cook, he recommended ordering pizza … he doesn’t like my cooking … so I cooked my favorite no recipe comfort food … Chicken pot pie. Enjoy!

Dennard’s Chicken Pot Pie

3 large chicken breasts, cooked at 350 until done, then cut into bite size pieces.

line 9×9 glass baking dish or tall round baking dish with ready made pie crust, reserving enough crust for top … bake 10 minutes

in saucepan, add two cups cream, 1 can cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, salt and pepper, a little white wine  … simmer to slightly thickened

cook/thaw carrots in bite size pieces, peas and corn … frozen is fine, as much as you like … add any others that you like

put chicken pieces in bottom of pre baked pastry pan

add veggies

add cream mixture

cover with pastry dough

cook at 350 for 40-45 minutes!

 

 

 

Great Recession, IMF, Olivier Blanchard,  fiscal policy: Interesting interview – Olivier Blanchard on fiscal policy: A complicated game | The Economist.

Pat Robertson, Mitt Romney, faith and politics:  I just wish religious affiliation were not the issue in US politics … high moral character is what matters …not the source of your high moral character.

Robertson’s non-endorsement of Romney, for those who have ears to hear, trumpets two critical things to the Republican evangelical base: affinity and electability. At first glance, Robertson’s comments may seem like faint praise for a candidate who is currently the front-runner for the GOP nomination, and for one who unsuccessfully lobbied Robertson for an endorsement in 2008. But it could make an enormous difference for Romney, not only when he addresses the annual “Values Voter Summit” this weekend, but also on the longer campaign trail.

Most critically, by pronouncing Romney part of the Christian fold, Robertson signals that Romney’s faith is not so different from that of the white evangelical Protestants who form a strong core of the Republican base. The declaration that Romney is an “outstanding Christian” is a dramatic upgrade from Robertson’s more tepid comments in the last presidential campaign. In 2007, Robertson dubbed Romney an “outstanding American,” while his Christian Broadcasting Network Web site also declared-under the heading “How Do I Recognize a Cult?”-that “when it comes to spiritual matters, the Mormons are far from the truth.”

This Christian embrace should be a godsend for Romney, given that Americans generally want president’s with strong religious values, and that a significant portion of the electorate still holds reservations about the Mormon faith.

via Why Pat Robertson’s ‘endorsement’ of Mitt Romney matters – Figuring Faith – The Washington Post.

marijuana, food, food – drink, Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, US Government Programs:  Odd … Gourmet magazine online article about eating/drinking marijuana and a US Government Program, the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, provides free reefers!

Her description pretty neatly sums up the common expectation of eating marijuana: a bit of psychoactive Russian roulette with a strange aftertaste.

Beer probably has the most natural affinity with marijuana; after all, hops and marijuana are botanically speaking, kissing cousins. Boutique brewers in Europe and home brewers in the U.S. have been known to use cannabis tincture and plant matter to create THC-infused beer. Within the bounds of American law, Nectar Ales in Paso Robles, California, makes Humboldt Brown Ale with denatured hemp seeds (containing no measurable THC). The toastier, nuttier quality of the seed is highlighted rather than the herbal, funky character one would get from the plant itself. It is an interesting, unexpected expression of hemp, enjoyable even without its famous effects.

Jeremiah Tower, seminal in the creation of New American cuisine, first during his time as a chef/owner at Chez Panisse (1972–78) and later at Stars, knows a thing or two about letting ingredients speak for themselves, and letting them kick, if that’s what they want. He gives cannabis a clear, though not overpowering, voice in his Consommé Marijuana, recalled (with recipe!) in his 2004 memoir California Dish. The consommé was created in the spring of 1969 as the third course of a “self-consciously decadent” 11-course meal he prepared in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Made with 1 cup of marijuana stems steeped in 6 cups of rich chicken stock, it was strained and served over a chiffonade of nasturtium flowers and basil. As Tower recalls, the dish: “provided another level of stimulation. But not stoned. The brew takes forty-five minutes to reach the brain, by which time (as the menu planned) we were on to dessert, tasting strawberries and cream as we’d never tasted them before.”

There is, after all, the Bloody Maryjane, based on another drink attributed to him—the Bloody Mary—with a marijuana tincture replacing the vodka.

All of these applications point to a far richer culinary legacy than Alice B. Toklas’ brownies might lead us to expect. If legalization of marijuana comes at the same pace as smoking continues to get marginalized, we could be entering the age of ingested marijuana.

When that age comes, it could appear, rather than with a puff of smoke, in a glass, on a plate, or maybe even poured over a chiffonade of nasturtium flowers.

via Beyond Pot Brownies: Food + Cooking : gourmet.com.

Free reefers: Federal program ships marijuana to four

Uncle Sam a drug pusher? It’s true. For the past three decades, a handful of Americans have been getting regular deliveries of high-grade marijuana, courtesy of the federal government. It’s all part of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, a little-known initiative that grew out of a 1976 court decision that created the nation’s first legal pot smokers. Of the 14 people who were in the program initially, four are still alive. Keep clicking to meet the government-sanctioned marijuana mavens and learn more about the program – including where the government gets the pot in the first place…

via Free reefers: Federal program ships marijuana to four Pictures – CBS News.

Appalachia, Berea College: I absolutely loved this article about the US region Appalachia and the people who are Appalachians.  And the picture that illustrates the article is great … reminds me of “Song of the Lark.”

Color Me Appalachian 1

As a native Kentuckian, I thought that I knew the state. But the first time I heard traditional mountain music, I was awestruck—I had never heard anything like it before. A student, Ashley Long, was singing “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble. Darrell Scott’s lyrics and Long’s haunting voice brought tears to my eyes. The song tells the story of a man’s great-granddaughter, who sings about the family lineage in the “deep, dark hills of eastern Kentucky,” where the “sun comes up about 10 in the morning and the sun goes down about 3 in the day,” and “you spend your life just thinking how to get away.” The pain and the despair were palpable in the lyrics and in the style of singing.

When I came to Berea College four years ago, I accepted employment as a college professor; but I quickly realized that I had embarked on something more than just a job or career path. I was drawn to Berea because of its 150-year history and its commitment to African-American students. But I did not want to live in what I regarded as the mountains (in reality, the foothills), so I commuted from Lexington the first year, not telling my family that I had taken a job in the region. I knew they would worry about my living there because of all the negative stereotypes of racist white mountain people.

I didn’t know, but would soon learn, that Appalachian people represent a distinct cultural group. I didn’t understand that their music, traditions, and values were rooted in a way of life I knew very little about; my family and I had accepted as truth all the stereotypes. Over time, I came to know that the rich culture of Appalachia extends beyond Kentucky, including 13 states from Mississippi to New York, with West Virginia the only state entirely in the region.

After a year of commuting, I decided to move. I had found the people in town friendly, and there was a vital black community.

My experience at Berea was different from any other job I had had as a college professor. My first surprise was that, in my first class, there were more African-American students than I had taught in 13 years of my being a professor in Kentucky. The college’s minority enrollment has ranged between 17 percent and 23 percent over the last 10 years, in a state whose African-American population is only about 8 percent.

While it was wonderful working at a predominantly white institution with a significant number of African-American students, even more surprising were the white students. Most of them—60 percent of the 1,500 students on campus—identify themselves as Appalachian. As the semester progressed and I got to know them a little, I found them different from other white people I had encountered. I had worked with working-class whites before, but these students’ differences existed apart from socioeconomic status. Aside from the cultural differences, they were devoid of “white entitlement”; there was a humility and respect that I had never experienced from white students before. They were outspoken about some things and shy about others; they were smart, but not savvy—I found contradiction after contradiction.

Talking with them about their homes in rural Appalachia was similar to talking to international students about their lives in developing countries. I simply did not understand their culture—I hadn’t realized that although these people were white, they were not part of mainstream white culture. That first semester was challenging because I was working with a group that I knew very little about. But I wanted to know more.

In my second semester, I took the college’s weeklong Appalachian Seminar and Tour. I thought it would answer all my questions about the region, but within minutes, I realized that nothing was straightforward. My first question was: “Is it pronounced “Ap-uh-lay-chuh” or “Ap-uh-lach-uh?” (I had been taught the former in grammar school.) Chad Berry, director of Berea’s Appalachian Center, explained that those outside the region said the former, while those inside the region said the latter. I decided to use the regional pronunciation. This was a place where I wanted to belong. I had already begun to feel connected, and I wanted to explore those feelings in more depth.

via Color Me Appalachian – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

UNC Basketball, college basketball:  Kinda fun … UNC  to play Michigan aboard aircraft carrier on Veterans Day.

This Veterans Day, the UNC men’s basketball team will kick off the season against Michigan State in unfamiliar territory — on an aircraft carrier.

And on Nov. 11, the Tar Heels will have an ally in the captain’s chair.

Captain Bruce H. Lindsey, commanding officer of the USS Carl Vinson, leads almost 5,000 crew members with a UNC basketball jersey draped over his captain’s seat.

His daughter, senior Blair Lindsey, gave him the jersey after UNC won the 2009 NCAA National Championship.

Lindsey said he fought to have the inaugural Carrier Classic played on the USS Carl Vinson.

“When I heard that they were thinking about playing the game onboard an aircraft carrier, I thought it would be an awesome way to show a little recognition of the Carl Vinson crew for all of their sacrifices protecting our great country’s freedoms,” Lindsey said in an email.

“This game will really boost the morale of the crew — especially since we will be deploying again soon afterward for six months.”

Lindsey added the fact that the Tar Heels will be playing on the Carl Vinson is an added bonus. He said he has been a UNC fan since he moved to Reidsville, N.C., during high school.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: UNC men’s basketball to play aboard aircraft carrier on Veterans Day.

zombie genre, tv,  The Walking Dead:  Anybody a fan of ” The Walking Dead?”

You’ve been hearing about the show for a year or more, the much-ballyhooed second season starts on cable TV in a few weeks, and now all of The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is available on a single disc from redbox. (Episodes 1-4 are on Side A–flip it over and episodes 5-6 are on Side B).

If you’re already a fan of AMC’s terrific horror-drama series The Walking Dead, you probably don’t need much convincing to give that first season a quick re-watch before Season Two starts.

But if you’ve heard the hot, undead buzz and are curious what all the fuss is about, or if you’re not a hardcore zombie fan and wonder why you should bother with yet another “silly zombie thing,” let’s get you up to speed and fully on board.

via Zombie 101: 5 Things You Need to Know About The Walking Dead | Redblog.

Occupy Wall Street, revolution: “Do these people, like others worldwide who are disillusioned with their governments, have the potential to spark a mass movement?”

If you stopped by Zuccotti Park in New York and asked 10 protesters what their goals were for Occupy Wall Street, you might get 10 different answers. This has led some reports to call the group unfocused, but that may be normal for an emerging movement: would 10 young Egyptians in Tahrir Square in January have been any more unanimous?

One protester, in an interview that Fox News has not aired, said he and others were calling for “more economic justice, social justice — Jesus stuff — as far as feeding the poor, health care for the sick.” Another protester, a former Marine who was elected by Occupy Wall Street participants to speak for them, told NPR that he wanted to overthrow the government and reconstruct it. Will these big ideas get lost now that labor unions and other established interests are joining forces with Occupy Wall Street, bringing their more concrete demands?

The protest already is more popular than Congress. So what are the demonstrators doing right, and what could they be doing better? Do these people, like others worldwide who are disillusioned with their governments, have the potential to spark a mass movement? What are they missing?

via Can Occupy Wall Street Spark a Revolution? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession:  US a third word nation?  moral failure? read on …

Is the United States a Third-World Nation? 10/7/2011 6:30:00 AMMichael Lewis, author of the new book “Boomerang,” says the United States and many European nations suffered a moral failure which lead to economic collapse. Lewis insists that the U.S. economic situation will get much worse before it gets better.

via Video – Author Michael Lewis States That the United States has Suffered a Moral Failure – WSJ.com.

social networking, over 55, dating sites:

If you think online dating is the domain of the young, maybe it’s time to check in with your mother. Now, people 55 and older are visiting American dating sites more than any other age group — up 39 percent in the last three years, according to the Internet tracking firm Experian Hitwise. The No. 2 group? Singles 45 to 54. According to IBISWorld, a market research firm, and the United States Census Bureau, about 37 percent of people 50 and older are unmarried. And the divorce rate among the 50-plus demographic is high. With so many older Americans unattached, living independently into their later years, and increasingly comfortable using the Internet, they, too, are logging on for love.

And they may be better at finding it than their younger cohorts. Dating industry professionals say that singles in their 20s and 30s are typically focused on marriage and starting a family, while older singles (many of whom have been married before) have a more relaxed approach and are careful to pick companions who share their interests.

“Baby boomers have been one of the fastest-growing demographics for a lot of online dating companies,” said Caitlin Moldvay, an analyst for IBISWorld. The growth comes at the same time that some younger singles (18 to 34) are moving away from dating sites to social networking sites like Facebook as “a proxy for online dating,” said Bill Tancer, the general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services.

Greg Liberman, the president and chief executive of Spark Networks — which owns specialty dating sites including JDate, ChristianMingle, BlackSingles, SilverSingles — said that for the first eight months of this year, Spark had a 93 percent increase in new members 50 and older across all of its dating sites, compared with the same span of time last year. “We’re seeing significant growth,” Mr. Liberman said.

He’s also observed that, while it’s been common for parents to buy dating site memberships for their adult children, now adult children have begun buying memberships for their widowed and divorced parents. Gone is the heyday of personal ads in The New York Review of Books.

via For Those 55 and Over, Love at First Click – NYTimes.com.

fonts, design, Fortune Magazine: Just thought this interesting …

Two-time National Magazine Award winner John Korpics has a lengthy editorial design resume that includes Premiere, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, InStyle, Fortune, and now ESPN The Magazine where he just joined as Creative Director. One of his final acts at Fortune was the annual “500” issue. It’s always a hefty production, but this year’s is a particularly typographic feast.

via Fonts In Use – Fortune Magazine, “500” Issue.




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