Posts Tagged ‘Christmas



23
Dec
10

12.23.24 … why I thought today was a good day to pay taxes, pet license fees, etc., I do not know … Merry Christmas!

food, 1970s:  So very 70s, but I do love them …  French-Inspired Party: Crepes for Christmas : Holidays and Parties : Food Network.

cookbooks, holidays, graphics:  From Linda Hoopes … A fun holiday cookbook and tutorial on how graphics can be used to explain things. Amazing holiday recipes from around the world | Happy holidays 2010 from XPLANE – Page 3.

calendar, Christmas, Christmas Eve:  I might just put this on my calendar … first at 8 at FPC then on the tv …

Tony Award winner Victoria Clark will be featured in the holiday broadcast, “A Christmas for Everyone: A Service of Lessons and Carols,” which will air nationwide Dec. 24 at 11:35 PM ET on CBS.

via Victoria Clark Will Be Featured in CBS’ “A Christmas for Everyone” – Playbill.com.

22
Dec
10

12.22.2010 … last day to ship … but 3 more days to shop … Merry Shopping, I mean Merry Christmas!

Christmas, facebook: Enjoy!   Social Network Christmas | Igniter Media.

shopping, travel, superlatives, Houston:  Never been to Houston, don’t plan to go unless for free or a special person … so why do they have the “best” shopping?

 

Forbes used a formula that took into account each city’s number of retail locations, shopping centers and sales tax to compute the rankings.

via Forbes Names Houston the Best Shopping City in America : InStyle.com What’s Right Now.

 

 

18
Dec
10

12.18.2010 … tree is in and up … mantle is decorated … groceries bought for the big feast on Monday …

art, dance, ballet, history:

In her new book Apollo’s Angels, historian Jennifer Homans — a former professional ballet dancer herself — traces ballet’s evolution over the past 400 years, and examines how changes in ballet parallel changing ideas about class structure, gender, costume, the ideal body and what the body can physically do. The book chronicles ballet’s transition from the aristocratic courtier world in Europe through its place as a professional discipline in the Imperial Court of Russia, and finally as a technique performed on stages throughout the world.

Apollo’s Angels

Ballet’s origins, Homans explains, grew out of the Renaissance court cultures of Italy and France. Dancers would perform at the royal courts — and then invite the audience members to participate.

“It was a dance that was done by courtiers and kings and princes at court in social situations,” she says. “It was not a theatrical art set off from social life.”

The first ballet dancers did not wear tutus or dance in satin shoes, but they did formalize the footwork patterns — known as first, second, third, fourth and fifth position — that are still used today.

“Louis XIV realized that if his art form was going to be disseminated throughout his realm and even to other European countries, he would have to find a way to write it down,” Homans explains. “So he asked [choreographer] Pierre Beauchamp to write some these positions. The positions themselves are the grammars of ballet, they’re the ABC’s, the classical building blocks of ballet.”

via The Tutu’s Tale: A Cultural History Of Ballet’s ‘Angels’ : NPR.

faith, theology:  I like this concept of God and time.

The Fullness of timeJesus came in the fullness of time. He will come again in the fullness of time. Wherever Jesus, the Christ, is the time is brought to its fullness.We often experience our time as empty. We hope that tomorrow, next week, next month or next year the real things will happen. But sometimes we experience the fullness of time. That is when it seems that time stands still, that past, present, and future become one; that everything is present where we are; and that God, we, and all that is have come together in total unity. This is the experience of God’s time. “When the completion of the time came [that is: in the fullness of time], God sent his Son, born of a woman” Galatians 4:4, and in the fullness of time God will “bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth” Ephesians 1:10. It is in the fullness of time that we meet God.

via December 18, 2010 – The Fullness of time.

bookstores, books, ebooks, paradigm shift:  We still go to the movie theater!

This past year, Riggio fought off a hostile attempt to take over the Barnes & Noble board, and along with it, his chairmanship. He won’t comment on the potential sale of Barnes & Noble, though a decision is expected early next year. Still, he says this is an exciting time to be in the business, and he is anything but downbeat about his company’s future.

“It’s pretty heady times,” he says, “and we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. But if you want to count up the people who will have a say in how it will turn out, put us in as one of them.”

And what about the independents? Will they just become precious reminders of a time when most people read books made of paper? Not a chance, says Elaine Petrocelli. All bookstore owners know that the digital future is now. It’s up to them to work it in a way that keeps their doors open and their shelves filled with actual books.

“I don’t think we’re going to become precious,” she says. “I think we’re going to be a vital part of the future, but we’re going to have keep growing and changing.”

via End Of Days For Bookstores? Not If They Can Help It : NPR.

books, cookbooks, apps, ebooks: I will try them.  Any suggestions?

It’s hard to imagine how the Web could replicate a cookbook’s well-organized recipes or enticing illustrations — and, of course, a book doesn’t freeze or short out after a cooking accident. And cookbooks make the perfect gift for the foodie on anyone’s list, which is why they’re a mainstay of publishing at this time of year.

But though the traditional cookbook is alive and well, a number of tech-savvy cooks believe that e-books and iPad apps are a boon for the industry — and could provide cooks with more creative and convenient ways to find the right recipes.

via App-etizing: Cookbooks And Recipes Go Mobile : NPR.

music, holidays, Christmas:

I genuinely had no idea that so many people had recorded holiday albums over the years, until I decided to create my own: “A Christmas Cornucopia.” I knew the classic songs by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin etc., but (naive as it might sound) I wasn’t even aware that there was such a thing as a holiday music chart in Billboard.

via Annie Lennox on the Secret History of Christmas Songs – Speakeasy – WSJ.

privacy, technology:

Tech companies file patents on blue-sky concepts all the time, and it isn’t clear whether Apple will follow through on these ideas. If it did, it would be an evolution for Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who has spoken out against intrusive tracking. At a tech conference in June, he complained about apps “that want to take a lot of your personal data and suck it up.”

via IPhone and Android Apps Breach Privacy – WSJ.com.

Christmas, memories, childhood, retailing:  I loved the FAO Schwwatz catalog … and the Sear’s Toy Catalog!

As a child the holidays started at our house—at least in my imagination—not in December but in November. That’s when the FAO Schwarz toy catalog arrived. It’s hard now, in this age when everything, at least virtually everything related to commerce and consumption, is only a click or two away to conceive of a time when one’s dreams were funneled through the United States Postal Service.

The toy store’s Christmas catalog constituted the bible of childhood aspiration, a work of merchandising art no less masterful than a Beethoven symphony, culminating in the capitalistic equivalent of the “Ode to Joy” where you’d run to your parents and start lobbying for Santa to bring the singular toy that would spell the difference between eternal happiness and crushing disappointment.

There was no manipulation involved, either on your part or that of FAO Schwarz for bringing you to this level of arousal. Your pleading with your parents was merely informational; you just wanted to make it clear that the ball was now in their court (of course you’d be discovering other things you had to have in the days ahead, as you spent more time with the catalog). While you would be going through the motions of living a normal life over the remaining weeks until Christmas—even striving to get good grades and not beat up your kid brothers—you were actually rather miserable at the prospect that Christmas morning might dawn without Mr. Machine or a 15-piece disguise kit sitting under the tree.

via Catalog of Dreams – WSJ.com.

Christmas, childhood, Santa Claus:  Yes, virginia?

At one point he mattered. He fit the needs of the society he was servicing, with his rosy red cheeks and eyes a-twinkling. A role model in a bygone age, his existence centered on making simple toys and giving them away. He required nothing else from life—not fortune, nor a platform to pontificate, politicize or self-publish. His appearance was consistent over decades, as was the acceptance he received. He was a throwback for generations of men, women and children who valued a simpler time. Today, I would argue, Santa is no longer suitable.

For starters, Mr. Claus is painfully simple. Kids have become urbane consumers, and in many ways they are treated like adults by parents and society alike. The result is a decline in the age of the unbeliever, affecting everything from Saint Nick to the Tooth Fairy to the imaginary friend. We now have an awkward situation in which the jolly old man is more child than the child itself.

Secondly, Mr. Claus is not cool. Because they have been marketed to like teenagers, young children are acting more and more like teenagers (count the number of 6-year-olds watching Hannah Montana), so a cheerful old man dressed in a red suit and surrounded by elves is no longer agreeable.

Thirdly, Mr. Claus is obese. I know that his weight has been one of his more charming attributes, with his belly shaking with laughter and his round posterior squeezing through the fireplace. But obesity is a problem in this country. Santa’s girth presents an image problem for the market-makers in pop culture and those government officials responsible for engineering our behavior.

Fourth, Mr. Claus is not proficient in the employment and/or deployment of technology. This is probably his most glaring weakness, as everything we do centers around Internet connectivity, wireless access, social networking and endless communication without a word spoken. Goodness gracious, the man doesn’t even have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. How he can he update us on what he is wearing or on how Rudolph is feeling?

via Brian Campbell: Time for Santa 2.0 – WSJ.com.

tv, gLee:  Katie Couric?  Well, it will be interesting.

Gleek alert! CBS News anchor Katie Couric will be featured in the upcoming “Super Bowl” episode on the television series “Glee.”

Although she couldn’t give details on the episode or her character, Couric did talk about her experience filming with the likes of Matthew Morrison and other members of the cast.

“I just had so much fun. I joked with some press that I would be doing a Busby Berkeley-like number, but it was just that, a joke. I was being facetious,” Couric said.

As Fox show’s eleventh episode of the second season, the episode will feature Couric in some capacity — the newscaster would neither confirm nor deny if she was dancing and/or singing.

via How Did Katie Couric Wind Up On ‘Glee’? – Speakeasy – WSJ.

 

17
Dec
10

12.17.2010 … these are a few of my favorite things … making gingerbread nativity luminaries … a tradition started by Pam … maybe a MS creation … ok, I’ll post pics …

music, Christmas, lists:  Another list … Twelve Songs to Add to Your Christmas Playlist – Speakeasy – WSJ.

movies, lists:  Well, I haven’t seen any new releases this year … what do you suggest?  Michael Phillips ranks the top movies of the year. – chicagotribune.com.

random, news, Charlotte: Oohh … not good … Cornelius fire engine rolls over on icy road | DavidsonNews.net.

kith/kin, politics, Atlanta:

The signers include such heavyweights as Jones, House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, House Judiciary Chairman Wendell Willard and House Ethics Chairman Joe Wilkinson.

via Legislators seek to end Ga. 400 tolls  | ajc.com.

random, history, Walt Whitman, Abe Lincoln:

In it he excoriated Northern Democrats who appeased slaveholders, including then-president Franklin Pierce, in shocking terms: “The President eats dirt and excrement for his daily meals, likes it, and tries to force it on The States.” But he also said:

I would be much pleased to see some heroic, shrewd, fully-informed, healthy-bodied, middle-aged, beard-faced American blacksmith or boatman come down from the West across the Alleghanies, and walk into the Presidency, dressed in a clean suit of working attire, and with the tan all over his face, breast, and arms; I would certainly vote for that sort of man, possessing the due requirements, before any other candidate.

via In Whitman’s Pocket, an Imagined Lincoln – NYTimes.com.

random, LOL, NC:  Molly’s camp director … Sliding Rock Challenge-December (Brrr)! | Camp Illahee Summer Camp for Girls.

news, college, followup:

The five-month investigation, branded Operation Ivy League by the police, is more noteworthy for its locale than its scope, considering the relatively meager size of the haul and the amount spent on drug buys by the undercover officers.

The police say they made 31 purchases from the five students totaling less than $11,000 for a various drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, Adderall and LSD. The authorities said that subsequent searches of the students’ rooms and other housing at Columbia turned up a bottle of LSD, 50 ecstasy capsules, 15 Adderall pills, about half a pound of marijuana and $7,200 in cash.

Illegal drug use is an issue on virtually all university and college campuses in the United States, and Columbia is no different. A number of Columbia students said in interviews that a vast majority of students who buy drugs do so by visiting dealers in the neighborhoods near the university or through services that deliver to the campus.

The students said that although their five peers were well-known among drug buyers at the university — selling mostly to their close friends, freshman and others in the fraternities — they were part of an illicit trade that was not very extensive on campus. And in the days after the arrests, things seemed unchanged on campus, as students prepared for their finals.

The one difference could be seen on Columbia’s fraternity row on West 114th Street, where university officials suspended activities at three fraternities where most of the drugs were sold.

Still, the investigation exposed a specialized network, in which the students are said to have sold select drugs out of certain locations, and referred buyers to each other, prosecutors said in court documents.

via Columbia Drug Case Isn’t Notable, Except for Address – NYTimes.com.

16
Dec
10

12.16.2010 … et is home (via redeye) … molls is finishing up … jack is skiiing … john is chillin’ in Miami … and I am playing with my iPad (so there is a lot today) …. and happy 235th birthday, Jane!

memories, Christmas, Atlanta: … the lightings with all the choirs singing on each level and then riding the pink pig around it!

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Here’s an undated pic of the Rich’s Christmas tree atop the “crystal bridge.”

Jane Austen, google doodles: Happy 235th!

Google Doodle celebrates Jane Austen's birthday

Google Doodle celebrates Jane Austen’s birthday…. but not in the US.

Welcome to the Happy Birthday Jane Blog Tour sponsored by Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club blog. If you have joined the party in process, you have landed on one of the fifteen Austen bloggers or Austenesque authors that are honoring our favorite author today. The full list of participants is listed at the bottom of this blog post.

via Happy Birthday Jane Austen Blog Tour: A Celebration of her Legacy – Her Juvenilia « Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog.Silhouette of Jane Austen

Here’s your chance to be published in the upcoming anthology entitled JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT, which will be published in Fall 2011 by Ballantine books and edited by Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose.

All you have to do is write a story inspired by the life or works of Jane Austen, and enter a short story contest. The winner will be published in JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT.

via Jane Austen Addict Blog.

culture, Ben Franklin, 21st Century: Great op-ed piece.

American culture was built on the notion of bourgeois dignity. We’ve always been lacking in aristocratic grace and we’ve never had much proletarian consciousness, but America did produce Ben Franklin, one of the original spokesmen of middle-class values. It did produce Horatio Alger, who told stories about poor boys and girls who rose to middle-class respectability. It does produce a nonstop flow of self-help leaders, from Dale Carnegie to Oprah Winfrey. It did produce the suburbs and a new sort of middle-class dream.

Americans could well become the champions of the gospel of middle-class dignity. The U.S. could become the crossroads nation for those who aspire to join the middle and upper-middle class, attracting students, immigrants and entrepreneurs.

To do this, we’d have to do a better job of celebrating and defining middle-class values. We’d have to do a better job of nurturing our own middle class. We’d have to have the American business class doing what it does best: catering to every nook and cranny of the middle-class lifestyle. And we’d have to emphasize that capitalism didn’t create the American bourgeoisie. It was the social context undergirding capitalism — the community clubs, the professional societies, the religious charities and Little Leagues.

For centuries, people have ridiculed American culture for being tepid, materialistic and middle class. But Ben Franklin’s ideas won in the end. The middle-class century could be another American century.

via Ben Franklin’s Nation – NYTimes.com.

art, the law:

Scala/Art Resources, NY.

Raphael’s Lady Justice at the Palace of the Vatican.

In ancient Egypt she was known as Maat, the goddess of harmony and order, depicted in the Book of the Dead as a kind of personified jeweler’s scale, weighing a human heart against a feather to determine a soul’s fate in the afterlife.

A new book surveys the history of Lady Justice. Above, “Lady of Justice” by Jan R. Mitchell, located outside a federal building in the U.S. Virgin Islands. More Photos »

In Greece she became Themis, sister, wife and counselor to Zeus, and the Romans then rolled her and her daughter Dike together to form Justitia, the only one of the cardinal virtues to have a signature look in ancient art. But the look of the grande dame we have come to know as Lady Justice — as interpreted by artists like Giotto, Brueghel and Reynolds — has been as changeable as a catwalk model’s.

She has strode forth naked and clothed, shoeless and shod, sword wielding and weaponless. She has been accompanied by a dog (for fidelity), a snake (for hatred) and a whole menagerie of other sidekicks that would befuddle the modern courthouse visitor, including an ostrich, whose supposed ability to digest anything was seen by the ancients as a useful attribute for the machinery of justice.

As the Yale Law School professors Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis show in an unusual new book just out, “Representing Justice” — an academic treatise on threats to the modern judiciary that doubles as an obsessive’s tour of Western art through the lens of the law — Lady Justice’s familiar blindfold did not become an accessory until well into the 17th century. And even then it was uncommon because of the profoundly negative connotations blindfolds carried for medieval and Renaissance audiences, who viewed them as emblems not of impartiality but of deception (hence the early use of the word hoodwink as a noun, meaning a blindfold or hood).

via Yale Law Professors Fix Their Eyes on Blind Lady Justice – NYTimes.com.

apps, lists: Lots of suggestions … even a NYT webpage that brings all app articles togethr.

SKETCHBOOK PRO ($8): Experienced artists can create masterpieces with this program. Hobbyists and children can happily lose themselves for hours. The app is powerful, yet fairly intuitive.

via For the iPad, 10 Favorite Apps – App Smart – NYTimes.com.

Take Me To My Car (free)

There are various 99-cent apps with names like Find My Car and Car Finder that can help you remember where you parked that car — which comes in handy when you need to locate your vehicle among hundreds of others in the airport parking lot after a week at the in-laws’. Take Me to My Car offers a decent free option for the iPhone. Information: takemetomycar.anresgroup.com. For Android users, Car Locator ($3.99) offers a free trial version good for several uses. Information: Androidlicenser.com.

via Airport Apps That Put You First in Line — Practical Traveler – NYTimes.com.

Mobile Applications – The New York Times.

iPad: murse!

But guys who want to lug around their iPads are finding themselves quietly reaching for a so-called man purse, or murse. The iPad-shaped bags seem to be the gadgetphile’s equivalent of a woman’s clutch.

via Coming to Grips With an iPad Carrier – NYTimes.com.

culture, education, ADHD:

Perhaps eager to make clear that A.D.H.D. is far more than a metaphor for the distractions of modern life, scientists love to point out examples that date to well before the term was invented.Dr. Urion invoked Sir George Frederick Still, the first British professor of pediatric medicine, who in 1902 described the syndrome precisely, speaking of a boy who was “unable to keep his attention even to a game for more than a very short time,” and as a result was “backward in school attainments, although in manner and ordinary conversation he appeared as bright and intelligent as any child could be.”Dr. Muenke brought up “Der Struwwelpeter“ “Slovenly Peter”, the 1845 children’s book by Heinrich Hoffmann, which contains the story of “Zappel-Philipp,” or “Fidgety Philip.” One English translation was done by Mark Twain, that great chronicler of boys.The circumstances of modern life can give rise to the false belief that a culture full of electronics and multitasking imperatives creates the disorder. “People have this idea that we live in a world that gives people A.D.H.D.,” Dr. Urion said. Of course one shouldn’t drive and text at the same time, he continued, but for “a harbor pilot bringing a huge four-masted sailing vessel into Boston Harbor, paying attention was a good idea then, too.”

via Untangling the Myths About Attention Disorder – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession, public works: We have been spoiled. New Shovel-Ready Project – WSJ.com.

Elizabeth Edwards, RIP: Very good article.

In the beginning, more than eight years ago, it was easy to be drawn to Mrs. Edwards, whose appeal enhanced her husband’s. John Edwards had stood by an older, hearty woman of substance; perhaps that boded well for women with dimming memories of their 40s and long-ago visits to the gym.

Mrs. Edwards made self-deprecating remarks about bad hair days, absent-mindedly stuffing a cellphone into her bra as she rushed to an appointment. She was a figure of catharsis, her journey as a mother pocked with sorrow and late joy.

A lawyer by training, her intelligence was keen, her commitment to health care reform and poverty unwavering. She was a refreshing model of a powerful woman, the un-Angelina.

via Elizabeth Edwards, Through Many Eyes – NYTimes.com.

random:

Video: How to Make a Gingerbread House for Your Mug | Serious Eats.

technology, e-mail: “tb;dr”: too boring, didn’t read.

Your theories are welcome, but I believe that the complexity of getting through a spam-filter maze with ever more dead ends is a key cause. When you put together many rules and different systems, some of which are not specifically designed to work with each other, unexpected properties emerge. This is much how intelligence may work, at a vastly more complicated scale. But certainly, emergent properties make it difficult to predict how a given input will be output.

But this is not all bad. We can embrace e-mail’s emerging ambiguity. If a sender can never know whether we received a message, the social expedient of “I’m terribly sorry; it must have landed in the bin” remains a viable white lie. (Editor’s note: that e-mail about compensation truly did not arrive.) It could be, though, that there’s a simpler cause. My e-mail may have become “tb;dr”: too boring, didn’t read.

via Over-eager spam filters: The emerging ambiguity of e-mail | The Economist.

products: And to make matters worse, it tastes awful.

Dannon — part of the world’s biggest yogurt maker Danone— agreed to pay a $21 million fine and stop making exaggerated health claims for two popular Dannon products under a settlement with the federal government and attorneys general from 39 states on Wednesday.

via Dannon’s Activia, DanActive health claims draw $21M fine – USATODAY.com.

college sports, education:

The millions of dollars being generated, however, continues stirring resentment by former athletes. Emmert defended the NCAA’s and universities’ use of those funds.

“There are 14 schools in the U.S. that broke even in their athletic programs last year,” he said. “Every other one of them put significant to dramatic amounts of money into their sports programs to support their student-athletes. That young man or woman you’re talking about was able to gain benefit from the best coaching staff, the best facilities, the best trainers, the best educational environment anybody can get anywhere in the world. OK, so the university generates some revenue to help support that effort. I don’t have a problem with that.”

Does the possibility exist that evolving media, which continue opening new revenue streams, has created an imbalance among the NCAA, member schools and the athletes they serve?

Emmert came back to the oft-heard defense that revenue produced by popular sports such as football and sometimes basketball support the masses.

via NCAA president: ‘We can never’ get to place where athletes are paid – USATODAY.com.

retail, apps, business models: guilty! I try to support local retailers, especially bookstores … but a book was 50% more in the store and Amazon shipped it for free.

“It’s so useful,” Mr. Tang says of his new shopping companion, a price comparison app called TheFind. He says he relies on it “to make sure I am getting the best price.”

Mr. Tang’s smartphone reckoning represents a revolution in retailing—what Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chief Executive Mike Duke has dubbed a “new era of price transparency”—and its arrival is threatening to upend the business models of the biggest store chains in America.

Until recently, retailers could reasonably assume that if they just lured shoppers to stores with enticing specials, the customers could be coaxed into buying more profitable stuff, too.

via Phone-Wielding Shoppers Strike Fear Into Retailers – WSJ.com.

retail, something’s wrong with this picture, Christmas:

In the middle of Manhattan’s FAO Schwarz, Evelyn Goldstein turns away from a display of toy cars and discreetly takes a phone off her belt clip. In a low but urgent voice, she says: “I’m in vehicles, and I need empty carts.”

Toys are not fun and games for Ms. Goldstein, the lead personal shopper at the famous toy store. Particularly not on the third-to-last Friday before Christmas.

Perhaps no industry relies on holiday crowds as much as the toy business: Sales from November and December typically comprise 40% of the year’s revenue, according to the retail analyst NPD Group. During the holiday season, thousands of people visit FAO Schwarz each day. Customers sometimes start lining up outside around 7 in the morning.

If the store’s staff is on the front line of customer service, Ms. Goldstein heads up Special Ops. She cultivates a base of clients that includes plenty of big spenders who make an annual pilgrimage at Christmas time.

Married, Ms. Goldstein doesn’t have children—just two dogs and many nieces and nephews. Because of her job, she doesn’t celebrate the holidays until after Christmas. All she wants? “A vacation,” she says. She also wouldn’t mind a diamond necklace that shows a pony-tailed Barbie in silhouette. She knows just where to get one.

via Toy Stories: a Day in the Life of a Personal Shopper – WSJ.com.

technology, cloud computing, paradigm shift: It’s coming …

They are an attempt to realize the old idea of a “network computer,” or one which is mostly a front end for network services.

Of course, many people already spend most of their time with their PCs and Macs connected to the Net. Many use Web-based email programs or streaming music programs instead of local software.

So the time may be right for a cloud computer, a change in the paradigm. Google certainly hopes so.

via Google Goes to the Cloud for a New Idea in PC Operating Systems – WSJ.com.

RIP, A&P, changes, the past: My daughter was reading a short story the other day and I had to explain to her what the A&P was.

A bankruptcy filing would be a stark turn for the once-prominent grocery-store holding company, which started out as a tea and spices shop in the 1800s.

Back then, executives showcased their expansive ambitions by adopting a name that paid tribute to the first transcontinental railroad. The company eventually became the nation’s first national supermarket chain, with 16,000 stores by the 1930s.

But A&P has been squeezed by rival chains like Wegmans, Stop & Shop and ShopRite and continued high U.S. unemployment and lackluster consumer confidence.

Grocers that solidified low-price images before the recession, including Kroger Co. and Stop & Shop, owned by Netherlands-based Royal Ahold NV, saw their sales grow. But those that tried to keep prices higher—such as A&P and Safeway Inc.—suffered sales declines as shoppers intensified their search for deals.

After years of retrenchment, A&P’s store count has dwindled to more than 400 outlets in eight Eastern states and Washington, D.C.

via A&P on Brink of Chapter 11 – WSJ.com.

Great Recession, education, public works: We had to pay for transportation to public schools in suburban Chicago years ago.

The other options include, creating a 1 ½ mile “no transportation zone” around every school – meaning bus service would only be provided to the students who live past that boundary. Another proposal would adjust school bell times, and possibly create a longer school day. In addition to those proposals, CMS transportation officials looked at expanding shuttle stops, but their research showed that might actually cost more.

via CMS Cuts Could Toss 50K Students Off Buses | Charlotte News | Weather | Carolina Panthers | Bobcats | FOX Charlotte | Top Stories.

culture, teenagers, parenting:

They say you never escape high school. And for better or worse, science is lending some credibility to that old saw. Thanks to sophisticated imaging technology and a raft of longitudinal studies, we’re learning that the teen years are a period of crucial brain development subject to a host of environmental and genetic factors. This emerging research sheds light not only on why teenagers act they way they do, but how the experiences of adolescence—from rejection to binge drinking—can affect who we become as adults, how we handle stress, and the way we bond with others.

via How Teen Experiences Affect Your Brain for Life – Newsweek.

education, Great Recession: This is very sad.

After weeks of debate that touched on academics, race and politics, Evanston Township High School District 202 approved a dramatic plan Monday night that eliminates a combined honors English and history course for the highest-achieving incoming freshmen — usually white students.

The unanimous school board vote paves the way for freshmen of all races, socioeconomic and achievement backgrounds next fall to take the same freshman humanities course next fall. Proponents of the move see it as a way to diversify advanced courses and circumvent the traditional process of tracking students into courses by test scores that often places minorities in lower-level classes.

The board approved the plan despite opposition from hundreds of parents who signed a petition urging officials to at least delay the proposal while it can be studied further.

via Evanston Township High School District 202 eliminates honors English course – chicagotribune.com.

travel, Idaho, bucket list:

In recent years, Sun Valley has been looking forward: both the Lodge and its sister property, the Sun Valley Inn, have been refurbished. At Bald Mountain, the bigger of Sun Valley’s two ski areas, 645 acres of snowmaking and the recently opened Roundhouse gondola have raised the quality of a day on the slopes. At Dollar Mountain this season, the terrain parks have a host of new rails and jibs.

via 36 Hours in Sun Valley, Idaho – NYTimes.com.

Crafts, memories, fails: OK … I have failed at capturing my families memories, but do I rally want someone else to do it for me, for money …

Everyone, it seems, except the most compulsively organized, has hard drives or boxes full of family photos waiting to be placed in albums or scrapbooks. All too often, that day never comes, and the psychic burden of their presence grows heavier with each passing year. To solve this dilemma, we tried four different custom scrapbooking services that would do the work for us.

Two of the services created old-fashioned glue-and-paste books using colored card stock and fanciful embellishments to showcase our photos; the other two arrived at these effects digitally, in printed albums or album pages. While the former offered textural variety and richness, the latter were less bulky and accommodated more photos. Our experience taught us that professionals really do know how to scrapbook better than we ever could, although each book required some investment in our time as well as money.

Nancy Nally, editor of Scrapbook Update, an online trade journal, says that custom scrapbooking services are “a quiet underground” niche within the larger $2 billion a year scrapbooking industry. One byproduct of the recession is that consumers have begun to place greater value on handmade gifts, even as their leisure hours seem to shrink, Ms. Nally says. Many commission scrapbooks as a gift for a child graduating from high school or getting married, or as a tribute or anniversary gift, she says.

via Turning Family Scrapbooks Over to the Pros – WSJ.com.

14
Dec
10

12.14.2010 … ET’s done, Jack today, Molly on Thursday … Yeah!

quotes:

“In spite of my outward appearance, I shall try to run a neat inn.” – Pigpen

holiday, Christmas, music: Enjoy!  I am listening to the mix while I clip and comment … interesting mix.  Do you have one a mix you like?

We asked 10 of NPR Music’s partner stations to send us 10 of their favorite holiday songs, so this continuous stream is packed with gems. From Bach to The Ramones to Louis Armstrong, it’s a perfect playlist for those who wish to indulge in the spirit of the season while remaining glued to the computer. Whether you’re shopping online or trudging grimly through another workday, let Jingle Jams serve as your soundtrack.

via Jingle Jams: A Holiday Mix From NPR Music : NPR.

street food, Chicago:  really interesting how local laws can vary.

“We’re stopping the sale of cupcakes,” she recalls him saying, before he handed her a ticket and shooed her away.

Food trucks are all the rage in New York and Los Angeles, but in the Windy City they are running up against some sticky regulations. WSJ’s Mark Scheffler reports from the streets of Chicago.

Food trucks—essentially restaurants on wheels—have taken off in cities such as Los Angeles and New York, spurred by the weak economy, trendy fare and the proliferation of social media, like Twitter. Food & Wine magazine voted an L.A. food-truck chef one of its “Best New Chefs” of 2010 and the Food Network has a show devoted to such vendors. But in Chicago, one of the nation’s most progressive culinary cities, the trucks are held back by restrictive rules and operate in a legal twilight zone.

After receiving a $275 ticket, Ms. Kurtz, a 41-year-old entrepreneur who quit her corporate marketing job recently to launch Flirty Cupcakes, told her fans to meet her in the alley. “It was like a drug deal,” she says. “I said, ‘Just take them and run.”‘

via Food Trucks Face Roadblocks in Chicago – WSJ.com.

health care, politics, the Constitution:  Good old interstate commerce clause …

Within a fortnight of each other, two federal judges in Virginia, relying on identical precedents and hearing carbon-copy arguments, issued diametrically opposed decisions on the constitutionality of the federal health-care overhaul.

Read side by side, the two rulings reveal strikingly divergent views of what the case is about—and suggest that the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will rest on which depiction best satisfies the Supreme Court.

Both lawsuits challenged the health-care plan’s foundation: the mandate that all Americans, other than those exempted for religious or other reasons, carry health insurance or pay a penalty on top of their income taxes. The plaintiffs contend the mandate exceeds Congress’s constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.

via Judges Have Different Interpretations of Health-Care Law – WSJ.com.

health/fitness, babyboomers:  Oh, that’s me!

Swarms of resolution-making Americans will hit the gym this month, but are aging baby boomers really up for boot camp? With about 10.5 million people ages 55 and older now being health club members—more than four times as many as in 1990—more companies are rolling out fitness products aimed at the silver-haired set. Even aerobics queen Jane Fonda, now 72, is back with a new series of senior-friendly exercise DVDs.

via Boomer Fitness Shapes Up – SmartMoney.com.

technology, family, parenting: I hope it helps …

So the McCormicks turned to technology—a shared, online family-management system that serves as a calendar, organizer and communication tool. Ms. McCormick also tapped an online grocery-shopping planner. The tech tools have helped her ease up on the multi-tasking and enjoy her family more, she says. Their daughter Adara, 15, says her mother nags less, leaving the whole family “more time to talk about what is going on in our lives.”

Say goodbye to Post-It notes and giant paper calendars plastered on the fridge. Newer and easier applications can tackle time-management nightmares that plague working parents. Shared online calendars synch family members’ busy schedules; meal-planning websites help get home-cooked dinners on the table, and videoconferencing can link parents on the road with family at home. And while using technology to manage family life might seem to risk turning everyone into robots, parents say the tools help them feel calmer and more in control

via How Families Use Technology to Ease the Work-Family Juggle – WSJ.com.

apps, lists:  Another list … For the iPad, 10 Favorite Apps – App Smart – NYTimes.com.

Jane Austen, movies: So who is your favorite Darcy?  Ad to think Colin Firth almost turned it down.

Speaking at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts on Tuesday night Firth said: “I couldn’t see there was anything to play because the character doesn’t speak most of the time. I thought this is just a guy who stands around for hours driving people to despair.”

In conversation with the film journalist Francine Stock as part of the Alfred Dunhill BAFTA: A Life in Pictures series, Firth disclosed how he repeatedly turned down the role before realising that it would mean someone else would do it.

via Colin Firth ‘did not think Mr Darcy was much of a role’ – Telegraph.

13
Dec
10

12.13.2010 … exams for the kids … work for John … lunch for me with my ChristCare group … I got the better deal!

Christmas, tv:  I do love the Christmas movies and specials?  What’s your favorite?  Best Classic Holiday TV Specials.

college, our kids, culture, parenting:  I would like to see this.  I believe we are putting our kids under way too much pressure.

With no advertising and little news media attention, “Race to Nowhere” has become a must-see movie in communities where the kindergarten-to-Harvard steeplechase is most competitive.

More than 1,100 attended a screening last week at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill. About 500 saw it at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan in November. It has been shown to a roomful of fathers at Pixar during lunch hour and twice to employees at the Silicon Valley headquarters of Google.

All 325 seats in the auditorium of New Canaan Country School in Connecticut were filled during a screening for parents last Thursday night. Francie Irvine, the assistant head of school, said, “Our parents’ association president called me and said, ‘My sister just saw this in California and we have to, have to, have to have it here.’ ”

The film portrays the pressures when schools pile on hours of homework and coaches turn sports into year-round obligations. Left somewhat unexamined is the role of parents whose high expectations contribute the most pressure of all.

“Everyone expects us to be superheroes,” one high school senior in the film says.

Another tells of borrowing her friends’ prescription for Adderall to juggle her many commitments. “It’s hard to be the vice president of your class, play on the soccer team and do homework,” she says.

via Parents Embrace ‘Race to Nowhere,’ on Pressures of School – NYTimes.com.

and –

A new documentary, “Race to Nowhere,” looks at the pressures being put on high school students to build their résumés with Advance Placement classes and athletic accomplishments to improve their chances of acceptance at elite colleges and universities. The film captures the angst of boys who drop out of high school because of the pressure, girls who suffer stress-induced insomnia and students forced to cheat their way through classes.

Room for Debate: Does It Matter Where You Go to College?

The film is hitting a nerve among parents across the country who are worried about the levels of stress that their children are experiencing, beginning even in elementary school. What can schools — and parents — do to turn down the heat?

via Stress and the High School Student – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

apps, lists:  Two lists to try: 1) Apps For Foodies To Drool Over : NPR and 2) Best Shopping Apps to Save Your Time, Money and Sanity.

philanthropy:  Now this is a project I would like to get involved with.

“Students come together to study the social needs of their communities and then spot a local charity that is addressing a particular problem,” Ms. Schecter says. Students then compete to have the best presentation in front of judges to win money to award to their chosen charity.

Ms. Schecter says projects like these shouldn’t be targeted only to children of affluent backgrounds.

Her program “works regardless of geography, and it has been successful in affluent or middle-class schools. Even kids with poorer backgrounds have taken part in the program and have gained skills that they then carry for life,” she says.

It is too early to say for sure whether such programs will encourage a shift in the way future generations approach philanthropy, but some seem to think they will.

“I think we will see a generation of more socially engaged individuals,” says Alex Reynolds of the Institute for Philanthropy, a provider of donor education for wealthy individuals. “Pupils are being entrusted with real money, which empowers them to have a major impact on real people’s lives.”

via New Programs Teach Kids About Charitable Giving – WSJ.com.

yesterday, me: Due to events beyond my control, I did not make it to the Taizi Service … Next year!

Christmas, tv, me:  Enough of Pigpen, you say … this author attributes a “classic” line to Pigpen.  I shall wear my new pin proudly!

N is for Nativity, a key part of the Christmas play Lucy invites Charlie Brown to direct, although, at the helm, C.B. continues to get little respect from the gang, including Snoopy, who boos him. One highlight: Pig Pen as the innkeeper, who promises Charlie Brown and his assistant, Lucy, “In spite of my outward appearance, I shall try to run a neat inn.”

via ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’: Celebrating 45 Years of the Classic Holiday Special.

astronomy, science, bookshelf: Did it bother you when they changed Pluto to a non-planet?

Astronomer Mike Brown didn’t mean to kill Pluto — or so he claims.

Brown says the ex-ninth planet was just collateral damage in his search for the 10th. The story of that search — and the subsequent demotion of Pluto that raised the ire of elementary school students everywhere — is in his new book, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming.

Brown tells Weekend Edition Sunday’s Liane Hansen that he had been searching the night sky for years, trying to find the elusive “Planet X.”

Scientists had speculated for decades that there might be another heavenly body floating far out in the solar system. Brown says he knew what he was looking for, just not whether it actually existed.

via Killer Confesses To Pluto’s Murder In Tell-All Book : NPR.

irony, music, favorites, facebook:  

I posted YouTube – Bright Lights Big City by Jimmy Reed on Facebook on Saturday and a friend immediately asked if it had anything to do with the John Edwards connection (the day of the posting was the day of Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral).  I posted it because I happen to like the song … it’s in Sweet Home Alabama … and it was on my mind.  So what is the John Edwards connection?  Read on …

4) She was in some book, right? I don’t have time to read a whole long book.

No problem!

In 1988, Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney published his third novel, Story of My Life. The protagonist was Alison Poole, an “ostensibly jaded, cocaine-addled, sexually voracious 20-year old.” McInerney based Poole on his ex-girlfriend… Lisa Druck.

The Poole character also appeared in Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, where she was sexually assaulted by the evil Patrick Bateman. Whether it’s real life or fiction, Rielle seems to be drawn to sociopaths.

via Rielle Hunter FAQ | The Daily Caller – Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment.

 




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