Posts Tagged ‘discrimination

24
Feb
14

2.24.14 … ” Sure enough, from above my head, again that Red Bird called … and called … and called … again and again. A-tweega-tweega-tweega, a-tweega-tweega-tweega. He sounded near enough to touch, and inside my closet, I walked to the spot directly under his song and stood, marveling at our miraculous closeness.” …

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Photo by friend and wonderful photographer Mark Fortenberry

cardinals, hope, joy comfort: I had to search a bit to find an old blog post by Cary Campbell Umhau on cardinals. I thought you  who have noticed cardinals would enjoy it.

And finally, as I neared the end of my circuitous route and was musing about all I had seen, I saw my own personal sign of hope, a cardinal.  Several years ago in a particularly dark time, when I’d asked God for a sign of hope, a cardinal darn near dive-bombed me.  And since then I’ve appreciated seeing them and chuckled over how obvious God made his answer back then.

So today, I saw a cardinal.  And that’s not all that unusual.  But this one was stubbornly standing on the doormat of a pretty yellow house.  Hopping around.  As if he’d rung the doorbell and was waiting to be asked in. Which perhaps he was.  Because hope does knock, persistently, even in the disastrous times, especially in the disastrous times.

As I smiled at that persistent red wonder, I glanced at the next house on my route.  And — I kid you not — a female cardinal was not just standing as if she had knocked but was flinging her body against the glass storm door, begging to come in.  And when — naturally — no one answered her plaintive request, she went to two separate windows and did the same thing.  I watched a while.

God was answering some of what I was asking today: “Can we keep hoping even when things around us look, well, not so hopeful?”   “Yes, hope endures.  Don’t lock the door against it.”

So if you are my neighbor and you saw me staring at your house today, I wasn’t casing it out; I was laughing in wonder at how God shows up, bidden or unbidden as Carl Jung said… but especially when bidden, for then we have our eyes open and expect to see Him.

Every time we put one foot in front of another and march off to work, we are hoping for a future.

When we dare to acknowledge our dreams, we are participating in creation with God, taking steps towards doing what He wants done on earth (since He’s the ultimate dream-provider).

When we feed someone, we are saying that we want them to continue to thrive.

When we water plants or tend gardens or nurture children or teach science, we are investing in the future.

When we try again and again to nurture relationships, we are living into the longing for community that God has set within us.

And when we wander and pray, we see wonders, for they are there.

via We Keep Showing Up | Holy Vernacular.

And I knew there was a followup by another Davidson friend. You must read them both!

Guest Post by Diane Odom Cooper

Yesterday I requested “cardinal stories” from readers, since several told me (in response to a post on hope on Tuesday) that they’d had cardinal encounters recently (what’s going on?)  So for the next couple of days, I’ll stick with the cardinal theme.

Here’s a post from a college friend, Diane Cooper.  Let me tell you a little about her first:

Diane Cooper is the mother of four children, including sweet David Cooper, her seventeen-year-old son who died suddenly two years ago from Athlete Sudden Cardiac Arrest while rowing with his crew team at McCallie School in Chattanooga.

She wrote this about the piece below:

My son David was an identical twin and ALWAYS dressed himself in his favorite color — red — to visually distinguish himself from his brother, Reid. By doing this, he helped people greet him by his name rather than by “Hello Reid or David.” Since David died, cardinals have shown up in my life in a big way – too many significant instances to tell. I’m attaching one of the stories I wrote for a newsletter that I do for bereaved families in Chattanooga. Hope you enjoy it. Those cardinals are cheerful little guys!

Back to School

The beginning of August rolled around this year, and I found myself, once again, face-to-face with School Registration. This has been a difficult day for me the past two years. Our family had some longstanding  ”back to school” rituals with our three sons, and the boys, who are twelve to fourteen years older than their baby sister, were so looking forward to sharing the traditions with little Brett when she finally reached school age. David, in particular, talked about this for years, anticipating the time that Brett would begin kindergarten, and he would be launching his senior year of high school on the same day.

I thought back to all the “First Day of School” photos that I have of my three sons – three darling, fresh-faced boys, looking earnest in their new school clothes and their neat haircuts, standing proudly in front of the local coffee shop where we always began our “First Day” traditions with breakfast of waffles and bacon. David was always dressed from head to toe in red – his favorite color and the only way to distinguish him from his very-identical twin brother, Reid, who wore blue.

The past two School Registrations have reminded me of those bittersweet, innocent days, and at the first one after David died, when I went to register Brett for kindergarten, I cried all the way through the registration process — the principal and the school secretary crying right along with me. Last year, for Brett’s first grade Registration, I was just numb, and I rushed through the process as quickly as possible, trying not to make contact with anyone beyond the most basic, necessary exchanges.

This morning, however, I woke and hoped that things would be better this year — after all, I had arranged to work Registration for Brett’s choir teacher, and since David’s death, I find I do better, socially, if I can have a purpose and a reason to reach out to other people. I greeted the morning with slightly over-zealous courage, as I contemplated my intention to have a joyful day.

The warm morning sun was streaming through the bedroom windows as I walked to the back of the master bedroom and into my dark, cool, windowless closet. It’s a big closet, and it’s always very quiet and peaceful in there — a weird thing to say about a closet, but it is. I stepped inside and closed the door behind me and just as I did, I heard a cardinal start calling — loudly. I stopped and thought I must have imagined hearing it, since I was inside a closed closet that has no opening to the outside of the house. Sure enough, from above my head, again that Red Bird called … and called … and called … again and again. A-tweega-tweega-tweega, a-tweega-tweega-tweega. He sounded near enough to touch, and inside my closet, I walked to the spot directly under his song and stood, marveling at our miraculous closeness.

I finally realized that this sweet Red Bird must have been perched on the low, sloping roof, exactly above where my closet lies. His call of greeting and encouragement made me smile, and I thanked my son-who-loved-red and the Designer of this wonderful universe for the “thumbs-up” on my decision to create a joyful Registration Day, and I moved forward and got on with things.

… And it WAS a joyful day.

via Guest Post by Diane Odom Cooper | Holy Vernacular.

defining ages, This is 45: The Eye of Life’s Storm | Emily Mendell:

Forty-five is the eye of life’s storm. The emotional drama of growing up is behind you, the physical perils of aging are still to come. In these years of quiet, it is easier to be grateful… and fearful. You are an expert on more things than you care to be, and you realize that most of your life has been of your own making. Yes, you are dealt cards that are both good and bad, but you are the one who plays them. With that realization comes a feeling of late great responsibility. You come to terms with how many moments, days, months have been squandered. You vow to do better; you know that you won’t.

via This is 45: The Eye of Life’s Storm | Emily Mendell.

Brené Brown, Bear Hug!, RSA Short Animated by Katy Davis: I really, really enjoy Brene Brown and her work (read her books, watch her TED presentations), and I love these animations. Well done!

via ▶ RSA Shorts – The Power of Empathy – YouTube

So grateful to The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts) for inviting me to speak in London this year and to animator and illustrator, Katy Davis, for this amazing short on empathy! Beautiful. #RSABear

via This Gives New Meaning to Bear Hug! An RSA Short Animated by Katy Davis – Brené Brown.

Vibram FiveFingers CVT Hemp | Covet | OutsideOnline.com, kith/kin:  I actually know someone who wants some.  🙂

Most of us know Vibram FiveFingers as the shoe of choice for runners who are serious about minimalism. Now the company is introducing its first hemp casual lifestyle piece—the CVT Hemp.

The CVT is a far cry from the other FiveFingers, whose colors tend to fall on the euro-fluorescent-techno end of the spectrum. Birkenstock wearers might be temped to convert.

Made from a blend of hemp and polyester that’s supposedly breathable, durable and sustainable, these slip-on shoes have the same sole as the other casual FiveFingers. You can even fold down the heel and wear the shoe as a clog. Take note that unless your toes are perfectly aligned, the shoes still take some effort to get on.

The CVT hemp will hit shelves this August.

$100, vibramfivefingers.com

via Vibram FiveFingers CVT Hemp | Covet | OutsideOnline.com.

The Haunting Reality,  Captain Phillips:  I really enjoyed this film.  Aspects are haunting …

Captain Phillips is a draining cinematic experience.   The director of Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass, is an expert at building tension.  He employs handheld cameras whenever possible, from the chase scenes in The Bourne Supremacy to the hijacking of United 93.   He tends to recreate the events as they happened, focusing upon the workmanlike elements of people simply doing their job.   His cast often include non-professionals who enhance the feeling of cinema verite that distinguished the director’s breakthrough feature, Bloody Sunday.   Consequently, the searing intensity in Captain Phillips felt achingly accurate.  It elevates the everyday heroism of Navy Seals and negotiators as well as the hard choices made by sailors on both sides of the standoff.

The desperation driving the Somali pirates to pursue a huge tanker overlapped with the motivations of those who hijacked Scott and Jean’s boat.   In the movie, we are invited to empathize with Somalis like Muse who are responding to economic pressures and brutal overlords by taking up arms.   Barkhad Abdi deserves the kudos and awards that have accompanied his performance.   He helps us understand that piracy is a by-product of almost no viable employment or alternatives.   His menace is fueled by grit and resolve.

via The Haunting Reality Beyond Captain Phillips.

2014 Oscar Best Picture Movie Nominees, kids, Video | TIME.com:  These kids make us look silly.

via ▶ Kids Reenact the 2014 Oscar Nominated Films – PEOPLE – YouTube

Okay, just admit it: you want to be able to say you’ve seen the more serious Oscar contenders like 12 Years a Slave and Captain Phillips, but you don’t really want to sit down and watch them. But if they were acted out by adorable children, well, then you’d totally want to grab the popcorn and go see them.

So watch here as some really cute kids offer their best reenactments of all this year’s best picture nominees — besides Philomena, which for some reason got left out. But all the others — from Her to Nebraska to American Hustle — get the adorable kid treatment, and we’re willing to bet that the full versions would be better than the originals.

via Kids Reenact 2014 Oscar Best Picture Movie Nominees: Video | TIME.com.

‘Downton Abbey’, historical drama, period dram, accuracy:

Edith and Michael’s marriage scheme makes sense, though she’d be required to become a German citizen.

Men could not divorce women for reason of incurable insanity and women could only divorce their husbands, if they were able to prove they had been excessively beaten. Laite said that it would not have been until the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1937 that things like adultery would be grounds for divorce. Unlike British civil code, German law did allow for divorce on the grounds of incurable insanity, however, it would have required both Michael and Edith to become German citizens, which is a important issue considering the prominence of nationalism at the time.

via Ask A Historian: How Accurate Is ‘Downton Abbey’?.

Yes –  Jesus Would Bake A Cake for a Gay Person | RedState, marriage equality, religion in the workplace, discrimination: I know where I come down, but I can see both sides of this issue when it is framed this way.  Originally I had a long quote from this article, but I do not want to have a political fight with my readers.  I clip and save here for me.  I think and rethink issues.  I am strongly in favor of the rights of all humans to live a life of respect and opportunity.  I am not a fan of Big Brother.   So do not jump on the attack.  I am thinking.

The disagreement comes on one issue only — should a Christian provide goods and services to a gay wedding. That’s it. We’re not talking about serving a meal at a restaurant. We’re not talking about baking a cake for a birthday party. We’re talking about a wedding, which millions of Christians view as a sacrament of the faith and other, mostly Protestant Christians, view as a relationship ordained by God to reflect a holy relationship.

This slope is only slippery if you grease it with hypotheticals not in play.

There are Christians who have no problem providing goods and services for a gay marriage. Some of them are fine with gay marriage. Some of them think gay marriage is wrong, but they still have no problem providing goods and services.

Other Christians, including a significant number of Catholic and Protestant preachers, believe that a gay marriage is a sinful corruption of a relationship God himself ordained. Because they try to glorify God through their work, they believe they cannot participate in a wedding service. Yes, because they believe they are glorifying God in their work and view it as a ministry, they view providing goods and services as a way to advance, even in a small way, God’s kingdom.

Herein lies the dispute of the day. The latter group does not stand in the way of the former group providing cakes, flowers, and pictures for a gay wedding. Some of the former, however, believe the government should compel the latter group to violate their conscience. They only see the transaction through the customer’s eyes as if the vendors are passive participants.

That’s the problem.

Christians should serve. But the government should not force them to.

via Yes, Jesus Would Bake A Cake for a Gay Person | RedState.

20
Feb
14

2.20.14 … Our central claim is that Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations … Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition. …

The All-or-Nothing Marriage, NYTimes.com:

Our central claim is that Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations. Indeed, it will fall further short of people’s expectations than at any time in the past.

Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition. This conclusion not only challenges the conventional opposition between marital decline and marital resilience; but it also has implications for policy makers looking to bolster the institution of marriage — and for individual Americans seeking to strengthen their own relationships.

via The All-or-Nothing Marriage – NYTimes.com.

geology, pangea, NYTimes.com:

“This is a true moment of discovery, although somewhat inadvertent,” said Tony Hiss, the author of “The Experience of Place,” a 1990 ode to America’s physical reality. “New York’s deepest and darkest secret, its oldest and most violent and previously only vaguely glimpsed history is finally coming to light — the schist that formed three-quarters of a billion years ago, when colliding continents compressed an ancient ocean; the even more elusive amphibolite, three times harder than concrete, that’s a slow-cooked remnant of islands as big as Japan off the New York shoreline.

“A lot of the theory about what happened down there long, long ago was known, but it had never been seen firsthand by geologists until the multiple sub-Manhattan excavations over the last decade,” Mr. Hiss said.

The application of that theory illustrates why skyscrapers historically sprouted downtown and in Midtown, but not in between. The bedrock — the formidable Manhattan Schist on which their concrete foundations rest — is closest to the surface in those two areas, though, nowadays, the technology exists to build almost anywhere.

“It’s only a matter of what type of foundation you can afford, or are willing to entertain,” said Michael Horodniceanu, the president of the transportation authority’s capital construction arm.

The dank, vast underground caverns carved by monstrous tunnel-boring machines reveal evidence of the land bridge that existed hundreds of millions of years ago, when New York adjoined what is now Morocco, before the continents ruptured, and of the faults and fractures wrought by vast physical upheavals.

“It gives us a small window to refine our maps and get a better understanding of regional geology and of the bedrock that formed in Pangea when the continents collided,” Mr. Jordan, the Parsons geologist, said. “It gives us a chance to document the behavior of Manhattan’s bedrock while advancing tunnels, and to provide a history of tectonic events. Lastly, mapping provides a geological record for posterity and use by future generations.”

via Geologists Glimpse a Heaven Below – NYTimes.com.

Transcend Politics Embrace Humanity, Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, quotes:

Photo: Transcend Politics, Embrace Humanity

robotic pills, medicine, invention:

Robotic pills could replace injectable drugs for chronic conditions such as diabetes. Advancements in scientific research have led to two FDA-approved robotic pills. How they work: http://on.wsj.com/N6p3yY

Humans of New York, discrimination:  This is one of my favorite FB pages. I am amazed at what people share. I hope it is not contrived. I wonder what I would share.

“I know this isn’t going to be a popular opinion, but I’m gay, and I don’t think there’s nearly as much discrimination as people claim. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced discrimination. But it hasn’t been a huge factor in my life. I feel like a lot of people bring discrimination on themselves by getting in people’s faces too much. They like to say: ‘Accept me or else!’ They go around demanding respect as a member of a group, instead of earning respect as an individual. And that sort of behavior invites discrimination. I’ve never demanded respect because I was gay, and I haven’t experienced much discrimination when people find out that I am.”

via Humans of New York.

Jack Perry, community ambassador,  diplomat, Dean Rusk Center, Davidson College, CharlotteObserver.com:  I admit I was wrong.  When Jack Perry came to Davidson, I thought, Davidson needs someone from Davidson … I was so wrong.  RIP, Jack Perry and thank you for raising the bar.

 Shortly after Kuykendall arrived at Davidson in 1984, he hired Perry to run the college’s fledgling international studies venture, named for another Georgian diplomat, former Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

“When I came, the Dean Rusk program was a name, an aspiration,” Kuykendall said. “But but we needed somebody to lead it.”

Perry put his stamp on the program, which had been started by Kuykendall’s predecessor, Sam Spencer.

“Sam Spencer’s intention was to take (Davidson) from a regional school to a school with a national reputation and a school globally engaged,” said Chris Alexander, current director of the Rusk program.

“The program by its name and by its existence really announced to students and the broader Charlotte community … that an international education is a fundamental part of a liberal arts education.”

Perry ran the program until 1995. Over that time, the percentage of Davidson students who received some kind of international experience rose dramatically. According to Alexander, more than 80 percent of students travel or study abroad during their four years.

via Jack Perry: A community ambassador with a life of diplomacy | CharlotteObserver.com.

schadenfreude: It’s a cruel world … And here I am sharing.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=022_1392441250

Schadenfreude, oh, blessed schadenfreude.

A dad who had gone to pick his kids up from school was waiting in his car when he noticed groups of schoolchildren falling on the icy pathway.

What better way to spend your minutes waiting than filming the series of unfortunate pupils stacking it?

The person who filmed it, known only as Alan, is heard in the six-minute footage doing a bit of a commentary and laughing his socks off.

At one point, he says: ‘I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with you.’

When his daughter gets in the car they’re both creasing up and he tells her about the impending falls that he predicts are on the way: ‘Okay watch this kid, I guarantee that he’s going to drill it.’

via School run dad can’t stop laughing at pupils slipping on ice in YouTube video | Metro News.

400 years, mathematics,new class of shapes, Goldberg polyhedra, Ars Technica:

The works of the Greek polymath Plato have kept people busy for millennia. Mathematicians have long pondered Platonic solids, a collection of geometric forms that are highly regular and are frequently found in nature.

Platonic solids are generically termed equilateral convex polyhedra. In the millennia since Plato’s time, only two other collections of equilateral convex polyhedra have been found: Archimedean solids (including the truncated icosahedron) and Kepler solids (including rhombic polyhedra). Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, mathematicians claim that they may have now identified a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra. In the process of making this discovery, they think they’ve demonstrated that an infinite number of these solids could exist.

via After 400 years, mathematicians find a new class of shapes | Ars Technica.

Martin Scorsese,  Poland’s Communist-Era Art Films, NPR:  

Martin Scorsese fell in love with Polish movies when he was in college.

“The images have stayed in my head for so many years, since the late ’50s,” he says. “I close my eyes, I see them, especially from Ashes And Diamonds, from The Saragossa Manuscript. They’re very vivid, expressive, immediate.”

The tradition of filmmaking in Poland is as long as the history of filmmaking itself. In fact, a Polish inventor patented a camera before the famed, pioneering Lumiere brothers in France. It’s a tradition that includes the names Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Agnieszka Holland. But unless you spent a lot of time in art house theaters in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, you probably haven’t seen many Polish movies. Now, a new series of 21 films handpicked by Scorsese is beginning a tour of 30 American citie

via Martin Scorsese Takes Poland’s Communist-Era Art Films On The Road : NPR.

bacon: Need I say more?

Photo: Need I say more?

The Piano Guys, Angels We Have Heard on High, youtube:

via ▶ Angels We Have Heard on High (Christmas w/ 32 fingers and 8 thumbs) – ThePianoGuys – YouTube.

Watch this Christmas cover of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” performed by Paul Anderson, Jon Schmidt, Al van der Beek and Steven Sharp Nelson, on one single piano to feel the festive spirit come alive.

via The Piano Guys Will Blow You Away With ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ (VIDEO).

5 Ages Dancing,  YouTube: 

 

Dancers aged 85 ,65, 45, 25 and 5 perform the same sequence: Sage Cowles, Marylee Hardenbergh, Lori Mercil, Erin Simon, and Shelby Keeley.

via ▶ 5 Ages Dancing YouTube sharing – YouTube.

How Our Ancestors Used to Sleep Twice a Night, sleep therapy:

8 hour sleeping is a modern invention.

via How Our Ancestors Used to Sleep Twice a Night.

An Instagram short film:

An Instagram short film on Vimeo

via An Instagram short film.

09
Mar
11

3.9.2011 … as a lifelong Presbyterian I know little about the religious celebrations associated with Lent … but I enjoyed pancakes last night!

Lent, Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day:

What is Pancake Day?

Pancake Day ( also known as Shrove Tuesday) is the last day before the period which Christians call Lent. It is traditional on this day to eat pancakes. copyright of projectbritain.com

Why are Pancakes eaten on Shrove Tuesday?

Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren’t allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.

When is Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)?

Shrove Tuesday is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday and is therefore the final day before the commencement of Lent, a Christian festival leading up to Easter Sunday (Easter Day).

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between 3 February and 9 March. (See our Lent page for a visual explanation why Shrove Tuesday is 47 days and not 41 days before Easter)

Why do Christians call the day ‘Shrove Tuesday’?

The name Shrove comes from the old word “shrive” which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began. copyright of projectbritain.com

What is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence, because it’s the last day before Lent. Throughout the United Kingdom, and in other countries too, people indulge themselves on foods that traditionally aren’t allowed during Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.

via Shrove Tuesday 2011 (Pancake Day).

Lent, me: Should I give up something for Lent??  Thanks for the suggestions … And never ask a question you don’t want to know the answer …

 

MP:  If I were you, I would give up tripping on stuff on the floor and breaking limbs. For myself, I am going to give up eating boiled okra
CHS:  found a site that had some great (and funny) ideas. I thought this one was clever: angelmeg said…
“I gave up worrying one Lent, best lent I ever had. Every time I started to worry I had to stop because I had given it up for Lent. By the end of lent I was cured of my need to worry about anything. “

“I gave up worrying one Lent, best lent I ever had. Every time I started to worry I had to stop because I had given it up for Lent. By the end of lent I was cured of my need to worry about anything. “She continues by stating that “This year I tried to give up being judgmental but after three days I had to ammend that to being aware of when I am judgmental and praying for forgivness and the grace to change at that moment ( I am praying constantly, which might turn out not to be a bad thing, but presently is making me a bit sad). This is going to be a long lent.”

here’s the link if you’re interested. http://www.ironiccatholic.com/2008/02/cool-things-to-give-up-during-lent.html

DHD:  I think C is on to something there! My husband made a suggestion for me: sudoku….

Fat Tuesday, International Women’s Day, twitter, LOL:

@lenadunham Lena Dunham

It’s fat tuesday AND international women’s day??? i am receiving mixed messages

via Twitter / Home.

Lent, fasting, social networking, Facebook:

It turns out I’m not the only one considering the social-networking fast. The Wall Street Journal unearthed the Facebook group “Giving up Facebook for Lent,” and a variety of similar groups filled with self-proclaimed addicts who want to test their religious mettle starting on Ash Wednesday. (That’s this Wednesday, folks–two days from now.)There’s just one problem: One Facebook addict’s self-improvement project is another Facebook fan’s snub. A sudden break from your social network–virtual or otherwise–creates a social minefield for anyone concerned with online manners. With more than 175 million active users on Facebook, at least one or two will want to “friend” you in the next 40 days. What to do?

via How to give up Facebook for Lent and keep your friends | Webware – CNET.

gLee, tv:  Family friendly?

A “parental discretion is advised” warning flashes before Glee turned up the heat in “Sexy,” led by the affably game and comically cool substitute teacher Holly Holliday. It’s Gwyneth Paltrow, but mucho, mucho mas sexy.Her second turn as the “I thought you’d never ask?” weirdo sub was infinitely better than her debut in the fall. Back then, she was a puzzle, a loony bin. Here, she’s sly and quick-witted, appropriately adult and seductively saucy in an episode that showcased more of her comedic timing, than her stiff dance skills. All the better for us.via ‘Glee’ Season 2, Episode 15 ‘Sexy’: TV Recap – Speakeasy – WSJ.

science, faith and spirituality: Someday the scientists will find the proof!

More than half of adult Americans report they have had a spiritual experience that changed their lives. Now, scientists from universities like Harvard, Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins are using new technologies to analyze the brains of people who claim they have touched the spiritual — from Christians who speak in tongues to Buddhist monks to people who claim to have had near-death experiences. Hear what they have discovered in this controversial field, as the science of spirituality continues to evolve.

via Is This Your Brain On God? : NPR.

politics, Girl Scouts:  don’t think you should mix the two

.

Your morning jolt: Girl Scouts ticked over cookie taxBe prepared, lawmakers.Over the weekend, an e-mail went out to Girl Scout leaders, warning them that HB 385, a bill to rewrite the state tax code, would subject their cookies to a sales tax – and would hit Boy Scout popcorn sales as well:Gov. Nathan Deal holds boxes of Girl Scout cookies as the young women kicked off their sales season last month. Johnny Crawford/Jcrawford@ajc.comThis significant financial impact would take money away from Girl Scout programs, camp support, financial aid and proceeds from the sale that support troop activities and community service projects……[P]lease contact your State House Representative and State Senator TODAY and express your concern in a courteous, Scout-like manner about our Scouts being taxed. Please reference House Bill 385. Sample letters have been provided on the left to make it easy to copy and paste into your own email. There are sample letters for girls as well as for parents and volunteers.The message appears over the name of Marilyn W. Midyette, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.

via Your morning jolt: Girl Scouts ticked over cookie tax | Political Insider.

education, CMS, The Great Recession: It is going to get worse before it gets

About 560 educators – including teachers, librarians and counselors – face layoffs next year under guidelines the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board approved Tuesday.Approval of layoff criteria is the first step toward a worst-case 2011 budget scenario that would cut jobs to trim $100 million from the CMS budget. The plan Superintendent Peter Gorman presented Tuesday calls for laying off 395 teachers and 164 education support positions.If the board votes to scale back on Bright Beginnings prekindergarten, those teachers would be added with a separate list of criteria.via CMS to layoff about 560 – CharlotteObserver.com.

politics, religion, Mormonism:  2012 will be interesting …

THE Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, is in a tizzy now that not one but two of its members, or “saints”, seem about to vie for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman (see article) both seem determined to try to test the limits of discrimination.For most of the 181 years since Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon, such prominent Mormon candidacies for the highest office would have been unthinkable. Mainstream Protestants, and especially evangelicals, have traditionally considered Mormons a devious cult, not quite Christian and just plain wacky….If both the more pious Mr Romney and the more secular Mr Huntsman, who have been personal rivals in the past, run in the primaries, their Mormonism will become an issue again. A few Mormons may even stoke it themselves. For instance, Glenn Beck, an excitable television host, likes to allude to something called The White Horse prophecy, according to which America’s constitution, deemed to be divinely inspired, will one day “hang like a thread” until Mormon leaders rescue it.But mainstream America may learn to get over its old and unpleasant distrust. The core of Mormon philosophy, says Michael Otterson, the church’s spokesman, is “the idea of self-improvement”. What, after all, could be more American? The church is now waging a large advertising campaign to show the diversity of Mormons in America. “We’re not prepared to be defined by others” any longer, insists Mr Otterson.

via Mormons in politics: When the saints come marching in | The Economist.

Apple, iPhone, changes:

The person who saw the prototype of the new iPhone said the device was significantly lighter than the iPhone 4 and had an edge-to-edge screen that could be manipulated by touch, as well as a virtual keyboard and voice-based navigation. The person said Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., also plans to upgrade the iPhone 4.

The new MobileMe file-storage and music service could be available as early as June, depending on the progress of licensing talks that are in their preliminary stages, the people familiar with the situation said. Apple had planned for the service to roll out a year earlier.

The new service would give users access to their iTunes libraries from, say, an iPhone or iPad, instead of requiring that the devices be synced by cable with a computer and use space to store the actual files, the people said. The new service likely would be compatible with the iPhone 4, one of the people said.

Some MobileMe features, such as a service that locates lost or stolen iPads and iPhones, already are free.

via Apple Works on Line of Less-Expensive iPhones – WSJ.com.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, The Supreme Court, culture, discrimination:

If walking into such unceasing dialogues has been her greatest challenge, the greatest surprise, even after many years as a judge, “has been how burdened I have felt in the decision-making process because I am part of the final court. I find that the weight of this is greater than I anticipated.” At lower levels, she always knew that one could make a mistake and perhaps the next court would correct it. No more.

via NationalJournal.com – Sonia Sotomayor on Dating, Deciding, and Being the Newest Supreme Court Justice – Tuesday, March 8, 2011.

google, technology, Nelson Mandela: Technology being used for good purposes.

Backed by global-search-giant Google Inc., the foundation of aging South African leader Nelson Mandela is putting thousands of documents on the Internet, from a 1977 letter smuggled out of prison to his membership cards in the Methodist Church.

Google said Tuesday that it was providing a $1.25 million grant to the Nelson Mandela Center of Memory, part of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, to help preserve a trove of photographs, letters, calendars and journals through digital technology.The $1.25 million grant is seen as a possible stepping stone to a broader relationship with Mr. Mandela’s foundation, which is now disseminating digital bursts of his memorabilia through its website (www.nelsonmandela.org). Google is already helping the website with indexing, but it would also like to provide the search technology that will allow people around the world to troll through the life of the anti-apartheid icon.

“Google wants to help bring the world’s historical heritage online, and the Internet offers new ways to preserve and share this information,” said Luke Mckend, Google’s South Africa country manager.

via Google to Help Mandela Put Memorabilia Online – WSJ.com.

South Africa, Post-Apartheid:  Similar struggles in the US ...

As a young engineer in South Africa’s apartheid era, Sandile Zungu was once asked by a white subordinate to use a separate toilet. As a businessman in the post-apartheid era of black empowerment, company doors of all kinds have opened to him.

In little over a decade, the 44-year old has amassed a fortune by building a broad portfolio of business investments, from financial services to pest control. African art adorns his office walls in Johannesburg’s swank Sandton business district, and he drives a black Mercedes sedan to meetings, even if it means traveling a dusty road to a gold mine.

But mounting criticism of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment policy that has made that possible is pulling Mr. Zungu and other black moguls into a national debate over how to right history’s wrongs without upending business in Africa’s largest economy.

BEE, as the policy is widely known, reaches across industries, compelling domestic and multinational companies operating here to meet such benchmarks as black ownership, skills training and development in poor communities. Ford Motor Co. last month said it plans to build a center to support black-owned, automobile-parts suppliers. Microsoft Corp. last year announced a $65 million program to cultivate young, black software developers. And Belgium’s Rezidor Hotel Group AB, which operates such brands as Radisson Blu Hotels and Resorts, expanded a partnership with black-owned South African enterprise Mvelaphanda Holdings (Pty) Ltd.

Critics, however, say BEE too often rewards people who are already successful. The Economic Development Ministry in November deemed BEE largely a failure, saying it focuses too much on deal making and not enough on supporting new entrepreneurs and creating jobs in a country where it estimates unemployment is 40% for people between 16 and 30 years old.

via Black Empowerment Roils South Africa – WSJ.com.

faith and spirituality, travel, theme parks, KY: Oh, my!

In Kentucky, there are plans for a religious theme park, which has the support of the governor despite critics who say the state shouldn’t give tax breaks for religious purposes.

The park’s centerpiece will be a replica of Noah’s Ark, a wooden boat longer than a football field. Other attractions include a first-century Middle Eastern Village, a Tower of Babel and a Walled City. When Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear announced Kentucky’s support last December for the “Ark Encounter,” he touted the economic impact.

“This is a $150 million investment that is projected to create nearly 900 jobs, including almost 550 full-time jobs,” Beshear says.

via Kentucky Governor Hopes Tourists Will Come Two-By-Two To Noah’s Ark Park : NPR.

water resource management, states’ rights, GA:

A panel of judges on Wednesday appeared disinclined to let stand a ruling in the tri-state water dispute that, should it come to pass, could have catastrophic consequences for the metro region.

People wait outside the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta for today’s water hearing. The state will ask the federal appeals court to overturn a ruling barring the metro area from drawing on Lake Lanier for most of its drinking water.

Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com People wait outside the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta for today’s water hearing. The state will ask the federal appeals court to overturn a ruling barring the metro area from drawing on Lake Lanier for most of its drinking water.

The judges for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals indicated they wanted to send the case back and order the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates Buford Dam, to make a final determination of how much water from Lake Lanier can be used to meet metro Atlanta’s needs.

At issue is a July 2009 ruling from Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson, who found it was illegal for the corps to draw water from Lake Lanier to meet the needs of 3 million metro residents. Magnuson set a July 2012 deadline for Georgia, Alabama and Florida to work out a resolution. Otherwise, the judge said, metro Atlanta would only be allowed to take the same amount of water it received in the mid-1970s, when the population was a fraction of its current size.

via Judges appear disinclined to let water ruling stand  | ajc.com.

college, marketing, random:

Big consumer-products companies are going back to school.

Businesses including Sprint Nextel Corp., Levi Strauss & Co. and Mattel Inc. are sponsoring college classes and graduate-level research to get help with their online marketing from the young and hyperconnected. Sprint, for example, supplies a class at Boston’s Emerson College with smartphones and unlimited service in exchange for students working gratis on the company’s local Internet push.

Universities, in some cases, receive funding or proprietary consumer data from companies for their research. Students get experience they can display on their résumés, and add lively classes to the usual mix of lectures and written exams.

“We are helping students to go out and get hired,” says Randy Hlavac, an instructor at Northwestern University’s Medill School. “They’ve done the work.”

The partnerships are emerging as businesses are scurrying to bolster their ability to engage with their customers on the Web by using Facebook, Twitter and the like.

via Big Brands Sponsor College Classes to get Social-Media Help – WSJ.com.

autos, green: New green offerings from Toyota …

Toyota Motor Corp. next month will broaden its range of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles with a wagon and minivan as it looks to meet a long-term goal of selling a million of the fuel-efficient cars a year.

Toyota, the world’s biggest car maker by volume, said it will launch a hybrid five-seat wagon and seven-seat minivan based on the power train of its Prius hybrid. The minivan will be the company’s first lithium battery-powered hybrid model.

via Toyota Plans Hybrid Wagon, Minivan – WSJ.com.




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