Posts Tagged ‘ebooks

31
May
11

5.31.2011 … End of May … School is almost out!

Mount Vernon, travel, DC, history, historic preservation:  Mount Vernon is one of my favorite places … what does it take to make a 18th century garden historically accurate?As she surveys the fruit orchard, boxwood parterres and flower borders, a couple of gardeners plant clumps of golden-flowered calendulas near the grapevine trellises. They are putting the final touches on a fundamental reworking of Washington’s pleasure garden. Begun last August and now virtually complete, the new garden re-creates what experts believe is a far closer representation of the one Washington knew in the late 18th century.

Gone is the tall boxwood edging, along with the crescent flower beds at the apex of the garden. The paths are wider, the garden beds fewer but much larger. Bands of decorative plants wrap around what is essentially a vegetable garden — the area devoted to veggies has grown fivefold and occupies a quarter of the space. Even though the “high garden” was the landscape jewel of the estate, Washington “wasn’t about to let something beautiful take away from something that was necessary,” said Dean Norton, Mount Vernon’s director of horticulture.

via George Washington’s Mount Vernon pleasure garden revamped for authenticity – The Washington Post.

bookstores, eBooks, technology:  Maybe the two will work together … there is a certain pleasure in walking around a bookstore.

250 independent bookstores around the country now sell Google eBooks on their websites. However, it takes some tech savvy and effort to educate customers about these new resources.

via QR Code Tools for Independent Bookstores – GalleyCat.

random, missing persons, hiking the Appalachian Trail:  There is no such thing as disappearing for a few days for personal reasons.  Blessings to the family for the safe reurn of Mr. Hill.

A Matthews man missing since early last week in Washington, D.C., was found early today in Asheville, D.C. Metro police said this morning.

Lt. Ralph Neal, watch commander for the 2nd District, told the Observer that his department got a lead that Matthew Hill, 26, who was last seen Tuesday morning, was safe and had been found in Asheville.

“He apparently didn’t let anyone know where he was at,” Neal said. “We asked the police in Asheville to make contact with him there.

“He just left on his own — for personal reasons. I guess he just wanted to get away.”

via D.C. police: Matthews man found alive in Asheville | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

American auto industry, subcompacts, Great Recession, Recovery?:  I want a subcompact hybrid for my next car .

After years of being outgunned by Japanese rivals, the American auto industry has made small cars a central part of its strategy, seeking to capitalize on a fundamental shift in the preferences of consumers in an era of fast-

By refocusing on small cars and de-emphasizing the gas-guzzlers that had long sustained the industry, General Motors and Ford in particular are preserving jobs and positioning themselves to prosper. Their efforts are already paying off in the marketplace. Ford’s tiny Fiesta is the best-selling subcompact in the United States this year, and G.M.’s Chevrolet Cruze outsold every other compact car in America last month except the segment-leading Honda Civic.

Nearly one in four vehicles sold in the United States in April was a compact or subcompact car, compared with one in eight a decade ago. Of the small cars sold in April, about 27 percent were American models, compared with 20 percent a year earlier. Data on sales in May will be released on Wednesday.

via American Compacts Gain Ground as High Gas Prices Change Tastes – NYTimes.com.

middle east uprisings, natural human rights, philosophy:  A lot to think about here …

Revolutions are based upon complaints.  These complaints can arise from practical concerns, like having food at an affordable price, or from more theoretical or social concerns, such as being able to publicly speak one’s mind.  Both are grounded in an understanding of what people ought to be able to enjoy as citizens of a country.  This expectation of fundamental entitlements is what we talk about when we talk about human rights.  But whether or not every person on earth has certain rights just by virtue of being a person alive on the planet — a concept I will refer to here as natural human rights — is a question of some controversy.  In these times, when new questions of rights, complaints and subsequent conflicts seem to arise anew each week, it’s worth knowing where we stand on the matter.

The way we think about the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa is also conditioned by the way we understand human rights.  If natural human rights exist, then the autocrats in charge that suppress them are wrong and they should either create a constitutional monarchy or a democratic republic.  If natural human rights do not exist, then the whole process is one of political negotiation that on the one hand involves peaceful protests and on the other involves bloody civil war.  Our entire understanding of these events requires us to take sides.  But how can we do this?

via Are There Natural Human Rights? – NYTimes.com.

YouTube, media, education:  So now they have a school on how to create a viral video … please explain how you make money for this?

Vanessa Wilson was back in class last week for the first time since law school. Only this time, she said, she wasn’t bored.

Ms. Wilson, 27, was one of the winners of a recent talent search sponsored by YouTube. Her prize was a boot camp at Google’s Manhattan offices, where some of YouTube’s most successful stars led sessions on how to create a viral video, build an audience and bolster a brand.

Some of the tips that, with luck, might one day lead to a six-figure income? Don’t upload videos on Friday afternoons. Send e-mails to at least a dozen key bloggers and ask them to post a link. Surprise your audience. Don’t forget: there is key light, front light, flood light. And never, ever put the word sex in a title or tag. It could cost you some of the advertising revenue that YouTube shares with its content creators.

The boot camp is part of YouTube’s campaign to find its own original high-quality video content. Facing fierce competition from Web video services like Hulu, iTunes and Netflix, YouTube is looking to increase the range of content and improve the quality of its channels as it continues to try to make more money, even after doubling revenue, according to Google’s last quarterly report.

via At YouTube Boot Camp, Future Stars Polish Their Acts – NYTimes.com.

random, health, pests:  I am definitely a mosquito magnet!

Some folks seem to be magnets for mosquitoes, while others rarely get bitten. What makes the little buggers single you out and not the guy or gal you’re standing next to at the Memorial Day backyard barbecue?

The two most important reasons a mosquito is attracted to you have to do with sight and smell, says Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida in Vero Beach. Lab studies suggest that 20 percent of people are high attractor types, he says.

Mosquitoes are highly visual, especially later in the afternoon, and their first mode of search for humans is through vision, explains Day. People dressed in dark colors — black, navy blue, red — stand out and movement is another cue.

Once the mosquito keys in on a promising visual target, she (and it’s always “she” — only the ladies bite) then picks up on smell. The main attractor is your rate of carbon dioxide production with every exhale you take.

via The Body Odd – Why some people are mosquito magnets.

technology, health, alternative medicine, electronic pain relief, TENS:  Not to get to personal, but my broken humerus is not healing and the pain is increasing … today I was given this to device, a TENS, and I hope it works!

Nerve pain can become a chronic and frequent nightmare for many people. Although there are medications to take, some people would rather opt for a non-drug treatment. Electronic pain relief options can be used to a varying degree of relief. These systems interrupt the pain signals reaching the brain.TENS UnitThe transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit, also known as TENS, uses small battery operated devices to block pain signals. Electrodes are placed on the skin where the pain is originating. High-frequency electrical pulses are then sent to nerve fibers and pain signals are then prevented from reaching the brain. When no pain signal reaches the brain, then no pain is felt. Accompanying the unit will also be the self-adhering electrodes that can be reused, towelettes to clean the skin and gel to help with any irritation if you have sensitive skin.

via Electronic Pain Relief | eHow.com.

Wikipedia, college, education:  Very fascinating use of technology and online resources in an educational environment.

A Virginia Tech graduate student hit save on her overview of the state workers’ compensation commission one spring day, but before her professor could take a look at it, someone else began deleting entire sections, calling them trivial and promotional.

It wasn’t a teaching assistant on a power trip — it was a Wikipedia editor known only as “Mean as custard.”

“I had worked on it for almost an entire day,” said Amy Pearson, a public administration master’s student. “It was kind of shocking.”

This school year, dozens of professors from across the country gave students an unexpected assignment: Write Wikipedia entries about public policy issues.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which supports the Web site, organized the project in an effort to bulk up the decade-old online encyclopedia’s coverage of topics ranging from the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to Sudanese refugees in Egypt. Such issues have been treated on the site in much less depth than TV shows, celebrity biographies and other elements of pop culture.

Many students involved in the project have received humbling lessons about open-source writing as their work was revised, attacked or deleted by anonymous critics with unknown credentials.

In the fall, Rochelle A. Davis, an assistant professor at Georgetown University, told undergraduates in her culture and politics course to create a Wikipedia page about a community they belonged to, then use that research to develop a thesis for an academic paper.

“Collectively, they were the best papers I’ve ever read at Georgetown,” Davis said. She said students benefited from vetting their ideas with a wider community — a practice that could help academics at all levels. “This is where we are going,” she said. “I think that’s a good thing.”

via Wikipedia goes to class – The Washington Post.

23
Feb
11

2.23.2011 … Leaving on a jet plane … But know when I’ll be back again … :)

random, pets, Senator Teddy Kennedy:  OK, I just liked this op-ed piece.  🙂

My feelings on this assignment were conflicted, to say the least. On the one hand, I was impersonating a dog. On the other, I was heartened by the warmth that people from so many other states felt for the senator from mine.

In time I found a strange satisfaction in writing back to these puppy-crazed children, one that I never got from answering the office phones. None of Splash’s correspondents cared about or even knew Senator Kennedy’s position on the estate tax, or whether he’d invoke cloture on a resolution to incrementally finance the defense budget. In fact, a simple “Woof!” seemed to be all the constituent outreach they needed to be assured that the senator was on their side.

Of course Senator Kennedy demonstrated his loyalty to the youth of America in many ways. He pushed to finance Pell grants for college scholarships and to ensure all children were covered by health insurance, and fought to lower the voting age to 18.

Today would have been Senator Kennedy’s 79th birthday. In December, Splash died, a little more than a year after his master. Reading that sad news, I remembered the “liberal lion” sitting at his desk while Splash slobbered away on a grimy tennis ball in the corner. It was an image that had soothed nervous interns and disarmed even Kennedy’s fiercest critics in Congress. Then I remembered the letters to Splash, and I realized those children felt the same way that I had as a kid in Boston, and still do — that we were all a small part of the Kennedy family.

via My Life as a Dog – NYTimes.com.

Justice Clarence Thomas, The Supreme Court: With all due respect, I just do not understand this one …

His “just say nothing” approach harkens back to a time many decades ago, when justices spoke very rarely at public sessions, allowing lawyers to argue their case for hours, sometimes days on end, without interruption. Arguments today are a rapid-fire question-and-answer free-for-all, with the court peppering attorneys standing before them with hypotheticals, precedents, and their own personal views on the case at hand. Thomas alone refuses to jump into the fray.

Legal blogs and various commentators have been busy the past few weeks leading up the dubious anniversary, wondering what Thomas’ silence means for the court itself, in its broader decision-making process. Written opinions remain the main way the court expresses its precedent-setting power, but oral arguments can serve an important function — helping to focus an appeal’s flaws along the fringes of constitutional limits, an exercise for the benefit of the public and the justices themselves. These public sessions are often an ideal way to test often novel legal theories and to help a justice answer any lingering issues that prove decisive in the opinion-writing process to follow.

Thomas does occasionally speak from the bench, when announcing opinions he has written, but before arguments commence. Off the bench, especially in friendly audiences, the justice can be gregarious, fun, inquisitive, and often self-reflective. He has a booming voice, and his hearty laugh is easily recognizable.

“This is a person who is remarkably at peace with himself,” said David Rivkin, a conservative attorney and longtime friend of Thomas, “a person who is very comfortable with himself — probably much more so than is typical for many people in Washington, at his level of position.”

via Justice Thomas quietly marks an anniversary – CNN.com.

Rahm Emanuel, Chicago, politics:  I don’t like Rahm Emanuel.  Sorry, Chicago.  Just seems like more of Chicago’s dirty politics.

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, the Associated Press projected, easily overwhelming five rivals to take the helm of the nation’s third-largest city as it prepares to chart a new course without the retiring Richard M. Daley.

Rahm Emanuel sat with family members as he awaited election returns at his rally in Chicago.

With 86 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Emanuel was trouncing five opponents with 55 percent of the vote to avoid an April runoff. Mr. Emanuel needed more than 50 percent of the vote to win.

via Emanuel Elected Chicago Mayor – WSJ.com.

Middle East Uprising, Libya:  The Economist called it “The Awakening” … And in the second article, the picture of Gadhafi looks like a mechanical fortune-teller in a machine to me …

THE people of the Middle East have long despaired about the possibility of change. They have felt doomed: doomed to live under strongmen who have hoarded their wealth and beaten down dissent; doomed to have as an alternative only the Islamists who have imposed their harsh beliefs—and beaten down dissent. In some places, like Saudi Arabia and Iran, the autocrats and the Islamists have merged into one. But nowhere has a people had a wholly free choice in how they are ruled. And the West has surrendered to this despair too, assuming that only the strongmen could hold back the extremists.

Two months ago a Tunisian fruit-seller called Muhammad Bouazizi set fire to these preconceptions when, in despair over bullying officials and the lack of work, he drenched himself in petrol and struck a match. Tunisians and, later, Egyptians took to the streets. Almost miraculously, the people overwhelmed the strongmen who had oppressed them for decades. In the past few days tens of thousands have marched in Tehran, braving beatings and arrest. In tiny Bahrain men have died as the security forces sprayed protesters with rubber bullets and smothered them in tear gas. In Libya crowds have risen up against a fearsome dictator. Jordan is sullen, Algeria unstable and Yemen seething (see article).

via The Arab world: The awakening | The Economist.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the pro-Gadhafi forces said they were surrendering for good.

Locals said they identified several among them as foreign because of their features and accents; the accounts these fighters gave under interrogation, placed them as from Chad, Niger and other sub-Saharan African countries.

The Libyan soldiers will be handed over to their tribal leaders, Baida rebel leaders said. The foreign fighters will face a jury of local notables on Wednesday.

The fate of others may have already been determined, grimly. Earlier Tuesday in Sidi Burana, an Egyptian town on the border with Libya, Egyptian workers fleeing back home showed thumb-drive and cell-phone videos with pictures of what they said were captured pro-government mercenaries being viciously beaten in Baida. One video showed a dark skinned man, who the Egyptian workers said was a mercenary from Chad, being beaten to death. Another video showed what they said were mutilated mercenary corpses.

via Dictator Gadhafi Loses Grip in Libya – WSJ.com.

ebooks, libraries, digital media, apps:  Interesting.

Actually checking out a book, takes very little time. After all, these files contain only text, not large video or audio files. Since I had trouble finding books to download, I settled on a romance novel featured on OverDrive’s homepage titled “Hawk’s Way: Rebels” by Joan Johnston. It took less than 30 seconds to download to my iPad.

Once downloaded, books looked fine on the iPad and Dell Streak. The screen’s brightness can be adjusted using an on-screen slider and a handy navigation strip at the bottom of each page shows where you are in a book and how many pages remain in the currently opened chapter. Publishers can set the number of font sizes to which text can be adjusted. And with the app, text can’t be displayed like pages in a real book (with two columns of text on two pages opened in front of you) when the tablet is held horizontally.

OverDrive doesn’t enable synchronizing of material across multiple devices, like Amazon’s Kindle app does with Whispersync. So if I download a book on my iPad in the OverDrive app, I can’t open that book on an Android phone or desktop using OverDrive.

OverDrive serves more than 13,000 libraries with a catalog of 400,000 titles from 1,000 publishers, but it’s possible your library may not use this system (check OverDrive.com for participating libraries). The spokesman said the company plans an app for the BlackBerry by June and hopes to enable wireless downloads on other devices in the future.

via A Review of the OverDrive App for Borrowing eBooks – WSJ.com.

twitter, pirates, fact v. fiction, RIP:  Twitter line for Mr. Wood’s article just struck me.  Who would have thought that the pirates would be a force on the modern-day world stage.  Prayers for the families of the victims.

It takes more than Peter Pan to fight Captain Hook in the real world. by David Wood

Four American Sailors Shot Dead by Somali Pirates.

President Eisenhower, checks and balances, government, politics:

Unwarranted Influence also recaptures Eisenhower’s troubled second term, and his sense of urgency about distilling his political legacy and giving some final, informed counsel to the American people. That counsel, delivered in January 1961, stressed the need for balance, a key virtue in Eisenhower’s thinking. Above all, it sought to demonstrate the need for a wise balance between American liberties and national security, a tug of war that troubles the country even to this day.

In Eisenhower’s view, the military-industrial complex posed a grave risk to the checks and balances of the American government. It was a controversial thought at the time, and it still is. As Ledbetter’s book shows, Eisenhower’s words still speak to us, a full half century after he left office—an impact few other political speeches can claim.

via Eisenhower’s History-Changing Speech – Newsweek.

words, history:  OK?

The Boston Morning Post, in the midst of a long paragraph, as “o.k. (all correct)”.

How this weak joke survived at all, instead of vanishing like its counterparts, is a matter of lucky coincidence involving the American presidential election of 1840.

One candidate was nicknamed Old Kinderhook, and there was a false tale that a previous American president couldn’t spell properly and thus would approve documents with an “OK”, thinking it was the abbreviation for “all correct”.

Within a decade, people began actually marking OK on documents and using OK on the telegraph to signal that all was well. So OK had found its niche, being easy to say or write and also distinctive enough to be clear.

But there was still only restricted use of OK. The misspelled abbreviation may have implied illiteracy to some, and OK was generally avoided in anything but business contexts, or in fictional dialogue by characters deemed to be rustic or illiterate.

Indeed, by and large American writers of fiction avoided OK altogether, even those like Mark Twain who freely used slang.

But in the 20th Century OK moved from margin to mainstream, gradually becoming a staple of nearly everyone’s conversation, no longer looked on as illiterate or slang.

Its true origin was gradually forgotten. OK used such familiar sounds that speakers of other languages, hearing it, could rethink it as an expression or abbreviation in their own language.

via BBC News – How ‘OK’ took over the world.

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.

 

07
Dec
10

12.7.2010 … bevy of bassets … maybe a new line in a christmas carol …

basset hounds: 12 bassets baying …. as my two are doing right now. :{

Basset owners say the breed is unique, not only for the gloomy facial expression but also because they are among the smartest of dogs and are very loving. The hounds are independent minded but sometimes stubborn. The latter trait may, unfortunately, be one reason why so many bassets are abandoned, said John Thompson of Southern Pines, N.C.

via Bevy of bassets waddle in – Local – TheSunNews.com.

cookbooks:  Agreed … since I read cookbooks for pleasure as much as for cooking. 10 Things Every Cookbook Publisher Should Know.

cookbooks2010’s Best Cookbooks: Real-Life Labors Of Love : NPR.

eBooks, technology:  I checked it out last night.  I will try it again in a few days. The Book Bench: The Google eBookstore: Mostly Good, a Little Bad : The New Yorker.

Facebook:  helpful.  Facebook Child Abuse Awareness Campaign: Lame? Or Helpful? « Good Neighbor Stories.

iPad, museums: Interesting.  What the iPad can do for museums? « Museum Marketing.

Jane Austen:  Popular today!  Great Jane Austen Inspired Blogs Keep Janeites Connected and a Grand Austenesque Book Giveaway! « Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog.

Jane Austen:  Austen on the front page of the WSJ and there is not even a new adaptation comin out.

Laurie Viera Rigler has written two Austen-theme novels, “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” and “Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict.” In May she launched “Sex and the Austen Girl,” a Web series at babelgum.com that plays on the differences between life today and in the Austen era.

The two-and-a-half minute webisodes include such titles as “The 200-Year-Old Virgin.”

Young people, says Ms. Viera Rigler, are deep into Austen’s universe and obsessive fandom “is normal to them.”

“It’s true,” she says. “We are a little crazy.”

via Jane Austen’s Popularity Grows With Young on the Web – WSJ.com.

 

01
Dec
10

‎12.1.2010 … On the way back to Charlotte … Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Advent:  I do love Advent …

“The candles in the Advent wreath symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sundays of Advent, which symbolize the four centuries of waiting from the prophet Malachi to the fulfillment of God’s promise through the birth of Christ.”

eBooks, technology, Google:

“Google is going to turn every Internet space that talks about a book into a place where you can buy that book,” says Dominique Raccah, publisher and owner of Sourcebooks Inc., an independent publisher based in Naperville, Ill. “The Google model is going to drive a lot of sales. We think they could get 20% of the e-book market very fast.”

via Google Set to Launch E-Book Venture – WSJ.com.

colleges, choices, education:

The “oohs” and “aahs” follow as the audience learns that Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates dropped out of college, that Oprah Winfrey is an alumna of Tennessee State and that Ken Burns graduated from Hampshire College. If even a few stressed students and their anxious parents benefit from this information, it is a worthwhile exercise.

Even better is giving the students an assignment to identify the happy, successful people in their own circle of family, friends, co-workers and neighbors and challenging them to go and ask “if or where they went to college?” as a means of broadening the conversation in their search for a life after high school.

The key to success in college and beyond has more to do with what students do with their time during college than where they choose to attend. A long-term study of 6,335 college graduates published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that graduating from a college where entering students have higher SAT scores — one marker of elite colleges — didn’t pay off in higher post-graduation income. Researchers found that students who applied to several elite schools but didn’t attend them — either because of rejection or by their own choice — are more likely to earn high incomes later than students who actually attended elite schools.

via What You Do vs. Where You Go – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

traditions, ballet:

Plenty of families have built traditions around an annual trip to see “The Nutcracker” during the holiday season. But for the d’Amboise family, the tradition is dancing in “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” which opens Friday at New York City Ballet.

via A ‘Nutcracker’ Stage Dynasty – WSJ.com.

online, book clubs:

If you’re tired of testing book clubs that somehow always seem to be covers for mindless gossip, take your love of lit to the web. Social reading sites have become the new meeting place for book lovers, as comment threads double as circled chairs. Social reading sites, social media networks with a book-loving agenda, offer users an efficient way to share their favorite books and passages, discuss their latest reads and even find titles to add to their reading lists.

via Virtual Book Club: Five Great Social Reading Sites – Techland – TIME.com.

websites, new, words/phrases:  found this site interesting and this entry interesting …

birthplace effect

n. The tendency for smaller cities to produce disproportionately more professional athletes than larger cities.

via Word Spy – birthplace effect.

random, science: Top Ten Discoveries of 2010: Nat Geo News’s Most Popular.

29
Oct
10

10.29.2010 P&P at Davidson was fun, but not great. Staging was good … acting good, but loud (were they not used to the mics in the larger theater? … Some men in the audience laughed at the wrong point … they obviously were not used to the subtlety of her dialogue … sorry men.

Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice, theater, Davidson, review, kudos:  I attended Davidson’s production of  P&P last night.  It was fun, but not great. The staging was very good … 50 scene changes … and they flowed. The acting was good, but loud (were they not used to the mics in the larger theater? … I know the story by heart and the dialogue, too … Some men in the audience laughed at the wrong points  … they obviously were not used to the subtlety of her dialogue … sorry, men. Kudos to Tatum P. who was a charming Mrs. Reynolds.

The Davidson College Theatre Department will present one of its most ambitious efforts ever in producing the North Carolina premier of one of literature’s most popular love stories October 27-31.

The college’s presentation of Jane Austen’s beloved 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice, will be the state premier of a 2009 adaptation of the play by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan originally produced at Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

Professor of Theatre Ann Marie Costa, who directs the production, has assembled an “A Team” of area theatre professionals and a large student cast to reinforce the script with an energetic, rich production that highlights the humor and complexity of Austen’s characters. She said the new adaptation will especially appeal to Jane Austen fans because it maintains much of the actual dialogue of the novel.

DiFiore said the Davidson production should be highly entertaining for the audience as a “solid, full production.” It will include large ball scenes, dynamic lighting, elaborate costumes, music, and many scene changes.

Music provides almost constant accompaniment for the play, with theme music for lead characters and multiple instruments playing in large ballroom scenes. Davidson College music faculty member Cynthia Lawing played the piano parts on a modern instrument, and Bill Lawing, another music faculty member, converted it electronically to mimic the sound of a piano forte, the instrument played in Austen’s time. Sam Van Hallgren, a producer with WDAV, created the overall sound design for the play.

Charlotte-based costume designers Bob Croghan and Heidi O’Hare are creating period costumes from scratch for female characters, and Davidson College set designer Josh Peklo has built two major automated platforms that will support outdoor and indoor worlds for 50 scene changes. Delia Neil of UNC Charlotte is choreographing English country dance scenes, and Todd Wren has designed the lighting.

via Davidson College Mainstage Theatre Production of “Pride & Prejudice” | Charlotte Area News Local Section.

quote, politics:   From my brother-in-law Gary — “Regarding the President being referred to as Dude by Jon Stewart the other night on Comedy Channel “news”, let us respectfully remember that there is only one “Dude”!”

“Let me explain something to you. I am not Mr. Lebowski. You’re Mr.
Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So, that’s what you call me. You know, that, or
his dudeness, or duder, or el duderino, if you’re not into the whole
brevity thing.” – Jeff Bridges, from “The Big Lebowski,” 1998

restaurants, Charlotte: actually Belmont … The String Bean is about 30 minutes from my house … worth the drive … I had a pimento cheese sandwich with fries fried in duck fat. Both were very good.  Trobs had the Cuban and the Reuben (I think) … W will go again!

The String Bean Fresh Market and Deli is an experience. There’s nothing like it in the area. We feature a creative menu with daily specials that go far beyond your typical “Deli”. Our collection of 200 beers and 400 wines is sure to quench your thirst. The Market Place boasts never frozen fish and meats…cut to your liking

via Belmont North Carolina Restaurant : The String Bean Market & Deli.

food, I’d walk a mile for a …, facebook:  My review of The String Bean … see above … brought on a fb discussion of french fries … what are your favorites … good enough that you would go out of your way to get them again?

C:  We went to Dandelion Market (Charlotte) partially because they had duck fat fries on the menu, but they had taken them off. Bummer. About a half block from Caroline’s apartment in New York is the David Burke restaurant in Bloomingdale’s. …

Dennard:  If you are in Boulder’s Larkburger has trufle oil and parmesan fries which are amazing …

education:  Great presentation of his position … long but worth the time to watch … YouTube – RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms.

random, culture, blogposts: A grew up with being told woman of a certain age should not have long hair … so I enjoyed this post.

Hey! I missed all the fun! Wouldn’t you know it–the one time I write something that goes viral, I go missing in Utah, without a laptop. I’ve come home from the excellent Utah Humanities Council Festival, only to find my piece in The New York Times about having long hair at 55 jammed with comments, more than 1200 so far. I’m told they will soon close out the commentary section as the people who monitor it must move on to other subjects. I cannot wait to catch up on them, to see what nerve that hit. Mothers and daughters? Middle age? Graying hair? And here is a link for readers of Slow Love Life who missed the Times. The picture here is of my braid, which Theo took last summer; you can tell that I’m not so good at braiding. The picture in the Times is no one I know–but reminds me of a young Joni Mitchell, yes?

via Slow Love Life: LONG HAIR on WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE.

random, culture, Coca-Cola: My sister says she can tell a difference,  and they sell it at Wal-Mart in Marietta sometimes (you find it on the international aisle).  Study: Hey, Hipsters, Mexican Coke Might Be a Myth – TIME Healthland – StumbleUpon.

soccer, student athletes, Davidson: Nice interview with Matt Spear. YouTube – Mondo Coaches Interview – Matt Spear, Davidson College.

media, ebooks, technology, business models: If I were a writer, I would try to figure this one out … $80,000 for short fiction.

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, King revealed how much he earned on the story. While aspiring novelists can’t imagine eBook sales figures, it does reveal an audience hungry for digital reading.

Here’s more from King’s interview: “I didn’t do ‘Ur’ for money. I did it because it was interesting. I’m fairly prolific. It took three days, and I’ve made about $80,000. You can’t get that for short fiction from Playboy or anybody else. It’s ridiculous.”

via Stephen King Earned $80,000 on Kindle Novella – GalleyCat.

me, kith/kin, places, Atlanta: As a  child I visited the Swan House because it was the home of the grandmother of my kith uncle.  I loved the foyer … but I vaguely remember something about not walking on the black tiles … funny what you remember …

A fan wanted to confirm that Mrs. Inman would ask people to only walk on certain tiles in Swan House. The story is true. She asked family and house workers to walk on the white tiles because the black tiles scuffed easily.

via Facebook | Atlanta History Center’s Photos – Wall Photos.

politics, silver linings, women’s issues:

In one unexpected result of the scandal, the women’s movement was considerably strengthened. In the 1992 election that followed, voters who watched a circle of white men act like bozos elected more women to Congress than ever before. In the spirit of silver linings, maybe in this election cycle, another unintended result of Mrs. Thomas’ phone call will be a closer look at judicial conflicts of interest.

via Virginia Thomas and the Optics of Faith.

international issues, water resource management: Good video .. Michael Pritchard’s water filter turns filthy water drinkable | Video on TED.com.

blogs, new: Thanks, Max, for pointing this one out … Texts From Last Night.

retail, culture: OK, people, chill … “outrage” over coupons …

Avid coupon users are calling it an outrage.

via Target shortchanges shoppers with certain coupons | Chicago Breaking Business.

04
Jun
10

6.4.2010 … happy birthday, ann! … exams are done for molly!! … missing my dad today (9/4/1927 – 6/4/2003) … God is in the rain …

events:  happy birthday, ann! … exams are done for molly!! … missing my dad today (9/4/1927 – 6/4/2003)

faith, quotes:

He covers the sky with clouds, he supplies the earth with rain,

and maketh the grass grow on the hills.

– Psalms 147:8

troubling:  Having just celebrated 26, I read these articles and wonder if our society just cannot support long term marriage.

The Gores aren’t offering explanations, but marital therapists and divorce attorneys say the breakup of long-term marriages is routine these days—for reasons of longevity, economics and cravings for happiness and self-expression that were less prevalent in previous generations. People are living longer, and they’re less willing to spend their last decades with someone who leaves them unfulfilled. At the same time, working wives are less dependent on husbands for financial support, and husbands have Viagra and other new incentives to find other romances.

via As Al and Tipper Gore Separate, Experts Look at the Breakup of the 40-Year Marriage – WSJ.com.

Apple:

And, year after year, it extends its product line to offer us something we didn’t need but suddenly can’t do without.

via Jesse Kornbluth: Steve Jobs at ‘D’: When You’re an App, You’re an App All the Way.

philanthropy, excelling:

The first question caught the ear of the audience as Gates Sr. read it aloud. It inquired about Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers,” and asked Gates to confirm or deny its overarching principle of 10,000 hours of practice makes perfect.

“It’s about success stories, to be young and open-minded,” the younger Gates began. “People do about 50 hours and 90 percent drop out. Then those do another 50 and another 90 percent drop out. And another 50…there are constant cycles and you have to be fanatical enough.”

via Bill Gates and His Father on Charity, Family and Luck – Speakeasy – WSJ.

technology, ebooks, bookshelf:

Can Vampires Sell Vooks? Anne Rice Thinks So – Speakeasy – WSJ.

“My Darklyng” is about a normal 10th grade girl named Natalie Pollock whose own fiction addiction (her drug of choice: Fiona St. Claire’s vampire novels) gets her into major trouble. She’s been reading Fiona St. Claire’s “Dark Shadows” book series since middle school and when she sees a post on Fiona’s blog about an open casting call for the model for the next book’s cover, she can’t resist. What she had thought was just a random field trip turns into a dark and terrible new-best-friendship, scarier and more thrilling than any of Fiona St. Claire’s vampire novels. Two real teenagers to play the characters: Erin Schrode as James, the vampire cover model, and Hannah Grossman as Natalie.

via ‘My Darklyng’: A Serial Novel for Teens with iPads – Speakeasy – WSJ.

travel, nc: So I have found a reason to go to Fayettevill, NC!  Zip line allows adventurers to tour eastern N.C. waterfall – News14.com.

literature, new:

There are 10 women and 10 men, satirists and modernists, from Miami and Ethiopia and Peru and Chicago. And none of them were born before 1970.

via The New Yorker Picks Young Writers Worth Watching – NYTimes.com.

Atlanta:

After two years of waiting and a complete $6 million makeover, the long-awaited Buckhead Theatre, formerly the Coca-Cola Roxy Theater, has officially re-opened its doors.

First opened in 1931 as a movie theater, the newly-renovated space has 2,500 seats and will host lectures, comedians, Broadway plays, public and private special events and concerts.

via Atlanta INtown Paper – Your Daily Source for Atlanta’s Arts, Culture & Community.

Chicago, architecture, date night:

The Chicago Architecture Foundation is putting a social spin on its acclaimed assortment of architecture tours.

The foundation is offering “date night” architecture cruises at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays as well as five “happy hour” walking tours that run from Monday through Friday and cover Millennium Park and other downtown gems. These tours also start at 5:30 p.m. and end with a free drink at a local restaurant.

via Cityscapes | Chicago Tribune | Blog.

faith: God is in the rain … beautiful blog piece …

His gift of rain immediately brings to mind His gift of love. He pours out His love from Heaven, unrestrained in the amount He gives to His children, and washes them pure by it. Like rain, it cleanses, refreshes, and propagates growth of beautiful things 🙂 I cannot fully explain the reason I enjoy the rain so thoroughly, neither can I explain more about why I have the same reaction when I think on His love. There are, of course, the obvious reasons due to the consequent benefits of His love, but I believe one must personally experience His love to know the joy I am speaking of. For this very reason I get so excited when it rains. I am somehow wrapped in a tangible example of how His grace and love plays out in my life. Rain tingles all my senses and because of its inseparable tie to the idea of grace, this reaction somehow reciprocates when I think of grace 🙂

Thank you, God, for the rain!

via Daniel 3:17-18: God is in the Rain.




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