Posts Tagged ‘essays

15
Feb
13

2.15.13 … I dreamed I received the equivalent of a good “howler” Valentine from a childhood friend ….

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“Solvitor Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2013 Lenten Labyrinth  walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Augustine of Hippo, Rev. Wes Barry, Ash Wednesday Sermon,  First Presbyterian Church:  There are days when I wonder why anyone would choose to live anywhere but the southern part of the United States. Today is one of those days.
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As I approached the Avondale Presbyterian Church labyrinth, the chimes were clanging and the water poured at its columbarium fountain.  Both welcome me.
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I reach for an information sheet for the first time in a long time,  and Avondale’s  labyrinth keepers have  changed the sheets since the last time I looked at them. One is entitled, “Light, Darkness, Shadow of death, and the Way of Peace” … rather ominous title 🙂 … I especially liked the these quotes …
In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace. (from Benedictus, Song of Zechariah)
Light, darkness, shadow of death, peace. These four themes draw us closer in these mid-winter days to God.
Light, darkness, shadow of death, way of peace: may you find yourself caught up in the good news of Jesus Christ and be a part of community called to be Christ’s body in the world.
And from the other sheet …
Augustine of Hippo said, “It is solved  by walking.” What is IT? If you want to find out, then you’ll have to do your own walking.
-Barbara Brown Taylor , An Altar to the World
You will show me the path of life. You will fill me with joy in your presence. Psalm 16:11
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.   Micah 6:8
Let my inner child dance the rainbow, the labyrinth. Chase each color along the way. Thank you, bless you, oh my God. Be with me and I shall begin to shine as you shine;
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I then thought about  Wes Barry’s Ash Wednesday Sermon from First Presbyterian Church.  Two snipits jumped out at me that directly relate to my walking …

Slows down time for us that we might see Jesus …

Four things that make us human: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual  …

After I arrived home I did a little research and found this helpful … The Practice of Walking on the Earth: Groundedness (4 March 2012) – Chicago Community Mennonite Church and also this …

Walking the Labyrinth is a right-brain meditation activity.

There are as many ways to walk it as there are walkers, but here are some suggestions.

Give Gracious Attention: quiet your mind, let go of doing and be, allow thoughts to go away, be still in mind, embrace soul rest.

Ask a Question: Prior to walking, journal your thoughts or share what you are looking for with another person (they might help you to form your unspoken question). During the walk look at your question from all aspects; walking allows your own consciousness to open so deeper aspects of yourself can speak.

Use Repetition: a mantra phrase, centering prayer, non-distracting word, affirmation sentence

Read & Reflect On Scripture: a psalm or other inspiring material

Ask for Help Through Prayer: pray as you walk

Honour a Benchmark in Your Life or That of Another: a memorial act, a celebratory act, a penitence act, an intercessory act, etc.

Make A Body Prayer: move spontaneously as encouraged by the path, feel safe in its containment, sense kinetic awareness.

Use Accessories: wear a coloured scarf as symbolic of something for you; carry an object of significance to you (votive candle, flower, stone, etc.) Whatever you carry in should be carried out as well.

via Labyrinth Society of Edmonton.

Fareed Zakaria, suicide,  gun control , twitter, NYTimes.com: This tweet by Fareed Zakaria  got my attention …

Fareed Zakaria ‏@FareedZakaria

Suicidal acts with guns are fatal in 85% of cases, while those with pills are fatal in just 2% of cases: NYT http://nyti.ms/XP2FtA 

As did this quote in the NYT article … “If you use a gun,” Dr. Miller said, “you usually don’t get a second chance.”

 
Suicidal acts are often prompted by a temporary surge of rage or despair, and most people who attempt them do not die. In a 2001 study of 13- to 34-year-olds in Houston who had attempted suicide but were saved by medical intervention, researchers from the C.D.C. found that, for more than two-thirds of them, the time that elapsed between deciding to act and taking action was an hour or less. The key to reducing fatalities, experts say, is to block access to lethal means when the suicidal feeling spikes.

The chances of dying rise drastically when a gun is present, because guns are so much more likely to be lethal, said Dr. Matthew Miller, associate director of the Harvard center. Guns are used in more than half of all suicide fatalities, but account for just 1 percent of all self-harm injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms, a rough proxy for suicide attempts, Dr. Miller said. Overdoses, which account for about 80 percent of suicide attempts, are responsible for just 14 percent of fatalities.

“If you use a gun,” Dr. Miller said, “you usually don’t get a second chance.”

via To Lower Suicide Rates, New Focus Turns to Guns – NYTimes.com.

MLB, baseball, stadium financing, New Yankee Stadium, tax-exempt bonds, 2013 Festival of Legal Learning:  This was one of my favorite seminars … You can just call me a nerd.

Building the New Yankee Stadium: Tax-Exempt Bonds and Other Subsidies for the Richest Team in Baseball

Patricia L. Bryan, Martha Brandis Professor of Law, UNC School of Law

When Yankee Stadium opened in April 2009, aggregate costs had skyrocketed to $2.3 billion, with more than half contributed by taxpayers. the massive federal subsidy resulting from tax-exempt financing bonds presents a particularly troubling issue, especially

In light of convincing evidence that wealthy private owners, and not the broader community, reap the financial benefits of using these bonds for sports stadiums. the enormous—and often hidden—drain on the federal treasury leads to the important questions: are taxpayers striking out on public investments in sports stadiums, and if so, how can these federal subsidies to sports teams be limited in the future?

via Festival of Legal Learning.

Mother Teresa, quote, Goodreads:

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

― Mother Teresa

via Goodreads | Quote by Mother Teresa: Not all of us can do great things. But we can d….

Valentine’s Day, Harry Potter,  howlers:  I dreamed I received the equivalent of a good “howler” Valentine from a childhood friend ❤

A Howler defined …

Letter that plays recorded message in a very loud voice, and then explodes

Howler

“You’d better open it, Ron. It’ll be worse if you don’t. My gran sent me one once, and I ignored it and – it was horrible.”

—Neville talking to Ron about his Howler.[s rc]

via Howler – Harry Potter Wiki

Frederick Buechner Center, Barbara Brown Taylor:  I heard BBT talk last winter and was overwhelmed … this lecture is from 2009 …

If you are among the billions of people who do not know what I am talking about, then the first book was called Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, which chronicled my decision to leave full time parish ministry for college teaching ten years ago now.  The second is called An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, which is a kind of field guide to encountering God in the ordinary practices of everyday life.  It comes out next month.

The difference between these two books and those that preceded them—or to put it another way, the difference between the form and content of their proclamations—is what you might call the difference between public and private truth.  I don’t think you can ever draw a clear line between those two, since private truth is always going to flavor public truth.  I am not even sure it is a good idea to make a distinction between them.  If your private truth and your public truth are very far apart, shouldn’t you be seeking professional help?

I know Christians who speak of the “scandal of particularity,” by which they mean the apparently outlandish claim that God chose to be made known in a particular person living in a particular human body during a particular period of history.  You will have to invite a theologian to say more about that, but I like to think that people who are inclined to accept such a claim might be willing to accept the scandal of their own particularity too.

Still, I was paying attention when the dean introduced Frederick Buechner, the Beecher Lecturer for 1977, whose lectures were entitled “Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale.”

Great title, I thought, as the elegant man stepped into the pulpit.  When he opened his mouth, I was struck first by the voice: restrained but insistent, as if he had something important to tell us that he would not yell to make sure we heard.  If we wanted to hear him, then he expected us to do our parts.  His job was not to make things easy for us.  His job was to say something true that mattered.

The next thing I noticed was his sentence structure, which was odd and looping, beguiling to the ear.  Each word had earned its place in his speech.  Each word had been chosen for its meaning, but also for its beat.  If I could have blurred my ears the way I sometimes blur my eyes, then I might have imagined that I was listening to a poet instead of a preacher—or to a composer conducting his score—but that would have required at least a moment’s disengagement from the words themselves, which I was not willing to give.

While I was still trying to figure out how he was doing it, Buechner began conjuring up the living presence of Henry Ward Beecher, his predecessor by more than a century, the first Beecher Lecturer in 1872.

the places they go and the things they do, there is the sense of what the old hymn quaveringly addresses as “O love that will not let me go,” the sense of an ultimate depth to things that is not finally indifferent as to whether people sink or swim but endlessly if always hiddenly refuses to abandon them.  Brownie loses his faith and his teeth.  Lucille teerers off to her death on French heels.  Open Heart goes up in flames, and the Love Feasts are run out of Alexander Hall.  And yet…Here’s to Jesus, Here’s to you, proclaims the air-borne streamer high over Nassau Street, and even Antonio Parr wonders at the end if it is maybe more than just a silvery trick of the failing light to which every once in a while the Tonto in him whispers Kemo Sabe, faithful friend.  Maybe the reason any book about something like real life is a love-letter is that in the last analysis that is what real life is too.[3]

Sorry that was so long.  I just wanted to hear the words coming out of my mouth, as the perfect finish to The Buechner Lecture.

So thank you, Frederick Buechner, for the time you have spent looking in the mirror that we might see ourselves more clearly.  Thank you for telling the truth, both about yourself and about the gospel, that we might tell it too.  Thanks even for nicking yourself, so that you could write for us in blood instead of ballpoint pen.  We can tell the difference, and we are in your debt.

©Barbara Brown Taylor

King College, Bristol, TN

January 24, 2009

via Frederick Buechner Center.

Latin, More Intelligent Life, essays:  Love this essay … so here it is in full…

For Intelligent Life’s editor, Tim de Lisle, the best language to learn is one that has hardly any direct use…

I studied Latin for 15 years, and this may well be the first time it has been of direct use in my adult life. There was one moment, long ago, when it nearly came in handy. I was reviewing an album by Sting that contained a stab at a traditional wedding song. There are many such songs in Catullus, whose elegant poetry I had spent a whole term plodding through. If ever there was a time to play the Latin card, this was it, so I described Sting’s wedding song as “Catullan”. Somewhere between the Daily Telegraph copytakers and the subs, “Catullan” was changed to “Catalan”. It probably served me right.

So, direct use: virtually nil. But Latin—which gives us both “direct” and “use”, both “virtually” and “nil”—has been of indirect use every day of my career. If you work with words, Latin is the Pilates session that stays with you for life: it strengthens the core. It teaches you grammar and syntax, better than your own language, whose structure you will have absorbed before you are capable of noticing it. Latin offers no hiding place, no refuge for the woolly. Each piece of the sentence has to slot in with the rest; every ending has to be the right one. To learn Latin is to learn rigour.

The price for the rigour is the mortis. Soon enough, someone will helpfully inform you that Latin is a dead language. In one way, sure, but in others it lives on. It is a vivid presence in English and French, it is the mother of Italian and Spanish, and it even seeps into German. More often than not, the words these languages have in common are the Latin ones: it remains a lingua franca. The words we take from Latin tend to be long, reflective, intellectual (the short, punchy words we didn’t need to import: live, die, eat, drink, love, hate). Business and academia, two worlds with little else in common, both rely more and more on long Latinate words. The European Union speaks little else. Ten years ago, for another article, I had to read the proposed European constitution. It was a long turgid parade of Latin-derived words. The burghers of Brussels were trying to build a superstate out of abstract nouns.

Management-speak and Euro-blather are Latin at its worst, but learning it will still help you cut through them to find clarity. It is a little harder to bullshit when you’ve learnt Latin (though quite possible to bluster, as Boris Johnson proves). And if you stick at it you discover, after no more than eight or nine years, that this is a glorious language per se.

via LATIN IS THE BEST LANGUAGE | More Intelligent Life.

2.15.13 meteor strike, Russia, BBC News: Wow … 

A meteor crashing in Russia’s Ural mountains has injured at least 950 people, as the shockwave blew out windows and rocked buildings.

Most of those hurt, in the Chelyabinsk region where meteorites fell, suffered cuts and bruises but at least 46 remain in hospital.

A fireball streaked through the clear morning sky, followed by loud bangs.

President Vladimir Putin said he thanked God no big fragments had fallen in populated areas.

A large meteorite landed in a lake near Chebarkul, a town in Chelyabinsk region.

The meteor’s dramatic passing was witnessed in Yekaterinburg, 200km (125 miles) to the north, and in Kazakhstan, to the south.

via BBC News – Meteorites injure hundreds in central Russia.

Sen. Lautenberg,  Rep. Ralph Hall, Rep.  John Dingell, WWII veterans, The Greatest Generation, end of an era, US Congress:  Interesting fact about The Greatest Generation –

Aaron Blake  @FixAaron

Lautenberg is last WWII veteran in the Senate. Two remain in House: Ralph Hall and John Dingell.

The recent death of Senator Daniel K. Inouye, a celebrated World War II veteran, coincided in many ways with the waning influence of veterans in American politics. There are now only three World War II veterans in Congress: Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Representative Ralph Hall of Texas and Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan. Over all, the number of veterans joining Congress has perpetuated a four-decade-long slide.

The interplay between politics, the military and veterans is a complicated subject matter. Although war is supposed to be an extension of politics, we don’t want service members associated with politics. Some historians surmise that Lincoln removed Gen. George B. McClellan, the top Union Army general, partly because General McClellan showed too great of an interest in politics.

In recent decades the number of military veterans in Congress has greatly diminished, but this trend will somewhat reverse as Afghanistan and Iraq veterans come of age. Although this past election cycle was focused on domestic issues and the economy, it will be interesting to analyze whether veterans running for office place a great emphasis on their military service in an election cycle in which foreign policy is a major issue. It will also be interesting to note how veterans of my generation contextualize their service and explain what lessons they learned from our recent wars. Veterans are not a homogenous group, and every veteran takes away a different lesson from military experience.

via The Role of the Military and Veterans in Politics – NYTimes.com.

Sports Illustrated,  Michael Jordan’s 50th Birthday, NBC Chicago, restaurants, Chicago:  I don’t think anyone has told Chicago that he’s not there anymore …

Ring in MJ’s 50th with this five-course birthday dinner that includes a shrimp cocktail with a 23-spice cocktail sauce and a 50-day dry-aged Wagyu rib eye. Finish things off with a complimentary piece of chocolate layer cake, which also clocks in at 23 layers and will likely put your pants into a Space Jam.

via Michael Jordan’s Birthday – Eat – Near North Side – Thrillist Chicago.

Michael Jordan will turn 50 years old on Feb. 17.

It seems hard to imagine that one of the most iconic figures in the history of basketball is getting up in age. There hasn’t been a parade celebrating an NBA Championship in Chicago since 1998, but it seems like only yesterday that MJ was still in his Bulls uniform and mesmerizing us all as he delivered title after title.

To commemorate Jordan’s 50th birthday, the latest issue of Sports Illustrated will feature MJ on the cover for a record 50th time.

via Sports Illustrated Celebrates Michael Jordan’s 50th Birthday | NBC Chicago.

Pier 213 Seafood, restaurants, Atlanta GA, Thrillist Atlanta:  Sounds pretty good to me …

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After eight years of providing seafood for ATL restaurant heavyweights eager to turn you into one (Bacchanalia, McKendrick’s Steak House…), the family behind Irvington Seafood in Mobile, AL decided to throw their (presumably cool, floppy sailor’s) hat in the ring with Pier 213: a nautical-themed outpost serving up a variety of fried, grilled, and steamed plates from under the sea. Under the sea!

via Pier 213 Seafood – Eat – Thrillist Atlanta.

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12
Jan
13

1.12.13 … all my babies are gone … almost …

Anna Quindlen, “All My Babies are gone now!”, essays:  Great essay: “But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough.” Ditto that sentiment, Anna Quindlen.

All My Babies Are Gone Now

By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the “Remember-When-Mom-Did” Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language — mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, “What did you get wrong?” (She insisted I include that here.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the

window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.

via All My Babies are gone now!-a nice reminder to Mom’s everyware. – SheKnows Message Boards.

The British Library, Shakespeare,  Romeo & Juliet,  audio:

The British Library releases the first-ever audio guide to how Shakespeare should really sound. Sampled here, Romeo & Juliet.

via Explore – The British Library releases the first-ever audio….

South Africa, Big 5:

I saw 4 of the 5 … I guess I need to go back. 🙂

Which of the Big 5 game would you be most excited to see on safari?

via Visit South Africa.

1963, 50, tumult:  I am a child of the 60s, but I was only 3 in ’63 … so I do not know where I was when Kennedy was shot … but still this year shaped my life.

“So much happened in the ’60s that every year is almost its own brand … and ’63 has a rightful place,” said Jeremy Varon, a history professor at New York’s New School and co-editor of the journal “The Sixties.”

The decade’s themes resounded, he says. There was “the revolution in race relations,” the divisive Vietnam war, widespread experimentation with drugs, the sexual revolution, a societal turn toward youth.

“All of this was experienced as a crisis,” Varon said. But he added, the period was “also exuberantly fun.”

Ever since, “youth has defined popular taste,” and a favored demographic for marketers remains the age group 18-to-35.

via 1963 at 50: A year’s tumult echoes still.

gadgets, CES, hapifork:  I want the fork!

Hot products of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show meld peculiarity with innovation

Hapifork

Eat too fast with the Hapifork, and you’ll know it. The $99 device lights up and vibrates when you leave fewer than 10 seconds between bites. The aim is to get users to eat more slowly, which the company says improves digestion and prompts you to eat less. Nutritionists we spoke with like the concept, but say the same effect could be achieved, for free, by eating with your nondominant hand. A Hapifork spokesman says the fork’s benefits include the ability to track progress over time

via 10 quirkiest gadgets of CES – Slide Show – MarketWatch.

Tyler Kalinoski,  Davidson College, Davidson Basketball:  Go Cats!   “Like a navy blue blazer…”  LOL

 

Like a navy blue blazer, Kalinoski fits into almost any situation.

He can play any of three guard spots for the Wildcats, who resume Southern Conference play Saturday at Furman, and Kalinoski can do so without negatively affecting Davidson’s on-court dynamic.

The perimeter group, including Kalinoski, has allowed McKillop to mix and match lineups, keeping players fresh without sacrificing productivity. The mix of tough early losses and victories over Vanderbilt and West Virginia has helped the Wildcats as they get into the heart of Southern Conference play, Kalinoski said.

via Tyler Kalinoski does it all for Davidson | CharlotteObserver.com.

YouTube, Samsung, CES 2013. cats: 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YZRkUYk74g

Samsung Keynote CES 2013 – CATS – YouTube.

firepits, Fire Pit Art, Made in the South Awards, Garden and Gun:  Loved these!  From Fire Pit Art in Lebanon, TN.

Fire Pit Art – Functional Steel Sculpture.

Fire Pit Art – Functional Steel Sculpture.

via Winner: Made in the South Awards | Garden and Gun.

cheese, Made in the South Awards, Garden and Gun:  … And cheese from Elberton, GA!

Winner: Food Category

Nature’s Harmony Farm

Product: Farmstead Cheese

Made in: Elberton, GA

Est.: 2008

via Third Annual Made in the South Awards | Garden and Gun.

Charlotte, uptown living:  I could do this …

<br /> Childress Klein will start construction on its Mint Street project next week.</p> <p>

The development will feature, studio, one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 650 square feet to 1,250 square feet. Most of the apartments will sit atop six levels of structured parking, but those first six floors will have residential units on the front side of the building, Klein says. The seventh floor will contain the amenity center for the complex, including a saltwater pool and clubhouse.

via Childress Klein starting uptown apartment tower – Charlotte Business Journal.

Katie Couric,  Makeup-Free:  If only I looked this good  “without the spackle” … love Katie!

katie couricKatie Couric went makeup-free for the first time ever on her Friday show.

Couric made the move for an episode of “Katie” that examined the beauty industry and its effects on women.

“I’m not the first to go on television without the spackle … but knowing that a lot of other people have done it doesn’t make it easier,” she said on her show.

via Katie Couric Goes Makeup-Free (PHOTOS).

Tahoe, Basecamp Hotel, Travel + Leisure:  I my next life I want to be adventuresome. 🙂

 

Basecamp Hotel

Arc’teryx meets Anthropologie at Lake Tahoe’s newest place to stay, Basecamp Hotel (South Lake Tahoe, Calif. $). Just minutes from both the water and the Heavenly Mountain ski resort, it was designed with high-style adventurers in mind. Its 50 chic, sleepaway-camp-inspired rooms (some with bunk beds) substitute lanterns for lamps and survival guides for Gideon Bibles. Nightly group meals encourage hostel-like mingling—as do the outdoor fire pits, where you’ll find guests sharing s’mores and trading stories about the moguls on Heavenly’s famous Gunbarrel run.

via Tahoe Debut: Basecamp Hotel – Carry On | Travel + Leisure.

09
Dec
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Top Dog Names Of 2011 (PHOTOS).

Christmas, decorations, random, Anthropologie:

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

via Instagram.

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

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

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

Christmas, Christmas traditions, Christmas sweaters:  Fad Returns?

5590821

David Wright examines the ugly Christmas sweater trend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter,  redesigns:  Twitter works just fine for me …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Once and Future Heirloom Silver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Digital Learning Day :: Classroom and Teacher Toolkit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

faith v. spirituality, science, God:

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

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

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

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

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

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

via TEDxFiDiWomen – Lissa Rankin – YouTube.

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

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

Sir, —

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

Yours respectfully,

AN EARNEST ENGLISHWOMAN

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

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

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

Breakfast people tend to be different.

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

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

via Breakfast with Maira Kalman: An Interview.

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

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

via Breakfast with Maira Kalman: An Interview.

29
May
11

5.29-30.2011 … Happy Memorial Day Weekend … staycation for me …

Memorial Day, holidays, staycations, Atlanta, favorites:  Well, I am  having a Charlotte staycation which, by the way, is not on the list.  But oddly just about every other favorite US city is on it … Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Chicago …  I will have to make do with Charlotte.

A staycation here could include a visit to Oakland Cemetery followed by a cold beer on a rooftop patio, shopping on the Westside followed by cheap eats, chilling with Coca Cola, hanging in the Botanical Gardens, or (heaven forbid) working up a sweat on the Silver Comet Trail. Our local Atlantan’s staycation plans showed her that she could stay in Atlanta but feel like she was a million miles away… without spending a million dollars to get there!

via Six Great Cities, Six Great Staycations – weather.com.

Robert McDuffie, people, Macon GA, Westminster: Saw that the GA Music Hall of Fame is closing down.  On its website is this advertisement for an exhibit on Macon GA artists.  I think the violinist in the picture is Macon native Bobby McDuffie , Camille’s husband.  Small world.

Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

bookshelf, lists:  Well, I have heard of very few of these … the list came recommended to me.  I’ll give you my list tomorrow …. Books for the Beach.

essays, love:  I liked David Mark Simpson entry “What is Carved in Stone,”  a runner-up in the Modern Love college essay contest.  Enjoy!

Every day for the next two weeks, we scraped our way up the cliffs of our two-bar plateau. It may not have been the same as carving a petroglyph, but the three-hour journey required a kind of resoluteness. It was exhausting and dangerous. And it left ample time to ponder if the climb was worth making.

via Modern Love – What Is Carved in Stone – NYTimes.com.

Facebook, twitter, social network, addictions:  I fail the test … and my children will tell you that.  Maybe I will set myself free this summer …

Q: Do you ever feel the urge to pull out your smartphone while someone else is making a point in a conversation?

Q: Have you ever realized that you were texting or checking your e-mail while your child was telling you about her day at school?

Q: Have you ever felt that something hasn’t really happened until you post it on Facebook?

Q: Does a flashing red light on your BlackBerry make your heart flutter?

Q: Are you spending time with your spouse or significant other without talking to each other because you’re each immersed in a different device?

If you answered yes to at least a couple of these questions, you’re among the millions of Americans being overrun by technology.

via The Digital Diet: How to break free of your smartphone and other gadgets – The Washington Post.

food, vegetarian food, lists, kith/kin:  We have a family friend who is vegetarian so I always keep a box of veggie burgers on hand.  After several years, I have grown to like them myself.  Our favorite brand, Morningstar, is not even on the list.  What do they know? Taste Test: 10 Veggie Burgers for Grilling – KitchenDaily.

Davidson IB, Davidson, CMS,  magnet schools, education, Charlotte:  I still do not understand how CMS could shut down what is considered one of the best magnet schools in the country … amazing.

They bonded over shovels.

It was a Friday in March, a day off for students. Parents and kids from two middle schools, Davidson IB and J.M. Alexander, met on the Alexander campus. They were partners in an arranged marriage. Davidson was closing at the end of the school year. Alexander would take Davidson’s students and faculty. Nobody was thrilled about it.

Back in the fall, when the school board made the decision, the feelings were bare and raw. Davidson families blasted the board for killing off one of the best magnet schools in America. Alexander families got mad at the idea that their school didn’t measure up. Board member Rhonda Lennon said Davidson parents seemed unwilling to send their kids to school with poor black students. Davidson parents threatened to walk away from CMS.

Now, a few months afterward, everyone had calmed down. But the relationships still needed tending. The principals of both schools thought sprucing up the Alexander campus might be the way to spruce up the mood.

via Starting with a clean slate – together | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

news, for the love of money:  She buried him in the flower garden to collect his social security, and no one noticed for 15 years!!!

When police found the body of Ruth Huber Bostic last year in the living room of her southeast Raleigh home, her neighbors noted that they hadn’t seen her husband, David Ellis Bostic, in a while.

As in a decade or more.

via Flower bed hid man’s grave | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

commencement speeches, kith/kin, lists:  OK, they failed to mentioned my brothers’s speech at E. Rivers Elementary School … 2011’s Best Commencement Speeches – Galleries – The Daily Beast.

Picasso, muses, art:  Be honest, have you ever heard of an artist’s muse who was happy?

 

 

At Picasso’s death in 1973, an abstract sculpture of Marie-Therese holding a lantern was placed over his grave:

“Why do you think he wanted that sculpture on his grave?” Mason asked.

“I think he saw Marie-Therese as his real wife,’ Richardson said. “And she was the one person of all the women in his life who’d given him the most love, the most understanding.”

Fifty years after their first meeting, Marie-Therese took her own life.

For the muse, there was no living without the artist.

via Picasso and his mistress, his muse – CBS Sunday Morning – CBS News.

2012 Presidential Election, Mitt Romney:  Interesting analysis of Mitt and this “early” campaign speech.

THE principal themes of Mitt Romney’s speech here in Des Moines earlier this afternoon were that America’s economy remains a wreck because Barack Obama’s a rank amateur whose woeful inexperience, ignorance of the requirements of a robust economy, and faintly un-American taste for the public-policy fashions in Europe, has created a climate of economic uncertainty that has retarded recovery. Speaking before a small crowd beneath antique airplanes suspended in the atrium of the State of Iowa Historical Museum, an effortfully cheerful Mr Romney assayed an early version of a stump speech I imagine will become a staple of his campaign for the Republican nomination, once it “officially” begins some time next week in New Hampshire.

via Mitt Romney in Iowa: All-pro, all-American | The Economist.

Niagara Falls, travel bucket list:  Well, I love these articles… 36 hours in ______ … and Niagara Falls is on my list.  36 Hours in Niagara Falls – NYTimes.com.




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