Posts Tagged ‘faith and spirituality

27
Mar
19

3.27.19 … “ Even if our stories are different, broken, bruised and skinned hearts recognize each other, and when they come together they have the power to heal and create change.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2019 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (22/40), Myers Park Baptist Church-Charlotte NC:

I am agitated today and I really don’t know why. It could be the news… The continuous banter about the Mueller Report or the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago or the suicides of two Pakland FL teen survivors and of a Sandy Hook parent …

I thought of the Mary Oliver poem that Parker Palmer posted on social media today:

The Poet Dreams of the Mountain

Sometimes I grow weary of the days, with all their fits and starts.

I want to climb some old gray mountains, slowly, taking

The rest of my lifetime to do it, resting often, sleeping

Under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks.

I want to see how many stars are still in the sky

That we have smothered for years now, a century at least.

I want to look back at everything, forgiving it all,

And peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know.

All that urgency! Not what the earth is about!

How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only.

I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts.

In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.

-Mary Oliver

And of this from Brene Brown:

Last month, I made my second trip to Newtown to do some work with the Sandy Hook community. Jeremy and Jen started the Avielle Foundation to honor their daughter, Avielle, who was one of the 20 children and six adults murdered in the 2012 school shooting. The Avielle Foundation invited me to be a part of their speaker series on brain health and violence prevention.

Jeremy died of an apparent suicide yesterday. I feel heartbroken and gutted.

But I won’t look away. And, I ask that you continue to look pain in the eye.

We absolutely need to lean into the joy, laughter, beauty, love, and connection in our lives. As much and as often as we can.

And, when called, we need to stand with those in pain. We need to make sure that when we see a heart breaking, we bare our own broken heart and stand together so we know that, even in the midst of struggle, we’re not alone.

Even if our stories are different, broken, bruised and skinned hearts recognize each other, and when they come together they have the power to heal and create change.

So with these melancholy thoughts swirling in my head, I ventured out this afternoon and drove down Memory Lane, i.e. I drove past our first home on Sharon Road, 2247 Sharon Road. As I drove by that house and into Myers Park, I realized what a beautiful place Charlotte is, and I felt my blood pressure begin to go down. The pink and white blooming cherry trees were magnificent today, and there were even a few dogwood trees beginning to bloom.

I pulled up at the labyrinth tucked behind Myers Park Baptist and realized that I had timed my walk very poorly. There were multiple lawn management crew members blowing, trimming and mowing … c’est la vie!

Of course right when I opened my door, one of the men began blowing the labyrinth free of all debris, just for me. I think he tried to hurry and then go as far away as possible to give me some peace. That may be just positive spin on my part.

It looked as if they tried to power wash this labyrinth and instead it has made the painting difficult to see. I imagine it would not be easy on a rainy day. However, I could clearly see the path in today’s sunshine.

I heard emergency sirens in the background, but barely, since the blowers and trimmers and mowers predominated my walk.

And as I walked I clutched my new key, a small thing that I am grateful for… the ignition on our 22-year-old Mercedes that was a gift from john’s mother after his father died went out recently. It was very expensive to repair, but we just could not give the car up yet. It is a link to the past, a sturdy and generally reliable link to the past. When the dealer returned the car to me yesterday, he gave me two new keys including a remote control key. So now, for the first time since I have been driving the car, I have a remote control key and that makes me very happy because I feel much safer.

Other thoughts for today …

Last spring I saw the 2018 “A Wrinkle in Time” 3 times and I never decided my verdict on the film … but I certainly never saw it in this light …

It strikes me that “A Wrinkle in Time” is a Lenten story. Christians give themselves intentional space during Lent to reflect not only on our sin sickness, but also on the hurt we suffer because of the sin sickness of others. Lent is a time to be honest about our fragility, our imperfections and our wounds. Lent reminds us that God’s light conquered sin’s darkness when Jesus was crucified and then rose again. In Jesus’ wounds, we find healing. In our own wounds, we experience the love of God. May our wounds be the places where God’s light can enter in and heal.

Source: Lent: Reckoning with wounds – The Presbyterian Outlook,

https://pres-outlook.org/2018/03/lent-reckoning-with-wounds/

3.27.19

2019 Lenten Lists: Cars I’ve Owned/Loved

1. My mom’s little blue Opel

2. White Sunbird

3. Gray Ford old lady car

4. John’s blue 1964 TR 4A

5. 1986 VW Jetta sedan

6. 1989 Volvo 240 station wagon

7. John’s 1991 Japanese sedan (Honda Accord, maybe?)

8. 1994 Mercury Villager minivan

9. 2000 Volvo V70 wagon*

10. 2004 Volvo V90 SUV*

11. 1997 Mercedes Benz E420*

12. 2000 Volvo V70 wagon – tan interior*

*currently own

05
Mar
19

3.5.19 … “She would snap it in half, the way that children who eat Pop-Tarts do to make them feel like they last longer” … laissez les bon temps rouler …

“Throw me something (preferably a Pop-Tart), mister”

Everything is late this year. I have been anticipating my annual Lenten Labyrinth Walks for weeks. Some years I am already half way through.

But today is Mardi Gras, a pre-Lent bacchanalian festival, and in some communities the festival has been going on for weeks. And I just learned that it is supposed to go on for weeks, because liturgically the festival takes place from Epiphany until Ash Wednesday, culminating in one wild final hoopla on Fat Tuesday/ Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras. Let the good times roll. Who knew?

Source: 10 Mardi Gras Traditions to Know in 2019 – The History Of Mardi Gras, https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/g16129475/mardi-gras-traditions-history/

My first pre-Lent bacchanalian festival indulgence is a Diet Dr. Pepper and a toasted brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart. I, too, “snap it in half, the way that children who eat Pop-Tarts do to make them feel like they last longer.” And I must share with you where I found this quote … you will never enjoy a brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart the same again. Bob Trobich, a close Davidson friend posted a note about a publication by his son, Michael, my godson. Bob said … “Proud Dad time. My son Michael has been a writer since high school (maybe before). He’s won some awards and had a piece published previously in “Polyphony”, an international student-run literary magazine. Now, he has a piece in “Adelaide”, which is a literary journal published out of New York and Lisbon.” I immediately loved Micheal’s piece, and one of my favorite passages was about a brown sugar cinnamon pop-tart.

“When Kate was younger, she had the same nightmare on the second Saturday of every month. She would be holding a Pop-Tart in her mother’s kitchen, brown sugar cinnamon, her favorite. She would snap it in half, the way that children who eat Pop-Tarts do to make them feel like they last longer. She would break it, and out would come a colony of ants, a steady stream of tiny black marching insects, rows and columns and regiments and battalions and she couldn’t drop the Pop-Tarts, all she could do was let the ants crawl over her body, cover her skin, and scream silently.

Kate does not call the way she is “nervous”. Kate does not call it anything. She takes photos of the best that people can be because people, she has decided, are like Pop-Tarts. Sometimes, they are horrible and terrifying. But most of the time, they’re pretty okay, and they deserve to see that.”

Source: http://adelaidemagazine.org/f_michaeltrobich.html

And tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent. This Lent, I hope to de-binge, to practice limits. I shall purposefully restrict myself and be disciplined. I want to appreciate Lent, think about what I’m doing with my time, putting in my body, or feeding to my soul. I shall choose during the 40 days of Lent to set limits and require myself to do something else or, sometimes, both.

In addition to enjoying a last indulgence of a perfectly toasted brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart and a Diet Dr. Pepper, I will take a Mardi Gras walk, go to my TMBS class, look at pics of friends celebrating in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro (hello, Angela!), the largest such festival in the world, and eat pancakes (and in case you are wondering, they do not serve pancakes at the Waffle House) and make a list of something, my 2019 Lenten practice. That will be a new practice for Lent. It may be a grocery list … but I’m in a listmaking phase of life.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!!

3.5.19

23
Mar
17

3.23.17 … “Now, God is in all the things that make my life important: to work, to feel fulfilled, to love family. ‘Joy is essential.’”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (Walk 23/40), private labyrinth, Atlanta GA:

Sixty degrees but still seemed hot …

About Labyrinths:

Does Quinn believe in God?

“My idea of God is defined through others,” she says. “Six months ago I would have said no. Now, God is in all the things that make my life important: to work, to feel fulfilled, to love family.

“Joy is essential.”

The word “spirituality” is “overused,” she says. Does she have spiritual moments?

“I walk the labyrinth,” she says.

For millennia, the labyrinth has represented a kind of pilgrimage and a form of meditation. There is a labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France. The Washington National Cathedral has two canvas labyrinths patterned after that one.

“Ben built a beautiful one for me,” Quinn says.

It is a 50-foot concrete circle at their country estate in southern Maryland on the St. Mary’s River. Among its stones, Quinn says, she has placed some of her mother’s ashes, a piece of the oak from her father’s family’s place, Georgia roses from her mother’s family, precious things from friends.

“It’s a very peaceful place on the banks of the river,” she says. “I can stay there for hours. It makes me feel very calm.”

Maybe Sally Quinn has gotten religion.

Source Why Ben Bradlee Has Sally Quinn in a Labyrinth | Washingtonian,

https://www.washingtonian.com/2007/04/01/why-ben-bradlee-has-sally-quinn-in-a-labyrinth-1/

And here’s a video with Sally Quinn –

My Faith: How walking the labyrinth changed my life

From the stacks …

From Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation:

“Spiritual joy has nothing to do with anything “going right.” It has everything to do with things going , and going on within you. It’s an inherent, inner aliveness. Joy is almost entirely an inside job. Joy is not first determined by the object enjoyed as much as by the prepared eye of the enjoyer.”

From Kendell Easley’s 52 Words Every Christian Should Know:

“Spirituality includes the ability to relate intimately to others face-to-face. God exists in the perfect relationship of the Persons of the Trinity; human beings may know each other—and they may know and be known by God. Further, “spirit” or “soul” refers to that component of a human surviving bodily death. Because God is spirit, mankind has spiritual capacity as well (Jn 4:24).”

And finally, From Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail):

“I have regrets, of course. I regret that I didn’t do Katahdin (though I will, I promise you, I will). I regret that I never saw a bear or wolf or followed the padding retreat of a giant hellbender salamander, never shooed away a bobcat or sidestepped a rattlesnake, never flushed a startled boar. I wish that just once I had truly stared death in the face (briefly, with a written assurance of survival). But I got a great deal else from the experience. I learned to pitch a tent and sleep beneath the stars. For a brief, proud period I was slender and fit. I gained a profound respect for wilderness and nature and the benign dark power of woods. I understand now, in a way I never did before, the colossal scale of the world. I found patience and fortitude that I didn’t know I had. I discovered an America that millions of people scarcely know exists. I made a friend. I came home. Best of all, these days when I see a mountain, I look at it slowly and appraisingly, with a narrow, confident gaze and eyes of chipped granite. We didn’t walk 2,200 miles, it’s true, but here’s the thing: we tried. So Katz was right after all, and I don’t care what anybody says. We hiked the Appalachian Trail.”

3.23.17

19
Jan
12

1.19.2011 … To be (gray) or not to be … that is the question … went with medium ash brown … but added streaks … my acknowledgment of the gray …

graying of America, kith/kin, me: To be (gray) or not to be … that is the question … went with medium ash brown … but added streaks … my acknowledgment of the gray … 🙂

faith and spirituality, Henri Nouwen:

Thursday January 19, 2012

Creating Space to Dance Together When we feel lonely we keep looking for a person or persons who can take our loneliness away. Our lonely hearts cry out, “Please hold me, touch me, speak to me, pay attention to me.” But soon we discover that the person we expect to take our loneliness away cannot give us what we ask for. Often that person feels oppressed by our demands and runs away, leaving us in despair. As long as we approach another person from our loneliness, no mature human relationship can develop. Clinging to one another in loneliness is suffocating and eventually becomes destructive. For love to be possible we need the courage to create space between us and to trust that this space allows us to dance together.

via Daily Meditation: Creating Space to Dance Together.

Davidson College, terquasquicentennial:  Happy 175, alma mater!

“Terquasquicentennial! Terquasquicentennial! Terquasquicentennial!” What a great word, terquasquicentennial.

via Daybook Davidson » 1837–2012: Happy New Year! Happy Old Years! Happy… Terquasquicentennial!.

historic church labyrinths, England, travel:  Preparing for my next labyrinth adventure!

The historic labyrinths situated in English cathedrals, churches and chapels mostly date from the late 19th century, a period when renewed interest in labyrinths combined with a wave of church building and restoration during the Victorian era. Only two examples, the splendid gilded roof-boss in St.Mary Redcliffe Church and the tiny labyrinth on the Hereford Mappa Mundi are from the medieval period, when many labyrinths were created in the cathedrals of France and Italy.

Situated largely in the south and east of England, these labyrinths are always a pleasure to visit, located as they are in everything from simple chapels and churches to grand cathedrals. Their construction and design range from the relatively simple to some of the most fascinating examples from their period.

The majority are relatively easy to find, although obviously some are subject to limited opening hours and others will require the finding of a key or caretaker to gain admission. And therein lies the joy of tracking them down. While several are in large towns and cities, a number are beyond the reach of regular public transport and will require some planning to visit.

Within the last few decades, several modern examples have been constructed, most notably at Batheaston (1985), Norwich Cathedral (2000), and the Church of St. Michael, Abingdon (2008)

via Historic Church labyrinths – England.

The Taj Majal, icons, India: On my bucket list …

I think that, for several reasons, the term iconic is very important in any consideration of this edifice.  First, as I previously mentioned, it serves as an iconic demonstration of love.  Second, it serves as a cultural icon.  For much of the world’s population, the Taj Mahal is India.  Third, we associate cultural icons with the Taj.  Lady Di’s 1992 visit to Agra is forever ingrained in our conscience, as a result of her iconic photo in front of the Taj Mahal.   Finally, the representation of the building, in our collective consciousness, is iconic.     When we imagine the Taj Mahal in our mind’s eye, we represent it in one form:  from a distance, straight-on, and from the front.

via The Taj Majal: From a rare angle | Wonders & Marvels.

The Empathic Civilization, Jeremy Rifkin, culture, RSA Animate:  Lots to think about …

http://dotsub.com/media/cefe3990-0ee4-4617-a3db-f5edf766c189/embed/

Best selling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society. This ‘working location’ is currently open for translation into all languages.via RSA Animate – The Empathic Civilization – 24 Translation(s) | dotSUB.

 Apple, Newton “Scribble Thing”:  …  15 Years Ahead of Its Time …

“Newton was probably 15 years too early,” Sculley told the BBC. “I’m not a technologist. I didn’t have the experience to make that judgment, but we were, I think, right on many of the concepts. The product clearly failed in terms of taking on such an ambitious goal. I think, in hindsight, there is a lot of good legacy there with the Newton. Even if the product itself never survived, the technology did.”

Specifically, ARM, which is still in wide use today.

Said Scully, “ARM not only was the key technology behind the Newton, but it eventually became the key technology behind every mobile device in the world today, including the iPhone and the iPad.”

via Former Apple CEO: Newton “Scribble Thing” 15 Years Ahead of Its Time – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.

electric bikes, Pulse, green:

Micah Toll is no stranger to entrepreneurship.

With only five months left until graduation in April, Toll, 22, has spent his days at the University of Pittsburgh like every other student: Going to classes, becoming involved in clubs, hanging out with friends and, oh yeah, starting his own electric bike company called Pulse Motors.

Pulse Motors is a Pittsburgh start up business designed to provide two-wheeled electric vehicles to the students and the public.

“Americans are fed up with the inconveniences of this conventional transportation being expensive, dirty and unreliable,” said Toll. “Now we are simply giving them an alternative in the form of cheap, affordable and fun transportation. It’s a no-brainer.”

Toll grew up in a household surrounded by science. His mother being a nurse and his father a biological oceanographer, science has always played a big part in his life. But while he didn’t evolve a love for biology like his parents, Toll instead took the engineering route and started building things.

via Student entrepreneur Micah Toll pedaling in the right direction | USA TODAY College

….

Developed with a goal of increasing bicycle commuting and creating a class of new transportation, the “Pulse” by industrial designer Timothy Daw is a hybrid bicycle that backs the pedal power with electric propulsion to boost zero-emission commutation with minimum physical efforts. Housing a rechargeable battery system, two 26V lithium-ion batteries for 75 miles of assisted biking, within the rear frame to preserve the aesthetics of the bicycle, the hybrid bike also includes streamlined traffic indicators, headlight and break light to ensure complete safety on cramped city roads. The throttle-controlled 250W motor adds an assisted pedaling experience when biking uphill or into a strong headwind. Moreover, the Pulse folds into a compact size for easy storage and transportation, which makes it a characteristic modern urban vehicle.

via Pulse pedal electric hybrid bicycle ushers in a new class of transportation.

free, The Guggenheim, digital books, free:   65 Modern Art Books Online … FREE!

 

In recent days, the museum has made 65 art catalogues available online, all free of charge. The catalogues offer an intellectual and visual introduction to the work of Alexander Calder, Edvard Munch, Francis Bacon, Gustav Klimt & Egon Schiele, and Kandinsky. Plus there are other texts (e.g., Masterpieces of Modern Art and Abstract Expressionists Imagists) that tackle meta movements and themes.

Now let me give you a few handy instructions to get you started. 1.) Select a text from the collection. 2.) Click the “Read Catalogue Online” button. 3.) Start reading the book in the pop-up browser, and use the controls at the very bottom of the pop-up browser to move through the book. 4.) If you have any problems accessing these texts, you can find alternate versions on Archive.org, which lets you download books in multiple formats – ePUB, PDF and the rest.

via Free: The Guggenheim Puts 65 Modern Art Books Online | Open Culture.

London, maps, songs:  🙂

Song Map – London remapped in song names

via curiosity counts – Song Map – London remapped in song names   (via).

business, culture, novels:  The smartest people I know are all well-read.

I’ve been a devoted, even fanatical reader of fiction my whole life, but sometimes I feel like I’m wasting time if I spend an evening immersed in Lee Child’s newest thriller, or re-reading The Great Gatsby. Shouldn’t I be plowing through my in-box? Or getting the hang of some new productivity app? Or catching up on my back issues of The Economist? That slight feeling of self-indulgence that haunts me when I’m reading fake stories about fake people is what made me so grateful to stumble on a piece in Scientific American Mind by cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley extolling the practical benefits to be derived particularly from consuming fiction.

Over the past decade, academic researchers such as Oatley and Raymond Mar from York University have gathered data indicating that fiction-reading activates neuronal pathways in the brain that measurably help the reader better understand real human emotion — improving his or her overall social skillfulness. For instance, in fMRI studies of people reading fiction, neuroscientists detect activity in the pre-frontal cortex — a part of the brain involved with setting goals — when the participants read about characters setting a new goal. It turns out that when Henry James, more than a century ago, defended the value of fiction by saying that “a novel is a direct impression of life,” he was more right than he knew.

via The Business Case for Reading Novels – Anne Kreamer – Harvard Business Review.

MLK Memorial, quote, misquote:

Five months ago, in this space, I wrote that something was wrong with the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. The quotation inscribed on the monument’s left flank had been so badly excerpted that a modest statement of King’s was turned into a boast.

At the time, it wasn’t clear how or why this had happened, but what seemed likely, at least to me, was that nothing would be done about it. Things that are etched in stone seldom are changed, especially in Washington, which is not famous for admitting error, righting wrongs, getting things done in a timely fashion, or getting things done at all.

It turns out I was right about the error but wrong about Washington. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told The Post today that the quote will be corrected. He has given the National Park Service 30 days — because “things only happen when you put a deadline on it” — to consult with the King Memorial Foundation, family members and other interested parties and come up with a more accurate alternative.

“This is important because Dr. King and his presence on the Mall is a forever presence for the United States of America, and we have to make sure that we get it right,” Salazar said.

Some important people who hadn’t seen the quote yet read the op-ed and agreed. The poet Maya Angelou, who knew and worked with King, said the truncated quote made King seem like “an arrogant twit.” Roy Peter Clark, an expert on the use of words, wrote for CNN, “Everything I’ve learned about the language of enshrinement suggests that the inscription on the King monument should be revised.” Martin Luther King III told CNN: “That was not what Dad said.”

Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert noted that it was “to the point. Not Dr. King’s point, but still. Brevity is the soul of saving money on chiseling fees.”

via MLK Memorial’s ‘drum major’ quote will be corrected, Interior secretary says – The Washington Post.

Facebook, personality, me:  The Real Me?

Facebook Logo_150x150.jpg

If you think you’re different on Facebook than you are in real life, you’ve got some explaining to do.

A 2011 study from the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Psychology called “Manifestations of Personality in Online Social Networks: Self-Reported Facebook-Related Behaviors and Observable Profile Information” published in the academic journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that Facebook users are no different online than they are offline. The study also revealed strong connections between real personality and Facebook-related behavior. Social and personality processes, the study says, accurately mirror non-virtual environments.

via Study: Your Facebook Personality Is The Real You.

blogging, lists, advice:

 Five Ways to Boost Your Blog

What does it take to move your blog up to the next level? Obviously you need a regular supply of useful content to attract readers and keep your audience happy, but here are a few extra tips on increasing interest in your blog in 2012.

via Tech Journal: 5 Ways to Improve Your Blog – India Real Time – WSJ.

18
Jan
12

1.18.2012 … Yesterday’s Bible Study at FPC was great … then lunch at Mert’s where my date John stood me up … Catfish was good! … New Mantra: “Adopt a policy of being joyful.”

FPC, TMBS, Genesis, Mert’s:  Yesterday’s Tuesday Morning Bible Study at FPC continues to be insightful as we study Genesis with Rabbi Sachs’ book … then lunch at Mert’s Heart and Soul Restaurant where my date John stood me up … Catfish was good!

Fried Catfish

Fried Catfish

Recipe created by James Bazzelle, chef/owner of Mert’s Heart and Soul, Charlotte, NC.

4 medium catfish

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups self-rising cornmeal (fish breading)

1/4 cup white vinegar

Vegetable oil

via Mert’s Restaurant.

culture, mantra, advice:

“Adopt a policy of being joyful.”

Elderly ‘Experts’ Share Life Advice in Cornell Project – NYTimes.com.

tweet of the day, pop ups, libraries:

Maria Popova @brainpicker Close

Ooh! An entire Flickr stream of miniature pop-up libraries around the world j.mp/yN86cv (HT @shawncalhoun)

.

private equity,  privileges v. profits, 2012 Presidential Election: The Republicans and their in-fighting are just fueling the OWS …

Mitt Romney, the favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination, has brought the rights and wrongs of private equity to the front of U.S. politics. He once ran a private-equity firm, and he has been attacked for it even by fellow conservatives.

This is a new version of an old complaint, and the quality of the discussion is not improving with age. The question to ask about private equity — which involves taking over companies, restructuring them and selling them at a profit — is not whether it creates jobs. It is whether taxpayers should be subsidizing its practitioners’ paychecks.

Many politicians say private equity is rapacious. Not long ago, the same charge was laid against leveraged buyouts, and before that against hostile takeovers. The issue is essentially the same. When control of a company changes hands, are the new owners so intent on short-term profits that they act against the interests of other stakeholders — not just shareholders, but also employees, customers and the wider community?

The current debate has revolved around jobs. Defenders of private equity say the new owners tend to boost employment, and critics say the opposite.

The study concluded that “private equity buy-outs catalyze the creative destruction process.”

Exactly. In a market economy, some companies or industries are shrinking, while others are growing. You can’t have one without the other, and the spur for both kinds of adjustment is profit. Market forces raise living standards not by increasing wages and employment enterprise by enterprise, but by applying capital and labor to the best uses. Private equity, leveraged buyouts and hostile takeovers all serve this purpose. To keep managers on their toes, capitalism requires a functioning market for corporate control.

If private equity can succeed without preferences, that’s fine: The more competitive the market for corporate control, the better. Its current mode of operation, though, is largely a symptom of a flawed tax code. The industry’s borrowing is subsidized and so are the generous incomes it pays its staff. These privileges are a problem. The issues its critics choose to emphasize aren’t.

via The Trouble With Private Equity Is Special Privileges Not Profits: View – Bloomberg.

Winnie the Pooh, Americanisms,children’s/YA literature:  Oh, bother … I actually prefer the original … non Disney version …

REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The publishers, Parragon, are based in Bath and responded to Weeks’ complaint about the new phrases with this explanation: “[W]e sell our books around the world and not just the UK and so we sometimes need to adapt the language accordingly to make it accessible for the widest possible audience.”

While it seems like a fair enough explanation when taken at face value, many critics, both British and American, have joined in the protest, saying that editing out the original language fundamentally changes the work.

More worrying, however, is the recent crop of errors and grammatical mistakes that have appeared in the books and similar children’s stories such as Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. According to Weeks, in the Alice story, the words “all ways” was written as “always” and in another story, whales slap their “tales” rather than their “tails.”

It would seem that this is all a case of some editors stuffing up royally. Oh, excuse us, we’ll rephrase — they messed up big time.

via Oh, Bother: Brits Say Modern Winnie the Pooh Riddled With Americanisms | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

PIPA, SOPA, Internet:  There is a lot more here than many realize …

The video above discusses the Senate version of the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). In the Senate the bill is called the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). SOPA has gotten more attention than PIPA because it was moving faster in the legislative process. But PIPA is just as dangerous, and now it is moving faster.

via PROTECT IP Act Breaks the Internet.

The biggest impact of Wednesday’s blackout may be in the shutdown of the English-language version of Wikipedia, which gets 2.7 billion U.S. visitors per month.

“It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web,” said a statement signed by three of the free encyclopedia’s administrators, with the handles “NuclearWarfare,” “Risker” and “Billinghurst.” They said the decision to shut down the English-language portion of the site, starting at midnight Eastern time, had been made after a virtual discussion that involved 1,800 users.

But already, the momentum of the two controversial bills has been largely halted. Just weeks ago, they seemed on their way to passage, having cleared a Senate committee and garnered bipartisan support in the House.

via SOPA protests shut down Web sites – The Washington Post.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, President Obama:  Glad to see someone saw the irony of the acceptance speech at BANK Of AMERICA Stadium!

In another break from tradition, Democrats announced Tuesday that they’re shortening their national convention and moving events to the Charlotte area’s two largest outdoor venues.

Party officials – and even the White House – said the moves are designed to allow President Barack Obama and his campaign to reach a wider audience while energizing supporters at the same time.

The president will deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium, replicating his 2008 address at Denver’s Invesco Field.

And in a twist, the party will forgo the convention’s traditional Monday opening and instead entertain tens of thousands that day at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He said the changes won’t reduce the convention’s regional economic impact, which is expected to be at least $150 million. About 5,000 delegates and alternates are still expected to arrive on Saturday or Sunday for the convention.

Though the role of modern conventions has changed dramatically from the days when they actually decided the nominees, the format has changed little. They traditionally span four days. So will the Republican convention in Tampa this August.

“Four days really is an anachronism,” said Washington political analyst Charlie Cook. “There’s arguably not more than one day’s business to do …

“I think the Obama folks like to do things differently for the sake of doing things differently.”

via DNC: Charlotte’s convention to try new twists | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Moving the president’s speech mirrors the playbook the Democrats used in 2008. Obama spoke at the Denver Broncos’ home field after becoming the Democratic nominee, a last-minute move party organizers say allowed more people a chance to attend. The rest of the Denver convention was held at that city’s NBA arena.

Agreements between the Democratic National Convention Committee and both the stadium and the speedway are being negotiated. Jerry Richardson, owner of the Panthers and the stadium, said the team will not charge the Democrats rent, but he declined to discuss details beyond that.

“This convention isn’t about political ritual and speeches on the floor, it’s about the American people coming together to commit ourselves and our country to a path that creates more opportunity for all Americans,” said Stephen Kerrigan, national convention chief executive. “And that is why we have decided to make a few changes to meet that goal. President Obama made it clear from Day One that he wanted this convention to be different than in any history and definitely any happening this year.”

via Obama speech moves to BofA Stadium – Charlotte Business Journal.

While Obama and Moynihan seemed to be on good terms a couple of years ago, more recently the president ripped the bank for its ill-fated attempt to hike debit-card fees.

Organizers and other Democrats said Tuesday they have no concerns about links between the president and a Bank of America-named venue.

“We don’t believe there’s any relevance to who the sponsor or the naming rights are handled by to any of the venues that we host convention events in,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic national party. “In particular, this president has a remarkable record not only of rescuing our economy from the precipice of disaster. Now he’s been able to make sure that folks on Main Street aren’t run over by folks on Wall Street.”Wasserman Schultz was referring to the president’s creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010, part of the Dodd-Frank Act.

via Odd couple: BofA, Obama – Charlotte Business Journal.

Bank of America,  CEO Brian Moynihan: Delicate …

Appointed in late 2009 as predecessor Ken Lewis retired, Moynihan, the article says, has had a “delicate” hold on his job. Sources quoted by the paper, apparently close to the board of directors, point to an assessment earlier in his career at BofA that said Moynihan tended to micromanage, struggled with communication and failed to surround himself with experienced advisers.

The article also says those are areas the CEO has targeted for improvement.

An unnamed director told the WSJ that Moynihan’s handling of BofA’s denied dividend increase request last year showed a “very inexperienced team.” And another portion of the report says Moynihan didn’t heed a suggestion by former consumer banking chief Joe Price to study a $5 debit card fee longer before announcing it publicly. That fee, announced in late September, became a public relations nightmare and was cancelled a month later.

A spokesman for BofA told The Wall Street Journal, “We are a less risky, smaller, better capitalized, and more streamlined company since Brian became CEO.”

Moynihan’s vision calls for BofA to continue shrinking both expenses and non-core operations. He has initiated asset sales, capital raises and efficiency initiatives. He has also re-tooled his management team this year, jettisoning Price and brokerage head Sallie Krawcheck, and elevating David Darnell and Tom Montag to co-chief operating officer roles.

Montag openly sought the CEO position before it was given to Moynihan. Darnell is a longtime BofA executive, dating back to Hugh McColl-led BofA and its predecessors in Charlotte.

BofA this week also sought to improve its public image, placing its ad account on review and soliciting new ideas for its marketing efforts.

via WSJ: BofA could retreat, Brian Moynihan’s hold on CEO job ‘delicate’ – Charlotte Business Journal.

bookshelf, books, list:  I found this one interesting. I have most in my house … haven’t read them all.

What makes a must-own classic book? After all, there are many kinds of book available. There are the coffee-table books, designed to be flicked through by guests, with their impressive art and embellished covers, and then there are bookshelf books – either novels we’ve read so many times the pages are inked up and torn, or those books we bought on a whim, and really keep meaning to get to whenever we’re not so busy.

Somewhere in between lie the Essential Bookshelf Conversation Starters, those spines that add a touch of class to a room, or might provoke a fascinating conversation. After all, UK newspaper The Daily Mail reported last year that a survey by Lindeman’s wine in the UK showed the average bookshelf was filled with 80 books that the owner hasn’t themselves read.

Don’t get us wrong – these recommendations are also fascinating reading in their own right. But if you’re going to buy hard covers with at least one eye on the opinions of visiting friends and relatives, these are our choices of the titles you really should have on display.

via 12 Books You NEED On Your Bookshelf.

faith and spirituality:

Be Yourself

Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, or even to be someone other than who we are. We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous. It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now.

We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do. Be yourself!

via Daily Meditation: Be Yourself.

René Descartes, Cartesian Theory:  Watched a movie where they discussed Cartesian Theory … Mindwalk (1990) … and I hate to admit that I needed a refresher course.

René Descartes may just be the Thinking Man’s thinking man. More than any other modern philosopher, he is identified with the view that the soul is separate from the body and superior to it—in fact, we refer to this position as Cartesian dualism. The synonymy is so overwhelming, one can imagine him subjected to some hackneyed literary or television treatment wherein he is brought forcibly into the present, only to find success as an advertising executive with his slogan for the Winterman sneaker account that promises “mind over matter.” (For the women’s line: I pink therefore I am.)

Any dualistic theory encounters what is known in philosophy as the mind-body problem: how is it possible for two entirely discrete substances to act in concert and produce what we conceive of as unitary being? Curiously enough, Descartes’ lifelong passion for experimental physiology—which, for him, was just rationalistic epistemology by other means—influenced his answers. He was an avid practitioner of dissection on both human and animal bodies. (Because he believed animals were mindless machines and could not feel pain, he often dissected them while they remained alive.) In his search to discover the differences that distinguish humans and animals from one another as res intelligens and res extensa—that is, intelligent beings and “machines,” respectively—he hit upon the pineal gland, which he found present only in the human brain.

via The Devoted Intellect.

antidepressant v. placebo:

Irving Kirsch, professor of psychology at the University of Hull in England and author of a 2008 meta-analysis in PLoS Medicine that found little benefit of antidepressants for most patients, is less sanguine about the new study. He characterizes the results as “indeed important,” but says they suggest that “while many people may benefit from antidepressant treatment (although most of them to a degree that is not clinically significant), about 1 in 4 are made worse.”

“What makes this particularly problematic is the fact that we don’t know who these people are,” Kirsch says. “Although placebo may not be a viable treatment option, there are other treatments that on average work as well as antidepressants, [such as] physical exercise and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. As far as we know, these alternatives don’t make people worse.

“This suggests to me that antidepressants should be kept as a last resort, and if a person does not respond to the treatment within a few weeks, it should be discontinued,” says Kirsch.

Krystal agrees that if one-quarter of patients with depression are made worse by antidepressant treatment, “we need to find ways to identify who those people are and find other ways to reach that group of people.”

via New Research on the Antidepressant-Versus-Placebo Debate | Healthland | TIME.com.

technological change, end of an era, RIP, Kodak, Fuji, creative destruction:  I remember the first time I used Fuji film.  I felt like a traitor. And for the second time in two days I run across the term “creative destruction.” (See above in the excerpt on private equity.)

Kodak’s blunder was not like the time when Digital Equipment Corporation, an American computer-maker, failed to spot the significance of personal computers because its managers were dozing in their comfy chairs. It was more like “seeing a tsunami coming and there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Mr Christensen.

Dominant firms in other industries have been killed by smaller shocks, he points out. Of the 316 department-store chains of a few decades ago, only Dayton Hudson has adapted well to the modern world, and only because it started an entirely new business, Target. And that is what creative destruction can do to a business that has changed only gradually—the shops of today would not look alien to time-travellers from 50 years ago, even if their supply chains have changed beyond recognition.

Could Kodak have avoided its current misfortunes? Some say it could have become the equivalent of “Intel Inside” for the smartphone camera—a brand that consumers trust. But Canon and Sony were better placed to achieve that, given their superior intellectual property, and neither has succeeded in doing so.

Unlike people, companies can in theory live for ever. But most die young, because the corporate world, unlike society at large, is a fight to the death. Fujifilm has mastered new tactics and survived. Film went from 60% of its profits in 2000 to basically nothing, yet it found new sources of revenue. Kodak, along with many a great company before it, appears simply to have run its course. After 132 years it is poised, like an old photo, to fade away.

via Technological change: The last Kodak moment? | The Economist.

 Apple,   ‘Digitally Destroy’ textbooks:

While MacInnis reiterated his belief that this event should see a new Apple tool for creating iPad textbooks, he told Fortune they weren’t a “GarageBand for e-books” (that phrase was imagined or perhaps misunderstood by Ars) and that the whole thing is actually designed to complement the textbook biz, not breathe Godzilla-style atomic death on it.

Tune in here Thursday at 10 a.m. ET for Techland’s full coverage of the event.

via Apple Poised to ‘Digitally Destroy’ Textbooks? Don’t Bet On It | Techland | TIME.com.

apps, Day One (Journal/Diary):  I like this one …

Day One is a micro-journal / diary / text logging application that makes it easy to quickly enter your thoughts and memories and have them sync and available in the cloud.

via App Store – Day One (Journal/Diary).

07
Jan
12

1.7.2012 … Rest in Peace, Nancy Wells Johnson … There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember … Another labyrinth walk at the African American themed labyrinth at Charlotte’s McCorey YMCA … The Debt …

Nancy Wells Johnson, RIP, Celebration of Life, rosemary, Shakespeare:

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember …

from Hamlet

Quote given with a sprig of rosemary at the celebration of life of Nancy Wells Johnson.

.

labyrinth, Almetto Howie Alexander Labyrinth:  Very nice labyrinth … and unique.  Another labyrinth walk at the African-American themed labyrinth at Charlotte’s McCorey YMCA.

With patience persistence and prayer, a god-filled spirit can bring a seed to fruit. – Almetto Howey Alexander 2011

In 2002, Almetto Howey Alexander — a lifelong educator who served her community and received repeated recognition for her efforts for civil rights — was first inspired to build a labyrinth in her neighborhood of Washington Heights in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Having spoken with people who benefited from the healing, focus, spiritual meditation and peace of mind engendered by walking a labyrinth, she searched for a way to bring this source of peace to her community. She sought help in bringing her vision to fruition, reaching to the people she had always served and to other community leaders with whom she had worked.

Response from The McCrorey Family YMCA was enthusiastic, resulting in approval to install a labyrinth at its location on Beatties Ford Road in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In November 2007, Almetto Alexander attended the opening of the Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth Courtyard, where she met Tom Schulz, the artist who designed and built the labyrinth and prayerwall located at Presbyterian Hospital’s center courtyard.

Mrs. Alexander established the Almetto Howey Alexander Labyrinth Foundation to raise the funds to build the labyrinth and its surrounding environment as a gift to her community. Although we still have a way to go inraising the funds (see “donate” for a current report), we are making progress and invite you to be part of it! There are many ways to donate and treat yourself to a representation of this important project in culture and history.

via Almetto Howie Alexander Labyrinth.

French, YouTube, LOL:  I’m not even good at faking it!  How To Fake French – YouTube.

The Debt, movies:  very enjoyable …

friendship, faith and spirituality:

The Gift of Friendship

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts a human being can receive. It is a bond beyond common goals, common interests, or common histories. It is a bond stronger than sexual union can create, deeper than a shared fate can solidify, and even more intimate than the bonds of marriage or community. Friendship is being with the other in joy and sorrow, even when we cannot increase the joy or decrease the sorrow. It is a unity of souls that gives nobility and sincerity to love. Friendship makes all of life shine brightly. Blessed are those who lay down their lives for their friends.

via Daily Meditation: The Gift of Friendship.

media, print media, digital media, design:  Maybe not gone yet ….

Danny Miller, the 31-year-old managing director of cutting-edge publishers the Church of London, surveys the completed pages. They capture a love of print that runs through his company’s illustrated film magazine Little White Lies and its surf, snow and skate bimonthly Huck. That passion is so infectious, digital giants like Google and Sony PlayStation have asked Miller’s team to help them make statements in this supposedly moribund medium. “Print certainly isn’t dead,” Miller says. “It’s just that you have to work harder and make something better and more beautiful for it to get noticed.”

The best place to feel the buzz of the new print scene is Printout, a regular event held at London’s Book Club bar that attracts a large crowd of 20-somethings in vintage glasses and skinny jeans. Speakers share tips on distribution and when to quit your day job. The event is organized by blogger Leslie and Steve Watson, founder of Stack, which sends subscribers a different new mag each month — from Dubai’s stereotype-defying style guide Brownbook to Melbourne’s quirky Wooden Toy Quarterly.

New York City will soon have its own Printout-style event organized by Jamin Brophy-Warren of Kill Screen magazine and Andrew Losowsky, Huffington Post books editor and Stack America’s curator. Losowsky is also planning magCulture exhibitions with Leslie for New Delhi and other cities. The Internet, he says, has simply forced would-be publishers to think harder. “It’s the best thing that ever happened because it means print can now focus on what it does well.”

via Think Ink: Why Print is Being Embraced By Designers – TIME.

04
Jan
12

1.4.2012 … Iowa pig whisker … “The Brady Bunch” margin … ITSO

 Iowa Caucuses, 2012 Presidential Election, tweets:

AJC @ajc Close

Romney edges Santorum by an Iowa pig whisker. bit.ly/A06P6b

Jeff Elder @JeffElder Close

Unbelievable: Romney wins Iowa Caucus by EIGHT votes. He just won by a margin of “The Brady Bunch.” #iacaucus

The Washington Post @washingtonpost Close

Rick Perry spent more than $300 per vote in #Iowa; Santorum, only 73 cents wapo.st/zEltYa

Steve Jobs, Apple, action figures, icons:  Weird and expensive!

How long should you wait to cash in on the likeness of a universally beloved and recently deceased innovator? Just a few months, apparently, because Chinese company In Icons is looking to ship a disturbingly ultra-realistic 12-inch Steve Jobs action figure for $99 starting in February.

Accessories, no surprise, include Jobs’ standard uniform: glasses, black turtleneck sweater, jeans and New Balance sneakers. The action figure also comes with a “One more thing” backdrop so you can stage your very own mini product launch, although the to-scale iPad, iPhone 4 and first-ever Mac will cost you extra. The red apples (one with a bite taken out of it) should come in handy for any photo shoots you decide to set up in your living room.

via Chinese Company Selling Eerily Realistic Steve Jobs Action Figure | Techland | TIME.com.

careers, connectivity, lifestyle, culture, anxiety, ITSO:  I don’t work (outside the home), and I allow myself to be anxious that I might miss something in my world.

Now I know we’re all supposed to be grown-ups and switching off should be a simple enough decision, but the fact is addictions to BlackBerries and other hand-held devices are powerful and nobody expects addicts to self-administer the right medicine without some help. The Volkswagen decision reflects growing evidence of stress-related burnout tied to employees’ inability to separate their working and private lives now that developed societies live in a 24/7 paroxysm of connection.

Employee burnout has become an issue in socially conscious Germany — the object of a Spiegel cover story following the resignation in September of a prominent Bundesliga soccer coach, Ralf Rangnick of Schalke, who complained of exhaustion. A Volkswagen spokesman in Wolfsburg told Bloomberg News the company had to balance the benefits of round-the-clock access to staff with protecting their private lives.

Inside those German private lives, I’d wager, couples are experiencing the now near-universal irritation of finding conversations interrupted by a familiar glance toward the little screen, or conversations deadened by the state of near-permanent distraction from their immediate surroundings in which people live. Device-related marital rows must now be running close to back-seat driving and how to raise the kids as the leading cause of domestic discord.

Connectivity aids productivity. It can also be counterproductive by generating that contemporary state of anxiety in which focus on any activity is interrupted by the irresistible urge to check e-mail or texts; whose absence can in turn provoke the compounded anxiety of feeling unloved or unwanted just because the in-box is empty for a nanosecond; whose onset can in turn induce the super-aggravated anxiety that is linked to low self-esteem and poor performance.

Inhabiting one place — that is to be fully absorbed by and focused on one’s surroundings rather than living in some diffuse cyberlocation composed of the different strands of a device-driven existence — is a fast-dwindling ability. This in turn generates a paradox: People have never traveled as much but at the same time been less able to appreciate the difference between here and there.

To be permanently switched on is also to switch off to what takes time to be seen. A lot of good ideas, as well as some of life’s deeper satisfactions, can get lost that way.

Inability to switch off (ITSO) is a modern curse.

It’s the start of a new year, a time for resolutions. To each his own, but I know this: Nobody will ever lie on his or her deathbed and say: “I should have kept my device on longer.”

via A Time to Tune Out – NYTimes.com.

New Year’s Resolutions, journaling, blogging, Maira Kalman:  This is my resolution … I so admire maira kalman’s illustrated op-eds that I have decided that this is where I want to go with my creative efforts in 2012 … wish me luck.

The Creative Artist’s Journal

– Draw all the images and designs you’ve always said, ‘someday I’ll start to draw’. Doodle, jot ideas down, plan the new layout of your dream kitchen!

– Write all of the poetry you’ve kept stored up in your soul or just a sentence that might inspire you later on to write your masterpiece!

– Write or illustrate the things you dream about doing. It will be fun to look back later to see if you made them come true!

Go to Amazon.com for Artist’s Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures. The perfect guide to becoming a creative Journalista. In addition, log on to author, Cathy Johnson’s website, where she will jump start your creativity.

via http://thedailybasics.visibli.com/share/98se11

Tim Tebow, t-shirts, culture, faith and spirituality:  I will be interested to see how this one sells … Our culture would rather “worship” a player’s hair/moustache by wearing a t-shirt than wear this one … just a guess …

“Every Time Tebow Scores An Angel Gets Its Wings”

via Tebow T-Shirt Time | Thrillist.

 




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