Posts Tagged ‘faith

22
Oct
13

10.22.13 … I loved this post on groupons … “Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss, But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.” …

groupons, William Shakespeare, Henry VI:  I love a good liberal arts education … closing a discussion of wasted groupons with Shakespeare!

The way he said it made me think he might actually be in cahoots with the cockroaches.  Sort of like Tony Soprano saying, “Hey, bada bing, bada bang!, I’d hate to see you use that other waste removal company and possibly have some sorta accident rolling your trash bin up to Grey Road.”  Aaaargh!

Wise men ne’er sit and wail their loss,

But cheerly seek how to redress their harms.

William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III Act V, scene 4, line 1.

via Leaving money on the table… | 50th Year of Pat Millen.

Malala,  Advocacy Curriculum, George Washington University:  A very impressive young woman!

George Washington University announced Monday that faculty members are creating multimedia curriculum tools to accompany a book recently released by the teen, Malala Yousafzai. Several faculty members will pilot the curriculum early next year for both college and high school instruction. Free of charge, it will focus on themes such as the importance of a woman\’s voice and political extremism, the university said.

The tools won\’t just look at the teen\’s story, but also how the same issues get reflected elsewhere, such as when girls face child marriage and pressures to leave school, said Mary Ellsberg, the director of the university\’s Global Women\’s Institute.

\”It\’s going to be really interactive and really encourage students to do … activities outside of school, it will encourage them to get engaged in the communities and as well to help the Malala Fund directly,\” Ellsberg said.

The university\’s Global Women\’s Institute is partnered with the Malala Fund, a nonprofit that seeks to ensure girls around the world have access to education.

via Malala Inspires Advocacy Curriculum At George Washington University.

college life, fraternity life, naked pictures, misogyny:  Why naked pictures aren’t harmless – Salon.com.

Last week at Swarthmore College a pledge posted a photograph on Instagram of his offer to join a fraternity. The picture was of a booklet cover featuring a mosaic of hundreds of naked or nearly naked women. The website Total Frat Move lamented that it wasn’t deliverd with a note saying, “Enjoy the tits.” The fraternity has used this format for several years — but this year, a group of students led by senior Marian Firke protested the use of the photography. They created an alternative version of the composite image and asked the school to suspend the fraternity’s school-funded party budget.

Swarthmore’s dean of students agreed with protesters and took steps to address their concerns, including requiring members of the fraternity to attend yet-to-be-defined “special training sessions.” The speed with which the administration has responded may have something to do with the fact that the college is one of a growing list of schools, including Occidental, the University of North Carolina, Yale and Dartmouth, involved in very public complaints for their handling (or mishandling) of sexual assault cases. Emerson is the latest school to be investigated by the Department of Education for related Title IX violations. While the administration’s responsiveness is laudable, the truth is that given the scope of the problem at hand, entire swaths of our population need “special training sessions,” and before they even make it to college. What do we do about them?

via Why naked pictures aren’t harmless – Salon.com.

faith, cultural v spiritual, Jewish identity:

All three embrace their Jewish identity — but this isn’t their parents’ Jewishness.

As underscored in a major new survey, they are among those navigating a period of historic flux in how American Jews view themselves, their religion, their culture, and how they affiliate with each other.

A growing minority of American Jews — including nearly a third of younger adults in particular — say they’re not religious but continue to identify themselves as Jewish, according to the survey, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” released this month by the Pew Research Center.

Intermarriage rates also continue at high levels among younger Jews — 58 percent among Jews married this century.

And on the list of things that make someone Jewish, far more Jews chose such things as remembering the Holocaust, being moral and ethical, working for justice and even having a good sense of humor than such traditional markers as belonging to the Jewish community or observing religious law.

via American Jews carve out faith different than parents’ | The Courier-Journal | courier-journal.com.

Black Friday/Thanksgiving:

Add Macy’s to the list of retailers kicking off “Black Friday” and Thanksgiving Thursday.

Macy’s will open the doors at most of its 800 namesake department stores, at 8 p.m. on Nov. 28. The company said the shift was voluntary for workers and that the move was “consistent with what many rivals are doing.

Traditionally, retailers have waited until Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving, to start their end-of-the-year push for sales.

U.S. retailers have extended their hours on Black Friday, so named because it\’s when most stroes go into the black, in recent years to get a jump on the holiday season sales.

via Macy’s latest retailer to open holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving – chicagotribune.com.

 William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying”, grammatically Incorrect, Mental Floss, Miley Cyrus, AMA Manual of Style, Bob Dylan (“Lay Lady Lay”), Eric Clapton (“Lay Down Sally”), lay/lie:

But did he? The comment links to a blog entry from the AMA Manual of Style on Faulkner’s use of “lay.” Though at first it may seem that the title of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying is incorrect (what could be more intransitive than someone lying there dying?), the entry points out that here “lay” is actually the correct past tense of “lie.” (I know. Could these rules make it any more complicated?) So there is nothing wrong with the title.

What the article takes issue with is a sentence from the novel “you lay you down and rest you.” Obviously, this is in the vernacular and not to be taken as textbook grammatical, and yes, “the correct form of the sentence would use the intransitive verb: ‘You lie down.’” But here, even within the context of this non-standard dialect, Faulkner follows the rule. The verb “lay” does take an object in “you lay you down,” and the object is “you.” Not much different from “now I lay me down to sleep,” a sentence even the strictest red pen will pass over without a second glance.

So let’s leave Faulkner out of this. If you want, you can take it up with Bob Dylan (“Lay Lady Lay”) or Eric Clapton (“Lay Down Sally”). But it’s probably time we all just laid our tired bootys down and started focusing on more important matters, such as, what is the proper plural of “booty”?

via Is “As I Lay Dying” Grammatically Incorrect? | Mental Floss.

Einstein, “Combinatory Play”, secret of genius, Brain Pickings:

The concept, in fact, was perhaps best explained by Albert Einstein, who termed it “combinatory play.” (Einstein famously came up with some of his best scientific ideas during his violin breaks.) From his Ideas and Opinions (public library) — the same invaluable volume that gave us the beloved physicist’s timeless wisdom on kindness and our shared existence — comes Einstein’s single most succinct articulation of how his mind works, driven by this powerful combinatorial creativity. The 1945 letter was written in response to French mathematician Jacques S. Hadamard’s survey of the mental processes of famous scientists, inspired by polymath Henri Poincaré’s famous meditation on the subject and published as An Essay on the Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field, with Einstein’s missive included as a “testimonial”:

via How Einstein Thought: Why “Combinatory Play” Is the Secret of Genius | Brain Pickings.

Dan Pink, lists, My 5 favorite talks on work, TED Playlists, TED:  5 more for me to watch …

Dan Pink: My 5 favorite talks on work

Popular business author Dan Pink picks his 5 favorite TED Talks on how to find greater success at work.

via Dan Pink: My 5 favorite talks on work | TED Playlists | TED.

clutter-clearing myths,  The Happiness Project:

One of my great realizations about happiness (and a point oddly under-emphasized by positive psychologists) is that for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. More, really, than it should. After all, in the context of a happy life, a crowded coat closet is trivial. And yet over and over, people tell me, and I certainly find this, myself, that creating order gives a huge boost in energy, cheer, and creativity.

But as much as most of us want to keep our home, office, car, etc. in reasonable order, it’s tough. Here’s a list of some myths of de-cluttering that make it harder to get rid of stuff.

via Do You Fall for Any of These Common Clutter-Clearing Myths? « The Happiness Project.

11
Feb
13

2.11.13 … What does a Pope do in retirement? …

Pope Benedict XVI , Bishop of Rome Emeritus, retirement, legal issues, papal enclave, twitter:  I don’t think anyone was expecting this … I woke up early today and was immediately hit with the news that the Pope was going to retire effective 2.28.13.  And i immediate wondered out loud on FB, “So the Pope is going to resign. What does a Pope do in retirement?”  Noting that, according to BR:

“The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, who left the papacy in 1415 to end what was known as the Western Schism among numerous competitors for the papacy.”

My pundit friends went into action …

BT: Invite him to bingo

MP: Retired Popes fly around in their cool hats with their flying nuns.

 And then the twitters started tow tweet …

Nate Silver
@fivethirtyeight
No pope has resigned since 1415, which is also the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning record.

Conan O’Brien Presents: Team Coco

The Pope resigned earlier today & Dan Brown has already written two thrillers about it.

via The Pope resigned….

Team Coco ‏@TeamCoco

Strange but true: for over 2000 years, Cardinals have picked the new Pope via rock/paper/scissors.

But my favorite was the husband of a friend …

David McDaniel ‏@DMcDaniel

Poor Notre Dame. They lose the BCS championship, then the Manti Te’o thing. Now they face the 2013 season with a rookie pope.

And the political cartoons … field day …

.

via The Platzner Post

But there are lots of interesting issues given that the last pope to retire was Gregory XII, who left the papacy in 1415 …

Q: How does one refer to a retired pope?

Benedict XVI would technically retain the title, Bishop of Rome Emeritus. “I doubt he would use the papal titles, but that’s something to be decided on,” said Father Kaslyn.

via A Legal Guide To Papal Resignation – Law Blog – WSJ.

And the consensus is … all bets are off.

The papal conclave—the secretive meeting of Roman Catholic cardinals to elect a new pope—is expected to start shortly after the end of February, when Pope Benedict XVI, at 85 years old, said Monday he would step down.

The more than 120 voting cardinals will likely debate whether to select a low-key gradualist or someone who is going to govern with grand gestures, such as Pope Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II. In recent conclaves, cardinals have been split between those who take a more conservative approach to the church’s teaching and those open to changing some of the age-old tenets of Catholicism.

There is a saying among Vatican watchers that cardinals who are tipped as popes before the conclave begins rarely actually get the job. “The race is really wide open,” said Giuseppe Di Leo, a longtime Vatican journalist for Italian radio Radio Radicale.

The voting by cardinals to elect the next pope takes place behind the locked doors of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. Under highly detailed procedures, only cardinals under the age of 80 can vote in the conclave, and secret ballots can be cast once on the first day, then twice during each subsequent morning and evening session.

Cardinals must have a two-thirds majority to elect a new pope; a runoff may be held between the top two candidates if the voting goes as far as 34 rounds. Except for periodic pauses, the voting continues until a new pontiff is elected.

When a successor is elected, the ballots are burned dry to produce the white smoke that signals the church has a new pope.

via Contenders in Line to be Pope – WSJ.com.

And I also did a quick review of popes … List of popes – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

“Solvitur Ambulando”  – It is solved by walking, labyrinth walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Lenten practices: 

I took a nighttime walk on February 11. It is 62° in Charlotte and so warm that I am walking in shoes flats with no socks like it’s summertime. I am wearing only a sweater, too.
The walk was quite nice, my first nighttime walk on the Avondale labyrinth. It is not well lighted, so I am making my way partly from limited visibility and partly from memory. Their are branches from the recent storms on the labyrinth.
I can’t wait to start my Lenten practice of walking a labyrinth  “almost daily”. Forty two days of walking and solving, I am very very excited.

IMG_5524 IMG_5517 IMG_5521 IMG_5522 IMG_5516

Marthame Sanders, Sermon: Changing God,  i feast therefore i am, Transfiguration Sunday: As I mentioned yesterday, I loved my own pastor’s sermon yesterday, but since I follow Mathame, I really enjoyed his as well … and they are very different.

When it comes to the church, I think we can fear change because we think we are messing with something that is eternal and unchanging. In other words, rather than asking God to change us, we worry that are trying to change God (or, at least, repackage God) in order to please people. I also think that this fear comes from a good place. Is the change we implement a cop out? When we do things like broaden our styles of music, or project worship information on a screen or a wall, are we dumbing down faith, cheapening it? Or are we using current technology in the way that Martin Luther utilized the new-fangled printing press to spread the word of God? Or, perhaps, is there something else altogether at stake?

And that is the challenge of Transfiguration, of trusting in a God who changes us more than we could ever change God. You see, the temptation of that moment on the mountain top is to stay there. Peter wants to build shrines, to preserve the spectacle in a way that it would last. The truth is that these moments are often fleeting. We get glimpses of heaven here. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the celebratory feeling of a full Sanctuary on Christmas Eve; or the intimate power of footwashing on Maundy Thursday; or the intellectual and spiritual challenge of Bible study; or the blessed gift of serving in the Food Pantry or Habitat or Journey or the Bargain Shop. There are moments in our life as a church that we are tempted to think, “If only it could be like this all of the time!” If only we could enshrine these moments and live within them now and forever. If only…

But that’s the thing: the purpose of these moments is not the possibility of their permanence. Their very power is in the fact that they are fleeting. The question is whether we are open to allowing them to change us…now and forever.

What is that moment today? Where is your glimpse of the kingdom going to be? Will you recognize it when you see it? Will you make room for it to change you?

via Changing God « i feast therefore i am.

Jerry Sandusky, faith, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, CNN Belief Blog: Although I did not attend this session, my cohort in crime did … And I came away wondering what was Sandusky’s faith and how had his faith home responded to the Sandusky’s crimes.  Did St. Paul’s United Methodist Church exhibit “moral courage?”

Ethical Action and the Penn State Scandal: Lessons for Lawyers

Kimberly J. Strom-Gottfried, Smith P. Theimann Distinguished Professor for Ethics and Professional Practice, UNC School of Social Work

this session will explore ethical issues raised by the Penn State football scandal, most particularly, the ethical dilemmas raised by actions by Jerry Sandusky in connection with the campus football program and Sandusky’s Second Mile charity developed to help disadvantaged young people.

Ed Zeiders, the senior pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, did not shy away from addressing the conviction of his congregant and friend on child sex abuse charges, asking his congregation to “pray for all of those who are victims and for all of those who are predators.”

Zeiders began his sermon with a question.

“In light of the misery, sorrow and suffering we see, affecting every aspect of our life, within us, in the midst of us, and around us – what are we to do,” he asked. “The world needs an answer, our community deserves an answer, and we need to answer together what is the most efficacious way to move forward from here.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories

Saying that the eyes of the nation are fixed on the State College community and, to some degree, on the community of St Paul’s, Zeiders said that “in the midst of the raging storms around us” the church had an opportunity.

“If ever a local congregation has been given a moment to…..reveal what it means to be Christian,” Zeiders said, “this is that congregation in this moment in history.”

Zeiders spoke to what he said was the transformative power and saving grace of God, making a connection between faith and ethical behavior. “If we are to claim Jesus as savior,” he said, “we must, without fail, come face-to-face with our own morality.”

via Sandusky’s pastor addresses conviction from pulpit – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

Rep. Rick Nolan (MN -D), Constitutional Amendment, Citizens United: This will be interesting to watch.

A Democratic Minnesota congressman is introducing a constitutional amendment designed to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case that lifted many restrictions on corporate spending in political elections.

Rep. Rick Nolan unveiled the proposal on Monday along with members of Move to Amend, a grassroots coalition that has been seeking support on the local level in communities for the amendment. They say political campaign spending should not be a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

The 2010 Citizens United ruling paved the way for a flood of campaign cash from corporations, unions and wealthy interests.

Any effort to amend the U.S. Constitution faces daunting hurdles.

Supporters of the Citizens United decision say it upholds the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

via Rick Nolan, Minnesota Democrat, Unveils Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United.

Pioneers! O Space Pioneers!, Walt Whitman, NASA,  mashup, Brain Pickings:

“Conquering, holding, daring, venturing as we go the unknown ways, Pioneers! O pioneers!”

On the heels of yesterday’s animated adaptation of Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot and Ray Bradbury’s passionate case for space exploration earlier this week comes a dynamic mashup of Walt Whitman’s poem “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” and awe-inspiring footage of mankind’s cosmic triumphs. Conceived before Neil Armstrong’s passing but released this past Labor Day, the video pays homage to the beloved pioneer and casts a hopeful eye towards the future of space exploration.

via Pioneers! O Space Pioneers! A Walt Whitman + NASA Mashup | Brain Pickings.

Chicago, bars,  best bar in the world,  Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert’s Journal, The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer, The Host, The Geriatric Genius: I just like this Ebert post. 🙂

Bea’s gift inspired Bruce’s blog, The Geriatric Genius, in which Elliott shows himself in the direct line of descent from the Host in the 15th century The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s character is the central figure and narrator of the Tales, the one who knows all the others and is their common bond, yet rarely takes an active role during their pilgrimage. It is he who names them, convenes their nightly meetings, observes what they do, hears their secrets, and tells of their weaknesses.

And briefly, when the sun had gone to rest,

So had I spoken with them, every one,

That I was of their fellowship anon,

And made agreement that we’d early rise

To take the road, as you I will apprise.

But none the less, whilst I have time and space,

Before yet farther in this tale I pace,

It seems to me accordant with reason

To inform you of the state of every one

Of all of these, as it appeared to me,

And who they were, and what was their degree,

And even how arrayed there at the inn.

The Host relates the stories of such as the Wife of Bath, the Nun’s Priest, the Three Rioters and Old John the Carpenter, “who foolishly marries a lively young girl.” Bruce’s blog follows the nightly adventures of such regulars as Street Jimmy, Bruce Faggypants, Ruben Nine Toes, D Train, Porn Star, the Cougar, Buzzkill, Larry Asshole, Connie the Crack Whore, Craig the Drunk, Fatal Attraction, Sleepy John, Johnny Ale, and the Counselor, waging their battles against reality. Many people without code names also come in, including talent from Second City across the street and Zanie’s comedy club around the corner, and yuppies, cops, robbers and respectable yuppies–whose tales don’t interest Bruce. Yuppies visited the bar twice in the recent indie movie “Other Children,” which completely failed to capture its character.

via The best bar in the world that I know about – Roger Ebert’s Journal.

Commencement Speeches, lists, Conan O’Brien, failure, Brain Pickings:  I think my favorite is Conan’s …

For decades, in show business, the ultimate goal of every comedian was to host The Tonight Show. It was the Holy Grail, and like many people I thought that achieving that goal would define me as successful. But that is not true. No specific job or career goal defines me, and it should not define you. In 2000 — in 2000 — I told graduates to not be afraid to fail, and I still believe that. But today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.

via 5½ Timeless Commencement Speeches to Teach You to Define Your Own Success | Brain Pickings.

St. Francis of Assisi, quotes, art, Rawforbeauty:

via Rawforbeauty.

Apple, Curved-Glass Smart Watch, Dick Tracy, Inspector Gadget , James Bond, NYTimes.com: Dick Tracy … Inspector Gadget  … James Bond … me 🙂

Dick Tracy and James Bond had watches that served as computers. Tim Cook of Apple wears a Nike FuelBand, which tracks his physical activity.

Dick Tracy had one. As did Inspector Gadget and James Bond. A watch that doubled as a computer, two-way radio, mapping device or television.

Though such a device has been lost to science fiction comics and spy movies of the era before smartphones, the smart watch might soon become a reality, in the form of a curved glass device made by Apple.

via Disruptions: Apple Is Said to Be Developing a Curved-Glass Smart Watch – NYTimes.com.

Les Miserables, Victor Hugo, civil war, Civil War, random, NYTimes.com: Random, but a very interesting tie-in …

Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” was published in 1862 and English translations of the five parts that constitute the novel began to appear in America by year’s end. Hugo had begun the sprawling novel in the 1840s, put it aside, and come back to complete it between 1860 and 1862. He was an opponent of slavery, and in 1859 defended John Brown. “Insurrection,” he said, was a “sacred duty.” In the novel, Hugo name-checked Brown in a list of celebrated revolutionaries that included Washington, Bolivar and Garibaldi. Hugo’s focus was the July Revolution of 1830, but it is possible he had the American conflict in mind when he wrote, “Civil war … What did the words mean? Was there any such thing as ‘foreign war?’ Was not all warfare between men warfare between brothers?”

via In Camp, Reading ‘Les Miserables’ – NYTimes.com

Jazzy Vegetarian, Public Television, Blog Talk Radio: I think I will have to record this … Jazzy Vegetarian, Season 2 on Public Television 02/06 by The Jazzy Vegetarian | Blog Talk Radio.

2013 snow storm,  NYC, Bloomberg:  6 more inches to NYC!

A fast-moving storm is expected to drop new snow from the mid-Atlantic area to southern New England, including New York City and Long Island, the day after tomorrow, according to Brian Edwards at AccuWeather Inc.

A “narrow band of nuisance snow” will spread from the Ohio River Valley into Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia during the day Feb. 13, and snow may start in New York, Long Island and southern New England after dark, said Edwards, based in State College, Pennsylvania.

via Fast-Moving Storm May Bring 6 More Inches of Snow to NYC – Bloomberg.

Downton Abbey, #DowntonPBS, Twitter:  A few of my favorites from last night:

VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair)

2/10/13, 9:30 PM

Edith, post-Edwardian Gail Collins, hums “Stronger” while marching out of the newspaper offices. #DowntonPBS

2/10/13, 9:35 PM

Enrollment in the Downton Malfeasance Society now open to new members. Bring your brooms. #DowntonPBS

Laurel Ann Nattress (@Austenprose)

2/10/13, 9:47 PM

Mrs. Hughes now the new philosophical wit at Downton. #DowntonPBS

Laurel Ann Nattress (@Austenprose)

2/10/13, 10:01 PM

RT @EmmaDVelez: RT @theLadyGrantham: Well, that is an easy caveat to accept, because I am never wrong. #DowntonPBS

18
Jan
11

1.18.2011 … return to normal routine … kinda nice …

faith, mountaintop experience:  I have asked my kids if they have had a mountaintop experience.  They look at me like I am crazy.  I like this bloggers description of the experience.

The Mountaintop Experience

At some moments we experience complete unity within us and around us. This may happen when we stand on a mountaintop and are captivated by the view. It may happen when we witness the birth of a child or the death of a friend. It may happen when we have an intimate conversation or a family meal. It may happen in church during a service or in a quiet room during prayer. But whenever and however it happens we say to ourselves: “This is it … everything fits … all I ever hoped for is here.”

This is the experience that Peter, James, and John had on the top of Mount Tabor when they saw the aspect of Jesus’ face change and his clothing become sparkling white. They wanted that moment to last forever (see Luke 9:28-36). This is the experience of the fullness of time. These moments are given to us so that we can remember them when God seems far away and everything appears empty and useless. These experiences are true moments of grace.

via December 19, 2010 – The Mountaintop Experience.

followup, education, college:  lack of rigor … I think this book/study will be given lots of attention.

“How much are students actually learning in contemporary higher education? The answer for many undergraduates, we have concluded, is not much,” write the authors, Richard Arum, professor of sociology and education at New York University, and Josipa Roksa, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. For many undergraduates, they write, “drifting through college without a clear sense of purpose is readily apparent.”

The research findings at the core of the book are also being released today by their sponsor, the Social Science Research Council. (Esther Cho of the council is a co-author on that paper.)

The main culprit for lack of academic progress of students, according to the authors, is a lack of rigor. They review data from student surveys to show, for example, that 32 percent of students each semester do not take any courses with more than 40 pages of reading assigned a week, and that half don’t take a single course in which they must write more than 20 pages over the course of a semester. Further, the authors note that students spend, on average, only about 12-14 hours a week studying, and that much of this time is studying in groups.

via News: ‘Academically Adrift’ – Inside Higher Ed.

corporations, Wal-mart, South Africa:  Will be interesting to see if Wal-Mart is successful.  After spending 2 weeks in South Africa … I saw poverty, not a growing middle class.  But the poverty is so great, that maybe I did not look around the corners to see the successes.

A South African chain’s shareholders have overwhelmingly accepted Wal-Mart’s offer to buy 51 percent of their company, the chief executive said Monday, paving the way for the giant U.S.-based retailer to enter Africa.

Massmart said the proposal was approved by 97 percent of shareholders who voted Monday — 75 percent had been needed. Wal-Mart offered 148 rand (about $20) per share in a 17 billion rand (about $2 billion) deal. (See 10 perfect jobs for the recession — and after.)

The deal will have to be approved by South Africa’s anti-monopoly regulators.

Massmart CEO Grant Pattison said once the deal goes through, Massmart will continue to operate the stores and continue to be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, while Wal-Mart will be the main owner. Massmart runs about 290 big box, pharmacy, electronics and other stores in 14 African countries.

“They are a great retailer and we really are looking forward to learning something from them, and teaching them something about Africa,” Pattison told The Associated Press. “We’re excited because they’re coming as our partners.”

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, has 8,692 stores in 15 countries, among them Brazil, China and India. But it has not until now ventured into Africa.

South Africa has the most developed economy on a continent slowly emerging from grinding poverty, and one that fared better than other parts of the world during the global recession. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company has concluded that global business cannot afford to ignore Africa’s potential, or its growing middle class. The World Bank has said the continent is finally seeing the results of years of market reforms and investment in education and health care.

Business here has welcomed Walmart’s arrival as recognition of the potential of the continent’s economy, and of the reach South African retailers have throughout Africa.

via South Africans Accept Walmart Bid – TIME.

tv, documentary v. docudrama, v. historical fiction:  I can’t see how this can be done when some of the players are still alive.

But people familiar with the discussions of the History board say that when it convened at the end of 2010, its unease about the accuracy of “The Kennedys” was more than sufficient to turn it against the project.

Neither Mr. Dallek nor Mr. Gillon felt the mini-series met History’s standards. The board was also said to be strongly influenced by memos from the historians detailing remaining factual inaccuracies and errors, a board member said. When the final votes were tallied, “The Kennedys” had lost its United States broadcaster.

Michael Prupas, president and chief executive of Muse Entertainment, said the mini-series was “based on the truth, and if anything is a positive, very positive presentation of the Kennedy family.” In a joint statement with Muse, Asylum Entertainment said it was proud of the “painstaking efforts that went into creating a drama that is compelling while rich in historic detail.”

Whatever happens with “The Kennedys,” Mr. Reeves offered a prediction about America’s fascination with that family:

“People thought it would end with a certain generation, and it won’t end because they are cultural figures. The Kennedys are never going away.”

via History Channel’s Decision to Forgo ‘The Kennedys’ – NYTimes.com.

random, Jane Austen: Just enjoyed this interview with Alison Steadman who portrayed Mrs. Bennet in the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice.

Alison Steadman

The first time I saw a fox as a child I was beside myself with joy. I still have the same sense of delight now. The news stories about urban foxes upset me. Let them dig up your bulbs.

Abigail’s Party never goes away. Nor does Mrs Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. And now taxi drivers shout “Pamelaaaaa!” [from Gavin & Stacey] across the street.

You can’t knock things being popular, particularly with young kids. I walked past this gang of boys on bikes and someone said: “Hey, it’s Pamela!” They all raced up saying: “Please, miss!” They were so enthusiastic – it was really nice.

via m.guardian.co.uk.

random, twitter, woman cave:  What would you have in your woman cave?  Actually the concept of a female version of a “man cave” seems impossible.

@kabster728 Katie Boehret

I now know two friends who created “woman caves” in their houses. I love this trend! Ladies, what would you put in your woman cave?

via Twitter / @Katie Boehret: I now know two friends who ….

“bridge to nowhere”, Perry GA, Georgia:  Oops … looks like Perry GA has a “bridge to nowhere” …

Every weekend, Michael Morris and his 2-year-old son, Jacob, visit this small town’s enormous new $14 million fishing museum. They watch bream and bass swim in aquarium-size tanks. They play with an interactive model of a fishing boat and try to catch fish on a computer simulation using a rod and reel connected to a video screen.

Georgia faces $1.6 million a year in bond payments and operating costs as it considers cuts to scholarships and health care. More Photos »

And because the museum, the Go Fish Georgia Educational Center, is primarily financed by the state, their father-and-son outings cost only $5.

“It’s amazing,” said Mr. Morris, a car salesman and recreational fisherman. “When Jacob gets old enough, I hope this will be part of what makes him really get into fishing.”

But not all Georgia taxpayers are so thrilled. Even before the museum opened in October, “Go Fish” had become shorthand in state political circles for wasteful spending. Republicans and Democrats alike groaned over $1.6 million a year in bond payments and operating costs. And even supporters concede that the museum would never have gotten financed in 2007 if the legislature knew where the economy was headed.

“Hindsight is 20/20, but we should have seen this one coming,” said State Senator George Hooks, an Americus Democrat on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.

via New Fishing Museum Becomes Symbol of Waste in Georgia – NYTimes.com.

random, archaeology, lists:  interesting list … Top Ten Archaeological Discoveries of 2010 | History Today.

Starbucks, BIG:  Why is bigger always better?

Hey, caffeine addicts, Starbucks has a new size for you if your decaf Venti soy almond cappuccino simply isn’t cutting it–it’s the Trenta, and it’s going to supersize your much needed fix in the morning.

(Read about how Starbucks reacted to McDonald’s introduction of coffee.)

But there’s a catch: it’ll only be available for iced coffee, iced tea and iced tea lemonade drinks. The Trenta is seven ounces bigger than the Venti, and will cost about 50 cents more than the currently-priced Venti drinks. Starbucks also promises that the drinks will be kept to less than 230 calories, nipping all those calorie increase concerns in the bud.

via Supersize Your Coffee: Starbucks Debuts the “Trenta” – TIME NewsFeed.

random, James Earl Jones, icons:  Loved this article … his name even sounds like his voice sounds … Isn’t that an onomatpoeia?  “iconic voice” … loved that … who else has an iconic voice?

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that James Earl Jones is an actual person with a head and arms and legs rather than just the disembodied voice he so often seems to be. Jones, who turns 80 today, has acted for over five decades in theater, television, and film. But it’s his voice — low, resonating, authoritative — that lingers in the minds of audiences. That steady bass, behind such memorable lines as “Luke, I am your father” and “This is CNN,” is easily among the most iconic in history.

via A Brief History of James Earl Jones’ Voice – TIME.

Starbucks, business model: Seems like a stupid fight for a lot of bad press.

Each year since 2008, members of the Industrial Workers of the World Starbucks Workers Union had demonstrated on Martin Luther King’s Birthday, protesting that the company’s baristas who worked on the holiday were not given holiday wages.

On Monday, members of the organization held a roving demonstration in Lower Manhattan that they said was organized to celebrate Starbucks’ new policy to pay its employees – called “partners” by the company – time and half for working on the King holiday. Workers said that beginning Starbucks employees are paid around $9 to $10 an hour in New York, which is higher than the minimum wage in the state.

“It took three years to get time-and-a-half pay on Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” a Starbucks worker and group member who gave her name as Liberty Locke announced to the crowd in front of a Starbucks at Union Square East. “It took a lot of marches in New York City and a lot of actions in other cities, petitions, partner surveys, mission reviews, demand letters, calling and calling and calling.”

via Starbucks Workers Celebrate, and Protest – NYTimes.com.

Apple, Steve Jobs: Interesting  bios on other key players at Apple.

Earlier, I wrote about how while Steve Jobs’ second medical leave may be unfortunate, it isn’t likely to derail Apple, because the company has a strong executive roster. It’s not exactly clear who would be first in line to fill Jobs’ shoes in the eventuality that a permanent replacement becomes necessary, but a shortage of good candidates is the least of Apple’s worries. Here’s a detailed look at those candidates.

via The Current Succession Picture at Apple: Apple News, Tips and Reviews «.

Apple, Steve Jobs: Quick recovery for Steve Jobs.

Tomorrow, AAPL stock will get repeatedly kicked in the face. It’ll be down 10–20% because of idiots don’t realize that Apple’s not the same company it was 20 years ago and ignoring the upcoming iPad 2 and iPhone 5, among other things. It will thrive in the next two to three years, thanks to the current product pipeline.

Apple now has plenty of capable people, and although Jobs is a visionary, it’s not like he’s alone in dreaming up Apple products and then refining them for prime-time in his office. Tim Cook, Jonathan Ive, Phil Schiller and others are ‘Apple’ too, and Cook’s already been a great ‘acting CEO’ for the company before.

Apple is not, and never has been, just Steve Jobs. The company is so big now, it’s like 10 separate business — tablets, phones, digital media, retail stores — and they are all brilliantly run. As analyst Charlie Wolf told the New York Times, Apple’s executive team is the one of the greatest in American business.

As I argue in my book about Jobs, Inside Steve’s Brain, he has managed to turn his personality into Apple’s business processes. His perfectionism, obsessive drive for excellence, his instinct for simplicity and great design, have all become hallmarks of how Apple does things.

For example, Apple’s ability to create innovative products springs directly from Job’s relentless striving for perfection.

Jobs’ perfectionism, for example, has created at Apple a unique product development process that is based on the rigorous prototyping of new products.

via Why Apple Will Be OK Without Steve Jobs [Opinion] | Cult of Mac.

Sarah Palin, politics: And why are we all so fascinated with Sarah Palin?

And so, to Mr. Douthat’s chicken-and-egg dilemma — which came first: Ms. Palin or the media’s sometimes obsessive coverage of her? — we might want to add a third actor: the audience.

It’s clear that Ms. Palin triggers great interest among the public. When Ms. Palin was first announced as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, her Wikipedia page received 2.5 million views on the day of the announcement, as compared to 0.7 million for Joe Biden. Her most recent book, America By Heart, debuted at #2 on the New York Times’ Best Seller List (just behind Mr. Bush’s). Her reality show got almost 5 million viewers in its debut — a huge number for a cable program — although its viewership subsequently declined.

Coverage of Ms. Palin may also not be quite as disproportionate as it might seem: according to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, only 0.04 percent of the coverage in major newspapers, and 0.2 percent of coverage on the network news, was devoted to Ms. Palin in 2010 — although the figure was much higher for MSNBC (1.6 percent) and for Fox News (1.1 percent).

All of this, needless to say, makes Ms. Palin’s task very challenging. In delivering comments like the ones she did on the Tucson tragedy last week, she must consider their effect on at least four different audiences: Republican base voters who will vote in next year’s primaries; independent and moderate voters who will vote in next year’s general election; Republican elites — in Washington and elsewhere — who are growing more skeptical about her electoral viability; and the news media itself, which will scrutinize, amplify, and analyze her words, in different ways and in greater volumes than they would for any other politician.

via Sarah Palin and the Media Symbiosis – NYTimes.com.

15
Jan
11

1.15.2011 … MLK weekend … plan to travel north tomorrow … hope the snow/ice is melted!

culture, politics:  David Brooks takes a different approach to our current lack of civility.

But over the past few decades, people have lost a sense of their own sinfulness. Children are raised amid a chorus of applause. Politics has become less about institutional restraint and more about giving voters whatever they want at that second. Joe DiMaggio didn’t ostentatiously admire his own home runs, but now athletes routinely celebrate themselves as part of the self-branding process.

So, of course, you get narcissists who believe they or members of their party possess direct access to the truth. Of course you get people who prefer monologue to dialogue. Of course you get people who detest politics because it frustrates their ability to get 100 percent of what they want. Of course you get people who gravitate toward the like-minded and loathe their political opponents. They feel no need for balance and correction.

Beneath all the other things that have contributed to polarization and the loss of civility, the most important is this: The roots of modesty have been carved away.

via Tree of Failure – NYTimes.com.

culture, politics, quotes:  The David Brooks’ op-ed piece closed with this Reinhold Niebuhr quote:

In a famous passage, Reinhold Niebuhr put it best: “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. … Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.”

via Tree of Failure – NYTimes.com.

faith, prayer:  This makes me think of Jill Bolte Taylor’s A Stroke of Insight.

Prayer is the bridge between our conscious and unconscious lives. Often there is a large abyss between our thoughts, words, and actions, and the many images that emerge in our daydreams and night dreams. To pray is to connect these two sides of our lives by going to the place where God dwells. Prayer is “soul work” because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one and where God is with us in the most intimate way.

Thus, we must pray without ceasing so that we can become truly whole and holy.

via January 15, 2011 – Building Inner Bridges.

random, astrology, science:  I am a Capricorn?  No, no I am an Aquarius … a water carrier … a balancer ..

So, you’ve spent your whole life happily smug in your star sign. You’re a fish! Swimming in two directions! You’re intuitive, imaginative, unworldly! And then today’s Web is aflame with the news: You are not a Pisces. You are an Aquarius. Your star sign has been wrong your whole life. All along, you’ve been a freaking water carrier. This is not cool.

According to Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, cool or not, it’s written in the stars. Star signs were created some 2,000 years ago by tracking where the sun was in the sky each month. However, the moon’s gravitational pull has slowly moved the Earth in its axis, creating about a one-month bump in the stars’ alignment, reports the Minnesota Star Tribune. Now, during what we think as the month of Pisces, the sun is actually in the sign of Aries.

The new dates would therefore be:

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16

Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11

Pisces: March 11-April 18

Aries: April 18-May 13

Taurus: May 13-June 21

Gemini: June 21-July 20

Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10

Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16

Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30

Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23

Scorpio: Nov. 23-Dec. 17

Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20

via BlogPost – New Zodiac sign dates: Don’t switch horoscopes yet.

college, college application process, elite schools:

Harvard, has received  nearly 35,000 applications from high school seniors seeking admission to the next freshman class — an increase of nearly 15 percent over last year and more than 50 percent since four years ago, according to statistics released by Harvard today.

If last year’s admissions process is any guide, fewer than 10 percent will be offered admission.

What is fueling this increase, which is being mirrored, yet again, at other highly selective private colleges? In Harvard’s case, at least part of the answer surely lies in the sweeteners it has added to its financial aid packages in recent years.

As many other colleges, private and public, are struggling to meet demand for scholarships, Harvard requires “no contribution from families with annual incomes below $60,000,” according to today’s release, “and asks, on average, no more than 10 percent of income from families with typical assets who make up to $180,000.”

via College Admissions Advice – The Choice Blog – NYTimes.com.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, NASA, politics:  Unique relationship between our space program and our federal government … “it marked Giffords as the only lawmaker ever to watch a spouse launched into space.”

NASA’s selection Thursday of a backup commander for astronaut Mark Kelly served as a reminder that the shooting in Tucson affected another community nearly as much as Capitol Hill — the one affiliated with America’s manned space programs.

For critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and Kelly had become the first couple of space exploration, a unique, high-profile team that took to the national stage as some of the most critical decisions in the history of U.S. human spaceflight were on the agenda.

The partnership between the lawmaker and the space shuttle commander, who had been scheduled to lead a flight in April, added a glamorous sheen to a venture whose luster had dimmed. But more important, the relationship between the two had significant political and policy implications as the nation undertook its first major debate over manned spaceflight since the end of the Apollo program that sent Americans to the moon.

The marriage between Giffords, a rising political star, and Kelly, a veteran of three space shuttle missions and a decorated Navy combat pilot, took place just months after she was first sworn in as a House member in 2007, and it marked Giffords as the only lawmaker ever to watch a spouse launched into space.

“It gave her an insider’s view of the space program and gave her an opportunity to really know a different side of the space program than any of us ever had an opportunity to know,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a close friend of Giffords and Kelly, told POLITICO on Tuesday.

via The astronaut by her side – Kasie Hunt – POLITICO.com.

pirates, Blackbeard, kith/kin:  New discoveries … and by the way, we used to tease our son Edward Teague that he was descended from Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard)!

But archaeologists now suspect theyve found one more clue behind the pirates menace: what could very well be Blackbeards sword, or at least part of it. National Geographic published photos released by a team that has for over a decade been excavating the Queen Annes Revenge, which was Blackbeards flagship until it ran aground in an inlet off the coast of North Carolina in 1718. These include fragments of a gilded hilt and pommel, possibly of French design Blackbeards ship was a retrofitted French merchant vessel. The shipwreck has been worked on since 1997.

via Blackbeard’s Sword, Found! Archaeologists Discover Pirate Treasure Off North Carolina Coast – TIME NewsFeed.

restaurants, farm to table, Charlotte, Halcyon:  Had lunch at Halcyon on 1/14 … excellent …  will go again!

2010 turned out, with a rush in the last months, to be a decent new-restaurant year – as unlikely a prospect as that seemed a year ago. Here are the ones that opened that year that I found best, in no particular order, along with a list of the ones I’m most excited about that are slated to open in 2011.

1. Halcyon. A craft- (rather than art-) inspired spot in the new Mint Museum uptown, it has dubbed its style “Farm House Chic” and emphasizes a seasonal menu relying on area products. Chef Marc Jacksina continues to tinker with the menus; the spot opened at Thanksgiving. But the look is breathtaking, and to offer cold pan duck? It’s a great start.

via Charlotte’s best new restaurants of 2010 – CharlotteObserver.com.

restaurants, Charlotte, The Penguin, The Diamond:

Now, for 2011, I’m anticipating:

The much-rumored filling of several available spaces, including (but hardly limited to) uptown and the north, plus bursts of activity in south Charlotte. For example, if leases go through, look for:

Delta’s to go into the former G.W. Fins space on North Tryon Street, opening in June with a live-music supper club kind of vibe (R&B and jazz) and a menu duplicating the New Jersey original, with Cajun and other Southern fare.

AZN Restaurant, spun from a Florida original by the folks who also have Silk in Atlanta, to go into a new spot in Piedmont Town Center; it’s a Chinese-Japanese-Thai-Korean-Vietnamese-sushi concept.

The Diamond. This home cooking spot in Plaza Midwood, the revamping of a Charlotte classic, is slated to open this month, I’m told. It might. I – along with a legion of others, if one looks at Facebook – am ready!

And, it follows logically, the Penguin: It will be fascinating to see what happens when this storied landmark burger-etc. place reopens under new management, as it is slated to do Saturday. Those who followed the neighborhood-classic throwdown know that emotions run high about these last two places and that loyalties are at stake, not just foodstuffs.

Barbecue from longtime Charlotte restaurateur Frank Scibelli in Plaza Midwood – and though chef Jim Noble has his hands full between his Rooster’s and King’s Kitchen, I’m going to continue to keep an eye on his love of barbecue and where that might go.

via Charlotte’s best new restaurants of 2010 – CharlotteObserver.com.

The President, politics, culture, kudos:  Well done, Mr. President.

I begin grouchily to underscore the sincerity of the praise that follows. About a third of the way through, the speech took on real meaning and momentum, and by the end it was very good, maybe great. The speech had a proper height. It was large-spirited and dealt with big things. It was adroit and without rancor. The president didn’t mourn, he inspirited.

The heart of Mr. Obama’s speech asked a question. The lives of those who died, and the actions of the heroes of the day, pose a challenge. What is required of us now, how do we honor them?

Here, deftly, he addressed the destructive media debate that followed the tragedy. But he approached the subject with compassion and sympathy. It is human nature to try to explain things to ourselves, to “try and impose some order on the chaos,” to say this happened because of that. And so we debate, and consider causes and motivations. Much of this is good, but not all. “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized,” we are too eager to lay to blame “at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do.” It is important that we talk to each other “in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.” Scripture tells us “that there is evil in the world.” We don’t know what triggered the attack, but “what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other.”

Lack of civility did not cause this tragedy, but “only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make [the victims] proud.”

In saying this, the president took the air out of all the accusations and counter accusations. By the end of the speech they were yesterday’s story.

via Obama Rises to the Challenge – WSJ.com.

followup, weather, Wilmette, Chicago: I had forgotten about the post snow icy crust … Reminds me of my Chicago days!

travel, adventure, South Africa, new terms, kloofing:  Since John never reads this I do not have to fear him seeing this … otherwise I think I might be doing it for my 30th!  Actually it looks kinda fun.

A kloof, in the South African language of Afrikaans, is a canyon. And kloofing is the sport of going up and down them, usually down. Attached to a rope and climbing harness, kloofers may walk backwards off a 150-foot cliff; straddle a rush of whitewater down a mossy embankment; or leap into chilly pools fed by waterfalls.

My guide into the world of kloofing was Teuns Kok, a 40-year-old professional transport planner. Mr. Kok specializes in making urban walkways safe and accessible for school children and the handicapped. The same principle applies when he goes kloofing in South Africa’s rugged mountains.

In 2001, Mr. Kok and a few friends pioneered a route down Ostrich Kloof, outside the South African wine-making capital of Stellenbosch, where he lives. He has since guided select groups of friends and visitors down the kloof’s hidden waterfalls and shady gullies—but they must be willing to entrust their lives to his ropes, makeshift anchor points and route planning.

The extreme sport of kloofing involves climbing up mountains and, typically, leaning back over the abyss and rappelling back down into steep canyons, or “kloofs,” with lots of water.

In other countries, including the U.S., kloofing is known as “canyoneering.” But South Africa’s sandstone domes and verdant scrubland give the sport its own natural draws. It now has an avid following.

via Kloofing: Between a Rock and a Waterfall – WSJ.com.

14
Jan
11

1.14.2011 … still have the icy crust … but it is SUNNY!

politics, culture: Well said …

We are fast becoming an uncivil society. This is occurring notwithstanding acts of kindness and consideration by many of our citizens. Nowhere is this more evident than in politics and government. Whether in Albany, Harrisburg, Washington, Trenton or any state capitol, nastiness seems to be the order of the day. Each side is bent on demonizing the other. The immediate reaction to the horrifying shooting in Tucson exemplified this. Almost before any concern was shown about the condition of the victims, the blame-game, finger-pointing and name-calling began. It is so bad it seemes to have shocked us all into deep reflection on what our democracy has become. One can only hope that it will cause everyone — politicians and citizens alike — to realize that lack of civility is tearing the fabric of our nation apart.

via Ed Rendell – Are We Becoming An Uncivil Society? – TIME.

faith, prayer:

Our ability to think is our greatest gift, but it is also the source of our greatest pain. Do we have to become victims of our unceasing thoughts? No, we can convert our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer by making our inner monologue into a continuing dialogue with our God, who is the source of all love.Let’s break out of our isolation and realize that Someone who dwells in the center of our beings wants to listen with love to all that occupies and preoccupies our minds.

via January 14, 2011 – From Unceasing Thinking to Unceasing Prayer.

advertising: promercial …  … …

… “promercial” … That’s when broadcasters run commercials to let viewers know about upcoming product placement in their favorite television shows.

It might sound like a joke, but last week, ABC premiered the first promercial, for the January 5th episode of Cougar Town, which heavily featured placement for Diet Dr. Pepper. Ahead of the episode, ABC ran promos that ran during episodes of Desperate Housewives, The Middle and Modern Family that described Cougar Town as “unbelievably satisfying, like Diet Dr. Pepper.”

f this kind of thing continues, how long before we get a prepromercial to let us know that there might be an advertisement to tell us about the advertisement hidden in real content somewhere in our future?

via ABC, Dr. Pepper Create World’s First “Promercial” – Techland – TIME.com.

economy, China:  Game over?

Almost half of Americans (47%) think it’s China, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, while only 31% think the United States is still out front.

With Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao are scheduled to meet in Washinton D.C. next week.

Game over. No wonder China comes out top in a list of countries representing the “greatest danger” to the U.S., just above North Korea — and well above Iran — in the same poll.

In fact, the U.S. economy is about three times the size of China’s in nominal terms, and its GDP per capita is roughly 10 times bigger. But when it comes to popular perceptions of China in America, those facts apparently don’t matter. Ahead of President Obama’s meeting next week with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, the one statistic everybody is looking at is the alarming unemployment rate, hovering just below 10%. For China, it’s around 4%.

Americans are worried about jobs, and China is widely perceived as stealing them, through mercantilist trade policies, an undervalued currency and other underhanded methods. The same poll finds that 53% of respondents think the U.S. should get tougher with China on economic and trade issues.

via Americans See China as No. 1 – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

10
Jan
11

1.10.2011 … hopes fulfilled … snow day! … 11am – moment of silence for Arizona victims …

Arizona Massacre, moment of silence: I am not usually watching tv during the day, but I found it emotional and binding to watch the President and First lady come out of the White House and observe a moment of silence.

“Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time, I call on Americans to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives. It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart.”

The President will observe the moment of silence with White House staff on the South Lawn. The moment of silence will be pooled press.

Today, the President has signed a proclamation calling for flags to be flown at half-staff.

Also, the planned trip by the President to Schenectady, New York, on Tuesday, January 11, to the General Electric energy division is postponed. The trip is expected to be rescheduled.

via President Obama Calls for Moment of Silence for Victims of Shooting in Tucson, Arizona | The White House.

moment of silence, history:

The idea for a Remembrance Day silence was first suggested by Australian journalist Edward George Honey in a letter to The Times in May 1919. He was thinking of a five-minute silence but that was thought too long. One minute was deemed too short.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_of_silence

followup, weather, Charlotte:  Yesterday I was hoping for –*–*–*–*–*–*.  Sometimes you get what you wish for!

Snow started about 3:30 a.m. and came down heavily for several hours before lessening after daybreak. Forecasters say snow will fall intermittently much of this afternoon before changing to sleet by sunset and eventually to freezing drizzle later tonight.

“We expect another 2 to 4 inches of snow today in the Piedmont,” Anthony Sturey, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said late Monday morning.

Jen Thompson, of the N.C. Department of Transportation, said road crews are working to gets roads in better shape but are contending with continuing snowfall and temperatures in the lower 20s.

“We’re still working to get bare pavement exposed,” Thompson said.

The storm has not spared places that typically do not see wintry precipitation.

Up to 5 inches of snow fell in the Columbia area, and from 4 to 6 inches accumulated in the sandhills corridor from Florence to Fayetteville. Freezing rain also fell Monday morning in Charleston.

via Major winter storm could bring 6 to 9 inches to Charlotte area – CharlotteObserver.com.

sports, skiing/snow boarding. equipment:  Looking for recommendations for helmets for my boys.  Any suggestions?

One of a new breed of helmets that can be used for skiing, skating and biking. It comes with a removable liner so it will keep you warm in winter but cool in summer. £74.95, http://www.bernunlimited.com/Home

via FT.com / Pursuits – Kitbag: snowboarding.

architecture, home, heritage, culture:  Loved this article … makes you really think about the purpose of a house … is it for today or tomorrow?

The very idea of heritage is, of course, modernist. It indicates a consciousness of our place outside – or beyond – history, as super-historic rather than as a seamless part of it. The relentless neophilism of contemporary design, the obsession with innovation and originality, makes for a very curious situation. For instance, in the midst of a severe energy crisis our buildings are built to last only a generation or so. Something has gone wrong with our idea of architecture.

For the past four centuries, the architecture of the house – whether it was a palace, a country retreat or an urban terrace – drove the architecture of the era. It was the ultimate expression of architectural form, an embodiment of culture and aspiration.

There are traditional houses and there are self-consciously innovative houses, trying very hard to become a work of original genius. Both claim to be the ideal way to create a piece of heritage by either being explicitly of their time, or explicitly of all time.

Tom Emerson, though, sees the real interest in the gap in between the two. “All our work is about continuity as a means of contextualising,” he says, “but there is a tension between abstraction and familiarity which makes it easier to subvert an idea and make it original and striking.” Which is exactly what he’s done with the slightly, almost unsettlingly familiar – if altogether striking – form of Mines Park.

Is there an effort to make it an eternal building rooted in a culture of landscape and vernacular – even though it is so resolutely modern? “It’s the wider culture which in time will decide what it will incorporate into heritage. You can’t second guess what values will be in the future and architects would be better employed refining their work rather than trying to ensure their own legacy.”

via FT.com / House & Home – How to build heritage.

movies:  I thought Country Strong fun … but obviously NPR was a little more critical.

Then again, Paltrow’s casting is only the most conspicuous of several curious elements at the heart of Country Strong, an earnest but misguided drama about the treacherous intersection of love and fame. Here’s another one: Of the four lead actors — Paltrow, Garrett Hedlund, Leighton Meester and Tim McGraw — the one who’s a bona fide, arena-filling country music superstar (McGraw) is the only one who doesn’t get to sing, at least not until a duet over the closing credits. The others acquit themselves well enough onstage, but writer-director Shana Feste doesn’t show much of an interest in getting the details of the country world right, and the inauthenticity leaves her cliches exposed.

via ‘Country Strong’ – Love In The Limelight, Fitfully Illuminated : NPR.

travel, lists, bucket list:  Now I could go for this!

Classic cars in the Highlands

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type with a long weekend driving one of the iconic sports cars through the Highlands of Scotland. You pick up a red E-type in Edinburgh, then spend three days driving, staying at pre-booked hotels along the way. The trip is available from April to mid-October.

via FT.com / Travel – The hottest new trips for 2011.

travel, Peter Pan:  This looks like fun … but probably not on my list because there are so many other places to go first.  Still love the idea!

So far there are only three of these treehouses in the UK, all at Sherwood, though Center Parcs plans more at its other sites (Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire). It seems a bit of a gamble: they do not come cheap, and I wonder whether people with that much disposable income might not opt instead to jet off somewhere hot. But for those who live in the UK, there’s a lot to be said for avoiding the hassles of flights and airports, especially with children in tow; and the quality of service and accommodation was world-class.

via FT.com / Travel – High style in Robin’s hood.

ChristCare, faith:  Loved this article that we were going to discuss at ChristCare today.

Above all, look to Jesus as your good shepherd. He will never leave you or forsake you. He isn’t some wishy-washy hired hand who runs off at the first sign of trouble (Jn 10:11-13). No, Jesus is the good shepherd who is in it for the long haul. He loves you with an everlasting love. He is “the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Pe 2:25). Today, trust Him with your whole life.

via Discipleship Journal Archives :: I Am The Good Shepherd.

political cartoons: I liked this one.  What do you think it means?

The week ahead: Inspecting Iran | The Economist.

LOL, improv, YouTube:  OK … I am going to check YouTube now … interesting that WSJ posted this.

This Sunday afternoon, if the NFL isn’t really your bag, consider joining several thousand New Yorkers who plan to nonchalantly ride the train in their underwear as part of the 10th annual No Pants Subway Ride.

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Philip Montgomery for The Wall Street Journal

Improv Everywhere’s Charlie Tod

The event is organized by the trouble-making collective Improv Everywhere, who were responsible for the people freezing in unison in Grand Central Station, a stunt whose Youtube video garnered more than 24 million hits. Of course the “improv” in their name belies the coordination involved: The No Pants Subway Ride is global, with planned, pantless counterparts in 47 cities world-wide, even ones without subways. In El Paso, they take to buses, and in Minneapolis, to the Mall of America tram.

via An Interview With the Organizer of No Pants Subway Ride – WSJ.com.

-and here it is … YouTube – No Pants Subway Ride 2011 Part 1 New York, Manhattan.

parentingWhy Chinese Mothers Are Superior – WSJ.com.

random, incredulous: Lawyer F. Lee Bailey Says Evidence Shows O.J. Simpson Innocent in Murders.

lists, travel, bucket list:  Some great places on this list.  The 41 Places to Go in 2011 – NYTimes.com.

Arizona Massacre, media:

“All the vitriol we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that.”

But we all swim in the same American cultural soup, all 300 million or so of us. And until now, not one person had decided to do what Jared Lee Loughner is accused of doing. Whether it’s one guy or several behind the attack, if Loughner was the shooter, we already know he was a seriously disturbed and irrational young man.

In a world where ordinary people can easily gain access to extraordinary power, events like these are, sadly, inevitable. And make no mistake, during most of the long sweep of human history the power of a semiautomatic handgun would have been considered truly extraordinary.

But as long as events like these remain exceedingly rare, our reaction should be measured and not emotional.

I’m not minimizing what happened. This was one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in American history. But put it in this context: if Saturday was an average day, about 100 people were killed in car wrecks on American roads. Are you planning therefore to armor your car or change your approach to driving?

via The Arizona Massacre Was Insane — Our Reaction Should Be Measured.

-and-

On behalf of NPR News, I apologize for this mistake to the family of Rep. Giffords, to the families of everyone affected by the shootings, to our listeners and to our readers.

Already all of us at NPR News have been reminded of the challenges and professional responsibilities of reporting on fast-breaking news at a time and in an environment where information and misinformation move at light speed. We learn, we redouble our efforts and dedication and move forward with our best efforts for the millions who rely on us every day.

via Editor’s Note: On NPR’s Giffords Coverage : NPR.

LOL, tv:  I may have to watch since I have watched ESPN’s Sports Center for years … against my will, as the mother of two boys.

To The Onion, the satirical newspaper and Web site, “SportsCenter’s” quotidian elements offer a rich target for extreme parody. The result, a half-hour weekly program called “Onion SportsDome,” starts a 10-episode run on Comedy Central on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m., preceding “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”

Will Graham, an executive producer and director of the series, said, “The fun part is there are 36 channels of ESPN running 24 hours a day, a whole world of sports media that is cultish and ripe to mock.” He added, “The goal is for people passing it or watching it in a bar to think that it’s real coverage.”

via Onion Hopes ‘SportsCenter’ Parody Leaves Viewers Saying Boo-Yah – NYTimes.com.

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12.30.2010 … Since all the stores tell me to get organized for 2011 … as they do for every other year … here I go …

RIP, end of an era: Rest in Peace, Kodachrome!  Oh, how I do hate change …

That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.

In the last weeks, dozens of visitors and thousands of overnight packages have raced here, transforming this small prairie-bound city not far from the Oklahoma border for a brief time into a center of nostalgia for the days when photographs appeared not in the sterile frame of a computer screen or in a pack of flimsy prints from the local drugstore but in the warm glow of a projector pulling an image from a carousel of vivid slides.

In the end, it was determined that a roll belonging to Dwayne Steinle, the owner, would be last. It took three tries to find a camera that worked. And over the course of the week he fired off shots of his house, his family and downtown Parsons. The last frame is already planned for Thursday, a picture of all the employees standing in front of Dwayne’s wearing shirts with the epitaph: “The best slide and movie film in history is now officially retired. Kodachrome: 1935-2010.”

via For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas – NYTimes.com.

vocabulary, faith, acts of God:  Another one to make you think:

First, during a period of wonderful, calm, sunny weather we do not read of Nature’s “love” or “mercy” or that we are being “blessed” or “rewarded.” The good we take for granted, as our due. The bad we assume is wrathful and punishment of some kind.

I do not want to make too much of this, but my simply drawing attention to it makes the point. It seems almost natural (!) to refer to the storm as “wrath” and “punishing” while it would be strikingly odd to read a weather report referring to a sunny day as “merciful.”

Why is this? Is it because we assume we deserve everything to be perfect or at least unchallenging? That the norm for us is bland perfection? That somehow we deserve grace and favor, which, of course, is a contradiction?

In short, “who do we think we are?” Maybe we simply don’t think!

via Grapes of wrath? « Hopelens Blog.

Davidson, history: Andrew Carnegie, a 19th century Bill Gates”  … interesting to think that Andrew Carnegie would need to be defined.

With the prospect of a new year ahead, the last blog of 2010, will celebrate the 100th anniversary one of the loveliest buildings on campus.  Now known as the Carnegie Guest House, it was dedicated on September 10, 1910 as the Carnegie Library.Interior of Carnegie Library from Cornelia Shaw scrapbookThe name comes from Andrew Carnegie, a 19th century Bill Gates – who took some of the monies made by his companies and helped build libraries across the nation. Most were public libraries but a number of colleges, including Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, received funding as well.

via The Davidson College Archives & Special Collections blog — Around the D.

historical preservation, Atlanta, memories:  The golden grandeur of the Fox Theatre is not diminished one bit in knowing that it is plaster, aluminum and paint!

While they appear to be made from exquisite metals, most of the ornate decor in the Fox Theatre is actually plaster. The Restoration Department identifies damaged or worn pieces and recreates each piece using a historic mold.

Once the plaster has been poured, set, and hardened, a fine, adhesive glue called “size” is applied. The plaster and size will sit untouched for 8-12 hours until it achieves a high level of stickiness.

The artisans then gild the plaster pieces using a paintbrush and extremely thin sheets of aluminum leaf or imitation gold leaf, also known as Dutch metal. The process is repeated until the plaster is concealed.

After the metal has been applied, a piece of cheese cloth is used to burnish or smooth out the creases. Finally, the aluminum is treated with orange shellac and a burnt umber glaze to give the appearance of gold. The imitation gold leaf is treated with a burnt umber glaze to deepen the appearance and add age.

via The Fox Theatre, While they appear to be made from exquisite….

random:  Don’t you just wonder who buys theses things?

Now, Harlan Ellison, a self-identified blue-collar fantasist who has written over 1,000 short stories, screenplays, essays, and criticisms, has listed his Remington noiseless portable for $40,000. Ellison penned “I, Robot,” “Soldier,” which James Cameron drew from for “The Terminator” and “The Outer Limits,” to name just a few. Speakeasy spent some time on the phone with Ellison, who dominated the conversation with anecdotes and allusions of times past.

..

No it’s all tied up in the fact that I’m 76 and I’m very ill and like a sage old dog I can smell when certain signs are there. We are trapped in a medical eddy, this mad meat house of medicine where we cannot get the help we need. I’m not a bag lady, I live in a particularly good house that I’ve been living in since 1966, but we don’t have anywhere near the chance of getting Marcus Welby to fix my problems. As a consequence we have to get some money and as time goes by you get more and more famous and less and less wealthy. I literally have to start eating my past and turning into the actually dollar all of the artifacts that have made me who I am. I am eating my past.

via Would You Pay $40,000 For An Antique Typewriter? – Speakeasy – WSJ.

technology, trends, stocks, Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter: So if Walt Mossberg is right, I should be buying Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter.

It has been a big year in personal technology, from the debut and early success of Apple’s iPad, to the rise and continuous improvement of Google’s Android smart phone platform, to the continued surge in social services led by Facebook and Twitter.

via Walt Mossberg’s What’s In Store for Technology in 2011 | Walt Mossberg | Personal Technology | AllThingsD.

Apple, technology:

If patents are to be believed, Apple is working on the creation of the world’s first glasses-free 3D display that would produce holographic images using a screen made up of “pixel-sized domes” that would be read differently by the human eye depending on where they’re viewing from.

via Is Apple Planning A Holographic 3D TV? – Techland – TIME.com.

New Year’s Resolutions, me: #1 – Get organized.




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