Posts Tagged ‘family


7.4.2011 … Happy 4th … I brought my youngest home from the hospital on the 4th of July … and have shared most with great Charlotte kith family … See ya’ll at the lake!

media, traditions, 4th of July, NPR:  I like this tradition …

Twenty-three years ago, Morning Edition launched what has become an Independence Day tradition: hosts, reporters, newscasters and commentators reading the Declaration of Independence.

It was 235 years ago this Monday that church bells rang out over Philadelphia, as the Continental Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence.

via Reading The Declaration Of Independence Aloud : NPR.

yesterday, Facebook posts:  ‎”… Bombs bu[r]sting in air … Love the sound of fireworks even when I don’t see them …”  I read this again this morning (and corrected the typo) and realized how grateful i am that I live in a country where i generally the sound of fireworks is nothing to fear, but brings up a smile and years of happy memories.

I wish I  had written/said that … , family, travel, parenting:  This article so expresses how I felt during the last few weeks leading up to Saturday and Molls’ departure for France.  I smiled today when the director of the Tufts program sent an e-mail that he would be posting photos on a photo sharing site.  They are almost grown … but not quite … so we still get to peek just like at camp for the last 10 years or so … Oh, and I thought of you, CDCU … because I remember your saying several times … I should have written that!

And then — well, she went. Hefting her bags, she grinned a last farewell to her family and walked off toward the uniformed fellow standing at the gate. She looked terribly grown up.

Until that moment, in the weeks leading up to the day of her departure, it was as though she almost physically switched back and forth between the vulnerable child she had been and the confident woman she would someday become.

“I’ve packed Aristotle and Tocqueville for the flight,” she said at one point, with the brisk confidence of a mature traveling intellectual for whom aircraft hold the pleasant prospect of uninterrupted hours of inquiry (though mature traveling intellectuals probably pack mystery novels, or iPods).

via A teenage daughter boards a plane looking like the woman she’ll someday be | Meghan Cox Gurdon | Local | Washington Examiner.

music, 4th of July: YouTube – Beach Boys – 4th of July ‏.

4th of July, Founding Fathers, politics: … “they signed it, pledging ‘their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.'”  How many of us would do that today?

It sounded preposterous to much of the world on that July 4 in 1776 that somehow a tiny colony long on big ideas and short on such things as an army, money or even much of a government intended to break away from the richest and most powerful nation in the world.

The men who signed that Declaration of Independence knew exactly how long the odds were, and knew they would be hanged if they failed – but they signed it, pledging “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.”

John Hancock signed his name large – he wanted the British to make no mistake about who he was.

I thought about that at a recent CBS News Town Hall on the economy when I asked Tom Coburn, a very conservative Republican Senator from Oklahoma, why Congress can’t get anything done anymore. Because, he said:

“We’re more interested in political careers than we are interested in fixing the very real and urgent problems in front of our country. The senate has – this is the lowest level of votes the senate has had in my seven years and the lowest level of votes in 25 years.

“And the reason we’re not voting is people don’t want to take a vote because they might have to defend it.

So rather than come up here and do the job and have the courage and the honor to go out and defend your votes, what we do is we just don’t vote,” Coburn said.

What a contrast to the attitude of the founders who put their lives on the line for what they believed.

Not the usual July 4 message but maybe worth hearing – just to remind us how we used to be.

via Not your grandfather’s Founding Fathers – CBS News.

Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, The Constitution, history, faith and spirituality:  Another good analysis putting history in perspective …

True history is the enemy of reverence. We do the authors of American independence no favors by embalming them in infallibility, by treating the Constitution like a quasi-biblical revelation instead of the product of contention and cobbled-together compromise that it actually was. Even the collective noun “Founding -Fathers” planes smooth the unreconciled divisiveness of their bitter and acrimonious disputes. History is a book of chastening wisdom to which we ought to be looking to deepen our understanding of the legitimate nature of American government—including its revenue-raising power, an issue that deeply captivated the antagonized minds of that first generation. But unfortunately, there is little evidence of citizens engaging in close, critical reading of The Federalist Papers, of the debates surrounding constitutional ratification, or of the dispute that pitted Hamilton and James Madison against Patrick Henry over what was at stake in Congress’s authority to make laws “necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the…Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States.”

Jefferson wouldn’t have a prayer of winning the Republican nomination, much less the presidency. It wouldn’t be his liaison with the teenage daughter of one of his slaves nor the love children she bore him that would be the stumbling block. Nor would it be Jefferson’s suspicious possession of an English translation of the Quran that might doom him to fail the Newt Gingrich loyalty test. No, it would be the Jesus problem that would do him in. For Thomas Jefferson denied that Jesus was the son of God. Worse, he refused to believe that Jesus ever made any claim that he was. While he was at it, Jefferson also rejected as self-evidently absurd the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection.

Jefferson was not, as his enemies in the election of 1800 claimed, an atheist. He believed in the Creator whom he invoked in the Declaration of Independence and whom he thought had brought the natural universe into being. By his own lights he thought himself a true Christian, an admirer of the moral teachings of the Nazarene. It had been, he argued, generations of the clergy who had perverted the simple humanity of Jesus the reformer, turned him into a messiah, and invented the myth that he had died to redeem mankind’s sins.

All of which would surely mean that, notwithstanding his passion for minimal government, the Sage of Monticello would have no chance at all beside True Believers like Michele Bachmann. But Jefferson’s rationalist deism is not the idle makeover of liberal wishful thinking. It is incontrovertible historical fact, as is his absolute determination never to admit religion into any institutions of the public realm.

So the philosopher-president whose aversion to overbearing government makes him a Tea Party patriarch was also a man who thought the Immaculate Conception a fable. But then real history is like that—full of knotty contradictions, its cast list of heroes, especially American heroes, majestic in their complicated imperfections.

via The Founding Fathers Were Flawed – Newsweek.

Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, words/phrases, technology, kudos:  Subjects v. citizens … big difference … thank you, Tom!


That’s what Thomas Jefferson first wrote in an early draft of the Declaration of Independence to describe the people of the 13 colonies.

But in a moment when history took a sharp turn, Jefferson sought quite methodically to expunge the word, to wipe it out of existence and write over it. Many words were crossed out and replaced in the draft, but only one was obliterated.

Over the smudge, Jefferson then wrote the word “citizens.”

No longer subjects to the crown, the colonists became something different: a people whose allegiance was to one another, not to a faraway monarch.

“It’s almost like we can see him write ‘subjects’ and then quickly decide that’s not what he wanted to say at all, that he didn’t even want a record of it,” she said. “Really, it sends chills down the spine.”

The library deciphered the hidden “subjects” several months ago, the first major finding attributed to its new high-tech instruments. By studying the document at different wavelengths of light, including infrared and ultraviolet, researchers detected slightly different chemical signatures in the remnant ink of the erased word than in “citizens.” Those differences allowed the team to bring the erased word back to life.

But the task was made more difficult by the way Jefferson sought to match the lines and curves of the underlying smudged letters with the new letters he wrote on top of them. It took research scientist Fenella France weeks to pull out each letter until the full word became apparent.

“It’s quite amazing how he morphed ‘subjects’ into ‘citizens,’ ” she said. “We did the reverse morphing back to ‘subjects.’ ”

via Jefferson changed ‘subjects’ to ‘citizens’ in Declaration of Independence.

4th of July, politics, parenting, LOL:  Democrats beware of letting your children celebrate the 4th!

… new study argues that July 4th celebrations may not be as innocent as they seem – at least from the democratic perspective.

According to the report, published by Harvard University, July 4th-themed festivities (defined by the study as fireworks, parades, political speeches, and barbecues) not only energize primarily Republicans, but also turn children into Republicans and increase GOP voter turnout.

Simply put: “Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” says the report, which was written by Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.

via Do July 4th festivities make you Republican? – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

Founding Fathers, The Constitution, politics, US debt limit, Great Recession:  As I mentioned on 7/2, we were discussing this at dinner the other night, and specifically the constitutional provisions applicable. I will find the reference that Bob T. mentioned.  So if you are interested … keep reading.  Again, I feel really old … and dull.

But on one contemporary issue the Founding Fathers did have strong opinions: the national debt. Had they been confronted with the question of whether the federal government should be allowed to default on its debt obligations, they would have spoken with one resounding voice: No! Pay the bills, service the debt. Don’t even think of defaulting or playing dice with global creditors for domestic political gain. End of argument.

The drive to write a new Constitution was fueled by the clear need to empower a national government with a modicum of economic sovereignty.

Proof of that can be found in a legion of quotations and letters, ranging from speeches to the Federalist Papers. James Madison, architect of the nation if there ever was one, described national debts as “moral obligations” in Federalist Paper No. 43. George Washington, who was always measured and diplomatic in public utterances, was unequivocal in his thoughts on public debts: “No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt; on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of the time more valuable.” And that message was delivered directly to the House of Representatives in 1793, where some members were contemplating various defaults.

The nation’s creators might well have been appalled that our national government accrued so much debt and spent so much on credit, but it is hard to see any of them contending that the way out of that bind is to refuse to pay.

But that is what is being contemplated. The United States has a lot of debt, yes, but we’re not Greece. There is no inability to pay, and no threat from global creditors that credit may be cut off. In time, perhaps, but not now. For those who still look to the Founders for wisdom and guidance, on this celebration of another Independence Day the message is clear: Argue all you want about the proper role of government and levels of debt. Debate and contest, rowdily and angrily. Get down and dirty. But above all, do not sacrifice the nation’s credit on the altar of political expediency and partisan gain.

via What Would the Founding Fathers Say About the National Debt? Don’t Default | Moneyland |

John Adams, Founding Fathers, DC Monuments, history, Washington DC:  Just went to DC … didn’t even think about dear old John.

When President Obama ponders tough decisions at the White House, he may join the cadre of presidents who have sought inspiration in the Truman Balcony’s stunning vista, gazing at the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial, which commemorate our first and third commanders in chief. But there’s a man missing from this presidential panorama.

Where is John Adams, our feisty second president and lifelong American patriot? If George Washington was the sword of the revolution and Thomas Jefferson the pen, why have we neglected the voice of our nation’s independence?

Adams himself predicted this omission. “Monuments will never be erected to me . . . romances will never be written, nor flattering orations spoken, to transmit me to posterity in brilliant colors,” he wrote in 1819, nearly two decades after his single term in office. At his farm in Quincy, Mass., Adams worried that he would be forgotten by history, and for good reason: The temperamental Yankee could never outshine Washington and Jefferson, Virginia’s two-term presidential all-stars — one a brilliant general unanimously chosen to lead the nation, the other the eloquent author of the Declaration of Independence.

“The way the Jefferson Memorial is built, Jefferson is looking right in the center window,” President Bill Clinton told White House guests in 1994. “I go out on the balcony a lot . . . and look at it.”

It’s a shame he couldn’t see Adams, too. Still, as we celebrate July 4 — the anniversary of the declaration’s adoption and of Adams’s death — it’s high time we honored this “passionate sage,” as Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis titled his Adams biography. He is the founding father most unsung in the capital’s memorial landscape.

via Why doesn’t John Adams have a memorial in Washington? – The Washington Post.


6.9.2011 … get to go to a sneak preview today … and happy LVII, big sis …

movies, sneak previews, film/lit: I’ll tell you about it tomorrow … but I read the book (hint).

google doodles:  You know I love a good google doodle!

When unveiling a classic Doodle, Google sure knows to pick ’em.

In terms of interactivity, Google has designed what is arguably its coolest home-page logo yet — surpassing even its Pac-Man banner and the colorful and initially mysterious “Google Balls.”

Today, the California company offers an animated Doodle you can strum and share — a gift of music entirely befitting a birthday celebration for the legendary guitarist and inventor Les Paul.

The pioneering designer of the solid-body, “rounded sound” electric guitar, who died in August of 2009, would have been 96 today.

Today, thanks to Google, the trill isn’t gone.

You can hit the record button (near the bottom of the second “g” in Google), pluck a tune — then send the URL of your recorded music to other people, who can even “duet” with your recording.

via LES PAUL: Today’s great Playable ‘Google Doodle’ Guitar marks legend’s 96th birthday (*Pluck it for yourself) – Comic Riffs – The Washington Post.

John Edwards, slime bags, Cate Edwards, family:  Blood is thicker than water … but I feel sorry for Cate Edwards, a very attractive, smart woman.  Her father has placed a horrible burden on her.

But those in the Edwards inner circle knew that Cate, 29, was stepping into a familiar role, one that she has filled for half of her young life.
The night before the court appearance, Ms. Edwards, a lawyer like Mr. Edwards and her mother, Elizabeth, was at her father’s side as he planned his legal strategy with his defense team at their home near Chapel Hill. She and her father had just returned from her little brother’s baseball game.
“She’s a sounding board for John,” said a person familiar with the meeting that night.
“Cate sticks with her dad,” said Glenn Bergenfield, a close friend of the family who introduced Elizabeth to John when they were all in law school together and is godfather to their young son.
“Despite all the things that have happened, she wants her father to succeed and her family to stay together,” Mr. Bergenfield said. “It’s not any more complicated than that.”
At the courthouse, Ms. Edwards, a graduate of Harvard Law School, appeared composed. She has come by her strength the hard way, having coped with more than her share of pain, much of it on the public stage.
Fifteen years ago, when she was barely a teenager, her 16-year-old brother, Wade, was thrown from a car and killed on his way to the family beach house. For two years, her mother later wrote, Cate slept on two chairs pushed together in her parents’ room, but she emerged as the glue that would hold the family together.
That experience laid the foundation for her to face the cascade of crises that would follow: her father’s political losses, the revelations that he had an affair and a child with his campaign videographer while he was running for president in 2008, her mother’s public and prolonged battle with breast cancer, and then in December, her mother’s death.
via For Cate Edwards, a Recurring Role as Family Glue –

random, wedding gifts, lists:  This 1950s list was still pretty common into the early 80’s … now the couple just wants cash.


Crystal glassware 
Vacuum cleaner 
Steam iron 
Pots and pans 
Electric fry pan 
Pressure cooker 
Electric broiler 

Top Wedding Gifts –

recipes, eggs:  I am not so sure I want my dinner meal with a poached egg on top.  But I am willing to try it.

Basically, you can throw a perfectly poached egg on top of most any dish and we’re in. But on top of a creamy bowl of risotto, studded with chunks of bacon and sweet leeks? Forget it. Game over. That’s probably why the Bacon and Leek Risotto with Poached Egg from our April issue did so well in bloggers’ kitchens.

via Bacon and Leek Risotto with Poached Egg: BA Daily: Blogs :

Jane Austen, random, YouTubeYouTube – Pride & Prejudice in 100 Seconds.


action sports, Nike, marketing:  Action sports are a special niche … it will be interesting to see how Nike does?

MOVE over, Michael Jordan: here comes P-Rod.

In an attempt to leave no sport unmarketed, Nike, the sports apparel manufacturer, will begin the next phase of its current “Just Do It” campaign with a focus on action sports like skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing.

The new campaign, called “The Chosen,” is Nike’s largest effort at moving into action sports, and will feature athletes like the skateboarder Paul Rodriguez (or P-Rod), the surfer Laura Enever and the snowboarder Danny Kass.

“When we looked at action sports, we saw a unique consumer segment that was underserved in terms of product innovation,” Mark G. Parker, Nike’s chief executive and president, said at a shareholder meeting in May.

Action sports are a $390 million business for Nike, and executives hope that figure doubles over the next five years. Nike’s biggest competitors in the youth-oriented action sports arena include brands like Quiksilver, O’Neill, Volcom and Billabong.

Big brands that want to enter the action sports market have to contend with the somewhat insular culture of certain sports and with the athletes’ loyalty to smaller, edgier brands. For the last few years, Nike has been on a steady mission to penetrate the market by creating sub-brands like Nike 6.0 and buying smaller brands like Hurley.

And they seem to be getting it right.

via Nike’s New Campaign Focuses on Action Sports –

Paris, sewer tour – Paris, places, guides:  Anybody been on the Paris Sewer Tour?  Have a favorite guide?  I take recommendations.

Some of the best sights in Paris are the ones underground- the catacombs of Paris, the Paris Crypt, and the Paris Sewers. The Paris Sewers provide people with something really different, and a little bit stinky, to see while in Paris.Paris is a big city with a very long history. From its early days as a Roman outpost though modern times, the city has had to deal with waste. How would they handle waste from millions of people? In ancient times, it wasn’t a problem. The population wasn’t large enough yet to create any real pollution, so everything went into the River Seine.However, as the city grew, more waste went into the Seine and, by the late middle ages, the river was simply too polluted, and something needed to be done. Beginning in 1370, the city started building sewers and drains. Back then, people just threw their waste onto the street where it just sort of stayed. This was a common practice all over Europe up until the 19th century. In fact, part of the reason women begin carrying those little parasols in the late 18th/19th century was to protect themselves from falling… debris.

via Unusual Place of the Month: The Paris Sewers – Nomadic Matts Travel Site.

Bas Bleu – City Cool Notes – Paris.

science, periodic chart:  Something new …

They exist for only seconds at most in real life, but theyve gained immortality in chemistry: Two new elements have been added to the periodic table.RSS Feed Get Science News From The New York Times »The elements were recognized by an international committee of chemists and physicists. Theyre called elements 114 and 116 for now — permanent names and symbols will be chosen later.Youre not likely to run into any of this stuff. Scientists make them in labs by smashing atoms of other elements together to create the new ones.”Our experiments last for many weeks, and typically, we make an atom every week or so,” said chemist Ken Moody of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, whos part of the discovery team.In contrast to more familiar elements like carbon, gold and tin, the new ones are short-lived. Atoms of 114 disintegrate within a few seconds, while 116 disappears in just a fraction of a second, Moody said.

via Two New Elements Added to Periodic Table –

shopping, marketing, Target:  I still prefer it to Walmart.

The chain that made it trendy to shop for low-priced designer clothing and mod lamps while picking up detergent and toothpaste has been struggling to gain back its pre-recession sales strength.

Target shoppers are stocking up on toilet paper and foodstuffs, but the stores are having a hard time enticing customers to spend money on stylish clothing and home goods—which are more profitable and make up more than 40% of annual sales. It was these apparel and decorating items—mixing mass with class—that set Target apart and allowed it to be one of the few discount chains to thrive against Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s relentlessly low prices.

via Has Target Lost Its Cachet? –

Apple, Steve Jobs, iSpaceship:  Well, it will be iconic.

Apple wants to build a new corporate headquarters that, in Chief Executive Steve Jobs’s own words, looks “a little like a spaceship.”

A day after the company unveiled its new Web-based service iCloud, Mr. Jobs spoke at a Cupertino, Calif., city council meeting to pitch plans for a new Apple corporate campus on 150 acres of land, much of which used to belong to Hewlett-Packard.

“Apple has grown like a weed,” said Mr. Jobs, as he explained how the company’s current Cupertino headquarters only holds about a quarter of the 12,000 employees it has in the area.

via Steve Jobs’s Latest Project: iSpaceship – Digits – WSJ.

YA fiction:  Too dark? Realistic?  I find it too weird … but maybe I better take another look.

 How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.

Pathologies that went undescribed in print 40 years ago, that were still only sparingly outlined a generation ago, are now spelled out in stomach-clenching detail. Profanity that would get a song or movie branded with a parental warning is, in young-adult novels, so commonplace that most reviewers do not even remark upon it.

If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is. There are of course exceptions, but a careless young reader—or one who seeks out depravity—will find himself surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds.

So it may be that the book industry’s ever-more-appalling offerings for adolescent readers spring from a desperate desire to keep books relevant for the young. Still, everyone does not share the same objectives. The book business exists to sell books; parents exist to rear children, and oughtn’t be daunted by cries of censorship. No family is obliged to acquiesce when publishers use the vehicle of fundamental free-expression principles to try to bulldoze coarseness or misery into their children’s lives.

via Book Review: Young Adult Fiction –

Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece claiming that fiction at least nominally aimed at readers under 18 — young adult or “YA” fiction, that is — is entirely too dark. Calling out the books about kids who cut themselves or suffer abuse right alongside the books with abundant profanity in them, it laments the fact that young readers will be “surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds.”

Unsurprisingly, the commentary has come under intense criticism — it’s not in any way a new complaint, and every response to it points that out, along with plenty of other problems.

But as easy as it is to tear the piece apart — for its complete failure to acknowledge V.C. Andrews, who was writing books with incest and rape themes in the 1980s and is the go-to choice for adults my age who want to talk about the screwed-up YA fiction they read, if nothing else — I’m more intrigued by the aspirational nature of the quaint but sad idea that teenagers, if you don’t give them The Hunger Games, can be effectively surrounded by images of joy and beauty.

via Seeing Teenagers As We Wish They Were: The Debate Over YA Fiction : Monkey See : NPR.

technology, security, cyber attacks:  We live in a changing world.

These jobs aren’t being pulled off by kids fooling around, or even by the criminals who steal credit-card numbers. “You’re looking at nation-state capability actors,” says Herbert Thompson, a computer-security consultant and professor of computer science at Columbia University.

With digital attacks becoming rampant, the computer nerds who work for the good guys to thwart such incursions have become the new Navy SEALs—elite commandos who can carry out sophisticated operations on the battlefield of cyberspace. The enemies they’re battling slip into computer systems to steal information or wreak havoc and then slip out without being detected. The services of these commandos, both to attack and defend, are becoming increasingly vital to top militaries around the world.

China just admitted it has organized a cyber-commando unit called the Blue Army. Officially its role is to defend China’s systems from intruders. Here in the U.S., a new report from the Pentagon warns potential enemies that the U.S. may consider cyberattacks to be acts of war and might retaliate with conventional weapons. “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” an unnamed military official told The Wall Street Journal.

via Tech Report: The Hacker Wars – Newsweek.

Dr. Peter Gorman, CMS, Charlotte:  Bad timing, Peter.

Charlotte Mecklenburg School Superintendent Dr. Peter Gorman announced his resignation during a news conference this afternoon.

Gorman says he has accepted a position with News Corporation in a newly formed education division.  Gorman will be named Senior Vice President and work with school districts to implement the division’s programs, as well as review their integrity and effectiveness, according to a news release.

Gorman made the surprise announcementduring a scheduled meeting to discuss budget cuts at the Government Center in uptown.

“I’m thrilled to join News Corporation, and to work with someone of Joel’s caliber, and the rest of his team, to transform the educational system through digital technology and other means,” said Dr. Gorman said in a CMS news release. “News Corporation has a reputation for leading significant change across many industries, and I look forward to what lies ahead for the education sector.”

via Gorman resigns as CMS superintendent | Charlotte.

random, Happy Father’s Day, superlatives:  OK, this guy is nuts … I hope his 16 year old son has a sense of humor …

Dad Waving At The Bus

Meet Dale Price, a stay-at-home father of three from American Fork, Utah, who dressed up in 180 different, wacky costumes to wave to his 16-year-old son’s school bus every morning. For 170 days, he greeted the passing bus in almost every costume imaginable. He also wasn’t afraid to cross dress, pictured here on Day 160 as Batgirl. (Dale Price)

via Most Embarrassing Dad? Dad Waves at Son on School Bus, Dressed in 170 Costumes | Photos – ABC News.


3.4.2011 … very quickly tiring of typing with my non-dominant hand. As EWP says, “You need a minion!”

science, medicine technology: Science, medicine, technology … the ultimate merger of the three … what next?

Anthony Atala printed a real kidney when speaking on the stage at TED in Long Beach, Calif. Thursday.

Since 2006, the surgeon from the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine has been performing transplants not using human organs, but organs grown in his lab and now experimenting with the next level of possibility – creating organs using a 3-D printer.”

“It’s like baking a cake,” said Atala.

Well, it’s not that simple.

Atala attempted to explain the process as follows: scanners take a 3D image of a kidney that needs to be replaced and a tissue sample the size of half a postage stamp is then used to begin the computerized process. The 3D organ printer then works layer-by-layer to build the replacement kidney using the patient’s own tissue.

via Organs made with a printer – On The Scene With Shira Lazar – CBS News.

civil rights, history, Charles Jones:  I heard Charles Jones speak last night … he was a hoot taking about very serious stuff.

At seventy-three, one can hardly say Charles Jones is retired. In 2008 he appeared in a cameo role in the film Gospel Hill, alongside actors Danny Glover and Angela Basset. He serves as the chairperson for the Biddleville/Smallwood/Five Points Neighborhood Association and continues to travel and lecture about his involvement in the civil-rights movement. “I may be getting older,” Jones says with a gleam in his eyes. “But I’m still out there getting it done on my end, and I still care about all the people.”

In his role as neighborhood chairperson, Jones sees a bright future for the area he’s called home for more than sixty years. “Our goal is to make this a community where all people can live together. Black, white, gay, straight. We want to recapture that cohesive concern people used to have for each other.

“We looked out for each other back then, and I think we can still do that today.”

via Stumbling Across a Hero – Charlotte Magazine – February 2011 – Charlotte, NC.

culture, family, changes:  We often had Sunday dinner, but not always.  My kids have had Bojangles on the way home from church.

Whatever happened to Sunday dinner – where did it go?  Was it packed up in the attic, along with the iced tea spoons, damask tablecloths, lace doilies, and sherbert dishes?  Deposited in the cedar closet with the short white gloves, petticoats, and fox fur stoles?  Truth be told, I believe it is buried under the shade trees in the cemetery where the women who cooked it now lie.

… We continue to try to make family connections on Sundays.  I always call my mother in Savannah, and my daughter always calls us from college in Chapel Hill.  But now Sunday afternoon is more of a lonesome time–quiet and spare.  And I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t even know how to make gravy.

via The Days of Rice and Gravy by Kathleen Brewin Lewis |

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, history:

In a well-known burst of ebullience, Jane Austen once called Pride and Prejudice “my own darling Child.” Yet, in 1811, after agreeing to guarantee Thomas Egerton against losses on the printing of what, as far as she then knew, might be her only published novel, Austen chose to stake her literary reputation –and her fortune – not on First Impressions (as Pride and Prejudice was then known), but on the more recently completed Sense and Sensibility. Though profits from Sense and Sensibility eventually covered expenses and earned its author a respectable sum, it is rarely cited as a favorite among Austen fans, and critics and scholars often find it problematic.

Join us in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s “problem child” and exploring issues which have intrigued, amused, and puzzled readers since its first appearance in the bookshops and circulating libraries of the day.

via Register for our Spring Super-Regional Gala Spring Meeting, May 14 & 15, 2011 – Jane Austen Society of North America, Southwest (JASNA-SW).

culture, France:  This one was interesting!

I think I can explain the appeal of the bread machine. French people are attracted to novelties and although they haven’t reached SkyMall-style proportions—you won’t see any uvula sterilizers or Big Foot lurking in the Luxembourg Gardens, things like tabletop machines that make raclette (when a regular skillet does the same thing), a toaster that sits high on stilts so the toast drops out of the bottom, requiring twice the usual amount of room (a real boon for space-challenged Parisian kitchens…), and serving food in bite-sized amuses-bouches resting in spoons or teensy-tiny casseroles, make folks smile with delight.

via The French Bread Machine | David Lebovitz.

movies, music,lists:  I do like Singin’ in the Rain …

Singin’ in the Rain is best known for Gene Kelly’s splash-filled dance scene to the title song, which, according to legend, Kelly filmed in one take while fighting off a 103-degree fever. While the scene is one of the most memorable and joyful in cinema history, the film also includes a number of songs that are too often overlooked. “Make ‘Em Laugh,” a goofy ode to slapstick comedy, will get stuck in your head. The big-band number “All I Do Is Dream of You” is equally catchy, and “Good Morning” is a classic song involving incredibly quick tap dancing. But the title song of the film is so good, it’s forgivable if you’ve forgotten about the rest.

via Singin’ in the Rain, 1952 – The 25 Best Movie Sound Tracks – TIME.

ridiculous, news:

We all like Thin Mints, but one Florida resident took her love of Girl Scout cookies a little too far. When Hersha Howard found that someone had been eating her cookies, she woke her roommate up and accused her of stealing them. That’s when things got ugly:

They argued and [police] deputies say that it turned physical with Howard chasing her roommate with scissors and hitting her repeatedly with a board and then a sign.

Howard was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Sadly, they don’t serve Girl Scout cookies in jail. [Huff Post]

via Girl Scout Cookie Fight Leads to Assault Charges – Zagat.

faith and spirituality, religion, bookshelf:  I am interested to both read the Pope’s book and the debate that follows.

The Pope’s statements have been broadly welcomed by Jewish organizations. “It deepens and gives historians context crucial in having the doctrine expressed in [the documents from the Second Vatican Council] translated down to the pews,” said Abraham H. Foxman, U.S. director of the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement. “Pope Benedict has rejected the previous teachings and perversions that have helped to foster and reinforce anti-Semitism through the centuries.” On Thursday, Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, called on the Pope to take a step further, reinforcing what he’s written in an official letter, or encyclical. “Many in the Catholic world have continued to espouse ideas of Jewish guilt,” Lauder said in a statement. “Refuting their fallacious arguments in a personal book, whilst right, is probably insufficient. This must become official church doctrine, from top to bottom.”

via Pope: Jews Not to Blame for Jesus’ Death: Why It Matters – TIME.


2.17.2011 … planning for life …

Great Recession, Great Recovery, colleges, Sewanee: Yea, Sewanee’s right!

In a move likely to reverberate among America’s top-tier private colleges, the University of the South said Wednesday it will slash tuition and fees for the coming school year by 10%, or about $4,600.

Commonly known as Sewanee, for the Tennessee town where it is based, University of the South said the cut represents an acknowledgment of “new economic realities.”

“Higher education is on the verge of pricing itself beyond the reach of more and more families,” John M. McCardell Jr., the university’s president, said in a press release.

If not the first, Sewanee is the largest private school to institute such price cuts in recent years, said Tony Pals, director of communications for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

via University of the South Slashes Tuition, Cites Economy –

faith and spirituality, culture, family, Nouwen, followup: I loved yesterday’s Nouwen post (see here) about the value of the “intimacy” of the family meal.  I equally enjoyed this followup.

The Barometer of Our Lives

Although the table is a place for intimacy, we all know how easily it can become a place of distance, hostility, and even hatred. Precisely because the table is meant to be an intimate place, it easily becomes the place we experience the absence of intimacy. The table reveals the tensions among us. When husband and wife don’t talk to each other, when a child refuses to eat, when brothers and sisters bicker, when there are tense silences, then the table becomes hell, the place we least want to be.

The table is the barometer of family and community life. Let’s do everything possible to make the table the place to celebrate intimacy.

via February 17, 2011 – The Barometer of Our Lives.

USA, perspective, culture:  It takes an outsider to look at us critically.  What do you think?  Are we a “not exceptionally bright” “beacon of freedom unto the world”?

Americans take pride in standing as the beacon of freedom unto the world. And America is pretty free. However, as Mr Sorens observes, it’s beacon is not exceptionally bright. America comes in sixth in the Fraser Institute’s 2010 “Economic Freedom of the World” rankings, between Chile and Canada. Mr Sorens doesn’t mention it, but matters look worse if we look at the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal’s “2011 Index of Economic Freedom”, which ranks America ninth, just behind Denmark and well behind our frostbitten northern neighbours. It’s worse if we move on to non-economic liberties. Mr Sorens reports that America rates merely average on Amnesty International’s government repression index in the period from 2004-2008. One might come to the defence of the city on the hill by noting that America gets top marks in political rights and civil liberties from Freedom House, but then so do scores of other countries. The Freedom House ratings aren’t very fine-grained. If you think the extent of liberty is not unrelated to the rule of law, you may be interested in America’s place in Transparency International’s latest corruption perceptions index. It’s 22nd, which isn’t bad—better than France!—but not what you’d call exceptional.

via America the not-so-weird: How exceptional is America, really? | The Economist.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, media:  Seems they don’t think much of us …

“Seems no major city wants the Democratic convention. It’ll be in Charlotte, N.C. Great idea. The nearest hotel’s in South Carolina.”

“Charlotte is not world class. It is more suited to host the Southern Baptist Convention because it shares the mentality of that ilk of folk. It has no real night life, unless you find drinking with a bunch of hick twinks and talking about football or NASCAR enjoyable. … If your idea of a host city is one of religiosity, racism, racing and wrestling, ya’ll come!”

“Here in L.A. we have no automatic biases. But I have decamped to both towns for coverage and believe me, this is where you’ll find that third of Americans who think evolution’s a crock. What rubes.”

via Don’t sweat the image; some live for negatives –

internet, Facebook, culture, psychology: I have seen different sides of people in e-mails and on Facebook … sides that I enjoy more than the person I got to know in person.  Rarely have I disliked someone  because of my internet interaction.  I can see how it might help a shy person.

At a party, bar or restaurant, “I just sit there, hoping someone will talk to me,” he said. “I wait.”

But on Facebook, the 32-year-old Woodbridge resident is Mr. Personality. He constantly refreshes his status, comments on others’ updates, posts pictures, makes jokes and registers his likes. More important, when he sees his digital connections in person, he said, his shyness often disappears.

“There is no doubt that Facebook has improved my life in building relationships with other people,” Chiles said.

Chiles is, in many ways, the face of a counterintuitive new stream of research examining whether social networks, particularly Facebook, are for shy people what water is for the thirsty. The studies, with such titles as “The Influence of Shyness on the Use of Facebook” and “Shyness and Online Social Networking Services,” grapple with an important question: Can the Age of Oversharing bring the shy and lonely out of their cocoons?

“Overall, I think Facebook is a mixed bag,” Cohen said. “The benefits are more obvious, apparent and immediate. But the downsides, at least at first, tend to be less obvious and deeper in the long run. We are really just beginning to understand all of this.”

via Can Facebook help overcome shyness?.



12.14.2010 … ET’s done, Jack today, Molly on Thursday … Yeah!


“In spite of my outward appearance, I shall try to run a neat inn.” – Pigpen

holiday, Christmas, music: Enjoy!  I am listening to the mix while I clip and comment … interesting mix.  Do you have one a mix you like?

We asked 10 of NPR Music’s partner stations to send us 10 of their favorite holiday songs, so this continuous stream is packed with gems. From Bach to The Ramones to Louis Armstrong, it’s a perfect playlist for those who wish to indulge in the spirit of the season while remaining glued to the computer. Whether you’re shopping online or trudging grimly through another workday, let Jingle Jams serve as your soundtrack.

via Jingle Jams: A Holiday Mix From NPR Music : NPR.

street food, Chicago:  really interesting how local laws can vary.

“We’re stopping the sale of cupcakes,” she recalls him saying, before he handed her a ticket and shooed her away.

Food trucks are all the rage in New York and Los Angeles, but in the Windy City they are running up against some sticky regulations. WSJ’s Mark Scheffler reports from the streets of Chicago.

Food trucks—essentially restaurants on wheels—have taken off in cities such as Los Angeles and New York, spurred by the weak economy, trendy fare and the proliferation of social media, like Twitter. Food & Wine magazine voted an L.A. food-truck chef one of its “Best New Chefs” of 2010 and the Food Network has a show devoted to such vendors. But in Chicago, one of the nation’s most progressive culinary cities, the trucks are held back by restrictive rules and operate in a legal twilight zone.

After receiving a $275 ticket, Ms. Kurtz, a 41-year-old entrepreneur who quit her corporate marketing job recently to launch Flirty Cupcakes, told her fans to meet her in the alley. “It was like a drug deal,” she says. “I said, ‘Just take them and run.”‘

via Food Trucks Face Roadblocks in Chicago –

health care, politics, the Constitution:  Good old interstate commerce clause …

Within a fortnight of each other, two federal judges in Virginia, relying on identical precedents and hearing carbon-copy arguments, issued diametrically opposed decisions on the constitutionality of the federal health-care overhaul.

Read side by side, the two rulings reveal strikingly divergent views of what the case is about—and suggest that the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will rest on which depiction best satisfies the Supreme Court.

Both lawsuits challenged the health-care plan’s foundation: the mandate that all Americans, other than those exempted for religious or other reasons, carry health insurance or pay a penalty on top of their income taxes. The plaintiffs contend the mandate exceeds Congress’s constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.

via Judges Have Different Interpretations of Health-Care Law –

health/fitness, babyboomers:  Oh, that’s me!

Swarms of resolution-making Americans will hit the gym this month, but are aging baby boomers really up for boot camp? With about 10.5 million people ages 55 and older now being health club members—more than four times as many as in 1990—more companies are rolling out fitness products aimed at the silver-haired set. Even aerobics queen Jane Fonda, now 72, is back with a new series of senior-friendly exercise DVDs.

via Boomer Fitness Shapes Up –

technology, family, parenting: I hope it helps …

So the McCormicks turned to technology—a shared, online family-management system that serves as a calendar, organizer and communication tool. Ms. McCormick also tapped an online grocery-shopping planner. The tech tools have helped her ease up on the multi-tasking and enjoy her family more, she says. Their daughter Adara, 15, says her mother nags less, leaving the whole family “more time to talk about what is going on in our lives.”

Say goodbye to Post-It notes and giant paper calendars plastered on the fridge. Newer and easier applications can tackle time-management nightmares that plague working parents. Shared online calendars synch family members’ busy schedules; meal-planning websites help get home-cooked dinners on the table, and videoconferencing can link parents on the road with family at home. And while using technology to manage family life might seem to risk turning everyone into robots, parents say the tools help them feel calmer and more in control

via How Families Use Technology to Ease the Work-Family Juggle –

apps, lists:  Another list … For the iPad, 10 Favorite Apps – App Smart –

Jane Austen, movies: So who is your favorite Darcy?  Ad to think Colin Firth almost turned it down.

Speaking at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts on Tuesday night Firth said: “I couldn’t see there was anything to play because the character doesn’t speak most of the time. I thought this is just a guy who stands around for hours driving people to despair.”

In conversation with the film journalist Francine Stock as part of the Alfred Dunhill BAFTA: A Life in Pictures series, Firth disclosed how he repeatedly turned down the role before realising that it would mean someone else would do it.

via Colin Firth ‘did not think Mr Darcy was much of a role’ – Telegraph.


8.8.2010 … just skyped with Molls … continues to love life in South Africa … It is now her “second favorite country” … lazy day here … dog days continue and et has been great fun …

snippets from ZA Molly:  Wow.  She had the big Form 5 Formal and had a blast.  She took her CLS friend Will.  They were the only ones “swing” dancing.  I teased her that I assumed she knew not to call it “shagging.”   She got that one … then after party last night … another blast … as she says,  they say, “hectic” weekend.  And about food, we have heard of three things in particular: cook sisters, biltong and  a certain chocolate milk mix which leaves a crunchy crust on top (that I haven’t found yet).  I did find a list of 100 South African foods … I’ll ask her how many she has had.

As any South African visitor will have noticed, my blog’s name is somewhat of a pun – if you happen to understand Afrikaans! Back home in SA we have a sweet pastry known as a “koeksister” (literally translated as “cake sizzler” and pronounced “cook-sister”). The name comes form the Dutch koek (cake) and sissen (sizzle) – presumable a reference to the sizzling sound they make when being deep fried. It is one of the few things which, despite the huge South African population in London, I have not seen in mainstream stores. This is not to say that someone, somewhere is not producing them in England – I just have not come across them.

via Koeksisters – what’s in a name? – Cook sister!.

South Africans (and Zimbabweans) have known it for years – and it seems that the rest of the world is finally coming around to our way of thinking. Check out this brief article in today’s Metro newspaper:

“Parents trying to soothe their teething babies are turning to air-dried spiced meat. Butcher Henry Viviers can hardly keep up with the demand for his biltong speciality at his shop in Brighton. Most of the demand is coming from expat Zimbabweans but British mothers and fathers are now catching on. ‘When children were teething the first thing we’d give them is a piece of biltong,’ he said. ‘Some English think it’s unhealthy but it’s not.’”

via Biltong – it’s what makes us South African! – Cook sister!.

— and — Here is the list: Cook sister!: South African food.

quotes: Funny — why are we always rudest when we are in a hurry?

“Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

via The Happiness Project.

movies, lists:  Do you have a favorite? Mine may be Dirty Dancing …

From the swingin’ days of Astaire to one happening twist contest, we take a look back at our 10 favorite dance scenes of all time. Read on and then let us know what dance scenes get you moving.

via Best Dance Scenes: 10 Swingin’ Movie Moments | Inside Movies.

Justice Kagan: Interesting … sworn in twice … constitutional and one for judges … and why is the one prescribed by the Constitution private?

She was sworn in twice Saturday by Mr. Roberts—reciting one oath as prescribed by the Constitution during a ceremony in a conference room at the court with only her family present. Ms. Kagan then recited a second oath, taken by judges, with her family and friends and reporters present.

via Kagan to Be Sworn In as Justice –

giving, great ideas, libraries: I like this one … where in Charlotte?  Maybe the bus depot?

No old phone booth close by? Don’t worry. A book booth can work just about anywhere. Take over an unused newspaper dispenser or ask a local business for some of their sidewalk space or an old bench. Be sure to find a place where people already linger, meet, or hang out. And keep it tidy. “You wouldn’t really want anyone to leave a box of books on the ground,” says Inouye. ”Then it starts looking messy. It’s like the broken window mindset. You want it to look neat and presentable and inviting so that it maintains a level of usefulness and involvement.”

via How To: Turn a Payphone Into a Library – Walking Distance – GOOD.

tv, cooking:  I never thought about the resources for a period drama.

Mmmm. . . beef a la king. Doesn’t it summon more 1960s’ food cred than the mention of chicken kiev during “Mad Men’s” season premiere?

For me, it does. I’m old enough to remember several kinds of a la kings landing on the family table. Plus, I recently made the Peg Bracken dish, overcome with curiosity – as in, what were we thinking, tastewise? The recipe’s in the 50th anniversary reissue of “The I Hate to Cook Book” (Grand Central, $22.99), and I would be happy to point you in the direction of just about any other goop-on-a-shingle instead.

I’ll get to that in a bit. Bracken begins her introduction with: “Some women, it is said, like to cook. This book is not for them.” This could be one of her few pronouncements that didn’t hold up over time. I enjoyed the read, for its nostalgia and a high quotient of grinning while turning pages. Dried onion soup mix on a pot roast – yep, my mom made that. Truth be told, I even served it (just once) to the man I married.

via All We Can Eat – ‘I Hate to Cook’: Kitchen companion to ‘Mad Men’.

materialism, consumerism, economy, Great Recession:  I suggest reading this one …. obviously since I excerpted almost the whole thing!

A two-bedroom apartment. Two cars. Enough wedding china to serve two dozen people.

Yet Tammy Strobel wasn’t happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, Calif., and making about $40,000 a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the “work-spend treadmill.”

So one day she stepped off.

Inspired by books and blog entries about living simply, Ms. Strobel and her husband, Logan Smith, both 31, began donating some of their belongings to charity. As the months passed, out went stacks of sweaters, shoes, books, pots and pans, even the television after a trial separation during which it was relegated to a closet. Eventually, they got rid of their cars, too. Emboldened by a Web site that challenges consumers to live with just 100 personal items, Ms. Strobel winnowed down her wardrobe and toiletries to precisely that number.

Her mother called her crazy.

Today, three years after Ms. Strobel and Mr. Smith began downsizing, they live in Portland, Ore., in a spare, 400-square-foot studio with a nice-sized kitchen. Mr. Smith is completing a doctorate in physiology; Ms. Strobel happily works from home as a Web designer and freelance writer. She owns four plates, three pairs of shoes and two pots. With Mr. Smith in his final weeks of school, Ms. Strobel’s income of about $24,000 a year covers their bills. They are still car-free but have bikes. One other thing they no longer have: $30,000 of debt.

Ms. Strobel’s mother is impressed. Now the couple have money to travel and to contribute to the education funds of nieces and nephews. And because their debt is paid off, Ms. Strobel works fewer hours, giving her time to be outdoors, and to volunteer, which she does about four hours a week for a nonprofit outreach program called Living Yoga.

“The idea that you need to go bigger to be happy is false,” she says. “I really believe that the acquisition of material goods doesn’t bring about happiness.”

While Ms. Strobel and her husband overhauled their spending habits before the recession, legions of other consumers have since had to reconsider their own lifestyles, bringing a major shift in the nation’s consumption patterns.

“We’re moving from a conspicuous consumption — which is ‘buy without regard’ — to a calculated consumption,” says Marshal Cohen, an analyst at the NPD Group, the retailing research and consulting firm.

One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.

“  ‘It’s better to go on a vacation than buy a new couch’ is basically the idea,” says Professor Dunn, summing up research by two fellow psychologists, Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich. Her own take on the subject is in a paper she wrote with colleagues at Harvard and the University of Virginia: “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right.” (The Journal of Consumer Psychology plans to publish it in a coming issue.)

One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.

“  ‘It’s better to go on a vacation than buy a new couch’ is basically the idea,” says Professor Dunn, summing up research by two fellow psychologists, Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich. Her own take on the subject is in a paper she wrote with colleagues at Harvard and the University of Virginia: “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right.” (The Journal of Consumer Psychology plans to publish it in a coming issue.)

And the creation of complex, sophisticated relationships is a rare thing in the world. As Professor Dunn and her colleagues Daniel T. Gilbert and Timothy D. Wilson point out in their forthcoming paper, only termites, naked mole rats and certain insects like ants and bees construct social networks as complex as those of human beings. In that elite little club, humans are the only ones who shop.

AT the height of the recession in 2008, Wal-Mart Stores realized that consumers were “cocooning” — vacationing in their yards, eating more dinners at home, organizing family game nights. So it responded by grouping items in its stores that would turn any den into an at-home movie theater or transform a backyard into a slice of the Catskills. Wal-Mart wasn’t just selling barbecues and board games. It was selling experiences.

“We spend a lot of time listening to our customers,” says Amy Lester, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, “and know that they have a set amount to spend and need to juggle to meet that amount.”

One reason that paying for experiences gives us longer-lasting happiness is that we can reminisce about them, researchers say. That’s true for even the most middling of experiences. That trip to Rome during which you waited in endless lines, broke your camera and argued with your spouse will typically be airbrushed with “rosy recollection,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside.

Once upon a time, with roots that go back to medieval marketplaces featuring stalls that functioned as stores, shopping offered a way to connect socially, as Ms. Liebmann and others have pointed out. But over the last decade, retailing came to be about one thing: unbridled acquisition, epitomized by big-box stores where the mantra was “stack ’em high and let ’em fly” and online transactions that required no social interaction at all — you didn’t even have to leave your home.

The recession, however, may force retailers to become reacquainted with shopping’s historical roots.

Mr. Belic says his documentary shows that “the one single trait that’s common among every single person who is happy is strong relationships.”

Buying luxury goods, conversely, tends to be an endless cycle of one-upmanship, in which the neighbors have a fancy new car and — bingo! — now you want one, too, scholars say. A study published in June in Psychological Science by Ms. Dunn and others found that wealth interfered with people’s ability to savor positive emotions and experiences, because having an embarrassment of riches reduced the ability to reap enjoyment from life’s smaller everyday pleasures, like eating a chocolate bar.

Alternatively, spending money on an event, like camping or a wine tasting with friends, leaves people less likely to compare their experiences with those of others — and, therefore, happier.

She rejects the idea that happiness has to be an either-or proposition. Some days, you want a trip, she says; other days, you want a Tom Ford handbag.

MS. STROBEL — our heroine who moved into the 400-square foot apartment — is now an advocate of simple living, writing in her spare time about her own life choices at

“My lifestyle now would not be possible if I still had a huge two-bedroom apartment filled to the gills with stuff, two cars, and 30 grand in debt,” she says.

“Give away some of your stuff,” she advises. “See how it feels.”

via Consumers Find Ways to Spend Less and Find Happiness –

travel, Boston:  I may go to Boston for 36 hours … any ideas?

BOSTON is known for its bricks and brownstones, but the city is starting to take on a glossier, more modern sheen. With the completion of the $15 billion Big Dig, downtown now stretches unimpeded to the harbor, making Boston feel like a whole new city. History abounds, of course — Faneuil Hall still stands, Paul Revere is still buried at the Granary Burying Ground — but it is now joined by a high-tech exuberance, modern parks and a reclaimed harbor. Revere would not recognize it.

via 36 Hours – Boston –

iPad, Kindle: Definitely prefer the iPad.

Many people thought that the Kindle’s price must drop below $100 to excite the hesitant buyer. But consumers aren’t waiting for that deal. The two new Kindle models, which are to start shipping on Aug. 27, are already back-ordered, and orders submitted today will be shipped still later.

This doesn’t settle the long-term question of Kindle’s mass-market appeal amid multipurpose tablets, which will become lighter and less expensive. Sure, Amazon can talk of a future 20th-generation Kindle. But unless it’s brave enough to reveal Kindle’s actual sales numbers, it sounds as if it’s whistling past the graveyard. Dedicated word processors, purpose-built machines of the 1970s, had a good run of about 10 years.

via Digital Domain – Kindle vs. iPad – Specialist Against Multitasker –

technology, e-books:

The physical book is dead, according to Negroponte. He said he realizes that’s going to be hard for a lot of people to accept. But you just have to think about film and music. In the 1980s, the writing was on the wall that physical film was going to die, even though companies like Kodak were in denial. He then asked people to think about their youth with music. It was all physical then. Now everything has changed.

via Nicholas Negroponte: The Physical Book Is Dead In 5 Years.

family, Great Recession, retirement:  This is definitely an issue at our house.  One of the side effects of the Great Recession that many do not realize.  Family Value: The Risks of Retirement Communities –

individual rights, art, people:

Which brings us to the heart of the matter: Why on earth did Mr. Wiesel, of all people, threaten to drop the big one on Ms. Margolin and Theater J? Not only is he prominent and admired, but he is also a celebrated human-rights advocate who has famously declared that “indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.” Yet he has proved himself utterly indifferent to the rights of a serious artist and a well-regarded theater company to make art as they see fit, merely because their art portrays him in a way he doesn’t like. I wouldn’t go so far as to call that hypocritical—not quite—but I have no doubt that it’s unworthy of a great man who ought to know better.

via Elie Wiesel Shuts Down Deb Margolin’s Imagining Madoff at Washington’s Theater J | Sightings by Terry Teachout –


‎8.6.2010 … helping JBT on some projects … enjoying the sweet sounds of a sleeping son … a peer will be a grandmother … yeah for her and hallelujah it’s not me … mine are certainly not “adults” yet … :) … … and surprise lunch with husband and brother-in-law Gary at the Penguin … what a nice surprise!

Kagan Nomination/Justice Kagan:  I wonder if she will travel to Paris to get her lace collars  … which I love … where can a woman justice get a good collar for her robe!  Congratulations to our new justice.

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Elena Kagan on a 63-37 vote to become an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, with a handful of Republicans joining almost all Democrats in making her the fourth woman to

via Senate Confirms Supreme Court Nominee Kagan –

Kalman visits with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“I think, move over Jane Austen as my imaginary best friend forever. Make room for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who would have gone to my high school for music, if her parents had let her. Whose favorite artist is Matisse. (I rest my case.) Who went on to study law because she wanted to combat the forces of injustice (McCarthyism) and graduated tied for first in her class at Columbia Law School, but could not get hired as a lawyer.”

Cancer is a distraction, the real work must go on, Kalman says of Justice Ginsburg. So the author moves on, detailing pleasures (simple and not so) that carry through the whole of a person’s life, help in its most challenging moments, and define the person just as much as all the big stuff.

Find Kalman’s full column, May It Please the Court, here.

(We couldn’t resist and so grabbed a screen shot of one of those pleasures – Justice Ginsburg’s lace collars, as rendered by Kalman.

via Maira Kalman’s Pursuit of Happiness: The Supreme Court and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

technology, RIP: I tried to figure it out and figure a use for it in my technology life … just didn’t do anything for me.

As you may have heard, Google Wave is dead. But why is it dead? Google CEO Eric Schmidt took some time today after his panel at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA to answer that.When BBC reporter Maggie Shiels asked about the reasons behind the product’s demise, Schmidt noted that Google liked the UI and a lot of the technology behind the product, but it simply to take off. “We try things,” he said. “Remember, we celebrate our failures. This is a company where it’s absolutely okay to try something that’s very hard, have it not be successful, and take the learning from that,” he continued.

via Schmidt Talks Wave’s Death: “We Celebrate Our Failures.” [Video]

food, travel, Asheville:  My in-laws are planing a weekend of family in Asheville … so far we have recommendations for  Corner Kitchen, Pisgah Inn, 12 Bones Smokehouse, Red Stag Grill at the Bohemian Hotel and Zambra.   Anybody have a few more ideas?  Here’s what I found on the internet …

Welcome to Asheville, NC—the home of the world’s only Foodtopian Society. Visit a city where food is the centerpiece of daily life with 12 farmers markets, nearly 250 independent restaurants and a bevy of local breweries.

Start planning your visit to Asheville today by learning more about local flavors, farm-to-table dining, and Asheville food experts. Book your food vacation now!

via Foodtopian Society | Foodtopian Society.

-and  – Biltmore Village Tour – Walking Food Tour.

snippets from ZA Molly, Family, GoGo/Sandra, language, culture:  Molly is in South Africa, and when a friend saw a post card from her grandmother GoGo, she asked Molly if she knew that gogo was Zulu for grandmother … Molly did not know … and GoGo did not know it either. She got the grandmother name because Jack, the first grandchild, called her that when he was 18 months old … she liked it (much better than “granny”) and so it has been her name ever since. It makes you wonder if there is not some universal core language that we all share.

Gogo is Zulu for Grandmother.

Lovelight has formed an alliance called GOGO ~

Grandmother’s Organized in Global Oneness.

via Volunteer Opportunities & GOGO Alliance.

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