Posts Tagged ‘First Presbyterian Church

15
Feb
13

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

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

Slows down time for us that we might see Jesus …

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

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

Walking the Labyrinth is a right-brain meditation activity.

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

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

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

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

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

Ask for Help Through Prayer: pray as you walk

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

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

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

via Labyrinth Society of Edmonton.

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

Fareed Zakaria ‏@FareedZakaria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Festival of Legal Learning.

Mother Teresa, quote, Goodreads:

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

― Mother Teresa

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

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

A Howler defined …

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

Howler

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

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

via Howler – Harry Potter Wiki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Barbara Brown Taylor

King College, Bristol, TN

January 24, 2009

via Frederick Buechner Center.

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

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

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

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

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

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

via LATIN IS THE BEST LANGUAGE | More Intelligent Life.

2.15.13 meteor strike, Russia, BBC News: Wow … 

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

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

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

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

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

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

via BBC News – Meteorites injure hundreds in central Russia.

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

Aaron Blake  @FixAaron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Pier 213 Seafood – Eat – Thrillist Atlanta.

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27
Apr
11

4.27.2011 … waiting for the midwestern storms to move east …

British Monarchy, Prince Charles, Prince William, journalism, media, tabloid news:  I enjoy the history and heraldry of the Royal Family, but it just seems “so yesterday” … tabloid news not real news.  Is their story really worthy of our major news outlets …

Prince William and Kate Middleton will exchange vows Friday in a ceremony expected to be watched by almost a third of the planet. But if the story that day will be of a prince and his bride, another will also be playing out behind the scenes: a tale of two kings.

William’s popularity is helping reinvent the monarchy here, with his marriage to a glamorous bride cementing the easy-mannered 28-year-old’s image as the perfect 21st-century king. Yet even as he becomes the single greatest key to ensuring the future of the House of Windsor, many here say William is in danger of overshadowing his far less popular father, Prince Charles, the next in line to the throne.

Streets in London were sealed off so that hundreds of troops from the city’s Wellington and Hyde Park Barracks could hold a dress rehearsal for the royal wedding on the procession route. (April 27)

How did William and Kate meet? Which princess married — and then divorced — an Olympic medalist? Whose wedding gown was adorned with 20,00 pearls? Test your knowledge!

At stake, royal watchers say, is the public standing of the British monarchy, which during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II has enjoyed virtually unwavering support. Yet despite a relatively successful campaign to improve Charles’s image, an Ipsos Mori poll last week showed a greater percentage calling for William to leapfrog Charles to the throne than at any point since the 1997 death of Charles’s ex-wife and William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Forty-six percent of respondents now say Charles should step aside.

via In Britain, Prince William threatens to eclipse his father, Prince Charles – The Washington Post.

Royal Wedding, Kate Middleton, fashion, icons:  She looks pretty good … but if you look back prior to the engagement, she looks like a beautiful commoner.  She’s going to have a little help now with the transformation into a fashion icon.

She’s not even a princess yet, but Kate Middleton, the future bride of Prince William, is already being held up around the world as a fashion plate. Designers are scampering to imitate the dresses she wears, and fashionistas debate the meaning of her latest hat. When it turned out that the ruffled silk blouse Middleton wore in her engagement photos was no longer being sold, the Whistles store obligingly brought the style back.

via Kate Middleton: The Fashions – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Twitter, parenting:  Favorite of the day … I hope i am not a lawnmower parent … helicopter parent at least sounds more glamorous.

Word Spy

lawnmower parent n. A parent who smooths his or her children’s paths through life by solving their problems for them. http://wspy.ws/lawnm

via (39) Twitter / Home.

law, ethics, politics, King & Spalding, Atlanta:  Sometimes politics and lawyering don’t mix.

This week, the law firm hired by House Republicans to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, withdrew from the case in the wake of criticism from gay-rights groups. Paul Clement, a former solicitor general and a highly regarded litigator, who was to be the lead counsel on the case, resigned from the firm, King & Spalding, in protest. King & Spalding issued a bland statement saying it was dropping the case because it hadn’t adequately vetted the contract. It looks more like a cave-in to pressure from the Human Rights Campaign and other groups that warned King & Spalding that it could have trouble recruiting and retaining lawyers if it persisted in defending DOMA, a job the firm took on after the Obama Administration announced that it would no longer be doing so itself.

Now, the activists can certainly demand whatever they want, and it’s easy to understand their chagrin. DOMA is a discriminatory piece of legislation, made even more problematic by its disrespect for laws enacted by the states: it prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages that are legal in the states in which they occurred.

But giving in to pressure to rid yourself of a controversial client is never a good idea in our system. It sets a bad precedent and carries an unfortunate whiff of McCarthyite groupthink. The Los Angeles Times had it right when it editorialized that it understood the outrage,

But the suggestion that it’s shameful for Clement or his firm to do so misunderstands the adversarial process. For one thing, with sharp-witted counsel on both sides making the strongest possible arguments, it is more likely that justice will be done. For another, a lawyer who defends an individual or a law, no matter how unpopular or distasteful, helps ensure that the outcome is viewed as fair. If DOMA is struck down, the fact that it was defended effectively will make the victory for its opponents more credible.

Clement will take up the defense of DOMA at his new firm, Bancroft P.L.L.C., which presumably is prepared for the disapproval that might come its way, and won’t back out. Maybe gay-rights groups can now return to making the strongest possible affirmative case for marriage equality, instead of trying to put its opponents out of commission.

via News Desk: Why DOMA Deserves A Lawyer : The New Yorker.

First Presbyterian Church, Rev. Roland Purdue:  Easter joke …. Rev Purdue does like to hear his congregation laugh!

So our interim minister today related a story that he often sees people he kind of knows but isn’t sure, since he travels a lot between churches. After service one day , he sees a woman he thinks he knows, so he he approaches her and says ” You look like Helen Brown,” to which she replied ” And you don’t look so good in black either!”

culture, gender issues, economics, traditions, marriage:  Name changing seems to be an expensive tradition.

FORGET ABOUT cash-stuffed wedding envelopes. A Dutch study suggests a way for brides to pick up an extra half million dollars by doing nothing–specifically, by not changing their names. Women who kept their maiden names were judged to be more professional than married-name doppelgangers and proved more likely to win a job, according to the research. They also attracted higher pay.

If the study results have real-world implications—and more on some limitations of the research in a moment—then as this season’s brides ponder a name-change, they might consider not only their shifting sentiments but economic realities.

via Are Maiden Names Really Worth $500,000? – SmartMoney.com.

Harper Lee, good stories, Jon Meacham, quotes:

Jon Meacham author of Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship (2004) said in an interview about Harper Lee for the book Scout, Atticus & Boo:

“I was with Harper Lee once in Sewanee, Tennessee, a couple of years ago at an occasion where Winston Churchill’s daughter and Miss Lee were receiving honorary degrees from the University of the South. At one of the events, the recipient stands up and says how they got to be where they are, and when Harper Lee stood up, she simply looked at Churchill’s daughter, Mary Soames, and said, “I would like to thank Lady Soames for everything, because if her father had not done what he did, I wouldn’t have been able to write anything at all.” And then she sat down. It was one of the most remarkably gracious things I have ever seen.”

via The Character of an Author – Nelle Harper Lee | Authors Say the Darndest Things.

Harper Lee, birthdays, 4/26, favorite posts, Jon Meacham:

It’s Harper Lee’s 85th birthday. Everyone who has ever wondered What Would Atticus Do? should raise a glass and drink to Miss Lee tonight.

via Jon Meacham./Facebook

Google Doodle birthdays, 4/26, John James Audubon:  I like this one …

Happy Bird-day, John James Audubon!

Google Doodle

via Google Doodle: Happy Bird-day, John James Audubon! – TIME NewsFeed.

Donald Trump, politics, balders:

A threat to the fledgling presidential campaign of Donald Trump emerged today, as a group of activists charged that Mr. Trump is not eligible to hold the nation’s highest office because his hair does not originate from the U.S.

The group, who call themselves “Balders,” claim that the hair-like substance that crowns Mr. Trump’s head is from a foreign country, which would mean that the candidate is less than one hundred percent American.

“Time and time again, Donald Trump has refused to produce a certificate of authenticity for his hair,” said Leeann Selwyn, a leading Balder.  “This is tantamount to a comb-over of the truth.”

via Trump Dogged By Rumors His Hair is Not From U.S. « Borowitz Report.

22
Nov
10

11.22.2010 … the boys are back in town …

First Presbyterian Church, end of an era, Dr. Bill Wood, followup:  Nice article in the local paper … but does show both sides of his legacy.

Members of First Presbyterian may have been saying goodbye to their spiritual leader of 27 years, but Charlotte was also witnessing the retirement of a minister who had long been a community leader.

Wood, 67, worked with business leaders – many of them Presbyterian – and other clergy to open centers for the city’s homeless. He filled his 2-block church campus with schools and programs for children. He commissioned a fresco of the Good Samaritan by artist Ben Long that has become an uptown landmark. And he chaired the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Library board when ImaginOn, the children’s library and theater, was built.

jAnd in 2004, Wood made headlines with his quotable response to Mecklenburg County commissioner Bill James’ comment that urban blacks “live in a moral sewer.”

“There are a few moral sewers in south Charlotte as well,” Wood told the commissioners, referring to James’ district.

via Wood leaves legacy of growth, outreach at First Presbyterian – CharlotteObserver.com.

Where were you when?, history, anniversaries:  I was 3. I do not remember anything other than my sister telling me what she remembered.

My first “Where were you when?” event is probably the first moon walk.

Forty-seven years later, it all seems part of another world defined by black-and-white television, the black-and-white certainties of the Cold War and black-and-white racial relations. Even if he had served two full terms as president, JFK (born in 1917 and afflicted with Addison’s disease) almost certainly would be long dead by now. Few remain who were close to John Kennedy (aside from his daughter, Caroline) following the deaths of Ted Kennedy last year and “ask not” speechwriter Ted Sorensen three weeks ago.

Today’s Americans – no matter what age – have become hardened by the shock of wrenching events from the 9/11 attacks to the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and the shooting of Ronald Reagan. But for teenagers born after World War II, this was not how it was supposed to be in 1963. Assassination meant John Wilkes Booth and Mrs. Lincoln’s evening at the theater.

via JFK Assassination Anniversary: Eternal Flame Flickers but Still Burns.

gardening, urban farming:  New term … “urban farming.”

Growing food in dense cities like New York might seem like an oxymoron, but why shouldn’t we grow food right next to our plates to reduce the waste? Today, most Americans live in urban areas. And as the population densities have shifted around the country, we should re-examine backyards. They can be more than places to relax; they can be places to grow vegetables.

There are more than 10,000 acres of unused land in New York City, according to the Department of Planning, and 1,500 of those acres are in Brooklyn. On top of that, there are countless privately owned sunny backyards. Farming 36 backyards in Crown Heights or Bay Ridge is the equivalent to farming an acre. In other words, Brooklyn is ripe for decentralized urban farming.

via Is Decentralized Urban Farming the Future of food? – Food – GOOD.

water resource management, history: very interesting.

This tension between Western states was anticipated by John Wesley Powell, the great frontier explorer and head surveyor of the West for the federal government back in the 1880s. (You might remember him from history class as the one-armed maniac who lead the first European American expedition down the then-ferocious Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.)

Powell saw that water management—mostly for irrigation—would be a pivotal issue throughout the arid Southwest, one that state governments would be wrestling with forever. So he proposed state boundaries based on watershed, as seen on his map below.

via John Wesley Powell’s Watershed States Map – Environment – GOOD.

random, culture, habits:  Cell phones = 21st century cigaraettes?

And while it’s unlikely that the negative effects of cell phones are anywhere close to those of smoking, it does raise the question: Will our grandchildren look at us talking on our cell phones the moment our plane touches down, or while sitting in the doctors office, with the same mix of nostalgia and moral superiority that we feel toward those dated characters on Mad Men?

via Are Cell Phones the Cigarettes of the 21st Century? – Health – GOOD.

google street view, random, public art:  Does this constitute “public art?”

Google’s Street View feature has captured private moments before, but “Street with a View” is the first example of public art we’ve seen that was designed specifically to be documented by Google’s roving cameras, and viewed online through Street View.

For “Street with a View,” artists Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley enlisted the help of a full cast of artists and performers to set up a series of tableaux—including a parade, a sword fight, a rooftop escape, and a perplexing giant chicken—along Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They then invited Google to drive through the scene and immortalize it in its Street View feature.

via The Most Exciting Street in the World – Design – GOOD.

blogs, favorites, quotes:  Ordinary Courage may be my new favorite blog … and I like her quote of the week and this passage about TGIF ..

Quote of the week:

“Don’t try to win over the haters. You’re not the jackass whisperer.”

— Scott Stratten, author of Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.

via quote of the week  – my blog – Ordinary Courage.

-and-

T.G.I.F is based on my theory on twinkle-lighting. I think twinkle lights are so universally loved because they are the perfect metaphor for joy. In our culture we’re taught to believe that joy and happiness should be a constant. They’re not.

Joy is glorious precisely because it comes in moments – mostly ordinary moments. Most of us tend to miss out on those bursts of heart-light because we’re so busy chasing down “the extraordinary light” or we’re too afraid to enjoy them because we know that they are fleeting.

A joyful life is not a “flood light” of joy. That would eventually become unbearable.

I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, and inspiration.

via itiwjm read-along – chapter 3 tgif – my blog – Ordinary Courage.

random:  OK, I am a sap, but I love the things … Welcome Back – Heathrow Airport (T-Mobile).

Jane AustenJuvenile Jane: Radio 4 discovers the ‘sexy and surreal’ tales of a young Jane Austen – Telegraph.

churches, music, history, Charlotte:  I think I will make it a point to go to a service at St. Perter’s.  It is a lovely church.

Carolinas Medical Center. The Urban Ministry Center. Thompson Child and Family Focus.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church founded all three – beginning when it started Charlotte’s first hospital, which grew into CMC. This weekend, the 176-year-old parish makes a new contribution to Charlotte life. This one could outlast them all.

It weighs 10 tons. It reaches up to embrace the rose window at the sanctuary’s rear. It can be as stirring as the fieriest minister.

The church’s new pipe organ actually could drown out the minister if the player saw fit. After all, its message is supposed to reach beyond the church’s walls.

“When we come together for worship,” says the Rev. David Pittman, the church’s rector, “what we’re there for is to offer to God our very best. That includes the music. The organ will make that offering of praise … the best we can offer.”

The organ – which replaces one from the 1930s – is the crowning feature of a yearlong renovation of the sanctuary. St. Peter’s will introduce the instrument with a pair of concerts tonight and Sunday afternoon by Janette Fishell, professor of organ at Indiana University. The dedication service is Sunday morning.

via 10 tons of pipe dreams – CharlotteObserver.com.

college, NC, Great Recession:

North Carolina is giving low-income students more than $210 million in grants this year to help them go to state community colleges and universities.

But that money is likely to slow to a trickle in the near future, when families may need it most.

Of the $210 million, only about $34 million is a sure thing that state leaders can count on; it’s money reserved for scholarships from state lottery proceeds.

The rest will be hard to come by, particularly because North Carolina’s largest single source for financial aid – the state’s escheats fund of unclaimed property – is nearly tapped out.

About 90,000 to 100,000 low- to middle-income students now receive state grants, which do not have to be repaid. Most students also take on loans to pay for tuition, room, food and books. The state grants are layered on to other forms of financial aid, including the federal Pell Grant for low-income students and other grants and loans provided by universities.

via College aid pool for N.C. students is running low – CharlotteObserver.com.

Davidson basketball:  ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♪♪¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Sweet Caroline… Good times never seemed so good ! ♪♫•*¨*• .¸¸♪♪¸¸.•*¨*•♫  … Davidson 64 – Western KY 51!  (Aside – from Lisa –  … Puerto Rico Tip Off Tourney Results: UNC 1 win- 2 losses. Davidson 2 wins- 1 loss. 🙂  )

Jordan Downing has already earned a nickname from his coach: The Microwave.

“He heats up pretty quick,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said.

JP Kuhlman had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Downing scored big baskets off the bench to lead Davidson to a 64-51 win over Western Kentucky on Sunday in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament.

via Davidson defeats Western Kentucky 64-51 – CharlotteObserver.com.

college, Myers Park HS, UNC-CH, Rhodes Scholarship, kudos:  Kudos to Paul and his family and to all the people and organizations that supported him to win this great honor.

Steven “Paul” Shorkey Jr., a UNC Chapel Hill senior from Charlotte, was one of 32 Americans awarded a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England, the university announced today.

Shorkey, 21, a 2007 Myers Park High graduate, is the only North Carolinian to win the Rhodes this year. He’s a Morehead-Cain Scholar at UNC, where he’s double majoring in business administration and psychology.

via Charlotte student wins Rhodes Scholarship – CharlotteObserver.com.

technology, Charlotte: dead last among 27 metro areas, no kudos here …

A call-quality survey J.D. Power and Associates conducted of more than 26,000 customers this year showed the Queen City finishing dead last among 27 metro areas.

Which prompts a simple question from frustrated Charlotte cell phone owners: Why?

The major carriers, battling for supremacy over a $150 billion-a-year industry, aren’t talking – at least not in the kind of detail necessary to pinpoint the answer. Private media research firms like J.D. Power and Nielsen have the data but won’t share it, at least partly because they market their information to carriers.

And government regulators have so little insight into call quality that, if they sought to study Charlotte’s networks, they would need to buy the private firms’ data.

Still, clues have emerged in a series of interviews and site visits the Observer conducted in recent weeks. The list of culprits appears to include:

Charlotte’s growth, which has strained carriers’ networks and staff. The increasing use of bandwidth-hogging smart phones hasn’t helped, either.

So many cell sites are being built or upgraded that call quality suffers during the wave of construction.

And in some areas, there simply may not be enough towers.

via Can you hear me now? Sorry, Charlotte callers – CharlotteObserver.com.

college, kids, gap year:  I think it seems like a great idea.  More U.S. students taking ‘gap year’ break – Travel – Travel Tips – msnbc.com.

history, future, China: So much for the thought that we were going global … this article just suggests the axis is changing.

chinacover

“We are the masters now.” That was certainly the refrain that I kept hearing in my head when I was in China two weeks ago. It wasn’t so much the glitzy, Olympic-quality party I attended in the Tai Miao Temple, next to the Forbidden City, that made this impression. The displays of bell ringing, martial arts and all-girl drumming are the kind of thing that Western visitors expect. It was

It was the understated but unmistakable self-confidence of the economists I met that told me something had changed in relations between China and the West.

One of them, Cheng Siwei, explained over dinner China’s plan to become a leader in green energy technology. Between swigs of rice wine, Xia Bin, an adviser to the People’s Bank of China, outlined the need for a thorough privatization program, “including even the Great Hall of the People.” And in faultless English, David Li of Tsinghua University confessed his dissatisfaction with the quality of Chinese Ph.D.s.

You could not ask for smarter people with whom to discuss the two most interesting questions in economic history today: Why did the West come to dominate not only China but the rest of the world in the five centuries after the Forbidden City was built? And is that period of Western dominance now finally coming to an end?

via The Return of China – WSJ.com.

movie, Harry Potter:  Love the quote: “The key to this franchise is 18-34 year olds and their aging process.”

Warner Bros. executives credit an audience that has grown up on “Harry Potter” with the success of the decade-long series.

“The key to this franchise is 18-34 year olds and their aging process,” says Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “When we first started ‘Harry Potter’ and cast 10-year-old Daniel Radcliffe in the title role, parents drove their 10-year-olds to see the movies. Today, those same kids are now driving themselves to the midnight shows.”

Roughly 10 percent of the first film’s audience was 18-34 year olds, adds Mr. Fellman. By contrast, that age group composed 25% of the audience for “Deathly Hallows.”

via ‘Potter’ Charms Aging Audience – WSJ.com.

history, Oh_Please, kumbaya:  There are lots of myths in history … why do we have to ruin this one … and besides it may well be true.  Tea Party, go away!

Forget what you learned about the first Thanksgiving being a celebration of a bountiful harvest, or an expression of gratitude to the Indians who helped the Pilgrims through those harsh first months in an unfamiliar land. In the Tea Party view of the holiday, the first settlers were actually early socialists. They realized the error of their collectivist ways and embraced capitalism, producing a bumper year, upon which they decided that it was only right to celebrate the glory of the free market and private property.Historians quibble with this interpretation. But the story, related by libertarians and conservatives for years, has taken on new life over the last year among Tea Party audiences, who revere early American history, and hunger for any argument against what they believe is the big-government takeover of the United States.It has made Thanksgiving another proxy in the debate over health care and entitlement spending, and placed it alongside the New Deal and the Constitution on the platter of historical items picked apart by competing narratives.

There are other debates about Thanksgiving — whether the first was in Jamestown, Va., or Plymouth, Mass.; whether it was intended as a religious holiday or not. But broadly, the version passed on to generations of American schoolchildren holds that the settlers who had arrived in the New World on the Mayflower in 1620 were celebrating the next year’s good harvest, sharing in the bounty with Squanto and their other Indian friends, who had taught them how to hunt and farm on new terrain.

All very kumbaya, say Tea Party historians, but missing the economics lesson within.

William Hogeland, the author of “Inventing American History,” agreed. “Across the political spectrum, there’s a tendency to grab a hold of some historical incident and yoke it to a current agenda,” he said. “It doesn’t always mean there’s no connection, but often things are presented as historical first, rather than as part of the agenda first.”

via Thanksgiving and the Tea Party – NYTimes.com.

boys, me, music: OK, so my boys came in on the redeye this am and this is the song in my head … YouTube – Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town.

21
Nov
10

11.21.2010 … Bill Wood’s last day at FPC …

First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte: FPC will miss you, the Teague family will miss you and I will miss you.  Thank you, Dr. Wood for 27 years.  You brought me into adulthood in the Presbyterian church and you baptised each of my children into the church (three of 800!)    I can’t wait to see what you will do next. fn.20101121-1

Chicago, architecture: 50 years old … makes me feel old.Marinacity

Monday will mark the 50th anniversary of the official ground-breaking for the great city-within-a-city and its iconic, corncob-shaped towers of concrete.

They were the world’s tallest concrete structures at the time of their completion in the 1960s. And they remain among the most photographed and beloved architectural symbols of Chicago.

Their curvy balconies offer ample space for dinner parties and al fresco romance. In this vertical village, your “neighbor” might be the person you wave to in the tower next door.

via Cityscapes | Chicago Tribune | Blog.

college, applications: Where is this going …

Since I wrote about the early returns on early-admission programs last Friday, the enduring popularity of binding early-decision programs this year has come into increasingly sharper focus.

I note, in scrolling through the nearly three dozen institutions (and counting) represented on the chart above, that binding early submissions to Vanderbilt are up more than 30 percent; those to George Washington are up nearly 20 percent; and that Dartmouth has seen an increase of nearly 14 percent. (Blogger’s disclosure: I am a Dartmouth graduate.)

Bucknell (30 percent); Lehigh (14 percent); and Bowdoin (10 percent) also caught my eye. They join Northwestern (now reporting a 26 percent increase) and the University of Pennsylvania (18 percent), which I wrote about last week.

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

save_the_world:

Groupon, the Chicago-based Internet company that offers deep discounts on products and services, discovered Friday that a tout from Oprah Winfrey can be too much of a good thing.

After the talk-show host mentioned Groupon on her “Favorite Things” segment Friday morning, the company’s website crashed. Visitors received this message: “We are experiencing unusually high volume on our site right now. Please check back later.”

A Groupon rep said the site was up again by the afternoon.

Winfrey mentioned Groupon’s partnership with Kiva, a microfinancing company that offers small loans to low-income entrepreneurs worldwide. She chose Kiva as one of her “2010 Favorite Things” and noted that a $10 Groupon would buy a $25 Kiva loan.

The Kiva deal is still on: “Whether you give the credit as a gift or make the loan yourself, Groupon and supporting sponsors will add $10 to every $15 purchase, up to $500,000,” the company reports on its site.

via Oprah plug leads to website crash :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State.

Africa, wildlife:

Yet the chances of saving thenorthern white are remote. Short of re-engineering it from frozen samples in the future, the best hope of preserving its genetic stock is to breed the last individuals with southern whites. That means the end of a creature that has probably been distinct for a million years. Indeed, the decline of the African rhino—which includes the black rhino as well as the white—is among the sorriest and most instructive tales in conservation.

When President Theodore Roosevelt came to east Africa in 1909 an estimated 300,000 rhinos roamed the region. Now there are perhaps 2,000. The problem is not that the rhinos are half-blind, lumbering, and often infertile—which they are. It is economic: the ornamental and medicinal value of rhino horn makes it hard for the rhino to pay its way alive.

via Game conservation in Africa: Horns, claws and the bottom line | The Economist.

movies, Disney Princesses, childhood, RIP:  a part of my childhood and most American little girls …

Once upon a time, there was a studio in Burbank that spun classic fairy tales into silver-screen gold.But now the curtain is falling on “princess movies,” which have been a part of Disney Animation’s heritage since the 1937 debut of its first feature film, “Snow White.” The studio’s Wednesday release of “Tangled,” a contemporary retelling of the Rapunzel story, will be the last fairy tale produced by Disney’s animation group for the foreseeable future.

via Disney Animation is closing the book on fairy tales – latimes.com.

random, history: very interesting

With that wax cylinder, the oldest known recording of a spiritual titled for its recurring plea, Mr. Gordon set into motion a strange and revealing process of cultural appropriation, popularization and desecration. “Come By Here,” a song deeply rooted in black Christianity’s vision of a God who intercedes to deliver both solace and justice, by the 1960s became the pallid pop-folk sing-along “Kumbaya.” And “Kumbaya,” in turn, has lately been transformed into snarky shorthand for ridiculing a certain kind of idealism, a quest for common ground.

Conservative Republicans use the term to mock the Obama administration as naïve. Liberals on the left wing of the Democratic Party use it to chastise President Obama for trying to be bipartisan. The president and some of his top aides use it as an example of what they say their policies are not.

via Long Road From ‘Come By Here’ to ‘Kumbaya’ — On Religion – NYTimes.com.

politics, media, Oh_Please:

Ms. Palin’s search traffic, since the start of 2010, is roughly 16 times that of Mitt Romney, 14 times that of Newt Gingrich, 38 times that of Mike Huckabee, and 87 times that of Mr. Pawlenty. (It is about six times greater than these other four candidates combined.)

Ms. Palin, in fact, draws almost as much search traffic worldwide as the man she would face if she wins the Republican nomination: Barack Obama. And her name is searched for about 30 percent more often than the President’s among Google users in the United States.

via Election Forecasts – FiveThirtyEight Blog – NYTimes.com.

science:

In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland detail how they caught 38 atoms of anti-hydrogen — the simplest type of antimatter — and stored them for about two-tenths of a second. Sci-fi geeks or mad papal aides shouldn’t celebrate yet, however.

Scientists (Briefly) Trap Elusive Antimatter

An image taken by the ALPHA annihilation detector shows untrapped antihydrogen atoms annihilating on the inner surface of the ALPHA trap. The events are concentrated at the electrode radius of about 22.3 mm.

“[Thirty-eight atoms is] an incredibly small amount,” said Rob Thompson, head of physics and astronomy at Canada’s University of Calgary and one of the paper’s 42 co-authors. “Nothing like what we would need to power ‘Star Trek’s’ Starship Enterprise or even to heat a cup of coffee.”

via Scientists (Briefly) Trap Elusive Antimatter.

bookshelf, Mark Twain:  OK, this sounds interesting.

When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word doorstopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies.

“Autobiography of Mark Twain” is a smash hit across the country.

Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run — so far — of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins.

via Mark Twain’s Autobiography Is Flying Off the Shelves – NYTimes.com.

fashion:  I never thought about what raven meant …

Audesson says it’s because they believe getting older corresponds to going lighter.

“People also believe in the blonde myth,” says Audesson. “The media has taught us that being blonde makes women feel sexy, hot, attractive, powerful, and men look more at blondes than brunettes. But in reality, what really happens when some women go lighter, is they end up looking washed out, so they don’t wind up with any of those qualities.”

The ideal woman to have dark hair is one with a dark or olive complexion and dark or very light eyes, according to Audesson. Age can be a factor, too. “Younger to middle aged woman look better with very dark hair,” he says. Also, women who are naturally darker — including Hispanics, Asians or Middle Easterners — should lean towards the darker shades of hair color as their natural complexion complements it better.

via Thinking of Going Dark This Winter? Pro Tips for Raven Locks – StyleList.

travel:

“With people getting partially molested at checkpoints, all that is going to be a real shock for them,” said Greg Wells, senior vice president of operations at Southwest Airlines. “TSA will create an issue for us. It’s going to slow things down.”

via Will Turkey Day Fliers Cry Foul? – WSJ.com.

politics, religion, President Obama:  Interesting analysis

The Wisdom books force readers to face uncomfortable truths. “There is no remembrance of the first things nor of the last things that will be,” says Ecclesiastes. In a footnote, Alter observes: “This is a radical and deeply disturbing idea for the Hebrew imagination, which, on the evidence of many earlier texts, sets such great store in leaving a remembrance, and envisages the wiping out of remembrance as an ultimate curse.”

And yet, and yet. All is not lost, which should give the president some hope amid the shadows, and should keep the Republicans from thinking that their own course will now be unimpeded. “And I saw that wisdom surpasses folly as light surpasses darkness,” says Ecclesiastes. “The wise man has eyes in his head, and the fool goes in darkness.” The world will never bend itself totally to our purposes, but Job’s example offers us some hope: endure in tribulation, and perhaps all may be well.

via Obama and the Book of Job – Essay – NYTimes.com.

inspiration:  I just liked this … tgif + a celebration giveaway – my blog – Ordinary Courage.

 

history, Gettysburg AddressSeven Score and Seven Years Ago: What You Don’t Know About the Gettysburg Address – TIME NewsFeed.

politics, media, fair is fair:

Joe Scarborough, a co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” was briefly suspended Friday after Politico uncovered donations he had made to political candidates.

Mr. Scarborough’s donations to friends and family members totaled $4,000. His suspension will keep him off “Morning Joe” for two days.

Those donations were a violation of a policy at MSNBC and its parent, NBC News, which prohibits political contributions without advance approval. That prohibition also ensnared Keith Olbermann, MSNBC’s highest-rated host, earlier this month, after the same publication reported that he had donated to three candidates. Mr. Olbermann’s donations were all made this year, and they totaled $7,200. Those donations prompted a two-day suspension of Mr. Olbermann — and a rash of criticism of the policy.

via Joe Scarborough Suspended For Two Days For Political Donations – NYTimes.com.




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