Posts Tagged ‘football

22
Nov
11

11.22.2011 … seeking a second confirming opinion … Preparing to join the masses tomorrow … Over the hills and through the woods to GoGo’s house we go …

Thanksgiving, kith/kin: 🙂

Salvador Dalí, Walt Disney,  collaboration, creativity, art:

In 1945, Dalí and Walt Disney embarked upon a formidable collaboration — to create a six-minute sequence combining animation with live dancers, in the process inventing a new animation technique inspired by Freud’s work of Freud on the unconscious mind and the hidden images with double meaning. The film, titled Destino, tells the tragic love story of Chronos, the personification of time, who falls in love with a mortal woman as the two float across the surrealist landscapes of Dalí’s paintings. The poetic, wordless animation features a score by Mexican composer Armando Dominguez performed by Dora Luz.

As fascinating as the film itself is the juxtaposition of the two creative geniuses behind it, each bringing his own life-lens to the project — Dalí described the film as “A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time” and Disney called it “A simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”

via Destino: A Salvador Dalí + Walt Disney Collaboration Circa 1945 | Brain Pickings.

liberal arts, education, life, culture: I knew this!

The study found that liberal arts college graduates are more likely than graduates of both private and public universities to give their college a high effectiveness rating for helping them learn to write and speak effectively.

The study found also that liberal arts college graduates are more likely than alumni of other types of institutions to say all of the following about their college experience:

Their professors often challenged them academically and personally helped them meet those challenges;

Most of their grades were based on essay exams and written reports;

Their experience often included extensive classroom discussions;

They participated in faculty-directed research or independent study;

They often engaged in conversations with professors outside of class;

They participated in service-learning or community service;

They were involved in an extracurricular activity.

Alumni of all three types of institutions – liberal arts colleges, private universities, and flagship public universities – were more likely in the 2011 survey to rate their overall experience as “excellent” than in the 2002 survey, Day noted. The increase was particularly pronounced for graduates of liberal arts colleges, who went from 66 to 77 percent, and public universities, who went from 41 to 53 percent.

The Annapolis Group, a non-profit alliance of 130 residential liberal arts colleges, commissioned the survey to determine how its graduates perceive the effectiveness of its member institutions in comparison to others.

via Liberal Arts College Graduates Feel Better Prepared for Life’s Challenges, Study Finds | College News.

Edward Gorey, macabre, Why We Have Day and Night:  Gorey’s work always scared me …

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Edward Gorey’s, mid-century illustrator of the macabre, whose work influenced generations of creators, from Nine Inch Nails to Tim Burton. Eleven years after his death, Gorey still manages to charm us with his signature style of darkly delightful illustrations with Why We Have Day and Night. In three dozen beautifully minimalist black-and-white illustrations, with plenty of design-nerd-friendly negative space, Gorey and collaborator Peter F. Neumeyer illuminate young readers on the mystery of why we have darkness and light.

via The 11 Best Illustrated Children’s and Picture Books of 2011 | Brain Pickings.

college application process, early admission:  Our poor kids … nearly 4,250 apply to Harvard early admission …

Last week, The Choice published a chart with early admission application figures — most of them increases over last year — at 25 colleges. That chart has now grown to include nearly 40 schools.

Our updated tally includes Harvard College, which suspended early admission in 2007 and restored it only this year. The college said on Monday that 4,245 students filed single choice early action applications by its Nov. 1 deadline; under that program, students are prohibited from filing early applications with other private colleges in the United States. Those 4,245 applicants represent more than double the size of Harvard’s anticipated class of 2016, and they mark a 5.9 percent increase from four years ago, when early admission was last in effect at Harvard and 4,010 students chose to apply.

Yale University has also reported that it received 4,310 early applications for admission, an 18 percent decrease from last year’s figure, perhaps influenced by the reinstatement of early admissions at Harvard and Princeton University this fall.

via Nearly 4,250 Apply to New Harvard Early Admission Program – NYTimes.com.

 football, sports art, Salvador Dalí:

Do you like football? Salvador Dalí paints a picture on the pages of a newspaper for Boys’ Life, 1965. Other obscure Dalí collaborations: Walt Disney short film (1945), Alice in Wonderland illustrations (1969)

Do you like football? Salvador Dalí paints a picture on the pages of a newspaper for Boys’ Life, 1965.

via curiosity counts – Do you like football? Salvador Dalí paints a….

college life,  study abroad alternatives:

But while these travelers were away experiencing the exotic, many of their friends – about 20,000,000 students altogether – remained bound to campus. Undoubtedly, not all of these students wanted to study abroad. However, many did and their decision to stay home could have been a result of finances, extracurricular commitments, or otherwise.

If this is you, don’t resign yourself to four years of the same familiar view out your window: As it turns out, there are many equally-enticing alternatives to studying abroad.

Even if you’re already an accomplished globetrotter, read on. These off-campus opportunities offer rich experiences for any student.

via Unable to study abroad? Check out these alternatives | USA TODAY College.

Address Is Approximate, vimeo, short film, animation:  Quite fun!

via Address Is Approximate on Vimeo.

07
Feb
11

2.7.2011 … Game over … are the steelers asking “who moved my cheese?” … and gLee was quite enjoyable … a real thriller.

Super Bowl XLV, technology, Facebook, globalization:  I enjoyed my global real-time Facebook shared viewing of the Game.  Thanks Susra from Germany, E from Chapel Hill, C form around the corner … and all the others who posted.  I also learned that one friend’s husband is truly a lifelong Packers’ fan with pictures to prove it, and they would buy Packers tickets if they could even though they live nowhere near Green Bay, and that another friend is friend’s with the Packer’s coach’s sister.  But where was Tim?

me: Game on … Slightly favor packers… Sorry, Tim… are you awake and watching Susra in Germany!

Susra: Absolutely!! It is 03:57 and the Pack is ahead!!!

me: Dirty dancing tune…hmmm

me: So so halftime

me : Touchdown …

E likes this.

Susra: I like as long as you were referring to a GB score!

me: Glad to know you are awake! And yes I am pulling for the Packers.

me: ‎…3 point game …

me: Congrats, packers … And now gLee!

C likes this.

me: Post game … Post gLee … Sleep

Super Bowl XLV, favorite headline:  goes to the Chicago Tribune – “Super Bowl Served with Cheese on Top”  … Green Bay’s paper just said “WORLD CHAMPS.”

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates with linebacker Clay Matthews after their win in Super Bowl XLV. (Matthew Emmons/US Presswire)

Super Bowl served with cheese on top

via Chicago Tribune: Chicago news, sports, weather and traffic – chicagotribune.com.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising, twitter:  It was interesting to watch their tweets … often did not have the same opinion. Don’t you think it is interesting that the WSJ tweeted about the ads … that is business news.

The Wall Street Journal has assembled a panel of experts who will share their thoughts about the best and worst ads on a live blog during the game. Among them:

The Wall Street Journal’s Super Bowl Ad Live Blog kicks off Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET. Check back in here to follow the game that really matters.

via Super Bowl 2011: Your Coming Guide to the Best and Worst Ads – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising, followup, Detroit:  This was my favorite.  YouTube – Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl Commercial – Imported From Detroit. Interestingly it follows up on some clips that I have posted in recent weeks … see here and I referred to this blogpost on 1/24 … but I will admit that I really liked the VW/Darth Vader one, too.

Super XLV, advertising:  If you want to see them all …

The success of the Super Bowl ratings seems synonymous with the commercials themselves.If you want to see a compilation of all of the commercials, YouTube has compiled a great list http://www.youtube.com/adblitz.In the meantime, here are the top 5 to enjoy on your lazy Super Bowl Sunday.

via Lazy Sunday: Super Bowl 2011 Ads Go Viral – On The Scene With Shira – CBS News.

Super Bowl XLV, football, football history: I think I like just about any kind of history.

One of the oldest orthodoxies of football is the notion that the offense, the unit that tries to advance the ball, is the game’s active and creative body—its innovative engine. The defense, under this view, is the instinctive and reactive force, the brainless brute that likes to grind innovators into the sod.

For the Packers and Steelers, the reverse is true. On these teams it’s the defense that innovates. For a quarterback to have any hope of breaching these Maginot Lines, he has to check his creative instincts at the door and learn how to react to what the defense does.

As his career progressed, Mr. LeBeau took the once-gimmicky zone blitz and built an entire system around it—a system based on initiating chaos. It was a bold, risky move that was either going to ruin his career or turn him into a coaching legend. “We just kept sticking with it,” he says.

Nearly every defense in the history of the NFL has been figured out. What makes Mr. LeBeau’s system different, and what has kept it around for nearly 30 years, is that it has no identity. It constantly evolves from season-to-season and game to game. It incorporates elements of many other defenses, giving it the ability to be anything and nothing at the same time. And since he gives some players the freedom to improvise, Mr. LeBeau doesn’t always know what will happen. “We give them parameters and let them create and we’ve got some pretty good creators,” he says. In the end, no amount of studying or game planning can fully prepare an offense for the task. “If the offense can predict, your chances of success go way down,” says Mr. LeBeau.

In recent years, training improvements have allowed bigger football players to get faster. College players who would be considered too small for the NFL are being turned into linebackers. One example is the Steelers’ LaMarr Woodley, who was drafted in 2007. Mr. Woodley, who is 265 pounds, spent most of his college career bowling over offensive linemen en route to the quarterback. Now he’s covering the fastest receivers in the NFL. “It’s easier to find gifted 250-pounders than it is to find gifted 300-pounders,” says Mr. LeBeau.

It’s difficult to get Mr. LeBeau to talk about his masterpiece. When asked about it by reporters this week, he repeatedly dodged the question, giving credit to his players. But the fact that his creation will hog half the airtime at this year’s Super Bowl isn’t entirely lost on him. “I have to say, it’s pretty neat,” he says. “It definitely validates that the system will work.”

via For Steelers, Packers: Defenses Set Agenda – WSJ.com.

Super Bowl XLV, cheerleaders, history:  Didn’t miss them …

But on the professional side of sports the tradition is not as strong and male cheerleaders are non-existent. It’s the women who shimmy and shake in skimpy outfits for football and basketball teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, and are often better described as dance squad members than cheerleaders.

The modern version of the cheerleader began in 1971 when Dallas Cowboys owner Tex Schramm wanted stunning model-like women who could dance like Radio City Rockettes. Ta-da! The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders sizzled onto the football field.

Some fans will send kudos to the Packers and Steelers for saying good-bye to cheerleaders years ago. But for some, pom-pom waving girls on the sidelines are as American as football itself. There’s something to be said for tradition. Just ask the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

via No Cheerleaders at Super Bowl XLV — Sad Day for Tradition.

Super Bowl XLV, music, playlist, lists:  Super Bowl: XLV playlist 2011 | CU Independent.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, media: Here is a great summary of posts from around the country and the one I excerpted answered my first question.

… Democrats have not lost the convention host state since 1988, when Michael Dukakis was nominated in Atlanta.

via Democratic National Convention comments from across the U.S. | Charlotte Business Journal.

Christianity, faith and spirituality, statistics:  If these statistics are true then we are definitely being misled as to the relative importance of Christianity in the 2011 CE/AD.

These times we live in have been called a lot of things. But perhaps the most surprising description came Sunday from one of the country’s leading religion scholars.”The most exciting time in Christianity … since the 1st century.”Yes, even more thrilling than the Protestant Reformation, Philip Jenkins told about 75 people at Charlotte’s Westminster Presbyterian Church.The reason: The staggering growth in the number of Christians in Asia, Latin America and especially Africa – a phenomenon he called “a global religious revolution” and one that “reverses a trend that people had been used to for several hundred years.”To back up his claim, Jenkins – the author of a host of influential books, including “The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity” – offered a series of eye-popping statistics and projections.

On Sunday, he told his audience that, right now, the three most Christian regions in the world are Europe, Latin America and Africa – in that order.

But by 2025, as Europe continues down the road of secularism, “Africa and Latin America will be jostling each other for (that) title,” Jenkins said. “By 2050, no doubt, Africa wins.”

Though the United States will continue to be a religious – and predominantly Christian country – it will be immigrants and the children and grandchildren of immigrants who help it stay that way, Jenkins said.

via ‘A religious revolution’ – CharlotteObserver.com.

quotes, Martin Luther King, Charlotte, history:  Enjoyed this article on the development of his speech via sound bites over time and the relationship to Charlotte.

“If you look at every aspect of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, it’s a speech he compiles extemporaneously that he’s been trying out on audiences almost since he became a leader,” Carson said. “The essential message is prophetic … always pointing out the contradiction between what we were supposed to be doing and what we were really doing.

“King said America had great ideals and it wasn’t living up to them – especially in terms of race relations.”

via King’s speech has its roots in Charlotte – CharlotteObserver.com.

entertainment, Peter Pan, Atlanta:  My mom and sister just went and really enjoyed it.

This is a thrilling, funny, moving, unique entertainment quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen.  Both children and adults will love it (the kids in the audience were very attentive—a true tribute!).  There’s really not a bad seat in the house.  Oh—arrive early so you can view a free “100 Years of Peter Pan” exhibit before the show or during intermission.  Allow around 20 minutes.  2011 is turning into quite a year for theatre in Atlanta, and it’s only February!  “Peter Pan” will run through March 20.  Don’t miss.

via Theatre Review: ‘Peter Pan’ at Pemberton Place | Atlanta INtown Paper.

random, children, heart strings:  Doesn’t this cute story just tug at your heart-strings.

One of the three year old girls in Charlie’s class thinks that our little guy is the bee’s knees. Over the weekend she told her five-year old brother, “I want to know where Charlie is?. I haven’t seen him in a long time.” Her brother had a great solution – call 911.

via Putting out a love APB on Charlie – my blog – Ordinary Courage.

Davidson College, update:  No Snew Lake for now!

Davidson was planning on creating a new lake to satisfy this law, but the creation of the lake would have pushed back the progress for the new dorm(s). The college has received, however, permission from the county to create a temporary solution to the storm water problem. Davidson will now create detentions basins around campus, therefore opening the way for the construction of the new living spaces.

via Board of Trustees Discusses Building Plans, Tuition Increases and Promotes 7 Professors – The Davidsonian – News.

randomThe ultimate anti-theft device: Replace new tech with old tech no one wants – chicagotribune.com.

public art, Chicago, graffiti:  This graffiti is not acceptable … and they can’t spell.

Was it supposed to say “Sox Bites?”

via Harry Caray statue outside Wrigley defaced – chicagotribune.com.

Facebook, parenting:  I let my children be … assume they will friend when they are ready to be mature.

On its face, Darcy Harper’s year-old Facebook friendship with her son Tyler might look like a match made in cyber-heaven.

Indeed, the same could be true for Madelyn Spiegelman and 16-year-old Clyde Stewart-Mathews, and Andrea and Spencer Shelton.

But the truth is those friendships were forged with a stern caveat: friend me or no Facebook.

“That’s just the rule,” said Spiegelman of Dunwoody. “You either do it or you’re not going to be on Facebook.”

Turns out such parental guidelines aren’t all that unusual. According to a new study on social networking trends and practices, 16 percent of teens say friending their parents was a precondition for joining the social networking site.

via Parents to kids: Friend me or no Facebook  | ajc.com.

18
Nov
10

11.18.2010 … beautiful day in Carolina …

Christmas, business, advertising, change:  This was one of my favorite things about Christmas … going downtown to see the Christmas windows.  We took our kids in Chicago and they loved it too … very magical.  Most kids will never have that experience.  Some change I do not like.

Many department stores are competing to add high-tech special effects to their holiday displays this season. Saks, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s are among the big stores deploying computer-assisted animation, projection shows and interactive features to amp up the drama. The goal is to grab the attention of consumers accustomed to the fast pace, interactivity and sophisticated effects of smartphones and videogames.

Retailers’ holiday window decorations date back to the late 19th century, when stores began using large plate-glass windows to showcase their wares, according to William L. Bird Jr., author of the 2007 book “Holidays on Display.” Christmas-themed sets were powered by spring mechanisms, steam and eventually electrical power. Department stores’ downtown displays became free entertainment destinations that families took annual pilgrimages to see.

via Designing Holiday Windows 2.0 – WSJ.com.

Davidson basketball: Let the games begin … I hope to hear “Sweet Caroline ,” soon.

Let the Games Begin! Day 1 of the fourth annual Honda Puerto Rico Tip-Off is finally here. Davidson and West Virginia will get the party started at 12:30, followed by Nebraska vs. Vanderbilt at 2:30 p.m. Both games are on ESPNU

via Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

politics, business: interesting …

Still, the omission – let’s call it a “No-bama” — does seem to be a curious lapse considering that Buffett supported Obama in the 2008 elections and after. When people criticized Obama for not moving quickly enough to revive the economy, Buffett publicly called for patience on financial recovery. On the eve of the presidential election, Obama penned his own thank-you letter of sorts, saying he was “proud” to have the support of Buffett and other business leaders. Is this relationship unequal?

The mid-term election “shellacking” delivered to Obama and the Democrats – his words – was at least in part owed to opponents’ efforts to badge the financial bailouts as an Obama intervention, whether that was a fair characterization or not. So in this case, is Obama getting zero credit for the government’s financial rescue and all of the blame?

via Is Warren Buffett’s ‘Thank You’ to America a Dis to Obama? – Deal Journal – WSJ.

special needs, gLee: gLee effect … I like this story … watch the video clip!

The Sparkle Effect was created by cheerleading coaches in Iowa. The idea is to allow those with special needs the opportunity to cheer side-by-side with their peers. Some young ladies are showing us how it works here in the Twin Cities.

via The Sparkle Effect at Anoka High School.

high school, football, Westminster: I like this story, too.

Hardin is spending his senior season serving as the school’s first-ever “student assistant coach” after having his playing career abruptly end last year because of a severe concussion.

“This is my way of staying connected to football, the sport I’ve loved so much for as long as I can remember,” Hardin said. “It has been awful not being able to play. It changed the direction of everything in my life. So I’m very thankful to the coaches for allowing to me to still be a part of the program.”

via Westminster football standout switches to coaching after concussion No. 7 | Prep Zone: High School Sports.

Davidson, kudos:  Kudos to Professor Shaw.  I would love to nominate several professors from classes that I took over 28 years ago … I am still talking about quite a few Davidson classes … the Emergence of Professions, Urban Development, History of Economic Thought … to name a few.

He was nominated without his knowledge by Alex Pitsinos, a 2010 Davidson graduate in economics who took Shaw’s course as a sophomore. It was his first political science course at Davidson, and made a big impression. Pitsinos said, “I had a lot of great courses at Davidson, but none other affected me and my friends to the point that we were still talking about them in our senior year.”

“Foundations of Liberalism” examines the different interpretations of the liberal tradition-from John Locke in the seventeenth century to John Rawls in the twentieth. Shaw begins by explaining that all current American political movements are “liberal” in the sense of sharing a fundamental commitment to the core liberal values of individual rights, political democracy, toleration and economic liberty.

via Liberal? Conservative? Award Recognizes Professor Shaw’s Course for Its Unbiased Examination of Both

Kruger, South Africa, places:  I loved where we stayed … but this looks pretty cool.

With the black mamba tutorial over, a Land Rover delivers me to the base of an ancient Leadwood tree, home of the only treehouse at the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve. It’s dead and bone dry, its scraggly branches curl against a darkening sky like the fingers of a fairy-tale witch. Thirty feet up, a two-tiered platform abuts the tree—bed and dining table on top, chemical flush toilet below. The large bed is shrouded in mosquito netting and a small dining table is set for dinner. An insulated cooler stores the evening meal, morning breakfast and your choice of wine or beer. At the foot of the bed are extra blankets to ward off the night cold and a two-way radio to call for help.

The family-owned property dates back four generations to Guy Aubrey Chalkley, a Virginian gold miner turned stockbroker who bought it in 1933. Mr. Chalkley had arrived in South Africa in search of gold and to hunt big game, but his descendants say he became an early conservationist.

Today, Lion Sands shares a porous river border with Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s biggest game reserves. The Big Five—lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo—are in abundance, as are wildebeest, wild dogs and warthogs. Tawny Eagles hunt from the sky while packs of hyena skulk for prey through thorny underbrush.

via A Treehouse Night at the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve in South Africa – WSJ.com.

gardening, locavore:  I will gladly barter my yard for produce. 🙂

But James Lucal in Seattle has them all beat. He not only brings home the local produce, he got a local to grow it for him directly outside his home. And yet he spent almost nothing for this luxury, and lifted not so much as a trowel to make it happen.

Welcome to “urban sharecropping,” the hippest, most hardcore new way to eat local. In the latest twist in the farm-to-table movement, homeowners who lack free time or gardening skills are teaming up with would-be farmers who lack backyards. Around the country, a new crop of match-makers are helping the two groups find each other and make arrangements that enable both sides to share resources and grow their own food.

via The Rise of the Lazy Locavore – WSJ.com.

gift ideas, food – Southern, books, me: I love cookbooks (especially Southern cookbooks), but I hate to cook.   Cookbooks with a Southern Twist.

gift ideas: I like this one … Holiday CD to benefit Atlanta Humane Society | Atlanta INtown Paper.

food, kith/kin, my dad:  My dad’s hamburgers are still my favorite … “Lindsey Burgers”  They contained both fat and butter …

Most of the chefs make a big deal about the kind of meat served at their restaurants. Mr. Lagasse blends ground chuck, short rib and brisket; others promote their Angus, Kobe or grass-fed beef. Some beef experts say the main secret behind tasty celebrity-chef burgers is simple: They pile on the fat, whether from beef patties with 30% fat content or from patties basted in butter. That alone may make their burgers delicious at a time when supermarket ground beef may contain as little as 8% fat.

via Burger Chains of Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Hubert Keller, Marcus Samuelsson and Other Celebrity Chefs – WSJ.com.

water resource management, NC, SC:

“Today is a beautiful day, a gorgeous day for a settlement concept to be proposed to you,” S.C. Deputy Attorney General Bob Cook told the bi-state commission. “I’m here to tell you today that the settlement concept is not only a better result, but it’s a fair resolution for both states.”

The deal is built from a compact that a 70-member stakeholder group from both states previously crafted and signed in August 2006. That pact, called the Comprehensive Relicensing Agreement, is required for the renewal of Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp.’s (NYSE:DUK) 50-year federal license to use the Catawba to generate electricity. The renewal is still pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The new settlement deal places strict drought protocols on any entity that pulls water from one of Duke Energy’s reservoirs along the river.

via Settlement reached in N.C.-S.C. water war | Charlotte Business Journal.

Bones, tv: My other favorite show …‘Bones’ exclusive: A proposal in February! (Plus, scoop on the Brennan-centric and sniper episodes) | EW.com.

03
Oct
10

10.3.2010 … Sunday, Sunday … caramel macchiato made with my beloved Tassimo … newspaper/computer … smell of bacon cooking … must get back to Sunday worship …

Braves, sports: 😦

While the Braves have weakened their once-strong postseason hopes by losing the first two games of this series, the Padres have resuscitated their hopes with consecutive wins over the Giants. Suddenly the Braves and Padres find themselves heading into their respective regular-season finales tied at the top of the NL Wild Card standings.

via Error, lack of hitting land Braves in Wild Card tie | MLB.com: News. Continue reading ‘10.3.2010 … Sunday, Sunday … caramel macchiato made with my beloved Tassimo … newspaper/computer … smell of bacon cooking … must get back to Sunday worship …’

07
Aug
10

8.7.2010 … definitely dog days of summer …

summer:

“Dog Days” (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere, they usually fall between early July and early September. In the southern hemisphere they are usually between January and early March. The actual dates vary greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and climate. Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress. The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.

Food, travel, Asheville:  Another rec … Old World Bakery …  “a genuine, wonderful French bakery in Asheville. On Hendersonville Rd at St John Square, Fletcher. Complete with all variety of bread, fruit tarts, petit pain au chocolat, napoleons, etc. yum.” Thanks, Dinah.

Great Recession:  Surprise, surprise … there are differing opinions.

When the latest unemployment figures are announced on Friday, all of Wall Street will be watching. But for Richard Berner of Morgan Stanley and Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs, the results will be more than just another marker in an avalanche of data.

Instead, the numbers will be a clue as to which of the two economists is right about where the American economy is headed. Their sharp disagreement over that question adds yet another twist to the fierce rivalry between the firms, Wall Street’s version of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Mr. Hatzius is arguably Wall Street’s most prominent pessimist. He warns that the American economy is poised for a sharp slowdown in the second half of the year. That would send unemployment higher again and raise the risk of deflation. A rare occurrence, deflation can have a devastating effect on a struggling economy as prices and wages fall. He says he may be compelled to downgrade his already anemic growth predictions for the economy.

For months, Mr. Berner has been sticking to a more optimistic forecast, despite growing evidence in favor of Mr. Hatzius’s view. Last week, Mr. Berner was caught by surprise when the federal government reported that the economy grew at a 2..4 percent pace in the second quarter, well below the 3.8 percent he had forecast a month before. Mr. Hatzius came closer to hitting the mark, having projected a 2 percent growth rate.

via 2 Top Economists Differ Sharply on Deflation – NYTimes.com.

invention, bookshelf:  One of my favorite book is Longitude by Dava Sobe. I remember thinking that giving a prize to the discoverer  was really interesting.  But maybe they are more common than I realized.

A CURIOUS cabal gathered recently in a converted warehouse in San Francisco for a private conference. Among them were some of the world’s leading experts in fields ranging from astrophysics and nanotechnology to health and energy. Also attending were entrepreneurs and captains of industry, including Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, and Ratan Tata, the head of India’s Tata Group. They were brought together to dream up more challenges for the X Prize Foundation, a charitable group which rewards innovation with cash. On July 29th a new challenge was announced: a $1.4m prize for anyone who can come up with a faster way to clean oil spills from the ocean.

The foundation began with the Ansari X Prize: $10m to the first private-sector group able to fly a reusable spacecraft 100km (62 miles) into space twice within two weeks. It was won in 2004 by a team led by Burt Rutan, a pioneering aerospace engineer, and Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft. Other prizes have followed, including the $10m Progressive Automotive X Prize, for green cars that are capable of achieving at least 100mpg, or its equivalent. Peter Diamandis, the entrepreneur who runs the foundation, says he has become convinced that “focused and talented teams in pursuit of a prize and acclaim can change the world.”

This might sound like hyperbole, but other charities, including the Gates Foundation, have been sufficiently impressed to start offering their own prizes. An industry is now growing up around them, with some firms using InnoCentive, an online middleman, to offer prizes to eager problem-solvers. Now governments are becoming keen too. As a result, there is a surge in incentive prizes (see chart).

Lost at sea

Such prizes are not new. The Longitude Prize was set up by the British government in 1714 as a reward for reliable ways for mariners to determine longitude. And in 1795 Napoleon offered a prize to preserve food for his army, which led to the canned food of today. In more recent times incentive prizes have fallen out of favour. Instead, prizes tend to be awarded for past accomplishments—often a long time after the event. As T.S. Eliot remarked after receiving his Nobel prize, it was like getting “a ticket to one’s own funeral”.

Is this a good thing? Prizes used to promote a policy are vulnerable to political jiggery pokery, argues Lee Davis of the Copenhagen Business School. Thomas Kalil, a science adviser to Barack Obama, acknowledges the pitfalls but insists that incentive prizes offered by governments can work if well crafted. Indeed, he argues that the very process of thinking critically about a prize’s objectives sharpens up the bureaucracy’s approach to big problems.

One success was NASA’s Lunar Lander prize, which was more cost-effective than the traditional procurement process, says Robert Braun, NASA’s chief technologist. Another example is the agency’s recent prize for the design of a new astronaut’s glove: the winner was not an aerospace firm but an unemployed engineer who has gone on to form a new company.

When the objective is a technological breakthrough, clearly-defined prizes should work well. But there may be limits. Tachi Yamada of the Gates Foundation is a big believer in giving incentive prizes, but gives warning that it can take 15 years or more to bring a new drug to market, and that even AMC’s carrot of $1.5 billion for new vaccines may not be a big enough incentive. No prize could match the $20 billion or so a new blockbuster drug can earn in its lifetime. So, in some cases, says Dr Yamada, “market success is the real prize.”

via Innovation prizes: And the winner is… | The Economist.

green, Made in the USA:

WASHINGTON — The United Steelworkers and two Chinese companies announced Friday that they had signed an agreement assuring that major components of machines for a $1.5 billion wind farm in Texas would be made in the United States.

The deal potentially defuses a conflict over American stimulus dollars being used to subsidize foreign companies.

Without releasing full details, the union said that the steel for the wind towers, enclosures for working parts atop the towers and reinforcing bars for the bases would be sourced in the United States. So will the blades, which are not made of steel but are often made by steelworkers, the union and the two companies said.

via Wind Farm Deal Assures Bigger U.S. Role – NYTimes.com.

Jane Austen, Bollywood:  I can’t wait!

The fun in Jane Austen’s Emma and its subsequent adaptations has been the relationship dynamics between its characters. Two of the unlikeliest people fall in love; confused folks mistake infatuation for love; friendship remains a vague term.

Even if you have seen the Hollywood adaptation Clueless, you’ll still enjoy Aisha for its expert desi spin on the story. It’s a world where the travelling-to-Mumbai gang may shop on the street but will lunch at The Taj and dine at Tetsuma.

It’s so rare for a film to get it all together: from the story, to the performances, to the atmospherics, to the music and more. This one goes perfectly with the popcorn; don’t miss it.

via Movie Review : Aisha review: This one goes perfectly with the popcorn.

law school, economics,UGA Law:  A senior partner at King & Spalding, Atlanta, advised me to go to UGA over Emory or Vanderbilt.  He said he saw better lawyers coming out of UGA.  I followed his suggestion and saved a lot of money.  I think I got an excellent legal education.

Go to the best law school you get into.

It’s advice that’s been passed down through the ages, from generation to generation. Law is a profession that trades, the thinking goes, on prestige. Clients like prestigious names like Wachtell and Cravath; the wealthiest firms like names like Harvard, Yale and Chicago. Get into one of those schools, and up go your chances of going to a big firm, kicking tail, making partner and grabbing that brass ring.

Or so the conventional wisdom has for decades dictated.

But is it true? In a new paper, UCLA law professor Richard Sander and Brooklyn law professor Jane Yakowitz argue no. “Eliteness” of the school you attended matters much less, they found, than your GPA.

The work is part of a continuing effort to examine preferences and law school, specifically, whether affirmative action actually hurts those it’s most supposed to benefit. Sander has previously argued that minority law students will often do better academically (and on the bar) if they attend a less-competitive school.

As part of that effort, Sander and Yakowitz set out to uncover whether this notion could be applied more broadly. That is, whether someone who finishes at the top of the class at, say, the University of Iowa, might face better career prospects than one who finishes in the middle of the class at, say, a place like Harvard.

via New Study: Forget the Rankings, Just Bring Home Straight A’s – Law Blog – WSJ.

blogs, happiness:  Thanks, Cary;  I am sitting down and enjoying your blog entry!

So it’s with humility and a certain sense of pleasure in just letting myself be me, instead of being embarrassed that I’m not more athletic or more something or other, that I wear my “Fastest Typist in Camp” award on my favorite charm necklace, a reminder of my nerdy ways and a reminder that nothing’s wasted.

via Nothing’s Wasted: In Defense of Sitting Down « Holy Vernacular.

green, health:  Makes you think … The Story of Cosmetics.

random, tv:  Poor Eddie Munster still looks the same … I always assumed  he was made to look that way … best of luck.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Forty-five years after a Pennsylvania woman sent a fan letter to her favorite TV star, they’ve made a Munster match.

Donna McCall was a 10-year-old with a crush on Butch Patrick, who played boy werewolf Eddie Munster in the mid-’60s sitcom “The Munsters.”

In her letter, she asked Patrick how tall he was because girls at the time were making gum wrapper chains long enough to match the height of their boyfriends. To her delight, the young actor responded and included his height — 5 feet, 4 inches.

Like many childhood projects, however, the wrapper chain wasn’t completed. Decades passed.

via Munster match: ’60s TV star falls for patient fan  | accessAtlanta.

Justice Kagan: If swearing is bad, why is swearing-in good?  Congrats to our new justice.

Elena Kagan will be sworn in as the 100th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday, August 7, at 2 p.m. at the Supreme Court of the United States. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., will first administer the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony in the Justices’ Conference Room attended by members of the Kagan family. The Chief Justice will then administer the Judicial Oath in the West Conference Room before a small gathering of Elena Kagan’s family and friends.

via SCOTUSblog » Court statement on Kagan confirmation.

Culture, materialism:

Sheryl Crow gets to the crux of the matter in her song Soak Up The Sun: “It’s not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”

Relatedly, the video The Story of Stuff Project notes that the point of an advertisement is to make you feel bad about what you have.

The notion that material goods don’t bring lasting contentment is hardly some left-wing anti-capitalist rant. The first to leave us with a writings on this perspective were a group of philosophers known as the Stoics, starting with Zeno in the early third century BC and continuing through to the marvelous Marcus Aurelius several centuries later.

via 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

Wilmette, Chicago, culture:  Our blocks,  13 hundred block of Ashland and Richmond Lane (we lived on a corner), threw the BEST block parties … nothing like it in the South.   The Ashland party is the first Saturday after the 4th  and Richmond’s is in September … I will drop in some day …

If the words “block party” conjure up images of warm Jell-O, loud neighbors and a smattering of lawn chairs, you’re in for a surprise. Nowadays, neighborhoods are putting together street-wide festivals complete with DJs, outdoor movies, bake-offs and talent contests. Interested in organizing an event without breaking the bank?

via Here’s how to host a 21st century block party :: Mommy on a Shoestring :: PIONEER PRESS ::.

art, Dali:  I have a special affinity for Dali … that was my husband’s grandfather’s “grandfather name” … we saw Dali’s (the artist’s, not the grandfather’s)  art in London and were amazed at the many levels of complexity … Dali: The Late Work | High Museum of Art – Atlanta.

Wilmette, Chicago, flooding:  Chicago is flat … and we lived a mile from the lake … but the storm sewers would overflow and you could end up with a foot of water in your basement.  We lived there 4 years and we thought we were lucky.  Our basement never flooded until the last year … and then twice … amazing.  Now I know why.  Seems like a good use of stimulus funds.

After all, the Deep Tunnel and Reservoir Project (aka TARP) was first announced in 1972. Digging began in 1975. Yet here we are, some 38 years into what has been called the most ambitious public works project since the pyramids, and still we are mopping up basements and dumping mass quantities of you-know-what into Lake Michigan.

I am witness to the latter catastrophe for I live near the North Shore Sanitary Channel in Evanston. After a really heavy cloudburst I’ll walk to a footbridge near my house, look down at this man-made extension of the Chicago River’s North Branch, and watch as the, uh, “effluent” of Chicago’s sewer system rushes north to Wilmette harbor and Lake Michigan.

TARP was supposed to stop this from happening. And maybe some day it will. But as of now, after more than three decades and $5 billion in public expense, The San still has to open those floodgates and dump millions of gallons of sewage into the lake, fouling the water, closing beaches, forcing water treatment plants to jack the chlorine. If they don’t open the gates, or wait too long, the river will overflow and cause serious property damage, not unlike what happened recently to the River City condos south of the Loop.

So what’s taking so long with the big one — the 10.5 billion-gallon reservoir that’s to be located east of LaGrange Road near McCook, the one that’s supposed to alleviate flooding across Cook County from Wilmette to Lemont?

Well, it has been delayed. And delayed again. Why? There are so many reasons it would take a book. But one reason — the one that galls me most — is that our journalism has let us down. The delays have been, by my lights, one of the biggest environmental stories in the Chicago region for the past 20 years. But you’d never know it from what little has been written or broadcast.

There were funding delays involving Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers; there was local NIMBY resistance to earlier plans to use an already-dug Vulcan Materials quarry, and more recently, to quarrying a new reservoir.

via Flooded basement? Better get used to it – chicagotribune.com.

Great Recession, Flash Crash:  Great analysis of the May Flash Crash … The funds were acting like “a dog that growls before an earthquake.”

The funds were acting like “a dog that growls before an earthquake,” Mr. Vasan told several clients.

When the quake hit on the afternoon of May 6, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its biggest, fastest decline ever, and hundreds of stocks momentarily lost nearly all their value. So many things went wrong, so quickly, that regulators haven’t yet pieced together precisely what happened.

Journal Community

A close examination of the market’s rapid-fire unraveling reveals some new details about what unfolded: Stock-price data from the New York Stock Exchange’s electronic-trading arm, Arca, were so slow that at least three other exchanges simply cut it off from trading. Pricing information became so erratic that at one point shares of Apple Inc. traded at nearly $100,000 apiece. And computer-driven trading models used by many big investors, apparently responding to the same market signals, rushed for the exits at the same time.

via Legacy of the ‘Flash Crash’ – WSJ.com.

Apple, iPad, new blog:  I think Apple has more things coming.  I can’t wait.

Traditionally, first-year medical students are awarded white coats to signify their entry into the medical community. But at an Aug. 6 ceremony, each member of the UC Irvine School of Medicine’s incoming class of 2014 will find an iPad pre-loaded with everything necessary for the first year of course work in their coat pocket.

As part of its new iMedEd Initiative, the medical school has developed a comprehensive, iPad-based curriculum, reinventing how medicine is taught in the 21st century and becoming the first in the nation to employ a completely digital, interactive learning environment for entering students, says Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UCI School of Medicine.

via Macsimum News – Incoming UCI medical students to receive iPads.

random, art, blog:  Would a company consider this fair use  now or stop such use?  Interesting blog, too.

As product marketing manager for Campbell’s, William MacFarland must have been overjoyed with the incredible public reaction to Andy Warhol’s first exhibition as a fine artist in 1962, as present at the gallery was his now world-famous Campbell’s Soup Cans piece: 32 silkscreened portraits, each representing a different variety of the company’s soup product, all arranged in a single line. The work provoked huge debate in all corners of the art world and helped bring the Pop art movement to the masses; all the while holding a certain brand in the limelight.

via Letters of Note: I hear you like Tomato Soup.

health, ADHD, the mind: very interesting.

A team of European researchers recently assessed nearly 8,000 Finnish children and showed that mixed-handed children are at increased risk for linguistic, scholastic and attention-related difficulties. At age eight, mixed-handed kids were about twice as likely to have language and academic difficulties as their peers. By the time the children were 16, they also were twice as likely to have symptoms of ADHD—and their symptoms were more severe than those of right- or left-handed students.Ambidexterity is not causing these problems. Rather “handedness is really a very crude measure of how the brain is working,” says Alina Rodriguez, a clinical psychologist at King’s College London and the study’s lead author. In typical brains, language is rooted in the left hemisphere, and net works that control attention are anchored in the right—but brains without a dominant hemisphere may be working and communicating differently.

via Ambidexterity and ADHD: Are They Linked?: Scientific American.

history, architecture, San Francisco:  Listen to the story … a very interesting piece.

When the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937, it was a story of ‘Man harnessing Nature’ for the greater glory of both. Then the world’s longest suspension span, a feat of engineering several times over, it took 21 years to build and came in under budget. It has hovered ever since like a feather above a vast surge of water pouring into the Pacific. Beautiful and orange, it looks today like it was built yesterday. And somehow, in a world that can seem too jaded for wonder, it still harnesses our dreams.

This hour, On Point: The Life and Times of America’s Greatest Bridge.

via The Golden Gate’s Long History | WBUR and NPR – On Point with Tom Ashbrook.

football, NFL:  Game on, Falcons!

Talented Falcons could lurk as the NFL’s surprise team of 2010

via Talented Falcons could lurk as the NFL’s surprise team of 2010 – USATODAY.com.

invention, green: I don’t know about this one.

Rather than shelves, the non sticky, odourless gel morphs around products to create a separate pod that suspends items for easy access. Without doors, draws and a motor 90% of the appliance is solely given over to its intended purpose. At the same time, all food, drink and cooled products are readily available, odours are contained, and items are kept individually at their optimal temperature by bio robots. The fridge is adaptable – it can be hung vertically, horizontally, and even on the ceiling.

via In the Future, Your Refrigerator Will Be Made of Green Jelly | The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

Apple, bikes, green:  Will it change the gears for me??

A patent filed last year but just uncovered Thursday shows that Apple is at least considering a “Smart Bicycle System” that would use iPods or iPhones to track cyclist data and help teams communicate on the raceway. Similar to Nike + iPod, the small fitness device that recorded a runner’s pace and distance, Apple’s new technology will enable bikers to measure “speed, distance, time, altitude, elevation, incline, decline, heart rate, power, derailleur setting, cadence, [and] wind speed,” according to Patently Apple. Clearly, the Smart Bike is squeezing everything it can from Apple’s accelerometers and gyroscopes (which allow the iPhone to track the biker’s exertion, based on acceleration, and altitude, by recording tilt relative to the ground).

via Apple’s “Smart Bike” Could Squash All Other Bike Tech | Co.Design.

random, high risk adventure, RIP:  He planned to ski down K2, but died on the way up.  Rest in peace.

Swedish mountaineer and professional skier Fredrik Ericsson died Friday while trying to summit K2 in Pakistan, his friend David Schipper told CNN in a telephone interview.

The incident occurred between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. as Ericsson was attempting to become the first man to ski from the summit to base camp, said Schipper, who said he learned of the accident on the world’s second-tallest peak in a satellite call from fellow climber Fabrizio Zangrilli.

via Skier Fredrik Ericsson dies in accident on K2 – CNN.com.

environment:  Iceberg is 4x the size of Manhattan!  I love that word “calved”.

A giant ice island has broken off the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland.

A University of Delaware researcher says the floating ice sheet covers 100 square miles – more than four times the size of New York’s Manhattan Island.

Andreas Muenchow, who is studying the Nares Strait between Greenland and Canada, said the ice sheet broke off early Thursday. He says the new ice island was discovered by Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service.

Not since 1962 has such a large chunk of ice calved in the Arctic, but researchers have noticed cracks in recent months in the floating tongue of the glacier.

via Greenland Iceberg Four Times Bigger Than Manhattan Breaks Off Glacier.

education, travel, Arab world, study abroad:  Our world is getting smaller.  I love that our youth are embracing it.

In what educators are calling the fastest growing study-abroad program, American college students are increasingly choosing to spend their traditional junior year abroad in places like Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, wanting to experience the Arab world beyond America’s borders and viewpoints.

via More Students Choose a Junior-Year Abroad in the Mideast – NYTimes.com.

travel:  I have always thought it would be fun to exchange homes or rent someone’s home in another city.

For frequent Manhattan visitor Ken Velten there’s no place like (someone else’s) home.

The Southern California retiree and his family of up to five have traveled to the Big Apple five times over the past five years, staying a week or two and trading the expense and anonymity of a hotel room for the space and convenience of a rented apartment in Midtown East. But after May 1, when a ban on most New York City apartment rentals under 30 days is scheduled to take effect, Velten probably won’t be back.

via More destinations shut the door on vacation rentals – USATODAY.com.

lists, travel Seattle:  I like lists … Top Things to Do in Seattle, Washington — The Vacation Gals.

travel, First Lady, politics:  She can’t win.  But it is an interesting comparison to Laura Bush’s more modest vacations.

The first lady is paying for her own room, food and transportation, and the friends she brought will pay for theirs as well. But the government picks up security costs, and the image of the president’s wife enjoying a fancy vacation at a luxury resort abroad while Americans lose their jobs back home struck some as ill-timed. European papers are having a field day tracking her entourage, a New York Daily News columnist called her “a modern-day Marie Antoinette” and the blogosphere has been buzzing.

Laura Bush took solo vacations without her husband each year of George W. Bush’s presidency, likewise traveling with her Secret Service detail on a government plane to meet friends for camping and hiking excursions to national parks. But it never generated the sort of furor Mrs. Obama trip’s is causing, at least in part because visiting national parks in the United States is not as politically sensitive.

via First Lady’s Trip to Spain Draws Criticism – NYTimes.com.

05
Aug
10

‎8.5.2010 … goodbye godson Mike … hello et … actually snuck a romantic comedy in on John and Dan (that’s what you get for doing a friend a favor!) last night … that will cost me!

‎family, missions, Gray: welcome home, Gray … awesome pictures from Lesotho!

family: I am blessed with a sister.

Sisters can help teenagers fend off ex-boyfriends, mean gossip and, apparently, depression.Having a sister protects teens “from feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful,” according to a study in this weeks Journal of Family Psychology.Researchers from Brigham Young University studied 395 Seattle families with two or more children, including at least one child age 10 to 14. They found that affectionate siblings have a positive influence on each other no matter their age, gender or how many years apart they are in age.Sisters promote behaviors such as kindness and generosity and protect against delinquency and depression, says Laura Padilla-Walker, an assistant professor in BYUs School of Family Life.And having a sister — rather than a brother — appears to help prevent depression, maybe because girls are better at talking about problems, Padilla-Walker says.

via http://www.suntimes.com/health/2568854,CST-NWS-sisters05.article

food – Southern: I consider myself pretty Southern.  I never had a fried green tomato until I was 20-something.  And now they call it comfort food … hmmm. Southern comfort food at my house was fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, chicken pot pie, turkey hash and turkey Tetrazzini … no fried green tomatoes …

Crisp and tangy, fried green tomatoes are the ultimate Southern comfort food.

Don’t be tempted to eat them right away after cooking. The tomatoes will be hot inside due to the water trapped within. Instead take this time to stack up one of Callaghan’s signature BL-GREEN-Ts. Toast one side of the bread, turn some chopped greens such as arugula, basil, or tarragon into Duke’s mayo, and use a good smokehouse bacon. The sandwich has become so popular at Acme, the chef says, that one of his regular brunch customers got a tattoo of it. “Bloody Marys and bacon fat do strange things to people, I guess.”

via Slices of Heaven.

The South: Back to School … today … August 5 … no way …

Students in Cobb and Douglas counties and the city of Buford go back to school Thursday amid scorching conditions that in some cases have prompted changes in school system protocol.

The Cobb County School District, for instance, is encouraging students to bring bottled water on their morning and afternoon bus rides. The district expects to maintain that policy through September.

via Heat forces changes as kids go back to school  | ajc.com.

Charlotte:  NASCAR and wrestling … what a great town!  🙂

Before Charlotte became the center of NASCAR, it was home to a different breed of sport: professional wrestling.

From the first televised matches in the 1960s to the reign of Ric Flair’s elite “Four Horsemen” wrestling team through the late-1980s, Charlotte served as the Mid-Atlantic center stage for the bone-breaking, over-the-top world of professional wrestling.

“It was a blast. The wrestling business was on its first real wave at that time,” said former “Four Horsemen” team member Tully Blanchard, referring to wrestling’s peak in the late 1980s.

This weekend, the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest at the Hilton Charlotte University Place is taking Charlotte back to those glory days, starting with a free barbecue with the voice of WWE’s Monday Night Raw, Jim “J.R.” Ross.

Event organizer Greg Price said the convention, which runs through Sunday, promises to be a “wrestling fan’s heaven” complete with chances to meet more than a hundred of the sport’s most legendary athletes. Price expects more than 1,000 visitors this year.

Blanchard, now 64, said for him the weekend is about getting out of character and in touch with fans.

“Twenty-five or 20 years after the fact, it is neat to hear the impact of what you did that touched people, that entertained people,” Blanchard said.

Tom “Tommy Angel” Barrett, who wrestled in the 1980s, said the event got its start when promoters started asking legendary wrestlers to make appearances at contemporary matches.

“The response was tremendous,” he said. “They decided to try to round these guys up in one place.”

Price said the event’s popularity has grown steadily since its start in 2004. He said he’s seen fans from 44 states and four foreign countries, including Japan.

Blanchard said it makes sense for Charlotte to be the center of a wrestling convention.

“Charlotte was always the hotbed of the Mid-Atlantic area,” he said.

via Gathering recalls Charlotte’s headlock on wrestling world – CharlotteObserver.com.

culture, marketing:  the Martha Stewart of the South … never heard of him.

Still, Mr. Smith might well be the most famous tastemaker you’ve never heard of. The son of a working-class widow, he grew up with 4-H chickens and a job in the family shrub shop, then managed to turn himself into the Martha Stewart of the South.

via P. Allen Smith, Tastemaker and Garden Guru – NYTimes.com.

food:  LYCHEES!  We loved them in China.  I will look for them at our markets.

Rambutans belong to the same family, Sapindaceae, as lychees and longans. Peeled, the three fruits are hard to differentiate. Unpeeled, lychees resemble rambutans without the hair, as do longans, which are smaller, green and also hairless. If I had been introduced to this fruit family with the tentacle-free lychee or longan, the experience might have been less intimidating.

Of these three, lychees are the most easily found in the United States. Though native to southern China, where they have been cultivated for 2,000 years, lychees are grown in the United States as well as throughout Asia, Africa, Australia, parts of South America and Central America.

via Cracking The Lychee ‘Nut’ : NPR.

Great Recession, noblesse oblige:  Guess who wasn’t invited to dinner? But a noble gesture by those who have made this commitment.

On Wednesday, Mr. Buffett announced that 40 of America’s wealthiest individuals and families, from former Citigroup Inc. leader Sandy Weill to hotel mogul Barron Hilton, have signed the “Giving Pledge.”Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gates in June had asked the individuals and families to publicly commit to give away at least half of their wealth within their lifetimes or after their deaths.The pledge stemmed from a series of dinners the two men held for the nation’s billionaires over the past year to discuss the effects of the recession on philanthropy.

via Larry Ellison, George Lucas Join Billionaires in Buffett-Gates Charity Pledge – WSJ.com.

children, games, oral history:  What’s your best memory from a childhood “game”?

We suspected this would be the last time they’d ever play “Truth or Dare,” too.

You just can’t win it.

And yet, as we watched the Girl Scouts shriek and hug each other in the water, I thought about the one saving grace of this barbaric game. It wasn’t The Mange that mattered, but joining forces with my friends in the face of the very fear we’d created. It wasn’t Bowzer, either, but hanging onto my cousin in the throes of our self-made terror and humiliation. Intense situations can make for good bonding. It’s just that good bonding is sometimes born out of really bad ideas.

via The Naked Reality Of ‘Truth Or Dare’ : NPR.

places, art, graffitti, RomeVideo – Graffiti Plagues Omnia Roma – WSJ.com.

Great Recession, real estate, Chicago:

The sale of the Chicago office tower at 300 North LaSalle St. for a record price of $655 million has left a number of real-estate professionals rubbing their eyes.

The record price for the Chicago office tower at 300 North LaSalle Street in a weak office-leasing market requires an explanation.

Like most cities, Chicago is suffering from a weak office-leasing market. The city’s vacancy rate at the end of the second quarter was 18.5%, up from 17.4% during the same period last year, and effective rents have been on a downward spiral for more than a year, according to Reis Inc.

But last week, KBS, a Newport Beach, Calif., real-estate company, purchased the 1.3 million square foot office building overlooking the Chicago River through an unlisted real-estate investment trust for about $500 a square foot. That is the most ever paid for a Chicago office building on a square-foot basis, according to Real Capital Analytics. By comparison, the Willis Tower, the tallest building in the U.S., sold for about $840 million in 2004, or $244 a square foot.

So what gives?

The answer is that in the current global economy, there is a widening valuation gap in commercial real estate between office buildings with a lot of vacancy and those that are close to fully leased with financially strong tenants. Many landlords with high vacancy rates are watching the value of their buildings fall with declining rent and the growing difficulty in filing space.

But 300 North LaSalle isn’t such a building. Rather, Houston-based Hines, which completed its development last year, succeeded in leasing 93% of its space for long periods. Chicago’s largest law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, takes up more than 600,000 square feet as its largest tenant.

Investors today are looking at the steady incomes from such buildings almost like they would bond yields. And with rates on Treasury bonds hovering near historic lows, these office-building yields are looking increasingly attractive.

via PROPERTY REPORT: Chicago Sale Sets Records – WSJ.com.

professionalism: One of my favorite academic topics … maybe because one of my favorite college classes was a seminar entitled “Darwinism and the Emergence  of Professions.”

Merriam-Webster gives us a bit more of a clue in the last part of the first definition:

1 a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b : engaged in one of the learned professions c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

OK now we’re getting somewhere.  Courteous and conscientious is something I can get my head around (although “generally businesslike” is a bit vague…).  Googling  “professional behavior” gets you a variety of opinions on the matter ranging from “conduct appropriate to your workplace” to “don’t lie, spit, swear or steal”.

A thorough analysis of what is meant in the U.S. by “professional behavior” can be found on the Grovewell, LLC site here.  But at the end of the day for me, professionalism boils down to a single concept introduced to me by my parents when I was about 10.  It goes like this:

Treat others as you would like to be treated and you will always be invited back.

The first half is the good old golden rule and it’s still the most practical guidance I have found for professional behavior.  In any situation I put myself in the role of my peers, subordinates, clients, vendors or managers and visualize how my actions will be perceived.  If I don’t like the result, I find a better way.  And my goal is always the second half – to be someone that others want to work with.  There is no better measure of success as a professional than to have your employer be sorry to see you go and happy to have you return if the opportunity exists.

What are your benchmarks for professionalism?  We’ve all seen unprofessional behavior (like pornography – we know it when we see it…) but if you have great ideas or resources for workplace behavior that gets you invited back, please share!

via A Professional What? « Survive Your Promotion!.

colleges, football, Alabama:  What can I say, my mamma went to ‘Bama! RTR … YouTube – New Alabama Football 2010 Intro.

colleges, followup, UGA:  Like I said Princeton Review’s ranking of the best party school benefits no one …

Political Cartoons from Mike Luckovich.




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