Posts Tagged ‘France

31
Oct
11

10.31.2011 … Happy Reformation Day! (October 31, 1517) … Zombies! … Once again, I will be seriously disappointed. Candy for many, but few will come … :(

Halloween: Once again, I am seriously disappointed. Candy for many, but few came … 10 …  however I gave out PEZ dispensers and I was told I was the best house of the night … next year they will come again … bribery … 😦

Reformation Day (October 31, 1517), history:  So something else occurred on this day.

Also on This Day:  1517 Martin Luther Posts Theses

The Protestant Reformation began when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Germany.  The papers outlined Luther’s ideas on how the Roman Catholic Church had been corrupted and what changes should take place.

via Oct. 31: History of Halloween – ABC News.

zombies, costumes, Zombie Walk Paris 2011, Occupy Wall Street: Zombies are definitely in …

Ask me About my Zombie Disguise t shirt by Crazy Dog Tshirts.

Zombie Walk Paris 2011 – YouTube.

This weekend, thousands of Americans will cobble together Wall Street-themed costumes in preparation for Halloween. (Pre-emptive note: dressing in a suit and tie and labeling yourself “The One Percent” is not as clever as you think.)

DealBook is here to help. Here with: our seven best finance-themed costume ideas, with tips on how to pull them off at your parties this weekend.

Zombie MF Global: Dress in tattered rags, tape “FOR SALE” signs to all your appendages, and wear a necklace that says “Credit Lines.” Tap it repeatedly. Have two friends dressed as ratings agencies follow you around, telling everyone at the party how ugly you are.

via Trick or Treat, Wall Street Style – NYTimes.com.

Halloween, history: 

Halloween dates back to the Celtic farming festival Samhain.  As the crops died at the end of the harvest season, farmers believed there was a day when spirits could rise from their graves.  During Samhain, people would dress in disguise to fool and ward off the spirits,  and hope that their land would survive through the winter.

In the eighth century, Christians sought to transform the pagan holiday.  Pope Gregory III declared Nov. 1 to be the feast of All Saints’ Day.  The night before became known as All Hollow’s Eve.

Modern Halloween traditions and folklore first came to America in the 19th century with  the influx of Irish immigrants.  Carving turnips and turning them into lanterns was one of the Irish customs that honored the souls stuck in purgatory.  Since pumpkins were easier to carve than turnips, this ritual adapted into jack-o-lanterns as All Hollow’s Eve celebrations took shape in America.

via Oct. 31: History of Halloween – ABC News.

Halloween, culture: New Christmas??? I think not.

The holiday that once meant just quaint trick-or-treating, a costume contest or two and maybe a bob for an apple is now second only to Christmas when it comes to celebrating, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.

Nearly 69 percent of Americans say they intend to celebrate the holiday this Monday, Oct. 31, the highest amount in the survey’s nine-year history.

Nearly half of those celebrating will decorate their homes and-or yard, and each will spend an average $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, a figure second only to the amount spent by individuals on Christmas décor.

Need more proof that Santa Claus and Rudolph have ghosts and goblins close on their heels?

via Is Halloween the New Christmas? | ABC News Blogs – Yahoo!.

South Africa, travel: We loved Kruger and came very near the mountains … next time.

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa takes some beating.

If you’ve seen the popular cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban – and want to head away from the well-worn track then Lonely Planet Magazine has three suggestions:

Drakensberg mountains

Elephant Coast

Kruger National Park

via South Africa: away from Cape Town – travel tips and articles – Lonely Planet.

October Snow, Lucy Van Pelt, quotes:  🙂

If you grew up watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” you will easily recognize the title of this post is based on Lucy Van Pelt’s quote about eating December snowflakes. Lucy preferred January snowflakes.

I (Kevin Ambrose) bet Lucy never tasted an October snowflake. The October snowflakes that flew fast-and-furious across the Washington area late Saturday afternoon were plump, juicy, and partially melted by the time they reached the tongue. I found they were much better tasting than any crunchy, hard-frozen January snowflake.

via “I never eat October snowflakes. I always wait until January.” – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

Calvados, France, food/drink – spirits:  I did not love Calvados but I am intrigued by it. i may have to try it again sometime.

I love Calvados, though I confess I don’t drink it very often. Yet when I do, I’m reminded immediately why I love it. Apple aromas and flavors burst vividly from the glass, in jagged flashes that seem to penetrate deeply into the complex essence of an apple. Clarity, purity, tart citrus, cinnamon spice, earthiness, mintiness: these are just some of the sensations I experience in a glass of good Calvados.

My problem with Calvados is not the apple element. It’s the brandy part.

The usual way of serving brandy does it no favors. It’s generally consigned to an after-dinner or late-night role, served in those horrible oversize balloon snifters that do little beyond emphasizing the biting heat of the alcohol. Perhaps the big snifter is why, for many people, evaluation of brandy stops at whether it is smooth or hot. A smaller snifter, or a good white-wine glass, is superior for enjoying any brandy.

Calvados in particular can defy our expectations of brandy. Because it’s distilled from cider rather than from wine, it’s more rustic by nature than Cognac or Armagnac. Certainly it is by reputation. Serving Calvados in a white-wine glass might signal an intent to regard brandy from a different critical stance.

via Calvados – A Taste of Apples and Fall – The Pour – NYTimes.com.

Jules Breton, “The Song of the Lark”, kith/kin:  My daughter just wrote an essay on my favorite painting … which she saw for the first timein March.  Art taste must be genetic.

The Song of the Lark Print by Jules Breton at AllPosters.com.

Steve Jobs, eulogy, love:  Beautiful eulogy by Steve Job’s sister.

Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods. He tracked and worried about the romantic lives of the people working with him.

Whenever he saw a man he thought a woman might find dashing, he called out, “Hey are you single? Do you wanna come to dinner with my sister?”

I remember when he phoned the day he met Laurene. “There’s this beautiful woman and she’s really smart and she has this dog and I’m going to marry her.”

When Reed was born, he began gushing and never stopped. He was a physical dad, with each of his children. He fretted over Lisa’s boyfriends and Erin’s travel and skirt lengths and Eve’s safety around the horses she adored.

None of us who attended Reed’s graduation party will ever forget the scene of Reed and Steve slow dancing.

His abiding love for Laurene sustained him. He believed that love happened all the time, everywhere. In that most important way, Steve was never ironic, never cynical, never pessimistic. I try to learn from that, still.

via A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs – NYTimes.com.

science, spending addiction:  So there is a reason …

To many, this might seem like a simple case of shortsightedness, a decision based on today’s wants (an exciting city, independence) versus tomorrow’s needs (money, shelter). Indeed, the choice to spend rather than save reflects a very human—and, some would say, American—quirk: a preference for immediate gratification over future gains. In other words, we get far more joy from buying a new pair of shoes today, or a Caribbean vacation, or an iPhone 4S, than from imagining a comfortable life tomorrow. Throw in an instant-access culture—in which we can get answers on the Internet within seconds, have a coffeepot delivered to our door overnight, and watch movies on demand—and we’re not exactly training the next generation to delay gratification.

“Pleasure now is worth more to us than pleasure later,” says economist William Dickens of Northeastern University. “We much prefer current consumption to future consumption. It may even be wired into us.”

As brain scientists plumb the neurology of an afternoon at the mall, they are discovering measurable differences between the brains of people who save and those who spend with abandon, particularly in areas of the brain that predict consequences, process the sense of reward, spur motivation, and control memory.

via The New Science Behind Your Spending Addiction – The Daily Beast.

2012 Presdential Election, GOP, Herman Cain, viral  Smoking Ad, Jon Huntsman, Huntsman Daughters, Parody:

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s daughters spoofed Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s web ad showing his campaign manager smoking in a web video released Friday.

In the original Cain ad, his campaign manager, Mark Block, says: “We’ve run a campaign like nobody’s ever seen. But then America’s never seen a candidate like Herman Cain.”

The daughters of the former Utah governor appear in their spoof against a brick wall wearing fake mustaches that resemble Block’s. “We are shamelessly promoting our dad like no other candidate’s family ever has. But then again, no one’s ever seen like a trio like the Jon 2012 girls,” says one of his daughters.

via Herman Cain Smoking Ad: Jon Huntsman’s Daughters Appear In Parody.

Jon2012girls Smokin’ Ad – YouTube.

05
Sep
11

9.5.2011 … Happy Labor Day … highly recommend The Conspirator … if you are into historical (not hysterical) drama …

The Conspirator, movies, Mary Surratt, Frederick Aiken, history, kith/kin:  Two movie nights with the Trobs make for a fine Labor Day Weekend … and what fun it is that they too like to follow-up with a little research on the internet.  and Joni is very good.  As for the Conspirator, I loved it.  It was intense.

So here are my questions:

1) Where is the picture they were obviously setting up to take of the hanging?

 

 

Execution of Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and

George Atzerodt at Washington Penitentiary on 7th July, 1865.

via Mary Surratt.

2)What happened to Mary Surratt’s children?

Anna Surratt moved from the townhouse on H Street and lived with friends for a few years, ostracized from society.[218] She married William Tonry, a government clerk.[218] They lived in poverty for a while after he was dismissed from his job, but in time he became a professor of chemistry in Baltimore and the couple became somewhat wealthy.[218] The strain of her mother’s death left Anna mentally unbalanced, and she suffered from periods of extreme fear that bordered on insanity.[218] She died in 1904.[216][219] After the dismissal of charges against him, John Surratt, Jr. married and he and his family lived in Baltimore near his sister, Anna.[218] Isaac Surratt also returned to the United States and lived in Baltimore (he never married).[218] He died in 1907.[216][220] Isaac and Anna were buried on either side of their mother in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.[218] John Jr. was buried in Baltimore in 1916.[218] In 1968, a new headstone with a brass plaque replaced the old, defaced headstone over Mary Surratt’s grave.[221]

Mary Surratt’s boarding house still stands, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.[222] Citizens interested in Mary Surratt formed the Surratt Society.[218] The Surrattsville tavern and house are historical sites run today by the Surratt Society.[181] The Washington Arsenal is now Fort Lesley J. McNair.[181] The building that held the cells and courtroom, and the brick wall seen in back of the gallows, are all gone (the courtyard where the hanging occurred is now a tennis court).[181]

via Mary Surratt – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

What happened to the Frederick Aiken? See Colonel Frederick A. Aiken biography | thisweekinthecivilwar.

 

Artisan Social Designer, shopping, Paris, France, artisan:  There is that artisan word again. 🙂

Artisan Social Designer, a new gallery and concept store in a converted grocery store in Paris, is giving traditional craft a makeover.

The shop was created by a freshly graduated fine artist couple, Rémi Dupeyrat and Naïs Calmettes, with the aim of showcasing young “artists with an artisan’s approach and vice-versa,” said Mr. Dupeyrat.

All the pieces on display, which are sold exclusively at the boutique (68, rue des Gravilliers; 33-1-4996-5605; http://www.artisansocialdesigner.fr), were handmade according to traditional techniques, or ones developed by their creators: tables made out of sea salt and resin, chairs of softened wood following an age-old architectural method, vases of traditionally blown glass.

The shop also takes a hard ethical line: only local materials are used, and all the pieces are limited to series of 20. “We don’t want a micro-factory-type production,” Ms. Calmettes said. “The artist should stop when he/she is bored.”

The space will also hold quarterly exhibitions, timed for the beginning of each new season. The first, “2011 Automnes,” running from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8, will have a theme of wood and tools. The group show will include shoes of carved wood by Simona Vanth and Manon Beuchot, photography by Irwin Barbé and an special installation by the shop’s founders.

via In Paris, a New Shop Where Art Meets Wares – NYTimes.com.

Georgia, history:  Wonder why?

September 5, 1774

Georgia was the only colony not represented at the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

via Atlanta History Center, September 5, 1774.

colleges, college ranking, US New & World Report:  History of the rankings is very interesting.

He’s also one of the most powerful wonks in the country, wielding the kind of power that elicits enmity and causes angst.

Morse runs U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges guide, the oldest and best-known publication to rank America’s premier colleges.

The annual release of the rankings, set for Sept. 13 this year, is a marquee event in higher education. Some call it the academic equivalent of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Colleges broadcast U.S. News rankings on Web sites and in news releases, tout them in recruiting pamphlets, alumni magazines and “Dear Colleague” letters, and emblazon them on T-shirts and billboards. Institutions build strategic plans around the rankings and reward presidents when a school ascends.

“U.S. News doesn’t advertise the rankings,” Morse said in a recent interview at the publication’s headquarters. “The schools advertise for us.”

Morse, 63, has endured for two decades as chief arbiter of higher education’s elite.

No one can stake a credible claim to academic aristocracy without a berth on the first page of a U.S. News list. He is to colleges what Robert Parker is to wine.

The rankings have changed the way colleges do business. Critics see their influence every time an institution presses alumni for nominal donations, coaxes noncommittal students to apply or raises the SAT score required for admission.

Twenty-eight years after the release of the first U.S. News lists, Morse and his publication dominate the college-ranking business they spawned. Last year’s publication drew more than 10 million Internet hits on launch day.

via U.S. News college rankings are denounced but not ignored – The Washington Post.

Google Fiber, technology:  100x faster …

Google has changed the way people search on the internet. Now it’s changing the way some people surf the web.

Hundreds of lucky residents in the San Fransisco Bay area are now accessing Google’s one-gigabyte broadband service, which is being touted as the fastest internet connection in the world.

CBS affiliate KCBS tested the Google Fiber internet service, which is being offered for free in a neighborhood just south of Stanford University.

According to the station, a 95-megabyte high-definition movie trailer downloaded in about nine seconds.

Download speeds on the network were up to 300 Mbps, with an upload speed of 150 Mbps. Comcast’s cable service, which has an average speed of 13Mbps, is about 1/20th the speed of Google Fiber.

Kansas City is the only other place to receive Google Fiber. It’s part of an experiment involving as many as half a million homes to improve ways to build the network, to see what apps people invent and how it would change the way we use the internet.

via Google Fiber world’s fastest broadband service, 100 times faster than norm – Tech Talk – CBS News.

President Obama, politics, Great Recession:  bottom line – we are in a mess.

Liberal critics of Obama, just like conservative critics of Republican presidents, generally want both maximal partisan conflict and maximal legislative achievement. In the real world, those two things are often at odds. Hence the allure of magical thinking.

via What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama – NYTimes.com.

twitter, Jim Cramer, banks, The Government: We have a long road ahead of us.

Jim Cramer (@jimcramer)
9/4/11 6:16 PM
As for the banks, i have to tell you, the government isn’t going to let them lift. Even the great ones are getting killed. Bad sign…
9/11 Memorial, architecture:

Mr. Arad, who started designing a memorial before there was even a competition, was invested from the start in making what he called a “stoic, defiant and compassionate” statement. Born in London, he had grown up all over the world as the son of an Israeli diplomat who was once ambassador to the United States, and has lived in New York since 1999. He watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center from his roof on the Lower East Side and saw the south tower fall from a few streets away.

“I think my desire to imagine a future for this site came out of trying to come to terms with the emotions that day aroused,” he said.

Like everything else about ground zero, the story of how the memorial got back on track is complicated, and involves many players. But it is also at least partly the story of Mr. Arad’s evolution from a hot-headed 34-year-old novice whose design bested some 5,200 others to the more sanguine and battle-tested — if still perfectionist — architect he is today. It’s a tale that surprises many of those associated with the project, not least Mr. Arad himself.

“When I started this project, I was a young architect,” said Mr. Arad, 42, as he toured the site during the summer. “I was very apprehensive about any changes to the design. Whether I wanted to or not, I learned that you can accept some changes to its form without compromising its intent. But it’s a leap of faith that I didn’t want to make initially — to put it mildly.”

“I had a dual role: designer and advocate,” said Mr. Arad (pronounced ah-RAHD), who comes across as thoughtful and intense.

The memorial occupies about half of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, which is a busy place these days, with four towers in various stages of construction. It includes a plaza with more than 400 swamp white oak trees, an area that will serve as a green roof over an underground museum designed by Aedas Architects with an entrance pavilion designed by the Norwegian firm Snohetta. (The budget for both memorial and museum is now down to $700 million.)

Most significantly, the footprints of the original World Trade Center towers have been turned into two square, below-ground reflecting pools, each nearly an acre, fed from all sides by waterfalls that begin just above ground level and bordered by continuous bronze panels inscribed with the names of those who died there and in Washington and Pennsylvania.

via How the 9/11 Memorial Changed Its Architect, Michael Arad – NYTimes.com.

Jesus Daily, Facebook, social network, define: church:  All in all an interesting article.

A North Carolina diet doctor has come up with a formula to create the most highly engaged audience on Facebook in the world, far surpassing marketing efforts by celebrities and sports teams. He draws on the words of Jesus and posts them four or five times a day.

The doctor, Aaron Tabor, 41, grew up watching his father preach at churches in Alabama and North Carolina, and his Facebook creation is called the Jesus Daily. He started it in April 2009, he said, as a hobby shortly after he began using Facebook to market his diet book and online diet business that includes selling soy shakes, protein bars and supplements.

For the last three months, more people have “Liked,” commented and shared content on the Jesus Daily than on any other Facebook page, including Justin Bieber’s page, according to a weekly analysis by AllFacebook.com, an industry blog. “I wanted to provide people with encouragement,” said Dr. Tabor, who keeps his diet business on a separate Facebook page. “And I thought I would give it a news spin by calling it daily.”

Facebook and other social media tools have changed the way people communicate, work, find each other and fall in love. While it’s too early to say that social media have transformed the way people practice religion, the number of people discussing faith on Facebook has significantly increased in the last year, according to company officials.

Over all, 31 percent of Facebook users in the United States list a religion in their profile, and 24 percent of users outside the United States do, Facebook says. More than 43 million people on Facebook are fans of at least one page categorized as religious.

But the increase in the number of people finding faith communities via social media platforms provokes the question of what constitutes religious experience and whether “friending” a church online is at all similar to worshiping at one.

Although Pope Benedict acknowledged in a recent statement that social networks offered “a great opportunity,” he warned Roman Catholics that “virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.”

via Jesus Daily on Facebook Nurtures Highly Active Fans – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession, movies, Hollywood:  Well, it’s not my fault.  I go to no more than 4-5 theater movies a year.  I am actually up for the year. Hollywood spends an enormous amount of money and produces little of real worth.  Maybe they need to rethink.

From the first weekend in May to Labor Day, a period that typically accounts for 40 percent of the film industry’s annual ticket sales, domestic box-office revenue is projected to total $4.38 billion, an increase from last year of less than 1 percent, according to Hollywood.com, which compiles box-office data.

The bad news: higher ticket prices, especially for the 18 films released in 3-D (up from seven last summer), drove the increase. Attendance for the period is projected to total about 543 million, the lowest tally since the summer of 1997, when 540 million people turned up.

Hollywood has now experienced four consecutive summers of eroding attendance, a cause for alarm for both studios and the publicly traded theater chains. One or two soft years can be dismissed as an aberration; four signal real trouble.

via Summer Movie Attendance Continues to Erode – NYTimes.com.


history, technology, John Donne:  Technology can be amazing.

Gipkin-Pauls-Cross.jpg

With a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, professors John Wall and David Hill and architect Joshua Stephens are working to virtually replicate the architecture of the old St. Paul’s Cathedral to recreate what early modern Londoners would have heard on that day. Their model of the structure is based on the work of John Schofield, an archaeologist who works for St. Paul’s, who has surveyed the foundation of the old cathedral, which is still in the ground though partially underneath the existing cathedral.

To recreate the experience of hearing Donne’s sermon, linguist and historian David Crystal is working with his son, the actor Ben Crystal, to craft a reading that will follow the specific accent and style of 17th-century London English. Ben will make his recording in an anechoic (or acoustically neutral) chamber. Wall, Hill, and Stephens — together with Ben Markham, an acoustic simulation specialist in Cambridge, Massachusetts — will then be able to mash up that recording with the architectural design to simulate how Donne’s voice would have traveled when he stood in the churchyard. They are also mixing in ambient sounds that would have been common in London at that time, such as neighing horses, barking dogs, and running water.

By the end of 2012, Wall plans to have the recreation up and running as a website, where people can go to hear Donne’s sermon. They’ll be able to adjust the sound for different locations on the grounds and crowd sizes. The only thing missing are the delightful aromas of 17th-century London. Some things are perhaps better left in the past.

via Travel Back in Time (Virtually) to Hear John Donne Preach – Rebecca J. Rosen – Technology – The Atlantic.

history, history myths:  Fun resource!

Washington’s Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales—Some of Which are True

By Mollie Reilly, Washingtonian, August 29, 2011

This week, Washingtonian magazine corrected misconceptions about why buildings in D.C. were given a height limit in 1899, whether D.C. traffic circles were designed to stop an invading army, the symbolism of D.C.’s equestrian statues, and more.

Myths of the American Revolution

By John Ferling, Smithsonian, January 2010

Read this careful examination of the American Revolution by historian John Ferling and shed beliefs you may have acquired in grade school, but which are “not borne out by the facts.”

Lincoln Myths

The National Park Service has posted a page specifically on Lincoln Memorial Myths to answer questions like, “Is Lincoln buried at the Lincoln Memorial?” The official blog of President Lincoln’s Cottage lists “10 Myths about President Lincoln”: that he owned slaves, that he wrote the Gettysburg Address on an envelope, and so on.

What history myths can you debunk? Let us know in the comments.

via AHA Today: U.S. History Myths.

Apple, Android, smartphones:  just out of curiosity, does anyone ever talk about how much they love their android phone?

New data from Nielsen paints a revealing, if not all that unexpected, picture of the current smartphone market here in the U.S.

While earlier this year we saw Android’s lead over both RIM and Apple’s iOS continue to grow, many (including us) expected that extraordinary growth to curb.

Well that didn’t happen.

According to this latest data, Android now accounts for an intimidating 40% of the overall smartphone market, versus 37% just in May. As for Apple’s iOS? It saw a mere 1% increase from 27% to 28% over the same period.

via Guess How Big Android’s Lead Over Apple Is Now – Techland – TIME.com.

Great Recession, careers, free-lance:  

The country’s freelance nation has always been a diverse lot, some of whom were pushed out of full-time jobs and others who actively pursued this pathway with entrepreneurial zeal. But the recession has forced a growing number of people to grudgingly pursue this path. Do some of them end up “loving it”? Of course. Will some devote their extra free time to creative pursuits, perhaps to become indie rock darlings? Sure. But those who want to pursue the freelance life to support themselves full time are having a far harder time doing so.

via Has the recession created a freelance utopia or a freelance underclass? – Ezra Klein – The Washington Post.

foreign languages, language learning, humiliation:  I just have to open my mouth and they know I am foreign!

A few weeks before that, in the course of work, I visited a school in Complexo do Alemão, a notorious conglomeration of favelas, or slums, in Rio. The head teacher, Eliane Saback Sampaio, did what good teachers everywhere do: she turned the occasion into a learning experience. She brought me from class to class, introducing me as a visitor—but a visitor with a difference. “Listen to our visitor speak,” said Ms Sampaio said each time (in Portuguese), “and tell me whether you think she was born in Brazil.” Thus set up, I gamely said, “Boa tarde, meninos,” (Good afternoon, children)—and in every room, immediately faced a forest of flying hands as the children called out: No, No! She’s foreign! “That’s right,” said Ms Sampaio, happily. “Doesn’t she sound strange?”

The children guessed I was American, European, Spanish, Argentinian—and then came the next humiliation, trying to explain where and what Ireland is. (Brazilians universally think I’m saying I’m from Holanda, not Irlanda. There are strong trade links with the Netherlands, and Brazil is one of the few places in the world with hardly any Irish emigrants.) I really enjoyed the school visit—Complexo do Alemão was until recently run by drug-dealers, and it was inspiring to see a school doing such great work there. Too bad it came at my expense.

via Language learning: No, she’s foreign! | The Economist.

children, play, signage, preschool:  I hope my children will remember me for letting them play!

 yet as i prepare to start a year with a stated goal of “better preparing children for kindergarten,” i don’t want to forget the necessity of play. it is cause to celebrate!

via c is for caution {or celebration} | preschool daze.

twitter, Conan O’Brien, taxes:  🙂

Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien)
9/4/11 12:05 PM
Just taught my kids about taxes by eating 38% of their ice cream.
media, print v. paper, Amazon, e-readers, magazines, serendipity:  “And magazine buyers tend to enjoy the serendipity of stumbling upon something that turns out to be fascinating.”
I agree with this comment about the serendipity of stumbling … but I do that with twitter by following a whole host of magazines and bloggers.  hmmm
The more general question, however, is whether publishers like Amazon (and particularly Amazon) represent a threat to the older magazine model, in which a variety of articles are bundled together and sold for a price that, even on the newsstand, is lower than what a reader would expect to pay if buying everything piecemeal. Part of the reason readers buy magazines is because they are comfortable outsourcing some of the decision-making about content delivery, and welcome the fact that magazines curate the news. The last issue of the New Yorker, for example, included articles about Mr Perry, the gold standard, tarot cards, Wikipedia, Syria, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia, and Rin Tin Tin.

Few readers are interested in every article, but most will enjoy several of them. And magazine buyers tend to enjoy the serendipity of stumbling upon something that turns out to be fascinating. I don’t think I’ve read anything serious about tarot cards, for example, but I am more likely to read about it the New Yorker than I am to buy something a la carte, given that the subject never interested me before. It may be that e-publications will eat up part of the magazine market, but brands with a strong editorial line and loyal readers should fair pretty well.

via E-readers and magazines: It’s still good to have gatekeepers | The Economist.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney, politics:  OK, he is officially getting on my nerves.

Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t president, but Dick Cheney says that if she were in the White House rather than Barack Obama, then things might be different today in the country.

Cheney isn’t getting into specifics, but he does think that “perhaps she might have been easier for some of us who are critics of the president to work with.”

The former vice president tells “Fox News Sunday” that it’s his sense that the secretary of state is “one of the more competent members” of the Obama administration and it would be “interesting to speculate” about how she would have performed as president.

Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic nomination to Obama, who went on to beat Republican John McCain in the general election. Obama named Clinton as the country’s top diplomat.

via Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton As President Would Have Made Different U.S..

education, reading, digital v. paper:  No surprises here.

British kids are more likely to read texts, e-mails and Web sites than books, according to a new study.

Almost 60 percent of the 18,000 8- to 17-year-olds who were part of the study said they had read a text message in the past month; half said they had read on the Web. That compares with 46 percent having read a fiction book and 35 percent having read a nonfiction book.

Does that surprise you?

Here are some other findings about kids and reading from the survey, which was done by England’s National Literacy Trust.

● About one in five kids surveyed had never been given a book for a present.

● About 30 percent of children said they read every day. But 13 percent say they never read at all.

● Boys are almost twice as likely as girls to say they never read.

The survey findings called for kids to be challenged to read 50 books a year, or about one a week. Do you read more or less than that? Go to kidspost.com to vote in our online poll. (Always ask a parent before going

via Study: Kids read Web sites more than books – The Washington Post.


28
Aug
11

8.28.2011 ‎… Have i mentioned that the man can cook … :)‎… Heading to Amelie’s to see if American-made French macaroons are worthy of the drive … Scratch that, Amelie’s is always worth the drive :)

home, food, kith/kin, Amelie’s, Charlotte, macaroons:  Last night John tried an old favorite (which I buy frozen) Chicken Cordon Bleu.  The kids actually rebel and call it Chicken Cordon Bleh … well, homemade by Chef JBT is definitely better.  And then today Molls and I headed to  Amelie’s French Bakery and Cafe for macaroons … they were good … but not as good as Parisian macaroons … pistachio was definitely better than raspberry.  I guess we are still on a French food kick. 🙂

Dr. Martin Luther King, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA):  I have never been a great fan of John Lewis.  I respect what he did during the civil rights movement, but in some ways he historically has ignored his white constituents in Atlanta … not completely, but that is another issue.  Nor have I ever thought he spoke well … too vituperative. But his commentary here is excellent.  And even if you do not agree, this is worth reading because it sums up MLK’s dream.

Among those leaders, I know he would take a special interest in President Obama — not only because he is the first African-American to sit in the Oval Office, but because Dr. King recognized the power of one man to transform a nation. He would say that the president has the capacity to unify America, to bring us together as one people, one family, one house.  He would say that a leader has the ability to inspire people to greatness, but that to do so he must be daring, courageous and unafraid to demonstrate what he is made of.

As a minister, never elected to any public office, Dr. King would tell this young leader that it is his moral obligation to use his power and influence to help those who have been left out and left behind.  …

Dr. King would say that a Nobel Peace Prize winner can and must find a way to demonstrate that he is a man of peace, a man of love and non-violence.

He would say that Obama’s election represents a significant step toward laying down the burden of race, but that this task is not yet complete. The election of 2008 was a major down payment on Dr. King’s dream, but it did not fulfill it. When one member of Congress calls the president a “tar baby” on a radio show and when another cries out “You lie!” during a State of the Union address, it is more than clear that we still do not understand the need to respect human dignity despite our differences.

Dr. King would tell this young president to do what he can to end discrimination based on race, color, religious faith and sexual orientation. He would say that righteous work makes its own way. … The people of this country recognize when a leader is trying to do what is right. Take a stand, he would say. Go with your gut. Let the people of this country see that you are fighting for them and they will have your back.

There will be opposition, and it might become ugly. … He often quoted the notion that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And the reason it does is because of the central goodness of humankind.

Martin Luther King Jr. believed that once people heard the truth, their tendency to bend toward what is right would pave the way for goodness to prevail. And it still can.

via What would MLK say to President Obama? – The Washington Post.

Libya Uprising, Qaddafi, Middle East stability, NATO:  Getting your arms around all the issues in the April Sring is very difficult.  This article is helpful with regard to Libya.

The toppling of Colonel Qaddafi—no matter whether he is eventually tried, killed or exiled—will be a boon to the Middle East and Western powers that supported the rebels. The implications for Libya itself are less clear and in part depend on whether Qaddafi loyalists will disperse and keep their weapons or agree to disarm. To become a rule-based democracy—the stated goal of all the various rebel groups—Libya must avoid an Iraqi-style insurgency, as well as disputes among the new rulers.

Helpfully, Libya has no sectarian divide. Its society is relatively homogeneous but grievances abound after four decades of oppression. Revenge killings loom, as well as tribal conflicts and large-scale looting, given the lack of physical security at the moment. The fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan showed that a temporary power vacuum can lead to long-term instability and undermine the formation of a functioning state.

The impact of Libya’s liberation on the rest of the Arab world looks clearer. What counts there is the dethronement of a tyrant. It will lift spirits in Syria, where another reformist revolt is under way. It will also give renewed drive to Egyptians and Tunisians who toppled their dictators several months ago but have since been grappling with constitutional change. Libya will inject new momentum into the Arab spring—raising hopes that decades of stagnation and repression can be ended.

Libya will have an impact on NATO too. The military alliance that faced down the Red Army might have been expected to crush the clumsy forces of Colonel Qaddafi in days. Instead it took five months of fighting and 17,000 air sorties. An embarrassment for NATO? Not at all. The alliance has had a good war so far (who said “stalemate” not long ago?) and is winning the best kind of victory given the circumstances: one achieved mostly by Libyans themselves. Rebels entered the capital without a single Western soldier visible on the ground (though there were some special forces). NATO air attacks, as well as weapons supplied by friendly Gulf states, aided the rebels. But they alone manned trenches, which will give them added legitimacy in months to come.

via End-game in Libya: Going, going… | The Economist.

Neil Gaiman, heroes, LOL, twitter:  Never meet your heroes!  But this goy got a retweet by his hero!

Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself)
8/28/11 12:41 PM
Very funny… RT “@barryhutchison: Blog post about meeting @neilhimself at @edinbookshop last night:http://t.co/3QHUgm3

You might not have heard of Neil Gaiman. At least, you might not have heard of him if you’re deaf and blind, and have spent the last 20 years living in a ditch. On the moon. Just in case this describes you, here’s a quick summary of his career. Much more detailed information can be found on Wikipedia. You can also read Neil’s blog.

Neil Gaiman is very busy man. He has written adult novels, children’s novels, graphic novels, short stories and picture books. He has also written movie screenplays and scripts for TV programmes, most notably BABYLON 5 and DOCTOR WHO, as well as his own original series, NEVERWHERE, for the BBC.

It was only during the three hour drive home that I realised I’d made a mess of the little message I’d written to him inside the book. I thanked him for inspiring me to become an author myself. At least, that’s what I meant to write, but I’m pretty sure in my semi-coherent state I actually thanked him for ‘encouraging’ me to become an author, as if he himself had popped round my house back in the late 80s/early 90s and personally egged me on. After reading that, I’ll be surprised if he bothers going any further.

And that, I think, is why they say you should never meet your heroes. You’ll only end up making a dick of yourself if you do.

via Meeting Neil Gaiman | BarryHutchison.com.

Hurricane Irene, twitter, quotes:  Harsh! Re: NY … NC got in the way …

CNN Video (@CNNVideo)
8/28/11 12:31 PM
New Yorkers should be thanking the state of North Carolina for a weakened #Irene. Chad Myers explains. Video:http://t.co/oS3971b
WSJ Greater New York (@WSJNY)
8/28/11 11:56 AM
“A wet day in London seems worse than this.” Tourists in Times Square react to Irene:http://t.co/bjUJG2h
Eric Holthaus (@wxrisk)
8/28/11 10:40 AM
Def historic. first landfalling TS or Hurr in 5 boroughs since 1893. @rap584 So was #Irene of “historical proportions” as we were told?

Apple, iPad, tablet market:  I like my iPad …

More than anything else, the announcement showed that the firm had finally seen the light about the tablet market—namely, that there is no such thing.

What exists instead is a rip-roaring market for iPads. Tablets based on Google’s Android, Hewlett-Packard’s webOS, Microsoft’s Windows, and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry operating systems—have failed dismally to capture consumers’ hearts and minds the way Apple has with its iconic iPad.

You only have to look at the numbers. Apple’s share of the tablet market is over 61% and growing, while all the Android tablets together make up barely 30% and are being squeezed. According to Strategy Analytics of Newton, Massachusetts, Windows tablets account for 4.6% and Research in Motion’s 3.3%. Sooner or later, the rest of the iPad wannabees are going to realise that, just because Apple has a runaway success on its hands, they cannot charge Apple prices for their hastily developed me-too products and expect consumers to clamour for them.

via Tablet computers: Difference Engine: Reality dawns | The Economist.

Paris, France, guides, private guides, Donna Morris:  Small is good; private is better … I found this website and it looked wonderful – France…Off the Beaten Path.  I will give a BIG plug for our private guide in Paris, Donna Morris.  If you need a great way to get oriented, give her a call … Best Friend in Paris France.

World of Coca-Cola, Asa Candler, business cards, end of an era, random:  Are business cards on the way out … I loved seing this old card of Asa Candler … and had not realized business cards had been around since the 1890s or before.

Twitpic – Share photos and videos on Twitter.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Former Vice President Dick Cheney:  I like Colin Powell; I do not like Dick Cheney … enough said.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that former Vice President Dick Cheney took “cheap shots” in his forthcoming memoir, and that he was taking his aggressive promotional techniques “a bit too far.”

Powell, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” targeted Cheney’s claim that the book, “In My Time,” would “make heads explode.”

“My head isn’t exploding, I haven’t noticed any other heads exploding in Washington, D.C.,” Powell pointed out. “From what I’ve read in the newspapers and seen on television it’s essentially a rehash of events of seven or eight years ago.”

In fact, Powell suggested, the most notable thing about the book was Mr. Cheney’s characterization of it.

“What really sort of got my attention was this way in which he characterized it: it’s going to cause heads to explode,” he said. “That’s quite a visual. And in fact, it’s the kind of headline I would expect to come out of a gossip columnist, or the kind of headline you might see one of the supermarket tabloids write. It’s not the kind of headline I would have expected to come from a former Vice President of the United States of America.”

He added: “I think Dick overshot the runway.”

Powell also took issue with Cheney’s claim that, during his tenure as Secretary of State, he declined to fully present his positions to former President George W. Bush.

“Mr. Cheney may forget that I’m the one who said to President Bush, ‘If you break it you own it,'” Powell said, referencing the administration’s actions in Iraq. “I gave the president my best advice.”

via Powell: Cheney “overshot the runway” in book – CBS News.

green, electric cars, standards:

Indeed, charging the car’s battery pack at home, or topping up at the office or shopping mall, will work fine for most drivers. But what about trips that are beyond the range of a single battery charge? Couldn’t a driver in need simply pull up to a charging kiosk and plug in for a rapid refill?

It’s not that simple.

Sure, there are already public charging stations in service, and new ones are coming online daily. But those typically take several hours to fully replenish a battery.

As a result, the ability for quick battery boosts — using a compatible direct current fast charger, the Leaf can refill to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes — could potentially become an important point of differentiation among electric models.

But the availability of fast charging points has in part been held up by the lack of an agreement among automakers on a universal method for fast charging — or even on a single electrical connector. Today’s prevalent D.C. fast-charge systems are built to a standard developed in Japan by Nissan, Mitsubishi and Subaru in conjunction with Tokyo Electric Power.

Called Chademo, which translates roughly to “charge and move,” it uses a connector that is different from the plugs in most electric cars. As a result, a Chademo-compatible car like the Nissan Leaf requires two separate sockets.

Overcoming the limitation of a short driving range is vital to achieving acceptance by consumers who want uncompromised, do-everything vehicles. The potential solutions all have drawbacks. Larger batteries are expensive and saddle the car with added weight. An onboard generator turned by a gasoline engine, as used in the Volt plug-in hybrid and similar future models, are another possible solution, but such systems add cost and pounds — and compromise the emissions-free image that attracts consumers to electric cars in the first place.

via Electric-Car Makers’ Quest – One Plug to Charge Them All – NYTimes.com.

24
Aug
11

8.24.2011 … first day of school for my baby … senior year … that was quick …

9/11, church v. state, outrage:

Religious leaders are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse course and offer clergy a role in the ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Rudy Washington, a deputy mayor in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s administration, said he’s outraged. Mr. Washington organized an interfaith ceremony at Yankee Stadium shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“This is America, and to have a memorial service where there’s no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me,” said Mr. Washington, who has suffered severe medical problems connected to the time he spent at Ground Zero. “I feel like America has lost its way.”

City Hall officials, who are coordinating the ceremony, confirmed that spiritual leaders will not participate this year—just as has been the case during past events marking the anniversary. The mayor has said he wants the upcoming event to strike a similar tone as previous ceremonies.

“There are hundreds of important people that have offered to participate over the last nine years, but the focus remains on the families of the thousands who died on Sept. 11,” said Evelyn Erskine, a mayoral spokeswoman.

But the mayor’s plans this year have drawn increased scrutiny and some disapproval, as the event will attract an international audience and President Barack Obama will attend.

via 9/11 Exclusion Spurs Outrage – WSJ.com.

Apple, Tim Cook, Steve Jobs:  An Alabaman … and a Dookie …

While Steve Jobs’ announcement Wednesday that he was resigning as CEO of Apple may have come as a surprise to some, the company is already being run by the man tapped to replace him, according to most reports.

Tim Cook, the unflappable Alabaman, had been Apple’s chief operating officer since 2007, running its day-to-day operations, a role many expect him to keep as CEO. He has twice taken over CEO duties during Jobs’ recent medical leaves.

While most insiders say Cook is not the “visionary” that Jobs is, nearly everyone credits him as being a kind of business-operations “maestro,” according to a 2008 Fortune magazine profile.

Cook earned an M.B.A. from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University, according to his official Apple biography. Prior to joining Apple, Cook had served in various executive roles at Compaq, Intelligent Electronics and IBM.

While Jobs and Cook are both known for their relentlessness, they largely operate in opposite ways, The New York Times reports.

Jobs is often described as mercurial and prone to outbursts, while Cook, who was raised in a small town in Alabama, is polite and soft-spoken, The Times reports. Whereas Jobs liked to focus on Apple’s products, Cook has largely delved into the minutiae of its operations.

via Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, a business “maestro” – CBS News.

8/23 DC earthquake, animal behavior, National Zoo, DC:

We know how humans first sensed Tuesday’s earthquake. We felt the shake, then the rattle, and then the urge to flee.

But what about the region’s animals?

Did they sense the rare 5.8-magnitude temblor before the shaking started?

We checked in with the folks at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, one of the most popular attractions in the nation’s capital, to see what they could tell us.

(First things first: The zoo was open for business as usual Wednesday, and zoo officials report that there were no injuries, animal or human, as a result of Tuesday’s seismic event.)

And, according to zoo keepers and other eye witnesses, the animals did, indeed, sense the coming quake before their human compatriots, including Dr. Don Moore, the zoo’s associate director for animal care sciences.

“I didn’t have any pre-quake behavior,” Moore joked Wednesday morning.

But a quick Smithsonian survey indicates that many animals in his care did.

Behavior ranged from jumping into trees and “vocalizing,” to banding together.

via ‘Hearing Something We Can’t Hear’: How Animals Foretold The Earthquake : The Two-Way : NPR.

apps, history, photography: A new one for me to try!

Discover windows into the past by seeing and interacting with the history all around you.

The official Historypin app reveals photos near your current location and allows you to view them layered over the modern scene in front of you. You can also explore Collections of some of the best old photos from around the world, wherever you are.

You can add your own piece of history and pin it to the map, too, by using your phone to digitise an old photo, capture a modern moment of historic importance, or take a modern replica of a photo on the app.

And if you shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it, your phone will bring up some of the best photos from all over the globe.

Historypin was created by the not-for-profit company We Are What We Do, in partnership with Google.

via Historypin for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

food fads, macaroons, France:  We loved the ones in France!  Now to find them in Charlotte, NC …

In the 1970s, it was Jell-O molds. In the 1980s, it was frozen yogurt. And for the past decade? Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes. Trendy desserts have come and gone, and some foodies predict another treat is poised to be this decade’s defining sweet: Bonjour, macaron!

The fad for macaroons, as they tend to be spelled in English, first came to my attention with a post on Amanda McClements’ terrific Washington, D.C., food blog, Metrocurean.

Her argument about the rise of the colorful little almond-and-air cookies included the following: that the show Gossip Girl has fetishized the macaroon in a manner reminiscent of the way Sex and the City launched a cupcake boom; that Starbucks recently carried a limited edition of macaroons; and that white-hot designer Jason Wu (who designed Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown) recently baked them in an issue of Food & Wine magazine. Plus, McClements says, she’s just seeing them everywhere.

“It seems the little French confections are partout,” she wrote.

I contacted McClements and asked her to be my macaroon muse, my guide to the best macaroons in our city. She took me first to Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Va., where the macaroons are made by Chef Ed Jiloca, who trained in California. His macaroons are fat with buttercream, and they come in American flavors like peanut butter and jelly, and birthday cake (complete with sprinkles).

More traditional macaroons were on the menu at Adour, the restaurant at Washington, D.C.’s St. Regis Hotel. Macaroons have become so popular there that the hotel sells them in boxes for guests to take home, and chef Fabrice Bendano has started offering macaroon-making classes in the restaurant kitchen. They regularly sell out.

“Macaroons are the new cupcake,” said one young man in a Penn State sweatshirt at a recent class, as Bendano explained how to make rose-flavored white chocolate macaroons. “They’re now the fashionable snack. We’re trying to get ahead of the curve on that.”

via Move Over, Cupcake: Make Way For The Macaroon.

17
Aug
11

8.17.2011 … A few useful articles I found after I returned! …

France, travel, wine, rosé, when in Rome …: I discovered that everyone drinks chilled rosé in France in the summertime … so I of course drank rosé, and it was good!

Rosé has long been the summer beverage of choice for fashionable diners in Cannes and Saint-Tropez, but Americans have yet to fully embrace it.

One of the reasons for the dubious reputation of rosé may be that many drinkers remember the sweet blush wines and so-called White Zinfandels which were so popular in the 1970s and ’80s. Remember Sutter Home White Zinfandel? Technically it was a rosé and it was kind of sickly sweet, unlike the pink wines of southern France.

Nearby on the North Fork of Long Island, Paula and Michael Croteaux operate Croteaux Vineyards, which may be the only vineyard in the U.S. devoted entirely to rosé, creating some six different cuvées from different clones of Merlot. The Manhattan refugees bought their 18th-century farm in Southold, N.Y., in the early 1990s. “We’d have people coming by our place and saying, ‘I feel like I’m in Provence,’ ” Mr. Croteaux says. “And when we thought about planting vines, rosé seemed like a great fit based on the lifestyle out here on the east end.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to travel to the Hamptons or Provence to experience the incomparable pleasure of a cold rosé on a hot summer day.

via Rosé Wines for Summer | Jay McInerney on Wine – WSJ.com.

France, travel, tips: 

Give yourself down time to sit at a café and enjoy the ambiance (people watching) and don’t pressure yourself to do too much in one day.  Like Rome, Paris was not built in a day so you can’t see it in one day!

via Advice for the Novice Paris Traveler |.

15
Aug
11

8.15.2011 … ET has dry sockets, enough said …

cars, kith/kin:  My mom drove little cars … Opels … maybe that’s why I love the little guys.

With seven inches less wheelbase than a Mini Cooper and tipping the scales at 400 fewer pounds, the 500 is a mighty small car. Yet, I found plenty of room for my six-foot, two-inch frame inside, and the wee Fiat was relatively composed, quiet, and daresay refined on the highway. And the 38-mpg it returned at highway speeds wasn’t too shabby, either, especially compared to the Ford F-150 I’m assigned to drive next.

The 500 isn’t for everybody. There will continue to be a need for larger vehicles for families, contractors, and others. Some will likely insist on driving larger vehicles just because they can, as long as they can afford the fuel. But if the 500 is one example of what to expect as manufacturers work to meet upcoming mileage requirements, the future doesn’t look so bad. It proves that small and affordable doesn’t have to be boring. And down the road, it may be that the Sequoia will be the vehicle drawing looks at stoplights.

via Italian take-out: Fiat 500 is spicier than expected.

Great Recession, taxes v. spending, The Oracle of Omaha:  The Oracle has spoken …

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

via Stop Coddling the Super-Rich – NYTimes.com.

Normandy, France, D-Day, LIFE:  This is another good LIFE gallery. Before and After D-Day: In Color – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

history, The Civil War, war strategy:

Shortages led to inflation and, as the price of foodstuffs spiked, buying power steadily decreased, by about a sixth during the first year of the conflict. Increases in prices were especially marked in areas close to the front lines,where food distribution was directly affected by the fighting. A typical Southern family’s food bill was $6.65 per month at the time of secession, $68 per month in 1863, and $400 per month in 1864. Indeed, by the spring of 1863, prices for food and dry goods were going up about 10 percent a month. Butter that cost 20 cents a pound when secession was declared commanded seven times as much a year later — and up to 100 times as much in some locales, if it was available at all, during the last year of the war. Untenable prices led to outbursts of civil unrest and incidents, ranging from the looting of supply trains to bread riots in Richmond and other Southern cities.

Before the first summer of the war was over, Southerners had already begun to suffer the effects of shortages imposed by the conflict. Few could conceive, however, just how severe the privations they would ultimately have to endure would become in the months and long years that followed.

via Squeezing the South into Submission – NYTimes.com.

physical media, digital media:  I feel this way every time I go by a former Blockbuster.

The decline and/or demise of once mighty retailers such as Borders, Tower, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Suncoast and Virgin Megastores is some of the most tangible evidence of an undeniable, inevitable truth: Physical media are starting to go away. Digital-music downloads and subscription services have already rendered CDs only slightly less quaint than LPs. Streaming video from companies such as Netflix and Amazon is starting to make DVDs — and even Blu-ray — look stale. I still buy more dead-tree books than I have time to read, but my instinctive response when I learn of a new one I might want to buy is usually “Is this available for Kindle?”

via Why I Already Miss Books: A Lament for Physical Media – TIME.

Harry Potter, Pottermore:  Anybody have a Pottermore Beta invite?  Pottermore Insider: Beta testing (and registering for October).

Professor Munakata, comics:  I may have to buy one of these!

Munakata

Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure was serialised last year in Japan and has now been now translated into English. Its star – a portly ethnographer-cum-archaeologist who solves crimes and explains civilisations – is already well known to millions of Japanese readers, who follow his exploits in a series of Hoshino Yukinobu-penned comics. Hoshino’s work is blend of science fiction and thriller, layered with a rich mix of western and Asian myth and history.

If that sounds a bit like Look and Learn, there are pages in the book that seem exactly so, as the professor elaborates on real events, artefacts and characters.

The professor is a staunch supporter of the British Museum. Photograph: British Museum

Munakata is also well-versed in the debate surrounding disputed objects such as the Parthenon marbles, the Rosetta stone, and the Benin bronzes. Meanwhile, the Lewis chessmen are key players in the story.

Munakata is against repatriating these objects, praising the British Museum’s history of collecting, and fostering public access. “I am one of many Japanese scholars,” he says, “who have benefited from that generosity.”

via The British Museum: marbles, murals… and manga! | Books | The Guardian.

religion, class:  Sounds interesting.

Throughout American history, from the antebellum days to contemporary times, class and religion have been repeatedly tied together. Dr. Sean McCloud at UNC Charlotte will join us to talk about his research on the intersection of religion and class across American History and talk about what he thinks the meaning of class is in today’s world, and why it’s important to insert the issue of class into religious study.

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

trains, Grand Central Station, Oyster Bar, NYC,  Le Train Bleu , Gare de Lyon, Paris:  One of my most memorable meals was at a restaurant at the Edinburgh train station … chicken cordon bleu … so I may have to try these two to compare “train fare.”

In praise of Grand Central Station’s Oyster Bar and Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon in Paris, “grand invitations to a railway journey, however long or short.”

via The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

international relations, China, US, Pakistan: Peace is a long way off.

In the days after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan’s intelligence service probably allowed Chinese military engineers to examine the wreckage of a stealth American helicopter that crashed during the operation, according to American officials and others familiar with the classified intelligence assessments.

Such cooperation with China would be provocative, providing further evidence of the depths of Pakistan’s anger over the Bin Laden raid, which was carried out without Pakistan’s approval. The operation, conducted in early May, also set off an escalating tit-for-tat scuffle between American and Pakistani spies.

American spy agencies have concluded that it is likely that Chinese engineers — at the invitation of Pakistani intelligence operatives — took detailed photographs of the severed tail of the Black Hawk helicopter equipped with classified technology designed to elude radar, the officials said. The members of the Navy Seals team who conducted the raid had tried to destroy the helicopter after it crashed at Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, but the tail section of the aircraft remained largely intact.

via U.S. Aides Believe China Examined Stealth Copter – NYTimes.com.

apps, photography, kith/kin, random:  My mother always had me part my hair on the side because she said nobody’s face is the same  on each side.  I think I will avoid this app.

Artist Julian Wolkenstein is keeping a weblog of all the photos folks upload using the app. Here’s the odd thing: The pictures are utterly, completely, and totally frightening (which probably has a lot to do with the crappiness of camera phones). Half the people resemble aliens. The rest could pass for some combination of Jeffrey Dahmer and Herman Munster. Everyone’s rendered ugly in a similar way, and there’s something sort of beautiful about that.

via Crazy App: Which Side of Your Face Is Better Looking? | Co. Design.

13
Aug
11

‎8.13.2011 … what is the appropriate attire for an evening at the Roller Derby? … I am thinking anything with bra straps showing or without a bra … not my best looks!

Roller Derby, Charlotte, kith/kin:  Oh, what a night … photos 🙂

food, drink, wine, Bordeaus, France, technology:  There are some amazing things going on in the world.

In partnership with the Wine Cooperative Institute (WCI), a company called Geo-Information Services (GIS), a subsidiary of Astrium Services, has offered a service for the past three years called “Œnoview.” The idea is simple: to provide wine growers with a map detailing the vegetative state of their vineyards.

“It helps the winegrower make decisions and save a considerable amount of time,” says Jacques Rousseau, the WCI Group’s director of wine-producing services. “It allows him to have an instant overall view of his vineyard. He can then know the state of his vineyard as if he had scoured the rows one by one.”

This satellite map can determine the uniformity of the ripening process as it takes place in a specific plot of land. The greener the grapes, the stronger the plant surface is; the more red and blue they are, the less developed the vegetation is. From this report, vintner can draw numerous conclusions, including the optimum harvest date.

via In Bordeaux, Harvest Time Means Infrared Spy Satellites – TIME.

Jane Austen, Jane Austen: A Life Revealed, Who Was Jane Austen: The Girl With the Magic Pen 
Children’s/YA literature: Jane Austen: A Life Revealed – Catherine Reef Clarion Books, 2011 and Who Was Jane Austen: The Girl With the Magic Pen – Gill Hornby Short Books, 2005 …

Claimed to be the first biography for teens (more on that later), this 190 page hardcover copy – which I read in e-book format – does not offer many new insights into Jane Austen’s life. However, that is hardly to be expected from a short biography aimed at teens to introduce them to the life and works of Jane Austen. I imagine that, had I been fourteen still, on my first journey into the land of Austen, I would have thoroughly enjoyed such an easy-access guide, to go on learning more about her from there.

via Two Biographies of Jane Austen Meant for a Teen/YA Audience | Iris on Books.

Gill Hornby’s biography reads like a story, instead of a non-fiction account of her life. It makes me think that maybe it was meant to be accessible to even younger readers. And while the choice to write about Austen as if she’s a character herself might give the story a less objective feel, I actually think it worked really well. Especially since in many ways, Austen has become a character in a story to so many fans of her works.

via Two Biographies of Jane Austen Meant for a Teen/YA Audience | Iris on Books.

e-books: How To Price Comparison Shop For eBooks – eBookNewser.

random, Apple, China:  Faux Apple stores?

The hits (and trademark misses) just keep coming out of China, whose authorities now say they’ve uncovered a whopping 22 fake Apple stores—and that’s just in the city of Kunming, where this strange, sordid tale of Apple retail ne’er do wells started.

via Those Chinese Apple Store Knockoffs? China Says It Found 22 More – Techland – TIME.com.

UGA – Between the Hedges, college football, SEC:  What can I say, I’m a dawg at heart.

Georgia

The annual August tease: We’re ready to shove aside Alabama, Florida and the rest of the SEC and take over the conference!

Mark Richt has the talent at Georgia — but can the Dawgs put it all together?

The annual fall reality: The Mark Richt expiration date is looming.

The Bulldogs have pretty well underachieved four of the past five years. Yeah, one of those alleged underachievers was a 10-3 team in 2008, but it began the year ranked No. 1 and had the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in Matthew Stafford. That qualifies as underachieving.

The past two years have been so bad that they almost defy description. I’m still trying to figure out how Georgia could be a plus-10 in turnovers in 2010 and still wind up 6-7.

via Florida State Seminoles, Miami Hurricanes, Tennessee Volunteers among annual teases – ESPN.

culture, graphics:  This graphic tells the story …

Getty ImagesHow you rank in society purportedly has a lot to do with how much you care about your fellow man. That’s the gist of “Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm,” a new paper written by University of California psychologists and social scientists published in the academic journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

The authors write that one’s sense of social class—derived mainly from income and education—”exerts broad influences on social thought, emotion, and behavior.” Using various tests that measure empathy, those who perceive themselves among the lower classes demonstrate “heightened vigilance of the social context and an other-focused social orientation.” In other words, poorer, less well-educated individuals tend to notice, and care more about, the people around them. “Upper-class rank perceptions,” on the other hand, “trigger a focus away from the context toward the self, prioritizing self-interest.”

via Study: The Rich Really Are More Selfish | Moneyland | TIME.com.

pc, IBM, end of an era, tablets, quotes, makes you think, future: “These days, it’s becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people’s lives,” …

Thirty years ago, Mark Dean was part of the original team that helped usher in a personal computing revolution when Big Blue announced its PC. On the anniversary of that seminal announcement, Dean said it is time to move beyond the PC. (see: Today is the IBM Model 5150’s 30th birthday)

“My primary computer now is a tablet. When I helped design the PC, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to witness its decline,” Dean, nowadays the chief technology officer for IBM Middle East and Africa, wrote on a company blog. “But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they’re no longer at the leading edge of computing. They’re going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs.”

Taking note of recent changes reworking the contours of the tech landscape, Dean observed that while PCs are getting replaced, the interesting development action now centers around mobile hardware and social networking connections.

“These days, it’s becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people’s lives,” he wrote.

via IBM inventor: PC is dead – CBS News.

Anthropologie, fashion, marketing:  My daughter turned me on to Anthropologie and I love the store for its quirkiness … this video does a good job of explaining its concept.

Color + print steal the show in our newest film, a behind-the-scenes look at our fall collection. Watch and listen as our designers open up about their autumn inspirations and processes.

via Videos Posted by Anthropologie: Color + Print [HD].

USPS, stamps, graphics:  I agree, aren’t they lovely?  Makes me want Valentine’s Day in August.

x2omq.jpg

kabster728 1 day 19 hours ago Twitter

Newest Love stamps — so pretty.

via yfrog Photo : http://yfrog.com/h0x2omqj Shared by kabster728.

astronomy, meteor shower: Well, I missed it.

Whether you were able or not to view Perseid meteor showers earlier this week, tonight’s peak should still provide a good show despite the interference of this month’s full moon. Moreover, tonight will be a double treat, for coincidentally the International Space Station will be visible (local sky conditions permitting) over much of the U.S. for a short window.

via Perseid meteor shower and International Space Station flyby late tonight – double pleasure – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

Twitter / @washingtonpost: Have you seen the Perseid ….

Bipolar Dow, stock market, Great Recession, humor, a picture is worth a thousand words:  

The Dow is up almost 200 points today based on news that the Dow hasn’t dropped 400 points today.

FlyoverJoel

August 12, 2011 at 13:17

ReplyRetweet

via 10 hilarious posts about the Dow’s bipolar week – storify.com.

Just the other day (8/10), I posted on FB, “I am tired of the stock market …” Sometimes, pictures are better than words. 🙂  I laughed …

Ravi Joisa’s Photos – Funny Pics.

college search:  

Having a good professor can indelibly affect your college experience, and make you remember facts that most people would forget after a decent period of time. Good teaching, therefore, is one of the most important things a college can offer.

Princeton Review recently named the ten schools in the country with the best professors. All-female Wellesley College topped the list, with engineering school Harvey Mudd coming in second.

via The 10 Colleges With The Best Professors.

college costs, random, Colorado – Boulder:  This is an old story, and I think the kid was silly, but he has a point …

Nic Ramos’s tuition payment this semester weighed 30 pounds.

Why? The University of Colorado-Boulder economics student decided to pay his $14,309.51 charge in $1 bills (and a 50-cent piece, and a penny).

“Just looking at [the bills] really sends a message,” Ramos said in an interview with the Daily Camera.

Ramos, an out-of-state student, wanted to bring awareness to how much an education costs for non-residents and residents alike. Per his calculations, class comes in at $65 an hour.

via Nic Ramos, University Of Colorado Student, Pays Tuition In $1 Bills (VIDEO).

websites, new and interesting:  Here are a few to check out … WhtespaceHappy Blogging Birthday to Me!.

recipes, shrimp salad, cold court-bouillon:  This sounds really good … but does anyone know what cold court-bouillon is?

Using a technique practiced in the 1970s by French chef Michel Guérard, we started cooking our shrimp in a cold court-bouillon (leaving out the white wine, which tasters found overwhelming), then heating the shrimp and liquid to just a near simmer.

via Better Shrimp Salad – Cooks Illustrated

well, here it is …

A court bouillon (literally “short boil”) is an acidulated vegetable stock. The vegetables are cooked with aromatics for a short time to create a flavorful vegetable stock, which has an acid like vinegar or lemon juice added to it. The main purpose of using a court bouillon to cook things in is to preserve their flavor. Instead of leaching the flavor out, as would happen if you used plain water, the osmotic pressure of the vegetable stock keeps flavors in the food being cooked. In addition, the acid firms and whitens the white flesh of fish or poultry. For shellfish like crabs and shrimp, I like to add Old Bay Seafood seasoning. I also use it for lobsters, which I simmer (never boil) for about twenty minutes for chicken lobsters (1 pounders).

via About Court Bouillon.

loyalty memberships/frequent flyers, good advice:

In 2010, the most recent data available, U.S. consumers had a total of more than two billion loyalty memberships—about 18 memberships per household—up 16% from five years ago, according to Cincinnati-based loyalty-marketing company Colloquy. Some 46% of consumers actively use rewards programs, up from 39% in 2006, and about one-third of those are travel and hospitality programs.

Yet while Americans accumulate $48 billion in rewards points and miles annually, according to Colloquy, they leave one-third of these unredeemed and at risk of expiring.

via How to Protect Your Rewards – WSJ.com.

Jane Fonda, random:  Years ago I was trying to remember the name of a movie that had Jane Fonda in it, and I went to my favorite movie buff … I concluded the description with, “and Jane Fonda was in it.”  My friend looked at me strangely and said, ” I do not go to movies with Jane Fonda.”  My friend was a West Point grad and had served in Vietnam.  I was too young to remember Jane and her famous picture … but his statement said it all.  I am glad she regrets the picture.  Keep apologizing, Jane … for some it may never be enough.

Jane on that North Vietnam photo: “That picture was a terrible mistake, and I’m prepared to apologize for it until I go to my grave.”

via ‘That Picture Was a Terrible Mistake’: Jane Fonda Sits Down for 10 Questions – TIME NewsFeed.

worldcrunch, technology:  Noticed this note on the Bordeaux wine article above … pretty cool.

This post is in partnership with Worldcrunch, a new global-news site that translates stories of note in foreign languages into English. The article below was originally published in Le Monde.

via In Bordeaux, Harvest Time Means Infrared Spy Satellites – TIME.

11
Aug
11

‎8.11.2011 … am truly home … coffee with the Trobs, and yes, we solved all the problems of the world … And now back to clipping

The Invisible Woman, movies, Charles Dickens, Life After Harry Potter:  So Charles Dickens had a mistress …

While many know actor Ralph Fiennes for playing Harry Potter‘s nemesis Lord Voldemort, he has also started directing. One of his post-Harry Potter film projects includes directing an adaptation of The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin.

The nonfiction book tells the story of an affair between Great Expectations author Charles Dickens (pictured, via) and actress Nelly Ternan. According to The Guardian, Abi Morgan wrote the script. The release is set for late 2012, coinciding with Dickens’ 200th birthday.

Here’s more from the article: “Dickens was 45 when he met Ternan, then 18, in 1857. Their relationship remained secret from the public, even after Dickens’s separation from his wife the following year. Ternan travelled with the author for the rest of his life; after his death, she married a man 12 years her junior, having disguised her own age as 23, rather than 37.”

via Ralph Fiennes to Adapt The Invisible Woman – GalleyCat.

NCAA, college sports, change:  We can hope …

 I think they mean it this time.

Mark Emmert plans to enact major change in the upcoming weeks and months.

I believe the NCAA is serious about substantive change. I believe the governing body of college sports is tired of being mocked for the heft of its rulebook, ridiculed for its byzantine enforcement process and jeered for its oft-oxymoronic term, “student-athlete.” I believe the NCAA is truly motivated to disassociate itself from government, lawyers, the media and reality TV on the list of Most Criticized American Institutions.

I believe all that after listening to NCAA president Mark Emmert, several university presidents and a couple of conference commissioners describe their two-day retreat here. The language was strong.

via Presidential summit could spark major NCAA change – ESPN.

2012 Presidential Election, race issues, politics:  I think the Latinos are no different from the rest of the voters.  We are all in a bind.

Latinos are in a bind, said Pilar Marrero, a political writer and columnist for the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion. “It doesn’t really benefit Latinos to have one party that takes you for granted and another party that basically attacks you,” she said. “But that’s what we have right now. We don’t have many good options.”

It’s unclear how this frustration could affect the outcome of the upcoming election. Noting that it was too soon to make such predications with any accuracy, Marrero said she thought it was unlikely that many Latinos would vote for a Republican candidate. Yet she’d heard “talk about the potential of people not going to vote,” she said. And if that happens, the President could find it hard to gather all the votes he’ll need to win, especially in heavily Latino battleground states like New Mexico and Colorado.

For years, Latinos have overwhelmingly supported Democrat candidates. In 2004, President Bush won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, more than any Republican presidential nominee before, but whatever gains the Republicans made appeared to dissipate in 2008, when 67 percent of Latinos voted for President Obama and only 31 percent voted for Senator John McCain.

“The Latino vote came back to the Democratic Party after a brief flirtation with the Republicans,” said New Mexico’s then-governor Bill Richardson at the time.

via Looking Ahead, Latino Voters See A Choice Between Disappointment And Menace.

graffiti,  art exhibits, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, France:  After spending a week in France, my perspective on graffiti has changed … art, sometimes … but more often it is merely vandalism.

An exhibition that explored the history of graffiti and street art brought record-setting crowds into the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the museum said. The show, “Art in the Streets,” drew 201,352 visitors from April 17 through Aug. 8, the highest exhibition attendance in the museum’s history.

via Graffiti Exhibition Sets Attendance Records at Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles – NYTimes.com.

The Help, movies, food – Southern:  “About 20 minutes into the movie, you’re craving fried chicken,”  🙂

“About 20 minutes into the movie, you’re craving fried chicken,” says director Tate Taylor. That movie is The Help, the new film based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel; it stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer and costars platter after platter of incredibly delicious-looking Southern food. The Help examines the complicated relationships between African-American maids and their white employers in 1960s Mississippi, and since the story crosses race and class lines, the cooking does too. There are scenes of ladies’ luncheons with tomato aspic and cocktail meatballs, and scenes calling for soul food like collard greens, black-eyed peas and, of course, that craveable fried chicken. “Food is just everywhere,” says Taylor.

What’s unusual is that almost all the food in the movie was made by real Southern cooks—including teachers, a journalist and a cafeteria manager—recruited in Greenwood, Mississippi. Hollywood filmmakers typically work with caterers and food stylists, but Taylor, a Jackson native, wanted authenticity. “There’s a way we cook in the South; vegetables get a certain color to them,” he says. “That gets lost a lot of times, unless the right people make the food.”

via The Help: Southern Food | Food & Wine.

 NYC, Statue of Liberty, icons: 


See you in a year, Statue of Liberty—the historical landmark will be closed for repairs. on.life.com/jFDAZj | pic.twitter.com/ZjMdDsc

 via Twitter / @LIFE: See you in a year, Statue ….

Michelle Bachmann, 2012 Presidential Election, quotes:  hmmm

But Bachmann’s detractors, including Laidig, don’t buy it.

“Michele Bachmann is the most dishonest, most deceitful person I’ve ever met in my life,” Laidig told Roll Call. “She truly is a girl scout with a switchblade knife.”

via Tenure as State Senator Primed Bachmann for National Role : Roll Call Politics.

Katie Couric, tweets, vocabulary:  I enjoy Katie Couric’s vocabulary related tweets … but often I think her use of her choosen word is awkward.

Katie Couric (@katiecouric)
8/11/11 10:15 AM
#WOTD 
Fecundity, noun. The intellectual productivity of a creative imagination

Katie Couric (@katiecouric)
8/11/11 10:17 AM
I’ve found @ABC is an environment that promotes a fecundity of creativity. #WOTD

 

Great Recession, real estate crisis:  I don’t think Bo will have any trouble finding folks for his article.

AJC (@ajc)
8/11/11 11:01 AM
AJC writer looking for Atlantans ready to retire but trapped by tanking home values. Email Bo at bemerson@ajc.com

15
Jul
11

‎7.15.2011 … Who has seen Harry Potter? I must admit I am waiting for the crowds to die down … Molly is going in France. Shes worried it will be in French, but hoping that it will be in English with French subtitles.

Harry Potter, movies, food, Bento box:  Harry Potter seems well liked :), and is viewed as an industry game changer.  I just laughed when I saw 5 HP Bento boxes … I had my first bento box in March … and had never heard of them before … now they are everywhere.

“There was a sea change with Harry Potter,” says Erik Feig, president of worldwide production at Summit Entertainment, which has made the Twilight movies. “The story has a younger protagonist, but the book series and the movies are greatly enjoyed by older people, too. I devoured the first book and gave it to every grown-up I knew. We saw the same thing with Twilight. We did not ghetto-ize it as a young-adult movie. Nor did they with Harry Potter. They drew all audiences. It was an inspiration to us.”

via How ‘Harry Potter’ magically changed films – USATODAY.com.

harrypotterbentoschool.jpg

The New York premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is today, and the world’s gone mad with Pottermania.

We’re going to miss Harry, Hermione, and Ron, but all good things must come to an end. And since the actors playing these Hogwarts students are adults (my gosh, Daniel Radcliffe has already given up drinking), now is probably a good time to say goodbye (before they all get Botox or join Celebrity Rehab).

In celebration of the movie and the passing of an era, we’ve found the five craziest Harry Potter-related bento boxes (yes, we actually found more than one).

via Five Crazy Harry Potter Bento Boxes – Broward/Palm Beach Restaurants and Dining – Clean Plate Charlie.

Bento (弁当 bentō?)[1] is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋 bentō-ya?), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves producing a carefully prepared lunch box.

Bento can be very elaborately arranged in a style called kyaraben or “character bento”. Kyaraben is typically decorated to look like popular Japanese cartoon (anime) characters, characters from comic books (manga), or video game characters. Another popular bento style is “oekakiben” or “picture bento”, which is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements.

There are similar forms of boxed lunches in the Philippines (Baon), Korea (Dosirak), Taiwan (Biandang), and India (Tiffin). Also, Hawaiian culture has adopted localized versions of bento featuring local tastes after over a century of Japanese influence in the islands.

via Bento – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

 slime bags, John Edwards, great lawyers, Jim Cooney:  He may be a slime bags but he sure can pick a great lawyer.

Jim Cooney, a Charlotte attorney, argued for a later trial date, saying the case was complex and unusual and the sheer volume of documents collected by prosecutors would be overwhelming for his staff to quickly analyze.

Defense lawyers have received 10,000 documents from prosecutors and expect 20,000 more, including campaign e-mails and Internal Revenue Service tax filings.

Prosecutors contend that Edwards violated campaign finance laws by secretly obtaining and using contributions from two wealthy supporters to hide his mistress and her pregnancy from the public during his unsuccessful bid for president in 2008.

via Judge sets John Edwards’ trial for October | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

St. Basil’s Cathedral, anniversaries, icons, Russia, google doodles:  Happy 450th!

Saint Basil’s Cathedral is 450 years old today, and Russia is celebrating with a gift from Google: a doodle dedicated to the onion-domed structure.

via Saint Basil’s Cathedral Turns 450 Today With a Google Doodle – Intelligent Travel.

book shelf, Golden Fox, Courtney novels, Wilbur Smith:  On the list … comes highly recommended.

London, 1969 – and the headstrong and beautiful Isabella Courtney dazzles all.Yet the years that follow will test Isabella to the extreme of her endurance. They will be years of hardship and bitter pain, hidden behind the masks of affluence and success. It will be a time in which brother is pitted against brother, as they are drawn into the lair of the golden fox.Golden Fox irresistibly sweeps the reader through the heart of London society, the grandeur of Europe and the searing heat of a divided Africa.Once again, Wilbur Smith combines his unique talents for electric story-telling, meticulous research and compassion for places and their people in a novel of adventure, romantic obsession, deceit and desire, in a world where betrayal demands the ultimate sacrifice…

via Wilbur Smith | The Courtney novels | Golden Fox.

Oprah, marriage, relationships:  Advice sounds a lot like everybody else’s … maybe there is some truth here.

When we fall in love, we see life in Technicolor. We nibble each other’s ears and tell each other everything; our limitations and rigidities melt away. We’re sexier, smarter, funnier, more giving. We feel whole; we’re connected.

But inevitably, things start to go wrong. The veil of illusion falls away, and it turns out your partner has qualities you can’t bear. Even traits you once admired grate on you. Old hurts resurface as you realize your partner cannot or will not love and care for you as promised.

via Marriage Repair Kit – Oprah.com.

food – desserts, Jello:  Two of my three  kids hate jello … so not a favorite.  Can you imagine finding it on a classy menu?

 

 

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Long a cubed dessert of hospital cafeterias, flavored gelatin is turning up in the work of avant-garde chefs and established design studios across the country. Artists are using the wobbly medium to create sculptures of everything from colorful cities to President Barack Obama. They are drawing inspiration from crafters like Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, the British chefs whose projects include a gelatin Buckingham Palace to celebrate the royal wedding.

“It has a ton of structure, and it can be any flavor,” says Ms. Whiteley, whose Disney noggin snagged a creativity prize in the Brooklyn, N.Y., Jell-O Mold Competition. The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York provided prizes.

Flavored gelatin is turning up in the work of chefs and food crafters across the country. WSJ’s Anjali Athavaley reports on the wiggly resurgence.

“What was once a dessert of jiggling, artful decadence has now been rendered flat or at most, a wiggling cube,” says the website for the competition, held last month in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Studio Space. “This isn’t good enough for an American icon.”

Part of the appeal of gelatin art is nostalgia. “It’s the wiggly, friendly dessert that everyone loved when they were a kid,” says Michelle Palm, a financial consultant in Edina, Minn., and founder of Jelly Shot Test Kitchen, a blog about Jell-O shots, the novelty libation. The site’s most popular shot is the Rainbow Jelly Shooter, which includes vodka and layers of multiflavored gelatin with a cherry in the center. Only three colors of gelatin—red, yellow and blue—are used. Light bends the layers for a rainbow effect.

via Designers Make Sculpting Jell-O Cool – WSJ.com.

twitter, college application:  Interesting …

At the University of Iowa, a good tweet is worth $37,000.

In an attempt to make students get to the point quickly and to improve their social media skills, universities and businesses are asking for essays in 140 characters or less.

In an attempt to make students get to the point quickly and to improve their social media skills, universities and businesses are asking for essays in 140 characters or less.

That’s the price of a full scholarship, and that’s exactly what a student hopeful can win in a contest the university has dreamed up that takes electronic communication to a new level. The university is asking prospective students to submit a 140-character tweet in place of a second essay.

The University of Iowa is joining several others in its attempt to make students get to the point quickly and to improve their social media skills — two qualities that today’s Twitter-savvy marketplace demands.

via College offers scholarship for Twitter ‘essay’ – USATODAY.com.

Betty Ford, eulogy, Cokie Roberts, politics:  She was always outspoken … even directing things that need to be said at her funeral.

Cokie Roberts, a commentator on National Public Radio and member of a noted political family, said Ford asked her several years ago to talk about the importance of getting along in politics, recalling a time in Washington when Democrats and Republicans could be friends and partisan politics did not paralyze government.

Roberts’ father, Democrat Hale Boggs, was House majority leader when Ford was minority leader, and Roberts said the families were close.

via Betty Ford eulogized as trailblazer who helped millions – USATODAY.com.

Facebook, divorce:  

More than 80 percent of divorce attorneys recently surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said that in the past few years they have witnessed “an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence.” Although it is difficult to definitively establish cause and effect here, it seems likely that the divorce rate among baby boomers has been elevated by the Internet.

Nancy Kalish, a professor of psychology at California State University, Sacramento, suspects that online connections may lead to growing numbers of what she terms “accidental affairs,” meaning they involve people who don’t set out to have a physical or emotional relationship outside their marriage. Kalish studies couples who reunite after years apart.

Before there was an Internet, when someone wanted to track down a past love, he or she had to go through the effort of locating a friend or relative to make contact. “Unless they were single, divorced or widowed, they just didn’t typically do that,” Kalish told me.

via Facebook Might Be to Blame for Your Divorce: Sheril Kirshenbaum – Bloomberg.

google, internet searches, memory:

Internet searches are making information easy to forget, as more people rely on their computers as a type of “external memory,” a study of Harvard University students found.

About 60 Harvard students were asked to type 40 pieces of trivia, such as “An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain,” into computers, and were told either the information would be saved or erased. People who believed the data would be saved were less likely to remember, according to the study published online by the journal Science.

The widely available Internet has made it an instant go-to library where facts and figures are easily found, the researchers said. The study suggests that search engines such as Google Inc. (GOOG), and databases such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN)’s IMDb.com serve as an external “memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves,” they said.

via Google Searches May Influence What People Forget, Test Finds – Bloomberg.

China, real estate, Winnetka:  Compare it to Winnetka prices!

Workers toil by night lights with hoes, carving out the signs for Olympic rings in front of an unfinished 30,000-seat stadium, bulb-shaped gymnasium and swimming complex in a little-known Chinese city.

Loudi, home to 4 million people in Chairman Mao Zedong’s home province of Hunan, is paying for the project with 1.2 billion yuan ($185 million) in bonds, guaranteed by land valued at $1.5 million an acre. That’s about the same as prices in Winnetka, a Chicago suburb that is one of the richest U.S. towns, where the average household earns more than $250,000 a year.

In Loudi, people take home $2,323 annually and there are no Olympics here on any calendar.

via China Cities Value Land at Winnetka Prices With Bonds Seen Toxic – Bloomberg.

apps, National Geographic, photography, France:  Fun, but not great …

National Geographic Traveler and Fotopedia present a dazzling bird’s-eye view of France.

Following on the heels of our popular “Dreams of Burma” app that we launched last month, today we announce the release of another brand new photo app, “Above France.”  Our new app takes you on a spectacular aerial journey across the country in over 2,000 photos with interactive maps, slideshows, and wallpapers.

via Above France, A New Photo App – Intelligent Travel.

14
Jul
11

7.14.2011 … Happy Bastille Day …

France, Bastille Day, kith/kin:  Molly was excited to celebrate Bastille Day … but then Tufts did not give them holiday!

Davidson College, goats, update:  The kudzu eating goats are trying to stay cool. 🙂

goats cooling off in troughs at Davidson

Man, it’s hot out there. What do you do? Climb into your water trough, of course. Madelyn Mills of South Street in Davidson captured these kudzu-eating goats doing just that the other day out on the cross-country course at Davidson College.

via Beating the heat, a kind act, report from the Philippines | DavidsonNews.net.

Apple, Davidson, Davidson College:  I wondered what those folks not within an easy drive to an Apple store did … now I know … Good luck with your new venture.

As more people switch to Apple computers and devices, demand for related sales and service is expanding. To Davidson’s Drew Crawford, that spelled an opportunity. The Davidson College grad and owner of Wooden Stone has carved out a corner of his South Main Street gallery for a new Apple retail counter and service center called Computer Tree.

The shop will have a grand opening Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an “Apple festival” including games, refreshments, and the start of a raffle that will give away an iPad 2 and benefit Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson.

Computer Tree will sell most Apple computers and devices, except the iPhone, and offer local service, repairs and training. The shop’s experts include Mr. Crawford himself, who recently received Apple certifications. They’ll also be targeting local businesses and home users for consulting, installation, home networking and other services.

via Computer Tree opens – an Apple Store in Davidson | DavidsonNews.net.

food-drink, bubble tea:  From me on 7/5  …

One of the more intriguing parts of the meal was the Bubble Tea. The bubbles were very soft gummi like black candies at the bottom. Weird. The peach infused green tea was excellent.

via 7.5.2011 … travel to Boston … then dinner in Chinatown … at a Vietnamese restaurant. « Dennard’s Clipping Service.

Now I know the “bubbles” are tapioca pearls.  I wonder where you get tapioca pearls?

bubble-tea.gif 340×330 pixels.

tweets, Luke Russert, journalism, US debt limit, politics:  Some think Luke Russert, Tim Russert’s son, has been given special privileges.  His tweets yesterday were certainly the most interesting.

Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)
7/13/11 7:32 PM

Cantor: “The president told me, ‘Eric don’t call my bluff, you know I’m going to take this to the American people. He then walked out.”.

Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)

7/13/11 8:00 PM
Dem Aide, no walk out: Cantor rudely interrupted POTUS 3 times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while BO was wrapping mtg

survey says, stress, women’s issues, India:

As women around the world enjoy broader opportunities and expanding roles, they’re also experiencing one other increase in their lives — stress.

In one of their latest reports, Women of Tomorrow, Nielsen released stats that revealed where the most stressed-out women in the world reside, and how they behave in consequence.

Reuters also finds that women around the world were largely more stressed than those of the past, but also found that women in emerging economic and social markets were more stressed than those in developed countries. “While women in emerging markets see tremendous growth in the opportunities for their daughters, a plateau of hope is evident in developed countries,” said Susan Whiting, Nielsen’s vice chair, in a statement.

The results of the polls showed that an astounding 87% of Indian women claim feeling stressed most of the time, with an additional 82% asserting they had insufficient time to relax.

via Study: Indian Women Are the Most Stressed on Earth – TIME NewsFeed.

France, photography, culture:  I enjoyed this LIFE gallery on France and French culture.  LIFE Goes to France: The Culture – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Apple, MacBook, news:  I love the rumors …

The white MacBook, which sports a unibody polycarbonate (in other words, plastic) frame, was last updated in mid-2010. It currently sports a 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy screen (1280 by 800 pixel resolution, just like the 13-inch MacBook Pro), 2GB of system memory (expandable to 8GB), a 2.4 GHz Intel Core Duo and Nvidia’s GeForce 320M graphics card with 256MB video memory.

What’s likely in the new white MacBook? Thunderbolt, of course. Probably a Sandy Bridge processor of some sort. Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro sports a 2.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, so it’s reasonable to suspect a dual-core equivalent, maybe clocked at 2.0 or 2.2 GHz. We’ll probably also see a shift to the slower Intel HD Graphics 3000 or AMD Radeon 6000M series video card—a real bummer for older Nvidia GeForce 320M MacBook owners (the latter’s the reason I skipped Apple’s last MacBook Pro refresh in February 2011).

And who knows, perhaps Apple will finally drop the price on this thing. $999 still seems like $100-$200 too much for what’s essentially a cheapo plastic version of the in-every-way-superior only $200 pricier 13-inch MacBook Pro.

If you’re instead looking for something like a Mac Mini, it looks like that’s happening, too, with three new models appearing “soon” and classified “best,” “better,” and “ultimate.” No word on what they’ll include, though faster latest-family processors are a given.

And don’t forget Apple’s ballyhooed MacBook Air update, still very much on track, though whether any of this stuff manifests at OS X Lion’s digital-exclusive launch (supposedly tomorrow) remains to be seen.

via New White MacBook and Mac Minis Soon, Not Mac Pros – Techland – TIME.com.

Glee, changes:  We will survive. 🙂

Brace yourselves, Gleeks.

Glee exec producer Ryan Murphy just told The Hollywood Reporter that not only will Rachel, Finn and Kurt graduate from McKinley High at the end of the upcoming third season, but all three of their portrayers — Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer — are “not going to be back at all for Season 4.”

That’s right, kids. He said At. All.

via Glee Shocker: Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer Not Returning For Season 4 – TVLine – TVLine.

faith and spirituality:  I actually think about what it means to be blessed quite often … I think this sums it up nicely.  What do you think?

Being Blessed

Jesus is the Blessed One.  When Jesus was baptised in the Jordan river a voice came from heaven saying:  “You are my Son, the Beloved;  my favour rests on you” (Mark 1:11).  This was the blessing that sustained Jesus during his life.  Whatever happened to him – praise or blame – he clung to his blessing; he always remembered that he was the favourite child of God.

Jesus came into the world to share that blessing with us.  He came to open our ears to the voice that also says to us, “You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter, my favour rests on you .”  When we can hear that voice, trust in it, and always remember it, especially during dark times, we can live our lives as God’s blessed children and find the strength to share that blessing with others.

via Daily Meditation for July 14, 2011.

Google, Google+, Facebook:  OK, I’ll admit it,  I want an invitation …

Google, the most popular Web site on earth, is worried about the second-most popular site. That, of course, would be Facebook.

Why else would Google keep trying, over and over again, to create a social network of the same type? Orkut, Jaiku, Wave, Buzz — Google has lobbed forth one fizzled flop after another.

And now there’s Google+. It’s the latest Google “we wanna be Facebook” project. The difference is, this one’s got a real shot.

Instead of throwing open its doors with a big splash, as it did with the hopelessly confusing Wave and the privacy-challenged Buzz, Google is letting Google+ seep into the world virally. You can’t yet just go sign up; you have to be invited by someone who’s already a member.

Even so, Google+ already has millions of members. That’s not quite 750 million (Facebook’s current tally), but watch out for the network effect.

At first, Google+ looks like a shameless Facebook duplicate. There’s a place for you to make Posts (your thoughts and news, like Facebook’s Wall); there’s a Stream (an endless scrolling page of your friends’ posts, like Facebook’s News Feed); and even a little +1 button (a clone of Facebook’s Like button), which may be where Google+ gets its peculiar name.

But there’s one towering, brilliant difference: Circles.

via Google+ Gets a Leg Up on Facebook – NYTimes.com.

Royals, Prince Albert and Charlene:  I feel sorry for these people …

Prince Albert and Charlene’s trip to South Africa was publicly labeled as a honeymoon, but the pair have spent little time alone together since arriving last week.

The couple hosted a wedding party at the luxury Oyster Box hotel on Umhlanga beach before mingling at multiple cocktail parties and formal events alongside Olympic officials in town for the committee’s week-long annual conference that took Albert away from his new bride.

The formal body language and tepid affection displayed by the royals on their honeymoon matches what was seen at the couple’s royal wedding in Monaco.

Wittstock was in tears throughout the wedding ceremony, while her husband looked on, and Prince Albert had to formally ask his bride for a kiss, a request caught on camera for the world to see.

Royal watchers commented Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene, as Wittstock is now formally known, looked more like “Her Miserable Highness” than a blushing new bride.

In South Africa, Wittstock left Albert behind in Durban to travel to Cape Town to tour a series of charity projects with the country’s leaders.

via Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock Slept Apart on Honeymoon, Palace Confirms – ABC News.

Harry Potter:  Can’t wait to go …

After seven earlier films reaching back a decade, the Harry Potter saga comes to a solid and satisfying conclusion in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” The finale conjures up enough awe and solemnity to serve as an appropriate finale and a dramatic contrast to the lighthearted (relative) innocence of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” all those magical years ago.

Harry, Hermione and Ron are grown up now, and Harry has even grown the facial stubble required of all epic heroes. The time has come for him to face Lord Voldemort in their final showdown, and their conflict is staged in a series of special effects sequences containing power and conviction. I am still not sure what the bolts discharged by magic wands actually consist of, but never mind. They look wicked and lethal.

via Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews.

Jane Austen:

Jane Austen‘s unpublished manuscript for a novel called The Watsons will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in London tomorrow.

The manuscript is handwritten by Austen and includes the work alongside her notes and edits. While New York’s Morgan Library and Museum owns the first 12 pages of the work, the rest of the unfinished manuscript will be included in the auction. The Sotheby’s listing describes the pages as loose but kept together in a box. The listing reads: “in total 68 pages plus 6 blanks (these being the versos of the three inserted leaves and the final three pages of the final section), housed in collector’s folding box…”.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the manuscript is expected to fetch between $330,000 and $490,000.

via Jane Austen Manuscript Up For Auction – GalleyCat.

food-drink, tea, Harney & Sons, shilling:  If I were someone who could “shill,”  I would shill for Harney & Sons pomegranate oolong tea!

Harney & Sons has been in the business of gourmet tea for over 25 years. We make our teas for the enjoyment of our customers and take pride in meeting and exceeding their expectations from every cup of tea. Our selection is large, and includes many customer favorites including green tea, black tea, and white tea

via Tea – Gourmet Tea & Fine Teas From Harney & Sons.




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