Posts Tagged ‘Gretchen Rubin

09
Jan
13

1.9.13 first walk …

labyrinths, walking, notes from the path:

“Solvitur Ambulando”

– It is solved by walking.

I’m feeling a little guilty since I have not walked since December 31. I think I may have broken a New Year’s resolution.

As I left my house, I was thinking what an ugly day for my first walk. But by the time I reached Avondale Presbyterian Church, the sun was out, and I am so glad I came because it is now a beautiful winter day.

Thoughts as I walked:

Labyrinth keepers have been hard at work on the labyrinth and it is in great shape today. A few weeds are here, but they are part of the labyrinth today.

Chimes are singing softly and they become a part of my walk. As I walk out, i make the decision to pause when the chimes paused, and to pace myself to the chimes as well. I begin thinking what a wonderful site it would be to see classical ballerinas dancing to some Gregorian chants on a labyrinth. It would be really beautiful ballet.

I am tired today. My husband has a new addiction. It is the tv show and related books of Dexter. Dexter is a serial killer. I am wondering why we can all sit there and watch this. It has a transformative effect.

The bright sunshine is blinding. If it were 15° colder it would be a perfect winter day. Unfortunately it is about 70°. Amazing.

Do you like my new boots? Perfect for labyrinth walking in the winter!

Blessings to you!

bicentennials, anniversaries, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, bookshelf:  Just so you know … 19 days ’til the bicentenary of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! What shall I read this month. 🙂

youtube, LOL:  how to stay positive …

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg]

winter, vacations, bucket list:  Oddly, just about every place on this list is already on my bucket list. 🙂

And so,with 2013 just beginning, I got to thinking of my favorite places to spend a winter week

via Where to Spend a Week This Winter – Intelligent Travel.

Gretchen Rubin, Steve Martin,  G. K. Chesterton, quotes, memoirs, bookshelf:

Last week, I read Steve Martin’s memoir of his time learning and doing stand-up comedy, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life. I loved it.

It’s a terrific example of one of my favorite kinds of books: someone coming into his or her vocation. I love reading about why people become interested in particular subjects or skills, and how they master them.

Reading Steve Martin’s memoir reminded me of one of my favorite quotations, from G. K. Chesterton: “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” Although Steve Martin’s comedy looks wild and crazy, it’s the product of a tremendous amount of serious thought, rehearsal, and experiment.

via What I Learned About Myself from Steve Martin. « The Happiness Project.

Congress,  polls: colonoscopy?

In a poll released Tuesday, Public Policy Polling found that Americans have a higher opinion of traffic jams (56%-34%), colonoscopies (58%-31%) and cockroaches (45%-43%) than Congress. Ditto for love-‘em or hate-‘em band Nickelback (39%-32%), used-car salesmen (57%-32%), root canals (56%-32%) and NFL replacement refs (56%-29%).

via Poll Finds Congress Ranks Lower Than Colonoscopy – Washington Wire – WSJ.

technology, the future: The Jetsons!

The PAL-V ONE, which looks like a cross between a three-wheeler and a helicopter, uses a rear-mounted propeller to take off and a free-spinning rotor on top for lift. Made by PAL-V in the Netherlands, it needs about 200 meters to take off and costs nearly $300,000. If the price comes down and a reasonable way can be found to keep skyborne vehicles separated, we may at last see a world that is somewhat akin to the one depicted in the futuristic cartoon.

via A Land-Air Hybrid Vehicle: Commute to Work Like The Jetsons : Scientific American.

02
Sep
11

9.2.2011 … a little pomp and circumstance … CLS seniors march in their gowns … encouraged to give back …

Charlotte Latin School, Fall Convocation, Seniors, kith/kin:  Being a high school senior is a special time.  CLS does a great job of focusing and celebrating its seniors.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Justice Clarence Thomas, Ginni Thomas, Constitutional Law, The Supreme Court, The Tea Party, health care reform:  I read a review of the New Yorker article the other day, which was very good.  The article, although very long, is also very good … read it if it interests you.

It has been, in certain respects, a difficult year for Clarence Thomas. In January, he was compelled to amend several years of the financial-disclosure forms that Supreme Court Justices must file each year. The document requires the Justices to disclose the source of all income earned by their spouses, and Thomas had failed to note that his wife, Virginia, who is known as Ginni, worked as a representative for a Michigan college and at the Heritage Foundation. The following month, seventy-four members of Congress called on Thomas to recuse himself from any legal challenges to President Obama’s health-care reform, because his wife has been an outspoken opponent of the law. At around the same time, Court observers noted the fifth anniversary of the last time that Thomas had asked a question during an oral argument. The confluence of these events produced the kind of public criticism, and even mockery, that Thomas had largely managed to avoid since his tumultuous arrival on the Court, twenty years ago this fall.

These tempests obscure a larger truth about Thomas: that this year has also been, for him, a moment of triumph. In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Since the arrival of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2005, and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2006, the Court has moved to the right when it comes to the free-speech rights of corporations, the rights of gun owners, and, potentially, the powers of the federal government; in each of these areas, the majority has followed where Thomas has been leading for a decade or more. Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.

via The Thomases vs. Obama’s Health-Care Plan : The New Yorker.

book clubs, opportunities:  I have pasted the whole article.  What a great opportunity!

Randall: An exceptional book club

Sometimes when you least expect it, life opens a door you never dreamed you’d enter. It’s enough to make you want to wake up each morning just to see what will happen next.

Anything is possible as long as you keep waking up.

Some months ago, a reader of my column (a man I’ve not met but hope to do so) sent me a story from The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer by columnist Kay McSpadden, about an unusual book club that meets each week at the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Book clubs are not often called “unusual.” But Turning Pages is exceptional for two reasons: First, most of its members are homeless. Some are housed. Others are in “transition.”

Second, and just as rare, is a very pregnant woman in a purple dress and high heels — a self-described community volunteer who read two years ago about a similar program in Boston, and saw no reason why it couldn’t happen in Charlotte.

Candace Curlin Vance is the kind of friend you want on your side in a fight — fearless and tireless. And, as the folks at Turning Pages have learned, you can count on her to have your back.

Also, she talks faster than most normal people can think, which is handy for getting publishers to donate books.

The same reader who sent me that story suggested to Candace that Turning Pages ought to read “Birdbaths and Paper Cranes,” a collection of columns I published 10 years ago that includes stories set in my home state of North Carolina.

Candace wrote at once to ask how she might obtain 25 copies.

I replied that the book is out of print and, unfortunately, I didn’t have 25 copies. She thanked me anyhow, and that was that.

The next day I found two big boxes of books I didn’t know I had. When I told Candace, she laughed. As a woman of faith and persistence, she has often seen “no” turn into “yes.”

And that’s how I ended up flying to Charlotte last week to meet the members of Turning Pages, who had just finished reading, of all things, my book.

We sat around a big table — different races, genders, backgrounds and walks of life — talking, laughing, eating biscuits from Bojangles’, drinking sweet iced tea. It was very Southern. I never felt more at home.

They asked excellent questions, offered insightful observations and convinced me they’d actually read the book.

One woman, now housed after years of living on the streets, presented me with a gift, a blue-and-white-spattered painting.

“It’s called ‘Falling Water,’ ” she said, smiling. “I signed my name on the back so it will be worth something someday.”

Little did she know how much it was already worth to me.

Afterward, when we’d eaten all the biscuits, shaken all the hands and gone our separate ways, I asked Candace about the future of Turning Pages.

“It’s my baby,” she said. “I really want to see it continue.”

But with another “baby” on the way (her first child is due in October), she hopes someone will step up to fill her high heels.

So do I.

Reading is the great equalizer. A book never asks who we are or what we do or where we sleep at night. It asks only that we read and try to understand.

When we come together with open hearts and open minds to discuss what we’ve read, we discover that we are more alike than we are different.

We create community, a sense of belonging, a sense of home.

We turn the hopeless “no” into the “yes” of possibility.

Anything is possible, as long as we keep reading. Just ask the readers of Turning Pages.

via Randall: An exceptional book club | ScrippsNews.

Michael Vick, second chances, prayers:  I believe in second chances.  But with that kind of money he could so easily fail again.  Prayers …

Vick said that experience and maturity have taught him patience. “You never know what’s going to happen. You just live in the moment and take advantage of the opportunities you’ve been given. You know what kind of talent you have, you know what you can do. You just have to be patient and that’s something I’ve learned over the years and unfortunately while I was away. Everything in life happens for a reason and it taught me patience and I think that’s part of the reason I’m here today. Being patient.”

And Vick knows that the way others see him may never change. It isn’t easy to get past what he did. “I’m just trying to be the best person I can be. I can’t control what people think, their opinions, their perception. That’s personal and that’s for them. The only thing I can control is what I can control and that’s trying to be the best person I can be, the best citizen I can be, the best father I can be. I think that speaks for itself. That’s not by force, that’s by choice. Some things may never change. I may never change in certain facets of my life, but it is what it is.”

via Michael Vick, the $100 million man, says, ‘I never thought this day would come again’ – The Early Lead – The Washington Post.

Romare Bearden, Charlotte NC:  One of my favorite artists.  I love the recognition he is getting on the anniversary of his 100th birthday.

Romare Bearden Turns 100

Charlotte Native and well-known artist Romare Bearden would have been 100 years old this Friday, and to celebrate the artistry and influence of this world-renown, critically praised Charlottean, we’ll be joined by a panel of Bearden experts who will talk about his life, his influences, his art and his legacy here and elsewhere.

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

9/11, New World Trade Center:  Worth watching the interactive to see the future of the 9/11 site.

Ground Zero Now – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney : “Scorched earth runs in the family.”  Again, I think he may be senile.

 WHY is it not a surprise to learn that Dick Cheney’s ancestor, Samuel Fletcher Cheney, was a Civil War soldier who marched with Sherman to the sea?

Scorched earth runs in the family.

Having lost the power to heedlessly bomb the world, Cheney has turned his attention to heedlessly bombing old colleagues.

Vice’s new memoir, “In My Time,” veers unpleasantly between spin, insisting he was always right, and score-settling, insisting that anyone who opposed him was wrong.

A person who is always for the use of military force is as doctrinaire and irrelevant as a person who is always opposed to the use of military force.

Cheney shows contempt for Tenet, Colin Powell and Rice, whom he disparages in a sexist way for crying, and condescension for W. when he won’t be guided to the path of most destruction.

He’s churlish about President Obama, who took the hunt for Osama bin Laden off the back burner and actually did what W. promised to do with his little bullhorn — catch the real villain of 9/11.

via Darth Vader Vents – NYTimes.com.

books, digital age:  It’s not over until it’s over …

But let’s not overdo things. Let’s not lose sight of the data we have, and let’s not invent data when we only have anecdotes. And finally, let’s not forget the wonders this new world opens up. Being able to download a book to read instantaneously wherever you are is a thing of wonder, after all (and there is some anecdotal suggestion that people are coming back to books via new digital platforms).

For authors, the chance to reach out to readers, instantly and effectively, is changing the way titles are marketed and delivers a glorious independence that comes with having your own digital presence to curate and to shape. There are new creative opportunities offered by interactive technologies. There is the chance to play in a world where books and stories can be either the private, cherished experience of old or a public, shared conversation with other readers from across the world.

via The death of books has been greatly exaggerated | Books | guardian.co.uk.

Video Time machine, apps:  What year would you pick?

Pick a year and watch specific categories including TV, Music, Advertisements, Trailers, Video Games, Sports, and more!

via App Store – Video Time Machine.

Hurricane Irene, natural disasters, Waffle House, the Waffle House Index: The “Waffle House Index!”

When a hurricane makes landfall, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relies on a couple of metrics to assess its destructive power.

First, there is the well-known Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Then there is what he calls the “Waffle House Index.”

Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.

The mobile command center, above, went to Havelock, N.C., during Irene.

“If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has said. “That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”

via Waffle House Index Measures Hurricane Recovery – WSJ.com.

Life Above All, movies, South Africa:  Adding it to the list.

Life, Above All is the moving story of a 12-year-old South African girl, Chanda (stunningly played by newcomer Khomotso Manyaka), who’s forced to care for her younger siblings while trying to find her mother, who has fled their home in a village near Johannesburg in the face of local prejudice and rumors.

The powerful drama tackles the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa head-on, not just in medical and health terms, but in showing how superstition and gossip can create an atmosphere of secrecy and shame that makes dealing with the issue even more difficult.

(In many ways–its strong, young female protagonist, the way it portrays a small, rural community’s fears and secrets, the sense of hope it still manages to foster–Life, Above All may remind viewers of last year’s Winter’s Bone.)

Based on Allan Stratton’s 2004 novel Chanda’s Secrets, the film is directed by Oliver Schmitz, who was born to and raised in South Africa by German parents. Life, Above All is also the acting debut of 14-year-old Khtomosto Manyaka who was noticed by talent scouts during a choir performance at her high school in Elandsdoorn, South Africa.

via Interview: Life, Above All’s Star Khomotso Manyaka and Director Oliver Schmitz | Redblog.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, lists:

This is the second year in a row that Facebook’s Zuckerberg takes home the crown, which I guess makes him slightly less “new establishment.” Just “establishment” should do.

In any case, keep on winning those magazine awards, Zuck. They’re worth more to you than the errant billion stuffed in your mattress, though I hear $10,000 bills are actually quite soft.

via Mark Zuckerberg is Totally the Establishment, Man – Techland – TIME.com.

libraries, librarians:  I wish I knew one well to nominate.

The award invites library users nationwide to recognize the accomplishments of librarians in public, school, college, community college and university libraries for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community.

via The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries: Who Loves Their Librarian??.

Caiaphas, ossuary, archeology, history, Biblical figures:

An ancient burial box recovered from antiquities looters three years ago contains a mysterious inscription that could reveal the home of the family of the figure Caiaphas, who is infamous for his involvement in the biblical story of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The burial box, also called an ossuary, was discovered in 1990, but the inscription was just recently verified as legitimate (and not the result of forgers trying to increase an artifact’s value) by Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University and Boaz Zissu of Bar Ilan University. The box is made of limestone, is covered in decorative rosettes and has an inscription.

In the Bible story of Jesus’ crucifixion, a Jewish high priest named Caiaphas is said to have organized the plot to kill Jesus.

What is special about the inscription on this ossuary is that the deceased is named within the context of three generations; the inscription also includes a potential residence.

via Ossurary turns up new clues to Caiaphas – CBS News.

green, electric cars, electrical vehicle charging stations, Davidson NC: Filler Up!

Electric vehicles could become a viable option for motorists in the coming years, but not without a place to charge up. Add South Main Square to the list of places to plug in. Thanks to a federal stimulus grant awarded through the state of North Carolina, the South Main Street shopping center is getting one of the region’s first electric vehicle charging stations.

“It’s Davidson’s first electric vehicle charging station that will be available for public use,” said Kathleen Rose, who owns South Main Square and also runs the Project for Innovation, Energy & Sustainability (PiES), a “green” business incubator based there. Ms. Rose worked with Raleigh-based Praxis Technologies to bring the charging station to Davidson.

via Drive an electric? Fill ‘er up at South Main Square | DavidsonNews.net.

9/11 anniversary, Where Were You When?:  

Sept. 11, 2011, will mark the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Washington Post wants to know how the attacks may have affected your life and your views. In what ways do the attacks still resonate? How have the attacks affected your way of seeing the world? We’ll take your submissions and consider using them as part of an anniversary project on the impact of Sept. 11. Please include your age, as well as where you lived when the attacks occurred and where you are now.

via Sept. 11, 2001, anniversary: Share your story – Checkpoint Washington – The Washington Post.

Bones:

literary locations, Book Map, Google Maps:  Where would I like to go?

Ever wish you could visit the locations in your favorite novels?

In our new Book Maps feature, we will interview an author or biographer about locations in their book. We will also create a special Google Map about the interview so you can take a walking or driving tour through the book in real life. Email GalleyCat if you have other Book Map suggestions.

For our first installment, we asked Joe Woodward to share the places where novelist Nathanael West lived and worked in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Woodward took us on a book tour of Alive Inside the Wreck: A Biography of Nathanael West. The Google Map is embedded above–click on the blue pins for more details about a specific location.

via Book Map: Nathanael West & Los Angeles – GalleyCat.

food, recipes, lamb, rosemary:

The new Minimalist videos will return next week. For now, here’s one from 2008 with an elegantly casual recipe for lamb and figs grilled on rosemary skewers.

via Grilled Lamb on Rosemary Skewers – Video – The Minimalist – NYTimes.com.

The new Minimalist videos will return next week. For now, here’s one from 2008 with an elegantly casual recipe for lamb and figs grilled on rosemary skewers.

social networks, Newseum, twitter: I found this one on twitter …
Newseum (@Newseum)
9/1/11 3:59 PM
Great infographic on the development of social networks.http://t.co/5gtWh9p

However, the great writer who has really been portrayed this way most frequently in recent times is one who hasn’t yet been visited by the jaunty Gallifrean: Jane Austen. Both in the film Becoming Jane and the TV movie Miss Austen Regrets, Austen was depicted as a waspish cynical tomboy, clever with words if not so clever with men: a sort of Regency Sue Perkins. In the TV movie, there was a greater stab at complexity, as the character grew bitter with age – an Elizabeth Bennett who never nabs Mr Darcy – but in both there was, I would hazard, an incipient underlying sexism, based on the notion that Austen’s work was underpinned by her own failures in love.

Because here’s the thing about Jane Austen. She was a very great genius. She is possibly the greatest genius in the history of English literature, arguably greater than Shakespeare. And her achievement is not that much to do with love, although that was her subject matter. It’s to do with technique. Before her there are three strands in English fiction: the somewhat mental, directly-reader-addressing semi-oral romps of Nashe and Sterne and Fielding; the sensationalist Gothic work of Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe; and the romances of Eliza Haywood and Fanny Burney.

However great these writers are, none could be read now and considered modern. When Austen gets into her stride, which she does very quickly with Sense and Sensibility, suddenly, you have all the key modern realist devices: ironic narration; controlled point of view; structural unity; transparency of focus; ensemble characterisation; fixed arenas of time and place; and, most importantly, the giving-up of the fantastical in favour of a notion that art should represent life as it is actually lived in all its wonderful ordinariness. She is the first person, as John Updike put it: “to give the mundane its beautiful due”, and her work leads to Updike as much as it does to George Eliot.

I have no idea how a mainly home-educated rector’s daughter came by all that, but I know that imagining her as a kind of acerbic spinster flattens out this genius. It becomes all about the subject matter and not at all about the huge creative advance her work represents. When the Tardis does land in Hampshire in 1815, I imagine there will be witty banter between Jane and the Doctor and some men in britches; if it’s still David Tennant there might even be some flirtation, perhaps a sad, chaste goodbye. But what there should be is a moment when he says “I’m 900 years old, I’ve got a brain the size of a planet, and I’ve still no idea how you single-handedly created the modern English novel”. At which point Jane Austen will rip off her bonnet to reveal the tiny figure of Davros, king of the daleks, sitting in a small glass dome in her skull.duhduhduhduhduh, duhduhduhduh, duhduhduhduhduh,weeeoooo…weee-weeooo…

via David Baddiel wonders what Dr Who would make of Jane Austen – Times Online.

Jane Austen: 

All of them point to Austen’s inimitable humor, incisive observations of human nature and unwavering moral stance that make her works still relevant two hundred years later today.

via Why We Read Jane Austen.

Children’s/YA literature, Gretchen Rubin:  This list has quite a few that I am not familiar with …

If you want some ideas of books to read, for a group or just for yourself, here are a few of my favorites. It pains me to list so few! But this is a good start.

Because they’re already so widely known, I’m not going to list some very obvious ones, like the Harry Potter books, the Narnia books, the The Lord of the Rings books, or my beloved Little House books.

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

The Silver Crown, Robert O’Brien

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Half Magic, Edward Eager

The Second Mrs. Gioconda, E. L. Konigsberg

Black and Blue Magic, Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Gone-Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright

Graceling, Kristin Cashore

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, Peter Cameron

Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden

This list represents a big range — some are meant for ten-year-olds, some for seventeen-year-olds. But they are all so good that they can be enjoyed by an adult.

via The Happiness Project: Looking for Some Reading Suggestions in Children’s or Young-Adult Literature?.

Manitoba, Canada, polar bears, travel:  I think I would like to see the polar bears.

The iconic polar bear is a must-see for every wildlife lover and Churchill, Manitoba is the best place in the world to see them! Each fall, hundreds of polar bears naturally migrate through this cozy northern town and it is easier than you think to get there. Don’t miss out on these special offers for October and November, 2011 which include limited-time* promotions.

via Travel Manitoba: Polar Bears.

fashion, coats:  Glad we are moving away from the puff stuff.

But the fall runway collections made a fairly convincing case for rethinking the role of outerwear in our wardrobes. Designers like Vera Wang, Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra put parkas front and center in their shows, while hybrid styles of bombers, blanket coats, ponchos, peacoats, toggle coats and toppers appeared just about everywhere else. It was as if the fashion world was making a collective stand against those ubiquitous puffer jackets that make most of us look as if we’re wearing bubble wrap. “You can have on whatever you want underneath, but this year the coat is the statement piece,” said Tanya Spivey, the executive vice president for design and merchandising at Andrew Marc, a division of the apparel conglomerate G-III that makes coats for companies like Calvin Klein, Cole Haan and Kenneth Cole. That said, there are a lot of coats to sort out. And since it has been a while since some common outerwear lingo has been put to use, here is a little refresher course.

via A Field Guide to Outerwear – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

13
Jul
11

‎7.13.2011 … Water bill 6 x the usual (as in $550!)… You think we’d have a broken main … But no, just broken irrigation pipes … praying for an adjustment …

water bill, City of Charlotte, prayers:  I think they will work with me … but you can imagine my shock!

chefs, shilling, new words/phrases:  Shilling doesn’t sound very nice, does it?

Ferran Adrià working for Pepsi? Nate Appleman cooking for Chipotle? What’s up with all these high-end chefs aligning with mainstream corporate sponsors? Thanks to the influence of reality TV and the celeb-chef phenomenon, chef shilling has been on the rise lately. Which begs the question – has the food-TV monster turned some famous chefs into sellouts? Here’s a list of the most shocking chef shills in recent years. What do you think – should accomplished professional chefs be plugging Diet Coke and toothpaste? Let us know in the comments.

via The 5 Most Shocking Celebrity Chef Shills | Zagat

A shill, plant or stooge is a person who helps a person or organization without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with that person or organization. Shill typically refers to someone who purposely gives onlookers the impression that he or she is an enthusiastic independent customer of a seller (or marketer of ideas) that he or she is secretly working for. The person or group that hires the shill is using crowd psychology, to encourage other onlookers or audience members to purchase the goods or services (or accept the ideas being marketed). Shills are often employed by confidence artists

via Shill – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

cooking, Big Green Egg, Atlanta:  We own one … never use it.  My brother-in-law owns one … it’s in a storage warehouse.  They are made in Atlanta, and there are some who swear by them.  John heard about them and just had to have one 🙂 … it has never been worth all the effort.

When I lived in Atlanta in the late 1980s, I learned to cook Thanksgiving turkeys, Fourth of July pork shoulders, and Sunday night burgers on the Big Green Egg. When I moved to Oxford, Miss. in 1995, I had to leave my Egg behind. It wouldn’t fit in the moving truck.When my mother in law, Marley Hobbs, age 88, moved two doors down a couple years ago, she saved enough room in her moving truck for her Egg. Of late, I’ve been borrowing hers more frequently, while pondering the purchase of a Primo, one of those glossy black oblong models. Sure, they’re expensive. But, after reporting my story on them, I want one more than ever.

via Do You Use a Big Green Egg? – NYTimes.com.

quotes, Gretchen Rubin, Ralph Waldo Emerson:  Got this from Gretchen’s Happiness blog.  Sometimes we talk about famous people who are known by one name (Cher, Madonna) … how many are known by three?

Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.”
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

technology, things past, history, morse code:  I found this one fun.

POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif. — It has been a little more than a decade since the last of the nation’s commercial Morse code radio stations officially went off the air, as new technology sank a system that had been a lingua franca of maritime communication since before the Titanic.

But like transmissions that continue to travel through the cosmos long after their original senders are gone, there are some things that refuse to die. And on Tuesday, several outposts of Morse code blazed to life again, if only for a night, with the help of a group of enthusiasts bent on preserving what they call “the music of Morse,” one key tap at a time.

The occasion was an annual radio reboot known as the Night of Nights, held every year on the anniversary of the last Morse code broadcast from a coastal California station in 1999, which included a traditional sign-off (“We wish you fair winds and following seas”) and more than a few teary-eyed former radio operators.

On Tuesday, though, some of those old key men were back on the job, broadcasting from the former headquarters of a marine Morse station in Northern California, KPH, and joined on air by two other stations outside Seattle and in Mobile, Ala., all to honor a system that linked the world long before the Internet, e-mail and Twitter.

via For a Night Each Year, the Airwaves Buzz With Morse Code – NYTimes.com.

 fashion, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, change:  I wore pantyhose daily while I worked (until 1999) … now no one wears them.  I think women look unprofessional without them.  Maybe the Royals will bring back pantyhose … at least for professional or formal situations.

Kate Middleton, Nude PantyhoseCatherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Pippa Middleton are fans of the nude pantyhose! Thanks to the sisters, sales of the hosiery have spiked nearly 85 percent in England, The Telegraph reports. Buckingham Palace enforces a strict dress code for women—they must wear stockings and closed-toed shoes, and royals like Queen Elizabeth,Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie all slip them on when they’re out. The look is also practical, as pantyhose provide extra warmth on chilly nights and a layer of protection against the sun.

http://news.instyle.com/2011/07/13/kate-middleton-pippa-middleton-nude-pantyhose/.

iPad, apps, Tweed:

Tweed presents you with a list of links to new articles, blog posts or anything else posted by your friends and people you follow on Twitter as well as our own curated lists of people we read and follow.

via Tweed: The Twitter app that’s just for links..

iPad, apps, StumbleUpon:   

When the iPad was launched, people across the geek-o-sphere condemned it as a dumb chunk of glass “for consumption only” – a tool incapable of facilitating content creation and possibly a threat to the future of human creativity. “The iPad is an attractive, thoughtfully designed, deeply cynical thing,” wrote Alex Payne. “[If] I had an iPad rather than a real computer as a kid, I’d never be a programmer today.”

That may very well be, but the new iPad app that popular web exploration network StumbleUpon released this week goes a long way towards compensating for whatever risks to creativity that the device poses. If you’ve got an iPad, I think it’s a must-have app. That’s true for everyone, including for kids.

via StumbleUpon for iPad: Like a Magic Carpet Ride for Your Brain.

Harry Potter stars, Emma Watson, Letterman:  This is silly. She is 21.

“Do you drink at all? Do you use controlled substances?” Letterman asked the 21-year-old actress.

Things get a little more uncomfortable after that, as Letterman begins to talk about spirits. And not the kind that fly around Hogwarts.

via On ‘Letterman,’ Harry Potter Star Emma Watson Talks About Getting Drunk – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Netflix, digital media, end of an era:  I have been a Netflix fan for many years … This is a big price increase that takes away the flexibility that I have enjoyed.  I may cancel and see what I think.

Netflix Inc. NFLX -2.69% said Tuesday that it would no longer offer unlimited plans that include both streaming and DVDs by mail. Users must now either subscribe to a stream-only plan, a DVD-only plan, or a combined plan. The unlimited streaming plan will remain at $7.99 a month. The price for obtaining both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99).

via Netflix separates DVD, streaming plans – MarketWatch.

23
Jun
11

‎6.23.2011 … Final day/night for MAD at camp as JC … I don’t think she will ever wash another dish. :)

music, kith/kin:  From Bob … “There are some voices that are simply meant to sing together. When these three sing together, it far exceeds any of them individually. I could listen to this song for hours.” YouTube – Crosby Stills Nash – Southern Cross.

Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Pottermore, media, followup:  I hope she can keep another generation enthralled (and I define that to mean a 7 year-old will persevere through a 700 page book!) … YouTube – JKRowlingAnnounces’s Channel ‏.

natural disasters, tornadoes, Louisville, kith/kin, prayers:  Why am I so touched when animals are involved …

At least five barns were damaged and horses were running loose Wednesday at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, after a powerful storm that spawned tornadoes blew through Louisville.

Officials have no immediate reports of injuries to humans or horses.

The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down near the famed track and the University of Louisville campus about 8:10 p.m. EDT. Though no races are run on Wednesdays, there was simulcasting of races elsewhere, so people were there, said track President Kevin Flanery.

via Tornado hits Louisville near Churchill Downs – Sports- NBC Sports.

Paris, Hotel de Nice, hotels:  I just loved the opening image for this small modest hotel …

 Accueil.

education, history:  I enjoyed this article and found that I agree … learning history “today involves the retention of decontextualized historical facts.” I learn best and my children learn best when we experience history and share those experiences.

We make much of bad test results and idiotic answers to civics questions from the young Americans Jay Leno stops on Los Angeles street corners. It’s fun, but it is also misleading. We are promoting what Paxton calls “the false notion that the biggest problem facing history students today involves the retention of decontextualized historical facts.”

He and Wineburg, both education professors, say we should decide what history is worth knowing and teach it well. “The thousand-page behemoths that we call textbooks violate every principle of human memory that we know of,” Wineburg said.

Emphasizing reading and devoting more school hours to comprehension of the language no matter what the topic might give us the skills to develop an interest in public affairs. Many critics say the subject of history has suffered because schools are giving more time to reading and math. Why then, asks Wineburg, were the students who were most improved on the NAEP history test in fourth grade, where the concentration on reading and math has been greatest?

Even if we haven’t remembered our country’s history so well in the last century, we have learned to appreciate it, and act accordingly. This July 4, that’s worth celebrating.

via Is knowing history so important? – Class Struggle – The Washington Post.

writing, blogging, social media, Jeff Elder:  A class … I am actually thinking about taking it …

OMG! Writing for social media??? LOL. Actually, there are many opportunities developing for writers to develop their craft on Facebook, blogs, even Twitter. The best part? You have a captive audience that is immediately engaged. As companies, nonprofits, small business and other groups launch web sites and social media sites, content is desperately needed.

via WRITING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA.

culture, kindness, Gretchen Rubin, blog posts of note:  Just the other day, I excerpted an article about what not to say to a person who is ill … and today I find this post from Gretchen Rubin about what to say/not to say to a person divorcing.  I think we all have problems with this and we are detached from our teachers … our families, our churches and we no longer learn how to handle being kind.  Isn’t that really what it is all about.

A while back, I read a New York magazine article by Katie Roiphe, The Great Escape, in which Roiphe discusses her friends’ reaction to the news of her divorce. Bottom line: she’s annoyed that they’re acting as though she’s going through some terrible tragedy, when in fact, she feels fine — if anything, she feels freed and relieved.

It’s an interesting article on many levels, but the thing that struck me was – zoikes! If I were her friend, I’m sure I’d be saying all the wrong things, too.

So what’s the right thing to say?

via The Happiness Project: Tips for talking to someone about an impending divorce: dos and don’ts.

cities, psychology, mental health:  I love big cities … maybe I am crazy!

This may come as no surprise to residents of New York City and other big urban centers: Living there can be bad for your mental health.

Now researchers have found a possible reason why. Imaging scans show that in city dwellers or people who grew up in urban areas, certain areas of the brain react more vigorously to stress. That may help explain how city life can boost the risks of schizophrenia and other mental disorders, researchers said.

Previous research has found that growing up in a big city raises the risk of schizophrenia. And there’s some evidence that city dwellers are at heightened risk for mood and anxiety disorders, although the evidence is mixed.

In any case, the volunteers scanned in the new study were healthy, and experts said that while the city-rural differences in brain activity were intriguing, the results fall short of establishing a firm tie to mental illness.

via Big city got you down? Stress study may show why  | ajc.com.

gender issues, Great Recession, workforce:  I think this is very interesting.  I wonder how this shift in workforce gender balance compares to WWII.

In part, labor experts pin this trend on a recession that disproportionately affected male-centered industries such as manufacturing and construction, but this tells only some of the story. Throughout the first decade of the new millennium, men moved toward being the minority in a number of professions they had long dominated.

This was particularly prevalent in professions requiring advanced degrees. Medical scientists, for example, who typically need a Ph.D. to work in labs or at pharmaceutical companies, experienced one of the biggest changes in gender makeup of any profession. In 2000, the majority of those who worked in the profession (54%) were men, but by last year just 46% of medical scientists were men.

Likewise, the percentage of male veterinarians declined from nearly 70% in 2000 to about 44% last year, making this the profession with the single greatest shift in the proportion of men to women, according to an analysis of the BLS data.

Much of the changing gender balance, experts argue, can be traced to the early 1970s, when more women began pursuing college degrees and full-time careers.

“Young women in elementary and middle school began to look around and realize that they were going to be in the labor force for a substantial part of their lifetimes and therefore needed to concentrate more on professions that were better investments,” said Claudia Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard University.

via Behind the Rise of Women in the Work Force – TheStreet.

cities, lifestyles, culture, Baby Boomers, Brookwood Hills, Atlanta, Wilmette, Chicago, small house movement:  I loved growing up in a neighborhood where our home was no more than 2500 sq feet and the neighborhood was our yard.  My children’s favorite of their 3 homes is the smallest, our Wilmette home.  I think my generation, the Baby Boomers, have really gone awry on the big house status symbol.  A house does not make a home.  My daughter says she never wants a “big house.”

Places like Hilton Head, with water adjacency and nice climates, are in high demand, and land values are insane. In the case of Hilton Head, which was developed in 1970 on what had been a mosquito- and alligator-infested swampy barrier island, land value has leaped from nearly zero to now unaffordable. The first batch of houses built here might have been normal-sized, but in the ten years that I’ve been coming here on occasion, I’ve seen them replaced by new ones that are enormous. About five years ago, we rented a house right on the beach that was arena-sized. We loved being right on the ocean, so we asked the owner if we could reserve time for the next year. No, he said, it wouldn’t be possible; he was tearing the house down. Why? To build a bigger one on the same lot. We saw the finished product a few years later: it looked like a house with severe edema, swollen to bursting, built to the very edge of the property line.

My husband and I built our house in New York about five years ago, and right before we began, I fell under the spell of the small-house movement; I had dozens of Post-Its in my copy of “The Not-So-Big House” marking author Sarah Susanka’s recommendations for designing a house that was efficient and inviting without being pointlessly gigantic. It’s not really such a new idea. A few weeks ago, I stayed for a night in the Penfield House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s an amazing place, with a jazzy sort of geometry. It’s also quite small (even though, as it happens, the owner, Louis Penfield, was six foot eight, and had actually wondered whether Wright could make a house that would work for a person his size). But the house is big enough. Everything is ingeniously designed to make use of all available space, and the floor-to-ceiling living room windows make it feel like there is only a thin skin between you and the outdoors, which gives the illusion of spaciousness. It’s a great house—that is, in the sense of the word “great” meaning an impressive accomplishment, rather than “large.”

Oversized houses, like oversized cars, seem to be a particularly American fixation. In many other countries, the land available is so limited and the cost of building so high that most people wouldn’t even consider building a Hilton Head-style jumbo. And the expense—in economic and environmental terms—of heating and cooling these places is vast. What’s funny is that these mega-mansions are so often located somewhere people go because they want to enjoy the natural environment. The house we had wanted to rent again had very little land around it when we rented it. Now, in its bulked-up state, the outdoor space is a narrow margin of sand and grass, not even wide enough to walk on.

via Free Range: The Too-Big House : The New Yorker.

reading, education, St. John’s College, Great Books Program, kith/kin:  St. John’s is a wonderful place.  My kith daughter is there and thrives.  Interesting is that she always loved to read (in contrast to this student) … but I think it is the type of education that suits a very gifted and creative mind.

As long as nobody had assigned the book, I could stick with it. I didn’t know what I was reading. I didn’t really know how to read. Reading messed with my brain in an unaccountable way. It made me happy; or something. I copied out the first paragraph of Annie Dillard’s “An American Childhood” on my bedroom’s dormer wall. The book was a present from an ace teacher, a literary evangelist in classy shoes, who also flunked me, of course, with good reason. Even to myself I was a lost cause.

Early senior year, a girl in homeroom passed me a brochure that a college had sent her. The college’s curriculum was an outrage. No electives. Not a single book in the seminar list by a living author. However, no tests. No grades, unless you asked to see them. No textbooks—I was confused. In place of an astronomy manual, you would read Copernicus. No books about Aristotle, just Aristotle. Like, you would read book-books. The Great Books, so called, though I had never heard of most of them. It was akin to taking holy orders, but the school—St. John’s College—had been secular for three hundred years. In place of praying, you read. My loneliness was toxic; the future was coleslaw, mop water; the college stood on a desert mountain slope in Santa Fe, New Mexico, fifteen hundred miles from home; I could never get into such a school; my parents couldn’t pay a dollar. And I loved this whole perverse and beautiful idea. I would scrap everything (or so I usefully believed) and go to that place and ask them to let me in. It felt like a vocation. It was a vocation.

In retrospect, I was a sad little boy and a standard-issue, shiftless, egotistical, dejected teen-ager. Everything was going to hell, and then these strangers let me come to their school and showed me how to read. All things considered, every year since has been a more intense and enigmatic joy. ♦

via Salvatore Scibona: “Where I Learned to Read” : The New Yorker.

Camp Illahee, kith/kin, end of an era:  As MAD  is ending her session as a JC, I am sad.  Nine years at Illahee have been a wonderful experience for her and something she will always cherish.  If you want a recommendation for an all girls camp, please contact me.  It has truly been a “heavenly world.”

In the Cherokee language, Illahee means “heavenly world.” This idea expresses the very best of what campers, counselors and staff create for a remarkable few weeks every summer.

For ninety years, Camp Illahee has given girls the opportunity to explore their interests, seek new adventures and forge friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

via Camp Illahee | A Summer Camp for Girls in Brevard, North Carolina.

09
May
11

5.9.2011 … The flooding Mississippi R. is 3 miles wide at Memphis … I can’t imagine … prayers …

natural disasters, flooding, Mississippi River, Memphis, prayers:  

At a late Sunday afternoon press briefing, Col. Vernon Reichling of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the Mississippi River in Memphis, usually a half-mile wide, now measures 3 miles across. Reichling said he expected the river to crest Tuesday at 48 feet, just below the record set in 1937 of 48.7 feet; it is the first time the Mississippi River has exceeded even 41 feet since that record 1937 flood.

via Sunday flood updates: River now 3 miles across in Memphis » The Commercial Appeal.

Jasmine Revolution, China:

The clampdown is concentrated on foreign groups or activities that have significant ties to foreign governments, run prominent outreach programs, encourage free speech or promote Internet freedom.

Senior Chinese officials appear to believe that the United States in particular helped set off and sustain the uprisings that toppled dictators in the Arab world. In mid-February, messages appeared on the Chinese Internet calling for people to hold similar protests across the nation. Some of the people spreading word of the so-called Jasmine Revolution are Chinese who live overseas.

One message called for Chinese to protest on Feb. 20 at a McDonald’s outlet on Wangfujing, a popular shopping street in Beijing, and the government became concerned when Jon M. Huntsman Jr., who was then the American ambassador to China, appeared that afternoon outside the restaurant.

Embassy officials said Mr. Huntsman, who left his job at the end of April, was not aware of the calls for a protest, but the Chinese government quickly began canceling outreach activities sponsored by the American Embassy. That included one-time appearances by Mr. Huntsman in Chinese cities and regularly scheduled education programs in which American officials meet with Chinese students, according to interviews with foreigners and Chinese.

“The cynic in me believes that, given the likely timing of this decision and of the onset of the Egyptian protests, this is not really about money or the value of international conferences, but about minimizing extended face-to-face dialogues with foreigners who might share ideas that were ‘bu shufu,’ ” said one American involved in cultural events, using the Chinese phrase for “discomforting.”

Foreign journalists have also faced unusually direct harassment from security officials. Starting in late February, scores of journalists were warned about their coverage and visited at their homes.

In meetings in February and March with one American journalist, security officers tried to make the case that American officials, together with foreign journalists and others with ties overseas, were conspiring to stir up chaos in China. They talked about the appearance of Mr. Huntsman at the McDonald’s on Feb. 20, and they mentioned a meeting that he held with foreign journalists at the embassy on March 10, citing them as proof of the United States’ hand in fanning the flames of revolution.

via China Blames Foreigners for Trying to Foment Unrest – NYTimes.com.

Osama bin Laden death, Dalai Lama, moral issues, forgiveness:

But the Dalai Lama’s camp responded almost immediately, claiming this was not at all the gist of his remarks, emphasizing his appeal for us to distinguish between “the action” and “the actor” and stressing that, as a fellow human being, even bin Laden deserves our compassion and forgiveness. But, he stressed, “forgiveness doesn’t mean forget [sic] what happened.”

via Dalai Lama: Osama bin Laden Deserves Compassion – Global Spin – TIME.com.

Osama bin Laden death, Maureen Down, moral issues: Know where she stands … “We have nothing to apologize for.”

But within days, Naval Seal-gazing shifted to navel-gazing.

There was the bad comedy of solipsistic Republicans with wounded egos trying to make it about how right they were and whinging that George W. Bush was due more credit. Their attempt to renew the debate about torture is itself torture.

W. preferred to sulk in his Dallas tent rather than join President Obama at ground zero in a duet that would have certainly united the country.

Whereas the intelligence work that led to the destruction of Bin Laden was begun in the Bush administration, the cache of schemes taken from Osama’s Pakistan house debunked the fanciful narrative that the Bush crew pushed: that Osama was stuck in a cave unable to communicate, increasingly irrelevant and a mere symbol, rather than operational. Osama, in fact, was at the helm, spending his days whipping up bloody schemes to kill more Americans.

The really insane assumption behind some of the second-guessing is that killing Osama somehow makes us like Osama, as if all killing is the same.

Only fools or knaves would argue that we could fight Al Qaeda’s violence non-violently.

President Obama was prepared to take a life not only to avenge American lives already taken but to deter the same killer from taking any more. Aside from Bin Laden’s plotting, his survival and his legend were inspirations for more murder.

If stealth bombers had dropped dozens of 2,000-pound bombs and wiped out everyone, no one would have been debating whether Osama was armed. The president chose the riskiest option presented to him, but one that spared nearly all the women and children at the compound, and anyone in the vicinity.

Unlike Osama, the Navy Seals took great care not to harm civilians — they shot Bin Laden’s youngest wife in the leg and carried two young girls out of harm’s way before killing Osama.

Morally and operationally, this was counterterrorism at its finest.

We have nothing to apologize for.

via Killing Evil Doesn’t Make Us Evil – NYTimes.com.

Paris, France, travel, lists, Question:  Anything else YOU think should be on the list?

From impassioned revolutionaries and ostentatious royals to the world of ancient Gaul, the history of Paris is filled with drama, intrigue and excitement. Thus, it is of little surprise that this is not only one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic cities, but that it is also brimming with fantastic historic sites. The following are our top ten historic sites of Paris.

via Top Ten Historic Sites of Paris.

travel, lists, places, hotels:

Location, location, location. This real estate mantra is something to live by when seeking out the perfect hotel. For history buffs, a hotel setting can be key to a stay.

From balcony panoramas of World Heritage sites to hidden ancient baths in the basement, some hotels have that little something extra to really immerse their guests in history. So, where can one find these perfect places from which to enjoy the sites of cultures past?

We asked our friends at historical travel website Historvius.com to put together a selection of just some of the very best hotels for history lovers.

via 15 Great Hotels For History Lovers (PHOTOS) – AOL Travel News.

Harvard Initiative, Advanced Education:  This seems exciting to me …

In short, the program represents a new, “third stage” in higher education, says Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the initiative’s co-founder and director, and one of the three Harvard professors who in 2005 first envisioned a wider role for the nation’s colleges and universities. Such institutions have long launched young adults into the world from undergraduate and graduate/professional programs. Now, she says, these schools need to do the same for older adults.

Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe’s, works on his project for getting ‘excess’ food to the hungry with Prof. Fernando Reimers, a co-chairman of Harvard’s leadership program.

“Clearly, we need additional leaders to take on social challenges—and here we have this large population of adults leaving first careers who are going to live for another 20 or 30 years,” Prof. Kanter says. Higher education “can be the resource that gives these individuals the skills and direction they need.”

For now, the Harvard initiative remains small: About 20 to 30 fellows a year take part. That said, Prof. Kanter expects the program to grow steadily—and, ideally, to be replicated at schools across the country.

Indeed, the initiative is a “sign of things to come,” says Marc Freedman, chief executive of Civic Ventures, a San Francisco nonprofit focused on expanding the contributions of older Americans. Already, he notes, a growing number of resources—community colleges, webinars, alumni groups and life coaches, among others—are helping the 50-plus crowd transition into jobs and careers in the social-service and nonprofit arenas.

Eventually, these multiple pathways, Mr. Freedman adds, will “enable individuals in the second half of life to move seamlessly from ‘what’s last’ to ‘what’s next.’ ”

That platform could soon be adopted elsewhere. A meeting in Miami in June will give other schools a chance to learn about Harvard’s model for educating advanced leaders, Prof. Kanter says. She likens the effort to the growth of the nation’s business schools, which began to appear at the turn of the 20th century and are now a familiar part of the academic landscape.

“We think someday this will be a stage of higher education that many colleges and universities will want to have,” Prof. Kanter says. “We want to make this a movement.”

via It’s Not Too Late to Go to Harvard – WSJ.com.

bookshelf, Three Cups of Tea:  Well, I have had this book next to my bed for several years … Nothing like controversy to make me fish it out and begin.

Greg Mortenson, author of the bestseller “Three Cups of Tea,” was sued for fraud on Friday in a class-action case accusing him of fabricating much of his story to promote the book and his Montana-based charity.

The lawsuit comes nearly four weeks after Mortenson and his Central Asia Institute (CAI) came under fire in an expose aired on the CBS television news program “60 Minutes,” which sparked an investigation by the Montana attorney general.

The “60 Minutes” report challenged the credibility of biographical details in Mortenson’s memoir and said his institute, founded to build schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was largely being used to promote the book.

via Lawsuit accuses Three Cups of Tea author of fraud | Reuters.

Paris, Jim Haynes, Sunday Dinner, kith/kin:  I am jealous … a good friend is going next Sunday … when she told me about it … and I looked it up … I remember this Jim Haynes’ NPR interview.  I can’t wait to hear about it.

Every week for the past 30 years, I’ve hosted a Sunday dinner in my home in Paris. People, including total strangers, call or e-mail to book a spot. I hold the salon in my atelier, which used to be a sculpture studio. The first 50 or 60 people who call may come, and twice that many when the weather is nice and we can overflow into the garden.

Every Sunday a different friend prepares a feast. Last week it was a philosophy student from Lisbon, and next week a dear friend from London will cook.

People from all corners of the world come to break bread together, to meet, to talk, connect and often become friends. All ages, nationalities, races, professions gather here, and since there is no organized seating, the opportunity for mingling couldn’t be better. I love the randomness.

I believe in introducing people to people.

via Jim Haynes.

How to make the gods laugh: tell them your plans! Nevertheless I hope the future includes my continuing to live here in my Paris atelier, travelling to see friends, writing newsletters and books, hosting friends, organizing the Sunday dinners, and enjoying every minute of life. For me, happiness is an intellectual concept, and I decided years ago to be happy. In spite of (and because of) everything, I love life. It has been good to me, and I hope that I have been good to it.

via Jim Haynes.

137th Kentucky Derby, Pat Forde: “The Derby almost always has a jarring plot twist or two. But this was an all-timer.” … read on …

Instead, the hugely accomplished Velazquez wound up riding the colt that would take him to his first Derby victory after years of heartache. And just like that, the 37-year-old Albarado — who won a stakes race Saturday on the Derby undercard — wound up watching his mount surge to glory on the home stretch with a complete stranger on his back.

The Derby almost always has a jarring plot twist or two. But this was an all-timer.

“The proper thing to do is to congratulate Graham and Johnny,” said Albarado, who has won many big races but never the Derby. “Johnny rode a great race. But you get taken off the day before? It’s kind of sad.”

One jockey’s sadness became another jockey’s elation. Velazquez has himself been bruised by the Derby gods, losing top-shelf contenders the week of the race three straight years. Before Uncle Mo there was Eskendereya, the likely heavy favorite in 2010 who was scratched just days before the Derby, and before that was Quality Road, scratched the Monday of Derby week with a hoof injury.

via Robby Albarado and John Velazquez: A tale of two jockeys at the Kentucky Derby – ESPN.

Boulder, places, happiness, Gretchen Rubin, kith/kin:  My two boys would agree … it is a wonderful place …

He says where he lives is a huge component of his happiness. “I lived in San Francisco, lived in Miami, New York City, Chicago, and I just think that this community, for me and what I wanted to do, it just fit.”

“This community” is Boulder, Colorado, where Dave – who owns a restaurant called (what else?) Happy – is far from the only one mainlining the vibe of well-being.

“There’s an energy here you just don’t feel in other places,” said one resident, Sean.

Ingrid Asmus wouldn’t walk her dog Strider anywhere else.

“Up there the spring beauties are blooming and the bluebells are out and the sand lilies are starting to come out,” she remarked. And she’s only five minutes from downtown.

If happiness is a state of mind, then Boulder is its capital.

What Gretchen re-discovered is the wisdom of that old saying: Happiness is a journey, not a destination, and one best guided by daily … incremental changes in lifestyle… with one above all:

“Ancient philosophers and contemporary researchers agree that maybe the key the happiness, if you had to pick just one thing, is strong relationships with other people,” she said. “So take the trip to see your sister’s new baby, go to the reunion, throw a party. Connections – anything that’s going to make you feel more connected with other people is going to add to your happiness.”

via The pursuit of happiness – CBS News.

LOL:

YouTube – Most interesting thing I ever saw done to a dog..mp4.

05
Mar
11

3.5.2011 … getting better …

Pineview GA, places: This was the home my mother grew up in and the home of one of my favorite great aunts. To see it on Zillow for $24000 … just makes me cry. It is a great house worth a million just for the memories.

 

310 Bay St E, Pineview, GA 31071 MLS# 51932 – Zillow.

YouTube, LOLYouTube – Yoga for Wine Lovers.

college, culture: No way ….

CHICAGO—Northwestern University reversed course on Thursday and condemned a live demonstration of sex in a classroom, after defending the act earlier in the week.

“Many members of the Northwestern community are disturbed by what took place on our campus,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said in a statement. “So am I.” He said the university was launching an investigation.

Kevin Helliker has the latest on the fallout over a live demonstration of sex in a classroom at Northwestern University, which the school initially defended then reversed course as outrage intensified.

Following a human sexuality class last week on Northwestern’s Evanston, Ill., campus, Prof. John Michael Bailey invited students to stay for an extracurricular demonstration that he warned would be explicit and graphic. Of the 567 students enrolled in the class, about 100 stayed to watch a sexual act involving a woman, a man and an electric-powered device.

via Northwestern University Condemns Classroom Sex Show – WSJ.com.

TED videos:  I can’t wait to watch this year’s TED videos.

John Hunter

Educator Teacher and musician John Hunter is the inventor of the World Peace Game (and the star of the new doc “World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements”).

via TED2011: Speakers A-Z.

kith/kin: Since I have a 16 year old Molly … I wonder if she would like this for her theme song ! YouTube – Spade Cooley – “Miss Molly”.

blogposts, Gretchen RubinThe Happiness Project: From Ray Bradbury: “Love What YOU Love!”.

technology, Africa:

Mobile-phone technology is like fire: as soon as a society gets it, it can’t imagine life without it. In the current issue, Ken Auletta writes about the Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim, whose former company, Celtel, brought the cell-phone boom to Africa, where the number of cell phones “has grown from fewer than four million in 1998 to more than four hundred million today—almost half the population of the continent.” Despite their expense, inconvenience, and even danger, they’ve proven invaluable in Liberia, a country entirely without landline service, where people need all the tools they can get to face the overwhelming task of rebuilding from nothing.

via News Desk: Africa’s Cell-Phone Revolution : The New Yorker.

news, cruel and unusual:

The Army private suspected of giving classified U.S. documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks was forced to sleep naked in a military jail at least once this week, the Marine Corps acknowledged Friday after the soldier’s lawyer complained.

The 23-year-old Crescent, Okla., native remains in maximum custody and on prevention-of-injury status — designations that keep him confined alone 23 hours a day, and require removal of all clothing except his boxer shorts at night.

via Bradley Manning, Army Private Held in WikiLeaks Case, Left Naked for 7 Hours.

25
Feb
11

2.25.2011 … home … FL was nice … home is nicer …

democracy, US, Egyptian Uprising:

Mr Herbert wanted to say that American democracy is broken because it’s been hijacked by the rich. This is one of approximately five columns liberal pundits phone in when they are uninspired or feeling lazy. Not that you can sleepwalk through a phone-in! Oh, there’s work to do. First, you’ve got to find a piping hot news hook. This can be accomplished by staring at the headlines until you run across a word that also appears in one of your ready-made gotta-get-to-brunch op-ed templates. So, let’s see… Egyptians have cast out a dictator in hopes of one day establishing a democracy. Democracy! Rich people have hijacked our democracy! Then it’s just a matter of peppering the thing with au courant Pavlovian keywords: “corporate stranglehold”, “Citizens United decision”, “Koch brothers”. Finally, one must summon the energy to loop back to the hook. “The Egyptians want to establish a viable democracy, and that’s a long, hard road. Americans are in the mind-bogglingly self-destructive process of letting a real democracy slip away.” Boom! This is is how they do it in the bigs, folks.

None of this is to say that worries similar to Mr Herbert’s about the undue influence of money in politics are unworthy of a careful substantive response. I started this post intending to offer such a response. It just turns out that this particular column’s paint-by-numbers roteness slaps you in the face so hard that I couldn’t help concluding it doesn’t merit one.

via Phoning it in: The magic of Bob Herbert | The Economist.

Detroit, public art:  OK, I found this one funny …

It’s easy to imagine why Detroit’s powers-that-be might wish to distance themselves from a famous cinematic symbol of Detroit as a violent, crumbling dystopia. Indeed, a “crowd-sourced” $50,000 RoboCop statue may seem like a cruel practical joke played on the struggling city by heartless nerds. However, it’s possible to imagine how the project may seem to some as a glimmer of hope. If Detroit’s going to make a comeback, it will need a lot of this sort of bottom-up initiative and energy. If a cast-iron monument to RoboCop suggests resignation to Detroit’s decline, it also suggests the playful will to keep Detroit alive as an object of imagination, and in imagination there is hope. Plus, tourists! That’s all nice. But for now I suspect that here in the USA the coordinating functions of social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Kickstarter will be deployed more for the amusement of well-wired geeks than for initiatives that will actually help those suffering in hard-knock cities like Detroit.

via Crowd-sourcing recovery: Detroit, you have suffered an emotional shock. I will notify Kickstarter | The Economist.

happiness, Gretchen Rubin, book shelf, Margaret Roach:  I don’t think I have to leave home to find happiness. 🙂

I love reading accounts of other people’s happiness projects — whether it’s Thoreau moving to Walden Pond or Alisa Bowman working to save her marriage. So when I heard about Margaret Roach’s book, And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

With my own happiness project, I never left my own neighborhood; for her happiness project, Margaret left New York City and a big job with Martha Stewart Omnimedia to move to upstate New York to reconnect with her first passion, gardening (she also has a very popular blog, A Way to Garden). Her account of what happened, and what she learned, is very powerful.

via The Happiness Project: “A Very Close Friend Says That I Am Not Type A, but AAA.”.

Middle East Awakening, Libya:  What next?

More than the relief at the crumbling of the institutions of repression is that of the policies of de-development. Despite its oil largesse, the east appears to be almost devoid of infrastructure aside from its oil industry. Oil is stored in gleaming modern depots while water stagnates in concrete dumps. The only ships docking at Torbuk’s jetties are tankers for export. Blackouts are commonplace. So dire is the health service that Libyans who have the means head to Egypt or Tunisia for treatment. An elderly teacher points out the spelling mistakes in the graffiti that are daubed across the town. Until recently, foreign languages were banned from the syllabus as “enemy tongues”. Few people anyway would have had the opportunity to practise them; talking politics with foreigners carried a three-year prison term.

via Libya in fragments: A new flag flies in the east | The Economist.

travel, airlines, Great Recovery:  Leading indicator of a recovery is whether the airlines can make a fare hike stick … interesting.

The bottom line here is the same one Gulliver has been spouting for weeks: any economic recovery is far from solid, and the business-travel recovery is even more tenuous than the improvement in the broader economy. Airlines are still having trouble raising their prices. In the short term, that’s good news for those of us who have jobs and are travelling—we’re travelling cheaper and better. But in the long term, a more solidly grounded recovery would be good news for all of us. When the airlines start being able to raise their prices without blinking, we’ll know we’re really on the road to recovery.

via Airline fare increases: The big airlines get cold feet | The Economist.

Vancouver BC, lists, superlatives, bucket list:  Most livable … I’d like to visit.

 

VANCOUVER remains the most liveable city in the world, according to the latest annual ranking compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Canadian city scored 98 out of a maximum 100, as it has done for the past two years.

via Liveability ranking: Where the livin’ is easiest | The Economist.

politics, WI:  I am not impressed with the elected officials leaving the state.

THE stalemate in Wisconsin has persisted partly because a group of Democratic senators have left Madison for Rockford, Illinois, where they apparently remain, laying low. Political theatre? Gross obstructionism? Regardless of where you stand on the budget bill, there’s something to admire in that the Democrats cared enough to bolt. Something similar happened in Texas in 2003, when Republicans in the state legislature were pushing a redistricting plan that would have heavily favoured Republicans:

“In most cases, breaking a quorum has resulted in a temporary victory but a longer-term defeat,” said Steve Bickerstaff, a University of Texas adjunct law professor and author of “Lines in the Sand,” about an incident in which more than 50 Texas Democratic legislators fled temporarily to Oklahoma, New Mexico and even Mexico in 2003.

via Wisconsin: The value of bolting | The Economist.

tv, Jeopardy, technology:  I, too, have fond memories of watching Jeopardy with my grandparents, my mother, even my sister.  I  did not watch the match with Watson … but I did follow the story on the news.  I think I will watch it if it replays.

I HAVE fond childhood memories of sitting on the floor of my grandmother’s house and watching “Jeopardy” with her and her sister-in-law, who remained the undisputed in-house champion of the game into her 90s.

Perhaps we can blame Hollywood for creating unrealistic expectations about computers. Watson is not about to become sentient and self-aware and send the ex-governor of California back through time. Nor is it likely to rename itself HAL and shut the pod bay door on us. (By the way, that urban legend about HAL and IBM isn’t true.) But read some of the commenters here and you get a sense of the disappointment. For example:

Watson is merely a powerful computer interpreting massive amounts of data, thanks to some sophisticated programming. By humans.

It’s fun to watch, but a breakthrough in machine intelligence? Hardly.

In the unique case of Watson, the correct response to its win should come quite easily to us, because it’s less a matter of admitting that we were bested by a computer, than of celebrating an advance in human programming. Of course, those human programmers could probably be considered members of the elite, but let’s not hold that against them.

via Jeopardy and IBM: Watson and our superiority complex | The Economist.

22
Feb
11

2.22.2011 … nice to be home … cat-ching up (cat wants all my attention) … and Happy President’s Day yesterday …

President’s Day 2011:  M and I spent the weekend in and around DC and Charlottesville.  On Friday night we visited the Lincoln Memorial and on Monday, President’s Day, we visited UVA, Mr. Jefferson’s University.  It made for a nice celebration of our presidents.

public art, YA/children’s literature,Gretchen Rubin:  I love Gretchen Rubin’s posts … this one combines public art and YA/children’s literature.  So what would I like to see as public art reflecting YA/children’s literature … A big red balloon … the original Pooh stuffed animals enshrined in a sculptured 100 acre woods … Something from A Wrinkle in Time … the rock where they view  the stars with s Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which statues. So mine are not particular to setting of the story because the settings are mostly fictitious … I will think more on that.

If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, the trolley is a reference to the fact that when magical children leave London to go to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they take a special train, the Hogwarts Express, which boards from Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross. One of the first things Harry Potter does as part of the magical world is to run through a brick wall to get to the platform hidden between 9 and 10.

This public sculpture doesn’t just make me mildly happy. I love it; I get choked up thinking about it. It gives me a feeling of elevation – one of the most delicate pleasures the world offers. So, I ask: why does it make me feel this way?

First, it’s a celebration of something I particularly love, children’s literature. Second, it’s an acknowledgment that the love for Harry Potter is so ubiquitous that this artifact makes sense. We all love Harry Potter! And I love the collision of literature and real life. And this trolley sculpture is so funny, so playful.

How could I dwell on this happiness? One of my resolutions is to Find an area of refuge, and I’ve spent quite a lot of mental energy, in the last few days, fantasizing about what delightful surprises I would plant around New York City, in the manner of the Kings Cross trolley.

This is what I would install:

From Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, in Central Park: a giant peach pit, with a door and a nameplate reading “James Henry Trotter.” I’m actually surprised this doesn’t already exist.

From E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: a book bag tucked behind a drape behind a statue from the Middle Ages. And also in the Met…

From Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman’s You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum: a yellow helium balloon tied to the outside stair railing. This would be so inexpensive and fun!

From Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family, in the Children’s Room at a branch of the New York Public Library in the Lower East Side: a copy of Peter and Polly in Winter, placed in the “Returns” section.

via Why Do I Feel Such Intense Happiness at the Thought of This Piece of Public Art?.

NBA Basketball, Davidson College Alums, Steph Curry:  One athlete to be proud of!

It’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, a three-ring circus of dunking and skills contests and games. Former Davidson Wildcat-turned-Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry ran away with Taco Bill Skills challenge Saturday night in competition at the Staples Center.

Curry beat out fellow NBA star Russell Westbrook, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the final round to win the challenge. He qualified for the finals with a 34-second time over the course of obstacles, passing tests, jump shots and layups. He finished up that run with a dunk, which he said later was for “all the guy guys who make fun of my dunking ability.”

Then in the finals, he finished the course in 28 seconds to win the title, beating Westbrook’s 30-second mark.

via Steph Curry wins All-Star Weekend’s skills challenge | Sports.

movies, Academy Awards, lists:  kinda fun …

A picture might be worth a thousand words. But a powerful monologue or speech might lead to gold at the Oscars. USA TODAY, along with Academy Awards expert Damien Bona, selected 10 of the more noteworthy performers who talked their way into a trophy

via 10 Oscar-worthy speeches – USATODAY.com.

02
Jan
11

1.2.11 … the end of break approaches … :

movies: 🙂

YouTube – Filmography 2010.

270 films from 2010 were spliced into one single, fabulous, illuminating 6 minute video, by genrocks (“I’m a girl by the way”)

via 2010: the year through film « The Improvised Life.

culture: very interesting.  I am going to have to research Hans Rosling, since this is the my second YouTube post of his in less than a month.  Anyone know anything about him?

YouTube – Hans Rosling – 2020 Shaping Ideas.

movies, kudos:

YouTube – Man in a Blizzard.

This film deserves to win the Academy Award for best live-action short subject.

(1) Because of its wonderful quality. (2) Because of its role as homage. It is directly inspired by Dziga Vertov’s 1929 silent classic “Man With a Movie Camera.” (3) Because it represents an almost unbelievable technical proficiency.

via “Man in a Blizzard,” by Jamie Stuart – Roger Ebert’s Journal.

skiing/snowboarding, Edward/Jack:  very interesting … one boy skis; one boy boards … wonder what it says about their personalities?

Snowboarding, by contrast, was born not of a utilitarian desire to get around, but of unadulterated hedonism. It was conceived from the first to be fun. And all things considered, it seems the more natural way to get down a slope. In an outtake from “Lines”, a documentary about big-mountain snowboarding in Alaska, Mike Renquet, a legend of the sport, offers the following thought experiment. Imagine a caveman asked to choose how to get down a snowy mountain. Would he strap on two separate wooden slats and lean forward? Or rather stand sideways on a broader plank and lean back a little? Mr Renquet does not think the theoretical troglodyte would plump for the skis. Nor does Babbage. But then again, both he and Mr Renquet may be biased.

via Babbage hits the slopes: The science of skiing v snowboarding | The Economist.

history, Civil War:

Museum Collections Manager Catherine Wright let curiosity get the best of her and decided to crack open the bottle to see what message it was hiding from the world. After pulling the plug and enlisting a CIA code breaker to crack the encrypted message, the world was able to receive the message that Gen. Pemberton never did.

Wright explained that the Civil War messenger bearing the bad news likely turned back after seeing the U.S. flag flying over Vicksburg, indicating the Confederacy had surrendered, and making the message irrelevant. “It was just another punctuation mark to just how desperate and dire everything was,” she said.

via Civil War Message in a Bottle Decoded After 147 Years – TIME NewsFeed.

Gretchen Rubin, happiness, New Year’s ResolutionsThe Happiness Project: Recommended happiness reading.

-and-

YouTube – Try a Week of Extreme Nice..

snow, winter, science:  Probably learned this in middle school, but it is still interesting.

Rather than liquid freezing, snow comes from water vapor — the gaseous form of water — changing directly into the solid, ice phase, a process known as deposition. The water molecules link together in a beautiful hexagonal crystal, like so.

via Happy Snowy New Year! : Starts With A Bang.




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 618 other followers

November 2020
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930