Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter

26
Feb
16

2.26.16 … minerals (healing), vegetable, animal, human, angles and the last one is the unknown (beyond the grasp of the human mind) …

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“Solvitur  Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2016 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (Walk 16/40), Morningstar Lutheran Chapel – Mint Hill NC:

bright sun,

chimes,

chapel with red doors,

old cemetery,

legacy labyrinth in memory of Shannon Kennedy,

 debris on the path

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A new brochure!

“The labyrinth is a spiritual tool meant to awaken us to ourselves into the light that calls from within. In surrendering to the winding path, the soul finds healing and wholeness.”

We are all on the path precisely where we need to be.

It can be a path of prayer, reduce stress, and self knowledge, help us move through transitions in life, quiet the mind, give solace, peace, clarity, celebration, give comfort and solace to the weary soul.

There are three “r”s to walking the labyrinth: releasing as you walk in, receiving in the center, and returning – taking your experience back out into the world.

In the center are six petals. They can stand for many things. One thought is: starting on the left are minerals (healing), vegetable, animal, human, angles and the last one is the unknown (beyond the grasp of the human mind).

 

2.26.16

Potter more,  29 signs,  Hermione and Ron, Harry Potter:  I missed most of the signs …

You may think that this famous romance only kicked off after several years of Hogwarts and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, but we like to think the signs were always there…

Source: Pottermore – 29 signs that Hermione liked Ron from the start

Mark Willenbring, Substance Abuse Treatment Begins With Research, The New York Times: 

“Sounds like a prison camp,” Dr. Willenbring said softly, leaning forward in his chair to pass a box of tissues. Continue reading the main story Sign Up for the Science Times Newsletter Every week, we’ll bring you stories that capture the wonders of the human body, nature and the cosmos. He began explaining the neuroscience of alcohol and drug dependence, 60 percent of which, he said, is attributable to a person’s genetic makeup. Listening intently, the young patient seemed relieved at the idea that his previous failures in rehab might reflect more than a lack of will. Dr. Willenbring, 66, has repeated this talk hundreds of times. But while scientifically unassailable, it is not what patients usually hear at addiction treatment centers. Rehabilitation programs largely adhere to the 12-step principles of the 80-year-old Alcoholics Anonymous and its offshoot, Narcotics Anonymous. Addicts have a moral and spiritual defect, they are told; they must abstain from alcohol and drugs and surrender to a higher power to escape substance abuse. This treatment is typically delivered through group therapy led by counselors whose main qualification is their own completion of the program. In some states, drug counselors with only a high school degree may treat patients, according to a 2012 study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Dr. Willenbring says he believes this approach ignores the most recent research on the subject, a judgment he is well qualified to make. From 2004 to 2009, he was the director of treatment research at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and he oversaw dozens of studies proving the efficacy of medications and new behavioral therapies to treat drinking problems.

Source: For Mark Willenbring, Substance Abuse Treatment Begins With Research – The New York Times

 Yosemite,  Waterfall Firefall, The New York Times, serendipity:

 

For a few weeks in February if the conditions are just right, for about 10 minutes around sunset, one waterfall in Yosemite National Park looks more like its opposite — a firefall. Visitors who flocked to the park this week, many with cameras in tow, have not been disappointed by the glowing transformation of Horsetail Fall, which flows from El Capitan. “In the over 20 years I have been photographing the firefall and leading workshops there in Yosemite, I have never seen a more spectacular one,” said Michael Mariant, a photographer from Morro Bay, Calif., who leads teaching trips to Yosemite. The phenomenon occurs only if there has been enough snow and rain in the Sierra Mountains to fuel the waterfall, if the skies are clear and if the setting sun strikes the water at an angle that creates the illusion of lava.

Source: At Yosemite, a Waterfall Turns Into a Firefall – The New York Times

UNC professor,  credits,  first use of ‘shit happens’, The Daily Tar Heel: 

If you go on Wikipedia and look at ‘shit happens,’ you see my name,” Eble said. It started as a class assignment. Every semester, Eble asks her students to write down new catch phrases on index cards that she collects and compiles into a list.

And on the list from 1983 is first alleged recorded use of “shit happens.” “A female student turned in ‘shit happens,’ and wrote this: ‘When informed that he flunked the test, the guy replied, ‘That shit happens.’’” Although that student remains anonymous, Eble has gained more recognition for coining the phrase than she’d like to take credit for. “This gets brought up every so often,” she said. “Will this never die? I didn’t come up with it — it just so happened that my list was the earliest citation. And now it’s become sort of an urban myth.”

Source: UNC professor credited with first use of ‘shit happens’ :: The Daily Tar Heel

Mussels with White Wine Recipe – Bon Appétit, favorite meals:

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Mussels With White Wine

Spoon some aioli on a piece of toast, dunk it in the broth, and eat it along with the white wine-soaked mussels. Repeat. Ingredients

SERVINGS:

4 Lemon

Aioli

1 large egg yolk

1 garlic clove, finely grated

1 tsp (or more) fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Mussels

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup white wine

4 pounds mussels, debearded, scrubbed

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Sliced country-style bread, toasted (for serving)

Lemon Aioli Whisk egg yolk, garlic, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, drizzle in vegetable oil, then olive oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until aioli is emulsified. Do Ahead: Aioli can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Mussels Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add mussels and 1/2 cup water to pot, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mussels open (discard any that do not open), 10–12 minutes. Ladle mussels and broth into shallow bowls and top with thyme; serve with bread and lemon aioli. Recipe by Dawn Perry Photograph by Gentl & Hyers

Nutritional Content Calories (kcal) 640 Fat (g) 33 Saturated Fat (g) 5

Source: Mussels with White Wine Recipe – Bon Appétit

Urban birding, David Lindo,  ‘sexy’ pastime, Love Nature:  I have several birding friends.  Now I know it is a  ‘sexy’ pastime’!!

There is a commonly-held idea that there are far fewer bird species to be found in the city than in the countryside. But that’s not your experience, is it? Well it’s not true, full stop. I think people do not expect to see wildlife in urban areas, so they don’t see it. It’s all about opening your mind to the idea of seeing wildlife and to imagine the city as how a bird would see it. So for me, buildings become cliffs and even the trees I see around become scattered woodland and even a small patch of reed bed or a small lake can replicate what you’d find in the outer countryside, so I expect to see the same sort of things—albeit in lesser numbers usually . . . The UK had just under 600 species recorded from whenever they started recording back in the early 1900s and nearly 400 species have been seen in London. So I don’t see being in an urban area as a block to enjoying birds and wildlife.

Source: Urban birding: Expert David Lindo explains how and why to take up this ‘sexy’ pastime | Love Nature

 

 

21
Oct
13

10.21.13 … So what do Downton Abbey’s Bates and Shaft have in common … and a moonwalking marching band …

Downton Abbey/ Season 4, lists,  Masterpiece, PBS:  So what do Downton Abbey’s Bates and Shaft have in common? You’ll have to watch the clip… and of course it’s 5 of 5.  🙂  Downton Abbey, Season 4: 5 Things You Don’t Know | Watch Online | Masterpiece | PBS.

art, classical sculptures,  Today I Learned Something New:

Classical sculptures dressed as hipsters look contemporary and totally badass | Today I Learned Something New.

graffiti, reverse, graffiti:

Via Sustainable Living — with Raghvendra Singh Parihar and 7 others.

 Harry Potter,  Honest Trailers, YouTube: 🙂

Since you guys REALLY asked for this one – We sat and watched all eight movies (20 HOURS of Harry Potter!) so you could relive the moment or two you liked.

via Honest Trailers – Harry Potter – YouTube.

Gravity, films:  I few thoughts on Gravity:

I had some feminist issues with GRAVITY. Behold my roar:

If a female scientist is intelligent and tough enough to qualify to spend months on a mission with NASA, she should not need a male scientist to tell her EVERY SINGLE THING SHE HAS TO DO.

Including HOW TO BREATHE.

To the extent that she GIVES UP and SETTLES DOWN TO DIE until he COMES BACK FROM THE DEAD to tell her this one piece of information that she needs to get back to the earth.

Seriously. He COMES BACK FROM THE DEAD with this info, because DEAD MEN apparently have more knowledge and common sense than living women, even living scientist women. And Ryan Stone, Sandra Bullock\’s character, is so EMOTIONAL and FEARFUL and in need of a MAN to direct her that she would never survive without Mental Ghost Matt Kowalski.

via Brooklyn Arden: The Feminist Thing that Irritated the Hell Out of Me about GRAVITY.

 

Against all odds, “Gravity” is defying it.

The film has broken box office records by appealing to young and old, men and women, art-movie fans, sci-fi geeks and evangelical Christian reviewers.

Now heading into its third weekend, “Gravity” is an increasingly rare phenomenon: a movie that draws audiences in droves, yet also wins joyous praise from critics. Exhibitors are thrilled that word is out the film should be seen not at home but in theaters, on a big screen, with high-quality sound. Comedian Albert Brooks slyly underscored the rewards of the immersive big-screen experience, tweeting “Just watched Gravity on an iPhone. Not that impressed.”

Older people are acting like teens. “They’re calling the theater asking how 3-D works,” says Ted Mundorff, chief executive of Landmark Theatres, which operates 50 cinemas in 21 U.S. markets. “We’re getting people out of the house who haven’t been to a movie for 10 years or more.”

If current trends continue, “Gravity” is likely to end up grossing more than $500 million world-wide, territory rarely seen by movies that aren\’t based on a comic book or toy and released in summertime or holiday season. It is unlikely to approach the world-wide grosses of movies like this year’s No. 1 hit, “Iron Man 3,” which sold more than $1.2 billion in tickets around the world.

via Why the World is Watching ‘Gravity’ – WSJ.com.

But the truth is, most of this doesn’t matter. Cuarón has given us a glimpse of the awe that is the universe beyond our atmosphere. And physics aside, he does it remarkably well.

My only hope is that we continue our exploration of space in real life, too. The majority of NASA employees have been furloughed as a result of the government shutdown. If Sandra Bullock’s Dr. Ryan were a real person, she’d still be waiting on the beach somewhere on planet Earth.

So, do me a favor. After you see “Gravity,” tell your member of Congress. Perhaps it will inspire them to put NASA employees back to work.

via Mark Kelly gives an astronaut’s view of ‘Gravity’ – The Washington Post.

‘Ravenswood’, Twitter, WSJ.com:  There is something circular about this ….

ABC Family has about 1.9 million reasons to be confident that \”Pretty Little Liars\” is ripe for a spinoff series, the channel\’s first. That was the number of messages about the hit show that flooded Twitter during a season finale in August, which set a standing record for the top-tweeted episode of any series on television.

The online gusto that propelled ratings of \”Pretty Little Liars,\” a feisty mystery series aimed at girls, also contributed to its creators\’ choice of which heartthrob character to feature on a spinoff—and when to introduce it. Starting with Tuesday\’s premiere of \”Ravenswood,\” a creepier story set in a different town, producers will monitor online reaction as they shape new story lines and characters.

\”We\’ll have access to the biggest focus group there is\” when the conversation about \”Ravenswood\” kicks in, says I. Marlene King, an executive producer of both shows.

Indeed, like the stars of \”PLL\” who have up to 3.2 million Twitter followers each, most of the show\’s writers and producers are in dialogue with fans. Last Saturday, as she finished writing a finale episode for next spring, Ms. King, who has 290,000 followers, tweeted quotes from the script and invited fans to guess which characters say them.

via ‘Ravenswood’ Inspired by Twitter – WSJ.com.

Male/ With a Job in Finance or Economics/“Wilderness Experience” TV Show, casting,  Finance-Savvy Males, kith/kin:  John, maybe?

Casting Finance-Savvy Males for Enter The Wild TV Series.Are You Male, With a Job in Finance or Economics, and Want to Get on a “Wilderness Experience” TV Show?

via Freakonomics » Are You Male, With a Job in Finance or Economics, and Want to Get on a “Wilderness Experience” TV Show? Casting Finance-Savvy Males for Enter The Wild TV Series.

Landfill Harmonic Orchestra, YouTube:  How could you not love this one. 😉

via ▶ the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra – YouTube.

crosswalk signals, art:

You see them every day, but when was the last time you really stopped to look at them? http://on.wsj.com/19K0Qly

Artist Maya Barkai’s “Walking Men Worldwide” project, currently on display in Sydney, invites pedestrians to do just that.

What do pedestrian traffic icons look like where you live? Do they say anything about the culture around you?

via Facebook.

Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan,  fake Kickstarter project:  🙂

http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/965043/daniel-radcliffe-pitches-a-hardcore-sex-movie.jhtml#id=1644133

Requesting only four thousand-hundred million dollars from their fanbase, Radcliffe and DeHaan promise to deliver a scriptless movie with questionable acting talent and virtually no plot. “This is going to be an entirely improvised film,” emphasized Radcliffe. “All the best films are improvised: ‘Chronicles of Riddick,’ ‘Pitch Black,’ ‘Riddick…’”

The “concept art” movie takes place in Brooklyn, because Brooklyn “is like crazy hot right now” and focuses on the lives of Joey (Radcliffe) and his childhood friend, Captain Animal (DeHaan). Joey has an accent. There is lots of hardcore sex (actual, authentic sex). There is singing. And, as if that’s not enticing enough — for donations of $50 or more, droll “Harry Potter” star Alan Rickman will watch TV with you for entire evening.

via Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan’s fake Kickstarter project sounds amazing – Salon.com.

collecting:

Still, collections collect collectors. I can see that you understand. Isn’t it a miraculous scandal, how short our lives are? But my nuggets of Roman glass have not aged a day.

Our collections continually teach and form us. They teach us to upgrade, to refine, to jettison what is commonplace for something a bit more scarce. Without cohabiting alongside Ursula these 35 years, I could not have understood the very concept of sainthood, and could not have found “Saints Have Mothers,” a novella in my new book, “Local Souls.”

I have invested in these treasures and, perhaps more selflessly, seen to their weekly dusting. They are what I have instead of an invisible God or too many cats. True, no museum has ever begged for anything in here. But each masterwork matters to me. How did I afford them? They were bought with funds others blow on alimony, cocaine, boarding school tuition, orthodontics and veterinary bills.

A collection can warm up history. It can console you, a form of rosary-bead love. My diverse holdings signal to me that I am finally home; they give my still-gluttonous eyes unending hamster-wheel sprints. Familiar, beautiful, hand-chosen across a long life, these treasures are ivory-smoothed by an admiration spanning decades. They help me gather myself.

via When the Saint Came Marching In – NYTimes.com.

Ohio State band,  moonwalks giant Michael Jackson formation:  Pretty impressive!

via ▶ Ohio State Marching Band “Michael Jackson Tribute” – Halftime vs. Iowa: 10-19-13 – YouTube.

15
Feb
13

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

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

Slows down time for us that we might see Jesus …

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

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

Walking the Labyrinth is a right-brain meditation activity.

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

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

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

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

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

Ask for Help Through Prayer: pray as you walk

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

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

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

via Labyrinth Society of Edmonton.

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

Fareed Zakaria ‏@FareedZakaria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Festival of Legal Learning.

Mother Teresa, quote, Goodreads:

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

― Mother Teresa

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

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

A Howler defined …

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

Howler

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

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

via Howler – Harry Potter Wiki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Barbara Brown Taylor

King College, Bristol, TN

January 24, 2009

via Frederick Buechner Center.

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

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

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

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

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

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

via LATIN IS THE BEST LANGUAGE | More Intelligent Life.

2.15.13 meteor strike, Russia, BBC News: Wow … 

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

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

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

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

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

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

via BBC News – Meteorites injure hundreds in central Russia.

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

Aaron Blake  @FixAaron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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main image

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

via Pier 213 Seafood – Eat – Thrillist Atlanta.

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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.

23
Jul
11

7.23.2011 … gathering of the clan …

Davidson, 4th Rich, reunion, Tuxedo NC:  Our second great gathering of the 4th Rich clan … what a delightful evening.  Thanks, McGrady.  For a few pics … Gathering.

green, Dartmouth College:

In June 2010, faculty, staff and administrators at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire had their desk trash cans replaced with six-inch-tall cartons. One year later, Dartmouth has sent 200 less tons of trash to the landfill, and recycling is up by one third.

It’s a simple strategy. Every desk gets one large “zero sort” recycling box for paper, glass, aluminum and plastic and one tiny trash tub for whatever cannot be recycled, which at Dartmouth is essentially a few types of drink lids and certain types of plastic bags and packaging materials. When the trash tub reaches its meager capacity, the owner has to empty it at a disposal area.

via With Tiny Cans, a New Trash Equation – NYTimes.com.

Harry Potter:  In case you can’t remember, like me … “Harry Potter – A Look Back” – YouTube.

Google+:

Forget being friended on Facebook or followed on Twitter. What you really want now is to be Circled—or so Google hopes.

The company’s latest social-networking effort, Google+, lets users organize people into Circles of friends so you can choose what you share with each group. It offers multi-person video chats and a feature called Sparks that encourages users to plug into news that interests them. It integrates with Picasa, Google’s photo site.

Google+ is designed to compete with Facebook, but judging from my non-techie friends’ reactions over the past two weeks, the initial setup can be confusing. Plus, many of them aren’t eager to build another social network. This week, I’ll take a step back to explain Google+, how it differs from Facebook and just what’s with the Circles.

via Going in Google+ Circles. Review of Google+ – Katherine Boehret – The Digital Solution – AllThingsD.

As virtual world expert Wagner James Au has chronicled on his blog New World Notes, this is posing problems not just for political dissidents but for many virtual world users who’d prefer to go by their avatar names. His post was a response to a Second Life user, Opensource Obscure, who had his account suspended for “violating community standards.”

Google spokesperson Katie Watson has confirmed that the company will require real names for Google Profiles, the requisite for people to establish their Google Plus accounts. There is a place in your Google Profile account where you can list nicknames, and that’s what Google suggests users do who are interested in listing their other online names and persona. Those who do establish Google Profiles under a pseudonym face account suspension.

via No Pseudonyms Allowed: Is Google Plus’s Real Name Policy a Good Idea?.

Looking for an easy way to move your photos from Facebook to Google Plus? So were we. That’s why we were happy to discover this Web application, available in the Chrome Web store, that does the work for you. Available only as a browser add-on for Google Chrome, Move2Picasa exports all your Facebook albums and photos and imports them into Picasa for you, for free. You can then share those pictures with your Circles on Google Plus.

via How to Move Your Facebook Photos to Picasa & Google Plus.

food, lobster rolls:  OK I had my first lobster roll in Boston, and I will admit it was pretty good.  I felt stupid paying $25; but honestly, it was so good it was worth it.

Neptune Oyster- Boston Lobster Roll

Leave it to the World Financial Center to host its pumped-up opposite. At Ed’s Lobster Bar Kiosk on the waterfront, 225 Vesey Street (Liberty Street); (917) 364-3787, lobsterbarnyc.com, Ed McFarland’s six-ounce celery-and-chive-dotted blob of musky mayonnaise-y lobster meat bobs atop its butter-drenched roll like one of the sprawling yachts in the adjacent marina ($25). It’s an object of conspicuous consumption as befits the captains of finance.

via New Lobster Rolls – NYC – Restaurant Review – NYTimes.com.

random, Chinese fakes: Guo Meimei: The TIME Cover Girl Who Wasn’t – Global Spin – TIME.com.

Civil War, history, random, quotes: The article was interesting on lots of levels … but the closing quote just made me laugh!

“At Gettysburg, I had one woman who said to me, ‘I don’t understand how they fought this battle with all these statues here,’ ” Chaney said.

via Whatever Happened to … the statue of Gen. Lee at Antietam – The Washington Post.

technology, education: Whole new world …

Cathy Davidson spotted the gorilla but only because, as a dyslexic, she gave up immediately on trying to count the tosses. That shock of seeing what others missed became the germ of her remarkable new book, Now You See It, which offers a fresh and reassuring perspective on how to manage anxieties about the bewildering pace of technological change: “Distraction is your friend,” she says.

Davidson is a Duke University English professor, part of a tribe that’s not known for embracing the future. But she is a cofounder of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), an international network of academics inspired by new technology, which administers the annual Digital Media and Learning competition with the MacArthur Foundation. Davidson believes that true conceptual innovation is needed to reinvent our homes, schools, and workplaces for the demands of the digital age. She calls her approach “technopragmatism,” or “technorealism.”

In the book, Davidson tells the story of her extensive arm rehab, which includes a fascinating insight from her physical therapist, who found that her patients who sustained injuries toward the end of a decade in their lives — at 29, 39, even 69 — tended to recover more quickly and completely than those who had just passed that milestone, who felt too old. Davidson, then in her early fifties, was determined to be an exception. “What was very interesting was how little relationship there was in rehab between physical damage and healing. Much more important was attitude — not some goofy optimistic thing, but almost some kind of stubbornness about possibility,” she says.

That very stubbornness is what Davidson models. Even as she works with her students to help rewrite the rules, she’s not going to let people of her own generation off the hook for turning their backs on the new reality. “When I hear from those 40-year-old, 50- year-old Luddites, I’m thinking, What else is wrong in your life that you have to make such a wall? If you’re that worried about distraction, something else is going on.”

via Duke’s Cathy Davidson Has A Bold Plan for Change | Fast Company.

NASA Shuttle Program, end of an era, photojournalism:  I really enjoyed this photo essay.

When the end of the program was announced, my father and I knew we had to do something special. We have spent the past three years securing access and photographing scenes few people have ever witnessed. It has been quite a bit of work, but I have felt humbled and privileged every minute I have been at the space center.

In the simplest terms, these photographs tell a story of the work of men and women who showed up every day and launched spaceships. By doing their jobs well, these workers — from much-hailed astronauts to Harley-riding technicians — have made the extraordinary task of spaceflight seem mundane.

via The space shuttle: Portrait of an American era – The Washington Post.

cars, Volvo, green, electric cars, hybrid cars:  OK, I want one.

Volvo is taking a shotgun approach to vehicle electrification, essentially blasting away with a whole lot of concepts to see what hits the bullseye.

The Swedish automaker’s already wowed us with the slick C30 Electric, a car that it really ought to go ahead and sell already. Volvo keepts telling us we’ll see the C30 electric (pictured) in 2013. Then it wheeled out the diesel-electric V60 Plug-In Hybrid, which could be in (some?) showrooms next year.

Now it’s experimenting with extended-range electrics, which are another way of saying plug-in hybrids that use gasoline engines to boost electric range. One is a straight-up riff on the Chevrolet Volt, a car Volvo vp of business development Paul Gustavsson told us is “a milestone in the industry.”

Although range-extended drivetrains are more complex than either internal combustion or electric systems, they offer the flexibility of a conventional car, the efficiency of an EV and the reduced greenhouse gas emissions of a hybrid.

via Volvo Packs More Buckshot in Its Electric Shotgun | Autopia | Wired.com.

National Geographic Traveler,  apps, Above France:  Enjoyable app for someone planning a trip.

Today, National Geographic Traveler and app developer Fotopedia are launching a brilliant new iOS app for wanderlust enthusiasts, called “Above France.” The new app provides a bird’s eye view of France’s beauty including a stunning collection of more than 2,000 photographs taken by helicopter pilot and professional photographer, Frank Mulliez.

via National Geographic Travelers new app: Above France – TNW Apps.

 

19
Jul
11

‎7.19.2011 … hot … everywhere …

The Constitution, politics, conflict: Loved this article …

Here are a few things the framers did not know about: World War II. DNA. Sexting. Airplanes. The atom. Television. Medicare. Collateralized debt obligations. The germ theory of disease. Miniskirts. The internal combustion engine. Computers. Antibiotics. Lady Gaga.

People on the right and left constantly ask what the framers would say about some event that is happening today. What would the framers say about whether the drones over Libya constitute a violation of Article I, Section 8, which gives Congress the power to declare war? Well, since George Washington didn’t even dream that man could fly, much less use a global-positioning satellite to aim a missile, it’s hard to say what he would think. What would the framers say about whether a tax on people who did not buy health insurance is an abuse of Congress’s authority under the commerce clause? Well, since James Madison did not know what health insurance was and doctors back then still used leeches, it’s difficult to know what he would say. And what would Thomas Jefferson, a man who owned slaves and is believed to have fathered children with at least one of them, think about a half-white, half-black American President born in Hawaii (a state that did not exist)? Again, hard to say.

Today’s debates represent conflict, not crisis. Conflict is at the core of our politics, and the Constitution is designed to manage it. There have been few conflicts in American history greater than the internal debates the framers had about the Constitution. For better or for worse — and I would argue that it is for better — the Constitution allows and even encourages deep arguments about the most basic democratic issues. A crisis is when the Constitution breaks down. We’re not in danger of that.

If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so. Article I, Section 8, the longest section of the longest article of the Constitution, is a drumroll of congressional power. And it ends with the “necessary and proper” clause, which delegates to Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Limited government indeed.

via U.S. Constitution Under Siege over Libya, Taxes, Health Care – TIME.

Space Shuttle, End of an Era, NASA:  End of an era or “error”?

The space shuttle Atlantis will be in space for one more day than originally planned, NASA announced Monday.

The shuttle, which was scheduled to land July 20, will now make what NASA called a night landing at Kennedy Space Center at 5:56 a.m. July 21.

Atlantis lifted off Friday on NASA’s final space shuttle mission.

On board is a four-person team: mission commander Christopher Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. The crew of veteran astronauts docked Sunday at the International Space Station to deliver a load of supplies.

via NASA extends shuttle mission one day – CNN.com.

But there’s the other side of the shuttle too. The $500 million price tag every time one took off, the months of maintenance and prep work needed between flights, the temperamental electronic and hydraulic systems that scrubbed launches time and time again, the thermal tiles the ships would shed like dry leaves. And, finally, there are the 14 astronauts who lost their lives when first Challenger and later Columbia soared aloft but never returned home.

It’s easy both to hate and love a ship like that. Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer, who yields to no man when it comes to finely crafted crankiness, distilled that kind of cognitive dissonance splendidly once when he wrote that the space shuttle belongs in “the Museum of Things Too Beautiful and Complicated to Survive.”

The fact is, the shuttles almost didn’t exist at all. A reusable, low-orbit space truck was hardly the initial direction NASA was planning to go in the triumphant afterglow of the Apollo program. It wasn’t even the initial direction the Nixon administration advocated. Not long after taking office, Nixon appointed a space task force to determine the future of cosmic exploration, chaired by Vice President Spiro Agnew. The group came back with an ambitious long-term plan that included the establishment of a near-Earth space station, further explorations of the lunar surface and a manned landing on Mars by 1986.

But Nixon wanted none of it — nor of much of the remainder of the existing lunar program either, which was supposed to continue through Apollo 20 but was canceled before its final three missions could be flown. There has always been speculation in space circles that Nixon’s antipathy for the lunar program was based on the fact that it was an idea initiated by President John F. Kennedy — whom Nixon never quite quit resenting. Maybe that’s true; the man who gave us a White House enemies list was clearly not above pettiness. But it’s also true that it was Nixon who was in office when Apollo 11 landed, and thus Nixon who got to perform the presidential touchdown dance — phoning the astronauts on the lunar surface, appearing on the deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet to welcome them home. Apollo had effectively become Nixon’s program and any future Mars initiative would have been his baby as surely as the early space push was Kennedy’s.

The more prosaic explanation for Nixon’s wariness was money. The Vietnam War was still consuming an outsize portion of the federal budget and inflation was roaring — at 6% in 1970 — prompting Nixon to take the now unthinkable measure of imposing wage and price controls in the summer of 1971. Throwing money at Mars at a time like that might simply not have seemed tenable. Instead, we’d go the practical route, and a space shuttle would provide the way.

via NASA’s Final Shuttle: The End of an Error? – TIME.

Casey Anthony, trials, media trials, murder trials, justice: OK, I did not watch one day of the trial … but the prosecution did not prove its case … bottom line.

Anthony, who was sentenced to four years with time served for lying to police, will be released from jail July 17. The 25-year-old was acquitted of charges she abused and murdered her toddler daughter Caylee. Anthony’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony, have received death threats since the trial ended, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Mason made some strong remarks about the media’s role in the case, scolding those “who have indulged in media assassination for three years.”

“She was not only tried, but convicted and sentenced by the news media, and that conviction was overturned by the jury,” he told Guthrie.

via Casey Anthony lawyer worried about her safety after release; speculation continues about Caylee’s death – The Washington Post.

Casey Anthony is guilty of many things. She is an enthusiastic liar. She was an indifferent mother. She mooched off her overindulgent parents for years. Even after her daughter went missing, Anthony partied and got a tattoo. But the state of Florida did not make a good case that Anthony murdered her daughter. In acquitting Anthony, the jury made the right call.

… The Casey Anthony trial offered few answers. It provided neither justice nor clarity.

Murder cases occupy a unique place in the American judicial arena: they require inflexible scientific evidence even as they elicit primal emotions. In the unsolved death of Caylee, the dearth of evidence means that all that unresolved emotions will continue to haunt an audience that had grown obsessed with the trial of her mother since jury selection began on May 9, almost two months ago.

via The Casey Anthony Verdict: The Jury Did the Right Thing – TIME.

Google, e-readers, competition:  I still prefer my iPad, but there is something nice about a designated e-reader … and the more competition the better!

Google has teamed up with device manufacturer iriver to release a Google branded eReader. The iriver Story HD will be the first eReader integrated with the Google eBooks platform. The Wi-Fi enabled device has a 6″ eInk screen and a QWERTY keyboard. It goes on sale this coming Sunday at Target for $139.99, the same price as the Kindle.

Do you think the eReader will be competitive? It is good news for independent bookstores who can sell eBooks using the Google eBookstore platform.

via Google eReader Takes on Kindle – GalleyCat.

Google+, social networking: I want an invite!

If you’re desperate to get on to Google+ but are still awaiting your invite, stay calm: Google’s new social network is growing incredibly fast, according to one unofficial study. So your chance to join in the Circle-dancing fun on G+ can’t be far off.

According to G+ user Paul Allen (not the Paul Allen that co-founded Microsoft, though), Google+ is “growing like crazy”. In a post published over the weekend, he estimated it had 4.5 million users, and had grown nearly three times in a single week. Allen said he’s post a more detailed report, with up-to-date figures, later today.

(MORE:: Five Failed Social Networks Even Worse Than MySpace)

Plus is getting a lot of attention because – finally – Google seems to have done a social network right. All right, I know Orkut was big in Brazil. I’m talking about a social network for everyone who isn’t in Brazil.

via Google+ Is ‘Growing Like Crazy’ – Techland – TIME.com.

It’s too early to declare Google+ a success. For one thing, it’s still not fully open to the public. (Google has been admitting newcomers in small, sporadic batches; you can get on the waitlist at plus.google.com.) For another, it’s an unapologetic work in progress. But it has enormous potential — both to be a cool online destination and to redefine the dynamics of the ongoing battle between the Web’s biggest companies. Already, it’s having an impact. Facebook unveiled a new person-to-person video-calling service in partnership with Skype this week, but the fact that Google+’s Hangout feature permits up to 10 people to chat via Webcam made Facebook’s news less of a big whoop.

Google calls Google+ a “project,” which is about right. It’s not one thing but several of them loosely stitched together and with existing Google services like the Picasa photo-sharing service. Some of it is cribbed directly from Facebook. The Stream is Facebook’s News Feed, Posts are the Wall, and the +1 button is a shameless imitation of the Facebook Like button that’s been pressed billions of times all over the Web.

Google+ replicates only a fraction of Facebook, though, and it offers several things that Facebook doesn’t — like Sparks, a special-interest search engine that helps you find stuff on the Web to share with your pals, with topics ranging from recipes to robotics. It also borrows a fundamental principle from Twitter rather than Facebook: you can follow other members without seeking their permission, and it’s a unidirectional action that doesn’t require them to follow you back.

via Google+ Reverses Social-Network Curse, Challenges Facebook – TIME.

 

careers, banking, farming:  I think this is good for American society … we need more farmers.

If you want to become rich, Jim Rogers, investment whiz, best-selling author and one of Wall Street’s towering personalities, has this advice: Become a farmer. Food prices have been high recently. Some have questioned how long that can continue. Not Rogers. He predicts that farming incomes will rise dramatically in the next few decades, faster than those in most other industries — even Wall Street. The essence of his argument is this: We don’t need more bankers. What we need are more farmers. The invisible hand will do its magic. “The world has got a serious food problem,” says Rogers. “The only real way to solve it is to draw more people back to agriculture.”

But some experts believe agriculture can do more to fuel job growth. Chuck Fluharty of the Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri sees a possible renaissance in farm towns. As money flows back into those areas, he predicts, farmers will need somewhere to invest. As they did with ethanol, he says, farmers will put their money in new industries that will create uses for their crops, like biodegradable plastics or other kinds of biofuels. The result will be more jobs. “Agriculture is the most critical story in our economy today,” says Fluharty. “It will affect the future of the world.”

via Best U.S. Job: Become a Farmer to Make More than a Banker – TIME.

websites, apps, Historypin:  Looks pretty cool …

Today, the unveiling of an ambitious new site called Historypin takes the concept several steps further.

In a partnership with Google, from which it leverages maps and Street View imagery, Historypin allows users to upload vintage photographs to geographically “pinned” locations on a map. Those images are then laid on top of Google’s Street View and organized on a navigable timeline, dating all the way back to 1840 (when the first recorded photograph took place). Landmarks, street corners, or wherever else you can imagine can be given unimaginable layers of depth via their own past and present communities.

via Technology and History Collide in Historypin: A Progressive Time Capsule for Vintage Photos – Techland – TIME.com.

Jaycee Dugard, media: I wish this woman peace.

A statement from Dugard, read by her mother at the sentencing hearing, called the Garridos “evil” and described her kidnapping by them as a “sexual perversion.”

During the ABC interview, she stressed she is moving on with her life. Dugard said she wants to study writing, the network reported.

She spoke out just days before her memoir, “A Stolen Life,” is scheduled to be released. The book is due in stores Tuesday.

“Why not look at it? Stare it down until it can’t scare you anymore,” Dugard said about her nearly two decades in captivity. “I didn’t want there to be any more secrets.”

via Kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard talks about her 18 years of terror – CNN.com.

Harry Potter, movies, music, lists:  🙂 Music Monday: To Celebrate Harry Potter, the Top 5 Songs About Magic – TIME NewsFeed.

 

 

18
Jul
11

‎7.18.2011 … early morning drive from ATL .. then PT … and now HP …

Harry Potter, movies:  Definitely, a HP day!  Harry Potter premiere photos from Twitter – storify.comMagical Recap: The Harry Potter Saga in 5 Minutes – Video – TIME.com.

Harry Potter, movies, Draco Malfoy: 🙂

Tom Felton is just happy to have all of his hair. After a decade of dyeing it platinum blond to play Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” films, he’s finally been allowed to stay off the bleach.  He doesn’t have to religiously wear sunscreen, either, now that he’s no longer required to have ghostly white skin.

Speakeasy caught up with Felton a day before the New York premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” the final film in the series.  Check out the video below to hear Felton’s thoughts on playing the villain to Daniel Radcliffe’s Bond, whether Draco truly gets redemption and why he’s happy with the length of the last film.

via Tom Felton On Playing Draco Malfoy: The Boy Who Hated Harry Potter – Speakeasy – WSJ

literature, travel, Harry Potter, Harry Potter Generation:  Where would you like to go?  Hogwarts was a favorite.  An aside, several cllerages market themselves to the Harry Potter Generation as being “like” Hogwarts … i.e. Sewanee, Kenyon, Yale …

Given that this is the season of travel, I thought I’d highlight responses to a recent creative challenge that asked which fictional place (from a novel or story) would you want to go this summer.

via DailyLit Readers’ (Fictional) Summer Destinations « DailyLit Blog.

 

Harry Potter, Children’s/YA literature: The fact that some call the children of the 90’s the Harry Potter Generation speaks as to its classic nature.  Quality literature is a different discussion.

To some extent, it matters little whether scholars label the series high-quality literature; millions of people around the globe consider the book to be a good read. And as doctoral student Todd Ide suggests, one need only look at the amount of scholarly work in the form of presentations, articles, chapters and books with a Harry Potter focus to see the impact of the series on literary scholarship.

But can we equate popularity and passion with quality? Phil Nel voices the sentiment of many when he asserts, “Rowling is gifted at inventing a carefully imagined parallel universe, great at creating character, and a skilled crafter of plots.” On the other hand, Jeffrey Canton compares the series to other works of fantasy and finds it lacking in craft.

“Every time I read Alice in Wonderland, I am astounded by Carroll’s text — that’s what I don’t find in Rowling — some fabulous moments but overall — it’s a great son et lumiere show but that’s all it is.”

One of the most interesting discussions centers on the community of readers. Some have suggested that though reading is often a solitary experience, many of us read Harry Potter as part of a community, discussing, interacting, writing fan fiction. Rowling has seemed acutely aware of her audience and has interacted with that community of readers increasingly through the text as the series went on. (Ebony Elizabeth Thomas)

In fact, with Harry set to move onto the recently announced Pottermore, the series will soon be at the forefront of digital social media.

via Is Harry Potter classic children’s literature? – College, Inc. – The Washington Post.

cars, green:

THE first Fisker Karma, a luxury four-seater high-performance electric car, will be delivered to its first customer, one Leonardo di Caprio, on July 21st. The Hollywood film star will find that unlike other electric cars, the Karma has been designed to be driven like a conventional combustion-engined vehicle, but also with the ability to change its character and use electricity for a different driving style.

via Electric cars: Karma chameleon | The Economist.

Jane Austen:

It’s been 200 years since readers first met the serious-minded Elinor Dashwood, heroine of Jane Austen’s first published novel, “Sense and Sensibility.” Austen-mania got off to a slow start, as the four books published during her lifetime were anonymous. But it has made up for time lost. Now, Austen is a superstar. Films, sequels, prequels and updated versions of her books bring her plots (and her life) to readers and moviegoers. And then there is the work of the academics: She was heartbroken by an Irishman — no, she was gay; she was conservative — no, she was a feminist. We love her; we hate her; we can’t agree about her; we know we should read her. Myths about her abound, but there are some truths we should universally acknowledge.

via Five myths about Jane Austen – The Washington Post.

cars, Mercury Villager, me:  I just saw a mercury villager,  green with gold trim husband, just like the one I drove for  10 years.  The woman inside looked very hot and  tired and had windows rolled down; I assume the a/c is no longer working. My Villager was a great car,  10 years 200,000. Just seeing her made me think of the many miles traveled together!

weather, derecho, vocabulary:  Wicked weather … new word.

The line of storms contained all of the characteristics of a derecho, defined as a widespread, long-lived windstorm associated with a band of rapidly moving showers and storms.

High winds at about 18,000 feet energized the fast-moving storms that ripped through Chicago Monday morning. (Twisterdata.com) The derecho was energized by very strong high altitude winds of 60-70 mph and abundant low level moisture. Its impacts extended well beyond Chicago. AccuWeather’s Henry Margusity tweeted as of 11 a.m. that the storms have traveled 425 miles, produced almost 200 wind damage reports, and caused more than a million power outages. As of 11:30 a.m., the storms stretched from around Lansing, Michigan to Fort Wayne, Indiana. The storms are likely to affect Detroit, Ann Arbor and Toledo Ohio through early this afternoon with the potential for damaging winds.

 

via Chicago blasted by violent line of thunderstorms, known as derecho – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

17
Jul
11

‎7.17.2011 … At the Fox … Many Marias, a few Liesls, lots of nuns, and yes, one man in a nun’s habit. :)

Harry Potter, Harry Potter Generation:  My kids are Harry Potters …

“As surely as there is a Generation X or a Generation Y, there is a Harry Potter generation,” says Momspeak columnist Tracy Grant.

via The Harry Potter generation’s years of waiting are over – On Parenting – The Washington Post.

Industrial Revolution, history, America:  Interesting angle.

“Type of the modern! emblem of motion and power! pulse of the continent!” Walt Whitman sang in praise of the railroad. When he published those lines in 1876, the vast network that connected West to East was being widely hailed as the muscular marvel of the industrial age. It sped the bounty of farms and factories across the land, spawned hundreds of towns and cities along its routes, pioneered in marketing and managerial organization, and employed a huge and growing labor force. The men who created and ran the transcontinentals — Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Jay Gould, Mark Hopkins, Charles Francis Adams Jr., among others — were as famous in their era as such high-tech moguls as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are today. Their entrepreneurial daring did much to transform the United States into a prosperous, developed nation.

Richard White will have none of it. “Transcontinental railroads,” he asserts in “Railroaded,” “were a Gilded Age extravagance that rent holes in the political, social and environmental fabric of the nation, creating railroads as mismanaged and corrupt as they were long.” This is a bold indictment, but White supports it convincingly with lavish detail and prose that swivels easily from denunciation to irony.

via Book Review – Railroaded – By Richard White – NYTimes.com.

Norman Rockwell, Cvil Rights Movement, The President, The White House:  What a great picture to be at the White House.

.

http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/whitehouse/5941263302/

college, education, America:  You have to wonder … kids at elite schools have made As their whole life … an argument against the concentration of  elite students in my opinion.

Most recently, about 43 percent of all letter grades given were A’s, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988. The distribution of B’s has stayed relatively constant; the growing share of A’s instead comes at the expense of a shrinking share of C’s, D’s and F’s. In fact, only about 10 percent of grades awarded are D’s and F’s.

As we have written before, private colleges and universities are by far the biggest offenders on grade inflation, even when you compare private schools to equally selective public schools. Here’s another chart showing the grading curves for public versus private schools in the years 1960, 1980 and 2007:

via A History of College Grade Inflation – NYTimes.com.

politics, 2012 Presidential Campaign, Harry Potter:  An interesting statistic …

That’s only slightly more than the $86 million Barack Obama raised from donors this past quarter. But more is more.

via Last Harry Potter Has Already Raised More Money Than Obama – Entertainment – The Atlantic Wire.

culture, America, French:  mayonnaise!

David McCullough explains why 19th century Americans moved to Paris rather than stay in the states and appreciate American mayonnaise.

via David McCullough – The Colbert Report – 2011-13-07 – Video Clip | Comedy Central.

16
Jul
11

‎7.16.2011 … to ATL … and tomorrow to the FOX Theater to see the Sound of Music Sing-a-long … I know you are jealous!

movies, Sound of Music, sing-a-longs, Fox Theater, Atlanta:  

The smash hit interactive screening of the classic Julie Andrews film is in glorious, full screen Technicolor, complete with subtitles so that the whole audience can sing a long!

via The Fox Theatre – Atlanta, Georgia – Sound of Music Sing-A-Long.

icons, Simpson Syndrome:  🙂

For much of this week Marilyn Monroe’s legs stood astride a plaza in Chicago, like the bottom half of some giant jitterbugging mannequin. The rest of the statue is scheduled to be unveiled Friday, a 26-foot rendering of Ms. Monroe fighting a losing battle with her pleated skirt—the iconic image from the film “The Seven Year Itch.”

Let’s stipulate that public statuary derived from movie scenes is at best dubious. (The less said about A. Thomas Schomberg’s bronze “Rocky” statue outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the better.) But worse is the endless recycling of images, whether from film, photos or art, that have become—and here’s that dreaded word again—iconic. What is an icon these days but a cliché on stilts?

How clichéd is the subway-grate Marilyn? A trailer for this summer’s Smurf movie features a little blue cartoon blonde giggling as her dress flies up.

via Simpsons Syndrome: Overused Cultural Icons Trigger Gag Reflex | Postmodern Times by Eric Felten – WSJ.com.

music, lists:  Funny, most are pretty old …

Cathartic Tunes for the Heartsick

The 10 Best Breakup Songs

Doesn’t matter if you’re the heartbreaker or the heartbroken, one of the best ways to shake off a bad relationship is to burst into song. Try one of these classic breakup anthems.

via The 10 Best Breakup Songs – Emotional Health Center – Everyday Health.

Paris, quizzes:  I have a lot to learn:)

Paris, Perfume, and Pranksters

The City of Light’s beauty draws tourists in, and the rest of the country’s charms keep them captivated. Know your France facts? Find out.

via France Quiz — National Geographic.

music: Another recommendation … The Morning Benders – Excuses Yours Truly session ‏ – YouTube.

random, Bubble Tea, Groupon, Paris:  Since I am planning a trip to Paris, I signed up for the Paris Groupons.  They are of course in French! … But I did recognize Bubble Tea, something i had never heard of before a few weeks ago.  I guess i am behind on the times.

coupon de Vita In Paris extra
Mettez-vous au thé tendance ! 2 Bubble Tea et 2 pâtisseries pour 10 euros au lieu de 21 chez Vita In

via Vita In : Economisez 52.38% à Paris Sud Est.

doctors, professionals, fairy tales, Brothers Grimm:  Nice story …

Fairy tales are, at their core, heightened portrayals of human nature, revealing, as the glare of injury and illness does, the underbelly of mankind. Both fairy tales and medical charts chronicle the bizarre, the unfair, the tragic. And the terrifying things that go bump in the night are what doctors treat at 3 a.m. in emergency rooms.

So I now find comfort in fairy tales. They remind me that happy endings are possible. With a few days of rest and proper medication, the bewildered princess left relaxed and smiling, with a set of goals and a new job in sight. The endoscopy on my cross-eyed confidante showed she was cancer-free.

They also remind me that what I’m seeing now has come before. Child endangerment is not an invention of the Facebook age. Elder neglect didn’t arrive with Gen X. And discharge summaries are not always happy; “Cinderella” originally ended with a blinding, and Death, in his tattered shroud, waits at the end of many journeys.

Healing, I’m learning, begins with kindness, and most fairy tales teach us to show kindness wherever we can, to the stooped little beggar and the highest nobleman. In another year, I’ll be among the new doctors reporting to residency training. And the Brothers Grimm will be with me.

via Practicing Medicine Can Be Grimm Work – NYTimes.com.

travel, airport clubs, independent airport clubs:  Interesting.

For decades airlines plied premium customers and road warriors with fancy airport clubs, often charging annual membership fees of $400 or more, or daily rates of $50. International first-class and business-class passengers have enjoyed clubs with showers, buffets and other perks.

Independent lounges have replaced clubs abandoned by cost-cutting airlines or opened up new spaces in New York; Baltimore; Miami; Dallas-Fort Worth; Los Angeles; Green Bay, Wis.; Manchester, N.H.; and Savannah, Ga. Small airports find offering such niceties can sway travelers from driving to big-city airports for cheaper tickets. Bigger airports can provide for international travelers who want lounge access, but can’t get into airline-operated clubs without business- or first-class tickets.

via And Now, an Airport V.I.P. Lounge for the Rest of Us – WSJ.com.

internet shopping, Etsy:  I love to look on Etsy … but I never buy.

The site provides an outlet to many sellers who previously relied on local craft fairs and flea markets to peddle their wares. Sheryl Okin, a maker of handpainted children’s furniture who lives on New York’s Long Island, says using Etsy has allowed her to keep up her income while significantly cutting back on the number of crafts fairs she attends. Now, she says, she is thinking about hiring a few workers to help her meet the growing demand for her desks, chairs and other furniture.

Etsy makes money in three ways. It charges 20 cents per item for a four-month listing. Etsy also takes a 3.5% cut of each sale. And it sells advertising, but only for product listed on the site, which it says had almost 1 billion page views last month.

Etsy’s base of active sellers has doubled since last August’s fund raising to about 800,000. Sales of goods through the site totaled $314 million last year, up 74% from 2009. Growth has continued this year, with $225 million in gross sales through June.

The tone at the company is set by CEO Rob Kalin, who is also a furniture maker, and was once described by a company investor as an “accidental business person.”

Handmade goods, including a giant owl-like creature made of cardboard, adorn the company’s office, and a large rack of bicycles fills the entry way. Employees get a handbuilt desk when they join. The staff of 200 lunches together twice a week on a free meal of locally grown food.

via Etsy Knits Together a Market – WSJ.com.

internet, Spotify, LOL:  “hot friend with benefits”

Spotify, though, joins a growing number of streaming music services now targeting music consumers who throw away (i.e. quit listening to) digital downloads faster than you can say “Gucci Gucci.” (Phrase you won’t hear: “Kreayshawn isn’t really writing songs, she’s writing albums.”) Meanwhile, music collectors find fewer things they want to actually own in the scrap bin of pop singles. Streaming services let both types listen to tons of music without the commitment of buying. Sometimes, users will even commit to paying a monthly fee for that service.

In other words, music consumers want to fool around before they settle down. And Spotify is a hot friend with benefits.

via How Spotify’s Casual Encounters Seduce Young U.S. Music Lovers | Fast Company.

astronomy, neptune: One Neptune year = 164.79 earth years …

Astronomers will celebrate a remarkable event on 11 July. It will be exactly one year since the planet Neptune was discovered. Readers should note a caveat, however. That year is a Neptunian one. The great icy world was first pinpointed 164.79 years ago – on 23 September 1846. And as Neptune takes 164.79 Earthly years to circle the sun, it is only now completing its first full orbit since its detection by humans. Hence those anniversary celebrations.

via Neptune’s first orbit: a turning point in astronomy | Science | The Observer.

Shuttle Program, NASA, end of an era, photography:  What a neat experience for this father and son!

Father and Son Recreate Space Shuttle Launch Photo 30 Years Later.

travel, frequent flyers:

EVEN frequent flyers get their 15 minutes of fame. Thomas Stuker, a car salesman from Chicago, has just completed 10m miles of flying with United Airlines, an achievement for which he has been roundly feted ( see video). It took him 29 years and 5,962 flights, but he has a plane named after him, he will never have to queue and, most remarkably perhaps, his wife hasn’t left him. (They do go on four or five honeymoons a year.)

via Frequent flyers: The ten-million-mile man | The Economist.

YA/Children’s literature, parody:  This does nothing for me … not funny.

“GO THE F*** to Sleep” is an expletive-laced cry of adult rage disguised as a child’s book of lullabies that is now a smash bestseller. Go, as they say, figure. The book consists of page after page of more or less conventional two lines of nursery rhyme, and flat-footed ones to boot—“The tiger reclines in the simmering jungle./The sparrow has silenced her cheep.”— followed by another two lines, which are crude, angry pleas for the resistant child to immediately make himself unconscious. “F*** your stuffed bear, I’m not getting you s—./Close your eyes. Cut the crap. Sleep.”

via Parenthood: Give me a f*** break | The Economist.

Harry Potter, memory lane:  I enjoyed this journalist/mother’s perspective.

The moments in the company of the kids stand out. Maybe it’s the mom in me. As most reporters will attest, interviewing children can be difficult. They give one-word answers, or a nod or shake of the head. Attention wanders, it’s hard to get quotable material. It’s a variation on the W.C. Fields trope: Kids and dogs — adorable scene-stealers, surely, but not reliable interviews.

But something about these kids was charming from the start. And as they matured, it was fascinating to watch their development and see how they changed or, in some cases, stayed the same.

As our recent interview wound down, I told Radcliffe how much I’d enjoyed speaking with him over the years.

His response harked back to our earliest encounter. “You’re very kind. It’s been a pleasure.”

The pleasure has been all mine.

via Critic spins Time-Turner back through ‘Potter’ years – USATODAY.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.




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