Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Irene

02
Sep
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randall: An exceptional book club

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

Anything is possible as long as you keep waking up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So do I.

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

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

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

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

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

via Randall: An exceptional book club | ScrippsNews.

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

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

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

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

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

Romare Bearden Turns 100

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

via WFAE 90.7 FM.

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

Ground Zero Now – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com.

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

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

Scorched earth runs in the family.

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

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

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

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

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

via Darth Vader Vents – NYTimes.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

via App Store – Video Time Machine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, lists:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caiaphas, ossuary, archeology, history, Biblical figures:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9/11 anniversary, Where Were You When?:  

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

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

Bones:

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

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

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

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

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

food, recipes, lamb, rosemary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane Austen: 

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

via Why We Read Jane Austen.

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

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

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

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

The Silver Crown, Robert O’Brien

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Half Magic, Edward Eager

The Second Mrs. Gioconda, E. L. Konigsberg

Black and Blue Magic, Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Gone-Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright

Graceling, Kristin Cashore

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, Peter Cameron

Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden

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

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

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

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

via Travel Manitoba: Polar Bears.

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

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

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

01
Sep
11

9.1.2011 … boys off to Louisville … Molls to the Panthers … I’m home with the beasts …

Hurricane Irene, apiculture:  30 -40,000 bees!  Oh, my.

That a swarm of bees would draw a swarm of people reflects the growing interest in beekeeping, or apiculture, which has been expanding since the city legalized it in March of last year. Although there are no statistics on the number of beekeepers in the city, some involved in the practice estimate that there are over 200 keepers tending hives on their rooftops or in their backyards. (Beekeepers are required to register their hives with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, but it’s likely not everyone does.)

Mr. Fischer, who teaches about 100 students each year, said he was amazed by the number of young mothers and teachers, like Ms. Dory and Ms. Dorn, who had been drawn to bees.

“Five years ago the beekeeper demographic was an old white man who had retired after working 30 years as a machinist somewhere,” he said.

Beehives are the new ant farms, it seems.

And in the end, who would claim the Fort Greene bees? A compromise, of sorts, was reached.

As the sun went down on Sunday, Ms. Dory and Ms. Dorn loaded up a truck with the bandaged tree limb and a back seat full of bees and took them to a community garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where the hive rested for the night.

Andrea Morales/The New York Times

Liz Dory, an amateur beekeeper, is caring for 30,000 to 40,000 rescued bees on the roof of her brownstone in Prospect Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn.

On Monday, the comb was carefully excised from the branch and the bees were transferred to wooden frames in a procedure that involved a vacuum, serrated bread knives and rubber bands. Mr. Fischer was on hand to settle the bees on the top of Ms. Dory’s brownstone in Prospect Lefferts Gardens after successfully introducing the new queen to the hive.

Ms. Dory will house the bees and, if they survive the winter, she will give half of them, in what is known as a “split,” to Ms. Dorn.

And, in an effort to maintain good relationships with her fellow beekeepers, she called Mr. Coté to thank him for efforts. Without his help, she said, her hive would not have survived.

via Bees Rescued After Tree Torn by Storm – NYTimes.com.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, quotes:  Why paraphrase?
On Feb. 4, 1968, two months before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a haunting sermon at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church about a eulogy that might be given in the event of his death.

“If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice,” King told the congregation. “Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is revealed to members of the press before opening to the public. The design is derived from part of King’s famous “I have a dream” speech when he said, “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” The memorial sits by the tidal basin between the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials.

The sermon was so powerful that the designers of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington selected those lines to be inscribed on the memorial’s towering statue of the civil rights leader.

But because of a design change during the statue’s creation, the exact quotes had to be paraphrased, and now one of the memorial’s best-known consultants, poet and author Maya Angelou, says the shortened inscription is misleading and ought to be changed.

Carved on the north face of the 30-foot-tall granite statue, the inscription reads: I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.

“The quote makes Dr. Martin Luther King look like an arrogant twit,” Angelou, 83, said Tuesday. “He was anything but that. He was far too profound a man for that four-letter word to apply.

via Maya Angelou says King memorial inscription makes him look ‘arrogant’ – The Washington Post.

health, weight, weight loss, models:  I could have told you that …

In principle, the heavier person could make the necessary cuts in stages—reducing his daily intake again and again as he lost weight. In practice, that would take a will of iron, and the few people who have such willpower rarely get fat in the first place. The lesson, then, is to stay, rather than become, slim. Not easy, in a world whose economic imperative is to satisfy every appetite, but perhaps a little more urgent now Dr Hall has put numbers on it.

via Obesity: A wide spread problem | The Economist.

food, garden, heirloom tomatoes:  I used to hate tomatoes!  But aren’t these guys beautiful?

Heirloom Tomatoes

Is the combination of historic weather and the dwindling days of summer getting you down? Turn to Fresh Local Best for instant culinary inspiration in the form of a no-cook summer favorite: thick slices of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with salt and cracked black pepper. Up the flavor ante with an optional drizzle of tangy balsamic syrup and a handful of blue cheese crumbles.

via Image of the Day: Heirloom Tomatoes — Gourmet Live.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney: maybe he is just getting senile.

“He’s developed an angst and almost a protective cover, and now he fears being tried as a war criminal,” Wilkerson told ABC News, “because that’s the way someone who’s decided he’s not going to be prosecuted acts: boldly, let’s get out in front of everybody, let’s act like we are not concerned and so forth when in fact they are covering up their own fear that somebody will Pinochet him.”

Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested for war crimes years after relinquishing power.

Wilkerson, who has known Cheney for decades, said Cheney has become a “very vindictive person” and “I simply don’t recognize Mr. Cheney anymore.”

via Dick Cheney fears being charged as a war criminal, former Colin Powell aide says – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

Willie Nelson, sustainable agriculture: Impressive.

Willie Nelson covers Coldplay, with brilliant animation by filmmaker Johnny Kelly (ofProcrastination fame), commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system

curiosity counts – Willie Nelson covers Coldplay, with brilliant….

9/11, changes:  For me it is airport security and the memorial a family puts up every year on my walking path.

In the 10 years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the national landscape has changed in so many ways. Politically. Culturally. Physically.

We want to know how the world looks differently to you because of 9/11, in ways big and small. Have government buildings been closed off in your area? Is your commute different? Are there artistic displays or memorials in your neighborhood?

via Sept. 11 changed our world. How did it change yours? (#911changes) – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

food – southern, cheese grits:  Cheese grits made with velveeta … ugh!

In the morning there was breakfast at a great divey place around the corner from the hotel, Mena’s. I ordered an omelet with andouille sausage and grits with cheese. The plate arrived. I could tell by the bright-orange cheese with the weepy edges that the cheese nestled in my grits was Velveeta. For a moment, I paused. I haven’t eaten anything like this in over ten years. Velveeta? And then I thought, “What the hell? I’m in New Orleans.”

Damned if that wasn’t a good breakfast.

via warm brown rice and grilled vegetables salad.

31
Aug
11

8.31.2011 … my pets are acting weird … I don’t want to tell them they are a week late …

kith/kin, pets:  They say animals sense big natural events before we do … Well, Bart Lisa and Fitz (2 ten-year old bassets and a black American short-haired cat) are clueless … last week, rather than the two weeks before when we had an earthquake and a hurricane in our region, my animals have been cling-y, bark-y , howl-ly, etc … and nothing.

9/11, prayers:  Some things you just do not think about.  Like a traditional war, there are children who never see their fathers, but here we have a concentration in one area of children without fathers.

They were the smallest victims of 9/11 – not yet even born when they lost their fathers on Sept. 11, 2001.

Today, they are bright and hopeful 9-year-olds who only now are beginning to understand their unique legacy. Their resiliency is proof that life goes on.

“This is something the whole world felt,” says Jill Gartenberg Pila, whose daughter, Jamie, was born six months after 9/11. “As Jamie gets older, she realizes the loss she had was also a loss that affected everyone.”

In many ways, they are typical fifth graders who skateboard, play video games and worry about schoolyard crushes.

Yet they are far from ordinary.

Gabriel Jacobs Dick, 9, releases balloons every 9/11 with messages for Dad to “give him an update on how life is going,” he says. “Mostly it’s like, ‘I miss you.’ ”

September 11 Anniversary, Children of 9/11 : People.com.

Hurricane Irene, Vermont, covered bridges, icons:  Covered bridges are architectural poetry.

Perhaps it’s the simple, humble way that the Bartonsville Covered Bridge seems to say goodbye, bowing first at its far end, then slipping behind the trees while keeping its structure, and its dignity, intact until its peaked roof slips into the Williams River. Perhaps it’s the grief in the voices of the onlookers. We all know that tourists like to take pictures of Vermont’s iconic covered bridges; what this clip shows is the deep affection that Vermonters feel for these structures, and the terrible sense of loss when one disappears. Most bridges are simply crossings, a means from one place to the next. But covered bridges seem like dwellings. They give a sort of permanence to transitions, and impart to the otherwise ordinary act of driving somewhere a special texture and a mystery. Perhaps their claim on the imagination has something to do with that momentous crossing everyone makes, to death.

via News Desk: Requiem for a Covered Bridge : The New Yorker.

Lower Bartonsville Covered Bridge collapses into the Williams River in Vermont – YouTube.

Hurricane Irene, quotes:  Some of these are really good …

“Para todos, gracias, por los bomberos, muchas gracias por tu ayuda. Es suficiente?” —Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City

via News Desk: The Crisis in a Nutshell: Floods and FEMA : The New Yorker.

college life, happiness:  I was very surprised by this list. It doesn’t seem that there is much correlation between the “party” schools and the “happiest” schools.

Happiness is subjective, but without a doubt some college campuses make life a little sweeter for students. Newsweek ranks the 25 Happiest Schools in America.

Methodology: To find the happiest schools in the country, Newsweek crunched the numbers for six categories, weighted equally using z-scores (a measure of how close or distant each school is to average): dining, housing, and nightlife grades from College Prowler, the number of sunny days per year, with data from Sperling’s Best Places, student-teacher ratio, and the average indebtedness at graduation, with data from the College Board.

via College Rankings 2011: Happiest Schools – The Daily Beast.

… and now the list … surprise anyone?

Happiest Schools

Yale University

Harvard University

Rice University

Stanford University

Bowdoin College

Pitzer College

Occidental College

Colby College

Emory University

University of California-Davis

Southern Methodist University

Rollins College

Hamilton College

University of California-Los Angeles

University of Southern California

Cornell University

Wellesley College

Colorado College

Smith College

James Madison University

Purdue University

Vanderbilt University

Bucknell University

Santa Clara University

University of California-San Diego

via College Rankings 2011: Happiest Schools – The Daily Beast.

college, liberal arts, interdisciplinary world: “One has got to be ready to think quick.”

It just goes to show that the liberal arts and sciences have a real, growing, and very practical place in the future of thinking through a day, a career, or a lifetime in today’s increasingly interdisciplinary world. Discrete “skillsets” are great—but least limiting when the person using them understands the big picture of where they came from and what shape they might shift to, next week, year, or decade. One has got to be ready to think quick.

via » Liberal Arts AND Sciences, Mmm’kay? A Sample Davidson Click-fest Offers a Peek To the Future.

2012 DNC, internships:  It will be interesting to see what Charlotte gains from having the DNC.  Summer jobs and internships for college students will be great.

Fall internships with the DNC have been posted!  The deadline for applications is September 12, 2011.

The DNC is seeking self-motivated, results-driven and trainable students for this opportunity. A DNCC intern will have a wide range of responsibilities, such as acting as the first point of contact for a Department head in the offices of the CEO, COO, or Chief of Staff. Interns may assist with special projects in various departments such as Intergovernmental Affairs or Communication and Public Affairs.  They may prepare correspondence, assist staff with requests pertaining to the convention, assist with IT network systems, or help prepare memos as well as research important legal topics.

via Internships with the Democratic National Convention | Office of Career Services Blog.

Warren Buffet, BofA:  I like Buffet, but he is definitely all over the plate these days.

in the 1930s, they called Roosevelt a traitor to his class. Some would say he saved that class. Oddly, Warren Buffett finds himself in a comparable position today. Some would say he’s saving capitalism. Others would most certainly not say that.

The Buffett story du jour is, of course, the $5 billion investment in Bank of America, initially trumpeted as a vote of confidence that will salvage yet another purportedly too-big-to-fail institution. It is, among other things, a powerful example of the obvious intersection of finance and reputation management. From the bank’s perspective, all their reputational initiatives were faltering absent a critical communications tool – namely, a third-party endorsement of significant impact.

“I remain confident that we have the capital and liquidity we need to run our business,” said Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan. “At the same time, I also recognize that a large investment by Warren Buffett is a strong endorsement in our vision and our strategy” [emphasis added]. The New York Times, for one, cited favorable responses by analysts and concluded that the Berkshire Hathaway investment “has helped allay concerns about Bank of America.”

Maybe, but it might not be the best medicine for the Bank of America C-Suite amid prominent headlines like “Brian Moynihan Got Fleeced By Buffett’s BofA Bet.” Nor might it infuse confidence in the bank itself amid conspicuous commentary that features taglines like “Sorry, Warren, Bank of America Still Stinks.”

Importantly, though, this story is not just playing out at a “purely business level.” Most striking in much of the commentary is an unprecedented ambivalence – if not antipathy and distrust – toward Buffett, who has historically played the role of folk hero for Americans of every socio-politicalstripe. The problem with being a folk hero is that your public image has to be clear and simple. You’re a leader among peers from whom every citizen can learn the lessons of success without being made to feel inferior for want of a billion or two in disposable income.

The lesson is that financial communications never occur in a vacuum. They can be driven to an important extent by extrinsic public affairs concerns that directly affect the perceptions of analysts, shareholders, and journalists – who, in turn, influence how transactions are received in the marketplace.

Life is no longer clear and simple for the Sage of Omaha. Welcome to our world, Mr. Buffett.

via A Rorschach Blot Named Warren Buffett: The Sage of Omaha in an Age of Ideology – Forbes.

travel, science, random:  I just wish one airline would try it for a week!

If Fermilab astrophysicist Jason Steffen is right, this could be quite the boon to anyone who has to fly commercially (assuming, that is, you’re not lucky enough to sit in first class or business.)

Steffen invented a model using an algorithm based on the Monte Carlo optimization method used in statistics and mathematics to halve the time it takes to board an airplane. According to Steffen, the best method is to board alternate rows at a time, starting with the window seats on one side, then the other. The people sitting in window seats would be followed by alternate rows of middle seats, then the aisle seats. Another of Steffen’s conclusions: Boarding at random is faster than boarding by blocks.

But he’s still a preacher without a congregation. Although he published his study in the Journal of Air Transport Management in 2008, the airline industry hasn’t taken much notice.

via Physicist claims faster way to board a plane – CBS News.

28
Aug
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Meeting Neil Gaiman | BarryHutchison.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitpic – Share photos and videos on Twitter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

green, electric cars, standards:

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

It’s not that simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

27
Aug
11

8.27.2011 ‎… Last night, Midnight in Paris … In Charlotte :( … Off to the WNC XC Carnival … Run, Molly, Run … Go Hawks! ‎… and I am feeling guilty because so many friends are in harm’s way … stay safe those in the path of Irene.

Hurricane Irene: Charlotte and western and central NC really got nothing.  I actually am feeling guilty because so many friends are in harm’s way … stay safe those n the path of Irene. My beloved OBX was hit hard.  🙂

This photo from the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) shows something never seen – and certainly not on what should be a busy Saturday afternoon in August: an empty Grand Central Station. With all transit in the New York area closed, the terminal is a big empty barn. If you’re watching TV news they’ll probably call it “Death Central Station.”

via Hurricane Irene-emptied Grand Central Station looks like the end of the world.

CLS XC, WNC Cross-Country Carnival,  UrbanSpoon, Mean Mr. Mustard’s Cafe, Hendersonville, NC,  kith/kin: What a great race … very well-organized and wonderful park –  WNC Cross Country Carnival  at Jackson Park, Hendersonville, NC.  Afterwards, we used Urban Spoon app to find Mean Mr. Mustard’s Cafe in downtown Hendersonville … which was excellent.

‎Midnight in Paris, movies:  John and saw ‎Midnight in Paris on the recommendation of several.  I loved it and he enjoyed it.  He said if he had not read A Paris Wife and recently been there, he would not have enjoyed it nearly as much.  Molly adored seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at 11 pm. Toward the end they showed the Eiffel Tower lit up and it  just made me smile.

apps, photography apps: Another interesting photo app.  Luminance for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

twitter, Daniel Pink, Steve Jobs tribute, Apple:  Daniel Pink finds some really fun stuff.

Daniel Pink (@DanielPink)
8/27/11 12:24 PM
RT @runkeeper: Tribute to Steve Jobs: 21km Apple Logo http://j.mp/rmJ4RT by @tamegoeswild#artofrunning

 Art of Running – A Tribute to Steve: 21KM Apple Logo « Joseph Tame.

apps, FutureTap, Urban Spoon, travel, food:  We used the similar Urban Spoon, in  Hendersonville NC and found a great restaurant.  First time I have ever really had success with these apps.  Anybody tried this one?

Discover your next destination.

Where To? makes it incredibly easy to locate the closest steakhouse, bank branch, billiard club or anything else you may be looking for, at the drop of a hat! Finally you can find local businesses without any typing, using a slick, intuitive user experience.

via Where To? – Discover your next destination | FutureTap.

Navy SEALs, Hawkeye, man’s best friend, pets, followup, photography, iconic images, followup:  I actually did not post this story, but I loved it and wondered what would happen to Hawkeye (what a great name for a dog!) … now we know.  I think this photo may become an iconic image of the continued war on terror.

Hawkeye — not a military dog, but Tumilson’s personal pet — “led the family into the gym” where the funeral was held, as the Des Moines Register reports. And then he lay down.

A poignant picture taken by Tumilson’s cousin, Lisa Pembleton, has gotten lots of attention since then. So too have video reports aired and posted by local TV stations and the news networks.

Our colleagues at KPBS’ Home Post blog in San Diego were among the outlets that helped spread the word about Hawkeye. Today, they write that many readers wanted to know what was going to happen to Hawkeye and wondered if they could adopt him. There’s good news: According to Home Post, “Tumilson’s friend, Scott Nichols, will be Hawkeye’s new master.”

via Navy SEAL’s Loyal Dog Now With Master’s Friend : The Two-Way : NPR.

Gadhafi, Libya Uprising, personality cults, dictators, megalomaniacs:  Unfortunately, those that choose this route can negatively affect international politics for years …

In contrast, Gadhafi showed absolutely no interest in fleeing abroad during the six months that elapsed between the start of the Libyan uprising in February until Tuesday, the day the rebels stormed into his compound in Tripoli.

For months, the rebels encouraged Gadhafi to leave, and it seemed he would have had relatively little trouble finding a new home. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez was often mentioned as a possible host.

Now Gadhafi is presumed to be in hiding in Libya, and the rebels have put a bounty out on him. If captured, he is likely to be prosecuted at home or abroad.

Personality Cults

Absolute power, it seems, not only corrupts — it can also confuse.

“There’s a healthy dose of megalomania in these guys,” John Norris, a security analyst at the Center for American Progress, says of dictators who refuse to surrender power. “If I had to find one common thread, it’s a profound and fundamental miscalculation that the end is near.”

Dictators who rule unchallenged for decades — like Gadhafi or Saddam Hussein — have the hardest time accepting the fact that it’s time to leave, says Natasha Ezrow, a lecturer in government at the University of Essex and author of two books about dictators.

via A Dictator’s Choice: Cushy Exile Or Go Underground : NPR.

Game of Thrones, bookshelf, tv, HBO: A friend has highly recommended both the Game of Thrones tv show and the book.  Books are ordered from Amazon and will watch the show … Anybody read the books or watching the show?  HBO: Game of Thrones: About.

food – wine, viticulture,  oenology, Stellenbosch, South Africa, apartheid:  This is a great story.  We have been to SA’s wine country and Kwala-Zulu Natal, and the contrast is amazing.  What a wonderful story of post apartheid success.

Her choice of study was a fluke. Though she had been a good student, none of her grant applications for college were approved until an airline, hoping to promote diversity, offered to pay her way to study viticulture and oenology: grapes and wine. What was wine? the young woman wondered, guessing it was another name for cider.

She had never been outside the eastern province of KwaZulu Natal, but she boarded a bus and traveled across South Africa to the wine country of the Western Cape. She gazed at the immense mountains. She puzzled over the short, thin trees planted in perfect rows. She had no idea what they were.

Finally, Ms. Biyela tasted the beverage she had come such a distance to study. She and a handful of other black scholarship students met with a wine connoisseur, Jabulani Ntshangase. He opened a superb red, raised the moist cork to his nose and talked rapturously about the wine’s fruitiness and color and fragrance. She was expecting to sip something sublime when handed the elegant, long-stemmed glass. Instead, she was stunned. It was disgusting.

Ms. Biyela, having definitely adapted her tastes, is now one of this nation’s few black winemakers in an occupation that has been dominated by white people for 350 years. Her blends of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and pinotage have won gold medals and four-star ratings. She was named South Africa’s Woman Winemaker of the Year in 2009. Last month, she was busy judging the country’s entries for the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

“Somehow I fell in love with the ever-changing content of wine,” she said as if still surprised by her own journey. “Wine is never the same today as it is tomorrow. It even depends on where you drink it and who you are with and what mood you are in. It’s a very, very nice thing.”

Though apartheid has been swept away, this country is still a racially divided society. Ms. Biyela is a pioneer in its transformation, not someone elevated through political connections, but a rural woman who made it on grit.

via Black South African Goes From Never a Sip to Vineyard Fame – NYTimes.com.

UGA, PSAs, REM: Great PSA.  Thanks UGA and REM.

R.E.M., one of Athens, Georgia’s biggest rock exports, has lent their song, “Oh My Heart” from Collapse Into Now to the University of Georgia for a beautiful, new public service message. The University of Georgia reached outside the arches, teaming with an alumni group, to create the in-game public service announcement for the upcoming 2011 football season.

via R.E.M. Lends Song to University of Georgia for New PSA.

UGA_PSA_Skylabb.mov – YouTube.

twitter, college football, LSU, LOL, Pat Forde:

@espn4d

Pat Forde

Even Imelda Marcos is impressed by Jordan Jefferson’s shoe collection. Forty-nine pairs, nearly one for each week of the year.

via Twitter / @espn4d: Even Imelda Marcos is impr ….

college basketball:  I really do like college basketball

…25 consecutive hours of game action highlighted by Champions Classic doubleheader with College GameDay on-site; 17 men’s games; two women’s games for first time; and 11 ESPN telecasts

For the fourth consecutive year, ESPN will celebrate the opening of the college basketball season with a marathon of college basketball coverage across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com. This year’s College Hoops Tip-off Marathon Presented by Disney Parks Tuesday, Nov. 15, beginning at midnight ET, will include 19 live matchups – 17 men’s and two women’s – in a minimum of 25 hours, highlighted by ESPN’s 11 game telecasts and a special one-hour College GameDay Driven by State Farm. ESPN3.com will offer two exclusive games as well as a simulcast of every ESPN and ESPN2 telecast.

The schedule will feature four of the sport’s winningest programs – Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State – in the inaugural State Farm Champions Classic doubleheader, 14 teams that played in last year’s men’s NCAA Tournament, including Final Four participant Kentucky; and four women’s NCAA Tournament teams from last year, including defending National Champion Texas A&M.

via ESPN Celebrates Opening of Hoops Season with Fourth Annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon | ESPN MediaZone.




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