Posts Tagged ‘parenting

14
Nov
13

11.14.13 … bourbon pecan pie …

 

 

The Hil, Serenbe, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Garden and Gun:  last week I went to the Hil and my meal was delightful.  Of course, less than a week later I spot this.  Why did I not  have dessert? 

Garden & Gun Magazine

Holiday recipes: From bourbon pecan pie to cornbread oyster dressing to the perfect Blood Mary, we’ve pulled together our favorite recipes to amp up your holiday spread. http://bit.ly/1aAAyTg

It’s hard to beat a fresh pecan pie, unless you add a little bourbon

The only tree nut indigenous to the South, the pecan has been used in the region’s cooking since the earliest colonists met Native Americans. But the rise of pecan pie—sometimes called Karo pie—came centuries later, commonly traced to a product-based recipe printed on jars of Karo corn syrup, circa 1930.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” says Hilary White, chef and co-owner of the Hil in Serenbe, a 1,000-acre sustainable community located in Georgia’s Chattahoochee Hill Country. “There was a day when family favorites were a mix of recipes clipped from the Sunday newspaper and Ladies Auxiliary books. Others came straight off the flour sack.”

While pecans grow throughout the South, Georgia has been the nation’s largest producer since the late 1800s. The state’s growers even donated enough pecan trees to create wood handles for more than ten thousand torches carried during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. With peak harvesting months October to December, it makes sense that pecan pie became a traditional Southern holiday dessert, and the rich, nutty flavor matches the aromatic spices used in savory Thanksgiving recipes. “Every year my father’s parents would drive from Florida to Ohio, where my family lived at the time, stopping in Georgia to buy pecans,” White says. “I remember it was dark outside and we’d sit in the eat-in kitchen, picking them. My grandfather would use the nutcracker, and my grandmother and I would use the nut picks. It was delicate work because you didn’t want to crush the pecans but keep them perfect halves for the pie.”

White’s maternal grandmother contributed the piecrust, and like most inherited family recipes, it has a few “miracle” ingredients. The flaky tenderness comes from fresh white lard, testament to the recipe’s age. And the acidity in the vinegar enhances the workability of the dough, keeping it so pliable you don’t even have to rest it.

“Pie making is sort of a lost art,” White says, “and this is a good old recipe.” Though she did add one other miracle ingredient to her grandparents’ version: bourbon. “It has the same flavor nuances of the dark corn syrup and makes the pie even more Southern.”

via Bourbon Pecan Pie | Garden and Gun.

ice cream premium brands, Talenti, High-concept flavors and ingredient combinations, Sea Salt Caramel, Blood Orange and Sicilian Pistachio, BOGO:  I love Talenti, but it is so expensive I only buy it when it is BOGO.  

Talenti’s clear plastic pint package with a screw-on lid is more upscale than the traditional cardboard pint. And with flavors like Sea Salt Caramel, Blood Orange and Sicilian Pistachio, gelato commands a price roughly 25% to 50% higher than premium ice creams.

After all, the mark of a top-selling gelato, says Talenti founder Josh Hochschuler, is “something you want to eat a ton of.”

F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Jill Telesnicki (6)

High-concept flavors and ingredient combinations that once were considered niches—like vodka-flavored Limoncello and Montebianco, based on the Italian dessert made with roasted chestnuts and whipped cream—are going mainstream, as sellers of premium-priced gelato, sorbetto and ice cream cater to adult tastes and look to increase flat sales.

“We’ve seen an increasing level of interest in some of our more complex ice-cream flavors like rum raisin, bourbon praline pecan and peppermint bark,” says Cady Behles, brand manager of Häagen-Dazs, a Nestlé SA unit. Last month, Ben & Jerry’s, a unit of Unilever PLC, added “Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch” butterscotch ice cream, timed to the release next month of “Anchorman 2.”

via Premium Brands Hope Foodie Flavors Can Lift the $11.2 Billion Frozen Treat Industry – WSJ.com.

bikeshare programs, travel, adventure, Macs Adventure,  bikes, touring, Intelligent Travel:  I love touring by bike!

Macs Adventure

‘I don’t bike for biking’s sake. I bike because biking’s the best way to see a place. It’s more fun than public transit, quicker than walking and cheaper than taxis or renting a car – not to mention better for the environment.’

We couldn’t agree more. Biking allows you to access sides of places you wouldn’t otherwise see.

via Facebook.

Ten or 15 years ago, whenever I arrived in a new place, I’d ask where I could find the subway, a central plaza, or a DIY T-shirt shop. Nowadays — whether I’m in Ontario’s wine country or hopping off the train for a day in Denver – my first question has become “where can I get a bike?”

I don’t bike for biking’s sake. I bike because biking’s the best way to see a place. It’s more fun than public transit, quicker than walking (or horse cart, as I learned in Bagan), and cheaper than taxis or renting a car – not to mention better for the environment. What’s more, biking allows you to access sides of cities you wouldn’t otherwise see.

I had lived in New York City a decade before I took a bike up the Hudson River Park Bikeway. I saw things I didn’t know existed, like out-of-view softball fields, riverside anglers, and a little red lighthouse tucked below George Washington Bridge. What’s more, I was reminded, after years lost in Midtown skyscraper canyons, that New York down deep is a river city.

via Are Bikes the New Tour Bus? – Intelligent Travel.

 American Girl Dolls, kith/kin, history, parenting: My daughter forwarded this to me.  she is a current college student majoring in history and believes that the AG Dolls fostered her  love of history.  Very sad. 

 

You grow up with your dolls and through your dolls (or action figures, or stuffed animals, or whatever is your drug of choice). You use them to navigate miniature worlds. Limiting the range of their canonical adventures to the present-day, first-world problems of these little girls who are Just Like You is a big mistake. Sure, maybe you picked your first American Girl doll because she resembled you – actually a lot has been written on this – but the whole point was to give you an entry point to history. Felicity or Samantha or Addy reminded you that, during the Civil War and the Revolutionary War and all the fascinating important times of history, there were Girls Almost But Not Quite Like You. You could see yourself in history! You could engage with the biggest moments of the past!

Dolls Just Like Us. Is this really what we want? The image is embarrassing — privileged, comfortable, with idiotic-sounding names and few problems that a bake sale wouldn’t solve. Life comes to them in manageable, small bites, pre-chewed. No big adventures. No high stakes. All the rough edges are sanded off and the Real Dangers excluded. It’s about as much fun as walking around in a life vest.

Yes, I know there are plenty worse toys out there. Still, it pangs. These dolls were once a stand-out.

Of course, that’s history. We’ve moved past that.

via Even more terrible things are happening to the American Girl doll brand than you thought.

Providence and Queens Harris Teeter, grand openings, shame on you:  I am sorry, HT but your beautiful store is way out of scale for the neighborhood.  You ought to be ashamed.  

Harris Teeter plans to open its new, expanded grocery store at Queens and Providence Roads on Nov. 20, two years after the company first announced plans to demolish and replace the old Harris Teeter Express at that location.

The two-story, 42,000-square-foot Harris Teeter will be one of the larger grocery stores in the area. Its design mirrors many of the houses and buildings in the neighborhood nearby. As one of the company’s architects put it in a statement, “The building reflects the sophistication of the neighborhood fused with the excitement of shopping in a dynamic environment featuring food.”

The building features a Starbucks, an outdoor patio and expanded prepared food and produce sections. Building permits show Harris Teeter spent more than $9.1 million on the new store.

via What’s In Store: Providence and Queens Harris Teeter to open Nov. 20.

Mexican Coke  taste test, The Billfold:  I saw Mexican Coke in my local HT recently.  I think I will get some and have the kids do a blind taste test over Thanksgiving.  🙂

It really might be the experience of drinking the soda from a glass, at least according to Mexican Coke lovers. A commenter from the story argues:

Most of the “better taste” factor with MexiCoke comes from it being in glass bottles instead of cans or plastic. Bring back glass!

I have to admit that I too have always thought that the cane sugar in Mexican Coke made it taste better than the high-fructose Coca-Cola Classic bottled in the plastic in the U.S. The sweetness of American Coke is cloying, I’ve thought, perhaps, incorrectly. A grocery store near me sells both versions. Perhaps I’ll have to do a side-by-side taste test to find out for sure.

via Does Mexican Coke Really Taste Different From Coke Produced in the U.S.? | The Billfold.

4. ”If you want to hide a secret, you must also keep it from yourself,” wrote George Orwell in the novel 1984. That is coincidentally the year that Coca-Cola made the switch to high fructose corn syrup, rolled out New Coke (conspiracy theorists insist it was a diversion), began their denial of the flavor disparity, and started hiding miniature video cameras in their bottle caps.

11. If you get a Mexican Coke in Mexico, where they call it ”non-American Coke”, you won’t see any nutritional information sticker — those get slapped on when the bottles make their way up here. Maybe they should think about it, though: they recently surpassed us as the most obese country in the West!

via Mexican Coke Facts – Pure Cane Sugar Coke – Thrillist Nation.

 10.21.13 … supposedly they sell the real thing, Mexican Coke (aka non-American Coke) at some WalMarts in Atlanta, a a premium … Life doesn’t get much better than low country shrimp and grits … Perfect! … | Dennard’s Clipping Service.

11.5.13 … “Remember, remember the fifth of November when gunpowder, treason and plot. I know of no reason, why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!” … | Dennard’s Clipping Service.

 

Banksy, followup: A few things to think about … 

On the side of the old brick building that houses a thriving optical business, there are now two geishas, one with an umbrella, strolling over a “bridge” formed by one of the basement window arches. At the bottom of the arch is a spreading tree. It is beautiful.  But whether we like it or not, my sisters, father, and I have suddenly found ourselves in the position of being responsible for this notable piece of public art.

Should we preserve it immediately? Do we have a public duty to do so? How does one preserve a piece of art like this? How do we control the crowds with gawkers and fans of the elusive artist, many of them foreign tourists, who were suddenly standing outside the building? Will it make us money?

The advice came fast and furious. “Don’t tell people who you are,” a neighbor told me on the street. “They’ll try and kill you.”  “Put up plexiglass,” another told me.

via I’m the Accidental Owner of a Banksy — Daily Intelligencer.

 

Banksy did at least one admirable thing during his monthlong New York City residency: He bought a $50 landscape painting from a Housing Works thrift store, added a Nazi, and returned it to the organization as the now very valuable The Banality of the Banality of Evil. On Halloween, Housing Works, which uses donations to fight homelessness and AIDS, auctioned off the piece for a reported $615,000. Like Banksy, the buyer’s identity was a something of a mystery — he went by the screen name “gorpetri” on the auction website he used to make the winning bid. And, (arguably) like Banksy, he did not live up to the hype. Today, the New York Times and Talking Points Memo report that gorpetri “immediately shirked” on his pledge, leaving Housing Works to scramble to find another buyer.

The charity contacted the auction’s other high bidders and found another anonymous person to take it off their hands for an undisclosed amount on Wednesday. As for the gorpetri? “We are still looking into why he defaulted, and we reserve the right to sort of see what we’re going to do with it,” Housing Works COO Matthew Bernardo told TPM on Friday night. But, he told the Times, “We were happy with the [second] sale. We were happy with the process which we closed with, and it’s at a very good home.”

via Original Buyer of Banksy’s Nazi Painting Bailed — Daily Intelligencer.

 

 

Guggenheim Museum, UBS MAP Global Art Initiative:  Interesting … 

 

 

The Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative fosters cross-cultural interaction between artists, curators, and audiences via educational programs, online activities, and collection building. It focuses on three regions—South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa.

via Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative.

Las Vegas NV, Lemon Drop Martini, “I’ll have what she’s having”:  I met a friend for drinks in LV.  I did a “I’ll have what she’s having” and I think this is what we had.  It was very good.  🙂

Jenny McCarthy’s Lemon Drop Martini

Makes 1

Juice of 3 lemons, plus a lemon wheel for garnish

2 tbsp. sugar (use 1 tbsp. for a more tart cocktail)

2 shots (1.5 oz.) vodka

1 sugar-rimmed martini glass

Mix lemon juice, sugar and vodka in a martini shaker filled with ice. Shake well and pour into sugar-rimmed martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

via Donnie Wahlberg, Jenny McCarthy: ‘Watch What Happens Live’ Cocktails.

The drinks

Wonderfully handcrafted cocktails are served, all with seasonal fruit, house-made mixers and freshly squeezed juices. We enjoyed two delicious examples: my friend had a Sunset Sangria ($15) with Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, Absolut Tune, rhubarb and strawberry shrub. I went for a refreshing London Cooler ($15) with Oxley gin, fresh lemon, Mr. Q Cumber and fresh cucumber.

There’s a “Social Hour” from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day featuring draft beer and half-price martinis. There’s also a “Night Cap Hour” from 10:00 p.m. to midnight with half-price coffee cocktails. PRESS also features Lavazza espressos with some serious baristas behind the counter and organic, fresh-squeezed juices. The wine list is deep and they are currently featuring wines from women winemakers.

via PRESS at Four Seasons Las Vegas – a Delicious Oasis – Yahoo Voices – voices.yahoo.com.

 

 

The Women of the Supreme Court,  the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C. ,  female justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sandra Day O’Connor

The women of the Supreme Court are the subjects of a new painting unveiled at the Smithsonian\’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. on Monday.

The portrait features the high court’s current female justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, as well as Sandra Day O’Connor, who retired from the bench in 2005. O\’Connor made history in 1981 when she became the first woman ever named to the Supreme Court.

via The Women Of The Supreme Court Now Have The Badass Portrait They Deserve.

 

 

 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Usonian Home’,  74 Years Ahead Of Its Time, architecture

The work of Frank Lloyd Wright needs no identification. Unless, it\’s one of the hundreds of structures the legendary architect designed that never saw the light of day.

If you aren’t familiar with Wright’s work, you could head to the famous Guggenheim museum in NYC, or check out photos of the legendary Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Or, you could take a stroll through the campus of Florida Southern College, which boasts 18 Wright structures, the most Wright-designed projects in a single site. That’s where the latest Wright design has come to pass — a single-story house that Wright designed 74 years ago.

Designed in 1939 as part of his middle class-friendly Usonian House series, the house features a flat roof, small kitchen, overlarge living area, and airy, plain-jane, aesthetic, as Curbed describes it.

According to design site Dezeen, the house is one of 60 created for in the Usonian style, “a kind of family residence that is free from ornamentation, intended to represent a national style whilst remaining affordable for the average family.”

Inside the house, which makes up part of the Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center, furnishings also keep Wright’s vision alive with its reproduction furniture designed by Wright specifically for use in his Usonian homes.

via Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Usonian Home’ Was 74 Years Ahead Of Its Time (PHOTOS).

Daylight Saving Time, helpful info, fyi, TIME Explains | TIME.com:   Very helpful info … watch the video, too!

Daylight Saving Time is one of the universe’s great mysteries, like the afterlife, or who really killed JFK. It was one of the things you assumed you’d never understand. But it’s time for TIME to break down Daylight Saving Time.

First of all, it’s this weekend (Saturday night going into Sunday, to be exact). And since we spring forward and fall back, we’ll all be setting our clocks back Sunday fall morning to get an extra hour of sleep.

Daylight Saving Time dates back to the good ole’ days when we did everything based on when we had sunlight. It got more serious when Benjamin Franklin decided to be “that guy,” suggesting we all get up earlier to save money on candles. Thanks, Benji. It was a major blow to all the unhappy, unhealthy, and unwise people who love to snooze.

The practice wasn’t formally implemented until World War I, when countries at war started setting their clocks back to save on coal. Daylight Saving was repealed during peacetime, and then revived again during World War II. More than 70 countries currently practice Daylight Saving Time, because they think it saves money on electricity (in the U.S., Arizona and Hawaii have opted out).

But studies show that Daylight Saving Time actually results in a one percent overall increase in residential electricity. And that it messes with sleeping patterns. Oh, and also it may cause heart attacks, according to the American Journal of Cardiology. So it’s no surprise that more and more countries are reevaluating whether to hold on to this relic from the past.

But like all great mysteries, the answers only beget more questions: Does your iPhone automatically update for Daylight Saving Time?

Actually, yes, it does.

via Daylight Saving Time: TIME Explains | TIME.com.

I-85 HOT lane toll, record, http://www.ajc.com, Peach Pass

The cost to drive the 16-mile stretch of “HOT” express lane on I-85 southbound in Gwinnett and DeKalb County soared to a record $8.50 Tuesday morning, eclipsing the old mark by 50 cents.

The High Occupancy Toll lane’s cost is set on a sliding scale depending on the level of congestion on I-85 and in the HOT lane.

According to the State Road and Tollway Authority website, “when HOT lanes become too congested, the price increases and this in turn reduces the number of cars entering the lane.”

The website says the authority’s goal is to keep traffic in the HOT lane moving at an average speed of greater than 45 mph during peak hours.

The maximum toll has been gradually climbing since the lanes opened on I-85 northbound and southbound 25 months ago.

Mark Arum in the AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB Traffic Center said the cost to drive the entire 16 miles hit $7 for the first time on June 26, and first hit $8 on Sept. 10.

via I-85 HOT lane toll hits record $8.50 | www.ajc.com.

Student Health Advisers, student stress, The Davidsonian, Davidson College, kith/kin: Nice article, PB!

Stress is such a given part of our lives that it doesn’t even seem like a problem. Too happy to be prisoners to our planners (or our procrastination), we constantly find ourselves working into the wee hours of the morning, anxious, worried, strung out on Union coffee, the glare of a computer screen burning our eyes. To make things worse, often we survive the week only to spend the weekend doing more work or lying about in a hung-over daze, perpetuating the cycle of sleep deprivation.

And yet Davidson is by no means a mill of torture and toil; a walk through Davidson also reveals students practicing on sports fields, reading out in the sun, laughing over meals and engaging each other in meaningful conversation. Still, it is important to remember the importance of breaking the repetitiousness of our weekly routines.

So what can we do? People suggest yoga, encourage us to get more sleep or manage our time more effectively, but in the end the result is often the same: less sleep than we would like, more work than we would like, erratic sleep cycles, embattled immune systems, quick tempers and naps that replace classes––none of which are good for our health.

Breaking the routine, even if it is writing a page in a journal, playing a game of FIFA, going for a run on the (fabulous) cross country trails, building a nap into your routine, getting off campus for an afternoon or a weekend, doing that one thing you love that you’ve convinced yourself you don’t have time for, is crucial to staying sane and keeping stress at bay.

For those who drink, it is easy to forget that drinking is not the only way to relieve stress; in fact, drinking excessively often creates more stress and leads to less sleep. It’s also time to think seriously about expanding the health center into a space dedicated to student wellness, with more space for programming (blenders? a zen garden? acupuncture?) or simply space to wind down and relax. A more regular bus to Charlotte would also be a helpful step, allowing students to change their environment more readily and easily.

Telling students to get more sleep is like telling a gambler to step away from the baccarat table: we would if it were that easy. We should all remember that Davidson is a community with plenty of helpful resources: walking into Georgia Ringle’s office and contacting a health advisor are great ways to discover different resources and opportunities.

There is no need to sacrifice our standard of academic excellence on the altar of complaint; but neither is there reason to sacrifice our well-being.

via Health advisers focus on strategies to reduce student stress – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

01
Aug
13

8.1.13 … aspirational places … the south … vacations … food …

Hot U.S. Cities, jobs, culture, Southern and Modest Sized, The Daily Beast, lists:  A few of my favorite places made the list …

Call them aspirational cities, or magnets of opportunity, but the urban areas attracting today’s ambitious citizens are most likely Southern, culturally vibrant, modest sized, long on jobs, and short on traffic, write Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox.

articleinserts_aspcities1

A city at its best, wrote the philosopher René Descartes, provides “an inventory of the possible.” The city Descartes had in mind was 17th-century Amsterdam, which for him epitomized those cities where people go to change their circumstances and improve their lives. But such aspirational cities have existed throughout American history as well, starting with Boston in the 17th century, Philadelphia in the 18th, New York in the 19th, Chicago in the early 20th, Detroit in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by midcentury Los Angeles, and San Jose in the 1980s.Yes, the great rule of aspirational cities is that they change over time, becoming sometimes less entrepreneurial, more expensive, and demographically stagnant. In the meantime, other cities, often once obscure, suddenly become the new magnets of opportunity.

via Hot U.S. Cities That Offer Both Jobs and Culture Are Mostly Southern and Modest Sized – The Daily Beast.

Washington National Cathedral, Darth Vader, random:  I assumed this was an internet hoax … 🙂

DarthVader

The Star Wars Villain on the Northwest TowerIn the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.

via Washington National Cathedral : Darth Vader.

recreational mountain climbers, firsts, Moses, Jesus, Elijah, Empedocles,  King Philip V of Macedon, firsts :  Moses, Jesus, Elijah, Empedocles … religiously motivated peak experiences …  King Philip V of Macedon … who?

Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments and ascended Mount Nebo (Jordan) to gaze on the land he would never reach. Jesus took three disciples to a mountaintop to commune with the ghosts of Moses and Elijah. Empedocles, the ancient Greek philosopher, climbed the active volcano Mount Etna on Sicily and leaped into the flaming crater in 430 BC. According to legend, he intended to become an immortal god; the volcano ejected one of his sandals turned to bronze by the heat.

But these religiously motivated peak experiences cannot be described as enjoyable or recreational.

For what may be the earliest summit experience undertaken for pleasure we can look to the ancient Roman historian Livy. King Philip V of Macedon’s mountain climbing expedition was undertaken to admire the spectacular view from Mount Haemus in Thrace, a high peak (ca 7,000 ft) in the Balkan Mountain Range of  Bulgaria.

via Who Were the First Recreational Mountain Climbers?.

Bon Appetit’s August Issue, music playlist, marketing, BA Daily: Bon Appétit, Spotify:  So I think this is interesting marketing  … does it enhance BA or Spotify?

Last month was for grilling and all its excesses; August is for taking a (slightly) healthier turn. Go for simple preparations, fresh produce, the odd indulgence (ice cream sandwiches, anyone?), and a killer soundtrack. This one, ideally.

1. My Kind of Fast Food (p. 16)

Descendents, “I Like Food”

Like the idyllic summer lunch Adam Rapoport describes in his editor’s letter, a perfect meal can still be a quickly assembled one. Ditto a punk anthem.

2. The Chill Zone (p. 25)

EPMD, “You Gots to Chill”

All you need is our recipe, an inexpensive ice cream maker, and 10 minutes. And maybe Erick and Parrish’s advice: “Always calm under pressure, no need to act ill. Listen when I tell you boy, you gots to chill.”

3. One-Dish Wonder Woman (p. 28)

Madonna, “Express Yourself”

Drew Barrymore likes an eclectic soundtrack in the kitchen. The other day, she poured a glass of champagne and blasted Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” Exactly.

4. The Return of the G&T (p. 30)

Merle Haggard, “Misery and Gin”

Country-music great Merle Haggard knew it: Any reason to drink a Gin and Tonic is a fine one.

5. The Foodist (p. 34)

Meklit and Quinn, “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”

Andrew Knowlton’s road-trip mix ends with the Talking Heads classic. Mix things up with Meklit and Quinn’s summery cover.

6. Shop the Crop (p. 46)

The Beets, “Now I Live”

Beets–delicious, dark red, cancer-fighting beets!–deserve a second chance. So do the Beets.

7. A Cooler Cookout (p. 50)

Tullycraft, “DIY Queen”

The best way to enliven that backyard meal? Do-it-yourself condiments.

8. Seattle Shines (p. 58)

Mother Love Bone, “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns”

He probably gets this a lot, but Bar Sajor chef Matthew Dillon isn’t the first person with his name to have a starring role in Seattle. Twenty-two years later, the best thing about the Matt Dillon-starring movie Singles is its grungy soundtrack.

9. A Day at the Beach and Dinner at the Sea (p. 66)

JEFF The Brotherhood, “Mellow Out”

These Nashville garage rockers sing a lot about chilling out. That cold corn soup with lobster salad is a good place to start.

10. Virgin Territory (p. 78)

Holopaw, “We Are the Virgin Snow”

However you like your virgin cocktail in the summer–heavy on juices, hard on bitters–you’ll want it winter-cold.

11. Red Green & Gold (p. 80)

Guy Clark, “Homegrown Tomatoes”

There’s a reason Nashville great Guy Clark liked to introduce “Homegrown Tomatoes” as a love song. (The tomatoes, obviously.)

12. The Vegetable Revolution (p. 88)

R.E.M., “You Are the Everything”

Use a mandoline to cut those veggies paper-thin. Use a mandolin to cut to the heartstrings.

via Bon Appetit’s August Issue, Set to Music: BA Daily: Bon Appétit.

lists, The Best Summer Getaways,  Pawleys Island SC, Summer Destinations | OutsideOnline.com:  One of my favorite places … love the description.  🙂

pawleys island pawley's island south carolina myrtle beach

Thank God for Myrtle Beach. While the crowds pack its rowdy shoreline, the Hammock Coast—just 20 minutes south—remains pristine. Five rivers converge on eclectic villages, cypress swamps, and black-water rivers. Grab a kayak (rentals, $35) and paddle two and a half hours to the 9,200-acre Sandy Island nature preserve, an island that’s home to maritime forests and black bears. Refuel with shrimp and grits at Quigley’s Pint and Plate back on the mainland ($16.50) and set up your beachfront campsite at Huntington Beach State Park (from $17).

via The Best Summer Getaways: Pawleys Island, South Carolina | Summer Destinations | OutsideOnline.com.

Louisville Hot Spots , Garden and Gun:  Something new to try in Louisville KY!

Big Four Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge

This onetime railroad truss bridge has been updated to create a car-free path across the Ohio River. The ramp to Indiana isn’t expected to be open until October, but you can take in river views with access via the on-ramp at the Louisville waterfront. louisvillewaterfront.com

via Louisville Hot Spots | Garden and Gun.

The Care-Package Wars , summer camp, parenting, Bruce Feiler, NYTimes.com:  Anyone else feel like our generations has really screwed up the parenting thing?

In almost every way, the camps were exactly as I had romanticized them. Except one: care packages are now strictly banned. In camp after camp, directors described how they had outlawed such packages after getting fed up with hypercompetitive parents sending oversize teddy bears and bathtubs of M&M’s.

And they’re not alone. Across the country, sleep-away programs of all sizes are fighting back against overzealous status-mongers.

Not taking this in stride, parents have turned to increasingly elaborate smuggling routines, from hollowing out Harry Potter books to burrowing holes in tennis balls to get their little dumplings a taste of the checkout aisle. We have entered the age of the care-package wars, where strong-willed camps and strong-willed parents battle over control of their children’s loyalty and downtime.

via The Care-Package Wars – NYTimes.com.

interactive map, A Month of Citi Bike, graphics, The New Yorker:  Wow, love this “interactive graphic!”  Can’t wait to ride a Citi Bike.

Here are some highlights from the map:

A commuting pattern first emerged in our data on Tuesday, June 11th, when bikers travelled to a central corridor, which begins in midtown Manhattan and moves south, through the Flatiron District and down to the Financial District. The bikes arrived in this “workplace” area at around 9 A.M., and they remained there until around 7 P.M. The next day, an evening-commute shape materialized, with bikers moving toward certain residential neighborhoods: the East Village, the West Village, and Williamsburg. The pattern fell off somewhat on Thursday, but it returned the following week, and thereafter grew increasingly distinct, with workdays attracting bikes to the center of the city.

Temperatures and precipitation also influence bike use, so the map displays weather information alongside bike movement. For instance, the weaker commuting pattern on Thursday, June 13th, can be attributed, in part, to colder temperatures and over an inch of rain.

It’s possible that the Citi Bike system may be too successful for its own good. As the program becomes a more popular method of commuting, the workday leaves some areas bereft of bikes, making it more difficult for those with reverse or off-hour commutes to participate in the program. Citi Bike crews do redistribute the bikes, but the empty areas on the map show how challenging it is to balance their availability across the stations.

On weekends, the commutes are replaced by patternless, recreational movement, in which bikers meander around the city. The continuous weekend use also results in more over-all activity than Citi Bikes see on weekdays. Greg Estren, who compiles data on Citi Bike, calculated that over the six-week period from June 8th through July 19th, there was ten per cent more station activity on weekends than on weekdays.

July Fourth was a bikers’ holiday. As the night grew dark, Citi Bike members pedalled to the Hudson River to see the fireworks.

via Interactive: A Month of Citi Bike : The New Yorker.

Baja Lobster Roll, recipes, OutsideOnline.com:  I am stuffed right now, but if one of these were placed in front of me, I probably could find room.

lobster lobster roll ditch plains Cincinnati senate senate chicago Little Market American Brasseri

What’s with the abundance of lobsters? It’s the culmination of decades of smart conservation efforts, like strict size limits, that have created one of the most sustainable fisheries in the U.S. “We’ve had a strong plan in place for over 100 years,” says Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “In some ways, we’ve been a victim of our own success.” We’ll eat to that.

Want to make your own lobster rolls? Try this delicious recipe from the Little Market American Brasserie:

BAJA LOBSTER ROLL (makes two sandwiches)

Chipotle, cabbage slaw, lemon

CHIPOTLE MAYO

1 piece chipotle pepper in adobo

1 egg yolk

½ tbsp. lemon juice

1/8 cup water

1 cup canola oil

Procedure:

1. In a blender, combine chipotle, egg, lemon juice, and water, blend till smooth

2. Slowly add oil on medium speed

3. Adjust seasoning

SLAW

1/8 of a head Napa cabbage, shredded

1/8 of a head read cabbage, shredded

1 small carrot, julienned

LEMON VINAIGRETTE

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

½ shallot, minced

6 tbsp. canola oil

Procedure:

1. Combine first lemon juice, white wine vinegar and shallots

2. Slowly emulsify oil with a blender

3. Adjust seasoning

FOR THE ROLL

2 New England style lobster rolls

½ tsp. chopped tarragon

½ tsp. minced shallot

4 oz. cleaned, chopped, fresh Main lobster meat

¼ cup of the mixed slaw

2 tbsp. chipotle mayo

1 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. lemon vinaigrette

pinch of salt

Procedure:

1. Butter the cut ends of the roll and griddle till golden brown

2. Mix the slaw with the chipotle mayo, honey and salt

3. Mix the lobster with shallot, tarragon, lemon vinaigrette and salt

4. Slice open the griddle bun, making sure not to slice all the way through

5. Fill with the slaw first and place the lobster mix on top

via How to Make Your Own Baja Lobster Roll | Adventure Travel Guide | OutsideOnline.com.

 

30
Jun
13

6.30.13 … Andrew Solomon: Love, no matter what … phenomenal TEDTalk on parenting …

 Andrew Solomon, love, TEDTalk, parenting, diversity, kindness, lbgt:

Andrew Solomon: Love, no matter what

Published on Jun 3, 2013

What is it like to raise a child who’s different from you in some fundamental way (like a prodigy, or a differently abled kid, or a criminal)? In this quietly moving talk, writer Andrew Solomon shares what he learned from talking to dozens of parents — asking them: What’s the line between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance?

via Andrew Solomon: Love, no matter what – YouTube.

 

07
May
13

5.7.13 … more rainbows, kudos, bugs … am I oversharing? :)

FPC Charlotte, Charlotte NC: Beautiful skyline of Charlotte!

Photo

Sports Illustrated, Steph Curry:  Kudos!  🙂

“Honored to be on next issue Sports Illustrated!” – Steph Curry

Dogwood Stable, Cot Campbell,  Palace Malice , blinkers: I wish palace Malice success in the summer season.

 Palace Malice broke alertly all right, but Goldencents to his inside and Itsmyluckyday to his outside were on their toes as well and things became competitive right away. So, as the field passed the finish post for the first time, the Dogwood Stable colt was, surprisingly, vying for the lead. The teletimer flashed 22 2/5 seconds, very fast considering the condition of the sloppy track.

Swinging into the first turn things went from bad to worse.

“The blinkers sharpened him too much,” Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell said. “Mike couldn’t hold him. He said he did everything he could and he still could not apply any restraint.”

By the time Palace Malice straightened for the run down the backstretch, he had covered a half mile in a blazing 45 1/5 seconds and his fate was sealed. He had run the second-fastest half mile (tied with two others) in Derby history, despite the sea of mud.

“He set a suicidal pace and you just can’t do that and win the Kentucky Derby,” Campbell said. “The blinkers were the villain.”

To the casual observer, Palace Malice seemed to be doing fine as he opened a three-length lead down the backside. His three-quarter mile fraction of 1:09 4/5 was tied for the fourth-fastest ever run in a Derby.

via Stable president says blinkers were ‘villain’ for Palace Malice | Mobile Augusta.

parenting, teenagers, church, spiritual v. religious, Mallory McDuff,  God’s Politics Blog,  Sojourners, kith/kin: With my youngest a freshman in college, I am barely on the other side of this battle and am not sure it was worth it.  I sent this to my kids with the request, “Read this one for me … ” They are 23, 21 and 18. I’ll let you if they respond.

In this age when the “spiritual but not religious” seem to have more relevance than churchgoers, it’s easy to wonder why church attendance matters at all.  But I believe that we need common spaces, more grounded than the corner Starbucks, to discern right actions in a world faced with crises like climate change and stark economic disparities.

Our teenagers and our children must shape these sacred spaces where we can grapple with our questions but act in faith through practices of forgiveness, feeding, hospitality, and care of creation. As Diana Butler Bass notes, “Right now, the church does not need to convert the world. The world needs to convert the church.”

I made Maya go to church because we may not know why we are here, but we can pass along a little light to others on the journey. And maybe that’s what we need to create a little heaven on earth.

via Why I Made My Teenager Go to Church – Mallory McDuff | God’s Politics Blog | Sojourners.

East Coast US,  cicadas: Definitely not on my list … but it was a non-event in Charlotte last time, 17 years ago.

Any day now, billions of cicadas with bulging red eyes will crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground and overrun the East Coast. The insects will arrive in such numbers that people from North Carolina to Connecticut will be outnumbered roughly 600-to-1. Maybe more.

Scientists even have a horror-movie name for the infestation: Brood II. But as ominous as that sounds, the insects are harmless. They won’t hurt you or other animals. At worst, they might damage a few saplings or young shrubs. Mostly they will blanket certain pockets of the region, though lots of people won’t ever see them.

via East about to be overrun by billions of cicadas.

oversharing, WSJ.com: Oversharing … probably guilty …

Ever share too much information—and you weren’t even tipsy? I call it BYB—Blabbing Your Business. It’s happening a lot these days thanks to reality TV and social media sites, where it’s perfectly normal for people to share every single detail of their lives, no matter how mundane or personal. In the culture we live in, it’s hard to remember that some things should be private.

via What Makes People Overshare? – WSJ.com.

22
Sep
11

9.22.2011 … in 1989 I experienced my only REAL natural disaster, Hurricane Hugo … we went 18 days with out electricity. It was amazing. … I cannot imagine dealing with flooding in addition to the immediate results of a massive storm.

Hurricane Hugo, natural disasters, kith/kin: in 1989 I experienced my only REAL natural disaster, Hurricane Hugo … we went 18 days without electricity, and a month without phone or cable.  It was amazing.  There was only fear for a few hours in the middle of the night … And afterwards we all emptied our refrigerators and cooked out.  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  I cannot imagine dealing with flooding or repeated storms in addition to the immediate results of a massive storm.

On September 18, the hurricane was located a couple of hundred miles east of Florida when it began a more northward track, in response to a steering flow associated with a upper-level low pressure area that was moving across the southeastern United States. Hugo then began to strengthen again, and it reached a secondary peak at 1800 UTC on September 21 as a Category 4 hurricane. The maximum sustained winds were 140 mph (230 km/h), while the minimum central pressure was 944 millibars (27.9 inHg). On September 22 at 0400 UTC, Hugo made landfall on Isle of Palms, South Carolina, at his secondary peak as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. The storm continued inland, and weakened to a Category 1 hurricane as the cloudy eye passed over Charlotte, North Carolina.

via Hurricane Hugo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

college search, advice:  Good advice here …

It doesn’t help, of course, that decisions about college are mind-numbingly complex to begin with. For starters, a college education is really a joint production between both the college and the student, so “fit” matters greatly. The best college for one student might be a nonstarter for another. Second, both the benefits and the costs, at least for the two-thirds of students who borrow, are extended over a long period of time, requiring a kind of investment perspective.

Moreover, investing in college is not something families deal with frequently, so learning from experience is hard. Reliable information is hard to come by, and decisions aren’t reversed easily or without cost; transfer is possible, but it’s often expensive and risky.

Even a rational planner armed with all available information would have a tough time making smart choices. Add in the foibles and frailties of real human beings, and it’s easy to see why the college search process results in so many bad decisions by so many families.

Being aware of cognitive biases—and taking steps to combat them—can help families make smarter choices. We can’t make the process simple or foolproof. But we can offer some observations and techniques to guard against the cognitive traps too many families fall into.

If parents understand more about the decision biases they share with the rest of the human race, they may be able to plan and save more effectively and to help their children make more constructive choices. They should actively question all of their assumptions and be open to planning, choosing and supporting their children even in ways that don’t immediately feel “right”—like taking on more debt for a higher-tier school.

Finally, there are two basic truths people should keep in mind. The college market is highly competitive. If families have a favored school, and a worthy rival offers a better deal, they shouldn’t hesitate to show the top-choice college their cost spreadsheet. The student-aid office may improve its offer.

And remember that for the great majority of students, the time spent in college, forgoing full-time work, has a bigger monetary value than the tuition they pay. To make the most of college, students have to choose the right place, find a course of study that motivates them, and put considerable time and energy into the learning process. Nothing matters more than using this valuable time well.

via Get Smart About College – WSJ.com.

adventure travel, migration watch, Tanzania, Kenya:  OK, I’m in … ” greatest wildlife show on earth.”

The trouble with animals is that they don’t read textbooks. Take those capricious wildebeest, the mainstay of Africa’s famous migration, the year-long circular movement of animals that has been dubbed the greatest wildlife show on earth.

Right now, as I write, they should have passed through the Serengeti in Tanzania and be milling around the Masai Mara national reserve in south-west Kenya. A good number are where they are supposed to be, chewing the grass, emitting their curious grunting sounds, kicking up the dust, but down in the Serengeti, on the vast plains of the Singita Grumeti game reserves, there are thousands who seem to have taken one look at the Mara and decided that they prefer it in the Serengeti.

The migration is an awesome sight but you don’t have to be obsessive about catching it at its most spectacular. If you speak to the guides, they’ll tell you that their favourite time for game-watching is after the bulk of the migration has passed through.

“It’s as if the grass has just been mown,” says Russell Hastings, who spent several years as a guide in Singita Grumeti and now runs the enchanting Legendary Coffee Lodge (www.legendarycoffeelodge.com) in the Tanzanian city of Arusha. “You get these long, clear vistas enabling you to see game right across the plains.”

via Migration watch – FT.com.

famine, “collateral crisis” , Somalia, War on Terrorism:  “Collateral crisis” … read on ..

A mass exodus, an emptying of half a country, is an unprecedented, biblical event. What triggered it? The immediate cause was drought. Rains failed last October in East Africa, then again in April, and by early August the U.N. was putting the number of people at risk from hunger in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda at 12.4 million.

Southern Somalia was in famine. A full 2.8 million people, 63% of the region’s population, were either starving or at risk of it. The number of Somali children with severe acute malnutrition — near death — was 170,000; 29,000 had already died. Even those cataclysmic figures were probably underestimates. Iffthikar Mohamed, country director for Islamic Relief (which has staff inside the famine area, unlike the U.N.), said his teams found mortality and malnutrition rates at least twice as high. Senior relief managers tell TIME there is no chance of preventing 100,000 Somalis, perhaps more, from dying in the next few weeks.

How did this happen? Could it have been stopped? And how is it that millions of Somalis were so sure that no help was coming that they took their families on a death march across the desert? The answers reveal how a war between Islamic militants and the U.S. and its allies led directly to human catastrophe.

via Collateral Crisis in Somalia: How the War on Terrorism Created a Famine – TIME.

ACC, college football, college sports:  I honestly don’t like these bigger conferences … they lose their local connection.  Just my opinion.

In a development that happened with incredible speed, the ACC announced Sunday morning that it is extending formal membership to Pittsburgh and Syracuse, creating the first 14-team BCS conference.

The news came barely 24 hours after it was first reported that the schools had applied for ACC membership.

“The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC’s reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States.”

We’ll have more on the ACC’s huge news after this morning’s ACC teleconference, which I’ll be following on the Terps Insider Twitter feed. It starts at 9:30.

via ACC extends formal invitation to Pittsburgh and Syracuse – Terrapins Insider – The Washington Post.

Believing the Impossible Before Breakfast, bookshelf, Lee Stoffel, FPC, quotes:  Dr. Stoffel wrote Believing … (after he left FPC) in the mid 70s.  We are reading it this fall in a small group study.  Some books strike me as written for a certain time.  So far this book is very good and relevant now.  I love his use of salt in this passage.

If the posture of the church is no more than condemnation without redemption, then we become like salt without savor, and our words will be cast out and trodden under foot. We are called to be a saving people – which is the positive, redemptive side of those who would do no more than condemn and denounce and deplore.

 Apple, iCloud: I am looking forward to seeing how this works.  We have our entire family on one iTunes account … and to be able to manage the entire library in the cloud sounds great.

Broadly speaking, the cloud is an airy metaphor for computational resources—data, storage, applications, and so on—available from an external network of computers and servers via the Internet. So whenever you do any kind of computing using data or programs that don’t live on your local computer, smart phone, or other connected devices, you are doing cloud computing.

For example, if you store and edit your photos at a site like Google’s Picasa.com, you’re working in the cloud, using Google’s storage space and applications instead of those on your own computer. Gmail and other Web-based e-mail services keep your correspondence in the cloud. And Amazon’s Cloud Drive lets you upload, store, and access music in cloud-based “lockers.” Physically, the cloud is wherever the company happens to house its servers.

The advantage of cloud computing is that you can access your stored stuff from any Web-connected device, instead of being tethered to one location or machine. One drawback, of course, is that you might not always have a usable Internet connection when you need one. And if your cloud service crashes for some reason, your content won’t be available until the service is back on its feet.

Use caution when signing up for any cloud service. Make sure your information is well protected against cyberthieves. The company you’re using should encrypt sensitive data and have state-of-the art privacy safeguards. And use strong passwords—a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols in a minimum of six characters.

via What is the Apple iCloud – Consumer Reports.

corruption, Middle East,  Kuwait:  “This is becoming the Kuwaiti Watergate,” said Shafeeq Ghabra, a professor of political science at Kuwait University. “The reaction at the popular level is that this is proof that the existing government has failed the people. In this context more demands for the resignation of the government are now heard.”

Two of Kuwait’s largest banks thought it a bit suspicious when about $92 million was transferred into the accounts of two members of Parliament.

So the National Bank of Kuwait and the Kuwait Finance House alerted the public prosecutor, who decided last week to open an investigation not just into those suspicious deposits, but also into the account activity of seven other members of Parliament, as well.

Kuwait is a wealthy nation that has managed to appease the public and avoid the kind of tumult that has swept other Arab nations. But even in Kuwait, where allegations of corruption and kickbacks are endemic, the sheer size of the deposits has set off a fury that is rocking the oil-rich country. Not to mention that investigations, so far, involve 9 of just 50 total members of Parliament.

“This is becoming the Kuwaiti Watergate,” said Shafeeq Ghabra, a professor of political science at Kuwait University. “The reaction at the popular level is that this is proof that the existing government has failed the people. In this context more demands for the resignation of the government are now heard.”

Late last month, the Kuwaiti news media first broke the news that the country’s two largest banks were alarmed by multimillion-dollar transfers into the accounts of lawmakers, said Nasser al-Sane, a former lawmaker who now teaches business at Kuwait University.

But even as public anger soars, the government has remained tight-lipped about the case, only fueling public suspicions, rumor and speculation. In that environment, popular anger at the royal family, and in particular the prime minister, Nasser Mohamed al-Ahmed al-Sabah, has flourished.

“We still have been given no information about the source of this money or who received it,” said Ebtihal al-Khatib, a longtime democracy activist. “Everything is a rumor, and that is one reason people are so angry and have come together, because we want more information. We want to know names, and we want to know the dates they will be tried in court.”

The corruption inquiry threatens to put the government into an impossible position, Mr. Ghabra said. If the emir allows Parliament to remain in place while at least one-fifth of its members are investigated for graft, he risks the growth of ever larger street protests and an erosion of public trust. But if he dissolves Parliament and calls for new elections, public outrage could help usher in a legislature hostile to the monarchy and more assertive in demands for constitutional changes.

via Corruption Inquiry Rocks Kuwait – NYTimes.com.

Bumble-Ardy, Maurice Sendak, children’s/YA literature, parenting:  Nursery rhymes and fairy tales have always carried double messages, scary messages.  I don’t know why we are so worried now.  ” There’s something deeply dark and wonderful about older cartoons like this.”

It’s yet another mildly subversive children’s book by a writer known for pushing—if not the absolute limits, at least poking around their edges. At one point, even the Grim Reaper puts in an appearance, leading one Amazon reviewer (granted, one of only three to date) to describe the book as “disturbing…in so many ways” (noticed by the Christian Science Monitor).

Then again, being a little scared isn’t the end of the world. Where the Wild Things Are would be nothing without its nightmarish horned and bearded monsters that “roared their terrible roars, and gnashed their terrible teeth.” Besides, if you want to see something really scary, try this old 1970s Sesame Street clip—also by Sendak, and the inspiration for the 2011 book’s inception—about Bumble-Ardy, whose ninth birthday party’s crashed by a pack of anarchic, Dwarf-like swine. There’s something deeply dark and wonderful about older cartoons like this.

via Should Parents Fear ‘Bumble-Ardy’, Maurice Sendak’s New Book? – TIME NewsFeed.

Oyster.com, travel, websites:  Might try oyster.com

While Web sites like TripAdvisor, which is owned by Expedia, amass consumer reviews, Oyster relies instead on 45 full-time reviewers who stay in hotels incognito and post their reviews and photographs.

Unlike TripAdvisor, Oyster is also a booking site. But unlike booking sites like Orbitz, Expedia and Hotels.com, Oyster eschews the photographs and descriptions provided by hotels.

A regular feature, Photo Fakeouts, contrasts promotional photos from hotels with photos taken from the same perspective by Oyster reviewers. The promotional photo for the beach at the Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, for example, shows just a few beachgoers and about a dozen unoccupied chairs, while the Oyster.com photo shows a beach packed with chairs and vacationers.

“Oyster is meant to be very simple, easy, straightforward and truthful, where what you see is what you get,” said Elie Seidman, chief executive of Oyster. “And the goal in the ads was to convey that.”

To date, Oyster has reviewed about 1,300 hotels in 32 destinations.

This is the first advertising campaign for Oyster, which went online in 2009. Oyster drew 156,000 unique visitors in August, a small fraction of the six million who visited Hotels.com, according to comScore.

via Oyster.com Sells Travel With Words, Not Pictures – NYTimes.com.

R.E.M., music, Athens GA, kith/kin:  I think “my” generation claims REM.  I was in Athens GA for law school and we definitely claim them.  RIP, REM.

R.E.M. has folded after a 31-year run, an influential arc that transformed the Athens, Ga., band from college radio darlings to major label stars. The group released 15 albums, including milestones of alternative rock such as “Murmur” and “Automatic for the People.”

In recent years, however, the group’s cultural clout had eroded, as sales declined and front man Michael Stipe pursued a host of other interests, from filmmaking to sculpture.

In a statement posted on their site today, the band announced: “As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band,” the group said in a statement on its web site. “We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”

via R.E.M. Breaks Up After 31-Year Run – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Palestinian Statehood Bid, President Obama, politics, international relations: Impossible situation.

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,” Mr. Obama said, in an address before world leaders at the General Assembly. “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”

Instead, Mr. Obama said, the international community should keep pushing Israelis and Palestinians toward talks on the four intractable issues that have vexed peace negotiations since 1979: borders of a Palestinian state, security for Israel, the status of Palestinian refugees and the fate of Jerusalem, which both sides claim for their capital.

For Mr. Obama, the challenge in crafting the much-anticipated General Assembly speech was how to address the incongruities of the administration’s position: the president who committed to making peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians a priority from Day One, now unable to get peace negotiations going after two and a half years; the president who opened the door to Palestinian state membership at the United Nations last year, now threatening to veto that membership; the president determined to get on the right side of Arab history but ending up, in the views of many Arabs, on the wrong side of it on the Palestinian issue.

via Obama Explains Opposition to Palestinian Statehood Bid – NYTimes.com.

17
Sep
11

9.17.2011 … so fall came yesterday … but not that perfect fall day … dreary … and still dreary today … no pressure, but Senior Day with the Molls at Davidson College :)

Davidson College, Davidson College Senior Day, college search, parenting, kith/kin, kudos.  Kudos to Davidson for a very well done Senior Day.  If you are considering going the next one is in October.  Well worth your child’s and your time.

LOL: The original has been taken down … so glad someone posted it on their blog!

yoga mat for sale. used once. – $1 (bellevue)

Yoga mat for sale. Used once at lunch hour class in December 2009. Usage timeline as follows:

11:45a
Register for hot yoga class. Infinite wisdom tells me to commit to 5 class package and purchase a yoga mat. I pay $89.74. Money well spent, I smugly confirm to myself.

11:55a
Open door to yoga room. A gush of hot dry air rushes through and past me. It smells of breath, sweat and hot. Take spot on floor in back of room next to cute blonde. We will date.

11:57a
I feel the need to be as near to naked as possible. This is a problem because of the hot blonde to my left and our pending courtship. She will not be pleased to learn that I need to lose 30 pounds before I propose to her.

11:58a
The shirt and sweats have to come off. I throw caution to the wind and decide to rely on my wit and conditioning to overcome any weight issues my fiancée may take issue with. This will take a lot of wit and conditioning.

11:59a
Begin small talk with my bride to be. She pretends to ignore me but I know how she can be. I allow her to concentrate and stare straight ahead and continue to pretend that I don’t exist. As we finish sharing our special moment, I am suddenly aware of a sweat moustache that has formed below my nose. This must be from the all the whispering between us.

12:00p
Instructor enters the room and ascends her special podium at the front of the room. She is a slight, agitated Chinese woman. She introduces me to the class and everyone turns around to greet me just as I decide to aggressively adjust my penis and testes packed in my Under Armor. My bride is notably unfazed.

12:02p
Since I do have experience with Hot Yoga (4 sessions just 5 short years ago) I fully consider that I may be so outstanding and skilled that my instructor may call me out and ask me to guide the class. My wife will look on with a sparkle in her eye. We will make love after class.

12:10p
It is now up to 95 degrees in the room. We have been practicing deep breathing exercises for the last 8 minutes. This would not be a problem if we were all breathing actual, you know, oxygen. Instead, we are breathing each other’s body odor, expelled carbon dioxide and other unmentionables. (Don’t worry, I’ll mention them later.)

12:26p
It is now 100 degrees and I take notice of the humidity, which is hovering at about 90%. I feel the familiar adorning stare of my bride and decide to look back at her. She appears to be nauseated. I then realize that I forgot to brush my teeth prior to attending this class. We bond.

12:33p
It is now 110 degrees and 95% humidity. I am now balancing on one leg with the other leg crossed over the other. My arms are intertwined and I am squatting. The last time I was in this position was 44 years ago in the womb, but I’m in this for the long haul. My wife looks slightly weathered dripping sweat and her eyeliner is streaming down her face. Well, “for better or worse” is what we committed to so we press on.

12:40p
The overweight Hispanic man two spots over has sweat running down his legs. At least I think its sweat. He is holding every position and has not had a sip of water since we walked in. He is making me look bad and I hate him.

12:44p
I consider that if anyone in this room farted that we would all certainly perish.

12:52p
It is now 140 degrees and 100% humidity. I am covered from head to toe in sweat. There is not a square millimeter on my body that is not slippery and sweaty. I am so slimy that I feel like a sea lion or a maybe sea eel. Not even a bear trap could hold me. The sweat is stinging my eyeballs and I can no longer see.

12:55p
This room stinks of asparagus, cloves, tuna and tacos. There is no food in the room. I realize that this is an amalgamation of the body odors of 30 people in a 140 degree room for the last 55 minutes. Seriously, enough with the asparagus, ok?

1:01p
140 degrees and 130% humidity. Look, bitch, I need my space here so don’t get all pissy with me if I accidentally sprayed you with sweat as I flipped over. Seriously, is that where this relationship is going? Get over yourself. We need counseling and she needs to be medicated. Stat!

1:09p
150 degrees and cloudy. And hot. I can no longer move my limbs on my own. I have given up on attempting any of the commands this Chinese chick is yelling out at us. I will lay sedentary until the aid unit arrives. I will buy this building and then have it destroyed.
I lose consciousness.

1:15p
I have a headache and my wife is being a selfish bitch. I can’t really breathe. All I can think about is holding a cup worth of hot sand in my mouth. I cannot remember what an ice cube is and cannot remember what snow looks like. I consider that my only escape might be a crab walk across 15 bodies and then out of the room. I am paralyzed, and may never walk again so the whole crab walk thing is pretty much out.

1:17p
I cannot move at all and cannot reach my water. Is breathing voluntary or involuntary? If it’s voluntary, I am screwed. I stopped participating in the class 20 minutes ago. Hey, lady! I paid for this frickin class, ok?! You work for me! Stop yelling at everyone and just tell us a story or something. It’s like juice and cracker time, ok?

1:20p
It is now 165 degrees and moisture is dripping from the ceiling. The towel that I am laying on is no longer providing any wicking or drying properties. It is actually placing additional sweat on me as I touch it. My towel reeks. I cannot identify the smell but no way can it be from me. Did someone spray some stank on my towel or something?

1:30p
Torture session is over. I wish hateful things upon the instructor. She graciously allows us to stay and ‘cool down’ in the room. It is 175 degrees. Who cools down in 175 degrees? A Komodo Dragon? My wife has left the room. Probably to throw up.

1:34p
My opportunity to escape has arrived. I roll over to my stomach and press up to my knees. It is warmer as I rise up from ground level – probably by 15 degrees. So let’s conservatively say it’s 190. I muster my final energy and slowly rise. One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. Towards the door. Towards the door.

1:37p
The temperature in the lobby is 72 degrees. Both nipples stiffen to diamond strength and my penis begins to retract into my abdomen from the 100 degree temp swing. I can once again breathe though so I am pleased. I spot my future ex wife in the lobby. We had such a good thing going but I know that no measure of counseling will be able to unravel the day’s turmoil and mental scaring.

1:47p
Arrive at Emerald City Smoothie and proceed to order a 32 oz beverage. 402 calories, 0 fat and 14 grams of protein — effectively negating any caloric burn or benefit from the last 90 minutes. I finish it in 3 minutes and spend the next 2 hours writing this memoir.

3:47p
Create Craigslist ad while burning final 2 grams of protein from Smoothie and before the “shakes” consume my body.

4:29p
Note to self – check car for missing wet yoga towel in am.

via Hilarious Yoga Mat for Sale Ad on Craigslist.

apps, book app, free, lists:  Number 8 seems inconsitent with the rest of the list. 🙂

iBooks was the most popular free app in the Apple App Store this week, according to research from AppData, Inside Network’s data service that tracks app and developer leaderboards.

Explore these 20 free apps and find out what kind of literary apps succeed in this crowded marketplace. To prepare for Mediabistro’s upcoming Publishing App Expo on December 7-8, we spotlight the top grossing book apps, the top paid Android books apps and the most popular free apps every week.

Below, we’ve listed the top free iOS apps of the week–linking to App Data’s research about each individual app, including historical charts, developer information and download details.

via Top 20 Free Book Apps of the Week – eBookNewser.

President Obama, 2012 Presidential Election, Jewish vote:  Jews are a very small part of the overall population … so why is this a big deal.  Article is right; he has a people problem.

Polling and election results suggest a rising Jewish rebellion against the president. But a closer look reveals that these voters are not behaving any differently from other segments of the electorate.

In the most recent Gallup polling, Obama’s disapproval rating with Jewish voters rose from 32 to 40 percent, and his approval rating sank from 60 to 55 percent.

Viewed one way, these numbers demonstrate that Obama is still more popular with Jews than with the country at-large. Seen another they point to Obama having a serious problem with a loyal constituency.

Clearly, Republicans think its the latter. They point to the president’s controversial May speech on Mideast peace, in which he suggested that an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians should be based on 1967 boundary lines, as well as past rebukes of Israel from Obama.

Then came Tuesday’s special election to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) in what by all rights is a solidly Democratic seat. Palestinian statehood became a wedge issue in this district, which has the highest percentage of Orthodox Jewish voters in the country.

But Obama’s position vis-a-vis Israel is not so clear cut. The administration is already planning to veto any United Nations Security Council resolution to recognize Palestinian statehood. Last week, the White House intervened to ensure personnel at the Israeli embassy in Egypt were evacuated safely after protesters attacked the compound — a move that won praise from American Jewish groups.

While the 9th district of New York, where Republican Bob Turner defeated Democrat David Weprin on Tuesday, is only about one-sixth Orthodox, that still makes it the most Orthodox district in the country. Many Turner voters interviewed about the race said it was actually Weprin’s support of same-sex marriage in New York State, not Obama’s policy on Israel, that energized them.

“The Orthodox community is growing faster than any other element of the Jewish community, and what New York’s District 9 proves is when sufficiently motivated they will come out to vote,” said David Pollock of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

So with the growing and more-conservative Orthodox community and Republicans determined to make Israel an issue, Obama might have to worry some about Jewish voters in 2012. But those concerns seem minor when compared to his problems in the rest of the electorate.

via Obama has a people problem, not a Jewish problem – The Washington Post.

Goodreads, book recommendations service : Anybody use Goodreads …  I never post … but do check when a friend posts.

Goodreads is now the Netflix of book recommendations, or at least the company thinks so, seeing as its CEO Otis Chandler said exactly that in a press release announcing Goodreads’ new recommendation engine yesterday.

It’s about time. Founded in 2006, Goodreads has gathered nearly six million users, a plump following for a niche social site, but while six million is a respectable number, the nature of Goodreads’ service requires these users to be fairly active to get much out of it. To grow the audience, Goodreads needed to appeal to a more passive audience. Some may call these people lazy. I prefer to think of them as busy. And yes, I’m one of them.

via Finally, Goodreads Launches Book Recommendations Service – Techland – TIME.com.

‘Life Hacks’, LOL:  OK … new name for redneck solutions …life hacks sound nicer.

Once reserved for computer programmer tricks and shortcuts, “Life Hack” has become a great way to describe the clever/brilliant/ridiculous solutions to everyday dilemmas we see posted online. It’s hard to describe what a life hack really looks like, but let’s just say you know it when you see it.

Take these 17 pictures below, for example. Haven’t you ever struggled to fill a large bucket with water when only a small sink is available? Boom, dust pan solves the problem. Or have you ever wondered how to cool your beer when the refrigerator’s on the fritz? Boom, air conditioner to the rescue.

We’re not saying all these would-be inventors are bound for “As Seen On TV” deals, but a few of these solutions are pretty brilliant.

As for the rest, we’ll let you decide if these “hacks” are truly innovative or just accidents waiting to happen.

via 17 Crazy/Brilliant ‘Life Hacks’ (PHOTOS).

Foursquare, Foursquare city ‘badge’ , Chicago: FourSquare … why do it when you can do the same thing on FaceBook … what am I missing.

Chicago will become the first major city with its own Foursquare city “badge”—earned after “checking in” at five of 20 designated neighborhood attractions—under a tech-savvy plan unveiled Friday to coincide with Social Media Week.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel billed the so-called “Windy City badge” as a way to promote small businesses, keep tabs on the social scene and give people a “greater sense of intimacy” that’s sorely lacking in today’s over-worked, multi-tasking world.

“We today as individuals who are very wired don’t have a level of intimacy,” the mayor told college students from across the Midwest at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood.

“This is an attempt to give us that intimacy and relationship and community building we can’t get any other way as we all get siloed off in our own individual worlds.”

Emanuel, who has his own social media director, will be “checking in” on Foursquare as he hop-scotches across the city.

But in a rare moment of candor, the 51-year-old mayor acknowledged that he was venturing into uncharted waters.

via Chicago checks in for Foursquare city ‘badge’ – Chicago Sun-Times.

Apple, iPhone 5:  In case your interested … Apple’s iPhone 5: delays, cases, Sprint, NFC and more – The Washington Post.

writing, editing, tips:  some more good advice …

For last year’s boot camp, Jan Winburn, CNN.com’s senior editor for enterprise, discussed five questions all writers should ask themselves as they approach each story: Through whose eyes are you telling the story? Who has something at stake? What’s going to happen next? What’s the story really about? Where should the story begin?

If you haven’t read her essay, do it now — it’s chock full of great advice. A key item to note is the difference between reporting and storytelling. A basic news story reports the facts — who, what, when, where, why (the so-called “5 W’s”) and how. A great story gives readers an experience, puts them in the middle of the action, with a character, timeline, scene, motive — all the elements of any great work. Before you start, know what kind of story you’re planning to tell.

via Write it down, make it better: Editing tips – CNN.com

How to edit your way to a can’t-miss story – CNN.com.

cities, urban development, pop-ups, Great Recession:  Now they evidence both creativity and the recession.  I just want to go on a pop-up tour!

Temporary Is the New Permanent

When Toys “R” Us does a pop-up shop one can certainly make a case for the waning effectiveness of the genre. But despite their co-option by hipsters and marketing gurus, the temporary space remains a sharp tool in the urban revitalization kit. Why? As we well know, cities are starved for cash, their workers weary of bureaucratic obstacles and the word “no.” So they welcome the creative, energetic, and financially prudent efforts of grassroots organizations that have seen opportunity in crisis. Vacant lots, abandoned buildings, parking spaces, and even slivers of pavement, have been transformed by prudent partnerships between governments, artists, architects, and designers, and volunteers motivated to improve their own communities. The best of these efforts are designed to enhance daily life not promote product or “lifestyle.”

via Temporary Is the New Permanent – Neighborhoods – The Atlantic Cities.

Tareq Salahi, White House crashers, life stranger than fiction:  Truly, I thought this one was a joke.

“There is no hope or possibility of reconciliation,” Tareq Salahi said, adding that he “has been greatly hurt and disturbed” by Michaele Salahi’s actions.

The couple gained notoriety in 2009 when they crashed a White House state dinner. Michaele Salahi was a cast member of the reality show “Real Housewives of D.C.” last year, but the show was canceled after one season. She was thrown off the reality show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” when it became apparent she wasn’t addicted to anything.

Tareq Salahi said in the court filing that Schon was his wife’s former boyfriend. Schon’s band had played at the couple’s northern Virginia winery, and photos on social networking websites show them partying with the band on several occasions. He also said the band paid for his wife’s travel, accommodations and other expenses.

Tareq Salahi claims he has suffered both emotional and physical harm from his wife’s actions. In addition to being able to stay in their home, he asked the court to ban both parties from harming the value of their assets, threatening or harassing each other

via He stopped believing: White House crasher wants divorce; wife ran off with Journey guitarist – The Washington Post.

Easy-Bake Oven, icons, change:  Can’t they just leave some things alone.  After reading this article, I realize that I probably had one in its first years …. The Easy Bake was introduced in 1963!

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This week, Hasbro announced that its iconic Easy-Bake Oven would abandon its nefarious light bulb, a byproduct of toy’s 11th redesign. Understandably, we’re shaken by this news and as you search for blame, point your finger at the environmentally conscious set. As we began to phase out traditional light bulbs for the more energy efficient compact fluorescents, the death of the 100-watt light bulb was imminent – as was our childhood culinary experience. (At least we didn’t let something as frivolous as safety concerns to alter our favorite childhood hazards.) “This gave us a reason to do it completely differently,” Michelle Paolino, a vice president of global brand strategy at Hasbro, told the Associated Press. “We wanted it to look more like a real appliance, not a plastic toy.”

Still, it’s hard to believe that from now on, American youth won’t know what it’s like to learn about cooking (or burn units) by way of plastic ovens and light bulbs. Introduced in 1963, Kenner Inc.’s Easy-Bake Oven was the original chemistry set for confection. Children followed painfully simple cooking instructions – mostly of the “Add water. Stir” variety – to yield miniscule cookies or brownies. The updated version, the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven ($49.99), features a warming unit closer to a traditional oven that can climb to temperatures of about 375 degrees while the outside of oven “remains only warm to the touch,” according to the AP.

via Hasbro’s New Easy-Bake Oven Ditches the Light Bulb – TIME NewsFeed.

Google Wallet:  Enjoy!

2012 Presidential Election, election laws, partisan issues, democrat v. republican: This happens whenever there is power balance shift … and the party out of power whines.

Looking to capitalize on their historic gains last year, Republican lawmakers in several states are rewriting their election laws in ways that could make it more difficult for Democrats to win.

They have curbed early voting, rolled back voting rights for ex-felons and passed stricter voter ID laws. Taken together, the measures could have a significant and negative effect on President Obama’s reelection efforts if they keep young people and minorities away from the polls.

This year, more than 30 states debated changes to their voting laws. A dozen passed more restrictive rules requiring voters to present state-issued photo IDs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, although Democratic governors in four states vetoed them. Florida and Ohio will cut nearly in half the number of days for early voting, and Florida lawmakers reversed rules that had made it easier for former felons to vote.

“If you have to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed, if you have to show a picture ID to get on an airplane, you should show a picture ID when you vote,” Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said in the spring when she signed the bill into law in South Carolina.

via Republicans rewriting state election laws in ways that could hurt Democrat – The Washington Post.

students, work-study jobs, education, random:  I think I would have died …

Some student jobs aren’t just about the money.

Curtis Adams discovered that on his third day working in the morgue at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center this summer, when a doctor handed him a cadaver’s intestine to clean out.

“You’re so excited thinking they gave you this important task to do,” he says. But as he snipped off the end of the intestine with a pair of scissors, Mr. Adams saw—and smelled—exactly what he had gotten himself into. “It was a trap,” he says. “I realized that was my initiation.”

His boss, Lawrence C. Nichols, a professor of pathology and chief of the medical center’s autopsy service, confirms Mr. Adams’s assessment: “You usually can only get someone to do that voluntarily once.”

For most students, a campus job means a gig like reshelving library books or swiping student ID’s in the dining hall—time-honored paths to a little extra cash for books and beer. But for a select few like Mr. Adams, the job itself is the payoff, the rare work-study or university-sponsored position that warrants a double take on a résumé and rewards its taker in bizarre stories and befuddled inquiries from friends and family. So you do what, exactly?

via Feed a Lemur, Castrate a Calf: the Real Value of Some Unusual Student Jobs – Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cities, neighborhoods, change, Brooklyn NY, diversity:  Rapid change … but are we adapting?

“Forty years ago, we wouldn’t have a cow foot,” Mr. Savarese said, pointing to a bucket of them. Goat meat, oxtail, Jamaican curry powder — these are the gradual changes that have allowed Michael’s to stay open as so many of its neighbors have closed to make way for wig stores and West Indian bakeries.

“We’re the last one,” Mr. Savarese said, slicing into a side of beef.

In a city where Jewish neighborhoods turn Puerto Rican, then African and then something else, Mr. Savarese belongs to the sparse ranks of holdouts who have held firm amid the city’s churn, even as newcomers have remade the streets around them. They dig in for many reasons: love of place, loyalty, optimism or sheer stubbornness. Nostalgia grounds some, inertia others. But all of them can still imagine, as they look out on their reshaped blocks, the neighbors and businesses that left decades ago.

At Michael’s, a woman carrying two shopping bags pushed open the door on a recent afternoon and asked, in a Caribbean lilt, for the price of the oxtail. It was $6.29 a pound, she was told. “Lord have mercy,” she said, backing out the door.

Mr. Savarese’s disparate tribe of holdouts includes an Irish bar owner in Brooklyn’s version of Chinatown, an artist hanging on in a zone of shoppers and tourists, and a drum maker who still creates them by hand. Taken together, they offer a twist on New York’s famous promise of reinvention. Theirs are stories of staying put.

“I call it the die-hard effect,” said Joseph J. Salvo, the director of the population division of the Department of City Planning. “There are people who will not leave. Irrespective of the change that is occurring, they regard that as their home.”

via The Last Holdouts in Changing City Neighborhoods – NYTimes.com.

Pat Robertson,  gaffes, faith and spirituality:  Personally, I think this is more than a gaffe.

To a minister like Robertson, marriage is empowered by the almighty himself as the holiest of institutions. It is the most unbreakable of bonds, well, except in one case. Calling Alzheimer’s disease a “kind of death,” in a Sept. 13 700 Club broadcast, Robertson advised a man whose wife is suffering from the incurable, degenerative disease to “divorce her and start all over again.” Unsurprisingly, the clip has gone viral and, like the many Robertson gaffes before it, prompted condemnation from others in the faith-based community.

via In Health, But Not Always in Sickness – Top 10 Pat Robertson Gaffes – TIME.

travel, photography:  Some good advice …

Capture the photo not taken on your next vacation, and you’re guaranteed to make a memory. Like a bottle of “Dandelion Wine,” it is an image that encapsulates your escape in a single frame. It can become a point of pride on the wall, or an image you look to when a case of the Mondays threatens to overwhelm.

So often, the camera becomes an afterthought in the suitcase. Think of it as a traveling companion, one to share every second of your adventure with. From the most exotic location to your favorite escape in the next town over, the world is full of photographic potential. And I promise you, “every, every inch” of it has not been photographed.

via How to take amazing travel photos – CNN.com.

LOL, old jokes, kith/kin:  Some jokes you just never give up …

In bed … 🙂

 

15
Sep
11

9.15.2011 … still waiting for fall …

college life, expectations, privacy, Harvard:  I’m impressed … things that were once assumed are now expressed.  To some extent we have come full circle … with the added concept of freedom of expression  and privacy rights.  Still I think for many students having this “understood” as an expectation is appropriate.

When the members of the class of 2015 arrived at Harvard College this fall, they encountered a novel bit of moral education. Their dorm proctors — the grad students who live with freshmen to provide guidance and enforce discipline — invited each student to sign a pledge developed by the Freshman Dean’s Office. It reads, in full:

“At Commencement, the Dean of Harvard College announces to the President, Fellows, and Overseers that ‘each degree candidate stands ready to advance knowledge, to promote understanding, and to serve society.’ That message serves as a kind of moral compass for the education Harvard College imparts. In the classroom, in extracurricular endeavors, and in the Yard and Houses, students are expected to act with integrity, respect, and industry, and to sustain a community characterized by inclusiveness and civility.

“As we begin at Harvard, we commit to upholding the values of the College and to making the entryway and Yard a place where all can thrive and where the exercise of kindness holds a place on par with intellectual attainment.”

The original plan was to post the pledge in each dorm entryway, along with the names and signatures of the students living there. Although signing was supposed to be voluntary, any dissent would have been obvious.

The posting constituted “an act of public shaming,” Harry R. Lewis, a computer science professor and former dean of Harvard College, wrote in a blog post condemning the pledge. Some students signed because they felt they had to — a completely predictable, yet somehow unforeseen, result that Tom Dingman, the dean of freshmen, says is “against the spirit of the pledge.” The signatures will no longer be posted.

Yet what the Harvard Crimson dubs the “freshman kindness pledge” remains in place. The vast majority of freshmen, and the college itself, have formally declared that “the exercise of kindness” is “on par with intellectual attainment.” Both parts of that equation are odd, and they are odd in ways that suggest something has gone awry at Harvard.

via Harvard Pledge Values ‘Kindness’ Over Learning: Virginia Postrel – Bloomberg.

women in literature, “bitches”: “Margaret Mitchell did for bitchery what Edgar Allan Poe did for murder — she made it respectable.”

In Shakespeare’s comedy, a shrew is known by her “impatient humour,” a “chattering tongue,” “scolding” and “waspish,” bandying “word for word and frown for frown.” She is “froward, peevish, sullen, sour,” and “not obedient to [her husband’s] honest will.” In the end, of course, the shrew is tamed. She places her hand below her husband’s foot.

On the literary level it would be a long time before women, in Gershon Legman’s phrase, carried the war into the camp of the enemy. In his foul-mouthed study of censorship Love and Death, Legman frankly calls the shrew, the “spirited” woman, by a different name:

The bitch has been here before. She was never gone. But, for our generation, first in Gone With the Wind in 1936 was she made a heroine. Margaret Mitchell did for bitchery what Edgar Allan Poe did for murder — she made it respectable.

David Plante suggested a less inflammatory term. His 1983 memoir of Jean Rhys, Germaine Greer, and Sonia Brownell Orwell was called Difficult Women. Whether a woman or man is doing the calling makes a difference. But given her literary pedigree, the not-so-nice woman (whatever she ends up being called) ought to be fair game for male authors as well as female.

via Wicked (or, at Least, Difficult) Women in Literature « Commentary Magazine.

professions, pastoral care:  Ministers are professionals … goes back to the original definition of the word.

The truth is that I couldn’t tell her where I’d been doing Monday without possibly breaking a confidence.  I had been in court with someone about a very sensitive issue and it was too small a congregation and too small a town to say much about that.  Anybody could have easily guessed who was in court and why.  No, I couldn’t check my messages.  I was a character witness and needed to stay in the courtroom all day.  And no I didn’t go by the church building to check messages after court because I was exhausted and went straight home to bed.

These kinds of things – private pastoral things – happen all the time if you are a good pastor.  But the problem is that most people do not see us in courtrooms or offices or jail cells.  And if they don’t see us working, they may not believe we are working.

I once knew a church volunteer who expected me to be in the church building when she was in the church building.  Otherwise, I must not be working.  Many good pastors actually work the most hours out in the world – in hospitals and coffee shops and homes.  Nobody follows us around and watches what we do.  We only work with an audience on Sunday mornings or when we teach classes and lead meetings.

Sometimes we can’t even tell people what we did on a given day.  And – just like a new parent whose day flies by without much obvious accomplishment after a mountain of small tasks were achieved – there are some days in a clergyperson’s life when administrivia wins.  No sermon was written.  No visits were made.  But, by golly, 30 e-mails were answered and two monthly reports were written and the mail was sorted.

In my current job, I hear parishioners who share that their pastors “don’t do anything.“  That’s possible.  But it’s also possible that their pastor could be sitting with a mentally ill person in the hospital or driving a homeless family to the shelter in the next town.  Sometimes pastors do things that most parishioners can’t even know about.

And this is why it’s lovely to send your pastor a token of your appreciation when he or she retires or moves on.  (See yesterday’s post.)

via What Exactly Do You Do All Day? | achurchforstarvingartists.

Casey Anthony, criminal acts, consequences:  I never have understood exactly how this works.

Casey Anthony must pay almost $100,000 in law enforcement costs for investigating the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony, a Florida judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Belvin Perry’s ruling on Thursday was less than the $500,000 that prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in Orlando were seeking, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.

Perry said the costs should only cover the period when detectives were investigating a missing person and not the homicide investigation, which is a sum of $97, 676.

Anthony was acquitted in July of murdering Caylee, but she was convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to authorities. She told officers a baby sitter had kidnapped the toddler. Although, later authorities learned the baby sitter never existed.

Anthony, 25, must pay the Florida Department of Law Enforcement $61,505. 12; the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation $10,283.90; and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office $25,837.96. She also has to pay $50 to the state of Florida for the cost of prosecuting the misdemeanor convictions.

According to the order, Anthony may have to pay more money to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Perry asked to receive more detailed expense reports from the agency by 4 p.m. Monday.

Anthony is currently serving probation at an undisclosed location in Florida for unrelated check fraud charges. She is being hidden for her safety since she received death threats after her acquittal.

via Casey Anthony ordered to pay $97k to state of Florida – Crimesider – CBS News.

politics, democrats v. republicans, American Jobs Act, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R), uncivil acts, President Obama:  Jerk …

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert is no fan of President Obama’s “American Jobs Act,” but he does, apparently, think the name is pretty catchy.

The Texas lawmaker introduced his own jobs bill on Wednesday, and he gave it the exact same name as the president’s bill. Gohmert says his bill will create jobs simply by taking the corporate tax rate to zero.

“After waiting to see what the president would actually put into legislative language, and then waiting to see if anybody would actually introduce the president’s bill in the House, today I took the initiative and introduced the ‘American Jobs Act of 2011,'” Gohmert said in a statement. “It is a very simple bill, which will eliminate the corporate tax which serves as a tariff that our American companies pay on goods they produce here in America.”

Mr. Obama’s bill was introduced in the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a day earlier.

While Gohmert’s bill may steal a bit of the spotlight from Mr. Obama’s “American Jobs Act,” it can’t steal the actual name — there are no House rules prohibiting two different bills from sharing a name. Bills typically have a long, formal name and a short, informal name — two different pieces of legislation may share either. It would just be confusing.

Gohmert argues his version of the “American Jobs Act” is better, for one thing, because it’s simpler — it clocks in at two pages, versus 155 pages for Mr. Obama’s bill. On top of that, he says it will be more effective, instantly making America “a safe haven for businesses resulting in an explosion in revenue increases.”

via Two “American Jobs Act” bills — GOP lawmaker swipes Obama’s bill name – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

education, international living, extreme schooling, cultural barriers, language barriers, parenting:  I loved this article … the agony of the parents and the determination to finish what was started.  And success in the end!

My three children once were among the coddled offspring of Park Slope, Brooklyn. But when I became a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, my wife and I decided that we wanted to immerse them in life abroad. No international schools where the instruction is in English. Ours would go to a local one, with real Russians. When we told friends in Brooklyn of our plans, they tended to say things like, Wow, you’re so brave. But we knew what they were really thinking: What are you, crazy? It was bad enough that we were abandoning beloved Park Slope, with its brownstones and organic coffee bars, for a country still often seen in the American imagination as callous and forbidding. To throw our kids into a Russian school — that seemed like child abuse.

Most foreign correspondents, like expatriates in general, place their children in international schools. Yet it seemed to us like an inspiring idea. After all, children supposedly pick up language quickly. So what if mine did not speak a word of Russian and could not find Russia on a map. They were clever and resilient. They would adapt, become fluent and penetrate Russia — land of Dostoyevsky and Tchaikovsky, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Hermitage Museum — in ways all but impossible for foreigners.

But the fantasy of creating bilingual prodigies immediately collided with reality. My children — Danya (fifth grade), Arden (third grade) and Emmett (kindergarten) — were among the first foreigners to attend Novaya Gumanitarnaya Shkola, the New Humanitarian School. All instruction was in Russian. No translators, no hand-holding. And so on that morning, as on so many days that autumn of 2007, I feared that I was subjecting them to a cross-cultural experiment that would scar them forever.

And then, after five years in Russia, it was time to return to Brooklyn.

Danya, now nearly 14, was ambivalent about leaving, drawn toward being a teenager in New York City. But Arden and Emmett would have gladly stayed. “I feel like I’m tugged in two ways, and I have no idea what to do,” Arden told me last spring. “That’s the one problem with living abroad. You end up getting those weird feelings like, Oh, I can’t leave; I can’t stay.”

On the kids’ final day, Bogin called an assembly to wish them goodbye. He started praising them for all they had overcome but then stopped. This, too, would not be just a lecture.

“What would we not have had if these three had not been here?” he asked. “How did they enrich our school?”

“Theater!” someone shouted back.

“The school newspaper!”

“Great friendships!”

A chant began. “Spa-si-bo! Spa-si-bo!” (“Thank you!”)

Some teachers and children had tears in their eyes.

I went onstage to express my deep appreciation but was too choked up to speak. Suddenly, Arden strode forward and took the microphone. In confident and flawless Russian, she thanked the school for all of us.

via My Family’s Experiment in Extreme Schooling – NYTimes.com.

Goddard College, unconventional learning, alternate learning:  Another success story …

Someone like Rod Crossman, at his stage in life and with his professional success, doesn’t often seek a way to reinvent himself. Yet Mr. Crossman—a painter, an assistant professor, and an artist in residence at Indiana Wesleyan University—felt that he was merely churning out pretty work to hang on gallery walls, increasingly feeling a schism between where his career had taken him and where his passion was telling him to go.

“My art practice had become marooned in the place where it was not connected to the world,” he says. “There were issues that my students were facing, and I didn’t think I had the tools to help them navigate those problems. Some of the issues they were facing were just the challenges of the world that we live in.” He wanted an interdisciplinary M.F.A. to reinvigorate his work at Indiana Wesleyan, where he has taught for 30 years.

He found a tiny college in rural Vermont that has blown itself up and emerged anew time and again: Goddard College. The birthplace of some important academic innovations, it has long bucked traditional notions of higher education and, like many experimental colleges, flirted with financial ruin. Its latest transformation may be its most remarkable: Reaching a nadir in its financial health in the early 2000s, it did what many colleges would consider unthinkable. The college shut down its storied, core residential program and adopted its low-residency adult program as its sole campus offering. It has since re-emerged with 10-year accreditation, the highest number of students in decades, money to spend on refurbishing its campus, a new campus in Port Townsend, Wash., and plans to expand its programs to other cities across the country. One administrator put the college’s turnaround in perspective: Today, Goddard is getting a $2-million loan to build a biomass plant, but 10 years ago the college couldn’t have gotten a car loan.

Innovation is the buzzword of higher education these days. People talk about leveraging technology and scaling up, about treating faculty members like hired guns, and about adopting industrial models to bring down costs and ramp up “production.” All of it in a bid to offer more college degrees—more cheaply, more quickly, and some worry, of a lower quality.

None of that is happening here. Goddard faculty members, who do not have tenure but are unionized, seem fiercely devoted to the college. Students say their open-ended studies are among the most rigorous they have ever experienced. And Goddard’s president, Barbara Vacarr, is downright heretical when asked how higher education can scale up and give more Americans college degrees.

via Goddard College’s Unconventional Path to Survival – Administration – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Marine Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor, President Obama, White House, Beer with the President, media distortions, journalism:  “It would be nice to be able to post a photo of the president having a beer with a Marine without being beseiged with snark. #GrowUp,” … Media went too far on this one.  Kudos to Dakota Meyer.

 

When White House staff contacted him to arrange the ceremony, Meyer asked if he could have a beer with Obama, and the president invited him to the White House on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney posted a picture on his Twitter account of Obama and Meyer, both in shirtsleeves and ties, sitting at a metal patio table, each with a clear glass mug of ale. Several members of the White House press corps then “re-tweeted” the picture, which was taken by official White House photographer Pete Souza. Among them were Jake Tapper of ABC News, who has more than 138,000 Twitter followers, and Ed Henry of Fox News, who has more than 35,000.

Many of the followers chimed in, with most offering praise for the photo and the president’s hospitality. But some others apparently offered more cynical comments about the event being a staged photo-op for Obama.

It didn’t take long for the usually combative White House reporters to stick up for the embattled president on this one.

“It would be nice to be able to post a photo of the president having a beer with a Marine without being beseiged with snark. #GrowUp,” Tapper later wrote on his account.

Henry wrote: “Come on folks, just because WH released a photo of President’s beer w/Dakota Meyer doesn’t mean its ‘just a photo-op’”

Then he added: “Surely you can disagree with President on issues, if that’s how you feel, but still appreciate him recognizing uncommon valor by a Marine”

via Obama has beer with Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, sparking debate between critics, reporters – 44 – The Washington Post.





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