Posts Tagged ‘pets

15
Jul
13

7.15.13 … Chardonnay Pinot Noir, who knew? … MY DOG BURNS … royal babies/special babies … Aparecium! … favorite children’s books …

Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay Pinot Noir, 10 Degrees South:  I am not a wine connoisseur, but I enjoyed this South African Chardonnay Pinot Noir. I actually did not know blends of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir existed. I did not like it alone, but it enhanced my South African meal at 10 Degrees South.

Viticulturist’s DetailsA blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir from two specific vineyards situated on the gravely Boschendal slopes of the Simonsberg mountain.

via 1685 Chardonnay Pinot Noir | Boschendal.

pets, Mortality Paradox, Mark Twain,  poem, MY DOG BURNS:

Your love for them compels you to let them die with dignity in their own time and not on our time. When their bodies fail them, they are telling you in their own way to let go. I have learned this lesson the hard way when I kept my dog alive (with numerous surgeries and excessive medications) way longer than I should have.

A Dish reader reflects on the moral and emotional turmoil of pet mortality. Pair with John Updike’s heartbreaking poem “Another Dog’s Death” and Fiona Apple’s stirring handwritten letter about her dying dog, and Mark Twain’s little-known verses mourning the loss of his beloved canine companion.

Meanwhile, the Mortality Paradox looms over all of us.

via Explore – Your love for them compels you to let them die….

Here’s the Mark Twain poem referenced above:

Though a far cry from John Updike’s heartbreaking poem about the last days of his dog, Twain’s verses mourning the loss of his beloved canine companion don’t fail to stir:

MY DOG BURNS

No more shall bear beauteous form

Be seen in the raging storm.

No more shall her wondrous tail

Dodge the quickly dropping hail.

She lived a quiet harmless life

In Hartford far from madding strife;

Nor waged no War on peaceful rat

Nor battled with wild fierce tomcat.

No, No, my beloved, dear ’cause dead

What tough thy coat was a brick dust red?

Like a good author, thou was a trusty friend

And thy tail, like his, red to the very end.

via On Loves, Lunacies, and Losses: The Little-Known Poetry of Mark Twain | Brain Pickings.

royal baby, Zoo ATL’s giant panda,  Lun Lun,  labor,  ‏@ajc:  Another fun tweet …

AJC ‏@ajc 31s

No #royalbaby yet, but Zoo ATL’s giant panda Lun Lun is in labor. http://bit.ly/12synyC

via Twitter.

Aparecium!,  J.K. Rowling, ‘Cuckoo’ Mystery Author, @nprbooks, Revealing Charm, Harry Potter Wiki: 

NPR Books ‏@nprbooks 4m

Aparecium! J.K. Rowling Revealed As ‘Cuckoo’ Mystery Author http://n.pr/146o1cT

via (2) Twitter

OK, I had to look up “Aparecium!”

The Revealing Charm[1] (Aparecium) is a charm that forces invisible ink or other hidden messages to appear. It is also possible this spell can be used to make other invisible things reveal themselves. Hermione Granger used this spell on Tom Riddle’s Diary to see if anything could be read. Nothing appeared after she used the spell because that was not the enchantment placed on the book.

via Revealing Charm – Harry Potter Wiki.

Our 7 Favorite Children’s Books, Southeast Psych, lists:  My favorites from my childhood: A Wrinkle in Time, Trixie Belden Series (I read these at the beach when I was in second grade), Peter Rabbit, Harriet the Spy.  And from reading to my children:  Harry Potter Series, A Hole is to Dig, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, Madeline, A Long Way from Chicago …

When the Harry Potter books splashed into our pop culture as the 20th century closed, I knew that I would love them (I played my share of Dungeons and Dragons as a kid).  But a little voice inside my head kept me from plowing through them- it told me to wait and enjoy them as a father.  My oldest son, now 9, finally expressed interest in HP this year, so off we went- reading them in tandem.  This shared experience has been wonderful, and got me thinking about my all-time favorite children’s books (or should I say, books for the young at heart?).

via Our 7 Favorite Children’s Books | Southeast Psych.

05
Jul
13

7.4.13 .. Some dogs really freak out during 4th of July fireworks …

4th of July, pets, man’s best friend, fyi:  I have several friends with dogs who have severe anxiety attacks to fireworks.  This is worth noting …

Please take a look at this great infographic from our friends at PetFinder.

Did you know MORE PETS are LOST on JULY 4th than any other day of the year? Keep your dog/cat safe this Independence Day. Share these eight tips for enjoying the holiday with your dog.

And remember …. inside your home in a safe and quiet room is always the best thing since fireworks stress many of our furry family members.

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via the Humane Society of Charlotte.

I am blessed with dogs of another temperament … hug your beasts …

09
Dec
11

12.9.2011 … So glad two of my children’s names are on the list … the list of most popular pet names in 2011 … :)

random, names, kith/kin, pets: So glad two of my children’s names are on the list!

Does your dog have a popular name? Many names are personal or silly, while others have stuck with pets throughout history.

If you’re curious what other people name their animals, be sure to check out our cutest pets of 2011 slideshow.

Does your pet’s name reflect where they came from? A recent poll by AP and petside.com suggests that most people get their pets as gifts or rescue them.

Want to get a dog and give it some fantastic name? Check out Petfinder.com and the ASPCA website to help a dog in need of a home.

If you think your pet has a unique name, check out Banfield Pet Hospital’s list of the top 25 dog names for 2011, accompanied by some of our favorite dog pictures from this year. Click here to also check out the top cat names of 2011. Be sure to vote for your favorites!

via Top Dog Names Of 2011 (PHOTOS).

Christmas, decorations, random, Anthropologie:

“book Christmas tree in a NY @Anthropologie . So smart. I’m doing it. ”

via Instagram.

“Miracle on 42nd Street”, YouTube, viral videos:  🙂

Dancers Alex Karigan and Zac Hammer from the hit YouTube video Miracle on 42nd Street video chatted with readers. They answered reader questions, broke out some dance moves and more.

via Challenge the “Miracle on 42nd Street” dancers – The Washington Post.

Christmas, Christmas traditions, Christmas sweaters:  Fad Returns?

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David Wright examines the ugly Christmas sweater trend.

via Christmas Sweater Madness: Fad Returns | Video – ABC News.

Niall Ferguson, The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, books, tv:  On my list …

Among yesterday’s selection of 5 must-read books by this year’s newly announced TED Global speakers was The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Harvard historian Niall Ferguson. But the book was actually meant to accompany a 2008 six-part documentary commissioned by Channel 4 — the same folks who gave us What Is Reality?, The End of God?: A Horizon Guide to Science and Religion, How Music Works, What Is Time? — and distributed in the US by PBS.

The program is now available online in a clip of questionable legality that may or may not get pulled down by the copyright watchdogs at any point. But, while it lasts, it’s very much worth a watch — eloquent and digestible, it distills one of the most powerful driving forces of our civilization and its multiplicitous impact on just about every aspect of our lives.

via The Ascent of Money: A PBS Financial History of the World | Brain Pickings.

technology, iPhone apps, hardware:  a Home Theater Powered by iPhone?

Everything changed when people started writing their own apps for the iPhone. Suddenly its talents as a phone — which, at least at the outset, weren’t particularly impressive — paled in comparison to its abilities as a computer.

These days, this business of phone-as-brain goes way beyond stand-alone apps. Nowadays, the iPhone handles the computing, connection and display tasks for a huge range of hardware from other companies. Why should they jack up their products’ prices by selling you a screen, memory, processor, microphone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’ve already got all of that in your pocket?

There are blood pressure monitors (iHealth), bathroom scales (Withings), physical activity monitors (Jawbone), sleep monitors (Zeo), credit card readers (Square), security cameras (iZon), remote-control helicopters (Parrot) and, of course, about 73,001 speaker systems. All of them rely on the iPhone as a brain.

Until the Epson Megaplex came along, however, one screamingly obvious iPhone accessory didn’t seem to occur to anybody: a home theater projector.

Why is it such an obvious idea? Because these days, millions of people carry around their photos, videos and music on their iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. The world is teeming with charging docks that also play their music. It shouldn’t have taken so long for someone to create a dock that also plays the photos and videos.

via Epson’s Megaplex Is a Home Theater Powered by iPhone – State of the Art – NYTimes.com.

Twitter,  redesigns:  Twitter works just fine for me …

Twitter unveiled a product overhaul for its Web site and apps today that it says is simpler and faster, with navigation built around its service’s key functions.

The new layout puts additional content and context inline within tweets, rather than off to the side. It’s also supposed to be 500 percent faster than Twitter was three or four months ago. And it looks different and sleeker; for instance, the navigation bar is now on the left instead of the right.

Nope, this is not a new product or feature — which by now seems to be Twitter’s least favorite thing! — but rather a conceptual and visual redesign.

via Twitter Redesigns to Be Simpler and Faster – Liz Gannes – Social – AllThingsD.

college application process,  college essay questions:  quirky, tweety, eccentric?  What are we doing to our kids?

Imagine you have to wear a costume for a year of your life. What would you pick and why? — Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

What is your favorite ride at the amusement park? How does this reflect your approach to life? — Emory University in Atlanta.

“Colleges have really thrown us a curveball,” said Eric Apgar, director of guidance at Sandburg High School in Orland Park. “In years past, we would tell students not to veer too far from the middle, to not be too strange … but it seems like that’s exactly what post-secondary institutions want.”

It’s not just content that has undergone a makeover, but the format as well. Along with the usual essay, many campuses have added short takes of 20 to 25 words, such as:

The best movie of all time — Columbia University in New York City.

“It just reinforces that there’s some secret code that needs to be cracked to gain admission,” he said. “How angry would an adult be if we had to answer these kind of bizarre questions on a job application?”

While other schools may just be retooling, the University of Chicago has long taken great pride in its provocative essays. Over the years, the application has asked students to reflect on everything from “How do you feel about Wednesday?” to the massive jars of mustard at warehouse stores.

“There’s no right or wrong answer … we’re looking for students unafraid to talk in their own voice,” said Evan Cudworth, assistant director of admissions.

The eccentric prompts have become such a hallmark of the U. of C. application that the admissions office annually solicits suggestions from incoming students and alumni.

The condiment question, for example, was submitted about six years ago and elicited a wide range of responses, from rants on consumerism to a physics equation, with one student calculating how fast a swimmer could travel in a pool of mustard.

via College essay questions get a quirky, tweety makeover – chicagotribune.com.

college application process, early action, early decision, “expectation management”:  As I have said before, “what are we doing to our kids?” “Expectation management?” At one school … “85-90% of the seniors applied Early (ED and / or EA), and most of the remaining 10-15% submitted application(s) in September, October or November under Rolling or Priority options.”

In Philadelphia, Daniel Evans, director of college counseling at William Penn Charter School, also emphasized the high proportion of students who took early application action this fall. He wrote:

85-90% of the seniors applied Early (ED and / or EA), and most of the remaining 10-15% submitted application(s) in September, October or November under Rolling or Priority options. All of this created a first trimester that was a blur for my colleagues and me. On the other hand, the majority of students will have some decision(s) in hand before the new year.

Mr. Evans of Penn Charter reported that the heightened early application activity had increased the need for “expectation management” and counseling regarding how to navigate the complex web of restrictions surrounding early applications for those filing a mix of early decision, early action and rolling applications.

via Field Notes From This Year’s Application Season – NYTimes.com.

Breaker, alternative learning,  social innovation,  interdisciplinary teams, creative collaboration, problems of the world:  Wow, impressive … makes me want to b young again!

Juliette LaMontagne, Ed.D., is a career educator: New York City public school teacher, Columbia University professor and professional developer. She’s a TED Senior Fellow and innovation consultant for the Asia Society’s International Studies School Network, the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers and the Student Press Initiative. Her new project, which she recently discussed with Change Observer, is Breaker.

Tell us about the pilot program you ran this summer. What is Breaker?

Breaker’s goal is to drive alternative learning and social innovation by mobilizing interdisciplinary teams of young creative collaborators to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. We connect our teams of 18- to 24-year-olds with global thought leaders and industry experts to answer major challenges like, in the case of our summer pilot, the future of the book and its impact on literacy. We facilitate a creative problem-solving design process and teach the entrepreneurial skills necessary to transform ideas into businesses.

Each unique Breaker project is a 12-week collaboration between the Breaker team, the visionaries who pose their challenge, and the industry experts who support their process. We work with multiple partner organizations across New York City to ideate, build and test real solutions with real market value.

In the Future of the Book project, our techno-bibliophilic visionaries, Charlie Melcher of Melcher Media and Tom Uglow of Google Creative Labs, inspired the team to imagine the future of the book. We then tasked them with designing a product or service that would get kids reading — and keep kids reading — during those pivotal middle school years when 12- to 14-year-olds either adopt reading as an independent practice or read only to get by. From the outset, the team was primed to make their concepts marketable.

via A new initiative recruits young adults to create ways to promote adolescent literacy: Change Observer: Design Observer.

kids, careers, really stupid, Twitter:  How NOT to use Twitter!

Kids these days! Three young staffers in the office of Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) were fired Thursday after a political blog printed a series of messages they’d apparently exchanged on Twitter about drinking in the office and how much they hate their boss. The NW Daily Marker preserved the tweets from the now-deactived accounts. Among the sentiments:

• “My coworker just took a shot of Jack crouching behind my desk. We have unabashedly given up on just about all things work related.”

• “I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pass a field sobriety test right now. Looking forward to a day in the office.”

• “I could have used another day away. The silver lining is that I don’t have to see my idiot boss.”

The tweets were written under pseudonyms from non-work accounts; the blog editor Bryan Myrick told us he connected them back to Larsen’s office via unspecified sources. The staffers could not be located for comment. All appear to be under 30 — and now, out of work. In a statement, a rep for the lawmaker said Larsen’s office said neither the congressman nor other staffers were aware of the alleged hijinx until the story hit Thursday, which prompted their quick firing. Larsen “has made it clear that he will not tolerate this kind of behavior,” the statement said.

via Rep. Rick Larsen fires three staffers over crass tweets – The Reliable Source – The Washington Post.

heirlooms, heirloom silver, art, memories:  So what makes a piece or set of silver an heirloom … the memories …

With so many pressing problems in the world, I’m going to confess to a slightly guilty conscience about my absolute happiness in working/creating/growing Silver Magpies. When I expressed this feeling, a very wise friend said to me, beautiful things enrich our lives. A piece of heirloom silver – whether it’s been passed down in your family for generations or it’s something you recently purchased and plan on passing down as an heirloom – is so much more than just a beautiful thing.

via Once and Future Heirloom Silver.

recipes,  Chicken Cutlets Meunière:  This one just made me hungry …. 🙂

The recipe, which I wrote about in an early Minimalist column, is infinitely variable, but here I’ve done it about as simply as possible. Dredge the chicken in flour, cook it in a skillet with oil or butter until nicely browned and just cooked through — as long as you get really nice browning on one of the sides, you’re fine — and finish with lemon juice and chopped parsley. The brown butter is luxurious and totally optional.

As for the variations, you can change the coating, using cornmeal, breadcrumbs or finely ground nuts instead of flour. You can season it with chopped fresh herbs, dried spices or parmesan. You can flavor the butter with herbs and garlic as it browns, or make any number of pan sauces — with wine, stock, butter, mustard, vinegar, capers, etc. — after you sauté the chicken.

via Chicken Cutlets Meunière — Recipe and Video — The Minimalist – NYTimes.com.

 ‘Young Adult’, movies, movie reviews, Therese Theron: Life after high school?  This one sounds fun …

By turns amusing and annoying, Young Adult could be the flip side, plus the sequel, of Juno, another film written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman. You’ll recall that the pregnant teen played by Ellen Page was mature beyond her years. But at 37, Mavis is still a young adult: stunted, selfish, believing her glamorous past is somehow her destiny. To grow up, she will need a few face-slaps to her pride, and perhaps a realignment of her ideas about the sort of man she should be with.

So maybe Matt, the drone, is Juno. Mavis doesn’t recall him; he reminds her, “My locker was actually next to yours, all four years.” Finally she recognizes him as “the hate-crime guy”: Matt had been beaten and crippled by jocks, exercising a more virulent version of the blithe bigotry Mavis showed him. “They mangled my c—,” he tells her, “so I have to piss and come sideways for the rest of my life” — a line that instantly jolts Young Adult out of Romy and Michele comedy-nostalgia land and into the psychic-horror terrain of Jennifer’s Body, another high school movie written by Cody. Except that, in Young Adult, the victim survives to haunt his pretty predator, and perhaps to convince her that he’s worth caring for.

Whether Mavis is Cody’s vision of her teen self or a portrait of the bitch-goddesses she knew way back when, Young Adult packs some ornery truths about compromise as the key to an arrested adolescent’s survival as an adult. In a thorny role, Theron is splendid; she instinctively reveals everything Mavis doesn’t know about herself and offers an intimate peek into a wayward soul.

via ‘Young Adult’ Review: Theron’s Life After High School | Entertainment | TIME.com.

digital learning, education:  I can’t wait to see where education is in another 10 years …

An expert educator working group with more than 25 innovative and master instructional technology leaders from across the country worked to develop these toolkits filled with helpful resources for all stakeholders.  The toolkits include links and references to instructional strategy ideas, lesson plans, sample outreach, ways to collaborate, and resources organized in a succinct way to meet the needs of the following stakeholders recommended by practitioners just like you. These resources are not the totality of good information available. Instead, this resource is designed to help you think about how technology may strengthen your insructional strategies.  Click on the Toolkit below to get started.

Showcase/Promising Practices:  The showcase of promising practices offers educators in at the district, high school, elementary school and libraries short videos highlighting ideas of incorporating digital learning into students’ daily activities.

Project-Based Learning Frameworks for Lessons:  This section provides project-based lessons or links to lesson repositories that have options for different technologies and length of implementation. Maybe your schools can start or finish one on Digital Learning Day!

Pedagogical Approaches and Professional Development: Find information about flipping the classroom, simulations, mobile learning, professional development, and more.

Lesson Ideas: Visit this large repository of lesson ideas and plans that incorporate digital learning into various content areas.

Collaboration Tools: Through a free collaboration site powered by Epsilen, Digital Learning Day participants can join a special Digital Learning Day group and begin connecting with other teachers and librarians across the country.  The site provides opportunities to create an ePortfolio, begin or participate in discussions, share lesson plans and documents, and learn from one another.  Educators will be able to participate in live chats, webinars, and other professional learning opportunities.

via Digital Learning Day :: Classroom and Teacher Toolkit.

 Read It Later, data, culture, media, blogging: What does engagement look like in a time-shifted world?  Good question … I actually read everything I save … and most of it I post here!

Because, if my own use of Read It Later and Instapaper are any indication, a click on a Read Later button is, more than anything, an act of desperate, blind hope. Why, yes, Foreign Affairs, I would love to learn about the evolution of humanitarian intervention! And, certainly, Center for Public Integrity, I’d be really excited to read about the judge who’s been a thorn in the side of Wall Street’s top regulator! I am totally interested, and sincerely fascinated, and brimming with curiosity!

But I am less brimming with time. So, for me, rather than acting like a bookmark for later-on leafing — a straight-up, time-shifted reading experience — a click on a Read Later button is actually, often, a kind of anti-engagement. It provides just enough of a rush of endorphins to give me a little jolt of accomplishment, sans the need for the accomplishment itself. But, then, that click will also, very likely, be the last interaction I will have with these worthy stories of NGOs and jurisprudence.

What does endure, though, the Read It Later info suggests, is the human connection at the heart of the best journalism. While so much of the most-saved stuff has a unifying theme — life-improvement and gadgets, with Boing Boing’s delights thrown in for good measure — it’s telling, I think, that the returned-to content can’t be so easily categorized. It runs the gamut, from sports to tech, from pop culture to entertainment. What it does have in common, though, is good writing. I don’t read all the folks on the list, but I read a lot of them — and I suspect that the writing itself, almost independent of topic, is what keeps people coming back to them. When I’m looking at my queue and see Maureen O’Connor’s byline, I’ll probably click — not necessarily because I care about the topic of her post, but because, through her snappy writing, she’ll make me care. The Read It Later data suggest a great thing for writers: Stickiness seems actually to be a function of quality.

Or, as David Carr might put it: The ones worth saving are the ones being saved.

via New Read It Later data: What does engagement look like in a time-shifted world? » Nieman Journalism Lab.

Nicholas Sparks, ‘The Lucky One’, movies, Zac Ephron:  Well, i am not a big fan of Nicholas Sparks.  So Zac Ephron certainly will not get me their … I’ll wait ’til its free on Netflix.

Zac Efron will now join the ranks of men including Richard Gere, Channing Tatum and Ryan Gosling who play the lost heartthrobs opposite their fragile but charming female leads in Nicholas Sparks adaptations. Efron stars as Logan Thibault in “The Lucky One,” as a marine who believes he was saved by a picture of a woman while serving a tour in Iraq. Logan returns home and seeks out this woman, played by Taylor Schilling, and love/lust/anger/frustration ensue. And there’s the classic moment in a boat.

via Nicholas Sparks’ ‘The Lucky One’ Trailer Premieres – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Christmas, Christmas commercials, Best Buy, LEXUS,  Christmas commercials: Are ads getting meaner? I thought it was just me … but I definitely think they are mean-spirited.

A heartwarming Christmas documentary, “Becoming Santa,” is interspersed with moments of Grinch — thanks to the interruption of Christmas commercials, The Post’s TV critic Hank Stuever found.

Best Buy, in particular, is running a terribly callous series of commercials called “Game On, Santa,” in which obsessed female shoppers purchase the gifts that their loved ones really want at Best Buy and then wait up on Christmas Eve to accost Santa Claus in their living rooms and gloat that they’ve already beat him to the punch. In your face, you outdated fat man with your outdated presents!

Are ad companies all naughty and no nice this year? From a roundup of some Christmas ads, it seems to be so. Which company should get the most coal in its stocking for its blatant bah-humbuggery?

via Best Buy Christmas commercials: Are ads getting meaner? – Arts Post – The Washington Post.

‘You’re A Mean One, Newt Gingrich’, YouTube, Newt Gingrich, Dr. Seuss,  Parody: 🙂

As the holiday season and GOP primary both draw near, it’s only natural that the two would eventually merge in a politically-charged Christmas video titled, “You’re A Mean One, Newt Gingrich.”

The star of the show? The controversial GOP candidate, of course.

The video features some of Gingrich’s most notorious sayings set to a modified version of the theme song to Dr. Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (get it?) along with some pretty amusing graphics.

via ‘You’re A Mean One, Newt Gingrich’ Depicts GOP Candidate As Grinch In Dr. Seuss Parody (VIDEO).

“of the year”, images, photographs:  Very interesting …

It’s the “of the year” time of the year: a few weeks spent naming the best books or music or music films, or the most significant events or people, of the year.

As a reader I enjoy this mini-season, an annual excuse for me to (silently) disagree with everyone else’s lists. As a writer, I tend to avoid it. But this year I’m making an exception, because for months I’ve had a pretty good idea what I would choose as the “image of the year.” And for reasons that will become apparent, I’m going to cast my vote for book of the year, while I’m at it. But I’ll get to that.

The image of the year, hands down, is the image of Osama Bin Laden, dead. I haven’t seen it of course, and unless you have fairly rarified security access, you haven’t either. That’s why it’s the most compelling image of 2011: At this point, there’s nothing more surprising, and fascinating, than an image people might want to see, but can’t.

After all, we’ve all observed the long-term shifts that surely made 2011 the most image-soaked year of all time — and that will make next year, and the year after that, even more so. Cameras and video recorders, built into various other devices, are increasingly ubiquitous; space for storing them online is basically limitless. Grotesque evidence of a despot’s violent death and all manner of other corrosive images are just a click away, and sometimes difficult to avoid. Surveillance (by security cameras, by drones, by Google’s roving Street View cars, by average citizens) is routine. And so on.

So when news of the Bin Laden killing was accompanied by calls from many quarters that images of his corpse needed to be shared with the public, I assumed that it would happen promptly. An interesting question is why people wanted to see those images. The official answer is that it would provide proof. But the explosion of images has been accompanied by an explosion of doctored, faked, manipulated, and overtly remixed images. It’s also been accopmanied by the apparent deterioration of any given image’s authority.

Which brings me to my book of the year: Errol Morris’ Believing Is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography). The book is not about digital-era image culture, but it’s vital reading for anybody interested in photography as “proof,” or really photography in general. Over six chapters, Morris examines photography, and how we look at it — what we project into images, sometimes including even the intentionality of the photographer, or the morality of the subject. We see things that aren’t there, and miss things that are. “Our beliefs,” he argues in a pivotal passage, “can completely defeat sensory evidence.”

via Image of the Year: Rob Walker: Observers Room: Design Observer Mobile.

faith v. spirituality, science, God:

If you believe that the truth lies in strange scrolls, dug up by somewhere or other, written by someone, then there’s no logical counter to that.” ~ Sir Richard Friend

via 50 Famous Scientists on God, Part 2 | Brain Pickings.

Lissa Rankin, TEDxFiDiWomen,  OwningPink.com, women’s health, wellness, holistic medicine:  Loved this oe …

Lissa Rankin, MD is an OB/GYN physician, author, keynote speaker, consultant to health care visionaries, professional artist, and founder of the women’s health and wellness community OwningPink.com. Discouraged by the broken, patriarchal health care system, she left her medical practice in 2007 only to realize that you can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling. This epiphany launched her on a journey of discovery that led her to become a leader in the field of mind/body medicine, which she blogs about at OwningPink.com and is writing about in her third book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013).

She teaches both patients and health care professionals how to make the body ripe for miracles by healing the mind and being healthy in all aspects of life, not just by promoting healthy behaviors like good nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep, but by encouraging health and authenticity in relationships, work, creative expression, spirituality, sexuality, finances, and living environment. She is leading a revolution to feminize how health care is received and delivered by encouraging collaboration, fostering self-healing, reconnecting health care and spirituality, empowering patients to tap into the mind’s power to heal the body, and encouraging women not to settle for being merely well, but to strive for living vital, joyful, authentic lives full of “mojo.”

When not spreading the word, she chills out, paints, does yoga, and hikes in Marin County, CA with her husband and daughter.

via TEDxFiDiWomen – Lissa Rankin – YouTube.

human, history, woman’s issues, philosophy, What Does It Mean To Be Human? A Historical Perspective 1800-2011, books:

Decades before women sought liberation in the bicycle or their biceps, a more rudimentary liberation was at stake. The book opens with a letter penned in 1872 by an anonymous author identified simply as “An Earnest Englishwoman,” a letter titled “Are Women Animals?” by the newspaper editor who printed it:

Sir, —

Whether women are the equals of men has been endlessly debated; whether they have souls has been a moot point; but can it be too much to ask [for a definitive acknowledgement that at least they are animals?… Many hon. members may object to the proposed Bill enacting that, in statutes respecting the suffrage, ‘wherever words occur which import the masculine gender they shall be held to include women;’ but could any object to the insertion of a clause in another Act that ‘whenever the word “animal” occur it shall be held to include women?’ Suffer me, thorough your columns, to appeal to our 650 [parliamentary] representatives, and ask — Is there not one among you then who will introduce such a motion? There would then be at least an equal interdict on wanton barbarity to cat, dog, or woman…

Yours respectfully,

AN EARNEST ENGLISHWOMAN

The broader question at the heart of the Earnest Englishwoman’s outrage, of course, isn’t merely about gender — “women” could have just as easily been any other marginalized group, from non-white Europeans to non-Westerners to even children, or a delegitimized majority-politically-treated-as-minority more appropriate to our time, such as the “99 percent.” The question, really, is what entitles one to humanness.

via What Does It Mean To Be Human? A Historical Perspective 1800-2011 | Brain Pickings.

openings, essays, breakfast:  I read this blog entry because it was about Maira Kalman … but honestly I thought it a great start to a book …

Breakfast people tend to be different.

My father was a breakfast person; nothing made him happier than sitting down at a morning spread comprised of anything from scrambled eggs (with ketchup) and bacon, to coffee cake, to leftover apple strudel from Mrs. Herbst, to bagels and schmaltz herring, to Spam fried in a sad little teflon pan that he used for nothing else.

My mother generally preferred black coffee and a cigarette. They divorced when I was 15.

via Breakfast with Maira Kalman: An Interview.

Maira Kalman, interview, breakfast:  Love Maira Kalman … enjoyed this interview!

I would take a walk and hopefully end up in a place with an outdoor table. I would have my sketchbook with me so I could draw my breakfast. And hopefully there would be really, really good coffee. And no music except for classical music. But mostly the sounds of the day beginning and the clink of silverware and the murmur of conversation.

via Breakfast with Maira Kalman: An Interview.

23
Sep
11

9.23.2011 … ‎lucky me … i get to take two dogs and a cat to the vet and its pouring … cat is MIA right now … and nightime viewing …‎… watched The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965) … Why are old movies so slow?

pets, Armstrong Animal Clinic, followup:  It’s a good thing I love my pets and my vets … all animals are healthy … but the bill was $779!  I am getting pet insurance on my next pets.  And why are we talking about adding another to the pack??? Shout out to the best vets in Charlotte … the Drs. Williston at Armstrong Animal Clinic.  We have been seeing them for 26 years … Thank you for great vet care.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965), movies, old movies: Why are old movies so slow? Did we not think they were slow way back when?

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Poster

1966 Nominated Oscar

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Richard Burton

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White: Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen, Ted Marshall, Josie MacAvin

via The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) – Awards.

Jenna Huff , Deb Guthmann, high school sports, high school cross-country, sportsmanship, kudos, NC:  sometimes you just need a feel good story.  Kudos to Jenna and Deb!

Eleven months ago, a spontaneous act of good sportsmanship at a girls’ cross country meet in Salisbury transformed a simple race into something bigger.

The ripples from that moment keep widening. Tonight, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jenna Huff is scheduled to receive a national sportsmanship award from the U.S. Olympic Committee for what she did for Deb Guthmann.

They were bound together last Halloween morning at a regional meet, where Jenna trailed Deb for all but the final few yards of the 3.1-mile race.

As the two approached the finish line – behind the race leaders but well ahead of the majority of runners – Deb still led Jenna.

Then something awful happened. Deb’s right hip basically tore apart. She screamed in pain and stopped.

Jenna had never met Deb and had been taught to pass every runner she could no matter the circumstances.

Instead, Jenna stopped and helped.

“C’mon,” Jenna said she told Deb. “We’re going to run, and we’re going to do it now.”

Jenna took Deb’s left elbow with her right hand and helped her jog the last few yards of the race. Then, at the finish line, she pushed Deb in front of her, reasoning Deb would have beaten her anyway if not for the injury. That act helped Deb’s Waxhaw Cuthbertson team win the regional race and advance to the state meet.

via Act of sportsmanship one that keeps drawing praise | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

death penalty, last meals request, cookbooks, random:  The main part of this story is that Texas Prisons ended special last meals because the inmates facing execution were being unreasonable.  Nothing funny there.  However, I just had to laugh at the last paragraph …

A former inmate cook who made the last meals for prisoners at the Huntsville Unit, where Texas executions are carried out, wrote a cookbook several years ago after he was released. Among his recipes were Gallows Gravy, Rice Rigor Mortis and Old Sparky’s Genuine Convict Chili, a nod to the electric chair that once served as the execution method. The book was called “Meals to Die For.”

via Special Last Meals: Texas Prisons End Special Last Meals For Inmates Facing Execution.

cohabiting, culture:  Twenty plus years ago a special friend asked her girlfriends what we thought if her boyfriend moved in with her.  We all twenty-somethings told her the world judges women harsher than men, but that we would not judge her negatively because we knew her. He moved in … and pretty soon they got married and had three kids … happy ending.  This article strikes a chord ….

Is a Bad Idea For Some.

But if you are a young adult who thinks you might want to have kids one day and maybe even get married but you aren’t sure that your current sweetie’s The One, please don’t move in with him or her.

I can hear the grumbling; “How will I know if we’re compatible or not if we don’t live together?” Easy — you know because you’ve spent enough time together as a couple. If you really don’t know if you can live with his smelly socks in the hallway or her panties hanging in the bathroom, then you either haven’t known each other long enough or you haven’t been paying attention. In either case, you’re just not ready to marry. Please, date some more.

Couples rarely split up over socks and underwear; they split because of affairs, alcohol, addictions and abuse. They split because their expectations of marriage differ. And they split because they never should have been together in the first place — probably because they moved in together to see if they could live with the socks and panties while they were ignoring other, much bigger issues.

So what’s so wrong with living with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Let’s forget the studies pointing out the booze (cohabitors drink more), weight (they’re heavier) and happiness (they’re not quite as happy as married couples but they aren’t more miserable, either), because those aren’t the issues. Nor are the results of the latest NMP study, “Why Marriage Matters,” which predicts doom and gloom for the children of cohabiting couples. The NMP has an agenda; it wants to promote marriage. Still, even a recent and presumably agenda-less Pew Study finds similar results, at least when it comes to cohabiting couples’ economic well-being; they’re poorer, and that puts stress on a relationship. A lot of stress.

As a society, we need to pay attention because there are 12 times as many cohabiting couples today as there were in the 1970s.

The real problem with cohabiting is that many couples who enter into it don’t give it a lot of thought; it’s one of those “just kind of happened” things. You like him, he likes you and a few months later you’re jamming your stuff into his closets. And those are the couples who, if they end up “sliding into marriage,” as research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver Scott Stanley would call it, are more likely to divorce at some point.

Commitment is a decision. And if cohabitation is being offered as a replacement to marriage — as the Alternatives to Marriage Project and many sociologists and family psychologists see it — then a little more thought about it needs to happen, especially if you know you want to have kids one day.

For Linda Lea Viken, head of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, that would mean a cohabitation agreement. Even if a couple doesn’t end up signing one, at least they’ve been thinking about things like property, spending, saving and — this is a big one — expectations. If you can have unrealistic expectations in a marriage, you can have them living together, too.

Of course, none of this matters if we’re talking about two child-free adults who live together and then split. It’s just a heck of a lot worse if there are kids involved — his kids, her kids, their kids. According to the ATMP, 40 percent of the first babies of single mothers are actually born to cohabiting couples. And some 42 percent of kids will have lived in a cohabiting household before they turn 12 years old.

Still, no one’s pushing for marriage (well, except the NMP), but it you want to live with someone happily and for the long haul you really do need to be committed, especially if you have or want kids. “To me, the biggest issue is commitment not marriage,” says psychologist Joshua Coleman, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families. “A lot of people are opting not to marry, but I wonder what is the context in which you have a child.”

For our most famously cohabiting couple, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the context seems clear. As Jolie said when asked if she and Pitt will grow old together, “Of course; we wouldn’t have six children if we weren’t absolutely sure of that.”

No one can ever definitively know if a relationship will last, whether married or not. But making a conscious decision to start off that way sure helps.

via Vicki Larson: Why Cohabiting Is a Bad Idea For Some.

Shel Silverstein, Every Thing On It, children’s/YA literature:  I loved Siverstein’s poetry with my kids …. and now he has a post mortem (11 years) new book!

Every Thing On It, published eleven years after Shel Silverstein’s death, arrived yesterday. Homework was instantly abandoned. The Girl Who Hates To Read simply had to dive into this collection of 139 poems.

This speaks volumes.

Shel Silverstein’s books are said to be for children 9 to 12. Nonsense. We started reading him when The Girl Who Hates To Read was six, and now we have the full collection. Only Roald Dahl comes close — and he’s a distant second.

What is Silverstein’s appeal?

Simple: He’s not full of the mealy-mouth bullshit that used to pass for children’s books. Starting way back in the ’60s — when Ozzie and Harriet values were finally starting to wither and die everywhere but in kids’ books — he talked to kids with respect. He thought they were smart. And creative. And they needed to be encouraged, not sedated.

via Jesse Kornbluth: Hey, Kids! A Decade After His Death, Shel Silverstein Has a New Book.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry:  I learned a lot from this analysis using debate team analysis as the basis.  Without this new understanding, I agree, anyway:  timing is everything, and Perry didn’t have it.

In any debate, contestants must make decisions given their limited amount of time to speak. On Thursday night, Rick Perry made the wrong ones. The Texas governor came across as forced and all over the place — awkward, unsure, with no clear strategy for how to answer questions or when he should go on attack. At one point he tried to fit three attacks on his nearest challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, into one sentence.

In short, Perry misused his time.

Academic competitions set rules and speaking times, and the debate teams I coach cannot change them. Debaters must make argumentative decisions about what they need to say to win. You have to pick and choose your best argument and stick with it. You should have a theme, limit your attacks, clarify your positions. In the presidential debates, the candidates must also do so.

As we have learned by now, these debates are a bit stacked. Front-runners Romney and Perry get more questions, making the job harder for the other candidates. They have to win over voters with less speaking time. Some did well with their limited time at the Florida/Fox News/Google debate in Orlando, others not so much.

via Timing is everything, and Perry didn’t have it – CNN.com.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, illegal immigration:

My friend Gov. Perry said if you don’t agree with his position on giving that in-state tuition to illegals, that you don’t have a heart,” Romney said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando. “I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart. It means that you have a heart and a brain.”

via TRENDING: Romney tweaks Perry over illegal immigration – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney:  I found this review helpful …

Reporters look at five moments from the debate in Orlando, Fla., and their importance going forward in the Republican race.

via The Caucus | Key Moments From the Debate – Video Library – The New York Times.

2012 Presidential Election, President Obama, Israel, analysis:  Israel is becoming the  key foreign affairs issue … so far neither party is looking very good … “As I said, Mr. Obama can’t win this election, but the Republicans can lose it by being small, by being extreme, by being—are we going to have to start using this word again?—unnuanced.”

A small secret. In writing about the White House or Congress, I always feel completely free to attempt to see things clearly, to consider the evidence, to sift it through experience and knowledge, and then to make a judgment. It may be highly critical, or caustic, even damning. But deep down I always hope I’m wrong—that it isn’t as bad as I say it is, that there is information unknown to me that would explain such and such an act, that there were factors I didn’t know of that make bad decisions suddenly explicable. Or even justifiable.

I note this to make clear the particular importance, for me, of Ron Suskind’s book on the creation of President Obama’s economic policy, “Confidence Men.” If Mr. Suskind is right, I have been wrong in my critiques of the president’s economic policy. None of it was as bad as I said. It was much worse.

The most famous part of the book is the Larry Summers quote that he saw it as a “Home Alone” administration, with no grown-ups in charge. But there’s more than that. Most of us remember the president as in a difficult position from day one: two wars and an economic crash, good luck with that. But Mr. Suskind recasts the picture.

Mr. Obama isn’t as resilient as a Bill Clinton, with his broad spectrum of political gifts and a Rasputin-like ability to emerge undead in spite of the best efforts of his foes. His spectrum of political gifts is more limited. That’s a nice way to put it, isn’t it?

But consider what happened this week in New York.

Mr. Obama’s speech Wednesday at the United Nations was good. It was strong because it was clear, and it was clear because he didn’t rely on the thumping clichés and vapidities he’s lately embraced. When the camera turned to the professionally impassive diplomats in the audience, they seemed to be actually listening.

“It has been a remarkable year,” he said: Moammar Gadhafi on the run, Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali deposed, Osama bin Laden dead. “Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way they will be.” Technology is putting power in the hands of the people, history is tending toward the overthrow of entrenched powers. But “peace is hard. Progress can be reversed. Prosperity comes slowly. Societies can split apart.”

On the Mideast conflict: “The people of Palestine deserve a state of their own.” But the proposed U.N. statehood resolution is a “shortcut” that won’t work: “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.” Peace can be realized only when both parties acknowledge each other’s legitimate needs: “Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.” Friends of the Palestinians “do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.”

“I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress,” the president said. “So am I.” All in all, it was a measured statement at a tense moment. It was meant to defuse tensions, to cool things down.

Contrast it with the words of Rick Perry, who zoomed into New York to make his own Mideast statement the day before the president’s speech. The Obama administration’s policy, the Texas governor said, amounts to “appeasement.” It has encouraged “an ominous act of bad faith.” We are “at the precipice of such a dangerous move” because the Obama administration is “arrogant, misguided and dangerous.” “Moral equivalency” is “a dangerous insult.”

This was meant not to defuse but to inflame. It does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Perry that when you are running for president you have to be big, you have to act as if you’re a broad fellow who understands that when the American president is in a tight spot in the U.N., America is in a tight spot in the U.N. You don’t exploit it for political gain.

Perry competitor Rick Santorum responded: “I’ve forgotten more about Israel than Rick Perry knows about Israel,” he told Politico. Mr. Perry “has never taken a position on any of this stuff before, and [the media is] taking this guy seriously.”

The Israeli newspaper Ha’artez likened Mr. Perry’s remarks to “a pep rally for one of Israel’s right-wing politicians, and a hard-liner at that,” adding that the governor “adopted the rhetoric of Israel’s radical right lock, stock and barrel.”

I’d add only that in his first foreign-policy foray, the GOP front-runner looked like a cheap, base-playing buffoon.

As I said, Mr. Obama can’t win this election, but the Republicans can lose it by being small, by being extreme, by being—are we going to have to start using this word again?—unnuanced.

via Amateur Hour at the White House – WSJ.com.

“The Good Wife” , tv, culture, gender issues, monogamy:  I don’t really like tv’s portrayal of our culture … “there are worse ways to betray your partner than by being unfaithful.”

Are men meant to be monogamous?

Alan Cumming from “The Good Wife” says there are worse ways to betray your partner than by being unfaithful.

via Video – Breaking News Videos from CNN.com

Morgan Freeman, President  Obama, race relations, politics, Tea Party:  Makes you think … I personally had hoped Pres. Obama’s election would be a great leap forward for the U.S.

Morgan Freeman, in an interview to be aired on CNN Friday evening, says that President Obama has made racism worse in America.

Chatting with Piers Morgan, the Oscar-winning actor also blames the Tea Party saying they’re “going to do whatever [they] can to get this black man outta here” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

via Morgan Freeman: Obama Made Racism Worse, Tea Party Will Do ‘Whatever [It] Can To Get This Black Man Outta Here’ | NewsBusters.org.

Troy Davis, capital punishment, understatement, GA:  “Take the case settled yesterday in Georgia.”  SETTLED!  Talk about effective use of understatement.

The idea that if you do wrong you get what’s coming to you animates Westerns and crime fiction, both distinctly American genres; small wonder it should find fertile political ground too. But here’s the thing: life is not a movie or a novel. Reality has no obligation to provide us with a clear narrative or villain, and it rarely does.

Take the case settled yesterday in Georgia.

Speaker after speaker harped on the same two points, one sound and one largely but not wholly irrelevant. The former, of course, concerned the injustice of the death penalty and the large amount of doubt concerning Mr Davis’s guilt. He was effectively killed on the word of nine people, seven of whom changed their minds. Reports said that Georgia’s parole board, which denied Mr Davis clemency on Monday, split 3-2 on that decision. Eyewitness testimony is profoundly unreliable; that it, and only it, was used to kill someone is unjust on its face and sets a terrible precedent.

The largely irrelevant point concerned the large numbers of supporters Mr Davis had around the world. We were told that rallies were held in Europe and across America, that hundreds of thousands of people had signed petitions, that death-penalty supporters such as Bob Barr and William Sessions (a former Georgia congressman and a former FBI director) and luminaries such as Jimmy Carter and the pope all opposed Mr Davis’s execution. But the problem with Georgia’s decision to kill Mr Davis is not that it’s unpopular; it’s that it was wrong.

When it was all over, Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Church, where Martin Luther King preached, said, “This is one of those moments when the nation is called to examine itself and ask, ‘Is this who we are?'” It seems that it is, alas.

via Capital punishment: A death in Georgia | The Economist.

President Obama, Jobs Bill, ” A Bridge To Nowhere”, 2012 Presidential Election:  Is the jobs bill nothing more than a first swing at the 2012 election … “This Cincinnati trip is the latest in a series of jobs events Obama has held across the country. Before this he was in Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Columbus, Ohio. No coincidence those are also swing states he wants to win to get re-elected in 2012.”

“It’s a short-lived fix,” he says. “I mean, the guys will be working on the bridge for a couple years, and then they’re out of work again.”

The truth is, construction on the Brent Spence Bridge would not begin right away even if the bill passes tomorrow. The White House says it never claimed this project was shovel-ready. One reason it was chosen was its political symbolism.

The Brent Spence connects House Speaker John Boehner’s home state of Ohio with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky. On the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell said it would be great to fix this bridge, but the president’s jobs bill won’t get it done.

“Don’t patronize us by implying that if we pass the second stimulus, that bridges will get fixed right away,” McConnell said. “The American people heard the same thing when the administration was selling the first stimulus.”

But small-business owner Jeffrey McClorey says the first stimulus really helped this community. He runs Bromwell’s Fireplace and Art Gallery, which calls itself the oldest business in Cincinnati. He says the first stimulus helped spur a mixed-use condo development along the river, called The Banks.

“There’s 300 new families living down at The Banks, and more coming. And those people are buying products from me and other people downtown and in the region,” McClorey says. “And it also benefits and helps to repopulate the city center, which I think is very important.”

This Cincinnati trip is the latest in a series of jobs events Obama has held across the country. Before this he was in Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Columbus, Ohio. No coincidence those are also swing states he wants to win to get re-elected in 2012.

via Obama’s Jobs Bill Pitch: A Bridge To Nowhere? : NPR.

“How I Met Your Mother”, tv, Katie Holmes,  “Slutty Pumpkin”, random, LOL:  OK, I watch some shows because my kids watch them.  I admit I have grown to love “How I Met Your Mother” and look forward to Season 7 and Katie Holmes as the “slutty pumpkin.”

Shockers abound in Season 7 of “How I Met Your Mother.”

Just days after the season premiere return of Season 1’s cupcake girl, Victoria (Ashley Williams), the identity of the elusive “Slutty Pumpkin” has been revealed.

First reported by Vulture, the elusive character first mentioned in Season 1 will appear this year in the form of Katie Holmes.

“Katie is a lovely and talented actress,” co-creator Craig Thomas tells Vulture, “which is why we’ve saved for her perhaps the most classily named character in our show’s history.”

“The Slutty Pumpkin,” also the name of the series’ sixth episode, was a potential love interest Ted (Josh Radnor) met at a 2001 Halloween party and never saw again. She’s since been mentioned several times — and cannot possibly be the mother.

via ‘How I Met Your Mother’ revelation: Katie Holmes is the ‘Slutty Pumpkin’ – chicagotribune.com.

Michael Warner, public lectures, UNC-CH, evangelical Christianity: ” Michael Warner, a professor of English literature and American studies at Yale University, said Thursday that evangelical Christianity is the mother of all social movements.”

When one thinks of evangelical Christianity, “nation-shaping” is not the first concept to come to mind.

But Michael Warner, a professor of English literature and American studies at Yale University, said Thursday that evangelical Christianity is the mother of all social movements.

Warner defined evangelicalism as a “transnational movement” that focuses on converting strangers. The movement is loud and unafraid to adapt to technology, he said.

He focused on the rise of evangelical Christians as a “counter public” in America from the late 18th century until the mid-1970s, which he claimed was the turning point for modern evangelicalism.

He discussed early American evangelical publications created for the purpose of converting readers, including “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” a sermon delivered in the 1740s by theologian Jonathan Edwards.

“The idea of evangelicalism follows the assumption that a reading of these texts anywhere by anyone leads to a conversion,” Warner said. “To read it is to imagine a spectacular conversion happening somewhere.”

“Free speech created a very special kind of culture,” he said.

Many students attended as part of their “Introduction to Fiction” class, said John Weeks, a junior psychology and political science double major.

“The religious discussion relates to the theme in the book we’re studying, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle,” said Tara Jeffries, a freshman journalism major.

“I enjoyed the references to American history and how the Puritanical religious views shaped the country,” Jeffries said. “His analysis of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon and the way he deconstructed it were especially interesting.”

The lecture was part of the Critical Speaker Series of UNC’s Department of English and Comparative Literature.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Yale professor lectures on social importance of evangelical Christianity.

Silent Sam, public monuments, Real Silent Sam movement, UNC-CH, history, traditions:  I clipped about silent Sam before.  It is difficult … should it go … I will say I was very moved by The Unsung Founders Memorial.  I am interested to see how this plays out.  My opinion is that it should stay and be a reminder of a history that you cannot deny … but be a discussion point.

0919_silentsam_sweeney

The statue in McCorkle Place has again sparked community-wide debate about the implications of having a monument to the Confederacy so prominently placed on campus.

But despite outrage from some, the monument has never been seriously threatened, at least during the past few decades.

Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost, said he has heard of no formal petition to remove the statue in his 31 years at the University.

On Sept. 1, a group called the Real Silent Sam movement, composed of concerned community members and students, held a protest to attract attention to the statue’s history.

Senior Will McInerney, a member of the movement, said the group wants to start a discussion about monuments with racist backgrounds.

University officials said they support the students’ right to protest the statue.

“I do fully support robust and earnest dialogue about this and similar issues, and I fully support student’s rights to raise this issue before the university community,” said Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs.

About 10 years ago, University officials heard from a senior class that wanted to commemorate another aspect of UNC’s history.

The Unsung Founders Memorial — the stone table situated less than 100 yards away from Silent Sam — was erected in 2005 by the graduating class of 2002 in memory of enslaved African-Americans who helped to build the University.

David Owens, chairman of UNC’s building and grounds committee, said careful considerations were made about the placement of the Unsung Founders monument.

“Silent Sam was the second monument to be placed inside the sidewalks at McCorkle Place,” Owens said, adding that the first was the burial site for Joseph Caldwell, the University’s first president, who was also a slaveowner.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Real Silent Sam movement holds protest focused on statue’s history.

Sebastian Junger, Reynolds Lecture, Davidson College:  Great lecture … “He also noted that on the battlefield, it’s not hard for a group of 22-year-olds to come together and overcome their differences, united behind a common purpose. In one of the few political statements of the evening, he added: ‘And then there’s Congress.’”

His talk touched on themes recounted in his books “War,” “The Perfect Storm,” “A Death in Belmont” and “Fire.”

He describes his time embedded with an military unit in Iraq. We all almost died, he said. Soldiers come to know that “you die or survive because of a random set of circumstances. … It’s meaningless,” he said. “It really torments these guys.”

The horrors and meaninglessness of war create problems when veterans return. On the battlefield, they come to know brotherhood and loyalty. For brotherhood, he said, all that’s required is that you value others’ lives above your own. “It’s there in the platoon,” and soldiers know they all can be brave.

That accords them respect that is hard to find in civilian life, Mr. Junger said. In combat, “every 19 year old can be encased in all the respect he can ever want.”

Once back home, they miss that and find they lack the same sense of purpose. In response to a question after his talk, he said as a nation, our goal for veterans should be to make them feel necessary. “A hug is great,” he said, but we need to ensure they have a purpose.

He also noted that on the battlefield, it’s not hard for a group of 22-year-olds to come together and overcome their differences, united behind a common purpose. In one of the few political statements of the evening, he added: “And then there’s Congress.”

Mr. Junger also recounted the death of his friend, collaborator and photojournalist Timothy Hetherington, with whom he made the award-winning documentary “Restrepo,” about Afghanistan. After they appeared at the Academy Awards ceremony to received an award for the film, Mr. Hetherington headed off to cover the civil unrest in Libya. There, he was killed by a mortar shell.

As Mr. Junger mourned, a friend emailed him. Apologizing for being so blunt, he told Mr. Junger that he and Mr. Hetherington had come closer than most to capturing the meaning of war. “The central truth of war is not that you might die, it’s that you’re guaranteed to lose your brothers,” the friend wrote. Now you understand, the friend said.

via At Davidson, Junger talks about war and its meaning | DavidsonNews.net.

Freshman Cake Race, Davidson College, traditions, goats, followup:  A Davidson tradition is the freshman cake race … I just saw this and loved its creativity … someone made a kudzu eating goat cake!

Today’s Freshman Cake Race scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Baker Sports Complex has inspired people all over town. One of the college’s crack strategic planning analysts, Janet Werner, was so moved by the college’s summer goat story that she confected this decorative entry, complete with tiny goat on top of kudzu fondant:

Not Baaaad!

And irrepressible math prof Tim Chartier concocted a real Wildcat paw/M&M cake on his computer, then brought it to life in the kitchen.

via Daybook Davidson.

Davidson College,  first night down, college life, student life, traditions, change:  Change is hard .. What college tradition would you be upset about if the college changd or banned it?

In 2009, First Night Down was officially renamed the Opening of the Court. Related events were moved from a Friday to a Monday in an effort to deemphasize drinking and encourage Patterson Court houses to better present their unique qualities to first year students. These changes, however, failed to achieve their desired effect.

This year, administrators from Student Life and Patterson Court chose to completely eliminate First Night Down, a decision that also precipitated a new set of recruitment rules for Patterson Court organizations.

Students were informed of this change on Aug. 15 in an email from Patterson Court Council President Lee Dorsey ’12. Dorsey attributed the decision to a year-long conversation involving the Patterson Court Council, the Dean of Students Office, Campus Police, Counseling and Student Health Center, the Union and the Residence Life Office.

Dorsey stated in the email that the event had lost its original focus and needed to better maintain its primary purpose: “to provide first-year students a comprehensive and welcoming experience, and to favorably introduce the pillars of our Patterson Court organizations and the Patterson Court Council to the outside community.”

In eliminating a formal opening date, Dorsey said that they hoped to “diffuse a frequently stressful and intense environment.”

Current students have mixed feelings about the decision. Krista Catafago ’14, a member of the last class to have a First Night Down, said, “As a freshman, I kind of resented the first night down rule, but as a sophomore, I’m able to understand the reasoning behind it. That being said, I think including students from all years from the very beginning has made the court more fun.”

Ace Coumas ’14 felt more strongly about the loss of the tradition. “I wouldn’t have known my [freshman] hall as well as I do today had First Night Down not existed,” he said. Though Meg Shamburger, Patterson Court Advisor, previously told The Davidsonian that she felt students were more upset about the changes to recruitment than the elimination of First Night Down, Coumas disagreed.

“A tradition has been stripped from Davidson College. It is certainly different. Of all the changes that have been dropped on returning students this year, this is the one that I am most concerned about,” he said.

via First night down: – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

Anne Wills ’88, Associate Professor of Religion, also suggests that First Night Down may have meant more to recent classes. “As a historian, I would have to point to this occasion as yet another recent invention/innovation that has disguised itself as an ancient (or at least generations-old) tradition,” she said.

Though First Night Down may not have left as great an imprint on the memories of Davidson’s older graduates, the loss is more strongly felt among current students and recent alumni. This loss of tradition reflects the larger goals of the administration to overhaul Patterson Court culture. The measure is officially a “preliminary solution to a long-term concern,” though it remains to be seen what steps will be taken next.

via First night down: – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

$16 Muffins, government waste,  Justice Department, oversight:  I am glad there were no $16 Muffins, but it does show you how we can get overhyped by phrases … and the bottom line is there is a lot of waste.

There was a whole host of over-priced items: $5 meatballs, $7.50 beef canapes, $8 coffees. But the sound-byte everyone took from the story was the $16 muffin.

Journalists and auditors arrived at the startling price when they discovered that 250 muffins at a hotel conference had cost the Department $4,200. Many were outraged, and pointed to the muffins as a prime example of governmental waste. Senator Chuck Grassley even said that whoever was responsible should be fired. Obama, for his part, seems to be complying. Obama Foodorama reports that POTUS has ordered a systematic review of all conference spending, and put Vice President Biden in charge of oversight.

It sounds like the new oversight is worth it; the government undoubtedly wastes a lot of money on catering and hospitality. But there’s a fantastic irony at the heart of the entire story. Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum has a great explanation of why the $16 muffins didn’t really cost $16. The calculation was based on the invoice price of the muffins — which included overhead and service charges for the use of the conference space.

UPDATE: Peter Yost of the Associated Press just wrote a story denouncing the idea of the $16 muffin as well; interviews with Hilton indicate that the apparent $16 price included free drinks, service and fruit. Here’s the full AP story:

via $16 Muffins, Which May Not Be Real, Get Justice Department In Trouble.

college search, virtual campus tours:  Anybody found these useful?

Virtual campus tours have been an active part of the higher ed web space for over a decade. Designed as the online sibling to the physical campus tour, they have the potential to reach prospective students and have a major impact on the recruitment process. Yet despite this great potential, the vast majority of virtual campus tours in existence today are disappointing, at best.

via Virtual Campus Tours | Higher Ed Live.

1895 Cotton States and International Exposition, history, Atlanta, followup:  I posted the anniversary of the Epositions’s opening a week ago.  I have always been fascinated it because my great-grandfather JJ Dennard, a Georgia state legislator, attended.  His ticket/pass with his photograph on it (remember 1895!) was always in a drawer in my grandparents home.  My sister has it now.  It just fascinated me.  So here is a little history for you.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
U.S. President Cleveland

The most ambitious of the city’s cotton expositions was staged in 1895. Its goals were to foster trade between southern states and South American nations as well as to show the products and facilities of the region to the rest of the nation and to Europe. These objectives found expression in the official name of the event—the Cotton States and International Exposition. There were exhibits by six states and special buildings featuring the accomplishments of women and blacks. Also showcased was the latest technology in transportation, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and other fields. Amusements such as the “Phoenix Wheel” and an early version of the motion picture were set up as part of a midway to attract visitors.

On opening day, September 18, military bands played, followed by speeches from political, business, and other leaders, including the prominent African American educator Booker T. Washington. In a speech that came to be known as the Atlanta Compromise speech and that was greeted enthusiastically by white advocates of the New South, Washington did not challenge

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
1895 Cotton States and International Exposition

the prevailing ideas of segregation held by advocates of the New South; putting aside all claims to political power and social equality, he urged blacks to make progress as agricultural and industrial laborers. In spite of lavish promotion, fewer than 800,000 attended the three-month exposition, which was plagued by constant financial problems. The Cotton States Exposition did showcase Atlanta as a regional business center and helped to attract investment. Although most of the 1895 exposition’s buildings were torn down so that the materials could be sold for scrap, the city eventually purchased the grounds, which became the present-day Piedmont Park.

via New Georgia Encyclopedia: Cotton Expositions in Atlanta.

BofA,  Countrywide, bankruptcy, business ethics:  I am a big supporter of  Bank of America (my spouse has worded for BofA or a predecessor for his entire career).   But passing the Countrywide debacle off on the American people bothers me.  However, BofA took a huge hit with Merrill Lynch for the country … and has taken huge hits with countrywide already … Opinions?

The threat of a Countrywide bankruptcy is a “nuclear” option that Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan could use as leverage against plaintiffs seeking refunds on bad mortgages, said analyst Mike Mayo of Credit Agricole Securities USA. … “If the losses become so great, how can Bank of America at least not discuss internally the relative tradeoff of a Countrywide bankruptcy?” Mayo, who has an “underperform” rating on the bank, said in an interview. “And if you pull out the bazooka, you’d better be prepared to use it.”

via Report: Bank of America could consider Countrywide bankruptcy – Charlotte Business Journal.

Facebook, changes:  I do not get too upset about Facebook changes … but some pretty creative people do …

31
Aug
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet they are far from ordinary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… and now the list … surprise anyone?

Happiest Schools

Yale University

Harvard University

Rice University

Stanford University

Bowdoin College

Pitzer College

Occidental College

Colby College

Emory University

University of California-Davis

Southern Methodist University

Rollins College

Hamilton College

University of California-Los Angeles

University of Southern California

Cornell University

Wellesley College

Colorado College

Smith College

James Madison University

Purdue University

Vanderbilt University

Bucknell University

Santa Clara University

University of California-San Diego

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27
Aug
11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover your next destination.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personality Cults

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UGA_PSA_Skylabb.mov – YouTube.

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

@espn4d

Pat Forde

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

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

college basketball:  I really do like college basketball

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

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

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

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

14
Aug
11

‎8.14.2011 … getting organized … and caught up on my “service” …

Olmsted, environmentalist:  I have a friend driving the BRP for the first time.  I wonder if he knows that Olmsted played a role by preserving the Pisgah Nation Forest.

Best known for crafting urban spaces – New York’s Central Park, Boston’s Emerald Necklace – Olmsted was also deeply involved in saving wild places.

Helping preserve Yosemite is one of his greatest accomplishments. Beginning in 1864 – at a time when only a few hundred non-Native Americans had ever set foot in the valley – Olmsted made a series of visits. He was awestruck by the epic scenery, but also recognized how easily the place could be spoiled.

In 1865, Schuyler Colfax, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, embarked on a cross-country journey with a visit to Yosemite slated as the highlight. Speaker Colfax was accompanied by a number of journalists. As it happens, Olmsted saw a mention in a paper about Colfax’s planned Yosemite visit. He arranged to meet up with the party to act as a guide. Olmsted also drafted an 8,000-word treatise about Yosemite.

In 1906, Yosemite became a national park, thanks to the tireless efforts of naturalist John Muir. But Olmsted gets credit for being one of the first people to call for the valley’s preservation. Olmsted, the pioneering environmentalist, also helped preserve Niagara Falls and the vast Pisgah forest in North Carolina.

via Olmsted, The Environmentalist.

pop-ups, H&M, WaterAid:  Still haven’t visited a really creative pop-up!

H&M has already appeared on our virtual pages once before for its innovative partnership with fashion blogger Elin Kling, but recently we found cause to cover the Swedish clothing retailer again. The topic this time? A pop-up store H&M recently ran in the Netherlands to benefit global charity WaterAid.

H&M has been collaborating with WaterAid since 2002, including an initiative every summer whereby the retailer sells an exclusive bikini or — this year — a whole beachwear collection dedicated to the effort, with 10 percent of proceeds donated toward providing safe water and sanitation to developing countries. This year, however, H&M took its support a step further by opening a pop-up beach store for two days in The Hague’s popular Scheveningen seaside resort. A variety of essentials for men, women and kids from H&M’s “Beachwear in Shades of Blue” line were available at the shipping container-style shop on the beach, and a full 25 percent of the sales proceeds went directly to WaterAid, according to a report on the Superfuture blog.

There’s no shortage of seasonal opportunities for pop-up retail, and H&M’s charitable focus makes the deal even sweeter. Other retailers around the globe: how can you make the most of summer to demonstrate your own corporate generosity?

via Pop-up beach store benefits global water charity | Springwise.

Statue of Livberty, NYC, LIFE:  I am really enjoying the LIFE photo galleries. American Classic: Lady Liberty – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Constitution, States Rights: 

I know states’ rights advocates revere the 10th Amendment. But when the word “states” appears in the Constitution, it typically is part of a compound word, “United States,” or refers to how the states and their people will be represented in the national government. We learned it in elementary school: The Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation to create a stronger federal government, not a weak confederate government. Perry’s view was rejected in 1787 and again in 1865.

We praise our Founders annually for revolting against royal rule and for creating an exceptionally durable system of self-government. We can wreck that system if we forget our Founders’ purpose of creating a representative form of national authority robust enough to secure the public good. It is still perfectly capable of doing that. But if we pretend we are living in Boston in 1773, we will draw all the wrong conclusions and make some remarkably foolish choices.

via What our Declaration really said – The Washington Post.

Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril, Moulin Rouge, Paris, muses:  I really learned a great deal on my Paris Walks tour of Montmartre … and so enjoyed this article yesterday in the WSJ.

[lautrec]

After the Moulin Rouge hired Avril in 1889, Lautrec painted her constantly. Some of his angular and unconventional depictions were used on posters to promote her performances.The Avril posters “made Lautrec famous as well,” Ms. Ireson says. “They were advertising the performance, but they were also advertising the artist himself.”

Unlike many artist-muse relationships, theirs is not thought to have escalated into romance, though that might have been to Lautrec’s chagrin. He was known to be positively giddy whenever she was around. His late biographer, Thadée Natanson, who knew both Lautrec and Avril, once described the artist as something of an “amorous alcoholic” in her presence.

via Jane Avril and Toulouse-Lautrec at the Courtauld – WSJ.com.

politics, millennials:  Thanks, Joni, for this great article.  I am not sure I want to turn over power to the Harry potter Generation … but I do have great hope in our children.

 

She continues, “We respond not as traditional issue-driven constituencies, but look for the nuances that reflect our own complex life experiences. We accept as fact that since people are different, not everyone will or should make the same choice when faced with an important life decision. Strident political alternatives come across as unrealistic and out of touch.”

Another young professional in Washington says she and her friends also shy away from absolutist thinking. “Women shouldn’t wait until the third trimester to have an abortion,” she says emphatically, “but should we have a law banning it? No. Should every medical provider be obligated to perform abortions? Also, no.”

In 2007 William A. Galston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, asked 20-somethings what they considered the top qualities necessary to be an adult. Four out of five rated becoming less self-oriented, and developing greater consideration for others, among the top four of 16 possible answers.

Will they be as generous in the future if the economy continues to decline? Will the level-headed among them become inspired to run for public office and, once there, offer fresh ideas on how to govern in a collaborative manner? We must hope so.

via End political gridlock: Put a Millennial in charge – CNN.com.

2012 Presidential Election, Michelle Bachmann, Francis Schaeffer, “How Should We Then Live?,” Westminster:  Wow … this story scares me.  One interesting note – at my high school, we were requred to watch the Schaeffer series referenced for a senior Christian ethics class.  I have re-read the book in recently years beause the 5 part series has haunted my take on ethics … I plan to re-read it again.

The transformation of Michele Bachmann from Tea Party insurgent and cable-news Pasionaria to serious Republican contender in the 2012 Presidential race was nearly complete by late June, when she boarded a Dassault Falcon 900, in Dulles, Virginia, and headed toward the caucus grounds of Iowa. The leased, fourteen-seat corporate jet was to serve as Bachmann’s campaign hub for the next few days, and, before the plane took off, her press secretary, Alice Stewart, announced to the six travelling chroniclers that there was one important rule. “I know everything is on the record these days,” Stewart said, “but please just don’t broadcast images of her in her casual clothes.”

Later that year, they experienced a second life-altering event: they watched a series of films by the evangelist and theologian Francis Schaeffer called “How Should We Then Live?”

Schaeffer, who ran a mission in the Swiss Alps known as L’Abri (“the shelter”), opposed liberal trends in theology. One of the most influential evangelical thinkers of the nineteen-seventies and early eighties, he has been credited with getting a generation of Christians involved in politics. Schaeffer’s film series consists of ten episodes tracing the influence of Christianity on Western art and culture, from ancient Rome to Roe v. Wade. In the films, Schaeffer—who has a white goatee and is dressed in a shearling coat and mountain climber’s knickers—condemns the influence of the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Darwin, secular humanism, and postmodernism. He repeatedly reminds viewers of the “inerrancy” of the Bible and the necessity of a Biblical world view. “There is only one real solution, and that’s right back where the early church was,” Schaeffer tells his audience. “The early church believed that only the Bible was the final authority. What these people really believed and what gave them their whole strength was in the truth of the Bible as the absolute infallible word of God.”

The first five installments of the series are something of an art-history and philosophy course. The iconic image from the early episodes is Schaeffer standing on a raised platform next to Michelangelo’s “David” and explaining why, for all its beauty, Renaissance art represented a dangerous turn away from a God-centered world and toward a blasphemous, human-centered world. But the film shifts in the second half. In the sixth episode, a mysterious man in a fake mustache drives around in a white van and furtively pours chemicals into a city’s water supply, while Schaeffer speculates about the possibility that the U.S. government is controlling its citizens by means of psychotropic drugs. The final two episodes of the series deal with abortion and the perils of genetic engineering.

Schaeffer died in 1984. I asked his son Frank, who directed the movies—and who has since left the evangelical movement and become a novelist—about the change in tone. He told me that it all had to do with Roe v. Wade, which was decided by the Supreme Court while the film was being made. “Those first episodes are what Francis Schaeffer is doing while he was sitting in Switzerland having nice discussions with people who came through to find Jesus and talk about culture and art,” he said. But then the Roe decision came, and “it wasn’t a theory anymore. Now ‘they’ are killing babies. Then everything started getting unhinged. It wasn’t just that we disagreed with the Supreme Court; it’s that they’re evil. It isn’t just that the federal government may be taking too much power; now they are abusing it. We had been warning that humanism followed to its logical conclusion without Biblical absolutes is going to go into terrible places, and, look, it’s happening right before our very eyes. Once that happens, everything becomes a kind of holy war, and if not an actual conspiracy then conspiracy-like.”

Francis Schaeffer instructed his followers and students at L’Abri that the Bible was not just a book but “the total truth.” He was a major contributor to the school of thought now known as Dominionism, which relies on Genesis 1:26, where man is urged to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Sara Diamond, who has written several books about evangelical movements in America, has succinctly defined the philosophy that resulted from Schaeffer’s interpretation: “Christians, and Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.”

In 1981, three years before he died, Schaeffer published “A Christian Manifesto,” a guide for Christian activism, in which he argues for the violent overthrow of the government if Roe v. Wade isn’t reversed. In his movie, Schaeffer warned that America’s descent into tyranny would not look like Hitler’s or Stalin’s; it would probably be guided stealthily, by “a manipulative, authoritarian élite.”

Today, one of the leading proponents of Schaeffer’s version of Dominionism is Nancy Pearcey, a former student of his and a prominent creationist. Her 2004 book, “Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity,” teaches readers how to implement Schaeffer’s idea that a Biblical world view should suffuse every aspect of one’s life. She tells her readers to be extremely cautious with ideas from non-Christians. There may “be occasions when Christians are mistaken on some point while nonbelievers get it right,” she writes in “Total Truth.” “Nevertheless, the overall systems of thought constructed by nonbelievers will be false—for if the system is not built on Biblical truth, then it will be built on some other ultimate principle. Even individual truths will be seen through the distorting lens of a false world view.”

via The Transformation of Michele Bachmann : The New Yorker.

slutwalks, society, culture:  In theory, the “sluts” are right … but tell that to the woman or adolescent who is raped and it could have been avoided.

Jarvis, along with crowds of protesters, had taken to the streets to march in what was dubbed a SlutWalk. The march, organized by Jarvis and Sonya Barnett, was spurred by the comments of Toronto constable Michael Sanguinetti, who told a group of students in a safety class that women “should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” In response to the constable’s remark — and the implication that women’s actions, not the actions of rapists, lead to sexual assault — SlutWalk was born.

via Will SlutWalks Change the Meaning of the Word ‘Slut’? – TIME.

Sandra Day O’connor, iCivics:  SDO’C is one of myheroes.  I continue tpo be impressed with her commitment to our society.

Mario and Luigi save princesses. Lara Croft raids tombs. And then there’s Chuck Freepress, a computer-game constitutional lawyer—created by retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor—who scores courtroom victories and boasts a heroic knowledge of the First Amendment.

O’Connor’s unlikely venture into the videogame world may not have produced a Resident Evil–level blockbuster, but so far it has hooked kids in 12,000 classrooms across the U.S. on a selection of civics-themed games—now played more than 2 million times. The goal: revive the teaching of civics in American schools to help prepare the next generation of kids to participate as citizens in a democracy.

As O’Connor points out, America’s public schools were founded in part to prepare kids for citizenship, not just college and career. “That was the theory, and schools followed it until recently,” she told NEWSWEEK. “Now our schools aren’t supporting it anymore. And I think that’s dangerous.”

Indeed, fewer than half of Americans can list all three branches of government, yet three in four can name all of the Three Stooges. High-school seniors today know less about the country than their peers did five years ago, according to the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress’s civics report card. And only 29 states require high-school students to take a civics or government course.

via Sandra Day O’Connor on Her American Civics Videogame – Newsweek.

Less than half of the public can name a single Supreme Court justice. But more than 80 percent of Americans know Michael Jackson sang “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.”

Thankfully, the Internet can be leveraged to update civics education in the digital age. At its best, the web is much more than just a source of information—it can be a powerful platform for students to exchange and debate ideas about what’s going on in their communities. And it is a vital vehicle for organizing political activities and finding government assistance.

A number of organizations are leading the way to producing the next generation of civics instruction. iCivics, founded by Justice O’Connor, offers web-based education projects and an array of interactive games and activities that students can use in class or at home. Students can assume the role of a Supreme Court justice and help decide a school dress-code case. Or they might learn how a new immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen by guiding them through the naturalization process. iCivics also provides outlets for students to engage in real-world civics efforts and support community projects founded by their peers from across the country.

Students continue to need opportunities to learn and experience civics in their offline communities as well. When Education Secretary Arne Duncan was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, he worked closely with the Mikva Challenge, which seeks to move beyond your grandmother’s civics to what it calls “action civics.”

via iCivics: Sandra Day O’Connor and Arne Duncan on Civics Education Online – The Daily Beast.

Grove Park Inn, culture, pets:  I guess the Grove Park is going after the European jet set … or the European jet set wannabees. 🙂

The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa announced last week it’s opening its doors to four-legged guests, with a new section of pet-friendly rooms and even doggie room service with dishes like Meat Woof and Chicken Pup Pie.

Rooms open to pets have been set aside in the inn’s Vanderbilt Wing, and there’s a pet walking area nearby. Meanwhile, the resort says it has a variety of trails and walking routes for exercising.

via Grove Park Inn opens doors to 4-legged guests  | Pets.

wine, Rosé, food – drink:  i enjoyed Rosé in Paris and my guide Donna Morris (Best Friend in Paris France – great guide if you need one) explained to me that this is what the French drink in summer.  I felt great being in the know … and the WSJ agrees.

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

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

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

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

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




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