Posts Tagged ‘real estate

15
Jul
11

‎7.15.2011 … Who has seen Harry Potter? I must admit I am waiting for the crowds to die down … Molly is going in France. Shes worried it will be in French, but hoping that it will be in English with French subtitles.

Harry Potter, movies, food, Bento box:  Harry Potter seems well liked :), and is viewed as an industry game changer.  I just laughed when I saw 5 HP Bento boxes … I had my first bento box in March … and had never heard of them before … now they are everywhere.

“There was a sea change with Harry Potter,” says Erik Feig, president of worldwide production at Summit Entertainment, which has made the Twilight movies. “The story has a younger protagonist, but the book series and the movies are greatly enjoyed by older people, too. I devoured the first book and gave it to every grown-up I knew. We saw the same thing with Twilight. We did not ghetto-ize it as a young-adult movie. Nor did they with Harry Potter. They drew all audiences. It was an inspiration to us.”

via How ‘Harry Potter’ magically changed films – USATODAY.com.

harrypotterbentoschool.jpg

The New York premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is today, and the world’s gone mad with Pottermania.

We’re going to miss Harry, Hermione, and Ron, but all good things must come to an end. And since the actors playing these Hogwarts students are adults (my gosh, Daniel Radcliffe has already given up drinking), now is probably a good time to say goodbye (before they all get Botox or join Celebrity Rehab).

In celebration of the movie and the passing of an era, we’ve found the five craziest Harry Potter-related bento boxes (yes, we actually found more than one).

via Five Crazy Harry Potter Bento Boxes – Broward/Palm Beach Restaurants and Dining – Clean Plate Charlie.

Bento (弁当 bentō?)[1] is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Although bento are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋 bentō-ya?), train stations, and department stores, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves producing a carefully prepared lunch box.

Bento can be very elaborately arranged in a style called kyaraben or “character bento”. Kyaraben is typically decorated to look like popular Japanese cartoon (anime) characters, characters from comic books (manga), or video game characters. Another popular bento style is “oekakiben” or “picture bento”, which is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements.

There are similar forms of boxed lunches in the Philippines (Baon), Korea (Dosirak), Taiwan (Biandang), and India (Tiffin). Also, Hawaiian culture has adopted localized versions of bento featuring local tastes after over a century of Japanese influence in the islands.

via Bento – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

 slime bags, John Edwards, great lawyers, Jim Cooney:  He may be a slime bags but he sure can pick a great lawyer.

Jim Cooney, a Charlotte attorney, argued for a later trial date, saying the case was complex and unusual and the sheer volume of documents collected by prosecutors would be overwhelming for his staff to quickly analyze.

Defense lawyers have received 10,000 documents from prosecutors and expect 20,000 more, including campaign e-mails and Internal Revenue Service tax filings.

Prosecutors contend that Edwards violated campaign finance laws by secretly obtaining and using contributions from two wealthy supporters to hide his mistress and her pregnancy from the public during his unsuccessful bid for president in 2008.

via Judge sets John Edwards’ trial for October | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

St. Basil’s Cathedral, anniversaries, icons, Russia, google doodles:  Happy 450th!

Saint Basil’s Cathedral is 450 years old today, and Russia is celebrating with a gift from Google: a doodle dedicated to the onion-domed structure.

via Saint Basil’s Cathedral Turns 450 Today With a Google Doodle – Intelligent Travel.

book shelf, Golden Fox, Courtney novels, Wilbur Smith:  On the list … comes highly recommended.

London, 1969 – and the headstrong and beautiful Isabella Courtney dazzles all.Yet the years that follow will test Isabella to the extreme of her endurance. They will be years of hardship and bitter pain, hidden behind the masks of affluence and success. It will be a time in which brother is pitted against brother, as they are drawn into the lair of the golden fox.Golden Fox irresistibly sweeps the reader through the heart of London society, the grandeur of Europe and the searing heat of a divided Africa.Once again, Wilbur Smith combines his unique talents for electric story-telling, meticulous research and compassion for places and their people in a novel of adventure, romantic obsession, deceit and desire, in a world where betrayal demands the ultimate sacrifice…

via Wilbur Smith | The Courtney novels | Golden Fox.

Oprah, marriage, relationships:  Advice sounds a lot like everybody else’s … maybe there is some truth here.

When we fall in love, we see life in Technicolor. We nibble each other’s ears and tell each other everything; our limitations and rigidities melt away. We’re sexier, smarter, funnier, more giving. We feel whole; we’re connected.

But inevitably, things start to go wrong. The veil of illusion falls away, and it turns out your partner has qualities you can’t bear. Even traits you once admired grate on you. Old hurts resurface as you realize your partner cannot or will not love and care for you as promised.

via Marriage Repair Kit – Oprah.com.

food – desserts, Jello:  Two of my three  kids hate jello … so not a favorite.  Can you imagine finding it on a classy menu?

 

 

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Long a cubed dessert of hospital cafeterias, flavored gelatin is turning up in the work of avant-garde chefs and established design studios across the country. Artists are using the wobbly medium to create sculptures of everything from colorful cities to President Barack Obama. They are drawing inspiration from crafters like Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, the British chefs whose projects include a gelatin Buckingham Palace to celebrate the royal wedding.

“It has a ton of structure, and it can be any flavor,” says Ms. Whiteley, whose Disney noggin snagged a creativity prize in the Brooklyn, N.Y., Jell-O Mold Competition. The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York provided prizes.

Flavored gelatin is turning up in the work of chefs and food crafters across the country. WSJ’s Anjali Athavaley reports on the wiggly resurgence.

“What was once a dessert of jiggling, artful decadence has now been rendered flat or at most, a wiggling cube,” says the website for the competition, held last month in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Studio Space. “This isn’t good enough for an American icon.”

Part of the appeal of gelatin art is nostalgia. “It’s the wiggly, friendly dessert that everyone loved when they were a kid,” says Michelle Palm, a financial consultant in Edina, Minn., and founder of Jelly Shot Test Kitchen, a blog about Jell-O shots, the novelty libation. The site’s most popular shot is the Rainbow Jelly Shooter, which includes vodka and layers of multiflavored gelatin with a cherry in the center. Only three colors of gelatin—red, yellow and blue—are used. Light bends the layers for a rainbow effect.

via Designers Make Sculpting Jell-O Cool – WSJ.com.

twitter, college application:  Interesting …

At the University of Iowa, a good tweet is worth $37,000.

In an attempt to make students get to the point quickly and to improve their social media skills, universities and businesses are asking for essays in 140 characters or less.

In an attempt to make students get to the point quickly and to improve their social media skills, universities and businesses are asking for essays in 140 characters or less.

That’s the price of a full scholarship, and that’s exactly what a student hopeful can win in a contest the university has dreamed up that takes electronic communication to a new level. The university is asking prospective students to submit a 140-character tweet in place of a second essay.

The University of Iowa is joining several others in its attempt to make students get to the point quickly and to improve their social media skills — two qualities that today’s Twitter-savvy marketplace demands.

via College offers scholarship for Twitter ‘essay’ – USATODAY.com.

Betty Ford, eulogy, Cokie Roberts, politics:  She was always outspoken … even directing things that need to be said at her funeral.

Cokie Roberts, a commentator on National Public Radio and member of a noted political family, said Ford asked her several years ago to talk about the importance of getting along in politics, recalling a time in Washington when Democrats and Republicans could be friends and partisan politics did not paralyze government.

Roberts’ father, Democrat Hale Boggs, was House majority leader when Ford was minority leader, and Roberts said the families were close.

via Betty Ford eulogized as trailblazer who helped millions – USATODAY.com.

Facebook, divorce:  

More than 80 percent of divorce attorneys recently surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said that in the past few years they have witnessed “an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence.” Although it is difficult to definitively establish cause and effect here, it seems likely that the divorce rate among baby boomers has been elevated by the Internet.

Nancy Kalish, a professor of psychology at California State University, Sacramento, suspects that online connections may lead to growing numbers of what she terms “accidental affairs,” meaning they involve people who don’t set out to have a physical or emotional relationship outside their marriage. Kalish studies couples who reunite after years apart.

Before there was an Internet, when someone wanted to track down a past love, he or she had to go through the effort of locating a friend or relative to make contact. “Unless they were single, divorced or widowed, they just didn’t typically do that,” Kalish told me.

via Facebook Might Be to Blame for Your Divorce: Sheril Kirshenbaum – Bloomberg.

google, internet searches, memory:

Internet searches are making information easy to forget, as more people rely on their computers as a type of “external memory,” a study of Harvard University students found.

About 60 Harvard students were asked to type 40 pieces of trivia, such as “An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain,” into computers, and were told either the information would be saved or erased. People who believed the data would be saved were less likely to remember, according to the study published online by the journal Science.

The widely available Internet has made it an instant go-to library where facts and figures are easily found, the researchers said. The study suggests that search engines such as Google Inc. (GOOG), and databases such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN)’s IMDb.com serve as an external “memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves,” they said.

via Google Searches May Influence What People Forget, Test Finds – Bloomberg.

China, real estate, Winnetka:  Compare it to Winnetka prices!

Workers toil by night lights with hoes, carving out the signs for Olympic rings in front of an unfinished 30,000-seat stadium, bulb-shaped gymnasium and swimming complex in a little-known Chinese city.

Loudi, home to 4 million people in Chairman Mao Zedong’s home province of Hunan, is paying for the project with 1.2 billion yuan ($185 million) in bonds, guaranteed by land valued at $1.5 million an acre. That’s about the same as prices in Winnetka, a Chicago suburb that is one of the richest U.S. towns, where the average household earns more than $250,000 a year.

In Loudi, people take home $2,323 annually and there are no Olympics here on any calendar.

via China Cities Value Land at Winnetka Prices With Bonds Seen Toxic – Bloomberg.

apps, National Geographic, photography, France:  Fun, but not great …

National Geographic Traveler and Fotopedia present a dazzling bird’s-eye view of France.

Following on the heels of our popular “Dreams of Burma” app that we launched last month, today we announce the release of another brand new photo app, “Above France.”  Our new app takes you on a spectacular aerial journey across the country in over 2,000 photos with interactive maps, slideshows, and wallpapers.

via Above France, A New Photo App – Intelligent Travel.

24
Jun
11

‎6.24.2011 … Labyrinth walk #4 at Kanuga … very nice … happy camper, I mean junior counselor, is home … hail here now …

labyrinth walk,  Kanuga Conference Center:

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The labyrinth is a walking meditation, a tool that enables us, in the midst of the business of life, to be still, to focus our thoughts and feelings. Labyrinths can be found in cathedrals all over Europe and have been used by Christians for hundreds of years as a means of meditation and experience of the Divine Presence. The Kanuga Labyrinth is an exact replica of the one set in the floor of Chartres Cathedral.

To enter a labyrinth is like entering a cathedral. You sense the presence of The Holy.

It should be noted that there is a difference between a maze and a labyrinth. A maze has many entrances and many exits. It is a puzzle to be solved. The labyrinth has only one path that takes you to the center and back. It is a spiritual path.

There are now over 1,000 labyrinths across the United States, mainly in churches, but also prisons, hospitals, parks and retreat centers.

via Kanuga, Chapels: The Labyrinth.

JK Rowling, Pottermore, digital media:  Fascinating … she held back the digital rights to her books 13 years ago …

Ms. Rowling has made a bold move in going direct to consumers to sell her e-books, instead of relying on online retailers like Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc.’s iBookstore. Whereas publishers for other authors often own both the print and digital rights for books, Ms. Rowling owns the rights to the digital versions of the Harry Potter books herself. The digital rights aren’t held by her U.K. publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, or by Scholastic Inc., which owns the U.S. print rights.

Now, Pottermore is Ms. Rowling’s next step toward keeping the franchise alive and vital beyond the book series.

Users can travel through the first book in the series—”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”—and Ms. Rowling will then gradually reveal the online ecosystem tied to the subsequent six books over the course of a few years. Digital editions for all seven books, however, will be available in October.

via Rowling Conjures Up Potter E-Books – WSJ.com.

music, kith/kin:  From e …

new york city 1982, 1983…listened to wanna be startin’ somethin’ on walkman while taking subway to smith barney office on wall street…chapel hill June 2011…listening to same song on mp3 player while taking bus to unc hospitals…

social networking, gender differences:  Intriguing article … I don’t get LinkedIn!  Women Still Don’t ‘Get’ LinkedIn, Says LinkedIn – Technology – The Atlantic Wire.

Gone with the Wind, literature:  “narrative vigor”  … I enjoyed this video essay on the literary merits of GWTW.  I personally sdon’t think it is “great” literature … but it is a great story.  Maybe that is what F. Scott Fitzgerald  meant by “narrative vigor.”

Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize in the spring of 1937, to the dismay of some critics and the delight of others. William Faulkner had expected to receive the award for his novel Absalom Absalom and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who never received the prize, would soon be working on the screenplay of Mitchell’s novel. On a warm night in May, Mitchell received news of the prize by phone, along with multiple requests for interviews. Hating publicity, she fled to a gospel concert at a small black church in Atlanta with her husband John Marsh, her publisher Harold Latham and her black housekeeper Bessie Jordan. The press scoured the city but never found her. It was a glorious night for Margaret Mitchell.

via PBS Arts : Pulitzer Prize Night.

Braves, baseball, Gone with the Wind, literature, Atlanta:  Hoopla!  I like corny things to get the fans to the ballpark … but this one seems wacky to me!!

If you’re going to the Atlanta Braves game on July 2, bring your glove and your hoop skirt.

The Braves, the Atlanta History Center and the Margaret Mitchell House are teaming up for “Gone with the Wind Night” to celebrate the novel’s 75th anniversary. Fans who show their July 2 Braves ticket stub at the Atlanta History Center or Margaret Mitchell House afterward will receive $5 off admission to either venue.

Fans who come to the game dressed as their favorite GWTW character on July 2 get $10 off Upper Box (regularly $18) or Outfield Pavilion (regularly $28) tickets. A Scarlett O’Hara impersonator will greet fans beginning at 4:30 p.m. and host GWTW trivia.

via “Gone With the Wind” night at Turner Field | The Buzz.

quotes, Bertrand Russell:

“Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.”
 Bertrand Russell

social networking, FBI, followup:  Just the other day, 6/21,  I posted about how the FBI was using social networking and lo and behold it worked!

On Monday, the FBI had announced a new television campaign aimed specifically at women, in the hopes of tracking down Greig.

Bulger is wanted in connection with 19 murders, while Greig is accused of harboring a fugitive; the two have been on the run together since 1995, according to the Associated Press. The FBI was offering $2 million for information leading to Bulger’s arrest.

via ‘Whitey’ Bulger Arrested: ‘Departed’ Mob Inspiration Nabbed in California – ABC News.

neuroscience, common chorus, music:  This is really fascinating.

Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale, using audience participation, at the event “Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus”, from the 2009 World Science Festival, June 12, 2009.

via YouTube – World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale.

tweet of the day, Wimbledon, culture, etiquette:  I hate to say it but I think the grunting is annoying.

Opinion on grunting players at #Wimbledon RT @alexabahou: Great pkg, haha! Grunting is part of the game! @johnsberman

3 minutes ago via HootSuite

via Good Morning America (GMA) on Twitter.

houses, US, real estate, trends, followup: Like I said, my children’s favorite house is our smallest.

David Brooks wrote about this trend in American real estate a decade ago, in an article called “Castle in a Box.” Brooks visited a new development of five-million-dollar tract mansions in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where the front doors could be set for fingerprint or iris recognition, and motion sensors activated room lights.

In the past five years, McMansions along these lines have been cropping up all across suburban America. The houses tend to be similar: the two-story “lawyer foyers” when you walk in; the four-car “garage mahals” jutting out front; the altar-like spas in the master baths, with those whirlpool tubs that look so suggestively sexy before you move in but seldom get used afterwards.

via Back Issues: Big Houses: Lawyer Foyers and Garage Mahals : The New Yorker.

social media, privacy: Good question …

Nothing is anonymous or invisible. Will the recent cases make people more careful about how they behave? Will they keep their tempers in check at the post office, or stop telling strangers how to raise their children? How does this growing “publicness” affect civility, privacy rights and free expression?

via You’re Mad! You’re on YouTube! – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Apple, piracy:  I would never think to film a movie with my phone … I would not make a good pirate.  So it is fine with me if Apple disables my ability to violate the law.

Apple’s recent patent for an invisible infrared sensor that would block piracy at concerts and movies has net neutrality enthusiasts rattled, but some patent bloggers enthused about the possibilities.

The SavetheInternet.com coalition, a group of some two million people devoted to a free and open Internet, want to send Steve Jobs an online petition, “Dear Apple, Don’t Shut Down My Phone Camera,” to ask that he reconsider the patent. The patent, which would enable a device’s camera to shut down during a movie or concert, applies to iPhones, the iPod Touch and iPad 2.

via Dear Apple, don’t shut down my phone camera – BlogPost – The Washington Post.

education, philanthropy, kudos:  Kudos, PoP!  And I hope you are successful in your worthy endeavor.

Pencils of Promise (PoP) is a non-profit organization that endeavors to bring the possibility of education to communities of underprivileged children. Braun and PoP believe that education is a basic human right, and that by building educational structures, it will bring self-sustainability and ownership to the areas.

It is with this philosophy that Braun partnered with Bieber to create the “Schools 4 All” initiative. PoP is an interactive organization that allows participation, not just donation.

That’s where Bieber comes in. Whoever can raise the most money with their fundraising page gets a special visit by the pop star himself at the school of the winner’s choice. Creating a page is easy: All you need to do is visit schools4all.org and get started.

via Justin Bieber and Pencils of Promise partner to make education dreams come true – What’s Trending – CBS News.

Phantom of the Fox, Fox Theater, Atlanta, news, random:  Didn’t know there was an apartment in the Fox?  What a cool place to live.

It’s official: Joe Patten — the longtime Fox Theatre resident affectionately known as “The Phantom of the Fox” — can remain in the apartment he’s maintained in the historic Midtown venue for more than 31 years.

The Fox announced today that a settlement has been reached in the dispute between Atlanta Landmarks, its owner and operator, and Patten, who helped save the theatre from the wrecking ball in the 1970s.

Patten, who’d renovated the apartment with $50,000 of his own cash since moving in in 1979, claimed the theatre’s board committed housing discrimination when it terminated his lifetime lease and asked him to sign an occupancy agreement — complete with several stipulations — after he experienced a stroke.

via ‘Phantom of the Fox’ won’t have to leave Midtown theatre | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta.

quotes, Frank Lloyd Wright:

“Where I am, there my office is: my office me.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

travel, Europe:  I think we bought at the top!

Did you put off booking a trip to Europe this summer after plane ticket prices skyrocketed?

Here’s your chance to be a little impulsive. A quick scan of Bing Travel this afternoon indicated that ticket prices to Europe this summer are dropping quickly. (I used July 14-July 21 as travel dates.)

A one-stop flight (with less than an hour-and-a-half layover) from Atlanta to London from US Airways is priced at $1087, one of the lowest prices since the beginning of this year (the highest was $1493). Fights to Paris on multiple airlines were priced at $1223 (they peaked at $1775 in March), with prices expected to drop as well. Amsterdam is down to $1312, Frankfurt at $1297 and Prague at $1237.

via Summer airfare to Europe quickly dropping | Atlanta Bargain Hunter.

2012 Presidential Election, politics, polling, statistics:  Very interesting …

In a new Gallup poll, 22 percent of Americans say they would not vote for a “generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be Mormon.”

That’s the same number since Gallup began asking the question back in 1967, when George Romney, father of Mitt, was running for president. However, as Gallup notes, 25 percent of Americans in 1959 said they wouldn’t vote for a Catholic, and one year later John Kennedy was elected president.

A few other tidbits:

– Democrats (27 percent) were more likely than Republicans (18 percent) to reject a Mormon candidate.

– Two-thirds of Americans said they would support a well-qualified presidential candidate who happened to be gay, compared to only 26 percent in 1978.

– Fewer than half — 49 percent — would support an otherwise well-qualified candidate who happened to be atheist. But that too has changed. In 1958, the first year it was asked, just 18 percent would have supported an atheist.

You hear a lot of people talk about how much America has changed, and they seldom imply it’s for the better. But in many ways the changes of the last 50 years have made this a much better, stronger and united nation.

via Most voters would back Mormon or gay, but not an atheist | Jay Bookman.

cities, bookshelf: I am reading a book on urban living now … and here is a discussion of several more that I could add to my bookshelf.  I”ll wait …

The key factor in determining whether a city is successful is how significant a cohort of the Creative Class it attracts. “It would be a mistake for cities to think they can survive solely as magnets for the young and hip,” the Harvard economist Edward Glaeser writes in his new book, “Triumph of the City” (Penguin Press; $29.95), by way of dismissing Richard Florida. For Glaeser, the key factor that makes cities successful is not the presence of the Creative Class but “proximity,” the way they bring people into contact, enabling them to interact in rich, unexpected, productive ways. Though Edward Glaeser considers Richard Florida’s celebration of cities sentimental and unrigorous compared with his own celebration of cities, the same trump card of hard-hearted rigor could be played against Glaeser. An odd, fascinating new book called “Aerotropolis” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $30) predicts that, in the future, cities will reorient themselves around enormous airports.

via The City-Suburb Culture Wars and Globalization : The New Yorker.

twitter, lists: People should think before they tweet … Outrageous Tweets: A Short History – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Jane Austen, zombie, genre, LOL:  There are people, including boys, reading Jane to better understand the Zombie takeoffs … LOL

Whoa! Pride and Prejudice? Darcy’s dip in the lake certainly was not written by Jane. Even Geek Mom knew that. So she went to the source to find out why pimply pre-pubescent boys would read a spinster’s 200 year-old-novel:

“If you’re wondering about that last one … well, as Nick, another of the boys in the group, explained, “It’s good to read to get the cultural references.” I suspect the allusions Nick was trying to understand involved the Undead, but hey, I’m not going to argue with anything that could get my kids to voluntarily pick up Jane Austen.”

They’re reading the original in order to understand Pride and Prejudice and Zombies??!!!! Ack! Guess that’s is better than endlessly playing World of Warcraft or hanging around the mall.

via Jane Austen Today: Will Banned Books Get Boys Interested in Jane Austen?.

food, places: Food is key to a sense of place … What do you crave from home?

Atlanta (me):  Henri’s PoBoys, Varsity onion rings, Greenwood peppermint ice cream with fudge sauce … they served it  the funeral reception of my kith uncle … a true Atlantan!

Cincinnati, OH – Graeter’s Mocha Chip Ice Cream ( Graeter’s peach is also divine.)

Southeast: CHCK-FIL-A!!!!! and “Hot Now” KrispyKreme doughnuts …

NJ – Philadelphia area – hoagies and cheese steak sandwiches

I’ve only been to the Bojangles’ in Union Station once since it opened, but I have to say, knowing it’s here, in the District, with a Cajun chicken biscuit and fries anytime I need, is soothing. It’s one of the things I think of when I think of home, in North Carolina. (And yes, I know they’re in Prince George’s, too, and yes, I have driven well out of my way to get to one. But I don’t have a car, so my options are limited.)

(Richard A. Lipski – WASHINGTON POST) It seems most people’s memories of their home towns are closely entwined with food, as we learn in Monica Hesse’s story of Manhattan transplants. They talk about missing cheap food, good Chinese takeout and bagels. (But they’re happy about the Shake Shack.)

A quick survey of my co-workers had everyone thinking about what they’d like to import

Anna’s Taqueria. (Eric Athas – The Washington Post) to Washington: Anna’s Taqueria for the Bostonians. Jack in the Box for the Californian. Bertman Ballpark Mustard for the Clevelander. A cherry limeade from Sonic for the guy who went to school in Kansas. Zapps’ potato chips for the New Orleanian. (At least now that she can get sno-balls here.)

No matter how much you like Washington, there’s still probably something you sometimes want to import. What would it be? Your answer doesn’t have to be food-related, though that’s the way our conversation went. What are you missing from your home town (or another city you called home for a while)? Tell us in the comments below or by using #DCWishList on Twitter.

via What you want imported to Washington (#dcwishlist) – The Buzz – The Washington Post.

music, generation gap, rant:  I found this amusing … no one wants to feel culturally insignificant!

… but is it . not distressing that parenthood and age, in combination, signify cultural insignificance?

via Immutable/Inscrutable., The New Yorker to One-Third of All Music Listeners in America: You Don’t Matter.

14
Feb
11

2.14.2011 … Happy Saint Valentine’s Day … enough said …

Saint Valentine’s Day, history:

So what’s Saint Valentine’s Day all about and why do we mark its occasion every February 14? That’s hard to pin down, as there are many different stories as to the origins of Valentine’s Day, but like many of the holidays we observe, Valentine’s Day has its roots in paganism.

Actually, hundreds of years before the Church altered the day of love in an attempt to rid it of its pagan roots, Romans practiced a pagan celebration in mid-February commemorating young men’s rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The young men would draw names of teenage girls from a box and whomever the boy chose would be his companion for the remainder of the year.

The Church, of course, didn’t like the pagan festival and so Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the celebration. He did so by filling the box with the names of saints instead of girls and allowing both men and women to draw from the box. The game was to emulate the ways of the saint for the remainder of the year. The Church then found a patron saint by the name of Bishop Valentine for people to celebrate instead of Lupercus.

Bishop Valentine was sent to jail and executed after Claudius II (270 AD) found out he was performing secret marriages. You see, Claudius banned marriage to preserve the number of single men to be soldiers. Claudius, so the story goes, believed that single men made better soldiers. Bishop Valentine disagreed with Claudius and performed secret weddings until he was found out. He was executed on February 14. It was during his time in jail that he wrote his lover a note and signed it, “From Your Valentine.”

via A Brief History of Valentine’s Day – West Roxbury, MA Patch.

Valentine’s Day, holidays, gifts, food – dessert, chocolate, Charlotte:

The intricate flavors of chocolate and wine linger on your tongue – and often the complex, deep, hidden tastes are subconscious. Make them rise to the surface by mating your chocolate with the perfect wine.

CNN spoke to Sunset wine editor Sara Schneider to figure out what will make the flavors of both sweet treats pop out. We’ll start off with the obvious: dark chocolate goes best with red wine. But beware of pairing the delectable dark chocolate with spicy, acidic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. The bold tannins that give the wine a dry, puckery feeling can be too harsh against the bitter chocolate.

via Wine and Chocolate: A Winning Combo for Valentine’s Day – TIME NewsFeed.

We have a new wine/chocolate bar.  I don’t think I will go today, but it is on my list.

 

 

We are a small, locally-owned and operated wine and chocolate retail store with tasting room. We offer boutique and premium wines from California, the Pacific Northwest, France and other European wine regions plus artisan chocolates made in-house. Step into our shop and you’ll enjoy daily wine tastings, chocolate samples and highly personalized service.

via Petit Philippe – Wine | Chocolate | Tasting Room | Charlotte, NC.

Valentine’s Day, movies, icons, kisses:  Iconic kisses?  What’s your favorite movie kiss … Old movie?  New?  My favorite is not on the list. 🙂

The 25 Most Iconic Movie Kisses – Star Couples – Celebrity – InStyle.

Egypt Uprising, headlines, followup:  I mentioned yesterday that I go to the Newseum website to compare headlines when a big event occurs.  This article does the same thing.  Very interesting … some even humorous …

History unfolded yesterday when after 18 days of protests in Egypt, Mubarak finally stepped down as president after 30 years in power.

The front pages of newspapers in moments like this become part of history itself, so we went through the world’s newspapers today to see the ways they documented this incredible moment.

Of course, some of our favorite covers still came from our colorful local newspapers, like the Daily News’ headline “Hosni Mu Bye-Bye!” and the New York Post’s “That’s A Wrap!” (featuring Mubarak’s head on top of an Egyptian mummy.)

via FRONT PAGE HISTORY: See How Newspapers Around The World Celebrated Egypt’s Freedom.

Gabrielle Giffords, recovery, miracles, update: So far so good.

The human brain has what amounts to redundant circuits for some simple tasks, like walking, and it is possible for patients to make rapid progress on those skills and still have trouble with mental work and speaking, doctors said.

“There are backup systems in the brain for the more basic functions that have been around longer in human beings,” said Dr. Jonathan Fellus, the director of the Brain Injury Program at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. “Conversely, for things such as language, which are uniquely human, it’s a highly specialized and delicate network that doesn’t get reconstructed so easily.”

via Giffords Recovery Is Continuing, Friends Say – NYTimes.com.

Egypt Uprising:

As protesters in Tahrir Square faced off against pro-government forces, they drew a lesson from their counterparts in Tunisia: “Advice to the youth of Egypt: Put vinegar or onion under your scarf for tear gas.”

Cairo, Feb. 3 After more than a week of unrest, anti-Mubarak protesters clashed with supporters of the president for control of Tahrir Square. When confronting the police, the protesters wore armor made of cardboard and Pepsi bottles.

The exchange on Facebook was part of a remarkable two-year collaboration that has given birth to a new force in the Arab world — a pan-Arab youth movement dedicated to spreading democracy in a region without it. Young Egyptian and Tunisian activists brainstormed on the use of technology to evade surveillance, commiserated about torture and traded practical tips on how to stand up to rubber bullets and organize barricades.

They fused their secular expertise in social networks with a discipline culled from religious movements and combined the energy of soccer fans with the sophistication of surgeons and psychiatrists. Breaking free from older veterans of the Arab political opposition, they relied on tactics of nonviolent resistance channeled from an American scholar through a Serbian youth brigade — but also on marketing tactics borrowed from Silicon Valley.

via A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History – NYTimes.com.

Egypt Uprising, Middle East: Tunisia … Egypt … now Yemen, Bahrain and Algiers.

Mr. Mubarak’s resignation Friday emboldened protesters throughout the Middle East where opposition movements are aggressively calling for political freedom. Security forces and protesters clashed in Yemen and Bahrain on Sunday while thousands of Algerians, defying a ban on protests, flooded a central square in Algiers on Saturday calling for political reform. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank ordered the dismissal of its Cabinet and said it would hold long-delayed parliamentary and presidential elections by September.

Egypt’s cabinet removes Mubarak’s portrait as Israel welcomes news that Egypt will abide by its treaties. Video courtesy of Reuters.

Egyptians continue their celebrations, a day after the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak came to an end. Video courtesy of Reuters.

And in Iran, opposition leaders planned a demonstration on Monday in solidarity with the Egyptian and Tunisian revolts. The streets of Tehran rocked to the chants of residents shouting “Death to the dictator” and “God is great” Sunday night, according to witnesses and videos posted on Youtube.

via Mideast Unrest Spreads – WSJ.com.

Great Recession, real estate, Great Recovery:  S -L-O-W …

The rolling real estate crash that ravaged Florida and the Southwest is delivering a new wave of distress to communities once thought to be immune — economically diversified cities where the boom was relatively restrained.

In the last year, home prices in Seattle had a bigger price decline than in Las Vegas. Minneapolis dropped more than Miami, and Atlanta fared worse than Phoenix.

Redfin, a real estate brokerage firm based in Seattle, says foot traffic began picking up in the last several weeks. Mortgage rates are rising, which could nudge those who need to buy to make a deal now for fear rates will rise even more.

But whenever the market finally does pick up, all those accidental landlords will want to unload, putting another burden on the market. “So many sellers are waiting in the shadows,” said Redfin’s chief executive, Glenn Kelman. “The inventory is going to expand and expand and expand. I don’t see any basis for significant price increases.”

While almost every economist is expecting another round of price declines for the next few months, many see a gradual leveling off in the second half of the year. Fiserv, the data company that produces the monthly Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, analyzed price trends in 375 communities. About three-quarters of them will be stable by December, Fiserv calculates.

via Housing Crash Is Hitting Cities Thought to Be Stable – NYTimes.com.

music, lists:  Fun to see what others think … The ALL-TIME 100 Albums – TIME.

01
Jan
11

1.1.11 … Happy MMXI!

New Year’s Eve, holidays, history, NYC:

The first New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square occurred in 1904, just after the New York Times had relocated to a new building in what had been known as Longacre Square. Publisher Adolph Ochs had successfully pushed for a renaming of the district, and the triangular area where the new building sat at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway, and 42nd Streets has since then been known as Times Square.

That year Ochs sponsored a party to beat all parties to celebrate the new location. An all-day street festival was capped off with a fireworks display, and there were thought to have been 200,000 people in attendance. The Times continued to sponsor a New Year’s Eve event in the area, and New Yorkers soon began going to Times Square instead of ringing in the new year at Trinity Church as had been the previous custom.

A few years later the city banned the use of fireworks, and that led to the creation of a new tradition. At first, Ochs’ team developed a creative use of lights. At the end of 1905, lights were configured to read “1906” and these electric lights flashed from the tower of the Times building, reportedly visible from miles away. The Times tower was also festooned with electric streamers that lighted the building’s four corners.

But the creative thinkers were still at work.

via Kate Kelly: The Times Square Ball Drop and the Story Behind It.

CSR: The Year in CSR: The Four Trends of 2010 | Fast Company.

random: government regulation, Chicago: “bird-friendly construction for all new city buildings.” … why?  “Highland Park is in the flight path of a number of migrating birds that like to follow the Lake Michigan shoreline”

The city council in the northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park will soon consider a proposal to require bird-friendly construction for all new city buildings.

City officials tell the Chicago Tribune that if the new law is passed, all future public buildings would be required to incorporate bird-safe architecture that’s designed to lower the number of bird collisions with buildings.

Private developers would not be affected, but Highland Park Director of Community Development Michael Blue says he hopes the city’s example would influence them as well.

Bird-friendly architecture includes curved windows and awnings, which have been shown to lower the incidences of bird collisions with buildings.

Highland Park is in the flight path of a number of migrating birds that like to follow the Lake Michigan shoreline

via Cityscapes | Chicago Tribune | Blog.

random, Disney: “”interactive cakes,” cakes equipped with miniature projectors that can produce simulations of landscapes and, naturally, Disney characters.”

According to tech blog Gizmodo, Disney has been awarded a patent for so-called “interactive cakes,” cakes equipped with miniature projectors that can produce simulations of landscapes and, naturally, Disney characters.

Okay. That’s weird enough. But, how would the cakes be interactive? When cutting a slice or using specially coded utensils, the projectors might instantly create a special effect. For example, Captain Hook might instantly appear and draw his sword as one approaches the cake with a knife.

via Dawn of the Interactive Cake | The Food Section – Food News, Recipes, and More.

iPad apps, lists:  The 7 Most Innovative iPad Apps of 2010 | Slideshows. ,iPhone App Helps You Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions This Time | Fast Company, The Top Ten iPhone (and Android) Apps of 2010 – Digits – WSJ.

bookshelf, Children’s/YA lit:

If you were in the market this season for a book that would appeal to a teenager, you probably noticed that the young adult sections in bookstores and on bestsellers lists were filled with titles bearing dark and scary themes.

Whether it’s Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games” trilogy or James Paterson’s “Maximum Ride” series, the popularity of post-apocalyptic fiction doesn’t seem to be abating.

via The Dark Side of Young Adult Fiction – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

-and-

Oh, To Be Young: The Year’s Best Teen Reads : NPR.

NBA basketball, Stephen Curry, Charlotte:  Most there were probably pleased to have the Warriors win.  That is how strong the love is for Curry in Charlotte.

Between Ellis and Charlottean Stephen Curry (24 points on 10-of-17 shooting), the Warriors scored with exceptional ease much of this game. Golden State shot 49 percent to the Bobcats’ 42 percent. But the Warriors never scored again after Ellis’ layup with 1 minute, 20 seconds left, and that should have allowed the Bobcats to steal this one.

This is what you call a teaching moment, following Silas’ first loss in three games as Larry Brown’s replacement.

“I think he was looking to penetrate, but (the Warriors) were really crowded” around him, Silas said of Jackson’s last shot.

“We called for a specific set, then didn’t get into that set. We need to point it out in practice, so next time they’ll know what to do.”

via Curry, Warriors hold off Bobcats – CharlotteObserver.com.

politics, VP Joe Biden:  Biden the linchpin?

Vice President Joe Biden is a career politician who has spent virtually his entire adult life in Washington politics — seemingly the antithesis of Barack Obama’s hope-and-change message.

Yet with a new political order in Washington, the success of Obama’s presidency hinges more and more on the negotiating skills and political instincts of his No. 2.

Facing a revived Republican Party, the White House is expected to increasingly deploy Biden as a presidential surrogate to find compromises and coax reluctant lawmakers into crossing party lines. Even Biden’s penchant for veering off message is being reevaluated inside the White House as a bridge to ordinary voters who appreciate blunt talk.

A model for Biden’s role in the next session of Congress was the recent passage of the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia. Biden, who built a reputation as a foreign policy expert during his 36 years in the Senate, prevailed in an internal White House debate over whether to press for ratification in the lame-duck session.

via Biden is a linchpin of Obama’s presidency – chicagotribune.com.

Christmas music, music, lists:  I must like lists … it is interesting to see what others think is best or worthy. Christmas Playlist 2010 | CU Independent.

health, obesity: “Rich foods work much like heroin on the brain, making it hard to stop eating them.”

It seems so simple: Too much food and not enough activity make people fat.

But the actual processes that create and perpetuate that imbalance are proving to be astoundingly complex.

Biology, physiology, psychology, genetics and environment figure in the obesity equation to varying degrees. Scientists across North Carolina and beyond are trying to understand how, in recent decades, the population has bloated to a point that lean people are a minority.

“There is no simple answer,” said Bernard Fuemmeler, a Duke University researcher who is studying the mind-body link in obesity. “People tend to think that it may be willpower or just a lack of control. And these may be reasons, but not explanations for what is driving the epidemic.”

In their quest to find explanations, researchers across the state – at Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, Wake Forest and East Carolina universities – are discovering or are building upon findings that prove just how intractable a foe fat can be:

Rich foods work much like heroin on the brain, making it hard to stop eating them.

via Your body is thwarting your weight-loss efforts – CharlotteObserver.com.

bookshelf, lists:  More lists … Best Books Of 2010: The Complete List : NPR., Book Club Picks: Give ‘Em Something To Talk About : NPR.

real estate, I.M. Pei, Chicago, Great Recession, Great Recovery?:

The John Hancock Tower in Boston was a 62-story glass emblem of the commercial real estate market’s collapse, so its sale—for $930 million—could be a sign that the market for office buildings is picking up again.

Boston Properties Inc., the largest U.S. office real investment trust, is the new owner of New England’s tallest building in a deal announced late Wednesday. The REIT paid $289.5 million in cash and assumed $640.5 million in debt, Bloomberg reports.

The sellers, Normandy Real Estate Partners and Five Mile Capital Partners LLC, had bought the building for $661 million.

Designed by I.M. Pei, the sleek office building literally halved in value after Broadway Partners, led by young entrepreneur Scott Lawlor, bought it for $1.3 billion and then defaulted on a portion of the loan in January 2009, as what had been a booming market went bust. Because Lehman Brothers was a big lender and buyer in the commercial real estate market, its collapse a few months earlier had a domino effect.

via John Hancock Tower Sells For 930 Million In Symbolic Deal – The Business Blotter – Portfolio.com.

baby boomers, retirement:

It may be hard to believe, but the generation that transformed America as it came of age in the 1960s is now entering its senior years.

“There are 7,000 boomers a day who will be turning 65 in 2011, which is a significant birthday for sure,” says Steve Cone, executive vice president of AARP.

Sixty-five used to be the age when Americans stopped working, kicked back and embarked on serious leisure to make up for all those decades of the daily grind. But just like with every other stage of life they’ve gone through, baby boomers are expected to transform how we think about “retirement.”

Leading the way will be couples like Stephanie and Stan Zirkin. She will turn 65 on May 14; he’s already 65, not officially a boomer, but, as he puts it, “close enough.”

via Boomers Take The ‘Retire’ Out Of Retirement : NPR.

The Supreme Court: I agree …

WASHINGTON—Chief Justice John Roberts decried the partisan warfare that has slowed the appointment of federal judges to a crawl, writing in his year-end report Friday that political gamesmanship on Capitol Hill has left some courts burdened with “extraordinary caseloads.””Each political party has found it easy to turn on a dime from decrying to defending the blocking of judicial nominations, depending on their changing political fortunes,” the chief justice wrote. He called on Congress and the president “to find a long-term solution to this recurring problem.”The chief justice, a 2005 appointee of former President George W. Bush, took no position on any specific nominee, nor did he identify lawmakers by name in the annual report, which customarily includes figures on the court system’s workload and a plea for more money.But while styled as a condemnation of both parties, in practical terms the message was a knock against Senate Republicans, who have fought to minimize the imprint President Barack Obama leaves on the federal bench.

via Chief Justice Decries Brawling Over Judicial Nominees – WSJ.com.

random, music, street art:

The snow and subway stress have been no match for cellist Dale Henderson this week. In fact, with more straphangers waiting longer for trains, he’s had an easier time accomplishing his mission: sharing Bach’s cello suites with as many people as possible.

“There was incredible density,” Mr. Henderson said after playing in the Times Square station on Wednesday night. “It felt really good.”

Mr. Henderson, 34, has been performing in the city’s subways for about two years, but it’s not technically busking because he no longer accepts money in exchange for the music. “It always felt bad to be doing it for money,” he said. “People will insist. They say, ‘Just take the money.’ I don’t know why.”

via Subway Cellist Brings Music to the Masses – WSJ.com.

culture:  This reminded me of my cousins taking friends from Atlanta down to Pineview, GA, to learn how to rock on the front porch!


“We’re all overstimulated,” said Ms. Lee. “I think it’s important to stop all that for a while and see what several hours of being bored really feels like.”

via Boredom Enthusiasts Discover the Pleasures of Understimulation – WSJ.com.

history, pardons, Billy the Kid, random: Sorry, Billy.

The iconic outlaw Billy the Kid will not receive a posthumous pardon after all, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced Friday, his last day in office.

Stephanie Simon explains why New Mexico may give Billy The Kid a pardon for a crime he committed in 1879. Plus, President Obama may cut corporate taxes and why 2010 was turbulent for airline travelers.

Mr. Richardson had been considering whether to give the Kid a pardon based on sketchy, but plausible, historical evidence that the gun-slinging, cattle-rustling, sheriff-shooting outlaw had been promised clemency by the territorial governor in the 1880s, Lew Wallace.

Historians had produced several newspaper articles from the time quoting Mr. Wallace as saying that he had promised to wipe clean a murder charge against the Kid in return for his testimony against three men in an unrelated killing.

But in the end, “the governor just felt there wasn’t enough conclusive proof,” said Eric Witt, deputy chief of staff for Mr. Richardson. “He takes the power of the pardon very seriously.”

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Mr. Richardson explained further.

“The romanticism appealed to me but the facts and the evidence did not support it,” Mr. Richardson said.

via Old West Outlaw Billy the Kid Fails to Win a Pardon – WSJ.com.

22
Aug
10

8.22.2010 … RIP VARSITY JR … nest is empty again … very quiet, refrigerator almost empty …

RIP, food – Southern, icons, Atlanta, oral history, my dad:  I never thought about it until now, but the Varsity Jr opened when I was 5 and we went there frequently when we went to the old Hastings location.  My dad always made some comment about it not being the same as the real Varsity downtown.  Just like me, he was slow to accept change!  I will miss you Varsity Jr.

Joey Ivansco, AJC File Susan Gordy, retired since 2006, ran the Varsity Jr. since 1980, when her husband, Frank Gordy Jr. (son of Varsity founder Frank Gordy) was killed in a shooting accident.

What’ll ya have before the Varsity Jr. closes its doors?

Sunday will be the last day to enjoy chili dogs and onion rings at the Lindbergh Drive location, according to the iconic Atlanta restaurant chain.

After 45 years, the Varsity Jr. will close due to an inability to meet zoning requirements with the City of Atlanta. Restaurant owners had hoped to build a new facility, complete with indoor restrooms.

via Varsity Jr. closes Sunday after 45 years  | ajc.com.

college advice, favorite blogs:   Well, not too crazy!  Put Yourself Out There and Do Something Crazy – The Choice Blog – NYTimes.com.

games:  Rarely find anything interesting in Bill Gates’ blog, which is unfortunate.  But found this article about bridge partners interesting.  Bill Gates – Infrequently Asked Questions – What Makes for a Good Bridge Partner? – The Gates Notes.

cities, urban development:  Very interesting articles on one of my favorite subjects.  I agree that the cities in developing nations are not the cities that the world wants …they are little more than “sprawling slums.”

In looking across the last 50,000 or so years of cultural evolution, the creation of cities has to be recognized as a revolution in itself. From Babylon and Sumer to Athens and Rome, the organization of human society into powerful cities, and the empires which often supported them, marked a critical turning point in our development.

Now with the human population poised to reach 9 billion or more over the next century, what is the future of our material-cultural organization? While the United States has poured its treasure into building energetically unsustainable suburbs, nations like China have seen their cities grow at phenomenal rates. In many poorer countries the growth of cities has come to include sprawling slums. This is where a significant fraction of that population increase will live.

via 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

green, NC:  I believe this needs to happen.

Duke Energy Carolinas has abandoned plans to build three wind turbines in the Pamlico Sound as an offshore wind demonstrator project because costs have ballooned to almost $120 million.

But Duke is committed to spending about $750,000 more on studies UNC Chapel Hill has undertaken to determine the commercial viability of windmills off the Carolina coast. That will bring Duke’s total investment in the university’s offshore wind studies to about $4 million.

via Duke Energy drops wind project off N.C. coast, citing cost – Charlotte Business Journal.

libraries, places, Atlanta:  it would be nice to find a new use for libraries … sources for information and community center.  Does anyone remember going to the beautiful little midtown library (next First Pres. or the not so beautiful Buckhead library? … it was hoppin’.

As budget cuts chop library programs out of schools, public libraries are becoming increasingly important in their roles to educate entire communities. But they also serve another purpose as town squares for neighborhoods–places where people can come together and share ideas. The new Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library, which opened this month in Washington DC hopes to become the center of the neighborhood by adding uses that reach beyond reading, and creating a dynamic space that transcends the typical tomb-like library setting.

via A Neighborhood Revival Starts With a New Public Library | Co.Design.

college, our children, UGA: Our kids live in a different world.

It’s been two weeks since the University of Georgia was named the No. 1 party school in the nation by the Princeton Review. Apparently, authorities are paying attention.

Twenty University of Georgia students were arrested for alcohol-related charges Thursday night in Athens, including underage possession of alcohol and DUI, according to Athens-Clarke County jail records.Those arrests – by university and Athens-Clarke County police – bring the total of drug-and alcohol-related arrests made in the last two weeks to 43, according to The Red and Black, the campus newspaper.

via Arrests of UGA students on partying charges up sharply  | ajc.com.

Great Recession, real estate: I thought my childhood home in Brookwood Hills was huge … and it is about 1/2 of my home.  I would rather have a 2200 sq. foot home.  Keeps the family close.

It increasingly seems like that’s the case. As we’ve written before, the American love affair with massive and mass-produced luxury homes is fast coming to a close. The average home size peaked at 2,521 square feet in 2007. (WSJ reporter Kelly Evans noticed home sizes shrinking in the second quarter of 2007.) Home size came in flat in 2008 and fell in 2009 as builders built smaller, less ornate homes priced lower to compete with foreclosures.

In a WSJ story in November, Michael Phillips looked at the luxury home business and found that many builders were scaling back, “struggling to distinguish among what home buyers need, what they what they want and what they can live without — Jacuzzi by Jacuzzi, butler’s pantry by butler’s pantry.”

via Good-Bye McMansion, Hello Tiny House? – Developments – WSJ.

postsecret, random:  I laughed at this … I have never felt like my luggage has been opened.  Maybe I will try leaving a note.

RT @kaynemcgladrey: “Am I the only guy who leaves notes to the TSA, knowing they’ll open my luggage? It’s like @postsecret in my suitcase.”

via Twitter / Home.

teenagers, risky ventures:  I think the Dutch court was right the first time.

A Dutch court released Laura last month from the guardianship of Dutch child protection agencies, who had tried to block her voyage because of fears for her safety and psychological health.

via Dutch teen sets sail in secrecy on solo world trip – More Sports – SI.com.

05
Aug
10

‎8.5.2010 … goodbye godson Mike … hello et … actually snuck a romantic comedy in on John and Dan (that’s what you get for doing a friend a favor!) last night … that will cost me!

‎family, missions, Gray: welcome home, Gray … awesome pictures from Lesotho!

family: I am blessed with a sister.

Sisters can help teenagers fend off ex-boyfriends, mean gossip and, apparently, depression.Having a sister protects teens “from feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful,” according to a study in this weeks Journal of Family Psychology.Researchers from Brigham Young University studied 395 Seattle families with two or more children, including at least one child age 10 to 14. They found that affectionate siblings have a positive influence on each other no matter their age, gender or how many years apart they are in age.Sisters promote behaviors such as kindness and generosity and protect against delinquency and depression, says Laura Padilla-Walker, an assistant professor in BYUs School of Family Life.And having a sister — rather than a brother — appears to help prevent depression, maybe because girls are better at talking about problems, Padilla-Walker says.

via http://www.suntimes.com/health/2568854,CST-NWS-sisters05.article

food – Southern: I consider myself pretty Southern.  I never had a fried green tomato until I was 20-something.  And now they call it comfort food … hmmm. Southern comfort food at my house was fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, chicken pot pie, turkey hash and turkey Tetrazzini … no fried green tomatoes …

Crisp and tangy, fried green tomatoes are the ultimate Southern comfort food.

Don’t be tempted to eat them right away after cooking. The tomatoes will be hot inside due to the water trapped within. Instead take this time to stack up one of Callaghan’s signature BL-GREEN-Ts. Toast one side of the bread, turn some chopped greens such as arugula, basil, or tarragon into Duke’s mayo, and use a good smokehouse bacon. The sandwich has become so popular at Acme, the chef says, that one of his regular brunch customers got a tattoo of it. “Bloody Marys and bacon fat do strange things to people, I guess.”

via Slices of Heaven.

The South: Back to School … today … August 5 … no way …

Students in Cobb and Douglas counties and the city of Buford go back to school Thursday amid scorching conditions that in some cases have prompted changes in school system protocol.

The Cobb County School District, for instance, is encouraging students to bring bottled water on their morning and afternoon bus rides. The district expects to maintain that policy through September.

via Heat forces changes as kids go back to school  | ajc.com.

Charlotte:  NASCAR and wrestling … what a great town!  🙂

Before Charlotte became the center of NASCAR, it was home to a different breed of sport: professional wrestling.

From the first televised matches in the 1960s to the reign of Ric Flair’s elite “Four Horsemen” wrestling team through the late-1980s, Charlotte served as the Mid-Atlantic center stage for the bone-breaking, over-the-top world of professional wrestling.

“It was a blast. The wrestling business was on its first real wave at that time,” said former “Four Horsemen” team member Tully Blanchard, referring to wrestling’s peak in the late 1980s.

This weekend, the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest at the Hilton Charlotte University Place is taking Charlotte back to those glory days, starting with a free barbecue with the voice of WWE’s Monday Night Raw, Jim “J.R.” Ross.

Event organizer Greg Price said the convention, which runs through Sunday, promises to be a “wrestling fan’s heaven” complete with chances to meet more than a hundred of the sport’s most legendary athletes. Price expects more than 1,000 visitors this year.

Blanchard, now 64, said for him the weekend is about getting out of character and in touch with fans.

“Twenty-five or 20 years after the fact, it is neat to hear the impact of what you did that touched people, that entertained people,” Blanchard said.

Tom “Tommy Angel” Barrett, who wrestled in the 1980s, said the event got its start when promoters started asking legendary wrestlers to make appearances at contemporary matches.

“The response was tremendous,” he said. “They decided to try to round these guys up in one place.”

Price said the event’s popularity has grown steadily since its start in 2004. He said he’s seen fans from 44 states and four foreign countries, including Japan.

Blanchard said it makes sense for Charlotte to be the center of a wrestling convention.

“Charlotte was always the hotbed of the Mid-Atlantic area,” he said.

via Gathering recalls Charlotte’s headlock on wrestling world – CharlotteObserver.com.

culture, marketing:  the Martha Stewart of the South … never heard of him.

Still, Mr. Smith might well be the most famous tastemaker you’ve never heard of. The son of a working-class widow, he grew up with 4-H chickens and a job in the family shrub shop, then managed to turn himself into the Martha Stewart of the South.

via P. Allen Smith, Tastemaker and Garden Guru – NYTimes.com.

food:  LYCHEES!  We loved them in China.  I will look for them at our markets.

Rambutans belong to the same family, Sapindaceae, as lychees and longans. Peeled, the three fruits are hard to differentiate. Unpeeled, lychees resemble rambutans without the hair, as do longans, which are smaller, green and also hairless. If I had been introduced to this fruit family with the tentacle-free lychee or longan, the experience might have been less intimidating.

Of these three, lychees are the most easily found in the United States. Though native to southern China, where they have been cultivated for 2,000 years, lychees are grown in the United States as well as throughout Asia, Africa, Australia, parts of South America and Central America.

via Cracking The Lychee ‘Nut’ : NPR.

Great Recession, noblesse oblige:  Guess who wasn’t invited to dinner? But a noble gesture by those who have made this commitment.

On Wednesday, Mr. Buffett announced that 40 of America’s wealthiest individuals and families, from former Citigroup Inc. leader Sandy Weill to hotel mogul Barron Hilton, have signed the “Giving Pledge.”Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gates in June had asked the individuals and families to publicly commit to give away at least half of their wealth within their lifetimes or after their deaths.The pledge stemmed from a series of dinners the two men held for the nation’s billionaires over the past year to discuss the effects of the recession on philanthropy.

via Larry Ellison, George Lucas Join Billionaires in Buffett-Gates Charity Pledge – WSJ.com.

children, games, oral history:  What’s your best memory from a childhood “game”?

We suspected this would be the last time they’d ever play “Truth or Dare,” too.

You just can’t win it.

And yet, as we watched the Girl Scouts shriek and hug each other in the water, I thought about the one saving grace of this barbaric game. It wasn’t The Mange that mattered, but joining forces with my friends in the face of the very fear we’d created. It wasn’t Bowzer, either, but hanging onto my cousin in the throes of our self-made terror and humiliation. Intense situations can make for good bonding. It’s just that good bonding is sometimes born out of really bad ideas.

via The Naked Reality Of ‘Truth Or Dare’ : NPR.

places, art, graffitti, RomeVideo – Graffiti Plagues Omnia Roma – WSJ.com.

Great Recession, real estate, Chicago:

The sale of the Chicago office tower at 300 North LaSalle St. for a record price of $655 million has left a number of real-estate professionals rubbing their eyes.

The record price for the Chicago office tower at 300 North LaSalle Street in a weak office-leasing market requires an explanation.

Like most cities, Chicago is suffering from a weak office-leasing market. The city’s vacancy rate at the end of the second quarter was 18.5%, up from 17.4% during the same period last year, and effective rents have been on a downward spiral for more than a year, according to Reis Inc.

But last week, KBS, a Newport Beach, Calif., real-estate company, purchased the 1.3 million square foot office building overlooking the Chicago River through an unlisted real-estate investment trust for about $500 a square foot. That is the most ever paid for a Chicago office building on a square-foot basis, according to Real Capital Analytics. By comparison, the Willis Tower, the tallest building in the U.S., sold for about $840 million in 2004, or $244 a square foot.

So what gives?

The answer is that in the current global economy, there is a widening valuation gap in commercial real estate between office buildings with a lot of vacancy and those that are close to fully leased with financially strong tenants. Many landlords with high vacancy rates are watching the value of their buildings fall with declining rent and the growing difficulty in filing space.

But 300 North LaSalle isn’t such a building. Rather, Houston-based Hines, which completed its development last year, succeeded in leasing 93% of its space for long periods. Chicago’s largest law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, takes up more than 600,000 square feet as its largest tenant.

Investors today are looking at the steady incomes from such buildings almost like they would bond yields. And with rates on Treasury bonds hovering near historic lows, these office-building yields are looking increasingly attractive.

via PROPERTY REPORT: Chicago Sale Sets Records – WSJ.com.

professionalism: One of my favorite academic topics … maybe because one of my favorite college classes was a seminar entitled “Darwinism and the Emergence  of Professions.”

Merriam-Webster gives us a bit more of a clue in the last part of the first definition:

1 a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b : engaged in one of the learned professions c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

OK now we’re getting somewhere.  Courteous and conscientious is something I can get my head around (although “generally businesslike” is a bit vague…).  Googling  “professional behavior” gets you a variety of opinions on the matter ranging from “conduct appropriate to your workplace” to “don’t lie, spit, swear or steal”.

A thorough analysis of what is meant in the U.S. by “professional behavior” can be found on the Grovewell, LLC site here.  But at the end of the day for me, professionalism boils down to a single concept introduced to me by my parents when I was about 10.  It goes like this:

Treat others as you would like to be treated and you will always be invited back.

The first half is the good old golden rule and it’s still the most practical guidance I have found for professional behavior.  In any situation I put myself in the role of my peers, subordinates, clients, vendors or managers and visualize how my actions will be perceived.  If I don’t like the result, I find a better way.  And my goal is always the second half – to be someone that others want to work with.  There is no better measure of success as a professional than to have your employer be sorry to see you go and happy to have you return if the opportunity exists.

What are your benchmarks for professionalism?  We’ve all seen unprofessional behavior (like pornography – we know it when we see it…) but if you have great ideas or resources for workplace behavior that gets you invited back, please share!

via A Professional What? « Survive Your Promotion!.

colleges, football, Alabama:  What can I say, my mamma went to ‘Bama! RTR … YouTube – New Alabama Football 2010 Intro.

colleges, followup, UGA:  Like I said Princeton Review’s ranking of the best party school benefits no one …

Political Cartoons from Mike Luckovich.

01
Aug
10

‎8.1.2010 … I can’t believe it is August … strange no beach trip this year … kids are out and about the world … so beach trip no longer needs to be or can be “right before school starts” … changes …

snippets from ZA Molly: Molly loved her morning at Gateway School on Friday.  I love to hear joy and love in a 16-year old’s voice. She truly was moved by this mission and I can see her working with them in the future.

Project Gateway is based in an old prison in the city of Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. In 1992 it was converted into a centre for several church based projects. Through these projects, the Church is reaching out, meeting people in their crisis need, and empowering them to be self sufficient.

Given the alarming statistics surrounding the HIV/AIDS pandemic, poverty and unemployment levels and the vulnerability of certain groups within our society, we aim to run effective and dynamic programmes, providing salt and light to the world, changing lives and impacting communities.

For more information about a specific project based at Project Gateway, click one of the projects below or choose another option from the side panel.

via Project Gateway – South Africa, Church based charity, combating poverty, HIV/AIDS,empowering local people through education and training.

random:  Doesn’t every kid wonder if they were switched at birth?

Two years back, Dimas Aliprandi and Elton Plaster didn’t know of each other’s existence. Then they learned they had been accidentally switched at birth more than 20 years ago.

The discovery didn’t bring bitterness or recrimination. Rather, it led to the creation of a bigger family.

Today, the two 25-year-olds are living and working together with both sets of parents growing vegetables and coffee on a small farm in southeastern Brazil.

via Brazilians Switched at Birth Work, Live Together – CBS News.

movies, history:

Movies, History, and Books for Kids.

gardening, green:

Even though many of us grew up not realizing it, Holly’s a hooker.

“In ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ all of a sudden — because it was Audrey who was doing it — living alone, going out, looking fabulous and getting a little drunk didn’t look so bad anymore,” Wasson writes. “Being single actually seemed shame-free. It seemed fun.” So, as a haute hooker, Audrey Hepburn was a fairy godmother, not only to feminism but to the prevailing ethos that style and cool trump all.

via Op-Ed Columnist – Mad Men and Bad Girls – NYTimes.com.

gardening, green:

For hundreds of years plant explorers have traveled the globe to bring back unusual things you can grow in your yard. And gardeners and the plant industry have a long, storied history of crossbreeding to create new plants. Shunning everything but native plants cuts a gardener off from so much of the fascinating variety in nature—and getting closer to nature seems to be one of the main points of the hobby.

via Weekend Gardener: Politically Incorrect Gardening – WSJ.com.

real estate:  There was a barn house that I saw 25 years ago outside Chagrin Falls … I have always dreamed of living there.

AUSTERLITZ, N.Y.

$2.45 million

A four-bedroom, five-bathroom home on 72 acres in a rural community 120 miles north of New York City.

DETAILS: The 2008-built house is made of two sections, one farmhouse-like structure and one built to look like a barn, which are connected by a glass atrium entryway.

BARN-STYLE: The barn-style side of the house is set up for entertaining with a great room and a second kitchen. There’s farm-like fencing around the swimming pool.

via Relative Values: Barn-Style Homes – WSJ.com.




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