Posts Tagged ‘retailing

12
Dec
11

12.12.2011 … I’m up to my ears in cupcake balls! …

holidays, food – desserts:  I’m up to my ears in cupcake balls! Cake Balls « bakerella.com.

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Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, marketing, Middle East, North Africa:

Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are huge in the Middle East and North Africa, where they account for 55 percent of mobile Internet traffic, according to a new survey by Dubai-based Effective Measure. The iPhone and iPad in particular are doing well, splitting top device honors among the countries covered in the study.

During the month of October, Apple iPhone accounted for 29.6 percent of traffic from mobile devices, with the iPad accounting for 24.1 percent. The iPod touch added another two percent to the total for Apple devices. Apple’s iPhone was the most popular device overall, and the iPad second. RIM’s BlackBerry devices came in third, with 7.6 percent combined.

via Apple devices winning big in the Middle East and North Africa — Apple News, Tips and Reviews.

iPad:  iPad 3 on the way?

Now that Citi analyst Richard Gardner has kicked the rumor mill up a notch for those awaiting the next iPad, the speculation will likely being flying fast and furious.

Digitimes is reporting that the next Apple tablet will be coming out in three to four months — right about in line with Apple’s normal schedule for iPad releases. The Taiwanese tech site, which has a spotty record when it comes to predicting Apple’s next moves, has tapped into its supply line sources once again and reported that Apple will begin cutting back on iPad 2 production ins the first quarter of 2012. Why? To make way for the next generation, of course.

Apple is infamous for the control it exercises over its image — especially its retail stores. Customers often know Apple stores at a glance, since the company’s storefronts often employ the same stark, simple lines as its products while also reflecting the character of their surroundings.

Apple is known for having many successful product launches. But it had some unsuccessful ones too.

The report says that new iPads are expected to reach 9.5 to 9.8 million production units in early 2012.

The rumors could have a negative effect on Apple’s holiday sales, as consumers expecting an iPad3 to come soon may decide not to take the plunge and buy an iPad 2 now.

There was definitely some buyers’ remorse out there when Apple released the iPad 2 last March, adding cameras and slicing down the thickness. And, yes, there are some rumored features for the next iPad that would be nice to have, such as an HD screen and LTE connectivity. But, as is the nature of these kinds of rumors, there’s no guarantee than any of them is accurate.

via Report: New iPad coming this spring – The Washington Post.

 myths, all women’s colleges, lists:

1. We are all major feminists who are concerned with women’s issues

3. For fun, we have late night pillow fights in our underwear

5. We are all lesbians

via Top ten myths about all women’s colleges | USA TODAY College.

Penn State Scandal, Mike McQueary:  Key Witness’ Story Changes …

Mon, Dec 12, 2011 9:00 AM EST – ABC News 2:33 | 4,558 views

Questions raised about Mike McQueary

Penn State Scandal: Key Witness’ Story Changes

Questions raised about Mike McQueary, an eyewitness in the case.

via News Videos – Yahoo!.

‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, movies,  pregnancy handbook, romantic comedy:  Movie adapts pregnancy handbook into romantic comedy … go figure!

Lionsgate has released a trailer for the romantic-comedy adaptation of the pregnancy handbook, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

We’ve embedded the trailer in the video above–what do you think?

Here’s more from Indiewire: “[Pregnancy] makes Elizabeth Banks hysterical, Dennis Quaid embarassed and Brooklyn Decker…well, she stays hot. Cameron Diaz, Anna Kendrick, Chris Rock, Matthew Morrison, Rodrigo Santoro, Chace Crawford, Jennifer Lopez, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tom Lennon and Rob Huebel all round out the cast on this one.”

The film reportedly also contains celebrity cameos from Black Eyed Peas musician Taboo, reality starlet Whitney Port and UK singer Cheryl Cole. Director Kirk Jones helmed the project. Heather Hach and Shauna Cross wrote the script. The movie hits theaters in May 2012.

via ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ Trailer Released – GalleyCat.

 La Rochefoucauld, quotes, happiness:

“We are so accustomed to disguising our true nature from others, that we end up disguising it from ourselves.”
 La Rochefoucauld

lawyers, careers, Great Recession, internet, websites, Shpoonkle: A new site lets jobless young lawyers underbid their more-experienced competitors for work! Welcome to Shpoonkle! Where Lawyers and Clients Connect..

New Lawyers Hang a Shingle on Shpoonkle, to Some Colleagues’ Chagrin

via Recent Law Graduates Offer Cheap Legal Counsel on Web Site, to Lawyers’ Chagrin – Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

websites, cooking, Cooking with Caitlin:  Another fun one…

Cooking with Caitlin (CWC) began Mother’s Day 2007, on Molly’s front porch, over a bowl of cherries. Caitlin was a brand new wife and mom, and had recently returned to Cincinnati having completed culinary school in Chicago. Molly and Kelly also had moved back to Cincinnati recently. Together they hatched a plan to be their own bosses in a food-focused business built around their growing families. The initial idea was simple: catering. A nights-and-weekends company that would give Caitlin the opportunity to play with food, Kelly would plan the parties, Molly would promote the business, and they would come together to make the events happen.

via Cooking with Caitlin.

toys,  retailing, Christmas:  No hit toys … another sign of the Great Recession?

With Christmas less than two weeks away, the toy industry has no runaway hit — leaving many toy shoppers bored and complicating how stores sell holiday inventory.

“We are not seeing people clamor for any single item,” Stephanie Lucy, vice president for toys at Target, said by e-mail.

The hitless season has retailers stocking less, leaning on classic items rather than new ones and possibly discounting less in the final days before Christmas. And with no Tickle Me Elmo or Zhu Zhu Pets to draw crushing crowds to the toy aisles, most retailers are being careful not to get stuck with unsold toys.

“As retailers look at consumer confidence numbers, they are skeptical about consumers’ willingness to spend this holiday season, and they are trying to avoid getting caught with too much inventory,” said Josh Green, chief executive of Panjiva, a supply-chain data company.

LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer, Hot Wheels Wall Tracks, Lalaoopsy Silly Hair dolls and some Lego sets are sold out or hard to find in many parts of the country, but that is mainly because of consistent demand rather than growing waves of frenzied shoppers.

via No Hit Toy to Brighten Retailers’ Christmas – NYTimes.com.

Christmas, Go-To Gift, Soul by Ludacris:  Since I have never heard of SOUL … must not be that big of a hit.

SOUL by Ludacris headphones are featured as the perfect gift for the audiophile in Newsweek Magazine‘s December article, “Tech for One, Tech for All: Stocking Stuffers for the Gadget Guru” by Brian Ries.  Along with SOUL he plugs the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire as this season’s go-to gifts.  (on newsstands now)

via Newsweek Magazine’s, “This Season’s Go-To Gift” [feature] | Soul by Ludacris.

science, biology, leaproach:  Yuck … Leaping cockroach discovered!

Cockroach haters beware: scientists have discovered a roach that jumps.

The newly discovered leaproach, which looks like a cockroach but acts like a grasshopper, is described in the journal Biology Letters.

via Leaping Cockroach Discovered – NYTimes.com.

Zoran Milich, NYC, photojournalism, Gothamatic, LIFE :  I love how LIFE has returned on the web!

Gothamatic: 12.12.11 – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

law school, education, practical applications:  Very well written … “The emphasis on practical short-term payoffs has already laid waste to the traditional project of the liberal arts, which may not survive. Is the law next? The law is surely a practice but it is also a subject, and if it ceases to be a subject — ceases to be an object of analysis in classrooms and in law reviews — its practice will be diminished. When a Times editorial declares that “[l]aw is now regarded as a means rather than an end, a tool for solving problems” rather than something of interest in its own right, one wants to say more’s the pity.”

This week marks the last sessions of my Yale law school class on law, liberalism and religion. In the course of the semester my students have learned how to read religion clause cases against the background of long-standing debates in philosophy and theology about the relationship between religious imperatives and the obligations of democratic citizenship. They have become adept at recognizing the arguments behind the arguments the justices are making explicitly. They can see how a case ostensibly about vouchers or school prayer or Christmas trees on courthouse steps is really about whether principle or history should inform a court’s decisions. They can see how a case about head coverings or beards in the military (a topic that has surfaced once again) turns on the distinctions set down in John Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration” (1689), a tract the justices may never have read. They can see how the majority and dissenting opinions in a free exercise case often reflect a tension between negative and positive liberty as these terms are defined by Isaiah Berlin, an author the justices will likely not have referenced. They can see how the entire history of religion-clause jurisprudence at once illustrates and is an extended critique of John Rawls’s attempt in “Political Liberalism” to devise a form of government that will be fair to religion while at the same time keeping it at arm’s length.

The question asked by an article and an editorial published recently in this newspaper is whether what my students have learned will be of any help to them when they enter practice. At first glance the answer seems to be “no,” if only because Berlin, Locke, Rawls, Hobbes, Kant, Unger and Rorty (writers whose work took up half the semester) are not currency in legal arguments; citing them in front of a court or in a memorandum is likely to be regarded at best as window dressing and at worst as showing off. (Not to mention the fact that few practicing attorneys are likely to be engaging with religion-clause issues anyway.)

In his response to Segal’s essay, Brian Leiter, a professor of law at the University of Chicago, rejects the question of whether what one learns in law school is of any help: “The criterion of scholarly inquiry is whether it makes a contribution to knowledge and understanding, not whether it ‘helps.’” Leiter adds that what he calls “genuine” knowledge often does help with “a host of concrete and practical problems.” But he refuses (rightly, I think) to justify the academic study of law on that basis, for, he explains, “it is the central premise of a research institution that the measure of its achievement is the quality of the scholarship, i.e. its contribution to knowledge — whether of law or biology or literature — not its practical payoff in the short-term.”

The emphasis on practical short-term payoffs has already laid waste to the traditional project of the liberal arts, which may not survive. Is the law next? The law is surely a practice but it is also a subject, and if it ceases to be a subject — ceases to be an object of analysis in classrooms and in law reviews — its practice will be diminished. When a Times editorial declares that “[l]aw is now regarded as a means rather than an end, a tool for solving problems” rather than something of interest in its own right, one wants to say more’s the pity.

via Teaching Law – NYTimes.com

Christmas, Christmas album, Christmas traditions, history:  Love this …

I’m a Christmas music traditionalist. Whereas I happily seek out new bands and explore new music throughout the year (and not just because it’s my job), around the holidays I become so conservative, so unyielding in my song choices — it’s Bing Crosby and Dean Martin or nothing — that the very mention of a contemporary Christmas album confuses and alarms me. Michael Bublé’s new Christmas record? Why don’t you just shave off Santa’s beard while you’re at it.

I just don’t approach Christmas songs the same way that I do regular ones. I’m not looking to broaden my musical horizons with a new rendition of “Jingle Bells.” I just want to listen to the same old songs (and watch the same old movies and drink the same old eggnog) that I always have. I’m probably doing it in a futile attempt to recapture some sense of childhood wonder. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Besides watching the A Christmas Story marathon on TV, that is.

But this year marks the first time that I’ve fallen for a new Christmas collection: A Very She & Him Christmas. The album — which came out in October because bandmembers Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have fallen prey to the diabolical “Christmas creep” marketing machine — is a compilation of classic Christmas tunes that have been stripped down and injected with just the right amount of contrived nostalgia to trick me into into thinking that I’ve been listening to it all my life. Their version of the Beach Boys’ “Little St. Nick” deserves to be a new holiday standard. I’ve finally entered the world of the annual Christmas album and what a big, scary world it is. I have a lot of catching up to do, so I might as well start at the beginning.

Christmas music as we know it today didn’t really get going until the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria married her German cousin, Prince Albert. Suddenly, England had an excuse to adopt all of Germany’s fun Christmas traditions, like that of the decorated tree laden with presents. The customs were also picked up by the United States, which had only recently invented the concept of Santa Claus. All of this newfound holiday cheer helped revive the practice of group caroling. Carols had existed for centuries, though their popularity waxed and waned as different governments and religious movements periodically declared them sinful. (I’m look at you, Puritans). But in the 1800s they finally had their heyday. Between 1840 and 1870, the following carols were written: “Good King Wenceslas,” “Jingle Bells,” “Up on the Housetop,” “Away in a Manger, and “We Three Kings.” Those are just the ones that have stuck around; there are plenty of others that have long been forgotten.

via Music Monday: The Rise of the Christmas Album | Entertainment | TIME.com.

Steve Jobs,  Computer History Museum: Wonderful retrospective!

The “Blue Box” was a simple electronic gizmo that bypassed telephone company billing computers, allowing anyone to make free telephone calls anywhere in the world. The Blue Box was illegal, but the specifications for hacking into the telephone network were published in a telephone company journal and many youngsters with a flair for electronics built them. The “two Steves” had a great deal of fun building and using them for “ethical hacking,” with Wozniak building the kits and Jobs selling them—a pattern which would emerge again and again in the lives of these two innovators. (Wozniak once telephoned the Vatican, pretended to be Henry Kissinger and asked to speak to the Pope—just to see if he could. When someone answered, Woz got scared and hung up.)

via Computer History Museum | Steve Jobs: From Garage to World’s Most Valuable Company.

Illustrated Histories and the American Imagination, 1840-1900, online exhibition:  So much neat stuff out there!

In this online exhibit, explore and contrast the production histories of two mid-19th-century pictorial history projects.

Through interactive graphics, magnified images and text, come to understand the personal agendas and the two-way and three-way collaborations at work in the making of pictorial histories; that is, the relationships among publishers, artists and historians.

via Clio: Picturing the Past – American Illustrated Histories Online Exhibit.

Christmas, Christmas traditions, Christmas feast, recipes, history:  A Victorian Christmas Feast!

“Nothing pushes the nostalgia button at Christmastime more than Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, with its warming images of a candlelit tree and Victorian plenitude. Yet prior to the 19th century, Christmas was a very different holiday, and it was only in the Victorian era that our concept of Christmas as a child-centered family holiday arose. After reviewing the evolution of Christmas holidays, we will use 19th-century English cookbooks, such as Charles Francatelli’s The Modern Cook and Eliza Acton’s Modern Cookery for Private Families, to create a groaning board of Victorian delights, including Jerusalem Artichoke Soup; Lobster Fricassée; Baked Goose with Chestnuts; Roasted Filet of Beef à l’Anglaise; Endives with Cream; Christmas Pudding; Gingerbread; and Twelfth Night Cake.”

Cathy continued, “This is upper class food that we’re making tonight, that took a large staff in the kitchen to prepare, with no expenses spared, using the most luxurious ingredients. It’s also infusion cuisine made with expensive stocks, showing the French influence in this period. There’s also a fair amount of cream in many dishes with a touch of cayenne pepper, an influence of the British colonials in India. The French at this time would have just used nutmeg. There were many women cooks in the kitchens of the wealthy in England, and in France there were more men in the kitchens.”

via A Victorian Christmas Feast « Jane Austen’s World.

websites, design, Colossal:
If you haven’t seen Colossal, don’t worry: you will. It’s an art and design blog which is, well, what it says it is. It’s getting mentioned everywhere, including here on Hyperallergic. It so happens that the blog’s creator, Chris Jobson, and I have known each other for years, and we live about three blocks from each other on Chicago’s north side. So I thought I would see if the guy who’s responsible for bringing such cool stuff to the world’s attention would overcome his modesty and talk about himself for a few minutes.via An Interview with Chris Jobson, Creator of the Art and Design Blog Colossal.
 Zombie Borders, Germany, history:  My favorite article of the day … Read on …
Now defunct by just over two decades, the border between the two Germanys already seems like a surreal relic from a much more distant past. Was there really ever a 540-mile Strip of Death separating the two halves, from the Czech border to the Bay of Lübeck? There was – and it was quite hermetical, and very deadly [2] – but today a visitor might be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

These days, the so-called innerdeutsche Grenze is almost completely erased from the landscape, marked only by the occasional memorial placard along the Autobahn. The fences, the spotlights, the guard dogs and the tanks have all been withdrawn. But that doesn’t mean it’s gone. The line that separated the Federal Republic of (West) Germany from the (East) German Democratic Republic is a zombie border: it’s been dead a few times in the past, and that hasn’t stopped it coming back. The line between east and west existed long before the postwar split.

The Iron Curtain that divided Europe (and Germany) is gone. The European Union now includes much of Eastern Europe, and indeed some bits of the former Soviet Union. In Angela Merkel, Germany has its first chancellor raised in the former East Germany. Although many socio-economic indicators for the ex-GDR are still not up to par with the western half of Germany, the border itself has been thoroughly erased from the landscape.

So is that the end of Henry the Fowler’s thousand-year-old border? Maybe not. Erased borders are like phantom limbs – sometimes it feels like they’re still there, even when they’re manifestly not.

via Zombie Borders – NYTimes.com.

11
Dec
11

12.11.2011 … Game face on (but wearing red socks:) ) — with John at Bank of America Stadium … A good day to be a Panthers Fan … until halftime … socks won …

Panthers:   Cold and sunny, playing Atlanta … great day to go to Panther’s stadium … first half rocks …. well, you know the story …

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Donna Morris, Paris, travel, tour guides:  We loved Donna!

Donna Morris, 51, is a professional trip planner in Paris (www.bestfriendinparis.com), where she has lived for five years. Morris is originally from Granite Falls.

via Paris warms during chill winter days | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ , retailing,  at-home sales business, business trends: So I have never been to a Tupperware or Mary Kay Party , but have been to a Pampered Chef … love their stuff.  Love  chocolate … so maybe …

It’s a Party…Literally.

Following the business model of Mary Kay, Tupperware, and other pioneers of home party businesses, DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ products are sold by aspiring entrepreneurs. They provide the impetus for people to then host chocolate tasting parties in their own homes. Invited friends and relatives gather to sample an exclusive line of chocolate products not sold in any store. Who can resist an evening among friends tasting heavenly chocolate treats?

“It doesn’t even feel like selling,” says chocolatier Jill Young. “I don’t have to twist any arms. Even in tough times, people still want to treat themselves to a little chocolate.”

The wide array of DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ products includes ready-to-eat chocolate treats, smoothie and martini mixes, chocolate chai tea, brownie and cookie mixes, baking chocolate, mousse mixes, even special tools for creating decadent desserts and fancy homemade chocolate candies.

Chocolate Is Hot. Home Entertaining Is Cool Again.

Last year 17 billion dollars worth of chocolate was sold in the U.S. and the fastest-growing brand of premium chocolate is DOVE®. !(border right)/files/0002/2312/dove-cupcakes_medium.jpg!Plus, the state of the economy has led to more people entertaining at home today—one more factor that may benefit DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ home sales venture.

via DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES™ Dips Into At-Home Sales Business in News & Trends on The Food Channel®.

physics, biology, photosynthesis:  This one is over my head!

Physicists have found the strongest evidence yet of quantum effects fueling photosynthesis.

Multiple experiments in recent years have suggested as much, but it’s been hard to be sure. Quantum effects were clearly present in the light-harvesting antenna proteins of plant cells, but their precise role in processing incoming photons remained unclear.

In an experiment published Dec. 6 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a connection between coherence — far-flung molecules interacting as one, separated by space but not time — and energy flow is established.

“There was a smoking gun before,” said study co-author Greg Engel of the University of Chicago. “Here we can watch the relationship between coherence and energy transfer. This is the first paper showing that coherence affects the probability of transport. It really does change the chemical dynamics.”

The new findings are the latest in a series that have, piece by piece, promised to expand scientific understanding of photosynthesis, one of life’s fundamental processes. Until a few years ago, it seemed a straightforward piece of chemistry.

via More Evidence Found for Quantum Physics in Photosynthesis | Wired Science | Wired.com.

End Of Ze World, YouTube, viral videos, LOL:  This one I got from my daughter … LOL.

retailing, business trends, chain dollar stores,  drugstores, Great Recession: I must admit  have gone to a dollar store twice in the last week …

The family-run drugstore on Main Street has been dying for decades. Now, the big national chain pharmacies—which helped push those family operations to the brink of extinction—are being surpassed in terms of total locations by dollar stores. What does this say about how people shop nowadays? And about the state of the economy?

One of the hottest retail trends in recent years has been the rise of the dollar store. During a period when many retailers have struggled as a result of consumers scaling back, dollar stores boomed for obvious reasons—one way consumers cut expenses was by spending more time in dollar stores.

Surveys have shown that today’s shoppers are more likely to make purchases in dollar stores lately, and chains such as Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Family Dollar have experienced outstanding sales growth as a result.

Riding the wave of newfound popularity and better-than-ever sales figures, dollar stores have naturally been expanding to new locations all over the country.

Now, according to a study by retail research firm Colliers International, dollar store locations outnumber drugstore locations in the U.S. Specifically, Colliers added up the number of locations for four national dollar store chains (Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, 99 Cents Only), and compared that figure to the total number of locations for the country’s three biggest drugstore chains (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens).

via More Chain Dollar Stores Than Drugstores in the U.S., Says Study | Moneyland | TIME.com.

MIT, “Platform Wars”, MBAs, gaming,  free online simulator,  education, teaching methods:  I think this might be fun to try …

Want to learn MBA management skills and strategies for free?  Thanks to “Platform Wars,” a video game simulator created by MIT’s Sloan School of Management, anyone can learn elements of a business school education by portraying an executive at a video game console manufacturer online.

The simulator has been used for the past four years in business management classes taught by professor John Sterman. A user playing an executive Nintendo, for example, might be tasked with figuring out how how to help the Wii beat out competition from Microsoft’s XBox. The ultimate goal is to strategize against your competitor to maximize cumulative profit over 10 years. The player has to make all the applicable decisions to win the market—everything from setting the price of the console to determining the royalties video game makers will pay for the right to produce games for the platform.

“Platform Wars” proved to be so popular at the business school that in late November, MIT—the home of the renowned OpenCourseWare program—decided to make the simulator available to the public on the MIT Sloane Teaching Innovation Resources website. Users can play as an individual or as a class. To fully equip gamers, Sterman is also providing free case studies and video explanations for both students and teachers.

Platform markets “are increasingly common in settings besides video games,” so Sterman says that the skills users can learn through Platform Wars are “applicable in many markets.” Figuring out how to ensure your product’s price, features, and complementary products stay competitive is in every business’ best interests. After all, we all know what happened in the real-world platform war between VHS and Betamax.

via MBA by Gaming: MIT Launches Free Online Simulator – Education – GOOD.

Consumer Reports:  Going Strong at 75 … “It has more than six times as many digital subscribers as The Wall Street Journal, the leader among newspapers.”

BORN in 1936, Consumer Reports had a very happy 75th birthday this year. Its business has never been better.

Well, “business” is not the right word, as there are no profits or losses to track: it’s a nonprofit. But the magazine and Web site generated $182 million in revenue in the 2011 fiscal year, which ended May 31. That pays for a lot of professional testing — of cars and trucks, washers and dryers, televisions, children’s car seats, mattresses, treadmills and cellphone plans — all told, more than 3,600 products and services a year.

Consumer Reports started its Web site in 1997; by 2001, it had 557,000 subscribers. That number has grown to 3.3 million this year, an increase of nearly 500 percent in 10 years. It has more than six times as many digital subscribers as The Wall Street Journal, the leader among newspapers.

via Consumer Reports, Going Strong at 75 — Digital Domain – NYTimes.com.

 BBC Sleep Profiler, health and wellness:  I did pretty well for my age … 🙂

Your sleep is fairly well optimised, scoring 57 %.

You said you have a problem with sleep, but you are not very sleepy during the day, which indicates your body is probably getting the sleep it needs. Quality of sleep is more important than quantity. There’s room to improve your score. You may find your personalised advice below useful.

Body and Health

You can expect to sleep less at night now you are older.

Now that you’re over 50, your natural sleep pattern has changed. You may find yourself napping during the day but sleeping less at night. In reality, you’re sleeping as much as you need to, but at different times of the day.

via BBC – Science & Nature – Human Body and Mind – Sleep Profiler.

 ‘New Year’s Eve’, ensemble romantic comedy, box office , holiday movies, Great Recession:  Why the downturn at the box office and what’s an ensemble romantic comedy, one that throws ever romantic comedy star in it …

“New Year’s Eve” came early to the multiplex this year, but couldn’t help the film industry escape its lowest-earning weekend of the year.

In total, all films at the box office grossed $76 million this weekend, a 17.2% drop from the same weekend last year. It was the lowest weekend take since Sept of 2008.

Leading the tepid pack was “New Year’s Eve,” an ensemble romantic comedy starring Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer in supporting roles. Made for a budget in the low $50 million range and distributed by Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros. Pictures, the film grossed $13.7 million from 3,505 theaters according to early estimates, below the studio’s expectations.

The weekend’s new limited release films, meanwhile, got off to solid starts. “Young Adult,” a dark comedy starring Charlize Theron as YA book novelist, earned $320,000 from eight theaters in five cities. The $12 million film is being released by Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures, which will open the film wide on Dec. 16 to 1,000 locations.

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” a well-reviewed adaptation of the John le Carre novel starring Gary Oldman, grossed $300,737 from four theaters, giving it a high per-screen average of $75,184. The thriller, which is being released by Comcast Corp’s Focus Features, will expand to four new markets and seven theaters next week.

via ‘New Year’s Eve’ Tops the Weekend Box Office – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Tweet of the Day, Post Secret, libraries:

PostSecret (@postsecret)

12/11/11 1:51 PM

“I work in a library. Today I heard a mom tell her child to be quiet because the ‘books are sleeping’. I wanted to give her a high-five!”

food – desserts, food – art, baking, random, gingerbread typewriter:

Patti from Baked Ideas made this amazing edible gingerbread typewriter for benefit of City Harvest, and it is displayed at NYC’s Parker Meridien Hotel.

via Gingerbread typewriter is entirely edible – Boing Boing.

UNC – Charlotte,  Davidson College Davidson, Davidson basketball:  We did not even look like the same team.  I hope it wasn’t just the effect of having Curry around … now that he’s back to the NBA.

Javarris Barnett opened the door to a Charlotte 49ers victory.

The rest of his teammates then slammed it shut on the Davidson Wildcats.

Barnett made five 3-pointers – four during a key second-half run – as the Charlotte 49ers reclaimed the Hornet’s Nest Trophy with a convincing 84-61 victory over rival Davidson on Saturday night.

In as much as Barnett’s long-range bombs broke open a tight game in the 49ers’ favor, it was Charlotte’s unrelenting, stifling defense that provided the opportunity.

“We were down one at halftime and we said we needed to come out and punch them in the mouth, and I think we held them scoreless the first four minutes,” said Barnett, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds.

via Barnett, Charlotte 49ers leave no doubt in win over Davidson | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

10
Nov
11

11.10.2011 … Early morning public transportation to Logan … Gotta love the Big Dig …. back home to the Queen City … then led a church group on labyrinth walk at Avondale Pres. in the rain … very good day but ugly weather …

Boston, public transportation, Big Dig, mouse whisperer: Well, I had an 8 am flight so John and I headed to the green line … then red line … the silver line (through the Big Dig), and for something like $1.60 I was at the airport in 40 minutes.  No complaints!  And see the man with the yellow hat … he caught a mouse with his foot  and let him go … everybody watched and smiled …

Charlotte, public art, Queen Charlotte:   back home to the Queen City … Don’t you just love the gorgeous Queen Charlotte welcoming you home!  🙂
labyrinth, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Charlotte:  Led a church group on labyrinth walk at Avondale Pres. in the rain … very good day but ugly weather  …

 

Boston, retailing, holidays, Nordstrom:  I was in Boston and Lord & Taylor dressed their windows for Christmas “tis the Season” Wednesday night (11/9) and the Salvation Army was out with their kettles already!!  Happy Thanksgiving…

In support of the contrarian among retailers … I think I will make a special effort to shop at Nordstrom … I always like contrarians … So I loved this floating around the net …

Like a contrarian reindeer in Santa’s fleet, Seattle-based department store Nordstrom is bucking the holiday trend to start sales early this year. Setting itself apart from the myriad retailers that have insisted on forcing the public to start thinking about Christmas before letting daylight savings, let alone Halloween, pass, Nordstrom is sticking to the traditional Black Friday date that was once used to kick off the holiday season.

With the economy being what it is, Americans are planning to spend less this year — and with the buyer’s market we’re in, stores are bending over backward to bring in as much business as possible. As such, welcome to Black November.

Holiday sales have already started online and at brick-and-mortar stores like Walmart and Barnes & Noble. Amazon offered some simple logic for its early-bird behavior, saying, “Black Friday isn’t until the day after Thanksgiving, but since you’re here already, looking for Black Friday deals, we thought we’d get the deals going a little early.”

“We won’t be decking our halls until Nov. 25,” says Nordstrom. “We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.” Some holiday merchandise goes on sale early, but it’s largely confined to decor, like Christmas ornaments.

Nordstrom’s self-circumscribed holiday “rhythm,” falling on the far more patient side of the department store aisle, may prove a detriment to its bottom line, especially with shoppers already trending toward discounters this year. According to Accenture’s annual consumer holiday shopping study, 93% percent of consumers are motivated by deals and 73% will make their first stop discount retailers.

via Nordstrom Waits Alone For The Holidays | The Daily Feed | Minyanville.com.

 Boston Public Library, 9/11 Poster:  This was framed in the lobby of the BPL … 

Original Edition Flag of Honor Poster preview | Flag of Honor/Flag of Heroes Project.

Charlotte, fall leaves, ginkgo trees:  Magnificent!  From Daniel’s post and the reason I took the photos below of the gingko trees … not sure if a daneurism or not …

“One of the more splendid fall displays is the shimmering gold Gingko tree. Gingko is the Japanese word for gold…and also bank. Take note of the Gingko trees display…it’ll be gone before you know it!”

07
Oct
11

10.7.2011 … grocery, grocery store or HT, Kroger, etc? … Christmas in October? … Since I mentioned Christmas – Amy Grant … Pez dispensers … OK a very random day!

words, local customs, retailing, Christmas, Amy Grant, PEZ dispensers, random, holiday traditions:  Ok … It’s October 7 … I went to the grocery (do you say grocery, grocery store or call it by its franchise name… Harris Teeter, for me?), and I smelled cinnamon. Looked up and saw a display of McCormick holiday spices, next to that display Christmas tree shaped Little Debbie cakes, next to that fake Oreos filled with peppermint cream, and finally Christmas cookie cutters. Has someone gone mad??

Speaking of Christmas, I just saw a e-mail which lists Amy Grant’s Christmas holiday tour, and I  have to admit Amy Grant’s early Christmas album is still my first to listen to every Christmas season … old habits die hard. Thank you Mary Phil  for introducing me to her a million years ago.

And while I am discussing holidays … found this fun quiz … HowStuffWorks “PEZ Quiz”. ‎:) … I wish I had saved 21 years of PEZ dispensers from my children’s Christmas stockings, Easter Baskets, Halloween surprises and birthdays …

Steve Jobs, RIP, tributes, speaking ill ... :

Gizmodo Tribute Video To Steve Jobs – YouTube.

When Steve Jobs resigned from Apple in August, 7,000 miles away in Hong Kong, graphic design student Jonathan Mak Long, “shocked” by the CEO’s departure, did what he knew best: He created a design to honor the Apple co-founder.

The 19-year-old posted the image, the Apple logo with the bite changed to a profile of Jobs, to his Tumblr blog. Known as Jonathan Mak, he initially received about 80 notes on the image. Then word came this past Wednesday that Jobs had died, after a long battle with cancer. Mak reposted the homage, which this time caught fire on the Web, attracting an almost immediate response of 10,000 likes and reblogs on his Tumblr site and surging to 180,000 — in one day. Comments included “awesome invention like steve jobs.” One thought it should be the “new Apple logo.” Another wanted to “use it as a tattoo.”

Speaking in fluent English (which he said he learned from watching the TV show “Friends”), the Polytechnic University School of Design student told Yahoo! in a Skype interview that the image was a tribute to Jobs’s contributions to the world: “I wanted to commemorate him. He’s such an integral part of Apple. I thought it would be fitting to include him in the Apple logo.” Long added, “With Jobs gone, Apple is literally missing a piece.”

via Apple tribute logo a Web hit | Today in Tech – Yahoo! News.

Everybody fails. It’s what comes next that counts.

Jobs wormed his way back into Apple, first as an adviser, then as interim chief executive, then by dropping the “interim.” What followed must be among the greatest comebacks in business.

He proved himself to be the Thomas Edison of our age: prickly, yes, but adept at combining technology and business to change peoples’ lives.

Edison has the more impressive portfolio — you can get by without your iPod more easily than you can without lightbulbs. No, really, you can.

But Jobs has the more impressive following.

For many people who heard the news of Jobs’ death, there was an immediate lurch of sadness.

On the sidewalk beside the Apple Store along Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue, Jobs’ fans on Thursday created a shrine to his memory. They left flowers, lit candles and placed fresh apples on the concrete. The same spontaneous tributes occurred at Apple Stores in London, Paris, Tokyo and elsewhere around the world.

“I promise to always take the next big step,” said one message left for Jobs in Chicago.

“Let’s go invent tomorrow,” said another, invoking a Jobs quote.

via The amazing reaction to the death of Steve Jobs – chicagotribune.com.

mike10072011

Political Cartoons from Mike Luckovich.

 

“Everyone always wanted a piece of Steve,” said one acquaintance who, in Mr. Jobs’s final weeks, was rebuffed when he sought an opportunity to say goodbye. “He created all these layers to protect himself from the fan boys and other peoples’ expectations and the distractions that have destroyed so many other companies.

“But once you’re gone, you belong to the world.”

Mr. Jobs’s biographer, Mr. Isaacson, whose book will be published in two weeks, asked him why so private a man had consented to the questions of someone writing a book. “I wanted my kids to know me,” Mr. Jobs replied, Mr. Isaacson wrote Thursday in an essay on Time.com. “I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

Because of that privacy, little is known yet of what Mr. Jobs’s heirs will do with his wealth. Unlike many prominent business people, he has never disclosed plans to give large amounts to charity. His shares in Disney, which Mr. Jobs acquired when the entertainment company purchased his animated film company, Pixar, are worth about $4.4 billion. That is double the $2.1 billion value of his shares in Apple, perhaps surprising given that he is best known for the computer company he founded.

Mr. Jobs’s emphasis on secrecy, say acquaintances, led him to shy away from large public donations. At one point, Mr. Jobs was asked by the Microsoft founder Bill Gates to give a majority of his wealth to philanthropy alongside a number of prominent executives like Mr. Gates and Warren E. Buffett. But Mr. Jobs declined, according to a person with direct knowledge of Mr. Jobs’s decision.

Now that Mr. Jobs is gone, many people expect that attention will focus on his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, who has largely avoided the spotlight, but is expected to oversee Mr. Jobs’s fortune. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Mrs. Powell Jobs worked in investment banking before founding a natural foods company. She then founded College Track, a program that pairs disadvantaged students with mentors who help them earn college degrees. That has led to some speculation in the philanthropic community that any large charitable contributions might go to education, though no one outside Mr. Jobs’s inner circle is thought to know of the plans.

Mr. Jobs himself never got a college degree. Despite leaving Reed College after six months, he was asked to give the 2005 commencement speech at Stanford.

In that address, delivered after Mr. Jobs was told he had cancer but before it was clear that it would ultimately claim his life, Mr. Jobs told his audience that “death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent.”

The benefit of death, he said, is you know not to waste life living someone else’s choices.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

via With Time Running Short, Steve Jobs Managed His Farewells – NYTimes.com.

Personally, I think this person should have just stopped “talking.”  I was taught not to speak ill of the dead …

In the days after Steve Jobs’ death, friends and colleagues have, in customary fashion, been sharing their fondest memories of the Apple co-founder. He’s been hailed as “a genius” and “the greatest CEO of his generation” by pundits and tech journalists. But a great man’s reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.

We mentioned much of the good Jobs did during his career earlier. His accomplishments were far-reaching and impossible to easily summarize. But here’s one way of looking at the scope of his achievement: It’s the dream of any entrepreneur to effect change in one industry. Jobs transformed half a dozen of them forever, from personal computers to phones to animation to music to publishing to video games. He was a polymath, a skilled motivator, a decisive judge, a farsighted tastemaker, an excellent showman, and a gifted strategist.

via What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs.

food, comfort food, chicken pot pie, recipes, kith/kin:  I cooked for a friend’s family following surgery the other night.  When I asked my husband asked what I should cook, he recommended ordering pizza … he doesn’t like my cooking … so I cooked my favorite no recipe comfort food … Chicken pot pie. Enjoy!

Dennard’s Chicken Pot Pie

3 large chicken breasts, cooked at 350 until done, then cut into bite size pieces.

line 9×9 glass baking dish or tall round baking dish with ready made pie crust, reserving enough crust for top … bake 10 minutes

in saucepan, add two cups cream, 1 can cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, salt and pepper, a little white wine  … simmer to slightly thickened

cook/thaw carrots in bite size pieces, peas and corn … frozen is fine, as much as you like … add any others that you like

put chicken pieces in bottom of pre baked pastry pan

add veggies

add cream mixture

cover with pastry dough

cook at 350 for 40-45 minutes!

 

 

 

Great Recession, IMF, Olivier Blanchard,  fiscal policy: Interesting interview – Olivier Blanchard on fiscal policy: A complicated game | The Economist.

Pat Robertson, Mitt Romney, faith and politics:  I just wish religious affiliation were not the issue in US politics … high moral character is what matters …not the source of your high moral character.

Robertson’s non-endorsement of Romney, for those who have ears to hear, trumpets two critical things to the Republican evangelical base: affinity and electability. At first glance, Robertson’s comments may seem like faint praise for a candidate who is currently the front-runner for the GOP nomination, and for one who unsuccessfully lobbied Robertson for an endorsement in 2008. But it could make an enormous difference for Romney, not only when he addresses the annual “Values Voter Summit” this weekend, but also on the longer campaign trail.

Most critically, by pronouncing Romney part of the Christian fold, Robertson signals that Romney’s faith is not so different from that of the white evangelical Protestants who form a strong core of the Republican base. The declaration that Romney is an “outstanding Christian” is a dramatic upgrade from Robertson’s more tepid comments in the last presidential campaign. In 2007, Robertson dubbed Romney an “outstanding American,” while his Christian Broadcasting Network Web site also declared-under the heading “How Do I Recognize a Cult?”-that “when it comes to spiritual matters, the Mormons are far from the truth.”

This Christian embrace should be a godsend for Romney, given that Americans generally want president’s with strong religious values, and that a significant portion of the electorate still holds reservations about the Mormon faith.

via Why Pat Robertson’s ‘endorsement’ of Mitt Romney matters – Figuring Faith – The Washington Post.

marijuana, food, food – drink, Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, US Government Programs:  Odd … Gourmet magazine online article about eating/drinking marijuana and a US Government Program, the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, provides free reefers!

Her description pretty neatly sums up the common expectation of eating marijuana: a bit of psychoactive Russian roulette with a strange aftertaste.

Beer probably has the most natural affinity with marijuana; after all, hops and marijuana are botanically speaking, kissing cousins. Boutique brewers in Europe and home brewers in the U.S. have been known to use cannabis tincture and plant matter to create THC-infused beer. Within the bounds of American law, Nectar Ales in Paso Robles, California, makes Humboldt Brown Ale with denatured hemp seeds (containing no measurable THC). The toastier, nuttier quality of the seed is highlighted rather than the herbal, funky character one would get from the plant itself. It is an interesting, unexpected expression of hemp, enjoyable even without its famous effects.

Jeremiah Tower, seminal in the creation of New American cuisine, first during his time as a chef/owner at Chez Panisse (1972–78) and later at Stars, knows a thing or two about letting ingredients speak for themselves, and letting them kick, if that’s what they want. He gives cannabis a clear, though not overpowering, voice in his Consommé Marijuana, recalled (with recipe!) in his 2004 memoir California Dish. The consommé was created in the spring of 1969 as the third course of a “self-consciously decadent” 11-course meal he prepared in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Made with 1 cup of marijuana stems steeped in 6 cups of rich chicken stock, it was strained and served over a chiffonade of nasturtium flowers and basil. As Tower recalls, the dish: “provided another level of stimulation. But not stoned. The brew takes forty-five minutes to reach the brain, by which time (as the menu planned) we were on to dessert, tasting strawberries and cream as we’d never tasted them before.”

There is, after all, the Bloody Maryjane, based on another drink attributed to him—the Bloody Mary—with a marijuana tincture replacing the vodka.

All of these applications point to a far richer culinary legacy than Alice B. Toklas’ brownies might lead us to expect. If legalization of marijuana comes at the same pace as smoking continues to get marginalized, we could be entering the age of ingested marijuana.

When that age comes, it could appear, rather than with a puff of smoke, in a glass, on a plate, or maybe even poured over a chiffonade of nasturtium flowers.

via Beyond Pot Brownies: Food + Cooking : gourmet.com.

Free reefers: Federal program ships marijuana to four

Uncle Sam a drug pusher? It’s true. For the past three decades, a handful of Americans have been getting regular deliveries of high-grade marijuana, courtesy of the federal government. It’s all part of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, a little-known initiative that grew out of a 1976 court decision that created the nation’s first legal pot smokers. Of the 14 people who were in the program initially, four are still alive. Keep clicking to meet the government-sanctioned marijuana mavens and learn more about the program – including where the government gets the pot in the first place…

via Free reefers: Federal program ships marijuana to four Pictures – CBS News.

Appalachia, Berea College: I absolutely loved this article about the US region Appalachia and the people who are Appalachians.  And the picture that illustrates the article is great … reminds me of “Song of the Lark.”

Color Me Appalachian 1

As a native Kentuckian, I thought that I knew the state. But the first time I heard traditional mountain music, I was awestruck—I had never heard anything like it before. A student, Ashley Long, was singing “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble. Darrell Scott’s lyrics and Long’s haunting voice brought tears to my eyes. The song tells the story of a man’s great-granddaughter, who sings about the family lineage in the “deep, dark hills of eastern Kentucky,” where the “sun comes up about 10 in the morning and the sun goes down about 3 in the day,” and “you spend your life just thinking how to get away.” The pain and the despair were palpable in the lyrics and in the style of singing.

When I came to Berea College four years ago, I accepted employment as a college professor; but I quickly realized that I had embarked on something more than just a job or career path. I was drawn to Berea because of its 150-year history and its commitment to African-American students. But I did not want to live in what I regarded as the mountains (in reality, the foothills), so I commuted from Lexington the first year, not telling my family that I had taken a job in the region. I knew they would worry about my living there because of all the negative stereotypes of racist white mountain people.

I didn’t know, but would soon learn, that Appalachian people represent a distinct cultural group. I didn’t understand that their music, traditions, and values were rooted in a way of life I knew very little about; my family and I had accepted as truth all the stereotypes. Over time, I came to know that the rich culture of Appalachia extends beyond Kentucky, including 13 states from Mississippi to New York, with West Virginia the only state entirely in the region.

After a year of commuting, I decided to move. I had found the people in town friendly, and there was a vital black community.

My experience at Berea was different from any other job I had had as a college professor. My first surprise was that, in my first class, there were more African-American students than I had taught in 13 years of my being a professor in Kentucky. The college’s minority enrollment has ranged between 17 percent and 23 percent over the last 10 years, in a state whose African-American population is only about 8 percent.

While it was wonderful working at a predominantly white institution with a significant number of African-American students, even more surprising were the white students. Most of them—60 percent of the 1,500 students on campus—identify themselves as Appalachian. As the semester progressed and I got to know them a little, I found them different from other white people I had encountered. I had worked with working-class whites before, but these students’ differences existed apart from socioeconomic status. Aside from the cultural differences, they were devoid of “white entitlement”; there was a humility and respect that I had never experienced from white students before. They were outspoken about some things and shy about others; they were smart, but not savvy—I found contradiction after contradiction.

Talking with them about their homes in rural Appalachia was similar to talking to international students about their lives in developing countries. I simply did not understand their culture—I hadn’t realized that although these people were white, they were not part of mainstream white culture. That first semester was challenging because I was working with a group that I knew very little about. But I wanted to know more.

In my second semester, I took the college’s weeklong Appalachian Seminar and Tour. I thought it would answer all my questions about the region, but within minutes, I realized that nothing was straightforward. My first question was: “Is it pronounced “Ap-uh-lay-chuh” or “Ap-uh-lach-uh?” (I had been taught the former in grammar school.) Chad Berry, director of Berea’s Appalachian Center, explained that those outside the region said the former, while those inside the region said the latter. I decided to use the regional pronunciation. This was a place where I wanted to belong. I had already begun to feel connected, and I wanted to explore those feelings in more depth.

via Color Me Appalachian – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

UNC Basketball, college basketball:  Kinda fun … UNC  to play Michigan aboard aircraft carrier on Veterans Day.

This Veterans Day, the UNC men’s basketball team will kick off the season against Michigan State in unfamiliar territory — on an aircraft carrier.

And on Nov. 11, the Tar Heels will have an ally in the captain’s chair.

Captain Bruce H. Lindsey, commanding officer of the USS Carl Vinson, leads almost 5,000 crew members with a UNC basketball jersey draped over his captain’s seat.

His daughter, senior Blair Lindsey, gave him the jersey after UNC won the 2009 NCAA National Championship.

Lindsey said he fought to have the inaugural Carrier Classic played on the USS Carl Vinson.

“When I heard that they were thinking about playing the game onboard an aircraft carrier, I thought it would be an awesome way to show a little recognition of the Carl Vinson crew for all of their sacrifices protecting our great country’s freedoms,” Lindsey said in an email.

“This game will really boost the morale of the crew — especially since we will be deploying again soon afterward for six months.”

Lindsey added the fact that the Tar Heels will be playing on the Carl Vinson is an added bonus. He said he has been a UNC fan since he moved to Reidsville, N.C., during high school.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: UNC men’s basketball to play aboard aircraft carrier on Veterans Day.

zombie genre, tv,  The Walking Dead:  Anybody a fan of ” The Walking Dead?”

You’ve been hearing about the show for a year or more, the much-ballyhooed second season starts on cable TV in a few weeks, and now all of The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is available on a single disc from redbox. (Episodes 1-4 are on Side A–flip it over and episodes 5-6 are on Side B).

If you’re already a fan of AMC’s terrific horror-drama series The Walking Dead, you probably don’t need much convincing to give that first season a quick re-watch before Season Two starts.

But if you’ve heard the hot, undead buzz and are curious what all the fuss is about, or if you’re not a hardcore zombie fan and wonder why you should bother with yet another “silly zombie thing,” let’s get you up to speed and fully on board.

via Zombie 101: 5 Things You Need to Know About The Walking Dead | Redblog.

Occupy Wall Street, revolution: “Do these people, like others worldwide who are disillusioned with their governments, have the potential to spark a mass movement?”

If you stopped by Zuccotti Park in New York and asked 10 protesters what their goals were for Occupy Wall Street, you might get 10 different answers. This has led some reports to call the group unfocused, but that may be normal for an emerging movement: would 10 young Egyptians in Tahrir Square in January have been any more unanimous?

One protester, in an interview that Fox News has not aired, said he and others were calling for “more economic justice, social justice — Jesus stuff — as far as feeding the poor, health care for the sick.” Another protester, a former Marine who was elected by Occupy Wall Street participants to speak for them, told NPR that he wanted to overthrow the government and reconstruct it. Will these big ideas get lost now that labor unions and other established interests are joining forces with Occupy Wall Street, bringing their more concrete demands?

The protest already is more popular than Congress. So what are the demonstrators doing right, and what could they be doing better? Do these people, like others worldwide who are disillusioned with their governments, have the potential to spark a mass movement? What are they missing?

via Can Occupy Wall Street Spark a Revolution? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession:  US a third word nation?  moral failure? read on …

Is the United States a Third-World Nation? 10/7/2011 6:30:00 AMMichael Lewis, author of the new book “Boomerang,” says the United States and many European nations suffered a moral failure which lead to economic collapse. Lewis insists that the U.S. economic situation will get much worse before it gets better.

via Video – Author Michael Lewis States That the United States has Suffered a Moral Failure – WSJ.com.

social networking, over 55, dating sites:

If you think online dating is the domain of the young, maybe it’s time to check in with your mother. Now, people 55 and older are visiting American dating sites more than any other age group — up 39 percent in the last three years, according to the Internet tracking firm Experian Hitwise. The No. 2 group? Singles 45 to 54. According to IBISWorld, a market research firm, and the United States Census Bureau, about 37 percent of people 50 and older are unmarried. And the divorce rate among the 50-plus demographic is high. With so many older Americans unattached, living independently into their later years, and increasingly comfortable using the Internet, they, too, are logging on for love.

And they may be better at finding it than their younger cohorts. Dating industry professionals say that singles in their 20s and 30s are typically focused on marriage and starting a family, while older singles (many of whom have been married before) have a more relaxed approach and are careful to pick companions who share their interests.

“Baby boomers have been one of the fastest-growing demographics for a lot of online dating companies,” said Caitlin Moldvay, an analyst for IBISWorld. The growth comes at the same time that some younger singles (18 to 34) are moving away from dating sites to social networking sites like Facebook as “a proxy for online dating,” said Bill Tancer, the general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services.

Greg Liberman, the president and chief executive of Spark Networks — which owns specialty dating sites including JDate, ChristianMingle, BlackSingles, SilverSingles — said that for the first eight months of this year, Spark had a 93 percent increase in new members 50 and older across all of its dating sites, compared with the same span of time last year. “We’re seeing significant growth,” Mr. Liberman said.

He’s also observed that, while it’s been common for parents to buy dating site memberships for their adult children, now adult children have begun buying memberships for their widowed and divorced parents. Gone is the heyday of personal ads in The New York Review of Books.

via For Those 55 and Over, Love at First Click – NYTimes.com.

fonts, design, Fortune Magazine: Just thought this interesting …

Two-time National Magazine Award winner John Korpics has a lengthy editorial design resume that includes Premiere, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, InStyle, Fortune, and now ESPN The Magazine where he just joined as Creative Director. One of his final acts at Fortune was the annual “500” issue. It’s always a hefty production, but this year’s is a particularly typographic feast.

via Fonts In Use – Fortune Magazine, “500” Issue.

18
Dec
10

12.18.2010 … tree is in and up … mantle is decorated … groceries bought for the big feast on Monday …

art, dance, ballet, history:

In her new book Apollo’s Angels, historian Jennifer Homans — a former professional ballet dancer herself — traces ballet’s evolution over the past 400 years, and examines how changes in ballet parallel changing ideas about class structure, gender, costume, the ideal body and what the body can physically do. The book chronicles ballet’s transition from the aristocratic courtier world in Europe through its place as a professional discipline in the Imperial Court of Russia, and finally as a technique performed on stages throughout the world.

Apollo’s Angels

Ballet’s origins, Homans explains, grew out of the Renaissance court cultures of Italy and France. Dancers would perform at the royal courts — and then invite the audience members to participate.

“It was a dance that was done by courtiers and kings and princes at court in social situations,” she says. “It was not a theatrical art set off from social life.”

The first ballet dancers did not wear tutus or dance in satin shoes, but they did formalize the footwork patterns — known as first, second, third, fourth and fifth position — that are still used today.

“Louis XIV realized that if his art form was going to be disseminated throughout his realm and even to other European countries, he would have to find a way to write it down,” Homans explains. “So he asked [choreographer] Pierre Beauchamp to write some these positions. The positions themselves are the grammars of ballet, they’re the ABC’s, the classical building blocks of ballet.”

via The Tutu’s Tale: A Cultural History Of Ballet’s ‘Angels’ : NPR.

faith, theology:  I like this concept of God and time.

The Fullness of timeJesus came in the fullness of time. He will come again in the fullness of time. Wherever Jesus, the Christ, is the time is brought to its fullness.We often experience our time as empty. We hope that tomorrow, next week, next month or next year the real things will happen. But sometimes we experience the fullness of time. That is when it seems that time stands still, that past, present, and future become one; that everything is present where we are; and that God, we, and all that is have come together in total unity. This is the experience of God’s time. “When the completion of the time came [that is: in the fullness of time], God sent his Son, born of a woman” Galatians 4:4, and in the fullness of time God will “bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth” Ephesians 1:10. It is in the fullness of time that we meet God.

via December 18, 2010 – The Fullness of time.

bookstores, books, ebooks, paradigm shift:  We still go to the movie theater!

This past year, Riggio fought off a hostile attempt to take over the Barnes & Noble board, and along with it, his chairmanship. He won’t comment on the potential sale of Barnes & Noble, though a decision is expected early next year. Still, he says this is an exciting time to be in the business, and he is anything but downbeat about his company’s future.

“It’s pretty heady times,” he says, “and we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. But if you want to count up the people who will have a say in how it will turn out, put us in as one of them.”

And what about the independents? Will they just become precious reminders of a time when most people read books made of paper? Not a chance, says Elaine Petrocelli. All bookstore owners know that the digital future is now. It’s up to them to work it in a way that keeps their doors open and their shelves filled with actual books.

“I don’t think we’re going to become precious,” she says. “I think we’re going to be a vital part of the future, but we’re going to have keep growing and changing.”

via End Of Days For Bookstores? Not If They Can Help It : NPR.

books, cookbooks, apps, ebooks: I will try them.  Any suggestions?

It’s hard to imagine how the Web could replicate a cookbook’s well-organized recipes or enticing illustrations — and, of course, a book doesn’t freeze or short out after a cooking accident. And cookbooks make the perfect gift for the foodie on anyone’s list, which is why they’re a mainstay of publishing at this time of year.

But though the traditional cookbook is alive and well, a number of tech-savvy cooks believe that e-books and iPad apps are a boon for the industry — and could provide cooks with more creative and convenient ways to find the right recipes.

via App-etizing: Cookbooks And Recipes Go Mobile : NPR.

music, holidays, Christmas:

I genuinely had no idea that so many people had recorded holiday albums over the years, until I decided to create my own: “A Christmas Cornucopia.” I knew the classic songs by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin etc., but (naive as it might sound) I wasn’t even aware that there was such a thing as a holiday music chart in Billboard.

via Annie Lennox on the Secret History of Christmas Songs – Speakeasy – WSJ.

privacy, technology:

Tech companies file patents on blue-sky concepts all the time, and it isn’t clear whether Apple will follow through on these ideas. If it did, it would be an evolution for Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who has spoken out against intrusive tracking. At a tech conference in June, he complained about apps “that want to take a lot of your personal data and suck it up.”

via IPhone and Android Apps Breach Privacy – WSJ.com.

Christmas, memories, childhood, retailing:  I loved the FAO Schwwatz catalog … and the Sear’s Toy Catalog!

As a child the holidays started at our house—at least in my imagination—not in December but in November. That’s when the FAO Schwarz toy catalog arrived. It’s hard now, in this age when everything, at least virtually everything related to commerce and consumption, is only a click or two away to conceive of a time when one’s dreams were funneled through the United States Postal Service.

The toy store’s Christmas catalog constituted the bible of childhood aspiration, a work of merchandising art no less masterful than a Beethoven symphony, culminating in the capitalistic equivalent of the “Ode to Joy” where you’d run to your parents and start lobbying for Santa to bring the singular toy that would spell the difference between eternal happiness and crushing disappointment.

There was no manipulation involved, either on your part or that of FAO Schwarz for bringing you to this level of arousal. Your pleading with your parents was merely informational; you just wanted to make it clear that the ball was now in their court (of course you’d be discovering other things you had to have in the days ahead, as you spent more time with the catalog). While you would be going through the motions of living a normal life over the remaining weeks until Christmas—even striving to get good grades and not beat up your kid brothers—you were actually rather miserable at the prospect that Christmas morning might dawn without Mr. Machine or a 15-piece disguise kit sitting under the tree.

via Catalog of Dreams – WSJ.com.

Christmas, childhood, Santa Claus:  Yes, virginia?

At one point he mattered. He fit the needs of the society he was servicing, with his rosy red cheeks and eyes a-twinkling. A role model in a bygone age, his existence centered on making simple toys and giving them away. He required nothing else from life—not fortune, nor a platform to pontificate, politicize or self-publish. His appearance was consistent over decades, as was the acceptance he received. He was a throwback for generations of men, women and children who valued a simpler time. Today, I would argue, Santa is no longer suitable.

For starters, Mr. Claus is painfully simple. Kids have become urbane consumers, and in many ways they are treated like adults by parents and society alike. The result is a decline in the age of the unbeliever, affecting everything from Saint Nick to the Tooth Fairy to the imaginary friend. We now have an awkward situation in which the jolly old man is more child than the child itself.

Secondly, Mr. Claus is not cool. Because they have been marketed to like teenagers, young children are acting more and more like teenagers (count the number of 6-year-olds watching Hannah Montana), so a cheerful old man dressed in a red suit and surrounded by elves is no longer agreeable.

Thirdly, Mr. Claus is obese. I know that his weight has been one of his more charming attributes, with his belly shaking with laughter and his round posterior squeezing through the fireplace. But obesity is a problem in this country. Santa’s girth presents an image problem for the market-makers in pop culture and those government officials responsible for engineering our behavior.

Fourth, Mr. Claus is not proficient in the employment and/or deployment of technology. This is probably his most glaring weakness, as everything we do centers around Internet connectivity, wireless access, social networking and endless communication without a word spoken. Goodness gracious, the man doesn’t even have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. How he can he update us on what he is wearing or on how Rudolph is feeling?

via Brian Campbell: Time for Santa 2.0 – WSJ.com.

tv, gLee:  Katie Couric?  Well, it will be interesting.

Gleek alert! CBS News anchor Katie Couric will be featured in the upcoming “Super Bowl” episode on the television series “Glee.”

Although she couldn’t give details on the episode or her character, Couric did talk about her experience filming with the likes of Matthew Morrison and other members of the cast.

“I just had so much fun. I joked with some press that I would be doing a Busby Berkeley-like number, but it was just that, a joke. I was being facetious,” Couric said.

As Fox show’s eleventh episode of the second season, the episode will feature Couric in some capacity — the newscaster would neither confirm nor deny if she was dancing and/or singing.

via How Did Katie Couric Wind Up On ‘Glee’? – Speakeasy – WSJ.

 




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