Posts Tagged ‘reviews

17
May
13

5.17.13 … very random … let’s meditate on them …

meditation, integrative medicine program: 

unlikely prescription: meditation.

“I recommend five minutes, twice a day, and then gradually increase,” said Aditi Nerurkar, a primary-care doctor and assistant medical director of the Cheng & Tsui Center for Integrative Care, which offers alternative medical treatment at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. “It’s basically the same way I prescribe medicine. I don’t start you on a high dose right away.” She recommends that patients eventually work up to about 20 minutes of meditating, twice a day, for conditions including insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome.

Integrative medicine programs including meditation are increasingly showing up at hospitals and clinics across the country. Recent research has found that meditation can lower blood pressure and help patients with chronic illness cope with pain and depression. In a study published last year, meditation sharply reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke among a group of African-Americans with heart disease.

via Doctor’s Orders: 20 Minutes of Meditation Twice a Day – WSJ.com.

photography,  kith/kin: When great design and family antics catch your eye, capture the memories with photos that tell a story …

After you take the photo, bring it back home and make adjustments to the exposure, saturation and cropping. Read the info about your phone’s camera and practice using different settings. Use fun effects like those on Instagram. Lots of software programs and phone apps can help you make these adjustments, and many are free or low cost. Look into Pro HDR, Magic Shutter, Camera+ and other apps in your phone’s app store. GIMP has free photo retouching software, too.

via When great design and family antics catch your eye, capture the memories with photos that tell a story.

face of God, Christian community, Daily Meditation, Henri Nouwen:

 

The Mosaic That Shows Us the Face of God

A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself.

That is what our life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. Nobody can say: “I make God visible.” But others who see us together can say: “They make God visible.” Community is where humility and glory touch.

via Daily Meditation: May 3, 2013 | Daily Meditation by Henri Nouwen.

Mt. Everest, climbing, Then and Now,  National Geographic:

 A lot has changed since the world’s tallest mountain was first climbed in the 1920s, when climbers donned reindeer fur boots and rusty steel crampons. See the evolution of gear and local culture in this gallery, then learn more in The Call of Everest from National Geographic Books. Next: See Sir Edmund Hillary’s 1953 gear compared to 2012 climber Hilaree O’Neill’s.

via Everest Climbing Gear—Then and Now – National Geographic.

The Avengers, movies,  reviews, Roger Ebert:

 Avengers however do share the same time and space continuum, although in recent years, they’ve been treated in separate, single-superhero movies. One assumes the idle Avengers follow the exploits of the employed ones on the news.

“The Avengers,” much awaited by Marvel comics fans, assembles all of the Avengers in one film: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, the Black Widow and Hawkeye. This is like an all-star game, or the chef’s sampling menu at a fancy restaurant.

viaThe Avengers Movie Review & Film Summary (2012) | Roger Ebert.

scripts, voice-over commentary, Downton Abbey, Poldark, Ellen And Jim Have A Blog, Two:  Loved this and I had completely forgotten about Poldark!

It may be much of the original cast is now dead most of the principals are, but I’ve listened to and watched a DVD of the 1963 Robert Wise film of Shirley Jackson’s Haunting, where what was left of directors and writers and the cast produced intelligent insightful features and voice-over commentary — I took substantial notes on how the film was made. I suspect Poldark as a film still suffers from its original labeling as “swash-buckling soap opera,” and its not having had a widely-prestigious and single auteur type instead many directors, writers, directors. By contrast, Downton Abbey now has had at least two books The World of, The Chronicles of and the first of three projected scripts produced.

via From the Scripts and Voice-over commentary: Downton Abbey | Ellen And Jim Have A Blog, Two.

 

20
Sep
11

‎9.20.2011 … to Davidson, to Davidson … for dinner and to hear Sebastian Junger (2011 Reynolds Lecture) … I wonder if I ever went to a public lecture while there (actually I remember one: former President Gerald Ford) … and btw Junger’s lecture was excellent … however, I was not gLeeful after gLee …

Sebastian Junger, Davidson College – Reynolds lecture:  When I saw that he had written The Perfect Storm I was excited to have an invite from Davidson’s new President Carol Quillen to join her and others for the dinner and the lecture.  Mr Junger walked in casually and comfortably to the President’s Home and engaged willingly with everyone at dinner … a few professors, students (mostly those interested in journalism or ROTC) , and several alum couples.  I enjoyed meeting him.  At the lecture he was introduced with a pretty full bio, but I remembered two things, he was a cultural anthropology major at Wesleyan College and he was named by People magazine and the most attractive writer.  His talk was thoughtful and thought-provoking and focused on themes from his latest book War and documentary Restrepo.  He willingly took questions.  He often focused on the young adult male psyche and how that plays into a soldier’s life.  Having a nephew a West Point made me really think about this.  Great talk.  If you have the opportunity to hear him speak, I highly recommend making the effort.

sebastian Junger

Author Sebastian Junger, 7:30 p.m., Davidson College Duke Family Performance Hall – Sebastian Junger, author of “The Perfect Storm,” “A Death in Belmont,” and “Fire,” will give the 2011 Reynolds Lecture at Davidson. His topic: “From the Front Lines: 20 Years of Reporting from the Around the World.” Tickets free, available at Alvarez Student Union Box Office beginning Monday, Aug. 22. http://www.davidson.edu/tickets

via  Sebastian Junger | DavidsonNews.net Guide.

You can learn some more at his website: Sebastian Junger’s Community – The official Sebastian Junger community.  asked him afterward why he did not use twitter.  His response was when he did, he paid someone to run it for him.  Basically he did not have time.  I also asked him how his degree in cultural anthropology played into his career as a journalist, and he said it gave him a perspective from which he view the world.  He said distinctions between brotherhood and friend are anthropological distinctions.

Here is a quote from a recent article.

It doesn’t matter that most civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were caused by insurgent attacks; if our soldiers died for freedom there — as presidents are fond of saying — then those people did as well. They, too, are among the casualties of 9/11. Nearly a decade after that terrible day, what a powerful message we would send to the world by honoring those deaths with our grief.

via Why Would Any Soldier Miss War? – NYTimes.com.

Someone asked him about this book …

Drawing on his own experience and on the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr, Hedges shows how war seduces not just those on the front lines but entire societies, corrupting politics, destroying culture, and perverting the most basic human desires. Mixing hard-nosed realism with profound moral and philosophical insight, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning is a work of terrible power and redemptive clarity whose truths have never been more necessary.

via War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges – Book – Random House.

fracking, followup, NPR, Quest,  book:  This NPR story/interview gave me more insight into fracking.

A television ad running in upstate New York has been warning residents that the state’s water supply is headed for ruin.

“New York tap water has always been the best in the world,” it says. “In places where gas companies are already using a dangerous process called fracking, like Pennsylvania, the water is cloudy and full of toxic chemicals.”

The ad is part of an intensifying debate over hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — the process energy companies use to get a certain kind of natural gas out of the ground. Fracking is also one of the many subjects energy expert Daniel Yergin covers in his new book, The Quest. Yergin tells NPR’s David Greene that the type of natural gas obtained through fracking, the gas found in shale, only recently became a serious energy source for the U.S.

“Shale gas really has been a revolution that’s happened extremely rapidly,” Yergin says. “Up until 2008, it really wasn’t recognized and then it just took off, and it’s gone from being virtually none of our natural gas production to about 30 percent of our total natural gas production.”

via Daniel Yergin Examines America’s ‘Quest’ For Energy : NPR.

CMS, education,  Broad Prize, kudos: Congratulations to CMS on winning the Broad Prize.

The Broad Prize, sponsored by the Los Angeles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, comes with a $550,000 award that will be distributed as college scholarships for the district’s high school seniors. The three other districts that were finalists—the Broward County and Miami-Dade systems in Florida and the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso, Texas—will each receive $150,000 in scholarships for their students.

The 133,600-student Charlotte-Mecklenburg district, which was recognized by the foundation for its work in reducing achievement gaps, is about 33 percent white, 41 percent black, 16 percent Hispanic, and 10 percent Asian, American Indian, or multiracial. About 53 percent of its students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, a commonly used measure of student poverty, and 10 percent are designated as English-language learners.

Like the other districts that were finalists this year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg had been singled out by the award program before. The district was a finalist in 2004 and 2010.

Hugh Hattabaugh, the district’s interim superintendent, said in an interview before the announcement was made that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district had made strides on more than two dozen education indicators, including improved graduation rates, SAT scores, and scores on end-of-course exams.

The nomination “really says wonders about our teachers and their commitment to excellence,” said Mr. Hattabaugh, who has served as interim superintendent since July.

via Education Week: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Wins Broad Prize.

The Playboy Club, tv, Norah Ephron, reviews, kith/kin:  I love Norah Ephron …  Anybody watched the Playboy Club?  My mother, yes my mother, has a great story she tells of her first visit to The Playboy Club in Chicago … shortly after my birth in 1960  … and it concludes with “and I never drank another martini.”

But Hefner himself, now 85, is a whack-a-mole, popping up from his life on the D list to give interviews about his pajamas and his little blue pills and his cadre of surgically enhanced women. Why does anyone read about him? Why do I? I can’t explain it. Last year, when news of his impending marriage was epidemic, I actually found myself wasting 30 seconds hoping that his fiancée, Crystal, 25, would have the courage to break it off. She did! Way to go, Crystal! Crystal then turned around and disappointed me by giving several television interviews denying that she’d been responsible for the breakup. “It was mutual between Hef and I,” she said.

I mention all this because NBC is about to put a series about a Playboy Club on the air. Inspired by the success of Mad Men, it has gone back to the early 1960s, to that golden moment just before the women’s movement came along and ruined everything. It’s about several Bunnies, an ambitious Chicago lawyer, and the mob. The show (or at least the opening episode) is not unlike Playboy magazine in the early years: it has its moments, but it’s mostly an excuse to show women’s breasts, which (in this version, because it’s on a network) are usually encased in fabulous pointy period bras or shoved upward in satin-polyester Bunny costumes. Hefner doesn’t appear except as a shadowy figure, like a masked mafioso in the Federal Witness Protection Program. But he does provide a weird, creepy voice-over, on which he says that Bunnies “were the only women in the world who could be anyone they wanted to be.”

This of course is so preposterous on so many levels that it is almost not worth attacking. But I worry (as someone who was an adult in the 1960s) that young people will see The Playboy Club and think that this is what life was like back then and that Hefner, as he also says in his weird, creepy voice-over, was in fact “changing the world, one Bunny at a time.”

So I would like to say this:

1. Trust me, no one wanted to be a Bunny.

2. A Bunny’s life was essentially that of an underpaid waitress forced to wear a tight costume.

3. Playboy did not change the world.

Incidentally, the weird, creepy voice-over is probably my favorite thing about The Playboy Club, and I was disappointed to read that it might not continue after the first episode. Not that I am planning to watch it again. Although you never know. Before she became a feminist and did change the world, Gloria Steinem wrote a famous piece about being a Bunny, and made clear how shabby and pathetic life was at a Playboy Club. She recently called for women to boycott the show. I am currently boycotting so many television shows that I may not have time to boycott another.

via In Case You Were Planning to Watch ‘The Playboy Club’… – The Daily Beast.

Paris, travel, puces, flea markets:  I did not get to hit the puces … next time. 🙂

Given a little more than 30 hours in the City of Light, jet lag was ignored and a whirlwind trip to the famous puces, or flea markets, was a must. Toma made the most of my brief stay. Her boutique business offers private tours to visitors to Paris and six other European countries.

Most antique shoppers head straight for Clingancourt, the gigantic flea market to the north of Paris. With limited time and the desire to hunt for kitchen tools, cutlery, linens and other trappings of the French home, we began at the Puces des Vanves (Metro: Portes des Vanves).

via A French connection: MrsWheelbarrow goes to Grrl’s Meat Camp – All We Can Eat – The Washington Post.

college life, culture, define: “hooking up” :…”a way of divulging information — which, yes, could still be considered gossip — but also provides an element of mystery about the encounter, which could protect privacy in some cases. And in today’s social media-obsessed, oversharing culture, that’s not a bad thing.”  BTW, my kids would define it as intercourse.  Makes the term “hooker” have similar back ground.  I no longer tell a friend … “let’s hook up for lunch.”

Don’t expect co-eds to help clarify the situation, either. A new study has examined the modern lingo often used by college students to describe a sexual encounter, and found that while 94% of the study’s sample knew and used the phrase “hooking up,” its definition is more a little hazy.

GOOD reports that the study, published in the journal Health Communication, found that college students thought hooking up could refer to a wide variety of sexual activities, covering “kissing, intercourse, and all the bases in between.” Further complicating the definition is that “activities can involve acquaintances, friends, or potential long-term partners, and can unfold over the course of one night or many months.” Pretty much the only certain aspect of a hookup is that sexual activity of some sort takes place.

If this all sounds frustratingly vague, it’s probably because it’s supposed to. The study also found that even though college students were often willing to discuss their hook ups with friends, they notably kept the details out of the discussion. Talking about who hooked up with whom was common, but what that exactly entailed, less so. It seems the phrase offers

Don’t expect co-eds to help clarify the situation, either. A new study has examined the modern lingo often used by college students to describe a sexual encounter, and found that while 94% of the study’s sample knew and used the phrase “hooking up,” its definition is more a little hazy.

GOOD reports that the study, published in the journal Health Communication, found that college students thought hooking up could refer to a wide variety of sexual activities, covering “kissing, intercourse, and all the bases in between.” Further complicating the definition is that “activities can involve acquaintances, friends, or potential long-term partners, and can unfold over the course of one night or many months.” Pretty much the only certain aspect of a hookup is that sexual activity of some sort takes place.

If this all sounds frustratingly vague, it’s probably because it’s supposed to. The study also found that even though college students were often willing to discuss their hook ups with friends, they notably kept the details out of the discussion. Talking about who hooked up with whom was common, but what that exactly entailed, less so. It seems the phrase offers a way of divulging information — which, yes, could still be considered gossip — but also provides an element of mystery about the encounter, which could protect privacy in some cases. And in today’s social media-obsessed, oversharing culture, that’s not a bad thing.

via No One Knows What ‘Hooking Up’ Entails — Not Even Those Who Are Doing It – TIME NewsFeed.

apps, ScatterBrain:  I could probably use this!

ScatterBrain — Collect your thoughts. Quickly. Simply. Beautifully.

BofA, job cuts, kith/kin:  Machete?

Current job cuts by U.S. lenders such as Bank of America are insufficient and they will likely need to slash even more before they can get their costs under control, a prominent U.S. banking analyst said on Tuesday.

“U.S. banks are using a pocket knife when what they really need is a machete,” CLSA banking analyst Mike Mayo. “I’m not saying to use the machete at one go, but more drastic measures are needed.”

Mayo, speaking at CLSA’s annual investor conference in Hong Kong, is famous for being a strong critic of Citigroup, a feud that began shortly after the 2008 financial crisis.

Banks in the United States are shedding jobs as stricter regulations and a tough second quarter for trading income take their toll on investment banking units in particular.

Bank of America said earlier this month it would cut 30,000 jobs to save up to $5 billion. It currently has a expense-to-revenue ratio of about 57 percent, and is trying to bring that down to 55 percent.

Outside of the United States, banks such as HSBC are also trying to bring down costs, with Europe’s biggest bank saying it wants to bring its expense ratio down to 48-52 percent by 2013 from about 57 percent currently. The bank says it plans to cut 30,000 jobs.

via US banks need headcount machete, not pocket knife-CLSA’s Mayo.

Google Doodles, Google, kith/kin:  What a great job for an artist … at least for a little while.  🙂

A few times a year Chronicle’s design department closes up shop early and heads out in search of inspiration. This fall we went to Google headquarters in Mountain View to meet the Google doodlers.

First we met up with head doodler Ryan Germick, who gave us a tour of the campus and answered all our incredulous questions. (Yes, that’s a beach volleyball court. Yes, people really use it.) The Google campus is pretty mind-boggling. Some of the highlights: Lush grounds with patio furniture galore. A van offering haircuts. On-site laundry. Beach volleyball. Free lunches and snacks. Did I mention you can bring your dog to work?

Then we got to the heart of the visit—getting to know the Google doodlers. The doodlers reconfigure the Google logo to commemorate everything from Thanksgiving to Freddie Mercury’s birthday. They’ve done more than 300 doodles for the U.S. and more than 700 doodles internationally. Considering their output, the doodlers are a surprisingly small bunch—I counted five illustrators and two engineers.

via Chronicle Books Blog » Blog Archive » From the Design Desk: Visit to Google.

economics, Great Recession, class warfare, religion v. economics, surveys:   Survey says, “”They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work .”

About one in five Americans combine a view of God as actively engaged in daily workings of the world with an economic conservative view that opposes government regulation and champions the free market as a matter of faith.

“They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work,” says sociologist Paul Froese, co-author of the Baylor Religion Survey, released today by Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

BLOG: What do you think?

MORE: Entrpreneurs more likely to pray, meditate

“They think the economy works because God wants it to work. It’s a new religious economic idealism,” with politicians “invoking God while chanting ‘less government,'” he says.

“When Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann say ‘God blesses us, God watches us, God helps us,’ religious conservatives get the shorthand. They see ‘government’ as a profane object — a word that is used to signal working against God’s plan for the United States. To argue against this is to argue with their religion.”

Most (81%) political conservatives say there is one “ultimate truth in the world, and new economic information of cost-benefit analysis is not going to change their mind about how the economy should work,” Froese says.

via Baylor Religion Survey reveals many see God steering economy – USATODAY.com.

economics, Great Recession, class warfare, religion v. economics: “It’s not ‘class warfare,’ it’s Christianity”

President Obama just drew the economic battlelines more clearly in his call to raise $1.5 trillion in new revenue primarily through increased taxes on the wealthy, letting the Bush tax cuts expire, and closing tax loopholes.

“Class warfare!” countered the Republicans.

Americans sharing more equally in the burden of pulling our country out of massive debt, and using tax revenue to stimulate the economy and create jobs isn’t “class warfare,” it’s actually Christianity.

Many Christians are starting to find the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few very rich people to be an enormous moral and ethical problem. Catholic theologians and ethicists took pains recently to challenge Speaker Boehner on Catholic values in regard to his views, particularly on the economy.

But not all Christians agree with those perspectives. Today, not only is economics a political battleground, it is a faith battleground particularly in Christianity. According to some Christian conservatives, unregulated capitalism, with all its inherent inequalities of wealth, is God’s plan.

“Christian Captialism” in their view, isn’t an oxymoron, it’s God’s will as revealed in the Bible. God wants you to own property and make money, and if some make a lot more money than others, that’s okay. In fact, it’s God’s will too.

These competing views are very influential in our current public debates. The Christian conservative viewpoint, however, has been more instrumental in shaping our political shift to the right in recent years, not only on social issues, but also on economic issues. You can see this display in the “God Hates Taxes” signs carried at Tea Party rallies.

Let me be clear as I can be. We need to understand the so-called “Christian” underpinnings of the anti-tax, anti-government, anti-the-poor, “let him die” approach to economics and public policy today as completely un-Christian, as well as un-American. What we need to do is re-establish our national values of fairness, equality and opportunity for all, values that I believe are actually the core of the Christian faith, (as well as of other religious traditions and of humanist values).

via It’s not ‘class warfare,’ it’s Christianity – – The Washington Post.

cloud computing, technology, economy:  “Cloud computing isn’t revolutionary because it’s changing the mode of technology delivery. The real revolution that is underway is that it is opening up new lines of business in information technology or service delivery — even among non-IT businesses.”

Economists and pundits have long feared the emergence of what they called “hollow corporations,” or businesses that don’t actually produce actual goods or services themselves, but instead act as brokers or intermediaries relying on networks of suppliers and partners. But now, thanks to technology, successful businesses surprisingly are often brokers of services, delivered via technology, from providers and on to consumers.

Where are these services coming from?  Look to the cloud.

Yes, cloud computing enables cost savings — as companies can access technology and applications on-demand on an as-needed basis and pay for only what they use. And yes, this fosters greater agility, with less reliance on legacy IT assets. But the changes go even deeper that that. Consider the ways cloud computing is altering our business landscape:

“Loosely coupled” corporations

Blurring of IT consumers and providers

Startups on a dime

More software innovation

Rise of “micro-outsourcing”

Cloud computing isn’t revolutionary because it’s changing the mode of technology delivery. The real revolution that is underway is that it is opening up new lines of business in information technology or service delivery — even among non-IT businesses.

via Cloud Computing May be a Shot in the Arm our Economy Needs – Forbes.

G.K Chesterton, authors, books:  Must read some Chesterton … With a cartoon drawing as attractive as the one below, he must be great.

Rethinking Chesterton 1

It has been over half a century since Maisie Ward’s major biography of G.K Chesterton (1874-1936) appeared in 1943. Since then, Chesterton has largely been a darling of Anglophiles, conservatives, and orthodox Roman Catholics, the sort of writer often invoked in the pages of the National Review. And oh, yes, read by mystery-story lovers everywhere for his Father Brown series.

More recently, however, he has begun to find a sympathetic audience in wider literary circles, as evidenced by G.K. Chesterton, Ian Ker’s detailed and compelling new biography from Oxford University Press, and a generous collection of his writings this year from Everyman’s Library, selected by Ker, a senior research fellow at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University. From my viewpoint, it’s time Chesterton was taken seriously as a major critic and biographer, a thinker of sharp wit and deep learning.

Chesterton’s work includes nearly every type of writing—poetry, philosophy, literary criticism, biography, political and social argument, playwriting, detective fiction, and Christian apologetics. Yet he was, in the main, a journalist at heart, pumping out weekly columns for a variety of papers, especially The Daily Mail, on every conceivable subject, and his devoted audience included the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, who was “thunderstruck” by Chesterton’s fierce independence of thought.

Chesterton was a lifelong Christian who, as Ker shows, moved gradually but inexorably from the Anglo-Catholicism of his childhood to Rome (he was received into the Roman Church in 1922). Even then, he remained complicated and ironical, reassessing such major figures in the history of Christianity as Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi—an unlikely duo, drawn from opposite ends of the Catholic temperament.

In truth, Chesterton was a natural democrat who identified more with the beer-drinking masses than snobs with glasses of sherry in their Oxford college gardens. His lifelong interest in the Middle Ages was less about a love of feudalism and hierarchy than a warm identification with peasants and craftsmen. As Ker notes, he held in high regard the idea of “self-government,” which he saw in the medieval guild system, of which Britain’s “attenuated and threatened” trade unions were but “a ghost.”

It is the quality of wonder that so many readers and critics have lost sight of in the priggish, conservative Chesterton they seem to prefer. This man was an eagle, flying high over the barren landscapes of modernism, and his astute challenges to mundane views challenge us to rethink thoughtless positions on a variety of subjects.

His good cheer was not baseless optimism: It arose from a deep conviction that the human imagination is glorious, has its origins in divine realities, and refuses to lie down. He believed, in a strange way, in belief itself as the ground of experience. As he once said, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

via Rethinking Chesterton – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

apps, Instagram 2.0:  I never mastered Insatagram 1.0 … and now I have  live filters and higher resolution photos.

The best gets better: Instagram 2.0 adds live filters and higher resolution photos |

It’s hard to believe that Instagram launched only about a year ago. In a mere three months it accumulated its first million users, and now supports over eight million pocket photographers.

Its success is in no small part due to its easy-to-understand value proposition: instantaneous photo sharing with a creative mix of filters. As founder and CEO Kevin Systrom told Fast Company back in February: “You have to explain everything you do, and people have to understand it, within seconds.”

The challenge, of course, is innovating upon the existing app without cutting into its simplicity. And yet, Instagram 2.0 manages to succeed at this beautifully.

via The Best Gets Better: Instagram 2.0 Adds Live Filters, Higher Resolution Photos – Techland – TIME.com.

Google+:  Since they never gave me an invite … yes my feelings were hurt … I may just pass.

Google Inc. has opened up its Google Plus social network to everyone after testing it with a limited audience for 12 weeks.

Google said in a blog post Tuesday that it will now let anyone sign up for Google Plus. Previously the service was only available by invitation, though it got easier to join in recent weeks.

The company also added a search capability to Google Plus that will let users sift through posts on the site.

Google Plus is the online search leader’s attempt to compete with Facebook, by far the world’s most populous online social network with more than 750 million users. Tuesday’s upgrades come two days ahead of Facebook’s f8 conference in San Francisco, where the company is expected to unveil several new features.

Google also made Plus’s “Hangouts” feature —which lets users video chat with multiple people at a time— available on smartphones with front-facing cameras. The feature currently works with phones running Google’s Android system. Google says support for Apple devices is coming soon.

A new service called “Hangouts On Air,” meanwhile, lets users broadcast their videos online or view these videos as spectators. Google said it’s starting off with a limited number of broadcasters. Google plans to host its first such hangout with Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am. on Wednesday night.

via Google opens Plus social network to everyone  | ajc.com.

American Girl, Chicago, travel, kith/kin:  So, the The Talbott Hotel in Chicago is offering an American Girl Package … comes with  a Keepsake American Girl® doll-sized travel bed … Oh, if only Molly was still that age!

American Girl Place Package – Spirit

Package rates start at $185

Personalized welcome letter

Milk and two Sprinkles cupcakes at turndown

Keepsake American Girl® doll-sized travel bed

Access to the “girl blog @ the talbott”

Complimentary continental breakfast for two

via Packages & Gift Certificates at The Talbott Hotel | The Talbott Hotel.

apps, social networking: I don’t think I want a “nightclub” on my smartphone.

If social networks such as Facebook are about keeping in touch with friends, and online-dating sites about finding a long-term relationship, Badoo is about something in between: meeting people spontaneously. Some call it “nightclub-as-a-service”.

When users sign up, they upload photos of themselves and provide such details as age, sex and interests. Other users can discover them based on this information as well as by browsing the photos. Originally the service was only available on the web, but the firm now also offers applications on Facebook and for smartphones. The mobile application, for instance, lets users adjust how widely they fancy casting their net. If they set the dial to one mile, say, and find somebody they would like to meet, they can strike up an online chat and then get together.

Even more intriguing is how Badoo makes money. The basic service is free. But if users want to increase the chances of being discovered, they can pay £1.50 ($2.36) or a similar amount in their country’s currency to rise to the top of the list. Their ranking drops as others put down money—which can create somewhat of a bidding war for the top slots. Users can also take out a subscription for £5, which gives them “super powers”, such as being able to view others’ profiles anonymously.

Without any marketing, Badoo has managed to become one of the most popular online meeting services worldwide. It is available in 35 languages and boasts 124m registered users—a number that is growing by about 125,000 a day. Its Facebook application has more than 16.4m monthly active users, making it one of the most popular applications on the social network. And although only about 5% of users pay, the firm claims to be on its way of exceeding $100m in annual revenues.

via Social networking: A nightclub on your smartphone | The Economist.

30
Aug
11

‎8.30.2011 … doing the little things … servicing cars and inspections … etc.

Apple, tablets, competition: War?

If Apple has to “prepare for war,” she says, they have only themselves to blame. “Product strategists at Apple … fired the first shot” by changing the App Store rules and making it harder for Amazon to sell books on Apple’s devices.

via Forrester: Amazon’s tablet will bury the iPad – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech.

The Help, bookshelf, movie, reviews:  I thoroughly enjoyed this review because of its honesty.

Today I enjoy many friends of all races and I am so grateful that God protected my heart from the hatefulness of prejudice. When I meet someone, I simply see that person. I am not aware of skin color, eye shape, hair texture, I simply see a soul that God loves.

Over the years I have learned that most racial prejudice is rooted in fear and ignorance, and is never rational. I have read somewhere that it is rooted in tribalism and was about maintaining one’s possessions, hunting grounds, or agricultural lands. Differences in dress (costume) signaled the enemy and so people learned to fear those who are different. I have no idea just how correct that theory is, but it at least gives me some rational reason for such an irrational way of thinking.

In closing I highly recommend, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, both book and movie.

via ‘The Help’ by Jack DeJarnette | LikeTheDew.com.


Arab Spring, guessing game:  The world is still in shock …

IN FEBRUARY we put together an index that attempted to predict which Arab regime would be toppled next. At the time Libya seemed rather an unlikely candidate for regime change, even though the index suggested Muammar Qaddafi’s time as Brother-Leader might be numbered. Below is the interactive version of the Shoe Thrower’s Index, set with the weightings we originally chose. Play around with it to explore the factors that created fertile soil for the Arab Spring.

via Daily chart: Return of the shoe throwers | The Economist.

Steve Jobs, Apple, changing the world:  Another interesting article on Steve Jobs.

We know the world, and each other, better because of him. With his Apple Mac he managed, in the words of Walt Whitman, to “unscrew the locks from the doors.” He precipitated an enlightenment. But as with the dazzling light of many great inventions, unexpected shadows were created—the greatest of which is an eroding of privacy, now verging on a total loss of solitude. Beware of darkness.
In public appearances in recent years, Jobs has been thinner, whittled to his essence, and yet somehow this seemed to emphasize his elasticity and endurance, a metonym for his ever-thinner, ever-more-adaptable machines. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” Jobs said toward the end of the Stanford speech. “Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important?.?.?.?There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Facebook, daily deals:  I never saw anything I wanted to buy.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to metro Atlantans: Facebook is ending its “deals” program.The daily-deal type offerings promoted spas, horseback riding trips and the typical restaurant discounts — many times for large groups of people — through the current Facebook platform.Although Facebook hasn’t announced a reason for dumping “deals,” speculation includes consumer deal fatigue. When I wrote a column on Facebook in May, I had trouble finding anyone who’d actually bought a Facebook deal here in Atlanta, one of the five test markets.According to media sources, the demise of “deals” won’t affect Facebook’s location-based “check-in deals.”What’s your go-to daily deal source? Are there any underdogs you think offer better discounts?
physics, God particle, Big Bang: Big question!
CERN’s statement said new results, which updated findings that caused excitement at a scientific gathering in Grenoble last month, “show that the elusive Higgs particle, if it exists, is running out of places to hide.”Under what is known as the Standard Model of physics, the boson, which was named after British physicist Peter Higgs and is sometimes know as the God particle, is posited as having been the agent that gave mass and energy to matter just after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.For some scientists, the Higgs remains the simplest explanation of how matter got mass. It remains unclear what could replace it as an explanation. “We know something is missing; we simply don’t quite know what this new something might be,” wrote CERN blogger Pauline Gagnon.
book clubs, technology: Video chat with an author!
Skype made book club headlines today as one author used the video chat service to visit book clubs around the country.If you want to have an author speak to your book club through video chat, check out our Authors Who Visit Book Clubs list to find nearly 1,000 writers–simply explore the “Video Chat” category to find a video-friendly author in your favorite genre. Read our Host a Virtual Book Club on Facebook, Skype or Google article for more tools.Here’s more from Reuters: “Nine book clubs across the United States took part in an hour-long discussion earlier this month with Meg Wolitzer, the best-selling author of the ‘The Ten-Year Nap,’ in what is thought to be the first coast-to-coast virtual book club with multiple participants.” (Image via)
food, locavore, globalization:  Interesting historical analysis of the local food movement.
The foods we consider local are results of a globalization process that has been in full swing for more than five centuries, ever since Columbus landed in the New World. Suddenly all the continents were linked, mixing plants and animals that had evolved separately since the breakup of the ancient supercontinent Pangaea.What resulted, Mr. Mann argues in his fascinating new book, “1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created,” was a new epoch in human life, the Homogenocene. This age of homogeneity was brought on by the creation of a world-spanning economic system as crops, worms, parasites and people traveled among Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia — the Columbian Exchange, as it was dubbed by the geographer Alfred W. Crosby.“The Columbian Exchange,” Mr. Mann writes, “is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in the United States, chocolates in Switzerland and chili peppers in Thailand. To ecologists, the Columbian Exchange is arguably the most important event since the death of the dinosaurs.”
Meanwhile, people in Europe were reaping nutritional benefits from the Columbian Exchange. Europeans’ diets improved radically from the introduction of potatoes and what Mr. Mann calls the first green revolution: the widespread use of fertilizer, made possible by the importing of guano from Peru.As always, there were trade-offs. In China, the introduction of maize and sweet potatoes to the highlands provided vital sustenance — and erosion that flooded rice paddies. A ship carrying guano fertilizer to Europe was probably also the source of the organism that blighted the potato crops in Europe and led to the great famine in Ireland in the 1840s.Mr. Mann has come to sympathize with both sides in the debate over globalization. The opponents of globalization correctly realize that trade produces unpredictable and destructive consequences for the environment and for society, he says, but globalization also leads to more and better food, better health, longer life and other benefits that affluent Western locavores take for granted.
“People in Brazil still talk bitterly about the Brits stealing their rubber seeds and planting them in Asia,” Mr. Mann said. “Brazilians will denounce this horrible ‘bio-piracy’ while they’re standing in front of fields of bananas and coffee — plants that originated in Africa.” Two other leading crops in Brazil, soybeans and sugar, he noted, are from Asia.“But if your concern is to produce the maximum amount of food possible for the lowest cost, which is a serious concern around the world for people who aren’t middle-class foodies like me, this seems like a crazy luxury. It doesn’t make sense for my aesthetic preference to be elevated to a moral imperative.”
BofA:
Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Brian Moynihan bought himself some breathing room as the bank agreed to sell more than $8 billion of China Construction Bank Corp. stock, its second multibillion-dollar deal in a week.Shares rose 8% Monday, adding to a rally following a deal Thursday for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. to buy $5 billion worth of Bank of America stock. Since the Buffett deal, the Charlotte, N.C., lender has regained $14 billion of market value.
Like its competitors, Bank of America has struggled to make up revenue lost to a stagnant economy and tighter rules on fees.But Bank of America faces additional worries because of its 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp., the troubled California lender that is the source of many bad mortgages now plaguing the bank.Construction on the Hong Kong headquarters of CCB takes place in front of the Bank of America Tower.”No one really knows the capital hole that sits there,” said Mr. Miller, the bank analyst for FBR Capital Markets.Shareholders, he said, could get more comfortable about that exposure if a judge rules that an $8.5 billion settlement the Bank of America reached with a group of mortgage-bond investors is fair and can move forward. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Monday joined the parties objecting to that proposed agreement.
faith and spirituality:  Like this article!
Polkinghorne doesn’t know for sure that there is a God. And yet, when he was at the top of his game in physics at Cambridge in 1979, he left the laboratory studying one unseen reality for the seminary to study another unseen reality. He became a priest in the Anglican Church. In addition to believing that quarks exist, he believes in a God who is driven by love to continuously create a world that is beautiful. For him, the theories that have God in them work. But he doesn’t really know for sure. And he’s OK with that.
Religious belief in the modern age doesn’t seem to hold much room for uncertainty or doubt. In November of last year, I took Polkinghorne to the Creation Museum in Santee, Calif., to see how he would react to a hall dedicated to certainty. The museum organizers are certain that there was a six-day, 24-hour creation, that there was a literal Adam and Eve, that Darwin and Hitler belonged on the same wall of genetic engineers, and that evolution is a hoax. Polkinghorne stopped at a display that said the Bible has no record of death until Adam and Eve’s sin. (Apparently even animals lived forever before the humans ate the apple.) Polkinghorne gazed at what appeared to be the museum’s certainty and said to me, “The Bible may not have a record of it, but there is plenty of evidence in the fossil record.” Motivating evidence changes one’s beliefs. Or at least it can if we aren’t holding on to our certainty too tightly.
It may be OK, finally, for people to admit that they don’t know things for sure — whether it’s about quarks, light, God or the best way forward for the nation’s economy.At 80, Polkinghorne doesn’t let his own doubts keep him from believing, any more than he let his doubts about quantum physics keep him from solving problems. He still prays, still celebrates the Eucharist, still believes in some kind of life eternal.As for belief in God, “It’s a reasonable position, but not a knock-down argument,” he said. “It’s strong enough to bet my life on it. Just as Polanyi bet his life on his belief, knowing that it might not be true, I give my life to it, but I’m not certain. Sometimes I’m wrong.”
cycling, green, NYC:

But, white gloves or no, bike storage tends to be easier to find in new buildings, whether condo or rental. As of 2009 most new buildings, including multifamily residential, have been required by the city to provide some bike storage. (Offering it is also a relatively inexpensive way for a developer to gain points toward LEED certification, which measures a building’s environmental impact.)

“It adds to the general tone of the building,” said Shaun Osher, the founder of the brokerage CORE, who kept his rusty bike on the fire escape when he first moved to New York City 20 years ago. “It’s one less thing you have to worry about in your apartment.”

In most buildings, however, either the service is free or the fee is nominal, maybe $10 a month. That small sum is mostly intended to discourage the leaving of unused and unusable bikes in storage ad infinitum, rather than to raise revenue.

“When you’re paying top dollar for a home,” said Mr. Kliegerman of Halstead, “you wouldn’t expect to pay to hang your bike on a wall.”

Many New Yorkers, of course, do surrender chunks of their living rooms to their two-wheelers. And they make do.

“People find all kinds of creative solutions,” said Richard Hamilton, a senior vice president aof Halstead Property. “I’ve seen bike pulleys that get them off the floor. In my old apartment, we put up hooks and hung them. Or you could lean it against the wall. And then it falls on you. And then you cuss.”

via The Bicycle Muscles In – NYTimes.com.

NASA, space station:  I hope this problem can be solved.
Astronauts will abandon the International Space Station, probably in mid-November, if rocket engine problems that doomed a Russian cargo ship last week are not diagnosed and fixed.This photograph from May shows the International Space Station and the space shuttle Endeavour docked on the left.Even if unoccupied, the space station can be operated by controllers on the ground indefinitely and would not be in immediate danger of falling out of orbit.Three Russian astronauts, two Americans and a Japanese are living on the space station.“We’re going to do what’s the safest for the crew and for the space station, which is a very big investment of our governments,” said Michael T. Suffredini, manager of the space station program for NASA, during a news conference on Monday. “Our job is, as stewards of the government, to protect that investment, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”The $100 billion station has been continuously occupied for over a decade.Last Wednesday, an unmanned Russian cargo ship known as the Progress, which was carrying three tons of supplies to the space station, crashed in Siberia. Telemetry from the rocket indicated that a drop of fuel pressure led its computer to shut down the third-stage engine prematurely five and a half minutes into flight.
apps, translators, travel:  May have to try this next time I travel to a non-English speaking country.
Instantly translate printed words from one language to another with your built-in video camera, in real time! PLEASE NOTE: Language packs must be purchased from within the app. Use Word Lens on vacation, business travel, and just for fun.
Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, quotes:  The more I read the more I like Powell and the less I like Cheney.
But I got some new favorite Powell quotes this weekend, when he went on “Face the Nation” to talk about Dick Cheney’s charming new book. “I think Dick overshot the runway,” Powell said, with the “cheap shots that he’s taking at me and other members of the Administration.” One of the many things that bothered Powell was Cheney’s complaint that he didn’t support the President:Well, who went to the United Nations and, regrettably, with a lot of false information? It was me. It wasn’t Mr. Cheney.Cheney was peddling the false information—does that count? Schieffer said afterward that Powell struck him as “truly, I think, offended about what he read in this book…. “Interior lines of communication,” “another block away,” “everybody needs a shoulder,” “he would do the same for me”—real knowledge of war, street smarts, human sympathy, and humility: four qualities that “the lone cowboy,” if he ever had them, fatally lacked in his all too influential Vice-Presidency, and now again in his memoir. There will be more to say about that—and particularly about Cheney’s expressed desire for waterboarding. (He seems to be the sort of man who, told that he li torture ved in a city on a fjord, would start babbling about how well worked for the Vikings.) Does being a lone cowboy mean losing all sense of shame?via Close Read: Colin Powell and the Lone Cowboy : The New Yorker.
Steve Jobs, Apple, philanthropy:  I have often wondered about this …

In 2006, in a scathing column in Wired, Leander Kahney, author of “Inside Steve’s Brain,” wrote: “Yes, he has great charisma and his presentations are good theater. But his absence from public discourse makes him a cipher. People project their values onto him, and he skates away from the responsibilities that come with great wealth and power.”

Yet Mr. Jobs has always been upfront about where he has chosen to focus. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in 1993 , he said, “Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.”

Let’s hope Mr. Jobs has many more years to make wonderful things — and perhaps to inspire his legions of admirers to give.

Despite accumulating an estimated $8.3 billion fortune through his holdings in Apple and a 7.4 percent stake in Disney (through the sale of Pixar), there is no public record of Mr. Jobs giving money to charity. He is not a member of the Giving Pledge, the organization founded by Warren E. Buffett and Bill Gates to persuade the nation’s wealthiest families to pledge to give away at least half their fortunes. (He declined to participate, according to people briefed on the matter.) Nor is there a hospital wing or an academic building with his name on it.

None of this is meant to judge Mr. Jobs. I have long been a huge admirer of Mr. Jobs and consider him the da Vinci of our time. Before writing this column, I had reservations about even raising the issue given his ill health, and frankly, because of the enormous positive impact his products have had by improving the lives of millions of people through technology.

via The Mystery of Steve Jobs’s Public Giving – NYTimes.com.

29
Aug
11

‎8.29.2011 … Settling in to a Fall routine …

9/11, 9/11 Remembrances – 10 years, President George W. Bush, Where Were You When …Bush Recollects Ground Zero: “It Was Like Walking Into Hell….There Was A Palpable Blood Lust.” – YouTube.

Davidson College, Davidson Basketball, Steph Curry:  Welcome home!

The NBA: just helping make dreams come true, even when it’s clogging up news feeds with stodgy non-updates about a lockout that’s as bleak as this weekend’s beach weather along the Jersey shore.

Curry is back on campus and registered as a full-time undergraduate, taking three classes. The school’s most recognizable commuter student lives approximately 30 minutes away, just outside of Charlotte.

“I’ve had a couple of run-ins already where some kids are a little star-struck,” Curry said.

It’s an intangible gift he can give back to the community that he was largely responsible for invigorating. After Davidson’s Elite Eight run in 2008, applications for the school skyrocketed. Enrollment increased by 300 students, which is large considering Davidson’s undergraduate numbers flirt with the 2,000 mark. Suddenly, there was a housing crisis on campus, which led to two new dormitories.

“I have always wanted to finish since I left,” Curry said. “I made a promise to myself to finish at some point. Once the lockout was looming, I thought about it. It was my idea, and coach McKillop was very helpful to reaching out to professors and get a plan back together.”

It speaks to the tone of the lockout and the NBA’s foggy future for the rest of 2011. Why else would Curry go through the trouble of enrolling at Davidson and committing himself to being a full-time student?

“I’m very optimistic about a deal getting done, it’s just the way the talks have gone so far, I want to be as productive as possible,” he said.

If the improbable happens and the NBA season does start on time or gets going before Curry’s course load comes to an end this semester, there are allowances at the university that Curry could utilize. He would be able to finish up his work from Oakland and send it in.

So, what does Stephen Curry need to take in order to move toward earning his degree? The history of education, medical sociology and research on his senior thesis will be taking up his weekday mornings and afternoons in the coming months. Once he completes those at the end of this semester, he’ll have three more credits to finish, plus his senior thesis, which he said he plans on writing next summer.

He’s already developing a routine. McKillop said Curry stopped at his office in between classes Thursday, just to say “Hi.”

His weekdays go roughly something like this:

• At 7:30 a.m., he has ankle rehab in a suburb of Charlotte. Curry had surgery at the end of May, and said he’ll be ready to get on the court and play competitively in a few weeks. “I’m not so far behind that I wouldn’t be ready if the season were ready to go in [October],” Curry said.

• After his rehab he makes sure to stop at Chick-fil-A. It’s arguably the most important part of his day.

• From there, it’s about a 40-minute drive to Davidson.

• He works out for a few minutes before his late-morning/early-afternoon classes.

• He then stops in to see McKillop, gets in some more shooting or weight-lifting workouts, then heads home to see his wife later in the afternoon.

• Mondays and Wednesdays are one class; Tuesdays and Thursdays, a double-dip.

The turn of events also presents an opportunity to be a student assistant for the basketball team.

via Curry reconnects with Davidson for degree, more, during lockout – NCAA Division I Mens Basketball – CBSSports.com.

Moses, Bible, vocation:  I am still listening for my vocation!

I know their sufferings, and have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, to bring them up to a land flowing with milk and honey. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people.” But Moses said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” He said, “I will be with you.” Moses said, “What is your name?” God said, “I am who I am. This is my name forever” (Exodus 3).Moses is quite literally minding his business when God surprises him with a startling vocation. We may look forward to “vacation,” but God is all about “vocation,” calling us into active duty, for God and for the community. When God “calls” people in the Bible, there is a noticeable pattern. God calls. The one who hears, and is stunned by the divine encounter, is at a loss for words. God proposes a plan. The mere mortal objects, and usually with good reason – but God reassures. The God of the Bible seems far more interested in availability than in ability. In fact, God at times seems to prefer disability to ability. Moses is often thought of as having a stutter, but Exodus only says “I am not eloquent” – and what shepherd could expect to be eloquent in the courts of Pharaoh?

God’s assignments often are staggering in scope, and costly to us. Robert McAfee Brown said, “Moses ducks and weaves in every possible way to avoid the body blow of the assignment.” Yet God is persistent, and is able to overcome every objection, able to use us in spite of our inability, precisely through our inability.

Notice Moses is not out looking for God. He’s been on the run from God and his destiny for some time! And: God does not relate to Moses so he can have warm, religious feelings and continue on his way. Moses is called into the thick of difficulties, to be God’s representative on behalf of disadvantaged people, even at the point where religion and politics meet, and wage battle with each other.

And what better biography could we have of the nature of God? “I have heard my people’s cry; I know their suffering; I am coming to deliver them, and to bless them.”

via eMoses – Burning Bush.

Justice Clarence Thomas, Virginia Thomas, Constitutional Law, The Supreme Court, Jeffrey Toobin, literary allusions:  This is just a review of Toobin’s article … I’ll tell you what I think after I read the article.

Jeffrey Toobin’s gripping, must-read profile of Clarence and Virginia Thomas in the New Yorker gives readers new insight into what Sauron must have felt: Toobin argues that the only Black man in public life that liberals could safely mock and despise may be on the point of bringing the Blue Empire down.

In fact, Toobin suggests, Clarence Thomas may be the Frodo Baggins of the right; his lonely and obscure struggle has led him to the point from which he may be able to overthrow the entire edifice of the modern progressive state.

If Toobin’s revionist take is correct, (and I defer to his knowledge of the direction of modern constitutional thought) it means that liberal America has spent a generation mocking a Black man as an ignorant fool, even as constitutional scholars stand in growing amazement at the intellectual audacity, philosophical coherence and historical reflection embedded in his judicial work.

Toobin is less interested in exploring why liberal America has been so blind for so long to the force of Clarence Thomas’ intellect than in understanding just what Thomas has achieved in his lonely trek across the wastes of Mordor.  And what he finds is that Thomas has been pioneering the techniques and the ideas that could not only lead to the court rejecting all or part of President Obama’s health legislation; the ideas and strategies Thomas has developed could conceivably topple the constitutionality of the post New Deal state.

It’s hard to argue with Toobin that Thomas has moved the ball down field in his quest for a new era of constitutional jurisprudence.  Sauron’s tower is probably not going to fall right away, but for the first time, progressives are beginning to see credible scenarios which could change the rules of the game.

Jeffrey Toobin is announcing to the liberal world that Clarence Thomas has morphed from a comic figure of fun to a determined super-villain who might reverse seventy years of liberal dominance of the federal bench and turn the clock back to 1930 if not 1789.

The fantasy is still far fetched, and it is notoriously hard for political movements to get and hold power long enough to shift the balance on the Supreme Court, but that Thomas has accomplished as much as he has shows how far the country has drifted from the old days when liberals were confident that the Supreme Court would find new ways to fit its judicial philosophy to the demands of the blue social model.

They can no longer count on that; the consequences could be extreme.

via New Blue Nightmare: Clarence Thomas and the Amendment of Doom | Via Meadia.

2012 Presidential Election, Michelle Bachmann:  I am already tired of this woman.

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

Team Bachmann says the line wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.

“Obviously she was saying it in jest,” campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart told TPM.

via Michele Bachmann: Earthquake, Irene Were A Wake Up Call From God For Politicians | TPMDC.

The Help, movies, bookshelf, reviews, racism:  To a large extent  I agree with this woman … but I thought the black actresses in the movie added authenticity.  But she nails it “they question whether she [a white woman] is capable of telling that particular story.”  Also, “Cultures function and persist by consensus.” And this is where I am left … I belief that my Southern white family is good … at what point does the sin of a culture become my sin.

To some extent, they have been angry that the movie is based on a novel by a white woman, Kathryn Stockett, and they question whether she is capable of telling that particular story. Some have also complained that the movie reinforces stereotypes about black Southern households. The black heroines speak with a dialect that disturbs some viewers; the audience never sees an intact black household, and a black man’s abuse of his wife is all the more chilling because we never see him, only the pots he hurls and the scars he leaves.

One maid’s close bond with the white toddler she cares for has been decried as a re-enactment of the misconception that maids nurtured their white charges while denigrating their own black offspring.

Not all blacks are unmoved by “The Help.” Indeed, among my friends, relatives and colleagues a wide range of views have been shared, including comments that some of us might want to establish a support group for strong black women who liked “The Help.”

This movie deploys the standard formula. With one possible exception, the white women are remarkably unlikable, and not just because of their racism. Like the housewives portrayed in reality television shows, the housewives of Jackson treat each other, their parents and their husbands with total callousness. In short, they are bad people, therefore they are racists.

There’s a problem, though, with that message. To suggest that bad people were racist implies that good people were not.

Cultures function and persist by consensus. In Jackson and other bastions of the Jim Crow South, the pervasive notion, among poor whites and rich, that blacks were unworthy of full citizenship was as unquestioned as the sanctity of church on Sunday. “The Help” tells a compelling and gripping story, but it fails to tell that one.

I have dim recollections of watching Dr. King in 1963, with the black maid who raised me — my mother. If my father wasn’t in the room, he was working to make sure there would be opportunities in my future. I have benefited enormously from their hard work and from the shift that American culture has undergone as the scaffolding of discrimination was dismantled.

via Dangerous White Stereotypes – NYTimes.com.

The Holy Land Experience, Orlando FL, Disney, faith and spirituality, Facts Stranger Than Fiction…:  Anybody been?  I haven’t, but I do have a few thoughts: 1) reminds me of PTL, 2) disneyfies the Biblical stories, and 3) monetarily competes with “theme parks.” Just doesn’t work for me … I don’t want my kids comparing faith with fiction … Jesus with Harry Potter or Moses with Dumbledore.

 

The Holy Land Experience is a living biblical museum and park that brings the world of the Bible alive!

It combines the sights and sounds of the biblical world in a unique and interactive way unlike anywhere else! To appreciate everything there is to do at The Holy Land Experience, you will want to plan to spend a full day with us.

via Exhibits – The Holy Land Experience.

25
Jun
11

6.25.2011 … happy jc is tired and sick … too much fun …. lazy summer day … JBT in Maine enjoying cool and golf … nice …

music, UNC, memory lane:  Couldn’t help noticing a Chi Psi’s posting of YouTube – Devo ” Gut Feeling ” first time in live in 1977. That and “Whip It” …  You guys were fun, but strange!

blog post of note, kith/kin, timelessness, age:  What peers are you referring to Cary?  As always I enjoyed your post!

Sometimes I weird out my peers.  And sometimes I feel lonely and alien at the grown-up table.  Yet I’m of a certain age, which a friend and I recently laughed about meaning that, when there’s such a need, I’m “the one who needs to kill the spider.”

I feel like I’m a part of a caravan of purposeful wanderers, typified by risking, trusting, seeking out rainstorms and dancing, while not eschewing the pain of the world or an honest admission of whatever IS.  I pinch myself when I look through a mental Rolodex at the names and faces of these glorious ones with whom I do life.

Even as I claim my hard-earned status as one of the elders of my “generation,” often called on to lead, I am also often called on to learn from my younger teachers.  We are a generation, co-journeyers.

Here’s to a spacious redrawing of generational boundaries.

via catapult magazine Chosen generation.

Mordecai Scott, CMS, Charlotte, Davidson College, GlobeChangers award, kudos:  Kudos to local and Davidsonian Mordeccai Scott!

Mordecai Scott, a 2006 West Charlotte High School graduate who overcame family hardships to attend Davidson College, received the Jefferson Award for public service earlier this week in Washington, D.C.

He was one of 10 to receive the GlobeChangers award at a Tuesday event at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Known as the “Nobel Prize for Public Service,” the awards are presented each year over two days of ceremonies.

Scott was nominated for his efforts to overcome childhood hardships to graduate from college.

Scott, one of eight children, moved frequently between shelters and relatives after his parents divorced. He carried a 0.68 GPA and was on the verge of dropping out when, at age 12, school staff got involved.

With help from the nonprofit group Communities In Schools, Scott began to envision himself attending college. He went on to receive a scholarship from Davidson and graduated in 2010.

via West Charlotte graduate wins national public service award.

2012 Nissan Murano CrossCabriole, cars, reviews:  I don’t think I have ever read a more scathing car review.  Sad, it is kinda cute.

In the midst of this automotive banquet, the CrossCabriolet is like a sorbet of mouse scat.

via 2012 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet: A CUV at CrossPurposes With Competence | Rumble Seat by Dan Neil – WSJ.com.

food/drink, wine, boxed wine, lists:  Next time I need a box of wine I have a list to try!

Of course, this wasn’t always the case. It used to be that all boxed wine was bad. That was easy. Now things are trickier, because a number of producers are actually putting good wine – and sometimes really good wine – into boxes. It’s actually possible to go out there, trade your twenty bucks for a 3 liter (that’s four bottles-worth) box of wine, and end up not only with something you can tolerate, but something you’ll actually enjoy quite a bit.

NV Pepperwood Grove Big Green Box Chardonnay ($20)

In your face Chardonnay, in an old-school California way: it’s big, ripe, oaky, and luscious. If you like that style, this one’s for you.

via Box wine with serious bang for the buck – Eatocracy – CNN.com Blogs.

FBI, 10 Most Wanted, memory lane:  Does anyone else remember standing at the post office looking at the pictures of the 10 Most Wanted?   I guess people get this info through tv shows and the internet now … but I thought they always looked dark and ominous and almost always men.

With James Bulger’s arrest and Osama bin Laden’s death, there are eight names left on the current FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Who’s left, and just what did these fugitives do?

via The FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted’: Two Down, Eight To Go : NPR.

Newt Gingrich, 2012 Presidential Election:  Ah, Newt … it’s two early for two Pinocchios!

The Pinocchio Test

Even at a running length of more than two minutes, Gingrich’s video gives a misleading impression of the Federal Reserve’s explanation of its actions during the economic crisis — and the role of the Dodd-Frank law in forcing those disclosures. His speech gives a clearer view of his critique but that is not an excuse since fewer people will read the speech than see the video.

Two Pinocchios

via Newt Gingrich’s video attack on the Federal Reserve – The Fact Checker – The Washington Post.

Jane Austen, history, Steventon, parenting, cottages:  I never thought about it, but talk about “refrigerator moms” … 18th century mothers of means really did not parent!  Also enjoyed the  discussion of English cottages.

I recently went to Steventon again, the birthplace of Jane Austen and where she spent her formative years until the age of twenty six. Steventon was where she thought she would spend the rest of her life. As soon as she was born she was sent to live with a family in the village. The mother of the household she was sent to became Jane’s wet nurse. Mrs Austen had nothing to do with her children as babies. This might provide an explanation for Jane’s aversion towards her mother as she grew older but it also explains that her attachment to Steventon was not just through her own family and the rectory but it was linked to the wider community and she had very close ties to some of the villagers.

via Steventon and Barton Cottage « Jane Austen’s World.

Andrew Lovedale, Access to Success Foundation, Davidson College, basketball, kudos:  I know I talk about Steph Curry a lot … but another member of the dream team is giving back. Kudos, Andrew Lovedale!

Andrew Lovedale

Access to Success (A2S), the foundation created by former Davidson men’s basketball player Andrew Lovedale to benefit underprivileged children through athletic, education and spiritual programs, is preparing for a pair of firsts:

A trip to Lovedale’s hometown Benin City, Nigeria, from June 27-July 6.

The inaugural “Kicks from ‘Cats: The Andrew Lovedale 5K” walk/run on the Davidson College cross country trail on Sept. 10, 2011.

The Nigeria team includes Lovedale, Davidson College Assistant Sports Information Director Lauren Biggers, former Davidson Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotions Morgan Clark, Davidson graduates Claire Asbury (2010) and Eloise Grose (2006) and Lowe’s Companies Inc. employee Lindsay Biggers. They’ll spend 10 days in Lovedale’s hometown of Benin City.

The trip will focus on building long-term partnerships with three schools, an orphanage and a church. The team will also be delivering the basketball shoes raised earlier this year through the Kicks from ‘Cats Shoe Drive, held at the Davidson College men’s basketball game against the College of Charleston on Jan. 29, as well as other sporting equipment and school supplies donated by Lowe’s employees. They’ll also run basketball and volleyball clinics.

via Lovedale foundation plans Nigeria trip, 5K fund-raiser  | Sports.

boodos, new vocabulary:  I had to find the opposite of kudos for the next entry. 😦  And actually there really isn’t one …

Boodos

“Boodos” is the opposite of “Kudos”

via Urban Dictionary: Kudos!.

Anthony’s, restaurants, Atlanta, boodos: I have been to quite a few wedding functions at Anthony’s and they were delightful … Very poorly done, Anthony’s … BOODOS!

Anthony’s, a legendary Atlanta spot for wedding receptions, has closed.

Now dozens of couples say they’re not only out thousands of dollars in deposits, but have no place for their reception.

Valiree Eaton booked her reception last fall. She said when she called to finalize plans for her July 3 wedding, a recording said Anthony’s was out of business. “I’m a bit of a wreck. I’m extremely stressed. Weddings are stressful enough without this,” said Eaton. “I feel like my wedding day has been marred,” she added.

via Reception Hall Leaves Brides-To-Be In Limbo – News Story – WSB Atlanta.

Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth, Pearl Buck in China, book shelf:  Another to add to my bookshelf!  I loved The Good Earth when I read it in high school.  I may re-read it to see what I think now.

Pearl Buck in China by Hilary Spurling

Pearl S. Buck’s 1931 blockbuster The Good Earth earned her a Pulitzer Prize and, eventually, the first Nobel Prize for Literature ever awarded to an American woman. These days, however, it’s her life story rather than her novels (which are now barely read in the West or in China) that fascinate readers. In making the case for reappraising Buck’s fiction and her life, award-winning biographer Hilary Spurling transforms Buck from a dreary “lady author” into a woman warrior. Having grown up in China at the subsistence level, as the daughter of a missionary, Buck had firsthand knowledge of war, infanticide and sexual slavery when she entered college as a charity student in Virginia. As Spurling deftly illustrates, that alienation gave Buck her stance as a writer, gracing her with the outsider vision needed to interpret one world to another.

via New In Paperback: June 20-26 : NPR.

news, condolences, adventure travel, tragedy, random:  What a personal tragedy for these two friends.

A man who climbed Everest found the body of his friend who had died hours after conquering the summit only months before.

Rodney Hogg saw the body of his climbing friend Peter Kinloch on a ledge 1,000 ft below the peak as he neared the top of the mountain.

Mr Kinloch, 28, had been attempting the Seven Summits Challenge last year, in which climbers attempt to conquer the highest peak of each continent.

via Climber discovers frozen body of best friend on peak of Everest | Mail Online.

Huguette Clark, RIP, tragedy, random, kudos, boodos:  Sad this woman never seemed to enjoy life and it ends with folks arguing about her money.  Kudos to her for leaving the bulk to the arts.  Boodos to those who won’t allow her to rest in peace.

Huguette Clark, the Montana copper mining heiress who died in New York last month at 104, has left most of her $400 million fortune to the arts – wealth from the Gilded Age that produced the Rockefellers, Astors and Vanderbilts.

According to her will, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, Clark gave to Washington’s Corcoran Gallery of Art a prized Claude Monet water-lily painting not seen by the public since 1925.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is looking into how Clark’s affairs were managed while she spent the last two decades of her life in a hospital, a virtual recluse, people familiar with the probe have said. Before that, she lived in the largest residence on Fifth Avenue – 42 rooms.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the probe.

The daughter of one-time U.S. Sen. William A. Clark left instructions for the creation of a foundation “for the primary purpose of fostering and promoting the arts,” according to the will prepared and signed in 2005, when she was 98.

About $300 million will go for the arts, including the 1907 Monet from his famed “Water Lilies” series, which is worth tens of millions of dollars, said attorney John Dadakis, of the firm Holland & Knight.

via Huguette Clark, Montana Mining Heiress, Leaves NY Fortune To Nurse, The Arts.

weddings, events, food, cakes:  After looking at this collection I feel like the world keeps upping expectations … I loved it when a friend’s daughter family and friends all gathered and baked an assortment of wedding cakes and another friend did the same thing but had wedding pies!  My mom still talks about the aunt that baked hers.  I think these television cake shows have upped the ante.

Not every bride and groom’s wedding cake will be as enormous as that enjoyed by Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton (pictured) — but no matter whether it’s as intricate as a future queen’s or as simple as a cupcake with a heart-shaped candle, every wedding cake is fancy and fabulous.

via Simple as Love – Fabulous and Fancy Wedding Cakes – Photo Gallery – LIFE.




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