Posts Tagged ‘South Africa

23
Jan
16

1.23.16 … Let it freezing rain …

View from front steps …

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Massive snowstorm blanketing the East Coast, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly: A slightly different perceive …

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NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly Like This Page · Yesterday ·   Massive snowstorm blanketing the East Coast clearly visible from the International Space Station! Stay safe! #YearInSpace

Source: (1) Massive snowstorm blanketing the East Coast… – NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly

CLT weather, freezing rain/sleet/snow, WSOC-TV – PHOTOS:

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PHOTOS: Freezing rain, sleet and snow fell in the region today and viewers sent us hundreds of photos like this one from @EmilyKozel #CLTSnow MORE PHOTOS

Source: WSOC-TV – PHOTOS: Freezing rain, sleet and snow fell in the region…

 geometric drawings, walking: 

Higher Perspective Simon Beck creates incredible geometric drawings by walking in the snow!

Source: (3) Higher Perspective

 Ice Melt: 

easiest way to make the ice melt — The ingredients needed are:

1/2 a gallon of warm water

2 ounces of rubbing alcohol

6 drop of liquid dish detergent

Source: To Make Ice Melt, He Mixes These Three Ingredients. Its Effectiveness Surprised Me!

Cape Winelands , South Africa, travel, The best places to visit in 2016, lists, Business Insider:

The Cape Winelands is where some of the world’s most popular wines are produced, making it an ideal destination for wine tasting. The area’s wineries are lined along some of the most scenic routes, including a historic wine estate that dates back centuries. Enjoy top-notch wine alongside a variety of locally produced cheese, olives, fruit, and organic produce, or try a meal at one of Franschoek’s many acclaimed restaurants.

Source: The best places to visit in 2016 – Business Insider

Sacred Harmony of Geometry,  Sacred Geometry Really Is,  EnergyFanatics.com:

There will come a day when music and its philosophy will become the religion of humanity. ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan What Sacred Geometry Really Is Sacred Geometry means literally “The Sacred Measure of the Earth”. But it could also be called “The Blueprint of all Creation”. In reality, Sacred Geometry is a profound spiritual science, which has been taught for thousands of years in spiritual traditions around the world. This is because Sacred Geometry reveals the actual patterns by which Spirit creates our World.1 There are a Ton of esoteric teachings with Sacred Geometry all through them. Yet no one really knew what Sacred Geometry REALLY represented: The segmented BLUEPRINTS to ENERGY; The Mathematical Formula of CREATION. Sacred Geometry represents the Segmented Blueprints of Magnetic Currents & Neutral Particles of Matter.2 One of the most important discoveries of the new quantum physics is that of the holographic nature of the universe. The geometric language of light, that forms the underlying matrix of this hologram, is the alphabet of the new paradigm. The primary infrastructure of all existence is written in the Sacred Geometric language of light. All is light … all is geometry. Sacred Geometry is the ‘graphic code’ that reveals the processes of inherent order underlying all of creation. The mathematical laws of Sacred Geometry govern every system of growth, every motion in the universe, from atomic bonds to spiraling galaxies.3

Source: Sacred Harmony of Geometry: What Sacred Geometry Really Is | EnergyFanatics.com

Remote Year, Travel the World for a Year While You Keep Your Job, Brit +: 

Here’s the deal: You love your work. You love to travel. Unfortunately, you can’t always have the best of both worlds (at least not with out a major career change) – but what about when you can? Enter: Remote Year, a company that will essentially arrange a trip around the world for you while you work remotely.

Source: This Company Will Help You Travel the World for a Year While You Keep Your Job | Brit +

Anshuman Ghosh, @moography, quirky, street photography,  fusion between what was real and what was not, phone framing:“I’ve got crazy ideas in my head when it comes to how I would like to see the world,” says Anshuman Ghosh (@moography), an Indian business developer based in South Africa. He was initially drawn to street photography, but Anshuman wasn’t able to create the world he imagined in his mind — one that was less serious and more quirky. “I wanted to create something that was a fusion between what was real and what was not,” he says. “I came up with this technique I call phone framing.” Anshuman sketches a drawing on paper, cuts it out and aligns everything together to create a seamless visual illusion. “Placing the phone in the picture gives me the freedom to trick my audience into believing the phone is more than something that it is.”

Source: Instagram Blog

Novel’s First Sentence, A Secret History | Electric Literature:

A great first sentence is very important. In a novel, it’s a “promise,” a “handshake,” an “embrace,” a “key.” Great first sentences are celebrated everywhere literature is cherished and mandated everywhere it’s taught. They’re a pleasure and a duty—the “most important sentence in a book,” everyone agrees. But they haven’t always been important. When Daniel Defoe wrote the first English novel, Robinson Crusoe, in 1719, first sentences weren’t important, and so he wrote, “I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull.” When Charlotte Brontë wrote Jane Eyre in 1847, first sentences still weren’t important, and even so she wrote, “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”

Source: In Search of the Novel’s First Sentence: A Secret History | Electric Literature

Neural Algorithm, ‘Paint’ Photos, Van Gogh To Picasso, Bored Panda:

A group of researchers at the University of Tubingen, Germany, have developed an algorithm that can morph an image to resemble a painting in the style of the great masters. Technically called “deep learning” algorithms, they are already in use by companies such as Google for image recognition and other applications. “The system uses neural representations to separate and recombine content and style of arbitrary images, providing a neural algorithm for the creation of artistic images,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “Here we introduce an artificial system based on a Deep Neural Network that creates artistic images of high perceptual quality.” A photograph of apartments by a river in Tubingen, Germany was processed to be stylistically similar to various paintings, including J.M. Turner’s “The Wreck of a Transport Ship,” Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

Source: New Neural Algorithm Can ‘Paint’ Photos In Style Of Any Artist From Van Gogh To Picasso | Bored Panda

Paris, Bookstore Shakespeare &Co., VICE | United States:

George died in 2011 at the age of 98, by which point he had upgraded from a bed in the shop to a flat on the third floor in the same building. I’m living here now, in his former apartment, ostensibly to finish my second novel. But more practically and pressingly, I’m a “homeless wanderer.” People have been asking me how I got this position, whether it was hard to obtain. The short answer is no, and the long answer is yes: I parted ways with a partner I loved, leaving the home where we’d lived together, and lost a contract I was relying on, so I asked Sylvia if I could stay for a while. She said, without question or hesitation, that I could stay for as long as I needed. George called Shakespeare & Company a “socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore,” and I feel infinitely grateful to George and Sylvia for creating and maintaining a space that prioritizes community.

Source: What It’s Like to Live Inside the Legendary Paris Bookstore Shakespeare & Co. | VICE | United States

Shakespeare, religion, OUPblog: 

In this play, as in others, Shakespeare calls on the ambiguous associations of Catholic figures, images and ideas, as a means of engaging his audience with the problems he frames. He seems to revel in the pleasures of slippery meaning. By flirting with stereotypes and sectarian expectations he makes his audience think more deeply about the difficulties of the plays and their own culture. Whatever Shakespeare’s personal religion was, the religion he put on stage was both playful and probing.

Source: What was Shakespeare’s religion? | OUPblog

22
Jun
14

6.22.14 … On the summer solstice, three siblings and one lone outlaw spouse …

On the summer solstice, three siblings and one lone outlaw spouse  enjoyed an outdoor fire in Atlanta after a delightful dinner and several glasses of delightful wine or other spirits … followed by  a spirited discussion of all things political and religious …

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The Gift of Siblings, NYTimes.com:  Worth reposting … .

“Siblings are the only relatives, and perhaps the only people you’ll ever know, who are with you through the entire arc of your life,” the writer Jeffrey Kluger observed to Salon in 2011, the year his book “The Sibling Effect” was published. “Your parents leave you too soon and your kids and spouse come along late, but your siblings know you when you are in your most inchoate form.”

Of course the “entire arc” part of Kluger’s comments assumes that untimely death doesn’t enter the picture, and that acrimony, geography or mundane laziness doesn’t pull brothers and sisters apart, to a point where they’re no longer primary witnesses to one another’s lives, no longer fellow passengers, just onetime housemates with common heritages.

That happens all too easily, and whenever I ponder why it didn’t happen with Mark, Harry, Adelle and me — each of us so different from the others — I’m convinced that family closeness isn’t a happy accident, a fortuitously smooth blend of personalities.

IT’S a resolve, a priority made and obeyed. Mark and his wife, Lisa, could have stayed this weekend in the Boston area, where they live, and celebrated his 50th with his many nearby college buddies. Harry and his wife, Sylvia, could have taken a pass on a trip to New York: they’re traveling all the way from the Los Angeles area, their home. But we made a decision to be together, and it’s the accretion of such decisions across time that has given us so many overlapping memories, which are in turn our glue.

via The Gift of Siblings – NYTimes.com.

Davidson College, Document Legacy of Lake Norman Online:

Lake Norman, the largest manmade lake in the Carolinas, was created in 1964 when Duke Energy built a hydroelectric dam on the nearby Catawba River. As buildings and roads vanished underwater and backyards suddenly turned into shoreline, Lake Norman transformed the local community.

The anniversary prompted college archivist Jan Blodgett to think about cataloguing the history of this prominent environmental feature. At the same time, Duke Energy officials approached her about creating an online educational resource for the public.

“The creation of Lake Norman changed the landscape of the region both literally and figuratively,” said Tim Gause, Duke Energy district manager. “It was and continues to be a catalyst for growth and vitality. We certainly appreciate the need to preserve its colorful history.”

Blodgett subsequently collaborated with Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Brad Johnson and Professor of Economics David Martin to conceive the DCLNP as an assignment for environmental studies majors.

Johnson said this project also comes at an important phase in the lake’s history. “We are right at the point of losing the people who still remember what this area was like before Lake Norman. It’s important to hear the stories of these people so that they can be preserved,” he explained.

via Students Document Legacy of Lake Norman Online – Davidson College.

South Africa, Much too fat, The Economist:  First world problems …

South Africa’s latest ailment could herald a dangerous trend across the rest of Africa and the poor world, where obesity is projected to increase dramatically in the next two decades, along with urbanisation and economic development. It is a paradox that in places where malnutrition in children is high, adults are increasingly likely to be overweight or obese, say researchers.

Most South Africans sound comfortable with their waistlines. A health-and-nutrition survey published by the country’s Human Sciences Research Council found that two-thirds of South African men and women reckoned that they ate and drank healthily, with no need to change their way of life. Indeed, 88% of 25,500 South Africans interviewed indicated that the body image they deemed ideal was, in fact, fat.

via South Africa: Much too fat | The Economist.

Reflections On a Davidson College Reunion Weekend | Paul Dryden:  I have to ask if any of my ’79 friends were there when the police arrived?

My hope takes form in a rumor swirling around during reunion weekend about the class of 1979. Those 56- and 57-year-olds, so said the chatter, stayed up all Friday night to catch up and get rowdy with drinks. They say the campus police came in to breakup the frolics at 5 a.m. This makes me smile. I hope it’s true because inside that party I can imagine many old classmates thawing the friendship freeze that came as life marched on; reconnecting in ways they haven’t in the 35 years since their graduation. Their kids are grown up, and their careers are winding down. They have time that we simply don’t right now. I hope they take these rekindled friendships home, pick up the phone a little more often, and act like dumb 20- year-olds together.

via Reflections On a Davidson College Reunion Weekend | Paul Dryden

 

 

 

17
Apr
14

4.17.14 … ” ‘Homeless Jesus’ has no place in our [upscale] neighborhood” … every life has equal value …

‘Homeless Jesus’, neighborhood, DavidsonNews.net, St. Alban’s Square:  I written about this Timothy Schmalz’s work before.  But last weekend it got national attention when it was featured on NPR.  Several Davidson locals posted a February local internet paper article about the reaction of the locals in the paper.  What followed was an interesting discourse on my FB page.  I think you need a little context.  St. Albans Square Neighborhood is small new neighborhood build on the edge of  a small college town but considers it “Old Davidson”.  When it was built, the local Episcopal church built at its center a traditional small town but upscale parish church, moving from what had been a nondescript parish church closer to the center of the town on a residential street. The original church had no physical presence and now it anchors a new but traditional neighborhood.  There is a mix of suburban sprawl and farmland just beyond this community.  There is nothing gritty or urban about it.  So I ask you, humble readers, how would you feel if this was your neighborhood?

Artist Timothy Schmalz’s work is in front of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson.

(David Boraks/DavidsonNews.net)

To the editor:

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church has placed a sculpture at the entrance to our neighborhood that I think is entirely inappropriate for our neighborhood.

My complaint is not about the art-worthiness or the meaning behind the sculpture. It is about people driving into our beautiful, reasonably upscale neighborhood and seeing an ugly homeless person sleeping on a park bench. It is also about walking by this sculpture at night and passing within inches of the grim reaper. These are the impressions that this sculpture gives. I have stepped over actual homeless people sleeping on a sidewalk in New York City and not been as creeped out as I am walking past this sculpture.

If I had submitted this sculpture to our architectural committee to place in front of my house, would it have been approved? Why, then, should we accept this at the entrance of our neighborhood?

In my opinion, the church had no business putting this obviously controversial sculpture out for display to our neighborhood. If they want to display it to their own congregation, then they can relocate it farther in on their property, facing their own internal sidewalk, instead of facing ours.

Resident of St. Alban’s Square

via ‘Homeless Jesus’ has no place in our neighborhood | DavidsonNews.net.

My Facebook friends responded …

Jerry Dawson doesn’t like the new “Homeless Jesus” sculpture…

It saddens me that Mr. Dawson describes this as a statue of an “Ugly homeless person”. You can’t see the statue’s face. In fact, the only part of the statue’s body that is visible is the feet. The nail holes there are the only giveaway to the statue’s identity. To call this statue “ugly” says more, to me, about the attitude of the author toward the homeless than it does about the statue.

Actually, I would be pleased … to have the reminder of him, who told his followers to minister to ‘the least of these.’

Looks like the sculpture is doing precisely what it was probably designed to do.

So glad this conversation is in the open.

My response is that I can respect Mr. Dawson’s opinion, but I would be proud to have this in my neighborhood as a Christian.  I would love to have it at my downtown Charlotte urban missional Church, but then it would not be nearly so out-of-place.  And that juxtaposition is what makes the sculpture so powerful at St. Alban’s.

But I would embrace the statue right where it is in the Davidson neighborhood.  I would love to take my friends to see it on an evening stroll because it would open up lots of interesting conversation, and I would love to take children to see it because it would introduce them to Jesus beyond Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny,  beyond the softened Jesus of Sunday School and “Jesus loves me this I know,” and  beyond urban and international mission trips (with a side adventure to a theme park or a Mexican resort.)  But I also feel strongly that Mr. Dawson’s feelings should be respected.  And that if there is a place closer to the church proper then possibly it should be moved there out of respect for those in the community.

 Paris’ Saint-Chapelle. traveling friends:

E. posted this great pic of an “open” stained glass window yesterday. It was in Paris’ Saint-Chapelle where they were cleaning every piece of stained glass individually.  I just love the irony of the image.

 

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I also love vicariously experiencing the travels of my friends. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your trip with your daughter!!   Godspeed!

And her pic sent me down memory lane …  Rue Cler:  good simple Gallic grub (Definitely not a B- in my opinion) … Amorino gelato …

Two of France’s great cheese shops, La Fromagerie and Marie-Anne Cantin (around the corner on Rue du Champs de Mars) are also located here, as are various restaurants, including the popular Tribeca and Café Central.  You can buy wine at Nicolas, or buy specialty epicerie items (including tea, spices, top quality jarred tuna, olive oils and vinegars, etc.) at L’Epicerie Fine (also around the corner on Rue du Champs de Mars).  Finally, if you want dessert there is a terrific gelato place with fruit, chocolate and other rich gelati at Amorino.

via Rue Cler Neighborhood | Best Restaurants in Paris | Le Best of Paris.

 

Melinda Gates, Bill Gates, philanthropy:

In 1993, Bill and Melinda Gates took a walk on the beach and made a big decision: to give their Microsoft wealth back to society. In conversation with Chris Anderson, the couple talks about their work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as their marriage, their children, their failures and the satisfaction of giving most of their money away.

via Bill and Melinda Gates: Why giving away our wealth has been the most satisfying thing we’ve done | Talk Video | TED.com.

Melinda French Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she puts into practice the idea that every life has equal value.

via Bill and Melinda Gates: Why giving away our wealth has been the most satisfying thing we’ve done | Talk Video | TED.com.

 

Bill Gates: My 13 favorite talks | Playlist, TED.com: I have only seen a few of his favorites.

Susan Cain

The power of introverts

via Bill Gates: My 13 favorite talks | Playlist | TED.com.

South Africa, free-to-use electric cycle taxis,  ads, Springwise:  Next time I go, I will seek them out!!

In big cities, congested roads mean that public transport is the predominant mode of travel and if residents need to take a car, it’s usually a taxi. The Netherlands’ Hopper has already explored the possibility of eco taxi travel with its one-person electric scooters, and now Mellowcabs is enabling South African citizens to travel for free in its electric cycle cabs that are funded by advertising.

The vehicles have been designed to achieve three goals: free and effective public transport, provide much sought-after advertising hoardings for marketers, and also cut carbon emissions. Each taxi holds up to two passengers and a driver, and customers don’t have to pay to use them. Mellowcabs travel around 120 km a day and have high visibility, including bright white and yellow coverings, meaning they’re both easy for customers to spot and provide a visual platform for advertisers. Each cab also has an on-board tablet providing further advertising opportunities, as well as entertainment for passengers. Since the taxis use electric pedaling, they’re already one of the most eco-friendly vehicles on the road, but they also take advantage of regenerative braking, which stores energy typically lost when braking and converts it into electricity to power the cab. Enough energy is produced by the cycling that passengers can also charge their phones while they use Mellowcabs.

Could this concept be picked up in your city?

via In South Africa, free-to-use electric cycle taxis are paid for by ads | Springwise.

National Geographic,  interracial relationships, What Americans Will Look Like in 2050, Beauty, PolicyMic:

It’s no secret that interracial relationships are trending upward, and in a matter of years we’ll have Tindered, OKCupid-ed and otherwise sexed ourselves into one giant amalgamated mega-race.

But what will we look like? National Geographic built its 125th anniversary issue around this very question last October, commissioning Martin Schoeller, a renowned photographer and portrait artist, to capture the lovely faces of our nation’s multiracial future.

Here’s how the “average American” will look by the year 2050:

via National Geographic Concludes What Americans Will Look Like in 2050, and It’s Beautiful – PolicyMic.

Twitter find, St. Louis House $16,000:

Sarah Kendzior ‏@sarahkendzior 8m

Six-bedroom home that has belonged to the same St. Louis family since 1906 now selling for $16,000 http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2707-Blair-Ave-Saint-Louis-MO-63106/2936445_zpid/ …

via (4) Twitter

 

2707 Blair Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63106

Photos

Map

Bird’s Eye

Street View

View larger

For Sale: $16,000

Zestimate®: $19,540

Est. Mortgage:

$62/mo

See current rates on Zillow

Bedrooms:6 beds

Bathrooms:3 baths

Single Family:2,538 sq ft

Lot:3,920 sqft

Year Built:1908

Heating Type:

via 2707 Blair Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63106 is For Sale – Zillow.

Einstein on Why We Are Alive, Brain Pickings:

Mentally strong people have healthy habits. They manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. Check out these things that mentally strong people don’t do so that you too can become more mentally strong.

via 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.

The Making of the Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation:  I loved this from a while back … shows you how our electronic oversimplification can be destructive.

How many times have you heard or muttered that? How many of of us have been frustrated at seeing too many presentations where PowerPoint or other visual aids obscure rather than enhance the point? After one too many bad presentations at a meeting in January 2000, I decided to see if I could do something about it.

via The Making of the Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation.

Speaker Notes

[Transcribed from voice recording by A. Lincoln, 11/18/63]

These are some notes on the Gettysburg meeting. I\’ll whip them into better shape when I can get on to my computer.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

via Summary.

Ending Global Poverty Starts With 600 Million Adolescent Girls, Denise Dunning:

Globally, 600 million adolescent girls struggle with widespread poverty, limited access to education and health services, and persistent discrimination and violence. Adolescent girls are among the world’s most economically vulnerable groups, significantly more so than adult women or adolescent boys.

The Adolescent Girls’ Advocacy & Leadership Initiative (AGALI) of the Public Health Institute recently launched a global report that explores the factors that influence girls’ economic empowerment, analyzing promising strategies and highlighting recommendations for policymakers, funders and practitioners.

The Adolescent Girls’ Economic Empowerment Report demonstrates that economic empowerment initiatives can be a critical lever for change in adolescent girls’ lives, helping them to gain financial independence, establish good saving habits and improve their future prospects for participation in the labor force.

AGALI’s research identifies six principal factors that contribute to adolescent girls’ economic empowerment. The first is financial capital … Another is human capital, or a girl’s skills and attributes… A third key factor is social capital …

The fourth key element is physical capital, or the goods that make income generation possible. … Beyond a girl’s individual assets, community-level social norms and institutions can create challenges or opportunities for girls’ economic empowerment. Social norms include cultural beliefs regarding early marriage and childbearing, female genital cutting, and other traditional practices relating to girls’ age, gender or ethnicity. Influential institutions include the legal and policy frameworks that protect girls from violence and exploitation, the macroeconomic market structure, and national education and healthcare systems.

AGALI’s report highlights the importance of addressing the different needs and capacities of adolescent girls of varying ages. While adolescent girls around the world share many of the same challenges, a 12-year-old girl is drastically different from her 17-year-old sister. To that end, economic empowerment initiatives must tailor strategies to respond to the differing realities of girls across a range of age brackets, cultural contexts and political frameworks….

Although adolescent girls primarily enter the workforce to support their families financially, studies have shown that girls also value the increased mobility, opportunities for friendship and greater autonomy that may come with employment. Therefore, safe and appropriate employment opportunities can strengthen adolescent girls’ economic status, while improving their social welfare and future labor market prospects.

via Ending Global Poverty Starts With 600 Million Adolescent Girls | Denise Dunning.

 

KBXX 97.9 The Box’s photo: I wasn’t expecting this one!

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living large, kith/kin, 14ers, bckcountry skiing, Breckenridge CO, Quandary Peak: On my first’s recent birthday, I woke up with a smile on my face.  He was packing in and skiing down from Quandary Peak … And I thought: what a way to celebrate 24. Live large, my son!  Unfortunately, living large had to be rescheduled. “We are saving it for next week because of avalanche danger. “. I guess that is life.

Summit, Vail and Holy Cross, Quandary Peak Sky Terrain Topographic Recreation Map

QuandaryPeak

Summit, Vail and Holy Cross, Quandary Peak Sky Terrain Topographic Recreation Map.

 

 

23
Feb
14

2.23.14 … and sochi it goes …

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Closing Ceremonies/Opening ceremonies:  I must admit I did not turn the Closing Ceremonies  on…. I did, hoever enjoy the Opening Ceremonies.

Now this is strange. For the “Dance of Peace,” we hear Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” but instead of scenes from the great Russian ballet, we get a bunch of women spinning with long glow-in-the-dark strings attached to their heads so that they look not like swans but like jellyfish. At their center is the great Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva, not doing ballet. The whole thing is taken from one of her one-woman shows, a number choreographed by the tacky American modern dance choreographer Moses Pendleton. It’s a curious international exposure of questionable Russian taste.

— Brian Seibert

via Highlights: The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony – NYTimes.com.

bobsled competitions, Steve Holcomb:  By the end this had become my favorite event this year:  However, I was so glad I don’t have to wear the bobsledder’s uniform. 🙂

One of my favorite stories was of Steve Holcomb.  You can watch his NBC interview heres: Nightly News: Steven Holcomb: Sochi hopeful in bobsled  .

Steven Holcomb’s story of triumph over physical adversity was a highlight of the Vancouver Games, an everyman guy piloting the U.S. four-man team to its first Olympic gold medal in men’s bobsledding since 1948. But before the champion driver conquered an eye ailment that nearly stole his vision and ruined his career, Holcomb nearly gave in to the darkness of suicide. To hide his disease from friends and teammates, he withdrew into isolation and never let on that it had reached a critical stage. In his new book, But Now I See, Holcomb describes for the first time the spiral of depression that drove him to attempt suicide rather than accept and come forward with his ailment.

Once he found the right combination of visual and sensory cues to guide him, Holcomb began tearing up the circuit. He won world and Olympic titles in the four-man sleds, and last winter he captured gold medals in both the two and four-man sleds at the world championships in Lake Placid. He will likely be a favorite for more hardware at the Olympics in Sochi next winter.

He has become the cheery, approachable face of his sport that is gradually growing in popularity. But he had kept his depression secret even from family before starting his book with writer Steve Eubanks two years ago. In the summer of 2011, an Olympic teammate, aerial skier Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, took his own life at age 29.

“Speedy’s death made me think about it,” Holcomb said, “but the first person was the writer. I hadn’t told him about it or anyone. I thought it was something I’d take to my grave. Then I just said it.”

As Holcomb shared his thoughts, his words about depression sounded a caution for those around someone in trouble. “If someone’s struggling,” he says, “ask another question… I was lucky to get a second chance.”

via U.S. bobsledder Steven Holcomb opens up about his suicide attempt – Brian Cazeneuve – SI.com.

The Sochi Olympics, Frame by Frame – NYTimes.com: And these frame by frame photos helped me see what the judges were looking for!

The Sochi Olympics, Frame by Frame

via The Sochi Olympics, Frame by Frame – NYTimes.com.

Olympic Games: Legacy or Money Pit?: Only time will tell …

After the Olympics, said the planners, buildings would find new life as community sports centers, and the athletes’ village would become private housing (half to be earmarked for low-income buyers). The economic uplift would raise all boats.

A cautionary note: It is not uncommon for the Olympics to be long on promise and short on delivery, not to mention unintended consequences, such as the forlorn remains of stadia left behind like decaying whale carcasses. The Montreal Games in 1976 nearly bankrupted the city and left it with a spectacularly ugly stadium—”an architectural excrescence,” a Canadian journalist called it, that was prone to roof collapse from too much snow (yes, it does snow in Montreal). Meanwhile, paint is peeling on Beijing’s $423 million Bird’s Nest stadium, now a mediocre tourist attraction with an annual upkeep of $11 million.

via Olympic Games: Legacy or Money Pit?.

follow-up: Some of the articles I found most interesting before and during the Olympics:

From 2.18.14 … salt and sochi, I would assume the salt arrived.

salt, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics:

A senior adviser to the Sochi Olympics convened an emergency meeting late last week with top winter sports officials at the Park Inn hotel in the Alpine village here.

A situation had grown dire. It was not security, attendance or doping that was the problem. It was salt.

Four months earlier, Hans Pieren, one of the world’s leading experts on salt and snow, had told Sochi officials that the Alpine skiing events required more than 19 tons of salt, a crucial ingredient for melting soft snow so it can refreeze into a hard surface.

But the organizers did not listen, to their great regret. Now, with 10 days of competition remaining, many of the Games’ signature events were in jeopardy of being compromised, and even canceled.

Tim Gayda, a Canadian consultant who is a senior adviser to the Sochi organizers, called the meeting Thursday night, according to some people who were there. He told the group that the strongest kind of salt, the large-grain variety, was simply not available in Russia. Mr. Gayda asked the group an urgent question: Does anyone know how we can get 25 tons of salt — tonight?

via A Mad Dash for Salt Rescues Olympic Slopes – NYTimes.com.

follow-up:  Sad thing is … the coffee we are addicted to is really not that good. Silly Americans!! From via 2.21.14 … 

NBC’s ‘Secret’ Starbucks, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics,  lockdown, WSJ.com:  I bet everyone is really peeved with the WSJ for this story.

“The same guards that won’t let people in now won’t let Starbucks out,” one person with access to the coffee said, declining to be identified for fear of retribution.

That new policy also ended a smuggling operation wherein some NBC employees had been serving as Starbucks mules for friends and acquaintances at the Games. Why not share the java, after all, since the drinks—served round the clock—cost “customers” nothing? And with the nearest Starbucks branch in Russia more than 350 miles by car, Sochi is a kind of Siberia for Starbucks addicts.

But recently, according to one person with access to the coffee, someone trying to leave the NBC offices with a Starbucks cup was told by a guard: “No gifts. No gifts. Pour it out or go back and drink it.”

The person said that he and his colleagues were told that NBC was working on getting new, unbranded cups to allow employees to travel more freely with their elite coffee. Sure enough, according a number of people, new generic cups had shown up by Wednesday: an orange-and-brown variant with arguably less cachet.

via NBC’s ‘Secret’ Starbucks Goes on Lockdown – WSJ.com.

From  1.30.14 … I agreed with my friends: “They look like they came from QVC’s Quacker Lady line!”  “Looks like my Grandmother’s sweater…but, at least they were made in America!”  However I must admit I grew to like the outfits as i saw them being worn.

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, New Olympic Uniforms, Ugly, News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com: Once again … UGLY!

The U.S. Olympic team’s uniforms for the opening ceremonies at Sochi were unveiled Thursday on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and the reactions have been, ah, not so terrific.

The uniforms, designed by Ralph Lauren, were modeled on the show by figure skater Evan Lysacek, hockey player Julie Chu, ice dancers Charlie White and Meryl Davis, and freestyle skiers Hannah Kearney and Alex Schlopy.

The Outside staff had this to say about them.

via The New Olympic Uniforms Are Pretty Ugly | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

And from 1.25.14 

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Fitbit Flex , training, WSJ.com:  I have one.

We gave a Fitbit Flex to three Team USA hopefuls: Eliassen, speed skater Brian Hansen and mogul skier Heather McPhie. All agreed to wear the device for a week in November and share their data, as well as details of their ascetic diets. Three reporters decidedly less active than the would-be Olympians also wore Fitbits for a week.

The results say a lot about what it takes to try to become a Winter Olympian, and plenty more about the effectiveness of those increasingly ubiquitous personal-fitness trackers.

Still, with a workout routine that involved mostly skating and cycling, Hansen started to get the same concerns about his workout that McPhie did. His left wrist, which wore the Fitbit, rests on his back as he circles the skating oval, and it doesn\’t move when he bikes. And yet, even with the manually-entered calories from an hour of cycling, or 40 laps around the 400-meter skating oval, his calorie count never surpassed 3,960. He averaged 3,518 through six training days in Milwaukee.

Hansen is hardly a slacker. That’s about 30% more than the reporters who wore the Fitbit for a week, even on days when they took more than 17,000 steps. But his output isn’t too far beyond the reach of a hard-core weekend warrior.

Eliassen, on the other hand, worked on an entirely different plane. Twice during her week training in Breckenridge, Colo., Eliassen cleared 7,000 calories, including the calories the gadget might have missed while she was on an exercise bicycle, doing calisthenics, weightlifting, skiing for as long as five hours, doing 90 minutes of push-ups and sit-ups, 30 minutes of yoga or running. It was all part of her plan to win the first Olympic gold medal in slopestyle skiing. Even without adding calories that might not have been picked up from arm-swinging, Eliassen burned on average more than 4,400 on her hardest training days.

via Sochi Olympics: Measuring Every Step of Training – WSJ.com.

From 1.26.14 

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, South Africa, News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com:  Very sad.

In a statement, SASCOC pledged to “continue to adhere to its selection policies in order to ensure participation … is of the highest quality.” In other words, Speelman isnt good enough.

viaNo Sochi For South Africa | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

via 1.19.14 …

2014 Winter Olympics – Sochi,  Jamaican Bobsled Team:  Woohoo … The Jamaican bobsled team is expected to qualify for the Sochi Olympics after a 12-year absence from competition.   Cool runnings mon….Flashbacks of Cool Runnings will certainly emerge as the Jamaican bobsled team is expected to qualify for the Sochi Olympics at this weekend’s event in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon make up the two-man team hoping to end the country’s 12-year absence from bobsled competition.Watts, 46, has come out of retirement to lead the Jamaican team, which, if it qualifies, would make him the oldest Olympic bobsled competitor by eight years. Watts originally competed in the 1994 Olympics and then retired after missing out on the 2006 games, according to reports from the International Business Times.

“Man, you should see me! Age is just a number. You’d never believe I was a man of 46… You’d say maybe 30, 35. I’m big, dark, and handsome, like a six-foot, 235-pound runnin’ back,” Watts confidently told The Telegraph.

via Jamaican Bobsled Team Set for Sochi | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

Will they be back …

SOCHI, Russia — The Jamaican bobsled team was the life of the party once again at the Winter Olympics, laughing and joking its way through a trip to Sochi that was fraught with enough financial hardship and travel hijinks to film a sequel to “Cool Runnings.”

They remain as lovable as ever, drawing big crowds wherever they went in Sochi. But they almost never got here at all. And after a 29th-place finish in the two-man competition with a 46-year-old driver, the program faces an uncertain future as it tries to move from novelty act to legitimate medal contender.

“We have the athletic ability. We have shown we can do it,” Chris Stokes, president of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation, said. “We just have to pull things together in Jamaica itself.”

via Jamaican bobsled team faces uncertain future – The Washington Post.

From  2.28.2011:  What did you think of the mascot … does it matter?

2014 Olympics, mascots, politics:

Allegations of plagiarism, high-level political meddling and sheer poor taste on Sunday marred Russia’s choice of three furry mascots to represent the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Russians chose three mascots — a cute-looking snow leopard, polar bear and hare — by popular vote in a seemingly innocent television show late Saturday that aimed to choose a people’s mascot.

Eyebrows were first raised when the initial favourite to win the most votes — a portrayal of Russian Father Christmas Ded Moroz — was rather undemocratically ditched from the competition by the organisers.

Then it just so happened that the mascot which strongman Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had declared his favourite — the “strong, fast and beautiful” snow leopard — polled easily the most votes.

via Row over Russia winter Olympics mascots.

.

26
Jan
14

1.26.14 … schadenfreude and Justin Bieber … that’s the only explanation, but do we really care about a spoiled kid? …

schadenfreude, Justin Bieber:  That’s the only explanation … otherwise who cares?

Schadenfreude i/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/ German: [ˈʃaːdənˌfʁɔʏdə] is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.[1] This word is a loanword from German. The literal English translation is Harm-Joy. It is the feeling of joy or pleasure when one sees another fail or suffer misfortune. It is also borrowed by some other languages.

via Schadenfreude – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

 Contemplative-Living of Shalem Institute, contemplative prayer, online courses:  I am taking my first online course.  It’s on contemplative prayer.  So far, I am enjoying it.  It goes nicely with my labyrinth walking and my interest in theological studies.  

via Resources Page – Contemplative-Living of Shalem Institute.

blogging, kith/kin, How Do You Sleep At Night?:  One of my favoorite people has started a blog.  He is always thoughtful, careful with his words, demanding intellectually and challenging in a good way.  So here’s his intro … How Do You Sleep At Night?

The title of this blog comes from a question that all criminal defense lawyers hear at some point in their lives, and to which I was subjected (along with several insults and ill-wishes upon me and my family) today on, of all places, Facebook. An individual convicted of a homicide in PA involving a toddler is apparently up for parole, and a person who was outraged by this characterized the individual’s defense attorney as a “slimeball”. I foolishly inquired as to why the attorney was a “slimeball”, and was quickly informed that it was because he had done his job and represented his client as best he could. I then, even more foolishly, responded that this was also my line of work, and if that made me a “slimeball”, oh well. It was then that a nice person whom I\’ve never met asked me the question of my sleeping habits, suggested that perhaps bad things should happen to members of my family (boy, would that teach me) and informed me that I made them ill. They also informed me that my “fat wallet” was not worth being a “slimeball”. The “fat wallet” comment was especially hilarious since, as I said, I represent mostly indigent clients and get paid an hourly rate lower than any plumber or other repairman who comes to your house.

So, how do I sleep at night? Usually just fine, thanks. I really and truly believe what we were taught about the Bill of Rights and stuff…you know, that everyone is presumed innocent, that no one should go to jail unless the State can prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, that everyone (yeah, everyone) is entitled to a lawyer (preferably one who knows what the hell they’re doing) and a vigorous defense, and, ESPECIALLY, that if you make sure that the system gives the worst of the worst a fair trial then the system as a whole works better for everyone. I’ve met a lot of people along the way. Some who have done really terrible things. But I’ll tell you a secret. I can count on one hand the number of folks I’ve represented who were just flat-out bad people. Most got to where they were through combinations of factors. Part of my job is to try and get judges and juries to see that. Sometimes I can. Often I can’t.

That’s how this little venture got its name. I’ll post about stuff that comes up in my cases and other legal matters going on around the country. As a forewarning, I can get a little blunt and am not afraid to curse if the spirit moves me. If you want to comment, have at it….for those that know me, you already know I like to argue.

via How Do You Sleep At Night?: About the title—and other stuff.

 Twitter,  BofA_News, tweeting habits, WEF, Davos: Just interesting to think about …

Comparing the tweeting habits of #Davos attendees. Tech Pioneers – early risers or night owls? #WEF14:   pic.twitter.com/e2OPKFiLo4

via Twitter / BofA_News: Comparing the tweeting habits ….

Oatmeal, 9 Common Mistakes, Bon Appétit:  Good advice.  I love oatmeal and grits for breakfast in winter.  These are good suggestions!

Oatmeal is the classic “healthy” breakfast—but chances are, you’ve had a disappointing bowl of it at some point in your life. Perhaps you’ve pondered if there was more to morning life than this sad, gray, gluey bowl of semi-warm oats while dreaming of a hot, gooey egg and cheese sandwich. Or wished it was just a little hotter, a little creamier, a little more fun.

Guess what? Oatmeal doesn’t have to be this way. Our test kitchen editors Alison Roman and Dawn Perry love a good bowl of oatmeal, as long as it’s done right. We talked to them about the mistakes people are making when they make this hot breakfast cereal—and if you avoid them, you might even pass up that egg sandwich for a fragrant, steamy bowl of the healthy stuff.

via How Not to Ruin Oatmeal: 9 Common Mistakes – Bon Appétit.

cats, Smart News:  Cats, according to new research, recognize their owner’s voice. They just can’t be bothered to react to it … No suprise there …

Cats, according to new research, recognize their owner’s voice. They just can’t be bothered to react to it.

Researchers in Japan arrived at this conclusion after performing experiments with twenty house cats. They played recordings of the cats’ owners’ calling to their pets in whatever cat-talk voice they typically used. They also played recordings of three strangers calling to the cats, using the same words.

To quantify the cats’ reactions, the researchers recorded how often cats moved their head, tail, paws or ears, or whether they meowed or dilated their pupils. While the cats showed a significantly greater response to their owners calling their names than to strangers doing so, they did not bother to get up in either instance, the researchers found.

via Cats Recognize Their Owner’s Voice But Choose to Ignore It | Smart News.

“Ephemeral Stream” by Elizabeth Willis, poem-a-day:  I liked this one.

Ephemeral Stream

by Elizabeth Willis

This is the way water

thinks about the desert.

The way the thought of water

gives you something

to stumble on. A ghost river.

A sentence trailing off

toward lower ground.

A finger pointing

at the rest of the show.

I wanted to read it.

I wanted to write a poem

and call it “Ephemeral Stream”

and dedicate it to you

because you made of this

imaginary creek

a hole so deep

it looked like a green eye

taking in the storm,

a poem interrupted

by forgiveness.

It’s not over yet.

A dream can spend

all night fighting off

the morning. Let me

start again. A stream

may be a branch or a beck,

a crick or kill or lick,

a syke, a runnel. It pours

through a corridor. The door

is open. The keys

are on the dashboard.

via Ephemeral Stream- Poets.org – Poetry, Poems, Bios & More.

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, South Africa, News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com:  Very sad.

In a statement, SASCOC pledged to “continue to adhere to its selection policies in order to ensure participation … is of the highest quality.” In other words, Speelman isnt good enough.

via No Sochi For South Africa | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

01
Dec
13

12.1.13 … so many places to go …

Paris:

Some of her Traveling with Gal Pal Paris Tips are priceless such as:.

– Don’t be high maintenance !

– You must like food and wine and shopping. You cannot nibble or pick at food. You cannot order just salad or the wine volume will make you ill.

– Don’t use words like garçon when referring to waiters.

– Don’t be a rude American – we have enough already handling that for us and don’t want to be associated with them!

– Pack what you want, then take half of it out. The goal is to not check any bags so you can avoid baggage claim in Paris.

– Pack in an expandable suitcase so you have room for souvenirs on the way back.

– You must not sleep late in the morning no matter how late we are out the night before. You can sleep back in the U.S.A. Here in Europe we are never too old or too tired to enjoy Paris 24/7!

via Weekend In Paris – Blogger Shout Out – The Daily Basics.

This Hotel Left Bank St. Germain is my current favorite place to recommend to price conscious travelers who want a charming but reliable, albeit small hotel.

via Hotel Left Bank St. Germain *** |.

South Africa:  Diamond Mines!!

South Africa is known for its diamonds. Next to the Kimberley mine (famous for the process of the same name) the Cullinan may be the most well known.  Why so famous? Well in 1905 they unearthed the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found, at 3,106.75 carats!  If you’ve ever been to London and visited the British Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, you’ve seen one of the stones that were cut from the Cullinan diamond – the 530.4 carat Great Star of Africa, mounted in the head of the royal scepter.

via How to Visit a Diamond Mine – Style Hi Club.

toilets:  This was just funny …

Best Bathrooms in the World: See Photos of the 7 Weirdest Restrooms on EarthSo, It’s World Toilet Day: Here Are 7 Public Bathrooms Nicer Than Our House

By NATE JONES

11/19/2013 at 06:00 PM EST

via Best Bathrooms in the World: See Photos of the 7 Weirdest Restrooms on Earth : People.com.

16
Jul
13

7.16.13 … Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2010 … Thanks FB friends for helping me learn about wine …

10 Degrees South, Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2010, South Africa: So I had a great meal at 10 degrees South and tried a new wine … then I got to discuss it on FB.  Thanks FB friends for helping me learn about wine  …

Might have to try this. I am a Pinot Noir girl myself but this sounds interesting….

 the marriage of Chardonnay + Pinot Noir = Champagne !!!!! :))))))

This was not sparkling. And yes, as I researched it, I saw that. http://www.reversewinesnob.com/2012/02/boschendal-1685-chardonnay-pinot-noir.html

The Reverse Wine Snob: Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2010 – A One-Of-A-Kind Combo You’ll…

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir? In the same wine? I knew right away that I had to try this wine. On top of that, this one comes from the winery that produced our Chardonnay Showdown winner. And on top of that, it also comes from South Africa which has been doing some really exciting and unique things with wine. (See our Saturday Splurge last week, The Bernard Series SMV.) Throw the $14 price tag into the mix and how could I possibly resist?

The 2010 Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay Pinot Noir shows a copper color in the grass. It looks more like a white wine than a red but in addition to the blend, the Pinot Noir had minimal contact with the grape skins which is what imparts the darker color to red wine. My first thought on smelling the wine is that it reminds me of a Sauvignon Blanc. Gooseberry, tropical fruit, a little wet grass and a little spice are the primary aromas. The wine tastes; however, of peach and honey with light raspberry flavors and a real nice minerality. This one is very easy to drink with a nice combination of flavors and a long finish. I can see this being a good complement to many different foods.

It’s always interesting to see reactions to a wine like this, precisely because it breaks conventions. If you drink this wine expecting a Chardonnay, you won’t be blown away. If you go in expecting a Pinot Noir, you’ll definitely be disappointed. But if you can set aside those expectations and judge the Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay Pinot Noir on its own merits you’ll find a really nice, very drinkable and definitely unique wine. That’s plenty good enough for me and this one gets a well deserved Recommended Buy rating.

via The Reverse Wine Snob: Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2010 – A One-Of-A-Kind Combo You’ll Want More Than Once.

Oh, of course obviously it’s not sparkling. But sparkles aside was just suggesting that the Chard + PN is a great combo ! ;))))

The “copper color in the grass” … definitely copper … but “in the grass” … is that a typo?

 ‘Glass ‘ of course which is very interesting as American wine commentators rag on French Rose Champagne ‘s coppery color when the desired color is “pink” !!! Really doesn’t matter but funny as perhaps “Coppery” doesn’t have the romantic literary allure as ” Rose׳” !!!!

 

 7.14.13 … worst airports … “the only alternative is to become guest of honor at the crematorium” … 10 Degrees South … Robert Galbraith’s ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ … “To thine own self be true” … RIP, Finn … I am J.K. Rowling … | Dennard’s Clipping Service.

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




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