Posts Tagged ‘Southern literature

28
Apr
11

4.28.2011 … Prayers for those in the path of the Southern Storms of near-epic proportions … Charlotte was bypassed, again.

Epic Southern Storms 4/27, natural disasters/acts of God, weather, prayers:  Why do we call natural disasters “acts of God?”  Prayers for the people impacted and for a quick clean up and recovery.

Daylight illuminated a scene of utter devastation across many areas of the South Thursday, following storms of near-epic proportions that killed as many as 247 people in six states.

The vast majority of fatalities occurred in Alabama, where 162 people perished, said Yasamie August, Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman.

The storms are being compared to the “super outbreak” of tornadoes April 3 and 4, 1974, Fugate, the FEMA administrator, said Thursday. In that period, 148 tornadoes were reported in 13 states, and 330 people died. States affected were Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

via Southern storms: ‘I don’t know how anyone survived’ – CNN.com.

France, travel, recommendations:  Thanks everyone for your suggestions.  I am keeping a list … keep the recs coming.  From today …

Harper Lee, bookshelf, biography, Southern literature:  Harper Lee was at Alabama at the same time as my mother … she was shy … everyone was “shocked” when her book came out and won the Pulitzer Prize.  It sounds like she was shocked, too!  It will be interesting to see why she has never published another novel.  I clipped about Ms. Lee yesterday, her 85th birthday, and a year ago.  She is a very interesting literary “character.”

After winning the Pulitzer Prize for her 1960 debut novel, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, Harper Lee talked excitedly of her plans to carry on writing and become “the Jane Austen of south Alabama”. Yet she was never published again for reasons unknown.

Her reaction to the book’s success was “one of sheer numbness”, she said in her 1964 interview. “It was like being hit over the head and knocked cold,” she admitted.

“You see, I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird … I hoped for a little but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.”

Yet she also spoke of wanting to write a series of novels chronicling small-town life. Friends say she continues to work on her ageing typewriter, raising the possibility that there are books waiting to be published – perhaps after her death.

The biography will also throw light on Lee’s friendship with Capote, her childhood next door neighbour. The pair worked together on Capote’s 1966 ‘true crime’ book ‘In Cold Blood’, but fell out for reasons unexplained. It has been claimed that Lee was hurt by Capote’s failure to give her full credit for her research.

via Harper Lee to disclose why she stopped writing after ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ – Telegraph.

Royal Wedding, fashion, game-changers:  “But many believe that Ms. Middleton’s dress, like the bouffant gown Princess Diana wore in 1981, will be a game changer, inspiring replicas or adaptations at every level of the marketplace, some within weeks or even days of its debut.”  — So many of my friends who married after Princess Diana now laugh about their puffy sleeved wedding gowns!  I personally was saved from the fashion disaster in retrospect … but my dear bridesmaids were not … they had the big puffy sleeves!

WHEN Kate Middleton strides down the aisle at Westminster Abbey on Friday, millions of Americans watching at home will be transfixed by her gown.

Mr. O’Neill, the creative director of Theia, a bridal house in Manhattan, expects that Ms. Middleton’s dress (or a much more affordable version of it) will be coveted by brides-to-be on this side of the Atlantic. So sure is he, in fact, that he has already designed, and plans to sell, a gown he thinks will emulate her choice. Slender and long-sleeved, its decorously scooped neckline encrusted with crystals and silver bullion thread, it will boast a five-foot train.

“We’re calling it the Kate,” Mr. O’Neill said. “It’s very precious, very regal and suited to a princess, if only in my head.”

Not every bridal designer is so farsighted — or so brashly confident. But many believe that Ms. Middleton’s dress, like the bouffant gown Princess Diana wore in 1981, will be a game changer, inspiring replicas or adaptations at every level of the marketplace, some within weeks or even days of its debut.

via Designers Wait to Copy Kate Middleton’s Dress – NYTimes.com.

Royal Wedding, Royal Family, monarchy, culture, media:  Will you watch …

Still, it got me thinking. The children singing are now in their late thirties and perhaps most of them now have children of an age to be in primary school. I wonder if any of them are singing wedding songs. I slightly doubt it. The Times reports that David Cameron’s invitation to Her Majesty’s subjects to arrange community street parties has met with a disappointing response, and it’s hard not to feel that pride in the monarchy, as an unquestioning habit of mind, is on the wane. In 1981, it was different: plenty of people were still alive who had been born in the reign of Queen Victoria; shillings and florins, left over from before decimalization, still circulated as legal tender. To read through British newspapers from the week before the 1981 Royal Wedding is to enter a more deferent era.

Compared to an event like the funeral of the Queen Mother—where all the pageantry is retrospective and everyone gets to wallow in a century’s worth of nostalgia—a wedding is risky. Weddings are all about the future and monarchies, let’s face it, are all about the past.

It’s estimated that nearly a third of the planet will be watching the wedding on Friday. This strikes me as a bit awful. I don’t know whether the viewers will be drawn by an old-fashioned atavistic fixation with tradition or from a new-fashioned fixation with celebrity and sensation, but either way it can’t be healthy. I shan’t be watching, or singing.

via News Desk: Don’t Let’s Watch the Royal Wedding : The New Yorker.

Royal Wedding, random, LOL, Facebook:  OK  …. I am Lady Matibel Bo of Brighton …  Listen out for my name … 🙂

In honor of the big wedding tomorrow, use your royal wedding guest name. Start with either Lord or Lady. Your first name is one of your grandparents’ names. Your surname is the name of your first pet, double-barreled with the name of the street you grew up on. Let’s do this! Post yours here. Then cut and paste it into your status.

Regards,

Lady Matibel Bo of Brighton

iPhone, marketing:  I am sure there is money in the why …

SAN FRANCISCO — You may not know it, but if you carry a smart phone in your pocket, you are probably doing unpaid work for Apple or Google — and helping them

As those two companies battle for dominance in mobile computing, they have increasingly been using their customers’ phones as sensors to collect data about nearby cell towers and Wi-Fi hot spots.

Google and Apple use this data to improve the accuracy of everything on the phone that uses location. That includes maps and navigation services, but also advertising aimed at people in a particular spot — a potentially huge business that is just getting off the ground. In fact, the information has become so valuable that the companies have been willing to push the envelope on privacy to collect it.

via Location Data From Phones Is Valuable for Ads – NYTimes.com.

technology, RIP, typewriters, corrections:  Well Fox says not so fast …

Nostalgic newspaper reports around the globe lamented the death of the typewriter recently, as Indian manufacturer Godrej and Boyce announced its intentions to pull the plug on its Mumbai factory.

After decades of use and trillions of typed characters, the typewriter appeared to have written its own swan song.

Not so fast.

Despite the surge in popularity of PCs, and their smaller digital cousins the iPads, the typewriter is far from dead, said Ed Michael, general manager of sales at Moonachie, N.J.-based Swintec. So forget Godrej: Swintec seems to be the last typewriter maker in operation.

“Typewriters are alive and well,” Michael told FoxNews.com. Most big offices need a typewriter or two or three to do some special jobs — special forms, multipart forms. Some places need to have typewriters to do original forms such as birth certificates, death certificates, things like that.”

“These are things that need to be done,” Michael said. Swintec makes its own typewriters, though the company doesn’t manufacture in the United States.

“They’re made off-shore, in Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia,” Michael tod FoxNews.com. “But they all ultimately end up here in New Jersey.” And just like Godrej, which specialized in sales to government agencies, there’s an industry keeping Swintec’s production lines rolling: prisons.

via Don’t Believe the Type! World’s Last Typewriter Maker Alive and Well in NJ – FoxNews.com.

24
Jan
11

1.24.2011 … coffee with friends then ChristCare where we will discuss I Am The Good Shepherd by Stan Kellner

ChristCare, curriculum:  I Am The Good Shepherd  by Stan Kellner – http://www.angelfire.com/jazz/karen_trust/IAM/Shepherd.html

random, Mark Twain:  New autobiography revives careers for Mark Twain impersonators.  But you have to have the mustache!  Mark Twain Impersonators Gain Popularity – NYTimes.com.

literature, southern literature, Elizabeth Musser, Atlanta:  I am a little miffed they left out our own Elizabeth Goldsmith Musser … given the setting for the photo shoot. Do you think it is because of the genre she writes .. Christian historical fiction …

Is there a book club in America that hasn’t yet thrilled to The Help? Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel has lasted some 22 months on the New York Times hardcover fiction list—and will soon be a DreamWorks movie. “Kitty” Stockett far right, in fact, is leading a new wave of southern female writers who might look like belles but who write fearlessly about the region’s troubled legacies of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Typically, these women left the South in their 20s, heading for New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. But in time they came home. And they’re now turning Atlanta into the most vibrant new literary scene outside of Brooklyn.

via Belles, Books, And Candor | Culture | Vanity Fair.

movies, memorable phrases:

Have we heard the last (truly memorable) word from Hollywood?

Probably not, but it’s been a while since the movies had everybody parroting a great line.

via We’re missing lines that had us at ‘hello’ – CharlotteObserver.com.

LOL, random, products, design, Daniel Pink:  Saw this in the Petco flyer last week … maybe it is just me but I think it is LOL hysterical.  But really it is just a ball … with a design element to humor the humans.  So would you pay $12 for the equivalent of a used tennis ball to the dog?  I wonder if this product meets Daniel Pink’s definition of elegant design?  If you don’t know about Daniel Pink … check out the blog post about him which contains an interview.

Amazon.com: Moody Pet Humunga Stache Ball Dog Toy: Patio, Lawn & Garden.

“Design Thinking is solving problems in elegant ways” – Daniel Pink

via Elegant Design For Your Whole New Mind | Life In Perpetual Beta.

technology, culture, Jane Austen, bookshelf:  Another book that will be getting a great deal of commentary!

What I’m against is a kind of technological promiscuity, where that technology, so perfect in that [Abu Dhabi] circumstance, is the technology you think is perfect for people to bring into a board meeting, when they need to be working on a problem together. In that case it’s not the technology of choice. They’re not physically present with the people they need to bond with and deeply connect with, and need to make very consequential decisions with. I hate the metaphor of addiction: it implies we have to get it away, give it away, wean off. This is great stuff. It’s not heroin. It’s just something we need to learn to use when most appropriate, powerful, and in our best interest.

You mention how when people see the little red light on their BlackBerry, indicating a message has arrived, they feel utterly compelled to grab it. Do you personally experience that compulsion?

I recognize it with my email. Somebody said of email, “It’s the place for hope in life.” It reminds me of how in Jane Austen, carriages are always coming, you’re waiting, it could be Mr. Bingley’s invitation to a ball. There’s some sense that the post is always arriving in Jane Austen. There’s something about email that carries the sense that that’s where the good news will come. I did a hysterical interview with an accountant about why he felt so strongly about his texts. He said he might get a Genius award! I said, “I don’t think they give those to accountants.” And he said, “But you know what I mean.” He was trying to express that anything could happen on email. Anything could happen! I try to figure out what it is that this little red light means to people. I think it’s that place for hope and change and the new, and what can be different, and how things can be what they’re not now. And I think we all want that.

via “Alone Together”: An MIT Professor’s New Book Urges Us to Unplug.

women, politics, stereotypes:  A strong American woman is stereotyped a cowgirl … interesting article.

America has no tales of Amazons or of Atalanta; our national narrative does not chronicle the defeat of an armada by a virgin queen nor a teenage Joan leading her army into battle. American history includes no Cleopatras or Hatshepsuts; no Trung Sisters, who defended Vietnam from the Chinese in the first century; and no Catherines, great or otherwise. The mythos of our founding revolves entirely around fathers, save for the seamstress Betsy Ross and the querulous spouse Abigail Adams.

What we do have, to serve as the foundational fantasy of female strength and individualism we’ve agreed upon as embodying American power, are cowgirls: Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, the outlaws, frontier women and pioneers who pushed West, shot sharp, talked tough and sometimes drew blood. Frontier womanhood has emerged as one of the only historically American models of aspirational femininity available to girls — passive princesses and graceful ballerinas not being native to this land — and one of the only blueprints for commanding female comportment in which they are regularly encouraged to invest or to mimic.

via Only Cowgirls Run for Office – NYTimes.com.

blogposts, economy, Great Recession, future, quotes, Mark Twain:  Again, my favorite Presbyterian minister blogger takes two articles I noted and pulls them together to say what I wish I had said … I wish I had his quick mind!  And of course he quotes my favorite … Mark Twain. Thanks, Jim

Mark Twain said it best:

Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Religious people know this to be true. I am not referring to resurrection (a dimension of Christian faith, for sure) but to religious belief as a general phenomenon. Belief is a dynamic reality. It impacts attitude, instills confidence, generates hope, impels certain actions. Of these there is not a lot of confidence and hope to be found in the usual portrait of our country’s health these days. If you believe we are dying, die we will. The truth is very different though.

The USA remains a genuine heavyweight. Time to start fighting like one. Fighting, that is, not with anyone, but against despair and resignation.

“It ain’t over till it’s over” and it ain’t over!

via Not dead yet « Hopelens Blog.

blogpost, media, religion, prayers: So my other favorite Presbyterian minister blogger … the younger … nails this one in my opinion.  I will use his prayer this week!  Thanks, Marthame!

There are those who say that the church is in the midst of a historical moment unlike any since the Protestant Reformation. And just as the “new media” of the printing press made Martin Luther possible, our world is being changed daily by new technologies and new ways of communicating. Is it time for the church to, dare I say, “change”?

In some ways, we have been standing by the shore, doing what our ancestors have taught us, faithfully tossing our nets into the sea, pulling in a catch, and doing it all over again. And as uprooting as it might be, maybe we need to listen for that voice of Jesus telling us to leave all that behind.

Time for a Change.

NYC, change, travel:  Maybe I better get there soon!

CBGB, the birthplace of punk rock, is gone. No longer can visitors to Coney Island plunk down a few coins to play the unsettling attraction called “Shoot the Freak.” And seedy, edgy, anything-might-happen Times Square? These days, it’s all but childproof.It continues: That diner on the corner for decades — closed. The beer garden down the street — now a Starbucks. The block once home to clusters of independent businesses — thriving as a big-box store.

And last month, another piece of the old New York slipped away with the demise of the city’s Off-Track Betting parlors. It’s enough to make old-school New Yorkers bristle.

Around countless corners, the weird, unexpected, edgy, grimy New York — the town that so many looked to for so long as a relief from cookie-cutter America — has evolved into something else entirely: tamed, prepackaged, even predictable.

“What draws people to New York is its uniqueness. So when something goes, people feel sad about it,” says Suzanne Wasserman, director of the Gotham Center for New York City History at the City University of New York.

“I think that’s also part of the New York character,” she says, “that ‘Things were better when …'”

Change is constant, and few cities change faster than New York. But at what cost? Where is the line between progress and lost distinctiveness?

via As edgy NYC disappears, does its character go too?  | ajc.com.

gardens:  I friend told me about this.  I am putting it on my 2011 calendar for November!  Thanks, Maxwell for the idea.

Instant Miniature Bulb Garden

Begin with a container. Plant an array of bulbs in layers now, and flowers will appear at intervals throughout spring. Think of the tiny irises as appetizers to the season, followed by the grape hyacinths. Next, delight in miniature narcissus. Build up to a feast of large daffodils. Then, as the icing on the cake, finish with a topping of violas that bloom from fall through late spring. The best part is that prep time takes less than 30 minutes.

Instant Miniature Bulb Garden – SouthernLiving.com.

Norwich England, Great Britain, sense of place, travel, bucket list:  OK, so I loved Norwich from this article.  It seems to have a real sense of place.  I am adding it to my list.  How could you not be intriqued by a place described as a book lovers/writers paradise  and this ““I love the emptiness and the atmosphere,” he said. “The scenery is quite unique. There is that feeling of being in a lost corner.””

Norwich, a two-hour train ride northeast from London, has increasingly become a refuge for writers fleeing the hectic pace of the capital’s publishing scene. At first glance it appears to be just another charming medieval town, with a fantastically preserved castle and a 900-year-old cathedral. But look a little deeper and you’ll notice the wellspring of author readings and literary festivals, featuring recent talks by Booker Prize winners like John Banville and Penelope Lively.

The comfy cafes within the town’s narrow old lanes are full of aspiring writers pecking away at laptops, dreaming of becoming the next Ian McEwan or Kazuo Ishiguro, both of whom got their start here at the University of East Anglia’s esteemed creative writing master’s program.

Mr. Ishiguro was so struck by Norwich and its surrounding county that he used it as inspiration for his 2005 novel “Never Let Me Go” (though the book was actually set in East Sussex, the 2010 movie adaptation was largely filmed in Norfolk County, home to Norwich). “I love the emptiness and the atmosphere,” he said. “The scenery is quite unique. There is that feeling of being in a lost corner.”

via Norwich, England, a Book-Lover’s Town – NYTimes.com.

green:  I knew it was coming.  Duke Power is giving customers a dozen bulbs for free.  I am interested to see if they really cut my bill.

The brightest bulb in most homes for more than a century is fading toward darkness this year as California turns out the light on the century-old incandescent.

Beginning Jan. 1, the state began phasing out certain energy-sucking bulbs, federal standards the rest of the country will enact next year.

Manufacturers will no longer make the traditional 100-watt bulb and stores will eventually sell out of current supplies. Consumers will have to choose from more efficient bulbs that use no more than 72 watts, including halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents and light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs.

“These standards will help cut our nation’s electric bill by over $10 billion a year and will save the equivalent electricity as 30 large power plants,” said Noah Horowitz a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That translates into a whole lot less global warming pollution being emitted.”

The change is part of the federal Energy Independence and Security Act that President George Bush signed in 2007, to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. California was allowed to adopt the national standard one year earlier.

via It’s lights out for the incandescent bulb in Calif  | ajc.com.

branding, advertising, Starbucks: just interesting …

The rise of the affluent society has left people with lots of time and talent to spare, Mr Shirky argues. For decades they squandered this cognitive surplus watching television. Today, thanks to the internet, they can also channel it into more productive pursuits.

For a surprising number of people these productive pursuits involve worrying about companies’ logos. Howard Schultz, the boss of Starbucks, recently announced that his company would mark its 40th anniversary this March by changing its logo a bit. The words “Starbucks” and “coffee” will disappear. And the mermaid, or siren, will be freed from her circle.

Starbucks wants to join the small club of companies that are so recognisable they can rely on nothing but a symbol: Nike and its swoosh; McDonald’s and its golden arches; Playboy and its bunny; Apple and its apple. The danger is that it will join the much larger class of companies that have tried to change their logos only to be forced to backtrack by an electronic lynch mob.

via Schumpeter: Logoland | The Economist.

quotes, Reynolds Price, RIP:  Given his recent death, I think  a quote from Reynolds Price is appropriate.

“… what I still ask for daily – for life as long as I have work to do, and work as long as I have life.” — Reynolds Price, A Whole New Life

In A Whole New Life, however, he steps from behind that roster of achievements to present us with a more personal story, a narrative as intimate and compelling as any work of the imagination. In 1984, a large cancer was discovered in his spinal cord (“The tumor was pencil-thick and gray-colored, ten inches long from my neck-hair downward”). Here, for the first time, Price recounts without self-pity what became a long struggle to withstand and recover from this appalling, if all too common, affliction (one American in three will experience some from of cancer). He charts the first puzzling symptoms; the urgent surgery that fails to remove the growth and the radiation that temporarily arrests it (but hurries his loss of control of his lower body); the occasionally comic trials of rehab; the steady rise of severe pain and reliance on drugs; two further radical surgeries; the sustaining force of a certain religious vision; an eventual discovery of help from biofeedback and hypnosis; and the miraculous return of his powers as a writer in a new, active life. Beyond the particulars of pain and mortal illness, larger concerns surface here — a determination to get on with the human interaction that is so much a part of this writer’s much-loved work, the gratitude he feels toward kin and friends and some (though by no means all) doctors, the return to his prolific work, and the “now appalling, now astonishing grace of God.” A Whole New Life offers more than the portrait of one brave person in tribulation; it offers honest insight, realistic encouragement and inspiration to others who suffer the bafflement of catastrophic illness or who know someone who does or will.

via A whole new life – Google Books.

green, design, wildlife:  Special provisions for the bears cougars, bobcats, elk and deer …

At a picturesque spot in the mountains near the ski resorts of Vail and Breckenridge, Colo., two streams of traffic converge: people driving east and west on Interstate 70, and animals — black bears, cougars, bobcats, elk and deer — headed north and south to feed and mate. When they collide, the animal is almost always killed and the vehicle badly damaged, even if the driver is lucky enough to escape injury.

The obvious solution is a bridge or a tunnel for the animals, but how do you build one they will use?

via Contest Seeks to Avert Collisions With Animals on I-70 in Colorado – NYTimes.com.

politics, GA politics, David Ralston-GA House Speaker, really stupid:  Since I often comment on the really stupid things we do in our youth, why is it that our politicians are the next group of people who do really stupid things?

House Speaker David Ralston and his family spent part of Thanksgiving week in Europe on a $17,000 economic development mission paid for by lobbyists interested in building a high-speed train line between Atlanta and Chattanooga.

Commonwealth Research Associates, a D.C.-based consulting firm, paid for the trip, which also included Ralston’s chief of staff Spiro Amburn and his spouse, to Germany and the Netherlands the week of Nov. 21-27, according to records filed with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly known as the State Ethics Commission.

The trip was the most expensive single expenditure reported by a lobbyist since at least 2005.

via Ralston, staff and families took $17,000 lobbyist-funded trip to Germany  | ajc.com.

Justice Antonin Scalia, The Supreme Court, Separation of Powers:  Haven’t decided what I think of this other than I would like to be there.  Do you have an opinion?  Is this appropriate for a Supreme Court Justice?

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, described just last week by a Washington law professor as “the first real celebrity justice” for his controversial public pronouncements, will come to Capitol Hill on Monday to lecture about constitutional law to some earnest members of the House of Representatives. He was invited to do so by Rep. Michelle Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican and tea party activist in Congress, as part of her effort to educate lawmakers about the nation’s founding legal documents.

Although Justice Scalia has been criticized in some quarters for accepting the invitation, it is not unreasonable of him to consider the opportunity to speak face-to-face with his interbranch partners as a rare and welcome one. And although many observers see the effort as a partisan ploy between and among conservative ideologues, there are plenty of nonpartisan things Professor Scalia can lecture about. For example:

via Professor Scalia Comes to Capitol Hill: Here Is His Constitutional Lesson Plan.

South Africa:  11 official languages is very difficult … interesting to watch how this is resolved.

UNDER the 1996 constitution, all 11 of South Africa’s official languages “must enjoy parity of esteem and be treated equitably”. In practice English, the mother tongue of just 8% of the people, increasingly dominates all the others. Its hegemony may even threaten the long-term survival of the country’s African languages, spoken as the mother tongue of 80% of South Africans, despite the government’s repeated promises to promote and protect indigenous languages and culture.

Under apartheid, there were just two official languages, English and Afrikaans, a variant of Dutch with a dash of French, German, Khoisan (spoken by so-called Bushmen and Hottentots), Malay and Portuguese. Pre-colonial African languages were relegated to the black townships and tribal “homelands”. Even there, English was often chosen as the medium of education in preference to the inhabitants’ mother tongues. Black South Africans increasingly rejected Afrikaans as the language of the main oppressor; English was a symbol of advancement and prestige.

Today, 16 years after the advent of black-majority rule, English reigns supreme. Not only is it the medium of business, finance, science and the internet, but also of government, education, broadcasting, the press, advertising, street signs, consumer products and the music industry. For such things Afrikaans is also occasionally used, especially in the Western Cape province, but almost never an African tongue. The country’s Zulu-speaking president, Jacob Zuma, makes all his speeches in English. Parliamentary debates are in English. Even the instructions on bottles of prescription drugs come only in English or Afrikaans.

via South Africa’s languages: Tongues under threat | The Economist.

followup, Keith Olbermann, media:  Seems there is a lot behind the curtains …

One NBC News executive said on Sunday: “Give us a bit of credit for getting eight years out of him. That’s the longest he’s been anywhere.”

via Years of Strife Caught Up With Olbermann at MSNBC – NYTimes.com.

 

21
Jan
11

1.21.2010 … clean, clean, clean …

John F. Kennedy, history, random, college applications:  Two tidbits of interesting history.

For the inaugural ceremony, Kennedy asked Poet Laureate Robert Frost to recite either a new poem or “The Gift Outright,” a poem published in 1942 that Frost later called “a history of the United States in a dozen [actually, sixteen] lines of blank verse.” Frost did compose a new poem for the inauguration, but he was unable to read from his manuscript due to both the wind and the reflection of the sun hitting the snow-covered ground. Thinking quickly, he instead recited from memory “The Gift Outright” (“The land was ours before we were the land’s. . .”). The Library of Congress has scanned and posted on their website the typescript of the poem he had intended to read, “Dedication.”

Harvard’s application in those days was all of three pages long, and Kennedy’s “essay,” date April 23, 1935, was a mere five handwritten sentences. (O’Connor comments, “Somewhere, a guidance counselor just burst into a maniacal fit of laughter.”) The future president wrote:

The reasons that I have for wishing to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there, as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then too, I would like to go to the same college as my father. To be a ‘Harvard man’ is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain.

via Reader’s Almanac: Remembering John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his inauguration.

innovation, NASA:  Really the program added a lot to our everyday lives.

Arguments over whether now is the time for the government to spend billions on sending people into space notwithstanding, the agency’s efforts to do so have generated a host of new technologies that influence our lives every day. Without NASA we wouldn’t have Dustbusters, Ziploc bags, or memory foam mattresses.

via NASA Inventions Headed to Your Home – Newsweek.

Apple:

Apple’s iPad business has only been around for 9 months, but it has already generated almost $10 billion in revenue for Apple.

Specifically, Apple shipped 14.8 million iPads last year, generating $9.6 billion in revenue. Last quarter alone, it shipped 7.3 million iPads for $4.6 billion in sales.

That’s amazing. And what’s more amazing is that it’s almost the same amount of revenue as Apple’s almost-27-year-old Mac business, which just put in its best quarter ever, generating $5.4 billion in revenue.

via CHART OF THE DAY: Just Like That, The iPad Is Almost As Big As The Mac.

Justice Kagan:  Even a justice must report.

Kagan was not selected for a jury, and was released Thursday afternoon.

ORIGINAL POST: Even a Supreme has to report to jury duty.

Seen waiting in the jury lounge at D.C. Superior Court Thursday was the newest Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan.

Kagan, who assumed the bench in August after being nominated by President Obama in May, sat with dozens of others potential jurors Thursday morning waiting to see if her juror badge number would be called.

via Crime Scene – Elena Kagan not selected for jury duty.

people, Al Capone, icons:  He just looks like a gangster. Al Capone: The Original Gangster – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

business, Warren Buffet, changes:  He’s winding down.

Warren Buffett, the investor whose guidance is considered gospel by many on Wall Street, is leaving his long-held position on the board of the Washington Post Company.Warren Buffett is leaving his position on the board of the Washington Post Company.Nati Harnik/Associated Press Warren Buffett is leaving the board of the Washington Post Company.The Post Company announced on Thursday that Mr. Buffett, 80, would not seek re-election to the board after his term expires in May. Mr. Buffett has been with the board for nearly 40 years, with the exception of an eight-year period when he stepped aside to serve on the board of Capital Cities, which was the parent company of the rival media company ABC at the time.

via Warren Buffett to Leave Washington Post Co. Board – NYTimes.com.

RIP, Reynolds Price, Southern literature: Rest in Peace, Mr. Price.

Reynolds Price, whose novels and stories about ordinary people in rural North Carolina struggling to find their place in the world established him as one of the most important voices in modern Southern fiction, died on Thursday in Durham, N.C. He was 77.

via Reynolds Price, a Literary Voice of the South, Dies at 77 – NYTimes.com.

-and-

Reynolds Price, a writer who taught more than 50 years at Duke University, died Thursday afternoon. He was 77.

Price, the James B. Duke Professor of English, had a major heart attack early Sunday, according to a press release from Duke.

“With a poet’s deep appreciation for language, Reynolds Price taught generations of students to understand and love literature,” said Duke President Richard H. Brodhead in a statement. “Reynolds was a part of the soul of Duke. He loved this university and always wanted to make it better.”

via Author, Duke professor Reynolds Price dies – Durham County – NewsObserver.com.

education, learning: Another interesting study.

Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques.

The research, published online Thursday in the journal Science, found that students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.

One of those methods — repeatedly studying the material — is familiar to legions of students who cram before exams. The other — having students draw detailed diagrams documenting what they are learning — is prized by many teachers because it forces students to make connections among facts.

These other methods not only are popular, the researchers reported; they also seem to give students the illusion that they know material better than they do.

via Test-Taking Cements Knowledge Better Than Studying, Researchers Say – NYTimes.com.

economics, globalization, China: Blame game …

So what’s left? Well, China has turned to the blame game, accusing the Federal Reserve (wrongly) of creating the problem by printing too much money. But while blaming the Fed may make Chinese leaders feel better, it won’t change U.S. monetary policy, nor will it do anything to tame China’s inflation monster.

Could all of this really turn into a full-fledged crisis? If I didn’t know my economic history, I’d find the idea implausible. After all, the solution to China’s monetary muddle is both simple and obvious: just let the currency rise, already.

But I do know my economic history, which means that I know how often governments refuse, sometimes for many years, to do the obviously right thing — and especially when currency values are concerned. Usually they try to keep their currencies artificially strong rather than artificially weak; but it can be a big mess either way.

So our newest economic superpower may indeed be on its way to some kind of economic crisis, with collateral damage to the world as a whole. Did we need this?

via China Goes to Nixon – NYTimes.com.

 




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