Posts Tagged ‘The Help

30
Aug
11

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

Apple, tablets, competition: War?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via The Bicycle Muscles In – NYTimes.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29
Aug
11

‎8.29.2011 … Settling in to a Fall routine …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His weekdays go roughly something like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via eMoses – Burning Bush.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Dangerous White Stereotypes – NYTimes.com.

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

 

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

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

via Exhibits – The Holy Land Experience.

19
Aug
11

8.19.2011 … last weekend of summer according to the academic calendar …

history, national parks, national military parks, GA:  I found this surprising … I wonder why they chose these two?

August 19, 1890

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park became the first national military park in the United States.

via Atlanta History Center, August 19, 1890.

culture, men, happiness:  How many agree with this?  After traveling in France with my spouse, I would not include medieval cathedrals on the list of cultural activities that reduce stress and make “my man” happy and satisfied.

Men who enjoy taking in the ballet or browsing art museums are more likely to be happy with their lives and satisfied with their health than men who don’t enjoy the finer things in life, a new study finds.

And although greater enjoyment of cultural activities is associated with higher income, the arts have a beneficial effect regardless of other factors that might influence health and happiness, including socioeconomic status.

The results suggest that encouraging cultural participation may be one way to encourage healthfulness, the authors reported online May 23 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. [ Amazing Art & Science Images ]

via Artsy, museum-going men are happier, study says – Health – Behavior – msnbc.com.

Jane Austen: …… SHARP ELVES SOCIETY …… Jane Austen’s Shadow Stories.

The Help, movies, race: The amazing thing to me is how “all across the board people are on this movie (and the book).  As I said before, I liked the movie better than the book because the black actresses gave authenticity to the black story and dialogue.

“The Help” is bound to be a hit. Just as readers loved the book, for good reason—its resonant themes transcended its imperfect craftsmanship—audiences starved for substance after a long, dry summer will embrace the movie. They’ll do so not only for the white guilt it addresses, and deftly mitigates, but for the plot’s entertaining contrivances (chief among them a climax of cyclonic uplift), the bonds of love between whites and blacks and a cast of outsize characters that includes Bryce Dallas Howard’s chillingly bigoted Hilly, smiling incessantly and focused on preserving white purity with ever more black-only toilets; and Jessica Chastain’s desperate, white-trashy Celia. Sissy Spacek’s Missus Walters isn’t outsize, she’s just-right-size. Droll in her dottiness, the old dame is devoid of illusions about the hypocrisy that surrounds her.

Much has been made of the author, Ms. Stockett, having given her book’s screen rights to Mr. Taylor, a friend from childhood, and having supported his determination to write and direct the film, even though he hadn’t done a feature before. This speaks well for their friendship, but the director’s inexperience shows when Aibileen and Minny aren’t on screen (and sometimes when they are: Minny’s gleeful revenge plot seems awfully silly). Skeeter’s mother, played by Allison Janney, is a drab construction with an oddly unsatisfying story to tell. Skeeter’s boyfriend is an inconstant cipher, and her book editor in New York is a fleeting caricature of a Jewish liberal, while the caricatures of Hilly’s Junior League cohorts are as vivid as they are unrestrained.

As for Ms. Stone’s Skeeter, she’s the pivotal figure in a coming-of-age story with darkly dramatic overtones; by enlisting the town’s maids in her forbidden literary venture, she’s exposing them as well as herself to great danger. And she’s played by a young actress who has become, in what seems to have been no time flat, one of the most interesting, quick-witted stars in contemporary films. Disappointingly, though, Skeeter remains a device, albeit an attractive one, an earnest learner taking notes with her pencil and pad while “The Help” gets indispensable help from sassy Minny and soulful Aibileen.

via The Help | Senna | 1960s Racism in Black and White – WSJ.com.

Beneath all of these factors, there’s a basic, staring-you-in-the-face element that I think has been responsible for a certain moralistic ire that has greeted The Help. And that is this: Why, in 2011, at a moment when we have our first African-American president, does the most prominent movie of the year to deal with black life in America center on housekeepers and servants from 50 years ago? Is this really an exploration — or is it a kind of genteel, borderline racist nostalgia?

Well, I’d like to testify that if you forget about what The Help looks like it adds up to “on paper,” and if you actually watch what’s up there on screen, what you’ll see is a movie that is tender, biting, honest, surprising, and far, far more curious and morally adventurous about race than many have given it credit for. The key to the film’s power, and its originality, is this: It’s a movie not about taking bold crusader’s stands — which, at this point, wouldn’t be a bold movie to make anyway — but about the low-key, day-to-day, highly ambivalent intimacy of black/white relationships in the Deep South. It’s about what really goes on in middle-class households between the lines of the most seemingly ordinary encounters.

More than that, what’s refreshing about The Help — and this, I think, is what the critics of it have gotten wrong — is that it doesn’t use white characters as a false entry point of identification for the audience. It is, rather, a sprawling ensemble piece that asks everyone in the audience — black and white, women and men — to identify with everyone on screen. That’s the way that Robert Altman’s films used to work. They were tough-minded spectacles of shifting empathy, and The Help, though it lacks Altman’s storytelling magic (it’s prose rather than poetry), isn’t so far removed in spirit from an Altman film. Every woman in it has her own way of looking at the world, and the movie wants you to understand how those viewpoints all jostle and mesh and collide.

via Is ‘The Help’ a condescending movie for white liberals? Actually, the real condescension is calling it that | Inside Movies | EW.com.

In the same year in which The Help is set, Eudora Welty wrote “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” bravely capturing the feelings that were in the air in Jackson that year. They were feelings unspoken by many at the time, just as they were missing on-screen in The Help.

Published in The New Yorker, “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” tells the story of the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers from the point of view of his assailant. Welty wrote the story the same night that she learned of Evers’ murder. When she heard the news, it occurred to her that she knew what was going on in the mind of the man who pulled the trigger. She knew because she had lived all of her life where it happened.

“It was the strangest feeling of horror and compulsion all in one,” Welty commented in an interview almost 10 years later. “I just meant by the title that whoever was speaking, I — the writer — knew, was in a position to know, what the murderer must be saying and why.”

via Eudora Welty’s Jackson: ‘The Help’ In Context : NPR.

apps, FBI, child safety:

One helpful tool for parents has been the emergence of ID cards for children that contain everything from descriptive statistics to DNA. Usually, the child carries one and the parents keep one.

This is a great idea, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has just taken it one step further by making an admirable leap into the digital age with its release of an iPhone app called Child ID.

This is the first-ever mobile app released by the FBI. Not only can parents input and store information about their child’s appearance using this app, but they can also send information directly from the app to law enforcement during a crisis.

Kudos to the FBI, but it would be great if the FBI added two additional features to this app: password protection and fingerprint storing capability. A lost or stolen iPhone could put lots of personal info about your child in the wrong hands. A simple password protection would take care of that.

via Child ID: New FBI iPhone App Could Help Keep Kids Safe – ABC News.

food, blogs, recipes:  Never clip hungry 🙂 … first service seems like a waste of money!

Previously we’ve seen food served up alongside books , but now San Francisco-based food and music blog Turntable Kitchen have launched the Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box, “a curated food and music discovery experience”, which is delivered to subscribers’ mailboxes every month.

Turntable Kitchen, or TK, was started by food and music lovers Matthew and Casey, featuring recipes that focus on local and fresh ingredients combined with hand-selected musical pairings and album reviews, with the intention of introducing food lovers to music and vice versa. With the Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box they aim to bring the food and music pairings into people’s homes. For USD 25 a month, shipping included, subscribers will receive a limited-edition 7-inch vinyl single featuring tracks by one of TK’s favorite artists or bands, an exclusive downloadable digital ‘mixtape’ packed with up-and-coming artists, three seasonal recipes, one or two premium dried ingredients, suggested pairings, and tasting notes specific to the package as well as additional surprises. The monthly subscription service will be starting soon, but in the meantime a limited number of boxes can be reserved via their website.

via Monthly food and music pairing package by subscription | Springwise.

 


Asian Herbed Omelet Wraps – Recipe – NYTimes.com
.

 


Crab and Cantaloupe Salad With Ginger and Mint Dressing – Recipe – NYTimes.com
.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Candidates, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann:  I’m not liking what I see … I am beginning to think we need to rethink our primary system.  It promotes extremism and gives a great deal of power to the extremists.

Romney and Perry can both make a credible case that they could be better stewards of the economy than President Obama: Romney thanks to his business experience, and Perry due to Texas’ impressive record on job creation. But both have their weaknesses.

Romney is viewed skeptically by many Tea Partiers and social conservatives, who question his conservatism because he signed an individual mandate-based health care law in Massachusetts and once held moderate positions on abortion and gay rights.

Perry, meanwhile, is untested on a national stage, and he has a closetful of issues that could cause him problems. Among them: His decision to sign an executive order requiring that sixth-grade girls in Texas be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus – to the horror of many social conservatives, who worried that such a vaccination would encourage promiscuity – and his close ties to some fringe evangelical figures, which could turn off moderates.

One advantage Perry brings, however, is his appeal both to the establishment Republicans drawn to Romney and to the social conservatives who drove Bachmann to victory in the straw poll. Bachmann’s narrow win in Iowa gave her candidacy a boost, but it wasn’t enough to put to rest questions about whether her appeal is too limited to make her a serious contender.

via Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and the new GOP presidential landscape – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

extreme couponing, criminal acts, random:  Another type of extremism …

Extreme couponing is becoming extreme stealing. Bargain hunters across the country are reportedly stealing newspapers for their money-saving coupon inserts. The thieves may have been inspired by the popular show Extreme Couponing on TLC, where p

People save thousands of dollars by coupon clipping. One woman in Arkansas is being charged for stealing 185 copies of her town’s Sunday paper for the coupon inserts. The woman, who is a member of a coupon club, says she didn’t think she was breaking the law because the papers were left outside a grocery store for pick-up.

via ‘Extreme Couponing’ Leads to Arrests, Rapper ‘The Game’ In Trouble With Police Over Tweet, and San Francisco Transit Gets Hacked | Trending Now – Yahoo! News.

culture, dancing, grinding, youth:  Do you remember when people would “grind?”  Can you imagine a 40-year-old doing it!  Don’t understand how this ever got to be mainstream, but it is … we get letters from the school telling us our children will be sent home from dances …

“A guy comes up to you, starts dancing on you, you turn around and you give him one of these [weird faces],” she told “Good Morning America.” “The trick is you don’t say anything the whole time. You stand there, frozen, and don’t change your face.”

With that, the 24-year-old from East Cambridge, Mass., has launched an assault against “grinding,” the type of dirty-style dancing that mimics sex.

“I’m sick and tired of guys thinking that just because I showed up at a club or a dance or a bar, that I want to have their genitalia touching my backside,” Mourey said.

via “Jenna Marbles'” Anti-Dirty Dance: Teens Say No to Grinding – ABC News.

12
Aug
11

8.12.2011 … Cowboys and Aliens … :)

Cowboys and Aliens, movies:  Ever since I saw a preview for C&A, I knew I was going.  As some of you know, I tease John for his movie criteria (he teases me for mine, too).  I have said for years that his perfect movie would have “naked women on horseback shooting guns in a spacecraft or submarine.”  Well, C&A only missed one … the naked woman was not shooting a gun ON horseback.

And I loved friend Bob’s comment … “Entertaining, but I would have loved to have been in the meeting where they pitched the idea: “See, we take the James Bond guy and make him a cowboy, the good-looking female doctor from House and make her an alien, but a good one and still hot, and Indiana Jones, just older, and we put them in the Old West and they fight aliens”. And a studio backed it. And, what do I know, it worked!”

And an aside … I love subway and street billboards in big cities … and I knew from seeing a billboard in NYC that I would be going to this movie.

Bridget Jones, movies, Jane Austen:  I case you were worried …

EW has confirmed exclusively that Working Title Films, the production company responsible for the first movie released in 2001 and the second one dubbed The Edge of Reason in 2004, is moving ahead with a third installment. Based at Universal, Working Title has been mulling a sequel since 2009.

No other details were available, but last year, Bridget costar Colin Firth, who plays lovable Mark Darcy, told EW’s Dave Karger some details about a possible plot. “I can tell you that Bridget and Mark can’t have children, I think that’s the way it goes on,” Firth told Karger, who was reporting for Access Hollywood. “So then she makes the huge mistake of going back to Daniel Cleaver [Hugh Grant’s character] for long enough to get pregnant. And I think he dumps her, and she’s left stranded, and guess who comes back to rescue her?”

via Third Bridget Jones movie is finally a go | Inside Movies | EW.com.

politics, economics, Keynesian economics, Great Recession, recovery:  Enjoyed this analysis very much.  Thanks, Tim, for bringing it to my attention.

Here is a shocker for Obama, Maher and Tea-Party haters: Since the Nobel Prize in economics was established, seven Nobel Prizes have been awarded to economists who cast serious doubt on Keynesian economics. Not one Nobel Prize has been awarded to an economist who advanced the Keynesian agenda. New York Times liberal columnist, Paul Krugman, won his Nobel Prize for trade theory, not for macroeconomics.

Maher’s “stupid people” who reject Keynesian economics, it seems, are in rather distinguished intellectual company.

via Tea Party Understands Economics Better Than Obama Or Bill Maher – Forbes.

We can pardon a comedian like Maher who is simply trying to please his liberal audience. We should not expect him to know anything about the Nobel laureates I listed above. There is no reason not to expect him to be “stupid” with respect to modern macroeconomics.

President Obama is another matter. Presumably he has access to economists of all persuasions. Any number of them can tell him the things I just described. They are well known. No one is keeping them secret. They are found in modern principles textbooks. If he cannot understand what they are saying, then he might qualify for the epithet Maher directed at Keynesian skeptics.

Perhaps the president simply does not want to hear from those who disagree with the course he has chosen. It could be that the president’s goal is not recovery and economic growth but growing the size and scope of government to achieve his goal of a redistributive state.

If that is the case, we are in for trouble.

via Tea Party Understands Economics Better Than Obama Or Bill Maher – Forbes.

2012 Presidential Election, Republicans, Iowa Debate: In case you missed it … What You Missed While Not Watching the Iowa GOP Debate | Swampland.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich spent much of his debate chastising the debate panelists, accusing them of “gotcha questions.”

via Debate Jolts Republican Race to Life – WSJ.com.

and Fact checking the GOP debate in Iowa – The Fact Checker – The Washington Post.

US Debt Downgrade, Great Recession: “not a statement on the probability of default on Treasury bonds at all” … but isn’t that the core of what the rating means?

There now appears to be general agreement that the downgrade issued a week ago by Standard & Poor’s on the “Political Risks and Rising Debt Burden” of long-term United States debt was not a statement on the probability of default on Treasury bonds at all. Instead, it appears to have been intended as a reminder that something has gone seriously wrong with the style of governance put in place by the Founding Fathers.

Whether the current style of federal governance deserves the second highest grade S.&P. assigns (AA+) can, of course, be debated. I would be more inclined toward a plain B rating, that is, the governance equivalent of a junk bond.

via Do Congress and the White House Deserve an AA+ Rating? – NYTimes.com.

The problem is much less the current budget deficits, which can be explained by the current recession, but that budget balance does not seem to be in sight long after the recession, we hope, is over.

It is that problem that the White House and the Congress must solve. We must hope that care for the nation’s future — evidently now taking a holiday — will return someday soon to their minds and souls. Perhaps then they will merit an AA+ rating.

via Do Congress and the White House Deserve an AA+ Rating? – NYTimes.com.

Great Recession, historical perspective, migration:  This article really made me think about long-term implications.

Throughout history, for millions of people in less prosperous societies, the solution to such circumstances has been obvious: You sail away.

So could America, that great nation of immigrants, become in harder times a nation of emigrants? Could the metropolises of China one day have Americatowns?

Imagine a bustling one in the heart of Beijing. Local Chinese stream past, scratching their heads at those Americans who come just for money, never learning China’s language or customs, living in their own little world. The signs are all spelled out in Roman letters — even for local outfits like Zhongguo Jianshe Yinhang (China Construction Bank) and Hong Gao Liang (Red Sorghum, a fast food joint).

via Next Frontier for Restless Americans? – NYTimes.com.

UK Riots, social media:  Marthame Sanders tweeted:

Syria, Iran, etc. restricting twitter = bad; England restricting twitter = good. Makes sense. #fb

and that made me realize how ridiculous we must seem to our eastern and middle eastern counterparts.

Cameron also said the government, police and intelligence services were looking at whether there should be limits on the use of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook or services like BlackBerry Messenger to spread disorder.

BlackBerry’s simple and largely cost free messaging service was used by rioters to coordinate their activities, Cameron’s office said.

The government said it planned to hold talks with police chiefs, Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion Ltd.

But any move to disable the services temporarily is likely to be strongly opposed by civil libertarians

via London police say almost 600 charged over riots – CBS News.

Great Recession, recovery, historical perspective:

Historians can’t know if the 1938 recovery, strong as it was, would have been enough to finally end the Great Depression. World War II intervened. But nothing today seems nearly as dire as the problems facing the world in 1938. The 1937 aftershocks had the effect of galvanizing policy makers who had grown complacent about the recovery. The result was renewed economic growth, higher employment, higher wages and productivity — and higher stock prices. Investors who had the courage to buy stocks at their 1937 lows were looking at a 60 percent gain less than a year later.

via Financial Aftershocks With Precedent in History – NYTimes.com.

The events of the last few weeks — gridlock in Washington, brinksmanship over raising the debt ceiling, Standard & Poor’s downgrade of long-term Treasuries, renewed fears about European debt and a dizzying plunge in the stock market — bear an intriguing resemblance to some of the events of 1937-38, the so-called recession within the Depression, with a major caveat: it was a lot worse back then.

In the current context, it’s hard to blame the Fed for being too restrictive in its monetary policy, as the Fed was in 1937. If anything, critics fault it for being too accommodating, raising many of the same issues that led the Fed to tighten in 1937. Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, is a student of Depression history and is well aware of Mr. Friedman’s monetary analysis. “He won’t make the same mistake,” Jeremy Siegel, professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said.

The Fed’s pledge this week to keep interest rates near zero not just for a vague “extended period” but for a full two years rendered two-year Treasuries virtually risk-free and depressed their yields to a record low of 0.19 percent. This should lead investors to seek income from riskier assets, leading to lower interest rates across the spectrum, including mortgage rates.

via Financial Aftershocks With Precedent in History – NYTimes.com.

The Help, movies, bookshelf:  Nothing is ever black and white.

That’s been a daunting part of this phenomenal year for Stockett, a lesser ghost of Mississippi. This white woman, who never really liked to talk much, is suddenly being asked about history and cultural anthropology, to address and redress, when she really just wanted to write letters from home. So it has also been a time of figuring out her role, which, by the way, can make her relationship with her own help dicey.

“I have a Hispanic housekeeper now, and I don’t speak Spanish, so there’s not a whole lot of intimacy there. I have a nanny from Georgia, and she’s white and she brings her daughter.” They are great friends and work well together, but neither relationship exists in the same fraught cocoon as those “help” relationships in the Old South.

One of those truths, which “The Help” deserves praise for bringing to light, is that racism should be understood less as a matter of black grievance than of unexamined white privilege and pathology. And no one is more race-crazy than Hilly, portrayed by Dallas Howard in “The Help’s” weakest performance as a cruel, snake-eyed witch whose villainy extends to making Minny use an outside toilet even during a hurricane.

Cooper first filed suit against Stockett in February of this year, almost exactly two years to the day after “The Help” was first published. According to the case, Cooper feels that the central African American maid in the novel — a woman named Aibileen Clark and portrayed in the film by Viola Davis — was based largely on her, a contention Stockett denies.

The case, in which Cooper seeks $75,000 in damages, also claims that Stockett was asked specifically not to use Cooper’s name and likeness, which bears some resemblances to the character’s; in addition to the similarity of the first names, both women have a gold tooth, often go by the nickname “Aibee” and have mourned the death of grown sons.

via ‘The Help’ movie release brings new attention to author, lawsuit – The Washington Post.

 

11
Aug
11

‎8.11.2011 … am truly home … coffee with the Trobs, and yes, we solved all the problems of the world … And now back to clipping

The Invisible Woman, movies, Charles Dickens, Life After Harry Potter:  So Charles Dickens had a mistress …

While many know actor Ralph Fiennes for playing Harry Potter‘s nemesis Lord Voldemort, he has also started directing. One of his post-Harry Potter film projects includes directing an adaptation of The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin.

The nonfiction book tells the story of an affair between Great Expectations author Charles Dickens (pictured, via) and actress Nelly Ternan. According to The Guardian, Abi Morgan wrote the script. The release is set for late 2012, coinciding with Dickens’ 200th birthday.

Here’s more from the article: “Dickens was 45 when he met Ternan, then 18, in 1857. Their relationship remained secret from the public, even after Dickens’s separation from his wife the following year. Ternan travelled with the author for the rest of his life; after his death, she married a man 12 years her junior, having disguised her own age as 23, rather than 37.”

via Ralph Fiennes to Adapt The Invisible Woman – GalleyCat.

NCAA, college sports, change:  We can hope …

 I think they mean it this time.

Mark Emmert plans to enact major change in the upcoming weeks and months.

I believe the NCAA is serious about substantive change. I believe the governing body of college sports is tired of being mocked for the heft of its rulebook, ridiculed for its byzantine enforcement process and jeered for its oft-oxymoronic term, “student-athlete.” I believe the NCAA is truly motivated to disassociate itself from government, lawyers, the media and reality TV on the list of Most Criticized American Institutions.

I believe all that after listening to NCAA president Mark Emmert, several university presidents and a couple of conference commissioners describe their two-day retreat here. The language was strong.

via Presidential summit could spark major NCAA change – ESPN.

2012 Presidential Election, race issues, politics:  I think the Latinos are no different from the rest of the voters.  We are all in a bind.

Latinos are in a bind, said Pilar Marrero, a political writer and columnist for the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion. “It doesn’t really benefit Latinos to have one party that takes you for granted and another party that basically attacks you,” she said. “But that’s what we have right now. We don’t have many good options.”

It’s unclear how this frustration could affect the outcome of the upcoming election. Noting that it was too soon to make such predications with any accuracy, Marrero said she thought it was unlikely that many Latinos would vote for a Republican candidate. Yet she’d heard “talk about the potential of people not going to vote,” she said. And if that happens, the President could find it hard to gather all the votes he’ll need to win, especially in heavily Latino battleground states like New Mexico and Colorado.

For years, Latinos have overwhelmingly supported Democrat candidates. In 2004, President Bush won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, more than any Republican presidential nominee before, but whatever gains the Republicans made appeared to dissipate in 2008, when 67 percent of Latinos voted for President Obama and only 31 percent voted for Senator John McCain.

“The Latino vote came back to the Democratic Party after a brief flirtation with the Republicans,” said New Mexico’s then-governor Bill Richardson at the time.

via Looking Ahead, Latino Voters See A Choice Between Disappointment And Menace.

graffiti,  art exhibits, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, France:  After spending a week in France, my perspective on graffiti has changed … art, sometimes … but more often it is merely vandalism.

An exhibition that explored the history of graffiti and street art brought record-setting crowds into the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the museum said. The show, “Art in the Streets,” drew 201,352 visitors from April 17 through Aug. 8, the highest exhibition attendance in the museum’s history.

via Graffiti Exhibition Sets Attendance Records at Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles – NYTimes.com.

The Help, movies, food – Southern:  “About 20 minutes into the movie, you’re craving fried chicken,”  🙂

“About 20 minutes into the movie, you’re craving fried chicken,” says director Tate Taylor. That movie is The Help, the new film based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel; it stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer and costars platter after platter of incredibly delicious-looking Southern food. The Help examines the complicated relationships between African-American maids and their white employers in 1960s Mississippi, and since the story crosses race and class lines, the cooking does too. There are scenes of ladies’ luncheons with tomato aspic and cocktail meatballs, and scenes calling for soul food like collard greens, black-eyed peas and, of course, that craveable fried chicken. “Food is just everywhere,” says Taylor.

What’s unusual is that almost all the food in the movie was made by real Southern cooks—including teachers, a journalist and a cafeteria manager—recruited in Greenwood, Mississippi. Hollywood filmmakers typically work with caterers and food stylists, but Taylor, a Jackson native, wanted authenticity. “There’s a way we cook in the South; vegetables get a certain color to them,” he says. “That gets lost a lot of times, unless the right people make the food.”

via The Help: Southern Food | Food & Wine.

 NYC, Statue of Liberty, icons: 


See you in a year, Statue of Liberty—the historical landmark will be closed for repairs. on.life.com/jFDAZj | pic.twitter.com/ZjMdDsc

 via Twitter / @LIFE: See you in a year, Statue ….

Michelle Bachmann, 2012 Presidential Election, quotes:  hmmm

But Bachmann’s detractors, including Laidig, don’t buy it.

“Michele Bachmann is the most dishonest, most deceitful person I’ve ever met in my life,” Laidig told Roll Call. “She truly is a girl scout with a switchblade knife.”

via Tenure as State Senator Primed Bachmann for National Role : Roll Call Politics.

Katie Couric, tweets, vocabulary:  I enjoy Katie Couric’s vocabulary related tweets … but often I think her use of her choosen word is awkward.

Katie Couric (@katiecouric)
8/11/11 10:15 AM
#WOTD 
Fecundity, noun. The intellectual productivity of a creative imagination

Katie Couric (@katiecouric)
8/11/11 10:17 AM
I’ve found @ABC is an environment that promotes a fecundity of creativity. #WOTD

 

Great Recession, real estate crisis:  I don’t think Bo will have any trouble finding folks for his article.

AJC (@ajc)
8/11/11 11:01 AM
AJC writer looking for Atlantans ready to retire but trapped by tanking home values. Email Bo at bemerson@ajc.com

10
Jun
11

6.10.2011 … ‎… and the movie was … The Help … I liked the movie MUCH better than the book. Emma Stone was Skeeter … she was also very good as Wichita in Zombieland, a recent Teague favorite. Thank you, Joni for including me as your guest at the sneak preview!

The Help, film/lit, followup:  I liked the movie better than the book … and I will tell you why.  I felt that a white person could not get the voice of a black person correct.  I did not trust the narrator Skeeter.  When you put it in movie form, I trusted the actresses playing the roles of the blacks and the whites.  Go see the movie when it comes out in August.  It will bring up a lot of good conversation.  Oh, and I found this blog post interesting –  It’s okay not to like The Help « A Critical Review of the novel The Help.  I find myself feeling guilty or at least defensive for not adoring the book.

My friend and host for the sneak preview had these things to say … ” I loved it too! It is interesting how many different slants there are in the story and what a good job the movie did with all of them – growing into an adult, changing social mores, being black and white in the sixties south, women and social power, intimidation as a way of reinforcing the status quo, early feminism. Ten people could see it and take away 10 different “big ideas”. I think it will be a big hit… ”

We often acknowledge and argue that our perspectives are different, but I respect her opinion and I agree … I think it will be a big hit.

Three Cups of Tea, bookshelf:  ‎… and I did finally finish Three Cups of Tea!    I enjoyed it very much despite the controversy.

Here are several reasons I like and recommend the book:

1.  epigrams:  The authors do a great job of using epigrams (a quotation set at the beginning of a literary work or one of its divisions to suggest its theme) to reveal their themes.

2. title:  I liked the title and thought it perfect for an understanding of Mortenson’s journey ..

The title “Three Cups of Tea” refers to the way business is done in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The first time you have tea with someone, you are a stranger. Then the second time you are a friend, and the third time you are family (150; ch. 12). This is very important to the story, because Greg feels that he is at home in Asia, so it is his responsibility to build schools for them.

via Adam’s English 10 Blog: Three Cups of Tea Top 10 List.

3. quotes:

“Educate a boy, and your educate an individual. Educate a girl, and you educate a community.”

— African proverb, quoted by Greg Mortensen in Three Cups of Tea

“Once you educate the boys, they tend to leave the villages and go search for work in the cities, but the girls stay home, become leaders in the community, and pass on what they’ve learned.”

— Greg Mortensen, Three Cups of Tea

“You can hand out condoms, drop bombs, build roads, or put in electricity, but until the girls are educated a society won’t change.”

— Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea

“I’ve learned that terror doesn’t happen because some group of people somewhere like Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren’t being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.”

— Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea

via Good quotes from three cups of tea? 10 points best answer!!2? – Yahoo! Answers.

The Sweetest Thing, Elizabeth Musser, bookshelf: … now to read Elizabeth Musser’s new book The Sweetest Thing!

The Swimming Hole, Davidson NC, places, Davidson College, memory lane:  What a great place … nothing snooty about it … we were members for 6 years!  Happy 50th!  And of course, one of my all time favorite stories as a Davidson College student is of two friends getting arrested for skinny dipping … actually underwear dipping … after hours … along with a professor who had climbed the fence too to talk with them.  They all three had to go to court!

Back in 1960 or even before, Ed and Carol White were visiting friends out of state and heard about their community swimming pool.  Back in Davidson, Ed and Carol gathered Shaw Smith, Bill Ward and Bob Currie in their living room to discuss the possibility of having a community pool in Davidson.  Carol White remembers suggesting the name, “The Swimming Hole,” so people would not think they “were being uppity.”

The pool opened in 1961.  Ed and Carol White’s daughter, Susan, was an early life guard.  Reading the following “pool notes,” it is clear that a group of energetic citizens made the pool a reality … but just who they were and where they met to make this momentous decision?  Like so many events 50 years ago, there seems to be some embellishment of the facts and quite a bit of disagreement about whose living room, den or deck provided space for these early discussions.  No amount of phone calls could shed light on the land purchase (probably from the college), how it was initially financed, or when the construction began.  And just who is Agnes Kuentzel?  Do let us know – but in the meantime, smile and read on…

via The Swimming Hole at 50, and the Class of ’61 | DavidsonNews.net.

Amelie’s, restaurants, the law, trade dress:  One of my favorite places … and from a legal perspective, “trade dress” is an interesting concept. Thank you, NB, for introducing me to Amelie’s.

Fans of Amelie’s, the bakery and hip hangout open 24-7 in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood, have always touted its idiosyncrasies: eclectic décor (those striped walls! those zany light fixtures!) and distinctive offerings (those layered tortes! that salted caramel brownie!).

Now its owners are suing a Florida bakery that opened as an Amelie’s, in partnership with the Charlotte people – but has since renamed itself Sophie’s. The question is: What makes Amelie’s Amelie’s?

Trademarks, trade secrets and something called “trade dress” – essentially the look of a place – are at hand.

Here’s what’s undisputed from both sides: Todd and Carole Binkowski were longtime Amelie’s fans when they lived in Charlotte. When the couple moved to Tampa, they and the Amelie’s owners – Lynn St. Laurent, Bill Lamb and Brenda Ische – agreed to go into partnership to see if an Amelie’s could work in the Hyde Park neighborhood there. People from Amelie’s worked on the new space’s look and food, and it opened in late February.

Then versions diverge.

The Amelie’s owners’ suit says the Binkowskis knew Amelie’s wanted to franchise, while Todd Binkowski said the goal was only to “prove” the business model, and that he did not expect to be treated like a franchisee.

via What makes Amelie’s Amelie’s? | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Heat Burst, weird, weather, random:  Never heard of this one ….

WICHITA, Kansas — Last night Wichita experienced a very rare weather phenomenon known as a “Heat Burst.” At 12:22 a.m. the temperature at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport was 85 degrees. At 12:44 the temperature spiked to 102 degrees. This was a 17 degree increase in only 20 minutes. Winds also gusted between 50 and 60 MPH. The heat burst winds and temperatures rapidly dissipated as they spread across Sedgwick and Southern Butler Counties.

A heat burst is caused when rain falls into very dry air, high up in the atmosphere. The rain quickly evaporates as it falls through the dry parcel of air and that parcel cools rapidly. This dense mass falls rapidly toward the ground, heating up as it compresses. When this hot ball of air hits the ground it spreads out in every direction creating very strong, warm and dry winds.

About an hour before the heat burst, wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour battered the Wichita metro area. This was due to outflow winds from severe weather south of the city, and not related to the heat burst.

via Wichita experiences rare ‘heat burst’ overnight – KSN TV, Kansas News and Weather.

Leonard Stern, Mad Libs, RIP:  I never knew who created them, or even thought about them, but I loved them as a kid and my daughter still gives her brother one for Christmas every year.

Leonard Stern — a prolific television writer, producer and director — died Tuesday at age 88. Among his credits: a writer for The Honeymooners, Get Smart and McMillan and Wife — to name a few. Yet, his most enduring contribution may not be found in punch lines for the small screen — but rather in blank spaces. Stern co-created the popular word game Mad Libs with fellow comedy writer Roger Price in 1958. At the time of the game’s 50th anniversary, more than 110 million copies reportedly had been sold. Melissa Block and Michele Norris remember Leonard Stern.

via ‘Mad Libs’ Co-Creator Dies at 88 : NPR.

20
Apr
11

4.20.2011 … with two boys in Boulder 4/20 is not my favorite day …

4/20, Boulder, CU:

In Boulder, April flowers not only bring May showers, but also clouds of marijuana smoke over the Norlin Library Quad on 4/20 at 4:20 p.m. Though this event attracts a large group, reactions and views are mixed.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington, D.C., released a letter on 4/20 in 2010, where he referred to these nationwide smoke-outs as “protestivals” happening across the country.

via 4/20 perspectives | CU Independent.

4/20, LOL:  A few more sites for those of you who are just learning about 4/20 (that would be me until Jack went to Boulder …)  Stoner Lingo Decoded: The Super High History of 420 – TIME NewsFeed. … Welcome to Potopia – Newsweek … and a joke ….

When Parents Text

Happy 4/20!

ME: How come harry potter fans dont get a name?! there are trekkies and twihards.

MOM: Pot heads.

via Facebook.

movies, film/lit, The Help:  I hope I respond better to the movie.  My objection to the book is that the author casts a very wide net of condemnation … and I don’t think things were quite so black and white.  But I will definitely go to the movie.  The Help Trailer Released – GalleyCat.

Ayn Rand, politics, Davidson:  I am getting tired of Ayn Rand.  I have some friends who became Randists in college  … it wasn’t pretty. Definitely don’t need a Randist element in the GOP, but obviously we already have it.

Welcome to the Ayn Rand Congress. As I write in a piece for the April 25 issue of the dead-tree magazine, “Rand has always been a lodestar for proponents of limited government.” But never so much as now. Conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck herald her work. Tea Partyers hoist signs that name-check her literary heroes. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chair and GOP man of the moment, has passed out Rand’s novels to staffers and called her the reason he got into politics. Rand’s theory of a two-tiered society — split between the “producers” who shoulder society’s burdens and the “looters” who mooch off their efforts — is one of the strains of thought that animate the Tea Party movement, along with free markets (check), individual liberty (check) and limited government (check). Strands of Rand’s objectivist philosophy are woven through most of Congress’s weighty debates about tax rates and regulations (Alan Greenspan was a Rand protégé), wage scales and social-welfare programs. The 112th Congress has been dominated by apocalyptic debates over fiscal policy; in the last line of Atlas Shrugged, John Galt traces a dollar sign “over the desolate earth.” You could argue that the essential confrontation of this Congress is not between Democrats and Republicans but between people who see income inequality as a major social problem and those who consider it a natural byproduct of an equal-opportunity society.

via Rand Paul Cites Tea Party Prophet Ayn Rand in Congress | Swampland.

news, Fidel Castro:  My generation grew up with classmates whose parents had fled Cuba; I don’t think I ever got what had happened … It is a strange part of our North American/US history … the Cold War and Communism at our back door.

News that Fidel Castro has resigned from the Central Committee of Cuba’s Communist Party isn’t very surprising — slowed by chronic health problems, the 84-year-old has effectively been out of political life since passing over the reins to his brother Raul in 2006. He now looks more familiar to us in a loose track suit than his once iconic military fatigues. (See a terrific photoessay of the Cuban rebels in the jungle over a half century ago.) TIME was there, though, when the bearded revolutionary ousted Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. After the jump: an excerpt from TIME’s gripping Jan. 26, 1959 cover story on Castro’s rise to power.

via Fidel Castro Steps Down from Cuba’s Communist Party Central Committee – Global Spin – TIME.com.

careers, listsFive Best Job Search Sites.

tv, food television shows, lists:  They say we are cooking less and watching food shows more !  Ten food television shows you should be watching – chicagotribune.com.

culture, Tax Day, statistics:  The only thing I get is that we are spending more than we are taking in …

There’s a movement afoot to mail every taxpayer a “taxpayer receipt,” a breakdown of how the government spends its money. The goal is to educate people about where their taxes go, since Americans are famously unaware about such matters.

But as long as we’re talking about educating Americans about fiscal policy, why not start with what they actually pay in taxes, and what they earn, relative to their fellow Americans?

I am constantly amazed by how little Americans know about where they stand in the income and taxing distribution. The latest example is evident in a recent Gallup study, which found that 6 percent of Americans in households earning over $250,000 a year think their taxes are “too low.” Of that same group, 26 percent said their taxes were “about right,” and a whopping 67 percent said their taxes were “too high.”

via Rich People Still Don’t Realize They’re Rich – NYTimes.com.

green, wind farms:  A while back I noted seeing the wind farm in the English Channel, it was an amazing sight.  It will be interesting to view one off our coast.

A federal agency approved a construction and operations plan for the Cape Wind project off the Massachusetts coast, clearing the way for work to begin on America’s first offshore wind farm as early as this fall, Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar announced Tuesday.

Approval by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement was required before construction of the proposed 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound could get under way.A

via Mass. offshore wind farm approved; Nation’s 1st – CBS News.

art, the law:  This is one combination I was not expecting … “rediscovering art through law.”

Legal Art Gallery » GALLERY.

cars:  I always loved seeing a mini or micro as a child.  Since the intro of the mini cooper they really are no big deal to the current generation …  the vintage ones are down right comical.

Mini- and Micro-Cars Coming To New York Auto Show – Speakeasy – WSJ.

romance, blog posts, Jane Austen: I have followed Cheryl for several years … love her fiance’s proposal.  Oh, to be young again!

And with such a prospect before me, dear reader, I said yes!

The two gentlemen in costume were friends of James’s, unknown to me; James wrote the scripts with all the Jane Austen references to please me, featuring characters with defects (greed and vanity) that would highlight his own suit in turn–“classic literary foils,” he says. He rented the costumes for them from a shop in Midtown.

via Brooklyn Arden.

blog sites, favorites:  Delancey Place is quickly becoming a favorite.

… very simply a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote we view as interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context. There is no theme, except that most excerpts will come from a non-fiction work, primarily historical in focus, and will occasionally be controversial. Finally, we hope that the selections will resonate beyond the subject of the book from which they were excerpted.

via home | www.delanceyplace.com | eclectic excerpts delivered to your email every day from editor Richard Vague.

137th Kentucky Derby, Louisville places, events:  It almost time for Derby delirium!  Triple Crown Talk | Derby Delirium | BloodHorse.com Blog Stable.

Google, Google Places:  Trying to figure if this would be useful … Google Places.

health, medicines, lists:  Any surprises here? Chart of the Day: The Top 15 Prescription Drugs in America – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic.

DanielPink, acronoym:  I have to admit I never heard of  TANSTAFL, but it is true …

Daniel Pink

RT @markknoller: Obama quotes old saying acronym TANSTAFL (tahn’-stah-fil): “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

via (31) Twitter / Home.

03
Mar
11

3.3.2011 … I get by with a little help from my friends … Thanks, ya’ll!

kith/kin:  Thanks, ya’ll …YouTube – With a Little Help From my Friends- The Beatles.

 

film/lit, movies:  Lots of good ones coming out this year …

Ever since the days of Gone With The Wind, Hollywood producers have been optioning bestselling books and whipping them into celluloid hits. At the Oscars this year, several books-and-now-they’re-films will get nods, from The Social Network (loosely based on Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires, which was loosely based on the lives of the smooth-cheeked geniuses behind Facebook) to True Grit (read Charles Portis’ novel! Really, just do it), to 127 Hours (nee Between a Rock and a Hard Place), because some people prefer reading about a person slicing his own arm off to watching it happen.

via Your 2011 Books-Into-Films Lineup, From ‘Eyre’ To ‘Water’ To ‘Desert’ : Monkey See : NPR.

film/lit, The Help, legal issues:

Kathryn Stockett, author of the massive best-seller The Help, is being sued by her brother’s family’s longtime nanny, who says Stockett borrowed her likeness and her story without permission — and portrayed her in a way that she found painful and humiliating.

via ‘The Help’ Spawns A Lawsuit And A Question: How Much Borrowing Is Fair? : Monkey See : NPR.

fashion:  I hate to say this, but the right little black dress can really make a girl feel good! …”that chic, sleek piece of night that is appropriate to wear at almost any event short of rock climbing.”

In the arsenal that is the wardrobe of the well-dressed woman, there is no more reliable weapon than the Little Black Dress, that chic, sleek piece of night that is appropriate to wear at almost any event short of rock climbing. What’s not to celebrate about the staple of well-stocked closets everywhere? Here: Renee Zellweger attends the Otouto premiere in Berlin in February 2010.

via A Tribute to the Little Black Dress – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

economics:

It’s an uncomfortable truth for economists; perhaps all of whom have heard, at some point in their lives, the remark that “free trade is great in theory, but in practice…”. Mark Thoma muses on the question and observes that just because trade can make everyone better off doesn’t mean that it will. Trade liberalisation generally produces net benefits, such that some of the winners’ gains can be redistributed to losers, leaving all in better shape than before. But this is not how policy functions in the real world. Should we support free trade if its Pareto improvements aren’t actually realised?

via Trade: Putting the free in free trade | The Economist.

politics,culture:  Rhetoric or no rhetoric, I just want to line up the crazies who say these things and put then in an institution.  Rep. Paul Broun Asked At Town Hall: ‘Who Is Going To Shoot Obama?’.

Paula Deen, tv, Top Chef:  Cant you just hear Paula saying “b-u-t-t-e-r, it’s so g-o-o-d.”

Paula Deen Comes to Top Chef. There Will Be Butter

via Paula Deen Comes to Top Chef. There Will Be Butter. – Zagat.

 




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