Posts Tagged ‘traditions

31
Oct
13

10.31.13 … Halloween … What’s Banksy got to do with it … or the Scots, for that matter? … ” when the boundary between the living and the spirit worlds was at its most tenuous” …

Halloween, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (TV Short 1966):

My crazy dad dressed up as the Great Pumpkin (white sheet with giant plastic pumpkin container appropriately cut to fit on his head with a flashlight inside … get the picture) and had my mom drive him around sitting on the hood of our station wagon. I now realize my dad was spot on … via It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (TV Short 1966) – IMDb came out in 1966.  All this took place in our most perfect trick-or-treating neighborhood, Brookwood Hills – Atlanta.

traditions …  When we lived on Sharon Road in Charlotte (1985 – 1993),  we had Hitchcock Halloween with our neighbors.  Tonight we watched  Rear Window for a Throw Back Thursday Halloween!  We missed the Bennetts!

Rear Window (1954)

A few other tidbits and ideas for Halloween …

Halloween costumes, Banksy, Art Beat, PBS NewsHour:

Milwaukee resident Jason McDowell dressed as a famous piece of street art by the anonymous artist known as Banksy. The original work is on a wall in West Bank\’s biblical city of Bethlehem. Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images

Pittsburgh resident Tim Notari dressed up as Magritte\’s \”Son of Man\” for Halloween recently. Photo of Notari courtesy of Flickr user Jennifer Murawski and the original \”Son of Man\” from wikicommons

via Can’t decide what to be this Halloween? How about a Banksy | Art Beat | PBS NewsHour | PBS.

A few more costume ideas …

55 Awesome Halloween Costume Ideas | Mental Floss.

pumpkins, jack o’lanterns, Louisville KY, Jack O’Lantern Spectacular:

This year, Reckner has brought his enormous “Jack O’Lantern Spectacular” to Louisville, where he has assembled his largest-ever display — 5,000 carved pumpkins, lining a path that’s a third of a mile long, in the woods of Iroquois Park.

For Reckner, the setting in Iroquois Park is ideal. “This is like a dream come true,” he said. “You walk in the woods at night, it’s an experience — never mind when you put 5,000 pumpkins up there.”

While many of the pumpkins in the show are more elaborate versions of the kind of jack-o’-lantern you might make at home, many larger pumpkins have intricate designs where artists have drawn scenes or faces and then scraped some of the pumpkin flesh away without cutting all the way through, so the design seems to glow from within the pumpkins.

To provide the manpower to carve all those pumpkins, Reckner put out a call to local artists through a Craigslist ad this summer, and interviewed candidates in September.

At the time, artist Edward Cabral was working a job he didn’t much like and was looking for something else. “I was applying to anything that had a pulse and said ‘art,’ ” Cabral said. Even so, responding to a Craigslist ad seemed a bit sketchy. “I was a little leery,” he said.

But after meeting the organizers and hearing their offer — $50 for each pumpkin design and $50 for the carving — Cabral and other artists signed up.

“I’ve been floored by the artists here,” Reckner said. “They’re actually teaching me a few things.”

Page

via Artists make the cut to design thousands of pumpkins at ‘Jack O’Lantern Spectacular’ | The Courier-Journal | courier-journal.com.

Reformation Day (October 31), October 31 1517,  Martin Luther, 95 theses:

Photo: It’s Reformation Day (October 31), when in 1517 Martin Luther (1483-1546) posted his 95 theses protesting the sale of indulgences within the Catholic Church and launched the Protestant Reformation. “For sheer richness and exuberance of vocabulary and mastery of style,” wrote historian Roland Bainton, Luther “is to be compared only with Shakespeare.”

It’s Reformation Day (October 31), when in 1517 Martin Luther (1483-1546) posted his 95 theses protesting the sale of indulgences within the Catholic Church and launched the Protestant Reformation. “For sheer richness and exuberance of vocabulary and mastery of style,” wrote historian Roland Bainton, Luther “is to be compared only with Shakespeare.”

Halloween, Hallowe’en, All Hallows’ Eve,  Celtic festival of Samhain/Samhuinn, Robert Burns’ 1785 poem ‘Halloween’:

Halloween or Hallowe’en takes its name from All Hallows’ Eve, the night before the Christian festival of All Hallows or All Saints Day. But it’s possible to trace its beginnings back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain or Samhuinn, held on 1 November, which marked the culmination of summer and the harvest period with the onset of winter. Robert Burns’ 1785 poem ‘Halloween’ details many of the national customs and legends surrounding the festival, many of them pagan in origin, which had persisted even with the advent of Christianity.

One of the most enduring of these was the Celtic belief that it marked a time when the boundary between the living and the spirit worlds was at its most tenuous, and that the ghosts of dead, including supernatural beings such as witches and warlocks, would be able to walk the earth for this one night of the year. To ward off potentially malevolent entities, large bonfires were lit in communities and it is believed that this practice survives today in the tradition of carving pumpkin lanterns with creepy grimaces. While the use of pumpkins is actually an American invention, in Scotland it has been custom to carve lanterns out of ‘neeps’ or turnips.

via Halloween’s Scottish roots – The Distillery Blog | VisitScotland.

02
Feb
13

2.2.13 … “Spring,” says Queen Charlotte … Happy Lunar New Year!

Groundhog Day, Candlemas, spring, traditions, Queen Charlotte – Charlotte’s Groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, LOL:  Who knew … 1. we have our own groundhog, Queen Charlotte and 2. Groundhog Day is associated with Candlemas Day. And what is Candlemas Day?  Anyway … ‘Spring!’ says Queen Charlotte.

The old Candlemas Day tradition says that if the groundhog sees its shadow on Feb. 2, six more weeks of wintry weather are ahead. No shadow means an early spring.

While a hit with the hundreds of children who gathered behind the Nature Museum on Saturday to see her, and despite her apparent prowess on social media, Queen Charlotte hasn’t been quite so spectacular with her weather forecasts.

She predicted six more weeks of winter last year, but the Charlotte area experienced one of the mildest winters on record.

Over the past five years, she’s been correct twice.

But at least she was well-behaved.

via ‘Spring!’ says Queen | CharlotteObserver.com.

For only the 17th time since 1887…Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow. So his forecast: an early Spring! Happy Groundhog Day!

via Twitter / DanSkeldonNBC40: For only the 17th time since ….

Its that time of year…

.

Why We Broke Up,  Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman, quotes, bookshelf, YA fiction, quotes, The Why We Broke Up Project, movie – Why We Broke Up : Loving this easy read that is illustrated by Maira Kalman …

… and turned up the music and the night began to begin. – Why We Broke Up, 15.

“It’s not you, it’s me — you’re great.” “I’m so sorry, but this just isn’t working out.” “I think we should see other people.” Whether it was the boy who dumped you in the sandbox for that kid with the bright red fire truck or the girl who abruptly stopped answering your notes during algebra, no one makes it through life without exposure to that miserable condition known as the breakup. And now we have Daniel Handler (who also writes as Lemony Snicket) giving us the lowdown on the rise and fall of one dissolution in particular in “Why We Broke Up.”

via Why We Broke Up – By Daniel Handler. Illustrated by Maira Kalman – Book Review – NYTimes.com.

Would you share your story?  Interesting project …

Why We Broke Up is my new novel, in the form of a long letter from a girl named Min Green to a boy named Ed Slaterton. The letter comes with a box, and inside the box are all of the souvenirs from their love. Each of the items is the subject of a painting by Maira Kalman.

In order to write and illustrate this tale of heartbreak, Maira and I dug deep into our own romantic histories, remembering all of the times we’ve been dumped, particularly by [name redacted] and, in Maira’s case, [name redacted]. It was almost like getting our hearts broken all over again, several times, and it doesn’t seem fair that we would have to do this and you wouldn’t.

This website allows you to share your stories of heartbreak with us, just as we shared ours with you. Our hope is that the Why We Broke Up project will enable all of our heartbreak to reach critical mass, so that, unlike [name redacted], it will never bother us again.

via The Why We Broke Up Project.

Hailee Steinfeld is in final negotiations to join Fox’s comedy Why We Broke Up. The film is an adaptation of a book by Daniel Handler, who also wrote the Lemony Snicket novel series.

The actress plays Min, a high school sophomore who enjoys hanging out with friends at their favorite coffee shop. She falls for Ed, a senior and captain of the basketball team, and gets caught up in their roller coaster romance. The story unfolds a few weeks after their break-up, when she drops off a letter and a box of mementos on his porch.

via Hailee Steinfeld Joins Why We Broke Up – MovieWeb.com.

labyrinth walks, “Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking:

IMG_5423 IMG_5424 IMG_5426

IMG_5427 IMG_5428 IMG_5429

IMG_5430 IMG_5431 IMG_5432

IMG_5433 IMG_5434

 

Quick walk to focus on blessings. And think about a few of my friends and family who are in need of blessings.

Chimes playing for the entire walk which is unusual. Their clanging went well with my cold brisk wet walk.

As I left the center I left my yard clogs and walked out sock-footed. One of the most interesting observations was that parts of the brick path were cold and some were warm. And it wasn’t because I was used to it. It seems that one side of the labyrinth was warmer than the other. Much love – d

via (1) Feb 2, 2013.

fireworks, Chambers Lawn, Davidson College, Lunar New Year:  Happy Lunar New Year! Neither John nor I have ever heard of Davidson having such a celebration … love it!  Molly’s roommate was sad because this was the first time she missed the holiday away from home.  She is Asian-American.

Fireworks on Chambers Lawn. Happy Lunar New Year!

source: The Davidsonian

LOL:

Laughed out loud. It’s all true!

via Noble Pig Vineyards.

2013 Budweiser Super Bowl Ad, The Clydesdales: “Brotherhood” , YouTube: By far my favorite!

2013 Budweiser Super Bowl Ad — The Clydesdales: “Brotherhood” – YouTube.

Paris, Notre-Dame de Paris, bells:  Love this post …

Arrivée des nouvelles cloches à Notre-Dame de Paris

Updated on Friday

Dans le cadre du 850e anniversaire de Notre-Dame de Paris, un nouvel ensemble de neuf cloches est arrivé par convoi exceptionnel à Paris. Revivez en photos l’impressionnante arrivée de Gabriel, Anne-Geneviève, Denis, Etienne et les autres, sous les vivats de la foule.

via Arrivée des nouvelles cloches à Notre-Dame de Paris.

02
Jan
13

1.2.13 It’s a great day to be a Wildcat. GO Davidson, BEAT Duke! (I can dream!)

 

traditions:  I still think of my childhood friend Marty every year when I plant these.  Since I planted late … I had a beautiful treat for New Year’s Day.

 

Photo: Since I planted late ... I had a beautiful treat for New Year's Day.

 

 Atlanta, oops, traditions:  From friend Bert …

Crane removing tree at Lenox breaks; tree hanging over edge of mall! (Photo taken from my office)

.Photo: Crane removing tree at Lenox breaks; tree hanging over edge of mall! (Photo taken from my office)

 

12 days of Christmas, learned something new:

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love (God) sent to me Nine Ladies Dancing. The nine attributes of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness, 6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

via Advent.

Davidson Basketball:  It’s a great day to be a Wildcat. GO Davidson, BEAT Duke!  I’ll report back tomorrow …

 traditions, RIP, Nancy Wells Johnson: I thank Debbie for giving me this lovely remembrance of Nancy every time I see or smell rosemary.

Hamlet

Act 4. Scene V

OPHELIA

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray,

love, remember: and there is pansies. that’s for thoughts.

Remembering Nancy Johnson today.

just a thought …: I like this … But I would probably pay dearly.

Photo: Please SHARE :)

 asteroid:  Close Shave for Asteroid – WSJ.com.

Close Shave - Asteroid 2012 DA-14 Will Pass Very Close to Earth

 

fiscal cliff:

Again I’m much more glum. I’d say we’ve accelerated our trip to disaster. My big puzzle is why young people are not in the streets. They are really being hosed, sentenced to a living standard much lower than their parents because of boomer greed. I guess it’s hard when you are 25 to imagine the tax bill and the benefit cuts that will hit when you are 40, but someday interest rates will return to their normal levels and it will all come crashing down.

 

via The Fiscal Riff – NYTimes.com.

 

 

18
Oct
11

10.18.2011 … Congratulations to Dr. Carol Quillen, Davidson College’s 18th President

Dr. Carol Quillen Inauguration, Davidson College, traditions, quotes, Dean Will Terry, kith/kin:  It was a great day to be a Wildcat!!  Dr. Quillen gave wonderful in her speech.  You can listen if you want … the link’s at the end. I truly believe she gets Davidson.  And she has a sense of humor. In her speech, she retold of some advice she was given … and some Davidson lore. 🙂  (And John welcomed her as President of the Alumni Association.)

“We know you are from the Northeast, bless your heart, but let us finish our own sentences.”

“Dean Will Terry is responsible for more legitimate  Davidson alumni children than any other human being on the planet”

 

    Carol Quillen (left) accepts the ceremonial mace from trustees chair Mackey McDonald Tuesday. (Bill Giduz/Davidson College)

The event, which was shifted to Belk Arena because of the threat of rain, included a procession with faculty in full academic regalia. Representatives of the college’s various constituencies, including Davidson Mayor John Woods and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (Davidson Class of ’93) offered congratulatory remarks. Then trustees chair Mackey McDonald completed her inauguration by handing over the president’s mace.

 

President Quillen was hired last springand arrived on campus Aug. 1. She is a Delaware native and Presbyterian who went to Quaker schools. In her academic career, she has been a scholar of European history and served most recently as a vice president for international and interdisciplinary initiatives at Rice University in Texas.

She succeeded Tom Ross, who stepped down in January after three years to become president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system.

In a 30-minute speech, President Quillen quelled expectations that she might announce new initiatives, saying it was too early to lay out a broad vision or discuss changes. Instead, she talked about what she has learned from listening to Davidson employees, students and alumni in meetings on and off campus over the past few months.

“My job so far has not been making speeches, but listening,” President Quillen said. “I walk around – around Davidson, around Charlotte, around New York, around Brevard, around other places, mostly asking questions.

“What matters to you most about Davidson? What worries you most? Why did you choose a liberal arts college, and why among these did you choose Davidson?” she said.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, a 1993 Davidson grad, offered congratulatory remarks Tuesday. (Bill Giduz/Davidson College)

Many people agreed on what they hold most important about the college, she said. “The Honor Code is the thing you all tell me never must change,” she said. (Davidson’s honor code is a pledge all students sign freshman year promising integrity in academics and campus life.)

She drew laughs when she recited a list of advice she has gotten from those she met. “Make as few major decisions as possible in the first six months. Meet everyone who works here. Wear jeans,” she joked. Another person admonished her to understand the South: “We know you are from the Northeast, bless your heart, but let us finish our own sentences.”

President Quillen’s words celebrated Davidson, its traditions and its people – some by name. But she also offered a note of caution. She said she expects Davidson to face challenges in the coming months because of economic uncertainty, and because of society’s demand for one-size-fits-all education.

Davidson’s emphasis on liberal arts sets it apart: “This kind of education cultivates a student’s capacities like nothing else. Davidson is a place where you can develop all of your talents, even ones you don’t know you possess,” she said.

via At inauguration, Quillen celebrates Davidson’s traditions and people | DavidsonNews.net.

Link to the video … Davidson College – Presidential Inauguration.

Supreme Court,  Arkansas’ Double-Jeopardy Case, Bill of Rights:

Blueford’s attorneys asked the judge to enter the announcement as a verdict on the two most serious charges, but the judge declined. He told the jury to try again and when they reported they were still deadlocked on the manslaughter charge, he immediately declared a mistrial.

Prosecutors moved quickly to bring charges against Blueford a second time and readied for a second trial. His attorneys asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to throw out the two murder charges, arguing that another trial would be exactly the kind of double jeopardy the Bill of Rights is designed to protect against. The court disagreed, noting that the forewoman’s statements in open court about the unanimous votes to acquit didn’t amount to a real verdict because the decisions were never written down on a verdict form and entered into the record. “It is axiomatic that a judgment is not valid until entered of record,” the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled in January. “We further stated in [a previous case] that a judgment rendered in open court is not controlling until entered or filed of record. The mere reading of the jury’s verdict in open court does not constitute an acquittal.”

That a defendant would have to endure a second trial after a seeming victory in the first round is nothing new. Prosecutors routinely retry defendants after a hung jury. And they often win on their second crack at the case: just ask former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich in Chicago. The first time out, federal prosecutors were only able to win a conviction on a single, relatively minor charge — out of 24 — and Blagojevich all but declared victory. A year later, however, they were all back in court and jurors saw things much differently. The U.S. got him on 17 of the 20 charges, including many that he had seemed to beat on the first round.

But Blueford’s case is different, say his attorneys and dozens of law professors and others who have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in his support. For one thing, the jury didn’t fail to agree that he was guilty — as with Blagojevich’s first case — they actually voted on both serious charges, and in both cases were unanimous that he was innocent. Lawyer Charles Curtis, a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP working pro bono on the case, co-wrote an amicus brief on behalf of more than a dozen criminal-law professors supporting Blueford’s request for a Supreme Court hearing. He told TIME that allowing the Arkansas Supreme Court’s ruling to stand in this case would be a triumph of form over substance. Just because a jury’s unanimous decision isn’t read into the record as a formal verdict, and filed in written form, it doesn’t mean the 12 jurors hadn’t made a decision. They had, he argued.

“This is an especially compelling case,” he told TIME this Wednesday. “In Arkansas, they have what is known as a hard transition rule, which means that jurors are instructed that they cannot consider a lesser included charge until after they have already come to a unanimous decision against convicting on the more serious charge. They have to go in order, which is usually a gift to the prosecutors. They have to convict on the most serious charge they can agree on, and can’t skip to a lesser offense.”

In a second amicus brief, on behalf of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal think tank and law firm, lawyers argued that the Fifth Amendment was designed in part to protect against the government’s influence over judicial proceedings, and that “fundamental principles do not lose their force here simply because the jury that heard Blueford’s case was not able to resolve all of the charges against him … The Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on double jeopardy protects the jury’s judgment that the defendant is not guilty of the charges and is entitled to an acquittal, not the ministerial act of reducing their vote to a judgment.”

Arkansas sees it differently, of course. The attorney general’s office argues that the trial transcript reveals nothing more than “that a discussion transpired between the trial judge and the jury foreperson without any attendant formalities and before the jury had concluded its deliberations.” Its lawyers argue that the state supreme court got it right when it ruled against Blueford in an opinion that “speaks to the well-established requirement that any final verdict must be presented and received in such manner that each juror appreciates the finality and gravity of the verdict and unanimously affirms it.”

The nine Justices in Washington will have the final say about who got it right when they issue their ruling, which isn’t expected until sometime next year.

via Supreme Court to Hear Arkansas’ Double-Jeopardy Case – TIME.

BofA, end of an era:  It was a great run in many ways … but it was a dream that could not be sustained.  It is a great institution with a great history.  Hopefully the nimbler BofA will get back to doing what it does best … provide capital to our markets with an appropriate assessment  of the risk and compensation to the bank and its shareholders commensurate with that risk and provide basic banking services to the general public.

For Bank of America, it is the end of an era.

With the bank shrinking its balance sheet and selling off assets, the company, based in Charlotte, N.C., surrendered its title as the country’s biggest bank Tuesday, another sign of how a money-losing giant assembled over decades is being reshaped into a smaller and, investors hope, more profitable institution.

Bank of America, with $2.22 trillion in assets reported Tuesday in its third-quarter earnings, is now second to JPMorgan Chase, which has $2.29 trillion assets. It also ranks second to JPMorgan Chase in terms of branches and total deposits.

Analysts said it was more evidence of how Bank of America’s chief executive, Brian T. Moynihan, is reversing the legacy of his controversial predecessor, Ken Lewis, an empire builder who craved being the biggest in United States banking and whose creation ultimately needed two federal bailouts to survive the financial crisis.

In today’s slow-growth economy, though, bigger is not necessarily better. And the challenges Bank of America still faces were evident in the numbers it released Tuesday.

via Bank of America Loses Title as Biggest in U.S. – NYTimes.com.

2012 Presidential Election, faith and spirituality, politics and religion:  Really don’t agree with everything here, but it is a good exercise to walk through this analysis.

Did he embrace the views of his pastor? Again, a fair question because no religion I’m familiar with allows for a separation of faith from behavior. The question is not whether personal spiritual beliefs shape a politician’s values and policies, but what spiritual beliefs mold those values and policies.

Finally, discussion of a candidate’s faith is multifaceted. I believe I have been misquoted repeatedly as telling the GOP not to vote for Romney. I have never made such a statement; I realize I might very well end up voting for Romney if he is the Republican nominee. While I prefer a competent Christian over a competent non-Christian, religion is not the only consideration in choosing a candidate. Frankly, Christians have not always made good presidents. We must also consider whether a candidate is competent to lead and govern according to biblical principles.

During this firestorm I’ve reignited over the role of religion in politics, some have quoted Martin Luther as saying he would rather be governed by a competent unbeliever than an incompetent Christian. Yet evangelicals should remember that the purpose of the primary process is to keep us from having to make such a choice. At this point we have the opportunity to select both a competent leader and a committed Christian.

I predict secularists are going to be continually frustrated over the next 13 months as religion continues to be a part of the national political debate. America is filled with religious people, and to religious people, religion matters.

via Why a candidate’s faith matters – The Washington Post.

Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party:  Worth reading because it raises some good points …

With the Occupy Wall Street protests gaining steam in the U.S., it seems obvious to link the movement with the other grassroots movement that recently shook up American politics: the Tea Party. President Barack Obama did it this morning, telling ABC that the protesters in downtown New York are “not that different” from the Tea Party: both the right and the left feel “that their institutions aren’t looking out for them.”

My colleagues’ pieces number among a flurry of others pondering the parallel. Michael Scherer recast Occupy Wall Street as the Tea Party of the American left. Roya Wolverson suggested how the two movements, coming from diametrically opposed sides of the political spectrum, could find common ground (and perhaps policy influence) in their mutual distaste for a Washington dominated by the vested interests of corporations. But while the similarities are noteworthy, they obscure more relevant truths about Occupy Wall Street, the supposedly inchoate movement that has transfixed the American media in recent weeks

Because at the end of the day, Occupy Wall Street, like most idealistic social movements, wants real political change. Excited activists in Zuccotti Park spoke to me about the advent of “participatory budgeting” in a number of city council districts in New York — an egalitarian system, first brought about in leftist-run cities in Latin America, that allows communities to dole out funds in their neighborhoods through deliberation and consensus building. It’s the same process that gets played out every day by the activist general assemblies held in Zuccotti Park and other occupation sites around the U.S. To the outside observer, that may seem foolishly utopian — and impracticable on a larger scale — but it’s a sign of the deep political commitment of many of the protesters gathering under Occupy Wall Street’s banner. They want to fix government, not escape from it.

via How Occupy Wall Street Is Different from the Tea Party – Global Spin – TIME.com.

 

 

05
Oct
11

10.5 … ‎Off to FPC for a little Jane Austen and her religious perspective as seen in Mansfield Park’s Fanny … RIP Steve Jobs … You’ve changed my world for the better. Price …

Steve Jobs, RIP:  As any readers know, I and my family are big Apple fans.  We “converted” in 2004 … the kids converted in school (I guess they were ambi – os) … but we all prefer Apple products for person computing, phoning (except the Molls who loves her bbm) and entertainment.  So rest in peace, Steve Jobs; you have changed my world for the better.  Thank you.

Others seem to agree … immediately upon the announcement of his death … these articles appeared online.  My favorite …  “Elvis has left the house.”

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being,” Mr. Cook said in a letter to employees. “We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.”

During his more than three-decade career, Mr. Jobs transformed Silicon Valley as he helped turn the once-sleepy expanse of fruit orchards into the technology industry’s innovation center. In addition to laying the groundwork for the industry alongside others like Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, Mr. Jobs proved the appeal of well-designed products over the power of technology itself and transformed the way people interact with technology.

“The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come,” Mr. Gates said in a statement Wednesday.

The most productive chapter in Mr. Jobs’s career occurred near the end of his life, when a nearly unbroken string of successful products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad changed the PC, electronics and digital-media industries. The way he marketed and sold those products through savvy advertising campaigns and Apple’s retail stores helped turn the company into a pop-culture phenomenon.

At the beginning of that phase, Mr. Jobs described his philosophy as trying to make products that were at “the intersection of art and technology.” In doing so, he turned Apple into the world’s most valuable company with a market value of $350 billion.

via Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, Is Dead – WSJ.com.

What’s less talked about is what drove Jobs, who died Wednesday at 56.

As with anyone, Jobs’ values were shaped by his upbringing and life experiences. He was born in 1955 in San Francisco and grew up amid the rise of hippie counterculture. Bob Dylan and the Beatles were his two favorite musical acts, and he shared their political leanings, antiestablishment views and, reportedly, youthful experimentation with psychedelic drug usage.

The name of Jobs’ company is said to be inspired by the Beatles’ Apple Corps, which repeatedly sued the electronics maker for trademark infringement until signing an exclusive digital distribution deal with iTunes. Like the Beatles, Jobs took a spiritual retreat to India and regularly walked around his neighborhood and the office barefoot.

Friends, colleagues remember Steve Jobs Wozniak: Jobs made ‘people happy’ 2009: Steve Jobs thanks donor Apple’s passionate pitchman

Traversing India sparked Jobs’ conversion to Buddhism. Kobun Chino, a monk, presided over his wedding to Laurene Powell, a Stanford University MBA.

‘Life is an intelligent thing’

Rebirth is a precept of Buddhism, and Apple experienced rebirth of sorts when Jobs returned, after he was fired, to remake a company that had fallen the verge of bankruptcy.

“I believe life is an intelligent thing, that things aren’t random,” Jobs said in a 1997 interview with Time, providing a glimpse into his complicated belief system that extends well beyond the Buddhist teachings.

Karma is another principle of the religion, but it didn’t appear to be a system Jobs lived by. If he feared karma coming back to bite him, the sentiment wasn’t evident in his public statements about competitors and former colleagues, calling them “bozos” lacking taste. Those who worked for Jobs described him as a tyrant they feared meeting in an elevator.

“You’d be surprised how hard people work around here,” Jobs said in a 2004 interview with Businessweek. “They work nights and weekends, sometimes not seeing their families for a while. Sometimes people work through Christmas to make sure the tooling is just right at some factory in some corner of the world so our product comes out the best it can be.”

Some engineers who worked tirelessly on the original Mac emerged from the project estranged from their spouses and children. Jobs’ relentless work ethic may have been shaped by some of his dysfunctional family affairs as well.

Focus and simplicity’

Jobs famously lured John Sculley, the PepsiCo president, to run Apple by saying: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” (They had a permanent falling out when Jobs was booted from Apple.)

via The spiritual side of Steve Jobs – CNN.com.

The Phone Calls

I never knew Steve when he was first at Apple. I wasn’t covering technology then. And I only met him once, briefly, between his stints at the company. But, within days of his return, in 1997, he began calling my house, on Sunday nights, for four or five straight weekends. As a veteran reporter, I understood that part of this was an attempt to flatter me, to get me on the side of a teetering company whose products I had once recommended, but had, more recently, advised readers to avoid.

Yet there was more to the calls than that. They turned into marathon, 90-minute, wide-ranging, off-the-record discussions that revealed to me the stunning breadth of the man. One minute he’d be talking about sweeping ideas for the digital revolution. The next about why Apple’s current products were awful, and how a color, or angle, or curve, or icon was embarrassing.

After the second such call, my wife became annoyed at the intrusion he was making in our weekend. I didn’t.

Later, he’d sometimes call to complain about some reviews, or parts of reviews — though, in truth, I felt very comfortable recommending most of his products for the average, non-techie consumers at whom I aim my columns. (That may have been because they were his target, too.) I knew he would be complaining because he’d start every call by saying “Hi, Walt. I’m not calling to complain about today’s column, but I have some comments, if that’s okay.” I usually disagreed with his comments, but that was okay, too.

The Product Unveilings

Sometimes, not always, he’d invite me in to see certain big products before he unveiled them to the world. He may have done the same with other journalists. We’d meet in a giant boardroom, with just a few of his aides present, and he’d insist — even in private — on covering the new gadgets with cloths and then uncovering them like the showman he was, a gleam in his eye and passion in his voice. We’d then often sit down for a long, long discussion of the present, the future, and general industry gossip.

I still remember the day he showed me the first iPod. I was amazed that a computer company would branch off into music players, but he explained, without giving any specifics away, that he saw Apple as a digital products company, not a computer company. It was the same with the iPhone, the iTunes music store, and later the iPad, which he asked me to his home to see, because he was too ill at the time to go to the office.

The Slides

To my knowledge, the only tech conference Steve Jobs regularly appeared at, the only event he didn’t somehow control, was our D: All Things Digital conference, where he appeared repeatedly for unrehearsed, onstage interviews. We had one rule that really bothered him: We never allowed slides, which were his main presentation tool.

One year, about an hour before his appearance, I was informed that he was backstage preparing dozens of slides, even though I had reminded him a week earlier of the no-slides policy. I asked two of his top aides to tell him he couldn’t use the slides, but they each said they couldn’t do it, that I had to. So, I went backstage and told him the slides were out. Famously prickly, he could have stormed out, refused to go on. And he did try to argue with me. But, when I insisted, he just said “Okay.” And he went on stage without them, and was, as usual, the audience’s favorite speaker.

Ice Water in Hell

For our fifth D conference, both Steve and his longtime rival, the brilliant Bill Gates, surprisingly agreed to a joint appearance, their first extended onstage joint interview ever. But it almost got derailed.

Earlier in the day, before Gates arrived, I did a solo onstage interview with Jobs, and asked him what it was like to be a major Windows developer, since Apple’s iTunes program was by then installed on hundreds of millions of Windows PCs.

He quipped: “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.” When Gates later arrived and heard about the comment, he was, naturally, enraged, because my partner Kara Swisher and I had assured both men that we hoped to keep the joint session on a high plane.

In a pre-interview meeting, Gates said to Jobs: “So I guess I’m the representative from Hell.” Jobs merely handed Gates a cold bottle of water he was carrying. The tension was broken, and the interview was a triumph, with both men acting like statesmen. When it was over, the audience rose in a standing ovation, some of them in tears.

Ice Water in Hell

For our fifth D conference, both Steve and his longtime rival, the brilliant Bill Gates, surprisingly agreed to a joint appearance, their first extended onstage joint interview ever. But it almost got derailed.

Earlier in the day, before Gates arrived, I did a solo onstage interview with Jobs, and asked him what it was like to be a major Windows developer, since Apple’s iTunes program was by then installed on hundreds of millions of Windows PCs.

He quipped: “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.” When Gates later arrived and heard about the comment, he was, naturally, enraged, because my partner Kara Swisher and I had assured both men that we hoped to keep the joint session on a high plane.

In a pre-interview meeting, Gates said to Jobs: “So I guess I’m the representative from Hell.” Jobs merely handed Gates a cold bottle of water he was carrying. The tension was broken, and the interview was a triumph, with both men acting like statesmen. When it was over, the audience rose in a standing ovation, some of them in tears.

The Optimist

I have no way of knowing how Steve talked to his team during Apple’s darkest days in 1997 and 1998, when the company was on the brink and he was forced to turn to archrival Microsoft for a rescue. He certainly had a nasty, mercurial side to him, and I expect that, then and later, it emerged inside the company and in dealings with partners and vendors, who tell believable stories about how hard he was to deal with.

But I can honestly say that, in my many conversations with him, the dominant tone he struck was optimism and certainty, both for Apple and for the digital revolution as a whole. Even when he was telling me about his struggles to get the music industry to let him sell digital songs, or griping about competitors, at least in my presence, his tone was always marked by patience and a long-term view. This may have been for my benefit, knowing that I was a journalist, but it was striking nonetheless.

At times in our conversations, when I would criticize the decisions of record labels or phone carriers, he’d surprise me by forcefully disagreeing, explaining how the world looked from their point of view, how hard their jobs were in a time of digital disruption, and how they would come around.

This quality was on display when Apple opened its first retail store. It happened to be in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, near my home. He conducted a press tour for journalists, as proud of the store as a father is of his first child. I commented that, surely, there’d only be a few stores, and asked what Apple knew about retailing.

He looked at me like I was crazy, said there’d be many, many stores, and that the company had spent a year tweaking the layout of the stores, using a mockup at a secret location. I teased him by asking if he, personally, despite his hard duties as CEO, had approved tiny details like the translucency of the glass and the color of the wood.

He said he had, of course.

The Walk

After his liver transplant, while he was recuperating at home in Palo Alto, California, Steve invited me over to catch up on industry events that had transpired during his illness. It turned into a three-hour visit, punctuated by a walk to a nearby park that he insisted we take, despite my nervousness about his frail condition.

He explained that he walked each day, and that each day he set a farther goal for himself, and that, today, the neighborhood park was his goal. As we were walking and talking, he suddenly stopped, not looking well. I begged him to return to the house, noting that I didn’t know CPR and could visualize the headline: “Helpless Reporter Lets Steve Jobs Die on the Sidewalk.”

But he laughed, and refused, and, after a pause, kept heading for the park. We sat on a bench there, talking about life, our families, and our respective illnesses (I had had a heart attack some years earlier). He lectured me about staying healthy. And then we walked back.

Steve Jobs didn’t die that day, to my everlasting relief. But now he really is gone, much too young, and it is the world’s loss.

via The Steve Jobs I Knew – Walt Mossberg – Mossblog – AllThingsD.

But stepping back from the immediate fray, theres something about the blogospheres insistence on the existence of a dramatic addition to the iPhone family that shows how hard its going to be for many of us to let Steve Jobs go.How Apple co-opted the InternetApple iPhone 4S personal assistant: SiriZDNet: iPhone 4S is swell, but pricing is the killer appApple iPhone 4S unveiled roundupIn our imagination, Jobs is still on stage, delighting the house as he extends his dazzling product presentation to include one more thing. But this time around it was Tim Cook as master of ceremonies, up on stage for more than 1.5 hours – which may have struck some as more reminiscent of a meandering Fidel Castro than the lapidary Steve Jobs. Youd think after all that time running through the laundry list of new products, Apple would have had a blockbuster finish, they harrumphed on the Twitter transom. Not this time around.

And then there’s the team at the helm. Cook and Phil Schiller, who delivered the iPhone news on stage, are solid executives with proven track records. It would be out of character and entirely clunky for this duo to pretend to be something that they’re not. So don’t expect them to send thrills up your leg. Ain’t gonna happen. The world is going to have to adjust to the new reality: Apple will continue to make good products but let’s get over it already. Elvis has left the stage.

via Apple hard new reality: Elvis has left the house – CBS News.

Jane Austen,  Mansfield Park,  Fanny Price, Christian Themes in Jane Austen:  Mind was once again expanded … Christ birth story is a Cinderella story (as is Fanny Price), Mary’s comment on the clergy as bores, etc, reflects social attitudes of the times,  …  Thank you Rev. Dr. Tom Currie for a great three-part series on Jane Austen.

Peach Pass, HOT Lanes, I-85 travel:  I noted these on Monday … they really are new. 🙂

Register. Every vehicle that sets a wheel in the toll lane must have a Peach Pass, whether paying the toll or not.

No cash. All tolls are electronic.

Tolled: solo drivers and two-person car pools

Free: car pools of three people or more, transit vehicles, motorcycles, cars with alternative fuel license plates, mass transit

Prohibited: trucks with more than six wheels and/or two axles

To switch from toll-paying to free, or vice versa: You must reset your Peach Pass account by phone or computer at least 15 minutes before you enter the lane. If your switching is regular, you can pre-set certain days or times as paying or nonpaying.

How much: The toll ranges from 10 cents a mile to 90 cents a mile, rising with congestion. The State Road and Tollway Authority can go over 90 cents a mile in special cases.

Don’t: cross the double solid lines. Enter or exit only at the dashed lines.

Fines: A violation can reap both a $25 SRTA fine, which happens electronically and is mailed to the driver, and a police fine of up to $150 from troopers who are patrolling the corridor.

via What to know as I-85 HOT lane opens  | ajc.com.

college life, sophomore return ceremony, traditions:  Freshman convocations are much more elaborate and meaningful now than 30+ years ago, including honor code signing ceremonies, etc. Now some schools are beginning a tradition for sophomores ” to combat “the sophomore slump,” a sort of let-down that may follow a first year filled with fanfare and new experiences.”

You may have heard of freshman convocation – the traditional formal ceremony that kicks off a college career – but what about sophomore convocation?

As the blog Inside Higher Ed reported last week, Duke University held its first-ever ceremony dedicated to welcoming back second-year students this fall.

Its intention was to combat “the sophomore slump,” a sort of let-down that may follow a first year filled with fanfare and new experiences.

As Duke’s dean of undergraduate studies told Inside Higher Ed:

“The sophomore year is a time of transition, where students sometimes do feel like they’re in a slump. They’re not yet necessarily deeply on their track toward whatever their path is, but they’re no longer in that special moment of being the first-year class whom everybody dotes on.”

As Inside Higher Ed pointed out, Duke’s new ceremony had the more privileged goal of reenergizing students, compared to the more practical aim of other schools’ second-year programs: to keep undergraduates from dropping out.

via A Ceremony to Kick off Sophomore Year? – NYTimes.com.

cloud computing, colleges and universities, technology:  It will be interesting if this costs institutions more or less over the long haul.

Internet2 was formed to help colleges wire superfast networks, but now it is shifting attention to the cloud. This morning the group announced that it has brokered discounts with Hewlett-Packard and two other tech companies for computing services, such as renting processor time on high-speed computers over the Internet, to help researchers.

The deals are the first of a new project called Internet2 Net+ Services. The idea is that the group, which counts 235 college members, can negotiate better prices and contract terms than any individual college could. Eleven colleges are running tests of the arrangement, which will be made available to other Internet2 members beginning early next year.

HP’s new CEO, Meg Whitman, addressed Internet2′s member meeting this morning via videoconference to announce her company’s participation in the program. Together with a company called SHI International, HP has agreed to offer a special discount and licensing terms to colleges to buy time on high-speed computers over the Internet. Technically the colleges will sign a contract with Internet2 for the services, which will take an administrative fee in the deal. Internet2 will also handle some of the technology and technical support for the services.

The other company that has signed up to offer cloud services through Internet2 is Box, which provides users with online folders to store and share files. Colleges that buy the service through Internet2 can give every user on their campuses the file folder, which users can access using their existing college logins and passwords. The service will cost colleges about $27,000 per year for small campuses (up to 10,000 accounts) and $350,000 per year for the largest (up to 200,000 accounts).

via Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Facebook, student life, substance abuse:  Using Facebook posts to predict substance abuse problems.  Clearly judgement problems … maybe the two go hand in hand.

College students who post pictures and references to drunkenness are more likely to have a “clinically significant” drinking problem than students who don’t post such references, according to the study, which was sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

For the study – published in the Oct. 3 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine – researchers examined public Facebook profiles of more than 300 undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Washington. The researchers contacted these students and asked them to complete a questionnaire that doctors use to measure a drinking problem.

The profiles were divided into three categories: those without alcohol references, those with references to alcohol but no mention of getting drunk, and those scattered with phrases like “being drunk” and “getting wasted.” Not surprisingly, the students in the last group scored higher on the questionaire. A score of 8 or higher indicates a person is at risk for problem drinking, and these student groups had average scores of 4.6, 6.7, and 9.5 respectively.

via Can Facebook predict problem drinking? What study says – HealthPop – CBS News.

piracy, Somalia, Rachel and Paul Chandler, pirates:  We are not talking Captain Hook … Did you ever think that piracy would be a major news item in our lifetime?  This is a very interesting piece.

Their strike zone is now more than two million square miles of water, which is virtually impossible to patrol. Jay Bahadur, author of a new book, “The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World,” likens the international naval efforts to “a losing game of Whac-a-Mole.”

After Somalia’s central government collapsed 20 years ago, the 1,900-mile coastline became an unpatrolled free-for-all, with foreign fishing trawlers descending to scoop up Somalia’s rich stocks of tuna, shark, whitefish, lobster and deep-water shrimp. With no authorities to fear, the fishing boats were especially unscrupulous and used heavy steel drag nets that wiped out the marine habitat for years. Somali piracy was born when disgruntled fishermen armed themselves and started attacking the foreign trawlers. They soon realized they could attack any ship and get a ransom for holding the crew hostage.

“In the beginning, the pirates had a lot of support,” explained Kayse Maxamed, a Somali who works in mental health in Bristol and who organized a “Save the Chandlers” rally in front of a mosque in early 2010. “Everybody liked them. They represented the Somali Navy.

via Taken by Pirates – NYTimes.com.

Spices and Tease, retail, NYC:  OK, so I like the name. 🙂

Bruno Benzacken and François Athea are cousins from a family that has been in the spice business in Europe since 1933. They came to New York eight years ago and began selling spices and teas at street fairs. Now they have graduated to a store on the Upper West Side, colorful in its array of several dozen spices, teas and blends and just as alluring for the aromas that waft from the displays. Tall canisters hold various sugars (right), and downstairs there are more spices and teas, along with assorted salts, peppers and pepper mixtures; Provençal products, including soaps; and various gadgets for grinding spices and preparing tea. They serve tea and pastries as well.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Mr. Benzacken and Mr. Athea (above) expect to open this month in Grand Central Market in Grand Central Terminal, at the stand formerly occupied by Penzeys.

Spices and Tease, 2580 Broadway (97th Street); (347) 470-8327; spicesandtease.com.

via Spices, Sugars, Teas – A Blast for the Senses – NYTimes.com.

iPhone 4S:  Overshadowed somewhat by the death of Steve Jobs. Spec Spat: Apple iPhone 4S vs. iPhone 4 – Techland – TIME.com.

2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry:  “It underlines the fear in the Republican camp that none of the candidates already in the field looks completely certain to beat even an economy-shackled Mr Obama.”

First, the man whose big advantage over the too-slick Mr Romney was supposed to be the authenticity of his conservatism has somehow managed to let his rivals paint him as a cringing liberal. He stands accused of allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay the lower, subsidised in-state tuition fees at Texas’s public universities, and of ordering Texas to inflict what Michele Bachmann, the congresswoman from Minnesota who has appointed herself Joan of Arc in this campaign, calls “a government injection” on “innocent little 12-year-old girls”.

Mr Perry pleads mitigation. In the case of the university fees he says he was handicapped by the possession of a heart (why punish the children of illegal immigrants for their parents’ actions?). As for the injection, he hoped the HPV vaccine would save more women from cervical cancer. But no hint of leniency towards illegal immigrants goes unpunished by a certain sort of Republican activist, so the star of the Lone Star candidate is waning. The unexpected winner of the Florida straw poll, held soon after the Orlando debate, was Herman Cain, a fiery black Baptist preacher and former boss of Godfather’s Pizza.

In theory, Mr Perry has ample time to recover. Straw polls do not count for much; a mere six weeks ago Mrs Bachmann was basking in her own victory in the Ames straw poll in Iowa, only to be eclipsed as soon as Mr Perry made his late eruption into the race. And although the Texan has so far fumbled his attempt to hurt Mr Romney by identifying him, accurately, as the governor who introduced an early form of “Obamacare” into Massachusetts, he will have plenty more chances to do better: the candidates will next debate in New Hampshire in mid-October.

However, proving himself to be a more conservative conservative than Mr Romney is no longer Mr Perry’s most urgent task, because allowing himself to be outflanked from the right was only the smaller of his two recent setbacks. His bigger problem now is that he has lost his aura as an effective campaigner.

It underlines the fear in the Republican camp that none of the candidates already in the field looks completely certain to beat even an economy-shackled Mr Obama.

Democrats for Perry

Except, perhaps, for the patient Mr Romney. Interestingly, there are Democrats who say quietly that they are no less disappointed than conservatives by Mr Perry’s recent mistakes. That is because Mr Perry’s errors make it likelier that the Republicans will settle for Mr Romney; and Mr Romney, a centrist who everyone knows is only masquerading as a conservative until the primaries are over, might actually go on to beat Mr Obama in the general. The great flip-flopper does not convince the conservative base. He does not excite much of the wider electorate either. But nor does he scare them. And with the economy the way it is, that may be all it takes to win the White House in 2012.

via Lexington: Open goal, useless strikers | The Economist.

 How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, Emily Post’s Etiquette, Emily Post:  Updates for the modern age?

Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which turns 75 this year, has sold more than 30 million copies and continues to be a best seller. The book, a paean to integrity, good humor and warmth in the name of amicable capitalism, is as wholesome as a Norman Rockwell painting. It exists alongside Dr. Spock’s child-rearing guide, Strunk and White’s volume on literary style and Fannie Farmer’s cookbook as a classic expression of the American impulse toward self-improvement and reinvention. Testimonials to its effectiveness abound. It’s said that the only diploma that hangs in Warren Buffett’s office is his certificate from Dale Carnegie Training.

The book’s essential admonitions — be a good listener, admit faults quickly and emphatically, and smile more often, among them — are timeless. They need updating about as much as Hank Williams’s songs do.

Yet now comes Dale Carnegie and Associates Inc., which offers leadership and public speaking classes, with the news that it has rewritten and reissued Carnegie’s book for the laptop generation under the title “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age,” written with Brent Cole. It’s not the only advice classic that’s been updated this fall for the era of Facebook and Google Plus. There’s a new edition of “Emily Post’s Etiquette” as well, which bears the forward-looking subtitle “Manners for a New World.”

Both books offer sensible new advice about being a polite e-mailer and navigating the pitfalls of Twitter. But while it’s hard to blame those charged with caring for the Dale Carnegie and Emily Post brands for wanting them to remain relevant, attempts to tweak favorites are fraught with peril. And “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age” in particular is such a radical — and radically hapless — retooling of Dale Carnegie’s text that it feels almost like an act of brand suicide.

via Dale Carnegie and Emily Post for the Twitter Age – NYTimes.com.

Occupy Wall Street, culture:  An interesting take on the 99 percent …

These are not rants against the system. They’re not anarchist manifestos. They’re not calls for a revolution. They’re small stories of people who played by the rules, did what they were told, and now have nothing to show for it. Or, worse, they have tens of thousands in debt to show for it.

“I am a 28 year old female with debt that had to give up her apartment + pet because I have no money and I owe over $30,000.”

College debt shows up a lot in these stories, actually. It’s more insistently present than housing debt, or even unemployment. That might speak to the fact that the protests tilt towards the young. But it also speaks, I think, to the fact that college debt represents a special sort of betrayal. We told you that the way to get ahead in America was to get educated. You did it. And now you find yourself in the same place, but buried under debt. You were lied to.

“Married mother of 3. Lost my job in 2009. My family lost our health insurance, our savings, our home, and our good credit. After 16 months, I found a job — with a 90 mile commute and a 25 percent pay cut. After gas, tolls, daycare, and the cost of health insurance, i was paying so my kids had access to health care.”

Let’s be clear. This isn’t really the 99 percent. If you’re in the 85th percentile, for instance, your household is making more than $100,000, and you’re probably doing okay. If you’re in the 95th percentile, your household is making more than $150,000. But then, these protests really aren’t about Wall Street, either. There’s not a lot of evidence that these people want a class war, or even particularly punitive measures on the rich. The only thing that’s clear from their missives is that they want the economy to start working for them, too.

But this is why I’m taking Occupy Wall Street — or, perhaps more specifically, the ‘We Are The 99 Percent’ movement — seriously. There are a lot of people who are getting an unusually raw deal right now. There is a small group of people who are getting an unusually good deal right now. That doesn’t sound to me like a stable equilibrium.

The organizers of Occupy Wall Street are fighting to upend the system. But what gives their movement the potential for power and potency is the masses who just want the system to work the way they were promised it would work. It’s not that 99 percent of Americans are really struggling. It’s not that 99 percent of Americans want a revolution. It’s that 99 percent of Americans sense that the fundamental bargain of our economy — work hard, play by the rules, get ahead — has been broken, and they want to see it restored.

via Who are the 99 percent? – The Washington Post.

post-graduation, careers:

How about you? Do you think higher education needs to change to accommodate the ongoing job decline by providing career help to graduate students?  Please leave your comments and suggestions below.

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, places, names, racism:  I am from the South and have roots in the Deep South.  I cannot think of any offensive place names …

The revelation that Rick Perry’s family leased a hunting camp commonly known in rural Texas by a little-known racial epithet raises these questions: How many such places exist and where are they?

The short answer is all across the country, not only in people’s memories, but also listed as such on maps, mostly in rural areas, according to a scholar who studies place names.

Controversy continues for Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry after his guests insisted they saw a rock bearing the name of a racial slur when Perry took them hunting at his family’s camp. (Oct. 3)

The small Texas town of Paint Creek has no post office, no grocery store, and no claim to fame – until now. Dean Reynolds takes a tour of Paint Creek, the town where Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry grew up. (Sept. 19)

Mark Monmonier, a geographer at Syracuse University, says that the three most offensive place names that can still be found on some maps are “nigger,” “jap” and “squaw.” This is mainly because during the first half of the 1900s, topographers were sent out to name and measure geographic locations and relied on local input.

Those names, some offensive, were then codified in federal maps and served as a snapshot of colloquial language and racial attitudes, Monmonier said.

In Perry’s case, the Post reported that the current Texas governor and 2012 presidential candidate hosted lawmakers and others at a West Texas hunting camp at the entrance of which, for some period of time, was a stone on which was painted the word “Niggerhead.” The Perry camp says the stone was painted over in 1983, but the Post accounts from seven different people tell a different story.

A search of the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) turned up at least 24 names from Alaska to New York of lakes, creeks, points and capes that once bore the name “Niggerhead,” but have since been changed, in some cases to names like “Negrohead.” Perry’s hunting ranch was apparently never mapped and is not part of the database.

via Offensive place names once dotted the U.S. landscape – The Washington Post.

President Obama, White House policy, debt collection, cell phones:  Political suicide?

To the dismay of consumer groups and the discomfort of Democrats, President Barack Obama wants Congress to make it easier for private debt collectors to call the cellphones of consumers delinquent on student loans and other billions owed the federal government.

The change “is expected to provide substantial increases in collections, particularly as an increasing share of households no longer have landlines and rely instead on cellphones,” the administration wrote recently. The little-noticed recommendation would apply only to cases in which money is owed the government, and is tucked into the mammoth $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan the president submitted to Congress.

Despite the claim, the administration has not yet developed an estimate of how much the government would collect, and critics reject the logic behind the recommendation.

“Enabling robo-calls (to cellphones) is just going to lead to more harassment and abuse, and it’s not going to help the government collect more money,” said Lauren Saunders of the Boston-based National Consumer Law Center. “People aren’t paying their student loans because they can’t find a job.”

via Obama Plan Includes Measure To Make It Easier For Debt Collectors To Call Cellphones.

The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, South Africa, China, international politics:  This seems like a silly statement to make by the South Africans … then I am not an international relations/politics expert.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, scrapped plans on Tuesday to attend the 80th birthday celebration of a fellow Nobel laureate, Desmond M. Tutu of South Africa, after the host government did not grant his visa request.

Critics viewed the South African government’s behavior as a capitulation to China, one of South Africa’s most important economic partners and a strong opponent of the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese authorities consider subversive.

A statement by the Dalai Lama’s office in New Delhi said he and his entourage had expected to visit South Africa from Thursday to Oct. 14, had submitted visa applications at the end of August and had submitted their passports two weeks ago. His agenda included the Oct. 6 birthday of Archbishop Tutu and a number of public talks.

However, his office said in a statement, “Since the South African government seems to find it inconvenient to issue a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness has decided to call off this visit to South Africa.”

The statement did not address the question of why South Africa did not grant the visa, and the South African Embassy in New Delhi did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But officials in South Africa said they followed normal procedures in reviewing the visa request.

via Dalai Lama’s Visa Request Is Denied by South Africa – NYTimes.com.

pirates, Blackbeard, archeology:  Dead historical pirates are more interesting/entertaining than those living. 🙂

Much of North Carolina’s coast is still recovering from Hurricane Irene, but the storm left the sunken remains of Blackbeard’s ship largely untouched.

The Daily News of Jacksonville reports ( http://bit.ly/oDoAPW) that a new expedition this week to the site of the Queen Anne’s Revenge has found the shipwreck weathered the storm fairly well.

Project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing says a sand berm near the site seems to help protect it from storms.

The four-week expedition this fall aims to recover one of the ship’s largest cannons, along with cannon balls and other artifacts.

The ship lies in shallow waters off the Atlantic coast where it sank in 1718, just five months before Blackbeard was killed in a battle at Ocracoke Inlet. The wreck was discovered in 1996.

via Expedition starts at NC site of Blackbeard’s ship – KansasCity.com.

“Playboy Club”, tv:  Cable vs. network tv?  Just seemed like a stupid idea to me.

Playboy Club founder Hugh Hefner weighed in on NBC’s decision to scrub “The Playboy Club” from its primetime schedule owing to lousy ratings.

“I’m sorry NBC’s ‘The Playboy Club’ didn’t find it’s audience,” he tweeted, adding, “ It should have been on cable, aimed at a more adult audience.”

ORIGINAL POST: Those of you wondering what NBC was thinking of when it put its new 60’s-set drama, “Playboy Club” into the intense Monday at 10 competition opposite both ABC’s “Castle” and CBS’s “Hawaii Five-O,” we have an answer!

The season’s first cancellation.

NBC is putting Brian Williams new newsmag — the oddly named “Rock Center with Brian Williams” into ther hour starting Oct. 31, according to an industry source.

via Hugh Hefner: ‘Playboy Club’ shoulda been on cable [Updated] – The TV 

“Glee”, tv:  “Asian F”  … much better episode …

Grading on a curve, this latest Glee episode would be graded an “Asian F,” too — that is an “A-minus.” Mike Chang, Sr. would not be too happy about that.

But we all should be glad that “Glee’s” sophomoric slumber last year has awakened to a new season featuring intricate storylines that make you root for the underdogs. This time, it’s for Brittany, Mike Chang and Mercedes.

All three took star turns, despite running into heavy opposition. Brittany ratchets up her candidacy for senior class president against Kurt with a stellar performance of Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” as an energetic flash mob pep rally. It was reminiscent of a Spice Girls music video. If only Posh could have shaken her moneymaker like that.

via ‘Glee’ Season 3, Episode 3, ‘Asian F’: TV Recap – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Supreme Court, Justice Scalia, death penalty debate:  There has got to be a better solution for the death penalty appeals process.  Or just get rid of the death penalty.

“There has to be some local counsel that does work,” Sotomayor said to Garre. In response to that comment as well as Scalia’s continued badgering, Garre noted that “the state itself must not have viewed Butler as a meaningful player, because when the default at issue in this case occurred, the state sent a letter … to Mr. Maples directly on death row” rather than to his local counsel.

That prompted Chief Justice John Roberts to wonder how much local counsel would “have to do to put him in a position where he was in fact representing Maples.”

“Your case, it seems to me,” Roberts said to Garre, “turns critically on Butler’s role.”

And it was over this matter that Scalia broke from the rest of the justices (except, of course, Justice Clarence Thomas, who is fast approaching his sixth year of silence at oral argument). For Scalia, the local attorney remained Maples’ lawyer no matter how hands-off he was in the case. Consequently, Scalia considered the lawyer’s failure to appeal to be fairly imputed to Maples.

The case was apparently not as simple for his colleagues. Justice Stephen Breyer, for example, telegraphed his sympathy for Maples. He said that the prosecutor in the case would have known that “one, [Maples is] represented by counsel in New York; two, they didn’t get the notice; three, the local attorney isn’t going to do anything; and conclusion, they likely knew that he didn’t get the notice,” yet the prosecutor pressed to keep Maples out of court anyway.

Scalia interjected, “Do we know that [the prosecutor] knew all of those facts?” And Garre replied, “No, Justice Scalia.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy then asked for statistics, for Alabama or the nation, on how many capital cases are not appealed. Given that such cases are virtually always appealed, the justice seemed to be implying that the local attorney would have done something had he actually considered himself Maples’ lawyer.

Scalia again jumped in, this time to note that Maples did appeal his conviction and that the case before the Court involved post-conviction hearings. But Kennedy brushed away Scalia’s nitpicking, refining the question to “how often an appeal is abandoned or not pursued in this kind of case.”

And when Garre suggested the justices send the case back to the lower court to flesh out what Kagan called a “skimpy” factual record, Scalia countered, “You should have gotten the facts in the first place. If the record doesn’t show the things that you need to show to get this case reversed, the case should not be reversed.”

For all his efforts to maintain control of the message during Garre’s presentation, Scalia, who celebrates the start of his 25th year on the Supreme Court this week, could not keep a grip through the Alabama solicitor general’s stumbling half-hour argument. But it was not for want of trying. Right from the start, Scalia sought to save John Neiman from himself in the face of aggressive questioning by Roberts, Kagan and Ginsburg.

Justice Samuel Alito then signaled his disappointment with Alabama. Alito asked Neiman why he was “pushing the Court to consider rules that would have far-reaching effect,” such as a new constitutional requirement that court clerks follow up on letters they send to losing lawyers who may or may not appeal adverse decisions. Why not, Alito wondered with considerable astonishment, “just consent” to allow Maples’ attorneys to file an out-of-time appeal?

via Death Row Debate: Justice Scalia Stands Alone As Supreme Court Hears Case Of Mailroom Mix-up.

2011 Nobel prize for physics: Supernovas expanding … makes my brain hurt.

THIS year’s Nobel prize for physics was awarded for what was, in a sense literally, the biggest discovery ever made in physics—that the universe is not only expanding (which had been known since the 1920s), but that the rate of expansion is increasing. Something, in other words, is actively pushing it apart.

This was worked out by two groups who, in the 1990s, were studying exploding stars called supernovae. One was the Supernova Cosmology Project, at the University of California, Berkeley, led by Saul Perlmutter. The other was the High-z Supernova Search Team, an international project led by Brian Schmidt and involving Adam Riess, both of Harvard University. It is these three gentlemen who have shared the prize.

Supernovae come in various types. One particular sort, though, known as type Ia supernovae, always explode with about the same energy and are therefore equally bright. That means they can be used to estimate quite precisely how far away they (and thus the galaxy they inhabit) are. In addition, the speed at which an object such as a star or galaxy is moving away from Earth, because of the expansion of the universe, can be worked out from its red-shift. This is a fall in the frequency of its light towards the red end of the spectrum. It is caused by the Doppler effect (something similar happens when a police car or fire engine with its siren blaring drives past you, and the pitch of the sound suddenly drops).

What both groups found was that the light from distant supernovae was fainter than predicted. In other words, the supernovae were further away than their red-shifts indicated they should be, based on the existing model of the universe. Something, then, was pushing space itself apart.

via The 2011 Nobel prize for physics: Expanding horizons | The Economist.

Civil War, history, war, boy soldiers: My great-grandfather, JJ Dennard, went to war at 16 and spent most of the war at imprisoned at Point Lookout MD.  I don’t think it was adventurous or  glorious experience.  But is war ever?

With hopes of adventure and glory, tens of thousands of boys under the age of 18 answered the call of the Civil War, many of them rushing to join Union and Confederate troops in the earliest days of battle. Both sides had recruitment rules that barred underage men from enlisting, but that didn’t stop those who wanted to be part of the action: some enlisted without their parents’ permission and lied about their ages or bargained with recruiters for a trial period, while others joined along with their older brothers and fathers whose partisan passions overwhelmed their parental senses. Most of the youngest boys became drummers, messengers and orderlies, but thousands of others fought alongside the men.

As each side scrambled to get troops into the field in the early days of the war, many of these boys went to battle with just a few weeks of training. It didn’t take long for them to understand what they’d gotten themselves into. Elisha Stockwell Jr., from Alma, Wis., was 15 when he enlisted. After the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, he wrote, “I want to say, as we lay there and the shells were flying over us, my thoughts went back to my home, and I thought what a foolish boy I was to run away and get into such a mess as I was in. I would have been glad to have seen my father coming after me.”

via The Boys of War – NYTimes.com.

Chelsea Clinton, IAC, board of directors, corporate governance:  With all that has happened in this Great Recession, a public company should get the best talent on its board … not a celebrity, albeit a bright one who has very good connections.

Chelsea Clinton as a corporate director? Really?

Ms. Clinton was appointed last week to the board of IAC/InterActiveCorp, the Internet media conglomerate controlled by Barry Diller.

For her efforts, Ms. Clinton will be paid about $300,000 a year in cash and incentive stock awards. Not bad for a 31-year-old in graduate school.

Is IAC also getting a good deal, or is this another eye-rolling celebrity appointment?

Ms. Clinton appears to be a smart, capable individual. She worked in her 20s at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and at a hedge fund run by a loyal Clinton donor. She is now working at New York University and pursuing a doctorate at Oxford. Ms. Clinton appears to be level-headed, despite growing up in the limelight. She is also popular — her wedding last year was one of the social events of the year.

But let’s be real. Ms. Clinton has this position only because she is the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the current secretary of state. This is clearly an appointment made because of who she is, not what she has done, one that defies American conceptions of meritocracy. Even most celebrity directors earn their way to such celebrity — sort of.

In fairness, while the reasons for the appointment are suspect, that does not mean Ms. Clinton cannot be a good, even great, board member. But questions raised by her selection speak to the larger issue of what types of directors should be on boards.

In the past, boards were too often passive instruments of the chief executive, and often included celebrities. Some examples: Sidney Poitier (the Walt Disney Company), Evander Holyfield (the Coca-Cola Bottling Company), Tommy Lasorda (Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon), Lance Armstrong (the Morgans Hotel Group) and O.J. Simpson (Infinity Broadcasting). Mr. Simpson actually served on Infinity’s audit committee, the body responsible for supervising a company’s auditors.

via Handicapping IAC’s Investment in Chelsea Clinton – NYTimes.com.

New South, Mayor Foxx, Charlotte NC, 2012 Democratic National Convention, Davidson Alumni:  Interesting article about mayor Foxx and the spotlight he will be under next year.

The 40-year-old Foxx, who has a 2011 re-election race to win on the way to acting as a convention host, noted parallel “life stories” that he and Obama share. “Even though he grew up in a vastly different part of the country and the world,” said Foxx of Obama, “he was essentially raised by a single mother just as I was and was heavily influenced by his grandparents, as I was.

“There was a ‘Greatest Generation’ element that greatly influenced both of us,” Foxx said. He thinks that’s important, “when the country and our city have been put through the wringer in a lot of ways” on issues from the economy to foreign policy. “There is a resilience built into me, having lived with people who had to struggle through the Great Depression and through the Second World War.”

What Foxx didn’t immediately mention is that both are African-American elected officials, a fact that’s both obvious and beside the point. At 50, Obama is the more experienced generational leader to Foxx and his occasional conversational partners such as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., both 42 years old.

As Foxx and his city prepare to host the Democratic convention, they represent a confluence of race, place and politics in the New South.

via The New South: Where Obama, Race and Politics Meet.

Rick Perry, 2012 Presidential Election, GOP Primaries, race issues:  Can’t we find a Southern politician for the national stage without a history of racism?

They recall, for instance, Perry’s first foray into statewide politics 21 years ago, when he defeated an incumbent agriculture commissioner in part by running a television ad that showed his opponent standing alongside Jesse Jackson.

Many black leaders thought the ad was an intentional appeal to racist white voters, and they held a news conference to protest it. The ad displayed headlines alleging that Perry’s opponent, Democrat Jim Hightower, mismanaged his agency. It also featured a seemingly discordant video of Hightower appearing with Jackson, then a leading figure in the Democratic Party whom Hightower had endorsed for president two years earlier.

“That was a very bad period here, as the Republicans were trying to drive Democratic swing voters to the Republican Party,” said James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “There was a lot of race-baiting in Texas in that period — race-baiting that would be a lot harder to get away with now.”

At the 1990 news conference, Ellis and others accused Perry (and his then campaign strategist, Karl Rove) of using the ad to turn white voters against High­tower.

“There’s a certain segment here that’s still going to respond to that,” said Hightower, who now writes a column and hosts a radio program in Austin. “It’s the same folks who don’t like Barack Obama. Besides legitimate reasons not to like him, there are some people who just don’t want a black president and do not consider that legitimate. So that was an easy play for Rove and Perry.”

Perry’s spokesman, Ray Sullivan, said, “The 1990 TV ad truthfully highlighted Mr. High­tower’s role in the ’88 presidential campaign and truthfully demonstrated his very liberal politics to Texas general election voters.”

‘It was time for inclusion’

Ellis and other leaders gave Perry credit for cultivating good working relationships with African American politicians, citing as an example his attendance at an annual fundraiser for minority scholarships.

Many also defended a governor who has a strong record appointing minorities to state boards and positions. Over 10 years in office, 9 percent of Perry’s 5,741 appointments have been African Americans, and 15 percent have been Hispanics, according to his campaign. That puts Perry slightly ahead of his predecessor, George W. Bush (with 9 percent African Americans and 13 percent Hispanics) and slightly behind the governor before that, Democrat Ann Richards (13 percent African Americans and 18 percent Hispanics).

via Perry built complicated record on matters of race – The Washington Post.

The South, culture, migration:  A conservative article with some interesting points.

Having disposed of the economic arguments, I knew that one big question lurked: “Okay, Lee, but what’s it like living with a bunch of slow-talking, gun-toting, Bible-thumping racists?”

My friends didn’t use those exact words, but I knew it’s what they were thinking. I knew because I thought the same thing about the South before I moved here. Most of what we Yankees know about the South comes from TV and movies. Think Hee-Haw meets Mississippi Burning meets The Help and you get the picture.

via Southern Like Me – Lee Habeeb – National Review Online.

What caused this migration of capital — the human, industrial, and political varieties? Ask transplanted business owners and they’ll tell you they like investing in states where union bosses and trial lawyers don’t run the show, and where tax burdens are low. They also want a work force that is affordable and well-trained. And that doesn’t see them as the enemy.

In short, policy matters. So, too, does culture.

It’s quite a story, actually. Americans, black and white alike, are moving in record numbers to a part of the country where taxes are low, unions are irrelevant, and people love their guns and their faith. And yet we have heard hardly a peep about this great migration from our nation’s public intellectuals.

Why? Because their ideological prejudices won’t permit them to admit the obvious. They’d prefer to focus their research on the pre-1970s South because they are more comfortable with — and more invested in — that old narrative, while this new one marches on right under their noses. And their keyboards.

And so it is with a sense of puzzlement that this Jersey boy turned Mississippian watches the decision making of President Obama. Millions of Americans may have voted for him in 2008, but millions have been voting with their feet, and he doesn’t seem the least bit interested in understanding why.

He should ask Americans like me who’ve moved South why we did it. And he should be especially interested in understanding why African Americans are fleeing his home city of Chicago for the South, too.

If he dared to ask, he’d learn that we are all fleeing liberalism and chasing economic freedom, just as our immigrant parents and grandparents did.

But he won’t bother asking. Our ideological academic-in-chief is content to expand the size and scope of the federal government and ignore the successes of our economic laboratories known as the states. He is pursuing 1960s-style policies that got us Detroit, while ignoring those that got us 21st-century Dallas.

In the downtown square of Oxford sits a bronze statue of our most famous storyteller, William Faulkner. “The past is never dead,” he once famously wrote. “In fact, it’s not even past.”

That line has great depth, but in an important sense it’s not quite right.

It turns out that white Yankee migrants like me, African American migrants from Chicago, and businessmen owners in Illinois and around the world, see something in the South that novelists, journalists, academics, and our current president cannot.

The future.

via Southern Like Me – Lee Habeeb – National Review Online.

Zombies, movies, Redbox:  Who knew … so many Zombie movies in the Redbox … We loved Zombieland!

More undead fun from redbox:

Zombieland (available in select areas)

REC 2

Quarantine 2: Terminal

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (sometimes zombies can be your friend!)

Husk

Forget Me Not

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

blogging:  this was my 500th post.  I hope you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have … It has proven to be a great resource for me. Thank you, “gentle readers”!

23
Sep
11

9.23.2011 … ‎lucky me … i get to take two dogs and a cat to the vet and its pouring … cat is MIA right now … and nightime viewing …‎… watched The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965) … Why are old movies so slow?

pets, Armstrong Animal Clinic, followup:  It’s a good thing I love my pets and my vets … all animals are healthy … but the bill was $779!  I am getting pet insurance on my next pets.  And why are we talking about adding another to the pack??? Shout out to the best vets in Charlotte … the Drs. Williston at Armstrong Animal Clinic.  We have been seeing them for 26 years … Thank you for great vet care.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965), movies, old movies: Why are old movies so slow? Did we not think they were slow way back when?

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Poster

1966 Nominated Oscar

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Richard Burton

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White: Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen, Ted Marshall, Josie MacAvin

via The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) – Awards.

Jenna Huff , Deb Guthmann, high school sports, high school cross-country, sportsmanship, kudos, NC:  sometimes you just need a feel good story.  Kudos to Jenna and Deb!

Eleven months ago, a spontaneous act of good sportsmanship at a girls’ cross country meet in Salisbury transformed a simple race into something bigger.

The ripples from that moment keep widening. Tonight, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jenna Huff is scheduled to receive a national sportsmanship award from the U.S. Olympic Committee for what she did for Deb Guthmann.

They were bound together last Halloween morning at a regional meet, where Jenna trailed Deb for all but the final few yards of the 3.1-mile race.

As the two approached the finish line – behind the race leaders but well ahead of the majority of runners – Deb still led Jenna.

Then something awful happened. Deb’s right hip basically tore apart. She screamed in pain and stopped.

Jenna had never met Deb and had been taught to pass every runner she could no matter the circumstances.

Instead, Jenna stopped and helped.

“C’mon,” Jenna said she told Deb. “We’re going to run, and we’re going to do it now.”

Jenna took Deb’s left elbow with her right hand and helped her jog the last few yards of the race. Then, at the finish line, she pushed Deb in front of her, reasoning Deb would have beaten her anyway if not for the injury. That act helped Deb’s Waxhaw Cuthbertson team win the regional race and advance to the state meet.

via Act of sportsmanship one that keeps drawing praise | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

death penalty, last meals request, cookbooks, random:  The main part of this story is that Texas Prisons ended special last meals because the inmates facing execution were being unreasonable.  Nothing funny there.  However, I just had to laugh at the last paragraph …

A former inmate cook who made the last meals for prisoners at the Huntsville Unit, where Texas executions are carried out, wrote a cookbook several years ago after he was released. Among his recipes were Gallows Gravy, Rice Rigor Mortis and Old Sparky’s Genuine Convict Chili, a nod to the electric chair that once served as the execution method. The book was called “Meals to Die For.”

via Special Last Meals: Texas Prisons End Special Last Meals For Inmates Facing Execution.

cohabiting, culture:  Twenty plus years ago a special friend asked her girlfriends what we thought if her boyfriend moved in with her.  We all twenty-somethings told her the world judges women harsher than men, but that we would not judge her negatively because we knew her. He moved in … and pretty soon they got married and had three kids … happy ending.  This article strikes a chord ….

Is a Bad Idea For Some.

But if you are a young adult who thinks you might want to have kids one day and maybe even get married but you aren’t sure that your current sweetie’s The One, please don’t move in with him or her.

I can hear the grumbling; “How will I know if we’re compatible or not if we don’t live together?” Easy — you know because you’ve spent enough time together as a couple. If you really don’t know if you can live with his smelly socks in the hallway or her panties hanging in the bathroom, then you either haven’t known each other long enough or you haven’t been paying attention. In either case, you’re just not ready to marry. Please, date some more.

Couples rarely split up over socks and underwear; they split because of affairs, alcohol, addictions and abuse. They split because their expectations of marriage differ. And they split because they never should have been together in the first place — probably because they moved in together to see if they could live with the socks and panties while they were ignoring other, much bigger issues.

So what’s so wrong with living with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Let’s forget the studies pointing out the booze (cohabitors drink more), weight (they’re heavier) and happiness (they’re not quite as happy as married couples but they aren’t more miserable, either), because those aren’t the issues. Nor are the results of the latest NMP study, “Why Marriage Matters,” which predicts doom and gloom for the children of cohabiting couples. The NMP has an agenda; it wants to promote marriage. Still, even a recent and presumably agenda-less Pew Study finds similar results, at least when it comes to cohabiting couples’ economic well-being; they’re poorer, and that puts stress on a relationship. A lot of stress.

As a society, we need to pay attention because there are 12 times as many cohabiting couples today as there were in the 1970s.

The real problem with cohabiting is that many couples who enter into it don’t give it a lot of thought; it’s one of those “just kind of happened” things. You like him, he likes you and a few months later you’re jamming your stuff into his closets. And those are the couples who, if they end up “sliding into marriage,” as research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver Scott Stanley would call it, are more likely to divorce at some point.

Commitment is a decision. And if cohabitation is being offered as a replacement to marriage — as the Alternatives to Marriage Project and many sociologists and family psychologists see it — then a little more thought about it needs to happen, especially if you know you want to have kids one day.

For Linda Lea Viken, head of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, that would mean a cohabitation agreement. Even if a couple doesn’t end up signing one, at least they’ve been thinking about things like property, spending, saving and — this is a big one — expectations. If you can have unrealistic expectations in a marriage, you can have them living together, too.

Of course, none of this matters if we’re talking about two child-free adults who live together and then split. It’s just a heck of a lot worse if there are kids involved — his kids, her kids, their kids. According to the ATMP, 40 percent of the first babies of single mothers are actually born to cohabiting couples. And some 42 percent of kids will have lived in a cohabiting household before they turn 12 years old.

Still, no one’s pushing for marriage (well, except the NMP), but it you want to live with someone happily and for the long haul you really do need to be committed, especially if you have or want kids. “To me, the biggest issue is commitment not marriage,” says psychologist Joshua Coleman, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families. “A lot of people are opting not to marry, but I wonder what is the context in which you have a child.”

For our most famously cohabiting couple, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the context seems clear. As Jolie said when asked if she and Pitt will grow old together, “Of course; we wouldn’t have six children if we weren’t absolutely sure of that.”

No one can ever definitively know if a relationship will last, whether married or not. But making a conscious decision to start off that way sure helps.

via Vicki Larson: Why Cohabiting Is a Bad Idea For Some.

Shel Silverstein, Every Thing On It, children’s/YA literature:  I loved Siverstein’s poetry with my kids …. and now he has a post mortem (11 years) new book!

Every Thing On It, published eleven years after Shel Silverstein’s death, arrived yesterday. Homework was instantly abandoned. The Girl Who Hates To Read simply had to dive into this collection of 139 poems.

This speaks volumes.

Shel Silverstein’s books are said to be for children 9 to 12. Nonsense. We started reading him when The Girl Who Hates To Read was six, and now we have the full collection. Only Roald Dahl comes close — and he’s a distant second.

What is Silverstein’s appeal?

Simple: He’s not full of the mealy-mouth bullshit that used to pass for children’s books. Starting way back in the ’60s — when Ozzie and Harriet values were finally starting to wither and die everywhere but in kids’ books — he talked to kids with respect. He thought they were smart. And creative. And they needed to be encouraged, not sedated.

via Jesse Kornbluth: Hey, Kids! A Decade After His Death, Shel Silverstein Has a New Book.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry:  I learned a lot from this analysis using debate team analysis as the basis.  Without this new understanding, I agree, anyway:  timing is everything, and Perry didn’t have it.

In any debate, contestants must make decisions given their limited amount of time to speak. On Thursday night, Rick Perry made the wrong ones. The Texas governor came across as forced and all over the place — awkward, unsure, with no clear strategy for how to answer questions or when he should go on attack. At one point he tried to fit three attacks on his nearest challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, into one sentence.

In short, Perry misused his time.

Academic competitions set rules and speaking times, and the debate teams I coach cannot change them. Debaters must make argumentative decisions about what they need to say to win. You have to pick and choose your best argument and stick with it. You should have a theme, limit your attacks, clarify your positions. In the presidential debates, the candidates must also do so.

As we have learned by now, these debates are a bit stacked. Front-runners Romney and Perry get more questions, making the job harder for the other candidates. They have to win over voters with less speaking time. Some did well with their limited time at the Florida/Fox News/Google debate in Orlando, others not so much.

via Timing is everything, and Perry didn’t have it – CNN.com.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, illegal immigration:

My friend Gov. Perry said if you don’t agree with his position on giving that in-state tuition to illegals, that you don’t have a heart,” Romney said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando. “I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart. It means that you have a heart and a brain.”

via TRENDING: Romney tweaks Perry over illegal immigration – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

2012 Presidential Election, Republican Debates, debate analysis, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney:  I found this review helpful …

Reporters look at five moments from the debate in Orlando, Fla., and their importance going forward in the Republican race.

via The Caucus | Key Moments From the Debate – Video Library – The New York Times.

2012 Presidential Election, President Obama, Israel, analysis:  Israel is becoming the  key foreign affairs issue … so far neither party is looking very good … “As I said, Mr. Obama can’t win this election, but the Republicans can lose it by being small, by being extreme, by being—are we going to have to start using this word again?—unnuanced.”

A small secret. In writing about the White House or Congress, I always feel completely free to attempt to see things clearly, to consider the evidence, to sift it through experience and knowledge, and then to make a judgment. It may be highly critical, or caustic, even damning. But deep down I always hope I’m wrong—that it isn’t as bad as I say it is, that there is information unknown to me that would explain such and such an act, that there were factors I didn’t know of that make bad decisions suddenly explicable. Or even justifiable.

I note this to make clear the particular importance, for me, of Ron Suskind’s book on the creation of President Obama’s economic policy, “Confidence Men.” If Mr. Suskind is right, I have been wrong in my critiques of the president’s economic policy. None of it was as bad as I said. It was much worse.

The most famous part of the book is the Larry Summers quote that he saw it as a “Home Alone” administration, with no grown-ups in charge. But there’s more than that. Most of us remember the president as in a difficult position from day one: two wars and an economic crash, good luck with that. But Mr. Suskind recasts the picture.

Mr. Obama isn’t as resilient as a Bill Clinton, with his broad spectrum of political gifts and a Rasputin-like ability to emerge undead in spite of the best efforts of his foes. His spectrum of political gifts is more limited. That’s a nice way to put it, isn’t it?

But consider what happened this week in New York.

Mr. Obama’s speech Wednesday at the United Nations was good. It was strong because it was clear, and it was clear because he didn’t rely on the thumping clichés and vapidities he’s lately embraced. When the camera turned to the professionally impassive diplomats in the audience, they seemed to be actually listening.

“It has been a remarkable year,” he said: Moammar Gadhafi on the run, Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali deposed, Osama bin Laden dead. “Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way they will be.” Technology is putting power in the hands of the people, history is tending toward the overthrow of entrenched powers. But “peace is hard. Progress can be reversed. Prosperity comes slowly. Societies can split apart.”

On the Mideast conflict: “The people of Palestine deserve a state of their own.” But the proposed U.N. statehood resolution is a “shortcut” that won’t work: “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.” Peace can be realized only when both parties acknowledge each other’s legitimate needs: “Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.” Friends of the Palestinians “do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.”

“I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress,” the president said. “So am I.” All in all, it was a measured statement at a tense moment. It was meant to defuse tensions, to cool things down.

Contrast it with the words of Rick Perry, who zoomed into New York to make his own Mideast statement the day before the president’s speech. The Obama administration’s policy, the Texas governor said, amounts to “appeasement.” It has encouraged “an ominous act of bad faith.” We are “at the precipice of such a dangerous move” because the Obama administration is “arrogant, misguided and dangerous.” “Moral equivalency” is “a dangerous insult.”

This was meant not to defuse but to inflame. It does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Perry that when you are running for president you have to be big, you have to act as if you’re a broad fellow who understands that when the American president is in a tight spot in the U.N., America is in a tight spot in the U.N. You don’t exploit it for political gain.

Perry competitor Rick Santorum responded: “I’ve forgotten more about Israel than Rick Perry knows about Israel,” he told Politico. Mr. Perry “has never taken a position on any of this stuff before, and [the media is] taking this guy seriously.”

The Israeli newspaper Ha’artez likened Mr. Perry’s remarks to “a pep rally for one of Israel’s right-wing politicians, and a hard-liner at that,” adding that the governor “adopted the rhetoric of Israel’s radical right lock, stock and barrel.”

I’d add only that in his first foreign-policy foray, the GOP front-runner looked like a cheap, base-playing buffoon.

As I said, Mr. Obama can’t win this election, but the Republicans can lose it by being small, by being extreme, by being—are we going to have to start using this word again?—unnuanced.

via Amateur Hour at the White House – WSJ.com.

“The Good Wife” , tv, culture, gender issues, monogamy:  I don’t really like tv’s portrayal of our culture … “there are worse ways to betray your partner than by being unfaithful.”

Are men meant to be monogamous?

Alan Cumming from “The Good Wife” says there are worse ways to betray your partner than by being unfaithful.

via Video – Breaking News Videos from CNN.com

Morgan Freeman, President  Obama, race relations, politics, Tea Party:  Makes you think … I personally had hoped Pres. Obama’s election would be a great leap forward for the U.S.

Morgan Freeman, in an interview to be aired on CNN Friday evening, says that President Obama has made racism worse in America.

Chatting with Piers Morgan, the Oscar-winning actor also blames the Tea Party saying they’re “going to do whatever [they] can to get this black man outta here” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

via Morgan Freeman: Obama Made Racism Worse, Tea Party Will Do ‘Whatever [It] Can To Get This Black Man Outta Here’ | NewsBusters.org.

Troy Davis, capital punishment, understatement, GA:  “Take the case settled yesterday in Georgia.”  SETTLED!  Talk about effective use of understatement.

The idea that if you do wrong you get what’s coming to you animates Westerns and crime fiction, both distinctly American genres; small wonder it should find fertile political ground too. But here’s the thing: life is not a movie or a novel. Reality has no obligation to provide us with a clear narrative or villain, and it rarely does.

Take the case settled yesterday in Georgia.

Speaker after speaker harped on the same two points, one sound and one largely but not wholly irrelevant. The former, of course, concerned the injustice of the death penalty and the large amount of doubt concerning Mr Davis’s guilt. He was effectively killed on the word of nine people, seven of whom changed their minds. Reports said that Georgia’s parole board, which denied Mr Davis clemency on Monday, split 3-2 on that decision. Eyewitness testimony is profoundly unreliable; that it, and only it, was used to kill someone is unjust on its face and sets a terrible precedent.

The largely irrelevant point concerned the large numbers of supporters Mr Davis had around the world. We were told that rallies were held in Europe and across America, that hundreds of thousands of people had signed petitions, that death-penalty supporters such as Bob Barr and William Sessions (a former Georgia congressman and a former FBI director) and luminaries such as Jimmy Carter and the pope all opposed Mr Davis’s execution. But the problem with Georgia’s decision to kill Mr Davis is not that it’s unpopular; it’s that it was wrong.

When it was all over, Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Church, where Martin Luther King preached, said, “This is one of those moments when the nation is called to examine itself and ask, ‘Is this who we are?'” It seems that it is, alas.

via Capital punishment: A death in Georgia | The Economist.

President Obama, Jobs Bill, ” A Bridge To Nowhere”, 2012 Presidential Election:  Is the jobs bill nothing more than a first swing at the 2012 election … “This Cincinnati trip is the latest in a series of jobs events Obama has held across the country. Before this he was in Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Columbus, Ohio. No coincidence those are also swing states he wants to win to get re-elected in 2012.”

“It’s a short-lived fix,” he says. “I mean, the guys will be working on the bridge for a couple years, and then they’re out of work again.”

The truth is, construction on the Brent Spence Bridge would not begin right away even if the bill passes tomorrow. The White House says it never claimed this project was shovel-ready. One reason it was chosen was its political symbolism.

The Brent Spence connects House Speaker John Boehner’s home state of Ohio with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky. On the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell said it would be great to fix this bridge, but the president’s jobs bill won’t get it done.

“Don’t patronize us by implying that if we pass the second stimulus, that bridges will get fixed right away,” McConnell said. “The American people heard the same thing when the administration was selling the first stimulus.”

But small-business owner Jeffrey McClorey says the first stimulus really helped this community. He runs Bromwell’s Fireplace and Art Gallery, which calls itself the oldest business in Cincinnati. He says the first stimulus helped spur a mixed-use condo development along the river, called The Banks.

“There’s 300 new families living down at The Banks, and more coming. And those people are buying products from me and other people downtown and in the region,” McClorey says. “And it also benefits and helps to repopulate the city center, which I think is very important.”

This Cincinnati trip is the latest in a series of jobs events Obama has held across the country. Before this he was in Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Columbus, Ohio. No coincidence those are also swing states he wants to win to get re-elected in 2012.

via Obama’s Jobs Bill Pitch: A Bridge To Nowhere? : NPR.

“How I Met Your Mother”, tv, Katie Holmes,  “Slutty Pumpkin”, random, LOL:  OK, I watch some shows because my kids watch them.  I admit I have grown to love “How I Met Your Mother” and look forward to Season 7 and Katie Holmes as the “slutty pumpkin.”

Shockers abound in Season 7 of “How I Met Your Mother.”

Just days after the season premiere return of Season 1’s cupcake girl, Victoria (Ashley Williams), the identity of the elusive “Slutty Pumpkin” has been revealed.

First reported by Vulture, the elusive character first mentioned in Season 1 will appear this year in the form of Katie Holmes.

“Katie is a lovely and talented actress,” co-creator Craig Thomas tells Vulture, “which is why we’ve saved for her perhaps the most classily named character in our show’s history.”

“The Slutty Pumpkin,” also the name of the series’ sixth episode, was a potential love interest Ted (Josh Radnor) met at a 2001 Halloween party and never saw again. She’s since been mentioned several times — and cannot possibly be the mother.

via ‘How I Met Your Mother’ revelation: Katie Holmes is the ‘Slutty Pumpkin’ – chicagotribune.com.

Michael Warner, public lectures, UNC-CH, evangelical Christianity: ” Michael Warner, a professor of English literature and American studies at Yale University, said Thursday that evangelical Christianity is the mother of all social movements.”

When one thinks of evangelical Christianity, “nation-shaping” is not the first concept to come to mind.

But Michael Warner, a professor of English literature and American studies at Yale University, said Thursday that evangelical Christianity is the mother of all social movements.

Warner defined evangelicalism as a “transnational movement” that focuses on converting strangers. The movement is loud and unafraid to adapt to technology, he said.

He focused on the rise of evangelical Christians as a “counter public” in America from the late 18th century until the mid-1970s, which he claimed was the turning point for modern evangelicalism.

He discussed early American evangelical publications created for the purpose of converting readers, including “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” a sermon delivered in the 1740s by theologian Jonathan Edwards.

“The idea of evangelicalism follows the assumption that a reading of these texts anywhere by anyone leads to a conversion,” Warner said. “To read it is to imagine a spectacular conversion happening somewhere.”

“Free speech created a very special kind of culture,” he said.

Many students attended as part of their “Introduction to Fiction” class, said John Weeks, a junior psychology and political science double major.

“The religious discussion relates to the theme in the book we’re studying, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle,” said Tara Jeffries, a freshman journalism major.

“I enjoyed the references to American history and how the Puritanical religious views shaped the country,” Jeffries said. “His analysis of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon and the way he deconstructed it were especially interesting.”

The lecture was part of the Critical Speaker Series of UNC’s Department of English and Comparative Literature.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Yale professor lectures on social importance of evangelical Christianity.

Silent Sam, public monuments, Real Silent Sam movement, UNC-CH, history, traditions:  I clipped about silent Sam before.  It is difficult … should it go … I will say I was very moved by The Unsung Founders Memorial.  I am interested to see how this plays out.  My opinion is that it should stay and be a reminder of a history that you cannot deny … but be a discussion point.

0919_silentsam_sweeney

The statue in McCorkle Place has again sparked community-wide debate about the implications of having a monument to the Confederacy so prominently placed on campus.

But despite outrage from some, the monument has never been seriously threatened, at least during the past few decades.

Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost, said he has heard of no formal petition to remove the statue in his 31 years at the University.

On Sept. 1, a group called the Real Silent Sam movement, composed of concerned community members and students, held a protest to attract attention to the statue’s history.

Senior Will McInerney, a member of the movement, said the group wants to start a discussion about monuments with racist backgrounds.

University officials said they support the students’ right to protest the statue.

“I do fully support robust and earnest dialogue about this and similar issues, and I fully support student’s rights to raise this issue before the university community,” said Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs.

About 10 years ago, University officials heard from a senior class that wanted to commemorate another aspect of UNC’s history.

The Unsung Founders Memorial — the stone table situated less than 100 yards away from Silent Sam — was erected in 2005 by the graduating class of 2002 in memory of enslaved African-Americans who helped to build the University.

David Owens, chairman of UNC’s building and grounds committee, said careful considerations were made about the placement of the Unsung Founders monument.

“Silent Sam was the second monument to be placed inside the sidewalks at McCorkle Place,” Owens said, adding that the first was the burial site for Joseph Caldwell, the University’s first president, who was also a slaveowner.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Real Silent Sam movement holds protest focused on statue’s history.

Sebastian Junger, Reynolds Lecture, Davidson College:  Great lecture … “He also noted that on the battlefield, it’s not hard for a group of 22-year-olds to come together and overcome their differences, united behind a common purpose. In one of the few political statements of the evening, he added: ‘And then there’s Congress.’”

His talk touched on themes recounted in his books “War,” “The Perfect Storm,” “A Death in Belmont” and “Fire.”

He describes his time embedded with an military unit in Iraq. We all almost died, he said. Soldiers come to know that “you die or survive because of a random set of circumstances. … It’s meaningless,” he said. “It really torments these guys.”

The horrors and meaninglessness of war create problems when veterans return. On the battlefield, they come to know brotherhood and loyalty. For brotherhood, he said, all that’s required is that you value others’ lives above your own. “It’s there in the platoon,” and soldiers know they all can be brave.

That accords them respect that is hard to find in civilian life, Mr. Junger said. In combat, “every 19 year old can be encased in all the respect he can ever want.”

Once back home, they miss that and find they lack the same sense of purpose. In response to a question after his talk, he said as a nation, our goal for veterans should be to make them feel necessary. “A hug is great,” he said, but we need to ensure they have a purpose.

He also noted that on the battlefield, it’s not hard for a group of 22-year-olds to come together and overcome their differences, united behind a common purpose. In one of the few political statements of the evening, he added: “And then there’s Congress.”

Mr. Junger also recounted the death of his friend, collaborator and photojournalist Timothy Hetherington, with whom he made the award-winning documentary “Restrepo,” about Afghanistan. After they appeared at the Academy Awards ceremony to received an award for the film, Mr. Hetherington headed off to cover the civil unrest in Libya. There, he was killed by a mortar shell.

As Mr. Junger mourned, a friend emailed him. Apologizing for being so blunt, he told Mr. Junger that he and Mr. Hetherington had come closer than most to capturing the meaning of war. “The central truth of war is not that you might die, it’s that you’re guaranteed to lose your brothers,” the friend wrote. Now you understand, the friend said.

via At Davidson, Junger talks about war and its meaning | DavidsonNews.net.

Freshman Cake Race, Davidson College, traditions, goats, followup:  A Davidson tradition is the freshman cake race … I just saw this and loved its creativity … someone made a kudzu eating goat cake!

Today’s Freshman Cake Race scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Baker Sports Complex has inspired people all over town. One of the college’s crack strategic planning analysts, Janet Werner, was so moved by the college’s summer goat story that she confected this decorative entry, complete with tiny goat on top of kudzu fondant:

Not Baaaad!

And irrepressible math prof Tim Chartier concocted a real Wildcat paw/M&M cake on his computer, then brought it to life in the kitchen.

via Daybook Davidson.

Davidson College,  first night down, college life, student life, traditions, change:  Change is hard .. What college tradition would you be upset about if the college changd or banned it?

In 2009, First Night Down was officially renamed the Opening of the Court. Related events were moved from a Friday to a Monday in an effort to deemphasize drinking and encourage Patterson Court houses to better present their unique qualities to first year students. These changes, however, failed to achieve their desired effect.

This year, administrators from Student Life and Patterson Court chose to completely eliminate First Night Down, a decision that also precipitated a new set of recruitment rules for Patterson Court organizations.

Students were informed of this change on Aug. 15 in an email from Patterson Court Council President Lee Dorsey ’12. Dorsey attributed the decision to a year-long conversation involving the Patterson Court Council, the Dean of Students Office, Campus Police, Counseling and Student Health Center, the Union and the Residence Life Office.

Dorsey stated in the email that the event had lost its original focus and needed to better maintain its primary purpose: “to provide first-year students a comprehensive and welcoming experience, and to favorably introduce the pillars of our Patterson Court organizations and the Patterson Court Council to the outside community.”

In eliminating a formal opening date, Dorsey said that they hoped to “diffuse a frequently stressful and intense environment.”

Current students have mixed feelings about the decision. Krista Catafago ’14, a member of the last class to have a First Night Down, said, “As a freshman, I kind of resented the first night down rule, but as a sophomore, I’m able to understand the reasoning behind it. That being said, I think including students from all years from the very beginning has made the court more fun.”

Ace Coumas ’14 felt more strongly about the loss of the tradition. “I wouldn’t have known my [freshman] hall as well as I do today had First Night Down not existed,” he said. Though Meg Shamburger, Patterson Court Advisor, previously told The Davidsonian that she felt students were more upset about the changes to recruitment than the elimination of First Night Down, Coumas disagreed.

“A tradition has been stripped from Davidson College. It is certainly different. Of all the changes that have been dropped on returning students this year, this is the one that I am most concerned about,” he said.

via First night down: – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

Anne Wills ’88, Associate Professor of Religion, also suggests that First Night Down may have meant more to recent classes. “As a historian, I would have to point to this occasion as yet another recent invention/innovation that has disguised itself as an ancient (or at least generations-old) tradition,” she said.

Though First Night Down may not have left as great an imprint on the memories of Davidson’s older graduates, the loss is more strongly felt among current students and recent alumni. This loss of tradition reflects the larger goals of the administration to overhaul Patterson Court culture. The measure is officially a “preliminary solution to a long-term concern,” though it remains to be seen what steps will be taken next.

via First night down: – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

$16 Muffins, government waste,  Justice Department, oversight:  I am glad there were no $16 Muffins, but it does show you how we can get overhyped by phrases … and the bottom line is there is a lot of waste.

There was a whole host of over-priced items: $5 meatballs, $7.50 beef canapes, $8 coffees. But the sound-byte everyone took from the story was the $16 muffin.

Journalists and auditors arrived at the startling price when they discovered that 250 muffins at a hotel conference had cost the Department $4,200. Many were outraged, and pointed to the muffins as a prime example of governmental waste. Senator Chuck Grassley even said that whoever was responsible should be fired. Obama, for his part, seems to be complying. Obama Foodorama reports that POTUS has ordered a systematic review of all conference spending, and put Vice President Biden in charge of oversight.

It sounds like the new oversight is worth it; the government undoubtedly wastes a lot of money on catering and hospitality. But there’s a fantastic irony at the heart of the entire story. Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum has a great explanation of why the $16 muffins didn’t really cost $16. The calculation was based on the invoice price of the muffins — which included overhead and service charges for the use of the conference space.

UPDATE: Peter Yost of the Associated Press just wrote a story denouncing the idea of the $16 muffin as well; interviews with Hilton indicate that the apparent $16 price included free drinks, service and fruit. Here’s the full AP story:

via $16 Muffins, Which May Not Be Real, Get Justice Department In Trouble.

college search, virtual campus tours:  Anybody found these useful?

Virtual campus tours have been an active part of the higher ed web space for over a decade. Designed as the online sibling to the physical campus tour, they have the potential to reach prospective students and have a major impact on the recruitment process. Yet despite this great potential, the vast majority of virtual campus tours in existence today are disappointing, at best.

via Virtual Campus Tours | Higher Ed Live.

1895 Cotton States and International Exposition, history, Atlanta, followup:  I posted the anniversary of the Epositions’s opening a week ago.  I have always been fascinated it because my great-grandfather JJ Dennard, a Georgia state legislator, attended.  His ticket/pass with his photograph on it (remember 1895!) was always in a drawer in my grandparents home.  My sister has it now.  It just fascinated me.  So here is a little history for you.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
U.S. President Cleveland

The most ambitious of the city’s cotton expositions was staged in 1895. Its goals were to foster trade between southern states and South American nations as well as to show the products and facilities of the region to the rest of the nation and to Europe. These objectives found expression in the official name of the event—the Cotton States and International Exposition. There were exhibits by six states and special buildings featuring the accomplishments of women and blacks. Also showcased was the latest technology in transportation, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and other fields. Amusements such as the “Phoenix Wheel” and an early version of the motion picture were set up as part of a midway to attract visitors.

On opening day, September 18, military bands played, followed by speeches from political, business, and other leaders, including the prominent African American educator Booker T. Washington. In a speech that came to be known as the Atlanta Compromise speech and that was greeted enthusiastically by white advocates of the New South, Washington did not challenge

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection
1895 Cotton States and International Exposition

the prevailing ideas of segregation held by advocates of the New South; putting aside all claims to political power and social equality, he urged blacks to make progress as agricultural and industrial laborers. In spite of lavish promotion, fewer than 800,000 attended the three-month exposition, which was plagued by constant financial problems. The Cotton States Exposition did showcase Atlanta as a regional business center and helped to attract investment. Although most of the 1895 exposition’s buildings were torn down so that the materials could be sold for scrap, the city eventually purchased the grounds, which became the present-day Piedmont Park.

via New Georgia Encyclopedia: Cotton Expositions in Atlanta.

BofA,  Countrywide, bankruptcy, business ethics:  I am a big supporter of  Bank of America (my spouse has worded for BofA or a predecessor for his entire career).   But passing the Countrywide debacle off on the American people bothers me.  However, BofA took a huge hit with Merrill Lynch for the country … and has taken huge hits with countrywide already … Opinions?

The threat of a Countrywide bankruptcy is a “nuclear” option that Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan could use as leverage against plaintiffs seeking refunds on bad mortgages, said analyst Mike Mayo of Credit Agricole Securities USA. … “If the losses become so great, how can Bank of America at least not discuss internally the relative tradeoff of a Countrywide bankruptcy?” Mayo, who has an “underperform” rating on the bank, said in an interview. “And if you pull out the bazooka, you’d better be prepared to use it.”

via Report: Bank of America could consider Countrywide bankruptcy – Charlotte Business Journal.

Facebook, changes:  I do not get too upset about Facebook changes … but some pretty creative people do …

04
Jul
11

7.4.2011 … Happy 4th … I brought my youngest home from the hospital on the 4th of July … and have shared most with great Charlotte kith family … See ya’ll at the lake!

media, traditions, 4th of July, NPR:  I like this tradition …

Twenty-three years ago, Morning Edition launched what has become an Independence Day tradition: hosts, reporters, newscasters and commentators reading the Declaration of Independence.

It was 235 years ago this Monday that church bells rang out over Philadelphia, as the Continental Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence.

via Reading The Declaration Of Independence Aloud : NPR.

yesterday, Facebook posts:  ‎”… Bombs bu[r]sting in air … Love the sound of fireworks even when I don’t see them …”  I read this again this morning (and corrected the typo) and realized how grateful i am that I live in a country where i generally the sound of fireworks is nothing to fear, but brings up a smile and years of happy memories.

I wish I  had written/said that … , family, travel, parenting:  This article so expresses how I felt during the last few weeks leading up to Saturday and Molls’ departure for France.  I smiled today when the director of the Tufts program sent an e-mail that he would be posting photos on a photo sharing site.  They are almost grown … but not quite … so we still get to peek just like at camp for the last 10 years or so … Oh, and I thought of you, CDCU … because I remember your saying several times … I should have written that!

And then — well, she went. Hefting her bags, she grinned a last farewell to her family and walked off toward the uniformed fellow standing at the gate. She looked terribly grown up.

Until that moment, in the weeks leading up to the day of her departure, it was as though she almost physically switched back and forth between the vulnerable child she had been and the confident woman she would someday become.

“I’ve packed Aristotle and Tocqueville for the flight,” she said at one point, with the brisk confidence of a mature traveling intellectual for whom aircraft hold the pleasant prospect of uninterrupted hours of inquiry (though mature traveling intellectuals probably pack mystery novels, or iPods).

via A teenage daughter boards a plane looking like the woman she’ll someday be | Meghan Cox Gurdon | Local | Washington Examiner.

music, 4th of July: YouTube – Beach Boys – 4th of July ‏.

4th of July, Founding Fathers, politics: … “they signed it, pledging ‘their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.'”  How many of us would do that today?

It sounded preposterous to much of the world on that July 4 in 1776 that somehow a tiny colony long on big ideas and short on such things as an army, money or even much of a government intended to break away from the richest and most powerful nation in the world.

The men who signed that Declaration of Independence knew exactly how long the odds were, and knew they would be hanged if they failed – but they signed it, pledging “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.”

John Hancock signed his name large – he wanted the British to make no mistake about who he was.

I thought about that at a recent CBS News Town Hall on the economy when I asked Tom Coburn, a very conservative Republican Senator from Oklahoma, why Congress can’t get anything done anymore. Because, he said:

“We’re more interested in political careers than we are interested in fixing the very real and urgent problems in front of our country. The senate has – this is the lowest level of votes the senate has had in my seven years and the lowest level of votes in 25 years.

“And the reason we’re not voting is people don’t want to take a vote because they might have to defend it.

So rather than come up here and do the job and have the courage and the honor to go out and defend your votes, what we do is we just don’t vote,” Coburn said.

What a contrast to the attitude of the founders who put their lives on the line for what they believed.

Not the usual July 4 message but maybe worth hearing – just to remind us how we used to be.

via Not your grandfather’s Founding Fathers – CBS News.

Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, The Constitution, history, faith and spirituality:  Another good analysis putting history in perspective …

True history is the enemy of reverence. We do the authors of American independence no favors by embalming them in infallibility, by treating the Constitution like a quasi-biblical revelation instead of the product of contention and cobbled-together compromise that it actually was. Even the collective noun “Founding -Fathers” planes smooth the unreconciled divisiveness of their bitter and acrimonious disputes. History is a book of chastening wisdom to which we ought to be looking to deepen our understanding of the legitimate nature of American government—including its revenue-raising power, an issue that deeply captivated the antagonized minds of that first generation. But unfortunately, there is little evidence of citizens engaging in close, critical reading of The Federalist Papers, of the debates surrounding constitutional ratification, or of the dispute that pitted Hamilton and James Madison against Patrick Henry over what was at stake in Congress’s authority to make laws “necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the…Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States.”

Jefferson wouldn’t have a prayer of winning the Republican nomination, much less the presidency. It wouldn’t be his liaison with the teenage daughter of one of his slaves nor the love children she bore him that would be the stumbling block. Nor would it be Jefferson’s suspicious possession of an English translation of the Quran that might doom him to fail the Newt Gingrich loyalty test. No, it would be the Jesus problem that would do him in. For Thomas Jefferson denied that Jesus was the son of God. Worse, he refused to believe that Jesus ever made any claim that he was. While he was at it, Jefferson also rejected as self-evidently absurd the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection.

Jefferson was not, as his enemies in the election of 1800 claimed, an atheist. He believed in the Creator whom he invoked in the Declaration of Independence and whom he thought had brought the natural universe into being. By his own lights he thought himself a true Christian, an admirer of the moral teachings of the Nazarene. It had been, he argued, generations of the clergy who had perverted the simple humanity of Jesus the reformer, turned him into a messiah, and invented the myth that he had died to redeem mankind’s sins.

All of which would surely mean that, notwithstanding his passion for minimal government, the Sage of Monticello would have no chance at all beside True Believers like Michele Bachmann. But Jefferson’s rationalist deism is not the idle makeover of liberal wishful thinking. It is incontrovertible historical fact, as is his absolute determination never to admit religion into any institutions of the public realm.

So the philosopher-president whose aversion to overbearing government makes him a Tea Party patriarch was also a man who thought the Immaculate Conception a fable. But then real history is like that—full of knotty contradictions, its cast list of heroes, especially American heroes, majestic in their complicated imperfections.

via The Founding Fathers Were Flawed – Newsweek.

Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, words/phrases, technology, kudos:  Subjects v. citizens … big difference … thank you, Tom!

“Subjects.”

That’s what Thomas Jefferson first wrote in an early draft of the Declaration of Independence to describe the people of the 13 colonies.

But in a moment when history took a sharp turn, Jefferson sought quite methodically to expunge the word, to wipe it out of existence and write over it. Many words were crossed out and replaced in the draft, but only one was obliterated.

Over the smudge, Jefferson then wrote the word “citizens.”

No longer subjects to the crown, the colonists became something different: a people whose allegiance was to one another, not to a faraway monarch.

“It’s almost like we can see him write ‘subjects’ and then quickly decide that’s not what he wanted to say at all, that he didn’t even want a record of it,” she said. “Really, it sends chills down the spine.”

The library deciphered the hidden “subjects” several months ago, the first major finding attributed to its new high-tech instruments. By studying the document at different wavelengths of light, including infrared and ultraviolet, researchers detected slightly different chemical signatures in the remnant ink of the erased word than in “citizens.” Those differences allowed the team to bring the erased word back to life.

But the task was made more difficult by the way Jefferson sought to match the lines and curves of the underlying smudged letters with the new letters he wrote on top of them. It took research scientist Fenella France weeks to pull out each letter until the full word became apparent.

“It’s quite amazing how he morphed ‘subjects’ into ‘citizens,’ ” she said. “We did the reverse morphing back to ‘subjects.’ ”

via Jefferson changed ‘subjects’ to ‘citizens’ in Declaration of Independence.

4th of July, politics, parenting, LOL:  Democrats beware of letting your children celebrate the 4th!

… new study argues that July 4th celebrations may not be as innocent as they seem – at least from the democratic perspective.

According to the report, published by Harvard University, July 4th-themed festivities (defined by the study as fireworks, parades, political speeches, and barbecues) not only energize primarily Republicans, but also turn children into Republicans and increase GOP voter turnout.

Simply put: “Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” says the report, which was written by Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.

via Do July 4th festivities make you Republican? – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

Founding Fathers, The Constitution, politics, US debt limit, Great Recession:  As I mentioned on 7/2, we were discussing this at dinner the other night, and specifically the constitutional provisions applicable. I will find the reference that Bob T. mentioned.  So if you are interested … keep reading.  Again, I feel really old … and dull.

But on one contemporary issue the Founding Fathers did have strong opinions: the national debt. Had they been confronted with the question of whether the federal government should be allowed to default on its debt obligations, they would have spoken with one resounding voice: No! Pay the bills, service the debt. Don’t even think of defaulting or playing dice with global creditors for domestic political gain. End of argument.

The drive to write a new Constitution was fueled by the clear need to empower a national government with a modicum of economic sovereignty.

Proof of that can be found in a legion of quotations and letters, ranging from speeches to the Federalist Papers. James Madison, architect of the nation if there ever was one, described national debts as “moral obligations” in Federalist Paper No. 43. George Washington, who was always measured and diplomatic in public utterances, was unequivocal in his thoughts on public debts: “No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt; on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of the time more valuable.” And that message was delivered directly to the House of Representatives in 1793, where some members were contemplating various defaults.

The nation’s creators might well have been appalled that our national government accrued so much debt and spent so much on credit, but it is hard to see any of them contending that the way out of that bind is to refuse to pay.

But that is what is being contemplated. The United States has a lot of debt, yes, but we’re not Greece. There is no inability to pay, and no threat from global creditors that credit may be cut off. In time, perhaps, but not now. For those who still look to the Founders for wisdom and guidance, on this celebration of another Independence Day the message is clear: Argue all you want about the proper role of government and levels of debt. Debate and contest, rowdily and angrily. Get down and dirty. But above all, do not sacrifice the nation’s credit on the altar of political expediency and partisan gain.

via What Would the Founding Fathers Say About the National Debt? Don’t Default | Moneyland | TIME.com.

John Adams, Founding Fathers, DC Monuments, history, Washington DC:  Just went to DC … didn’t even think about dear old John.

When President Obama ponders tough decisions at the White House, he may join the cadre of presidents who have sought inspiration in the Truman Balcony’s stunning vista, gazing at the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial, which commemorate our first and third commanders in chief. But there’s a man missing from this presidential panorama.

Where is John Adams, our feisty second president and lifelong American patriot? If George Washington was the sword of the revolution and Thomas Jefferson the pen, why have we neglected the voice of our nation’s independence?

Adams himself predicted this omission. “Monuments will never be erected to me . . . romances will never be written, nor flattering orations spoken, to transmit me to posterity in brilliant colors,” he wrote in 1819, nearly two decades after his single term in office. At his farm in Quincy, Mass., Adams worried that he would be forgotten by history, and for good reason: The temperamental Yankee could never outshine Washington and Jefferson, Virginia’s two-term presidential all-stars — one a brilliant general unanimously chosen to lead the nation, the other the eloquent author of the Declaration of Independence.

“The way the Jefferson Memorial is built, Jefferson is looking right in the center window,” President Bill Clinton told White House guests in 1994. “I go out on the balcony a lot . . . and look at it.”

It’s a shame he couldn’t see Adams, too. Still, as we celebrate July 4 — the anniversary of the declaration’s adoption and of Adams’s death — it’s high time we honored this “passionate sage,” as Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis titled his Adams biography. He is the founding father most unsung in the capital’s memorial landscape.

via Why doesn’t John Adams have a memorial in Washington? – The Washington Post.




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 630 other followers

November 2017
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930