Posts Tagged ‘update

07
Sep
11

9.7.2011 ‎… how can it be. yesterday was summer, and today is fall … what a wonderful cool morning …

fall:  By the way, I love fall.

BofA, kith/kin:  Not great news for the BofA or the Teagues … John really was impressed by Ms.. Krawcheck when she came on board.

As part of the reshuffling, the bank announced the departure of two senior executives, Sallie L. Krawcheck, one of the top women on Wall Street, and Joe Price, a Bank of America veteran.

David Darnell and Tom Montag were named co-chief operating officers, in newly created positions that will report directly to the company’s chief executive, Brian T. Moynihan. Mr. Montag will oversee the banking and markets activities, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which he headed previously. Mr. Darnell, currently head of global commercial banking, will run all of the consumer businesses, including wealth management and home loans.

The reorganization — which essentially splits the sprawling empire into two main units, one focused on consumers, the other on businesses and institutions — comes as Bank of America faces an erosion of investor confidence. Amid growing losses linked to the mortgage crisis and fears that its capital cushion was insufficient, the financial firm has been pummeled, the laggard stock in an already troubled industry.

via Struggling Bank of America Shakes Up Its Top Management – NYTimes.com.

The lawsuit claims that when former Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo marveled at the dizzying recklessness of the mortgage-lending business, he was in fact looking at Charlotte-based Bank of America BAC -2.01% .

This is perhaps one of the most insulting claims ever leveled in a mortgage-fraud lawsuit. Bank of America would probably feel outraged if it weren’t so overwhelmed with its nauseating plunge on the stock market.

Mozilo has easily eclipsed Enron’s brass as one of the most-hated executives of all time. He has become the poster child for the fraudulent mortgage-lending practices that torpedoed the U.S. banking system and the entire global economy.

But he was smart enough to sell Countrywide as it nearly collapsed in January 2008. And Bank of America was dumb enough to buy it for $4.1 billion.

Since then, Bank of America has been blaming Countrywide for a litany of problems.

Last May, for instance, Bank of America put up $22 million to settle charges it improperly foreclosed on active-duty troops.

There is no worse public-relations fete than sending foreclosure notices to the people risking their lives on a battlefield. So Bank of America set the record straight in a prepared statement:

“While most cases involve loans originated by Countrywide and the improper foreclosures were taken or started by Countrywide prior to our acquisition, it is our responsibility to make things right,” Bank of America executive Terry Laughlin said.

Ooh-Rah, Bank of America!

There was also that time Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan testified before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. “Our primary window into the mortgage crisis came through the acquisition of Countrywide,” he said in January 2010, as if Bank of America hadn’t been brewing a mortgage crisis of its own before its acquisition of Countrywide.

In November 2010, Moynihan was about as plainspoken as possible: “At the end of the day, we’ll pay for the things that Countrywide did.”

Hey, it wasn’t Moynihan’s idea to buy Countrywide. He’s simply cleaning up the mess of former CEO Ken Lewis. Yet no truer words were ever spoken.

Bank of America was even on the hook for a big chunk of the $67.5 million Mozilo agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission last October to settle civil-fraud charges — without admitting nor denying guilt, of course.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, last week sued 17 banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. C -2.17% , J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM -1.09% , Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS -1.54% and some European banks such as Credit Suisse Group CS -1.48%   ( CH:CSGN +0.05% , Barclays Bank BCS -2.02%  and the Royal Bank of Scotland RBS -0.27% .

via Feds say Bank of America worse than Countrywide – Al Lewis – MarketWatch.

food – drink, tea, Twinings, corporate blunders, New Coke:  Why would they mess with the recipe?

Twinings’ bizarre plan to change the flavour of Earl Grey seems a misguided one. It has added more lemon and more bergamot to make it even more “wonderful”. Leaving aside the fact that only in the world of tea-producing have the words “more bergamot” and “wonderful” ever been combined, you do feel that they have, how can I put it, gone barmy. Earl Grey is Earl Grey. Variants like the apparently popular “Lady Grey” – it’s got orange in it – and this new Earl Grey Bergamot City, or whatever it’s called, are not really needed. (The Earl Grey-flavoured Kit-Kat was, if Wikipedia is to be believed, fortunately confined to the Japanese market.)

The makers of Earl Grey should recall the disastrous decision by the Coca-Cola company in the 1980s to change the flavour of Coke to “New Coke”. I don’t know if New Coke had bergamot in it, but its unpopularity led to the Cola Wars and a rout by its watery rival Pepsi.

Twinings has left itself wide open to an all-out assault by its rivals. I envisage a kind of class-based bloodbath (or, I suppose, teabath), with the Tetley Tea Folk raising high the banner of revolution as the tumbrils rattle through the cobbled streets of Yorkshire. Après-moi, as the second Earl might have said, le thé-luge.

via Twinings is changing Earl Grey – man the barricades – Telegraph.

professionals, teachers, parenting:  I am guilty as charged.

This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.  I screamed, “You can’t leave us,” and she quite bluntly replied, “Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can’t deal with parents anymore; they are killing us.”

Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation, and they are raising children who will grow into adults who turn toward excuses and do not create a strong work ethic. If you don’t want your child to end up 25 and jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren’t succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions.

Parents, be a partner instead of a prosecutor

And parents, you know, it’s OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don’t set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It’s a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+.

We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask — and beg of you — to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve. Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.

That’s a teacher’s promise, from me to you.

via What teachers really want to tell parents – CNN.com.

John Edwards, slimebags, update:  he may not be guilty as charged … but he is guilty of being a slimebag.  I guess that is not a crime.

Lawyers for John Edwards said Tuesday they filed motions seeking the dismissal of charges against the former U.S. senator accused of conspiracy, issuing false statements and violating campaign contribution laws.

Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004, has pleaded not guilty. The five motions filed Tuesday call for all the charges to get thrown out, his lawyers said in a statement.

via Lawyers for Edwards file motions to dismiss charges – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

14
Jul
11

7.14.2011 … Happy Bastille Day …

France, Bastille Day, kith/kin:  Molly was excited to celebrate Bastille Day … but then Tufts did not give them holiday!

Davidson College, goats, update:  The kudzu eating goats are trying to stay cool. 🙂

goats cooling off in troughs at Davidson

Man, it’s hot out there. What do you do? Climb into your water trough, of course. Madelyn Mills of South Street in Davidson captured these kudzu-eating goats doing just that the other day out on the cross-country course at Davidson College.

via Beating the heat, a kind act, report from the Philippines | DavidsonNews.net.

Apple, Davidson, Davidson College:  I wondered what those folks not within an easy drive to an Apple store did … now I know … Good luck with your new venture.

As more people switch to Apple computers and devices, demand for related sales and service is expanding. To Davidson’s Drew Crawford, that spelled an opportunity. The Davidson College grad and owner of Wooden Stone has carved out a corner of his South Main Street gallery for a new Apple retail counter and service center called Computer Tree.

The shop will have a grand opening Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an “Apple festival” including games, refreshments, and the start of a raffle that will give away an iPad 2 and benefit Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson.

Computer Tree will sell most Apple computers and devices, except the iPhone, and offer local service, repairs and training. The shop’s experts include Mr. Crawford himself, who recently received Apple certifications. They’ll also be targeting local businesses and home users for consulting, installation, home networking and other services.

via Computer Tree opens – an Apple Store in Davidson | DavidsonNews.net.

food-drink, bubble tea:  From me on 7/5  …

One of the more intriguing parts of the meal was the Bubble Tea. The bubbles were very soft gummi like black candies at the bottom. Weird. The peach infused green tea was excellent.

via 7.5.2011 … travel to Boston … then dinner in Chinatown … at a Vietnamese restaurant. « Dennard’s Clipping Service.

Now I know the “bubbles” are tapioca pearls.  I wonder where you get tapioca pearls?

bubble-tea.gif 340×330 pixels.

tweets, Luke Russert, journalism, US debt limit, politics:  Some think Luke Russert, Tim Russert’s son, has been given special privileges.  His tweets yesterday were certainly the most interesting.

Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)
7/13/11 7:32 PM

Cantor: “The president told me, ‘Eric don’t call my bluff, you know I’m going to take this to the American people. He then walked out.”.

Luke Russert (@LukeRussert)

7/13/11 8:00 PM
Dem Aide, no walk out: Cantor rudely interrupted POTUS 3 times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while BO was wrapping mtg

survey says, stress, women’s issues, India:

As women around the world enjoy broader opportunities and expanding roles, they’re also experiencing one other increase in their lives — stress.

In one of their latest reports, Women of Tomorrow, Nielsen released stats that revealed where the most stressed-out women in the world reside, and how they behave in consequence.

Reuters also finds that women around the world were largely more stressed than those of the past, but also found that women in emerging economic and social markets were more stressed than those in developed countries. “While women in emerging markets see tremendous growth in the opportunities for their daughters, a plateau of hope is evident in developed countries,” said Susan Whiting, Nielsen’s vice chair, in a statement.

The results of the polls showed that an astounding 87% of Indian women claim feeling stressed most of the time, with an additional 82% asserting they had insufficient time to relax.

via Study: Indian Women Are the Most Stressed on Earth – TIME NewsFeed.

France, photography, culture:  I enjoyed this LIFE gallery on France and French culture.  LIFE Goes to France: The Culture – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Apple, MacBook, news:  I love the rumors …

The white MacBook, which sports a unibody polycarbonate (in other words, plastic) frame, was last updated in mid-2010. It currently sports a 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy screen (1280 by 800 pixel resolution, just like the 13-inch MacBook Pro), 2GB of system memory (expandable to 8GB), a 2.4 GHz Intel Core Duo and Nvidia’s GeForce 320M graphics card with 256MB video memory.

What’s likely in the new white MacBook? Thunderbolt, of course. Probably a Sandy Bridge processor of some sort. Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro sports a 2.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, so it’s reasonable to suspect a dual-core equivalent, maybe clocked at 2.0 or 2.2 GHz. We’ll probably also see a shift to the slower Intel HD Graphics 3000 or AMD Radeon 6000M series video card—a real bummer for older Nvidia GeForce 320M MacBook owners (the latter’s the reason I skipped Apple’s last MacBook Pro refresh in February 2011).

And who knows, perhaps Apple will finally drop the price on this thing. $999 still seems like $100-$200 too much for what’s essentially a cheapo plastic version of the in-every-way-superior only $200 pricier 13-inch MacBook Pro.

If you’re instead looking for something like a Mac Mini, it looks like that’s happening, too, with three new models appearing “soon” and classified “best,” “better,” and “ultimate.” No word on what they’ll include, though faster latest-family processors are a given.

And don’t forget Apple’s ballyhooed MacBook Air update, still very much on track, though whether any of this stuff manifests at OS X Lion’s digital-exclusive launch (supposedly tomorrow) remains to be seen.

via New White MacBook and Mac Minis Soon, Not Mac Pros – Techland – TIME.com.

Glee, changes:  We will survive. 🙂

Brace yourselves, Gleeks.

Glee exec producer Ryan Murphy just told The Hollywood Reporter that not only will Rachel, Finn and Kurt graduate from McKinley High at the end of the upcoming third season, but all three of their portrayers — Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer — are “not going to be back at all for Season 4.”

That’s right, kids. He said At. All.

via Glee Shocker: Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer Not Returning For Season 4 – TVLine – TVLine.

faith and spirituality:  I actually think about what it means to be blessed quite often … I think this sums it up nicely.  What do you think?

Being Blessed

Jesus is the Blessed One.  When Jesus was baptised in the Jordan river a voice came from heaven saying:  “You are my Son, the Beloved;  my favour rests on you” (Mark 1:11).  This was the blessing that sustained Jesus during his life.  Whatever happened to him – praise or blame – he clung to his blessing; he always remembered that he was the favourite child of God.

Jesus came into the world to share that blessing with us.  He came to open our ears to the voice that also says to us, “You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter, my favour rests on you .”  When we can hear that voice, trust in it, and always remember it, especially during dark times, we can live our lives as God’s blessed children and find the strength to share that blessing with others.

via Daily Meditation for July 14, 2011.

Google, Google+, Facebook:  OK, I’ll admit it,  I want an invitation …

Google, the most popular Web site on earth, is worried about the second-most popular site. That, of course, would be Facebook.

Why else would Google keep trying, over and over again, to create a social network of the same type? Orkut, Jaiku, Wave, Buzz — Google has lobbed forth one fizzled flop after another.

And now there’s Google+. It’s the latest Google “we wanna be Facebook” project. The difference is, this one’s got a real shot.

Instead of throwing open its doors with a big splash, as it did with the hopelessly confusing Wave and the privacy-challenged Buzz, Google is letting Google+ seep into the world virally. You can’t yet just go sign up; you have to be invited by someone who’s already a member.

Even so, Google+ already has millions of members. That’s not quite 750 million (Facebook’s current tally), but watch out for the network effect.

At first, Google+ looks like a shameless Facebook duplicate. There’s a place for you to make Posts (your thoughts and news, like Facebook’s Wall); there’s a Stream (an endless scrolling page of your friends’ posts, like Facebook’s News Feed); and even a little +1 button (a clone of Facebook’s Like button), which may be where Google+ gets its peculiar name.

But there’s one towering, brilliant difference: Circles.

via Google+ Gets a Leg Up on Facebook – NYTimes.com.

Royals, Prince Albert and Charlene:  I feel sorry for these people …

Prince Albert and Charlene’s trip to South Africa was publicly labeled as a honeymoon, but the pair have spent little time alone together since arriving last week.

The couple hosted a wedding party at the luxury Oyster Box hotel on Umhlanga beach before mingling at multiple cocktail parties and formal events alongside Olympic officials in town for the committee’s week-long annual conference that took Albert away from his new bride.

The formal body language and tepid affection displayed by the royals on their honeymoon matches what was seen at the couple’s royal wedding in Monaco.

Wittstock was in tears throughout the wedding ceremony, while her husband looked on, and Prince Albert had to formally ask his bride for a kiss, a request caught on camera for the world to see.

Royal watchers commented Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene, as Wittstock is now formally known, looked more like “Her Miserable Highness” than a blushing new bride.

In South Africa, Wittstock left Albert behind in Durban to travel to Cape Town to tour a series of charity projects with the country’s leaders.

via Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock Slept Apart on Honeymoon, Palace Confirms – ABC News.

Harry Potter:  Can’t wait to go …

After seven earlier films reaching back a decade, the Harry Potter saga comes to a solid and satisfying conclusion in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” The finale conjures up enough awe and solemnity to serve as an appropriate finale and a dramatic contrast to the lighthearted (relative) innocence of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” all those magical years ago.

Harry, Hermione and Ron are grown up now, and Harry has even grown the facial stubble required of all epic heroes. The time has come for him to face Lord Voldemort in their final showdown, and their conflict is staged in a series of special effects sequences containing power and conviction. I am still not sure what the bolts discharged by magic wands actually consist of, but never mind. They look wicked and lethal.

via Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews.

Jane Austen:

Jane Austen‘s unpublished manuscript for a novel called The Watsons will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in London tomorrow.

The manuscript is handwritten by Austen and includes the work alongside her notes and edits. While New York’s Morgan Library and Museum owns the first 12 pages of the work, the rest of the unfinished manuscript will be included in the auction. The Sotheby’s listing describes the pages as loose but kept together in a box. The listing reads: “in total 68 pages plus 6 blanks (these being the versos of the three inserted leaves and the final three pages of the final section), housed in collector’s folding box…”.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the manuscript is expected to fetch between $330,000 and $490,000.

via Jane Austen Manuscript Up For Auction – GalleyCat.

food-drink, tea, Harney & Sons, shilling:  If I were someone who could “shill,”  I would shill for Harney & Sons pomegranate oolong tea!

Harney & Sons has been in the business of gourmet tea for over 25 years. We make our teas for the enjoyment of our customers and take pride in meeting and exceeding their expectations from every cup of tea. Our selection is large, and includes many customer favorites including green tea, black tea, and white tea

via Tea – Gourmet Tea & Fine Teas From Harney & Sons.

30
Mar
11

3.30.2011 … Definitely a year in reverse … March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb … joke … Can’t wait to see what April brings …

old sayings, quotes:

The old saying goes “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb,” due to the fact that the month generally starts unsettled and chilly, while the end of the month typically turns milder as spring begins.

This saying looks to be opposite for March 2011 since just over four weeks ago, the month came in like a lamb with quiet weather across the eastern half of the country. High pressure was in control of the weather, bringing near- to slightly above-normal temperatures to residents living along the I-95 corridor.

To round out the month, AccuWeather.com meteorologists are monitoring the potential for a winter storm to track up the East Coast, effectively sending March out like a lion this year.

A disturbance currently moving inland over the Pacific Northwest will track into the Plains states by Wednesday before diving into the Gulf of Mexico Thursday.

via March may roar out like a lion | NJ.com.

Chicago, Cubs:  I was in Chicago last weekend at a wedding and of course the bride was a Cubs fan and the groom was a White Sox fan … had to be mentioned!  But saw this today and loved it … always hope!  I am a Cubs fan, btw.

Join the Heckler and Rick Telander for their celebration of the Cubs inevitable march to World Series glory (…) and get down on $2 Old Styles, a free buffet, and giveaways of Cubs tickets and rooftop passes, so you’ll have absolutely no hassle getting up to the best place to throw yourself off.

via Next Year Day | Thrillist.

random, apps, guys vs. girls:  I am not sure I care … but guys are into cars … funny.

In many ways cars are better than girlfriends — you can get in whenever you want, they don’t complain when you take their tops off, and spare tires are actually a plus. To follow up on old flames that could be covered in them, hit up Check My Ride.

A recently launched social network affiliated with a major auto data company, Check My Ride lets you build and share a comprehensive personal vehicle history and check up on old whips using their “Where in the World is My Car?” tool, not to be confused with the Dude Where’s My Car? tool, as no one cares where Stifler is (spoiler alert: it’s rehab). Start by building a detailed history of your vehicles (age when purchased, year/make/model/color, year sold, etc.), including awesome road trips you took, how many miles you put on, and “why [it] was memorable”; once complete, it’ll calculate the total mileage you’ve accrued since you started driving and generate a bar graph timeline of your life in terms of car ownership, which will be low if you’re wont to take “bar graph” literally. Next, enter a VIN into the car-finder widget (powered by AutoCheck) to see deets on an old whip’s current whereabouts, including a GMap with connected pins showing the places it’s been registered since you ditched it, unless you literally ditched it, in which case, um…it’s in a ditch.

via Check My Ride | Thrillist.

aging, parents, happiness, culture:  85 is the happiness peak … Well, my mom should be in a good mood come October!

Traditional wisdom states that our younger years are the best of our lives, with the milestone of 40 meaning we are “over the hill” and already on the wane.

But in fact satisfaction and optimism steadily increase after middle age, easily eclipsing the earlier years and peaking as late as the eighties, according to research.

An easing of the responsibilities of middle age combined with maturity and the ability to focus on the things we enjoy combine to make old age far more enjoyable than one might expect.

This is greatly increased by having good health, a stable income and good relationships with family and friends, according to scientists.

Lewis Wolpert, emeritus professor of biology at University College London, who explained the findings in a new book called You’re Looking Very Well, said most people were “averagely happy” in their teens and twenties, declining until early middle age as they try to support a family and a career.

He added: “But then, from the mid-forties, people tend to become ever more cheerful and optimistic, perhaps reaching a maximum in their late seventies or eighties.”

A study published by the American National Academy of Sciences, based on a survey of 341,000 people, found that enjoyment of life dwindled throughout early adulthood but began an upward trend in the late forties, and continued to increase until reaching a peak at 85.

via Happiness peaks in our eighties – Telegraph.

Apps, lists: I really like a few of these and look forward to trying others … Top 10 Apps That Will Change Your Life – WSJ.com.

9/11, Muslim Community Center, update:  Why is this a regional story?  We were just talking about this in Chicago … seems it should be national?

Two co-founders of the plan to build a Muslim community center and mosque in downtown Manhattan have begun exploring a new, and possibly competing, project: an interfaith cultural center that they said might be located at the currently proposed site, two blocks from ground zero, or elsewhere in the neighborhood.Daisy Khan, the executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, said on Tuesday that she and her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, two co-founders whose involvement in the controversial community center plan was curtailed this year after a falling out with their real estate partner, might develop a new project that was “larger in concept” than what is now proposed at 51 Park Place.The new project would be interfaith in character, rather than predominantly Islamic, she said, and it would include a center for inter-religious conflict resolution.

On Tuesday, Ms. Khan said that since last summer, she and her husband had been meeting privately with family members of 9/11 victims and first responders in an effort to understand the source of some of the opposition to the original idea. She said that as a result of those meetings, the story of the 9/11 families “will be housed in our center.”

via Planned Downtown Mosque Could Become an Interfaith Center – NYTimes.com.

museums, trends, change, globalization:  Everything trends toward sameness … even museums.

But the relocation of the Barnes is about more than the dismantling of a single museum. It also marks the end of an era in American cultural history. Over the past 15 or so years, some of the most original and idiosyncratic art institutions in the country — the Barnes, the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston — have embarked on major expansions to modernize (and in some cases, to generate more revenue), significantly transforming their identities.

All three museums, each built by a wealthy eccentric, once represented intensely personal visions. All were conceived as alternatives to the offerings of the elite cultural establishment. And by the time the Barnes completes its move, all will have been remade into slick, corporate artistic institutions of a sort that their founders no doubt would have deplored.

Yet even more striking is what these transformations suggest about what we’ve become as a culture. The three museums’ iconoclastic collectors, and the institutions they built, embodied an America that still embraced an ideal of stubborn individualism. That spirit is now mostly gone, a victim of institutional conventions and corporate boards, and by a desire for mainstream acceptance that has displaced a willingness to break rules.

via Eccentricity Gives Way to Uniformity in Museums – NYTimes.com.

Davidson College, D2s (Children of Davidson friends@Davidson): Look at the D2s – Boyce and Betsy – being role models!

Davidson College seniors shared their experiences with Davidson Day School students recently. They are (from left): Bryan Droll, Rayna McKenzie, Boyce Whitesides and Betsy Lyles.

Four Davidson College seniors fielded questions about dorm rooms, study habits and what to expect from the food from high school students at Davidson Day during the private school’s second “College Life 101″ presentation last week.The 45-minute forum focused on transitioning from high school to college. Davidson College students included Betsy Lyles, who grew up in Davidson and is an English major at the local college. She was joined: Bryan Droll, a psychology major from Duluth, Ga.; Rayna McKenzie, a philosophy major from New York City; and Boyce Whitesides, a religion major from Wilmington, N.C.“The purpose of College Life 101 is to help our students become more prepared to adjust to college,” said Stacy Allen, Davidson Day’s college counselor. “They hear a lot from us but it’s different when what they’re hearing comes from a college student who is actually living the college experience.”

via Davidson seniors give a college preview at Davidson Day | DavidsonNews.net.

14
Feb
11

2.14.2011 … Happy Saint Valentine’s Day … enough said …

Saint Valentine’s Day, history:

So what’s Saint Valentine’s Day all about and why do we mark its occasion every February 14? That’s hard to pin down, as there are many different stories as to the origins of Valentine’s Day, but like many of the holidays we observe, Valentine’s Day has its roots in paganism.

Actually, hundreds of years before the Church altered the day of love in an attempt to rid it of its pagan roots, Romans practiced a pagan celebration in mid-February commemorating young men’s rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The young men would draw names of teenage girls from a box and whomever the boy chose would be his companion for the remainder of the year.

The Church, of course, didn’t like the pagan festival and so Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the celebration. He did so by filling the box with the names of saints instead of girls and allowing both men and women to draw from the box. The game was to emulate the ways of the saint for the remainder of the year. The Church then found a patron saint by the name of Bishop Valentine for people to celebrate instead of Lupercus.

Bishop Valentine was sent to jail and executed after Claudius II (270 AD) found out he was performing secret marriages. You see, Claudius banned marriage to preserve the number of single men to be soldiers. Claudius, so the story goes, believed that single men made better soldiers. Bishop Valentine disagreed with Claudius and performed secret weddings until he was found out. He was executed on February 14. It was during his time in jail that he wrote his lover a note and signed it, “From Your Valentine.”

via A Brief History of Valentine’s Day – West Roxbury, MA Patch.

Valentine’s Day, holidays, gifts, food – dessert, chocolate, Charlotte:

The intricate flavors of chocolate and wine linger on your tongue – and often the complex, deep, hidden tastes are subconscious. Make them rise to the surface by mating your chocolate with the perfect wine.

CNN spoke to Sunset wine editor Sara Schneider to figure out what will make the flavors of both sweet treats pop out. We’ll start off with the obvious: dark chocolate goes best with red wine. But beware of pairing the delectable dark chocolate with spicy, acidic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. The bold tannins that give the wine a dry, puckery feeling can be too harsh against the bitter chocolate.

via Wine and Chocolate: A Winning Combo for Valentine’s Day – TIME NewsFeed.

We have a new wine/chocolate bar.  I don’t think I will go today, but it is on my list.

 

 

We are a small, locally-owned and operated wine and chocolate retail store with tasting room. We offer boutique and premium wines from California, the Pacific Northwest, France and other European wine regions plus artisan chocolates made in-house. Step into our shop and you’ll enjoy daily wine tastings, chocolate samples and highly personalized service.

via Petit Philippe – Wine | Chocolate | Tasting Room | Charlotte, NC.

Valentine’s Day, movies, icons, kisses:  Iconic kisses?  What’s your favorite movie kiss … Old movie?  New?  My favorite is not on the list. 🙂

The 25 Most Iconic Movie Kisses – Star Couples – Celebrity – InStyle.

Egypt Uprising, headlines, followup:  I mentioned yesterday that I go to the Newseum website to compare headlines when a big event occurs.  This article does the same thing.  Very interesting … some even humorous …

History unfolded yesterday when after 18 days of protests in Egypt, Mubarak finally stepped down as president after 30 years in power.

The front pages of newspapers in moments like this become part of history itself, so we went through the world’s newspapers today to see the ways they documented this incredible moment.

Of course, some of our favorite covers still came from our colorful local newspapers, like the Daily News’ headline “Hosni Mu Bye-Bye!” and the New York Post’s “That’s A Wrap!” (featuring Mubarak’s head on top of an Egyptian mummy.)

via FRONT PAGE HISTORY: See How Newspapers Around The World Celebrated Egypt’s Freedom.

Gabrielle Giffords, recovery, miracles, update: So far so good.

The human brain has what amounts to redundant circuits for some simple tasks, like walking, and it is possible for patients to make rapid progress on those skills and still have trouble with mental work and speaking, doctors said.

“There are backup systems in the brain for the more basic functions that have been around longer in human beings,” said Dr. Jonathan Fellus, the director of the Brain Injury Program at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. “Conversely, for things such as language, which are uniquely human, it’s a highly specialized and delicate network that doesn’t get reconstructed so easily.”

via Giffords Recovery Is Continuing, Friends Say – NYTimes.com.

Egypt Uprising:

As protesters in Tahrir Square faced off against pro-government forces, they drew a lesson from their counterparts in Tunisia: “Advice to the youth of Egypt: Put vinegar or onion under your scarf for tear gas.”

Cairo, Feb. 3 After more than a week of unrest, anti-Mubarak protesters clashed with supporters of the president for control of Tahrir Square. When confronting the police, the protesters wore armor made of cardboard and Pepsi bottles.

The exchange on Facebook was part of a remarkable two-year collaboration that has given birth to a new force in the Arab world — a pan-Arab youth movement dedicated to spreading democracy in a region without it. Young Egyptian and Tunisian activists brainstormed on the use of technology to evade surveillance, commiserated about torture and traded practical tips on how to stand up to rubber bullets and organize barricades.

They fused their secular expertise in social networks with a discipline culled from religious movements and combined the energy of soccer fans with the sophistication of surgeons and psychiatrists. Breaking free from older veterans of the Arab political opposition, they relied on tactics of nonviolent resistance channeled from an American scholar through a Serbian youth brigade — but also on marketing tactics borrowed from Silicon Valley.

via A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History – NYTimes.com.

Egypt Uprising, Middle East: Tunisia … Egypt … now Yemen, Bahrain and Algiers.

Mr. Mubarak’s resignation Friday emboldened protesters throughout the Middle East where opposition movements are aggressively calling for political freedom. Security forces and protesters clashed in Yemen and Bahrain on Sunday while thousands of Algerians, defying a ban on protests, flooded a central square in Algiers on Saturday calling for political reform. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank ordered the dismissal of its Cabinet and said it would hold long-delayed parliamentary and presidential elections by September.

Egypt’s cabinet removes Mubarak’s portrait as Israel welcomes news that Egypt will abide by its treaties. Video courtesy of Reuters.

Egyptians continue their celebrations, a day after the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak came to an end. Video courtesy of Reuters.

And in Iran, opposition leaders planned a demonstration on Monday in solidarity with the Egyptian and Tunisian revolts. The streets of Tehran rocked to the chants of residents shouting “Death to the dictator” and “God is great” Sunday night, according to witnesses and videos posted on Youtube.

via Mideast Unrest Spreads – WSJ.com.

Great Recession, real estate, Great Recovery:  S -L-O-W …

The rolling real estate crash that ravaged Florida and the Southwest is delivering a new wave of distress to communities once thought to be immune — economically diversified cities where the boom was relatively restrained.

In the last year, home prices in Seattle had a bigger price decline than in Las Vegas. Minneapolis dropped more than Miami, and Atlanta fared worse than Phoenix.

Redfin, a real estate brokerage firm based in Seattle, says foot traffic began picking up in the last several weeks. Mortgage rates are rising, which could nudge those who need to buy to make a deal now for fear rates will rise even more.

But whenever the market finally does pick up, all those accidental landlords will want to unload, putting another burden on the market. “So many sellers are waiting in the shadows,” said Redfin’s chief executive, Glenn Kelman. “The inventory is going to expand and expand and expand. I don’t see any basis for significant price increases.”

While almost every economist is expecting another round of price declines for the next few months, many see a gradual leveling off in the second half of the year. Fiserv, the data company that produces the monthly Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, analyzed price trends in 375 communities. About three-quarters of them will be stable by December, Fiserv calculates.

via Housing Crash Is Hitting Cities Thought to Be Stable – NYTimes.com.

music, lists:  Fun to see what others think … The ALL-TIME 100 Albums – TIME.

07
Feb
11

2.7.2011 … Game over … are the steelers asking “who moved my cheese?” … and gLee was quite enjoyable … a real thriller.

Super Bowl XLV, technology, Facebook, globalization:  I enjoyed my global real-time Facebook shared viewing of the Game.  Thanks Susra from Germany, E from Chapel Hill, C form around the corner … and all the others who posted.  I also learned that one friend’s husband is truly a lifelong Packers’ fan with pictures to prove it, and they would buy Packers tickets if they could even though they live nowhere near Green Bay, and that another friend is friend’s with the Packer’s coach’s sister.  But where was Tim?

me: Game on … Slightly favor packers… Sorry, Tim… are you awake and watching Susra in Germany!

Susra: Absolutely!! It is 03:57 and the Pack is ahead!!!

me: Dirty dancing tune…hmmm

me: So so halftime

me : Touchdown …

E likes this.

Susra: I like as long as you were referring to a GB score!

me: Glad to know you are awake! And yes I am pulling for the Packers.

me: ‎…3 point game …

me: Congrats, packers … And now gLee!

C likes this.

me: Post game … Post gLee … Sleep

Super Bowl XLV, favorite headline:  goes to the Chicago Tribune – “Super Bowl Served with Cheese on Top”  … Green Bay’s paper just said “WORLD CHAMPS.”

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates with linebacker Clay Matthews after their win in Super Bowl XLV. (Matthew Emmons/US Presswire)

Super Bowl served with cheese on top

via Chicago Tribune: Chicago news, sports, weather and traffic – chicagotribune.com.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising, twitter:  It was interesting to watch their tweets … often did not have the same opinion. Don’t you think it is interesting that the WSJ tweeted about the ads … that is business news.

The Wall Street Journal has assembled a panel of experts who will share their thoughts about the best and worst ads on a live blog during the game. Among them:

The Wall Street Journal’s Super Bowl Ad Live Blog kicks off Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET. Check back in here to follow the game that really matters.

via Super Bowl 2011: Your Coming Guide to the Best and Worst Ads – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Super Bowl XLV, advertising, followup, Detroit:  This was my favorite.  YouTube – Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl Commercial – Imported From Detroit. Interestingly it follows up on some clips that I have posted in recent weeks … see here and I referred to this blogpost on 1/24 … but I will admit that I really liked the VW/Darth Vader one, too.

Super XLV, advertising:  If you want to see them all …

The success of the Super Bowl ratings seems synonymous with the commercials themselves.If you want to see a compilation of all of the commercials, YouTube has compiled a great list http://www.youtube.com/adblitz.In the meantime, here are the top 5 to enjoy on your lazy Super Bowl Sunday.

via Lazy Sunday: Super Bowl 2011 Ads Go Viral – On The Scene With Shira – CBS News.

Super Bowl XLV, football, football history: I think I like just about any kind of history.

One of the oldest orthodoxies of football is the notion that the offense, the unit that tries to advance the ball, is the game’s active and creative body—its innovative engine. The defense, under this view, is the instinctive and reactive force, the brainless brute that likes to grind innovators into the sod.

For the Packers and Steelers, the reverse is true. On these teams it’s the defense that innovates. For a quarterback to have any hope of breaching these Maginot Lines, he has to check his creative instincts at the door and learn how to react to what the defense does.

As his career progressed, Mr. LeBeau took the once-gimmicky zone blitz and built an entire system around it—a system based on initiating chaos. It was a bold, risky move that was either going to ruin his career or turn him into a coaching legend. “We just kept sticking with it,” he says.

Nearly every defense in the history of the NFL has been figured out. What makes Mr. LeBeau’s system different, and what has kept it around for nearly 30 years, is that it has no identity. It constantly evolves from season-to-season and game to game. It incorporates elements of many other defenses, giving it the ability to be anything and nothing at the same time. And since he gives some players the freedom to improvise, Mr. LeBeau doesn’t always know what will happen. “We give them parameters and let them create and we’ve got some pretty good creators,” he says. In the end, no amount of studying or game planning can fully prepare an offense for the task. “If the offense can predict, your chances of success go way down,” says Mr. LeBeau.

In recent years, training improvements have allowed bigger football players to get faster. College players who would be considered too small for the NFL are being turned into linebackers. One example is the Steelers’ LaMarr Woodley, who was drafted in 2007. Mr. Woodley, who is 265 pounds, spent most of his college career bowling over offensive linemen en route to the quarterback. Now he’s covering the fastest receivers in the NFL. “It’s easier to find gifted 250-pounders than it is to find gifted 300-pounders,” says Mr. LeBeau.

It’s difficult to get Mr. LeBeau to talk about his masterpiece. When asked about it by reporters this week, he repeatedly dodged the question, giving credit to his players. But the fact that his creation will hog half the airtime at this year’s Super Bowl isn’t entirely lost on him. “I have to say, it’s pretty neat,” he says. “It definitely validates that the system will work.”

via For Steelers, Packers: Defenses Set Agenda – WSJ.com.

Super Bowl XLV, cheerleaders, history:  Didn’t miss them …

But on the professional side of sports the tradition is not as strong and male cheerleaders are non-existent. It’s the women who shimmy and shake in skimpy outfits for football and basketball teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, and are often better described as dance squad members than cheerleaders.

The modern version of the cheerleader began in 1971 when Dallas Cowboys owner Tex Schramm wanted stunning model-like women who could dance like Radio City Rockettes. Ta-da! The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders sizzled onto the football field.

Some fans will send kudos to the Packers and Steelers for saying good-bye to cheerleaders years ago. But for some, pom-pom waving girls on the sidelines are as American as football itself. There’s something to be said for tradition. Just ask the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

via No Cheerleaders at Super Bowl XLV — Sad Day for Tradition.

Super Bowl XLV, music, playlist, lists:  Super Bowl: XLV playlist 2011 | CU Independent.

2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, media: Here is a great summary of posts from around the country and the one I excerpted answered my first question.

… Democrats have not lost the convention host state since 1988, when Michael Dukakis was nominated in Atlanta.

via Democratic National Convention comments from across the U.S. | Charlotte Business Journal.

Christianity, faith and spirituality, statistics:  If these statistics are true then we are definitely being misled as to the relative importance of Christianity in the 2011 CE/AD.

These times we live in have been called a lot of things. But perhaps the most surprising description came Sunday from one of the country’s leading religion scholars.”The most exciting time in Christianity … since the 1st century.”Yes, even more thrilling than the Protestant Reformation, Philip Jenkins told about 75 people at Charlotte’s Westminster Presbyterian Church.The reason: The staggering growth in the number of Christians in Asia, Latin America and especially Africa – a phenomenon he called “a global religious revolution” and one that “reverses a trend that people had been used to for several hundred years.”To back up his claim, Jenkins – the author of a host of influential books, including “The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity” – offered a series of eye-popping statistics and projections.

On Sunday, he told his audience that, right now, the three most Christian regions in the world are Europe, Latin America and Africa – in that order.

But by 2025, as Europe continues down the road of secularism, “Africa and Latin America will be jostling each other for (that) title,” Jenkins said. “By 2050, no doubt, Africa wins.”

Though the United States will continue to be a religious – and predominantly Christian country – it will be immigrants and the children and grandchildren of immigrants who help it stay that way, Jenkins said.

via ‘A religious revolution’ – CharlotteObserver.com.

quotes, Martin Luther King, Charlotte, history:  Enjoyed this article on the development of his speech via sound bites over time and the relationship to Charlotte.

“If you look at every aspect of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, it’s a speech he compiles extemporaneously that he’s been trying out on audiences almost since he became a leader,” Carson said. “The essential message is prophetic … always pointing out the contradiction between what we were supposed to be doing and what we were really doing.

“King said America had great ideals and it wasn’t living up to them – especially in terms of race relations.”

via King’s speech has its roots in Charlotte – CharlotteObserver.com.

entertainment, Peter Pan, Atlanta:  My mom and sister just went and really enjoyed it.

This is a thrilling, funny, moving, unique entertainment quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen.  Both children and adults will love it (the kids in the audience were very attentive—a true tribute!).  There’s really not a bad seat in the house.  Oh—arrive early so you can view a free “100 Years of Peter Pan” exhibit before the show or during intermission.  Allow around 20 minutes.  2011 is turning into quite a year for theatre in Atlanta, and it’s only February!  “Peter Pan” will run through March 20.  Don’t miss.

via Theatre Review: ‘Peter Pan’ at Pemberton Place | Atlanta INtown Paper.

random, children, heart strings:  Doesn’t this cute story just tug at your heart-strings.

One of the three year old girls in Charlie’s class thinks that our little guy is the bee’s knees. Over the weekend she told her five-year old brother, “I want to know where Charlie is?. I haven’t seen him in a long time.” Her brother had a great solution – call 911.

via Putting out a love APB on Charlie – my blog – Ordinary Courage.

Davidson College, update:  No Snew Lake for now!

Davidson was planning on creating a new lake to satisfy this law, but the creation of the lake would have pushed back the progress for the new dorm(s). The college has received, however, permission from the county to create a temporary solution to the storm water problem. Davidson will now create detentions basins around campus, therefore opening the way for the construction of the new living spaces.

via Board of Trustees Discusses Building Plans, Tuition Increases and Promotes 7 Professors – The Davidsonian – News.

randomThe ultimate anti-theft device: Replace new tech with old tech no one wants – chicagotribune.com.

public art, Chicago, graffiti:  This graffiti is not acceptable … and they can’t spell.

Was it supposed to say “Sox Bites?”

via Harry Caray statue outside Wrigley defaced – chicagotribune.com.

Facebook, parenting:  I let my children be … assume they will friend when they are ready to be mature.

On its face, Darcy Harper’s year-old Facebook friendship with her son Tyler might look like a match made in cyber-heaven.

Indeed, the same could be true for Madelyn Spiegelman and 16-year-old Clyde Stewart-Mathews, and Andrea and Spencer Shelton.

But the truth is those friendships were forged with a stern caveat: friend me or no Facebook.

“That’s just the rule,” said Spiegelman of Dunwoody. “You either do it or you’re not going to be on Facebook.”

Turns out such parental guidelines aren’t all that unusual. According to a new study on social networking trends and practices, 16 percent of teens say friending their parents was a precondition for joining the social networking site.

via Parents to kids: Friend me or no Facebook  | ajc.com.

01
Sep
10

‎9.1.2010 … Hot, hot, hot in Charlotte … next stop winter … Well, not exactly next stop! … … and the adventure begins …

travel:  on the redeye ‎… Radio silence for a while …

not me, Davidson:  I have a tendency to think not me, not my children, not Davidson … well, Davidson College students snagged in under-age drinking raids – Charlotte, NC Local News – Fwix.

update, Edward: yesterday I asked for your quick prayers for et.  Well, the root canal went just fine … thanks for your prayers.

random, NC:

If we can’t spell “school,” why would anyone expect us to be able to spell “independence?”

Misspelled sign on I-277 will be fixed – CharlotteObserver.com.




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