Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day

14
Feb
16

2.14.16 … Happy Valentine’s day … What’s love got to do with it? …

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“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walkng, 2016 Labyrinth Walks (Walk 5/40), Almetto Howie Alexander labyrinth – McCrorey YMCA/Charlotte NC, Valentine’s Day:  I walked very early at the McCrorey YMCA.  John volunteered last night at Room in the Inn at the Y, so I joined him early for a cold early morning walk.  This is a nice labyrinth and I enjoy it every time I come.  I always find something new in the afro-centric themed art surrounding the classical Chartres labyrinth.  And of course I found a heart!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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FPC-Charlotte, PW February 2016 Devotional:

What’s love got to do with it?

February is always an interesting month to me.  There is Valentine’s Day and usually the season of Lent begins at some point, this year it is early, February 10.  So what does love have to do with it?

In a recent editorial by New York Times editor David Brooks, Mr. Brooks states:

The art critic Frederick Turner wrote that beauty “is the highest integrative level of understanding and the most comprehensive capacity for effective action. It enables us to go with, rather than against, the deepest tendency or theme of the universe.” By this philosophy, beauty incites spiritual longing.

Today the word eros refers to sex, but to the Greeks it meant the fervent desire to reach excellence and deepen the voyage of life. This eros is a powerful longing. Whenever you see people doing art, whether they are amateurs at a swing dance class or a professional painter, you invariably see them trying to get better. “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart,” Vincent van Gogh wrote.

Some people call eros the fierce longing for truth. “Making your unknown known is the important thing,” Georgia O’Keeffe wrote. Mathematicians talk about their solutions in aesthetic terms, as beautiful or elegant.

Others describe eros as a more spiritual or religious longing. They note that beauty is numinous and fleeting, a passing experience that enlarges the soul and gives us a glimpse of the sacred.

The shift to post-humanism has left the world beauty-poor and meaning-deprived. It’s not so much that we need more artists and bigger audiences, though that would be nice. It’s that we accidentally abandoned a worldview that showed how art can be used to cultivate the fullest inner life. We left behind an ethos that reminded people of the links between the beautiful, the true and the good — the way pleasure and love can lead to nobility.

Source: When Beauty Strikes – The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/15/opinion/when-beauty-strikes.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&rref=collection/column/david-brooks&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=David%20Brooks&pgtype=article

In Matthew 22, we find the THE Greatest Commandment:

34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’c 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Over the past few months, we have looked at various gifts or fruits of the spirit as set forth in Galatians 5:22-25.  And the first listed is LOVE.

Do each of these uses of love mean the same thing?  We seek love to find truth and to enlarge our soul and give us a glimpse of the sacred, we are commanded by Jesus to love, and we are gifted love by the Spirit.

So I suggest that during February and continuing throughout Lent, you focus on love.  Instead of giving up something for Lent, give love and take up a spiritual practice where you focus on God’s love.  I have walked local labyrinths for the past 5 years as my Lenten practice.  Try something different:  pray daily, try centered prayer or meditation daily, tour a local church daily or walk a labyrinth.

Let us pray: Lord, let each of us encounter Jesus in our everyday lives and let us seek love, experience love and share love. Guide us to do as you command: to love you, Lord, with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds. Amen.

Dennard Teague

February  2016

 

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, RIP:

Scalia’s death has far-reaching implications for the Supreme Court and a round of major cases the justices are set to decide this summer, including Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which challenges the university’s affirmative action policy, plus a case that contests Obama’s immigration policy and another that reexamines the meaning of “one person, one vote,” said former U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez.

Source: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia found dead at West Texas ranch – SFGate

Scalia-Ginsburg friendship, opposing ideologies, CNNPolitics.com: Several people in the media and social media have talked accused Justice Scalia of being misogynist, racist, elitist, etc.  But does anyone believe that Justice Ginsberg could think such things and be such a good friend?  Why can people no longer respect those they differ with, even if with respect to fundamental issues.

During a joint appearance with the woman he also has called his “best buddy” on the bench, Scalia said, “Why don’t you call us the odd couple?” “What’s not to like?” Scalia joked at the event hosted by the Smithsonian Associates. “Except her views on the law, of course.” The two justices and their families vacationed together. There was a trip to Europe where Ginsburg went parasailing, leaving Scalia on the ground to admire her courage but at the same time worry she might just float away.

Source: Scalia-Ginsburg friendship bridged opposing ideologies – CNNPolitics.com

It’s easy to mourn the lack of civility in contemporary American politics; politicians on both sides talk glowingly about the time when Ronald Reagan could invite Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill to the White House for a drink to work out a conflict. It’s just as easy to say that civility is for people who don’t have the courage of their convictions — that if people genuinely disagree about what is best for America, they shouldn’t have to put that aside for the sake of small talk. What makes Ginsburg’s statement remarkable is that it shows how superficial both sides of the civility argument are. The respect that Ginsburg’s statement shows for Scalia’s intellect — that she could trust him to point out the flaws in her arguments — also reveals a respect for her own, to know the difference between a genuine agreement of principle and an error that needed to be corrected. But more importantly, the statement shows that it’s okay for people in politics to spend time cultivating other interests — like opera — and that those can be a genuine basis for friendship in their own right. Arguably, that’s easier for appointed judges than it is for elected officials. It’s still rare. And it’s still worth celebrating. It’s not just atypical in contemporary American politics for people to be both ideological adversaries and close personal friends. It’s atypical for contemporary American political figures to even be close personal friends with each other. Justices Scalia and Ginsburg showed just how much everyone else was missing. That won’t be as significant to Scalia’s legacy as his jurisprudence, but maybe it should.

Source: Read Justice Ginsburg’s moving tribute to her “best buddy” Justice Scalia – Vox

Sri Srinivasan, Supreme Court justice in the making:  So who is next?

From his post feet away from the nine justices March 27, Srikanth Srinivasan (SREE-kont SREE-nee-vah-sun) calmly explained what Roberts called a “totally unprecedented” situation. Along the way, the mathematics professor’s son sprinkled in references to numerators, denominators and algorithms, the statutes 28 U.S.C. 530(d) and 28 U.S.C. 1254, and the precedents established by INS v.Chadha, United States v. Lovett and Turner Broadcasting v. FCC. Without notes. It was just the latest chapter in a stellar legal career that has taken the 46-year-old litigator known as “Sri” to a seat on the nation’s second most powerful court — and given him instant buzz as a potential Supreme Court justice himself. The Senate unanimously confirmed Srinivasan on Thursday as the first new judge since 2006 on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The vote was 97-0.

Source: Sri Srinivasan: Supreme Court justice in the making?

Biscuits: A Love Story,  Garden and Gun:  I love biscuits so I thought this was a fun Valentine Day story.

lent a hand. “Before he did the last fold, I’d punch the dough,” she says. “I’d leave a fist mark in it. Then I’d always claim that the biscuits turned out right just because I punched them.” He always saved a biscuit for her, and she joked that she’d marry him if he kept it up. Ten years later, she made good on that promise. They’ve been married for three months. She still punches the dough before he folds it, but she lets him do the rest of the work. “He makes them so well there’s no point,” she says. But she doesn’t agree with him on everything. She likes her biscuits with butter, and he prefers his with sausage and grape jelly.

Source: Biscuits: A Love Story | Garden and Gun

 Virtual Tour, Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, Open Culture:  Bewildering is right!  I saw it at the Prado.  I would love to know what he was thinking ….

 

Art historians have argued about the meaning of The Garden of Earthly Delights—Hieronymus Bosch’s enormously sized, lavishly detailed, and compellingly grotesque late 14th- or early 15th-century triptych—more or less since the painter’s death. What does it really say about the appearance and fall of man on Earth that it seems to depict? How seriously or ironically does it say it? Does it offer us a warning against temptation, or a celebration of temptation? Does it take a religious or anti-religious stance? And what’s with all those creepy animals and bizarre pseudo-sex acts? “In spite of all the ingenious, erudite and in part extremely useful research devoted to the task,” said scholar Erwin Panofsky, “I cannot help feeling that the real secret of his magnificent nightmares and daydreams has still to be disclosed.”

Source: Take a Virtual Tour of Hieronymus Bosch’s Bewildering Masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights | Open Culture

14
Feb
14

2.14.14 … Catastrophic Winter Storm and Valentine’s Day … And an Earthquake, too.

2014 Catastrophic Winter Storm (2.12.14-2.14.13): Atlanta had fared both in reality and in the press very poorly from the storm of a  week ago … All I could think was “Good luck!”  And in the end it was my own capital that good the bad press from this storm.  Next storm …

This time, Georgia officials seem determined to get way out ahead of the weather.

With the National Weather Service warning that another blast of rain, sleet, snow and possibly ice is headed for the Deep South later today, authorities are urging Atlantans to be off the roads by early evening.

Georgia Gov. Declares State Of Emergency

— Noon, ET: “Gov. Deal has extended the state of emergency to include 31 additional counties, 45 total.” [Georgia has 159 counties.]

— 10:26 a.m. ET: “Gov. Deal declares weather-related state of emergency for 14 counties in North Georgia.”

— 9:40 a.m. ET: “Emergency applies to: Murray, Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns, Pickens, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Cherokee, Forsyth, Hall, Banks and Jackson.”

(Via the governor’s Twitter page.)

And Gov. Nathan Deal, R, is specifically asking truckers to stay out of Atlanta’s “perimeter” — the area inside the loop around the city formed by Interstate 285.

Deal and other Georgia officials are trying to avoid, of course, a repeat of what happened the last week of January, when snow and ice hit Atlanta and thousands of drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles as roads became impassable, iced-over parking lots. While state and local officials later apologized for not moving faster to warn Atlantans of the approaching storm and to prepare for it, they also said that jackknifed trucks in particular were a major part of the problem during that storm.

via Avoid Atlanta Until Storm Passes, Governor Tells Truckers : The Two-Way : NPR.

So as the storm roared through Georgia and headed towards the Carolinas, my husband got on a plane for a 24-hour business trip.  And i was left to enjoy the storm with an empty nest and old pets.  I will admit it was quite strange, yet peaceful,  to experience a snow day in an empty nest …

As round 1 ended and round 2 was gearing up, I assumed my husband would be stuck in FL.  Instead his plane took off and headed home, just as the worst of the storm was hitting! All I could do was pray …  Godspeed!

So the flight landed and he managed to get the jeep home on very treacherous roads … After listening to the weather, I assumed we would be immobile for at least half a day.  But John ventured out early and said the side street was almost clear at 8 am.  HUH??? And the answer is: FIRST TIME EVER! My humble residential street (actually my humble side street) was so proud. Was it Char-Meck or a very kind neighbor? I’m guessing a neighbor! The plow fairies had arrived!

Photo: FIRST TIME EVER! My humble residential street (actually my humble side street) is so proud.  Was it Char-Meck or a very kind neighbor.  I'm guessing a neighbor! The plow fairies have arrived!

Of course this catastrophic storm was really just a significant storm.  It did remind me of another ice storm: the 1973 Atlanta Ice Storm.  Now that was a storm!

via ▶ Atlanta Ice Storm 1973 – YouTube.

This was the mother of all ice storms … dead of winter and no electricity for almost a week. We actually got ours back fairly early because a Georgia power exec lived down the street and he climbed the pole and turned it back on … there were no downed trees on our section of Brighton. At least that is what I remember!

 One of the most memorable and funnest weeks I remember. We had power and JQ spent the whole week at my house.

My dad worked for Ga Power. Our electricity came back on after one day. The neighbors who weren’t on our circuit kept calling to ask why. We invited them over to warm up and explained the triage process in which the easiest repairs were done first to restore power to as many people as possible. I wasn’t sure then if I really believed that, and I am still not sure

In our house in Covington for a week without power. Thank goodness for the gas logs in my bedroom.

We had a tree thru the den…

So maybe it’s the age that you experience the storm that makes it memorable.

We slept in the den by the fireplace I recall.

My dad finally worked his contacts and got us a hotel room on about day 4.

I remember this one very well! We slept on the floor in front of the fireplace for 4 nights. Showered at Georgia state u. Lost a lot of pine trees too!

Mr. McManus across the street was ex-Chairman of the Southern Co. Our power was back on within hours

1979 Davidson Winter Storm, snow art: Since Davidson is projected to get a foot of snow, _____  is having a text conversation this evening with several of our classmates about the very NOT pc snow sculpture created during a similar storm in the winter of 1979. I have a snow globe (hidden in my closet) featuring said monument and given as an expression of appreciation to my dear husband at our 25th reunion. I think dear _____ was the classmate responsible for this memento. I wonder if any such snow monuments will be created this snow storm.

Remember it all well.

How about a picture of the snow globe?

It won’t photograph well.

Um. I’ve seen that NOT pc snow sculpture in a certain DC yearbook. I was shocked. Just. Shocked. Did not know that Presby kids knew that much about anatomy.

We are part of the reformed tradition … so maybe Davidson is just a liberal arts “reform” school.

I remember Dr. Polley coming into our Hebrew Prophets class (the day after a mid-term) and going an epic speech about how disappointed he was in all of us. Our first thought was, “O God! WE’VE ALL FAILED THE MID-TERM!”. Then he went on to say this, “Have I taught you NOTHING? THERE IS, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, A CANAANITE FERTILITY SYMBOL ON THIS CAMPUS!” Why aren’t any of you out there preaching about it?

Great memories!!!

That Phoebe always was a bad one!

you have added a new dimension to the legend.

The photo of Price Zimmermann inspecting the snow sculpture was priceless

Did you remember that or did you go pull the yearbook?

I remembered it in the yearbook. My yearbooks disappeared at some point in a move. So oddly I have my late uncle’s yearbooks from the late 1940s but not my own.

And I have to say as someone who ate at PAX I am offended that the weather gods have appropriated the name for the storm. Highly offended. So offended I am going to get my remaining PAX shot glass out…

I remember that lecture too — especially its deadpan delivery. I also remember that the groundskeepers were one their way to knock down the sculpture until Dr. Spencer told them to leave it there.

Oddly the online page from Q&C almost, ALMOST, whites out the picture that you mention. https://archive.org/stream/quipscranks1979davi…

I remember that someone told me that they were required to run a screen over the photo.

understandably … I am amazed that it was allowed in the yearbook. Was the original yearbook screened? I am also amazed that it was not blocked online.

 

I hope so! It really just wouldn’t be college without it! Isn’t this the 35th anniversary! I think a reincarnation is called for!

 

 

Thanks for putting this back up…I wanted to show my husband! I had completely forgotten about that snow sculpture…Oddly enough the biology profs didn’t make too much of it so I’m glad to hear about Dr. Polley’s remarks.

I think the comment that Dr. Spencer instructed the grounds crew to leave it is also interesting.

That was a great statue. There’s a picture of it in one of our yearbooks.

 

 

Sledding and lemonade makers:

What better way to celebrate winter’s blessings than to indulge in a fun treat like a snow margarita. These super simple “Snow-garitas” are wonderfully slushy and smooth without even using a blender. Use the quick and simple version if you’re a margarita newbie looking for a quick fix or try the authentic version for a refined flavor and superior texture.

via How to make Snow Margaritas.

Hah!!

So you want to keep riding even though there’s snow on the ground, but you don’t have the cash to buy a true fat bike. That’s where the Ktrak Snowmobile Bike Kit comes in handy.

The kit turns your mountain bike into a human-powered snowmobile. Replace your front wheel with a ski and the rear one with the snow track—voilà, you now have a snowbike that’s ready for those deep powder days.

The kit is compatible with most standard mountain bikes, according to the company.

$612, ktrak.es

via The Ktrak Snowmobile Bike Kit | Covet | OutsideOnline.com.

Now: top sledding spots, culled from reader suggestions and places Observer photographers have found abundantly photogenic in the past:

Mid-Charlotte: Latta Park and the hill behind St. Patrick’s in Dilworth.

Northward: Cordelia Park in the NoDa region, and Huntersville Athletic Park.

To the south: The corner of Sedley and Foxcroft Roads, in the Sharon Road area.

Westward: Crowders Mountain Golf Course, No. 2 green (Sparrow Springs Road).

via Best snow in a decade means one thing: Sledding! | CharlotteObserver.com.

And one of my favorite snow related tweets …

Ed Bott @edbott 1m

BREAKING: Punxsutawney Phil joins Federal Witness Protection Program

And now on to Valentine’s Day … Is there a link between our storm and the VD? (A nice segway, don’t you think?)  Well, yes, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. In my opinion, this was  as  good an explanation as any!

Photo: The Full Moon is rising on Valentine's Day (Friday, Feb. 14)! Known as the Snow Moon, this month often brings the most snow (relate, anyone?). It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. For our mobile fans, download our Full Moon Finder app here: www.almanac.com/app/full-moon-finder

The Full Moon is rising on Valentine’s Day (Friday, Feb. 14)! Known as the Snow Moon, this month often brings the most snow (relate, anyone?). It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. For our mobile fans, download our Full Moon Finder app here: http://www.almanac.com/app/full-moon-finder

I started my VD Week off with a fun conversation about VD only to be later informed by my spouse that he was offended by the conversation. I  never learn … This is what I said …

I do not want a pajama-gram or a Vermont Teddy Bear for Valentine’s Day. I would rather have flowers, chocolates and cards. Just so you know.

…  But not cards or flowers from Food Lion bought at midnight!!

…  How about a Teddy graham?

Like I said … chocolates!

I also commented, hoping my children would take note … and they did not …

Mail your grandmother a Valentine today. I really think they enjoy them the most. I wish I could send one to mine.

However, this was one of my favorite digital valentines.  Why?  because it contrasted nicely with a FB conversation which I have quoted, omiting names of course … Given that I am one of the 1141 couples, I immediately thought, “So should I write them a check today?”  🙂

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Did you know that you are part of a remarkable group of 1141 Davidson alumni couples?

And here is the FB conversation …

As the father of two daughters, one of whom graduated college last May and is doing just fine, thanks, and another who is getting ready to graduate this May, it was all I could do to keep from throwing-up while reading this.

So what’s a smart girl to do? Start looking early and stop wasting time dating men who aren’t good for you: bad boys, crazy guys and married men.

College is the best place to look for your mate. It is an environment teeming with like-minded, age-appropriate single men with whom you already share many things. You will never again have this concentration of exceptional men to choose from.

When you find a good man, take it slow. Casual sex is irresistible to men, but the smart move is not to give it away. If you offer intimacy without commitment, the incentive to commit is eliminated. The grandmotherly message of yesterday is still true today: Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.

Can you meet brilliant, marriageable men after college? Yes, but just not that many of them. Once you’re living off campus and in the real world, you’ll be stunned by how smart the men are not. You’ll no doubt meet some eligible guys in your workplace, but it’s hazardous to get romantically involved with co-workers.

You may not be ready for marriage in your early 20s (or maybe you are), but keep in touch with the men that you meet in college, especially the super smart ones. They’ll probably do very well for themselves, and their desirability will only increase after graduation.

Not all women want marriage or motherhood, but if you do, you have to start listening to your gut and avoid falling for the P.C. feminist line that has misled so many young women for years. There is nothing incongruous about educated, ambitious women wanting to be wives and mothers. Don’t let anyone tell you that these traditional roles are retrograde; they are perfectly natural and even wonderful. And if you fail to identify “the one” while you’re in college, don’t worry—there’s always graduate school.

via Susan Patton: A Little Valentine’s Day Straight Talk – WSJ.com.

LOL! Since acquiring my new daughter through marriage last year, I’ve been having to sensitize myself to stuff I never gave a second thought to with my three sons…

eep. makes college seem a little… predatory, don’t it?

Didn’t you know you should have been pursuing your MRS degree, honey?

Hahaha…sigh..bwahahahaha…whew…deep breath…hahahahah*snort*hahaha…hahahahah…

I wonder what the post-grad employment rate is for ladies with that degree…

Employment? Oh, you poor dear, you’re clearly misguided.

I agree with the throw up comment, but also find it interesting that I did just what the article recommended, as did your wife. I have never been around a finer group of eligible gentlemen than at Davidson. But I did not go to college for that purpose, and the article is insulting in that regard to women of my generation and of today. It’s also insulting to men. I usually enjoy the WSJ, but I think this is inappropriate for Valentine’s Day … Unless you want to stir up some controversy to increase readership and that makes the paper a cheap tabloid.

I like the part about eligible gentlemen at Davidson…

Don’t worry. There is always graduate school. Dear lord.

When I read this article, I immediately thought of the Queenies who came to every Davidson fraternity party possible. I also thought about how they were outclassed by some of the Davidson women like J and D (y’all do realize that every Fiji…See More

Very thoughtful comment, …

A “response” in The Washington Post. Pretty funny, if I do say: http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/extra-straight-talk…/

And I got a good laugh when I ventured in to my local grocery at 5 pm on VD …

Photo: Follow-up to my earlier FB conversation (to which my husband took offense) ...

Follow-up to my earlier FB conversation (to which my husband took offense) … — at Harris Teeter.

 So if you were wondering: He gave surf and turf by one of the best home cooks, lovely roses and chocolate covered strawberries.  I gave a card, candle, ben & jerry’s ice cream and redbox movie. Since I was picking for him, I chose Captain Phillips (boats, guns and pirates, but no naked women or horses). It was actually a fairly good compromise movie.

And I loved this romantic effort!

Photo: A man photographed a red heart in front of the Eiffel Tower. More photos of the day: http://on.wsj.com/1mhdvZH</p><br /> <p>Credit: Getty Images

A man photographed a red heart in front of the Eiffel Tower. More photos of the day: http://on.wsj.com/1mhdvZH

And to close, this Valentine’s Day meme … It’s always good to have an historical perspective!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!!

And did I mention there was an earthquake? Nature can be devastating, can it not?

17
Feb
13

2.17.13 … I was happy last night … I must have at least one snow a year …

Charlotte, snow:  I was happy last night … I must have at least one snow a year.

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photo 2 photo 1   photo 3

photo 4 photo 5

history, Lent: So, I am a Pharisee now …

Nevertheless, I was always taught, “If you gave something up for the Lord, tough it out. Don’t act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole.”

Over the years, modifications have been made to the Lenten observances, making our practices not only simple but also easy. Ash Wednesday still marks the beginning of Lent, which lasts for 40 days, not including Sundays. The present fasting and abstinence laws are very simple: On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the faithful fast having only one full meal a day and smaller snacks to keep up ones strength and abstain from meat; on the other Fridays of Lent, the faithful abstain from meat. People are still encouraged “to give up something” for Lent as a sacrifice. An interesting note is that technically on Sundays and solemnities like St. Josephs Day March 19 and the Annunciation March 25, one is exempt and can partake of whatever has been offered up for Lent.Nevertheless, I was always taught, “If you gave something up for the Lord, tough it out. Dont act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole.” Moreover, an emphasis must be placed on performing spiritual works, like attending the Stations of the Cross, attending Mass, making a weekly holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament, taking time for personal prayer and spiritual reading and most especially making a good confession and receiving sacramental absolution. Although the practices may have evolved over the centuries, the focus remains the same: to repent of sin, to renew our faith and to prepare to celebrate joyfully the mysteries of our salvation.

via History of Lent.

Lenten practice, Facebook, LOL:

Wonder what it says about FB that so many people are abstaining from it for Lent?

and one of his friend’s comment …

I’m Betting they cheat and look ..just not commenting.

via BW

Lent, Lenten devotionals: These jumped out at me …

Thursday February 14, 2013

Seeing the Beauty and Goodness in Front of Us

We don’t have to go far to find the treasure we are seeking. There is beauty and goodness right where we are. And only when we can see the beauty and goodness that are close by can we recognize beauty and goodness on our travels far and wide. There are trees and flowers to enjoy, paintings and sculptures to admire; most of all there are people who smile, play, and show kindness and gentleness. They are all around us, to be recognized as free gifts to receive in gratitude.

Our temptation is to collect all the beauty and goodness surrounding us as helpful information we can use for our projects. But then we cannot enjoy it, and we soon find that we need a vacation to restore ourselves. Let’s try to see the beauty and goodness in front of us before we go elsewhere to look for it.

via Daily Meditation: Seeing the Beauty and Goodness in Front of Us.

Indeed, the God of my rigid ideologies, of my complacent Theology; the God who validates my unwillingness to explore heresies, and rewards me for arrogantly dismissing them as sinful; the God who grounds my intellectual arrogance in His omniscience, and my politics in his omnipotence; the God who vanquishes all of His and my inquisitive foes, forever silencing their obnoxious questions with the fires of Hell; whose very Nature demands that humans separate and categorize the world into manageable divisions; the God who has made His Will known to us through Natural Law, and a Holy Book, every word of which we are to follow without hesitation or consideration; whose ethical character remains beyond discussion; whose decisions remain beyond the scope of human analysis; the God who grounds all Thought in his Being – this God, who is Himself nothing more than an idol of Modernism, is dead.

My goal for Lent is to remember this death, and to meditate on it in reverence, humility, and mystery. And to reflect not on the God who rules by power, but a god who leads by love; who identifies with the weak; whose foolishness upsets omniscience; a God who reveals Himself in many ways, who reveals Himself in a first century peasant named Jesus; a God who empties Himself of God, and offers Himself to his enemies in submission and servitude; who is concerned with the plight of widows and orphans, the least among us, and the disadvantaged; who sends Jesus to go after the marginalized and the misunderstood, and to bring back home again those who have been ostracized and forgotten.

I am giving up God for Lent to make room for God. I am prying open my fingers, and letting all of my theological idols crash to the ground. And I am lifting up my empty hands to Heaven in anticipation of God’s arrival, and quietly echoing the unsettling words of Meister Eckhart: “I pray God to rid me of God.”

via Brandon Ambrosino: Giving Up God For Lent.

Kneeling in Jerusalem,  Ann Weems, Lent:  Ann Weems’ book  Kneeling in Jerusalem is a great resource during Lent.

LENT

Lent is a time to take the time

to let the power of our faith story take hold of us,

a time to let the events

get up and walk around in us,

a time to intensify

our living unto Christ,

a time to hover over

the thoughts of our hearts,

a time place our feet in the streets of Jerusalem or to walk along the sea and listen to his word,

a time to touch his robe

and feel the healing surge through us,

a time to ponder and a time to wonder . . .

Lent is a time to allow a fresh new taste of God!

from Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

clergywear, pastors, stoles, FPC-Charlotte, Lent,  fyi:

What Are Our Pastors Wearing Around Their Necks?

Of all the questions I have received since arriving as your pastor last September, the most popular has been about what we wear on Sunday during worship.

The name for what we wear around our necks is a “stole.” Stoles are worn by the clergy of many denominations – Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic.

The shape of a stole is reminiscent of a yoke that symbolizes the yoke of Christ, which reminds those of us who wear the stole (and those who see us wearing it) of whom we serve. Stoles are a symbol of ordained ministry – and are often given as gifts to a pastor on his or her ordination to service in the Church.

You may have noticed that the stoles we wear even change colors! The color of our stoles follows the season of the Christian year: purple in Advent and Lent, white in Christmas and Easter, green in ordinary times, and red in Pentecost.

You’ll also notice that the color of our stoles coordinates with the materials that cover both the pulpit and the communion table. These materials are called “paraments.”

Christians follow a different calendar – defined by our salvation history – because as we are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, we are called to live a different kind of life.

Finally, most of your pastors’ stoles have a story – about where they were made or by whom they were given. Feel free to ask us about them sometime!

Pen

source: FirstNews

Camino de Santiago, Camino de Santiago Forum, bucket list: Thank you CCP for sharing this one.  One day …

Thoughts on Camino de Santiago – YouTube.

architecture, I.M. Pei, Gateway Towers, Singapore, optical illusion, Wired.com:  strangely two-dimensional …

Gateway

Gateway Towers, Singapore

Completed in 1990, the trapezoidal shape of I.M. Pei’s Gateway Towers in Singapore create an optical illusion when viewed from certain angles — the 37-story office buildings appear strangely two-dimensional.

via Wired’s Weekly Picks of Stunning Architecture | Wired Design | Wired.com.

uncreative writing, language, Digital Age, Brain Pickings:  subversive ..

The rest of Uncreative Writing goes on to explore the history of appropriation in art, the emerging interchangeability between words and images in digital culture, the challenges of defining one’s identity in the vastness of the online environment, and many other pressing facets of what it means to be a writer — or, even more broadly, a creator — in the age of the internet. Complement it with the equally subversive How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.

via Uncreative Writing: Redefining Language and Authorship in the Digital Age | Brain Pickings.

art, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brain Pickings, 

Letters From Father Christmas:  Given that Tolkien’s

Letters From Father Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas books that I shared with my children …  and to a large extent because of Tolkien’s whimsical drawings, I know I would love this edition of The Hobbit.

A rare piece of cross-disciplinary creativity from the mind of one of modern history’s greatest creators, Art of the Hobbit is equal parts literary treasure and treat of art, exploring the notion of the author as designer — a particularly timely concept in the age of self-publishing and disciplinary cross-pollination in the making of books.

via Art of the Hobbit: Never-Before-Seen Drawings by J.R.R. Tolkien | Brain Pickings.

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or painting. The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house, and many more.

via Letters From Father Christmas: J.R.R. Tolkien: 0046442512657: Amazon.com: Books.

Obamacare, Uninsurables Program: I thought this was one of the good things about ObamaCare … 😦

Enrollment around the country has been lower than expected, partly because some people could not afford the premiums. But individual cases have turned out to be costlier than originally projected.

In documents provided to the states, the administration said the program has spent about $2.4 billion in taxpayer money on medical claims and nearly $180 million on administrative costs, as of Dec. 31. Congress allocated $5 billion to the plan.

“From the beginning (the administration) has been committed to monitoring PCIP enrollment and spending closely and making necessary adjustments in the program to ensure responsible management of the $5 billion provided by Congress,” PCIP director Richard Popper wrote in a memo. “To this end, we are implementing a nationwide suspension of enrollment.”

via Obamacare ‘Uninsurables’ Program Quietly Winds Down As Funding Dries Up.

news, journalism, mobile journalism, end of an era, Poynter;  “News needs to solve problems” hmmm … ” We need to solve information problems for our users and drive measurable revenue for our advertisers. Mobile is not merely another form factor, but an entirely new ecosystem that rewards utility.  Flipboard is a classic example of solving a problem (tablet-based content discovery) while The Daily is an example of a product that did not.”

4. News needs to solve problems

A study by Flurry in November found that the news category only accounts for 2 percent of total time spent on mobile apps. Social apps gobble up 26 percent. Facebook alone accounts for 23 percent of all time spent with mobile apps, according to Comscore in December. That beats every news organization’s app combined by a long shot.

As Facebook (and Twitter) grow in time spent – and since both are populated with plenty of news – they’re increasingly competitive with news organizations’ mobile experiences by sheer volume.

As a result, simply extending a news organizations’ current coverage into mobile isn’t enough. We need to solve information problems for our users and drive measurable revenue for our advertisers. Mobile is not merely another form factor, but an entirely new ecosystem that rewards utility.  Flipboard is a classic example of solving a problem (tablet-based content discovery) while The Daily is an example of a product that did not.

“The key insight from thinking about your business this way is that it is the job, and not the customer or the product, that should be the fundamental unit of analysis,” said Clayton Christensen, David Skok and James Allworth in a Nieman report. “This applies to news as much as it does to any other service.”

“The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself,” explains Y Combinator’s Paul Graham. “By far the most common mistake startups make is to solve problems no one has.”

via 5 reasons mobile will disrupt journalism like the Internet did a decade ago | Poynter..

2013 Festival of Legal Learning, US Supreme Court, US Supreme Court Confirmation Process: One of my favorite lectures.  The speaker was a little dry, but I learned a great deal about the confirmation process from nomination to confirmation, vetting both by the White House and the Senate, the role of public relations and media, etc.  Once again, I have confirmed that I am a nerd.

Insider’s View of the Supreme Court Confirmation Process

Michael J. Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and Director of the Center for Law and Government, UNC School of Law

this session will explore the nuances of the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process. The speaker has significant experience in this arena. He advised several senators on the nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Samuel Alito Jr., and served as Special Counsel to Chair Patrick Leahy (D-vt.) as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee for the nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

via Festival of Legal Learning.

2013 Festival of Legal Learning,  Student Athletes, Penn State, caveat emptor:  You should always be ticked when the presenter starts off telling you that there will be very little about Penn State despite the fact that it is in the title.

Sex, Violence and Student Athletes: Penn State and Beyond

Barbara J. Osborne, Associate Professor, UNC Department of Exercise & Sport Science

this session will explain the 2012 U.S. Department of education’s Sexual violence guidance. Institutional liability will be discussed using recent situations involving student-athletes at the high school and college level, as well as the Office of Civil Rights’ complaint against Penn State for the Sandusky scandal.

Festival of Legal Learning.

Life With Dogs: Thank you, EWP,  for sharing this  Life With Dogs’s photo …

this is like one of those old-fashioned fox stoles that my grandmothers used to wear – EWP

Find Rufus Competition, corgies, visitlondon.com:  What is it with the Brits and corgies?

Can You Find Rufus The Corgi?

For your chance to win a romantic trip to London, use the clues to find Rufus in the map below. Remember, he’s only a little dog, so you might need to zoom in!

via Now See It For Yourself – Find Rufus Competition – visitlondon.com.

translation apps,  Google App,  NYTimes.com:  My husband downloaded an arabic translation app for his next trip to Kuwait.  We’ll see how that goes …

I’ve been watching Google’s translation tools improve over the years, but this trip would be a true test: could it really blunt the trauma of arriving in a country where the average American is instantly rendered illiterate, deaf and mute?The answer: yes, though knowing your way around it in advance will help. (United Nations interpreters need not fear for their jobs, at least not yet.) Here, then, are my tips, learned the hard way….

Pantomiming and phrasebooks have always worked for you in the past, and are more fun anyway? I hear you. But even if you want to stay old-school, the world is moving on without you. At least once a day during my trip, the Chinese broke out their own translation apps before I had a chance to break out mine. In other words, this train has already left the station. Or, to pick a cliché more appropriate to my trip, you don’t want to miss the boat.

via Lost in Translation? Try a Google App – NYTimes.com.

Carnival Cruise, Triumph Failure, Total PR Fiasco, bathrobes, twitter:  They may have tweeted too fast … bathrobe fiasco!

They may have been stranded aboard a busted cruise ship for five days with little food, broken sewage systems and no heat or air conditioning, but at least they’ll get to keep the bathrobe.

On Friday morning, as more than 3,000 tired and dirty customers finally disembarked from the stranded cruise ship Triumph, @CarnivalCruise tweeted, “Of course the bathrobes for the Carnival Triumph are complimentary.”

It was a remarkably tone-deaf finish to a week-long public relations fiasco that began Sunday night when an engine fire crippled the Caribbean-bound ship and set it adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. Nonstop news coverage and social media chatter brought the public vivid images of the fetid conditions aboard the Triumph. Reports from passengers included details about overflowing toilets, hours-long waits to get food and flooded rooms during the five days they were stranded at sea.

via Carnival Cruise Tells Passengers They Can Keep The Bathrobes In Total PR Fiasco.

The Art of Kissing: A 1936 Guide for Lovers, kith/kin, high school, Westminster Schools, memories, Brain Pickings: I had a friend in high school who got a hold of this.  I never laughed so hard as I did one night … Can anyone guess who possessed this “pamphlet”?

Between Edison’s scandalous footage of the first kiss in cinema in 1896 and Bill Plympton’s quirky animated guide to kissing a century later, the public image of lip-locking underwent some radical transformations. In 1936, the year my grandmother was born, a man named Hugh Morris penned a small illustrated pamphlet titled The Art of Kissing (public library), in which he guided young lovers through the techniques, tricks, and “approved methods of kissing,” including such varieties as “the spiritual kiss,” “the nip kiss,” “the pain kiss,” “the surprise kiss,” “the eyelash kiss,” and “the French soul kiss,” as well as tips on how to prepare for a kiss and how to approach a girl. Delightfully dated in its assumptions about love, heterosexuality, and marriage, it’s as much a charming time-capsule of a bygone era as it is a sure source of a good chuckle.

THE ‘VACUUM’ KISS

Here you start off by first opening your mouth a trifle just after you have been resting peacefully with closed lips. Indicate to your partner, by brushing her teeth with the tip of your tongue, that you wish for her to do likewise. The moment she responds, instead of caressing her mouth, suck inward as though you were trying to draw out the innards of an orange. If she knows of this kiss variation, your maid will act in the same way and withdraw the air from your mouth. In this fashion, in a very short while, the air will have been entirely drawn out of your mouths. Your lips will adhere so tightly that there will almost be pain, instead of pleasure. But it will be the sort of pain that is highly pleasurable. That may sound odd, but nevertheless it is a fact. Pain becomes so excruciating as to become pleasurable.

via The Art of Kissing: A 1936 Guide for Lovers | Brain Pickings.

Valentine’s Day memes, follow-up:  Since I was off FB for VD … I enjoyed a belated FB experience this morning.  Some are nice … some,  not so nice …

.

Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day gift, StoryCorps:  I think I’ll suggest this one to my husband for next year.  LOL

Looking for a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift? Grab your sweetheart and head to StoryCorps at the AHC to record your love story! Appointments are available this Saturday! http://ow.ly/hHctG

StoryCorps is pleased to be in partnership with the Atlanta History Center and Public Broadcasting Atlanta to record, preserve, and share the stories of communities in Atlanta.

via Atlanta, GA | StoryCorps.

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.

We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.

In the coming years we will build StoryCorps into an enduring institution that will touch the lives of every American family.

via About Us | StoryCorps.

Downton Abbey, The Dowager Countess, quotes, LOL: : )

‎”I do think a woman’s place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.”

Georgia, Yumion – the Vidalia Onion, Vidalia GA, kitschy, corporate mascots:  I must admit, I would go out of my way to see Yumion … I have done so to see the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile and the Famous Idaho® Potato Truck …

Explore Georgia

Be sure to look for Yumion, the Vidalia Onion, when you visit Vidalia, Georgia! http://budurl.com/Vidalia

Tiffanys,  Costco, knockoffs, retail, knockoffs, icons, iconic jewelry, blue boxes, diamond rings,  ABC News:  If I were a bride, I’d be ticked …

Speaking of retail, a wild story. A big fight between tiffany’s and costco. Tiffany’s wants the big box store to knock off the knockoffs, selling fake versions of its iconic jewelry.

Here’s abc’s tanya rivero. Reporter: It’s the little blue box, versus the big box retailer. On valentine’s day, as lovers everywhere snuggled,iffany and co.

Slapped costco with a lawsuit. These pictures allegedly show tiffany koffs inside a california costco. Tiffany sent someone in, bought one of the rings.

They were not made by tiffany. They are not tiffany rings. They have nothing to do with tiffany.

Reporter: Being sold at a fraction of what real tiffany rings cost. Everybody would love a deal on a tiffany ring. And unfortunately, it just doesn’t happen.

Tiffany diamonds are never on sale. Reporter: Tiffany alleges costco had been selling the fakes for years. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of engagement rings were sold using the tiffany trademark.

Reporter: A rep for costco told abc news, we will be making no comment on this story as it involves pending litigation. Court papers say an unnamed consumer blew the whistle, contacting a tiffany store to complain. She was offended by the fact that tiffany would be selling engagement rings in costco.

In this particular case, there’s enormous room for confusion among consumers because costco does sell a of big brands at deep discounts. Reporter: Shoppers at tiffany’s flagship store weighed in. You think you’re buying into a brand.

And you find out it’s a rip-off. When you buy a tiffany diamond, you’re buying into the row mant schism and there’s only one place to get it. Costco has removed all tiffany labels.

But tiffany is a suing for additional mary damages. And whether customers will sue remains to be seen. If you have any doubt about a tiffany’s item you own, you can bring it into a tiffany’s store.

They’ll tell you if it’s the real thing. Diamonds are never on sale.

via Tiffanys Battles Costco Over Knock Off Diamond Rings | Video – ABC News.

 weddings,  trends, gold, The Huffington Post:  I am pretty traditional … but  I really like the gold …

Beyond emerald and yellow, one of the fastest growing color trends this year in weddings is gold. For a while, gold had become passé as platinum gained in popularity and silver made a resurgence. However, gold is back, and here to stay. With sequins so popular (we’re on board!), and because this color can be paired with so many options from pink to black and white, all that glitters is GOLD for 2013.

With the help of patterns and rose gold, check out our favorite golden wedding ideas in the gallery.

via Kellee Khalil: 2013 Wedding Color Trend: Gold.

Twitter, David Boreanaz, Playmobil, adult play, random: So if I were to create a scene using playmobil figures, what would I create?

You see my photo!!!! Playmobil Bones!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Zb55U6pA

Twitter / lauris_dm: @David_Boreanaz You see my ….

elephants, internet videos, random:

VALUE9.com India

most happiest elephant in the world

via most happiest elephant in the world.

Marine Corps,  Chesty the Recruit, WSJ:

The Marine Corps on Friday unveiled their future mascot. If all goes as planned, Chesty the Recruit will become Private First Class Chesty XIV later this year, replacing Sgt Chesty XIII.

Chesty XIII became one of the most storied dogs in the long history of Marine Corps mascots when he faced off last year with Bravo, the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s golden retriever.

As chronicled in The Wall Street Journal, the growling confrontation earned Chesty a promotion to Sergeant and raised the bulldog’s reputation among many of the enlisted and officers at the Marine Corps barracks. But it didn’t sit too well with some of the officer’s wives.

Some of the women viewed Chesty the XIII as crotchety and ill-mannered to guests. (Check out the video here.)

The Marines rolled out the red carpet for 9-week old Chesty the Recruit Thursday night at the Home of the Commandants at the Washington, D.C., Marine Barracks. Bonnie Amos, the wife of Marine Corps Commandant James Amos, met the latest Chesty Thursday night.

via Marines Roll Out Red Carpet for Chesty the Recruit – Washington Wire – WSJ.

short stories, literary genres, publishing, book industry, NYTimes.com.

The Internet may be disrupting much of the book industry, but for short-story writers it has been a good thing.

Story collections, an often underappreciated literary cousin of novels, are experiencing a resurgence, driven by a proliferation of digital options that offer not only new creative opportunities but exposure and revenue as well.

“It is the culmination of a trend we have seen building for five years,” said Cal Morgan, the editorial director of Harper Perennial Originals, who until last year ran a blog called Fifty-Two Stories, devoted to short fiction. “The Internet has made people a lot more open to reading story forms that are different from the novel, and you see a generation of writers very engaged in experimentation.”

via A Good Fit for Small Screens, Short Stories Are Selling – NYTimes.com.

15
Feb
13

2.15.13 … I dreamed I received the equivalent of a good “howler” Valentine from a childhood friend ….

IMG_5696
“Solvitor Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2013 Lenten Labyrinth  walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Augustine of Hippo, Rev. Wes Barry, Ash Wednesday Sermon,  First Presbyterian Church:  There are days when I wonder why anyone would choose to live anywhere but the southern part of the United States. Today is one of those days.
IMG_5683 IMG_5709  IMG_5701
As I approached the Avondale Presbyterian Church labyrinth, the chimes were clanging and the water poured at its columbarium fountain.  Both welcome me.
 IMG_5684 IMG_5708 IMG_5697
I reach for an information sheet for the first time in a long time,  and Avondale’s  labyrinth keepers have  changed the sheets since the last time I looked at them. One is entitled, “Light, Darkness, Shadow of death, and the Way of Peace” … rather ominous title 🙂 … I especially liked the these quotes …
In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace. (from Benedictus, Song of Zechariah)
Light, darkness, shadow of death, peace. These four themes draw us closer in these mid-winter days to God.
Light, darkness, shadow of death, way of peace: may you find yourself caught up in the good news of Jesus Christ and be a part of community called to be Christ’s body in the world.
And from the other sheet …
Augustine of Hippo said, “It is solved  by walking.” What is IT? If you want to find out, then you’ll have to do your own walking.
-Barbara Brown Taylor , An Altar to the World
You will show me the path of life. You will fill me with joy in your presence. Psalm 16:11
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.   Micah 6:8
Let my inner child dance the rainbow, the labyrinth. Chase each color along the way. Thank you, bless you, oh my God. Be with me and I shall begin to shine as you shine;
IMG_5698 IMG_5695  IMG_5701
  IMG_5692 IMG_5690 IMG_5686 IMG_5691
IMG_5702 IMG_5710  IMG_5693  IMG_5705
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I then thought about  Wes Barry’s Ash Wednesday Sermon from First Presbyterian Church.  Two snipits jumped out at me that directly relate to my walking …

Slows down time for us that we might see Jesus …

Four things that make us human: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual  …

After I arrived home I did a little research and found this helpful … The Practice of Walking on the Earth: Groundedness (4 March 2012) – Chicago Community Mennonite Church and also this …

Walking the Labyrinth is a right-brain meditation activity.

There are as many ways to walk it as there are walkers, but here are some suggestions.

Give Gracious Attention: quiet your mind, let go of doing and be, allow thoughts to go away, be still in mind, embrace soul rest.

Ask a Question: Prior to walking, journal your thoughts or share what you are looking for with another person (they might help you to form your unspoken question). During the walk look at your question from all aspects; walking allows your own consciousness to open so deeper aspects of yourself can speak.

Use Repetition: a mantra phrase, centering prayer, non-distracting word, affirmation sentence

Read & Reflect On Scripture: a psalm or other inspiring material

Ask for Help Through Prayer: pray as you walk

Honour a Benchmark in Your Life or That of Another: a memorial act, a celebratory act, a penitence act, an intercessory act, etc.

Make A Body Prayer: move spontaneously as encouraged by the path, feel safe in its containment, sense kinetic awareness.

Use Accessories: wear a coloured scarf as symbolic of something for you; carry an object of significance to you (votive candle, flower, stone, etc.) Whatever you carry in should be carried out as well.

via Labyrinth Society of Edmonton.

Fareed Zakaria, suicide,  gun control , twitter, NYTimes.com: This tweet by Fareed Zakaria  got my attention …

Fareed Zakaria ‏@FareedZakaria

Suicidal acts with guns are fatal in 85% of cases, while those with pills are fatal in just 2% of cases: NYT http://nyti.ms/XP2FtA 

As did this quote in the NYT article … “If you use a gun,” Dr. Miller said, “you usually don’t get a second chance.”

 
Suicidal acts are often prompted by a temporary surge of rage or despair, and most people who attempt them do not die. In a 2001 study of 13- to 34-year-olds in Houston who had attempted suicide but were saved by medical intervention, researchers from the C.D.C. found that, for more than two-thirds of them, the time that elapsed between deciding to act and taking action was an hour or less. The key to reducing fatalities, experts say, is to block access to lethal means when the suicidal feeling spikes.

The chances of dying rise drastically when a gun is present, because guns are so much more likely to be lethal, said Dr. Matthew Miller, associate director of the Harvard center. Guns are used in more than half of all suicide fatalities, but account for just 1 percent of all self-harm injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms, a rough proxy for suicide attempts, Dr. Miller said. Overdoses, which account for about 80 percent of suicide attempts, are responsible for just 14 percent of fatalities.

“If you use a gun,” Dr. Miller said, “you usually don’t get a second chance.”

via To Lower Suicide Rates, New Focus Turns to Guns – NYTimes.com.

MLB, baseball, stadium financing, New Yankee Stadium, tax-exempt bonds, 2013 Festival of Legal Learning:  This was one of my favorite seminars … You can just call me a nerd.

Building the New Yankee Stadium: Tax-Exempt Bonds and Other Subsidies for the Richest Team in Baseball

Patricia L. Bryan, Martha Brandis Professor of Law, UNC School of Law

When Yankee Stadium opened in April 2009, aggregate costs had skyrocketed to $2.3 billion, with more than half contributed by taxpayers. the massive federal subsidy resulting from tax-exempt financing bonds presents a particularly troubling issue, especially

In light of convincing evidence that wealthy private owners, and not the broader community, reap the financial benefits of using these bonds for sports stadiums. the enormous—and often hidden—drain on the federal treasury leads to the important questions: are taxpayers striking out on public investments in sports stadiums, and if so, how can these federal subsidies to sports teams be limited in the future?

via Festival of Legal Learning.

Mother Teresa, quote, Goodreads:

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

― Mother Teresa

via Goodreads | Quote by Mother Teresa: Not all of us can do great things. But we can d….

Valentine’s Day, Harry Potter,  howlers:  I dreamed I received the equivalent of a good “howler” Valentine from a childhood friend ❤

A Howler defined …

Letter that plays recorded message in a very loud voice, and then explodes

Howler

“You’d better open it, Ron. It’ll be worse if you don’t. My gran sent me one once, and I ignored it and – it was horrible.”

—Neville talking to Ron about his Howler.[s rc]

via Howler – Harry Potter Wiki

Frederick Buechner Center, Barbara Brown Taylor:  I heard BBT talk last winter and was overwhelmed … this lecture is from 2009 …

If you are among the billions of people who do not know what I am talking about, then the first book was called Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, which chronicled my decision to leave full time parish ministry for college teaching ten years ago now.  The second is called An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, which is a kind of field guide to encountering God in the ordinary practices of everyday life.  It comes out next month.

The difference between these two books and those that preceded them—or to put it another way, the difference between the form and content of their proclamations—is what you might call the difference between public and private truth.  I don’t think you can ever draw a clear line between those two, since private truth is always going to flavor public truth.  I am not even sure it is a good idea to make a distinction between them.  If your private truth and your public truth are very far apart, shouldn’t you be seeking professional help?

I know Christians who speak of the “scandal of particularity,” by which they mean the apparently outlandish claim that God chose to be made known in a particular person living in a particular human body during a particular period of history.  You will have to invite a theologian to say more about that, but I like to think that people who are inclined to accept such a claim might be willing to accept the scandal of their own particularity too.

Still, I was paying attention when the dean introduced Frederick Buechner, the Beecher Lecturer for 1977, whose lectures were entitled “Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale.”

Great title, I thought, as the elegant man stepped into the pulpit.  When he opened his mouth, I was struck first by the voice: restrained but insistent, as if he had something important to tell us that he would not yell to make sure we heard.  If we wanted to hear him, then he expected us to do our parts.  His job was not to make things easy for us.  His job was to say something true that mattered.

The next thing I noticed was his sentence structure, which was odd and looping, beguiling to the ear.  Each word had earned its place in his speech.  Each word had been chosen for its meaning, but also for its beat.  If I could have blurred my ears the way I sometimes blur my eyes, then I might have imagined that I was listening to a poet instead of a preacher—or to a composer conducting his score—but that would have required at least a moment’s disengagement from the words themselves, which I was not willing to give.

While I was still trying to figure out how he was doing it, Buechner began conjuring up the living presence of Henry Ward Beecher, his predecessor by more than a century, the first Beecher Lecturer in 1872.

the places they go and the things they do, there is the sense of what the old hymn quaveringly addresses as “O love that will not let me go,” the sense of an ultimate depth to things that is not finally indifferent as to whether people sink or swim but endlessly if always hiddenly refuses to abandon them.  Brownie loses his faith and his teeth.  Lucille teerers off to her death on French heels.  Open Heart goes up in flames, and the Love Feasts are run out of Alexander Hall.  And yet…Here’s to Jesus, Here’s to you, proclaims the air-borne streamer high over Nassau Street, and even Antonio Parr wonders at the end if it is maybe more than just a silvery trick of the failing light to which every once in a while the Tonto in him whispers Kemo Sabe, faithful friend.  Maybe the reason any book about something like real life is a love-letter is that in the last analysis that is what real life is too.[3]

Sorry that was so long.  I just wanted to hear the words coming out of my mouth, as the perfect finish to The Buechner Lecture.

So thank you, Frederick Buechner, for the time you have spent looking in the mirror that we might see ourselves more clearly.  Thank you for telling the truth, both about yourself and about the gospel, that we might tell it too.  Thanks even for nicking yourself, so that you could write for us in blood instead of ballpoint pen.  We can tell the difference, and we are in your debt.

©Barbara Brown Taylor

King College, Bristol, TN

January 24, 2009

via Frederick Buechner Center.

Latin, More Intelligent Life, essays:  Love this essay … so here it is in full…

For Intelligent Life’s editor, Tim de Lisle, the best language to learn is one that has hardly any direct use…

I studied Latin for 15 years, and this may well be the first time it has been of direct use in my adult life. There was one moment, long ago, when it nearly came in handy. I was reviewing an album by Sting that contained a stab at a traditional wedding song. There are many such songs in Catullus, whose elegant poetry I had spent a whole term plodding through. If ever there was a time to play the Latin card, this was it, so I described Sting’s wedding song as “Catullan”. Somewhere between the Daily Telegraph copytakers and the subs, “Catullan” was changed to “Catalan”. It probably served me right.

So, direct use: virtually nil. But Latin—which gives us both “direct” and “use”, both “virtually” and “nil”—has been of indirect use every day of my career. If you work with words, Latin is the Pilates session that stays with you for life: it strengthens the core. It teaches you grammar and syntax, better than your own language, whose structure you will have absorbed before you are capable of noticing it. Latin offers no hiding place, no refuge for the woolly. Each piece of the sentence has to slot in with the rest; every ending has to be the right one. To learn Latin is to learn rigour.

The price for the rigour is the mortis. Soon enough, someone will helpfully inform you that Latin is a dead language. In one way, sure, but in others it lives on. It is a vivid presence in English and French, it is the mother of Italian and Spanish, and it even seeps into German. More often than not, the words these languages have in common are the Latin ones: it remains a lingua franca. The words we take from Latin tend to be long, reflective, intellectual (the short, punchy words we didn’t need to import: live, die, eat, drink, love, hate). Business and academia, two worlds with little else in common, both rely more and more on long Latinate words. The European Union speaks little else. Ten years ago, for another article, I had to read the proposed European constitution. It was a long turgid parade of Latin-derived words. The burghers of Brussels were trying to build a superstate out of abstract nouns.

Management-speak and Euro-blather are Latin at its worst, but learning it will still help you cut through them to find clarity. It is a little harder to bullshit when you’ve learnt Latin (though quite possible to bluster, as Boris Johnson proves). And if you stick at it you discover, after no more than eight or nine years, that this is a glorious language per se.

via LATIN IS THE BEST LANGUAGE | More Intelligent Life.

2.15.13 meteor strike, Russia, BBC News: Wow … 

A meteor crashing in Russia’s Ural mountains has injured at least 950 people, as the shockwave blew out windows and rocked buildings.

Most of those hurt, in the Chelyabinsk region where meteorites fell, suffered cuts and bruises but at least 46 remain in hospital.

A fireball streaked through the clear morning sky, followed by loud bangs.

President Vladimir Putin said he thanked God no big fragments had fallen in populated areas.

A large meteorite landed in a lake near Chebarkul, a town in Chelyabinsk region.

The meteor’s dramatic passing was witnessed in Yekaterinburg, 200km (125 miles) to the north, and in Kazakhstan, to the south.

via BBC News – Meteorites injure hundreds in central Russia.

Sen. Lautenberg,  Rep. Ralph Hall, Rep.  John Dingell, WWII veterans, The Greatest Generation, end of an era, US Congress:  Interesting fact about The Greatest Generation –

Aaron Blake  @FixAaron

Lautenberg is last WWII veteran in the Senate. Two remain in House: Ralph Hall and John Dingell.

The recent death of Senator Daniel K. Inouye, a celebrated World War II veteran, coincided in many ways with the waning influence of veterans in American politics. There are now only three World War II veterans in Congress: Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Representative Ralph Hall of Texas and Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan. Over all, the number of veterans joining Congress has perpetuated a four-decade-long slide.

The interplay between politics, the military and veterans is a complicated subject matter. Although war is supposed to be an extension of politics, we don’t want service members associated with politics. Some historians surmise that Lincoln removed Gen. George B. McClellan, the top Union Army general, partly because General McClellan showed too great of an interest in politics.

In recent decades the number of military veterans in Congress has greatly diminished, but this trend will somewhat reverse as Afghanistan and Iraq veterans come of age. Although this past election cycle was focused on domestic issues and the economy, it will be interesting to analyze whether veterans running for office place a great emphasis on their military service in an election cycle in which foreign policy is a major issue. It will also be interesting to note how veterans of my generation contextualize their service and explain what lessons they learned from our recent wars. Veterans are not a homogenous group, and every veteran takes away a different lesson from military experience.

via The Role of the Military and Veterans in Politics – NYTimes.com.

Sports Illustrated,  Michael Jordan’s 50th Birthday, NBC Chicago, restaurants, Chicago:  I don’t think anyone has told Chicago that he’s not there anymore …

Ring in MJ’s 50th with this five-course birthday dinner that includes a shrimp cocktail with a 23-spice cocktail sauce and a 50-day dry-aged Wagyu rib eye. Finish things off with a complimentary piece of chocolate layer cake, which also clocks in at 23 layers and will likely put your pants into a Space Jam.

via Michael Jordan’s Birthday – Eat – Near North Side – Thrillist Chicago.

Michael Jordan will turn 50 years old on Feb. 17.

It seems hard to imagine that one of the most iconic figures in the history of basketball is getting up in age. There hasn’t been a parade celebrating an NBA Championship in Chicago since 1998, but it seems like only yesterday that MJ was still in his Bulls uniform and mesmerizing us all as he delivered title after title.

To commemorate Jordan’s 50th birthday, the latest issue of Sports Illustrated will feature MJ on the cover for a record 50th time.

via Sports Illustrated Celebrates Michael Jordan’s 50th Birthday | NBC Chicago.

Pier 213 Seafood, restaurants, Atlanta GA, Thrillist Atlanta:  Sounds pretty good to me …

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main image

After eight years of providing seafood for ATL restaurant heavyweights eager to turn you into one (Bacchanalia, McKendrick’s Steak House…), the family behind Irvington Seafood in Mobile, AL decided to throw their (presumably cool, floppy sailor’s) hat in the ring with Pier 213: a nautical-themed outpost serving up a variety of fried, grilled, and steamed plates from under the sea. Under the sea!

via Pier 213 Seafood – Eat – Thrillist Atlanta.

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14
Feb
13

2.14.13 … Valentine’s Day = Generosity Day … simple: reboot Valentines Day as a day of “sharing love with everyone.”

 Valentine’s Day, sand art, Room with a View:  I am not cheating … I had saved this Facebook page for today from a few days ago …

Photo: A Room With A View

A Room With A View

NO ANXIETY HERE

Description

anx·ious/ˈaNG(k)SHəs/Adjective: 1.Experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

2.(of a period of time or situation) Causing or characterized by worry or nervousness

A ROOM WITH A VIEW IS HERE TO HELP YOU RELAX:)

As you gain more awareness and release these old patterns, your

anxiety may begin to soften, allowing you to connect to an embodied

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relationships, and live a more authentic, fulfilling life.

Join Us At http://www.facebook.com/WithaView. Relax a Little

via A Room With A View.

i heart generosity day, Valentine’s Day, Brene Brown:  Reboot …

I love Generosity Day. The idea is simple: Lets reboot Valentines Day as a day of “sharing love with everyone.” You can read more about the origins of the movement here. I love this idea! For me its really easy to forget about real love on Valentines Day. When I was a tween and teen, the entire day was cringe-worthy. It was always about watching the popular girls get the crappy $1 roses sold at school. When I was was dating and first married to Steve I felt pressure to “get it right” which launched all of my shame gremlins.As a mom its about running to Target at 8PM on 2/13 to rummage through the picked-over cards.  As you can see, my perspective has been about how the day makes me feel. Wheres the LOVE in that?Heres the call to arms hearts:”Give to people on the street.  Tip outrageously.  Help a stranger.  Write a note telling someone how much you appreciate them.  Smile.  Donate more to a cause that means a lot to you.  Take clothes to GoodWill.  Share your toys grownups and kids.  Be patient with yourself and with others.  Replace the toilet paper in the bathroom.  All generous acts count!”

via i heart generosity day with a giveaway, of course

Valentine’s Day,  The Little Prince, Scientific American Blog Network:  “One only sees well with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye.”

Because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”

And of course, there are those final words of the fox to the prince, as the young man makes up his mind to return to his planet, to reunite once more with the rose that has become his life. “One only sees well with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye. It’s the time that you’ve spent on your rose that makes your rose so important. Men have forgotten this truth. But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…”

It’s a love story for the ages.

via Valentine’s Day on the planet of the Little Prince | Literally Psyched, Scientific American Blog Network.

Great American Love Stories, Amazon Books: Great American Love Stories … state by state … Of course I immediately checked to see what the story was for “my” states. 🙂

50 GREAT AMERICAN LOVE STORIES

Who doesn’t love a great story about love? We sure do, and in the spirit of the Valentine season, we’re paying tribute to all the ways love transforms lives. Browse our Editors’ Picks for 50 Great American Love Stories (plus a few dozen more too good not to mention), set in every state of the union. Click on the heart of each state to jump to our selections.

via Amazon Books: Great American Love Stories.

Amazon Books: Great American Love Stories.

By state …

Georgia

Gone with the Wind, 75th Anniversary Edition

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: Spirited Scarlett O’Hara meets her match, mischievous Rhett Butler, in everyone’s favorite epic Civil War-era romance.

North Carolina

Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier: A wounded Confederate deserter makes a periolous, months-long journey on foot to reunite with his beloved wife.

Also in North Carolina: The NotebookThe Fiery Cross(from the Outlander Series),SerenaThe Hunger GamesTrilogy

Illinois

Endless Love: A Novel (P.S.)

Endless Love by Scott Spencer:This early book from novelist Scott Spencer is still the last word on teenage obsession with passion.

Also in Illinois: The Time Traveler’s WifeWill Grayson, Will Grayson, and Loving Frank

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Valentine’ Day, kith/kin, NODA, Cabo Fish Taco, Charlotte NC:  So what did you do to celebrate VD?  I had the pleasure of having lunch in NODA with two of my faves, two of my kith children.  I always love spending time and seeing the world through their eyes …

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“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2013 Lenten Labyrinth walks:

I almost skipped my labyrinth walk, on the second day of the Lent, but then I thought better of it. And so instead I walked my least favorite of the local public labyrinths.

This one is at Wedgwood Church, “A Liberal Church,” IMG_5681 and is on the way to the dry cleaners,  and  I almost never walk it because it is my least favorite of the labyrinths within striking distance of my home.  I don’t know why it’s my least favorite except that it is very noisy, traffic noisy, not nature noisy or wind chime noisy or construction noisy … just plain old traffic noisy … and walking noisy.  Crunch, crunch …
There’s nothing really wrong with the setting of this labyrinth, except it’s next to an electric pathway. But since we are love the least :),  I’m going to love this labyrinth today.
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IMG_5675 IMG_5676 IMG_5677
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It is a gravel walk with brick boundaries. I realize now that the sound of the gravel crunching under my feet while walking, which is often peaceful when there are no other sounds, is very disconcerting when you’re listening to cars, trucks and buses accelerate and brake,  et cetera, et cetera. I even hear the horn of a train in the not too far distance.
I do think it’s very interesting that someone at some point has taken the  effort to put crushed red stone in the  a little corners that exist in the labyrinth’s  layout.
The gravel is a couple of inches deep, enough to cause me to focus on each and every step, fearful that I might lose my balance. This is disconcerting, especially when I think what a wonderful spiritual tool a labyrinth can be for the elderly.  This labyrinth would be a disaster for elderly person.
On a good note, the labyrinth of laid out as a traditional 11 circuit Chartres pattern,  My favorite …
Blessings.
Uptown Charlotte, Ashes to Go, Ash Wednesday, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, follow-up, CharlotteObserver.com:

Wearing the ashes “is a marking – no pun intended – of a new life and being reminded of who … we are as children of God,” Rencher said. “Those ashes say: ‘Now, go back into the world and prepare for new life.’ The 40 days of Lent is an opportunity … to journey with Christ.”

On this first day of Lent, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church has an answer for Charlotte Christians too busy to make it to an Ash Wednesday service:

“Ashes to Go.”

via Uptown Charlotte church offers ‘Ashes to Go’ for Ash Wednesday | CharlotteObserver.com.

US Airways,  American Airlines, merger, travelers, Charlotte hub, ABC News:

On the up side, the merger will also mean more destinations for the new American Airlines. US Airways passengers will benefit from American’s international routes, particularly in Europe and Latin America. American will be able to access the smaller U.S. cities where US Airways has a large presence. So for example, a US Airways flier who travels abroad from time to time will now be able to earn meaningful miles on those trips.

American Airlines has hubs and or a significant presence in Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, New York, Miami and Los Angeles while US Airways has key operations in Phoenix, Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C. A merger may force the new airline to reduce operations at one or more of these hubs.

via What the US Airways and American Airlines Merger Means For Travelers – ABC News.

random, Japan Trend Shop, Mocoro Robotic Fur Ball Vacuum Cleaner: Should I buy one??  Funnest …

Mocoro Robotic Fur Ball Vacuum Cleaner

This “microfiber hop ball” is one of the funnest in the recent trend for robotic vacuum cleaners in Japan. The Mocoro might sound like a bizarre but sophisticated piece of technology – a colorful “fur” ball that rolls automatically around home cleaning – but actually its beauty lies in its simplicity. All you need to do is clean the furry cover and then let the ball do the rest!

via Japan Trend Shop | Mocoro Robotic Fur Ball Vacuum Cleaner.

09
Feb
13

2.9.13 … barking dogs …

barking dogs, for the love of dogs, kith/kin, neighbors:  I was out-of-town and my old pups barked way into the night/ morning.  Sometime I forget their shortcomings because I love them.   I feel really bad …

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Maira Kalman, art, quotes,  Brain Pickings:

Kalman echoes Anaïs Nin and adds to history’s finest definitions of art:

There’s a certain freedom to do whatever I want to do, which I guess is the definition of being an artist.

Complement with Kalman on identity, happiness and existence and the difference between thinking and feeling, then treat yourself to some of her marvelous, unassumingly profound books — you can’t go wrong with The Principles of Uncertainty and Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World).

via Maira Kalman on Art and the Power of Not Thinking | Brain Pickings.

blogs, Jane Austen:  New resource — The Everything Austen Daily.

coffee foam art: 🙂

One of the perks of visiting your local coffee shops!

via The 40 Most Amazing Examples Of Coffee Foam Art.

memes, Marco Polo, childhood:

Poor fellow. To think this is what most will know his name by…

Annie Dillard, winter, memes, Brain Pickings:

This particular excerpt from the essay “Footfalls In A Blue Ridge Winter”, a celebration of winter originally published in the February 1974 issue of — of all places — Sports Illustrated, manages to capture in some 200 words just about everything that’s magical and poetic about life, innocence, curiosity, presence, and even the memes that permeate the Internet, a kind of vision for the currency of the web long before the web as we know it existed.

via Annie Dillard on Winter, Memes, and Living with Wonder | Brain Pickings.

NYT, WSJ, WashPost, NY Post, photography, journalism, Poynter:

 

It’s not unusual for a single image to dominate a news event. But it is unusual for the same photo to be prominently featured on four major newspapers. Reuters photojournalist Brian Snyder captured the front page image (shown below) in Boston on Friday, as the storm was arriving. Only the New York Post uses the name ‘Nemo’ to refer to the blizzard that has dumped several feet of snow in the northeast and left thousands without power. || Related: New York Times, Wall Street Journal drop paywalls for storm coverage | How Wall Street Journal, NPR are using RebelMouse for storm coverage, Fashion Week

via Same photo appears on front pages of NYT, WSJ, WashPost, NY Post | Poynter..

China, architecture, copycats, WSJ.com:

In Beijing, the new Wangjing SOHO complex, a trio of curvy office buildings designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid, is slowly rising in the smog-filled skyline. Meanwhile, 1,000 miles south, a set of two buildings is going up—and the design looks just like Ms. Hadid’s, say the backers of the Beijing complex.

The other development company has denied copying the design and coined a slogan about its project. “Never meant to copy,” reads a pitch posted on the firm’s official microblog. “Only want to surpass.”

[image]

Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis

BONJOUR CHINA | An Eiffel Tower looms over a road in Hebei province.

That motto could be the mantra for China’s massive movement in architectural mimicry. To show they are making it big, the Chinese have turned to faking it big.

via In Chinese Buildings, a Copycat Craze – WSJ.com.

Truman Capote, In Cold Blood, Harper Lee, nonfiction narrative, literary genres, WSJ.com:  This entire article is fascinating …

The notes show that when Mr. Capote and his assistant, novelist Harper Lee, traveled to Garden City in the winter of 1960, Mr. Dewey gave them exclusive access to the Clutter files for a week. Mr. Dewey also granted them private interviews with the arrested killers after he had told the media that no such interviews would be granted, according to Charles J. Shields, who studied the Capote archives for his 2006 biography of Miss Lee, “Mockingbird.”

via Capote Classic ‘In Cold Blood’ Tainted by Long-Lost Files – WSJ.com.

Berta Soler, Cuba, dissidents, Ladies In White, freedom to travel:  Change is coming.  i was very moved by this story.

HAVANA — Cuban authorities granted a passport Friday to the leader of a protest group that received the European Union’s top human rights prize in 2005, even as another, lesser-known dissident reported being told she will not be allowed to leave the country.

Berta Soler, the most prominent member of the Ladies in White, picked up her new passport in the morning and said she plans to make a long-delayed trip to Europe to pick up the EU’s Sakharov award, something she has been unable to do until now because she was denied an exit visa.

The 50-year-old exit visa requirement, which was often denied to the likes of doctors, military officers and dissidents, has been abolished under travel reform that took effect Jan. 14.

Soler said she would contact EU officials to schedule a date, and she’s also hoping to visit Spain and attend two April human rights conferences in Panama and Germany.

“I have many invitations to different places,” she told The Associated Press, holding up her new passport.

The Ladies in White formed a decade ago to press for the release of their husbands, 75 dissidents imprisoned in a 2003 crackdown. All 75 have since been freed, and the Ladies have refocused their message on demanding political change, with almost completely new membership. Soler is one of the few original members still active in the group.

via Berta Soler, Leader Of Cuban Dissident Group ‘Ladies In White,’ Receives Passport To Travel.

China, culture, boyfriend rentals, Chinese New Year,  The Wedding Date , Valentine’s Day ,  ABC News:  Reminded me of The Wedding Date … but then thought of the social and family pressure that must exist to cause this to be significant enough of a business that it received US news coverage.

Renting out boyfriends and girlfriends is a new business in China. With the Chinese New Year approaching, the whole country has begun its massive annual migration, with millions of people struggling to get home. For the many young Chinese who work away from their hometowns, this is the one time of year when they can spend a week or two at home with their families. Besides visiting relatives and friends, it’s also the perfect time to show what you have achieved in the past year. For many young people, that means bringing home a potential mate or spouse to introduce to your family.

Gao told ABC News that the market for rental boyfriends is much bigger than rental girlfriends. The pressure to get married weighs heavy on the shoulders of many Chinese women. Even state media refers to single women above age 27 as “leftover women.” The 26th birthday of a daughter rings like an alarm bell for many anxious Chinese parents.

Gao owns two online stores selling flowers through Taobao.com. He has recruited nine young men between the ages of 26 and 32 who he considers suitably masculine to rent out as boyfriends.

via Boyfriend Rentals Boom During Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day – ABC News.

tea, UK, Earl Grey, British estates, Boston.com: fascinating … but I would have assumed it had never been grown in Britain.  🙂

An estate owned by descendants of the 19th century British aristocrat for whom Earl Grey tea was named is turning history on its head by selling English tea to China. The Tregothnan estate in the southwestern English county of Cornwall started selling tea from its tiny plantation in 2005 and last year produced about 10 tons of tea and infusions. Current owners (and residents) of Tregothnan, Evelyn and Katharine Boscawen think they’ve found a niche to exploit in exporting English tea to China and India. The long history of immersing tea leaves in hot water for a refreshing drink is not lost on the Boscawens. By the Victorian Era, taking tea had become a regular ritual at almost every level of society from elaborate afternoon tea for the rich in country houses to tea and gruel for the working poor as depicted by Charles Dickens.Tregothnan has projected 2013 sales to be $3.14 million, a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the world’s largest black tea exporter, Kenya, predicting $1.33 billion in sales for 2013.

via Tea Time – The Big Picture – Boston.com.

08
Feb
13

2.8.13 … I am a happy nerd …

UNC Festival of Legal Learning, Hotel Siena, Southern Seasons, Weathervane at Southern Seasons, The Siena Hotel,  Chapel Hill NC: I am a happy nerd … Southern Seasons was a treat … as was shrimp and grits at Weathervane at Southern Season. And finally The Siena Hotel beats the Waldorf Astoria … much better toiletries and turn down service with chocolates.

blizzards, 2013 NE blizzard, NYTimes.com:  Hoping all are safe and warm …

Watching the snowfall forecasts from the potent blizzard sweeping into the Northeast we’re at the western edge of the robin’s egg 12-24 inches zone, I can’t help but think back to March, 2010, when we lost power for five days after the Hudson Valley and other regions were paralyzed by several feet of snow.

via Blizzards as Teachers – NYTimes.com.

Downton Abbey, Valentine’s Day, LOL:

basset hounds, kith/kin, vacations, Madrid: Hidden amongst my son’s vacation pictures … 🙂

Photo

donuts/doughnuts, Firecakes, Chicago:  Sounds like voodoo donuts to me!

DONUTSCreative confections in River NorthThe latest addition to Chicago’s coffee-dunking circuit, Firecakes is a small-batch donut shop from the owner of La Madia, rotating a roster of sweetness like Tahitian vanilla glazed, blood orange and raspberry jelly, and Nutella long johns that’ll provide a comfortable home for your (hazel)nuts. Oh, there’s also a maple-glazed pineapple and bacon donut…

Sallie Krawcheck,  Lessons from My Bosses, LinkedIn:

The best: at one firm, the culture was to hire unconventionally, bringing in people with a broad range of backgrounds. The talent we uncovered, where others weren’t looking, could be amazing. In contrast, a couple of CEOs surrounded themselves with a long-tenured “inner circle” and filtered information through them. One of the many reasons for the financial melt-down was the unexamined groupthink that pervaded Wall Street, enabled by senior managers “breathing the same air.”

via Lessons from My Bosses | LinkedIn.

Sallie Krawcheck, bankers, compensation:

Sallie Krawcheck didn’t pull any punches when she was president of Bank of America-Merrill Lynch’s wealth management unit, and now she’s using her bully pulpit as a LinkedIn blogger to explain why paying bankers in stock is a lousy idea.

In 2013, banks must change the way they compensate their senior executives, Krawcheck (left) argues in her Tuesday blog post, saying that company boards are making a mistake by moving to more equity ownership for senior execs since the 2008 crash. She certainly has an insider’s view of the business: Krawcheck is a veteran not only of BofA, but of Citi Smith Barney and Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

“Coming out of the crisis, the national discussion focused on ‘pay them less’ and very little on ‘pay them better,’” writes Krawcheck, who was summarily fired in September 2011 when BOFA Chief Executive Brian Moynihan went public with plans to reorganize the bank’s management and operating units. “Instead, the long-term conventional wisdom that senior executives should be aligned with equity holders remained unexamined: the amount they are paid is often based on stockholder metrics (like ROE), and the form of payment is in increasing proportions of stock.”

Claiming that she herself and the rest of the banking world now know that their business is unlike any other, Krawcheck then goes on to list her top 10 reasons paying bank executives in more stock is “a bad idea.” (See No. 10 on the list, where Krawcheck name-checks her former firm.)

10. Look at the evidence. Naming names, Krawcheck points out that the biggest CEO equity holders in 2007 were at Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Countrywide. As she puts it: “‘Nuff said.”

via Sallie Krawcheck: Top 10 Reasons It’s Bad to Pay Bankers in Stock.

Iceland, Family Trip, vacations, bucket list,  National Geographic:  I’m scheming …

Iceland is one of the warmest cold countries you’ll find—especially so toward children. It seems everywhere you look there are pram-pushing moms and blond-haired kids swarming the capital of Reykjavik. The big hit for children (and adults) will be the city’s 18 mostly open-air geothermal pools (82–109°F); most also have slides and fountains. Use a pool visit to introduce the concept of renewable resources. Iceland is on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a belt of mountains and rift valleys where periodic eruptions widen the ocean floor. One of the world’s most tectonically volatile places, it feeds more than 200 volcanoes and 600 hot springs and heats 85 percent of Iceland’s homes. Add to this energy produced by the nation’s rivers and streams, and the country essentially gets all its electricity from nature.

via Iceland’s Ring Road: Best Family Trip — National Geographic.

 Yoda, Star Wars, Stuart Freeborn, The Two-Way : NPR: Funny, I think he looks a little like Yoda.

Makeup Artist Who Created Yoda Dies; Stuart Freeborn Was 98

via Makeup Artist Who Created Yoda Dies; Stuart Freeborn Was 98 : The Two-Way : NPR.

Fashion Week 2013, WSJ.comFashion Week 2013 – WSJ.com.

Star Trek, William Shatner, ISS, Twitter:  kinda cool …

Captain James Kirk of the Starship Enterprise called up an astronaut in space today for a cosmic conversation that began on Twitter and warped all the way into space.

Actor William Shatner, who famously portrayed Kirk in the original science fiction TV show “Star Trek,” called the International Space Station today (Feb. 7) to ask real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield what life is like on a spaceship.

On Jan. 3, 2013, Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency started tweeting with William Shatner, “Captain Kirk” of the original Star trek series, and with other Star Trek cast members, plus one very famous real spaceflyer.

“I’m so moved to be able to speak to you for this brief moment,” Shatner told the astronaut via phone.

You can see a video of Shatner’s call to the space station here.

Hadfield, representing the Canadian Space Agency, is serving a five-month tour on the football field-sized space station orbiting Earth. Last month, he and Shatner struck up a virtual conversation on Twitter when the actor wrote, “@Cmdr_Hadfield Are you tweeting from space?”

Eventually, their conversation pulled in other “Star Trek” notables like George Takei (who played Hikaru Sulu), Will Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock).

Today, Shatner and Hadfield connected in real time for a chat about life in space, and life on the stage.

via ‘Star Trek’ Actor William Shatner Calls Astronaut in Space (Video) | Space.com.

Corby Kummer, 15-Course Tasting Menu, Eleven Madison Park, Vanity Fair:  Wow …

As part of his strenuous, on-the-ground reporting for his recent Vanity Fair article about “totalitarian” chefs and their increasingly elaborate tasting menus, “Tyranny—It’s What’s for Dinner,” author Corby Kummer endured a five-hour, 15-course meal at Eleven Madison Park, the Manhattan restaurant owned by chef Daniel Humm. Here is Kummer’s course-by-course, or round-by-round, report, along with the approximate time each course was served.

via Foodies Gone Wild: Corby Kummer’s Annotated, 15-Course Tasting Menu from Eleven Madison Park | Vanity Fair.

 




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