Posts Tagged ‘Wal-Mart

24
Sep
11

9.24.2011 ‎… nice visit with Jimbo, Joni and Bob, and John … then off to Davidson to see Moneyball in it’s great movie theater and Moneyball was great …

Davidson NC, movie, places:  Davidson has a fun movie theater … worth the drive for a date night!  10 best new places, uptown and beyond – Our Town Cinemas

Moneyball, movies, baseball, music:  Moneyball was great fun … even had sentimental chick flick theme in the subplot.And I loved the daughter’s song …

When Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts attends home games at Wrigley Field, he spends part of the day hearing from fans who have endured more than a century without a World Series Championship.

“Moneyball” the book sold more than 1 million copies. “Moneyball” the movie opens Friday,starring Brad Pitt as the Oakland A’s iconoclastic general manager Billy Beane. Matthew Futterman on Lunch Break discusses how the book changed the game.

He must endure inevitable questions about “Moneyball,” Michael Lewis’s 2003 best seller about baseball’s statistical revolution. Fans used to ask owners when they’re going to trade for a starting pitcher; now they beg for a computer whiz to swoop in and save the franchise.

“It comes up all the time,” says Mr. Ricketts, whose family bought the Cubs two years ago. “The fans hope that the decisions made on the baseball side are made with the evidence at hand.” He doesn’t mind at all: he’s pushing for more such analysis himself.

“Moneyball” the book sold more than one million copies. “Moneyball” the movie opens Friday, starring Brad Pitt as the Oakland A’s iconoclastic general manager Billy Beane.

“Moneyball” allowed the business world to see sports in terms of strategic tools, especially in environments where resources are scarce and innovation becomes a requirement.

“It’s about how to price assets, and that’s something that’s germane whether you’re running Chrysler or Goldman Sachs or the Oakland A’s,” says George Will, the political columnist and author of the baseball book “Men at Work.”

Beyond that, “Moneyball” celebrated measurements at exactly the time when computers and simple programs were exponentially increasing the speed at which the educated working public could analyze data and hold everyone from second basemen to third-grade teachers accountable for their results.

John Challenger, principal of the job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, remembers reading “Moneyball” for the first time, then going out and buying copies for each of his top managers. In his view, this was the first book to coherently address the issue of finding the key measurements that will help you run your business, the kind of data that a company like General Electric sought tirelessly for decades.

“People thought it was crazy,” Mr. Challenger said of GE’s approach. “Moneyball” gave everybody a way to understand and think about it, and everybody finally got it.”

via Baseball After Moneyball – WSJ.com.

Lenka – The Show (With Lyrics) – YouTube.

education, early achievers:   I have seen this happen … there must be a solution.

The study, “Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude?,” builds on a previous report from Fordham that suggests nationwide policies aimed at making schools more accountable for improving low-performing students’ achievement are hurting the brightest students. That 2008 report found that from 2000 to 2007, achievement for students who were the highest performers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress was flat, while the lowest-performing students improved dramatically.

Unlike NAEP, which compares different cohorts of students, the MAP data analyzed for the Fordham study compared individual students with themselves.

The new study also found that while some high-achieving students faltered, other students developed into high performers as they got older, although those students were likely to have scored between the 50th and 80th percentiles in the first place. In addition, many of the initially high-achieving students whose test scores fell below the 90th percentile after a few years didn’t fall far. Many scored in the 70th percentile or higher years later.

Role of NCLB Law

The Fordham authors also acknowledge that the idea that all high-achieving students will remain that way indefinitely is “naive, … just as it’s naive to expect 100 percent of students to reach ‘proficient,’ ” which is the mandate of the No Child Left Behind Act. Signed into law in 2002, No Child Left Behind is the current version of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Reauthorization of the ESEA is stalled in Congress. Later this week, President Barack Obama is expected to unveil a package of waivers that would give states wiggle room on some of the current law’s requirements.

via Education Week: Early Achievers Losing Ground, Study Finds.

knitting, Martha Stewart:   Some people compare knitting to yoga.  Maybe I will let Martha teach me to knit.

The Basics of Knitting

Learn how to knit your own mittens, hats, scarves, and more. Here we take you through the step-by-step instructions and teach you how to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off.

There are two basic knitting styles, the English method and the German/Continental method, but the only real difference lies in how the yarn is held.

With the English method, the working yarn is held in the right hand; with the German/Continental method, it is held in the left. While both methods produce equally fine results, here we use the German/Continental method.

via The Basics of Knitting – How to Knit – Knitting – MarthaStewart.com.

“Le Lac Annecy”,  Paul Cezanne, painting, art, Talloires FR:  I was thinking about Talloires last night and researched Cezanne’s painting.  Learned something new …

Richard Verdi (in Cézanne) has described this painting, simple in form but highly complex in its prismatic colours, ‘with no two strokes of blue or green appearing exactly the same in size hue or direction’. Verdi notes, for example, that ‘while house and château on the distant shore are clearly delineated, the landscape around them appears in an inchoate state, as though still awaiting further resolution.’ This illustrates a general feature of the artist’s approach: rather than distinguishing foreground from background through the degree of detail applied to forms, Cézanne concentrated attention on objects at different points in space. While Cézanne saw in this his difficulty in realizing the full complexity of nature, the result was paintings that have ‘an unparalleled vitality and lay bare the formative process of painting as few other works of art do.’

via Some Landscapes: Lac d’Annecy.

Twitter, restaurants, foodies, Zagat:  Zagat, you are crazy … who is going to follow 140 restaurants and foodies.

Not sure who to follow in the foodie Twitterverse? Check out our indispensable guide to 140 must-read accounts, including chefs, food media and restaurants.

via Who to Follow on Twitter: 140 Restaurants and Foodies | Zagat.

food trucks: I only know of one food truck in Charlotte, and it is not crazy-looking.  Like pop-up stores, we are just not on the cutting edge.  🙂

Some food-truck proprietors have gone beyond the norm with design, creating totally wacky vehicles from which to dole out their grub. And we don’t just mean a friendly coat of paint or a cute awning – some sport elaborate murals and sculptures, and one even resembles the animal served on its menu.

via The 8 Craziest-Looking Food Trucks | Zagat.

foursquare, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, social networking:   OK … Still want to know why I would use foursquare???  What does KK doughnuts get …

All of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’s Tips

Here are all of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’s insider Tips. Whip up a List of the best ones, so you can experience the world through their eyes.

via foursquare :: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts :: Tips.

Eve’s Diary, book, Mark Twain, Banned Books Week:  I wonder if our public library has any banned books?

Trustees of the Charlton Public Library lifted the 1906 ban earlier this week of “Eve’s Diary,” Twain’s satirical version of the Adam and Eve story, said Cheryl Hansen, the library’s director.

Two paperback copies were made available at the library in central Massachusetts on Thursday and, within hours, one of them was in a reader’s hands, she said.

“I think there’ll be a lot of interest in taking it out,” Hansen added, saying the unanimous vote to lift the ban came just in time for Banned Books Week, which begins on Saturday.

A library trustee learned about the ban from a local newspaper article and last year tracked down a first edition of the book, which will be on display through next week, she said.

via Library lifts 1906 ban on Mark Twain book | Reuters.

Palestine, U.N. Statehood Bid, 2012 Presidential Election, foreign affairs:   This really is going to be the 2012 Presidential Election foreign affairs issue.

Defying U.S. and Israeli opposition, Palestinians asked the U.N. Friday to accept them as a member state, sidestepping nearly two decades of troubled negotiations in the hope this dramatic move on the world stage would re-energize their quest for an independent homeland.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hands over a formal letter for Palestine to be admitted as a state to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Earlier in the week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rebuffed an intense, U.S.-led effort to sway him from the statehood bid, saying he would submit the application to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon as planned.

“We’re going without any hesitation and continuing despite all the pressures,” Mr. Abbas told members of the Palestinian diaspora at a hotel in New York on Thursday night. “We seek to achieve our right and we want our independent state.” Shortly before noon on Friday, Mr. Ban’s spokesman tweeted, “President Abbas just handed the Palestinian application to the Secretary-General UNSG.”

In his letter to Mr. Ban accompanying the application, Mr. Abbas asked the U.N. chief to immediately forward the request for full U.N. membership to the Security Council and the General Assembly, according to a top aide. The General Assembly will likely be asked to approve a more-modest status upgrade if the bid in the council founders as expected.

via Palestinians Submit U.N. Statehood Bid – WSJ.com.

Wall Street Banks, BofA:  I am getting tired of words like “bruising.”  I can’t tell you how much this thrills me … “Bankers’ bonus checks, which fund everything from second homes to private school educations, are expected to plummet, in some cases to zero.”

Third-quarter revenue expectations at six big U.S. banks—Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman and Morgan—have fallen 7% since midyear, according to analysts surveyed by data provider FactSet Research Systems. That is the biggest drop since the fourth quarter of 2008.

The banks’ pain has widespread implications on Wall Street and across the country. Weaker banks will likely lend less, pressuring an economy already flirting with recession. Bankers’ bonus checks, which fund everything from second homes to private school educations, are expected to plummet, in some cases to zero.

via Wall Street Banks Taking a Bruising – WSJ.com.

Cure Bad Breath,  YouTube, marketing, Wal-Mart:   OK, I might check out  “Diary of a Dirty Tongue,” “World’s Biggest Tongue,” and “Is Your Tongue Kissable? Does Your Breath Stink?”  🙂

Can a YouTube video bring in big business? If it goes viral, it just might.

On Tuesday, Provo, Utah-based Orabrush Inc. announced its flagship product – a tongue cleaner – would be carried in 3,500 of Wal-Mart Inc.’s 3,800 U.S. stores thanks to a social-media campaign launched two years ago.

[SBtongue1]

Orabrush’s chief marketing officer, Jeffrey Harmon, (left) and Robert Wagstaff, the company’s founder, watch YouTube videos.>

Orabrush initially marketed its tongue cleaners directly to consumers with a TV infomercial in mid-2008, according to founder Bob Wagstaff, who invented the product. But the strategy didn’t perform well.

“We spent $40,000 on it and sold practically nothing,” says the 76-year-old, who next cold-called several large retailers, asking them to carry the product, to no avail.

Unsure why his efforts failed, Mr. Wagstaff approached a marketing professor at Brigham Young University about his dilemma. The professor agreed to let Mr. Wagstaff solicit students for suggestions on how to get the word out. One student suggested creating a YouTube video and volunteered to take up the task. Mr. Wagstaff accepted the offer, which resulted in a comedic two-minute video that cost about $500 to make. It quickly went viral and a series of related videos also made by the same student, now Orabrush’s chief marketing officer, followed soon after.

Today, the company has its own YouTube channel that boasts more than 39 million views and 160,000 subscribers, who get alerts whenever a new video is posted to it. The channel, called Cure Bad Breath, is the third most popular YouTube channel behind OldSpice (No. 1) Apple (No. 2), according to Vidstax.com, a Web-analytics firm. Orabrush also has nearly 300,000 fans on Facebook, which the company uses to promote its videos.

Cure Bad Breath features 88 original shorts, all comedies, with titles like “Diary of a Dirty Tongue,” “World’s Biggest Tongue,” and “Is Your Tongue Kissable? Does Your Breath Stink?” The company’s more recent videos are slicker than the originals and cost more to produce — between $3,000 and $5,000, says Orabrush’s CEO, Jeff Davis. Most of the actors in them are college students and recent graduates, which are also the company’s biggest customers.

Wal-Mart didn’t base its decision to stock the tongue cleaner on Orabrush’s YouTube popularity, says Tara Raddohl, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, but she notes the company’s YouTube videos likely raised its profile among consumers.

via How a Start-Up Landed Shelf Space at Wal-Mart – WSJ.com.

physics, light speed limit,  Albert Einstein, 1905 special theory of relativity: Just when we think we understand the world  ” … appears to violate the laws of nature as we know them.”

Physicists on the team that measured particles traveling faster than light said Friday they were as surprised as their skeptics about the results, which appear to violate the laws of nature as we know them.

Hundreds of scientists packed an auditorium at one of the world’s foremost laboratories on the Swiss-French border to hear how a subatomic particle, the neutrino, was found to have outrun light and confounded the theories of Albert Einstein.

“To our great surprise we found an anomaly,” said Antonio Ereditato, who participated in the experiment and speaks on behalf of the team.

An anomaly is a mild way of putting it.

Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen, according to Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity. The speed of light — 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second) — has long been considered a cosmic speed limit.

The team — a collaboration between France’s National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics Research and Italy’s Gran Sasso National Laboratory — fired a neutrino beam 454 miles (730 kilometers) underground from Geneva to Italy.

They found it traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than light. That’s sixty billionth of a second, a time no human brain could register.

Physicists not involved in the experiment have been understandably skeptical.

Alvaro De Rujula, a theoretical physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research outside Geneva from where the neutron beam was fired, said he blamed the readings on a so-far undetected human error.

If not, and it’s a big if, the door would be opened to some wild possibilities.

The average person, said De Rujula, “could, in principle, travel to the past and kill their mother before they were born.”

But Ereditato and his team are wary of letting such science fiction story lines keep them up at night.

“We will continue our studies and we will wait patiently for the confirmation,” he told the AP. “Everybody is free to do what they want: to think, to claim, to dream.”

He added: “I’m not going to tell you my dreams.”

via Physicists wary of junking light speed limit yet – WSJ.com.

NBA lockout, Steph Curry:  What is bad for the NBA is good for Davidson … the longer the lockout, the closer Steph is to a Davidson degree.

The NBA postponed training camps indefinitely and canceled 43 preseason games Friday because it has not reached a new labor deal with players.

All games from Oct. 9-15 are off, the league said. Camps were expected to open Oct. 3.

NBA.com’s schedule page, which has a banner across the top listing the number of games on each day, was changed Friday morning to read “0 Games” for each date until Oct. 16, when there are four games.

“We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We will make further decisions as warranted.”

The cancellations were expected after the latest meeting between owners and players Thursday ended without a collective bargaining agreement. Both sides still hope the entire regular season, scheduled to begin Nov. 1, can be saved.

The NBA has lost games to a work stoppage only once, when the 1998-99 season was reduced to a 50-game schedule.

via NBA postpones camps, cancels 43 preseason games – ESPN.

Davidson College, vandalism,  community bike program, honor code:  Very disappointing … you would think Davidson would be the perfect place for a community bike program.

The system was convenient for those who did not have bikes on campus, or who were unexpectedly running late to class. They were also a pleasant surprise to many, who found them sitting outside their dorm, the library, the Union or on Chambers lawn. The bikes did not have to be locked up or left in a secure location, which made them extremely convenient.

Of course since the bikes were limited in number, completely public and in high demand, they were never in one place for long. This inconvenience aside, the program was in place for many years here, and many other campuses across the country maintain similar programs.

Why was such a useful and popular program discontinued? Unfortunately, it appears that the strong Davidson sense of honor and responsibility wavered when it came to these bikes.

“They were stolen, damaged and some were even thrown off of buildings,” Jeannie Kinnett ’12 said. “Since there were no repercussions for damaging them, and no way to ensure their maintenance, the Activities Tax Council decided that funding them this year would not be worth it since they would be trashed anyway.”

There were efforts by Davidson Outdoors and other organizations to improve student treatment of the bikes, but this was largely ineffective. They were being damaged and stolen faster than they could be repaired or replaced.

“I once found one on the side of the road on Main Street,” Samanvitha Sridhar ’14 said. “I tried to ride it, but the tires were completely deflated, so I fell. It was pretty awful, and after that, I avoided the bikes because they all seemed to be in bad condition or broken.” One bike was even found in a drug bust.

Though Davidson students take great pride in their honor code, it is difficult to enforce any sort of regulation on the treatment of public property that changes hands on an hourly basis. Ironically, the program’s initial success was due to the honor code, which has now become its downfall.

Many students are not happy about the end of the program. “While I understand why the decision was made to end the community bikes program, I think that it was a useful resource for many students and I’m sad to see it go.” Denton Baird ’14 said.

Perhaps one day the community bikes program will be reinstituted, perhaps not. Either way, it brings to light the fact that, though the Honor Code is a source of pride for every Davidson student, when tested at least a few students take advantage of the benefits it affords. Our community is also accessible to a wider public that does not share our mutual pact.

via Theft, vandalism kill community bike program – News – The Davidsonian – Davidson College.

Duke Energy, green energy:  Buying energy or energy credits … very complicated.

Carolinas is seeking bids from companies that produce power from wind projects to sell the electricity and credits to Duke to help it meet state renewable-energy requirements.

Duke filed its long-range power-generation plan with state regulators this month. The plan calls for an increased reliance on wind power in the early years of the 20-year plan. About 12% of the renewable energy Duke provides by 2015 is expected to come from wind projects.

This is the first request Duke has made for bids from wind producers since filing that plan. The company says that power or credits will have to come from projects 50 megawatts to 300 megawatt in size. And the proposals must offer a minimum of 60,000-megawatt hours annually.

via Duke Energy asks for bids to sell wind power – Charlotte Business Journal.

01
Apr
11

4.1.2011 … It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. – Abraham Lincoln … Happy April Fool’s Day!

April Fool’s Day, history, Civil War: Love this blog entry!

In that pre-Civil War season of strange reports, dubious dispatches and false rumors, the news that day was even odder than usual throughout much of America. The august precincts of the Philadelphia stock exchange, for instance, were rocked with the startling announcement that Secretary of State William H. Seward — widely viewed as the leader in whose hands lay the future of the Union — had suddenly, inexplicably, resigned.

Amid the uncertainty that brokers already felt over the standoff at Fort Sumter and the possibility of impending war, this was the worst news imaginable. For a moment, the prices of securities and commodities teetered on the precipice of a sickening plunge. But then, according to the next day’s Philadelphia Inquirer, the prudent financiers appointed a special committee “to inquire into the truth of the announcement … Of course, the report of said committee was April 1st.” The distinguished gentlemen, in other words, had been pranked.

They were not alone. Throughout 19th-century America, April Fool’s Day — then more commonly known as All Fools Day — was an occasion for hoaxes, merriment and practical jokes. Even the rupture of the Union provided no respite; if anything, anxious citizens seem to have relished the opportunity to break the tension.

But in 1861, the holiday was — apart from the Seward prank in Philadelphia — still largely free of political overtones. One of the rare exceptions, however, was an editorial in the next morning’s issue of the New York Times. “The 1st of April in each year, is the day of all others by common usage consecrated to folly,” its author noted. “If there are more senseless acts committed within its twenty-four hours than on any other single day of the three hundred and sixty-five, it has a record not much better than James Buchanan’s.”

via Fools of a Long-Ago April – NYTimes.com.

random, kith/kin:  Since I have to wear this brace and sling for six more weeks, John asked me if I was sure I saw a doctor and not a groundhog … 🙂

social media, Jeff Elder, perfect jobs:  If I could have a perfect job it would be as a social media consultant for non-profits.  Jeff Elder was a columnist at our local paper and introduced me to current social media … along with Walt Mossberg at the WSJ (who really deals with hardware and dabbles in social media).  Are you hiring Jeff?

Leaving Lowe’s for smaller and better things

After a year in which my team grew Lowe’s Home Improvement’s Facebook page 700%, I’m leaving the Fortune 50 company to pursue other social media ventures. During a viral promotion around holiday shopping, we made the Lowe’s page the second-fastest-growing page on Facebook — no small feat for an outfit that sells hammers. My team also implemented a customer-service platform on social media that has made Lowe’s responsive and attentive to customer needs. I’m leaving to pursue consulting, speaking, teaching and a startup or two. My departure is voluntary, and not without misgivings. I leave many friends at Lowe’s, and will be forever grateful for my time there. We had a ball, especially when we took the Facebook page viral on two occasions, once gaining 56,000 fans in one day. Interested in connecting or having me speak? (For a while it will be free.) Contact me via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or mrjeffelder at gmail.com.

via Jeff Elder on social media.

Bronx Zoo cobra, twitter, LOL, followup:  This has been a “fun” story to follow and I have loved the Bronx_Zoo_Cobra on twitter … would love to meet the funny person who came up with that one!

As zoo officials had predicted since the snake was discovered missing from its enclosure at the reptile house Friday, the snake was found inside the building. Breheny said the roughly 20-inch-long, pencil-thin black snake had been curled up in a dark corner and was discovered at about 9 a.m. Eastern on Thursday. Bait in the form of wood shavings used by rats, mice and other rodents helped lure the snake from its hiding spot.

“Right now, she’s resting comfortably and securely,” said Breheny, adding that the World of Reptiles, closed since Friday, would be reopened after the snake had been observed for a few days to ensure she was in good health. He also said the zoo would investigate how the snake managed to escape its enclosure, which was in a non-display area of the reptile house.

There was no immediate comment from the person who had been sending messages on Twitter as the snake and whose updates had attracted more than 200,000 followers by Thursday afternoon. According to the tweets, the snake’s last adventure before being recaptured was attending the Yankees’ opening game.

“If you see a bag of peanuts inexplicably moving along the ground at Yankee Stadium today. Just ignore it. It’s probably nothing,” one of the tweets said.

via Escaped cobra recaptured at Bronx Zoo – latimes.com.

politics, predictions, Mitt Romney:  Goat entrails?

The outlook, then, would seem to be sunny for the future GOP presidental nominee—or it would were the Republicans likely to nominate a strong general-election candidate. Mike Huckabee can’t beat Mr Obama. Tim Pawlenty’s supporters will fall asleep in their cars on the way to the polls. Sarah Palin? Please. But how about Mitt Romney? Nate Silver, the New York Times number-cruncher, makes the case that Mr Romney has a plausible path to the nomination!

This former employee of the Joseph Smith Historical Site and fan of ironic identity politics would like to connect these dots all the way to a Romney triumph. But not only does Mr Romney have Romneycare, Mormonism, and an air of opportunistic artificiality working against him, one wonders whether the polished multi-millionaire will thrill the growing conservative ranks. Digging into the Gallup numbers, Mr Florida and his colleague Charlotta Mellander find that

Conservatism, at least at the state level, appears to be growing stronger. Ironically, this trend is most pronounced in America’s least well-off, least educated, most blue collar, most economically hard-hit states. Conservatism, more and more, is the ideology of the economically left behind. The current economic crisis only appears to have deepened conservatism’s hold on America’s states.

One suspects Mr Romney and his hair might be regarded with some suspicion by the “economically left behind”. However, he does have a reputation for competent management and a mind for money, and seems to me more likely than any other Republican candidate to offer a “clear plan for solving the country’s problems”. A credible Mr Fixit may turn out to appeal to those most hurt by a broken economy. According to one poll, if the election were held today, Mr Obama beats Mr Romney 48% to 41% in Michigan, Mr Romney’s home state. Yet in order to maintain that sort of lead and clinch a second term, Mr Obama either needs to turn his numbers around or get an unelectable gift from Republican primary voters.

via Goat entrails: Is America ready for Romney? | The Economist.

education, religion, NYC:  $32,000+ tuition … not friendly!

When tensions rise at a Quaker meeting, the room is immediately brought to silence — the Quaker form of worship. In recent New York gatherings, when the subject of Friends Seminary comes up, there has been a lot of quiet.

The issue that has hushed the Quakers’ 19th-century meetinghouse near Union Square is whether the church and school, joined for 225 years, should formally part ways.

There are legal advantages to a split. But some church members are also pushing for the separation because they say the school is no longer really Quaker. Among other complaints, they say the school’s $32,870 tuition, selective admissions and private-school culture fly in the face of the signature Quaker credos of simplicity, openness and equality.

“There are a number of Quakers that are concerned, who believe that the school over time has become a rich kids’ school,” said Michael Schlegel, the leader of the trustees of the New York Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, the city’s chief Quaker body.

Other secular schools in the city have relationships with religious institutions, but the Quaker meeting, or congregation, and Friends Seminary are especially close. They share buildings, some members of the school’s governing committee come from the meeting, and at least for now they are legally unified.

via N.Y. Quakers May Cut 225-Year-Old Ties With Friends Seminary – NYTimes.com.

politics, 2012 GOP Convention, NC:  It is fun to be in the spotlight.

We love the idea, and North Carolinians of all political stripes should too. But don’t hold your breath. The chances of the GOP moving its convention from Tampa are almost nil. Floyd is just maneuvering to try to put pressure on Florida to back its primary date up and keep South Carolina’s early-state stature.

via The Daily Views: GOP convention in N.C., too?.

YouTube:  I am not sure I get this … but please, please, don’t have the girl who does that “Friday” song!  First-ever national YouTube DigiTour comes to Charlotte Apr 26 | CLT Blog.

Google, internet, Kansas City:  Congratulations, KC … wish it were Charlotte.

Google said it chose Kansas City out of “nearly 1,000 cities” vying for the search giant’s high-speed favor since the company announced in February 2010 that it planned to provide a single community “100 times faster” Internet access. In fact Google says it’s already signed a development agreement with the city, so yes–short of tornados wreaking havoc or someone unleashing swarms of flying monkeys–it’s definitely happening, and the party starts in 2012.

via Google Taps Kansas City for Crazy-Speed Internet – Techland – TIME.com.

politics, redistricting, census:  Really?

North Carolina is losing out on a congressional seat and future tax dollars because so many of its military personnel were deployed during the U.S. Census and counted in population totals for other states, according to an Associated Press review.

The Census counts most troops at the base where they live and work. But for personnel who are deployed overseas, the government tallies them for their home state – often where the service member grew up or has family.

For example, a soldier based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina could list their home as being in Oklahoma because that’s where they were raised. That soldier would be counted in Oklahoma if they were deployed overseas during the Census.

North Carolina officials estimate more than 40,000 troops were deployed from the state’s military bases around the time of the Census one year ago, but only 12,200 of the nation’s overseas military personnel listed North Carolina as their home state, according to Department of Defense data provided to AP.

via The Charlotte Observer : Troop deployments cost NC extra seat in Congress.

college search, alumni relations:

As competition for admission soars, Ivy League colleges that enlist their graduates as interviewers to build loyalty are angering them instead. Admissions deans at Penn in Philadelphia; Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island; and Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, say they use alumni interviews to confirm impressions of student applicants, glean details and personalize the process. Frustrated alumni may stop volunteering or reduce their donations, said Doug Ulene, 48, a 20-year volunteer for Brown who now coordinates efforts in southwest Westchester County in suburban New York.

Long-Term Consequence

“If alums start becoming disenchanted with the process and it changes their feelings toward the university, it may end up being a bad thing for the university in the long haul,” Ulene said.

Alumni sign up for interviews to stay connected to their college, to meet high school students in their communities and to try to understand the admissions process for their own children, Ulene said.

While a student’s intelligence may be apparent on paper, a passionate conversation about physics “may be quite powerful in an interaction,” Shaw said.

Stanford has told alumni that few students will win admission, Shaw said. This year, Stanford admitted 7.1 percent of its applicants, the lowest share in the university’s history, said Bob Patterson, director of admission.

Princeton University, which last year interviewed 99 percent of applicants, has tried to change interviewers’ expectations, shifting the focus from “trying to get students in” to being ambassadors for the university, said Janet Rapelye, dean of admission.

Princeton graduate Beth Flaming, 38, met with about 15 students in more than eight years as an alumni interviewer for the school. Only one got in. Flaming, a Chicago lawyer and the mother of two young children, stopped interviewing three years ago.

“I’ve always thought it was an ambassador-type role,” said Flaming. “That being said, what great purpose is being an ambassador to 20,000 people who are not going to get in?”

via Ivy League Alumni Quit Admissions Interviews as Success Slips – Bloomberg.

technology, phones:  Soon we won’t need a wallet …

Microsoft Corp. is working on a version of its Windows Phone software that will let users buy merchandise with a flick of the handset at a checkout counter, two people familiar with the plans said.

Microsoft plans to include mobile-payment technology in new versions of its operating system for smartphones as part of an effort to narrow Google Inc.’s lead in handset software, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous because the features aren’t public. The first devices boasting these features may be released this year, the people said.

via Microsoft Is Said to Plan Mobile Payments in Phone Software – Businessweek.

Supreme Court, gender gap:

A gender gap emerged at the U.S. Supreme Court as the court’s three female justices tussled with their male colleagues over a nationwide discrimination suit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan all voiced at least qualified support yesterday for the class-action suit, which claims women across the country were victimized by Wal-Mart’s practice of letting local managers make subjective decisions about pay and promotions. The dispute marks the first gender-bias case the court has considered with three women on the bench.

The three took the lead in questioning Wal-Mart’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous. Ginsburg spoke about how corporate decision- makers tend to hire people like themselves, while Sotomayor endorsed the use of statistical analysis in discrimination cases. Kagan balked when Boutrous said the workers’ case was based on an “incoherent theory.”

“I guess I’m just a little bit confused as to why excessive subjectivity is not a policy that can be alleged” as the basis of a job-discrimination suit, said Kagan, the newest justice.

Their queries put them at odds with Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, who questioned whether the women had pointed to a corporate policy that violated their rights under the main federal job-bias law, known as Title VII. The justices are considering whether potentially a million female employees at Wal-Mart have enough in common to warrant allowing a single nationwide suit against the company.

via Wal-Mart Discrimination Dispute Reveals Gender Gap at the U.S. High Court – Bloomberg.

business ethics, Berkshire Hathaway:

David Sokol, long considered by outsiders to be the most likely candidate to succeed Warren Buffett, resigned from Berkshire Hathaway Inc. after purchasing shares of a company he suggested Mr. Buffett buy.

Mr. Buffett, Berkshire’s chief executive and chairman, said in a statement Wednesday that Mr. Sokol had told him he owned shares in the chemical company, Lubrizol Corp., when they first discussed the deal in January. Mr. Buffett said “neither Dave nor I feel his Lubrizol purchases were in any way unlawful” and weren’t a factor in his decision to resign.

via Berkshire’s Sokol Quits After Lubrizol Share Purchases – WSJ.com.

education, GA, kith/kin, Edward Lindsey:  Tough decision for tough times.

The Legislature may be on the verge of giving Gov. Nathan Deal the power to remove members of the Atlanta Board of Education should the school system lose its accreditation this summer.

Not exactly what Mayor Kasim Reed was looking for – but something like it.

A bipartisan amendment, sponsored by Majority Whip Ed Lindsey and Democrat Kathy Ashe, both of Atlanta, was attached Tuesday to SB 79 by the House Education Committee.

Early this year, when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the Atlanta school system on probation because of a CRCT cheating scandal and board infighting, Deal discovered that current board members – in the Atlanta system and elsewhere – had been grandfathered in by 2010 legislation allowing the governor to take over local school systems.

This month, Reed said he had approached members of the Legislature about giving the mayor of Atlanta the power to replace school board members – but Republicans balked, saying such a move would require a constitutional amendment.

via Move afoot to let Nathan Deal to replace Atlanta school board | Political Insider.

events, April Fool’s Day:  like or dislike?

Last year on April Fool’s Day, Google changed its name to “Topeka” for the day, so it’s a likely spot to look for a new joke this year. Have fun on April Fool’s Day 2011 this Friday. And feel free to share tips in the Comments.

via Around the Web, tips for April Fool’s Day – USATODAY.com.

technology, big or little:

Indeed, the explosive growth of mobile — 1.6 billion mobile phones were sold in 2010, according to researcher Gartner — shows how important mobile optimization is for Web businesses. But most companies have yet to take the plunge. Google says 79% of its largest ad customers don’t have a mobile-optimized site.

STORY: How to create a mobile website

VIDEO: Talking Tech — Google exec on mobile sites’ advantages

That’s created something of a cottage industry of developers to take Web destinations mobile.

The crush of mobile consumers requires either creating a new site entirely or adjusting the content so it can be viewed on smartphones and tablets. That also means ditching the Adobe Flash software used across many image-heavy sites, as Flash isn’t supported by Apple on iPads and iPhones.

The move to mobile versions has become increasingly important with GPS phones and location-based searches. That’s because when people search on a smartphone, one out of three times they are looking for something local, says Spero. If a business’ site comes up difficult to navigate or view, people move on to the next.

via More companies shrink sites for iPad, other devices – USATODAY.com.

maternity tourists, 14th Amendment:

For months, officials say, the house was home to “maternity tourists,” in this case, women from China who had paid tens of thousands of dollars to deliver their babies in the United States, making the infants automatic American citizens. Officials shut down the home, sending the 10 mothers who had been living there with their babies to nearby motels.

“These were not women living in squalor — it was a well taken care of place and clean, but there were a lot of women and babies,” said Clayton Anderson, a city inspector who shut down the house on March 9. “I have never seen anything like this before. We really couldn’t determine the exact number of people living there.”

For the last year, the debate over birthright citizenship has raged across the country, with some political leaders calling for an end to the 14th Amendment, which gives automatic citizenship to any baby born in the United States. Much of the debate has focused on immigrants entering illegally from poor countries in Latin America. But in this case the women were not only relatively wealthy, but also here legally on tourist visas. Most of them, officials say, have already returned to China with their American babies.

Immigration experts say it is impossible to know precisely how widespread “maternity tourism” is. Businesses in China, Mexico and South Korea advertise packages that arrange for doctors, insurance and postpartum care. And the Marmara, a Turkish-owned hotel on the Upper East Side in New York City, has advertised monthlong “baby stays” that come with a stroller.

via Officials Close ‘Maternity Tourism’ House in California – NYTimes.com.

Wal-Mart, Aldi, discounters, business models:

While Wal-Mart revives its plans to get into New York City, a giant German retailer has slipped in relatively unnoticed.

Estimates are that Aldi, a privately held, nonunion chain, has more than 8,000 stores worldwide and 1,000 in the United States.

In February, with virtually no opposition — a Queens politician even showed up at the grand opening in Rego Park, Queens — a discount retailer called Aldi opened its first store in the city, and plans to open a second one, in the Bronx, later this year.

After decades spent fleeing cities for the strip malls and boulevards of the suburbs, grocers and discount retailers are doing an about-face. Target plans to open its first smaller, city-size store in Seattle next year, and Wal-Mart announced recently that it would build “hundreds” of smaller, mostly urban stores in the coming years.

Meanwhile, Aldi has quietly been setting up its shops in cities around the country.

“They’re not only doing the small format more rapidly, but they’re getting into the urban areas more rapidly than either Wal-Mart Express or the city Targets,” said Craig Johnson, president of the consulting firm Customer Growth Partners. “Even though the company’s headquartered in Germany, they’ve opened up a New York store quicker than Wal-Mart has.”

via Where Wal-Mart Failed, Aldi Succeeds – NYTimes.com.

Davidson College, Davidson basketball, kudos: Praise for a great program.

Once again, we’re in the midst of March Madness, and once again there’s little mention of how successful, or not, each school rates academically.

Many alternative brackets based on academic performance show Davidson College as the ultimate winner. The school made it to the Elite Eight a few years back, which is amazing, given the challenges faced by today’s student-athletes and those recruiting and coaching them.

The remarkable thing about Davidson’s success is that for more than 20 years, under head basketball coach Bob McKillop’s leadership, it’s had a player graduation rate of 100 percent. These players are not given any slack or treated any differently than any other Davidson student.

Davidson is a fine example of how great leadership can make a huge difference in the lives of these young men. It’s a shame that so many of the other academic institutions fail to follow suit.

via Correspondent of the Day | Richmond Times-Dispatch.

faith and spirituality: Love wins!

Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan and, especially via his many slick DVDs, one of America’s most popular evangelical teachers, has caused a stir. His recent book, Love Wins, makes the case, staggering to evangelicals but nobody else, that the argument in favor of Hell and eternal damnation seems to fly in the face of the claims that God’s love is unconditional and that mercy is His primary attribute. Bell has opened himself to charges of being a universalist or (even worse?) no different from a “mainline” preacher.

I do no want to go on about Bell. He is well capable of defending himself. Rather, I mention this little hubbub to introduce an exegetical conundrum.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are usually referred to as the “synoptic” gospels, meaning that they can be “looked at together.” They are often printed in vertical parallel columns. For centuries it has been known that there is some kind of close relationship, verbal and structural, amongst these three gospels. This relationship has been coyly referred to as “the synoptic problem.” What accounts for this relationship? How extensive? The standard solution to the problem (by no means universally but very broadly accepted amongst New Testament scholars) is the so-called three-source solution. This argues that Mark was written first, that Matthew and Luke had access to Mark, while in turn using an otherwise unknown source, Q, for about 250 verses of sayings of Jesus, while each of them (Matthew and Luke) also had access to a source unique to each.

This not-us-so-against-us voice is the voice of all fundamentalism everywhere, not just religious or even Christian, but political and ideological, emotional and social as well. It is what will drive us along the pathway to oblivion. People of faith, and all people of good will, must still this voice wherever it is heard by overwhelming it with the power of love.

Yes, love wins if by that we mean, only love wins.

via Love wins « Hopelens Blog.

31
Mar
11

3.31.2011 … It is time for April …

random, LOLBride Orders Giant Wedding Cake Shaped Like Herself.

travel, lists:  I have only been to one … Beijing … but it was pre-Olympics.  “Secret” List of World’s Best Airports Revealed – FoxNews.com.

Target, Wal-Mart, discounters:  Good news for me … I prefer Target.

For the first time in four years, it appears that Target is beating Walmart on pricing, according to this article.

In my experience, I have frequently compared Target to other online retailers, including Amazon.com, and found it to be one of the priciest. But research has shown that Target is becoming more aggressive in its grocery pricing.

via Target cheaper than Walmart | Atlanta Bargain Hunter.

political cartoons:

Libya Speech – CharlotteObserver.com.

apps, lists:  There’s a (free) app for that – CharlotteObserver.com.

gardens, community:  I would love to share mine!

Alas, in the tree-filled Piedmont, once they look up, many people realize the trees will produce dense shade once the new leaves emerge in coming weeks. Where the gardener imagined bright sun shining on tomato plants will be only narrow streaks sliding through chinks in the canopy.

However, there is an answer, and I am surprised more people don’t do it: Join with a neighbor, friend or family member with sun and create a shared garden. You can share the work, the cost and the results.

This works best among neighbors because you will be more inclined to share the work when the garden is in walking distance. Getting in the car and driving is not the same as walking down the block to see if the tomatoes are blooming. Perhaps you have sun but don’t feel up to doing a garden alone; ask around to see who might be interested in teaming up. No sun? Make your wishes known.

via Good gardens make good neighbors – CharlotteObserver.com.

philanthropy:  I like this one.

Charlotte businessman created a poster of homeless people holding up words to The Lord’s Prayer, which inspired a Winston-Salem surgeon to create a similar poster with words to a Bible verse, which in turn inspired a former teacher from Thomasville to create a poster.

Sales of the three posters have brought more than $14,000 to help the homeless.

And there’s no telling where Brian Hadley’s idea may turn up next.

Hadley, who is 44 and works as a sales manager for Royal Paper Products, created the first poster in fall 2009.

via Charlotte man’s poster of the homeless inspires and multiplies – CharlotteObserver.com.

March Madness 2011, restaurants, Charlotte:  Some new places to try …

May we present the Burger Brackets’ Final Four competitors?

— Brooks’ Sandwich Shop emerges the winner of the North, its classic old-school style and taste helping it past Dilworth stalwart The Comet Grill, which produced an uncharacteristically dryish burger for the matchup.

— Mueller’s Neighborhood Grill wins the South bracket, nipping the much-heralded granddaddy Zack’s Hamburgers with heft and flavor.

— The Liberty edged past Pinky’s Westside Grill in the closest match of the Elite Eight competition. Though quintessentially different in style, the beefy quality of the former came through in the head-to-head, with Pinky’s serving up a slightly overcooked patty.

— And Big Daddy’s Burger Bar rolls easily to the East crown with a juicy performance that outdid Lulu’s efforts.

That pits Brooks’ against Mueller’s for the Old-School Bracket bragging rights, and The Liberty faces Big Daddy’s for New-School honors. Those and the final will now be judged by a tasting panel, and the results announced in the April 1 CLT section.

via Burger Brackets: The Final Four – CharlotteObserver.com.

education, Great Recession, Charlotte, CMS, middle school:

Almost 600 parents and students gathered in southeast Charlotte on Tuesday night to talk about ways to keep middle school sports alive in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with fees and private money.

Superintendent Peter Gorman’s preliminary budget for 2011-12 calls for eliminating the program. Organizers of Tuesday’s meeting plan to create a nonprofit group to raise about $3.6million, enough to cover costs for three years, from big corporate gifts, smaller donations and booster-club fund-raisers.

“There’s no reason we can’t be frying fish and cooking pigs on the weekends to raise money for sports,” school board member Rhonda Lennon told the crowd. Two of her eight colleagues, Tim Morgan and Joe White, also attended.

Organizer Tripp Roakes, publisher of The South Charlotte Sports Report, said CMS should at least triple the $50 “pay to play” fee for middle-school sports, noting that many private leagues charge $200 or more.

“There is nowhere in Charlotte that you can play something for $50,” Roakes said.

He and Lennon added that they’re dedicated to making sure there’s money to offer scholarships for students who can’t afford fees and support for schools that don’t have booster clubs.

via Backers hope to save middle school sports – CharlotteObserver.com.

midwifery, professionalism, NC:  NC is a little late to the game …

A month after the arrest of a certified professional midwife, N.C. legislators this week introduced a bill to legalize the practice of these trained experts in home-based maternity care.

The bill, sponsored by two Democrats and two Republicans in the state house of representatives, would create a licensing board for CPMs and allow them to practice legally, as they do in 27 states, including South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

“With or without licensure, we’ve got CPMs out there and they’re practicing and they’re going to keep on practicing,” said State Rep. Winkie Wilkins, D-Durham. “It becomes so simple. My whole thing is if they’re going to keep on doing what they’re doing, I want to know who they are and where they are and how they’re doing it.”

Wilkins served on a midwifery study committee two years ago The final report recommended that a working group propose a method for licensing of certified professional midwives.

Since 1983, N.C. law has required midwives to be registered nurses who have completed midwifery education and passed an exam by the American Midwifery Certification Board. They must be supervised by doctors, who can back them up in complicated deliveries.

via Legislators introduce bill to license certified professional midwives – CharlotteObserver.com.

22
Mar
11

‎3.22.2011 … Happy birthday, ET/ King Me!

kith/kin: Happy 19 to my ET!

toys, lists:  What are your favorites?  History’s Best Toys: All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys – TIME.

Supreme Court, Wal-Mart, sociology issue:

When the Supreme Court considers on Tuesday whether hundreds of thousands of women can band together in an employment discrimination suit against Wal-Mart, the argument may hinge on the validity of the hotly disputed conclusions of a Chicago sociologist.

An analysis from Prof. William T. Bielby, a sociologist, is at the heart of a case that the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday.

Plaintiffs in the class-action suit, who claim that Wal-Mart owes billions of dollars to as many as 1.5 million women who they say were unfairly treated on pay and promotions, enlisted the support of William T. Bielby, an academic specializing in “social framework analysis.”

A central question in the case is whether he should have been allowed, in preliminary proceedings, to go beyond describing general research about gender stereotypes in the workplace to draw specific conclusions about what he called flaws in Wal-Mart’s personnel policies.

“Bielby made a conclusion that he had no basis to make,” said Laurens Walker, one of two University of Virginia professors who coined the term for the analysis almost 25 years ago. “He hasn’t done the research.”

But a brief supporting the plaintiffs from the American Sociological Association said that Professor Bielby’s work explaining how Wal-Mart’s policies may have led to discrimination “is well within our discipline’s accepted methods.”

The sharp arguments are a testament to the central role that social framework analysis has come to play in scores of major employment discrimination cases. Describing what was at stake in such cases, a 2009 article in The Fordham Law Review defending Professor Bielby said the debate was “about the existence of unconscious or implicit bias, the continued seriousness of discrimination as a force in the modern workplace and the appropriate reach of legal remedies to challenge discrimination.”

via Supreme Court Gets Sociology Issue in Wal-Mart Discrimination Case – NYTimes.com.

2014 World Cup, Qatar, technology:  Science Fiction?

So it was back to the drawing board for the desert nation, and scientists have hatched a plan to hover giant robotic clouds over the venues to keep out the sun. The clouds are essentially massive blimps, filled with helium, and will be floated above stadiums. Four onboard solar-powered engines will allow the clouds to be controlled from the ground, shifting along with the sun’s zenith, serving as a huge umbrella in the sky to shade spectators and athletes.

The clouds come at a cost of $500,000 each, pocket change for the Middle Eastern nation. The emirate is touting their World Cup hosting endeavor as an event where we can “Expect Amazing.” Robotic clouds – that definitely qualifies. What’s next, Qatar?

via Robotic Clouds Will Provide Shade During Qatar World Cup – TIME NewsFeed.

Apple, Maiden NC, changes: What is next?

Scheduled to go live sometime this spring, Apple’s 505,000-square-foot North Carolina data center is, according to COO Tim Cook, intended to support iTunes and MobileMe. But we don’t yet know in what capacity, and Cook’s remark, which is at once unambiguous and utterly cryptic, leaves plenty of room for speculation. And theories about the potential capabilities of this new facility abound.

In a research note this week, Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi reviewed a few of the more plausible ones, which run the gamut from the long-rumored iTunes streaming service to the back end for a natural language voice interface and navigation service for its iOS devices.

via Apple Could Use North Carolina Data Center For Video and Music Streaming, Voice Navigation Service | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD.

18
Jan
11

1.18.2011 … return to normal routine … kinda nice …

faith, mountaintop experience:  I have asked my kids if they have had a mountaintop experience.  They look at me like I am crazy.  I like this bloggers description of the experience.

The Mountaintop Experience

At some moments we experience complete unity within us and around us. This may happen when we stand on a mountaintop and are captivated by the view. It may happen when we witness the birth of a child or the death of a friend. It may happen when we have an intimate conversation or a family meal. It may happen in church during a service or in a quiet room during prayer. But whenever and however it happens we say to ourselves: “This is it … everything fits … all I ever hoped for is here.”

This is the experience that Peter, James, and John had on the top of Mount Tabor when they saw the aspect of Jesus’ face change and his clothing become sparkling white. They wanted that moment to last forever (see Luke 9:28-36). This is the experience of the fullness of time. These moments are given to us so that we can remember them when God seems far away and everything appears empty and useless. These experiences are true moments of grace.

via December 19, 2010 – The Mountaintop Experience.

followup, education, college:  lack of rigor … I think this book/study will be given lots of attention.

“How much are students actually learning in contemporary higher education? The answer for many undergraduates, we have concluded, is not much,” write the authors, Richard Arum, professor of sociology and education at New York University, and Josipa Roksa, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. For many undergraduates, they write, “drifting through college without a clear sense of purpose is readily apparent.”

The research findings at the core of the book are also being released today by their sponsor, the Social Science Research Council. (Esther Cho of the council is a co-author on that paper.)

The main culprit for lack of academic progress of students, according to the authors, is a lack of rigor. They review data from student surveys to show, for example, that 32 percent of students each semester do not take any courses with more than 40 pages of reading assigned a week, and that half don’t take a single course in which they must write more than 20 pages over the course of a semester. Further, the authors note that students spend, on average, only about 12-14 hours a week studying, and that much of this time is studying in groups.

via News: ‘Academically Adrift’ – Inside Higher Ed.

corporations, Wal-mart, South Africa:  Will be interesting to see if Wal-Mart is successful.  After spending 2 weeks in South Africa … I saw poverty, not a growing middle class.  But the poverty is so great, that maybe I did not look around the corners to see the successes.

A South African chain’s shareholders have overwhelmingly accepted Wal-Mart’s offer to buy 51 percent of their company, the chief executive said Monday, paving the way for the giant U.S.-based retailer to enter Africa.

Massmart said the proposal was approved by 97 percent of shareholders who voted Monday — 75 percent had been needed. Wal-Mart offered 148 rand (about $20) per share in a 17 billion rand (about $2 billion) deal. (See 10 perfect jobs for the recession — and after.)

The deal will have to be approved by South Africa’s anti-monopoly regulators.

Massmart CEO Grant Pattison said once the deal goes through, Massmart will continue to operate the stores and continue to be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, while Wal-Mart will be the main owner. Massmart runs about 290 big box, pharmacy, electronics and other stores in 14 African countries.

“They are a great retailer and we really are looking forward to learning something from them, and teaching them something about Africa,” Pattison told The Associated Press. “We’re excited because they’re coming as our partners.”

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, has 8,692 stores in 15 countries, among them Brazil, China and India. But it has not until now ventured into Africa.

South Africa has the most developed economy on a continent slowly emerging from grinding poverty, and one that fared better than other parts of the world during the global recession. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company has concluded that global business cannot afford to ignore Africa’s potential, or its growing middle class. The World Bank has said the continent is finally seeing the results of years of market reforms and investment in education and health care.

Business here has welcomed Walmart’s arrival as recognition of the potential of the continent’s economy, and of the reach South African retailers have throughout Africa.

via South Africans Accept Walmart Bid – TIME.

tv, documentary v. docudrama, v. historical fiction:  I can’t see how this can be done when some of the players are still alive.

But people familiar with the discussions of the History board say that when it convened at the end of 2010, its unease about the accuracy of “The Kennedys” was more than sufficient to turn it against the project.

Neither Mr. Dallek nor Mr. Gillon felt the mini-series met History’s standards. The board was also said to be strongly influenced by memos from the historians detailing remaining factual inaccuracies and errors, a board member said. When the final votes were tallied, “The Kennedys” had lost its United States broadcaster.

Michael Prupas, president and chief executive of Muse Entertainment, said the mini-series was “based on the truth, and if anything is a positive, very positive presentation of the Kennedy family.” In a joint statement with Muse, Asylum Entertainment said it was proud of the “painstaking efforts that went into creating a drama that is compelling while rich in historic detail.”

Whatever happens with “The Kennedys,” Mr. Reeves offered a prediction about America’s fascination with that family:

“People thought it would end with a certain generation, and it won’t end because they are cultural figures. The Kennedys are never going away.”

via History Channel’s Decision to Forgo ‘The Kennedys’ – NYTimes.com.

random, Jane Austen: Just enjoyed this interview with Alison Steadman who portrayed Mrs. Bennet in the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice.

Alison Steadman

The first time I saw a fox as a child I was beside myself with joy. I still have the same sense of delight now. The news stories about urban foxes upset me. Let them dig up your bulbs.

Abigail’s Party never goes away. Nor does Mrs Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. And now taxi drivers shout “Pamelaaaaa!” [from Gavin & Stacey] across the street.

You can’t knock things being popular, particularly with young kids. I walked past this gang of boys on bikes and someone said: “Hey, it’s Pamela!” They all raced up saying: “Please, miss!” They were so enthusiastic – it was really nice.

via m.guardian.co.uk.

random, twitter, woman cave:  What would you have in your woman cave?  Actually the concept of a female version of a “man cave” seems impossible.

@kabster728 Katie Boehret

I now know two friends who created “woman caves” in their houses. I love this trend! Ladies, what would you put in your woman cave?

via Twitter / @Katie Boehret: I now know two friends who ….

“bridge to nowhere”, Perry GA, Georgia:  Oops … looks like Perry GA has a “bridge to nowhere” …

Every weekend, Michael Morris and his 2-year-old son, Jacob, visit this small town’s enormous new $14 million fishing museum. They watch bream and bass swim in aquarium-size tanks. They play with an interactive model of a fishing boat and try to catch fish on a computer simulation using a rod and reel connected to a video screen.

Georgia faces $1.6 million a year in bond payments and operating costs as it considers cuts to scholarships and health care. More Photos »

And because the museum, the Go Fish Georgia Educational Center, is primarily financed by the state, their father-and-son outings cost only $5.

“It’s amazing,” said Mr. Morris, a car salesman and recreational fisherman. “When Jacob gets old enough, I hope this will be part of what makes him really get into fishing.”

But not all Georgia taxpayers are so thrilled. Even before the museum opened in October, “Go Fish” had become shorthand in state political circles for wasteful spending. Republicans and Democrats alike groaned over $1.6 million a year in bond payments and operating costs. And even supporters concede that the museum would never have gotten financed in 2007 if the legislature knew where the economy was headed.

“Hindsight is 20/20, but we should have seen this one coming,” said State Senator George Hooks, an Americus Democrat on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.

via New Fishing Museum Becomes Symbol of Waste in Georgia – NYTimes.com.

random, archaeology, lists:  interesting list … Top Ten Archaeological Discoveries of 2010 | History Today.

Starbucks, BIG:  Why is bigger always better?

Hey, caffeine addicts, Starbucks has a new size for you if your decaf Venti soy almond cappuccino simply isn’t cutting it–it’s the Trenta, and it’s going to supersize your much needed fix in the morning.

(Read about how Starbucks reacted to McDonald’s introduction of coffee.)

But there’s a catch: it’ll only be available for iced coffee, iced tea and iced tea lemonade drinks. The Trenta is seven ounces bigger than the Venti, and will cost about 50 cents more than the currently-priced Venti drinks. Starbucks also promises that the drinks will be kept to less than 230 calories, nipping all those calorie increase concerns in the bud.

via Supersize Your Coffee: Starbucks Debuts the “Trenta” – TIME NewsFeed.

random, James Earl Jones, icons:  Loved this article … his name even sounds like his voice sounds … Isn’t that an onomatpoeia?  “iconic voice” … loved that … who else has an iconic voice?

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that James Earl Jones is an actual person with a head and arms and legs rather than just the disembodied voice he so often seems to be. Jones, who turns 80 today, has acted for over five decades in theater, television, and film. But it’s his voice — low, resonating, authoritative — that lingers in the minds of audiences. That steady bass, behind such memorable lines as “Luke, I am your father” and “This is CNN,” is easily among the most iconic in history.

via A Brief History of James Earl Jones’ Voice – TIME.

Starbucks, business model: Seems like a stupid fight for a lot of bad press.

Each year since 2008, members of the Industrial Workers of the World Starbucks Workers Union had demonstrated on Martin Luther King’s Birthday, protesting that the company’s baristas who worked on the holiday were not given holiday wages.

On Monday, members of the organization held a roving demonstration in Lower Manhattan that they said was organized to celebrate Starbucks’ new policy to pay its employees – called “partners” by the company – time and half for working on the King holiday. Workers said that beginning Starbucks employees are paid around $9 to $10 an hour in New York, which is higher than the minimum wage in the state.

“It took three years to get time-and-a-half pay on Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” a Starbucks worker and group member who gave her name as Liberty Locke announced to the crowd in front of a Starbucks at Union Square East. “It took a lot of marches in New York City and a lot of actions in other cities, petitions, partner surveys, mission reviews, demand letters, calling and calling and calling.”

via Starbucks Workers Celebrate, and Protest – NYTimes.com.

Apple, Steve Jobs: Interesting  bios on other key players at Apple.

Earlier, I wrote about how while Steve Jobs’ second medical leave may be unfortunate, it isn’t likely to derail Apple, because the company has a strong executive roster. It’s not exactly clear who would be first in line to fill Jobs’ shoes in the eventuality that a permanent replacement becomes necessary, but a shortage of good candidates is the least of Apple’s worries. Here’s a detailed look at those candidates.

via The Current Succession Picture at Apple: Apple News, Tips and Reviews «.

Apple, Steve Jobs: Quick recovery for Steve Jobs.

Tomorrow, AAPL stock will get repeatedly kicked in the face. It’ll be down 10–20% because of idiots don’t realize that Apple’s not the same company it was 20 years ago and ignoring the upcoming iPad 2 and iPhone 5, among other things. It will thrive in the next two to three years, thanks to the current product pipeline.

Apple now has plenty of capable people, and although Jobs is a visionary, it’s not like he’s alone in dreaming up Apple products and then refining them for prime-time in his office. Tim Cook, Jonathan Ive, Phil Schiller and others are ‘Apple’ too, and Cook’s already been a great ‘acting CEO’ for the company before.

Apple is not, and never has been, just Steve Jobs. The company is so big now, it’s like 10 separate business — tablets, phones, digital media, retail stores — and they are all brilliantly run. As analyst Charlie Wolf told the New York Times, Apple’s executive team is the one of the greatest in American business.

As I argue in my book about Jobs, Inside Steve’s Brain, he has managed to turn his personality into Apple’s business processes. His perfectionism, obsessive drive for excellence, his instinct for simplicity and great design, have all become hallmarks of how Apple does things.

For example, Apple’s ability to create innovative products springs directly from Job’s relentless striving for perfection.

Jobs’ perfectionism, for example, has created at Apple a unique product development process that is based on the rigorous prototyping of new products.

via Why Apple Will Be OK Without Steve Jobs [Opinion] | Cult of Mac.

Sarah Palin, politics: And why are we all so fascinated with Sarah Palin?

And so, to Mr. Douthat’s chicken-and-egg dilemma — which came first: Ms. Palin or the media’s sometimes obsessive coverage of her? — we might want to add a third actor: the audience.

It’s clear that Ms. Palin triggers great interest among the public. When Ms. Palin was first announced as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, her Wikipedia page received 2.5 million views on the day of the announcement, as compared to 0.7 million for Joe Biden. Her most recent book, America By Heart, debuted at #2 on the New York Times’ Best Seller List (just behind Mr. Bush’s). Her reality show got almost 5 million viewers in its debut — a huge number for a cable program — although its viewership subsequently declined.

Coverage of Ms. Palin may also not be quite as disproportionate as it might seem: according to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, only 0.04 percent of the coverage in major newspapers, and 0.2 percent of coverage on the network news, was devoted to Ms. Palin in 2010 — although the figure was much higher for MSNBC (1.6 percent) and for Fox News (1.1 percent).

All of this, needless to say, makes Ms. Palin’s task very challenging. In delivering comments like the ones she did on the Tucson tragedy last week, she must consider their effect on at least four different audiences: Republican base voters who will vote in next year’s primaries; independent and moderate voters who will vote in next year’s general election; Republican elites — in Washington and elsewhere — who are growing more skeptical about her electoral viability; and the news media itself, which will scrutinize, amplify, and analyze her words, in different ways and in greater volumes than they would for any other politician.

via Sarah Palin and the Media Symbiosis – NYTimes.com.

27
Oct
10

10.27.2010 ….“I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.” Elizabeth Bennet

quotes:  Since I had nothing amazing or profound to say … I thought of Elizabeth Bennet today …

“I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are

each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we

expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed

down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.” Elizabeth Bennet

architecture, for sale, Frank Lloyd Wright, Chicago: A FLW is up for sale … the B&W listing is fun — Riverside, IL 60546 $2,890,000 Bedrooms: 5 Full Bath: 5 | Baird & Warner.

The architectural genius, Frank Lloyd Wright, built the Coonley House from 1908 to 1912, and after a few owners and many restorations, the 6,000 square foot house is now for sale.

Wright called the Riverside, Ill. home his “best house” in his 1932 autobiography.

This five bedroom, five bathroom, prairie style home is listed for $2.89 million. It sits on more than one acre of land and has a reflection pool outside. There’s also a 50-foot mural in the living room. Despite the restorations in the home, the home’s historic details have been kept intact.

via Frank Lloyd Wright’s Coonley House For Sale (PHOTOS).

Riverside, IL 60546 $2,890,000 Bedrooms: 5 Full Bath: 5 | Baird & Warner.

constitutional law, Amazon, NC: I am so glad that there is a connection between money and free speech … so I don’t have to pay taxes on all my dirty movies and books …

Lists that identify the books, music and movies individual customers bought from online retailer Amazon.com are protected from North Carolina tax collectors, a federal judge has ruled.

Amazon said in a lawsuit it filed in April in its hometown of Seattle that disclosing the names, addresses and purchases of its customers as requested by the North Carolina Revenue Department would harm anyone who may have bought controversial books or movies.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled late Monday that the First Amendment protects a buyer from the government demanding to know the books, music, and audiovisual products they’ve bought.

Amazon and the American Civil Liberties Union, which later joined the case, “have established that the First Amendment protects the disclosure of individual’s reading, listening, and viewing habits,” Pechman wrote.

At stake are potentially millions of dollars in taxes that North Carolina contends Amazon was responsible for collecting for years before a state law was changed last summer.

via Judge: Free speech protects Amazon buyers’ data – USATODAY.com.

Apple iPhone: What is it with the white one???

The elusive white iPhone has been delayed yet again.

Apple said Tuesday that the device, which was slated to go on sale before the end of the year, will not be available until spring. The company did not give an explanation for the new delay.

“We are sorry to disappoint customers who ware waiting for the white iPhone yet again,” said Trudy Muller, an Apple spokeswoman. “We’ve decided to delay its release until spring.”

via White iPhone Delayed Again – NYTimes.com.

media:  books v. ebooks v. apps v. multimedia

“Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered,” wrote the poet W.H. Auden in his 1962 essay on “Reading.” Quite right, apart from the exceptionally undeserving ones, which risk being remembered for the wrong reasons.

A folded page of “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman,” published by Visual Editions and designed by A Practice for Everyday Life.

“Alice for the iPad,” an application created by Atomic Antelope, an Anglo-American design duo.

A data visualization created by Ben Fry in 2003 to illustrate variations in the human genome data of 100 people, published in “Form + Code.”

Auden was referring to books in terms of their literary merit — what they say, and how the writer said it. When it comes to the type of books that are likely to appeal to design nuts, some score highly on that basis, and others are memorable because of how they look. Then there are the books that will be remembered because their designers turned them into something dazzlingly new or different. The launch of the Apple iPad and other digital readers has created perfect platforms for such innovations.

Here is my personal pick of the current crop of books that seem likeliest to be remembered for their design credentials — for old reasons, and new ones.

via The Invincible Book Keeps Reinventing Itself – NYTimes.com.

____

“As an author, I want you to have the best experience,” he said. “People want to talk about the books they are reading with other people. Why, with everything we know, wouldn’t you include a chat room with your e-book?”

Once readers buy the app, he says, they are beginning a relationship with him and other readers; they can leave comments and read responses and updates from the author. They may even be told down the line that he has a new book for sale and then be able to buy it through the app.

via ‘Adderall Diaries’ Blurs Books-Apps Line – NYTimes.com.

gLee, media: I think they went too far … but I don’t have to buy the magazine.

It’s no surprise that the Parents Television Council was outraged by a GQ photo spread featuring the actors of Glee (for an issue going on sale October 25). The PTC has been outraged by Glee for a long, long time. The group’s objections this time around center around the fact that actresses Lea Michele and Dianna Agron play high school students, which means, it says, that the shoot “borders on pedophilia.”

via GQ’s Gross ‘Glee’ Photos: The Objections Are Right For The Wrong Reasons : Monkey See : NPR.

random, news, education: I hope it works … more power to Millinocket for trying.

Never mind that Millinocket is an hour’s drive from the nearest mall or movie theater, or that it gets an average 93 inches of snow a year. Kenneth Smith, the schools superintendent, is so certain that Chinese students will eventually arrive by the dozen — paying $27,000 a year in tuition, room and board — that he is scouting vacant properties to convert to dormitories.

via Millinocket, Me., High School Recruits in China – NYTimes.com.

bucket list, travel: better get there fast …

Pictures: 12 Ancient Landmarks on Verge of Vanishing.

South Africa: So much potential.

South Africa is a vibrant, multiethnic democracy striving, with mixed success, to fulfill its promise.

via Mandela’s Children – Photo Gallery – National Geographic Magazine.

Apartheid is gone, but the slow process of reconciliation continues. In this issue, photographer James Nachtwey shows us contemporary South Africa, while writer Alexandra Fuller tells about a town, a victim of a hate crime, and the prisoner responsible. It’s a tale of forgiveness and redemption—a story, one South African minister says, about how a nation prepares for the future.

via NGM Blog Central – Editor’s Note: Moving Forward in South Africa – National Geographic Magazine – NGM.com.

green, UNC-CH, places, kudos:  This was my first home away from home … it was not new in 1978 … So to me it is even more impressive what the school and the students did.  Kudos, UNC-CH and Morrison Dormitory!

Ultimately, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels prevailed over rival North Carolina State Wolfpack—as well as trouncing Sears, J.C. Penney and Sheraton.

The playing field: a national competition sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency to see which commercial building could trim its energy use the most over 12 months. The EPA will report Tuesday that ranking first was a dorm at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dean Carovillano/Blink Eye Production

Morrison Residence Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill installed solar panels to cut utility costs.

The strategy at UNC’s Morrison Residence Hall wasn’t as sexy as a winning three-point shot at the buzzer—but tweaks to its heating and cooling equipment, an expanded solar-powered hot water system, lighting upgrades and persistent coaxing of students to dial down hot water usage in the laundry room helped the dorm cut its energy consumption by almost 36% and shave more than $250,000 off its bills. Similar moves are being implemented campus-wide.

via N.C. Dorm Wins Energy Contest – WSJ.com.

news, Great Recession, journalism: I hate to admit it but I wasn’t sure what a 99-er was (made a good guess) … still a journalist posting on a news site should define the term.  Very sad statistic.

What struck me was Pelley’s line that many of the 99-ers are “too young to retire and too old to rehire.” Simply hearing that makes anyone who is north of a certain age (say, 40) cringe.

5 Lessons from the 99-ers:

Don’t ever take a job granted: Keep adding value and every now and then, remind your boss of your contribution to the bottom line

Upgrade and expand your skills along the way

Pay down consumer debt as quickly as possible

Establish an emergency reserve fund of at least one year of household expenses (two years, if you are in a high-risk job)

Save, save, save: if you don’t like the stock market, select lower risk options, but do it!

via The 99ers: 5 Sobering Lessons – CBS MoneyWatch.com.

Who are the 99ers?

“99ers” is a term for the group of unemployed workers who have been out of work for over 99 weeks and thus are no longer eligible to receive federal unemployment benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June approximately 1.4 million Americans fell into the “99ers” category, which accounts for 9.2 percent of all unemployed workers. This means that in the past three years, the number of 99ers has multiplied sixfold from roughly 221,000 in June 2007.

via Unemployment Extension FAQ: Who are the 99ers and what is Tier 5?.

media:  Is this big?

Time Warner Cable and ESPN plan to make programming available online behind a paywall, starting with “Monday Night Football.” Meanwhile, sports leagues are distributing video content on their own digital platforms, and are looking to devices like tablets. Peter Kafka and Lauren Goode discuss.

via Video – ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Live on the Web – WSJ.com.

Apple Apps:  I think I will like this one … when I get a new phone … 🙂

PhoneQi allows users to clip, save and share any text from newspapers, magazines, books, even text displayed on computer screens. Utilizing the iPhone’s camera and in-phone OCR to capture a short sequence of rendered text, Exbiblio’s Qi® technology will search through Google’s index to find a printed document’s digital counterpart. Using quoted-phrase searches, only 6 words are needed, on average, to identify a document among the billions of documents indexed by Google. In effect, every line of text in every printed document is unique / a barcode / a URL. This enables Exbiblio to deliver rich digital interactivity to the printed documents we encounter in our day-to-day activities. The PhoneQi app is just a small, first piece of an ecosystem that connects the physical, print world to the digital world.

via Exbiblio PhoneQi for iPhone is Now available through the Apple App Store. – DailyFinance.

literature, India: With Bollywood movies as they are, it does not surprise me that India has a mass pulp fiction industry.

Tamil has always been the language of high culture in India. Its literature is 2000 years old, its poetry exquisite.

But some of the most widely read stories in Tamil have titles like Sweetheart, Please Die.

You see these books everywhere in India. The covers are lurid, mustachioed men menacing women in tight nurse’s uniforms, knives dripping blood, and lots of cleavage. Rakesh Khanna, a Californian living in India, wanted to find out more about the stories. So he hired a translator. Now, they have put together Volume II of The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction.

Indian pulps have been around since the early 20th century. They borrowed freely from American dime novels and British penny dreadfuls. But because this is India, there are also kings, ghosts and mythological serpents.

via ‘Tamil Pulp’: Sexy, Gory Fiction, Now In English : NPR.

mung-bean, food/drink: hedonistic epistemological dilemma??

It is a hedonistic epistemological dilemma: when one believes something tastes different, does that mean it actually tastes different? I suspect Hume would say yes, Descartes would say no. But at a wine tasting at the Winery, a beautiful North London wine shop, neither philosopher could weigh in. I take the glass offered by the shop’s owner, David Motion. “How does it taste?” he asks. “Different?” I sip. I pause. “Um…” I don’t know.

I rarely mix wine with philosophy (a favoured pastime for some). But I am not often in the position of sipping the same wine twice in an afternoon, in order to observe the effect of the moon’s passage on its flavour. The Winery specialises in wines produced according to biodynamic principles, which hold that a wine’s taste is altered dramatically by the phases of the moon. I am here to sample such changes myself.

The theory has its origins in the biodynamic movement, which Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, began in the early 20th century. The ideas are simple, albeit eccentric. Biodynamic wine is created from grapes grown in harmony with nature. This means that the wine is not only organic, but also crafted with a heightened awareness of stars and planets—that is, the forces of cosmic energy. Because such wine growers view the vineyard as a living organism, they presume the grapes are affected by the moon, like other living things. Similarly, consumers should be mindful of when they drink such wine, as the phases of the moon affect the taste of the vintage.

Motion admits this belief “does sound a bit mung-bean”.

via COSMIC SIPPING | More Intelligent Life.

travel:  Hmmm … I am not sure about this one.

If you’re flying from Los Angeles to New Zealand, you could soon be traveling much more comfortably.

Air New Zealand will offer customers the chance to purchase seats that can turn into couches or beds.

According to Air New Zealand’s website, these new seats, called “Skycouches,” will be perfect for couples who want some extra room, or families with small children.

via Air New Zealand to Offer “Cuddle Class” on Auckland-LA Flights | NBC Los Angeles.

health, fitness: This sounds like fun to me.  A Trampoline Becomes a Launchpad to Fitness – WSJ.com.

Halloween, holidays: What will they think of next.

Since it often appears as though the cast of”Jersey Shore” are in costume, it comes as little surprise that some of the most popular outfits this Halloween are based on Snooki, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and DJ Pauly D. As the Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Holmes reports, the costumes are licensed by MTV and the cast members, which adds another revenue stream for the popular show. Watch the video.

via Halloween’s Top Costumes? Snooki and the ‘Jersey Shore’ Cast – Speakeasy – WSJ.

Davidson, art: Art Opening?

It was an early Christmas morning Monday for members of the Davidson College art department. Alumnus Jim Pepper ’65, of Miami, Fla., boxed and shipped to the college 34 pieces of art from his collection.

But Pepper did not send an inventory listing ahead, preferring that members of the department be surprised with each piece as the bubble-wrap was removed.

Surprised and delighted they were: The donations included works by Wassily Kandinsky, Hans Hofmann, Robert Mapplethorpe, a meso-American textile piece, an ancient Hellenistic amphora, and more.

via Art ‘opening’: Alumnus surprises college with gift of art | DavidsonNews.net.

Wal-Mart, business models, South Africa: One of the things I liked about SA was that its retail  still seemed “local” once you got out of the really big cities.  I hope Wal-Mart sticks to the big cities …

Similar scenes across South Africa help to explain why Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is considering making a 32 billion rand ($4.63 billion) bid for Massmart, which operates warehouse-sized stores that sell goods ranging from food and liquor to clothing, gym equipment and home furnishings.

Wal-Mart is now in its fifth week of conducting due diligence on Massmart. Executives are inspecting each of Massmart’s 288 stores, which are located in 14 African countries, though mostly in South Africa.

via Wal-Mart Checks Out a New Continent – WSJ.com.

random, Laura Bush: She has a good head on her shoulders!

“As for me, it’s come to this,” Mrs. Bush said of her life after eight years in the White House, placing the doll on the glass plate. “This is the Laura Bush bobble head doll. I got this from a friend of mine who found it in the gift shop in the constitutional center a few weeks after the election. It was on the clearance shelf. He said he couldn’t resist sending it to me, I told him he could have tried a little harder. But I’m kinda glad to have it.”

She joked about the surreal nature of living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“When you live in the White House and are a bobble head inside a bubble, reality can get a little warped,” Mrs. Bush smiled and said coyly. “Sometimes you have to work hard just to recognize yourself.”

via Former first lady Laura Bush to President Bush: ‘pick up your socks’ – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

libraries, careers, bookshelf: What fun to be the research librarian for All Things Considered.

Thank goodness for librarian Kee Malesky — who, for 20 years, has been saving NPR’s hosts and reporters from themselves. Malesky is the organization’s longest-serving librarian, and Simon says he suspects that she is actually the source of all human knowledge.

In her new book, All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge, Malesky catalogs some of the facts that she has researched so dutifully over the years.

Odd Queries From NPR Staff

During her two decades of service in the NPR reference library, reporters have asked Malesky to look up some fairly obscure, though fascinating pieces of information.

The first non-Native American to set foot in what is now Chicago?

That would be an African man from Haiti by the name of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, whose trading post was the first permanent dwelling there. Chicago has since named a high school after him that few residents can properly pronounce.

via ‘All Facts Considered’ By NPR’s Longtime Librarian : NPR.

04
Oct
10

10.4.2010 … ahhh, rain … by Thursday, I will be ready for baseball … Go, Braves!

Braves, baseball, sports:  OK … not the end of an era!! Go Braves!!

Bobby Cox was drenched with beer and champagne and hoisted onto the shoulders of his players after the Atlanta Braves gave their manager a final trip to the playoffs.

Atlanta reached the postseason as the NL wild-card team, a first for Cox, as Tim Hudson and the Braves took a six-run lead, then held on for an 8-7 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.

Atlanta will start the playoffs Thursday at NL West champion San Francisco in the opener of a best-of-five series.

The Braves won 14 straight division titles with Cox but had missed the playoffs since 2005.

via Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves – Recap – October 03, 2010 – ESPN.




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