Posts Tagged ‘weather

06
Jan
14

1.6.14 … A few Epiphanies and a Polar Vortex … Happy Epiphany, BTW … God Bless!

Epiphany:  Every year I love the posts of this FB Page Advent!

January 6th is Epiphany, which means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal”. On this day we as the body of Christ are reminded of our mission to seek to as best we can to be used by God to “reveal” Jesus to the world as Lord and King. With this we end the 12 days of Christmas and celebration of the Christmas Advent season. Next year we will start again. Hope this was a blessing to you. God bless!

via Advent – January 6th is Epiphany, which means “to show” or “to….

… and another good one from James Howell:

Usually I think of the word “Epiphany” in terms of looking up – to a star, a light in God’s immense sky; or perhaps we think of the dawn, the bright sun peering over the horizon, or a light bulb going off in your head.

But perhaps for there to be a real epiphany, a real revelation and discovery in our lives, we need to look down, deep, beneath the surface – like the iceberg, the bulk of the thing hidden, dangerous, very real even if unnoticed. Much of our life is lived on the surface – and sadly our religious life often is limited to some nice, observable acts: I go to church, say a quick prayer, volunteer once in a while, occasionally read my Bible.

But it’s only the tip of the iceberg; the bulk of my life remains untouched, submerged – and I may not even be familiar with the depth of my own life! But it’s down there. God is keenly interested in that submerged, unaddressed life. “Lord, you have searched me and known me” (Psalm 139:1).

Our goals in this series (and in life!)? To grow in emotional health, real compassion for others, to break free from destructive patterns, and be filled with grace; we can embrace weakness, accept the surprising gift of our limitations, learn to resolve conflicts, and forgive.

via Myers Park United Methodist Church | Charlotte Methodist Church, Methodist Churches Charlotte NC – Myers Park UMC.

holiday traditions, winter, paperwhite narcissus, kith/kin:

So if I stage it right, I have blooms from mid December to mid February. I friend who is not on FB gave me paper whites when I was in 8th grade. It has been a favorite winter and Christmas tradition ever since. Thanks, Marty!

Photo: So if I stage it right, I have blooms from mid December to mid February.  I friend who is not on FB gave me paper whites when I was in 8th grade. It has been a favorite winter and Christmas tradition ever since.  Thanks, Marty!

 Polar Vortex:

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus just posted this insane video of him turning boiling water into snow.

Shot in Viroqua, WI, near La Crosse, it was -21°F with a wind chill of -51°F.

via Watch Boiling Water Turn Into Snow – Business Insider.

via ▶ Boiling water vs extreme cold – YouTube.

What is a polar vortex? What distinguishes it?

The polar vortex, as it sounds, is circulation of strong, upper-level winds that normally surround the northern pole in a counterclockwise direction — a polar low-pressure system.  These winds tend to keep the bitter cold air locked in the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is not a single storm. On occasion, this vortex can become distorted and dip much farther south than you would normally find it, allowing cold air to spill southward.

Photos: Winter weather grips U.S.

How frequently does this polar vortex distortion occur?

The upper-level winds that make up the polar vortex change in intensity from time to time. When those winds decrease significantly, it can allow the vortex to become distorted, and the result is a jet stream that plunges deep into southern latitudes, bringing the cold, dense Arctic air spilling down with it. This oscillation is known as the Arctic Oscillation and it can switch from a positive phase to negative phase a few times per year. This oscillation — namely the negative phase where the polar winds are weaker — tends to lead to major cold air outbreaks in one or more regions of the planet.

via Frigid air from the North Pole: What’s this polar vortex? – CNN.com.

Photo: Be nice to the poor guy.

Definitely … we are just mostly missing the Polar Vortex … on a relative basis …  Sorry.

.Photo: Definitely ... we are just missing the cold front.  Sorry. :)

Emotional Intelligence: Interesting.

Shining a light on this dark side of emotional intelligence is one mission of a research team led by University College London professor Martin Kilduff. According to these experts, emotional intelligence helps people disguise one set of emotions while expressing another for personal gain. Emotionally intelligent people “intentionally shape their emotions to fabricate favorable impressions of themselves,” Professor Kilduff’s team writes. “The strategic disguise of one’s own emotions and the manipulation of others’ emotions for strategic ends are behaviors evident not only on Shakespeare’s stage but also in the offices and corridors where power and influence are traded.”

Thanks to more rigorous research methods, there is growing recognition that emotional intelligence—like any skill—can be used for good or evil. So if we’re going to teach emotional intelligence in schools and develop it at work, we need to consider the values that go along with it and where it’s actually useful. As Professor Kilduff and colleagues put it, it is high time that emotional intelligence is “pried away from its association with desirable moral qualities.”

via The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence – Atlantic Mobile.

wine, Trader Joe’s, Two Buck Chuck,  Thrillist Nation: Potentially useful info? Ok, not really …

Whether you were throwing a dinner for people you felt compelled to not impress, or just hate paying $2.01 and up for literally anything, at some point you’ve likely been in a position to load up a shopping cart with a crapload of Two-Buck Chuck, pray nobody from church sees you, and party down.

Here’s the thing, though: some of it’s actually pretty damn good, and could easily be sold as Nine-to-Eleven-Buck Chuck without anyone being the wiser.

So we brought in two devoted tasters to blindly drink eight different types of Charles Shaw Blend, hit us with detailed notes, and determine 1) which bottles are totally palatable and even enjoyable, and 2) which should be avoided as if they were made by Chuck Woolery, who, it turns out, makes terrible wine.

HOW MANY THEY GOT RIGHT

Sommelier: 4/8

Girlfriend: 3/8

THE FINAL SCORES, FROM BEST TO WORST

Merlot: 8

Chardonnay: 7.5

Shiraz: 7.75

Cabernet Sauvignon: 7.25

Pinot Grigio: 6

Nouveau: 3

Sauvignon Blanc: 2.5

White Zinfandel: Technically 1, but not really even.

via Wines Under 5 Dollars at Trader Joe’s – Cheap Wine – Thrillist Nation.

A Mighty Girl, Jeannette Piccard, NASA: I follow A Mighty Girl on FB.  It is one of my favorite sites!  I would love to be a “mighty girl”!

Following the famous flight, Jeannette Piccard went on to work with NASA, acting as a consultant and speaking publicly about the space program from 1964 to 1970. At age 79, in 1974, she also fulfilled a childhood dream when she became an ordained Episcopal priest as one of the Philadelphia Eleven, a group of eleven women who were ordained as the first female priests in the Episcopal Church.

Piccard’s spirit of adventure is best summed up in this quote to her father, when he asked her why she wanted to fly: “There are many reasons, some of them so deep-seated emotionally as to be very difficult of expression. Possibly the simplest explanation is that we started along this road… and I cannot stop until I have won.”

via (2) A Mighty Girl.

25
Jan
13

1.25.13 … wintry mix …

weather:  wintry mix …

labyrinths, labyrinth walks, “Solvitur Ambulando” :  Wintry mix at the Davidson labyrinth today … But very enjoyable first wintry mix walk! Blessings!

 

NYC, labyrinths, The Labyrinth for Contemplation – Battery Park, YouTube: They actually filmed their walk …

The Labyrinth for Contemplation, Battery Park, New York – YouTube.

Jane Austen, Janeites, Pride and Prejudice 200:

In the last 200 years, Austen’s “darling child” has spawned hundreds of literary offspring, making it one of the most frequently adapted novels in history. The novel, which centers on the rocky romance between the spirited, obstinate protagonist Elizabeth Bennet and the proud, taciturn aristocrat Fitzwilliam Darcy, has been through countless parodies, film, TV, stage and Web adaptations and erotic retellings. It has been reimagined as a comic book, a board book for toddlers, mashed up with zombies and remade as a Bollywood musical. Austen acolytes have published hundreds of literary reboots.

Austen wrote anonymously, and died, unmarried, in her creative prime, leaving just six complete novels behind. But from this narrow canon, a vast industry took shape, and today her brand has become more marketable than ever.

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ a homage to the illustrious author, Jane Austen.

Now the field’s about to get much more crowded. To mark the 200th anniversary of “Pride and Prejudice” this year, novelists, scholars, biographers and filmmakers are releasing a flood of new homages and critical studies to cash in on the seemingly bottomless appetite for all things Austen. More than a dozen books about the author will hit bookstores in coming months, including a new biography, a book that explores her cult status, two studies of Austen-era England and two books about Austen and economics.

“Austen really is inexhaustible,” says Claudia Johnson, a Princeton University English professor and author of the 2012 book “Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures.” “Each generation tends to think they have discovered her.”

But for die-hard fans like Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems and founder of Urban Decay cosmetics, there will never be enough. Ms. Lerner discovered Austen in college in the 1980s. She has read “Pride and Prejudice” well over 100 times, and “Persuasion” more than 200 times.

When Cisco went public in 1990, Ms. Lerner used part of her fortune to buy Jane Austen’s brother’s estate in Chawton, England. She founded a library there and created her own publishing house, Chawton House Press, an imprint dedicated to publishing books about Austen and other 18th- and 19th-century English women writers.

Chawton House’s first title, released in 2011, was “Second Impressions,” a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice,” which follows Elizabeth and Darcy on a trip through Europe 10 years after their wedding. Ms. Lerner, who wrote it under the pen name Ava Farmer, spent 26 years researching the book. But she still feels the weight of her predecessor.

“I tried really hard, but I read some sentence she wrote, and it’s so much better than mine, it’s crushing,” Ms. Lerner said.

via Austen Power – WSJ.com.

As anyone who’s ever debated the finer points of Colin Firth vs. Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy will tell you, women have a bottomless appetite for the small oeuvre of Jane Austen. Every generation gets the Pride and Prejudice adaptation it deserves, each version performs well and reliably reignites sales of her books. She’s backlash-proof. Now the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice is upon us, and the Wall Street Journal reports that a whole new cast of publishers and producers are lining up to cash in.

Universities are reportedly closing doors to Austen scholars, but Austen mania, and its direct descendants, Twilight mania and Fifty Shades mania, continues to prop up some corners of the dejected publishing industry. First, there are the cross-genre spin-off books: Death Comes to Pemberley (murder-mystery), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (gore-parody), and Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife (erotic). Then there are the nonfiction homages — What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, Jane Austen: Game Theorist, and Jane Austen’s Guide to Thrift — all due this year. HarperFiction has commissioned remakes of all of her novels by well-known writers, including Prep author Curtis Sittenfeld.

via Women Will Buy Basically Anything Related to Jane Austen – The Cut.

Sundance Film Festival, “Smashed”, Speakeasy – WSJ:

Last year at the Sundance Film Festival, James Ponsoldt’s second film, “Smashed”—about a couple struggling with alcoholism—won the Special Jury Prize and got picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. This year, Ponsoldt returned to the U.S. dramatic competition with “The Spectacular Now,” a coming-of-age drama starring Shailene Woodley “The Descendents” and breakout star Miles Teller, who won raves for his portrayal of an alcoholic teen.“When I saw his audition I thought he has that John Cusack thing mixed with Elvis mixed with Bill Murray,” says producer Andrew Lauren following a Tuesday screening of the movie.The film’s plot, adapted from Tim Tharp’s novel by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber “500 Days of Summer” centers around Teller’s character, Sutter Keely, a charismatic but often drunk high-school senior—the actor described him as a “sad clown” in a Q&A session—who falls in love with Woodley’s Amy, a brainy type with problems of her own. The film garnered positive reviews: The Daily Beast called it “one of the most poignant and gratifying films of this year’s Sundance” Critics drew comparisons to 1980’s John Hughes films, Cameron Crowe’s classic “Say Anything,” as well as last year’s teen hit, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.””We never looked at [“Perks”] as our model,” says Mr. Lauren, who financed the film for under $5 million, less than a third of the budget of “Perks,” which starred Emma Watson and brought in nearly $30 million globally at the box office. “Hopefully we can have that kind of success.”The film, which was made for an “under $5 million” budget, was among the first features to sell following strong interest from multiple distributors. A24, a new multiplatform player announced that it bought the North American rights to the film on Monday, and has plans to release the movie theatrically this summer.“They think it has commercial viability which is very important to us,” said Mr. Lauren. “They see this as a ‘Garden State’ or a ‘500 Days of Summer’—the type of films that kids are dying to see.” As for the common theme of alcoholism all of Ponsoldt’s three feature films, Mr. Lauren says it is “coincidental.”

via Drunk Boy Meets Nerd Girl Love Story Wins Sundance Raves – Speakeasy – WSJ.

lists, AudibleAudible Essentials | Audible.com.

Vine, Twitter:  6 seconds or less…tweeting chats …

Today, we’re introducing Vine: a mobile service that lets you capture and share short looping videos. Like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vine (6 seconds or less) inspires creativity. Now that you can easily capture motion and sound, we look forward to seeing what you create.

You can read more about the app on the Vine blog. Vine is currently available on the iPhone and iPod touch. You can download it for free from the App Store. We’re working now to bring it to other platforms, so stay tuned for that.

via Twitter Blog: Vine: A new way to share video.

Valentine’s Day, London:  Sounds like a nice combination. 🙂   Valentine’s Day in London – now.

Milky Way, technology, Maria Popova, @brainpicker:  Astounding zoomable tour of the center of the Milky Way galaxy!

This image is a 1 billion pixel RVB mosaic of the galactic center region (340 millions pixels in each R,V and B color). It shows the region spanning from Sagittarius (with the Milky Way center and M8/M20 area on the left) to Scorpius (with colorful Antares and Rho Ophiuchus region on the right) and cat paw nebula (red nebula at the bottom). This mosaic was assembled from 52 different sky fields made from 1200 individual images and 200 hours total exposure time, final image size is 24000×14000 pixels. The images were taken with a SBIG STL camera + Takahashi FSQ106Ed f/3.6 telescope and NJP160 mount from the clear skies of ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile. This mosaic is one of the three parts of the ESO Gigagalaxy Zoom project together with this incredible whole sky mosaic image by ESO/S.Brunier and this fantastic ESO mosaic image of the Lagoon nebula region.

via Galactic Center Mosaic by Stéphane Guisard/ESO, Los Cielos de Chile.

Edith Wharton,  Birthday:   11 Reasons The Author Was A Badass. 🙂

The phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” might be about Edith Wharton’s family.

Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones. Her family, the Joneses, were a prominent, wealthy New York family. Some historians believe that this idiom may have been originally referring to her family (though there are also other guesses at to where it came from). (This image is Edith Wharton as a child. What a cutie).

She designed and built her own home.

She was great at garden designing and interior designing. She designed and built her home ‘The Mount,’ which is seriously one of the most beautiful buildings we’ve ever seen. Lots of weddings are now held there (hopefully one day that will include mine).

She was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize!

via Edith Wharton Birthday: 11 Reasons The Author Was A Badass.

icons, American products, Made In The U.S.:

Over the past couple of decades, a number of brands have outsourced the production of some of America’s most iconic products to cut down on manufacturing costs. Even America’s greatest past time, baseball, is played with balls stitched together in Costa Rica.

via 12 Iconic American Products That Are No Longer Made In The U.S..

Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City, Sandy:

There are no panaceas or magic bullets. No matter what we do: the tides will continue to come in, and so we have to make our city more resilient in other ways, especially when it comes to our critical infrastructure. New Yorkers have never been shy about taking on big challenges, and taking our destiny into our own hands. I have every confidence that by confronting this challenge head on we will succeed, just as we have so many times before. There is no storm, no fire, no terrorist act, that can destroy the spirit of our city, and keep us from looking forward, envisioning a better tomorrow, and bringing it to life.

via Michael R. Bloomberg: Reshaping New York Citys Future After Sandy.

Out Of Sight (and Outside The Law), Sebstian Junger:  Really good speaker …

Whether covering ground wars, drug wars, or a war on terror, journalists undertake enormous risks to uphold Americans’ right to know what’s done in the name of democracy, revealing the human costs and truths veiled in secrecy. Sebastian Junger (Which Way Is The Front Line From Here?), Jeremy Scahill (Dirty Wars), Peter Bergen (MANHUNT), Shaul Schwarz (Narco Cultura), James Ball (We Steal Secrets), and moderator Stephen Engelberg (ProPublica) walk us through the war zones and the corridors of power.

via Out Of Sight (and Outside The Law) – Festival Program | Sundance Institute.

23
Jan
13

1.23.13 … BINGO and congealed salad … great day …

BINGO, Lenbrook, kith/kin, sleep, wellness:  Wednesday night Bingo at Lenbrook.  And despite the fact that my mom fell asleep during the first coverall BINGO game, she won it due to her beloved daughters … teamwork.

 

“Sleep is part of what I call the ‘wellness triangle,’ along with fitness and nutrition,” says Nancy Rothstein, a sleep expert who consults with corporations on the topic. “And when you’re exhausted, you’re less likely to exercise and less likely to eat well. That’s why I put sleep at the top of the triangle.”

via Give It a Rest: Tips for Improving Your Sleep – At Work – WSJ.

Lenbrook, Ladies of Lenbrook, congealed salad: I totally enjoy my time in the place where they still have a “congealed salad of the day.” As always the company is delightful and am looking forward to a day with my mom and dinner and. BINGO with the Ladies of Lenbrook.

weather, global warming, kith/kin:  E wins the high temp award today … Boulder – 64. About the same in Davidson, Vail , Charlotte and Atlanta. A little colder in Louisville!

LOL:

This made us smile today. Window washers at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh dressed up as super heroes ♥ http://ow.ly/h1Kuy

 

NYC, travel,  The High Line, El Anatsui, Big Onion Walking Tours, Greenwich Village:  Heading to NYC next week … Suggestions? I want to walk the High Line Park and find a labyrinth … Other than that I’m pretty open.

The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget, and to advocate for the preservation and transformation of the High Line at the Rail Yards, the third and final section of the historic structure, which runs between West 30th and West 34th Streets.

via Park Information | The High Line.

 

High Line Art presents Nigeria-based artist El Anatsui’s Broken Bridge II, the largest outdoor installation ever by the artist. A monumental sculpture made of pressed tin and mirrors, the work will hang on an outdoor wall next to the High Line, between West 21st and West 22nd Streets, and will be visible from the park and the street below it. Broken Bridge II will be on view from November 21, 2012 through Summer 2013.

via EL ANATSUI, BROKEN BRIDGE II | The High Line.

Stroll through one of New York’s most picturesque neighborhoods as we explore the unique and legendary home to artists, writers and radicals.   Our walk has a special emphasis on the history and architecture of the Village. Stops could include: Jefferson Market Courthouse, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the “hanging elm”, the Stonewall Inn, and sites associated with Stanford White, Aaron Burr, Edith Wharton, John Sloan, Evelyn Nesbit, Jimi Hendrix, and Tom Paine.

via Greenwich Village | Big Onion.

Charlotte,  free history program 2/5/13,   Charlotte On The Cheap:

Interested in learning more about our local history? Here’s a free program on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013. Read on for more details.

The Mecklenburg Historical Association Docents invite visitors who are interested in learning about and sharing history to attend their upcoming program on Tuesday, February 5th, in the Fellowship Hall of Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church, West Sugar Creek Road at North Tryon Street.  Refreshments are available at 9:30 a.m.  The business meeting will follow at 10:00, with the program beginning at 11:00.

The program will be presented by Ann and Jim Williams, local historians and reenactors, who have conducted extensive research on three generations of the Davidson family, who made their home at Rural Hill in Huntersville.  From a vast array of primary family papers, family stories, wills, estate papers, court records, etc. they have produced a unified narrative.  The title of the program is “It Ain’t Necessarily So – Rewriting Site History Using Primary Sources.”  This study revealed much about antebellum Mecklenburg County, including some surprises.  Slides will illustrate the talk.

via Free history program 2/5/13 » Charlotte On The Cheap.

Hillary Clinton, Benghazi, Rand Paul, Benghazi Hearings, Politics, truth:  I  try to form educated opinions on political controversies.  But I don’t believe either side anymore.  What is the truth?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing over the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

“I’m glad that you’re accepting responsibility,” said Paul. “I think ultimately with your leaving that you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11. And I really mean that.”

“Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it’s inexcusable,” he said, referencing Clinton’s comments that she had not read all of the documentation surrounding the attack.

“I think we can understand you’re not reading every cable,” Paul said. He added that he didn’t suspect Clinton of “bad motives” but said that it was a “failure of leadership.”

Clinton responded, “I am the Secretary of State. And the [Accountability Review Board] made very clear that the level of responsibility for the failures that they outlined was set at the Assistant Secretary level and below.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) rebuked Paul in the next exchange. “If some people on this committee want to call this tragedy the worst since 9/11, it misunderstands the nature of 4000 plus Americans lost in the War in Iraq under false pretenses.”

via Rand Paul To Hillary Clinton: ‘I Would Have Relieved You Of Your Post’.

Pride & Prejudice 200, Jane Austen, bucket list:

Two hundred years after the publication of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s most famous (and arguably her best) novel is as popular as ever. The descriptions of England in Pride and Prejudice and her other novels continue to provide a quintessential image of the country for locals and visitors alike. To celebrate this special anniversary we’ve ‘taken a turn’ around places associated with Austen herself and with her characters which can still be enjoyed today.

via Jane Austen’s England: a traveller’s guide to finding Mr Darcy – travel tips and articles – Lonely Planet

Join us as we take a step back in time visiting the haunts of Jane Austen. On this journey we’ll visit the homes and estates of Jane Austen and her family, including Godmersham Park, Chawton House Library, and Chawton Cottage (where Jane Austen wrote her mature masterpieces); tour the seaside towns of Lyme Regis, Ramsgate, and Portsmouth; walk The Cobb; explore Oxford and Winchester; then on to Bath to participate in the beginning of the world famous Jane Austen Festival!

via A Jane Austen Tour: — Seascapes and Landscapes.

travel, adventure travel, bucket list: Cuba!

With 2012 now behind us, we’ve tallied up the Top 12 National Geographic Expeditions of the year based on the number of travelers who joined us, and the list spans the gamut from Alaska to Antarctica, and from wildlife adventures to photography workshops.

via Top 12 Trips of 2012 | Field Notes.

2013 SuperBowl Ads:  You can vote … Coke Chase 2013 Ad – YouTube.

 

 

28
Oct
11

10.28.2011 … It’s definitely a tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich kinda day … Happy 125th birthday, Statue of Liberty …

Statue of Liberty, history: Happy 125th birthday!

The Statue of Liberty, which today turns 125, is America’s most versatile icon. The colossus of New York Harbor embodies both abstract principles (freedom, democracy) and the intensely personal yearnings of immigrants who wept beneath her on their way to new American beginnings. Over the years, Lady Liberty has endorsed everything from wafers and war bonds to Budweiser and Barbie. Ronald Reagan called her “everybody’s gal.”

Yet “Liberty Enlightening the World” — her formal name — was not always so beloved. A gift from France, the statue originally reflected French yearnings more than it did American ideals. During the two decades it took to complete the hulking monument, Liberty’s creators struggled mightily to fund their efforts. Most Americans looked on with indifference; some even came to resent the gift — for it came with strings attached.

via The History Page: Liberty belle – WWW.THEDAILY.COM.

Happy 125th birthday, Statue of Liberty – YouTube.

Charlotte, Olympics:  Wouldn’t that be fun …

“We need somebody to embrace that, and let’s try to go get the Olympics,” Harris said.

Harris says Charlotte is much like Atlanta was when they first started trying to be a host city.

“They had a big airport…lots of parallels to Charlotte.  It just takes a long time.”

And he says we already have much of the necessary infrastructure.

“Why not? Why not Charlotte,” asked Morgan.

via Charlotte eyes hosting the Olympics | WCNC.com Charlotte.

October snow,  D.C., weather: YIKES!

Because this is a very dynamic storm system and a slight change in temperatures could mean the difference between no snow and several inches in any given location, this is a low confidence forecast. Even in Washington, D.C. there is an outside chance (15% or so) of 4” of snow.

via Rare October snow likely for D.C.’s north and west suburbs – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

$16 Muffins, followup:  So glad the muffins came with   fruit, coffee, tea, juice and other pastries.

The $16 muffin that became a reviled symbol of government waste didn’t cost $16 after all.

That’s the new conclusion of Justice Department auditors, who last month had criticized the department for spending $16.80 apiece for the notorious pastries at a conference at the Capital Hilton in Washington.

An audit of the Department of Justice by the Inspector General says that taxpayer money was wasted on overpriced food and drinks. At one conference, the DOJ spent $4200 on 250 muffins–that’s about $16 a muffin. (Sept. 21)

On Friday, acting Justice ­Department Inspector General Cynthia A. Schnedar issued a revised report on the department’s conference expenditures. Her new finding: The muffins were part of a continental breakfast that also included items such as fruit, coffee, tea, juice and other pastries.

The new report does not break out a cost for the muffins alone, but a Hilton spokesman has said the entire breakfast cost $16 per person, including taxes and gratuity.

“The department did not pay $16 per muffin,’’ Schnedar’s office wrote, saying that the office regretted the error and that the original conclusion “brought significant negative publicity to the Department and the Capital Hilton.’’

via Justice Dept.: Muffins weren’t $16 after all – The Washington Post.

education, science, Roy G. Biv, mnemonics:  A friend asked how did you learn the colors o f the spectrum and when.  I knew immediately … ROY G BIV and third grade.

ROYGBIV is an acronym for the visible part of the electromagnetic light spectrum:

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Indigo

Violet

A rainbow spans a continuous spectrum of colors; the distinct bands are an artifact of human color vision. In ROYGBIV, the colors are arranged in the order of decreasing wavelengths, with red being 650 nm and violet being about 400 nm. The reverse VIBGYOR is used in many Commonwealth countries.

via Roy G. Biv – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

college application essay, anxiety:

Jon Reider, director of college counseling at San Francisco University High School, agreed that concise writing was laudable but said the implication of a strict limit was misleading. “I worry about that kid who’s written 530 and thinks he has to cut 30 words,” he said. “It just puts another stage of anxiety in front of these kids.”

via College Application Essay as Haiku? For Some, 500 Words Aren’t Enough – NYTimes.com.

Facebook, ‘Trusted Friends’ Security Feature:  Who you gonna call?

Now you can get back into your Facebook account with a little help from your friends: Facebook just announced a new feature called Trusted Friends, which uses—surprise, surprise—your social network to log you back in if you forget your password.

This is how it works: First, you pick five Facebook friends you trust. If you get locked out, you can arrange it so those friends get a code. Afterwards, call them, collect three of the codes, enter them, and voila—you’re back in business. Facebook likens it “to giving a house key to your friends when you go on vacation.”

via Facebook Announces New ‘Trusted Friends’ Security Feature – Techland – TIME.com.

5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street, liberal arts education, quotes:  HMMM … don’t quite understand the reference to a liberal arts education.

“5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street … where each week I try to show you the value of a liberal arts education.”

via 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Oct. 28 – TheStreet.

Arab Spring,  Tunisia, Islamist victory, Egypt, Libya:  Arab Spring or Arab instability?

Tunisia’s vote marks the first time that an Islamist party has won a majority in an Arab election since Hamas’ 2006, which resulted in a split of the Palestinian territories between two rival factions. The Arab world’s only other experience with an Islamist win came in Algeria’s 1991 parliamentary race, during which the military swept in to block a full Islamist victory, sparking a bloody 10-year civil war. Ennahda’s sweep in Tunisia is unlikely to yield the same results; most participants and monitors hailed the election’s peaceful and transparent process as a success, and the military has appeared both cooperative and willing to cede power to a civilian government. But the results — and how they came about — will certainly prompt some soul-searching and strategizing across the region.

“The real test now is what happens in the next few weeks,” says Ottaway. Whether Ennahda succeeds in implementing its promise of a broad-based coalition will likely impact the process in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party is poised to capture a sizeable proportion of the votes in the parliamentary race slated for November 28. “In Egypt, there is this great lot of people in the liberal spectrum that are ready to jump into the arms of the military because they are so afraid of the Muslim brotherhood,” Ottaway says. But if Ennahda proves willing to ally with secular parties to form a government, that should alleviate some Egyptian fears. “I think that should show Egyptians that even if the Freedom and Justice party does very well, it doesn’t mean the country is going to become an Islamic republic.”

Either way, the region’s secularists will still have to deal with their own demons. In Egypt where some 40% of the population lives on less than $2 a day and the literacy rate is among the lowest in the Arab world, secular parties and politicians are often regarded as elitist and distant, while Islamist parties have garnered the most success in attracting poor constituents. Tunisia’s secularists suffered from the same affliction. And indeed, it may have been one of the decisive factors that thwarted their success.

via Tunisia’s Islamist Victory: A Lesson for Egypt and Libya — or Not? – TIME.

2012 Presidential Election, GOP, Jon Huntsman, Stephen Colbert, running mates: 🙂

Former Utah governor and Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” Monday night and asked host Stephen Colbert — in Mandarin — to be his running mate.

Colbert took the request in stride, saying that it raised concerns because the fact that he has a SuperPAC prohibits him from “coordinating” with any presidential candidate.

via Jon Huntsman: Stephen Colbert, Will You Be My Running Mate? (VIDEO).

agenda, productivity:  Made me think about my own agenda.

Most of the time, if you ask someone about their agenda, it turns out that it involves doing what’s on someone else’s agenda.

… As soon as you turn over your agenda to others, you’re giving up one of the biggest opportunities you have to contribute. Setting an agenda is often as important as checking the boxes.

Obviously, you can’t be part of any system without engaging with other people and their agendas.

But perhaps we’ve absorbed that habit so completely that we’ve ceded all responsibility and in fact don’t even have an agenda any longer…

via Seth’s Blog: Your agenda.

2012 Presidential Election, flat tax,  GOP,  ‘trickle-down economics’:  This piece at least outlines the various GOP flat tax plans …

The flat tax is making a comeback among Republican presidential candidates. But it faces tough opposition in Congress because it tends to favor the rich at the expense of other taxpayers, renewing an old debate about “trickle-down economics.”

Most of the top GOP contenders — Mitt Romney’s an exception — offer a variation of the tax plan in which everyone pays the same rate. Businessman Herman Cain has his 9-9-9 proposal, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry unveiled a 20 percent flat tax on income this week. Even Romney foresees a flatter tax system in the future, though he favors something closer to the current setup in the short term.

The idea of a flat tax has long been championed by conservative politicians as being simple and fair. Publisher Steve Forbes made it a centerpiece of his Republican presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000. Forbes has endorsed Perry, calling his economic plan “the most exciting plan since (Ronald) Reagan’s.”

via Flat tax makes a comeback among GOP hopefuls, renewing dispute over ‘trickle-down economics’ – The Washington Post.

Mormons, culture:  Mormon ways to be hip??

But the boundaries of Mormon style are expanding. The highly visible “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign (the subject of a major push on television, billboards, the subway and the Internet) seeks to quash strait-laced stereotypes by showing off a cool, diverse set of Mormons, including, besides Mr. Flowers, a leather-clad Harley aficionado, knit-cap-wearing professional skateboarder and an R & B singer with a shaved head.

It’s not just in ads sponsored by the church. On college campuses, city streets and countless style blogs, a young generation of Mormons has adopted a fashion-forward urban aesthetic (geek-chic glasses, designer labels and plenty of vintage) that wouldn’t look out of place at a Bushwick party.

“There used to be a bias against being ‘cool’ in the Mormon world,” said Kendra Smoot, 31, a prop stylist who does work for Lucky and Martha Stewart, and who can be seen sporting Sartorialist-inflected ensembles on Smoot, a blog she runs with her husband, Seth Smoot, a photographer. Ten years ago, when she was a student at Brigham Young University, “there was absolutely zero fashion sense, myself included,” she said. “Now when I go back to visit, the kids there look really cool.

“I think there’s an acceptance now that you can look current and interesting but still uphold the values of the Mormon religion,” she added.

There are limits, however. According to guidelines on dress and grooming on the church’s official Web site, Mormons are discouraged from wearing immodest clothing, including “short shorts and skirts,” “tight clothing” and “shirts that do not cover the stomach.” They should “avoid extremes in clothing, appearance and hairstyle” and not “disfigure” themselves “with tattoos or body piercings.”

Those strictures can be a challenge for members of the creative class who feel the lure of scruffy, bohemian chic.

via Young Mormons Find Ways to Be Hip – NYTimes.com.

antiques, vintage sterling silver, kith/kin: Was talking with a cousin about some heirloom silver.  I have no idea how to value … thought this might be an interesting resource.

Antique & Vintage Sterling Silver for your table and bar

via Antique and Vintage Sterling Silver | Sterling Silver Hallmarks | Silver Magpies Home.

economic theory,  economic complexity, economic growth:  Worth reading …

Two economists, Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard and Cesar Hidalgo of MIT, have just released their 364-page “Atlas of Economic Complexity,” which claims to be the best model yet for predicting how much nations will grow in the future. So what’s the secret?

As it turns out, the authors argue, the best way to tell how rich a country will get isn’t by looking at things like political institutions, or the rule of law, or even education levels. Nope, it’s far better to look at what they call a country’s “collective knowledge.” That means looking, primarily, at how many different products a country creates — and particularly how many unique products a country makes, things that no other countries are making (say, medical-imaging devices). For example, the authors note that Pakistan and Singapore both export a similar number of types of products. But Singapore’s exports tend to be relatively rarer on the world stage than Pakistan’s, and the country’s much richer as a result.

via Is ‘complexity’ the key to economic growth? – The Washington Post.

Halloween Weekend, London, travel:  London can be eerie!

There’s more to the dark side of the English capital’s history than that of the Tower of London. Around Halloween the city will come alive (so to speak) with the dead, as ghosts, ghouls and witches take to the streets for a weekend of spine-chilling revelries, from Oct. 29 to 31.

via On Halloween Weekend, Exploring London’s Scary Side – NYTimes.com.

Muammar Gaddafi,  Third World Solidarity, Pan – Africa, followup:  I had no idea he had tried to create a United States of Africa and he was crowned  “king of kings!”

One of the more farcical moments in a reign steeped in the bizarre, Muammar Gaddafi’s 2008 coronation as the “king of kings” of Africa was an elaborate ceremony attended by a couple hundred African royals. From a mock throne, wielding a gleaming scepter, Gaddafi urged greater African unity, calling on the formation of a “United States of Africa” with a common army and currency. The dignitaries, mostly traditional chieftains or petty royals with only symbolic power, seemed happy enough to play along with yet another megalomaniacal Gaddafi spectacle.

Yet Gaddafi’s international legacy deserves more analysis. Spurned by many Arab states who had no time for his pan-Arabist posturing, Gaddafi had turned to Africa in recent years with a vast fund of his petro-wealth — some $5 billion — that he distributed as largesse throughout the continent. It won him the presidency of the African Union in 2009, though neither his attempt to extend his tenure nor calls for a more integrated federation met any success. But, after years of fomenting insurgencies, abetting militant action and grooming ideological pet projects around the world, Gaddafi’s pan-Africanism has left a mark. A report by the International Crisis Group, a New York and Brussels-based think tank, sums up the immediate effect of his exit from the scene:

Due to the length of his reign, his influence abroad and strong patronage politics, Qaddafi’s shadow will continue to be felt in Libya and neighbouring countries. The upheavals that preceded and followed his fall have created new and potential problems, including massive displacement of populations; tribal tensions within Libya and racist attacks against nationals of sub-Saharan countries; a possible resurgence of Islamism; and the proliferation of fighters and weapons.

Despite such chaos, Gaddafi still commands sympathy in sub-Saharan Africa. His pan-Africanism and support of liberation struggles against colonial rule won him the loyalty of Nelson Mandela. For all the evil that he may have perpetrated, there’s a larger narrative of justice on whose side he’s still somewhat on: that of Third World solidarity, a sentiment that once wove much of the developing world together during the Cold War.

via Gaddafi Now Dead, Has Third World Solidarity Died with Him? – Global Spin – TIME.com.

HOT lane, Atlanta, GA, travel, followup:  Has this worked other places … or does it work if installed  at HOT lanes at the beginning and not as conversion from HOV lanes … or is it just too early to tell.

Driving with two commuters, one in the HOT lanes, the other in the regular lanes, yielded dramatically different experiences. But one thing was the same: Both commuters said that, as far as they can see, the opening of the project has cost them without benefiting them.

via HOT lane unhappiness: Some drivers say congestion worse  | ajc.com.

green, South African, recycled rugby balls, job creation: another good green idea …

TOUCH in South Africa is training unemployed seamstresses to make rugby balls from recycled materials, addressing the problems of waste and unemployment simultaneously.

via Upcycled South African rugby balls create jobs and clean up streets | Springwise.

tv, cultural history,  Lauren Zalaznick, TED:  My grandmother called it the “idiot box,” too!

From the intricate balance of moral ambiguity and inspiration, humor and judgement, to the normative shifts scripted television can ignite, to the evolving ideals of motherhood, Zalaznick illustrates not only how history has shaped the medium, but also how the medium itself is shaping cultural history.

via The Conscience of Television: Lauren Zalaznick at TED | Brain Pickings.

Lauren Zalaznick: The conscience of television – YouTube.

Coca-Cola, polar bears, white Coke Cans, WWF, branding, kudos:  Coke and polar bears … an unlikely pair … kudos to Coke!

So perhaps it’s a measure of the company’s dedication to the environment that Coca-Cola has decided to change the color of its iconic cans for the holiday season—white, to draw attention to the plight of the polar bear. Coke and the environmental group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have joined together to promote the Arctic Home project, which will involve turning 1.4 billion Coke cans white, emblazoned with the image of a mother polar bear and her cubs pawing through the Arctic. There will also be white bottle caps on other Coke branded drinks, all running from the beginning of November to February. “In 125 years we’ve never changed the color of the Coke can,” says Katie Bayne, president and GM of Coca-Cola Sparking Beverages. “We really see this as a bold gesture.”

Bold gestures are exactly what the polar bears needs. There’s a reason the planet’s largest land carnivores have emerged as the symbols of climate change—perhaps no species is more directly impacted by warming temperatures than the polar bear. They depend on Arctic sea ice as a major habitat and hunting ground, but sea ice is vanishing rapidly, shrinking to its second-lowest level on record this past summer. As the ice melts, polar bears are forced to swim further and further for food—and some, especially young cubs, simply won’t make it. “We’re watching the ice shrink in front of our eyes, and if there is no ice, there are no bears,” says Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of WWF. “The polar bears need our help.”

via Coke and WWF Work Together to Save the Polar Bears in the Arctic – Ecocentric – TIME.com.

gardening, deer:  The deer devoured my impatiens!!

Occasionally Severely Damaged:  Impatiens, Fall Mums

via Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance: Home, Lawn & Garden.

college application process,  QuestBridge National College Match program, college scholarships:  I had never heard of this until recently when Molly found it on a questionnaire at UVA.  If you are low-income and gifted you should take a look.

For high-achieving students from low-income families, attending a top-tier college can feel completely out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be.

The National College Match program looks for students who have achieved excellence in school, and whose families face economic challenges. Then it matches those students with elite colleges that are prepared to offer full scholarships to these talented kids.

Participating schools include Amherst, Dartmouth, Brown, Emory, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and more — 31 highly respected universities in all.

High-school seniors are invited to apply now. The application deadline is Sept. 30, 2011, and the application process requires a good bit of documentation, along with three essays, so best to get started now. The good news? With just one application, students can be considered for scholarships to up to eight schools.

via Full scholarships to elite colleges for high achieving, low income students « Gifted Atlanta.

1 %-er, Occupy Wall Street:  Trying to understand all sides of this issue … ” But financial professionals are only the third-biggest slice of the 1 percent. Executives of nonfinancial companies make up the largest share of 1 percenters. What maneuvers do they use to secure their advantage and protect themselves from any conceivable concession to the 99 percent?  Sometimes they find that manipulating the legal process meets their needs most efficiently.

One of the chief complaints emerging from the 99 percenters camped in New York City and around the world is the sense that the top 1 percent have gotten away with something—that no amount of malfeasance on their part could endanger their status.

The movement began, of course, on Wall Street, where this phenomenon is glaringly typified. By now, the chutzpah of the bankers, who are batting away even the gentlest attempts to regulate their behavior after they ruined the economy and got trillions in taxpayer bailouts, is well-known.

But financial professionals are only the third-biggest slice of the 1 percent. Executives of nonfinancial companies make up the largest share of 1 percenters. What maneuvers do they use to secure their advantage and protect themselves from any conceivable concession to the 99 percent?

Sometimes they find that manipulating the legal process meets their needs most efficiently. Take, for example, the recent eviscerations of class-action lawsuits. When Wal-Mart v. Dukes was before the Supreme Court earlier this year, big businesses rushed to the defense of the company. The megastore, run by the Walton family—one of the wealthiest in the world, with a collective fortune of $90 billion—was being sued by a class-action group of women charging gender discrimination at stores nationwide. The US Chamber of Commerce’s litigation center filed an amicus brief on the company’s behalf, as did a wide array of large corporations, from Altria to Bank of America to General Electric.

The Court decided against the women, saying they must sue individually and cannot act as a class in action against Walmart. The legal logic the justices applied limited many class-action suits going forward and means that “the bigger the company, the more varied and decentralized its job practices, the less likely it will have to face a class-action claim,” according to longtime Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston.

via How to Be a 1 Percenter | The Nation.

Storify:  Still trying to figure this one out?  Maybe if I keep clipping I will actually try it. 🙂

You’ll notice a new look, stronger foundation, better tools for collecting media from around the web, and great new ways to organize your story.

Welcome to the new Storify editor interface. We’ve taken your feedback and have rebuilt Storify on a stronger foundation with some cool new features, a new logo, and a new look.

via New Storify Editor Interface Rolls Out – With StoryPad Tool For Gathering And Sharing Media · storify · Storify.

18
Jul
11

‎7.18.2011 … early morning drive from ATL .. then PT … and now HP …

Harry Potter, movies:  Definitely, a HP day!  Harry Potter premiere photos from Twitter – storify.comMagical Recap: The Harry Potter Saga in 5 Minutes – Video – TIME.com.

Harry Potter, movies, Draco Malfoy: 🙂

Tom Felton is just happy to have all of his hair. After a decade of dyeing it platinum blond to play Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” films, he’s finally been allowed to stay off the bleach.  He doesn’t have to religiously wear sunscreen, either, now that he’s no longer required to have ghostly white skin.

Speakeasy caught up with Felton a day before the New York premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” the final film in the series.  Check out the video below to hear Felton’s thoughts on playing the villain to Daniel Radcliffe’s Bond, whether Draco truly gets redemption and why he’s happy with the length of the last film.

via Tom Felton On Playing Draco Malfoy: The Boy Who Hated Harry Potter – Speakeasy – WSJ

literature, travel, Harry Potter, Harry Potter Generation:  Where would you like to go?  Hogwarts was a favorite.  An aside, several cllerages market themselves to the Harry Potter Generation as being “like” Hogwarts … i.e. Sewanee, Kenyon, Yale …

Given that this is the season of travel, I thought I’d highlight responses to a recent creative challenge that asked which fictional place (from a novel or story) would you want to go this summer.

via DailyLit Readers’ (Fictional) Summer Destinations « DailyLit Blog.

 

Harry Potter, Children’s/YA literature: The fact that some call the children of the 90’s the Harry Potter Generation speaks as to its classic nature.  Quality literature is a different discussion.

To some extent, it matters little whether scholars label the series high-quality literature; millions of people around the globe consider the book to be a good read. And as doctoral student Todd Ide suggests, one need only look at the amount of scholarly work in the form of presentations, articles, chapters and books with a Harry Potter focus to see the impact of the series on literary scholarship.

But can we equate popularity and passion with quality? Phil Nel voices the sentiment of many when he asserts, “Rowling is gifted at inventing a carefully imagined parallel universe, great at creating character, and a skilled crafter of plots.” On the other hand, Jeffrey Canton compares the series to other works of fantasy and finds it lacking in craft.

“Every time I read Alice in Wonderland, I am astounded by Carroll’s text — that’s what I don’t find in Rowling — some fabulous moments but overall — it’s a great son et lumiere show but that’s all it is.”

One of the most interesting discussions centers on the community of readers. Some have suggested that though reading is often a solitary experience, many of us read Harry Potter as part of a community, discussing, interacting, writing fan fiction. Rowling has seemed acutely aware of her audience and has interacted with that community of readers increasingly through the text as the series went on. (Ebony Elizabeth Thomas)

In fact, with Harry set to move onto the recently announced Pottermore, the series will soon be at the forefront of digital social media.

via Is Harry Potter classic children’s literature? – College, Inc. – The Washington Post.

cars, green:

THE first Fisker Karma, a luxury four-seater high-performance electric car, will be delivered to its first customer, one Leonardo di Caprio, on July 21st. The Hollywood film star will find that unlike other electric cars, the Karma has been designed to be driven like a conventional combustion-engined vehicle, but also with the ability to change its character and use electricity for a different driving style.

via Electric cars: Karma chameleon | The Economist.

Jane Austen:

It’s been 200 years since readers first met the serious-minded Elinor Dashwood, heroine of Jane Austen’s first published novel, “Sense and Sensibility.” Austen-mania got off to a slow start, as the four books published during her lifetime were anonymous. But it has made up for time lost. Now, Austen is a superstar. Films, sequels, prequels and updated versions of her books bring her plots (and her life) to readers and moviegoers. And then there is the work of the academics: She was heartbroken by an Irishman — no, she was gay; she was conservative — no, she was a feminist. We love her; we hate her; we can’t agree about her; we know we should read her. Myths about her abound, but there are some truths we should universally acknowledge.

via Five myths about Jane Austen – The Washington Post.

cars, Mercury Villager, me:  I just saw a mercury villager,  green with gold trim husband, just like the one I drove for  10 years.  The woman inside looked very hot and  tired and had windows rolled down; I assume the a/c is no longer working. My Villager was a great car,  10 years 200,000. Just seeing her made me think of the many miles traveled together!

weather, derecho, vocabulary:  Wicked weather … new word.

The line of storms contained all of the characteristics of a derecho, defined as a widespread, long-lived windstorm associated with a band of rapidly moving showers and storms.

High winds at about 18,000 feet energized the fast-moving storms that ripped through Chicago Monday morning. (Twisterdata.com) The derecho was energized by very strong high altitude winds of 60-70 mph and abundant low level moisture. Its impacts extended well beyond Chicago. AccuWeather’s Henry Margusity tweeted as of 11 a.m. that the storms have traveled 425 miles, produced almost 200 wind damage reports, and caused more than a million power outages. As of 11:30 a.m., the storms stretched from around Lansing, Michigan to Fort Wayne, Indiana. The storms are likely to affect Detroit, Ann Arbor and Toledo Ohio through early this afternoon with the potential for damaging winds.

 

via Chicago blasted by violent line of thunderstorms, known as derecho – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post.

10
Jun
11

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

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

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

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

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

Here are several reasons I like and recommend the book:

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

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

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

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

3. quotes:

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

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

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

— Greg Mortensen, Three Cups of Tea

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

— Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea

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

— Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then versions diverge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28
Apr
11

4.28.2011 … Prayers for those in the path of the Southern Storms of near-epic proportions … Charlotte was bypassed, again.

Epic Southern Storms 4/27, natural disasters/acts of God, weather, prayers:  Why do we call natural disasters “acts of God?”  Prayers for the people impacted and for a quick clean up and recovery.

Daylight illuminated a scene of utter devastation across many areas of the South Thursday, following storms of near-epic proportions that killed as many as 247 people in six states.

The vast majority of fatalities occurred in Alabama, where 162 people perished, said Yasamie August, Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman.

The storms are being compared to the “super outbreak” of tornadoes April 3 and 4, 1974, Fugate, the FEMA administrator, said Thursday. In that period, 148 tornadoes were reported in 13 states, and 330 people died. States affected were Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

via Southern storms: ‘I don’t know how anyone survived’ – CNN.com.

France, travel, recommendations:  Thanks everyone for your suggestions.  I am keeping a list … keep the recs coming.  From today …

Harper Lee, bookshelf, biography, Southern literature:  Harper Lee was at Alabama at the same time as my mother … she was shy … everyone was “shocked” when her book came out and won the Pulitzer Prize.  It sounds like she was shocked, too!  It will be interesting to see why she has never published another novel.  I clipped about Ms. Lee yesterday, her 85th birthday, and a year ago.  She is a very interesting literary “character.”

After winning the Pulitzer Prize for her 1960 debut novel, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, Harper Lee talked excitedly of her plans to carry on writing and become “the Jane Austen of south Alabama”. Yet she was never published again for reasons unknown.

Her reaction to the book’s success was “one of sheer numbness”, she said in her 1964 interview. “It was like being hit over the head and knocked cold,” she admitted.

“You see, I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird … I hoped for a little but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.”

Yet she also spoke of wanting to write a series of novels chronicling small-town life. Friends say she continues to work on her ageing typewriter, raising the possibility that there are books waiting to be published – perhaps after her death.

The biography will also throw light on Lee’s friendship with Capote, her childhood next door neighbour. The pair worked together on Capote’s 1966 ‘true crime’ book ‘In Cold Blood’, but fell out for reasons unexplained. It has been claimed that Lee was hurt by Capote’s failure to give her full credit for her research.

via Harper Lee to disclose why she stopped writing after ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ – Telegraph.

Royal Wedding, fashion, game-changers:  “But many believe that Ms. Middleton’s dress, like the bouffant gown Princess Diana wore in 1981, will be a game changer, inspiring replicas or adaptations at every level of the marketplace, some within weeks or even days of its debut.”  — So many of my friends who married after Princess Diana now laugh about their puffy sleeved wedding gowns!  I personally was saved from the fashion disaster in retrospect … but my dear bridesmaids were not … they had the big puffy sleeves!

WHEN Kate Middleton strides down the aisle at Westminster Abbey on Friday, millions of Americans watching at home will be transfixed by her gown.

Mr. O’Neill, the creative director of Theia, a bridal house in Manhattan, expects that Ms. Middleton’s dress (or a much more affordable version of it) will be coveted by brides-to-be on this side of the Atlantic. So sure is he, in fact, that he has already designed, and plans to sell, a gown he thinks will emulate her choice. Slender and long-sleeved, its decorously scooped neckline encrusted with crystals and silver bullion thread, it will boast a five-foot train.

“We’re calling it the Kate,” Mr. O’Neill said. “It’s very precious, very regal and suited to a princess, if only in my head.”

Not every bridal designer is so farsighted — or so brashly confident. But many believe that Ms. Middleton’s dress, like the bouffant gown Princess Diana wore in 1981, will be a game changer, inspiring replicas or adaptations at every level of the marketplace, some within weeks or even days of its debut.

via Designers Wait to Copy Kate Middleton’s Dress – NYTimes.com.

Royal Wedding, Royal Family, monarchy, culture, media:  Will you watch …

Still, it got me thinking. The children singing are now in their late thirties and perhaps most of them now have children of an age to be in primary school. I wonder if any of them are singing wedding songs. I slightly doubt it. The Times reports that David Cameron’s invitation to Her Majesty’s subjects to arrange community street parties has met with a disappointing response, and it’s hard not to feel that pride in the monarchy, as an unquestioning habit of mind, is on the wane. In 1981, it was different: plenty of people were still alive who had been born in the reign of Queen Victoria; shillings and florins, left over from before decimalization, still circulated as legal tender. To read through British newspapers from the week before the 1981 Royal Wedding is to enter a more deferent era.

Compared to an event like the funeral of the Queen Mother—where all the pageantry is retrospective and everyone gets to wallow in a century’s worth of nostalgia—a wedding is risky. Weddings are all about the future and monarchies, let’s face it, are all about the past.

It’s estimated that nearly a third of the planet will be watching the wedding on Friday. This strikes me as a bit awful. I don’t know whether the viewers will be drawn by an old-fashioned atavistic fixation with tradition or from a new-fashioned fixation with celebrity and sensation, but either way it can’t be healthy. I shan’t be watching, or singing.

via News Desk: Don’t Let’s Watch the Royal Wedding : The New Yorker.

Royal Wedding, random, LOL, Facebook:  OK  …. I am Lady Matibel Bo of Brighton …  Listen out for my name … 🙂

In honor of the big wedding tomorrow, use your royal wedding guest name. Start with either Lord or Lady. Your first name is one of your grandparents’ names. Your surname is the name of your first pet, double-barreled with the name of the street you grew up on. Let’s do this! Post yours here. Then cut and paste it into your status.

Regards,

Lady Matibel Bo of Brighton

iPhone, marketing:  I am sure there is money in the why …

SAN FRANCISCO — You may not know it, but if you carry a smart phone in your pocket, you are probably doing unpaid work for Apple or Google — and helping them

As those two companies battle for dominance in mobile computing, they have increasingly been using their customers’ phones as sensors to collect data about nearby cell towers and Wi-Fi hot spots.

Google and Apple use this data to improve the accuracy of everything on the phone that uses location. That includes maps and navigation services, but also advertising aimed at people in a particular spot — a potentially huge business that is just getting off the ground. In fact, the information has become so valuable that the companies have been willing to push the envelope on privacy to collect it.

via Location Data From Phones Is Valuable for Ads – NYTimes.com.

technology, RIP, typewriters, corrections:  Well Fox says not so fast …

Nostalgic newspaper reports around the globe lamented the death of the typewriter recently, as Indian manufacturer Godrej and Boyce announced its intentions to pull the plug on its Mumbai factory.

After decades of use and trillions of typed characters, the typewriter appeared to have written its own swan song.

Not so fast.

Despite the surge in popularity of PCs, and their smaller digital cousins the iPads, the typewriter is far from dead, said Ed Michael, general manager of sales at Moonachie, N.J.-based Swintec. So forget Godrej: Swintec seems to be the last typewriter maker in operation.

“Typewriters are alive and well,” Michael told FoxNews.com. Most big offices need a typewriter or two or three to do some special jobs — special forms, multipart forms. Some places need to have typewriters to do original forms such as birth certificates, death certificates, things like that.”

“These are things that need to be done,” Michael said. Swintec makes its own typewriters, though the company doesn’t manufacture in the United States.

“They’re made off-shore, in Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia,” Michael tod FoxNews.com. “But they all ultimately end up here in New Jersey.” And just like Godrej, which specialized in sales to government agencies, there’s an industry keeping Swintec’s production lines rolling: prisons.

via Don’t Believe the Type! World’s Last Typewriter Maker Alive and Well in NJ – FoxNews.com.




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