Posts Tagged ‘writing

27
Jun
13

6.27.13 … humanities: ” I find a vivid, pressing sense of how much they need the skill they didn’t acquire earlier in life. They don’t call that skill the humanities. They don’t call it literature. They call it writing — the ability to distribute their thinking in the kinds of sentences that have a merit, even a literary merit, of their own.”

education, college, humanities, writing, worth reading:  I’m going to quote this article again … It’s worth reading.

There is a certain literal-mindedness in the recent shift away from the humanities. It suggests a number of things. One, the rush to make education pay off presupposes that only the most immediately applicable skills are worth acquiring though that doesn’t explain the current popularity of political science. Two, the humanities often do a bad job of explaining why the humanities matter. And three, the humanities often do a bad job of teaching the humanities. You don’t have to choose only one of these explanations. All three apply.

What many undergraduates do not know — and what so many of their professors have been unable to tell them — is how valuable the most fundamental gift of the humanities will turn out to be. That gift is clear thinking, clear writing and a lifelong engagement with literature.

Maybe it takes some living to find out this truth. Whenever I teach older students, whether they’re undergraduates, graduate students or junior faculty, I find a vivid, pressing sense of how much they need the skill they didn’t acquire earlier in life. They don’t call that skill the humanities. They don’t call it literature. They call it writing — the ability to distribute their thinking in the kinds of sentences that have a merit, even a literary merit, of their own.

via The Decline and Fall of the English Major – NYTimes.com.

23
Jun
13

6.23.13 … Writing well: “It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.” …

education, humanities, writing, English majors:

In the past few years, I’ve taught nonfiction writing to undergraduates and graduate students at Harvard, Yale, Bard, Pomona, Sarah Lawrence and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Each semester I hope, and fear, that I will have nothing to teach my students because they already know how to write. And each semester I discover, again, that they don’t.

They can assemble strings of jargon and generate clots of ventriloquistic syntax. They can meta-metastasize any thematic or ideological notion they happen upon. And they get good grades for doing just that. But as for writing clearly, simply, with attention and openness to their own thoughts and emotions and the world around them — no.

That kind of writing — clear, direct, humane — and the reading on which it is based are the very root of the humanities, a set of disciplines that is ultimately an attempt to examine and comprehend the cultural, social and historical activity of our species through the medium of language.

The teaching of the humanities has fallen on hard times. So says a new report on the state of the humanities by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and so says the experience of nearly everyone who teaches at a college or university. Undergraduates will tell you that they’re under pressure — from their parents, from the burden of debt they incur, from society at large — to choose majors they believe will lead as directly as possible to good jobs. Too often, that means skipping the humanities.

Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.

No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will. But everyone who possesses it — no matter how or when it was acquired — knows that it is a rare and precious inheritance.

via The Decline and Fall of the English Major – NYTimes.com.

20
Feb
13

2.20.13 … diamond hydrangeas …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2013 Lenten labyrinth walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church:

Well, nature played a funny trick on me today. It was absolutely perfect day this morning sunshine. The trick was but I did not realize how cold it was.
I walked with my friend Cheryl who I met at the labyrinth conference hosted by Avondale Presbyterian Church last April when Lauren Artress spoke. Cheryl and I have walked several times since we met.  She is supporting me in my quest to walk labyrinths during Lent. We walked last week, and again this week. We hope to walk again next week.
Cheryl had arrived a few minutes before I did.  When I entered the Sacred Garden, I immediately was drawn to the dead hydrangea bushes. Cheryl had already seen them.  These bushes were so beautiful all last summer and into the fall. They are one of the Southern flowering bushes that I love because my grandmother had two blue ones right next to her back door … great memories.
But these dead ones, and I mean really dead, were  absolutely gorgeous this morning because the dew/frost  had frozen as tiny droplets in the brown/dead flowers.  In the morning light the frozen droplets  looked like tiny diamonds.  I had never seen anything like it …
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As we approached the labyrinth,  we both noticed the same frozen droplets on a tree overlooking the labyrinth.  Cheryl and I talked a few minutes before walking. I realized that I had a great deal of angst surrounding events going on in my personal life. It was nice just to talk about them and then cathartic to give them up as I walked. I think it helped to express them out loud to another human being prior to walking. Thanks, Cheryl.
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After my walk, I commented  to Cheryl that I had learned several things about labyrinths this last week that I had not known before.  These include …
1. The first Christian labyrinth is in Algeria and was built around 400 BC. This I learned from the brochure at Sardis Baptist Church.  Here is  little info on that labyrinth for you:

Labyrinths—their history and their mystery—are featured in St. Anthony Messenger’s August cover story, “Labyrinths: The Inward Journey.” Author and labyrinth enthusiast Gerilyn Wartonick Herold writes of these spiral patterns and how they have aided the faith journeys of many Christians over the centuries. After July 20, the article will be found at: AmericanCatholic.org.

Labyrinths are not a new phenomenon. Archaeologists believe they date back 4,500 years, though no physical evidence survives. Different versions of the spiral pattern have been discovered in Egypt, India, Russia and Peru. The first Christian labyrinth, discovered in the fourth century Basilica of Reparatus in Orleansville, Algeria, contains the words “Sancta Eclesia” inscribed in the middle, indicating its use for religious purposes.

Labyrinths can vary greatly in design. The shapes range from circular to square, spade or octagonal. They may be simple or complex and span from 13 to 44 feet. All are designed with a single meandering path that leads to the center.

This journey inward appeals to many people. Julie McAfee, a nondenominational Christian, has grown quite fond of walking labyrinths. “The labyrinth really gives me a sense of God,” she says. “The message for me is that God is present.”

via American Catholic | Press Room | Labyrinths: Exploring Their History and Mystery.

2. Mini – Chartres labyrinths, of which there are many, have two circuits that are 360° circuit. A true  Chartres has no is no circuit longer than 180°.  It’s very interesting,  and I think goes to my dissatisfaction walking the mini –  Chartres  because they go  too fast,  and if you can have a long circuit like that then it quickens your pace noticeably.
The walk was great and so far I am enjoying my daily walks.
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Blessings!

NASA, International Space Station, Astronaut  Tom Marshburn:  Oh, no ….

Communication was restored less than three hours later, Byerly said”Weve got our command and control back,” he said.Station commander Kevin Ford was able to briefly radio Moscow while the station was flying over Russia.Normally, NASA communicates with and sends commands to the station from Houston, via three communications satellites that transmit voice, video and data. Such interruptions have happened a few times in the past, the space agency said.If there is no crisis going on, losing communication with the ground “is not a terrible thing,” said former astronaut Jerry Linenger, who was on the Russian space station Mir during a dangerous fire in 1997. “You feel pretty confident up there that you can handle it. Youre flying the spacecraft.”Not only should this boost the confidence of the station crew, its good training for any eventual mission to Mars because there will be times when communications is down or difficult during the much farther voyage, Linenger said.In the past few weeks the space station had been purposely simulating communications delays and downtimes to see how activity could work for a future Mars mission, Byerly said. This was not part of those tests, but may prove useful, he said.

via NASA & International Space Station Regain Contact, Officials Say.

exercise, WSJ.com:  I knew there was a reason …

Hard-Wired to Hate Exercise? – WSJ.com.

street paving, random, technology:  When we lived in Wilmette, the village redid our street, i.e., they took up all the original brick, dug down six feet, replaced all the sewer and water pipes, then relayed the original brick street.  It took 5 months … I wonder if this machine could have helped?

STREET PAVING: A ‘Tiger-Stone’ paved a road in IJmuiden, Netherlands, Tuesday. The Dutch-made machine uses gravity and an electric motor to lay stone and brick roads and is capable of laying 300 square meters (about 360 square yards) of road a day.

via Photos of the Day: Feb. 19 – WSJ.com.

Tolstoy, quotes, families:

…  old quote from Tolstoy: Happy families are all alike. Unhappy families have kids under five or teenagers.

via Explore – This reminds me of the old quote from Tolstoy:….

CIA, Cyber war,  Amanpour, CNN.com:  It is scary how vulnerable we are …

Sanger and two colleagues reported in the New York Times on Tuesday that a secretive unit of the People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese military, is responsible for most of the many Chinese cyber attacks on U.S. corporations and infrastructure.“This is, diplomatically, I think one of the most complicated problems out there,” Sanger said. “The fact that your adversary would know that you could get into their systems and turn them on or off at any time – whether it was cell phones or air traffic control or whatever – might well affect your future behavior. So it doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it, or there’s out-and-out war, but it does mean that they have a capability to do this by remote control.” The New York Times reported last month that the newspaper was the victim of Chinese hackers – brought on, they believe, by a report on the finances of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.An internet security firm hired by the paper to investigate that attack has released a new report on Chinese hacking, and that report alleges the deep involvement of the Chinese military.In fact, the security company, Mandiant, says that the attacks originate from a single 12-story building on the outskirts of Shanghai.“It’s got thousands of people working in it,” Sanger said. His colleague, David Barboza visited the site, but was not allowed inside.The Chinese government hotly denies all the allegations in the Mandiant report, calling them “baseless,” “irresponsible and unprofessional.”“If it’s not coming from this building,” Sanger said, “then you’ve got to believe it’s coming from the noodle shops and restaurants that surround this building.”Chad Sweet, a former CIA and Homeland Security official who now runs his own global security firm, said that the standoff between the U.S. and China envisages a bleak future.“We’re essentially facing a new Cold War – a cyber Cold War,” he told Amanpour. “The destructive capacity is equal to that of a nuclear warhead… But what makes it more sinister than the nuclear age is that there’s no easily identifiable plume.”In other words, it is very difficult to attribute a cyber attack to a source or exact retribution.

via Fmr. CIA official: Cyber war ‘more sinister than nuclear age’ – Amanpour – CNN.com Blogs.

George Orwell, writing, motivation, creation, Brain Pickings: Why do you write?

I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:

(i) Sheer egoism. …

(ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. …

(iii) Historical impulse. …

(iv) Political purpose. …

It can be seen how these various impulses must war against one another, and how they must fluctuate from person to person and from time to time.

via Why I Write: George Orwell’s Four Motives for Creation | Brain Pickings.

Palace Malice,  Dogwood Farms, Derby Fever:  Always fun to have a horse to watch …

Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.20 at South Florida’s Palm Meadows Thoroughbred Training Center Sunday morning in preparation for his upcoming appearance in Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and the move has Dogwood president Cot Campbell looking ebulliently forward to the final local prep for the 100th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby March 30.

“I’m a New Orleans boy – I was born there and it’s going to be great coming back there,” said Campbell, speaking from his South Carolina headquarters. “I also came back there in the early ‘50s to work for an advertising agency there, but I haven’t been back for a few years now. We’ll have about seven people in our party besides me and we’ll be getting in Friday morning. It’s a wonderful town with a wonderful race track and a lot of wonderful people live there.

“We’re starting to get into a very exciting time of year,” said Campbell. “With all the Kentucky Derby preps coming up around the country everybody in the nation starts to get interested in horse racing and I think that’s a wonderful thing for our sport.

via Sunday Notes: Palace Malice Giving Dogwood Derby Fever | Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Louisville, Ohio River, NYTimes.com:  Interesting that this bridge story was significant enough to merit coverage by the NYT …

Although friction about some aspects of the project still reverberates, including over its tolls and environmental impact, construction is scheduled to begin this summer, and the two new bridges linking Kentucky and southern Indiana are expected to open in 2016.

“If we didn’t build this, we would become the bottleneck for the Southeastern United States,” said Chad Carlton, the project spokesman. “We think it could become the shape of things to come for infrastructure across Middle America.”

About $1 billion of the project will be financed by the two states, mostly through gas taxes. There is some federal support, although not much, reflecting a nationwide trend of dwindling federal money for state transportation projects. Tolls over the next 40 years are expected to generate around $10 billion.

“There’s not a major bridge project in the country that doesn’t involve the use of tolls and other creative financing mechanisms,” Gov. Steven L. Beshear of Kentucky said in an interview. “The project will employ thousands, and it’s going to let the metropolitan areas of Kentucky and southern Indiana grow much faster and help jobs grow much faster.”

The project comes at a time when some cities are moving in the opposite direction, dismantling downtown bridges and expressways in favor of public transportation.

Hank V. Savitch, a professor of urban and public affairs at the University of Louisville, said that while some cities were shifting away from accommodating cars, Louisville’s project signaled a declaration of faith in suburban-style growth.

via Like the Ohio River, a Bridge Project Divides a Community – NYTimes.com.

man’s best friend, YouTube, LOL: 🙂

you will love this dog – YouTube.

internet addiction, the Mail Online:  The Web’s Most Ruthlessly Addictive Site … what makes theMail online the most “ruthlessly addictive site?

During the average workday, I allow myself to take a couple “Internet breaks,” little bursts of Tumblr and Gawker and other forms of web candy that tug at my attention span like a needy kid. There’s one web threshold I never step over on a weekday, though: the Mail Online. The online outlet of the British tabloid is a one-way ticket to an hours-long surfing spree of celebrity gossip and moral outrage. It’s not web candy–this is web crack.

via 4 Lessons From The Web’s Most Ruthlessly Addictive Site | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

mobile phones, sleep:  Guilty …

Most people who own iPhones use them as their alarm clock — making it all too easy to check email one last time before falling asleep and hard to ever feel unplugged from work and social networks.

Several years ago my boss, Arianna Huffington, passed out from exhaustion after staying up late to catch up on work. She banged her head on the way down and ended up with five stitches — and became what she calls a “sleep evangelist.” Now she leaves her phone charging in another room when she goes to bed and encourages friends to do the same.

“I sent all my friends the same Christmas gift — a Pottery Barn alarm clock — so they could stop using the excuse that they needed their very tempting iPhone by their bed to wake them up in the morning,” she said.

via How Mobile Phones Affect Sleep (INFOGRAPHIC).

Downton Abbey:  🙂  Personally, I think we all would look a little better in Edwardian garb …

Hugh Bonneville (Robert, Earl of Grantham)

Hugh Bonneville looks a lot more relaxed when he’s not in character as “Downton’s” Lord Grantham. Maybe that Edwardian ascot is tied a little too tight.

C S Lewis, Narnia, Speakeasy: Some interesting thoughts on CS Lewis …

C.S. Lewis’s death was – understandably – overshadowed because it happened on the same day as one of the most traumatic events of the last century, the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Lewis is a good case of someone who hasn’t been well served by some of his admirers: we can get the false impression that he is of interest only to a particular kind of conservative Christian.  When I admitted to some of my friends that I was publishing a book about Lewis, there were some raised eyebrows: wasn’t he a misogynist/fundamentalist/ homophobe?  Didn’t his books reinforce a cerebral and narrow dogmatism?  Isn’t he at best just a bit too – well, English and tweedy?

At the heart of his thinking and writing, both in his imaginative books of fiction and in his more concept-heavy works, lies one recurring theme.  We are so successful in telling ourselves stories about ourselves that it takes a major revolution to expose us fully to the truth.  And we are so successful at conjuring and nourishing our own pictures of what makes us happy that we miss actual joy when it taps us on the shoulder.  I can’t think of any other modern religious writer who diagnoses so accurately our habits of self-deception.  Two of his works, “The Screwtape Letters” and “The Great Divorce” analyze ruthlessly what it might be like to be stuck in a position of systematic denial of reality – being forever incapable of seeing what’s in front of our noses.  This is Hell, says Lewis.  But his genius is to make this analysis memorably comic as well as tragic.

Here and in other works (including the three science fiction novels he wrote), the target is often the idea that we could live in a totally managed world.  Long before the ecological crisis was recognized, he castigated those who thought of “colonizing” space so that we needn’t worry about polluting and exhausting the earth’s resources.  He presents a world where animals and humans actually talk to each other, where community extends to the whole environment – and a world where death is not the worst thing that can happen.  We love the world best when we know we can’t ‘have’ it for ever for ourselves – something that St Augustine and Shakespeare would have understood perfectly – not to mention Czeslaw Milosz, with his book, “Proud to be a Mammal.”

That’s part of what makes Lewis more than a knee-jerk modern conservative – that richly skeptical and amused perspective, resting on deep cultural reserves which teach us that the world is both wonderful and fragile.  Deny this and you lose all chance of enjoying your real humanity.  Lewis’s God wants us to be spiritually settled as physical beings, not to think either that all our important hopes are material or that we just need to get through earth quickly so as to get to Heaven sooner.

Sit light, then, to some of the 1940’s or 1950’s attitudes – though he is no worse than most and better than many in much of what he writes about women or even gay people.  His world is both a lighter and also a more morally challenging one than a lot of what we find in religious writing, liberal or conservative, these days.  He is still able to reacquaint us with the meaning of joy and the strange excitement of honesty.

via Why You Can’t Get to Narnia By Turning Left or Right – Speakeasy – WSJ.

2013 Festival of Legal Learning, Lawyers on Nonprofit Boards:  All the reasons not to be … in one hour …

Lawyers on Nonprofit Boards

Marty Martin, Martin Law Firm

Nonprofit boards are in the news because of high profile failures with nonprofit boards of directors and management. Lawyers frequently are asked to serve on nonprofit boards of directors, but with limited substantive background in the law related to nonprofit organizations. Using a case study, the class will discuss legal and ethical issues that confront the lawyer serving on a nonprofit board of directors.

via Festival of Legal Learning.

mobile phones, unlimited phone plan, Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD:  Every member of my family has an iPhone … I might as well give AT&T my first child … I would love options …

A typical smartphone costs around $200, but it’s usually shackled to a two-year contract that often costs $70 or more monthly and includes limits on data consumption, voice minutes and texts. Even prepaid smartphones, without a contract, can cost $30 to $50 a month and carry limits.But I’ve been testing an Android smartphone from an upstart carrier that charges just $19 a month for unlimited data, voice and texts—with no contract. That’s right: $19 a month, unlimited.Motorola’s Defy XT is the only phone that works with Republic’s network.This carrier is called Republic Wireless, a private firm in Raleigh, N.C., which launched its service in December. The sole phone that works with the company’s technology is a Motorola model, the Defy XT. The phone costs $249—partly to help offset the low monthly price.

via For $19, An Unlimited Phone Plan, Some Flaws – Walt Mossberg – Personal Technology – AllThingsD.

Cynaps, Thrillist Nation:  I like this one.  But I don’t wear hats …

CynapsBone-conducting headphones discreetly hidden in a hat

via Cynaps – Own – Thrillist Nation.

 

LOL:

Whew, scientific proof. What a relief to learn this !

Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was ? Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses.

Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what’s known as an Event Boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

Thank goodness for studies like this. It’s not our age, it’s that damn door !

Antarctic penguins,  New Zealand:  Awww ..

The original "Happy Feet" ready for release aboard The New Zealand research vessel Tangaroa in Aug. 2011.

Antarctic Penguin Turns Up In New Zealand; Vets Say Condition ‘Touch And Go’

via Antarctic Penguin Turns Up In New Zealand; Vets Say Condition ‘Touch And Go’ : The Two-Way : NPR.

millionaires, philanthropy, The Technology Chronicles, disease, cure, kudos: You rock, nerds!

A group of tech and investment luminaries gathered on Wednesday to announce the Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize, a competition for the biology research community to develop cures to the world’s toughest diseases and solve the life science’s most complicated problems.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Art Levinson, chairman of both Apple and Genentech, Anne Wojcicki, genetic mapping startup 23andMe co-founder (and wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin) and investment guru Yuri Milner sat alongside one another to announce the new $3 million cash prizes.

via Tech heavyweights announce million dollar prizes for curing diseases | The Technology Chronicles | an SFGate.com blog.

Mophie Juice Pack Helium,  iPhone 5, TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog: Unfortunately, I need one …

During the time that I owned my iPhone 4 and 4S, those phones spent most of their lives in a Mophie Juice Pack Air. That battery pack got me through some of those scary situations where I had spent a couple of hours geocaching, making calls and sending texts, only to find that I was down to 5 percent of charge capacity and was nowhere near a power outlet. So when the iPhone 5 came out last fall, my first thought for a case was a Mophie product. It took a few months, but now the Mophie Juice Pack Helium (US$79.95) is available to protect and power the iPhone 5.

via Review: Mophie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

Bottles Up Glass Water Bottle, design:  It’s a water bottle,  stupid … but a very pretty one … $34.95 at Amazon …

it’s art.

Our challenge was to blend beauty + utility. We’ve created an everyday object that combines the magic and clarity of glass with sophisticated, practical design.

via BottlesUp Glass – Your Reusable Glass Bottle Resource – Reusable Water Bottles.

Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander MD, consciousness, Life Beyond Death:  I read his book … very interesting …

Can science and spirituality co-exist? Are we more than we appear to be in this physical universe? Does any part of us survive death? Is there a God? Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, MD, New York Times best-selling author of Proof of Heaven, was certain the answer to these questions was “No,” until something he had thought was impossible happened to him: a transcendental Near-Death Experience.  While in a near-fatal coma in 2008, Dr. Alexander entered a realm of unconditional love and profound awareness of the nature of the universe, populated by angelic beings and a resonant, omnipotent and omniscient presence that he called “Om” (and whom many would call God). This radiant state of total acceptance of who we are, says Dr. Alexander, is our birthright, and we can tap into it from this earthly plane. Now fully recovered and determined to share his experience with the world, Dr. Alexander offers this four-part online course, the first of its kind, courtesy of Sounds True.

via Next Steps in the Proof of Heaven: Delving into the Mysteries of Consciousness | Life Beyond Death.

15
Nov
11

11.15.2011 … Once again, my humerus is not humorous. :(

humerus break:  My break is once again giving me trouble. Surgery scheduled for 12/29 … bone graft (ICBG).  Once again, my humerus is not humorous. 😦

History, Civil War, Burning of Atlanta:

Atl History Center (@ATLHistCenter)

11/15/11 6:39 PM

Description of the burning of Atlanta. November 15, 1864.

Today the destruction fairly commenced … This P.M. the torch applied … Clouds of heavy smoke rise and hang like pall over doomed city. At night, the grandest and most awful scene… From our rear windows … horizon shows immense and raging fires, lighting up whole heavens… . First bursts of smoke, dense, black volumes, then tongues of flame, then huge waves of fire roll up into the sky: presently the skeletons of great warehouses stand out in relief against and amidst sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames, — then the angry waves roll less high, and are of deeper color, then sink and cease, and only the fierce glow from the bare and blackened walls … as one fire sinks another rises, further along the horizon, … it is a line of fire and smoke, lurid, angry, dreadful to look upon.

via Atlanta History Center, Today the destruction fairly commenced … This P.M…..

college graduates, failure to launch, adolescent men:  HELP!

Failure to Launch apparently isn’t just a terrible Sarah Jessica Parker movie but an actual phenomenon among young men. Thanks to the sluggish economy and high unemployment rates, more young men across the U.S. are living at home with their parents than in years past.

Of course, much has been made of the increasingly dismal state of today’s young men. But things don’t seem to be picking up, as the Associated Press reports that “[f]ederal statistics show that young men are, for instance, nearly twice as likely to live at home with their parents than young women their age. They’re also less likely to finish college, or to have a job.”

But now, according to the same AP story, there’s something that can be done about it. Instead of hiring a woman to pose as your son’s girlfriend — as the frazzled parents do in a certain rom-com — send them on a retreat. The Insight camp takes 18 to 23 year-old men and hosts them stay for three or four-month stretches. During that stay, the men are taught and encouraged to make and achieve a series of goals ranging from the (very) basic like getting out of bed to the advanced like finding a job.

But surely, you might be thinking, these boys’ parents must have taught them these sorts of lessons when they were growing up? Well apparently not, and now they’re literally paying for it. A stay at the camp costs $350 a day and most of these young men’s parents are footing the bill.

The whole thing, frankly, sounds more dubious than the plot of the movie which inspired the phenomenon’s name. While NewsFeed can grasp the bleakness of the current job-market and can even appreciate the challenges facing young college graduates, we fail to see how spending thousands of dollars on a retreat teaching you when to go to bed will help your situation. If this doesn’t embody first-world problems, then NewsFeed gives up now.

via Camp Aims to Get Young Men on Their Feet — and Out of Mom’s House | NewsFeed | TIME.com.

Prof. Julio Ramirez,  National Neuroscience Education Award, kudos, McConnell Neighbors:  Kudos to Julio … Honored as First-Ever Undergrad Teacher to Receive National Neuroscience Education Award!

Julio Ramirez, Dickson Professor of Psychology, has become the first-ever undergraduate educator to receive the annual “Award for Education” from the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). The award, first presented in 1991, recognizes one individual per year who has “made outstanding contributions to neuroscience education and training.” In earning this honor, Ramirez will be added to a list of prominent past recipients, such as Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel and neurologist Oliver Sachs.

Ramirez said, “I’m still incredulous. The award has always gone to a major figure in research and education, so I didn’t consider that I might get it. I was honored for having been nominated, and when I got the news that I actually won, I was shocked.”

Ramirez served on SfN’s Minority Education and Training Affairs Committee for six years, and is now a member of its Professional Development Committee. The award was presented this past weekend at the organization’s annual national conference held in Washington D.C

via Prof. Ramirez Honored as First-Ever Undergrad Teacher to Receive National Neuroscience Education Award

Facebook, about face: FB restoring “most recent” on news feed.

Facebook has big things planned for the next stage of its development, but is taking a small step back when it comes to its news feed. On Wednesday, Facebook engineering manager Mark Tonkelowitz wrote on a company blog that the social network will again let users sort their news feeds based on what was most recently posted.

via Facebook restoring “most recent” on news feed – The Washington Post.

Peter Schweizer, Throw Them All Out , books congressional corruption:

Throw Them All Out arrives at a moment when the populist anger and resentment of the Tea Party and Occupy movements have melded into a kind of generalized outrage toward a system that seems geared to protect the interests of the few. Schweizer offers some prescriptions, including laws forbidding members of Congress from trading stocks of companies overseen by their committees, but he doesn’t expect what he calls the “permanent political class” to reform itself.

What Schweizer says he does hope is that others will take up his mission—requiring only time, online access, and a willingness to wade through public databases—and eventually crowd-source reform. A Throw Them All Out campaign is an interesting prospect—a movement that both Sarah Palin and Michael Moore could embrace. Schweizer’s motivation and his message could well be a credo that transcends partisan conflict.

“I was troubled,” he says, “by the fact that the political elite gets to play by a different set of rules than the rest of us. In the process of researching this book, I came to the conclusion that political party and political philosophy matter a lot less than we think. Washington is a company town, and politics is a business. People wonder why we don’t get more change in Washington, and the reason is that the permanent political class is very comfortable. Business is good.”

via Peter Schweizer’s New Book Blasts Congressional Corruption – The Daily Beast.

women’s issues, NYC:  Loved this article from 1911!

NEW YORK’S REAL LURE FOR WOMEN—OPPORTUNITY; Not the Fascinating Shops, or the Theatres, or the Lobster Palaces, or Bohemia, but the Chance to Win Success Tempts the Majority of Them to the Great City.

via NEW YORK’S REAL LURE FOR WOMEN—OPPORTUNITY – Not the Fascinating Shops, or the Theatres, or the Lobster Palaces, or Bohemia, but the Chance to Win Success Tempts the Majority of Them to the Great City. – Article – NYTimes.com.

 Maria Popova, 1984, A Bave New World, infographics: As stated by Maria Popova (@brainpicker) in her 11/14 tweet … “It’s a sad day when 1984 vs. Brave New World is reduced to an infographic… “
Future fight! world-shaker:  Orwell vs. Huxley
short film, The Man with the Beautiful Eyes:

A gang of kids find a strange house with an overgrown garden where they play. Only once do they meet the man who lives there, a dead-beat alcoholic with a free and easy spirit who welcomes them. The children see him as a romantic character in stark contrast to their neurotically house proud parents.

A collaboration between Animator Jonathan Hodgson and Illustrator Jonny Hannah.

via The Man with the Beautiful Eyes on Vimeo.

breast cancer awareness, Evelyn Lauder, creator of pink ribbon, kudos:  Kudos to Mrs. Lauder and her pink ribbon.  She started a movement that continues today.

In her long career as an executive at cosmetics giant Estee Lauder Cos., the company founded by her mother-in-law, Lauder worked with many shades of red, peach, bronze and even blues, but pink was the one hue that changed her life.

In 1992, Lauder worked with her friend Alexandra Penney, the former editor-in-chief of Self magazine, to create the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness. It started small with Lauder and her husband, Leonard, largely financing the little bows given to women at department store makeup counters to remind them about breast exams.

That grew into fundraising products, congressional designation of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and $330 million in donations — $50 million from Estee Lauder and its partners — to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which Lauder also started.

That money helped establish the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, which opened in 2009.

Lauder died Saturday at her Manhattan home from complications of nongenetic ovarian cancer. She was 75.

Just last month, she reminisced about the early days of the breast cancer campaign. When it launched, it was so little known that some people thought it symbolized AIDS awareness.

via Evelyn Lauder, Creator of Breast Cancer’s Pink Ribbon, Dies at 75 – TIME Healthland.

Daniel Pink, email newsletters, recommendations, lists:

One reason I like writing email newsletters is that I also like reading them. Last month, a few folks asked me which e-newsletters I regularly read — not the ones I subscribe to, but those I actually read.

Here, in alphabetical order, are my top five:

1. ArtsJournal – A fascinating roundup of stories on media, publishing, visual art, music, and the world of ideas. Daily and weekly.

2. NBER Digest – Brief but comprehensive summaries of the most interesting and important new economics papers. Monthly.

3. SmartBrief on Workforce – For HR nerds only, this e-zine has lots of great links about talent, organizational behavior, and management. Daily.

4. Springwise – An amazing roundup of new business ideas and surprising business models from around the world. Daily and weekly.

5. Very Short List – A book, a film, a DVD, a TV show, an album that you probably haven’t heard of and probably should. Daily.

via 5 email newsletters worth reading | Daniel Pink.

Occupy Harvard, 1%:

Don’t occupy the Yard. Occupy the libraries. Occupy the classrooms. You have just four years to devote to actually getting a grip on some small portion of the vast array of human knowledge. Do not spend any of them in a tent, surrounded by other people who have no better ideas than you, “engaging in dialogue.” It smells peculiar there, and you could be in a red-brick building next to a bust of John Adams, learning something. If you actually want to come up with a way to remedy the injustice, it is the only thing to do.

via Why Occupy Harvard – ComPost – The Washington Post.

Spotify, writing, music, lists:

Many National Novel Writing Month writers depend on music to keep working during the literary marathon.

To help keep you motivated, we’ve rounded up five great NaNoWriMo playlists we discovered on Spotify. Just follow the links below to access hours and hours of free writing music.

1. Kimberly Golden Malmgren’s List

2. Kaella’s List

3. Kendall Laszakovits’ List

4. Amanda E Ringqvist’s List

5. Andréa Solin’s List

As an extra bonus, follow this Spotify link to listen to “The NaNoWriMo Song” by All Caps.

This is our fourteenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. As writers around the country join the writing marathon this month, we will share one piece of advice or writing tool to help you cope with this daunting project.

via Listen to Spotify: NaNoWriMo Tip #14 – GalleyCat.

Supreme Court, power, Health care law:

That’s a lesson for today. The current swing vote, of course, is Anthony Kennedy, and it is difficult to imagine health care being upheld without his support. Kennedy is an ethical and honorable man, but there’s no doubt that he, too, follows the news. All the Justices do. The case will be argued next February or March, when all of us will have a better idea of whether President Obama will be reëlected. If Obama looks like a lame duck at that point, it will be a lot easier for the Justices to dismantle his signal achievement; if Obama looks like a winner, some on the Court may think twice about picking this particular fight with him.

To a great extent, that’s what happened with George W. Bush in the Supreme Court, especially when it came to the central events of his Presidency, the war on terror and the Iraq war. The Court did make a series of measured rulings against Bush on the issue of the detainees at Guantánamo when he was facing reëlection in 2004, but the Justices, especially Kennedy, really turned on him when the war went south. The Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2007) and Boumediene (2008) cases clearly owe something of their contemptuous tone to the failed nature of the Bush Presidency. Like voters, the Justices smell weakness, and respect strength. No one likes a loser.

Recent auguries have looked promising for the fate of health care in the Supreme Court. As challenges to the law have worked their way through the lower courts, political form has mostly held; judges appointed by Democratic Presidents have tended to uphold the law, and judges named by Republicans have voted it down. But two recent exceptions to that rule have certainly drawn the attention of the Justices. Jeffrey Sutton, a former law clerk to Antonin Scalia, wrote the opinion upholding the law in the Sixth Circuit, and Laurence Silbermann, a widely respected conservative, wrote a powerful endorsement of its constitutionality in the D.C. Circuit.

It all goes to show that sometimes (often) you don’t need a law degree to know how the Supreme Court is going to vote—just know which way the wind is blowing.

via Comment: Power in the Court : The New Yorker.

cookbook: The Paris 1906 cookbook is out today: every dish, every recipe, 200+ photos. Only $4.99. @iBookstore exclusive:iTunes.com/NextRestaurant

04
Nov
11

11.4.2011 … long and winding road …

 

music, theme song:  Some days just need a theme song: Beatles – The Long and Winding Road ( Phil Spector Orchestration ) – YouTube.

 

faith and spirituality, art, Laurie Carter, kith/kin, Charlotte Latin Families, kudos:  Kudos to Laurie Carter for her beautiful Ascension needlepoint, “threading so fine it appears to be paint.”  What a great project for a church to undertake!

Here’s an interesting theological question: Are the verses and stories of the Bible open to artistic interpretation?

Sunday, you can judge for yourself. That’s when Christ Lutheran Church on Providence Road opens its biblical gallery to the public.

For 43 weeks, the congregation built part of its Sunday service around a chronological examination of what is perhaps history’s most famous book, and each installment featured an original piece of art.

The goal, says the church’s art coordinator, Stephanie Burke, was to use “some of the best-read stories of our times as the perfect opportunity to tap into the deep vein of artistic talent in our congregation that had yet to be used ministerially.”

Outside artists also joined in. A few even responded to Burke’s invitation on craigslist.

For the Ascension, Laurie Carter spent six months using needlepoint to re-create the cover of the church’s Easter bulletin, threading so fine it appears to be paint.

via The art of faith | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

writing, lesson plans, twitter, social media, Ernest Hemingway, short short story: Less Is More!  I had forgotten about Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes, never used.”

Overview | How can online media like Twitter posts, Facebook status updates and text messages be harnessed to inspire and guide concise writing? In this lesson, students read, respond to and write brief fiction and nonfiction stories, and reflect on the benefits and drawbacks of “writing short.”

Materials | Slips of paper with brief stories (see below; one per student), computers with Internet access

Warm-Up | Before class, select six-word love stories from The Times’s Well blog, in the post itself and in the reader comments, to share with students. (You can find more stories in the same vein at the Web site Dear Old Love and Smith Magazine’s Six-Word Memoirs.)

To use fictional stories instead of or alongside memoirs, include the following “short short story” by Ernest Hemingway, along with stories posted on the Web site inspired by it, Six Word Stories:

For sale: baby shoes, never used.

via Less Is More: Using Social Media to Inspire Concise Writing – NYTimes.com.

Matt Ridley, scientific heresy, climate change, TED:  I have no idea who matt Ridley is (so I looked him up … see below), but this is very interesting … funny even.

My topic today is scientific heresy. When are scientific heretics right and when are they mad? How do you tell the difference between science and pseudoscience?

Let us run through some issues, starting with the easy ones.

Astronomy is a science; astrology is a pseudoscience.

Evolution is science; creationism is pseudoscience.

Molecular biology is science; homeopathy is pseudoscience.

Vaccination is science; the MMR scare is pseudoscience.

Oxygen is science; phlogiston was pseudoscience.

Chemistry is science; alchemy was pseudoscience.

Are you with me so far?

A few more examples. That the earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare is pseudoscience. So are the beliefs that Elvis is still alive, Diana was killed by MI5, JFK was killed by the CIA, 911 was an inside job. So are ghosts, UFOs, telepathy, the Loch Ness monster and pretty well everything to do with the paranormal. Sorry to say that on Halloween, but that’s my opinion.

Three more controversial ones. In my view, most of what Freud said was pseudoscience.

So is quite a lot, though not all, of the argument for organic farming.

So, in a sense by definition, is religious faith. It explicitly claims that there are truths that can be found by other means than observation and experiment.

That’s a voodoo claim. The glacier claim was not peer reviewed; nor was the alteration to the sensitivity function Lewis spotted. The journalist Donna Laframboise got volunteers all over the world to help her count the times the IPCC used non-peer reviewed literature. Her conclusion is that*: “Of the 18,531 references in the 2007 Climate Bible we found 5,587 – a full 30% – to be non peer-reviewed.”

Yet even to say things like this is to commit heresy. To stand up and say, within a university or within the BBC, that you do not think global warming is dangerous gets you the sort of reaction that standing up in the Vatican and saying you don’t think God is good would get. Believe me, I have tried it.

Does it matter? Suppose I am right that much of what passes for mainstream climate science is now infested with pseudoscience, buttressed by a bad case of confirmation bias, reliant on wishful thinking, given a free pass by biased reporting and dogmatically intolerant of dissent. So what?

The remarkable thing about the heretics I have mentioned is that every single one is doing this in his or her spare time. They work for themselves, they earn a pittance from this work. There is no great fossil-fuel slush fund for sceptics.

In conclusion, I’ve spent a lot of time on climate, but it could have been dietary fat, or nature and nurture. My argument is that like religion, science as an institution is and always has been plagued by the temptations of confirmation bias. With alarming ease it morphs into pseudoscience even – perhaps especially – in the hands of elite experts and especially when predicting the future and when there’s lavish funding at stake. It needs heretics.

Thank you very much for listening.

via Thank you, Matt Ridley | Watts Up With That?.

British author Matt Ridley knows one thing: Through history, the engine of human progress and prosperity has been, and is, the mating of ideas. The sophistication of the modern world, says Ridley, lies not in individual intelligence or imagination; it is a collective enterprise. In his book The Rational Optimist, Ridley (whose previous works include Genome and Nature via Nurture) sweeps the entire arc of human history to powerfully argue that “prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else.”

It is our habit of trade, idea-sharing and specialization that has created the collective brain which set human living standards on a rising trend. This, he says, “holds out hope that the human race will prosper mightily in the years ahead — because ideas are having sex with each other as never before.”

Watch his 2010 TEDTalk, “When Ideas Have Sex.”

via Matt Ridley | Profile on TED.com.

Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex | Video on TED.com.

25
Sep
11

9.25.2011 …‎ Sitting in a sea of BIG Newton fans at Bank of America Stadium … (OK, we bolted at the half due to the rain deluge … and it was sunny with no sign of rain at home … not a drop) … But nonetheless it was a panther day!

Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton:  Great day to be a Panther fan … Nice to have a QB to cheer for.

The Carolina Panthers slipped up in the rain that pelted Bank of America Stadium in the second quarter Sunday, but they refused to let it rain on their parade, rallying for a 16-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

With the large majority of fans having retreated for cover, a defensive gaffe gave Jacksonville a touchdown and a 10-5 lead as the clock expired on an opening half otherwise dominated by the Panthers.

The fans came back when conditions improved after halftime, and so did Carolina. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half, and the offense navigated treacherous field conditions for a game-winning drive capped by tight end Greg Olsen’s 16-yard touchdown catch with 4:20 left.

With that, the Panthers earned their first victory of the season, and Ron Rivera got his first victory as head coach.

via Panthers reign in the rain.

Rin Tin Tin, legends: My dad always talked about Rin Tin Tin …  ‘Yo, Rinty,’

This Rin Tin Tin is heir to a dynasty of celebrity canines. After all, a lot of us still remember “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin” on TV back in the 1950s and ’60s.

“The number of people who declared ‘Yo, Rinty,’ which was the sort of signature phrase of the TV show, was heartening, said Susan Orlean – heartening enough to inspire her to write a whole book about the legend of Rin Tin Tin.

“I think he’s a wonderful symbol of something innocently heroic, Orleans said, “a living being who has embodied qualities that we have always thought of as American – of being independent, of being tough and brave.”

It’s a story that may surprise you. Did you know, for instance, that the first Rin Tin Tin was a star in silent movies in the ’20s, celebrated as an athlete AND an actor?

via The legend of Rin Tin Tin – CBS News.

writing, tips, lists:  I like lists … so far I am at #1.

One of the challenges of writing is…writing. Here are some tips that I’ve found most useful for myself, for actually getting words onto the page:

1. Write something every work-day, and preferably, every day;

via The Happiness Project: Thirteen Tips for Actually Getting Some Writing Done..

gLee, Sesame Street, letter G, parody, LOL: Enjoy the  letter G!

Get ready to learn all about the letter ‘G’ with Sue, Rachel, Finn, and er, Mr. Guester. Sesame Street‘s 42nd season premiere airs Monday, and it features a killer parody of Glee that is sure to delight children and parents alike (the episode also includes a significantly more manly parody of The Deadliest Catch, if you balk at musical television but dig puppets)

via Flavorwire » Watch Sesame Street’s Hilarious ‘Glee’ Parody.

Sesame Street: G – YouTube.

cartoon, pirate cartoon, New Yorker, LOL:

Cartoons from the Issue of September 26th, 2011 : The New Yorker.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, heroes, Supreme Court, photo essays:  As a female law student in the 80’s, she was a role model … a hero.

The Career of Sandra Day O’Connor

A look back at the rise and tenure of the first female Supreme Court justice, sworn in thirty years ago, September 25, 1981.

via The Career of Sandra Day O’Connor – Photo Essays – TIME.

Planet Word , books, Stephen Fry: “The way you speak is who you are and the tones of your voice and the tricks of your emailing and tweeting and letter-writing, can be recognised unmistakably in the minds of those who know and love you” – Stephen Fry

Planet Word

“The way you speak is who you are and the tones of your voice and the tricks of your emailing and tweeting and letter-writing, can be recognised unmistakably in the minds of those who know and love you”. (Stephen Fry). From feral children to fairy-tale princesses, secrets codes, invented languages – even a language that was eaten – “Planet Word” uncovers everything you didn’t know you needed to know about how language evolves. Learn the tricks to political propaganda, why we can talk but animals can’t, discover 3,000-year-old clay tablets that discussed beer and impotence and test yourself at textese – do you know your RMEs from your LOLs? Meet the 105-year-old man who invented modern-day Chinese and all but eradicated illiteracy, and find out why language caused the go-light in Japan to be blue. From the dusty scrolls of the past to the unknown digital future, and with (heart) the first graphic to enter the OED, are we already well on our way to a language without words? In a round-the-world trip of a lifetime, discover all this and more as J.P. Davidson travels across our gloriously, endlessly intriguing multilingual Planet Word.

via Planet Word (Book) by J. P. Davidson, et al. (2011): Waterstones.com.

Frank Warren, PostSecret: I am a big fan of PostSecret … although sometimes they are tiring because so many secrets are sexually related … or maybe I am just really boring.

It began simply enough seven years ago, when Germantown resident Frank Warren decided to embark on an experiment: He distributed postcards around the Washington area to complete strangers. Warren inscribed the postcards with the following instructions: “You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything—as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative.”

Warren’s initial idea became PostSecret, a Web site which now receives millions of hits a week. The ongoing project fills Warren’s mailbox with hundreds of postcards every week, from which he chooses a few to post on his blog. PostSecret has produced five books to date, and last week Warren launched his newest project: an app for mobile devices. The PostSecret app takes Warren’s project to an entire different level of connectivity, allowing users to create and share secrets on the go. Within three days, the app had processed over 50,000 submitted secrets, and it’s currently the bestselling social networking iPhone app in the country.

via Q&A with Frank Warren, Founder of PostSecret – Capital Comment Blog (washingtonian.com).

Apple, Steve Jobs, business, growth:  Worth reading …

Finding that first market — a few customers willing to pay for your early product — is hard enough. But there’s one thing that may be even harder. And that’s finding the second market. Especially because companies are often so focused on protecting what they already have.

In 1996 when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, I was in charge of an industry-recognized channel program for the company that was responsible for growing a $2M business to $180M business in 18 months. By working with a few dedicated partners — some were called “value-added-resellers” and some were national retailers such as Best Buy — Apple was able to grow its sales exponentially.

So, as I went into the full business review, it never occurred to me that Jobs wouldn’t appreciate the channel program. It was the most profitable part of Apple’s business at the time and a needed source of revenue. But Steve’s take on it (in his words, not mine): “Fuck the channel; we don’t need the fuckin’ channel.”

And he was right. Getting to that next growth market takes more than being unhappy with your current results (in this case, abysmal sales margins and underperforming stock), and it takes more than being willing to change. You have to be willing to do what feels unnatural.

As you become successful in something, you develop a feel for how to do it. You know when something is “right.” You’ve built up the equivalent of a hand callus in response to the friction and pressure of what it has taken to get to that first-market success. So, when you try to replicate that in a new context — a second market in this case — all courses of action just feel…off.

In the late 90’s and early 00’s, a good channel strategy made the key difference between a $100M and a $2B company in the tech world. If you had enough money, you could buy distribution and thus sales. The channel, therefore, had a powerful position in relationship to the brand.

via What Steve Jobs Taught Me About Growth – Nilofer Merchant – Harvard Business Review.

reality of fiction, naturalism: Very interesting article … “Not only can literary theory (along with art criticism, sociology, and yes, non-naturalistic philosophy) produce knowledge of an important and even fundamental nature, but fiction itself, so breezily dismissed in Professor Rosenberg’s assertions, has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.”

Literature has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.

In his contribution to The Stone last week, Alex Rosenberg posed a defense of naturalism — “the philosophical theory that treats science as our most reliable source of knowledge and scientific method as the most effective route to knowledge” — at the expense of other theoretical endeavors such as, notably, literary theory. To the question of “whether disciplines like literary theory provide real understanding,” Professor Rosenberg’s answer is as unequivocal as it is withering: just like fiction, literary theory can be “fun,” but neither one qualifies as “knowledge.”

Though the works of authors like Sophocles, Dante or Shakespeare certainly provide us with enjoyment, can we really classify what they have produced as “fun”? Are we not giving the Bard and others short shrift when we treat their work merely as entertainment? Does their fictional art not offer insights into human nature as illuminating as many of those the physical sciences have produced?

As a literary theorist, I suppose I could take umbrage at the claim that my own discipline, while fun, doesn’t rise to the level of knowledge. But what I’d actually like to argue goes a little further. Not only can literary theory (along with art criticism, sociology, and yes, non-naturalistic philosophy) produce knowledge of an important and even fundamental nature, but fiction itself, so breezily dismissed in Professor Rosenberg’s assertions, has played a profound role in creating the very idea of reality that naturalism seeks to describe.

via ‘Quixote,’ Colbert and the Reality of Fiction – NYTimes.com.

college search, fit:  If I were a high school senior, I would be pulling my hair out.

Not too long ago in my office, I counseled a student distraught because the extensive spring break college tour from which he had just returned hadn’t yielded a discovery of “the right fit.” This seemed to be defined as El Dorado in college form, where everyone would share this young person’s worldview and interests—and the food was great. Each fall counselors have some tough talks with teenagers insistent that super-selective, name-brand colleges are the right fit for them, even if the admission profile of those colleges would suggest otherwise. We also see young people who earnestly struggle to identify the factors that will define fit for them, but who get derailed by “lifestyle” selling points of the colleges, like the ubiquitous gleaming athletic facility with climbing wall, touted in viewbooks and in admission officers’ seemingly interchangeable information sessions. From the student perspective, the Quest for Fit can be elusive, stressful, and frustrating.

There is a popular slogan posted in many college counseling offices: “College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.” This statement has become a mantra we repeat to families as an antidote to the media-driven obsession with rank, reputation, and prestige. The notion of “fit” or “match” once seemed to offer a metaphorical goal that would lead our conversations to more productive ground—to what my colleague Jeff Durso-Finley calls the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy, College Edition. What college attributes will contribute to your success and give you the support you need to meet your goals? What do you bring to a college community? What are some realistic parameters for your search? Increasingly, though, Fit showed up as a factor in student experiences that were counterproductive to the reflective, student-guided college search we want to support.

A few years ago, I was comparing notes with my colleagues Carl Ahlgren, of Baltimore’s Gilman School, and Jeff Durso-Finley, of The Lawrenceville School, in New Jersey, when we recognized the emergence of the “mid-sized urban school with great school spirit” (or MSUSWGSS) as the Holy Grail of Generation Fit. A by-product of our abuse of Fit, simultaneously one-size-fits-all and highly customized, this perfect college is academic, but fun, not too big, not too small. Its campus is, of course, reminiscent of Hogwarts; its dorms, spacious. The largest cross-section of our counselees described this mythic ideal as their “right fit,” usually assuming it was found in the far off lands where admit rates fall to single digits. Strange as it may seem, this is where Don Quixote rode into the conversation. Quixote’s tasks of knight-errantry are undertaken in the name of his beloved Dulcinea, of whom he proclaims, “all the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her.” In fact, he has never seen her and she may or may not even exist; he has heard her name and ascribed attributes; she sounds a lot like the elusive MSUSWGSS.

Our colleague Jennifer Delahunty, dean of admissions and financial aid at Kenyon College, once captured the frustration of a conversation about the whole business of Fit when she exclaimed, “Fit happens!” Happily, this tongue-in-cheek phrase nails it. We hope it can become the new counseling office motto, opening our kids to unexpected possibilities and a more authentic, empowering and reflective transition to the next phase of their lives.

via Head Count – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), media, President Obama, politics,  black/race card:  Don’t like or respect Joe Walsh … but I am really tired of the race card being thrown out … from both sides.

A recent crop of bad press has not stopped U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) from making his usual media rounds this week. On Wednesday, after being named among Congress’s thirteen “most corrupt” representatives, Walsh sat down with the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell to discuss the mainstream media’s alleged “protection” of President Obama, claiming the president’s race protects him from criticism.

Bozell, a conservative talk show host, brought up the Tea Party’s love for African American GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain before accusing the Obama administration of “playing class warfare and race warfare games.” He went on to say that the national media is “aiding and abetting” that agenda, and Walsh agreed, referring to the president as “this guy.”

“This guy pushed every one of the media’s buttons,” Walsh said. “He was liberal, he was different, he was new, he was black. Oh my God, it was the potpourri of everything. They are so vested in our first black president not being a failure that it’s going to be amazing to watch the lengths they go to protect him. [The media], I believe, will spout this racist line if some of their colleagues up here aren’t doing it aggressively enough. There is going to be a real desperation.”

via Joe Walsh: Media Will Protect Obama Because He Is Black (VIDEO).

Troy Davis, final words, death penalty:  Troy Davis maintained his innocence in killing of officer … Never a advocate of the death penalty, I can justify it in certain circumstances … but cases like this make more and more actively against it.

Georgia inmate Troy Davis maintained his innocence until the very end, saying he did not kill an off-duty officer in 1989.

Davis made his final statement as he was strapped to a gurney. He was executed at 11:08 p.m. Wednesday. Davis told the family of officer Mark MacPhail that he did not kill their son, father and brother.

He said the incident that happened that night was not his fault and he didn’t have a gun. Davis’ claims of innocence drew worldwide support from hundreds of thousands of people. Courts, however, consistently ruled against him.

via In his final words before execution, Troy Davis maintains his innocence in killing of officer – The Washington Post.

Facebook, social networks, media, marketing: Big Brother is watching …

Facebook, the Web’s biggest social network, is where you go to see what your friends are up to. Now it wants to be a force that shapes what you watch, hear, read and buy.

The company announced new features here on Thursday that could unleash a torrent of updates about what you and your Facebook friends are doing online: Frank is watching “The Hangover,” Jane is listening to Jay-Z, Mark is running a race wearing Nike sneakers, and so forth. That in turn, Facebook and its dozens of partner companies hope, will influence what Frank and Jane and Mark’s friends consume.

via Facebook’s New Strategy to Turn Eyeballs Into Influence – NYTimes.com.

Southern American English, Y’all: It may be ok to say y’all!!  And I never thought that there was a distinct name for my language … Southern American English!

DISCUSSIONS of Texas often turn to an exploration of the American South’s most distinctive regional locution, “y’all.” The common view, among outsiders, is that insofar as “y’all” is from the region specified, it’s also a bit sub-literate and redneck.

That’s a bit snooty. The fact is that “y’all” is pretty useful, as formal English doesn’t have a distinctly plural version of “you.” There is no “yous” (except in places like New York city and New Jersey, sometimes in the form of “youse guys”). This suggests that the referent is usually clear enough in context. But the existence of “y’all,” the related “you-all” and “all-y’all,” and other workarounds like “you guys” and “you lot” show that there is, in fact, room in the market for new second-person plural pronouns. Visitors to Texas typically realize the value of “y’all” within 48 hours.

via Southern American English: Y’all hear this | The Economist.

Navy SEALs, Commanding Officer Capt. Roger Herbert, Davidson College Alums:  Some Davidson friends and I were talking about the Navy SEALs the other night and one friend said that a classmate was head of the recruiting and training (Although he may be retired now.)  So I looked it  … learned a little about the SEALs, too.

In a courtyard known as the Grinder, more than 200 young men are well into a 90-minute, high-intensity workout. They’re dressed in white T-shirts and camouflage pants. A shirtless and heavily tattooed instructor shouts out orders. Other instructors pace up and down the aisles with megaphones — making sure that on push-ups elbows are bent past 90 degrees and chests are hitting the ground. These SEAL recruits are in the last week of “in doc” — the ramp-up to the first phase of formal SEAL training.

This is a scene that makes Commanding Officer Capt. Roger Herbert very happy. He oversees the recruiting and training of future SEALs.

“For the first time in years, I’ve got a full class out there,” he says. “We don’t usually see that. In fact, we have so many people in the class, they’re competing to get into first phase. This is a problem we’ve always wanted.”

It’s especially good news for the SEALs now. The Pentagon wants the force of just over 2,000 SEALs to expand by 500 by the year 2010. Herbert says it’s not going to be easy.

“It’s not just a spigot you can turn on and off,” he explains. “From the day that a guy gets here to the day that I give the guy his trident — the seal insignia — takes 59 weeks minimum, if he makes it through the first pass.”

The SEALs hope this mentoring will help recruits make it through the program, but Captain Herbert says the force will not compromise its standards.

“If we compromise our standards,” he says, “we are putting our troops in jeopardy. We are putting our mission in jeopardy.”

Herbert says the SEALs’ work during wartime is dangerous enough as is. He won’t tell parents of SEALs not to worry. Instead, he says this: “I can promise you he’ll be the best-trained man on the battlefield, the best-led man on the battlefield, the best-equipped man on the battlefield. But ultimately, he’s on the battlefield, and war is an uncertain thing.”

Herbert will disclose nothing about what SEAL commandos are doing overseas. He’ll only say they’re making contributions that Americans would be proud of. To date, 18 SEALs have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

via Navy SEALs Seek to Build Up Their Ranks : NPR.

Draw a Stickman, websites, random:  As one blogger said … what a great way to waste time. 🙂

careers, happiness, kith/kin:  My dad always whistled when he came in from work … he was a pretty happy guy.  He was a stock broker/bond peddler … #9 on the list: financial services sales agents.

Your therapist’s happiness level rises when you visit her couch. Firefighters are delighted to help you get Kitty out of a tree. Sins to confess to your priest or minister? He’s tickled to hear them.

Psychologist, firefighter, and clergy are included in the list of the “10 happiest jobs” based on data collected via the General Social Survey of the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago, reports the Christian Science Monitor. “Since experts say that social interaction drives job satisfaction, it makes sense that clergy are happiest of all,” Christian Science Monitor writes. “Social interaction and helping people [is a] combination that’s tough to beat for job happiness.”

This formula explains why teachers and physical therapists are on the list, but also included are autonomous, creative professions like author and artist, and labor-intensive jobs like operating engineer. “Operating engineers get to play with giant toys like bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes, scrapers, motor graders, shovels, derricks, large pumps, and air compressors,” says the Monitor. And, “with more jobs for operating engineers than qualified applicants, no wonder they are happy.” The full list follows:

1. Clergy

2. Firefighters

3. Physical therapists

4. Authors

5. Special education teachers

6. Teachers

7. Artists

8. Psychologists

9. Financial services sales agents

10. Operating engineers

Interestingly, many of the occupations that fall at the bottom of the job-satisfaction list involve information technology, which can create isolating work, notes Forbes:

1. Director of information technology

2. Director of sales and marketing

3. Product manager

4. Senior web developer

5. Technical specialist

6. Electronics technician

7. Law clerk

8. Technical support analyst

9. CNC machinist

10. Marketing manager

Where does your job fall on the happiness scale? Are you bolstered by the helping hand you extend to others or satisfied by what you create—or should you pack it all in and learn to drive a bulldozer?

via Whistle While You Work – The Sweet Pursuit – Utne Reader.

Apple, Samsung, competition, intellectual property:  Samsung … you look pretty stupid.

Consider the wall of apps in this photo of the company’s new shop-in-a-shop in Italy’s Centro Sicilia, which appears to feature not only the iOS icon for Apple’s mobile Safari browser, but the icon for the company’s iOS App Store — three instances of it.

Embarrassing, particularly given Apple’s allegations that Samsung “slavishly” copied the design of its iPhone and iPad devices. It’s hard to imagine there’s a reasonable explanation for this. Samsung phones don’t support iOS apps and I can’t imagine Apple is making the company a version of Safari.

Now it’s possible this was a display left over from some other event or product, but still.

via What Are Apple’s Icons Doing on Samsung’s Wall of Apps? – John Paczkowski – News – AllThingsD.

Jennifer Ehle,  “A Gifted Man”,  “Pride & Prejudice”:  Love Jennifer Ehle … I will add “A Gifted Man” to my dvr record list.

Many viewers will forever associate Jennifer Ehle with her career-making role as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice, the sumptuous adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel. But the 41-year old actress, the daughter of the actress Rosemary Harris and the writer John Ehle and now a mother of two, has been producing a steady body of work for both the stage and film, since she first donned a curly black wig to play Austen’s outspoken romantic heroine back in 1995. On Broadway, she won a Tony award in 2000 for The Real Thing and another in 2007 for The Coast of Utopia.

Recently, Ehle starred alongside her Darcy, Colin Firth, in The King’s Speech, though the two only shared one brief scene together; she played Lady Catelyn Stark in the original pilot for HBO’s Game of Thrones, but departed the role before it went to series. This month, she’s in Steven Soderbergh’s big-budget germaphobe’s-worst-nightmare flick, Contagion, in which she plays a CDC scientist, and next month she’ll appear as the wife of George Clooney’s politician character in The Ides of March.

Ehle also stars in CBS’s new supernatural/medical/personal journey drama, A Gifted Man, created by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) and launching tonight. She plays Anna Paul, the ghost of a free clinic doctor on a mission to improve the character of her arrogant ex-husband, Michael (Patrick Wilson), a brilliant neurosurgeon who has lost his way.

The Daily Beast sat down with Ehle, and in these excerpts we discussed A Gifted Man, why she left Game of Thrones, attachment parenting, why she’s never recognized on the street, and ghost sex.

Why did you decide to do a weekly series now?

Jennifer Ehle: I never thought in a million years that I would do a weekly series. I met Jonathan Demme when I’d auditioned for him for Rachel Getting Married. It hadn’t worked out, but I knew he liked me. Without Patrick being attached to this and Jonathan directing it I don’t think I would have even read it or looked at it. Then I just sort of started taking baby steps because if they’re both seeing something in this then maybe what I see is not an illusion.

via Jennifer Ehle on ‘A Gifted Man,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ Colin Firth – The Daily Beast.

New York City Ballet “Ocean’s Kingdom,” Sir Paul McCartney,  ballet, New York City Ballet, costume design,  Stella McCartney:  What a great father daughter collaboration.  Now I need to find a review of the performance … not that I know anything about ballet.

Sir Paul McCartney’s first ballet score has premiered in New York.

Peter Martins, master-in-chief of the New York City Ballet, said it has been one of the greatest collaborations in his career.

Speaking ahead of the premiere, he told BBC arts editor Will Gompertz that the musician was engaged in “every aspect” of the project.

The ballet, choreographed by Martins, tells the story of an underwater romance.

via BBC News – Sir Paul McCartney ‘delivered’ to the ballet world.

When Paul McCartney announced earlier this year that he would create an original score for the New York City Ballet’s “Ocean’s Kingdom,” he had the perfect costume designer in mind—daughter Stella McCartney! The limited-engagement ballet premiered last night at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Stella McCartney, Ocean's Kingdom

Stella McCartney’s Ballet Costumes: See the Sketches! : InStyle.com What’s Right Now.

R.E.M, music:  Love  REM … might actually have to  buy the set … christmas gift for me?

Recently disbanded alt-rock legends R.E.M. will release their first career-spanning retrospective Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 on November 15th. Few details of the set have emerged, but Rolling Stone has confirmed that the compilation will include a handful of tracks recorded this year after the completion of the band’s final album, Collapse Into Now.

Though R.E.M. have released a handful of compilations and hits collections over the years, the material on those sets has always been divided between their IRS Records years, which covers the Chronic Town EP on through Document in 1987, and their Warner Bros. catalog, which includes all of their material from Green through Collapse Into Now. Part Lies, presumably a multi-disc set to cover the sheer volume of the band’s hits, will be the first collection to provide an overview of their entire body of work.

via R.E.M. to Release Career-Spanning Hits Set in November | Music News | Rolling Stone.

“The Problem We All Live With” ,  Norman Rockwell,  paintings, civil rights paintings, kudos:  Since I was only 4 at the time, I never thought about how controversial “The Problem We All Live With” was.  Kudos to Norman Rockwell for using his work to portray this.

With the eyes of the nation this week on civil rights, let’s turn our focus to a painting inspired by a Louisiana event that astonished America when it came out 46 years ago.

In 1964, artist Norman Rockwell, the well-known illustrator of iconic images of the American dream, unveiled the first of his civil rights paintings, “The Problem We All Live With.” It’s very likely you have seen this painting that debuted in a two-page spread in Look magazine. It’s very different from most of Rockwell’s work.

The painting shows a full-length profile of a young black girl in a white dress and tennis shoes on a sidewalk. She’s sandwiched between two pairs of federal marshals. You can’t see the full bodies of the marshals – just from their shoulders to their shoes. Scrawled on a wall that serves as the painting’s background is the nasty word, “Nigger.” Scratched at another place is “K.K.K.” The only vivid color in the piece, marked mostly by its muted grays, tans and yellows, is the carcass of a red tomato. It lay on the ground, splattered just below where it hit the wall.

“The Problem” is a simple, but remarkable work. North Carolina artist Kenneth W. Laird, who did his master’s degree thesis on this and other paintings, calls Rockwell’s piece “arguably the single most important image ever done of an African American in illustration history.”

via Rockwell painting nudged nation by Andy Brack | LikeTheDew.com.

 “All My Children”, soap operas, end of an era, UGA Law School:  41 years … great memory of watching all my children at lunchtime as a first year law student and rushing to get to Louisville to see if Jenny married ???

The long-running soap opera aired its final episode on Friday, ending the show’s 41-year run.

The finale finished with a cliffhanger: It ended with most of the show’s characters gathered at the Chandler house for a party. J.R. lurked outside with a gun and fired it when the screen went black.

Whether anyone was shot could still be revealed – ABC licensed the show to production company Prospect Park, which hopes to keep the show going online and on other “emerging platforms.”

The series, which debuted in 1970, featured Susan Lucci as villain Erica Kane, and helped launch the careers of actors including Kelly Ripa and husband Mark Consuelos, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Josh Duhamel, Melissa Leo, Amanda Seyfried, Mischa Barton, Christian Slater and Michelle Trachtenberg.

ABC announced it was pulling the plug on the show back in April, along with the soap opera “One Life to Live,” which will end its run in January.

via “All My Children” ends after 41 years – Celebrity Circuit – CBS News.

“Buffett Rule”, Warren Buffet, taxes, politics:

WHAT percentage of your annual income do you pay in taxes — as much as Warren Buffett’s secretary? If not, what is the likelihood that you will soon?

Wealthy investors and their advisers pondered these questions this week, after President Obama included the “Buffett Rule” in the budget plan he sent to Congress. The rule stipulates that people who make more than $1 million a year should pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-class Americans.

The prospects of the rule ever becoming law are poor — there is strong opposition to it among Republicans in Congress. But some variation is possible. And that prompted David Scott Sloan, co-chairman of private wealth services at the law firm Holland & Knight, to spend his lunch hour earlier this week trying to calculate how much Mr. Buffett’s secretary would have to make to pay a higher percentage of her income than one of the richest men in the world. Assistants to high-powered financiers often make six-figure salaries, which put them in a top tax bracket (and presumably out of the middle class).

But Mr. Sloan gave up. “It’s so nonsensical,” he said. “It’s not rich, poor. It’s source of income.”

As Mr. Buffett explained last month, “What I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office.” His income comes mostly from his investments, which are taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. His secretary is most likely paid a salary and bonus, which would be taxed as ordinary income, at a rate that goes as high as 35 percent.

Yet behind the entertaining political theater, some complicated tax questions are being raised. Here is a look at a few.

via ‘Buffett Rule’ Is More Complicated Than Politics Suggest – NYTimes.com.

dictionaries, words, culture:   Outrage?  Don’t ususally think of a dictionary as evoking such strong emotions.

But it was widely denounced for what critics viewed as a lax admissions policy: it opened its columns to parvenus like “litterbug” and “wise up,” declined to condemn “ain’t,” and illustrated its definitions with quotations from down-market sources like Ethel Merman and Betty Grable. That was reason enough for The Times to charge that Merriam had “surrendered to the permissive school” and that the dictionary’s “say as you go” approach would surely accelerate the deterioration already apparent in the language. In The New Yorker, Dwight Macdonald wrote that the editors had “made a sop of the solid structure of English,” and in an Atlantic article called “Sabotage in Springfield,” Wilson Follett called the Third a “fighting document” that was “out to destroy . . . every obstinate vestige of linguistic punctilio, every surviving influence that makes for the upholding of standards.” (The dereliction that most appalled Follett was the Third’s refusal to reject “that darling of the advanced libertarians,” the use of “like” as a conjunction.)

Gove was naïve to imagine that the dictionary could be purged of all subjective value judgments. Yet the Third wasn’t the radical manifesto critics made it out to be. Mmes. Merman and Grable notwithstanding, its three most frequently cited sources were Shakespeare, the Bible and Milton. And the editors insisted — quaintly, by modern lights — on including only words that had been documented in respectable venues. In a letter responding to the Times editorial, Gove pointed out that “double-dome” had been used by John Mason Brown and Alistair Cooke, and that “finalize” could be found in “highly reputable places” like The New Republic and The Times itself.

Still, the controversy signaled a turning point in Ameri­can attitudes about language. It introduced the words “prescriptivist” and “descriptivist” into the cultural conversation, and fixed the battle lines for the ritualized squabble over standards that persists across media old and new. The keening indignation, the dire prophecies of imminent cultural disintegration — it’s easy to have the impression that little has changed over the past 50 years.

But the furor over Webster’s Third also marked the end of an era. It’s a safe bet that no new dictionary will ever incite a similar uproar, whatever it contains. The dictionary simply doesn’t have the symbolic importance it did a half-­century ago, when critics saw the Third as a capitulation to the despised culture of middlebrow, what Dwight Macdonald called the “tepid ooze of Midcult.” That was probably the last great eructation of cultural snobbery in American public life.

via When a Dictionary Could Outrage – NYTimes.com.

fads,  photo gallery, LIFE:  I really enjoy these LIFE photo galleries … What fads do you remember?  Duncan yo-yos …

Fads. They come and go. Some, like the hula hoop, have a kind of staying power, a certain quirkiness or kitsch that makes us love ’em even more as time goes on. Others definitely have their moment in the sun and then vanish, exiled to the cultural dustbin where so many pet rocks and beanie babies currently reside. In need of a fad refresher? Come take a scroll down memory lane.

via Freaky and Fabulous: A Tour of Fads – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

Mitch Daniels, GOP/Republican Party, 2012 Presidential Election, politics:  There is still time …

Daniels, a leading voice within the GOP on the need for radical fiscal reforms in government, disappointed legions of activists by ruling out his own bid for president this year. In town through Tuesday to promote his new book, “Keeping the Republic,” Daniels said he is hoping his views can remain in the conversation and guide the nomination process.

In his remarks Friday, Daniels said he did not watch Thursday night’s GOP debate in Orlando, nor any of the debates, for that matter. It’s his way of dodging a question he’s constantly asked: what he thinks of the current field.

Daniels did say that he would support the GOP nominee, whoever it turns out to be, and he qualified his view that there’s still time for someone else to jump in by saying, “I didn’t say there was a need.”

via Mitch Daniels: There’s still time for more GOP hopefuls – The Washington Post.

college applications, application essay, advice:  Another approach to the essay …

Stanford University’s application for admission includes a prompt directing students to write a letter to their future freshman roommates. The exercise is a good one for all applicants – regardless of their interest in Stanford – as a fun, fresh jumping-off point in the essay writing process, Rebecca Joseph, a professor of education at California State University, said on Friday.

“It’s all about loosening up,” said Ms. Joseph, who was on a panel called “Communicating Stories: Strategies to Help Students Write Powerful College Essays,” part of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors conference in New Orleans.

She quoted various students’ “Dear Roommate” pieces:

“If you want to borrow my music, just ask. If you want to borrow my underwear, just take them.”

“I eat ice cream with a fork, and I drink orange juice right after I brush my teeth just for the sour taste.”

“If you have anything other than a Dodgers poster on the wall, I will tear it down.”

“Using ‘I’ is scary,” Ms. Joseph said, but students must get comfortable with their first-person voice on paper in order to craft successful, resonant essays.

Erica Sanders, an admissions officer at the University of Michigan, stressed that writing style – something students may obsess over – is less important than “psychedelic” three-dimensionality and shows of authentic personality.

“We can fix that a student’s a comma fiend, that they don’t have verb-tense structure,” she said.

via Crafting an Application Essay That ‘Pops’ – NYTimes.com.

grammar, grammatical errors, lists:  Don’t want anybody to look dumb!

One thing blogging and good copywriting share is a conversational style, and that means it’s fine to fracture the occasional rule of proper grammar in order to communicate effectively. Both bloggers and copywriters routinely end sentences with prepositions, dangle a modifier in a purely technical sense, or make liberal use of the ellipsis when an EM dash is the correct choice—all in order to write in the way people actually speak.

But there are other mistakes that can detract from your credibility. While we all hope what we have to say is more important than some silly grammatical error, the truth is some people will not subscribe or link to your blog if you make dumb mistakes when you write, and buying from you will be out of the question.

Here are five mistakes to avoid when blogging and writing web copy.

via Five Grammatical Errors that Make You Look Dumb | Copyblogger.

alumni relations, technology:  

Alumni, analyzed: Collecting and analyzing data on alumni browsing habits—which newsletters they click on, how many times they visit the college’s Web site—can be a big help to fund raisers, write Peter Wylie and John Sammis on the CoolData Blog. They recommend that colleges push back against vendors who are reluctant to provide such data.

via Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Kate Middleton (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), princess school, The Princess Diaries, movies:  Sounds a great deal like Kate Middleton is a real life Mia Thermopolis.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Kate Middleton (ahem, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), is getting some private briefings on Britain’s august national institutions to prepare her for a lifetime of shaking hands royal duties.

It’s been remarkably quiet for Middleton in recent weeks, since she and her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, returned from their tour of Canada and the U.S. But behind the scenes, it transpires that experts in the areas of government, the arts and media have visited St James’s Palace to give the Duchess one-on-one tutorials.

A royal source said, “The Duchess is being briefed on how the State works, getting to know our national institutions better and learning more about organizations such as the arts, the media and the government. It is a process that will carry on for several months but is being done privately.”

NewsFeed was particularly taken by the notion that Middleton is “spending time carrying out private research of her own,” which one might call, you know, reading.

If this comes across as slightly extreme behavior, the Telegraph suggests that the Royal Family (or “The Firm,” as some refer to them) are keen to avoid the mistakes made in the case of William’s late mother, Princess Diana. According to the paper, she “told friends that no forethought had been given to her future role when she married the Prince of Wales, and that Palace staff ‘basically thought I could adapt to being Princess of Wales overnight.'”

To that end, William insisted that a support network be established to guide his bride through the potential pitfalls of public life. We have no doubt that she’ll do just fine, and hope that if we’re ever a player short for a pub quiz team, the Duchess will be available to take part.

via A Royal Education: Kate Middleton Goes to Princess School – TIME NewsFeed.

 Coca-Cola, memorabilia, collecting, UNC-CH, exhibits:  I want to the Stonehenge!

Stephen and Sandra Rich’s collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia began with just a few serving trays.

Now an unknown number of pieces whose dates of origin span more than 100 years make up one of the largest private collections in the country.

The couple, both UNC alumni, will display a portion of their artifacts beginning tonight at the Love House and Hutchins Forum in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola.

Stephen Rich worked as an executive with the Coca-Cola Co. at its headquarters in Atlanta for 30 years.

As an Atlanta native, Rich said he inherited his collecting gene from his mother.

“What company better reflects our country and the south?” he said.

The couple’s memorabilia — including a life-size cutout of Michael Jordan holding a Coke, a 1904 oval plate of the St. Louis World’s Fair and a miniature model of Stonehenge with Coca-Cola products in place of rocks — is housed in their downstairs den.

Stephen said every piece has a story.

via The Daily Tar Heel :: Coca-Cola memorabilia to be displayed on UNC campus.

20
Sep
11

9.19.2011 … ChristCare then relaxing to disappointing new season of tv

ChristCare, FPC, Believing the Impossible Before Breakfast:  FPC runs a ChristCare  small group ministry.  I belong to a multigenerational women’s group, and we are starting a book written by a former FPC minister in 1977.  We are reading Lee Stoffel’s Believing the Impossible Before Breakfast.  So far it is excellent and it challenges you to ask how much has changed in 30+ years.

How I Met Your Mother, new season, tv:  I hate to say this … but I think i like to watch the whole season in a short period.  I think I like the instant gratification!

autism, culture, community:  Great article about integrating autistic adults communities.

As planned, he arrived that morning with a portfolio of his comic strips and charcoal sketches, some of which were sold through a Chelsea gallery. Kate Stanton-Paule, the teacher who had set up the meeting, accompanied him. But his first words upon entering the office were, like most things involving Justin, not in the script.

“Hello, everybody,” he announced, loud enough to be heard behind the company president’s door. “This is going to be my new job, and you are going to be my new friends.”

As the employees exchanged nervous glances that morning in January 2010, Ms. Stanton-Paule, the coordinator of a new kind of “transition to adulthood” program for special education students at Montclair High School, wondered if they were all in over their heads.

Justin, who barely spoke until he was 10, falls roughly in the middle of the spectrum of social impairments that characterize autism, which affects nearly one in 100 American children. He talks to himself in public, has had occasional angry outbursts, avoids eye contact and rarely deviates from his favorite subject, animation.  His unabashed expression of emotion and quirky sense of humor endear him to teachers, therapists and relatives. Yet at 20, he had never made a true friend.

People with autism, whose unusual behaviors are believed to stem from variations in early brain development, typically disappear from public view after they leave school. As few as one in 10 hold even part-time jobs. Some live in state-supported group homes; even those who attend college often end up unemployed and isolated, living with parents.

But Justin is among the first generation of autistic youths who have benefited throughout childhood from more effective therapies and hard-won educational opportunities. And Ms. Stanton-Paule’s program here is based on the somewhat radical premise that with intensive coaching in the workplace and community — and some stretching by others to include them — students like Justin can achieve a level of lifelong independence that has eluded their predecessors.

“There’s a prevailing philosophy that certain people can never function in the community,” Ms. Stanton-Paule told skeptics. “I just don’t think that’s true.”

With some 200,000 autistic teenagers set to come of age in the United States over the next five years alone, little is known about their ability to participate fully in public life, or what it would take to accommodate them. Across the country, neighbors, employers, colleagues and strangers are warily interacting with young adults whose neurological condition many associate only with children.

via Autistic and Seeking a Place in an Adult World – NYTimes.com.

Arab Spring, diplomacy, international relations: Long term relationships are up in the air.  I had not thought of the long-term consequences of this move toward democracy in the middle east.

While the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring created new opportunities for American diplomacy, the tumult has also presented the United States with challenges — and worst-case scenarios — that would have once been almost unimaginable.

What if the Palestinians’ quest for recognition of a state at the United Nations, despite American pleas otherwise, lands Israel in the International Criminal Court, fuels deeper resentment of the United States, or touches off a new convulsion of violence in the West Bank and Gaza?

Or if Egypt, emerging from decades of autocratic rule under President Hosni Mubarak, responds to anti-Israeli sentiments on the street and abrogates the Camp David peace treaty, a bulwark of Arab-Israeli stability for three decades?

“We’re facing an Arab awakening that nobody could have imagined and few predicted just a few years ago,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a recent interview with reporters and editors of The New York Times. “And it’s sweeping aside a lot of the old preconceptions.”

It may also sweep aside, or at least diminish, American influence in the region. The bold vow on Friday by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to seek full membership at the United Nations amounted to a public rebuff of weeks of feverish American diplomacy. His vow came on top of a rapid and worrisome deterioration of relations between Egypt and Israel and between Israel and Turkey, the three countries that have been the strongest American allies in the region.

Diplomacy has never been easy in the Middle East, but the recent events have so roiled the region that the United States fears being forced to take sides in diplomatic or, worse, military disputes among its friends. Hypothetical outcomes seem chillingly present. What would happen if Turkey, a NATO ally that the United States is bound by treaty to defend, sent warships to escort ships to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s blockade, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to do?

via Tumult of Arab Spring Prompts Worries in Washington – NYTimes.com.

adoption scandal, China, U.S. ramifications:  Chills … I know many families who have adopted from China, and this literally sent chills down my spine.

On Aug. 5, this newspaper published a front-page article from China that contained chilling news for many adoptive parents: government officials in Hunan Province, in southern China, had seized babies from their parents and sold them into what the article called “a lucrative black market in children.”

The news, the latest in a slow trickle of reports describing child abduction and trafficking in China, swept through the tight communities of families — many of them in the New York area — who have adopted children from China. For some, it raised a nightmarish question: What if my child had been taken forcibly from her parents?

And from that question, inevitably, tumble others: What can or should adoptive parents do? Try to find the birth parents? And if they could, what then?

Scott Mayer, who with his wife adopted a girl from southern China in 2007, said the article’s implications hit him head on. “I couldn’t really think straight,” Mr. Mayer said. His daughter, Keshi, is 5 years old — “I have to tell you, she’s brilliant,” he said proudly — and is a mainstay of his life as a husband and a father.

“What I felt,” he said, “was a wave of heat rush over me.”

Like many adoptive parents, Mr. Mayer can recount the emotionally exhausting process he and his wife went through to get their daughter, and can describe the warm home they have strived to provide. They had been assured that she, like thousands of other Chinese girls, was abandoned in secret by her birth parents, left in a public place with a note stating her date of birth.

But as he started to read about the Hunan cases, he said, doubts flooded in. How much did he — or any adoptive parent — really know about what happened on the other side of the world? Could Keshi have been taken by force, or bought by the orphanage in order to reap the thousands of dollars that American parents like him donate when they get their children?

In his home in Montclair, N.J., Mr. Mayer rushed upstairs to re-examine the adoption documents.

According to the news reports, the children were removed from their families when they were several months old, then taken to the orphanages. “The first thing I did was look in my files,” he said, speaking in deliberative, unsparing sentences. According to his paperwork, his daughter had been found on a specific date, as a newborn.

He paused to weigh the next thought.

“Now, could that have been faked?” he said. “Perhaps. I don’t know. But at least it didn’t say she was 3 months old when she was left at the orphanage.”

According to the State Department, 64,043 Chinese children were adopted in the United States between 1999 and 2010, far more than from any other country. Child abduction and trafficking have plagued other international adoption programs, notably in Vietnam and Romania, and some have shut down to stop the black market trade.

via China’s Adoption Scandal Sends Chills Through Families in U.S. – NYTimes.com.

fashion, copies: I always think it interesting how fast they copy … Who Wore it First? – Fall Fashion Trends 2011 – Fashion – InStyle

PostSecret, PostSecret App:  There was something really fun about checking PostSecret on Sunday … I think this will take away from that.  Although I do think more will post.

I started PostSecret six years ago in Washington, DC by passing out postcards to strangers and inviting them to illustrate a secret and mail it to me. Quickly, word of the project spread virally around the world. Today I have a pile of anonymous secrets taller than me – more than 600,000.

Now I’m excited about the new PostSecret App that allows users to discover secrets from their cities or schools, create and share anonymous secrets with their phone, and connect with like-minded people. In this special collection made for Huffington Post readers, I have included five provocative secrets mailed to me on postcards and five secrets shared with the new PostSecret App, and a trailer that explains how the app works.

via Frank Warren: EXCLUSIVE: New PostSecret Post Cards.

Former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer – Medal Of Honor Recipient, White House, White House home brew, President Obama: I thought it pretty gutsy that Mr. Meyer asked for the face time.  And I want some White House Honey Blonde!

Talk about an all-American beer.

Barack Obama and the White House chefs have been brewing beer for quite some time, and on Wednesday, the president shared some of the White House Honey Ale with a Medal of Honor recipient.

Former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer had requested to share a beer with the president before the ceremony, CBS reports.

The Honey Ale is the first beer brewed in the White House, but Obama is not the first president to take on the hobby, according to historians.

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were brewing aficionados, but Jefferson never made beer at the White House, and Washington, of course, never lived there, White House curator Bill Allman told NPR.

Early reports of the White House-brewed beer began circulating after Obama offered it to guests guests during the Super Bowl this year, CBS reports. The beer was also consumed on St. Patty’s Day.

Obama Foodorama, a blog focusing on the administration’s food and nutrition initiatives, reports that the Honey Ale isn’t the only beer that’s been brewed by the chefs. A White House Honey Blonde and a White House Honey Porter have also been created.

The Obamas paid for all of the brewing equipment out of pocket, according to CBS.

The casual meeting between Obama and Meyer didn’t end without controversy, though.

White House staffers Tweeted a photo of the two men talking over drinks Wednesday, which elicited both sincere praise and snarky remarks about the president, the Washington Post points out.

Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor on Thursday for his service in Afghanistan.

via White House Brews Its Own Beer; Obama Shares A Drink With Dakota Meyer, Medal Of Honor Recipient.

writing, tipsUncreative Writing – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

House Speaker John Boehner, politics, democrats v republicans, jobs creation/deficit reduction:  Irony here …

House Speaker John Boehner just gave a speech outlining the GOP’s ideas for jobs creation and its prescriptions for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. I thought I’d highlight two sentences from it. There was this:

If we want to create a better environment for job creation, politicians of all stripes can leave the “my way or the highway” philosophy behind.

And there was also this:

Tax increases, however, are not a viable option for the Joint Committee.

The juxtaposition of those two sentences perfectly encapsulate the last two and a half years of United States political history. And who knows — it may end up encapsulating what’s left of Obama’s term, too.

via Two sentences from John Boehner’s speech – The Plum Line – The Washington Post.

travel, guidebooks, NYC, LOL: Sounds like fun … I wonder how long it takes.

The Italian art house publishing group Log607 is testing conventional wisdom that guidebooks should be fact-based with a series of fictional-narrative guides that force tourists to go on treasure hunts. These “WhaiWhai” guides have been popular in Italy for a few years now, but had not been released for any city outside the boot until this week when New York: The Pegleg hit bookstores.

The book concerns the legend of a magical pegleg that once belonged to Peter Stuyvesant, and asks readers — who might better be described as participants — to go to different Manhattan landmarks in search for “secrets.” Each page of each guidebook is cut into thirds and participants are given codes that tell them how to put a page together whenever they correctly solve a puzzle by identifying a detail about New York (a la the number of women depicted on a Broadway Theater’s facade).

In an effort to determine whether treasure hunt-style guidebooks might become a fad, HuffPost Travel editors Paul Brady and Andrew Burmon took to the streets and tried to uncover the secrets of the pegleg. The experiment went swimmingly, providing our stand-in travelers with an excellent excuse to get out of the office and wander around downtown Manhattan. They made some interesting discoveries along the way, but also found this creative guidebook model a bit of an uneasy compromise.

The book is clearly intended to create opportunities for serendipity and exploration while also being very opinionated about where travelers should go next.

via New York: The Pegleg: A Guidebook That’s Actually A Treasure Hunt (VIDEO).

Tim Gruber, high school sports, high school cross-country, kudos:  Kudos, Tim Gruber!

Tim Gruber won the 13th annual Cannon Invitational Cross Country Invitational boys’ race on Saturday, Sept. 17, on his home 5K course at Cannon. Lake Norman Charter School won the team title with 73 points, edging North Raleigh Christian with 77.

via Gruber wins Cannon Invite, other local runners shine | Sports.

French macarons, cookbooks:  I want to master French macarons! Macarons – Anthropologie.com.

reform education, great schools revolution:

Why now? One answer is the sheer amount of data available on performance, not just within countries but between them. In 2000 the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) at the OECD, a rich-country club, began tracking academic attainment by the age of 15 in 32 countries. Many were shocked by where they came in the rankings. (PISA’s latest figures appear in table 1.) Other outfits, too, have been measuring how good or bad schools are. McKinsey, a consultancy, has monitored which education systems have improved most in recent years.

Technology has also made a difference. After a number of false starts, many people now believe that the internet can make a real difference to educating children. Hence the success of institutions like America’s Kahn Academy (see article). Experimentation is also infectious; the more governments try things, the more others examine, and copy, the results.

Above all, though, there has been a change in the quality of the debate. In particular, what might be called “the three great excuses” for bad schools have receded in importance. Teachers’ unions have long maintained that failures in Western education could be blamed on skimpy government spending, social class and cultures that did not value education. All these make a difference, but they do not determine outcomes by themselves.

The idea that good schooling is about spending money is the one that has been beaten back hardest. Many of the 20 leading economic performers in the OECD doubled or tripled their education spending in real terms between 1970 and 1994, yet outcomes in many countries stagnated—or went backwards. Educational performance varies widely even among countries that spend similar amounts per pupil. Such spending is highest in the United States—yet America lags behind other developed countries on overall outcomes in secondary education. Andreas Schleicher, head of analysis at PISA, thinks that only about 10% of the variation in pupil performance has anything to do with money.

Many still insist, though, that social class makes a difference. Martin Johnson, an education trade unionist, points to Britain’s “inequality between classes, which is among the largest in the wealthiest nations” as the main reason why its pupils underperform. A review of reforms over the past decade by researchers at Oxford University supports him. “Despite rising attainment levels,” it concludes, “there has been little narrowing of longstanding and sizeable attainment gaps. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds remain at higher risks of poor outcomes.” American studies confirm the point; Dan Goldhaber of the University of Washington claims that “non-school factors”, such as family income, account for as much as 60% of a child’s performance in school.

via Reforming education: The great schools revolution | The Economist.

Ted Williams, heroes, baseball:   “the greatest achievement in 20th-century hitting” and “a lesson to all who value the best in human possibility.”

In an essay within the 1994 book “Ted Williams: A Portrait in Words and Pictures,” the Harvard paleontologist and popular science writer Stephen Jay Gould called Williams’s 1941 season “the greatest achievement in 20th-century hitting” and “a lesson to all who value the best in human possibility.”

via Ted Williams’s .406 Average Is More Than a Number – NYTimes.com.

John Maynard Keynes, economics, graphics:  Very interesting article … love the graphic!  Winston Churchill of economics!

FOR someone who’s been dead for 65 years, John Maynard Keynes has amazing presence. Open a paper, click on a blog or TV, and, voilà, like Waldo, he’s everywhere. The British economic oracle — whose boyhood nickname Snout should tell you that a pretty face isn’t why he’s hot — gets more Google hits than Leonardo DiCaprio. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas apparently got so fed up with the old scene stealer that he interrupted a recent Republican debate to flash his rivals the news that Keynes was, well, deceased.

For some, Keynes is the hero who rescued the West from the Great Depression, for others the villain to blame for the current mess. To me, he’s neither, but rather the Winston Churchill of economics, radiating optimism when things looked bleakest, never so happily engaged as in a national or global emergency.

The new, cheerful social science that Marshall pioneered and Keynes and others innovated was a genuine revolution in human thinking that changed the lives of everyone on the globe. What would Keynes say if he were, say, to appear on CNBC tomorrow? That we’ve overcome a dozen challenges as bad or worse, that the tenfold rise in standards since Jane Austen’s lifetime shows that we’ve done more things right than wrong, and that the “apparatus of the mind” — which demands that we let facts change our minds, engage our critics and see common ground — is infinitely more helpful in a crisis than ideology or raw emotion.

And what would Keynes do now? Go shopping, I suspect. This was the “incorrigible optimist,” his biographer Robert Skidelsky relates, who made a big bet on the United States recovery in 1936 and hung on when it collapsed again in 1937. It may have looked like midnight but Keynes knew that morning would come again.

via John Maynard Keynes – His sunny optimism shaped economists’ approach to depression. – NYTimes.com.

Republican governors, politics, republican v. democrat:  Governors are a different breed from Members of Congress and their politics can vary much more … think Romney and Perry.

But the four Republicans’ uncompromising and unapologetic stance marks them out, says Carolyn Fiddler of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, an outfit dedicated to getting more Democrats elected to state legislatures. She notes that they have all attempted to cut taxes even as they slash spending. Mr Kasich’s budget compounded an $8 billion two-year shortfall by eliminating Ohio’s inheritance tax and pressing ahead with a promised income-tax cut that had been delayed for two years. Mr Walker piled $200m in tax cuts onto a $3.2 billion gap in Wisconsin. Mr Scott, who already needed to find cuts of $3.7 billion to make ends meet, proposed $2 billion in tax cuts, but was rebuffed by the legislature.

All this has made the four heroes in Republican circles. Mr Christie is constantly swatting away pleas that he run for president. Mr Walker is spoken of as vice-presidential material. Their pugnaciousness has energised donors and activists. But it has not endeared them to the general electorate. Polls over the summer put Mr Christie’s approval rating at 47%, Mr Walker’s at 45%, Mr Kasich’s at 36% and Mr Scott’s at 35%—especially dismal numbers for the three who have been in office for less than a year.

It is a standard tactic to get unpleasant tasks out of the way at the beginning of a four-year term, in the hope that anger will have faded by election time. It worked for Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, another swing state. But Messrs Kasich and Walker, in particular, seem to have stirred unusually fierce opposition.

via Republican governors: The right’s brave swingers | The Economist.

2012 Primaries, media primary coverage:  Interesting article – should national media cover all the candidates … is there a journalistic obligation?

JONATHAN BERNSTEIN makes an excellent point:

The other thing that’s important to remember is that there is no actual good reason for either parties or the press to be fair to candidates. They should be fair to voters, either individually or as they exist in organized groups and constituencies. But candidates? Nope.

There’s no reason at all why Herman Cain or Rick Santorum “deserves” to be covered. Ron Paul is different: he has no chance to win the Republican nomination, but he has a fervent following of supporters nationwide and is a national political figure in his own right amongst the small but ideologically influential libertarian constituency. But for the rest of this year’s vanity candidates, I’d actually go further than Mr Bernstein does: the press is doing the public a disservice by covering them. The mainstream media’s job ought to be filtering out the irrelevant noise for busy voters so that they can process the information they need to have in order to vote. To the extent major press organs fail to filter out irrelevant noise, they’re not doing their jobs.

via Primary coverage: The media should be fair to voters, not candidates | The Economist.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.),  2012 Election:  Everything may be worse under Obama, but the republicans are doing everything to lose the election in my opinion.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that “everything is worse” under President Barack Obama.

“This is our election to lose,” Graham told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked for his assessment of the GOP candidates and the 2012 race.

“President Obama has done everything he knows how to do to beat himself. The reason people have little confidence in President Obama’s policies, they’re just not working. Everything is worse: 2 million people unemployed after he took office. Gas prices are 100 percent higher. Home values are down. Debt is up by 35 percent”

“There seems to be no relief on the horizon,” Graham said. “He keeps proposing the same old things.”

Graham’s remarks ran counter to the perspective offered earlier in the program by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) who was optimistic about Obama’s reelection prospects.

“As I listen to the Republican presidential nominee candidates come forward and spot their ideas and bow and genuflect to the Tea Party and their agenda, I remember the Tea Party is not very popular in America,” Durbin told Crowley.

“I don’t think people like that style of politics.”

via Lindsey Graham: 2012 Election Is GOP’s To Lose, ‘Everything Is Worse’ Under Obama.

Is Marriage for White People?, books, culture:  Interesting question.

The unmarried black woman is a figure of cultural fascination these days. Cable news specials, popular books by Steve Harvey and T. D. Jakes, the films of Tyler Perry, and newspaper articles about single black women and their children born out of wedlock send waves of dismay through the American public. The explanations offered for this phenomenon tend to be of two sorts: prurient accounts of black male promiscuity and irresponsibility, or caricatures of aggressive and unreasonable black women. It is rare for the popular media to include careful social or historical analyses. Rather, they are often purveyors of a moral panic presented without root or reason.

Upon reading the title “Is Marriage for White People?” I assumed the book, by the Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks, would follow in this trend. But I was wrong. Banks doesn’t offer a jeremiad about the decline of black family values in the way of so many others who do little more than regurgitate Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” which described black family structure as “a tangle of pathology.” Refreshingly, Banks offers a well-researched and probing discussion of why marriage rates are so low among black Americans.

In clean and efficient prose, Banks presents a lucid picture of romantic life in black America. Moreover, he disposes of the mythology that the failure to marry is primarily an underclass phenomenon, turning his attention especially to the lives of middle-class black women. He has set out to answer the question: Why are black women “half as likely as white women to be married, and more than three times as likely as white women never to marry”?

via Is Marriage for White People? — By Ralph Richard Banks — Book Review – NYTimes.com.

message bottle, random:  I always wanted to put a message in a bottle … nice story.

The clear glass bottle was found Thursday by Navy Petty Officer Jon Moore during a beach cleanup at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai island.

The bottle contained four origami cranes — symbols of peace in Japan — as well as a photo of Arikawa’s elementary school class and a note dated March 25, 2006, and signed by Arikawa saying she wanted it to be “a graduation memory.”

News of the bottle’s recovery reconnected more than a dozen of her old classmates, now studying at different high schools, and their elementary school homeroom teacher for a reunion Saturday. Arikawa says she now wants to further expand the circle of friendship.

via Japanese girl thanks US sailor in Hawaii for finding message bottle, calls it a ‘miracle’ – The Washington Post.

GOP, “Right to Death Party”, 2012 Presidential Debates:  I too was shocked by the crowd’s response … another example of the GOP going down the wrong rabbit hole.

I’ve watched the two Republican Party debates, and something weird is going on in the audience.

When moderator Brian Williams said to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “Your state has executed 234 Death Row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times,” the audience APPLAUDED.

Applause at the number of people executed in Texas?

When Ron Paul was asked by Wolf Blitzer about health insurance, and how an uninsured man who had a medical emergency should be treated, the Texas Congressman said:

“That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks.”

The audience cheered.

Paul continued: “This whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody …”

“Are you saying that society should just let him die?” Blitzer asked.

There were cheers from the audience of “Yeah!”

How about these guys – applauding even before Ron Paul answered the question!

Now, I haven’t been to church in years, but I seem to remember the question of “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

And something about “Thou shall not kill.”

So how is it that NOT ONE single candidate – some of whom claim their spirituality has been a guiding force in their politics – how could they not challenge the applause, and maybe suggest that their invited audience take a step back from the bloodlust?

I totally take it for granted that one of the founding principles of the United States is freedom to express an opinion. But having said that, regardless of party affiliation, I can’t imagine APPLAUDING at the idea of death – either mandated by lethal injection, or from lack of medical insurance.

via GOP: The “Right to Death Party”? – CBS News.

CU- Boulder, kith/kin: disappointing … CU falls in national rankings but still holds high position | CU Independent.

Bob Turner (R-NY), Anthony Weiner, LOL: I just laughed … But Mrs. Weiner has a point.

Newly-elected Republican Bob Turner officially took over Anthony Weiner’s House seat on Thursday. But he won’t literally be taking over his chair.

That’s because Turner’s wife Peggy apparently wants Weiner’s office chair, the one the embattled former Congressman tweeted lewd pictures from, removed from the office.

Turner took over Weiner’s old office, suite 2104, in the Rayburn House Office Building last week. Upon moving in, they found some choice leftovers from the office’s prior inhabitants. “Weiner left his toothbrush behind! It literally says ‘Anthony’ on it,” an insider tells the New York Post.

This prompted Peggy Turner to ask for a thorough sanitization of the entire space. The insider notes Mrs. Turner was discussing replacing the office chair and carpeting, in addition to having the place professionally cleaned.

But the 70-year-old new congressman, a retired television executive from Queens, was decidedly mum about the decision. “That’s not the most important thing I have to deal with,” he said. Turner, a first-time politician, is just learning the ropes of Congress. He’s taking over Weiner’s seat just hours after winning Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 9th District.

via Turner Takes Over: Anthony Weiner’s Old Office Gets a Scrubdown – TIME NewsFeed.

America’s Favorite Cities, photography, LIFE:  I agree … Chicago has the most beautiful skyline!

America’s Favorite Cities With Travel + Leisure

From sea to shining sea, the United States of America has the best, brightest, and most exciting cities in the world. But with its bounty of metropolitan riches, it’s sometimes hard to decide between destinations when you’re up for a domestic trip. Thank the travel-ready gods, then, for Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual round-up of Americans’ favorite U.S. cities in various categories. T+L editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod recently sat down with LIFE to give readers an early scoop on this year’s winners, including the always-entertaining T+L look at America’s most and least attractive people.

via America’s Favorite Cities – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

17
Sep
11

9.17.2011 … so fall came yesterday … but not that perfect fall day … dreary … and still dreary today … no pressure, but Senior Day with the Molls at Davidson College :)

Davidson College, Davidson College Senior Day, college search, parenting, kith/kin, kudos.  Kudos to Davidson for a very well done Senior Day.  If you are considering going the next one is in October.  Well worth your child’s and your time.

LOL: The original has been taken down … so glad someone posted it on their blog!

yoga mat for sale. used once. – $1 (bellevue)

Yoga mat for sale. Used once at lunch hour class in December 2009. Usage timeline as follows:

11:45a
Register for hot yoga class. Infinite wisdom tells me to commit to 5 class package and purchase a yoga mat. I pay $89.74. Money well spent, I smugly confirm to myself.

11:55a
Open door to yoga room. A gush of hot dry air rushes through and past me. It smells of breath, sweat and hot. Take spot on floor in back of room next to cute blonde. We will date.

11:57a
I feel the need to be as near to naked as possible. This is a problem because of the hot blonde to my left and our pending courtship. She will not be pleased to learn that I need to lose 30 pounds before I propose to her.

11:58a
The shirt and sweats have to come off. I throw caution to the wind and decide to rely on my wit and conditioning to overcome any weight issues my fiancée may take issue with. This will take a lot of wit and conditioning.

11:59a
Begin small talk with my bride to be. She pretends to ignore me but I know how she can be. I allow her to concentrate and stare straight ahead and continue to pretend that I don’t exist. As we finish sharing our special moment, I am suddenly aware of a sweat moustache that has formed below my nose. This must be from the all the whispering between us.

12:00p
Instructor enters the room and ascends her special podium at the front of the room. She is a slight, agitated Chinese woman. She introduces me to the class and everyone turns around to greet me just as I decide to aggressively adjust my penis and testes packed in my Under Armor. My bride is notably unfazed.

12:02p
Since I do have experience with Hot Yoga (4 sessions just 5 short years ago) I fully consider that I may be so outstanding and skilled that my instructor may call me out and ask me to guide the class. My wife will look on with a sparkle in her eye. We will make love after class.

12:10p
It is now up to 95 degrees in the room. We have been practicing deep breathing exercises for the last 8 minutes. This would not be a problem if we were all breathing actual, you know, oxygen. Instead, we are breathing each other’s body odor, expelled carbon dioxide and other unmentionables. (Don’t worry, I’ll mention them later.)

12:26p
It is now 100 degrees and I take notice of the humidity, which is hovering at about 90%. I feel the familiar adorning stare of my bride and decide to look back at her. She appears to be nauseated. I then realize that I forgot to brush my teeth prior to attending this class. We bond.

12:33p
It is now 110 degrees and 95% humidity. I am now balancing on one leg with the other leg crossed over the other. My arms are intertwined and I am squatting. The last time I was in this position was 44 years ago in the womb, but I’m in this for the long haul. My wife looks slightly weathered dripping sweat and her eyeliner is streaming down her face. Well, “for better or worse” is what we committed to so we press on.

12:40p
The overweight Hispanic man two spots over has sweat running down his legs. At least I think its sweat. He is holding every position and has not had a sip of water since we walked in. He is making me look bad and I hate him.

12:44p
I consider that if anyone in this room farted that we would all certainly perish.

12:52p
It is now 140 degrees and 100% humidity. I am covered from head to toe in sweat. There is not a square millimeter on my body that is not slippery and sweaty. I am so slimy that I feel like a sea lion or a maybe sea eel. Not even a bear trap could hold me. The sweat is stinging my eyeballs and I can no longer see.

12:55p
This room stinks of asparagus, cloves, tuna and tacos. There is no food in the room. I realize that this is an amalgamation of the body odors of 30 people in a 140 degree room for the last 55 minutes. Seriously, enough with the asparagus, ok?

1:01p
140 degrees and 130% humidity. Look, bitch, I need my space here so don’t get all pissy with me if I accidentally sprayed you with sweat as I flipped over. Seriously, is that where this relationship is going? Get over yourself. We need counseling and she needs to be medicated. Stat!

1:09p
150 degrees and cloudy. And hot. I can no longer move my limbs on my own. I have given up on attempting any of the commands this Chinese chick is yelling out at us. I will lay sedentary until the aid unit arrives. I will buy this building and then have it destroyed.
I lose consciousness.

1:15p
I have a headache and my wife is being a selfish bitch. I can’t really breathe. All I can think about is holding a cup worth of hot sand in my mouth. I cannot remember what an ice cube is and cannot remember what snow looks like. I consider that my only escape might be a crab walk across 15 bodies and then out of the room. I am paralyzed, and may never walk again so the whole crab walk thing is pretty much out.

1:17p
I cannot move at all and cannot reach my water. Is breathing voluntary or involuntary? If it’s voluntary, I am screwed. I stopped participating in the class 20 minutes ago. Hey, lady! I paid for this frickin class, ok?! You work for me! Stop yelling at everyone and just tell us a story or something. It’s like juice and cracker time, ok?

1:20p
It is now 165 degrees and moisture is dripping from the ceiling. The towel that I am laying on is no longer providing any wicking or drying properties. It is actually placing additional sweat on me as I touch it. My towel reeks. I cannot identify the smell but no way can it be from me. Did someone spray some stank on my towel or something?

1:30p
Torture session is over. I wish hateful things upon the instructor. She graciously allows us to stay and ‘cool down’ in the room. It is 175 degrees. Who cools down in 175 degrees? A Komodo Dragon? My wife has left the room. Probably to throw up.

1:34p
My opportunity to escape has arrived. I roll over to my stomach and press up to my knees. It is warmer as I rise up from ground level – probably by 15 degrees. So let’s conservatively say it’s 190. I muster my final energy and slowly rise. One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. Towards the door. Towards the door.

1:37p
The temperature in the lobby is 72 degrees. Both nipples stiffen to diamond strength and my penis begins to retract into my abdomen from the 100 degree temp swing. I can once again breathe though so I am pleased. I spot my future ex wife in the lobby. We had such a good thing going but I know that no measure of counseling will be able to unravel the day’s turmoil and mental scaring.

1:47p
Arrive at Emerald City Smoothie and proceed to order a 32 oz beverage. 402 calories, 0 fat and 14 grams of protein — effectively negating any caloric burn or benefit from the last 90 minutes. I finish it in 3 minutes and spend the next 2 hours writing this memoir.

3:47p
Create Craigslist ad while burning final 2 grams of protein from Smoothie and before the “shakes” consume my body.

4:29p
Note to self – check car for missing wet yoga towel in am.

via Hilarious Yoga Mat for Sale Ad on Craigslist.

apps, book app, free, lists:  Number 8 seems inconsitent with the rest of the list. 🙂

iBooks was the most popular free app in the Apple App Store this week, according to research from AppData, Inside Network’s data service that tracks app and developer leaderboards.

Explore these 20 free apps and find out what kind of literary apps succeed in this crowded marketplace. To prepare for Mediabistro’s upcoming Publishing App Expo on December 7-8, we spotlight the top grossing book apps, the top paid Android books apps and the most popular free apps every week.

Below, we’ve listed the top free iOS apps of the week–linking to App Data’s research about each individual app, including historical charts, developer information and download details.

via Top 20 Free Book Apps of the Week – eBookNewser.

President Obama, 2012 Presidential Election, Jewish vote:  Jews are a very small part of the overall population … so why is this a big deal.  Article is right; he has a people problem.

Polling and election results suggest a rising Jewish rebellion against the president. But a closer look reveals that these voters are not behaving any differently from other segments of the electorate.

In the most recent Gallup polling, Obama’s disapproval rating with Jewish voters rose from 32 to 40 percent, and his approval rating sank from 60 to 55 percent.

Viewed one way, these numbers demonstrate that Obama is still more popular with Jews than with the country at-large. Seen another they point to Obama having a serious problem with a loyal constituency.

Clearly, Republicans think its the latter. They point to the president’s controversial May speech on Mideast peace, in which he suggested that an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians should be based on 1967 boundary lines, as well as past rebukes of Israel from Obama.

Then came Tuesday’s special election to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) in what by all rights is a solidly Democratic seat. Palestinian statehood became a wedge issue in this district, which has the highest percentage of Orthodox Jewish voters in the country.

But Obama’s position vis-a-vis Israel is not so clear cut. The administration is already planning to veto any United Nations Security Council resolution to recognize Palestinian statehood. Last week, the White House intervened to ensure personnel at the Israeli embassy in Egypt were evacuated safely after protesters attacked the compound — a move that won praise from American Jewish groups.

While the 9th district of New York, where Republican Bob Turner defeated Democrat David Weprin on Tuesday, is only about one-sixth Orthodox, that still makes it the most Orthodox district in the country. Many Turner voters interviewed about the race said it was actually Weprin’s support of same-sex marriage in New York State, not Obama’s policy on Israel, that energized them.

“The Orthodox community is growing faster than any other element of the Jewish community, and what New York’s District 9 proves is when sufficiently motivated they will come out to vote,” said David Pollock of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

So with the growing and more-conservative Orthodox community and Republicans determined to make Israel an issue, Obama might have to worry some about Jewish voters in 2012. But those concerns seem minor when compared to his problems in the rest of the electorate.

via Obama has a people problem, not a Jewish problem – The Washington Post.

Goodreads, book recommendations service : Anybody use Goodreads …  I never post … but do check when a friend posts.

Goodreads is now the Netflix of book recommendations, or at least the company thinks so, seeing as its CEO Otis Chandler said exactly that in a press release announcing Goodreads’ new recommendation engine yesterday.

It’s about time. Founded in 2006, Goodreads has gathered nearly six million users, a plump following for a niche social site, but while six million is a respectable number, the nature of Goodreads’ service requires these users to be fairly active to get much out of it. To grow the audience, Goodreads needed to appeal to a more passive audience. Some may call these people lazy. I prefer to think of them as busy. And yes, I’m one of them.

via Finally, Goodreads Launches Book Recommendations Service – Techland – TIME.com.

‘Life Hacks’, LOL:  OK … new name for redneck solutions …life hacks sound nicer.

Once reserved for computer programmer tricks and shortcuts, “Life Hack” has become a great way to describe the clever/brilliant/ridiculous solutions to everyday dilemmas we see posted online. It’s hard to describe what a life hack really looks like, but let’s just say you know it when you see it.

Take these 17 pictures below, for example. Haven’t you ever struggled to fill a large bucket with water when only a small sink is available? Boom, dust pan solves the problem. Or have you ever wondered how to cool your beer when the refrigerator’s on the fritz? Boom, air conditioner to the rescue.

We’re not saying all these would-be inventors are bound for “As Seen On TV” deals, but a few of these solutions are pretty brilliant.

As for the rest, we’ll let you decide if these “hacks” are truly innovative or just accidents waiting to happen.

via 17 Crazy/Brilliant ‘Life Hacks’ (PHOTOS).

Foursquare, Foursquare city ‘badge’ , Chicago: FourSquare … why do it when you can do the same thing on FaceBook … what am I missing.

Chicago will become the first major city with its own Foursquare city “badge”—earned after “checking in” at five of 20 designated neighborhood attractions—under a tech-savvy plan unveiled Friday to coincide with Social Media Week.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel billed the so-called “Windy City badge” as a way to promote small businesses, keep tabs on the social scene and give people a “greater sense of intimacy” that’s sorely lacking in today’s over-worked, multi-tasking world.

“We today as individuals who are very wired don’t have a level of intimacy,” the mayor told college students from across the Midwest at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood.

“This is an attempt to give us that intimacy and relationship and community building we can’t get any other way as we all get siloed off in our own individual worlds.”

Emanuel, who has his own social media director, will be “checking in” on Foursquare as he hop-scotches across the city.

But in a rare moment of candor, the 51-year-old mayor acknowledged that he was venturing into uncharted waters.

via Chicago checks in for Foursquare city ‘badge’ – Chicago Sun-Times.

Apple, iPhone 5:  In case your interested … Apple’s iPhone 5: delays, cases, Sprint, NFC and more – The Washington Post.

writing, editing, tips:  some more good advice …

For last year’s boot camp, Jan Winburn, CNN.com’s senior editor for enterprise, discussed five questions all writers should ask themselves as they approach each story: Through whose eyes are you telling the story? Who has something at stake? What’s going to happen next? What’s the story really about? Where should the story begin?

If you haven’t read her essay, do it now — it’s chock full of great advice. A key item to note is the difference between reporting and storytelling. A basic news story reports the facts — who, what, when, where, why (the so-called “5 W’s”) and how. A great story gives readers an experience, puts them in the middle of the action, with a character, timeline, scene, motive — all the elements of any great work. Before you start, know what kind of story you’re planning to tell.

via Write it down, make it better: Editing tips – CNN.com

How to edit your way to a can’t-miss story – CNN.com.

cities, urban development, pop-ups, Great Recession:  Now they evidence both creativity and the recession.  I just want to go on a pop-up tour!

Temporary Is the New Permanent

When Toys “R” Us does a pop-up shop one can certainly make a case for the waning effectiveness of the genre. But despite their co-option by hipsters and marketing gurus, the temporary space remains a sharp tool in the urban revitalization kit. Why? As we well know, cities are starved for cash, their workers weary of bureaucratic obstacles and the word “no.” So they welcome the creative, energetic, and financially prudent efforts of grassroots organizations that have seen opportunity in crisis. Vacant lots, abandoned buildings, parking spaces, and even slivers of pavement, have been transformed by prudent partnerships between governments, artists, architects, and designers, and volunteers motivated to improve their own communities. The best of these efforts are designed to enhance daily life not promote product or “lifestyle.”

via Temporary Is the New Permanent – Neighborhoods – The Atlantic Cities.

Tareq Salahi, White House crashers, life stranger than fiction:  Truly, I thought this one was a joke.

“There is no hope or possibility of reconciliation,” Tareq Salahi said, adding that he “has been greatly hurt and disturbed” by Michaele Salahi’s actions.

The couple gained notoriety in 2009 when they crashed a White House state dinner. Michaele Salahi was a cast member of the reality show “Real Housewives of D.C.” last year, but the show was canceled after one season. She was thrown off the reality show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” when it became apparent she wasn’t addicted to anything.

Tareq Salahi said in the court filing that Schon was his wife’s former boyfriend. Schon’s band had played at the couple’s northern Virginia winery, and photos on social networking websites show them partying with the band on several occasions. He also said the band paid for his wife’s travel, accommodations and other expenses.

Tareq Salahi claims he has suffered both emotional and physical harm from his wife’s actions. In addition to being able to stay in their home, he asked the court to ban both parties from harming the value of their assets, threatening or harassing each other

via He stopped believing: White House crasher wants divorce; wife ran off with Journey guitarist – The Washington Post.

Easy-Bake Oven, icons, change:  Can’t they just leave some things alone.  After reading this article, I realize that I probably had one in its first years …. The Easy Bake was introduced in 1963!

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This week, Hasbro announced that its iconic Easy-Bake Oven would abandon its nefarious light bulb, a byproduct of toy’s 11th redesign. Understandably, we’re shaken by this news and as you search for blame, point your finger at the environmentally conscious set. As we began to phase out traditional light bulbs for the more energy efficient compact fluorescents, the death of the 100-watt light bulb was imminent – as was our childhood culinary experience. (At least we didn’t let something as frivolous as safety concerns to alter our favorite childhood hazards.) “This gave us a reason to do it completely differently,” Michelle Paolino, a vice president of global brand strategy at Hasbro, told the Associated Press. “We wanted it to look more like a real appliance, not a plastic toy.”

Still, it’s hard to believe that from now on, American youth won’t know what it’s like to learn about cooking (or burn units) by way of plastic ovens and light bulbs. Introduced in 1963, Kenner Inc.’s Easy-Bake Oven was the original chemistry set for confection. Children followed painfully simple cooking instructions – mostly of the “Add water. Stir” variety – to yield miniscule cookies or brownies. The updated version, the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven ($49.99), features a warming unit closer to a traditional oven that can climb to temperatures of about 375 degrees while the outside of oven “remains only warm to the touch,” according to the AP.

via Hasbro’s New Easy-Bake Oven Ditches the Light Bulb – TIME NewsFeed.

Google Wallet:  Enjoy!

2012 Presidential Election, election laws, partisan issues, democrat v. republican: This happens whenever there is power balance shift … and the party out of power whines.

Looking to capitalize on their historic gains last year, Republican lawmakers in several states are rewriting their election laws in ways that could make it more difficult for Democrats to win.

They have curbed early voting, rolled back voting rights for ex-felons and passed stricter voter ID laws. Taken together, the measures could have a significant and negative effect on President Obama’s reelection efforts if they keep young people and minorities away from the polls.

This year, more than 30 states debated changes to their voting laws. A dozen passed more restrictive rules requiring voters to present state-issued photo IDs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, although Democratic governors in four states vetoed them. Florida and Ohio will cut nearly in half the number of days for early voting, and Florida lawmakers reversed rules that had made it easier for former felons to vote.

“If you have to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed, if you have to show a picture ID to get on an airplane, you should show a picture ID when you vote,” Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said in the spring when she signed the bill into law in South Carolina.

via Republicans rewriting state election laws in ways that could hurt Democrat – The Washington Post.

students, work-study jobs, education, random:  I think I would have died …

Some student jobs aren’t just about the money.

Curtis Adams discovered that on his third day working in the morgue at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center this summer, when a doctor handed him a cadaver’s intestine to clean out.

“You’re so excited thinking they gave you this important task to do,” he says. But as he snipped off the end of the intestine with a pair of scissors, Mr. Adams saw—and smelled—exactly what he had gotten himself into. “It was a trap,” he says. “I realized that was my initiation.”

His boss, Lawrence C. Nichols, a professor of pathology and chief of the medical center’s autopsy service, confirms Mr. Adams’s assessment: “You usually can only get someone to do that voluntarily once.”

For most students, a campus job means a gig like reshelving library books or swiping student ID’s in the dining hall—time-honored paths to a little extra cash for books and beer. But for a select few like Mr. Adams, the job itself is the payoff, the rare work-study or university-sponsored position that warrants a double take on a résumé and rewards its taker in bizarre stories and befuddled inquiries from friends and family. So you do what, exactly?

via Feed a Lemur, Castrate a Calf: the Real Value of Some Unusual Student Jobs – Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cities, neighborhoods, change, Brooklyn NY, diversity:  Rapid change … but are we adapting?

“Forty years ago, we wouldn’t have a cow foot,” Mr. Savarese said, pointing to a bucket of them. Goat meat, oxtail, Jamaican curry powder — these are the gradual changes that have allowed Michael’s to stay open as so many of its neighbors have closed to make way for wig stores and West Indian bakeries.

“We’re the last one,” Mr. Savarese said, slicing into a side of beef.

In a city where Jewish neighborhoods turn Puerto Rican, then African and then something else, Mr. Savarese belongs to the sparse ranks of holdouts who have held firm amid the city’s churn, even as newcomers have remade the streets around them. They dig in for many reasons: love of place, loyalty, optimism or sheer stubbornness. Nostalgia grounds some, inertia others. But all of them can still imagine, as they look out on their reshaped blocks, the neighbors and businesses that left decades ago.

At Michael’s, a woman carrying two shopping bags pushed open the door on a recent afternoon and asked, in a Caribbean lilt, for the price of the oxtail. It was $6.29 a pound, she was told. “Lord have mercy,” she said, backing out the door.

Mr. Savarese’s disparate tribe of holdouts includes an Irish bar owner in Brooklyn’s version of Chinatown, an artist hanging on in a zone of shoppers and tourists, and a drum maker who still creates them by hand. Taken together, they offer a twist on New York’s famous promise of reinvention. Theirs are stories of staying put.

“I call it the die-hard effect,” said Joseph J. Salvo, the director of the population division of the Department of City Planning. “There are people who will not leave. Irrespective of the change that is occurring, they regard that as their home.”

via The Last Holdouts in Changing City Neighborhoods – NYTimes.com.

Pat Robertson,  gaffes, faith and spirituality:  Personally, I think this is more than a gaffe.

To a minister like Robertson, marriage is empowered by the almighty himself as the holiest of institutions. It is the most unbreakable of bonds, well, except in one case. Calling Alzheimer’s disease a “kind of death,” in a Sept. 13 700 Club broadcast, Robertson advised a man whose wife is suffering from the incurable, degenerative disease to “divorce her and start all over again.” Unsurprisingly, the clip has gone viral and, like the many Robertson gaffes before it, prompted condemnation from others in the faith-based community.

via In Health, But Not Always in Sickness – Top 10 Pat Robertson Gaffes – TIME.

travel, photography:  Some good advice …

Capture the photo not taken on your next vacation, and you’re guaranteed to make a memory. Like a bottle of “Dandelion Wine,” it is an image that encapsulates your escape in a single frame. It can become a point of pride on the wall, or an image you look to when a case of the Mondays threatens to overwhelm.

So often, the camera becomes an afterthought in the suitcase. Think of it as a traveling companion, one to share every second of your adventure with. From the most exotic location to your favorite escape in the next town over, the world is full of photographic potential. And I promise you, “every, every inch” of it has not been photographed.

via How to take amazing travel photos – CNN.com.

LOL, old jokes, kith/kin:  Some jokes you just never give up …

In bed … 🙂

 

23
Jun
11

‎6.23.2011 … Final day/night for MAD at camp as JC … I don’t think she will ever wash another dish. :)

music, kith/kin:  From Bob … “There are some voices that are simply meant to sing together. When these three sing together, it far exceeds any of them individually. I could listen to this song for hours.” YouTube – Crosby Stills Nash – Southern Cross.

Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Pottermore, media, followup:  I hope she can keep another generation enthralled (and I define that to mean a 7 year-old will persevere through a 700 page book!) … YouTube – JKRowlingAnnounces’s Channel ‏.

natural disasters, tornadoes, Louisville, kith/kin, prayers:  Why am I so touched when animals are involved …

At least five barns were damaged and horses were running loose Wednesday at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, after a powerful storm that spawned tornadoes blew through Louisville.

Officials have no immediate reports of injuries to humans or horses.

The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down near the famed track and the University of Louisville campus about 8:10 p.m. EDT. Though no races are run on Wednesdays, there was simulcasting of races elsewhere, so people were there, said track President Kevin Flanery.

via Tornado hits Louisville near Churchill Downs – Sports- NBC Sports.

Paris, Hotel de Nice, hotels:  I just loved the opening image for this small modest hotel …

 Accueil.

education, history:  I enjoyed this article and found that I agree … learning history “today involves the retention of decontextualized historical facts.” I learn best and my children learn best when we experience history and share those experiences.

We make much of bad test results and idiotic answers to civics questions from the young Americans Jay Leno stops on Los Angeles street corners. It’s fun, but it is also misleading. We are promoting what Paxton calls “the false notion that the biggest problem facing history students today involves the retention of decontextualized historical facts.”

He and Wineburg, both education professors, say we should decide what history is worth knowing and teach it well. “The thousand-page behemoths that we call textbooks violate every principle of human memory that we know of,” Wineburg said.

Emphasizing reading and devoting more school hours to comprehension of the language no matter what the topic might give us the skills to develop an interest in public affairs. Many critics say the subject of history has suffered because schools are giving more time to reading and math. Why then, asks Wineburg, were the students who were most improved on the NAEP history test in fourth grade, where the concentration on reading and math has been greatest?

Even if we haven’t remembered our country’s history so well in the last century, we have learned to appreciate it, and act accordingly. This July 4, that’s worth celebrating.

via Is knowing history so important? – Class Struggle – The Washington Post.

writing, blogging, social media, Jeff Elder:  A class … I am actually thinking about taking it …

OMG! Writing for social media??? LOL. Actually, there are many opportunities developing for writers to develop their craft on Facebook, blogs, even Twitter. The best part? You have a captive audience that is immediately engaged. As companies, nonprofits, small business and other groups launch web sites and social media sites, content is desperately needed.

via WRITING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA.

culture, kindness, Gretchen Rubin, blog posts of note:  Just the other day, I excerpted an article about what not to say to a person who is ill … and today I find this post from Gretchen Rubin about what to say/not to say to a person divorcing.  I think we all have problems with this and we are detached from our teachers … our families, our churches and we no longer learn how to handle being kind.  Isn’t that really what it is all about.

A while back, I read a New York magazine article by Katie Roiphe, The Great Escape, in which Roiphe discusses her friends’ reaction to the news of her divorce. Bottom line: she’s annoyed that they’re acting as though she’s going through some terrible tragedy, when in fact, she feels fine — if anything, she feels freed and relieved.

It’s an interesting article on many levels, but the thing that struck me was – zoikes! If I were her friend, I’m sure I’d be saying all the wrong things, too.

So what’s the right thing to say?

via The Happiness Project: Tips for talking to someone about an impending divorce: dos and don’ts.

cities, psychology, mental health:  I love big cities … maybe I am crazy!

This may come as no surprise to residents of New York City and other big urban centers: Living there can be bad for your mental health.

Now researchers have found a possible reason why. Imaging scans show that in city dwellers or people who grew up in urban areas, certain areas of the brain react more vigorously to stress. That may help explain how city life can boost the risks of schizophrenia and other mental disorders, researchers said.

Previous research has found that growing up in a big city raises the risk of schizophrenia. And there’s some evidence that city dwellers are at heightened risk for mood and anxiety disorders, although the evidence is mixed.

In any case, the volunteers scanned in the new study were healthy, and experts said that while the city-rural differences in brain activity were intriguing, the results fall short of establishing a firm tie to mental illness.

via Big city got you down? Stress study may show why  | ajc.com.

gender issues, Great Recession, workforce:  I think this is very interesting.  I wonder how this shift in workforce gender balance compares to WWII.

In part, labor experts pin this trend on a recession that disproportionately affected male-centered industries such as manufacturing and construction, but this tells only some of the story. Throughout the first decade of the new millennium, men moved toward being the minority in a number of professions they had long dominated.

This was particularly prevalent in professions requiring advanced degrees. Medical scientists, for example, who typically need a Ph.D. to work in labs or at pharmaceutical companies, experienced one of the biggest changes in gender makeup of any profession. In 2000, the majority of those who worked in the profession (54%) were men, but by last year just 46% of medical scientists were men.

Likewise, the percentage of male veterinarians declined from nearly 70% in 2000 to about 44% last year, making this the profession with the single greatest shift in the proportion of men to women, according to an analysis of the BLS data.

Much of the changing gender balance, experts argue, can be traced to the early 1970s, when more women began pursuing college degrees and full-time careers.

“Young women in elementary and middle school began to look around and realize that they were going to be in the labor force for a substantial part of their lifetimes and therefore needed to concentrate more on professions that were better investments,” said Claudia Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard University.

via Behind the Rise of Women in the Work Force – TheStreet.

cities, lifestyles, culture, Baby Boomers, Brookwood Hills, Atlanta, Wilmette, Chicago, small house movement:  I loved growing up in a neighborhood where our home was no more than 2500 sq feet and the neighborhood was our yard.  My children’s favorite of their 3 homes is the smallest, our Wilmette home.  I think my generation, the Baby Boomers, have really gone awry on the big house status symbol.  A house does not make a home.  My daughter says she never wants a “big house.”

Places like Hilton Head, with water adjacency and nice climates, are in high demand, and land values are insane. In the case of Hilton Head, which was developed in 1970 on what had been a mosquito- and alligator-infested swampy barrier island, land value has leaped from nearly zero to now unaffordable. The first batch of houses built here might have been normal-sized, but in the ten years that I’ve been coming here on occasion, I’ve seen them replaced by new ones that are enormous. About five years ago, we rented a house right on the beach that was arena-sized. We loved being right on the ocean, so we asked the owner if we could reserve time for the next year. No, he said, it wouldn’t be possible; he was tearing the house down. Why? To build a bigger one on the same lot. We saw the finished product a few years later: it looked like a house with severe edema, swollen to bursting, built to the very edge of the property line.

My husband and I built our house in New York about five years ago, and right before we began, I fell under the spell of the small-house movement; I had dozens of Post-Its in my copy of “The Not-So-Big House” marking author Sarah Susanka’s recommendations for designing a house that was efficient and inviting without being pointlessly gigantic. It’s not really such a new idea. A few weeks ago, I stayed for a night in the Penfield House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s an amazing place, with a jazzy sort of geometry. It’s also quite small (even though, as it happens, the owner, Louis Penfield, was six foot eight, and had actually wondered whether Wright could make a house that would work for a person his size). But the house is big enough. Everything is ingeniously designed to make use of all available space, and the floor-to-ceiling living room windows make it feel like there is only a thin skin between you and the outdoors, which gives the illusion of spaciousness. It’s a great house—that is, in the sense of the word “great” meaning an impressive accomplishment, rather than “large.”

Oversized houses, like oversized cars, seem to be a particularly American fixation. In many other countries, the land available is so limited and the cost of building so high that most people wouldn’t even consider building a Hilton Head-style jumbo. And the expense—in economic and environmental terms—of heating and cooling these places is vast. What’s funny is that these mega-mansions are so often located somewhere people go because they want to enjoy the natural environment. The house we had wanted to rent again had very little land around it when we rented it. Now, in its bulked-up state, the outdoor space is a narrow margin of sand and grass, not even wide enough to walk on.

via Free Range: The Too-Big House : The New Yorker.

reading, education, St. John’s College, Great Books Program, kith/kin:  St. John’s is a wonderful place.  My kith daughter is there and thrives.  Interesting is that she always loved to read (in contrast to this student) … but I think it is the type of education that suits a very gifted and creative mind.

As long as nobody had assigned the book, I could stick with it. I didn’t know what I was reading. I didn’t really know how to read. Reading messed with my brain in an unaccountable way. It made me happy; or something. I copied out the first paragraph of Annie Dillard’s “An American Childhood” on my bedroom’s dormer wall. The book was a present from an ace teacher, a literary evangelist in classy shoes, who also flunked me, of course, with good reason. Even to myself I was a lost cause.

Early senior year, a girl in homeroom passed me a brochure that a college had sent her. The college’s curriculum was an outrage. No electives. Not a single book in the seminar list by a living author. However, no tests. No grades, unless you asked to see them. No textbooks—I was confused. In place of an astronomy manual, you would read Copernicus. No books about Aristotle, just Aristotle. Like, you would read book-books. The Great Books, so called, though I had never heard of most of them. It was akin to taking holy orders, but the school—St. John’s College—had been secular for three hundred years. In place of praying, you read. My loneliness was toxic; the future was coleslaw, mop water; the college stood on a desert mountain slope in Santa Fe, New Mexico, fifteen hundred miles from home; I could never get into such a school; my parents couldn’t pay a dollar. And I loved this whole perverse and beautiful idea. I would scrap everything (or so I usefully believed) and go to that place and ask them to let me in. It felt like a vocation. It was a vocation.

In retrospect, I was a sad little boy and a standard-issue, shiftless, egotistical, dejected teen-ager. Everything was going to hell, and then these strangers let me come to their school and showed me how to read. All things considered, every year since has been a more intense and enigmatic joy. ♦

via Salvatore Scibona: “Where I Learned to Read” : The New Yorker.

Camp Illahee, kith/kin, end of an era:  As MAD  is ending her session as a JC, I am sad.  Nine years at Illahee have been a wonderful experience for her and something she will always cherish.  If you want a recommendation for an all girls camp, please contact me.  It has truly been a “heavenly world.”

In the Cherokee language, Illahee means “heavenly world.” This idea expresses the very best of what campers, counselors and staff create for a remarkable few weeks every summer.

For ninety years, Camp Illahee has given girls the opportunity to explore their interests, seek new adventures and forge friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

via Camp Illahee | A Summer Camp for Girls in Brevard, North Carolina.

14
Apr
11

‎4.14.2011 Jack’s birthday eve … boy do I remember that night like it was yesterday! …

movies, writing:  Enjoyed this on writing a screenplay.

While crafting a screenplay, it helps to visit The Script Lab for Five Plot Point Breakdowns of popular movies–a useful tool for exploring the structure of your favorite films.

Here’s more about the site: “[T]he five major plot points are the building blocks behind sequence construction: Inciting Incident, Lock In, Midpoint, Main Culmination, and Third Act Twist. Each analysis of selected features breaks the film down to the essential 5 major plot points, time code of when each plot point occurs included.”

To help all the aspiring screenwriters, comic book writers, and playwrights participating in the Script Frenzy writing marathon, we will feature a new script writing tool or tip every day this month. Read all the advice at this link.

via Explore Five Plot Point Breakdowns: Script Frenzy Tip #14 – GalleyCat.

Ben Haverty, Westminster, Atlanta, kudos:  Nice article about Westminster classmate Ben Haverty.  kudos, Ben! RETAIL: Furniture dealer stands on own legs: Ben Haverty left Atlanta-based family chain five years ago. No-frills, discount stores grew during recession.

politics, budget crisis, Any Rand:  My ears perk up when I hear “Ayn Rand.”  Do you think most Tea Partyers have heard of Ayn Rand?

In fact, the two streams—the furious Tea Party rebels and Ryan the earnest budget geek—both spring from the same source. And it is to that source that you must look if you want to understand what Ryan is really after, and what makes these activists so angry.

The Tea Party began early in 2009 after an improvised rant by Rick Santelli, a CNBC commentator who called for an uprising to protest the Obama administration’s subsidizing the “losers’ mortgages.” Video of his diatribe rocketed around the country, and protesters quickly adopted both his call for a tea party and his general abhorrence of government that took from the virtuous and the successful and gave to the poor, the uninsured, the bankrupt—in short, the losers. It sounded harsh, Santelli quickly conceded, but “at the end of the day I’m an Ayn Rander.”

Ayn Rand, of course, was a kind of politicized L. Ron Hubbard—a novelist-philosopher who inspired a cult of acolytes who deem her the greatest human being who ever lived. The enduring heart of Rand’s totalistic philosophy was Marxism flipped upside down. Rand viewed the capitalists, not the workers, as the producers of all wealth, and the workers, not the capitalists, as useless parasites.

via War on the Weak – Newsweek.

youth, colleges, culture, parenting, US  Naval Academy, synthetic marijuana:  There are too things out there to trip up our kids.

The U.S. Naval Academy has expelled another midshipman in an ongoing investigation into the use or possession of synthetic marijuana.

Cmdr. Joe Carpenter said Wednesday that a male student was expelled last week. The expulsion brings to 13 the number of midshipmen who have been expelled as a result of the investigation, which began last fall.

Synthetic marijuana is sold in drug paraphernalia shops and on the Internet. The products contain organic leaves coated with chemicals that provide a marijuana-like high when smoked.

It is banned by the Defense Department and the Navy.

The academy has been working to raise awareness about synthetic marijuana. The superintendent and commandant have addressed the issue at school-wide forums.

via Academy expels 13th midshipman in synthetic marijuana investigation – baltimoresun.com.

politics, budget crisis:  Need to fact check … but it always helps me to have it laid out like this.Comparing Republican and Obama Budget Plans – Graphic – NYTimes.com.

movies, dvd release, Harry Potter:  I love Harry Potter … reminds me of Jack … and all my kids’ childhoods  ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1’ and Other Blu-ray Releases – Speakeasy – WSJ.

iPad apps, marketing:  hmmm …just not sure why this “branding” will make me want to buy it.

Moleskine’s app–currently pending Apple’s approval and due out released later this week–is your standard digital note-taking space beckoning you to fill it with musings and rumination. But wait, how’s that different from Apple’s Notes app or something like Evernote? Why would you devote precious screen real estate to Moleskine’s nascent angle on the touchscreen world?

For starters, you’ll be able to abandon Apple’s harsh yellow pages for Moleskine’s easygoing cream-colored writing space. And you can join the ranks of the notebook’s historic lovers, Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso – proudly touted by the company in each journal they sell – who used their Moleskines as a sketchbook and doodle pad.

The app also allows you to draw freehand, so whether you’re on an iPhone or iPad, you can use it just as you would pen and paper (hey, you never know when your next masterpiece will come to mind).

via Moleskine Goes Digital with First iPhone App – Techland – TIME.com.

photography, photo journalism, Libya:  Enjoyed this article and photo journalists perspective.

  Hellis, Libya

These images were shot all over eastern Libya, including Benghazi. I feel lucky to have been able to see a different perspective. For 42 years, Libya has been closed off to journalists. It was, and still is, a relatively authoritarian state. The image of Libya in my head was totally different from reality — both in terms of the landscape and the people. The front line, and people in scarves firing AK-47s into the air — that’s just one part of it. I wanted to show the people who are at stake.

You would walk down a street and, yes, there would be a guy with an AK-47. But there would be 10 or 20 other civilians, unarmed, queuing for gas. Resistance takes on many forms. Guns and fighting are one. But a different form of resistance I saw was people organizing, making food, housing each other, healing each other. They weren’t fighting with guns; they were fighting by creating social services, by talking to the media, by trying to represent themselves. They were trying to create a new society. I think people should be able to see that.

I don’t know what will happen next in Libya. But I’m glad I have at least a historical moment. It’s a snapshot of a country that almost was, or still may be.

via Photographs of Libya’s Quiet Moments – NYTimes.com.




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