Posts Tagged ‘WSJ.com

05
May
14

5.5.14 … SkyMall: A Tour Of The American Psyche … We hurt … We don’t want to look fat … We love our home and our pets … we don’t know where to store our shoes … We wish we had the money to order an 8-foot-tall silverback gorilla statue or a a small, motorized gondola that moves around a pool while a 2-foot-tall gondolier named Luciano Pool-varotti sings …

anthropology, SkyMall, Want A Tour Of The American Psyche? Flip Through SkyMall, NPR:  I love SkyMall, but I must admit I have never bought anything, not one thing.  I’ve mentioned this before … 9.15.2010.

I sometimes thumb through the catalog and wonder what future anthropologists may deduce about life in our times by looking at SkyMall.

They’d find out that we hurt. There are pages of corrective braces, shiatsu leg massagers, reflexology foot massagers, all-day gel seats, while-you-sleep foot relief sleeves and back stretching aids.

They’d also find out that we don’t want to look fat. There are scads of garments that promise to slim, insta-slim, and superslim, maybe while we try to digest the deep-fried pretzel we downed just before boarding.

Travel makes us long for home and pets. There are elevated dog beds — which, by the way, look like something Scarlett O’Hara might sleep in; pet gates — a term that sounds like a White House dog immersed in a scandal; and pet ramps and stairs.

I ordered upholstered pet stairs for our cat, after seeing cunning pictures of cats and dogs in the catalog, strolling on stairs as if touring the National Gallery. I rubbed my cheek on the steps to show our cat they were soft and friendly, but she seems to have now decided they were for me and still jumps on the sofa.

Travel can aggravate our deepest anxieties. Thumb through SkyMall and you’ll see that we don’t know where to store our shoes. We worry about holding on to our hair. We wish we had the money to order an 8-foot-tall silverback gorilla statue in fiberglass resin. We might not be able to imagine where we’d put the statue, but having the $5,000 to spend on it would be nice.

The current catalog shows a small, motorized gondola that moves around a pool while a 2-foot-tall gondolier named Luciano Pool-varotti sings.

You might wonder who would order such a thing? I’ll let you know — delivery is guaranteed in seven to 10 days.

via Want A Tour Of The American Psyche? Flip Through SkyMall : NPR.

New York City Rescue Mission, homeless, makethemvisible.com: Change how you see the homeless.  makethemvisible.com

via ▶ Have the Homeless Become Invisible? – YouTube.

Published on Apr 22, 2014

In this social experiment, unsuspecting people walked by relatives pretending to be homeless. Would they notice their family members? Or have the homeless become invisible? http://MakeThemVisible.com

To find out more about the New York City Rescue Mission visit http://nycrescue.org/

via ▶ Have the Homeless Become Invisible? – YouTube.

President Obama, Is Barry Whiffing? – NYTimes.com:  I followed a link posted by a liberal friend who agreed with this article.  interesting … ” A singles hitter doesn’t scare anybody.”

But that being said, you are the American president. And the American president should not perpetually use the word “eventually.” And he should not set a tone of resignation with references to this being a relay race and say he’s willing to take “a quarter of a loaf or half a loaf,” and muse that things may not come “to full fruition on your timetable.”

An American president should never say, as you did to the New Yorker editor, David Remnick, about presidents through history: “We’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.”

Mr. President, I am just trying to get my paragraph right. You need to think bigger.

An American president should never say, as you did Monday in Manila when you got frustrated in a press conference with the Philippine president: “You hit singles; you hit doubles. Every once in a while, we may be able to hit a home run.”

Especially now that we have this scary World War III vibe with the Russians, we expect the president, especially one who ran as Babe Ruth, to hit home runs.

In the immortal words of Earl Weaver, the Hall of Famer who managed the Baltimore Orioles: “The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three-run homers.” A singles hitter doesn’t scare anybody.

.via Is Barry Whiffing? – NYTimes.com.

Warren Buffett, Bank of America, BAC:  I think he should have been outraged.  I am.

Mr. Buffett also expressed support for the management of Bank of America Corp. BAC +1.06% , another company in which Berkshire Hathaway owns preferred stock.

Last month, the bank had to reverse course on a stock buyback and dividend-increase plan after miscalculating capital levels. “That error they made does not bother me,” Mr. Buffett said in response to a shareholder question. “It doesn’t change my feeling about Bank of America’s risk management one iota.”

Mr. Buffett invested $5 billion in Bank of America in 2011 in the form of preferred stock that paid 6% a year, and received warrants to purchase 700 million shares as part of that deal. The terms of the preferred stock were renegotiated earlier this year to allow the lender to include it as part of its capital.

The bank was forced to shelve a plan to repurchase shares and boost its dividend for the first time since 2008, after discovering an error that left the lender with $4 billion less in capital than it thought it had.

via Warren Buffett Defends Coke Abstention at Berkshire Meeting – WSJ.com.

Mount St. Helens, LiveScience:  I spent a day touring all the museums near Mt. St. Helens.  It was one of the most interesting of days.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Mount St. Helens is nowhere near another eruption, but new magma is rising underground, heaving the volcano upward and outward by the length of a fingertip, researchers said here today (May 2) at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America.

A small amount of magma started pooling 2.5 to 3 miles (4 to 5 kilometers) beneath the volcano in 2008, said lead study author Seth Moran, a seismologist with the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington state. The depth comes from the pattern of surface swelling, measured with GPS, and from earthquakes triggered by the molten rock pushing upward. GPS units moved away from the center of the volcano by up to 0.5 inches (12 millimeters) between 2008 and 2013. (Imagine that Mount St. Helens’ magma chamber is like a balloon inflating deep beneath the volcano, pushing everything above it out of the way as it fills with a fresh batch of molten rock.) [Gallery: The Incredible Eruption of Mount St. Helens]

“This doesn’t mean it’s getting ready to erupt,” Moran told Live Science’s Our Amazing Planet. “The balloon has inflated, and it could stay inflated for decades. What we can say, is when it is ready to erupt, we will know.”

The observatory tracked a similar refueling pattern beneath Mount St. Helens during the volcano’s quiet period in the 1980s and 1990s, Moran said. However, the earthquakes were deeper during the first quiet period, at about 4 to 5 miles (6 to 8 km) below the surface, and the magma refueled faster, according to the new results.

Digital elevation map of Mount St. Helens, showing the epicenter of earthquakes from 2008 to 2014.

Credit: S. Moran

Scientists keep a close eye on the Washington volcano, which has erupted on and off since its deadly 1980 blast. Studies of past eruptions suggest Mount St. Helens is more likely to spend the next few hundred years rebuilding a beautiful, snowy peak, rather than blowing the countryside to smithereens.

Even so, the signals from the slumbering volcano are a message to be ready for the next eruption, however small, the researchers said.

“We’re like the fire department,” Moran said. “We’ve got to be ready to go.”

via Mount St. Helens Is Recharging: What Rising Magma Means | LiveScience.

Thomas Cook Train Guide, Redbook, Trainspotters, Train Lovers, Timetable, WSJ.com:  I loved this quirky story about quirky people.

But in Oundle, work is full steam ahead. The compilers hope there is enough traction to make their project work.

“Obviously, you can look a journey up on bahn.de in 10 seconds,” said Mr. Potter, referring to the website of the German railways. “But people buy [timetables] just to read them.”

via Trainspotters and Other Train Lovers Take Timetable to Heart – WSJ.com.

Twitter / GeorgiaPics, Atlanta secret:

BmgsbidCcAAAPDN

Beautiful Georgia

‏@GeorgiaPics

An Atlanta secret, 1,000’s of people walk by this world map near Hooters & Hard Rock and never notice it. pic.twitter.com/KKfaY33hmX

via Twitter / GeorgiaPics: An Atlanta secret, 1,000’s ….

Twitter / GeorgiaProblemz: A simpler breakdown of Georgia. …

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Georgia Problemz

‏@GeorgiaProblemz

A simpler breakdown of Georgia. pic.twitter.com/cvZgzRHT6L

via Twitter / GeorgiaProblemz: A simpler breakdown of Georgia. ….

University Of New Hampshire,  National Model For Rape Prevention:

DURHAM, N.H., May 2 (Reuters) – The 1987 gang rape of an 18-year-old University of New Hampshire freshman by three fellow students set then-graduate student Jane Stapleton on a course that could revolutionize the way U.S. colleges and universities handle sexual assaults.

Stapleton helped develop a campus program that aims to eradicate sex assaults – not by focusing on potential victims and assailants, but by making other students aware how bystanders can play a key role in preventing an attack.

New Hampshire is one of three universities chosen to help a White House task force come up with a plan that could be rolled out at colleges across the United States to combat what it called a sex assault “epidemic.”

“Instead of pointing fingers at women as victims or potential victims or men as perpetrators or potential perpetrators, it says everybody has a role to play here,” said Stapleton, who is co-director of the Prevention Innovations initiative at UNH.

One in five coeds in the United States falls victim to sexual assault during her student years, studies show, and experts warn that many of the attacks go unreported.

The program, which goes by the acronym SHARPP, runs workshops to teach students practical methods for heading off potential sex attacks, whether it be forming a conga line at a bar to walk an inebriated friend away from unwanted approach or turning on the lights at a party to discourage a sexual advance.

CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING

The university’s program is one of just a handful in the country to treat reports of rape as confidential, not reporting attacks to the police without the victim’s consent.

That is important since most victims of sex assault that takes place on or around a college campus know their attackers, and that can make them less willing to report the crime, said Maggie Wells, Sharpp’s educational outreach coordinator.

“Part of empowerment is getting the situation back under the victim’s control,” Wells said.

Some victims come forward immediately. And when they do, the program dispatches student volunteers to accompany them to a hospital where staff collect the physical evidence police can use to pursue criminal charges.

The university offers other remediation options, from moving an assailant out of a victim’s dorm to suspending the attacker from school until the victim graduates, even if that takes years, said Amy Culp, the program’s interim director.

One of the main challenges faced by the program’s staff and 38 student volunteers is overcoming the perception that sex assaults are an inevitable part of college culture.

via University Of New Hampshire Sets National Model For Rape Prevention.

film synopsis, Wizard of Oz:  I chuckled …

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Steve Silberman

‏@stevesilberman

Best film synopsis ever. [By @ShakeNTell] http://goo.gl/7IIcPS  pic.twitter.com/lAFpTpGByk

via Twitter / stevesilberman: Best film synopsis ever. [By ….

12 Literary Spots, London, book lover:  Next time I visit …

A guide to the best (and mostly free) places to channel some of the city’s greatest writers and celebrate their works.

via 12 Literary Spots In London That Every Book Lover Needs To Visit.

And these are my favorites …

4. The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾

6. Sherlock Holmes Museum & Shop

8. Charles Dickens Museum

12.  Shakespeare’s Globe

via 12 Literary Spots In London That Every Book Lover Needs To Visit.

 

 

29
Apr
14

4.29.14 … internet is a collection of computer networks thai ti connected around the world …

20 years ago today NPR announced, internet,  Twitter, NiemanLab: 20 years ago today NPR announced  …

 

NPR Internet20 years ago today NPR announced it was getting Internet access. Here’s the full memo: “Internet is coming to NPR!” http://nie.mn/1tUG6pc

via Twitter / NiemanLab: 20 years ago today NPR announced ….

Why Everyone Prefers Eating at a Restaurant’s Bar, Bon Appétit:  I love to eat at the bar!

There’s no reason the bar should get dismissed as a waiting room for the rest of the restaurant—if you’re willing to forgo the lumbar support, those stools are often the best seats in the house.

“Diner’s bar is a cultural epicenter, if that makes any sense,” says John Connolly, the longtime general manager of both Marlow & Sons and Diner. All of the restaurants in the group have bars front and center, but Diner’s dining room is dominated by its long marble countertop, making the booths and tables around it seem like minor moons in comparison.

Which makes sense, since Diner was built as more of a hangout spot than a real restaurant. Andrew Tarlow, one of the restaurant’s co-founders (and its current owner, no co-), says that “at the time, at least in my mind, we were really opening a clubhouse that we could maybe monetize.” But as Diner slowly morphed from a bar with food to a restaurant that mostly consisted of a bar, the countertop’s virtues as a dining table became clear.

Part of the bar’s value, from a restaurateur’s point of view, is its versatility. Solo diners can drop in without having to hog a two-top, and a friendly word from a bartender can free up enough space at the bar for a whole new party—after all, you can’t exactly ask a couple to slide down to the next booth in the middle of their meal.

But the bar really shines when it comes to the social life of a restaurant. Instead of facing the friends you came with, closed off in a table bubble, the bar opens you up to your fellow diners, and lets you actually form a relationship with the bartender. Which is exactly how a customer turns into something more: a regular.

“We have a couple of regulars for sure that probably know the bartenders’ schedules better than I do,” Connolly says, and the regulars themselves can back him up.

“I think I could count on my hands and toes the number of times I’ve sat at a table,” says Tom Morrison, a Diner regular and bartender at the SoHo bar The Room. “Except when I’m on a date, which—I don’t really like to bring dates here, because this is where I hang ou

via Why Everyone Prefers Eating at a Restaurant’s Bar – Bon Appétit.

Spiritual Ecology, global warming, sculpture by Issac Cordal, “Politicians discussing global warming”:

11882_490104267761233_622623697_n-1This sculpture by Issac Cordal in Berlin is called “Politicians discussing global warming.” — with Nikki Fairbanks, Tarek Faramawi, Giri G Nair and 13 others.

China, One-Child Law Reform, WSJ.com:

BEIJING—China\’s family-planning agency is projecting a slow rollout for an easing of its one-child policy, underscoring reluctance by the government in moving too quickly to let some couples have two children and a law in place for decades.

The policy change—announced Friday as part of a blueprint for economic and social reforms drawn up by the Communist Party leadership—will allow married couples to have two children if one spouse is an only child. The tweak drew cheers from many Chinese, who dislike the constraints on family size, and from demographers, who have long called for changes to redress a rapidly aging society.

Family-planning officials in China sounded a cautionary note about changes to the country\’s decades-old one-child policy, saying they will ease controls gradually and that the change won\’t lead to a \’pileup\’ of births. Above, a child looks into a window in Beijing. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

A senior family-planning official, however, sounded a cautionary note in comments carried by state media over the weekend. The Xinhua news agency quoted Wang Peian, deputy director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, as saying that the change wouldn\’t lead to a swell of new births. \”China\’s population will not grow substantially in the short term,\” Xinhua quoted him as saying.

via China to Move Slowly on One-Child Law Reform – WSJ.com.

Le Triskell French Creperie, Cheap Eats | Creative Loafing Atlanta:  Tried this one last summer, good, but not worth a return.  I greatly prefer Juliana’s for crepes in Atlanta.

MEAL PLAN: Before settling in Atlanta, French natives Michel and Rose-Marie Knopfler had three award-winning French restaurants in Hong Kong. However, the 1998 financial crisis and resulting business closures prompted the Knopflers to let their leases end and sell their interest in the restaurants. Rose-Marie often visited Atlanta for seminars and met friends who urged her to move her family here and open a French restaurant. The Knopflers started small with catering and deliveries, but soon decided to branch out into a little storefront selling crêpes and other French specialties.

OUTTA SIGHT: Le Triskell is the epitome of a hidden restaurant. It’s tucked inside the Tuxedo Atrium, a small building housing a mishmash of businesses, including a dentist, a salon and a tiny health club. If you have time on your hands, enjoy a meal at one of the bistro tables inside the sunlit atrium and amuse yourself with the steady stream of people that filters in. It’s theater of the living at its best.

THE SAVORY: Since Rose-Marie is from Bretagne, the birthplace of crêpes, Le Triskell offers many different versions. The galettes – traditional gluten-free crêpes made with buckwheat flour – is a vehicle for savory crêpes such as La Complete, a gooey ham and Swiss crêpe topped with a perfectly fried egg. …

 

POLISHED PORTABLES: In addition to its sandwiches and salads, Le Triskell typically offers eight to 10 prepared French “casseroles.” They’re a lazy-night dinner or an easy way to cater – and impress – at your next picnic. Choose from an ever-changing assortment of dishes, including boeuf bourguignon, salmon in mustard sauce, baked ziti, or tomatoes stuffed with ground beef, rice and herbed breadcrumbs.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Le Triskell French Crêperie is an oasis of French charm in Buckhead with food as delightful as its hospitable owners.

via Le Triskell French Creperie | Cheap Eats | Creative Loafing Atlanta.

22
Apr
14

4.22.14 … On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” – Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Animated in Motion Graphics,  Brain Pickings:  Happy Earth Day!

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

via Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Animated in Motion Graphics | Brain Pickings.

 ‘Artisanal’ Toast, The Salt : NPR: 

The TIY Verdict

If you’re looking for a delicious treat — and a few extra calories — try pan-fried toast. To impress your friends, pull out the blowtorch. And when you’re stuck in a motel room and get a hankering for toast, the coffee maker should do the trick.

Or just wait for a toastery to open up in your neighborhood.

via We Didn’t Believe In ‘Artisanal’ Toast, Until We Made Our Own : The Salt : NPR.

Worth sticking with one airline?, Atlanta Forward, frequent flyer miles: 

Maybe, just maybe, more customers will make a rational decision about their next flight itinerary — not one distorted by a pathological obsession with miles, but based on ticket price and convenience. A veil is slowly being lifted from the traveling public, and at last, they’re seeing loyalty programs for what they really are: habit-forming schemes that impair your ability to make a clear-headed decision about travel and that almost always benefit the travel company more than you.

via Worth sticking with one airline? | Atlanta Forward.

Cloud Photo Storage, Family Pictures, WSJ.com: 

In my hunt for the best cloud photo option, five services stood out: Dropbox, Flickr, Shutterfly, SmugMug and the powerful yet clumsy combination of Google GOOGL +1.14% Drive and Google+. In the end, only Flickr managed to satisfy all my requirements, though SmugMug was a close second

via Cloud Photo Storage: The Best Ways to Bank Family Pictures – WSJ.com.

Survivalist Seder, Passover, go bags: Loved this!

That all changed Monday night, when he decided to use the first night of Passover to talk openly about emergencies and evacuation and disaster “without delving into paranoia and fear.”

Aaron had been thinking for a while now that for Passover, which comes with its own stash of basement boxes—foods and dishes to be used only for eight days a year—we’re all forced to create what he calls “a mini household in a closet.” And the Passover story, at least as he thinks about it, is really all about leaving home quickly in an emergency, with only the stuff you can carry.

So Aaron sent out an email to our Seder guests simply asking “for everyone (kids included) to take some time this week packing a ‘bag’ of your necessities if you had to pack up and leave your home as our ancestors did. The only requirement is that it should be something that you could reasonably carry without having to ask someone else to do it for you.” It was our first ever Emergency Preparedness Seder. We will probably do it again next year (if we make it to next year).

via Survivalist Seder: This Passover, we packed go bags..

 George F. Kennan’s Diaries, Reviewed, New Republic: Worth your time …

He is a relic of the nineteenth century, a misfit in modern times. The achievements of science, medicine, and technology leave him cold; he sees only the defilement of nature wrought by the automobile, and the corruption of the spirit brought on by consumer society, whose blight he laments with numbing frequency. (“With all due effort to avoid exaggerated pessimism and over-dramatization,” he writes, in a typical passage, from 1978, “I can see no salvation for the U.S. either in its external relations nor in the development of its life internally.”) From urban decay to the decline of the schools, from the media’s crass commercialism to sexual libertinism, he sees all about him a decadent society—late Rome—offering grounds only for hopelessness.

via George F. Kennan’s Diaries, Reviewed | New Republic.

Indy churches,  share spirit — and their space: 

Nesting, where a congregation welcomes another flock to share its home, isn’t new, but it’s a growing trend as churches face challenging demographic and financial changes. The sharing is sometimes between an established church with a dwindling membership and a newer church that can’t afford a building, although some established and healthy churches do it as an outreach, a Christian helping hand.

via Indy churches share spirit — and their space.

 Ender’s Game Movie, Roger Ebert: I actually liked it.  Worth a Redbox rental.

The movie version of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” is way too kind, and the drama suffers greatly for it. The movie packs too much plot into 114 minutes and has serious pacing issues, and because its makers don’t have a eye for spectacular set pieces, it never looks as grand as it should. But the film’s biggest problem is a matter of tone and characterization: the characters constantly talk about how mean they can be, but their actions suggest otherwise.

via Ender’s Game Movie Review & Film Summary (2013) | Roger Ebert.

Veriditas, labyrinths, history:

The labyrinth design used by Lauren Artress is a replica of the Eleven-circuit Medieval Labyrinth from Chartres Cathedral in France. This pattern, made of Beauce quarry stone and an unnamed black stone to delineate the path, was inlaid into the stone floor in 1201. For the last 250 years, however, it has been forgotten and covered with chairs until Artress led a small group of people into Chartres cathedral to remove the chairs to experience the meditative walk first hand.

After her experience in Chartres, she returned home to Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, painted the design on canvas and opened it to the public. In 1994 the indoor tapestry labyrinth — open during cathedral hours — was installed and in 1995 the outdoor terrazzo labyrinth — open 24 hours a day — was installed in the Melvin E. Swig Interfaith Meditation Garden. Literally millions of people have walked these labyrinths. In the summer of 2007, Grace Cathedral replaced the tapestry labyrinth with a beautiful new limestone and marble labyrinth in the floor of the cathedral.

After introducing the labyrinth through the International Transpersonal Association in Ireland in 1994 and to Switzerland, Germany in 1995, her work began to focus intensely in both Grace Cathedral and Chartres Cathedral. She has led workshops around the United States, Canada, the UK and Europe. In 1997 she began to train facilitators to present the labyrinth in their communities. Now, over 4000 people have been trained in this transformational work.

Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, recover a balance in life, and encourage meditation, insight, self-reflection, stress reduction, and to discover innovation and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural blueprint for well-being. The practice of labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind and the mind with the spirit. They can be found in medical centers, parks, churches, schools, prisons, memorial parks, spas, cathedrals and retreat centers as well as in people’s backyards.

Go to our world wide labyrinth locator to find a labyrinth near you!

via Veriditas – About the Labyrinth.

South Africa’s Pistorius trial, Justice, The Economist:  So is this a trial of a society.

Campaigners highlight what they see as South Africa’s dangerous proliferation of firearms. The trial has brought to light several incidents when Mr Pistorius carelessly fired a gun in public, once in a crowded restaurant, another time out of his car’s sunroof after an argument with a policeman.

Some thus see him as a product of the country’s malignly macho gun culture. A string of South African men have recently shot family members after apparently mistaking them for intruders. But others point out that the number of guns in South Africa has fallen sharply since the end of apartheid in 1994 to 12.7 per 100 people, not least because stricter laws were enacted in 2000. In comparison, Americans on average own one gun per head of population. Britain has 6.7 per 100.

When Mr Pistorius declared in his testimony, “I shot out of fear,” he became the voice of many white South Africans. They tend to see themselves as living in the shadow of violent crime, retreating behind high walls, electric fences and steel doors. From there they can summon private security guards, who are twice as numerous as policemen, by pressing a panic button.

The trial has revived a long-running debate about other aspects of crime. South Africa’s murder rate is one of the highest in the world: 30.9 for every 100,000 people, compared with 4.7 in the United States. Yet the rate has fallen by half in the past 15 years. Rich whites, the most fearful among South Africans, are actually the least endangered. Most victims are poor and black.

via South Africa’s trial: Justice, after all, is being done | The Economist.

Bubba Watson,  $148 Tip at Waffle House, Bleacher Report: You rock, Bubba!

But that’s just “Bubba being Bubba,” according to USA Today. So it was hardly a surprise when Watson celebrated this year’s Masters victory win with a trip to Waffle House. He tweeted a selfie with his wife and some friends on that evening.

And it was even less surprising when Meg Mirshak of The Augusta Chronicle reported he was more than generous with the tip he left:

A waitress told a customer Tuesday morning that Watson left a $148 tip on the bill. When asked to confirm the amount, Knotts declined to say how big the tip was but said three employees split the money.

‘It was above and beyond what would have normally been shared,’ [manager Ken] Knotts said. ‘Bubba was just so gracious about everything.’

Steak n’ Shake franchise owner Preston Moss said Watson left a $24 tip on his milkshake bill.

Watson has become one of the most likable players in the game, and his dominance at Augusta means he’s one of the better players, too. Big things will be expected of Watson, and the golf world eagerly awaits to see if he can win another major outside of the Masters.

We are still awaiting a dynamic personality in golf in the post-Tiger-Woods-dominance era, and Watson is a colorful figure who is easy to root for. But we also partly cheer for him because, let’s be honest, we’re all a bit curious to see where Bubba might celebrate next.

via Bubba Watson Reportedly Leaves $148 Tip at Waffle House | Bleacher ReportA.

 

 Mt Everest Avalanche:

The avalanche struck around 06:45 local time (01:00GMT) in an area known as the “popcorn field”, just above Everest base camp at an elevation of 5,800m (19,000ft), an official told the BBC.

via Everest avalanche: Ten climbers missing (Video/Photos) – Newsfirst.

 Miniversion of Wrigley, Freeport,  chicagotribune.com: Love this one, too!

ct-little-cubs-field-talk-20140419-001

Little Cubs Field is a miniversion of Wrigley Field, including everything from the green scoreboard to the WGN press box and even a Harry Caray statue.

The park, about one-quarter the size of Wrigley, is used for youth baseball and other Freeport functions. Wrigley’s been around for a century. Little Cubs Field is starting its seventh season.

Little Cubs Field was Garkey’s brainchild. In 2002 he pitched to the local park district his dream as a place where kids could play ball, but it took a village to build it and continue improving on it, he said.

via Miniversion of Wrigley a hit in Freeport – chicagotribune.com.

Shakespeare, Davidson College, Radio Play Live on WDAV, Davidson College:

“Performing Shakespeare,” a seminar regularly taught at Davidson College by Dana Professor of English Cynthia Lewis, has been reimagined for the airwaves.

The title of the course was changed to “Radio Shakespeare,” indicating that the class will be presenting the playwright’s work on the radio rather than on the stage.

Lewis’s students will perform a broadcast of The Merchant of Venice for a live audience at the college’s radio station, 89.9 FM WDAV, at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, April 26. This production of the Elizabethan classic harkens back to the heyday of radio drama, and occurs on the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s baptism.

Bracketing the live broadcast on April 26, Lewis’s radio Shakespeareans also will present performances before studio audiences at WDAV on Friday, April 25 and Monday, April 28. WDAV engineers will record the three performances in the studio and compile the strongest elements from each into a single podcast, which will be available for download.

The “Radio Shakespeare” students also will present another, non-recorded staged reading of The Merchant of Venice at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 27, at “Pian del Pino,” the Italian Renaissance-style villa of Margaret Zimmermann and Price Zimmermann, a former academic dean at Davidson.

The public is invited to all four performances, but space is limited. Contact Radio Shakespeare with reservation or information requests.

via Shakespeare Students Will Perform Radio Play Live on WDAV – Davidson College.

 Chicken Thigh Recipes,  Bon Appétit:  Favorite piece of chicken …

Chicken Thigh Recipes Slideshow

via Chicken Thigh Recipes Slideshow – Bon Appétit.

17
Apr
14

4.17.14 … I watched and it was a great show … but I could not help but thinking that Bubba’s out of his mind, but in a good way …

2014 Masters, Bubba Watson:  I watched and it was a great show … but I could not help but thinking that Bubba’s out of his mind, but in a good way.

104.7 The Fish’s photo: Wow …

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104.7 The Fish

How did UGA grad Bubba Watson celebrate his second Master’s win? With a double date at Waffle House with Judah Smith and their wives! The two co-authored “Jesus Is:Find A New Way to be Human”.

Kevin & Taylor in the Morning — with Josh Chandler and Mark Allen Gustafson.

via 104.7 The Fish.

Odd Thomas (the movie):  In my opinion, Odd Thomas, the movie, is, well, odd.  John liked it.  I think the reviewers generally agree with me.

After reading Dean Koontz’s “Odd Thomas” on a Vegas vacation, I thought to myself that it would someday make a fun film, perhaps even a franchise (as it has been in book form). Stephen Sommers has proven me wrong.

Odd knows something bad is going to happen. We know Odd is going to stop it. There’s no movie otherwise. And so “Odd Thomas” becomes a film that’s going through the motions with too little character, style, or atmosphere to keep it engaging. Sommers and his team rely on the narrative in Koontz’s book but fail to realize that it’s the character of Odd Thomas—the wisecracking medium who happens to be a fry cook—that made the novel a hit. By surrounding Odd with cheap special effects, wooden supporting performances, and overused camera tricks, they’ve given this once-promising character a fate similar to death—a pretty bad movie.

via Odd Thomas Movie Review & Film Summary (2013) | Roger Ebert.

Passover, Obama White House:  Love this story …

It was also Passover; and three Jewish junior staffers on the campaign realized there was no way they would be able to be with their families. Eric Lesser, Herbie Ziskend, and Arun Chaudhary decided to throw together an impromptu Seder at 9:30 at the end of a long day in what they describe as a ‘dank, windowless, meeting room’ in the Sheraton in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

What they had not anticipated was that Obama would show up.

And so began a tradition of a small group of people celebrating the Passover Seder together, that in 2009 made history as the first Seder to be celebrated in the White House.

The three men have since left the White House, where they worked for a few years following the first Obama campaign, but on Tuesday, April 15th they will again join President Obama at the White House for the annual Seder, just as they have for the last six years.

Lesser, who is a candidate for state senate in hometown of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Ziskend who serves as Chief of Staff to Arianna Huffington at The Huffington Post, and Chaudhary who is a Partner at Revolution Messaging, a communications firm in Washington DC got on the phone with HuffPost Executive Religion Editor Paul Brandeis Raushenbush to share exactly how this historic White House Passover tradition began and how it has changed both their lives and the lives of American Jews.

via How Three Jewish Junior Obama Staffers Brought The First Passover Seder To The White House.

The Stupid Hounding of Condi Rice, Rich Lowry – POLITICO Magazine: I am continuously amazed at how horribly blacks who are conservative are treated in America.

If we indulge the conceit here that students determine the future of their lives based on what they hear (assuming they are listening) at commencement speeches, does the Rutgers faculty think Rice will urge graduating students to start “wars of choice” and do “extraordinary renditions”?

via The Stupid Hounding of Condi Rice – Rich Lowry – POLITICO Magazine.

El Camino de Santiago, trivia, St. Francis:  A friend sent me a FB message: Camino trivia…St. Francis walked it barefoot in 1214. I wonder if he solved it.  🙂

 

The exhibition commemorates the tradition of pilgrimage to St. Francis in Santiago de Compostela (1214) and does so through the exhibition of precious artifacts proceeding mainly from Santiago and Galicia. In particular, it reconstructed the cultural and religious background of Compostella of the thirteenth century with a choice of objects that highlight the extraordinary character of the place of encounter between cultures and civilizations. Finds from the Hispano-Moorish and Islamic culture are mixed with precious relics from the Holy Land and objects of the Christian liturgy of the period, setting up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Compostella era.

via El Camino… in Italy?!?!?! | Camino de Santiago Forum.

Little Flowers of St. Francis, a biography of the saint from Assisi composed around 1390, recounts that “Francis’ devotion brought him to St. James of Galicia” — the shrine of the apostle at Santiago de Compostela on the Atlantic coast of Spain, to which pilgrims from all over the world have journeyed for a thousand years. The challenging and uplifting trip on foot through the Pyrenees Mountains was made even more famous in the 2010 film “The Way.”

The pilgrimage of St. Francis to Galicia in 1214 unites two of the most revered saints in Christian history, the patron saints of Spain and Italy, both famous for their travels to spread the faith and both important in the struggles and encounters between Christianity and Islam.

via St. Francis on ‘The Way’ in 1214 – The Arlington Catholic Herald.

Some of you may already know that I recently returned from a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Throughout history thousands have made this same pilgrimage, including our own St. Francis of Assisi. Presently, our world is very different from when this pilgrimage first began in the ninth century, as are people’s motivations for making it. However, in the end, the purpose remains the same, to visit the Apostolic Tomb of Saint James the Great, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ our Lord.

via Saint Francis of Assisi – Pilgrimage.

8 Incredibly Useful Japanese Words That Have No English Equivalent,  Business Insider: I thought of you, Dan Johnson!

Otsukaresama desu – You’re probably tired, and I think that’s great

via Japanese Words With No English Equivalent – Business Insider.

marathon runners, quadriceps and calf muscle pain, WSJ.com:  I wonder if I should take some  pickle and bitter cherry juice come in on a long walk/hike?

This is where the pickle and bitter cherry juice come in.

Muscles, in addition to hurting because of micro-tears, also stop functioning well and start hurting when they no longer have the proper fuel, experts say.

Running a marathon burns a lot of fuel, especially fluids and salts, which the body loses when it perspires. A dehydrated muscle doesn’t contract well, which is what it needs to do with every step, and it starts to hurt.

Muscles also don’t function well when they don’t have the necessary amount of electrolytes, which conduct electrical impulses that enable muscle cells to contract. Electrolytes are formed from sodium, calcium, chloride, magnesium and potassium.

via Why Boston Marathon runners expect quadriceps and calf muscle pain – WSJ.com.

 Hank Aaron,  MLB Jackie Robinson Day 4.15:

When asked by USA TODAY Sports last month why he still keeps those hate letters, Aaron calmly revealed his sentiments.

“To remind myself that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record,” he said. “If you think that, you are fooling yourself. A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There’s not a whole lot that has changed.

“We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated. We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go.

“The bigger difference is back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

Never in our 50-minute conversation did Aaron suggest anyone critical of President Obama is racist. Never did he compare the Republican Party to the Ku Klux Klan.

Simply, Aaron stated that we are fooling ourselves if we don’t believe racism exists in our country. It’s simply camouflaged now. And, yes, he feels sorry for his good friend, President Obama, and the frustrations he endures.

All that Aaron, 80, ever asked for from baseball is what Robinson desired, a level playing field in management positions. Now, Aaron extends the request to the field itself, where baseball is trying to bring African Americans back to the game.

“When I first started playing, you had a lot of black players in the major leagues,” Aaron said last month. “Now, you don’t have any (7.8%). So what progress have we made? You try to understand, but we’re going backward.”

via As MLB honors Jackie Robinson, can it reverse a trend?.

George Bush’s Paintings, Molly Crabapple – POLITICO Magazine: mediocre …

Bush paints like a freshman art student attempting alla prima, which means doing a whole painting in one sitting. It looks easy but often comes off terribly when done by newbies. As you apply fresh paint strokes, the ones you just did smear hopelessly. All your colors mash to mud. I don’t say this to criticize Bush. I still can’t paint in oils. Waiting for each layer to dry before you do the next is torture—though not the kind Bush is familiar with.

via George Bush’s Paintings Aren’t Funny – Molly Crabapple – POLITICO Magazine.

500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art, YouTube:

 

Music: Bach’s Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 performed by Yo-Yo Ma

via ▶ 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art – YouTube.

The Greatest Cake America Has Ever Made., Prantl’s burnt almond cake:  Yummy!

 

Prantl’s burnt almond cake isn’t impressive in height. It’s not made out of chocolate (which is usually a must). And it isn’t trying to push the limits of pastry and redefine what cakes are. It is just a damn good cake — and taking a bite out of one is like reaching into the sky and stuffing a cloud into your mouth.

To say that the burnt almond torte is light and airy doesn’t even begin to describe the texture of this cake. It is beyond that. This cake is so airy it tastes like the idea of a cake, one that can only be tasted in the best of dreams.

Only it does exist in real life — in Pittsburgh, PA, to be exact– and it is frosted with the lightest of buttercreams (of course) and then dressed in candied toasted almonds. The contrast of the sugared almond slivers and the cloud-like cake is EVERYTHING. Oh, and did we mention the thin layer of custard in the middle and the large flakes of sugar on top? This is the kind of cake that will have you belly up to the kitchen counter, forgoing the civility of plates and diving in fingers first.

When Bon Appetit named Pittsburgh the best new food city of 2014, they couldn’t have been more right. Only it’s not because of the surge of hot new restaurants opening up. No, it’s because cakes like this are made there — and it’s time people know about them. If a trip to Pittsburgh is not in the near future, you can still get your hands on this cake because, lucky for you, they deliver.

via Thank You, Pittsburgh, For The Greatest Cake America Has Ever Made.

Peak Beard, News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com: Good to know!

Beards are back, but maybe not for long.

New research suggests that we may have reached “peak beard,” a scenario in which the attractiveness of facial hair begins to decrease. As more people grow beards, their potential partners find the look less becoming.

The new study found that once we reach “peak beard,” the pendulum swings back toward clean-shaven men. To get these results, researchers asked men and women to rank different levels of “beardedness.” Both groups indicated that beards and less-bristled chins were more attractive when they were rare.

“This pattern in preferences is consistent with negative frequency-dependent selection,” researchers wrote.

In other words, your choice to grow a beard isn’t free will at all, but part of a larger evolution-driven trend.

via We May Have Reached “Peak Beard” | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

 

15
Mar
14

3.15.14 … A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March …

Beware the ides of March, Shakespeare, quotes:

Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me? I hear a tongue shriller than all the music Cry “Caesar!” Speak, Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

Caesar: What man is that?

Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

via Beware the ides of March – Shakespeare Quotes.

And there is always someone who can add a new twist, LOL.

The ‘singing’ stones of Stonehenge, Bath Chronicle, favorites, thin places: Love this place and the ancient-ness of it. Now Ifind out it sings!  My sis and I visited when I was 18, and we hunted for her boyfriend’s initials which he supposedly had carved in a stone as a teen. You could walk all around the stones way back when …

It has long been a mystery to even the most learned expert of the Stonehenge monument – what is so special about the stone in west Wales that it was worth carting 180 miles to Salisbury Plain?

Most theories concentrated on how the famous bluestones of the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire can be buffed up to a strikingly polished shine. But now experts in the arts, rather than archaeology, have come up with a different theory – and it is not to do with how they look, but how the sound.

Researchers from the Royal College of Art in London spent months taking one lump of stone and tapping it on more than 1,000 rocks in the Carn Menyn area of the Preseli hills, and discovered something so remarkable it may well rewrite the history books about Stonehenge.

The bluestones ‘sing’ when they are hit, resonating with an apparently unique twang that does not appear to reach the same pitch or musical note as other stones which merely ‘thud’.

Some previous theories surrounding Stonehenge’s sonic qualities – the way the stone circle would have captured and reverberated sound – had been rather dismissed by the experts concentrating on astronomy and landscape, but the new study appears to reinforce the importance of sound, and the sonic qualities of the stones themselves.

“We found it was a noteworthy soundscape, with a significant percentage of the actual rocks making metallic sounds like bells, gongs, tin drums, etc, when tapped with small, handheld ‘hammerstones’,” said Paul Devereux, the study’s co-leader, a research associate at the college and an expert in archaeo-acoustics.

It is a phenomenon anyone sitting inside the stone circle during the summer solstice celebrations each year amid the cacophony of a dozen or so drummers can attest to.

“The stones may have been thought to have magical, qualities, mana, because of their exceptional sonic nature,” he added.

via The ‘singing’ stones of Stonehenge | Bath Chronicle.

Sipho Mabona, Life-sized Origami Elephant from Single Sheet of Paper, Colossal, KKLB in Beromünster Switzerland: Colossal art!

Following a successful campaign on Indiegogo which raised nearly $26,000, artist Sipho Mabona followed through on his promise to fold a life-sized elephant from a single giant sheet of paper. The piece stands over 10 feet tall (3 meters) and took a team of nearly a dozen people over four weeks to fold. The final sculpture is on view at KKLB in Beromünster, Switzerland. Photos by Philipp Schmidli. (via My Modern Met)

via Artist Sipho Mabona Successfully Folds Life-sized Origami Elephant from Single Sheet of Paper | Colossal.

Delaware man’s self-penned obit takes internet by storm, abc11.com, Walter George Bruhl Jr.: I love a good obit! I “will do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for some poor unfortunate soul in his name.”

Walter George Bruhl Jr. of Newark and Dewey Beach is a dead person; he is no more; he is bereft of life; he is deceased; he has rung down the curtain and gone to join the choir invisible; he has expired and gone to meet his maker.

He drifted off this mortal coil Sunday, March 9, 2014, in Punta Gorda, Fla. His spirit was released from his worn-out shell of a body and is now exploring the universe.

Everyone who remembers him is asked to celebrate Walt’s life in their own way; raising a glass of their favorite drink in his memory would be quite appropriate.

Instead of flowers, Walt would hope that you will do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for some poor unfortunate soul in his name.

via Delaware man’s self-penned obit takes internet by storm | abc11.com.

shacking up before marriage, TIME.com:  Interesting.

“It turns out that cohabitation doesn’t cause divorce and probably never did,” says Kuperberg. “What leads to divorce is when people move in with someone – with or without a marriage license – before they have the maturity and experience to choose compatible partners and to conduct themselves in ways that can sustain a long-term relationship.”

So what’s the magic age? Kuperberg says it’s unwise to either move in or get married before the age of 23. But other family experts say that’s lowballing it. Economist Evelyn Lehrer (University of Illinois-Chicago) says the longer people wait past 23, the more likely a marriage is to stick. In fact, Lehrer’s analysis of longitudinal data shows that for every year a woman waits to get married, right up until her early 30s, she reduces her chances of divorce. It’s possible that woman may also be reducing her chances of marriage, but Lehrer’s research suggests later marriages, while less conventional, may be more robust.

via How Shacking Up Before Marriage Affects a Relationship’s Success | TIME.com.

 MH370: Can this be possible? This is from a few days ago.  this story keeps getting more and more unbelievable.  Sounds like a Clancy thriller.

U.S. investigators suspect that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky. http://on.wsj.com/1fsKDV5

Malaysian officials say they have no data indicating flight MH370 flew on for hours after last contact as reported by the WSJ. http://on.wsj.com/1kmANcz

impatient dog honks car horn for 15 minutes, Scotland, NY Daily News: She’s cute! Owner Graham Haddow, 58, from Liff, sits in his car with his boxer dog, Fern, at their home. Haddow was visiting a gallery when he heard Fern honking the horn of his car outside. The dog then became an internet sensation.

via ▶ Dog blasts car horn in Broughty Ferry – YouTube.

So the 18-month-old pup did what she thought was best: She laid on the horn for 15 minutes.

“I came out of the gallery and looked down the street about a hundred yards away and saw a crowd gathered around a car and heard a honking sound,” Graham said, according to the Daily Star. “Then I did a double-take and realized that it was my car and I wondered if it was anything to do with the dog. She was sitting in there casually honking the horn.”

Several onlookers snapped photos and took video of the scene.

“I heard it and thought it was an impatient driver,” one video commenter wrote.

The Express reports that Fern’s anger didn’t subside when she saw Haddow returning.

“Usually when Fern sees me she stands up and gets excited with her tail wagging,” Haddow said. “But this time she just gave me a sideways glance and kept on honking the horn.”

via Dog Honks Horn When Owner Takes Too Long To Return To Car.

The Harvard Classics,  Download All 51 Volumes as Free eBooks,  Open Culture:

Rather than simply curating for posterity “the best that has been thought and said” (in the words of Matthew Arnold), Eliot meant his anthology as a “portable university”—a pragmatic set of tools, to be sure, and also, of course, a product. He suggested that the full set of texts might be divided into a set of six courses on such conservative themes as “The History of Civilization” and “Religion and Philosophy,” and yet, writes Kirsch, “in a more profound sense, the lesson taught by the Harvard Classics is ‘Progress.’” “Eliot’s [1910] introduction expresses complete faith in the ‘intermittent and irregular progress from barbarism to civilization.’”

Over a hundred years, and several cultural-evolutionary steps later, and anyone with an internet connection can read all of the 51-volume set online. In a previous post, Dan Colman summarized the number of ways to get your hands on Charles W. Eliot’s anthology:

You can still buy an old set off of eBay for $399 [now $299.99]. But, just as easily, you can head to the Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg, which have centralized links to every text included in The Harvard Classics (Wealth of Nations, Origin of Species, Plutarch’s Lives, the list goes on below). Please note that the previous two links won’t give you access to the actual annotated Harvard Classics texts edited by Eliot himself. But if you want just that, you can always click here and get digital scans of the true Harvard Classics.

In addition to these options, Bartleby has digital texts of the entire collection of what they call “the most comprehensive and well-researched anthology of all time.” But wait, there’s more! Much more, in fact, since Eliot and his assistant William A. Neilson compiled an additional twenty volumes called the “Shelf of Fiction.” Read those twenty volumes—at fifteen minutes a day—starting with Henry Fielding and ending with Norwegian novelist Alexander Kielland at Bartleby.

What may strike modern readers of Eliot’s collection are precisely the “blind spots in Victorian notions of culture and progress” that it represents. For example, those three harbingers of doom for Victorian certitude—Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud—are nowhere to be seen. Omissions like this are quite telling, but, as Kirsch writes, we might not look at Eliot’s achievement as a relic of a naively optimistic age, but rather as “an inspiring testimony to his faith in the possibility of democratic education without the loss of high standards.” This was, and still remains, a noble ideal, if one that—like the utopian dreams of the Victorians—can sometimes seem frustratingly unattainable (or culturally imperialist). But the widespread availability of free online humanities certainly brings us closer than Eliot’s time could ever come.

via The Harvard Classics: Download All 51 Volumes as Free eBooks – Open Culture.

“Into the Wild” Moose Hunter Killed, News from the Field, OutsideOnline.com, Chris McCandless:

Samel was described as a passionate outdoorsman but also someone who had lived a troubled life. Late Sunday night, Samel was involved in a police chase after he was reported for drunk driving. Following a sustained pursuit, police units ultimately surrounded Samel as he sped toward an officer approaching on foot. The officer and another trooper opened fire on the pickup, killing Samel and injuring the other male passenger.

Samel had been under court orders to not drink after a DUI arrest in September, when he picked up two hitchhikers before crashing into a roadside ditch. Sunday night marked the end of a nearly 30-year criminal history for Samel.

In 1992, Samel was with a group of three moose hunters when they found McCandless almost three weeks after he died. According to Jon Krakauer, when the hunters arrived at the old Fairbanks city bus, a couple from Anchorage were already there but stayed back because of the stench and unsettling SOS note. It was Samel who eventually discovered McCandless in his sleeping bag.

via “Into the Wild” Moose Hunter Killed | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

The Spring Break College Tour, A Survival Guide, WSJ.com: Been there, done that.

March Madness is upon us, by which I mean the tradition of taking your high school junior on a manic tour of college campuses. I’ve done it twice now, so I feel that I have some perspective on how to survive it.

As the parent, you have much to offer on this exciting and emotional journey—paying for it and doing the driving. But this limited influence does give you leeway to help design the trip, and here is where you can begin your subtle campaign of influencing where your kid goes to college. Keep your designs sub rosa, because the minute you say, “I’d love to see you at UMass Amherst,” she’ll set her heart on Sarah Lawrence. That one little sentence can cost you $40,000.

You’re only going to have a week or so on the tour, so you’ll have to pick your schools carefully. Most likely your kid will have already assembled a wish list of colleges to see. Don’t feel hurt if those places are far away from you—that is only because she wants to be really far away from you.

via The Spring Break College Tour: A Survival Guide – WSJ.com.

Jane Austen, real-life Mr Darcy,  sofa, Mail Online:

A vintage sofa that belonged to the real-life Mr Darcy from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice has sold for more than twice its estimate bid at £2,300.

The George III mahogany framed sofa is thought to have belonged to Thomas Lefroy, a love interest of the famous author who is believed to have provided the inspiration for romantic hero Mr Darcy.

The upholstered Art Nouveau piece was expected to sell for just £1,000 at Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester but today shocked collectors as a fan took it for £2,300.

via Jane Austen’s real-life Mr Darcy sofa sells for TWICE its estimated bid at £2,300 as Pride and Prejudice fans snap up historic piece | Mail Online.

restaurants,  Spectacular Views: I’ve been to one!

Sierra Mar , Big Sur, Calif., U.S.A.

You’re sitting: on top of a cliff

At: Post Ranch Inn

Looking at: the Pacific Ocean

Ordering: the nine-course Taste of Big Sur tasting menu

via 32 Restaurants With Spectacular Views.

09
Mar
14

3.9.14 … Oh, well … the things we do for the tennis players and golfers in this world! … and kudos to SAE (I never thought I would be saying that) … and March Madness is officially over for me :( …

.

DST, Daylight Savings Time, kith/kin:  I have friends who can’t wait for this day and bemoan standard time.  I truly prefer standard time, but maybe that is because I am more productive in the morning.  Oh, well … the things we do for the tennis players and golfers in this world!

Daylight Savings Time at Stonehenge

We’re talking about a tradition that was started by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 because he was interested in conserving candles.

And that’s only if you assume he was being serious. He’s credited with coming up with the idea as a joke.

It was popularized by William Willett, who had a very confusing plan for how to implement it. Really, the only reason the U.S. adopted it was so that President Woodrow Wilson, an avid golf enthusiast, could get more hours on the green.

OK, sure, and to conserve coal during WWI. There’s no argument that DST worked during WWI and WWII. But bayonets were also considered effective weapons once upon a time.

For crissakes, Willett is the great great grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin—isn’t that reason enough to end this?

The other man who is credited with the proposal is New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson in 1895—of course, the reason he was in favor of it was so he could study insects longer during daylight hours.

So really, the only reason we have DST is because of a perverse interest in insect culture and unabashed SELFISHNESS, and the most lingering legacy of DST is the fact you get the song “Yellow” stuck in your head and hate yourself for singing along. Basically.

DST was designed to give people more time in sunlight, and ostensibly to conserve energy—but many prominent studies have proven we get little if any benefits from the practice. A U.S. Department of Transportation study in the 1970s concluded that total electricity savings associated with daylight saving time amounted to about 1 percent in the spring and fall months—and that was offset by the increase in air-conditioner use.

A more recent study in 2006 found similar results, which was noted by two academics wrote a NYT Op-Ed piece in 2008. They argued that not only is there little scientific proof that this reduces energy consumption—it’s actually more wasteful than not. And super annoying, which we already knew.

via 22 Reasons Why Daylight Saving Time Needs To Be Abolished: Gothamist.

Miles O’Brien:  My daughter came home telling this story about Miles O’Brien and then several friends posted on this.  Very brave.

You know, being a one-man band is — comes with its own set of risks. Being a journalist comes with its own set of risks. But I suspect if we had been talking about this before the accident, we would be thinking about perhaps a trip to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant or a war zone.

And, sometimes, it’s the heavy case filled with gear that you need to be careful of. And that’s what I found.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it landed on your arm. You eventually got to the hospital.

MILES O’BRIEN: Yes.

It began as a bruise. And it just got a lot worse after about a day or so. And the pain got worse. And it — there was swelling. And it got me increasingly nervous when I saw some discoloration and ultimately some numbness in my hand. And when that happened, I knew I couldn’t deny it any longer. I had to get some medical help.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And by the time you saw a doctor, they pretty quickly identified it, you said, as acute compartment syndrome.

via Miles O’Brien on moving forward after an accident led to amputation.

Deadliest U.S. Fraternity Scraps Pledging for New Members, , SAE, Bloomberg, college life, young adults:  My daughter came in and told me about this as well.  It makes you think again aout what we are doing as parents.  We are putting them in harm’s way.  Has it gotten that much worse in 35 years?  This action by a fraternity says yes. Kudos to SAE for doing the right thing.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the largest U.S. fraternities and the deadliest, said it would ban pledging, citing the toll that hazing has taken on its recruits and its reputation.

SAE announced today what it called a “historic decision” to eliminate pledging, typically a months-long induction period featuring secret rituals. During pledging, recruits have been subject to forced drinking, paddling and other abuse. At least 10 deaths since 2006 have been linked to hazing, alcohol or drugs at SAE events, more than at any other fraternity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

SAE becomes one of only a handful of about 75 national fraternities — and perhaps the most prominent — to eliminate pledging. The ban, which takes effect Sunday, may spur broader change among Greek organizations, fraternity and college officials said. There have been more than 60 fraternity-related deaths since 2005. Many victims were freshman pledges, considered the most vulnerable because many are away from home for the first time.

via Deadliest U.S. Fraternity Scraps Pledging for New Members – Bloomberg.

Facebook,Cheryl Klein, Lent 2014 :  I’ve been a friend of  Cheryl’s on FB for several years.  I think I initially found her because she wrote about Jane Austen and then I loved reading her tales as a young editor in NY (she worked on the Harry Potter books) … but I loved where she took me today for Lent 2014 …

I’m keeping Lent this year through a calendar you can see on my blog — but if you’re interested in Lent too, what I really want you to read is this lovely sermon by Nadia Bolz-Weber (from whose church I borrowed the Lenten calendar). “There’s no shame in the truth that our lives on earth will all end and that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. It’s not depressing. What’s depressing is the desperation of trying to pretend otherwise.”

via Facebook.

No week in recent history has this been as real to me as now.  Yesterday I stood in a small restaurant on 6th ave and preached at the funeral of a 29 year old who took his own life. A man I’d never met.  I don’t generally agree to do weddings and funerals of those who are not a part of this church. But Billy was queer and an artist and suffered from bi-polar and addiction so it felt like he could have belonged to us. So I stood and spoke of love and Jesus. And I looked his mother in the eyes and said that God is always present in love and in suffering. And that God was present both the moment Billy entered this world and the moment Billy left this world.

We are dust and to dust we return.

I did not know yesterday that today, 19 hours after standing in a funeral of one child I would stand in the birth room of another. Less than a day after preaching about love and suffering and Jesus I held Duffy and Charlie’s baby Willa in my arms and thanked God for brand new life.

Then her parents asked for ashes. For them and for Zane and baby Willa too. I pressed ever so gently into her brow, onto this brand new skin that had only been exposed to air for a few precious hours, and said that even she, full of beauty and hope and just hours from her mother’s womb, even she will return– return to dust and the very heart of God.

And then I knew. I knew more than any other Ash Wednesday in my life, that the promises of baptism and funerals, the promises of birth and death are so totally wrapped up together. For we come from God and to God we shall go. And that Oh my Gosh is there so much that gets in the way of that simple truth.  And it is times like funerals when all the other BS just doesn’t matter anymore.

via Ash Wednesday Sermon on Truth, Dust, Babies, and Funerals.

Europe’s E-Bike Boom, News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com:

The e-bike boom has counteracted wishes from German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has pushed for Germans to own a million electric cars by 2020. The big pros to purchasing e-bikes? If electricity runs out, riders can always revert to “classic” pedaling. Plus, the e-bikes plug into normal wall sockets.

While cyclists may malign the bikes, they’re not just electrified vehicles for the lazy. The motors on e-bikes only kick in when riders begin pedaling, and with a force equivalent to the rider’s efforts. The bioelectrical hybrid feels less like a motorized vehicle and more like an invisible hand providing a little help. Computers on the bikes also provide riders with data about speed and battery use.

E-bikes have already taken over China, where 30 million are sold every year. The bikes have their drawbacks—they’re expensive, and they’re heavy for commuters who need to carry them—but that hasn’t stopped investors.

If you’re considering getting a Beamer, you might want to hold off a little longer—the iconic car company is working on a collection of e-bikes.

via Europe’s E-Bike Boom | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

March Madness 2014, Southern Conference: Former Davidson ‘waterboy’ makes a different kind of splash, Brian Sullivan, CharlotteObserver.com:  great story about a Davidson player.  Unfortunately Davidson just got knocked out of the tournament.  march Madness is over for me …

Last year for the 2013 Southern Conference basketball tournament, Brian Sullivan got in his car and drove by himself to Asheville.

Once there, he became a waterboy for the Davidson basketball team. Although technically a member of that Wildcats squad, Sullivan was a transfer from Miami (Ohio) sitting out the season. In order to replace a team manager as one of the people seated on the Davidson bench, he had to earn his keep.

“I was the waterboy, and I was pretty darn good at it,” Sullivan said. “People have no idea how tough a job that is. Everyone’s got their own name on their water bottles. You’ve got to keep up with who’s in the game and have your five water bottles ready for them when the timeouts come. And actually the hardest part is picking them up. Players just drink and put the bottle down, and you have to run through and pick them all up. I was so into the games, I’d lose track of whose bottle was where.”

Sullivan cheerfully admits he looked like he belonged as a team manager. At 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, he is undersized even for the Southern Conference.

“Oh yeah, I passed the waterboy test,” Sullivan said. “No one was looking at me going, ‘That kid has to be a player.’ ”

But what a player he is.

Sullivan goes to Asheville again this weekend for Davidson’s last appearance in the Southern Conference tournament, which begins Friday (Davidson won’t play until Saturday). Sullivan will ride the team bus this time as a sophomore who is the second-leading scorer for the No. 1 seed, a player averaging 13.5 points per game.

via Southern Conference: Former Davidson ‘waterboy’ makes a different kind of splash | CharlotteObserver.com.

The Debate Over Juice Cleanses and Toxin Removal, WSJ.com.

Dr. Hyman’s latest book, “The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet,” published in February, recommends avoiding all sugar, grains, dairy products, legumes, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods. Instead, followers consume a fruit-and-protein shake in the morning, then vegetables and lean protein for lunch and dinner.

He also suggests they take a long list of supplements and drink water with PGX, a form of fiber that expands in the stomach, before every meal. The combination resets the metabolism and cleans out the digestive system, Dr. Hyman says. He has also argued that a detox bath with Epsom salts each night helps remove heavy metals through the skin and reduces stress.

Liver specialists say that up to 20% of adults have some form of fatty liver disease, in which excess fat in the liver leads to inflammation, scar tissue and eventually liver failure. Some cases are due to alcohol abuse. Genetics, hepatitis, autoimmune disease and medication use also play a role. It isn’t clear whether fatty liver causes obesity or vice versa.

Many cleanse aficionados are health-conscious anyway. They say periodically restricting their intake helps reboot their system. “It breaks your relationship with food,” says Anne Pollack, a former chief investment officer at a large insurance company, who does a detox twice a year for three weeks with a nutrition counselor. She gives up all wheat, dairy, sugar, soy, chicken, red meat and alcohol and eats only brown rice, fruits, green vegetables, salmon and supplements such as milk thistle. After that, she says, “I have an amazing amount of energy. My skin is soft. My hair is shiny and my nails grow like crazy.”

Some packaged juice cleanses contain considerable amounts of sugar, leading some proponents to grind up their own fruit and vegetable concoctions at home. Some nutritionists recommend using a blender rather than a juicer to retain more pulp, because a liquid diet without fiber can slow down digestion. That’s partly why some juice cleanses advise using a colon cleanse before and after to fully flush out the intestinal tract.

Most gastroenterologists, however, advise against using supplements, laxatives, enemas and irrigation devices that purport to remove accumulated waste clogging up the colon. It seldom exists, doctors say, and would-be detoxers can become constipated by using laxatives too often.

Keeping the digestive tract moving normally is another reason many experts say simply eating more fruit and vegetables makes more sense than a drastic temporary regimen. New York nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix calls it “clean eating.” She advises: “Skip the cleanse. Have your green smoothie as a snack in the afternoon and then skip the vending machine.”

via The Debate Over Juice Cleanses and Toxin Removal – WSJ.com.

Chocolate Covered Ritz Crackers for Nutella Day!: I must be hungry …

Chocolate covered Nutella and Peanut butter Ritz crackers 7488 R

Yay! Today is “World Nutella Day 2010” – a day to celebrate, get creative with, and most importantly, EAT Nutella!

Being in love with the salty/sweet taste sensation, these crackers are totally awesome! I’ve seen them with peanut butter, and one of my favourite things to eat is Nutella spread onto Ritz crackers. So why not have both – and then cover it in white chocolate. I don’t need to say anymore!

via Cherrapeno: Chocolate Covered Ritz Crackers for Nutella Day!.

 1 World Trade Center, TIME’s View From The Top Of NYC, TIME:  Spectacular …

THE TOP OF AMERICA

After 12 years of anticipation, the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere is ready for its close-up. How 10,000 workers lifted 104 floors, gave new life to an international symbol and created one spectacular view

via 1 World Trade Center: TIME’s View From The Top Of NYC – TIME.

23
Feb
14

2.23.14 … and sochi it goes …

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Closing Ceremonies/Opening ceremonies:  I must admit I did not turn the Closing Ceremonies  on…. I did, hoever enjoy the Opening Ceremonies.

Now this is strange. For the “Dance of Peace,” we hear Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” but instead of scenes from the great Russian ballet, we get a bunch of women spinning with long glow-in-the-dark strings attached to their heads so that they look not like swans but like jellyfish. At their center is the great Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva, not doing ballet. The whole thing is taken from one of her one-woman shows, a number choreographed by the tacky American modern dance choreographer Moses Pendleton. It’s a curious international exposure of questionable Russian taste.

— Brian Seibert

via Highlights: The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony – NYTimes.com.

bobsled competitions, Steve Holcomb:  By the end this had become my favorite event this year:  However, I was so glad I don’t have to wear the bobsledder’s uniform. 🙂

One of my favorite stories was of Steve Holcomb.  You can watch his NBC interview heres: Nightly News: Steven Holcomb: Sochi hopeful in bobsled  .

Steven Holcomb’s story of triumph over physical adversity was a highlight of the Vancouver Games, an everyman guy piloting the U.S. four-man team to its first Olympic gold medal in men’s bobsledding since 1948. But before the champion driver conquered an eye ailment that nearly stole his vision and ruined his career, Holcomb nearly gave in to the darkness of suicide. To hide his disease from friends and teammates, he withdrew into isolation and never let on that it had reached a critical stage. In his new book, But Now I See, Holcomb describes for the first time the spiral of depression that drove him to attempt suicide rather than accept and come forward with his ailment.

Once he found the right combination of visual and sensory cues to guide him, Holcomb began tearing up the circuit. He won world and Olympic titles in the four-man sleds, and last winter he captured gold medals in both the two and four-man sleds at the world championships in Lake Placid. He will likely be a favorite for more hardware at the Olympics in Sochi next winter.

He has become the cheery, approachable face of his sport that is gradually growing in popularity. But he had kept his depression secret even from family before starting his book with writer Steve Eubanks two years ago. In the summer of 2011, an Olympic teammate, aerial skier Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, took his own life at age 29.

“Speedy’s death made me think about it,” Holcomb said, “but the first person was the writer. I hadn’t told him about it or anyone. I thought it was something I’d take to my grave. Then I just said it.”

As Holcomb shared his thoughts, his words about depression sounded a caution for those around someone in trouble. “If someone’s struggling,” he says, “ask another question… I was lucky to get a second chance.”

via U.S. bobsledder Steven Holcomb opens up about his suicide attempt – Brian Cazeneuve – SI.com.

The Sochi Olympics, Frame by Frame – NYTimes.com: And these frame by frame photos helped me see what the judges were looking for!

The Sochi Olympics, Frame by Frame

via The Sochi Olympics, Frame by Frame – NYTimes.com.

Olympic Games: Legacy or Money Pit?: Only time will tell …

After the Olympics, said the planners, buildings would find new life as community sports centers, and the athletes’ village would become private housing (half to be earmarked for low-income buyers). The economic uplift would raise all boats.

A cautionary note: It is not uncommon for the Olympics to be long on promise and short on delivery, not to mention unintended consequences, such as the forlorn remains of stadia left behind like decaying whale carcasses. The Montreal Games in 1976 nearly bankrupted the city and left it with a spectacularly ugly stadium—”an architectural excrescence,” a Canadian journalist called it, that was prone to roof collapse from too much snow (yes, it does snow in Montreal). Meanwhile, paint is peeling on Beijing’s $423 million Bird’s Nest stadium, now a mediocre tourist attraction with an annual upkeep of $11 million.

via Olympic Games: Legacy or Money Pit?.

follow-up: Some of the articles I found most interesting before and during the Olympics:

From 2.18.14 … salt and sochi, I would assume the salt arrived.

salt, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics:

A senior adviser to the Sochi Olympics convened an emergency meeting late last week with top winter sports officials at the Park Inn hotel in the Alpine village here.

A situation had grown dire. It was not security, attendance or doping that was the problem. It was salt.

Four months earlier, Hans Pieren, one of the world’s leading experts on salt and snow, had told Sochi officials that the Alpine skiing events required more than 19 tons of salt, a crucial ingredient for melting soft snow so it can refreeze into a hard surface.

But the organizers did not listen, to their great regret. Now, with 10 days of competition remaining, many of the Games’ signature events were in jeopardy of being compromised, and even canceled.

Tim Gayda, a Canadian consultant who is a senior adviser to the Sochi organizers, called the meeting Thursday night, according to some people who were there. He told the group that the strongest kind of salt, the large-grain variety, was simply not available in Russia. Mr. Gayda asked the group an urgent question: Does anyone know how we can get 25 tons of salt — tonight?

via A Mad Dash for Salt Rescues Olympic Slopes – NYTimes.com.

follow-up:  Sad thing is … the coffee we are addicted to is really not that good. Silly Americans!! From via 2.21.14 … 

NBC’s ‘Secret’ Starbucks, 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics,  lockdown, WSJ.com:  I bet everyone is really peeved with the WSJ for this story.

“The same guards that won’t let people in now won’t let Starbucks out,” one person with access to the coffee said, declining to be identified for fear of retribution.

That new policy also ended a smuggling operation wherein some NBC employees had been serving as Starbucks mules for friends and acquaintances at the Games. Why not share the java, after all, since the drinks—served round the clock—cost “customers” nothing? And with the nearest Starbucks branch in Russia more than 350 miles by car, Sochi is a kind of Siberia for Starbucks addicts.

But recently, according to one person with access to the coffee, someone trying to leave the NBC offices with a Starbucks cup was told by a guard: “No gifts. No gifts. Pour it out or go back and drink it.”

The person said that he and his colleagues were told that NBC was working on getting new, unbranded cups to allow employees to travel more freely with their elite coffee. Sure enough, according a number of people, new generic cups had shown up by Wednesday: an orange-and-brown variant with arguably less cachet.

via NBC’s ‘Secret’ Starbucks Goes on Lockdown – WSJ.com.

From  1.30.14 … I agreed with my friends: “They look like they came from QVC’s Quacker Lady line!”  “Looks like my Grandmother’s sweater…but, at least they were made in America!”  However I must admit I grew to like the outfits as i saw them being worn.

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, New Olympic Uniforms, Ugly, News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com: Once again … UGLY!

The U.S. Olympic team’s uniforms for the opening ceremonies at Sochi were unveiled Thursday on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and the reactions have been, ah, not so terrific.

The uniforms, designed by Ralph Lauren, were modeled on the show by figure skater Evan Lysacek, hockey player Julie Chu, ice dancers Charlie White and Meryl Davis, and freestyle skiers Hannah Kearney and Alex Schlopy.

The Outside staff had this to say about them.

via The New Olympic Uniforms Are Pretty Ugly | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

And from 1.25.14 

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Fitbit Flex , training, WSJ.com:  I have one.

We gave a Fitbit Flex to three Team USA hopefuls: Eliassen, speed skater Brian Hansen and mogul skier Heather McPhie. All agreed to wear the device for a week in November and share their data, as well as details of their ascetic diets. Three reporters decidedly less active than the would-be Olympians also wore Fitbits for a week.

The results say a lot about what it takes to try to become a Winter Olympian, and plenty more about the effectiveness of those increasingly ubiquitous personal-fitness trackers.

Still, with a workout routine that involved mostly skating and cycling, Hansen started to get the same concerns about his workout that McPhie did. His left wrist, which wore the Fitbit, rests on his back as he circles the skating oval, and it doesn\’t move when he bikes. And yet, even with the manually-entered calories from an hour of cycling, or 40 laps around the 400-meter skating oval, his calorie count never surpassed 3,960. He averaged 3,518 through six training days in Milwaukee.

Hansen is hardly a slacker. That’s about 30% more than the reporters who wore the Fitbit for a week, even on days when they took more than 17,000 steps. But his output isn’t too far beyond the reach of a hard-core weekend warrior.

Eliassen, on the other hand, worked on an entirely different plane. Twice during her week training in Breckenridge, Colo., Eliassen cleared 7,000 calories, including the calories the gadget might have missed while she was on an exercise bicycle, doing calisthenics, weightlifting, skiing for as long as five hours, doing 90 minutes of push-ups and sit-ups, 30 minutes of yoga or running. It was all part of her plan to win the first Olympic gold medal in slopestyle skiing. Even without adding calories that might not have been picked up from arm-swinging, Eliassen burned on average more than 4,400 on her hardest training days.

via Sochi Olympics: Measuring Every Step of Training – WSJ.com.

From 1.26.14 

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, South Africa, News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com:  Very sad.

In a statement, SASCOC pledged to “continue to adhere to its selection policies in order to ensure participation … is of the highest quality.” In other words, Speelman isnt good enough.

viaNo Sochi For South Africa | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

via 1.19.14 …

2014 Winter Olympics – Sochi,  Jamaican Bobsled Team:  Woohoo … The Jamaican bobsled team is expected to qualify for the Sochi Olympics after a 12-year absence from competition.   Cool runnings mon….Flashbacks of Cool Runnings will certainly emerge as the Jamaican bobsled team is expected to qualify for the Sochi Olympics at this weekend’s event in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon make up the two-man team hoping to end the country’s 12-year absence from bobsled competition.Watts, 46, has come out of retirement to lead the Jamaican team, which, if it qualifies, would make him the oldest Olympic bobsled competitor by eight years. Watts originally competed in the 1994 Olympics and then retired after missing out on the 2006 games, according to reports from the International Business Times.

“Man, you should see me! Age is just a number. You’d never believe I was a man of 46… You’d say maybe 30, 35. I’m big, dark, and handsome, like a six-foot, 235-pound runnin’ back,” Watts confidently told The Telegraph.

via Jamaican Bobsled Team Set for Sochi | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

Will they be back …

SOCHI, Russia — The Jamaican bobsled team was the life of the party once again at the Winter Olympics, laughing and joking its way through a trip to Sochi that was fraught with enough financial hardship and travel hijinks to film a sequel to “Cool Runnings.”

They remain as lovable as ever, drawing big crowds wherever they went in Sochi. But they almost never got here at all. And after a 29th-place finish in the two-man competition with a 46-year-old driver, the program faces an uncertain future as it tries to move from novelty act to legitimate medal contender.

“We have the athletic ability. We have shown we can do it,” Chris Stokes, president of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation, said. “We just have to pull things together in Jamaica itself.”

via Jamaican bobsled team faces uncertain future – The Washington Post.

From  2.28.2011:  What did you think of the mascot … does it matter?

2014 Olympics, mascots, politics:

Allegations of plagiarism, high-level political meddling and sheer poor taste on Sunday marred Russia’s choice of three furry mascots to represent the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Russians chose three mascots — a cute-looking snow leopard, polar bear and hare — by popular vote in a seemingly innocent television show late Saturday that aimed to choose a people’s mascot.

Eyebrows were first raised when the initial favourite to win the most votes — a portrayal of Russian Father Christmas Ded Moroz — was rather undemocratically ditched from the competition by the organisers.

Then it just so happened that the mascot which strongman Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had declared his favourite — the “strong, fast and beautiful” snow leopard — polled easily the most votes.

via Row over Russia winter Olympics mascots.

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