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M Sinclair Stevens has been at 2 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Google Local Austin354,706*Win a pair of seats to our exclusive evening at Franklin BBQ* – goo.gl/2Sn5jB We're giving you a chance to experience every Austin carnivore's dream: the most mouthwatering brisket, ribs, sausage and salty sides imaginable...without waiting three hours in line! Want access to chow down at Franklin's during our private buy out, complete with live music, ice cold beer, and enough leftovers to last a week? Start writing local reviews on Google. Each high-quality review you write between now and August 7 will increase your chances of landing two coveted spots at our family style table.  1) Make sure you’re signed up for City Experts: g.co/cityexpert 2) Enter the contest: goo.gl/2Sn5jB 3) Get your reviews in by Thurs., August 7. We'll announce the winners here (and via email) on Friday., August 8. _Photo by Franklin Barbecue_Franklin BBQ Takeover2014-08-12 18:30:00141  
Sarah Hill2,859,102Calling all inhabitants of the Ghost Town.   Let's #HIRL in Austin, TX!!!   (Hangout In Real Life). Hear how ★ Plusketeers are using the +Google+  platform to create their own #humanmedia posse and how 2013 could be the year for + Google +.  Our venue only holds 100 so you *must RVSP* early and email googleplus@vu.com if you'd like to join us for lunch. +Veterans United is picking up the tab for free food and drinks but you're ghosts...so you don't eat much right?  ♥♥♥   #SXSWHIRL  HIRL in Austin, TX2013-03-09 12:00:00246  

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 14

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2016-02-04 12:47:37 (14 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

Deconstruction 101
Before I can build my new house, I have to learn to take down my old one. I don't want to bulldoze it because it has lots of building materials (specifically old wood framing and floors) that I want to reuse. 

I've had some pushback from architects who don't think it's feasible. Although I value the advice of experts, I'm also the kind of person who has to test things for myself. So this is my further exploration of the topic. Is it feasible or too much trouble...or just too much trouble for people not used to thinking outside of their habitual modes...like some architects.

Most reshares: 17

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2015-11-22 02:17:13 (4 comments; 17 reshares; 230 +1s)Open 

Travel England: Blenheim Palace, The Lavender Garden
 

Most plusones: 230

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2015-11-22 02:17:13 (4 comments; 17 reshares; 230 +1s)Open 

Travel England: Blenheim Palace, The Lavender Garden
 

Latest 50 posts

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2016-02-09 00:28:44 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 12 +1s)Open 

UX: Fallout 4 
Over the years I've talked a lot about users who manipulate tools in ways unintended by developers. Because, you know, we users like to remember who is in control. However, this player shows true dedication. He plays a game specifically designed for violent solutions by avoiding violent solutions. And he has to work hard at it. 

Although my second reaction is, "Some guys just have too much time on their hands." my first reaction was, "Way to stretch the boundaries of the given universe!"
------------
From the article, "Hinckley says that he felt sad when he found out how much Fallout 4 focused on combat—it made him feel like the developers forgot about about players like him, who have stuck with the series for a long time. In a way, Hinckley saw his no-kill playthrough as a way of showing the world that he refuses to befor... more »

___UX: Fallout 4 
Over the years I've talked a lot about users who manipulate tools in ways unintended by developers. Because, you know, we users like to remember who is in control. However, this player shows true dedication. He plays a game specifically designed for violent solutions by avoiding violent solutions. And he has to work hard at it. 

Although my second reaction is, "Some guys just have too much time on their hands." my first reaction was, "Way to stretch the boundaries of the given universe!"
------------
From the article, "Hinckley says that he felt sad when he found out how much Fallout 4 focused on combat—it made him feel like the developers forgot about about players like him, who have stuck with the series for a long time. In a way, Hinckley saw his no-kill playthrough as a way of showing the world that he refuses to be forgotten."

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2016-02-07 01:42:12 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 33 +1s)Open 

Travel Austin: Congress Avenue at Sixth St 
In 2011, I was using the app Gowalla which I really liked because it encouraged me to pay attention to my surroundings, especially places I walk around a lot, to see them as a tourist or visitor might. 

I was disappointed when they got bought out by Facebook. Every once in awhile, I'll come across an old Gowalla photo and enjoy looking at a familiar scene with new eyes.

Travel Austin: Congress Avenue at Sixth St 
In 2011, I was using the app Gowalla which I really liked because it encouraged me to pay attention to my surroundings, especially places I walk around a lot, to see them as a tourist or visitor might. 

I was disappointed when they got bought out by Facebook. Every once in awhile, I'll come across an old Gowalla photo and enjoy looking at a familiar scene with new eyes.___

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2016-02-04 12:47:37 (14 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

Deconstruction 101
Before I can build my new house, I have to learn to take down my old one. I don't want to bulldoze it because it has lots of building materials (specifically old wood framing and floors) that I want to reuse. 

I've had some pushback from architects who don't think it's feasible. Although I value the advice of experts, I'm also the kind of person who has to test things for myself. So this is my further exploration of the topic. Is it feasible or too much trouble...or just too much trouble for people not used to thinking outside of their habitual modes...like some architects.

Deconstruction 101
Before I can build my new house, I have to learn to take down my old one. I don't want to bulldoze it because it has lots of building materials (specifically old wood framing and floors) that I want to reuse. 

I've had some pushback from architects who don't think it's feasible. Although I value the advice of experts, I'm also the kind of person who has to test things for myself. So this is my further exploration of the topic. Is it feasible or too much trouble...or just too much trouble for people not used to thinking outside of their habitual modes...like some architects.___

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2016-01-30 14:42:07 (14 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

Language: How Rude!
Although my family is not (as described in the article) from New York, not Jewish, and not of Eastern European descent, we display the same "high-engagement conversation style" (to put it nicely) that many people interpret as rude. Conversely, for us, a patient silence conveys boredom and disinterest. I often feel that my spouse and his family, displaying stereotypical British reserve, don't really care about the topic of conversation or is distracted elsewhere, lost in thought. When my enthusiasm is met with silence, I feel deflated. It's hard to remember that in their culture, they are being polite.

The Japanese, too, also require the listeners to actively engage, to nod and frequently say "hai" to demonstrate that they are following the conversation. Even newsreaders often have a co-anchor, whose job is to sit there and say... more »

Language: How Rude!
Although my family is not (as described in the article) from New York, not Jewish, and not of Eastern European descent, we display the same "high-engagement conversation style" (to put it nicely) that many people interpret as rude. Conversely, for us, a patient silence conveys boredom and disinterest. I often feel that my spouse and his family, displaying stereotypical British reserve, don't really care about the topic of conversation or is distracted elsewhere, lost in thought. When my enthusiasm is met with silence, I feel deflated. It's hard to remember that in their culture, they are being polite.

The Japanese, too, also require the listeners to actively engage, to nod and frequently say "hai" to demonstrate that they are following the conversation. Even newsreaders often have a co-anchor, whose job is to sit there and say "hai" as the news is broadcast, to fill in for the TV audience, I assume. While more restrained than the New Yorker's enthusiastic, "Get the fuck outta here!" it serves the same purpose: demonstrable active engagement.

My own silences have little to do with respect. They usually mean that I don't feel it worth wasting words on the topic or the other person.

The article develops from these thoughts a different way to look at those random commenters who stop by to put their two cents in. Are they really malicious? or is it their way of showing they're engaged in the conversation? 

Take it whatever way you will. For me the bottom line, once again, is that there is no one right way to interact. What's natural for me might not be natural for you. We can try to bridge cross-cultural gaps or we can complain about just how awful those other people are.___

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2016-01-26 23:20:03 (5 comments; 6 reshares; 142 +1s)Open 

Travel New Mexico: Raton 1952

Travel New Mexico: Raton 1952___

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2016-01-25 04:39:41 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 17 +1s)Open 

Japan: Political Correctness Strikes Again 
A little education might soothe your outrage...but if you want to remain willfully ignorant, that makes it your problem.

Japan: Political Correctness Strikes Again 
A little education might soothe your outrage...but if you want to remain willfully ignorant, that makes it your problem.___

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2016-01-17 20:48:09 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Language: Native American 
Trying to read Richard Brody's thoughts on The Revenant I kept stumbling over the phrase "native American". While more accurate than the earlier term "Indian", it has a way of calling attention to the fact that the people using it still lump all peoples indigenous to the Americas into one generic category. We can't be bothered to differentiate among the many non-European cultures in the same way we do the Europeans, both by general region and specific country.

I haven't seen the movie, nor do I know the setting. But surely the set design and costumer had to know whether the "native Americans" portrayed were Comanche, Cree, Iroquois, Inuit, Paiute, Hopi, Mohican, Osage, Apache, Blackfoot, Omaha, Navajo, Cherokee, or?....this detail makes a difference. The same difference it would make if a film dressed Christopher... more »

Language: Native American 
Trying to read Richard Brody's thoughts on The Revenant I kept stumbling over the phrase "native American". While more accurate than the earlier term "Indian", it has a way of calling attention to the fact that the people using it still lump all peoples indigenous to the Americas into one generic category. We can't be bothered to differentiate among the many non-European cultures in the same way we do the Europeans, both by general region and specific country.

I haven't seen the movie, nor do I know the setting. But surely the set design and costumer had to know whether the "native Americans" portrayed were Comanche, Cree, Iroquois, Inuit, Paiute, Hopi, Mohican, Osage, Apache, Blackfoot, Omaha, Navajo, Cherokee, or?....this detail makes a difference. The same difference it would make if a film dressed Christopher Columbus as an Englishman, or portrayed our Puritan forebears Vikings.

Could we be just a little more specific?___

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2016-01-17 15:24:44 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

Film: Carol 
After our talk about great films*, I decided I needed to go out to the movies more...because I used to enjoy the experience of seeing film in a cinema so much and somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit of it.

So I walked over to the Violet Crown and got the last seat for Carol. I was underimpressed. The acting was fine, the period sets and costumes lovely, the cinematography elegant. But there just wasn't much of a story.  I found it emotionally sterile and oddly unaffecting for a love story. I spent most of my time marveling over how much Rooney Mara looked like Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina  a look I thought never could be equalled.

Strange, too, because I'd just been reading a story from +The New Yorker on what we can learn about love from fiction which made the (I considered quite over-generalized) observation that in men's fiction,lov... more »

Film: Carol 
After our talk about great films*, I decided I needed to go out to the movies more...because I used to enjoy the experience of seeing film in a cinema so much and somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit of it.

So I walked over to the Violet Crown and got the last seat for Carol. I was underimpressed. The acting was fine, the period sets and costumes lovely, the cinematography elegant. But there just wasn't much of a story.  I found it emotionally sterile and oddly unaffecting for a love story. I spent most of my time marveling over how much Rooney Mara looked like Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina  a look I thought never could be equalled.

Strange, too, because I'd just been reading a story from +The New Yorker on what we can learn about love from fiction which made the (I considered quite over-generalized) observation that in men's fiction, love is based on appearances while in women's fiction, love is based on intellectual or emotional stimulation. By that rule (which I don't necessarily believe), Carol  is love viewed through the male gaze, even if it is about two women.

So is the main appeal that it is a lesbian love story? That's not enough for me. Had the lovers been more traditional, I would still have been bored in the extreme. Changing the sexuality isn't enough of a draw. The people or the situation has to be interesting in of itself.

Contrast it, then, with Blue is the Warmest Color which is so emotionally raw and draining. Now that's an affecting movie.

I've obviously missed the point, so chime in if you know it. Now that I've recorded my initial reaction, I'm off to read some reviews and see if they shed any light.
-------------------
*https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PeterStrempel/posts/a2v4naYz2ue___

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2016-01-17 13:21:10 (6 comments; 5 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

Political Economy: The Real Enemy
"Rather than demanding unfettered access to public land, the Malheur rebels could be agitating for federal antitrust authorities to take on the beef giants. As the New America Foundation's Barry C. Lynn has shown repeatedly, since the age of Reagan, US antitrust regulators have focused almost exclusively on whether large companies use their market power to harm consumers by unfairly raising retail prices. Those regulators have looked the other way when companies deploy their girth to harm their suppliers by squeezing them on price. So antitrust authorities okayed merger after merger, even when deals left just a few giant companies towering over particular markets. As a result, writes Lynn, "In sector after sector, control is now more tightly concentrated than at any time in a century." The meat industry is a classic example."

Political Economy: The Real Enemy
"Rather than demanding unfettered access to public land, the Malheur rebels could be agitating for federal antitrust authorities to take on the beef giants. As the New America Foundation's Barry C. Lynn has shown repeatedly, since the age of Reagan, US antitrust regulators have focused almost exclusively on whether large companies use their market power to harm consumers by unfairly raising retail prices. Those regulators have looked the other way when companies deploy their girth to harm their suppliers by squeezing them on price. So antitrust authorities okayed merger after merger, even when deals left just a few giant companies towering over particular markets. As a result, writes Lynn, "In sector after sector, control is now more tightly concentrated than at any time in a century." The meat industry is a classic example."___

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2016-01-13 19:19:00 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s)Open 

ATX: David Bowie 
Spotted on Bowie and 5th (between Whole Foods and Pure Austin).
---------
Photo via imgur. Not mine.  I'll try to take a better one later.

#keepaustinweird  

ATX: David Bowie 
Spotted on Bowie and 5th (between Whole Foods and Pure Austin).
---------
Photo via imgur. Not mine.  I'll try to take a better one later.

#keepaustinweird  ___

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2016-01-13 00:35:46 (13 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s)Open 

Old Tech: Old Souls
I just got my phonograph working again. I bought one about a decade ago, before there was so much available on iTunes, so that I could rip some of my LPs. But that project never took off. And the phonograph sat next to my computer in a different room from my amp and speakers.

Then some furniture rearranging occurred. I realized hey! now I can plug the phonograph into my stereo system. However, the stylus was shot. Ordered a replacement which just arrived. Tested it out on the first album I grabbed off the shelf: the soundtrack to Brian de Palma's Phantom of Paradise

"Old Souls" is a pretty decent song. I can imagine Tilda Swinton and Tim Hiddleston's characters from Only Lovers Left Alive listening to it. On a phonograph, of course.

Old Tech: Old Souls
I just got my phonograph working again. I bought one about a decade ago, before there was so much available on iTunes, so that I could rip some of my LPs. But that project never took off. And the phonograph sat next to my computer in a different room from my amp and speakers.

Then some furniture rearranging occurred. I realized hey! now I can plug the phonograph into my stereo system. However, the stylus was shot. Ordered a replacement which just arrived. Tested it out on the first album I grabbed off the shelf: the soundtrack to Brian de Palma's Phantom of Paradise

"Old Souls" is a pretty decent song. I can imagine Tilda Swinton and Tim Hiddleston's characters from Only Lovers Left Alive listening to it. On a phonograph, of course.___

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2016-01-09 02:13:12 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s)Open 

Friday Night Musical Interlude: Hang On To A Dream
Keith Emerson and The Nice

Friday Night Musical Interlude: Hang On To A Dream
Keith Emerson and The Nice___

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2016-01-08 12:43:38 (9 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

Language: Women and Immigrants 
Apparently the only way to get anyone to pay attention to violence against women is to turn it into an anti-immigrant screed. They're  after our women...Now we're outraged. Not about the violence, so much. But the nerve of those guys.
----------------
From the article:
"No one is talking about the fact that this is happening to women every day," Tanja, an activist and one of the initiators of the event told DW.

"People are insisting on making this a political story, trying to shift the focus on pro- or anti-refugees. But in fact, no one is listening to what we have to say - the women who have been suffering from this violence in the streets on a daily basis long before refugees even came here," she says.

Food for thought.

The Cologne attacks are a specific problem to be sure. But they are not the only source of issues German women face.

"People are insisting on making this a political story, trying to shift the focus on pro- or anti-refugees. But in fact, no one is listening to what we have to say - the women who have been suffering from this violence in the streets on a daily basis long before refugees even came here," she says.

The violence on New Year's Eve was not different from that during any other big-scale celebration in the city, according to Tanja. "Because refugees are now a burning topic, the media all of a sudden report about these events, but what nobody wants to admit is that these things happen all the time. I'm sorry to break this to you, but German-born men also harass and rape."
___Language: Women and Immigrants 
Apparently the only way to get anyone to pay attention to violence against women is to turn it into an anti-immigrant screed. They're  after our women...Now we're outraged. Not about the violence, so much. But the nerve of those guys.
----------------
From the article:
"No one is talking about the fact that this is happening to women every day," Tanja, an activist and one of the initiators of the event told DW.

"People are insisting on making this a political story, trying to shift the focus on pro- or anti-refugees. But in fact, no one is listening to what we have to say - the women who have been suffering from this violence in the streets on a daily basis long before refugees even came here," she says.

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2016-01-07 16:09:30 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Women Work: World Leader 
-------------
Note: Address any comments to the OP.

HOT TAR, ACHING MEMORY, GOLDA MEIR, AND THE YOM KIPPUR WAR
A month ago, and thirty-seven years, Golda Meir died, aged eighty.

Today hardly anyone remembers her name, or never heard it to begin with.

The original 'iron lady', but on the other side of the political fence from Thatcher.  A Zionist labour activist in the 1910s, a leader of the Jewish people in Palestine in the 1920s.  A lobbyist for Jewish refugees in the 1930s.  A founder of Israel in the 1940s.  A minister of the Israeli government in the 1950s.  Its Prime Minister in the 1960s and '70s.  A hero to her people, and in the world.

Like a faint echo I can still recall her as a cause celebre, being coaxed out of retirement despite lymphoma to become the world's third female prime minister.

What a remarkable woman.

ii
My own consciousness of Meir came by way of accident and tragedy.  And my memory by an unlikely: the smell of hot bitumen and evaporating rain water.  It made me think of a time so long ago it seems almost mythical.  Long ago and far away for me.  A small sliver of history for some others.  A void of unknowing indifference for billions more.

München, 1971.  The bitumen of the new roads so hot I could smell the tar, and feel the black putty mould itself around my bare feet that summer.

It was a time of Cold War rhetorics.  A time of fascist military regimes in Greece, Spain, and far away South America.  It was a time when the 'Amis' and the 'Engländer' were our friends, and the 'russische Bär' was our bogeyman.  It was a time when I was losing my innocence.  Far too early, it now seems.  But unavoidably.

You cannot hide from any half-awake child the tensions in a society conspicuously silent about what was going on.  The Baader Meinhof 'Rote Armee Fraktion', and people talking in hushed, embarrassed tones what a disgrace it was these 'kids' accused modern Germany of still being a fascist state.  Armed paramilitary police in the streets.  Berlin Wall shootings and Vietnam battles in the newspapers.  Barracks with occupying troops twenty-five years after the war on ordinary street corners.  And the constant presence in the newspapers and on TV of the Middle East 'crisis'.  'Middle East' and 'crisis' were almost interchangeable terms.

I remember Daliah Lavi's hit song Jerusalem, ushering in the year of the Olympics in my hometown.  And I remember so vividly the apoplectic shock that struck everyone like a hammer blow when the Black Septembrists turned the rehabilitating gesture of an Olympics hosted in Germany for the first time since 1936 into a nightmare.

It made me much more aware of geopolitics than I had been.  It was almost an end to childhood.

My father worked as a journalist.  He had an extensive archive of press clippings, and an enormous library of books in three languages.  The Olympic massacre made me look up why anyone would want to murder the Israeli athletes.  Of course I didn't find the reason.  No one ever has.  The pretext was a 1948 skirmish in two Palestinian villages.  But the real reason is rooted in the irremediable hatred fuelled by religion that has divided the traditional inhabitants of the Middle East for centuries.  A hatred even its most ardent partisans don't seem to understand as anything but unquestioning vendetta.

iii
Unkown to me and many others, in the months following the Olympic massacre, Golda Meir became incensed with what seemed like international indifference to pan-Arabic terrorism against Israelis and Jews across the world.  She gave the order for Mossad to send out hit squads to track down and kill all who were involved in organising the massacre, and all those who had aided them.

These events were dramatised in Steven Spielberg's 2005 film, Munich.  It was a good film, with solid performances.  It's only censurable failing was the silly, sermonising morality about such murderous undertakings projected by Avner (Eric Banna).  A moralising that seems to have ignored the experience of people like Golda Meir, and of all the survivors of the WWII Shoah.

People who saw the British disarm the Jewish refugees in Palestine just before leaving.  The British knowing fully well that the local Arabs intended to wipe out the Jews.  The British all but complicit in the second great genocide of the Jews in the 1940s.

Instead the Jews fought.  Hard and bloody.  And they won.  They declared an independent nationhood in the midst of mortal enemies.

My father's archives contained a mountain of information about the Six Day War of June 1967.  I had been too young to take much note at the time, but now I dug into the details.

There had never been a formalised peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours, and the Cold War politics of the era led the superpowers to back proxies in the Middle East, emboldening Egypt to escalate anti-Israel rhetoric into mobilisation of military forces on Israeli borders in 1967.

Israel responded with pre-emptive air strikes that all but destroyed the Egyptian air force to the West, and with a tank 'Blitzkrieg' straight out of Rommel's tactics manual, crushing Egyptian ground forces.  At the same time, Syrian and Jordanian forces attacking in solidarity with Egypt were equally decisively obliterated in the East.  Israeli commanders in this campaign included Moshe Dayan, who was later Golda Meir's defence minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon.

Not many people today, outside Israel, perhaps, know why these latter two names are still so highly regarded: they were military heroes.  They symbolised a modern reincarnation of David felling Goliath.

Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and West Bank territory occupied by Israel in the Six Day War remains at the heart of disputes with Palestinians and Arab neighbours to this day.  The historic orifin for these territorial disputes, though, is largely forgotten today.

The Six Day War was such a decisive victory for Israel that it seemed unlikely Arab nations would try again soon.  It was also, however, an international disaster for Israel, which was heavily critiqued for having struck first, and could therefore be characterised by the USSR and its allies as the American-backed aggressor.

iv
It was for that reason, and the rising awareness in the world that Mossad hit squads were hunting down and killing Arab terrorists, and their associates, against all principles of international law, that made Israel cautious in October 1973, when Syrian forces were massing on the border of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Meir, advised by Moshe Dayan, refrained from a pre-emptive strike like that of 1967.  She feared that international aid would be limited if Israel was seen as the aggressor.  Henry Kissinger, who was no innocent of suborning conflict in the region, later confirmed that the USA would not have assisted Israel had it struck first.  But I suspect the USA would have sent aid regardless, perhaps covertly, because Israel was America's base in a sea of Soviet-aligned Arab states.

Critically, an almost complete American intelligence failure meant that neither the USA, nor Israel, nor anyone else in the West really knew that Egyptian and Syrian forces were poised to attack with supporting troops from Algeria, Cuba, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.  It was justified as an effort to reclaim land lost in 1967.  But it might have seemed to Israel like yet another serious effort to annihilate the Jewish state.

The Egyptians attacked from the West on 6 October 1973, crossing the Suez Canal, and the Syrians attacked from the East, in the Golan Heights.  Despite early gains, both attackers were effectively counterattacked and pushed back with heavy losses on all sides.  Ariel Sharon was a brigade commander in that conflict.

Despite several UN imposed cease fires, seen necessary to avoid a flashpoint incident between the USA and USSR, the on-again, off-again 20-day war was a humiliating defeat for the Arab forces.

Prime Minister Golda Meir had not only saved her nation, but then began the long and tortuous Cam David peace talk process which was eventually derailed by Yasser Arafat and the PLO, by making demands they knew Israel would never concede.

v
Meir was born in 1898 in Kiev, capital of the Ukraine.  She emigrated to Milwaukee in 1906, becoming a Labor Zionist activist, moving to Palestine in 1921.

Meir returned to the USA for fundraising and political activities in the 1930s, and also to plead for Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis to be given asylum.

In 1948, when the British were about to abandon Palestine, Meir raised $50 million (USD) to buy guns.  She was one of the two women who comprised the 24 signatories of the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948.  A founding 'mother', so to speak, in contrast to the 'founding fathers' Americans like to talk about as if no one else ever created a nation.

Meir became Israel's first ambassador to the USSR, then labour minister, foreign minister, and after her nominal retirement, was popularly elected prime minister when her predecessor and ally died suddenly.

Meir was never a backseat driver.  She was a tough young woman who became confidante to successive generations of immigrants, and her sage counsel was widely sought out for her shrewdness.  The complete opposite of American stereotypes of Jewish mothers as too doting and too hypochondriac for words.

I remember, in 1973, rumours suggesting Meir wanted to be much tougher on the Arab forces than her military commanders when it emerged that the Arabs had been torturing and executing Israeli prisoners of war.  There were also some suggestions, emanating principally from the USSR, that the Israelis had used tactics in the final days designed to destroy rather than merely defeat enemy forces.  I would not be surprised, nor particularly perturbed by such a strategy.  Israel was attacked twice by the same enemy in six years.

vi
The events I have touched on here were monumental, and partly the catalyst for the 1973-74 oil shock, with its consequent economic turbulence.  Those events were themselves the trigger for the stagflation that eventually saw the emergence of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher as champions of a newly brutal and authoritarian kind of Western capitalism.

In other words, those long ago events deserve far greater analysis than I have time for, and a far deeper understanding for the reverberations that persist to this day.

But my topic is really only the sudden recollection of München in the early 1970s, and the memory of a tough and capable woman I never met.  But a woman who shaped the world I grew up into.  And the world you live in too.

Do you remember her?  Will you now?___Women Work: World Leader 
-------------
Note: Address any comments to the OP.

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2016-01-02 20:08:17 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 12 +1s)Open 

Street

Street___

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2016-01-01 16:48:34 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s)Open 

Rose 'New Dawn'
Ushers in 2016 in Austin, Texas. Best wishes for this new year, y'all.

Rose 'New Dawn'
Ushers in 2016 in Austin, Texas. Best wishes for this new year, y'all.___

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2015-12-31 18:16:10 (13 comments; 6 reshares; 155 +1s)Open 

Travel California: Mono Lake 
What happens when the water in a lake is diverted and its salinity doubles. 
 
Learn more: http://www.monolake.org/about/story
"In 1941, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began diverting Mono Lake's tributary streams 350 miles south to meet the growing water demands of Los Angeles."

"In 1962, Mono Lake had already dropped almost 25 vertical feet. Deprived of its freshwater sources, the volume of Mono Lake halved, while its salinity doubled. Unable to adapt to these changing conditions within such a short period of time, the ecosystem began to collapse."
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Photo: 2009-09-24. On a drive from Yosemite National Park to Las Vegas, Nevada. Although exhausted, we made a special detour to visit Mono Lake.

Travel California: Mono Lake 
What happens when the water in a lake is diverted and its salinity doubles. 
 
Learn more: http://www.monolake.org/about/story
"In 1941, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began diverting Mono Lake's tributary streams 350 miles south to meet the growing water demands of Los Angeles."

"In 1962, Mono Lake had already dropped almost 25 vertical feet. Deprived of its freshwater sources, the volume of Mono Lake halved, while its salinity doubled. Unable to adapt to these changing conditions within such a short period of time, the ecosystem began to collapse."
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Photo: 2009-09-24. On a drive from Yosemite National Park to Las Vegas, Nevada. Although exhausted, we made a special detour to visit Mono Lake.___

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2015-12-30 01:07:57 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

Communities, collections, ghettoes ...
‘So why don’t you post in communities and collections?’ Creighton asked with a cocked eyebrow in his otherwise impeccably impassive face, framed in an equally impeccably manicured, permanent stubble, and the signature coiffure of his generation: severely short at the sides and back with a carefully cultivated mess on top.

I grimaced a little.  My attempt at a smile.

‘Because most communities and collections are so boring they’re not worth bothering with …’

I raised my hand to forestall an interruption he signalled with an open-mouthed intake of breath.

‘ … and because they are spam magnets.  But mostly because they serve only one thing: to get me to demographise myself so Google can more easily target me for ads, marketing and sales pitches that just make the whole experience more painful andslow.’

H... more »

Communities, collections, ghettoes ...
‘So why don’t you post in communities and collections?’ Creighton asked with a cocked eyebrow in his otherwise impeccably impassive face, framed in an equally impeccably manicured, permanent stubble, and the signature coiffure of his generation: severely short at the sides and back with a carefully cultivated mess on top.

I grimaced a little.  My attempt at a smile.

‘Because most communities and collections are so boring they’re not worth bothering with …’

I raised my hand to forestall an interruption he signalled with an open-mouthed intake of breath.

‘ … and because they are spam magnets.  But mostly because they serve only one thing: to get me to demographise myself so Google can more easily target me for ads, marketing and sales pitches that just make the whole experience more painful and slow.’

His right eyebrow shot up again as he absorbed what I said.  he was trying to decide whether to take issue with my analysis as an affront to him personally, because he does use communities and collections.

I offered a softener: ‘It just doesn’t work for me, Creighton.  What communities or collections would my essays slot into?  And why address only people hidden away in their own self-created ghettoes?'

Now he smiled broadly.  ‘So you want to be faaaamous, ’ he mocked.  ‘I’m an individual, not a number.’ He gestured wildly to ham up the point.

I chuckled.  ‘I guess so.  As much as you can be famous by posting to Google Plus …’

He was suspicious again.

‘What do you mean,’ he demanded, cocking his head to one side as if to emphasise his scepticism.

‘I mean Google pissed away the opportunity to make Google Plus an influential platform by ghettoising it, by crippling the ability to present meaningful long-form posts attractively, but mostly by being really, really crap at offering some way to search Google Plus content. I mean, Google is a search comapny, right?  But you can't search Google Plus worth a damn.’

I could see I was in for a long argument now.  All predicated on the solipsisms of Creighton’s own experience, and that of his friends.

‘Time for another beer,’ I suggested helpfully.  I would need it to survive what I knew was coming.

Some day, I thought, Creighton would wake up in the morning knowing that nothing in the world is quite as uncomplicated as his perception of Google Plus as an irreplaceable and free toy.  Some day …___

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2015-12-27 00:55:31 (7 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s)Open 

Datura inoxia
While it's not that unusual to have roses blooming alongside the paperwhites on Christmas Day in Austin, it is strange to see the heat-loving datura opening a flower. I don't know if datura pollen has a sedative effect on bees but this one wasn't moving. She wasn't dead but she was zonked.

#keepaustinweird  

Datura inoxia
While it's not that unusual to have roses blooming alongside the paperwhites on Christmas Day in Austin, it is strange to see the heat-loving datura opening a flower. I don't know if datura pollen has a sedative effect on bees but this one wasn't moving. She wasn't dead but she was zonked.

#keepaustinweird  ___

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2015-12-25 20:02:11 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 3 +1s)Open 

Christmas Read: Thurber Rewrites Moore a la Hemingway 
A story is a story but literature is in the telling.

via +The New Yorker  1927

Christmas Read: Thurber Rewrites Moore a la Hemingway 
A story is a story but literature is in the telling.

via +The New Yorker  1927___

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2015-12-25 14:44:17 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 0 +1s)Open 

Christmas Sounds: Harry Simeone Chorale 
Like Pavlov dogs, I'm trained by association. For me it doesn't seem like Christmas until the first few bars of "Sing We Now of Christmas" ring out and the Harry Simeone start into one of their Christmas medleys*. 

This is the music we'd hear as children when we were decorating the tree, making cookies, or opening the presents on Christmas Eve after Mass. I can't enjoy any other versions of "Oh! Holy Night" or "Little Drummer Boy". They just don't seem right.

Unfortunately, it was the one Christmas tradition I failed to pass onto my son because it didn't come out on CD until after he'd grown up and left home. When he was a child we used to go to the Nutcracker ballet and so the secular Nutcracker Suite was our Christmas music.
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*Perhaps them... more »

Christmas Sounds: Harry Simeone Chorale 
Like Pavlov dogs, I'm trained by association. For me it doesn't seem like Christmas until the first few bars of "Sing We Now of Christmas" ring out and the Harry Simeone start into one of their Christmas medleys*. 

This is the music we'd hear as children when we were decorating the tree, making cookies, or opening the presents on Christmas Eve after Mass. I can't enjoy any other versions of "Oh! Holy Night" or "Little Drummer Boy". They just don't seem right.

Unfortunately, it was the one Christmas tradition I failed to pass onto my son because it didn't come out on CD until after he'd grown up and left home. When he was a child we used to go to the Nutcracker ballet and so the secular Nutcracker Suite was our Christmas music.
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*Perhaps the medley format also explains why I think one song should follow another to form a larger composition and thus have never lacked the concept of random play, on radios or iPods.___

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2015-12-24 23:00:03 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Narcissus: Chinese Sacred Lilies
Chinese Sacred Lilies are neither from China nor lilies. Rather they are Narcissus tazetta v. orientalis and often forced for winter bloom like their cousins the paperwhites. Several people have written to me that they are associated with the Chinese new year, so that may be where we derive the “Chinese” in its common name. Elsewhere I’ve read that Chinese immigrants brought the bulbs to the US in the 1800s. Before that, however, they travelled along the Silk Road from Spain to China.

The individual flowers are about twice as large as the flowers of paperwhites. And, unlike the musky scent of some paperwhites which many people find offensive, the scent of Chinese Sacred lilies is deliciously citrus-y.

This is the first time they've bloomed in my garden since 2007. The heavy rain in November has reinvigorated many clumps ofnarci... more »

Narcissus: Chinese Sacred Lilies
Chinese Sacred Lilies are neither from China nor lilies. Rather they are Narcissus tazetta v. orientalis and often forced for winter bloom like their cousins the paperwhites. Several people have written to me that they are associated with the Chinese new year, so that may be where we derive the “Chinese” in its common name. Elsewhere I’ve read that Chinese immigrants brought the bulbs to the US in the 1800s. Before that, however, they travelled along the Silk Road from Spain to China.

The individual flowers are about twice as large as the flowers of paperwhites. And, unlike the musky scent of some paperwhites which many people find offensive, the scent of Chinese Sacred lilies is deliciously citrus-y.

This is the first time they've bloomed in my garden since 2007. The heavy rain in November has reinvigorated many clumps of narcissus of various kinds...bulbs I'd given up on during our years of drought.___

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2015-12-23 18:03:47 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

___

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2015-12-22 16:08:04 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

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2015-12-21 01:42:07 (10 comments; 13 reshares; 108 +1s)Open 

Travel Austin: Barton Creek 
Whenever I need to think, I like to sit by a beck (creek) and watch the water flow over the rocks. Friday and Saturday were clear and sunny so I walked a couple of miles to my favorite spot along Barton Creek. It's nice that I can pretend to get away from it all even though I'm essentially in the middle of city.
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Video: 2015-12-19. Austin, Texas.

Travel Austin: Barton Creek 
Whenever I need to think, I like to sit by a beck (creek) and watch the water flow over the rocks. Friday and Saturday were clear and sunny so I walked a couple of miles to my favorite spot along Barton Creek. It's nice that I can pretend to get away from it all even though I'm essentially in the middle of city.
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Video: 2015-12-19. Austin, Texas.___

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2015-12-19 14:33:37 (4 comments; 3 reshares; 137 +1s)Open 

Travel: California
Heading west out of Death Valley into Lone Pine. Lows to highs (elevation).
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Photo: 2009-09-21. On a drive from Las Vegas, Nevada to Yosemite National Park.

Travel: California
Heading west out of Death Valley into Lone Pine. Lows to highs (elevation).
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Photo: 2009-09-21. On a drive from Las Vegas, Nevada to Yosemite National Park.___

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2015-12-14 09:56:05 (8 comments; 11 reshares; 20 +1s)Open 

Japan: Wrapping 
Ever since I heard of the book How to Wrap Five Eggs I've been fascinated with the traditional Japanese methods of wrapping and packaging. When I lived in Japan, the sales clerks wrapped each individual item in my purchase before handing them over to me neatly in a bag. I saved many of the papers just to backwards-engineer how they did it. 

Now, via the wonders of the Internet, we all can just observe via a video.

Japan: Wrapping 
Ever since I heard of the book How to Wrap Five Eggs I've been fascinated with the traditional Japanese methods of wrapping and packaging. When I lived in Japan, the sales clerks wrapped each individual item in my purchase before handing them over to me neatly in a bag. I saved many of the papers just to backwards-engineer how they did it. 

Now, via the wonders of the Internet, we all can just observe via a video.___

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2015-12-09 10:01:47 (1 comments; 4 reshares; 11 +1s)Open 

Politics: Scalzi on Trump
We were wondering about this exact point just this last night, so it's nice to to wake up to Scalzi's similar assessment . Trump might have loved the attention of the presidential run but at what point does it start being bad for business? "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Isn't there finally? For us, Trump went from vulgar and laughable to repulsive; a brand not only to be avoided, but who taints anyone who touches it.

Scalzi: "...you don’t just walk away from being a bigoted fascist; that shit follows you around. As a business move it’s puzzling; it tarnishes the brand value of the Trump name — and burnishing that value is why I think he was in it in the first place."
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via +paul beard 

Politics: Scalzi on Trump
We were wondering about this exact point just this last night, so it's nice to to wake up to Scalzi's similar assessment . Trump might have loved the attention of the presidential run but at what point does it start being bad for business? "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Isn't there finally? For us, Trump went from vulgar and laughable to repulsive; a brand not only to be avoided, but who taints anyone who touches it.

Scalzi: "...you don’t just walk away from being a bigoted fascist; that shit follows you around. As a business move it’s puzzling; it tarnishes the brand value of the Trump name — and burnishing that value is why I think he was in it in the first place."
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via +paul beard ___

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2015-12-08 08:55:53 (8 comments; 5 reshares; 12 +1s)Open 

Sociology: Comfort In, Dump Out
"When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you're going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn't, don't say it. Don't, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don't need advice. They need comfort and support."

Sociology: Comfort In, Dump Out
"When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you're going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn't, don't say it. Don't, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don't need advice. They need comfort and support."___

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2015-12-05 23:26:12 (4 comments; 2 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Artifacts: Surrounding Ourselves with Books 
How does the disappearance of physical reading material affect our children? Studies indicate that, controlling for other factors, children who are raised in homes with books become better readers. Most of us were aware of our parents' reading material, browsing through it, sometimes surreptitiously. Electronic books are not part of the home landscape.

Says Teddy Wayne in the linked article, "Poking through physical artifacts, as I did with those Beatles records, is archival and curatorial; it forces you to examine each object slowly, perhaps sample it and come across a serendipitous discovery.

Scrolling through file names on a device, on the other hand, is what we do all day long, often mindlessly, in our quest to find whatever it is we’re already looking for as rapidly as possible."
 

Artifacts: Surrounding Ourselves with Books 
How does the disappearance of physical reading material affect our children? Studies indicate that, controlling for other factors, children who are raised in homes with books become better readers. Most of us were aware of our parents' reading material, browsing through it, sometimes surreptitiously. Electronic books are not part of the home landscape.

Says Teddy Wayne in the linked article, "Poking through physical artifacts, as I did with those Beatles records, is archival and curatorial; it forces you to examine each object slowly, perhaps sample it and come across a serendipitous discovery.

Scrolling through file names on a device, on the other hand, is what we do all day long, often mindlessly, in our quest to find whatever it is we’re already looking for as rapidly as possible."
 ___

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2015-12-04 02:15:46 (2 comments; 3 reshares; 17 +1s)Open 

Humor: Asking for It 

Yes! ___Humor: Asking for It 

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2015-12-04 01:19:06 (10 comments; 1 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

Language: Very British Problems
Resident Brit has just discovered "Very British Problems". Also what to get me for Christmas.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SoVeryBritish

Language: Very British Problems
Resident Brit has just discovered "Very British Problems". Also what to get me for Christmas.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SoVeryBritish___

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2015-12-03 14:17:00 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

Politics: Settling Disputes with Violence 
Threatening someone with whom you disagree with violence is a pretty common tactic in Internet discussions. If people in the US seem a little more sensitive to threats, it's because it's increasingly difficult to distinguish between heated banter and actual threats. You just don't know who's packing or what will set them off. Maybe you drive too slow, or they think you cut them off in traffic, or they don't like the way you park. Did you upset a coworker? Of course, it's not just the random "mentally ill" stranger that endanger us; 45% of women who are killed are murdered by their intimate partners. And many mass murderers have a history of domestic violence which was often ignored as an early warning sign of how they chose to assert their dominance.

Violence is so pervasive that we simply don't pay... more »

Politics: Settling Disputes with Violence 
Threatening someone with whom you disagree with violence is a pretty common tactic in Internet discussions. If people in the US seem a little more sensitive to threats, it's because it's increasingly difficult to distinguish between heated banter and actual threats. You just don't know who's packing or what will set them off. Maybe you drive too slow, or they think you cut them off in traffic, or they don't like the way you park. Did you upset a coworker? Of course, it's not just the random "mentally ill" stranger that endanger us; 45% of women who are killed are murdered by their intimate partners. And many mass murderers have a history of domestic violence which was often ignored as an early warning sign of how they chose to assert their dominance.

Violence is so pervasive that we simply don't pay attention to it. Only the spectacular murders make the news. That used to be mass murderers. Charles Whitman was infamous for a generation. Now can you even remember which murderer did what when? 

Part of the problem is the federal legislation which prevents tracking and analyzing statistics on gun violence. Our leaders know that as long as we don't have the facts that we can't work to improve the situation. 
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From the article....
Hours after the shooting, San Bernardino resident Marisa Hernandez wondered why it took an incident of this magnitude for the country to care about the city's problem with gun violence.

"My son was shot to death with an AK-47. My nephew was murdered and his body was burned and buried," Hernandez said, standing on a street corner a block from the Inland Regional Center, the site of Wednesday's shootings. "But because it happens at a state facility, suddenly everyone is paying attention? This type of mass shootings happens everyday here to our kids and nobody stops it, nobody does anything. Literally everyday. The mayor never comes out to speak to the community, but today he's out speaking about what happened."___

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2015-12-01 23:35:05 (7 comments; 3 reshares; 8 +1s)Open 

The Price of Convenience 
From the article: [with streaming video] "if we make a choice, it feels unimportant. Another option is only a click away.

"If you're actually in a video store, the stakes are different. You're engaged. You're on a mission to find a movie — the right movie. You had to get out of bed, get dressed, and go to a store. You had to think about what you want, why this movie looks good and not that one, perhaps even seeking guidance or advice. Whether it's from nostalgia, advertising, packaging, reputation, recommendation, or sheer whim, a movie chosen from the shelves attaches you to your choice. Before the film even starts playing, you've begun a relationship with it."

The Price of Convenience 
From the article: [with streaming video] "if we make a choice, it feels unimportant. Another option is only a click away.

"If you're actually in a video store, the stakes are different. You're engaged. You're on a mission to find a movie — the right movie. You had to get out of bed, get dressed, and go to a store. You had to think about what you want, why this movie looks good and not that one, perhaps even seeking guidance or advice. Whether it's from nostalgia, advertising, packaging, reputation, recommendation, or sheer whim, a movie chosen from the shelves attaches you to your choice. Before the film even starts playing, you've begun a relationship with it."___

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2015-11-30 23:47:43 (2 comments; 2 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Language: Texas German 

Language: Texas German ___

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2015-11-30 20:56:59 (13 comments; 2 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

The Virtues of Ben Franklin 
Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin for the first time. He began it in 1771 during a rare break in his hectic life as a letter to his son, encouraged by the pleasure he derived from little stories of his own ancestors and the feeling that, having done all right in his life, he should pass on some anecdotes of his own. Thus the entire first part of his memoir is quite informal and personal. He realizes that he is "indulg[ing] the Inclination so natural in old Men, to be talking of themselves and their own past Actions..." but by doing so in writing that we, the audience, have the ability to read or not as we please.

If he lived now, Franklin would probably be running some Lifehacking site. He had a mania for self-improvement. And if something worked for him, he was excited to pass it on. Most of what the... more »

The Virtues of Ben Franklin 
Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin for the first time. He began it in 1771 during a rare break in his hectic life as a letter to his son, encouraged by the pleasure he derived from little stories of his own ancestors and the feeling that, having done all right in his life, he should pass on some anecdotes of his own. Thus the entire first part of his memoir is quite informal and personal. He realizes that he is "indulg[ing] the Inclination so natural in old Men, to be talking of themselves and their own past Actions..." but by doing so in writing that we, the audience, have the ability to read or not as we please.

If he lived now, Franklin would probably be running some Lifehacking site. He had a mania for self-improvement. And if something worked for him, he was excited to pass it on. Most of what the casual reader knows of Franklin is from his casual aphorisms, written for an audience that today laps up "One Weird Trick" link bait or listicles which promise that "Number 4 will make your jaw drop."

What distinguishes Franklin is that he actually goes out and accomplishes stuff. In fact, the reason he dislikes going to church is that the preachers are always exhorting people to be good without giving them any specific instruction in how to..."their Aim seeming to be rather to make us Presyterians than good Citizens."

Being a good citizen, working for the public good  was extremely important to Franklin. He was always coming up with some scheme, and then convincing others to pitch in both seeking funding in private subscriptions and public taxes. Street sweeping. Night watchmen. Lending libraries. Hospitals for the poor. Orphanages. Universities. He had a hand in founding all of these. He believed "the most acceptable Service of God was the doing Good to Man". 

He had an engineering mindset in that he could not observe something (a social situation or a technical problem) without wondering what he could do to make it better. More efficient street lamps and stoves. Invented. Bifocals. Invented. Lightning rods to help prevent fires. Invented. 

Franklin had three years of grammar school and when he was ten, his father determined that he could not afford to educate him further. So Franklin educated himself by reading every book he could get his hands on. He preferred to spend his one day of rest studying rather than in church. Today he might be one of those people who says he is spiritual but not religious; of his own religion, Presbyterianism, he found some of the dogmas "unintelligible, others doubtful" and he felt the essentials of the varying religions to be more or less the same but to varying degrees "...mix'd with other Articles without any Tendency to inspire, promote or confirm Morality, serv'd principally to divide us & make us unfriendly to one another."

So Franklin decides to come up with his own lifehack to moral improvement. After reading numerous philosophers, he comes up with his own list of virtues and creates a moral "Fitbit" to track how well he exercises them.

He's perfectly cognizant that not only is perfection unachievable but were it achievable it would make you a boring prig among your friends. However, he says, it's the trying that makes you a better person. The consciousness of one's actions. The application of human will. Dare we say it: mindfulness. 

Franklin doesn't intend for you to follow his set of virtues. You are supposed to come up with your own. Sort of like New Year's resolutions...except that Franklin's virtues were a lifelong ideal and he was better at sticking to the effort at cultivating them than most of us.

I've adopted three as my own: Order (a place or time for everything), Industriousness, and Resolution. I find Resolution the most difficult: Resolve to perform what you ought; Perform without fail what you resolve. I tend to shirk unpleasant duties, to procrastinate (often by busying myself with trivial things), and to rationalize my faults.

As for rationalization, Franklin has the same weakness and is able to laugh at himself: "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do."___

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2015-11-30 01:47:22 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

Advent:Anticipation
(Especially for Wombats.) +Peter Strempel 

Advent:Anticipation
(Especially for Wombats.) +Peter Strempel ___

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2015-11-30 00:42:14 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

Express Ridicule and Contempt! 
"I also observed that I was one of only two people on the thread to tell them what absolute rubbish their arguments are.  And that's the part I don't understand. People are ready to censor, but not debate. Ready to play the 'I'm offended' card, but not to stick with the vital job of refuting and ridiculing such arguments. Vital because that's how free speech systems can and do deal with odious ideas: they can be heard, but their proponents must reckon with tsunami-like opposition, and acid scorn for talking such bullshit."

The dilemma of tolerating the intolerable
For the past couple of days I found myself defending the right of someone to say repulsive things.  I mean that the Holocaust-denial and anti-Semitism mentioned is repulsive to me, and I would suppose to quite a number of others too.

One other person on that thread 9https://plus.google.com/110685273879923679231/posts/UWUYmofMe8Y) threatened notification and deletion of the profile for the Holocaust-denial.   That other 'person' is, however, as near as I can tell from years of casual encounters, a psychologically disturbed individual, or a 'sockpuppet' for several people using a single identity to post to Google Plus.  Psycho-puppet's threat and subsequent petulance strikes me as no better in 'its' online contributions than the Hitler Youth's.

I counterargued that notification and deletion of a profile was exactly the same kind of intolerance as Holocaust-denial and Neo-Naziism.  For this I was labelled 'ridiculous' and 'stupid' by psycho-puppet, and possibly interpreted to agree with the Hitler Youth, though I explicitly cited Noam Chomsky's responses to the absurd Faurisson Affair of the 1980s and '90s (I have no heroes or rôle models, but I don't mind admitting a great deal of admiration for Chomsky).  Perhaps the lessons of the Faurisson Affair are simply too difficult for some people to comprehend.

Fortunately psycho-puppet left the thread, sucking its thumb and seeking to justify its temper tantrum on its own post.

Unfortunately, the Hitler Youth then started with an absurd link-dropping campaign, as if to ensure that every crackpot conspiracy site on the internet would be represented.

Worse, he was joined by an even more prolific link-dropper, who turned out to be a crudely Neo-Nazi kiddie, calling himself 'truth soldier'.  He is worse because the Hitler Youth is likely a disaffected Scandinavian, quite possibly an adult who never matured the way the rest of us have, while the second one comes across as a species of semi-literate teenage white trash, reeking of self-loathing (quite possibly a closeted homosexual surrounded by reactionary lunatics), and the externalisation of loathing as id-driven hatred of others.  A real contender for the asylum.

I engaged.  Mostly to make it plain that while I defended the right of anyone to hold even odious opinions, no one should confuse that defence with agreement on content.

Closetboy progressed from link spamming to petulant insults about my 'ignorance' and 'brainwashed slavishness'.  Standard Mein Kampf rhetoric.  I responded to tell him his words and links were not the sort of things grown-up people would entertain seriously.  Finally closetboy took to seeking out my own posts in order to drop in peeved insults.  But I think the effort quickly exceeded his ability to understand my essays, and went waaaaay past his bedtime.

So, then!  I ask myself now whether psycho-puppet was always right to seek a Google ban (deletion of profile for contravening terms of service).  Between them, the Hitler Youth and closetboy were certainly persistent with plainly ignorant and not very subtly malevolent derangement.

I could readily accept how what they said, and the content to which they posted links, could be seen as deeply offensive by a large number of people.  But is that enough reason to censor them?  I also observed that I was one of only two people on the thread to tell them what absolute rubbish their arguments are.  And that's the part I don't understand.  People are ready to censor, but not debate.  Ready to play the 'I'm offended' card, but not to stick with the vital job of refuting and ridiculing such arguments.  Vital because that's how free speech systems can and do deal with odious ideas: they can be heard, but their proponents must reckon with tsunami-like opposition, and acid scorn for talking such bullshit.

It seems, though, that decades of guilty silence while rabid right wing lunatic religionists turned the USA into a fundamentalist police state have extinguished this habit of liberty in a society that does not recognisably prize free speech any more (if it ever did).

In recent times I have thought a great deal about the nature of some campus demonstrations in the UK and USA, and what these said about Western tolerance for dissent and unpalatable ideas.  I was torn between the justifications on grounds of obvious and persistent forms of intolerance to women and all non-Caucasians in Western societies, and the manipulation of this intolerance to propose a slew of new forms of intolerance, seeking to censor and persecute people for saying things deemed by the new commissars to be unconscionable.

Sympathy or not for the demonstrators, I cannot see the merit in such action, and regard it as no better than the claptrap coming from Hitler Youth and closetboy.

It is a real dilemma.  When it comes to trashing free speech, do I have more to fear from Hitler Youth and closetboy, or from psycho-puppet and any likeminded Google Plus policy enforcers?

[Note on the image: detail from an installation by Jake and Dinos Chapman, The Blind Leading the Blind, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, 2013.]___Express Ridicule and Contempt! 
"I also observed that I was one of only two people on the thread to tell them what absolute rubbish their arguments are.  And that's the part I don't understand. People are ready to censor, but not debate. Ready to play the 'I'm offended' card, but not to stick with the vital job of refuting and ridiculing such arguments. Vital because that's how free speech systems can and do deal with odious ideas: they can be heard, but their proponents must reckon with tsunami-like opposition, and acid scorn for talking such bullshit."

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2015-11-30 00:23:09 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 15 +1s)Open 

From the article. "The formula is perversely brilliant:
1. A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.

2. With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.

3. Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past “purges” against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.

4. When violence erupts, the public figures who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the “tragedy.”

Here is stochastic terrorism in full view.

http://valerietarico.com/2015/11/28/christianist-republicans-systematically-incited-colorado-clinic-assault/___From the article. "The formula is perversely brilliant:
1. A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.

2. With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.

3. Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past “purges” against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.

4. When violence erupts, the public figures who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the “tragedy.”

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2015-11-28 13:59:17 (0 comments; 3 reshares; 20 +1s)Open 

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2015-11-27 00:59:29 (5 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

Pilgrim Father: Daniel Brainerd
My first ancestor on my father's side to arrive on these shores, was Daniel Brainerd, who came to Connecticut as a child of eight in 1649. No records exist to explain why he came but it is suggested that he was sent away on the tail end of the Great Migration, to escape sectarian violence during the English Civil War.

He was indentured to the colonial governor of Connecticut and when he became of age, he was part of the group of 28 men who founded and settled Haddam Connecticut in 1662.

"He is described by Dr. FIELD, as a prosperous, influential, and very respectful man; a justice of the peace, and a deacon in the church, and the largest landholder in the town. He married Hannah SPENCER, a daughter of Gerrard SPENCER, of Lynn, Massachusetts, who afterward removed to Haddam, and subsequently married one Hannah SEXTON. Seven sons and... more »

Pilgrim Father: Daniel Brainerd
My first ancestor on my father's side to arrive on these shores, was Daniel Brainerd, who came to Connecticut as a child of eight in 1649. No records exist to explain why he came but it is suggested that he was sent away on the tail end of the Great Migration, to escape sectarian violence during the English Civil War.

He was indentured to the colonial governor of Connecticut and when he became of age, he was part of the group of 28 men who founded and settled Haddam Connecticut in 1662.

"He is described by Dr. FIELD, as a prosperous, influential, and very respectful man; a justice of the peace, and a deacon in the church, and the largest landholder in the town. He married Hannah SPENCER, a daughter of Gerrard SPENCER, of Lynn, Massachusetts, who afterward removed to Haddam, and subsequently married one Hannah SEXTON. Seven sons and one daughter were the fruit of the first marriage, and the only children of Daniel BRAINERD. He died April 11th 1715, and is buried at the old burying ground in the centre village of Haddam. The children of Daniel BRAINERD were Daniel, Hannah, James, Joshua, William, Caleb, Elijah, and Hezekiah."






yM___

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2015-11-26 17:12:17 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 11 +1s)Open 

Stewards of the Earth 
Too many people profess a belief in an afterlife as an excuse to be irresponsible in this one. Given the choice, I'd tend to trust instead the person who believes that this is all there is and so is invested in making this world the best it can be.

However, if you need the validation of a sacred text in order to do good in the world, there's plenty of encouragement to be found.

Luke 12:42-46 ESV
And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink andget dr... more »

___Stewards of the Earth 
Too many people profess a belief in an afterlife as an excuse to be irresponsible in this one. Given the choice, I'd tend to trust instead the person who believes that this is all there is and so is invested in making this world the best it can be.

However, if you need the validation of a sacred text in order to do good in the world, there's plenty of encouragement to be found.

Luke 12:42-46 ESV
And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful.

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2015-11-26 14:07:33 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

Thanksgiving: How to Cook Turkey 
Warning: Don't use missiles. Via an unfortunate juxtaposition of stories on CNN.

Thanksgiving: How to Cook Turkey 
Warning: Don't use missiles. Via an unfortunate juxtaposition of stories on CNN.___

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2015-11-25 20:11:22 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

Japan: The Mishima Incident 
From the article: "Mishima’s telephone call was to be the writer’s last civil and civilian act. In a seemingly impossible leap of logic, less than an hour later, Mishima and four members of his private army, the Shield Society, had gagged and bound the general of the country’s Eastern Army at his Tokyo headquarters before demanding that Ground Self-Defense Force members assemble in front of the building to listen to a call to arms. The “Mishima incident” — the never-to-be-forgotten “JFK moment” of postwar Japanese history — had begun.

"Within two hours of his attempted phone call to Murata, Mishima had stood in military uniform on a balcony at the headquarters and addressed about 1,000 servicemen on the need to revoke the country’s pacifist Constitution before being shouted down in a sea of jeers."

Japan: The Mishima Incident 
From the article: "Mishima’s telephone call was to be the writer’s last civil and civilian act. In a seemingly impossible leap of logic, less than an hour later, Mishima and four members of his private army, the Shield Society, had gagged and bound the general of the country’s Eastern Army at his Tokyo headquarters before demanding that Ground Self-Defense Force members assemble in front of the building to listen to a call to arms. The “Mishima incident” — the never-to-be-forgotten “JFK moment” of postwar Japanese history — had begun.

"Within two hours of his attempted phone call to Murata, Mishima had stood in military uniform on a balcony at the headquarters and addressed about 1,000 servicemen on the need to revoke the country’s pacifist Constitution before being shouted down in a sea of jeers."___

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2015-11-24 02:01:35 (9 comments; 5 reshares; 113 +1s)Open 

Travel Santa Fe: Adobe Wall 
Currently reading Paul Horgan's The Centuries of Santa Fe and it is bringing vividly to mind my trip there ten years ago, over spring break. My Japanese teacher wanted to visit to ski over the holiday but didn't want to make the long drive from Austin alone so I tagged along.
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Just as we came over the Glorieta Pass, it began snowing furiously. We worried about making the last 20 miles into town. After we arrived safely, it snowed all night, big wet flakes. The next day the sun came out and the weather was just barely freezing. Perfect for walking around in the snow which is quite a novel experience for us Austinites

Photo: 20050316

Travel Santa Fe: Adobe Wall 
Currently reading Paul Horgan's The Centuries of Santa Fe and it is bringing vividly to mind my trip there ten years ago, over spring break. My Japanese teacher wanted to visit to ski over the holiday but didn't want to make the long drive from Austin alone so I tagged along.
.
Just as we came over the Glorieta Pass, it began snowing furiously. We worried about making the last 20 miles into town. After we arrived safely, it snowed all night, big wet flakes. The next day the sun came out and the weather was just barely freezing. Perfect for walking around in the snow which is quite a novel experience for us Austinites

Photo: 20050316___

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2015-11-22 02:17:13 (4 comments; 17 reshares; 230 +1s)Open 

Travel England: Blenheim Palace, The Lavender Garden
 

Travel England: Blenheim Palace, The Lavender Garden
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2015-11-21 21:31:07 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

Caturday: Cat Chasing Mouse
Cleaning out my desk, I came across some drawings that my son did with our first computer, a 512K Mac. Yep, MacPaint. Circa November 1985.

I find especially endearing the complete lack of motion conveyed in the "chase".

Caturday: Cat Chasing Mouse
Cleaning out my desk, I came across some drawings that my son did with our first computer, a 512K Mac. Yep, MacPaint. Circa November 1985.

I find especially endearing the complete lack of motion conveyed in the "chase".___

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2015-11-20 01:22:31 (1 comments; 4 reshares; 130 +1s)Open 

Travel Cape Cod
Not being from New England, I never really understood the geography of Cape Cod as a summer getaway for folk fleeing New York City. But it does look exactly like a movie set or the setting of so many books, a place both fictional and real.
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Photo: 2011-04-21. The first time I touched the Atlantic.

Travel Cape Cod
Not being from New England, I never really understood the geography of Cape Cod as a summer getaway for folk fleeing New York City. But it does look exactly like a movie set or the setting of so many books, a place both fictional and real.
---------
Photo: 2011-04-21. The first time I touched the Atlantic.___

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2015-11-18 02:12:41 (1 comments; 3 reshares; 128 +1s)Open 

Travel Patagonia:Tierra del Fuego 
A perfect morning...right up until the moment the glacier calved and trapped us in the ice. But that had a happy ending which included whiskey.

Travel Patagonia:Tierra del Fuego 
A perfect morning...right up until the moment the glacier calved and trapped us in the ice. But that had a happy ending which included whiskey.___

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2015-11-17 22:35:52 (13 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s)Open 

UXG+: Newly Minted Yet Again 
I haven't had the newness thrust upon me yet but the images below suggest that it has less words in the display than ever and that it's designed almost exclusively for mobile. So nothing for me (given that I use it exclusively on my desktop in order to write and read).

Dive into the new Google+
As +Eddie Kessler shared this afternoon (goo.gl/2QjBGx), we’ve spent lots of time talking to people who are passionate about Google+. We visited them in their homes, we invited them into early testing communities and we learned more about how and why they use Google+. The predominant answer? Having a great place to keep up with and talk about their interests. From Astrophotography (goo.gl/HRQmIh) to Wild Hummingbirds (goo.gl/6FscI6), people are not only discovering amazing things, but meeting others who share their passions as well.

Today we’re taking a big step toward making Google+ an even better place for your interests. To do so, we’ve drastically simplified nearly every aspect of the product. You’ll see this clearly in our new navigation centered around Collections and Communities. Collections let you immerse yourself in content about topics like surfing (goo.gl/vvv5QD) or tiny tilt-shift photography scenes (goo.gl/nWyicL) . Communities enable groups of people with the same interests to join up and geek out on anything from Game of Thrones (goo.gl/aaqtgq) to Painting (goo.gl/kmlM7m). With Collections and Communities, discovering amazing things is simple: just follow or join whatever happens to pique your interests.

But we didn’t stop with Collections and Communities; the new Google+ also makes it easier to post, search, connect, and keep up with great content in a fully redesigned home stream. And we’ve worked hard to make our new web experience load fast and work beautifully on devices of all sizes.

You can preview the new Google+ on the web today by signing in and clicking “Let’s go” when you see the prompt. (And since not every feature of Google+ has made its way into this new design, for now, you can toggle back to the classic Google+ with one click in the bottom left-hand corner.) In the coming days, we’ll roll out updated apps for Android and iOS.

While this is an exciting new beginning for us, we’re definitely not done yet. We got here by listening and learning, and will continue doing so. Please visit our Help Center (goo.gl/gWsFeh) or drop us a line in our support community (goo.gl/eMFVj) to share your thoughts, questions, and more. ___UXG+: Newly Minted Yet Again 
I haven't had the newness thrust upon me yet but the images below suggest that it has less words in the display than ever and that it's designed almost exclusively for mobile. So nothing for me (given that I use it exclusively on my desktop in order to write and read).

Buttons

A special service of CircleCount.com is the following button.

The button shows the number of followers you have directly on a small button. You can add this button to your website, like the +1-Button of Google or the Like-Button of Facebook.






You can add this button directly in your website. For more information about the CircleCount Buttons and the description how to add them to another page click here.

M Sinclair StevensCircloscope