Friday, 25 October 2013

I nit pick out of love

To the arts correspondent for BBC News:

It is pronounced "De MÈdici", not "De MedÌci"

And the abbreviation for Leonardo Da Vinci is simply Leonardo, not "Da Vinci".

Safety. It's about Context, not people.

As explained, so well, here:

...making such blanket warnings about an entire group of human beings is just dumb if you actually care about the safety of your kids. It puts the race/gender/age category before all other obvious contexts: neighborhood, street, school, college, inner city, distant suburb, daytime, night, crowded places, dark streets, and the actual observed behaviorof the young black man. 

In a brave and clear-headed piece in The Dish: It's Not Racist... 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Barilla

It's been a few weeks so we are probably off of our Barilla boycott.

But it still bothers me.

A comment made by the company head and everybody is in an uproar. Well done. You know one thing. It's not a nice thing, but you never cared throughout the years that Barilla gave us only commercials with women serving the tables, men being served. And having said that, it one of the less offensive commercials on Italian television. So I repeat: there are many things to know, of you which you know one.

Despite all this I disagree with a boycott. Because of all I don't know.

So the CEO is narrow minded?

What about the rest of his management team. What about their secretaries, accountants and office personnel. What about their factory workers and distributors and the agricultural personnel or partners? What if every single one of them disagrees with the CEO?

You boycott Barilla and switch instead to De Cecco, another excellent pasta.

Their CEO isn't narrow-minded.

What about the rest of his management team. What about their secretaries, accountants and office personnel. What about their factory workers and distributors and the agricultural personnel or partners? What if every single one of them disagrees with the CEO? What if they are all homophobic and sexist?

What you don't know can harm your cause.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Football

Of the American variety.

Nobody had told me this was so much fun!

Actually many people had told me that. But you don't know until you know.

First I have to congratulate Americans, once again, for how they do sports. Sports here are a chance for fun. Amazing concept, isn't it? I love football (futbol, soccer) with all my heart and it crushes me every time I hear about soccer-related violence or offenses. It is such a contrast to the atmosphere at games here, where there is a whole playground happening outside a stadium or arena, and a circus taking place inside.

It can become a bit of a sensory overload if you're not used to it, but overall I like what they do. The camaraderie of in-stadium cheering is a great thing.

And I enjoyed the football too! I confess that I tend to find American sports (basketball, baseball, American football) rather slow, but with this game my attention was captured.

So: very little commentary and just a rather self-indulgent post to appreciate my day of Falcons victory. Rise Up!


BBC News Podcast reviews Eat GreenPoint

A bit of morning comedy does a body good.

The BBC reviewed the Brooklyn restaurant Eat, where punters are asked to dine in silence.

The owner explained that they encourage diners not to speak at all during their stay in the restaurant (90-minute set meal time). The interviewer asked about mobile phones and the owner replied that goodness no, he asks customer to please switch them off. Why the silent meals, is it to commune more deeply with the food?

The owner replies: "It can be whatever you want, I don't want to be dictatorial about it"

Props to the BBC guy for returning with: "Apart from asking them to shut up."

The owner also mentioned that every silent meal so far has ended in applause.

"Perhaps," replied the BBC, "out of relief that it was over".

Great interview. And stupid dining concept. IMHO. People: food IS sustenance and it IS communal. We eat because otherwise we die, and therefore if we must do it we may as well have fun doing it. And use it to our advantage: the meal is a time to come together and do nothing other than share. We share food, and we share stories. The whole point of food - beyond survival - is conversation. Even in Brooklyn.

Update:
The WSJ review brings up that whole dictatorial thing again:
Punishment for talking was having one’s plate–filled with handmade whole wheat pasta or  scallops and calamari, among other dishes–removed and placed on a bench outside, where loudmouths could finish their meals.

Friday, 18 October 2013

What Freedom Is

"we too can walk into an iced cream shop and choose what flavor we want just like we could in America, and this is not freedom....Yes, many of us can go to school, can work, can earn and spend our own money. But what we study or work at, and how and why and when and where and with whom and wearing what–all of this is controlled. "

And also

I can smile because I had a good day at work without being forced to explain why I am so happy.
I can cry at my empty, robotic life without being forced to explain why I am unhappy.
I can have facial expressions. Facial expressions.
I can have facial expressions.
I can have facial expressions.
Read the whole post here.

I would add that despite the title, this piece is not about religion. This piece is about freedom pure and simple.



Thursday, 17 October 2013

Late night adventures

Around 21.30 G and I decided we needed lemons. So we went to the grocery store and bought three lemons. And I'm pretty sure the lady at the register laughed at us for making this a two-man job.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Is Italy running Healthcare.gov?

I'm pretty sure it is. Possibly with some input from France and foot soldiers from Greece.

The 24 hour hotline is closed on weekends. There is no message to tell you this by the way, the line just cuts off.

The website is still not working. (And no: this is nothing like Apple. Apple is one choice of many.)

Most recently the message has been that if your application has gone through (whether or not you actually submitted it) you can not call and ask for an update or see if anything is missing. In the particular case of which I speak this is especially important since an application was not actually submitted, though the phone operator said it is currently under way. In any case you must wait to see if somebody from the exchanges phones you. By Dec. 15th. After which, you have two weeks to get your act together.

Ah at one point I did arrive far enough on the website to compare premiums. Only. The screen only showed the prices but there was no way to view what was included. It's surprise health insurance.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Movie Reviews

Rotten Tomatoes and I seem to agree only rarely. Anyway, I enjoyed The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch.
In a James Bond/Jason Bourne kind of way. Even if his initials are LW.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

I can has hired

A new employee. Who came to me from a previous employer.

I have created movement in the labor market.

So now that previous employer has to fill that person's position. They may hire from another department, office, competitor, business type, or somebody who is fresh out of school or previously not working. In any case, it creates another movement in the labor market.

My employee is being paid, I should add, not through a hand-out, investment, or subsidy, but through revenues arriving from business growth. The existence and work of my business, has moved the money around making my clients better off with a great solution, my business better off with business growth, and the labor market better off with at least one more person employed.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the "magic" of free capital movement. The best community programme there is.

The BBC is funny

Ah, the BBC and it's parody of news.

On a story about match-fixing in football. The interviewee explains that betting occurs not just on goals-scored and victories but also things life balls out of bounds, offsides, corner kicks. So match-fixing occurs even at these more micro levels.

So the BBC interviewer asks for the obvious question (if you're partially lobotomised): "But governments can regulate the betting markets so they can make this stop, isn't that right?"

And here I thought the issue was match-fixing. Silly me.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Atlanta opera

That's the one with the funny singing; not the club.

And it is magnificent! 

This was my first time there, having purchased season tickets, with high expectations. And they were met and surpassed. 

I should mention that I saw the Tosca. It was my first time seeing it live, and has been on my to do list since I was a little girl. I mean, this is the opera where the tragic heroine jumps off the Castel Sant'Angelo to her dramatic and devastating death. Who doesn't want to see that live? 
It certainly helps that the music is breathtaking. 

Opening night brought a crowd of silk lapels and evening gowns; a discerning and enthusiastic audience; a flawless resident orchestra;  a soprano seemingly born to sing Tosca and Cavaradossi as I always imagined him. 

Thank you Atlanta!


Friday, 4 October 2013

Leaving the workforce

We always talk about women having the right to choose a career or full-time motherhood. We do not talk nearly enough about this same choice for men.

Ok, that's slightly different from what comes next, but it is something that truly bothers me and I wanted to state it here. Because the context of this post is the right one. I just read Lisa Endlich Heffernan's Why I Regret Being a Stay At Home Mom.

Her points are realistic and considering these does not make you selfish or unconcerned (again: nobody questions fathers choosing to stay in the workforce).

Her poignant conclusion:
I lowered my sights for myself as I dimmed in my own mind what I thought I was capable of. I let go of the burning ambition I once held because I didn't feel as though I could hold it and three babies at the same time. My husband did not do this, my children did not do this, I did this. In the years that I was home, I lulled myself into thinking that I was accomplishing enough because I was. I was raising my children and as any parent who had spent a day with a child knows, that can fill all of the hours in a day. What I hadn't realized was how my constant focus on my family would result in my aspirations for myself slipping away. And despite it being obvious, I did not focus on the inevitable obsolescence that my job as mom held.
A couple other points that stood out:
During the years at home with my children, I made the most wonderful friends, women I hope to know all of my life. But living in the suburbs among women of shockingly similar backgrounds, interests and aspirations narrowed the scope of people with whom I interacted. In the workplace, my contacts and friends included both genders and people of every description, and I was better for it.

And
I got my driver's license after a short course and a couple of lessons in 11th grade. My post-secondary education took six years of hard work and yet, for years, I used my drivers license far more than my formal education. On one level, I felt like I was shortchanging myself and those who educated, trained and believed in me by doing this.