Enjoying Benjamin Franklin lecture on iTunes U ...

I am continually amazed what’s available online for free. Anyone on a computer can access the iTunes U lectures series below, from Oxford, Cambridge, UC Berkeley. And many more.

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Congrats to Canada ... what a great winter Olympics ...

Just to say, before the big game, that Canada has done itself proud. What a great event! Fun and fantastic both.

I think of Minnesota as being as close as I can get to Canada and still not get universal health care.

SOURCE: Vancouver Winter Games


Gonna miss this ... a classic winter wanes ...

I went out today to capture some memories. Speaking of which, when I first arrived in Minnesota from Chicago, this is what most impressed me: clean, transparent air.

Great River Trail, Black River Bridge
Perrot State Park, Bradys Bluff Trail
Perrot State Park, Bradys Bluff Trail
​Perrot State Park, Trempealeau River Basin


Trying out some camera equipment ...

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And then the ampersand ...

Here’s a quickie: The ampersand is credited to Cicero’s secretary Tiro and developed as a ligature out of the letter “e” and “t” in the Latin word et, meaning “and.” And Wikipedia says this about the word itself:
“The word ampersand is a corruption of the phrase ‘and per se and,’ meaning ‘and [the symbol which] by itself [is] and.’”


Following Christopher Fowler ... through peculiar times ...

Christopher Fowler is a favorite crime writer of mine. His “Peculiar Crimes Unit” series, now relabeled “Bryant & May” is blend of great characters, tight plots, and lots of tidbits of London history.

“In the last few years, the role of the writer has changed. It’s no longer something you get around to doing when things are a bit quieter, it’s not enough to write a book and send it off to a publisher. You are required to play a complicated game with the media that involves a lot of planning and projections, because the ground is shifting. Publishers do a lot of things for me, but the thing they do most these days is apologise. ‘We can’t', ‘we wish’, ‘it’s not cost effective’, ‘it’s an uncertain climate.’ That’s fine, they try to help get me published and it’s all you can hope for. In England there was a long tradition of the Actor-Manager, and now there are Writer-Managers, but here’s the thing – the more a good writer does that isn’t actually writing, the worse s/he get​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​s.”


And the Toller Cranston award ...

goes to Johnny Weir. About Toller, an Olympian skater favorite from way back. Canadians will remember.

A good day for a Roger Ebert quote ...

Almost the first day I started writing reviews, I found a sentence in a book by Robert Warshow that I pinned on the wall above my desk. I have quoted it so frequently that some readers must be weary of it, but it helps me stay grounded. It says:
“A man goes to the movies. A critic must be honest enough to admit he is that man.
“That doesn't make one person right and another wrong. All it means is that you know how they really felt, not how they thought they should feel.”
“The Best Films of the Decade“


Post once, publish everywhere ...

I mess around with the various publishing platforms available. You can take the editor out of publishing, but you can’t ...

The newest publishing platform this week is Google’s Buzz. It could be a dilly. It links in nicely to my micro publishing flow:

* I like to keep my content on my computer, not residing on the web. So I use a journaling app, MacJournal, to create a post, which I upload to my blog.
* I like to use images often, so I make a blog app, Blogger, my primary online posting site.
* When I post to my blog, snitsbits, the header and blog link are automatically reposted to Twitter.
* From Twitter, the same info is reposted automatically to Facebook, Linkedin, and now Buzz.

The flow goes from Twitter to the rest because not all these kids want to play together; Twitter won’t currently receive posts from Buzz, for instance. And Buzz doesn’t want to post to Twitter because Twitter only handles a line or two of text, not pics. Who cares? This works for me.



Posting a travel tip ...

Useful airfare search site, includes a 30 day chart showing fares around the timetable you input, as well as senior fare options. You send the results to your local travel agency to generate the tickets, so that’s good citizenry. Add a bit to the listed prices for tax and fees.



Practicing for Dussy ...

One of the most enjoyable aspects of visiting Chris in Düsseldorf is cooking for the clan in his apartment house. Here’s a gorgonzola pizza using a biscuit crust, the crust idea compliments of Basil’s, a restaurant in Northfield, MN, we supped at when the boys were in college at St. Olaf long ago. And of course it’s on the web today.


Thinking about the Times ... and Mores ...

Today the New York Times made its historical archives available to subscribers. Nice. Here’s the front page for March 5, 1861, the first of Lincoln’s inaugurations. Probably not readable here. The inset is the text of the article. Nice again. The NYT is making a push to secure paid subscriptions by leveraging several new services. My best wishes.

Speaking of best wishes: The term inauguration* caught my eye. It’s that extra “u.” I’m presently reading a historical novel about Cicero, Conspirata, in which the auguries are part of the political rituals of transition.

*ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Latin inaugurat- ‘interpreted as omens (from the flight of birds),’ based on augurare ‘to augur.’
SOURCE: New Oxford Dictionary



Move over Twitter ... What's the Buzz?

Google is offering an alternative to Twitter and Facebook both, called Buzz. This is the “phone” version of the web app. It’s mighty purty. In fact, looking at the desktop and phone versions, it’s been built for mobile use primarily.

Image at 3x. Don’t I wish the screen was this size. Hmm.


All watched over by machines of loving grace ...

said Richard Brautigan long ago.

Reading a great Cory Doctorow quote on the Kindle ...

Doctorow is a crusader against digital rights management. This comment sums what bugs me about all ebook readers as well:

“Presumably, Amazon perceives the $10 price-tag as a way of encouraging people to buy its Kindle platform, which itself is a kind of roach-motel for books: the license terms and DRM on the books in the Kindle store prohibit you from reading your Kindle books on competing devices. So books check in, but they don't check out.”