Mardi Gras is a bittersweet celebration in New Orleans today. If you’re not there, you can vicariously experience the sights and sounds through the All Things Considered New Orleans radio diary and make yourself a traditional Mardi Gras king cake. You can also listen to my friend Farai Chideya‘s moving News & Notes piece, "New Orleans Resident Revisits Levee Break."
Laissez les bons temps rouler.
Posted February 28, 2006 by Mariva in arts, community, edibles, holidays, news, travel
I sometimes find myself intrigued with the classical or jazz instrumentalists featured in pop, rock or hip-hop songs. Who are they, and how did the pop artists and producers find them? One such musician is Israeli-born, classically trained violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who arranged nearly all the string arrangements — sometimes haunting, other times uplifting and lovely — on Kanye West’s debut album The College Dropout.
Because of her unique application of violin technique, Ben-Ari has been dubbed "the Hip-Hop Violinist." She has released a CD (explicit, clean) with the selfsame title, which features various hip-hop artists.
Posted February 27, 2006 by Mariva in arts, entertainment, music
This is driving me nuts. What do you do with the hat once the snowman melts and his face mysteriously appears on the spinning thingamabob at the top that used to be the timer? (You have to play the game for that to make sense.) Or, without realizing it, did I actually win?
Gee, if I can’t even tear myself away from this thing, can you imagine me with Katamari?
Posted February 24, 2006 by Mariva in fun, games, innovations
- "Building Beijing": Construction within this Chinese city — the site of the 2008 Olympic Games — is happening at such a mind-boggling rate that a new map is issued every three months.
- "Memory": How does memory work, and how does it fail?
- "All in a Day’s Work": Exploring the ways in which people around the world earn their living. Profiles include domestic workers, soldiers, judges and clerics.
I couldn’t stop listening to the documentary about cell phones, which Europeans call "mobile phones." The program explores the history behind, uses of and cultural phenomena surrounding the over two billion mobile phones in use around the planet. How is the mobile phone changing the lives of the poor? Are mobile phone conversations secure? What is considered acceptable behavior of mobile phone use in various countries?
If this got you thinking about your own cell phone use, you may want to bookmark these guides to cell phone etiquette:
« Hide it
Posted February 23, 2006 by Mariva in education, gadgets, innovations, news, resources, social
The Solutions catalog offers all sorts of, well, solutions — or, as the company puts it, “products that make life easier.” Lest you think that Solutions products are akin to Kenji Kawakami’s 101, 99 More and The Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chindogu, check out this sampling of potentially useful items:
If you need help with home improvement or getting organized, Solutions also provides a handy list of free clever tips.
« Hide it
Posted February 22, 2006 by Mariva in decor, entertaining, gadgets, gifts, home, innovations, kitchen, resources, travel
Half the fun of a gift is the packaging — and all the better if the wrapping paper is unique. If you’re lucky enough to have this unique designer paper, would you use it to wrap a gift — or would you frame and display the paper itself?
Posted February 21, 2006 by Mariva in arts, decor, gifts, home
Whoo-hoo! Macy’s is having a big fat Presidents’ Day Sale on apparel, jewelry and shoes for him, her and kids — but today is the last day. Also, this is the last week of the annual Home Sale on bed & bath, dining, housewares, luggage and rugs.
Posted February 20, 2006 by Mariva in bath & spa, decor, entertaining, fashion, home, jewelry, kitchen
Sometimes what strangers say and write, taken out of context — especially when taken out of context — is fascinating. Overheard in New York publishes transcripts of random conversations overheard in the Big Apple. FOUND Magazine is a repository of personal ephemera — such as love letters, school notes, birthday cards, kids’ homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, business plans, telephone bills, doodles and so on — that are lost by some and found by others.
Posted February 17, 2006 by Mariva in arts, community, fun, innovations, social
I’d always wondered what the phrase "squaring the circle" meant. I figured it must mean something important, because it’s inspired titles for odd-shaped blank books and an obscure television show, as well as metaphors for geopolitics, economics, ecology, and even the performance and audio arts.
I posed the question to a friend who works in the Math Department at U.C. Berkeley. Her field is geometry, so I was sure that she’d be able to explain it to me. Weirdly, however, she didn’t know what "squaring the circle" meant, and she was barely even familiar with the phrase!
"And you call yourself a math professor!" I joked.
"Actually," she explained, "there are a lot of things we math professors don’t know. We specialize in one field, and it’s usually on the cutting edge of something new that’s being discovered."
Fair enough — but weren’t the essential discoveries of the ancient Greek mathematicians covered in, say, undergraduate school? Apparently not. So while my friend is busying herself with the probability of heat flow on geometric objects — or some such thing — I wikied Ferdinand von Lindemann, ruler-and-compass constructions and the Archimedean spiral, which kind of resembles the Cooking.com logo.
While I kind of get it now, the next time I have a math question, I might just go ask Winnie Cooper.
« Hide it
Posted February 16, 2006 by Mariva in education, innovations
Ever feel nostalgic for products or supplies that you remember from childhood, but haven’t been able to find in years? Your search may be over. The Vermont Country Store offers a wide variety of products that your parents or grandparents used — all brand-new and recently manufactured. How is this possible? The proprietors get permission to re-create vintage products as close to the originals as possible — including design and packaging — and bring them to market for another generation of consumers. If you’re not in the neighborhood of one of the stores in Weston or Rockingham, Vermont, you can order vintage games, classic New England apparel (warning: not for the fashion-conscious), long-lost fragrances and even food and beverages online. If you can’t find what you want, let them know, and they’ll consider re-creating it for you.
Posted February 15, 2006 by Mariva in bath & spa, business, decor, edibles, fun, games, gifts, home, innovations, kitchen, resources