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Tell a friend election toys & info


Really? There’s an election? Gee, I had no idea.

For anyone living under a rock, the United States is approaching the decision that initiates the peaceful transfer of power (or the Quadrennial Showdown between Good and Evil, take your pick). Some elections are more contentious than others; the race for the impending presidential election on November 4, 2008 may be one of the most heated.

MSNBC produced a slideshow of voter portraits. After viewing just a few photos, though, I could accurately guess the voter’s allegiance. For example, every single African American pictured is voting for Barack Obama. The lobbyist in a business suit is supporting John McCain. The hip young people tend to lean Democratic. The older rural white men are all Republicans. (Well, duh.) While I appreciate the diversity of American citizens featured, the voting populace is full of surprises, and I wish the slideshow reflected some of those instead of reinforcing stereotypes according to the conventional wisdom of demographics.

Tangentially, speaking of demographics, do you know about Generation Jones? Born between 1954 and 1965, “Jonesers” occupy the recently acknowledged generation between Baby Boomers and Generation Xers. For decades, Jonesers had been imprecisely lumped in with Baby Boomers, but their life experiences have been very different from those of Boomers. Instead of worrying about getting drafted into the Vietnam War or dancing in mud at Woodstock, Jonesers were listening to punk rock on their way to the unemployment office in the late ’70s and wondering when Ronald Reagan would get around to mentioning AIDS in the ’80s. (The name Generation Jones, according to Wikipedia, “derives from the slang term jonesing, referring to the unrequited cravings felt by this generation of unfulfilled expectations.”) Both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are members of Generation Jones, and the Jonesers bloc comprises a potentially large number of swing voters.

Posted October 10, 2008 by Mariva in community, education, media, news, resources

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Tell a friend best free audio podcasts

best free audio podcasts

Over the years I’ve developed a pathological fear of boredom, and subsequently a fear of mundane activities that lead to boredom, like waiting at the airport (especially at night), exercising (if it’s routine and not, say, a hike in an unfamiliar area), or cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. I like to keep my mind occupied; sometimes my own thoughts are enough, and sometimes they’re just not. For when my thoughts aren’t enough, and there’s nothing good on the radio, I listen to my favorite podcasts.

The irony? Alas, there is simply not enough time — even counting the stretches of boring time during aforementioned mundane activities — to listen to everything I want to, so the podcasts not yet listened to stack up in a sometimes overwhelming queue. I’ve realized that podcasts are like books or recorded TV shows: I probably won’t get to everything, but it comforts me to know they’re there, promising a rich intellectual landscape in which to escape from a wasteland of ennui.

Posted January 5, 2008 by Mariva in education, entertainment, news, resources, technology

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Tell a friend April 1

April Fool's Day

In the mood for romance? Or various other tomfoolery?

Oh, by the way: don’t forget to spring forward tonight. No foolin’.


Posted April 1, 2006 by Mariva in fun, holidays, news

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Tell a friend found my thrill

Fats Domino, Alive and Kickin'

Thank goodness Fats Domino was found alive and well after the Katrina disaster in his native New Orleans. He was found in his home in the Ninth Ward, although some say he was actually found on Blueberry Hill. Domino is 78 years old, and despite losing his home, he’s in good spirits and still making music. He’s donating the proceeds from his latest album, Alive and Kickin’, to the Tipitina’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to rebuilding the music culture of New Orleans. On NPR’s All Things Considered, Domino demonstrates the rhythmic and tempo difference between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, a shift that occurred in popular music during the ’50s.

Posted March 14, 2006 by Mariva in arts, community, entertainment, music, news

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Tell a friend live long and Prosper


I hear all sorts of business ideas at the monthly Entrepreneurship Meetup — some OK but need further development, some not so good, some downright ill-conceived. At the last month’s Meetup, I met the CTO of, an innovative financial startup that facilitates person-to-person lending — for example, a blogger in California lending $500 to a cafe owner in Maine — via a system that CEO and E-Loan co-founder Chris Larsen hopes to become "the eBay of loans."

Prosper seemed to be in the "OK but needs further development" category of startups until I heard more about it. My first thought was, "How safe is this thing? Could I just be throwing money away to strangers asking for a ‘loan’?" Other Meetup attendees voiced similar concerns. "Are these loans in any way guaranteed?" asked the hotshot from OngoBongo (which, tangentially, may have bigger problems with the advent of Lala — or maybe not: see the update below).

Posted March 7, 2006 by Mariva in business, community, finance, innovations, news, resources

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Tell a friend Oscars, Baby!


2005 was a great year in movies. I, for one, am glad that Jon Stewart is hosting the 78th Annual Academy Awards.

Attend an Oscar party, or host one yourself.

Posted March 3, 2006 by Mariva in arts, entertainment, fashion, movies, news

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Tell a friend Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras king cake

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

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Tell a friend BBC World Service: “Mobile Phones”

BBC World Service: "Mobile Phones" The BBC World Service produces fascinating radio documentaries on various topics:
  • "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.

Posted February 23, 2006 by Mariva in education, gadgets, innovations, news, resources, social

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Tell a friend shipwrecked in New York City

This American Life: "In the Shadow of the City"

The O.C. character Summer Roberts described This American Life as the "…[radio] show where those hipster know-it-alls talk about how fascinating ordinary people are." Albeit an accurate description, I enjoy Ira Glass’s stories nonetheless. "In the Shadow of the City" (aired February 3, 2006) sent me on an emotional roller coaster ride. “Act One” — a story about literally getting shipwrecked in the archipelago of New York City — made me laugh so hard that I temporarily lost control of a certain bodily function and had to change my pants. I think what did it for me was: “…I got a little mad at the city of New York. I could understand if they had just one pay phone there, or at least, I don’t know, like a button to press to know that you’re there, you know?” (16 minutes, 42 seconds) — as well as the absurd image of fashioning slippers or a raft out of ducks (18 minutes, 32 seconds).

I had the exact opposite reaction to "Act Two," a sobering personal description of the post-Katrina cleanup nightmare in New Orleans. And "Act Three" simply made me crave chocolate.

Posted February 9, 2006 by Mariva in entertainment, news

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Tell a friend It really makes you think…


It really makes you think

Philosophy Talk: A couple of Stanford University professors discuss one broad, intriguing topic — such as time, happiness, forgiveness, virtue, propaganda, science, free will, democracy, beauty and so on — each week on a public radio program.

Posted February 8, 2006 by Mariva in education, entertainment, fun, innovations, news, resources

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