The Financial Planning Association and the National Endowment for Financial Education have teamed up to create an online life-stages financial planning tool.
Life Events & Financial Decisions is definitely a site to bookmark if only for as a checklist for the Business of Life™.
When may federal courts hear claims that involve state probate proceedings? A dry legal question if you don't know the context.
With an oil fortune on the line, former stripper Anna Nicole Smith encountered a sympathetic audience at the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Several justices said they were concerned that the one-time Playboy Playmate was kept from pursuing a piece of her late husband's fortune.
"It's quite a story," said Justice Stephen Breyer.
John Mayoue on Why every couple needs a pre-nuptial agreement
Let's face it - marriage may well be a union of the hearts, but it is also a union of bank accounts. When couples marry, they create a legal relationship between one another. There are many financial advantages to marrying - this is how the government encourages people to marry instead of just living with one another - but if those marriages end, by divorce or even death, the legal relationship you have with your spouse may create unplanned financial fallout.
Who needs such fallout when you are going through the emotional trauma of a divorce, or mourning the death of a spouse? In many respects, a pre-nup is the practical way of avoiding at least some of the unpleasant realities. Couples who get a pre-nup, in my opinion, are doing the responsible thing - helping the person they love most by removing some aspects of the thing couples argue about most: money.
You're never to old to create the rest of your life. You can be 80 and revolutionary.
They are unlikely revolutionaries. Bearing walkers and canes, a veritable Merck Manual of ailments among them, the 12 old friends — average age 80 — looked as though they should have been sitting down to a game of Scrabble, not pioneering a new kind of commune.
Opting for old age on their own terms, they were starting a new chapter in their lives as residents of Glacier Circle, the country's first self-planned housing development for the elderly — a community they had conceived and designed themselves, right down to its purple gutters.
Over the past five years, the residents of Glacier Circle have found and bought land together, hired an architect together, ironed out insurance together, lobbied for a zoning change together and existentially probed togetherness together.
"Here you get to pick your family instead of being born into it," said Peggy Northup-Dawson, 79, a retired family therapist and mother of six who is legally blind. "We recognized that when you're physically closer to each other, you pay more attention, look in on each other. The idea was to share care."
In California, New Kind of Commune for Elderly , in the NYTimes.
We're going to be seeing a lot more of these stories.
The best story I've read about the Winter Olympics is by Tom Wise in the Washington, Honorable Move Made in a Snap. One of the reasons the Olympics remains so compelling is that there are moments when a person's character is revealed before all the world.
Clarity can be found at the Games if you look hard, a clarity that can distill someone's character better than most life experiences. U.S. goalie Chanda Gunn, refusing to shake hands with the Swedish women's hockey team after the Americans' stunning semifinal loss. France's Pierre-Emmanuel Dalcin, raising his middle finger after he failed to complete the Super-G. A pair of Austrian Nordic skiers, bolting the Games after Italian authorities began a drug investigation.
But character also comes out at the Games in ways that touch and inspire. Joey Cheek, the U.S. speedskater who donated the $40,000 he earned for winning gold and silver medals to the children of Darfur. Zhang Dan, the Chinese pairs figure skater who slid violently to the boards after being dropped by her partner, but got up, finished in pain and captured the silver medal.
Yet Hakensmoen proved there is still an abundance of human majesty at the Olympics.
Hakensmoen is the mystery man below
Sara Renner was skiing the cross-country race of her life when she looked down at her pole and saw it had snapped.
She flailed and struggled uphill as the field passed her in seconds. And then something happened, maybe the most serendipitous, skin-tingling moment of the 20th Winter Games.
Out of nowhere.
Given to her by a person she would call "my mystery man.
The poor behavior on the part of some American athletes has the head of the USOC saying "significant" efforts will be made to improve deportment among US athletes.
They turned off the life support to Brian Paolo, but he began to breathe on his own. Ten days later, he gave his daughter away at her wedding.
His daughter Anne-Marie said: "The doctors had prepared us for the worst and it looked like they were right. But dad fought back.
"I couldn't believe it when he started to recover and we realised he would be there for the wedding. The doctors and nurses said they had never seen anything like it - they were astounded.
Aimed primarily at love-sick teenagers, a hospital clinic in Munich gives emergency treatment to the broken-hearted.
"Having your heart broken can lead to physical and psychological problems, from loss of appetite which leads to sudden weight loss to unbelievable pain that drives many people to take drastic measures."
The free clinic in the Bavarian capital will have experts on hand to advise both sexes on how to cope with being single.
Roseanne Cash's new album Black Cadillac "mines the grief" Cash experienced after she lost three parents in two years - her mother, father and stepmother, Johnny and June Carter Cash. She says in a Beliefnet interview "Each song is about a different place on the map of loss."
Do you see this album as a love letter or a farewell to your parents?
No--it's not a tribute record, it's not a farewell, it's not a goodbye note. It's about what I discovered in the mourning process about my relationship to them, which I believe continues, about re-negotiating the terms of those relationships, because they're not over, although I'm the only one talking. And about the emptiness, the silence that comes when you're the only one talking. It's about an attempt to connect and find what survives death—the ancestral thread, and love.
I am the wall protecting my children from their own mortality, so therefore my mortality is acutely present. I have a sense that I'll get past this phase I'm in right now where I feel like it's so present, that death is imminent, because I'm not old yet, and I know that it's all there because so many people died in such rapid succession. I'm trying to figure out how to integrate that sense of mortality into a graceful way to live in the present. It's hard.
I have written above my desk—"When you sing, you pray twice." Somebody told me that they knew this psychic who when he saw musical notes around a person, he knew they prayed a lot. I thought that was so great, like prayers go out as musical notes, and maybe vice versa.
We are always interested in "new" emotions. Though I doubt whether there really are any new emotions that are unrelated to our relationship with technology.
After all, we humans are pretty much the same as humans were a thousand, two thousand years ago except we know what's happened since and we build on what's gone before.
We begin to make finer descriptions of and distinctions between feelings. I was quite surprised to learn that "empathy" as a word didn't exist 100 years ago, though "pity" and "sympathy" did.
Elevation is a new word to describe that warm tingling feeling in the chest you feel when seeing, even reading about, acts of kindness or heroism that motivates you to be better.
Now there's idolspize, a word that succinctly describes the tricky emotion between idolizing and despising in the Washington Post.
The best book I know about "new" emotions is "They Have a Word for It : A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases by Howard Rheingold.
It's so good that I've decided to create a new category so I can talk about some of them.
From Pamela Bone, one year after being diagnosed with myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow, and retiring.
The best advice to people suffering a terminal illness I've read was this: 'Yes, you are going to die, but until you do, you are alive.' So that's what I'm doing: being alive.
And goes on to talk about the butter, the Danes and Prince Fredrik.
Everyone knows that major life events - a wedding, a new baby, a divorce, a new house or loss of a job - affect your financial life.
When your life changes, it's time to review your insurance coverage. It's the only way to know if you are over insured or under-insured. Your insurance should cover the major financial risks for your life RIGHT NOW, not the way your life was two years ago.
Some 32 million U.S. households own insurance policies that aren't right for them according to a recent survey. About one third of survey respondents admitted to having outdated policies.
Here are some examples of the findings.
• One in three haven't updated their homeowners policies to cover significant remodeling such as a new room, porch or deck.
• Nearly half of those people with a valuable collection - wine, art, antiques - don't have special insurance coverage.
• 40% of those families who have a young driver move away from home haven't updated their auto insurance even though they would save money.
• 84% of drivers who frequently car pool to a job, school, or activities with children haven't changed their liability coverage to reflect the increased risk of additional passengers.
• One third of the families with new babies haven't updated their life insurance.
• 70% of those who rent don't have renters insurance.
The survey was conducted by ICR for Trusted Choice, a network of insurance and financial services firms that provide customized insurance products.
In talking about the movie that's packing in the audiences in Europe, David Warren writes an outstanding essay entitled A truth exposed.
I've always been intrigued about life in a monastery. Silence. Beauty. Loss of self. Greater individuality. Selflessness and deep kindness. Great joy in living.
Entitled Die Grosse Stille -- Into Great Silence -- it is about the life of the monks in Grande Chartreuse, the mother house of the Carthusian monastic order.
What most interested me, and the person who brought the film to my attention, was a single remark of the filmmaker, about what he had learned from making his documentary. He told the BBC, “When I left the monastery, I was thinking about what exactly had I lived through and it was realizing that I had had the privilege of living with a community of people who live practically without any fears.”
And again: “We tend to say that our society is driven by consumerism or greed but it’s not true. Greed, consumerism, wanting to have a new Porsche, for example, is a disguise of pure fear. It’s a near panicking society and that was difficult to accept.”
This is why the film plays to packed houses. It speaks to people about what they are.
We cling to things that cannot last, out of our curious panic; to things like Porsches, and the nanny state. We ignore, in this panic, anything that isn’t hard to the touch -- the verities of God, nature, and our nature. Yet in so doing we select what is transient, over what is eternal.
Pain, loss, disappointment, and death, we cannot escape. Each is written unalterably into our fate, as living organisms. But our fear is not so written. It has instead been brought upon ourselves.
Would you spend $12,000 to organize your garage if it meant you would finally have room for your car?
Garage organizing has become one of the fastest growing segments of the home improvement market, expected to rise 10% a year for the rest of the decade. Last year, some $800 million dollars was spent on garage organizing.
I still find it hard to credit a survey taken by Ikea in 2001 that 31% of respondents got more satisfaction from cleaning a closet than having sex.
Well, it does last longer.
Lots of us are according to the latest Pew Study Are We Happy Yet
One third of us are very happy. Half of us are pretty happy. 15% are not too happy and 1% don't have a clue.
And it's been the same since they started keeping records, way back in 1972.
Much of the research into the field of happiness -- to say nothing of simple common sense - suggests that at the level of the individual, happiness is heavily influenced by life events (Did you get the big promotion? Have a fight with your boyfriend?) as well as by psychological traits (self-esteem, optimism, a sense of belonging, the capacity to love, etc.). The Pew survey did not look at life events or psychological characteristics. We only looked at happiness by demographic and behavioral traits. But through this admittedly limited prism, we found some fascinating correlations.
Several of them stand out: Married people are happier than unmarrieds. People who worship frequently are happier than those who don't. Republicans are happier than Democrats. Rich people are happier than poor people. Whites and Hispanics are happier than blacks. Sunbelt residents are happier than those who live in the rest of the country.
We also found some interesting non-correlations. People who have children are no happier than those who don't, after controlling for marital status. Retirees are no happier than workers. Pet owners are no happier than those without pets
This Brave New World has mind-boggling ethical questions and issues.
Consider this moral quandry from the Brussels Journal - A gift of a human
Let us add a confounding variable to the situation. Extending the adoption metaphor, let us posit that the mother offering you her child does so with the declaration that the child is useless to her. If you refuse, she will slit her daughter’s throat and leave the child to die. Your course of action seems obvious enough: you take the child immediately and spirit her to safety, away from the mad mother.
This is a seemingly extreme scenario, but it is not an unrealistic one. When the child in question is a frozen embryo, non-utility to the parent is the usual determinant of life or death.
I've found the perfect man thanks to Mary Katharine.
He's manly, he's handsome, he opens pickle jars, rubs feet, understands, says the right thing, he's Brawny Man.
No one else can listen quite like him. See for yourself
This is just great.
You thought you learned everything in kindergarten but you were never tested. The test comes later on in life. Are you a player?
Example: Me at a well-known company to pick up copies of a manuscript, I am visibly annoyed - this is my third trip to get what was promised yesterday. The anxious clerk, Miss Saucer-eyes, is obviously new to the herd behind the counter and doesn't know what to do with me or for me. The work is still not done, despite promises. Getting mad at her won't help.
"OK, I won't make any trouble," I say, "Just give me a really clever, off-the-wall creative excuse - the wildest thing you can think of. Make me laugh and I'll go away."
Miss Saucer-eyes is mute. This situation was not covered in training school last week. She whispers: "I'll speak to my manager."
Not a player.
Miss Saucer-eyes retreats to the back of the shop and consults with her manager, a high-energy, sharply-dressed woman. The manager marches briskly up to the counter, gives me a steely look, leans over the counter, and explains:
"Sir, you may not know this, but this store has been a front for the Irish Republican Army for years. We're supposed to be turning in our firearms, and it seems a bazooka is missing from the inventory. When we find the bazooka, things will get back to normal. If I were you, I wouldn't make any trouble - just come back tomorrow, OK?”
I'm so glad Gerard Van de Leun is back at American Digest and the white hole is now just a memory. Otherwise I would never have checked in on
You know how experts say you should weigh all the pros and cons before any major decision?
I tried once or twice, but it always seemed false and forced. I usually opt for the easier, more natural gut decisions.
Turns out, that's a smarter thing to do.
A study today published in Science says "Follow your gut.
However, as the decisions become complex (more expensive items with many characteristics, such as cars), better decisions and happier ones come from not attending to the choices but allowing one's unconscious to sift through the many permutations for the optimal combination.
The Boston Globe reports
In a series of studies with shoppers and students, researchers found that people who face a decision with many considerations, such as what house to buy, often do not choose wisely if they spend a lot of time consciously weighing the pros and cons. Instead, the scientists conclude, the best strategy is to gather all of the relevant information -- such as the price, the number of bathrooms, the age of the roof -- and then put the decision out of mind for a while.
Then, when the time comes to decide, go with what feels right. ''It is much better to follow your gut," said Ap Dijksterhuis, a professor of psychology at the University of Amsterdam, who led the research.
For relatively simple decisions, he said, it is better to use the rational approach. But the conscious mind can consider only a few facts at a time. And so with complex decisions, he said, the unconscious appears to do a better job of weighing the factors and arriving at a sound conclusion.
For what has my life been preparing me?
People who find a deep sense of purpose in their lives are almost always able to look back at their previous experience and see that nothing was wasted. Experiences such as the work that had gone before (even if unpleasant), a tragedy, seemingly random events and turning points, even childhood delights and traumas, were all preparation to fulfill the purpose.
So, if you are puzzling about the purpose that will guide you, the key to the puzzle may lie in the question,
Somehow, the atmosphere in Europe harkens the 30s when people began closing their eyes, so horrific was the aftermath of the Great War.
In Paris, a young Jewish man was kidnapped and tortured, left to die on railroad tracks.
From the report in Le Figaro.
“The discovery Monday afternoon of the naked body of Ilan, 23 years-old, near the railroad tracks at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois (Essonne) is the tragic epilogue of a long police stake out. The victim had been tortured, 80% of his body was covered with bruises, deep cuts, and burns from an inflammable fluid. The young man, handcuffed and gagged, left for dead by his torturers, died on his way to the hospital.
Was it a criminal attack or was he targeted by the gang because he was Jewish? That is the question the paper and the government should be asking. Fortunately, the journalist Nidra Poller does at Atlas Shrugs and she shows the difficulty of conducting criminal investigations when you must also be politically correct.
Since I've always found it difficult to comprehend anti-semitism, I was especially glad to find ShrinkWrapped's post Pity the Poor Anti-Semite
Here is the crucial point for those who imagine that a tiny group of people, barely 60 years out of an almost successful genocide, left with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, comprising approximately .05% of the world's population, who came to the desert in Palestine and built a modern technological nation while devoting themselves to oppressing the Muslim world, with almost 100 times their population and oceans of oil:
The anti-Semite necessarily defines himself as monumentally inferior to the Jew.
UPDATE. The French have arrested 12 people from the gang called "The Barbarians" suspected in the killing of Ilan Halimi.
"They acted with indescribable cruelty," the judiciary police chief leading the investigation said. "They kept him naked and tied up for weeks. They cut him and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight."
The French officials say anti-Semitism was not a factor, his family say otherwise.
"We are in total shock," a close friend of Ilan's said Saturday. "All of us, Ilan's mother especially, have not yet begun to comprehend what happened."
Well, what do you know. From my old neighborhood on Beacon Hill, a great alternative to nursing homes and assisted living centers. An existing community figures out how to age where they live and still get the services they need without depending on adult children.
ALONE in his row house on Beacon Hill, with four precipitous flights of stairs and icy cobblestones outside the front door, John Sears, 75, still managed to look after himself after he was hit by a taxicab and left with a broken knee.
That is because Mr. Sears was one phone call away from everything he needed to remain in his home, the goal of more than 80 percent of the nation's elderly as they confront advancing age, according to consistent polls.
Mr. Sears required both practical assistance and peace of mind: Transportation to and from the hospital. An advocate with him at medical appointments. Home-delivered meals from favorite restaurants. Someone at his side as he hobbled to the bank and the barber. Someone else to install grab bars in his bathroom. A way to summon help in an emergency. People to look in on him.
They are all only one phone call away and organized by Beacon Hill Village, a non profit organization, created by the local residents themselves for themselves with a little help
In the lingo of the US Administration on Aging, it's a NORC - a natural occurring retirement community.
"I don't want a so-called expert determining how I should be treated or what should be available to me," said 72-year-old Susan McWhinney-Morse, one of the founders. "The thing I most cherish here is that it's we, the older people, who are creating our own universe."
Five years ago, Beacon Hill Village was a wish, not a plan.
Today, it has 340 members ages 52 to 98, an annual budget of $300,000, an executive director and staff, a stable of established service providers and enough foundation support to subsidize moderate or low-income members, who number one-fifth of the total. The annual fee is $550 for an individual and $780 for a household, plus the additional cost of discounted "à la carte" services.
A how-to manual is coming next month.
So what is it like living in New Orleans these days?
Chris Rose describes in the Times-Picayune.
I live in a neighborhood where you can't get a loaf of bread after 8 p.m. but where there are six or seven restaurants within walking distance serving lamb shank with rosemary grillades.
This is the strangest place on the planet. Our skin is made of leather and our hearts are hard. Welcome to the baptism of fire.
This town is rough-and-tumble now, hardscrabble and off-the-hook. We have hardened hearts, set minds, dirty clothes and bad breath here at the dawn of our dire straits.
Which explains why everyone cusses.
The Meffert Theory, as told to me, is thus: "If you were circumspect before Katrina, now you are candid. If you were candid, now you are frank. If you were frank, now you are blunt. And if you were blunt, now you are an asshole."
Thanks to Will Collier at Vodkapundit for pointing to Chris in Living On in the Aftermath
What Popular Mechanics has to say about the Katrina disaster.
Bumbling by top disaster-management officials fueled a perception of general inaction, one that was compounded by impassioned news anchors. In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.
Dozens of National Guard and Coast Guard helicopters flew rescue operations that first day--some just 2 hours after Katrina hit the coast. Hoistless Army helicopters improvised rescues, carefully hovering on rooftops to pick up survivors. On the ground, "guardsmen had to chop their way through, moving trees and recreating roadways," says Jack Harrison of the National Guard. By the end of the week, 50,000 National Guard troops in the Gulf Coast region had saved 17,000 people; 4000 Coast Guard personnel saved more than 33,000.
These units had help from local, state and national responders, including five helicopters from the Navy ship Bataan and choppers from the Air Force and police. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries dispatched 250 agents in boats. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state police and sheriffs' departments launched rescue flotillas. By Wednesday morning, volunteers and national teams joined the effort, including eight units from California's Swift Water Rescue. By Sept. 8, the waterborne operation had rescued 20,000.
While the press focused on FEMA's shortcomings, this broad array of local, state and national responders pulled off an extraordinary success--especially given the huge area devastated by the storm. Computer simulations of a Katrina-strength hurricane had estimated a worst-case-scenario death toll of more than 60,000 people in Louisiana. The actual number was 1077 in that state.
Not exactly what we were led to believe by the mainstream media.
Three "existentially challenged Pepperdine University grads" traveled the country in a 1985 neon-green Fleetwood RV and interviewed 86 successful leaders in a variety of professions.
Every one essentially gave them the same career advice.
Block out the noise and
really pave your own road
guided by what lights you up.
What's so surprising as they talked to twenty something college students, is that no one else, neither parents nor teachers, ever told them the gospel truth to follow your heart and lines of desire.
Countless emails arrive daily. "I sometimes [wonder] what would have become of my life had I never found your book that day in Target," reads one note from a recent grad who ditched her indifferent plans for law school and moved overseas. "Thank you . . . for writing about an experience in our lives most young people are too frightened to acknowledge."
Read Inspiration Junkies at Fast Company.
Seems like there's a big market in simple truths
Why Donna Trussell is a writer and not a cancer survivor.
On the anniversary of my diagnosis, I followed the lead of another group member—I sent my oncologist a gift with a card that read, "Do you remember what you were doing three years ago today? I do. You were saving my life."
From the U.K. where the elf and safety racket has knocked the stuffing out of us. or why the Japanese Takeshi's Castle is so entrancing to English children
My children watch it with complete rapture, because it is so alien to our culture. There are real teeth being knocked out here, surely; there are ligaments being torn, ankles sprained, ribs bruised, and still the sons and daughters of Nippon queue up for more.
I do not think my children are being more than normally sadistic; it is just that Takeshi's Castle responds to a deep and unmet need in modern British life.
It is the need to see real risk, real danger, real humiliation, and of course real failure: all the things that are so expensively and so ingeniously airbrushed out of our mollycoddled and over-regulated lives.
Shopping trolley handles are the most bacteria-infested items we use on a regular basis, worse than the door handles to public bathrooms.
Other icky things you should know.
Toilet water in fast food restaurants is cleaner than their ice. A 12 year old girl won a top prize in a science project proving that very fact.
Let's not forget that the typical desk has 100 times as much bacteria as the typical kitchen table.
When a pandemic arrives, we'll all be wearing disposable gloves and doing the elbow bump instead of shaking hands.
So many people went on line to send valentines yesterday that several on line greeting card sites crashed.
Tricky those e-cards. Says self-proclaimed love expert and psychologist, Diana Kirshner,
It can be cute, she says, or fatal.
"If there is very little nurturance, affection, loving coming across to you and an e-card is sent, it comes across as a last-minute crumb thrown in your face," Kirshner said. "It's just going to backfire."
UPDATE: The top card at Hallmark, in every city, outselling every other card by a factor of five is V330-5.
The card's face is a deep red foil, with "For the One I Love" across the top in black script, a large picture of a red rose in the center, and a thick black ribbon cutting through the middle. Inside, it simply states: "Each time I see you, hold you, think of you, here's what I do ... I fall deeply, madly, happily in love with you. Happy Valentine's Day."
HT: Halley Suitt
We forget how ever present death was for all the generations before us, especially death of young children.
We tend to think of death as a country for the old. It was not so then. People of all ages were vulnerable, the cold calculus of contagion meant that often if a disease got into a household parents would lose some or all of their children in a matter of days.
Parental bereavement came not only by the sudden stroke of a gunshot or accident; with tragic frequency they had to watch, desperate and powerless as death took its agonizing time with their children, who writhed as parasites dissolved their bowels or languished delirious in parching fevers. Nowadays, parents who lose a child have to go in search of support. No one, it seems, really knows how to talk to them. Parental bereavement is alien to most of us. But 150 years ago, death of a child was a common denominator among American families.
It's remarkable that a tragedy so pervading, and so intense, has not been more considered by historians in examining the temper of the times. This grim fact of life seems to me to explain so much about the shape of 19th century American minds, especially where they seem different from ours: The determination to make something of oneself, the importance of family.
As Haines's letters suggest, not just the intensity of American religion but the form of it, so full of resurrection and the need to keep in God's good graces at every moment, seems to have been guided by the realities of death in that era. The hope of meeting in another world and knowing one another in the flesh again was the only solace.
We are no doubt a blessed and fortunate people but death still comes to all of us. May the certain fact of our death inform our lives in this 21st century and draw us to a more expanded consciousness so we live more abundantly and with true compassion.
When a tiny grungy crumpled up piece of paper can bring this reaction,
And when I saw the message - written to me by an 11 year old boy - years and years and years ago - Jimmy Carter was president when this note was written ... I felt this rush of "time" - like having a perception, in reality, of the true CURVED nature of space. Looking at his penciled words to me, I suddenly felt not like this was a "memory" or anything that took place primarily in my brain - but I felt like I was propelled back in time. Instantaneously.
just think what a true love letter to your children, spouse and siblings could do when part of your personal Legacy Archives when they read it years after your death.
They are invisible, unappreciated, and unremarked. As delicate and as strong as a spider's we depend upon networks of trust around us, that food will come to the store, that electricity will be delivered, that the money is good and the bank will give us some back.
We also depend on the accuracy of accounts by reporters and historians. For the latter, we should be more skeptical. Or better still, trust but verify, like Richard Evan, scholar and hero, did.
Neo-neo con brings us the remarkable tale of popular writer Clifford Irving who along the way became anti-Semitic and a liar, falsifier and Holocaust denier.
Undone by his own hand, it began when he chose to sue Deborah Libstadt for libel in her book Lying About Hitler whose legal team and she was ably defended by her publisher Penguin, hired Richard Evan, an historian, whose " remarkable scholarship and persistence" exposed Irving's manipulation and exploitation of the network of trust that allows historians to depend on the truth of what other historians write.
It's one of those stories that is very satisfying in its denouement: it turns out that Irving's own desire to silence his critics started a process in motion that ended up discrediting him in a comprehensive way that most likely would never have occurred had he not started the lawsuit. The wheels of historical justice grind slow, but they grind exceedingly fine.
Irving's game, unfortunately. He had an almost perfect m.o.: he choose arcane and difficult-to-find sources, and quoted them in ways that made them doubly difficult to trace. He became suspect, but no one had the actual goods on him until classic hubris drove Irving to push the envelope and sue someone who was accusing him of doing exactly what he was in fact doing.
William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, the reformers who revolutionized public opinion and forced the Royal Navy to enforce the legislation passed by Parliament in 1807.
Elected to Parliament at the young age of 20, Wilberforce converted to Evangelical Christianity and presented the first bill to abolish the slave trade and made passionate speeches until the Abolition of the Slave Trade was abolished
Thomas Clarkson never thought about slavery until he entered an essay competition at Cambridge University in 1785 and won first prize. He later described a spiritual experience in which he was directed to devote his life to abolishing the slave trade.
In collecting information for his book A Summary View of the Slave Trade and the Probable Consequences of Its Abolition, he interviewed some 20,000 sailors. A brilliant writer, he won over Jane Austen who declared herself " in love with its author."
You would be surprised then to learn that the Church of England says nothing about this great jump in human consciousness by their own, not praising its merit, but instead beating its breast and declaring itself complicit in the slave trade.
The London Telegraph calls them sanctimonious.
Still, one has come to expect little better from a body that combines hypocrisy in handling its own internal contradictions with faulty judgment on more distant matters, be it the past or foreign policy.
Update: I found this at Sisu's place and found her excerpts from an interview of Oriana Fallaci a propos.
The scant hopes that she has for the West rest on his successor. As a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI wrote frequently on the European (and the Western) condition. Last year, he wrote an essay titled "If Europe Hates Itself," from which Ms. Fallaci reads this to me: "The West reveals . . . a hatred of itself, which is strange and can only be considered pathological; the West . . . no longer loves itself; in its own history, it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure.
Oriana, an athiest, at 75 is dying of cancer. In 2004, she did her final interview with herself and said, "The West, Europe, Italy, is sicker than I am."
How could I resist this tip.
"If you keep your armpits open, you won't get depressed," says B.K.S. Iyengar to his yoga students.
From Top 10 Sources
A lawyer who stabbed his wife to death five days after she told him she was having an affair made an emotional courtroom apology yesterday for what he described as "this appalling tragedy''.
She told her husband of the relationship on March 11. That evening she sent Mr Flint two text messages. One read in part: "It's done. All calm and reasonable.''
Five days later Mrs Lumsden and Mr Flint had dinner in Plumley, then drove back to Bowdon separately, believing they were starting a new life together.
Minutes later she was lying dead on her bedroom floor.
The busiest day of the year for private eyes is Valentine's Day reports the Wall St Journal in One Tough Day for Two-Timers.
[A] major crisis day for anyone who is having an affair... Valentine's Day is the one holiday when everyone is expected to do something romantic for their spouse or lover -- and if someone has both, it's a serious problem.
"If anything is going on, it will be happening on that day," says Irene Smith, who says business at her Discreet Investigations detective agency in Golden, Colo., as much as doubles -- to as many as 12 cases some years -- on Valentine's Day.
The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, a Southfield, Mich., trade group of professionals trained to review divorce settlements, says filings typically spike in mid-February. "It's so consistent I can't deny a pattern," says Natalie Nelson, a divorce financial analyst in Boulder, Colo.
Indeed, divorce lawyers say they frequently turn up evidence of Valentine's Day duplicity when they review financial documents. Credit-card receipts from restaurants or purchases at fancy jewelry stores are the most common giveaways, says Heidi Harris, a partner at New York law firm Sheresky Aronson & Mayefsky. New York attorney Raoul Felder concurs: The kinds of purchases documented for Feb. 14 "give an indication of how serious the relationship is," he says.
But I have to admit the part I enjoyed most in the whole article was Ms. Gallagher's marble.
Christine Gallagher, a 43-year-old writer in Los Angeles, was so incensed after she caught her boyfriend cheating on Valentine's Day that she launched a Web site called RevengeLady.com, where she gives advice on how to get back at people. Ms. Gallagher was dating the man, whom she declines to name, for over a year when he told her he had to go away over Valentine's Day to visit a friend dying of cancer in Switzerland. Ms. Gallagher spent the holiday alone at home with her 180-pound mastiff, Thomas.
'Classic Conflict Day'
It wasn't until several weeks later that Ms. Gallagher learned the truth. As she was out walking Thomas she was approached by a woman who said she had just returned from a vacation in Italy -- with Ms. Gallagher's boyfriend. Before coming up with the idea for her Web site, Ms. Gallagher broke up with the man, then found an unusual way to get back at him: She unscrewed the driver's-side door panel of his beloved Audi coupe and stuck a marble inside, figuring that the rattle would drive him crazy. Sure enough, it did. He took the car to mechanic after mechanic until one finally found the marble -- and a little note Ms. Gallagher had included: "So you finally found it, sucker." Ms. Gallagher says her ex-boyfriend now lives in New Zealand; he couldn't be located for comment.
I know a lot of people out there drink only bottled water.
I mean bottles of water are great in a car or while hiking, but it's not any better than tap water. And it costs 10,000 times more! Often costing as much as $10 a gallon, bottled water can be four times as expensive as gasoline.
If your tap water tastes funny, get a water filter. or use a Brita filter. Not only is bottled water a waste of money. 40% of bottled water comes from tap water anyway.
Today, I learned just what an environmental drain bottled water is.
"Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing, producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy," according to Emily Arnold, author of the study published by the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington-based environmental group.
"Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 US cars for a year," according to the study. "Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year."
The study, citing the Container Recycling Institute, said that 86 percent of plastic water bottles in the United States end up as garbage and those buried can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.
In addition, some 40 percent of the PET bottles deposited for recycling in the United States in 2004 ended up being shipped to China.
40% of women would snoop through their husbands' email if they thought he was cheating according to research done by Symantec.
Heather Locklear did. After 11 years, it's good bye Richie.
"By all accounts, they were a perfect couple," said Jamie Bufalino, senior editor at People magazine. "Many of their friends envied their relationship."
This week's People magazine sheds light on why the Locklear-Sambora marriage didn't last.
"Heather happened upon an e-mail, sent to Richie Sambora, from a woman they both knew," Bufalino said. "And contained in the e-mail were provocative pictures."
According to sources quoted in People, Locklear was "absolutely devastated" by her digital discovery.
She filed for divorce, blindsiding Sambora. Hours after she filed, Sambora, still unaware of the breakup
Who would have thought that the ancient Jewish holiday of Purim would have so much relevance with the Iran of today? Sigmund, Carl and Alfred do , Iran, the Bomb and the Purim Holiday
Of course, in days of old, it was only Mordecai and Esther that saved the day. In those days, it was Mordecai and Esther alone, that were to stand up for freedom and tolerance. They stood against hate and evil and they prevailed. They saved not just the Jews, but rather, their stand was to save the Persians as well from the deceit and ruination an immoral Regent was to bring upon them.
Adolph Hitler once said that there would be 'no Mordecai and Esther to save the Jews.' His remarks were met with great laughter. He went on to say, in a speech delivered on January 30, 1944, that, if the Nazis went down in defeat, the Jews could celebrate 'a second Purim.'
His words turned out to be prophetic, because in the civilized world, every day is Purim, a holiday that celebrates the freedom of man and the renunciation of expressions of hate.
God willing, we celebrate a third.
If you have a dog and walk in the woods, you need a tick twister which is far better than tweezers to remove those nasty ticks. Only $4 from Amazon, it works on people too.
HT to another of Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools
If you're a nurse, you never have to worry about losing a job or finding a job. You can go to a brand new city where you know no one and if you're a registered nurse, you can get a job in week. Everyone wants you. And for good reason. Nurses make all the difference when it comes to caring for patients.
Yet there are not enough of them.
My mother is a nurse. She stopped working when she was about 78. She still gets calls EVERY WEEK from some recruiter who tries to lure her back at 84!
The American Hospital Association says we will need 1 million replacement nurses by 2012, just six years away; yet, nursing schools turned away 32,000 interested students because there was not enough faculty to teach them. Nurses ache for aid.
U.S. hospitals could avoid as many as 6,700 patient deaths, 70,400 complications and 4 million days of hospital care if they hired more registered nurses and increased the hours of nursing care per patient, according to a new study in the January issue of Health Affairs.
The problem is too few nurses makes hospitals work the remaining nurses too long with too many patients until they finally burn out resulting in too few nurses.
Good news for middle-aged and older women. Butter your toast, eat your ice cream, you don't have to deny yourselves some of the little pleasures in life to stay healthy.
Study finds no major benefits of low-fat diet.
A low-fat diet did not reduce older women's risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or heart disease, according to a long-awaited $415 million government-funded study that creates uncertainty about exactly what Americans should eat to prevent disease.
From the Washington Post
"Based on our findings, we cannot recommend that most women should follow a low-fat diet," said Jacques Rossouw of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which funded the $415 million study.
Although the study involved only women, the findings probably apply to men as well, he said.
Several experts cautioned, however, that the study hints that there still may be some benefits to reducing the total amount of fat in the diet, especially for breast cancer. In addition, there is clear evidence from this and other studies that particular fats -- saturated fats from meat and trans fats from processed foods -- are unhealthful and should be avoided.
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and
Demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life,
Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and
Its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and
Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and
For the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks,
The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing,
For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts
Are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes
They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again
In a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."
The three things I most admire and respect about American Indians are their spirituality, their fearlessness of death and the way they seek to fill their lives with beauty. They cultivate an appreciation of beauty above, below, before, behind, all around and within.
From the Navajo night chant
May it be beautiful before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
In beauty it is finished.
To see why, read her latest post Open your hand.
“To receive everything, one must open one's hands and give.” –Taisen Deshimaru
There are people in life who hold their hand open, and there are those whose hands are shut. Which am I, I wonder? Which are you? What does it take to have a generous nature, to hold your hand open, to live a life in which you give when you don’t have, when you give rather than hold? What is a sacrifice and a true gift—when you have the money or time to give, or when you don’t?
With each post, she challenges us to Do it Now
Give the Buddha, where the Buddha is not only what you have, but what you are.
Carve the chop. Extend yourself for someone else. Give what you want to keep.
[Don’t rely too much on words.]
Open your hand.
I've talked in the past about the importance of making life lessons open source. Patricia Digh has done that with the stories from her life, sharing with us what she's learned, what she's thought and challenging us to aim higher and live deeper. in prose that makes me flat out jealous, Patti invites us all to live today as if we only had 37 days left of our "wild and precious life".
UPDATE: Seems to me we spend a good deal of the first part of our lives getting. What makes the second half of our lives successful is how much we give. That, of course, is our legacy
"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and for the world remains and is immortal"
Albert Pine, English author who died in 1851
Guy Kawasaki, has a wonderful post on Hindsights, what he now knows with the 20-20 vision that hindsight brings. With the benefit of experience and lessons learned, he has some very good advice for those just starting out. Read the whole thing.
#10 Live off your parents as long as possible
#9 Pursue Joy, not happiness
#8 Challenge the known and embrace the unknown
#7 Learn to speak a foreign language, play a musical instrument and play non-contact sports.
#6 Continue to learn
#5 Learn to like yourself or change yourself until you can like yourself
#4 Don't get married too soon
#3 Play to win and win to play
#2 Obey the absolutes
#1 Enjoy your family and friends before they are gone.
While Ellen Goodman ponders whether Boomers at 60, are a Benefit or Burden
Super Bowl XL is now officially the site of the first successful protest movement of the aging baby boomers: for the right to rock 'n' roll
We seem to be developing two distinct story lines about the boomers at 60. The generation is portrayed as either a crushing burden or a huge benefit.
The truth is that baby boomers have never had much more in common than a date book. The folks who turn 60 this year are as different as Bill Clinton and George Bush, Donald Trump and Cher. Even if boomers share a fascination with their aging process, aging itself may be as individualistic as a set of genes.
Ronni Bennett, settling in, is quite sure that aging is great.
The young are welcome to their youth, which has its own pleasures. I wouldn't trade my newfound comfort to return to those years because now, even in a culture that wants me to disappear from view, to not remind them that they too will be (and look) old one day, being old feels like I've won a prize. The gains so outweigh the losses and are so personally empowering and exciting that I almost wish it could have happened sooner - except each of us comes to understanding and acceptance in our own time.
One of my favorite books that I always keep close is
I have a couple of different versions but I prefer the translation by Christopher Maurer. Written by a Spanish Jesuit in the 17th century, it is the only book with blurbs on the back cover by Frederich Nietzsche who said, "Europe has never produced anything finer or more complicated in matters of moral subtlety" and Arthur Schopenhauer who said, "Absolutely unique...a book made for constant use...a companion for life. [These maxim are] especially fitted to those who wish to prosper in the great world."
A propos to Groundhog Day, Same Stuff, Different Day, Gracian's maxim #140 is Go straight to the good in everything.
It is the happy lot of those with good taste. The bee goes straight for the sweetness, and the viper for the bitterness it needs for its poison. So with tastes: some go for the best, others for the worst. There is nothing that doesn't have some good, especially books, where good is imagined. Some people's temperaments are so unfortunate that among a thousand perfections they will find a single defect and censure it and blow it all out of proportion. They are the garbage collectors of the will and the intellect, burdened down with blemishes and defects: punishment for their poor discernment rather than proof of their subtlety. They are unhappy, for they batten on bitterness and graze on imperfections. Others have a happier sort of taste: among a thousand defects they discover some perfection that good luck happened to drop.
One exercise that Esther and Jerry Hicks suggest in Ask and It Is Given as a way of going straight to the good is a "Rampage of Appreciation."
It's really a game of noticing something that pleases you. The more you focus on it, the more you appreciate it, the more you will find other things that you appreciate, the better you feel. The better you feel, the more you want to do it. The more you do it, the better you feel. The better you feel, the more you do it. That's going straight to the good in everything. That's what the world weary, cynical and arrogant weatherman learned in Groundhog Day.
If you've been there, done that, if every day is the same stuff, different day, you owe it to yourself to watch Groundhog Day again or, if you're completely out of the loop, for the first time.
The tagline "He's having the worst day of his life...over, and over...
Why do so many people think this is one of the best movies in recent years, "timeless, uplifting, enjoyable and morally serious."
Why do religious teachers - Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Wiccans and Evangelicals - hail Groundhog Day as a triumph? Jonah Goldberg explores in A Movie for All Time.
Japan is now seeing a soaring rate of crime by those over 65 at the same time that crimes by youth have fallen. Geriatric crime up in Japan.
From theft to arson to murder, figures by the National Police Agency tell a sorry tale of soaring “neo-geriatric” crime during 2005. In a year when youth crime fell, the over-65s accounted for more than one in ten of all Japanese arrests — a dramatic leap from the one-in-50 level recorded in 1990.
Crimes favoured by the elderly are pick-pocketing and shoplifting. In many cases, said one police officer, they have developed a cunning strategy to avoid arrest even if caught red-handed: feigning senile dementia.
But murder is also sharply on the rise, with the over-65s responsible for 141 incidents last year. In most cases, the strangling or stabbing was by a husband or wife who had found that after more than 50 years of marriage they could no longer stand each other.
Demographic trends play a large part, but it may be that the silver-haired have just too much time on their hands. A former police psychologist says
“Neo-Geriatrics are those over 65 who are still fit, healthy and want to get more out of their lives. Without work, they’ll be filled with anxiety and there’s a likelihood they may turn to crime.”
Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen.
Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily.
I remember reading William Least Moon's Blue Highways and laughing at this ad by the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company.
They called it the Pony Express and there was never a shortage of riders.
"Expert riders Willing to risk death" - how better to attract young men in their early twenties.
HT. Doc Searls
Contrary to conventional wisdom, more smokers successfully quit on a whim. A study finds that a spontaneous decision beats a lot of thinking and planning.
Heart Disease is still the number one killer of women yet only 55% of women know that which is more than in the past but still not enough.
Worse still, the standard test misses heart disease signs in women because angiograms don't find the blockages in smaller vessels that women tend to have.
The Washington Post reports in A Gender Difference in Heart Disease
Instead of developing obvious blockages in the arteries supplying blood to the heart, these women accumulate plaque more evenly inside the major arteries and in smaller blood vessels, the researchers found. In other cases, their arteries fail to expand properly or go into spasm, often at times of physical or emotional stress.
As many as 3 million U.S. women may suffer from the condition, they said.
"We're realizing that this may be fairly common among women," said George Sopko of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which is funding the research. "This is a big deal. This is changing our thinking about heart disease in many women."
The study has also begun to identify new ways to identify women with the condition. A relatively simple questionnaire that gauges their ability to perform daily activities, for example, appears highly useful for identifying women with the condition who are at risk for suffering a heart attack or death, the researchers reported.
While it remains unclear how best to treat the condition, research suggests that certain drugs, such as those that reduce inflammation, may be useful.
Dr.Helen, a runner and a weight trainer, tells More Than You Wanted to Know About My Heart Attack at 37
When it comes to end-of-life care, there are distinct gender and ethnic based differences in people's choices, according to a study, admittedly small. Gender, Ethnicity Sway Choices for End-of-Life Care.
"For Arabs, going to a nursing home is the worst thing that could happen to you. The strong expectation is that your family takes care of you," Duffy said. "But African-Americans were more comfortable going to a nursing home, as they did not want to 'burden' their families."
When it comes how you want to be treated if you had only six months to live...
"The men generally did not want extensive intervention done. Dying with dignity was very important, and they didn't want to be a 'vegetable,' " she said.
Duffy added that many men appeared to feel that being dependent at the end of life was a threat to their masculinity.
By contrast, "women were more hopeful that God might intervene and things might change."