Archive | June 2012

Never Been to Lake Retba, But I Love It!

How could I not love it? It’s PINK! And I love pink!

 

Lake Retba or Lac Rose lies north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal, north east of Dakar. Michael Danson, an expert in extremophile bacteria from Bath University, said: ‘The strawberry colour is produced by salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina.

More images:

SOURCE (for most images): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2153984/Red-dy-salted-The-bizarre-African-lake-turned-blood-red-extreme-concentrations-salt-harvested-hundreds-workers.html

Other images from various sites .

I really Like Kate Middleton’s Style.

I know Kate Middleton Mountbatten-Windsor (aka Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge) is subject to criticism because of who she is . . . a public figure. But honestly, I don’t understand why people want to criticize her fashion choices. Especially since she so often opts for styles that are demure and practical.  One of the latest is criticism of outfits worn during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Today I read about her having worn a McQueen outfit that was similar (but not identical) to a McQueen outfit worn by Kim Kardashian and also by Tulisa. 

Well why wouldn’t/couldn’t she? I think if she commissioned outfits that were designed and made exclusively for her that there would be more people protesting the excessive cost of  her style. Rather, she opts to wear clothes that are available to so many other people. 

But let’s get back to today’s story I read – the red McQueen outfit worn to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Here are pictures I found (credit given) that shows first, that the outfits were similar, but not exact and second, that Kate wore hers so much better than either of the other two (my opinion, but on my blog post that is the only opinion that counts):

 

In both cases I honestly think the longer hemline and the addition of sleeves made the outfit look better. But also, I just honestly think Kate Middleton wore it better in both instances.

 

Let me leave you with a couple of interesting links:

Fashionista has listed the eight best blogs for following Kate’s style:

http://fashionista.com/2011/07/the-greatest-kate-middleton-style-blogs/9/

Vogue UK has a good post with a lot of interesting links here:

http://www.vogue.co.uk/spy/celebrity-photos/2011/06/07/style-file—catherine-duchess-of-cambridge

And here is the Official Royal website – again, with a lot of interesting information.

http://www.royal.gov.uk/Home.aspx

Another Reagan Speech that Touched Me

Another Reagan speech that touched me:

Address to the Nation on the Explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger

January 28, 1986

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us. We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.

I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don’t hide our space program. We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute. We’ll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: “Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.”

There’s a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and an historian later said, “He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.” Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”

Note: The President spoke at 5 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White House. The address was broadcast live on nationwide radio and television.

(SOURCE: http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1986/12886b.htm)


I Really Like a Lot that Ronald Reagan Said

Remarks at an Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast in Dallas, Texas

August 23, 1984

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, very much. And, Martha Weisend, thank you very much. And I could say that if the morning ended with the music we have just heard from that magnificent choir, it would indeed be a holy day for all of us.

It’s wonderful to be here this morning. The past few days have been pretty busy for all of us, but I’ve wanted to be with you today to share some of my own thoughts.

These past few weeks it seems that we’ve all been hearing a lot of talk about religion and its role in politics, religion and its place in the political life of the Nation. And I think it’s appropriate today, at a prayer breakfast for 17,000 citizens in the State of Texas during a great political convention, that this issue be addressed.

I don’t speak as a theologian or a scholar, only as one who’s lived a little more than his threescore ten — which has been a source of annoyance to some — [laughter] — and as one who has been active in the political life of the Nation for roughly four decades and now who’s served the past 3\1/2\ years in our highest office. I speak, I think I can say, as one who has seen much, who has loved his country, and who’s seen it change in many ways.

I believe that faith and religion play a critical role in the political life of our nation — and always has — and that the church — and by that I mean all churches, all denominations — has had a strong influence on the state. And this has worked to our benefit as a nation.

Those who created our country — the Founding Fathers and Mothers — understood that there is a divine order which transcends the human order. They saw the state, in fact, as a form of moral order and felt that the bedrock of moral order is religion.

The Mayflower Compact began with the words, “In the name of God, amen.” The Declaration of Independence appeals to “Nature’s God” and the “Creator” and “the Supreme Judge of the world.” Congress was given a chaplain, and the oaths of office are oaths before God.

James Madison in the Federalist Papers admitted that in the creation of our Republic he perceived the hand of the Almighty. John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, warned that we must never forget the God from whom our blessings flowed.

George Washington referred to religion’s profound and unsurpassed place in the heart of our nation quite directly in his Farewell Address in 1796. Seven years earlier, France had erected a government that was intended to be purely secular. This new government would be grounded on reason rather than the law of God. By 1796 the French Revolution had known the Reign of Terror.

And Washington voiced reservations about the idea that there could be a wise policy without a firm moral and religious foundation. He said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man (call himself a patriot) who (would) labour to subvert these . . . finest [firmest]\1\ (FOOTNOTE) props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere Politician . . . (and) the pious man ought to respect and to cherish (religion and morality).” And he added, “. . . let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.”

(FOOTNOTE) \1\White House correction.

I believe that George Washington knew the City of Man cannot survive without the City of God, that the Visible City will perish without the Invisible City.

Religion played not only a strong role in our national life; it played a positive role. The abolitionist movement was at heart a moral and religious movement; so was the modern civil rights struggle. And throughout this time, the state was tolerant of religious belief, expression, and practice. Society, too, was tolerant.

But in the 1960’s this began to change. We began to make great steps toward secularizing our nation and removing religion from its honored place.

In 1962 the Supreme Court in the New York prayer case banned the compulsory saying of prayers. In 1963 the Court banned the reading of the Bible in our public schools. From that point on, the courts pushed the meaning of the ruling ever outward, so that now our children are not allowed voluntary prayer. We even had to pass a law — we passed a special law in the Congress just a few weeks ago to allow student prayer groups the same access to schoolrooms after classes that a young Marxist society, for example, would already enjoy with no opposition.

The 1962 decision opened the way to a flood of similar suits. Once religion had been made vulnerable, a series of assaults were made in one court after another, on one issue after another. Cases were started to argue against tax-exempt status for churches. Suits were brought to abolish the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance and to remove “In God We Trust” from public documents and from our currency.

Today there are those who are fighting to make sure voluntary prayer is not returned to the classrooms. And the frustrating thing for the great majority of Americans who support and understand the special importance of religion in the national life — the frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance, freedom, and openmindedness. Question: Isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion? [Applause] They refuse to tolerate its importance in our lives.

If all the children of our country studied together all of the many religions in our country, wouldn’t they learn greater tolerance of each other’s beliefs? If children prayed together, would they not understand what they have in common, and would this not, indeed, bring them closer, and is this not to be desired? So, I submit to you that those who claim to be fighting for tolerance on this issue may not be tolerant at all.

When John Kennedy was running for President in 1960, he said that his church would not dictate his Presidency any more than he would speak for his church. Just so, and proper. But John Kennedy was speaking in an America in which the role of religion — and by that I mean the role of all churches — was secure. Abortion was not a political issue. Prayer was not a political issue. The right of church schools to operate was not a political issue. And it was broadly acknowledged that religious leaders had a right and a duty to speak out on the issues of the day. They held a place of respect, and a politician who spoke to or of them with a lack of respect would not long survive in the political arena.

It was acknowledged then that religion held a special place, occupied a special territory in the hearts of the citizenry. The climate has changed greatly since then. And since it has, it logically follows that religion needs defenders against those who care only for the interests of the state.

There are, these days, many questions on which religious leaders are obliged to offer their moral and theological guidance, and such guidance is a good and necessary thing. To know how a church and its members feel on a public issue expands the parameters of debate. It does not narrow the debate; it expands it.

The truth is, politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality’s foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they’re sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.

A state is nothing more than a reflection of its citizens; the more decent the citizens, the more decent the state. If you practice a religion, whether you’re Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or guided by some other faith, then your private life will be influenced by a sense of moral obligation, and so, too, will your public life. One affects the other. The churches of America do not exist by the grace of the state; the churches of America are not mere citizens of the state. The churches of America exist apart; they have their own vantage point, their own authority. Religion is its own realm; it makes its own claims.

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief, to apply moral teaching to public questions.

I submit to you that the tolerant society is open to and encouraging of all religions. And this does not weaken us; it strengthens us, it makes us strong. You know, if we look back through history to all those great civilizations, those great nations that rose up to even world dominance and then deteriorated, declined, and fell, we find they all had one thing in common. One of the significant forerunners of their fall was their turning away from their God or gods.

Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

If I could just make a personal statement of my own — in these 3\1/2\ years I have understood and known better than ever before the words of Lincoln, when he said that he would be the greatest fool on this footstool called Earth if he ever thought that for one moment he could perform the duties of that office without help from One who is stronger than all.

I thank you, thank you for inviting us here today. Thank you for your kindness and your patience. May God keep you, and may we, all of us, keep God.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 9:26 a.m. at Reunion Arena. He was introduced by Martha Weisend, cochair of the Texas Reagan-Bush campaign.

(SOURCE:http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1984/82384a.htm)

Fun Day

Today looks to be a fun day. I’m going to post a quick stat to save this formatting that I had while playing with a WordPress function, but then I’m off to get ready to take our 7yo granddaughter to a Rock & Gem show. She is just like my husband and all the kids of the world . . . she loves shiny rocks.

{UPDATE TO BE POSTED HERE LATER TODAY] Update: Been a busy day. I’m exhausted. Morning at the Gem and Mineral show and the afternoon shopping for necessities (hair spray, air freashener, duct tape etc).

“Opposite of Loneliness” by Marina Keegan

Why does it happen that so often, oh so often, those who seem to have so much potential die so young? Here is an amazing article written by Marina Keegan (Yale Class of 2012 Graduate) for a special edition of the Yale Daily News distributed at the class of 2012’s commencement exercises last week. Keegan died in a car accident on Saturday. She was 22.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.

It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.

Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse — I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.

But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clichéd “should haves…” “if I’d…” “wish I’d…”

Of course, there are things we wished we did: our readings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my High School self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.

But the thing is, we’re all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…) We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.

When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy – and it’s easy to feel like that’s slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we’ve had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it; already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck

For most of us, however, we’re somewhat lost in this sea of liberal arts. Not quite sure what road we’re on and whether we should have taken it. If only I had majored in biology…if only I’d gotten involved in journalism as a freshman…if only I’d thought to apply for this or for that…

What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.

In the heart of a winter Friday night my freshman year, I was dazed and confused when I got a call from my friends to meet them at EST EST EST. Dazedly and confusedly, I began trudging to SSS, probably the point on campus farthest away. Remarkably, it wasn’t until I arrived at the door that I questioned how and why exactly my friends were partying in Yale’s administrative building. Of course, they weren’t. But it was cold and my ID somehow worked so I went inside SSS to pull out my phone. It was quiet, the old wood creaking and the snow barely visible outside the stained glass. And I sat down. And I looked up. At this giant room I was in. At this place where thousands of people had sat before me. And alone, at night, in the middle of a New Haven storm, I felt so remarkably, unbelievably safe.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I’d say that’s how I feel at Yale. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.

We’re in this together, 2012. Let’s make something happen to this world.

A car crash in Cape Cod this holiday weekend claimed the life of Marina Keegan, a 22-year-old woman from Wayland, Mass. who graduated from Yale University last week, with plans to pursue a writing career, the New York Daily News reports.

Keegan was killed around 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon in a single-vehicle rollover that occurred when her boyfriend Michael Gocksch, also 22, lost control of his Lexus and hit the right-side guarding rail, according to a press release from police in Dennis, Mass.

Keegan was pronounced dead at the scene while Gocksch, a fellow Yale alum who graduated with Keegan last Monday, was transported to Cape Cod Hospital in stable condition. Police said both passengers were wearing seatbelts and speed did not appear to be a factor in the crash.

According to Yale Daily News, Keegan was “a prolific writer, actress and activist”who graduated magna cum laude from the university with a concentration in writing. She had just landed a job at The New Yorker as an editorial assistant and was scheduled to move to Brooklyn with friends in June.

In addition to acting, writing plays and serving as President of the Yale College Democrats, Keegan was a member of OccupyYale who sparked debate on campus with a feature story in Yale’s WEEKEND Magazine called “Even artichokes have doubts,” which discussed the high percentage of Yale graduates who enter the consulting and finance industry. National Public Radio highlighted the story in a February episode of the program “All Things Considered.”

During Memorial Day weekend, Keegan had planned to workshop her folk musical “Independents,” which was slated to appear in the New York International Fringe Festival in August.

“[Marina] was just one of those amazing, wise souls that was given to us as a gift. She had an unbelievable, beyond-her-years way of looking at the world, and her passion was to try and use her words to explore the human condition,” Keegan’s mother told the New York Daily News. “[The musical] is one of her legacies that she will leave behind.

” [SOURCE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/28/yale-student-marina-keegan-dies-dead-graduation_n_1550673.html]