Thursday, December 31, 2009

A glorious line of work: Remembering legendary caricaturist DAVID LEVINE

Click on the title bar to read an article on the passing of pen & ink caricaturist David Levine. The video below is from last year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Handwriting Is History

A fascinating article on the present -- and future -- demise of handwriting. But we'll still want to collect fountain pens!

The Ping-Pong Prodigy

Lots of table tennis news this week. From the NY Times:

"OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Three times a week, Michael Landers takes the Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station. He rides the subway downtown for two stops, then walks two blocks to SPiN New York, at 23rd Street and Park Avenue South, where for three hours he practices table tennis in his quest to become the best player in the United States. On the train home, he does his math homework.

At 15, Landers is the youngest player to win the men’s national singles championship. He overcame a three-games-to-one deficit in the best-of-seven final on Dec. 19 in Las Vegas, where controversy almost derailed his bid. Six of the eight quarterfinalists defaulted after protesting what they considered to be insufficient prize money. Landers was ushered straight to the final, where he defeated his higher-rated opponent, 26-year-old Samson Dubina."

Click on the title bar to read the entire article.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Taking Hold in Silicon Valley, a Ping-Pong Boom

Despite the use of the dreaded ping pong moniker, here's a link to the New York Times article that incorporates the video in the blog entry below.

"MILPITAS, Calif. — Young people who were serious about table tennis used to have to make the trip to Beijing, Stockholm or Moscow to train with world-class coaches.

Now they go no farther than this Silicon Valley suburb.

“I’m trying to become one of the greatest players in the nation,” Srivatsav Tangirala, 14, said matter-of-factly between drills at the huge new table tennis facility here. He and three dozen players, some as young as 5, sprinted sideways along the edge of the tables, 45 times in a row, perfecting their footwork.

“Lean forward, lean, lean, lean, lean!" their coach implored."

U.S.: Beyond Ping-Pong

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

If you were a kid in the 1950s, you remember...

I remember my father and my mother's mother sitting at the dining room table having their periodic "togetherness" by pasting in S&H Greens Stamps. They eventually collected enough -- 350 books as I remember -- to trade them in for a Kenwood stereo system (that my mother still had when she passed away this spring!).

Click on the title bar to see lots more photographic memories.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Bob Dylan: "Little Drummer Boy" Animated Music Video

Cover of "Christmas In the Heart"Cover of Christmas In the Heart

See the video here.

All of Bob Dylan's royalties from sales of Christmas In The Heart will be donated to Feeding America in the United States, Crisis in the United Kingdom, and the World Food Programme in 80 developing nations around the world. Dylan's initial contributions will provide more than four million meals to more than 1.4 million people in the United States, 15,000 meals to homeless people in the United Kingdom during the eight days of Christmas (December 23 - January 1) and 500,000 meals to school children in the developing world during the holiday season.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Blue Whale Song Mystery Baffles Scientists

"All around the world, blue whales aren’t singing like they used to, and scientists have no idea why.

The largest animals on Earth are singing in ever-deeper voices every year. Among the suggested explanations are ocean noise pollution, changing population dynamics and new mating strategies. But none of them is entirely convincing.

“We don’t have the answer. We just have a lot of recordings,” said Mark McDonald, president of Whale Acoustics, a company that specializes in the sonic monitoring of cetaceans."

Hear the blue whale song here.

Click the title bar to read the entire article, which is quite fascinating!

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Friday, December 04, 2009

President Obama visits here in Allentown

President Obama came to my local diner here in Allentown today. No pen sale :-), as I stopped by an hour after he left. However, they seated me at the same table that he used (I guess they just recognized royalty) :-), and I ended up having lunch with two Secret Service agents. They both got business cards, so maybe my pens will spread throughout the Secret Service!

In return, I was given a Secret Service lapel pin, which I believe entitles me to get into *almost* any Dunkin' Donuts' without a strip search.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009