Thursday, June 30, 2011

Consider a visit to Sagamore Hill on Independence Day

We went last year and really enjoyed it, especially the "Rough Riders" demonstration.  Not too far out for people on the Island or Queens, and, best of all, it's all FREE! Find out more at http://www.examiner.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/a-great-way-to-spend-independence-day-on-long-island


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Fireworks for the 4th begin June 30th in New York

The 4th of July is still a few days away, but there are fireworks scheduled for tonight at 2 NY locations. see http://www.examiner.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/new-york-s-4th-of-july-events-start-thursday-night

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The I's have it; the teams do not -- unless you add women

Ayn Rand would have loved this. In "Why a Great Individual Is Better Than a Good Team" Jeffrey Stibel is Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. and author of Wired for Thought  declares, s a brain scientist, I know that great individuals are not only more valuable than legions of mediocrity, they are often more valuable than groups that include great individuals." He  argues that the best work is done by individuals working independently, not in collaboration with others, as in the case of programmers, designers, and artists.  Consequently, he contends,  "when an activity can be performed sufficiently by one person with adequate skills, doing the activity as a group should be avoided." 

Based on how the brain works, he says, "Our intelligence is incredibly complex and as a result, a great individual can far exceed the value of many mediocre minds." 
Moreover, "Mediocre minds can also destroy the value or contribution of a great mind." It would seem to follow that the saying, "there is no I in team" could be taken in a very negative way.
A counterpoint on the same site, though, had an interesting finding. Adding women to the team improves results:
Professors Woolley and Malone, along with Christopher Chabris, Sandy Pentland, and Nada Hashmi, gave subjects aged 18 to 60 standard intelligence tests and assigned them randomly to teams. Each team was asked to complete several tasks—including brainstorming, decision making, and visual puzzles—and to solve one complex problem. Teams were given intelligence scores based on their performance. Though the teams that had members with higher IQs didn’t earn much higher scores, those that had more women did.[my emphasis]
Though the professors admit this is a preliminary finding, they confirm, "so far, the data show, the more women, the better." 



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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time will tell: kavata itim laTorah

On to the topic of the title of the post: The Midrash comments on the pasuk, “V’ha’aretz hayesa tohu va’vohu v’choshech al pnei tehom,” that “tohu” refers to Madei, “vohu” refers to Bavel, “choshech” refers to Yavan, and “tehom” is Edom. These are the four kingdoms that brought us our four periods of galus. How can a pasuk describing the pre-creation universe be referring to kingdoms that would not exist until hundreds and thousands of years later? Maharal answers that the Midrash is teaching us that galus was built into the bri'ah from day one. The material world, the universe, is inherently imperfect, and the four galiyos are a product of that imperfection. It just took time for history to unfold along its inevitable course to get there.The only problem with this Maharal is that we know it isn’t true. Read more at Divrei Chaim: kavata itim laTorah?:  and follow up with part 2

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Monday, June 27, 2011

Museum visits: real and virtual

Art is alive and well in museums and on the net, especially in the discussion generated by my post on Google's Art Project at Internet Evolution 85 comments as of this morning

I also blogged about the Museum of Natural History at www.theCMOsite.com on Brand Identity and Innovation and Technology and Customer Engagement

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Shabbos

You can come in to taste the cake (mocha frosting over chocolate and vanilla cake filled with chocolate mousse)  this Shabbos at the kiddush. It is to be at the Mesivta Ateres Yaakov Minyan at 131Washington (between Central and Chestnut) in celebration of  my husband's 4th siyum on Shas and my son's having reached the hours of learning he bid quite a number of months ahead of schedule.  Dvar Torah may be said before Musaf, but I'm not certain of the time for that.


Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Symbols versus essentials

"A diamond necklace might be a pretty symbol, but strong relationships aren’t built on trinkets. They’re built on time, communication, attention, and love." from a terrific post at http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2011/06/20/the-people-who-do-matter/
It concludes as follows:

Stop caring what other people think is a call to stop wasting your money on things mostly useful in impressing other people. It’s not a good use of energy to worry about impressing people that don’t impact your life, and it’s not your possessions that impress the people that do impact your life.
Your skills, your character, your use of time, your attention, and your love matter far more than your possessions to the people that matter most. As to the rest of the people you bump into, why worry about impressing them with your stuff?



Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Monday, June 20, 2011

Orthonomics: Owning Your Problem

Orthonomics: Owning Your Problem

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Parental expectations and consequences for kids

If you have the time to read through something longer than the typical blog post, check out .theatlantic.how-to-land-your-kid-in-therapy/
Here are some highlights:


 “If you’ve got 20 minutes a day to spend with your kid,” Kindlon asked, “would you rather make your kid mad at you by arguing over cleaning up his room, or play a game of Boggle together? We don’t set limits, because we want our kids to like us at every moment, even though it’s better for them if sometimes they can’t stand us.”

Kindlon also observed that because we tend to have fewer kids than past generations of parents did, each becomes more precious. So we demand more from them—more companionship, more achievement, more happiness. Which is where the line between selflessness (making our kids happy) and selfishness (making ourselves happy) becomes especially thin.
“We want our kids to be happy living the life we envision for them—the banker who’s happy, the surgeon who’s happy,” Barry Schwartz, the Swarthmore social scientist, told me, even though those professions “might not actually make them happy.” At least for parents of a certain demographic (and if you’re reading this article, you’re likely among them), “we’re not so happy if our kids work at Walmart but show up each day with a smile on their faces,” Schwartz says. “They’re happy, but we’re not. Even though we say what we want most for our kids is their happiness, and we’ll do everything we can to help them achieve that, it’s unclear where parental happiness ends and our children’s happiness begins.”
His comment reminded me of a conversation I’d just had with a camp director when I inquired about the program. She was going down the list of activities for my child’s age group, and when she got to basketball, T-ball, and soccer, she quickly added, “But of course, it’s all noncompetitive. We don’t encourage competition.” I had to laugh: all of these kids being shunted away from “competition” as if it were kryptonite. Not to get too shrink-y, but could this be a way for parents to work out their ambivalence about their own competitive natures?
It may be this question—and our unconscious struggle with it—that accounts for the scathing reaction to Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, earlier this year. Chua’s efforts “not to raise a soft, entitled child” were widely attacked on blogs and mommy listservs as abusive, yet that didn’t stop the book from spending several months on the New York Times best-seller list. Sure, some parents might have read it out of pure voyeurism, but more likely, Chua’s book resonated so powerfully because she isn’t so different from her critics. She may have been obsessed with her kids’ success at the expense of their happiness—but many of today’s parents who are obsessed with their kids’ happiness share Chua’s drive, just wrapped in a prettier package. Ours is a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too approach, a desire for high achievement without the sacrifice and struggle that this kind of achievement often requires. When the Tiger Mom looked unsparingly at her parental contradictions, perhaps she made the rest of us squirm because we were forced to examine our own.
-------------------------------------------------------------------


Today, Wendy Mogel says, “every child is either learning-disabled, gifted, or both—there’s no curve left, no average.” When she first started doing psychological testing, in the 1980s, she would dread having to tell parents that their child had a learning disability. But now, she says, parents would prefer to believe that their child has a learning disability that explains any less-than-stellar performance, rather than have their child be perceived as simply average. “They believe that ‘average’ is bad for self-esteem.”
THE IRONY IS that measures of self-esteem are poor predictors of how content a person will be, especially if the self-esteem comes from constant accommodation and praise rather than earned accomplishment. According to Jean Twenge, research shows that much better predictors of life fulfillment and success are perseverance, resiliency, and reality-testing—qualities that people need so they can navigate the day-to-day.
---------------------------


This same teacher—who asked not to be identified, for fear of losing her job—says she sees many parents who think they’re setting limits, when actually, they’re just being wishy-washy. “A kid will say, ‘Can we get ice cream on the way home?’ And the parent will say, ‘No, it’s not our day. Ice-cream day is Friday.’ Then the child will push and negotiate, and the parent, who probably thinks negotiating is ‘honoring her child’s opinion,’ will say, ‘Fine, we’ll get ice cream today, but don’t ask me tomorrow, because the answer is no!’” The teacher laughed. “Every year, parents come to me and say, ‘Why won’t my child listen to me? Why won’t she take no for an answer?’ And I say, ‘Your child won’t take no for an answer, because the answer is never no!’”
Barry Schwartz, at Swarthmore, believes that well-meaning parents give their kids so much choice on a daily basis that the children become not just entitled, but paralyzed. “The ideology of our time is that choice is good and more choice is better,” he said. “But we’ve found that’s not true.”


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Celebrating the start of summer with free admission

see the pics in the slideshow taken on our visit to the Vanderbilt Mansion on chol Hamoed.

http://www.examiner.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/summer-arrives-tomorrow-along-with-free-park-admissions
Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress: DIY Vanilla

Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress: DIY Vanilla

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

If you're in Pennsylvania

Or planning to pass through or considering it among other places to visit this season, you may want to include Longwood Gardens on your stop. The garden started out in a very ecological mission -- to save the trees there. But it includes far more than trees, as you can see from the pictures I posted in the album on the Kallah Magazine Facebook page The one below is not among them.
If you can pick up a tour, do take one; you learn more than you do by just reading the little signs around. This garden has a bit less of an educational than the botanical gardens in New York city. And even the house does not reveal everything, like the fact that the owner got married in New York rather than in his home state because he married his cousin, and such marriages were (and I suppose still are) not legal in that state, though they are in New York (see http://www.examiner.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/license-to-wed-part-2-of-2). But you can also pick up interesting things by paying close attention. The picture here shows that Pierre du Pont's lawyer  -- in 1906 no less -- was a woman named Isabel Darlington. As the text indicate, Mr. du Pont's primary motive in acquiring the property that was to become Longwood Gardens was to prevent the trees on it from being turned into lumber.  For more about this garden and others, see http://www.examiner.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/green-houses-and-gardens-review

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Orthonomics: Guest Post: Do Not Provide Your Child's Social Security Number

Orthonomics: Guest Post: Do Not Provide Your Child's Social Security Number

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

For Father's Day

Kids can offer gifts from the heart without emptying out their (or your) wallets if they are willing to put in some effort.
1. They could wash dad's car, and if they are really ambitious, vacuum the inside and wax the exterior, as well.  This suggestion, I admit, comes from Walmart, though you really don't have to buy the kit they recommend.
2. They could take over a current chore that dad usually does, like mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage, either for the week of Father's Day or longer
3.For a gift that keeps on giving, they can put together a voucher book that entitles dad to press the kids into raking leaves, shoveling snow, or doing some other task that he would enjoy delegating.
4. They could bake a cake, cookies, or prepare something else he likes like chocolate covered pretzels.
5. They can make a frame with their pictures inside. For wooden frames that can be painted and decorated, check out Michael's. For very young kids, you can cut the opening on a paper plate and allow them to add stickers or fingerpaint colors on it.
6.Of course, the card can be homemade, as well, but if you like e-cards, check out http://ecards.myfuncards.com/myfuncards/ComposeCard.jhtml?cardID=20038895&printable=false

Related posts: http://www.examiner.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/father-s-day-outing-idea-with-coupon  and my CMOsite post on marketing Father's Day




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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A clash of pink and green

In the words of Joel Makover in http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2011/05/16/green-marketing-over-lets-move?page=0%2C0 “No environmentally preferable car, carpet, cleaner, cosmetic, clothing, coffee, credit card or cell phone has captured more than 2 percent of its respective market. In most cases, sales of green products represent well under 1 percent of any given category.” 


It is quoted in "Barbie Hijacked by Greenpeace" in the attempt to insinuate that the Barbie attack, which is actually an attack on Mattel for using paper made from rainforest trees in Barbie's packaging, undermines the green movement by its association with extremism. A couple of leaps of logic here that the article tries to gloss over with its nod to the fact "other reasons exist for the sluggish sales of green products — quality, price, availability, etc."  I haven't heard of people going out of their way to buy products that are considered not green to register their disapproval of Greenpeace. 






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87 and going strong

Holocause survivor, Gerda Weissmann Klein speak on American citizenship. See http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Gerda-Weissmann-Klein-on-American-Citizenship.html

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Monday, June 13, 2011

Divrei Chaim: a cause for celebration

Divrei Chaim: a cause for celebration: "The very presence of the guest speaker at my son's yeshiva's annual gala siyum (held yesterday) brought warm memories to my mind. R' Ahron ..."

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Friday, June 10, 2011

Orthonomics: Like Drugs to an Addict are Loans to a Debtor

Orthonomics: Like Drugs to an Addict are Loans to a Debtor

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

For a Sunday outing, think Suffolk

See http://www.examiner.com/jewish-bridal-in-new-york/spring-and-summer-sundays-suffolk for details about the train rides available this Sunday, as well as the nearby farm and park with row boats for rent. The first two are free, though a donation is appreciated for the train rides.


Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Monday, June 06, 2011

Beyond pink

Gayle A Sulike, PhD, a medical sociologist and 2008 Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities for her work on breast cancer culture, is the author of Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women's Health (Oxford University Press, 2011). Each chapter is followed by pages of footnotes for this carefully researched book that points out the dark side behind the pink ribbon. It is not a cheerful picture, nor a completely hopeful one, as very little true progress has been made in the battle against breast cancer, for all the fanfare of pink products, awareness, and the popularity of "the cause."

Certainly, every woman should read about how mammograms could actually fail women and, in some case, cause harm and should be aware of the risk/benefit ratio, the costs, and the questionable motives of some who benefit.  "Screening mammography is largely responsible for the ever-increasing diagnoses of stage 0 breast cancers, the types that are not technically breast cancers at all." (p.183). Such results stack the deck for the claim that early detection saves lives when the lives "saved" were never in danger in the first place.  In addition to false positives, mammograms can yield false negatives, meaning that the cancer that is there will not be detected. Generally, they are more effective at detection in women over 50 than younger women. In an article that appeared in 2009, "Chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society Dr. Otis Brawley said: 'I'm admitting that American medicine has overpromised when it comes to screening. The advantages to screening have been exaggerated" (p. 20).

Sulike also examines the mythology of the "she-ro" who must rise above her suffering according to the script tied with a pink ribbon. She also touches on "pinkwashing" as a serious problem that gets in the way of true progress, as well as the infantalization of women that ensues with pink culture that considers it appropriate to offer teddy bears and Barbie dolls dressed in pink to those afflicted to show caring. Pink, of course, is the color strongly associated with little girls.  Would men be treated the same way?  Of course, some of this is based on feminist analysis, and reader may just find her take on the significance of Power Puff Girls debatable. But it is, certainly, an intriguing argument.



Here main points are encapsulated both at the beginning and the conclusion of the book. On p. 374 she says:  "Pink ribbon symbolism not only distract the public from the harsh realities of breast cancer and the actions that would be necessary to move toward  its eradication, it also produces a feel-good culture in which the idea that breast cancer is a good cause translates to a belief that supporting it is a good thing that will always lead to good outcomes. The pink ribbon effect demonizes and isolates those who do not happily accept all of the pink goodness the culture has to offer."

The only weak part of the book is that she does not really build a substantial case for what would work to truly make a difference.  Is it even possible to eradicate breast cancer?  She does say that certain chemicals used by companies are linked to breast cancer, but I'm not quite clear on if she would say that the solution lies there. There are always contributing factors, but so many health conditions do prop up unexpectedly with no known cause. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading for its wealth of information and for its infusion of some healthy skepticism. It's good to  think before going pink or joining up with anything just because it is popular and seems to be  going for a good cause.

For some further reading on this approach, available online, see http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-human-condition/2009/10/13/seeing-red-in-pink-products-one-woman-s-fight-against-breast-cancer-consumerism.html
http://brenna09.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/breast-cancer-awareness-month-does-the-pink-ribbon-take-cause-marketing-too-far/

Visit my site www.kallahmagazine.com -- not just for kallahs. You can also see posts at http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner

Thursday, June 02, 2011