Archive for October, 2009

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2009

jackolantern01Here are some wonderful factoids (courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau) concerning Halloween!  Enjoy!

The observance of Halloween, which dates back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of witches, ghosts, devils and hobgoblins. Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals have changed dramatically. Today, many of the young and young at heart take a more light-spirited approach. They don scary disguises or ones that may bring on smiles when they go door to door for treats, or attend or host a Halloween party.

Trick or Treat!

36 million — The estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2008 — children 5 to 13 — across the United States. This number is up about 65,000 from a year earlier. Of course, many other children — older than 13, and younger than 5 — also go trick-or-treating.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/013733.html>

111.4 million — Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2008 — all potential stops for trick-or-treaters.
Source: Housing Vacancies and Homeownership <http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/hvs/historic/>

93% — Percentage of households with residents who consider their neighborhood safe. In addition, 78 percent said there was no place within a mile of their homes where they would be afraid to walk alone at night.
Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States, 2003
<http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/families_households/009884.html>

Jack-o’-Lanterns and Pumpkin Pies

1.1 billion pounds — Total production of pumpkins by major pumpkin-producing states in 2008. Illinois led the country by producing 496 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, Pennsylvania and New York also provided lots of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $141 million.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <http://www.nass.usda.gov/index.asp>

Where to Spend Halloween?

Some places around the country that may put you in the Halloween mood are:

Candy and Costumesbat01

1,233 — Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2007, employing 38,794 people and shipping $13.2 billion worth of goods. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 143, followed by Pennsylvania, with 115.
Source: 2007 County Business Patterns <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/county_business_patterns/014105.html>
and 2007 Economic Census <http://www.census.gov/econ/census07/>

466 — Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate confectionery products in 2007. These establishments employed 18,250 people and shipped $6.6 billion worth of goods that year. California led the nation in this category, with 70 establishments.
Source: 2007 County Business Patterns <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/county_business_patterns/014105.html>
and 2007 Economic Census <http://www.census.gov/econ/census07/>

23.8 pounds — Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2008.
Source: Current Industrial Reports, Confectionery: 2008 <http://www.census.gov/cir/www/311/ma311d.html>

2,011 — Number of costume rental and formal wear establishments across the nation in 2007.
Source: 2007 County Business Patterns <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/county_business_patterns/014105.html>

March is in the Air!

October 30, 2009

127Professional baseball is winding down, college and professional football are in full swing, hockey is just getting started, professional basketball has begun, and college basketball is right around the corner.  Yep, the college basketball pre-season poll has been released . . . which means . . . March is just around the corner!    And, it is not even November yet ! 

The Kansas Jayhawks have been awarded the #1 position atop the poll [no pressure] followed by the Michigan State Spartans at #2, the Texas Longhorns at #3, the North Carolina Tar Heels at #4, and the University of Kentucky Wildcats at #5.  Of course, being #1 in November does not mean nearly as much as being #1 in March . . . it will be interesting to see how the season plays out.  High expectations abound in the hopes, desires, and dreams of many teams I’m sure.

The rest of the top ten include the Villanova Wildcats (#6), the Purdue Boilermakers (#7), the Duke Blue Devils (#8), the West Virginia Mountaineers (#9), and the Butler Bulldogs (#10).

The non-conference season begins in two-weeks . . . First up for the Spartan on November 13th, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.   Let the Madness begin! 

Go Green!

Heavy Heart!

October 29, 2009
Un_Boulder_Creek

Boulder Creek

My heart is heavy this week for two reasons.  First and foremost, the City of Tulsa laid off 21 police officers this week (due to the economic downturn).  

Secondly, I’ve recently learned that the Color Connection Gallery will be closing their doors at the end of the year 😦  (Also a victim of the economic downturn?)   So all of these wonderful artists will be searching out new locations to display their paintings.  I’ve already rounded up most of their business cards because I will want to keep in touch with them all if possible.  I’m certainly not through collecting by a long shot.  

For the last several years, this gallery has been the bastion of my collecting and for that I am grateful.  I already know that I will miss them . . . the artists demonstrating their techniques on those January afternoons, and my quiet mornings or afternoons in the gallery (reacquainting with the old paintings and falling in love with the new ones) will be hard to replace .   

The silver lining for me (if there is such a thing) would have to be the fact that the temptation will now be a bit further removed and not quite as readily accessible  . . . for now.

Here is another original oil painting by Joanna Duck.  Her palette knife style captured my heart early and has never let go.

The Network Keeps Growing!

October 28, 2009

SocialNetworkGrowthHere are some really interesting facts (courtesy of Pew Internet).

79% of American adults used the internet in 2009, up from 67% in Feb. 2005
46% of online American adults 18 and older use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 8% in February 2005.
65% of teens 12-17 use online social networks as of Feb 2008, up from 58% in 2007 and 55% in 2006.
As of August 2009, Facebook was the most popular online social network for American adults 18 and older.

Of Adult SNS Users:

73% have a Facebook account
48% have a MySpace profile
14% have an account on LinkedIn
1% each on Yahoo, YouTube, Tagged, Flickr and Classmates.com
10-12% are on “other” sites like Bebo, Last.FM, Digg, Blackplanet, Orkut, Hi5 and Match.com

Thinking Skills!

October 27, 2009

I  read a wonderful book summary yesterday on thinking (“How Successful People Think,” by John Maxwell).  The book posits that good thinking can be learned and goes on to describe the 11 Thinking Skills that are required to be a successful thinker.

  • Seeing the wisdom of the big picture
  • Unleashing the potential of focused thinking
  • Discovering the joy of creative thinking
  • Recognizing the importance of realistic thinking
  • Releasing the power of strategic thinking
  • Feeling the energy of possibility thinking
  • Embracing the lessons of reflective thinking
  • Questioning the acceptance of popular thinking
  • Encouraging the participation of shared thinking
  • Experiencing the satisfaction of unselfish thinking
  • Enjoying the return of bottom-line thinking

This list should get you “thinking,” you think?

Trolling!

October 26, 2009

Happy Monday one and all!  As we begin a new work week, here’s a post from Seth Godin’s blog about “trolls” that sums things up pretty well. 

“Lots of things about work are hard. Dealing with trolls is one of them. Trolls are critics who gain perverse pleasure in relentlessly tearing you and your ideas down. Here’s the thing(s):

1. trolls will always be trolling
2. critics rarely create
3. they live in a tiny echo chamber, ignored by everyone except the trolled and the other trolls
4. professionals (that’s you) get paid to ignore them. It’s part of your job.

‘Can’t please everyone,’ isn’t just an aphorism, it’s the secret of being remarkable.”

Most Apropos!

October 25, 2009

Here is an excellent vocabulary word that can be applied/used during any college (or professional?  Or high school?) sporting event . . . just when you think your alma mater/team is about to win (or at least has the opportunity to win), the opponent streaks in as time runs out to quell any such hope! 

fugacious

\fyoo-GAY-shuhs\ , adjective:

 1.  Lasting but a short time; fleeting.

Hoping for an Upset!

October 24, 2009

ath_5Despite starting their season 1-3, the Michigan State Spartans have won three in a row (including a victory over the University of Michigan Wolveines) and are now 3-1 in the Big Ten standings (4-3 overall). Today’s home game against the Iowa Hawkeyes (ranked #6 in the polls) is significant . . . a win for the Spartans could have them tied with three other teams atop the Big Ten (Ohio State, Penn State, and Iowa). Iowa is currently undefeated and looking to maintain their grasp on the top spot, but they have not won in East Lansing since 1995.

On the banks of the Red Cedar, is a school that’s know to all,
Its specialty is winning, and those Spartans play good ball,
Spartan teams are never beaten, all through the game they fight,
Fight for the only colors, Green and White,

Go right through for MSU, watch the points keep growing,
Spartan teams are bound to win, they’re fighting with a vim, Rah! Rah! Rah!
See their team is weakening, we’re going to win the game,
Fight! Fight! Rah! Team Fight! Victory for MSU,
Up with the colors, unfurl them on high! Fight! Rah! Team Fight!

Go Green!

Some Friday Humor!

October 23, 2009

Welcome to Academe.   Have you ever wondered how some colleges and universities come up with their courses?  Well, here is a list (100 Hilarious College Courses) of some actual courses around the country.  Pretty amazing.  I’ve excerpted a few of my favorites below. 

Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular “Logic” on TV Judge Shows [Univ. of California, Berkeley]
Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond [Univ. of Texas, Austin]
American Degenerates [Brown]
The American Vacatioin [Univ. of Iowa]
“Far Side” Entomology [Oregon State]
Lego Robotics [MIT]
Start Trek and Religion [Univ. of Indiana]
Introduction to Turntablism [Oberlin Experimental College]
Underwater Basket Weaving (yes, it really exists) [Reed College]
Knitting for Noobs [Oberlin Experimental College]
How to Watch Television [Montclair]
Campus Culture and Drinking [Duke]
Getting Dressed [Princeton]
Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism [Swathmore College]
Stupidity [Occidental]

So, these are my favorites, check out the list and fine some of your own. Happy Friday!

Still in Recession or Recovering?

October 22, 2009

How is your State or Metropolitan area surviving?  Check out “the Adversity Index” which measures the economic health of 381 metropolitan areas in all 50 States.

Courtesy of MSNBC, they claim that the recession has ended for 79 metropolitan areas.  Unfortunately, Tulsa  is not yet among the “recovering” (nor is the State of Oklahoma).   

for Tulsa (still in recession)
Employment (-1.74%)
Single Family Housing (-7.38%)
Housing Prices (n/a)
Industrial Production (-17.31%)

for Oklahoma (still in recession)
Employment (-2.35%)
Single Family Housing (-16.23%)
Housing Prices (n/a)
Industrial Production (-15.39%)