Archive for the 'Reading' Category


Deadlines. What a word ! Get it finished by then … or you’re … cooked!

Whether you set deadlines for yourself, or whether someone else sets them for you,  there they are. You can pick any date, any time of day … and you’ve got one ! A deadline. A date and time to be met, to be respected.

Mothers are among the first deadline-makers in our lives. From very, very early on in our childhoods we heard threats about the risks of not finishing on time : «No dessert until you finish your spinach! » or «If you aren’t ready in 5 minutes, we’re leaving without you!» «Time for your bath!»

Fathers could be just as bad but they often used just one pronoun for the word « deadline. » That word was « NOW» as in the imperative : « Listen to your mother. Now ! » (Or else !)

In our carefree worlds as children, we didn’t need to give ourselves deadlines. Somehow or another, nothing was so important that it had to be done, learnt, or finished by bedtime.

Then came school. And we began to encounter authority: the teacher, the one who taught Latin or Spanish or  … English or math … or in fact, anything that required some effort AFTER school.  In one word : homework.

« WORK » the beginning of the end! Not only the imperatives of  « You MUST » but, on top of that, « by Tomorrow!, Capital T. » « By Thursday.» Or else …

As we grew out of childhood and into adolescence and as we managed to meet deadlines or skirt them,  we learnt that a lot of adults were in fact « bluffing » about the dire consequences of not respecting deadlines.

Sometimes that was out of weakness … often, a reprieve, a warning, or the grace of forgiving kindness.

As we matured, we integrated the notion of deadlines into our mental routines. We put them on our agendas and calendars. We realized that they were everywhere. Your car needed its tune-up every 10 000 miles … you needed a tetanus vaccination one year and then again and then every 10 … And … yes… there was a deadline for sending in applications to schools or for work …  not to mention that in additon to your mother and and your father, you had an uncle too … and your Uncle Sam set a date for filing your tax return, too. And for paying.

While others plot out the deadlines they want us to observe, we make our own. Setting our own deadlines and setting deadlines for others is, in fact, the most human of activities. We like to do this so much that we not only set deadlines…. We have learnt to reset them, too. Over and over again. Free choice. Arbitrary? That’s not so sure.

We choose a date, a time, freely. And then we’re free to respect it or not.  We’re free to determine the consequences, set the sanctions and rewards, apply them … or not.

What time is it? 8:15 ? Already! I’d better finish this and post it before it’s too late!

Oh, what a powerful thing a deadline is!

Ben Franklin by Kalman

The first American ambassador to France …

Ben Franklin by Kalman.

What a treat!

The secrets of a garlic grower

The secrets of a garlic grower. Very nice Sunday reading … just in case you haven’t found anything else!

The ties that bind America and France

For the ties that bind America and France are more important and infinitely more interesting than most of us know.

Read all about it.

A Quirky Car Company, Serving Quirky Customers

A Quirky Car Company, Serving Quirky Customers

I have to admit that I had never heard of the Bristol until today.

The Bristol

and here’s a “bilingual” link to the word … quirky!

President’s Day

Ms. Kalman’s creation

And the Pursuit of Happiness … is of course, derived from the Constitution of the United States of America which guarantees citizens the rights to LIfe, Liberty … And the Pursuit of Happiness !

George … is of course, George Washington. Here’s his story as seen by Ms. Kalman!


James Dyson, and building a better vacuum:

Bristish engineer and inventor James Dyson wasn’t so happy about his own vacuum cleaner … so he designed a better one. And opened up an entirely new market.

Knighted by the Queen … Engineer James became … Sir James!

A story worth reading:

James Dyson, and building a better vacuum:

An interview with Woody Allen

Europeans love Woody Allen’s films. He produces one a year … and never looks back to see one of his previous films once it’s released.

Here’s an interview published in today’s New York Times. Enjoy.

Cheese – by ANDROUET

Here is a link to one of the most famous cheese sellers in France. Savour.

In English … and other languages!

Notes from a weekend out at sea

Some mornings the tide brings in lots of sand dollars. This is what it brought in this morning!

by Catherine Rendon,

This past weekend we went sailing on an old wooden boat, a 30ft Morris, named “Joy”.  The captain, Michael Richter, is the first mate of the R(esearch) V(essel) “Savannah” –Skidaway Oceanographic Institute’s boat.  Michael and Paul are diving buddies and friends.  “Joy” is heavy and slow and her teak deck is weathered.  I started and finished the last of Larsen’s Millenium trilogy, my feet overhanging the bow occasionally being splashed or having the water cover my feet. The water like wall paper with a design of random cannonball jellyfish patterned here and there.  On our first day out we saw four big old turtles swimming out at sea.  They saw us too, big and heavy and quiet.

In the evening when we anchored we were surrounded by dolphin and were so close we could hear them breathing.  They sound just like people.  It was odd, looking at the night sky up on deck and hearing these familiar sighs and breaths so close by and not know them. They probably felt almost at home with our similar noises just above them. Yesterday we sailed back at a steady six knots from Hilton Head. We saw dolphins,pelicans diving and terns sitting on an old floating log, plus plenty of fish jumping. We sailed into a late summer squall/  It was beautiful.  Turner would have liked all the greys.  Then it was sunny again and we docked. We got back and jumped into the pool and got all the salt off ourselves.  We had swum in the sea off of “Joy” but the current was ripping. We  anchored near a shrimper whose anchor dragged all night and by morning he
was a distant silhouette.