Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Music Travels | the evolution of western dance

Click image to open interactive version (via Thomson Holidays).

It may not be the final word, but this engaging infographic posted by Osman Khan is a fun look at the 200-year global movement of pop from traditional African music to to dubstep.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day | a small idea from Raising Adults

You’da thought we were a nation of rabbits! Soldiers and sailors came home from Europe and North Africa and Asia and bam! Their wives delivered babies nine months and twenty minutes later!
They were a fertile lot. The population increase from 1940 to 1950 was more than double the increase from 1930 to 1940.
There are stories of young men comparing military campaign notes in maternity waiting rooms. “Lessee: it’s June, ‘46; the bomb dropped last August ... So, you were in the Pacific when the Emperor surrendered. Am I right?”
 “Mmm ... Good guess. Actually I came back from Berlin, walking the frontier with the Soviets.”
 “What? I thought you said you were a Marine!”
 “Who said anything about Marines! Airborne, my friend. All the way.”
These people were, quite simply, a different breed. Raised in the biggest economic bust in America’s history, they fueled one of the biggest booms. They came of age winning America’s last good war; but the horror of the victory was emotionally debilitating.
Women watched helplessly as men shut down. Permanently. Many Boomers grew up with male role models more like the Marlboro Man than, say, Santa Claus. They were silent, stoic, distant, disconnected—from their spouses and children ... everything but work, really. Sure it’s a stereotype; but nobody made it up. Those men had other, secret lives. Some because they went overseas, others because they didn’t.
And what do you suppose was the effect on the 110,000 Americans of Japanese descent who lost everything when they were relocated to camps from the California mountains to the Mississippi River? Hard to say. They mostly didn’t talk about it.
James Jones wrote about his war with horrible realism in The Thin Red Line. Joseph Heller wrote about his with equally horrible comedy in Catch 22. Everyone else stuck to the numbers. How many went ashore, how many fell from the sky, how much ground was covered, how many lives lost.
Or they remained silent.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 05.25.13

We know the potential downside for kids + social media. Can we harness the potential upside?

Just in time for summer: Common Sense Media recommends digital apps for creative kids aged 2-17

Read it for Yourself | Barack Obama on the components of a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy

Study: The students least likely to excel in college have parents who basically write a blank check

passion | a small idea from Raising Adults 

They're going to listen to someone, why not us? | 4291 US Gun Deaths Since Newtown

The Post-Ironic Millennial Speaks | discussion + learning videos at

Friday, May 24, 2013

Read it for Yourself | Barack Obama on the components of a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy, May 23, 2013

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by the President at the National Defense University

National Defense University
Fort McNair
Washington, D.C. 

2:01 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Please be seated. 

It is a great honor to return to the National Defense University.  Here, at Fort McNair, Americans have served in uniform since 1791 -- standing guard in the earliest days of the Republic, and contemplating the future of warfare here in the 21st century.

For over two centuries, the United States has been bound together by founding documents that defined who we are as Americans, and served as our compass through every type of change.  Matters of war and peace are no different.  Americans are deeply ambivalent about war, but having fought for our independence, we know a price must be paid for freedom.  From the Civil War to our struggle against fascism, on through the long twilight struggle of the Cold War, battlefields have changed and technology has evolved.  But our commitment to constitutional principles has weathered every war, and every war has come to an end.

With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a new dawn of democracy took hold abroad, and a decade of peace and prosperity arrived here at home.  And for a moment, it seemed the 21st century would be a tranquil time.  And then, on September 11, 2001, we were shaken out of complacency.  Thousands were taken from us, as clouds of fire and metal and ash descended upon a sun-filled morning.  This was a different kind of war.  No armies came to our shores, and our military was not the principal target.  Instead, a group of terrorists came to kill as many civilians as they could.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

passion | a small idea from Raising Adults

Here’s the thing. We can raise adults. Whoever we are, we can rebuild bridges with our adult children and we can get it right the first time with the younger ones. Forgive the cliché but this is not rocket science. It’s relationships—which means it’s both harder and easier. 
Rocket science depends on precision. Relationships depend on passion. I don’t know anything about precision relationships and I don’t anyone who does.
People are essentially unreliable under stress. Sometimes people make apparently senseless choices. Folks choose self-sacrifice when they don’t have to, or self-destruction when there’s clearly a better way. There’s nothing precise about it. What’s behind those choices is pure passion.
Passion sounds like what went on in the back of ’57 Chevys back in the day. But the word derives from the idea of suffering. Passion has something to do with wanting something so much it hurts. Add the prefix com—it means with—and you’ve got compassion: the experience of shared suffering. Raising adults requires passion (I want to nurture my child so much it hurts) and compassion (I choose to share my child’s suffering).
And that’s it. I don’t know any painless way to raise adults.
What I do know is that passionate and compassionate parenting, teaching, coaching, and mentoring tend to get the job done. 
So the question becomes, “How bad do I want it?”

— from Raising Adults

Sunday, May 19, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 05.18.13

Seth Godin | Killer Profits 

Rise in plastic surgery appears to be tied to social media image concerns 

Millennials Vs. 50+: The Brands They Love - Forbes 

unfinished business | a small idea from Raising Adults

Crossing Cultures | Have American Parents Got It All Backwards?

They're going to listen to someone, why not us? | 3970 Gun Deaths Since Newtown

Monitoring kids on Facebook is so 2009 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

unfinished business | a small idea from Raising Adults

Somehow, with or without us, our babies grew to be children.
Then, while Boomers elected presidents we would sooner have thrown eggs at when we first got the vote, our children turned into teenagers who seemed to feel as great a distance from us as we felt from our parents. And just like our parents we made wisecracks, then nagged, then yelled, then shook our heads disapprovingly, then gave up on them—everything we said we would never do
And it felt bad.
Actually, it feels bad; we’re not done yet. A lot of us have a good bit of child-rearing before us. In 2012, the number of American kids under the age of 18 reached 73.8 million. As a point of reference, there were 69.9 million under-18ers in 1966. That was a lot, but it was the top of the Baby Boom. This time the numbers continued to rise and many of the babies were born to Boomers in their 30s and 40s.
And then there are the adult children.
A lot of Boomers left home without going very far. A lot of our kids never left home at all, or left briefly, then returned, some bearing the gift of grandchildren we now raise in part or in whole. That wasn’t supposed to happen.
In 2012, about 4.7 million American children lived in households headed by grandparents about 2.2 million of them with no parent present.[1] 
Even those without drinking-age heirs in a bedroom down the hall seem to have plenty of unfinished business with their adult children. Again, I may be wrong but I can’t think of many peers who have a completely clean slate with their offspring, grown up or not. 

— from Raising Adults

[1] U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, Table C4,

Saturday, May 11, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 05.10.13

'Here is Today' Infographic (all times approximate + may depend on where you're standing)

like there was no tomorrow | a small idea from Raising Adults 

Um...those snapchat shots that disappear forever after 10 seconds...apparently they don't

Millennials Rising | what could be more delicious than Boomers calling others "self-centered"? 

We segregate our neighborhoods by politics + race, but "the online social network is anti-gerrymandered" - Godin

Where Buzzfeed says people are actually going on the internet 

Pregnancy Text: kids text a "baby" to a friend's mobile to stir conversation on teen pregnancy

the soup they're in | a small idea from Raising Adults 

UPDATE 05.06.13 On May 03, US gun deaths since the Newtown massacre topped 3,235 

Friday, May 10, 2013

like there was no tomorrow | a small idea from Raising Adults

1976. Tom Wolfe is right about Boomers; at least in broad strokes. But what the popular media do with his insights seems all wrong.
The ‘Me’ Decade has a street date of August 23. In a matter of weeks the media turn The Me Decade into The Me Generation—by which time no one means what Wolfe meant. They aren’t describing the spirit of the age—that zeitgeist we inherited and embellished from our parents. They mean people born when we were born, growing up as we grew up.  They mean Boomers and no one else. The Me Generation is defined by demographics, and the question on everybody’s mind is: “How do we sell them stuff?”
How do you sell to people reputedly driven by unbridled self-interest? Are you kidding me?
Nothing, apparently, could be easier.
And so the sixties became the eighties—Boomer youth culture, darkly celebrated by Buck Henry and Mike Nichols in The Graduate (1967), lasting only a moment, it’s death conceded by Lawrence Kasdan in The Big Chill (1983).
Boomers may have been slow starters but they took to business in a big way. Which is where the money came from to build those bigger better suburbs beyond the suburbs; upgrading the shopping centers with mega-malls; importing European and Japanese cars from former manufacturers of tanks and bombers; electing Ronald Reagan and George Bush 41 hoping they would be good for business ... Some were nervy enough to display Grateful Dead stickers in the rear windows of four-door imports (not the skeletons; those cute dancing bears ... You know who you are).
So, what happened to the revolution? For some the answer was, “Nothing! Just shut up! We ended The War. We made Nixon resign. We invented Earth Day. We went to Woodstock: Three days of PeaceLove&Understanding! How can you say we’re self-absorbed!”
But that’s exactly what they said. Tom Wolfe updated his vision of the Me Decade in his 1987 novel, Bonfire of the Vanities (the book, not the awful Brian DePalma film), and a decade later in A Man in Full (1998).
Wolfe’s characters wander, self-consumed and thoroughly disoriented through these comic horrors. But his vision goes beyond caricature. God help us, these characters are just like us; our youth spent, our idealism gone to seed. How could this happen! 
No one knows; it just did. We laid aside the macramé, got real jobs and spent money like there was no tomorrow.

— from Raising Adults

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Millennials Rising | an alternate view

In view of what folks are saying about our millennial brothers and sisters (and daughters and sons and friends and colleagues), here's a little piece called, Millennials Rising. Enjoy + propagate.

The music comes courtesy of The Wired CD_Rip. Sample. Mash. Share. The remarkable Kate Jaeger provided the voice talent.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

the soup they're in | a small idea from Raising Adults

They didn’t plan it; it just happened.
Like other extraordinary generations, their parents didn’t know what to do with them—anybody could see it in their reaction to pompadours, t-shirts and jeans, rock & roll and “race music.” The kids sure felt it. That was obvious from the Saturday night cruising cultures—kids burning cheap gas in fast cars for no other reason than to be out, meaning not home. They embraced heroes like James Dean and Little Richard, Buddy Holly and Richie Valens, then Beat writers like Ginsberg and Burroughs. 
“Edgar Rice Burroughs?” their fathers would ask; “the Tarzan guy?” 
“No, Dad: William Burroughs; the Naked Lunch guy. Gad! You are so square.”
And yes these were also the hippie kids who hung out in parks, smoking dope and pitching Frisbee Brand Flying Disks.
They were the leading edge of a wave of rising crime, juvenile pregnancy and suicide. A wave the rest of us followed and follow still. I think it may have been the Frisbees.
Against that backdrop, perhaps most trivial of all these indicators was the decline in scholastic achievement and test scores. 
Compared to a growing prison population (not to mention the growing number of crime victims); compared to growing teenage pregnancy rates (not to mention the cost to single mothers and their children and the numbing effect on prodigal fathers of sex for sex’s sake); compared to the tragic loss of life—the suicidal abandonment of hope by more Americans than we had ever witnessed—lower test scores hardly seem worth mentioning. 
But school achievement is concrete; it seems like a problem we might be able to do something about. So, of course we would mention it. Of course we would fixate on what-to-do-about-those-darn-schools.
Big Basic Question: Does it make sense to explain the decline in achievement and the rise in public health problems to things that occurred when the class of ‘63 were seniors (namely, the Supreme Court decision on school-sponsored prayer)?
Big Basic Question Answered: I think students in the Class of ‘63 were shaped by the 17 years it took them to arrive in their senior year. How could it be otherwise? 
The class of ‘40 grew up in the adversity of the 1930s, graduated, and went off to fight the war. They had no control over the circumstances of their lives—they were children. For better and worse their Depression-era upbringing shaped them. 
That was their cultural soup. Five years later, when they conceived the first wave of a new generation, how could those children not be shaped by the 50s?
Come to think of it, how could our kids not carry the distinct flavors of the soup they’re in? 

— from Raising Adults

Monday, May 06, 2013

Gun Deaths Since Newtown | A Moving Total

Slate and the Twitter feed @GunDeaths are posting data in an interactive record of every gun death in North America regardless of cause and without comment.

UPDATE | May 06, 2013
Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut school massacre topped 3835.

1,102 1302 1516 1703 1901 2237 2605 2763 2971 3192 3700 3835 gun deaths in 38 45 52 58 65 73 87 94 101 108 138 142 days. Are you OK with that?

How about your Senators and House Representatives? We know 45 Senators who voted against more thorough background checks in April (and it doesn't seem to be helping their cause).

Tell your Senators and local Member of Congress how you want them to vote on background checks for internet and gun show firearm sales: 

UPDATE | April 29, 2013
Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut school massacre topped 3700.

UPDATE | April 1, 2013
Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut massacre climbed by 221, from 2971 as of March 24 to 3192 as of March 31.

UPDATE | March 25, 2013

Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut massacre climbed by 208, from 2763 as of March 17 to 2971 as of March 24.

UPDATE | March 18, 2013

Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut massacre climbed by 158, from 2605 as of March 10 to 2763 as of March 17.

UPDATE | March 11, 2013

Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut massacre climbed by 368, from 2237 as of February 24 to 2605 as of March 10.

UPDATE | February 24, 2013
Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut massacre climbed by 336, from 1901 to 2237.

UPDATE | February 18, 2013
Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut massacre climbed by 193, from 1708 to 1901.

UPDATE | February 11, 2013

Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut massacre climbed by 192, from 1516 to 1708.

UPDATE | February 4, 2013
Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut massacre climbed by 214, from 1302 to 1516.

UPDATE | January 28, 2013
Coming into this week, the moving total of US gun deaths in since the Newtown Connecticut massacre climbed by 200, from 1,102 to 1302

As of 9:00am Eastern Time January 21, 2013, the moving total of US gun deaths in the 38 days since the Newtown Connecticut massacre stands at 1,102.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

in the wind | tweets from the week ending 05.04.13

Pals [h/t] Robinsons UK #parent #raisingadults

what's up with the class of '63 | a small idea from Raising Adults #parent #raisingadults #schoolprayer

Who will protect the victims of these victims? | Stephen Colbert on the victims of gun violence #wecanfixthis

will this be on the test? | a small idea from Raising Adults #raisingadults #parent #youthwork #learning

Update 04.29.13: US gun deaths since the Newtown Connecticut school slaughter top 3700 #makegunviolenceharder

Friday, May 03, 2013

what's up with the class of '63 | a small idea from Raising Adults

Fast-Forward a dozen years. It is 1963. The Civil Rights movement is in full swing. The Supreme Court rules on school-sponsored prayer. We are unaware that President Kennedy is nearing the end of his rope even as he launches the United States into the Space Race and threatens to heat up the Cold War. School children practice duck and cover routines while construction companies do big business on Fallout Shelters.
And for the first time anyone can remember, school achievement declines. The Class of ‘63 doesn’t score as well as the class before them. In suicide, pregnancy and crime rates, they do even worse. 
A year passes. John F. Kennedy is dead. The Civil Rights Act is law. The British mount a Prime Time invasion of North America (pushing west out of Liverpool, the Beatles take New York in a single day). The Class of ‘64 achieves less than the Class of ‘63. 
A year passes. We learn that U.S. military advisors are on the ground someplace called Vietnam. Things get out of hand at the Monterey Pop Festival. The Class of ’65 achieves less than the Class of ‘64.
And so it goes year after year; America’s children achieving less than their grandparents in the boom at the turn of the last century, less than their own parents in the depths of the Great Depression. What gives?
One theory ties the decline in achievement and increased rates of juvenile crime, teenage pregnancy and suicide, to the Supreme Court decision banning compulsory, school-sponsored prayer. An interesting notion.