Friday, December 28, 2007

Three sites have been dedicated to the late Ken Braithwaite

His friends and family may be pleased to know: three sites have been dedicated to the late Ken Braithwaite.
  • A "Friends of Kenneth Braithwaite" FaceBook Group has been created. This social networking site accommodates text, still images, videos, links, music, and other media posts, and facilitates communication amongst participants.
  • The Social-Organizational Psychology Program at Columbia Teachers College has posted Program Information: Memorial Service for Doctoral Candidate Kenneth Braithwaite.

  • A guest book has been connected to Ken's online obit at I won't post the link, as: (1) the guest book will be deleted in November, 2008 unless someone pays to sponsor it, and (2) there's no need for anyone to sponsor a commercial guest book, as Friends of Kenneth Braithwaite (or another site like it) can serve the same purpose, in perpetuity, for free.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Images: courtesy of>>Nativity of Jesus:
(1) Grotto of the Nativity in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem — where it is believed Jesus was born, and

Merrry Christmas! Do you know the reason for the Christmas season?

To learn about the history of Christmas, click the link above or access the following books and cds.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Kenneth Noel James Braithwaite: Contact Info, January 10 Memorial Service at Columbia Teachers College, Published Research


The blogosphere is a powerful tool. Case in point: many people have contacted me in response to Tribute to Kenneth Noel James Braithwaite (August 1966-November 2007).

Apparently, some had learned about Ken's death through this electronic grapevine. Others had found the post via online searches and word of mouth, and contacted me to obtain and share details about Ken's death, life and going home services. In all cases, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but glad my online tribute has been informative.


I don't mind being contacted about Ken. However, I'm reluctant to provide unpublished personal details to strangers. Of course, a telephone conversation can easily "qualify" folks as legitimate friends of Ken's, and I welcome such chats. They tend to prove informative and comforting for me as well as for those who phone.

Additionally, I'd like to refer those with questions to his family's place of worship, St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church [239 Harvard Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, Tel. (617) 354-8582], and to the Social-Organizational Psychology Program office at Columbia Teachers College ("TC"), where he was close to completing his Ph.D.


Ken's professors and colleages at TC will be holding a memorial service on January 10, 2008 at 7:00 P.M., Eastern Time. A small reception will follow. The location will be 179 Grace Dodge Hall, at 525 120th Street, New York, NY 10025 [get directions]. Please RSVP to Lynda Hallmark, Program Manager for Social-Organizational Psychology by January 4th [email: hallmark AT], and specify: (1) that you will attend, and (2) whether or not you would like to say a few words.

Feel free to invite other friends of Ken.


Interested in reading Ken's published research? He co-authored the following article with his doctoral advisor:
Westaby, J.D., & Braithwaite, K.N. (2003). Specific Factors Underlying Reemployment Self-Efficacy: Comparing Control Belief and Motivational Reason Methods for the Recently Unemployed. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 39, 415-437.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tribute to Kenneth Noel James Braithwaite (August 1966-November 2007)

Thanksgiving weekend 2007 was not festive for everyone. Case in point: the sudden, unexpected loss of Kenneth Noel James Braithwaite (August 1966-November 2007), earlier in the week, gave a new, darker, meaning to "Black Friday."

Nonetheless, the week's events gave me a new reason to give thanks.

Instead of driving up from the Big Apple on November 23, 2007 (the day after Thanksgiving) to accept Ken's invitation to "hang out" in Beantown, I made the trip for a solemn reason: to attend Ken's Celebration of Life services. The wake and funeral services were held at Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Cambridge; interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett (in a plot shared with his mother, Audrey).

What a contrast to the last times Ken and I had hung out in Massachusetts. On another holiday weekend, he, another Columbia classmate, and I had had a grand time driving there in my two-door coupe. For this planned, November trip, Ken and I had assumed that we would use my four-wheel drive vehicle to access out-of-the-way haunts, and otherwise pahk the cah neah Hahvahd Yahd and take the "T" around town. [I enjoyed teasing Ken about his Massachusetts accent.]

You know what they say about the word "assume." Ken rode not in my green SUV with New York plates or on Boston Mass Transit's Red or Green Line this weekend. Rather, he took his final ride on Friday at noon, in a shiny black hearse with Massachusetts DMV plate number 2025.

I rue not visiting Ken sooner, as he'd suggested. I still hadn't learned my lesson: death never comes at convenient times. Consequently, those in the know prioritize opportunities to spend time with loved ones, and accordingly avoid suffer the consequences I'm currently experiencing.

By George, I think I've finally got it now. The school of hard knocks is quite effective.

So I finally made it to Ken's home in Massachusetts, but for the wrong reason. His bicyles in the hallway, his laptop on the table beside the sofa, his blue jacket draped over the loveseat arm, and his passport and photographs were eerie, material reminders of his accomplishments as an athlete, professional, globetrotter and debonair bachelor. Ken was also a gifted scholar with degrees from Buckingham Browne and Nichols, Tufts College and Columbia University, whose dissertation proposal had recently been approved by his doctoral committee in Organizational Psychology.

Ken's profile was impressive, yes. However, it was the presence, the shared stories, and the tears of those of us who loved him that demonstrated the real measure of the man. Kenneth Noel James Braithwaite was a beloved son, uncle, and friend who will not be forgotten. I am truly thankful for his friendship and for the time we shared.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, 2007

Image: Courtesy of Microsoft.

Here are links to some worthwhile holiday reading and other media:

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Can you tell what time it is? American clocks fell back later than usual in 2007

The image above is from a 2001 public service announcement that reminded people to adjust clocks manually. Source: {{PD-USGov-Military}} category:time.
Since I frequent crowded places, and address many groups, I'm often asked, "Can you tell me what time it is?" Usually, that's no problem. But this past week, answering that question's been challenging. Perhaps you can relate.

Here's why: many timepieces have been showing different faces lately. They've seemed unsure about when to say, "Sayanora!" to daylight-saving time (DST) and "Aloha!" to eastern standard time (EST). For example, my desktop computer clock (then set by automatically fell back a week early. (That was unacceptable, so I've since reset it to Read "Does your computer know what time it is?" for instructions about resetting your computer's time server. )
In contrast, my wristwatches, old-fashioned electric and battery-operated clocks, and vehicle dashboards will continue reporting DST until someone changes them manually. Fortunately, the drafts autosaved by Blogger have switched to EST timestamps mid-post, my laptop and the atomic clocks Dad gave me (which are governed by the NIST computers) fell back this morning (presumably at 2 A.M.), and my Treo "smartphone"/PDA should catch up by falling back sometime today.

Why all the hullabaloo? The switch from DST to EST occured one month later than usual in 2007. In time zones that observe DST, the backhanding of timepieces occurred on the first Sunday in November (today, November 4) at 2:00 AM rather than during the last weekend in October. Learn why.

The following mnemonic makes it easy for those who observe DST to remember HOW time changes twice yearly: "spring forward, fall back." However, WHEN to reset clocks can still be confusing.

Fortunately, there are three easily accessible resoures for getting time and staying on track:
  • The news media (which requires no forethought to access, and precious little brainpower to keep up with).
  • As stated at About "This public service is cooperatively provided by the two time agencies of the United States: a Department of Commerce agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and its military counterpart, the U. S. Naval Observatory (USNO). Readings from the clocks of these agencies contribute to world time, called Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The time maintained by both agencies should never differ by more than 0.000 0001 seconds from UTC (see recent comparisons). "
The URLs for those sites are: Time & Frequency Division, NIST and Time Service Department, USNO.
  •>>Daylight Saving Time. WebExhibits (curated by Michael Douma at the Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement in Washington, D.C.) is an interactive, web-based museum that challenges visitors to think and explore scientific and cultural phenomena in new ways. The Daylight Saving Time exhibit is supported by IDEA, and the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), Time and Frequency Division, as a complement to
To take advantage of the extra hour, I chose last night to untwist my hair (a decidedly GNARLY undertaking). Now, if only there were a way to confine such intricate operations to twice a year, and better yet, to program a computer to accomplish them automatically, at a pre-appointed time. ###

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lord & Taylor's CAPTCHA takes the cake!*

Efforts to can spam, foil phishers, and baffle bots are becoming increasingly creative. One delicious example is Lord & Taylor's CAPTCHA technique, which really takes the cake!

SIDEBAR: If you're wondering WTH (What The Heck)?! I've got some 'splainin' to do. CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. CAPTCHA applications combat fraud perpetrated by humans and bots. Bots, in this context (as opposed to the biological, musical, economic, or thermomagnetic), are described by>>CAPTCHA as "software agents [...] developed to automatically perform illegitimate transactions over the Web, including overloading online opinion polls, performing dictionary attacks to find names and passwords as well as grabbing thousands of free e-mail accounts for sending spam."

Are you with me?

BACK ON TRACK: One creative use of CAPTCHA is employed by Yahoo! to combat phishers. Yahoo!'s login page offers an option to create a text or image badge to authenticate the login form and distinguish it from those of imposters seeking to steal Yahoo! login information. One enters a three-part alphanumeric phrase (e.g., ABC-123-xoxo or I-Eat-Cake), or uploads an image from their hard drive, et voila! one's created a unique, authenticatable [yes, that's a word!] sign-in form.

Lord & Taylor's CAPTCHA application, on the other hand, presents an image - in my case, the tasty tidbit pictured above - to registrants at Credit Services, and instructions to create a caption. Subsequently, account access requires: (1) entering one's email address, (2) verifying one's unique Site Key Image [i.e., picture-caption combination], and (3) entering one's password. Piece o' cake!

The process protects users' accounts from hackers and scammers, and is actually fun to follow. As Ralph Kramden would say: how sweet it is!

Monday, October 15, 2007


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Intrusive registration process requests cellular number, and makes me mad as hell

As Howard Beale (Peter Finch) said in Network: "I'm mad as hell and I'm just not taking anymore!"* (NOTE: I'm not suicidal (as Beale was), just spitting mad.)

"Cell, no! I say." And I say it again as my bottom line.

What's gotten my goat is the proliferation of purveyor and solictor intrusions. I encountered the latest, this morning, from a company I otherwise trust. had invited me to join askville, which benefits Associates (i.e., affiliate marketers). Step one was painless: entering my login details. However, the intrusive next screen in the registration process stopped me dead in my tracks.

Enter my cell(ular) phone number and provider/carrier? Heck no, Joe!

I'm already sick of spam in my e-mail boxes, junk mail in my mailboxes, and unwelcome, unsolicited phone calls on my land lines. However, those are mere nuisances compared with unwanted, unsolicited cellular calls that waste time, distract, and squander precious peak-time minutes. If time is money, the first three buggers are costly; the fourth: a double dipper.

Thankfully, good spam filters, junk busters and do not call registries screen and stem many unwanted communications, and it's illegal for telemarketers to dial most cell phone numbers (except those furnished voluntarily or unwittingly). Goodie for us who don't want to be bothered. TDB (Too Darn Bad) for scammers and solictors biting the bit to breach others' privacy and wallets.

Of course, creative, persistent intruders have found other ways to skin the proverbial cat. For example, scammers have gone phishing, and solicitors have set their sites on mobile devices.

Don't get me wrong. I trust (unlike some other companies) not to spam me or bombard my mobile phone. Moreover, is only one of an increasing number of service providers to request cellular numbers; e.g., vendors that proffer made-to-order maps, directions, ring tones and many other wares do, too.

To reassure potential registrants, askville, by shares its FAQ, Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and answers to the following questions here:
  • Why do you want my phone number?
  • Okay, but will you ever call or text me again?
  • Will receiving a text message cost me any money?
I believe askville's answers. What I don't trust, however, is ANY entities' ability to secure my sensitive 411. Credit card companies, hospitals, academic institutions, Google, and heck, even Uncle Sam, have been hacked and their clients' identities and sensitive information compromised. Consequently, I'm in no rush to weaken my already-permeable privacy by dipping my cellular number into one of the world's largest marketing pools.

To most who ask for my mobile number, here's my answer: "Cell, no!"###

* My source: Wikipedia >> Network (film). Wikipedia's source: Quotation and screenshot for the film, Copyright MGM, and possibly also Copyright Peter Finch. It is believed that the use of a limited number of web-resolution screenshots for identification and critical commentary on the film and its contents on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement. See Wikipedia:Non-free content for more information.To the uploader: please add a detailed fair use rationale for each use, as described on Wikipedia:Image description page, as well as the source of the work and copyright information.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lindsay Lohan sez rehab was a "sobering experience"

According to print and electronic media, Lindsay Lohan sez rehab was "a sobering experience." What a bloggable statement! I'm glad to hear it, and hope it's true. (I wonder if Lindsay was aware of the pun, and if so, whether she or one of her flacks crafted that quotable line.)###

Monday, October 08, 2007

Visiting aquariums creates a craving for seafood, but visiting zoos activates an appetite for popcorn

Is it just I, or does anyone share this experience? Visiting aquariums creates a craving for seafood, but visiting zoos activates an appetite for popcorn (not meat or fowl, as one might expect).

The Seaside Cafe at New York Aquarium (near Coney Island) caters to the first craving. (See their sign, above.) Vending carts and cafes scattered around venues, such as the Bronx Zoo, tame hungry human appetites.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vampires, running buddies, and talk show participants: how are they alike? (updated)

Consider three groups: vampires (of both the supernatural and of the emotional ilks), running buddies, and talk show participants (hosts, co-hosts, correspondents, guests, crew and sponsors).

QUESTION: How are they alike?
I'll betcha Barbara Walters could crack this riddle as readily as she'd like to crack Star Jones-Reynolds'. Rosie O'Donnell's* and Donald Trump's knuckles. Or noggins. The latest crack-worthy development was the publication of Miss O'Donnell's book, Celebrity Detox (The Fame Game). [Read the publisher's and reader's reviews.]

ANSWER: They must be invited in. Once inside, they either reveal they'll be welcomed back (as with fictional "good" vampires and most real-life running buddies and talk show participants), or - rarer, worst case scenario - they unsheathe an unwelcome propensity to bite, suck everyone else dry, or otherwise cause all hell to break loose.

I've encountered both types, and therefore, empathize with Ms. Walters, albeit on a smaller, less public scale. And like Ms. Walters, neither public bloodletting (like that enjoyed by "The Donald" and Ms. O'Donnell in their various, well-publicized feuds with each other and with other people), nor dishing delectable-yet-damaging dirt (as shock jock Wendy Williams* does), is my cup of tea [although I realize mass media audiences savor that stuff just as Dracula digs warm blood].

* Would someone at WBLS or VH1 puh-leese encourage the self-professed "Queen of Radio" to refrain from referring to Rosie O'Donnell as "Rosie O'Donald"?!
For me, a higher - and more lucrative - road for venting about toxic invitees might be to release a tell-all novel and associated film that exposes, in thinly disguised fashion, those few emotional vampires, talk radio show participants and running buddies whom I regret having invited in. (I'm not saying I'll do that, but then never say never, either.)

LINKS: The ads below results from the book search: "tell all, celebrity."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ON AIR (I'm hosting 'SCORE Radio' today): Matador Travel’s Ross Borden explores the world of freelance travel writing

Some episodes of SCORE Radio: Counselors to America's Small Business emulate Star Trek. They go where no SCORE Radio show has gone before, and take listeners with them. The SCORE Radio broadcast I'm hosting today is an example.
  • ITINERARY: Matador Travel's co-founder, Ross Borden, explores the world of freelance travel writing with call-in guests and yours truly. [ASIDE: I'm an avid traveler and former Let's Go! travel guides editor.]
  • SCHEDULE: Beam us up at 11:30 AM to noon, Eastern Time.
  • DESTINATION/LOGISTICS: Tune to New York Radio WVOX 1460 AM or listen live online at to lend us your ear. Or phone the call-in line - (01) 914-636-0110 - to hear and share.
  • WHAT TO BRING: For your listening pleasure, I've packed a bag o' traveling music. I invite you to phone the show to share your favorite traveling tunes, and to post them as comments at the posts listed below.

This article continues. You can read the remainder at:

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Today's podcast at Sports Shorts & Thing Shots

Today's podcast episode at Sports Shorts & Thing Shots is Happy Grandparents' Day: Dance!

Shameless commerce:
  • Some Grandparents' Day gift ideas are listed above.
  • The results of an search of Grandparents' Day books is accessible by clicking on the link or on the book titles below.
  • The results of a general search of Grandparent's Day is accessible here.###

Thursday, September 06, 2007

MOVIE: Two droll lines from 'Waiting to Exhale'

The latest droll lines I'm adding to the list are from the movie, Waiting to Exhale (1995). The dramatic/romantic/comedic film, based on Terry McMillan's best-selling novel, was directed by Forest Whitaker, musically produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and starred in by the actors listed below.

These actresses played the lovely, love-challenged heroines:

  • Angela Bassett (pictured, right, with husband Courney Vance, courtesy of Wikipedia>>Angela Bassett) - played Bernadine 'Bernie' Harris and won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture
  • Whitney Houston - played Savannah 'Vannah' Jackson and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, and for an MTV Movie Award for Best Song From a Movie: "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)"
  • Loretta Devine - played Gloria 'Glo' Matthews and won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
  • Lela Rochon - played Robin Stokes and was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Female Breakthrough Performance, and for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
  • These actors played the men in their lives. for better or worse:

    • Michael Beach (pictured right as "Doc" Parker on Third Watch, courtesy of>>Michael Beach) - as John Harris, Sr.
    • Giancarlo Esposito - David Matthews
    • Donald Faison - Tarik Matthews
    • Dennis Haysbert - Kenneth Dawkins
    • Gregory Hines - Marvin King
    • Leon - Russell
    • Wendell Pierce - Michael Davenport
    • Jeffrey D. Sams - Lionel
    • Wesley Snipes - James Wheeler, Esq.
    • Mykelti Williamson - Troy
    These exchanges inspired this post:

    EXCHANGE ONE: Bernadine's husband of 11 years and her children's father announces he is leaving Bernadine for his blonde bookkeeper, effective that night. He makes this pronouncement after he and his wife have gussied up for a black tie New Year's Eve party being hosted by the company Bernadine helped build. To help build the business, Bernadine has tabled - at her husband's request - her dreams of starting a catering service.

    Days later, in a scene evocative of, "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" (and shortly before she cuts her long, luxurious hair short), the jilted wife stuffs John-the-jerk's many upscale suits into his BMW, pours lighter fluid through the sunroof, and ignites them with the match she has used to light her cigarette. This is an act of empowerment, of rebellion, and of reclaiming her home and her dignity.

    What follows is a brilliant series of non-verbal gestures evocative of the black-and-white movie sirens Bette Davis (e.g., in Now, Voyager - (1942) see photo, right courtesy of YouTube) and Lauren Bacall (e.g., in To Have and Have Not) (1944). In the Forties, lighting up, smoking, and exhaling had specific symbolic meanings in films. Depending upon the context, those acts and references to them signified various stages of romance (attraction, intentions to liaise, and post-coital satisfaction), liberation, rebellion, and power. Waiting to Exhale pays homage to that legacy, most explicitly in the above-mentioned scene.

    With the exception of this scene, the smoking behavior in Waiting to Exhale is excessive. However, at this juncture, Bernadine's behavior signifies several rites of passage. She ignites her cigarette preparatory burning John's car and clothes in a purging by fire that simultaneously exorcises her home of John's status symbols, and sacrifices him in effigy. John's vehicle and wardrobe are conspicuous fruits of their joint labors, and the obsessive orderliness of his well-stocked drastically contrasts with the disorder and the void his act of betrayal is imposing on his family's lives.

    Afterward, Bernadine exhales, swivels, and with a triumphant gesture, flounces into her fabulous house and firmly shuts the door. The ensuing exchange was with a fireman who extinguished John's flaming luxury car and the designer duds within it.
    • Fireman (Graham Galloway): It's illegal to burn anything in this neighborhood but garbage.
    • Bernadine (Angela Bassett): It is garbage.

    EXCHANGE TWO: Savannah is at a restaurant with the physician whom she has, until recently, mistaken for the love of her life. He had inexplicably abandoned her years ago, and has recently resurfaced: married to someone else, and a father. He's used Savannah's mother to track down his old flame, has made less-than-credible pronouncements about being unhappy at home and planning to divorce, and has declared that Savannah is his true love, too.

    Savannah, against her better judgment, has resumed their affair. However, Kenneth's treatment of his wife, his mischaracterization of how he and Savannah parted, and Savannah's self-protective instincts prevail. In this scene, she tells him like it is, and literally, takes a stand.
    Kenneth (Dennis Haysbert), seated: I'm not mad.

    • Savannah (Whitney Houston), standing, and just before purposely spilling his drink in his lap: I'm not mad, either. Just to prove it, the drinks are on you!
    View my last movie line post, MOVIE: My favorite line from 'Carlito's Way'.

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    All around Jack Robinson's barn

    Last week, I berated my navigationally-challenged passenger, Steve, for directing me all around Jack Robinson's barn. Ever since, he's been teasing me about using "southern phrases."

    That's funny 'cuz, despite descending from Virginia slaves and freedmen, no one in my immediate family was born below the Mason-Dixon Line. (The original Mason Dixon Line is depicted, above right, courtesy of Wikipedia>>Mason-Dixon Line). It's also funny 'cuz my southern belle-buddy, Lorraine, is amused by my phraseology, too. At statements like "breaking bread," "brand new penny," and "stinker," the doctorate-holding, deep south denizen giggles like a schoolgirl. At deliberate mispronounciations such as "eye-talian" (Italian) and "grassy-ass" (gracias), old gal guffaws.

    As Lorraine's reactions reflect, the phrases and pronounciations that tickle my friends' fancies do not necessarily derive from Dixieland. Rather, they have multifarious etymologies.

    That's not surprising, since I enjoy traveling and cultural activities, and was educated in the Northeast. Although the Northeast is the nation's smallest region geographically, it: "contains the greatest density of accent diversity in the country," is ethnically diverse, "is still an entry point for many immigrants," and is a major hub of world trade, tourism and commerce.
    *(The IMAGE, above right, Manufacturing Belt in red, provided courtesy of>>Manufacuring Belt and Wikipedia>>Manufacturing Belt, depicts a portion of the Northeastern United States.)
    All the caveats above notwithstanding, southern roots run deep(ly). Watching Gone With the Wind (1941) yesterday evoked Steve's statement, and reminded me of my Bible and Lynching Belt ancestry. I declare, hearing Scarlett O'Hara (played by Vivien Leigh, nee Vivian Mary Hartley ) chide Prissy (played by Butterfly McQueen, nee Thelma McQueen pictured right, courtesy of Wikipedia>>Butterfly McQueen) for being "as slow as molasses in January" echoed my mother/myself.

    Great balls of fire!