Sunday, July 26, 2009

Women on the Court

Another interesting article from the New York Times Magazine. An interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, "The Place of Women on the Court".

She talks about being in law school in 1956 (one of only 9 women in a class of over 500); being a woman on the Supreme Court today; men's and women'
s roles, in court and in life. She's fascinating. It's a nice interview.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Whales and Humans

There is a very interesting article from the New York Times about whales and their interaction with people. "Watching Whales Watching Us".

It starts out talking about whales stranding themselves on shore, and whether human-generated sounds (like sonar) could be affecting them. The author discusses what we've learned about whales throughout history, "this ever-evolving relationship between humans and whales." And a marine scientist says, "At precisely the time when you'd expect them to be the most defensive, they're incredibly social. They'll come right up to boats, let people touch their faces, give them massages, rub their mouths and tongues."

It's several pages long, so give yourself a little time to read it all. I thought it was fascinating and well worth a few minutes.
Click on this link to the article:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bad design

Why is there so much bad design in the world? I am puzzled by the design of some new shopping centers/malls near me.

Giant shopping centers with only one way in or out, not enough parking, streets that don't make sense and take you around in circles, stores in a mall spread out so far apart you literally have to drive from one store to another, and if you do try to walk, you take your life in your hands, because they have no areas for walking. You shouldn't have to go a dozen times before you can figure out the best way in and out of the place.

Maybe the design looked nice on paper, but I wonder if the men who designed them (I'm guessing men... may not be fair, but that's my guess) have spent any time actually shopping in any large malls. They're not designed for convenience and ease of use, that's for sure. After a try or two, I now avoid going to these places, (as do others I know) which I'm assuming was not their goal, at least from a marketing standpoint... let's make it so difficult and irritating, that no one will want to go there!

Certainly not the most important problem in the world, but, if you were designing a shopping center, wouldn't you try for convenient ... instead of annoying?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Paul McCartney makes me smile

Okay, that title makes me sound a bit pre-teenish, but I can't help it. Like many other girls my age, Paul McCartney was my first crush many years ago, and the Beatles played the first music I took note of... and loved.

It was great seeing Paul on David Letterman last Wednesday. Good interview and fun to watch Paul and his band play on top of the marquee at the Ed Sullivan Theater, a mere 45 years after the Beatles first played inside that theater in 1964! Wish I could have been there in person this time, back in my old neighborhood... well, one of my old neighborhoods, there have been a few. Go to for their extended 20 minute video clip of Paul's band playing 5 songs outside on the marquee. Here's the link to watch the video:
** Update... sorry, this link is no longer working. I can't find the video anymore, it looks like CBS has removed it. If you can find it... let me know.

I remember, way back, during at a peak time in the Beatles' popularity, when some people burned Beatles records because they thought the music was bad, or evil, or some bizarre nonsense like that. Even at my young age, this seemed odd. How can this amazing music be considered dangerous in any way? It made no sense. How could they be so close-minded to this music just because it was new and different? Ever since then I always try to give the new and different a chance, not to automatically dismiss it, even if I don't like it at first. That's where the inventive, creative ideas reside, in the new and different, so be open to it.

It's amazing that The Beatles created so many new and different songs, and so much beautiful music in such a relatively short time. I'm glad I lived through those Beatlemania days. We didn't realize it was anything special at the time, but it was a unique and special time. Thanks, John, Paul, George and Ringo, for the music and the fun. I still enjoy listening to all the Beatles music and their solo work. It holds a special place in my heart and makes me feel good. It always will. And... Paul's still cute, too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good Friends, Good for your Health

Over the years, I've realized that my friends are very important to me. We meet so many people through life and we lose track of most of them. But I've lived in many places, and worked at many different jobs, so I have friends scattered all over the place. Even if we don't talk for weeks or months or years, we can still usually pick up where we left off as we try to catch up on all our latest news.

I have always thought that friends were a valuable resource, but now, according to this story from the New York Times (click on link below), it seems our friends are actually good for our health! One quote from the story says, "Friendship has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships."

So, whether it's with a phone call, an email, or an old fashioned letter (remember those?) get in touch with an old friend. It's good for you!

What Are Friends For? A Longer Life.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Depressant Drug For The Annoyingly Cheerful

Leave it to The Onion (America's Finest News Source) to offer the perfect counterpoint to my previous post, where I expressed my concern for all the drugs that treat depression.

Here is a video from Onion News Network, reporting, "FDA Approves Depressant Drug For The Annoyingly Cheerful". Funny. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Drug ads on TV

There is a commercial which says that 2 out of 3 people being treated for depression still have symptoms.

Isn't that saying that for a majority of people -- 2 out of 3 -- the drugs they take for depression don't work?

Their solution? Take more drugs on top of the ones you're already taking... which aren't working.

Am I the only one who finds this slightly troubling? America, we have a problem.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Free Art

Today I'm feeling Overwhelmed and All Alone... hmm, I should write a country song.

Having recently been laid off from my office job, it is time to regain my own balance. I have escaped from the cubicle! Now what? Will I end up back in the cubicle world? One never knows. Honestly, it was beginning to feel like I was living in a Dilbert Cartoon, so maybe in the long run, it's good to be out of the cubicle... at least for me. Perhaps I can create something new, by creating some new things... those right brain activities of creation and invention.

In the meantime, while I search and rebalance, it's good to see what others are creating, and it's even better (when one has no current source of income) if you can do these things for cheap or for free!

Here are 2 weekend tips for free art in Southern California. One in LA, one in OC:

Saturday and Sunday, there's a craft fair in downtown LA, called the Renegade Craft Fair. I have nothing to do with this, and apparently it's the first Renegade Craft Fair in LA (looks like they've done this in other cities.) I don't know if I'll get there this weekend, but it looks kinda cool. And.... it's free!

Also, the Orange County Museum of Art has their Target Free Second Sunday on July 12. Thanks Target for sponsoring arts organizations like this one, giving us free admission to the museum for the day. For more info, the museum website is

If you go to a museum free admission day, it's nice to donate a little something while you're there, if you can. I think even a dollar or two, if that's all you can afford, would be appreciated. Support the Arts! ... even a dollar at a time will help.

Those are your Frugal Fun tips for today. Get out and see some creativity in action!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What is Cafe Marian?

I'm all over the map, racing to keep up with the creative monkeys who are spinning around in my head!

Okay, that starts to sound like some sort of psychological problem, but there is so much in the world to see, fascinating new things to learn and interesting new places to explore. I've never been very good at concentrating on only one thing for very long. The world seems to want us to specialize, but that's hard for me. I get bored and restless.

After years of living in my left brain (that practical, rational, analytical, logical place where most of us reside), I'm working to spend more time in my right brain (creativity, inventiveness, intuitiveness, empathy and joy). I believe the key to it all is balance. Balance seems easy enough, but the trick is finding the balance point that works for you. And beware, that point is constantly moving, so when you lose your balance... and you will... readjust and keep on going.

So, here we are, at Cafe Marian, a gathering place where I can write and share the stories I find that are interesting, smart, amazing, fascinating, genuine, amusing, impressive, clever, inventive, creative and fun.