Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ralph Lauren, Rogan, Jan Leslie, Salviati & Nason Moretti Murano Glass, Sector Watches, Vinotemp, Elite Leather and more!!!

Roses are red and violets are blue...
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The Station

The Station
Drinking, gargantuan-complex style
in W Hollywood: 6250 Hollywood Blvd; Hollywood; 323.798.1355

It's an age-old adage that without every single piece, the whole doesn't work -- as evidenced by the impossibility of wining Mouse Trap without the marble that goes through the bathtub, then on to the seesaw, which launches the diver, shaking the cage free and trapping that mouse roughly 4% of the time. Bringing an important piece to the W Hollywood puzzle, the Station.

One of the key elements opening Thursday at the monstrous W complex, the Station is an outdoor drink lounge festooned with plush, Indonesian couches/chairs, two giant fire pits, a pair of granite-topped bars, and a 600-sq-foot retractable movie screen, just in case you find yourself feeling claustrophobic at Cinerama Dome. To keep you hydrated, they've got optional bottle service, as well as a la carte drinks via a menu split into four parts, with "Olds Cool" options like a Maker's/bitters/Vermouth/muddled orange/infused cherry "New Fashioned;" "Stirred" choices like sweet tea vodka and fresh lemonade "John Daly;" "Shaken" drinks like the Square One cucumber vodka/apple juice/agave nectar/lemon "One a Day"; and five options labeled "Smashed," which could also safely house the "John Daly". To soak it all up, they've got gourmet small plates and sandwiches like shrimp & chorizo pintxos w/ charred tomato gazpacho, a sliced steak sandwich w/ onions, Gruyere, and fries, and albondigas, which's a classic Mexican preparation of meatballs, starring Guillermo Murray. Soon, they plan on having movie nights, DJ's, and live bands; also this week, the W is rolling out the French restaurant Delphine and lobby bar The Living Room -- the final pieces in the puzzle that'll ensure you also don't work.

Peep the drinks menu here

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jos. A. Bank: January Sale

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Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, the expert in men's apparel, in its continued growth as the leading men's online retailer, is proud to announce its expansion into the tuxedo rental business in response to customer demand. Jos. A. Bank's New Tuxedo Rental Collection will Include:

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With plans to roll out the initiative to more than half of its stores in spring 2010, click HERE  for current store details on availability.

Wives Learning, Earning More Than Husbands

Wives Learning, Earning More Than Husbands
By Sam Ali - Jan 26, 2010
PhotoThe old cliché is that it's a man's world. But when it comes to men, women and the economies of marriage, the times—it appears—are changing.

A study of married couples by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., shows that the number of U.S. wives earning more than their husbands has risen more than five-fold since 1970. And today, the majority of wives is equal to or better educated than their husbands. The study looked at spouses ages 30 to 44—a stage of life when typical adults have completed their education, gone to work and gotten married—over a timeframe of nearly four decades.

To be sure, men still earn more, with 78 percent making at least as much or more than their wives, but the percentage of women earning more than their husbands has jumped from just 4 percent in 1970 to 22 percent in 2007, the study said.

What's more, in 1970, 28 percent of wives had husbands who were better educated, and 20 percent were married to men with less education. By 2007, the percent of wives who had better-educated husbands fell to 19 percent and the percent of women married to less-educated men climbed to 29 percent. Slightly more than half of spouses had matching education levels in both 1970 and 2007.

"This is a portrait of gender-role reversals in marriage," said one of the report's authors, D'Vera Cohn.

The national economic downturn is reinforcing these gender-reversal trends because it has hurt employment of men more than that of women. Males accounted for about 75 percent of the 2008 decline in employment among prime working-age individuals (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). Women are moving toward a new milestone in which they constitute half of all the employed. Their share increased from 46.5 percent in December 2007 to 47.4 percent in December 2009.

The Pew study, "The New Economics of Marriage: The Rise of Wives," found that women's earnings "grew 44 percent from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6 percent growth for men.

"That sharper growth has enabled women to narrow, but not close, the earnings gap with men," the report said. "Median earnings of full-year female workers in 2007 were 71 percent of earnings of comparable men, compared with 52 percent in 1970."

Among the report's other findings:

Level Decline of Marriage

These days, Americans are more likely than in the past to cohabit, divorce, marry late or not marry at all. There has been a marked decline in the share of Americans who are currently married. Among U.S.-born 30- to 44-year-olds, 60 percent were married in 2007, compared with 84 percent in 1970.

Patterns by Education Level

There is an education component to this change: The decline in marriage rates has been steepest for the least educated, especially men, and smallest for college graduates, especially women. College graduates, the highest earners, are more likely today to be married than are Americans with less education—69 percent for adults with a college degree versus 56 percent for those who are not college graduates.

That was not the case in 1970, when all education groups were about equally likely to wed. Among college-educated men, 88 percent were married in 1970, compared with 86 percent of men without a college education. Among women, the comparable 1970 figures were 82 percent and 83 percent.

Race Patterns

There are notable differences by race in the education, marriage and income patterns of U.S.-born adults ages 30–44. Black marriage rates, already lower than those of whites in 1970, have dropped more sharply since then, especially for the least educated. Only 33 percent of Black women and 44 percent of Black men were married in 2007.

Although Black men and women had higher household-income growth than men and women overall, the sharp decline in marriage rates among Blacks hindered growth in their incomes. Among Black women with high-school educations, household incomes actually declined from 1970 to 2007, reflecting a change in the composition of this group from majority married (with the higher incomes that accompany this status) to majority unmarried.

The report did not include data on Latinas, Asians or American Indians.

The report also said that women's growing economic clout gives them more financial power in their marriages, giving them a greater say on where and how that money is spent.

A Pew study two years ago found that wives who earned more than their husbands were more likely to have decision-making power, especially over major purchases and household finances.

Specifically, the study found that in 43 percent of all couples, it was the woman who made most of the decisions. And when the wife made more money, she was more than twice as likely to make most decisions on household finances.

Another report published in Financial Advisor said that 88 percent of affluent women are moderately or highly involved in oversight of their wealth or assets.

Racist Camera? Does Nikon CoolPix Fail on Asian Eyes?

Racist Camera? Does Nikon CoolPix Fail on Asian Eyes?
By Lizz Carroll - Jan 26, 2010


Last year, when Joz Wang, a Taiwanese-American strategy consultant, decided to test out a new Nikon CoolPix S630 digital camera with her family members, she continually received an error message on the camera's display screen: "Did someone blink?" After several tries with the same results, the Wangs tried taking a shot with their eyes open extra-wide. There was no error message after this attempt, they say.
Wang, who has a blog called, posted one of the "blinking" pictures on her page with the title, "Racist Camera! No, I did not blink... I'm just Asian!" Bloggers and people on Twitter soon picked up on Wang's controversial post.
But does the gadget really discriminate against Asian features or is this just a case of a technology glitch?
According to TIME, which publicized the story, Nikon says it's working to improve the accuracy of the blink-warning function on its Coolpix cameras. Nikon has not yet returned DiversityInc's calls and e-mails for comment.
Opinions are mixed in the blogosphere.
Keith, a commenter on Wang's site, said: "You would think that Nikon, being a Japanese company, would have designed this with Asian eyes in mind? You'd think."
When Wang's post was picked up by a blog called Sociological Images, one commenter, Elizabeth, said, "I just got back from vacation with a friend who has this camera (we are three white women) and after every photo, it asked us, 'Did someone blink?' It became a running joke because the sensor asked this question whether or not there was a person (or blinking person) in the shot."
Another commenter on the popular photo site Flickr cited the same issue, saying, "Yeah, my girlfriend (who is white) has one of those cameras and it's constantly asking if someone blinked."
But one user, Orchid 64, on the site Digg, points out the possibility of a technology issue: "Nikon is a Japanese company. I doubt they're racist against other Asians when designing their software…Someone just didn't do a very good job programming it to suggest someone blinked. This is hysterical overreaction to the poor results of pixel examination software and the resulting suggestion."
Nikon, much like other tech companies, is using a form of facial-recognition software in an effort to add convenience to its consumers' photo-taking experience. HP computers encountered a similar problem when the web camera on its MediaSmart laptop was called "racist" because it recognized white faces but not Black faces. When two coworkers in a Texas store—one Black and the other white—discovered this, they posted a video on YouTube titled "HP computers are racist." The video quickly went viral.
In the case of HP's web camera, the company claimed the problem was caused by a lack of proper lighting and was even tested by Consumer Reports to prove the point.
According to research by TIME, while face-detection software is based on a math, the science isn't always exact: "The principle behind face detection is relatively simple, even if the math involved can be complex. Most people have two eyes, eyebrows, a nose and lips - and an algorithm can be trained to look for those common features, or more specifically, their shadows. (For instance, when you take a normal image and heighten the contrast, eye sockets can look like two dark circles.) But even if face detection seems pretty straightforward, the execution isn't always smooth."

TIME also tested two of Sony's latest Cyber-shot models with face detection (the DSC-TX1 and DSC-WX1) and found they also had a tendency to ignore people with dark complexions.
In Wang's case, the Nikon camera may have been programmed to detect an eye area of a certain number of pixels and her narrow eye did not fit the "equation." Instead, it "decided" that her eyes were in a closing position, hence the "blink" message.
While the solutions may be found in the programming of facial-recognition software, the larger question is: Why are technology companies failing to test their products out on a greater mix of people, with varying facial structure and complexions?

The Educational Crisis Facing Young Men of Color

header3 The United States is facing a great educational crisis, and this crisis is most acute for young men of color. College Board Advocacy’s new report —The Educational Crisis Facing Young Men of Color — points to powerful societal forces that threaten the educational aspirations of minority males and addresses the challenges they face in today’s schools.

If the nation is to achieve President Barack Obama’s goal of producing an additional eight million college graduates by 2020, we must improve access and simultaneously ensure the academic success of minority boys and young men.

In 2008, the College Board convened members of the African American, Latino/Hispanic, Native American and Asian American/Pacific Islander communities in a series of “Dialogue Days” to:

  • Explore the decline of minority male participation and success in secondary and postsecondary education; and
  • Share effective practices for raising achievement among this target population.
The Educational Crisis Facing Young Men of Color reports on the major themes that emerged from these sobering yet hopeful conversations. It highlights models of excellence that were identified as promising practices, and provides a series of recommendations for educators and policymakers to address this critical issue.

It is our sincere hope that this report heightens awareness about this problem of national significance, and sparks more focused discussion as well as more robust responses to these challenges.


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Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy

Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy
By Lizz Carroll - Jan 15, 2010
On Jan.18, the nation celebrates the birthday of civil-rights activist, religious leader, famous orator and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Despite his untimely death 42 years ago, Americans still look to his message for inspiration and guidance to confront today's struggles. DiversityInc asked Black leaders to share their thoughts on King's body of work and how it resonates in modern-day society.
Leaders' Reflections
King's work had historic implications for our country, but it also affected individuals in a very personal way.
For Beverly Robertson, president of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, what resonated most about Dr. King was his selflessness:
Photo"He sacrificed the needs of his own family for the movement. In some ways, I think that was the supreme sacrifice. And what I also realize is that his legacy has allowed me as a Black American, as a woman, as a mother to realize much of what this country's promise is, while really reinforcing values of the needs for all of us no matter where we are to work and fight for people who are disenfranchised. Those struggles still exist and that battle is waged everyday. And those of us who have been beneficiaries of the work that King has done, our job now is to pick up that baton and move it forward."
John Robinson, chief diversity officer and director of Civil Rights for the State Department was also struck by Dr. King's strength of character:
"I think he's a pivotal and inspirational figure, primarily because of his bravery, because of his courage. Plenty of people have pointed out inconsistencies, difficulties and injustices, but very few were willing to put themselves at risk and motivate others to join them in a convincing public display. His ability to engage other people in it was most effective."
He adds, "Lots of people talk about what's wrong, but very few people are willing to risk their personal safety, willing to risk embarrassment, going to jail, being publicly disapproved of. If you think about what happens in minority dynamics very often, minorities want to be approved of by the establishment. But he was saying, I'm not asking for you to approve of what I do, I'm asking you to look at the rightness of what I'm advocating."
For Bill Wells, chairman of The National Black MBA Association, it is King's "I Have a Dream" speech that stays with him:
"I believe that Dr. King provided a gift to everyone with his speech in Washington. That was a phenomenal body of work. And if anybody hears it, even today, and you don't get chills, I'm just not sure if there's blood running through your veins or if there is, it's not 98.6. That speech included all of the aspects of where his belief system really was. It's probably something that more of us should put on our radios in the morning as you're starting to leave your home. Because I think we're all struggling with—where's the moral compass in this country? And Dr. King's messaging provided that compass."
King's Influence on Diversity Work
King could be considered not only a pioneer in civil rights, but in diversity and inclusion. His message is woven into the foundation of that work.
Wells uses King's philosophy as a guide in his professional life, "I've found myself embracing deep down within me his legacy more as I became more mature and spent more time in the workplace—and clearly, as I started doing work in human resources and in the area of diversity and inclusion that I currently work in," he says. "I feel his message and I try to live his message. He was a visionary and he was a person who embraced inclusion at all levels. Across economic lines, across racial lines, gender lines, he was a person for all people. So I've tried to view those principles as my guiding principles."
Robinson's approach to his work is reminiscent of the religious roots of the civil-rights movement, "People who do what we do in the EEO community in government, there may be some minority of us for whom this is just a job, but for most of us, it's a kind of calling. People approach their work with a religious dedication."
King's Message in the Obama Era
The election of Barack Obama is the realization of some of King's dreams and a profound moment in history.
"Many people of color would say, we're probably all profoundly surprised, shocked that we have an African-American, a man of color, in the White House today as the President of the United States. Many of us would not have felt that would have occurred in our lifetime. So that gives me hope as well that perhaps Dr. King's message was truly not only visionary, but insightful," says Wells.
Robinson sees a clear demonstration of King's message in the 2008 election, "People looked at the candidate and for the first time in American history, millions of white voters looked past the color of someone's skin in order for Barack Obama to be elected. And they elected him because of the content of his character and his confidence," he says.
Robertson sees King's ideas coming full circle, "As I think about King's philosophy, I realize that Barack is really one of the manifestations of King's dream. His desire would be that people of all races, colors and creeds would be able to sit at the same table, drink from the same water fountains, go through the same college doors, sit in the halls of Congress and really be able to have access to lead in the White House," she says.
The Strength Behind the Holiday
But what is the true message of Martin Luther King Day?
"The thing about the King holiday and the King message is that it gives schools something to help socialize people into fairness. You've increased the number of people who speak about it in a positive way, even if some of it is lip service," says Robinson.
He recalls, "There was a time when I was a kid, George Wallace was saying 'segregation now and segregation forever' and he could say it in public and people would cheer. Now he can't do that. It still may go on in some back rooms, but we have at least declared the right of way for socializing children into equity, fairness and inclusion. The King legacy leaves a body of work, it's left video footage, it's left a holiday when we can help socialize young people and remind old people about equity, fairness and inclusion and justice."

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

NY Times Movie Review - The Book of Eli (2009)

The New York Times

The Book of Eli (2009)

The Book of Eli
Warner Brothers Pictures
Denzel Washington stars in “Book of Eli.”
January 15, 2010 
In This World, It Pays to Be a Loner
Published: January 15, 2010
A road warrior of a different sort, the title character played by Denzel Washington in “The Book of Eli” spends much of the story traveling by foot across an eerie landscape, a long and quick knife at the ready. The brown, dusty environs look familiar and not, dotted with abandoned cars and the occasional corpse. When Eli pauses, the camera settles near his feet, and the sky opens above him like a sheltering hand. With his green jacket and unsmiling mouth, he looks like a veteran of an unknown war, a soldier of misfortune — though, given the fog of religiosity that hangs over the movie, he might be an avenging angel.
This is the first movie directed by the talented twins Allen and Albert Hughes since “From Hell,” their torpid, predictably hyperviolent 2001 take on Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s graphic novel about Jack the Ripper. Although this new one has its comic-book qualities, good and bad, the Hugheses have stanched the blood in “The Book of Eli,” making it easier to pay attention to what else is happening on screen. They stage an early fight, for instance, entirely in silhouette, so that the arcs of spurting gore appear black, not red. Like all the fight sequences, this one is highly stylized: set inside a tunnel with the camera low and the sky serving as an illuminated backdrop, it looks like a page out of a comic come to animated life.
The graphic simplicity of this scene works not only because it’s visually striking, but also because it’s a part of a meaningful piece in a story in which everything, nature and civilization included, has been stripped away. Much like the land and narrative he travels through, Eli has been similarly reduced. A loner, he doesn’t speak much, even to himself. During the first few minutes of the movie, which opens in some barren woods with either falling snow or ash, he remains silently fixed on his task: bagging a pitifully thin cat. His first companion is a mouse (he offers it some roast cat), a creature that proves friendlier company than most of the isolated people he encounters, the majority of whom, as in “The Road,” would like to cook him over a fire.
Shooting in high-definition digital (with the Red camera) and working with the cinematographer Don Burgess (a frequent shooter for Robert Zemeckis), with New Mexico standing in for America, the Hugheses have created a plausible post-apocalyptic world, one that draws from the western (Hollywood, Sergio Leone) and the tradition of science-fiction dystopia. As George Miller proved in his brilliant “Mad Max” cycle — one of the Hughes brothers’ more overt cinematic touchstones here — and as Quentin Tarantino reaffirmed with his two “Kill Bill” films, the western can be reconfigured to suit any number of contexts, themes and warriors. (In one scene, when Eli settles into a room, a poster for the 1975 cult film “A Boy and His Dog,” another post-apocalyptic fairy tale, hangs on the wall behind him.)
After hunting the cat, a little human mayhem and a lot of atmospheric preambles, Eli wanders into a deadwood town and the story kicks into gear, for better if sometimes for disappointing worse. The happiest development is the introduction of Gary Oldman as Carnegie, the leader of the outpost. Fortified by his thugs, including some bulging muscle called Redridge (Ray Stevenson, from the HBO show “Rome”), Carnegie keeps the peace, doling out the scarce supplies to the ragtag inhabitants. Among the few faces that stand out from the squinting, scurrying horde are a Mr. Fixit (an amusing Tom Waits); Carnegie’s lover, Claudia (a sympathetic Jennifer Beals); and her daughter, Solara (the miscast Mila Kunis), who despite the deprivations, appears to have swung by a Beverly Hills salon for an eyebrow wax.
Mr. Oldman gives the movie, which at its most serious veers into lugubriousness, a nice jolt and a flinty presence that Mr. Washington can spark against. But the story that the two play out, beat by beat, cliché by cliché, rarely rises to their talents. Written by Gary Whitta, with some rewriting by Anthony Peckham, the story takes a wrong turn once Solara enters the picture, first as bait for Eli (he doesn’t bite) and then as his unwanted traveling companion. Ms. Kunis can work on the big screen, as she proved in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” But, dressed up in clothes that look as if they had been distressed for sale in a TriBeCa boutique, her white, white teeth shining and glossy hair swinging, she is flatly absurd.
Ms. Kunis isn’t to blame. As Jessica Rabbit says, with knowing wit, in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”: “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.” Even so, despite Solara and her manicured brows, and the increasingly pro forma action — Eli has what Carnegie wants, and so the bad man gives rabid chase — the movie keeps you watching and generally engaged. There’s a ticklish interlude at a house where Eli and Solara encounter a fine pair named Martha and George, played with energy and inviting humor by Frances de la Tour and the invaluable Michael Gambon. Despite the air of unease and wary glances, when George cranks up a phonograph, and the disco song “Ring My Bell” pours out, you’re happily, goofily hooked.
“The Book of Eli” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). The usual dystopian violence.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Urban Eye

January 07, 2010


Taking It to the Street

After its debut in August, the Asphalt Orchestra, a brain-child of Bang on a Can, was described by Anthony Tommasini as "part parade spectacle, part halftime show and part cutting-edge contemporary-music concert." If you missed hearing this radical 12-member band the first time, then you're in luck tonight, because they are performing a free show at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center beginning at 8:30 p.m. Listen out for an eclectic mix of songs by Björk, Zappa, Mingus and others.

The Living Room as Art
For those of you who found the London apartment in "An Education" swoon-inducing or the Los Angeles bungalow in "A Single Man" as enticing as the very chic clothes, then head to Greenwich House's newest exhibition, "Studio Pottery and Mid Century Style," at 6 p.m. tonight. The show features a meticulous recreation of an American living room around 1960. The exhibition will include ceramics from the late 1950s and early to mid-1960s by Peter Voulkos, Gertrude and Otto Natzler as well as furniture by Florence Knoll, Eero Saarinen, Eames and others, not to mention textiles and lighting. To kick off the event, guests are invited to dress up in their own "Mad Men"-inspired frocks and nibble on period food and drink while they take in the stylish scene.

Audio Slide Show: 'This Freedom'
A look at the show "Once and for All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen."
Related Article

Back to School
The question of what makes a good teacher has been a subject of hot debate in recent weeks. For evidence look no further than the divided reaction to a study Teach for America released about its participants and Amanda Ripley's article in this month's issue of The Atlantic. Tonight Cabinet, the art magazine based in Brooklyn, is presenting a more creative take on the issue with "Darcy Lange: The Art of Teaching." The program will include a viewing and a discussion of a current exhibition of video work by Mr. Lange. In the 1970s, this New Zealand artist took his camera into schools in Britain to record daily events in the classroom. After the screening, a discussion about pedagogy and art will be led by panelists including Kelly Baum of the Princeton University Art Museum, Simon Critchley, a philosophy professor at the New School and Jeff Dolven, an English professor at Princeton. Drinks will be served.

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