Jefferson and the invention of the Swivel Chair

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My sister and I were watching Downton Abbey last night and a reference was made about Thomas Jefferson inventing the swivel chair by the Dowager Countess. I googled it and sure enough…

That’s right, that office staple of today was invented by the US’s third president. Jefferson bought an English-style Windsor chair (the ones where the legs and the back are put into drilled holes) from a Philadelphia cabinet maker. He then modified it so that the top and bottom parts were connected by a central iron spindle-enabling the top half known as the seat, to swivel on casters of the type used in rope hung windows. And thus the first swivel chair was born.When the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, Jefferson’s swivel chair is purported to be where he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. Jefferson later had the swivel chair sent to his Virginia plantation, Monticello, where he later built a “writing paddle” onto its side in 1791. Since 1836, the chair has been in the possession of the American Philosophical Society located in Philadelphia.

Book of Mormon

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We saw this yesterday here in Boston-it is hilarious! If you ever get the chance to go see(apparently it is usually sold out in NYC) go see it!

The Book of Mormon follows two young missionaries who are sent to Uganda to try to convert citizens to the Mormon religion. One missionary, Elder Price, is an enthusiastic go-getter with a strong dedication to his faith, while his partner, Elder Cunningham, is a socially awkward but well meaning nerd whose tendency to embroider the truth soon lands him in trouble. Upon their arrival in Africa, Elders Price and Cunningham learn that in a society plagued by AIDS, poverty and violence, a successful mission may not be as easy as they expected.

Composed by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q’s Robert Lopez, The Book of Mormon is an old-style musical with a modern sensibility. This blockbuster show features several big song-and-dance numbers accompanied by some old-fashioned Broadway belting. An equal opportunity offender, the show playfully pokes fun at religion, sexuality, poverty and race, while inspiring an after-the-show discussion of religion in general.

The Book of Mormon plays fast and loose with explicit language. Every parent knows their kids best, particularly if South Park is a family favorite. Before committing to bringing pre-teen theatergoers, check out the cast recording to get an idea of the show’s humor and language.

Nine 2011 Tony Awards say it’s the Best Musical of the Year. Vogue says, “It’s the funniest musical of all time.” And The New York Times says, “It’s the best musical of this century.” The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart calls it “A crowning achievement. So good, it makes me angry.”

Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan!

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If you get the chance to see the play Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby in your city-go…. Cathy, who has won 8 gold medals as a gymnast in her Olympic career, is Peter Pan and she is incredible to watch as she flies across the stage and into the audience! Here is more about her:
During her gymnastics career, Cathy won numerous international medals- including eight gold- and in 1998, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. When Cathy retired from the sport, she joined ABC Sports for 18 years, providing expert commentary on the sport of gymnastics around the world. During this time, ABC’s venerable Wide World of Sports named her one of “America’s Most Influential Women in Sports.” After seven years of intense voice and theatrical training, she embarked on a new career in performing arts. National and regional tour credits include: Annie Get Your Gun, Meet Me In St. Louis, South Pacific, Paint Your Wagon, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Silvia, and Steel Magnolias. On Broadway, she starred as the title role in Peter Pan in 1991 and 1998, and in Seussical the Musical as Cat-In-The-Hat in 2002. Cathy has been honored with the National Broadway Theatre Award, “Ovation” Lifetime Achievement Award (the West Coast version of a “Tony”) and the 2004 Distinguished Lifetime Service Award from The League of American Theatres and Producers. In 1991, Cathy was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical when she starred in the 35th Anniversary production of Peter Pan on Broadway. In addition to multiple Tony nominations, Peter Pan also garnered several Emmy nominations, and a win, when A&E filmed the show for television broadcast in 2001. She recently finished filming An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars.”

Cathy and husband, Tom McCoy, are Executive Producers of the McCoy Rigby Entertainment Series at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, California, and the new Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, California. There, they have successfully produced 19 seasons, and have launched several national touring productions including: Jesus Christ Superstar, Annie Get Your Gun, Peter Pan, Camelot and Happy Days, the Musical.

The McCoy Rigby Conservatory of the Arts in Yorba Linda, California provides students with an opportunity to find their creative outlet, whether it is acting, dancing, singing, art or playwriting. After two Olympics, 18 years as a sports commentator, a successful entertainment career, 4 kids, 4 grandkids and 30 years of marriage to the same man, Cathy spends much of her spare time as a motivational speaker on the topics of nutrition & wellness, and The Art of Reinventing Yourself.

Bottled Water Ban Continues….

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Concord’s annual Town Meeting has voted down Article 30, a petitioner’s bid to repeal the town’s landmark bylaw banning the sale of single-serve bottled water, which was approved last year and took effect Jan. 1.

Depending on how you look at it, the vote came either after a little less than an hour of debate, or a little more than three years and one hour of debate.

Either way, 1,333 voters turned out for Concord’s annual Town Meeting on Wednesday, April 24 as the town’s legislative body considered a bottled water ban for the fourth consecutive year. Article 30 failed by 66 votes.

Almost immediately, dozens of residents lined up behind microphones to speak for and against the ban. And many were still in line when the question was called — including Jean Hill, the woman introduced the words “bottle ban” into Concord’s lexicon four Town Meetings ago.

Many of those who supported repealling the ban spoke about the loss of choice and inconvenience to residents and harm to local merchants who may lose business as residents who want to buy single-serve bottled water must go out of town to do so.

“A forced choice is not a choice at all,” said Robin Garrison, the petitioner behind the article to repeal the bottle bylaw. “Concord’s ban is not leading the way. We’re trying to drag people.”

Those who spoke in favor of keeping the bylaw noted the environmental merits of reducing consumption of an “unnecessary” product and said the four months the bylaw has been in place are too small a sample size to judge any econmic impact it has had in town.

“The ban is a small step on a long worthy march, but let’s give it a chance,” said Selectman Stanly Black, whose board voted 4-1 against repealing the bylaw. “The idea, like the bottle companies fear, just might catch on.”

Meanwhile, in Arlington, a special Town Meeting voted down a bid by three Arlington High seniors to outlaw the sale of single-serving water bottles after 25 minutes of debate and a voice vote.

Bottled Water Ban in Concord

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Concord seems to be at the forefront of historic changes. From the American Revolutionary War to the Transcendentalist Movement to the recent(2012) Water Bottle Ban we seem to always be in the news!
Tonight an article seeking to repeal Concord’s landmark single serve bottled water banning bylaw will be voted on at Town Meeting.

Here is one side:

Water bottles might seem like a small thing, but according to Ban the Bottle:

“It takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make all the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. alone. That’s enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year.” Their website also states: “In 2007, Americans consumed over 50 billion single serve bottles of water. With a recycling rate of only 23%, over 38 billion bottles end up in landfills.”
And it’s not like bottled water is a good deal for your wallet either:
“The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.”

Here is the other side:

Concord’s ban is having unintended consequences. People are switching to less healthy alternatives that carry a heavier environmental and health impact. According to the International Bottled Water Association, since 1998, approximately 73 percent of the growth in bottled water consumption has come from people switching from carbonated soft drinks, juices and milk. Each of these drinks requires more packaging than bottled water, and consumers in Concord are now being forced to buy those products when trying to quench their thirst. I have heard anecdotally from local business owners that even in the short time the ban has been in effect, they have seen this behavior quite clearly.

It will be interesting to see which way people vote!

Conrad Hotel in Manhattan

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We stayed at this hotel for the first time-I thought the architecture was incredible and really took advantage of the view of the Hudson River. If you tire of being in the middle of it all when visiting NYC, this really felt like a way to be in the city during the day but have some peace and quiet at night!

Here is a write-up:

Discover elegance and comfort at Conrad New York in one of our 463 stylish NYC hotel suites. This luxury New York City hotel is conveniently located adjacent to Hudson River Park and near the Financial District and other prominent neighborhoods such as TriBeCa and SoHo. Expect contemporary accommodations starting at a generous 430 sq. ft. with integrated technology, WiFi and two flat-screen HD televisions.

Admire the monumental art of Sol LeWitt in the atrium of this New York City luxury hotel. Taste the Mediterranean influences in dishes from ATRIO. Shop for New York gifts and luxury lifestyle goods at Accents New York, Bloom, Vintry Wines, Battery Place Market or Artsee Eyewear. Or escape to the seasonal rooftop bar for a summer cocktail and a brilliant Hudson River vantage point.

Take advantage of the hotel’s location near Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and the new World Trade Center to coordinate business meetings. Host a conference or social event in 30,000 sq. ft. Enjoy the innovative cuisine of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events, the exclusive food and beverage partner of the hotel’s conference and event facilities.

Work out in the 24-hour, lobby-level fitness center outfitted with LifeFitness cardiovascular and strength training equipment.

The Conrad New York hotel, which will house a private green roof, is pursuing Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.