Monday, January 30, 2012


"Beannacht" by John O'Donohue

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Downton Abbey Episode 4 Tonight

As much as I love a good Broadway musical, last Sunday's episode came close to giving me my first cringeworthy Downton moment. When Lady Mary strode up the aisle to join Lady Edith at the piano, I felt myself panicking, No, no, please, no singing. But my nervousness paled in comparison to the appalled reaction of the Dowager Countess when the entire room began to sing along. (There is nothin' like a Dame!) Enter stage left . . . Matthew with his servant William and . . . a duet with Lady Mary. When I re-watched the episode midweek, I wondered why it had bothered me really. They sing very well . . . and they look so bloody cute together.

Here's a preview of tonight's episode.

Watch Downton Abbey Season 2 Episode 4 Preview on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.

Friday, January 27, 2012

For Peter

Thursday, January 26, 2012


by Emily Brontë

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing dear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not a Dry Eye

Gabrielle Giffords handed in her letter of resignation today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

American Dream

Tonight Samantha Garvey will be a special guest at President Obama's State of the Union address. Samantha Garvey is an 18-year-old senior at Brentwood High School on Long Island and an aspiring marine biologist. For two and a half years she researched the effects of the Asian shore crab on the ribbed mussel population in a salt marsh on the North Shore of Long Island. This work won her a place as a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, the premier science competition for high school students.

Now here's the amazing part of her story: Samantha got news of her award while she was living with her family in a homeless shelter. Her family was evicted from their home on New Year's Eve. Despite the family's hardship, Samantha maintains a 3.9 grade point average and is president of her school's chapter of the National Honor Society. She is ranked 4th out of 433 students in her grade and hopes to attend Brown or Yale.

And now some help has arrived. The Suffolk County Department of Social Services has located a house for the family. In addition, during a recent Ellen DeGeneres show, AT&T presented her with a $50,000 scholarship. Whole Foods and J.C. Penney have also made contributions.

On Wednesday Samantha will find out if she is one of the 40 Intel finalists for a top prize of $100,000. We hope there's more good news.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year 4710

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Good Luck, Gabby

Gabrielle Giffords said today that she is resigning from Congress this week. Here's her inspiring statement.

Downton Abbey Episode 3 Tonight

Despite criticism that it's a historically inaccurate soap opera, we're still obsessed with Downton Abbey. In Episode 2, which aired last Sunday, the Crawleys watched as their beloved Downton was turned into a convalescent hospital for wounded officers. Even their dog Isis was fair game as Isobel—in her newfound pushiness—ordered the family and staff around. Luckily for Isis, the Earl insisted that the dog continue to have the run of the patients' rooms. For us, one of the high points of the second episode had to be Anna running through the house after she found Branson's note to Sybil. It felt like forever as she searched for help to avoid a crisis in the dining room. And what was up with that nasty concoction of Branson's—oil, ink, cow pie and sour milk in the soup tureen!

Here's a preview of tonight's episode.

Friday, January 20, 2012

PSO Broadway POPS!—The Broadway Tenors

The Broadway Tenors (left to right): Ron Bohmer, Matt Cavenaugh, Brent Barrett

On Saturday, February 11, 2012, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Rossen Milanov, will present its annual Broadway POPS! concert. This year's production, The Broadway Tenors, features a trio of Broadway's popular leading men—Brent Barrett, Ron Bohmer and Matt Cavenaugh. The program includes favorite songs from hit shows such as West Side Story, Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera, Guys and Dolls and much more.

Brent Barrett, the founding member and producer of The Broadway Tenors, performed in last year's Broadway POPS! concert. He recently reprised his role as Billy Flynn in Chicago on Broadway and has appeared in productions of Kiss Me, Kate, The Pajama Game, Camelot, Annie Get Your Gun and more. Ron Bohmer has played leading roles in A Little Night Music, Ragtime, The Woman in White, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, Sunset Boulevard and The Phantom of the Opera. Matt Cavenaugh most recently starred on Broadway as Tony in West Side Story and in Grey Gardens, A Catered Affair and Urban Cowboy.

The concert will begin at 8 pm in Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus. Tickets are $25 to $68. For more information, call 609-497-0020 or click here to visit the PSO website.

Photo: Princeton Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shut Down

Some of the websites shutting down for 24 hours today in protest of Internet anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA: Google, Wikipedia, Mozilla, reddit, Boing Boing, Wired

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Betty White

Today is Betty White's 90th birthday. In honor of her birthday, President Obama sent her a video message. Check it out.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo: Scott Ableman


I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free,
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!

Downton Abbey Wins Golden Globe

While you were watching Downton Abbey last night, it was winning a Golden Globe . . . .

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Downton Abbey Episode 2 Tonight

Last Sunday night's premiere of Season 2 of Downton Abbey averaged 4.2 million views according to a press release from PBS. The Masterpiece Classic series doubled the average PBS primetime rating and exceeded the average of the first season by 18 percent. Executive producer Rebecca Eaton said, "Downton Abbey officially takes its place among the best of Masterpiece titles since the series began in 1971."

Episode 1 moved quickly and forced us to stay focused. It's 1916, England is at war and there's a lot to take in—white feathers, trenches, mustard gas, shell shock. Story lines are taking off, familiar characters are shifting and new ones have arrived. (Does anyone else miss Gwen?) If you didn't catch Episode 1, you can watch it here.

Here's a preview of tonight's episode.

Watch Downton Abbey Season 2 Episode 2 Preview on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Children's Event at Terhune Orchards

On Tuesday, January 17, Terhune Orchards will host the first 2012 winter session of their Read & Explore Program at the farm. The topic of the session is The Gingerbread Man. The classic tale of The Gingerbread Man will be read and each child can have fun decorating a large gingerbread man cookie to take home. The children will be able to see how many ingredients of the gingerbread man come from farms.

Read & Explore is Terhune Orchard's winter education series with sessions in January, February and March. The program combines reading stories and doing related craft activities. Parents/guardians and young children (ages preschool to 8 years) are welcome. The sessions begin at 10:00 am and last about one hour. Each session costs $5.00 per participating child, which includes the materials for the activity. Parents should call ahead to register. The number at the farm is 609-924-2310. Check-in is at the farm store. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Terhune Orchards is located at 330 Cold Soil Road in Princeton.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cleanup Event for Martin Luther King Day

The members of the Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands invite you to join them on Monday, January 16, 2012, for a cleanup at the Mapleton Preserve on the National Day of Service honoring the 26th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. From noon to 3 pm volunteers will be clearing small trees, brush, vines and trash in the historic Mapleton Preserve. You are asked to bring any tools you may have, such as saws, clippers, loppers and rakes. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather—work gloves, sturdy shoes, warm clothing and hats are recommended. For more information, visit the FPNL website or call 609-683-0483. Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park is located at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston.

Photograph of European Weeping Beech at the Mapleton Preserve by Tari Pantaleo

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Theft Reported

On Friday, January 6, the West Windsor & Plainsboro News reported in its Police Blotter that "Signature Property Group was the victim of a theft on Sayre Drive. Someone cut the piping and stole an irrigation backflow device valued at $700 on December 20." See the report here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Downton Abbey Season 2

The second season of Downton Abbey premieres this Sunday, January 8, at 9 pm on PBS. My friends and I admit we're a little obsessed with the series. Are you? We've watched Season 1 so many times we could probably stand in for some of the characters. Elizabeth and I would fight over who gets to be Anna (loser takes Cora).

Lest you think this is not a very big deal, Downton Abbey set the Guinness World Record for the "highest critical review ratings for a TV show." It displaced Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy and Modern Family, who shared the title since 2009, making it the most "critically well-received show in the world" according to the record book. The drama, created and written by Julian Fellowes, was nominated for 11 Primetime Emmy awards and won six, including Outstanding Miniseries or Movie and Outstanding Supporting Actress, Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Thank goodness the long wait is finally over.

Watch Downton Abbey Season 2 With or Without You Preview. on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Trader Joe's Favorites

Click here or on the image to enlarge.