"God Bless the Dream, the Dreamer and the Result." 

FaithWalk Clothing by William Renae

In today's world and in times past collaboration and partnering has been an instrumental strategy.  Partnering helps us to grow, learn, change and exchange ideas.  Even the Bible endorses partnering based on the scripture that says, "Where two or three are gathered, I am there."

I want to introduce to you a mother/son partnership, which currently launched a new clothing line.  The clothing line is called FaithWalk. The new line is created to encourage others to save themselves and to take control of their own destiny.

Renae Parker Benenson is a Mom, certified Chaplin (spiritual listener and encourager), writer and co-founder of FaithWalk.  William Marshall Parker II is a Son, entrepreneur, writer and co-founder of FaithWalk.  Together they compliment each other and have found support for their individual and collective growth and development.

They started FaithWalk because they get it.  They have figured out that their life is to get better spiritually, emotionally, financially, intellectually and physically it will be because they have prayed to God and believe that the Creator will equip them for the journey and fill them with unfathomable power to be and to do more than they can ever imagine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mom Delivers 8 Babies

A woman using fertility drugs has given birth to octuplets in a Los Angeles area hospital, reports the Los Angeles Times. It's only the second time in US history that eight babies have survived a multiple delivery. Doctors only expected seven babies and were surprised by the eighth. “My eyes got to be the size of saucers,” said one of the delivery doctors of the unexpected addition. “We just went on. It was exciting."

A staff of 46 took part in the C-section delivery of six boys and two girls, all of whom are in stable condition. Doctors prepared for the delivery weeks in advance. Born nine weeks prematurely, the infants range in weight from nearly two pounds to just over three pounds. “It was a truly, truly amazing delivery,” said one of the delivery team leaders

Monday, January 26, 2009

How Obama Can Rebuild the Arts

Despite the economic crisis, Barack Obama’s ascension to the White House is triggering a wave of optimism in the art community, David A. Ross writes in the Art Newspaper. He prescribes 10 “first steps” the president can take to re-establish serious support for arts in the United States:

Rebuild the Arts America program to allow American artists to serve as cultural ambassadors and image rehabilitators around the world.
Simplify, expedite, and depoliticize visas for visiting foreign artists.
Develop an emergency bailout fund for cultural institutions in dire need of help during the credit crisis.
Evaluate the operating expenses of our museums and libraries; then fund the Institute of Museum and Library Services to ensure that core costs of art institutions can be met.
Revive, rebuild, and depoliticize the National Endowment for the Arts/Humanities, including a funding increase from $290 million to $750 million.
Increase investment in art and music education for all school pupils.
Create a Secretary for Art and Culture Cabinet-level position, or at least an administrative mechanism showing presidential support for American culture.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sleepwalker Stirs Yuks Off-Broadway

Fighting off an imaginary Brad Pitt and leaping from a second-story window confirmed it: Mike Birbiglia was ready to turn his sleepwalking stories into a one-man show, Newsweek reports. Launched off-Broadway in November, the comedic Sleepwalk With Me is drawing raves from reviewers and sleep researchers alike. "Mike is really de-stigmatizing this disorder," one neurologist said.

At least 5% of adults suffer from REM Behavior Disorder, which is likely under-diagnosed because people are too embarrassed to see a doctor. At least it's no longer considered a sign of madness, although some experts say it has psychological roots. Birbiglia agrees it's not all yuks: "It's terrifying if you think about it," he said. "Your brain is like, 'We're going to shut down for a while,' and your body is like, 'We're going skiing!'"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Scientists Teleport Data on Tiny Scale

It’s not quite worthy of the Starship Enterprise, but Maryland scientists have managed to teleport data on an atomic scale, LiveScience reports. The researchers transmitted information between atoms a meter apart without the data actually crossing that space—a development that could help create speedy quantum computers and highly secure communication, Science News notes.

Other experiments have passed quantum information, like photon polarization and particle spin, between photons or two atoms on the back of a third. But none have teleported data over long distances. The Maryland experiment "could form the basis of a new type of quantum internet that could outperform any conventional type of classical network for certain tasks," one scientist said.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ledger, Rourke Nab Oscar Nods

Exactly a year after his death, Heath Ledger has been nominated for an Academy Award, AP reports. Ledger's Supporting Actor nod was the only nom for The Dark Knight, while The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire rose to the top with 13 and 10 nominations respectively. Other nominees:

Best Picture: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon; Gus Van Sant, Milk; Stephen Daldry, The Reader; Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor: Richard Jenkins, The Visitor; Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon; Sean Penn, Milk; Brad Pitt; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married; Angelina Jolie, Changeling; Melissa Leo, Frozen River; Meryl Streep, Doubt; Kate Winslet, The Reader
Best Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk; Robert Downey Jr, Tropic Thunder; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt; Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight; Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Doubt; Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Viola Davis, Doubt; Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Apple's Mac Turns 25

Apple’s Macintosh, the seminal device that helped usher in the age of personal computing as we know it today, turns 25 this week, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The original Macintosh combined a svelte form—by 1980s standards—with an accessible graphical interface, eschewing complex text commands for a visual operating system anyone could pick up and use.

Macs now hold 8% of the US market—no easy task in a world still dominated by Microsoft. "Apple redefined the computer beyond crunching ones and zeros. It made a technology lifestyle a reality," explains one analyst. "We had a feeling this new style of computer would be the way of the world," said Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Pope Benedict Makes His YouTube Debut

Pope Benedict XVI began his planned series of YouTube video releases today. The pope’s official channel already includes clips from the Vatican media service, and will later offer weekly updates featuring Benedict’s meetings with dignitaries, papal audiences, and recordings of daily events, reports the Italian news agency ANSA. The church hopes to provide translated copies in English, German, and Spanish.

''We are convinced that there are people interested in the pope's message and that they, in their search for the meaning of life, are among the many who surf the Web. It is for them that we have opened a YouTube channel,'' said the Vatican radio director, noting that the pope is "very pleased” with the YouTube channel.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rawwk! Polly Want a Red Card?

A rare parrot had to be thrown out of a British football match when he began imitating the referee’s whistle, the Daily Mail reports. The parrot’s call was so realistic it actually stopped play dead 10 minutes into the second half, and continued disrupting the game thereafter. The cheeky bird also shouted “pretty boy” at some of the players.

“I’ve sent a few people off in my time,” said the ref, “but I’ve never sent a parrot off before.” At first the referee thought the noises were being made by the bird’s owner. “When I confronted her she said, ‘It’s not me, it’s my parrot.’ I got a hell of a shock.” The woman left peacefully, but vowed that the bird would be back. “He loves his football,” she said.

Fishermen Rescued After 25 Days in a Floating Cooler

Aussie authorities are probing the story of a pair of Burmese fishermen found floating in an industrial-sized cooler, the Independent reports. The men were rescued after a customs aircraft spotting them waving frantically. They told officials they had been adrift for 25 days after their fishing boat sunk in heavy seas, with the loss of 18 other crew members.

The pair, who were treated for dehydration, said they had managed to survive on rainwater and fish. Some experts think the tale sounds a bit fishy, noting that the cooler seems too unstable to have stayed upright for 25 days and that the men show few of the ravages caused by long-term exposure at sea. But officials say that so far they have no reason to doubt the men’s story.

Arts Need a New Deal, Too

Fifty years after FDR’s Public Works Art Project paid and promoted American talent, President Obama has people dreaming of a new deal for arts, cultural anthropologist Patricia Williams Lessane writes in Ebony. While division spawned the Harlem Renaissance, Lessane is hopeful an arts resurgence would be “born out of inter-racial solidarity,” and offers suggestions on how a New Deal Arts Project might work.

Her vision: establish a cabinet of artists and educators to develop a template for funding arts at the local level, and mount nationwide competitions for undiscovered geniuses. “Given the new flavor that Mr. and Mrs. Obama share with their inner circle of culturally aware friends,” Lessane writes, “a recalibration should be well on its way.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Meet Obama's 'Beast'

The latest limousine to join the presidential fleet is essentially a tank with a Cadillac exterior, Wired reports. The armored vehicle—code-named “Stagecoach” but dubbed “The Beast” due to its makeup—is the world’s most sophisticated car. The Secret Service and General Motors refuse to divulge specs for Caddy One, which is shuttling President Obama between inaugural appointments today.

“The vehicle’s security enhancements cannot be discussed, [but its] security and coded communications systems make it the most technologically advanced protection vehicle,” a security official said. Observers estimate the diesel-powered car weighs 7 -8 tons, sits on a medium-duty truck chassis, and has military-grade body armor outfitted with ballistic glass windows, a Kevlar floor mat, and a sealed-air system.

Michelle Obama Sparkles in Isabel Toledo

The fashion world has been breathlessly waiting to see what Michelle Obama would wear to the inauguration, and the next first lady hasn’t disappointed, donning a sparkling gold sheath dress from Isabel Toledo. Cuban-born Toledo is considered one of America’s more avant-garde designers, having recently tried and failed to inject a modern sensibility into the Anne Klein label, the AP reports.

President-elect Barack Obama wore a red tie and white shirt to the ceremony at which he is to be sworn in as 44th president.

Witness to a Century, 105-Year-Old Goes to Capitol

Today’s inauguration of Barack Obama marks an important milestone in an African-American struggle that lasted more than 200 years—and Ella Mae Johnson isn’t going to miss it, NPR reports. After all, she’s been around for nearly half of that struggle. The 105-year-old Cleveland resident will brave hours of cold to see the first black man to assume the presidency.

Johnson, who saw WEB Du Bois speak in 1924 and weathered discrimination in her own schooling, rose before dawn this morning, dressing in pearls and an elegant outfit before heading toward the Capitol in a wheelchair. “My hope for him is my hope for the country,” she says. “If he fails, the country fails. He knows and he says, ‘Not me, but you. Not us, but all of us.’”

Monday, January 19, 2009

Colicchio Saves Cookbook Writer From Choking

He runs multiple restaurants, hosts one of TV’s top cooking shows, and, it turns out, he could just save your life. Tom Colicchio saved Joan Nathan’s life last night, writes witness Ezra Klein on the Internet Food Association. Nathan, a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, was holding a Washington benefit when she began choking on a chunk of chicken. Luckily Colicchio was nearby and knew the Heimlich maneuver.

“I just happened to be nearby,” the Top Chef host said. But Nathan was beside herself with gratitude. “He’s so strong” she gushed.

Lance Makes Comeback Down Under

Lance Armstrong made a cautious return to professional cycle racing today, finishing 64th among 133 riders in a 30-mile criterium in downtown Adelaide, Australia. More than 138,000 people watched Armstrong return from three years of retirement and begin a campaign to win his eighth Tour de France. He stayed well back in a tight field, following instructions to avoid any chance of crashing. Armstrong will compete in the six-day Tour Down Under, which starts Tuesday.

"That was fun," the 37-year-old Armstong said. "It felt good. I've been training a lot for this comeback and this race. It's good the first day is over and now I can get into the racing."

Steelers Down Ravens, 23-14, for AFC Crown

Pittsburgh used its dominating defense to beat the Baltimore Ravens, 23-14, in tonight's AFC championship game and return to the Super Bowl, the AP reports. Santonio Holmes scored on an electrifying 65-yard catch-and-run in the first half, and hard-hitting safety Troy Polamalu returned an interception 40 yards for a clinching TD with 4:24 remaining for the Steelers (14-4).

Jeff Reed kicked three field goals for the Steelers, who will be seeking their sixth Super Bowl title. "They did it tonight the way we've done it all year," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. "We've got a very humble group, a very selfless group." A Pittsburgh victory would make the 36-year-old Tomlin the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl.
SOURCE: Associated Press

Cards Edge Eagles for NFC Title

That's not a mirage rising out of the desert, folks: It's the Arizona Cardinals soaring to their first Super Bowl. The once-dysfunctional team capitalized on Larry Fitzgerald's three first-half touchdown receptions today, then coolly marched downfield to Kurt Warner's 8-yard scoring pass to rookie Tim Hightower with 2:53 left. They beat the Philadelphia Eagles 32-25 today for the NFC championship, the AP reports.

Donovan McNabb was superb in leading Philadelphia's second-half rally, but he misfired from midfield four times in the final moments. Arizona (12-7) will face the AFC champion in 2 weeks in Tampa for the NFL title. Baltimore played at Pittsburgh later in the day for the AFC crown.

Rourke Finds Comeback Light at End of Dark Tunnel

After the collapse of his career—admittedly his own fault—Mickey Rourke has found his way back up the Hollywood ladder with his recent Golden Globe for The Wrestler. Despite many promising turns during the 1980s, CNN reports, self-destructive behavior and problems with authority—which Rourke attributes to childhood abuse—culminated in his ditching acting for professional boxing (and taking some literal hits along the way).

Rourke’s acclaimed performance in The Wrestler was not without its costs, however. The role of Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a wrestler past his prime, bears some resemblance to the actor's own ups and downs. "I knew [director Darren Aronofsky would] want me to revisit some very dark painful places,” said Rourke. But this time, he says, he’s here to stay.

Rapper, 6, Touts Obama to Peeps

Though the historical context of Barack Obama's victory may be lost on "Lil Yani," the president-elect has made the 6-year-old very proud—enough to produce a rap tribute that's fast becoming an online hit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Like the other upbeat raps from the charismatic Californian, Yani's presidential ode Obama Made Me Proud was written by his great grandma. The pair were inspired after volunteering for the president-elect's campaign.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Phoenix Rises as Rapper Joaquin

Retired actor and ex-Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix hit a Vegas stage last night in his new incarnation—as a rapper, People reports. "This is me saying this is who I am. This is my story," Phoenix said before performing at LAVO in The Palazzo. Brother-in-law Casey Affleck recorded it for a video doc about Phoenix's transition to music and his upcoming, as-yet-untitled album.

"After all the years of reading scripts and reading lines, this is my chance to do something straight from the heart and put it out there," said Phoenix, who jumped around and pumped his fist as he performed three songs for a curious crowd. "Are there people who think it's going to suck? Probably, but I can’t worry about that."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama poster lands street artist in Smithsonian

Artist Shepard Fairey stands with his artwork titled, 'Barack Obama,' a mixed media collage, during its unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009. Fairey's large-scale, mixed-media stenciled collage was the central portrait image for the Obama campaign and was previously distributed as a limited-edition print and as a free download.

UK Squatters Wait Out Recession in Mansions

In the middle of one of London’s ritziest neighborhoods, a dozen young artists are lounging in the scantly lit living room of a $33 million mansion, eating curry made from ingredients found in the trash. The current recession has reignited England’s passion for squatting, the Washington Post reports. “It’s better for a building to be occupied than empty,” reasoned one squatter. “We’re artists, and we’re doing something good with the space.”

The building’s owners don’t agree, says their lawyer. “In nine out of 10 countries this would not be tolerated, and the police would remove them,” he said. But Britain has long been sympathetic to squatters. Trespassing is only a civil offense, so unless squatters start doing damage, police generally can't act. “We look at it as a social good,” said a squatting advocate.

Art World Still Divided on Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth divided the art community throughout his life, and little seems to have changed with his passing yesterday. While many in the field call him one of the most important 20th-century American artists, others insist his mode of realism makes him more of an illustrator than a serious painter, the New York Times reports, and his work "corny Americana." Those critics see his most famous painting, “Christina’s World,” as simply a “mandatory dorm room poster.”

Early in his career, Wyeth was considered edgy—but the appearance of abstract expressionist artists like Jackson Pollock changed the playing field. Art “politics” played a role, says one expert, as critics began to demand that “only contemporary abstraction be recognized as a viable language for the postwar era.” Still, says another, “I think we are now all grown up enough to realize that there are many roads to modern art, and not just one channel.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hudson Hero Is Glider Pilot, Safety Guru, Air Force Vet

The US Airways pilot who saved the lives of his passengers and crew in yesterday’s crash landing was perfectly suited to the job: he’s a certified glider pilot and runs a safety company, the New York Post reports. After an apparent bird strike disabled the plane’s engines, the aircraft essentially became a glider, which Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenburger III guided into the Hudson River.

Sullenberger, who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1973, has worked to improve FAA safety rules and advised NASA. His company applies his methods to other industries. Having flown for 4 decades, “he's about performing that airplane to the exact precision to which it is made,” said his wife. Even in light of Sullenberger’s background, yesterday’s landing was “nothing short of incredible,” said another US Airways pilot.

Eyes, Brain Make Cards' Fitzgerald Quite the Catch

More than height, speed, or jumping ability, highly developed eyesight and an extraordinary internal computer make Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald a top-tier NFL receiver, a scientist tells the Wall Street Journal. Fitzgerald’s optometrist grandfather put him through drills to improve his “visual dominance,” enabling him to take a snapshot of the ball in flight despite distractions; Fitzgerald’s “predictive control” helps him meet the ball at the perfect spot for a catch.

The result? In some photos, Fitzgerald can be seen catching with his eyes closed. Fitzgerald, whose Cardinals host Philadelphia on Sunday for a chance to go to the Super Bowl, calls it “second nature.” Says his coach, “I don’t know how he makes those catches, but there’s no doubt Larry has an ability to catch a ball that is special.”

Inauguration Announcer Been at Mic Since Ike

Charlie Brotman, the octogenarian MC stationed closest to the presidential reviewing stand during Tuesday’s Inaugural Parade, has had a front-row seat to history since 1957, when he was chosen to announce President Eisenhower’s, USA Today reports. Brotman expects Barack Obama’s inauguration will be the most spectacular ever. “All of the country wants a piece of this,” he said.

“The president’s overall personality is reflected in the kind of parade,” Brotman notes—Eisenhower’s was a sober, military-style procession, and Presidents Kennedy and Reagan brought Hollywood glamor. Brotman’s planning a trivia game to distract Tuesday’s audience from the cold. “It’s as though these people are coming over to my house,” he said. “I want them to have a nice time and a good memory.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Both Pilots Did 'Superb' Job With Little Training

So how much training do pilots get on how to land on the water? Almost none, writes pilot Patrick Smith, who shelves his regular Salon column this week to offer insights on the Hudson crash-landing. Among them:

Pilots can read up on how to perform these so-called "ditchings," but they don't come up much in simulators because they're so rare.
They were two pilots on board, and both deserve credit for a "suberb" job. "They were able to maintain control and, it seems, hit the water at as slow a speed as possible. Had they hit too hard and broken apart, we'd be looking for bodies."
Luck helped: If this were at night, in bad weather, or in even a slightly different location, it could have been catastrophic.
Smith won't be "terribly surprised" if a birdstrike did, in fact, cause this. They're common and usually harmless. "We were due, perhaps."
This should only reaffirm how safe flying is. Two full years since the last commercial fatality, and seven since the last large-scale crash. Both records.
Passengers, stop zoning out during those pre-flight safety drills.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Run-DMC, Metallica Make Rock Hall of Fame

Run-DMC and Metallica will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, MTV.com reports. The two groups—along with Jeff Beck, Bobby Womack, and Wanda Jackson—will receive rock’s highest accolade in a ceremony April 4 in Cleveland. The two headlining picks may be attempts by the Hall to address concerns it has been slow to accept newer genres.

Run-DMC and Metallica both vaulted their respective genres into the mainstream. Since helping to define thrash metal with its 1983 debut album, Kill ‘Em All, Metallica has broadened its sound to become one of the biggest bands in the world. Run-DMC, which also debuted in 1983 with its single “It’s Like That,” was the first hip-hop group to get recognition from mainstream rock media such as MTV and Rolling Stone.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ledger Awards Are Legacy for Matilda

Heath Ledger’s posthumous Golden Globe and other awards for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight will be given to his daughter Matilda, People reports. His family is “bursting with pride” over all the praise, but it has been “a bit of an emotional rollercoaster,” said his mother, calling Matilda the person who mattered most in his life.

“It is such a fantastic and wonderful legacy for his daughter,” she continued. “Matilda will have so many people who will be able to speak to her about her father's abilities and the respect he had in the industry. That is such a wonderful legacy to leave.”

Rhodes Scholar Rolle Picks Oxford Over NFL

Former Florida State star safety Myron Rolle is skipping the NFL to head instead to England's prestigious Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, reports the New York Times. Rolle, who hails from New Jersey, is the most prominent college athlete since Bill Bradley in 1965 to win a Rhodes scholarship.

“I’m very excited to go,” Rolle wrote in a text message to the Times. He expects to take part in the 2010 NFL draft after earning a masters degree in medical anthropology at Oxford. His long-term aim is to open a clinic for the needy in the Bahamas.

Inaugural Ball Flaunts Fashion Made of Trash

Stuck on what to wear to that upcoming Washington gala? How about a shower-curtain-and-aluminum-can cocktail dress? Or a canvas-scrap-and-rusty-nail gown? The actual “trashion,” created by recycling advocate Nancy Judd, will be showcased at Saturday’s Green Inaugural Ball, the Wall Street Journal reports. The fashionista even has a men’s coat, sized for chief honoree Barack Obama, made of door hangers.

Judd—who has no formal training and takes ideas from paper dolls—doesn’t sell the trashy fashion. After all, you can’t even sit down in the stiffly lacquered designs. But after years of chiding people to recycle, Judd has found a way to champion the cause without being “gloom-and-doom,” she says, adding, “I like the idea of making aluminum elegant, or rusty nails sexy.”

Monday, January 12, 2009

Motown Giants Mark 50 Years of Music

Musical legends gathered today at Hitsville, USA—Motown Records' original headquarters—to celebrate the Detroit label's 50th anniversary, Billboard reports. The Four Tops' Abdul "Duke" Fakir was joined by musicians from bands such as the Miracles and Martha & the Vandellas to pay tribute to Barry Gordy, who started the label on an $800 loan.

"He had the whole vision, and he made it come true," Fakir said. The merriment will continue this year for Motown fans, who can expect a feature-film documentary, a series of DVDs, and archival album releases.

Robotic Suit Helps Paralyzed Take Big Steps

People paralyzed from the waist down may soon be parking their wheelchairs in favor of a robotic walking suit, CNN reports. Designed by Dr. Amit Goffer, a disabled engineer in Israel, the lightweight exoskeleton of motorized leg supports and motion sensors enables users to walk around. "I don't have to look from the bottom up," one user said. "Now I am eye to eye with everybody."

Used in tandem with crutches, the ReWalk enables paraplegics to walk, bend, and climb stairs. But its deeper purpose is about respect: Dignity remains the "the No. 1 problem" for people in wheelchairs, Goffer said. Still in trials, ReWalks will soon be tested in the US and Europe, and could be on sale next year—with a price tag comparable to the yearly cost of a wheelchair.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

First woman to lead inaugural national prayer service

Rev. Sharon Watkins will deliver the sermon at the traditional National Prayer Service on January 21 — a day after Barack Obama is sworn in as president, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Sunday.

Watkins — the general minister and president of the 700,000-member Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) — will be the first woman to deliver the sermon at the traditional inaugural event, which takes place at the National Cathedral in northwest Washington, D.C.

"I am truly honored to speak at this historic occasion. … I hope that my message will call us to believe in something bigger than ourselves and remind us to reach out to all of our neighbors to build communities of possibility," she said in a press release.

The National Prayer Service, according to the inaugural committee, is a a tradition dating back to the nation's first president. The service includes prayers and hymns delivered by various religious leaders.

Ledger Snags Golden Globe for Dark Knight

Heath Ledger has won the supporting-actor Golden Globe nearly a year after his death, earning the prize for his diabolical turn as the Joker in the Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight, the AP reports. The robot romance WALL-E won for best animated film today, while Kate Winslet won the supporting-actress Golden Globe for The Reader, in which she plays a former Nazi concentration camp guard in a romantic fling with a teenager.

Sally Hawkins earned the best-actress prize in a musical or comedy as an eternal optimist in Happy-Go-Lucky. Hawkins, a relatively unknown British actress and newcomer to Hollywood's awards scenes, was visibly nervous accepting her prize. "I'll try and get through as much as my voice and nerves and knees will let me," said Hawkins. Bruce Springsteen received the best song prize for the title track to The Wrestler.

Bail Out America's Brains

Building roads and bridges will give our economy a short-term boost—but we need to look farther into America’s future on the global stage, writes Thomas Friedman in the New York Times. That means investing to make sure the next Microsofts and Googles are home-grown. How? For a start, let’s cut teachers’ taxes, raise their salaries, and offer people $5,000 to head back to school.

“Even before the current financial crisis, we were already in a deep competitive hole—a long period in which too many people were making money from money, or money from flipping houses or hamburgers,” Friedman writes. We need people cashing in by “making new stuff,” becoming the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. “Perhaps more bridges can bail us out of a depression, but only more Bills and Steves can bail us into prosperity.”

462 Books a Year? No Big Deal for One Critic

Determined to read more this year? Critic and columnist Sarah Weinman may be able to help, if her standard doesn't intimidate: She plowed through 462 titles last year. "I read a page not necessarily word by word,” she tells the Los Angeles Times, “but by capturing pages in sequence in my head. The words and phrases appear diagonally, like I'm absorbing the text all in one gulp."

Weinman says she's tried to read slower, but her "natural reading rhythm is freakishly fast." She retains characters more than plot, and enjoys the "electric charge as I read the text and 'hear' the voices" in great books. Roberto Bolaño's 2666 achieved such heights, but many titles last year "were mediocre or forgettable, and if I hadn't been on a subway or captive on a plane or a train, I might not have finished them."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Big Moon Rising This Weekend

Star-gazers are hoping for clear skies this evening, when the full moon will make its biggest and brightest appearance of 2009. As it rises at sunset, the moon will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than the year's subsequent moons, Space.com reports. The show—the result of the moon making its closest pass to Earth—will be almost as dazzling tomorrow, too, and ocean tides will be higher.

Jumbo Hostel: In This Plane, It's Safe to Crash

Once, jumbo jets were simply a way from point A to point B—but a new Swedish hostel makes a grounded plane a destination in itself, Wired reports. The 25-room, 85-bed Jumbo Hostel, situated by the Stockholm airport, opens next week. For $45, you can stay in a dorm; if you’re looking for a swankier experience ($175 or more), try the cockpit, with its own bathroom.

The dorms are each about 20 square feet with 13-foot ceilings. Guests can stash their stuff in overhead bins while using the free wireless Internet. The plane’s upper deck provides a lounge while the first-class cabin acts as a café. And every room has a flat-screen TV that also relays flight information so you know when to head to the terminal—a 15-minute walk away.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Amtrak Expects Throngs Along Obama's Route

Crowds of Barack Obama supporters are expected to line the railroad tracks between Philadelphia and Washington when the president-elect retraces Abraham Lincoln's journey to Washington the weekend before his inauguration, the AP reports. Authorities don't know how many people will throng the 137 miles of tracks but are using the funeral procession of Robert Kennedy—which drew an estimated 1 million mourners—as a guide.

Obama will stop in Delaware to collect Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his family, and the procession will also stop in Baltimore before making its way to Washington. The private charter train, which will be guarded by thousands of local police officers as it passes through their jurisdictions, will also carry a group of “everyday Americans” who have been invited to the inauguration.

'Cowboy Church' Lassos New Followers

Rodeo competitions and baptisms in horse troughs are on offer at the Cowboy Church of Ellis County, Texas, part of a movement that uses an unconventional approach to draw worshippers to the flock, the AP reports. Cowboy churches have existed for 40 years but have grown in popularity in the past decade as Baptist organizations have embraced them, opening dozens in 12 states.

“We use an out-of-the-box method to get people to come, because people have so many walls up with church,” said a leader of services at a Wyoming cowboy church. Baptist leaders credit the low-impact approach of cowboy church for its success: Pastors skip long sermons and don’t push for donations or pass collection plates.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Florida, Tebow Are Champs

Tim Tebow gave Florida the second-half jolt it needed, and the Gators toughed out a second BCS title in three years. Their 24-14 win over No. 2 Oklahoma in a choppy, sloppy affair made them national champions. The high-scoring shootout between Heisman Trophy winners never materialized. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford couldn't score from in close and Tebow threw two interceptions, as many as he had all season.

Tebow, however, rescued the Gators by driving them to the clinching score—a jump pass for a 4-yard touchdown to David Nelson with 3:07 to play that made it 24-14. Tebow was picked the game's most outstanding player, running for 109 yards. His passing wasn't so precise—18 for 30—yet it was his sheer will that kept coach Urban Meyer's team going. "Just call him Superman," said teammate Percy Harvin.

Fashion Needs an Obama Stimulus

Fashionistas are hoping the new first lady can be a one-woman bailout for their struggling industry, the New York Times reports. Presidential spouses always move the needle a little, but Obama’s youthful look and sartorial smarts put her ahead of the pack. “She could potentially do what Jackie Kennedy did,” said one designer. “We need all the help we can get.”

The state of the industry is indeed dire, with both chain and department stores closing their doors and consumer confidence floundering. But Obama’s style seems perfectly suited to the times, blending big-name designer garb and off-the-rack bargains. “She dresses like taste doesn’t necessarily have to do with brand or status,” said the fashion director at Bloomingdale's, “but with what looks well on your body and makes you look glamorous, bottom line.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No Time For Faith? Try a Podcast

Overscheduled Americans are fueling a boom in devotional books and media that mete out bite-sized doses of faith, the Los Angeles Times reports. An editor at a Christian book house calls its One Minute Bible “a ready-made, quick little devotion they can do every day.” But it’s not a substitute for real study: “It’s meant to whet your appetite.”

The boom seeks both believers and the uninitiated. One Midwestern evangelical broadcasts a “Faith Minute” he says is “preaching to people who have never been in the choir.” Another pastor canned a weekly study meeting in favor of a daily podcast. “You learn more 10 minutes a day, five days a week,” he said, than “one hour on Sunday, when you’re nodding off.”

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bhutto's Daughter Mourns With YouTube Rap Video

Benazir Bhutto’s oldest daughter has marked the anniversary of her mother’s death with a heartfelt tribute—in the form of a dirge-like YouTube rap video. Over a montage of images of her late mother, 18-year-old Bakhtawar Zardari sings lines like, “You have beauty and intelligence, everything you did have relevance.”

The Edinburgh University student is an avid music fan—she once asked a friend in the US to introduce her to P Diddy—who was encouraged to sing by her mother. Her mournful rap isn’t likely to net her a record deal, but it seems heartfelt. “It is the tribute of a grieving daughter to her iconic mother,” said Pakistan’s information minister.

Gene Discovery Raises Breast Cancer Hopes

Researchers have singled out a gene that spreads breast cancer and makes it chemo-resistant, raising the prospect of drug therapy that localizes the disease and improves survival rates, the Baltimore Sun reports. Scientists believe that metadherin, or MTDH—found in 40% of the breast cancer patients studied—makes tumor cells sticky so they latch onto blood vessels in distant organs.

If the finding holds up, drugs can be developed to target the gene. The discovery is potentially important because localized breast cancer rarely kills. But when it spreads throughout the body, survival rates go down significantly. A cancer researcher praised the work but added a note of caution. "Biology tends to be more complicated in the body than it is in the laboratory," he said.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hubby's Last Lottery Buy Wins Widow $10M

A Connecticut man who died the same day he bought two lottery tickets has left his widow with a jackpot, the Danbury News Times says. Charlotte Peters, who found the tickets a month after the drawing, almost threw them away, but figured she might win a few bucks. The winning ticket was worth more than $10 million. “I’m numb,” Peters told Newsday.

“I’ve always wanted a Corvette, but I don't think I'll buy one,” added the 78-year-old mother of three and grandmother of two. “I'm going to go home and sit and think.” Peters can choose between a $6 million pre-tax lump sum or 21 annual payments of $477,300. Her son said his father would appreciate the irony: “He’d say, ‘Figures!’”

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Garage Yields Dusty Surprise: $4.3M Bugatti

A rare Bugatti sports car found in a late British doctor’s garage will be auctioned off next month and is expected to fetch at least $4.3 million for his surprised relatives, the AP reports. The Type 57S Atalante, built in 1937, is one of only 17 ever made. This particular car was also owned by the Earl Howe, a pillar of British racing. At a time when most cars hit about 50 mph, the Atalante topped out at a scorching 130 mph.

“It has all the finest attributes any connoisseur collector could ever seek in one of the ultimate road-going sports cars from the golden era of the 1930s," said an exec of Bonhams auction house.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Baby Born on Transatlantic Flight

Passengers on a Boston-bound plane from Amsterdam got a New Year's surprise when a woman on board went into labor, the Boston Herald reports. Two doctors on the flight informed the pilot that the baby would come before the aircraft could make an emergency landing. Passengers cheered after the woman delivered a baby girl.

"She looked perfect. She opened her eyes and she was very happy," said one of the doctors. "Even though we didn’t have a labor room delivery set up, everything went perfect.” The baby, born to a Ugandan woman who resides in the US, is a Canadian citizen because the plane was over Canadian airspace at the time. Mother and child are in good condition in a Boston hospital.