Disney Is Opening a Star Wars Hotel That Sounds a Lot Like Westworld

Hopefully this will go a little bit better.

Lifestyle – Esquire


Fisher-Price Little People Spinnin’ Sounds Airport, 1 ea

Fisher-Price Little People Spinnin’ Sounds Airport, 1 ea

Ready for Takeoff! 30+ Songs, Sounds Phrases Press Cloud to Make Plane Fly! 1 1 2 – 5 Years Discover: Spinnin Plane Action Peek-a-Boo Ticket Counter Pretend Play with Control Tower, Food Court, Hangar More! Spending hours at the airport is all fun and games when youre at the SpinninSounds Airport. Before Eddie the passenger boards the plane, he needs to check in at the ticket counter and get his luggage loaded on the baggage cart. If theres time before takeoff, he can head up the stairs to the food court for a quick snack. Then, fasten your seatbelt its time for Eddie to take a spin! Take the plane up to the top of the pole, press on the cloud and watch the plane spin around as it flies, with fun sounds all the way down. Press down on the pilot in the cockpit for more sounds and phrases, too. Once the plane lands, kids can take it back up to the top of the pole and flyto a br

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The Sounds of Silence

The British writer, E.M. Forster, published his last truly great novel, A Passage to India, in 1924. This novel is about many things – the differences between men and women, between cultures and countries, between the races, between the animal and human kingdoms, and between competing value systems.

Buried not quite halfway through the novel, at the beginning of Chapter 14, is another difference, the difference between speaking and remaining silent:

“Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence. Inside its cocoon of work or social obligation, the human spirit slumbers for the most part, registering the distinction between pleasure and pain, but not nearly as alert as we pretend. There are periods in the most thrilling day during which nothing happens, and though we continue to exclaim: ‘I do enjoy myself,’ or ‘I am horrified,’ we are insincere. ‘As far as I feel anything, it is enjoyment, horror’ – it’s no more than that really, and a perfectly adjusted organism would be silent.”

Forster seems to have plucked this stunning aside directly from the ether and dropped it into the middle of his story without much in the way of preparation or follow-up. What is he saying? Why does he make this observation? If, after all, silence is so good, why finish reading his novel? Am I somehow poorly adjusted whenever I open my mouth?

This “passage” has haunted me for over 40 years – since I bought and first read the novel in Milan in 1971. After publishing “A Passage to India,” Forster himself spent the remainder of his life more or less silent. For decades he was a Fellow at his alma mater, Trinity College at Cambridge University, where he died in 1970. He wrote some nonfiction — mostly essays, biographies, and travel memoirs — but he never again produced a work of fiction that rivaled his early short stories, Howards End (1910), or “Passage.” A mostly autobiographical novel about his hidden homosexuality, Maurice, appeared posthumously in 1971, but many critics feel that his standing as a novelist would have been enhanced had “Maurice” never appeared. But whatever one might think of “Maurice” as a novel, it nonetheless remains unfortunate that Forster was unable – as a matter of personal choice as well as existing English law at the time (homosexuality between consenting adult men was a crime in England until 1967) – to publish his views during his lifetime. After 1924, he was spent as a writer of fiction and effectively blocked in terms of being public about his homosexuality. He knew this; hence his silence.

There is, however, a thread that runs throughout Forster’s fiction and, especially, the paragraph cited above, that speaks to us today. While Forster excels at describing differences, what he is really saying to us is to find ways to bridge those differences. That’s why the phrase “Only connect,” (which borrows from the views of Victorian writer Matthew Arnold) appears at the beginning of his other great novel, “Howards End.” It is the effort in life to find connections that matters most to him – even if one fails in the effort. There is failure in “Howards End” when the Schlegel sisters and Leonard Bast fail to bridge bridge their class differences, and there is failure at the end of “A Passage to India” when the Englishman and the Indian realize that they cannot be friends:

“‘Why can’t we be friends now?’ said the other, holding him affectionately. ‘It’s what I want. It’s what you want.’

“But the horses didn’t want it – they swerved apart; the earth didn’t want it … the temples, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds … they didn’t want it, they said in their hundred voices: ‘No, not yet,’ and the sky said: ‘No, not there.'”

This failure to connect between Indian and Englishman also finds a parallel in “Maurice” which appeared almost 50 years later. There was connection, but it was clandestine and, of course, unpublished.

The question I find prompted by Forster today is whether, in fact, we are trying too hard to be too connected? Are we so connection-crazy that in the frenzy we are missing opportunities to find in our lives those connections that really matter? What does it mean, for example, to be “friended,” to be asked to “friend” inanimate objects or department stores, or to “follow” a Member of Congress or a celebrity? Today’s wonderful communications technology may, in fact, be a double-edged sword: we may be so connected on so many levels and with so many people, things, and issues that we lose the capacity and the essential personal space needed to reflect on what we are actually doing and trying to achieve in our lives.

Does our frenetic connectedness mean that we actually hear more but listen less? Forster is urging people to connect, but is his statement about the virtue of silence a suggestion that perhaps we might consider a better balance between non-stop connectedness and the silence needed to reflect? He does, after all, have a point: are the vast majority of “Tweets” worth the bother? And given what Hillary Clinton is going through with respect to her State Department e-mails and her private, at-home server, why on earth are we saving billions of “Tweets for posterity? Only litigation-hungry lawyers could welcome this situation.

Recently I attended a Washington, DC, forum on the nation’s economic and fiscal policy. The speakers were excellent, but I noticed that during the breaks, the large screens in the front of the room displayed “Tweets” from people who were either in the room or who were attending the forum via a remote connection. Did I really need to know in 140 characters the views of perfect strangers who were spitting back to me the content of what I had just experienced? Could I have better used the break to think about what had been said or, for that matter, talk face-to-face with other participants (which I did)?

It is estimated that there are some 500 million Tweets sent each day and over 200 billion Tweets sent each year. These numbers will surely grow. I have nothing against Twitter or other social media, but, at the same time, doesn’t Forster have a point? That most of this stuff is so dull that there is nothing really to be said about it?

All of us have been vastly empowered by modern communications technology – and this is a good thing. The question remains, however, whether we might somehow strive to find a better balance between too much connectedness and total silence. I don’t ever expect to be a “perfectly adjusted organism,” but I do strive to screen out the chatter that can sometimes get in the way of better listening and better understanding.

Charles Kolb served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy from 1990-1992 in the George H.W. Bush White House. He was president of the French-American Foundation–United States from 2012-2014 and president of the Committee for Economic Development from 1997-2012.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Bamako Sounds

Bamako Sounds

Bamako Sounds tells the story of an African city, its people, their values, and their music. Centered on the music and musicians of Bamako, Mali’s booming capital city, this book reveals a community of artists whose lives and works evince a complex world shaped by urban culture, postcolonialism, musical expression, religious identity, and intellectual property. Drawing on years of ethnographic research with classically trained players of the kora (a twenty-one-string West African harp) as well as more contemporary, hip-hop influenced musicians and producers, Ryan Thomas Skinner analyzes how Bamako artists balance social imperatives with personal interests and global imaginations. Whether performed live on stage, broadcast on the radio, or shared over the Internet, music is a privileged mode of expression that suffuses Bamako’s urban soundscape. It animates professional projects, communicates cultural values, pronounces public piety, resounds in the marketplace, and quite literally performs the nation. Music, the artists who make it, and the audiences who interpret it thus represent a crucial means of articulating and disseminating the ethics and aesthetics of a varied and vital Afropolitanism, in Bamako and beyond.

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Oxford Reading Tree: Floppys Phonics: Sounds and Letters Easy Buy Book Pack (Books Only)

Oxford Reading Tree: Floppys Phonics: Sounds and Letters Easy Buy Book Pack (Books Only)

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A Gay Dad Sounds Off On The School That Canceled ‘And Then Came Tango’ Play

By Rob Watson | The Next Family

There was a significant hearing this week on Tuesday about same sex relationships and whether to ban them. You likely missed this one because you were focused on that OTHER hearing in front of the Supreme Court, the one on whether all states in the union should perform and recognize same sex marriages.

No, this hearing was smaller, with less attention and could have been held in what might be described as a wholly alternative universe.

This hearing was in front of a school board in Catheys Valley, Mariposa County, California. It was held in a place where same sex marriage legally exists without question.

Unlike the Supreme Court, which was surrounded by folks waving banners of equality, tolerance and the love that creates families, this hearing was full of people who wanted none of that and took offense against anyone who did not look and act like them.

The case before the school board was this: the Sierra Charter Foothill School was scheduled to host a performance of the play, “And Then Came Tango,” based on the true story of two male penguins who hatched and orphaned egg and raised the chick as their own. New York Theater Now describes “Tango” as: “Emily Freeman’s timely play for young audiences, shares the tale of six chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo — and the people who care for them. More specifically and touchingly, Freeman zeroes in on Roy and Silo, two males who form a penguin bond akin to their male-female-paired peers, engaging in mating rituals and trying to hatch a rock. Even more touchingly, Lily, the young Junior Keeper, convinces Walter, the zookeeper in charge of the exhibit, to let Silo and Roy incubate an orphaned egg — which they do to loving fruition.”

The booking of the play had been in place for a year with the Fresno State Theater Troupe. The school regretted having missed out on the previous year’s performance of “The Velveteen Rabbit,” so put in their reservation early to get on the schedule for “Tango.”

Once the play’s synopsis was sent to them, the administration wretched over what they perceived as a “gay theme.” They immediately made attendance voluntary and sent out “warnings” to all their parents. This effort was not enough for many in the community who demanded that the ability to opt out was not enough. They insisted that the school needed to cancel the production all together or they would boycott it for the day.

The force of the vitriolic response shocked the administrators who then threw the decision of the play’s fate to the school board. Meanwhile, some of the students who wanted to see the play began passing out rainbow ribbon bracelets out to those willing to wear them. This “radical” action was also quickly shut down by the administration. The school leaders took on a “road theater” of their own and went into classes to perform skits. Their theme was about how trying to inspire acceptance of others was actually a divisive act. I am not sure what the reviews of the “Divisive Act” skits were, but in any case, they successfully shut down the distribution of rainbow ribbon bracelets and the “perpetrators” apologized.

At the same time the first and second graders were putting the final touches to their creative writing and a story called “Hannah’s Adventure” which was headed to a writing festival in Meced. Hannah was undoubtedly “safe” because she apparently did not have two moms. So, full steam ahead.

Mariposa County life for “And Then Came Tango” was not so fortuitous. The school board voted conclusively to end its run long before it got started.

While the first and second graders of Sierra Charter Foothill wrote their piece, I wrote one of my own. Here is my open letter to the school and the community it serves.

Dear Sierra Charter Foothill School Community,

I was horrified to read of your recent actions around the play called “And Then Came Tango,” which depicted two penguins who loved each other and then saved, hatched and nurtured an orphaned egg. Your principal stated that the play “does cross the line for what parents think is appropriate for school.”

At the school board meeting, parents made comments like “It’s about two men. They raise a baby and I don’t agree with that.” Your community members described the family image in “Tango” as “social engineering” and “promoting” homosexuality. The consensus was “I want to teach my kids what I believe in my home that’s it.”

The family depicted in “And Then Came Tango” is mine.

We are not penguins, and my sons were not hatched, but aside from those set-decorating changes, it is us. My oldest son was born six weeks prematurely to a heroin-addicted mother. My younger son was found abandoned by his drug-addicted mother in a trailer where he had been uncared for two days. My spouse and I had so much love between us that we wanted to extend it further. We adopted these two babies who needed us.

The love I have for my sons is the most profound I have ever known.

That is our story, and it is reflected in the factual story of the penguins in the play. The penguin real life story occurred in 1999 at the Central Park Zoo, and they met with the same intolerant attitude that your community is exhibiting. Homophobic people rose up and demanded that the penguin family be broken apart. They felt what had happened naturally was somehow “sending the wrong message.”

The “Tango” story is about love. My family’s story is about love. We are people, we are not ideas or theories for you to “agree” or “disagree” with. My sons are not experiments nor are they part of some agenda to “promote” a brand of sexuality. I would never disrespect your children by characterizing them as “talking points of heterosexual sex acts” and I expect the common decency from you to not classify my sons similarly.

Just for the record, my family is not alone. There are thousands like us in the state of California. We are your neighbors. Just like the orphaned egg in the story, there are also thousands of kids who have been abused or neglected in our state. A Cambridge study found that there is only one parental profile family that chooses to create a family using foster care/adoption as its first choice — that profile is a two male led household.

My sons are both wonderful boys — bright, charming, caring — and have both been taught to be good citizens in their school community. Even though it is clear that they would not be welcome, your school would be fortunate to have two such as them within it.

All your kids are going to come to school and share with others about how they came to be in their families, LGBT kids do the same. My sons, like other kids from differing family structures, fully grasp the concept of mutual respect between families. It is the principle where we listen to each other and find common ground, not a focus on our differences.

It is a concept that you have just voted down. It is a lesson you have yet to learn.

As for “Tango,” theater arts are meant to illustrate, illuminate and shake their audience from pre-conceived notions and feelings. This play was brought to you not so you can judge and censor it, or the families like mine that it represents, but so you can watch and grow from finding out about us. It asks you to consider that a family is driven more from the hearts of its members than it is from their genitals.

Last year, your school was upset that it missed out on the road tour of a production of the classic “The Velveteen Rabbit.” I wonder if you would have caught the message of that play and how it too affirms the creation of families such as mine. I am sorry you did not see it, as you might have taken a glimpse of what it means to be a “real” family. You would have heard this:

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real…It doesn’t happen all at once…You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Tango was not seeking your approval, it was a gift for you so that you could start to see things more broadly and appreciate the diversity in this world. It was ready to show you what is truly real, something like my family.

By your actions, you have shut down a great educational opportunity.

That opportunity was not for your kids, it was for you.

Rob Watson is a writer for The Next Family and lives in Santa Cruz with his family.

More on The Next Family:

Watch: A 7-Year-Old Explains How Her Two Moms Had a Baby

Mother’s Day Through a Gay Dad’s Eyes

Queer Youth Tech Camps

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Arts – The Huffington Post
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Alphabet, Grades PK – K: Sounds and Pictures

Alphabet, Grades PK – K: Sounds and Pictures

Build essential skills while having fun with Home Workbooks! Now updated with fun, colorful pages and engaging art is filled with 64 pages of age-appropriate activities, puzzles, and games. These teacher-approved books are perfect for home, school, summer breaks, and road trips! Skills covered include phonics, letter recognition, fine motor, and more! An incentive chart and 140 full-color stickers are also included to help parents or teachers track student progress. Home Workbooks are available for prekindergarten through grade 3 students, and feature titles in a wide variety of skill areas to suit any need.

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Jerry Seinfeld’s Worst Bomb Ever Sounds Very, Very Uncomfortable

It’s easy to forget that even the most successful of comedians once had to rise their way up through the ranks.

Luckily, Jerry Seinfeld reminds us of this fact in a new web exclusive for “The Tonight Show,” in which he shares the story of his worst standup set ever. Back in 1977, when he was 22, Seinfeld scored a gig at a disco in Queens on New Year’s Eve. Let’s just say it didn’t go well, and there’s little evidence anyone at the venue even knew he was there.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Listen Carefully, This Is What Rape Culture Sounds Like In America

Two women just explained the insidious nature of rape culture in under three minutes.

At the 2014 National Poetry Slam in August, spoken word artists Desireé Dallagiacomo and Mwende Katwiwa (a.k.a FreeQuency) performed the poem “American Rape Culture,” and explained how some of the songs we sing along to on the radio are directly contributing to rape culture. The result is a bold poem that reminds us how subtle — and dangerous — misogyny can be when put to a pop song tune.

Dallagiacomo begins the spoken word by pointing out that Robin Thicke sings the line “I know you want it,” 18 times in “Blurred Lines.” Katwiwa adds that in Rick Ross’ “You Ain’t Even Know It” the rapper says, “Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. Took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” Rape culture has become so mainstream that we hardly bat an eye when music icons sing about it.

“If you take the time on any given day to pay attention, you really start to notice these elements of rape culture permeating almost all areas of American life,” Katwiwa told The Huffington Post. “Many of the examples used in the poem were things Des and I had already heard of or read about prior to sitting to write the piece, but when we did additional research, we were kinda overwhelmed with all the different examples we could have put in our poem.”

Katwiwa’s and Dallagiacomo remind us how intolerable these trends in pop culture are when you consider that nearly one in five women will be raped in their lifetimes. As Katwiwa says in the poem, “Rape no longer only knows closed doors and dark alleyways, it’s assimilated into our daily routine.”

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Wet Sounds Swivel U Pro 80 Speaker Bracket Pair

Wet Sounds Swivel U Pro 80 Speaker Bracket Pair

Wet Sounds Swivel U Pro 80 Speaker Bracket Pair on sale at TightBoards.comSwivel U clamp option for curved towers. Allows you to use Trick Connect clamp on curved towers and still have the speakers facing straight.Wet Sounds product cannot be shipped outside the US
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You Can Now Use Emojis To Search On Yelp, And It’s Not As Pointless As It Sounds

For the hungry and the lazy, hunting down the perfect slice of pizza just got better, thanks to the ingenious merging of Yelp and emojis.

Yelp released a new feature on its mobile app in late March, in which people can search using emoji if they’re feeling too sluggish to type out actual words. Yes, where you used to have to tap out “ice cream,” “doughnuts” and “pizza,” the simple selection of , and will now suffice.

But with 845 emojis to choose from on a standard iPhone keyboard (and with some having meanings as indecipherable as this little lady’s: ), you might wonder how reliable this service can be.

As it turns out, a lot of the emoji actually translate quite well. The pizza emoji, for example, proves practical when searching New York City’s Greenwich Village.

pizza emoji

Ramen’s easy to find, too.

ramen yelp

Locating nail parlors, banks, hair salons and postal offices is also a piece of cake (cake, no doubt, can be found too) with the applicable emoji.


Of course, Yelp does have some limitations when it comes to the more elusive emojis. But the app manages to be clever and creative with these puzzling emoticons.

If a New Yorker enters an obscure spiral emoji () into the search bar, he or she will be directed to Coney Island’s Cyclone coaster, as well as a wine bar?


Broke your favorite light fixture from your trip abroad in Asia? That lantern emoji won’t help you find a new one, but it will direct you to restaurants with “lantern” in the name.

lantern emoji

And that previously mentioned, indecipherable lady? She’ll take you to a wedding planner, a bunch of men’s clothing stores and the Gap. Interpret that how you will.

lady emoji

Needless to say, there are hours begging to be wasted on Yelp .
Style – The Huffington Post
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Medicine Coupons Donated to True Light Sounds Of Praise by Charles Myrick of ACRX.wmv

Cast: Charles Myrick


Vimeo / Charles Myrick’s videos
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Manhattan Toy Whoozit Starz Lights & Sounds, 1 ea

Manhattan Toy Whoozit Starz Lights & Sounds, 1 ea

This whimsical character has high contrast patterns, teethers and squeakers. A pull on the Whoozit activates lights and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 2 Attaches to most strollers and carriers with a velcro-like closure The remarkable and award-winning Whoozit collection has been a perennial favorite for parents and wee ones alike. This unique toy line has been proven to stimulate fundamental learning skills in babys developing mind, body and senses. Ages 6 months and up.

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