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Posts Tagged ‘recession’

Some recent grads seem more serious than their predecessors, perhaps the result of having to face tough realities in the Great Recession.

Martha Irvine writes for the Associated Press, “The full effect won’t be known for a while, of course. But a new analysis of a long-term survey of high school students provides an early glimpse at ways their attitudes shifted in the first years of this most recent economic downturn.

“Among the findings: Young people showed signs of being more interested in conserving resources and a bit more concerned about their fellow human beings.

“Compared with youths who were surveyed a few years before the recession hit, more of the Great Recession group also was less interested in big-ticket items such as vacation homes and new cars — though they still placed more importance on them than young people who were surveyed in the latter half of the 1970s, an era with its own economic challenges.

“Either way, it appears this latest recession ‘’has caused a lot of young people to stop in their tracks and think about what’s important in life,’’ says Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University who co-authored the study with researchers from UCLA.

“The analysis, released Thursday, is published in the online edition of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.” More.

One would never say that the Great Recession was a good thing. And it may be that some young people are too serious at too early an age. But it never hurts to start thinking early about what matters in life.

Photo: AP/Alex Brandon
Drew Miller at a building under construction in Silver Spring, Md. Miller quit a steady government contract job to take a chance on a company that’s using “smart technologies” to help big corporations cut lighting costs. Though it meant taking a small pay cut, he says having a job that helps the environment was a ‘‘huge’’ motivator.

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A story in today’s NY Times has some delightful pictures of Santas attending a premier Santa school. This year there is increased concern that kids’ expectations may be too high for straightened pocketbooks, and Santas need to know how to handle that.

Monica Davey writes, “Santas — including the 115 of them in this year’s graduating class of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School — must learn to swiftly size up families’ financial circumstances, gently scale back children’s Christmas gift requests and even how to answer the wish some say they have been hearing with more frequency — ‘Can you bring my parent a job?’ …

The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Michigan, is considered the Harvard of Santa schools. And it takes a holistic approach not only to what a Santa needs to do for children but what he needs to do for himself. “Along with training in how to store your wig, how best to answer the questions of kindergartners and how to perform on your local cable access television station, a financial planner advised the Santas …  to open pension funds and contribute as much as possible to 401(k) retirement accounts. …

“Even with the economic downturn, not all the Christmas lists have grown shorter. Some children show up with elaborate printouts, cross-referenced spread sheets and clippings from catalogs. ‘I try to guide the children into not so unrealistic things, and I do tell them that Santa’s been cutting back too,’ said Tom Ruperd, of Caro, Mich.”

It’s at times like these that homemade gifts, family activities, and donations to worthy causes start to look like more reliable ways to have a good time.

Read more here.

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I really like Michelle Aldredge’s blog on writing and the arts, Gwarlingo. (The word gwarlingo, Aldredge says, is Welsh for the rushing sound a grandfather clock makes before striking, “the movement before the moment.”)

See my post about Gwarlingo and artistic Japanese manhole covers here.

This week Aldredge wrote that she had recently “stumbled across a small online collection of rare color images taken by photographers from the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information. The … photograph of Jack Whinery and his family was so remarkable and surprising that I immediately began exploring the online archive of the Library of Congress, which owns the images. The 1,610 Kodachrome transparencies were produced by FSA and OWI photographers like John Vachon, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano, and Russell Lee. They are less well known and far less extensive than their black and white images, but their rarity only increases their impact.”

Check out the America in Transition photos.

*Jack Whinery, homesteader, and his family. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress*

Another great Gwarlingo post was on poetry bombing.

“Since 2001,” writes Aldredge, “the Chilean art collective Casagrande has been staging ‘Poetry Rain’ projects in cities like Warsaw, Berlin, Santiago de Chile, Dubrovnik, and Guernica – all cities that have suffered aerial bombings in their history. The most recent event took place in Berlin in 2010 and was part of the Long Night of Museums. Crowds of thousands gathered in the city’s Lustgarten as 100,000 poems rained down from the sky.” Read more here.

I also found a happy video.

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