Michael Fabiano

#FabFive Things That Are Surprisingly Toxic to Dog

May 20th, 2017

As parents of both the fur and human variety know, it only takes a second for your child to put something harmful in their mouth when you turn your back for a moment.  This is exactly the situation my dear friend found herself in the other day.  While she was putting something in the refrigerator, her dog Kimmy (who I lovingly refer to as my “fur niece”) swiped a nearly-full pack of Trident gum from the counter and instantly inhaled the remaining 17 pieces.  My friend went into full panic mode as Xylitol, a common ingredient in gum, is toxic to dogs and rushed her to the vet.  Thankfully, the vet was able to induce vomiting in time and with the help of fluids, Kimmy (pictured below) made a full recovery later that day.

My friend and I were talking on the phone and I was surprised to learn just how toxic Xylitol is.  As a fur dad myself, I never had to worry about this with Buster because he is unable to reach the counter and largely has no interest in food like candy or gum.  This is not the case for other pet owners and dogs like Kimmy who will eat anything that remotely appear edible.  As a result, I am dedicating a #FabFive to spread awareness about 5 common items that are surprisingly toxic to dogs.

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Embracing Intellectual Humility

May 13th, 2017

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Embracing Intellectual Humility

A friend of mine often recites a translation from the Confucian Analects that has always stuck with me: “True knowledge is understanding the difference between what you know and what you don’t.”  On some level, we implicitly acknowledge the truth of this statement every time we see a doctor, consult a lawyer, or utilize an accountant.  We recognize that some people are specialists and therefore welcome their expertise.  At the same time, being a “know-it-all” is not a desirable trait we seek in others and know-it-alls often become punch lines known for their constant “one-upping.”

Yet, the business and artistic world perpetuate one-upping with slogans like “fake it ‘til you make it.” “I don’t know” is taboo because we succumb to the pressure of being “in the know” and pass on the opportunity to humbly admit our knowledge deficit and listen to someone who may know more than we do.  What makes this worse is that humans have a proclivity to overestimate how much they know thereby exacerbating the “know-it-all” mindset.  Thus, even though we know a know-it-all is annoying and undesirable, our survival instinct tells us to act like one.

Why does this matter?  It matters because we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to embrace intellectual humility and consequently understand the true limit of our own knowledge.  Inc. recently reported on a study conducted with regards to intellectual humility and good decision making.  Intellectual humility is “the willingness to accept that you might be wrong and to not get defensive when arguments or information that’s unfavorable to your position comes to light.”  The study found that those who lack intellectual humility make markedly worse choices.  This makes sense as many sources have reported that fast learning requires a willingness to admit error and a state of openness to new ideas is key to effectively engaging in civil discourse.

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Arts in the News: Rotten Tomatoes for Theater, A Bronze Girl, SXSW Festival, Remembering and Celebrating Women Artists

May 2nd, 2017

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‘Rotten Tomatoes for Theater’ Website Raises $2 Million

“Show-Score,” a review-aggregating website for the theater world modeled after Rotten Tomatoes, has procured $2 million of funding from a group of investors both in and outside the theater industry. The funds will help Show-Score expand beyond New York to other theater hubs in the U.S. and abroad. Show-Score founder Tom Melcher also hopes to use the money to continue “harnessing the story of the audience’s reaction to theater,” an effort which involves accumulating fan art, Instagram posts, videos, and photography. The website currently has 125,000 registered members who have contributed nearly 200,000 member reviews to the database; professional critics’ reviews number about 17,000. Investors contributing to the new funds include Hollywood veteran Gail Berman as well as Business Insider founder Kevin Ryan. Hopefully the money will help make the site a valuable asset to the theater world and its patrons!

Bronze Girl Stares Down Wall Street Bull

The bronze statue of a charging bull on Wall Street has a new companion: a statue of a young girl. The temporary statue, named “Fearless Girl,” was installed by McCann New York advertising agency and client State Street Global Advisors, based out of Boston. The statue, depicting a girl defiantly staring down the iconic bull, may be a move to bring attention to State Street’s campaign to get more women into board roles; its installation also coincided with International Women’s Day and the anniversary of the launch of an exchange-traded fund (ticker SHE) devoted to tracking companies with higher levels of gender diversity in leadership roles. A plaque in front of the statue makes a reference to the fund, as it reads “SHE makes a difference.” The statue is set to stay on Wall Street for a week, though State Street is attempting to gain permission to leave the statue for an entire month (roughly coinciding with Women’s History Month). Amazing how strong and powerful a message such a small statue can send.

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Arts in the News: “Sensitivity Readers”, The Art of Making Money, An Art Museum on the Moon, Safe Spaces for Trans Visitors

April 25th, 2017

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“Sensitivity Readers” Helping Authors

More and more authors are hiring “sensitivity readers” to help edit their manuscripts before publication in an attempt to check the accuracy and potential offensiveness of a specific minority group’s portrayal. For example, in order to ensure a Korean-American family is being depicted both authentically and sensitively, an author might hire a Korean-American reader. Author Susan Dennard commissioned a sensitivity reader for her young adult novel about a transgender character, explaining: “I was nervous to write a character like this to begin with, because what if I get it wrong? I could do some major damange.” Some authors turn to these readers especially after backlash to a previous work, hoping to avoid criticism in an upcoming work. Standard editors can help writers with grammar, phrasing, and story arcs, but often do not touch on the authenticity or potential offensiveness of the portrayals within the story–sensitivity readers fill this role. Of course, some see the rise of these readers as overly sensitive and reflecting an obsession with political correctness; National Review columnnist Katherine Timpf called such readers “an assault on art” who would reduce fiction to depictions of “nice sensitivity training.” It certainly can’t hurt, though, for writers to seek out whichever editors may effectively call attention to oversights–be they grammatical or representational.

The Art of Making Money (Literally)

The images on money are arguably the most widely circulated art in the world–but where do they come from? An exhibition at the Grolier Club in Manhattan called “Images of Value” is devoted to exploring the answer. With more than 250 items on view, the exhibition is “a bit of an Easter egg hunt,” according to Mark D. Tomasko, the collection’s owner. As a collector, Tomasko tracks down the original artwork behind the engravings on bank notes, stock certificates, and other financial documents. Some of the pieces Tomasko has retrieved from the world of financial art history include a lithograph based on a portrait of Martha Washington by Charles Francois Jalabert that provided the image for a silver dollar bill, as well as an engraving depicting the city walls of Beijing used on a 1918 $1 bill for the Asia Banking Corporation. With the rise of paperless finance, the picture engraving business for currency has certainly declined; still, some remain at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing–worked that Tomasko calls “unsung heroes.” Especially as the bills we use everyday undergo changes (like the imminent replacing of Andrew Jackson on the $20 with Harriet Tubman), Tomasko’s endeavers encourage us to pause and appreciate the works of art behind images that few give a second look!

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Interview: Michael Fabiano on Faust

Limelight Magazine's Editor, Clive Paget, heads backstage to meet American tenor Michael Fabiano ahead of his appearance in David McVicar's production of Gounod's Faust, for Opera Australia.

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