Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Every country in the British Isles has its own fruit cake whether for celebrations or for tea time treats.  In Ireland, the fruit cake of choice is a Barmbrack.  This lovely moreish cake is also known as Barm Brack or sometimes, simply as Brack, everyone knows what it means as it is one of their most famous bakery products.  The Gaelic name is báirín breac, or ‘speckled loaf’ referring to the speckles of fruit in the cake.  Traditionally, Brack is eaten at Halloween and as part of your St Patrick's Day celebrations.  At Halloween, a custom has it to bake small objects into the cake, acting as a kind of fortune telling.  Nowadays, more often than not it will be a ring, the finding of which delights the unmarried as it purports they will be the next to walk down the aisle.  Brack is also eaten year-round simply as a delicious treat at tea time when it is served with lovely, salty Irish butter and Brack a few days old is also lovely toasted.  Elaine Lemm  Find recipe at

moreish  adjective  British  informal  So pleasant to eat that one wants more.
The phrase 'just deserts' means that which is deserved.   A reward for what has been done--good or bad.  Deserts, in the sense of 'things deserved' has been used in English since at least the 13th century.

Desert in philosophy is the condition of being deserving of something, whether good or bad.  The word is related to justicerevengeblamepunishment and many topics central to moral philosophy, also "moral desert".  See also Desert at  

 “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.”  This is usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who wrote in a 1789 letter that “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  However, The Yale Book of Quotations quotes “‘Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes,” from Christopher Bullock, The Cobler of Preston (1716).  The YBQ also quotes “Death and Taxes, they are certain,” from Edward WardThe Dancing Devils (1724).

"A lot of people tried to get in Johnny Sausage last night for the 2 4 1 pizza deal but didn't quite make it . . . they are losers, a total disaster . . . it's true."  "It'll be great, the best pizza God ever created, and the Art of the Deal will be . . . buy two pizzas but only pay for one . . . that's right . . . Mexico will pay for the other one."  part of a sign in Johnny Sausage, NY-inspired eatery serving bagels, pizza, shakes, beer & wine in Christchurch , New Zealand.  Thank you, Muse reader and World Sojourner! 

Blu-ray Disc (BD) is a digital optical disc data storage format which was designed to supersede the DVD format.  It is the latest advancement in the world of optical discs.  This format is considered as a notch high above the other discs, because of its better quality and more storage capacity.  The Digital Versatile or the Digital Video Disc, popularly known as DVD is an optical disc that can be played using a DVD player on a computer or a television set.  See a comparison table between Blu-Ray and DVD at  See also

What's the Difference Between Laws and Regulations?  Laws are the products of written statutes, passed by either the U.S. Congress or state legislatures.  The legislatures create bills that, when passed by a vote, become statutory law.  Regulations, on the other hand, are standards and rules adopted by administrative agencies that govern how laws will be enforced.  Like laws, regulations are codified and published so that parties are on notice regarding what is and isn't legal.  And regulations often have the same force as laws, since, without them, regulatory agencies wouldn't be able to enforce laws.  Christopher Coble

"Our world is saturated with noise.  Unless we live in isolation or on a desert island, all of us seek some refuge from the distortions and the bombast."  "Silence is much more central to our well-being than we know . . . "  Don E. Saliers  The American Organist magazine  February 2018 

"Who do we want as our neighbour?"  These words are almost like a rhetoric slogan or a mantra within the prison walls of Halden Fengsel.  Even prisoners use these words when talking about the humaneness of Halden Fengsel.  Norway´s newest prison holds approximately 250 prisoners.  Nearly half have committed violent crimes like murder, assault or rape.  A third are convicted for selling or smuggling drugs.  Bringing them back to society as better human beings is a major ambition.  Sometimes referred to as the world´s most humane prison, Halden Fengsel does look a bit different from most other prisons. Built in the middle of the woods the architects wanted to keep much nature within the prison walls; there are many trees, uneven grounds, blueberries and adders.  It would be easy to run and hide, but nobody does.  The cells have a bed, a small fridge, a bookshelf, TV, desk and a chair, plus a private bathroom including a shower, toilet and a sink.  In the school building there is also a grocery store named “Justisen” (The Justice) where inmates can buy whatever they need to cook for themselves and each other.  There is also a well equipped music studio –“Criminal Records”, a garden, a holy room, a gym, training room, library, computer room, family visiting house and more.  The school offers prisoners an opportunity to get a proper education while serving their sentence.  During the day guards often socialize with the prisoners  It could be over waffles and coffee, dinner, volleyball or just casual conversations.  Many areas have no surveillance cameras, and prisoners can to some extent move around freely.  Many have suggested the prison is too luxurious, that being in a prison like this is not a proper punishment.  Warden Are Høidal says that revenge alone does not provide any good results.  Rehabilitation is key.  Finding proper housing and a steady income even before the prisoners are released is believed to contribute to lower recidivism rates.

On any given day, in one of the world’s busiest urban library systems, 50,000 people come through the doors of the Toronto Public Library’s 100 branches, while 85,000 make an online visit.  The walk-ins bring their coffee and their lunches; they talk and watch TV while charging their phones; they do their homework, often via thousands of computer sessions; they make videos or create objects with 3D printers; take classes in computer coding or yoga; attend author talks or listen to experts offer advice for those looking after elderly relatives; access video tutorials on everything from website design to small business management from (an American online education giant that offers 3,600 courses taught by industry experts).  Together with their online fellows, they borrow musical instruments, passes to the city’s art galleries and museums, WiFi hotspots, lamps that battle seasonal affective disorder, Raspberry Pis (small, single-board computers primarily used for coding training), DVDs, more than 12,000 ebooks and—of course—plain old print-and-ink books, a good 90,000 of them every day.  All at no cost.  Brian Bethune  Read much more at  Issue 1846  February 21, 2018  American composer Henry Cowell wrote Suite for Woodwind Quintet, in the early 1930s for the great French flute virtuoso Georges Barrère, who commissioned and premiered many new works involving his instrument.  In 1934, Barrère even made a recording of the Suite for New Music Quarterly, a publishing venture bankrolled by none other than the retired insurance executive and part-time composer Charles Ives.  The music didn’t surface again until 1947, when it was discovered among the late musician’s collection of scores.  On February 21, 1948, Cowell’s Woodwind Suite received its first concert performance at Columbia University in New York City, and quickly established itself as one of Cowell’s most popular works.  Composers Datebook
Word of the Day  isogloss  noun  line on a map indicating the geographical boundaries of a linguistic feature.  February 21 is International Mother Language Day, recognized by the United Nations to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.  Wiktionary

Monday, February 19, 2018

From France's mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery) to Germany's Suppengrün (carrot, celeriac, leek) to the famous Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking (onion, celery, green bell pepper), almost every cuisine in the world starts with a common simple, balanced, vegetable base.  What do these groups of produce have in common?  At the most basic level, they begin recipes—from soups to curries to roasts—and lend them flavor.  They also often come from a category of vegetables and herbs called aromatics.  In the Western world, these might include garlic, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and peppercorns, while in Asia you might find green onions, ginger, garlic, and warm spices.  Finally, they're almost always sautéed to gently tease out flavors that permeate the rest of the dish.  Sofrito and its Italian counterpart, soffritto, literally mean to stir-fry.  Italian Battuto—as the Italian flavor base is called before it is cooked and becomes a soffritto—is kissing cousin to France's mirepoix.  It starts with the same foundation of onions, carrots, and celery.  Parsley leaves, garlic, and fennel, or sometimes finely diced cured meats like pancetta or prosciutto scraps can find its way into the mix.  Lindsey Howald Patton   Link to recipes at

“I keep saying ‘where’s the body?  Kill someone,’”  Marilyn Stasio told us in the latest episode of Criminal.  She reads at least 200 crime novels a year to determine which are worthy of her prestigious “Crime Column” in the New York Times Book Review.  We spoke with her about crime as entertainment — and why people are so addicted to the genre that she can’t stay away from:  “My fingers just itch when I see something that’s says ‘murder.’”  Her favorite Agatha Christie novel is The Murderous Affair at Styles (the book in which Christie introduced the world to her famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot).  But Stasio says her all-time favorite crime novel is The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins.  Listen to the full conversation at   

Marilyn Stasio, who has written The Times Book Review’s Crime column since 1988, when speaking of her favorite writers, says she admires them for different reasons:  Elmore Leonard for his dialogue, P. D. James for her plots, Ruth Rendell for her mastery of suspense. 

Pulped fiction in England  About 2,500,000 of old copies of Mills & Boon romantic novels were acquired during the construction of the M6 Toll.  The novels were pulped at a recycling firm in south Wales and used in the preparation of the top layer of the West Midlands motorway, according to building materials suppliers Tarmac.  The pulp which helps hold the Tarmac and asphalt in place also acts as a sound absorber and is vital in the construction of roads.  Richard Beal, the company's project manager for the M6 Toll, said the books' absorbent qualities made them a vital ingredient in the construction of the country's first pay-as-you-go motorway.  "We use copies of Mills & Boon books, not as a statement about what we think of the writing, but because it is so absorbent.  "This means that the road will last longer before we have to repair it, which is good news for the paying customers using it to escape congestion on the M6."  He said for every mile of motorway approximately 45,000 books were needed.  Tarmac spokesman Brian Kent said the company was not suggesting there was anything wrong with Mills & Boon novels.  "We want to reassure Mills & Boon readers that we're not just picking on their favourite books--other books are down there too."

Mills & Boon was founded by Gerald Rusgrove Mills (1877–1928) and Charles Boon (1877–1943) in 1908 as a general fiction publisher, although their first book was, prophetically, a romance.  An early signing was the mystery and crime writer Victor Bridges.   Mills & Boon also published--in 1911 and 1912--two early works by Hugh Walpole, including the very successful Mr Perrin and Mr Traill (which was subsequently filmed).  It was not until the 1930s that the company began to concentrate specifically on romances.  The company was purchased on 1 October 1971, by Harlequin Enterprises of Canada, their North American distributor.  Modern Mills & Boon novels, over one hundred of which are released each month, cover a wide range of possible romantic subgenres, varying in explicitness, setting and style, although retaining a comforting familiarity that meets reader expectations.  One distinctive feature of both Mills & Boon and Harlequin (in North America) is the length of time their books are available to buy. They publish a set number of books each month which are sent to subscribers and displayed on stands  in book shops.  At the end of the month, any unsold copies in the shops are withdrawn and pulped.  Titles are available to buy direct from Mills & Boon for 3 months or until they are sold out, whichever is sooner.  Any remaining books are disposed of.  Fans looking for particular books after this time must find them second-hand.

Flashback and foreshadowing are different ways to accomplish the same end: to introduce events that are not happening in the story’s current moment.  Done well, both can increase a story’s dramatic tension and deepen a character’s development.  Both also play on the difference between story time, or that experienced by the characters living the story as it unfolds, and discourse time, or that experienced by whoever is reading the story.  A famous example of foreshadowing comes from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," where Romeo tells his love "Life were better ended by their hate/ Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.”  Homer employs flashback in "The Odyssey," when Odysseus relates his earlier experiences to other people.  This allows Homer to fill the reader in on Odysseus' past without spending undue time in boring narration.  Foreshadowing is a less concrete technique than flashback.  While the latter simply relies on a detour in time to a previous moment, foreshadowing is often used to build suspense toward a major event or finale that the reader has yet to experience.

In Western literature, The Odyssey is the first and most enduring traveler's tale--a quest and a hero against others.  Additional fantastic voyages are Sinbad, Jason and the Golden Fleece, and True Story by Lucian.  In Western film, the Road movies with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope are comedic travel tales.  On TV, The Good Place is a fantasy and comedy series that premiered on September 19, 2016, on NBC.  The characters travel from place to place and misadventure to misadventure. 

The Canterbury Tales is the world's weirdest road trip.  It tells the story of a group of pilgrims (fancy word for travelers) on their way to Canterbury, who engage in a tale-telling contest to pass the time.  Besides watching the interactions between the characters, we get to read 24 of the tales the pilgrims tell.  Geoffrey Chaucer likely wrote The Canterbury Tales in the late 1380s and early 1390s, after his retirement from life as a civil servant.  In this professional life, Chaucer was able to travel from his home in England to France and Italy.  There, he not only had the chance to read Italian and French literature, but possibly, even to meet Boccaccio, whose Decameron—a collection of tales told by Italian nobility holed up in a country house to escape the plague ravaging their city—may have inspired the frame story of The Canterbury Tales.  Chaucer's decision to write in his country's language, English, rather than in the Latin of so many of his educated colleagues, was a big break with learned tradition.  But the risk paid off: we know The Canterbury Tales were enormously popular because so many more manuscripts of the tales survive than of almost any other work of this time period.  The Canterbury Tales were still going strong when the first printers made their way to England, and William Caxton published the first printed version of The Canterbury Tales in 1476.  Read The Canterbury Tales "a reader-friendly edition  put into modern spelling by Michael Murphy" at

Constantin Brancusi  French-Romanian Photographer and Sculptor  Movements and Styles: DadaCubism   Constantin Brancusi is often regarded as the most important sculptor of the twentieth century.  His visionary sculptures often exemplify ideal and archetypal representations of their subject matter.  Bearing laconic titles such as Fish, Princess X, and Bird in Space, his sculptures are deceptively simple, with their reduced forms aiming to reveal hidden truths.  Explaining that "The artist should know how to dig out the being that is within matter," Brancusi sought to create sculptures that conveyed the true essence of his subjects, be they animals, people, or objects by concentrating on highly simplified forms free from ornamentation.  See also  Issue 1845  February 19, 2018  On this date in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066, allowing the United States military to relocate Japanese Americans to internment camps.  On this date in 1976Executive Order 9066, which led to the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps, was rescinded by President Gerald Ford's Proclamation 4417.  Thought for Today  Architecture is inhabited sculpture. - Constantin Brancusi (19 Feb 1876-1957)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Umami is the fifth basic taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour.  Derived from the Japanese word umai, meaning “delicious,” umami (pronounced oo-MAH-mee) is described as a savory, brothy, rich or meaty taste sensation.  To scientists, umami indicates a high level of glutamate, an amino acid and building block of protein.  To chefs and food lovers, it’s a satisfying sense of deep, complete flavor, balancing savory flavors and full-bodied taste with distinctive qualities of aroma and mouthfeel. Imagine such wholly satisfying foods as steak with sautéed mushrooms, coq au vin and pasta with tomato sauce and Parmesan.  That burst of rich, savory flavor is umami.  Cured meats, soy sauce, aged cheese and mushrooms are rich in it.

13 Foods With Natural Umami by Meaghan Cameron
PARAPHRASE from The Careful Use of Compliments, #4 in the Isabel Dalhousie series of novels by Alexander McCall Smith  People are secretly delighted when those who boast of their wealth take a tumble.  See also 100 Alexander McCall Smith Quotes To Keep You High-Spirited at  The website provides a biography as well as quotes.

According to Russell Ackoff, a systems theorist and professor of organizational change, the content of the human mind can be classified into five categories:  Data:  symbols; Information:  data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to "who", "what", "where", and "when" questions; Knowledge:  application of data and information; answers "how" questions; Understanding:  appreciation of "why"; Wisdom:  evaluated understanding.  Ackoff indicates that the first four categories relate to the past; they deal with what has been or what is known.  Only the fifth category, wisdom, deals with the future because it incorporates vision and design.  With wisdom, people can create the future rather than just grasp the present and past.  Gene BellingerDurval CastroAnthony Mills  Read much more at

Kansas City has been popularly called ‘Paris of the Plains.’  The city has over 200 picturesque fountains, giving it the nickname ‘The City of Fountains.’  Swope Park, at 1,805 acres, is more than twice the size of Central Park in New York City.  Walt Disney got his start in Kansas City, attending art school in the area.  Walt experimented with animation here and opened his first animation studio, called Laugh-O-Gram Studios, in Kansas City.  Mickey Mouse was inspired by a real-life mouse in the building.  Kansas City area was the birthplace of  president Harry S. Truman.  Before he went into politics, he owned a Kansas City haberdashery.  The area is the third in the nation for professional theaters per capita.  The city is considered the No. 1 inland trade zone in area.  The Country Club Plaza was the first automobile planned shopping area that opened in 1922.  It boasts of 12 towers and numerous fountains and artworks that were modeled after those found in the Spanish city of Seville.  The Kansas City Metropolitan Area has over 220 parks, 29 lakes, 103 playgrounds and 134 miles of trails and bikeways.

Kansas City traces its beginnings to 1821, the year Missouri was admitted to the Union.  In that year a Frenchman from St. Louis, Francois Chouteau, came up the Missouri River and established a trading post on the waterway about three miles below the great bend in the river, now the Northeast Industrial District.  After being flooded out in 1826, he rebuilt on higher ground at the foot of what is now Troost Avenue.   Legend has it that the names Port Fonda, Rabbitville and Possum Trot were rejected in favor of  the Town of Kansas, after the Kansa Indians who inhabited the area.  The town retained that name when it was incorporated and granted a charter by Jackson County June 1, 1850.  (When it was incorporated by the state Feb. 22, 1853, it became the City of Kansas, and in 1889, it officially became known as Kansas City.)  The railroads helped make possible one of Kansas City’s biggest early-day industries:  cattle.  From beginnings not long after the Civil War, the city became one of the world’s major cattle markets. The Kansas City stockyard was founded in 1870, and the Kansas City Livestock Exchange there, in its heyday early in the 20th century, was the largest building in the world devoted exclusively to livestock interests.  It is said to have more fountains than any city except Rome, and more boulevards than any city except Paris.

The Toledo Lucas County Public Library is excited to welcome the Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour, in advance of the 56th Ann Arbor Film Festival this spring.  The AAFF is a pioneer of the traveling film festival concept, having launched an annual tour program in 1964.  The AAFF selects films from the past year’s festival to screen in art house theaters, museums, universities, cinematheques and media art centers.   Thursday, Feb. 22 | 7 p.m.  McMaster Center  Main Library  325 Michigan St.  Commodity City by Jessica Kingdon  (Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker);  personne by Christoph Girardet & Matthias Müller  (Leon Speakers Award for Best Sound Design);  The Interior by Jonathan Rattner  (Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary); Walk For Me by Elegance Bratton; (\aut\Film Award for Best LGBTQ Film)  Railment by Shunsaku Hayashi  (Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film);  and Pokey Pokey by Junjie Zhang (Jury Award).  Established in 1963, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is the oldest avant garde and experimental film festival in North America.  The six-day festival presents 40 programs with more than 200 artist films from over 20 countries from over 20 countries of all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, narrative, hybrid, and performance based works.  The 56th Festival will take place March 20 - 25, 2018 at the historic Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

February 16, 2018  Grand Jury Indicts Russians Linked To Interference In 2016 Election  See article from NPR at

February 16, 2018  Indictment from Department of Justice  See 37-page document at  Issue 1844  February 16, 2018, extra edition  On this date in 1727, Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin, Austrian botanist, chemist, and mycologist, was born.  On this date in 1740Giambattista Bodoni, Italian publisher and engraver, was born.  On this date in 1774Pierre Rode, French violinist and composer, was born.

Julia Child told viewers of Boston’s public-television program The French Chef that “eggs can be your best friend,” and she especially loved the sophistication of shirred eggs.  By baking eggs with a little cream in small, individual cups at a relatively low temperature—just until the whites have set but the yolks remain fluid and golden—you can have a simple yet elegant brunch classic with minimal effort.  The word shirred refers to the flat-bottomed dish, or shirrer, in which the eggs were traditionally cooked, similar to the French oeufs en cocotte, or “eggs in a pot.”  Ramekins or custard cups are today’s most common cocottes for individual baked eggs, but muffin tins are a handy alternative for shirring en masse if cupboard space is at a premium.  Thanks to their simplicity, shirred eggs also lend themselves nicely to improvisation.  Some adventurous midcentury recipes call for baking the eggs on beds of deviled ham, pork and beans, or even kippers—but more mainstream versions suggest cracking them into spicy tomato sauce or nests of buttered breadcrumbs, shredded hash-browns, or crisp bacon.  No matter which variation you choose, armed with little more than a handful of eggs, a few spoonfuls of heavy cream, and a waiting oven, you’re just moments away from baked-egg heaven, so what are you waiting for?  Take Julia’s advice and “give them the right break.”  Aimee Tucker  Link to recipes at

Additions to baked eggs  Try adding chopped cooked mushrooms, meats, herbs or vegetables.  Put small round of toast in bottom covered with Gruyère cheese.  Cover with cheese or tomato sauce before baking.  Joy of Cooking, 6th ed.

ON ALL FOURS as an expression and as a legal term is interpreted.  Orin Kerr cites Michael Quinion's World Wide Words, which offers this explanation:  In the eighteenth century, people started to use to run on all four as a figurative expression to describe some proposition or circumstance that was fair or equitable, well-founded, sturdily able to stand by itself.  To be on all four or to stand on all four meant to be on a level with another, to present an exact analogy or comparison with something else (presumably the image is of two animals standing together, both on all four legs, hence in closely similar situations).  But Orin tracks the phrase back in American legal contexts as far as 1798, and discovers that the early uses are all of the form "run on all fours", not "stand on all fours", and suggests that the context suggests that the visual image is more an animal running alongside the observer than two animals standing next to each other.  If an animal is running on all four legs beside you, the thinking might be, it means that it remains close to you and goes where you go.  The OED (it's always a mistake not to check the OED) notes the 19th-century s-addition, [formerly all four, sc. extremities.  The -s was added prob. during the 19th century; not in Johnson 1808.] invokes a metaphor of the form "not limping = fair or even, not lame", and gives an earlier citation, from a British legal context, which also involves running, and is applied to a comparison.  Lawyer Susan M. Harrelson suggests "I think the phrase refers to four corners, rather than to four-legged animals, or four-wheeled vehicles, since the concept being described is congruence, rather than stability."  posted by Mark Liberman

INTIMATE  verb  (IN-ti-mayt, rhymes with motivate)  To imply, hintsuggest, indicate indirectly, communicate obscurely or remotely.  Word Workout:  Building a Muscular Vocabulary in 10 Easy Steps by Charles Harrington Elster

Ethiopian manuscripts are known to have reached Europe as early as the fifteenth century, perhaps even earlier, through Egypt, Ethiopian pilgrims to the Holy Land and through members of the Ethiopian monastery of St Stephen of the Abyssinians in Rome.  Subsequently, travellers, missionaries, military personnel and scholars contributed to the development of collections outside Ethiopia.  In Europe, the three biggest collections of Ethiopian manuscripts are in Rome (Biblioteca Apostolica Vatican), in Paris (Bibliothèque nationale de France) and in London (British Library).  These three organisations together hold about 2,700 manuscripts.  Oriental collections of nearly all significant European libraries also have Ethiopian material, with some still pursuing a policy of acquisition.  Monasteries and modern institutions in Ethiopia have, meanwhile, maintained extensive collections and in some cases are still centres of manuscript production.  Parchment (berānnā) was used for Ethiopian manuscripts from the time of the Four Gospels books of Abbā Garimā.  Apart from Islamic manuscripts, paper only came into general use twentieth century.  There are eighty eight languages in Ethiopia according to Ethnologue, but not all support manuscript cultures.  The majority of manuscripts are in Ge'ez, the ancient liturgical language of Ethiopia.  See graphics and a list of 20 institutions holding Ethiopian manuscripts at

Ethiopia, (official name:  Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik), was formerly known as Abyssinia.  Ethiopia is a landlocked country on the Horn of Africa, in the east of the continent  It is bordered by DjiboutiEritreaKenyaSomalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Somaliland (Somalia).  Ethiopia covers an area of 1,126,829 km², this is about twice the size of France or the U.S. state of Texas.  Highest elevation is Mount Ras Dashen with 4620 m.  population of more than 90 million inhabitants makes the country the second-most populous nation in Africa. 

Tranches are portions of debt or securities that are structured to divide risk or group characteristics in ways that are marketable to various investors.  Each portion, or tranche, is one of several related securities offered at the same time but with different risks, rewards and maturities to appeal to different types of investors.  Tranches in structured finance are a fairly recent development, spurred by the increased use of securitization to divide up sometimes-risky financial products with steady cash flows to then sell these divisions to other investors.  The word "tranche" comes from the French word for slice.  The discrete tranches of a larger asset pool are usually defined in transaction documentation and assigned different classes of notes, each with a different bond credit rating.  More senior-rated tranches typically have higher credit ratings than the lower-rated tranches.  Examples of financial products that can be divided into tranches include loans, insurance policies, mortgages and other debts.

Reduplicatives:  repeating, rhyming and vowel change  Find a list of terms with meanings, including namby-pamby, shilly-shally and willy-nilly at

Pesce, the Italian word for fish, is being associated with people who add aquatic animals to a vegetarian diet.  Pescetarians (sometimes called pesco-vegetarians) eat freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish in addition to the fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, eggs, and dairy vegetarians typically consume.  "The pescetarian diet is similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet:  plant-based, with fish serving as the primary animal protein," says Sharon Palmer, RDN, nutrition editor of Today's Dietitian and author of Plant-Powered for Life.  Like a Mediterranean eating pattern, a healthful pescetarian diet is loaded with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.  Judith C. Thalheimer  Issue 1843  February 16, 2018  On this date in 1630, Dutch forces led by Hendrick Lonck captured Olinda in what was to become part of Dutch Brazil.  On this date in 1899Iceland's first football club, Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur, was founded.  Today, John Corigliano Jr. who has been awarded the Grawmeyer Award, five Grammys for recordings of his music, an Oscar for “Best Film Score,” and the Pulitzer Prize, is celebrating his 80th birthday.  Thought for Today  There are two ways to slice easily through life; to believe everything or to doubt everything.  Both ways save us from thinking.  Alfred Korzybski, Polish-American linguist (1879-1950) 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fairlife, stylized as fairlife, is a brand of milk distributed in the United States by The Coca-Cola Company.  The milk comes in four varieties: reduced fatchocolatefat-free, and whole milk.  In regard to Coca-Cola's strategy for Fairlife, the company's North America President Sandy Douglas stated, "Our vision for the nutrition beverage business and the milk product that I showed you which is made on a sustainable dairy with fully sustainable high-care processes with animals, has a proprietary milk filtering process that allows you to increase protein by 50 percent, take sugar down by 30 percent, and have no lactose, and a milk that's premiumised and taste better and we'll charge twice as much for it as the milk we're used to buying in a jug."  The cost of Fairlife is indeed, roughly twice as high as conventional milk; Fairlife's national average price in the US is $4.29 per 52 oz., compared to the national average pricing of conventional milk at $2 per 64 oz.  Following its widespread launch in February 2015, Khushbu Shah of wrote that overall reviews of the milk was mixed, although that the chocolate variety, in particular, was generally well received.  Dietitians and nutritionists were generally critical of the milk; Alissa Rumsey, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics expressed, "When you really look at the numbers, it can sound appealing, but in general most Americans are already getting enough protein," adding, "If you need more, eat an egg or a handful of almonds.  And people who need more calcium should up their intake of dark leafy greens, not the so-called Frankenmilk."  Registered dietitian Keri Gans claimed, "milk is already a great package of nutrients; I’m not quite sure why it needs to be changed," and commented on the removal of sugar in Fairlife milk with, "I never looked at the sugar in milk as a problem."  Meredith Engel of New York Daily News speculated that, "it’s clear why Coke is trying to get into the milk business:  More and more Americans are turning away from sugary soft drinks, and soda sales fell to a 19-year-low in 2013."

You may be aware that over the last 25 years, there has been a major effort to convert paper production from acidic products that deteriorate quickly to more stable paper.  The movement largely came from the library community’s concerns about rapidly deteriorating paper in their collections.  The result is that there are now no western producers making acidic papers anymore (other than newsprint), which is great news for libraries, archives and consumers.  Not all of these papers, however, can be guaranteed to truly last long-term (by that we mean over 300 years).  Manufacturers can, and do, change the chemical composition of papers quite regularly, and as consumers and staff in a library/archive, it is good to know what is available and how to use it best.  For long-term quality, look for papers that are marked “permanent” or “archival,” with the infinity symbol set inside a circle.  Permanent papers can be made with wood pulp (where the harmful acidic lignin is found), but the lignin is generally removed and no acidic additives are included during manufacture.  Permanent papers are expected to last several hundred years under normal library or archival storage conditions.  To be labeled “permanent” with the infinity symbol, the paper must meet either ISO 9706 or ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 standards.  Archival papers are made to an even higher standard and will last up to 1000 years.  These papers are produced with cellulose fibres from plants other than wood and do not contain lignin (usually cotton or linen).  Also, the standard for archival papers (ISO 11108) includes requirements for paper strength, which the standards for permanent papers do not include.  As a final note, it is important to remember that the storage environment for paper also has a huge impact on its longevity.  For every five-degree reduction in temperature, it is estimated that the lifespan of paper doubles.  See graphics at

According to the 1988 edition of the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins:  Normal Schools derive their name from the French phrase ecole normaleThese teacher-training institutions, the first of which was established in France by the Brothers of the Christian Schools in 1685, were intended to set a pattern, establish a “norm” after which all other schools would be modeled.  The first normal school in America was established in Vermont in 1823.  The name fell out of favor toward the end of the 1920s, when the influence of Columbia University’s Teachers College became paramount in the field of public education.  Most such institutions changed their names to “teachers colleges” during the 1930s.  Now that the “progressive education” teachings of the Columbia group have been discredited, the Progressive Education Association itself has disbanded and most colleges have dropped “teachers” from their names.  

Normal is a town in McLean County, Illinois, United States.  As of the 2010 census, the town's population was 52,497.  Normal is the smaller of two principal municipalities of the Bloomington–Normalmetropolitan area, and Illinois' seventh most populous community outside the Chicago metropolitan area.  The main campus of Illinois' oldest public university, Illinois State University, a fully accredited four-year institution, is in Normal, as is Heartland Community College, a fully accredited two-year institution.  There is also a satellite campus of Lincoln College, which offers associate degrees as well as four-year programs.  The town was laid out with the name North Bloomington on June 7, 1854 by Joseph Parkinson.  From its founding, it was generally recognized that Jesse W. Fell was the force behind the creation of the town.  The town was renamed Normal in February 1865 and officially incorporated on February 25, 1867.  The name was taken from Illinois State Normal University, a normal school (teacher-training institution) located there.  The school has since been renamed Illinois State University after becoming a general four-year university.  Normal is adjacent to Bloomington, Illinois, and when mentioned together they are known as the "Twin Cities", "Bloomington-Normal", "BN", or "BloNo".,_Illinois

Remembering the Freedom Train by Ted Widmer   In 1946, William Coblenz, a junior official at the Department of Justice, had an idea for an uplifting display of American values.  During his lunch break, Coblenz liked to walk across the street to the National Archives, to inspect the exhibit of recently captured Nazi artifacts.  Coblenz felt that Americans lacked a coherent understanding of their own, history; soon, he was pressing forward with the idea of a mobile display of America’s greatest documents.  Officials from the National Archives were intrigued, and the heads of Paramount Pictures, U.S. Steel, Du Pont, General Electric, and Standard Oil lined up in support.  A bipartisan American Heritage Foundation convened to direct these energies, raise funding, and sell the concept of a moving museum to the public.  The documents would be carried across America by a special railroad, guarded by Marines:  the Freedom Train.  By the fall of 1947, Americans were awash in Freedom Train-themed comic books, school kits, and other materials heralding the approach of the exhibit.  The American Heritage Foundation unveiled a new slogan, “Freedom is Everybody’s Job,” and Irving Berlin wrote a catchy song, which débuted in a carefully coördinated media blitz, just before departure.  All the radio networks covered the train when it left Philadelphia, on September 17, 1947—the hundred and sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.  Read more and see pictures at

The NBA's Secret Wine Society, the inside-the-bottle story of the intense love affair between NBA stars and the gilded grape. by Baxter Holmes   The river of black shuttle buses negotiates sharp switchbacks, bouncing upward along miles of uneven pavement that fades into dirt, from two lanes to one, climbing beneath oak forest that blocks out the morning light. Cellphone service dwindles to nothing.  Finally, a metal gate appears, a large "M" at its center, and soon the Cleveland Cavaliers pour out of the buses.  About 60 members of the franchise gather near tables covered in white cloth, sitting atop cedar bark spread across a small clearing.  They clink flutes of 2006 Dom Pérignon in toast.  Nearby, all around the property, lies charred earth.  Burned hillsides, stippled with the black skeletons of trees, loom ominous.  This is Napa Valley's Mayacamas winery.  Not many of the Cavs have been here, but LeBron James has, and he recognizes that the area where he's standing now, the small clearing, once belonged to a building that is no more.  The fire, when it came, had raced in from the west, feeding on dry underbrush, roaring over the hills.  Winds swept it along the edges of and into Mayacamas' vineyards, the intense heat threatening dormant vines harvested not long before.  Workers evacuated as flames neared the winery, not knowing what--if anything--would survive.  When staffers returned weeks later, they saw how the flames had crept to the edge of the three main buildings, licked up their sides, leaving deep black scars near the foundation.  Millions in damage was caused, though the true toll will be tallied when it becomes clear which vines can still bud in the spring.  But somehow the fire had devoured only one of the buildings, a 5,000-square-foot, two-story Italian villa-style structure used for hospitality and dining.  "It's a miracle," says Mayacamas assistant winemaker Braiden Albrecht.  Mayacamas hadn't hosted any groups since that October blaze.  No groups, that is, until today, a clear, brisk late-December Thursday--two days before James' 33rd birthday--when the Cavaliers arrive for a midseason two-day Napa getaway.  After the champagne toast, players gather beside fermentation tanks before moving next door to a spacious living room, where glasses of 2015 chardonnay and 2013 cabernet dot a heavy wooden table.  They playfully sneak more glasses of wine.  James tries to tempt rookie forward Cedi Osman, who, along with some of the other rookies, isn't into wine just yet.  "Drink me . . . " James says, holding the glass near Osman, but Osman declines.  "Their loss," James would say later. "More for me."  Read much, much more at  Thank you, Muse reader!  Issue 1842  February 14, 2018  On this date in 1922, Italian composer Riccardo Zandonai 's new opera, “Giulietta e Romeo,” based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, premiered in Rome.  Today, Zandonai’s music is seldom heard outside of Italy, but the classic story of Romeo and Juliet has attracted a remarkable number of different musical settings.  The most famous opeera based on Romeo and Juliet" is by the French composer Charles Gounod, first staged in 1867.  First runner-up, some distance away, is probably Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi” of 1830.  It’s intriguing to speculate what might have been if Tchaikovsky had ever followed through on his idea to write his own “Romeo and Juliet” opera.  He made a few sketches, but instead of an opera he turned to the idea of a “fantasy-overture,” tinkering with it over a period of a dozen years.  The finished product is still one of his most beloved concert pieces, and is often quoted in movies and TV commercials as an instantly recognizable musical cue for love and romance.  Composers Datebook  Word of the Day  philematology  noun   The scientific study of kissing  Wiktionary

Monday, February 12, 2018

Professor Johnston often said that if you didn’t know history, you didn’t know anything.  You were a leaf that didn’t know it was part of a tree.  Timeline is a science fiction novel by American writer Michael Crichton, published in November 1999.  It tells the story of a group of history students who travel to 14th-century France to rescue their professor.  The book follows in Crichton's long history of combining technical details and action in his books, addressing quantum and multiverse theory.  The novel spawned Timeline Computer Entertainment, a computer game developer that created the Timeline PC game published by Eidos Interactive in 2000.  film based on the book was released in 2003.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  This famous statement has produced many paraphrases and variants:  Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.  Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.  Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.  Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.  From Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense from The Life of Reason by philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist George Santayana (1863-1952)  There is a similar quote by Edmund Burke (in Revolution in France) that often leads to misattribution:  "People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors."

"If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten."  —Rudyard Kipling  All the illustrations, maps and other history-related materials on the Heritage History electronic library site were taken from history books and atlases that are not longer copyright protected and are available to republish without cost.  The complete text of every book in the library can be read directly off the website, and both printable (PDF) and eBook (EPUB, MOBI) formats are available for every book.

The terms leeward and windward are used in a number of ways to describe specific places, physical features, and climatic processes.  In one sense, windward and leeward generally refer to the location of a place relative to the prevailing wind direction.  A windward location is one that is exposed to the prevailing winds.  Conversely, a leeward location is protected from the prevailing wind.  The Windward Islands, as they came to be called, include Barbados, the Caribees (a cluster of small islands), DOMINICAMARTINIQUEGRENADASAINT LUCIA, and SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES.  The Windward Islands, a former British colony, are the southernmost islands in the Lesser Antilles and were once collectively named the Federal Colony of the Windward Islands and later the Territory of the Windward Islands.  The northern continuation of the Lesser Antilles includes islands that are farther downwind from the Windward Islands.  First discovered by Columbus in 1493, these are the Leeward Islands, which includes ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, the British Virgin IslandsMONTSERRATSAINT KITTS AND NEVIS, and ANGUILLA.  A string of leeward islands is also found northwest of the Hawaiian Islands, and this group has become a national bird sanctuary.  The Society Islands in French Polynesia, a region east of the COOK ISLANDS in the South Pacific, are identified as leeward islands.  The narrow sea-lane separating eastern CUBA and HAITI lies in the path of the northeast trade winds.  As such, vessels traveling between the ATLANTIC OCEAN and the CARIBBEAN SEA are using the aptly named Windward Passage.

A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg
leeway  (LEE-way)  noun  The amount of freedom to do something: margin or latitude.   In nautical terminology, leeway is the sideways drift of a ship to leeward (away from wind).  From Old English hleo (shelter) + way.  Earliest documented use:  1669.
flotsam  (FLOT-suhm)   noun  1.  Goods found floating after a shipwreck.  2.  People or things considered useless or unimportant.  From Old French floter (to float).  Ultimately from the Indo-European root pleu- (to flow), which is also the source of flow, float, flit, fly, flutter, pulmonary, pneumonia, pluvial, and fletcher.  Earliest documented use:  1607.
jetsam  (JET-suhm)  noun  1.  Goods thrown overboard to lighten a ship in distress.  2. Discarded material, debris, etc.   An alteration of the word jettison.  Earlier, jettison was the act of throwing goods overboard to lighten a ship in distress.  From Latin jactare (to throw), frequentative of jacere (to throw). Earliest documented use:  1491.
groggy   (GROG-ee)  adjective  Dazed, weak, or unsteady, as from lack of sleep, tiredness, sickness, intoxication, etc.  After Old Grog, nickname of Admiral Edward Vernon (1684-1757), who ordered diluted rum to be served to his sailors (and thus helped coin the term grog).  The admiral earned the nickname from his habit of wearing a grogram cloak.  Grogram is a coarse fabric of silk, wool, mohair, or a blend of them.  The word grogram is from French gros grain (large grain or texture).  Earliest documented use:  1770.
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From:  Andrew Pressburger  Subject:  flotsam  The 20th-century medievalist historian Henri Pirenne claimed that Western European feudalism gradually yielded to middle-class entrepreneurs in trade and commerce by beachcombers collecting flotsam from shipwrecks and selling the items at inland fairs.  Later on they would settle outside or below feudal castles for protection (these settlements came to be known as faubourgs or suburbs) and obtain trading monopoly from the local lord.  This development amounted to a paradigm shift in economic and social development, influencing radical changes in the realm of politics as well. 
From:  Michael Sharman  Subject:  flosam and jetsam  In the days of my youth, 1938 or so, there was a music hall duo, very similar to Flanders and Swann, 20 years later, called Mr. Flotsam and Mr. Jetsam.   Their real names were B.C. Hilliam and Malcolm McEachern.  The opening of their turn was to sing (together) “We’ll tell our names so that everyone knows we’ve got some.”/ (F) “I’m Flotsam.” / (J) “I’m Jetsam.” (F) “He’s Jetsam.” (J) “He’s Flotsam.” (together)  “We’ll tell you again so that nobody forgets ‘em’.”  (F) “He’s Jetsam.” (J) “He’s Flotsam.” (F) “I’m Flotsam.” (J) “I’m Jetsam.”  They were funny, topical and never rude, and were a turn to look forward to.

February 9, 2018  PITTSFIELD — If approved by the state's top court, the Berkshire Museum will sell Norman Rockwell's "Shuffleton's Barbershop," its most valuable work, on the way to drawing $55 million out of its collection and resolving a standoff that has mesmerized the art world.  But in a concession, the work will be sold to a nonprofit museum in the United States, not at auction to a buyer anywhere in the world.  And four months after that transaction, the acclaimed painting, considered Rockwell's masterwork, will spend 18 to 24 months on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.  The museum and Attorney General's Office on Friday revealed details of their effort to resolve a dispute over the legality of art sales.  Their agreement capped months of court battles and rallies that split museum supporters and, to a degree, the community itself.  The divide remained Friday, as members of Save the Art, a community group, assailed the agreement as not in keeping with the museum's mission.   "The 'compromise' agreement . . .  is flawed," the group said in a statement.  "It flouts all standards of museum best practices and fails to honor the Berkshire Museum's duty to the community's cultural past or its future generations."  Instead of protecting the public trust, the pact violates it, the group said.  The agreement is considered a breakthrough in the long-running dispute and could influence how museums view potential sales of works in their collections.  The museum's plan must be approved by a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, but that is considered likely given the state's endorsement.  The agreement includes requirements the museum report to the attorney general on steps it will take to sell the 40 works it listed for sale last summer.  The art will be sold in three batches, with specific works to be selected by the museum.  Sales must stop when proceeds reach $55 million, the agreement says.  That is the figure that the Attorney General's Office decided, after a monthslong investigation, that the museum needs to shore up its finances.  That means that not all 40 of the works will necessarily be sold, depending on prices obtained through sales.  With the agreement, the attorney general and museum avoid an extended fight through the appellate level, consuming months or years of time and expense.  Because the petition represents the views of both sides, and contains an agreed-upon set of facts, the court can review and judge them much faster.  The museum and state are expected to drop pending actions before the Massachusetts Appeals Court.  Lawyers for two other groups of plaintiffs have said they will review the agreement before deciding whether to continue to contest the sales.  By selling works to cover operational expenses, the museum broke ranks with trade associations  Ethics codes of those groups say revenues from the deaccession and sale of art should only be used to address the needs of museum collections.  Rockwell gave "Shuffleton" to the museum in 1959.  The painting, which appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on April 29, 1950, had been valued by Sotheby's at between $20 million and $30 million.  Its next owner remains a mystery.  The museum declined to identify the prospective buyer or to say how much will be paid for the painting.  While the agreement preserves public access to "Shuffleton's Barbershop," the fate of the other painting the artist gave to the Pittsfield museum, "Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop," will not be known until it is grouped into one of three lots that the museum can sell, under terms of the deal.  Larry Parnass  Read much more at,531708?

To the Muse reader who is intrigued by the short story  
"Bartleby, the Scrivener:  A Story of Wall Street" by Herman Melville, first serialized anonymously in two parts in the November and December 1853 issues of Putnam's Magazine, I challenge you to read it and the short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, first published in Collier's Magazine on May 27, 1922  Issue 1841  February 12, 2018  On this date in 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born.  On this date in 1948, farmers in Nebraska were so inspired by the former president they started a train in his honor to feed the world's hungry.  The train launched from the town of Lincoln, Nebraska.  Carloads of food donations were gathered onto sections of the train in Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois.  Supplies from Colorado and Wyoming also arrived at start.  The train kept moving east toward Philadelphia rounding up even more supplies.  Around 200 freight cars of supplies were collected.  By the end of February food was on its way to Austria, Germany, Poland, Japan, Korea and other nations who had suffered so much during World War II.  William Lambers  Thought for Today  It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin, naturalist and  author (12 Feb 1809-1882)