Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another Toledo muse reader helps us with creating the useful dash.
As to your discussion of the dash--there is a setting that makes this work on MS Word. It is under Tools-->AutoCorrect Options-->Auto Format as You Type--> then click the box for "hyphens with dash"

Recent CRS Reports on Qui Tam
Qui Tam: The False Claims Act and Related Federal Statutes, August 6, 2009 - "Qui tam enlists the public in the recovery of civil penalties and forfeitures. It rewards with a portion of the recovered proceeds those who sue in the government’s name. A creature of antiquity, once common, today qui tam lives on in federal law only in the False Claims Act and in two minor examples found in patent and Indian protection laws."
Qui Tam: An Abbreviated Look at the False Claims Act and Related Federal Statutes, August 6, 2009.

The runic alphabets are a set of related alphabets using letters known as runes to write various Germanic languages prior to the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter. The Scandinavian variants are also known as futhark (or fuþark, derived from their first six letters of the alphabet: F, U, Þ, A, R, and K); the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc (due to sound changes undergone in Old English by the same six letters). Runology is the study of the runic alphabets, runic inscriptions, runestones, and their history. Runology forms a specialized branch of Germanic linguistics. The earliest runic inscriptions date from around 150 AD, and the alphabet was generally replaced by the Latin alphabet along with Christianization by around 700 AD in central Europe and by around 1100 AD in Scandinavia; however, the use of runes persisted for specialized purposes in Scandinavia, longest in rural Sweden until the early twentieth century (used mainly for decoration as runes in Dalarna and on Runic calendars).

Fotopedia - the first collaborative photo encyclopedia
"Fotopedia is breathing new life into photos by building a photo encyclopedia that lets photographers and photo enthusiasts collaborate and enrich images to be useful for the whole world wide web."

Washington D.C. area landmarks in The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, part two
Kryptos is a sculpture by James Sanborn located on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia. Since its dedication on November 3, 1990, there has been much speculation about the meaning of the encrypted messages it bears.
Scottish Rite Masonic Temple also known as House of the Temple
Designed by architect John Russell Pope and built in 1915, this building was modeled after the Tomb of Mausolus in Turkey, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. (pages 6 and 9 show pictures of library)
The Statue of Freedom was placed on top of the Capitol Dome in 1863. The Statue of Freedom is a female figure, who holds a sheathed sword in her right hand and a laurel wreath of victory and the shield of the United States with thirteen stripes in her left hand.
The statue has a helmet adorned with stars and an eagle's head. She stands on a cast-iron globe encircled with the national motto, E Pluribus Unum. The bronze statue stands 19 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 15,000 pounds.
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, modeled after the Pantheon of Rome--the circular, colonnaded structure in the classic style was introduced to this country by Thomas Jefferson. Architect John Russell Pope used Jefferson's own architectural tastes in the design of the Memorial.
The Washington Monument is an obelisk near the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington. The monument, made of marble, granite, and sandstone, is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk in height standing 555 feet 5⅛ inches (169.294 m). There are other monumental columns (which are neither all stone nor true obelisks) which are taller. The Washington Monument is the third tallest monumental column in the world after the San Jacinto Monument in Texas and the Juche Tower in North Korea.
Washington National Cathedral, whose official name is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church. The high altar, The Jerusalem Altar, is made from stones quarried at Solomon's Quarry near Jerusalem, reputedly where the stones for Solomon's Temple were quarried. In the floor directly in front of that altar are set ten stones from the Chapel of Moses on Mount Sinai, representing the Ten Commandments as a foundation for the Jerusalem Altar. There are many other works of art including over two hundred stained glass windows, the most familiar of which may be the Space Window, honoring man's landing on the Moon, which includes a fragment of lunar rock at its center.

Sardinia is Italy's second largest island and the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It's also a geographical and political region of Italy, famed for its beautiful beaches and fascinating history.
In D. H. Lawrence’s book “Sea and Sardinia” he is quoted as saying that “Sardinia is left outside of time and history”. Sardinia’s history is very ancient. Proof has been found of human life dating back to 250,000 BC. The most common artifact on the island was left by the Nuragic civilization. Over 7000 stone, tower like structures remain yet with no written record it is a mystery as to their significance. There are many hypotheses yet one thing is agreed upon; this civilization was astronomically and mathematically advanced. It is nothing short of a miracle that these towers still stand, 3500 years later.
Nuragic Culture (XVII Cent. B.C. - IX Cent. B.C.)
Nuragic culture began approx. in 1600 B.C. The population was divided in tribes, which probably often came into conflict, and was ruled by "king-shepherds". The most characteristic monuments of this period are nuraghi, truncated-conic buildings made of rocks, with a defensive purpose; sometimes the single towers were connected to each other by walls, forming complexes. The towers were high up to 18-20 m, and were
rich in passageways, stairs and inner wells.

The world's heaviest baby was born in 1879 in Ohio and weighed 23.8 pounds (10.8 kg), but the baby died 11 hours later, according to Guinness World Records. The heaviest baby to survive was a boy born in 1955 in Aversa, Italy. He weighed 22.6 pounds (10.2 kg). A baby in Indonesia made his way into the world in September 2009 at 19.2 pounds (8.7 kg)—about three times the weight of an average newborn.

On September 26, 1789, John Jay was commissioned as the first Chief Justice of the United States following his confirmation by the Senate.
September 26 is the birthday of Jane Smiley, (books by this author) born in Los Angeles (1949). She's best known for her novel A Thousand Acres (1991), which begins, "At sixty miles per hour, you could pass our farm in a minute."
September 26 is the birthday of composer George Gershwin, born in Brooklyn, New York (1898). He made his name as a composer with the piece Rhapsody in Blue (1924), when he was just 26 years old. The Writer’s Almanac

Friday, September 25, 2009

Toledo muse reader shows faster way to make a consistent dash than using symbol chart. Thanks, Sue.
You can do a long dash another way. Just type (2) hyphens and hit enter and then go back up to the line and you have a long dash and continue typing.

You Say Soda, I Say Pop!
Soda pop. It's at every party and restaurant. It's a frequent staple of many Americans' meals. Yet soda has frequently been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and osteoporosis. There are 16 teaspoons of sugar in every 20 oz. bottle of soda! Take a moment to think about what soda may be doing—or not doing—for you. Here are some alternatives:
• Sparkling water with or without flavor
• Flavored, unsweetened teas
• Bottled water
• Fresh squeezed lemon or lime in plain or sparkling water
• Juice spritzers made by adding sparkling water to 100% juice

Washington D.C. area landmarks in The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
The Capitol was originally designed by William Thornton. And was subsequently modified by Stephen Hallet, Benjamin Latrobe and then Charles Bulfinch. The current dome and the House and Senate wings were designed by Thomas U. Walter and August Schoenborn and were completed under the supervision of Edward Clark. The building is marked by its central dome above a rotunda and two wings, one for each chamber of Congress: the north wing is the Senate chamber and the south wing is the House of Representatives chamber. Above these chambers are galleries where people can watch the Senate and House of Representatives. It is an example of the Neoclassical architecture style.
Franklin School was designed by prominent Washington architect Adolph Cluss and completed in 1869.
Freedom Plaza, originally known as Western Plaza, is an open plaza in Northwest Washington, D.C., located at the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, adjacent to Pershing Park. Designed in 1980, the plaza is mostly composed of stone, inlaid with a depiction of parts of Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant's plan for the City of Washington.[1] The plaza was renamed in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., who worked on his "I Have a Dream" speech in the nearby Willard Hotel. In 1988, a time capsule containing a Bible, a robe, and other relics of King's was planted at the site.
George Washington sculpture To commemorate the centennial of Washington's birth in 1832, Congress commissioned Horatio Greenough to create a statue to be displayed in the Capitol Rotunda. As soon as the marble statue arrived in the capital city in 1841, however, it attracted controversy and criticism. Greenough had modeled his figure of Washington on a classical Greek statue of Zeus, but many Americans found the sight of a half-naked Washington offensive, even comical. After the statue was relocated to the east lawn of the Capitol in 1843, some joked that Washington was desperately reaching for his clothes, on exhibit at the Patent Office several blocks to the north. In 1908 Greenough's statue finally came in from the cold: Congress transferred it to the Smithsonian. It remained at the Castle until 1964, when it was moved to the new Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History).
To be continued

Librarians and booksellers are two of my favorite people. Anyone who loves books so much as to dedicate his life to them can't be all that bad. Unfortunately there are some who feel threatened by certain books and call for them to be banned or destroyed. People have a right to be offended by any book. All they have to do is not buy or borrow it. The problem begins when they try to impose their views on others by trying to ban it. As an antidote to banning, the last week of September is observed in the U.S. as Banned Books Week. To celebrate it, we are going to feature words relating to censorship and mutilation of books. Even though people after whom some of these words are coined have long gone, censorship is still alive. But there's hope. I leave you with this thoughtful letter from a librarian to a patron.
comstockery (KOM-stok-uh-ree, KUM-) noun
overzealous censorship of material considered obscene
After Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. He crusaded against anything he considered immoral. Nothing escaped his wrath--even anatomy textbooks for medical students and the draping of mannequins in public view in shop windows were obscene to him. He lobbied for laws against mailing any material that could be perceived as promoting immorality. He was appointed postal inspector and he seized books, postcards, and other materials by the boatload. He boasted that he had arrested more than 3,000 people and driven more than 15 to suicide. George Bernard Shaw coined the word comstockery after him when he attacked the American production of Shaw's play "Mrs. Warren's Profession".
bowdlerize (BOAD-luh-ryz) verb tr,
to remove or change parts (of a book, play, movie, etc.) considered objectionable.
After Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), a British doctor, who edited the Family Shakespeare, an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare's works. Bowdler believed the original wasn't suitable for the delicate sensibilities of women and children. He also edited other books, such as Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and the Old Testament in a similar manner.
grangerize (GRAYN-juh-ryz) verb tr.
1. to mutilate a book by clipping pictures out of it
2. to illustrate a book by adding pictures cut from other books
After James Granger (1723-1776), an English clergyman whose Biographical History of England had blank leaves for illustrations, to be filled with pictures, clippings, etc. by the reader. A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

Buried treasure—continued
Experts say a hoard of buried treasure discovered in a farming field in central England
is "war booty" and probably belonged to a pagan king. The bright treasure is believed to have been buried in the Dark Ages, some time in the seventh or eighth century.
Archaeologist Kevin Leahy says the stash contains 1,500 pieces of gold and silver and most of the objects used to be weapons. "It's mostly sword fittings, which is quite incredible. There are also strips of gold decorated with garnets, which as yet we haven't been able to identify, strange little gold snakes," he said.

On September 25, 1555, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V signed the Peace of Augsburg, allowing princes within the Empire to choose whether their lands would be Catholic or Protestant. People living in a given principality were then permitted to move to a different region within the Empire if their faith differed from the one chosen by the prince their home state.
On September 25, 1789, the United States Congress sent twelve proposed constitutional amendments to the state legislatures for ratification. Ten of these were adopted in 1791 and became known as the Bill of Rights.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Toledo muse reader has reminded me that I wrote of MapsCompare at and she has learned to use one its map features found separately at A couple of times, she has found maps at more accurate than Google. Bing has more than maps, including images, news and travel information. Thanks, Julie.

Census Bureau Releases 2008 American Community Survey Data
News release: "The U.S. Census Bureau has released the latest American Community Survey (ACS) data, providing a statistical portrait of the characteristics of the nation’s population in 2008. / Detailed tables / ACS Media Toolkit / 2008 ACS Questionnaire. According to the new snapshot, one-in-four people in Texas (24.1 percent) lacked health insurance in 2008, the highest rate in the nation. At the other end of the spectrum, fewer than one-in-20 Massachusetts residents (4.1 percent) lacked coverage."
"Five states—Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana and Michigan—saw real median household income fall between 2007 and 2008. Just one state had a decline between 2006 and 2007.
The total foreign-born population represented 12.5 percent of the population in 2008; it was 12.6 percent in 2007.
The percentage of women 15 and over who have never married was 28.1 percent in 2008, up from 27.6 percent in 2007 and 27.3 percent in 2006.
California homeowners with mortgages ($2,384) had the median housing costs in the nation ew Jersey had the second highest median housing cost ($2,360). Hawaii ($2,265) and the District of Columbia ($2,218) followed, but were not significantly different from each other. Rounding out the top six were Connecticut ($2,108) and Massachusetts ($2,105), which also were not significantly different from each other."

A peninsula is a piece of land that is nearly surrounded by water but connected to mainland via an isthmus. Word origin: Latin paenīnsula : paene, almost + īnsula, island. A peninsula can also be a headland, cape, island promontory, bill, point, or spit.[1]
Delmarva Peninsula, encompassing parts of Maryland and Virginia, and all of Delaware
Florida is a well-known example of a large peninsula, with its land area divided between the larger Florida peninsula and the smaller Florida panhandle on the north and west. It has several smaller peninsulas within it. Much of Tampa lies on a peninsula jutting out into Tampa Bay.
Long Island, was once a peninsula connected to North America during the Ice Ages.
Michigan is very distinguishable for its mitten-shaped Lower Peninsula of Michigan which includes:
Dyke Peninsula
Fountain Point
Leelanau Peninsula
Old Mission Peninsula
The Thumb
Woodtick Peninsula
The northern half of Michigan is called the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and contains:
Abbaye Peninsula
Garden Peninsula
Keweenaw Peninsula
Stonington Peninsula
New Jersey Peninsula - This state can be viewed as a peninsula surrounded by the Delaware River, Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay

A hyphen connects, and a dash separates. The word hyphen is not used very much anymore, but you probably see them everyday, for instance or

A Hyphen is Not a Dash by Tina Blue
When you need a dash, for whatever reason, you need a dash--not a hyphen. There are two kinds of dashes: the n-dash and the m-dash. The n-dash is called that because it is the same width as the letter "n". The m-dash is longer--the width of the letter "m". We use the n-dash for numerical ranges, as in "6-10 years." When we need a dash as a form of parenthetical punctuation in a sentence--as I have been using it rather freely already in this article--we use the m-dash. The problem is, most of us can't produce a dash on our typewriters or keyboards. Microsoft Word and other word processing programs will sometimes recognize two successive hyphens--typed with no space between them--as an m-dash and translate the double hyphen into a respectable dash. But at other times--and for no reason that I can fathom--it fails to make the translation and I end up with a double hyphen rather than a true dash.

Note: On my keyboard, I use the key between 0 and = to produce a hyphen (-).
To produce a dash, I click on Insert on the tool bar, Symbol, General Punctuation, select an em dash (—), and, putting my cursor in the desired spot, click insert.

A harvest of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver so beautiful it brought tears to the eyes of one expert, has poured out of a Staffordshire field—the largest hoard of gold from the period ever found. The weapons and helmet decorations, coins and Christian crosses amount to more than 1500 pieces, with hundreds still embedded in blocks of soil. It adds up to 5kg of gold—three times the amount found in the famous Sutton Hoo ship burial in 1939—and 2.5kg of silver, and may be the swag from a spectacularly successful raiding party of warlike Mercians, some time around AD700. The first scraps of gold were found in July in a farm field by Terry Herbert, an amateur metal detector who lives alone in a council flat on disability benefit.

And do as adversaries do in law,
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.

On September 24, 1664, the Netherlands surrendered New Amsterdam to Great Britain, which changed the city's name to New York.
On September 24, 1789, Congress instituted a three-tiered federal judicial structure topped by a Supreme Court with the passage of "An Act to establish the Judicial Courts of the United States", later known as the Judiciary Act of 1789.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Six Finalists for The Best of the National Book Awards Fiction were selected by 140 writers from across the country. Between September 21th and October 21st the public will vote on the Foundation’s web site (one vote per email address). Each unique email address will be entered into a sweepstakes for two free tickets to the National Book Awards Ceremony and Dinner on November 18 and two nights in the Marriott Hotel near Wall Street. Click on one of the circles at: and then click on the submit button.

The Stories of John Cheever

Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

The Collected Stories of William Faulkner

The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor

Gravity's Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

A Toledo muse reader has recently returned from Philadelphia where she enjoyed a 70-minute ride on an amphibious vehicle around historic sites on land and on the Delaware River. Read about it at:

The Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) in Adelaide, Australia says it is worrying that two girls lost in a stormwater drain raised the alert on a social networking site rather than calling for emergency help. The 10- and 12-year-old girls updated a Facebook status to say they were lost in a drain on Honeypot Road at Hackham in Adelaide's southern suburbs on September 6. Professor of Media and Communications at the Queensland University of Technology, Terry Flew, says public education campaigns are facing an ongoing struggle to compete with social media.

When engaging in social media at work err on the side of caution and read company guidelines to avoid being slapped with a lawsuit. Employers should:
1. Make clear what’s acceptable in the office.
2. If you’re encouraging staffers to tweet, blog, etc. as part of their jobs, have specific guidelines.
3. Understand privacy issues.
4. Don’t be an open book.
5. Make sure that what your company puts out there is ready for public consumption.
6. Protect yourself from defamation or defamation claims, the most common risks of using social media.
7. Realize that you don’t have total control.
8. Understand the consequences.
For more information, see:

Some of the winners in The Week magazine’s contest asking readers to invent a new word describing a common multitasking activity.
Crashing: Driving while texting
Droning: Driving while phoning
Teleshirking: doing anything other than working from home while working from home.
Brakefasting: driving while eating cereal

The News Digest contains the latest information on the full range of sound issues and research. Here you'll find issues updates and recent news items, drawn from a wide range of sources, including both science and general interest press from around the world, as well as alerts from environmental organizations.

On July 3, 1979, U.S. President Carter signed a presidential finding authorizing funding for anticommunist guerrillas in Afghanistan.[3] After the Soviet invasion in December 1979, Carter announced what became known as the Carter Doctrine: that the U.S. would not allow any other outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf. He terminated the Russian Wheat Deal, which was intended to establish trade with USSR and lessen Cold War tensions. The grain exports had been beneficial to people employed in agriculture, and the Carter embargo marked the beginning of hardship for American farmers. He also prohibited Americans from participating in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and reinstated registration for the draft for young males. The Soviet troops completely pulled out of Afghanistan on February 15, 1989.
In his February 6, 1985, State of the Union message, President Ronald Reagan called for support of anti-Communist forces "from Afghanistan to Nicaragua" and proclaimed that "support for freedom fighters is self-defense." Seizing on this passage, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer announced what came to be known as "the Reagan Doctrine." In Krauthammer's words, this was a policy of "democratic militance" that "proclaims overt and unabashed support for anti-Communist revolution." But Reagan pursued this doctrine selectively. Apart from Afghanistan, which was a bipartisan affair, Reagan tried to roll back Communism only in Nicaragua, and to a limited degree in Angola, where Cuban troops were trying to impose Marxist rule. Apart from these examples, Reagan usually followed State Department guidance in dealing with most world trouble spots and continued policies that were already in place. The unpopular war in Afghanistan was a bleeding sore, and the Soviets privately told the United States that they intended to remove their troops from Afghanistan before the end of Reagan's term.
Texas representative Wilson and the war:
November-December 1982: Rep. Charlie Wilson Pushes for Expansion of US Support for Anti-Soviet Forces in Afghanistan
1983: Rep. Charlie Wilson Brokers Weapons Sale Between Pakistan and Israel for Use in Afghan War

Iowa Pork Chops Supreme
6 pork chops
1 cup catsup
6 tbsp. honey
1 large lemon, sliced
Wipe chops with damp paper towel. Blend catsup and honey and pour over each chop. Top with lemon slices. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees one hour or until done.
Note: Chicken, veal, or turkey may be substituted for pork.
Lime or orange slices may be substituted for lemon.

On September 23, 1905, negotiations on the Karlstad Treaty ended with an agreement to split the union of Sweden and Norway. The accord was then approved by Norway's parliament on October 9 and by Sweden's on October 13.
On September 23, 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (books by this author) returned to St. Louis from their westward expedition to the Pacific Coast. They carried with them the first tentative maps of the American West and the most detailed journals ever kept of an exploratory expedition, with notes on the events of every single day of their journey. Their report of what they discovered filled Americans with excitement about the West and launched a flood of expansion across the newly purchased Louisiana Territory.
September 23 is the birthday of Ray Charles, born Ray Charles Robinson in Albany, Georgia (1930). They called him the "Father of Soul." The Writer’s Almanac

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IBM Patent Application: Platform for Capturing Knowledge, September 10, 2009: A platform used for capturing knowledge. The platform comprises a knowledge recorder, instructional design tool, standardized XML, and gaming engine. The knowledge recorder is configured to capture knowledge of a user, which is transferable using a standardized XML format. The instructional design tool is configured to visually model a gaming scenario in order to expose and define logical situations based on the captured knowledge."
Via Slashdot to Cringley on Technology: "IBM’s proposed Platform for Capturing Knowledge describes how to use an imersive gaming environment to transfer expert knowledge held by employees “aged 50 and older” to 18-25 year-old trainees who find manuals “difficult to read and understand. IBM also discusses how its invention could be made available for customers’ use in return for “payment from the customer(s) under a
subscription and/or fee agreement.

The Internet as a Diversion, September 2009: "Three-quarters of online economic users go online to relax and take their minds off of the recession. Fully 88% of 18-29 year old online economic users look to the internet to relax." Pew Survey
See also: The Internet and the Recession, July 15, 2009

The Art of Written Persuasion: Part V - Improve Your Vocabulary, Improve Your Success: Troy Simpson returns with this fifth article in the series, and investigates the link between having a good vocabulary [lawyers have a speaking acquaintance with around 23,000 words] and being a persuasive lawyer.

Google and On Demand Books Partner to Publish Out of Copyright Books on Demand "Google agrees to provide 2 million non-copyrighted book titles for On Demand Books printing and cutting using its high-speed Espresso Book Machine. Google Books titles offered via the Espresso Machine will have a recommended sales price of $8 per copy, though the price is subject to change by retailers. On Demand may have access to sell more works if Google's Book Search deal with authors and publishers passes muster with the New York District Court in October." Wired also has the story.
Related postings on Google Book Search

Free Search Engine for All U.S. Trademarks Filed Since 1870
TradeMarkia - Search for a trademark by: name (here is the result for beSpacific), filing date(s), category, goods & services, company name, status [via Google Blogoscoped]

BLS: Consumer Price Index - August 2009
News release: "On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.4 percent in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported. The index has decreased 1.5 percent over the last 12 months on a not seasonally adjusted basis. The 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted increase in the CPI-U was driven by a 9.1 percent rise in the gasoline index. This increase accounted for almost the entire advance in the energy index and over 80 percent of the overall increase. Despite the August increase, the gasoline index has fallen 30.0 percent over the last 12 months."

BLS: Real Earnings August 2009
News release: "Real average hourly earnings fell 0.2 percent from July to August, seasonally adjusted, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported. This decline stemmed from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), up by 0.6 percent, outpacing 0.3 percent growth in average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers. Real average weekly earnings fell 0.2 percent over the month, as a result of the decrease in real average hourly earnings and no change in the average work week. Since reaching a recent high point in December 2008, real average weekly earnings have fallen by 1.5 percent."

Fallingwater, part 4 courtesy of a Toledo muse reader
Taliesin apprentice Bob Mosher was on site to observe construction and provide design clarifications and details. He replaced the earlier appointed Abe Dombar, who was also working as assistant art director for Edgar Kaufmann at his big store in downtown Pittsburgh. The Morris Knowles engineers laid out the building foundation on April 16, 1936, and later they laid out the new concrete bridge leading to the house. Wright instructed Mosher to use the large boulder by the falls as the datum point for locating the floor elevations of the house. Mosher was called upon to make changes in Wright’s design to accommodate variations in the site, adding a plunge pool by the stream allegedly as a result of an error in the Knowles’ drawings locating the streambed four feet higher than it actually was. Although Norbert Zeller was initially retained in late 1935 as the contractor, his tenure was cut short by his stint in the local jail. In May he was summarily discharged by Edgar, who continued personally to manage a crew at the quarry. Most of 1936 would pass before a professional contractor was finally retained.

First International Virtual Bookmark Convention in 2010

Literary map of San Francisco (contains city-relevant quotes)

Anagrams from an Illinois muse reader

$500,000 MacArthur genius grants announced September 22, 2009

On September 22, 1692, two men and six women were executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.
On September 22, 1896, Queen Victoria became the longest-reigning monarch in English history. One of the country's most successful rulers, Victoria oversaw the expansion of the British Empire to its greatest height of power during her reign of 63 years and 7 months.
On September 22, 1862, five days after Union forces won the Battle of Antietam, President Lincoln (books by this author) read to his Cabinet and issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation declaring slaves in rebel states free as of January 1, 1863. Lincoln took this action as commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. Abraham Lincoln said, "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong."
On September 22, 1961 Congress passed the Peace Corps Act. Since the start of Peace Corps, 195,000 volunteers and trainees have served in 139 countries. Currently, there are more than 7,800 volunteers (60 percent of whom are female) serving abroad in 76 countries. The Writer’s Almanac

Monday, September 21, 2009

On September 18, a group called filed suit in federal district court for the Northern District of Mississippi on behalf of five people, one resident from each of the following states: Montana, Delaware, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Utah. The quintet's complaint: that their votes carry far less weight in the House of Representatives than do those from residents of other sates, like Rhode Island and Iowa. The group alleges this is the case because the population variance between the most under-represented congressional district in the nation and most over-represented district exceeds 80%. For example, according to the complaint, Montana has one representative for every approximately 905,000 people while its neighbor to the south, Wyoming, has one representative for approximately every 495,000 people . (The suit deals only with the House, not the Senate where, of course, residents of Montana have far more representation, per capita, than do residents of nearly every other state.) The group's demand: that the House of Representatives be ordered to add to its current roster of 435 members. Click here for the complaint; here for the press release from; here for a story from the NYT. WSJ Law Blog September 18, 2009

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have banned all texting while driving, and eight others prohibit texting by younger drivers only, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Many of these laws essentially bar people from fooling with their smart phones in any way behind the wheel; in some cases, just reading from a mobile device is against the law. Some supporters of text-messaging bans say that states that provide traffic information via Twitter are undermining these laws. "I would guess that the states wouldn’t intend to be sending a mixed message, but it sounds like it could be a mixed message," said Judie Stone, president of the Washington-based Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. State transportation officials say they are not encouraging people to get online behind the wheel. They say drivers should read their tweets before hitting the road.

Time Out’s Top Ten cities in the world
"In arriving at Time Out’s greatest cities, we were not looking for great holiday destinations but living, working cities. This meant looking at all aspects of urban life, not just those one encounters on a weekend break, and what everyday life is like for people who actually live there. Resident writers were asked to rate their cities in terms of key criteria that make up a successful city: architecture/cityscape; arts & culture; buzz; food & drink; quality of life; and world status."
1. New York 2. London 3. Paris 4. Berlin 5= Chicago, Barcelona, Tokyo 8. Istanbul 9= Rome, Sydney

DOT and EPA Propose National Program to Improve Fuel Economy and Reduce Greenhouse Gases News release: "U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jacksonhave jointly proposed a rule establishing an historic national program that would improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases. Their proposal builds upon core principles President Obama announced with automakers, the United Auto Workers, leaders in the environmental community, governors and state officials in May, and would provide coordinated national vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions standards. The proposed program would also conserve billions of barrels of oil, save consumers money at the pump, increase fuel economy, and reduce millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions." NHTSA and EPA are providing a 60-day comment period that begins with publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. The proposal and information about how to submit comments are at: for EPA and for NHTSA. Related postings on climate change

WSJ's Financial Crisis Word List
WSJ - Matthew Rose: "Just as the financial crisis has morphed into a daily grind instead of a daily fire drill, its peculiar argot has found its way into everyday conversations. This is probably an unwelcome surprise to those not conversant with the narrow byways of Wall Street. So, in the spirit of Ambrose Bierce--whose "Devil's Dictionary," originally published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book, provided a guide to the political and cultural language of the day--here is a Wall Street Journal Baedeker to acronyms, neologisms and bastardizations that shape the popular understanding of the pickle in which we remain one full year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers."
Related postings on financial system

Trivia from a muse reader in Illinois
The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.
The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.
Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.
Typewriter is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

History of Jersey
Originally part of the European mainland, the islands were formed after the Ice Age around 8000 BC. Jersey like the other Channel Islands, is steeped in history and discoveries in the 20th century have shown evidence of mankind dating back to 4000 BC (New Stone Age) when tribes, possibly from Spain moved here. Although most traces of ancient tombstones have been broken up in centuries gone by, the most famous of the remaining is at La Hougue Bie. These first inhabitants were probably a small dark pre-Celtic race and were later followed by fair haired Gauls. During the next five hundred years, the Romans occupied Jersey (named Caesarea) from around 56AD although it was not a significant outpost. The ending on the current name of Jersey "ey" is Viking meaning island.

History of New Jersey
Samuel Smith's History of Nova Caesarea (1765) is the bedrock of New Jersey history. This was the first compilation of facts, documents, and materials relating the colony, written by one of its most prominent citizens. The presentation deals extensively with the early settlements, government under the Proprietors, the transition to a Royal Colony, and notable events of the 17th and 18th centuries. Of special interest is Smith's chapter on "The State of Indian Affairs," which records in detail the proceedings of the Treaty of Easton (1758, at which Smith took extensive notes). The 1890 appendix "John Tatham, New Jersey's Missing Governor," by John D. McCormack is also included.

September 19 is the birthday of William Golding, (books by this author) born in St. Columb Minor, Cornwall (1911). He went to Oxford, published a book of poems, became a teacher. Then he joined the navy and served as a lieutenant on a rocket launcher. He was faced with a huge ethical decision when he learned that he would have to take the ship across a minefield in order to be on time for the D-Day operations. He couldn't decide whether to risk the lives of his men or the lives of all those participating in D-Day who needed their help. Finally, he risked it and made it in time. Later, he learned that the minefield wasn't real—it was put on a map to fool the Germans. That experience made Golding think about how moral decisions could rest on things that didn't even exist. He thought a lot about ethical dilemmas, and about the horror of war, and he wrote a novel about a group of good English schoolboys whose plane crashes on a desert island, and who descend into the extremes of savage behavior. For the title of the novel, he translated the word "Beelzebub" from Hebrew into English: "Lord of the Flies." The novel was rejected more than a dozen times, but when Lord of the Flies finally came out in 1954, it became a classic.
September 20 is the birthday of Maxwell Perkins, (books by this author) born on this day in New York City (1884). Perkins is most famous as the editor and champion of F. Scott Fitzgerald (books by this author), Ernest Hemmingway, (books by this author) and Thomas Wolfe (books by this author). Perkins had more than 60 books dedicated to him. The Writer’s Almanac

Friday, September 18, 2009

Employer Health Benefits 2009 Annual Survey Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
From press release: Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose to $13,375 annually for family coverage this year—with employees on average paying $3,515 and employers paying $9,860, according to the benchmark 2009 Employer Health Benefits Survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET). Family premiums rose about 5 percent this year, which is much more than general inflation (which fell 0.7 percent during the same period, mostly due to falling energy prices). Workers wages went up 3.1 percent during the same period. Since 1999, premiums have gone up a total of 131 percent, far more rapidly than workers’ wages (up 38 percent since 1999) or inflation (up 28 percent since 1999).

How Is the Financial Crisis Affecting Retirement Savings? August 2009, Update
September 15th, 2009 How Is the Financial Crisis Affecting Retirement Savings? August 2009, Update Source: Urban Institute
The stock market lost 56 percent of its value between September 30, 2007, and March 9, 2009. These losses reduced the retirement savings of American households. Recently, however, a good portion of these losses has been reversed. Equities gained 53 percent between March 9, 2009 and August 31, 2009.

Governing: State and Local Sourcebook September 15th, 2009
Governing: State and Local Sourcebook Source: Governing magazine
Governing’s State & Local Sourcebook is an authoritative resource for data about the states and the largest U.S. municipalities, as well as contact information on state and local decision makers. This site contains essential information in 10 categories, including data on revenue, spending, employment, technology trends, health insurance coverage and other important topics. The data is customizable and searchable, and will be frequently updated. You can compare governments in key areas, monitor trends over time, create data tables and even receive e-mail alerts when data is updated or new content is added.

On September 17, paleontologists said that they had discovered what amounted to a miniature prototype of Tyrannosaurus rex, complete with the oversize head, sharp teeth, long legs—and, as every schoolchild knows, puny arms—that were hallmarks of the king of the dinosaurs. But this scaled-down version, which was about nine feet long and weighed only 150 pounds, lived 125 million years ago, about 35 million years before T. rex roamed the earth. The new dinosaur, which has been named Raptorex kriegsteini, “really throws a wrench into this observed pattern,” Mr. Brusatte said. The nearly complete fossil was found in ancient lake deposits in northeastern China and bought by a collector, Henry J. Kriegstein, who alerted Paul C. Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago and lead author of the paper. Under the terms of the work, the fossil, which was illicitly excavated, will be returned to a museum in China. Dr. Sereno said that the fossil was that of a young adult, about 5 or 6 years old, and that several characteristics, including the fused nature of many of the bones, suggested it was near the end of its growth period.

The much anticipated Lorain-Vermilion Water Trail in Ohio is now available for canoe and kayak enthusiasts. The water trail is a total of 27 miles along the Vermilion River, Lake Erie and the Black River. The access points are listed as well as a downloadable map and brochure of the trail at:

The September 2009 issue of SAVEUR magazine has a special section “Burger Nation,” starting on p. 55. P. 61 suggests various meats including brisket, short ribs and lamb. Cheeses are on p. 66, additions on p. 62, toppings on p. 69, sauces on p. 74, buns and breads on p. 78. Six burger books are listed on p. 76. As of this writing, you will find much of the issue at:

Calling all food lovers: SAVEUR wants to share your favorite ingredients, recipes, wines, spirits, restaurants, markets, chefs, cookbooks, cooking tips, kitchenware, and more, in the pages of SAVEUR magazine. All the items for next year's SAVEUR 100, the annual tribute to a hundred great things from the world of food, will come from leaders. Send your contributions to:

Q. How long have I known about SAVEUR (means savor) magazine?
A. Three days. I found it while browsing in the beautiful Holland branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.

pleiad (PLEE-uhd) noun
a group of (usually seven) brilliant persons or things
After the Pleiades, the seven daughters of the titan Atlas and sea-nymph Pleione in Greek mythology. These seven sisters were Maia, Electra, Celaeno, Taygete, Merope, Alcyone, and Sterope. In one version of the myth, they killed themselves out of grief over the loss of their half sisters the Hyades, and were turned into a group of stars. In another version, they were placed among the stars to protect them from the hunter Orion, though he too became a star to continue to pursue them. Only six of the seven sisters shine brightly in the Pleiades star cluster. The other one is supposed to be Merope, hiding in shame for loving a mortal, or Electra, mourning the death of her son Dardanus.
pasquinade (pas-kwuh-NAYD) noun
a satire or lampoon, especially one displayed in a public place
Before there were Facebook protests and Twitter outcries, people complained publicly by publishing pamphlets and posting flyers. One such tradition was posting anonymous satirical verses and lampoons on an ancient statue in Rome. The locals named this statue Pasquino after a shopkeeper near whose place it had been unearthed. Over time the term came to be applied to any work of satire publicly displayed. Also see the talking statues of Rome.
Beau Brummell (bo BRUM-uhl) noun
a man who pays excessive attention to his clothes and appearance
After Beau Brummell, nickname of George Bryan Brummell (1778-1840), a British dandy. Brummell was known for his suits and elaborate neckwear and was considered an authority in matters of men's dress and etiquette. He rose in society thanks to his royal connections, but gambling debts forced him to flee to France. He died penniless in a mental institution in Caen. A.Word.A.Day

Feedback to A.Word.A.Day
From: Bob Pert (bjpert
Subject: Arcadian Def: Idyllically pastoral: simple, peaceful
The origin of the designation Acadia is credited to the explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who on his sixteenth century map applied the ancient Greek name "Arcadia" to the entire Atlantic coast north of Virginia (note the inclusion of the 'r' of the original Greek name). "Arcadia" derives from the Arcadia district in Greece which since Classical antiquity had the extended meanings of "refuge" or "idyllic place". The Dictionary of Canadian Biography says: "Arcadia, the name Verrazzano gave to Maryland or Virginia 'on account of the beauty of the trees,' made its first cartographical appearance in the 1548 Gastaldo map and is the only name on that map to survive in Canadian usage. . . . In the 17th century Champlain fixed its present orthography, with the 'r' omitted, and Ganong has shown its gradual progress northwards, in a succession of maps, to its resting place in the Atlantic Provinces."

Sue Reichert, director of libraries for Beardstown School District, will be given the Illinois Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Award in October. The award—which “recognizes an individual or group for outstanding contributions to the defense and advancement of intellectual freedom”—will be presented during a ceremony Oct. 8 in Peoria. Reichert was cited for professionalism in handling the protest over the Jodi Picoult book “Nineteen Minutes,” according to Illinois Library Association officials.

On September 18, 1838, the Anti-Corn Law League was created in the United Kingdom. As the name suggests, the purpose of the association was to press for the abolition of British Corn Laws, which were indeed repealed in 1846. After the repeal, the organization worked to oppose other protectionist measures in the UK. The weekly news publication, The Economist, was founded as part of the anti-corn law movement.
On September 18, 1797, future US Supreme Court Justice, Harvard law professor, and legal author Joseph Story was born at Marblehead, Massachusetts. West Virginiia University law professor James Elkins notes that Story was also a poet--learn more about Story and read a couple of his poems here.
September 18 is the birthday of poet Alberto Álvaro Ríos, (books by this author) born in Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexican border in 1952. His first language was Spanish, but he learned English in school, where he got in trouble if he spoke Spanish, and eventually he forgot it completely. Years later, in high school and college, he decided to relearn Spanish, and he said, "In having to pay double and triple attention to language—first to forget, and then to relearn—I began to see earnestly how everything, every object, every idea, had at least two names." And paying so much attention to language inspired him to become a writer. He has written many books of poetry, including The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (2002), The Theater of Night (2005), and most recently, The Dangerous Shirt, which came out this year.
The Writer’s Almanac

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What kind of small business do you want to start?
To help would-be entrepreneurs get started, USA TODAY has outlined some of the more popular types of businesses that people start, as well as their pros and cons.
• Direct sales
• Service companies
• Internet-based
• Existing businesses
• Retailing
• Products

The USA moves one step closer to a nationwide highway tolling system next month when the Ohio Turnpike joins a network covering the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The move on Oct. 1 will enable drivers equipped with E-ZPass transponders to travel from Maine to southern Virginia and west beyond Chicago and pay tolls electronically without stopping at toll booths. It's another sign of the spread of electronic tolling as a convenience for drivers and an increasingly common way to finance roads.
Ohio's decision to join E-ZPass creates an uninterrupted 14-state toll system, the nation's largest. "We finally filled the hole in the donut," says George Distel, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission. "You can travel from Chicago to the East Coast. … We will all be linked with the same technology." Ohio is late to the game because E-ZPass is more for customer convenience than congestion relief and because of the state's $50 million cost, Distel says. When E-ZPass becomes available on 241 miles of toll road across northern Ohio, the system will be used by 25 tolling agencies and 18.6 million vehicles, according to the E-ZPass Interagency Group.
More than 95% of the nation's tolling agencies are served by E-ZPass or TransCore, which supplies technology for electronic tolling systems in Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington, says TransCore spokeswoman Barbara Catlin. Technology exists to provide compatibility between TransCore systems such as TxTag in Texas and SunPass in Florida and E-ZPass, Catlin says. But the systems are unable to process each other's transactions because there are no agreements yet among tolling agencies. North Carolina, which broke ground last month on its first modern toll road—the 18.8-mile Triangle Expressway in the Raleigh-Durham area—hasn't decided whether to use E-ZPass, TransCore or something else, says Reid Simons, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. "We are kind of stuck in the middle," she says. The Ohio Turnpike, which carries about 150,000 vehicles daily, is adding an incentive to encourage drivers of passenger vehicles to use E-ZPass. Drivers won't see any rate hikes if they use E-ZPass, Distel says. But rates for drivers who pay cash will jump 40%.

The recipients of the 2009 Lasker Awards, announced September 14, represent the dramatic advances achieved in biotechnology research that have led to a revolutionary cancer treatment and the tremendous promise of stem cell therapy for regenerative medicine. Such advances portend a potential $700 million global market for new therapies within less than five years, according to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN,
The Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for 2009 recognizes discoveries in the process that instructs specialized adult cells to form stem cells, and will be presented to Sir John Gurdon, DPhil, DSc, FRS, Emeritus Professor and Group Leader, Gurdon Institute of Cancer & Developmental Biology, University of Cambridge, and Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Kyoto University.

In our garden we have two kousa dogwoods—one on the south side and one on the north. The fruit on the tree on the south is bigger than the north as you can imagine. See pictures here:
The fruit is edible with an unusual appearance that puts people off.

Terms about books
even folio page numbers on the left-hand pages
galley proof of a book made before the pages are numbered
incunabulum, pl. incunabula a book from the "cradle" time of printing (before 1500)
verso the back of a leaf--contrast "recto," the front of the leaf

More terms at A Book Collector’s Glossary

Actor Danny Glover will star in a movie that could help revive a shuttered library in the impoverished Detroit enclave of Highland Park. The film project titled "Highland Park" was announced Monday at a news conference at the McGregor Library. The story line will mirror the ongoing struggle to reopen the library, which closed in March 2002 because the city could not afford to keep it open.

On September 17, 1787, the United States Constitution was adopted by the 39 delegates to the federal Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
Learn more about the Constitution from the National Constitution Center.
On September 17, 1862 more Americans died in one day than in any other day in the nation's history, in the Battle of Antietam. The battle was near Sharpsburg, Maryland. General Lee was hoping to get supplies and men in Maryland, which was a slave state even though it had remained part of the Union and had many pro-Confederate sympathizers. It was this first of just two times that the Confederate Army fought a battle in Union Territory—the other, the Battle of Gettysburg, took place 10 months later.
The fighting began on a cornfield at the Miller Farm, outside Sharpsburg, Maryland, and lasted for 12 hours. The Confederate troops had a better position, but a Union scout discovered a copy of their opponents' battle plans. Both sides suffered huge death tolls—more than 12,000 Union soldiers and almost 11,000 Confederate soldiers died.
September 17 is the birthday of a doctor and poet who wrote, "It is difficult/ to get the news from poems,/ yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there." That's William Carlos Williams, (books by this author) born in Rutherford, New Jersey (1883). He worked in Rutherford as a doctor for his whole life, and he wrote poetry as well, up until his death at age 80. His books include Spring and All (1923), Imaginations (1970), and a five-volume epic poem called Paterson, the name of the city near Rutherford where he was head pediatrician of the hospital.
September 17 is the birthday of short-story writer Frank O'Connor, (books by this author) born Michael O'Donovan in Cork, Ireland (1903). He grew up in poverty and dropped out of school at age 14, both because the family needed money and because his teachers had decided that he was unteachable. He joined the Irish Republican Army for a few years, and then he became a librarian, the head of the Cork County Library. He wrote plays, poetry, novels, and biographies, but he's most famous for his short stories, published in his Collected Stories (1981). The Writer’s Almanac

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The deepest lake in the world is Baikal in Siberia—the deepest lake in the U.S. is Crater Lake in Oregon.

In Russia we spell Lake Baikal like “Ozero Baykal”. The word “Baikal” came from Turk language. The word “bai” means “wealthy” and “kul” means “lake”. So “Baikal” originally means “wealthy lake”. The lake is so huge and enormous that locals call it sea. This “sea” is rapidly growing with the average speed of 2 cm (0.8 in) per year. Baikal is considered to be a future ocean; in several million years there will be a new great ocean all over Asia and Baikal is a starting point for this ocean. Baikal was added to the World Heritage list by UNESCO in 1996.

Crater Lake is located in Southern Oregon on the crest of the Cascade Mountain range, 100 miles (160 km) east of the Pacific Ocean. It lies inside a caldera, or volcanic basin, created when the 12,000 foot (3,660 meter) high Mount Mazama collapsed 7,700 years ago following a large eruption. Generous amounts of winter snow, averaging 533 inches (1,354 cm) per year, supply the lake with water. There are no inlets or outlets to the lake. Crater Lake, at 1,943 feet (592 meters) deep, is the seventh deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the United States. Evaporation and seepage prevent the lake from becoming any deeper.

To hem and haw is to take a long time to say something and speak in a way that is not clear, in order to avoid giving an answer. In Britain, it’s usually hum and haw.

The Stolen Smell, a folktale from Peru
A greedy and miserly baker insists that his neighbor, who can barely afford to buy stale bread but savors the wonderful aromas from the bakery, pay for the "stolen" smells. Although the neighbor is baffled and the townspeople are amused by this demand, the baker takes the matter to court. A clever judge applies the baker's logic to resolving the case and rewards the baker with the sounds of the neighbor's coins clinking together.

Anglicized Dutch words
Harlem = Haarlem (Dutch city)
Broadway = Brede Weg
Coney Island = Konijnen Eiland [Rabbits Island]
Governor's Island = Gouverneurs Eiland
Staten Island = Staten Eiland
Gravesend = Gravesande (Dutch city)
Hampstead = Heemstede (Dutch city)
Flushing = Vlissingen (Dutch city)
Bowery Street = after the "Bouwerij" [farm] of Peter Stuyvesant
Long Island = Lange Eiland
Stone Street = Steenstraat [The first dirt street in New Amsterdam that got paved; before it was paved with cobblestones it was called Brouwerstraat, whih means Brewer Street]
Marketfield Street = after the Dutch Marckveldt [the marketplace]
Maiden Lane = het Maagdenpaatje (the path the Dutch maids took to go and do the laundry in the open air)
Brooklyn (Breukelen)
Wall Street (De Wallen)
cookie, crooner, dollar, boss, pancakes, Santa Claus

The Holland Tunnel is named after Clifford M. Holland, who was the engineer from Somerset, Massachusetts. It was considered at the time to be an engineering wonder of the world and unfortunately, Mr. Holland died before it opened which is why the tunnel is named after him.

Search Wonders of the World Databank at:

September 15 is the birthday of writer James Fenimore Cooper, (books by this author) born in Burlington, New Jersey (1789), the 11th of 12 children. A year after his birth, James's father moved the whole family to the wilderness of upstate New York, which was considered the frontier. One day, when he was 30 years old, he was reading aloud to his wife, a book about English social life. The book was written so badly that he threw it down in disgust, and he said, "I believe I could write a better book myself." His wife just laughed at him, because even though he loved to read, he didn't like writing at all—he wasn't even good at writing letters. James Fenimore Cooper was so indignant that his wife had laughed at him that he sat down right away and started to write his first novel, Precaution (1820). He claimed it was written by an English writer, and it failed completely. But Cooper kept writing anyway. He decided that he would do a better job if he wrote about something he knew well, like American life on the frontier. So he wrote The Spy: A Tale of Neutral Ground (1821). It was set in New York, and it was the first historical romance about the Revolutionary War. The Spy was a huge commercial and critical success, and then Cooper wrote The Pioneers (1823), beginning his series of novels about Natty Bumpo, which also includes The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Pathfinder (1840), and The Deerslayer (1841). Until James Fenimore Cooper came along, most Americans only read British novels—just like the one he was reading aloud to his wife. Cooper was the first major American novelist, and Natty Bumpo was the first major hero of American literature.
September 15 is the birthday of children's author and illustrator Robert McCloskey, (books by this author) born in Hamilton, Ohio (1914). He got a job in Boston painting a mural of famous citizens, and while he was outside painting, he noticed ducks crossing the road and holding up traffic. He decided they would be a good subject for a picture book. But he wanted to observe them more closely in order to draw them, so he picked up four ducks and took them home to his studio apartment in Boston. He said, "The ducks had plenty to say—especially in the early morning. I spent the next weeks on my hands and knees, armed with a box of Kleenex and a sketchbook, following the ducks around the studio and observing them in the bathtub." All that observation and drawing became Make Way for Ducklings (1941), which won a Caldecott and became a beloved children's book. The Writer’s Almanac

Monday, September 14, 2009

Montmartre is a hill 130 metres high, in the north of Paris in the 18th arrondissement, a part of the Right Bank, primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on its summit and as a nightclub district. The other, older, church on the hill is Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded. Many artists had studios or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. In the mid-1800s artists, such as Johan Jongkind and Camille Pissarro, came to inhabit Montmartre. By the end of the century, Montmartre and its counterpart on the Left Bank, Montparnasse, became the principal artistic centers of Paris. Composers, including Satie (who was a pianist at Le Chat Noir), also lived in the area. The Musée de Montmartre is in the house where the painter Maurice Utrillo lived and worked in a second-floor studio. The mansion in the garden at the back is the oldest hotel on Montmartre, and one of its first owners was Claude Roze, also known as Roze de Rosimond, who bought it in 1680. Roze was the actor, who replaced Molière, and like his predecessor, died on stage. The house was Pierre-Auguste Renoir's first Montmartre address and many other names moved through the premises. The movie Amélie is set in an exaggeratedly quaint version of contemporary Montmartre.

Featured private company: R. L. Polk & Co. is a worldwide provider of information, particularly automotive and demographic statistics, made available through published directories, custom reports, and online interactive computer services. In addition, Polk manages direct marketing programs and is one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of calendars and other advertising specialties. Polk's activities include publishing 1,300 city directories, compiling data covering 95 million consumer households, and reporting information about 197 million motor vehicles. R. L. Polk & Co. was established in 1870 by Ralph Lane Polk. After serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, Polk earned a living by selling patent medicines door-to-door. During his travels, he met an enumerator in Ohio who was collecting information for a directory publisher. Fascinated, Polk took a job with the publisher and served several years in the Midwest before he moved to Detroit, Michigan, at the age of 21 to establish his own company.;-Co-Company-History.html

In its original sense, a shaggy dog story is an extremely long-winded tale featuring extensive narration of typically irrelevant incidents, usually resulting in a pointless or absurd punchline. These stories are a special case of yarns, coming from the long tradition of campfire yarns. Shaggy dog stories play upon the audience's preconceptions of the art of joke telling. The audience listens to the story with certain expectations, which are either simply not met or met in some entirely unexpected manner. The commonly believed archetype of the shaggy dog story is a story that concerns a shaggy dog. The story builds up, repeatedly emphasizing how amazing the dog is. At the climax of the story, someone in the story reacts with, "That dog's not so shaggy." The expectations of the audience that have been built up by the presentation of the story, that the story will end with a punchline, are thus disappointed. A shaggy dog story derives its humor from the fact that the joke-teller held the attention of the listeners for a long time (such jokes can take five minutes or more to tell) for no reason at all, as the story ends with a meaningless anticlimax.
I was reminded of shaggy dog stories when Norm McDonald told one recently on the Tonight Show, and the audience listened intently.

A bus driver returned a suitcase containing more than $460,000 to a passenger who left it on the vehicle while going to a bank in the western Argentine city of San Juan.
Bus driver Alberto Rios got an $80 reward for his efforts from the passenger, a business executive, who said he was under great stress after losing track of the money belonging to the company he works for. I started working with my father when I was 8. He always told me that what's yours is yours and what's not is not," Rios told the newspaper.,000_to_passenger_89795/

Butter in the bogs A few thousand years ago, someone living in what is now Ireland made some butter, stuck it into an oak barrel, wandered out into a bog about 25 miles west of Dublin, and buried it. Somehow, that someone lost track of it, which two lucky archaeologists discovered when they dug up the stashed loot earlier this year in the Gilltown bog, between the Irish towns of Timahoe and Staplestown. But that wasn’t the first keg of butter that’s been preserved by the strange chemistry of the bog. More than 270 kegs of bog butter have been retrieved from the wetlands, along with dozens of ancient bodies, swords, and ornaments.

Tucked at the end of one of the shortest streets in Manhattan lies a well-regarded restaurant called Commerce, which opened early last year. On September 9, the restaurant adopted a new policy: it would no longer accept cash. That's right: it's credit and debit-cards only. WSJ Law Blog September 11, 2009

On September 14, 1901 then Vice President Theodore Roosevelt (books by this author) learned he had become the 26th president of the United States, after the death by assassination of President William McKinley. Roosevelt was on a camping trip in the Adirondacks when he got the news that McKinley was on his deathbed, and he rode a buckboard wagon down the mountain in the middle of the night to learn that he had become the youngest president of the United States. The Writer’s Almanac
On September 14, 1918, socialist and labor activist Eugene Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison for violating the Espionage Act and opposing the entry of the United States into World War I.
On September 14 1960, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in Baghdad, Iraq. OPEC was created to promote higher crude oil prices for its members through the restriction of global supply.

Friday, September 11, 2009

This day in history
On September 11, 2001, terrorists allegedly associated with al Qaeda hijacked four US commercial airliners, two of which were crashed into the World Trade Center Towers in New York City, with a third hitting the Pentagon in Washington DC. The fourth plane went down in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The attacks spawned an immediate tightening of aviation security regulations and in October 2001 led to Congressional passage of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act, giving the executive broad new national security powers.
On September 11, 1978, Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt agreed to the Camp David Accords, a plan for peace between the two countries. This led to the signing of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. U.S. President Jimmy Carter played a major role in the negotiations.

Visit the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site to learn about the plans for and progress of Memorial and Museum currently being built at the World Trade Center site, view real time images of the construction progress and more.

The University of Houston's College of Engineering presents a series about the machines that make our civilization run, and the people whose ingenuity created them. Example of a story on sculptures:

The big cat covered 100 metres in an amazing 6.13 seconds in Cincinnati. Sarah eclipsed the previous 6.19 seconds record on a specially-designed course at Cincinnati Zoo's Regional Cheetah Breeding Facility at Mast Farm. She is now officially the world's fastest land animal. See picture and story at:

After moving back to Cleveland from New York City, Jonathon and Amelia Sawyer's goal was to open their own restaurant that was both simple and approachable. Welcome The Greenhouse Tavern. Located on the bustling East 4th Street, the eatery is the state's first certified green restaurant. Currently open for dinner, Sawyer's plans for the tavern include following green principles of organic and environmentally-friendly ingredients while recycling and using methods to compost, source alternate energy and focus on conservation practices. His plans for the restaurant's menu include creating dishes based on local ingredients.

Font furor When Ikea casually abandoned its version of the famed 20th-century font Futura that had served it for 50 years and replaced it for 2010 with the computer-screen font Verdana, professional outrage was immense. Advertisers, logo designers, magazine and book publishers and catalog creators spend millions on fonts because they know the medium has a message. The design blog presented examples of the Ikea catalog’s look, before and after. Ikea explained that it was abandoning its own version of the Futura font because it wanted one that would be effective in many different languages and on the Web, and that Verdana was designed for just that purpose.

To make up for forcibly deleting copies of two George Orwell books, Amazon (AMZN) is offering to redeliver the books to those users, or a $30 Amazon gift certificate, The WSJ reports. In an email to customers, Amazon says, via the Journal:
As you were one of the customers impacted by the removal of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” from your Kindle device in July of this year, we would like to offer you the option to have us re-deliver this book to your Kindle along with any annotations you made. You will not be charged for the book. If you do not wish to have us re-deliver the book to your Kindle, you can instead choose to receive an electronic gift certificate or check for $30. In July 2009, Amazon deleted copies of Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm," as the party that sold those books were doing so illegally.

Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are planning to start San Francisco editions, the NYT reported. The new editions would offer more local news for the San Francisco Bay Area in a bid to win new readers and advertisers. Neither paper has released details of their plans, but the NYT spoke to anonymous sources about the Journal's project who explained that the SF edition would contain a page or tow of general-interest news from California, probably once a week. It anticipates starting the new edition in November or December.
The Wall Street Journal is also looking at a weekly arts and culture section focused on New York City, according to reports in July. This has been interpreted as an attempt to compete more directly with the Times, and a San Francisco edition, if it does indeed include general interest rather than business news, is likely to be viewed in the same light. The Times itself is considering regional editions based in other cities, according to the NYT article.

Prior to May, a church in Phoenix rang its bells every hour on the hour, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Despite all that is wonderful with hourly dinging-and-donging, some of the neighborhood's residents got annoyed and asked a judge to shut down the racket.
The judge did just that--and a little more: He convicted the bishop, Rick Painter, on two counts of creating "an unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise." Painter in June was given a suspended sentence of ten days in jail and three years' probation on June 3. Now comes word that a collection of churches have filed suit in federal court against the city for violating its First Amendment right to practice its religion unfettered. They argue that Phoenix's noise ordinance has an exception for ice-cream trucks. They're asking for the same treatment. Click here for the complaint. Click here for the story, from Courthouse News Service. WSJ Law Blog September 9, 2009

Toledo area readers:
This SATURDAY NIGHT SEPT 12, 7:30PM, COLLINGWOOD ARTS CENTER, The Second Annual Film Noir Festival--two big features hosted by WGTE's Ross Hocker: The Great Flamarion (1945) and Detour (1945)
My Man Godfrey (1936) great screwball comedy starring Carole Lombard and William Powell.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

President's Speech on Health Insurance Reform
Full text of the president's address to a joint session of Congress, September 9, 2009.
The Obama Plan: Stability & Security for all Americans
Related postings on health care reform

Federal Reserve Beige Book, September 9, 2009
September 9, 2009 - Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District: "Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicate that economic activity continued to stabilize in July and August. Relative to the last report, Dallas indicated that economic activity had firmed, while Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Richmond, and San Francisco mentioned signs of improvement. Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and New York generally described economic activity as stable or showing signs of stabilization; St. Louis remarked that the pace of decline appeared to be moderating. Most Districts noted that the outlook for economic activity among their business contacts remained cautiously positive."

Law Blog on
Read the latest Law Blog posts from lawyers across the country on a wide range of topics including Immigration, Personal Injury, Estate Planning and more.

Federal Government Must Hire Tens of Thousands of New Workers to Fill Mission-Critical Jobs News release: “Great news for job seekers this Labor Day: the federal government is hiring tens of thousands of new employees, according to new projections in Where the Jobs Are 2009: Mission-Critical Opportunities for America, released today by the Partnership for Public Service. The online projections outline government-wide, mission-critical hiring needs through 2012 and are based on a survey of 35 federal agencies representing nearly 99 percent of the 1.9 million member federal workforce.
Available at, the online data lists nearly 273,000 mission-critical jobs that need to be filled in the next three years, a 41 percent increase compared to the organization’s 2007 survey. Where the Jobs Are is the only comprehensive projection of the federal government’s hiring needs and is searchable by occupation or by agency."

Pew: Recession Turns a Graying Office Grayer America's Changing Work Force
"The American work force is graying--and not just because the American population itself is graying. Older adults are staying in the labor force longer, and younger adults are staying out of it longer. Both trends took shape about two decades ago. Both have intensified during the current recession. And both are expected to continue after the economy recovers. According to one government estimate, 93% of the growth in the U.S. labor force from 2006 to 2016 will be among workers ages 55 and older. Demographic and economic factors explain some--but not all--of these changes. Attitudes about work also play an important role--in particular, the growing desire of an aging but healthy population to stay active well into the later years of life. A new nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project finds that a majority (54%) of workers ages 65 and older say the main reason they work is that they want to. Just 17% say the main reason is that they need the paycheck. An additional 27% say they're motivated by a mix of desire and need."
America’s Changing Workforce - Recession Turns a Graying Office Grayer, September 3, 2009

PBGC Publishes Pension Insurance Data Book 2008
News release: "The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released the Pension Insurance Data Book 2008, which offers information on statistical trends related to defined benefit retirement plans in the private sector."

Sick Around the World - Five Capitalist Democracies and How They Do It
PBS Frontline: Five Capitalist Democracies and How They Do: UK, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Switzerland
Graphs: U.S. Health Stats Compared to Other Countries
Health Care Systems--The Four Basic Models
Related postings on health care

For nearly two decades, artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has planted motion detectors, searchlights and surveillance equipment in public plazas and parks around the world. Each time, he invites the public to activate his gadgetry with their shadows, heartbeats or some other form of interaction. This fall, the Montreal-based artist plans to turn people's voices into colors. On Sept. 16, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York will unveil "Levels of Nothingness," his interactive installation that will allow people to speak into a microphone connected to a computer that can match their voices' traits, such as pitch and tone, to certain colors. A network of roving spotlights around the museum's theater will instantly send the corresponding hues shooting around the room like at a rock concert. Actress Isabella Rossellini has already signed up to speak first, according to her spokeswoman.

To your health
Yogurt: While yogurt offers some benefits (protein, calcium, etc.), those fruity ones may contain more sugar than a candy bar! In fact, one six ounce cup can have 25 grams of sugar or more. Try plain yogurt and mix in your own fruit.
Flavored waters: They may hydrate, but they also pack a lot of sugar and extra calories. A 20 ounce bottle may have upward of 150 calories. Stick with regular water.
Muffins: These bran and fruit mixes aren't the most nutritious of breakfast foods. A large muffin can have almost 400 calories.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New York September 4-7, 2009
On 9/4, we flew to LaGuardia Airport, getting a clear view of Statue of Liberty, lunch at Sweet Shop in Northport, Long Island. The original inhabitants of the area now known as Northport were the Matinecocks, one of 13 Native American tribes of Long Island. The Matinecocks called this land "Opcathontyche", which meant "wading place creek".[1] With land that was well suited for farming, the early settlers grazed cattle on pastures around the harbor. The area soon became known as Great Cow Harbor.[3],_New_York
We walked around the harbor, and had dinner at Mill Pond House in Centerport (formerly known as Little Cow Harbor).
9/5 family barbeque
9/6 walked around Hoboken, viewing its park, office buildings, stunning view over the Hudson River of Manhattan, shops including Carlo's Bakery, the 99-year-old institution across from City Hall, the subject of "Cake Boss," another in the stream of television reality shows.,0,737139.story
brunch at Court Street Restaurant
took Holland Tunnel to Manhattan to view World Trade Center site,
saw revised version of West Side Story,
strolled down Restaurant Row on 46th, selecting Capri for dinner.
down to Battery Park City, good view of Statue of Liberty at night
9/7 home stopping in Ann Arbor at BD’s Mongolian Grill for a quick meal where we selected food from an array of meat, seafood, vegetables, sauces and spices.

Examples of days with certain numbers
Square root day 3/3/09
Odd day 3/31/09
Even day 2/2/10
Alike day 9/9/09
Golden/star/lucky/champagne birthday
9/23/09 (and you turn 23) 12/20/09 (and you turn 20) born in 1919 (and you turn 19)

Annual Institute for Policy Studies "Executive Excess" Report
America's Bailout Barons - Taxpayers, High Finance, and the CEO Pay Bubble. Institute for Policy Studies. 16th Annual Executive Compensation.
“The 20 U.S. financial firms that have received the most bailout dollars from taxpayers awarded their top five executive officers, in the three years through 2008, pay packages worth a combined $3.2 billion. These 100 financial executives, on their way to driving the U.S. economy off a cliff, averaged $32 million each. One hundred U.S. workers making the 2008 annual average wage would have to labor over 1,000 years to make as much as these 100 executives made in three. Financial pay far above average: In 2008, the year taxpayers rescued the financial industry, chief executives at the top 20 financial recipients of bailout dollars earned 37 percent more than their CEO counterparts elsewhere in the U.S. economy. These high-finance CEOs averaged $13.8 million last year. S&P 500 CEOs, by comparison, averaged $10.1 million."

Site Compares 4 Online Map Services on One Page
Via Google Maps Mania: "Maps Compare [created by Hussein Nasser] is a website with four different on-line map services on one page . The site places Google Maps, the Google Earth browser plugin, Yahoo Maps and Bing Maps beside each other, which can be quite useful if you want to compare the map coverage provided by each provider in different locations."

Toledo’s motto, "Laborare est Orare," freely translated, means "To work is to pray."
Find information on other cities at Flags of the World:
Find schools and organizations with same motto:

What is the most common letter used in English? It must be E because our keyboard has only one “disappearing” letter—the E now resembles an F.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Economic Policy Institute Fact Sheet, Labor Day by the Numbers, September 7, 2009 Note that all numbers are current as of September 4, 2009.
"New jobs needed per month to keep up with population growth: 127,000
Jobs lost in August 2009: 216,000
Jobs needed to regain pre-recession unemployment levels: 9.4 million
Manufacturing jobs lost since the start of the recession: 2.0 million (14.6% of sector’s jobs)
Construction jobs lost in the recession: 1.4 million (19%, nearly one in fi ve construction jobs)
Mass layoff s (50 or more people by a single employer) in July 2009: 2,157; jobs lost: 206,791"
Related postings on financial system

"The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a private not-for-profit (501c3), responsible for oversight of the design, raising the necessary funds, programming and operating the Memorial & Museum being built at the World Trade Center site."
New York Times: Sept. 11 Steel Forms Heart of Far-Flung Memorials: "The best way we can honor the memory of those we lost on 9/11 is to find homes in the W.T.C. Memorial and in cities and towns around the nation for the hundreds of artifacts we’ve carefully preserved over the years..." [Port Authority’s executive director, Christopher O. Ward.]

Survey: pattern of North American daily Internet traffic
Arbor Networks: The Internet After Dark (Part 1), by Craig Labovitz: "After dark when the dinner dishes are put away and the kids are safely tucked into bed, the Internet subtly changes. Starting in the twilight of early evening, business traffic slows to a crawl, previously dormant applications flicker on home computer screens, and like clockwork, Internet activity begins its nightly climb towards a regular after hours bandwidth peak...In our last post blog post, we found (somewhat unexpectedly) that the pattern of North American daily Internet traffic differs from Europe and Asia. Unlike European Internet traffic which peaks around 7pm GMT and then quickly drops off until morning business hours, US Internet traffic reaches its peak at 11pm EDT and then stays relatively high until 3am in the morning (i.e. stays above 60% of peak or more). This uniquely American traffic pattern holds true across dozens of individual ISPs, tens of millions of subscribers, and petabytes of daily Internet traffic."

What is a petabyte? A petabyte (often referred to as a pebibyte) is 1,024 terabytes and precedes the exabyte unit of measurement. Since even the largest hard drives are measured in terabytes, petabytes are only used to measure the storage space of multiple hard drives or other collections of data.

Microsoft Wins a Stay: Microsoft Corp. won't have to immediately alter its Word program or halt sales because of a patent-infringement case it lost. The Fifth Circuit on September 3 put on hold an order imposed last month that would have limited Microsoft's ability to offer some features in Word. The order won't take effect until an appeal of the underlying patent case is resolved. Oral arguments on the appeal are scheduled for September 23 in Washington. (Bloomberg)
Ratings firms have gotten sued left and right by investors who claim the firms issued misleading opinions about mortgage-backed securities and were partly to blame for the financial crisis. (Here's one post on the rash of litigation against ratings firms and another noting that the SEC chief favors lowering the barriers to suing ratings firms.)
Ratings firms often have cloaked themselves in the Constitution, claiming that their ratings are mere opinions protected by the First Amendment. And courts in the past have held that investors can not sue on the alleged grounds that ratings are too high or too low, unless, that is, plaintiffs can also show that particular ratings were issued with "actual malice." But on September 2, Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin dealt a blow to ratings firms, rejecting a free-speech defense asserted by Moody's Investors Services and Standard & Poor's. See the opinion here. WSJ Law Blog September 5, 2009

Banned Books Week (BBW) September 26−October 3, 2009
Observed since 1982, this annual American Library Association event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.
Top ten most frequently challenged books of 2008
Librarians’ Internet Index on BBW
Banned books online

When nothing is sure, everything is possible.
Margaret Drabble (b. 1939) British author

On August 31, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took a long expected step to ensure that this year's best picture winner won't be hated by 90% of its members by going with a preferential voting system in which members rank their choices from 1-10. In a preferential voting system, votes for the least popular first choice movie are eliminated and those members' second choices are taken into account. The process continues until a nominee receives more than 50% of the votes. Academy spokesperson Leslie Unger confirmed that the organization will apply the same preferential voting system it uses in the Oscar nomination process to best picture voting starting this winter. The news was first reported by The Wrap. Such a move has been in the works since the academy decided in June to expand the number of best picture nominees from five to 10. At the time, academy Vice President Hawk Koch said that there would be a change in the voting process, stating, "We want to make sure that 11% does not win the best picture."
Under the old system, members simply voted for their first choice. With 10 nominees, that would mean a movie with one vote more than 10% could theoretically be named best picture.,0,823389.story

On September 4, 1998 Google was first incorporated as a company. Google was the brainchild of two Ph.D. students at Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They designed a search engine with one important difference from all the others: Instead of giving you results based on how many times your search term appeared on a Web page, they created software that would figure out how many times each relevant Web site was linked to from other relevant Web sites and sorted those and then laid them out for you, all on a clear, simple screen. In June of 2006, "Google" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary as a verb. The Writer’s Almanac

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Gonzales Cantata, a concert opera about Alberto Gonzales's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, is playing at this year's Philadelphia Fringe Festival. It is a 40-minute choral work based on the hearings that punctuated the U.S. attorney-dismissal scandal back in 2007. (Actually, every word sung is from the transcript of the hearings.) Click here for WSJ reporter Evan Perez's story on the hearings, which links to a whole trove of other goodies. (Scroll to the bottom of the post to watch a video clip of the Cantata. Other clips can be found through the show's very cleverly designed Web site.)
In Disney's $4 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, Disney paid a hefty premium for the parent company of Spidey, X-Men, and the Incredible hulk--about 29 percent, according to the WSJ. Leading the deal: Dewey & LeBoeuf's Mort Pierce for Disney (who, legend has it, bills 3300 hours, at least when the times are good); Paul Hastings's Carl Sanchez for Marvel. But now, no sooner than the ink has dried on the deal, comes a lawsuit. According to Bloomberg, a Marvel shareholder sued in the Delaware Chancery Court alleging that Marvel directors failed to conduct an appropriate sales process. The plaintiff, shareholder Christine Vlatos, is seeking a court order barring the deal as well as unspecified damages. WSJ Law Blog September 2, 2009

Justice Department Announces Largest Health Care Fraud Settlement in Its History
News release: " American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and its subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc. (hereinafter together "Pfizer") have agreed to pay $2.3 billion, the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice, to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from the illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products, the Justice Department announced today. Pharmacia & Upjohn Company has agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for misbranding Bextra with the intent to defraud or mislead. Bextra is an anti-inflammatory drug that Pfizer pulled from the market in 2005. Under the provisions of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, a company must specify the intended uses of a product in its new drug application to FDA. Once approved, the drug may not be marketed or promoted for so-called "off-label" uses–i.e., any use not specified in an application and approved by FDA. Pfizer promoted the sale of Bextra for several uses and dosages that the FDA specifically declined to approve due to safety concerns. The company will pay a criminal fine of $1.195 billion, the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the United States for any matter. Pharmacia & Upjohn will also forfeit $105 million, for a total criminal resolution of $1.3 billion. In addition, Pfizer has agreed to pay $1 billion to resolve allegations under the civil False Claims Act that the company illegally promoted four drugs–Bextra; Geodon, an anti-psychotic drug; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug–and caused false claims to be submitted to government health care programs for uses that were not medically accepted indications and therefore not covered by those programs. The civil settlement also resolves allegations that Pfizer paid kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe these, as well as other, drugs. The federal share of the civil settlement is $668,514,830 and the state Medicaid share of the civil settlement is $331,485,170. This is the largest civil fraud settlement in history against a pharmaceutical company."

Amazon Files Brief in Federal Court Against Google Book Settlement
bizjounrals: " Inc. this week joined the groups filing objections in court against Google Inc.'s settlement with authors and publishers. Amazon said in its 41-page brief filed in federal court that Google will stifle competition if the settlement is approved."

Hells Canyon, North America's deepest river gorge, encompasses a vast and remote region with dramatic changes in elevation, terrain, climate and vegetation. Carved by the great Snake River, Hells Canyon plunges more than a mile below Oregon's west rim, and 8,000 feet below snowcapped He Devil Peak of Idaho's Seven Devils Mountains.
Establishment: The National Recreation Area was established by Congress Dec. 31, 1975 (learn more)
Wilderness: The HCNRA includes 215,000 acres of wilderness (learn more).
Wild and Scenic Rivers: The Hells Canyon HCNRA has three rivers which are designated Wild and Scenic: the Snake, Imnaha and Rapid rivers (learn more).

American College of the Building Arts in Charleston, South Carolina is the first in the country with a four-year program teaching trades that seem to have vanished from the modern world. An entire curriculum is aimed at equipping a generation of students with the skills needed to preserve America's historic heritage. Not only do students today attend classes in the Charleston’s 1802 jail, where Union troops were held during the Civil War, they are also using what they learn to help restore this neglected vestige of Charleston's history.
The Old Charleston Jail is the heart of the college’s campus and home to the General Education classes and to the Masonry, Plaster Working, and Architectural Stone programs. The jail is in the heart of Charleston and an official "Save America's Treasures" project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the White House Millennium Council. Upon acquisition of the jail in 2000, after it had sat vacant for 61 years, an emergency stabilization program commenced to meet the immediate needs of this historic property. The college began in 1998 when a small team, led by John Paul Huguley, created the School of the Building Arts (SoBA) in Charleston, South Carolina. Inspired by legendary Charleston master artisan, Philip Simmons, SoBA was established to solve the growing problem in building preservation that became evident in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo swept through Charleston and severely damaged many of the city’s historic structures. Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. and the citizens of Charleston sought to restore these buildings to their historic glory by using traditional building methods and materials. It was discovered that, in spite of Charleston’s commitment to historic preservation, there were only a few local craftsmen trained and qualified for the task. The lack of master craftsmen is not unique to Charleston as quality design and craftsmanship training have been steadily declining throughout the nation. After the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education licensed the School to begin recruiting on July 8, 2004, the name of the institution was changed to the American College of the Building Arts to more accurately reflect its place in the American educational hierarchy.

Whatever happened to Tanganyika? In 1964, it merged with Zanzibar, off the east coast of Africa, and became Tanzania. In Harry Campbell’s “Whatever Happened to Tanganyika?” the author brings a wry attitude and a historically rich perspective to what he calls “the ¬Museum of Dead Place Names.” He globe-trots in prose, using name changes as an ¬occasion to ¬describe an exotic culture or a ¬colorful history. Turkmenistan, for example, is one of those Central Asian republics that sprang into official existence with the break-up of the Soviet Union. And so it is, but Mr. Campbell reminds us that, long before, the region was called Transcaspia, a name that shakily ¬captured its position “east of the Caspian and south of the Aral Sea.”

bird-dog (buhrd-dog) noun
a talent scout, especially in sports
verb tr., intr.: to seek out or follow a subject of interest
After bird dogs, various breeds of dogs trained to hunt or retrieve birds. A.Word.A.Day