Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A gift card is a type of prepaid card that is designed to be purchased by one
consumer and given to another consumer as a present or expression of appreciation or
recognition. When provided in the form of a plastic card, a user of a gift card is able to access and spend the value associated with the device by swiping the card at a POS terminal, much as a person would use a debit card. Among the benefits of a gift card are the ease of purchase for the gift-giver and the recipient’s ability to choose the item or items ultimately purchased using the card. According to one survey, over 95 percent of Americans have received or purchased a gift card. There are two distinct types of gift cards: closed-loop cards and open-loop cards. Closed-loop gift cards constitute the majority of the gift card market, both in terms of the number of cards issued and the dollar value of the amounts loaded onto or spent with gift cards. These cards generally are accepted or honored at a single merchant or a group of affiliated merchants (such as a chain of book stores or clothing retailers) as payment for goods or services. They have limited functionality and generally can only be used to make purchases at the merchant or group of merchants. Closed-loop gift cards are typically issued by a merchant, or by a card program sponsor or service provider working with a merchant, and not by a financial institution. These cards may be sold in a predenominated or consumer-specified amount at the merchant itself or distributed through other retail outlets, such as at grocery stores or drug stores. Generally, closed-loop gift cards cannot be reloaded with additional value after card issuance. Further, the issuer typically does not collect any information regarding the identity of the gift card purchaser or the recipient. See Federal Reserve System regulations (12 CFR 205) effective August 22, 2010 at: http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/bcreg/bcreg20100323a1.pdf

A third of Americans 14 and older—about 77 million people—use public library computers to look for jobs, connect with friends, do their homework and improve their lives, according to a new study paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and released March 25. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hWnSqIJiabnfP8SQTFrhU80pEDMQD9ELOC380

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the Japanese architectural firm Sanaa, have won the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the profession’s highest honor. The pair’s buildings include the acclaimed New Museum in New York, a sculptural stack of rectilinear boxes on the Bowery, which was completed in 2007. The first Sanaa project in the United States was a glass pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art, completed in 2006. It holds the museum’s collection of glass artworks, reflecting that city’s history as a major center of glass production. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/arts/design/29pritzker.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Well used, meter can make a singular appeal to the ear, mind, and memory. Meter can give language a rare elegance and tension, enabling the poet to unite verbal fluidity with stable form. As Robert Frost once remarked, prefacing a proposed collection of his work for younger readers, poets follow “The measured way, … so many feet to the line, seldom less than two or more than five in our language.” English-language poetry is written mostly in iambic meters. “Meter” (from the Greek metron) means “measure” and denotes the rhythmical organization of verse lines. “Iambic” refers to a specific kind of rhythm that alternates between relatively lightly stressed syllables and relatively heavily stressed ones. Because iambic rhythm suits English speech more naturally and flexibly than other rhythms, it has been the principal mode of English poetry from the time of Geoffrey Chaucer (14th c.) to the present day. See interesting article with examples of different meters at: http://instructional1.calstatela.edu/tsteele/TSpage5/meter.html

When people drop a syllable (LISS-ning rather than liss-uh-ning) or add a syllable (ATH-a-leet rather than ATH-leet), they like the rhythm or ease of speaking that way. Or, have just picked up the pronunciation from others. Poets may purposely drop a syllable and put in an apostrophe (as in list'ning) or instead of using the apostrophe, may just drop a syllable as they recite their work.

Elision means
Omission of a final or initial sound in pronunciation.
Omission of an unstressed vowel or syllable, as in scanning a verse.
The act or an instance of omitting something.

Clarification on recipe for the sweet Armenian cake pahlava: Bake in 8 or 9-inch pan, either round or square. Walnuts may be omitted if you wish.

Motion picture screen writer and author of detective fiction Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) was born in Chicago, but he grew up in England after the divorce of his parents. He attended Dulwich College, and studied then international law in France and Germany. He worked as an assistant stores officer in the Naval Supplies Branch, a temporary teacher at Dulwich College, and published poems and essays in the Academy, the Chamber's Journal, and Westminster Gazette. Before returning to the United States in 1912, Chandler published twenty-seven poems and his first story, 'The Rose-Leaf Romance.' Back in America he worked in St. Louis, then on a ranch, in a sporting goods firm, and as a bookkeeper in a creamery. During the World War I he served in the Canadian Army (1917-18), and was later transferred to the Royal Air Force (1918-19). He prepared himself for his first submission by carefully studying Erle Stanley Gardner and other representatives of pulp fiction, and spent five months writing his first story, 'Blackmailers Don't Shoot.' It appeared in December 1933 in Black Mask, the foremost among magazines publishing in the hard-boiled school. Chandler was a slow writer. Between 1933 and 1939 he produced a total of nineteen pulp stories, eleven in Black Mask, seven in Dime Detective, one in Detective Fiction Weekly. His fourth published story, 'Killer in the Rain,' was used in THE BIG SLEEP (1939), Chandler's first novel. The story introduced Philip Marlowe, a 38-year-old P.I., a man of honor and a modern day knight with a college education. Marlowe is about forty, has a college education, listens to classical music, and solves alone chess problems. PLAYBACK, Chandler's last finished novel, appeared in 1958. Originally it was written as a screenplay. During the writing process Helga Greene became Chandler's literary agent. He and Helga Greene were induced by Ian Fleming to travel to Capri, and to interview Lucky Luciano along the way in Naples. Chandler essay 'My Friend Luco' was not published. His unfinished novel POODLE SPRING was completed by Robert B. Parker, who has also written a sequel to The Big Sleep, entitled PERCHANCE TO DREAM (1990). http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/rchandle.htm

Philip Marlowe's name is an amalgam of literary reference to Sir Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, and the Marlow who occupies the moral center of several of Joseph Conrad's tales. Chandler originally intended to name his detective Mallory, alluding to Sir Thomas Malory whose chivalric romance, Le morte d'Arthur (1485), simultaneously dramatizes the heroic deeds of the Arthurian knights and portrays the less glamorous side of knighthood.

Monday, March 29, 2010

OpenCongress is a free, open-source, not-for-profit, and non-partisan web resource with a mission to make Congress more transparent and to encourage civic engagement. OpenCongress is a joint project of two 501c3 non-profit organizations, the Participatory Politics Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation. http://www.opencongress.org/

H.R.3590 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became Public Law No: 111-148 on March 23. See summary at: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3590/show

Much to my chagrin, it turns out the Schoolhouse Rock "I'm Just a Bill" cartoon and ditty from 1975 doesn't fully capture the complexity of the federal lawmaking process. In this column, I analyze contentions that the so-called "Deem and Pass" procedure (also named the "Slaughter Solution" after Rep. Louise Slaughter (D. N.Y)) violates the Constitution's procedures for making law. As readers will likely know, the House of Representatives considered using “Deem and Pass” in March 21's health care vote, but did not end up invoking the device. Read legal commentary by Vikram David Amar at: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/amar/20100326.html

Communication and influence
actors being "crusty yet benign" or grouchy for humorous effect
actors showing tension or edgy bantering between characters
judges in contests making cutting, sarcastic or rude comments
guests on talk shows entertaining by being funny, educated, or controversial
hosts on talk shows gaining fans with humor, controversy. name-calling, threats, or calls to action
newscasters showing excitement when recounting tragedies
interviewers leading people to a predetermined answer
pollsters asking slanted questions, restricting questions to those who share their views or asking too few people to constitute a valid survey
social networks and blogs inviting readers to go to a certain place at a certain time and do something that makes a statement--or simply because they can come together as a large group (sometimes called flash mobs)

Q: What does "Ohio" mean?
A : It's from an Iroquois word meaning "great river." Ohio Historical Society
Q: What makes a city, town and village what they are? Is it based on population?
A: In Ohio, a city is an incorporated place with more than 5,000 people and a village is one with less than 5,000 people. Cities that fall below 5,000 people become villages, and villages that grow beyond 5,000 people become cities. Ohio does not have "towns." But its townships are areas of any size where citizens have chosen not to incorporate.
Ohio Municipal League
Q: Is it true that at least one in five miles of interstate highway is straight so airplanes can land in emergencies?
A : No. This is a myth with no basis in law, regulation, design manual, or in fact. Airplanes occasionally land on interstates when no emergency alternative is available, but they are not designed for that purpose. Federal Highway Administration

Baklava, of Turkish origin, is a sweet dessert of thin pastry sheets, butter and pistachios. Recipe at:

Pahlava, of Armenian origin, is a sweet cake with walnuts.
1 c. farina or Cream of Wheat
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3 eggs
1/4 pound butter
1 tsp. vanilla
12 walnuts
Karo syrup
Mix dry ingredients, Beat three eggs and add vanilla. Add melted butter to eggs and vanilla. Mix everything together. Add chopped nuts. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Pour syrup over. recipe courtesy of Armena Bagramian

Friday, March 26, 2010

Earth Hour, an annual event, will take place on Saturday, March 27, at 8:30 p.m. local time. People are urged to turn off non-essential lights for one hour. World Wildlife Fund started Earth Hour in 2007, and says that last year 4,000 cities turned off lights in official buildings in 87 countries, including 318 U.S. cities. It estimates 80 million Americans participated. This year, 30 states (up from eight last year) plan to flip the light switch in governors' mansions and other public buildings. Among monuments and other landmarks taking part: the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Las Vegas Strip, Niagara Falls and the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, in Chicago.

ebrary Launches Free Natural Disaster and Extreme Weather Searchable Information Center News release: "ebrary®, a leading provider of digital content products and technologies..announced that it has created a publicly available research center featuring hundreds of important government documents related to natural disasters and extreme weather - the Natural Disaster and Extreme Weather Searchable Information Center."

Postal Service Proposes to Eliminate Saturday Service
News release: Postal Service Outlines Five-Day Delivery Proposal The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors has approved management’s request to move forward with its five-day delivery proposal and to file a request for an advisory opinion with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on March 30. A website will be launched to provide customers with the details of the proposal. The website also will include a special section telling business mailers how to manage a change in delivery.
"War Dances" by novelist Sherman Alexie has won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the organizers announced on March 23. The prestigious annual award, presented by the Washington-based PEN/Faulkner Foundation, was given to Alexie because of his book's breadth of topics and innovative style, judges said. "War Dances" consists of short stories interspersed with poems. Alexie, who lives in Seattle, won a National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2007 and this week, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas. He is a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian who grew up on a reservation 50 miles northwest of Spokane. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/23/AR2010032301846.html?hpid=sec-artsliving

Languages freely borrow words from one another. Often a borrowed word becomes so assimilated we don't realize its exotic provenance. If you speak English, you know parts of at least a hundred different languages. Besides the usual sources--Latin, Greek, German, French, etc --English has words borrowed from languages as diverse as Tongan (taboo), Hindi (cot), Hungarian (coach), among others. Sometimes languages borrow only the idea from a language and translate a word literally. English skyscraper becomes rascacielos (literally scrape-skies) in Spanish, gratte-ciel in French, Wolkenkratzer in German, and so on. This process of borrowing is called loan translation or calque (from French calquer: to trace or copy). German Gedankenexperiment becomes "thought experiment" in English through loan translation. French marche aux puces gets translated as flea market. The term loan translation itself is a loan translation of German Lehnübersetzung.
cloud-cuckoo-land or cloud cuckoo land (KLOUD-koo-koo-land) noun
An idealized, unrealistic state; a place out of touch with reality. Loan translation of Greek Nephelokokkugia, from nephele (cloud) + kokkux (cuckoo). The word was coined in The Birds, a comedy by Athenian playwright Aristophanes (c. 450-388 BCE). Nephelokokkugia was the name of a city in the sky, built by the birds in collaboration with some Athenians.
moment of truth (MOH-muhnt of trooth) noun
A crucial point; a turning point; a decisive moment.
Loan translation of Spanish el momento de la verdad. In bullfighting, the moment when a matador is about to kill the bull is called el momento de la verdad.
A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

Quote No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else. Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

A yellow flower the size and shape of a gumdrop, it's the bloom of an Amazonian herb called Spilanthes acmella, known in this country as paracress, spotflower, and toothache plant. Koppert Cress, a Dutch distributor of microgreens, is growing paracress on Long Island and marketing the plant's tongue-buzzing blossoms as "Sechuan Buttons." Though the entire plant is saturated with spilanthol, an analgesic alkaloid that numbs the mouth and stimulates saliva flow, it is its flower, resembling nothing so much as the heart of a very fat daisy, that packs the greatest sensory wallop. Chewing an entire bud will numb your tongue and gums, and a taste of even a few filaments will subject your mouth to spilanthol's peculiarly electric frisson. See picture and more at: http://www.saveur.com/article/kitchen/the-electric-paracress

Give this idea of folding fresh herbs into cooked rice another take by borrowing the concept of red rice from Carolina Low Country tradition. Sauté bacon and onions in a little oil. Spoon off excess fat, add a minced garlic clove and the 2 cups of long grain rice, a 14-ounce can of whole tomatoes, pureed, and 3 cups of water. Cook as directed above, and when done, fold in 1 cup each of snipped chives and torn basil. The Splendid Table March 24, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In two separate decisions announced March 23, the Supreme Court of Ohio upheld as constitutional a 2005 state law that limits the ability of workers who are injured on the job to sue their employers for a “workplace intentional tort” in addition to receiving state workers’ compensation benefits. The challenged statute requires that workers asserting intentional tort claims against their employer must prove that, in committing the acts or omissions that resulted in a worker’s injuries, the employer acted “with a deliberate intent to cause injury.”
In Kaminski v. Metal & Wire Products Co., the Court held 6-1 that the challenged statute, R.C. 2 745.01, does not violate Section 34 or 35 of Article II of the Ohio Constitution. Those sections authorize the General Assembly to enact statutes that provide for “the comfort, health, safety and general welfare of all employees,” and to adopt laws facilitating the resolution of employment-related injury claims through the Ohio Workers’ Compensation program.
In Stetter v. R.J. Corman Derailment Services, the Court answered questions of state law submitted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. In a 6-1 decision, the Court found that R.C. 2745.01 does not violate the provisions of the Ohio Constitution that guarantee trial by jury, a remedy for damages, open courts, due process, equal protection of the laws or the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches of government. The Court also held that, while R.C. 2745.01 limits the ability of workers to assert common law employer intentional tort claims previously recognized by this Court, it does not eliminate such claims. Based on those findings, and its holding in Kaminski, the Court concluded that R.C. 2745.01 is constitutional on its face. http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/summaries/2010/0323/080857_080972.asp

The origin of "cabbages and Kings" comes from Lewis Carroll's "The Walrus and the Carpenter", which combined a quote from King Richard II and a take-off on the quote in the play "Richard II" by Shakespeare...in this order: Richard II: "For God's sake, let me sit on the ground and tell bad stories about cabbages and things." Shakespeare's Richard II: "Let's talk of graves and worms and epitaphs... For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground/And tell sad stories of the death of kings." Carroll's poem: `The time has come,' the Walrus said, `To talk of many things: Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing-wax -- Of cabbages -- and kings -- And why the sea is boiling hot -- And whether pigs have wings.' http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080304003140AA2AEsM

The Walrus and the Carpenter poem by Lewis Carroll (from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872) with its introduction and many six-line verses:

Types of twins
Monozygotic (identical) Formed when a single fertilized egg splits in two (or more) after conception. The resulting twins are genetically alike--same sex, same hair and eye colour and same blood type.
Monozygotic (conjoined) Have a variable degree of physical attachment to each other, depending upon the point at which the twinning event has occurred.
Dizygotic (fraternal) Result from two (or more) fertilized eggs. No more genetically similiar than singleton siblings.

A century ago, London dry gin—the clear, bracing, juniper-forward stuff we've come to expect in our martinis—was a recent invention, just one among various English styles of gin, including Old Tom and Plymouth, each with its own characteristics. There was also genever, the earliest incarnation of the liquor, popularized by the Dutch in the 1500s; it's the one that inspired the English to make gin in the first place. (Indeed, gin is a slang abbreviation of genever, the Dutch word for juniper.) First, the basics. To make any sort of gin, you take a base spirit and flavor it with juniper berries, the piney-tasting seed-cones that are gin's defining feature, along with an assortment of other "botanicals"—aromatic berries, barks, peels, seeds, roots, leaves, and flowers. Thus enhanced, the spirit is typically redistilled to integrate and refine the flavors. In 19th century England, gin was a thick-textured spirit that was highly flavored, sweetened to cover impurities, and often barrel-aged. American microdistilleries are making a number of new, local brands. Some of these are distributed to only one or two bars; others—Aviation from Oregon, Bluecoat from Pennsylvania, Death's Door from Wisconsin—have begun breaking out nationally. Many of these distillers, as well as a number of new producers in Europe, are showing a willingness to diverge from the traditional palette of gin botanicals, bringing formerly inconspicuous elements to the fore and even experimenting with flavors quite new to the world of gin. Following the traditional English preference, these new-style gins tend not to foreground the flavor of the base spirit, keeping it neutral instead. http://www.saveur.com/article/Wine-and-Drink/Revolutionary-Spirit

The word lukewarm has been around since the 14th century. Luke is obsolete except in lukewarm (late 14c.), from M.E. leuk "tepid" (c.1200). http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=luke
Lukecold surfaced in the 20th century.

According to documented history, Lombardi's was the first American pizzeria. Pizza didn't gain its popularity until just after World War II, but Lombardi's, opened by Gennaro Lombardi, began selling pizza in New York City in 1905, so you might say Gennaro is the father of American pizza. Lombardi's was originally a grocery store, but it soon became a popular stop for workers looking for something to take to work for lunch. Gennaro started selling tomato pies, which were wrapped in paper and tied with a string, and the many workers of Italian descent would take them to the job site. Most could not afford the entire pie, so it was often sold by the piece. Gennaro's son, John, took over after Gennaro passed away and the business eventually went to Genarro's grandson, Jerry. Over the years, Lombardi's continued to sell pizza, becoming a cult-like Mecca for pizza enthusiasts. In 1984, Lombardi's closed its doors. In 1994, John Brescio, who was a childhood friend of Gennaro's grandson, Jerry, started talking to Jerry about reopening Lombardi's and in that same year they did, but not in the same location. They moved a block down the street to 32 Spring Street. http://www.firstpizza.com/history.html

Why is New York pizza so much better than everywhere else in the country?
After meeting with several chefs, the consensus is the water. The mineral content of New York water, which comes from the Catskills has a unique effect on the rising and the flavor to the dough. http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_111/asliceofnewyork.html

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Congress passed health care reform legislation on March 21. Read special report from CCH: http://health.cch.com/pdf/congress-passes-health-reform.pdf

Perrysburg, Ohio is one of only two federally designated cities. (The other is Washington, D.C.) On April 12 of 1816, the United States Land Commissioner, Josiah Meigs, wrote to Amos Spafford and gave him the chance to honor Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's victory over the superior British fleet on September 10, 1813 in the Battle of Lake Erie. Meigs wanted to create a town name utilizing Perry's name. He suggested "Perrysville" or "Perrytown", but Amos coined another one, "Perrysburg(h)." Once part of Champaign County, it was now in Logan County. Wood County wasn't created until February 22, 1820 and included all of Lucas County until 1835. Maumee was the first county seat as it was part of Wood County until 1835. Perrysburg became the county seat of justice March 27, 1823 and remained so until 1870. http://www.ci.perrysburg.oh.us/HistoricPerrysburg/tabid/57/Default.aspx

The massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck the west coast of Chile in February moved the entire city of Concepcion at least 10 feet to the west, research has found. The preliminary measurements, produced from data gathered by researchers from four universities and several agencies, including geophysicists on the ground in Chile, show that Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina moved about 1 inch to the west. Chile's capital, Santiago, moved about 11 inches to the west-southwest. The cities of Valparaiso and Mendoza, Argentina, northeast of Concepcion, also moved significantly.

Chameleons fire their tongues at breakneck speed, says study leader Christopher Anderson and reported in a recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “A chameleon’s tongue travels at accelerations exceeding 400 meters (1,312 feet) per second squared, or about 41 Gs of force,” he added. To put that into perspective, a space shuttle only develops about three Gs of force when it takes off [Discovery News].

When Katie Spotz landed in the South American port of Georgetown, Guyana, on Sunday, March 14, Spotz became the youngest person and the first American ever to row an ocean solo from mainland to mainland. The 2817-mile trip from Dakar, Senegal, in Western Africa took her 70 days, 5 hours and 22 minutes. http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/boating/4349594.html?nav=RSS20&src=syn&dom=yah_buzz&mag=pop http://rowforwater.com/

Feedback to A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg
salmagundi Def: 1. A heterogeneous mixture. 2. A mixed salad of various ingredients.
A little more than 35 years ago I started what has become an annual spring party and invited friends to what I called a Salmagundi. Each invitee was required to bring an unusual item to put into a huge salad. I provided the very large mahogany salad bowl and the green leafy things. What we dined on depended on the creativity and imagination of the guests. Each year the gathering is a new collection of friends and always a new and surprisingly salad.
Solomon Gundy came in a little jar when I was a child in Jamaica, West Indies, in the 1950s. Yes, I do remember the anchovy taste. We put it on crackers. I have not encountered the word or the condiment itself until now, decades later.
Salmagundi is also the title of a delightful collection of some twenty sketches by Washington Irving and his friends, published in the early 19th century.
For 30 years, our Public Radio's morning show was called Salmagundi. I loved waking up to the host's melange of classical music, off-beat music, poetry, crazy comments, interviews, and news. Now that host has retired, and his replacement plays only classical with straightforward news and national feeds. It's pleasant, but I miss the spice that got every day off to an interesting start.
Salmagundi is also the name of a notable on-again-off-again literary magazine going back as far as Washington Irving's publication of 1807, then revived in 1900 at Dickinson College, and again reconstituted and continuing from 1969 at Skidmore College.
The yearbook at my college (Colgate University) was called Salmagundi, or "the Sal". What a lovely way to start the week, reminiscing about the heterogeneous mixture of students I met there!

Northern Fried Chicken is served at Blue Ribbon, a restaurant in New York City, and boasts extra-crunchy skin thanks to a matzo meal crust; the chefs there serve it with bright collard greens quick-sautéed in browned butter. SAVEUR’s executive food editor, Todd Coleman, profiled this dish in our April 2010 issue (see "Prize Chicken"). See recipe and instructions at: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Northern-Fried-Chicken
Northern Comfort is a strong drink made with apple schnapps and bourbon. Find ingredients and directions at: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Northern-Comfort/Detail.aspx
Express northern hospitality by serving both and maybe serving northern dishes found at: http://www.recipezaar.com/recipes/northern-canadian

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost (1874-1964)
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Cardamom is a distinctively pungent aromatic spice that is part of many different world cuisines. It is the second most expensive spice; only saffron costs more. Cardamom (Elletaria Cardamomum) is a member of the Zingiberaceae or ginger family. It is a perennial with tall simple canes or stems that grow out of rhizomes. It is native to the shady forests of India, Ceylon and Malaysia. Today it is cultivated mainly in Guatemala and India. http://www.foodreference.com/html/artcardamom.html

Monday, March 22, 2010

FCC Sends National Broadband Plan to Congress News release: The Federal Communications Commission has delivered to Congress a National Broadband Plan setting an ambitious agenda for connecting all corners of the nation while transforming the economy and society with the communications network of the future -- robust, affordable Internet...Titled Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan, the Plan found that while broadband access and use have increased over the past decade, the nation must do much more to connect all individuals and the economy to broadband’s transformative benefits. Nearly 100 million Americans lack broadband at home today, and 14 million Americans do not have access to broadband even if they want it. Only 42 percent of people with disabilities use broadband at home, while as few as 5 percent of people living on Tribal lands have access.

A working title, sometimes called a production title, is the temporary name of a product or project used during its development, usually a film. It may also be an informal title for a position. The Working Title is the name of an alternative pop/rock band. Paul McCartney used the name holder Scrambled Eggs for one year before fitting the lyrics of Yesterday to the melody we know it as today.

Return of the Multi-Generational Family Household, March 18, 2010 - Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project. "The multi-generational American family household is staging a comeback—driven in part by the job losses and home foreclosures of recent years, but more so by demographic changes that have been gathering steam for decades. As of 2008, a record 49 million Americans, or 16.1% of the total U.S. population, lived in such a household, up from 28 million, or 12.l% in 1980. Such households had been more common a century ago, but began to fall out of favor after World War II. Now they are coming back."

According to Russell Ackoff, a systems theorist and professor of organizational change, the content of the human mind can be classified into five categories:
Data: symbols
Information: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to "who", "what", "where", and "when" questions
Knowledge: application of data and information; answers "how" questions
Understanding: appreciation of "why"
Wisdom: evaluated understanding.
See much more at: http://www.systems-thinking.org/dikw/dikw.htm

No one wants to touch it. Not Toyota, not NHTSA, not any politician. But the issue has to be raised. Driver error is most likely at the root of these sudden unintended acceleration incidents. Unintended acceleration is not a new issue for the auto industry. It's been around for decades and complaints have been filed against virtually every automaker. Even more telling, it was around long before electronic throttle controls (ETC) ever showed up in cars. http://www.autoblog.com/2010/03/12/runaway-toyotas-what-about-driver-error/

On the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, Liz Carpenter was in a Dallas police car being driven to Love Field. There she would board Air Force One, the plane returning to Washington with the body of a slain president and his widow, as well as the Texan who would take the oath of office aboard the plane, his wife standing at his side. "Having been a reporter for 20 years of my life, I knew [Lyndon Baines Johnson] would soon face the press," she recalled, "and they were going to want a statement. I pulled out a card and just started writing. Fifty-eight words: 'This is a sad time for all people. We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed. For me, it is a deep personal tragedy. I know that the world shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy and her family bear. I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help--and God's.' Carpenter, who served as Lady Bird Johnson's press secretary during her tenure as first lady and who was a founding member of the National Women's Political Caucus, died of pneumonia March 20 in Austin. She was 89. In 1952, Les and Liz Carpenter started Carpenter News Bureau with four employees. At our peak, they had 26 papers. Ms. Carpenter, who served as president of the Women's National Press Club in 1954, also wrote a weekly column. Speeches continued into her ninth decade. She was in the Texas Women's Hall of Fame and on the board of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center. by Joe Holley http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/20/AR2010032002909.html

Q: Is Benjamin Franklin's epitaph special?
A: Which one?
Franklin (1706-1790) composed this charming epitaph at 22 years old: "The body of / B. Franklin, Printer / (Like the Cover of an Old Book / Its Contents torn Out / And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding) / Lies Here, Food for Worms. "But the Work shall not be Lost; / For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More / In a New and More Elegant Edition / Revised and Corrected / By the Author." But today, in a downtown Philadelphia cemetery, his tombstone reads: "Benjamin and Deborah Franklin: 1790" -- The Franklin Institute.
Q: What was the first airline?
A: The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line ran the world's first regularly scheduled airline service using heavier-than-air craft during January, February and March 1914. -- Federal Aviation Administration. http://www.thecourier.com/Opinion/columns/2010/Mar/JU/ar_JU_032210.asp?d=032210,2010,Mar,22&c=c_13

Feedback to newly-coined word unexpect in the marketing slogan "Unexpect Yourself." Since unforseen is a synonym for unexpected, then "Unforsee Yourself" could be another marketing slogan.

Three pasta tips
(1) Crush whole black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or grind them on the coarsest setting in a spice grinder. Then "toast" the cracked pepper by frying it in the olive oil you'll be using for the pasta sauce, heating it until it smells very fragrant.
(2) Boil your pasta until it's just short of al dente, then finish cooking it in the hot pan or skillet containing your sauce, tossing the pasta and the sauce together vigorously
(3) Adding a few ladlefuls of salty, starchy pasta water to the pasta and the sauce as you toss them together will moisten your sauce and add an additional layer of flavor and body to the final dish. http://www.saveur.com/gallery/3-Pasta-Tips

Friday, March 19, 2010

Equinox is either of two times of the year when the sun crosses the plane of the earth's equator and day and night are of equal length. See other definitions and uses as title at: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:equinox&ei=gmCfS8DzNpDOM_r8hMIM&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title&ved=0CAYQkAE

The March equinox (equal night) will occur on March 20 in 2010, marking the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and fall (autumn) in the southern hemisphere from an astronomical viewpoint. The March equinox will occur at 17:32 (or 5:32pm) at Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on this date. During the equinox, the length of night and day across the world is nearly, but not entirely, equal. This is because the day is slightly longer in places that are further away from the equator, and because the sun takes longer to rise and set in these locations. Furthermore, the sun takes longer to rise and set farther from the equator because it does not set straight down-- it moves in a horizontal direction. See illustration and much more at: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/march-equinox.html

EPA: Fix a Leak Week Showcases How Americans Can Save Water and Money
News release: "Across the country, household leaks are wasting more than 1 trillion gallons of water per year—enough water to supply every home in Texas with its annual water needs. To help consumers save water and money, EPA is working with water utilities, manufacturers, retailers, communities and plumbers to promote its second annual Fix a Leak Week, March 15 to 21. If a family of four’s wintertime water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, they probably have a leak. In many cases, fixture replacement parts pay for themselves quickly and can be installed by do-it-yourselfers, a trusted professional plumber, or a WaterSense irrigation partner."

New York Times offers key points of Health Care Reform bill by topics below comparing key provisions of the Senate bill and the reconciliation bill passed March 18:
• Individual mandate
• Insurance exchange
• Public plan
• Subsidies for individuals
• Employer contribution
• Subsidies for employers
• Expand Medicaid
• Medicare drug benefits
• Defining benefits
• Insurance regulations
• Dependent coverage
• Long-term care
• Abortion
• Illegal immigrants
• Children of the poor
• Total cost and coverage
• Paying for the proposals

Michigan reader contributes a link to verbmall, a blog about the English language:

In Turkey, it's a crime to defame the country's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or to ridicule "Turkishness." So Google restricts access to videos that the government of Turkey deems illegal on google.com.tr. In Germany, France and Poland, it is illegal to publish pro-Nazi material or content that denies the Holocaust. To comply with those countries' laws, Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) does not display links to those sites on its search results pages on the company's German site google.de, French site google.fr or Polish site google.pl. And in Thailand, denigrating the Thai monarch is against the law, so Google blocks YouTube videos in Thailand that ridicule King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Google controls nearly two-thirds of the world's search results, making it the Internet gateway for most people. As a result of that clout, Google's censorship policies are closely watched. http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/18/technology/google_china_censorship/

YouTube has accused media conglomerate Viacom of secretly uploading content to the video-sharing site whilst publicly complaining about its presence. YouTube said it deliberately "roughed up" any uploaded the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. The accusation was made as a court prepares to rule in a $1bn suit brought by Viacom against Youtube for "massive intentional copyright infringement". Viacom said it had identified 150,000 such infringements on the site.

salmagundi (sal-muh-GUHN-dee) noun
1. A heterogeneous mixture.
2. A mixed salad of various ingredients, such as meat, eggs, anchovies, onions, oil, vinegar, etc.
From French salmagondis (originally "seasoned salted meats"), probably from salemine (salted food) + condir (to season).
prandial (PRAN-dee-uhl) adjective
Of or relating to a meal.
From Latin prandium (late breakfast, luncheon, or meal). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ed- (to eat, to bite) that is also the source of edible, comestible, obese, etch, fret, edacious, and postprandial. A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

Thursday, March 18, 2010

National Statuary Hall is a chamber in the United States Capitol devoted to sculptures of prominent Americans. The hall, also known as the Old Hall of the House, is a large, two-story, semicircular room with a second story gallery along the curved perimeter. It is located immediately south of the Rotunda. The meeting place of the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 50 years (1807-1857),[1] and now the main exhibition space for the National Statuary Hall Collection.[2] This chamber is the second hall and third meeting place built for the House of Representatives in this location. Prior to this, the House members met in a squat, oval, temporary building known as "the Oven," which had been hastily erected in 1801. The first permanent Hall, designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, was completed in 1807; however, it was destroyed when invading British troops burned the Capitol in August, 1814 during the War of 1812. The Hall was rebuilt in its present form by Latrobe and his successor, Charles Bulfinch, between 1815 and 1819. Unfortunately, the smooth, curved ceiling promoted annoying echoes, making it difficult to conduct business. Various attempts to improve the acoustics, including hanging draperies and reversing the seating arrangement, proved unsuccessful. The only solution to this problem was to build an entirely new Hall, one in which debates could be easily understood. In 1850, a new Hall was authorized, and the House moved into its present chamber in the new House wing in 1857.[2] Find an alphabetical list of the people depicted in the statues, along with the state represented by each statue at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Statuary_Hall

Replacement of statue in Statuary Hall

The National Statuary Collection Study Committee – made up of six members of the Ohio General Assembly and several non-voting members – wants to hear from Ohioans about what person from Ohio’s history should be cast in bronze or marble and placed in the U.S. Capitol Building for generations of families and school children to see and learn from. The Study Committee was formed following passage in 2006 of Senate Bill 277, sponsored by State Sen. Jeff Jacobson (R-Dayton), to replace the statue now in the U.S. Capitol of former Gov. William Allen, a 19th century politician who coined the pro-expansion political slogan “Fifty-Four/Forty or Fight!” People may select from this list:
James Ashley, Thomas Edison, Ulysses S. Grant, William McCulloch, Jesse Owens, Judith Resnik, Albert Sabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Taylor Upton and the Wright Brothers.

Voting locations are shown, and ballots will be available online beginning March 20, 2010 at: http://www.legacyforohio.org/index3.html Voting will continue until June 12, 2010.

C-SPAN Announces New Searchable Library of Videos from 1987 to Present
Washington Post Political Blog: On Wednesday [March 17, 2010], C-SPAN launches a searchable video library that includes all of its programming dating to 1987. Bonuses: A "Congressional Chronicle" feature lets viewers to search all floor speeches and committee remarks for any member, and built-in tools allow you to post a video link to Facebook, Twitter or e-mail."

EPA Makes Chemical Information More Accessible to Public
News release: For the first time, EPA is providing web access, free of charge, to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory. This inventory contains a consolidated list of thousands of industrial chemicals maintained by the agency. EPA is also making this information available on Data.Gov, a website developed by the Obama Administration to provide public access to important government information. This action represents another step to increase the transparency of chemical information while continuing to push for legislative reform of the 30 year old TSCA law.

un•ex•pect•ed \ˌən-ik-ˈspek-təd\ adjective
Date: circa 1586
: not expected : UNFORESEEN
— un•ex•pect•ed•ly adverb
— un•ex•pect•ed•ness noun

Mysterious back-formation (2010): unexpect
Annodyne, Inc has created an online marketing campaign for The Philadelphia Orchestra with the goal of boosting single ticket sale through the non-traditional concept of “Unexpect Yourself”".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cool stuff in Columbus, Ohio! One of the benefits of storage being so inexpensive. Note: You do not have to be affiliated with Ohio St. University to search, access, and access the content in Knowledge Bank. Simply head to the web site and begin browsing or searching. From the Article: The Knowledge Bank, a project of Ohio State’s libraries and the top technology office, gives OSU researchers an easy way to publish and preserve their work on the Web. But it’s not just a place for scholarly research. Video clips, full-length books and even FBI reports call this digital space home. The Knowledge Bank is an endeavor of OSU Libraries and the Office of the Chief Information Officer and has more than 42,000 materials on the site.

New Web Site Shows Amtrak Connections to National Park Sites (PDF; 28 KB)
Amtrak has introduced a new Web site designed to show travelers how convenient it is to travel by train to visit the country’s national parks. With the theme “Parks in Your Backyard,” Amtraktoparks.com allows users to see the nearest Amtrak route to featured national park sites, each of which can be reached using public transportation from an Amtrak station. Amtraktoparks.com offers a trip wizard which allows users to customize their search based on geographic location and personal interests—Monuments/Memorials, Revolutionary History or Water Activities to name a few. Information on accommodations such camping sites and hotels is also provided. Once the user selects a national park, information on the park as well as which Amtrak route provides service to that park is shown. The site provides a direct link to Amtrak.com, allowing users to book rail travel. Source: National Railroad Passenger Corporation

Three places we visited on a recent trip to Fort Wayne:
(1) Embassy Theatre at 125 West Jefferson Boulevard for a concert with Fort Wayne Philharmonic featuring singer Heather Headley.
On May 14, 1928, the doors of the magnificent Emboyd Theatre opened in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Built as a movie palace and vaudeville house, the Emboyd provided a majestic backdrop for the entertainment of the day, complete with a Page theatre pipe organ. The Emboyd came complete with the seven-story, 150-room Indiana Hotel wrapped around the north and west sides of the theatre. Vaudeville was at its height of popularity and the Emboyd featured acrobats, comedians, magicians and musicians. For nearly 25 years the biggest and brightest stars of stage and screen graced the Emboyd stage: Bob Hope’s first emcee job was at the Emboyd. In 1952, the Emboyd Theatre and Indiana Hotel were sold to the Alliance Amusement Corporation, along with the Indiana Hotel adjacent to the theatre. The name changed to the Embassy Theatre. After the sale, the Embassy continued to operate as a movie palace. Faced with the wrecking ball in 1972, a handful of community leaders and volunteers, led by Robert Goldstine, banded together to form the Embassy Theatre Foundation. Their goal was to protect the building for the good of the community and preserve the home of the Grande Page Pipe Organ. Through the efforts of these volunteers and the support of a caring community, the successful “Save the Embassy” campaign raised the $250,000 necessary to rescue the building from demolition with just two days to spare. In 1985, the Embassadors, the former name for Embassy volunteers, established the first Festival of Trees, which grew out of a recommendation from Barbara Wigham. The initial festival raised $46,000, which was used to restore and renovate the front lobby entrances. The tradition of the Embassy Festival of Trees continues to this day with nearly 15,000 attendees annually.
In 1995, a major renovation of the Embassy included expanding the stage to bring the theatre up to the modern standards required by large-scale touring companies. The theatre seats were upgraded, creating a seating capacity of 2,477. http://www.fwembassytheatre.org/aboutus.htm

(2) Club Soda in the old Indiana Textile Company building 235 East Superior
Variety of food, entertainment, spacious rooms with good views for events.
Notes: There are orher restaurants, including one in Toledo, called Club Soda.
Indiana Textile Corporation is now in Mishawaka, Indiana.

(3) Catablu Grille at 6370 West Jefferson Boulevard in Covington Plaza
The contemporary interior has wooden blinds on the windows and a wall of wine bottles that stretches nearly to the ceiling. A semicircular panel wraps around the top of the bar and is filled with movie quotes. Good food.
http://www.fortwayne.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/SE/20100119/LIVING/1190304 Every Wednesday, enjoy a 20 percent discount on bottles from the “wall of wine.”

Why do we say a pair of pants for a single item?
The original word for the garment covering the legs of men was pantaloon. The word pant was often used as a synonym for pantleg, that is, the covering of only one leg. In this case the complete garment would have two pants, or better, a pair. Pantaloon as a garment could be used in the singular, but most often the plural was preferred. But "pants" as we know them really got their start as a colloquialism in the U.S. in the 19th century. There is still a widespread feeling that "pants" are not quite as dignified as "trousers." The word pantaloon has an interesting history. It was orginally the name of a character in the Italian commedia dell'arte. He represented a Venetian type and spoke in Venetian dialect (as did the Zanni character), and wore close-fitting trousers down to the foot. (Most commedia characters were known not only by their name, their calling, their dialect, and their manner, but also by their costume.) The French picked up on the name Pantalon (their version of Pantaleone), and passed it to the English as Pantaloon, both of which were used both for pants and for the character. Pantaloon is an old fool, whether in Italian, French or English. This does not answer the question about using the plural for a singular garment. This is also the case with shorts (that is, short pants). After the term "pants" came to be accepted for female attire, we had also pantaloons and panties. In any case, it's a garment with holes for the legs. http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070617093930AAv8Vyf

Quote Words are the small change of thought. Jules Renard, writer (1864-1910)

Monday, March 15, 2010

In the last few months, fashion houses Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen have accused Steve Madden of ripping off their shoe designs and filed suit. But they face an uphill battle in court, because the U.S. lacks a fashion copyright law. Sen. Charles Schumer—along with Harvard law professor Jeannie Suk—is working on that. The New York senator first introduced a fashion copyright bill in 2007, Suffolk University Law School librarian Betsy McKenzie notes on Out of the Jungle. Language has held up previous versions of congressional fashion copyright bill, the Boston Globe reports, but this time Suk is helping with the language specifying just how similar an article of clothing can be to another before being considered a sanctionable knockoff. After co-authoring "The Law, Culture, and Economics of Fashion" in the Stanford Law Review last year, her expertise on the subject has been in demand.

Grab Your Bike and Go with Google Maps - Users can now choose biking when deciding how to get to their destination: "If you’re one of the 57 million Americans who ride a bike, mapping your daily commute, exploring new trails, and planning recreational rides just became a little bit easier. Google is announcing that we have added biking directions in the U.S. to Google Maps. This has been the most requested addition to Google Maps, and we’re delighted to be unveiling this new feature at the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. This new feature includes: step-by-step bicycling directions; bike trails outlined directly on the map; and a new “Bicycling” layer that indicates bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly roads."

Q: Why do they put round pizzas in square boxes? -- Victoria Dowling, Findlay.
A: Square boxes are cheaper to make, easier to print on, safer to stack, have empty corners for side orders, and are convenient to open, close and secure.
Q: Thanks for answering the question regarding the longest interstate routes. (Feb. 8.) What are the shortest? ¬¬-- Warren Kahn, Findlay.
A. A segment of Interstate 95 in Washington, D.C., is just 0.11-mile long. Among the longer, two-digit routes, the shortest is Interstate 73 between Emery and Greensboro, N.C., at 12.27 miles. And before you just ask: Interstate 75 runs 1,787 miles between Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Miami. -- Federal Highway Administration.
Q: Why don't airplane manufacturers design a reinforced screen to protect engines from bird strikes? Also, can an airplane's radar be improved to see flocks of birds in the flight path? -- Robert Enger, Los Angeles.
A: Screens to prevent birds from getting sucked into aircraft engines have been considered in the past and rejected. The screen would have to be very sturdy and possibly very heavy. Airliners typically are traveling about 170 mph at takeoff and, at that speed, a collision with a 10-pound Canada goose has about the same force as dropping a 1,000-pound weight 10 feet. The extra weight also would decrease fuel efficiency. But the main reason is concern that screens would impede airflow into engines, possibly causing an engine to shut down. Screens could ice over. Airliners typically cruise at altitudes where temperatures are well below zero. Ice would also disrupt airflow. There is research to help steer planes away from birds and vice versa.
One possibility is equipping planes with pulsating ultraviolet lights that attract the attention of birds. The thought is that if birds see planes coming, they'll fly away. The Federal Aviation Administration is also testing, or plans to test, bird-detecting radar at five airports. -- Joan Lowy, AP, Washington.
Q: How long is the longest rural mail route?
A: It is 176.7 miles, out of Fordville, N.D. 58231. -- U.S. Postal Service.
From a White House Blog Post: …the web team at the Federal Highway Administration created an online map of the U.S. that shows over 12,000 Recovery Act road projects. Each of the dots represented on the map represents a project. The full, interactive version on the map allows you to click the dots in order to learn more about these projects. Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Federal Highway Administration
From Anu Garg: Sixteen years ago, on March 14, 1994, I shared the first word, zephyr (a gentle breeze) with a handful of friends. The Wordsmith.org circle has grown to 900,000 readers in 200 countries, but we still have the same love for words. And we're still eager to share them with you every day. To celebrate those 16 years, all words featured this week will have some connection with the number 16.
semiquaver (SEM-ee-kway-vuhr) noun
In music, a note having the time value of one-sixteenth of a whole note.
From Latin semi- (half) + quaver (an eighth note). Also called demiquaver
steenth (steenth) adjective
1. Latest in an indefinitely long sequence.
2. One sixteenth.
Alteration of the word sixteenth. The formation of the word "steenth" from "sixteenth" took place through a process called aphesis (from Greek, literally "a letting go"). Aphesis is when an unstressed sound from the beginning of a word get lost over time. Some other examples are: "cute" from "acute" "'tis" from "it is" "gypsy" from "Egyptian", from the belief that Gypsies came from Egypt (they actually came from India).
Armageddon (ahr-muh-GED-n) noun
A decisive, catastrophic conflict.
From the Book of Revelation 16:16 where Armageddon is mentioned. It is the supposed site of a final battle between the forces of good and evil. The word is from Greek Harmagedon, from Hebrew har megiddo (Mount Megiddo).
From: David Brooks (brooksdr@sympatico.ca) Subject: Semiquaver
It's funny how a single word can instantly transport you back in time. The first (and only) time I ever heard the word "semiquaver" was sitting in the movie theater watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The alien ship lands and begins to communicate using basic tonal musical notes. One of the technicians observes "She sent us four quavers, a group of five quavers, a group of four semiquavers." I haven't heard of the semiquaver in nearly 33 years and then suddenly there I am again, a wide-eyed 12-year-old boy watching (and hearing) the landing of an alien mothership.
From Donna Beth Joy Shapiro (dbjs@charm.net) Subject : Pi Day
You started A.Word.A.Day on Pi Day (3.14), so your comment "Our circle has grown to ... " was all the more delightful. Happy Pi Day and see you 'round!

Quote You should know that getting help isn't a sign of weakness . . . it's a sign of strength. Funky Winkerbean comic strip March 12, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

New on LLRX.com: The Web Guide for the New Economy - This guide by Marcus P. Zillman showcases the latest world wide web resources for discovering new knowledge on and understanding about developments with regard to the New Economy. The rapid changes in government transparency policies have resulted in the release of large volumes of data pertinent to researchers that public, advocacy and corporate entities are publishing to the web.

Legally prohibited from being funny on television
The fans of Conan O’Brien will not have to wait much longer — though they may have to wait in long lines — to see their favorite late-night comedian perform again: starting April 12 in Eugene, Ore., and including dates at Radio City Music Hall on June 1 and 2, Mr. O’Brien’s 30-city tour is on. And if the title is any indication, it will also be sending a message about how Mr. O’Brien, above, and his Team Coco feels about his abrupt departure from NBC’s “Tonight Show” in January. The name: The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour. The title refers to Mr. O’Brien’s settlement with NBC, which included a provision that he cannot appear on television again until after Sept. 1. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/arts/television/12arts-CONANOBRIENA_BRF.html

When you attend any networking event, there are a few things to consider:
• What is your goal?
• Will they remember you? Most events have many attendees, so you want to be memorable.
• How will you remember them?
• What do you have to give them? Do you have an old-fashioned business card, brochure or marketing piece?
• Do you have a nametag?
• Do you have “herd mentality”? If you attend with close friends or your critique group, don’t just hang out and talk to them. Spread out! You can see them anytime. This is your chance to interact with others. The Writing Bug March 8, 2010

Thoughts from Lynne
A recipe calls for a few tablespoons of fresh cilantro leaves; you buy a bunch, use a few sprigs, and the rest sits forgotten and getting slimy in the fridge. What to do to avoid tossing most of a bunch? To begin, slow down that decay in the refrigerator by keeping the cilantro as dry and airtight as possible (markets have the nasty habit of spraying produce with water, an ideal set-up for deterioration). As soon as you get the cilantro home, loosen the bunch and spread the branches out on paper towels to absorb any moisture (do not wash oll them up and put into a plastic bag. Press out all the air, seal and refrigerate. You now have close to a week of fresh cilantro to work with. The Splendid Table March 10, 2010

Tips from a Michigan muse reader
1. Peel a banana from the bottom and you won't have to pick the little " stringy things" off of it.
2. Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.
3. Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.
4. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.
5. Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.
6. To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.
7. Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.
8. Easy Angeled Eggs Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg.
9. Newspaper weeds away Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.
10. Broken Glass Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass
you can't see easily.
11. No More Mosquitoes Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.
12. Squirrel Away! To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants
with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.
13. Flexible vacuum To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.
14. Reducing Static Cling Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress . Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose
15. Measuring Cups Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.
16. Foggy Windshield? Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser!
17. Reopening envelope If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two.
18. Conditioner Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than
shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.
19. Goodbye Fruit Flies To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2" with apple cider vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid, mix well.
20. Get Rid of Ants Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants.. They eat it, take it "home," can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works & you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!
See tip # 21 at: http://www.nusd.k12.az.us/schools/nhs/gthomson.class/articles/articles.misc06_07/DidYouKnow.pdf

Angeled egg recipes, all different:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The mere dimensions of the Lincoln Memorial command a certain reverence. Perched atop a three-tiered stack of steps, the base covers roughly the same area as a football field. Thirty-six massive Doric-styled columns surround it. Each is 44 feet high and more than 23 feet around at the base. Then there's the statue. At 19 feet tall, the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln is almost as imposing as the Memorial itself. Its giant hands, gripping the arms of his chair, look as though they could cradle you comfortably. If the statue could stand, it would reach a towering height of 28 feet. Designing the shell of the Memorial was relatively easy. Architect Henry Bacon's earliest drawings show the influence of Greek architecture. Begun in 1914, after decades of debate, the construction of the Lincoln Memorial took eight years, lasting through a World War.

Prefix follow-up
I couldn't remember the difference between mega and meta, and found them in two different lists. So I printed some of each list recently. Mega means 1 million--although today people also use it to mean gigantic. Meta means after, beyond, changed, different, and has been paired with many roots.

Alexander Calder's last major work of art, a mobile, was installed in the National Gallery of Art on November 18, 1977, one year after his death. Calder created his first moving abstract sculptures or "mobiles" in the early 1930s. Using an ingenious system of weights and counterbalances, he eventually designed constructions that moved freely when suspended, powered only by slight air currents. The work he created for the East Building, Untitled, 1976, is by far the largest example of this type of motorless construction. Originally planned in steel, the sculpture's thirteen panels and twelve arms were too heavy to function as the artist intended. Paul Matisse translated the design into an aluminum construction that retained the look and dynamism of Calder's original maquette. The mobile is now constructed of aluminum honeycomb panels, hollow aluminum tubes, and very little steel. http://www.nga.gov/collection/calderinfo.shtm

Red peppers are ripened green peppers. Black olives are ripened green olives.
Raisins are dried grapes. Prunes are dried plums.

Are fennel and anise the same plant? Although they share a similar taste profile—reminiscent of black licorice—fennel and anise are two different plants. The botanical name of anise is Pimpinella anisum while the botanical name of fennel is Foeniculum vulgare. Both anise and fennel belong to the Apiaceae family. In addition to the fact that they share a similar flavor, what often creates confusion among these two plants/foods is that fennel is often referred to as anise. Since the whole plant (bulb, stalks, fronds) of fennel is consumed while it is usually just the seeds from the anise plant that are eaten, if you see a vegetable-like plant called "anise," chances are that it is actually fennel.
There is one further complication to the anise and fennel story. Historically, several different plants have been referred to as "anise." One version of anise you may also be familiar with is star anise (also called Chinese anise). This form of anise gets its name from the eight-pointed star that forms a pod for its seeds. Star anise has its own scientific name (Illicum verum) and unlike fennel and anise, it is not a part of the Apiaceae family but rather the Illiciaceae family. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?pfriendly=1&tname=dailytip&dbid=220

See food of the week, recipe of the week and hot topics from The George Mateljan Foundation at: http://www.whfoods.com/

Magenta is a purplish-pink color evoked by lights with less power in yellowish-green wavelengths than in blue and red wavelengths. It is an extra-spectral color, meaning it cannot be generated by a single wavelength of light, being a mixture of red and blue wavelengths. The name magenta comes from the dye magenta, commonly called fuchsine, discovered shortly after the 1859 Battle of Magenta near Magenta, Italy. In the Munsell color system, magenta is called red-purple. In the CMYK color model used in printing, it is one of the primary colors of ink. In the RGB color model, the secondary color created by mixing the red and blue primaries is called magenta or fuchsia, though this color differs in hue from printer’s magenta.

Venetian red is a light and warm (somewhat unsaturated) pigment that is a darker shade of scarlet, derived from nearly pure ferric oxide (Fe2O3) of the hematite type. Modern versions are frequently made with synthetic red iron oxide. The first recorded use of Venetian red as a color name in English was in 1753. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venetian_red

U.S. embassies and consulates around the world:

The United States has unveiled plans for its new $1 billion high-security embassy in London—the most expensive it has ever built. The vast crystalline cube, surrounded by a 100-ft.wide moat and parkland, will separate the building from the main road. The price also does not include the 17.5 per cent VAT demanded by the Treasury on all buildings in Britain and which the US has refused to pay. The new location will take the embassy out of the Central London congestion zone. US diplomats owe an estimated £32 million in congestion charges and fines, which they refuse to pay on the ground that they are exempt from taxes in Britain. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7038550.ece

Chipmunks in Toledo were out of hibernation by March 10 this year.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Metric prefixes
giga- (G-) 109 1 billion
mega- (M-) 106 1 million
kilo- (k-) 103 1 thousand
hecto- (h-) 102 1 hundred
deka- (da-) 10 1 ten
deci- (d-) 10-1 1 tenth
centi- (c-) 10-2 1 hundredth
milli- (m-) 10-3 1 thousandth
micro- (µ-) 10-6 1 millionth
nano- (n-) 10-9 1 billionth

Greek prefixes
exo-, ecto- outside, external exotic, ectoparasite
hyper- over, excessive hyperactive
hypo-, hyp- below, less than normal hypocrite, hyphen
meta-, met- after, changed, different, beyond metaphor, method
palin- backwards, again palindrome

While New York City is the most populous city in the United States, Yakutat, Alaska is the largest city in area. Yakutat includes a whopping 9,459.28 square miles of area, comprised of 1,808.82 square miles of water area and 7,650.46 square miles of land area The city is larger than the state of New Hampshire (the country's 46th largest state). Officially known as the "City and Borough of Yakutat," the city consolidated the City of Yakutat Borough in 1992 to be the country's largest city. Jacksonville, Florida is the largest city in area in the contiguous 48 states at 758 square miles. Jacksonville includes all of Duval County, Florida with the exception of the beach communities (Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach) and Baldwin. http://geography.about.com/od/specificplacesofinterest/a/sitkaarea.htm

Samuel Johnson Sound Bites, over 1,800 quotes from Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), one of the most quoted men of the 18th century. http://www.samueljohnson.com/index.html
Example #57: After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it -- "I refute it thus." Boswell: Life http://www.samueljohnson.com/refutati.html

REAL Laura Ashley, Julia Child, Arthur Conan Doyle, Christopher Marlowe
NOT REAL Ann Taylor, Betty Crocker, Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe

Vermilion, sometimes spelled vermillion, when found naturally occurring, is an opaque orangish red pigment, used since antiquity, originally derived from the powdered mineral cinnabar. Chemically, the pigment is mercuric sulfide, HgS, and like many mercury compounds it is toxic. Its name is derived from the French vermeil which was used to mean any red dye, and which itself comes from vermiculum, a red dye made from the insect Kermes vermilio. The word for the color red in Portuguese (vermelho) and Catalan (vermell) derives from this term. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermilion

Fuchsia is a genus of flowering plants, mostly shrubs, and can grow long shoots, which were identified by Charles Plumier in the late-17th century, and named by Plumier in 1703 after the German botanist Leonhart Fuchs (1501–1566). The English name fuchsias is frequently misspelled "fuschias". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuchsia

Wurst is a sausage made from ground meat, ground pork fat such as fatback, salt, herbs and spices. Read about sausages from all over the world at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wurst

Braunschweiger (named after Braunschweig, Germany) is a type of liverwurst (pork liver sausage) which is nearly always smoked. Braunschweiger has a very high amount of vitamin A, iron and proteins. The meat has a very soft, spread-like texture and a distinctive spicy liver-based flavor, very similar to the Nordic leverpostej. It is usually used as a spread for toast, but can also be used as a filling for sandwiches, often paired with stone-ground mustard, sliced tomatoes and cheese. There are also a few recipes for pâté and cheese balls which use braunschweiger as a primary ingredient http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braunschweiger

Monday, March 8, 2010

Example from a law professor's lecture becomes a case study on the perils of a wired world. On March 4, Georgetown University law professor Peter Tague opened his 9 a.m. criminal justice class by saying that John Roberts was stepping down from the bench. Tague, a veteran professor who specializes in criminal procedure and professional responsibility, had apparently floated similar stories in other classes over the years to illustrate the importance of challenging seemingly credible sources about their information. But this time, the news quickly flew beyond the walls of the classroom. "Since everyone is so wired these days . . . the rumor spread like wildfire." Midway through the class, Tague told his students that he had made up the story, but it was too late -- the information was out and couldn't be recalled. Around 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, Radar posted its story, which quickly got picked up by the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post. This was all part of a professor's lecture about the importance of verifying the credibility of legal informants. Lesson duly noted.

The Postal Service has established new standards to improve processing and handling of automation compatible letter-size booklets. There are changes to tab size and location, paper weight and dimensions. In general, booklets are open on three sides before sealing, like a book, and must be uniformly thick. Large, bound booklets that are folded for mailing, also called “quarter-fold” booklets, qualify for automation and machinable prices if the final mailpiece remains nearly uniform in thickness.
To improve the productivity of processing booklets and to decrease damage to mailpieces, the new standards require that booklets have three, 1 1/2-inch tabs placed on the sides of the mailpiece. For larger or heavier booklets, the USPS recommends 2-inch paper tabs. Glue spots or a continuous glue line may be used to seal booklets designed with pages that are shorter than the cover. In addition, under the new standards, to minimize tab failure, tabs used to seal booklets paying automation or machinable prices may not be perforated abs with perforations are easily broken, do not maintain their integrity, and are damaged in transport prior to entering the mailstream. Therefore, only solid tabs made of plastic, vinyl, translucent paper, opaque paper, or cellophane tape will be acceptable. http://www.usps.com/mailpro/2009/julyaug/page4.htm

39 CFR Part 111 New Standards for Letter-Sized Booklets http://www.catalogmailers.org/clubportal/clubdocs/2129/Final%20Rule%20Booklets%20released%202009%2004%2009.pdf

Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual http://pe.usps.com/text/DMM300/DMM300_landing.htm

Reactions to requirement for three tabs on booklets: One group has opted for mailing in an envelope as cheaper than paying to have three tabs affixed. Is the extra paper for the envelopes an environmental problem? Should people have the opportunity to sign up for electronic delivery rather than paper copy if they so desire?

goulash (GOO-lahsh, -lash) noun
1. A mixture of disparate elements; hodgepodge.
2. A stew of meat and vegetables, seasoned with paprika.
3. In the game of bridge, a round played with hands produced by a rearrangement of previously dealt cards.
From Hungarian gulyás, short for gulyáshús (herdsman's meat), from gulya (herdsman) + hús (meat). A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg
Feedback to A. Word.A.Day
From: Tonia Ward (toniaward@hotmail.com)
Subject: goulash
Goulash is also the name of a hand in the traditional game of Mahjong. If the hand played has not been won by anyone, the next hand is called goulash!
From: Michiel Heyns (micheyn@ gmail.com)
Subject: laager
Def: 1. A camp, especially one protected by a circle of wagons or armored vehicles. 2. An entrenched policy or viewpoint.
Can't resist commenting on this word as I live in South Africa and speak Afrikaans. As you point out "lager" is indeed an Afrikaans word originating from Dutch. However, many of the words borrowed from Dutch were "softened" with the passing of time. Therefore "regen" (rain) became "reën", "seggen" (say) became "sê", etc. In the same way "lager" became "laer" with the hard "g" sound falling away.

SYNCOPE (SIN-koh-pee)
A type of elision in which a word is contracted by removing one or more letters or syllables from the middle, as ne'er for never, or fo'c'sle for forecastle.
SYNECDOCHE (suh-NEK-duh-kee)
A figure of speech in which a part of something stands for the whole or the whole for a part, as wheels for automobile or society for high society.

Since 1901, the average number of hours of fog along the Pacific coast in summer has dropped from 56 percent to 42 percent, which is a loss of about three hours per day, said study leader James A. Johnstone, who conducted the research while working on his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and is now at the University of Washington in Seattle. And the decline in fog isn't the only change to affect the coastal area where redwoods reside. "A cool coast and warm interior is one of the defining characteristics of California's coastal climate, but the temperature difference between the coast and interior has declined substantially in the last century, in step with the decline in summer fog," Johnstone said. http://www.livescience.com/environment/less-fog-redwoods-100215.html

Q: The Olympic theme song is both dramatic and challenging. Is it under the authority of the International Olympic Committee?
A: No. "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" is known mostly by American television viewers.
The grand timpani-and-trumpet march is the fused work of French-American composer Leo Arnaud (1904-1991) and American composer John Williams, 78. Arnaud was successful in Hollywood for Fred Waring and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, among others, from the late 1930s to the mid-1960s. In 1958, Arnaud composed "Bugler's Dream" for a symphonic album. ABC-TV used it as its theme for the 1968 winter games in Grenoble, France. Williams added to "Bugler's Dream" to create "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" in 1984 on a commission by the U.S. Olympic Committee for the Los Angeles summer games.
Q: With the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, have there have been any advances in predicting when and where earthquakes will happen? And besides California, what earthquake-prone areas in the U.S. should I be concerned about?
A: Scientists are making progress on forecasting the likelihood of strong earthquakes along fault zones, but they cannot predict a quake's precise time, location and magnitude, said Stuart Sipkin, a U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist. In fact, scientists are divided over whether such predictions will ever be possible. While predicting earthquakes isn't possible, advances in the past decade using global positioning system measurements to reveal subtle changes in the Earth's crust have helped forecast the probabilities of strong quakes along many fault zones. Those readings show the growing pressures along faults, where tectonic plates slide past each other. http://www.thecourier.com/Opinion/columns/2010/Mar/JU/ar_JU_030810.asp?d=030810,2010,Mar,08&c=c_13

Friday, March 5, 2010

Defamation is a legal action based on an intentional or reckless public false statement that injures another person's reputation. Libel and slander are types of defamation. Generally, libel is defamation in print and slander is spoken defamation. Court cases have blurred the line between libel and slander, however. Defamation is governed by state statutes or common law. To find defamation statutes for a particular state, go to MegaLaw's state law pages and conduct a statute search. http://www.megalaw.com/top/defamation.php

Local business owners say Yelp offers to hide negative customer reviews of their businesses on its web site ... for a price. By Kathleen Richards
"Hi, this is Mike from Yelp," the voice would say. "You've had three hundred visitors to your site this month. You've had a really good response. But you have a few bad ones at the top. I could do something about those."This wasn't your average sales pitch. At least, not the kind that John, an East Bay restaurateur, was used to. He was familiar with Yelp.com, the popular San Francisco-based web site in which any person can write a review about nearly any business. John's restaurant has more than one hundred reviews, and averages a healthy 3.5-star rating. But when John asked Mike what he could do about his bad reviews, he recalls the sales rep responding: "We can move them. Well, for $299 a month." Because they were often asked to advertise soon after receiving negative reviews, many of these business owners believe Yelp employees use such reviews as sales leads. Several, including John, even suspect Yelp employees of writing them. Indeed, Yelp does pay some employees to write reviews of businesses that are solicited for advertising. And in at least one documented instance, a business owner who refused to advertise subsequently received a negative review from a Yelp employee. http://www.eastbayexpress.com/eastbay/yelp-and-the-business-of-extortion-20/Content?oid=1176635

Earthquakes, plate tectonics and the Earth's lithosphere

Evolution of the glyph for seven
In the beginning, various Hindus wrote 7 more or less in one stroke as a curve that looks like an uppercase vertically inverted. The western Ghubar Arabs' main contribution was to make the longer line diagonal rather than straight, though they showed some tendencies to making the character more rectilinear. The eastern Arabs developed the character from a 6-look-alike into an uppercase V-look-alike. Both modern Arab forms influenced the European form, a two-stroke character consisting of a horizontal upper line joined at its right to a line going down to the bottom left corner, a line that is slightly curved in some font variants. As is the case with the European glyph, the Cham and Khmer glyph for 7 also evolved to look like their glyph for 1, though in a different way, so they were also concerned with making their 7 more different. For the Khmer this often involved adding a horizontal line above the glyph.[2]
Most people in Europe, Latin America, and New England write 7 with a line in the middle , sometimes with the top line crooked. The line through the middle is useful to clearly differentiate the character from the number one, as these can appear similar when written in certain styles of handwriting. This glyph is used in official handwriting rules for primary school in Russia.[3]

“Gulliver’s Travels”: In the 18th century classic, author Jonathan Swift wrote of Laputa, an island that can float in the air. The theme of floating islands and cities was carried on in the 1980 space opera “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” which featured Lando Calrissian’s Cloud City, and Hayao Miyazaki’s 1986 animated film “Castle in the Sky,” which, like “Avatar,” has a strong environmental theme. Floating mountains are a central image in “Avatar.” http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2009/12/11/avatar-an-early-look-at-the-james-cameron-epic/tab/article/
The first floating encountered in literature is the home of the four winds, Aeolia, as recounted in Homer's The Odyssey. However, it is unclear whether this island floated in the water or in the air.
The book Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift features the floating land of Laputa.
The second book in C. S. Lewis' science fiction trilogy, Perelandra, features floating islands on the surface of Venus, which play a prominent role in the storyline.
An older example of a floating island is Scotia Moria, from the novel The Floating Island by Frank Careless. This may or may not be the same island referred to as Spidermonkey Island in The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (renamed Seastar Island in the film Doctor Dolittle).
The book Life of Pi contains a floating island. At one point during Pi's time on the boat, he encounters a floating island inhabited by a kind of meerkat that feeds on fish stunned by the fresh water in the ponds on the island (the fish being salt water species).
For a short period the island of Themyscira (Paradise Island) became a series of floating islands as part of the DC Comics book Wonder Woman.

Recipes for Floating Island (meringue floating in sauce)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

As the 2010 U.S. Census ramps up in March, you should be on the alert for potential scams. Con artists could use the event to acquire personal information that can lead to identity theft. Most Census forms will arrive in the mail March 15 to 17. Census workers will then go door-to-door from the end of April to July to households that didn't return the questionnaire. One thing to watch for is a form or person asking for a Social Security number and financial information, such as bank-account numbers. Another red flag: email. The Census Bureau won't contact you by email. And the form can't be completed online, says Census Bureau spokesman Michael Cook. Census takers will carry an ID badge with an expiration date and a Department of Commerce watermark. You also can request contact information for a supervisor or the local Census office for verification. Census takers are trained to do business outside the door, says Mr. Cook. So be wary of people trying to enter your home as well as anyone soliciting donations. To report a scam, contact your regional Census center, the Better Business Bureau and local law enforcement if necessary. You also can report fraudulent emails to ITSO.Fraud.Reporting@census.gov and fraudulent mail to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (postalinspectors.uspis.gov). by Anna Prior

Petroleum Marketing Monthly, March 2010 with data for December 2009
Monthly price and volume statistics on crude oil and petroleum products at a national, regional and state level. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/petroleum_marketing_monthly/pmm.html

2009-2010 edition of Congressional Directory now available
"The Congressional Directory is the official directory of the U.S. Congress, prepared by the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP). It presents:
Short biographies of each member of the Senate and House, listed by state or district.
Committee memberships, terms of service, administrative assistants and/or secretaries, and room and telephone numbers for Members of Congress.
Lists officials of the courts, military establishments, and other Federal departments and agencies, including D.C. government officials, governors of states and territories, foreign diplomats, and members of the press, radio, and television galleries.

The earliest fasteners used by man were straight pins, usually simple thorns. Relics of prehistoric man 20,000 years old include bone needles with eyes, and pins with decorated heads. The art of pin making actually predates agriculture, pottery, and metalworking. The Egyptians didn’t use the safety pin or button, but they did fashion straight pins and needles from metal. Every period of classical Greece and Rome had its own forms of safety pin and clasp. Presumably, almost all early Greeks used safety pins to fasten their tunics, since the button wasn’t to arrive from Asia Minor until considerably later. Athenian women used long, dagger-like pins to fasten their chitons over their shoulders. According to Herodotus, when a group of angry women used the pins to stab to death an Athenian soldier, the city forbade the wearing of all but the Ionian tunic, which did not require pins. The law was later revoked; but by then, women were using buttons and safety pins. The Romans called the safety pin fibula, a term still used for a clasp and also for a certain leg bone. The Goths who overran the Roman Empire used straight pins, made most often from horn or bone, to fasten their mantles over their shoulders. In Medieval Europe, the wealthy used elaborately fashioned safety pins of ivory, brass, silver, and gold, while the poor had to make do with simple wood skewers. By the fifteenth century, pins were being manufactured from drawn iron wire, and a pin-making industry was well established in France. But for centuries, metal pins remained rare and costly items reserved for the rich. You’ve heard the expression pin money, meaning a small sum allotted by a husband for his wife’s use, or money for incidental items. Well, when the term originated in the fourteenth century, “pin money” was just that, for at the time, pins were expensive enough to be real items in the budget. By custom, a husband would present his wife on the first or second of January with enough money to buy her pins for the year. “Pin money” went by the boards in the nineteenth century, when mass-production made pins the inexpensive purchase they are today.

In 1893 Whitcomb Judson of Chicago (who also invented the 'Pneumatic Street Railway') marketed a 'Clasp Locker' a complicated hook-and-eye shoe fastener. The clasp locker was an assemblage of hooks and eyes that Judson thought would save people time and sore backs fastening their shoes with one hand. Together with businessman Colonel Lewis Walker, Whitcomb launched the Universal Fastener Company to manufacture the new device. Swedish immigrant and electrical engineer, Gideon Sundback was hired to work for the Universal Fastener Company. Good design skills and a marriage to the plant-manager's daughter Elvira Aronson led Sundback to the position of head designer at Universal. He was responsible for improving the far from perfect 'Judson C-curity Fastener.' By December of 1913, he came up with the modern zipper. The popular 'zipper' name came from B. F. Goodrich Company president Bertram G. Wrok, when they decided to use Gideon's fastener on his "Mystic Boot", which were rubber boots or galoshes, and called it the Zipper Boot. http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/Teasers/Teasers/ZipperHistory.htm

Button-like objects have been found in the Indus Valley of ancient Pakistan and date back to around 2000 B.C.E. These were not used for fasteners, but for ornaments. Before they were used for fastening, pins, leather lacing and belts were used to secure clothing. Before buttons could be used as fasteners, the button hole had to be devised. Evidence dates the first button and button hole closure systems to the 13th century in Germany. This may have been a solution to the problem of how to secure clothing that was becoming more and more form-fitting, without having to resort to sharp pins.

Margaret Bourke-White, the camera queen article by Richard H. Parks from Modern Mechanix, March 1937 http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2006/08/28/the-camera-queen/?Qwd=./ModernMechanix/3-1937/camera_queen&Qif=camera_queen_1.jpg&Qiv=thumbs&Qis=XL

In France and Belgium the tartine is a slice of bread with fresh cheese spread on it, usually accompanied by radishes and scallions—not a bad idea for a light supper.
The Americanized version for me is a slice of coarse and chewy whole grain bread toasted over a stove burner, maybe rubbed with garlic, then topped with shavings of sharp American cheddar. The Splendid Table March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Energy-efficient walk
Humans, bears and apes have the greatest advantage of all the mammals when it comes to walking around, according to the latest University of Utah research. It takes less energy to walk the way we do, planting our heels first rather than running around on tiptoes like horses and deer, or on the balls of feet like dogs, cats, raccoons and most of the rest of mammalia. "You consume more energy when you walk on the balls of your feet or your toes than when you walk heels-first," said David Carrier, U. biology professor and author of the study. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700009200/University-of-Utah-research-Humans-walk-the-most-correct-walk.html

Female Orders of Knighthood
The order of the Hatchet (orden de la Hacha) in Catalonia was founded in 1149 by Raymond Berenger, count of Barcelona, to honor the women who fought for the defense of the town of Tortosa against a Moor attack. The dames admitted to the order received many privileges, including exemption from all taxes, and took precedence over men in public assemblies. In Italy, the Order of the glorious Saint Mary, founded by Loderigo d'Andalo, a nobleman of Bologna in 1233, and approved by pope Alexander IV in 1261, was the first religious order of knighthood to grant the rank of militissa to women. This order was suppressed by Sixtus V in 1558. In the Low Countries, at the initiative of Catherine Baw in 1441, and 10 years later of Elizabeth, Mary and Isabella of the house of Hornes, orders were founded which were open exclusively to women of noble birth, who received the French title of chevalière or the Latin title of equitissa. In England, ladies were appointed to the Garter almost from the start. In all, 68 ladies were appointed between 1358 and 1488, including all consorts. Several established military orders had women who were associated with them, beyond the simple provision of aid. The Teutonic order accepted consorores who assumed the habit of the order and lived under its rule; they undertook menial and hospitaller functions. Later, in the late 12th century, one sees convents dependent on military orders are formed. In the case of the Order of Saint-John (later Malta), they were soeurs hospitalières, and they were the counterparts of the frères prêtres or priest brothers, a quite distinct class from the knights. In England, Buckland was the site of a house of Hospitaller sisters from Henry II's reign to 1540. In Aragon, there were Hospitaller convents in Sigena, San Salvador de Isot, Grisén, Alguaire, headed each by a commendatrix. Modern French orders include women, of course, in particular the Légion d'Honneur (Legion of Honor) since the mid-19th c., but they are always called chevaliers. The first documented case is that of Marie-Angélique Duchemin (1772-1859), who fought in the Revolutionary Wars, received a military disability pension in 1798, the rank of 2nd lieutenant in 1822, and the Legion of Honor in 1852. The first woman to be granted a knighthood in modern Britain seems to have been H.H. Nawab Sikandar Begum Sahiba, Nawab Begum of Bhopal, who became a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI) in 1861, at the foundation of the order. Her daughter received the same honour in 1872, and granddaughter in 1910. The order was open to "princes and chiefs" without distinction of gender. The first European woman to have been granted an order of knighthood was Queen Mary, when she was made a Knight Grand Commander of the same order, by special statute, in celebration of the Delhi Durbar of 1911. Thanks, Beth

Coffee Party mission statement: The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them. http://coffeepartyusa.com/
I find one mission statement for the Coffee Party and many, many mission statements for the Tea Party, so include two examples for Tea Party.
Great American Tea Party mission statement: Our mission is to lower taxes for all Americans by encouraging the public to voice their opinion to the White House. http://www.teabagtaxes.com/great-american-tea-party.php
Indianapolis Tea Party mission statement: To restore limited government, fiscal responsibility, and accountable representation through citizen activism and education, in order to preserve the Constitution for the United States of America.

Travelers' Health from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Use the map or scroll down to the A-Z list of countries below to select a destination and get travel health information for that location: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.aspx#C

What is a GW deed? A general warranty deed is a type of deed where the grantor (seller) guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has a right to sell it to you. The guarantee is not limited to the time the grantor owned the property—it extends back to the property's origins. http://homebuying.about.com/cs/realestateglossary/g/generalwarranty.htm

Economic view by Richard H. Thaler, professor of economics and behavioral science at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago
By simply reallocating the way we use the radio spectrum now devoted to over-the-air television broadcasting, we can create a bonanza for the government. Because we can’t create additional spectrum, we must make better use of the existing space. And the target that looks most promising in this regard is the spectrum used for over-the-air television broadcasts. Interested readers should examine a detailed proposal made to the F.C.C. by Thomas W. Hazlett, a professor at the George Mason University School of Law who was formerly the F.C.C.’s chief economist. Professor Hazlett estimates that selling off this spectrum could raise at least $100 billion for the government and, more important, create roughly $1 trillion worth of value to users of the resulting services. Those services would include ultrahigh-speed wireless Internet access (including access for schools, of course) much improved cellphone coverage and fewer ugly cell towers. Read much more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/business/economy/28view.html

Me, Myself or I?
The word “I” is the subject of a sentence. It is the noun that is performing the action: I write articles for a living. If there is more than one subject in the sentence, you still use “I” to refer to yourself: John and I enjoy eating pho. It would not be correct to use “me” in this sentence. The easiest way to remember this notion is to remove the second noun from the sentence: I enjoy eating pho vs. Me enjoy eating pho.
That’s because the word “me” is the object of a sentence. It is the noun that is receiving the action of the sentence in some way: A free book was given to Lucy and me. With our habit of over-correction, it is very common to hear someone insert the word “I’ in place of “me” here, because “me” sounds too casual to be correct… but it is correct. As before, alleviate the confusion by removing the second noun: A free book was given to me vs. A free book was given to I.
What about myself? It is generally incorrect to use “myself” unless “I” was used earlier in the same sentence. We have a habit of using “myself” when a simple “me” will do. It would be an error to say, “A free book was given to myself,” using a variation of the example earlier. http://btr.michaelkwan.com/2009/03/09/grammar-101-me-myself-and-i/