Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Benefits of reading [infographic] from the National Reading Campaign in Canada  See outstanding graphics at 

loggia,  room, hall, gallery, or porch open to the air on one or more sides; it evolved in the Mediterranean region, where an open sitting room with protection from the sun was desirable.  Ancient Egyptian houses often had a loggia on their roofs or an interior loggia facing upon a court.  See also Missing 500-Years of Loggias, Porticos Described at and Loggia dei Lanzi at 

"The Library of Babel" (Spanish: La biblioteca de Babel) is a short story by Argentine author and librarian Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986), conceiving of a universe in the form of a vast library containing all possible 410-page books of a certain format.  The story was originally published in Spanish in Borges's 1941 collection of stories El Jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (The Garden of Forking Paths).  That entire book was, in turn, included within his much-reprinted Ficciones (1944).  Two English-language translations appeared approximately simultaneously in 1962, one by James E. Irby in a diverse collection of Borges's works titled Labyrinths and the other by Anthony Kerrigan as part of a collaborative translation of the entirety of Ficciones.

826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.  826 Valencia was founded in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari.  Read more about the history of the organization.  Dave Eggers also tells the story about 826′s inspiration, early beginnings, and ensuing momentum in a 24:30 TED Talks video (My Wish:  Once Upon a School) at  Link to history of the organization at  826NYC is a similar nonprofit organization located in Park Slope, Brooklyn. 

Site-specific foods
English muffins  During England's Victorian era, servants settled for these muffins, made from leftover bread and biscuit dough scraps and mashed potatoes.  When the elite got taste of the bread, they demanded more for themselves.  Muffin men became so prominent in the streets that they gave way to the popular phrase, "Oh, do you know the muffin man."

Danish  They come from Austria originally.  In 1950, when some of Denmark's bakers went on strike, Austrian ones replaced them, and they caused a frenzy when they began making danishes that swept the nation.  Even after the Danish bakers returned, they were swamped with orders for the sweet delicacy.

French toast  This breakfast dish is older than you might think, going all the way back to Medieval times, long before France was even founded.  Recipes through the ages refer to it as both "Spanish Toast" and "German Toast."  One popular legend states that the "French" in the name doesn't refer to the nation, rather to an innkeeper named Joseph French.

Brazil nuts  While the tree, Bertholletia excelsa, that produces these big nuts can be found in Brazil, it's native to all South American countries, and it's Bolivia that produces the most of them.  The tree grows wild in the Amazon River basin.  How Brazil in particular got attached to the nuts is anyone's guess.

California roll  It was sushi L.A.-based chef Ichiro Mashita of Tokyo Kaikan who first used avocado to replace a type of tuna that was unavailable in that region.  Many credit Mashita for also first sticking the rice on the outside of the roll, what would become typical American-style sushi.

Long Island iced tea  Bob "Rosebud" Butt invented the drink back in the 1970s in the Hamptons in New York, while he was a bartender.  Mr. Butt poured small selections of different alcoholic drinks together, and he said that the drink just took off from there. 

Cyril McNeile, MC (born Herman Cyril McNeile; 1888–1937) was a British soldier and author.  During the First World War he wrote short stories based on his experiences in the trenches with the Royal Engineers.  These were published in the Daily Mail under the pseudonym Sapper, the nickname of his regiment, and were later published as collections through Hodder & Stoughton.   McNeile also wrote a series of articles titled The Making of an Officer, which appeared under the initials C. N., in five issues of The Times between 8 and 14 June 1916; these were also subsequently collected together and published.  During the course of the war, McNeile wrote more than 80 collected and uncollected stories.  McNeile continued writing after he left the army in 1919, although he stopped writing war stories and began to publish thrillers.  In 1920 he published Bulldog Drummond, whose eponymous hero became his best-known creation.  The character was based on McNeile himself, his idea of an English gentleman and his friend Gerard Fairlie.  McNeile wrote ten Bulldog Drummond novels, as well as three plays and a screenplay.  McNeile interspersed his Drummond work with other novels and story collections, including two characters who appeared as protagonists in their own works, Jim Maitland and Ronald Standish.  

There's one state highway running through Myrtle, Mo.  It's a sleepy town in the Ozarks, population about 300.  There's no bank or restaurant here, but enormous oak and persimmon trees loom over a small stone building right next to the road.  Half of it is a post office; the other half, a one-room public library.  Rachel Reynolds Luster took over this branch four months ago with the goal of creating a learning hub.  She calls herself a curator, not just a librarian.  Her first task?  Filtering out some of the favorites of the previous librarian.  "It's been interesting working this transition with her," Luster says.  "She was quite upset that the cooking magazines were gone.  But we recycled them all, and we kept some holiday cookie editions."  Luster scanned her shelves for the one book she felt every library must have:  the Greek epic The Odyssey.  "I looked, and we didn't have one — no library in our system had one," she says.  While the Myrtle library receives taxpayer money, it gets only $200 a month for books and supplies.  So Luster has used social media to garner donations from people around the state.  She's already secured about 1,000 new books.  She's one of thousands of rural librarians trying to bring a sense of community, learning and connectedness to their isolated areas.  The Institute of Museum and Library Services estimates that nearly half of America's public libraries are rural, and many of those are staffed by only one or two people. 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123000 libraries and 17500 museums.  The mission of IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. 

How to get the most out of library e-books via the right gadget, text to speech, and otherwise b

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gastropub or gastrolounge refers to a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food.  The term gastropub, a portmanteau of gastronomy and pub, originated in the United Kingdom in the late 20th century.  British pubs were drinking establishments and little emphasis was placed on the serving of food.  If pubs served meals they were usually basic cold dishes such as a ploughman's lunch.  In South East England (especially London) it was common until recent times for vendors selling cockles, whelks, mussels and other shellfish, to sell to customers during the evening and at closing time.  Many mobile shellfish stalls would set up near pubs, a practice that continues in London's East End.  "Pub grub" expanded to include British food items such as steak and ale pie, shepherd's pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash, Sunday roast, ploughman's lunch, and pasties.  In addition, dishes such as burgers, chips, lasagne and chilli con carne are often served.  The term "gastropub" was coined in 1991 when David Eyre and Mike Belben took over The Eagle pub in Clerkenwell, London.  The concept of a restaurant in a pub reinvigorated both pub culture and British dining, though it has occasionally attracted criticism for potentially removing the character of traditional pubs.  "Gastropub" was added to the 2012 update of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in August 2012. 

A Study in Emerald (combining the worlds of Arthur Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft) by Neil Gaiman was winner of the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.

The Hugo Award for Best Short Story is one of the Hugo Awards given each year for science fiction or fantasy stories published in English or translated into English during the previous calendar year. The short story award is available for works of fiction of fewer than 7,500 words; awards are also given out for pieces of longer lengths in the novelette, novella, and novel categories.  The Hugo Award for Best Short Story has been awarded annually since 1955, except in 1957.  The award was titled "Best Short Fiction" rather than "Best Short Story" in 1960–1966.  During this time no Novelette category was awarded and the Novella category had not yet been established; the award was defined only as a work "of less than novel length" that was not published as a stand-alone book.  In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for 50, 75, or 100 years prior.  Retro Hugos may only be awarded for years in which a World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, was hosted, but no awards were originally given.  To date, Retro Hugo awards have been given for short stories for 1946, 1951, and 1954.  Find winners and nominees at

The Perfect Omelet {And 10 Delicious Omelet Creations} Eggs have often been called “one of nature’s perfect foods”.  And for good reason.  They pack a powerful nutritional punch in just a small package.  Inside that little shell is a powerhouse of nutrition.  Beat your eggs (1-2 per person) and wish together with a teaspoon or two or water.  Water lends to that crepe-like consistency, but if you prefer a fluffier omelet, you might add milk instead.   Pour the egg onto a pan pre-heated to a medium temperature, but be careful not to add too much at once.  Get the whole story and recipes at
The abbreviations “s.l.” and “s.n.” stand for the Latin terms sine loco (without place [of publication]) and sine nomine (without name [of publisher]).  They also happen to coincide with French bibliographic apparatus, standing for, respectively, sans lieu (de publication) and sans nom (de maison d’édition).  They might also stand for Spanish sin lugar and sin nombre. These are perhaps superior to the English “n.p.,” which must stand equally for “no place,” “no publisher,” or “no page,” but in English publications “n.p.,” used correctly, is more likely to be understood; Chicago Manual of Style Online, therefore, recommends “n.p.”  Note that “n.p.” can stand in for both publisher and place, if neither is known. 

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) announced on October 24, 2013 that it has received a $990,195 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build upon its network of library professionals and organizations to pilot a national-scale training system for public librarians. Under the grant, the DPLA will collaborate with its service “hubs”—regional digital library partners located in states and regions in the United States—to build curricular resources and implement hands-on training programs that develop digital skills and capacity within the staffs of public libraries.  As part of the new program, current librarians and library volunteers around the country will work with the DPLA to acquire, use, and sustain new digital skills using DPLA’s open materials and services, such as metadata creation, digitization, and virtual exhibition curation.  Public librarians will receive the training required to produce digitized materials and curate these into virtual exhibitions.  The funding is part of the Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program, which works to ensure that all people, especially those in disadvantaged communities around the world, have access to information through technology in public libraries.  “Public libraries are among the most beloved and trusted institutions in America,” DPLA Executive Director Dan Cohen said. “It’s a privilege to be able to assist them in their mission through this new program.”  Read about DPLA at

The terms “duck” and “decorated shed” were codified in the 1972 book Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi, his wife Denise Scott Brown, and their friend Steven Izenour.  The book argues that there are two distinctly different types of buildings and that all buildings can be classified as one or the other.  Ducks (aptly named after the duck-shaped roadside building in Eastern Long Island that was originally used to sell ducks and eggs) are symbols themselves.  They are buildings that can't be anything but what they are as their shape foretells the activity taking place inside.  They do not require signs, often blurring the line between building and sculpture.  Ducks have innate ornamentation and are straightforward and honest in their intentions.  What you see is what you get, and what you get is what you would expect.  In contrast, a decorated shed is a generic structure with a purpose identifiable only by its signage.  In fact, decorated sheds could not exist without signs and other applied ornamentation.  Unlike ducks, they are not symbols themselves, but require applied symbols.  The ornamentation is explicit and serves to distract the viewer from true structure.  Is it a clothing store, a restaurant, or a hotel?  Just check the sign. 
See also The Duck or the Decorated Shed by Michael Wildman at

Friday, October 25, 2013

University of Iowa Firsts
Iowa played in the nation’s first collegiate basketball game in 1896.
Two UI gymnasts created the first trampoline in 1934.
Iowa swimming coach David Armbruster invented the butterfly stroke in 1935.
The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the nation’s first university-sponsored program in creative writing, was founded in 1936.
The UI granted the first master of fine arts degree in 1940.
The UI granted the first Ph.D. in mass communication in 1948.
The first and only international writing program in the world was founded at Iowa in 1967.
UI alum Lilia Abron became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1973.
KRUI, the UI’s student-run radio station, became the nation’s first fully digital college radio station in 1995.
Iowa was the first university outside of China to arrange for a corps of student volunteers at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  See also 

During the Great Depression, as part of an effort to boost employment for women, the Works Progress Administration funded the Pack Horse Library Project of Eastern Kentucky, which sent women out on horseback to deliver books to parts of the Cumberland Mountains inaccessible to cars and trucks.  You can learn more about the Pack Horse Library and the women who made it possible in Kathi Appelt and Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer’s recently-released Down Cut Shin Creek:  The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky.  Read about libraries in unlikely places and see photos at 

Spruce-up (to make smart and trim) is just a little phrase, and is nothing to do with sweeping with spruce brooms, as some have suggested.  It has taken quite a journey to get to us in its present state.  The state it started from was Prussia.  The 14th century word spruce is a variant of Pruce, which was itself a shortened version of Prussia.  Originally, things that were spruce were those items brought from Prussia; for example, spruce fir trees and, more to the point for this phrase, spruce leather.  From the end of the 16th century, spruce was used as a verb meaning 'to make trim and neat'.  In The terrors of the night, or, a discourse of apparitions, 1594, Thomas Nashe equates 'sprucing' with 'cleaning':  [You shall] spend a whole twelue month in spunging & sprucing.  'Spruce' moved from being an adjective, describing leather and other goods from Prussia, to a verb, meaning 'make smart and neat'.  The first mention of 'sprucing-up' comes in Sir George Etherege's Restoration drama The Man of Mode, 1676:  "I took particular notice of one that is alwaies spruc'd up with a deal of dirty Sky-colur'd Ribband."  In 20th century America, the term 'spruce-up' took on a new lease of life, with a slightly modified meaning.  It began to be used there to mean 'tidy-up; refurbish' - a counterpart to the English 'Spring-clean'. Up until then 'sprucing-up' had been reserved for people and their clothes. 

Sweet and tangy as they are, pomegranates are undoubtedly the "un-convenience" fruit.  Few other foods demand as much of the eater.  Not only do you have to break through that tough, leathery outer shell, but then you have to pry apart the pith to get to the delicious, though admittedly seedy, edible parts.  Even after all that, you may well wind up with all of your clothes stained bright red.  There's an easy way to clean a pomegranate, though.  Score the skin in quarters and open it up.  Then put each quarter underwater and use your fingers to ream the seeds from the inside.  The pith is light and will float to the top; the heavier seedy fruit will sink. Here's a video to show you how:  Russ Parsons  Find how to choose, prepare and store pomegranates at:,0,6871293.story 

Iceland is experiencing a book boom.  This island nation of just over 300,000 people has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world.  
It is hard to avoid writers in Reykjavik.  There is a phrase in Icelandic, "ad ganga med bok I maganum", everyone gives birth to a book.  Literally, everyone "has a book in their stomach".  One in 10 Icelanders will publish one.  "Does it get rather competitive?" I ask the young novelist, Kristin Eirikskdottir.  "Yes.  Especially as I live with my mother and partner, who are also full-time writers.  But we try to publish in alternate years so we do not compete too much."  Dating from the 13th Century, Icelandic sagas tell the stories of the country's Norse settlers, who began to arrive on the island in the late 9th Century.  Sagas are written on napkins and coffee cups.  Each geyser and waterfall we visit has a tale of ancient heroes and heroines attached.  Public benches have barcodes so you listen to a story on your smartphone as you sit.  Reykjavik is rocking with writers.  It is book festival time.  Man Booker Prize winner Kiran Desai and Generation X author Douglas Coupland rub shoulders with Icelandic literary superstars Gerdur Kristny and Sjon.  Sjon also pens lyrics for Bjork, Iceland's musical superstar.  "Writers are respected here," Agla Magnusdottir tells me. " They live well.  Some even get a salary."  Magnusdottir is head of the new Icelandic Literature Centre, which offers state support for literature and its translation.  "They write everything - modern sagas, poetry, children's books, literary and erotic fiction - but the biggest boom is in crime writing," she says.  That is perhaps no surprise in this Nordic nation.  But crime novel sales figures are staggering - double that of any of its Nordic neighbours.  Rosie Goldsmith 

Oct. 23, 2013  LA JOLLA, Calif.—On March 26, 2012, San Diego detective Meryl Bernstein received a call that a 200-pound statue of a storybook character had disappeared from the home of Audrey Geisel, widow of children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. 
Detective Sergeant Bernstein rushed to the hilltop estate, thinking, "We gotta find him.  Who steals from Dr. Seuss?"  The "him" was a bronze rendering of the Lorax, a mustachioed creature who "speaks for the trees" in "The Lorax," Dr. Seuss's 1971 classic about environmental harm and corporate greed.  Instead of the fanciful Truffula Trees the literary Lorax tried to preserve, the 2-foot-tall sculpture stood beneath a pine—a tree that inspired the one Dr. Seuss drew for his Horton the elephant character to sit on in another book.  When Sgt. Bernstein arrived at the gold-hued Spanish-style house to investigate, she told the widow how sorry she was that the Lorax had been "stolen."  "Oh, it wasn't stolen," replied Mrs. Geisel, who was then 90 years old. "Somebody lifted the Lorax away."  It wasn't until Sgt. Bernstein bought a copy of "The Lorax" that she understood Mrs. Geisel was quoting from the book.  What's more, the story's first drawing depicts a winding road that resembled the one leading to the Geisel residence.  "We freaked out when we realized it was called 'The Street of the Lifted Lorax,' " says Sgt. Bernstein, leafing recently through the book she carries in her car.  "I thought, if I read to the end of the book, we'd solve the crime."  "We decided the statue had been melted down for the metal," says Captain Brian Ahearn, Sgt. Bernstein's boss.  Two months later, he "inactivated" the case.  Still, he recalls, "the Lorax never left our collective memory."  The break came this August, in Bozeman, Mont., where Detective Robert Vanuka had sought peace and quiet after toiling for years in southern California.  He recalls, "my sergeant walks in and says, 'I have a great one for you in the lobby.' "  Mr. Vanuka escorted a clean-cut 22-year-old in a Hawaiian T-shirt and flip-flops to an interview room.  "I'd like to report that I have stolen the Lorax," he says the man told him.  "I asked him, 'What do you mean?  The movie?  The DVD?' "  "He's like, 'No, I went into the home of Geisel and took the Lorax statue.' "  The man, who was from La Jolla, explained that in a drunken stupor on his 21st birthday, it was he who had lifted the Lorax.  He hoisted the statue over a chain-link fence, dragged it to his car and put it in his trunk.  But overcome by guilt moments later, he rolled the Lorax down a ravine less than a mile from the Geisel house.  The detective said it wasn't clear why the man chose to confess in Montana.  Detective Gregg Goodman got on the phone with the suspect, using Google EarthGOOG inYour ValueYour Change Short position to help plot the Lorax's route.  Mr. Goodman and a colleague combed the canyon for about an hour on Aug. 16.  No sign.  On Aug. 21, he returned with Sgt. Bernstein and three other detectives with rappelling ropes.  After an hour of searching through brittle shrubs, they had begun to pack up, when Mr. Goodman made an elementary deduction.  "If the guy was drunk, maybe he was off by a few feet," he remembers thinking.  He took one last look, further along the road.  There, resting on its side under a bush, was the Lorax.  Now, the Lorax stands in an undisclosed spot, beneath the gaze of a security camera, atop a stump with a plaque engraved, "Unless."  That is the word of warning the Lorax left before lifting away from a land denuded of Truffula Trees.  "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot," Dr. Seuss wrote, "nothing is going to get better.  It's not."  Miriam Jordan

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg  A disease puts us at dis ease.  No one looks forward to being a patient (Latin pati: to endure/suffer), but no one is immune.  It's a sign of our familiarity with the diseases that words relating to them have entered the language as metaphors.
measly  (MEE-zlee, MEEZ-lee) adjective  1.  Ridiculously small or bad.  2.  Infected with measles.
sclerotic  (skluh-ROT-ik) adjective  1.  Hard, rigid, slow to adapt or respond.  2.  Relating to or affected with sclerosis, an abnormal hardening of a tissue or part.  3.  Of or relating to the sclera, the white fibrous outer layer of the eyeball.

As we all know, pumpkins were also among the foodstuffs served at the Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving and, in fact, for many years, members of the Church of England referred to Thanksgiving derisively as "St. Pompion's Day," pompion being the Old English nomenclature for the pumpkin.  Edward Johnson, in his Wonder Working Providence of Scion's Saviour in New England of 1654, wrote that the pumpkin was "a fruit which the Lord fed his people with till corn and cattle increased," and the pumpkin was so widely regarded as a food crop in the Massachusetts colonies that Boston, before it was called Beantown, was known as Pumpkinshire.  By 1780, Yale students were referring to all New Englanders as "Pumpkin Heads," another derisive term derived from the law that required men's haircuts to conform to a cap placed over the head, the ubiquitous pumpkin shell often, apparently, being substituted for the far scarcer caps. 

Colonial New England pumpkin pie was made by cutting a hole in the top of the pumpkin, removing the seeds and then filling the cavity with apples, pie spices, sugar and milk, then baking the whole thing.  These pies were baked without crusts, since wheat was valuable and in short supply.  Bob Gough, a professor of horticulture at Montana State University and MSU Extension horticulture specialist, said he tried this old-time recipe, adding raisins, keeping the apples in large chunks and baking the whole pumpkin (with its top replaced as a lid) at 325 degrees for 2 hrs.  "It was very done, and tasted very good," he said. 

Universal health coverage is the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer” 
Dr Margaret Chan, Address to the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly, May 2012  In 2005, all World Health Organization (WHO) member states made the commitment to achieve universal health coverage. The commitment was a collective expression of the belief that all people should have access to the health services they need without risk of financial ruin or impoverishment. Working towards universal health coverage is a powerful mechanism for achieving better health and well-being, and for promoting human development.  In December 2012, a UN resolution was passed encouraging governments to move towards providing universal access to affordable and quality health care services.  As countries move towards it, common challenges are emerging — challenges to which research can help provide answers.  Read The World Health Report 2013 at  Read about the World Health Organization at

Remembering the Ditto and Mimeograph by Harmon Jolley July 27, 2006
When I was at the library recently, I reviewed a 1946 publication by an urban planning agency.  The purple color of the text of the document jogged my memory.  The pages had been printed on a ditto machine.  I had not seen the output from one of those types of printers since the day when I wore a younger man’s clothes.  According to my trusty 1965 World Book encyclopedia, the ditto machine (spirit duplicator) and mimeograph (stencil duplicator) were competing technologies in the document-copying market.  I learn that the mimeograph can be traced to inventor Thomas Edison, who patented a stencil duplicator called “autographic printing.”  Albert Blake Dick invented the mimeograph in 1884, and Wilhelm Ritzerfeld gave us the ditto machine in 1923.  The mimeograph printing process used an ink-filled cylinder and ink pad.  Documents had to be prepared on a special wax-covered stencil on a typewriter which had its ribbon disengaged.  The typewriter thus made impressions in the stencil, which were filled with ink and squeezed onto paper by the mimeograph’s roller.  The stencils could also be used with drawings made by hand.  In contrast, the ditto machine used no ink.  The user typed, wrote, or drew on a ditto master sheet which was backed by a second sheet of paper coated with a dye-impregnated, waxy substance.  The inscribed image appeared on the back of the ditto sheet in reverse.  The ditto machine used an alcohol-based fluid to dissolve some of the dye in the document, and transferred the image to the copy paper.  By college, the modern age of the Xerox copying machine had arrived.  Even after competitors had joined the copying machine market, “Xerox” was used as the name for copies made on any brand of copying machine.  Electronic, computerized copying machines have all but eliminated the humble mimeograph and ditto machine.  The A.B. Dick Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2004.  The company is now owned by Presstek. I searched the new owner’s Web site, and found that mimeograph and ditto owners can still buy supplies through Presstek.

For 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a box by the state.  It's like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed.  And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates.  It's a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and it's designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they're from, an equal start in life.  The maternity package - a gift from the government - is available to all expectant mothers.  It contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.  With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby's first bed.  Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box's four cardboard walls.  Mothers have a choice between taking the box, or a cash grant, currently set at 140 euros, but 95% opt for the box as it's worth much more.   In the 1930s Finland was a poor country and infant mortality was high - 65 out of 1,000 babies died.  But the figures improved rapidly in the decades that followed.  Mika Gissler, a professor at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, gives several reasons for this - the maternity box and pre-natal care for all women in the 1940s, followed in the 60s by a national health insurance system and the central hospital network.  Helena Lee   See pictures at: 

Literary vocabulary, an alphabetical glossary of literary terms and their definitions.
Kevin Terris, 22, now can take credit for finding the most complete specimen of a young duck-billed dinosaur, called a Parasaurolophus.  The extremely rare fossil of the 1-year-old plant eater could reveal how the extinct hadrosaurid developed its odd horn-like protruberance during its lifetime.  In high school on a summer field trip, in 2009, Terris wandered along a ridge deep in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.  He was drawn to a small, mushroom-shaped rock formation, known as a hoodoo.  “I decided to pop under it, and I looked up and saw a small bit of bone sticking out,” said Terris, now a junior studying paleontology at Montana State University.

The Orionid meteor shower peaked Oct. 20-21.  The Orionids occur each year in mid-October when Earth passes through a stream of dust left in the wake of Comet Halley.  Halley returns to our solar system every 76 years, and each time it does, it sheds bits of rocks and dust from its icy nucleus.  These bits of debris burn up in the atmosphere, causing shooting stars to rip across the sky.  Orionids are known for their speed. They travel about 148,000 mph into Earth's atmosphere, according to a NASA report.  Because they move so fast, they can leave glowing "trains" and are more likely than some other meteors to become fireballs -- meteors that glow at least as brightly as Jupiter or Venus in the night sky.  

An alligator snapping turtle has been captured at Prineville Reservoir in Oregon.  First reported by an angler at the popular Central Oregon reservoir, it was the first alligator snapping turtle found in the wild in eastern Oregon.  Alligator snapping turtles can be very aggressive and eat primarily native fish, but also can capture other animals such as ducklings. And it is a safety hazard to people.  It has quite a bite.  According to Simon Wray, An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife conservation biologist, it probably was released into the reservoir by someone who kept it as a pet.  The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America and can grow to 250 pounds.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Diary of a Nobody is an English comic novel written by the brothers George and Weedon Grossmith, with illustrations by the latter.  It originated as an intermittent serial in Punch magazine in 1888–89 and first appeared in book form, with extended text and added illustrations, in 1892.  The Diary records the daily events in the lives of a London clerk, Charles Pooter, his wife Carrie, his son Lupin, and numerous friends and acquaintances over a period of 15 months.  Before their collaboration on the Diary, the brothers each pursued successful careers on the stage.  George originated nine of the principal comedian roles in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas over 12 years from 1877 to 1889.  He also established a national reputation as a piano sketch entertainer and wrote a large number of songs and comic pieces.  Weedon, before embarking on his stage career, had worked as an artist and illustrator.  The Diary was the brothers' only mature collaboration.  Most of its humour derives from Charles Pooter's unconscious and unwarranted sense of his own importance, and the frequency with which this delusion is punctured by gaffes and minor social humiliations.  In an era of rising expectations within the lower-middle classes, the daily routines and modest ambitions described in the Diary were instantly recognised by its contemporary readers, and provided later generations with a glimpse of the past that it became fashionable to imitate.  Although its initial public reception was muted, the Diary came to be recognised by critics as a classic work of humour, and it has never been out of print.  It helped to establish a genre of humorous popular fiction based on lower or lower-middle class aspirations, and was the forerunner of numerous fictitious diary novels in the later 20th century.  The Diary has been the subject of several stage and screen adaptations, including Ken Russell's "silent film" treatment of 1964, a four-part TV film scripted by Andrew Davies in 2007, and a widely praised stage version in 2011, in which an all-male cast of three played all the parts. 

Names of U.S. states with connection to England
#1     Delaware  named to honor Thomas West, 3rd (or 12th) baron, often named in history books simply as Lord Delaware or Lord De la Warr.   He served as governor of the Jamestown Colony, and the Delaware Bay was named after him. 
#2     Pennsylvania  named to honor Admiral William Penn and his son, William Penn, Pennsylvania's founder.
#3     New Jersey   James. Duke of York,  named the colony New Jersey to honor Sir George Carteret, who had been the Governor of Jersey, a British island in the English Channel.
#4     Georgia  named to honor King George II of England.
#7     Maryland  named to honor the Queen consort Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), the wife of Britain's King Charles I
#8     South Carolina  named to honor King Charles I (Carolus is Latin for Charles).
#9     New Hampshire named for Hampshire, England, by Captain John Mason.
#10   Virginia  named for Queen Elizabeth I of England (she was known as the Virgin Queen).
#11   New York  The English took over of the area that had been called "New Netherland" in 1664, and renamed it New York to honor the Duke of York (York is a city in England).
#12   North Carolina  North Carolina was named to honor King Charles I (Carolus is Latin for Charles).
#35   West Virginia  West Virginia was named for Queen Elizabeth I of England (she was known as the Virgin Queen). Sir Walter Raleigh may have suggested this name around 1584. 

The Constitution of the United States of America:  Analysis and Interpretation (popularly known as the Constitution Annotated) and including analysis of Supreme Court cases decided through June 26, 2013 contains legal analysis and interpretation of the United States Constitution, based primarily on Supreme Court case law.  This regularly updated resource is especially useful when researching the constitutional implications of a specific issue or topic.  The Featured Topics and Cases page highlights recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that demonstrate pivotal interpretations of the Constitution's provisions. 

Neil Gaiman:  Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming, a lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens  Fiction has two uses.  Firstly, it's a gateway drug to reading.  The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it's hard, because someone's in trouble and you have to know how it's all going to end … that's a very real drive.  And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going.  To discover that reading per se is pleasurable.  Once you learn that, you're on the road to reading everything.  And reading is key.  Fiction can show you a different world.  It can take you somewhere you've never been.  Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in.  Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.   I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them.  If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally.  But that is to miss the point fundamentally.  I think it has to do with nature of information.  Information has value, and the right information has enormous value.  For all of human history, we have lived in a time of information scarcity, and having the needed information was always important, and always worth something:  when to plant crops, where to find things, maps and histories and stories – they were always good for a meal and company.  Information was a valuable thing, and those who had it or could obtain it could charge for that service.  In the last few years, we've moved from an information-scarce economy to one driven by an information glut.  Read the entire lecture at 

'Rip and tuck'--something akin to 'fast and loose'--is first found in James Kirke Paulding's Westward ho!, 1832:  "There we were at rip and tuck, up one tree and down another."  The first known usage of 'nip and tuck' comes from an 1845 edition of The American Whig Review:  "The boys used to say, it was nip and tuck between Jack... and Castro, who would do the most foolhardy things."  I have found the expression in print a little earlier than that, although just as a name rather than an expression that implies the 'close result' meaning.  That is is the Milwaukie Sentinel, September 1843.  The paper reported on the suggestion that various adjoining mineworkings in the Wisconsin goldfields should be merged.  One of the sub-fields was call 'Nip and Tuck'.  Why 'nip' and why 'tuck'?  There are several meanings of both words but none of them suggests anything that relates directly to any sort of close race or result.  The phrase is somewhat similar to 'neck and neck', which has virtually the same meaning.  It is possible, although I'd admit, entirely speculative, that 'nip and tuck' is a deliberately garbled version of 'neck and neck'.  The phrase was later appropriated as the name of the minor cosmetic surgery 'skin-tightening'.  Gary Martin 

At first glance — and even, quite frankly, after extended contemplation — there is little to hint that the quince is one of the most delicious of fall's fruits.  It is rough-hewn and blocky in appearance, like someone's first woodworking project gone horribly wrong.  And should you make the mistake of taking a bite of it raw, that's kind of how it tastes too.  But you know about judging things on first impressions.  Take that same quince, give it a little careful tending and you'll find a fruit that is utterly transformed.  Cook quince — slowly and gently, bathed in just a little bit of sugar syrup — and the flesh that was once wooden and tannic turns a lovely rose hue, with a silky texture and a subtly sweet, spicy flavor that recalls apples and pears baked with cinnamon and clove.  The traditional way to cook a quince is by poaching it in spiced simple syrup.  That's easy enough, but I've come to favor a slightly different technique from my old friend Deborah Madison's cookbook "Seasonal Fruit Desserts."  She bakes them in a syrup made partly with white wine and spiced with cinnamon, clove and cardamom along with tangerine or orange zest.  It seems to me when baked this way, quince takes less time to cook through, and it achieves that perfect rosy color more reliably.  Plus, there's that nice little bit of caramelization that the edges pick up.  Mmmm, caramelized quince syrup.  Russ Parsons  Link to recipe for candied quince and find tips for using cooked quince at:,0,4350326.story 

Party affiliations, 2004-2013  Are you a Republican or a Democrat, or an independent?  If you are an independent, do you lean towards Republicans or Democrats?  See Gallup poll results and link to Gallup news stories at 

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.  Sir Francis Bacon  English author, courtier, & philosopher (1561-1626)