Monday, February 29, 2016

BY THE NUMBERS  from Nature Conservancy:  414 acres added in 2015 to its Tug Hill Conservation Area in central New York.  48,230 acres of southeastern Colorado grasslands purchased in June 2015.  5,359 acres of bald cypress and tupelo forest along Louisiana's Atchafalaya River protected in July 2015.  Read more about the projects plus read about the 100-million acre "Emerald Edge"-- Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the world's largest intact temperate rainforest in Nature Conservancy  February/March 2016

lade  transitive verb:  To put a load or burden on or in; To put or place as a load especially for shipment;  To load heavily or oppressively;  dip, ladle  intransitive verb:  To take on cargo; To take up or convey a liquid by dipping 
bill of lading   A legal document between the shipper of a particular good and the carrier detailing the type, quantity and destination of the good being carried.  The bill of lading also serves as a receipt of shipment when the good is delivered to the predetermined destination.  This document must accompany the shipped goods, no matter the form of transportation, and must be signed by an authorized representative from the carrier, shipper and receiver.

"If a lie gets too much attention, it can grow."  "The moon broke off but couldn't run away, held in place by the grasp of spinning earth's gravitational affection."   "Maybe safe is about the company you keep and not about the road you take?"  Eve, a novel by Wm. Paul Young

suffix:  ware   1.  Used to form nouns denoting, collectively, items made from a particular substance.  glassware  2.  Used to form nouns denoting, collectively, items of a particular kind or for a particular use.  giftware  3.  Commonly used to form terms for classes of software.   freewareshareware, vaporwarewetware.

Charles Bukowski was a prolific underground writer who used his poetry and prose to depict the depravity of urban life and the downtrodden in American society.  Though Bukowski died in 1994, his posthumous career has proven to be just as prolific.  Due in part to the unique relationship he had with his publisher, John Martin, the editor of Black Sparrow Books, Bukowski’s massive output continues to make an appearance in book form every other year or so.  Posthumous works, such as The People Look Like Flowers At Last:  New Poems (2008), address subjects similar to those in his first collection.
Bukowski Memorial Readings began in 1969, and in Toledo--there will be a reading at The Attic on Adams on Sunday, March 6, 2016.  For information, call 419-243-5350. 

Books are the carriers of civilization.  Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.  Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible.  They are engines of change (as the poet said), windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time.  They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind.  Books are humanity in print."  Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989)  historian and author

MetPublications is a portal to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's comprehensive book and online publishing program with close to 700 titles published from 1964 to the present.

A participle is a form of a verb that is used in a sentence to modify a noun, noun phrase, verb, or verb phrase, and then plays a role similar to an adjective or adverb. The two types of participle in English are traditionally called the present participle (forms such as writing, singing and raising; these same forms also serve as gerunds and verbal nouns) and the past participle (forms such as written, sung and raised; regular participles such as the last, as well as some irregular ones, have the same form as the finite past tense).

What is it like to have a 'real' birthday once every four years?  by Adrian McCoy Read stories about leaplings at  and

The 88th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2015  on February 28, 2016.  Find list of awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) at  Issue 1434  February 29, 2016  On this date in 1796, the Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain came into force, facilitating ten years of peaceful trade between the two nations.  On this date in 2008,  Misha Defonseca admitted to fabricating her memoir, Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years, in which she claimed to have lived with a pack of wolves in the woods during the Holocaust.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Moore's Law  noun  The observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented.  Moore predicted that this trend would continue for the foreseeable future.  In subsequent years, the pace slowed down a bit, but data density has doubled approximately every 18 months, and this is the current definition of Moore's Law, which Moore himself has blessed.  Most experts, including Moore himself, expect Moore's Law to hold for at least another two decades.  Vangie Beal

Ode to the (419) Zip Code Poetry Contest  Write a poem inspired by your zip code.  Poems should be five lines long, with each line containing the same number of words as the number in your zip code.  Submissions accepted March 1 - April 1, 2016  EXAMPLE:  4 Four words go here  3 Now just three   6 This line will give you six  0  4 None above, four here.  The 2016 Ode to the Zip Code poetry competition is brought to you in collaboration with Toledo Fair Housing Center, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, and The Arts Commission.  All submissions will be juried and published online.  The Top 25 authors will be invited to read their work at a special event at the Main Library on April 19, 2016 for 419 Day.  The Top 3 entries will be selected that evening and awarded cash prizes.  Submit your poem at

Inside Italy’s real life ‘Willy Wonka’ chocolate factory:  How world's richest chocolatier invented Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, Kinder and hid secret recipes in Arabic in Cairo to keep them from spies by Hannah Roberts   Like the rest of Europe, Italy was desperately poor after the war.  With cocoa rationed Pietro Ferrero decided to recreate a mixture invented during the Napoleonic wars of the 19th century when the French emperor had banned trade with Britain and its cocoa-producing colonies, blocking off chocolate supplies.  The idea was to make expensive and imported cocoa stretch further by adding ground hazelnuts, which were cheap and grew abundantly around Alba.  But it was his son Michele who, after he took over in 1957, had the vision to add more sugar, rename it Nutella and start selling it in jars--the first step towards turning the company into a confectionary titan and the world’s third biggest sweetshop.  Around a quarter of the world’s hazelnuts are now used by Ferrero.  In fact Michele was the genius behind all the major products, adding Kinder chocolate and Tic Tacs to his list of creations by the end of the 1960s.  But, like Willy Wonka, Michele was also notoriously secretive, never once giving an interview.  His motto was: 'Only on two occasions should the newspapers mention one's name--birth and death.'   While Kinder, Nutella and Tic Tac--all invented in the 1960s--struck gold, many other products such as Pico Rico Tico, a triangular chocolate treat, Il Budino Baba, a trifle shaped dessert, and the politically incorrect Negrita chocolate bar did not stand the test of time.  Some chocolates such as Pocket Coffee, which was created for lorry drivers in the 1970s when there was no coffee bars at service stations, did not find success in Britain but flew off European shelves.  Mon Cheri, a chocolate with a cherry liquor in it, failed in the UK apparently because of the British habit of biting into chocolate which caused the liquor to spill.   In continental Europe Tic Tac flavours include eucalyptus and mountain herbs while elsewhere you can find banana popcorn.  Some of the company's best creations, such as Tics Tac Mixers, that change flavour and colour midway through, have a distinctly Wonka-ish bent.

Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo (1901 or 1903–1937), born Joseph-Casimir Rabearivelo, is widely considered to be Africa's first modern poet and the greatest literary artist of Madagascar.  Part of the first generation raised under French colonization, Rabearivelo grew up impoverished and failed to complete secondary education.  His passion for French literature and traditional Malagasy poetry prompted him to read extensively and educate himself on a variety of subjects, including the French language and its poetic and prose traditions.  He published his first poems as an adolescent in local literary reviews, soon obtaining employment at a publishing house where he worked as a proofreader and editor of its literary journals.  He published numerous poetry anthologies in French and Malagasy, as well as literary critiques, an opera, and two novels.  A street and a high school in Antananarivo have been named after him, as well as a dedicated room in the National Library of Madagascar  See also Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo’s Poetic Art  at

"Roses are red" can refer to a specific poem, or a class of poems inspired by that poem.  It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19798.  The most common modern form of the poem is:  Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, And so are you.  The origins of the poem may be traced at least as far back as to the following lines written in 1590 by Sir Edmund Spenser from his epic The Faerie Queene (Book Three, Canto 6, Stanza 6):  It was upon a Sommers shynie day, When Titan faire his beames did display, In a fresh fountaine, farre from all mens vew, She bath'd her brest, the boyling heat t'allay; She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew, And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.  Find other versions, including satirical ones  at

President Barack Obama paid tribute February 24, 2016 to Ray Charles and the late singer-songwriter's unmistakable "singular sound" that the president said continues to influence generations of musicians.  "Over the past seven years, Michelle and I have set aside nights like this to celebrate the music that shaped America," he said, adding that it had become one of their most-cherished traditions.  "I will not sing.  But for our last one, it is fitting that we pay tribute to one of our favorites."  But the president immediately failed to keep his promise, joining in and eventually leading the call and response portion of Charles' "What'd I Say."  (Beginning about 4:50 in the article's video)  Usher, Demi Lovato, gospel singer Yolanda Adams and The Band Perry were among a group of contemporary artists who performed Charles' music for an audience that included some of the musician's children, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and the Rev. Al Sharpton.  Usher performed "Georgia On My Mind," one of Charles' most-recognized hits, along with "What'd I Say," which brought the audience to its feet.  Mrs. Obama said the event would be "a little bittersweet for all of us" because it's the final one.  The Obamas have hosted more than a dozen "In Performance" events, including the tribute to Charles.

Wesley Allison Clark, a revered computer engineer whose work from the 1950s through 1970s underpinned the revolutions in personal computing, computer graphics, and the internet, died February 22, 2016.    He was 88.  Clark trained in physics at the University of California / Berkeley and joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory in 1952.  His first computer job was to test the nascent memory technology for MIT's Whirlwind, which was a vacuum tube computer for the U.S. Navy.  By 1955 he co-invented the lab's TX-0 project, which built one of the first transistor computers.  This set the course for Clark to influence the shape of an industry.  Clark designed TX-0 so it could be operated by a single person. He put that logic into technical partner Ken Olsen's hardware, which was small for its time, resulting in what defined the new class of systems called minicomputers.  Olsen two years later formed Digital Equipment Corp. to commercialize such hardware.  Minis exponentially grew the world's number of computer installations because they were the size of desks instead of rooms, could be owned by midsize businesses instead of only leased by major corporations, and were easier for non-experts to learn compared to mainframes.  Evan Koblentz  See also and

Pancakes inspire children’s book and performance by Wayne F. Anthony   Wit, merriment, and mirth are the hallmarks of The Great Pancake Escape, Ballet Theatre of Toledo’s winter production, which finds three of the city’s most creative minds joining forces to lift characters from the pages of a children’s fantasy for two weekend performances.  The project began in 2002, when local author Paul Many brought his lifelong cooking passion into the pages of the book he was writing at the time.  He says, “I have been making pancakes since the time I was a kid, throwing everything that children love into the batter. It became a sort of joke with my parents, and when I grew up I continued the tradition with my own family.  “It fascinated me.  How a gloppy bowl of lumpy flour gravy transforms into tasty, crisp pancakes through the wizardry of cooking remains above my comprehension grade.  The result, however, I do understand, is the perfect delivery system for syrup, blueberries, or whipped cream.”  That magic inspired his rollicking children’s story and eventually this new ballet’s plot.  A wizardly father inadvertently uses his magic book to whip up breakfast for his children rather than a cookbook.  The result is a wayward group of flapjacks that take flight and must be retrieved in order to save the city from the antics in which they engage.  The finale is a bit of irony involving store-bought, frozen waffles.  Enter creative contributor number two, Toledo composer David Jex.  He and Many are colleagues at the University of Toledo, and shortly after the book’s publication, the two of them sparked on the idea that the story was perfect for a ballet.  With the assistance of an Arts Commission of Greater Toledo grant, Jex undertook to write music for the project.  His vision was to use jazz as a vehicle, a small combo of piano, bass, drums, and himself on trumpet and flugelhorn.  Enter creative component number three, Ballet Theatre of Toledo Artistic Director and Choreographer Nigel Burgoine.  In searching for ideas for this season’s programming he happened on a score and proposal that had crossed his desk years ago.  His creative wheels started turning.  He approached Jex and Many about resurrecting the work in its original concept as a full-length ballet.  Although his call came from out of the blue, the composer and librettist were completely re-invigorated over the prospects.  Even Scrambler Marie’s Restaurant makes a contribution by providing vouchers for a free order of pancakes to everyone who comes to see the performance.  The goal was that this production be a whole new dance concept:  a fantasia mix of narration, magic, movement, and music.  Public performances of The Great Pancake Escape are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6, 2016  at the Valentine Theatre, 410 Adams St. Toledo. There is a special student performance at 10 a.m.  Tickets are $7 to $14 and are available at the Valentine Box Office at 419-242-2787 or  For more information call the Ballet Theatre of Toledo at 419-861-0895 or balletheatreoftoledo.org  Issue 1433  February 28, 2016  On this date in 1935, DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invented nylon.  On this date in 1940, Basketball was televised for the first time (Fordham University vs. the University of Pittsburgh in Madison Square Garden).  Word of the Day:  unbirthday  noun  A day that is not one's birthday but is celebrated as though it were.

Friday, February 26, 2016

NARROW  The ring of canals in Amsterdam is dotted with several unusually narrow houses.  One of the most famous is the building at Singel 7, which is often labelled as the narrowest house in the world.  With a width of only one meter (about 3 ft., 3 in.), the house is barely wider than its own front door.  In all fairness, it should be said that this is actually the rear façade of a house; the front is a bit wider.  For even more “narrow” experiences, visit the narrowest house in Europe, located at Oude Hoogstraat 22.  This tiny house features a typical Amsterdam bell-gable.  The façade is a mere 2.02 meters (6 ft., 7.5 in.) wide, and the house itself is six meters (19 ft., 8 in.) deep.  Measuring only 100 centimeters in width (about 3 ft., 3 in.), the Trompettersteeg is the narrowest street in Amsterdam. 

NARROW   A new sliver-hotel is set to rise at 160 West 56th Street in Manhattan.  The tiny property, which formerly held a 4,000 square foot carriage house built in 1879, will soon give rise to a 19-story and 63-room tower, though the Department of Buildings shows a stop-work order in place.  The former carriage house across from Carnegie Hall, was the Joseph Patelson Music House from 1947-2009.

The grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi) is a subtropical citrus tree known for its sour to semi-sweet fruit.  Grapefruit is a hybrid originating in Barbados as an accidental cross between two introduced species, sweet orange (C. sinesis) and pomelo or shaddock (C. maxima), both of which were introduced from Asia in the seventeenth century.  When found, it was named the "forbidden fruit";  and it has also been misidentified with the pomelo  Find a list of citrus hybrids, including lemons and limes, at

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a sovereign and unitary monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula plus Jan Mayen and Svalbard.  The name Norway comes from the Old Norse word norðrvegr, "northern way" or "way leading to the north.  In a Latin manuscript of 849, the name Northuagia is mentioned, while a French chronicle of c. 900 uses the names Northwegia and Norwegia.  When Ohthere of Hålogaland visited King Alfred the Great in England in the end of the 9th century, the land was called Norðwegr (lit. Northway) and norðmanna land (lit. Northmen's land).  Old Norse norðmaðr was Latinized as Nortmannus in the 9th century to mean "Norseman, Viking", giving rise to the name of the Normans.  The Old Norse name was borrowed into Old English, as Norðweg, Norweg, giving rise to modern Norway by regular development via Middle English Norwey, Norwei.  In the adjective Norwegian, the Old English spelling '-weg' has survived.

Joseph James Doherty, 82, of Salem, Massachusetts passed away on February 9, 2016.  He was born on September 18, 1933 in Stamford, Connecticut, to James and Catherine (McGurn) Doherty.  He grew up in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where he graduated from Central Catholic High School.  Following high school he joined the US Army where he served in Honolulu, Hawaii. After leaving the Army, he attended Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama on the GI Bill and graduated with a degree in business.  Joe enjoyed a successful career that culminated in his position as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Owens Corning in Toledo, Ohio.  It was there that he developed the popular Pink Panther Campaign which became synonymous with Owens Corning.  He won an Emmy Award in 1983 for his work on the popular WGBH series This Old House.

Owens-Corning Fiberglass Company was formed in 1935 through the merger of Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass Works.  It became a separate company in 1938 with its headquarters established in Toledo, Ohio.  The company has been on the Fortune 500 list every year since its creation.  In 1965, Owens-Corning Fiberglas Europe was formed.  In 1966, Owens-Corning established a partnership with Armstrong Rubber Co. to produce fiberglass-reinforced automobile tires.  In 1974, the company opened a temporary plant to produce insulation for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.  In 1977, Owens-Corning acquired Frye Roofing and began production of fiberglass mat to replace traditional paper mat used in roofing.  Owens-Corning began using the United Artists cartoon character Pink Panther in its PINK Fiberglas insulation marketing in 1979.

Many people are surprised to learn that all teas, white, green, oolong, black and pu-erh are made from the leaves of the same species.  While the varietal of the particular Camellia sinensis plant as well as the weather conditions and soil contribute to the final taste of the tea, the significant differences of tea type develop in the processing of the leaves.  The distinguishing factor that determines whether a tea plant will become white, green, oolong, or black tea is oxidation.  Oxidation begins after the leaf has been plucked from the plant, and begins a process of being dried, withered, rolled, and heat treated.  A black tea is fully oxidized, causing it to turn black, while a white tea is barely oxidized at all, thus retaining its soft, silvery down.  We tend to call many things that we infuse in hot water a tea.  But technically, it’s only tea if it’s made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, an evergreen plant indigenous to China and India.  Today tea is grown in over one hundred countries to meet the worldwide demand.  Tea is the world’s second most popular beverage, after water.

Steeping can make or break a cup of tea, and for those who love tea, steeping is an art form in itself.  Steeping begins when heated water is poured over the tea bag, infuser, tea strainer or in the teapot.  The goal of steeping is to infuse the water with the tea.  Over-steeping may cause bitterness, so it’s important to experiment with different types of teas, bags or loose leaf teas, and the appropriate steeping times for each.  Heartier teas, such as black, red, herb and oolong, can be steeped in water that has fully boiled without risk of over-processing.  White and green teas are more delicate, and should be steeped in water that is heated to just below the boiling point.  Black tea bags and black loose-leaf tea may steep up to five minutes.  Oolong tea bags may steep up to five minutes while the loose leaf variety may steep up to seven minutes.  Red and herb loose leaf teas and tea bags can both be steeped for up to seven minutes.  White tea bags may be steeped up to one minute and loose leaf teas up to three minutes.  Green tea bags may be steeped up to three minutes and loose leaf tea up to four minutes.

On February 24, 2016 President Obama announced Carla Hayden as his nominee for Librarian of Congress.   In a video, Dr. Hayden describes a library as "like heaven" and the "original treasure chest."  Thank you, Muse reader!  Issue 1432  February 26, 2016  On this date in 1616, Galileo Galilei was formally banned by the Roman Catholic Church from teaching or defending the view that the earth orbits the sun.  On this date in 1917, the Original Dixieland Jass Band recorded the first jazz record, for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York.  Quote of the Day  The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved--loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. - Victor Hugo, novelist and dramatist (26 Feb 1802-1885)  Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement.  In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry and then from his novels and his dramatic achievements.  Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem.  Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).  He also produced more than 4,000 drawings, which have since been admired for their beauty, and earned widespread respect as a campaigner for social causes such as the abolition of capital punishment.  Though a committed royalist when he was young, Hugo's views changed as the decades passed, and he became a passionate supporter of republicanism; his work touches upon most of the political and social issues and the artistic trends of his time. His legacy has been honoured in many ways, including his portrait being placed on French franc banknotes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Such stuff as dreams are made on  Prospero:  Our revels now are ended.  These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air:  And like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind.  We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.  The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158  Anticipating his daughter's wedding to the Prince of Naples, Prospero has staged a short entertainment, with spirits taking the parts of Roman gods.  But he abruptly cuts the fun short when he remembers some pressing business.  He tries to calm the startled couple by explaining, somewhat off the point, that the "revels" (performance) they've witnessed were simply an illusion, bound sooner or later to melt into "thin air"—a phrase he coins.  Take note that Prospero says "made on," not "made of," despite Humphrey Bogart's famous last line in the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon:  "The stuff that dreams are made of."  (Bogart suggested the line to director John Huston, but neither seems to have brushed up his Shakespeare.)  Film buffs may think "made of" is the authentic phrase, but they're only dreaming.

An urban heat island (UHI) is a city or metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities.  The phenomenon was first investigated and described by Luke Howard in the 1810s, although he was not the one to name the phenomenon.  The temperature difference usually is larger at night than during the day, and is most apparent when winds are weak.  UHI is most noticeable during the summer and winter.  The main cause of the urban heat island effect is from the modification of land surfaces.  Waste heat generated by energy usage is a secondary contributor.  As a population center grows, it tends to expand its area and increase its average temperature.  The less-used term heat island refers to any area, populated or not, which is consistently hotter than the surrounding area.  Monthly rainfall is greater downwind of cities, partially due to the UHI.  Increases in heat within urban centers increases the length of growing seasons, and decreases the occurrence of weak tornadoes.  The UHI decreases air quality by increasing the production of pollutants such as ozone, and decreases water quality as warmer waters flow into area streams and put stress on their ecosystems.  Not all cities have a distinct urban heat island.  Mitigation of the urban heat island effect can be accomplished through the use of green roofs and the use of lighter-colored surfaces in urban areas, which reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat.

How Much Warmer Was Your City in 2015? by K.K. Rebecca Lai   Scientists declared that 2015 was Earth’s hottest year on record.  In a database of 3,116 cities provided by AccuWeather, about 90 percent of them were warmer than normal.  Enter the name of a city to find how much warmer it was in 2015 than 2014 at

The Romney Literary Society (also known as the Literary Society of Romney) existed from January 30, 1819 to February 15, 1886 in Romney, West Virginia.  Established as the Polemic Society of Romney, it became the first organization of its kind in the present-day state of West Virginia, and one of the first in the United States.  The society was founded by nine prominent men of Romney with the objectives of advancing literature and science, purchasing and maintaining a library, and improving educational opportunities.  The society debated an extensive range of scientific and social topics, often violating its own rules which banned religious and political subjects.  Even though its membership was relatively small, its debates and activities were frequently discussed throughout the Potomac Highlands region, and the organization greatly influenced trends of thought in the Romney community and surrounding areas.  The society's library began in 1819 with the acquisition of two books; by 1861, it had grown to contain approximately 3,000 volumes on subjects such as literature, science, history, and art.  The organization also sought to establish an institution for "the higher education of the youth of the community."  In 1820, as a result of this initiative, the teaching of the classics was introduced into the curriculum of Romney Academy, thus making the institution the first school of higher education in the Eastern Panhandle.  In 1846, the society constructed a building which housed the Romney Classical Institute and its library, both of which fell under the society's supervision.  The Romney Literary Society and the Romney Classical Institute flourished and continued to grow in importance and influence until the onset of the American Civil War in 1861.  The Romney Classical Institute building and its library were considered legitimate plunder by Union Army forces.  The society's library was emptied and three-fourths of its volumes were either scattered or destroyed.  The most valuable of these volumes were never recovered following the war's end.  Its records of proceedings between 1830 and 1861, the period during which the society engaged in most of its notable literary and philanthropic works, were also destroyed during the war.  Following the war's end, only 400 out of the library's nearly 3,000 volumes could be recovered, with only 200 of those books remaining on the library's shelves.  Between 10 and 20 of the library's recovered volumes only contained three to four of their original books.  The value of the recovered volumes was degraded, as many were damaged or broken.  The society members that returned home to Romney were too war-weary to revive the society when they discovered the ruins of the Romney Classical Institute and its library, which had been an expensive endeavor to accumulate and took almost a half-century of labor to amass.  The Romney Classical Institute was not restored and was in effect disestablished on account of the war

Generations of admiring readers knew Harper Lee as the reclusive author of the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  But a relative few were given a glimpse of another side of Ms. Lee: that of a witty, impish and loyal pen pal.  The cartoonist Berkeley Breathed was one person who shared a correspondence with Ms. Lee.  After her death on February 19, 2016 at the age of 89, Mr. Breathed wrote on Facebook of the letters they had exchanged through the years.  Later, he shared with The New York Times four letters he had received from Ms. Lee over 14 years, with the first coming in 1994 and the last arriving in 2008.  The letters detail the author’s quest for privacy, and show how Ms. Lee, who wrote some of the most beloved characters in fiction, became attached to another endearing figure as she aged:  Opus, a penguin in Mr. Breathed’s comic strips.  Mr. Breathed, a longtime fan who first wrote to Ms. Lee in 1972, when he was a high school freshman, said the rural backdrop for his Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoon, “Bloom County,” was inspired by sleepy Maycomb, Ala., the setting for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and that he had written about a dozen strips that made direct reference to the novel.    His first letter to her went unanswered, but in 1994 Mr. Breathed tried again.  He wrote to Ms. Lee’s address in New York, asking to make a reference to the book in another one of his comic strips, “Outland.”  “Really, it was under the pretense of having an excuse to write to her again,” Mr. Breathed, 58, said in an interview.  “She had a role in the very thing that turned into a success later on.”  This time, he had better luck.  Ms. Lee, a consummate Southerner, had found his request to be gentlemanly.  Her response was just under 300 words, in a letter posted from a post office box in Monroeville, Ala.  She typed out the letter on onionskin paper, with correction fluid applied in spots.  (“God, I hate this machine,” she wrote of the typewriter at one point.)  “Not quite brain-dead, just absent from my N.Y.C. address to which my agent in all innocence forwarded your letter,” Ms. Lee wrote, by way of explanation for its timing.  “She sometimes has trouble finding me, too.”  Ms. Lee was known to be an active letter writer, both to people she knew and people she had never met.  A handful of examples have become public, including letters sent to the playwright Horton Foote and the New York architect Harold Caulfield, providing an informal look at a writer who famously shunned attention from the news media and went decades without publishing anything after the blockbuster success of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  Katie Rogers

"The Tumor" is one of the stranger literary digressions in recent memory.  Against the wishes of his agent, editor and publisher, John Grisham has  published a free book whose hero is a medical device called focused ultrasound.  Download free or order a hard copy at  Michael Rosenwald

Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, professor emerita at the University of Michigan, a historian of early 19th century France and the French Revolution, who was known for research on the early printing press and was the first resident scholar, in 1979, of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, died at home in Washington, D.C., on January 31, 2016 at the age of 92.  Dr. Eisenstein, a historian, was the author of many books and articles, beginning with “The First Professional Revolutionist” in 1959.  “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change,” a two-volume, 750-page book, first printed in 1979 and reissued in 2012, was considered her most important work.  It examined how the printing press caused a cultural shift in Western civilization.

Humanity has been boiled down to six emotions.  On February 24, 2016--after tests in a few countries--Facebook is rolling out its augmented Like button “Reactions” to all users.  Read article by Josh Constine "boiled down to six emotions too" at
            Issue 1431  February 24, 2016  On this date in 1803, in Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court of the United States established the principle of judicial review.  On this date in 1868, Andrew Johnson became the first President of the United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives. He was later acquitted in the Senate.  Quote of the Day:  Come, live in my heart and pay no rent. - Samuel Lover, Irish songwriter, composer, novelist, and artist and grandfather of Victor Herbert (24 Feb 1797-1868)

Monday, February 22, 2016

There are methods of baking pasta without boiling the pasta first.  You can soak the pasta for 45 minutes in warm salted water before adding it to the other ingredients and put the mixture into the oven.  You can also add dried pasta directly to sauce and then bake.  Recipes: and

Noodles and pasta are rich sources of carbohydrates.  According to the standards published by the National Pasta Association, noodles must contain at least 5.5% egg solids by weight.  Noodles can be added to soups and casseroles while pasta can be made a complete meal with addition of a few vegetables.  Pasta is much lighter and, under Italian law, can only be made with durum wheat.  Read more and link to recipes at

The myth of Daedalus and Icarus is one of the most known and fascinating Greek Myths, as it consists of both historical and mythical details.  While in Crete Daedalus created the plan for the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete and Greece today.  It was a magnificent architectural design and building, of 1,300 rooms, decorated with stunning frescoes and artifacts, saved until today.  The Labyrinth was a maze built by Daedalus; King Minos wanted a building suitable to imprison the mythical monster Minotaur, and according to the myth, he used to imprison his enemies in the labyrinth, making sure that they would be killed by the monster.  King Minos and Daedalus had great understanding at first, but their relationships started deteriorating at some point; there are several versions explaining this sudden change, although the most common one is that Daedalus was the one who advised Princess Ariadne to give Theseus the thread that helped him come out from the infamous Labyrinth, after killing the Minotaur.  Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in the Labyrinth.  Daedalus managed to create gigantic wings, using branches of osier and connected them with wax.  He taught Icarus how to fly, but told him to keep away from the sun because the heat would make the wax melt, destroying the wings.  Daedalus and Icarus managed to escape the Labyrinth and flew to the sky, free.  The flight of Daedalus and Icarus was the first time that man managed to fight the laws of nature and beat gravity.  Although he was warned, Icarus got excited by the thrill of flying and carried away by the amazing feeling of freedom and started flying high to salute the sun, diving low to the sea, and then up high again.  Icarus fell into the sea and drowned.  The Icarian Sea, where he fell, was named after him and there is also a nearby small island called Icaria.

Undoubtedly the best known labyrinth of its type, the beautifully preserved pavement labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral, France, was constructed during the second decade of the 13th century.  The labyrinth is 12.9 metres (42.3 ft.) in diameter and fills the width of the nave.  While much has been written about the purpose of this labyrinth, little contemporary documentation survives, although it is known that labyrinths in the French cathedrals were the scene of Easter dances carried out by the clergy.  It is also popularly assumed that they symbolise the long tortuous path that pilgrims would have followed to visit this, and other shrines and cathedrals, during the medieval period.  Many are surprised to find the labyrinth often covered with chairs.  See beautiful pictures at

Labyrinths Across the U.S.  You may link to a worldwide locator at

There’s no dispute that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died February 13, 2016 at age 79, was a polarizing figure.  But the very things that made him so divisive—his forceful opinions, his colorful behavior during oral arguments, and his contempt for those he disagreed with—also gave him a theatrical aura.  A play last year at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C., “The Originalist,” made a fictionalized Scalia its star character.  The man tasked with portraying the late justice was actor Edward Gero, who happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to Justice Scalia.  Still, Gero spent a year studying Scalia, attending oral arguments, reading the Federalist Papers and numerous biographies.  He finally met the justice only after doing enough research to have a "substantive conversation."  "He had great mannerisms...his physical demeanor, he's predominantly right-handed—no surprise there—but he never really used his left hand at all," said Gero of his observations of Scalia.

Harper Lee, whose first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about racial injustice in a small Alabama town, sold more than 40 million copies and became one of the most beloved and most taught works of fiction ever written by an American, died on February 19, 2016  in Monroeville, Ala., where she lived.  She was 89.  The instant success of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year, turned Ms. Lee into a literary celebrity, a role she found oppressive and never learned to accept.  The enormous popularity of the film version of the novel, released in 1962 with Gregory Peck in the starring role of Atticus Finch, a small-town Southern lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, only added to Ms. Lee’s fame and fanned expectations for her next novel.  But for more than half a century a second novel failed to turn up, and Ms. Lee gained a reputation as a literary Garbo, a recluse whose public appearances to accept an award or an honorary degree counted as important news simply because of their rarity.  Then, in February 2015, long after the reading public had given up on seeing anything more from Ms. Lee, her publisher, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins, dropped a bombshell.  It announced plans to publish a manuscript—long thought to be lost and now resurfacing under mysterious circumstances—that Ms. Lee had submitted to her editors in 1957 under the title “Go Set a Watchman.”  Ms. Lee’s lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, had chanced upon it, attached to an original typescript of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” while looking through Ms. Lee’s papers, the publishers explained.  It told the story of Atticus and his daughter, Jean Louise Finch, known as Scout, 20 years later, when Scout is a young woman living in New York.  It included several scenes in which Atticus expresses conservative views on race relations seemingly at odds with his liberal stance in the earlier novel.  The book was published in July with an initial printing of 2 million and, with enormous advance sales, immediately leapt to the top of the fiction best-seller lists, despite tepid reviews.  “To Kill a Mockingbird” was really two books in one:  a sweet, often humorous portrait of small-town life in the 1930s, and a sobering tale of race relations in the Deep South during the Jim Crow era.  It told the story of a small-town lawyer who stands guard outside a jail to protect his client against an angry mob, a central incident in the novel-to-be, whose title Mr. Crain changed to “Atticus” and later, as the manuscript evolved, to “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  The title refers to an incident in the novel, in which Atticus, on giving air rifles to his two children, tells them they can shoot at tin cans but never at a mockingbird.  Scout, puzzled, learns from Miss Maudie Atkinson, the widow across the street, that there is a proverb, “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,” and the reason for it:  The birds harm no one and only make beautiful music.  In the months after the novel was published, she contributed two wispy articles to McCall’s and Vogue.  To inquiring reporters, she threw out tantalizing hints of a second novel in progress, but the months and the years went by, and nothing appeared in print.  In one of her last interviews, with a Chicago radio show in 1964, Ms. Lee talked in some detail about her literary ambition:  to describe, in a series of novels, the world she grew up in and now saw disappearing.  News of the rediscovery of “Go Set a Watchman” threw the literary world into turmoil.  Many critics, as well as friends of Ms. Lee, found the timing and the rediscovery story suspicious, and openly questioned whether Ms. Lee, who was shielded from the press by Ms. Carter, was mentally competent to approve its publication.  It remained an open question, for many critics, whether “Go Set a Watchman” was anything more than the initial draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” from which, at the behest of her editors, Ms. Lee had excised the scenes from Scout’s childhood and developed them into a separate book.  “I was a first-time writer, and I did what I was told,” Ms. Lee wrote in a statement issued by her publisher in 2015.  Many readers, who had grown up idolizing Atticus, were crushed by his portrayal, 20 years on, as a staunch defender of segregation.  “The depiction of Atticus in ‘Watchman’ makes for disturbing reading, and for ‘Mockingbird’ fans, it’s especially disorienting,” Michiko Kakutani wrote in a review of the book in The New York Times.  “Scout is shocked to find, during her trip home, that her beloved father, who taught her everything she knows about fairness and compassion, has been affiliating with raving anti-integrationist, anti-black crazies, and the reader shares her horror and confusion.”  In her statement, Ms. Lee, who said that she had assumed the manuscript was lost, wrote, “After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication.”  Producer Scott Rudin announced that he planned to bring “To Kill a Mockingbird” to Broadway in the 2017-18 season, with the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin adapting the novel and Bartlett Sher directing.  William Grimes

Umberto Eco  (5 January 1932–19 February 2016) was an Italian novelist, essayist, literary critic, philosopher, and semiotician.  He is best known for his groundbreaking 1980 historical mystery novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory.  He later wrote other novels, including Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault's Pendulum) and L'isola del giorno prima (The Island of the Day Before).  His novel Il cimitero di Praga (The Prague Cemetery), released in 2010, was a best-seller.  Eco also wrote academic texts, children's books and essays.  He was founder of the Dipartimento di Comunicazione (Department of Media Studies) at the University of the Republic of San Marino, President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici (Graduate School for the Study of the Humanities), University of Bologna, member of the Accademia dei Lincei, and an Honorary Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford.

Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols and how they are used.

The site known as “Britain’s Pompeii” just keeps yielding more finds. 
Archeologists working at Must Farm in Peterborough, Britain, recently discovered a 3,000-year-old wheel that has been completely preserved.  It is the first and largest example of its kind to be discovered on the isle.  “This remarkable but fragile wooden wheel is the earliest complete example ever found in Britain," said Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, in a press release announcing the discovery.  "The existence of this wheel expands our understanding of Late Bronze Age technology and the level of sophistication of the lives of people living on the edge of the Fens 3,000 years ago.”  Must Farm has been dubbed “Britain’s Pompeii” because, like Pompeii in Italy, it is remarkably well-preserved from a fire that occurred at the site approximately three thousand years ago.  The site contains some of the best-preserved historical evidence about Bronze-Age Britain.  It was first discovered in 2006 and is now the subject of a £1.1 million (approximately $1.5 million) excavation project, which has unearthed wooden houses, bowls, and tools.  Olivia Lowenberg  See pictures at

You’ve heard of a blue moon, you’ve heard of a blood moon, but have you ever heard of a 'snow' moon?   If you haven’t, you’ll get the chance to see one over North America’s night skies on Monday, February 22, 2016.  Since the lunar cycle is about 29 days long, February has no full moon once almost every 19 years.  This year, the snow moon will be visible at 1:20 p.m. EST Monday, and maintain its full appearance into the night.  It’s called a snow moon because each full moon has a different name for the month it falls in.  For February, it’s a snow moon since the second month of the year typically sees the highest snow average.  (January gives it close competition).  Moon names trace all the way back to Native Americans in the northern and eastern U.S., according to the Farmers’ Almanac.  Tribes made full moon names in order to help track the seasons and make each moon unique.  Another nickname for the full moon was ‘hunger’ moon.  Tribes coined that name from the brutal weather conditions that made hunting near impossible, says Moon Connection.  'Bone' moon was also used since there was a shortage of food and people gnawed on bones and ate bone marrow soup.  See beautiful pictures at  Issue 1430  February 22, 2016  On this date in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis was founded as Eliot Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.  On this date in 1855,  The Pennsylvania State University was founded in State College, Pennsylvania as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania.