Wednesday, November 30, 2016

rabbit as a verb:  to hunt rabbits, to flee.  rabbit on:  to continue talking about something that is not interesting to the person you are talking to, talk incessantly, babble, blather.

Bab·bitt as a noun:  a narrow-minded, self-satisfied person with an unthinking attachment to middle-class values and materialism.  Named after George F. Babbitt, the main character in the 1922 novel Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.  a bearing or lining of Babbitt metal.  Babbit as a verbto line, face, or furnish with Babbitt metal.

President-elect Donald Trump will enter office with an astonishing array of business projects, loans and business deals around the globe.  Trump acknowledged that he recently encouraged British politician Nigel Farage to oppose offshore wind farms that might affect the view from one of his Scottish golf courses--but Trump shrugged off any potential problems.  “The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest,” he said.  Is this the case?  The law doesn’t say the president can’t have a conflict of interest.  But Congress, under Title 18 Section 208 of the U.S. code, did exempt the president and vice president from conflict-of-interest laws on the theory that the presidency has so much power that any possible executive action might pose a potential conflict.  “As a general rule, public officials in the executive branch are subject to criminal penalties if they personally and substantially participate in matters in which they (or their immediate families, business partners or associated organizations) hold financial interests,” the Congressional Research Service said in an October report.  “However, because of concerns regarding interference with the exercise of constitutional duties, Congress has not applied these restrictions to the President.  Consequently, there is no current legal requirement that would compel the President to relinquish financial interests because of a conflict of interest.”  This principle was outlined in a 1974 letter from the Justice Department, issued at a time when Nelson Rockefeller was under consideration to be confirmed as vice president after Richard Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford became president.  Rockefeller, then governor of New York, was heir to a fortune and consented to congressional hearings in which his business interests were closely examined.  “The uniqueness of the President’s situation is also illustrated by the fact that disqualification of the President from policy decisions because of personal conflicting interests is inconceivable,” the letter noted.  The 1978 Ethics of Government Act and the 1989 Ethics Reform Act later codified this principle.  In other words, Congress assumed that the president could be trusted to do the right thing.  Most recent presidents--Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton--have placed their personal assets in a blind trust, even if they did not have a legal obligation to do so.  President Obama did not, but his assets were only in mutual funds and Treasury bonds.  Trump is unique because so much of wealth is tied in with the value of his “Trump” brand.  Already, foreign diplomats have been flocking to his recently opened hotel in downtown Washington--and Trump noted to the Times that his brand is suddenly “hotter.”  Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee

Ethics in Government  29 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 315 1991-1992  Section 102 of Title II of the Ethics Reform Act enumerates the contents of the required financial reports.  The requirements are the same for all three branches.  Section 102 of Title II of the Ethics Reform Act enumerates the contents of the required financial reports.  The requirements are the same for all three branches.  A significant part of the financial disclosure sections of the Reform Act is devoted to defining the major exception to the reporting requirements.  This exception, known as a qualified blind trust, allows a reporting individual to withhold disclosure of assets by placing them beyond his control and knowledge.  A qualified blind trust operates as an arrangement in which the trustee is independent of and beyond the control and influence of any interested party; has not been a partner or employee of any interested party; and is not related to an interested party.  Furthermore, the trustee must not communicate with an interested party regarding the control of the trust assets, and must not disclose the yearly tax return on trust assets to any interested party.  Read much more at

Make Room! Make Room! is a 1966 science fiction novel written by Harry Harrison exploring the consequences of unchecked population growth on society.  It was originally serialized in Impulse magazine.  Set in then-future August 1999, the novel explores trends in the proportion of world resources used by the United States and other countries compared to population growth, depicting a world where the global population is seven billion, subject to overcrowding, resource shortages, and a crumbling infrastructure.  The plot jumps from character to character, recounting the lives of people in various walks of life in New York City (population around 35 million).  The novel was the basis of the 1973 science fiction movie Soylent Green, although the movie changed much of the plot and theme and introduced cannibalism as a solution to feeding people.!_Make_Room!  Author Harrison made up the word soylent as a combination of soybeans and lentils.  He felt that the movie script was terrible, and he went on the set of Soylent Green and handed out his original book to everyone from grips to actors.  Harrison said wryly that Soylent Green "at times bore a faint resemblance to the book".  

Harry Max Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey 1925–2012) was an American science fiction author, known for his character the Stainless Steel Rat and for his novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966).  The latter was the rough basis for the motion picture Soylent Green (1973).  Harrison was (with Brian Aldiss) the co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.  Before becoming an editor and writer, Harrison started in the science fiction field as an illustrator, notably with EC Comics' two science fiction comic book series, Weird Fantasy and Weird Science.  In these and other comic book stories, he most often worked with Wally Wood.  Harrison used house pen names such as Wade Kaempfert and Philip St. John to edit magazines and published other fiction under the pen names Felix Boyd and Hank Dempsey.  Harrison ghostwrote Vendetta for the Saint, one of the long-running series of novels featuring Leslie Charteris' character, The Saint.  Harrison also wrote for syndicated comic strips, writing several stories for the character Rick Random. 

Run.  Hide.  Fight.  Those three words were delivered in a startling text message to students at Ohio State University on November 28, 2016, warning them of an active threat to safety on campus.  Eleven students and faculty members were injured by either a car or butcher knife wielded by Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan.  Artan, 18, was killed by Ohio State Police Officer Alan Horujko before the alert went out to students, and all the victims survived.   “Run Hide Fight” has become this generation's “Stop Drop and Roll.”  It stems from a public-awareness campaign used by the Department of Homeland Security.  The message is meant to be abrupt.  It's meant to limit carnage in a mass shooting.  Ohio State uses the phrase in a video on its website that instructs students about how to survive an active shooting.  The message is meant to get people to go through a series of steps to ensure survival:  Run if they can, hide in a secure place if they can't and, as last resort, fight for their lives.  A video, produced by the city of Houston and released in 2012 just days after dozens of people were killed and injured in a shooting at a Colorado movie theater, has been viewed on YouTube nearly 5.5 million times.  Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said the alert was carefully worded because university employees have rehearsed what to do if they get such a message.  “The active shooter protocol was going to be put in place, which is to do as much as possible to protect people,” Drake said.  Lucas Sullivan & Mike Wagner  Issue 1557  November 30, 2016  On this date in 1874, Lucy Maud Montgomery, English-Canadian author and poet, was born.  On this date in 1982, Michael Jackson's second solo album, Thriller was released worldwide.  It became the best-selling record album in history.  Word of the Day:  saltire  noun  1.  (heraldry)  An ordinary (geometric design) in the shape of an X.  It usually occupies the entire field in which it is placed.  2.  The Saint Andrew's cross, the flag of Scotland.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Under federal laws, executive branch employees must comply with conflict-of-interest rules that guard against being influenced by personal investments, and they must curb payments from sources outside the government.  As a result, employees may have to recuse themselves from working on matters where they may have conflicts, holding certain properties or accepting money.  For example, when Henry Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs executive, became Treasury secretary in 2006, he pledged to sell about $470 million in company stock to comply with conflict-of-interest rules.  But the president and vice president were exempted from such laws, on the theory that they needed to be able to carry out their constitutional duties without restraint.  So President Trump will be able to take actions pertaining to another country even if he has business interests there.  Steve Eder

H.R.3660 - Ethics Reform Act of 1989 101st Congress (1989-1990)  11/30/1989 Became Public Law No: 101-194.

shoe-leather  adjective  Basic, old-fashioned or traditional; specifically (journalism) shoe-leather journalism or shoe-leather reporting:  journalism involving walking from place to place observing things and speaking to people, rather than sitting indoors at a desk.  Wiktionary

The Big Ten Conference (B1G), formerly Western Conference and Big Nine Conference, is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States.  The conference, consisting of fourteen members as of 2016, competes in the NCAA Division I; its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, the highest level of NCAA competition in that sport.  The conference includes the flagship public university in each of 11 states stretching from New Jersey to Nebraska, as well as two additional public land grant schools and a private university.  The Big Ten Conference was established in 1895 when Purdue University president James H. Smart and representatives from the University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and University of Wisconsin gathered at Chicago's Palmer House Hotel to set policies aimed at regulating intercollegiate athletics.  In 1905, the conference was officially incorporated as the "Intercollegiate Conference Athletic Association".  The conference uses the "B1G" character combination in its branding, noting it "allows fans to see 'BIG' and '10' in a single word."  Find members, associate member, future associate member and former member at

The Big 12 Conference is a ten-school collegiate athletic conference headquartered in Irving, Texas.  It is a member of the NCAA's Division I for all sports, except hockey; its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly Division I-A), the higher of two levels of NCAA Division I football competition.  Its ten members, located in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia, include eight public and two private Christian schools.  The Big 12 Conference is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Delaware.  The Big 12 was formerly composed of 12 schools, hence its name: it was formed in 1996 when four schools from the collapsing Southwest Conference (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor) joined with the pre-existing Big Eight Conference.  Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were grouped with the four newcomers in the "Big 12 South", while the remaining 6 teams of the Big 8 (Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouriand Iowa State) formed the "Big 12 North".  The conference's current 10-campus makeup resulted from the 2010–13 Big 12 Conference realignment, in which Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference, Colorado joined the Pac-12, and Missouri and Texas A&M joined the Southeastern Conference.  TCU and West Virginia joined from the Mountain West and Big East Conferences respectively to offset two of the departing schools, bringing the conference to its current strength.  Find current members, affiliate members and former members at

Sojourner Truth (born Isabella "Bell" Baumfree; c. 1797–1883) was an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist.  Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826.  She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 after she became convinced that God has called her to leave the city and go into the countryside "testifying the hope that was in her."  Her best-known speech was delivered extemporaneously, in 1851, at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.  The speech became widely known during the Civil War by the title "Ain't I a Woman?," a variation of the original speech re-written by someone else using a stereotypical Southern dialect; whereas Sojourner Truth was from New York and grew up speaking Dutch as her first language.  During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit black troops for the Union Army; after the war, she tried unsuccessfully to secure land grants from the federal government for former slaves.  In 2014, Truth was included in Smithsonian magazine's list of the "100 Most Significant Americans of All Time".

Harriet Tubman (born Araminta "Minty" Ross; c. 1822-1913) was an American abolitionist and humanitarian.  Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.  She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era was an active participant in the struggle for women's suffrage.  After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed, she helped guide fugitives farther north into British North America, and helped newly freed slaves find work.  When the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy.  The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 slaves.  She was active in the women's suffrage movement until illness overtook her and she had to be admitted to a home for elderly African Americans that she had helped to establish years earlier.  On April 20, 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department announced a plan for Tubman to replace Andrew Jackson as the portrait gracing the $20 bill.

You're invited to spend An Evening with Lee Child  As a special promotion, the first 400 ticket holders in attendance will get a free copy of Lee Child's latest book Night School to have signed by the author.  Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 7 p.m.  Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle  2445 Monroe St.  $10 General Admission  $8 for Library Staff, FOL, LLF, and Literati  $5 Students  Internationally best-selling author Lee Child has more than 22 million copies of his novels in print worldwide.  A native of England and a former television director, Child lives in New York City, and is now the author of twenty Jack Reacher thrillers, including his latest, Night School, as well as seven New York Times best-sellers.  A book signing will follow Child's talk.  This event is presented by the Toledo Lucas County Public Library and the Toledo Museum of Art.  Night School and additional Lee Child titles are available at the Museum Store and in the Peristyle Lobby the night of the event.  Museum parking is $7 (free for TMA members).  The event will be interview style and followed by audience Q and A.  For more information, contact the Museum Information desk: 419.255.8000, ext. 7448 or visit

Ralph Branca, the pitcher who had three consecutive All-Star seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers but who was never allowed to forget one pitch that crushed them, died November 23, 2016 in Rye Brook, N.Y.  He was 90.  The pitch was immortalized in American literature by Don DeLillo, who opened his 1997 novel, “Underworld,” with an extended, lyrical re-creation of that Wednesday at Coogan’s Bluff, complete with echoes of the radio announcer Russ Hodges’s disbelieving call as the ball headed for the fence and sailed over the Dodgers’ left fielder, Andy Pafko, culminating, as pandemonium erupted, with the joyous, repeated declaration, “The Giants win the pennant!”  Branca’s unforgivable offense (at least to Dodger fans) came on the afternoon of Oct. 3, 1951, when, in a final game with the New York Giants to determine the National League championship, he served up Bobby Thomson’s electrifying (at least to Giants fans), pennant-winning home run—the “Shot Heard Round the World”—probably the most memorable in baseball history.  Branca bore that burden without complaint even after learning a few years later that Giants players had been tipped to forthcoming pitches for much of the 1951 season through a scheme in which the Giants used a telescope in the Polo Grounds’ center-field clubhouse to pick up opposing catchers’ signals.  Details of the sign-stealing were publicly revealed by Joshua Prager in The Wall Street Journal in 2001 and in his book “The Echoing Green” in 2006.  Richard Goldstein  Read more and link to video at  Issue 1556  November 28, 2016  On this date in 1829, Anton Rubinstein, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor, was born.  On this date in 1925, The Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee, as the WSM Barn Dance.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

TREE TRIVIA  The average life of a street tree growing in a typical downtown area is only seven years.  Due to a lack of root space and poor, compacted soils, most downtown trees are essentially "potted plants."  The ginkgo tree is a "living fossil."  Unlike most other kinds of trees living today, the ginkgo was around during the days of the dinosaurs.  Trees make up an estimated 80% by weight of the 49 trillion tons of green plants on the planet.  Coal is formed from trees that lived during the prehistoric times.  Less than 1% of a tree is made up of living cells.  It takes 30 leaves to grow a Jonathan apple and 50 leaves to grow a big Delicious apple.  There are over 20,000 different kinds of trees in the world.  Kim Sebastian  See State Tree Facts and Trivia

The Borough of Westmont in Pennsylvania has 195 elms planted on Luzerne Street and 15 on various other streets.  The Luzerne Street elms, the longest municipally owned, continuous stand of American Elms in the country, is nearly 3200 feet long.  It is the last cathedral-arched boulevard in the USA.

Portmanteau is a literary device in which two or more words are joined together to coin a new word.  A portmanteau word is formed by blending parts of two or more words but it always refers to a single concept.  A portmanteau was a suitcase that opened into two equal sections.  The etymology of the word is the French porte-manteau, from porter, to carry, and manteau, cloak (from Old French mantel, from Latin mantellum).  In modern French, a porte-manteau is a clothes valet, a coat-tree or similar article of furniture for hanging up jackets, hats, umbrellas and the like.  It has also been used especially in Europe as a formal description for hat racks from the French words porter (to carry) and manteau (cloak).

Pinotage is South Africa's signature grape variety.  The variety, a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, was first bred by scientist Abraham Perold in 1925, although the few seeds the crossing yielded were planted in his garden and consequently forgotten.  The vines were found by another researcher some years later, grafted onto disease-resistant rootstocks and the first commercial plantings were made in 1943.  The name Pinotage is a portmanteau of its two parents, as Cinsaut was then known in South Africa as Hermitage.

In baseball, the dead-ball era was the period between around 1900 (though some date it to the beginning of baseball) and the emergence of Babe Ruth as a power hitter in 1919.  That year, Ruth hit a then-league record 29 home runs, a spectacular feat at that time.  During the dead-ball era, baseball was much more of a strategy-driven game, using a style of play now known as small ball or inside baseball.  It relied much more on stolen bases and hit-and-run types of plays than on home runs.  These strategies emphasized speed, perhaps by necessity.  Teams played in spacious ball parks that limited hitting for power, and, compared to modern baseballs, the ball used then was "dead" both by design and from overuse.  Low-power hits like the Baltimore Chop, developed in the 1890s by the Baltimore Orioles, were used to get on base.  Once on base, a runner would often steal or be bunted over to second base and move to third base or score on a hit-and-run play.  In no other era have teams stolen as many bases as in the dead-ball era.  The dead-ball era ended suddenly.  By 1921, offenses were scoring 40% more runs and hitting four times as many home runs as they had in 1918.

A NASA spacecraft recently encountered Jupiter, and the University of Iowa was there for the rendezvous.  An instrument built at the UI is aboard the Juno spacecraft that made a star-spangled entry into Jupiter’s orbit on July 4. 2016.  William Kurth, research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the UI, is lead co-investigator for the Waves instrument.  Designed and built at the UI, Waves will sample the electric and magnetic fields of radio and plasma waves around Jupiter to determine how the planet’s auroras are produced.  Auroras, called northern or southern lights because they’re most visible in Earth’s polar regions, have dazzled humans for eons.  The atmospheric fireworks at Jupiter’s poles, powered by the planet’s rotation, are the brightest in the solar system, making the Earth’s display seem puny by comparison.  Jupiter also contains radiation belts that are hundreds of times more intense than Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts discovered by and named after UI space pioneer James Van Allen.  “It’s a place where you don’t want to spend much time if you don’t have to,” Kurth says.  Juno lifted into space on Aug. 5, 2011.  In October 2013, it executed a slingshot maneuver around the Earth, using our planet’s gravity to propel the spacecraft toward Jupiter.  The mission is scheduled to end in February 2018, after traveling 2.1 billion miles.  Since 1958, the UI has designed and built instruments for 69 successfully launched spacecraft.  Seventeen are currently carrying UI instruments.  Richard C. Lewis

The Prefixes “Bi” and “Semi”  If you receive a paycheck on the fifteenth and thirtieth of each month, are you paid bimonthly or semimonthly?  If a newspaper is published every two weeks, it is a biweekly or a bimonthly publication?  The answer is not simple.  If we check Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (10th edition) for definitions of each prefix, we find that although semi always means “half,” the prefix bi can mean either “every two” or “twice.”  Thus, bimonthly can mean either “every two months” or “twice a month.”  Webster’s warns us that when using the prefix bi, we should give the reader clues about which meaning we intend.  And when you are the reader, you should make sure you know which meaning the writer intends.  Before you decide to pay $19.95 for a bimonthly magazine, read the fine print to find out if you will receive six issues a year or twenty-four.  When we mean “twice” (as in “twice a week” or “twice a month”), we can avoid ambiguity by using the prefix semi (as in semiweekly for “twice a week” and semimonthly for “twice a month”) even though technically we could use the prefix bi.  Two final notes:  (1)  We have a special word--biennial--that means “occurring every two years.”  The word biannual has only one meaning:  “occurring twice a year.”  Biannual is thus interchangeable with semiannual, although biannual is less preferable if we wish to avoid any chance of misreading by folks who are not thoroughly familiar with these definitions.  (2)  Never use a hyphen with either of these prefixes unless the root word begins with the letter i, as in semi-independent, semi-invalid, and semi-infinite.

The world's most valuable scientific books and manuscripts--an overview of the marketplace by Mike Hanlon   Just 500 years ago, print was emerging as the first mass medium and with it, the first commonly available access to knowledge.  Before Gutenberg's bible was completed (circa 1455), there were around 30,000 books in all of Europe.  Each one had been written by hand.  In the next 50 years, ten million books were printed.  That volume of books broadcast the knowledge of a few to many and the transformation that resulted has continued to accelerate societal development to this day.  Read extensive article and see pictures at

jalousie noun  1.  a window blind or shutter constructed from angled slats of wood, plastic, etc.  2.  a window made of similarly angled slats of glass.  From Old French gelosie latticework screen, literally:  jealousy, perhaps because one can look through the screen without being seen  Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 

Jalousie, (Jalousie 'Tango Tzigane' /Jealousy 'Gypsy Tango' )  a tango written by Danish composer Jacob Gade in 1925.  Later, various composers in different countries added lyrics; Jealousy by Alain Robbe-Grillet  1995 novel; Jealousy  La Jalousie (original title) 2013 film  Issue 1555  November 23, 2016  On this date in 1889, the first jukebox went into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.  On this date in 1924, Edwin Hubble's discovery that the Andromeda nebula is actually another island universe far outside of our own was first published in The New York Times.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tsundoku is the stockpiling of books never consumed.  Sahoko Ichikawa, a senior lecturer in Japanese at Cornell University, explains that tsunde means “to stack things” and oku is “to leave for a while.”  The word originated in Japan’s late 19th century Meiji Era from a play on words.  Sometime around the turn of the century, the oku in tsunde oku was replaced with doku, meaning to read.  But because tsunde doku rolls awkwardly off the tongue, the mashup version became tsundoku.

A Career to Die For by Jane Ayer   To look at him, you couldn’t tell that Scott Dion has health issues.  We meet outside Don’s Bakery in Bala, Ontario, on a brilliant, sunny day in July.  He’s wearing golf shirt and shorts, sports a brown goatee (ever so slightly speckled with grey) covering the lower part of a tanned face, his eyes crinkle at the corners with the onset of a ready smile or laugh, and sunglasses are pushed up onto his head.  Two earrings glint from his left ear.  His looks belie his 44 years.  Outside the walls of a bakery, Dion breathes easily.  Inside is a different story.  Scott Dion has occupational asthma.  His form of the illness is commonly known as baker’s asthma or even baker’s lung, provoked and made worse by exposure to certain allergens that are common in bakeries, including wheat, rye, barley, and soy flours, yeast, eggs, sesame seeds, nuts, molds, flax seed--the list is lengthy.  See also Occupational asthma from the U.S. National Library of Medicine at

The Open Data Impact Map, a project of the Open Data for Development Network (OD4D), is a public database of organizations that use open government data from around the world.  Open Data is publicly available data that can be accessed and reused by anyone free of charge.  The Map was developed to provide governments, international organizations, and researchers with a more comprehensive understanding of the demand for open data.

Concerns about Open Data Impact Map from Toledo area librarians:  "Is it really anyone’s business who used data?  It also is one step away from identifying what data XYZ used."  "A lot of our data is collected and shared, and we don’t even know what all that encompasses.  And although it might not always be tied to our identities, but rather mined for trends, I still wonder if that is an invasion of privacy."  "While I know that my searches are already used by Google and Facebook for instance, I do not think it is everyone's business to know what I am researching.  How will this impact lawyers, scientists, everyday folks?"

A New (Faster, Juicier) Way to Roast a Turkey by Melissa Clark  Like the turkey, the chicken has the same white/dark meat divide when it comes to cook times.  To compensate, I often splay the chicken’s legs, then sear the bird in a very hot pan before putting it into the oven to roast.  The dual strategy of splaying the legs to allow more hot air to circulate around them, combined with the initial searing, gives the dark meat a head start before the breast hits the heat of the oven.  You get an evenly roasted bird, with silky, juicy white meat and perfectly cooked dark meat.  And you get it fast, or at least faster than roasting it whole.   Would the same technique work with a fowl three times the size of your average chicken?  The answer was a resounding yes.  Unlike spatchcocking a turkey, which requires a certain amount of skill and strength, splaying is a cinch.  You can use a paring knife to cut through the skin that connects the legs to the body, then just press down and pull on the thighs until you hear them pop out of their sockets and lie flat.  Easy.  Read more, see picture of splayed turkey, and watch video at

Thistmus (interval between Thanksgiving and Christmas) and Friendsgiving (celebrating food with friends around Thanksgiving time) are recently coined words.

In 2015 Stefania Bortolami, the owner of the Bortolami Gallery in Manhattan, began a series of internal conversations that resulted in a project called “Artist/City,” a continuing effort to move the artists she represents out of her gallery and into the world at large.  Ms. Borotolami and Emma Fernberger, associate director of the gallery, undertook the first phase of the project, helping Daniel Buren install his paintings of vertical stripes on bedsheets in a storefront in Miami for a year.  The aim, as Bortolami’s website put it, was to create “a structure in which our artists can investigate their work without restriction.”  A second yearlong exhibition followed in May, when Eric Wesley moved his “burrito paintings” into an abandoned Spanish Colonial-style Taco Bell in Cahokia, Ill.  In winter 2016 a third Bortolami artist, Tom Burr, plans to install his own work for a year in the vacant former office of the Pirelli Tire Company in New Haven, a forbidding Brutalist structure originally designed in 1968 by the architect Marcel Breuer.  The building is owned by IKEA and sits in the middle of a parking lot of one of that furniture maker’s sprawling stores.  The terms Ms. Fernberger struck with the company were exceedingly budget-friendly:  IKEA agreed to let her use the space for an entire year for only $1.  And that was only one of the attractions of the site.  The audience for Mr. Burr’s coming show would probably include students and professors from Yale, and people passing by the site on Interstate 95, Ms. Bortolami said.  “Some will come to see the show just because it’s at an IKEA,” she added.  “And that’s great.”  Because of the exhibition’s length and low budget, the Artist/City project has allowed Mr. Burr to approach his installation with increased freedom and flexibility.  “I like showing in a place that doesn’t have the extreme pressure cooker that rents in New York impose,” he said, adding, “It can evolve over the course of a year, not only with the audience changing, but with the work itself reacting over time to the space.”  The Bortolami Gallery is not alone in seeking alternatives to the expensive push-the-product ethos that bigness brings.  The gallerist Gavin Brown, who is based on the Lower East Side and in Harlem, announced last year that he planned to open a space in a deconsecrated eighth-century church in Rome.  And John Berggruen, a California gallery owner, is currently showing works of sculpture in a garden on his 11-acre personal estate in St. Helena, California.  Alan Feuer

The Left Hand of Darkness is a science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, published in 1969.  The novel became immensely popular; in 1970 it won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards as the year's Best Novel, and established Le Guin's status as a major author of science fiction.  The novel follows the story of Genly Ai, a native of Terra, who is sent to the planet of Gethen as an envoy of the Ekumen, a loose confederation of planets.  Ai's mission is to persuade the nations of Gethen to join the Ekumen, but he is stymied by his lack of understanding of Gethenian culture.  Individuals on Gethen are "ambisexual", with no fixed gender identity.  This fact has a strong influence on the culture of the planet, and creates a barrier of understanding for Ai.  Left Hand was among the first books published in the feminist science fiction genre and the most famous examination of androgyny in science fiction.  The novel is part of the Hainish Cycle, a series of novels and short stories by Le Guin set in the fictional Hainish universe, which she introduced in 1964 with "The Dowry of the Angyar".  Left Hand has been reprinted more than 30 times, and received a highly positive response from reviewers.  The novel ranked third behind Frank Herbert's Dune and Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End in a 1975 poll in Locus magazine.  In 1987, Locus ranked it second among science fiction novels after Dune.  The same year, Harold Bloom stated; "Le Guin, more than Tolkien, has raised fantasy into high literature, for our time".
     Issue 1554  November 22, 2016  On this date in 1928, the first performance of Ravel's Boléro took place in Paris.  On this date in 1968, The Beatles released The Beatles (known popularly as The White Album).