Friday, March 30, 2018

Image gallery: eating in a hat  Buildings shaped like what they sell are known as “ducks.”  Usually they sold simple foods rather than entire meals.  They were often located on busy roads where it wasn’t easy to get cars to stop.  But proprietors realized that even the most humble shed, if masquerading as a giant dog or coffee pot, just might get speeding motorists to stop for closer examination.  Ducks, which became popular in the 1930s, could be found all over the country but their birthplace is usually cited as Southern California, the land of fantasy and car culture.  The slogan “eat in the hat” was, in fact, created in Los Angeles for the Brown Derby restaurant that opened in 1926 on Wilshire Blvd.  To be considered a genuine duck, the Brown Derby should have been selling hats, but it was a restaurant, and one with a standard menu rather than just grab-and-go food.  Its fame derived from its successful courtship of gossip columnists and film stars.  Jan Whitaker  copyright 2017  See picture of the original Brown Derby Restaurant a few years after it enlarged and added a patio at

National Geographic Magazine/Volume 31/Number 6/Our State Flowers/List of Illustrations  Paintings by Mary E. Eaton  I typed ctrl f, Ohio--and found Ohio (red carnation) and Delaware (peach blossom) in one painting.  Iowa's state flower is the low or pasture rose.

Mary Emily Eaton was born November 27, 1873, in Coleford, Gloucestershire.  She attended private schools in London, and received formal tuition in art at the Taunton School of Art, also attending classes at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington, and the Chelsea Polytechnic.  She worked for a time as a painter of Worcester porcelain, before going to Jamaica in 1909 to visit her siblings.  During her two-years stay, she began painting detailed studies of butterflies and moths.  In June 1911 Eaton left for New York City, where she would remain until January 1932, employed by The New York Botanical Garden.  Among other duties, she was the principal illustrator for the Botanical Garden's journal Addisonia, painting over three-quarters of the 800 plates.  She was the principal illustrator for Britton & Rose's monumental work The Cactaceae, and her illustrations also appeared in the National Geographic Magazine.  Contemporary authorities rated her work very highly, one source calling her "the greatest of living wildflower painters" and another stating that one could not fully appreciate her talent from the sometimes mediocre reproductions of her work in Addisonia and other publications.  She was awarded the silver-gilt Grenfell Medal of the Royal Horticultural Society twice, first in 1922 and again in 1950.  In 1932, due to the Great Depression, Eaton lost her position at the Botanic Garden, after which she struggled to find enough work in America.  In 1947, she returned to England, where she died on August 4, 1961, in Cossington, Somerset.  Many of her paintings are at the British Museum of Natural History.  The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation also has a number of her works.   Six hundred of her watercolours are part of the permanent collections of the National Geographic SocietyThe New York Botanical Garden, and the Smithsonian Institution.  See also

Homophones (literally "same sound") are usually defined as words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.  If they are spelled the same then they are also homographs (and homonyms); if they are spelled differently then they are also heterographs (literally "different writing").  

March 27, 2018  Goroke, Victoria, a former stagecoach stop in southeastern Australia, pop. 200, is not the sort of place you would expect to host a daylong academic symposium.  About five hours from Melbourne by car, the town has the feel of an evacuation nearly complete.  But last December, about 40 scholars, critics, editors and general readers made the journey for a series of lectures on the work of Gerald Murnane.  The author, who has lived in Goroke for the last decade, prefers not to travel, and he had suggested the scholars convene at the local golf club, where he plays a weekly game and also regularly tends bar.  A strong case could be made for Murnane, who recently turned 79, as the greatest living English-language writer most people have never heard of.  Even in his home country, he remains a cult figure; in 1999, when he won the Patrick White Award for underrecognized Australian writers, all his books were out of print.  Yet his work has been praised by J.M. Coetzee and Shirley Hazzard, as well as young American writers like Ben Lerner and Joshua Cohen.  Teju Cole has described Murnane as “a genius” and a “worthy heir to Beckett.”  Last year, Ladbrokes placed his odds at winning the Nobel Prize for Literature at 50 to 1—better than Cormac McCarthy, Salman Rushdie and Elena Ferrante.  Next year, to coincide with his 80th birthday, Murnane will publish a book of poetry and outtakes from a previous novel.  But other than the poems, composed in Goroke over the last few years, Murnane says he has retired once again.  Gingerly, I prodded Murnane.  All his books had been so deeply personal, but also something any reader could enter into.  But with the Antipodean Archive, Murnane had created countries where only he could travel.  Did he harbor any second thoughts about diverting so much of his creativity into such a private pursuit?  Murnane smiled.  He could see another connection forming.  From one of his cabinets, he retrieved a typewritten manuscript page from his poetry collection.  Read it, he instructed.  That’s where we’d stop.  The poem, after explaining the archive over many lines, “the perfect summation/of my lifelong belief in the sport of horse-racing/as a better source of inspiration/than opera, theater, film, you name it,” ended like this:  Reader, if you’re urged to learn more about this imagined world, outlive me and my siblings and visit the library where my archives end up.  You’ll find there a filing cabinet full of the sort of detail that I wanted to include in this poem but failed.  You’ll read thousands of pages, though you’ll never see, unfortunately, what they revealed to me.  Mark Binelli  Read extensive article at  See also The Still-Breathing Author by Gerald Murnane at

Champagne is a sparkling wine made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France.  Champaign was a 1980s American R&B band.  Champaign, Illinois was originally called "West Urbana", the name is derived from Champaign County.  The song "Champaign, Illinois" was written by Carl Perkins and Bob Dylan.

Indignation is used to deflect further discussion or criticism of a topic.  Changing the subject abruptly deflects further discussion.  Calling people names deflects serious discussions.  Comparing unlike subjects causes confusion.

Tomato Pudding had been a staple at the Tally Ho, a tearoom at 133 22nd Street in Toledo, Ohio.  The key, apparently, to duplicating this “treasured Toledo dish” is to follow the measurements and directions exactly.  The recipe came from turncoat Carrie Wall, who made the pudding many years at the Tally Ho before defecting to the Gladieux Corp.  Find recipe at

The last Blue Moon of 2018 is just around the corner.  If you miss it, you'll have to wait to 2020 for the next one.  The upcoming Blue Moon—the name given to the second full moon to occur in a single calendar month—rises on Saturday (March 31).  Blue Moons aren't actually blue, and they don't look different from any other full moon in the sky.  The term, which has been around for hundreds of years, apparently originally signified something that's absurd, but then shifted over time to refer to exceedingly rare events, Philip Hiscock wrote in a 2012 article for Sky & Telescope.  (Interestingly, a Blue Moon previously meant the third full moon in a season that had four of them. This sense of an "extra" full moon morphed into the definition most  people recognize today.  Language is a slippery and changeable thing!)  But Blue Moons aren't all that rare, really:  On average, they occur about once every 2.7 years.  Blue Moons are possible because it takes Earth's nearest neighbor 29.5 days to circle our planet, but each calendar month (except February) contains 30 or 31 days.  Mike Wall

Kindness is always fashionable. - Amelia Barr, novelist (29 Mar 1831-1919)

Word of the Day  clerihew  noun  humorous rhyme of four lines with the rhyming scheme AABB, usually regarding a person mentioned in the first line.  English humourist and novelist Edmund Clerihew Bentley, who invented the clerihew, died on March 30, 1956.  Wiktionary  Find clerihew examples at  Issue 1866  March 30, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What's the origin of the phrase 'Helter-skelter'?   Those of a certain age might remember The Beatles' song from the 1968 White Album - Helter Skelter.  If so, the song's lyrics may also evoke memories of clinging on to hessian mats and spiralling down fairground slides.  These slides began appearing at British fairs around the turn of the 20th century.  In 1906, the UK newspaper The Westmorland Gazette included this:  "The World's Manufacturing Company, examples of whose 'helter-skelter' lighthouses are at Earl's Court, Blackpool, Southport, and other places."  But, beyond the fairground, what is helter-skelter?  The term long pre-dates the fairground ride and has been used to mean disorderly haste or confusion since at least the 16th century.  Thomas Nashe used it that way in his 'Four letters confuted', 1592:  "Helter skelter, feare no colours, course him, trounce him."  Helter-skelter has been in common use in England for the past 400 years and has been known in the USA since the 1820s.  Neither helter nor skelter had any meaning in themselves.  Like many word pairs of this sort (called rhyming reduplications), they only exist as part of the pair--although skelter was used alone later, but only as a shortened form of helter-skelter.  Another reduplication with a similar meaning is pell-mell (a confused throng or, in disordered haste). This originated around the same time--the first recorded use dates from 1579.  Others which came later, but which are in shouting distance in terms of meaning, are harum-scarum (reckless rowdiness) and hurly-burly (commotion and confusion). 

Galax, the wandplantwandflower, or beetleweed, is a genus in the flowering plant family Diapensiaceae, containing a single species, Galax urceolata (syn. G. rotundifoliaG. aphylla).  It is native to the southeastern United States from Massachusetts and New York south to northern Alabama, growing mainly in the Appalachian Mountains at altitudes of up to 1,500 m, where it grows in shaded places in forests.  The leaves are often harvested for the floristry industry; concern has been expressed over excessive exploitation, and collection is now restricted in many areas.  It has also been used in herbalism to treat cuts and kidney ailments.  The independent city of Galax, Virginia, is named after this plant.  See picture of the galax plant at

The phrase get down to brass tacks is an Americanism dating from the 19th century.  In the idiom, brass tacks means (1) the essentials, or (2) the basic facts, so to get down to brass tacks is to focus on the essentials.  The phrase’s exact derivation is unknown, though there are a few theories.  One is that the expression is inspired by the centrality of actual brass tacks in furniture and upholstery.  Another is that brass tacks is simply a bit of rhyming wordplay derived from facts.  In any case, the phrase was widespread in its modern sense by the early 20th century.

April is National Poetry Month. 

Arizona's first poet laureate, Alberto RĂ­os, was appointed by Governor Brewer on August 19, 2013.  His term started January 20, 2014.

Alberto Rios’ 2015 poem “The Border:  A Double Sonnet,” 28 lines, each, he says, its own mini-poem, and a doubled format that represents the two sides of a place often depicted in terms of conflict.  In the words of Alberto Rios, "We seem to live in a world of maps, but, in truth, we live in a world made not of paper and ink, but of people.  Those lines are our lives.  Together, let us turn the map, until we see clearly the border is what joins us, not what separates us."  Read The Border:  A Double Sonnet and if desired, sign up for a poem a day in your inbox at

Edmund John Millington Synge (1871-1909) was an Irish playwright, poet, prose writer, travel writer and collector of folklore.  He was a key figure in the Irish Literary Revival and was one of the cofounders of the Abbey Theatre.  He is best known for his play The Playboy of the Western World, which caused riots in Dublin during its opening run at the Abbey Theatre.  Although he came from an Anglo-Irish background, Synge's writings are mainly concerned with the world of the Roman Catholic peasants of rural Ireland and with what he saw as the essential paganism of their world view.  Link to poems of Synge at

Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967) is one of Ireland's best-loved poets:  when the Irish Times compiled a list of favourite Irish poems in 2000, ten of Kavanagh's were in the top fifty, with only Yeats's name appearing more frequently.  Kavanagh rose to such literary pre-eminence from the humblest of backgrounds.  Born in Inniskeen parish, Co. Monaghan, his father was a cobbler and a farmer of sixteen acres.  Kavanagh left school at twelve to apprentice as a cobbler himself, but having no aptitude for shoe-making, he helped instead on the family farm.  So for the first 27 years of his life, Kavanagh lived the life of rural Ireland, the life of "fairs and football matches, of mass-going and dance-going."  (Seamus Heaney, The Sense of Place, a lecture given in the Ulster Museum, 1977).  At the same time, despite this entirely unbookish background, Kavanagh was drawn to writing poems, his first appearing in the local papers in 1928.  As he said of his early poetic development, "I dabbled in verse and it became my life."  His poems began to appear further afield and this prompted Kavanagh to leave home in 1931 and walk to Dublin, where his brother was already a teacher, to try and further his literary aspirations. To an extent he was successful, his first collection, Ploughman and Other Poems, appearing in 1936.  In a 1963 recording, Kavanagh wryly says "every potential employer said I was a genius and therefore unemployable."  Nevertheless, he continue to publish including, in 1942, his long poem 'The Great Hunger' which chronicles the privations--mental, spiritual and physical--of the rural life he knew so intimately.  This was followed by a loosely autobiographical novel, Tarry Flynn (1948), which was briefly banned.

Iman Budhi Santosa (born 28 March 1948), commonly known as IBS, is an Indonesian author based in Yogyakarta.  Born in MagetanEast Java, IBS was educated in agriculture but drawn to literature from a young age.  In 1969, he helped establish the Persada Studi Klub, later publishing numerous works, including poetry collections, novels, and short stories.  His poetry has been considered to have strong Javanese cultural influences.

From the World Sojourner:  Hong Kong has a great public transportation system, as do all world-class cities.  There is an underground metro system, and also these double-decker trams on rails and powered by overhead lines.  In addition to the fast ferries pointed out earlier, there is the Star Ferry running its old-fashioned and slow double-ended ferries, and a ride at its leisurely pace was lots of fun.  It runs between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon and was established—when else—in 1888.  Being double-ended, they never have to back up; they just use the propeller and rudder at what was the bow and has now become the stern.  One key point from a story in Yachting magazine when I was in high school:  A crew member has to go to what was the bow and hook the rudder to the rudder cables and pull out a big pin that was holding the rudder straight ahead—now the bow has become the stern and can maneuver the ship.  Another crew member has to go to what was the stern, and will now be the bow, and unhook the rudder cables and put in a pin to hold the rudder dead amidships.  In the article, the author, in his youth, forgot the pin.  The ferry left the terminal, built up some speed, and then the rudder at what was then the bow clanged all the way over.  The ferry heeled hard over, throwing passengers to the deck, and nearly capsized.  To quote Governor Perry, "Oops."  Fortunately, no such drama in Hong Kong for me.  In Hong Kong, three entities can print currency.  The Hong Kong government, the Bank of China, and Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation.  How curious that a non-governmental bank, HSBC, can issue legal tender.  However, HSBC, but not Bank of China, is required to set aside gold bullion on a dollar-for-dollar basis for the currency it issues.  Feng Shui is alive in China and is more than simply a way of arranging furniture in a house.   HSBC built its headquarters in Hong Kong, and then Bank of China built a taller building that was designed by I. M. Pei and had a knife-edge corner pointed at HSBC’s building.  Bad Feng Shui for HSBC, so HSBC added the two cannons to the top of its building, aimed at BoC’s building, to overcome the effect of this knife.  Thank you, Muse reader!  Issue 1865  March 28, 2018 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tarragon Eggs  Melt butter in skillet.  Add 4 eggs.  Pour 1 tbsp. tarragon wine vinegar over eggs.  Cover with lid and continue frying.  Sarah Bertram  Culinary High Notes, a full score of recipes from the Toledo Opera Guild  copyright 1984 

The late 19th-century pairing of crack and jack to form crackerjack topped off a long history for those words.  Cracker is an elongation of crack, an adjective meaning "expert" or "superior" that dates from the 18th century.  Prior to that, crack was a noun meaning "something superior" and a verb meaning "to boast."  (The verb use evolved from the expression "to crack a boast," which came from the sense of crack meaning "to make a loud sharp sound.")  Jack has been used for "man" since the mid-1500s, as in "jack-of-all-trades."  Crackerjack entered English first as a noun referring to "a person or thing of marked excellence," then as an adjective.  You may also know Cracker Jack as a snack of candied popcorn and peanuts.  That trademarked name dates from the 1890s.

Love is blind . . . otherwise, there'd be so very little of it.  The Same River Twice, a novel by Ted Mooney

Born in Dallas, Texas; raised in Washington, D.C.; and now residing in Manhattan, Ted Mooney is a fiction writer, art critic and editor.  His short stories have appeared in American Review, Granta and Esquire, among other places, and he is a frequent contributor to such publications as The Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Bookforum and Artforum.  His first novel, Easy Travel to Other Planets (Farrar, Straus; 1981), was awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and was a finalist for the American Book Award. Traffic and Laughter (Knopf, 1990), written with the support of the John Simon Guggenheim and Ingram Merrill Foundations, was his second novel, and his third, Singing into the Piano, was published, also by Knopf, in 1998.  His fourth novel, The Same River Twice--set mainly in Paris, with side excursions to Moscow, and New York—was published by Knopf in 2010.  Currently, he is working on Shadow and Silhouette, the second volume of a loosely affiliated trilogy that began with The Same River Twice.  His novels have been translated into six languages.  From 1977 to 2008, Mooney was a Senior Editor at Art in America, and he remains intimately involved in the art world, writing critical pieces for such publications as Artforum, Parkett, Flashart and Frieze.

Asunder is a derived term of sunder.  As an adverb, asunder is separate parts or pieces; apart.  As a adjective, sunder is  (dialectal|or|obsolete) sundry; separate; different.  As a verb, sunder is  to break or separate or to break apart, especially with force.  As a noun, sunder is a separation into parts; a division or severance.

The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World  Selected descriptions--A very similar looking library to one of the libraries pictured turned up in Star Wars:  Episode II:  Attack of the Clones.  The makers claimed any similarity was coincidental, but you could hardly blame them if one of the most beautiful libraries in the world had inspired the most beautiful library in a galaxy far, far away.  *  Another library is an amoeba-shaped monolith of etched glass, which lights up magically once the sun goes down.  Inside, the books are housed amid a riot of eye-searing colours.  See many pictures with their descriptions at       

March 24, 2018  After downloading my stored data on Facebook— I've been a member since 2004—I was presented with an enormous amount of personal details that have been collected about me over the years.  It had the phone number of my late grandmother who never had a Facebook account, or even an email address.  It preserved the conversations I had with an ex--someone with whom I thought I had deleted my digital ties.  It even recalled times I was "poked," a feature I had forgotten about.  I also learned that Kate Spade New York and MetLife have me on their advertiser lists.  Facebook emailed me a link to download my data.  The process took about 10 minutes.  The data is segmented into groups:  like ads, contact info, events, messages, timeline, and more.  I started with the ads tab and learned which advertisers possessed my contact information.  They included Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, and Marriott Rewards . . .  and a few crowdfunding sites I had never heard of.  Sara Ashley O'Brien  Read more at

Why did my grandfather translate Mein Kampf?  by John Murphy   My grandfather, Dr James Murphy, lived in Berlin from 1929, before the Nazis came to power.  He was a journalist and translator based in Berlin in the 1930s and that's how he earned his money.  Towards the end of 1936, the Nazis asked James to start work on a full translation of Mein Kampf.  It's not clear why.  Perhaps Berlin's Propaganda Ministry wanted to have an English version which it could release when it felt the time was right.  But at some point during 1937 the Nazis changed their minds.  The Propaganda Ministry sequestered all completed copies of the Murphy manuscript.  He returned to England in September 1938, where he quickly found British publishers keen to print his full translation--but they were worried that the Nazi publishing house, Eher Verlag, hadn't given him the copyright.  And anyway, he had left his completed work behind in Germany.  My grandmother, Mary, remembered that she had previously handed a carbon copy of a first draft of her husband's translation to one of his secretaries, an English woman called Daphne French.  She tracked her down in Berlin and, fortunately, Daphne still had the copy.  Mary brought it back to London.  With an American translation about to be published in the US, the race was on to get my grandfather's translation out as quickly as possible.  In March 1939, Hurst and Blackett/Hutchinson published the first British unexpurgated version of Mein Kampf.  By August 32,000 copies had been sold and they continued to be printed until the presses were destroyed--by a German air raid--in 1942.  A new American version subsequently became the standard translation.  One copyright expert, who has written about Mein Kampf, estimates that between 150,000 to 200,000 copies of the Murphy edition were eventually sold.  The Murphy edition is now out of print but copies are scattered across the world and it can be found online at

William Gibson, playwright, writer and poet, born 13 November 1914; died 25 November 2008   After a slow-burning start, William Gibson found worldwide success in his forties.  He did so with two plays--The Miracle Worker (1957) and Two for a Seesaw (1958)--which both have women at their centre, and made a star of Anne Bancroft.  These followed a bestselling novel, The Cobweb (1954), so scandalous that Gibson's widowed mother Florence confessed to her priest after reading it.  Of Irish, French, German, Dutch and Russian ancestry, Gibson was born and grew up in the Bronx, the teeming, dramatic New York neighbourhood later brilliantly evoked in his substantial, unusual memoir A Mass for the Dead (1968).  His mother encouraged William's writing and music, and the local library was addictive--"an opium den", he said later.  After the successes of the 1950s, Gibson's subsequent career was erratic.  His musical based on Clifford Odets's boxing play Golden Boy (1964), with Sammy Davis Jr, has become a cult as a result of Charles Strouse and Lee Adams's unusual score.  Gibson revived an early, effective play about Shakespeare, A Cry of Players--again with Bancroft--while his literary criticism includes A Season in Heaven (1974) and Shakespeare's Game (1978).  Bancroft also took the lead role in his play Golda (1977).  Its large cast, however, did not make the politician's life dramatic, and in 2002 Gibson reduced it to a monologue, Golda's Balcony.  A sequel to The Miracle Worker, Monday After the Miracle (1982), did not have the dramatic urgency of the original.  Christopher Hawtree
    Issue 1864  March 27, 2018 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Brad Meltzer:  "I was tired of my kids looking at reality stars, thinking of them as heroes."  See the I Am books he wrote for his own children at  

Brad Meltzer (born April 1, 1970) is an American political thriller novelist, non-fiction writer, TV show creator and comic book author.  Meltzer grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and then moved to South Florida, where he graduated from North Miami Beach Senior High School in 1988.  He earned a degree from the University of Michigan, the first in his immediate family to attend a four-year college.  In 1993, Meltzer lived in Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts with roommate, fellow comic book writer/artist Judd Winick, working in sales at Games magazine by day while working on his first novel by night.  Afterwards Meltzer graduated from Columbia Law School, and was selected to the Columbia Law Review.  Meltzer has had books on the bestseller list for Fiction, Non-Fiction (History Decoded), Advice (Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter), Children’s Books (I Am Amelia Earhart and I Am Abraham Lincoln) and comic books (Justice League of America), for which he won the Eisner Award.  Meltzer is also responsible for helping find the missing 9/11 flag that the firefighters raised at Ground Zero, making national news on the 15th anniversary of 9/11.  Using his TV show, Brad Meltzer's Lost History, he told the story of the missing flag and asked Americans for their help in returning it.  Four days later, a former Marine walked into a fire station in Everett, Washington, said he saw Meltzer's TV show, and now wanted to return the flag.  Meltzer recently unveiled the flag at the 9/11 Museum in New York, where it is now on display.

Yellow rice is a traditional yellow-colored rice dish in SpanishCubanCaribbeanAfghanSri Lankan and Indonesian cuisines (where it known as nasi kuning).  Yellow rice is usually made by mixing white rice and onions while annattosaffron or turmeric is used to give the yellow color.  South African yellow rice, with its origins in Cape Malay cuisine, is traditionally made with raisinssugar, and cinnamon, making a very sweet rice dish served as an accompaniment to savoury dishes and curries.   Find recipes for Easy Spanish Yellow Rice at and How to Make Perfect Yellow Rice (Arroz Amarillo) at
In ancient Rome, the festival of Cerealia was held on eight days in mid-late April, possibly the 12th-18th, with the actual festival day on the 19th.  This was the main festival for Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain and the harvest, associated with bread and farming, as well as being the goddess of fertility, motherhood and women.  Fields and crops were sacred to her.  Ceres was also one of the patron deities of the common people (the plebeians) of Rome and she was worshipped in a temple which was dedicated to the cult of Ceres, Liber and Libera in 490 BC.  There was another festival for Ceres in August.  The Cerealia in April was held to propitiate Ceres so that she would bring a good harvest.  (Read more about Ceres and the Cerealia in The Roman goddess Ceres, by Babette Stanley Spaeth, 1996.)  The festival of Cerealia included the Ludi Ceriales (‘games of Ceres’) which were Ludi Circenses (circus games).  The Ludi were held in the great chariot-racing arena of the Circus Maximus in Rome on the 19th April.  The Circus Maximus was near the Temple of Ceres which stood on the Aventine Hill and the starting-gates were, apparently, just below the temple.  According to Ovid, the Ludi included an element in which women, dressed in white and carrying burning torches, ran about in the arena:  this symbolised Ceres’ search for her lost daughter Prosperpina.  In Roman mythology, Prosperpina was abducted by the god Pluto and taken to the Underworld, where Ceres found her:  however, it was decreed that Prosperpina would live in the Underworld for six months of the year and in the upper world for the other six months, so Ceres imposed autumn and winter on the earth during her daughter’s seasons of absence.

trilemma  noun   circumstance in which a choice must be made between three options that seem equally undesirable or, put another way, in which a choice must be made among three desirable options, only two of which are possible at the same time.  An argument containing three alternatives, jointly exhaustive either under any condition(s) or under all condition(s) consistent with the universe of discourse of that argument, that each imply the same conclusion.  Wiktionary

The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.  Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator.  Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.  April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date.  On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.  Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment.  Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.  Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders.  By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.  “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”  Our family and friends celebrated the first Earth Day marching in a festive parade.  Then, trying to help in a small way, I used cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.  (We had been using about 200 paper napkins a month.)  In 2018, Earth Day is April 22.  See if you can make some change in your life to be part of the effort to sustain a healthy environment.  For instance, stop using straws.

Gary Lincoff, a self-taught mycologist whose contagious enthusiasm turned him into a pied piper of mushrooms, died March 16, 2018 in Manhattan at the age of 75.  Mr. Lincoff, a philosophy major and law-school dropout, wrote a field guide to North American mushrooms that sold more than a half-million copies.  He led mushroom hunts as far afield as Siberia, India and the Amazon and as near to his home as Central Park, two blocks away, where over the course of decades he counted more than 400 species.  Mr. Lincoff taught for more than 40 years at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and instructed Martha Stewart on dredging puffballs in panko bread crumbs to bring out their flavor.  He wrote peer-reviewed journal articles and poems and songs about mushrooms, and helped found the countercultural science and fun fair in Colorado known as the Telluride Mushroom Festival.  He was a fungus fanatic who championed the mushroom as food, medicine, soil decontaminator, psychotropic portal and essential link in the eternal cycle of decay and rebirth.  Mr. Lincoff was in demand as a tour leader and headed expeditions to more than 30 countries, on every continent except Antarctica.  When he was back in New York, he served as lecture coordinator and animating presence of the New York Mycological Society.  Three years ago, he decided that unlike other mushroom clubs, the society should hold walks year round.  This past New Year’s Day, with the mercury around 10 degrees, he led a walk in Central Park.  “We walked for two hours and found almost 50 species,” said Vivien Tartter, one of Mr. Lincoff’s many acolytes. Someone found a cluster of Eutypella scoparia—tiny hairlike tufts too small to be seen without a loupe—growing on a twig.  “Gary was very excited.”  Andy Newman

Midway through the rally for gun control that concluded the March for Our Lives, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas junior Jaclyn Corin brought out a special guest, Yolanda Renee King, the nine-year-old granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Coretta Scott King.  “I have a dream that enough is enough,” Yolanda King said, “and that this should be a gun-free world.”  And then, wearing a white coat, with an orange ribbon pinned to it in remembrance, the miniature activist stood before the crowd of thousands with a gap-toothed grin and led them in call-and-response:  Spread the word  (“Spread the word!” The thousands gathered shouted in response.)  All across the nation We are Going to be A great generation.  Many of the students came to Washington, D.C., with their parents.  Stoneman Douglas students were met by politicians on Capitol Hill.  The Washington Wizards invited them to basketball practice.  Student journalists held a panel at the Newseum.  A concert the night before was thrown in their honor, and Shake Shack sponsored a sign-making party.  Edna Lisbeth Chavez, a seventeen-year-old youth leader from South Los Angeles, interspersed her speech with phrases in Spanish.  She lost her brother to gun violence, and moved the crowd to chant his name, Ricardo.  Zion Kelly, seventeen, of Washington, D.C., spoke of his twin brother, Zaire, who was killed by an armed robber as he walked home from school.  Zaire Kelly aspired to be a forensic scientist and wanted to attend Florida A. & M. University.  Naomi Wadler, an eleven-year-old from Virginia, said that she was speaking for “the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news.”  She quoted Toni Morrison:  “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”   Christopher Underwood, of Brooklyn, lost his fourteen-year-old brother, who was shot and killed as he walked home from a graduation party.  “I took my pain and anger and turned it into action,” he said.  Emily Witt
                   Issue 1863  March 26, 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

Meat Loaf with Eggplant  Slice and peel 1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut into cubes.  Place in boiling water and cook 5 minutes.  Quickly scoop out eggplant with slotted spoon and stir into your favorite meat loaf mixture.  Bake as usual.  Add 1 teaspoon curry (unless curry is already in the meat loaf mixture.)  Betty Houston  adapted from Culinary High Notes, a full score of recipes from the Toledo Opera Guild  copyright 1984 
Writing for busy people--comments by Tayari Jones   Having a job means there’s time you’re not writing, but that’s true with anything in your life.  The world isn’t going to stop spinning for you to write your book.  No matter who you are, no matter what situation you have, life beckons.  It is challenging, sometimes, to find time to write.  But I don’t have to have the whole day to write.  If I can write for two or three hours in a day, I can make a lot of progress by the end of the week.  Small, workable goals make progress.  Even when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about my writing, so I feel like I’m writing all the time.  I think it’s a new thing, this idea that writers believe that doing anything other than writing is an imposition.  Art has never been convenient for anyone.  No one’s life is convenient.  With artists, it seems like more of an outrage that your life is inconvenient.  But it can be done.  When we tell people that they must write every day, it makes people who work, people who perform childcare, eldercare, people who have other responsibilities think, “Oh, I can never be a writer.”  It makes people feel that writing is for a privileged class of people who, if they weren’t writing, would be eating bonbons.  But we make the time.  Slow but steady.  A page a day is more than 300 pages in a year.  The majority of writers do things other than write.  Quite often with the people who are “writing full-time,” it’s not because they’re supporting themselves from their books; it’s that something in their life supports them. Tayari Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow and An American Marriage.  She has written for The New York Times, Tin House, The Believer and Callaloo.  Her awards and honors include the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction, a Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Radcliffe Institute.

Pearl S. Buck (birth name Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker) (1892-1973) was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, with her novel The Good Earth, in 1932.  Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia to Caroline (Stulting) and Absalom Sydenstricker, Buck and her southern Presbyterian missionaries parents went to Zhejiang, China in 1895.  She was brought up there and first knew the Chinese language and customs, especially from Mr. Kong, and then was taught English by her mother and her teacher.  She was encouraged to write at an early age.  By 1910, she left for America and went to Randolph-Macon Women's College, where she would earn her degree in 1914.  She then returned to China, and married an agricultural economist, John Lossing Buck, on May 13, 1917.  In 1921, she and John had a daughter with phenylketonuria, Carol.  The small family then moved to Nanjing, where Pearl taught English literature at University of Nanking.  In 1925, adopted Janice (later surnamed Walsh) and subsequently 8 more adoptees.  In 1926, she left China and returned to the United States for a short time in order to earn her Master of Arts degree from Cornell University.  Buck began her writing career in 1930 with her first publication of East Wind:  West Wind.  In 1931 she wrote her best known novel, The Good Earth, which is considered to be one of the best of her many works.  The story of the farmer Wang Lung's life brought her the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1932.  Her career would keep flourishing, and she won the William Dean Howells Medal in 1935.  Pearl was forced to flee China in 1934 due to political tensions.  She returned to the United States, and obtained a divorce from her husband.  She then married Richard J. Walsh, president of the John Day Publishing Company, on June 11, 1935, and adopt six other children.  In 1938 she won the Nobel Prize for Literature, after writing biographies of her parents, The Fighting Angel.  In her lifetime, Pearl S. Buck would write over 100 works of literature.  She wrote novels, short stories, fiction, and children's stories.  She dealt with many topics including women, emotions (in general), Asians, immigration, adoption, and conflicts that many people go through in life.  In 1949, she established Welcome House Inc., the first adoption agency dedicated to the placement of bi-racial children, particularly Amerasians.
The English word colonel stems from the Italian word colonnello, which was first used around the 15th century, during the Italian Renaissance.  Colonnello derives from the Italian word for ‘column’, which is columna.  colonnello, then, was the commander of a column of soldiers.  Colonnello was one of many words from Italy that began to spread across Europe during this time period.  Eventually, colonnello was adopted by the French.  However, when translating the word to their own language, colonnello became coronel.  Why?  In linguistics, this process is called dissemination.  It occurs when two instances of the same sound occur close to each other in a word, and people change one of the instances to something else.  In this case, the first ‘l’ was changed to ‘r’.  Over time, the French word coronel made its way over to Britain.  The English accent further transformed the word, overshadowing the second ‘o’, and emphasizing the ‘r’.  The word eventually came to be pronounced similar to ‘kernel’ in Britain.  By the late 16th century, scholars in Britain began producing translations of old Italian treatises.  The original spelling of the word began to influence how the word was spelled in both Britain and France.  Eventually, France would switch from their coronel spelling back to ‘colonel’, which was more in line with the original Italian word.  The French would even alter their pronunciation.  The British weren’t so eager to switch though.  While they reverted to the same spelling as the French, they kept their pronunciation with the ‘r’ sound.  Mark Heald 

Traditionally, when you speak of your own good fortune, you follow up with a quick knock on a piece of wood to keep your luck from going bad.  More recently, simply saying the phrase “knock on wood”—or “touch wood” in the UK—has replaced actually knocking.  Authors Stefan Bechtel and Deborah Aaronson both suggest two connections between knocking on wood and these spirits in their respective books, The Good Luck Book and Luck:  The Essential Guide.  The first possible origin of knocking on wood is that it's a much more laid-back version of the ruckus that pagan Europeans raised to chase away evil spirits from their homes and trees or to prevent them from hearing about, and ruining, a person’s good luck.  The other origin they suggest is that some of these tree worshippers laid their hands on a tree when asking for favor from the spirits/gods that lived inside it, or did it after a run of good luck as a show of gratitude to the supernatural powers.  Over the centuries, the religious rite may have morphed into the superstitious knock that acknowledges luck and keeps it going.  Matt Soniak

Greenland is an autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark located east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.  While part of the North American continent, Greenland is more culturally associated with Europe, particularly Norway and Denmark.  In 2018, Greenland has an estimated population of 56,565, which ranks 192nd in the world.  Greenland is the 12th largest country in the world in terms of area, but its population is just 56,565 in 2018 with a population density of only 0.026 people per square kilometer, which ranks 244th in the world (the least densely populated country).  In Greenlandic (or Kallallisut), the country is Kalaallit Nunaat, or "land of the Kalaallit," who are the indigenous Greenlandic Inuit people who live in the western part of the country.  The languages of Danish and Greenlandic have been used officially since the country established home rule in 1979 and most people can speak both languages, although Kalaallisut became the only official language in 2009.  Danish remains the most widely used language in the country's administration and higher education.

Toledo-Lucas County Public Library presents:

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, on March 21, 2018 named John L. Hennessy, former President of Stanford University, and David A. Patterson, retired Professor of the University of California, Berkeley, recipients of the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award for pioneering a systematic, quantitative approach to the design and evaluation of computer architectures with enduring impact on the microprocessor industry.  Hennessy and Patterson created a systematic and quantitative approach to designing faster, lower power, and reduced instruction set computer (RISC) microprocessors.  Their approach led to lasting and repeatable principles that generations of architects have used for many projects in academia and industry.  Today, 99% of the more than 16 billion microprocessors produced annually are RISC processors, and are found in nearly all smartphones, tablets, and the billions of embedded devices that comprise the Internet of Things (IoT).  Hennessy and Patterson codified their insights in a very influential book, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, now in its sixth edition, reaching generations of engineers and scientists who have adopted and further developed their ideas.  Their work underpins our ability to model and analyze the architectures of new processors, greatly accelerating advances in microprocessor design.  The ACM Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” carries a $1 million prize, with financial support provided by Google, Inc.  It is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing.  Hennessy and Patterson will formally receive the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award at the ACM’s annual awards banquet on Saturday, June 23, 2018 in San Francisco, California.  Read more at  Issue 1862  March 23, 2018