Tuesday, April 30, 2019

"Every language glimmers with sparks of earlier ones . . . Though tiny, the sparks can illuminate a history of invasion, conquest, trade, and the wholesale movement of populations."  "A writing system is a woven fabric, an interlaced network of sounds and symbols."  The Riddle of the Labyrinth:  the Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by Margalit Fox

Margalit Fox (born 1961) is an American writer.  She began her career in publishing in the 1980s, before switching to journalism in the 1990s.  She joined the obituary department of The New York Times in 2004, and authored over 1,400 obituaries before her retirement from the paper in 2018.  Fox has written three non-fiction books and plans to pursue book writing full time.  In 2011, The Newswomen's Club of New York awarded Fox its Front Page Award for her collection of work at The New York Times.  In 2014, she won Stanford University's William Saroyan International Prize for Writing for her book The Riddle of the Labyrinth:  The Quest to Crack an Ancient CodeThe New York Times also ranked the book as one of the "100 Notable Books of 2013."   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margalit_Fox

Okra is a warm-season vegetable, also known as gumbo or ladies' fingers.  It is a good source of minerals, vitamins, and fiber.  It contains a characteristic viscous juice that can be used to thicken sauces.  Gumbo is popular in the southern United States, parts of Africa and the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America.  It is considered an important crop in many countries, because of its nutritional value, and because many parts of the plant can be used, including the fresh leaves, buds, flowers, pods, stems, and seeds.  The taste is mild, but it has a unique texture with peach-like fuzz on the outside and small, edible seeds on the inside of the pod.  Megan Ware  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311977.php  See also Open Your Mind (And Your Mouth) To Okra (with recipes) by Susan Russo at https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112761034

Okarasoy pulp, or tofu dregs is a pulp consisting of insoluble parts of the soybean that remains after pureed soybeans are filtered in the production of soy milk and tofu.  It is generally white or yellowish in color.  It is part of the traditional cuisines of JapanKorea, and China.  Since the 20th century, it has been used in the vegetarian cuisines of Western nations.  Okara is the oldest of three basic types of soy fiber.  The other two are soy bran (finely ground soybean hulls) and soy cotyledon/isolate fiber (the fiber that remains after making isolated soy protein, also called "soy protein isolate").  Most okara worldwide is used as feed for livestock—especially hogs and dairy cows.  Most of the rest is used as a natural fertilizer or compost, which is fairly rich in nitrogen.  A small amount is used in cookery.  In Japan it is used in a side dish called unohana which consists of okara cooked with soy saucemirin, sliced carrotsburdock root and shiitake mushrooms.  Okara can be used to make tempeh, by fermenting with the fungus Rhizopus oligosporus.  Using a tempeh starter, it can make press cake tempeh using ingredients such as brown rice, bulgur wheat, soybeans and other legume and grain combinations.  The product is sometimes used as an ingredient in vegetarian burger patties.  Additional uses include processing into a granola product, as an ingredient in soysage and as an ingredient in pâtés.  In Japan it is used to make ice cream.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okara_(food)

If you leaf through the pages of one of the tall, puffy black leatherette volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s Macropædia (a portmanteau made from the Greek words for “big” and “education), you will find Arthur Koestler’s long essay on “Humour and Wit,” which is the only laugh-out-loud-funny encyclopedia entry anyone is likely to encounter anywhere.  You can’t read the whole thing online, it has been abridged; to see the genuine article, you have to hold the actual book in your hand.  Koestler wrote the essay for the maiden edition of the Macropædia in the 1970s, adapting it from his capacious books Insight and Outlook (1949) and The Act of Creation (1964), which break down the various manifestations of creativity, talent, originality, and genius.  Liesl Schillinger    https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/04/03/what-koestler-knew-about-jokes/  Thank you, Muse reader! 

The Encyclopædia Britannica is a general English-language encyclopaedia published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., a privately held company.  The articles in the Britannica are aimed at educated adult readers, and written by a staff of about 100 full-time editors and over 4,000 expert contributors.  It is widely perceived as the most scholarly of encyclopaedias.  The Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia still in print.  It was first published between 1768 and 1771 in EdinburghScotland and quickly grew in popularity and size, with its third edition in 1801 reaching over 21 volumes.  Its rising stature helped in recruiting eminent contributors, and the 9th edition (1875–1889) and the 11th edition (1911) are regarded as landmark encyclopaedias for scholarship and literary style.  Beginning with the 11th edition, the Britannica gradually shortened and simplified its articles in order to broaden its North American market.  In 1933, the Britannica became the first encyclopaedia to adopt a "continuous revision" policy, in which the encyclopaedia is continually reprinted and every article is updated on a regular schedule.  The 15th edition has a unique three-part structure:  a 12-volume Micropædia of short articles (generally having fewer than 750 words), a 17-volume Macropædia of long articles (having from two to 310 pages) and a single Propædia volume intended to give a hierarchical outline of human knowledge.  http://oer2go.org/mods/en-wikipedia_for_schools-static/wp/e/Encyclop%25C3%25A6dia_Britannica.htm

Arthur Koestler quotes  “Honor is decency without vanity.”   “The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.”  “The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.”  https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/17219.Arthur_Koestler

ABOUT FIVE THOUSAND YEARS AGO, spoken language had already been in existence for at least fifty thousand years.  Not long afterward, man realized he could set down language in graphic form, using visual symbols to encode speech and store it for later retrieval.  For the first time, people did not have to rely on memory alone.  We call these marvelous storage-and-retrieval systems writing.  One of the foremost inventions in the history of mankind, writing probably developed independently in several places around the same time.  A full symbolic system to record any imaginable text began only with  Sumerian Cuneiform about 3300 B.C.  The hieroglyphs in Egypt arose around the same time.  A writing system is simply a map.  There are three ways in maps representing writing.  The first type in which a symbol stands for a whole word is called logographic or ideographic.  Chinese writing is the best-known example of a logographic script.  In the second type, a symbol stands for a single syllable.  In the third type of writing, symbols stand for individual sounds.  https://serchisbook.com/the-riddle-of-the-labyrinth-by-margalit-fox.html#

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY  Spend the afternoon.  You can't take it with you. - Annie Dillard, author (b. 30 Apr 1945)

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi’s novel “Call Me Zebra” has won the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.  The book, Van der Vliet Oloomi’s second, is an offbeat, deadpan funny account of the travels of a young Iranian woman, the last in a long line of “autodidacts, anarchists and atheists,” who believe they are the “guardians of the archive of literature.”  The main character takes her legacy seriously, and she reads—and rereads and memorizes—as many books as she can while retracing the journey she took with her father decades earlier when they fled to the U.S. during the Iran-Iraq war by way of Kurdistan and Catalonia.  Van der Vliet Oloomi will be awarded the $15,000 prize during the PEN/Faulkner Awards ceremony May 4, 2019 at D.C.’s Arena Stage. (Washington Post critic Ron Charles will be master of ceremonies.)  The four finalists—Richard Powers, who won the Pulitzer Prize earlier this month for “The Overstory”; Blanche McCrary Boyd (“Tomb of the Unknown Racist”); Ivelisse Rodriguez (“Love War Stories”); and Willy Vlautin (“Don’t Skip Out on Me”)—will receive $5,000, and all five authors will read their new writing.  Tickets for the ceremony are $95 and available online at pfaward19.eventbrite.com.  Stephanie Merry  https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/azareen-van-der-vliet-oloomis-call-me-zebra-wins-penfaulkner-award-for-fiction/2019/04/29/c03cc98e-6857-11e9-a1b6-b29b90efa879_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2664f9e787f6

http://librariansmuse.blogspot.com  Issue 2089  April 30, 2019 

Monday, April 29, 2019

The pride of Halifax, Nova Scotia is not a ship or Citadel Hill, it’s a sandwich.  In 2015, the donair was named the official food of the Halifax Regional Municipality (part of a 43-page report), the only city in Canada to have one.  The birthplace of the donair, Velos Pizza, opened in the 1960s, but donair lore relays it was at the King of Donair on Quinpool Road in Halifax that Gamoulakos perfected the recipe in 1973.  Similar to the Chinese restaurateurs who added sugar to their traditional dishes to cater to the North American palate, Gamoulakos altered his recipe for the typical Haligonian.  He substituted doner kebab's lamb for beef and made his own version of tzatziki by swapping out the yogurt for evaporated milk and adding sugar.  Together with his brother John Kamoulakos (their last names are different because of an immigration kerfuffle), King of Donair became the epitome of late night indulging for Haligonians.  Those outside the Atlantic Provinces wanting to try the piquant pitas, head west!  Edmonton is the donair capital of Western Canada.  With the influx of Maritime residents, places like Swiss Donair or Top Donair serve solid renditions, though many places put lettuce on the donair, a Haligonian no-no.  If you’re in Ontario, Halifax Donair & Pizza have locations in Milton and Burlington, and the Fuzz Box in Toronto is known to put out a great version.  https://www.foodbloggersofcanada.com/history-of-the-halifax-donair/  See also https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/food-trends/halifaxs-donair-the-tastiest-treat-you-have-probably-never-heard-of/article4257639/

In Tamil, folk stories and fairytales, the sort that grandparents tell grandchildren before bed, often begin, “In that only place . . . ” In another Indian language, Telugu, stories start “Having been said and said and said . . . ”  In English, of course, it is “Once upon a time . . . ”  In some parts of the Caribbean, stories begin with call and response with the audience, with the narrator saying in Creole, “E dit kwik?” (I say creek) to which the audience replies “kwak” (crack).  Meanwhile, according to the Paris Review, in Yoruba--spoken in Nigeria among other countries--stories begin with the gleeful announcement:  “Here is a story!  Story it is.”  In Chile, the story begins with an instruction:  “Listen to tell it and tell it to teach it.”  Endings are similarly varied.  German fairytales typically end:  “And if they didn’t die, they’re still alive today.”  In Iceland:  “The cat in the vale, lost its tail, end of fairytale”.  Russian story-telling sometimes involves the narrator suddenly appearing in the story right at its close, with the declaration:  “I was at the wedding, I drank mead and wine there; it ran down my moustache, but didn’t go into my mouth!”  An example from Maori:  “Earth and sky came together and had a child called Tāne, the forest, Tāne then had another child called Mumuwhango and Mumuwhango had another child and that child was said to have been raised upon the ocean . . . one day the child was on the ocean and met a group of dolphins.  Kate Lyons  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/19/here-is-a-story-story-it-is-how-fairytales-are-told-in-other-tongues  Thank you, Muse reader!

I enjoyed your article, "Under way vs. under weigh vs. underway.”  I would like to elaborate about “weigh” and underway in the maritime context.  In the Navy, and under the Rules of the Road, these are significant terms.  Weigh, Aweigh and Way  “Weigh the anchor” is the order given to the crew members on the fo'c’sle to begin hauling up the anchor.  The anchor is “aweigh” when the chain is vertical and the anchor is no longer touching bottom.  Again, a significant moment of legal significance as the ship is now underway if there are no mooring lines or anything else attaching the ship to the land.  It is now subject to tides, currents and wind.  A ship is said to have way on when it moves through the water.  When enough water passes the rudder so that if becomes effective, the ship is said to have steerage way.  Loss of steerage way is, too, a noted event.  I found the following here:  https://www.englishforums.com/English/UnderwayUnderUnderWeigh/ndwhl/post.htm  “Way" is a sailing term meaning "movement through the water".  A ship which is "under way" is moving.  [Actually, that is not accurate.  A ship can be underway and not moving.]  You can't steer a boat without way as the rudder only operates on water which is moving relative to it.  “To weigh" is to lift or hoist.  “Aweigh" is the state of having been lifted or hoisted.  Shifting Colors  The ship’s status is communicated visually and audibly.  From: https://www.seaflags.us/customs/customs.html  [In the Navy,] when a ship is anchored or moored between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and sunset, it flies its ensign [Old Glory, the stars and stripes, not the junior officer] at the flagstaff [on the fantail, the back end] and the union jack [the blue background with white stars, as if cut out of the ensign] at the jackstaff [on the bow, the pointy end].  When it is under way, the ensign is flown at the gaff (the diagonal spar projecting aft from the mast) [high and amidship] and the jack is not flown at all.  The process of changing from one display to the other is known as shifting colors.  As the ship prepares to get under way, sailors are positioned at the bow, fantail, and bottom of the halyards running to the gaff and the signal yards.  The "steaming" ensign is attached--or "bent on"--to its halyard in preparation for hoisting.  The ship's call sign and any other prescribed signal flags are run up, packed to be "broken" at the right moment.  At the instant that the last mooring line leaves the pier or buoy, or the moment that the anchor is aweigh, the boatswain's mate of the watch blows a long blast on his whistle and passes the word, "Underway--shift colors."  Immediately and simultaneously:  • the ensign at the flagstaff and the jack at the jackstaff are hauled down smartly (rapidly).  • the steaming ensign is run up smartly to the gaff.  • any flags or pennants that are displayed only when not under way, such as award pennants or the POW-MIA flag or the personal flag or pennant of an officer who is not aboard, are hauled down smartly.  • the call sign is broken at the signal yard.  [I would add, there is also a long blast on the ship’s whistle to alert the harbor that the ship’s legal status has changed.  It is underway, even if tug boats are attached.  Many times the long blast is followed by three short blasts signifying that the ship’s engine(s) are in reverse.  Of course, all of this is logged in the ship’s log book, a legal document, signed by the Officer of the Deck at the end of the watch.]  The jack staff and the flagstaff are then rotated down to their horizontal, at sea, position.  A ship mooring or coming to anchor goes through the same process in reverse, with the boatswain's mate giving the word "Moored--shift colors" when the first mooring line is made fast or the anchor is let go.  In either case, the desired effect is one set of flags vanishing and another flashing out at precisely the same time.  Ships take pride in achieving this effect, while, as the Bluejacket's Manual puts it, "A ship that does not shift colors smartly will soon have a reputation she does not want.”  And, as long as I am fondly remembering my former career, one more, unusual communication.  If it starts to rain, while moored or at sea, instead of announcing it that way on the ship’s loud speaker, one says, “Now, haul over all hatch hoods and gun covers."  Thank you, Muse reader!

"Anchors Aweigh" is the fight song of the United States Naval Academy and march song of the United States Navy.  It was composed in 1906 by Charles A. Zimmermann with lyrics by Alfred Hart Miles. When he composed Anchors Aweigh, Zimmermann was a lieutenant and had been bandmaster of the United States Naval Academy Band since 1887.  Miles was Midshipman First Class at the Academy, in the class of 1907, and had asked Zimmermann to assist him in composing a song for that class, to be used as a football march.  Another Academy Midshipman, Royal Lovell (class of 1926), later wrote what would be adopted into the song as its third verse.  The song was first played during the Army–Navy football game on December 1, 1906, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  During World War II, members of the Navy Women's Reserve, known more popularly as the WAVES, wrote WAVES of the Navy to harmonize with Anchors Aweigh.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchors_Aweigh

The United States Navy Sea Chanters performing "Waves of the Navy" with the United States Navy Band.  From an outdoor evening concert at the U.S. Navy Memorial on August 28, 2012.  Video by Jeff Malet. The United States Naval Reserve (Women's Reserve), better known under the acronym WAVES for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, was the World War II women's branch of the United States Naval Reserve.  Elizabeth Ender and Betty St. Clair wrote "WAVES of the Navy" in 1943.  It was written to harmonize with Anchors Away.  The Navy Band Sea Chanters is the United States Navy’s official chorus.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNvBqsNSx_Q  2:23

Word of the Day  curate's egg  (idiomatic)  A thing which has good and bad parts, but is overall spoilt by the bad.  quotations ▼ From a cartoon by the Franco-British cartoonist and author George Du Maurier (1834–1896) captioned “True Humility” in the 9 November 1895 issue of Punch magazine, in which a bishop says to his mealtime guest, a curate, “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr. Jones!”  The timid curate replies, “Oh no, my Lord, I assure you!  Parts of it are excellent!”  https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/curate%27s_egg#English

http://librariansmuse.blogspot.com  Issue 2088  April 29, 2019 

Friday, April 26, 2019

International Dance Day was created by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute ITI, the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO.  Since its creation in 1982, the International Dance Committee and the International Theatre Institute ITI select an outstanding dance personality to write a message for International Dance Day each year.  This day is a celebration day for those who can see the value and importance of the art form “dance”, and acts as a wake-up-call for governments, politicians and institutions which have not yet recognised its value to the people and to the individual and have not yet realised its potential for economic growth.  https://www.international-dance-day.org/  April 29th was picked as the day to celebrate it by the committee because that was when Jean-Georges Noverre, the creator of the modern ballet, was born in 1727.  The committee created the day to help bring people together in the language of dance, a language that can transcend borders and cultural barriers.  http://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/international-dance-day/

Assigning human characteristics to non-human things is a time-honored writing technique.  Most writers are not only aware of and familiar with the idea of personification—describing something as a person when it definitely is not—but at some point in their educations they’ve been encouraged to use it.  Countless writers have used the technique before them:  Homer (“rosy-fingered dawn”) and Shakespeare (innumerable times, one of the most well-known being “But look, the morn in russet mantle clad/Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill”); but you can hardly pick up a work of fiction and not find examples.  Tolkien, Fitzgerald, Roth, Atwood—take your pick of author, genre, or era.  You’ll even find it in titles:  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein readily comes to mind (and that example is both personification and metaphor—there’s overlap in literary technique).  There’s a similar idea  called anthropomorphism which likewise assigns human characteristics to something not human.  Anthropomorphism is generally frowned upon in good science writing, and rightly so.  But it can be difficult to stamp out.  It’s very easy for humans, including writers, to see human-like behavior in the actions not only of other animals but also of objects and natural phenomena.  There’s nothing wrong with using it in fiction.  For a very clear description of the problem of anthropomorphism in academic writing and a nice variety of examples (positive and negative), check Basics of Anthropomorphism  at https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/apa/other/anthropomorphism  Christopher Daly  Read more at https://thebettereditor.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/anthropomorphism-always-a-bad-idea-outside-of-fiction/

The Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa will display “Bob Dylan:  Face Value and Beyond” from May 10 to Sept. 15, 2019 the Tulsa World reported.  The exhibit  will showcase 12 pastel portraits the musician painted, and is filled with pieces from the Bob Dylan Archives, which has more than 100,000 items from his 60-year career.  It’s the first major show from the archives since it was acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa in 2016.  The paintings highlight Dylan’s multifaceted artistic capabilities, said Michael Chaiken, the archive’s curator.  “He’s best known for his music, but Dylan is also a writer of prose, a filmmaker, and someone who has been involved in the visual arts for decades,” Chaiken said.  The portraits were first shown in London in 2013.  The only time they were on display in the U.S. was during a two-month exhibit in Ohio in 2016.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/tulsa-museum-to-feature-musician-bob-dylans-paintings/2019/03/30/521a53d0-530e-11e9-bdb7-44f948cc0605_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d083dac255c8

mudsill  noun  "1685, 'lowest sill of a house,' from mud + sill.  The word entered U.S. political history in a speech by James M. Hammond of South Carolina, March 4, 1858, in U.S. Senate, alluding to the very mudsills of society, and the term subsequently was embraced by Northern workers in the pre-Civil War sectional rivalry." (OED, 2007)  The lowest sill of a structure, usually placed in or on the ground.  (figuratively)  A particularly low or dirty place/state; the nadir of something (see rock bottom)  The Pre-Historic Era was the mudsill of human development. (dated, Southern US)  A person of low status or humble provenancequotations ▼ https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mudsill

The first recipe any Mexican will cook as soon as they move out of their parents’ home and live on  their own is chicken tinga.  It is easy, reminds everyone of home, and the ingredients are very accessible. Although it is better made with dried chipotle chiles, canned chipotles work if in a pinch.  It can be a soupy stew served over white rice and with tortillas.  If you cook it down to thicken a bit more, it is a great topping on a tostada with fresh shredded lettuce, some crema, cheese, and fresh salsa.  https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/chicken-tinga-tinga-de-pollo  Serves 2-4   10 minutes prep, 45 minutes cooking

Game Of Thrones is a full-on dominant pop-cultural phenomenon.  It is also a TV show set in some desolate medieval alternate reality.  As such, it doesn’t have too many opportunities to intersect with popular music.  There are tie-in products, of course:  soundtrack albumsome guitarsHodor’s DJing career.  But within the world of the show itself, famous musicians have only made a few brief cameos:  Ed Sheeran playing a wandering soldier (who actually gets to sing for a minute), Sigur Ròs making a cameo as wedding musicians, members of Mastodon showing up among the army of the dead.  Up to this point, the show’s best-remembered musical moment is probably the end-credits moment where the National covered “The Rains Of Castamere,” a ballad from the show itself.  We got another moment like that in the final season with Florence Welch singing.  Florence + The Machine recorded a new version of “Jenny Of Oldstones,” a song adapted from the Game Of Thrones novels.  George R.R. Martin wrote the lyrics, so he gets songwriting credit, along with score composer Ramin Djawadi and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (here credited as Dan Weiss).  Florence is the only artist featured on the final season of Game Of Thrones.  Tom Breihan  Link to 3:22 video at https://www.stereogum.com/2040622/florence-the-machine-jenny-of-oldstones/music/

Under way vs. under weigh vs. underway  The Dutch, who were European masters of the sea in the seventeenth century, gave us—among many other nautical expressions—the term onderweg, meaning “on the way”.  This became naturalised as under way and is first recorded in English around 1740, specifically as a maritime term (its broader meanings didn’t appear until the following century).  Some over-clever individuals connected with the sea almost immediately linked it erroneously with the phrase to weigh anchorWeigh here is the same word as the one for finding out how heavy an object is.  Both it and the anchor sense go back to the Old English verb, which could mean “raise up”.  The link between the senses is the act of raising an object on scales.  It’s easy to find a myriad of examples of under weigh from the best English authors in the following two centuries, such as William Makepeace Thackeray, Captain Marryat, Washington Irving, Thomas Carlyle, Herman Melville, Lord Byron, and Charles Dickens.  It was still common as recently as the 1930s (“He felt her gaze upon him, all the same, as he stood with his back to her attending to the business of getting under weigh.” — The Happy Return by C S Forester, 1937) but weigh has dropped off almost to nothing now.  This paralleled another change, starting around the same time, in which the two words began to be combined into a single adverb, underway (though many style manuals still recommend it be written as two words).  It may be that the influence of other words ending in -way, especially anyway, encouraged the shift in spelling back to the original and in the process killed off a persistent misunderstanding.  http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-und2.htm

National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree planting times in their area.  Check a map to find out when your state observes Arbor Day and link to Arbor Day dates around the world at https://www.arborday.org/celebrate/dates.cfm

Winners for the 23rd annual Webby Awards were announced on April 23, 2019.  Chance the RapperChildish GambinoKeshaEllen DeGeneres and Ryan Reynolds are among the winners selected by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.  Hosted by actress and comedian Jenny Slate, the upcoming Webby Awards ceremony will celebrate the best work on the Internet.  The 23rd Annual Webby Awards will take place May 13 at Cipriani Wall Street.  Tallie Spencer  Find 2019 winners, special achievement winners and multiple winners at https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/awards/8508158/2019-webby-awards-winners

http://librariansmuse.blogspot.com  Issue 2087  April 26, 2019 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

For years, Linear B was seen as the Mount Everest of linguistic riddles.  First discovered on clay tablets at the palace of Knossos in Crete in 1900, it was an unknown script, writing an unknown language.  "It really was the linguistic equivalent of the locked room mystery in a detective novel," says Margalit Fox, author of a new book on Linear B, The Riddle of the Labyrinth.  How do you ever find your way into a seemingly closed system like that?  A solution took more than half a century to arrive.  In 1952, a young British architect, Michael Ventris, did discover the meaning of Linear B.  Some experts now argue that Ventris would never have been able to crack the code, had it not been for an American classicist, Alice Kober.  The importance of her contribution has only come to light now that her archives--held at the University of Texas at Austin--have been catalogued.  "Alice Kober is the great unsung heroine of the Linear B decipherment," says Fox.  "She built the methodological bridge that Ventris triumphantly crossed.  "As is so often the case in women's history, behind this great achievement lay these hours and hours of unseen labour by this unheralded woman," she says.  In the search for clues, Kober learnt a whole host of languages--from Egyptian to Akkadian to Sumerian and Sanskrit.  Kober was rigorous in her work--refusing to speculate on what the language was, or what the sounds of the symbols might be.  Instead, she set out to record the frequency of every symbol in the tablets, both in general, and then in every position within a word.  She also recorded the frequency of every character in juxtaposition to that of every other character.  It was a mammoth task, performed without the aid of computers.  In addition, during the years surrounding World War II, writing materials were hard to come by.  Kober recorded her detailed analysis on index cards, which she made from the backs of old greetings cards, library checkout slips, and the inside covers of examination books.  By hand, she painstakingly cut more than 180,000 tiny index cards, using cigarette cartons as her filing system.  Alex Gallafent  Read more and find graphics at https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22782620

Linear A is a writing system used by the Minoans (Cretans) from 2500 to 1450 BC.  Along with Cretan hieroglyphic, it is one of two undeciphered writing systems used by ancient Minoan and peripheral peoples.  Linear A was the primary script used in palace and religious writings of the Minoan civilization.  It was discovered by archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans.  It is related to the Linear B script, which succeeded the Linear A and was used by the Mycenaean civilization.  In the 1950s, Linear B was largely deciphered and found to encode an early form of Greek.  Although the two systems share many symbols, this did not lead to a subsequent decipherment of Linear A.  Using the values associated with Linear B in Linear A mainly produces unintelligible words.  If Linear A uses the same or similar syllabic values as Linear B, then its associated language, dubbed "Minoan", appears unrelated to any known language.  Archaeologist Arthur Evans named the script "Linear" because its characters consisted simply of lines inscribed in clay, in contrast to the more pictographic characters in Cretan hieroglyphs that were used during the same period.  Read more and see graphics at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_A  Other sources state that  Linear A developed around 1700 BCE. 

Grapes need to be washed well before freezing.  If you're using non-organic grapes, it's important to cleanse the skins well.  Drain grapes in a colander and/or salad spinner.  You want grapes to be dry before you freeze them, so even after draining or spinning, lay them out on an old bath towel, and blot them gently with another towel.  https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/garden-to-table/can-you-freeze-grapes

The Georgetown Car Barn is a historic building in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.  Designed by the architect Waddy Butler Wood, it was built between 1895 and 1897 by the Capital Traction Company as a union terminal for several Washington and Virginia streetcar lines.  The adjacent Exorcist steps, later named after their appearance in William Friedkin's 1973 horror film The Exorcist, were built during the initial construction to connect M Street with Prospect Street.  Intended for dual use as a passenger station and as a storage house for the streetcars, the Car Barn began Washington's only cable car system.  Almost immediately after the building opened, the system was electrified and the Car Barn was converted to accommodate electric streetcars.  The building has undergone several renovations, the most extensive in 1911, when the original Romanesque Revival façade was significantly modified and the interior was almost completely gutted.  Not long after its opening, the building fell into disrepair.  Changing ownership over time, it maintained its original function of housing streetcars until 1950, when it was redeveloped as office space.  Among its occupants was the International Police Academy, an arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, which operated out of the Car Barn in the 1960s and 1970s.  Today, it is used as an academic building by Georgetown University.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgetown_Car_Barn

humbug  noun  Origin unknown; the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) states that “the facts as to its origin appear to have been lost, even before the word became common enough to excite attention”.   It has been suggested that the word possibly derives from hummer ((slang) An obvious lie), or from hum ((dialectal and slang) to cajoledeludeimpose on) + bug (goblin, a spectre).  In his Slang Dictionary (1872), English bibliophile and publisher John Camden Hotten (1832–1873) suggested a link to the name of the German city of Hamburg, “from which town so many false bulletins and reports came during the war in the last century”.  Hotten also said he had traced the earliest occurrence of the word to the title page of Ferdinando Killigrew’s book The Universal Jester which he dated to about 1735–1740.  This dating has therefore been adopted by other dictionaries.  However, the OED dates the word to about 1750, as the earliest edition of Killigrew's work has been dated to 1754.  https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/humbug

Mmuseumm 4 Cortlandt Alley  New York, NY 10013 will reopen for the 2019 season Friday April 26th, 2019 at 7pm sharp.  Mmuseumm public hours:  Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays 11am-6pm.  Write info@mmuseumm.com to schedule a private tour.  Visitors may view Mmuseumm installations at the National Center for Architecture and Design in Sweden, the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and The Color Factory in New York City.  Link to the collection at http://www.mmuseumm.com/visit

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY  In the end, the poem is not a thing we see; it is, rather, a light by which we may see--and what we see is life. - Robert Penn Warren, novelist and poet (24 Apr 1905-1989)

On this date in 1913, the Woolworth Building, an early American skyscraper located at 233 Broadway in Manhattan, opened.  Designed by architect Cass Gilbert, it was the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930, with a height of 792 feet (241 m).  More than a century after its construction, it remains one of the 100 tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the 30 tallest buildings in New York City.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolworth_Building

The Library of Congress (LOC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States.  It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States.  The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; it also maintains the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia.  The Library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, and its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol.  The Library of Congress has claimed to be the largest library in the world.  Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."  The Library of Congress moved to Washington in 1800 after sitting for 11 years in the temporary national capitals in New York City and PhiladelphiaThe Library's primary mission is to research inquiries made by members of Congress, carried out through the Congressional Research Service.  The Library is open to the public, although only high-ranking government officials and Library employees may check out books and materials.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Congress
http://librariansmuse.blogspot.com  Issue 2086  April 24, 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

23 April is a symbolic date for world literature.  It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died.  It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.  It was a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.  With this in mind, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day.  2019 Celebration  The 24th edition of World Book and Copyright Day will celebrate literature and reading while focusing particularly on the importance of enhancing and protecting indigenous languages.  Books bring people together around a story and a common heritage while revealing their specificities through different cultures, identities and languages.  The focus on this topic is fully in line with the celebration of the International Year of the Indigenous LanguagesWorld Book Capital for 2019:  Sharjah, United Arab Emirates  Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry - publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective 23 April each year.  The city of Sharjah was selected because of the very innovative, comprehensive and inclusive nature of the application, with a community-focused activity programme containing creative proposals to engage the very large migrant population.  With the slogan "Read--you are in Sharjah", the programme focuses on six themes:  inclusivity, reading, heritage, outreach, publishing and children.  Among other things there will be a conference on freedom of speech, a contest for young poets, workshops for creating Braille books and tactile books as well as many events for Sharjah's multi-ethnic population.  The city's objective is to foster a culture of reading in the United Arab Emirates and birth new initiatives to meet the challenge of literary creation in the area and in the rest of the Arab world.  https://www.un.org/en/events/bookday/

Pigeon peas, popular throughout the West Indies, are small, oval beans with a nutty flavor that make a tasty side dish.  Look for them in Caribbean markets, or substitute kidney beans or black-eyed peas.  See Rice and Pigeon Peas recipe serving six at https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/rice-pigeon-peas

The devastating fire that destroyed part of Paris' historic Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019 appears to have spared the bees living on its rooftop.  Since 2013, Notre Dame has been home to three beehives on a roof beneath the rose window.  Because the hives are located about 30 meters (98 feet) below the main roof, the fire didn't get close enough to do any damage.  Considering each hive is home to 60,000 bees, Notre Dame beekeeper Nicolas Geant was beyond relieved to learn the fire didn't hurt the insects.  Perhaps St. Ambrose, the patron saint of bees and beekeepers, was keeping an eye out for the beloved insects of Notre Dame.  Bonnie Burton  https://www.cnet.com/news/bees-on-notre-dame-rooftop-survive-devastating-fire/

Warren Adler, the author of over 50 novels including The War of the Roses, died April 15, 2019.  https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/Obituary/article/79803-obituary-warren-adler.html

Gene Wolfe wrote more than 30 novels, with The Book of the New Sun published between 1980 and 1983, died April 15, 2019.  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/16/gene-wolfe-science-fiction-author-dies-aged-87

Sara Hinesley, 10, paints and draws and sculpts clay.  She can write in English and some Mandarin.  When she learned to write in cursive in 2019, Sara said, she thought it was “kind of easy.”  Never mind the fact that Sara was born without hands.  Sara, a third-grade student at St. John’s Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Md., won the 2019 Nicholas Maxim award for her cursive handwriting.  To write, Sara grips her pencil between her arms.  She focuses on the shapes of letters, each point and curve.  Writing in cursive feels like creating artwork, Sara said.  “I like the way the letters are formed,” Sara said. “It’s kind of like art."  Marissa J. Lang  https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/04/19/this-year-old-maryland-girl-who-was-born-without-hands-just-won-national-handwriting-competition/?utm_term=.eb778da54a4f  The handwriting contest is open to all students in grades K–8 (K–2 entries in manuscript and 3–8 entries in cursive) and includes a special needs category created in honor of Nicholas Maxim, a past participant whose passion for writing inspired the award.  https://www.zaner-bloser.com/national-handwriting-contest/about-contest.php

On April 22, 2019, people in 190 countries around the world will celebrate Earth Day.  This year marks the 49th anniversary of the environmental holiday initiated in 1970 to bring attention to the plight of our ailing mother, Earth, and our fellow creatures, whose health and longevity are threatened by human activity.  The Earth Day Network sponsors numerous events with organizations across the globe to increase environmental awareness on this occasion, like teach-ins with scientists and trash cleanup projects.  If you’re planning to attend one of these events, by all means do so.  You will be part of what the sponsors call “the largest civic observance in the world,” joining more than a billion people who participate in this common cause that affects us all.  However, if you haven’t yet made plans and wish to take a stand, there is one activity that you can do alone at home that will help you and the planet.  It ensures that ever-so-briefly you are not contributing to climate change, and are doing what you can to save endangered species. Don’t drive or fly.  Don’t buy anything.  Do no laundry.  Turn off the lights.  Avoid going online.  Depending on where on Earth you are, shut down the air-conditioning or heaters (unless you’ve got solar panels!).  Breathe deep and take a seat.  Doing nothing is also a way to do something. That is why contemplative types have practiced the fine art of sitting in meditation for millennia.  Ephrat Livni  https://qz.com/1600886/the-best-thing-you-can-do-on-earth-day-is-sit-perfectly-still/

For a special Christmas treat in December 1912, Adolph S. Ochs (1858-1935), owner of The New York Times, presented his readers with the first complete pictorial newspaper section printed in rotogravure.   Earlier that year, Ochs had purchased two modern German rotary presses and hired Julius Herman to train an American staff of printers to run them.  These presses mechanically inked and wiped the circular metal plates, printing up to 3,500 pages from a continuous roll of paper each hour.  By 1914, at least six American newspapers offered regular rotogravure picture magazines or sections, usually on Wednesdays and Sundays.  Besides The New York Times, the Boston Sun Herald, the Philadelphia Public Ledger, the Chicago Tribune, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star each featured a rotogravure section, which all became the most widely read section of the papers.  These picture sections even inspired Irving Berlin (1888-1989) to mention rotogravure into his song Easter Parade:  In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.  I’ll be all in clover and when they look you over, I’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter parade.  On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us, And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.  Read more and see graphics at https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2017/12/25/first-american-rotogravure-section-december-1912/

Look up:  It's the Lyrid meteor shower!  Different skywatching organizations have been pinning the meteor shower's peak on different nights as it continues through both April 21-22 and April 22-23, 2019.   Whichever night you look, here are some tips for viewing the burning-up dust and debris left behind by Comet Thatcher in its trek around the solar system.  Comet Thatcher, orbits the sun about once every 415 years.  Luckily for skywatchers, though, Earth passes through its path every year in mid- to late April.  The resulting display has been observed at least as early as 687 B.C.—it's one of the earliest recorded showers.  Comet Thatcher most recently passed by the sun (and Earth's neighborhood) in 1861, and it'll next pass by in 2276.  Sarah Lewin  Read more and see graphics at https://www.space.com/lyrid-meteor-shower-2019-peaking-now.html

http://librariansmuse.blogspot.com  Issue 2085  April 22, 2019