Monday, February 26, 2024

whippersnapper is a young person who is presumptuous, a young person who is overconfident.  The term whippersnapper is derived from the terms snipper-snapper and whip-snapper.  whip-snapper was a seventeenth-century term for a young man with nothing better to do than to hang about idly snapping a whip.  Whippersnapper is one of those rare terms that has a somewhat literal origin.  Today, the term is usually used in an archaic sense or as a slightly humorous term.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the correct spelling is as one word, whippersnapper, though it is occasionally seen in its hyphenated form, whipper-snapper  Thank you, Muse reader! 

Which is smaller--Delaware or Rhode Island?  Find the answer and see a complete list of the U.S. states, its federal district and its major territories ordered by total area, land area and water area.  The water area includes inland waterscoastal waters, the Great Lakes and territorial watersGlaciers and intermittent bodies of water are counted as land area. 

If you like the smell of chrysanthemum flowers and the taste of tea brewed with the dried flower buds, then consider eating chrysanthemum greens.  You'll find the vegetable in any number of Asian markets—Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian—during the spring to autumn seasons.  (Keep your eyes peeled, as it is sometimes referred to as crown daisy.)  If the greens are young and fresh, you can enjoy both the leaves and stalks raw in salads.  Young greens should have stalks that are no wider than 1/8-inch in diameter—any wider, and the taste is too bitter and strong to be eaten raw. Chichi Wang  Thank you, Muse reader!  

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved--loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. - Victor Hugo, novelist and dramatist (26 Feb 1802-1885) 

“He marks his place in books by folding over the corners of the page.  Burn his letters and send back the ring!  I cannot marry a monster!”  “Overdue books are dealt with swiftly and mercilessly.”  Revenge of the Librarians by Tom Gauld  Thank you, Muse reader!  

February 13, 2024  The traditional diet of northern Portugal and northwestern Spain, known as the Southern European Traditional Atlantic Diet, or Atlantic diet for short, may hold some clues to better heart health and a lower risk of dying early from cancer, heart disease or any cause, according to studies conducted in Europe.  The latest study, published recently in the journal JAMA Network Open, found the diet also modestly reduced the incidence of metabolic syndrome, a combination of higher blood pressure, blood sugars, triglycerides and belly fat that raises the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other serious health conditions.  The diet is based on foods grown or found in that part of the Europe, much like its famous cousin the Mediterranean diet.  

Alan Kay, the famed computer scientist, says he didn’t really know what the term “computer science” meant in 1966, when he read a lengthy description of a programming language written by a Swiss computer scientist named Niklaus Wirth.  The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2024   Niklaus Emil Wirth (15 February 1934–1 January 2024) was a Swiss computer scientist.  He designed several programming languages, including Pascal, and pioneered several classic topics in software engineering.  In 1984, he won the Turing Award, generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science, "for developing a sequence of innovative computer languages".  See also  Issue 2786  February 26, 2024 

Monday, February 19, 2024

A hamlet is a human settlement that is smaller than a town or village.  This is often simply an informal description of a smaller settlement or possibly a subdivision or satellite entity to a larger settlement.  Sometimes a hamlet is defined for official or administrative purposes.  In that case, its size relative to a parish or other administrative unit will depend on the administration and region.  The word and concept of a hamlet can be traced back to Norman England, where the Old French hamelet came to apply to small human settlements.  The word comes from Anglo-Norman hamelet, corresponding to Old French hamelet, the diminutive of Old French hamel meaning a little village.  This, in turn, is a diminutive of Old French ham, possibly borrowed from (West GermanicFranconian languages.    

Purchase is a hamlet in the town and village of Harrison, in Westchester County, New York, United States.  One myth explains that its name is derived from Harrison's purchase, where John Harrison was to be granted as much land as he could ride in one day.  Purchase is home to State University of New York at Purchase and Manhattanville College and is one of the richest communities on the east coast.  In 1695, John Harrison, a Quaker from Flushing " . . . purchased of the Indians a tract of land about nine miles in length and nearly three in width . . .  The Indians reserved 'such whitewood trees as shall be found suitable to make canoes of . . .  "  Large numbers of Friends came to settle there.  They called it "Harrison's Purchase," or simply "The Purchase" and it is still known today as Purchase, NY. A Quaker meeting house was erected there in 1727.  In 1967, 200 residents stated support for a plan to incorporate Purchase so corporations could not build in the community.  In response, officials from the Town of Harrison put forward plans to try to become a city in an attempt to stop Purchase from seceding from the Town of Harrison.  There are many historic sites located in Purchase.  The grave of Revolutionary War General Thomas Thomas is located on the grounds of SUNY Purchase.  The grounds that SUNY Purchase now occupies was once Strathglass Farms, a dairy farm.  The Quaker Friends Meeting house was founded in the 18th century.  The original building fell victim to fire years ago and the present one is an accurate reconstruction.  Before the headquarters of Pepsi was built, the Blind Brook Polo Club was located on that site.  Amelia Earhart flew her plane from the polo grounds.,_New_York 

Lloyd Arrington Sparks (1933–February 11, 2024), known professionally as Randy Sparks, was an American musician, singer-songwriter, and founder of The New Christy Minstrels and The Back Porch Majority.  His first musical engagement was at the Purple Onion in San Francisco.  In 1960, he formed a trio called "The Randy Sparks Three", and they released an album of the same name.  Sparks wrote "Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio", which was recorded and made famous by John Denver    

Presidents' Day, officially Washington's Birthday at the federal governmental level, is a holiday in the United States celebrated on the third Monday of February.  It is often celebrated to honor all those who served as presidents of the United States and, since 1879, has been the federal holiday honoring Founding Father George Washington, who led the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolutionary War, presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and was the first U.S. president.   The day is an official state holiday in most states, with names including Washington's Birthday, Presidents' Day, President's Day, Presidents Day, and Washington's and Lincoln's Birthday.  The various states use 15 different names.  Depending upon the specific law, the state holiday may officially celebrate Washington alone, Washington and Abraham Lincoln, or some other combination of U.S. presidents (such as Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who was born in April).   

cater-cousin  noun 

person who, while not being a blood relation, is regarded as close enough to be called a cousin; a (very) close or good friend; a bosom friend.

(figurative) A thing which is closely associated with or related to another thing.  Wiktionary  February 19, 2024  Issue 2785  February 19, 2024   

Friday, February 16, 2024

Calabacitas (which translates to “little squash” in English) is a Mexican dish made from sauteed zucchini or squash, corn, tomatoes and peppers.  It’s often served as a side dish, but is substantial enough to be served as a main vegetarian meal alongside some homemade flour tortillas.  There are many variations of this dish throughout Mexico and the southwestern United States.   Some versions don’t include tomatoes, some are plain and feature only the sauteed vegetables, and some include a flavorful cooking liquid that doubles as a sauce.  Recipe by Isabel serving six at    

Is it OK to say you’re the best person in the world when you know are not?  (paraphrase of a joke told on Saturday Night Live)   

Eleanore Cammack "CammieKing (1934–2010) was an American actress and public relations officer.  She is best known for her portrayal of Bonnie Blue Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939).  She also provided the voice for the doe Faline as a fawn in the animated Disney film, Bambi (1942).  Though King's acting career only spanned years, she appeared in two of the biggest films of the era, Gone with the Wind and Bambi.  She landed the part of Bonnie Blue Butler in Gone With the Wind at the age of four, after casting directors had tested 250 applicants for the role, including her seven-year-old sister Diane.  After Diane was deemed too old for the part, she told the staff, "My sister looks like me and is only four and she can read lines".  Cammie did remember her lines, but she was unable to keep her eyelids from moving during Bonnie's death scene and was fitted with a death mask.  An adult male small person served as a body double for Bonnie's fall from the horse.   Reflecting on her film career, she once joked, "I peaked at 5".   

The University of Minnesota Libraries is the library system of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, operating at 12 facilities in and around Minneapolis–Saint Paul.  It has over 8 million volumes and 119,000 serial titles that are collected, maintained and made accessible.  The system is the 17th largest academic library in North America and the 20th largest library in the United States.  While the system's primary mission is to serve faculty, staff and students, because the university is a public institution of higher education its libraries are also open to the public.  The Libraries hold a variety of notable, specialized and unusual collections.  Examples include the world's largest assembly of materials on Sherlock Holmes and his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; the Kerlan Collection of over 100,000 children's books;  the Hess Collection, one of North America's largest collections of dime novelsstory papers and pulp fiction; the James Ford Bell Library of rare maps, books and manuscripts, and the seventh largest law library in the United States, including over 1 million volumes and personal papers such as those of Clarence Darrow.  The system is a Federal Depository Library, a State of Minnesota Depository Library and United Nations Depository Library.  Among research institutions, it maintains the second-largest collection of government documents in North America.  The University of Minnesota was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2017.

Lager is a type of beer originated in Bavaria, which has been brewed and conditioned at low temperature.  Lagers can be paleamber, or dark.  Pale lager is the most widely consumed and commercially available style of beer. The term "lager" comes from the German word for "storage", as the beer was stored before drinking, traditionally in the same cool caves in which it was fermented.  As well as maturation in cold storage, most lagers are distinguished by the use of Saccharomyces pastorianus, a "bottom-fermenting" yeast that ferments at relatively cold temperatures.  Issue 2784  February 16, 2024 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

On February 1, 1983 a radio disc jockey from Quincey, Ill. called the United States Post Office in the small Eastern Ohio town of Cadiz.  The question to postman Pat Frazier was, "Do you know whose birthday it is today?"  Pat answered honestly that he did not and was informed by the deejay that Feb. 1 was Clark Gable's birthday.  He then asked what Cadiz, Ohio was doing to commemorate the birth of its most famous son.  That was the last time "nothing" was the answer.  The following year a local women's organization, DISTAFF, organized the first annual "Clark Gable Birthday Celebration," held Feb. 1, 1985.  Despite a terrible ice storm the day before, the party was a smashing success with over three-hundred townspeople and devoted fans in attendance.  The 1985 celebration was the first organized attempt to commemorate Gable's hometown connection.  However, some time prior to that a group of local citizens concerned with the terrible economic slump enveloping the town and county, met to discuss tourism.  Cadiz, once known as "The Proudest Small Town in America" because of its many famous sons including Gen. George Armstrong Custer, was highly dependent on the bituminous coal industry.  In the late 1970s due to a softening demand for ecologically polluting high sulfur coal, the mines began to close.  At one point in 1985 the unemployment rate for Harrison County reached over 25%.    Some were convinced that the tourism potential of its beautiful topography, historical figures and strategic location near several major population centers was ripe for development.  They were also quite embarrassed that no memorial to Clark Gable existed in his hometown.  In fact they couldn't even point out the house in which he was born.  That house on Charleston Street in Cadiz was razed in the early 1960s.  Three business and professional men from Cadiz, Mike Cope, Jon Kirkland, and Chuck Peterson were friends and concerned about the decline of the community.  Meeting informally one evening in 1984 they dreamed of an organization dedicated to preserving Gable's memory.  They believed this would spur tourism interest in Cadiz and Harrison County and they set about forming what Jon thought should be called "The Clark Gable Foundation."  Not long after that other members were enlisted.  The group's first goal was to erect a monument on the site of his birth.  With this in mind and through the cooperation of the Worley family who owned an interest in the land on which the house once stood, the Foundation was granted an interest in the property.  In a few months, over seven-thousand dollars was raised locally and Saturday Feb. 1, 1986 with great expectation and national media attention, the monument was dedicated. The following year the Foundation assumed the birthday celebration from DISTAFF and the momentum began.  Since then it has hosted thirteen birthday celebrations and three "barbecues."  In December 1988 the Foundation was able to make contact with Mr. Fred Crane who accepted an invitation to attend the next Birthday Celebration Feb. 4, 1989.  Fred played Brent Tarleton in Gone With The Wind.  That contact with Fred and Anita Crane opened the door to its "California Connection" including Mr. Bill Tomkin who had worked for many years at MGM Studios in the film archives department.  These people helped us make contact with other members of the GWTW cast which made Foundation events even more successful.  The next event was "The Twelve Oaks Barbecue" in June 1989 commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Gone With The Wind.  The Foundation was able to host four of the original cast members including Cammie King, Butterfly McQueen, Patrick Curtis, and Mr. Daniel Selznick, son of legendary director David O. Selznick.  Since then the Foundation has invited celebrities from Gable's films to attend as guests of honor for each of its "Birthday Celebration" held the Saturday nearest his birthday, annually.  In 1991 the guests were Gable's only son John, and his stepdaughter Joan Spreckels.  In 1992 the guests were Ann Rutherford and Rand Brooks, the actress and actor who played Careen O'Hara and Charles Hamilton in GWTW.  In 1991, the nonprofit Clark Gable Foundation received a sizable bequest from a local woman's estate.  Isabelle Clifford was a Gable contemporary and lived just down the street from the house where he was born.  She loved her hometown and was proud of its history.  Her generosity and forward thinking gave the Foundation the seed money so essential to reach its goal.  

Cadiz is a village in and the county seat of Harrison CountyOhio, United States, located about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Steubenville.  The population was 3,051 at the 2020 census.  Cadiz was founded in 1803 at the junction of westward roads from Pittsburgh and Washington, Pennsylvania, and named after Cádiz, Spain.  The town became the county seat of newly formed Harrison County in 1813.  By 1840, Cadiz had 1,028 residents; by 1846, the town had four churches and 21 stores.  The Steubenville and Indiana Railroad, a predecessor of the Pennsylvania Railroad, opened to Cadiz June 11, 1854.  In the early and mid nineteenth century, several local families operated stations and served as conductors in the Underground Railroad, helping runaway slaves escape to Canada.  By 1880 population had nearly doubled and the town had three newspapers and three banks.  Early industry was based on agriculture and processing farm products.  In 1889, a brief oil boom began with the shipment of 120 barrels of oil produced in nearby Green Township. Coal mining, both underground and surface, became the prominent industry through most of the twentieth century.  More recently the development of the Marcellus Shale in the surrounding area has made Cadiz a center for natural gas production.,_Ohio  

“Beside” is a preposition that means “close to” or “next to.”  On the other hand, “aside” is an adverb that means “on or to one side” or “away from one’s thoughts or consideration.  

According to Professor Lisa Bitel, no fewer than three (3) different martyrs named Valentinus died on February 14th, all of them during a two-year period towards the end of the third century.  Jack B. Oruch reports that the name was so popular that over 30 Valentines, not to mention “a few Valentinas,” ultimately achieved sainthood.  However, no matter which Valentine you look at, their traditions and texts actually have . . . absolutely nothing to do with love or courtship.  Literary Hub  February 11, 2024  Issue 2783  February 14, 2024 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Calvin and Hobbes is a daily American comic strip created by cartoonist Bill Watterson that was syndicated from November 18, 1985, to December 31, 1995.  Commonly described as "the last great newspaper comic", Calvin and Hobbes has enjoyed broad and enduring popularity, influence, and academic and philosophical interest.  Calvin and Hobbes follows the humorous antics of the title characters:  Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy; and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger.  Set in the suburban United States of the 1980s and 1990s, the strip depicts Calvin's frequent flights of fancy and friendship with Hobbes.  It also examines Calvin's relationships with his long-suffering parents and with his classmates, especially his neighbor Susie Derkins.  Hobbes's dual nature is a defining motif for the strip:  to Calvin, Hobbes is a living anthropomorphic tiger, while all the other characters seem to see Hobbes as an inanimate stuffed toy—though Watterson has not clarified exactly how Hobbes is perceived by others.  Though the series does not frequently mention specific political figures or ongoing events, it does explore broad issues like environmentalism, public education, and philosophical quandaries.  At the height of its popularity, Calvin and Hobbes was featured in over 2,400 newspapers worldwide.   In 2010, reruns of the strip appeared in more than 50 countries, and nearly 45 million copies of the Calvin and Hobbes books had been sold worldwide.  "I thought it was perhaps too 'adult,' too literate.  When my then-8-year-old son remarked, 'This is the Doonesbury for kids!'  I suspected we had something unusual on our hands."  Lee Salem, Watterson's editor at Universal, recalling his reaction after seeing Watterson's first submission.  Calvin and Hobbes was conceived when Bill Watterson, while working in an advertising job he detested, began devoting his spare time to developing a newspaper comic for potential syndication.  He explored various strip ideas but all were rejected by the syndicates.  United Feature Syndicate finally responded positively to one strip called The Doghouse, which featured a side character (the main character's little brother) who had a stuffed tiger.  United identified these characters as the strongest and encouraged Watterson to develop them as the center of their own strip. Though United Feature ultimately rejected the new strip as lacking in marketing potential, Universal Press Syndicate took it up.   

January 31, 2024  Jeffrey Brown:  Author Rebecca Yarros had been writing and publishing for 10 years, but had no idea what would ensue when she turned to a story that mixes dragons and magic with romance.  Now she and her books are everywhere, alongside authors like Sarah J. Maas, Jennifer Armentrout and others who create romance dramas in the midst of epic, fantastical worlds, romance and fantasy, now a full-blown subgenre with its own name, romantasy.  Rebecca Yarros:  It's basically fantasy with—written in a romance vein, right?  I just think it speaks in whole to women, and then it also brings men in, because men love dragons, I'm finding out.  Read more of the interview at  

Historic Building in New York’s Upper West Side to Become New Permanent Home for Aperture   Opening summer 2024, the new space will become a hub for public engagement and collaboration with flexible spaces for programming and re-imagined office and production areas. Two floors, encompassing 10,000 square feet of the 1886 building, will be repurposed as a hub for collaboration and convening, and a site for public engagement with Aperture’s quarterly magazine, books, and prints.  Marking its 70th anniversary this year, Aperture has been located for nearly two decades in a fourth-floor space in Chelsea, where the organization has mounted exhibitions and public programs; published Aperture magazine and countless acclaimed photobooks; and hosted its bookstore and limited-edition print program.  See picture at   

The redcurrant or red currant (Ribes rubrum) is a member of the genus Ribes in the gooseberry family.  It is native to western Europe.  The species is widely cultivated and has escaped into the wild in many regions.  Ribes rubrum is a deciduous shrub normally growing to 1–1.5 metres (3+12–5 feet) tall, occasionally 2 m (7 ft), with five-lobed leaves arranged spirally on the stems.  In France, the highly rarefied and hand-made Bar-le-duc or "Lorraine jelly" is a spreadable preparation traditionally made from white currants or alternatively redcurrants.  In Scandinavia and Schleswig-Holstein, it is often used in fruit soups and summer puddings.  In Germany it is also used in combination with custard or meringue as a filling for tarts.  In Linz, Austria, it is the most commonly used filling for the Linzer torte.  It can be enjoyed in its fresh state without the addition of sugar.  In German-speaking areas, syrup or nectar derived from the redcurrant is added to soda water and enjoyed as a refreshing drink named Johannisbeerschorle. It is so named because the redcurrants (Johannisbeeren, "John's berry" in German) are said to ripen first on St. John's Day, also known as Midsummer Day, June 24.  In Russia, redcurrants are ubiquitous and used in jams, preserves, compotes and desserts.  It is also used to make kissel, a sweet healthy drink made from fresh berries or fruits (such as red currants, cherriescranberries).  The leaves have many uses in traditional medicine, such as making an infusion with black tea.  Also the plants were cultivated in Russian monastery gardens in the 11th century.  See pictures at    

Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet. - Alice Walker, author (b. 9 Feb 1944)  

featherless biped (plural featherless bipeds)  noun  (idiomatic, chiefly humorous)  A human being. Synonym:  (chiefly humorous)  naked ape  Used throughout the history of western philosophy as an example of an unsatisfactory definition of the term human beingFrom featherless +‎ biped, from the dialogue The Statesman by Plato (427–347 B.C.E.):  [I say, then, that we ought at that time to have divided walking animals immediately into biped and quadruped, then seeing that the human race falls into the same division with the feathered creatures and no others, we must again divide the biped class into featherless and feathered.  The English biologistgeologist, and naturalist Charles Darwin, best known for his contributions towards the science of evolution, was born on February 12, 215 years ago in 1809.  Issue 2782  February 12, 2024 

Friday, February 9, 2024

The Dolomites, also known as the Dolomite Mountains, Dolomite Alps or Dolomitic Alps, are a mountain range in northeastern Italy.  They form part of the Southern Limestone Alps and extend from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east.  The northern and southern borders are defined by the Puster Valley and the Sugana Valley.  The Dolomites are in the regions of VenetoTrentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Friuli Venezia Giulia, covering an area shared between the provinces of BellunoVicenzaVeronaTrentinoSouth TyrolUdine and Pordenone.  Other mountain groups of similar geological structure are spread along the River Piave to the east—Dolomiti d'Oltrepiave; and far away over the Adige River to the west—Dolomiti di Brenta (Western Dolomites).  A smaller group is called Piccole Dolomiti (Little Dolomites), between the provinces of Trentino, Verona and Vicenza.  The Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park and many other regional parks are in the Dolomites.  In August 2009, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The Adamello-Brenta UNESCO Global Geopark is also in the Dolomites.  The Dolomites, also known as the "Pale Mountains", take their name from the carbonate rock dolomite.  This was named after the 18th-century French mineralogist Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu (1750–1801), who was the first to describe the mineral. 

February 1, 2024  Over the past three decades, Thomson Reuters has relied on artificial intelligence (AI) to help its clients—and its own employees—sift through troves of digital documents to discover those most relevant to the issue at hand.  But when generative AI (genAI) burst onto the scene in late 2022, the company was forced to rethink its AI strategy to stay ahead of competitors and address an insatiable client demand for industry-specific information.  Thomson Reuters in November 2023 unveiled its genAI strategy and product rollout after its integration with Microsoft Copilot, along with a $650 million acqusition of genAI tech provider Casetext and a pledge to invest $100 million annually in new genAI tools for internal and client use.  Lucas Mearian   Thank you, Muse reader!    

September 20, 2023  The Golden Hind was the name of Sir Francis Drake’s galleon when he circumnavigated the world between 1577 and 1580—the first English ship to do so.  At the corner of Locust and Summit streets in Toledo, Ohio large hand-painted murals will be a hallmark of a new development, which has about 70,000 square feet of building.  Developers named Ostrich Towne in tribute to the alley, known as Ostrich Lane, a key element to the project.  Kimberly Wynn   

Naples yellow, also called antimony yellow or lead antimonate yellow, is an inorganic pigment that largely replaced lead-tin-yellow and has been used in European paintings since the seventeenth century.  While the mineral orpiment is considered to be the oldest yellow pigment, Naples yellow, like Egyptian blue, is one of the oldest known synthetic pigments.  Naples yellow was used in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, finding widespread application during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.  Prior to its earliest occurrences in European paintings, the pigment was commonly employed in pottery, glazes, enamels, and glass. The pigment ranged in hue from a muted, earthy, reddish yellow to a bright light yellow.  A Latin treatise from the late 17th-century by Andrea Pozzo referred to the pigment as luteolum napolitanum, which is the first recorded use of the term "Naples yellow"; its English name first appeared in print in 1738.

Eloise Harriet Stannard was one of the fourteen children of landscape painter and drawing teacher Alfred Stannard and Martha Stannard.  Her uncle was the painter Joseph Stannard; both her father and her uncle were members of the Norwich School of painters, Britain's first provincial art movement. Eloise and her aunt Emily Coppin Stannard (Joseph's wife) would become the only two notable women artists associated with the Norwich School.  See

Feb. 9, 2024  World-renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa has died of heart failure at his home in Tokyo.  He was 88.  The acclaimed Japanese maestro led the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1973 to 2002, longer than any other conductor in the orchestra’s 128-year history.  From 2002 to 2010, he was music director of the Vienna State Opera.  Issue 2781  February 9, 2024