Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Anger is always fear, and fear is always fear of loss.  *  The highest nation is a structure of values, and its patriotism is conscience.  *  The biggest reason you don’t get answers is that you haven’t asked the questions.  *  To learn anything, you must put aside the safety  of your ignorance.  *  You learn most when you play against an opponent who can beat you.  Messiah’s Handbook by Richard Bach  Thank you, Muse reader! 

Richard David Bach (born June 23, 1936) is an American writer widely known as the author of some of the 1970s' biggest sellers, including Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970) and Illusions:  The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (1977).  Bach has written numerous works of fiction, and also non-fiction flight-related titles.  Most of Bach's books have been semi-autobiographical, using actual or fictionalized events from his life to illustrate his philosophy.  Bach's books espouse his philosophy that our apparent physical limits and mortality are merely appearance.  Bach is noted for his love of aviation and for his books related to flying in a metaphorical context.  Bach has flown as a hobby since the age of 17. 

Draken Harald Hårfagre is a large Viking longship built in the municipality of HaugesundNorway.  It is a ship that combines ocean-crossing sailing capabilities with a medieval warship's use of oars.  Building began in March 2010.  Copies of Viking ships are usually based on interpretations of archaeological material, but in the construction of Draken Harald Hårfagre an alternative method was used.  It was decided to begin with the living tradition of Norwegian boatbuilding, with roots that can be traced directly to the Viking Age.  Foremost Norwegian traditional boat builders are involved in the project.  See also: 

Richard Bachman (1942–1985) is a pen name (as well as fictional character) of American horror fiction author Stephen King.  King portrays Bachman in the third season of the FX television series Sons of Anarchy.  At the beginning of King's career, the general view among publishers was that an author was limited to one book per year, since publishing more would be unacceptable to the public.  King therefore wanted to write under another name in order to increase his publication without over-saturating the market for the King "brand".  He convinced his publisher, Signet Books, to print these novels under a pseudonym.  In his introduction to The Bachman Books, King states that adopting the nom de plume Bachman was also an attempt to make sense out of his career and try to answer the question of whether his success was due to talent or luck.  He says he deliberately released the Bachman novels with as little marketing presence as possible and did his best to "load the dice against" Bachman.  King concludes that he has yet to find an answer to the "talent versus luck" question, as he felt he was outed as Bachman too early to know.  The Bachman book Thinner (1984) sold 28,000 copies during its initial run—and then ten times as many when it was revealed that Bachman was, in fact, King.


Glass Gem corn, a unique variety of rainbow-colored corn, became an Internet sensation in 2012 when a photo of the sparkling cob was posted to Facebook.  The story of Glass Gem corn begins with an Oklahoma farmer named Carl Barnes.  Barnes is half-Cherokee. 
In growing older corn varieties, Barnes was able to isolate ancestral types that had been lost to Native American tribes when they were relocated in the 1800s to what is now Oklahoma.  This led to an exchange of ancient corn seed with people he had met and made friends with all over the country.  Barnes said that the rainbow seed originally came from a crossing of "Pawnee miniature popcorns with an Osage red flour corn and also another Osage corn called ‘Greyhorse.’"  Glass Gem is known as flint corn.  The name "flint" comes from the kernel's hard outer-layer.  Most people grind it up into cornmeal and use it in tortillas or grits because it's very starchy.  

metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection.  In futurism and science fiction, it is often described as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets.  The term "metaverse" has its origins in the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash as a portmanteau of "meta" and "universe."  Various metaverses have been developed for popular use such as virtual world platforms like Second Life.  Some metaverse iterations involve integration between virtual and physical spaces and virtual economies.  Demand for increased immersion means metaverse development is often linked to advancing virtual reality technology.  The term has been used as a buzzword to exaggerate development progress of various related technologies and projects for public relations purposes.  Information privacy, user addiction, and user safety are concerns within metaverses, stemming from challenges facing the social media and video game industries as a whole.  See also

At the public library in Mystic, Connecticut, a card catalog that formerly stored book due dates now holds endless packets of seeds.  There’s eggplant and kale, marigolds and zinnias; more than 90 different types of seeds available for anyone with a card to take home and plant.  “The library has become so much more than just a place to come in and get books,” said Leslie Weber, the youth services associate at the Mystic & Noank Library.  “It’s becoming a community center, and the seed library fits right into that.  It gets people outside, gets children involved with gardening, and we’re pushing to address food insecurity with it.”  The seed library in Mystic is just one of a number that have sprouted up around the country over the last decade—including in Georgia, California, Colorado, Arizona, and Maine—as libraries turn to seeds to help them meet the daily needs of the communities they serve in new ways.  By offering patrons free seeds, the libraries can also combat hunger insecurity and biodiversity loss—all while building community resilience.

Daisy Rockwell (born 1969) is an American Hindi and Urdu language translator and artist.  She has translated a number of classic works of Hindi and Urdu literature, including Upendranath Ashk's Falling WallsBhisham Sahni's Tamas, and Khadija Mastur's The Women's Courtyard.  Her 2021 translation of Geetanjali Shree's Tomb of Sand was the first South Asian book to win the International Booker Prize.  Rockwell grew up in western Massachusetts.  Both her parents are artists.  She is the granddaughter of the painter, illustrator, and author Norman RockwellShe also paints under the alias Lapata, which means "missing" or "disappeared" in Urdu.

June 29 is the International Day of the Tropics, which is recognized by the United Nations to highlight the important role that countries in tropical areas of the world play in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and to raise awareness about the challenges faced by these areas.  Issue 2536  June 29, 2022

Friday, June 24, 2022

On September 6, 1620, the Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, and headed for America.  By the time the Pilgrims had left England, they had already been living onboard the ships for nearly a month and a half.  The voyage itself across the Atlantic Ocean took 66 days, from their departure on September 6, until Cape Cod was sighted on 9 November 1620.  The Pilgrims intended to land in Northern Virginia, which at the time included the region as far north as the Hudson River in the modern State of New York.  The Hudson River, in fact, was their originally intended destination.  They had received good reports on this region while in the Netherlands.  All things considered, the Mayflower was almost right on target, missing the Hudson River by just a few degrees. 

Try this:  Hum your favorite song for the next 20 seconds.  Now, don't you feel better?  In fact, there's no better way to calm your mind and boost your spirits than by humming a happy tune.  Plus, evidence suggests that the simple act of humming may help keep your sinuses healthy.  Research shows that humming can improve airflow between the sinuses and the nasal cavity.  This, in turn, may help protect the health of your sinuses.  Here's how:  Humming creates turbulence in the air, which pushes it out more forcefully than quiet breathing.  Researchers have studied this effect by measuring a gas produced in the sinuses, nitric oxide.  In healthy individuals, humming dramatically increases the amount of nitric oxide released upon exhaling, which shows that air is moving out of the sinuses well.  Linda Wasmer Andrews

The word humdrum is an example of grammatical reduplication or repetitive rhyming, much like other informal words such as itsy-bitsyokey-dokeyhoity-toity and namby-pamby.  Humdrum actually means a boring, dull or monotonous state of being, with little hope of spontaneity or excitement.  The expression is very similar to the informal word ho-hum, which also describes a boring or dull set of circumstances.   Michael Pollick 

A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

listicle  (LIS-ti-kuhl)  noun  An article or other piece of writing structured in the form of a list.  A blend of list + article. From Old English liste (border, strip) and Latin articulus (small joint), from artus (joint).  Earliest documented use:  2007.  Clickbaits often lead to listicles.

acquihire  (AK-wi-hy-uhr)  noun  The purchase of a company for its talent rather than its products or services.  verb tr.: To buy a company in this manner.  Coined by Rex Hammock as a combination of acquire + hire.  From Latin quaerere (to seek, get) and Old English hyrian (to hire).  Earliest documented use:  2005.

In early 1841, Edgar Allan Poe was working as an editor for Graham’s Magazine, a popular Philadelphia-based publication, when he submitted to the magazine a story he had been working on, called “Murders in the Rue Trianon.”  In the piece, a gruesome double-murder has taken place in a home along the street in Paris.  Several witnesses confirm having heard voices in the house, but no one can agree on what language one of the speakers may have been using.  There are several more clues, each more confusing than the next.  The neighbors are frightened.  The police are baffled.  But C. Auguste Dupin, chevalier and rare-book aficionado, solves the mystery at home one day after reading the details in the paper, and tells his solution to a friend of his (who is narrating the story).  Before Poe finalized the story, he changed the name of the ill-fated street from Rue Trianon to “Rue Morgue,” to make the whole affair seem a bit more macabre. Literary Hub April 17, 2022   

Fungible things are items that can be easily replaced with another item that is practically the same, such as wood or paper currency.  Often, whether or not an item is fungible will impact how damages will be calculated for breaches of contract or the destruction of an item.,the%20destruction%20of%20an%20item. 

On June 23, 1868, a patent was issued to Milwaukee printer Christopher Sholes for the “type-writer,” a little machine that, as Dan Piepenbring wrote, “looks like a miniature piano crossed with a clock and/or a phonograph and/or a kitchen table.”  Though Sholes would eventually invent the QWERTY keyboard, in the first iteration, the keys were laid out like this:   

3 5 7 9 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

2 4 6 8 . A B C D E F G H I J K L M

In their original patent application, the diagram showed 21 keys, but the prototype they submitted held only 11.  (Inventors were required to send scale models along with their applications.)  Another fun twist:  the keys were originally piano keys.

The comedy film Spaceballs premiered on June 24 35 years ago in 1987.  A parody of the original Star Wars trilogy, in a famous scene the character Yogurt reveals he is involved in the merchandising of the film itself.  Wiktionary 

A rare, five-planet alignment will peak on June 24, allowing a spectacular viewing of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn as they line up in planetary order.  The event began at the beginning of June and has continued to get brighter and easier to see as the month has progressed, according to Diana Hannikainen, observing editor of Sky & Telescope.  A waning crescent moon will be joining the party between Venus and Mars on Friday, adding another celestial object to the lineup. The moon will represent the Earth's relative position in the alignment, meaning this is where our planet will appear in the planetary order.  Megan Marples and Ashley Strickland  Issue 2535  June 24, 2022 

Monday, June 20, 2022

The Society of the Cincinnati was founded by officers at the Continental Army encampment at Newburgh, New York, in May 1783.  The organization took its name from the ancient Roman hero Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, an embodiment of civic virtue.  Its founding document, the Institution, outlined the aims of the new organization:  to perpetuate the memory of the War for Independence, maintain the fraternal bonds between the officers, promote the ideals of the Revolution, support members and their families in need, distinguish its members as men of honor, and advocate for the compensation promised to the officers by Congress.  To achieve these aims, the Society called on its members to contribute a month’s pay.  In order to perpetuate their fellowship, the founders made membership hereditary.  George Washington was the first president general of the Society.  The army’s chief of artillery, Henry Knox, was the chief author of the Institution. 

The main difference between fungible assets and nonfungible assets resides in the content they store.  While fungible tokens like Bitcoin store value, nonfungible tokens store data like an academic title or an artwork. 

In the early 16th century, the wine we call Malvasía—produced in the Canary Islands, Spain—gained international prestige thanks to its exports to England.  As England is the main destination for exports, it is not surprising that great writers of the time made reference to Canarian wines in their writings, as did William Shakespeare, who mentioned the wine as Canarian wine in his writings.  The Canarian Malvasía grapes come from Madeira, where they were planted by decree from the Portuguese nobleman Henry the Navigator, who originally imported the vines from the island of Crete.  The stock reached the Portuguese territory around 1427 and the Canary Islands almost a century later.  J.M. Towers 

News is that which makes its consumer self-important or angry enough to turn the page and so turning, encounter the ad for the carpet sale.  Chicago, a novel by David Mamet 

The Washington Post is one of the most important daily newspapers in America.  The newspaper has maintained a regional status centered in the District of Columbia while it has spread across the nation and internationally particularly with the advent of digital news.  Focusing on American political news, The Washington Post has been awarded 69 Pulitzer Prizes (second only to the New York Times), 18 Nieman Fellowships for journalists, and 368 White House News Photograph Awards.  With many historically important stories and famed journalists, The Washington Post, also stands out for its famed logo.  The bold Old English script cannot be ignored.  Here is the history of and story behind The Washington Post logo.  Its name is emboldened in a heavy script font.  The newspaper’s logo cannot be replicated in a free font.  It is called an “Engravers Old English” font and is closest to today’s “Old London Alternative” Font.  The font we see today of The Washington Post logo was created by a prolific American typeface designer and technician.  Morris Fuller Benton lived from 1870 to 1948.  He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1896 and became the head designer at American Type Founders from 1900 until 1937.  During his tenure at ATF, Benton created over 220 logos for some of the most famous companies including The Washington Post.  Best known for his use of sans-serif or Gothic style designs, Benton crafted the technology and design of The Washington Post’s Old English style script in its logo.  Read more at  Lily Wordsmith 

A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg  lily-livered   (LIL-ee-LIV-uhrd)  adjective:  Cowardly or timid.  In earlier times, the liver was considered to be the seat of courage.  Hence, a white liver, lacking blood or bile, indicated lack of courage.  Earliest documented use:  1616. 

Wolf Hall is a 2009 historical novel by English author Hilary Mantel, published by Fourth Estate, named after the Seymour family's seat of Wolfhall, or Wulfhall, in Wiltshire.  Set in the period from 1500 to 1535, Wolf Hall is a sympathetic fictionalised biography documenting the rapid rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII through to the death of Sir Thomas More.  The novel won both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  In 2012, The Observer named it as one of "The 10 best historical novels".  The book is the first in a trilogy; the sequel Bring Up the Bodies was published in 2012.  The last book in the trilogy is The Mirror and the Light (2020), which covers the last four years of Cromwell's life. 

Twenty new warriors from a Chinese emperor’s massive terracotta army were uncovered by archaeologists in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, on February 4, 2022.   China Global Television Network reported that the newly discoyvered sculptures were found in Pit No. 1, outside the emperor’s secret tomb, and remain well-preserved.  Notable among these findings are statues of a general and a middle-ranking army officer.  Pit No. 1, a section full of infantry and chariots, has a total area of 14,260 square meters.  When the excavation is complete, it is expected to yield more than 6,000 pottery figures and horses.  The Terracotta Army, created 2,200 years ago to protect emperor Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife, is the only known collection of military sculptures produced en masse in the world.  As the country’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang unified China.  He is believed to have had an army of more than 500,000 men.  Francesca Aton 

1865 – Over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas, United States, are officially informed of their freedom.  The anniversary was officially celebrated in Texas and other states as Juneteenth.  On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in the United States.  

June 19, 1902 – Guy Lombardo, Canadian-American violinist and bandleader was born (d. 1977)

1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate.

1978 – Garfield's first comic strip, originally published locally as Jon in 1976, goes into nationwide syndication. 

June 20, 1972 – Watergate scandal:  An 18½-minute gap appears in the tape recording of the conversations between U.S. President Richard Nixon and his advisers regarding the recent arrests of his operatives while breaking into the Watergate complex.  Issue 2534  June 20, 2022

Monday, June 13, 2022

"John and Marsha" is a 1951 American novelty comedy single written and performed by Stan Freberg and released on Capitol Records.  Consisting of only two words:  "John" and "Marsha", the recording is a back-and-forth dialogue between a man and a woman ranging in varied emotion.  It was made into an award-winning commercial by producer-director John Hubley and animator Art Babbitt and aired on television in 1956.  Stan Freberg began his career as a voice actor and impersonator on radio, television and film.  By 1951, he started making comedy records for Capitol Records.  His first recording was "John and Marsha", a parody of the radio soap operas from the day that consisted of a male and female character (Freberg voiced both) saying each other's name over and over to one another in different emotional inflections.  Upon its release, "John and Marsha" reached number 21 on the charts and stayed there for three weeks in total.  In 1956, producer John Hubley and animator Art Babbitt created a commercial showreel for Wesson Oil Snowdrift shortening using Freberg's character names:  John and Marsha.  The animated short depicted a married couple addressing each other in similar fashion as the comedy single but with the added:  "Snowdrift" as a sponsor tag line.  It won the New York Art Directors Award for Best Animated Short in June 1956.  As a sequel to "John and Marsha", on the B-side of "C'est Si Bon (It's So Good)", Freberg released "A Dear John & Marsha Letter" on December 7, 1953 on Capitol Records. 

John and Marsha (Freberg-Stone-Liebert) by Stan Freberg, conducted by Cliffie Stone  2:28 

The Alibi Club was founded in 1884 by seven disaffected members of the Metropolitan Club (organized in 1863).  "Together they sought relief from the vicissitudes of domestic life and the rigors of business . . .  in the pursuit of happiness in comfortable surroundings among convivial friends," reads the framed history in the hall.  The club name was chosen in "defense against queries by curious men and women."  The club limits itself to 50 members--certainly with good reason, for no more than that number could fit in the 1,400-square-foot house at one time.  Status or race are not criteria, but no women or blacks are members.  Because of its small size, the club is not legally obligated to admit women.  Smithsonian secretary emeritus S. Dillon Ripley is said to have said upon joining the club:  "It looks as though it's furnished with everything the Smithsonian ever rejected."  The framed Alibi history on the wall explains that the rooms are "packed with discarded furniture and loaded with priceless junk brought in by loving hands."  Sarah Booth Conroy  The Alibi Club is located at 1818 I St NW, Washington, DC.  

Award-winning contemporary artist and Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken grew up on a family farm in Reading, Pennsylvania, but he spent his college years and much of his early career focused on art rather than agriculture.  While Van Aken says that his work has always been "inspired by nature and our relationship to nature," it wasn't until recently that the artist's farming background became such a clear and significant influence, first in 2008 when he grafted vegetables together to create strange plants for his Eden exhibition, and then shortly after that when he started to work on the hybridized fruit trees that would become the Tree of 40 Fruit.  Each tree begins as a slightly odd-looking specimen resembling some kind of science experiment, and for much of the year, looks like just any other tree.  In spring, the trees bloom to reveal an incredibly striking and thought-provoking example of what can happen when nature inspires art.  Then, over the course of several months, Van Aken's trees produce an incredible harvest of plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and almonds, including many you've likely never seen before.  Thus far, Van Aken has created and placed 16 trees in museums, community centers, and private art collections around the country, including in Newton, Massachusetts; Pound Ridge, New York; Short Hills, New Jersey; Bentonville, Arkansas; and San Jose, California.  Using a unique process he calls "sculpture through grafting," Van Aken creates trees that grow and support more than 40 varieties of stone fruit, including many heirloom, antique, and native varieties.  Lauren Salkeld  Read interview with Sam Van Aken at 

Chapbooks date back to sixteenth century England.  A written account from Cambridgeshire in 1553 describes “lytle books” sold by pedlars, likely containing lyrics to sung ballads.  The price of these books was low—typically a penny or a halfpenny—and they provided cheap entertainment for the masses, although there’s little evidence that the books themselves were mass produced.  The term “chapbook” dates to 1824, and it takes its name from “chapman,” an English word for an itinerant pedlar or tradesman.  (The root word “chap” shares its origin with the word “cheap.”)  Chapbooks were not always synonymous with a collection of poetry; some chapbooks contained short stories, lyrics, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, illustrations, fairy tales, and liturgical text from religious tracts.  Over time, though, poetry chapbooks have proven to be the most enduring form of the medium.  Chapbooks enjoyed high popularity until the mid-nineteenth century, when they were somewhat supplanted by the availability of cheap daily and weekly newspapers. 

pentimento  noun (art, literature)  The presence of traces of a previous work in an artistic or literary work; especially (painting) an image which has been painted over but is still detectable. 

Eadweard (born Edward) James Muggeridge was born in the ancient town of Kingston-On-Thames, England on April 9, 1830.  Muybridge immigrated to New York and was employed by the London Printing and Publishing Company in 1852.  Three years later as the California gold rush was making history, Muybridge moved west to San Francisco and opened a successful bookstore.  In 1868 Muybridge was named director of photographic surveys for the United States government.  He invented one of the first camera shutters in 1869.  In 1872 he documented wine production in California.  As a photography test, Muybridge, used 12 cameras, each hooked to an electrical apparatus that would trip the shutters as the horse galloped past.  A press conference was called to witness the experiment so that no doubt could exist about the authenticity of the photographs.  Governor Stanford’s racing mare, Sallie Gardner, was the model, July 19, 1878 was the date, and the experiment was a great success.  Muybridge invented the zoopraxiscope in 1879, a machine that allowed him to project up to two hundred single images on a screen.  In 1880 he gave his first presentation of projected moving pictures on a screen to a group at the California School of Fine Arts, thus becoming the father of motion pictures.  Muybridge met with Thomas Edison who had invented the phonograph, but nothing productive came of their meeting.  Edison later invented the kinescope, which was the precursor of the movie camera used today.  Vi Whitmire 

Mo Donegal outlasts Nest to win Belmont  Mo Donegal rounded the 1½-mile distance in 2 minutes, 28.28 seconds, three lengths ahead of Nest--ridden by Ortiz's brother, Jose.  Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher, who lives on Long Island, adds another Belmont title following wins with Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013 and Tapwrit in 2017.   Mo Donegal beat an eight-horse field without a clear favorite.  Issue 2533  June 13, 2022