Friday, July 31, 2009

Gaperon

Gaperon is a French cheese of the Auvergne region. The Gaperon has been produced for over 1200 years in Auvergne.

Gaperon is a cow's milk cheese flavored with cracked peppercorns and garlic. It has a fluffy coat and is shaped into a dome. The inside is from and ivory to a pale yellow color depending on the season. Gaperon is available all year round with no particular best season, principally because of the pepper and garlic flavoring. The flavor is tart when the cheese is young and under ripe. As it matures, it turns to a soft and buttery consistency and an intense garlic and pepper flavor.

Gaperon is a specialty of Auvergne country and originated from the plateau of Limagne, between Clermont-Ferrand and Vichy in the Puy de Dôme region. It was originally made with the “babeurre”, this is the left over from making butter (buttermilk). Milk which was left over after butter-making was mixed with fresh milk to make the cheese curds and further mixed with the local pink garlic and pepper. In the old days, the Gaperon was ripened in the fresh air as it was hung in the farmhouse kitchen or the storeroom.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Operation Epsilon

Operation Epsilon was the codename of a program in which Allied forces near the end of World War II detained ten German scientists who were thought to have worked on Nazi Germany's nuclear weapon/power program. The scientists were captured between May 1 to June 30, 1945 and interned at Farm Hall, a bugged house in Godmanchester, England (near Cambridge), from July 3, 1945 to January 3, 1946. The goal was to determine how close the Germans had been to constructing an atomic bomb, by listening to their conversations.

The results of the transcripts were inconclusive. On July 6, the microphones picked up the following conversation between Werner Heisenberg and Kurt Diebner, both of whom had worked on the German nuclear project:

Diebner: "I wonder whether there are microphones installed here?"
Heisenberg: "Microphones installed? (laughing) Oh no, they're not as cute as all that. I don't think they know the real Gestapo methods; they're a bit old fashioned in that respect."

Most historians have no reason to believe that he was not being genuine, and the attitude of Heisenberg and the other scientists over all the months and especially their reaction to the shattering news of the bomb explosion was so genuine that it is almost inconceivable it was staged.

All of the scientists expressed shock when informed of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. After first puzzling over whether or not the report was genuine, the scientists then contemplated how the bomb was made and why Germany was not able to produce one. Some of the scientists indicated that they were happy that they had not been able to build a nuclear bomb for Adolf Hitler, while some of the others, more sympathetic to the Nazi party, were dismayed at having failed. Otto Hahn, one of those who were grateful that Germany had not built a bomb, chided those who had worked on the German project, saying "If the Americans have a uranium bomb then you're all second-raters."

In the transcripts, Hahn contemplates suicide after learning of the bombing of Hiroshima, believing himself personally responsible, while less than two weeks after the announcement Heisenberg had figured out the process by which the bomb was built.

The transcripts were originally sent as reports to British military officers, and were then forwarded to the U.S. War Department, where they eventually made it to General Leslie Groves of the Manhattan Project, as part of Operation Alsos. In February 1992 they were declassified and published.

Carl's Corner

Carl's Corner is a town in Hill County, Texas, United States. The population was 134 at the 2000 census. The town was founded by, and named after, Carl Cornelius, a local truck stop owner and long-time friend of Willie Nelson. Cornelius founded the town for the purpose of legalizing alcohol sales in the otherwise mostly-dry county.

Cornelius' property adjacent to the truck stop was the site of several Willie Nelson Fourth of July concerts in the early 1980s. Cornelius' truck stop was also the first to offer BioWillie, the biodiesel fuel marketed by Willie Nelson.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.9 square miles, all of it land.

20th Century Limited

The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train operated by the New York Central Railroad from 1902 to 1967, during which time it would become known as a "National Institution" and the "Most Famous Train in the World". The train traveled between Grand Central Terminal in New York City and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago, Illinois along the railroad's famed "Water Level Route". Making few station stops along the way, the train completed the 960.7 miles (1,546 km) journey in under 16 hours, departing New York City westbound at 6 p.m. and arriving at Chicago's LaSalle St. Station the following morning at 8:45 a.m. Central Time., averaging 61 miles per hour (98 km/h).

The 20th Century was known for its style, which has been described as "spectacularly understated ... suggesting exclusivity and sophistication" as well as for its speed. Passengers walked to and from the train on a plush, crimson carpet which was rolled out in New York and Chicago and was specially designed for the 20th Century Limited: thus, the "red carpet treatment" was born. "Transportation historians", said the writers of The Art of the Streamliner, "consistently rate the 1938 edition of the Century to be the world's ultimate passenger conveyance—at least on the ground".

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

D.B. Cooper

D. B. Cooper is the name attributed to a man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the United States on November 24, 1971, received US$200,000 in ransom, and parachuted from the plane. The name he used to board the plane was Dan Cooper, but through a later press miscommunication, he became known as "D. B. Cooper". Despite hundreds of leads through the years, no conclusive evidence has ever surfaced regarding Cooper's true identity or whereabouts, and the bulk of the money has never been recovered. Several theories offer competing explanations of what happened after his famed jump, which the FBI believes he did not survive.

The nature of Cooper's escape and the uncertainty of his fate continue to intrigue people. The Cooper case (code-named "Norjak" by the FBI) is the only unsolved U.S. aircraft hijacking, and one of the few such cases anywhere in the world, along with Malaysia Airlines Flight 653.

The Cooper case has baffled government and private investigators for decades, with countless leads turning into dead ends. As late as March 2008, the FBI thought it might have had a breakthrough when children unearthed a parachute within the bounds of Cooper's probable jump site near the town of Amboy, Washington. Experts later determined that it did not belong to the hijacker.

Despite the case's enduring lack of evidence, a few significant clues have arisen. In late 1978 a placard containing instructions on how to lower the aft stairs of a 727, later confirmed to be from the rear stairway of the plane from which Cooper jumped, was found just a few flying minutes north of Cooper's projected drop zone. In February 1980 on the banks of the Columbia River, eight-year-old Brian Ingram found $5,880 in decaying $20 bills, which proved to be part of the original ransom.

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a cocktail, possibly the first drink to be called a cocktail. It is traditionally served in a short, round, 8–12 ounce tumbler-like glass, called an Old-Fashioned glass, named after the drink.

Some claim the first use of the specific name "Old Fashioned" was for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail in the 1880s, at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe is said to have been invented by a bartender at that club, and popularized by a club member and bourbon distiller, Colonel James E. Pepper, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. Others point out that the term was already in use before the Pendennis Club was founded.

An 1895 recipe specifies the following:

  1. Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey glass
  2. Add two dashes Angostura bitters
  3. Add a small piece of ice
  4. Add a piece lemon peel
  5. Add one jigger (1.5 ounces or 44 mL) whiskey

Mix with small bar spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass.

Wendy O. Williams

Wendy Orlean Williams (May 28, 1949April 6, 1998), better known as Wendy O. Williams, was the lead singer for the American punk band the Plasmatics, whose stage theatrics included blowing up equipment, near nudity and chain-sawing guitars.

Dubbed "The Queen of Shock Rock," Williams was widely considered the most controversial and radical female singer of her day.[1] She often sported a Mohawk haircut. Williams was nominated in 1985 for a Grammy in the Best Female Rock Vocal category during the height of her popularity as a solo artist.

Williams died at age 48 in 1998 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a wooded area near her home.

Pancetta

Italian pancetta is a type of dry cured meat. It is pork belly that has been salt cured and spiced (nutmeg, pepper, fennel, dried ground hot peppers and garlic are often featured), and dried for about three months (but usually not smoked). There are many varieties, and in Italy each region produces its own type. In Corsica it is considered a regional flavour.

Pancetta can be rolled (see photograph), or straight (with all the fat on one side). The straight variety is more common in Italy and Spain than elsewhere, especially where home-made pancetta is still produced.

When served on its own, the rolled pancetta is presented in very thin slices. More often it is used to flavour other dishes, especially pasta sauces. Recipes such as all’amatriciana often contain pancetta as a substitute for guanciale, which is much more difficult to find outside of Italy.

Noodling

Noodling is a southern US practice of fishing for catfish using only bare hands. Many other names, such as catfisting, grabbling, graveling, hogging, dogging, gurgling, tickling and stumping, are used in different regions for the same activity. Noodling is currently legal in eleven states.

Although the concept, catching fish with only the use of the arm in the water, is simple enough, the process of noodling is more complicated. The choice of catfish as the prey is not arbitrary, but comes from the circumstances of their habitat. Flathead catfish live in holes or under brush in rivers and lakes and thus are easy to capture due to the static nature of their dwelling. To begin, a noodler goes underwater to depths ranging from only a few feet to up to twenty feet, placing his hand inside a discovered catfish hole. If all goes as planned, the catfish will swim forward and latch onto the fisherman's hand, usually as a defensive maneuver in order to try to escape the hole. If the fish is particularly large, the noodler can hook the head around its gills.

Most noodlers have spotters who help them bring the catfish in, either to shore or to their boat. When a catfish bites onto a noodler, it holds on for quite a while.

With some of the biggest fish caught weighing in at up to 50-60 pounds, very few noodlers are strong enough to attempt noodling by themselves. Although carrying the fish after they have been subdued is not difficult, trying to secure a fish and remove it from one's hand at the same time can be a challenge.

Business Plot

The Business Plot (also the Plot Against FDR and the White House Putsch) was a reported political conspiracy in 1933 which involved wealthy businessmen plotting a coup d’état to overthrow United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934 retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler testified to the McCormack-Dickstein Congressional committee that a group of men had approached him as part of a plot to overthrow Roosevelt in a coup. In the opinion of the committee these allegations were credible.

One of the purported plotters, Gerald MacGuire, vehemently denied any such plot. In their report, the Congressional committee stated that it was able to confirm Butler's statements other than the proposal from MacGuire which it considered more or less confirmed by MacGuire's European reports. However, no prosecutions or further investigations followed.

Contemporaneous media initially dismissed the plot, with a The New York Times editorial characterizing it as a "gigantic hoax;" When the committee's final report was released, the Times said the committee "purported to report that a two-month investigation had convinced it that General Butler's story of a Fascist march on Washington was alarmingly true."

Mountain Meadows Massacre

The Mountain Meadows massacre was a mass slaughter of the Fancher-Baker emigrant wagon train at Mountain Meadows, Utah Territory, by the local Mormon militia on 11 September 1857. It began as an attack, quickly turned into a siege, and eventually culminated in the execution of the unarmed emigrants after their surrender. All of the party except for seventeen children under eight years old—about 120 men, women, and children—were killed. After the massacre, the corpses of the victims were left decomposing for two years on the open plain, their children were distributed to local Mormon families, and many of their possessions auctioned off at the Latter Day Saint Cedar City tithing office.

Pangboche Hand

The Pangboche Hand is an artifact stolen from a Buddhist monastery in Pangboche, Nepal. Supporters contend that the hand is from a Yeti, a scientifically unrecognized animal purported to live in the Himalayan mountains. Critics argue the artifact is a fraud, based upon a probable misunderstanding of the history of the sacred relic.

Oil businessman and adventurer Tom Slick first heard accounts of the possible existence of a "Yeti hand" held as a ritual artifact in the monastery at Pangboche during one of his first "Abominable Snowman" treks in 1957. The Slick expeditions were the first to bring photographs of the hand back to the West.

On later Tom Slick-sponsored expeditions in and around the Himalayas, his associates gathered more information on the "Pangboche hand," and an effort to further examine it was planned. In 1959 Peter Byrne, a member of Slick's expedition that year, reportedly stole pieces of the artifact after the monks who owned it refused to allow its removal for study. Byrne claimed to have replaced the stolen bone fragments with human bones, rewrapping the hand to disguise his theft.

Byrne smuggled the bones from Nepal into India, after which actor James Stewart allegedly smuggled the hand out of the country in his luggage. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman rediscovered this story while writing Tom Slick's biography in the 1980s. Coleman confirmed details of the incidents with written materials in the Slick archives, interviews with Byrne, and correspondence with Stewart. Byrne later confirmed the Pangboche hand story via a letter from Stewart that Byrne published in a general book on Nepalese wildlife.

During the highly-publicized 1960 World Book expedition, which had many goals including gathering intelligence on Chinese rocket launchings, Sir Edmund Hillary and Marlin Perkins took a sidetrip in Nepal to investigate the hand. Hillary was unaware of the possibility that he was looking at a combination of the original material and the human bones placed there by Byrne. Hillary determined the artifact was a hoax.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters was an American children's television series that ran from 1973 to 1975, produced by Sid and Marty Krofft and aired on Saturday mornings. There were 29 episodes spanning two seasons.

On a day at the beach in La Jolla, California, Sid Krofft saw some seaweed floating up from a cave. Sid thought the seaweed appeared to be alive. This incident served as inspiration for a show about a character that looked like living seaweed -- Sigmund the sea monster.

The show centered on two brothers, Johnny (Johnny Whitaker) and Scott Stuart (Scott Kolden), who discover Sigmund (played by famous Hollywood short person, Billy Barty), a friendly young sea monster who had been thrown out by his comically dysfunctional undersea family for refusing to frighten people. The boys hide Sigmund in their clubhouse, and wacky hi-jinx ensues as they attempt to elude Sigmund’s relatives and the boys' housekeeper.

Jobriath

Jobriath was the stage name of Bruce Wayne Campbell (December 14, 1946-September 3, 1983), who was a glam rock singer from 1973 to 1974.

Signed to Elektra Records for a reported $500,000, he was advanced by his manager Jerry Brandt as the great American glam singer. A huge marketing campaign ensued, with Jobriath's naked torso on buses, in music magazines, and on a 43 x 41 billboard in Times Square. Jobriath is credited as the first mass-marketed pop star, and the first to be openly gay. On both counts, it was thought to be too much. Jobriath's first, self-titled album was well-publicized, but sold very poorly. The public seemed less frightened than puzzled by the performer who sang of sexual themes, posed as an alien (not unlike David Bowie or Zolar X, or later Klaus Nomi), sang in a range of styles and voices, and name-checked everyone from Jesus to Marlene Dietrich.

Losing interest in the act, Brandt canceled their much-talked-of stage show. A second LP, Creatures of the Street, which contained songs from the same extensive sessions as the first album, was released to scant interest. Glam itself was fading, and by late 1974 had all but vanished. After Jobriath and his band embarked on a brief American concert tour the act folded. Other members of the band included Jim Gregory, Steve Love, Greg Diamond, and Hayden Wayne. Over the next decade he became known as one of the industry's most expensive blunders.

Jobriath himself sought to distance himself from his solo career, taking a new name, Cole Berlin, and adopting a new style - cabaret. He played the rest of his life in local cabarets, clubs and parties. Under contract to Brandt for 10 years, he could not record music, but worked privately on a series of musicals, including the fabled "Popstar." By the time the contract was up, Jobriath was dying of AIDS, which eventually took his life in September 1983.

Battle of Cannae

The Battle of Cannae was a major battle of the Second Punic War, taking place on August 2, 216 BC near the town of Cannae in Apulia in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage under Hannibal decisively defeated a numerically superior army of the Roman Republic under command of the consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro. It is regarded as one of the greatest tactical feats in military history and, in terms of the numbers killed, the greatest defeat of Rome. Having recovered from their previous losses at Trebia (218 BC) and Trasimene (217 BC), the Romans decided to engage Hannibal at Cannae, with roughly 87,000 Roman and Allied troops. The Romans massed their heavy infantry in a deeper formation than usual while Hannibal utilized the double-envelopment tactic. This was so successful that the Roman army was destroyed as a fighting force.

The Battle of Cannae is as famous for Hannibal's tactics as it is for the role it played in Roman history. Not only did Hannibal inflict a defeat on the Roman Republic in a manner unrepeated for over a century until the lesser-known Battle of Arausio, the battle itself has acquired a significant reputation within the field of military history. Hannibal's double envelopement at the Battle of Cannae is often viewed as one of the greatest battlefield manoeuvers in history, and is cited as the first successful use of the pincer movement within the Western world, to be recorded in detail.

Ken Nordine

Ken Nordine (born April 13, 1920) is an American voiceover and recording artist best known for his series of Word Jazz albums. His deep, resonant voice has also been featured in many commercial advertisements and movie trailers. One critic wrote that "you may not know Ken Nordine by name or face, but you'll almost certainly recognize his voice."

During the 1940s, he was heard on The World's Great Novels and other radio programs broadcast from Chicago.

He attracted much wider attention when he recorded the aural vignettes on Word Jazz (Dot, 1957). Word Jazz, Son of Word Jazz (Dot, 1958) and his other albums in this vein feature Nordine's narration over cool jazz by the Chico Hamilton jazz group, recording under the alias of Fred Katz, who was then the cellist with Hamilton's quintet.

Nordine began performing and recording such albums at the peak of the beat era and was associated with the poetry-and-jazz movement. However, some of Nordine's "writings are more akin to Franz Kafka or Edgar Allan Poe" than to the beats. Many of his word jazz tracks feature critiques of societal norms. Some are lightweight and humorous, while others reveal dark, paranoid undercurrents and bizarre, dream-like scenarios.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Here Come the Warm Jets

Here Come the Warm Jets is the debut solo album by Brian Eno. Produced by Eno, it was released on Island Records in 1974. The musical style of Here Come the Warm Jets is a hybrid of glam rock and art rock, similar to Eno's previous album work with Roxy Music but with songs that are more quirky and experimental. The album features various guest musicians, including Robert Fripp of King Crimson, members of Roxy Music, Hawkwind, Matching Mole, and The Pink Fairies. In developing the album's words and music, Eno used abstract methods such as dancing for his band members and having them play accordingly, and singing nonsense words to himself that would form the basis of subsequent lyrics.

Eno enlisted sixteen guest musicians to play on the album with him, including John Wetton and Robert Fripp of King Crimson, Simon King from Hawkwind, Bill MacCormick of Matching Mole, Paul Rudolph of Pink Fairies, and all the members of Roxy Music except vocalist Bryan Ferry. Eno selected them on the basis that he thought they were incompatible with each other musically.[9] He stated that he "got them together merely because I wanted to see what happens when you combine different identities like that and allow them to compete.... [The situation] is organized with the knowledge that there might be accidents, accidents which will be more interesting that what I had intended".[9]

Eno directed the musicians by using body language and dancing, as well as through verbal suggestion, to influence their playing and the sounds they would emit. He felt that this was a good way to communicate with musicians at the time.[14] The album credits Eno with instruments such as "snake guitar", "simplistic piano" and "electric larynx". These terms were used to describe the sound's character or the means of production used to treat the instruments.[9] After recording the individual tracks, Eno condensed and mixed the instrumentation deeply, resulting in some of the tracks bearing little resemblance to what the musicians recorded during the session.[14]

Prester John

The legends of Prester John, popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, told of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Reportedly a descendant of one of the Three Magi, Prester John was said to be a generous ruler and a virtuous man, presiding over a realm full of riches and strange creatures. His kingdom contained such marvels as the Gates of Alexander and the Fountain of Youth, and even bordered the Earthly Paradise.

At first, Prester John was imagined to be in India. After the coming of the Mongols to the Western world, accounts placed the king in Central Asia, and eventually Portuguese explorers convinced themselves they had found him in Ethiopia. Prester John's kingdom was thus the object of a quest, firing the imaginations of generations of adventurers, but remaining out of reach. He was a symbol to European Christians of the Church's universality, transcending culture and geography to encompass all humanity, in a time when ethnic and interreligious tension made such a vision seem distant.

Split

A split is a situation in ten pin bowling in which the first ball of a frame knocks down the headpin (i.e., the "number 1" pin) but leaves standing two or more non-adjacent groups of one or more pins.

The most infamous of splits is the 7–10 split, often called "goal posts" or "bedposts", where the bowler is left with the leftmost and the rightmost pin in the back row (the number 7 and number 10) to knock down with a single ball to achieve a spare.

The only way to pick this up is to let a pin fly back from the pit area. This is very difficult to achieve by itself as a pin flying out from the pit is a fairly rare occurrence. Sliding the pin directly will not work since the ball will fall off the lane before it gets far enough aside the 7 or 10 pin to slide it directly across.

It is sometimes possible to slide the 7 pin onto the 10 pin by using a bowling ball which comes into contact with the 7 pin just before dropping into the gutter (usually the ball would be on the 1st or 2nd board near the gutter at the point of contact). There is nearly no margin for error in order to achieve this and the contact must be made before the ball enters the gutter or it would be considered an illegal spare.

Truffle

A truffle is a fungal fruiting body that develops underground and relies on mycophagy for spore dispersal.

There are hundreds of species of truffles, but the fruiting body of some (mostly in the genus Tuber) are highly prized as a food. Brillat-Savarin called these truffles "the diamond of the kitchen". Edible truffles are held in high esteem in French, northern Italian and Istrian cooking, as well as in international haute cuisine.

The White truffle or Alba Truffle (Tuber magnatum) comes from the Langhe area of the Piedmont region in northern Italy and, most famously, in the countryside around the city of Alba. It is also found in Croatia, on the Istria peninsula in the Motovun forest alongside Mirna river.[6] The white truffle market in Alba is busiest in the months of October and November. The Tuber magnatum truffles sell between $2,200 and $1,000 US per pound (€3800 to €1700 per kg)[8] Truffle hogs have been used historically in Europe to help find truffles. However, more recently, dogs have become preferred for truffle hunting since they can be trained not to eat truffles when they find them.

The Black truffle or Black Périgord Truffle (Tuber melanosporum) is named after the Périgord region in France and grows exclusively with oak. Specimens can be found in late autumn and winter, reaching 7 cm in diameter and weighing up to 100 g.[7] Production is almost exclusively European, with France accounting for 45%, Spain 35%, Italy 20%, and small amounts from Slovenia and Croatia. The largest truffle market in France is at Richerenches in Vaucluse. It is busiest in the month of January when the black truffles have their highest perfume. Black truffles on these markets sell between 200 and 600 per kilogram (USD$130–$380 per pound), depending on the quantity and quality of the harvest.


Million Dollar Homepage

The Million Dollar Homepage is a website conceived in 2005 by Alex Tew, a student from Wiltshire, England, to raise money for his university education. The home page consists of a million pixels arranged in a 1000 × 1000 pixel grid; the image-based links on it were sold for $1 per pixel in 10 × 10 blocks. The purchasers of these pixel blocks provided tiny images to be displayed on them, a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) to which the images were linked, and a slogan to be displayed when hovering a cursor over the link. The aim of the website was to sell all of the pixels in the image, thus generating a million dollars of income for the creator. The Wall Street Journal has commented that the site inspired other websites that sell pixels.

Launched on 26 August 2005, the website became an Internet phenomenon. The Alexa ranking of web traffic peaked at around 127; as of 9 May 2009 (2009 -05-09), it is 40,044.[3] On 1 January 2006, the final 1,000 pixels were put up for auction on eBay. The auction closed on 11 January with a winning bid of $38,100 that brought the final tally to $1,037,100 in gross income.

Great White Fleet

The Great White Fleet was the popular nickname for the United States Navy battle fleet that completed a circumnavigation of the globe from 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909 by order of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. It consisted of four squadrons of four battleships each, with their escorts. Roosevelt sought to demonstrate growing American military power and blue-water navy capability.

In the twilight of Roosevelt's administration, the president dispatched sixteen U.S. Navy battleships of the Atlantic Fleet and their escorts, on a worldwide voyage of circumnavigation from 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909. With their hulls painted white except for the gilded scrollwork with a red, white, and blue banner on their bows, these ships would later come to be known as the Great White Fleet. The fleet was greeted with excitement around the world. In port after port, citizens in the thousands turned out to see and greet the fleet.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grice

The grice was a type of swine native to the Shetland Isles of Scotland; similar pigs also occurred in the Highlands and Islands. Small in size, yet ferocious, this domesticated breed of pig fell out of favour with crofters during the late 19th century and became extinct.

Accounts suggest grice were aggressive animals with small tusks, an arched back, and a coat of stiff dark bristles over a fleece of wool. Like other species on the islands, evolved to be small and hardy to survive the harsh environmental conditions.

"Grice" is a Scottish and northern English dialect word originally meaning "young pig" (Scandinavian: Gris).

Most Shetland crofts would have at least one grice kept on grazing lands, though they would often roam across adjacent farmland, rooting up crops and occasionally attacking lambs. This behaviour led to the passing of a "grice law" fining the owner £10 plus the cost of any damages caused by rogue grice. This was such a problem that the townspeople would refer to their damaged property as being "griced."

In the 1800s, landowners discouraged the keeping of swine on island crofts. This, combined with the increasing import of other breeds from the Scottish mainland, resulted in a dwindling grice population, and by the 1930s the breed was extinct.

In 2006 curators at the Shetland Museum and Archives commissioned a taxidermist to recreate a grice from the stuffed body of an immature wild boar. As noone alive had seen a grice, the accuracy of the model relied on descriptions in "published sources ... investigated artifact and archaeological findings". The model grice went on public display in spring 2007.

Maraschino

Maraschino is a bittersweet, clear liqueur flavored with Marasca cherries, which are grown in Dalmatia, Croatia, mostly around the city of Zadar and in Torreglia (near Padua in Northern Italy).

The liqueur's distinctive flavor comes from the Marasca cherries, and the crushed cherry pits lend an almond-like flavor to Maraschino. Honey is also part of the ancient recipe. The distillate is allowed to mature for two years in Finnish ashwood vats (because this wood does not lend its colour to the liqueur even after many years of maturing), and is then diluted and sugared. It is typically bottled in a straw-coated bottle.

The recipe of liqueur was made and noted by the apothecaries of Zadar Dominican monastery at the beginning of 16th century, it was known under the name of Rosolj which came from the word "ros solis"- "the sun dew". In 18th century this liqueur was named Maraschino, as it was produced from the essence of ripe fruits of the cherry marasca, as well as from the leaves of its sprigs.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world and is named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. Both folklore and archeological finds show that the breed originated in Mexico. The most common theory and most likely is that Chihuahuas are descended from the Techichi, a companion dog favored by the Toltec civilization in Mexico.

Historical records indicate that the Techichi, were thought to hunt in packs. They can only be traced as far back as the ninth century but it is highly likely that this is the Chihuahua's native Mexican ancestor. Evidence of this is that the remains of dogs closely resembling, but slightly larger than the average Chihuahua have been found in such places as the Great Pyramid of Cholula, which dates back to the 2nd century BC and predates the 16th century. There is also evidence to suggest that the Techichi may also predate the Mayans.

A progenitor of the breed was reputedly found in 1850 in old ruins near Casas Grandes in the Mexican state of Chihuahua from which the breed gets its name.[2] The state borders with Texas, Arizona and New Mexico where Chihuahuas first rose to prominence and were further developed in the United States. Since that time, the Chihuahua has remained consistently popular as a breed, particularly in America when the breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904.

Durian

The durian is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae). Widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", the durian is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds". The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.

Remain in Light

Remain in Light is the fourth album by Talking Heads, released in 1980. The album was greeted with much critical acclaim and praise, and was the last Talking Heads album produced by Brian Eno. Even though the band has many critically acclaimed albums, Remain in Light is widely considered their magnum opus. Featuring funky African polyrhythms, the album became an influential post punk, world music and New Wave recording.

As a result of its polyrhythmic architecture and collaborative, funk-driven songs, Remain in Light compelled Talking Heads to include seven additional musicians, including guitarist Adrian Belew and Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell, on their concert tour in support of the album.

The final track on the album, "The Overload", was Talking Heads' attempt to emulate the sound of the band Joy Division. This effort was made in spite of the fact that no one in the band had actually heard the music of Joy Division. Rather, it was based on an idea of what Joy Division might sound like, based on descriptions of their music in the press.

The album cover and liner notes were created by the notable graphic designer, Tibor Kalman. Kalman based the cover artwork on the life story of Tina Weymouth, with a fleet of planes on the back cover connected with her childhood as the daughter of a traveling U.S. Navy admiral with an aviation background, and digitally distorted faces of the band members representing her at-the-time current status as a member of the band and the electro-centric direction the band had taken.

Jean Shepherd

Jean Shepherd (July 26, 1921October 16, 1999) was an American raconteur, radio and TV personality, writer and actor who was often referred to by the nickname Shep.

Shepherd began his broadcast radio career on WSAI-AM in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1948. From 1951 to 1953 he had a late-night broadcast on KYW-AM in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after which he returned to Cincinnati for a show on WLW. Shepherd settled in at WOR radio New York City, New York on an overnight slot in 1956, where he delighted his fans[3] by telling stories, reading poetry (especially the works of Robert W. Service), and organizing comedic listener stunts. He broadcast until he left WOR in 1977.

In addition to his stories, his shows also contained, among other things, humorous anecdotes and general commentaries about the human condition, observations about life in New York, accounts of vacations in Maine and travels throughout the world. Among the most striking of his programs was his account of his participation in the March on Washington in August 1963, during which Dr. Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, and the program that aired on November 25, 1963—the day of President Kennedy's burial. However, his most scintillating programs remain his oftimes prophetic, bitingly humorous commentaries about ordinary life in America.

Perfect Game

A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base. Thus, the pitcher (or pitchers) cannot allow any hits, walks, hit batters, or any opposing player to reach base safely for any other reason—in short, "27 up, 27 down". The feat has been achieved only 18 times in the history of major league baseball—16 times since the modern era began in 1900.

The first confirmed use of the term "perfect game" was in 1908; the current official definition of the term was formalized in 1991. Although it is possible for multiple pitchers to combine for a perfect game (as has happened nine times at the major league level for a no-hitter), to date, every major league perfect game has been thrown by a single pitcher.

Appointment in Samarra

Appointment in Samarra, published in 1934, is the first novel by John O'Hara. It concerns the self-destruction of Julian English, once a member of the social elite of Gibbsville (O'Hara's fictionalized version of Pottsville, Pennsylvania).

The title is a reference to W. Somerset Maugham's retelling of an old story, which appears as an epigraph for the novel: A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Shortly, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, and she made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant's horse, he flees at top speed to Samarra, a distance of about 75 miles (125 km), where he believes Death will not find him. The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture. She replies, "That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra."

Big Chief Tablet

The Big Chief tablet was a popular writing notebook for several generations of young children in the United States. It featured widely spaced lines, easier to write in for those learning to write. Its prominence, though, was the cover's representation of a native American in full headdress, hence "Big Chief."

The copyright for the Big Chief tablet originally went to the Western Tablet Company of Saint Joseph, Missouri but was sold to the Mead Corp., a leading stationery manufacturer. In January 2001, Everett Pad and Paper purchased Springfield Tablet, the latest manufacturer of Big Chief. They closed operations of their plant, after 80 years of being open, and Big Chief is currently no longer being produced.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Smokey Stover

Smokey Stover was a comic strip written and drawn by Bill Holman from the 1930s until he retired in 1973. Distributed through the Chicago Tribune, it featured the misadventures of the titular fireman, and had the longest run of any strip in the screwball genre.

The goofy situations usually featured Smokey the firefighter (often in his two-wheeled Foomobile), his wife Cookie and his son Earl. Smokey's boss was Chief Cash U. Nutt. Smokey (short for "Smokestack") wore a hat with a hole in its hinged bill, and he occasionally used the hole in the bill as an ashtray for his burning cigar.

An "anything for a laugh" atmosphere pervaded the panels, and Holman's continuing inventiveness managed to keep Smokey Stover going for nearly 40 years. Holman often reached moments of surreality that did for comic strips what Tex Avery's wacky cartoons offered in animation.

Tony Clifton

Tony Clifton is a fictitious character created and often played by comedian Andy Kaufman in the late 1970s. Characteristic of the many elaborate hoaxes and practical jokes Kaufman concocted, Clifton was not exclusively played by Kaufman—others stepped into the role on occasion—enabling Kaufman and his accomplices to create an air of confusion as to whether Clifton was a real person or not.

Poutine

Poutine is a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy and sometimes additional ingredients. [1]

Poutine is a diner staple which originated in Quebec and can now be found across Canada. It is sold by both fast food chains (such as New York Fries, Harvey's, Ed's Subs[2]), in small "greasy spoon" type diners ( commonly known as "casse-croûtes" in Quebec) and pubs, as well as by roadside chip wagons. International chains like McDonald's,[3] A&W,[4] KFC and Burger King[5] also sell mass-produced poutine. Popular Quebec restaurants that serve poutine include Chez Ashton (Quebec City), La Banquise (Montreal), Louis (Sherbrooke), Lafleur Restaurants, Franx Supreme [6], La Belle Province, Le Petit Québec and Dic Ann's Hamburgers. Along with fries and pizza, poutine is a very common dish sold and eaten in high school cafeterias in various parts of Canada.