Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gleiwitz Incident

The Gleiwitz incident was a staged attack by Nazi forces posing as Poles on 31 August 1939, against the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, Germany (since 1945: Gliwice, Poland) on the eve of World War II in Europe.

This provocation was the best-known of several actions in Operation Himmler, a Nazi Germany SS project. It was intended to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany in order to justify the subsequent invasion of Poland.

Much of what is known about the Gleiwitz incident comes from the sworn affidavit of Alfred Naujocks at the Nuremberg Trials. In his testimony, he states that he organized the incident under orders from Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller, the chief of the Gestapo.

On the night of 31 August 1939, a small group of German operatives, dressed in Polish uniforms and led by Naujocks seized the Gleiwitz station and broadcast a short anti-German message in Polish (sources vary on the content of the message). The Germans' goal was to make the attack and the broadcast look like the work of anti-German Polish saboteurs.

To make the attack seem more convincing, the Germans brought in Franciszek Honiok, a German Silesian known for sympathizing with the Poles, who had been arrested the previous day by the Gestapo. Honiok was dressed to look like a saboteur; then killed by lethal injection, given gunshot wounds, and left dead at the scene, so that he appeared to have been killed while attacking the station. His corpse was subsequently presented as proof of the attack to the police and press.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Fritter

A fritter is any kind of food coated in batter and deep fried. Although very similar to a donut it differs in the fact that it requires some base ingredient beyond the dough it is cooked with.

In British fish and chip shops, the fish and chips can be accompanied by fritters, which means a food item (such as a slice of potato, a pineapple ring, an apple ring (or chunks) or some mushy peas) fried in batter. Hence: potato fritter, pineapple fritter, apple fritter, pea fritter, etc.

In most Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, it is common for a variety of fritters, called "cucur" (such as yam, sweet potato and banana) to be fried by the roadside in a large wok and sold as snacks. Fritters are extremely popular roadside snacks all over South Asia and are commonly referred to as Pakora (Pakoda) or Bhajia in local parlance.

Although containing soft centres within fritters can be tricky, it is a common misconception that in this case they contain bread. Fritters are exclusively dough- or batter-based foodstuffs.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Karl von Drais

Karl von Drais (April 29, 1785 – December 10, 1851) was a German inventor and invented the Laufmaschine ("running machine"), also later called the velocipede, draisine (English) or "draisienne" (French), also nick-named the dandy horse. This incorporated the two-wheeler principle that is basic to the bicycle and motorcycle and was the beginning of mechanized personal transport. Drais also invented the earliest typewriter with a keyboard in 1821, later developed into an early stenograph machine, and a wood-saving cooker including the earliest hay chest.

Karl von Drais was born in Karlsruhe with the aristocratic title Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Christian Ludwig, Freiherr Drais von Sauerbronn, but as he was a democrat, he did not use his title. His father was the chief judge of Baden, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig von Drais. His mother was Margarete Ernestine von Kaltenthal. The Margrave of Baden, Carl Friedrich von Baden, was one of Karl's godfathers.

From 1803 to 1805, von Drais studied architecture, agriculture and physics at the University of Heidelberg.

He joined the civil service as a forestry official and in 1810 received the title of chief forester, but was not yet assigned a commensurate position. One year later he was suspended from active service, but continued to receive his salary so that he could devote more time to his inventions.

Von Drais's most influential invention was the Laufmaschine or velocipede, the earliest form of a bicycle, yet without pedals. His first reported ride, from Mannheim to the "Schwetzinger Relaishaus" (a coaching inn, located in "Rheinau", today a district of Mannheim) took place on June 12, 1817. In the same year, he undertook his second trip, from Gernsbach to Baden-Baden, and others.

On January 12, 1818, von Drais was awarded a grand-ducal privilege (Großherzogliches Privileg) to exploit his invention. Baden had no patent law at that time. Grand Duke Karl also appointed Drais Professor of Mechanics. This was merely an honorary title, not related to any university or other institution. Von Drais retired from the civil service and continued to receive his salary as a kind of inventor's pension.

From 1822 to 1825, von Drais took part in a German expedition to Brazil, headed by Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff.

Von Drais died in his home town of Karlsruhe in 1851.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Myrmidons

The Myrmidons are people of ancient Greek mythology. They are very brave and skilled warriors as described in Homer's Iliad, and are commanded by Achilles. Their eponymous ancestor was Myrmidon, a king of Thessalian Phthia who was a son of Zeus and "wide-ruling" Eurymedousa, a princess of Phthia. She was seduced by him in the form of an ant. An etiological myth of their origins, simply expanding upon their supposed etymology — the name in Classical Greek was interpreted as "ant-people" was first mentioned by Ovid, in Metamorphoses: in Ovid's telling, King Aeacus of Aegina, father of Peleus, pleaded with Zeus to populate his country after a terrible plague. Zeus said his people would number as the ants on his sacred oak, and from the ants sprang the people of Aegina, the Myrmidons.

The Myrmidons of Greek myth were known for their loyalty to their leaders, so that in pre-industrial Europe the word "myrmidon" carried many of the same connotations that "robot" does today. Myrmidon later came to mean "hired ruffian" (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) or "a loyal follower, especially one who executes orders without question, protest, or pity, unquestioning followers." (Dictionary.com).

Myrmidons is also the title of the first of a trilogy of plays by Aeschylus, collectively known as Achilles. The other plays in the trilogy are Nereids and Phrygians. See Achilles (play) for more.

According to Homer's Iliad, the Myrmidons were the fiercest warriors in all of Greece.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Roadrunner

"Roadrunner" is a song written by Jonathan Richman and recorded in various versions by Richman and his band, in most cases credited as The Modern Lovers.

Richman’s band The Modern Lovers first recorded “Roadrunner” with producer John Cale (previously of the Velvet Underground) in 1972. This version was first released as single and in 1976 on The Modern Lovers' long-delayed but highly acclaimed debut album (originally Home of the Hits HH019).

As a teenager Richman saw the The Velvet Underground perform many times, and the format of “Roadrunner” is derived directly from the Velvets’ song “Sister Ray”. “Roadrunner” is based on two chords (D and A) rather than “Sister Ray”’s three, but they share the same persistent throbbing rhythm, and lyrics which in performance were largely improvised around a central theme.

However, in contrast to Lou Reed’s morally detached saga of debauchery and decay, Richman’s lyrics are passionate and candid, dealing with the freedom of driving alone and the beauty of the modern urban environment, specifically the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts.

Richman wrote the song by 1970, when he began performing it in public. Former bandmate John Felice recalled that as teenagers he and Richman "used to get in the car and just drive up and down Route 128 and the Turnpike. We'd come up over a hill and he’d see the radio towers, the beacons flashing, and he would get almost teary-eyed. He'd see all this beauty in things where other people just wouldn’t see it."

In July 2007, journalist Laura Barton wrote an essay published in the Guardian newspaper on her attempt to visit all the places mentioned in Richman's recorded versions of the song, including the Stop & Shop at Natick, Massachusetts, the Howard Johnson's restaurant, the Prudential Tower, Quincy, Cohasset, Deer Island, Route 128, and Interstate 90. Barton described "Roadrunner" as "one of the most magical songs in existence".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Open City

In war, in the event of the imminent capture of a city, the government/military structure of the nation that controls the city will sometimes declare it an open city, thus announcing that they have abandoned all defensive efforts.

The attacking armies of the opposing military will then be expected not to bomb or otherwise attack the city, but simply to march in. The concept aims at protecting the historic landmarks and civilians who dwell in the city from an unnecessary battle.

Some examples of declarations of an open city include:

Attacking forces do not always respect the declaration of an "open city." Defensive forces will use it as a political tactic as well.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spalding Gray

Spalding Rockwell Gray (June 5, 1941 – ca. January 10, 2004) was an American actor, playwright, screenwriter, performance artist, and monologist. He was primarily known for his trenchant, personal narratives delivered on sparse, unadorned sets with a dry, WASP, quiet mania. Gray achieved celebrity for writing and acting in the play Swimming to Cambodia, adapted into a film in 1987. Gray's books Impossible Vacation and Sex and Death to the Age 14 are largely based on his childhood and early adulthood.

Gray was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Rockwell Gray, Sr., a factory worker, and Margaret Elizabeth "Betty" Horton, a homemaker. He also had two younger brothers – Channing Michael and Rockwell, Jr. He was raised in the Christian Scientist faith and was raised in Barrington, Rhode Island, and spent summers at his grandmother's house in Newport.

After graduating from Barrington High School, he enrolled at Emerson College as a poetry major, where he earned his B.A. in 1963.

In 1965, Gray moved to San Francisco and became a speaker and teacher of poetry at the Esalen Institute. In 1967, while Gray was vacationing in Mexico City, his mother committed suicide at the age of 52. After his mother's death, Gray moved away from the west coast and permanently settled in New York City.

He began his career in regional theatre, moved to New York in 1967 and three years later joined Richard Schechner's experimental troupe, the Performance Group. He co-founded the Wooster Group ensemble in 1975.

He died in January, 2004, in New York City of an apparent suicide.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bessemer process

The Bessemer process was the first inexpensive industrial process for the mass-production of steel from molten pig iron. The process is named after its inventor, Henry Bessemer, who took out a patent on the process in 1855. The process was independently discovered in 1851 by William Kelly. The process had also been used outside of Europe for hundreds of years, but not on an industrial scale. The key principle is removal of impurities from the iron by oxidation with air being blown through the molten iron. The oxidation also raises the temperature of the iron mass and keeps it molten.

The process is carried on in a large ovoid steel container lined with clay or dolomite called the Bessemer converter. The capacity of a converter was from 8 to 30 tons of molten iron with a usual charge being around 15 tons. At the top of the converter is an opening, usually tilted to the side relative to the body of the vessel, through which the iron is introduced and the finished product removed. The bottom is perforated with a number of channels called tuyères through which air is forced into the converter. The converter is pivoted on trunnions so that it can be rotated to receive the charge, turned upright during conversion, and then rotated again for pouring out the molten steel at the end.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bulgogi

Bulgogi is a Korean dish that usually consists of marinated barbecued beef, although chicken or pork may also be used.

Bulgogi is made from thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef. The meat is marinated with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and other ingredients such as scallions, or mushrooms, especially white button mushrooms or shiitake. Sometimes, cellophane noodles are added to the dish, which varies by region and specific recipe. Before cooking, the meat is marinated to enhance its flavor and tenderness.

Bulgogi is traditionally grilled, but pan-cooking is common as well. It's common practice in Korean barbecue to grill or fry whole cloves of garlic, sliced onions, and chopped green peppers are often grilled or cooked with the meat. This dish is sometimes served with a side of lettuce or other leafy vegetable, which is used to wrap a slice of cooked meat, often along with a dab of ssamjang, or other side dishes, and then eaten as a whole.

Bulgogi literally means "fire meat" in Korean, which refers to the cooking technique—over an open flame—rather than the dish's spiciness. The term is also applied to variations such as dak bulgogi (made with chicken) or dwaeji bulgogi (made with pork), although the seasonings are different.

Bulgogi is believed to have originated during the Goguryeo era (37 BC–668 AD). It was originally called neobiani and was prepared especially for the king during the Joseon Dynasty.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tilde

The tilde is a grapheme with several uses. The name of the character comes from Spanish, from the Latin titulus meaning "title" or "superscription", though the term “tilde” has evolved in that language and now has a different meaning in linguistics.

It was originally written over a letter as a mark of abbreviation, but has since acquired a number of other uses as a diacritic mark or a character in its own right, and there are a number of Unicode characters for these different roles. In the latter capacity (especially in lexicography), the tilde or swung dash is used in dictionaries to indicate the omission of the entry word.

In languages, the tilde is used as a diacritical mark ( ˜ ) placed over a letter to indicate a change in pronunciation, such as nasalization.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

One Froggy Evening

One Froggy Evening is an approximately seven-minute long Technicolor animated short film written by Michael Maltese and directed by Chuck Jones, with musical direction by Milt Franklyn. This popular short contained a wide variety of musical entertainment, with songs ranging from "Hello! Ma Baby" and "I'm Just Wild About Harry", two Tin Pan Alley classics, to "Largo al Factotum", Figaro's aria from the opera Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The short was released on December 31, 1955 as part of Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.

A mid-1950s construction worker involved in the demolition a building finds a box inside a cornerstone. He opens it to reveal a singing, dancing frog, complete with top hat and cane. The box contains a document dated April 16th, 1892. The man tries exploiting the frog's talents for money, but as it turns out, it will not perform in front of anyone else. For the rest of the cartoon, the man frantically tries to demonstrate the frog's abilities to the outside world (first by trying to get an agent to accept him, then by renting out a theater), all to no avail. The haggard man spies a construction site and joyfully hides the box in the cornerstone of a building that is under construction. The timeline then jumps to the year 2056, where the building is demolished, and the box with the frog is discovered yet again by a 21st century demolition man, starting the process all over again....

Some critics and observers regard this cartoon short as the finest ever made. Steven Spielberg, in the PBS Chuck Jones biography Extremes & Inbetweens: A Life In Animation, called One Froggy Evening "the Citizen Kane of animated film." (Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 5, Disc 2) In 1994 it was voted #5 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. The film is ranked at IMDb as the sixth best short movie ever. In 2003 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Trujillo

Trujillo is a Spanish city of 9860 inhabitants (INE Census, 2008), located in the province of Cáceres, in the Extremadura region. Famous for its monuments, it is a premier resort in Extremadura. It was the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Peru, whose equestrian statue stands in the Plaza Mayor (The main square), and Francisco de Orellana. The most important monuments are the castle (old Arab fortress), the church of Santa María (thirteenth century) and the church of San Francisco.

Trujillo has a rich heritage. In Roman times the town was known as Turgalium and became a prefecture stipendiary of the Lusitanian capital, Emerita Augusta. Later it was colonised by barbarian tribes (mainly Visigoths) although the prevalence of the population would still be Hispano-Romans. With the Muslim invasion and conquest in 711, it became one of the main towns in the region, governed by the Taifa based in Madrid. This taifa was subject to the Umayyad Emirate and subsequent Caliphate ruled through the middle of the 11th Century.

Five centuries of Muslim occupation and control finally ended when an army formed by forces of the Military orders and the Bishop of Plasencia laid siege to the city of Trujillo with the support and blessing of Saint Ferdinand III. Muhammad ibn Hüd tried to relieve the town but was driven off by the besieging army.

Among the most important monuments are the Castle (Alcazaba), the church of Santiago, the church of Santa María la Mayor, the church of San Francisco, the Church of San Martín, the Plaza Mayor, and beautiful palaces like the palace of the Marquis of the Conquest, the palace of the Orellana-Pizarro family, the palace of the Duques de San Carlos, Marquesado de Piedras Albas, the house of the strong Altamirano, Palace Chaves (Luis Chaves Old), and of course the walled old town.

It has several museums: Museum of Coria (Javier Salas Foundation), Home-Museum of Pizarro, Enrique Elías Museum (local designer),Museum of Cheese and Wine.

King Juan II of Castilla gave the town the title of city in 1430. Later it had a Jewish quarter located outside of the powerful medieval walls. Trujillo, with the growth of the population was gradually extended beyond the walls.

Then some Trujillanos went to America to discover new places. When they come back, the built majestic palaces near the Plaza Mayor and surrounds, most of them can be visited today. Francisco Pizarro came back and helped enrich his family in the Plaza Mayor. His daughter from an Incan princess returned at 18 to marry her uncle and lived the rest of her life in Trujillo as a lady of great estate.

During the War for Independence, one of the first authorities that responded to the call of the Junta of Móstoles in May of 1808 was the mayor of Trujillo, Antonio Martin Rivas who prepared enlistments of volunteers, with food and arms, plus the mobilization of troops, to go to the aid of the the Junta. Trujillo was captured by the French in 1811 and held until 1812.

In 1834 the city became the official headquarters of the Judicial District of Trujillo. In the census of 1842 it had 110 households and 6026 residents.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Piero Fornasetti

Piero Fornasetti (November 10, 1913-1988) was an Italian painter, sculptor, interior decorator and engraver.

He lived most of life in Milan, attending the Brera Art Academy from 1930-32 when he was expelled for insubordination. During World War II, he went into exile in Switzerland from 1943-46. He created more than 11,000 items, many featuring the face of a woman, operatic soprano Lina Cavalieri, as a motif. Fornasetti found her face in a 19th century magazine. “What inspired me to create more than 500 variations on the face of a woman?” asks Italian designer, Piero Fornasetti of himself. “I don’t know,” he admits, “I began to make them and I never stopped.” The “Tema e Variazioni” (theme and variation) plate series based on Cavalieri's face numbered more than 350.

Other common features in his work include heavy use of black and white, the sun and time. His style is reminiscent of Greek and Roman architecture, from which he was heavily influenced.

Today it is most common to see Fornasetti's style in fashion and room accessories such as scarfs, ties, lamps, furniture, china plates and tables.

His son, Barnaba Fornasetti, continues to design in his father's name.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sink Wrench

A sink wrench, also known as a basin wrench, is a plumbing tool used to tighten connections in deeply recessed places.

The fasteners securing faucets and other connections under a sink are often in very tight places which would make access with a plumber wrench or other tools impossible. A sink wrench has a self-tightening camming jaw mounted at the end of a long tube with a handle at the opposite end. The head with the jaw may be flipped over to loosen connections.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is a stable emulsion of oil, vinegar or lemon juice, with many options for embellishment with other herbs and spices. Egg yolk is the traditional emulsifier. It is often cream in color, and may be anything in texture from that of light running cream to thick. In countries influenced by France, mustard is also a common ingredient, whereas in Spain it is made using the same ingredients, but specifically olive oil as the oil, and never with mustard. Numerous other sauces can be created from it with addition of various herbs, spices, and finely chopped pickles. Where mustard is used it is also an emulsifier.

The most probable origin of mayonnaise is that the recipe was brought back to France from the town of Mahon in Menorca (Spain), after Louis-François-Armand du Plessis de Richelieu's victory over the British at the city's port in 1756. According to this version, the sauce was originally known as salsa mahonesa in Spanish and maonesa in Catalan (as it is still known on Menorca), later becoming mayonnaise as it was popularized by the French.

The French Larousse Gastronomique 1961 suggests: "Mayonnaise, in our view, is a popular corruption of moyeunaise, derived from the very old French word moyeu, which means yolk of egg."The sauce may have been christened mayennaise after Charles de Lorraine, duke of Mayenne, because he took the time to finish his meal of chicken with cold sauce before being defeated in the Battle of Arques.

Nineteenth-century culinary writer Pierre Lacam suggested that in 1459, a London woman named Annamarie Turcauht stumbled upon this condiment after trying to create a custard of some sort.

According to Trutter et al.: "It is highly probable that wherever olive oil existed, a simple preparation of oil and egg came about – particularly in the Mediterranean region, where aioli (oil and garlic) is made."

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, mayonnaise made its English language debut in a cookbook of 1841.

Mayonnaise can be made by hand with a mortar and pestle, whisk or fork, or with the aid of an electric mixer, an electric blender, or a food processor. Mayonnaise is made by slowly adding oil to an egg yolk, while whisking vigorously to disperse the oil. The oil and the water in yolks form a base of the emulsion, while the lecithin from the yolks is the emulsifier that stabilizes it. Additionally, a bit of a mustard may also be added to sharpen its taste, and further stabilize the emulsion.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Hardy Boys

The Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe Hardy, are fictional teenage brothers and amateur detectives who appear in various mystery series for children and teens. The characters were created by Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a book-packaging firm, and the books have been written by many different ghostwriters over the years. The books are published under the collective pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon.

The Hardy Boys have evolved in various ways since their first appearance in 1927. Beginning in 1959, the books were extensively revised, largely to eliminate racist stereotypes. The books were also written in a simpler style in an attempt to compete with television. The original Hardy Boys Mystery Stories series ended in 2005.

Through all these changes, the characters have remained popular. The books sell more than a million copies a year. Several additional volumes are published annually, and the boys' adventures have been translated into more than 25 languages. The Hardy Boys have been featured in computer games and five television shows and used to promote merchandise such as lunchboxes and jeans. Critics have offered many explanations for the characters' longevity, suggesting variously that the Hardy Boys embody simple wish-fulfillment, American ideals of masculinity, a paradoxically powerful but inept father, and the possibility of the triumph of good over evil.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stevie and Zoya

Stevie and Zoya is an animated series that appeared first on MTV in the late 1980s. The one-minute shorts were produced by Joe Horne, who later worked for Disney and on Class of 3000.

The setting is New York City in the near future. The title characters work for a law enforcement agency called "DADDIO" (which seems to be a play on the similar organization in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.). Stevie Washington is depicted as a young white male in his early twenties, with black hair, sunglasses, black tee shirt, jeans and sneakers. He is rarely seen without his red, white and blue skateboard. Zoya (no last name mentioned) wears a red jumpsuit with a black belt, collar, gloves, stilletto-heeled boots and a large hair bow that resembles a Playboy bunny's rabbit ears. She is armed with the unlikeliest of weapons: a yo-yo. She uses it to swing from lamposts or buildings a la Spider-Man, to disarm opponents and on one occasion to defuse a bomb (by knocking off the fuse).

Stevie and Zoya attempt to stop the nefarious plots of various supervillains, including space aliens, the Minute Women, the voodoo priestess Mamuwaldi, the Discozombies, and most of all, disfigured evil industrialist John Warlok.

The early series was crudely scored (mostly with a pastiche of old movie and television music) and more crudely animated. Zoya spoke in only two episodes, and Stevie in only one with a single word..."Framed". The series was quickly paced, which gave it a cult status. Narration was supplied by actor Russell Johnson.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Johnson Smith Company

The Johnson Smith Company is a mail-order company officially established in 1914 by Alfred Johnson Smith in Chicago, Illinois, USA (but originally began in 1905 in Australia) that sells novelty and gag gift items such as x-ray goggles, whoopee cushions, fake vomit, and joy buzzers. The company moved to Bradenton, Florida in 1986 after having been in the Detroit, Michigan area since 1935 (and Racine, Wisconsin before that).

The company would normally put ads in magazines devoted to children and young adults such as Popular Mechanics and Science Digest. Their ads appeared on the back cover of many historically significant comic books, including Action Comics #1, June 1938 (first appearance of Superman) and Detective Comics #27, May 1939 (first appearance of Batman).

In 2004, the company marked its 90th anniversary.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Candy Barr

Candy Barr (July 6, 1935 – December 30, 2005) was an American stripper, burlesque exotic dancer, actress in one pornographic movie, and model in men's magazines of the mid-20th century. She was born Juanita Dale Slusher in Edna, Texas, the youngest of five children born to Elvin Forest "Doc" Slusher (August 19, 1909-May 2, 1969) and Sadie Mae Sumner (October 1, 1908-March 11, 1945).

During the 1950s, she received nationwide attention for her stripping career in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas; her troubles with the law; shooting her estranged second husband; and being arrested and sentenced to a prison term for drug possession, as well as her relationships with Mickey Cohen and Jack Ruby.

At age 16, though she appeared much older, she appeared in one of the most famous and widely circulated of the early underground pornographic movies, Smart Alec (1951). Because of this short blue movie, which is no more than 20 minutes in length, she has been called "the first porn star." She later insisted that she was drugged and coerced into appearing in the movie.

Shortly after the release of Smart Alec, and while still underage, she was hired as a stripper at the Theater Lounge in Dallas by Barney Weinstein for $85 a week. She acquired the stage name Candy Barr at this time—given her by Weinstein, reportedly because of her fondness for Snickers bars—bleached her hair platinum blonde, and quickly became a headliner. She also worked at Weinstein's Colony Club, with a large placard of her prominently displayed out front.

Barr established herself in burlesque and striptease with her trademark costume—cowboy hat, pasties, scant panties, a pair of pearl handled cap six-shooters in a holster strapped low on her shapely hips, and cowboy boots.

When the Theater Lounge would close, she would often patronize the after-hours Vegas Club, where she became acquainted with the owner and operator, Jack Ruby, in about 1952. Their friendship was very casual, however, as she never worked for him and never associated with him outside the Vegas Club and the Silver Spur Inn, which he also operated.

In late October of 1957, in yet another notorious case, Dallas police raided her apartment and found four-fifths of an ounce of marijuana, which was said to be hidden in her bra. She was arrested for drug possession, subsequently convicted, and received a 15-year prison sentence, though, according to her, she was set up and was only holding the marijuana for a friend.

While the marijuana case devolved into a lengthy series of appeals, her fame spread nationwide and the curvaceous, green-eyed blonde became the toast of the strip club runways, reportedly earning $2000 a week in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, as well as at the Sho-Bar Club on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

She and hairdresser Jack Sahakian were married November 25, 1959, in Las Vegas, while she was headlining at El Rancho Vegas Hotel. Days later, despite rumors that her arrest had been a setup designed to punish the stripper for her wantonness in conservative Dallas, Barr was arrested by the FBI when her appeal on the marijuana conviction was rejected by the Supreme Court.

On December 4, 1959, Barr reportedly left her third husband, Sahakian, and entered prison near Huntsville, Texas. After being incarcerated for over three years, Barr was paroled from Goree women's unit on April 1, 1963. Texas Governor John Connally pardoned her for the marijuana conviction in late 1967.

Barr returned to the stripping circuit in early 1968, including appearances at the Largo Club in Los Angeles and the Bonanza Hotel in Las Vegas. She also returned to the Colony Club in Dallas.

She then moved to Brownwood, Texas, as her father was ill in Kerrville. She was arrested and charged with marijuana possession again in 1969 in Brownwood. The district attorney in Brown County eventually dismissed the case against her for lack of evidence.

n 1992, Barr moved from Brownwood back to Edna. Living in quiet retirement, with her animals at her rural home, she was content not to exploit or relive her legendary past. She died at age 70 from complications of pneumonia at a hospital in Victoria, Texas. Her Dallas Morning News obituary said no funeral was planned.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pampas Cat

The Pampas Cat (Leopardus pajeros) is a small feline from the Pampas area of Argentina and Chile. Until recently it was considered a subspecies of the Colocolo.

The Pampas Cat can grow just over two feet high, with a tail of about twelve inches. It resembles a domestic cat, although stockier in appearance. The head is small compared to its body, and the muzzle has white around it. The habitat of the cat is varied, as its range covers most of western central South America, from Ecuador and Chile across the Andes Mountains into Argentina and surrounding countries. Therefore, it is well adapted to a variety of habitats.

Little is known about the hunting habits of the Pampas Cat. There are reports of the small cat hunting rodents and birds at night, and also hunting domestic poultry near farms.

Pampas cats have not been studied much in the wild. There have been reports of melanistic Pampas Cats.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sofrito

Sofrito is a Spanish word referring to a culinary combination of aromatic ingredients which have been cut in very small pieces, and slowly (at least a quarter of an hour, but more usually half an hour) sauteed or braised in cooking oil. Within the context of Spanish cuisine, sofrito consists of garlic, onion, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil, and is used as the base for many dishes.

It is typical of most of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and which have since been adapted by the cooking of some Latin American countries due to historical reasons. This is known as refogado in Portuguese-speaking nations, sofregit in Catalan cuisine, and ginisa in Filipino cuisine.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bongo Drum

Bongo drums are a Cuban percussion instrument consisting of a pair of single-headed, open-ended drums attached to each other. The drums are of different size: the larger drum is called in Spanish the hembra (female) and the smaller the macho (male). It is most often played by hand and is especially associated in Cuban music with a steady patter or ostinato of eighth-notes known as the martillo or "hammer".

The Atlantic slave trade brought the antecedent of the bongos to Cuba from Africa. The history of bongo drumming can be traced to the Cuban music styles known as salsa, changui, bolero, and son, which first developed in eastern Cuba (Oriente Province) in the late 19th century. Some of the first recordings of bongos can be heard performed by the groups Sexteto Habanero and Septeto Nacional. They have become a popular instrument among soundtrack writers for movies and television.

Bongos are typically made of wood, metal or composite materials, attached by a thick piece of wood. The drum head can be made of animal skin or synthetic. Some bongoceros prefer the sound of X-ray film as the head on the macho. Initially, bongo had tacked-on heads which were tensioned with moisture and heat. By the 1940s, metal tuning lugs developed to facilitate easier tuning.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lead

Lead is a main-group element with symbol Pb (Latin: plumbum) and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal, also considered to be one of the heavy metals. Lead has a bluish-white color when freshly cut, but tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed to air. It has a shiny chrome-silver luster when melted into a liquid.

Lead is used in building construction, lead-acid batteries, bullets and shot, weights, and is part of solder, pewter, fusible alloys and radiation shields. Lead has the highest atomic number of all stable elements, although the next element, bismuth, has a half-life so long (longer than the estimated age of the universe) it can be considered stable.

It is a dense, ductile, very soft, highly malleable, bluish-white metal that has poor electrical conductivity. This true metal is highly resistant to corrosion, and because of this property, it is used to contain corrosive liquids (e.g., sulfuric acid). Because lead is very malleable and resistant to corrosion it is extensively used in building construction, e.g., external coverings of roofing joints. Lead can be toughened by addition of a small amount of antimony or other metals. All lead, except 204Pb, is the end product of a complex radioactive decay. Lead is also poisonous, as are its compounds.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Louis C.K.

Louis Szekely, known professionally as Louis C.K., is an American stand-up comedian, Emmy-winning screenwriter, actor, producer and director.

Louis Szekely was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Mary and Luis Szekely, an economist. His mother was of Irish Catholic descent and his father, a native of Mexico, was of Mexican Catholic and Hungarian Jewish ancestry. After four years in Mexico City, Szekely grew up in Massachusetts—first Framingham and then Newton. His family pronounces their surname, Hungarian-origin Szekely, roughly as [se'-ke], and in his grade-school years he resorted to "C.K." as an easy way to get his name pronounced almost correctly as [si' ke].

His credits as a writer include Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Dana Carvey Show and the Chris Rock Show. His work for the Chris Rock Show was nominated for an Emmy Award three times, including winning "Best Writing in a Variety or Comedy Series" in 1999. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award for his work writing Late Night with Conan O'Brien. However, the feature film born from the Chris Rock sketches, Pootie Tang, received largely negative reviews. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for writing on his 2008 special, Chewed Up.

He has performed his stand-up frequently on shows like Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Jimmy Kimmel Live. In August 2005, C.K. starred in a half-hour HBO special as part of the stand-up series One Night Stand. In 2006, C.K. starred in his own hour-long HBO special titled Shameless. On March 1, 2008, Louis recorded a stand up special Chewed Up that premiered on Showtime October 4, 2008 and went on to be nominated for an Emmy for "Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Variety Special."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

35 mm film

35 mm film is the basic film gauge most commonly used for chemical still photography (see 135 film) and motion pictures, and remains relatively unchanged since its introduction in 1892 by William Dickson and Thomas Edison, using film stock supplied by George Eastman. The photographic film is cut into strips 35 millimeters (about 1 3/8 inches) wide — hence the name. The standard negative pulldown for movies ("single-frame" format) is four perforations per frame along both edges, which makes for exactly 16 frames per foot (for stills, the standard frame is eight perforations).

A wide variety of largely proprietary gauges were used by the numerous camera and projection systems invented independently in the late 19th century and early 20th century, ranging from 13 mm to 75 mm (0.51–2.95 in). 35 mm was eventually recognized as the international standard gauge in 1909, and has remained by far the dominant film gauge for image origination and projection despite challenges from smaller and larger gauges, and from novel formats, because its size allows for a relatively good tradeoff between the cost of the film stock and the quality of the images captured. The ubiquity of 35 mm movie projectors in commercial movie theaters makes it the only motion picture format, film or video, that can be played in almost any cinema in the world.

The gauge is remarkably versatile in application. In the past one hundred years, it has been modified to include sound, redesigned to create a safer film base, formulated to capture color, has accommodated a bevy of widescreen formats, and has incorporated digital sound data into nearly all of its non-frame areas. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Eastman Kodak and Fujifilm have held a duopoly in the manufacture of 35 mm motion picture film.