How About Some Vince Guaraldi!

April 28, 2015

I truly love The Piano Guys! Here there are doing their rendition of a Charlie Brown medley (a la Vince Guaraldi). If this doesn’t get you in a good mood, then nothing will. Happy Tuesday!

Origami Twinboat Icosahedron!

April 27, 2015

Yet another wonderful origami design.

Do You Know . . . !

April 26, 2015

. . . what the following groupings have in common?

  1. Antonius Marcus Aurelius; Muhammed, founder of Islam; William Shakespeare, John James Audubon, and Rudolf Hess.
  2. John Wilkes Booth, Gypsy Rose Lee, William “Count” Basie, and Lucille Ball.

The first grouping were all born on April 26th and the second grouping all died on April 26th.

Did you also know that these events occurred on April 26th?

1514 – Copernicus made his first observations of Saturn.
1906 – In Hawaii, motion pictures were shown for the first time.
1921 – Weather broadcasts were heard for the first time on radio in St. Louis, MO.
1931 – New York Yankee Lou Gehrig hit a home run but was called out for passing a runner.
1964 – The African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.
1964 – The Boston Celtics won their sixth consecutive NBA title. They won two more before the streak came to an end.
1983 – Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 1,200 for first time.
1986 – The world’s worst nuclear disaster to date occurred at Chernobyl, in Kiev. Thirty-one people died in the incident and thousands more were exposed to radioactive material.

For even more events, check out this page.

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Thirty-Seven!

April 25, 2015

T.V. travel shows like Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations and Have Fork will Travel explore the culture and cuisine of exotic places.  Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern goes even further, seeking out and testing the strangest foods in the world.  What is the strangest food you have encountered?  Are there any exotic foods that you would like to try?

The strangest food that I have encountered in my travels would have to be during my visit to Chile in 1992 — my host never fully disclosed what I was eating, but it was some part of a cow and it definitely was not a steak.  If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say the udder, and it was udderly delicious!  When it comes to eating, I do not consider myself overly adventurous, so there really isn’t anything exotic on my list of “hope to try.”  But you just never know. I have managed to try and like both calamari as well as escargot, who knew?  The key for me to try something unknown is to truly have no idea what I’m eating until after it has been tested.  If I like it, then fine, but sometimes, knowing ahead of time can be enough of a turnoff to prevent me from trying.

Abstract Expressionism!

April 24, 2015
"Police Gazette" by Willem de Kooning

“Police Gazette” by Willem de Kooning

Today marks the birthday of Willem de Kooning (in 1904), one of most prominent and celebrated of the Abstract Expressionist painters. Abstract Expressionism is the style that fused Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism.  De Kooning was born in Rotterdam (Netherlands) but didn’t travel to the United States until 1926 (he actually stowed away on a British freighter that was bound for Argentina).  He would eventually become most famous for his pictures of women using a unique blend of gestural abstraction and figuration.  He was also known for continually reworking his canvases and was considered one of the most knowledgeable among the artists associated with the New York School which included such notable artists and peers as Jackson Pollock, Elaine de Kooning (his wife), Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, Anne Ryan, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, Clyfford Still, and Richard Pousette-Dart. Here is one of de Kooning’s colorful landscapes (“Police Gazette”) that was painted in 1955 and is currently in the hands of a private collector.

Drinker’s Remorse!

April 23, 2015

As the weekend approacheth, here is a catchy poem by George Ade that will serve as an excellent reminder for us to always drink in moderation and never to excess.

R-E-M-O-R-S-E!
Those dry Martinis did the work for me;
Last night at twelve I felt immense,
Today I feel like thirty cents.
My eyes are bleared, my coppers hot,
I’ll try to eat, but I cannot.
It is no time for mirth and laughter,
The cold, grey dawn of the morning after.

From Fired to Rehired!

April 22, 2015

Based upon a survey done by the Public Policy Institute (of AARP) of persons between 45 and 62 who have been unemployed in the past five years, here are some statistics concerning their journey.

Looking for a job:

  • 50% started looking for work immediately upon becoming unemployed
  • 32% visited a job center
  • 57% used online job boards
  • 21% used social media
  • 21% attended a job fair
  • 46% networked with their contacts

Getting hired:

  • 22% rejected a job offer during their search (before accepting another offer)
  • 7% interviewed for eleven (11) or more jobs
  • 91% of those who turned down a job offer had no regrets
    • Main reasons for rejecting a job offer:
      • 48% stated it didn’t pay enough
      • 26% stated they didn’t like the job
      • 22% stated they hoped for something better

Back on the job:

  • 33% say they earn more in their new job
  • 49% say their working conditions are better
  • 84% looked back on their job search  and would not have done anything differently

Source: aarp.org/futureofwork

The Crab, Part 2!

April 21, 2015

Here is Part 2 of the next poem The Crab generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).    Enjoy!

The Crab

‘Twas winter time, the days were short,
And Thomas in his chair did snort,
As was his custom, while his spouse
Went like a bee about the house;
For she, of housewives far the best,
From morn to night would never rest.
But turned her hand to every thing,
That could a penny save or bring.
Two maids she had, the one was spinning,
The other one was dressing linen;
So seeing nothing was amiss,
She to the jurden went to piss.

The crab, who thought on no such matter,
Astonished with the scalding water,
Thrust out her claw, I do not joke ye,
And took fast hold of her tu quoque.

In dreadful pain and great surprise,
Poor Madam fill the house with cries,
Her husband waked, and to her came,
And kindly asked what ailed the dame.
“Alas!” she cried, “My dear, I’ll tell ye,
“The devil has got me by the belly:
“O help me, husband! help! she cried.
Mean time she all her clothes untied;
For haste her milk-white smock she tore,
And threw off every rag she wore.
The Thomas, when he saw her grief,
Assuring her of quick relief,
Kneeled down, in hopes to ease the fair,
But crab, who had a claws a pair,
his pious purpose did oppose,
And snapped the parson by the nose.

The Thomas’ anguish now began,
She called her maids, he called his man,
Who running to them with a light,
Were quite confounded with the sight;
The parson’s wife without her clothes,
And at her ——– her husband’s nose.
Where long enough it might have stayed.
But Nan, a clever handy maid,
Deprived the wicked crab of life,
And so relieved both man and wife;
Who, much offended with the pain,
Swore not to taste shell fish again.

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of a treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).

The Crab, Part 1!

April 20, 2015

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  This particular poem will be continued with the second and final part tomorrow.  Enjoy!

The Crab

There stands a town ‘twixt Wemyss and Leven,
Well known if Fife, and called Buckhaven,
For fishers famed, these hardy fellows,
Though Aelons blow all his bellows,
Yet go to sea, and never care
Whether the wind be foul or fair;
Their trade is fish, tehy sell the best,
Their wives and brats eat up the rest:
And though they feed on nought but fish,
They give new names to every dish;
Nay, though quite senseless, never care,
For haddocks are called capons there;
And what to strangers give surprise,
They call the crabs Buckhaven pies;
And these they have in so great plenty,
That for a penny they’ll sell twenty.

Not long ago their parson died,
But soon they got their church supplied,
By one who always did maintain
That there was godliness in gain;
What in the next world might betide
A treasure, in this present life;
To this agreed his thrifty wife,
Who every day provided fish,
Not only as the cheapest dish,
But that she knew they would inspire
Her Thomas’ blood with warm desire;
And sure there could be no offence
In loving due benevolence.

Thus they went on in great content,
And kept a cheap luxurious Lent;
Their wealth each day increased — their nights
Were passed in conjugal delights,
And Master Thomas and his wife,
Alike admired the happy life.

But ah! how transient are our joys!
Old Satan oft our bliss destroys,
And is offended, out of measure,
When he can’t sour our peace and pleasure:
Ungrateful Satan, how couldst thou
Thy malice to this couple show?
Did ever Thomas, or his wife,
Do wrong to thee in all thy life,
Did he in act, or in opinion,
Disturb the peace of thy dominion?
No, he was quiet, honest, civil,
And thought it sin to cheat the devil;
Yet thou a cursed trick did play,
And that well-meaning pair betray.

I’ve told that fish was all their food,
But still they have them fresh and good;
Six crabs they on a day had got,
And put four of them in the pot,
The other two till night they kept,
Who through the house at freedom crept;
But one of them, oppressed with thirst,
Crawled to the tub where Madam pissed,
And with the saltness pleased, did stray
Until the shutting in of day.

To be continued with Part 2 tomorrow . . . 

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of a treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).

How Harsh!

April 19, 2015

Having no idea what this word meant, I found this wonderful example of usage that actually made sense to me: “Death tax” is a good example of a dysphemism, favored by lawmakers determined to do away with what is more neutrally known as an “estate tax” (or far from neutrally, by some just as determined to preserve this levy, a “Paris Hilton tax”). (From: Clyde Haberman, “Talking About Gun Restrictions Without Talking About ‘Gun Control,’” New YorkTimes, December 19, 2012).

dysphemism

dis-fuh-miz-uh m \, noun;

1.  the substitution of a harsh, disparaging, or unpleasant expression for more neutral one.
2.  an expression so substituted.

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