Monday, March 21, 2011

The Cape Cod Mystery (1931) continued

The heat-wave had appeared in Wednesday's paper, and our guests arrived Friday on the early morning train.
Regular passenger rail service through Cape Cod ended in June 1959. In 1978, the tracks east of South Dennis were abandoned and replaced with the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Another bike path, the Shining Sea Bikeway, was built over abandoned tracks between Woods Hole and Falmouth in 1975; despite vehement pro-passenger rail groups, the tracks were dismantled further north between Falmouth and North Falmouth (6.3 miles (10.1 km)) in April 2008 after Commonwealth representative and lawyer Eric Turkington signed legislation to convert the controversial line into a rail trail.

Active freight service remains in the Upper Cape area in Sandwich and in Bourne, largely due to a trash transfer station located at Massachusetts Military Reservation along the Bourne-Falmouth rail line. In 1986, Amtrak operated a seasonal service in the summer from New York City to Hyannis called the Cape Codder. From 1988, Amtrak and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation increased service to a daily frequency.Since its demise in 1996, there have been periodic discussions about reinstating passenger rail service from Boston to reduce car traffic to and from the Cape, with officials in Bourne seeking to re-extend MBTA Commuter Rail service from Middleboro to Buzzards Bay, despite a reluctant Beacon Hill legislature.

Cape Cod Central Railroad operates passenger train service on Cape Cod. The service is primarily tourist oriented and includes a dinner train. The scenic route between Downtown Hyannis and the Cape Cod Canal is about 2½ hours round trip. Massachusetts Coastal Railroad is also planning to return passenger railroad services eventually to the Bourne-Falmouth rail line in the future. An August 5, 2009 article on the New England Cable News channel, entitled South Coast rail project a priority for Mass. lawmakers, mentions a $1.4-billion railroad reconstruction plan by Governor Deval Patrick, and could mean rebuilding of old rail lines on the Cape. On November 21, 2009, the town of North Falmouth saw its first passenger train in 12 years, a set of dinner train cars from Cape Cod Central. And a trip from the Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts on May 15, 2010 revealed a second trip along the Falmouth line.

From my steamer chair on the porch I could just see the girls on the outer raft.
A steamer chair, so named because it was the type of chair used on passenger liners powered via steam (when steam power came into use and increased the speed of the translatlantic crossing, luxury cruising really took off) with a raised back, a long seat, and a raised area on which to rest one's legs.

Any highly trafficked tourist swimming area would have two rafts, an inner one in the shallow water, and an outer one, as far out as was considered safe. The rafts were anchored to the ocean bottom.

Despite the crowd, holday-size on a common week-day morning, Emma's large black-stockinged legs were exceedingly visible as they protruded from beneath the broad green stripes of my favorite beach umbrella.
In the 1930s, swimmwear conventions were loosening a bit. Prior to that time, men wore suis that covered their chests, and women wore suits that had backs as well as fronts, long skirts, and stockings so as not to show their bare legs.

By 1931, these restrictions were lifting a bit, but Emma was of the generation - and the heft - that would cover herself up well.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States, by Andrew Coe

A fascinating look back at the history of the Chinese in America, and ideal for anyone planning on writing books about the time periods covered here.

Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States, by Andrew Coe
Oxford University Press,2009
251 pages, plus Notes, Bibliography and Index. Several b&w photos scattered throughout the text.

In 1784, passengers on the ship Empress of China became the first Americans to land in China, and the first to eat Chinese food. Today there are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants across the United States-by far the most plentiful among all our ethnic eateries. Now, in Chop Suey Andrew Coe provides the authoritative history of the American infatuation with Chinese food, telling its fascinating story for the first time.

It's a tale moves from curiosity to disgust and then desire. From China, Coe's story travels to the American West, where Chinese immigrants drawn by the 1848 Gold Rush struggled against racism and culinary prejudice but still established restaurants and farms and imported an array of Asian ingredients. He traces the Chinese migration to the East Coast, highlighting that crucial movement when New York "Bohemians" discovered Chinese cuisine-and, for better or worse, chop suey.

Along the way, Coe shows how the peasant food of an obscure part of China came to dominate Chinese-American restaurants; unravels the truth of chop suey's origins; reveals why Jewish Americans fell in love with egg rolls and chow mein; shows how President Nixon's 1972 trip to China opened our palates to a new range of cuisine; and explains why we still can't get dishes like those served in Beijing or Shanghai.

The book also explores how American tastes have been shaped by our relationship with the outside world, and how we've relentlessly changed foreign foods to adapt them to our own deeply rooted culinary preferences.

Andrw Coe's Chop Suey is a fascinating tour of America's centuries-long appetite for Chinese food. Always illuminating, often exploding long-held culinary myths, this book opens a new window into defining what constitutes American cuisine.

Table of Contents
List of illustrations
1. Stags' Pizzles and Birds' Nests
2. Putrified Garlic on a Much-used Blanket
3. Coarse Rice and Water
4. Chinese Gardens on Gold Mountain
5. A Toothsome Stew
6. American Chop Suey
7. Devouring the Duck
Photo Credits

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Golf Terms

I'm working on a website that will host vocabularies of all different kinds of subjects, from sports such as golf, to the sciences.

Here's a few entries for golf:

Address the way you position your body in relation to the club and the ball.

Alignment the position in which you set your body to control the direction of the ball.

Away The person who is “away” is farthest from the target and will be first to play the next shot.

Balata A soft material for golf ball covering that helps lower handicapped players in an effort to get the ball to stop rolling quicker

Best ball A tournament where a determined number of of the best score of the team on each hole counts as the score for the team.

Birdie Scoring one shot less than par on an individual hole.

Bite When the ball starts rolling quickly.

Blading Hitting high on the ball, causing it to go low and run rather than getting into the air. Also called hitting the ball thin, skulling, or topping the ball.

Bogey one stroke more than par on an individual hole

Break The curving of the ball on the putting surface caused by undulations

Bunker A sand- or grass-filled indentation in the ground.

The Women’s Guide to Golf: A Handbook for Beginners, by Kellie Stenzel Garvin, Thomas Dunne Books, 2000

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Cape Cod Mystery (1931) continued

"That means we'd keep drawing those two until Kingdom Come."
"Kingdom Come" is a phrase from The Lord's Prayer.
The Lord's Prayer (also called the Pater Noster or Our Father) is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke which records Jesus being approached by "one of his disciples" with a request to teach them "to pray as John taught his disciples." The prayer concludes with "deliver us from evil" in Matthew, and with "lead us not into temptation" in Luke. The liturgical form is Matthean. Some Christians, particularly Protestants, conclude the prayer with a doxology, an addendum appearing in some manuscripts of Matthew.

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
[For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.]

"At college she claimed that no one really liked her till they found out it was naturally blonde and a stranger to peroxide."
Peroxides have a bleaching effect on organic substances and therefore are added to some detergents and hair colorants.

"Don't say "No one-they."
Prudence is attempting to correct her niece's grammar, but there's nothing wrong with it.

"She'll probaby bring some fresh catnip from her garden for Ginger."
Nepeta cataria (also known as catnip, catswort, or catmint) is a plant in the Lamiaceae family. The common names can also be used to refer to the Nepeta genus as a whole. Nepeta cataria is mostly used as a recreational substance for pet cats' enjoyment. Roughly 50% of cats will be affected by the plant, whether it is growing in the wild or harvested and dried. The common behaviors that are observed are: rubbing on the plant, rolling on the ground, drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, or consuming much of the plant. The plant terpenoid nepetalactone is the main chemical constituent of the essential oil of Nepeta cataria and acts as a feline attractant. This chemical enters the feline's nose, and produces effects on the cat.

"She'll play Russian Banque wih you."
Russian Bank is a card game for two players from the solitaire family. It is also known as crapette or crapot in Brazil and Portugal. It is played with two decks of 52 standard playing cards. It is much like the game of double solitaire. The goal of Russian Bank, like many card games, is to get rid of your forty-eight cards before your opponent can rid themselves of theirs. At the same time, it is required to build "piles" of suits, Ace through King, in the center of the board. If a rule regarding the placement of piles is broken, the opponent may call "Stop!" to end one's turn.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Booklist: Cowboy Lingo, by Ramon F. Adams

Cowboy Lingo: A Dictionary of the Slack-Jaw Words and Whangdoodle Ways of the American West, by Ramon F. Adams
236 pages, plus index
Library: 427.09 ADA

The Classic Guide to the WAys and Words of Cowboy Life

The cowboy, that enigmatic, larger-than-life icon of American culture, has long been considered a figure of fast hands and steel nerves but few words. Accrding to Ramon Adams, though, cowboys, once among themselves, enjoyed a vivid, coarse, often boisterous repartee. You might say that around a campfire under the open sky, they could make more noise than "a jackass in a tin barn."

Here in one volume is the complete guide to cowboy-speak, including sections on cowboy's duties, his riding equipment, the roundup, roping, branding, even square dancing.

Cowboy Lingo includes terms you'll recognize because they've filtered into everyday language- "blue lightning," "star gazin", "the whole shebang" plus countless others that, sadly, are seldom heard in current speech: lonely as a preacher on pay night, "restless as a hen on a hot griddle," "crooked as a snake in a cactus patch."

As entertaining as it is authoritative, Cowboy Lingo captures the living speech of the Great Plains and serves as a window into the soul of the American West.

Ramon F. Adams (1889-1976) was an American cowboy, a musician, a folklorist, and the author of numerous books on western Americana.

Table of Contents
Foreword by Elmer Kelton
1. The Cowboy and his lingo
2. The Ranch
3. The Cowboy and his Duties
4. His Costume and Furnishings
5. His Riding Equipment
6. Ropes and Roping
7. Cattle
8. Horses
9. Riding
10. The round-up
11. Brands and Ear-marks
12. The trail
13. The Commissary
14. Rustkers and Outlaws
15. Guns
16. Nicknames
17. The Cowboy Dance
18. Miscellaneous Expressions
19. Figures of Speech
20. More Figures of Speech