Friday, July 29, 2011

The Pilgrims and more

The CApe Cod Mystery, Phoebe Atwood Taylor, 1931

pg 94

"I reflected that the Pilgrims must have found some compensation on those black story strands after all."
Pilgrims (US), or Pilgrim Fathers (UK), is a name commonly applied to early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States. Their leadership came from the religious congregations of English Dissenters who had fled the volatile political environment in the East Midlands of England for the relative calm and tolerance of Holland in the Netherlands. Concerned with losing their cultural identity, the group later arranged with English investors to establish a new colony in North America. The colony, established in 1620, became the oldest continuously inhabited British settlement and the second successful English settlement (after the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607) in what was to become the United States of America. The Pilgrims' story of seeking religious freedom has become a central theme of the history and culture of the United States.

"Rider's doing a Paul Revere."
Paul Revere (January 1, 1735 [O.S. December 21, 1734] – May 10, 1818)[N 1] was an American silversmith and a patriot in the American Revolution. He is most famous for alerting Colonial militia of approaching British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride. As a result, his "midnight ride" is a legendary part of United States history.

[Revere was actually captured by the British and never finished the ride. There were three men on the ride - it was completed by Prescott.)

Revere was a prosperous and prominent Boston silversmith, who helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the British military. Revere later served as an officer in the Penobscot Expedition, one of the most disastrous campaigns of the American Revolutionary War, for which he was absolved of blame.

"Sufficient unto the day is the deed thereof."
This is a misquote of the bible:
American King James VersionTake therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.

In the village he stopped at the dry-goods store.
Dry goods are products such as textiles, ready-to-wear clothing, and sundries. In U.S. retailing, a dry goods store carries consumer goods that are distinct from those carried by hardware stores and grocery stores, though "dry goods" as a term for textiles has been dated back to 1742 in England or even a century earlier. Dry goods can be carried by stores specializing only in those products (a type of specialty store), or may be carried by a general store or a department store

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

There are no garbage collectors on CApe Cod and more

The Cape Cod Mystery, Pheobe Atwood Taylor. 1931
pg 87

There are no garbage collectors on Cape Cod and one either burns refuse ...or else one buries it in a hole.
I was unable to find out when Cape Cod got its waste management system, but this is an interesting article from June 30, the Cape Cod Times.
BARNSTABLE — A group formed to study where most Cape Cod towns will send their trash once existing disposal contracts expire has narrowed a list of possible contenders down to five.

During a meeting Wednesday of the Cape Cod Solid Waste Advisory Committee at the Cape Cod Commission's offices in Barnstable, members reviewed nine responses to a request for expressions of interest from various companies seeking to take the region's garbage.

Representatives from towns on and off Cape Cod killed several options because they did not meet certain criteria such as specifying where the trash would go. In one case concerns were raised about reliance on a facility that doesn't yet exist.

"The word speculation was applied to another one and I think that applies here," said Orleans Selectman Sims McGrath of a proposal by Integrated Waste Technologies to haul trash to a Taunton facility that has faced difficulties getting permitted.

In the end, five responses were selected for further consideration, including some familiar names such as Covanta SEMASS, the waste-to-energy facility where most Cape towns currently send their trash for incineration, and the Bourne landfill. Also on the short list are Waste Management, E.L. Harvey and Sons, and Massachusetts Coastal Railroad.

The last two are primarily haulers and members of the committee wanted more information on what the ultimate destination would be for the trash. Others raised concerns about the amount of trash the Bourne landfill could handle.

Robert Angell, superintendent of the Yarmouth-Barnstable Regional Transfer Station, and officials from the Bourne landfill warned that the figures being used for trash produced on the Cape are higher than they should be.

"It doesn't exist now," Angell said of the 150,000 to 200,000 tons per year figure being used. "It's a bad number to be shopping around."

With some towns, such as Sandwich, moving toward pay-as-you-throw models to encourage recycling and to pay for expected increases in tipping fees, the amount of trash being produced on the Cape could drop even further, Angell and others argued.

The committee agreed to do a survey of Cape towns to get a more up-to-date figure for how much trash is produced and to find out how towns are recycling in anticipation of new contracts to do that as well.

A tentative meeting date of Aug. 3 was set to meet with E.L. Harvey, Waste Management and possibly railroad officials to discuss more specifics.

Contracts with SEMASS for most Cape towns expire in 2015 and local officials are exploring options for trash disposal over the next 20 years. Brewster has already agreed to a new contract with SEMASS.

The typical $37 per ton that most Cape towns pay now is expected to at least double under any new contract.

In white linen knickerbockers and a tweed coat he looked more like a banker at the nineteenth hole than a country practitioner.
The "19th hole" is the clubhouse, to which golfers go after finishing their 18 holes on the course, in order to have drinks and talk with their friends.

The name "Knickerbocker" first acquired meaning with Washington Irving's History of New York, which featured the fictional author Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old-fashioned Dutch New Yorker in Irving's satire of chatty and officious local history.[2] In fact, Washington Irving had a real friend named Herman Knickerbocker (1779–1855), whose name he borrowed. Herman Knickerbocker, in turn, was of the upstate Knickerbocker clan, which descended from a single immigrant ancestor, Harmen Jansen van Wijhe Knickerbocker. Jansen van Wijhe invented the name upon arriving in New Amsterdam and signed a document with a variant of it in 1682. After Irving's History, by 1831, "Knickerbocker" had become a local bye-word for an imagined old Dutch-descended New York aristocracy, their old-fashioned ways, their long-stemmed pipes, and knee-breeches long after the fashion had turned to trousers. (Such cultural heritage sprang almost entirely from Irving's imagination and became a well-known example of an invented tradition.) "Knickerbocker" became a byword for a New York patrician, comparable to a "Boston Brahmin.

Knickerbockers are men's or boys' breeches or baggy-kneed trousers particularly popular in the early twentieth century USA. Golfers' plus twos and plus fours were breeches of this type. Before World War II, skiers often wore knickerbockers too, usually ankle-length.

Until after World War I, in many anglophone countries, boys customarily wore short pants in summer and knickerbockers or "knickers" (or "knee pants") in winter. At the onset of puberty, they graduated to long trousers. In that era, the transition to "long pants" was a major rite of passage. See, for example, the classic song Blues in the Night by Johnny Mercer: "My mammy done told me, when I was in knee-pants, my mammy done told me, son...".

Baseball players wear a stylized form of knickerbockers, although the pants have become snugger in recent decades and some modern ballplayers opt to pull the trousers close to the ankles. The white trousers worn by American football officials are knickerbockers, and while they have become snugger, they are still worn ending shortly below the knee. In recent years, the NFL has equipped its officials with long trousers rather than knickers in cold weather.

"I am rarely mistaken in the matter of names."
"You and Addison Simms of Seattle."
Addison Simms of Seattle is a fictional character created for an advertisement in about 1919, for a company attempting to sell a course in how ti improve one's memory.

This is the famous ‘Addison Sims of Seattle’ ad, which coined that household phrase.

"Why doesn't Kurth's wife sign her full name?'
"Lucy Stone League."
The Lucy Stone League is a women’s rights organization founded in 1921. Its motto is "My name is the symbol of my identity and must not be lost".[1] It was the first group to fight for women to be allowed to keep their own maiden name, or birth name, after marriage—and to use it legally.

It was among the first feminist groups to arise from the suffrage movement, and gained attention for seeking and preserving women's own-name rights.

The group took its name from Lucy Stone (1818–1893), the first woman in the United States to carry her birth name through life, despite her marriage in 1855. The New York Times called the group the "Maiden Namers". The group held its first meetings, debates and functions at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City, including its founding meeting on 17 May 1921.

The founder of the Lucy Stone League was Ruth Hale, a New York City journalist and critic. The wife of New York World columnist Heywood Broun, Ruth Hale challenged in federal court any government edict that would not recognize a married woman, such as herself, by the name she chose to use. The only one in her household called Mrs Heywood Broun was the cat.

The League became so well-known "that a new phrase was invented for a person who believes a wife should keep her name – a Lucy Stoner, a phrase that eventually got into the dictionaries.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Truth is stranger than fiction and more

The Cape Cod Mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor, 1931
pg 81

"Truth's stranger than fiction."
Real life can be more remarkable than invented tales, as in In our two-month trip around the world we ran into long-lost relatives on three separate occasions, proving that truth is stranger than fiction . This expression may have been invented by Byron, who used it in Don Juan (1833).

"Them Portygees have a sayin' that a woman's council may not be a lot, but the one who scorns it ain't none the wiser."
Havent' been able to find this saying.

"Get back to the mutton."
Can't find this particular phrase, but here's mutton:
Lamb, mutton, and hogget (New Zealand and Australia) are the meat of domestic sheep. The meat of a sheep in its first year is lamb; that of a juvenile sheep older than 1 year is hogget; and the meat of an adult sheep is mutton.

"Funny they both wanted to come an' see you, willy nilly."

This term has two, slightly differing, but related meanings: 'whether it is with or against your will' and 'in an unplanned, haphazard fashion'. We tend to use the latter of these meanings today; the former was the accepted meaning.when the term was first coined.

There are many spellings in early citations, which relate to the 'with or against your will' meaning of the phrase - 'wille we, nelle we', 'will he, nill he', 'will I, nill I', etc. The expression also appears later as 'nilly willy' or 'willing, nilling', or even, in a later humourous version 'william nilliam'. The early meaning of the word nill is key to this. In early English nill was the opposite of will a contraction of 'ne will'. That is, will meant to want to do something, nill meant to want to avoid it. So, combining the willy - 'I am willing' and nilly - 'I am unwilling' expresses the idea that it doesn't matter to me one way or the other.

The Latin phrase 'nolens, volens' means the same thing, although it isn't clear whether the English version is a simple translation of that.

The second, 'in an undecided, haphazard manner', meaning of willy-nilly arrives from the first. The changeable 'this way, then that way' imagery of willy-nilly behaviour fits with our current 'haphazard' meaning of the term.

There's also a, now archaic, phrase 'hitty missy' that had a similar derivation. That comes from 'hit he, miss he'.

The phrase dates back at least a millennium, with the earliest known version being the Old English text, Aelfric's Lives of Saints, circa 1000:

"Forean the we synd synfulle and sceolan beon eadmode, wille we, nelle we."

Shakespeare was familiar with, and apparently quite fond of, the expression in various forms. He used it in The Taming of the Shrew, 1596:

Petruchio: [To Katharina]

Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented
That you shall be my wife; your dowry 'greed on;
And, Will you, nill you, I will marry you.
[I.e. I will marry you, whether you like it or not.]

and again, in Hamlet:

First Clown: Give me leave. Here lies the water; good: here stands the man; good; if the man go to this water, and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes.
[I.e. If a man chooses to drown he enters the water, if he chooses not, he leaves.]

The 'undecided' meaning of the expression appears to have spawned the later 'shilly-shally'. The OED is a little lax in dating this from the end of the 19th century. They cite Sir Walter Besant's novel The Orange Girl, 1898:

"Let us have no more shilly shally, willy nilly talk."

That makes the connection between 'willy-nilly' and 'shilly-shally' apparent. There are literally thousands of 18th and 19th century pre-datings of the phrase, in various newspapers and works of literature; for example, The Adventures of Dick Hazard, 1755:

Where I quartered, a good buxom Widow kept the house; and I had her before I was ten days in town --D-- me. She knew things better than to stand Shilly Shally.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Horatius on the Bridge and More

The Cape Cod Mystery, Phoebe Atwood Taylor, 1931

pg 78

"Horatius could be no more effective than I shall be."
Publius Horatius Cocles was an officer in the army of the ancient Roman Republic who famously defended the Pons Sublicius from the invading army of Lars Porsena, king of Clusium in the late sixth century BC, during the war between Rome and Clusium.

The story is usually referenced as "Horatio and the bridge" (and is not to be confused with the Horatii.)

....Perceiving the danger, three officers (of noble rank) stood shoulder-to-shoulder to allow their own troops to pass and block the passage of the enemy: Spurius Lartius and Titus Herminius Aquilinus, commanders of the right wing (equivalent to colonels or lieutenant generals), and Publius Horatius, a more junior officer of unspecified rank. He was a patrician, and the nephew of consul Marcus Horatius Pulvillus and had lost an eye in a previous battle (hence his agnomen "Cocles". He was also said to have been a descendant of one of the Horatii who had fought the Curiatii of Alba Longa. Livy defines his station in the defense as "on guard at the bridge when he saw the Janiculum taken by a sudden assault and the enemy rushing down from it to the river ...." The three defenders of the bridge withstood sword and missile attacks until the troops had all crossed

"Well, you won't need to go swimming in no Tiber, anyway."
The bridge on which Horatius and the other two soldiers made their stand ran over the Tiber river, which runs through Rome.

"They made you head of the Pinkerton's or something?"
The Pinkerton National Detective Agency, usually shortened to the Pinkertons, is a private U.S. security guard and detective agency established by Allan Pinkerton in 1850. Pinkerton became famous when he claimed to have foiled a plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln, who later hired Pinkerton agents for his personal security during the Civil War.

Pinkerton's agents performed services ranging from security guarding to private military contracting work. At its height, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency employed more agents than there were members of the standing army of the United States of America, causing the state of Ohio to outlaw the agency due to fears it could be hired as a private army or militia. Pinkerton was the largest private law enforcement organization in the world at the height of its power.[1]

During the labor unrest of the late 19th century and early 20th century, businessmen hired the Pinkerton Agency to provide agents that would infiltrate unions, to supply guards to keep strikers and suspected unionists out of factories, and sometimes to recruit goon squads to intimidate workers. The best known such confrontation was the Homestead Strike of 1892, in which Pinkerton agents were called in to enforce the strikebreaking measures of Henry Clay Frick, acting on behalf of Andrew Carnegie, who was abroad; the ensuing conflicts between Pinkerton agents and striking workers led to several deaths on both sides. The Pinkertons were also used as guards in coal, iron, and lumber disputes in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.

The company now operates as Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations, a division of the Swedish security company Securitas AB, although its government division is still known as Pinkerton Government Services. The organization was pejoratively called the "Pinks" by the outlaws and opponents.

Asey and I looked at each other as Augustus might have looked when someone told him the sad news of his legions lost in the Teutoberg Forest.

The Teutoburg Forest (German: Teutoburger Wald) is a range of low, forested mountains in the German states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia which used to be believed to be the scene of a decisive battle in AD 9. Until the 19th century the official name of the mountain ridge was Osning.

The forest was believed to have been the site of a battle between the Roman Empire and an alliance of Germanic tribes in AD 9. The location of the battle was identified by the Roman historian Gaius Cornelius Tacitus as saltus Teutoburgiensis (saltus meaning a forest valley in Latin), and the encounter was therefore called the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (described as clades Variana, the Varian disaster by Roman historians) (German: Schlacht im Teutoburger Wald, Hermannsschlacht or Varusschlacht) took place in 9 CE, when an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius (German: Armin) (also known as "Hermann"), the son of Segimerus (German: Segimer or Sigimer) of the Cherusci, ambushed and destroyed three Roman legions, along with their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus.

Despite numerous successful campaigns and raids by the Roman army over the Rhine in the years after the battle, the Romans were to make no more concerted attempts to conquer and permanently hold Germania beyond the river

Friday, July 15, 2011

Who knew? Pork butt

Okay, not exactly "dated death," more like regional death, but something I just found out today. I also never knew what loin of pork was - I thought it came from their legs!

I was reading a message board in which a woman was saying she was cooking pork butt.... and I just assumed it was the butt of a pork and wondering why anyone would want to eat it (anymore than they'd want to eat kidneys or tongue or eyes or anything of that nature.)

Pork Butt is not actually the butt of a pig, but rather it's shoulder.

From Wikipedia:
Boston butt is a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg and may contain the blade bone. This pork cut, from the shoulder, combined with the way it is prepared and served, makes it a distinctly American dish. Smoked or barbecued Boston butt is a southern tradition. As a mainstay of Deep South cuisine, particularly in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, it is often smoked and sold as a fundraiser on road side stands by charities and local organizations.

History of the name and cut
In pre-revolutionary New England and into the Revolutionary War, some pork cuts (not those highly valued, or "high on the hog," like loin and ham) were packed into casks or barrels (also known as "butts") for storage and shipment. The way the hog shoulder was cut in the Boston area became known in other regions as "Boston butt".

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I.W.W and more

The Cape Cod Mystery, 1931, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor

pg 71

"He just laughed and said he'd wornn a moustache when he was in college but it made him look like an I. W. W.
An I.W.W. is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World. The IWW was founded in Chicago in June 1905 at a convention of two hundred socialists, anarchists, and radical trade unionists from all over the United States (mainly the Western Federation of Miners) who were opposed to the policies of the American Federation of Labor (AFL).

The convention, which took place on June 27, 1905, was then referred to as the "Industrial Congress" or the "Industrial Union Convention"—it would later be known as the First Annual Convention of the IWW. It is considered one of the most important events in the history of industrial unionism and of the American labor movement in general.

At its peak in 1923, the organization claimed some 100,000 members in good standing, and could marshal the support of perhaps 300,000 workers. Its membership declined dramatically after a 1924 split brought on by internal conflict. IWW membership does not require that one work in a represented workplace, nor does it exclude membership in another labor union.

The IWW contends that all workers should be united as a class and that the wage system should be abolished.[1] They may be best known for the Wobbly Shop model of workplace democracy, in which workers elect recallable delegates, and other norms of grassroots democracy (self-management) are implemented. On January 3, 2010 the IWW GHQ moved its general offices into a new location at 2117 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL. United States

"Down with your head ad up with your paws and thank the good lord for the use of your jaws, as the feller said."
I've been unable to find a prior use of this homily.

"One of the girls at the settlement got the D.T.s that night and it drove the whole thing out off my mind.
Delirium tremens (Latin for "shaking frenzy", also referred to as The DTs, "the horrors," "jazz hands," "giving the invisible man a handshake" or "the shakes.") is an acute episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol, first described in 1813.

The settlement movement was a reformist social movement, beginning in the 1880s and peaking around the 1920s in England and the US, with a goal of getting the rich and poor in society to live more closely together in an interdependent community. Its main object was the establishment of "settlement houses" in poor urban areas, in which volunteer middle-class "settlement workers" would live, hoping to share knowledge and culture with, and alleviate the poverty of their low-income neighbors. In the US, by 1913 there were 413 settlements in 32 states.

"I'd give a pound of Huntley and Palmer's best cookies to know how that sardine tin got there."
Huntley & Palmers was a British firm of biscuit makers [in England, cookies are known as biscuits] originally based in Reading, Berkshire.[ The company created one of the world's first global brands and ran what was once the world’s largest biscuit factory. Over the years, the company was also known as J. Huntley & Son and Huntley & Palmer.

A biscuit business of the same name has recently been re-established in Sudbury, Suffolk. Since 1985 the New Zealand firm Griffin's Foods, make Huntley and Palmers biscuits under licence.

Huntley & Palmers was founded in 1822 by Joseph Huntley as J. Huntley & Son. Initially the business was a small biscuit baker and confectioner shop at number 72 London Street. At this time London Street was the main stage coach route from London to Bristol, Bath and the West Country. One of the main calling points of the stage coaches was the Crown Inn, opposite Joseph Huntley's shop and he started selling his biscuits to the travellers on the coaches. Because the biscuits were vulnerable to breakage on the coach journey, he started putting them in a metal tin. Out of this innovation grew two businesses: Joseph's biscuit shop that was to become Huntley & Palmers, and Huntley, Bourne and Stevens, a firm of biscuit tin manufacturers founded by his younger son, also called Joseph.

Monday, July 11, 2011

as full of holes as Swiss cheese and More

The Cape Cod Mystery: 1931. Phoebe Atwood Taylor 1931.

"Asey's previous questions were as full of holes as the proverbial Swiss cheese."
Swiss cheese is a generic name in North America for several related varieties of cheese which resemble the Swiss Emmental. Some types of Swiss cheese have a distinctive appearance, as the blocks of the cheese are riddled with holes known as “eyes.” Swiss cheese has a piquant, but not very sharp, taste. Swiss cheese without eyes is known as “blind.”

Three types of bacteria are used in the production of Emmental cheese: Streptococcus salivarius subspecies thermophilus, Lactobacillus (Lactobacillus helveticus or Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus), and Propionibacterium (Propionibacterium freudenreichii subspecies shermani).

In a late stage of cheese production, the propionibacteria consume the lactic acid excreted by the other bacteria and release acetate, propionic acid, and carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide slowly forms the bubbles that develop the “eyes.” The acetate and propionic acid give Swiss its nutty and sweet flavor.

In general, the larger the eyes in a Swiss cheese, the more pronounced its flavor because a longer fermentation period gives the bacteria more time to act. This poses a problem, however, because cheese with large eyes does not slice well and comes apart in mechanical slicers. As a result, industry regulators have limited the eye size by which Swiss cheese receives the Grade A stamp.

Baby Swiss and Lacy Swiss are two varieties of US Swiss cheeses. Both have small holes and a mild flavor. Baby Swiss is made from whole milk, and Lacy Swiss is made from low fat milk.

"Baked beans. Lima beans."
Baked beans is a dish containing beans, sometimes baked but, despite the name, usually stewed, in a sauce. Most commercial canned baked beans are made from haricot beans, also known as navy beans – a variety of Phaseolus vulgaris – in a sauce. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, tomato sauce is most commonly used. In the United States, Boston baked beans use a sauce made from pork and molasses, the popularity of which has led to the city being nicknamed "Beantown". Maine and Quebec-style beans often use maple syrup. They are used as a convenience food when heated, or eaten as a snack, straight from the can.

Phaseolus lunatus is a legume. It is grown for its seed, which is eaten as a vegetable. It is commonly known as the lima bean or butter bean.

"He was crazy about music and some of the modern painters like Tursky and Weiner and all that crowd who do those apalling portraits of Russian peasants ..."
Both Tursky and Weiner are made up names.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Philio Vance and more

The Cape Cod Mystery, Phoebe Atwood Taylor, 1931

pg 64

"Slough Sullivan's son who thinks he's greater than Philo Vance already..."
Philo Vance featured in 12 crime novels written by S. S. Van Dine (the pen name of Willard Huntington Wright), published in the 1920s and 1930s. During that time, Vance was immensely popular in books, movies, and on the radio. He was portrayed as a stylish, even foppish dandy, a New York bon vivant possessing a highly intellectual bent. The novels were chronicled by his friend Van Dine (who appears as a kind of Dr. Watson figure in the books as well as the author).

In the movies, Vance was played by William Powell, Basil Rathbone, and in later installments by Warren William. Vance was a sort of American Peter Wimsey.

"I'll give you a clean slate."
In early schools, each child owned a book-sized writing slate encased in a wood frame. This was used for practicing script and it traveled to and from school with the student each day. The student scratched the slate with a slate pencil, which was a cylinder of rock. Eventually, the slate pencil was replaced by soft chalk, making it easier to write. Students did not preserve any of their work in the form of what is described today as class notes. Memorization, therefore, was emphasized and achieved through collective recitation led by the teacher. A keen memory characterized a good student.

After the Civil War, manufactured lead pencils similar to those used today were introduced. This also meant that most student work was now written on paper, making the work more portable for both teacher and student. Students owned pencil boxes for the safe transport of these pencils. The pencil was a substantial improvement. Its narrow design made it easier for children — especially young children with small hands — to control their writing and develop lettering and numbering skills

"I taught you to tell the diffrence between a brig and a brigantine and a barque and a barkentine.
A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts.
In sailing, a brigantine or hermaphrodite brig is a vessel with two masts, only the forward of which is square rigged.
A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts.

A barquentine (alternatively barkentine) is a sailing vessel with three or more masts; with a square rigged foremast and fore-and-aft rigged main, mizzen and any other masts.





Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Gets cur'user an' cur'user" and more

The Cape Cod Mystery, Phoebe Atwood Taylor, 1931

He looked at me curiously. "Gets cur'user an' cur'user, don't it."
Despite his Cape Cod accent, what Mayo is saying is "Curiouser and Curiouser." That is a phrase made famous from the book Alice in Wonderland. Alice says it after she has eaten a cake labeled "Eat me" and begins to grow and grow.

"If wishes was hosses, beggars'd ride."
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride" is an English language proverb and nursery rhyme, originating in the 16th century, which is usually used to suggest that it is useless to wish and that better results will be achieved through action.

Common modern versions include:

If wishes were horses
Beggars would ride:
If turnips were watches
I would wear one by my side.
And if ifs and ans were pots and pans,
The tinker would never work!

OriginThe first recognisable ancestor of the rhyme was recorded in William Camden's (1551–1623) Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine, printed in 1605, which contained the lines: "If wishes were thrushes beggers would eat birds". The reference to horses was first in James Carmichael's Proverbs in Scots printed in 1628, which included the lines: "And if wishes were horses, pure [poor] men wald ride". The first mention of beggars is in John Ray's Collection of English Proverbs in 1670, in the form "If wishes would bide, beggers would ride". The first versions with close to the modern wording was in James Kelly's Scottish Proverbs, Collected and Arranged in 1721, with the wording "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride". The modern rhyme above was probably the combination of two of many versions and was collected by James Orchard Halliwell in the 1840s.

Betsy jumped on the running board before we drew up in front of the house.
A running board is a car or truck accessory part, a narrow step fitted under the side doors of the vehicle. It aids entry, especially into high vehicles. Typical of vintage cars which had much higher ground clearances than today's cars, it is also used as a fashion statement on vehicles that would not require it.

But, why "running board"?
I can't find anything on the web that really addresses it. Since most definitions just term it a "step" why wouldn't it be called a "step board"? Since it's called a "running board" I'm thinking it's because these vintage cars sometimes needed to be pushed for a while to get started, and those pushing it would then speed up and jump onto the "running board" so they could climb into the car as it was still going.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Dead Sea Cipher, Elizabeth Peters, 1970

The Dead Sea Cipher, Elizabeth Peters, 1970, is perhaps one of the saddest mystery novels written in the last 30 years.... the novel begins in Beirut.

In 1970, Beirut was a cosmopolitan city, the capitol of Lebanon.

Then came the Lebanese Civil War:
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people (a quarter of the population) were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of almost one million people from Lebanon. The Post-war occupation of the country by Syria was particularly politically disadvantageous to the Christian population as most of their leadership was driven into exile, or had been assassinated or jailed.

There is no consensus among scholars and researchers on what triggered the Lebanese Civil War. However the militarization of the Palestinian refugee population, with the arrival of the PLO guerrilla forces did spark an arms race amongst the different Lebanese political factions.

The 1980s were especially bleak: much of Beirut lay in ruins as a result of the 1976 Karantina massacre carried out by the Lebanese Front, the Syrian Army shelling of Christian neighborhoods in 1978 and 1981, and the Israeli invasion that evicted the PLO from the country.

In March 1991, parliament passed an amnesty law that pardoned all political crimes prior to its enactment. The amnesty was not extended to crimes perpetrated against foreign diplomats or certain crimes referred by the cabinet to the Higher Judicial Council. In May 1991, the militias (with the important exception of Hezbollah) were dissolved, and the Lebanese Armed Forces began to slowly rebuild themselves as Lebanon's only major non-sectarian institution.

Some violence still occurred. In late December 1991 a car bomb (estimated to carry 220 pounds of TNT) exploded in the Muslim neighborhood of Basta. At least thirty people were killed, and 120 wounded, including former Prime Minister Shafik Wazzan, who was riding in a bulletproof car.

Since the end of the war, the Lebanese have conducted several elections, most of the militias have been weakened or disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have extended central government authority over about two-thirds of the country. Following the cease-fire which ended the 12 July 2006 Israeli-Lebanese conflict, the army has for the first time in over three decades moved to occupy and control the southern areas of Lebanon.

Lebanon still bears deep scars from the civil war. In all, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people were killed, and another 100,000 permanently handicapped by injuries. Approximately 900,000 people, representing one-fifth of the pre-war population, were displaced from their homes. Perhaps a quarter of a million emigrated permanently. Thousands of land mines remain buried in the previously contested areas. Some Western hostages kidnapped during the mid-1980s (many claim by Hezbollah, though the movement denies this)[citation needed] were held until June 1992. Lebanese victims of kidnapping and wartime "disappeared" number in the tens of thousands[citation needed].

Car bombs became a favored weapon of violent groups worldwide, following their frequent, and often effective, use during the war. In the 15 years of strife, there were at least 3,641 car bombs, which left 4,386 people dead and thousands more injured. Other favorite weapons were the AK-47 and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

I'll be going through The Dead Sea Cipher in the coming weeks. There will be spoilers, as below:


The plot of the book is that more Dead Sea Scrolls have been found, including the Book of Jesus Christ, in which it is revealed that Jesus Christ had a son. Being an atheist, I dont' really see what the big deal of this would have been, but apparently since he's the son of God most people believe he wouldn't have had sex, or a child, and according to Elizabeth Peters at least, such knowledge - even if true - as being in the Dead Sea Scrolls! - would have launched violence. So the characters burn the scrolls.

(Peters postulates this again in her Amelia Peabody book The Mummy Case, which takes place in the 1890s. The discovery of a scroll that mentions "the son of Jesus" drives a missionary mad and causes him to destroy it.) (published in 1985).

Mahomet and the Mountain and more

The Cape Cod Mystery, Phoebe Atwood Taylor, 1931
"Ain't no use for Mahomet t' go t' the mountain if the mountain'll be made to travel."
If one's will does not prevail, one must submit to an alternative.

The full phrase 'If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain' arises from the story of Muhammad, as retold by Francis Bacon, in Essays, 1625:

Mahomet cald the Hill to come to him. And when the Hill stood still, he was neuer a whit abashed, but said; If the Hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet wil go to the hil.

Present uses of the phrase usually use the word 'mountain' rather than 'hill' and this version appeared soon after Bacon's Essays, in a work by John Owen, 1643:

If the mountaine will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will goe to the mountaine.

The early citations use various forms of the spelling of the name of the founder of the Islamic religion - Muhammad, Mahomet, Mohammed, Muhammed etc.

"She don't care for me on account of my not bein' a Methodist."
From Wikipedia (and more there that I didn't copy over:
The Methodist revival originated in Epworth, North Lincolnshire, England. It began with a group of men, including John Wesley and his younger brother Charles, as a movement within the Church of England in the 18th century. The movement focused on Bible study and a methodical approach to scriptures and Christian living. The name "methodist" was a pejorative name given to a small society of students at Oxford who met together between 1729 and 1735 for the purpose of mutual improvement, given because of their methodistic habits. They were accustomed to receiving communion every week, fasting regularly, and abstaining from most forms of amusement and luxury. They also frequently visited the sick and the poor, as well as prisoners.

The early Methodists acted against perceived apathy in the Church of England, preaching in the open air and establishing Methodist societies wherever they went. These societies were divided into groups called classes — intimate meetings where individuals were encouraged to confess their sins to one another and to build each other up. They also took part in love feasts which allowed for the sharing of testimony, a key feature of early Methodists.

Methodist preachers were notorious for their enthusiastic sermons and often accused of fanaticism. In those days, many members of England's established church feared that new doctrines promulgated by the Methodists, such as the necessity of a new birth for salvation, of justification by faith, and of the constant and sustained action of the Holy Spirit upon the believer's soul, would produce ill effects upon weak minds. Theophilus Evans, an early critic of the movement, even wrote that it was "the natural Tendency of their Behaviour, in Voice and Gesture and horrid Expressions, to make People mad." In one of his prints, William Hogarth likewise attacked Methodists as "enthusiasts" full of "Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism." But the Methodists resisted the many attacks against their movement.

John Wesley came under the influence of the Moravians, and of the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius, while Whitefield adopted Calvinistic views. Consequently, their followers separated, those of Whitefield becoming Calvinistic Methodists. Wesleyan Methodists have followed Arminian theology.

Missions to America
In 1766, Reverend Laurence Coughlan arrived in Newfoundland and opened a school at Black Head in Conception Bay.

In the late 1760s, two Methodist lay preachers emigrated to America and formed societies. Philip Embury began the work in New York at the instigation of fellow Irish Methodist Barbara Heck. Soon, Captain Webb from the British Army aided him. He formed a society in Philadelphia and traveled along the coast. In 1770, two authorized Methodist preachers, Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor, arrived from the British Connexion.

They were immediately preceded by the unauthorized Robert Williams who quietly set about supporting himself by publishing American editions of Wesley's hymnbooks without obtaining permission to do so. These men were soon followed by others, including Francis Asbury. Asbury reorganized the mid-Atlantic work in accordance with the Wesleyan model. Internal conflict characterized this period. Missionaries displaced most of the local preachers and irritated many of the leading lay members. During the American Revolution, "the mid-Atlantic work" (as Wesley called it) diminished, and, by 1778, the work was reduced to one circuit. Asbury refused to leave. He remained in Delaware during this period.

Robert Strawbridge began a Methodist work in Maryland at the same time as Embury began his work in New York. They did not work together and did not know of each other's existence. Strawbridge ordained himself and organized a circuit. He trained many very influential assistants who became some of the first leaders of American Methodism. His work grew rapidly both in numbers and in geographical spread. The British missionaries discovered Strawbridge's work and annexed it into the American connection. However, the native preachers continued to work side-by-side with the missionaries, and they continued to recruit and dispatch more native preachers. Southern Methodism was not dependent on missionaries in the same way as mid-Atlantic Methodism.

Up until this time, with the exception of Strawbridge, none of the missionaries or American preachers was ordained. Consequently, the Methodist people received the sacraments at the hands of ministers from established Anglican churches. Most of the Anglican priests were Loyalists who fled to England, New York or Canada during the war. In the absence of Anglican ordination, a group of native preachers ordained themselves. This caused a split between the Asbury faction and the southern preachers. Asbury mediated the crisis by convincing the southern preachers to wait for Wesley's response to the sacramental crisis.

That response came in 1784. At that time, Wesley sent the Rev. Dr. Thomas Coke to America to form an independent American Methodist church. The native circuit riders met in late December. Coke had orders to ordain Asbury as a joint superintendent of the new church. However, Asbury turned to the assembled conference and said he would not accept it unless the preachers voted him into that office. This was done, and from that moment forward, the general superintendents received their authority from the conference. Later, Coke convinced the general conference that he and Asbury were bishops and added the title to the discipline. It caused a great deal of controversy. Wesley did not approve of 'bishops' who had not been ordained by bishops.

By the 1792 general conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the controversy relating to episcopal power boiled over. Ultimately, the delegates sided with Bishop Asbury. However, the Republican Methodists split off from the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) in 1792. Also, William Hammet (a missionary ordained by Wesley who traveled to America from Antigua with Bishop Coke), led a successful revolt against the MEC in 1791. He opposed Bishop Asbury and the episcopacy. He formed his people into the American Primitive Methodist Church (not directly connected with the British Primitive Methodist Church). Both American churches operated in the Southeast and presaged the episcopal debates of later reformers. Regardless, Asbury remained the leading bishop of early American Methodism and did not share his "appointing" authority until Bishop McKendree was elected in 1808. Coke had problems with the American preachers. His authoritarian style alienated many. Soon, he became a missionary bishop of sorts and never had much influence in America.

"We had nice clam chowder eith crackers in it, and my own picalilli that I make myself..."
Piccalilli is an English relish of chopped pickled vegetables and spices; regional recipes vary considerably.

American piccalilli
In the American South, piccalilli is not commonly served. In its place, chow-chow, a relish with a base of chopped green (unripe) tomatoes is offered. This relish may also include onions, bell peppers, cabbage, green beans and other vegetables. While not exactly similar to other piccalillis, chow-chow is often called as such and the terms may be used interchangeably.

In the American Midwest, commercial piccalillis are based on finely chopped gherkins; bright green and on the sweet side, they are often used as a condiment for Chicago-style hot dogs. This style is sometimes called "neon relish." It can be mixed with mayonnaise or crème fraîche to create a remoulade, though this would not be appropriate on a Chicago Hot Dog and, to some in the Chicago area, would be downright offensive.

In the American Northeast, commercial piccalillis are based on diced sweet peppers, either red or green. This style is very similar to sweet pepper relish, with the piccalilli being distinguished by having a darker red or green color and like British piccalilli, the chunks are larger and it is tangier and less sweet. It is a popular topping on such foods as hamburgers and hot dogs.