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“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”*…

 

21-fried-candy-corn.w529.h352

“What do we do to things we don’t need/want/like?” Amy Erickson asks on her blog, Oh, Bite It!. “We fry it … that’s what!” In this case, the creator of deep-fried Pumpkin Spice Lattes and, for rougher days, deep-fried tequila shots has put Brach’s famous candy corn inside Pillsbury dough rounds and subjected the whole package to a bath of hot oil. The finished product is dusted with powered sugar, zeppole-style, and allegedly yields “doughy pillows” that are “just a shadow of that seasonal, sad, tooth-buster of a treat.”

In a world in which somebody has already fried every bagged item that comes in a snack size — M&Ms, Tootsie Rolls, Twizzlers — no one can really blame Erickson for daring to dream, but the ultimate end-of-October Frankenfood made Rusty Foster’s Today in Tabs (“Two words: DEEP FRIED CORN CANDY”), and now that’s basically what the internet is doing, pretty unanimously and in repulsion:

May vomit at desk http://t.co/tOiTPj50CL via @rustyk5pic.twitter.com/kPTQ0rDjf

— Kyla Gardner (@gardnerkyla) October 20, 2014

Not everything needs to be fried RT @DarthVenn: Fried candy corn balls.pic.twitter.com/AvNzRUd20Y

— F. Thot Fitzgerald (@DaniFantastic) October 21, 2014

Fried. candy corn. LISTEN, MAYNE. pic.twitter.com/djDdrdQW7B

— Laraine Lujack (@therainebeaux) October 21, 2014

Why did the phrase “deep fried candy corn” just crawl across my timeline? Why is that a thing? What is the matter with people?

— H. G. WellActually (@andthenlynsaid) October 20, 2014

Deep fried? Fine. Candy? Okay. Corn? We’ll allow it. But those four words in THAT order? NAW.

— H. G. WellActually (@andthenlynsaid) October 20, 2014

Well, almost. Some blame is getting spread onto others known to fry a thing or two

:I believe Paula Deen did this. RT @__Huss:  RT @Nerdonic: Satan. “@DarthVenn: Fried candy corn balls. pic.twitter.com/VZJSytXs6u

— Styx (@RenRennyy) October 20, 2014

via Grub Street

* proverbial saying of unknown origin

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As we heat up the oil, we might send fertile birthday greetings to Luther George Simjian; he was born on this date in 1905.  The son of Armenian parents in Turkey, Simjian escaped the genocide and made his way to the U.S., where he worked initially as a lab photographer at Yale Medical School– and began his career as a inventor, creating a projector for microscope images among many other devices.

In 1934 Simjian moved to New York City, where he invented a self-posing portrait camera, with which the photographed person could see and optimize their own image in a mirror before the photo was actually taken. In order to manufacture and distribute the camera, which became a success for use in department stores, he founded the company Photoreflex.  Years later, after selling the invention and the trade name, the company was renamed Reflectone, after another of Simjian’s inventions, a kind of cosmetic chair with movable mirrors, via which one could see one’s own body from all perspectives.

In 1939 Simjian had the idea to build the Bankmatic Automated Teller Machine, probably his most famous invention. Despite skepticism from banks, he registered 20 patents for it and developed a number of features and principles that can still be found in today’s ATMs– including their name.  He finally persuaded the City Bank of New York (today Citibank) to run a 6-month trial. The trial was discontinued — surprisingly not due to technical inefficiencies, but to lack of demand.  “It seems the only people using the machines were a small number of prostitutes and gamblers who didn’t want to deal with tellers face to face,” Simjian wrote.  Hence Simjian missed out on not only the commercial success, but also the fame associated with inventing the ATM.  (This credit is often attributed to John Shepherd-Barron, who invented the first true electronic ATM, and Donald Wetzel, who directed a 5 million US-$ project to build upon Shepherd-Barron’s invention in the late 1960s.)

Simjian achieved real commercial success during World War II with another invention, his Optical Range Estimation Trainer, a kind of simple flight simulator, made from mirrors, light sources and miniature airplanes, used to train US military pilots in estimating the speed and distance of airplanes; Simjian sold over 2000 of these devices.  Today’s successor of Reflectone (after a number of mergers and acquisitions), CAE, is still selling flight simulation and control technology.

Simjian founded several other companies in the following years and invented a number of very different devices and technologies,including a teleprompter, medical ultrasound devices, a remote-controlled postage meter, a golf simulator, and a meat tenderizer.  He never stopped inventing in his laboratories in Fort Lauderdale.  At the age of 92, he got his last patent on a process for improving the sound of wood for musical instruments– seven months before his death in 1997.

 source

 

Written by LW

January 28, 2015 at 1:01 am

“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them”*…

 

New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire let the world in on his body-rejuvenating beauty secret via Instagram as this year’s NBA season began: red wine baths… The 31-year-old basketball veteran is soaking his muscles in a blend of vino and water to “create more circulation” in his red blood cells. In addition to red wine, Stoudemire takes a dip in an “ancient tub,” a cold-plunge pool, and tops off his spa session with a massage.

But before you start dumping Two Buck Chuck into your tub, Regine Berthelot, a vinotherapist and treatment manager for Caudalíe Spas in North America, Brazil, and Hong Kong, says that bathing in booze will actually dehydrate your skin. Instead, it’s the extract from the red vine leaf that is shown to strengthen capillaries, stimulate blood flow, and detox the body—a cup of which is incorporated into the Red Vine Barrel Bath ($75) at the brand’s spa at The Plaza in New York City. Polyphenols and resveratrol (a molecule deemed as one of the most powerful antiagers by professor David Sinclair at Harvard Medical School) are other trace elements that can be found in this treatment, although Berthelot says higher concentrations of both ingredients can be found in a simple glass of wine…

While one hopes that Stoudemire found the soak soothing, one notes that that Knocks are in the midst of a disastrous season (8-37 so far, with a franchise record 16b games loosing streak…

Still, readers who want more information can find it at “Why Drink Red Wine When You Can Bathe in It.”

* Sylvia Plath

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As we practice three-pointers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1973 that UCLA’s basketball team won its 61st consecutive games, an NCAA record, on the way to an undeafeated season and a record 89 wins (and 1 loss) over a three-year span.  The Bruins won a(nother) National Championship that season.

 source

 

Written by LW

January 27, 2015 at 1:01 am

“What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin”*…

 

A Ferris wheel of chipmunks, formerly part of the Dead Pals of Sam Sanfillippo

 

Last October, Atlas Obscura co-presented a Rogue Taxidermy Fair with its fellow Brooklyn-based (and former Roughly Daily subject) Morbid Anatomy in celebration of a new book on “rogue taxidermy.”

The Crucified Sheep

 

Read more about– and see more of– the Fair at “The Crucified Sheep, Tattooed Frogs, and Crocheted Skeletons of a Rogue Taxidermy Fair in Brooklyn,” and revisit (R)Ds earlier look at rogue taxidermy here.

* Mark Twain

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As we strike a pose, we might recall that it was on this date in 1697 that Isaac Newton received and solved Jean Bernoulli’s brachistochrone problem.  The Swiss mathematician Bernoulli had challenged his colleagues to solve it within six months.  Newton not only solved the problem before going to bed that same night, but in doing so, invented a new branch of mathematics called the calculus of variations.  He had resolved the issue of specifying the curve connecting two points displayed from each other laterally, along which a body, acted upon only by gravity, would fall in the shortest time.  Newton, age 55, sent the solution to be published, at his request, anonymously.  But the brilliant originality of the work betrayed his identity, for when Bernoulli saw the solution he commented, “We recognize the lion by his claw.”

 source

 

Written by LW

January 26, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Alis volat propriis”*…

 

In exactly a week, millions will gather on couches across America (and the world) to watch the the Seahawks and the Patriots duel in Superbowl XLIX.  And on the coffee tables in front of many– if not most– of them will sit heaping mounds of (now traditional) chicken wings.  Readers may recall that, two years ago, we reported on a downturn in Super Bowl wings consumption, occasioned by rising poultry prices.  But even as chicken costs have continued to rise, consumption has recovered…

According to a National Chicken Council report released Friday, 1.25 billion wings will be consumed during Super Bowl XLIX.

The average wholesale price of chicken wings is currently $1.71 per pound, up from $1.35 per pound at the same time last year, according to the Daily Northeast Broiler/Fryer Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service. Wing prices hit a record high in January 2013 of $2.11 per pound.

If one laid 1.25 billion wings end-to-end, assuming and average length of 3.5 inches, they would stretch to and from CenturyLink Field in Seattle to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., almost 28 times. The wings would also circle the Grand Canyon 120 times.

It’s enough wings to put 572 on every seat in all 32 NFL stadiums and they weigh about 5,955 times more than the poundage of the Seahawks and Patriots entire 52-man rosters combined.

Most people will buy wings from restaurants and bars, but wings sales at grocery stores also spike during Super Bowl week. Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts shows that fresh and prepared wings sales totaled $1.7 billion in the 52 weeks ending Nov. 29, 2014, an increase of 3.1 percent compared to a year earlier.

As far as dipping sauces go, Ranch wins out. More than half of people prefer ranch for dipping, while 42 percent prefer barbecue sauce and 36 percent prefer blue cheese.

source: Chicago Tribune

* State motto of Oregon

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As we wonder how half-time turned into the fair-ground joke that it has, we might recall that it was on this date in 1890 that journalist Nellie Bly completed her 72-day trip around the world.

In 1888, Bly suggested to her editor at the New York World that she take a trip around the world, attempting to turn the fictional Around the World in Eighty Days into fact for the first time.  A year later, at 9:40 a.m. on November 14, 1889, with two days’ notice, she boarded the steamer Augusta Victoria, and began her 24,899-mile journey.

She brought with her the dress she was wearing, a sturdy overcoat, several changes of underwear, and a small travel bag carrying her toiletry essentials. She carried most of her money (£200 in English bank notes and gold in total as well as some American currency) in a bag tied around her neck.

Bly traveled through England, France (where she met Jules Verne in Amiens), Brindisi, the Suez Canal, Colombo (Ceylon), the Straits Settlements of Penang and Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan.  Just over seventy-two days after her departure from Hoboken, having used steamships and existing railway lines, Bly was back in New York; she beat Phileas Fogg’s time by almost 8 days.

Nellie Bly, in a publicity photo for her around-the-world voyage. Caption on the original photo reads: “Nellie Bly, The New York WORLD’S correspondent who placed a girdle round the earth in 72 days, 6 hours, and 11 minutes.”

 source

 

Written by LW

January 25, 2015 at 1:01 am

“I could dance with you till the cows come home. Better still, I’ll dance with the cows and you come home”*…

 

Blosom, a 6′ 4″ bovine, was recently named the World’s Tallest Cow by Guinness World Records.

In an email from Guinness World Records in London, England, owner Patty Hanson read, “We would like to congratulate you on your record breaking achievement — you are truly amazing”…

This tall tale in it’s entirety at “‘Holy cow, she is big:’ Orangeville Holstein sets Guinness World Record“; more photos here.

* Groucho Marx, in Duck Soup

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As we celebrate superlatives, we might recall that the pinnacle of a cow’s produce, the Eskimo Pie–ice cream center covered in chocolate– was patented on this date in 1922.  Christian Kent Nelson, a schoolteacher and candy store owner, claimed to have received the inspiration in 1920 in Onawa, Iowa, when a boy in his store was unable to decide whether to spend his money on ice cream or a chocolate bar.  After experimenting with different ways to adhere melted chocolate to bricks of ice cream, Nelson began selling his invention under the name “I-Scream Bars.”  In 1921, he filed for a patent, and secured an agreement with local chocolate producer Russell C. Stover to mass-produce them under the new trademarked name “Eskimo Pie” (a name suggested by Mrs. Stover), and to create the Eskimo Pie Corporation.  After patent 1,404,539 was issued on January 24, 1922, Nelson franchised the product, allowing ice cream manufacturers to produce them under the now-ubiquitous name.  (Ultimately the company was acquired by Nestlé,)

 

 source

 

Written by LW

January 24, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die”*…

 

Further to Wednesday’s almanac entry on America’s first independent municipal sewer system

Sometime in mid to late January, researchers from MIT plan to gather around a manhole on Portland Street in East Cambridge, dressed in plastic disposable biohazard coats and gloves. Each hour over the next 24, working in teams of two over four-hour shifts, they’ll sink a tube into the muck and pump one to two liters of sewage water into a plastic container. The container will be put into a cooler and taken to the nearby lab at MIT run by Eric Alm, a computational microbiologist. Alm’s lab will analyze all 24 of these sludgy samples to see what viruses and bacteria they hold; meanwhile, a vial of each sample will be sent to another lab to be analyzed for biomarkers (molecular or cellular flags for things like diseases and drugs, legal and illegal ).

These researchers—who include architects, computational biologists, designers, electrical and mechanical engineers, geneticists, and microbiologists—will be testing an idea that’s attracting interest around the world: namely, that sewage can tell us important things about the people who excrete it. Already, research has shown that sewage can reveal illicit drug usage, the presence of influenza, the poliovirus and other pathogens, and the state of community health. So far, however, none of this has been tested in our local waste systems, other than some proof-of-concept sampling done in Boston. That has led to this first formal effort by scientists and public health officials to get a sewage snapshot of the people of Cambridge…

Get to the bottom at “What does Cambridge sewage say about residents? MIT plans to find out.”

* Mel Brooks

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As we hold our noses, we might recall that it was on this date in 1594 that Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus was first performed (by Sussex’s Men at The Rose).  Titus‘s premiere is the first performance of a Shakespeare play of which there is precise record (though confident deduction dates other plays’ performances earlier); it was recorded in Philip Henslowe‘s diary.  It is also the only Shakespeare play for which a contemporary illustration survives, the work of a drawing master named Henry Peacham.

The Peacham drawing (c.1595)

 source

 

Written by LW

January 23, 2015 at 1:01 am

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all”*…

 

Facebook has analyzed its well-known meme, “List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes, and don’t think too hard. They do not have to be the ‘right’ books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.”

It gathered an anonymized sample of over 130,000 status updates matching “10 books” or “ten books” appearing in the last two weeks of August 2014 (although the meme has been active over at least a year). 63.7% of the posters were in the US, followed by 9.3%in India, and 6.3% in the UK. Women outnumbered men 3.1:1. The average age was 37.

Here are the top 20 books, along with a percentage of all lists (having at least one of the top 500 books) that contained them.

  1. 21.08 Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
  2. 14.48 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  3. 13.86 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
  4. 7.48  The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
  5. 7.28  Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  6. 7.21  The Holy Bible
  7. 5.97  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  8. 5.82  The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins
  9. 5.70  The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  10. 5.63  The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
  11. 5.61  The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  12. 5.37  1984 – George Orwell
  13. 5.26  Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  14. 5.23  Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  15. 5.11  The Stand – Stephen King
  16. 4.95  Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  17. 4.38  A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
  18. 4.27  The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  19. 4.05  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
  20. 4.01  The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Read more here.  And see how the same list varied in non-English-speaking areas here (spoiler alert: Harry Potter still rules…).

* Oscar Wilde

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As we turn the page, we might send leather-bound birthday wishes to poet, iconic bad boy (and, as readers will recall,  father of the redoubtable Ada Lovelace) George Gordon, Lord Byron; he was was born on this date in 1788.  Byron once famously suggested that “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”  Still, history suggests, even then…

source

Written by LW

January 22, 2015 at 1:01 am

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