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Posts Tagged ‘Girl Scouts

“The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies”*…

 

Girl Scout Cookies come in a dizzying variety. Between cool Thin Mints and decadent Peanut Butter Patties, there’s a flavor that appeals to everyone. Which is helpful to the girls in the American youth organization, who sell the cookies to learn business skills and raise funds.

It’s a big operation, so much so that seemingly similar cookies differ across the United States. Since two commercial bakers provide the cookies to different parts of the country, one scout’s Peanut Butter Patty is another’s Tagalong. Even the recipes are slightly different. But all Girl Scout cookies have a common ancestor. Surprisingly, it was kind of boring.

It was an innocuous beginning for a glorious, cookie-filled century. The recipe for the original cookie was provided by local Scouting director Florence E. Neil and printed in the July 1922 issue of The American Girl Magazine (now defunct and unrelated to the current, doll-related American Girl magazine). It was very simple: a cup of butter (or “substitute”) mixed with sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, and flour. Baking the mix in a “quick” oven produced super simple sugar cookies.

But simplicity was likely necessary, as the scouts baked the cookies themselves. According to the Girl Scouts, this recipe was distributed to 2,000 scouts in the Chicago area who likely needed something quick, simple, and inexpensive to sell. The ingredients for a batch of six to seven dozen cookies clocked in at 26 to 36 cents, which in today’s money is less than six dollars. The scouts could sell a dozen cookies for about the same amount, making a tidy profit…

The tasty tale in its entirety at “The First Girl Scout Cookie Was Surprisingly Boring.”

* Neil Gaiman, American Gods

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As we take just one more, we might send almost, but not quite cloying birthday greeting to Ira Remsen; he was born on this date in 1846.  A physician and chemist who became the second President of Johns Hopkins University, he is perhaps best remembered as the discoverer (with Constantin Fahlberg) of the artificial sweetener saccharin.

 source

 

Written by LW

February 10, 2018 at 1:01 am

Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis*…

The College of Cardinals heads into session today, the latest installment in the oldest continuous democratic process in the world.  As we watch for white smoke, Lapham’s Quarterly reminds us of just how momentous the results of the balloting can be.

In 1484, just three months into his pontificate, Innocent VIII issued a papal bull, naming two professors as his primary inquisitors.  Heinrich Kramer, a professor of theology at the University of Salzburg,  and Jacobus Sprenger, a dean of the University of Cologne, had written the new Pope complaining that their local ecclesiastical authorities were not assisting them in stamping out witchcraft.  Innocent VIII put them in charge– and the prosecutions began.

Two years later, the two Dominican inquisitors published the (in)famous Malleus Maleficarum (“Hammer of the Witches”) the book proclaiming that disbelief in witches was heresy and prescribing torture to procure confessions from the accused, that became (if readers will forgive the pun) the Bible of the Inquisition.

Read Innocent VIII”s full Papal Bull here.

And on a related note, lest we worry that the new Pope, whoever he might be, will need to scramble to find appropriate attire for that all-important first audience, the Pope’s tailors have him covered.

* “Inquiry on Heretical Perversity

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As we admit that Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition, we might recall that it was on this date in 1912 that The Girl Scouts were born in the U.S., as Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low (who’d met and been deeply influenced by Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell in London) organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting of 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia.  The annual sale of cookies as a fund-raiser began in 1917.

Ms. Low, flanked by two Scouts

[Goya’s The Inquisition Tribunal sourced here; the title page of the seventh Cologne edition of the Malleus Maleficarum, here; girl scout photo, here]

When I’m good…

source

Your correspondent imagines that readers have envied, as he has, the rakish sashes worn by Boy and Girl Scouts the world over– and more, the little round “emblems of competence,” the Merit Badges, with which they are bedecked.  How satisfying it would be be to advertise one’s accomplishments as one walked about!  And how gratifying to do it so much specifically than can a fancy watch or a ridiculously-expensive handbag!

Well, Dear Readers, our time has come.  Thanks to the good folks at Merit Badger, one can advertise skills and achievements in such arenas as:

Learning From Mistakes

Patience

Having No Outstanding Library Fines

Readers can visit Merit Badger to outfit themselves.

As we try to remember over which shoulder we wear the thing, we might recall that it was on this date in 1982 that arbitrageur Ivan Boesky offered Martin Siegel, a mergers-and-acquisitions executive at Kidder, Peabody & Co., a job.   Siegel declined, and Boesky then suggested that if Siegel would supply him with early inside information on upcoming mergers there would be something in it for him.

Boesky turned Siegel’s tips into profits (one example: he made over $28 million trading Carnation stock on insider info) until 1986, when the Feds arrested dozens on Wall Street for insider and related trading violations.  Boesky was convicted and sentenced to 3 years– a lighter punishment than Michael Milken’s 10 years, but still much more than Siegel’s:  as one of the few cooperating witnesses, and the only one who showed any remorse, Siegel was allowed simply to repay the $9 million he’d received from Boesky.

The 1986 case(s) were the largest stock manipulation scheme prosecuted at the time…  and may still be, though the full dimensions of the pending Galleon case are not yet known.

Envy

Lying

Your number is up…

From the admirable Tonya Khovanova, everything one could want to know about a number– any number:  Number Gossip.

Consider the results returned for your correspondent’s favorite pair of digits, 27:

– 27 is the only number which is thrice the sum of its digits
– 27 is the first composite number not divisible by any of its digits
– 27 is the largest number that is the sum of the digits of its cube
– 27 is the only 2-digit number in which the sum of digits is equal to the sum of prime factors (27 = 3 * 3 * 3 and 2 + 7 = 3 + 3 + 3 = 9)
– A 10,000-day-old person is 27 years old
– 27 is the smallest cube out of two known with only prime digits (the other cube is 3375)
– A web page about 27: <http://27.chrismore.com/>The Mystery of the number 27
– 27 is the smallest evil cube

As Tonya suggests, “Enter a number and I’ll tell you everything you wanted to know about it but were afraid to ask.”

As we worry about running out of fingers and toes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1912 that The Girl Scouts were born in the U.S., as Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low (who’d met and been deeply influenced by Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell in London) organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting of 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia.  The annual sale of cookies as a fund-raiser began in 1917.

Ms. Low, flanked by two Scouts

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