The 4th of July. Hot Dog!

July 4, 2014

The 4th of July. Hot Dog!
Many Americans will celebrate this Independence Day by ingesting a batter-like slurry of pork and/or beef meat taken off the bone by advanced meat recovery machinery (AMM) and mixed with potassium lactate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, corn maltodextrin, sodium nitrate, and paprika extract, then forced into tubes for processing.

Patriotic citizens will heat the slurry-filled tubes over glowing little pillows of carbonized sawdust and petroleum distillates, place them in enriched flour buns moistened with a paste of ground yellow mustard seeds mixed with acetic acid and turmeric, and garnish them with many tiny cubes of chemically preserved cucumber dyed an improbable green with FD&C Yellow #5. Then they’ll eat them.

Yum!

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council says Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs this summer, 150 million of them on Independence Day. So enjoy our National Food, and have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Read more:

“What’s in Your Wiener? Hot Dog Ingredients Explained,” Katherine Harmon, Scientific American

“Why Americans Are Eating Fewer Hot Dogs,” Paul Lukas,Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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Image (after James Montgomery Flagg and Oscar Mayer) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Jimmy C. Newman, 1927 — 2014

July 3, 2014

Jimmy C. Newman,  1927 -- 2014

Country singer Jimmy C. Newman died last week. After some Honky Tonk hits in the 1950s he became a regular on Shreveport’s Louisiana Hayride and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. In later years he added a Cajun flavor to his repertoire, introducing that regional style to the mainstream C&W audience.

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July 2, 1964: The Civil Rights Act Becomes Law

July 2, 2014

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964, 50 years ago. Bill Moyers reminisces above.

For a remarkable view of the legislation and a close look how it got that way, see NPR’s annotated Behind the Civil Rights Act.

Related:

“How the Civil Rights Act saved the South’s economy,” Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

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July 2nd: Independence Day

July 2, 2014

July 2nd: Independence Day

The Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.” — John Adams

On July 2, 1776 the Second Continental Congress approved the resolution to declare the United Colonies a sovereign nation, independent of the British Empire.

More:

“Why July 2 is really America’s independence day,” Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

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Image (“Declaration Drafting Committee, after Jean Leon Gerome Ferris”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length

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Round, Rested, and Running for Re-Election

July 1, 2014

Round, Rested, and Running for Re-Election
Just in time for Canada Day, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has returned to town after a two-month rehab stint at GreeneStone treatment center. He apologized for embarrassing the city with his erratic behavior and escapades,  declared himself “ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated” and said he “has no one to blame but myself,” but he’s still running for re-election in October.

More:

“Crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford says he’s sober as he returns to office after two months of rehab,” Sasha Goldstein, New York Daily News

“Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: Rehab saved my life,” BBC News

“Rob Ford: What powers does he still have as mayor?” CBC News

“Rob Ford begs for another chance after his stint in rehab,” Canadian Press via Maclean’s

“Rob Ford, with equal parts contrition and bombast, makes it clear he isn’t going away,” Richard Warnica, National Post

“Rob Ford returns: But can he still win the mayoral race?” Mark Gollom, CBC News

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Prehistoric Cave Art

June 30, 2014

Prehistoric Cave Art

“A cave in southern France dubbed the ‘prehistoric Sistine Chapel’ has been added to Unesco’s World Heritage list.

The 1,000 drawings carved in the walls of the Decorated Cave of Pont d’Arc, or Grotte Chauvet, are 36,000 years old and include mammoths and hand prints.

Cave experts only discovered it in 1994 as the entrance had been concealed by a rockfall 23,000 years earlier.”

– ‘”Prehistoric Sistine Chapel’ gets world heritage status,” BBC News

More:

“The Vallon-Pont-d’Arc cave: The world’s oldest decorated cave,” The Vallon Pont-d’Arc Cave Project

“La Grotte ornée Chauvet-Pont d’Arc,” UNESCO World Heritage Centre

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length

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Real Artists Have Day Jobs

June 29, 2014

Real Artists Have Day Jobs

“The biggest myth we are fed as artists is that we need to sustain ourselves solely on our art. This is ridiculous. Every artist has at some point in time had some other job. Some of them kept these jobs their entire lives. In the latter category: William Carlos Williams was a doctor in New Jersey; Henry Darger was a custodian in Chicago; Harvey Pekar was a VA Hospital clerk in Cleveland.

In more temporary capacities: Maya Angelou was a cable-car conductor; Sandra Cisneros was an administrative assistant; JK Rowling was a secretary; Jeremy Renner was a makeup artist (Please read that again: Jeremy Renner was a makeup artist).

Art does not require an MFA. Art does not require a BA. Art does not require a high school diploma. Art does not require any formal education at all.

Art does not need your full-time attention. Art does not demand that you starve in order to afford paint and canvas and brushes.”

– “Real Artists Have Day Jobs,” Sara Benincasa, Medium [links added]

Sara Benincasa’s website

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Image (“Self-Portrait of [Name Withheld], after van Gogh”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com 

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Bobby Womack, 1944 – 2014

June 28, 2014

Bobby Womack 1944 -- 2014

Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Bobby Womack died yesterday.

 More:

“Soul poet Bobby Womack dead at 70,” Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune 

“The Unimpeachable Songs of Bobby Womack,” Ben Greenman, The New Yorker

“Bobby Womack, gospel-soaked baritone and the very last of the Soul Men,” Barney Hoskyns, The Guardian

“Bobby Womack, R&B singer with brave second act, dies at age 70,” Chris Talbott, AP via Detroit Free Press

“Bobby Womack, Royalty of the Soul Era, Dies at 70,” Paul Vitello, New York Times

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Bird House

June 27, 2014

Bird House

In the early Fifties, jazz saxophone great Charlie Parker (“Bird”) lived at 151 Avenue B, across from Tompkins Square Park in New York’s East Village, with Chan Richardson and their children. Chan remembered:

“Yeah, we lived opposite Tompkin Square Park and Bird, a lot of Ukrainians, some gypsies, Hassidic Jews, and Bird used to hang out at the neighborhood bars and nobody knew who he was. I mean that he was Charlie Parker, you know. Well, they knew his name, but they didn’t know he was Bird, and they just called him Charlie, and he would go down the bar with the other old Ukrainian guys and hanging out and and then he’d come home and bring home Kaboshi. You know (laughing). He fit in wherever he went.”

– Chan Parker, interviewed by Ken Burns, May, 1998

There is a Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Tompkins Square Park each summer.

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Back Home Again in Indiana

June 26, 2014

Back Home Again In Indiana

U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young ruled Wednesday that Indiana’s state law banning same-sex couples from marrying or having their marriages from other states recognized is unconstitutional. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed an emergency motion to stay the ruling pending an appeal, but the ruling took effect immediately and Hoosier couples rushed to marry.

We think it’s time to cue Jim Nabors:

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