Lists: Takoma Park Food Co-Op

This list courtesy of the bulk spice section of the Takoma Park (MD) Food Co-Op. While looking for cumin, I came across these, and happily pondered what they might possibly be for. Kind of fairy tale meets hipster.

Dulse Leaves
Elder Berries (well, I know the Monty Python application of this one at least.)
Dulse Leaf
Dong Quai Root
Uva Ursi Leaf
Pau d’Arco Bark
Motherwort Herb
Slippery Elm Bark
Mullein Leaf


150 Years of the Morrill Land-Grant Acts

Encountering buildings named “Morrill Hall” was a regular feature of my childhood as my family moved to several big university towns in the 1960’s and 70’s. Then, as now, mystified by English spelling, I assumed there was some special rule for spelling “moral” or perhaps “morale” when it was written in stone. Not so, these buildings are in honor of Justin Smith Morrill, the Vermont senator who proposed the legislation that created the Land-grant colleges in 1862.

The 150th anniversary party for the Morrill Act is on in DC this week. And it’s definitely worth celebrating: the land-grants are still around and mostly thriving, and whatever the qualms about higher ed in American may be part of the reason we have this sector at all is the Morrill Act and later commitments from the federal government and the states. Some highlights of the celebration: The Smithsonian’s Annual Folk Life Festival has a “Campus and Community” thread that looks at land-grants’ efforts beyond the classroom and lab (extension and community learning were early parts of the land-grant vision). Current presidents of the many of the Land-grants will be in town for meetings and events. They will be at the Lincoln Memorial Monday (84 degrees, by DC standards a crisp spring day, but not so much if you are in your full academic regalia).

There are also going to be Justin Morrill impersonators on hand (kind of like the Lincoln-seque guy who roams around Ford’s Theater when you go for a play or a tour) as well as the Morrill descendants.

So here’s some of the text from the original act, courtesy of “Our” (a site which gives you the text, as well as large and small images of the original document.)

The Morrill Act (1862)

Original Morrill Land-grant act from 1862
Chap. CXXX.–AN ACT Donating Public Lands to the several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for the Benefit of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there be granted to the several States, for the purposes hereinafter mentioned, an amount of public land, to be apportioned to each State a quantity equal to thirty thousand acres for each senator and representative in Congress to which the States are respectively entitled by the apportionment under the census of eighteen hundred and sixty: Provided, That no mineral lands shall be selected or purchased under the provisions of this Act.


[Monies …] and the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriated, by each State which may take and claim the benefit of this act, to the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.

You can follow the convocation on Twitter: #Morrill150

Tahiti from Space

Tahiti captured by Landsat 7 in 2001.
A remarkable NASA photo of Tahiti’s, green, inviting, volcanoes (odd set of words I grant you.) Nice blog entry on it over at Bad Astronomy, where I first saw the picture while trawling around for yet more Transit of Venus stuff. The comments give a wonderful list of volcanoes to visit. Not something I’ve ever considered, despite my wanderlust.

Andrew O’Hagan on Hemingway’s Letters: How It Sort of Was

One of LRB’s best writers (and that’s saying something) takes in Don Ernesto’s personal myth making, drinking, and list making. Nice piece of prose, with a nod to another fave, John Sutherland.

Amidst the details of Hemingway’s self-fashioning of the war hero identity (maybe of a bit of the modernist program?) comes this striking bit from Martha Gellhorn and the following paragraph on H as the writerly “bullshit detector.”

A 1918 photo of Hemingway: he’s fetching in his vulnerability, also weirdly hot given his later look.

Martha Gellhorn was famous for several things, among them being married to ‘E’ and never talking about it, but once, in my presence, she pointed at a candle and said: ‘If E was here he would say there were two candles. He’d insist. Even though we can all see there is one candle on the table, E would say “two” and he would argue his case and never give up until he believed it himself and we all believed it, too.’

Yet feet apart, shoulders square, cigar snug in the corner of the mouth, eyes sparkling with experience, Hemingway is the bullshit-detector of modern literature: every verb earned by toil, every noun inhabited, every adjective deleted, they say, the better to tell you how it was. (He was always a ‘gauge of morale’, Edmund Wilson wrote, ‘a barometer of his times’.) But like many simple writers, Hemingway grew to be ideological and defensive. The world wasn’t big enough for his style and Fitzgerald’s: one of them had to be a faker, and it was never going to be the one who had run with the bulls in Pamplona, as opposed to running with the bullshit in Hollywood.

Now I wish I had watched the HBO thing on them, but I wonder if they tamped down the myths or just “ran with the bullshit”?

Full article at A lot of LRB is behind a paywall, but they put a few gems out front.

Another Reason to Elope

Or perhaps not get married at all? Fun piece today by Beth Teitell in today’s Globe (probably free only today.)

The bride and groom were making the rounds at their reception in East Bridgewater when the wedding coordinator at the Villa at the Ridder Country Club noticed a major problem. Uh-oh. Was the bride’s bra showing? Had a child swiped a fingerful of frosting from the cake?

If only.

“Guests were sending very inappropriate texts,” said Jennifer Gullins, the marketing director of Saphire Event Group. And they were far from private. The happy couple had sprung for a DJ package that included a large plasma screen on which text messages could be displayed. Some guests had taken the opportunity to send nasty (and anonymous) comments about other guests’ outfits and sizes.

“We approached the bride and groom and said unfortunately we have to ask for this service to be discontinued,” Gullins said.


“Most guests are going to bring their phones with them,” he said, “and most brides would prefer that the phones at least somehow relate to the wedding, rather than what the Sox or the Celts are doing.”

Never mind that a wedding is supposed to be a social event — people need entertainment beyond conversation, music, and food. And that means interacting with their phones. “Now during cocktail hour, you’ve got something [live texting] that engages all the guests,” said Al-Mahdi. “They’re not bored.”

Apparently a nuptial without live streaming, twitterfall like social media, and perhaps a “rights and appearance” release just is so 20th century. I’m horrified, predictably, but I do see some freelance opportunity doing [snide] wedding IT phone support. “Thanks for your call, it’s important to us. If you’d like faster service, please contact your designated hardware maid of honor or best man of software support to open a ticket. And please do press one if you think the bridesmaids’ dresses in off-silver really were an unfortunate choice. You’ll be entered in a raffle for free IT desk support for your event!” Click.

Poetry Interactive: 60 Poems in 60 Years (in honor of the Jubilee)

Here’s a kind of nifty interactive of 60 years of British Poetry (Wendy Cope pulled me in.)


1972 was the year
Of the hippy librarians from Islington.

From “The Space” an online arts site supported by the Arts Council England.

(They aren’t kidding about ‘scrolling down.’ It’s one giant below the fold page. Not intuitive to me at least.) But great poems and readings once you get there.

Maybe I’m a “Power” Something After All?

Interesting piece from Julio Ojeda-Zapata on E-books at the St. Paul Public Library and news of a Pew Report about e-Book use in libraries in general. It’s a secret apparently to many patrons that the service even exists.

Includes this line,

“Those who borrow e-books “are power users who read a lot, electronically and in print,” he said. “They check out a lot of books and buy a lot of books. They just want to read, and do not care if it’s electronic or print.”

I’m not just a big reader, I’m a “library power user.” I like it. The only other thing I’m even close to a power user on is Excel for the Mac, and that has not–to date–been an a big personal selling point, except possibly with the shade of my late grandfather, who was a CPA.

Interactive Graphic on the State of Gay America

From the Guardian’s Data Blog (impressed that the Guardian has a beat just for data, “the oil of the 21st century”).

Achieves the rare goal for an interactive figure of being pretty intuitive, and working both at the “glance” scale and the “detail” scale.

Certainly does a good job of letting me disqualify states and regions for my next move!

Nice rundown on the new MacBook Air

Looks like it’s worth the upgrade (particularly since I’m still using a 2008 Air, referred to as a “toy computer” in the article, ouch!). The ridiculous audio port overhang issue of the first generation ones is long since solved. But no retina display 😦 And their restlessness with reconfiguring MagSafe is annoying.

Still for $999? Pretty sweet.

Jacqui Cheng’s ArsTechnica review is clear, candid and helpful.