Author Archives: Sarah

August Reading

The Best American Crime Writing, 2006
I’m working my way through the volumes I haven’t read, now that the series seems to have ended. One essay made me wonder if I had read and then forgotten this one. Nope, it was an essay on someone who had been in a previous volume for a previous crime.

Thicker Than Water, Carey
I’ve been saving the installments of the Felix Castor series for when I really need a fast-moving paranormal noir mystery. Good stuff, though the gradual reveal of the truth behind the new cosmology of a world with returning dead is limiting Our Hero’s actions more and more…

Another delightful time-travel excursion

Again from New York Daily Tribune, May 25, 1842

Baths.–Brooklyn Salt Water Warm Baths at Fulton Ferry, open for gentlement and ladies every day, from 5 A. M. until 10 P. M. Also, Cold, Warm and Tepid Salt Water Shower Baths. These Baths are pleasantly situated at Fulton Ferry, and equally convenient for New York and Brooklyn.

A fun family time-travel activity!

An ad from the New York Daily Tribune, April 22, 1842, p. 1:

Geological Excursions.–Arrangements are made by the Exchange Lyceum for Scientific Excursions to examine and collect minerals, plants, shells and other speciemens of nature, for FAMILY CABINETS, for the Depository of the Lyceum, and for exhanges with other Societies, and with individuals in different parts of the world. Those wishing to engage in them are invited to call the Exchange Lyceum, 343 Broadway.

July Reading

Stickman Odyssey, Book Two: The Wrath of Zozimos, Christopher Ford
Fun, funny, entertaining nods to mythology and odysseys (we finally get the ship Stickos and its crew the Stickonauts). No poop jokes this time, but several fart jokes. A worthy sequel.

The Star Wars Craft Book, Burton
Skimmed rather than read, but I can see why this has had a holds list for a while: the crafts are pretty cool and original. Nothing I can’t live without (though the R2D2 crochet beanie was awfully close).

Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine
Mostly looked at the pictures, and what pictures they are! A selection of historic documents and illustrations from the vast collection at NLM, including some really neat medical lift-the-flap books, early studies of anatomy, and some grisly photographs of early cadaver cross-sections. I’ll have to plan a visit.

Diary of a Provincial Lady, E.M. Delafield
Delightful diary-style comedy from rural England in the 1930s, full of social obligations, village fetes, boarding school, book of the month club and everything. Very funny, I will have to track down subsequent volumes.

The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast Got Its Crunch, Marty Gitlin & Topher Ellis
More factoids than history, but fun factoids and photos of neat stuff from cereal collectors’ stashes. An entertaining browse.

Redshirts, Scalzi
Not just a good book, but three or more good books. Well constructed, many threads and many threads woven in. Delightful.

Egg Cream: Both Egg and Cream, Discuss

So you know how New Yorkers are all like, try our egg creams! They don’t have egg or cream in them! So crazy! Perhaps even crazier, here’s a recipe (again from The Standard Formulary) for an egg cream with egg AND cream:

Syrup, Egg Cream.
Cream fl. oz. 16
Syrup fl. oz. 48
Extract of vanilla fl. dr. 4
Yolks of 16 eggs.

Rub cream with egg-yolk until perfectly smooth, then add the syrup and flavoring. This is to be served like any other soda syrup, but before handing over, sprinkle a little mixed spice on the foam.

So who wants to blow through a whole bunch of eggs with me?

Certain to do SOMETHING

I’m browsing through the 1897 Standard Formulary, a guide to how to mix up all of the odd drugs and remedies you could get at the well-stocked US drugstore at the time. Meaning there are plenty of recipes chock full of nux vomica, senna, and good old-fashioned morphine hydrochlorate. I was pleased to run across a recipe that is unlikely to kill you immediately and can be made from things you have around the house (if you’re living right):
Spirit of Horse-Radish, Compound. (p. 137)
Horseradish root, fresh, scraped av. oz. 2
Bitter orange peel, cut small and bruised av. oz. 2
Nutmeg, bruised gr. 22
Alcohol fl. oz. 8
Water fl. oz. 14
Mix and distill 16 fluidounces. -Brit. Pharm.

Nutty Paneer Burger!

Unusually, the first burger chain in India was an indigenous company called Nirula’s, which introduced fast-food burgers and chips during the 1950s. Menu items include the Nutty Paneer Burger (made of fresh cheese and walnuts), Mutton Maniac Burger (with chilli sauce), French Flip Burger (a chicken burger) and Crazy Pea Burger (made from dried peas).

p. 100-101, Andrew F. Smith, Hamburger: A Global History. London: Reaktion Books. 2008.
Here’s a current Nirula’s menu, including a Paneer Tikka Burger, which sounds delightful!

June Reading

Thoreau at Walden, John Porcellino
Porcelino uses bits of Thoreau’s words (oft-quoted, as he notes) and combines them with illustrations to re-introduce the vast silences and observation that was a vital part of Thoreau’s experience. I would totally use this with a teen class.

, Tom Gauld
Deceptively simple art (but wow, that shading! Blew me away.) with deceptively simple storytelling and heart-wrenching foreshadowing. This one could be a book of the year. Great.

How to Sharpen Pencils, David Rees
Inspired by vintage how-to that waxes lyrical about the importance of simple tasks, it reminded me of my favorite library writers, L. R. McColvin and Ranganathan. What you do can be transcendent and also funny. Much more than a novelty, quite worth a read. Good wine & pencil pairings.

The Gentle Art of Knitting, Jane Brocket
Just as gorgeous as her blog and inspires one to get back to the tactile and visual enjoyment of knitting rather than slaving over (possibly ill-fitting) gifts. Good wine & yarn pairings. Delightful.

Vox Pops that’ll Pop Your Vox

A series of portraits of Londoners commenting on the Olympics in In Focus:
1. Was he told about the portrait ahead of time or was he just WALKING AROUND IN THAT GETUP?
2. There’s some good-looking tubers there.
3. Is that a Matt Lucas vs. Sasha Baron Cohen mural?
4. She may need to invest in some fashionable collarbone padding.
5. I laughed at the hedge maintenance but I do want to know how you get to be retired at 57. Nice.
6. “fashion store staff member”? Perhaps he only seems like he should be a dungeon operator?
7. I was sorry that anyone else commented on the traffic issues because I wanted the crossing guard to be uniquely concerned about the roads.
8. So punchable.
9. I would make a comment along the lines of “graphic illustrator? Like the graphic illustrator in the right corner of the photo?” but he honestly looks like most of the graphic design guys I’ve met. Especially the carefully chosen shoes.
10. Is he allowed to speak?
11. “Dasha” the “21” year old “model” with “big boobs”. I’m surprised that a “model” wouldn’t welcome the tourist “trade”.
12. This guy is simply delightful and is so very carefully paint-splattered.
13. I think this photo just launched a new fetish: sexy motorcycle paramedic.
14. But not tennis :(
15. Yeah, yeah, English fishmonger, but look at the strangely beat up child-shaped charity box with the charity’s name removed! Creepy, huh?
16. This is what all of the phone-support technicians wear at his office.
17. So brick-walled garages AREN’T just in The Sweeney!
18. Questions like “how come you’re dressed like a zombie?” Though to be fair, even non-tourists ask her.
19. I’m hoping they clarified because they are delighted by her public-spiritedness and not because they are afraid someone might assume she’s handicapped in some way.
20. Would YOU buy fashions designed by the man in the Darth Vader jacket and flowery parachute pants?
21. Because Beth-Ann sounded like a hillbilly, but Bethan sounds like a building or neighborhood name (classy!).
22. “Ben Slow” must be rhyming slang for SOMETHING, right? (You must read the tribute to the mural subject, Charlie Burns. Utterly wonderful.)
23. I think he should consider being a suit model. Very dapper.