Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Facts, New or Not

This is the second in an occasional series intended to highlight new facts and not, a baker's half-dozen of interesting tidbits collected from reading around the Web. Use what you learn here as your next ice-breaker.

♦ Topping the list of reading matter enjoyed by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: works by authors Agatha Christie, John Grisham, and J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. ("Guantanamo Bay Library's Most Wanted Books? Anything But Barack Obama", Guardian, August 25, 2010)

♦ Aficionados of Spanish literature probably won't be surprised to learn that the two novels topping the list of the best 25 of the best 100 Spanish-language novels of the last 25 years are, respectively, Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and The Feast of the Goat (Mario Vargas Llosa). ("Top 25 Spanish-Language Novels Written Since 1982", Conversational Reading, August 2010)

♦ Writers, listen up! As poet Andrew Waterman tells an interviewer, his son Rory Waterman, "Making unimportant things the important things in life can never nourish a writer's work, nor be kept from infecting it." ("Sparking Off: An Extended Interview with Andrew Waterman", Able Muse, Vol. 9)

♦ In Turkey, the moustache rules, and no self-respecting political candidate would be caught without one. ("Hair Today, Prime Minister Tomorrow", Monocle, August 24, 2010)

♦ The Dendera Zodiac, in the Louvre, was discovered during Napolean's Egyptian Campaign (1798-1799) and brought to Paris in 1821. ("Diane Greco Josefowicz on French Egyptomania", FiveBooks, August 20, 2010)

♦ Inquiring minds want to know: How many violins does it take to simulate vibrato? Would you believe a dozen, each one tuned a bit differently? ("Quaver or Not . . . Should  Orchestras Use Vibrato?", Telegraph, August 17, 2010)

♦ Perhaps you're one of the upper crust; perhaps not. No matter; you might like to know that the term itself derives from the fact that the top half of a loaf of bread was deemed oh so much better than the lower and was the portion served to kings and queens and knights and their ladies. ("Spilling the Beans on the Origins of Food Idioms", Smithsonian.com, August 13, 2010)


M.L. Gallagher said...

Well! Who knew?


Thanks for the 'cocktail party' thrillers. Just in time for the Christmas season!


Leslie Hague said...

That's fascinating!

Kathleen Overby said...

"Making unimportant things the important things in life can never nourish a writer's work, nor be kept from infecting it." iLike. Much.

I agree completely about the crust. I often leave the bottom. It's funny, now I know why I prefer free form bread with as much crust surface as possible.

n. davis rosback said...

i like your facts post, it's a lot of fun.

as a kid, i would avoid all of the crust on my wonder bread, if i could. my mom would always make me eat it. she was soooo mean.

i wonder how they ever sold wonder bread in the first place.

Brian Miller said...

i kinda like the top half of the bread, though i would probably just be considered crust as opposed to upper...smiles. intriguing quote on making the unimportant important...

Anne Lang Bundy said...

I gave our resident violinist (my age 14 daughter Elizabeth) a peek at the article on vibrato. (Her teacher says her vibrato is excellent.) Elizabeth explained the information back to me and I found it thoroughly fascinating. (Aren't I blessed?)