November Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

28 Nov

NOVEMBER’S STRAIGHT TALK

1.Turkeys.nov2018.2-use

Let’s talk turkey. Because it is a native bird with a proud demeanor and protective instincts, the wild turkey was Benjamin Franklin’s preference for the national bird. He considered the bald eagle less honorable because it can be a scavenger and robs other birds and animals for prey … Adult male turkeys are called toms and females are called hens. Baby ones are poults and teenagers are jakes and jennies. Only the males gobble, which they do in the spring to announce their presence to females. A group of turkeys is called a rafter or a flock. The wild turkey’s bald head and fleshy facial wattles change color in seconds with excitement or emotion. Their heads can be red, pink, white, or blue. The flap of skin that hangs down over a turkey’s bill is called a snood, and can also change color, size, and shape based on their moods.

 

IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY

2.BeatleWhiteAlbum.nov2018-use-frame

Fifty years ago, November 1968, The Beatles released their White Album. And what a trip it was! It starts with the rush of a screaming jet in Paul McCartney’s exuberant vocals on Back In The U.S.S.R. Then Dear Prudence from John Lennon beckoning us to “look around.” And most beautiful of all is the timeless spiritual wisdom of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps, “…with every mistake we must surely be learning.” And then there’s Ringo Starr’s Don’t Pass Me By, which was his first solo songwriting credit on a Beatles album. Most of the songs were written during a Transcendental Meditation course in India.

 

LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING

3.SilverLinings.playbook.nov2018

The silver lining is a sign of hope. It’s the optimistic and consoling part of what might otherwise be a gloomy or difficult situation. It’s finding the good in rough times. The expression can be traced back to 1634 in a line from John Milton about a dark cloud that reveals a silver lining or halo of bright sun behind the gloom. The idea became part of the culture, giving us the proverb every cloud has a silver lining. The often quoted lines from Milton’s Comus, are where the silver lining is the light of the moon shining from behind the cloud.

Was I deceived? Or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud,
Turn out her silver lining on the night
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

So our takeaway? Let’s remind ourselves to be optimistic. Keep the faith and think positive! Even difficult times will lead to better days.

 

PECANS DRIVE US NUTS!

4.PecanPie.nov2018

My favorite Thanksgiving dessert is pecan pie. As I write this, I am pronouncing it pee-CAN. But many say puh-KAHN. What determines our pronunciation of pecan? Is it geography or race or gender or education? Kathleen Purvis, author of the Pecans cookbook, says that regional (separated by the Mason-Dixon Line) is just flat out wrong. “I’ve listened to people from all over. And in my experience, it isn’t North versus South.” … Actually, linguists say it is city vs. rural. Josh Katz, who wrote Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk, and studies dialects, says that urban-rural is a big part of a lot of dialect variation, especially in pronunciation …  The word pecan originates from the Algonquin Indian word “pakan,” which meant a nut so hard that it had to be cracked with a stone … Wait! There’s more. Then there are folks who say PEE-cans but pronounce pecan pie the other way. That means for some it takes PEE-cans to make puh-KAHN pie. Oy.

Since mouths may be watering by now, here’s a classic pecan pie recipe. Ingredients: 1 cup light or dark corn syrup, 3 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 6 ounces coarsely chopped pecans. And 1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pie crust. Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie shell in a 9 inch pie pan. In a bowl, gently beat eggs. Stir in sugar, then the syrup, butter, and vanilla. Fold in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes; knife inserted in center of pie should come out clean. Enjoy!

 

DOG NEWS

5.DogNews.TheFriend.nov2018

On November 14, the National Book Award for fiction was awarded to The Friend. A novel by Sigrid Nunez about a woman whose lifelong best friend dies and finds herself with the unwanted dog he left behind. They are both suffering. She lost her friend, and Apollo, the Great Dane, is traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of his master. On top of that they face being evicted because dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog, The Friend is a life-affirming story about finding solace in each other.

 

ENDNOTE: J. R. ACKERLEY

6.EndNote.Ackerley.nov2018

“A dog has one aim in life… to bestow his heart.”

 

WE CAN HELP

CREEK FIRE, SYLMAR CA.

As wildfires raged in different parts of California, residents were forced to evacuate, some without getting the chance to go home and take their animals. Displaced pets, stray animals, and wildlife caught in fire zones are in danger. Thousands, including dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, ducks, and a tortoise, have been saved. The North Valley Animal Disaster Group, a nonprofit, is caring for about 1,400 animals across its shelters. They are providing temporary sheltering, evacuation, medical care, reuniting animals with their owners, and adopting into permanent homes. We can make a donation to help them help these animals.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

8.Soundtrack.AlicesRestaurant.nov2018

Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant

This 18-minute ballad is the unofficial but really official Thanksgiving Day anthem. And I feel it’s our duty to listen to it every year on Thanksgiving … “Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, two years ago, on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant.”

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant
Walk right in, it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant

 

Who rescued whom?9.KEEP-YP+BarkleySo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

 

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
12.KEEP-Buddha“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Silver lining: Online Etymology Dictionary ©2010 Douglas Harper
Dog News Great Dane pic: The Bark
We Can Help pic: Gene Blevins for the Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG
EndNote pic: Book cover The Life of J.R. Ackerley by Peter Parker (Farrar Straus Giroux 1989)

November 28, 2018
All Rights Reserved

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