Friday, August 31, 2012

Capitol Gallery Food truck-rama

Friday, August 24, 2012

Still time to take advantage of National Waffle Day (August 24)

August 24, 2012 is
National Waffle Day
It’s National Waffle Day! On this day in 1869, a man named Cornelius Swartwout received the first U.S. patent for a waffle. Waffles are a delightful breakfast food and can be paired with almost any topping. Butter and maple syrup, fruit and whipped cream, a big scoop of ice cream, or even a helping of fried chicken—the choice is yours! 
Did you know that the first waffles originated in Ancient Greece? It’s true! The Greeks would cook flat cakes called “obelios” between two metal pans held over a fire. Today, all you need is a waffle iron and a yummy recipe for waffle batter.
To celebrate National Waffle Day, cook up some homemade waffles and have breakfast-for-dinner tonight! Enjoy!
In honor of today's waffly-ness, here are some photos of waffles I have had:

Texas Shaped (not sized) Waffle
Texas sized, er shaped waffle

Authentic Belgium Waffles in Brussels

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

@BioDivLib SXSW Interactive session, vote now!! #sxswLAM

2012.03.11-IMG_1082 VOTE NOW for the Biodiversity Heritage Library SXSW Internactive session: "Will Sea Monkeys Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?"

It's that time of year again, the SXSW Panel picker, this year, Chris Freeland and I have a session proposal called "Will Sea Monkeys Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?".

We're happy this year to again be part of the SXSWlam (librar*, archiv*, museum*) gang of incredibly great and cool people (I'm looking at @DetailMatters and @Audrey_renee). More info at

Sounds a bit high concept, but the idea is all about organism names as they appear in nomenclatural taxonomy and the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Here are more details:

Will Sea Monkeys Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? It’s this, and other important questions from the world of biodiversity that at first glance might seem odd, but it’s only through the proper naming of organisms that we can understand both their current place in the ecosystem, as well as their past and future.

Questions Answered

  1. Will Sea Monkeys survive the Zombie apocalypse? Or, how does taxonomic nomenclature affect how humans interact with the rest of the earth's biota? Zombies eat humans (e.g. primates), sea monkey are crustaceans. So, will sea monkeys survive the apocalypse or is common name nomenclature destiny?
  2. How to find organism names in 40 million pages of text? The Biodiversity Heritage Library is the world's largest repository of computational bioinformatic text data. What purposes, outside of systematic taxonomy can it serve?
  3. The importance of names in biodiversity literature. Taxonomy has been systematically naming organisms for over 250 years. Only by knowing the names of organisms can we know where they were in the past and how their ecosystems have changed.
  4. You say Physeter macrocephelus, I say Physeter catadon; the problem of syonyms. Taxonomists change and reclassify the names of organisms on a frightfully regular basis (some studies show it to be upwards of 10% of names change every year. How can a legacy project, such at the Biodiversity Heritage Library work in this environment?
  5. What is the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and how can it help you survive the Zombie Apocalypse? With over 40 million pages of taxonomic literature available online in a fully open manner, we are just scratching the surface of how BHL can be used. The latest projects including data mining the content for illustrations that can be used in a variety of humanities projects.


  • names, library, taxonomy


  • Event
  • Interactive
  • Format
  • Dual
  • Category
  • Science and Space Exploration
  • Level
  • Intermediate


  • Chris Freeland Washington University/Biodiversity Heritage Library
  • Martin Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Libraries/Biodiversity Heritage Library


  • Martin Kalfatovic Smithsonian Libraries

Additional Supporting Materials

Suite 272 at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle, Washington, yeah, yeah, yeah!

2007-01-22-dscn6839Back in 2007 I stayed at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle. I didn't get to stay in Suite 272, aka the Beatles' Suite.

Today, August 21, is 48 years from the day the Fab Four stayed at the hotel.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A rainy day visit to the Politics and Prose Bookstore

Book SquareOn a very rainy day (uh, note to weatherpeople, what was that about? Not in your prediction!) took a trip up to the Cleveland Park neighborhood in Washington with the goal of visiting the Peirce Mill historic site. Got to see a bit of the mill, but then trooped back to Conn. Ave. to have some lunch and do some browsing/shopping at Politics and Prose.

P&P doesn't need any introduction to Washingtonians (or viewers of C-SPAN), but it it is one of the best (and few remaining?) independent bookstore in the U.S.A.

I'd not been there in a while (in fact, not since the new ownership took over. A great selection as usual, and some needed and well done renovations underway. They also had installed "Opus", an Espresso Book Machine. One of the interesting uses of Opus was to print new (or reprints) of books by local authors. In essence, the bookstore is now the publisher. Brilliant idea. The next step is to offer a free e-pub version of the book along with the paper copy.

And, because there are so few places to browse more obscure books, I ran into a neighbor seeking poetry books for her reading club. Got to spend some time klatching in the poety section. Wallace Stevens? (me, yes, her NO!); Billy Collins? (yes and yes); Rilke? (me: Duino Elegies; her, early work); William Carlos Williams (yes and maybe). But what she was looking for was the poetry of Herman Melville. A hard thing to find!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Arlington County Fair, Midway and Competitive Exhibits

2012-08-12_16-26-38_942At this year's Arlington County Fair, we entered photographs (me), baked goods and produce (Mary) and a collage (Grace). It was just an ok year ribbon-wise:

There was some weird stuff going on around the post-judging also; the produce was almost all taken down (and dumped in a trash can by about 4:15 pm, even though you had til 5 pm to pick up your entries. The helpful person there was very apologetic for the mess - and some people were very annoyed!

The photos were also regrouped into their ribbon categories, so you couldn't compare things in your own categories.

So, here's the results:

  • Blondies: Second Premium (Honorable Mention, Green Ribbon)
  • Okra: Second Premium (Second Premium, Red Ribbon)
A Mariachi band begins to play

Meanwhile, back on the midway, here's a shot from the top of the Ferris Wheel:

Arlington County Fair

Monday, August 06, 2012

Sirin and Scott, lost and found

Scott and Sirin By a funny coincidence, two works by a pair of the 20th centuries greatest writers turned up this month. A short story by F. Scott Fitgerald, originally rejected by the New Yorker in 1936, was discovered and "un-rejected" by that august periodical.

And then, a bit of reportage by Vladimir Nabokov (which had only seen the light of day in his collected Russion works) has been translated for the first time and appears in the Times Literary Supplement.

Neither work will cause a radical reevaluation of either author. The Fitzgerald story is a charming bit of whimsy (which will remind the reader more of "Benjamin Button" or "O'Russet Witch" than of The Great Gatsby).

Nabokov's (who often used the pen name Sirin in his German exile) piece is worthy of a Hemingway (as far as boxing descriptions go), but includes the magical verbal play that only Nabokov can do: "Everything in the world plays: the blood in the veins of a lover, the sun on the water, and the musician on a violin. Everything good in life – love, nature, the arts, and family jests – is play".

Enjoy these lost and found words:
  • Breitensträter – Paolino by Vladimir Nabokov (published in the TLS, 1 August 2012). Was "published as “Breitensträter–Paolino” on December 28 and 29 in the Latvian émigré journal Slovo, then forgotten until it was unearthed and reprinted in the early 1990s, in Daugava (Riga), then in Nabokov’s Collected Works in Russian."
  • "Thank you for the Light" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (The New Yorker, 6 August 2012)

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Hanging with Hillz, back on May 24

Reception for the Diplomatic Reception Rooms. A very nice party. Hillary was very personable and hung around for quite a while. This is the Jefferson Room (which is also where the business meetings were).