Saturday, January 31, 2015

WORLD HISTORY: Typos and trivia in a history textbook

I just finished editing a textbook on world history since the end of World War II. It was an interesting and mostly well-written project, but I caught quite a few mistakes missed by the spell-checking program. Two examples: "NFL" instead of "NLF" (for the National Liberation Front in North Vietnam) and "libation theology" instead of "liberation theology."
I had to give the author credit, though for the use of the word "pell-mell," which you just don't hear anymore. It means rapid and darting. He used it to describe the past few decades of economic development in China.
Naturally in a book of this type, the names of many world leaders were given, and I checked the spelling of each on line. I found out that along with capsule bios, Wikipedia also gives the height of prominent people. Did you know that Nikita Khrushchev was only five-foot-three? And Iranian politician Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is only five-foot-two?

TALKBACK: Aiken has a hyper-local columnist, too

A West Marlborough friend who is in South Carolina for the winter sent me a copy of the "TalkBack" column from the "Aiken Standard" newspaper. I had to laugh at how familiar it sounds: the writer opines about dog mess in the park, illegal parking in handicapped spots, gender discrimination in golfing tournament fees (the men are charged more than the women!), and the correct placement of surveillance cameras. One item, however, was definitely jarring: the writer wonders what she should do if she comes home and finds her ailing, elderly mother dead: "She is not a hospice candidate, and calling an ambulance seems pointless."

HOOD'S UPDATE: They're making good progress

Four construction guys were hard at work this frigid morning at Hood's BBQ when we stopped by for our breakfast sandwiches. The outside renovations are done and now they're working on the inside. Larry Jr. told us that he hopes the project will be done in March and they'll be able to move back inside from the trailer where they've been doing business.
As cold as it was today, when the wind stopped howling there were actually a few nice moments -- like when I was standing out in the dogs' yard with a pit bull snuggled against my leg and the warm sun on my face. Two days in a row I've spotted a hawk, with his feathers all puffed up for warmth, sitting on the same fence line along Route 842 near the Stone Barn.

Friday, January 30, 2015

SOLDIER JAM: Second annual music fest features great local bands

Davey Dickens asked me to give a mention to the second annual Soldier Jam, the music fest he is producing (and performing in) at Thorncroft Therapeutic Riding Center, 190 Line Rd., Malvern from 4 to 10 p.m. March 28. Performers are Hezekiah Jones, Mason Porter, The Griz Band, Manatawny Creek Ramblers, Tin Bird Choir, Kevin Killen, Ted the Fiddler and Hellsaddle. Admission is $25, $10 for veterans with ID. Tickets are available through www.frenchandpickering.org.
Davey, an Army veteran and fishing guide, writes that all proceeds will go toward building "an all-access dock and recreation area in the French Creek Watershed. This will allow for Veterans in wheelchairs to fish in a private wooded setting and also we will be constructing outdoor counseling areas to provide an area for Veterans to receive therapy outside of the walls and restrictions of hospitals."

WINTER FIXES: A hack for fruit that's reluctant to ripen

In the summer, fruit ripens too quickly, and seemingly overnight you have a surfeit of black bananas sitting on the counter, suitable only for smoothies or banana bread. In the winter, just the opposite: my avocados and kiwis just sit there and simply refuse to ripen.
I looked online and found an answer: put the stubborn fruit in a brown paper bag with a banana, and close the bag. It works! Within a couple of days, the fruits were perfectly ripe. 
I still haven't come up with an answer for a few other chilly-house irritants though, like toothpaste and lip balm that want to stay in their tubes.

HALF-MOON: Lunch with a view from the top

A friend and I had a nice lunch today at the Half-Moon, upstairs in their roof-top dining area. The wind was howling around and, because we were at tree-top level, we got a great view of the bare branches whipping to and fro and the clouds zipping across the blue sky. Plus upstairs was the warmest spot in the restaurant and the heat was blowing right on us. Delightful!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

AVONDALE: A new health-food store, bakery and juice bar opens its door

Avondale Natural Foods, a new health-food store, bakery, café, and juice bar, opened in Avondale on Monday, Jan. 26. You'll recognize the manager, Art, who used to run the now-closed Spring Run health-food store on Route 1. As soon as I walked in he gave me a hearty welcome and enthusiastically pointed out the shop's features, like the organic produce, the café and the fresh-baked bread (Elon is the baker).
The store, located in in a renovated bank building, is well stocked and carries everything you'd expect: snacks, soup, coffee, tea, pasta, baking ingredients, jellies and nut butters, vitamins, personal care items, "green" cleaning products, frozen food, nuts, berries, juices, grains, and lots more. I even found the coconut oil that I'm going to use in a recipe for "healthy fudge brownies" that Barbie Vannote shared.
I bought a round loaf of sourdough bread, and it was wonderful.
The store's juice bar/café offers coffee, green "shots," juices, smoothies, chili, soup, sandwiches and salads. You can even eat at a table in the old bank vault, which has a wonderfully ornate metal door.
The store is at 122 Pennsylvania Avenue (Route 41), next to the Avondale post office. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.