Culture

 

Book Cover-01Book Cover-01 Chapter 1

  1. Caspar Milquetoast was a comic strip character created by H. T. Webster for his cartoon series “The Timid Soul.” In 1912, Webster drew a daily panel for the New York Tribune, under a variety of titles—“Our Boyhood Ambitions,” “Life’s Darkest Moment,” and “The Unseen Audience.” In 1924, Webster moved to the New York World and soon after added “The Timid Soul” featuring the wimpy Caspar Milquetoast. Webster described Caspar Milquetoast as “the man who speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick.”

Chapter 4

  1. “Hand” is the tactile feel of carpet in the hand; its weight, texture, suppleness, softness, etc.

Chapter 8

  1. Reginald Jeeves is a fictional character in the short stories and novels of P. G. Wodehouse (1881–1975), being the valet of Bertie Wooster (Bertram Wilbrforce Wooster). Created in 1915, Jeeves continued to appear in Wodehouse’s work until his last completed novel Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen in 1974. He is Wodehouse’s most famous character. The name “Jeeves” comes from Percy Jeeves (1888–1916), a Warwickshire cricketer killed in the First World War. Both the name “Jeeves” and the character of Jeeves have come to be thought of as the quintessential name and nature of a valet or butler inspiring many similar characters. A “Jeeves” is now a generic term in references such as the Oxford English Dictionary.
  2. T&R Theakston is a British regional brewery located in the town of Masham, North Yorkshire, England. They are the sixteenth largest brewer in the UK by market share, and the second largest brewer under family ownership after Shepherd Neame. Old Peculier is Theakston’s most famous beer. Old Peculier has been made under this name since the 1890s. It is named after the peculier of Masham, a peculier being a parish outside the jurisdiction of a diocese.
  3. Chabana (literally “tea flowers”) is a generic term for the arrangement of flowers put together for display at a Japanese tea ceremony. The method of arranging the flowers is according to the nageire, or thrown in, style of flower arranging. In turn, nageire is recognized as a certain stylistic category of Kadō, the Japanese “Way of Flowers.” These all developed from ikebana, which had its origin in early Buddhist flower offerings (kuge).
  4. William Hayward “Mookie” Wilson is an American former professional baseball player. He played all or part of twelve seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Mets (1980–89) and Toronto Blue Jays (1989–91), primarily as a center fielder, and was also a coach for the Mets. He was a switch hitter primarily known for his impressive speed and positive attitude. During game six of the 1986 World Series, Wilson avoided being hit by a wild pitch, allowing the tying run to score in the bottom of the tenth. His ground ball later in the same at bat went through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, allowing the winning run to score. The play is often known as the “Buckner play” and is blamed on the first baseman, but Wilson’s smart at-bat, speed, and determination also affected the course of events. The Mets went on to win the 1986 World Series.

Chapter 10

  1. On May 1, 2013, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart poked fun at noted "birther" Donald Trump, saying his birth name was actually "Fuckface Von Clownstick." Technically, this is three years later than the timeline of the novel, but it's too good not to use. Anachronism be damned.

Chapter 11

  1. The phenomenon called “wine legs” is manifested as a ring of clear liquid, near the top of a glass of wine, from which droplets continuously form and drop back into the wine. It is most readily observed in a wine which has a high alcohol content. It is also referred to as church windows, curtains, or tears of wine. The effect is a consequence of the fact that alcohol has a lower surface tension than water.

Chapter 12

  1. Wing Chun is a concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self-defense utilizing both striking and grappling while specializing in close-range combat. The Muk Yan Jong form is performed against a “wooden dummy,” a thick wooden post with three arms and a leg mounted on a slightly springy frame representing a stationary human opponent. Although representative of a human opponent, the dummy is not a physical representation of a human, but an energetic one. Wooden dummy practice aims to refine a practitioner’s understanding of angles, positions, and footwork, and to develop full body power. It is here that the open hand forms are pieced together and understood as a whole.

Chapter 13

  1. Peter Sellers stared in Stanley Kubrick’s films Lolita and Dr. Strangelove. He was one of only two actors that the normally controlling Kubrick allowed free rein to heavily improvise his own dialogue and have enormous creative input into his character. The other was R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket.

Chapter 14

  1. The Bolt of Lightning by Jar Perfumes is one of the world’s most expensive fragrances.
  2. A 2-11 is a police scanner code for an armed robbery.

Chapter 15

  1. Fuller’s Brewery (full name Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C) is an independent family regional brewery founded in 1845 and based in Chiswick, West London. Beer has been brewed on Fuller’s Chiswick site for over 350 years - as far back as the era of Oliver Cromwell.

Chapter 17

  1. After blowing a main line of cocaine, a user takes a cigarette and sucks up the remainder of the “freeze” like a straw, directly into the cigarette. This is referred to as a candy stick.

Chapter 18

  1. The Abbie Hoffman Incident happened during The Who’s set right after the song “Pinball Wizard.” Abbie Hoffman was able to get on stage and grab a microphone while Pete Townshend tuned his guitar. He said: “I think this is a pile of shit! While John Sinclair rots in prison…” Hoffman was protesting against the imprisonment of John Sinclair (leader of the White Panther Party and manager of the left-wing hard-rock band MC5) who had been convicted and sentenced to nine years of prison because of marijuana possession. Townshend, angry that someone took the stage, screamed profanities and  hit him with his guitar.
  2. William Stetson Kennedy (October 5, 1916 – August 27, 2011) was an American author and human rights activist. One of the pioneer folklore collectors during the first half of the twentieth century, he is remembered for having infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s, exposing its secrets to authorities and the outside world. His actions led to the 1947 revocation by the state of Georgia of the Klan’s national corporate charter.

Chapter 19

  1. Theodore John “Ted” Kaczynski, PhD, also known as the “Unabomber,” is an American terrorist, mathematician, social critic, and Neo-Luddite. Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski engaged in a nationwide bombing campaign against modern technology, planting or mailing numerous home-made bombs, killing three people and injuring twenty-three others. Ted Kaczynski sent a letter to The New York Times on April 24, 1995 and promised “to desist from terrorism” if the Times or The Washington Post published his manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future (also called the “Unabomber Manifesto”), in which he argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization. The pamphlet was finally published by The New York Times and The Washington Post on September 19, 1995.

Chapter 20

  1. In the 1950s and 1960s, the advertising industry was based on Madison Avenue in New York City. In fact, “Madison Avenue” used to be slang for “the ad industry.” Madison/ad men was contracted into “mad men” (no women, of course) by the mad men themselves.
  2. The phrase “Better Living Through Chemistry” is a variant of a DuPont advertising slogan, “Better Things for Better Living...Through Chemistry.” DuPont adopted it in 1935 and it was their slogan until 1982 when the “Through Chemistry” part was dropped. The phrase “Better Living Through Chemistry” was used on products that were not affiliated with DuPont to circumvent trademark infringement. This transmutation is now more commonly used than the original. This statement is used for commentary on several different topics, from the promotion of prescription or recreational drugs, to the praise of chemicals and plastics, to the sarcastic criticism of the same. DuPont used the “Better Living Through Chemistry” slogan not to promote particular products, but to change viewers’ opinions about the role of business in society. In the words of DuPont’s advertising director, Charles Hackett, the advertisements sought to address “unspoken fears of bigness in business,” which were based on “an emotional rather than a rational foundation. The slogan originated in BBDO’s Madison Avenue offices, where DuPont account executive Maurice Collette and copywriter Les Pearl collated slogan suggestions solicited from agency staff. Collette put “better things for better living” at the top of a list of phrases sent to DuPont Company advertising director William A. Hart. Hart selected the first, adding the words “through chemistry.”
  3. Prince Albert has one of the highest obesity rates in Canada. In 2005, 32.37% of the residents were considered obese. This is nearly twice the national average.
  4. October 17 1896, Denver Post, “Further Facts in the Case of Mark Hanna,” pg. 6, cols. 6-7:  “Those of us who are well fed, well garmented and well ordered, ought not to forget that necessity makes frequently the root of crime. It is well for us to recollect that even in our own law-abiding, not to say virtuous cases, the only barrier between us and anarchy is the last nine meals we’ve had. It may be taken as axiomatic that a starving man is never a good citizen.”
    - Alfred Henry Lewis (January 20, 1855 – December 23, 1914), an American investigative journalist, lawyer, novelist, editor, and short story writer.

Chapter 21

  1. Giacobbe “Jake” LaMotta (born July 10, 1921), nicknamed “The Bronx Bull” and “The Raging Bull,” is an American retired professional boxer and former World Middleweight Champion. He was portrayed by Robert De Niro in the 1980 film Raging Bull. LaMotta, of Italian descent, was born in the Bronx, New York City in 1921. He was forced by his father into fighting other children to entertain neighborhood adults, who threw pocket change into the ring. LaMotta’s father collected the money and used it to help pay the rent.
  2. Citing its dark, deep and “vibrant” flavors, Wine Spectator in 2001 lauded Inglenook’s 1941 Cabernet Sauvignon, a batch considered by many the best ever produced in Napa Valley. About $24,000 per bottle.

Chapter 22

  1. David Richard Berkowitz (born Richard David Falco; June 1, 1953), also known as the Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer, is an American serial killer convicted of a series of shooting attacks that began in the summer of 1976. Perpetrated with a .44 caliber Bulldog revolver, the shootings continued for over a year, leaving six victims dead and seven others wounded. As the toll mounted, Berkowitz eluded a massive police manhunt while leaving brazen letters which promised further murders. Highly publicized in the press, the killings terrorized New York City and achieved worldwide notoriety.
  2. Brown Bessie, the famous champion butter cow of the Chicago World’s Fair dairy test, averaged over eighteen kilograms (forty pounds) of milk a day for five months, and made 1.3\kilograms (three pounds) of butter a day.

Chapter 23

  1. Towelhead” is a derogatory term for one of Middle Eastern descent, especially a male. It comes from their custom of wearing a turban.

Chapter 24

  1. The Gatorade shower is an American sports tradition that involves dumping a cooler full of liquid (most commonly Gatorade mixed with ice) over a coach’s (or occasionally star player or owner’s) head following a meaningful win, such as the Super Bowl. To wit:  George Herbert Allen (April 29, 1918 – December 31, 1990) was an American football coach in the National Football League and the United States Football League who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. Allen’s death may have been indirectly caused by a Gatorade shower. He died on December 31, 1990, from ventricular fibrillation in his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California, at the age of 72. Shortly before his death, Allen noted that he had not been feeling well since some of his Long Beach State players dumped a Gatorade bucket filled with ice water on him following a season-ending victory over the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on November 17, 1990 (he remarked that the university couldn’t afford actual Gatorade).
  2. Egg-and-dart or egg-and-tongue is an ornamental device often carved in wood, stone, or plaster quarter-round ovolo mouldings, consisting of an egg-shaped object alternating with an element shaped like an arrow, anchor or dart. Egg-and-dart enrichment of the ovolo molding of the Ionic capital is found in ancient Greek architecture at the Erechtheion and was used by the Romans. This design motif has been common in the classical architecture of Europe since the Renaissance.
  3. Stone Soup is an old folk story in which hungry strangers persuade local people of a town to give them food. It is usually told as a lesson in cooperation, especially amid scarcity.

Chapter 25

  1. The Philadelphia Phillies’ 2010 season was the 128th season in the history of the franchise. As the two-time defending National League champion—having appeared in the 2008 and 2009 World Series—the Phillies won their fourth consecutive National League East championship, and also finished with the best record in baseball.
  2. Because the Scots were one of the biggest groups of settlers in the Appalachian region of North America (bringing with them their whiskey-making tradition and methods, leading to the area’s “moonshining” tradition) it is not surprising that “hootenanny” became an Appalachian colloquialism, although it became used in early 20th-century America as a placeholder name to refer to things whose names were forgotten or unknown. In this usage it was synonymous with “thingamajig” or “whatchamacallit,” as in: “Hand me that hootenanny.” Hootenanny was also an old country word for “party.” Nowadays the word most commonly refers to a folk music party with an open microphone, at which different performers are welcome to get up and play in front of an audience. “Hootenanny” was also used by the leadership of early firefighting battalions to describe a “meeting of the minds” of higher ups or various department heads. The term has trickled down to working companies and is now used, with some frequency, at working incidents and other circumstances that require a focused discussion between key individuals.

Chapter 26

  1. The StarWalker Red Gold Metal reflects a unique and dynamic style. An innovative surface with diamond-cut lines, red gold finish in black matte lacquer, a characteristic clip design and the floating Montblanc emblem are a modern take on Montblanc’s values—creating timeless design of tomorrow’s world. $1,035.
  2. “Let your fingers do the walking” was the first slogan employed by The Yellow Pages. It is one of the most successful and recognizable slogans in the history of advertising.
  3. In Arab culture, the left hand is considered unclean, and is never used in social settings.

Chapter 27

  1. It is said that the best quality ink is hardened, made of pine soot, young deer horn glue and preserving perfume. Pine soot ink produces multiple layers of shading. They overlap each other on paper, and create a monochromatic blurred mosaic of splashes and lines. Since the second ingredient is extremely rare, other animal-based glue (mostly cow hides in Japan and fish bones in China) is often used. Pine soot ink is usually more expensive and rather troublesome to manufacture, and so cheaper ink made of oil lampblack is more common today. - From “Calligraphy Ink Types,” Beyond Calligraphy (website)
  2. A poison pen letter is a letter or note containing unpleasant, abusive or malicious statements or accusations about the recipient or a third party. It is usually sent anonymously. Poison pen letters are usually composed and sent to upset the recipient. They differ from blackmail, which is intended to obtain something, in that they are purely malicious.
  3. Macallan Oscuro:  1824 Collection, ABV 46.5%. A limited edition mix of Macallan distilled between 1987 and 1997. A beautiful, extremely limited edition Macallan released for travel retail, it’s sherried and incredibly rich. $800-$1000 per bottle.
  4. Wigilia is the traditional Christmas Eve vigil supper in Poland, held on December 24. The term is often applied to the whole day of the Christmas Eve, extending further into Pasterka, the midnight Mass held at Roman Catholic churches all over Poland and in large Polish communities worldwide at midnight preceding Christmas Day. A Wigilia tradition practiced by some is to leave one extra place-setting for an “unexpected guest.” This is to celebrate the tradition of hospitality and inclusion. The empty seat is left open just in case a traveler, family member, or a friend knocks on the door, so there would be a place for them to join in the celebrations.

Chapter 28

  1. Charon’s obol is an allusive term for the coin placed in or on the mouth of a dead person before burial. Greek and Latin literary sources specify the coin as an obol, and explain it as a payment or bribe for Charon, the ferryman who conveyed souls across the river that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. Archaeological examples of these coins, of various denominations in practice, have been called “the most famous grave goods from antiquity. Contrary to popular aetiology there is little evidence to connect the myth of Charon to the custom of placing a pair of coins on the eyes of the deceased, though the larger gold-foil coverings discussed above might include pieces shaped for the eyes. Pairs of coins are sometimes found in burials, including cremation urns; among the collections of the British Museum is an urn from Athens, ca. 300 BC, that contained cremated remains, two obols, and a terracotta figure of a mourning siren. Ancient Greek and Latin literary sources, however, mention a pair of coins only when a return trip is anticipated, as in the case of Psyche’s catabasis, and never in regard to sealing the eyes.

Chapter 29

  1. El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, located on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith extends about three thousand feet (nine hundred\meters) from base to summit along its tallest face, and is one of the world’s favorite challenges for rock climbers and BASE jumpers.
  2. “When it comes to interest rates, the major credit-card issuers—among them JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup—do not differentiate greatly among the many people who borrow money on their credit cards. They charge just about all of them similarly usurious rates. While a dizzying array of credit cards offer a plethora of introductory interest rates and benefits—cash back, for instance—regular interest rates on cards issued by the big players to consumers with average credit scores typically range between 13\and 23\percent.”
    - From William D Cohen’s “Bypassing the Bankers,” The Atlantic, September, 2014
  3. La Malinche was a Nahua woman from the Mexican Gulf Coast, who played a role in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, acting as an interpreter, advisor, lover, and intermediary for Hernán Cortés. Arguably the most reviled women in the Hispanic world, she is known as the traitor who betrayed her people to the Spanish conquistadors. La Malinche played an important role in changing the course of history with her ability to translate Nahuatl (Aztec language) to the Mayan language (which can be understood by Cortes’ translator). It is said that the linguistic link between Dona Marina and Cortes’ Spanish translator proved crucial for Cortes to conquer the New World.

Chapter 30

  1. Anna Wintour is the English editor-in-chief of American Vogue, a position she has held since 1988. In 2013, she became artistic director for Condé Nast, Vogue’s publisher. With her trademark pageboy bob haircut and sunglasses, Wintour has become an important figure in much of the fashion world, widely praised for her eye for fashion trends and her support for younger designers. Her reportedly aloof and demanding personality has earned her the nickname “Nuclear Wintour.”
  2. L’Alpe d’Huez is climbed regularly in the Tour de France. It was first included in the race in 1952 and has been a stage finish regularly since 1976. It is widely regarded as the most difficult climb in the Tour.

Chapter 31

  1. In Morrisville, Pennsylvania it is illegal for a woman to wear any kind of cosmetics without first acquiring a special permit.
  2. Sean Patrick Hannity (born December 30, 1961) is an American television host, author, and conservative political commentator. He is the host of The Sean Hannity Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show that airs throughout the United States. Hannity also hosts a cable news show, Hannity, on Fox News Channel.

Chapter 32

  1. Wolf Isaac Blitzer (born March 22, 1948) is a journalist and television news anchor, who has been a CNN reporter since 1990. He is the host of The Situation Room and the daytime show Wolf. Blitzer also serves as the network’s lead political anchor.

Chapter 33

  1. Crofton House School, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is a private, university-preparatory school for girls that is constantly placed at the top of the Fraser Institutes’s school rankings in years past. 
  2. The Squamish people are an indigenous people in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. In 2012, there was population of 3,893 band members registered with the Squamish Nation. Their language is the Squamish language, considered a part of the Coast Salish languages, and is categorized as nearly extinct with just ten fluent speakers as of 2010. Today the Squamish people live mostly in seven communities, located in West Vancouver, North Vancouver, and within and nearby to the District of Squamish.
  3. The Twinkie defense is a derogatory term for a criminal defendant’s claim that some unusual factor (such as allergies, coffee, nicotine, or sugar) diminished the defendant’s responsibility for the alleged crime. The term arose from Herb Caen’s description of the trial of Dan White, who was convicted in the fatal shootings of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978. During the trial, psychiatrist Martin Blinder testified that White had suffered from depression, causing diminished capacity. As an example of this, he mentioned that White, formerly a health food advocate, had begun eating junk food.
  4. Gerald Michael Riviera (born July 4, 1943), better known as Geraldo Rivera, is an American attorney, journalist, author, reporter, and talk show host. Rivera hosts the news magazine program Geraldo at Large and appears regularly on Fox News. He is also well known from his history as a reporter and TV personality, and as the host of the talk show Geraldo from 1987 to 1998.
        In 2001, during the War in Afghanistan, Rivera was derided for a report in which he claimed to be at the scene of a friendly fire incident; it was later revealed he was actually three hundred miles away. Controversy arose in early 2003, while Rivera was traveling with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq. During a Fox News broadcast, Rivera began to disclose an upcoming operation, even going so far as to draw a map in the sand for his audience. The military immediately issued a firm denunciation of his actions, saying it put the operation at risk; Rivera was nearly expelled from Iraq. Two days later, he announced that he would be reporting on the Iraq conflict from Kuwait.
        In 2007, Rivera was involved in a dispute with fellow Fox colleague Michelle Malkin. Malkin announced that she would not return to The O’Reilly Factor, claiming that Fox News had mishandled a dispute over derogatory statements Rivera had made about her in a Boston Globe interview. Rivera, while objecting to her views on immigration, said, “Michelle Malkin is the most vile, hateful commentator I’ve ever met in my life. She actually believes that neighbors should start snitching out neighbors, and we should be deporting people.” He added, “It’s good she’s in D.C., and I’m in New York. I’d spit on her if I saw her.” Rivera later apologized for his comments.