July 31, 2006 |
A QUINTESSENTIALLY English literary device, the humble limerick falls somewhere between a bumper sticker and a sonnet. Best read aloud, the primary purpose of this five-line verse is to elicit immediate laughter by a deft blend of alliteration, incongruity and wordplay. This distinctive construct entered mid-Victorian England with the nonsense verses of Edward Lear of "The Owl and the Pussycat" fame. Since then, it has flourished in the halls of academe and beyond.
November 25, 1992 |
Judge Osvaldo Bonsangue's mugger was a smoker. The crime happened on Teocrito Street in the Sicilian city of Syracuse, hometown of the great mathematician Archimedes. The judge was smoking a cigarette when a young man snatched it from his mouth and--eureka!--ran off puffing madly. Strange things happen when a whole country is unconditionally sentenced to nicotine withdrawal.
June 5, 1985 |
Secular Love by Michael Ondaatje (Norton: $14.95) Michael Ondaatje is a Canadian poet from a Ceylonese family; a Pacific sensibility tackling an Atlantic destiny. He invokes Rilke with reverence, and Yeats with exasperation, but his talent is not for the grand line, the racking emotion or the metaphysical bear-trap. His North Woods landscapes come out dark and rigid, as if his light values were set for dazzlement and tended to underexpose anything more subdued.
September 28, 2002
A Texan has beaten California to the defining moment in the state's history. Every California schoolchild learns about James Marshall's discovery of gold while building a sawmill alongside the American River at Coloma on Jan. 24, 1848, exclaiming, "I have found it," or so he said later. A new book by Texas A&M professor H.W.
July 18, 1986 |
Make-a-Circus, a San Francisco-based circus troupe that encourages audience participation, will return to Orange County Saturday for an evening of free outdoor entertainment. In addition to witnessing the traditional circus fare of trapeze acts, juggling, stilt walking, clowns and acrobats, members of the audience at the 5 p.m. show at Irvine Valley College will be invited to participate in circus workshops and perform with the troupe.
March 22, 1987 |
The following was one of several tributes delivered at the memorial on March 14 for screenwriter Waldo Salt ("Midnight Cowboy," "Coming Home"), who died March 7. Paul Jarrico is a veteran screenwriter and producer who produced "Salt of the Earth." In accepting the Laurel Award last year for a lifetime of achievement as a screenwriter, Waldo Salt said, "This could not have come at a more appropriate time. I'm months behind on a deadline. I've reduced the producers to being polite.
October 3, 2009 |
An inexpensive combination of one drug to lower cholesterol and one to lower blood pressure can reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes by as much as 60% -- but getting patients to begin the regimen and then to stay on it is an extremely difficult task, Kaiser Permanente researchers reported Thursday. Giving the drugs to nearly 70,000 people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes prevented an estimated 1,271 heart attacks and strokes in one year, Dr. James Dudl of Kaiser Permanente's Care Management Institute and his colleagues reported in the American Journal of Managed Care.
March 14, 2013 |
Happy Pi Day! March 14 -- a.k.a. 3.14 -- has become a day to appreciate the wonders of pi. This mathematical constant describes the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It's also handy for calculating a circle's area, along with plenty of other uses in the fields of trigonometry, physics, statistics, cosmology and fluid dynamics, to name just a few. Humans have been contemplating pi for nearly 4,000 years. The ancient Babylonians figured out that pi's value was roughly 3 as far back as 1900 BC. The ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes figured out that pi was slightly bigger than 22/7.
May 20, 1985 |
It's not easy to take the temperature of this festival (or any other). But the weather outside has been cool and only intermittently sunny, and an observer with a keen eye for metaphors might well say that this largest and oldest continuously operating festival has been about the same. One veteran seller, Frank Moreno of Almi Pictures, guessed that the population of genuine buyers this time was off by as much as half.