Monday, February 08, 2016

Will Ferrell, Exotic Animal Expert

I am going to refer to guinea pigs as Mongolian bush tigers from now on.

What 74 Years of Crossword History Says About the Language We Use

EDUCATED Americans consider themselves a cosmopolitan bunch. We follow the conflict in Ukraine between Donetsk and Kiev, and can probably point to them on a map. We enjoy bibimbap and paella, which we try to pronounce with an appropriate accent. Some of us can identify the work of Igor Stravinsky, Youssou N’Dour and Ai Weiwei. The rest of us are going to go look them up on Wikipedia now.

But we are more parochial than our grandparents’ generation, according to one indicator: the New York Times crossword puzzle.

With the permission of Will Shortz, the Times’s crossword puzzle editor, I recently downloaded all of the newspaper’s crosswords from February 1942, when the puzzle began, through the end of 2015. I created an algorithm to search all 2,092,375 pairs of clues and answers for foreign language words and place names outside the United States.

The results are imperfect, since the puzzles can be tricky and there is a lot of overlap between English and foreign words. But the broad trend is clear. The puzzle today uses one-third fewer non-English clues and answers than it did at its peak in 1966, and makes two-thirds fewer international references than its peak in 1943. [Continue]
All the Spanish I know I learned from doing crosswords puzzles.

Runner dies at Krispy Kreme donut challenge in U.S.

The Krispy Kreme Challenge announced today that a 58-year-old man participating in the event was rushed to hospital after experiencing chest pains within the first 1.5 kilometres of the race. He died shortly after arriving at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, N.C.

Participants begin the race at North Carolina State University and run 4 kilometres to a nearby Krispy Kreme donut shop, consume a dozen donuts, and make the return trip.

“On behalf of the entire N.C. State community, our deepest sympathies go out to the runner’s family members and loved ones,” Brad Bohlander, a spokesman for N.C. State, said in a statement.

The Krispy Kreme Challenge was held for the 12th year on Saturday afternoon in Raleigh.

A tragedy but it's not the nature of the event to blame for this considering that he never made it to the donut shop.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Flying Books finds success with just 10 titles

At gallerist Katharine Mulherin’sgift shop The Weekend Variety, alongside quirky Queen West wares such as local artist prints, eggwhite soap, and crocheted moustaches, is an unassuming plywood display case, inked with a cartoon Amelia Earhart and stocked with 10 books.

That’s Flying Books — pretty much all of it. In just five months, the pruned selection has become a franchise, with the flights landing at such champions of chic as the Gladstone Hotel, Northwood General Store, and the Dupont St. location of cafĂ© Ezra’s Pound later this month.

Credit Martha Sharpe, the 47-year-old CanLit luminary whose previous roles include publisher at House of Anansi and editorial director of Simon & Schuster Canada.

Organized by “flights,” akin to a flight of wine, Flying Books has stocked just 85 titles in five months, each one’s inclusion justified on an accompanying handwritten Post-it. At Mulherin’s suggestion, leftovers are tucked spine-out on the sideshelf, upping today’s stock from 10 to 24. “Some people like feeling like they found something,” Mulherin told Sharpe. [Continue]
I don't know... they seem to be walking a fine line between niche and gimmick.

The NFL's magic yellow line, explained

That glow puck made hockey unwatchable... glad that something more useful came out of that technology.