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October 29, 2011

I'll be running in tomorrow's Marine Corps Marathon

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At 8 a.m. ET I will be off like a melting caramel for an anticipated five-hour-plus run through Washington, D.C., as I attempt to complete the 36th annual Marine Corps Marathon.

It will mark my first appearance in this event and my first marathon since New York in 1988, which experience was not enhanced by a giant pre-race meal of tapas at The Ballroom in Manhattan while standing for a period of three or four hours.

The tapas were great, though.

But I digress.

I've signed up to make my split times at 10K, 20K, 30K, 40K and the finish line appear automatically on my Twitter and Facebook pages.

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For those who prefer their distances in miles, the split times will be for 6.2, 12.4, 18.6, 24.8, and 26.2 miles.

So if you want to partake from a distance, here's your big chance.

I will be spending tonight in my room at the hotel with my legs elevated on a pile of pillows, after a non-tapas dining experience.

I do admit to feeling a bit frustrated at not being able to cobble together a live — or even taped — bookofjoeTV experience of the race for you, but I have little doubt that by this time next year that'll finally become a reality.

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Note added at 4:38 p.m. today: In the event I drop dead during the race, not to worry — posts are already done and pre-scheduled through this coming Wednesday. After that, you're on your own.

October 29, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Keep Calm and Punch People In The Face

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8" x 12". 

$12.

[via Fancy]

October 29, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"The Universal Mind of Bill Evans"

From Open Culture: "1966 documentary takes you inside the creative process/world of jazz pianist Bill Evans."

October 29, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: On second thought, I'm not going there.

You'll just have to get this one on your own.

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Note added 3:19 p.m. today: I just realized I've posted 2 count 'em 2 "What is it?" features today.

No, it's not me being innovative or clever but, rather, me being sloppy and inattentive. Total failure by my crack posting team, for which they will pay a pretty price. You can count on it.

October 29, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Naming the American stream: Waterflow toponyms in the U.S.

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Excerpts from Frank Jacobs's September 12, 2011 Big Think post follow.

A body of running water may be called any of many different names, the most generic being stream, the most common being river.  A river can be defined as ‘a natural stream of water of usually considerable volume’. General terms for smaller streams include creek (smaller than a river) and brook (smaller than a creek). Very specific types of water currents  include anabranches (river branches that rejoin the main body of water) and distributaries (branches that don’t).

This map charts the rich variety of waterflow toponyms in the US, which reflects the climatological and geographical diversity of the country, but also its linguistic and historical heritage. River names seem extremely resistant to change, and indeed often are echoes of earlier dominant cultures [1]. 

The colours on the map, which is based on the place names in the USGS National Hydrography Dataset, correspond to the generic toponyms for waterflows, excluding the two commonest ones (river and creek, rendered in gray).

The term brook (light blue) is massively prevalent throughout New England, and into northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It is interspersed with stream (light green) in Maine, the only place in the country where that term is used with any frequency; and with kill (dark blue) in New York state’s Hudson valley — the occurrence of that Dutch-derived term coinciding somewhat with the former Dutch colony of New Netherland. 

Pennsylvania, Maryland, northern Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio are dominated by the run (pink), while branch and fork (darker and lighter red respectively, and not easily distinguishable) dominate much of the South. One glaring exception is the lower Mississippi valley and the Gulf coast, centred on New Orleans, where the bayou (dark green) holds sway, reflecting French settlement.

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Spanish heritage is reflected by certain generic names predominant in the southwest, i.e. rio (yellow), arroyo (dark orange) and cañada (light orange).

Other terms denote certain types of water, like the wash (yellowish green) in the Southwest, reflecting that water body’s periodic nature, the slough (purple) throughout California and the Northwest, often a tidal body of water, and the swamp (faded green) along the Atlantic coast, indicating the area where more or less stagnant bodies of water are likely to occur.

The map was produced by Derek Watkins (here on his blog about cartography, neogeography and genius loci in a networked world).

Many thanks to Michael Hindley for pointing out this map, which, fascinating as it is, clearly only skims the surface of a subject with much, much deeper waters....

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[1] The names of many European rivers are of Celtic, Indo-European, or even older origin. The Ukrainian rivers Dnieper and Dniester, for example, respectively mean ‘the far-away river’ and ‘the close-by river’ in Sarmatian, an Iranic language. Many American rivers carry Indian names. This historic resonance is one reason why rivers play such a prominent role in Finnegan’s Wake, James Joyce’s last work, arguably the world literature’s most extended pun.

October 29, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: smaller than Al Gore's lock box.

A third and even a fourth: not intended for use in the garden or as a self-defense tool.

October 29, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Viking chief's remains discovered in Scotland

Long story — in the October 19, 2011 Washington Post — short: The chief was found "buried with his boat, ax, sword and spear on a remote Scottish peninsula — one of the most significant Norse finds ever uncovered in Britain."

Below, an X-ray of the elaborately decorated sword, now encrusted with centuries of rust.

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Excerpts from the article follow.

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The 16-foot-long (5-meter-long) grave is the first intact site of its kind to have been discovered on mainland Britain and is believed to be more than 1,000 years old. Much of the wooden boat and the Viking bones have rotted away, but scraps of wood and hundreds of metal rivets that held the vessel together remain.

Archeologists also unearthed a shield boss — a circular piece of metal attached to the middle of a shield — and a bronze ring-pin buried with the Viking. They also found a knife, a whetstone to sharpen tools, and Viking pottery on the site on the Ardnamurchan peninsula on Scotland's west coast.

Vikings from Scandinavia made frequent raids on Scotland and what is now northeast England in the 8th and 9th centuries, and many Vikings set up settlements in the area.

Below,

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a University of Manchester sketch of what the unearthed burial site might have looked like a thousand years ago.

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Video here.

Wait a minute... what's that music I'm hearing?

October 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mrs. Fearnow's Yellow Cup

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It's the signature yellow of Mrs. Fearnow's Delicious Brunswick Stew, a very satisfying meal in a can.

$4.99 (stew not included).

October 29, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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