October 27, 2012 archive

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F. W. MurnauFaust (1926) (1:56)

On This Day In History October 27

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 27 is the 300th day of the year (301st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 65 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1904, the New York Subway opens.

While London boasts the world’s oldest underground train network (opened in 1863) and Boston built the first subway in the United States in 1897, the New York City subway soon became the largest American system. The first line, operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), traveled 9.1 miles through 28 stations. Running from City Hall in lower Manhattan to Grand Central Terminal in midtown, and then heading west along 42nd Street to Times Square, the line finished by zipping north, all the way to 145th Street and Broadway in Harlem. On opening day, Mayor McClellan so enjoyed his stint as engineer that he stayed at the controls all the way from City Hall to 103rd Street.


A demonstration for an underground transit system in New York City was first built by Alfred Ely Beach in 1869. His Beach Pneumatic Transit only extended 312 feet (95 m) under Broadway in Lower Manhattan and exhibited his idea for a subway propelled by pneumatic tube technology. The tunnel was never extended for political and financial reasons, although extensions had been planned to take the tunnel southward to The Battery and northwards towards the Harlem River. The Beach subway was demolished when the BMT Broadway Line was built in the 1910s; thus, it was not integrated into the New York City Subway system.

The first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904, almost 35 years after the opening of the first elevated line in New York City, which became the Ninth Avenue Line. The heavy 1888 snowstorm helped to demonstrate the benefits of an underground transportation system. The oldest structure still in use opened in 1885 as part of the BMT Lexington Avenue Line, and is now part of the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn. The oldest right-of-way, that of the BMT West End Line, was in use in 1863 as a steam railroad called the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road. The Staten Island Railway, which opened in 1860, currently uses R44 subway cars, but it has no links to the rest of the system and is not usually considered part of the subway proper.

By the time the first subway opened, the lines had been consolidated into two privately owned systems, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, later Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, BMT) and the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). The city was closely involved: all lines built for the IRT and most other lines built or improved for the BRT after 1913 were built by the city and leased to the companies. The first line of the city-owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND) opened in 1932; this system was intended to compete with the private systems and allow some of the elevated railways to be torn down, but was kept within the core of the City due to the low amount of startup capital provided to the municipal Board Of Transportation, the later MTA, by the state.[3] This required it to be run ‘at cost’, necessitating fares up to double the five cent fare popular at the time.

In 1940, the two private systems were bought by the city; some elevated lines closed immediately, and others closed soon after. Integration was slow, but several connections were built between the IND and BMT, and now operate as one division called the B Division. Since the IRT tunnel segments are too small and stations too narrow to accommodate  B Division cars, and contain curves too sharp for B Division cars, the IRT remains its own division, A Division.

The New York City Transit Authority, a public authority presided by New York City, was created in 1953 to take over subway, bus, and streetcar operations from the city, and was placed under control of the state-level Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968.

In 1934, transit workers of the BRT, IRT, and IND founded the Transport Workers Union of America, organized as Local 100. Local 100 remains the largest and most influential local of the labor union. Since the union’s founding, there have been three union strikes. In 1966, transit workers went on strike for 12 days, and again in 1980 for 11 days. On December 20, 2005, transit workers again went on strike over disputes with MTA regarding salary, pensions, retirement age, and health insurance costs. That strike lasted just under three days.

Eating Your Bootstraps

Advantages of a $1000 Pair of Shoes

MCanavan6, Styleforum.net.

8/20/12 at 3:41pm

After getting bitten by the bug I have decided to began upgrading my wardrobe and one of my biggest problems is dress shoes. After deciding I would rather pay a bit more to upgrade from AE to Aldens, Churchs, Crockett & Jones, etc (~$500-$600) I have been wondering if it would be worth it to go all the way and purchase EG, JL, or Vass for my first couple pairs. Right now I am looking for a pair of black captoes and probably brown captoes with quarter broguing. What are the additional benefits of paying over $1000 a pair for EG, JL, or Vass (hopefully I can get some sort of deal) over a $500-$600 pair like Aldens, Churchs, or C&J? Obviously the leather is better quality and stitching/construction is better but in the end will I notice that large of a difference or should I save that $1000 ($500/pair) and spend it on something else? Any advice is appreciated.

post #3 of 415

by Gdot – 8/20/12 at 4:14pm

You will not know for yourself until you can handle the shoes in person. There is a difference. Although once you get past the Northampton benchgrade shoes C&J, Churches, etc. etc. you will find the differences become increasingly subtle and increasling more about design, leather quality and refinement than about the durability/substance of construction.

If you do decide to start at the top and work your way down look for one pair of super classic plain captoes in one of the upper end brands EG,G&G, JL. Then you will have a pair of something super swell for important events.

Then buy a second pair in something more upper/mid price range such as Vass, or AS exclusive. (Nobody beats Vass at this price point in terms of quality from what I understand.)

Then buy a third pair from C&J or Carmina.

This will take you through all the major categories/prices from about $500 up to $1200 or so.

Of course you could also start at the bottom and work up.

Late Night Karaoke

Carving Pumpkins 101

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Rather than try to explain how to carve a pumpkin here is a video that is a handy 5 minute guide.

How to Carve a Killer Pumpkin with Leah D’Emilio

And for the more ambitious and artistic pumpkin carvers among us, here is some inspiration with seasonal music.

Amazing Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns

Pumpkins, Not Just For Carving

Re-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

When most of us think of pumpkins, we think of the orange orbs that get carved up for Halloween and pumpkin pie with gobs of whipped cream for dessert at Thanksgiving but pumpkins come in all shapes, colors, sizes and varieties. Some are good only for decoration, while others are not only decorative but very tasty in pies, soups and stews.

According to Wikipedia pumpkin “is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds). It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata, and is native to North America.” Some of the fun activities besides decorative carving for Halloween are Festivals and competitions with pumpkin chucking being among the most popular. Chucking has become so popular that some competitors grow their own special varieties that will survive being shot from catapults and cannons. The festivals are most dedicated to the competition for recipes and the competition for the largest pumpkin. This year that honor went to a 1818 pound beauty from Canada that was on display at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

The pumpkin is one of the main symbols of Halloween and the Wiccan holiday of Samhain, which is a celebration of the end of the year, the final harvest and the coming of winter. The earliest that a craved pumpkin was associated with Halloween is 1866. Throughout Britain and Ireland the turnip has traditionally been used at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger, making them easier to carve than turnips.

In cooking, the the fleshy shell, seeds, leaves and flowers are all edible. Canned pureed pumpkin is readily available in stores, as are the small, sweet variety of fresh pumpkin for the ambitious cook to make their own puree or for stews. When it comes to pies, the easiest is the canned, my favorite being Libby’s with the recipe on the label, label, label. It’s the only recipe I have ever used for pumpkin pie and I’ve never has a complaint.

Pumpkin and all it parts are also very nutritious, containing many vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidents. There is also an interesting medical study of pumpkin extract on type-1 diabetic rats:

(P)ublished in July 2007, suggests that chemical compounds found in pumpkin promote regeneration of damaged pancreatic cells, resulting in increased bloodstream insulin levels. According to the research team leader, pumpkin extract may be “a very good product for pre-diabetic people, as well as those who already have diabetes,” possibly reducing or eliminating the need for insulin injections for some type-1 diabetics. It is unknown whether pumpkin extract has any effect on diabetes mellitus type 2, as it was not the subject of the study.

One of my favorite recipes is Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping that is more popular than pie with my family.


Recipe and baking tips are below the fold

Popular Culture 20121026: Fast Food

We normally think of fast food as somehow uniquely American and of recent origin, but that is just not true.  Certainly modern American fast food is different from what in the past qualified and in other places qualifies as fast food, but the concept is nothing new.  Before we start, let us define fast food.

To me, fast food had the following characteristics:

-  The serving establishment has a rather limited menu

-  The food is prepared ahead of time, or is very quickly prepared and reaches the customer in only a few minutes, like ten or fewer

-  The food can be eaten either with only the fingers or with minimal utensils, like plastic “silverware” and throw away plates, cups, and bowls (with some notable exceptions)

-  The food is designed to be consumed quickly, in less than half an hour and often much less, also with some exceptions

-  More often than not, fast food is relatively inexpensive

Note that nothing to do with nutritional value fits into my definition, nor does any specific type of food.  I think that my definition is sound.  By the way, when I mention brand names I am neither endorsing nor denigrating those brands.  I do this simply as a matter of reference so that we are all on the same page.

Transman petitions WHO to delist transsexualism as a mental disorder

Maxwell Zachs is 25-years old and was born female. He is a citizen of London, England, has degrees in English literature, indigenous studies and constitutional law, and is a rabbinical student at a yeshiva in Sweden.  Three years ago he began his transitioned to male.  He began testosterone treatments in 2009 and had a double mastectomy and chest contouring in Thailand in 2010.  He recently was one of the cast of England’s My Transsexual Summer

Maxwell recently filed a petition at Change.org calling for the World Health Organization to eliminate transsexualism from its list of mental disorders in the International Classification of Diseases.  He says that the designation only contributes to discrimination.

I know there is concern about Change.org.  I’m not the person who set up the petition, which last I checked had 46,814 supporters.

If you would like to get to know Max Zachs better, he has a blog.

There is nothing wrong with me. I am perfectly healthy, I just happen to be transgender.

–Maxwell Zachs