This is a political catastrophe.
Reporting by Amy Friedman
This time, Alaska may have really found a way to fix American politics. The mayor of Talkeetna, Ak. boats sky-high approval ratings, a 15-year winning streak and, with over 6,000 subscribers, more friends than you on Facebook.
His secret? He’s a cat.
Fifteen years ago, the citizens of Talkeetna (pop. 800) didn’t like the looks of their candidates for mayor. Around that same time resident Lauri Stec, manager of Nagley’s General Store, saw a box of kittens and decided to adopt one. She named him Stubbs because he didn’t have a tail and soon the whole town was in love with him.
So smitten were they with this kitten, in fact, that they wrote him in for mayor instead of deciding on one of the two lesser candidates. Mayor Stubbs has held his position ever since.
Many citizens are genuinely happy to allow a kitteh to rule the roost. “He doesn’t raise our taxes—we have no sales tax. He doesn’t interfere with business. He’s honest,” said Stec, who converted her store into a part-time mayor’s office when Stubbs claimed victory. Not even the dogs seem to take issue with their new boss, even though there are reportedly more canines in Talkeetna than there are people. “I’ve never seen a dog mess with him,” a local business owner said.
If only our own resident cat, Cacao, would leave to go start a political career - elsewhere! I'd vote for Cacao to get that thing out of the house. -Quiche
The Wordnik Word of the Day for August 15, 2012 is
(noun) A choice mouthful of food; a dainty morsel: said especially of something very excellent reserved to the end of a repast.
‘Bonne bouche’ translates from the French as ‘good mouth.’
The Wordnik Word of the Day for August 14, 2012 is
(noun) The art of writing in letters of gold, practised by the writers of manuscripts in the early middle ages.
(noun) In Greek antiquity, the art of embroidering in gold, of inlaying other metals with gold, and the like.
‘Chrysography’ comes from the Greek ‘kahrysos,’ gold (which also gives us ‘chrysalis’) and ‘graphein,’ write.
This somewhat coded message came in from ... a few different agents we have in the field. See if you can read it.
7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5! 1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5! 1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.
An Egyptian sarcophagus from the 21st Dynasty (about 1070 - 945 B.C.) in LACMA’s collection inspired this backpack of red plush. Cass would approve.
Hopefully it's full of survival gear.
And no mummy fingers!
The Wordnik Word of the Day for August 7, 2012 is
(noun) The art or science which treats of lighthouses and signal lights.
‘Pharology’ comes from ‘pharos,’ lighthouse, which is named after Pharos, a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea at Alexandria, Egypt, and the site of an ancient lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The Word of the Day for August 7 is:
scarlet pimpernel SKAHR-lut-PIM-per-nel noun
1 : a European pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) naturalized in North America and having scarlet, white, or purplish flowers that close in cloudy weather
2 : a person who rescues others from mortal danger by smuggling them across a border
The refugees will always be grateful to the scarlet pimpernels who saved their lives by getting them out of the country ahead of the death squads.
"The scarlet pimpernel plant also disguises itself, albeit in a reverse sort of way. It appears to be the most docile and friendly of plants yet it contains toxins and its digestion by grazing animals may cause their death." — From a column by Joshua Siskin in The Daily News of Los Angeles, June 2, 2012
Did you know?
In 1903, Hungarian-born playwright and novelist Baroness Emmuska Orczy introduced the world to Sir Percy Blakeney, ostensibly a foppish English aristocrat, but secretly a swashbuckling hero known as "The Scarlet Pimpernel" who rescued aristocrats from certain death in the French Revolution by smuggling them to England. In The Scarlet Pimpernel, Blakeney's character used a drawing of a small, red, star-shaped flower known in England as a "scarlet pimpernel" as a signature of his involvement in an escape. The popularity of Orczy's novel prompted English speakers to start using "scarlet pimpernel" for any daring hero who smuggled those in danger to a safe haven in another country. Today it is also sometimes used more broadly for a person who is daring, mysterious, or evasive.
Probing the Last Gasps of Doomed Star Eta Carinae
The signature balloon-shaped clouds of gas blown from a pair of massive stars called Eta Carinae have tantalized astronomers for decades. Eta Carinae has a volatile temperament, prone to violent outbursts over the past 200 years.
Observations by the newly repaired Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveal some of the chemical elements that were ejected in the eruption seen in the middle of the 19th century.
STIS analyzed the chemical information along a narrow section of one of the giant lobes of gas. In the resulting spectrum, iron and nitrogen define the outer boundary of the massive wind, a stream of charged particles, from Eta Car A, the primary star. The amount of mass being carried away by the wind is the equivalent one sun every thousand years. While this "mass loss" may not sound very large, in fact it is an enormous rate among stars of all types. A very faint structure, seen in argon, is evidence of an interaction between winds from Eta Car A and those of Eta Car B, the hotter, less massive, secondary star.
Eta Car A is one of the most massive and most visible stars in the sky. Because of the star’s extremely high mass, it is unstable and uses its fuel very quickly, compared to other stars. Such massive stars also have a short lifetime, and we expect that Eta Carinae will explode within a million years.
Eta Carinae was first catalogued by Edmund Halley in 1677. In 1843 Eta Carinae was one of the brightest stars in the sky. It then slowly faded until, in 1868, it became invisible in the sky. Eta Carinae started to brighten again in the 1990s and was again visible to the naked eye. Around 1998 and 1999 its brightness suddenly and unexpectedly doubled.
Eta Carinae is 7,500 light-years away in the constellation Carina.
The Hubble observations are part of the Hubble Servicing Mission 4 Early Release Observations. NASA astronauts repaired STIS during a servicing mission in May to upgrade and repair the 19-year-old Hubble telescope.
This email comes in from Agent CH888.
Hi Mr. Bosch! I love your books a lot. I even have a funny, but cheesy story.
When I read your first book, my parents asked me what the name of this book was, so I said "secret." Then, when I was reading the second book, I stayed up late to read it, and my mom came up to my room and said "You're reading this? It's too late!" And then, when I was reading the third book, my dad said "This book is not good for you!" Then with the fourth book, I was caught reading up late, and I said, "This isn't what it looks like!" Huh? Yeah, cheesy.
We have one thing to say about all this Secret Series reading ...
YOU HAVE TO STOP THIS!
The Wordnik Word of the Day for July 31, 2012 is
(noun) One who practiced legerdemain or sleight of hand; a prestigiator; a magician; a juggler who produced optical illusions by mechanical contrivances; hence, an impostor; a cheat.
‘Tregetour’ comes from the Old French ‘tregeter,’ throw around.
This comes in from Agent N/A
Well we agree with one thing ... we want chocolate.
The Wordnik Word of the Day for July 23, 2012 is
(noun) A mysterious noise heard over the ocean in quiet, foggy weather off the coast of Belgium and Holland.
‘Mistpouffer’ translates from the Dutch as ‘fog pistol.’
The Wordnik Word of the Day for July 19, 2012 is
(noun) An ancient kind of divination for the detection of crime by means of an ax or axes.
‘Axinomancy’ comes from the Greek ‘axine’ and ‘manteia,’ oracle, divination.
The Wordnik Word of the Day for July 17, 2012 is
(noun) One whose business it is to make sport for others by jokes and ridiculous posturing; a buffoon; a clown.
The origin of 'merry-andrew' has long been disputed. It may come from the stage name of a particular performer at the Bartholomew Fair in the 17th century.
The Wordnik Word of the Day for July 16, 2012 is
(noun) An object of scandal or scorn.
'Pointingstock' is related to 'laughingstock,' which comes from the idea of a 'whipping-stock' or 'whipping-post,' or 'the post to which are tied persons condemned to punishment by whipping; hence, the punishment itself.' Sometimes 'pointing-stock.'