Monday, January 15, 2007



MEMORABLE LINE OF THE DAY: “Butyl acetate is commonly used as a solvent or as a synthetic fruit flavoring.” (From an AP article about a train derailment in Kentucky)


“A burger battle is brewing between a Texas state legislator and the owner of Louis’ Lunch[2], a restaurant established in 1895, where it has been claimed the hamburger was invented.

“However, with the new session of the Texas legislature now under way, Republican State Rep. Betty Brown has proposed a resolution declaring Athens, Texas, is the original home of the hamburger.

[. . .]

“’It’s a well-known and established fact that New Haven is the home of the hamburger. In fact, New Haven’s claim to the hamburger is even supported and documented in the Library of Congress,’ [New Haven mayor John] DeStefano said.

“DeStefano notes that New Haven has been a cradle of creativity, as the birthplace of the cotton gin, the first rubber tires, the corkscrew, the Frisbee, lollipops, Erector Sets and pizza.[3]

“’We are even the birthplace of [george bush], who wants people to think he’s from Texas. So yes, the hamburger is as much a New Haven original as President [bush],’ DeStefano said. ‘Get over it, Texas.’” (AP article on the dispute)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU: Fire Engineering magazine is celebrating its 130th anniversary. Editor Bobby Halton on firefighters:

Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires. They know that walking on the critical boundary of extreme fire behavior is potentially if not predictably fatal, but the rewards are so great that the men and women of the fire service risk it anyway.

Quoting another expert on firefighters:

Firefighters are going to get killed. When they join the department, they face that fact. When a man becomes a firefighter his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. They were not thinking of getting killed when they went where death lurked. They went there to put the fire out, and got killed.
-- FDNY Fire Chief Edward F. Croker, in February, 1908, on the death of a deputy chief and four firefighters

[1] Stolen from one of Allan Sherman’s collection of pieces he didn’t feel like expanding into full-length song parodies.
[2] Located in New Haven, CT. Full disclosure statement: I have had many a fine burger at Louis’, when I lived in New Haven.
[3] New Haven was also the home of the first telephone exchange and the first telephone directory.

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