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Summer 2012

Quarterly Speed Bump magazine Slow Down & Relax Slow Down & Relax Slow Down & Relax Slow Down & Relax Slow Down & Relax

Volume 2

QSB No. 2


QSB: Summer 2012


Frontage: A letter from the Editor To you, of course.





Red Light: Backyard Astronomy

Because nothing says relax like a good list of things to do.

We're Getting Messier and you're encouraged to stand outside in the dark.


10 Detour: Things We Like In which we try to convince you to go to a baseball game (or at least watch one on TV).

16 Roundabout

Our intrepid correspondent investigates ancient mysteries and takes us along.

22 Roadside Stand

Saving summer in a jar is just plum good.

24 The Fork 16

Eat with your fingers. You know you want to. 1


28 Potholes

We're planting a literary stew or something like that. Potherbs for the win!

32 Work Ahead

Wherein it's a good thing if a person has worms.


34 At the Crossroads

Puzzle over an acrostic or a scrambled word game. We give you all the answers (from last issue, that is).

37 On the Corner

Wax poetic about clifted shores and brooding vapours or just look at the pretty pictures.

40 Interchange

Solutions for the short attention span. Read more.


42 Off the Beaten Tracks

Turn it all the way up to eleven with Afropop.

43 Undulations

Performance anxiety? Will our dancing queen go gangsta? Find out here.


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012



From the Editor

There's also plenty of Summer left. It's a season of simple pleasures like wading in the nearest body of water, finding a starfish on the beach, going for bike rides, reading in the shade, or eating ripe tomatoes warm from the sun with just a sprinkle of salt. If you're experiencing a heatwave where you are, we have pages of suggestions for indoor activities. And when the heat finally releases its viselike grip, there are outdoor activities for you to try. Keep it simple this season and relaxing. You know, that whole slowing down and relaxing thing. There's a whole world for you to enjoy and we're glad you've made us a part of your day. Now please excuse me, there's a stack of new books I want to read and the outdoors is calling, too. Or maybe I'll go to a baseball game. Decisions, decisions. Let us know what you're up to. We'll see you with another issue of QSB Magazine in the Autumn. In the meantime, drop by our blog at or drop me a line at the email below. Happy Summer. Cheers,

J. Vaughn

Hello again, Readers. Can you believe that we've already made it through a full four seasons of Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine? We hope you've been enjoying what we've created because there's plenty more where that came from.

Editor/Publisher: Rebecca L. Wendt Columnists: Jessica Herrick Sebastian Nelson Contributors: Joseph Vaughn Scott Wendt

Rebecca L. Wendt Editor-in-Chief

A note on the products in our pages: QSB only features items that we like and actually use. We haven't been paid for any of our comments or recommendations; we just like to share. 3

Mileposts: More Things to Do July 14 13 100th 2nd half of MLB season begins

anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birth

19 (1799)

19 24 New Moon -

27 Start of





9Grandparents' 16 17 New Moon -


Discovery of the Rosetta Stone

best night for astronomy

(1802) Alexandre Dumas born

Summer Olympic Games

31 (1965) J.K.

Rowling born

August 7 (1934) 1 Lammas Day


(1920) 19th Amendment became law

U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the novel Ulysses


(1912) Julia Child born

New Moon best night for astronomy

World Humanitarian Day


(1803) Lewis & Clark's journey began

september 1(1875) Edgar 3Labor Day Rice Burroughs born

(1899) Alfred Hitchcock born


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

best for night for astronomy

(1787) Constitution Day

First Day of Autumn

You may know him best for his protest songs and "This Land is Your Land." Woody Guthrie also recorded folk songs for the Library of Congress in 1940. There's an interesting Woody Guthrie collection at See the Rosetta Stone on the British Museum's website: Maybe, in honor of the discovery, today's the day to start learning that foreign language you've always wanted to speak. Or, if you like solving puzzles, see this QSB issue's "At the Crossroads" pages. Alexandre Dumas wrote The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers books plus many more lesser-known works. Why not read these books or watch the movies based on the books this month to celebrate. J.K. Rowling's new, non-Harry Potter book, The CasualVacancy, doesn't come out until Autumnl but now would be a good time to pick up the Harry Potter books if, by chance, you've never read them. Rereading is never a bad thing either. Lammas is named for the Anglo-Saxon word Hlafmaesse ("loaf mass") and was the traditional harvest festival day in Britain. Go harvest something in your garden or U-pick farm to keep up the tradition. The court ruled the Joyce's novel, Ulysses, was not obscene & didn't promote lust. This was a major win for literary free expression. You can read the text of the decision here: Alfred Hitchcock made cameo appearances in at least 39 of his films. Watch one today to see if you can find him. See Julia Child's kitchen at Cook something from her masterwork, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, to celebrate her 100th in style. While many histories say Lewis & Clark's journey started in 1804, 1803 is when Lewis first launched his keelboat down the Ohio River (he picked up Clark in Indiana later).You can read the expedition journals at Note that the journal entry for the launch date says August 30 but is misdated according to scholars. Tarzan and John Carter of Mars were both created by Burroughs. You can read much of his work on Project Gutenburg at Tarzan of the Apes, the first Tarzan book, turns 100 this year. John Carter's first appearance was also in a 1912 serial, later published as The Princess of Mars now the first book in the John Carter series (the series is actually called the Barsoom series because Martians call their planet Barsoom, don't you know). Read more about the U.S. Constitution at 5

Red Light: Backyard Astronomy

Getting Messier This season, we're going to the Deep Sky and talking about the Messier Objects. That's MESS-EE-AY named after Charles Messier, an 18th Century French astronomer who compiled the list. It's pretty funny, Messier was only interested in comets so he compiled a list of objects that were not comets and were getting in his way and wasting his and all the other comet hunters' time. Now, I would guess, more amateur astronomers are interested in finding all the Messier objects than searching for comets (the only comet I've seen is the Hale-Bopp Comet in 1997. Back in 1986, although my dad and I tried, I don't remember actually seeing Halley's Comet...maybe I'll have better luck in 2061). Messier first published his list in 1771 but he kept adding to it until he had 103 objects cataloged. The standard list has a few later additions and stands at 110. You'll see each object referred to with and M followed by a numeral—M3 for example.

If you're going to start looking for objects, you should be aware that Messier's is not the only list. There's also the New General Catalog (NGC), for example, which contains nearly 8000 objects from both the northern and southern hemispheres—although the southern hemisphere is not as complete as it could be. FYI, the Messier Catalog covers only the northern hemisphere. It's amazing how "easy" it was for Messier to spot so many objects when, today, we can barely even see the constellations due to light pollution (again I give a plug for the Dark-Sky movement. Go to to learn more.). Go Deep When we talk about Deep Sky, we mean those areas outside of our solar system and our own galaxy (the Milky Way). So, the moon and planets 6

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

are not Deep Sky Objects. Neither are most of the stars we can see. Deep-Sky objects are other galaxies, nebulae (that's the plural of nebula), and star clusters. Summer is a good time to see many of the brighter Messier Objects though Spring is better for seeing lots of Messier Objects (in fact, in early spring, many people participate in Messier Marathons and try to find all the objects in one night. For 2013, the best dates will be the weekends of March 9/10, 2013 and March 16/17, 2013 though I hear that a full marathon will be difficult-to-impossible because it'll be so

early in the spring—we'll remind you when the time comes closer.).


Even if you can't find the selected Messier Objects themselves, finding their associated constellations is always good practice, fun, and an increasingly lost art.

M3 (NGC 5272) is globular cluster (basically a big ball of stars all rotating around the same center point of a galaxy) in Canes Venatici. What?! You've never heard of the constellation

Image created using Stellarium.

What follows is a sampling of the objects that are Summer's easiest to see/find without the need for high-powered telescopes. You will have better success with a pair of binoculars and you will also need the darkest sky you can find: full moon nights and heavily light-polluted skies, for example, are a waste. And, don't expect to see NASA-quality views. Be aware that you'll just see fuzzy objects (hence the original confusion with comets) unless you have an extraordinarily good telescope. If you get really good, check out the full list of Messier Objects at 17

red light Canes Venatici? Well, that's probably because it's not that bright and not that big. You'll definitely need a star chart to locate it. The Canes are the hunting dogs of a nearby constellation, Boรถtes. Oh, and once you figure out where Canes Venatici is, there are four other M-objects to be found there, although we won't be highlighting them in this article.

represents the serpent's head. Serpens is a divided constellation with Ophiuchus bisecting it (actually, the serpent is crawling around or being held by Ophiucus, the "serpent-bearer"). If

M4 (NGC 6121), too, is a globular cluster, this time in the constellation Scorpius (aka Scorpio). Get out your star chart again to locate Scorpius. M4 is pretty easy to find because it's just to the west of the bright star Antares and the cluster

you're lucky, you can see this one out of the corner of your eye on a good viewing night. Otherwise, you'll need binoculars. EASIEST OBJECTS TO LOCATE IN AUGUST: M6 (NGC 6405), the Butterfly Cluster, & M7 (NGC 6475), the Ptolemy Cluster, are found as a pair and are also in Scorpius (you found that constellation in July). They are open clusters (open clusters are groups of stars that all formed at about the same time from the same molecular cloud. They differ from globular clusters in that they aren't so tightly bound together and aren't nearly as large). M7 is a little brighter than M6 and M6 supposedly looks like a butterfly but I think your imagination has to be a little off to think so.

itself looks to be about the same diameter as the moon when it's full. M5 (NGC 5904) is yet another globular cluster to find this month. It's in Serpens Caput, the half of the constellation Serpens which 8

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

M8 (NGC 6523) is also known as the Lagoon Nebula (nebulae are basically gigantic clouds of star dust where new stars are born) and is in the constellation Sagittarius. It's roughly oval in shape. You may have seen beautiful photos of this nebula which are pink. However, you won't see the color because it will be much too dark for the human eye to pick up any color at all.

EASIEST OBJECTS TO LOCATE IN SEPTEMBER: M13 (NGC 6205), sometimes called "The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules" (sounds like a great exclamation: Great Clobular Clusters!), like it's nickname says, is a globular cluster in the constellation Hercules. Remember, globular clusters are big balls of stars although you won't be able to see separate stars without good lenses. M22 (NGC 6656) is another great globular cluster—the brightest one in the sky, actually. This M-Object is in Sagittarius just above the Teapot Asterism (an asterism is a pattern found in the stars that isn't an official constellation—it might be part of a constellation, however, as the teapot is formed from some of the stars in Sagittarius. Yes, this particular asterism does kind of look like a teapot). It's never that high in the sky. M22 appears in size to be slightly larger than the diameter of a full moon. M92 (NGC 6341) is another globular cluster in Hercules but it's not as bright or as big—hence not as "great" as—M13. Depending on viewing conditions, you may need binoculars to see this M-Object. After dark tonight, take your star chart and go out and practice. What can you see?

All images for this article were created using the open source software, Stellarium. See to create your own.


Detour: Things We Like


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

Take Yourself Out to the Ball Game I just happen to like baseball. It wasn’t always this way. When I was growing up there were few televised games but any games that were on were guaranteed to be on at the same time as my favorite show like, I don't know, Little House on the Prairie. I didn’t get to watch what I wanted so baseball sucked. But baseball was always on the radio during the season (it was my mom and grandfather who were fans) and it gradually seeped into my consciousness and subconscious. When I went away to college, baseball seemed like a link with home and the familiar—so much so that I listened on the radio, watched the few televised games when I finally had access to a television at my own place, and went to my school's home games. I was so plugged in that I converted one of my college roommates to fandom (she's more into it than I am since I tend to stick to one team mostly; she's equal opportunity baseball). I’ve been hooked ever since. My partner, probably in self defense after more than a decade of togetherness, is now a fan and even wanted to go to a game on his birthday. Shocking! So stick with me long enough and you’ll become a fan too.

you’re already a fan, let us know what else you think should be included for the beginner). ...

Baseball is a game with a long history and lots of weird traditions that I appreciate. You have to realize, though, that I'm just a fan; I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Nor do I have the baseball rule book in front of me as I type. So, the finer points of the game won't be covered here. This article (heavily reworked from a blog plost I did a few months ago if it happens to look slightly familiar) is for those who might be interested in watching baseball but have neither played nor had much exposure in the past. For those folks, the following are some things that will make your game-watching more informed and allow you to make conversation around the water cooler without sounding ridiculous (if

The seventh-inning stretch is a traditional break for the crowd which occurs in the middle of the seventh. “Take me out to the Ball Game” is frequently sung at this time.

When a team scores, they’re called runs (NOT points). The visiting team bats first. There are nine innings in a regulation game. A game can be official after five innings (maybe the weather is horrible and there is no chance of finishing safely so the game is "called"). Extra innings happen when the score is tied at the end of nine…they keeping playing until someone wins. Innings are divided into halves. The top half is the first par—say "the top of the sixth”—when the visiting team is batting. The bottom half is the second part when the home team is batting. There’s also the middle of the inning which is when the teams switch from being on the field (defense) to being at bat (offense) and vice versa (& when there will be a commercial break if you’re watching the game on TV).

The field itself is divided into fair territory and foul territory (see the diagram on the next page which is a little—maybe a lot—wonky). Fair territory is further divided into the infield and the outfield. There are nine players on the field at a time: (1) Pitcher, (2) Catcher, (3) First Baseman, (4) Second Baseman, (5) Third Baseman, (6) Shortstop, (7) Left Fielder, (8) Center Fielder, and (9) Right Fielder. Positions 36 are in the infield and the players are then 11


referred to as infielders. Positions 7-9 are in the outfield and the players are, therefore, outfielders. The position numbers listed here are very useful for reading baseball box scores or if you want to score the game while you’re watching. You may also hear that a play went, for example, 6-4-3 which in this case would mean the ball went to the shortstop who threw it to the second baseman who then threw it on to the first baseman. This particular play was likely a double play, i.e. two outs at one time. Triple plays are also possible. A strike means that the batter either swung at the ball and missed or should have hit the ball because it was thrown in the strike zone (generally the three dimensional space that is over the plate and between the batter’s knees and the letters on his uniform…it’s called by the home plate umpire and the umpire is definitely wrong at times since it's subjective!) and he didn’t try to hit it. Or, the batter hit the ball foul (unless there are already two strikes in which case he can keep fouling on forever, theoretically…unless he tries to bunt 12

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when he already has two strikes and then bunts foul). Three strikes and you’re out (a strikeout is aka a "K"). Three outs and the “side is retired” which means it’s time for the other team to bat. You can be out for many reasons: you strike out, a fielder catches the ball you hit, a fielder gets the ball and throws it to the base before the runner arrives, etc, etc, etc. A ball means the pitcher threw the ball out of the strike zone and the batter just watched it go by without trying to hit it. This batter may then be complimented by yelling “good eye!”—less embarassingly if you’re watching a Little League game. Four balls equals a walk (aka base on balls or BB). That means the batter may walk to first base without having to hit the ball (often a bad thing for the team out on the field). A batter can be intentionally walked. Maybe he’s a really good hitter and the next guy is a mediocre easy out. Or maybe the fielding team is trying to set up a double play. The batter will also get to go to first base for free if he’s hit by the pitch.

To be the winning pitcher, a starting pitcher must stay in the game for at least five innings and his team must maintain the lead. If the starter is replaced by another pitcher to continue the game, this next pitcher (or pitchers) is called a relief pitcher(s) or reliever(s)/reliefer(s). Pitchers specialize these days. Some are long relievers meaning they have the stamina and the “stuff ” to pitch several innings. Others pitch in short relief—maybe to face just one guy because they have a specialty pitch that just flummoxes some batters. Then there are closers who usually come in only in save situations at what could/should be the last inning of the game–the closer’s team is in the lead but only by 3 or fewer runs which means that one hit or series of hits could theoretically

lose the lead/the game and it’s a blown save (BS) for the relief pitcher/closer. Relief pitchers can win the game without the five inning threshold (life is not always fair). American major league baseball (MLB) is divided into two leagues and the leagues are further subdivided into divisions (West, Central, and East). The only real difference between the American League (AL) and the National League (NL) is that in the AL, the pitchers do not hit—there is a Designated Hitter (DH) whose only job is to hit. To my way of thinking, that means there is less strategy in American League games (I’m a NL fan so I'm biased). Pitchers usually do not hit well because they concentrate 13


on their pitching and National League managers may, therefore, have to make the decision to pull their pitcher for a pinch hitter. Once you’re out of the game, you can’t go back in. So do you burn one of your pitchers in hope of getting a hit? Or not? Occasionally there is interleague play and the DH rule will apply if the game is in the AL team's park. The majority of the games are not interleague and the most important games are played within a team’s own division. Whoever has the most wins in the division at the end of the regular season will go to the playoffs (plus two wild card teams from each league—the next “most winningest” teams from all of the divisions in that league) for that league in postseason play. Once the “best” team from each 14

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league is finally determined after the playoffs, the World Series occurs. The team who wins the most out of the seven possible games (i.e. wins four games) of the World Series is the “World Champion.” You have to realize, though, that there is only one team that’s not from the U.S. in Major League Baseball (the Toronto Blue Jays of Canada) so using the word world is a decided stretch. I’ll stop here for now but there is so much more I could say. I just like to watch baseball but am not an expert nor do I play one on TV. Go find yourself a game to watch or listen to and GO GIANTS!

More than you wanted to know... Baseball is a game of statistics and abbreviations and acronyms (and weird history and cultural meaning). If you want to read box scores, which are statistical recapitulations of completed games that appear in the newspaper (and online, of course), some of the important things to know are: Batting Average (AVG) is the percentage of hits per at bats a hitter gets over the regular season. A stellar AVG is .300 (say “three hundred”) or above. This is where you get the adage that runs something like "you can fail 2/3 of the time and still be great." Said saying is often, and annoyingly, used in contexts that have nothing to do with baseball...just say no. Runs Batted In (RBI) is how many times a batter causes his team to score including himself. A home run with men on would mean more than one RBI at a time. You can get an RBI even if you walk if the bases are loaded and the man on third is, therefore, “forced in.”

E = error(s). Errors occur when the team on the field should be able to make a play but screws up somehow. Some players are more error prone than others. Too many errors and you really might not be that great. Bye bye. ER = Earned runs which are the runs that score through efforts of the batting team and not through errors or walks. H = hits HR = home run. The batter hit the ball over the fence in fair territory. By the way, a grand slam is a home run hit when all the bases already have players standing on them—i.e. when the bases are “loaded” and four runs score. An inside the park home run occurs when the batter can run really fast—he doesn’t hit the ball over the fence but he runs through all the bases before the fielders can get him.

Earned Run Average (ERA) applies to the pitcher only and refers to the number of runs he gives up to opposing teams excluding those that scored who were originally walked or hit by a pitch. The lower the pitcher’s ERA, the better. You can compare pitchers by comparing their ERAs and their wins.

HBP = hit by pitch. Ouch. And the hit player gets to go to first base for free (well, except for that bruise). Sometimes this is intentional retaliation. Oh, the drama of baseball. You might even get a "bench-clearing brawl" after a HBP when all the players from both teams will go out on the field and fight in a ridiculous manner. Fines and suspensions may result.

AB = at bats (number of time a batter has batted, basically)

IP = innings pitched and refers to the pitcher only, of course.

B = ball

L = loss. Your team doesn't want that. Who would?

BB = walk (remember this stands for "base on balls") BK = balk which is pronounced like "bock." This is a tricky one to see, sometimes. Maybe most of the time. Or maybe I'm just not observant enough. A balk is called by an umpire if the pitcher makes an illegal motion that is deceptive to the runner. No deception is allowed. If a balk is called, any men already on base get to advance one base. DP = double play

SO or K = strikeout(s) R = run(s) scored (see, they're still not called "points") W = win 2B = a double 3B = a triple 15


Visit Ancient


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

Mysteries T

Text and Photos by Sebastian Nelson

he Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California, is one of the finest museums of its kind in the western United States. Its parent organization, the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (known as the Rosicrucian Order), has a history almost as colorful and interesting as that of the ancient Egyptian civilization that its museum documents.

The Rosicrucian Order was founded in 1915 by Harvey S. Lewis (1883-1939), a commercial artist from New Jersey. Harvey had a lifelong interest in paranormal phenomena, the occult, and alchemy. He was also an inventor of such

wondrous devices as the sympathetic vibration harp, a kind of primative Geiger counter called a cosmic ray coincidence counter, and the luxatone, a philosophic device that converted sounds into various colors by means of electricity. Harvey's Rosicrucian Order, a kind of fraternal organization, was dedicated to ancient mysteries and wisdom, spirituality, and psychic abilities. It currently numbers several hundred members worldwide, and its ranks once included such luminaries as Walt Disney and Gene Roddenberry. Harvey moved the headquarters of the Rosicrucian Order to San Jose in 1927 and, in 17

Roundabout 1928, he founded the Egyptian Museum. Harvey was fascinated by ancient Egyptian culture, as were many other spiritualists and mystics. The museum grounds feature, among other attractions, faithful replicas of historic statuary,

gardens of native Egyptian plants, and one of


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America's earliest public planetariums.

Most of the museum's main buildings date from the mid-1960s, but the collection of historic artifacts includes many antiquities and several mummified bodies of ancient Egyptians. One of them, a 2,600 year old gentleman, resides in an equally ancient coffin bearing the name of a priest named Usermontu. The mummy's journey to San Jose is somewhat banal, as it was purchased by the museum in 1971 by mail order. Usermontu's coffin was one of two offered for sale in the Neiman Marcus catalog. This high-end retailer's reputation for selling interesting and unusual gifts by catalog, including among other things a onehundred-year subscription to the Wall Street Journal for a mere $6,000, a personal submarine, and some of the world's first home computers, was cemented by their offering of ancient Egyptian coffins. The museum paid $5,000 for the two coffins and, incredibly, only discovered that one of them was inhabited after it arrived and was opened.

San Jose 19

Roundabout Even more exciting is the museum's false rockcut tomb. Constructed as a faithful replica of an ancient Egyptian burial chamber, its walls are painted with scenes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It is a dark, dimly lit space full of wonder and surprise. The various connected rooms trail like a maze through the bowels of the museum building and climax with an empty sarcophagus.

Sebastian is an archivist at the California State Archives and a native Californian. He enjoys sleeping, CivilWar reenacting, the gentle art of heraldry, and things that go bump in the night.

The museum's father, Harvey, died in 1939 and, appropriately enough, is buried on the grounds of the museum under a small stone pyramid. Like the ancients, however, the museum itself is abuzz with life, death, and even the afterlife.

For more photos of Sebastian's road trip adventures go to: 871.

To follow in Sebastian's footsteps got to: or 1660 Park Avenue; San Jose, CA 95191


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012 21

Roadside Stand

Plum Good


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012


Summer fruit is glorious. But it doesn't

last forever. This is quite possibly the most perfect jam recipe on the planet (so my tastebuds inform me) and it will let you keep that summer fruit taste for a long time. My mom used to make it for me even though she detests the flavor of honey. The recipe is based on one she found in a 1970s magazine (she's not sure which publication). As a kid, I'd hoard the jars—hiding them at the back of the walk-in pantry—until the next summer's supply of plums rolled in. Although I make the jam myself now, I never have quite enough to make it through to the next year and I ran out in early March. That was a sad day. This will be the first of several batches I make before summer is over and the local plums disappear. If you like a mixture of sweet and tart in your jam, go find some plums. STAT. It doesn't really matter which kind you buy (or pick if you're lucky enough to have access to a tree) as long as the skin is that reddish purple of a ripe plum. The flesh can be either red or yellow but the skin must be that purply plum red (the skin gives the finished jam the proper color).

If you don't want all that jam, you can make a plum fruit leather with the reduced mixture. Keep reading for the method.

Plum Leather

Pour the reduced purée onto a shallow pan that has been coated with parchment and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Spread to an even thickness, 1/8 - ¼ inch thick. Bake at a low temperature (the lowest my oven goes is 170° F) for hours—usually overnight (Test by touching the middle. If the leather is just lightly tacky, you're good.) You can use a food dehydrator if you're the proud owner of such a thing. When cool, slice into pieces with a pizza wheel then wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. It thaws very quckly so you can pull it out for a snack at any time.

Plum Jam

5 pounds ripe red plums 3 cups mild flavored honey such as clover Wash and slice the plums, removing the pits. Do not peel. Use a blender or food processor to completely purée your plums (the British name for blender, liquidiser, illustrates exactly how you want your plums at the end). You will probably have to work in batches. Do not be alarmed by any flecks of skin or foam at this stage. The skin will cook down and any foam that remains at the end of the cooking process can be skimmed away fast. Add the honey to the plum puree in a large pot. You will have approximately 3 quarts of honey plum mixture before cooking so use a pot that is at least twice that size. Simmer, uncovered for 1½ to 2 hours. Put in sterilized ½ pint jars and seal using the proper boiling water technique. Makes about 6 to 7 cups. Unprocessed jam can be stored in the refrigerator. Processed jam can be stored in a dark place for up to a year. 23

The Fork

Picnic Time

This is finger food at its finest whether you're eating at the beach, in the park, or on the couch. I don't fry chicken or anything else because I'm too inattentive a cook and would rather eat, oh, fish and chips as a very occasional treat outside the house. If you hate frying food as much as I do, we've got you covered. You can still have the crispy pleasure of our flavorful lemon basil chicken but it's easier, safer, and much less messy to make than fried chicken. We haven't forgotten the side dishes or the dessert either. So pick your picnic spot, pack up your food and a blanket, and go adventuring. Wherever you go, I hope you have a good time. The key is not to stress about the food (and we've made it easy so you don't have to) and just throw it in a cooler and take off. You might not even need a fork. Just wear your sunscreen. And, for more recipes from QSB, go to Lemon Basil Chicken 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 pound total) 1/3 cup plain yogurt juice of one lemon (zest it first, see below) 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil zest of one lemon 2 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Mix the yogurt and juice in a shallow bowl then dunk the chicken in the liquid until coated all over. Dip the yogurtcovered chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, being careful to coat each chicken breast completely. Place on a well oiled baking sheet and bake in a 400° F oven until golden— approximately 30 minutes (flip at the 25 minute mark to make sure all sides get cripsy and golden). Remove from oven and serve hot or at room temparature.


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

tablespoons of olive oil and a few tablespoons of parmesan. Toss. Add pepper to taste, then add a few more tablespoons of parmesan and toss again. Repeat the cheese addition and toss once more. Add the pasta to the onion/artichoke marinade and let the entire salad sit at room temperature for another half hour. Just before serving gently toss in halved cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, broccoli, or your other favorite ingredients. If you find that the pasta is too dry for your taste, add some or all of the remaining ¼ of the marinade from the artichoke jar.

You can also use smaller pieces of chicken and make chicken fingers with this technique. It's healthier and easier than fried chicken and goes on a picnic just fine.

JLV's Pasta Salad

Save any leftovers in the refrigerator. You can continue to add more vegetables (thawed frozen artichokes, lettuce, arugula, and lightly steamed zucchini are all good ideas...though maybe not all at once) if you would like. Okay, I lied up in the headnote when I said you could eat this entire meal with your fingers. In order to not be a total slob, you'll need a fork or a spoon to eat this dish (not that I'll never know if you don't) but I think you'll find the utensil is worth it.

Spicy Cucumber Accompaniment

2 cups radiatori pasta olive oil grated parmesan freshly ground black pepper 1 medium red onion, finely diced 12 ounce jar marinated artichokes ¼ cup shredded carrots 3 ounce can sliced black olives, drained Cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, or lightly steamed broccoli Slice ¾ of the artichokes in halves lengthwise. In a large bowl mix the red onion, ¾ of the marinade from the artichoke jar, ¾ of the artichokes sliced in halves lengthwise, the carrots, and the olives. Let sit at room temperature for at least ½ hour. After the ½ hour is up, cook the two cups of pasta to the al dente stage. Drain then toss the pasta with several 25

the fork

Spicy Cucumber Accompaniment This is more of a suggestion that a recipe. The cucumber vines in our garden are going crazy this year. I haven't felt like making pickles and there are only so many cucumber salads I can stand. Here's another way I've discovered to use up the cucumber bounty that I think you'll quite enjoy (it's addictive). Home grown cucumbers aren't necessary, of course. Peel a couple of cucumbers and slice into sticks (remove the seeds if they're too prominent). Spritz the cucumber sticks with lime juice and place in a leakproof container for travel. Mix up a 2:1 mixture of chili powder and sea salt. Twist the seasoning mixture in squares of parchment or waxed paper. When it's time for a picnic snack, dip cucumber sticks in the spice/salt mix and eat as much as you want.

Modular Fruit Tarts Shortbread Crust ¼ cup brown sugar ¼ cup powdered sugar 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon Earl Gray tea (the approximate contents of one tea bag) 1 cup butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Mix the first four ingredients in a food processor with the blade attachment until homogenous. Cut

butter into pieces then throw it into the food processor along with the vanilla extract. Process until a cohesive dough forms. If the mixture refuses to stick together, add cold water by the tablespoon until you get a satisfactory result. Let the dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes then roll out on a floured board (you can use powdered sugar instead of flour on the board if you'd like) to a ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 3½ inch rounds and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a round, flat object that's slightly smaller in diameter than the rounds (like the bottom of a drinking glass) to create a depression in the center for the filling. The entire recipe will make about 8 crusts. I suggest that you only bake half. Wrap up the remaining dough and freeze until later. If you want to make your future life easier, roll the extra dough into a log shape. When you need to make tea cookies in a hurry, just slice the frozen dough into ¼ inch rounds and bake. Bake either the crusts or the cookies at 325° F for approximately 20 minutes. Watch them starting at the 15 minute mark, however. You don't


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

on this page or just squish up some berries with a little sugar to form the base for the halved strawberries. Store-bought strawberry jam that has been cooked in the jar for preservation purposes is just not right. Use apricot jam instead if you don't have any strawberry freezer jam or enough fresh strawberries. Spread a thin layer of the strawberry "jam" in the center depression of a shortbread round. Add sliced fresh berries. Drizzles with some of the freezer jam or macerated berries.

Bonus Recipe: Strawberry Freezer Jam a generous quart of fresh strawberries, hulled 3 ½ cups sugar ž cups water 1.75 ounces powdered pectin

want the shortbread to be overly brown or overly hard or it will be difficult to get either your teeth or a fork through it. Because there is no leavening, the shortbread will not rise but it may spread out just a tad. "Filling" the Tarts Top the completely cooled shortbread rounds with the jam and fruit of your choice. For the apricot tart (opposite page), spread a thin layer of low sugar apricot jam in the center depression. Add sliced fresh apricots. Drizzle with a tablespoon of jam that you have melted down in the microwave for a few seconds. If you're taking the tarts on a picnic, pack the shortbread and the fruit modules separately or you'll end up with a big mess. Assemble just before eating. You don't really need a mint sprig but it does make it look fancier.

Crush the strawberries in a large pot and stir in the sugar, tossing to coat. Let the berries stand for at least 10 minutes then stir until all the sugar has dissolved. In the meantime, combine the water and pectin in a small saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, continuing to stir until the pectin is completely incorporated. Stir the pectin into the strawberry mixture until there is no graininess. Ladle the mixture into sterilized freezer-safe containers, remembering to leave room for the contents to expand after freezing. Let the containers stand on the counter overnight and then freeze. The jam will keep in the freezer for a few months. To use, let it thaw in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Confession: I used store-bought apricot jam. However, you could use our plum jam recipe and fresh plums for a fully homemade dessert. Or, if strawberries are more your thing, keep reading. Either use homemade strawberry freezer jam as seen 27


Potherbs &

A Literary Stew

Basil 28

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012




is an archaic term that originally meant any green leafy vegetable or herb used to flavor your cooking—whatever was in the pot. This summer we're taking the term quite literally and (drumroll please!) planting some herbs in a pot. Not only are these herbs tasty, they're also all literary stars. They appear in works by Shakespeare (doesn't everything?), Chaucer, and Boccaccio. This is the time of year to have and to use herbs since they're sun lovers. Then, after your planting and cooking is finished, you can curl up with a great work of literature. We'll suggest which ones.

The Characters:

Rosmarinus officinalis

Thymus sp.

Salvia officinalis




Mentha spicata

Origanum sp.

Ocimum basilicum


Oregano/ Marjoram

Basil 29


The Setting:

+ A Humble Pot, approximately 17 inches across with a drainage hole in the bottom

A good quality potting soil to fill the pot

Endnotes: Basil has starred in Bocaccio's Decameron. Do you know the story? On the fourth day in the fifth tale, Lisabetta falls for a forbidden man. Her family kills him and she learns of his death in a dream. She retrieves Lorenzo's head, plants it in a pot of basil (or, possibly, marjoram), and waters it with her tears. Cheerful, no? Sage appears in The Decameron as well, also on day four but in the seventh tale. Pasquino accidentally poisons himself with a sage leaf and dies. Sabina reenacts his death for a judge and dies as well. Oops. Don't worry, sage isn't actually poisonous...that's just where the drama comes in. Sage also has a starring role in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: To other woundes, and to broken arms, Some hadden salves, and some hadden charms: And pharmacies of herbs, and eke save* They dranken, for they would their lives have. [*sage] –The Knight's Tale 30

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

And then there are the herbs in Shakespeare: Thyme appears in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, scene i: "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows...". Mint and marjoram (and a friend) appear in The Winter's Tale, Act IV, scene iv: "Hot Lavender, Mints, Savory, Marjoram." And marjoram makes an encore performance in All’sWell that End’sWell, Act IV, scene v: “Indeed, sir, she was the sweet-marjoram of the salad, or, rather the herb of grace." Finally, rosemary make her one showing in Hamlet, Act IV, scene iv: "There's Rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember." Yes, Ophelia is speaking.

The Blurb: Don't mind crowding the plants in your pot. That will encourage you to use the leaves often in your cooking so that the herbs don't shade each other out. It's best to capture mint in a container anyway because it's I-N-V-A-S-I-V-E. Also, potted herbs will need to be fertilized occasionally. You may want to make a compost tea from the castings in your worm bin (see vermicomposting article in this issue) to feed the plants weekly. Make sure your plants get at least 6 hours of sun a day but don't let the potting soil bake—keep it moist. And, all of the herbs are perennial except for the basil so you could be set, culinarily, for a long time. At the very least, use your herbs for garnishes.

You have all summer to get a taste of Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron (written in the mid14th Century), a series of tales "told by" refugees trying to entertain themselves while they are away from the city evading the Black Death; Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (written in the late 14th Century), stories "told by" pilgrims making their way to Canterbury; and at least a selection of William Shakespeare's plays (written in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries). I'll be really impressed if you read Boccaccio in the original archaic Italian or Chaucer in the original Middle English. And, just because they're old works of literature, it doesn't mean they're prim and proper. Nope, they're pretty bawdy. Enjoy.


Work Ahead

Vermicomposting If you've thought about composting but don't have a big backyard or the time to make the commitment to a traditional pile; if you feel guilty every time you throw food waste in the trash or down the garbage disposal in your sink; or if you cook at home from scratch frequently, vermicomposting—yes, composting with worms—may be the solution for you. Red Worms will eat your garbage.


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

The easiest place to buy your worms is probably

the local bait shop. Bypass the nightcrawlers and make sure you get the red worms, the red wigglers (Eisenia fetida). When you tell the old guy behind the counter that you'd like one styrofoam container of red worms, no make that two, better make that three, he might want to know what you need all those worms for. Then he'll tell you he doesn't sell worms to gardeners. But, while he's ringing up your purchase, he might confide that he and his sister thought they would get rich raising worms when they were kids. They carted barrows of horse manure from their neighbors to their own backyard. They raised plenty of worms and made plenty of compost. They didn't get rich, though. Unless you count their tomatoes. They grew the best tomatoes in the neighborhood. Maybe the county. It was the compost. Worm Bin Materials: • Opaque 18 gallon lidded storage container (e.g. Rubbermaid) • Drill • Large (1 ¼") paddle drill bit and small (1/8") drill bit • Fine mesh • Glue • Nursery tray • Prepared compost • Newspaper • Water • Worms • Food scraps Take your drill and the small bit and drill holes all around the container about an inch from the bottom and about 1 inch apart. Drill three larger holes on the two narrow ends of the container 6 inches from the top. Cover the larger holes with the fine mesh and secure in place with the appropriate type of glue. Worms can probably still get through if they want to but the mesh will deter all but the most determined escapees. Place a nursery tray with holes drilled through it and turned upside down in the bottom to allow excess moiture to drain. No, it won't entirely cover the bottom of the container. Add a layer of moistened shredded newspaper about 2 inches deep (dump the newspaper in a sink full of water then

squeeze the water out as you retrieve it. You want the newspaper to be damp but not dripping). Add a layer of compost 2 inches deep. Add your worms. Then feed them with some food scraps such as cucumber peels, strawberry hulls, blemishes cut out of fruit, eggshells, melon rinds, rotten potatoes or similar. Basically any fruit or vegetable (plus eggshells + used coffee grounds) waste except citrus, onions, or garlic can go into the bin. Don't put too much in at once; the worms don't have teeth so they have to wait for things to decompose. Cover up the food with another 2 inch layer of damp newspaper (always bury the food in the newspaper to keep out unwanted pests and avoid horrid odors). Shut the lid and leave your worms alone for a day or two so they can get over the trauma. But don't forget them! Check on them at least a couple of times a week to make sure they have food, moisture, and bedding (the newspaper). Store your worm bin out of the sun in an easily accessible location. Because a properly maintained bin doesn't smell, some people keep theirs indoors. Be warned that worms tend to want to go roaming on rainy days (even indoors). Your worms will be happy and multiply all the while making worm castings for you too use on your garden. Separate the worms from the castings whenever the contents of the bin approach the large holes you drilled. Remember, vermicomposting doesn't kill seeds or diseases (it doesn't get hot enough) so be careful what you put in your bin. 33

At the Crossroads The grid contains a quote. Transfer letters from the answers to the matching squares (1-220). If you solve some of the quote, use each

square's letter/number to transfer the filled-in letters to appropriate spaces in the answers. There is no punctuation, the 1st letter of each answer (top to bottom) spells the name of the quote's author & the title of the originating work, & numbers in parentheses indicate number of words in answer.

A. Artificially intelligent mouse B. The first for Aubrey & Maturin (3)

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ 87 109 69


26 167 128 186

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___



125 34

101 79

137 203 220 176 153 19


___ ___ ___ ___ ___ 1

C. Mountain proposed for waste storage D. Emma Thompson adapted this & was awarded (3)




___ ___ ___ ___ ___

160 194 189



___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ 144 39

74 91


11 117 213 17


152 187

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

198 204 22

E. It stars Shirley MacLaine & Debra Winger (3)


82 66

182 32

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ 111 170 129 206

55 120 210




64 147 107

___ ___ ___ ___

138 156 181


F. Billie Holiday, at first (2)

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

G. An altered sheep

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

H. National Park near Moab

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

I. Aerosmith album J. Prophesied title for Macbeth (3) K. Cocktail garnish L. Family with three generations of Oscar winners M. Lucy's sidekick

73 115 14



90 197 8


94 113 172 140 133 159 10

217 200

41 126 150

119 100 219


___ ___ ___ ___ ___


53 201



___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ 154 104




37 136


18 96

___ ___ ___ ___ ___

190 146 16



___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

155 168 145




___ ___ ___ ___ ___


99 183

80 142

N. Charles Lamb was known for these

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

O. Dominant flavor in Cynar

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

161 88


70 102 59










123 110 162

QSB Acrostic #1

1B 13U 14F 28B






16K 17D

29O 30L

31R 32D 33N 34B


44T 45A 46V 47T 48Q 49B


60K 61R 62B

75V 76W 77R

63O 64E



90G 91D 92R 93O 94F



120E 121U 122S 123J 135R 136J 137B



20Q 21P

40T 41G 42V





57C 58L

69A 70O 71U 72T 73F 85S

87A 88N 89K


97O 98D 99M 100H 101B 102O

103Q 104J 105W

115F 116P 117D 118W

113F 114T



124T 125B 126G

127T 128A 129E 130R

131U 132V 133F 134R

138E 139T 140F 141T

142M 143U 144D 145L

146K 147E 148U 149O

165S 166R 167A 168L 169I 170E 179U 180U 181E

11D 12T

25T 26A 27J

52J 68Q


22D 23N 24E

50D 51N

151H 152D 153B 154J 155L 156E 157P



38Q 39D

81T 82D 83G 84P 96J



65U 66D 67J




108Q 109A 110J 111E 112I

106R 107E


171O 172F

182D 183M 184U

194C 195R 196S 197G 198D 199U 200F 209U 210E 211Q 212R 213D

158U 159F 160C 161N 162J

163T 164S

173B 174V 175P 176B 177R


185T 186A 187D 188U 189C 190K

191Q 192S 193Q

201I 202W 203B

206E 207Q 208B

204D 205R

214B 215U 216Q 217F 218P 219H 220B

P. A sleeve type

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Q. Gladwell bestseller, with The (2)

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

R. Rastafari messiah (2)

157 116 218 175


211 193 108



48 38


191 207 20

216 103

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

177 166

61 135 205

92 130 195 134



106 212

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

S. Slytherin baddie

165 196 122 164 192 85

T. Dickens' last completed novel (3)

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ 163 124

12 127





141 114


185 139

___ ___ 15

U. She became a blueberry (2)


___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ 179 209 199 158 184 148


180 215 121 65

143 95

___ ___ ___ ___ V. An artificial sweetener

___ ___ ___ ___ ___

W. Everly Brother's hit: "All I Have to Do Is _____"

___ ___ ___ ___ ___




131 71

13 188

42 132

118 76 105 202 36

Print out the puzzle pages at

At the Crossroads

Pile-Up: A Scrambled Letters Game by Scott Wendt

Question: What should the swimmer have brought to a shark infested area?






Answers to Spring 2012 Puzzles:






Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012


On the Corner

Charlotte Turner Smith (1749-1806) was an English

novelist and poet. Her life was not easy, having been virtually sold into marriage to a man who ended up in debtor's prison. She had twelve children and, to support them, she wrote. Her works are feminist, her novels are gothic and political, and her poems are romantic. She revived the sonnet in English after the form had fallen out of favor and many scholars see her influence in the works of authors who came after her—especially Wordsworth and Shelley, Austen and Dickens. The poem that follows, although a sonnet, is not one that was published in Smith's popular Elegiac Sonnets. Instead, it appears in The Young Philosopher, her last novel, published in 1798. The poem is "written by" the novel's protagonist, George Delmont, while he "sonnetizes" what he sees in a letter to his mother-in-law. The poem has no title in the novel but modern collections of Smith's poems title it variously as "Sonnet LXXXVI," "Written Near a Port on a Dark Evening," or "Huge Vapours Brood Above the Clifted Shore" (the first line of the work). Turn the page to read it for yourself. 37

On the Corner

A sonnet by

Charlotte Turner Smith Huge vapours brood above the clifted shore, Night o'er the ocean settles, dark and mute, Save where is heard the repercussive roar Of drowsy billows, on the rugged foot Of rocks remote; or still more distant tone Of seamen, in the anchored bark, that tell The watch relieved; or one deep voice alone, Singing the hour, and bidding "strike the bell." All is black shadow, but the lucid line Marked by the light surf on the level sand, Or where afar, the ship-lights faintly shine Like wandering fairy fires, that oft on land Mislead the pilgrim; such the dubious ray That wavering reason lends, in life's long darkling way.


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012 39

Interchange Nothing says Summer like a short attention span. Wait, what was I saying? Oh, right, here's what we're reading this season: Short Stories and Essays. I usually prefer the essays—maybe because, when I sit down to read fiction, I like to sink my teeth into a long novel. The short story collections here, however, just might have started to change my habits. Be brave and try something different. Short stories and essays mean minimal commitment and you can read one before bed or one between dips in the pool. By the way, if you read a lot of magazines that have essays or short fiction within their content, you may recognize a lot of what follows.

How's Your Attention Span? Short Stories

420 Characters by Lou Beach somehow reminds me of works of Edward Gorey. Written first as a bit of a gimick as posts on Facebook (hence the 420 character limit of the title) the stories still have staying power. One will take you mere seconds to read but there is enough meat in the text to let you wonder what happened for the rest of the day. You'll find that reading becomes a creative endeavor again. Adios, Happy Homeland! by Ana Menéndez is a series of related stories, essays, and poems purportedly collected from various Cuban authors to illustrate the dreams, the loss, the idealized past that is Cuba. Menéndez wrote them all, of course. There is magical realism, and then there are weather "reports," and an Elian Gonzalez-like figure. The "editor" of the work says, "just because it never happened doesn't mean it isn't true." Yes. If none of the other short story collections appeal to you, why not try one of the Best 40

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

American Short Stories anthologies? The 2011 volume is the latest one available (2012's will be out in Autumn) and contains stories that were published in American or Canadian magazines during the 2010 calendar year. This is a sure-fire way to find new authors. The 2011 BASS anthology is guest edited by Geraldine Brooks. I don't necessarily agree with her taste—maybe all the submissions really were similar as she hints in her introduction—but that's part of the fun of these collections. It's all about the relationships between people and their emotional entanglements in Alethea Black's I Knew You'd Be Lovely. The thirteen standalone stories in this slim volume have a cheerful vibe even though many of them aren't about cheerful events. I particularly enjoyed the author's notes on her inspiration for many of her stories.

Melinda Moustakis follows several generations of a dysfunctional family back and forth through time in Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories. Like the salmon that fight their way back upstream to their birthplace, this family just keeps going. I laughed a little and cried a little. Give these interlinked stories a try. Essays

The essays in Anne Fadiman's At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays first appeared in print in either The NewYorker or The American Scholar. This selection is, for lack of a better word, charming. I wish Fadiman had another magazine gig so I'd get a few more essays; the three volumes already out there just aren't enough (see her Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader for another great read). These are personal essays that take a small something in her life as a starting point and then make connections to larger themes or events in the world. I didn't know (even though it's probably common knowledge) that Nabokov was a noted lepidopterist (see "Collecting Nature" to find out what I'm talking about). If you haven't run across John McPhee's work in The NewYorker before, you're in for a treat. His latest collection, Silk Parachute, is another strong effort although, perhaps, not his most engaging. (My favorite McPhee collection is Annals of the FormerWorld, particularly the part that was originally published as Assembling California. Geology has never been more page-turning.) I very much enjoyed his essay on fact checking magazine articles (if anyone wants that job for QSB, just send me a note at the editor's email address and we'll talk...not that I

can pay you in anything but gratitude) even if another of the essays left me with more knowledge of lacrosse than I ever wanted to have. In the most creative of nonfiction, Amy Leach explores the natural world throughout Things that Are. Allegory, humor, crazy facts, and moments of head nodding agreement are all in here. This one is like nothing else I've read recently and uplifting to boot. When's her next book coming out? Photographs Not Taken was edited by Will Stacey but each essay in this little book is written by a different photographer. It's about images that they didn't or couldn't take for one reason or another but it's really about various ways of seeing. Most worthwhile even if you're not a photographer or "into" photography. If you are into photography, there are some big names here that may interest you. Also, in a remarkable conincidence, Laura McPhee is one of the essayist photographers. She's also John McPhee's daughter and appears as one of his subjects in Silk Parachute. Barbara Kingsolver's essays in High Tide in Tucson are straightforward, honest, and very personal. You may have read her fiction but give her essays a try. Like many of the other works reviewed in this article, much of her essay material first appeared in magazines. However, it's been heavily reworked and th chapters all fit together seamlessly as a book. The natural world, political tendencies, emotion, and home are all recurring themes. 41

Amadou & Mariam Folila

Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia are a married couple from Mali (they happen to be blind and met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind). They perform in English, French, and Bambara. Their sound leans toward the blues and the percussion is impressive. Favorite tracks: "C'est Pas Facile Pour Les Aigles" and "Dougou Badia."

Baaba Maal Television

Maal is from Senegal and sings in Pulaar and in English. There's a little too much techno is some of the tracks, a little too much western influence. But it's a good introduction to his sound, overall. Favorite tracks: "Tindo Quando" and "Dakar Moon."

Boubacar Traoré Kongo Magni Traoré doesn't sing in English but he does sing the blues and seems to be one with his guitar. Excellent rhythm and backup harmonica, too. It's true: I seem to be drawn to Malian artists. Favorite tracks: "Karkar/Vincent" and "Sougourini Saba."


Angélique Kidjo Spirit Rising

Off the Beaten Tracks I was going to focus on worldbeat music but I'm stuck on a particular subset of that for some reason (it's summer, I don't have to have reasons). Afropop is my music of choice right now which is a nebulous term for music with african roots and popular music influences. It can be folk or blues or dance music or...anything, really, as long as it has the african music common denominator. If you want to be soothed and energized—a great combination for long summer days—you might want to try these tunes out too.

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012 Kidjo is from Benin and sings in several languages, including English, on this album. It's a collection of old favorites from her other albums performed along with special guests. I should warn you that this is the recording of a live PBS show so the sound isn't always of the highest quality. Favorite tracks: "Afrika" and "Senamou."

Rokia Traoré Tchamantché

Traoré is from Mali and most of the songs on this album are sung in her native Bambara. However, there's one in English (Gershwin!) and a couple in French. She has a quiet but rich, almost contemplative, voice and the music is full of feeling. Favorite tracks: "Aimer" and "Tchamantché."


t i u o l a n ns U

Essays in Dance by Jessica Herrick

“And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance...I hope you dance. I hope you dance.” ~Lee Ann Womack Lee Ann Womack's hit single rocketed to the top of the charts in 2000, firmly imprinting itself into America's pop culture consciousness. Despite being played ad nauseum on both country and adult contemporary stations, the sheer emotional power of the song still manages to put a lump in my throat. Particularly now, as I have been taking Lee Ann's advice quite literally for the past two years. In fact, it is in part because of Lee Ann's poignant lyrics that I found myself agreeing to do something that, prior to my embarkation on this ballroom odyssey, not even wild horses could have dragged me into...PERFORMING. The first time Djimi proposed that we do a number at the studio's student dance showcase, I laughed at the absurdity. ME? Perform? Dance in front of people for the express purpose of entertaining them? Yeah right...and I have a bridge to sell you. The last time I performed was for the Big Springs Elementary School Christmas play, in front of nervous parents who would have clapped enthusiastically even if one of us had fallen off of the stage. I didn't enjoy it then, and I certainly wasn't going to enjoy it NOW, twenty-five years later. But I couldn't shake the idea. After all, I was planning to do my first competition around the same time, why not add in a performance? Besides, passing up the opportunity felt a bit too much like “sitting it out,” something that I have become increasingly unwilling to do. Perhaps it was a consequence of my dawning realization that life doesn't happen to you unless you meet it halfway. Perhaps it was giving in to Djimi, who was so enthusiastic and sure that I could not only do this, but do it well. Perhaps it was to shut Lee Ann up.

No matter the reason, on the evening of October 10, 2010, I found myself breathlessly waiting behind a stage curtain straining to hear the notes of the music in the first of not just one, but two performance pieces. Djimi and I decided to do an Argentine tango as well as a jive routine. We worked for two months coming up with the choreography and then practicing sequences and moves. I enlisted the help of my mom, who made my dress for the jive number, absolutely thrilled that her introverted daughter was going to dance, really dance! One friend donated jewelry, while another thankfully agreed to do my makeup. I searched Google for “how to's” on hairstyles. I helped decorate the studio for the event. Djimi kept telling me to relax. I kept trying to avoid hyperventilating every time I thought about stepping out on stage. And then, suddenly, it was showtime.

Djimi & Jessica, first performance. Photo by B. Herrick.

That first step onto the dance floor, with all eyes on me, was not a revelation. I was vibrating with nerves, deep tremors that threatened to stop my breath. Vomiting was not an option, my body was too busy trying to shake itself apart to bother with 43

undulations such a trivial reaction. All I wanted at that moment was to get this over and done with, so that I could go back to nice, safe obscurity, and never, ever dance again. The revelation came after, when we walked off the stage, back behind the curtain. And I realized that all I wanted at that moment was to do it AGAIN. That the tremors had, at some point during our tango, stopped being nervousness and started being excitement, that wild but wonderful heartpounding terror/joy/awe/FUN of a roller coaster's initial dive from the heavens. All I could do was hug Djimi tightly and say thank you over and over again, and wonder at myself...for never before that moment would I have guessed that I would be capable of falling in love with the roller coaster ride that is a performance.

teachers at the studio. A talented ballroom dancer and choreographer, Jamie actually got me to shake my booty in at least an approximation of the great Tina Turner, a feat that is nothing less than a miracle. I will be in five numbers at the next studio showcase. (Shameless plug alert) If you want to see what this ballroom stuff is all about, come on down to the Mirror Ballroom in Sacramento on August 12th. You will be entertained, I can guarantee that...if only by my attempts to be gansta in my debut as part of Jamie's hip hop group routine. Don't get me wrong here. Before every single performance, I still get the nerves, the deep tremors, the panicked “I can't do this, what the bloody hell am I thinking!?!?� inner commentary. But that reaction is slowly becoming less

Jaimie's Girls: Connie, Nora, Jessica, Jamie, Jessica (the author), Rose, Mai.

Over the past two years, I have performed well over a dozen times. Djimi and I have had at least two numbers in each of the biannual studio showcases. One of them is always an Argentine tango (and if you are asking why, read my column in the last issue). We have performed in front of hundreds of people at Sacramento's yearly winter ballroom gala; we have performed in front of a few dozen at a community park fair. I am privileged to now be part of Jamie's Girls, a performance group put together by Jamie Cooper, one of the other 44

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Summer 2012

Photo by D. Klein.

important, less overwhelming, as the excitement rises and the music starts, and I walk out under the lights. I'm not sitting this out, ever again. I'm going to dance. Jessica Herrick is a regular columnist for QSB. Follow her continuing adventures in ballroom dance in our next issue. Contact Jessica at or learn more at

Don't forget to enjoy the journey.

Come back after September 22nd for our Autumn 2012 Issue. Have a splendid Summer.

Summer 2012 Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine  
Summer 2012 Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine  

A free quarterly magazine full of Things to Do. Articles on ways to help you slow down and relax including hobbies, recipes, and reading.