Before we go any further, note that I said 'sacrifice', not 'sacrifices', so Satanists begone!
I'm here to tell you about vellum. According to Robert Fuchs, chair for the Restoration and Conservation of Archives, Graphics and Book Illumination at the University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, a distinction is sometimes made between vellum and parchment, but the terms are often used interchangeably:
The first step involves immersing the fresh animal skin for 2–6 weeks in a 5–10% solution of slaked lime (a process called liming). The different layers of the skin swell at different rates and gradually begin to break up. The epidermis reacts most quickly. Because the hairs have their roots here, after the immersion process, the hairs along with the roots are easily removed by draping the skin over a beam and shaving with a dull blade. The skin is then reversed and the remains of fat, muscle and loose flesh are likewise removed from the flesh side. After washing, the transparent skin is stretched and dried on a frame. These physical and chemical processes orient the fibers in sheets and open up the inner structure of the collagen so that air penetrates between the layers causing the parchment to become opaque, and thus suitable for writing or decoration on both sides. ... From antiquity onward, the Jewish practice was to use a fermenting flour or bran paste to prepare the fresh skin, creating a very fine high-quality product. The parchment of the Dead Sea Scrolls was apparently produced this way. The enzymes that built up during fermentation facilitated the removal of the hair. The rotting paste mass was spread directly on the skins which were piled one on top of the other and left for several hours or days. Because heat also builds up during the process of decay, the decomposition can run out of control, eating holes into the skin. The enzymes attack not only the epidermis but can also penetrate to deeper layers, and may ruin the entire skin. These drawbacks have led to the increasing replacement of fermentation by liming in the Jewish manufacture of parchment. Nevertheless, special laws of cleanliness still have to be observed in preparing parchment for Jewish writings.
In the modern manufacture of parchment, sodium sulfide and enzymes are used for dehairing. The result is a product differing significantly in durability and quality from historic parchment, which can cause problems if modern material is used in parchment restoration.
The Queen's Speech is printed on vellum by The Stationery Office. Acts of Parliament, recorded on parchment and dating back to 1497, are currently held in the House of Lords Public Record Office. Among other events recorded on vellum are the Magna Carta and Charles 1's death warrant.
The last time this tradition was threatened was during the late Robin Cook's time as Leader of the House. In a comment to the press, he (apparently in jest) threatened to start a Save the Goat campaign. A few years earlier, a proposal from a House of Commons Committee to move to more animal-friendly storage systems was fought off. A discussion list from 2003, of goats and the law, records some of the views, pro and con, including, inter alia:
Do we really need to skin goats? I don't know why a good rag bond wouldn't be equally good. Keep a written record, reproduce everything in ASCII, keep several dupes on different kinds of media in different parts of the country.
The goats really seem superfluous. posted by Slithy_Tove at 2:28 AM PST on January 3
The only reason we can still read documents from the 15th and 16th century is because they were printed on goat. I have trouble getting back documents from the late 90's because I saved them in a WordPerfect format which isn't really reformatted well into Word or OpenOffice. It must be worth a few goats to save this information.
On the other hand maybe we could use something that lasts even longer like rock carvings? I think we would know far less about the Egyptians if they saved all their information on some proprietary laserdisc format. posted by sebas at 3:08 AM PST on January 3
I find this whole thing extremely disturbing. posted by toothgnip at 7:10 AM PST on January 3
Much of the coverage of the centenary of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 has alluded to the city's prior identity as the Paris of the West (not to be confused with West Paris, Maine). Now, eat your heart out, San Francisco, the title belongs to this place.
Other points of the compass seem to be up for grabs. Among the claimants:
The Paris of the North The Paris of the North The Paris of the South The Paris of the South The Paris of the East The Paris of the East The Paris of the East Not to forget: The Paris of the East (Also the Venice of the North) The Paris of the South And not to mention: The Paris of the Pacific The Paris of the Piedmont (and to think you doubted it!) The Paris of the Baltics Or The Paris of the Plains etc.
Ha'aretz today has an article on the new intake of Israeli members of parliament, who are due to be sworn in tomorrow.
Among the newbies:
"I'm really excited," freshman MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) said. "It's the first significant ceremony of my life." Yachimovich has invited her family to the ceremony. "My mother is proud of me," she says.
Yachimovich declares that in the Knesset she will continue to deal with the same issues she tackled as a journalist, "economics and labor. My ambition is to bring back terms like 'organized labor,' 'collective contracts,' 'right to strike,' to defend workers' rights. That's the most important area, which also can lead to disaster."
The title of "most diligent MK" for the 17th Knesset goes to Dov Hanin (Hadash) [Communist (ed)]. Two days before the swearing-in and he already has 80 bills ready to be introduced. They deal with Hanin's areas of interest: social welfare, the environment and human rights. Two examples: "The Polluter Pays," which Hanin says is "a law designed to prevent a situation where it is profitable to pollute the environment in Israel, and a law that would make employers, rather than contractors, responsible for upholding workers' rights."
Hanin adds, "I'm optimistic. I found people in the Knesset who aren't close to me politically but who have the will and the energy to effect change. I hope we can find areas in which party obedience will not be significant..."
Play a game or two of solitaire (or one of scrabble) To limber up. Step away from the desk. Go to the kitchen. Pour one tot of Zwack Kosher plum palinka, (maybe a drop over) Return to desk. Place glass top left of Laptop (if right-handed, top right). Take a sip.
Put on music to suit. Force yourself through More solitaire until you've won two games In a row. Check news headlines. Take a sip. You're almost there. Check email and finally Update To Do list (not to be caught out). Take a sip.
Now... You can... Almost... Smell it... Just one more Thing.
This time we go deep rather than wide, focusing on a single curse: a viste pgire af dir, which translates as 'a dismal animal death to you'. Michael Wex, in his book Born to Kvetch – Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods, explains:
A viste pgire af dir...is careful to ensure that you don't miss the point. A pgire is bad enough, the wretched death of a non-human creature; but a viste pgire, a dismal or desolate death of this type, means "to croak wretchedly"–as in, you should spend the rest of your tiny life in a Colorado feedlot, then be herded off to some non-union slaughterhouse to be turned, painfully, into fast-food burgers for one of the less prominent chains.
Today's FT magazine contains reminiscences of Primo Levi as told to Patrick Nathanson by Levi's sister Anna Maria.
After today, this may need a subscription to access. Here is an extract:
As for my brother’s
death in 1987, there were a number of factors behind the depression
that drove him to end his own life. One of those was the gloom brought
on by translating Kafka’s The Trial. Another reason was the effort it took him to write his last book, The Drowned and the Saved - it took everything out of him.
he died, Primo came to be seen as someone who could magically resolve
everybody’s problems with the wave of a hand, as if he had the answer
to everything. I think this became a bit of a burden to him. But the
thing I remember most about my brother is that he was just a very kind,
loving and gentle person.
The original meaning of caboose is "ship's galley," (from Dutch) or "wooden cabin on ship's deck." (from Platte Deutsch/Low German). It is currently understood as meaning the last car on a freight train, having kitchen and sleeping facilities for the train crew.
Here's some stuff about the history of the caboose if you're interested.
Bob Dylan – from Only a Pawn in Their Game
A South politician preaches to the poor white man, "You got more than the blacks, don't complain. You're better than them, you been born with white skin," they explain. And the Negro's name Is used it is plain For the politician's gain As he rises to fame And the poor white remains On the caboose of the train But it ain't him to blame He's only a pawn in their game.
The Band – from Rag Mama Rag
Gonna turn you lose like an old caboose, Got a tail I need a drag. | ask about your | turtle, and you ask about the weather, Well, | I can't jump the | hurdle and we can't get to-gether. | We could be relaxing in my sleeping bag, But All you want to do for me mama is a Rag Mama Rag.
Sugar Ray – Caboose (a bit naughty)
Jump up, jump back dare-devil woman try to tell me how to act I feel mean, you look clean your the best woman that I ever seen no jock, let's rock listen to the band rock, rock, rock too loud, too bad things were gonna do don't tell your dad I wanna ride your caboose (turn me loose) [x2] well I'm a king, you're a queen can't be royal 'cause were so obscene don't lie, let's fly you know there aint nothin that could take it so high the caboose, it's juiced take it from the train now I'm gonna get loose to the east, to the west never slowing down till you shoot your best I wanna ride your caboose (turn me loose) [x2] I can't breathe, I'm out of air when I'm back here all I see is your hair I need time, to push a dime rushing this thing would be a capital crime don't quit, this is it bumping & grinding yeah do the whole bit I'm done, I'm gone when the rhymes over so is the song I wanna ride your caboose (turn me loose) [x2]
Slang uses of the word caboose
MCC v. Nottinghamshire, Lords, 14 April, 2006 (known in the Zimbabwean Jewish Calendar as The Year of the Season Ticket)