Monthly Archives: February 2016
iPhoneOgraphy – 19 Feb 2016 (Day 50/366)
A binder clip, or a banker’s clip or foldover clip, is a simple device for binding sheets of paper together. It leaves the paper intact and can be removed quickly and easily, unlike the staple. The term bulldog clip is used in the United Kingdom to describe both this invention and an older device with the same function, which is stronger and has rigid rather than folding handles. It is also sometimes referred to as a “handbag clip” because, when not in use, its clip can be up to look like a handbag.
The binder clip was invented in 1910 by Washington, D.C. resident Louis E. Baltzley, who ultimately was granted U.S. Patent number 1,139,627 for his invention in 1915. At that time, the method of binding sheets of paper together was to punch holes in them and sew them together, making it tedious to remove a single sheet of paper.
Louis Baltzley invented the binder clip to help his father, Edwin Baltzley, a writer and inventor, hold his manuscripts together easily. While the original design has since been changed five times, the basic mechanism has remained the same.
Baltzley initially produced his invention through the L.E.B. Manufacturing Company. These earliest binder clips are stamped “L.E.B.” on one side of the sheet steel. Manufacturing rights were later licensed to other companies.
iPhoneOgraphy – 18 Feb 2016 (Day 49/366)
During Chinese New Year, mandarin oranges and tangerines are considered traditional symbols of abundance and good fortune. During the two-week celebration, they are frequently displayed as decoration and presented as gifts to friends, relatives, and business associates.
Mandarin oranges, particularly from Japan, are a Christmas tradition in Canada, the United States and Russia. In the United States, they are commonly purchased in 5- or 10-pound boxes, individually wrapped in soft green paper, and given in Christmas Stockings. This custom goes back to the 1880s, when Japanese immigrants in the United States began receiving Japanese mandarin oranges from their families back home as gifts for the New Year. The tradition quickly spread among the non-Japanese population, and eastwards across the country: each November harvest, “The oranges were quickly unloaded and then shipped east by rail. ‘Orange Trains’ – trains with boxcars painted orange – alerted everyone along the way that the irresistible oranges from Japan were back again for the holidays. For many, the arrival of Japanese mandarin oranges signaled the real beginning of the holiday season.”
This Japanese tradition merged with European traditions related to the Christmas Stocking. Saint Nicholas is said to have put gold coins into the stockings of three poor girls so that they would be able to afford to get married. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold, and oranges became a symbolic stand-in for these gold balls, and are put in Christmas stockings in Canada along with chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil.
Satsumas were also grown in the United States from the early 1900s, but Japan remained a major supplier. U.S. imports of these Japanese oranges was suspended due to hostilities with Japan during World War II. While they were one of the first Japanese goods allowed for export after the end of the war, residual hostility led to the rebranding of these oranges as “mandarin” oranges.
The delivery of the first batch of mandarin oranges from Japan in the port of Vancouver, British Columbia, is greeted with a festival that combines Santa Claus and Japanese dancers young girls dressed in traditional kimonos.
In Russia, mandarin oranges are traditionally used as Christmas tree and New Year tree decorations. In Russia, mandarin oranges (tangerines) have traditionally been supplied from Morocco and are associated with that country, even though nowadays they are also supplied from other countries, e.g. Spain, Israel and Egypt.
iPhoneOgraphy – 17 Feb 2016 (Day 48/366)
A thumb tack (North American English) or push pin is a short nail or pin used to fasten items to a wall or board for display and intended to be inserted by hand, generally without the assistance of tools. A variety of names are used to refer to different designs intended for various purpose. Thumb tack and push pin are both sometimes compounded (thumbtack or pushpin) or hyphenated (thumb-tack or push-pin). Thumb tacks made of brass, tin or iron may be referred to as brass tacks, brass pins, tin tacks or iron tacks, respectively. These terms are particularly used in the idiomatic expression to come (or get) down to brass (or otherwise) tacks, meaning to consider basic facts of a situation. Drawing pinor drawing-pin refers to thumb tacks used to hold drawings on drawing boards. Map pin or map tack refers to thumb tacks used to mark locations on a map and to hold the map in place.
Edwin Moore invented the “push-pin” in 1900 and founded the Moore Push-Pin Company. Moore described the push-pin as a pin with a handle. Later, in 1904, in Lychen, German clockmaker Johann Kirsten invented flat-headed thumb tacks for use with drawings.
A thumb tack has two basic components: the head, often made of plastic, metal or wood, and the body, usually made of steel or brass. The head is wide to distribute the force of pushing the tack in, allowing only the hands to be used. Many head designs exist: flat, domed, spherical, cylindrical and a variety of novelty heads such as hearts or stars. Thumb tack heads also come in a variety of colors. These can be particularly useful to mark different locations on a map. Some thumb tack designs have the body cut out of the head and bent downward to produce a tack.
Domed or gripped heads are sometimes preferred over flat heads as dropped flat-headed tacks will point upward, posing a hazard. Thumb tacks also pose a hazard of ingestion and choking, where they may do serious harm.
iPhoneOgraphy – 16 Feb 2016 (Day 47/366)
Pandora was founded in 1982 by Danish goldsmith Per Enevoldsen and his then wife Winnie Enevoldsen. The pair began on a small scale niche by importing jewelry from Thailand and selling to consumers. As demand for their products grew, the Enevoldsens turned their attention to wholesaling. After a successful wholesale venture, in 1989 Enevoldsen hired in-house designers and established a manufacturing site in Thailand, where it is still located today. With low production cost and efficient supply chain, the Enevoldsens could provide cheap hand-finished jewelry for the mass market. Pandora’s collection grew to include a wide assortment of rings, necklaces, earrings and watches.
Pandora is known for its customizable charm bracelets, designer rings, necklaces and (now discontinued) watches. The company has a production site in Thailand and markets its products in more than 90 countries on 6 continents with approximately 9,500 points of sale.
Pandora became the world’s third-largest jewelry company in terms of sales, after Cartier and Tiffany & Co. In 2011, more than one piece of Pandora jewellery was sold every second. Shares fell nearly 80% in 2011 after a shift in focus to higher-end designs alienated core customers, but performance recovered after a return to the more affordable mass market. The group reported revenue of DKK 11.9 billion and net profit in excess of DKK 3 billion in 2014.
iPhoneOgraphy – 15 Feb 2016 (Day 46/366)
A seashell or sea shell, also known simply as a shell, is a hard, protective outer layer created by an animal that lives in the sea. The shell is part of the body of the animal. Empty seashells are often found washed up on beaches by beachcombers. The shells are empty because the animal has died and the soft parts have been eaten by another animal or have rotted out.
The term seashell usually refers to the exoskeleton of an invertebrate (an animal without a backbone). Most shells that are found on beaches are the shells of marine mollusks, partly because many of these shells endure better than other seashells.
Apart from mollusk shells, other shells that can be found on beaches are those of barnacles, horseshoe crabs and brachiopods. Marine annelid worms in the family Serpulidae create shells which are tubes made of calcium carbonate that are cemented onto other surfaces. The shells of sea urchins are called tests, and the moulted shells of crabs and lobsters are called exuviae. While most seashells are external, some cephalopods have internal shells.
Seashells have been used by humans for many different purposes throughout history and pre-history. However, seashells are not the only kind of shells; in various habitats, there are shells from freshwater animals such as freshwater mussels and freshwater snails, and shells of land snails.
iPhoneOgraphy – 14 Feb 2016 (Day 45/366)
Poon choi (pronounced: pun4 coi3), also spelled pun choi, is a traditional Chinese dish once common throughout China. It first spread to the walled villages in New Territories, Hong Kong, and then to the rest of the territory. It is a Cantonese cuisine served in large wooden, porcelain or metal basins due to the communal style of consumption. The Chinese name, transliterated as Poon choi, has been variously translated as “big bowl feast”, “basin cuisine” or “Chinese casserole”.
According to tradition, Poon choi was invented during the late Song Dynasty. When Mongol troops invaded Song China, the young Emperor fled to the area around Guangdong Province and Hong Kong. To serve the Emperor as well as his army, the locals collected all their best food available, cooked it, and because there were not enough serving containers available put the resulting meal in large wooden washbasins.
In any event, Poon choi is associated with the early settlers of the New Territories, who had been driven south of the mainland by a series of barbarian invasions in China between the 13th and 17th centuries.
Walled village culture is well preserved in the New Territories and Poon choi gradually became a traditional dish of the walled villages. As Poon choi is a large dish portioned to be suitable for a communal meal, it was served whenever there were celebrations connected with rituals, weddings, festivals, ancestor worship and other local events as an expression of village dining culture.
iPhoneOgraphy – 13 Feb 2016 (Day 44/366)
Abalone is a common name for any of a group of small to very large edible sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs in the family Haliotidae.
Other common names are ear shells, sea ears, and muttonfish or muttonshells in Australia, ormer in Great Britain, and pāua in New Zealand.
Abalone are marine snails. Their taxonomy puts them in the family Haliotidae which contains only one genus, Haliotis, which once contained six subgenera. These subgenera have become alternate representations of Haliotis. The number of species recognized worldwide ranges between 30 and 130 with over 230 species-level taxa described. The most comprehensive treatment of the family considers 56 species valid, with 18 additional subspecies.
The shells of abalones have a low, open spiral structure, and are characterized by several open respiratory pores in a row near the shell’s outer edge. The thick inner layer of the shell is composed of nacre (mother-of-pearl), which in many species is highly iridescent, giving rise to a range of strong, changeable colors, which make the shells attractive to humans as decorative objects, jewelry, and as a source of colorful mother-of-pearl.
The flesh of abalones is widely considered to be a desirable food, and is consumed raw or cooked in a variety of cultures.
iPhoneOgraphy – 12 Feb 2016 (Day 43/366)
“The Red Shoes” (Danish: De røde sko) is a fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen first published by C.A. Reitzel in Copenhagen 7 April 1845 in New Fairy Tales. First Volume. Third Collection. 1845. (Nye Eventyr. Første Bind. Tredie Samling. 1845.). Other tales in the volume include “The Elf Mound” (Elverhøi), “The Jumpers” (Springfyrene), “The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep” (Hyrdinden og Skorstensfejeren), and “Holger Danske” (Holger Danske).
The tale was republished 18 December 1849 as a part of Fairy Tales. 1850. (Eventyr. 1850.) and again on 30 March 1863 as a part of Fairy Tales and Stories. Second Volume. 1863. (Eventyr og Historier. Andet Bind. 1863.). The story is about a girl forced to dance continually in her red shoes. “The Red Shoes” has seen adaptations in various media including film.
A peasant girl named Karen is adopted by a rich old lady after her mother’s death and grows up vain and spoiled. Before her adoption, Karen had a rough pair of red shoes; now she has her adoptive mother buy her a pair of red shoes fit for a princess. After Karen repeatedly wears them to church, they begin to move by themselves, but she is able to get them off. One day, when her adoptive mother becomes ill, Karen goes to attend a party in her red shoes. A mysterious soldier appears and makes strange remarks about what beautiful dancing shoes Karen has. Soon after, Karen’s shoes begin to move by themselves again, but this time they can’t come off. The shoes continue to dance, night and day, rain or shine, through fields and meadows, and through brambles and briers that tear at Karen’s limbs. She can’t even attend her adoptive mother’s funeral. An angel appears to her, bearing a sword, and condemns her to dance even after she dies, as a warning to vain children everywhere. Karen begs for mercy but the red shoes take her away before she hears the angel’s reply. Karen finds an executioner and asks him to chop off her feet. He does so but the shoes continue to dance, even with Karen’s amputated feet inside them. The executioner gives her a pair of wooden feet and crutches, and teaches her the criminals’ psalm. Thinking that she has suffered enough for the red shoes, Karen decides to go to church so people can see her. Yet her amputated feet, still in the red shoes, dance before her, barring the way. The following Sunday she tries again, thinking she is at least as good as the others in church, but again the dancing red shoes bar the way. Karen gets a job as a maid in the parsonage, but when Sunday comes she dares not go to church. Instead she sits alone at home and prays to God for help. The angel reappears, now bearing a spray of roses, and gives Karen the mercy she asked for: her heart becomes so filled with sunshine, peace, and joy that it bursts. Her soul flies on sunshine to Heaven, where no one mentions the red shoes.
iPhoneOgraphy – 11 Feb 2016 (Day 42/366)
Tangyuan or tang yuan (simplified Chinese: 汤圆; traditional Chinese: 湯圓; pinyin: tāngyuán) is a Chinese food made from glutinous rice flour mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked and served in boiling water. Tangyuan can be either small or large, and filled or unfilled. They are traditionally eaten during Yuanxiao or the Lantern Festival, but also served as a dessert on Chinese wedding day, Winter Solstice Festival (Chinese: 冬至; pinyin: Dōngzhì), and any occasions such as family reunion, because of a homophone for union (simplified Chinese: 团圆; traditional Chinese: 團圓; pinyin: tuányuán).
Historically, a number of different names were used to refer to tangyuan. During the Yongle era of the Ming Dynasty, the name was officially settled as yuanxiao (derived from the Yuanxiao Festival), which is used in northen China. This name literally means “first evening”, being the first full moon after Chinese New Year, which is always a new moon.
In southern China, however, they are called tangyuan or tangtuan. Legend has it that during Yuan Shikai’s rule from 1912 to 1916, he disliked the name yuanxiao (元宵) because it sounded identical to “remove Yuan” (袁消), and so he gave orders to change the name to tangyuan. This new moniker literally means “round balls in soup”. Tangtuan similarly means “round dumplings in soup”. In the two major Chinese dialects of far southern China, Hakka and Cantonese, “tangyuan” is pronounced as tong rhen and tong jyun respectively. The term “tangtuan” (Hakka: tong ton, Cantonese: tong tyun) is not as commonly used in these dialects as tangyuan.
This type of glutinous rice flour dumpling is eaten in both northern and southern China, but the name “tangyuan” is more common in the south while the older name “yuanxiao” is still used in the north. The fillings differ regionally: in the south, sweet fillings such as sugar, sesame, osmanthus flowers, sweet bean paste and sweetened tangerine peel are used, while in the north, salty fillings are preferred, including minced meat and vegetables.
The method of preparation also differs. According to Hao (2009), yuanxiao are made by placing balls of filling into a basket filled with glutinous rice flour, and then shaking the basket while sprinking water over it so the flour becomes a coating. Tangyuan, on the other hand, are made by starting with balls of rice flour dough and inserting the filling into these.
For many Chinese families in mainland China as well as overseas, tangyuan is usually eaten together with family. The round shape of the balls and the bowls where they are served, come to symbolise the family togetherness.
iPhoneOgraphy – 10 Feb 2016 (Day 41/366)
Budai or Pu-Tai (Chinese and Japanese: 布袋; pinyin: Bùdài; rōmaji: Hotei; Vietnamese: Bố Đại) is a Chinese folkloric deity. His name means “Cloth Sack,” and comes from the bag that he is conventionally depicted as carrying. He is usually identified with or seen as an incarnation of Maitreya, the future Buddha, so much so that the Budai image is one of the main forms in which Maitreya is depicted in China. He is almost always shown smiling or laughing, hence his nickname in Chinese, the Laughing Buddha (Chinese: 笑佛; pinyin: Xiào Fó). In the West, the image of Budai is often mistaken for Gautama Buddha, and is hence called the Fat Buddha (Chinese: 胖佛; pinyin: Pàng Fó).
Budai is traditionally depicted as an obese, bald man wearing a robe and wearing or otherwise carrying prayer beads. He carries his few possessions in a cloth sack, being poor but content. He is often depicted entertaining or being followed by adoring children. His figure appears throughout Chinese culture as a representation of contentment.
According to Chinese history, Budai was an eccentric Chán monk (Chinese: 禅; pinyin: chán) who lived in China during the Later Liang (907–923 AD). He was a native of Zhejiang, and his Buddhist name was Qieci (Chinese: 契此; pinyin: qiècǐ; literally: “Promise this”). He was considered a man of good and loving character.