Periodical — 5

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here in Durham, it is close to perfect. Clear skies and heading toward 57°; the aroma of holiday fireplaces is drifting through the neighborhood.

Tonight, we’ll be enjoying a special treat — a holiday sherry cocktail, the Sherry Flip. It’s simple to make — assuming you have some sherry on hand — and delicious. It will coat your mouth (that’s the egg), so I’d recommend having just one. Here’s the recipe we use, from Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best-kept Secret:

  • 2 ounces Oloroso sherry
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup (1:1 sugar:water)
  • 1 whole egg
  • sprinkle of nutmeg

Combine the sherry, syrup, and egg in a cocktail shaker and dry shake. Add ice and resume mixing. Hold that lid tight, as the egg will start to expand! Pour into your preferred vessel and garnish with nutmeg. Enjoy by the fire with whatever is your go-to autumn music. Right now, ours is Charlie Parker with Strings: The Master Takes.

I love a good book spine. For me, the best ones do something special with the design — adding some kind of visual detail or bringing attention to a theme — and, most importantly, are mindful of a book’s context: likely surrounded by dozens of other spines competing for attention. So many books treat the spine as an afterthought. Maybe the imagery from the cover wraps from front to back, which is, of course, nice. But if that’s the only consideration, it’s not likely to do much to help a book emerge from the shelf.

Here are a few from my library. I love the little illustrated details. The colors! The bespoke lettering! Each of these beckons my eyes and hands.

Bonus points for arranging the spine’s contents with empathy for the book browser’s tired bent neck.

Above are some that I found on the web. I suspect that as the culture of the written word has become more and more natively digital, the art of the book has gotten smaller.

Spiral structures are everywhere in nature. Here is a neat article about that. The James Webb telescope is sending back lots of images showing just how complex and self-sustaining these structures are.

But check this image out. It was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) — the largest radio telescope on Earth — in 2012. It shows a spiral structure of material surrounding a red giant star 1,500 light years away. Scientist suspect that the spiral structure is the result of a “hidden companion star orbiting the star.” I love that the more we are able to see across the universe, the more mysteries we become aware of. The more we know, the more we know we don’t know!

P.S. Happy Birthday, Erik!

Written by Christopher Butler on November 23, 2023,   In Log

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