That’s right, today is National Gingerbread Day! Every June 5th, Gingerbread fanatics revel in their love of anthropomorphic treats, and tasty houses. According to legend, Queen Elizabeth I is responsible for the invention of the Gingerbread Man (what a shame that Shekhar Kapur wasn’t able to include anything about this in the otherwise excellent Elizabeth). I’m just glad that the virgin Queen was able to find one true male love.

According to this fun website, “ginger” comes to us from the sanskrit, “srngaveram” which means “horn root.” Ginger also has some great slang meanings, such as N-3b: “A showy, fast horse.” There also used to be a mild US expletive ‘by Ginger!” Gingerbread has its own entry in the OED, with the great slang meaning of money.

Sadly there aren’t as many Gingerbread shoppes as Doughnut shops, but those of you in finer cities (e.g. not Boston) should be able to fulfill your duty and use your gingerbread on gingerbread or a ginger.

The Blue Comet

June 5, 2007


This week’s Sopranos was one of the best episodes of recent vintage if not the entire series. Still, I can’t help but get the impression from the various reviews on the web that people are rather disappointed that they aren’t being disappointed by these last episodes. Everyone jumped on the Sopranos has gone downhill bandwagon after Season 4 (with the notable exception of “Whoever Did This“), and no-one seems to want to admit that the show can still electrify. Wanting the Sopranos to disappoint is sort of like picking a fight with your lover before they go away; you hope the immediate pain will make the larger one go away, but it never works.

This week, vintage rail transport played a major role in the Sopranos. It wasn’t the most brilliant of analogies (Bobby’s bemoaning the loss of classy rail travel between New York and Atlantic City too obviously mirrors the loss of a working relationship between the Jersey Boys and the New York crew), but it works with what we know about Bobby’s character. So in honour of Bobby’s love of trains, here’s a rundown of some of the latest and greatest train stories.
I’m a little too empathic for this next video. The thought of all this catastrophe, and all the damage, makes me shudder. But for those of you without fear (i.e. Daredevil), this video of “The World’s Scariest Model Train Wrecks” is an adventure.

Sabotage! I don’t know how I’ll ever rest easy. And whatever will become of Spike Crosstie?

For the home craftsman looking for his next project, I recommend building a model monorail to transport your pets. Unless you equip the trains with onboard bathrooms, building the monorail will unfortunately not replace dog walking, but it will permanently stop the problem of doggy mobility.

And lastly, although it’ll have no effect on me for at least another few years, the Jerusalem Light Rail has been in the news a lot recently with articles here, and here (the second one, from Al Jezeera, is the best). None of the articles have anything new to report; they all continue to bemoan the fact that the Light Rail line was planned without consulting Palestinians and claim that the Light Rail will further the oppression of the Palestinian people. At this point I’m not sure that you can do anything in Jerusalem without causing a political controversy; even a public Soprano’s marathon would probably raise charges of imperialism. I can only imagine what Palestinian Politicians would do with “The Blue Comet”‘s symbolism.