In 2008, we have the opportunity to celebrate the centennial of MSG! In 1908, Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda isolated MSG—monosodium glutamate—and introduced the concept of a fifth taste: umami. I personally hadn’t heard of it until this past autumn and had been getting along just fine with salty, sour, sweet and bitter.
In 1965, I reported in these pages on the New York World’s Fair. At that event, I was wandering around in the Protestant and Orthodox pavilion where a smorgasbord of offerings to gods both known and unknown (to me) were vying for attention. Even as I tried to breeze by, the representatives of the Church of the New Jerusalem/Swedenborgian stopped me.
Durandus? Who’s that? I had never heard of him until someone lowered The Rationale Divinorum Officiorum onto my lap during a recent trip to Louisville. Seldom will one find a more engrossing book on sacred symbolism than this effort by Guilielmus Durandus (1230-1296) to instruct clergy and others on the meanings of liturgy, Christian art and medieval ways of life.
For a while it was expensive watches that most tempted the very rich. More recently it’s been handbags for women, which are intended to be iconic advertisements for designers and to flaunt the wealth of the owners. These are presumably people who survived the dot-com crash and the subprime crisis and have the trophies to prove it.
"My allegiance is to ‘Jesus Christ, who stood up and died for our sins.’” That was the keynote comment of a victorious Randy Couture, third-time winner of last spring’s heavyweight belt in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.