1/ This reporter cannot say his own last name without moving his head.
2/ Frederick's Law: "Progress is moving forward." Fusari's Exception to Frederick's Law: "Sometimes progress is moving backward more slowly than before."
3/ Chanukah has become the "Jewish Christmas," just as Confirmation has become the "Christian Bar Mitzvah."
4/ In Hebrew, "bar" means "son" and "bat" means "daughter." "Bat mitzvah" has nothing to do with baseball, or with "The Dark Knight Becomes a Man."
5/ "Barabbas" ("Bar-Abba") means "son of the father." There is a fascinating speculation that the canonical "Give us Barabbas" story is a creative literary combination of two separate accounts of Jesus before Pilate.
6/ Speaking of bats, white-nose syndrome, or WNS, is a poorly understood disease associated with the deaths of millions of North American bats. The name comes from a white fungus (Geomyces destructans) that grows on the noses of hibernating bats. The mortality rate in some species is 95%. Brown-nose syndrome, or BNS, is an apparently unrelated disease common in academia.
7/ Van Jones is a radical who decided to stop touting his Marxism. "I'm willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of [advancing] radical ends," he said.
8/ "Eschew" is etymologically related to the word "shy." Gesundheit.
9/ Here are highlights of a wide-ranging redevelopment plan sketched by a local person with notional ties to Connecticut Valley Hospital:
■ One large round building centered on the midpoint of the intersection of Main and Washington Streets, with a radius equal to the distance from that midpoint to the shore of the Connecticut River.
■ Existing structures and land surfaces within the circumference (except for highways and roads) to be raised to become the "rooftop environment" of the new mega-building.
■ Building to be twelve stories high, not counting mechanicals. Twenty-five or fifty stories would be more efficient, but would not be compatible with existing neighborhood aesthetics. Sometimes efficiency must take a back seat to aesthetics and other things no one can pronounce.
■ All traffic from all directions to feed into building's linked system of intelligently engineered indoor traffic circles keyed to a logical series of exits: Cromwell, Portland, Riverbottom Mall, consolidated women's clothing department of all major chains, Vinnie's Jump & Jive, Middlesex Hospital, Banking Land, Worship Land, Senior Land, Drug Abuse Land, City Hall, Middle Oak, mixed-income housing, Colonial Williamasburg, etc.
■ Herd all Middletown residents into mandatory included housing with environmentally state-of-the-art HVAC, trash and recycling pickup, provision of all utilities, and preservation of open space in remainder of town ("Mad Max Land"). Lure: free all-channel cable for a year, okay two years, in return for waiver of most constitutional rights. ("Loose-end" constitutional issues to be hammered out in meetings of Planning and Zoning Commission, Justice Department, National Rifle Association, Board of Education, etc.)
■ Really big solar collector dish on roof to catch sun's rays, converting them to laser beams aimed at Moon to help cool Earth and cause full moon every night. Timing is key; important to implement before law requires environmental impact statements for activities affecting Luna. Plan B: use solar dish to boil Connecticut River dry, allowing construction of rail line and gas pipeline along former river bed from Canada to Connecticut shoreline. (In this context, sod Long Island.) (Concerning recovery of valuable items from dewatered riverbed, see Claire Huchet Bishop, "The Five Chinese Brothers," 1938.)
■ Working name for mega-building: Death Star. Working name for project: Project Death Star (PDS).
■ Tentative strategic PDS slogans aimed at confounding opponents: "Because we don't like change, and we want everything to stay the way it is forever, no matter what" and "We are the knights who say NIMBY!"
■ It's vital to have public buy-in, which must be achieved before filing the first application for any regulatory approval (for analogous business triumphs, see Roy Marshrigger, "Pre-Packaged Bankruptcies: In and Out of Chapter 11 in a Day"). Suggest early engagement of aggressive public relations firm such as Providence-based but internationally active "Rhode Island Society for Civic Consensus Through Intensive Dialogue and Deals That Brook No Refusal, LLC."