July 2010

Back to Square One

Are palindromes on your radar screen? If you’re a fan of such word gymnastics, you may be surprised to learn they’ve been around for awhile–20 centuries, at least, starting with the world’s oldest palindrome, called the Sator Square. This cleverly constructed message, which reads four directions, was preserved perfectly in Pompeii under the ash of the eruption of 79AD. Translated literally, it means roughly, “The… Read More

Reading Group Questions

Reading groups are enjoying discussing not only Clare’s and Emily’s journeys, but the ideas behind Turkoise. Here, a compilation of questions your group might draw from. -Which of Clare’s stories was your favorite? -How might Emily’s interpretation of Clare’s stories differed had Nick been alive to present them to her? -When asked by Michael’s wife about the effects of the famous Santa Ana winds, Emily… Read More

String Theory

If you’ve ever heard a lute performance live, you’ll never forget its elegant chromatics and honeyed tones. Today, this pear-shaped precursor to the guitar is most commonly associated with Medieval troubadour poets and Renaissance chamber music. But not only are the origins of the word “lute” not English, they are not even European, for the name, in fact, is derived from the Arabic term for… Read More

And speaking of Romans …

Next time you head off to a concert or game, you have Rome to thank for this: The place we visit for such events, an arena, derives its name from the Latin word for sand—harena. Yes, over 2,000 years before the advent of beach volleyball, the “fields” of Roman amphitheaters were covered with sand for gladiatorial games.  All part of the panem et circenses culture… Read More