Get to Know Khorovats, Armenia’s Favorite Grilling Pastime

Sitting on a cliff overlooking the Debed Gorge in northern Armenia, the Haghpat monastery is a stunning Unesco World Heritage Site worth the hair-raising tour bus ride up a mountain road. Yet the monastery’s ancient kitchen has stood empty for years, and the only other food option is a snack bar at the edge of the property.

It’s here that Armen Qefilyan saw an opportunity. Why not entertain these hungry tour groups with khorovats, Armenia’s favorite meat-grilled-on-a-stick tradition?

A Visit to Armen’s

Qefilyan isn’t just another khorovats hobbyist, of which there are countless in Armenia. In 2009, he was crowned champion in a national khorovats competition. After years of running a restaurant in the nearby copper mining town of Alaverdi, the chef’s newfound accolades allowed him to set his sights higher—straight up the mountain.

We paid Haghpat a visit this past May on a research trip across Armenia for our upcoming cookbook, Lavash. For the trip, co-authors Ara Zada, a Los Angeles-based chef; John Lee, a San Francisco-based photographer; and I, a San Francisco-based cookbook writer, teamed up with Christine Goroyan, a translator from Yerevan, and Raffi Youredjian, a childhood friend of Zada who had recently relocated to Armenia.

Youredjian was the one who had told us about Qefilyan—he had met the chef while writing Tour de Armenia, a book chronicling his cycling journey around Armenia. All Youredjian needed to say was “khorovats champion,” and we knew we had to make a stop at Armen’s, Qefilyan’s namesake restaurant.

Armen Qefilyan holding the certificate
Armen Qefilyan holding the certificate naming him as the champion in a national khorovats competition in 2009. (Photo by John Lee)

We drove our dusty rental car down the long driveway and past a couple of tour buses before parking. Sure enough, the Italian tourists we had seen at Haghpat had already taken their seats in a big indoor dining hall. To the right of the entrance lay an open kitchen centered around a large mangal, a khorovats-style grill. The biggest difference between a mangal and an American-style grill is that there are no grates: cooks prop long skewers of meat and vegetables over either side of the grill, suspending the meat and vegetables directly over the embers.

Youredjian had called ahead to ask for a special table set outside for us, since the unpredictable weather of the Lori region seemed to be cooperating. Overlooking the gorge, our table under a tree was covered with linen and lined with plates. Pitchers of kompot and carafes of local vodka were ready for us to start toasting to our luck with lunch spots. Qefilyan joined us, and before the first plates of khorovats could arrive, I began firing questions (translated by Goroyan) to learn about his champion technique.

Haghpat Monastery, Armenia
Haghpat Monastery, Armenia (tunart / iStock)

The Allure of Khorovats

While grilling meat on skewers is common around the world, in Armenia the act is taken on with rare passion.

Part of the reason has to do with scarcity: obtaining enough good-quality meat to grill was never guaranteed during Soviet times. It then became a rarity during the post-Soviet period of the 1990s, when even bread was scarce. These days, inviting people over for khorovats sends out the signal that life is good.

Qefilyan’s pork khorovats
Left: Skewers of meat on a mangal as revelers celebrate Nikol Pashinyan’s election victory; Right: Qefilyan’s pork khorovats (Photo by John Lee)

The celebratory nature of khorovats was on full display on May 8 when Nikol Pashinyan was elected prime minister. Traffic stopped in Yerevan to make room for one big street party. And the food that fueled the celebration? Khorovats. Partiers dragged their charcoal-fueled mangals into the streets and danced with skewers of meat in their hands.

That’s what makes khorovats easy to like: the equipment is low-tech, the preparation simple, and the char-grilled results a dependable way to soak up all that celebratory vodka.

How to Win a Khorovats Championship

There is a big gap between dragging a mangal into the street and cooking meat on it and becoming a khorovats champion.

Like barbecue enthusiasts across America, khorovats competitors take their technique seriously. Monitoring heat is crucial. While it’s not quite the low-and-slow technique favored in American barbecue, Qefilyan stressed the importance of a gentle fire. He said he holds his hand over the mangal and counts to twelve—if the fire is too hot for his hand, it’s too hot for the meat. This was unusual compared with khorovats we saw prepared elsewhere with flames licking the meat and charring the outsides.

We asked Qefilyan what he prepared for the competition. While pork is the most common meat for khorovats in Armenia (an influence carried over from Soviet times), he chose lamb, simply seasoning the chunks of meat with salt, paprika, black pepper, and thyme and threading a little lamb fat on the skewers between the meat for richness.

For nearly forty minutes, he cooked the meat, turning it frequently to cook evenly. To perfume the smoke, he went untraditional, spearing quince halves seasoned with allspice and clove onto rose hip branches. As the quince juice dripped into the coals, he explained, the smoke seasoned the meat.

A khorovats table spread
A khorovats table spread at the restaurant Armen’s in the northern Armenian town of Haghpat. (Photo by John Lee)

When it came to presentation, he stuck with tradition, laying out a sheet of lavash and arranging the meat on top, then decorating with pomegranate seeds. It wasn’t the decoration that won him the top prize, though—it was the flavor.

By then, platters of khorovats had started to arrive at our table, and we turned our attention to the chunks of pork mixed with sliced onion, the sides of salads and cheese, and the basket of lavash. It was time to dig in—after we toasted our champion host.

Kate Leahy is a freelance journalist, cookbook author, and recipe developer. Her next book, Lavash, created with fellow Armenian food enthusiasts John Lee and Ara Zada, will be released by Chronicle Books in fall 2019. This story originally appeared on the Smithsonian Folklife Festival blog.

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Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

Area Man Doesn’t Know What Bitcoin or Meek Mill is|Humor

image for Area Man Doesn’t Know What Bitcoin or Meek Mill is

In a wide-ranging interview at his son’s lacrosse practice, an area man discussed things he has no idea about, like bitcoin.

“I have no idea what bitcoin is or why people talk about it,” he said. “I’m a 50- year old man and it’s just something I don’t even care to learn about. I also don’t know what cryptocurrency is. I think it’s some kind of money, but I don’t know how it works and I’m afraid to ask someone.”

He also said he doesn’t know who Meek Mill is or why people like Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, are concerned with him.

“There’s been a lot said and written about Meek Mill. I’m sure Kraft and everyone else involved has a very good reason to be concerned about Meek Mill, I just don’t know why and it’s not information I’m planning to seek out,” the man added.

The man said he only has so much room in his brain for information, so he is selective about what he lets in, because that means he must let something else out.

“If you were to put me on a psychiatrists’ couch, you’d probably wonder why I have held on to trivial information all these years about things like sitcoms. I know way too much about TV shows from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, even obscure ones like Carter Country, Working Stiffs, and Amen. I should cycle this information out and make room for other stuff, but I probably won’t because it gives me comfort,” he explained.

He added that he doesn’t know the difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist.

“I know they mean sort of the same thing, but I don’t know the difference and I won’t find out. I’ll probably just keep referencing them in the wrong way until someone points it out to me,” he continued.

He also admitted to not knowing what fibromyalgia is.

“I love saying fibromyalgia, it’s a cool sounding word, but I don’t know what it means. I gather it’s some sort of disease, but that’s as far as I’m prepared to know about it – unless I get the disease,” he said, chuckling.

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Pretzel Logic: CEO Admits He Didn’t Know What He Was Talking About When He Advocated a $15.00 Minimum Wage


By Robert Wenzel

Bill Phelps, co-founder and chief executive officer of the California-based Wetzel’s Pretzels franchise, was a prominent advocate for the Golden State’s $ 15 a hour minimum wage for several years, but has recently changed his opinion, reports the Washington Examiner. He now says that the rate — which has only just reached $ 11 — is already squeezing his businesses and hurting workers, and he worries things will likely get worse as minimum wage rises to the $ 15 level.

The CEO in 2016 wrote a pretzel twisted advocacy of a higher minimum wage in an op-ed for Forbes where he said, get this, “I’ve paid very close attention to our business as California has raised the minimum wage over the past couple of years. And what I found was stunning. When California increased the state minimum wage from $ 8 to $ 9 an hour in July 2014, our same-store sales doubled in the next two weeks and stayed that way for six months. When the minimum increased again in January of this year to $ 10, the same thing happened; our same-store growth rate more than doubled.”

But now with the minimum wage at $ 11.00  he says, ” I see a change happening now. I think fast food in general is flat to declining and you’ve got wage increases and the operators are getting squeezed.”

“I was very bullish on the minimum wage increase. It was working really well for us. It was working okay for the fast food industry but there is no question you are going to have to see a reduction in the number of restaurants that are out there. You are going to see a reduction in service. And you are going to see more people going to technology to reduce labor costs,” Phelps said.

“I see it — and everyone else I talk to in the restaurant business sees it — as a huge challenge. It is a total squeeze on the franchisees and I think it is going to result in less jobs, less restaurants and less service. That’s how I see it today,” Phelps said in a phone interview with the  Examiner.

“I see the next wave of increases as these cities and states go from $ 11 to $ 15 as being hugely problematic. And that’s where the issue is,” Phelps said. He said that states such as California would likely see a growing chorus from business to halt the increases. He said he was willing to do some lobbying himself, if necessary. “My concern is that by the time we react it’ll be too late.”

Phelps said that at Wetzel’s, and the entire fast food industry, automation of stores was one avenue that is being strongly looked at.

It is certainly a twist from 2016 when Phelps wrote:

Numbers don’t lie. Increasing the pay of millions of Californians has not increased unemployment.

I understand business owners being concerned about an increase in labor costs. But the new wage will be phased in over six years – reaching $ 15 in January 2022 – giving them time to adjust…

Workers in California and other states are looking forward to consistent pay increases in the future. And I’m looking forward to continued growth for our business.

This article was originally published at

Ron Paul Liberty Report – Archives

Cardi B, Your New Libertarian Hero, Asks: “Uncle Sam, I Want to Know What You Doing With My Fucking Tax Money!”

Cardi B, a rapper and Instagram celebrity best known for her hit “Bodak Yellow,” posted a video on Instagram yesterday where she asks some hard questions about effective tax rates and government spending.

B notes that she is paying a 40 percent tax rate and not getting much for it. She asks for accountability, noting that “when you donate to a kid from a foreign country, they give you updates of what they doing with your donation.”

By contrast, B has no idea what Uncle Sam is doing with her “fucking tax money.” She speculates about possible uses for government revenues, but points out that “y’all not spending it in no damn prison,” because incarcerated African-American men only receive “like two underwears, one jumpsuit for like five months.” B wants transparency, demanding “receipts.”

The video has been viewed over 4 million times since it was posted late last night.

In her work, B has talked about her experience as an entrepreneur, explaining that after her initial success, “I don’t gotta dance, I make money moves.”


'Armenian Pizza' Is the Comfort Food You Didn’t Know You Were Missing (Recipe)

The New Yorker in me always feels at home in Armenia, a country where thin-crust pies reign supreme and everyone folds their slice. Folding is the only mess-free way to eat lahmacun (“lah-ma-joon”), the inhalable, hubcap-sized flatbread spread with spiced meat that’s sometimes called Armenian pizza.

Like its Italian counterpart, lahmacun is soul-satisfying desert-island fare, hitting most of the major food groups. Its bubbly, wafer-like crust crackles between your fingers yet remains as soft and bendy as a fresh tortilla. This inevitably droops under the weight of hot, succulent ground meat—usually lamb or beef—laced with spicy Aleppo pepper and enlivened by a flurry of parsley and a squeeze of lemon.  

The whole process, from floured board to screaming-hot oven to warmed plate, takes a mere five minutes—and if you’re hungry, so does eating a whole pie. Call it Armenian fast food.

In Yerevan, where lahmacun varieties abound, everyone has their favorite spot. There’s always a line out the door at Mer Taghe, where purists indulge in a textbook Armenian style of lahmacun combining beef, lamb, tomatoes, parsley and fresh and dried chiles. Perfectly round and highly Instagrammable, it’s no wonder this restaurant off Freedom Square has become a Yerevan institution. Locals who can’t fathom “pizza” without the cheese pulls, on the other hand, find solidarity at Ost Bistro, whose gooey oval pies flaunt an unconventional cap of mozzarella. And then there are the Arabic-inflected lahmacun joints, owned by repatriated Diaspora Armenians born in the Middle East, where pomegranate molasses and secret-recipe baharats get folded into the mix.

One such establishment is Lahmajun Gaidz, a bright, inviting bistro presided over by 29-year-old Gaidzak Jabakhtchurian, an ethnic Armenian born in Aleppo whose family has been selling lahmacun for three generations. He’s one of thousands of Syrian refugees living in Armenia, part of a growing demographic that’s swiftly enriching the country’s Russified cuisine with punchy spices and new techniques. “I have many Armenia-born customers who come to my bakery specifically for the Arab-style lahmacun and za’atar breads,” Jabakhtchurian said. “It’s a huge compliment.”

No one knows for certain whether lahmacun’s roots lie in Armenia, Turkey, or elsewhere in the Middle East. “The race to find where these ancient foods originated is not fruitful territory,” said Naomi Duguid, author of Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan, cautioned. After all, meat-enhanced flatbreads are ubiquitous throughout the region (we’re looking at you, Georgian kubdari and Turkish kiymali pide). George Mardikian, the late restaurateur and author of Song of America, wrote that lahmacun was first prepared by the wives of wealthy traders along the Silk Road who cooked the dish over open flames in roadside inns or caravanserais. A far cry from today’s low-budget lahmacun culture, he claims the dish was historically a “food of the elite,” since it called for meat, a luxury the poor couldn’t frequently afford.

According to Barbara Ghazarian, who wrote Simply Armenian, a staple Armenian cookbook, the meat used in the dish goes a long way. One pound of lamb, she explained, makes 12 lahmacun, enough to “feed a small army, Armenian or otherwise.”  That small army is quickly becoming an ever-growing horde of international lahmacun fans. “Lahmacun is a story of culinary assimilation,” Ghazarian said, “of how one dish invented in or around Armenia has won over diners around the globe, from Yerevan to Beirut to Patterson, New Jersey.”

Eager to try your hand at making lahmacun? Use Ghazarian’s fail-safe recipe.


Lahmacun Recipe

The Dough:

  • 1 package (¼ ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (about 105 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for greasing bowl and baking sheets
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ cups white bread flour, plus additional for rolling

The Topping:

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 can (14½ ounces) tomatoes, peeled, diced, and drained well
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • Fresh lemon juice

Special Equipment:

  • Tabletop mixer with dough hook (optional)
  • Food processor or blender
  • Heavy rolling pin

1. To prepare the dough, dissolve the yeast in water in the bowl of the tabletop mixer. Stir in the 1 tablespoon olive oil, sugar, salt, and 1½ cups flour. Mix the dough with a dough hook until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Knead in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and elastic. This will take about 10 minutes by machine, 20 minutes by hand.

2. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl greased with olive oil. Turn the ball once to coat it completely with oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place for about 1½ hours, or until doubled in size.

3. While waiting for the dough to rise, combine all of the topping ingredients together in the bowl of a food processor (or blender) and pulse until just smooth. Set aside.

4. When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured work surface and punch it down. Knead the dough into the shape of a log. Cut the log into 12 equal pieces. Then roll each piece out into a 7-inch circle.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

6. Lightly grease 2 to 4 baking sheets with olive oil. Arrange the circles on the prepared baking sheets. Allow the dough to rest and rise slightly, about 15 minutes. Then, spread the meat mixture evenly over the entire surface of each round.

7. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the pizzas on a wire rack.

8. Serve warm with a splash of fresh lemon juice for a quick lunch or snack.

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Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

Tupac 'Murder Weapon' Mystery Solved, We Know Where It Ended Up

Tupac ‘Murder Weapon’ Mystery Solved

12/23/2017 1:00 AM PST


The gun L.A. cops believed was used to murder Tupac Shakur has been located — TMZ tracked it down, and conspiracy theorists are gonna love this.

TMZ broke the story … ballistic testing on the .40 caliber Glock found in Compton — back in 1998 — showed it matched the one fired in the 1996 Tupac shooting. The mystery was where the the gun went after that testing. Neither LA cops nor Las Vegas cops knew for sure, but we’ve learned the feds actually had it last … and it’s been destroyed. Now here’s why.

ATF agents did the testing in 2006. While it did come up as a possible match for the Tupac weapon, it also possibly matched another unsolved case in Las Vegas … according to ATF spokesperson Ginger Colbrun. She tells us the ATF then sent the weapon to Vegas.

Multiple law enforcement sources tell us LV Metro PD conducted its own ballistic testing, and here’s the big let down — they determined it was not a match for Pac’s case. It did match the other unrelated case, but police had no need for the handgun, so in 2006 they sent it back to the ATF.

The Glock sat in storage until 2013 when the ATF was taking inventory.

Colbrun says as part of standard ops, the agency decides what to do with items after a while. They checked with Las Vegas cops, who signed off on the weapon being destroyed … and it was, along with a stockpile of other unneeded guns.

It’s gone. That’s it. Case NOT closed.

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Legal Pot Is Coming to California in January. What Do You Want To Know?

You may have heard: Legal weed is coming to the Golden State.

In November 2016, California passed Prop 64, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, making it legal for any adult over the magical age of 21 to possess or grow pot under certain amounts. Hippies cheered. And on January 1, pot shops in California are set to open their doors…sort of. Turns out, it’s complicated. Prop 64 allows cities and counties to set their own laws regarding weed, and many are passing legislation prohibiting dispensaries and outdoor grows.

Meanwhile, Silicon Valley venture capitalists are throwing their money at cannabis; the federal government says pot is still illegal; and licensed, small-scale pot cultivators across California are freaking out about the state’s newest set of cannabis regulations, which will allow Big Ag to jump into the market in January. 

So, as you can see, a lot is happening in a relatively short amount of time, and you probably have questions about what legal pot will mean for California and the rest of the country. (After all, California currently ships 80 percent of its weed out of state via the black market.)

For some ideas, here are questions our own staff has: Where will I be able to buy legal pot? Will a black market for weed still exist? As far as regulation goes, what side are Republicans on? And will there be cannabis ice cream?

What do you want to know? Fill out this form. We’ll get the answers.

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We may share your response with our newsroom and publish a selection of questions which would include your name, age, and location. Your email address will not be published and by providing it, you agree to let us contact you regarding your response. We respect your privacy and will not use your email address for any other purpose.

Photo credit: UrosPoteko/Getty

Crime and Justice – Mother Jones

Gulliver's Travels Wasn't Meant to Be a Children's Book And More Things You Didn't Know About the Literary Classic

Happy 350th birthday, Jonathan Swift. Widely recognised as the leading satirist in the history of the English language, Swift found his way into the world 350 years ago on November 30, 1667. Celebrations of his life and legacy have been underway across the globe – not only in his home city of Dublin but also PhiladelphiaMünsterYokosuka CityDundee and beyond.

Gulliver’s Travels is Swift’s most famous work. Since it first appeared in 1726, it has captivated readers, authors and artists alike. But many people’s engagement with this astonishing book tends to get lost in fantastical images of scampish little people and baffled giants. So here is your cut-out-and-keep guide to all things Gulliver.

1. Not really a children’s book

Most readers will fondly remember Gulliver as a children’s book, but the unexpurgated version is full of brutality. The ruthlessly logical Houyhnhnms – highly intelligent horse-like creatures – plan to wipe out the bestial humanoid Yahoos by castrating them all. This plan is inadvertently inspired by Gulliver’s description of how horses are treated in England.

There is a particularly unsavoury scene in the Lilliput voyage where Gulliver urinates on the queen’s home to quench a devastating fire. This is routinely included in the children’s edition, albeit in sanitized form. And then there’s the scene in one of Gulliver’s final adventures where our hero has to fend off a highly libidinous female Yahoo who appears intent on raping him.

2. Coining new words

Gulliver’s Travels has given the English language a number of notable words, not least Houyhnhnm (move your lips like a horse when saying it). There’s also Yahoo, an uneducated ruffian; brobdingnagian, meaning huge, after the giants in the second voyage; and lilliputian, meaning small, after the miniature humans of the first voyage.

Swift also loved puns. Lindalino, a most unusual place, is another name for Dublin (double “lin”). The flying city of Laputa is a harsh allegory of England and its colonial dominion over Ireland – the name means “the whore” in Spanish (la puta). As for the kingdom of Tribnia, it is an anagram of Britain. Its residents call it Langden, an anagram of England.

3. Roman à clef

Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole (Wikimedia)

Like any successful satirist, Swift had many enemies. Britain’s first prime minister, Robert Walpole, is recreated as Flimnap, who as the pompous Lord High Treasurer of Lilliput has an equivalent role in their society. Either the Duke of Marlborough or Earl of Nottingham is the inspiration for his war-hungry governmental counterpart Skyresh Bolgolam, the Lord High Admiral of Lilliput.

Other authority figures are roundly mocked throughout the book. The pettiness of politicians – Whigs and Tories alike – is compellingly conveyed by rendering them small. That moment where Gulliver urinates on the palace is sometimes interpreted as a reference to the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, which ceded Gibraltar to the UK – and by which the Tories put out the fire of the War of Spanish Succession with some very ungentlemanly conduct.

4. Big in Japan

Konnonzaki in Japan, just south of Tokyo, is a tourist delight. In addition to stunning mountains and beautiful beaches, it is thought to be where Gulliver first set foot in Japan – represented as the port of Xamoschi.

Local tourist associations in neighbouring Yokosuka City hold a Gulliver-Kannonzaki Festival every November. American sailors from the Yokosuka Naval Base dress up as Gulliver and parade around the district. In the first Godzilla movie, the monster also lands at Kannonzaki, then heads toward Tokyo – just like Gulliver.

He gets around
He gets around (Wikimedia)

5. Gulliver goes Martian

The book jokingly mentions the presence of moons around Mars. After Phobos and Deimos were discovered by astronomers in 1872, Swift crater on Deimos was named in the Irishman’s honor.

6. Swifter things

Before the advent of film, Gulliver appeared in stage adaptations, musical rearrangements, visual caricatures – and on fans, pots and various other knick-knacks. Pioneering French illusionist Georges Méliès directed and starred in the first cinematic adaptation in 1902, the spectacular Le Voyage de Gulliver à Lilliput et Chez les Géants.

Yet it’s the live-action version from 1977 with its Disneyfied Lilliputians that tends to stick in our minds. That film features an ebullient Richard Harris as Gulliver, but many other actors have portrayed him – including Jack BlackTed Danson and Vladimir Konstantinov. Gulliver even appeared in a 1968 Doctor Who serial (The Mind Robber) and in the first volume of Alan Moore’s comic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999-2000).

7. Inspiring other writers

Writers expressly influenced by Gulliver’s Travels include HG Wells (most obviously in The Island of Dr Moreau and The First Men in the Moon) and George Orwell (Animal Farm). Margaret Atwood’s adventure romance Oryx and Crake takes a quotation from Swift for an epigraph. Atwood has also written an important essay on the mad scientists depicted in Gulliver’s third voyage.

In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the main character, Guy Montag, alludes to the Big Endian-Little Endian controversy about the proper way to break a boiled egg (“It is computed that 11,000 persons have at several times suffered death rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end”).

8. Gulliver’s encores

Theatrical poster to the 1966 US release of Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon
Theatrical poster to the 1966 US release of Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon (Wikimedia)

Our national hero’s life ends unhappily – by his own account – when he returns home to a wife and children he has come to loathe. Nevertheless, scores of secondary authors keep taking Gulliver on yet more journeys, typically beyond the world Swift created for him, but sometimes back to where it all began.

The earliest of these was the anonymously authored Memoirs of the Court of Lilliput, published less than a year after Gulliver took his first bow. More recently, a 1965 Japanese animated film took an elderly Gulliver to the moon – along with a new crew comprising a boy, a crow, a dog and a talking toy soldier. New countries, new planets, new companions, new adventures: Gulliver has had a busy afterlife.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.The Conversation

Daniel Cook, Senior Lecturer in English, University of Dundee

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Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

Do You Even Know Your Rights?

Donald Trump wants to make America great again. I, for one, would prefer to make America free again. “We the people” have the power to make and break the government. We are the masters and they are the servants. Clearly, our national priorities need to be re-prioritized.

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Show Notes

Al-Jazeera interview, (21 October 2001), as reported in “Bin Laden’s sole post-September 11 TV interview aired” CNN

Abraham Lincoln, “The Gettysburg Address,” (Nov. 19, 1863)

“Americans know surprisingly little about their government, survey finds,” Annenberg Public Policy Center

“Exercising the Right to Be Ignorant,” Los Angeles Times

“Can You Pass the Citizenship Test?” National Review

“Noted with Interest,” The Washington Post

“First Amendment Schools,” Center for Survey Research and Analysis

“Elected Officials Score Lower than the General Public,” American Civic Literacy Program

“[Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, et al.,] Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Fix the Site of the University of Virginia,” The Founders’ Constitution: Volume 1, Chapter 18, Document 33

“From Thomas Jefferson to Uriah Forrest, with Enclosure, 31 December 1787,” Founders Online, National Archives

“From Thomas Jefferson to William Charles Jarvis, 28 September 1820,” Founders Online, National Archives

Let’s Make America Free Again: 230 Years After the Constitution, We’re Walking a Dangerous Road

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

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Follow the money: How could Hillary Clinton not know about DNC funding ‘Russian dossier’?

The Russian dossier funding revelations are horribly damaging to the Democrats who should distance themselves from Hillary Clinton as she has to answer a lot of questions about how and why, says RT America host Ed Schultz.

Hillary Clinton’s election team and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reportedly helped to bankroll the so-called Russian dossier against Donald Trump which outlined unsubstantiated links and deals between Moscow and the Trump campaign in the run-up to last year’s presidential election.

A report by the Washington Post alleged that Marc E. Elias, a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer along with the DNC, hired Fusion GPS to conduct research into Trump’s supposed coordination with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

RT: It is now confirmed the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign helped to fund the Trump-Russia dossier. Are you surprised by this?

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump © Lucas Jackson

Ed Schultz: I am disappointed because it is a sad commentary on politics in our country. And I also think it is very damaging to the process. This emboldens the president and his credibility because he has said all along he has been a victim of fake news. You can’t get any more fake than this. But it also has strained relations between the US and Russia in the process. The accusation the Clinton surrogates made on cable shows day after day for months on and before the election underscored just how dishonest the Democrats were saying that this was Vladimir Putin’s dossier. That this was Russian intelligence, and this was dug up by the former British agent which now we know was being paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign. You have to follow the money. You referenced the interview with President Trump where he said they spent a lot of money on it. They sure did. How could Hillary Clinton not know that this was going on? How could John Podesta, the chairman of the campaign not know that some $ 6 million was being spent by the lawyer to go out and get this trash smear research done on their opponent, Donald Trump, which has soured relations and played a part in souring relations between the two superpowers? I think this is horribly damaging for the Democrats. I think the Democrats are going to have to distance themselves from Hillary Clinton, and I think Hillary Clinton has to answer a lot of questions about how and why.

RT: The man who compiled the dossier, Christopher Steele, has ties to the FBI. How do you view the role the FBI has played in this? Have they been impartial?

ES: We don’t know that, and the investigations that are going on right now should bear this out. It should be pointed out that Devin Nunes (R-CA) who recused himself from the House Intel investigation into collusion, went out and did some investigating on his own. And all of this came to light through his investigation when he wanted to see the tax records of the firm Fusion GPS and of course, they uncovered all of these payments from the DNC and from the Hillary Clinton campaign. If it is to be dug up in Washington, it is going to be found. And I think that at the end of the day, we are going to find out that the Clintons were pretty heavy into smearing Donald Trump, and Donald Trump is going to be emboldened by the truth by saying that this was all fake news.

RT: The Washington Post also reported that an anonymous Republican donor helped fund the dossier prior to involvement of the DNC. Why aren’t we seeing as much focus on that aspect of the story?

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Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton © Global Look Press

ES: It didn’t have the impact that a presidential candidate has. There’s a difference between a Republican donor who wants to dig up dirt on a candidate as opposed to someone who could be the president of the US taking campaign funds and trying to dig up dirt, but then – here’s the key – trying to pin it on a foreign country. It was surrogate after surrogate that went out on the cable shows in [the US] for months, and they tried to blame this on Russia and accused the Russians and the Trump campaign colluding to deep six Hillary Clinton in the election. The fact of the matter is – this was all ginned up and paid for by the Clinton campaign, by Hillary Clinton, by the DNC, hired a smoking gun who was retired and off doing other things – who by the way isn’t giving any interviews. Where is this Christopher Steele? Why isn’t he speaking up? Why isn’t John Podesta speaking up? Why isn’t Hillary Clinton speaking up? And I’ll tell you why: because they are all guilty.

RT: Why do you think the Washington Post which been accused of being the mouthpiece of Democratic Party for the last two years decided to publish this revelation now?

ES: Because Devin Nunes went to the Washington Post with the story. The Post didn’t dig this up. That is the nasty truth of all of this. This is not journalism. This is the House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes who has recused himself, got this tax information and gave it to the Washington Post and said “Here, print this. Try to tell a lie about this. See how Hillary Clinton was involved in this. You want a real story, here it is.” That is how they got it. The fact of the matter is, had Devin Nunes not gone after the truth, this would have never come out. The tax records are what they are. What is interesting in the legal fight in all of this is that Devin Nunes wants all of the tax records released by Fusion GPS. But of course, their attorneys are in court arguing saying “Wait a minute. This subpoena goes too far. We’ve got so many clients that we are dealing with. This would damage our business.” So, it wouldn’t damage their business. They have offered up the tax records and here are all these payments from the DNC, here are all these payments from the Hillary campaign. That is how they got the story. Devin Nunes to support the president, took this material and gave it to the Washington Post and had the Washington Post in an untenable position where they had to report this if they wanted any credibility whatsoever in the department of journalism.

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