Wednesday, December 23, 2015

[TITW] census, surnames; pastries, Boston Yeti, tropes

(Technically these first 2 were last week, but I never got around to posting.)

census - MENA, API

This PBS article from January 2015 says:

The federal government is considering allowing those of Middle Eastern and North African descent to identify as such on the next 10-year Census, which could give Arab-Americans and other affected groups greater political clout and access to public funding, among other things.

The U.S. Census Bureau will test the new Middle East-North Africa (MENA) classification for possible inclusion on the 2020 Census if it gets enough positive feedback about the proposed change by Sunday, when the public comment period ends.

Despite the somewhat simplistic headline,'s "U.S. Census May Add Controversial 'Israeli' Category" from June 2015 has some good information about the history of changes to the census and some of the complexities of racial/ethnic/country-of-origin identity (focusing on Israeli/Jewish identity -- it is a Jewish publication, after all).
Now the United States Census Bureau is testing a new category, “Middle East-North Africa” or MENA, in response to more than three decades of lobbying by Arab American organizations for a designation that better represents them. The testing, to start in September, will refine wording and sub-categories for the 2020 census. Nineteen options will be offered under the MENA designation, among them Israeli and Palestinian, as well as Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Turkish, Iranian, Moroccan and Algerian. Even Sudanese and Somali are being considered.

“Most Arabs don’t consider themselves white,” said Samer Khalaf, national president of The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which has long lobbied for a more accurate label than “white.” Khalaf was one of 30 participants in a May 29 meeting convened by the U.S. Census Bureau so that researchers and representatives of MENA communities could discuss and offer feedback on the proposed changes.


It was only in 2000 that the census questionnaire for the first time did not require respondents to choose between racial and ethnic identities. Rather, they could select all that applied, like “black and Hispanic” or “white and Latino,” said Shaul Kelner, associate professor of sociology and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University. Now people will be able to choose, for instance, “white” and “MENA,” or just “MENA.”


The last change to the race and ethnicity categories was in 1970, when Hispanic was added as an option to some questionnaires. In 1980 it became part of the form distributed to every household. While the census bureau is testing MENA and other issues under consideration for changes in the 2020 census, ultimately it is up to the White House Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Congress to approve new classifications, [Roberto] Ramirez[,assistant division chief of special population statistics at the Census Bureau] said.


And following up on the question of Asian vs. Pacific Islander, the US Social Security Administration says:

Asian Americans are persons having origins from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Pacific Islanders are people having origins in Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. Some of the groups are listed below:

East Asia: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Okinawan, Taiwanese
Southeast Asia: Bornean, Bruneian, Burmese, Cambodian, Celebesian, Filipino, Hmong, Javanese, Indonesian, Laotian, Malaysian, Montagnard, Singaporean, Thai, Vietnamese
South Asia: Afghan, Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Indian, Maldivian, Nepalese, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Tibetan

Polynesia: Cook Islander, Maori, Native Hawaiian, Niuean, Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan, Tokelauan, Tuvaluan
Micronesia: Carolinian, Chamorro, Chuukese, Guamanian, I-Kiribati, Kosraen, Mariana Islander, Marshallese, Nauruan, Palauan, Pohnpeian, Saipanese, Trukese, Yapese
Melanesia: New Caledonian, Ni-Vanuatu, Papua New Guinean, Solomon Islander


yes, Virginia, tv show characters have last names

The last names of the characters on Friends are:

Ross Geller
Rachel Green
Phoebe Buffay
Monica Geller
Joey Tribbiani
Chandler Bing


A macaroon (/mækəˈruːn/ mak-ə-roon) is a type of small circular cake, typically made from ground almonds (the original main ingredient[1]), coconut, and/or other nuts or even potato, with sugar, egg white, and sometimes flavourings (e.g. honey, vanilla, spices), food colouring, glace cherries, jam and/or a chocolate coating.[2] Macaroons are often baked on edible rice paper placed on a baking tray.

The name of the cake comes from the Italian maccarone or maccherone meaning "paste", referring to the original almond paste ingredient; this word itself derives from ammaccare, meaning "to crush".[3]


Macaroons made from desiccated coconut instead of almond are most commonly found in the United Kingdom (in addition to almond macaroons), Australia, the United States, Mauritius, The Netherlands (Kokosmakronen), Germany and Uruguay.

A macaron (/ˌmɑːkəˈroʊn/ mah-kə-rohn;[1] French pronunciation: ​[makaʁɔ̃] is a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food colouring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. The name is derived from the Italian word macarone, maccarone or maccherone, the Italian meringue.


The macaroon is often confused with the macaron; many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonymous.[3] In reality, the word macaroon is simply the English translation of the French word macaron, so both pronunciations are technically correct depending on personal preference and context.[3] In a Slate article on the topic, Stanford Professor of linguistics and computer science, Dan Jurafsky, indicates that "macaron" (also, "macaron parisien", or "le macaron Gerbet") is the correct spelling for the confection.[4]

The madeleine (French pronunciation: ​[mad.lɛn], English /ˈmædleɪn/ or /ˌmædlˈeɪn/[1]) or petite madeleine ([pə.tit mad.lɛn]) is a traditional small cake from Commercy and Liverdun, two communes of the Lorraine region in northeastern France.

Madeleines are very small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape acquired from being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions. Aside from the traditional moulded pan, commonly found in stores specialising in kitchen equipment and even hardware stores, no special tools are required to make madeleines.

And if you wanna learn even more French pastries: Wikipedia's "Category:French_pastries"


Boston Yeti

This piece nicely summarizes and links to the Improper Bostonian article.


hororor movie tropes

I said "The phonecall is coming from inside the house" to one of my co-workers, and he didn't get the reference :/

I think of it as a Scream thing (though I've never actually seen the movie) but TV Tropes reminds me that the trope far predates that movie (which, on reflection, makes total sense since the whole point of that movie was playing with well-known tropes) and says, "Used loosely in the first Scream (1996). In the age of cell phones and caller ID, however, the trope was lost in the sequels."

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