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Pumpkins Sweet & Savory

The Quintessential Fall Flavor
Immigrants to the New World brought with them an ancient Irish tradition of carving turnips and transferred it to a uniquely American fruit: the pumpkin. In modern times, society’s fascination with all things pumpkin goes beyond jack-o-lanterns to coffee, ice cream, and just about everything else flavored with “pumpkin spice” (a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) which is used to flavor pumpkin pie.

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Scent of Decadence

Perfume and The Decadence Movement
"Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul," Lord Henry says to Dorian Gray (p. 30, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde) as he drinks in the perfume of a lilac blossom. Perhaps too dramatic a sentiment for some people, Wilde was a Decadence writer through and through. The Decadents meant to experience life through all the senses with discriminate, hully-gully passion, reaching for the maximalist versions of art for art’s sake, artificiality, satire, sexuality, and ennui. 

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Metaphysical Hot Air Balloons

Baroque Poets
The Metaphysical poets were a loose group of poets coined as a movement after the fact by their common love for analyzing feeling rather than expressing it, their use of irony, paradox, obliqueness that forces the reader to confront consciousness itself, and the use of conceits through sometimes strained, extended metaphors.

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Making Up for Lost Time

Julian to Gregorian Calendar
In 46 BC, Julius Caesar proposed reforms to the Roman calendar, which took effect the beginning of 45 BC, and became the predominant calendar throughout the Roman world, Europe, and European settlements including the Americas.

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Cuban Missile Crisis

Escalation
On October 22, 1962, American President John F. Kennedy addressed the world with beginning remarks: 

Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on [Cuba]. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the western hemisphere. 
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Speak, Memory

The Orality of Epic Poetry
Long before the visual epics of our time and the written epics before that, stories were passed from mouth to ear to mouth again. It was the time of oral epics, products of oral history traditions and preliterate times, where culture and cultural truths were preserved and passed down through epics.

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World Library Foundation Communism Collection

Top 100 Communism Books
Communism is the ideology and socioeconomic structure of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of state, money, and social classes. The umbrella of communism covers various schools of thought--including Marxism, Christian Communism, and Trotskyism to name a few--but they all share the same idea that the root of all of society’s problems is the conflict between the working class proletariat and the capitalist bourgeoisie. 

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Silence

John Cage
“Everything is music.” How do we reconcile this often quoted philosophy of composer John Cage with his most famous work, 4'33", a 4-minute and 33-second song of silence?

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Jewish Holidays

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
The month of September has several Jewish holidays, including Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, which are referred to as High Holy Days or High Holidays. In Judaism, they are known as Yamim Noraim or “Days of Awe.” These are also the only Jewish holidays not based on historical events.

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All Aboard

The Mayflower’s Passengers
In 1620, English Puritans set sail from Plymouth, England to the New World on the Mayflower. Commonly known today as the Pilgrims, they were part of a group of English Protestants who separated from the Church of England to seek a new home where they would be free from religious persecution. 

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Taj Mahal

A Tribute to Love
When loved ones pass, spouses, family, and friends yearn to honor them. Traditionally, this may include having a tomb to visit or an urn filled with ashes following cremation. 

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Superstitions

by Culture
Superstitions vary from culture to culture. Each has its own beliefs about what ushers in good fortune and what must be avoided to ward off  evil. 

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Manners and Civility

From Wisdom Literature to Novels of Manners
The old, English proverb “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” testifiest to the codes of etiquette established and re-established over millenia. 

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The Three B’s

Entrenched in Musical Tradition
The fundamental components in learning or experiencing classical music begin with The Three B’s. Though composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Johannes Brahms have been gone for more than a century, students, scholars, and classical music aficionados analyze their works and recordings to better understand the creation of these masterful compositions.

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Big Dreams, Little Leagues

Little League Baseball
Baseball, the famed American pastime, has developed into an international sport that has garnered millions of fans. Fanatics rattle off the statistics of their favorite players, track historical batting averages and home runs, and are left in awe when witnessing the speed, power, agility, and awareness these heroes possess. 

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Help for Those Who Help Themselves

Self-Help Books
As of 2016, the self-help movement comprised an unregulated, $9.9 billion dollar industry in the United States alone. (That number does not include the amount spent on medications.) Self-help experts have become household names: Tony Robbins, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, Stephen Covey, Deepak Chopra, Zig Ziglar, and more. Reading such books as Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus (1992) by John Gray, Ph.D. to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) by Stephen Covey, DRE, people seek to improve both their personal and professional lives.

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Hoist the Jolly Roger!

Pirates in Literature
As the phenomenal success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series demonstrates, pirates never go out of style. The romanticization of pirates continues in from the ancient Greeks to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Pericles, and Antony and Cleopatra to Robert Louis Stevenson’s enduring classic of Treasure Island to J. M Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy to Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (based on the two unfortunate characters from Hamlet) to the Dread Pirate Roberts in William Goldman’s spoof titled The Princess Bride.

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Honey, I’m Home!

Honey
Ancient and sweet, produced by insects vital to agriculture and plant reproduction, and possessing surprising chemical properties conducive to health and healing, honey occupies a longstanding and well-deserved place in humankind’s lexicon of cuisine, medicine, and literature.

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Matchmaking

Harvest Time Celebration of Romance
September brings a change of seasons, summer to fall with the plentitude of the annual harvest sparking optimism, celebration, and romance. Harvest time presents the perfect opportunity to celebrate the union of families with extravagant feasts. Before the wedding and attendant revelry, however, the bride and groom must agree to marry. Thus arose matchmaking, the process that brings eligible men and women together for the good of their families and communities.

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Hawai'i Statehood

On March 18, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the Admission Act that turned the islands of Hawai'i from a territory and into a state. It would officially become America’s 50th state on August 21 that same year. The support for statehood appeared to be overwhelming. Of a population of 600,000, 155,000 registered voters, and 140,000 votes cast, Hawaiian statehood garnered 93% of the vote. The statistics show bold support for statehood, but historical accounts paint a murkier picture. 

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