News That Matters
Good Wednesday Morning,
An article in this morning's paper explains how Caroline Kennedy's "shine", as they call it, makes it difficult for anyone else to get face-time with the Governor. You know? In the article, Michael Gormley writes:
You can see that my candidacy is in the same shape as Kirsten Gillbrand's or Andrew Cuomo's. Going into the New Year I'm still hopeful Governor Paterson will come to his senses, shake off the paparazzi, and makes the right choice. Yeah, I can beat Rudy in 2010. And if not him, then maybe Bondi.
Beginning tomorrow you will no longer need an account at the NtM Weblog in order to post comments to stories there. You will need an email address and a real name however, just to maintain a modicum of respectability. However, In order to create new posts you'll still need an account and many of you have already created one. Stop on in, read the news and commentary, and get involved in the discussions!
If the weather clears in time this evening, an amazing sky show will be taking place. Venus and the slender crescent Moon will gather together high in the southwestern sky for a beautiful conjunction visible for hours after sunset. The two brightest objects in the night sky can be seen through city lights so everyone can enjoy the show. You got a taste of that last night and if it's any indication of what will be out there tonight you won't want to miss this.
If you're not like vast majority of people who will be staying close to the hearth tonight and you're still looking for something to do, the Carmel Fitness and Racquet club is holding an open house. (off Routes 6 and Old Route 6 in Carmel) Starting at 7PM this evening and running until 1AM, for ten bucks (non-members) you get full use of the facilities. Bring a pot luck dish and your choice of beverages. 845-225-0888
If you are going out tonight, Rockland, Orange and Sullivan counties are apparently the safer place to be in the region. Free cab rides, provided by a local business, run from 4PM today until 2AM tomorrow morning. Sweet, eh?
If you're looking for something to do tomorrow, you can kick off the Quadricentennial anniversary of Henrik Hudson's "discovery" of the river that flows both ways, with a hike along the Wappinger's Greenway Trail to the Hudson River. The hike starts from the Market Street industrial park and runs for about 2 miles along the creek to a point overlooking the Hudson in New Hamburg. Meet to depart 12:45 PM in the parking lot of Staples, between Rtes 9 & 9D (on the 9D side) or at 1 PM in the parking area of the Market St. Industrial Park. Call to confirm. Georgette Weir, 845-462-0142.
Whatever you do, be safe!
And now, the News:
By Joe Rao
Free coffee and tea will be available to New Year's revelers traveling on the New York State Thruway at all 27 travel plazas from 11 p.m. today to 7 a.m. New Year's Day, Thruway Authority officials said.
Lots of must reads all in one place.
By Conor Friedersdorf, December 17, 2008
Every January I commit to an ambitious plan:
1) Read every major newspaper and even obscure magazines all year long.
2) Clip the exceptional stories.
3) Issue commendations at year's end in a gradual attempt to usurp the Pulitzer Prizes and National Magazine Awards.
Alas, I've neglected to execute steps one and two in 2008, so the following awards are neither exhaustive nor definitive, but rather a starting point. I'll defend any of my selections as top notch journalism that's well worth your time. But I'm also eager to add to the list -- e-mail nominees to email@example.com, so long as they appeared in 2008 and are available online, and I'll append additions to the end of this story and/or post them to The Confabulum. (I spent part of 2008 working at The Atlantic, and Graeme Wood and Chris Beam are friends.)
Trouble in Paradise
by William Prochnau and Laura Parker
Perhaps you've seen Mutiny on the Bounty. Did you know it was a true story? Or that the rogue sailors kidnapped Polynesian women, sailed away to escape the British Navy, and wound up on a remote island where they proceeded to develop a society whose social mores were a bi-cultural mix of Polynesian and rogue sailor? That's just the beginning of the most fascinating story I read all year.
Best Personal Essay
The writer, an octogenarian, looks back "at a lifetime of parenting sons and being parented by them." His essay brims with all the wisdom of a life well lived, rendered with dramatic tension and ringing as true as Leo Tolstoy at his best. The personal essay form is so often the province of the young these days. We cannot compete with the best our elders can muster.
The writer, musing on "Katie Couric's long day's journey into the evening,"manages to capture a ubiquitous but little remarked upon fact of modern life -- the way in which television and its characters insert themselves into our lives, age as we do, provide us with succor, and come to feel as though we know them. It's the rare magazine piece on a celebrity that's worth reading.
Best Court Reporting
Dispatches from the R. Kelly Trial
by Josh Levin
The writer captures the absurdity of the rapper's... well, the absurdity of everything about him.
A Boy's Life
by Hanna Rosin
"Since he could speak, Brandon, now 8, has insisted that he was meant to be a girl," says the subhead. "This summer, his parents decided to let him grow up as one." The story,exhaustively reported and scrupulously balanced, delves into the scientific debate about the nature of gender, and asks "whether the limits of child indulgence have stretched too far."
by Anthony Lane
The writer cinches this award with the first paragraph alone:
What is it like being Timur Bekmambetov? No artist should be confused too closely with his creations, but anybody who sits through “Wanted,” Bekmambetov’s new movie, will be tempted to wonder if the life style of the characters might not reflect or rub off on that of the director. How, for example, does he make a cup of coffee? My best guess, based on the evidence of the film, is that he tosses a handful of beans toward the ceiling, shoots them individually into a fine powder, leaves it hanging in the air, runs downstairs, breaks open a fire hydrant with his head, carefully directs the jet of water through the window of his apartment, sets fire to the building, then stands patiently with his mug amid the blazing ruins to collect the precious percolated drops. Don’t even think about a cappuccino.
Read the rest here.
Covering the Economic Disaster
The single best piece of financial journalism ever produced. You'll even understand it!
"The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. The writer, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong."
In Afghanistanan ethnic minority group that traces its lineage to Genghis Khan is proving to be an excellent source of recruits as Allied forces try to professionalize the police force. Why are they so professional in comparison to other Afghan policemen? Is using a minority group to police the majority setting the stage for horrific reprisals once Western forces leave the country? The writer answers these questions in an elegantly written, exceptionally contextualized piece reported while running through grape fields, avoiding Taliban ambushes and IEDs.
This dispatch from "the deadliest pieces of terrain in the world for U.S. forces" chronicles Army outposts where "men spend their days in a surreal combination of backbreaking labor—building outposts on rocky ridges—and deadly firefights, while they try to avoid the mistakes the Russians made." This piece made me appreciate, more than anything else I've read, the dangerous conditions braved by Americans on the front lines.
Best Campaign Coverage
Whether measured by scoops, quality of analysis or enjoyability of the read, newspapers were handily outshone by magazine writers covering election 2008 -- notable mentions go to John Heilemann at New York, John Dickerson and Chris Beam at Slate, Marc Ambinder and Josh Green at The Atlantic, and Camille Paglia at Salon.
The writer tours Ohio, capturing the disaffection of working class voters.
Story I'd Most Want Every Mayor in America to Read
The NYPD Diaspora
by Heather MacDonald
Want to reduce the murder rate in your city? The writer argues that crime-fighting techniques pioneered by the NYPD are doing just that all over America as former New York cops become police chiefs elsewhere.
Excellent Articles to Read Together
The writer argues that renewing the culinary culture should be a conservative cause.
The writer pens a letter to our next president about our blinkered agricultural policies.
Best Article on a Topic You Don't Actually Need to Know Anything About
Every interesting fact related to elevators, and the story of one man trapped inside one. Will he live? Will he die?
The writer demonstrates his genius by penning a whole story about the comments section of a Brooklyn Web site -- and it's somehow gripping from start to finish!Best Piece of Meta Criticism
How Wood Works: The Riches and Limits of James Wood
By William Deresiewicz
If you like great literature, critics, and getting deep into the weeds about the ways in which they intersect, this piece is for you.
Best Legal Story
Too Weird for the Wire by Kevin Carey
"How black Baltimore drug dealers are using white supremacist legal theories to confound the Feds."
Best Non-Fiction Book
The Dark Side
by Jane Mayer
Best Story About an Absurd Topic
This exhaustively reported look at the Bush Administration's use of torture and other illegal methods in the War on Terror has an ideological edge to it. No matter, for the facts presented are too powerful to be ignored, though that is just what segments of the right-leaning press is doing.
Hot for Creature
by Eric Wills
"Thirteen years ago, William Dranginis saw Bigfoot. Fifty grand, a van, and a camera in a log later, the quest continues."
Conor Friedersdorf is the assistant managing editor for Culture11.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
News That Matters
Good Tuesday Morning,
Well, it's been almost two weeks since I announced my candidacy for the US Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton and the Governor has still not called to give me the good news. I wonder what he's waiting for.
An Eagle Scout project on the Twin Hills Preserve in Patterson ran into some trouble when boards used for a boardwalk across and near sensitive wetlands were stolen. The project is back on track thanks to a donation of supplies from Home Depot. The story is below.
Jeff Hyatt, who rebuilds old trucks and tractors, some of which are on display at the Tilly Foster Farm, has besieged me with photographs, some of which will become part of the regular rotation of Highlands images at the News That Matters weblog.
According to news reports, the CD which contained the now infamous, "Magic Negro" song sent to fellow party members by Republican National Committee chair candidate Chip Saltsman, may have actually helped his bid for that party's top job.
At the top of yesterday's column I quoted former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. She had once said, "We will have peace when Arabs love their children more then they hate us." A friend, whom I dearly love, called shortly after to give me an earful, so much so that Richie, the dog and the cat, split for places unknown until the smoke settled over PlanPutnam Central and the phone line dimmed from the phosphorus white heat.
Just so my readers don't think I'm leaning too hard on the Left, here's a tasty tidbit for you from the Right:
Guess who!? (answer at the bottom)
FYI: Here is a chart of the incoming Obama administration, all in one place: I figure we should know who will be leading this nation for the next four years.
The Journal News
PATTERSON - Just as the Grinch was unsuccessful in preventing Christmas from coming, whoever may have pilfered Steven Maddock's planks was similarly ineffectual in halting his Eagle Scout project.
In the spring, Maddock, a Mahopac High School senior, will be inducted as an Eagle Scout and the Putnam County Land Trust will hold a grand opening for its newest section of trail.
Maddock built the 1,500 feet of trail, which twists through rocky outcroppings in the trust's Laurel Ledges Natural Area in Patterson, as his service project over the summer to attain the Boy Scouts' highest level of achievement.
Along with the necessary organizing, fundraising and labor, Maddock had a chance to play "Encyclopedia Brown," the main character in a series of children's detective novels. That was because someone or several someones may have stolen eight 16-foot planks from the trail's site earlier this year.
By Jenny Lee-Adrian
Revisions allow waste into streams
Michael Reilly, Discovery News
* Story Highlights
FT. MCMURRAY, Canada - From here in the far north of Canada through a web of transcontinental pipelines down to a network of refineries ringing the Chicago area, a new supply of precious oil has begun flowing into the gas tanks of more Americans, tapped from a source so vast it could one day furnish close to half of U.S. oil needs for 50 years or more.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 26, 2008) — Plants, genetically modified to ease the breaking down of their woody material, could be the key to a cheaper and greener way of making ethanol, according to researchers who add that the approach could also help turn agricultural waste into food for livestock.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 24, 2008) — Excessive police violence is evident in the types of injury and trauma emergency care doctors are treating in the US, indicates research published in Emergency Medicine Journal.
Monday, December 29, 2008
News That Matters
"We will have peace when Arabs love their children more then they hate us." - Golda Meir
Good Monday Morning,
Breaking News This Morning: According to sources, Jeff Green has called for the closing of the Community Action Program's Food Bank, he eats rare, endangered farm animals, dislikes George Whipple personally, and supports Greg Ball.
There is vindication of sorts as the Journal News editorial reposted below shows. Even their editorial board is questioning the contract and lease agreement for Tilly Foster Farm. As well, judging by comments left on that blog and others, and from conversations I've had over the past several weeks, public opinion is overwhelmingly against the contract in its current form. Everyone agrees The Farm should succeed but they also agree that government accountability it pretty important. It's funny though, the most vocal proponents for the current contract are the very same people who take government to task for the even smallest slight. Go figure.
Barack the Magic Negro: Old news makes the rounds on a holiday weekend when there's nothing going on other than a Santa shooting or two. This satirical parody by Paul Shanklin and first played on Rush Limbaugh's radio show shortly before the election, takes a look at the ascendancy of Mr. Obama through the eyes of a jealous Al Sharpton. Like it or not, it's an entirely plausible scenario. The audio track has transmuted into dozens of video versions which were posted to video sites throughout the world which have - suddenly - disappeared in a wave of political correctness. It took a while, but I found one version here.
This past Saturday night saw the fourth in an informal series of rock concerts featuring local bands at the Cultural Center on Lake Carmel hosted by Arts on the Lake. The show featured 5 bands for 6 bucks and was produced by Andrew Vlad. The Center held a capacity crowd - including many adults - and proved to be the largest event of its type so far. I ran sound and lights on Saturday as I usually do for events at the Center and I'm looking forward to more of these shows. There are not too many places where our youth can congregate on a Saturday night in a safe, drug and alcohol free environment and listen to their own music in a quality setting. Kudos to Arts on the Lake, to Andy, the bands and their fans.
Before you go off feeding the poor Poitou steaks here's the News:
The Journal News • December 29, 2008
KENT - The town's official Web site touts Kent's "many beautiful lakes, ponds, reservoirs." There's no mention of those water bodies making the town an Eden, but they do, according to the town's recent effort to curtail pollution.
"This place is paradise ... and clean water is key," explains the talking head in the first of four, public-service announcements that try to enlist Kent residents' help with cleaning up storm-water pollution.
The series of announcements, each about two minutes long, will soon appear on Kent's Web site and on local cable television. Commissioned by the Town of Kent Stormwater Committee and produced by committee member Jeff Green, the spots explain what storm water is and why residents should be concerned about it. The committee unveiled the short videos at a recent community meeting.
There are, however, plenty of legitimate and necessary questions about the 40-year lease for Tilly Foster Farm that the county is considering giving to Preserve Putnam, Whipple's not-for-profit organization. Now is the time for lawmakers and the public to speak up and ask those questions to be sure that the taxpayers' interests are protected in the venture.
December 27th, 2008 Posted in News
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Supporters of an environmental activist who infiltrated a government auction for oil and gas parcels in Utah are trying to raise money to help cover his bids.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 25, 2008) — For those who love “green” compact fluorescent bulbs but hate their cold light, here’s some good news: Researchers are closer to flipping the switch on cheaper, richer LED-type room lighting.
University of Florida materials science and engineers have achieved a new record in efficiency of blue organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. Because blue is essential to white light, the advance helps overcome a hurdle to lighting that is much more efficient than compact fluorescents — but can produce high-quality light similar to standard incandescent bulbs.
“The quality of the light is really the advantage,” said Franky So, a UF associate professor of materials science and engineering and the lead investigator on the project.
Posted: Dec 23, 2008 05:54 PM EST
by Charles Pope, The Oregonian
By Chloe White
Friday, December 26, 2008
News That Matters
Stan: I thought you were going to kill yourself.
- South Park, Elementary School Musical
Good Friday Morning,
Today is Boxing Day.
Yesterday was a beautiful winter day - sunny skies, relatively warm temps and for me at least, busy, busy, busy! I'm hoping it was the same for all of you who celebrate that holiday.
As we go into the weekend I do not have many events to post (I've been lazy and you've been remiss in sending me things) but there is one event, at least, worth your attention.
Tomorrow (Saturday) evening there's the 4th in a series of Rock Concerts at the Cultural Center on Lake Carmel hosted by Arts on the Lake. The show starts at 5PM and will run until about 10PM. Bands schedule are:
Horror HotelTickets are $6 ($5 for AotL members). There's more information at the AotL website, at Facebook and at Myspace. The image here is from the last show - which sold out, as have all the previous shows. It's a fun, safe, drug and alcohol free environment and something to do on a Saturday night. See you there!
And now, the News:
In the years before central heating, Dutch children would leave their shoes by the fireplace, the promise being that unless they planned to beat you, kick you, or stuff you into a sack, Saint Nicholas and the six to eight black men would fill your clogs with presents. Aside from the threats of violence and kidnapping, it's not much different from hanging your stockings from the mantel. Now that so few people have a working fireplace, Dutch children are instructed to leave their shoes beside the radiator, furnace, or space heater. Saint Nicholas and the six to eight black men arrive on horses, which jump from the yard onto the roof. At this point, I guess, they either jump back down and use the door, or they stay put and vaporize through the pipes and electrical wires. Oscar wasn't too clear about the particulars, but, really, who can blame him? We have the same problem with our Santa. He's supposed to use the chimney, but if you don't have one, he still manages to come through. It's best not to think about it too hard.
While eight flying reindeer are a hard pill to swallow, our Christmas story remains relatively simple. Santa lives with his wife in a remote polar village and spends one night a year traveling around the world. If you're bad, he leaves you coal. If you're good and live in America, he'll give you just about anything you want. We tell our children to be good and send them off to bed, where they lie awake, anticipating their great bounty. A Dutch parent has a decidedly hairier story to relate, telling his children, "Listen, you might want to pack a few of your things together before you go to bed. The former bishop from Turkey will be coming along with six to eight black men. They might put some candy in your shoes, they might stuff you in a sack and take you to Spain, or they might just pretend to kick you. We don't know for sure, but we want you to be prepared."
This is the reward for living in Holland. As a child you get to hear this story, and as an adult you get to turn around and repeat it. As an added bonus, the government has thrown in legalized drugs and prostitution--so what's not to love about being Dutch?
The old barn stood wearily back by the woods. It was a pleasantly misshapen little structure, constructed, more than likely, in random sections over a period of years. Each addition stood slightly askew like a last-minute thought slapped together with wood and nails.
Both the old yellow farmhouse and the odd little L-shaped barn had been empty for quite some time before we bought them. And, while no domestic creature had inhabited the barn for several years, the musky scent of horse, hay and leather still lingered in every cobwebbed corner of each box stall and was ingrained in the thick, sturdy, wide-planked floorboards.
It didn't take us long to stock the barn with our own assortment of farm animals. Within weeks of our late summer arrival, the sides of the small structure seemed to heave with the weight of several hefty ewes and a pretty little white goat, named Daisy. They were joined by Gypsy, the charming gray and white tabby who adopted us one night and became the first of our many barn cats.
But, of all the creatures who ever lived in the barn, there was one special resident whose arrival was destined as if by magic and whose appearance in the barn one very rainy Christmas morning was the answer to the Christmas Eve dreams of two young boys.
WOODSTOCK — The Open Space Institute has announced the protection of 186 acres of the California Quarry property on Overlook Mountain.
The property is expected to provide expanded recreational opportunities and views of the Catskills, the Hudson River Valley and parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.
The acquisition of the property from the town of Woodstock is the institute’s fifth on Overlook Mountain in the last five years, with a total of 569 acres preserved to date.
The California Quarry property sits on the southeastern slope of Overlook Mountain, in an area the state has targeted for conservation because its alpine ecosystem is considered susceptible to inappropriate residential development. There is an active quarry on the parcel to which the town of Woodstock will retain access for local use.
The parcel adjoins previously protected state land on three sides and will be conveyed to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for management as part of the Catskill Forest Preserve.
POUGHKEEPSIE — Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner has called for creation of a Zero Waste Task Force.
Tyner, which chairs the Legislature’s Environmental Committee, said the task force would research and implement best practices in waste management and increase recycling and composting using job-creating examples proven successful in Massachusetts, California and Nova Scotia.
Tyner, D-Clinton, said Dutchess County should stop spending “millions of our county tax dollars annually on our county incinerator.” He said the county can create jobs and save money by shifting to zero waste.
Wed Dec 24, 7:29 pm
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A giant snowman named Snowzilla has mysteriously appeared again this year — despite the city's cease-and-desist order.
Someone again built the giant snowman in Billy Powers' front yard in an east Anchorage neighborhood. Snowzilla reappeared before dawn Tuesday.
Powers is not taking credit. When questioned Tuesday afternoon, he insisted Snowzilla just somehow happened, again.
For the last three years, Snowzilla — to the delight of some and the chagrin of others — has been a very large feature in Powers' yard. In 2005, Snowzilla rose 16 feet. He had a corncob pipe and a carrot nose and two eyes made out of beer bottles.
This year, Snowzilla is estimated to be 25 feet tall. He's wearing a black stovepipe hat and scarf.
"Have you seen him?" Powers asked when reached by telephone at his home, the sound of excited children in the background. "He's handsome."
Snowzilla has consistently risen outside Powers' modest home. His children — he is the father of seven — collected snow from neighbors' yards to make the snowman big enough. Each year, Snowzilla got a bit bigger.
They bring to mind another staggering figure I recently came across that I have been unable to remove from my subconscious. It is $163,987,000 – the salary that Henry Paulson, now secretary of the US Treasury, took home in 2006 for his services as CEO of Goldman Sachs.
Two years later, Goldman Sachs required a massive bail-out from taxpayers. Many of these taxpayers may soon be applying for food stamps.
When Paulson sits down to his sumptuous Christmas feast, paid for with some of the spoils from that nine-figure salary, I hope he will he spare a thought for the 10% of Americans who have barely enough to eat.
I'm sure that if he ever witnessed first hand the humiliation of a person unable to pay for their food at a supermarket checkout, he would feel compelled to redistribute his millions among the 31.5 million food stamp recipients.
Maybe then they could afford a decent Christmas dinner next year.
'Twas the settlement before Christmas.
On the eve of the holidays, Wal-Mart's Santa is stuffing millions of dollars into the stockings of his little helpers. After years of litigation, its payback time for millions of Wal-Mart workers who had their time "stolen" from them by the world's largest retailer. No rest breaks, no meal breaks, unpaid hours---it's all coming due in a whopping Christmas "bonus" courtesy of Wal-Mart's legal team.
While America is distracted by the holiday recession, Wal-Mart has decided to settle some old scores and begin the New Year by clearing the decks of 63 lawsuits filed against it by its current and former workers.
Together with lawyers representing the plaintiffs, Wal-Mart issued a press release announcing legal agreements that will cost the company and its shareholders between $352 million and $640 million. Wal-Mart has been battling these class action lawsuits for years. How much Wal-Mart will end up stuffing into stockings will depend on how many of its employees file claims.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
News That Matters
Good Wednesday Morning,
Tomorrow is Christmas (as I'm sure most know) and next week is the New Year. Don't assume that everyone you know has a place to go and someone to be with, no matter how 'popular' they may seem to you. Extend an invitation. Make room at the table.
Forty years ago today, we were given our first opportunity to gaze into the cosmic mirror and look upon ourselves. What we saw was this:
We'd never really seen ourselves before and the moment this image was beamed to millions of television viewers around the world the modern environmental movement was born. We have an obligation to keep that dream alive.
These two responses came regarding yesterday's News That Matters:
That's enough of a Christmas present for me. But for those who missed my birthday, there's always this.
And then, there's this... let's not forget:
And now, the News:
By: Eric Gross , Staff Reporter
It all started Tuesday when a cab driver speeding the expectant mom to Brooklyn Hospital flagged down two patrol officers.
The officers - Kerryann Douglass and Joved Serrano - helped catch the baby, who was born not breathing. Officer Douglas, a mother of three, cleared the baby's airway.
Recently, our daughter traveled to Washington, D.C. with a small group of students from her high school Latin class here in Charleston, W.V. The group traveled via Amtrak.
Upon returning home, she realized she had lost her wallet somewhere on the return trip. She suspected that she had misplaced it on the train. Contacting the local Amtrak office, she found that nothing had been turned in as lost.
Today, a small package arrived for her from Louie Rodrigues, Carmel, N.Y. In the package was her wallet with all the contents intact, including her money.
Louie even replaced her change with dollar bills to make the wallet lighter for shipping. With the wallet was a short note of apology for taking so long in returning the wallet; it has been only two weeks. He apologized that with the holidays and all he had been very busy.
Returning the wallet was such a gracious act, certainly no apology was necessary. This simple act of "doing the right thing" is a sign that all is not "bad" in our society and that there is good in people's hearts.
Thank you Louie! What a perfect time to witness this "just" act from a righteous and caring person during this special season of thanksgiving and hope.
Good Medicine | Discovery News Video Dec. 24, 2008 -- Another reason to celebrate under the mistletoe this holiday season is that researchers have just determined a medicine made out of fermented mistletoe may prolong the lives of cancer patients.
The plant is Viscum album, the most common holiday mistletoe of Europe, and the species that first inspired the tradition of couples sharing a kiss under its evergreen leaves and waxy berries.