Friday, June 14, 2024

Baker's Dozen and The "Schmear"

 There are a few theories as to why a baker’s dozen became 13, but the most widely accepted one has to do with avoiding a beating. In medieval England there were laws that related the price of bread to the price of the wheat used to make it. Bakers who were found to be “cheating” their customers by overpricing undersized loaves were subject to strict punishment, including fines or flogging.  -

Schmear (n.) - also schmeer, 1961, "bribery," from Yiddish shmir "spread," from shmirn "to grease, smear," from Middle High German smiren, from Old High German smirwen "to smear" (see smear (v.); compare slang grease (someone's) palm "to bribe"). -

In Brooklynese, the "schmear" is both cream cheese and a bribe. As you place the money in the hand, the two hands slide schmearing as on a bagel.

Walkable Durham

With Beyu and Copa closing recently, the wake-up call that remote work has hit the businesses serving non-residential city centers has become more real. Jack Tar closed last year. Pompieri closed as well. While new businesses will likely grow into these spaces, one has to wonder whether we will see more closings in 2024.

Meanwhile, the Novus rises 27 stories above, casting an ominous shadow over the bakery. While I'm not a fan of much of the new construction architecturally, I have been supporting population-dense building ever since I was a member of Carrboro's Peak Oil Meetup in the aughts. Ultimately, we need cities that are more population-dense, walkable, and bikeable. We need cities that preserve green space and can control congestion and reduce or eliminate cars. The building needs to be affordable to middle class folks and we need new and better public housing for low-income folks. Will cities like Durham begin to look more like New York, and less like Raleigh?