May 19, 2019

'Gotham': What to Read Over the Holiday Hiatus

Gotham might be off the air until Jan. 5, but devotees of the Fox series don’t have to find themselves bereft of James Gordon, Renee Montoya or Selina Kyle until then. With more than 75 years of Batman comic book material to draw on, The Hollywood Reporter has come up with a list of recommended reading for you to spend the next few weeks digging through, with enough Falcone crime family and GCPD drama to tide you over until the new year.

Batman: Earth One

In many ways the motherlode when it comes to inspiration for the show, Batman: Earth One not only features a badass Alfred Pennyworth that Sean Pertwee would be proud of, but it also centers around the growing friendship between Jim Gordon, newly arrived in Gotham City, and Harvey Bullock, who settled into corrupt, slovenly ways some time ago. As the title suggests, Batman is in here as well, but otherwise this is pretty close to Gotham as you see it on a weekly basis.

Available in digital and print format.

Batman: The Long Halloween

For those who enjoy the crime family element of the series, this year-long story (written by Jeph Loeb, current head of Marvel Studios’ TV division) should be a destination. It takes place early in Batman’s career, when the Dark Knight works with Gordon and a pre-Two-Face Harvey Dent to prevent a crime war between the Maroni and Falcone families. Featuring a who’s-who of Bat bad guys — including Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and the Joker — this might offer some closure if you’ve been waiting for all-out crime family showdown on the show.

Available in digital and print format; also available as Batman: The Long Halloween Nos. 1-13 digitally.

Gotham Central Book 1: In the Line of Duty

If the police procedural aspect of the show is what turns your crank, then the entire Gotham Central series is a must for you, starting with In the Line of Duty. The series centers around two shifts in the Gotham City Police Department, with the show’s Bullock, Montoya and Allen playing substantial roles as the cops — nowhere near as corrupt as the ones in the show — and dealing with cases from the everyday to the super-powered. Think Law & Order but with costumed perps, and you’re halfway there. It’s a wonderful series, and highly recommended.

Available in digital and print format; also available as Gotham Central Nos. 1-10 digitally.

Catwoman Vol. 2: No Easy Way Down

While the childhood of Selina Kyle is one that’s been left relatively unexplored in the comic books, this collection of Ed Brubaker’s career-defining run on the character offers up enough drama to fulfill the expectations of any Selina fan from the show. As another plus, this collection sees her up against Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, from the show’s “The Mask” episode.

Available in digital and print format; also available as Catwoman (2002-2008) Nos. 10-24 and Catwoman Secret Files No. 1 digitally.

Gotham Academy

A wild card choice, this current comic series is a young adult-focused, set in a prep school (partly funded by Bruce Wayne) that centers on a group of students and their potentially haunted surroundings. Beyond just being a good read, what might make this worthwhile for Gotham fans is the fact that the series is increasingly delving into the background of the Cobblepot family, suggesting that they have roots that go back to the very beginning of Gotham City itself. Who knew that Oswald’s family had such social standing…?

Available in digital and print format.

Excerpt from: 

'Gotham': What to Read Over the Holiday Hiatus

Local plant walks show native knowledge

Anna Fialkoff can find something nice to say about any plant. Even poison ivy.

“It has beautiful fall color,” she said.

But that’s about the extent of her praise for the persistent plant, which takes on several different forms – vine, ground cover, shrub – and causes so many people so much discomfort.

Animals, however, said Fialkoff, are usually not allergic to the troublesome weed. Goats actually seem to eat it without a problem.

She did have more positive things to share about other wild plants – natives, weeds and invasive plants – during a recent Native Plant Walk she led at Old Frog Pond Farm, 38 Eldridge Road, in Harvard. A self-described “plant nerd,” Fialkoff grew up in Harvard, and has her graduate degree from Conway School in sustainable landscape design and planning. She is one of the farmers at Old Frog Pond Farm.

Participants in the walk were encouraged by Fialkoff “to feel and touch,” some of the plants.

“I’m a big believer in touching,” she said. “It is part of the identification process of the plant; it helps get ingrained into your psyche what the plant is like.”

As Fialkoff led those in attendance around Old Frog Pond, as well as the farm’s wooded and meadow areas, she pointed out different native species, talking about their medicinal and wildlife benefits.

“I’ve done a lot of thinking about the terms “invasives, pests, exotics,”” she said, noting that the use of certain words to describe plants often echoes one’s feelings about them. Some species, for example, are referred to as “invasives,” but actually are not.

Invasives, such as garlic mustard, crowd out other native plants; the area becomes a “mono-crop,” said Fialkoff.

But other invasives, like the multiflora rose, have some beneficial attributes, she said. The rose hips are high in Vitamin C; it has edible berries, and thick foliage, which hides and protects wildlife.

Another native plant, stinging nettle, sounds from its name as if it might be as troublesome as poison ivy, but actually has more benefits than deficits, she said. The plant, which grows in moist, rich soil (it is especially fond of the earth next to compost piles) has “hairs” with uric acid on their ends, which can cause a rash to unprotected skin.

But Fialkoff said some people intentionally invite the sting of the nettle: arthritis sufferers have found that it lessens their joint pain.

Once the plant is processed (boiled, steamed, dried), Fialkoff said, the nettle loses its “sting” and can be made into a tea, eaten like spinach or made into a pesto. The plant is quite nutritious, high in calcium and iron. Old Frog Pond farmer Linda Hoffman brews the tea in large quantities to spray on her apple orchard, to help boost its immune system, Fialkoff said. The tea is also a good remedy for allergy sufferers.

Jewelweed, an abundantly growing plant with soft, rubbery stems and a bright orange-yellow flower, offers a remedy of another kind: relief from poison ivy’s rash. Fialkoff described how to take the cut stem of the plant and rub the juice of it along the affected area. The plant, including stems, leaves and flowers can also be boiled down, she said, and the resulting orange water frozen in ice cube trays. Once frozen, the cubes can be rubbed over the rash, she said.

Another antidote to poison ivy is offered by the sweet fern. Not a true fern, Fialkoff said, but rather a woody shrub, the plant gives off a spicy, cinnamon smell. Tea made from the plant has a somewhat bitter taste, but is good for digestion and for urinary tract infections.

Fialkoff cautioned that many plants that have medicinal uses could also be toxic and recommended that medicinal plant usage be under the supervision of a clinical herbalist.

Those interested in a Native Plant Walk can contact Fialkoff at 978-456-9828.


Local plant walks show native knowledge

Poison ivy a sticky subject

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Jessica Walliser

The oils from poison ivy can remain potent on a tree for five years.

By Tribune-Review

Published: Friday, August 2, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

August 3, 2013

According to many of my gardening friends, this has been a particularly bad year for poison ivy. It seems that the rainy spring and summer have encouraged ample poison ivy growth and everyone is coming down with the rash. And wondering how best to get rid of the plants without resorting to nasty chemicals.

About 80 percent of the population is susceptible to the urushiol oil contained in poison-ivy plants. It is contact with this oil that causes skin to break out in a red, bumpy, itchy rash. But even if you haven’t developed a rash in the past, new exposures can always bring about an allergic reaction. In fact, repeated exposures increase the odds of susceptibility.

That’s why it’s so important to wash up with a poison-ivy soap like Tecnu or Ivy Off immediately after possible exposure to the plant, including in the winter. These products break up the urushiol and allow it to be washed off the skin readily. Urushiol residue remains potent on exposed clothing, tools, shoes and pets for several years, so carefully washing all these items is a must as well.

A rash from poison-ivy exposure initially develops right where the urushiol directly contacted the skin anywhere from a few hours to a few days after contact. The really bad news is that the poison-ivy allergen can then be carried systemically within your body, causing other areas of rash to “pop up” anywhere on your skin. It is not, however, contagious to other people who come in contact with the rash on your skin, even if it’s oozing. The initial exposure must come from direct contact with the urushiol itself.

Unfortunately, it’s possible to contract poison ivy year-round. You can contract it from exposure to the leaves for sure, but you can also get it from touching the dormant stems and even the root system. Because of this, be careful when handling firewood from trees that may have had poison-ivy vines growing up them. The vines and exposed wood remain poisonous for up five years after being cut down. Plus, the smoke produced from burning poison ivy is also dangerous; you can end up developing the rash all over your body and even in your lungs.

To successfully get rid of small- to medium-sized poison-ivy plants, dig them out. As I am highly allergic myself, I have a dedicated “poison-ivy shovel” in my shed that I only use to dig out poison-ivy plants. I wear an old raincoat and chemical-resistant gloves for the task (these too are dedicated as “poison ivy gear”). Once the plant is dug out, I put a large plastic trash bag up over my arm and then pick up the plant and flip the bag down over it, so it’s completely encased in the bag (kind of like picking up after Fido). I then tie the bag closed and throw it in the garbage.

Larger vines are a tougher issue. I have hired a landscaper to remove them for us in the past and would probably do the same again, if the need arose. You also can saw off the “trunk” of the ivy and allow the top portion to die off on it’s own (but remember, the urushiol can remain potent for up to five years). You can dig out the root or continue to regularly remove any new growth as soon as it sprouts. This will eventually serve to starve the roots of carbohydrates and kill the plant.

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Grow Organic” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.

Send your gardening or landscaping questions to tribliving@tribweb.com or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

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Poison ivy a sticky subject

Itchapalooza 2013: Climate Change Fuels Poison Ivy Boom

It takes a Pennsylvania journalist to educate me on why so much poison ivy is growing along the paths and up the trees in my home state of New York this summer.

Global warming is literally changing the chemistry of poison ivy; experts believe it has doubled in strength since the 1960s.

According to the Pittsburgh ;Post-Gazette, it’s ;global warming, stupid! And apparently it’s a countrywide problem.

It also partially explains why there have been more bears walking through the backyard this summer, since they love to munch on the urushiol soaked leaves, the name for the oil or sap that lives on the skin of poison ivy and is such a pain for 85 percent of people.

An increase in carbon dioxide encourages plant growth like some kind of super fertilizer. And for some yet uncertain reason, poison ivy is proving especially greedy when it comes to CO2, sucking it down and spreading through fields and strangling trees at a record pace.

According to field studies by the Department of Agriculture, as long as CO2 levels keep rising, poison ivy will keep spreading, in some places virulently. It’s not just the number of plants that are growing, but also the potency of its poison. Global warming is literally changing the chemistry of the poison ivy; experts believe it has doubled in strength since the 1960s.

Poison ivy is not the only plant being impacted by global warming. Other studies, one by the biology department at Southwestern University in 2010, shows how an increase in CO2 increases photosynthesis in plants and encourages some to grow 30 to 40 percent faster. This is not necessarily a good thing. Even as they are growing faster, nitrogen levels in the plants are decreasing—as are othere important minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorous—which makes them drastically less nutritious for the herbivores (and man) that depend on them.

So, this is our future. Dirtier air and faster growing, evil-intended plants. I’m guessing next we’ll see news stories confirming that cockroaches and rats somehow thrive on increases in CO2. (Somewhat to the contrary, if you believe that superstorms, like Sandy, are encouraged by global warming they are proving to be hard on rat populations. The rat population in NYC went down post-Sandy, due to drowning.)

Be careful out there! Poison ivy’s ill effects aren’t only gained from brushing up against it in the woods. If its vines are burned or even churned up by weed whacker or lawn mower, the poisonous oil can become airborne and impact susceptible lungs.

What can you do about this advance, if you’re among the majority badly infected by poison ivy, the itchy, pimply blisters of which can last for several days?

First and foremost, learn to identify the plant. And then stay far away from it. Truth is, if you show the plant to most they mistake it for something innocuous, even marijuana.

Some Forest Service employees spray antiperspirant deodorant on exposed skin because the aluminum chlorohydrate may help prevent the oil from penetrating skin. (A human form of geo-engineering!)

At our house, where others are very susceptible, we keep a big, red bottle of Tecnu soap next to the sink all summer long and at the merest inkling of a brush-up there’s a rush for cold water and soap. (If you think you’ve made contact, move fast. The oil on the leaves, which is the ‘poison’ in poison ivy, often doesn’t sink into skin for about 15 minutes.) Jumping in a cold pond or pool is a possible instant remedy; Calamine lotion and ice can work after the fact.

It’s not like the measles or chicken pox. Apparently once you’ve had an allergic reaction to poison ivy you become even more at risk.

Original source: takepart.com

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Itchapalooza 2013: Climate Change Fuels Poison Ivy Boom

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