12/25/2010 archive

Random Japan

 2010 Roundup  


Bored in space

It was reported that Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi celebrated New Year on the International Space Station with hanetsuki (hitting a shuttlecock with a battledore) and kakizome (writing the first calligraphy of the year).

It depends on your definition of “disaster”

After kicking up a national storm by claiming that “[a]dvanced medical care allows those to live who would once have been weeded out by natural selection,” the mayor of Akune, Kagoshima Prefecture, lashed out at his critics via the city’s community PA system, which was set up for use during disasters.

That works out to ¥.00000000003/hr

The Diet is set to consider a bill that would provide compensation ranging from ¥250,000 to ¥1.5 million to former detainees of labor camps in Mongolia and Siberia. Some 600,000 Japanese, mostly servicemen, were thought to have been imprisoned by the Soviet Union after World War II, and approximately 100,000 are still alive.

This just in: asbestos is bad for you, too

For the first time ever, a Japanese court acknowledged that smoking causes health problems.

You hachi-go, Chad!

Attention-craving wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (né Chad Johnson) of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, who wears jersey No. 85, is considering changing his name again next season, this time going with the Japanese version: Chad Hachi Go.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Ringing in the New Year With Blini


People make the party, but blini are always an exciting addition. As Martha Rose Shulman writes in this week’s Recipes for Health:

  If you want something fun for a New Year’s Eve buffet, look no farther than these yeasted buckwheat pancakes. Although they are traditionally served with caviar and sour cream, blini also can be topped with delicious, healthy alternatives.

Here she offers a range of toppings for these famous Russian treats, excellent as finger foods or as part of a sit-down meal.

Buckwheat Blini

Buckwheat or Cornmeal Blini With Radish Topping

Blini With Caviar and Yogurt Topping

Blini With Mushroom Caviar

Blini With Smoked Herring Topping

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Glenn Greenwald: What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010

Throughout this year I’ve devoted substantial attention to WikiLeaks, particularly in the last four weeks as calls for its destruction intensified.  To understand why I’ve done so, and to see what motivates the increasing devotion of the U.S. Government and those influened by it to destroying that organization, it’s well worth reviewing exactly what WikiLeaks exposed to the world just in the last year:  the breadth of the corruption, deceit, brutality and criminality on the part of the world’s most powerful factions.

As revealing as the disclosures themselves are, the reactions to them have been equally revealing.  The vast bulk of the outrage has been devoted not to the crimes that have been exposed but rather to those who exposed them:  WikiLeaks and (allegedly) Bradley Manning.  A consensus quickly emerged in the political and media class that they are Evil Villains who must be severely punished, while those responsible for the acts they revealed are guilty of nothing.  That reaction has not been weakened at all even by the Pentagon’s own admission that, in stark contrast to its own actions, there is no evidence — zero — that any of WikiLeaks’ actions has caused even a single death.  Meanwhile, the American establishment media — even in the face of all these revelations — continues to insist on the contradictory, Orwellian platitudes that (a) there is Nothing NewTM in anything disclosed by WikiLeaks and (b) WikiLeaks has done Grave Harm to American National SecurityTM through its disclosures.

Gail Collins: The Tannenbaum Chronicles

This year, my favorite Christmas story involves Rachel Maddow’s mother. “A friend gave her a remote control for the Christmas tree,” said Maddow. It was the best present ever, liberation from a lifetime of crawling under the tree every morning and night to put in or pull out the plug.

And it turned Maddow’s mom into a combination Magi and missionary. She bought a slew of remotes and distributed them throughout the neighborhood like special-recipe cookies, along with instructions on exactly how to make them work.

The friend came to New York for the holidays with the Maddow family. For presents, she is giving everybody a Christmas tree in a box.

Another step forward for Christmas tree culture.

Charles M. Blow: Suffer the Little Children

As we celebrate this Christmas with the sound of tiny feet rushing toward a tree to rip open presents, let’s take a moment to consider the children less fortunate – the growing number who live in poverty in this country.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 42 percent of American children live in low-income homes and about a fifth live in poverty. It gets worse. The number of children living in poverty has risen 33 percent since 2000. For perspective, the child population of the country over all increased by only about 3 percent over that time. And, according to a 2007 Unicef report on child poverty, the U.S. ranked last among 24 wealthy countries.

This is a national disgrace.

Yet the reaction to this issue in some quarters is still tangled in class and race: no more welfare to black and brown people who’ve made poor choices and haven’t got the gumption to work their way out of them. The truth is, neither the problem nor the solutions are that simple.

Yes, the percentage of blacks, Hispanics and American Indians living in low-income homes is about twice that of whites and Asians. This raises unpleasant cultural questions that must be addressed. But that’s not the whole story. Despite the imbalance, white children are still the largest group of low-income children.

Johann Hari: The under-appreciated heroes of 2010

Who did we under-appreciate in 2010? In the endless whirr of 24/7 corporate news, the people who actually make a difference are often trampled in the stampede to the next forgettable news-nugget like Lady Gaga’s meat-dress. So in the final moments of this year, let’s look at a few people who deserved more of our attention.

Christmas For Children

On This Day in History: December 25

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

December 25 is the 359th day of the year (360th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are six days remaining until the end of the year. This day is commonly known as Christmas Day.

On this day in 1818, the first performance of “Silent Night” takes place in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.

The original lyrics of the song Stille Nacht were written in Austria by the priest Father Joseph Mohr and the melody was composed by the Austrian headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber. In 1859, John Freeman Young (second Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Florida) published the English translation that is most frequently sung today. The version of the melody that is generally sung today differs slightly (particularly in the final strain) from Gruber’s original, which was a sprightly, dance-like tune in 6/8, as opposed to the slow, meditative lullaby version generally sung today. Today, the lyrics and melody are in the public domain.

Six In The Morning

I’ll Play Scrooge To Your Grinch

And Don’t For Get To Hand Over All The Damn Money

Daniel J. Langevin was 35, mentally ill and broke. He had been living in psychiatric institutions on and off since his early 20s.

A friend who visited him at the Rochester Psychiatric Center in February 1995 remembered that Mr. Langevin had pain in his jaw, eye and face that was not getting much attention from the staff. A week later, he was discovered unconscious, with a near-fatal infection spreading to his brain and other organs.

Mr. Langevin sued New York State, which operates the hospital, and probably would have won a sizable award.

Happy ek’s mas

Ho, ho, ho.

The box may seem empty but the message is clear-

Play Santa again and I’ll kill you next year

The Xmas Song

It’s the violent-est season of the year

And Kringlebot has come dispensing mugs of Xmas fear

Sugarplummy visions will be dancing in your head

When I cane you from the comfort of my sled

On Xmas Eve we don our gay apparel

Kevlar vests, asbestos stockings and a barrel

And if Grandma’s Xmas fruitcake finally reaches critical mass

It can be regifted straight to Santa’s ass

But the ornamental armaments are merely superficial

The tinsel and the trappings are just icing on the missile

The one thing that you need to make your Xmas day splendiferous

Is a pine tree

A pine tree that’s coniferous

We have to have a pine tree that’s coniferous

The Robanukah Song

Robanukah may sound as if it’s Jewish

But it’s ancient-sounding customs are exceptionally new-ish

So take a hearty swallow from your robo-kiddush cup

Which will give me time  to quickly make them up

Do you spin a dreidel made from clay?

Mine is called a droidl and it’s rigged to make you pay

Do you eat these yummy tin-wrapped chocolate coins?

Better! We have fembots with illegal five-speed groins!

But by far the most important thing is oil

To keep the lamplight burning or to help the latkes broil?

No we pull the holy lubricant up from the sacred vessel

Into this blessed pit so they can wrestle

The extra made-up touch that makes Robanukah so special

Is the oil in which the nasty fembots wrestle

The Kwanzaa Song

There’s seven basic principles that go to make up Kwanzaa

So sit your asses down and have some knowledge dropped upons ya

Kujichagulia and Umoja and the rest

Now we get it

Sit back down

There’s gonna be a test

My favorite’s Ujamaa

Cooperative economics

Yo, Boondocks, I’m talkin’ here

Put away the comics

Ku’umba is another one

It stands for creativity

Like the ever-changing nature

Of my sexual proclivity

I think there’s one called Nia

But I don’t speak Swahili

Something about a pine tree

And and oil-wrestling dealie?

That’s from Xmas and Robanukah

You plagiarizing lout!

Yeah I’m kinda losing interest here

I best be rollin’ out

But before I go

The most important thing

What’s that black Santa?

You need seven Kwanzaa candles that you light up every night

But they best be made of beeswax or y’all might as well be white

New Tools.  Previous entries.  Instant gratification-

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This edition good until 6 pm.  Now until 11 pm.  See you tomorrow at 6 am!  Merry ek’s mas.

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

From all of us at The Stars Hollow Gazette, to you and yours.

Open Thread

Popular Culture 20101224: Doc’s Favorite Christmas Songs Updated

I was going to write on a completely different topic, but decided that some Christmas music would be appropriate, since I often write about music here.  Most of the songs are either from my childhood or from comparatively long ago.  I have no “new” favorite Christmas songs.

What I intend to impart is just this:  Christmas is a legal holiday in the United States, but is also a time for people of any, or no, faith to come together and celebrate family and friends.  I care not a whit if you are Jewish, Wiccan, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Shinto, Taoist, Buddhist, a believer in Confucius, or any other religion, or none at all.

In the United States, Christmas is recognized officially, for good or ill.  If all of the great religious can agree about anything, it is good will towards everyone.  With this in mind, please enjoy with me a bit of music that sort of makes the season for me.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 NW Pakistan gun battle leaves 35 dead


Fri Dec 24, 8:58 am ET

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – Taliban insurgents launched co-ordinated attacks on five paramilitary checkpoints in northwestern Pakistan Friday, leaving at least 11 soldiers and 24 militants dead, officials said.

“At least 11 of our men have been martyred and 12 others wounded,” Amjad Ali Khan, the administrator of lawless Mohmand tribal district, told reporters at a press conference in the area’s main town, Ghalanai.

Security officials earlier said at least three soldiers were killed in the attacks.