Daily Archive: 02/12/2011

Feb 12 2011

from firefly-dreaming 12.2.11

Regular Daily Features:

Essays Featured Friday, February 11th:

  • Friday Open Thoughts, Digitus Impudicus~ where slksfca says Pluck Yew
  • Firefly Memories 1.0 is where Alma takes a look back at some of the Brilliant essays of our first years posts, highlighting those which exemplify our firefly-dreaming spirit and mission.  Today:Need vs. Want  

Essays Featured Saturday, February 12th:

  • Alma hosts Saturday Open Thoughts with a photo essay showing happy people.
  • Brand New Saturday Art! from mishima!!
  • Photography: Contrast from new member stevej
  • Firefly Memories 1.0 is where Alma takes a look back at some of the Brilliant essays of our first years posts, highlighting those which exemplify our firefly-dreaming spirit and mission.  Today:out of whack  


firefly-dreaming is hosting WYFP tonight at 8PM as dkos is down.

please come by whether WYFP is one of your regular stops

or you always wanted to stop by…

NOW is a good chance to join in!

come firefly-dreaming with me….

Feb 12 2011

Random Japan


A 22-year-old Kanazawa University student who called the cops and claimed he’d been stabbed later admitted he had knifed himself in a failed suicide attempt because he didn’t have enough credits to graduate.

A couple of 10-year-old girls-Miu Hirano and Mima Ito-broke table-tennis prodigy Ai Fukuhara’s record as the youngest players to win a singles match at the national championships. Ai-chan was 11 when she won two matches at the 1999 ping-pong nationals.

At the other end of the age spectrum, 40-year-old tennis player Kimiko Date-Krumm was reduced to tears after blowing a 4-1 lead in the third set of her match against 21-year-old Pole Agnieszka Radwanska at the Australian Open.

A nasty monkey named Lucky, who bit more than 100 folks in Shizuoka last fall, escaped house arrest at a park in Mishima, causing officials to warn local residents to stay inside and keep their doors locked. The rampaging primate was caught a day after ditching his cage.

In an awesomely named place called Bungo-Ono in Oita Prefecture, the local government is planning to let wolves loose in an effort “to control wild animals that destroy agricultural crops.” Can’t wait for the reaction when a wolf chows down on a local farmer instead.

Five middle-aged men in Tohoku filed a fraud suit against three international marriage brokers in a Sendai court, claiming they got unexpected home visits from South Korean women accompanied by the brokers, who convinced the lonely dudes to let the women “homestay” with them for a week or so.

Feb 12 2011

This Week In The Dream Antilles

Unlike Stupid Bowl 2010, an occasion on which your bloguero’s use of various intoxicating liquids led to an uncharacteristically  spectacular flame out and a gigantic, public crash, in which the biggest injury was self-inflicted embarrassment that would persist unabated for a full calendar year, Stupid Bowl 2011 was mild.  It ended in relative quiet and probity, and was quickly eclipsed by the excitement of AOL’s buying Hufflepuffle and, much more important, Egypt’s Televised Revolution.

As usual, your bloguero had no idea what the week would bring.  Self absorbed, he was thrilled that he would not spend the year until Stupid Bowl 2012 in penance and vain attempts to apologize for his unfathomable folly and excuse his bad behavior.  No.  He would be able to move on.  What a relief.  But he admits it: his having committed to writing this Digest did cause him some slight concern.  What, he asked, would happen if he couldn’t bring himself to write anything this week?  What if the writing muse were on vacation and the story warehouse were padlocked? Maybe he could avoid this potential problem be being abducted to someplace in the Caribbean  with coco palms and warm beaches and, best of all, lacking all Internet and/or electricity.  Alas and alack.  No such luck.  No space ships.  No armed kidnappers.  Not even an invitation to escape. Nada.

If you look at the last week in The Dream Antilles you will find:

A Haiku about snow.  Because of ice and sleet, my dog friend was finally able to walk on top of our deep snow cover.  A brief reflection on the canine world.

Huffpo Bought By AOL. The news that the beleaguered, dinosaur of dial up, AOL, bought Huffington Post and made the doyenne of coy self promotion, Ariana, even richer.  A $315,000,000 deal built at least in part on the backs of those who blogged and wrote for free, who were, of course, screwed in the deal.

Sorry, Ariana and Markos, No More Free Content For You.  I didn’t write anything at Hufflepuffle, but I was sure that when dailyKos was eventually sold to a group of investment bankers and venture capitalists-I think this is now likely– I wouldn’t be paid for all of the writing I posted there, that Markos would argue that I got the “exposure” I deserved and that nothing further not even a propina piquena was required.  So, though I think the GBCW genre has fallen on bad times since ErrinF penned her immortal screed, I waved my middle digit in the rear view mirror and rode away on a cloud indignation.  This was surprisingly easy.

Skewering Spiderman.  How often can you find a review that says this?  “Spider-Man” is not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst.”  Ouch.

Brian Jacques, RIP.  A children’s author I really loved to read to my kids passed on.  In his stories good always triumphed.  He will be sorely missed, though I’m sure that for generations to come parents will enjoy reading his works to their kids.

Mubarak To The World: I Fart In Your General Direction.  No Nixonian adieu for the perennial tyrant.  No.  Instead, defiance and indignation even as he was secretly packing his bags and moving his money around getting ready to do the Mobutu.  

A Haiku about a subzero night sky.

A Haiku about Haiku.

And Now Algeria? wonders whether the demonstrations we saw on Saturday in Algiers and elsewhere are the starting bell for events like Tunisia and Egypt.

A Piece Of Internet History marks the end of dKos as we know it, and the transformation into what I think amouts to “Left Coast FacebookTM.”  

This essay about what is on The Dream Antilles. It’s supposed to be a  weekly Sunday morning very early digest for the Writers Port Alliance. As you can see, today is Saturday.  I’m putting this up now, because I won’t be able to on Sunday. See you next week, if the creek don’t rise.  On Sunday early.


Feb 12 2011

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.

Salad Dressings: Hold the Guilt


At the recent Worlds of Healthy Flavors conference, sponsored by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Culinary Institute of America, two prominent researchers called for an end to the use of the term “low-fat.”

Dr. Ronald Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, and Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, have been involved in numerous studies measuring the effects of dietary habits on health. Few of those studies, they noted, have turned up reliable associations between one’s total intake of dietary fat and such diseases as cancer and heart disease. Nor have they turned up meaningful associations between total fat intake and obesity.

As most of us now know, it is the type of fat that matters most to health. A diet in which saturated fats are replaced by polyunsaturated fats, found mostly in plants, nuts and seafood, and monounsaturated fats, present in olive oil, may help protect against heart disease.

On the other hand, trans fats, created during the hydrogenation process, seem to increase heart disease risk. And saturated fats – found mostly in meat and dairy products, and in coconut and palm oils – raise blood levels of L.D.L., or “bad” cholesterol, also a risk factor for heart disease.

Green Goddess Dressing

Creamy Meyer Lemon Dressing

Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette

Lime Cumin Vinaigrette

Mustard Vinaigrette

Feb 12 2011

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”

John Nichols: Kucinich Says Obama Should Face 2012 Democratic Primary Challenge From the Left

Congressman Dennis Kucinich will not challenge President Obama for in the 2012 Democratic primaries-“I’m focusing on being re-elected to the House of Representatives”-but he thinks Obama should face a foe for the presidential nomination.

“I think primaries can have the opportunity of raising the issues and make the Democratic candidate a stronger candidate,” Kucinich, who sought the party nod in 2004 and 2008, said Thursday. “I think it’s safe to predict that President Obama will continue to be the nominee of the Democratic primary, but he can be a stronger nominee if he receives a strong challenge in a primary.”

Nicholas D. Kristof: Avoiding a New Pharaoh

But the game isn’t over, and now a word of caution. I worry that senior generals may want to keep (with some changes) a Mubarak-style government without Mubarak. In essence the regime may have decided that Mubarak had become a liability and thrown him overboard – without any intention of instituting the kind of broad, meaningful democracy that the public wants. Senior generals have enriched themselves and have a stake in a political and economic structure that is profoundly unfair and oppressive. And remember that the military running things directly really isn’t that different from what has been happening: Mubarak’s government was a largely military regime (in civilian clothes) even before this. Mubarak, Vice President Suleiman and so many others – including nearly all the governors – are career military men. So if the military now takes over, how different is it?

Bob Herbert: When Democracy Weakens

As the throngs celebrated in Cairo, I couldn’t help wondering about what is happening to democracy here in the United States. I think it’s on the ropes. We’re in serious danger of becoming a democracy in name only.

While millions of ordinary Americans are struggling with unemployment and declining standards of living, the levers of real power have been all but completely commandeered by the financial and corporate elite. It doesn’t really matter what ordinary people want. The wealthy call the tune, and the politicians dance.

Charles Blow: Repeal, Restrict and Repress

Republican state lawmakers, emboldened by their swollen ranks, have a message for minorities, women, immigrants and the poor: It’s on!

In the first month of the new legislative season, they have introduced a dizzying number of measures on hot-button issues in statehouses around the country as part of what amounts to a full-throttle mission to repeal, restrict and repress.

Feb 12 2011

Call me Ishmael

Like Robinson Caruso (it’s primitive as can be), The Whale is kinda sorta based on a real life incident, the sinking of the Essex by a Sperm Whale.

Now if you think this dense symbolist tome is grim (and long and boring too), you may be grateful that Melville spared you the rest of the tale.  Far from “And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.”, in fact there were several survivors including Captain George Pollard Jr. who seems remarkably un-Ahab like to me.

In terms of length they drifted through the Pacific for three months (“Still no sight of land, how long is it?”  “That’s a rather personal question, sir.”) and, in desperation, ate the Captain’s cousin (“I’d rather eat Johnson, sir!”).

Well, it wasn’t the Royal Navy

Dear Sir, I am glad to hear that your studio audience disapproves of the last skit as strongly as I. As a naval officer I abhor the implication that the Royal Navy is a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we now have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the RAF who now suffer the largest casualties in this area.

Now you might think after an experience like that you’d be as reluctant as John Harrison (who got terribly sea sick during his trip to Lisbon testing the H1 and never sailed again) to return to whaling, but Captain Pollard got another command, the Two Brothers.

Which promptly sank off French Frigate Shoals near Hawaii.

After that crews were understandably reluctant to sail with him and he ended his life as a night watchman on Nantucket where he met Melville (who was a customs inspector, you can’t make any money writing) after the book’s publication.  It’s said they got along quite well.

While the Essex is as lost as the Pequod, marine archaeologists have recently found the wreck of the Two Brothers and there’s an interesting article in The New York Times about it.

No ‘Moby-Dick’: A Real Captain, Twice Doomed

By JESSE McKINLEY, The New York Times

Published: February 11, 2011

On Friday, in a discovery that might bring a measure of peace to Captain Pollard, who survived his second wreck (though his career did not), researchers announced that they have found the remains of the Two Brothers. The whaler went down exactly 188 years ago after hitting a reef at the French Frigate Shoals, a treacherous atoll about 600 miles northwest of here. The trove includes dozens of artifacts: harpoon tips, whaling lances and three intact anchors.

The discovery is believed to be the first of a Nantucket whaler, one of an armada of ships that set sail during the early 19th century when the small Massachusetts island was an international capital of whaling. It was a risky pursuit that led sailors halfway across the world – and sometimes to the bottom of the sea.

Feb 12 2011

On This Day in History February 12

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.

February 12 is the 43rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 322 days remaining until the end of the year (323 in leap years).

On this day in 1924, Rhapsody In Blue, by George Gershwin, performed for first time

Rhapsody in Blue premiered in an afternoon concert on February 12, 1924, held by Paul Whiteman and his band Palais Royal Orchestra, entitled An Experiment in Modern Music, which took place in Aeolian Hall in New York City. Many important and influential composers of the time such as John Phillip Sousa and Sergei Rachmaninoff were present. The event has since become historic specifically because of its premiere of the Rhapsody.

The purpose of the experiment, as told by Whiteman in a pre-concert lecture in front of many classical music critics and highbrows, was “to be purely educational.” It would “at least provide a stepping stone which will make it very simple for the masses to understand, and therefore, enjoy symphony and opera.” The program was long, including 26 separate musical movements, divided into 2 parts and 11 sections, bearing titles such as “True form of jazz” and “Contrast: legitimate scoring vs. jazzing”. Gershwin’s latest composition was the second to last piece (before Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1). Many of the numbers sounded similar and the ventilation system in the concert hall was broken. People in the audience were losing their patience, until the clarinet glissando that opened Rhapsody in Blue was heard. The piece was a huge success, and remains popular to this day.

The Rhapsody was performed by Whiteman’s band, with an added section of string players, and George Gershwin on piano. Gershwin decided to keep his options open as to when Whiteman would bring in the orchestra and he did not write out one of the pages for solo piano, with only the words “Wait for nod” scrawled by Grofe on the band score. Gershwin improvised some of what he was playing. As he did not write out the piano part until after the performance, we do not know exactly how the original Rhapsody sounded.

The opening clarinet glissando came into being during rehearsal when; “…as a joke on Gershwin, [Ross] Gorman (Whiteman’s virtuoso clarinettist) played the opening measure with a noticeable glissando, adding what he considered a humorous touch to the passage. Reacting favourably to Gorman’s whimsy, Gershwin asked him to perform the opening measure that way at the concert and to add as much of a ‘wail’ as possible.”

Feb 12 2011

Six In The Morning

Stupid, Defiant and Bitter Till The Very End

In Mubarak’s final hours, defiance surprises U.S. and threatens to unleash chaos

After a week of crossed signals and strained conversations, the Obama administration finally had good news: Late Wednesday, CIA and Pentagon officials learned of the Egyptian military’s plan to relieve President Hosni Mubarak of his primary powers immediately and end the unrest that had convulsed the country for more than two weeks.  

The scheme would unfold Thursday, with the only uncertainty being Mubarak’s fate. “There were two scenarios: He would either leave office, or he would transfer power,” said a U.S. government official who was briefed on the plan. “These were not speculative scenarios. There was solid information” and a carefully crafted script.

Feb 12 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for February 11, 2011-


Feb 12 2011

Popular Culture (Music) 20110211: Little Richard

I do not often write about American artists, not because they they are no good (many, many are), but because British ones interest me more.  Here is an exception.  Not only is he extremely talented, he also wrote many of the books, so to speak, for the British Invasion.

The story about him being adopted by Jewish parents is just a myth.  There are elaborate ones about how the white, Jewish family adopted the poor little black boy when he was just a baby and, trying to keep him close to his roots, took him to a black gospel church.  That is nonsense!  Please keep with me to learn more about him, and to enjoy what is likely the very best fusion of rhythm and blues and rock and roll ever.

He did not only perform it, he wrote lots of it!  With no further ado, here is a glimpse into one of my favorite performers.

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