12/31/2011 archive

Victoria Jackson, Aliens, and Jesus

(h/t Omnipotent Poobah)

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.

New Year’s Recipes to Bring Good Fortune

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Red Lentil Kofta With Spinach

These bite-size bulgur and lentil balls can be part of a mezze spread – an assortment of appetizers – or they can be served as a side dish.

Baked Giant Limas With Winter Squash and Sage

This dish is luxuriously creamy (though there’s no cream in it) and comforting.

Albacore Roasted in a Bed of Lettuce

Inspired by a traditional Provençal tuna dish, this version has a lot going for it as a New Year’s dish, what with all the green leaves and the fish – lots of prosperity.

Light Lentil Soup With Smoked Trout

This is inspired by a traditional French combination of lentils and fresh salmon.

Soba With Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach

This comforting dish contains good luck charms from all over the globe: soba (buckwheat noodles) is traditional in Japan, black-eyed peas in the American South, and spinach or other greens pretty much everywhere.

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”.

New York Times EDitorial: The Damage of 2011

After they took power in January, the hard-line Republicans who dominate the House reached for a radical overhaul of American government, hoping to unravel the social safety net, cut taxes further for the wealthy and strip away regulation of business. Fortunately, thanks to defensive tactics by Democrats, they failed to achieve most of their agenda.

But they still did significant damage in 2011 to many of the most important functions of government, and particularly to investments in education, training and transportation that the country will need for a sound economic recovery.

Paul Krugman: Carelessly Mistaking Theater For Policy

One crucial thing you need to understand about political journalists in the United States is that, with some honorable exceptions, they don’t know or care about actual policy.

In a way, that makes sense – the skills needed to cultivate contacts, to get the inside scoop on what’s going on in Congressional scheming or campaign war rooms, are very different from the skills needed to interpret spreadsheets from the Congressional Budget Office.

The problem, however, is that all too often political journalists mistake the theater of policy for reality (or don’t care about the difference).

Ray McGovern and Elizabeth Murray: Urging Obama to Stop Rush to Iran War

President Obama needs to put an abrupt halt to the game of Persian Roulette about to spin out of control in the Persian Gulf. If we were still on active duty at the CIA, this is what we would tell him:

This informal memorandum addresses the escalating game of chicken playing out in the waters off Iran and the more general issue of what can be done to put the exaggerated threat from Iran in some kind of perspective.

In keeping with the informality of this memo and our ethos of speaking truth to power, we may at times be rather blunt. If we bring you up short, consider it a measure of the seriousness with which we view the unfolding of yet another tragic mistake.

Robert Reich: My Political Prediction for 2012: It’s Obama-Clinton

My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State – a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.

So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.

Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.

William Rivers Pitt: The Rain and the Reckoning

Dewey Square, the patch of earth in the shadow of the Federal Reserve Building and One Financial Center that Occupy Boston protesters called home from September to December, is empty now. The same can be said for the original Occupy space at UC Davis, where a dozen kneeling and defenseless protesters were hosed down with pepper spray, and for Oakland, where the police rioted and very nearly killed a two-tour Marine Corps veteran of Iraq. Occupy encampments sprang up in hundreds of cities in all fifty states of the union over these last four months. Many, if not most, are gone now, done in by police invasion or uncooperative weather, or both.

You may have noticed the sudden lack of attention paid to the Occupy movement, now that the gendarmes of the status quo have wielded their truncheons and rolled up the encampments like so many windowshades. Nightly reports by the “mainstream” news media about Occupy actions all across the country have dwindled to almost nil, and for those so disposed, this is a good thing. The roused rabble have been crushed and scattered, and all this talk of inequality and justice can finally be replaced with what has for so long now been the real American anthem: everything is fine, nothing to see here, your betters are in control, go back to work. The uprising has been quelled, it would seem, and it is time to consign the Occupy movement to the dustbin of history.

Nothing, but nothing, but nothing, could be further from the truth.

Gail Collins: A Quiz for All Seasons

What a big week coming up! New Year’s Day and then the Iowa caucuses! Doesn’t get any better than that. And, in honor of this double-whammy of exciting events, here’s the End-of-the-Year Republican Presidential Primary Quiz [..]

On this Day In History December 31

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 31 is the 365th day of the year (366th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. The last day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, it is widely known as New Year’s Eve.

On this day in 1759, Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.

Guiness is a popular Irish dry stout. Guinness is directly descended from the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century and is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide.

A distinctive feature is the burnt flavour which is derived from the use of roasted unmalted barley (though this is a relatively modern development since it did not become a part of the grist until well into the 20th century). For many years a portion of aged brew was blended with freshly brewed product to give a sharp lactic flavour (which was a characteristic of the original Porter).

Although the palate of Guinness still features a characteristic “tang”, the company has refused to confirm whether this type of blending still occurs. The thick creamy head is the result of the beer being mixed with nitrogen when being poured. It is popular with Irish people both in Ireland and abroad and, in spite of a decline in consumption since 2001[1], is still the best-selling alcoholic drink in Ireland where Guinness & Co. makes almost €2 billion annually.

The company had its headquarters in London from 1932 onwards. It merged with Grand Metropolitan plc in 1997 and then figured in the development of the multi-national alcohol conglomerate Diageo.

Arthur Guinness started brewing ales from 1759 at the St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin. On 31 December he signed (up to) a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery. Ten years later on 19 May 1769 Guinness exported his ale for the first time, when six and a half barrels were shipped to England.

Guinness is sometimes believed to have invented stout,[citation needed] however the first known use of the word stout in relation to beer appears in a letter in the Egerton Manuscript dated 1677, almost 50 years before Arthur Guinness was born.

Arthur Guinness started selling the dark beer porter in 1778. The first Guinness beers to use the term were Single Stout and Double Stout in the 1840s.

The breweries pioneered several quality control efforts. The brewery hired the statistician William Sealy Gosset in 1899, who achieved lasting fame under the pseudonym “Student” for techniques developed for Guinness, particularly Student’s t-distribution and the even more commonly known Student’s t-test.

Guinness brewed their last porter in 1974.

Guinness has also been referred to as “the black stuff” and as a “Pint of Plain” – referred to in the famous refrain of Flann O’Brien’s poem “The Workman’s Friend”: “A pint of plain is your only man.”

Peregrine Falcons

Peregrine Falcon Cam Covers Stoop

Cam covers vertical stoop of falcon at over 100 MPH. The stoop is the corkscrew dive it uses to catch prey.

A Few Facts About Peregrine Falcons:


  • The peregrine falcon’s scientific name is Falco peregrinus, which means “falcon wanderer”.
  • Three subspecies are recognized in North America: F.p. pealei from the coastal islands off Alaska; F.p. tundrius, which nests above the tree line in the Arctic; and F.p. anatum, which once ranged over North America from coast to coast.
  • Peregrine falcons are about the size and weight of a crow.
  • Peregrines normally grow to 15 inches in length with a 40-inch wingspan.
  • The speed of a peregrine has been said to reach 175 miles per hour or more. Experiments conducted by scientists put the bird’s diving speed at approximately 82 miles per hour and level flight at approximately 62 miles per hour.
  • Females are larger and more powerful than males. Adults have slate dark blue-gray wings and backs barred with black, pale undersides, white faces with a black stripe on each cheek, and large, dark eyes. Their wings are long and pointed.
  • Their prey includes ducks, pheasants, and pigeons. Biologists are frequently surprised by the variety of species brought to Ohio nests. Remains of meadowlarks, chimney swifts, and woodcock show that falcons find many different birds in their urban surroundings.
  • Prey is caught in flight. Using its great speed, the falcon delivers a powerful blow to its prey with a half-closed foot. It retrieves the dead bird either in mid-air or after it falls to the ground.
  • Although they have a high mortality rate, peregrines have been known to live as long as 15 years.
  • In the 1960s, scientists discovered that a pesticide called DDT was interfering in the egg shell formation of meat and fish eating birds. Healthy birds were laying eggs so thin they were crushed by the weight of the incubating adult.
  • By 1965, no peregrine falcons were fledged in the eastern or Central United States.
  • By 1968, the peregrine population was completely eradicated east of the Mississippi River.
  • In 1972, use of DDT was severely restricted in the United States and worldwide.
  • In 1979, the Eastern Peregrine Recovery Plan was developed to restore a peregrine population to the eastern United States.
  • Peregrine falcons are a threatened species in Ohio.
  • Traditionally, they nested on ledges of high cliffs in remote areas. In cities, they use niches along ledges, such as inset windows or window boxes.

We have two Peregrines and a Red Tail Hawk that use our yard to dine on their catch.

Popular Culture (Music) 20111230: A Brief History of The Who

Last week we finished up 1970, which to date had been by far the best year for The Who insofar as commercial success goes.  Sales of Tommy were still good, and Live at Leeds was very well received both critically and in sales figures.

Now, what to do?  Townshend was at sort of a crossroads, knowing that he had to do something to show that Tommy was not just a fluke.  The answer to this, at least in his mind, was turned out to be the ill-fated Lifehouse project.  Since I did a standalone piece about Lifehouse here, I shall concentrate on other aspects of 1971.

I suggest that you read this chronological treatment of other things from 1971, then take a break and read the Lifehouse piece, then come back.  It’s OK, I can wait!  I have some snacks and can answer comments all night!