02/08/2014 archive

Random Japan

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20 crazy facts about North Korea

  Preston Phro

There are many fascinating countries around the world-in fact, we’d wager that there aren’t any truly boring places. But one of the most bizarrely “can’t look away from the train wreck” places in the world is North Korea. Now, there’s a lot of information (and misinformation) out there about the country, and sometimes it can be hard to separate the fact from fiction. Still, we like to try, right?

So, you can imagine how excited we were when we found a series of twenty photos and facts about North Korea have been making the Internet rounds! But we wanted to know more! Click below to see the 20 facts and some of the background information we dug up.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness NewsWelcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness News 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.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

One-Wok Meals

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Stir-fries always require a certain amount of time for ingredient prep, as there are aromatics to mince, seasonings to measure, vegetables to chop. But all the time is on the front end – the actual cooking is done in under 20 minutes, usually well under. All of the dishes I made this week made great leftovers; I enjoyed them for dinner one day, lunch the next.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles With Beets and Beet Greens

Paper-thin sliced beets contribute crunch and color to this comforting stir-fry.

Stir-Fried Brown Rice With Red Chard and Carrots

A colorful stir-fry with a variety of textures.

Stir-Fried Rice and Black Quinoa With Cabbage, Red Pepper and Greens

The texture, flavor and look of black quinoa make for an interesting dish.

Stir-Fried Soba Noodles With Shiitakes and Baby Broccoli

The nutty flavor of buckwheat noodles adds a delicious dimension to this unconventional stir-fry.

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Heidi Moore: Why I’m not watching the Sochi Olympics

My boycott may not change the world, but it’s the only economic decision I can live with. Consumers do have some power

The Sochi Olympics have barely started, but their beginnings are, to say the least, inauspicious. Besides the alarming problems on the women’s downhill skiing and men’s slopestyle snowboarding courses, threats of avalanches and potential terrorism and widespread complaints from journalists about dubious plumbing, the political and moral underpinnings of the games are falling apart. There are vocal protests of Russia’s highly objectionable recent rules shutting down gay rights, its longtime battle with free speech, using poison darts for the mass killing of stray dogs, and allegations of environmental abuses. [..]

But we have power too: the power of the dollar, the power of our eyeballs and viewership. The International Olympic Committee is selling us to sponsors and television networks; they are making a very big bet that we will show up. The networks have spent billions over the years for the Olympics. The IOC sold the 2012 rights to NBC for $1.2bn. NBC paid $775m for the rights to the Sochi Olympics.

But what if we don’t show up? Suddenly, the financial picture changes. That is the power that consumers have.

Alan Yuhas:

Mythbusting: Russia, Putin and why the Sochi Olympic Games matter

The Winter Olympics in Sochi have given western journalists no end of fodder for outrage and absurdity – at the cost of accuracy. Despite the just concern about gay rights and entertaining tweets about Sochi’s half-built hotels, a number of persistent stories about Russia and its dissidents could use a little clearing up.

To that end, consider the following […]

But terrorism in Putin’s Russia is real and storied, from the theater hostage crisis in 2002 to the Moscow metro bombings in 2010 and the Volgograd bombings last December. Despite the sweeping measures Putin has taken, warlords, secret police and the System have proven tenuous protections at best. Sochi is a chance to show off that these tactics do work, and by extension that Putinism, despite its $51bn price tag here, also works. Putinism doesn’t work, of course, but because everyone wants a safe, triumphant Olympics, everyone has to root for Russia while figuring out ways to protest its practices.

In other words, Russia matters whether the world likes it or not, and it will keep finding ways to matter. For every stereotype that fits the bill, there’s another that defies it. Russia is a strange, remarkable country that’s endured horrific wars and oppression while also creating some of the world’s greatest achievements in art and science.

It has produced Chekhov, Tchaikovsky and a men’s police choir singing Daft Punk. It’s complicated, so let’s treat it that way.

Michael Witney: Obama Killed the American Dream

The U.S. worked hard to create the American dream of opportunity. But today, that dream is a myth.” -Economist Joseph Stiglitz, Financial Times

If you follow the financial news, you already know that the American people are on an epic downer. [..]

Pessimism, pessimism, and more pessimism. It’s like the whole country is on the brink of despair. Maybe Phil Graham was right, after all. Maybe we are just a nation of whiners. But I kind of doubt it. What’s really going on can be summed up in one word: Frustration. People are frustrated with the government, frustrated with their jobs, frustrated with their shitty, stagnant wages, frustrated with their droopy incomes, frustrated with their ripoff health care, frustrated with living paycheck to paycheck, frustrated with their measly cat-food retirement plan, frustrated with their dissembling, flannel-mouth president, frustrated with the fact that their kids can’t find jobs, and frustrated with the prevaricating US media that keeps palavering about that delusional chimera called the American Dream.

What dream? The dream that America is the land of “land of opportunity”?

David Sirota: Congress Suffers From Selective Deficit Disorder

“Cognitive dissonance” is the clinical term used to describe stress that arises from holding contradictory beliefs. In politics, this term is a misnomer, because while many lawmakers, operatives and activists present oxymoronic views, many of them don’t appear to feel any stress about that. When it comes to budgetary matters, such a lack of remorse translates into something even worse than cognitive dissonance-something more akin to pathology. It is what I’ve previously called Selective Deficit Disorder-and it was hard to miss in the last few weeks.

In Washington, for instance, the disorder was on prominent display in Congress’s new farm bill. Citing deficit concerns, House Republicans crafted the bill to include an $8 billion cut to the federal food stamp program. Yet, the same bill increased massive subsidies that disproportionately benefit wealthy farmers and agribusinesses. In all, the conservative American Enterprise Institute reports that under the bill, annual subsidies could increase by up to $15 billion.

In this textbook episode of Selective Deficit Disorder, deficits were cited as a reason to slash a program that serves low-income Americans. However, those same deficits were suddenly ignored when it came to handing over billions to a corporate special interest.

Joe Conason: What Republicans Hope You Don’t Know and Never Find Out

Listening to Republicans in Congress wailing incessantly about our spendthrift culture raises a nagging question: What would they do, besides talking, if they actually wanted to reduce federal deficits and, eventually, the national debt?

First, they would admit that President Barack Obama’s policies, including health care reform, have already reduced deficits sharply, as promised. Second, they would desist from their hostage-taking tactics over the debt ceiling, which have only damaged America’s economy and international prestige. And then they would finally admit that basic investment and job creation, rather than cutting food stamps, represent the best way to reduce both deficits and debt-indeed, the only way-through economic growth. [..]

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, it is Republican voters, misinformed by Fox News, who most fervently and consistently insist on these mistaken ideas, with 85 percent telling pollsters that the deficit has increased. Less than a third of Democrats gave that answer. But nearly 60 percent of independent voters agree with the Republicans on that question, and only 30 percent of Democrats understand the truth-an implicit repudiation, as The Huffington Post noted, of the president’s political decision to prioritize deficit reduction rather than job creation.

Eugene Robinson: Sibling Rivalry Not Fit For a King

Nothing will ever tarnish the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who transformed a nation. But his squabbling heirs seem to be trying their best.

I realize these are harsh words for a family that has suffered more than most. But King’s sons and daughter need to be reminded-yet again-that their father’s words and deeds belong not just to his descendants but to history as well. The King siblings have a responsibility not to treat this precious inheritance like some shiny knickknack someone found in the attic.

In the latest round of internecine warfare, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King have filed a lawsuit seeking to compel their sister, Bernice King, to hand over their father’s Nobel Peace Prize medal, which he received in 1964, and the Bible he carried with him whenever he traveled.

On This Day In History February 8

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

February 8 is the 39th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 326 days remaining until the end of the year (327 in leap years).

On this day in 1828, Jules Gabriel Verne is born in Nantes, Brittany in France. He was a French author who pioneered the science-fiction genre. He is best known for novels such as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873). Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater travel before air travel and practical submarines were invented, and before practical means of space travel had been devised. He is the third most translated individual author in the world, according to Index Translationum. Some of his books have been made into films. Verne, along with Hugo Gernsback and H. G. Wells, is often popularly referred to as the “Father of Science Fiction”.

Literary debut

After completing his studies at the lycée, Verne went to Paris to study for the bar. About 1848, in conjunction with Michel Carré, he began writing libretti for operettas. For some years his attentions were divided between the theatre and work, but some travellers’ stories which he wrote for the Musée des Familles revealed to him his true talent: the telling of delightfully extravagant voyages and adventures to which cleverly prepared scientific and geographical details lent an air of verisimilitude.

When Verne’s father discovered that his son was writing rather than studying law, he promptly withdrew his financial support. Verne was forced to support himself as a stockbroker, which he hated despite being somewhat successful at it. During this period, he met Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, pére, who offered him writing advice.

Verne also met Honorine de Viane Morel, a widow with two daughters. They were married on January 10 1857. With her encouragement, he continued to write and actively looked for a publisher.

Verne’s situation improved when he met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, one of the most important French publishers of the 19th century, who also published Victor Hugo, Georges Sand, and Erckmann-Chatrian, among others. They formed an excellent writer-publisher team until Hetzel’s death. Hetzel helped improve Verne’s writings, which until then had been repeatedly rejected by other publishers. Hetzel read a draft of Verne’s story about the balloon exploration of Africa, which had been rejected by other publishers for being “too scientific”. With Hetzel’s help, Verne rewrote the story, which was published in 1863 in book form as Cinq semaines en balloon (Five_Weeks_in_a_Balloon Five Weeks in a Baloon). Acting on Hetzel’s advice, Verne added comical accents to his novels, changed sad endings into happy ones, and toned down various political messages.

From that point, Hetzel published two or more volumes a year. The most successful of these include: Voyage au centre de la terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1864); De la terre à la lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865); Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1869); and Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days), which first appeared in Le Temps in 1872. The series is collectively known as “Voyages Extraordinaires” (“extraordinary voyages”). Verne could now live on his writings. But most of his wealth came from the stage adaptations of Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1874) and Michel Strogoff (1876), which he wrote with Adolphe d’Ennery. In 1867 Verne bought a small ship, the Saint-Michel, which he successively replaced with the Saint-Michel II and the Saint-Michel III as his financial situation improved. On board the Saint-Michel III, he sailed around Europe. In 1870, he was appointed as “Chevalier” (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur. After his first novel, most of his stories were first serialised in the Magazine d’Éducation et de Récréation, a Hetzel biweekly publication, before being published in the form of books.

In his last years, Jules Verne wrote a novel called Paris in the 20th Century about a young man who lives in a world of glass skyscrapers, high-speed trains, gas-powered automobiles, calculators, and a worldwide communications network, yet cannot find happiness and comes to a tragic end. Hetzel thought the novel’s pessimism would damage Verne’s then booming career, and suggested he wait 20 years to publish it. Verne put the manuscript in a safe, where it was discovered by his great-grandson in 1989. It was published in 1994.

In 1905, while ill with diabetes, Verne died at his home, 44 Boulevard Longueville (now Boulevard Jules-Verne).

Icecapade – Simon’s Cat

Sochi Stray Dogs v the LOLympics

The saga of the Sochi stray dogs continues.

More information on how all the dogs in Sochi came to be without a home – and it was the Olympics’ fault in the first place. The nightmare continues. Keith explains.

But the dogs are getting their revenge.

The opening ceremonies in Sochi are complete. Great. Now here’s why you shouldn’t watch any more of the LOLympics.

We will continue to report on the games and the plight of the Sochi dogs.

Keith has tweeted:

You can find out how to adopt a Sochi Street Dog at the Humane Society International.

XXII Day 1

Short day unless you count the drunk who tried to hijack a plane.  Sigh.  Among the more embarrassing incidents in my life was flying to Tulsa for training with a notorious alcoholic.  Now I’m all for having a pop or a few before takeoff so I can sleep through an experience that at best is inferior to a Greyhound Bus ride but he was waaaay above Tranquility Base.  When our flight was called he got in a huge fight with the bar tender over a single drink (he was wrong and miscounted) and wouldn’t even accept it when I just plopped down the extra money (it only is you know) because ‘it was the principle of the thing’.

When we got to the gate we found out our flight was delayed an extra 2 hours so he parked our butts on the still warm stools and demanded another round.

“I’m not serving you.”

So the moral of the story is, don’t piss off the bar tender at the only bar on the plane side of the security checkpoint.

I’ll slink away now.


    Time     Network Event
7:30 pm NBC Opening Ceremony
1:05 am NBC Opening Ceremony
3:00 am Vs. Hockey, women’s: USA vs. Finland.
5:30 am Vs. Cross-country skiing: women’s skiathlon gold medal final; speed skating: men’s 5000m gold medal final.
8:00 am MSNBC Hockey, women’s: Canada vs. Switzerland.
2:30 pm NBC Ski jumping: men’s individual K-95; biathlon: men’s 10km sprint gold medal final; speed skating: men’s 5000m gold medal final; cross-country skiing: women’s skiathlon gold medal final.
9:30 pm Vs. Figure skating team event: ice dancing short dance.
11:00 am Vs. Figure skating team event: ladies’ short program, pairs’ free skate.
6:00 pm Vs. Hockey, women’s: USA vs. Finland. (repeat)

I think I’ll be watching Gold Rush.