03/22/2014 archive

Random Japan

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 “Hungover today, sorry!” Laidback Tsukuba cafe gives hilarious reasons for frequent closings


Tsukuba is a small, planned city nestled in the mountains of Ibaraki, which has a reputation for being a pretty chilled out place to live. The small population size and abundance of surrounding nature give the city a slow-paced, laid back feeling compared to the bustle of major cities like Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

We hear there are also a lot of great places to eat in Tsukuba, provided your restaurant or cafe of choice isn’t closed for the day because they couldn’t decide on the day’s menu items or the manager has a hangover.

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

Inspired by Irish Soda Bread

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I put a little bit of white flour in my loaves, but you could use all whole-wheat flour if you prefer. With whole wheat, your bread will have more fiber, zinc, B vitamins and iron, and its glycemic index will be considerably lower than that of bread made with white flour. Irish-style wholemeal flour, available from King Arthur Flour and from importers, has a coarse crumb that is typical of Irish soda bread. I achieved the same crumb using my Community Grains whole-wheat flour and adding oatmeal to the mix. I used buttermilk as the liquid, but you can also use yogurt or a mix of yogurt and milk. You do need the acid from the fermented milk to react with the baking soda.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Scones With Raisins and Oatmeal

These are diminutive, light scones like the ones that originated in Britain and Ireland.

Moist Brown Soda Bread Loaf With Oats

This soda bread is baked at a lower temperature so that it doesn’t develop a hard crust.

Whole-Wheat Soda Bread With Raisins (Spotted Dog)

A mix of raisins sweetens this brown soda bread.

Brown Soda Bread Loaf With Caraway Seeds and Rye

A regional version of soda bread that is dark-brown, grainy and moist.

Savory Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Scones With Rosemary and Thyme

A whole-grain scone that pairs well with cheese.

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

Charles M. Blow: Paul Ryan, Culture and Poverty

Paul Ryan continues to be flogged for disturbing comments he made last week about men “in our inner cities” and their “culture” of not working.

In a radio interview with Bill Bennett, Ryan said, “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.” [..]

But this is in part the problem, and danger, of people like Ryan: There is an ever-swirling mix of inspiration and insult, where the borders between the factual and the fudged are intentionally blurred and cover is given for corrosive ideas.

Ryan is “one of the good guys,” a prominent Republican operative explained to me last week. Maybe so, but even good people are capable of saying and believing bad things, and what Ryan said was horrific.

Eugene Robinson: Malaysia Airlines: Into the Twilight Zone

Let me go out on a limb: The Malaysian airliner did not get sucked into a black hole, vanish over the Indian Ocean equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle or crash-land on the spooky island from “Lost.”

Those “theories” were actually discussed on CNN this week. Host Don Lemon dismissed them as “preposterous” before asking one of his assembled “expert” guests-there were six of them waiting expectantly in their boxes on the screen-whether, you know, such ideas really were so preposterous.

At which point the nonstop coverage of this tragedy entered the Twilight Zone.

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is pretty close to a pure mystery. The news media-especially the cable television networks-have responded with an orgy of what can only be called pure speculation. Far too often, as every journalist knows, the facts get in the way of a good story. In this case, there aren’t any indisputably consequent facts except one: On March 8, a jetliner with 239 people aboard went missing.

Ralph Nader: Obama to Putin: Do as I Say Not as I Do

Dear President Obama:

As you ponder your potential moves regarding President Vladimir V. Putin’s annexation of Crimea (a large majority of its 2 million people are ethnic Russians), it is important to remember that whatever moral leverage you may have had in the court of world opinion has been sacrificed by the precedents set by previous American presidents who did not do what you say Mr. Putin should do – obey international law.

The need to abide by international law is your recent recurring refrain, often used in an accusatory context toward Mr. Putin’s military entry in Crimea and its subsequent annexation, following a referendum in which Crimean voters overwhelmingly endorsed rejoining Russia. True, most Ukrainians and ethnic Tatars boycotted the referendum and there were obstacles to free speech. But even the fairest of referendums, under UN auspices, would have produced majority support for Russia’s annexation.

Every day, presidential actions by you violate international law because they infringe upon national sovereignties with deadly drones, flyovers and secret forays by soldiers – to name the most obvious.

Joe Conason: Framed for Crimea: Obama’s Critics Issue Hollow Indictments

To hear the Republicans shrieking about Crimea-from those howling simpletons on Fox News to the churlish statesmen of the United States Senate-all blame rests with President Barack Obama. In the midst of a real and potentially dangerous crisis, every opportunistic politician and pundit on the right excoriates him as a president so “weak” that he practically invited Vladimir Putin’s aggression.

Aggression is an apt description of the Russian takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, despite the complexity of the events and history that led here-and despite the evident enthusiasm of the Crimean population. Like many borders drawn on maps, this one was far from indisputable in moral or political terms. And without endorsing Russia’s questionable version of events, it is also true that the overthrow of the Yanukovych regime and the inclusion of neo-fascist elements in Kiev’s new government raised real issues of legitimacy and security.

Yet those questions cannot excuse Russia’s military intimidation of Ukraine or the staged and stampeded referendum that led to annexation. What Putin is doing violates basic international norms, which demand respect for national sovereignty and democratic processes.

Lee Fang: How the Gas Lobby Is Using the Crimea Crisis to Push Bad Policy and Make More Money

A small group of pundits and politicians with close ties to the fossil fuel industry are using the crisis in Crimea to demand that the United States promote natural gas exports as a quick fix for the volatile situation. But such a solution, experts say, would cost billions of dollars, require years of development, and would not significantly impact the international price of gas or Russia’s role as a major supplier for the region. Rather, the move would simply increase gas prices for American consumers while enriching companies involved in the liquified natural gas (LNG) trade.

On Capitol Hill, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) was among the first to use the crisis in Ukraine to demand that the Department of Energy speed up the approval process for new LNG terminals. “Now is the time to send the signal to our global allies that US natural gas will be an available and viable alternative to their energy needs,” said Upton in a statement. As we’ve reported, Upton’s committee is managed in part by Tom Hassenboehler, a former lobbyist who joined Upton’s staff last year after working for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, the primary trade group pushing to expand natural gas development and LNG exports.

March Madness 2014: Men’s Round of 32 Day 1

Yesterday’s Results

Seed School Record Seed School Record Score Region
3 Duke (26 – 9) 14 * Mercer (27 – 8) (71 – 78) MidWest
6 * Baylor (25 – 11) 11 Nebraska (19 – 13) (74 – 60) West
7 New Mexico (27 – 7) 10 * Stanford (22 – 12) (53 – 58) South
1 * Arizona (31 – 4) 16 Weber State (19 – 12) (68 – 59) West
6 UMass (24 – 9) 11 * Tennessee (23 – 12) (67 – 86) MidWest
3 * Creighton (27 – 7) 14 UL-Lafayette (23 – 12) (76 – 66) West
2 * Kansas (25 – 9) 15 E. Kentucky (24 – 10) (80 – 69) South
8 * Gonzaga (29 – 6) 9 Oklahoma State (21 – 13) (85 – 77) West
8 * Memphis (24 – 9) 9 George Washington (24 – 9) (71 – 66) East
1 * Wichita State (35 – 0) 16 Cal Poly (14 – 20) (64 – 37) MidWest
6 * N. Carolina (24 – 9) 11 Providence (23 – 12) (79 – 77) East
5 Virginia Commonwealth (26 – 9) 12 * Stephen Austin (32 – 2) (75 – 77 OT) South
1 * Virginia (29 – 6) 16 Coastal Carolina (21 – 13) (70 – 59) East
8 * Kentucky (25 – 10) 9 Kansas State (20 – 13) (56 – 49) MidWest
3 * Iowa State (27 – 7) 14 N.C. Central (28 – 6) (93 – 75) East
4 * UCLA (27 – 8) 13 Tulsa (21 – 13) (76 – 59) South

Round of 32: Saturday

Time Network Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
12:15 CBS 1 Florida (33 – 2) 9 Pittsburgh (26 – 9) South
2:45 CBS 4 Louisville (30 – 5) 5 Saint Louis (27 – 6) MidWest
5:15 CBS 2 Michigan (26 – 8) 7 Texas (24 – 10) MidWest
6:10 TNT 4 San Diego St. (30 – 4) 12 N. Dakota State (26 – 6) West
7:10 TBS 3 Syracuse (28 – 5) 11 Dayton (24 – 10) South
7:45 CBS 2 Wisconsin (27 – 7) 7 Oregon (24 – 9) West
8:40 TNT 4 Michigan State (27 – 8) 12 Harvard (27 – 4) East
9:40 TBS 7 Connecticut (27 – 8) 2 Villanova (29 – 4) East

Thursday’s Results Below.

March Madness 2014: Women’s Round of 64 Day 1

Time Network Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
11:00 ESPN 2 Duke (27 – 6) 15 Winthrop (24 – 8) MidWest
11:00 ESPN2 8 Vanderbilt (18 – 12) 9 Arizona State (22 – 9) East
11:00 ESPN2 5 Oklahoma State (23 – 8) 12 Florida Gulf Coast (26 – 7) East
11:00 ESPN2 3 Kentucky (24 – 8) 14 Wright State (26 – 8) East
1:30 ESPN 1 Notre Dame (32 – 0) 16 Robert Morris (21 – 11) East
1:30 ESPN2 7 DePaul (27 – 6) 10 Oklahoma (18 – 14) MidWest
1:30 ESPN2 4 Purdue (21 – 8) 13 Akron (23 – 9) East
1:30 ESPN2 6 Syracuse (22 – 9) 11 Chattanooga (29 – 3) East
4:00 ESPN2 4 Nebraska (25 – 6) 13 Fresno State (22 – 10) MidWest
4:00 ESPN2 7 Iowa State (20 – 10) 10 Florida State (20 – 11) West
4:00 ESPN2 7 California (21 – 9) 10 Fordham (25 – 7) East
4:00 ESPN2 1 Tennessee (27 – 5) 16 Northwestern (16 – 15) South
6:30 ESPN2 5 N.C. State (25 – 7) 12 BYU (26 – 6) MidWest
6:30 ESPN2 2 Stanford (30 – 3) 15 S. Dakota (19 – 13) West
6:30 ESPN2 2 Baylor (29 – 4) 15 W. Kentucky (24 – 8) East
6:30 ESPN2 8 St. John’s (22 – 10) 9 USC (22 – 12) South

On This Day In History March 22

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.

March 22 is the 81st day of the year (82nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 284 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1784, the Emerald Buddha is moved with great ceremony to its current place in Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand.

The Emerald Buddha is the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand, a figurine of the sitting Buddha, made of green jadeite (rather than emerald), clothed in gold, and about 45 cm tall. It is kept in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

According to the legend, the Emerald Buddha was created in India in 43 BC by Nagasena in the city of Pataliputra (today’s Patna). The legends state that after remaining in Pataliputra for three hundred years, it was taken to Sri Lanka to save it from a civil war. In 457, King Anuruth of Burma sent a mission to Ceylon to ask for Buddhist scriptures and the Emerald Buddha, in order to support Buddhism in his country. These requests were granted, but the ship lost its way in a storm during the return voyage and landed in Cambodia. When the Thais captured Angkor Wat in 1432 (following the ravage of the bubonic plague), the Emerald Buddha was taken to Ayutthaya, Kamphaeng Phet, Laos and finally Chiang Rai, where the ruler of the city hid it. Cambodian historians recorded capture of the Buddha statue in their famous Preah Ko Preah Keo legend. However, some art historians describe the Emerald Buddha as belonging to the Chiang Saen Style of the 15th Century AD, which would mean it is actually of Lannathai origin.

Historical sources indicate that the statue surfaced in northern Thailand in the Lannathai kingdom in 1434. One account of its discovery tells that lightning struck a pagoda in a temple in Chiang Rai, after which, something became visible beneath the stucco. The Buddha was dug out, and the people believed the figurine to be made of emerald, hence its name. King Sam Fang Kaen of Lannathai wanted it in his capital, Chiang Mai, but the elephant carrying it insisted, on three separate occasions, on going instead to Lampang. This was taken as a divine sign and the Emerald Buddha stayed in Lampang until 1468, when it was finally moved to Chiang Mai, where it was kept at Wat Chedi Luang.

The Emerald Buddha remained in Chiang Mai until 1552, when it was taken to Luang Prabang, then the capital of the Lao kingdom of Lan Xang. Some years earlier, the crown prince of Lan Xang, Setthathirath, had been invited to occupy the vacant throne of Lannathai. However, Prince Setthathirath also became king of Lan Xang when his father, Photisarath, died. He returned home, taking the revered Buddha figure with him. In 1564, King Setthathirath moved it to his new capital at Vientiane.

In 1779, the Thai General Chao Phraya Chakri put down an insurrection, captured Vientiane and returned the Emerald Buddha to Siam, taking it with him to Thonburi. After he became King Rama I of Thailand, he moved the Emerald Buddha with great ceremony to its current home in Wat Phra Kaew on March 22, 1784. It is now kept in the main building of the temple, the Ubosoth.

For Fred Phelps – May He Rest In Pieces

Hell is where all the fun people go. They won’t let you in Fred. You can go spend e-fuckin-ternity sitting on a cloud strumming a one string harp wearing the same sheet forever and never take a piss because you’re not allowed to touch your dick up there. Your reward for being such a flaming asshole.

Meanwhile in hell they’ll be having a great old time, and fuck you Fred. You can’t come to the party.