Daily Archive: 05/31/2014

May 31 2014

Random Japan

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Love sushi? Now you can date it, with this romance simulator available in English!

   Casey Baseel

Since most sushi is served raw, the flavor can vary wildly depending on the freshness of the fish and even the season in which you eat it. Granted, most of what’s available in Japan is reasonably tasty, but when all the factors line up just right, the mix of surprise, joy, and satisfaction that come from popping a really good piece of sushi into your mouth can be a borderline emotional experience, almost like falling in love.

If you’re a sushi-loving lady looking to take your relationship with the dish to an even deeper level, there’s now a dating simulator that lets you romance handsome anthropomorphized pieces of sushi.

The game, titled Hei! Renai Iccho!, which translates as Here You Go! One Order of Romance, was released for smartphones on May 28. Players take the role of a young woman who’s the only child of a sushi chef. When her father suddenly accepts a temporary overseas job offer, she’s left to run the family restaurant by herself, since, like all proper anime/video game characters, her mother isn’t in the picture.

May 31 2014

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

Grilled Cheese for Grownups

Grilled Cheese for Grownups photo recipehealthpromo-tmagArticle_zpse4603dbd.jpg

On these nights I don’t want to get down another frying pan or saucepan. I crave a sandwich, and I turn lovingly to my toaster oven. I rummage in the refrigerator – there is always something, like greens I’ve blanched, a roasted red pepper, a box of mushrooms that are beginning to shrivel, or a hunk of butternut squash left over from another recipe test. I try to keep my refrigerator stocked with a few different cheeses – goat cheese and feta, a blue of some kind, Gruyère and Parmesan. This year, because my son went away to boarding school and I can’t go through a loaf of bread before it goes stale, I’ve begun to keep loaves of sliced whole-wheat country bread in the freezer, so that I can pull it out by the slice when I need it.

~Martha Rosle Shuman~

Roasted Mushroom and Gruyère Sandwich

Mushrooms add a somewhat meaty essence to this quick vegetarian sandwich.

Grilled Gorgonzola and Beet Green Sandwich

A satisfying dinner that can be put together in 10 minutes.

Grilled Feta and Roasted Squash Sandwich

The sweet and earthy flavors of roasted squash are a tasty contrast to salty feta.

]Grilled Goat Cheese and Broccoli Sandwich http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05…

The Middle Eastern nut and spice mix called dukkah is the surprise touch in this sandwich.

Grilled Goat Cheese, Roasted Pepper, and Greens Sandwich

Roasted artichoke hearts are an optional addition to this vegetable-filled sandwich.

May 31 2014

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

New York Times Editorial Board: Mr. Shinseki Takes the Fall

The resignation of Secretary Eric Shinseki from the Veterans Affairs Department was probably unavoidable, under the principle that a leader should accept full responsibility for a great scandal. But the department’s problem was not Mr. Shinseki. It has been broken for years. No one should expect his removal to be anything but the beginning of a much-needed process of change.

Time now to tune out the noise from the lawmakers who lately have been baying for Mr. Shinseki’s head. No doubt they will keep heaping abuse on President Obama, on the campaign trail, and at the hearings for whoever is nominated as Mr. Shinseki’s replacement. Empty posturing in support of troops and veterans is a staple of political life, and is far easier than actually helping veterans.

This should not distract anyone from the long list of things that need doing at Veterans Affairs.

Bob Kohn: How Book Publishers Can Beat Amazon

Amazon has caused no small controversy of late by refusing to accept presale orders on books to be released by the publisher Hachette and by understocking Hachette’s titles. These punitive maneuvers, which follow a dispute between Amazon and Hachette about e-book contracts, have led to significant delays in shipments of Hachette’s books to Amazon’s customers.

If you are wondering why Amazon would subject its customers to this inconvenience and wish to understand what’s really happening between Amazon and Hachette – and, indeed, all the major book publishers – you need to know the meaning of the word monopsony.

The Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, when sitting on a lower court, once described monopsony as the “mirror image” of monopoly. Unlike a monopoly, which occurs when a seller of goods has the power to unlawfully raise prices of what it sells, a monopsony occurs when a buyer of goods has the power to unlawfully lower the prices of what it buys. Each violates antitrust laws: As the Supreme Court has long recognized, they both result in a misallocation of resources that harms consumers and distorts markets.

Juan Cole: Mr. Kerry: Here’s Why Snowden Can’t ‘Make His Case’ in ‘Our System of Justice’

Secretary of State John Kerry said that Edward Snowden should “return home and come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case.”  Kerry seems to have a high opinion of the Department of Justice and the U.S. courts when it comes to national security issues.  I can’t imagine for the life of me why.  Kerry is either amazingly ignorant or being disingenuous when he suggests that Snowden would be allowed to “make his case” if he returned to the U.S.  No one outside the penal justice system would ever see him again, the moment he set foot here, assuming he was not given a prior deal.  He could maybe try to explain himself to the prison guards, assuming they didn’t stick him in solitary.  Here are some reasons Mr. Snowden would be unwise to trust himself to that system, given the charges against him: [..]

Kerry is a bright and informed man and knows all this.  I vote for disingenuous.  He is just trying to deflect Snowden’s obvious popularity with the public and is trying desperately to keep the NSA warrantless dragnet on us all in place.  I remember when he compared the U.S. military in Vietnam to the Mongol hordes.  He should take off those big black expensive shiny shoes once in a while.  He’d find feet of clay there now.

Danny Schechter: Where Is the American Spring? (or Sunshine on a Cloudy Day: A Screed)

Where are you, Temptations, when I need you most? [..]

The month of May is here and will soon be gone, with a May winter every other day here in New York following every occasional outbreak of seasonal warmth. We know the planet is warming, but I have yet to feel it with any regularity in my neighborhood.

Worse that that, the cold outside is not just the zigzagging temperatures, but the sense that we are stuck in a political Ice Age where change of the kind that we will soon be discussing, again and again, ad finitem, at yet another Left forum is more remote than ever. While the Left talks, the Right mobilizes, certainly in Europe, save austerity-devastated Greece. [..]

Here, the Tea Party wing nuts have all but conquered the Repugs, bolstered by new court rulings that allow their funders to buy what’s still on sale in our political oligarchy in this Republic of Fear.

The Obamanauts are done. They can’t steer the ship of state. They are even website-challenged and health care-damaged. Their Ukraine adventure boomeranged, leaving only half a country that needs to render unto Putin more than chocolate. They have driven the bear into his own China pivot, far more lucrative than ours, with warning bells now ringing on every front as the president still yearns for an American “exceptionalism” that is anything but, if not a mirage.

Their co-optation was a willing one, part of the game, and no longer even apologized for. Forget the Hopium. There is always a threat from the right to justify their moving right.

Who, among us, still has illusions?

Robert Parry: Obama’s Neoconservative Foreign Policy Vision

As American neocons continue to shape the narratives that define the permissible boundaries for U.S. foreign policy thinking, the failure to enforce any meaningful accountability on them for their role in the criminal and disastrous invasion of Iraq has become painfully clear.

In any vibrant democratic system, it would be unthinkable that the neocons and other war hawks who yahooed the United States into Iraq a little more than a decade ago would still be exercising control over how Americans perceive today’s events. Yet, many of the exact same pundits and pols who misled the American people then are still misleading them today. [..]

Thus, we’re stuck reading the Washington Post’s deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl reinforce the myth that the Ukraine crisis was caused by “the aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” when the reality is that it was the United States and the European Union that stirred up the unrest and set the stage for neo-Nazi militias to overthrow elected President Viktor Yanukovych and plunge the country into a nasty little civil war.

Yet, you’re not supposed to know that. Anyone who dares explain the actual narrative of what happened in Ukraine is immediately accused of spreading “Russian propaganda.” The preferred U.S. narrative of white-hat “pro-democracy” protesters victimized by black-hat villain Yanukovych with the help of the even more villainous Vladimir Putin is so much more fun. It lets Americans cheer as ethnic Russians in the east are burned alive by neo-Nazi mobs and mowed down by Ukrainian military aircraft.

Mark Weisbrot: IMF’s Insistence on Economic Austerity Could Derail Ukraine’s Chance of Survival

On May 25, the “Chocolate King” handily won the Ukrainian presidential elections in the first round.

Billionaire Petro O. Poroshenko is so named because he made his fortune in the confectionary business. The defeated runner-up, former prime minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko is sometimes referred to as “the Gas Princess,” since she struck it rich in the energy sector. [..]

Which brings us to today: the new government of the Chocolate King is committed to those same conditions, now spelled out in an IMF agreement released at the end of April. I would not want to be in his shoes.

After two years of almost no economic growth, the IMF is now projecting a steep recession for this year, with the economy shrinking by 5 percent. This is largely because of budget tightening that the government has committed to, amounting to about 3 percent of GDP over the next two years.

May 31 2014

The Breakfast Club (Torchwood)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgBonus points today if you can find the connection between Captain Jack and Sebastian but I’ll distract you further with a brief explanation of why I hate fiddles unless properly prepared.

Fretless instruments of doom, not only do they have no indication that you have struck the correct note but are weak and worthless individually which is why they are deployed in wide platoons across the entire face of an orchestra to be sacrificed to the crowd.  Indeed the most desirable of them are those that screech the loudest.  Their ‘harmony’ is an early example of ‘noise music’ or ‘sampling’ where the overall effect overcomes the non-musical qualities of the source made more difficult by the employment of a Bow more suited to starting fires.

Get a Guitar.

Yet for some reason I can’t fathom they remain enormously popular and many, many works for more reasonable instruments (don’t like rigidity of valves, try a trombone) are simply transcriptions.

Oh, the puzzle.  Sonata #1.

Adagio and Fuga

Siciliana and Presto

If you really like scraping cat guts, here’s two hours of it

Obligatory stuff below the fold-

May 31 2014

On This Day In History May 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.

Click on image to enlarge

May 31 is the 151st day of the year (152nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 214 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1859, Big Ben goes into operation in London

The famous tower clock known as Big Ben, located at the top of the 320-foot-high St. Stephen’s Tower, rings out over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, for the first time on this day in 1859.

After a fire destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster–the headquarters of the British Parliament–in October 1834, a standout feature of the design for the new palace was a large clock atop a tower. The royal astronomer, Sir George Airy, wanted the clock to have pinpoint accuracy, including twice-a-day checks with the Royal Greenwich Observatory. While many clockmakers dismissed this goal as impossible, Airy counted on the help of Edmund Beckett Denison, a formidable barrister known for his expertise in horology, or the science of measuring time.

Denison’s design, built by the company E.J. Dent & Co., was completed in 1854; five years later, St. Stephen’s Tower itself was finished. Weighing in at more than 13 tons, its massive bell was dragged to the tower through the streets of London by a team of 16 horses, to the cheers of onlookers. Once it was installed, Big Ben struck its first chimes on May 31, 1859. Just two months later, however, the heavy striker designed by Denison cracked the bell. Three more years passed before a lighter hammer was added and the clock went into service again. The bell was rotated so that the hammer would strike another surface, but the crack was never repaired.

Great Bell

The main bell, officially known as the Great Bell, is the largest bell in the tower and part of the Great Clock of Westminster. The bell is better known by the nickname Big Ben.

The original bell was a 16.3-tonne (16 ton) hour bell, cast on 6 August 1856 in Stockton-on-Tees by John Warner & Sons. The bell was named in honour of Sir Benjamin Hall, and his name is inscribed on it. However, another theory for the origin of the name is that the bell may have been named after a contemporary heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt. It is thought that the bell was originally to be called Victoria or Royal Victoria in honour of Queen Victoria, but that an MP suggested the nickname during a Parliamentary debate; the comment is not recorded in Hansard.

Since the tower was not yet finished, the bell was mounted in New Palace Yard. Cast in 1856, the first bell was transported to the tower on a trolley drawn by sixteen horses, with crowds cheering its progress. Unfortunately, it cracked beyond repair while being tested and a replacement had to be made. The bell was recast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a 13.76-tonne (13 1/2 ton) bell. This was pulled 200 ft up to the Clock Tower’s belfry, a feat that took 18 hours. It is 2.2 metres tall and 2.9 metres wide. This new bell first chimed in July 1859. In September it too cracked under the hammer, a mere two months after it officially went into service. According to the foundry’s manager, George Mears, Denison had used a hammer more than twice the maximum weight specified. For three years Big Ben was taken out of commission and the hours were struck on the lowest of the quarter bells until it was reinstalled. To make the repair, a square piece of metal was chipped out from the rim around the crack, and the bell given an eighth of a turn so the new hammer struck in a different place. Big Ben has chimed with an odd twang ever since and is still in use today complete with the crack. At the time of its casting, Big Ben was the largest bell in the British Isles until “Great Paul”, a 17 tonne (16 3/4 ton) bell currently hung in St Paul’s Cathedral, was cast in 1881.