02/01/2015 archive

Super Bowl XLIX



Look, the Patsies cheat.  But, like the weather and the officiating you just have to suck it up and deal with that or you can try a gentler hobby like crochet where the needle is blunt and there’s only the one.  Now maybe you need another reason to hate on the Patsies but this one does it for me.  What I don’t get is the number of my friends in the Hartford area (and let’s face it, Connecticut is all the Hartford Area, it’s just not that big a state) who still root for them.  Almost makes me want to be a Jets fan except I already have a masochistic affection (Let’s go Mets!  Pitchers and Catchers February 19th in Port St. Lucie).

That said, the Patsies are probably the best team in the NFL.  Can they be beaten?  Sure.  Can the Seahawks do it?

Well, maybe.  They did shut down Aaron Rodgers who was just named MVP.  Currently the game is a tossup on the line with many bettors wagering that the Seahawks defense can shut down Brady too.  Me, I have lingering resentment over the Conference Title and Wilson can’t be throwing INTs like he did two weeks ago.

For me the tipper is Carroll coming out green.  What up?  Didn’t you see North Dallas Forty?

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: The Mouse Has Roared – Greece post-Elections by NY Brit Expat

The Greeks have said enough! Hope has defeated fear and SYRIZA has won the election and have beaten New Democracy and the fear-mongers, as expected.  This is a major victory for anti-austerity forces which could change the economic and political landscapes.

However, they did not win an outright majority (they were short 2 seats) and were forced into coalition with a right-wing, nationalist (pro-Greek Orthodox) anti-austerity party, the Independent Greeks (referred to as ANEL from now on).  

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Irrespective of this, we do have quite a lot to celebrate! The election of SYRIZA is a shot directly across the bow of neoliberalism and its flagship of ideas, aka as the austerity project. The European ruling class (which includes mainstream political leaders) are a wee bit shaken especially Germany.  Whether or not the Troika is forced to negotiate the debt successfully, this is a victory and it is forcing the ruling class in Europe to take stock over whether austerity (and destroying the working class) is more important than the EU project. The stakes are literally that high!  

Puppy Bowl XI

It’s that time of year again when all remotes turn to…

Animal Planet for Puppy Bowl XI of course (aw, who’s a cute little puppy.  Why you are.  Yes you are.).

Ok, you can stop making kissy faces and talking baby talk (though I don’t know why they call it baby talk, babies never talk that way) because I have deadly serious fake news to report.  It seems that Meep The Bird, your courageous sideline tweet commentator (@MeepTheBird), is being sued by Disney over the intellectual property rights to the name Meep.  Disney’s contention is that is that ‘Meep’, the cute blogging bird, infringes on it’s trademarked Phineas and Ferb character Meap, the cute alien Galactic Peacekeeper.  It is speculated that Matt Groening and Faux will soon join the battle on behalf of their Futurama character, Nibbler, who looks cute but is actually a voracious carnivore of an ancient alien species that poops dark matter and is locked in an eternal struggle with giant flying brains.  The case is likely to be resolved in one of the TPP/TTIP Investor-State Dispute Settlement courts.

Remember- I only report the most scurrilous rumors.

Though it’s also on continuous repeat until 5 am tomorrow.  There will be over 55 puppy participants-

Team Ruff Team Fluff
Aaron Boxer mix Aria Labrador Retriever mix
Bailey Labrador Retriever Blue Schnauzer Poodle mix
Sniffles Shih Tzu Boomer German Shepard mix
Cara Shih Tzu Bowser Pekingese mix
Cheyenne Chihuahua mix Bryan Adams Labrador Retriever mix
Chicklet Australian Shepard mix Bubba Chihuahua mix
Crimson Jack Russell Terrier mix Coveia Australian Cattledog Mix
Donnie German Shepard Mix Enzo Yorkshire Terrier
Dougie Labrador Retriever mix Falcor Clumber Spaniel
Drew Carey Cocker Spaniel Faulkner Great Pyrenees mix
Freckles Hound mix Henry English Springer Spaniel mix
Fritz Mini Schnauzer Kiaria Japanese Chin
Hemingway Great Pyrenees mix Lance Terrier mix
Izzy Australian Shepard mix Lee Boxer mix
Jamison Pit Bull Terrier mix Lewis Shar Pei
Keno Terrier mix Lorelai Maltese Poodle mix
Kojak Beagle mix Marley Labrador Retriever mix
Maggie Beagle mix Penelope Pug
Maxwell Labrador Retriever mix Pudge Chihuahua mix
Miss. Martian Coonhound mix Scarlet Doberman Pinscher
Mr. Fantastic Terrier mix Starlight Labrador Retriever mix
Oscar Marcus Shih Tzu mix Steve Chihuahua mix
Panda Pomeranian Titan American Bulldog
Papi Corgi mix Zane Corgi mix
Pepper Boston Terrier mix
Roscoe Labrador Retriever mix
Rosie Havanese
Sassy Mini Poodle mix
Savannah Shih Tzu
Smudge Havanese mix
USS Maloy Australian Shepard mix

All have already been adopted, but there are plenty more.

Bissel Kitty Halftime Show!

Over 20 Kitties, led in a mesmerizing display of kitty cuteness by Katty Furry.  International Business Times

TMZ reports that her getup was created by a famous pet clothing designer who is also known to have worked with socialite Paris Hilton’s pampered pets.

As if you needed more there are also Nigerian Dwarf Goat cheerleaders!

The big difference this year is that they’ll be dividing the puppies into teams making for a truly competitive (and wagerable) sport.

So get your awwww… faces on and couch potato the next 2 hours of insufferable adorableness.

On This Day In History February 1

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 1 is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 333 days remaining until the end of the year (334 in leap years).

On this day in 1896, the opera La Bohème receives its premiere in Turin.

La Bohème is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La Bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then La Bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas internationally. According to Opera America, it is the second most frequently performed opera in the United States, just behind another Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly. In 1946, fifty years after the opera’s premiere, Toscanini conducted a performance of it on radio with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. This performance was eventually released on records and on Compact Disc. It is the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductor.

Origin of the story

According to its title page, the libretto of La bohème is based on Henri Murger‘s novel, Scènes de la vie de bohème, a collection of vignettes portraying young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. Although usually called a novel, it has no unified plot. Like the 1849 play by Murger and Thèodore Barrière, the opera’s libretto focuses on the relationship between Rodolfo and Mimi, ending with her death. Also like the play, the libretto combines two characters from the novel, Mimi and Francine, into a single Mimi character.

Much of the libretto is original. The main plots of acts two and three are the librettists’ invention, with only a few passing references to incidents and characters in Murger. Most of acts one and four follow the novel, piecing together episodes from various chapters. The final scenes in acts one and four, the scenes with Rodolfo and Mimi, resemble both the play and the novel. The story of their meeting closely follows chapter 18 of the novel, in which the two lovers living in the garret are not Rodolphe and Mimi at all, but rather Jacques and Francine. The story of Mimi’s death in the opera draws from two different chapters in the novel, one relating Francine’s death and the other relating Mimi’s.

The published libretto includes a note from the librettists briefly discussing their adaptation. Without mentioning the play directly, they defend their conflation of Francine and Mimi into a single character: “Chi puo non confondere nel delicato profilo di una sola donna quelli di Mimi e di Francine?” (“Who cannot detect in the delicate profile of one woman the personality both of Mimi and of Francine?”) At the time, the novel was in the public domain, Murger having died without heirs, but rights to the play were still controlled by Barrière’s heirs.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guest for this Sunday’s “This Week” is Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI).

The roundtable guests are: Matthew Dowd, ESPN columnist; CNN contributor LZ Granderson; PBS “NewsHour” co-host Gwen Ifill; and National Review editor Rich Lowry.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC); Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL); and former Secretary of State James Baker.

His panel guests are: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal; Mark Leibovich, New York Times Magazine; CBS News Political Director John Dickerson;, former Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter; and Republican strategist Phil Musser.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on “MTP” are; Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; Leonard Marshall, former NFL Player; and DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director, NFL Players Association.

The panel guests are: Savannah Guthrie, Co-Anchor, TODAY; Mark Halperin, Bloomberg Politics; Jim Cramer, CNBC’s Mad Money; and Kathleen Parker, Washington Post.  

State of the Union: Dana Bash is this week’s host. Her guest are Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Mike Huckabee; Rachel Nichols and NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann.

Her panel guests are Dan Balz, Kevin Madden and Donna Brazile.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

ISIS: Japanese hostage beheaded


By Steve Almasy, CNN

Updated 0255 GMT (1055 HKT) February 1, 2015

A newly distributed ISIS release appears to show the decapitated body of captive Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, after an English-language lecture is given by masked ISIS member “Jihadi John” to the people of Japan.

The video, 67 seconds long, was released Saturday as others before it, by ISIS media wing Al Furqan Media, and cannot be authenticated by CNN.

“We are deeply saddened by this despicable and horrendous act of terrorism and we denounce it in the strongest terms,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in Tokyo, according to broadcaster NHK. “To the terrorists, we will never, never forgive them for this act.”

Sunday’s Headlines:

Blogger takes on Mexico’s drug gangs by publishing vital news on the latest shootouts, abductions and cartel roadblocks

Showdown looms for Beijing and Hong Kong

Palestinians in Syria cut off from aid once more

Why Paris terrorist wore a GoPro

The Swedish Schindler who disappeared

The Breakfast Club (Halftime Show)

It’s Throwball’s Superb Owl Sunday!

Now some folks watch for the super expensive commercials. But it was always all about the halftime show as far as most of my friends were concerned. At the beginning of the third quarter we’d drag ourselves back up into the stands and start to chant  Let’s Go Home! Let’s Go Home! Let’s Go Home! Sadly, the football coach thought we were cheering for the home team.

These days when I’m looking to indulge in the spectacle of spectating athletic puppies and kittens, or the Bowl of Super Bread and circuses, I know I’ll find a welcoming home at the live blogging party at the park.

Halftime Show Warm Up Tune:  I Kissed a Girl , A Katy Perry Banjo Cover by Susan Elizabeth

Whatever you do, don’t google wardrobe malfunctions to check the spelling.

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast History, News & Blogs Below

The Third Battle of Ypres

Lasting from July to November of 1917 this battle (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele) cost nearly a Million lives on both sides of the conflict.

Among Allied critics the argument is made that the objectives were too limited (capture of some ridges controlling a supply line), premature in the face of United States Expeditionary Force deployment, the tactics limited and antiquated, and the price too costly in resources that could have been diverted to other fronts (the Battle of Caporetto for instance).

Among German critics it exposed Ludendorff as a commander of limited skill and little imagination and it was objectively a tactical loss.

Allied apologists claim it blunted German offensive capabilities in the critical year of 1917 and diverted German resources from the Eastern Front which eventually collapsed anyway due to the Russian Revolution.

German ones point out the Germans held long enough to ensure that collapse and the transfer of resources West to enable the Ludendorff Offensive of 1918 (which failed).

It is possible that The Great War could have come to an ultimate decision ending in Allied victory without United States intervention.  The British blockade was just as stifling as it had been against Napoleon a century earlier and the German Army after the failure of a reinforced Ludendorff no more resolute than the French (among which there was spreading mutiny).  What would likely not have happened is a settlement as punitive as the Treaty of Versailles which led, ultimately, to the ascendancy of Hitler and the Second World War.

So, lives wisely spent or not?  Or are you with Chairman Mao who said when asked if the invention of fire had been good for the Chinese people- ‘Too soon to tell’?