Daily Archive: 02/07/2015

Feb 07 2015

Random Japan

 photo ae-4_zps6b076b23.png

 Tokyo art museum to hold exhibition on the links between anime, video games, and Japanese society

 Casey Baseel

Over the past quarter century, manga, anime, and video games have surpassed their former status as nice hobbies. Not only have all three become extremely lucrative industries, they’ve now been such integrated parts of popular youth culture for long enough to have had a significant influence on a large portion of Japan’s adult population, too.

With that in mind, one of Tokyo’s most prestigious art museums has announced an upcoming exhibition that examines the way comics, animation, and games have been affected by, and in turn have affected, Japanese society over the past 25 years.

Feb 07 2015

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s 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

Cauliflower: Marinated, Mashed and Smashed

Cauliflower: Marinated, Mashed and Smashed photo recipehealthwellpromo-tmagArticle_zpse1ef6c84.jpg

Cauliflower is a vegetable that I have no qualms about buying on impulse. It keeps very well in the refrigerator – I have made perfectly good meals using florets I found lingering in my produce drawer that had been there for more than a week. Not that I recommend this approach, but it is good to know that you need not use it up right away, especially when you find large heads weighing anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds.

~ Martha Rose Shulman ~

Basmati Rice Pilaf With Cauliflower, Carrots and Peas

An aromatic pilaf with a nice mix of colors and textures.

Marinated Cauliflower and Carrots With Mint

A simple dish that makes an excellent addition to a buffet.

Cauliflower and Tomato Frittata With Feta

A delicious frittata that works in winter or summer.

Tuna, Cauliflower and White Bean Salad

A delicious, sustaining Mediterranean salad, using a marinade with a kick.

Cauliflower, Potato and Quinoa Patties

A vegan burger seasoned with Indian spices, with Sriracha standing in for ketchup.

Feb 07 2015

The Breakfast Club (CT == Completely True)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgTo begin with, programming wonks know that ‘=’, which is rendered in English simply as ‘equals’, in computer languages can refer to two distinct acts.  The first is that it can assign a value to a variable as in this snippet of C

#include <stdio.h>



  int a;

  for(a=100, a>=0, -7)


     printf(%i", ", a);




Which provides the output-

100, 93, 86, 79, 72, 65, 58, 51, 44, 37, 30, 23, 16, 9, 2

The second is as a test.  Does one thing equate to another?  The answer is either yes or no.  In ‘C’ the way to express this meaning is ‘==’.  Some more code-

#include <stdio.h>



  int a;

  for(a=100, a==0, -7)


     printf(%i", ", a);




Looks mostly the same doesn’t it?  Only changed the one symbol, but because ‘a’ will never have the exact value of 0 the loop will never end until you overflow the limit of your negative integer values (which varies and is not specifically relevant) at which time you will have “unpredictable” results (unpredictable in this case meaning not only probably wrong, but bad in ways that are likely to cause your computer to stop working.

Is any of this relevant?  We shall see.

As I mentioned last week in my discussion of Rimsky-Korsakoff it was a popular theory among many Romantic composers that Mozart was poisoned by Salieri because Salieri, a merely ‘good’ composer, was jealous of Mozart’s ‘Musical Genius’ and offended by his crass personal behavior (a modern re-telling of this can be found in the musical and movie Amadeus).

Oh, those Compton boys.  And now the Barzinis P. Diddy stands and the Teflon Don Gambinos Suge Knight looks destined to spend a long time in stir (told you they were rock stars).

Well, how true is this story?  The modern historical consensus is- not at all.

In the 1780s while Mozart lived and worked in Vienna, he and his father Leopold wrote in their letters that several “cabals” of Italians led by Salieri were actively putting obstacles in the way of Mozart’s obtaining certain posts or staging his operas. For example, Mozart wrote in December 1781 to his father that “the only one who counts in [the Emperor’s] eyes is Salieri”. Their letters suggest that both Mozart and his father, being Germans who resented the special place that Italian composers had in the courts of the Austrian princes, blamed the Italians in general and Salieri in particular for all of Mozart’s difficulties in establishing himself in Vienna. Mozart wrote to his father in May 1783 about Salieri and Lorenzo Da Ponte, the court poet: “You know those Italian gentlemen; they are very nice to your face! Enough, we all know about them. And if [Da Ponte] is in league with Salieri, I’ll never get a text from him, and I would love to show here what I can really do with an Italian opera.” In July 1783 Mozart wrote to his father of “a trick of Salieri’s”, one of several letters in which he accused Salieri of trickery. Decades after Mozart’s death, a rumour began to circulate that Mozart had been poisoned by Salieri. This rumour has been attributed by some to a rivalry between the German and the Italian schools of music.

However, even with Mozart and Salieri being rivals for certain jobs, there is very little evidence that the relationship between the two composers was at all acrimonious beyond this, especially after 1785 or so when Mozart had become established in Vienna. Rather, they appeared to usually see each other as friends and colleagues and supported each other’s work. For example, when Salieri was appointed Kapellmeister in 1788 he revived Figaro instead of bringing out a new opera of his own; and when he went to the coronation festivities for Leopold II in 1790 he had no fewer than three Mozart masses in his luggage. Salieri and Mozart even composed a cantata for voice and piano together, called Per la ricuperata salute di Ophelia… Mozart’s Davide penitente (1785), his Piano Concerto KV 482 (1785), the Clarinet Quintet (1789) and the 40th Symphony (1788) had been premiered on the suggestion of Salieri, who supposedly conducted a performance of it in 1791. In his last surviving letter from 14 October 1791, Mozart tells his wife that he collected Salieri and Caterina Cavalieri in his carriage and drove them both to the opera; about Salieri’s attendance at his opera The Magic Flute, speaking enthusiastically: “He heard and saw with all his attention, and from the overture to the last choir there was not a piece that didn’t elicit a ‘Bravo!’ or ‘Bello!’ out of him.

Salieri, along with Mozart’s protégé J. N. Hummel, educated Mozart’s younger son Franz Xaver Mozart, who was born in the year his father died.

Now you can see why this was an attractive myth to Romantics who were rebelling against what they saw as the strict formalism of Classical Music in favor of a more emotive and evocative expression which was presaged by the music of Mozart.  They saw in him a champion, despised and thwarted by ‘the establishment’ and ultimately martyred to the cause at the hands of its representative.

So what of the ‘evil’ Salieri?

Reasonably popular and relatively wealthy and respected during his lifetime, after the Romantics turned against him his music languished in obscurity, rarely performed until Amadeus revived the long forgotten 19th century canard.  Today it has a certain cachet among Art Music hipsters (and believe me it’s an incredibly Nerdy and Geeky subculture).

Wait- what about the Genius thing?

As Perrine and Arp (.pdf) put it in Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry

The attempt to evaluate a poem should never be made before it is understood; and, unless you have developed the capacity to feel some poetry deeply, any judgments you make will be worthless. A person who likes no wines can hardly be a judge of them. The ability to make judgments, to discriminate between good and bad, great and good, good and half-good, is surely a primary object of all liberal education, and one’s appreciation of poetry is incomplete unless it includes discrimination. Of the mass of verse that appears each year in print, as of all literature, most is “flat, stale, and unprofitable”; a very, very little is of any enduring value.

Great poetry engages the whole man in his response- senses, imagination, emotion, intellect; it does not touch him on just one or two sides of his nature. Great poetry seeks not merely to entertain the reader but to bring him, along with pure pleasure, fresh insights, or renewed insights, and important insights, into the nature of human experience. Great poetry, we might say, gives its reader a broader and deeper understanding of life, of his fellow men and of himself, always with the qualification, of course, that the kind of insight which literature gives is not necessarily the kind that can be summed up in a simple “lesson” or “moral.” It is knowledge–felt knowledge, new knowledge–of the complexities of human nature and of the tragedies and sufferings, the excitements and joys, that characterize human experience.

You tell me, which is better-

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend

Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

I, like an usurp’d town to another due,

Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;

Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,

But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,

But am betroth’d unto your enemy;

Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.


Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Or this-

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away”

As I mentioned, performances of Salieri’s work are hard to find, but to give him the best possible chance and most direct comparison I found a performance of his 2nd Symphony (he didn’t do that many and was more a sacred, choral, opera composer) that is not too bad.  He composed it in his mid to late 20s.

Mozart’s numbers are all screwed up with many Symphonies attributed to him actually pieces of his father’s or mere musical sketches with fragmentary orchestration composed while he was but a boy (though child prodigy was his stock in trade).  This is Symphony No. 29 composed solely by him when he was 18 years old in 1774.

So, relevant or not?  What is truth?  Beauty?  Or just a changing law?  Must we have truths?  Are mine the same as yours?

I wash my hands (unlike Thom Tillis).

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

Feb 07 2015

On Pope Francis

I feel the need to write about the Pope tonight. I’ve been in a couple of debates lately about him and I want to expand on how I see him.

First, let me say I have big differences with Pope Francis. I don’t like that he is still against marriage, civil unions, and adoption for my LGBT friends. I don’t like the free speech quip he gave in the wake of Charlie Hebdo, though with that, I think he was meaning we should be careful of our speech, but that’s neither here nor there; he could’ve meant we shouldn’t have it. I don’t like that he is still against any contraception save for the rhythm method. I don’t like that he didn’t do an en masse opening of files to hold all priests accountable that were in the child molestation scandal. I don’t like that he is not quite warm to considering women for priesthood. And I don’t like that he is not fully on board with the Nuns on the Bus. There are other things too, I just can’t think of them off the top of my head.

I’m a liberal, a big leftie left leftist, to be honest, so really I didn’t expect to like the Pope much, if at all. In my lifetime, we’ve never had a Pope that was even close to saying much of anything that in my opinion could help the people of the world. I was raised Catholic, and the Popes have always been hardline dogmatists, and what with my heretical beliefs, what they said never held much water with me. And like me, there are a ton of us liberals (at least post John XXIII) who’ve never really liked a Pope, and who aren’t likely to like this one, save for a Pope who effects wholesale change of most or all of the faults of Church dogma.

To many of my fellow lefties’ chagrin, I look at this particular Pope a little differently. It’s definitely not that I forgive him for those things that I don’t like about him; forgiveness of that would require forgiveness of also the Church, and unless things change in the dogma, that isn’t going to happen. And yes, I know we are supposed to strive to forgive, but I am not close to that point yet; I am only – and very – human. This brings me to the point about how I feel about this Pope.