Daily Archive: 08/29/2015

Aug 29 2015

Random Japan

 photo gtadoreamon_zps8tfeknlg.jpg

Fans are raving over this amazing Doraemon x Grand Theft Auto V crossover

Many of Japan’s classic anime series have managed to engage young viewers from one generation to the next. Perhaps one of the most famous examples is Doraemon, which keeps gaining more viewers the longer it runs. Since its hit television adaptation in 1979, the series has slowly taken the world by storm, finally reaching English-speaking audiences last summer after a partnership with Disney.

That said, in over 30 years few changes have been made to the original series, with its characters never having to grow up like the rest of us. As viewers got older, many of them started wondering what kind of teenagers and adults the original cast would have become. Some of the franchise’s movies, along with a commercial series by Toyota featuring Jean Reno as Doraemon, have set out to answer a few of these questions, but what about fans who didn’t imagine a future quite so bright? It seems the only answer would require illustrating it on your own, which is exactly what one artist did when he decided to reinvent the main cast as characters from video game smash Grand Theft Auto.

Aug 29 2015

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from 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

Robert Greenwald: Is Wyden on the Path to War?

Efraim Halevy, former director of the Mossad (Israel’s Central Intelligence Agency), recently spoke out about the deal with Iran: “What is the point of canceling an agreement that distances Iran from the bomb?” That is the exact question that many American’s are asking as Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) holds out on supporting the Iran deal until he talks to some of his friends. That’s right. Some of his friends. The 29 world renowned scientists, the diplomats, even the Israeli leaders were not enough to convince Wyden and others. At a recent engagement, he outwardly spoke out against it. Many of his statements can be seen in our new film, Is Wyden on the Path to War?.

Senator Wyden is not the first politician, or Democrat for that matter, to take issue with the Iran Deal. Like many dissenters, Wyden is scared that lifting sanctions on Iran would cause them to be a more economically viable power, that the deal is not invasive enough, and fears that Iran may “cheat”.

While all of these may seem like viable questions, no one has a BETTER strategy for securing a deal. And as international diplomats and former generals agree, some deal is better than no deal; an America with no deal is completely vulnerable. An America who launches into a military assault is at war. The country is absolutely safer with this deal. As with any negotiations, lifting sanctions is some of the “give” in a give and take. Though many neo-cons and opposition would like to portray strong negotiations as those that compromise nothing, the truth is that is not negotiation. Reagan lifted sanctions from Russia. Bush lifted sanctions from South Korea. There MUST be something that gives Iran incentive to join this deal.

Jessica Valenti: No, the anti-choice movement doesn’t care about sexism, racism or ableism

A strange thing has been happening to the anti-choice movement. Suddenly activists and legislators that oppose abortion care about sexism, racism and ableism. Well, not really – but they’re working really hard to convince us that they do.

A new bill in Ohio would make it illegal for a woman to end her pregnancy because a prenatal diagnosis indicates the fetus has Down syndrome. Republican Representative Sarah LaTourette – one of the bill’s sponsors – said: “this isn’t an issue about abortion – it’s an issue of discrimination.” President of Ohio Right to Life Mike Gonidakis told The New York Times: “Pretty soon, we’re going to find the gene for autism. Are we going to abort for that, too?”

This anti-discrimination rhetoric that’s become so common among anti-choice legislators and activists lately is just the most recent stop in the movement’s evolution towards a more mainstream-friendly image. Once known for calling women ‘murderers’, those who oppose abortion are now using feminist and anti-racist language, saying that women “deserve better” than abortion and trying to co-opt #BlackLivesMatter for their own purposes. (The anti-choice movement also has a history of erecting billboards claiming that abortion is racist, a tactic that women of color working for reproductive justice have widely criticized.)

Jim Hightower: CEOs Call for Wage Increases for Workers! What’s the Catch?

Peter Georgescu has a message he wants America’s corporate and political elites to hear: “I’m scared,” he said in a recent New York Times opinion piece.

He adds that Paul Tudor Jones is scared, too, as is Ken Langone. And they are trying to get the Powers That Be to pay attention to their urgent concerns. But wait-these three are Powers That Be. Georgescu is former head of Young & Rubicam, one of the world’s largest PR and advertising firms; Jones is a quadruple-billionaire and hedge fund operator; and Langone is a founder of Home Depot.

What is scaring the pants off these powerful peers of the corporate plutocracy? Inequality. Yes, amazingly, these actual occupiers of Wall Street say they share Occupy Wall Street’s critical analysis of America’s widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us. “We are creating a caste system from which it’s almost impossible to escape,” Georgescu wrote, not only trapping the poor, but also “those on the higher end of the middle class.” He issued a clarion call for his corporate peers to reverse the dangerous and ever-widening gulf of income inequality in our country by increasing the paychecks of America’s workaday majority. “We business leaders know what to do. But do we have the will to do it? Are we willing to control the excessive greed so prevalent in our culture today and divert resources to better education and the creation of more opportunity?”

Iain Overton: Europe has questions to answer over America’s gun crime

And so it goes; another week of bloody headlines about American gun shootings.

It’s something we have long come to expect. According to FBI data , in 2013 8,454 people were shot and murdered in the United States – just under 70% of all homicides. The same year the CDC reported that 21,175 people shot and killed themselves.

These figures, though, seem to have lost their power to surprise. In a country where guns are ubiquitous, and the right to bear arms is firmly enshrined in its constitution – there are 310 million guns in circulation – American gun violence seems inevitable.

It is a situation that causes many to resign themselves to the thought that nothing meaningful can ever be done. And when any European dares to raise the idea of US gun control, they are told to go take a hike. [..]

The truth is that some of the biggest gun companies in Europe – Beretta, Heckler & Koch, FN Herstal – all rely heavily on the US as a core market. Austria’s leading handgun manufacturer, Glock, boasts that about 65% of America’s police departments put one of their pistols “between them and a problem”.

Knowing this, the question we should perhaps be asking ourselves is, should European gun companies be exporting to the US?

Caroline Conrad: Canada’s prime minister wants to make it harder for people to vote against him

Acclaimed Canadian author Margaret Atwood faced censorship in the national press late last week for her satirical take on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s hair. It might have been a rather amusing episode if it wasn’t symptomatic of darker, Orwellian trends that have marked Harper’s nine years in office.

Stephen Marche’s article in the New York Times mid-month does an excellent job of summarizing how Harper has pulled tight the reins of power, stifled criticism and eroded the freedoms of Canadians. But it is in the prime minister’s assaults on the most fundamental of democratic acts, a citizen’s right to vote, that Harper’s lust for control finds its most disturbing outlet.

Not confident of winning re-election on merit in October, he’s pushed through a series of legal changes spearheaded by the perversely named Fair Elections Act. Harper’s front man for the task, the aptly titled democratic reform minister, Pierre Poilievre, brushed off critics, claiming the changes are “common sense“. But it’s more likely that, after winning by an uncomfortably small margin in the last election and, after nine years, having the distinct honor of the lowest job creation numbers since World War II and least economic growth since the 1960s, Harper is making sure potential naysayers have a harder time accessing the polls.

Lawrence Lessig: On ‘Dumbing Down’ the Democratic Debate

There are two stories about why Washington doesn’t work. One blames a corrupted process. The other blames Republicans.

Corrupted process sorts point to the grotesque inequality that has developed within our political system — an inequality that makes Congress ripe for capture by special interests, by giving the funders of campaigns unprecedented power. Four hundred families, the New York Times reports, have given half the money that has been raised in this election cycle so far. That extraordinary concentration makes it trivially easy to block reform of every sort, as candidates for every office bend over backwards to please their funders.

Anti-Republicans have a simpler story. The problem with our democracy, these sorts have it, is that we have badly behaving Republicans. Nothing can happen because Republicans block everything. Nothing can happen sensibly because Republicans have become so incredibly extreme. If only we could ban the party, or at least defeat enough of them, government just might work. But until we do — or until they grow up — nothing sane can happen.

Aug 29 2015

The Breakfast Club (Traveling Music)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgOne of the things about traveling is that a lot of your time is taken up by- well, traveling.

If you have a job in a cubicle or on a line and your input is just another unit of labor this is not usually a hardship as your temporary replacement will generally handle the routine minutia and while you may find a big pile of “too difficult” waiting on your return at least it’s not a huge backlog of EVERYTHING!

As a photon artist, particularly one working in the ephemeral field of politics, policy, news, and cultural criticism that I do, for many years I rarely left my desk for more than 12 or 18 hours in a row and all my other ambitions had to be accomplished in that time frame.

The tyrany of deadlines.

Now, upon advice from my therapist and others, I have adopted a more relaxed attitude though each mark missed still evokes torrents of self recrimination.

Yesterday was such a day.  I was up at the crack of dawn (which is still cracking pretty early where I am), wrote 2 pieces, and set up the page.  I spent the rest of the day (all 16 hours or so) traveling and visiting.  Was it fun?  Sure, but last night while I was busy not sleeping all I could think about was the fact I’d forgotten to put up a Cartnoon.

I’ll bet you didn’t even notice.

But that’s my craziness.  It puts me in mind though, that in times not so long ago people would disappear for months (or 10 years in the case of Odysseus) and literally sail off the end of the Earth (did I mention I had no cell service?).

Today’s Art Music is mostly about such a person, Sinbad, who not only did that, but did it repeatedly.  The stories of his travels to distant and fantastic lands make up a large part of 1001 Nights, a collection of Arabian folk tales initially translated by Sir Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor) who is also remembered as one of the group searching for the source of the Nile and as the first Westerner to visit Mecca.

The conceit of the Arabian Nights is that some Muckety-Muck has the habit of marrying women, spending the night with them, and then executing them in the morning.  Scheherazade is selected for this dubious distinction but rather than amorously seduce she tells stories whose cliff hanger dawn breaks led the Muckety-Muck to postpone her disposal for 1001 days at the end of which he pretty much gives up and decides to keep her around.

Needless to say this plot is a long time favorite of writers who can only aspire to be as enthralling as Scheherazade.

In 1888 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a member of ‘The Five’ (most influential mid-Romantic Russian composers) was at work finishing up Prince Igor, an opera by his good friend Alexander Borodin (also a member of ‘The Five’) who had just died.

Perhaps for relief from this grim task he composed Scheherazade as a symphonic poem.  No, I don’t really know the difference a symphonic poem and a symphony except these Romantics were constantly striving for pure emotional effects, structurally they’re virtually the same with 4 movements in different time signatures.

It’s a still a big hit with Figure Skaters and the Santa Clara Vanguard featured it in both their 2004 and 2014 shows.

What?  Not into DCI?  Oh well, here’s the orchestra version- Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival 2005.

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

Aug 29 2015

On This Day In History August 29

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

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

August 29 is the 241st day of the year (242nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 124 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1533, the 300 year old Inca civilization ended when Francisco Pizarro’s conquistadors strangled the last Inca Emperor, Atahuallpa.

High in the Andes Mountains of Peru, the Inca built a dazzling empire that governed a population of 12 million people. Although they had no writing system, they had an elaborate government, great public works, and a brilliant agricultural system. In the five years before the Spanish arrival, a devastating war of succession gripped the empire. In 1532, Atahuallpa’s army defeated the forces of his half-brother HuÁscar in a battle near Cuzco. Atahuallpa was consolidating his rule when Pizarro and his 180 soldiers appeared.

In 1531, Pizarro sailed down to Peru, landing at Tumbes. He led his army up the Andes Mountains and on November 15, 1532, reached the Inca town of Cajamarca, where Atahuallpa was enjoying the hot springs in preparation for his march on Cuzco, the capital of his brother’s kingdom. Pizarro invited Atahuallpa to attend a feast in his honor, and the emperor accepted. Having just won one of the largest battles in Inca history, and with an army of 30,000 men at his disposal, Atahuallpa thought he had nothing to fear from the bearded white stranger and his 180 men. Pizarro, however, planned an ambush, setting up his artillery at the square of Cajamarca.

On November 16, Atahuallpa arrived at the meeting place with an escort of several thousand men, all apparently unarmed. Pizarro sent out a priest to exhort the emperor to accept the sovereignty of Christianity and Emperor Charles V., and Atahuallpa refused, flinging a Bible handed to him to the ground in disgust. Pizarro immediately ordered an attack. Buckling under an assault by the terrifying Spanish artillery, guns, and cavalry (all of which were alien to the Incas), thousands of Incas were slaughtered, and the emperor was captured.

Atahuallpa offered to fill a room with treasure as ransom for his release, and Pizarro accepted. Eventually, some 24 tons of gold and silver were brought to the Spanish from throughout the Inca empire. Although Atahuallpa had provided the richest ransom in the history of the world, Pizarro treacherously put him on trial for plotting to overthrow the Spanish, for having his half-brother HuÁscar murdered, and for several other lesser charges. A Spanish tribunal convicted Atahuallpa and sentenced him to die. On August 29, 1533, the emperor was tied to a stake and offered the choice of being burned alive or strangled by garrote if he converted to Christianity. In the hope of preserving his body for mummification, Atahuallpa chose the latter, and an iron collar was tightened around his neck until he died.

Aug 29 2015

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.

This week’s digest is abbreviated since I am, once again, traveling this week.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Tomatoes Take Center Stage

Tomatoes Stage Center Stage photo recipehealthpromo-tmagArticle_zps41d4f6b7.jpg

There is little room in my repertoire at this time of year for dishes that don’t include tomatoes, but this week I kept it pretty simple.

   I tried a new recipe for roasting tomatoes. I roasted them for 2 hours at a low temperature (300 degrees), which didn’t dry them out completely but intensified everything about them. I snacked on them all week, and also put them through a food mill for sauce. They will definitely become a habit, along with the fresh tomato sandwiches I’ve been eating for lunch every day. This won’t stop until September.

Super Tomato Sandwiches

An irresistible way to use the freshest tomatoes.

Tomato and Basil Risotto

Tomatoes make a great base for a luxurious summer risotto.

Soft Tacos With Roasted or Grilled Tomatoes and Summer Squash

Tomatoes and summer squash make for delicious taco fillings.

Greek Chicken and Tomato Salad

A tomato-centric Greek salad that is substantial enough for lunch or a light supper.

Amazingly Sweet Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

This method of roasting won’t dry out the tomatoes completely but will intensify everything about them.