April 8, 2012 archive

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Duck Dodgers Consumption Overruled, Season 3, Episode 15

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is 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.

Sephardic Dishes for the Passover Table

Bitter Herbs Salad

Throughout the Mediterranean, springtime is the season for spinach and other greens, artichokes and fava beans, and these vegetables make delicious appearances at Passover meals. There’s much in the way of healthy produce to choose from, and olive oil is the only fat you’ll find.

Bitter Herbs Salad

Endive, romaine and chicory are present on many Sephardic ritual platters, but here these pungent greens form the basis for a salad with a garlicky dressing.

Moroccan Fava Bean and Vegetable Soup

The springtime bounty of the Mediterranean – greens, artichokes, fava beans – plays a starring role in these tradition-rich dishes.

Egg Lemon Soup With Matzos

No schmaltz is needed for this comforting Greek-style soup – the matzos are crumbled right into the broth.

Turkish Spinach With Tomatoes and Rice

Not every tradition allows rice during Passover; in this fragrant dish there’s just enough of it to add substance to the vegetables.

Braised Greek Artichoke Bottoms With Lemon and Olive Oil

These brightly flavored artichokes, served cold or at room temperature, can be made a day ahead of time.

The Fabulous Non-Edible Egg by Fabergé

Cross Posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Decorating eggs has long been a tradition of Easter. They can be dyed or painted, glittered and stickered with symbols of the season. But the most fabulously decorated eggs of all are those of the House of Fabergé that were created for the Tsars of Russia in the late 1800’s. The very first egg was created for the Empress Maria Fedorovna in 1885 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her marriage to Tsar Alexander III. Alexander gave the commission to create the special Easter Egg to Peter Carl Fabergé after Maria had admired his beautiful creations. The very first egg was presented to the Empress on Easter morning. It appeared on the outside to be a simple enameled egg, called “The Hen” but inside is a golden yolk; within the yolk is a golden hen; and concealed within the hen is a diamond miniature of the royal crown and a tiny ruby egg. The crown and the ruby egg have long been lost. The Empress was so delighted with the egg that the Tsar rewarded Fabergé with a commission for an Easter egg every year. The requirements are straightforward: each egg must be unique, and each must contain a suitable surprise for the Empress.

Alexander died unexpectedly in 1894 and his eldest son became Tsar Nicholas II. Nicholas, feeling unprepared to assume the reign, decided his best course as ruler was to continue to do everything his father did, including the creation of the Fabergé Egg each Easter for his mother and a second order to be delivered to his new wife, Czarina Alexandra Fedorovna. One of the most elegant eggs was the Fifteenth Anniversary egg (1911), a family album just over five-inches-tall. Exquisitely detailed paintings depict the most notable events of the reign of Nicholas II and each of the family members. “Not only is it a staggering tour-de-force of the jeweler’s art,” says Forbes, “but probably more than any other egg, it is the one most intimately associated with the whole tragedy of Nicholas and Alexandra and that incredibly beautiful family. There are these five children – all these sort of glamorous events surrounding their lives – and there they are looking out at us happily unknowing what was going to happen to them just a few years later.”

The Eggs were so opulent and each one so unique, that they created a demand from other aristocrats, kings and queens and captains if industry. A series of seven eggs was made for the industrialist Alexander Kelch and others were made for the Duchess of Marlborough, the Nobels and the Rothschilds.

After the 1917 Russian Revolution and the assassination of Nicholas and his family, the Tsars treasures including the Fabergé Eggs were moved to the Kremlin Armoury on the orders of Vladimir Lenin. Of the immediate family, only Nicholas’ mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Fedorovna, escapes the assassin’s bullet. As she makes a hasty departure from her homeland, she brings with her the Order of St. George egg, the last Fabergé Imperial Easter egg she would ever receive from her son Nicholas.

In a bid to acquire more foreign currency, Joseph Stalin had many of the eggs sold in 1927. Many of the eggs were sold to Armand Hammer, president of Occidental Petroleum and a personal friend of Lenin, whose father was founder of the United States Communist party. After the collection in the Kremlin Armoury, the largest gathering of Fabergé eggs was assembled by Malcolm Forbes. Totalling nine eggs, and approximately 180 other Fabergé objects, the collection was put up for auction at Sotheby’s in February 2004 by Forbes’ heirs. Before the auction even began the collection was purchased in its entirety by the oligarch Victor Vekselberg for a sum estimated between $90 and $120 million. The Winter Egg, studded with 1,660 diamonds, and made from quartz, platinum, and orthoclase, garnered the highest bid for any single egg. It was sold by Christies in 2002 for $9.6 million to a private collector on Qatar.

(Click on images to enlarge)

On This Day In History April 8

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

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.

April 8 is the 98th day of the year (99th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 267 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers. A crowd of 53,775 people, the largest in the history of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, was with Aaron that night to cheer when he hit a 4th inning pitch off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing. However, as Aaron was an African American who had received death threats and racist hate mail during his pursuit of one of baseball’s most distinguished records, the achievement was bittersweet.

Breaking Ruth’s record

Although Aaron himself downplayed the “chase” to surpass Babe Ruth, baseball enthusiasts and the national media grew increasingly excited as he closed in on the home run record. During the summer of 1973 Aaron received thousands of letters every week; the Braves ended up hiring a secretary to help him sort through it.

At the age of 39, Aaron hit 40 home runs in 392 at-bats, ending the season one home run short of the record. He hit home run number 713 on September 29, 1973, and with one day remaining in the season, many expected him to tie the record. But in his final game that year, playing against the Houston Astros (led by manager Leo Durocher, who had once roomed with Babe Ruth), he was unable to achieve this. After the game, Aaron stated that his only fear was that he might not live to see the 1974 season.

Over the winter, Aaron was the recipient of death threats and a large assortment of hate mail from people who did not want to see a black man break Ruth’s nearly sacrosanct home run record. The threats extended to those providing positive press coverage of Aaron. Lewis Grizzard, then editor of the Atlanta Journal, reported receiving numerous phone calls calling them “nigger lovers” for covering Aaron’s chase. While preparing the massive coverage of the home run record, he quietly had an obituary written, scared that Aaron might be murdered.

Sports Illustrated pointedly summarized the racist vitriol that Aaron was forced to endure:

   “Is this to be the year in which Aaron, at the age of thirty-nine, takes a moon walk above one of the most hallowed individual records in American sport…? Or will it be remembered as the season in which Aaron, the most dignified of athletes, was besieged with hate mail and trapped by the cobwebs and goblins that lurk in baseball’s attic?”

Aaron received an outpouring of public support in response to the bigotry. Newspaper cartoonist Charles Schulz satirized the anti-Aaron camp in a series of Peanuts strips printed in August 1973, in which Snoopy attempts to break the Ruth record, only to be besieged with hate mail. (As Lucy puts it in the August 11 strip, “Hank Aaron is a great player…but you! If you break Babe Ruth’s record, it’ll be a disgrace!”) Babe Ruth’s widow, Claire Hodgson, even denounced the racism and declared that her husband would have enthusiastically cheered Aaron’s attempt at the record. Ruth, who was unprejudiced, had himself been subjected to racial taunts during his youth, by those who fancied that he had Negroid features.

As the 1974 season began, Aaron’s pursuit of the record caused a small controversy. The Braves opened the season on the road in Cincinnati with a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. Braves management wanted him to break the record in Atlanta, and were therefore going to have Aaron sit out the first three games of the season. But Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ruled that he had to play two games in the first series. He played two out of three, tying Babe Ruth’s record in his very first at bat off Reds pitcher Jack Billingham, but did not hit another home run in the series.

The team returned to Atlanta, and on April 8, 1974, a crowd of 53,775 people showed up for the game-a Braves attendance record. In the fourth inning, Aaron hit career home run number 715 off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing. Although Dodgers outfielder Bill Buckner nearly went over the outfield wall trying to catch it, the ball landed in the Braves’ bullpen, where relief pitcher Tom House caught it. While cannons were fired in celebration, two white college students, Cliff Courtney and Britt Gaston, sprinted onto the field and jogged alongside Aaron for part of his circuit around the bases, temporarily startling him. As the fans cheered wildly, Aaron’s parents ran onto the field as well.

Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully addressed the racial tension – or apparent lack thereof – in his call of the home run:

   “What a marvelous moment for baseball; what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia; what a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron. … And for the first time in a long time, that poker face in Aaron shows the tremendous strain and relief of what it must have been like to live with for the past several months.”

A few months later, on October 5, 1974, Aaron hit his 733rd and final home run as a Brave, which stood as the National League’s home run record until it was broken in 2007. Thirty days later, the Braves traded Aaron to the Milwaukee Brewers for Roger Alexander and Dave May. On May 1, 1975, Aaron broke baseball’s all-time RBI record, previously held by Ruth with 2,217. That year, he also made the last of his 21 record-tying (with Musial and Mays) All-Star appearances; he lined out to Dave Concepcion as a pinch-hitter in the second inning. This All-Star game, like his first in 1955, was before a home crowd at Milwaukee County Stadium.

On July 20, 1976, Hank Aaron hit his 755th and final home run at Milwaukee County Stadium off Dick Drago of the California Angels.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

US defines opening move in new talks with Iran

Diplomats: Allies will seek dismantling of new nuclear facility deep in mountain    


The Obama administration and its European allies plan to open new negotiations with Iran by demanding the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling of a recently completed nuclear facility deep under a mountain, according to American and European diplomats.

They are also calling for a halt in the production of uranium fuel that is considered just a few steps from bomb grade, and the shipment of existing stockpiles of that fuel out of the country, the diplomats said.

Sunday’s Headlines:

John Derbyshire fired for article urging children to avoid African Americans

Rebels: ‘Assad would kill a million people’

Former spymaster stirs up Egypt presidential race

New Malawi president sworn in, rejects ‘revenge’ on rivals  

In Sweden, a debate over whether gender equality has gone too far

Late Night Karaoke

How To Make Friends And Influence People

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Open Thread: What We Now Know

Cross Posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and his guests on Saturday morning’s Up with Chris discuss what they now know about the events of the past week. At the table are Van Jones (@vanjones68), author of Rebuild the Dream and former green-jobs advisor for the Obama administration; Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh), MSNBC Political Analyst and Salon Editor-at-Large; Ann Friedman (@annfriedman), executive editor of GOOD magazine; Josh Barro (@jbarro), Forbes.com and National Review Online contributor; Mark Bittman (@bittman), food writer for the New York Times and author of Food Matters and How to Cook Everything; and Patrick Shea, attorney for climate change activist Tim DeChristopher and former director of the Bureau of Land Management.

This morning we covered President Obama’s media criticism and Mitt Romney’s reaction to his statements. Plus, we discussed civil disobedience with climate change activist Tim DeChristopher’s attorney Patrick Shea, Chris’s Story of the Week, and the Occupy movement’s 99% Spring Training. And we took a closer look at food politics and the controversy over lean finely textured beef, aka “pink slime”, with New York Times food writer Mark Bittman.

What We Now Know

What do you now know?

Open Thread