June 14, 2014 archive


The Breakfast Club (Requiem)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgMozart was a supremely talented asshole who lived fast, died young, and stayed pretty.  It is said he was working on his Requiem when he croaked, but I suspect that when he died he was busy dying and his major contribution (such as it was) was over.

You see it was a piece of ghost writing from it’s inception, intended to be passed off as a creation of Count Franz von Walsegg in honor of his recently deceased wife and at least half of it was done by Franz Xaver Süssmayr who, if he’d been talented at all and not just a hack, we’d be including in “Süssmayr, Bach, and Brahms.

But we don’t, do we?

The Süssmayr completion of the Requiem is divided into fourteen movements, with the following structure:

  1. Introitus: Requiem aeternam (choir and soprano solo) (D minor)
  2. Kyrie eleison (choir) (D minor)
  3. Sequentia (text based on sections of the Dies Irae):
    • Dies irae (choir) (D minor)
    • Tuba mirum (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo) (B-flat major)
    • Rex tremendae majestatis (choir) (G minor-D minor)
    • Recordare, Jesu pie (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo) (F major)
    • Confutatis maledictis (choir) (A minor-F major, last chord V of D minor)
    • Lacrymosa dies illa (choir) (D minor)
  4. Offertorium:
    • Domine Jesu Christe (choir with solo quartet) (G minor)
    • Versus: Hostias et preces (choir) (E-flat major-G minor)
  5. Sanctus:
    • Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth (choir) (D major)
    • Benedictus (solo quartet, then choir) (B-flat major)
  6. Agnus Dei (choir) (D minor-B-flat major)
  7. Communio:
    • Lux aeterna (soprano solo and choir) (B-flat major-D minor)

The Confutatis is well known for its string accompaniment; it opens with agitating figures that accentuate the wrathful sound of the basses and tenors, but it turns into sweet arpeggios in the second phrase while accompanying the soft sounds of the sopranos and altos.

“Agitating figures that accentuate the wrathful sound.”  I like that.  Obligatories below.

On This Day In History June 14

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.

Click on image to enlarge

June 14 is the 165th day of the year (166th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 200 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1777, during the American Revolution, the Continental Congress adopts a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

The Flag Resolution of 1777

On June 14, 1777, the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” Flag Day is now observed on June 14 of each year. A false tradition holds that the new flag was first hoisted in June 1777 by the Continental Army at the Middlebrook encampment.

The 1777 resolution was most probably meant to define a naval ensign, rather than a national flag. It appears between other resolutions from the Marine Committee. On May 10, 1779, Secretary of the Board of War Richard Peters expressed concern “it is not yet settled what is the Standard of the United States.”

The Flag Resolution did not specify any particular arrangement, number of points, nor orientation for the stars. The pictured flag shows 13 outwardly-oriented five-pointed stars arranged in a circle, the so-called Betsy Ross flag. Although the Betsy Ross legend is controversial, the design is among the oldest of any U.S. flags. Popular designs at the time were varied and most were individually crafted rather than mass-produced. Other examples of 13-star arrangements can be found on the Francis Hopkinson flag, the Cowpens flag, and the Brandywine flag. Given the scant archaeological and written evidence, it is unknown which design was the most popular at that time.

Despite the 1777 resolution, a number of flags only loosely based on the prescribed design were used in the early years of American independence. One example may have been the Guilford Court House Flag, traditionally believed to have been carried by the American troops at the Battle of Guilford Court House in 1781.

The origin of the stars and stripes design is inadequately documented. The apocryphal story credits Betsy Ross for sewing the first flag from a pencil sketch handed to her by George Washington. No evidence for this exists; indeed, nearly a century had passed before Ross’ grandson, William Canby, first publicly suggested it. Another woman, Rebecca Young, has also been credited as having made the first flag by later generations of her family. Rebecca Young’s daughter was Mary Pickersgill, who made the Star Spangled Banner Flag.

It is likely that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, designed the 1777 flag while he was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board’s Middle Department, sometime between his appointment to that position in November 1776 and the time that the flag resolution was adopted in June 1777. This contradicts the Betsy Ross legend, which suggests that she sewed the first Stars and Stripes flag by request of the government in the Spring of 1776. Hopkinson was the only person to have made such a claim during his own lifetime, when he sent a bill to Congress for his work. He asked for a “Quarter Cask of the Public Wine” as payment initially. The payment was not made, however, because it was determined he had already received a salary as a member of Congress, and he was not the only person to have contributed to the design. No one else contested his claim at the time.

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan

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How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker

   Casey Baseel

Every summer, I try to spend as many days as possible on the beach at Enoshima, and each time I get out of the station and walk towards the sand, I pass a long line of people waiting for a seat at the local pancake restaurant. This isn’t Japan’s only pancake joint with a lengthy wait, either, as you can find similar eateries with comparable lines in Tokyo, too.

It used to strike me as a little weird. After all, whipping up a stack of pancakes isn’t exactly the most challenging culinary feat. It can get tedious, though, as you settle into a monotonous pattern of plopping batter into the pan, flipping the half-cooked cake, and repeating over and over again.

Or, you could bypass all that by making an entire batch of pancakes all at once in a rice cooker.

Friday Night at the Movies

Meanwhile in Europe

 photo Alessandra-Bernaroli_zps3fda90c5.jpgAlessandra Bernaroli has been battling with the Italian government for the past five years to keep her legal marriage in tact.

When I was small I liked to play with little girls, I was looking to understand their femininity.  I dreamed of becoming a woman but I had no idea what trans-sexuality was.


The 43-year-old bank employee from Bologna was living as a male when she met her wife in the mid-1990s.  The couple wed in 2005.  It was only after the marriage that Alessandra exposed her transgender feelings to her spouse.

I hid my inner torment from my wife but I felt trapped in a prison, in a body that had become an enemy to me.  I suffocated my true identity.


After Bernaroli came out to her wife, her wife agreed to stand by her throughout the process.  Alessandra underwent a series of operations in Thailand in 2009.

When they returned to Italy and sought to update their national identity cards, they were informed that they would no longer be classified as married.