June 13, 2015 archive





The Breakfast Club (Clio)

What?!  Is this a Science Saturday?  I wish, since the pickings are slim for stories.  There is only the one, TPP, but it kind of encapsulates everything that is bad and wrong with political society today.

And as for Music all I can think of at this moment (despite a half done piece about Player Pianos and the Analog/Digital divide) is contemporary Opera and how timely is it?  Pink Floyd was my transition to popular music from long hair MBB (Mozart/Bach/Brahms) and while it was pivotal for me (as well as elevating my status on the Goth/Geek scale from actively bullied to pointedly ignored and that’s a big step up) but how long ago was it?  Forty Years?  And based on a book by George Orwell over 70 years old that metaphorically deals with events about a century ago.

Death is everywhere.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgYou see the thing is that people don’t change.  Since the moment we started slaughtering other animals to create a comfortable micro-climate around ourselves we’ve stopped evolving.  This is why studying at Clio’s feet is so instructive.  You have exactly the same brain as Socrates, if you’d use it.

Yesterday the animals rose up.  What it signals is an opening for a new Napoleon because sheep will be sheep even if the fancy themselves wolves and pigs will be pigs however many monocles they wear and whatever dances they do on their trotters.

I wish I were less cynical.  There are sunny days to enjoy and I observe them with a darker tinge because I know we have traded essential liberty for an illusion of security and become a nation of cowards.  I constantly mourn the days when 1984 was a cautionary tale and not an instruction manual.

Il faut étouffer les ennemis intérieurs et extérieurs de la République, ou périr avec elle ; or, dans cette situation, la première maxime de votre politique doit être qu’on conduit le peuple par la raison, et les ennemis du peuple par la terreur.

Le secret de la liberté est d’éclairer les hommes, comme celui de la tyrannie et de les retenir dans l’ignorance.

Jerry Seinfeld’s new bizarro world: The sadness of watching a genius age into Bill O’Reilly

by Sophia A. McClennen, Salon

The Seinfeld TV series ran from 1989-1996 and it held to the motto, “no hugging, no learning”.  The basic idea for each episode was that the main characters would obsess over an inane or innocuous detail to the detriment of their ability to connect in any meaningful way to anyone.  Thus, Jerry would break up with a woman with “man hands” and Elaine would dump a “close talker.”  When they weren’t obsessing over trivialities, they would bond through their complete inability to respect others. So George and Jerry try to find ways to talk to each other in front of Jerry’s lip-reading deaf date or Jerry would dump his cashier girlfriend, Marlene, because a cashier can’t possibly critique his comedy.  The entire show was basically about a group of affectless assholes whose only bond was their dysfunctional, sociopathic connection to each other.

The characters were designed not to grow, not to learn, and not to care about anyone. They had to stay the same. It was a hugely innovative form of comedy since it had never been done.   They were all equally shallow.  There was no foil and no character development.  And this is why in the final episode they are all carted off to jail for “criminal indifference” after they do nothing when witnessing a crime other than mock the victim.

This is where the last episode’s final scene almost seems like foreshadowing.  In it Jerry is in jail doing a stand-up routine of prison-related jokes to an audience of fellow prisoners (among them Kramer and George). No one is laughing at Seinfeld except Kramer.  No one gets the humor because the irony is lost and the context has shifted. The audience of prisoners doesn’t like prison jokes, but their opinion of Jerry is what is funny.  It is Jerry’s lack of self-awareness and disconnect from the audience that is the joke.

There is nothing left but the obligatories since inspiration has failed.  Oh, and don’t worry.  I expect I’ll be happier once this heat wave breaks.

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.

I would never make fun of LaEscapee or blame PhilJD.  And I am highly organized.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

This Day in History

On This Day In History June 13

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.

June 13 is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 201 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1966, The Miranda rights are established.

The Supreme Court hands down its decision in Miranda v. Arizona, establishing the principle that all criminal suspects must be advised of their rights before interrogation. Now considered standard police procedure, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you,” has been heard so many times in television and film dramas that it has become almost cliche.

Miranda v. Arizona 384 U.S. 436 (1966), was a landmark 5-4 decision of the United States Supreme Court. The Court held that both inculpatory and exculpatory statements made in response to interrogation by a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of the right to consult with an attorney before and during questioning and of the right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police, and that the defendant not only understood these rights, but voluntarily waived them. This had a significant impact on law enforcement in the United States, by making what became known as the Miranda rights part of routine police procedure to ensure that suspects were informed of their rights. The Supreme Court decided Miranda with three other consolidated cases: Westover v. United States, Vignera v. New York, and California v. Stewart.

The Miranda warning (often abbreviated to “Miranda”) is the name of the formal warning that is required to be given by police in the United States to criminal suspects in police custody (or in a custodial situation) before they are interrogated, in accordance with the Miranda ruling. Its purpose is to ensure the accused is aware of, and reminded of, these rights under the U.S. Constitution, and that they know they can invoke them at any time during the interview.

As of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Berghuis v. Thompkins(June 1, 2010), criminal suspects who are aware of their right to silence and to an attorney, but choose not to “unambiguously” invoke them, may find any subsequent voluntary statements treated as an implied waiver of their rights, and which may be used in evidence.

Health and Fitness News

I’m traveling for the next few Days. The week’s Health & Fitness is very abbreviated.

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.

Asparagus With an Italian Twist


   Italians have a way with this vegetable, both the pencil-thin stalks that grow wild in the countryside and the thicker cultivated varieties.

   Simply steamed or boiled, asparagus can be served with a range of condiments and sauces, from Parmesan and butter to anchovies and capers to gremolata – a mixture of finely chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest. Italian cooks also use asparagus in risottos and toss it with pastas; they scramble the thin variety with eggs and use it to fill frittatas.

Asparagus is an excellent, low-calorie source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, vitamin A and nutrients like tryptophan, manganese and fiber.

Asparagus With Anchovies and Capers

Made with very thin asparagus, this dish is common in Italy and a neighboring region of Croatia, Istria.

Lasagna With Asparagus and Chives

Lasagna need not be assembled and baked. This version can be thrown together like any other pasta dish.

Asparagus With Gremolata, Lemon and Olive Oil

This dish is an Italian classic from the Lombardy region.

Asparagus Rolled in Herb Crepes

These crepes make a wonderful main course for a vegetarian dinner party.

Asparagus and Mushroom Salad

Italian cooks have found dozens of inventive ways to use asparagus, including this tasty salad.