Sunday, December 21, 2014

Vespers: Christus

This is "Christus" (Opus 97, 1847) by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809 - 1847) performed by The Monteverdi Choir Würzburg.

"Christus" is the title given by the composer's brother Paul to fragments of an unfinished oratorio by Felix Mendelssohn. The work was suggested by Christian Karl Josias von Bunsen, who compiled the German libretto from biblical sources. Composition began in 1846 and continued through Mendelssohn's last year. The completed portions include a tenor recitative relating Christ's birth, a TBB chorus "Where is the newborn", the well known SATB chorus "There Shall a Star from Jacob Shine Forth" using Philipp Nicolai's chorale "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern", and a passion section ending with another chorale, Paul Gerhardt's "O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben". The first performance took place in 1852.
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. A grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn was born into a prominent Jewish family. Although initially he was raised without religion, he was later baptised as a Reformed Christian. Mendelssohn was recognised early as a musical prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalise on his talent.

The Monteverdi Choir Würzburg is made up of more 100 talented students and alumni of the University of Würzburg and the University of Music Würzburg. Since 1998, this successful and renowned choir has been directed by Matthias Beckert, conductor and lecturer in choral conducting at the University of Music Würzburg. Based on its top-class choral performances, the Monteverdi Choir Würzburg has been highly praised both in professional circles and by the media.

Nothing will be impossible

"Annunciation." Leonardo da Vinci.
From The Lectionary:

Luke 1:26-38

1:26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,

1:27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

1:28 And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."

1:29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

1:30 The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

1:31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.

1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.

1:33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

1:34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

1:35 The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.

1:36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.

1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God."

1:38 Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

Thomas à Kempis: patience

"Endeavor to be patient in bearing the defects and infirmities of others of whatever kind; for you also have many things which others must bear with."

Friday, December 19, 2014

Casual Friday: Whole Lotta Shakin'

Just two working days til Monday!

"Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?" ~ George Goebel

Let's play cross dressup

As future archeologists pick through the ashes they will surely decide that yesterday was the day that signaled the end of the United States.

As Matt Drudge headlined the development, "Holder: Cross Dressing a Civil Right."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new interpretation of the Civil Rights Act meant to prevent employers from discriminating against people who claim the status of a transgendered person.
“This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status,” Holder said 
Peter Spriggs of the Family Research Council, observed, “Probably not one person thought they were passing a bill to protect men who wanted to become women or women who wanted to become men.” 

In They Thought They Were Free, author Milton Mayer says of the change in Germany in the 1930s,
"To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.
While you still can, look around.

Morning Rush: Olive oil, cows, babies, and more

Here and there on the Web this Friday, December 19, 2014:

Found in this jar.
Here's some 8,000-year-old olive oil

How cows talk to their calves 

You and your baby's first three years

Exercise actually changes your DNA

The Army's secret treasure room

Obama gives the store away again

The secret world of stolen phones 

Is the book making a comeback?
Just try this on your laptop.

Can computers compete with nature?

Anyone can listen to your cell calls

Our friends in North Korea

Income inequality is a big joke

There won't always be an England

Where Christmas is made and sold

The O's unmitigated effrontery 

Apps: to make parking your car easier

How To: choose a fitness tracker

Today's Word: unmitigated effrontery; gall

Hahaha: password complexity to overtake poetry

Yes you can improve:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

You can't fix, or fire, Stoopid

King of Stoopid.
If you've ever worked for a corporation, you understand Stoopid.

It's pretty hard to find a better example than Northwest Airlines.
In July, 2006 bankrupt Northwest Airlines laid off thousands of ground workers, cushioning the blow with the handy guidebook “101 Ways to Save Money.” Stashed in the dreaded layoff packet, this booklet included shameful tips such as “Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash”. Other tips focused on homemade baby food and using newspapers for cat litter. The best had to be “take long walks in the woods as a low-cost dating alternative” (don’t worry; your blind date won’t think you’re a serial killer. She’ll think you’re a CHEAP serial killer).
In the private sector we hope that the profit motive keeps Stoopid to a reasonable level. In government, all bets are off.
The federal government has invested over $10 million developing and promoting a video game about a young teen that must escape a town full of fat people, as a method to fight obesity.

The 60 Mintues segment featured Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio), a so-called “rock star among mindfulness evangelists” who earmarked nearly $1 million to teach mindfulness to preschool students in his district. The $982,000 project provided deep breathing exercises, and “Peace Corners” for kids in Youngstown, Ohio.

The EPA plans to combat the stomach flu by researching Twitter posts. On January 2014, the agency purchased tweets to conduct flu research. The EPA is conducting a study to develop the use of social media to identify people in the United States that are suffering from stomach flu.

While most Americans put on a few pounds for Thanksgiving, the federal government is spending $466,642 of taxpayer dollars researching why obese girls don’t have sex.
Of course the voters aren't blameless. After all, we did twice elected Joe Biden.

But what do you really think?

Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform:
"Sometimes I wish I could just passively accept what my government monarchs and their mainstream media mouthpieces feed me on a daily basis. Why do I have to question everything I’m told? Life would be much simpler and I could concentrate on more important things like why the Honey Boo Boo show was canceled, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, whether I’ll get a better deal on Chinese slave labor produced crap on Black Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, fantasy football league standings, the latest NFL player to knockout their woman and get reinstated, Obama’s latest racial healing plan, which Clinton or Bush will be our next figurehead president, or the latest fake rape story from Rolling Stone. The willfully ignorant masses, dumbed down by government education, lured into obesity by corporate toxic packaged sludge disguised as food products, manipulated, controlled and molded by an unseen governing class of rich men, and kept docile through never ending corporate media propaganda, are nothing but pawns to the arrogant sociopathic pricks pulling the wires in this corporate fascist empire of debt.

"I’m sure my blood pressure would be lower and my mood better if I just accepted everything I was told by my wise, sagacious, Ivy League educated, obscenely wealthy rulers as the unequivocal truth. Why should I doubt these noble, well intentioned, champions of the common folk? They’ve never misled us before. They would never attempt to use two highly publicized deaths as a lever to keep black people and white people fighting each other and not realizing all races are now living in a militarized police surveillance state supported by the one Party. They would never use their complete control over the financial, political, judicial, and media organisms to convince the masses that voting for one of their hand selected red or blue options will ever actually change anything."
Take a breath, Jim.

Morning Rush: Mars maps, baby brains, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, December 18, 2014:

Oh look, a Martian!
The most detailed Mars map ever

A baby's brain needs your love

The manly history of hot cocoa

We're all living a lot longer

Our cost for Obama's fundraising

Too many gifts spoil the child 

Russia ain't doing so well

Looks like a congressman.
A world hidden beneath the Arctic

The importance of rituals

So this is how laws are really made

A new microscope uses holograms 

Don't send your kid to U of Michigan

You can barely breathe in Beijing

This is your government at work

Today's Word: to protest vigorously

Hahaha: Michelle reassigned to Agriculture Department

3D printing knee joints:

Albert Camus: happiness

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The little black seed that could

I recently discovered Black Cumin, a little black seed known formally as Nigella sativa, and apparently if you eat this stuff you'll live forever.

According to one source nigella seeds were found in Tutankhamen's tomb. They also got a mention in the Old Testament, and the prophet Mohammed reportedly declared that they could cure "anything but death."

Sounds good.

Nigella sativa seed is variously called fennel flower, nutmeg flower, black caraway, and Roman coriander. Other names used, sometimes misleadingly, are black cumin, onion seed and black sesame.

So it gets complicated rather quickly, like most things that have to do with living forever.

What got my attention was a report from the National Institutes of Health. This is one of those federal bureaucracies that wastes our tax dollars.
Nigella sativa has been used as traditional medicine for centuries. The crude oil and thymoquinone (TQ) extracted from its seeds and oil are effective against many diseases like cancer, cardiovascular complications, diabetes, asthma, kidney disease etc. It is effective against cancer in blood system, lung, kidney, liver, prostate, breast, cervix, skin with much safety. T
Not bad, eh?

I suggest you rush out stock up in this stuff. You can find it in India, southern Turkey, Syria and northern Iraq, which is probably where the seeds were first used for culinary purposes.

Good luck!

Morning Rush: Light, dark, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, December 17, 2014:

Merry Christmas!
Our holiday lights from space

Why dark winter days are bummers

How to stop impulse buying

Your kids vs Obama's kids

Men are basically idiots

Finding a rising neighborhood

How our emporer rules us

Now they're 3D printing knees

Yoga vs heart disease

And a blood test to predict it

Stop procrastinating tomorrow

That toughest interview question

Learn from Churchill's daily routine

This fungus will eat your trash

How To: cook a pot roast without a recipe

Today's Word: slightly dark, dusky or somber

Hahaha: Obama to guest host Barefoot Contessa

How to make a Christmas tree napkin:

Joseph Addison: happiness

"True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise; it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self, and in the next from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What do they have against Fort Dix?

Free as a bird today.
In 2007 six radical Islamist men conspired to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey to "kill as many soldiers as possible." Nothing ever changes, as Deroy Murdock writes:
Obama spoke this week at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. This mouthful is known more commonly as Fort Dix.

Obama has an unusual connection to this place, which makes his appearance there eerie, to say the least.

Obama began his first Illinois state senate bid with a meet-and-greet in the Chicago home of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Obama could not have picked a harder-Left living room in America in which to stage his first campaign reception. Ayers and Dohrn were co-founders of the 1960s radical group the Weather Underground.

Ayers has described himself as follows:

“I’m a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist.”

In 1970, Ayers summarized the Weathermen’s philosophy: “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents.”

For her part, Dohrn was hardly a typical, midwestern housewife.

“There’s no way to be committed to non-violence in the middle of the most violent society that history’s ever created,” Dohrn declared in 1969. “I am not committed to non-violence in any way.”

Ayers, Dohrn, and the Weathermen went on a bombing campaign that blasted the Pentagon, the State Department, Gulf Oil’s Pittsburgh headquarters, San Francisco’s Presidio military base, and New York’s Queens Courthouse.

One of the Weather Underground’s bombs went off early, thank God.

Weathermen (Weatherpersons?) Ted Gold, Diana Oughton (Ayers’s then-girlfriend), and Terry Robbins, fatally detonated themselves on March 6, 1970. They were constructing a bomb inside a townhouse at 18 West 11th Street in Greenwich Village. Within the debris, cops discovered an anti-tank shell and 60 sticks of dynamite.

What was their target?

Were they better bomb makers, Ayers’s comrades would have set off a nail-filled bomb at a dance for non-commissioned officers and their dates and spouses at Fort Dix. As Ayers has observed, the bomb would have ripped “through windows and walls and, yes, people too.”

That bomb never went off, fortunately enough.

And today, one of Bill Ayers’s protégés is America’s commander-in-chief, addressing GIs at the same military facility that Ayers & Co. tried to blast to bits.

The circle of radicalism is complete.
More on the Obama/Ayers relationship here.

Morning Rush: Elevators, compliments, and more

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, December 16, 2014:

Up, down, sideways.
What's up with elevators?

How and why to compliment more

The science behind staying warm 

Here comes the Obamacare tax

Think young, live long

The O's blunder on amnesty

Managing up without sucking up

What the Pope didn't say

Protect your stuff during an open house

The radical leftist circle is complete

Are we really working longer today?

A baker's dozen of hypocritical bakers

Are tech employees spying on you?

How To: make crispy tofu with a waffle iron

Today's Word: a fine, filmy cobweb

Hahaha: 10 people who made no difference in 2014

It's a robotic fish spy:

Maureen Dowd: settling

"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Just gulp that coffee down

"If you like coffee, go ahead and drink as much as you want and can."

That's from Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University. I figure he's a pretty smart guy, so that's what I'm going with.

Here's his rule of thumb: If you are having trouble sleeping, cut back on your last cup of the day. From there, he says, "If you drink that much, it's not going to do you any harm, and it might actually help you. A lot."

Here's some of the clinical evidence in a comprehensive article in The Atlantic:
The most recent findings that support coffee as a panacea will make their premiere this December in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Coffee, researchers found, appears to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Most concerns about caffeine's negative effects on the heart have been dispelled. In June, a meta-analysis of ten years of research went so far as to find an inverse association between habitual, moderate consumption and risk of heart failure. The association peaked at four cups per day, and coffee didn't stop being beneficial until subjects had increased their daily consumption to beyond ten cups.

Diterpenoids in unfiltered coffee may raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.

Coffee can protect against some cancers. When the Harvard School of Public Health visited the Health Professionals Follow-Up cohort in May 2011, it found that coffee's protective effects extend only to some types of prostate cancer (the most aggressive types, actually). In a separate study of the same population from this past July, they also found a reduced risk of basal cell carcinoma with increased caffeine intake.
To sum up, a study published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at hundreds of thousands of men and women and found this bottom line result: people who drank coffee lived longer than those who didn't. And the more they drank, the longer they lived.

Morning Rush: Vertebrae, fingertips, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, December 15, 2014:
A miracle.

Here come 3D-printed vertebrae

Your amazing fingertips 

This is your EPA at work 

The end of childhood

What exactly is fatigue?

Do cocaine, die young

It's just lies all the way down

How to hack your new Kuerig

Do you get enough Vitamin D?

Bad reasons to choose a church

Don't put bitter weirdos in charge

Why we live so long today

How Eric Holder meddled in Ferguson

Gut bacteria linked to Parkinson's

You don't have to buy that tool

Keep your kids out of public schools

Today's Word: a person of great wealth or importance

Hahaha: Obama to wed Afghani girl

Order pizza without thinking:

Frank Herbert: enlightenment

"There is probably no more terrible instant of enlightenment than the one in which you discover your father is a man--with human flesh."

Friday, December 12, 2014

Casual Friday: Little Darlin'

Just two working days til Monday!

"Join the Army, meet interesting people, kill them." ~ Steven Wright

Surviving with the majestic sugar maple

It's what's for dinner.
Every fall here in our little corner of southern New England we are treated to the magnificent displays of the sugar maple trees.

These beauties are known for their sap, of course, which has high sugar content. It takes 40 gallons of sugar maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

The fall color is often spectacular, ranging from bright yellow through orange to fluorescent red-orange. Sugar maples also have a tendency to color unevenly in fall. In some trees, all colors can be seen at the same time. They also have a tendency for certain parts of a mature tree to change color weeks ahead of or behind the remainder of the tree. 

That's what I like most about their color displays.

Now I learn that survivalists like sugar maples for other reasons. Creek Stewart, senior instructor at the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft, writes:
  • In late winter/early spring when the sap is running, the sugar maple is an excellent source of drinkable water (sap) that needs no purification. Maple sap is nature’s version of an energy drink – rich in sugar and nutrients. I’ve filled a 1-liter canteen in as few as 15 minutes before. Maples don’t have fully developed (or any) leaves during this time of year – hence the importance of being able to identify in all four seasons.
  • The seeds inside the little helicopters are edible, just like edamame. I just boil them and lightly salt. They can also be fried or added to stews. Remove the outer helicopter.
  • I almost always use maple branches for wilderness cooking. Whether it’s a spit roast, a hot dog stick, or utensils, I can always find a maple branch suitable for the task. Maple branches naturally have a lot of forks, which is great for pot holders and other wilderness kitchen uses. I also use the leaves to wrap fish or other small game animals when cooling in an earth oven.
  • Young maple leaves are also edible. Toss them into a salad or boil them down with other spring greens. They get bitter and rough as they mature.
 Who woulda thunk it?

Morning Rush: Meteors, etroverts, and more

Here and there on the Web this Friday, December 12, 2014:

It's a bird, it's a plane ...
Here comes the meteor shower

Are extroverts healthier?

Guess what saved Los Angeles

Guess what led to Osama

The joy of old age

Barack bumbles the Bible

How to slash your airfare

Will your smart phone be your ID?

When you don't like your job 

Of course the illegals will vote

Tamoxifen vs breast cancer

Setting up your first 401k

What Obama's kids have for lunch

Where to put your hummingbird feeder

How ISIS got started 

Rescuing the world's first computer

What is the State Department hiding? 

Today's Word: a chance happening or event

Hahaha: self-driving car escapes lab, heads to Mexico

How your gifts will get to you:

Aaron Burr: procrastination

"Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow. Delay may give clearer light as to what is best to be done."