Best wishes for an auspicious and healthy new year. Thanks for visiting and party on.
Tuesday, 31 December 2013
Monday, 30 December 2013
MentalFloss' ongoing series on World War I.
Last week on the radio I listened to a report that was really more of a sad fable, entitled “The Last Cow” about a village in the Swabian region and the decision of the last rancher there to ironically buy the farm and retire with no heirs to take over the family business, purportedly run since Roman times. The German title for the report (Der Letztes Küh) sounded like “the last coup” but the German word for coup d'etat or blow is the funner word Putsch.
Sunday, 29 December 2013
Though we could have accomplished this delicious kitchen experiment without the aid of our new many-headed hydra of a food processor (ein Kuchenmaschine), I don't know that we would have attempted it otherwise—plus it was a good initial test workout for a lot of the machine's capabilities.
To make four good sized fish patties, one will need:
- 200 g of Salmon fillet (fresh or frozen)
- 200 g of Sea Bass (fresh or frozen)
- 4 – 6 small Spring Onions
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch, to taste, of Chili Powder
- 6 tablespoons of of fine breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1 bunch of fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons of margarine to fry the patties
- Some flour to coat the patties
The sauce is optional but makes a good compliment. Immediately after the fish patties are finished, pour the cup of milk and cup of sour cream into the hot pan and add finely chopped dill. Stir with a spatula for about a minute and serve with the serve with the fish.
Enjoy with a side dish of potato dumplings or potato salad and a fine adult beverage.
catagories: food and drink
Saturday, 28 December 2013
It seems that the European Union sometimes goes after the low-hanging fruit and tries to regulate to death the weak and the vulnerable—for example the recent assault against traditional Danish baked goods and strictures on how much cinnamon is safe for consumption, especially when strewn atop the vehicle of the sweet roll.
The Swiss Society for the Public Good is sponsoring a contest with an honourarium to replace the old national anthem with a new work more reflective of the modern, independent confederation and Swiss character. Traditionalists are understandably upset since the reform is perceived as change for change's sake and the old anthem (German: Hymne) is a beautifully composed piece but more fitting for a psalm, as it was originally meant to be, and not something stirring or uniting like Rule Britannia or La Marseillaise, which no one would think of changing one jot or tittle even though lyrics nowadays are a little over the top.
Friday, 27 December 2013
Gizmodo (via the Presurfer) features a gallery of historic maps of the Americas made before the idea (knowledge of geography being what it is, rightly or wrongly) of the shapes of the continents and coast had fully cemented in the heads of European explorers.
After granting clemency to one certain former oligarch imprisoned in a Siberian gulag, an amnesty law led to the pardoning of thousands of inmates in Russia, including a girl-band and environmental activists. Their crimes?
Thursday, 26 December 2013
I got (and hopefully gave too) quite a brilliant stash of fancy and unique gifts this year and one of the many creative ones I got was this vest from my parents. It's tailored like a formal garment but has the addition of a hoodie to make it truly functional. Though leagues better, it reminds me of those tee-shirts from an earlier age printed like a neck-tie and a dress shirt, and would indeed make a waist-coat to complete a tuxedo ensemble. It German, such a specific suit and dress-code is referred to as a Smoking, rather than a tux (named after the exclusive Hudson, New York neighbourhood Tuxedo Park) after the English-term smoking-jacket—which is a bit misleading since I think of a smoking-jacket as lounge-wear, a bathrobe or something that Hugh Hefner has made his signature outfit.
Just before the holidays, H and I went to party that was headlined with a local cover-band who called themselves No Smoking—not Rauchen verboten! but rather we realised later that [wir tragen] kein Smokings, which was a little confused in itself as the band was dressed with mismatched black jackets and white shirts, and I think even one member wore one of those tee-shirts with a bow-tie and vest.
For Boxing Day or Zweite Weihnachtsferien, as it is known in the German Sprachraum, I just wanted to share some outdoors scenes of Christmas markets and decor from over the years that I came across. Most of the photographs are from Germany but the gallery begins with a few from festive Prague. We hope everyone had a merry little Christmas time.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013
Germany Central Bank has announced that it is their intention to return some thirty-seven tonnes—the metric ton, which is always an important distinction, like among pounds (#, £), poids and Pfunde (℔), of gold bars stored in facilities in New York and Paris. When approached, authorities at the Bundesbank would not go so far to express any misgivings in the faith—in terms of security or integrity, for the host countries storing the diversified treasury, and possibly the conditions that prompted holding specie elsewhere simply do not exist any longer. No word on how this mission is to be executed either and whether there will be specially-appointed gold-bearers.
Still it seems hard to accept otherwise—that there is not some element of distrust or, on the other hand, wanting to divest oneself of liability on the part of the holding-groups, in action, until one considers that this move, massive as it is, and representing over one billion euro of bullion is still only about one-tenth of one percent of Germany's foreign gold reserves, squirreled away in hundreds of other vaults—presenting an actuarial and logistics nightmare, with projections to store half of the horde in-country within the next six years.
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
As the year draws to a close with the convenient bookends of a calendar, it is remarkable to look back and see some of the nascent events—themselves a part of an unbroken chain of consequences and choices, scatter broadly over time and culture. Once plotted and understood in terms of custody and causation, I wonder if anything will go without attribution—though that's, I think, beyond the jurisdiction and competency of PfRC, in the future. I also wonder post-axiomatic logic is such a good thing in itself, since those influences are subject to interpretation and partisanship, which is somewhat easier and self-affirming that research and reasoning. Let's see what surprises remain and what's incubating.
february or sede vacante: The newly installed young leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea continues to provoke the international community through ever more aggressive nuclear testing—although Kim Jong-Un, though the help of special emissaries, has back-down somewhat, only to have those aspirations compensated with increased isolation and executing relatives and ex-partners. A meteor exploded over a Russian city and video footage was caught by dozen of dashboard-mounted cameras. Prosthetic limbs are created with three-dimensional printing techniques. German Pope Benedict XVI resigned his post, becoming the first pontiff to do so voluntarily in over eight hundred years.
april or iron lady: A slow-cooker converted into an explosive is detonated during the Boston Marathon. A commercial building in Bangladesh collapses, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. Former divisive but influential UK Prime Minister Margret Thatcher passes away.
may or songs that made the hit parade: Human stem-cells are created by cloning. We had to say goodbye to the stage and screen actress, Jean Stapleton. Consumers and national fronts reject corn and other staples exported from the US due to concerns over the safety of genetically modified food-stuffs and the risk of contamination to the food-chain and larger ecology. A lot of other supranational and corporately unilateral treaties find themselves in jeopardy later on.
june or i-spy: Former NSA contractor flees to Hong Kong, releasing a cache of files on surveillance practises of the US and partner spy agencies. The uproar wells through out the year as the scope unfolds.
july or countermand: Dissatisfied with the countries leadership since the discharge of Mubarak and a crack-down precipitated against more conservative elements, a counter-revolution brings violence to Egypt and results in the closure of foreign missions and a general retreat by Western powers. Prince George is born in London, one day heir to the British crown. After more than a decade of conflict, the United States is forced to rethink the timeline for withdrawal in Afghanistan.
august or from russia, with love: We had to say goodbye to journalist and anchorman, Sir David Frost. America's Central Intelligence Agency admitted it's role in orchestrated the 1953 coup d'état in Iran. The partner of the chief journalist and confidante of Edward Snowden is detained in transit for what information he might have been privy to. Now holed up in Russia, concepts like airspace and sovereignty and statelessness are matters of discussion—besides from boundaries and trust trounced upon.
october or hatee, hatee, hatee-ho: The quirky hit by a Norwegian musical duo quickly went viral. We had to say goodbye to novelist Tom Clancy and to stellar musician Lou Reed. Those responsible for the disruptive suspension of government services in the US escaped revolt and being held to account by technical glitches on the universal health-care sign-up web-site that was the source of all this testing of the wills in the first place.
november or zeitgeist: A powerful typhoon lands on Vietnam and the Philippines, causing grave damage and killing thousands. We also had to say goodbye to author Doris Lessing. A haul of missing art treasures first identified by German customs officials in Münich, not see since before WWII, again came into media attention.
december or madiba: South African president and reformer Nelson Mandela passes away at the age of 95. We also had to say goodbye to actor Peter O'Toole. China lands the first probe on the Moon since 1976.
Sunday, 22 December 2013
Although brief and near instantaneous correspondence is nothing new and certainly is not solely a legacy of today's generations, this multiple-choice example from the so-called series of correspondence cards from the Dizzy line of the Curt Teich Publishing House from 1921 are a pretty interesting phenomenon, especially in their original form.
Gizmodo's Sploid shares this handy field-guide to identifying drones (UAVs—unmanned aerial vehicles) overhead by their silhouettes from below.
It sort of reminds me how they say sharks target surfers because paddling, they look like seals to the hunter, rather than just a human meal of opportunity. One can find further details at the link, but I am sure it's not comprehensive and not like a bird-watchers' guide by virtue that these breeds are highly-invasive and don't stick to their native range and are prone to evolve pretty quickly. One can print the chart oneself or order it printed on mirrored foil, I suppose, to wrap around oneself as a cloaking-device when out and about, under the friendly-skies.
Saturday, 21 December 2013
The X in X-mas comes from an initialism of the Greek name for Christ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, a shorthand employed by Biblical scholars and others to abbreviate things to do with
Jesus or the Cross (writ both large and small—Celtic monks in Germany
monasteries incidentally invented a lower-case script with punctuation
for the Greeks to make reading easier) and these signs and signals are
reflected in the iconography of Jesus and the saints in hand-gestures that amount to a sort of finger-spelling. These poses, each understood to audiences in a specific way, were in turn a traditional and long-established system of rhetorical gestures used by speech-makers in Antiquity to cue their listeners to something important or to mark a transition.
For Star Wars' debut on Tumblr, here is R2-D2 projecting a holographic photo-stream (as opposed to Princess Leia's distress message) for Luke Skywalker, C-3PO and Obi Wan Kenobi back at the moisture ranch on Tatooine, and although the premiere is part of a promotional campaign for a new television spin-off and the cinematic continuation of the saga's middle chapters, this expanded universe is sure to be a lot of fun and have a lot of classic homages.
Here is a thoughtful essay from veteran blogger Jason Kotte that expands on the lingering and drawn-out obituary and eulogizing of blogging as a form of communication that have been steadily eroding the format for sometime.
Thursday, 19 December 2013
Fast Company presents an interest study in the grammar of comic strips and finds that the human mind interprets the funnies, according to their established conventions, as a distinct lingual system.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
A Scandinavian laboratory, which has introduced such products as a rocking chair battery charger, a hovering lamp that follows one around and a cloud for indoors, now purports to be working on a device to
translate the barks and whimpers of ones pet dog to human language by triangulating the electro-encephalograph readings with a known canine lexicon and special adaptive software (sadly, the link is not working any longer so perhaps the experiment folded, bad, bad host). Though I don't know whether a talking dog (imagine the frank and uncensored admissions and the obligatory conversations and ethical considerations) would necessarily be an improvement on the current relationship that we enjoy with animal friends, I think it is absolutely fantastic that such mad scientists exist and are there and with a sandbox to be kick-started.
No one is particularly heaving a sigh of relief over the off-the-cuff adjudication of one US District Judge's that the mass-surveillance carried out by American intelligence agencies was “significantly likely to be unconstitutional.”