Category Archives: PEOPLE AND PLACES

today’s holiday: Gandhi Jayanti – national holiday in India


Gandhi Jayanti

October 2 is a national holiday in India to commemorate the birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who came to be known as Mahatma (“great soul“) Gandhi. At this time, pilgrimages are made from throughout the country to the Raj Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi, where Gandhi was cremated. Many communities also hold spinning and weaving sessions in honor of Gandhi, who is often pictured in a simple white cotton robe at a spinning wheel. More… Discuss

quotation: Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power. Rene Descartes


Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650) Discuss

today’s birthday: Mohandas Gandhi (1869)


Mohandas Gandhi (1869)

Gandhi is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century for his role in securing India’s independence from British rule through non-violent civil disobedience, a method that has since inspired notable civil rights leaders around the globe. The victory was bittersweet for Gandhi, who had championed Hindu-Muslim unity, as independence came with a plan to carve out a separate Muslim state—Pakistan. In 1948, he was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic. Why is Gandhi often called Mahatma? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Revolution in Texas (1835)


Revolution in Texas (1835)

In 1821, the US began to colonize Texas. The newly independent Mexican government, pleased with the prospering US colony, offered grants to other American promoters. By 1830, Americans greatly outnumbered the Mexican settlers. To stop the influx of Americans, Mexican troops began to police the border and close seaports. Alarmed Texans petitioned Mexico for separate statehood, to no avail. On October 2, 1835, the revolution broke out when the Mexicans asked the Texans to return what item? More… Discuss

story: Enrico Caruso


Enrico Caruso

Caruso was an Italian operatic tenor renowned for the beauty, range, and power of his voice. A mechanical engineer who indulged his passion for singing in his spare time, Caruso had no formal musical training until his late teens. After just a few years of study, he made his professional operatic debut, touching off his meteoric rise to fame. In 1903, he made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera, where he was a favorite until his death. What helped secure his status as an opera legend? More… Discuss

Alexander Borodin – String Quartet No. 2: make music part of your life series


Alexander Borodin – String Quartet No. 2

Flight of the bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: great compositions/performances


Antonín Dvořák -Scherzo Capriccioso, Op. 66: great compositions/performances


Antonín Dvořák -Scherzo Capriccioso, Op. 66

Franz Doppler – Duettino on Hungarian Themes, Op. 36 – Two Flutes & Piano: make music part of your life series


Franz Doppler – Duettino on Hungarian Themes, Op. 36 – Two Flutes & Piano

Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 2 [COMPLETE]: make music part of your life series


Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 2 [COMPLETE]

Cimarosa: “Il Matrimonio segreto” – Ouverture (Daniel Barenboim): make music part of you rlife series


Franz Schubert – Quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello & double-bass, in A major, D 667 “The Trout: great compositions/performances


Franz Schubert – Quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello & double-bass, in A major, D 667 “The Trout

iesLudwig van Beethoven – Fidelio Overture, Op. 72b: make music part of your life series


Ludwig van Beethoven – Fidelio Overture, Op. 72b

Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29 “Polish” – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: great compositions/performances


Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29 “Polish” – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Saint of the Day for Wednesday, October 1st, 2014: St. Therese of Lisieux


English: Statue of St Therese of Lisieux, in t...

English: Statue of St Therese of Lisieux, in the Padre Pio garden at Ladyewell, Fernyhalgh (near Preston), Lancashire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Therese of Lisieux

Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the “Little Flower”, and found in her short life more inspiration for own lives than in volumes by theologians. Yet Therese died … continue reading

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today’s holiday: Tuvalu Independence Day


Tuvalu Independence Day

Independence Day is the only national celebration in Tuvalu, which consists of nine islands in the South Pacific with a total surface area of 10 square miles. The day is marked in the capital city of Funafuti with an official government flag-raising ceremony followed by a parade of policemen and schoolchildren; similar events are held in smaller communities throughout the country. Also held in addition to several days of feasting and dance is the Independence Day Sports Festival, in which citizens enjoy a number of sporting competitions. More… Discuss

quotation: What hath night to do with sleep? John Milton


What hath night to do with sleep?

John Milton (1608-1674) Discuss

today’s birthday: Jimmy Carter (1924)


Jimmy Carter (1924)

Carter served as US President from 1977 to 1981. His foreign policy had some success—he mediated the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt and signed a treaty with Panama regarding control of the Panama Canal—but his domestic policy was less effective, and oil-related inflation and unemployment hurt his bid for re-election. He has since been active in human-rights causes and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. In 2007, Carter earned a Grammy Award for best album in what category? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: The Honeymooners Premiers on CBS (1955)


The Honeymooners Premiers on CBS (1955)

The Honeymooners was a short-lived American sitcom based on sketches by comedian Jackie Gleason. It starred Gleason and Audrey Meadows as a struggling working class couple in New York—a drastic departure from other popular comedies of the era that depicted their characters in comfortable, middle-class, suburban environments. Though The Honeymooners was cancelled after just 39 episodes, it has been aired for decades in syndication. What animated TV series did Gleason’s show inspire? More… Discuss


Wildlife Declined By More than Half in 40 Years

Human activities have dramatically altered the balance of life on Earth, according to a report by the Zoological Society of London. Wildlife populations around the globe have plummeted by more than half over just the past four decades, and the decline shows no signs of letting up any time soon. When broken down by habitat type, the data show that terrestrial and marine species both declined by 39 percent between 1970 and 2010, while freshwater species suffered a staggering 76 percent drop. The report calls “unsustainable human consumption” leading to habitat loss and degradation the greatest threat to biodiversity on our planet. More… Discuss

story: Windsor Castle


English: Photograph of Windsor castle showing ...

English: Photograph of Windsor castle showing visitors. Taken Summer 1989 by contributor. All rights waived. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Windsor Castle

Located in the county of Berkshire, west of London, Windsor Castle has been a principal official residence of British monarchs since the 11th century. The Queen herself is quite fond of Windsor and frequently weekends there. Windsor has the distinction of being the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. The modern castle, which contains about 1,000 rooms and occupies 13 acres (5 hectares), consists of three “wards”—the upper, middle, and lower. What damaged more than 100 rooms in 1992? More… Discuss

***String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D.810 “Der Tod und das Mädchen” (Death and the Maiden) – Alban Berg Quartet: great compositions/performances


*String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D.810 “Der Tod und das Mädchen” Death and the Maiden Alban Berg Quartet

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, September 30th, 2014: St. Jerome


St. JeromeImage of St. Jerome

St. Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius, was the most learned of the Fathers of the Western Church. He was born about the year 342 at Stridonius, a small town at the head of the … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

quotation: Better no rule than cruel rule. Aesop (620 BC-560 BC)


Better no rule than cruel rule.

Aesop (620 BC-560 BC) Discuss

today’s holiday: San Geronimo Feast Day


San Geronimo Feast Day

San Geronimo Feast Day is the feast day for St. Jerome, the patron saint of Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. For 1,000 years, the Tiwa-speaking Taos Indians have lived at or near the present pueblo, and it is still the home of about 1,500 residents. The celebration commences on the evening of September 29 with a sundown dance, followed by vespers in the San Geronimo Mission. On the following day, there are foot races in the morning, and, in the afternoon, figures wearing black-and-white body paint and costumes climb a pole, an act that has secret religious significance to the Taos. More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (1207)


Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (1207)

Rumi was a great Persian poet and Sufi mystic whose influence has spread to Persian-speakers in Afghanistan, central Asia, Turkey, and beyond. His Masnavi-ye Manavi, a six-volume work of spiritual teaching and Sufi lore related in the form of stories and lyric poetry, widely influenced Muslim mystical thought and literature. Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi order, whose members use dancing and music as part of their spiritual method and are popularly known by what name? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: First Photos Taken of a Giant Squid in the Wild (2004)


First Photos Taken of a Giant Squid in the Wild (2004)

In 2004, two teams of Japanese researchers traveled to a sperm whale hunting ground south of Tokyo, where they attached bait, a camera, and a flash to a 3,000-foot (914-m) line. After numerous attempts to lure their prey, a 26-foot (8-m) giant squid attacked and became entangled in the lure, breaking free after more than 500 photos were taken over a four-hour period. What did the photos—the first ever taken of a live giant squid in its natural habitat—reveal about the mysterious creature? More… Discuss

news: Tens of Thousands Protest in Hong Kong


Tens of Thousands Protest in Hong Kong

Tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have taken to the streets in Hong Kong to protest Beijing‘s plan to vet candidates for the post of chief executive of Hong Kong in the 2017 elections. Since 1997, when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China, the chief executive has been selected by a 1,200-member election committee with pro-Beijing leanings. Last month, China agreed to allow direct elections in 2017, with the proviso that voters will only be able to choose from a list of pre-approved, almost undoubtedly pro-Beijing candidates. The protesters are demanding the freedom to choose their candidates. More… Discuss

Opus Dei


Opus Dei

Opus Dei is a Roman Catholic lay order founded in 1928 in Spain, where it gained support from the government of Francisco Franco after the Spanish Civil War. Roughly one-third of its more than 85,000 members are celibate and live communally. Opus Dei seeks to promote traditional Catholic values and teachings and opposes liberalism and immorality. It also emphasizes preaching to government officials, intellectuals, and business executives. Why has Opus Dei been controversial among some Catholics? More… Discuss

official trailer of the film “I Build the Tower” the Watts Towers by Simon Rodia: A MUST SEE!


Sam (Simon Rodia) of the watts Towers

Simon Rodia, Architect and sole builder of the Rodia Towers (Watts Towers)

the Watts Towers Arts Center and tours
call (213) 847-4646 fax (323) 564 7030
add +1 when dialing from abroad

e-mail cadwattsctr@earthlink.net

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles – Full Album (1967): great compositions/performances


Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles – Full Album (1967)

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 0:00
With a Little Help from my Friends2:02
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds4:45
Getting Better – 8:11
Fixing a Hole10:58
She’s Leaving Home13:34
Being for the Benifit of Mr.Kite! – 17:09
Within You Without You19:49
When I’m Sixty-Four – 24:52
Lovely Rita27:29
Good Morning Good Morning30:10
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) – 32:49
A Day in the Life – 34:08


“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is track #13 on the album Love. It was written by Lennon, John Winston / Mccartney, Paul James.

It was twenty years ago today
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They’ve been going in and out of style
But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile

So may I introduce to you
The act you’ve known for all these years
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you will enjoy the show
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sit back and let the evening go
Sgt. Pepper’s lonely, Sgt. Pepper’s lonely
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

It’s wonderful to be here
It’s certainly a thrill
You’re such a lovely audience
We’d like to take you home with us
We’d love to take you home

I don’t really want to stop the show
But I thought that you might like to know
That the singer’s going to sing a song
And he wants you all to sing along

So let me introduce to you the one and only Billy Shears
And Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Songwriters
LENNON, JOHN WINSTON / MCCARTNEY, PAUL JAMES

this day in the yesteryear: Japan Resumes Diplomatic Relations with China (1972)


Japan Resumes Diplomatic Relations with China (1972)

The first Sino-Japanese War in the late 19th century damaged relations between the two countries for decades, as it marked the emergence of imperial Japan and saw harsh terms imposed on a badly defeated China. Relations did not improve until Kakuei Tanaka was elected prime minister of Japan in 1972. Shortly after his election, Tanaka visited China and signed an agreement establishing diplomatic relations between Japan and the Beijing regime. Who else made a historic visit to China in 1972? More… Discuss

Norway to Pay Liberia to Leave Trees Be


Norway to Pay Liberia to Leave Trees Be

Liberia is to become the first African nation to completely halt logging in exchange for development aid. Norway has agreed to pay Liberia $150 million to stop deforestation in the country by 2020. Though Liberia’s forestland is not as extensive as that of other countries, it contains a significant portion of West Africa’s remaining rainforest. The deal is a major turnaround from just two years ago, when Liberia handed out licenses permitting companies to cut down more than half of the country’s remaining primary rainforest. More… Discuss

Code Talkers


Code Talkers

“Code talkers” were Native American soldiers in the US military who transmitted secret messages using codes based on their native languages. Though code talking was used as early as World War I, it is chiefly associated with Navajo language speakers in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The Navajo code baffled the Japanese, and, according to military officers, was key to the American victory in the Battle of Iwo Jima. What was it about this “code” that made it so difficult to crack? More… Discuss

this pressed: BBC News – Banks shut branches over Hong Kong protests


Pro-democracy protestors blocked large parts of central Hong Kong, where many financial firms are located

Standard Chartered and several other banks have suspended some of their operations in central Hong Kong following mass pro-democracy protests.

Bank branches that offer over-the-counter services have been closed, as well as ATMs and cash deposit machines in affected areas.

Some firms have also advised their staff to work from home or go to secondary offices.

Thousands of demonstrators clashed with police, who fired tear gas, on Sunday.

via BBC News – Banks shut branches over Hong Kong protests.

MUSSORGSKY (arr. Stokowski) Night on Bald Mountain: great compositions/performances


MUSSORGSKY (arr. Stokowski) Night on Bald Mountain

Here is Leopold Stokowski‘s (1882-1977) transcription of Modest Mussorgsky‘s “Night on Bald Mountain”. This is the version most famously featured as the ending sequence of the Disney film “Fantasia” (1948), and that most famously caused quite an uproar among movie-goers due to the demonic imagery used in the aforementioned clip.

Stokowski was a prodigy along the lines of Maazel, entering into the Royal Academy of Music to study composition and conducting at the age of merely 13. During his long span as one of the most prominent and important conductors (not to mention one of the greatest) he was actually a very controversial figure. What many people probably don’t know is that Stokowski was a great champion of contemporary music, giving the U.S. and/or world premieres of works by Elgar, Vaughn Williams, Prokofiev, Schoenberg, Hovhaness, Copland, Barber, Berg, Feldman and other contemporary composers. He is also very important to the history of modern concert practice as well, popularizing the batonless technique of conducting, as well as inventing and popularizing the “pops concert” and the modern chairing of a symphony orchestra. He was able to produce what was then referred to as “the Stokowski Sound”, although what is now called “the Philly Sound” (one of the many, illustrious orchestras he was resident conductor for), and was the greatest influence on many conductors proceeding him, particularly Leonard Bernstein. His transcriptions and editing of works were considered uncoif at the time, a practice that had long since become outdated as printed music became more available, but they are now one of the things he is best-known for, particularly this and his orchestration of Bach’s Toccata en Fugue in D Minor BWV 565.

Performed here in 1966 by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Maria Callas. Sola, perduta, abbandonata. Manon Lescaut. Giacomo Puccini: great compositions/performances


Maria Callas. Sola, perduta, abbandonata. Manon Lescaut. Giacomo Puccini.

Mottetto per San Paolino – Giacomo Puccini(1858-1924): make music part of your life series


Mottetto per San Paolino – Giacomo Puccini(1858-1924)

Gioachino Rossini – “Kyrie” from “Messa di Gloria”: make music part of your life series


Gioachino Rossini – “Kyrie” from “Messa di Gloria” (Raul Gimenez & Francisco Araiza)

Pacific Chorale sings Rachmaninov Vespers: Rejoice, O Virgin: great compositions/performances


Pacific Chorale sings Rachmaninov Vespers: Rejoice, O Virgin

NYP: KURT MASUR Dukas The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: great compositions/performances


NYP: KURT MASUR Dukas The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

today’s holiday: Confucius’s Birthday


Confucius’s Birthday

This is a time to commemorate the birth of the teacher Confucius, perhaps the most influential man in China’s history. In Qufu, Shandong Province, China, the birthplace of Confucius, there is a two-week-long Confucian Culture Festival. During the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, Red Guards defaced many of the buildings in Qufu. They have since been restored, and the festival held there attracts scholars from China and abroad. The festival opens with a ceremony accompanied by ancient music and dance and includes exhibitions and lectures on the life and teachings of Confucius. More… Discuss

quotation: Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. Victor Hugo


 

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) Discuss

 

today’s birthday: Georges Clemenceau (1841)


Georges Clemenceau (1841)

Clemenceau was a French journalist and statesman whose politics brought him into conflict with Napoleon III’s government. After spending several years in the US, he returned to France and became mayor of Montmartre. In 1880, he began publishing La Justice, which became the primary organ of Parisian radicalism, and he later published Emile Zola’s “J’accuse,” a passionate criticism of the Dreyfus Affair. He served as premier during World War I and was a key architect of what treaty? More… Discuss

Hospital Garb Could Be Your Own


Hospital Garb Could Be Your Own

Traditional hospital gowns have been the butt of many a joke, but for those who have to don them, they are no laughing matter. Being hospitalized can rob a person of much of his dignity, and while aspects of this are unavoidable, hospital apparel does not have to be one of them. In many cases, researchers say, it is clinically reasonable for patients to wear their own clothing, or at least pants underneath their open-backed gowns, but few take advantage of this because most are unaware that it is an option. More… Discuss

Murphy’s Law


Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law is the humorous axiom stating that anything that can possibly go wrong will go wrong. Its namesake is likely Edward A. Murphy, an engineer on US Air Force rocket-sled experiments. During one trial, someone methodically wired each sensor involved in an experiment backwards, prompting Murphy to remark, “If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.” How did Murphy’s Law become known to the public? More… Discuss

this pressed: Flash – Writers and readers go mobile and social at Wattpad – France 24


28 September 2014 – 07H25

Writers and readers go mobile and social at Wattpad

inShare

AFP

File picture shows visitors browsing e-books for children at the 64th Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, GermanyFile picture shows visitors browsing e-books for children at the 64th Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany

Allen Lau considers himself living proof that love of good writing is alive and well in the age of streaming video and terse text messages.

He offers as further evidence the 32 million people who each month visit online literature social network Wattpad, which he and Ivan Yuen launched eight years ago as an online venue for writers and readers to connect.

“Wattpad is the world’s largest community for reading and writing,” Lau told AFP during a recent visit to San Francisco to meet with investors in the Toronto-based startup.

“We’ve created a mobile and social storytelling experience.”

Of the more than nine billion minutes spent monthly reading at Wattpad, about 85 percent is done using smartphones or tablet computers, according to Lau.

More than a million Wattpad users are writers, who typically upload a chapter at a time while readers tune in the way they might watch episodes of a television series.

“We make story telling very different and unique,” Lau said.

- Readers shape stories -

Readers share feelings, thoughts and criticisms with one another and authors at the social network, sometimes shaping fates of characters or directions of stories.

“Writing and reading have traditionally been very solitary experiences,” Lau said.

“In this case, writers get constant feedback from readers in real time; and from the reader perspective it is almost like watching a TV show with 10 million people all at once.”

Readers are free to wait until books are complete and then binge on chapter after chapter, but that is rarely the case at Wattpad. The most common question fired off at the service was said to be “When will the next chapter be released?”

After Wattpad noticed writers providing links to music videos to listen to as background for reading, the social network added a way to embed YouTube clips.

“It has been so widely used, if you go to YouTube and search ‘Wattpad’ you will find millions of videos,” Lau said.

“The writing is the main actor, but we have supporting characters: video and sound.”

Wattpad sees a quarter of a million chapters uploaded daily, with about 24 hours worth of reading arriving at the service each minute.

Less than half the visits to Wattpad come from the United States, and the service is growing strong in an array of countries including Turkey, Italy, Britain, and Spain.

“Not everyone has an e-book store, a library, or a regular book store, but everyone will be on the Internet and everyone will have a smartphone,” Lau reasoned.

“I am the walking proof that it is rubbish people aren’t reading as much; the Internet is helping people to read and write more.”

- Writers find fame -

The Wattpad mobile application is free, as is access to work uploaded by writers. More than half the stories on Wattpad were written on mobile devices.

Wattpad writers don’t get paid, but exposure at the social network provides opportunities for them to make money.

via Flash – Writers and readers go mobile and social at Wattpad – France 24.

is Ello A Viable Alternative To Facebook? – What’s New Now PCMag PCMag


is Ello A Viable Alternative To Facebook? – What’s New Now

This pressed: Hello, Ello! What you need to know about the new social network stealing users from Facebook – Salon.com


Mark Zuckerberg (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Facebook has been abuzz of late about a curious new phenomenon: People leaving Facebook in favor of a smaller, simpler social media site called Ello. The fervor for Ello took hold this week in light of Facebook’s recent “real names” crackdown – forcing folks to use their legal names on their profiles or be locked out of the service – which has especially affected members of the LGBTQ community.

Though there are other Facebook-alternatives, including Diaspora and Google+, many are now flocking to Ello.

What is Ello?

Ello is an invite-only social network created by Paul Budnitz, along with graphic designers Todd Berger and Lucian Föhr, and creative engineers from Mode Set. By the creators’ own description, Ello is a “simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network.”

(Back in March, the Daily Dot reports, the team was working pro-bono.)

via Hello, Ello! What you need to know about the new social network stealing users from Facebook – Salon.com.

this pressed: Social network Ello gets boost after Facebook boots drag queens – The Washington Post


“You are not a product,” its manifesto declares. It decries social networks that track and record “every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow” then sell the data to advertisers.

“We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment,” it proclaims. “Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.”

via Social network Ello gets boost after Facebook boots drag queens – The Washington Post.