Daily Archives: January 2, 2014


Ball-Catching Festival

This 500-year-old tradition, said to have its roots in the legend of a dragon god (Ryujin) offering two balls to the Empress Jingu (170–269), takes place each year in Higashi-Ku, Fukuoka City, Japan. Two teams of Japanese men, wearing only loincloths (fundoshi), compete for a ball that weighs about 18 pounds; these teams consist of the Land Team, made up of farmers who work the fields, and the Sea team, composed of fishermen. A Shinto priest awaits the winner to hand him the ball—the size of the harvest or of the catch during the new year is determined by which team wins. More… Discuss

Quotation: Edith Wharton about emancipation

There was no use in trying to emancipate a wife who had not the dimmest notion that she was not free.

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) Discuss

Today’s Birthday: MARION DAVIES (1897)

Marion Davies (1897)

Davies, an American actress, appeared in her first film in 1917 and acted in 29 more over the next 10 years. When she was 19, she caught the attention of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who spent millions promoting her career. However, their social life at his palatial estate began to overshadow her career, which was further jeopardized by a scandal involving a film producer’s mysterious death on Hearst’s yacht. Why did Hearst and Davies, who lived as a couple for decades, never marry? More… Discuss


Deadly Incident at Experimental US Nuclear Power Reactor (1960)

The only fatal nuclear reactor incident in US history occurred at the US Army’s SL-1 experimental nuclear reactor. It was being restarted after an 11-day shutdown when a control rod was withdrawn too far, causing a “prompt critical” reaction. Water surrounding the core explosively vaporized and lifted the enormous reactor vessel more than 9 ft (2.7 m) off the ground. All three operators—one of whom was impaled and pinned to the ceiling—died. Why was the incident rumored to be a murder-suicide? More…Discuss


“Twerk” No More in the “Twittersphere”

It seems that the selfie’s 15 minutes of fame may be running out. The word “selfie” has been given top billing on Lake Superior State University’s 2014 “List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness,” a far cry from its “Word of the Year” title, awarded by Oxford Dictionaries mere months ago. Also making the school’s 39th annual list of excised words are “twerk,” “hashtag,” “Twittersphere,” and the suffixes “-ageddon” and “-pocalypse,” among others. If you could choose a word or phrase to ban, what would it be? More… Discuss


Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason

Social agitator Thomas Paine was an influential political writer whose support of revolution and republican government emboldened the American colonists to declare independence from England. However, his reputation was irreparably harmed by one of his later writings, The Age of Reason. Published in the 1790s, it criticizes organized religion and espouses Paine’s deist beliefs. Many people mistook it for an atheist tract and widely ostracized Paine thereafter. To whom was it dedicated? More… Discuss

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 arrives early for CES 2014 running Android 4.3 | CES 2014: Digital Photo and Video – CNET Blogs

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 arrives early for CES 2014 running Android 4.3 | CES 2014: Digital Photo and Video – CNET Blogs.

Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower – NYTimes.com


Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower – NYTimes.com.

BBC News – Wal-Mart recalls donkey meat in China

Walmart ChinaBBC News – Wal-Mart recalls donkey meat in China.

Will Snowden’s disclosures finally rein in the NSA? | The Great Debate

Will Snowden’s disclosures finally rein in the NSA? | The Great Debate.

Great Performances: Bernstein – Academic Festival Overture (Brahms)

Mozart – Violin Sonata No. 35 in A, K.526

Mozart – Violin Sonata No. 35 in A, K.526:

I. Molto allegro [0:00]
II. Andante [9:30]
III. Presto [19:50]

Sigiswald Kuijken, violin
Luc Devos, fortepiano

– performed on period instruments

– Painting of Mozart by Barbara Krafft

Great Composers/Compositions: Alexander Glazunov “Ruses d’Amour” Op.61, Yevgeny Svetlanov

Alexander Glazunov Ruses d’Amour Op.61

1. Introduction 
2. Scene 1 
3. Mimic Recitative
4. Gavotte
5. Sarabande 
6. Farandole
7. Scene 2 
8. Puppet Dance
9. Scene 3 
10. Scene 4 
11. Scene 5
12. Variation 
13. Scene 6. March
14. Scene 7. Grand waltz
15. Scene 8 
16. Scene 9
17. Scene 10
18. Scene 11
19. Short Peasant’s Dance
20. Dance of the Groom and the Bride
21. Variation
22. Fricassee

Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Conductor

For  a complete  list of Glasunov’s composition visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Alexander_Glazunov

Great Composers/Compositions: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 – Jansons/BRSO(2009Live)

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Symphony No.3 in E flat major, op.55 “Eroica
Mariss Jansons
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Royal Albert Hall, London, 29 3/2009

The symphony consists of four movements:

  1. Allegro con brio (lasts 12–18 minutes)
  2. Marcia funebreAdagio assai in C minor (14–18 minutes)
  3. Scherzo: Allegro vivace (5–6 minutes)
  4. Finale: Allegro molto (10–14 minutes)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The title page of the Eroica Symphony, showing the erased dedication to Napoleon

Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55, also known as the Eroica(Italian for “heroic”), is a musical work marking the full arrival of the composer’s “middle-period,” a series of unprecedented large scale works of emotional depth and structural rigor.[1][2]

The symphony is widely regarded as a mature expression of the classical style of the late eighteenth century that also exhibits defining features of the romantic style that would hold sway in the nineteenth century. The Third was begun immediately after the Second, completed in August 1804, and first performed 7 April 1805.[3]

Dedication and premiere

Beethoven had originally conceived of dedicating the symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte. The biographerMaynard Solomon relates that Beethoven admired the ideals of the French Revolution, and viewed Napoleon as their embodiment. In the autumn the composer began to have second thoughts about that dedication. It would have deprived him of a fee that he would receive if he instead dedicated the symphony to Prince Franz Joseph Maximillian Lobkowitz. Nevertheless, he still gave the work the title ofBonaparte.

According to Beethoven’s pupil and assistant, Ferdinand Ries, when Napoleon proclaimed himselfEmperor of the French in May 1804, Beethoven became disgusted and went to the table where the completed score lay. He took hold of the title-page and tore it up in rage. This is the account of the scene as told by Ries:

In writing this symphony Beethoven had been thinking of Buonaparte, but Buonaparte while he was First Consul. At that time Beethoven had the highest esteem for him and compared him to the greatest consuls of ancient Rome. Not only I, but many of Beethoven’s closer friends, saw this symphony on his table, beautifully copied in manuscript, with the word “Buonaparte” inscribed at the very top of the title-page and “Ludwig van Beethoven” at the very bottom. … I was the first to tell him the news that Buonaparte had declared himself Emperor, whereupon he broke into a rage and exclaimed, “So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!” Beethoven went to the table, seized the top of the title-page, tore it in half and threw it on the floor. The page had to be recopied and it was only now that the symphony received the title “Sinfonia eroica.”[4]


Haiti Ancestors’ Day

In Haiti, the Independence Day festivities that occur on the first day of the year continue into the second with Jour des Aieux (Ancestors’ Day), an occasion for remembering the founders of Haiti and those who sacrificed their lives during the revolution of the early 19th century. A large meal often accompanies the day’s festivities, and military processions may also take place on Ancestors’ Day. In years past, particularly during the reign of President François Duvalier (1971–1986), the executive leader used this day to broadcast speeches to the nation. More…Discuss


Quotation: Friedrich Nietzsche about man and tree…a comparison

It is the same with man as with the tree … The more he seeketh to rise into the height and light, the more vigorously do his roots struggle earthward, downward, into the dark and deep—into the evil.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) Discuss


Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (1898)

Alexander came from a family of academic achievers—her father and uncle both graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, studying law and medicine respectively. Alexander also earned a degree from the school—becoming one of the first African-American women with a PhD in the US—and moved on to Penn’s law school, where she was the first African-American woman graduate. She also served as the first national president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. In which subject was Alexander’s PhD? More… Discuss


This Day in the Yesteryear: MERCURIUS BECOMES POPE JOHN II (533 CE)

Mercurius becomes Pope John II (533 CE)

Though Catholics today are accustomed to the pope taking a new name once elected, Mercurius was the first to do so. As his birth name honored the pagan god Mercury, he chose to become John II upon elevation to the papacy. Though he died just two years later, he served at a time when sacred artifacts were regularly being sold and simony—the purchase or sale of church offices or preferment—was rampant in the selection of church officials. What other scandals did John face in his brief tenure? More… Discuss



Teasing Takes Toll on Kids’ Activity Levels

In recent years, parents, educators, and medical professionals have gained a new perspective on the effects of bullying. The notion that being bullied is simply a childhood rite of passage has largely been invalidated, as study after study documents the long-term psychological scars left by bullying. A new study adds to this growing body of evidence, concluding that children who are teased while playing sports or exercising are more likely to become less active and tend to have a poorer health-related quality of life than those who escape such bullying. In an age when children already get too little exercise, it is all the more important that deterrents to physical activity be addressed.More… Discuss


The Diamond Sutra

The Diamond Sutra is a Buddhist wisdom text. Written in the form of a dialogue between the Buddha Gautama and a questioning disciple, it emphasizes the fleeting nature of the material world and posits that enlightenment cannot be achieved through rational thought. A wood block-printed copy of the sutra held at the British Library is the earliest known printed text with a date—868 CE—predating the Gutenberg Bible by about 587 years. The copy, in scroll form, is roughly how many feet long? More… Discuss