Daily Archives: January 23, 2018

Gospel of the Day (Mark 4:1-20)

Gospel of the Day (Mark 4:1-20)
Gospel of the Day (Mark 4:1-20)

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”
And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables.
He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables,
so that ‘they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.'”
Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

Today’s Holiday: Alasitas Fair

Today’s Holiday:
Alasitas Fair

Each year on this day, a large marketplace in La Paz, Bolivia, is full of merchants who traditionally call out “Alasitas,” an Aymara word meaning “buy from me,” to potential buyers of their miniature wares. Shoppers can find tiny replicas of just about every kind of object—cars, houses, foods, furniture, clothes, tools, household goods, and, especially, money—and seek those which represent items they would like to have in the coming year. Presiding over all this downsized commerce is Ekeko, an Aymara god of material wealth, fertility, and good luck. More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Birthday: Edith Wharton (1862)

Today’s Birthday:
Edith Wharton (1862)

Born into upper-class American society, Wharton was privately educated. She married a Boston banker in 1885, but as her older husband’s mental health deteriorated, she devoted herself to writing. The success of her 1905 novel The House of Mirth established her as a leading writer, but she is perhaps best known for 1911’s Ethan Frome, which explores the grimmer possibilities of New England farm life. What common saying is thought to have originally referred to Wharton’s family? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History: Serial Killer Ted Bundy Is Executed (1989)

This Day in History:
Serial Killer Ted Bundy Is Executed (1989)

In December 1977, Ted Bundy escaped from jail in Colorado—for the second time—and fled to Florida. There, he resumed a streak of murders that he had begun in 1974, killing 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, among others. He was soon re-arrested, convicted of several murders, and sentenced to death. In an effort to avoid execution, Bundy confessed to numerous killings and promised to reveal more information in time. Despite this, he was executed in 1989. How many women is Bundy thought to have killed? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Quote of the Day: Herman Melville

Quote of the Day:
Herman Melville

The skeleton of the whale furnishes but little clue to the shape of his fully invested body. More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day: Star Fruit

Article of the Day:
Star Fruit

Star fruit, so named because it has five prominent ridges that make it star-shaped on cross section, is the yellow- or green-skinned fruit of the carambola tree. Because it contains high levels of oxalic acid, it is typically sour and its juice can be used to remove stains from clothing. Like grapefruit, star fruit possesses compounds that make it dangerous to consume when taking certain medications, including those used to treat what kind of conditions? More…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Idiom of the Day: look for a dog to kick

Idiom of the Day:
look for a dog to kick

To seek out someone to blame or castigate, especially someone who is not at fault. (Usually said in the continuous tense.) Watch the video…: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Word of the Day: commutation

Word of the Day:

Definition: (noun) (Law) The reduction in severity of a punishment imposed by law.
Synonyms: re-sentencing
Usage: The change from consecutive prison sentences to concurrent sentences is a commutation of punishment.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Everliving music: Watch “The Traitor_Martha Wainwright_Leonard Cohen_I’m Your Man_720HD-022711.avi” on YouTube

The Traitor

Leonard Cohen


Now the Swan it floated on the English river
Ah the Rose of High Romance it opened wide
A sun tanned woman yearned me through the summer
And the judges watched us from the other side

I told my mother “Mother I must leave you
Preserve my room but do not shed a tear
Should rumour of a shabby ending reach you
It was half my fault and half the atmosphere”

But the Rose I sickened with a scarlet fever
And the Swan I tempted with a sense of shame
She said at last I was her finest lover
And if she withered I would be to blame

The judges said you missed it by a fraction
Rise up and brace your troops for the attack
Ah the dreamers ride against the men of action
Oh see the men of action falling back

But I lingered on her thighs a fatal moment
I kissed her lips as though I thirsted still
My falsity had stung me like a hornet
The poison sank and it paralyzed my will

I could not move to warn all the younger soldiers
That they had been deserted from above
So on battlefields from here to Barcelona
I’m listed with the enemies of love

And long ago she said “I must be leaving,
Ah but keep my body here to lie upon
You can move it up and down and when I’m sleeping
Run some wire through that Rose and wind the Swan”

So daily I renew my idle duty
I touch her here and there, I know my place
I kiss her open mouth and I praise her beauty
And people call me traitor to my face

Songwriters: Leonard Cohen

The Traitor lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Comments at songmeaning.com


General Comment:
Well I guess, it is fundamentally positive, and for a long time I just amaze myself at the beauty of the methaphore, the idea of the world as a stage, as the scene of a quest, in which the spectators are the judges as well, then i heard Leonard Cohen’s explaantion of the line of thought that made him write the poem. It goes like this:

“It was called “The traitor”. It was about the feeling that we have of betraying some mission that we were mandated to fulfill, and being unable to fulfill it, and then coming to understand that the real mandate was not to fulfill it, and that the deeper courage was to stand guiltless in the predicament in which you found yourself”.

It talks about the unvoidable predicament of failure from without, and the only right posture when one’s faced with a situation in which one cannot but fail: standing guiltless, in the predicament in which you find yourself. I think that is positive: not blaming yourself for outcomes of which you could not fully control.

Watch “No Surprises – Regina Spektor (animation)” on YouTube

Via euronews: A natural remedy for the Danube’s destructive floods

Via euronews: A natural remedy for the Danube’s destructive floods http://www.euronews.com/2018/01/22/a-natural-remedy-for-the-danube-s-destructive-floods

Over the past few decades, the Danube basin has been swept by increasingly devastating floods, causing widespread damage and even casualties in the countries crossed by the river.

Floods are natural occurrences. However, they can turn destructive when rivers are disconnected from their natural floodplains or constricted to man-made channels as well as when communities are built in areas prone to flooding. While floods cannot be entirely prevented, their frequency and damage could be reduced through different measures. One of the most environmentally friendly ways to achieve this is through restoring remaining floodplains on the Danube.

Floodplains are almost flat land surfaces in the proximity of a river or stream, which fill up with water during floods. Their fertile soils make them productive for agriculture, while their forests and marshes are some of the richest habitats for plants and animals.

According to Ulrich Schwarz, a leader of Fluvius, an international consultancy focused mainly on the Danube’s floodplain ecology and river basin management, around 78 percent of the river’s floodplains have been destroyed.

Irene Lucius, the Head of Policy at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Danube-Carpathian Programme, has stressed that floodplain destruction has numerous devastating consequences. Not only does it increase flood risk, but it also negatively impacts fisheries, bird and wildlife habitats as well as its human uses, particularly by disrupting agriculture, given that floodplains are fertile areas with nutrient-rich silt and sediment.

Therefore, she emphasized, floodplain restoration has become an increasing focus for the WWF, which has been piloting projects in various countries.

Open the flow

She presented the restoration of Liberty Island in Hungary as a success story, due to its innovative and time-efficient approach as well as the fact that many of its results were appreciated by local residents.

Her colleague, Tamas Gruber, the Freshwater Programme Officer at WWF Hungary, provided more details on this initiative. Located in South Hungary, Liberty Island was bought by WWF Hungary on behalf of the Danube-Drava National Park Directorate.

The five-year restoration project removed the rockfill dam that had artificially blocked the island’s side branch more than 30 years ago to improve navigation, by sustaining more water in the main riverbed. This had transformed the island into a mud pond with a stagnant surface with water flowing only several days every year, during the highest floods.

Opening the rockfill dam has ensured a continuous connection with the main branch of the Danube River at least two metres deep.

The WWF also planted the native forest typical of floodplain areas, while eliminating non-native tree plantations and invasive plants. According to Gruber, the project had several positive impacts: ‘it restored the water supply chain for the citizens of Pecs and Mohacs, while helping new habitats form and allowing locals to enjoy more eco-friendly tourism opportunities and recreation in the region.’

Recreating the wetlands

Another successful WWF project was the reconstruction of a wetland in Mahmudia commune, which comprises multiple small fishing villages in Romania’s Danube Delta. Wetlands are part of floodplains and contribute to slowing and filtering water, while providing habitats for a diverse wildlife. It was the first ecological reconstruction project implemented by a local community in partnership with the WWF in the Danube Delta.

The project lasted four years. During the 1980s, the area was drained for agricultural purposes by the country’s then communist leadership. This led to a loss of a part of the Danube Delta.

The Mahmudia reconstruction project restored the natural hydrological system, which reconnected around 900-hectares of agricultural lands with regional inland lakes and wetlands. The initiative also helped maintain biodiversity by recovering 18 habitat types, which ensured good conditions for plants, birds and fish, while considering locals’ socio-economic needs.

Another key project result has been increasing the local community’s welfare, while further enabling their traditional economic activities, especially tourism. It also offered an example for other local communities in floodplain areas to follow the same model and develop environmentally friendly initiatives.

Short-term incentives

Despite the benefits of floodplain restoration projects, Lucius cautioned that there are some impediments and challenges that need to be addressed, if more similar initiatives are to be conducted.

“Diverse and different land ownership renders it difficult to agree on land use, while land grabbing by foreign investors in floodplain areas often creates problems in finding the landlords and negotiating with them. Finally, agricultural subsidies in floodplains prevents the locals from grasping the benefits of restored floodplains, but makes them focus instead on short-term gains.”

While floodplains constitute a vital natural solution to preventing and managing floods, Schwarz emphasized that they still need to be coupled with traditional man-made mechanisms, such as dikes and flood barriers, as well as non-physical measures, including campaigns to raise awareness of flood risks.

Via euronews: Oscars: Who’s nominated for the 90th Academy Awards?

Via euronews: Oscars: Who’s nominated for the 90th Academy Awards? http://www.euronews.com/2018/01/23/watch-live-who-s-nominated-for-the-90th-academy-awards-

Watch “Regina Spektor – Man of a Thousand Faces” on YouTube

Watch “Regina Spektor – Laughing with lyrics” on YouTube

Watch “Regina Spektor – “Eet” [Official Music Video]” on YouTube

Watch “Regina Spektor – The Calculation” on YouTube

Watch “Mix – Everybody Knows – Sigrid – From Justice League Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (official video)” on YouTube

Mix – Everybody Knows – Sigrid – From Justice League Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (official video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfLOt5P6nSk&list=RDwfLOt5P6nSk

Watch “Everybody knows – Leonard Cohen” on YouTube

Watch “Mix – Leonard Cohen” on YouTube

Mix – Leonard Cohen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrLk4vdY28Q&list=RDEMXGU2sgMkP-Yo2d3WFVXr8g

Tsunami warnings, watches issued after Gulf of Alaska earthquake – NBC News


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