Sunday, May 29, 2016

6 ways to befriend your bones and fend off osteoporosis By Carrie Dennett

ON NUTRITION

What have you done for your bones lately? One in two women — and one in four men — age 50 or older will break a bone due to osteoporosis. And until they break that wrist, or hip, or vertebrae in the spine, odds are they will have no idea they have osteoporosis. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, you are at greater risk, because 70 percent of our bone destiny is due to heredity. But you still can help shape the health of your bones. We actively build bone until our mid-20s. After that, we start to slowly lose bone mass, a decline that temporarily steepens for about five years post-menopause in women. If you have bone-healthy habits during your youth, your bone will be better able to withstand some of the natural erosion that comes with age. Your bones may become less dense, but it might never progress to osteoporosis. While it’s ideal to develop bone-healthy habits in childhood, you can take action at any age to improve both bone and muscle health. What does muscle have to do with osteoporosis? The more muscle you hold on to as you age, the more likely you are to avoid falling if you start to lose your balance. Contrary to popular belief, you hardly ever break a hip, then fall. You fall — often to the side — then break a hip. Here are some of the best bone-building nutrition and lifestyle tips:
Count on calcium. If we don’t get enough calcium in our diet, our bodies will take it from our bones. Adults should aim for 1,000-1,200 mg from foods and supplements, but more isn’t better. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, canned sardines and salmon (because you eat the bones), tofu made with calcium, calcium-fortified foods and some dark leafy greens. Kale, collard and mustard greens are good (so is broccoli), but spinach and beet greens contain oxalic acid, which makes its calcium unavailable to us. Oxalic acid is greatly reduced by cooking, and consuming a food with oxalic acid does not affect absorption of calcium from other foods you eat during the same meal.
Stock up on vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium, but it also helps build muscle. We don’t get much vitamin D from food, and if we are vigilant about preventing skin cancer, we aren’t getting much natural vitamin D through our skin. Taking 800-1,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D with food is recommended for osteoporosis prevention, especially here in the Northwest.
Power up with protein. Getting adequate but not excessive protein is important to protect both muscle and bone mass. Divide your weight in pounds by two to get your rough protein goal in grams. So, if you weight 150 pounds, aim for 75 grams of protein per day.
Load up on produce. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables creates an environment in the body that prevents bone and muscle breakdown.
Get — and stay — active. Weight-bearing exercise — walking, running, strength training — stimulates bone-building activity and builds and maintains muscles. Exercises that help maintain balance, such as tai chi, can also help avoid falls. If you already have osteoporosis, ask your doctor what exercises are safe for you to do.
Avoid “bad to the bone” behaviors. These include smoking and excessive intake of alcohol, caffeine and sodium. Yo-yo dieting has also been shown to reduce bone density.

ConAgra Foods stock seen rising 30 percent: Barron's By Richard Leong

Photo Credit: cnbc.com
ConAgra Foods' stock (CAG.N) could climb up to 30 percent in the coming months as the U.S. packaged food company seeks to shed businesses, improve existing brands and achieve lower overheads, Barron's said in its latest online edition. After ConAgra sold its Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings for about $340 million to Givaudan last week, Barron's said analysts speculate it might consider sales of other brands including Lamb Weston, its commercial frozen potato business. Without Lamb Weston, the Omaha-based company would remain the second biggest U.S. frozen entree producer and top maker of shelf-stable meals with $9 billion in annual revenue, the paper said. Analysts expect ConAgra's revenue to fall to $11.7 billion in fiscal 2016 following the sale of its private-label food business to Treehouse Foods for $2.7 billion. This compared with $15.83 billion the prior fiscal year. ConAgra CEO Sean Connolly, who took over the post last April, might be preparing ConAgra for sale, Barron's said. Connolly aims to cut $300 million in annual costs, which make up of $200 million in selling, general and administrative expenses and $100 million in ineffective trade promotions, the business weekly said. ConAgra carries a hefty price tag. Its current market capitalization was nearly $19.8 billion on Friday when its shares closed down 0.4 percent at $45.29. "But with Lamb Weston gone and his new strategy kicking in, the food giant might be a tasty target," Barron's said. Reuters Photo

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Savchenko 'freed in prisoner swap'

Photo Credit: euromaidanpress.com
Russia has released jailed Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko following a prisoner swap, local media say. There has been no official confirmation but sources said she was swapped for Russian prisoners Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov held by Ukraine. Ms Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in jail for killing two journalists in eastern Ukraine - charges she strenuously denied. She has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance against Russia at home. BBC Photo

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Isa Genzken

Isa Genzken: Nofretete, 2014
Photo Credit: happyfamousartists.com 
        
at Martin-Gropius-Bau Photo Madame

Isa Genzken: Make Yourself Pretty!

Isa Genzken is one of Germany’s most remarkable artists. Her work has its roots in the medium of sculpture and is characterized by a constantly evolving visual language and the casual use of media. The retrospective offers a framework for Genzken’s unorthodox vision of the world that surrounds us. The exhibition covers topics such as modernity, the human body, portraiture, urban culture and architecture.

“I always wanted to have the courage to do totally crazy, impossible and off-key things.” Isa Genzken, 1994

Isa Genzken (*1948) is one of the most remarkable and radical artists of our time. She has earned international renown with her profound work. Her diverse works represent one of the most important contemporary stances of our time. Her oeuvres are now comprehensively on show in Berlin for the first time. The exhibition presents the broad spectrum of Genzken’s work, from her early films, drawings, ellipsoids and concrete sculptures to complex narrative collages and everyday items integrated into montages. The presentation highlights topics such as modernity, the human body, portraits, city culture and architecture.

As an artist, Isa Genzken is prepared to risk it all in her quest for artistic regeneration. In her radical manner she develops diverse works, which are concerned with the topic of beauty in the sense of the essential and absolute.

Based on the category of sculpture, her work distinguishes itself through constantly further developing imagery and unlimited use of media and materials. In the 1970s, she produced sculptures designed on the computer, and thereby referred back to American minimalism and conceptual art. In the long, elegantly slender wooden sculptures, so-called ellipsoids and hyperbolos, one radical step followed another: sculptures made from bare plaster or concrete, collage books, complex narrative assemblages of industrially produced materials and everyday items, various film formats, photography, paintings, architectural models and outdoor sculptures.

Her art is playful and sometimes brightly-coloured but anything other than superficial. With her feel for materials and their arrangements she creates pieces that make you think. Her power of innovation and her ideas are rich in autobiographical elements and subtle comments on society, and they serve as a point of reference and source of inspiration for generations of artists.

She describes her way of working with two quotes: “I like to put things together that were previously unconnected. This connection is like a handshake between people.” And: “I love being daring.”

Co-organiser
The exhibition was developed in cooperation with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and has been curated by Beatrix Ruf and Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen. 
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Niederkirchner Straße 7
10963 Berlin
Germany

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Justin Timberlake

Photo Credit: www.zimbio.com
Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Photo

The Winning-est, Wildest, and Weirdest Moments of Eurovision 2016 By Lyndsey Parker

Photo Credit: www.entertainmentdaily.co.uk
Ukraine’s Jamala wins the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Long before American Idol – before Star Search, even – there was the Eurovision Song Contest. The United Nations of talent competitions, held every year since 1956, Eurovision features singers from across Europe competing over five days, with each country submitting an original song to be performed on live television. It’s one of the most-watched broadcasts in the entire world, with an average annual audience of 200 million viewers in 45 countries. Or make that 47 countries! Yes, it took 60 years, but for the first time ever, the Eurovision Grand Final aired live in both China and (on the Logo network) in the U.S. this Saturday. America’s sweetheart, Justin Timberlake, even made an appearance. (Important side note: For some odd reason, JT’s performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling”/“Rock Your Body” did not air on Logo. But thanks to the Interweb, we can all still see it. Justin can’t be stopped, not even by silly broadcast restrictions!) Eurovision, which took place in Stockholm, Sweden, this year, is perhaps the only televised talent competition more over-the-top than Logo’s premier show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. It is seemingly untouched by time or taste, with contestants wearing Spandex-‘n’-sequins outfits and executing variety-show dance moves that wouldn’t have been out of place during the famously career-launching 1974 Eurovision number by Sweden’s own ABBA. An actual drag queen, Austria’s “Bearded Lady” Conchita Wurst, even won Eurovision in 2014. So Eurovision and Logo were a perfect fit, Timberlake omission notwithstanding. Twenty-six countries competed at the Eurovision 2016 Grand Final, with Ukraine’s Jamala prevailing with her operatic, self-penned “1944” – a political power ballad about ethnic cleansing and the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in the '40s by Russia’s Joseph Stalin. The song was inspired by the harrowing real-life tale of Jamala’s great-grandmother, and also served as a critique of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. “1944” was certainly an uncharacteristically serious moment for the usually campy Eurovision, but Jamala belted the song with pain and passion that swayed voters worldwide. (To add to the politically charged climate of this year’s Eurovision, Ukraine won over Russia’s “You Are the Only One,” which had been the odds-on favorite to win, but lost out after a last-minute reveal of the public votes.) However, as emotional as “1944” was, it didn’t get my vote. (Side note: Americans were actually unable to vote in Eurovision. Logo needs to fix that next year!) Below, ranked, are my personal top 10 performances of Eurovision 2016 – along with how the official, international votes panned out.
1. Dami Im, Australia
“Sound of Silence” (composers: Anthony Egizii and David Musumeci)
Official ranking: Second place
Yes, I know Australia is not part of the continent that puts the “Euro” in Eurovision. So? An exception should of course be made for this dynamite performer. (To clarify, Australia started participating in Eurovision last year, somewhat controversially.) The Season 5 X Factor Australia champ channeled circa-2008 Lady Gaga with her sculptural bubble-gown, blunt bangs, and booming vocals. All that was missing was the disco-stick, really. As for “Sound of Silence,” it clearly had nothing in common with that Simon & Garfunkel song (it’s basically the loudest song about “silence,” ever), but on Saturday, it sounded like an instant Eurovision classic.
2. Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz, Georgia
“Midnight Gold” (composers: Kote Kalandadze and Thomas G:son)
Official ranking: 20th place
The Least Cheesy Performance Award goes to this hard-charging hipster band. This basically seemed like the Gallagher brothers’ long-lost Georgian cousins playing a long-lost outtake from Kasabian’s first album at Glastonbury. (It’s no wonder, then, that this Anglophilic song received the allotted 12 points from England’s professional jury.) Kudos to the trippy, psychedelic production, too, which almost made it seem like the scruffy indie rockers were competing at Eurovision 1969. The colors, the colors!
3. Poli Genova, Bulgaria
“If Love Was a Crime” (composers: Borislav Milanov, Sebastian Arman, Joacim, Bo Persson, and Poli Genova)
Official ranking: Fourth place
This asymmetrically emo-haired former child star, onetime X Factor Bulgaria judge, and Eurovision 2009/2011 veteran delivered a vivacious, adorable performance that came across like a Robyn-fronted Spice Girls starring in an off-off-off-Broadway musical production of TRON. What’s not to love?
4. Sergey Lazarev, Russia
“You Are the Only One” (composers: Philipp Kirkorov, Dimitris Kontopoulos, John Ballard, and Ralph Charlie)
Official ranking: Third place
The Best Production Award goes to this seemingly Sprockets-inspired number. Lazarev (one half of the popular, double-exclamation-pointed Russian pop duo Smash!!, and a former member of a children’s group featuring members of t.A.T.u.) began by dramatically casting shapes like a visitor at a Children’s Museum shadowbox display, then he bravely climbed inside what looked like wall-sized versions of Asteroids and Q-Bert video-game consoles. This performance was a smash (!!), indeed.
5. Jamie-Lee, Germany
“Ghost” (Thomas Burchia, Anna Leyne, and Conrad Hensel)
Official ranking: 26th place
The Sanrio- and Kpop-obsessed winner of The Voice Germany Season 5 hit the stage looking like Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls threw up all over her. And her cutesy performance made it seem like she’s watched Avril Lavigne’s “Hello Kitty” music video a few too many times. Despite all the awkward cultural appropriation, I thought she pulled off her performance of this Halsey-lite track nicely, but voters didn’t agree: Jamie came in dead last.
6. Hovi Star, Israel
“Made of Stars” (composer: Doron Medalie)
Official ranking: 14th place
Not the similarly titled Moby tune, “Made of Stars” is instead an empowerment-anthem power ballad, accompanied Saturday by pyro-laden production that made it seem like Star was singing his coronation song on the Israeli Idol finale. (Star actually competed on Israel’s version of Idol, Kokhav Nolad, in 2009, so this makes total sense. Pretty much every Eurovision singer this year seemed to be an Idol, Voice, X Factor, or Got Talent veteran.) The openly gay Star lived up to his surname as he served what Logo commentator Michelle Collins called “Adam Lambert realness” – a triumph after he reportedly experienced homophobic bullying by Russian border police officers last month while on tour promoting “Made of Stars.”
7. Nina Kraljic, Croatia
“Lighthouse” (composers: Andreas Grass and Nikola Paryla)
Official ranking: 23rd place
A 10th place contestant on Croatia’s Got Talent and the winner of the first season of The Voice Croatia, Miss Kraljic – the biggest pop star in her native land – gave me the instant impression that talent shows in Europe are much, much cooler than what we Yanks get on Fox and NBC. The ethereal worldbeat diva appeared in a Homogenic-era Bjork kimono that Drag Race’s own Kim Chi would probably love to borrow for Logo’s Season 8 Drag Race finale. And before the chorus, she’d already undergone a dramatic costume change, serving Madonna-at-the-1991-Oscars realness in an Old Hollywood column gown. Her vocals admittedly wavered on the massive song, but what Nina lacked in perfect pitch she made up for with impeccable show-woman-ship and fashion flair.
8. Amir, France
“J'ai cherché” (composers: Amir Haddad, Johan Errami, and Nazim Khaled)
Official ranking: Sixth place
Celine Dion, who won Eurovision 1988 (representing Switzerland), publicly endorsed this Israeli-French singer-songwriter – and that’s gotta count for something, right? A veteran of both Israel’s Kokhav Nolad and The Voice France, Amir didn’t put on the flashiest or splashiest performance, but “J'ai cherché,” which he co-wrote, was one of this year’s catchiest contenders.
9. Michal Szpak, Poland
“Color of Your Life” (composers: Kamil Varen and Andy Palmer)
Official ranking: Eighth place
The X Factor Poland rocker runner-up claimed his “style icon is Marilyn Manson.” Logo commentator Carson Kressley added, “Maybe with a little Kenny G thrown in.” I thought Michal looked a bit like Weird Al emceeing the Ringing Bros.’ circus, personally. But he belted his ballad with all the earnestness of Michael Bolton in his ponytailed prime. And that tuxedo jacket was working for Michal. Clearly the color of this guy’s life is red.
10. Iveta Mukuchyan, Armenia
“LoveWave” (composers: Iveta Mukuchyan, Stephanie Crutchfield, Lilith Navasardyan, and Levon Navasardyan)
Official ranking: Seventh place
Such eleganza! Why do I feel like if there were ever a RuPaul’s Drag Race Armenia, every queen would lip-sync for her life to “LoveWave”? Incidentally, Iveta is a veteran of both The Voice Germany and the coolest-titled talent show ever, Hay Superstar. When will Logo start broadcasting Hay Superstar Stateside, too?
HONORABLE MENTION: Minus One, Cyprus
“Alter Ego” (composers: Minus One and Thomas G:son)
Official ranking: 21st place
They didn’t have the best song in this year’s competition by a longshot. But Minus One (a former cover band fronted by The Voice France contestant Francois Micheletto) deserve a semi-honorable mention for putting several of its members in faux-iron onstage cages, like something straight out of a vintage Scorpions music video. Are we sure these guys weren’t representing Germany?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Queen Elizabeth II wins $70 Tesco grocery voucher By Matias Grez

Monday, May 9, 2016

Eurovision Song Contest 2016: A Viewer’s Guide By Rachel Danadio and Christopher D. Shea

Jamie-Lee Kriewitz, Eurovision song contest - Germany
The 61st annual Eurovision song contest, the campiest event on the international cultural calendar, arrives at its glorious climax this week. Beloved by Europeans, although mystifying to many in the United States, the contest was conceived as a way to unite Cold War Europe through music — a kind of World Cup for pop songs — and to bolster ratings for national broadcasters. Over the years, countries as varied as Israel and the nascent Balkan republics have vied to enter, seeing participation as a sign of acceptance on the world stage. This year’s contest is in Stockholm, where performers from 42 countries will compete for the top prize — exposure — in semifinals on Tuesday and Thursday and finals on Saturday. Viewers in the participating countries can watch on television domestically and viewers around the world can watch on Eurovision’s website, eurovision.tv. The semifinals on Tuesday and Thursday and the finals on Saturday begin at 9 p.m. Central European Time, or 3 p.m. Eastern Time. For the first time this year, the finals will be broadcast on television (and the Internet) in the United States, by Logo, a channel owned by Viacom. International New York Times

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

European Central Bank scraps 500-euro note By Simon Morgan

500-euro note. Photo Credit: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
Frankfurt (AFP) - The European Central Bank on Wednesday said it would stop producing and issuing 500-euro banknotes, amid fears that the violet-coloured bills were favoured by criminals for money laundering and even terrorist financing. The bank is to stop issuing the 500-euro bills ($580) around the end of 2018 although those currently in circulation will remain legal tender. Existing bills can also be exchanged at national central banks of eurozone nations for an unlimited period of time, added the ECB, announcing its decision to scrap the denomination after "taking into account concerns that this banknote could facilitate illicit activities". The largest denomination banknote in the single currency area is one of the world's most valuable bills, alongside the 1,000 Swiss franc ($1,045, 910 euros) note. It is physically also the biggest than the five other euro banknotes and believed to be favoured by criminals for moving large sums of money around without the authorities' knowledge. "Such notes are the preferred payment mechanism of those pursuing illicit activities, given the anonymity and lack of transaction record they offer, and the relative ease with which they can be transported and moved," according to a recent Harvard University study. Because of its size and portability, the 500-euro note has become so prized in underground finance that it can trade at more than its face value, and has become known in some circles as a "Bin Laden", the study said. A million euros worth of 500-euro notes weigh just 2.2 kilograms (4.85 pounds) and pack easily into a laptop bag, while the same sum transported in 50-euro denomination comes up to 22 kilos and requires the usage of a large sports bag. According to ECB statistics, the 500-euro bills account for just three percent of the total number of banknotes in circulation, but 28 percent of the total value. Yahoo! AFP Photo

Gelderland turns pink to launch the 99th Giro d’Italia cycle race

The 99th edition of the Giro d’Italia round-Italy cycle race starts in Gelderland on Friday with three days of racing involving 22 teams of nine riders.

Read more at DutchNews.nl: Gelderland turns pink to launch the 99th Giro d’Italia cycle race http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/05/gelderland-turns-pink-to-launch-the-99th-giro-ditalia-cycle-race/
The 99th edition of the Giro d’Italia round-Italy cycle race starts in Gelderland on Friday with three days of racing involving 22 teams of nine riders.

Read more at DutchNews.nl: Gelderland turns pink to launch the 99th Giro d’Italia cycle race http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/05/gelderland-turns-pink-to-launch-the-99th-giro-ditalia-cycle-race/
Giro d'Italia. Photo Credit: Flip Franssen
The 99th edition of the Giro d’Italia round-Italy cycle race starts in Gelderland on Friday with three days of racing involving 22 teams of nine riders.
The Giro starts with a time trial through central Apeldoorn on Friday, when king Willem-Alexander will be on hand to welcome the riders. On Saturday there is a 190 km stage from Arnhem to Nijmegen and on Sunday the teams will head back from Nijmegen to Arnhem again. Then, after a rest day, there will be 18 further stages to reach the finish on 29 May. The local organisers have put nearly €13m into the event, which they expect to earn back from the thousands of cycling fans who will flock to the province to watch the race. In total, Gelderland expects 460,000 people to turn out to support the riders during the three Dutch days of cycling. Worldwide, some 800 million television viewers are expected to tune in, which the local organisers hope will give a major boost to local tourism. The Netherlands has been the start of several big cycle races in recent years. In 2015, the Tour de France kicked off in Utrecht, as it did in Rotterdam in 2010. Amsterdam also staged the start of the Giro that year.

Read more at DutchNews.nl: Gelderland turns pink to launch the 99th Giro d’Italia cycle race http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/05/gelderland-turns-pink-to-launch-the-99th-giro-ditalia-cycle-race/
The Giro starts with a time trial through central Apeldoorn on Friday, when king Willem-Alexander will be on hand to welcome the riders. On Saturday there is a 190 km stage from Arnhem to Nijmegen and on Sunday the teams will head back from Nijmegen to Arnhem again.

Read more at DutchNews.nl: Gelderland turns pink to launch the 99th Giro d’Italia cycle race http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/05/gelderland-turns-pink-to-launch-the-99th-giro-ditalia-cycle-race/The Giro starts with a time trial through central Apeldoorn on Friday, when king Willem-Alexander will be on hand to welcome the riders. On Saturday there is a 190 km stage from Arnhem to Nijmegen and on Sunday the teams will head back from Nijmegen to Arnhem againThe Giro starts with a time trial through central Apeldoorn on Friday, when king Willem-Alexander will be on hand to welcome the riders. On Saturday there is a 190 km stage from Arnhem to Nijmegen and on Sunday the teams will head back from Nijmegen to Arnhem again. Then, after a rest day, there will be 18 further stages to reach the finish on 29 May. The local organisers have put nearly €13m into the event, which they expect to earn back from the thousands of cycling fans who will flock to the province to watch the race. In total, Gelderland expects 460,000 people to turn out to support the riders during the three Dutch days of cycling. Worldwide, some 800 million television viewers are expected to tune in, which the local organisers hope will give a major boost to local tourism. The Netherlands has been the start of several big cycle races in recent years. In 2015, the Tour de France kicked off in Utrecht, as it did in Rotterdam in 2010. Amsterdam also staged the start of the Giro that year.
The Giro starts with a time trial through central Apeldoorn on Friday, when king Willem-Alexander will be on hand to welcome the riders. On Saturday there is a 190 km stage from Arnhem to Nijmegen and on Sunday the teams will head back from Nijmegen to Arnhem again. Then, after a rest day, there will be 18 further stages to reach the finish on 29 May. The local organisers have put nearly €13m into the event, which they expect to earn back from the thousands of cycling fans who will flock to the province to watch the race. In total, Gelderland expects 460,000 people to turn out to support the riders during the three Dutch days of cycling. Worldwide, some 800 million television viewers are expected to tune in, which the local organisers hope will give a major boost to local tourism. The Netherlands has been the start of several big cycle races in recent years. In 2015, the Tour de France kicked off in Utrecht, as it did in Rotterdam in 2010. Amsterdam also staged the start of the Giro that year. Dutch News

From the streets of Riga to the spectacular Eurovision Song Contest By William Butt

Justs Simrais, Latvia. Photo Credit: Andzejs Gavriss
When he was just sixteen years old young Justs Simrais left his home town of Kekava, near Bauska and started playing his guitar and singing on the streets of Riga. Little did he know that just five years later at the age of 21, he would be standing on the big Eurovision Song Contest stage in Stockholm not only representing Latvia in the world’s biggest television show but also fulfilling his childhood dream. Judging by his performances and his ability to adapt to the enormous environment associated with Eurovision, it is easy to see that this young artist is aiming to repeat Latvia’s victory from 2002 when Mari N won with the song “I wanna”. If this will happen or not remains to be seen next week as Latvia competes in the second semi final of the contest. The Latvian song in this year’s Eurovision Contest is entitled “Heartbeat” and was written for Justs Simrais by last year’s Latvian contestant Aminata Savadogo. With this somewhat catchy song, this 21 year old of Latvia is eager for success. On stage or in his music video, he is not unlike one of the young artists in the duo Walters and Kazaa who took Latvia to the Eurovision final eleven years ago in 2005 and ended up in 5th place. Justs Simrais’ professional musical career really started when he was seventeen years old and created a band called “Tax Free” that played music inspired by international bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers. “We have been playing now for three years and it feels as if we have found our style and discovered what we want to do.” When his band “Tax Free” started, Simrais tells of how it took time to learn all about being a music group. “Now we have grown and we understand everything that is expected of us as a professional band” he adds. Simrais sees his participation in the Eurovision Song Contest as the next step in his musical career. He believes that performing in Eurovision gives an artist a lot of valuable experience and it could be a stepping stone to move forward in the complex music industry. Footnote: The first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest will be aired on Tuesday May 10. The second semi final will be aired on May 12, and the final will be aired on the 14th May. The Baltic Times

Monday, May 2, 2016

U2's The Edge rocks the Sistine Chapel

(ANSA) - Rome, May 1 - U2 guitarist The Edge on Saturday became the first rock musician to play in the Sistine Chapel. The Edge was in Rome for a Vatican conference on regenerative medicine, some of whose attendees were the lucky audience for the first rock mini-concert to grace the location of Michelangelo's immortal frescoes, which had previously only heard Gregorian chant and the Pontifical Choir.
Videos of The Edge were posted by fans on Facebook and Twitter. His Sistine set included three U2 songs, "Yahweh", "Ordinary love" and "Walk on", and the Leonard Cohen number "If it be your will". life in italy Photo

Op-Ed. Was just at the Sistine Chapel in January. Couldn't imagine a rocker playing music there. The scene is so much of art and holiness. Isn't the Sistine Chapel where the Cardinals congregate to vote for a new Pope ? Well Pope Francis wears a different hat than previous popes and supports pop culture, and pop 21st Century cultural issues. And it's such a journey to get to the Sistine Chapel, they probably heard U2's The Edge well through the corridors, and probably shocked some tourists. The epitome of politeness of the Papacy.  Well done !! 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy 90th Birthday Dad - May 2

Homemade Pizza with homemade pizza dough, and Julia Child's Caramel Custard, aka, Flan Caramel.

Op-Ed. Flan. No need to cool the pan with syrup in water, instead, just pour the syrup in the ramekins or custard mold, while the syrup is still liquid. As it cools it hardens to candy. Careful. It's okay if the syrup hardens slightly in the ramekins, it'll heat up again in the oven. Baked in ramekins clustered in a roasting pan surrounding the ramekins with 2/3 hot water, 40 minutes 350/180 oven. Cooking sugar with water eliminates a burnt taste, but cook syrup till it's a light caramel color. Could take 20 minutes at low heat. Also, worked with whole milk for the recipe, and might try adding some cream. Gelled beautifully.