November, 2016 Archive

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From Sticky Rice to Delicious Mochi in One Exhilarating Performance

Mitsuo Nakatani is the fastest mochi maker in Japan.

His style of mochi pounding is called mochi-tsuki. In precise rhythm, he and a teammate flip, smash and pound sticky rice (mochigome) at high speed to make Japan’s traditional unbaked pastry. They use their voices to coordinate, adding to the musicality of their dangerous culinary feat.

Nakatani says, “The key to being good at mixing is all about timing and trust...”

Visitors to Nakatani’s mochi shop come to taste the sweet treat but stay to watch the high-stakes dance of the mochi master.

Watch him at work!

Instagrammer Elizabeth Spence Delivers Emergency Cute Therapy

Overwhelmed by current events? Here’s some emergency cute therapy from Elizabeth Spence, an Instagrammer whose photos will put a smile back on your face. She and Mike Aporius (also a fantastic photographer) have three kids and have rescued three cats and three dogs — all adorable. Elizabeth’s #nappingwithnora photos highlight the bond between rescue pup Nora and the family’s youngest, Archie. Follow @wellettas on Instagram, and let the awws commence!        …read more

Can ‘Westworld’ Flip the Script for Its Female Characters?


HBO’s new series ‘Westworld’ treats its female characters harshly. Will those characters successfully take charge of their own destinies? After the many scenes of gratuitous rape and violence perpetrated against female characters in HBO’s Game of Thrones, it’s not surprising that critics and viewers braced themselves for more of the same from Westworld. From creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, HBO debuted its latest original series October 2, 2016. It is inspired by the 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name. The main premise of Westworld is that wealthy vacationers (referred to as “guests”) visit a futuristic, Western-themed amusement park populated by artificial intelligence robots (referred to as “hosts”) — and the guests can do whatever they like to the hosts. Needless to say, this premise opens the gates to plenty of scenes in which the hosts are beaten, murdered and raped by the guests. This is explained in the trailer, as one        …read more

We Have One Bold Woman to Thank for Our Thanksgiving Holiday

Despite current views on the Thanksgiving holiday, its origins have major importance today. These days, the Thanksgiving holiday is so loaded. There’s the dreaded dinner with the in-laws, anxiety over the true beginnings of the holiday being filled with prejudice and hate. There’s the commercialism that makes everyone feel like they must buy, buy, buy the day after Thanksgiving. But do you know about Sarah Josepha Hale? She didn’t want it this way. She spent her entire adult life advocating the kind of celebration that brought despairing and divided people together. Considering how things are going in America right now, she would have seen this as the perfect opportunity to unite. For this Thanksgiving holiday, consider remembering Sarah Josepha Hale, the bold woman who made the real spirit of the holiday possible. Sarah Josepha Hale via Getty Images. Sarah was up against a lot of obstacles. Looking back, likely no woman or minority would        …read more

How Online Social Networking Transforms Our Connections

social networking

Is social media bringing us together or tearing us apart? A social networking expert explains the current climate. The way we intersect, interact and interpret our world is often filtered through the lens of online social networking. In fact, a 2016 study by Statista has found that “78 percent of US Americans had a social media profile, representing a five percent growth compared to the previous year. According to estimates, the number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.5 billion by 2018.” Author Sherry Turkle (Alone Together) has been telling us about our social media obsession for years. A Scientific American article cites a Facebook experiment in which the divide between positive and negative posts was discovered to have implications in the real world. Translation: people’s emotions can influence our own feelings or psyche — even if it occurs online. People’s emotions can influence our        …read more

Ursula Goff’s Extraordinary Hair Art

hair art

Meet a fascinating colorist with an art school background, a psychology degree, an eye for hair art and a talent for putting them all together. Gone are the days when someone with blue hair would make you do a double take. Pink, purple, orange, green and every color in between have now become common hair colors for women — and men. Hair coloring has always been a way to express individuality, though it has now moved to an entirely new level. Art. Hair art. Photo courtesy of Ursula Goff. Creating a lot of buzz in the field of hair art is Ursula Goff, a fascinating colorist with an art school background, a degree in psychology, an eye for color and a talent for putting them all together. She not only creates breathtaking waterfalls of different shades of hair color; she also re-creates the works of masters. Capturing Vermeer’s color and        …read more

What Does It Mean to Be a Man Today?

The expectations and pressures of traditional masculinity beg the question: What does it mean to be a man today? Rural South Carolina can be an unforgiving place when the August heat hangs as thick on the air as Spanish moss on an oak tree. The bromeliad tapestries hung like Dalí clocks on the oaks lining the walkways of my high school. I wondered how deep those trees had dug their roots as I made my way from the lunch hall to the main building, sauntering in and out of light patches in search of refuge from high noon. I was just starting ninth grade. I was the youngest and shortest kid in my class, having skipped a grade. I was pale as a sand dollar, had more peach fuzz than Georgia, wore wire-rimmed glasses that were about to be broken, and for one of the first recognizable times in my        …read more

Facebook Live: Turn It on for Activism, But It Might Turn on You

Facebook Live

Does Facebook Live promote free expression or something else entirely? “Stay with me,” Diamond Reynolds says at the beginning of her Facebook Live Stream, filmed on the evening of Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, from the passenger seat of the car. Her four-year-old daughter is in the backseat crying, while her boyfriend, Philando Castille, struggles to breathe in the driver’s seat beside her. There’s blood on his arm and soaking into his white T-shirt as he slowly bleeds to death. A police officer is standing outside the vehicle, still pointing his gun through the open window. Diamond describes the scene as calmly as she can: “We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back and the police...he killed my boyfriend.” The officer screams, apparently panicked and unnerved by what’s just taken place, “Keep your hands where I can see them! F*ck!” Reynolds remains calm        …read more

‘Is It Local?’ Meet a Farm-to-Table Champ


Mitch Morrison promotes farm-to-table initiatives for healthy eating and local farm sustainability. As American farmland decreases, people are increasingly searching for locally sourced food. The farm-to-table approach to eating offers many benefits. It assures consumers of fresh produce and meats, allows farmers to remain in business, reduces transportation’s environmental impact and helps people eat healthier. In northwest New Jersey, where many farms have been lost to development, community programs highlight the need for fresh food and also improve life for farmers and area residents. Mitch Morrison, of Sparta, New Jersey, is one of the people at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement through his New Jersey New World organization. Mitch Morrison, Tour de Farm USA. Courtesy of Mitch Morrison. After 35 years in information technology, Mitch decided to do something different. “The reason I went into health and food is because it’s my perception of reality that we’re going to be bankrupt in        …read more

These Works of Land Art Are Made to Disappear

land art

Slovenian artist Miha Brinovec discusses his works of land art, which slowly dissolve into nature. This art gallery is located at a nearby pond. It’s over the water; it’s in the trees. Nature art, or land art, is on display and it is not for sale. The exhibit won’t be there long, and you may never see it again. In fact, you probably won’t. Land art embraces impermanence; it’s not meant to last. Slovenian artist Miha Brinovec doesn’t use paintbrushes to compose his scene. He uses nature as an already existing canvas. He uses rocks, sticks and other natural materials to punctuate his landscape. Hikers and swimmers may stumble upon his work, considering it a mysterious happening, as some of his work seems arranged by some divine force rather than by man. “I do not take people to see the works. I just leave the works in nature so they        …read more