Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cassini-Huygens now moving though Saturn's rings

'Cosmic Speck: See Earth Through Saturn's Rings in Amazing Cassini Photo'

Sarah Lewin - - April 21, 2017

 The Cassini spacecraft spotted Earth as a bright speck (and the moon as a smaller speck) between Saturn's broad rings as the craft prepares for its final dive into the ringed planet's atmosphere.

Cassini was 870 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers) from Earth the night of April 12-13 when it snapped this photo, which shows Earth — and the even tinier moon, a faint dot to its left — framed between the icy rings of Saturn. At the time the photo was taken, the southern Atlantic Ocean was facing the spacecraft's lens, NASA officials said in a statement.



Saturn moon Enceladus

The Cassini-Huygens Mission has been a joint program between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) since 1997. Much of the craft was designed and developed by the ASI and other corporations in our Cisalpine ancestral homeland. As fascinating as Titan and other Saturn moons have proved to be, the possibility of life on the moon Enceladus has stolen the show since last year.

This is a real photograph, not a drawing or computer generated image..

NASA twitter 4-26-17:
To go where no spacecraft has gone before…tomorrow, @CassiniSaturn makes its 1st dive between Saturn and its rings:


'The Cassini spacecraft’s dive in between Saturn’s rings, explained'

The spacecraft begins its “grand finale” before crashing into the gas giant later this year

Brian Resnick - - April 26, 2017

The Cassini spacecraft is going where no ship has gone before: On Wednesday, it begins a series of dives into the space between Saturn and its magnificent rings. The maneuver — a series of 22 orbits that will bring Cassini increasingly closer to Saturn’s surface before crashing into it — is called the spacecraft’s “grand finale.” And to mark this final journey, Cassini is being honored with a Google Doodle.

Over its last 13 years in orbit, Cassini has had an amazing run studying Saturn and its moons. Here’s what the spacecraft has taught us so far — and why its final mission may be its most spectacular yet.



Monday, April 17, 2017

Franco Zeffirelli's 'Jesus of Nazareth' - 40 year anniversary

Jesus Of Nazareth (Full Movie) 1977



This was a big deal back in 1977... a time when there were five stations on the dial. It tied together the U.S., UK, and Italy in particular... something not likely to happen again given the massive planned changes in society. I was very young, but I remember everyone in the neighborhood seemed to have it on. As twilight and dimly lit windows arrived, that perfect moment in time, there was a certain unity and warmth to it.

When the first episode was broadcast in the United States, it was a major success. The New York Times reported it "swamped all competing programs on Sunday night", with overnight Nielsen ratings of 46% of the total audience in New York and 53% in Los Angeles. The miniseries as a whole received a Nielsen rating of 30.8 points, with each point representing approximately 712,000 television-owning homes, and an audience share of 50% nationwide, on both nights. The company calculated that Jesus attracted about 90 million viewers.

Jesus of Nazareth turned into a massive commercial success and one of the most widely marketed and best-known productions about Christ's life.

NBC rebroadcast the series in 1981 and four more times through 1990.

The mini-series is broadcast every Easter and Christmas in many countries...

 Jesus of Nazareth (miniseries)

Jesus of Nazareth (Italian: Gesù di Nazareth) is a 1977 British-Italian television miniseries directed by Franco Zeffirelli and co-written by Zeffirelli, Anthony Burgess, and Suso Cecchi d'Amico which dramatises the birth, life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It stars Robert Powell as Jesus. The miniseries features an all-star cast of famous American and European actors, including seven Academy Award winners: Anne Bancroft, Ernest Borgnine, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer (subsequent winner), Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, and Peter Ustinov.

Extra-biblical traditions were used in the writing of the screenplay and some characters (such as Zerah) and situations were invented for the film for brevity or dramatic purposes. Notably, Jesus of Nazareth depicts Judas Iscariot as a well-intentioned man initially, but later as a dupe of Zerah who betrays Jesus largely as a result of Zerah's false platitudes and pretexts. However, in accordance with the Gospels, the film depicts Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea as sympathetic members of the Sanhedrin. Many of the miracles of Jesus, such as the changing of water into wine at the wedding at Cana, the transfiguration, and the calming of the storm are not depicted, although Jesus healing the blind man and the crippled woman on Sabbath, the feeding of the multitude, and the raising of Lazarus from the dead are presented here.

Jesus of Nazareth premiered on the Italian channel Rai 1 on 27 March 1977 and was first aired in the United Kingdom on the ITV Network on 3 April 1977. It is generally well-praised, but was not received without controversy.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

A sampling of San Francisco Italian restaurants and pizzerias which have been more heavily advertised of late


North Beach Restaurant
Traditional Tuscan fare and housemade vino served in an upscale setting by old-school waiters.

Il Casaro
Pizza, Italian street food and wine served in a cozy space with a mozzarella bar and late-night hours.

Rose Pistola ('North Beach’s Rose Pistola closes after nearly 21 years')
Lively trattoria offering cuisine from the Liguria region of Italy, plus an extensive wine list.

Vicoletto Italian Restaurant
Calabrese specialties, homemade pasta & an extensive list of Italian wines in a relaxed setting.


Paxti's Pizza
Enjoy the best deep dish and thin crust pizza from Patxi's.

Northern Italian eatery serving seasonal fare in an intimate setting accessed via a side alley.

Luisa's Pizza and Pasta
Narrow trattoria with white brick walls and streetside dining serving pizza and red sauce Italian eats.

Arinell Pizza
Slices and pies are the draw at this New York-style pizzeria.

Haystack Pizza
Casual, veteran spot serving traditional Italian dishes & pizza in family-size portions.

Escape From New York Pizza
The best pizza delivery in San Francisco. 6 SF locations.

Goat Hill Pizza
3 SF locations

Trattoria da Vittorio
Calabrian-inspired pizzas & handmade pastas star at this cozy eatery with brick and stone accents.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

'Risen' (2016) - movie review

Risen Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Tom Felton Biblical Movie HD

Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films

RESURRECTION tells the epic New Testament story of the first forty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ through the eyes of an agnostic Roman Centurion charged by Pontius Pilot to investigate rumors of a risen Jewish Messiah and locate the missing deceased body of Jesus of Nazareth in order to subdue an imminent uprising in Jerusalem.

Risen (2016 film)

Risen is a 2016 American biblical drama film directed by Kevin Reynolds; it was conceived from a screenplay written by Reynolds and Paul Aiello. The film stars Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth, and Cliff Curtis, and details a Roman soldier's search for Jesus' body following his Resurrection. Columbia Pictures released the film to theaters nationwide in the United States on February 19, 2016.


The film begins with the words "Judean Desert AD 33," and a revolt by Judeans against the Roman army. A rather gutty thing to do, as they were poorly armed. In the bigger picture, the Roman provincial prefect Pontius Pilate wanted things to settle down for a coming visit from the Emperor. In a separate early scene, the Crucifixion of "Yeshua" is shown, and the central character Clavius is introduced. He was a high ranking Roman military tribune; likely a fictional character. Roman and Hebrew leadership were portrayed as conspiring together against Yeshua's potential "Messiah" status after his death, and no doubt were doing so when he was alive as far as this movie's depiction.

When guards fell asleep, and the body of Yeshua comes up missing, this coalition goes in panic mode. There is an ambiguous aura around what actually occurred to these two guards, and it remained inconclusive. At one point, Clavius prays to the Roman god Mars in order to garner favor. I don't want to give away too much, although the trailer gives away much of this anyway, but Clavius comes face to face with the "risen" Yeshua and observes supernatural happenings which dramatically transforms his thinking. Later interactions between Yeshua and Clavius are moving.

There are no overzealous attempts by the filmmakers to make Yeshua "bigger than life" or to show him as overly humble or pious, as has been portrayed in past films. In some ways, this added to the character's sincerity, gentle nature, and strength. Yeshua is played by Cliff Curtis, a New Zealander of Maori or part Maori descent... who made a perfectly believable ancient Hebrew... a more accurate Jesus, sort've more Tony Shaloub than Brad Pitt. Clavius is played well by British actor Joseph Fiennes.

Basically, the Hebrews appeared as what we would perceive as like Russian Jews; while the Romans appeared more-or-less accurately as being something of like "Alpine types." There is at least some evidence to suggest that the early Romans were more of a proto-European outfit... rising up against the more Mediterranean Etruscans. Our own Cisalpine culture led the way, in terms of the artistic portrayals of Jesus, centuries later. Needless to say, this movie is very relevant to our culture.

While this film doesn't have a particularly expensive or elaborate setting, it likely shows a more accurate Judea of 2,000 years ago. It shows the characters the way they were to have been, without overstating the point. It's an easy watch; rough without displaying too much overt violence.


Mary Magdalene is played by Maria Botto, an Argentine actress of Cisalpine descent; and whose family is well represented in the Argentine film industry as can be seen on her link.






Spoiler alert beyond this point!






Close to the end of the film, Clavius--after observing numerous supernatual events--opens up to Yeshua. He finally confesses that he partook in the crucifixion, and Yeshua puts him at ease by reminding Clavius of something he had said perhaps the day prior. He had emphatically said something like "there will be no killing today" while defusing a situation. Of course, under normal circumstances, there would be almost no way or very unlikely that Yeshua would know this since he was not present. Sure it may have been possible that someone told him, although there would be no reason to do so. Regardless, Clavius just knew that he was amid a supernatural person... as he had already observed it first hand. This scene displayed the subtle style of the film.

The movie ends with Yeshua saying a few parting words as he walked towards the rising sun, and finally disappears into it. This at least suggests a connection with Horus, Egyptian mythology, and more ancient sun cult stories... and a symbolic tie-in with "the Sun," "the light of the world," or "our risen savior" (every morning). It's possible that this was a more subtle symbol. My guess is that the filmmakers displayed a clear tie-in with Horus. There was also the fish symbolism, which was not nearly as clear or dramatic as the sun symbology.