Sunday 8th October 2017

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310 visitors came into the studio space today to make their own Chinese dragon puppet using just lolly pops, card and crayons. Uppy and ALf made their very own dragon to entertain them. In my opinion their dragon was pretty impressive.


White Rabbit Creamy Candy

White Rabbit Creamy Candy is a brand of milk candy manufactured by Shanghai Guan Sheng Yuan Food, Ltd. White Rabbit Creamy Candy is white, with a soft, chewy texture, and is formed into cylinders approximately 3 cm long and 1 cm in diameter, similar to contemporary western nougat or taffy.

Each candy is wrapped in a printed waxed paper wrapper, but within this, the sticky candies are again wrapped in a thin edible paper-like wrapping made from sticky rice. The rice wrapping layer is meant to be eaten along with the rest of the candy and can be found in the list of ingredients in the UK as “Edible Glutinous Rice Paper (edible starch, water, Glycerin Monostearate)” along with liquid maltose, white granulated sugar, whole milk powder, butter, food additives (gelatin, vanillin), corn starch, syrup, cane sugar and milk. Each candy contains 20 calories.


White Rabbit sweets have been advertised with the slogan, “Seven White Rabbit candies is equivalent to one cup of milk” and positioned as a nutritional product in addition to being a sweet. The candies hence accompanied the growth of a generation. Former students of the early Deng Xiaoping era in China (1978 to the early 1990s), have been reported to have taken this slogan literally and made ‘hot milk’ in their dormitory cooking rings by dissolving the candies in a pan of hot water.

In addition to the original vanilla flavour, new flavours such as chocolate, coffee, toffee, peanut, maize, coconut, lychee, strawberry, mango, red bean, yogurt, matcha and fruit have been added. The butter-plum flavour, characteristic of China, was also among the new flavours added through the years.

White Rabbit Creamy Candy originated at the ABC Candy Factory of Shanghai in 1943, when a merchant from ABC tried a milk candy from England and thought that its taste was not bad. After half a year of development, he then manufactured the factory’s own brand of milk candies. The first ABC milk candies were packaged using a red Mickey Mouse drawing on the label, and were named ABC Mickey Mouse Sweets. As their prices were lower than imported products, they became widely popular among the people.

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In the 1950s, ABC became state-owned during the revolution. Mickey Mouse was seen as a symbol for worshiping foreign countries, so the packaging was redesigned to feature a naturalistically-drawn White Rabbit and an artist’s paint palette with Chinese and English hand-lettering in a color scheme of red, blue and black against a white background. The result was a distinctive candy label design that became instantly recognizable around the world. The packaging and brand logo have changed over the years: When the candies were first marketed, the White Rabbit on the outer packaging was lying down; however, this was changed to an image of the rabbit jumping. Currently, the trade mark animal on the outer packaging has been given enormous neotenic, forward-facing eyes in the style of Disney or Japanese manga, while the inner wrapping retains its classic art deco look and naturalistic rabbit.

Initially, production of the candies was capped at 800 kg per day, and they were manually produced. In 1959, these candies were given as gifts for the tenth National Day of the People’s Republic of China. In 1972, Premier Zhou Enlai used White Rabbit candies as a gift to American president Richard Nixon when the latter visited China. Today White Rabbit candies are China’s top brand of sweet.


Although the White Rabbit brand already had some history, its popularity worldwide has grown with the economy of China. Cities and agricultural villages’ demands are increasing, especially during the Chinese New Year period, when many families provide White Rabbit sweets among other candies for visitors. In 2004, White Rabbit candy sales hit 600 million yuan, with sales increasing rapidly by a double-digit percentage yearly. The candies are now exported to more than forty countries and territories, including the United States, Europe and Singapore.


Fortune Cookie

As far back as the 19th century, a cookie very similar in appearance to the modern fortune cookie was made in Kyoto, Japan; and there is a Japanese temple tradition of random fortunes, called omikuji. The Japanese version of the cookie differs in several ways: they are a little bit larger; are made of darker dough; and their batter contains sesame and miso rather than vanilla and butter. They contain a fortune; however, the small slip of paper was wedged into the bend of the cookie rather than placed inside the hollow portion. This kind of cookie is called tsujiura senbei (辻占煎餅) and is still sold in some regions of Japan, especially in Kanazawa, Ishikawa. It is also sold in the neighborhood of Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine in Kyoto.

Makoto Hagiwara of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is reported to have been the first person in the USA to have served the modern version of the cookie when he did so at the tea garden in the 1890s or early 1900s. The fortune cookies were made by a San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo.

David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, has made a competing claim that he invented the cookie in 1918. San Francisco’s Court of Historical Review attempted to settle the dispute in 1983. During the proceedings, a fortune cookie was introduced as a key piece of evidence with a message reading, “S.F. Judge who rules for L.A. Not Very Smart Cookie”. A federal judge of the Court of Historical Review determined that the cookie originated with Hagiwara and the court ruled in favor of San Francisco. Subsequently, the city of Los Angeles condemned the decision.

Seiichi Kito, the founder of Fugetsu-do of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, also claims to have invented the cookie. Kito claims to have gotten the idea of putting a message in a cookie from Omikuji (fortune slip) which are sold at temples and shrines in Japan. According to his story, he sold his cookies to Chinese restaurants where they were greeted with much enthusiasm in both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. Thus Kito’s main claim is that he is responsible for the cookie being so strongly associated with Chinese restaurants.


Up to around World War II, fortune cookies were known as “fortune tea cakes”—likely reflecting their origins in Japanese tea cakes.

Fortune cookies moved from being a confection dominated by Japanese-Americans to one dominated by Chinese-Americans sometime around World War II. One theory for why this occurred is because of the Japanese American internment during World War II, which forcibly put over 100,000 Japanese-Americans in internment camps, including those who had produced fortune cookies. This gave an opportunity for Chinese manufacturers. Unusual non-positive aphorism found in a fortune cookie
Fortune cookies before the early 20th century were all made by hand. However, the fortune cookie industry changed dramatically after the fortune cookie machine was invented by Shuck Yee from Oakland, California. The machine allowed for mass production of fortune cookies which subsequently allowed the cookies to drop in price to become the novelty and courtesy dessert many Americans are familiar with after their meals at most Chinese restaurants today.
Rumors that fortune cookies were invented in China are seen as false. In 1989, fortune cookies were reportedly imported into Hong Kong and sold as “genuine American fortune cookies”. Wonton Food attempted to expand its fortune cookie business into China in 1992, but gave up after fortune cookies were considered “too American”.

Many[who?] view the mooncake hidden message system that was used in the Ming revolution to be a precursor to the modern day fortune cookie. By adding the covert element to the myths of the fortune cookie some have found more meaning behind the simple treat. This led to the act of removing and replacing the fortune inside without breaking for an added bit of good luck.


The Sense Of An Ending
Jim Broadbent gives an engaging and sympathetic performance in this movie, directed by Ritesh Batra (known for his Mumbai-set heartwarmer The Lunchbox) and adapted by Nick Payne from the 2011 Booker-winning novel by Julian Barnes, who is to be glimpsed fleetingly in the background of a pub scene.

It is a film with an intriguing premise and it’s never anything other than watchable and well acted. But, considering that the story is about suicide and forbidden love, it is oddly desiccated, detached, even passionless sometimes. Despite the title, and despite the emphasis on the lead character’s supposed attainment of emotional closure, there is no satisfying sense of an ending. The flashbacks to the leading character’s 1960s youth are important for giving the story depth and drama, and for taking it out of the parochial world of well-to-do north London. The disclosure of assumed mystery in the flashbacks is deferred, scene-by-scene. But the fiery blast of real emotion and real revelation never truly arrives. And it’s difficult to tell how intentional that reticence is.


Broadbent plays Tony Webster, a grumpy retiree, divorced from his elegant and beautiful QC wife Margaret (Harriet Walter) and on reasonably good terms with their grownup daughter Susie (Michelle Dockery) who is heavily pregnant and preparing to be a single mother. Amusingly, Tony accompanies Susie to NCT antenatal classes in the place of a partner and embarrasses her horribly with his dad-joke attempts at lightening the mood.

Then, Margaret is astonished and quietly angry when Tony takes her out for lunch (in London’s leafy Crouch End, typically) to tell her about a part of his early life she’d had no idea about. Tony has received something in the will of a woman who was the mother of his first girlfriend, Veronica: it is the diary of his brilliant, troubled best friend from school, Adrian (Joe Alwyn), who committed suicide when they were at university, and had been in a painful love triangle with Veronica. Veronica is played as a young woman by Freya Mavor, and by Charlotte Rampling when she and Tony are to meet again. The mother is interestingly played by Emily Mortimer. The past – in the form of an explosively emotional letter he once sent – has caught up with Tony.

emily mortimer in The Sense of an Ending

With his very nicely judged performance – lugubrious, droll, self-pitying and slightly scared – Broadbent controls the pace and tone of every scene, and the film as a whole; Mavor and Rampling are very good as the coolly sardonic and opaque Veronica, and Billy Howle is strong, too, in the role of young Tony.

It is an absorbing story in many ways. The revival of jealousy and subsequent stalking behaviour reminded me of Greene’s The End of the Affair. That letter could have come from a novella by Stefan Zweig, who is referenced in a scene that takes place, bookishly, in the Foyles cafe in London’s West End. There is callow teenage talk of Dylan Thomas and an anachronistic moment when a character quotes Philip Larkin’s Aubade in the 1960s (it was published in 1977).


But exasperatingly, The Sense of an Ending never delivers the strong, clear storytelling impact that we appear to be leading up to, and the final discovery is a bit opaque: it has to be inferred, and key events are not shown in the flashbacks. Understandably, this is because Tony was not present. Frank Kermode’s famous work of literary criticism, The Sense of an Ending, also challenges the idea of clear endings and clear meanings in literature or life. But the ending here still feels bloodless and muddled, as if the film stands at one remove from dramatic events which it cannot see clearly.
Walter’s Margaret is entertainingly exasperated by her ex-husband’s combination of grumpy ill-temper and emotional neediness. Broadbent carries the film, but he and Walter are actually a very good double act.

Seahawks 16, Rams 10

The Seahawks and Rams met for the 38th time Sunday. Seattle leads the series, 23-15. But the Seahawks had been 0-3 vs. the Rams in Los Angeles.

But when it was over, it was the Seattle defense left standing tallest, having withstood every possible Los Angeles challenge. That allowed the Seahawks to leave with a 16-10 victory and a tie atop the NFC West standings at 3-2, but feeling like they are in better position than that having gotten a triumph over the Rams in Los Angeles.

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What did it say about the Seattle defense that it let what had been the highest-scoring offense in the NFL at 35.5 points a game score just one field goal on five red-zone drives?“That we are really tough,’’ said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. “That we are relentless. That we stay together no matter what and that we are fighters.’’The Seattle defense also stopped the Rams on three plays from the 20 as the game ended and finished with five forced turnovers. It’s a defense that also lives by mottos and throughout the game many of them flashed through the players’ heads.

Thomas recalled one — that as long as there is an inch of grass to defend to not give up — as he saw Gurley break free down the sideline on a run from the 12-yard line on Los Angeles’ first possession of the game.

As Gurley held the ball out to hit the pylon and try to score a touchdown, Thomas raced over and chopped at his biceps, forcing a fumble. And when the ball went through the end zone, what looked like a quick 7-0 Rams’ lead instead became Seattle ball at the 20.

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The Rams were hardly deflated, though. They rebounded to take a 10-0 lead, appearing set to make a statement that maybe the torch in the NFC West had been passed. But an early turning point came when Wilson, with some help from J.D. McKissic, tracked down Rams safety John Johnson as he appeared headed for a pick-six. Instead, Johnson was tackled at the 19 and the Seattle defense forced a field goal.

Wilson then was able to jump-start the Seattle offense and lead three consecutive scoring drives to end the first half and begin the second to give the Seahawks a 13-10 advantage. The Seattle offense did nothing more, going three-and-out three consecutive times to start the fourth quarter, leaving it again and again to the defense to stop the Rams.

Reminded later that he had said a few weeks ago that the defense was willing to carry the team while the offense finds itself, Thomas said, “Yeah man, it was a tough one. We don’t need it like that all the time.’’

A Sheldon Richardson interception, a Thomas interception and then a Frank Clark forced fumble appeared to leave Seattle with the game in hand, ahead 16-10 on Blair Walsh’s third field goal with 1:09 left.

But then the Rams improbably moved, using a 35-yard Goff pass to Tyler Higbee to get inside Seattle territory and another of 20 to Robert Woods to get to the 20-yard line with 35 seconds left. On third down, Kupp broke past Seattle cornerback Justin Coleman and into a surprisingly wide-open patch of the end zone. Thomas took the blame for that, saying he tried to coerce Goff into another throw — Thomas appeared to instead cover Rams tight end Gerald Everett.

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“He kind of looked me off,’’ Thomas said. “I was trying to bait him because I thought I saw a match up that he liked and he did a great job of looking me off and coming back to the seam.’’ The pass, with eight seconds left, was a little long and Kupp had to dive for it, the ball just going off his hands. A tough catch, to be sure, but Kupp later said, “If I’m putting my hands on the ball I’ve got to make the play.’’

Said Thomas: “I was just happy that he dropped it. I had no control of the play once I was out of position.’’ Entering the bye week having shown that, for now, the NFC West still runs through Seattle.


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