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A weekly newsletter about stars, humans and art,
from Akira G. Sternberg.


Dripping bath tap
counting minutes till dawn
I’ll strike ‘cuckoo!’
Akira G. Sternberg

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Dear friend,

Continuing the hopefully not unending procedure of fine-tuning this newsletter, this issue comes with two major changes.

First of all, the name of the newsletter changed into THE SANGUINE HERALD. And I must say I am absolutely happy with that.

I have also changed the title of the general introductory section from ‘News & Paralipomena’ to ‘Treats From the Cellar.’

The content is neither new nor supplementary to anything, while it is indeed hand-picked from my private cellar of vast and unlimited knowledge. Additionally I like the connotation of exclusive liqueur.

Cheers to that!

I hope you will like this issue and find it interesting.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback.

Yours sincerely,

Love confession
words of affection drowned
by hair dryer
Akira G. Sternberg


11 levels of an origami cicada.

In this video, origami artist and physicist Robert J. Lang demonstrates 11 levels of difficulty in folding a traditional origami model: the cicada.

By the way, I found the following idea for origami by Kumi Yamashita brilliant:

Origami faces.
Origami faces.

Routinely messy mornings

In my blog about 3 plus 1 epigrams to base your life upon I referred to the last words of the Buddha as ideal for ending one’s morning ritual.

Here is an interesting and good-humoured article about the latest fad with the morning rituals thing. The author, Marina Koren, goes through many examples, in an effort to discover why everyone’s morning seem more productive than hers — with which I can up to a point sympathise.

Read the full article about the false promise of morning routines.

A marketing scheme of 10,000 steps.

As is the case with many pieces of western (post)modern culture, the imperative to walk 10,000 steps per day if you want to be healthy has its origins in a marketing scheme — although, to be fair, not a scam, in any way.

It appears that the 10k ordain originates from a Japanese company that in 1965 started selling pedometres with a name that in Japanese means ‘the 10,000 metre,’ because apparently the character for “10,000” looks like a man walking.

Anyhow, the bottom line is that, although walking 10,000 steps per day is without any doubt good for our health, it is not by any means a hard threshold. Any number of steps above 7.500 is enough to benefit our body.

Needless to say that for those leading a sedentary lifestyle taking any number of steps can be most beneficial.

Read the whole article about the introduction of the 10,000 limit in daily steps.

Gin: an all-round remedy.

In this most delightful article from the Art of Manliness blog, we learn all we need to know about my beloved gin.

I was most amused reading the origins of the drink. As with everything both divine and futile, gin was ‘invented’ in the eleventh century by Italians monks as a remedy for the Black Death pandemic.

As Brett McKay, founder and co-editor of the blog comments: “While not particularly effective, one would think that sipping a martini while dealing with the plague might have at least taken the edge off a little.” What a (black) laugh!

Which reminds me of a quote by the man, Winston, who observed that “the gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire.” Who can deny that — especially when taking into account the effectiveness of doctors in general?

Gin tonic

In future issues, I’ll share with you my favourite gin drinks.

For the time being, delve deeper into a man’s primer on gin.

Fast asleep —
gap between two dreams
dew on leaves
Akira G. Sternberg


Snow Moon.

The full moon of February is traditionally called a ‘Snow Moon’.

Beginning from Friday the Moon will appear full for about three whole days.

Moon phases of February 2020.
Moon phases of February 2020.

Other names of this spectacular full Moos are: Storm Moon, Hunger Moon.

Update about Betelgeuse.

In issue #A01, we wrote about the fading (or fainting, as I also called) of Betelgeuse.

Well, it appears that the great star is beginning to brighten again. No one can say if it will return to its average luminosity and when. After all, it is a variable star and it likes some variability in its circle of life.

Fun fact: Betelgeuse is a really enormous star. It has a diameter about 1,400 times wider than our Sun. That means, that if it were placed at the center of our solar system, it would reach up to Jupiter’s orbit!

Houston, I’m home!

After her 328 day mission on International Space Station, astronaut Christina Koch is back on the planet!

However, have you ever wondered what it takes to readjust to life on Earth? Even absolutely basic activities as walking, or even lifting a cup of coffee seem like unfeasible tasks.

Astronauts, especially those who have spent a very long period in space, forget how much things weigh. In space there is no weight. So, when back on Earth, even moving your hands around feels very different.

Christina said:

“We have a machine on the space station we use for resistance training to keep us strong. I think the most physically shocking readjustment will be balance. On Earth we rely on our eyes and inner ear to maintain stability. On orbit, without gravity pulling down, the mind quickly stops listening to the inner ear. The eyes take over … we rely solely on visual cues. From what I’ve been told, it takes a couple days after landing for the mind to start listening again. The human body’s ability to adapt to its environment is nothing less than impressive”.

Her goal? To stand and walk on her own by L+2 (landing, plus two days)!

Read the fascinating post about all the 10 ways Christina will need to readjust to living on Earth again.

With eyes still closed
cold water on my face —
winter deepens
Akira G. Sternberg


Why our cities are ugly?

The vast majority of the population in developed countries lives in towns and cities. The developing world would like to and is certainly trying to.

But our cities, especially the ‘big’ ones, are ugly. Ugly and inconvenient.

It always made me wonder, why our cities have developed the way they did. Both structurally and aesthetically.
Ugly modern building.This is ugly.

I haven’t come up with a satisfying answer yet.

Ugly modern building.
This is ugly.

Can you order beauty?

Apparently this question has occurred to Washington officials too.

There seems to be a preliminary draft of an order, under which the White House will ordain that “the classical architectural style shall be the preferred and default style” for new and upgraded federal buildings.

The title of the draft is indicative: “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again”.

Behind curtains
majestic rising sun
I have to face
Akira G. Sternberg


A stiff upper lip in verses

The expression ‘keep a stiff upper lip’ is characteristically British. It is used for people who in the face of adversity and extreme hardships stay calm and steadfast.

Since a sign of weakness or cowardice or emotional disturbance is a trembling upper lip, to keep a stiff upper lip is a sign of fortitude and endurance.

Following are three famous poems that demonstrate this spirit of Victorian stoicism.


A poem by English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), written circa 1895. A literary example of Victorian-era stoicism, the poem is written in the form of paternal advice to the poet’s son, John.

“If—” holds a special place in the British culture and remains extremely popular even today.

Verses of the poem have been and are still being engraved in walls and entrances of in various state buildings.


If you can keep your head when all about you
⁠Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
⁠But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
⁠Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
⁠And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
⁠If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
⁠And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
⁠Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
⁠And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
⁠And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
⁠And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
⁠To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
⁠Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
⁠Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
⁠If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
⁠With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
⁠And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


A short poem by the Victorian-era English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). Written in 1875 and published in 1888. The poem shows how the poet kept going despite hardships.

Initially, the poem was published with no title. When reprinted in newspapers it acquired a variety of titles, including “Myself”, “Song of a Strong Soul”, “My Soul”, “Clear Grit”, “Master of His Fate”, “Captain of My Soul”, “Urbs Fortitudinis”, and “De Profundis”.

The established title “Invictus”, Latin for “unconquered”, was added by editor Arthur Quiller-Couch when the poem was included in The Oxford Book of English Verse (1900).

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Vitae Lampada

A poem of Sir Henry John Newbolt, CH (1862 –1938) written in 1892.

The title is taken from a quotation by Lucretius and means “the torch of life”.

The poem narrates how a future soldier and now a schoolboy learns to endure and selflessly serve his country and his fellow soldiers or teammates.

Vitae Lampada

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night—
Ten to make and the match to win—
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

The sand of the desert is sodden red,—
Red with the wreck of a square that broke;—
The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England’s far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the school is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind—
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

A lone tree
shelters my lost dreams
in battle
Akira G. Sternberg

Did you enjoy the haiku in this issue? I observe the one-haiku-per-day discipline, so you’ll be getting seven haiku with every newsletter.

I’ve also penned a haiku collection: “The Stargazing Frog: A poetry collection of 366 original haiku about nature, humans and stars,” which you can find in Amazon.

The Stargazing Frog cover

One last haiku, before you go:

Morning walk —
Sunday newspaper
blown by wind
Akira G. Sternberg

I’ll be happy to keep in touch and I am eagerly waiting for your comments:


Until next time…

May the Force smile favourably upon you.

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