Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Going to the booktown of Wales back on 12

Hay-On-Wye is a small (very small) town on the border of England and Wales, it has a rich history dating back (probably) to pre-Roman times. The name Hay (or Haia ) means a field and the Wye is a river that meanders lazily through it. Over the years Hay (as the locals refer to it) has attracted an assortment of people, the good, the bad and the very interesting indeed. I will list but a few of the more notorious....

Yisrael "Poli" Poliakov 1941-2007

Yisrael "Poli" Poliakov, actor, singer and member of the legendary comedy trio Hagashash Hahiver (The Pale Scout), died Monday night of cancer at Petah Tikva's Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus, at age 66.
Yisrael "Poli" Poliakov in his recent role in the hit TV series 'All is honey'
Poliakov was hospitalized two weeks ago with a heart ailment; his death was announced on Tuesday morning.
He was born in Jerusalem in 1941, grew up in Tel Aviv and studied at the Kfar Hayarok agricultural high school. He planned to work as a farmer, but members of the Nahal Brigade's entertainment troupe spotted him at a school party and recruited him.
His professional career began in 1961 when he joined the band Hatarnegolim (The Roosters), composed of graduates of IDF musical groups. The group broke up in 1964.
In late 1963, agent/producer Abraham "Pashanel" Deshe started Hagashash Hahiver, composed of three members of Hatarnegolim - Poliakov, Yeshayahu "Shaike" Levy and Gavriel "Gavri" Banai. Deshe died of cancer in 2004, at age 78.
Together, Hagashash Hahiver created a unique Israeli comedy group whose jokes and skits acquired cult status and captured the Israeli character at its best and worst.
old post

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nuclei, proteins and lipids

The Inner Life of the Cell is a short 3D animation demonstrating various biological mechanisms that occur within the cells of the human body.
When teaching biology, professors will often generate 3D animations to demonstrate certain concepts to their students in a much more visual way than would otherwise be possible. In the case of The Inner Life of the Cell the creators aimed for a much more cinematic, as opposed to academic, feel.
David Bolinsky, former lead medical illustrator at Yale, lead animator John Liebler, and Mike Astrachan are some of the creators at XVIVO who made the movie. They created the animation for Harvard's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Most of the processes animated were the result of Alain Viel's, Ph.D. work describing the processes to the team. Alain Viel is an associate director of undergraduate research at Harvard University.
(more on wired)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rub Broccoli

New research suggests that broccoli, the vegetable that the former president famously demonized as inedible, can prevent the damage from ultraviolet light that often leads to skin cancer. And as Bush would surely appreciate, he would not even have to eat it. In tests on people and hairless mice, a green smear of broccoli-sprout extract blocked the potentially cancer-causing damage usually inflicted by sunlight and showed potential advantages over sunscreens.
The product is still in the early stages of development. Among other issues to be worked out is how best to remove the extract's green pigments, which do not contribute to its protective effects and would give users a temporary Martian complexion.
But scientists said the research represents a significant advance because the extract works not by screening out the sun's rays -- which has the downside of blocking sun-induced Vitamin D production -- but by turning on the body's natural cancer-fighting machinery. Once stimulated, those mechanisms work for days, long after the extract is washed away. (more from Washington post)

Now, when I tell you to hold it, I don't want you to move a thing

A rare French TV gem from the Sixties featuring the great "Champion" Jack Dupree (1910 - 1992), the embodiment of of the New Orleans blues and boogie woogie pianist, a true barrelhouse "professor" and a great showman to boot as these videos attest. The show is left in its entirety to preserve the period feel and to marvel at the level of culture back then compared to now. It's time for the Champ to sit in front of those 88 keys and display his amazing boogie woogie credentials on the first ever boogie woogie hit Pinteop Smith's "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie", what else? Check out the zany effect those rings make hitting those ebonies.

Romania keen to share hybrid cars know-how with Iran

The head of Romania’s parliamentary delegation voiced his country’s eagerness to share its skill on hybrid cars with Iran, Iran Khodro Company (IKCO) reported here on Friday.
During a visit to the Middle East’s largest car manufacturer, the Romanian MP Mircea Ifrim and his delegation said that bilateral cooperation in auto industry will help both sides develop in the field.
He praised Iran's hi-tech car production, saying that the country benefits from an advanced technology which has put the country on par with Europe. (from Teheran times)
via Rawfeed

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Neanderthals were Irish?

NeanderthalSome Neanderthals, believed by some to be human relatives that disappeared more than 50,000 years ago, may have had red hair, according to a study of their genes.
A variant in DNA taken from Neanderthal bones acts like one associated with red hair and light skin in humans, researchers said in a study released Thursday by the journal Science.
The study provides another link between humans and Neanderthals. Research published earlier this year suggested that Neanderthals had a version of a gene that appears to be involved in speech.
"Our calculations suggest that at least 1% of Neanderthals had red hair," said Michael Hofreiter, an evolutionary biologist at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, who led the study. "They would have had lighter hair all over their bodies, like today's Irish redheaded people."(...more>>)

Four-headed phallus for double vagina

"When we tried to collect semen by [electrically-stimulated ejaculation] before, not only did we not get a single drop, but the whole penis swelled up to a four-headed monster that wouldn't fit the female reproductive tract, which has only two branches"
The bizarre sex life of the spiny anteater has been exposed by researchers – the male ejaculates using only one half of its penis. New findings about the creature’s sex life may seem salacious but they could help shed light on an evolutionary mystery.
It seems that the way the mammal ejaculates is similar to the way reptiles do – by shutting down one side of its penis before secreting semen from the other side. Reptiles have a pair of male members called hemipenes for sex, and they use only one of the two during each act of copulation.
The spiny anteater (Tachyglossus aculeatus), also known as the short-beaked echidna, is a primitive mammal found in Australia and New Guinea. Like the platypus, it is a monotreme, laying eggs instead of bearing live young.
Monotremes have many features in common with reptiles, and the hope is that by studying them, scientists may find clues as to how mammals evolved.
The spiny anteater, however, is notoriously difficult to observe in the wild and shows little enthusiasm for breeding in captivity, so nobody had managed to observe them ejaculate before.(more from newscientist)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

In Fujiama You get a mama...

Don Redman and his Orchestra
Hot ginger and dynamiteDon Redman is considered the first jazz composer - arranger by many. Also the first musician with both the inspiration and academic knowledge for this style of music. In short, he invented jazz writing for the big band, not only writing separate parts for reed and brass "choirs", leaving room for hot solos, but putting sections in opposition which solved the problems of the new style, thus showing everyone else how to do it.

There's nothing but that at night
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky-wacky
The way they can entertain
Would hurry a hurricane
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky wacky
In Fujiama
You get a mama
Then your troubles increase.
In some pagoda
She orders soda
Earth-shake milk-shakes, ten cents a piece.
They kissy and huggy nice
Oh, By Jingo! I'ts worth the price.
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky-wacky
With Sweet Kimoner
I pulled a boner
I kept it up at high speed.
I got rhumatics
And then psyatics
Halatosisis, that's guarenteed.
You just have to act your age
Or wind up inside a cage
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky-wacky
Those pretty mamas
In pink pyjamas
They try to give you a kiss
Those torid teases
Heaven help a sailor on a night like this!
Not too gentle and not too rough
But you've got to tell them when you've had enough
Back in Nagasaki
Where the fellers chew tobaccy
And the women wicky-wacky

Soya Screws Sperm! Tell it to 1,321,851,888 Chinese

Men who eat just half a serving of soya a day have drastically fewer sperm than those who do not consume such foods, according to a small, preliminary study.
The study's researchers say larger trials are needed to determine whether men hoping to conceive a child should try to avoid soya foods, such as tofu, tempeh and soya milk. However, soya industry representatives caution that the new findings contradict earlier studies that have shown no impact on sperm count from soya-based products.
Soya foods contain high amounts of isoflavones, compounds that mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body. For this reason, women sometimes increase their intake of soya foods to treat hot flushes caused by declining oestrogen levels in menopause.
Oestrogen-like compounds can also have a dramatic impact on the male body. And previous rodent studies have suggested that high intake of soya products can reduce male fertility. This has led scientists to wonder how isoflavones might influence men's reproductive function, which is highly sensitive to hormones.(more from New scientist)
More on Sperm Count

Thank you Tube! Sitting on top of the world!

A product of the prodigious Chatmon family that included not only Lonnie of the famous Mississippi Sheiks but also the prolific Bo Carter and several other blues-playing brothers, Sam Chatmon survived to be hailed as a modern-day blues guru when he began performing and recording again in the '60s. Sam continued brother Bo's tradition of sly double-entendre blues to entertain a new generation of aficionados, but he also showed a more serious side on songs like the title track of the early Arhoolie anthology I Have to Paint My Face.
Chatmon began playing music as a child, occasionally with his family's string band, as well as the Mississippi Sheiks. Sam launched his own solo career in the early '30s. While he performed and recorded as a solo act, he would still record with the Mississippi Sheiks and with his brother Lonnie. Throughout the '30s, Sam travelled throughout the south, playing with a variety of minstrel and medicine shows. He stopped travelling in the early '40s, making himself a home in Hollandale, Mississippi, where he worked on plantations.
For the next two decades, Sam Chatmon was essentially retired from music and only worked on the plantations. When the blues revival arrived in the late '50s, he managed to capitalize on the genre's resurgent popularity. In 1960, he signed a contract with Arhoolie and he recorded a number of songs for the label. Throughout the '60s and '70s, he recorded for a variety of labels, as well as playing clubs and blues and folk festivals across America. Chatmon was an active performer and recording artist until his death in 1983.

I whisper in your ear... do you dream of me?

Video illusion created by graphic artist Eugen Erhan. This video clip below is originally named "A journey in a world of paradox and illusion", and shows you a story of a little paper-boy and his trip to optical illusion book.
"do you dream of me?" by Tiamat

Friday, October 26, 2007

What's Up Doc? Armamentarium chirurgicum!

Johannes Schultheiss (Latinized to 'Scultetus') was one of the first academically trained physicians and surgeons in Germany in the 17th century. After his studies at the University of Padua under Adrian van Spieghel and Fabricius ab Aquapendente he became official physician of his home town of Ulm. His remarkable textbook on surgery, the 'Armamentarium chirurgicum' was first published 10 years after his death and passed through many editions and translations all over Europe. This work contains a complete catalogue of surgical instruments, illustrated demonstrations of a variety of operative procedures and 100 case reports. The success of Scultetus' publication was responsible for an improved standard of the education of the nonacademic barber surgeons, who were treating the majority of the population, and was a significant milestone for the development of surgery as an academic speciality
(more from Iowa digital library)

Marsh Dondurma and Uptown Downtown

Marsh Dondurma on the streets of Guca, serbia (brass band festival.
Marching straight out of Jerusalem, "Marsh Dondurma" is on the move. This new Israeli brass band, formed just two years ago, has been raving Israel ever since. Be it street parties, parades, clubs or venues, this cheerful group has made its mark almost everywhere, leaving a streak of joyful dancers behind them.
The band is a community of 15 musicians, combining brass, reed and percussion instruments. Delivering with such an acoustic might, these guys can play almost anywhere. On stage or on the street,marching or dancing, the strong friendship among the members seems to bring out the true happiness found in music.
Marsh Dondurma, he says, who will perform in the series Jazz Uptown Downtown in January in Tel Aviv.
Albert Beger(ex einhodian) will perform purest example of downtown sound in the final concert of the series in June. This is the only concert that will contain an element of Free Jazz.

Sorting Waste is a Waste of Time

The debate about our waste turns our old ideas about the right direction for society upside down. Traditionally, we've measured material progress by finding more efficient ways to produce the goods and services we need, on the principal that time is money. The three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – suggest we should be more concerned about saving resources than saving time. And if that means doing things in a manner which is less productive – and ultimately may mean we are poorer as a result – the moral imperative of “saving the planet” says we should do just that.
In other words, for all the fluffy talk about a caring, sharing, green future, environmentalists are ultimately more concerned about stuff than people. (MORE ON TIMES)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Howlin’ Wolf, the Rolling Stones and the Little Red Rooster

Wolf's only national TV appearance, on the music show Shindig (!) in 1965. The Rolling Stones were featured, and insisted that Howlin Wolf appear on the same show. Wolf is absolutely electric in the midst of all these white teenagers clapping their hands and chewing gum on the stairs of the show's set, and the way he's shaking his finger at the camera and then shakin the hell out of his booty
Howlin’ Wolf served to influence such blues-based rock musicians as the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. In fact, he recorded a pair of albums - The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions and London Revisited - with his British disciples in the early Seventies. Howlin’ Wolf’s distinctive vocal style and rough-hewn approach to the blues can also be heard in the work of such diverse artists as Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band and Led Zeppelin. Slowed down for much of the Seventies due to serious internal injuries suffered in an automobile accident, Howlin’ Wolf gave his last performance in Chicago in November 1975 with fellow blues titan B.B. King. He died of kidney failure two months later.”

Jewish Mother with Phantom Limb

In a wide-ranging talk, Vilayanur Ramachandran explores how brain damage can reveal the connection between the internal structures of the brain and the corresponding functions of the mind. He talks about phantom limb pain, synesthesia (when people hear color or smell sounds), and the Capgras delusion, when brain-damaged people believe their closest friends and family have been replaced with imposters.
V.S. Ramachandran is a mesmerizing speaker, able to concretely and simply describe the most complicated inner workings of the brain. His investigations into phantom limb pain, synesthesia and other brain disorders allow him to explore (and begin to answer) the most basic philosophical questions about the nature of self and human consciousness.
Ramachandran is the director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, and an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute. He is the author of Phantoms in the Brain, the basis for a Nova special, and A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness; his next book, due out in January 2008, is called The Man with the Phantom Twin: Adventures in the Neuroscience of the Human Brain. ( via TED)

Swiss are fighting german book commies !

ein hod booksGermany’s book culture is sustained by an age-old practice requiring all bookstores, including German online booksellers, to sell books at fixed prices. Save for old, used or damaged books, discounting in Germany is illegal. All books must cost the same whether they’re sold over the Internet or at Steinmetz, a shop in Offenbach that opened its doors in Goethe’s day, or at a Hugendubel or a Thalia, the two big chains.Now this system is under threat from, of all people, the Swiss. Just across the border, the Swiss lately decided to permit the discounting of German books a move that some in the book trade here fear will eventually force Germany itself to follow suit, transforming a diverse and book-rich culture into an echo of big-chain America.
If you’re a skeptic, you might associate fixed pricing with a German impulse toward conformity and an aversion to traditional haggling cultures. A German will stare blankly at you if you even suggest such a thought. Instead they will stress the special place books have in society. (MORE from NYtimes)


ein hodIn a famous 1955 monograph in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Henry Beecher coined the term "powerful placebo." He used it to describe the miraculous improvement he said was seen in patients who thought they were getting medicine but really weren't. Beecher went so far as to say that this placebo effect accounted for precisely 35.2 percent of a treatment's results. And so he popularized the notion that patients could spontaneously heal—not only from psychological distress, but from physical disease—if they simply believed they were getting treatment.
Beecher's paper is highly suspect. Half the studies he cited were his own, and his math was, frankly, misleading. Ted Kaptchuk, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and former FDA expert panelist, dismisses the paper as a "polemical ploy," and other researchers have derided Beecher as "statistically naïve to the extreme." And yet Beecher's paper and the notion of a powerful placebo effect have escaped widespread scrutiny. For decades, mainstream medicine has uncritically promoted faith in the placebo effect leaving behind reality-based science in the process(more from slate)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"You can go as far as you like with me in my merry Oldsmobile...."

Olive Oyl resembling lady is harassed by a villain and rescued by a young heroic man in his Oldsmobile.
Shocking for its times this lecherous cartoon produced by the Fleischer Brothers (Betty Boop)advertises Oldsmobile.
Men of innovation, the Fleischers had been creating short 'follow the bouncing ball' sing-along films since the mid-1920's, and the series would continue until 1938, well after Betty Boop and Popeye had become screen superstars. It seems natural that you'd go to such a source of creativity for some effective advertising production, but perhaps Olds Motor Works had not quite anticipated the level of zaniness on display here. Rampant voyeurism and suggestive candy consumption are the order of the day, aided and abetted by the Fleischer system of ad-libbing. Note that most of the dialogue in the early portion of the film is spoken without the characters' lips moving. That's because the voices were recorded AFTER the animation was completed, and improvisation was encouraged (Jack Mercer was a master of this style as Popeye). The Fleischer cartoons hold up very well today; the styles would change, but energy was uniform throughout their studio's work, and their enthusiasm is easy to sense.(via Internet Archives)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vietnamese herbs and Sweet-smelling books

A farm family in the central province of Thanh Hoa is effectively preserving more than 400 ancient books with medicinal herbs.
Tran Van Luu, a farmer in Thang Loc hamlet, Ngu Loc commune, Hau Loc district in Thanh Hoa province, has over 400 ancient books of all kinds, which are the assets of many generations of his family.
There are some rare books in Luu’s bookcase, for example Du dia chi Vietnam, Thuoc bang thao duoc, Dai phap vi su, etc. which are written on do paper (paper that is made from bark of the Rhamnonneuron tree) and Indian ink.
In the Cimaron typhoon in 2006, all of these books were flooded in mud and seawater and some of them are damaged by moths. Luu invented one kind of substance to preserve his books from available medicinal herbs in Vietnam, which is highly effective.Luu said that he maintained the ancient books by boiling these medicinal herbs and washing the books with this kind of water. After that, he embalmed the books with the medicinal herbs again and dried them under sunlight.
Thanks to this special substance, the whole ancient books of Luu’s family are kept untouched. Pages are complete and don’t stick together. Moreover, books are sweet-smelling and not mold in the wet weather of Vietnam.(from Vietnamnet)

The Principles of Uncertainty

Children know Maira Kalman for her series of Max storybooks, adults for her New Yorker covers and the gotta-have-it illustrated version of the Elements of Style -- simple proof that her sensibility blends a childlike delight with a grownup's wry take on the world.
With her husband, the legendary designer and art director Tibor Kalman, Maira spent several decades designing objets and assembling books like (un)FASHION. But after Tibor's untimely death in 1999, Maira herself became a cultural force. Her colorful, faux-naif illustrations -- and her very perspective -- tap a desire in all of us to look at the world the way she does.
Her latest book, The Principles of Uncertainty, is perhaps the most complete expression of Maira's worldview. Based on a monthly blog she kept for the New York Times website for one year, it is filled with carefully observed moments and briskly captured thoughts, an omnivore's view of life in the modern world.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Israelis are Italians

More on Art of War

part 1 is here

The best Beer in the world(ein hod)

(via the-israel)

Cherchez La Femme

Arletty (1898-1992)
Josette Day (1914-1978)
Danielle Darrieux (1917-)
Michèle Morgan (1920-)
Martine Carol (1920-1967)
Simone Signoret (1921-1985)
Jeanne Moreau (1928-)

Delphine Seyrig (1932-1990)
Anouk Aimee (1932-)
Nicole Berger (1934-1967)
Brigitte Bardot (1934-)
Marie Dubois (1937-)
Anne Collette (1937-)
Corinne Marchand (1937-)
Anna Karina (1940-)
Chantal Goya (1942-)
Catherine Deneuve (1943-)
Marlène Jobert (1943-)
Nicole Garcia (1946-)
Dominique Sanda (1948-)
Nathalie Baye (1948-)
Fanny Ardant (1949-)
Sabine Azéma (1949-)
Miou-Miou (1950-)
Isabelle Huppert (1953-)
Isabelle Adjani (1955-)
Carole Bouquet (1957-)
Anne Parillaud (1960-)
Emmanuelle Béart (1963-)
Juliette Binoche (1964-)
Béatrice Dalle (1964-)
Emmanuelle Seigner (1966-)
Irène Jacob (1966-)
Sophie Marceau (1966-)
Sandrine Bonnaire (1967-)
Sandrine Kiberlain (1968-)
Clotilde Courau (1969-)
Julie Delpy (1969-)
Amira Casar (1971-)
Charlotte Gainsbourg (1971-)
Romane Bohringer (1973-)
Virginie Ledoyen (1974-)
Audrey Tautou (1976-)
Anna Mouglalis (1978-)
Laetitia Casta (1978-)
Ludivine Sagnier (1979-)
Noémie Lenoir (1979-)
Eva Green (1980-)
Mélanie Thierry (1981-)
Mélanie Laurent (1983-) (more) (less)
Category Film & Animation

Putin foe

For 20 years Garry Kasparov was the greatest chess player in the world. He won his first world championship at the age of 22 and was ranked number one almost continuously until he retired from international competition two years ago, a Russian hero and a very wealthy man. He could have done anything he wanted. Instead, he chose to make the riskiest move of his career: he entered the treacherous world of Russian politics, and has become one of President Vladimir Putin's harshest critics, accusing him of abolishing democratic reforms, and turning over the country's vast natural resources to a small political elite. (more on CBS)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fighter and Artist

(5) Thott 290 2, Kongelige Bibliothek, Copenhagen, Hans Talhoffers Alte Armatur und Ringkunst, 150 folia, 1459
The Fechtbuch (Fight-Book) from 1459 AD by Hans Talhoffer is truly an uncanny work. In this edition of his work, the fight-master opens a window for us to his world. He shares knowledge from his own field of expertise – the martial arts of Renaissance Europe. Yet he also presents works from masters of the same and other fields – Zwaintzig Ussrichtung (Twenty Directives) by fight-master Johann Liechtenauer; Bellifortis (Battle Force) by military engineer Conrad Kyeser; and Hie Lert (Here Teaches) by astrologer-physiologist Jud Ebreesch. By text and by pictures, numerous diverse and lively scenes are shown that are sometimes quite bizarre – vigorous fighting lessons, for judicial dueling and for battle; war-machines, strange inventions and secret formulas; and treatises upon cosmology and physiology.
In this rich personal edition of his work, Talhoffer deals with a wide variety of things, from the lofty to the earthy. He has something to offer everyone – whether fighter, artist, botanist, philologist, herbalist, chemist, metalsmith, carpenter, jurist, kinesiologist, astronomer, culinarian, theologian, costumer, physician or otherwise.
Although fighting-arts are the focus of Talhoffer's book, it is really something of a kaleidoscopic view of the interests and pursuits of the Renaissance German warrior, inclusive of manifold things meaningful to his life. However atavistic or unreal his world may be deemed now, it did truly exist and held wonder and honour worthy of our admiration.
The diversity of this book stands witness to Hans Talhoffer as one of the dynamic personalities of his generation – one whom we must deem was a true Renaissance Man.
All imagery herein is from the 1459-Thott edition, courtesy of the original 15th Century manuscript held by sterwardship of Det Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen Denmark(more from arma)

Friday, October 19, 2007

All we are saying: Drink Ein Hod

At Bella Luna Restaurant in Boston's funky Jamaica Plain neighborhood, you'll find star-shaped paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling and gourmet pizzas named after Red Sox players. Downstairs, the attached Milky Way Lounge & Lanes boasts a seven-lane bowling alley and a Latin dance night on Saturdays.
But there is one thing you won't find at either venue: bottled water.
As a note at the bottom of the restaurant's wine list explains, "In an effort to preserve global resources, Bella Luna does not serve bottled water. We have fountain seltzer water and filtered still water by request."
Bella Luna's CEO, Kathie Mainzer made the decision to can the bottle six months ago after a trip to the Dominican Republic, where residents have to boil their tap water in order to drink it. "I came home realizing what a precious resource water is and how we take it for granted," she says, noting that tap water in Boston is safe, cheap and doesn't lead to more trash. "Here we were throwing away this free resource and generating more disposable items -- it seemed absurd."(more from AlterNet)
My old post is here

Thursday, October 18, 2007

the underdogs don’t win -The book pushers

A gritty, low-fi documentary about Manhattan’s street booksellers which abounds in fascinating detail. The director and narrator, Jason Rosette, shows how bookselling is the kissing cousin of another urban art form: drug dealing. Both require a knowledge of profitable corner locations, an experienced eye for potential addicts, and a steady supply of mood-altering substances. In the case of books, you want to be holding works by Carlos Castaneda and Kurt Vonnegut, perennial best-sellers on the street. It’s a hardscrabble existence: most street booksellers do not vend stolen books; they rely on church fairs, garbage-picking, and the state of New Jersey—“land of the two-dollar book.” Unlike most war pics, the underdogs don’t win in the end: Mayor Giuliani’s quality-of-life campaign dispersed much of the community captured here.(via new yorker)

The quest for the superlative American ham

Maryland Ham Ne Plus Ultra (1858)

Take a single pound of Pepper, four times as much of Salt:
Two ounces of good Allspice, and a quart of Barley Malt;
Potash, about two ounces, Salt Petre twice as much;
One pound of good White sugar, which feels sandy to the touch;
A little common Soda, (to make the lean more mellow,)
And prevent the fatty part of meat, from becoming yellow.
Put these in filtered water, (five gallons is enough)
And boil them altogether—what a precious mess of stuff!
Skim off the foreign matter as it is not fit to eat,
When you will have the brine, for one hundred pounds of meat.
You need not stop to cool it, it is all the better hot,
But pour it, sans ceremonie, directly from the pot;
There let the meat for thirty days, lie soaking in this brine,
(but just add a small nutmeg, and a pint of Glycerine.)—
Then take it from the pickling tub, and wash it in cold water.
Next hang it up to smoke ten days, "leastwise" I think you ought to;
Burn Maple, Oak, Corn-Cobs or Tan, most any wood will do;
The old fogy song, 'bout Hickory wood, I don't believe is true;
Don't smoke whilst wind comes from the east, or southeast or the south;
For take my word that meat will taste quite bitter in the mouth;
But choose it north, north west or west, your meat will then smoke right,
And not present, as t'other would, a very ugly plight;
You then will have an article, that will the palate tickle;
I'm sure you will agree with me, that 'tis a pretty pickle.
You think the next thing to be told is how to keep it good;
That surely is not difficult, if once 'tis understood—
Sew up in canvas and suspend, but not quite to the skies,
You'll keep it thus secure against, the Rats, Mice, Bugs, and Flies.
Now don't you think this last is plain, as plain as plain need be,
I think it is so very plain, a blind man it would see.
by the Maryland farmwife, Mrs. D. Brown, who won contests throughout the Chesapeake region(for much more on ham)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Take The 'A' Train with Delta Rhythm Boys

Formed in 1934 at Langston University, Oklahoma the original line-up of the group was bass Lee Gaines, baritone Kelsey Pharr, first tenor lead Carl Jones, second tenor Traverse Crawford, and pianist/arranger Rene DeKnight. The Delta Rhythm Boys exuded a classy elegance and sophistication that made them the most renowned and respected of the 40s groups who sang a blend of jubilee, pop and swing. In 1936 the group transferred to Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and began singing under the name Frederick Hall Quintet, after their mentor, the school's musical director. By 1938 the group had made it to New York and were appearing in Broadway shows such as Sing Out The News and The Hot Mikado as the Delta Rhythm Boys During 1941 they had success with two of their most memorable recordings, "Dry Bones" and "Take The 'A' Train", and also with recordings backing Mildred Bailey. The Delta Rhythm Boys also appeared in films for Universal during 1943-45. In 1945 the group were established on radio in programmes including Amos And Andy and The Joan Davis Show. In 1945 Decca teamed the Deltas with Ella Fitzgerald for some notable recordings.( via swingjazzblues )

Danny's beer in Ein Hod

This land was made for you and me?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where is the Prince?

For some 40 years, one of the flashiest opal signets on display at the Israel Museum had remained without accurate historical context. Two weeks ago, Dutch researcher Marjo Korpel identified article IDAM 65-321 as the official seal of Queen Jezebel, one of the bible's most powerful and reviled women.
Israeli archaeologists had suspected was the owner ever since the seal was first documented in 1964. "Did it belong to?" wrote the late pioneering archaeologist Nahman Avigad of the seal, which he obtained through the antiquities market. "Though fit for a queen, coming from the right period and bearing a rare name documented nowhere other than in the Hebrew Bible, we can never know for sure." (more from HAARETZ)

The Library and Mr Bean

Digressing from his usual 30-minute "special" format, Rowan Atkinson essayed his Mr. Bean characterization in a handful of quickie comedy sketches on a variety of 1990s British TV series. One such sketch was the ten-minute gem titled "The Library." In this one, the dimwitted Bean is entrusted with a priceless manuscript, which he proceeds to rend asunder. On video, "The Library" has been included in such compilations as The Amazing Adventures of Mr. Bean and The Complete Mr. Bean, Vol. 2. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Real men come fast... and often

Scientists today recommended men should ejaculate more often if they want to keep their sperm healthy.Research showed that men who had some form of sexual activity daily had better quality sperm than a control group who had been told to abstain for three days at a time.
The study was aimed at helping couples improve their chance of getting pregnant and concluded that men cut their chances if they hold off sexual activity.
Experts said some couples seemed to believe men should hold their sperm "in" for days or weeks to improve its quality.
But the Australian research shows the chances of pregnancy are lower if a couple waits for long stretches between sex sessions.
Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield and secretary of the British Fertility Society, said it was important to understand the "trade-off" between genetic damage to the sperm and quantity.
Dr Pacey said some couples believed they had a better chance of achieving pregnancy if they waited a long time between making love.
"I remember one couple in which the woman would only let the man ejaculate when she was in her fertile period, so the poor chap was going without for almost a month at a time.
"But if sperm is released in a steady stream, the sperm that is ejaculated are newer and less damaged.
"If you are a guy who has high DNA damage and a decent sperm count, it is probably in your interest to ejaculate every day.(more to come from thelondonpaper)

Niva-Russian Submarine

In Russia and Europe the Niva was used as an ambulance, a military vehicle, and by various police forces (eg Slovakia) and utility companies (eg Manx Electricity Board).
Transmanche-Link, the consortium of companies organized to construct the Channel Tunnel between England and France, used a fleet of 45 Nivas to aid in the enormous project. Each Niva accumulated in excess of 70,000 off-road kilometres during its employment, and after construction ceased in 1993 the fleet was sold off to a local dealer.
In Brazil, during the first years of the 1990s, Niva was the best-selling off-road vehicle. In fact, the Niva was so cheap, that even with the 85% importation value tax, Niva was less expensive than Brazilian cars such as the Envemo or Gurgel. It sold so much more than the Gurgel Carajás, that Gurgel discontinued it in January, 1991. In fact, the Niva was the first imported 4X4 in the Brazilian market, that the then Brazilian president Fernando Collor permitted the importation of other vehicles in 1990. In the Brazilian market, a used 1991 Niva, in good condition, costs about US$3,000/R$6,000. Competition and higher importation value taxes, forced the Niva to be retired from the Brazilian market. Even so, thousands of Niva remain in use in Brazil.Lada Niva was the first imported car to have sucess in brazilian market, in last 30 years.Its good price, reliability was responsable for the end of production of Gurgel jeeps in 1991.In fact between 1990 and 1993 was the most selled jeep in brazilian car market...MORE>>

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lubok (pl.: Lubki) (Cyrillic: Лубок)

In Russian, Lubok (pl.: Lubki) (Cyrillic: Лубок) means a variety of Russian Folk art such as prints in woodcut, characterized by simple graphics and narratives derived from the oral and written folklore. Lubki prints were also used as decoration in the houses and inns and some of them might be regarded as a predecessors of the modern comic strip.(more>>)
(from nypl)

Friday, October 12, 2007

The raising of Zvi Lazar: The New Approach Ein Hod 13.10-27.10 2007

Zvi Lazar lives and works in the artist's village Ein Hod. He was a young man when he began sailing on ocean-going ships of the Israeli merchant Marines. Following, he was enlisted into the army, first as a volunteer with the Israeli Sea Commandoes, and later on naval destroyer ships. Immediately after his military service he returned to the Merchant Marines, a love story that continued 40 years. He started as a deck-boy and rose through the ranks to Ship's Master. During these years, he successfully graduated from the Officers Institute in the city of Akko.
In the year 2000 he was forced to stop working because he contracted cancer, which he eventually overcame, after a long and bitter struggle. Zvi began painting in 1972, but only later, during his illness he commit himself to his paintings full-time, the creative passion never left him since, becoming an on going commitment. Under the talented hand of Clair Yaniv an artist and teacher, he refined his skills and later joined group exhibitions in the Cultural Center and Olive-Press Gallery of Ein Hod, and at the Artist's Gallery in Dusseldorf, Germany.
In the beginning of 2007, Zvi adopted a new approach to his painting, which is exhibited in this site. He had also written a book, about his years in the Merchant Marines.( more from Ein-Hod)

Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky

By the cliff, along the precipice, right over deadly ground,
With the whip, I strike my steeds; strike them hard to urge them forward.
I am getting short on air, gulp the haze, drink the wind, yet
With a fatal rapture, sensing: I am done for, I am done for!

Slow down a bit my horses, slow down, please!
Don't you listen to my stinging thong!
But the horses -- just my luck! -- are so hard to please!
Neither lived I so long, nor will I finish this song...
I will let horses drink, I'll complete this refrain,
Just a little bit more I will stay on the brink...

I will vanish from the Earth, swept by a storm like fluffy feather;
At a gallop, in the morning by the snow they'll drag me over
Can't you please prolong my journey to the end of my tether?
Can't you ease your dash, my horses, carry on a little slower?

Slow down a bit my horses, slow down, please!
Don't take orders from my whip and thong!
But the horses -- just my luck! -- are so hard to please!
Neither lived I so long, nor will I finish this song...
I will let horses drink, I'll complete this refrain,
Just a little bit more I will stay on the brink...

Just on time - one can't be late arriving at God's quarters!
Why do the angels over there sound like some nasty mortals?
Or, perhaps, it's just a sleigh-bell that's gone mad and burst out sobbing,
Or it's me shouting at my steeds to slow down my sled from dashing.

Slow down a bit my horses, slow down, please!
I am begging you, don't rush along!
But the horses -- just my luck! -- are so hard to please!
Since I haven't lived long, let me finish this song...
I will let horses drink, I'll complete this refrain,
Just a little bit more I will stay on the brink...

And Mexico 1977 peformance

An object of public usefulness

A Paris court filed preliminary charges Thursday against five young people suspected of having vandalized a renowned work by painter Claude Monet, judicial officials said."Le Pont d'Argenteuil" was damaged Sunday when intruders, apparently drunk, broke into Paris' Orsay Museum and punched a 4-inch tear into the canvas.
The five suspects four men and one woman, all either 18 or 19 years old were detained on Tuesday, judicial officials said.
Judicial officials said one of the suspects acknowledged having punched the painting and faces the preliminarily charge of damaging an object of public usefulness. They said all five face preliminary charges of destruction for having forced open a door to the museum.The intruders wandered around the museum's ground floor, where the Monet painting was hanging, until an alarm sounded. Before fleeing, one of them punched the painting, officials said.The break-in occurred during Paris' annual all-night festival, which brings thousands of people into the streets for concerts and exhibits.Monet led the 19th century Impressionist movement, experimenting notably with light and color in works now deemed priceless.
"Le Pont d'Argenteuil" shows a view of the Seine at a rural bend, featuring a bridge and boats.Speaking on Sunday, French Culture Minister Christine Albanel said the painting could be restored but deplored the damage.(via Yahoo)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We're kosher: 35-minute blow job

The City of London police have been in, and, says Graham Sheffield, artistic director of the Barbican, "they are completely cool. We're kosher." That means, come Friday, the first ever mainstream exhibition devoted to sex will be unleashed upon an unsuspecting British public.According to co-curator Martin Kemp: "We are not setting out to shock, but it is certainly provoking." Marina Wallace, another of the curators, added: "We want London to be thinking about nothing but sex for three months."
The exhibition begins with the "secret cabinets" of the British Museum and the Naples Museum - reserved areas where material deemed too saucy for general consumption was placed to protect delicate nerves and impressionable minds from the late 18th century. Here is an amber, life-size carving of male genitalia, and a tintinnabulum, a Roman bronze windchime featuring a winged phallus. "These are absolutely wonderful objects," said Prof Wallace. "They are good luck charms: the idea is that the penis is the only part of the body that moves up and down without control. That links it to fate or fortune, which also moves up and down of its own volition."
(more sex from Guardian)

Fallen into Doris's Crack

Two vistors to the Tate Modern have fallen into the hole which forms the centrepiece of the new installation in the Turbine Hall.
The pair, who were at a private viewing of Doris Salcedo's Shibboleth 2007, were not seriously injured. The London museum said there were no incidents when it was opened to the public for the first time on Tuesday. A Tate spokeswoman added there were no plans to place barriers around the 167-metre long crack at this stage.
"Tate staff are monitoring the space carefully to ensure the safety of our visitors and there are measures in place. We have a lot of experience handling complex installations and visitor safety," she added.
The two visitors to the installation - which has been informally renamed "Doris's Crack", are said to have lost their footing before stepping into the fissure.
Some 12,000 people viewed the installation on the first day of public viewing.
Colombian artist Salcedo said the work - on display to the public until April next year - symbolised racial hatred and division in society.
Salcedo claims the work took her over a year to make, and apparently spent the past five weeks installing it in the Tate, but would not reveal how it had been achieved.
Tate Modern director Nicholas Serota has said the work is not an optical illusion, but is a sculpture created in a "painstaking, meticulous way".(from liveleak via dirty)

El Ladino

The audience at "Sephardic Jews and Ladino," a conference held yesterday at Jerusalem's Mishkenot Sha'ananim, was no less interesting than the academics and distinguished figures on the dais. There was a descendant of Abraham Senior, who as everyone familiar with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain knows was the rabbi who gave in to pressure from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and converted to Christianity. Senior's Jerusalem progeny is, of course, a completely observant Jew, bubbling with good cheer, who called out Ladino proverbs from his seat in the front row. The great granddaughter of Eliezer Benveniste was there, too, in a back row. Benveniste Sr. was a publisher, one of the first to issue books in Ladino in the late 19th century. There was also a man who worked on a Ladino crossword puzzle, surrounded by rabbis who had attended so many lectures on the language that they recited, like children, the dates and names and songs and sayings together with the speakers. (more from Haaretz)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The deck of cards

Boris Kobe (1905-81) was a Slovenian architect and painter who became a political prisoner in the concentration camp of Allach, a sub-camp of Dachau, near Munich, Germany.
These images are from reproductions of the original cards provided courtesy of the Slovenian delegation (Slovenian Ministry of Education) to the Stockholm International Conference in the year 2000. Reproduction sets of cards were given to educators who attended the Swedish government sponsored conference in order to help identify an aspect of the victimization of one Slovenian political prisoner who became a prominent architect after the war.
A deck of tarok/tarot cards made in the Allach by Kobe most probably after the April 1945 liberation by American forces (see card XXI which depicts liberation and the Slovenian flag, Allach being burned). As a whole, this work of art represents a visual summary of life in a concentration camp, the main vehicle of which consists of Kobe's tragic and humiliating sequences spiced with acrid humor. At the same time, this tiny exhibit is a miniature chronicle of the twilight of humanity brought about by Nazism, which regarded a human being, and therefore the artist himself, as a mere number.
Allach, a sub-camp of Dachau, was ten miles from the main camp and was liberated on April 22, 1945 by American forces, 42nd Rainbow Division
After the war, Kobe did no more work as far as is known about his camp experiences. He was, however, a major Slovenian architect. One of his major projects was the restoration of the Ljubljana Castle. Plecnik was the major architect but Boris Kobe was also involved in creating elaborate plans for the castle...more>>

Bulat Shalvovich Okudzhava

Bulat Shalvovich Okudzhava (also transliterated as Boulat Okudjava/Okoudjava/Okoudzhava; Russian: Булат Шалвович Окуджава, Georgian: ბულატ ოკუჯავა) (May 9, 1924 – June 12, 1997) was one of the founders of the Russian genre called "author's song" (авторская песня, avtorskaya pesnya). He was of Georgian origin, born in Moscow and died in Paris. He was the author of about 200 songs, set to his own poetry. His songs are a mixture of Russian poetic and folksong traditions and the French chansonnier style represented by such contemporaries of Okudzhava as Georges Brassens. Though his songs were never overtly political (in contrast to those of some of his fellow "bards"), the freshness and independence of Okudzhava's artistic voice presented a subtle challenge to Soviet cultural authorities, who were thus hesitant for many years to give official sanction to Okudzhava as a singer-songwriter.

Real Men Don't Dance?

A self-taught dancer combining freestyle hip-hop with mime and contemporary dance, Kenichi Ebina incorporates visual illusion into his performances, making the impossible seem real. His agile, athletic and razor-sharp moves push the limits of human capability. Each of his performances is a mini-drama that draws from kinetic and thematic inspiration to tell a story that is laugh-out-loud funny.
Ebina is the founder of BiTriP (Bi-Triangle Performance), a hip-hop dance troupe that won the famous Amateur Night at the Apollo; later, as a solo performer, Kenichi again carried off the Apollo crown. He's a dancer, choreographer, teacher and performer, working with collaborators or on his own as Ebina Performing Arts.
He has performed everywhere from his home in New York to San Francisco to Bangkok. He's preparing now for his first full-evening solo show, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, in early 2008.(from Ted)

Racist cunt & The 'N' Word

Earlier variants (such as neger or negar) derive from the Spanish/Portuguese word negro, meaning "black", and probably also the French nègre, which has also been used pejoratively (but also positively as in Négritude), derived from negro (the ordinary French word for "black" being noir). Both negro and noir (and therefore also nègre and nigger) ultimately come from nigrum, the accusative form of the Latin word niger, meaning "black". The Italian word nero is also related.
In Colonial America, negars was used in 1619 by John Rolfe, describing slaves shipped to Virginia colony.[2] Neger (sometimes spelled "neggar") also prevailed in northern New York under the Dutch and also in Philadelphia, in its Moravian and Pennsylvania Dutch communities. For example, the African Burial Ground in New York City was originally known as "Begraafplaats van de Neger" (Dutch phrase meaning "Cemetery of the negro" in English).
(via Cynical-C)

Complete lack of humour

Between 1920, when she was thirty, and her death in 1976, Agatha Christie published seventy-one full-length murder mysteries. She also brought out five collections of stories, two volumes of poetry, a number of successful West End plays and a couple of autobiographies; five non-crime novels by her appeared under the name of Mary Westmacott. In some years there were several publications; between 1939 and 1946 there were nineteen. By 1950, she had sold a total of 50 million books and she is still the bestselling author in the world. It seems reasonable to wonder where it all came from.
Laura Thompson has been given full access to the unpublished letters, papers and notebooks kept at Greenway, the house in Devon that Christie purchased in 1938 and later turned into a family trust to avoid tax. There Thompson discovered a lifetime’s worth of old exercise books, scraps of paper, receipts, banker’s orders, souvenir menus and family albums. She also discovered that Christie, who never dated a letter, falsified the details of her life in her memoirs and lied about her age on her marriage certificate (more from Times)
Laura Thompson
An English mystery
533pp. Headline Review. £20.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Men Are From Arse, Women Are From PenIs

Do men and women speak the same language? Can they ever really communicate? These questions are not new, but since the early 1990s there has been a new surge of interest in them. Countless self-help and popular psychology books have been written portraying men and women as alien beings, and conversation between them as a catalogue of misunderstandings. The most successful exponents of this formula, such as Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don't Understand, and John Gray, author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, have topped the bestseller lists on both sides of the Atlantic. Advice on how to bridge the communication gulf between the sexes has grown into a flourishing multimedia industry. Gray's official website, for instance, promotes not only his various Mars and Venus books, but also seminars, residential retreats, a telephone helpline and a dating service.
Article continues>

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Iran to Kyrgyzstan on Ramadan -Books not Nukes

Books have to be stored in certain conditions with defined temperature. In order to get rid of dampness the heating system is being changed in the national library. Aitby Samarbekovna is pleased more than others because she is the curator of ancient publications.
"Ancient books have unpleasant smell and the ventilation system does not cope with this. We cannot air the quarters properly," said she.
Absence of proper ventilation system is the second problem of the national library. Whereas with restoration of rare books, such as hand-written Koran, dated by the end of 18th century the situation is even worse. As it turned out there are no professional restorers in the country who can manage it.
In other countries ancient publications are being carefully treated -- modern masters decorate the pages and bring second life to the damaged by the time literature.
"This book was hand - written. Iran masters are trying to reproduce this type of writing. It is called tazhib -- meaning 'writing in gold'"
Today Iran publishers represented various book -- covers and extracts from Koran made on canvas.
"There were no machines that could do that back at those times. All the publications were handwritten. The presented works are very well made and this style is known as Iran style of writing," said Mohammad Reza Saburi, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary ambassador from Islamic Republic of Iran to Kyrgyzstan.
The opening of the exposition during the saint Muslim month Ramadan is not accidental. It is considered that God's book was sent to profit Mohammed during this month.

Lisa sings Vivaldi

"Maestro Vivaldi´s Mandolin"
Vivaldi – Dixit Dominus; Stabat Mater; Credo; Magnificat; Mandolin Concerto
Ella Milch-Sheriff – Miserere Mei
David Feldman – countertenor
Shmuel Elbaz – mandolin
The Israeli Mandolin Quartet (directed by Shmuel Elbaz)
The "Moran" Ensemble(video)
Conductor: Naomi Faran
The 32nd Festival of Vocal Music in Abu Gosh includes 19 concerts.
The concert repertoire spans many musical periods and genres: Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, folk songs, arrangements of Israeli songs and works by 3 Israeli composers.
Almost all the composers wrote vocal works. The combination of text and music expresses the most profound thoughts and ideas of human and personal existence in all its shades. This combination transports both the performer and the listener to the most evolved emotional language.
Among the composers whose works will be performed are Brahms, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Handel, Bach, Yehezkel Braun, Villa-Lobos, Haydn and many others.( more >>)

Friday, October 5, 2007

James, Francis, Erwin and What Is Life

Nobel laureate James Watson opens TED2005 with the frank and funny story of how he and his partner, Francis Crick, discovered the structure of DNA. The tale is full of colorful details: How Watson had planned to be an ornithologist until Schroedinger's book What Is Life? transformed him into a geneticist. The painful rejections he suffered along the way, first from Caltech and then from a certain girl. And finally, how the basic DNA model ultimately came together in just a few hours. Watson finishes with one of the topics currently making him tick: the search for genetic bases for major illnesses

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Freaks or Schott's Physica curiosa

Gaspar Schott was one of the most respected scholars of his age. A Jesuit, Schott studied in Rome and taught in Palermo before returning to Augsburg, Germany where he taught and wrote until his death. Although the four volume Magia universalis naturae et artis was probably his most famous work, Physica curiosa was certainly the most visually arresting and is one of the largest and most densely illustrated of the many "books of curiosity" that flourished during the 16th and 17th centuries. Physica curiosa includes descriptions and depictions of human "monsters" (no doubt inspired by descriptions of real birth anomalies), marvels of the animal world, and mythological creatures such as Satyrs and Centaurs, the existence of which was considered credible by Schott and his contemporaries. Many of the images found here were used in earlier books and found their way into numerous works of the period.
(via Iowa Library)

Up in Lapland little Laps do it?!?

And to think that compare to Latvians - Finns are the wild bunch
(via gene expression)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Swines in the Graveyard

Marauding wild boar have disturbed the peace of one of the biggest cemeteries in Europe in their quest for food, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.
A horde of wild boar has wreaked havoc in one of Europe's largest graveyards south of Berlin, devastating flowerbeds, ploughing up lawns and covering hundreds of memorial stones with soil.
Stahnsdorf cemetery has 120,000 graves, including some famous personalities including Werner von Siemens, the founder of the Siemens industrial group, and the artist Heinrich Zille.
The marauding boar didn't dig deep enough to uncover coffins, but they did ruin an area of 1,070 German wartime graves containing civilian victims of bombing raids and soldiers, said Ihlefeldt. They left a fenced-off section of British and Italian war graves untouched, however.
Boars have roamed the huge 206 hectare site for years but they have recently increased in number and become an unacceptable nuisance, said Ihlefeldt, who has called in hunters to restore order.(fron Spiegel)
Our local Ein Hod swine leaves dead alone!

Real Buster

Comedy was king in the silent era, and one of the geniuses of silent comedy, and indeed filmmaking was comic actor/writer/director Buster Keaton. Although the credits often list other co-directors and writers, Keaton's collaborators acknowledged it was mostly Keaton. The silent movie era has been called the Golden Age of Comedy, and with good reason. While the lack of dialog placed limits on dramatic films, the era saw the evolution of an astounding visual style of comedy, which set a standard for humor that lasts to this day.
Considered by many film experts to be one of the ten greatest films of all times and perhaps the greatest comedy ever made, "The General" is an astonishing cinematic accomplishment, funny, touching, and dramatic, with remarkable photography, mis-en-scene and incredible stunts. Film scholars often describe the story as "the perfect script", but it is the scene where Keaton drops a train into a river that stays with viewers.
The best way to see any classic film is on a big screen, as was intended. If you have never seen a silent film, the best way to see a silent movie classic is on a big screen with live musical accompaniment. For the next couple of weeks, you get both the big screen and live music at the Buster Keaton film fest, Kompletely Keaton, Sept. 28 to Oct. 14 at the Webster Film Series.(from Current)

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

Have you ever walked into an art museum or gallery and wondered, "What's so special about that? Is it really art?"
Similarly, have you ever looked at an expensive contemporary artwork and thought to yourself, "I could do that" or "My kid could do that"?
Do not be discouraged; you are not alone.
A new documentary hitting theaters Oct. 5 explores these questions and more. "My Kid Could Paint That," directed by Amir Bar-Lev, follows the extraordinary experiences of 4-year-old Marla Olmstead, a child painter from Binghamton, N.Y., who rocketed from obscurity to international fame in just a few months.
Her colorful, abstract works were compared to Picasso and Pollock and sold for tens of thousands of dollars. But a "60 Minutes" segment questioned the authenticity of her work, suggesting that her father, an amateur painter, had a key hand in them.
After the airing of the "60 Minutes" exposé, the same press that extolled her as a child prodigy ripped her apart, claiming she was a fraud. Sales of her work slowed to a standstill. However, once Bar-Lev's documentary hit the festival circuit, including the Sundance Film Festival this year, interest renewed in her artwork.
"My Kid Could Paint That" investigates who truly created the paintings and explores the fickle, double-edged nature of media coverage and fame. The film also brings up questions that have dogged the art world for decades.
Since the early 20th century – and most likely before then – modern art has perplexed many viewers who wonder if there are any standards by which to judge it. Marcel Duchamp shocked the art establishment but ultimately proved that such objects as a urinal signed "R. Mutt" and titled "Fountain" could be construed as art.(more from ocregister)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Manu Who?

Is global superstar Manu Chao about to crack Britain?
Tucked away in Barcelona's medieval backstreets, Bar Mariatchi is heaving with dogs, dreadlocks and punters. The area is a reminder that Catalonia's chic capital is still a working port. It is also home to Manu Chao - the musician who may best represent rock'n'roll on a global scale. As he enters the bar, Chao nods to the musicians jamming in a corner, and orders a liqueur. "This is my office," he says.
Chao, 46, is wiry and tousle-haired, with the look of a mischievous schoolboy. Across much of the globe, he is a pop superstar - in Latin nations, his impact is comparable to that of the Beatles and Bob Dylan combined. And his ragged, hybrid sound - he layers Latin and African melodies over driving rhythms, adding anything from mariachi horns to telephone sounds and laughter - has inspired much devotion and countless imitators. So far Britain has remained resistant to his charms. But with Chao's new album, La Radiolina, attracting enthusiastic reviews, and his imminent UK tour selling out quickly, that may be about to change.
Born José-Manuel Chao in Paris to Spanish Republican parents who had fled Franco, Chao grew up in a household filled with music and radical politics. He and his cousin formed Hot Pants, a rockabilly combo, in the early 1980s; with the addition of Manu's brother, the group evolved into eclectic punk outfit Mano Negra in 1987. "We snuck into a show by [Irish punk band] Stiff Little Fingers and it was a revelation," he says. "'Wow! This is pure rock'n'roll!' That opened the door."
Mano Negra's live performances were wild celebrations, and Chao retains their anarchic spirit. "Even when everyone says, 'Go this way,' if instinct tells me to go another, I do. With Mano Negra, the record company were telling us there was strong interest in the US, but we said, 'No, we're off to Latin America.' They screamed, 'Commercial suicide' - but it turned out for the best."
Touring South America by cargo boat and train in the early 1990s won the band respect, yet it also tore them apart. Chao went backpacking, recording his 1998 debut solo album, Clandestino, on his laptop as he went. The album was an exotic musical collage, with lyrics in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English. As Chao's keen melodies, quirky arrangements and busker guitar-strum punched home, it also managed to convey that rare thing: the sound of surprise and enjoyment.(from Guardian)

Loose Marbles:really annoying

Ecstatic melody unimaginable sounds and deep sexy beats created on Industrial Flutes, Bullhorn Harmonica, Regurgitated Music Box, Triple Extended Pennywhistles, Miniature Hand Bell Choir, Obnoxiophone, Glass Bowls With Red Marbles and a clutch of curious objects. A confusion of novelty, experimental and electronics, wild and entertaining.
As a solo artist Sxip has toured the U.S. as support act for the Dresden Dolls and performed at their two days festival at the Round House in London England. Had a hit show at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia. Performs regularly at Joe's Pub in New York City. Has also performed at The Knitting Factory, Tonic, Makor and many underground parties in Brooklyn.
Sxip Shirey came to New York City when he joined The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus in the year 2000, This started him in a circus/theater direction and he composed music for Anti-Gravity and for the pyro-technic clowns of the Daredevil Opera Company, performing, composing and appearing at The New Victory Theater on Broadway, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Kennedy Center and the Sydney Opera House. His gypsy-tango-klezmer-punk band The Luminescent Orchestrii tours internationally and is part of the wild Balkan scene in New York City, their track "Amaritzi" is featured on the new Putumayo compilation "Balkan Groove". Recently as a solo artist he toured as host and support act for The Dresden Dolls for their fall 2006 US tour and at their two day DVD at The Round House in London. In New York City he performs and curates a high powered variety night called "Sxip's Hour of Charm" at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater. Last winter he composed music for "Marsupial Girl" by Lisa D'Amour for The Children's Theater Company of Minneapolis in a project developed with New Dramatists in NYC. He has also composed for works at the Ohio Theater, HERE, the Southern Theater and Inter-Media Arts in Minneapolis and has toured East Coast Colleges with the puppet theater piece "Savage Nursery" by Erin Orr developed through a grant from the Henson Foundation.

$400.00 per foot of books

Between digging for artifacts and dangling from cliffs, Indiana Jones must have very little time to read, never mind to buy books. Luckily, he has a team of people to do it for him. Dr. Jones as represented by the set decorators for the forthcoming film “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” recently engaged the Strand Bookstore’s Books-by-the-Foot service, which provides ready-made libraries for private homes, stores, and movie sets.
Although prop books are meant to be seen and not read, they have to evoke a mise en scène, inside and out. For Indiana Jones, the filmmakers specified that the books cover such topics as paleontology, marine biology, and pre-Columbian society. They had to be in muted colors and predate 1957. “People have gotten so character-specific nowadays,” Jenny McKibben, a manager at the store, said. “It can’t just be color anymore. With high-def, they can just freeze the film and say, ‘Oh, that’s so inappropriate.’ ”
Since the program’s inception, in 1986, the Strand has built scores of imaginary reading rooms, from the prison library in “Oz” to the Barnes & Noble clone in “You’ve Got Mail.” Clients also include window dressers, commercial architects (the Strand furnished each floor in the Library Hotel with a different Dewey decimal category), and people with more shelf space than leisure time. Kelsey Grammer requested all hardback fiction in two of his homes, while Steven Spielberg, who, incidentally, is the director of the new Indiana Jones movie, allowed a wider range (cookbooks, children’s books, volumes on art and film) to penetrate his Hamptons estate. “There have been a lot of biographies on him, so I put those in there, too,” Nancy Bass Wyden, a co-owner of the store, said.
Customers can choose from eighteen basic library styles, for purchase or rental. “Bargain books,” a random selection of hardbacks, is the cheapest, at ten dollars per foot of shelf space. For thirty dollars, clients can customize the color. For seventy-five, they can get a “leather-looking” library, which, as the Strand’s Web site puts it, “is often mistaken for leather.”.(more from New yorker)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ein Hod We Trust

Few phrases seem more quaintly outmoded these days than “sound as a dollar.” Once the embodiment of American financial strength, the dollar has spent the past five years getting sand kicked in its face by the world’s currencies, and in recent weeks, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s surprisingly big interest-rate cut, its decline has accelerated. A euro, which you could buy for eighty-six cents in January, 2002, now costs $1.40, and the Canadian loonie, once an easy object of derision, is as valuable as a dollar. In 1922, Ernest Hemingway wrote an article explaining how to live in Paris on a thousand dollars a year. These days, an American in Paris is lucky to spend a thousand dollars a week. ein hod
Most Americans, of course, don’t worry too much about the price of dinner at Taillevent(more from New Yorker)

Raiders of the faux ark

NOAH'S ARK. The Ark of the Covenant. The Garden of Eden. Sodom and Gomorrah. The Exodus. The Lost Tomb of Jesus. All have been "found" in the last 10 years, including one within the past six months. The discoverers: a former SWAT team member; an investigator of ghosts, telepathy, and parapsychology; a filmmaker who calls himself "The Naked Archeologist"; and others, none of whom has any professional training in archeology.
We are living in a time of exciting discoveries in biblical archeology. We are also living in a time of widespread biblical fraud, dubious science, and crackpot theorizing. Some of the highest-profile discoveries of the past several years are shadowed by accusations of forgery, such as the James Ossuary, which may or may not be the burial box of Jesus' brother, as well as other supposed Bible-era findings such as the Jehoash Tablet and a small ivory pomegranate said to be from the time of Solomon. Every year "scientific" expeditions embark to look for Noah's Ark, raising untold amounts of money from gullible believers who eagerly listen to tales spun by sincere amateurs or rapacious con men; it is not always easy to tell the two apart.
(more from

The Truth About Bottled Water

It started with Perrier. Somehow, a French company convinced people it's cool to buy bottled water. Today, Evian has surpassed Perrier in sales and now it's the chic French water of choice. Why? It costs about 5 bucks a gallon! Why do people pay so much for something they can get virtually free?
If they're not buying Evian, they buy Aquafina and Dasani and the dozens of new brands that are jumping into this billion-dollar business, including bizarre ones like Venus, the Water for Women, and Trump Ice, with "The Donald" scowling on the label. I'd have to be very thirsty to buy that.
Many people say they buy bottled waters because they taste better. We spoke with people in New York City, asking them why they liked bottled better than tap water.
Even Yale University School of Medicine's Dr. Stephen Edberg, the person whom the International Bottled Water Association told "20/20" to talk to, agreed that bottled water is no better for you. "No, I wouldn't argue it's safer or not safer."
The labels of the bottled waters do suggest they're special. Some show mountains or polar bears or glaciers. You have to look at the fine print to find out Everest Water is not from Mount Everest. It's from Corpus Christi, Texas. Glacier Clear Water is not from a glacier in Alaska. Its source is tap water from Greeneville, Tenn.
Bottom line, if you buy bottled water because you think it's healthier than tap, test after test shows no evidence of that. And if you buy fancy brands because you think they taste better, you're probably just buying the hype. (from ABC news)