Saturday, December 29, 2007

Eating Dirt

On every continent with the exception of Antarctica, there are people who snack on chalk, loam or marl. But it's only now that scientists are gradually beginning to understand what force brings them to do this. Whether people are eating loam from natural sources or buying "healing clay" at the drugstore and eating it, they are clearly following some ancient craving that has been shaped over the course of evolution.
It is not only humans who indulge in a bit of dirt every now and then parrots, cattle, rats, elephants and chimpanzees also partake.Even prehistoric man shared this passion for eating earth an archaeological dig in Africa uncovered powdered loam that had clearly been used as marching rations two million years ago. But the question remains: why?(more from Spiegel)

Ugly Monkey's foreplay lasts longer

Male macaques exchange grooming for the right to mate with females whose fur they have cleaned, a study has found.The researchm by Michael Gumert, of the Division of Psychology at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and colleagues, has been accepted for publication in the journal Animal Behaviour.
"I found that the amount of grooming a male performs on a female during a sexual interaction is related to the supply/demand ratio of females per male around the male-female pair at the time of the grooming," says Gumert.
Put another way, male monkeys - especially lower status ones - have to groom more to get more action when fewer females are around.The activity often sexually excites the monkeys, particularly the males, so many scientists suspect it evolved into foreplay in humans.(more on monkey sex)

Automated retrieval center previously known as Library

The University of Utah's main library is quickly evolving from a simple repository of paper into a place for people to gather in a variety of settings, both noisy and quiet, crowded and solitary. This massive reallocation of space is made possible without storing any volumes off-site, but with the installation of a $12 million compact book storage system, known as an automated retrieval center. Cutting-edge technology will free up to 80,000 square feet at one of Utah's most intensively used buildings, the J. Willard Marriott Library. The 2 million volume system is North America's largest automated retrieval center and other universities are calling Marriott officials for guidance to build such systems at their libraries(via raw feed)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cutting the First Christmas Tree in Riga

Forest rangers in Latvia say they are being overwhelmed by large numbers of people illegally cutting down Christmas trees near the capital Riga.
The number of wild Christmas trees is dwindling fast in the city's protected forest, the rangers say.The rangers say they are catching at least 20 people daily - but do not have enough staff to catch everyone. Latvians are allowed to cut down trees in designated national forest, 50km (31 miles) from Riga.
Eastern European history is uncertain whether Riga, Latvia can be appropriately credited with the first decorated tree that started this Christmas tradition.
The most common legend about the first Christmas tree is about Martin Luther, and his walk through a forest in Riga, where he spied the stars shining through the prickly boughs of an evergreen tree. Supposedly, Martin Luther brought the tree home and decorated it with candles to simulate the effect of stars. Or to explain to his children how stars twinkled. Or maybe he decorated it with lights in order to illustrate the “majesty of Christ’s birth.” This may or may not have occurred in 1510. And it may or may not have occurred in Riga, or even Latvia (maybe Germany).
The sources that attribute Latvia with having begun the Christmas tree tradition seem to be mainly PR websites for Latvian tourism or derived from a similar source
(..more>>)

Borat and Wine tasting in Ein Hod


Wine tasting in Ein Hod on Saturday at LevendelBloch. I hope to have half the fun Borat had.

Giblets in your chicken soup and Second Avenue Deli


In fact, the moments I was most acutely conscious of my Jewish identity were the Christmas Eves I spent at the Second Avenue Deli, a place where Jews congregated to huddle against the alienating loneliness of a Christmas-song-saturated city. "Silent Night" for us was a noisy night of chomping and slurping, a steamy communion with the matzo ball soup that so far surpassed the neon yellow concoctions of the theme-park Jewish delis on Broadway. There was something so pure and unalloyed about the ethereally pale essence of the Second's soup and the perfect texture of its matzo balls—not too fluffy, not too dense, just chewy and grainy enough—which has been the subject of more Talmudic disputation than many salient Torah passages.
(by Ron Rosenbaum from Slate)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson (15 August 1925 – 23 December 2007)


Jazz lovers around the world are mourning a legendary pianist.
(for more>>)
Oscar Peterson Trio Live at Newport

Monday, December 24, 2007

No sex for male rats! Blame the Pesticided Granny!

A lab rat’s life is not a happy one, but for some it’s especially bleak. In March, a team of researchers announced that female rats were spurning males whose great-grandmothers had been exposed to the fungicide vinclozolin. The male rats were fertile and looked healthy; still, something about them perhaps their smell was a total turnoff. This suggests that pesticides and other hormone-disrupting chemicals not only may harm those who have close encounters with them, they may also affect mating behavior in later generations.
Reproductive neuroendocrinologist Andrea Gore and her husband, evolutionary biologist David Crews—both at the University of Texas at Austin—examined the sexual inclinations of 12 male and 12 female 90- to 120-day-old rats, great-grandchildren of females injected during pregnancy with vinclozolin by reproductive biologist Michael Skinner. Over the past two years Skinner, of Washington State University, showed that as male descendants of these rats aged, they developed sperm deficiencies, infertility, and various other afflictions, from breast tumors to kidney disease.(more from Discover)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rodney Carrington: If you love your country!


Well it seems to me that this whole worlds gone crazy
theres to much hate and killin goin on
but when i see the bare chest of a woman
my worrys and my problems are all gone
no one thinks of fightin, when they see a topless girl
baby if you would show yours to, we could save the world
show them to me, show them to me
unclasp your bras and set those puppy free
they'd look a whole lot better without that sweater baby I'm sure you'll agree
if you got, two fun bags,
show them to me
I don't care if they don't match or if ones bigger then the other
you could show me one, and ill imagine the other
even if your really old, theres nothing wrong
don't be sad your boobs ain't bad, there just a little long
show them to me, show them to me
lift up your shirt and let the whole world see
just this row, show your globes and a happy man I'll be
if you got, those chi chi's,
show them to me
I've met a lot of them, but never one I hated
even if you had thirteen kids and you think they look deflated
theres no such thing as a bad breast, i belive this much is true
if your a big fat man im a titty fan and id love to see yours toooo
show them to me, show them to me
just like the girls gone wild on T.V.
just lean back and show your back and ill be in ecstasy
if you got two casabas
show them to me
all the world will live in harmony
it'al do yea good, it'al give me wood, we'll make history
if you love your country, I'm gonna say it one more time,
i said if you love your country yea
then stand up and show them big old boobies to me
(more songs by Rodney)

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Pinhead Codex

In a nanotechnology breakthrough, scientists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have printed the entire Old Testament onto a silicon chip smaller than a pinhead (less than 1/1000th of an inch).The idea to write the Old Testament on such a tiny surface was conceived by Technion Professor Uri Sivan of the Faculty of Physics, who is also head of the university's Russell Berrrie Nanotechnology Institute.
The text was written using a focused ion beam (FIB) generator that shot tiny particles called Gallium ions onto a gold surface covering a base layer of silicon. In a process that can be likened to digging a hole in the earth using a water jet, the ion beam etched the surface of the gold layer, making the underlying silicon layer visible. The actual "writing" of the full text took just 90 minutes. The computer program that guided the FIB, however, took more than three months.(from ATS)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christma-Hanu-Rama-Ka: Festivus in Pink


Roy Zimmerman is a guitarist, songwriter, and satirist, and the founder of the Southern California folk quartet The Foremen
Zimmerman's fourth CD is a Holiday offering called PeaceNick. It's Lefty, Pacifist, Humanist satire celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace in a time of pre-emptive war. The disc takes a snipe at militaristic merchandising with "Buy War Toys for Christmas," and thumbs its nose at the War on Christmas - an absurd notion promoted by Bill O'Reilly and his ilk - with the Happy Holidays song "Christma-Hanu-Rama-Ka-Dona-Kwanzaa." The Dylan-esque "Christmas is Pain," another Zimmerman classic in the mold of another Zimmerman, receives wide airplay every Holiday Season.
In its 14th year, “The Festival of Festivals” provides a rare occasion of unity for Arabs and Jews Residents of Wadi Nisnas, the majority-Arab working-class neighborhood that hosts the festival.Israel and others around the world can learn a lot from their community and from the city of Haifa, a mixed Arab-Jewish city.
At the heart of the "Festival of Festivals" event, a new exhibition called "Hard Labor" will be presented in the Beit Hagefen Gallery and on the streets of Wadi Nisnas. The "Hard Labor" exhibition is devoted to a study of the types of work carried out by women. The exhibits displayed in the exhibition cast an investigative glance at women and the types of work that they do. The exhibition crosschecks gender, ethnicity and status. The exhibition will focus on the many meanings of the concept "female" labor and will include within it diverse works of art, including videos, paintings, photographs, sculptures and exhibits.(..more>>)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chaos and African Graffiti


IN 1988, RON EGLASH was studying aerial photographs of a traditional Tanzanian village when a strangely familiar pattern caught his eye.The thatched-roof huts were organized in a geometric pattern ofcircular clusters within circular clusters, an arrangement Eglash recognized from his former days as a Silicon Valley computer engineer.Stunned, Eglash digitized the images and fed the information into a computer. The computer's calculations agreed with his intuition: He was seeing fractals. Since then, Eglash has documented the use of fractal geometry-the geometry of similar shapes repeated on ever-shrinking scales-in everything from hairstyles and architecture to artwork and religious practices in African culture. The complicated designs and surprisingly complex mathematical processes involved in their creation may force researchers and historians to rethink their assumptions about traditional African mathematics The discovery may also provide a new tool for teaching African-Americans about their mathematical heritage. In contrast to the relatively ordered world of Euclidean geometry taught in most classrooms, fractal geometry yields less obvious patterns. These patterns appear everywhere in nature, yet mathematicians began deciphering them only about 30 years ago.(..more>>>)

Chinese Conjugal Love

Yuanyang is a popular beverage in Hong Kong, made of a mixture of coffee and Hong Kong-style milk tea. It was originally served at dai pai dongs and cha chaan tengs, but is now available in various types of restaurants. It can be served hot or cold.[1] The name yuanyang, which refers to mandarin ducks, is a symbol of conjugal love in Chinese culture, as the birds usually appear in pairs and the male and female look very different. This same connotation of "pair" of two unlike items is used to name this drink.(for more>>)
The pottery sculpture, named Yuanyang II, is one of the collections of Hong Kong Museum of Art now displaying at the Central Concourse of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). It is produced by Tsang Cheung-shing, a ceramic art tutor and product designer.
Yuanyang II is modeled in a distinctive form with two figures indulged in kissing each other. Their heads support two elegant cups for drinking tea and coffee. The form and concept design fully complement the theme “Yuanyang” (a typical Hong Kong beverage of mixing tea and coffee), a symbol of marriage and love, with a touch of humour for artistic creation.

Ro Sar Beneh from Namjoo


Mohsen Namjoo practices a subtle form of protest music. Namjoo is an Iranian singer and composer. He's a master of classical Persian poetry. But his fans say his satirical songs reflect the frustrations of Iranians today.
Mohsen Namjoo attracted fans across Iran even before he officially released a CD. One reason may be that he doesn't shy away from contemporary issues. The song "Aghaayede Neo-Kaanti" appears on a CD sold on the black market.
The lyrics translate as "What belongs to us is two-day old couscous, an apologetic government, and a losing national team." Those are references to the disappointment many here felt with the previous government headed by reformist president Khatami, and to the constant losses of Iran's soccer team.
Namjoo goes on to say "What belongs to us, maybe, is the future."
Namjoo's music is daring in Iran.(more from BBC World)
you can see more posts on Mohsen Namjoo HERE

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Poland lost five-year "vodka war"

"I will dictate it to you right now, right after I receive the money. What kind do you want? Potato, grain, apricot, barley, mulberry, buckwheat kasha? You can even make moonshine from an ordinary footstool. Some people like footstool vodka. Or you could make a simple raisin or plum vodka. In a word, any one of the hundred and fifty moonshines that I know the recipe for." from "The golden calf" by Ilf and Petrov
Tuber or not tuber? That was the question the EU answered on Monday by saying vodka can be made from potatoes, and from sugar cane and grapes as well.
The decision ended a five-year "vodka war" that pitted northern producers like Poland, who said vodka is made only with potatoes or grains, and southern producers who like to throw sugar cane and even grape juice into the old distillery.
After reaching a deal with the European Parliament last June, Euroopean Union farm ministers agreed to accept other materials than grain or potatoes as a basis for making vodka, provided their origin is indicated on the label.
"The description, presentation or labelling of vodka not produced exclusively from (grain or potatoes) ... shall bear the indication 'produced from ...', supplemented by the name of the raw material(s) used to produce the ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin," the text of the final EU regulation says.
Poland and Sweden voted against the final deal, while Lithuania abstained, EU officials said.
For many months, Poland -- backed by its allies Finland, Sweden and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- argued that grain and potatoes should be the only ingredients.
But several other countries, including Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, disagreed and say Poland's stance was thinly disguised protectionism.(via guardian

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Caveat Emptor:The Jewish DNA (thanks to Dr.E.Yakobson)


"Questions remain. Were Abraham, Moses, and David real people? What happened to the Twelve Tribes? Can some modern Jews actually trace their ancestry as Jewish priests to Aaron? Did descendants of King Solomon and the queen of Sheba build the fabulous stone palace in the heart of Africa known as the Great Zimbabwe? Is Britain or the United States the "New Jerusalem" foretold in the Bible? Are the American Indians descendants of Abraham, as some Mormons believe? What happened to the Jews who converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition? Who are the real "chosen people"-Arabs or Jews? Are the majority of today's Jews descendants of non-Jewish Eurasians and Europeans? If the maternal lineage of many modern Jews begins with gentiles, as history and DNA suggest, and they did not formally convert to Judaism, what determines "Jewishness"? If blood ties were paramount to our Israelite forebears, then our genes, protected against the ravages of time and passed on from generation to generation, must carry some record of the Israelites, the origins of Christianity and Islam, and the long and contentious travail of the Jews."




"The story contained in our DNA raises the taboo issues of race, disease, and intelligence. Genetic anthropology and genealogy are tightly bound to the worldwide effort to address many behavioral and medical problems, which is a key impetus behind the Human Genome Project. Genetic differences, and sometimes just one gene, can confer near-certain death sentences, while other people are mysteriously spared. There are thousands of genetic disorders, hundreds of which disproportionately affect one racial or ethnic group."




"Jews have unique advantages as candidates for genetic study. Since being expelled from biblical Palestine to the far corners of the globe, they have congregated in many tightly knit but intricately linked communities. For the most part, they were endogamous- they rarely married outside the religion, at least until the twentieth century. That fidelity has proved a gold mine for DNA researchers. "Jewish genetics," as it has been called, is at the center of a worldwide quest to solve the puzzle of disease and unlock the backstories of humanity. Archival vaults once thought buried in time are being pried open. "



for more click here and here and here and here

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Guide for the Perplexed in Copenhagen

Guide for the Perplexed is beyond any doubt the most famous of the app. 300 Hebrew manuscripts in the collections of The Royal Library. Also known as "The Copenhagen Maimonides", the manuscript was written and illuminated in Catalonia in the years 1347-1348, and is one of the finest examples of the illumination traditions of this part of Spain in this era.
The “illuminatorship” of “the Copenhagen Maimonides” has been much debated, but the current consensus is that the main illuminator was Ferrer Bassa, active in Barcelona as leader of a workshop, which also included his son Arnau. He is better known as a mural painter (the San Miguel de Pedralbes monastery, Barcelona), but is thought to have been the illuminator of several manuscripts.
One possibility is that Ferrer Bassa is responsible for the larger panels in the codex, while other members of the workshop may have executed the marginal illuminations. Some of the details connect with words in the text, but whether these cases point to a Jewish illuminator is uncertain; they may also be a result of cooperation with the scribe or the patron. It has been suggested that "the Copenhagen Maimonides” was Ferrer Bassa’s last work. He died around the time of is completion, presumably from the Black Death; after 1348, nothing is known of him or his son.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Frank Sinatra, Bulova , Jackie Gleason and Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-A-Dee


Frank Sinatra, the greatest vocalist in the history of American music, elevated popular song to an art. He was a dominant power in the entertainment industries radio, records, movies, gambling and a symbol of the Mafia’s reach into American public life. More profoundly than any figure excepting perhaps Elvis Presley, Sinatra changed the style and popular culture of the American Century.
Frank Sinatra: The Man, the Music, the Legend, a long-awaited collection of essays gathered from a famed 1998 conference at Hofstra University and edited by Jeanne Fuchs and Ruth Prigozy, probes various aspects of Sinatra’s influence in his long career (he was a national figure from 1939 until his death, in 1998). But it insists, both explicitly and in its editors’ selection of subjects and themes, that the “proper historical setting” for its subject “is the fifties.”
Although that point can be debated, the 1950s more precisely, the period from 1953 to the mid-1960s was clearly the era of Sinatra’s supreme artistic achievement and deepest cultural sway. It amounted to the most spectacular second act in American cultural history. In the early 1940s, following his break with the Tommy Dorsey band, Sinatra had emerged, thanks largely to swooning bobby-soxers, as pop music’s biggest star and a hugely popular Hollywood actor. By the end of the decade, he was all but washed up, having lost his audience owing to shifting musical tastes and to disenchantment over his reported ties to the Mob, and over his divorce, which followed a widely publicized affair with Ava Gardner, whom he married in 1951. He soon lost his voice (he would never fully recover his consistently accurate intonation and precise pitch), his movie contract with MGM, his record contract with Columbia, and Gardner their passionate, mutually corrosive entanglement plainly and permanently warped him. But in 1953, his harrowing, Oscar-winning performance as the feisty, doomed Maggio in From Here to Eternity made him a star again.( to cont.)
The clip is from The Frank Sinatra Show
Jackie Gleason, June Hutton, The Heathertones, Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra
Note: Jackie sells Frank his newly-inherited "hunting lodge" in the mountains, sight unseen, and the two invite June and the Heathertones to join them there for the weekend. Frank sings "It Had To Be You," "Take My Love," "Everything Happens to Me," "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "My Heart Stood Still," and "I Am Loved." June joins him for "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" and then solos on "I Feel a Song Comin' On." June and The Heathertones sing "Zip-a-dee Doo Dah" and The Heathertones do "They Couldn't Catch Me" on their own. An unbilled actress (who plays the heavyset woman) sings "I Wanna Be Loved." A Valentine-themed Bulova commercial places this episode close to February 14th, but while the New York Times TV listing for the 3rd lists Jackie Gleason, it also includes Jack Goode and Ollie Frank, who don't appear. Jack Donahue is both producer and director.
2/3/1951

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No Cunnilingus for Moches Men

Historian Maximo Terrazos didn't know much about sex when he was growing up.
Given his conservative Catholic upbringing in rural Peru, sex was a taboo subject that-simply wasn't discussed.
But then came a day in 1965, when the then-20-year-old university student joined a field trip to Peru's Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History and he experienced a sexual awakening.
Locked in glass display cases before him were explicit ceramic depictions of sexual acts crafted more than fifteen hundred years earlier by the Moche, a highly organized, class-based society that dominated Peru's northern coast from about 0-800 A.D.
All at once, Terrazos and his classmates were exposed to images of fellatio, intercourse, masturbation, heterosexual and homosexual sodomy, necrophilia and bestiality.
No huaco erotico depicting lesbian sex has ever been found, and while many of the artifacts show women performing fellatio on men, none are known to depict cunnilingus.
The majority of the pieces show heterosexual anal or vaginal coitus. In many cases, an infant is shown suckling or sleeping by the female's side, during the sex act. Scientists theorize the numerous depictions of anal intercourse indicate that it was a common sexual practice between couples as a form of contraception, particularly when infants were still breast feeding.
The American public first became aware of huacos eróticos in 1954, when Indiana University's Dr. Alfred Kinsey -- author of the famous Kinsey Reports on human sexual behavior traveled to Lima to investigate Peru's archaeological dirty secret.
The Moche artifacts, Kinsey wrote, were ``the most frank and detailed document of sexual customs ever left by an ancient people.(click for more)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Judge by it's cover: Book Art in Ein Hod

Gillian Robinson’s installation is a series of books, inspired by the texture and surface qualities of ancient icons found in Monasteries in Cyprus. They carry an atmosphere of survival of endurance and hope.
Some of the books have sculptural qualities, some are bound and tied with their contents locked away, whilst others can be handled and explored. They have a beautiful physicality - they smell of ash, wax or resin. Pages ask to be turned, and their surfaces cracked open, revealing juxtapositions, glimpsed fragments. Somehow the form of the books is at one with the content. Books have a powerful symbolism, communicating ideas, knowledge, wisdom, history, experience. The new exibition which opens on Saturday 15 at LevendelBloch gallery in Ein Hod seems to capture that sense of power, combined with great vulnerability (via DRUMCROON)
For Hebrew click Here

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Daniil Kharms: Mad, chaotic, frightening


Let us consider Daniil Kharms, the Russian writer often described as an absurdist, largely unpublished in his lifetime except for his children’s books, who starved to death in the psychiatric ward of a Soviet hospital during the siege of Leningrad, having been put there by the Stalinist government for, among other reasons, his general strangeness. Kharms gave flamboyant poetry readings from the top of an armoire, did performance art on the Nevsky Prospect by, for example, lying down on it, sometimes dressed as Sherlock Holmes and was a founder of the Union of Real Art, an avant-garde group also known as Oberiu. His brilliant, hilarious, violent little stories, written “for the drawer,” are now being discovered in the West through translations by Neil Cornwell (collected in “Incidences”) and by Matvei Yankelevich, whose anthology “Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms” has just been published.(more from NYtimes)
You can get english translations of Kharms works HERE

From Dada to Dafen or Janco's dream of Artist' Village


An estimated 60 percent of the world's worst oil paintings are spun out within Dafen's 1.5 square miles. Last year, the local art factories exported paintings worth US$36 million.
Thousands of artists who have converged on Dafen’s many art factories, where they each paint up to 30 replicas during a 16-hour day. Dafen’s output is sold in places such as Wal-Mart, which recently commissioned 50,000 copies made in China. London’s Fulham Palace mounted a show of such canvases this year to call attention to “a shocking form of sweatshop labour.”
The fastest of the thousands -- no one knows how many -- workers here, who paint more Van Gogh's in a month than he did in his lifetime (about 800), can crank out 30 a day, said Shi Fei, an artist, gallery owner and art assembly line factory honcho who employs 12 "students" who earn anywhere from US$25 to US$50 a month plus room and board for their art assembly line skills.
But Shi, who went to art school and got his start making copy paintings in Guangzhou, isn't particularly impressed with Van Gogh, though he sells about 20,000 faux 'Goghs a year.
"Everyone thinks Van Gogh was a great artist but a great artist should be rich," he said with a smug grin. "If he couldn't make a living as an artist he wasn't a great artist." But, Shi admitted, "He would be very sad, I think, if he could see this. He should be happy, though, because he can help so many Chinese people make a living."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Polish Submarine Joke 1958-2007


Noah Zacharin : Raw and Rare


Veteran accompanist, solo performer, and guitar whiz, Noah Zacharin has been playing guitar for nearly a million years and writing songs for slightly less than that. Gathering influences from the blues, folk, jazz, country, bluegrass and r&b realms and tossing em all in a blender, Zacharin's songs are an eclectic mix. For all that, his true intention is to touch the listener's soul. Five CD's, hundreds of published poems, translations, and reviews later, Zacharin is hard at work on a couple of new records, a couple of children's books, and a volume of poetry. Zacharin has a remarkable gift for juxtaposing words in his songs which move and soothe by their sound and meaning, so it’s not surprising to learn that a literary history as a poet precedes the troubadour. Combine that with a very engaging and bluesy fingerstyle ability on guitar, and you’ll see why Zacharin deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with names such as James Taylor and David Wilcox, whom he resembles stylisticallyZacharin says of the melancholy tone of his songs: "The songs might seem sad, but I don’t feel sad when I’m playing. I feel like the ability to make something out of it, to make some order from this chaos, is positive". If making order of chaos is truly the essence of the purpose of music and people, Zacharin is one musician and person who is fulfilling his purpose
Noah Zacharin is visiting Israel this week,
and he will be performing live in Jerusalem on Sunday, December 16th with some surprise guests(?!) (thanks to Eli Marcus)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Secret Stash Book:Thieves have no dreams


Thieves will never dream of looking in this book for valuables!
This book has a hidden compartment which gives you the opportunity to hide money, jewellery, amongst other things when you are not at home or on holidays.
Thieves will never dream of looking in this book for valuables, now that you have the opportunity to make this unique protection of your valuables.
This is the perfect Jewelry(ha! ha!) Box!
One of the coolest gadgets this year

Faina Ranevskaya and Geary's Guide


"A man must swallow a toad every morning if he wishes to be sure of finding nothing still more disgusting before the day is over."
Chamfort's line can be found in Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists, recently published by Bloomsbury USA. James Geary, writer and editor, has been at the aphoristic fount before, in The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism (Bloomsbury, 2005). Rich in surprises, that marvelous book opened the possibilities for the more comprehensive Guide. Many of the aphorists in the new book will be known to everyone: Plato and Cicero, Michel de Montaigne, Dr. Johnson, Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Wilde, and so forth. But the real pleasures lie in the volume's unexpected treasures: Chamfort, Ludwig Marcuse, Karol Bunsch, Faina Ranevskaya, Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Benjamin Whichcote, and countless others. ( via Cronicle)

"Success is the only unforgivable sin against your neighbor."
"Optimism is lack of information."
"My fortune is in the fact that I don't need it."
"I've been smart enough to have lived my life stupidly."
"A real man is one who remembers a lady's birthday, but never knows how old she is. A man who never remembers her birthday, but knows exactly how old she is, - is her husband."
"Family can replace everything. So, before starting a family, one should think what's more important: family or everything."
"Aleshenka (a boy's name), when you get married you'll understand what happiness is. But it will be too late."
"It has always been incomprehensible for me: people are ashamed of poverty but aren't ashamed of wealth."
"The Doorbell doesn't work, when you come, knock the door with feet. - Why feet?! - I hope you won't come to me empty-handed!"

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Beat me daddy, eight to the bar


Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar(30's, 40's phrase used on an uptempo dance tune, as a command to the rhythm section (the drummer is "daddy" as in "daddy-o") to emphasize 8 beats to every bar of music, giving it a feel of doubletime) is a song written by Don Raye in 1940 in the American boogie-woogie tradition of syncopated piano music. It was first recorded by the Will Bradley orchestra, notably with Freddie Slack on piano, who placed it in Billboard's top 10 in 1940, and versions of this song have been hits for the Andrews Sisters and Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen.
The title "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar" was taken from a phrase commonly used in the hipster jargon by Raye's friend, Ray McKinley, to the extent that Raye gave partial songwriting credit to McKinley for the song, although it was filed under McKinley's wife's name, Eleanore Sheehy, because McKinley was under songwriting contract with another publisher.
Ondřej Havelka and His Melody Makers is a band from the Czech Republic who like to play early jazz music. Besides being a musician and band leader, Ondřej Havelka is also an actor and director and you can tell that by the good cinematic quality of the video clip: the angles, the cutting and the acting.
(via Swing Jazz and Blues)

Fishy sex: males hate (male ) voyeurs

Mating fish don't like an audience, it seems. When another male spies on them they change their mind about which female they prefer. The findings may alter the way we think about mate choice driving evolution, researchers say.
Male molly fish of the species Poecilia Mexicana normally prefer to mate with large females who produce more eggs. In mate choice experiments, a male will spend 80% of its time near large females and only 20% near smaller ones.
But when Martin Plath at the University of Potsdam in Germany and colleagues stuck a glass container holding another male into the tank to let him watch the show, the first molly changed his mind. Under the gaze of the intruder, he began to pay equal attention to both large and small females.
Being watched by a green swordtail (Xiphophorus hellerii), on the other hand, did not faze the mollies at all – they only slightly reduced their preference for large females.
"We think that the molly does this to avoid sperm competition," Plath told New Scientist. "It's likely that the other male will share the preference for large females, so it makes sense for the molly to not invest all his sperm into one female."(click MORE for fishy sex)

Swedish bare breasted women run for cover!

Two Swedish women who want to be allowed go topless in the nation's swimming pools have had their case rejected by



Sweden's equality watchdog.
The case reached the watchdog in September after Karlsson and her friend Kristin Karlsson, 21, went for a topless swim at the Fyrishov swimming pool in Uppsala.
A female lifeguard caught sight of the pair and told to put their tops back on or leave the pool. They chose to leave the pool.


The women complained to the ombudsman, saying that if men can show their chests, women should be allowed to do so as well
A ruling released on Friday underlined that women's bodies were different from men's:
"There is a physical difference between a woman's upper body and that of a man," said Equal Opportunities Ombudsman Anne-Marie Bergström.
"There is also a great difference between how people in general perceive men's and women's bodies. It is therefore hard to maintain that [the topless bathers] were in a comparable situation to men who bathed with naked upper bodies."


"Women's bodies have more often been the subject sexually objectification, decrees and dress-codes. In our society, the female body is sexualized in a way that the male body is not. This is demonstrated in pornography and in parts of the rest of the media."(... more>>)


Stoorn: Noch a Moose ( or Elk?)


Officials in northern Sweden have just given the all-clear for the construction of the world's largest elk, or moose as the animal is known in North America.
Perched on top of a mountain, the 45-metre (148-foot) elk will double as a restaurant and concert hall that can seat up to 350 guests. From its antlers, more than 500 metres above sea level, visitors will be able to enjoy the spectacular view over the valleys below.
Though its future may have been in the balance, the oversize elk has long had a name: Stoorn, which translates as 'The Big One' in the local dialect.
With its front legs in Norrbotten and hind quarters in Västerbotten, Stoorn will be be positioned to bite on an enormous pine tree. A lift will then transport visitors through the tree to and from the creature's mouth. The reception area is to be located between the teeth and the tonsils.
In the belly of the beast is the conference centre, which - like the concert hall - will also hold up to 350 people. Vistors will be able to move through the levels using spiral staircases located inside the elk's legs.
With the initial paperwork finally out of the way, Stoorn's creator expects construction to begin before the end of the year. And as befits an area in which forestry is the main industry, the elk will be built using local wood.
The cost of building the elk is expected to come in at around 60 million kronor ($6.5 million) and is to be financed entirely through private investment.(via the local)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Potters' symposium, Tel-Hai College, Israel


Originally trained as a painter at the academy of fine arts in Vienna, Regina Heinz discovered working with clay a few years ago as an expansion and enrichment of her previous work. She studied Ceramics in Vienna, Geneva and London, where she has been living since 1989.
Fascinated by the softness and malleability of wet clay, Regina has developed a special slab building technique to construct free standing sculptures and relief pieces for wall hanging. Slabs are rolled out and then "tailored": joined, pushed, folded, stretched and incised until the piece has taken on its final shape and expression, yet the material has retained its original softness and surface texture.

The pastel, larger-scaled sculptures that Chris Gustin has been producing for the past two or three years also start out as claycylinders on the wheel, though it would be hard to guess that onfirst glance. Technically functional as plant pots but really orna-mental, each sculpture resembles a monumental assemblage offuturist sculptures by Jean Arp or Constantin Brancusi, a compos-ite construction of ovals, cubes, bars and spheres that gyratesvertically from a relatively small base to a dramatically fuller brim.Smoky shades of green, gray, red or blue, they’re hollow inside likeany ordinary vase, and open at the top (unlike any ordinarysculpture), but perforated with drainage holes at the base foroutdoor placement on patios and in gardens.

Clive Bowen was born in 1943 and brought up in Cardiff. In the early sixties he enrolled at Cardiff College of Art to study painting and etching. A chance meeting in London with David Leach's brother Michael in 1965 led to a four year apprenticeship in the latter's workshop. Subsequently Clive Bowen found employment as a production thrower at a traditional pottery in Devon
The anonymous discipline of making humble, useful domestic things by hand, far from discouraging him, proved a source of inspiration. This he took with him when, with the encouragement and advice of Michael Cardew, he founded his own workshop in a run-down Devon dairy-farmhouse in 1971. His large two chamber kiln, made from local second-hand brick, is fired every two weeks with wood from a nearby sawmill. Virtually all his materials are from the surrounding region, to the point that the red clay he uses for slip trailing comes from his own back garden
(for hebrew click HERE)
...some more pictures from Shlomo Edan

St. Sidney Bechet Blues


Saint Louis Blues - Sidney Bechet 1952
This is a film recording of Sidney Bechet with clarinettist ANDRE REWELIOTTY in Paris, probably around 1952.
At that time Reweliotty had the following musicians in his band:
(cnt), Jean-Louis Durand (tbn), Yannick Singery (pno)(Nicknamed "the French king of ragtime"), Georges "Zozo" d'Halluin (bs), Michel Pacout (dms).
The one of the most exciting moments is where Bechet in his soprano sax solo, he plays a total of 6 12-bar blues chorusses, when he hits the fifth chorus ( 4.04 min) and holds a high note for two full chorusses. What is so special of Bechet holding a note so long? It is the pianist's simple accompanyment. Yannick Singery just has that controlled back up (actually throughout most of the tune).

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Three quarks for Muster Mark!


He's been called "the man with five brains" -- and Murray Gell-Mann has the resume to prove it. In addition to being a Nobel laureate, he is an accomplished physicist who's earned numerous awards, medals and honorary degrees for his work with subatomic particles, including the groundbreaking theory that the nucleus of an atom comprises 100 or so fundamental building blocks called quarks.
Wielding laypeople's terms and a sense of humor, Murray Gell-Mann drops some knowledge about particle physics, asking questions like, Are elegant equations more likely to be right than inelegant ones? Can the fundamental law, the so-called "theory of everything," really explain everything? His answers will surprise you.

In 1963, when I assigned the name "quark" to the fundamental constituents of the nucleon, I had the sound first, without the spelling, which could have been "kwork". Then, in one of my occasional perusals of Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce, I came across the word "quark" in the phrase "Three quarks for Muster Mark". Since "quark" (meaning, for one thing, the cry of the gull) was clearly intended to rhyme with "Mark," as well as "bark" and other such words, I had to find an excuse to pronounce it as "kwork". But the book represents the dream of a publican named Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. Words in the text are typically drawn from several sources at once, like the "portmanteau" words in "Through the Looking Glass". From time to time, phrases occur in the book that are partially determined by calls for drinks at the bar. I argued, therefore, that perhaps one of the multiple sources of the cry "Three quarks for Muster Mark" might be "Three quarts for Mister Mark," in which case the pronunciation "kwork" would not be totally unjustified. In any case, the number three fitted perfectly the way quarks occur in nature.

I've been droolin...


This was Led Zeppelin's first US single, and their only US Top-10 hit. Some of their most popular songs, like "Stairway To Heaven," were not released as singles.
Atlantic Records pressed copies of the single to release in England, but Peter Grant, their manager, wouldn't let them. He felt releasing singles in England would hurt album sales, and the band thought that one song was not a good representation of any group. In the US, it was acceptable because more people bought singles.
Blues great Willie Dixon sued the band, claiming they stole this from his song "You Need Love." The band reached an agreement with Dixon, who used the settlement money to set up a program providing instruments for schools.
Led Zeppelin used this as the basis for a medley they performed in their later shows. They had lots of songs by then, so they used the medley to play snippets of their popular songs they did not want to play all the way through. They incorporated various Blues songs in these medleys as well, notably "Boogie Chillen" by John Lee Hooker, which was often followed by what they called "Boogie Woogie, by Unknown," and "Let's Have A Party" by Wanda Jackson. They would put this in when Robert Plant would yell, "Way Down INSIDE." (..more>>)

Condoms in the Shower




For safe sex click HERE

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

You Bet Your Life


Groucho Marx is arguably the most famous, iconic comedian of all-time. It’s funny to think that for all the great films and stage appearances he made throughout his career both in the Marx Brothers act and solo, Groucho seemed to prefer this modestly-produced TV series above all others. Groucho was the emcee and star of this filmed quiz show and though it was ostensibly a game show, the series’ most important asset was the humor injected by Groucho into the interviews he did with the contestants You Bet Your Life ran on television from October 5, 1950 - June 29, 1961 (423 episodes), one of the longest running shows in the history of television. (There were also 105 episodes that aired exclusively on radio.) The program was renamed The Groucho Show during its last season and has been seen in syndication as The Best Of Groucho for the last 40 years.

Anywhere along the neck is fine

Is the giraffe a kosher animal? There is a millennia-old commentary from Rav Saadia Gaon that identifies the zemer, an animal pronounced kosher in Deuteronomy 14:5, as the giraffe. Others, however, dispute this identification.
There is also an exciting theory regarding the tachash, the creature whose skin was used to decorate the Mishkan (Tabernacle). According to certain traditions, the tachash was large, kosher, non-domesticated, possessed beautiful skin, and, most intriguingly of all, “it possessed a single horn in the center of its forehead.” Many had presumed that this described a unicorn. But other sources indicated that this single horn in its forehead was in addition to two other horns on the back of its head. This description would match the reticulated giraffe, which has three horns. The giraffe is also large, non-domesticated, and possesses beautiful skin, and is indeed kosher.
The giraffe has all the signs of a kosher animal. It possesses fully split hooves, and it chews the cud. There is a popular myth that although giraffes are kosher, we don't know where to slaughter them. This is simply false; anywhere along the neck is fine.
Can we eat giraffes today? There is an opinion in Jewish law ...MORE>>>

5th of December 1936 - Putin was not around

From a pro-Soviet point of view, the constitution was argued to have provided economic rights not included in constitutions in the western democracies. The constitution was seen as a personal triumph for Stalin, who on this occasion was described by Pravda as "genius of the new world, the wisest man of the epoch, the great leader of communism." Western historians, just as historians from former Soviet occupied countries however, have seen the constitution as a meaningless propaganda document. Leonard Schapiro, for example, writes that "The decision to alter the electoral system from indirect to direct election, from a limited to a universal franchise, and from open to secret voting, was a measure of the confidence of the party in its ability to ensure the return of candidates of its own choice without the restrictions formerly considered necessary," and that "...a careful scrutiny of the draft of the new constitution showed that it left the party's supreme position unimpaired, and was therefore worthless as a guarantee of individual rights."
THE ORGANIZATION OF SOVIET SOCIETY
ARTICLE 1. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a socialist state of workers and peasants.
ARTICLE 2. The Soviets of Working People's Deputies, which grew and attained strength as a result of the overthrow of the landlords and capitalists and the achievement of the dictatorship of the proletariat, constitute the political foundation of the U.S.S.R.
ARTICLE 3. In the U.S.S.R. all power belongs to the working people of town and country as represented by the Soviets of Working People's Deputies.
ARTICLE 4. The socialist system of economy and the socialist ownership of the means and instruments of production firmly established as a result of the abolition of the capitalist system of economy, the abrogation of private ownership of the means and instruments of production and the abolition of the exploitation of man by man, constitute' the economic foundation of the U.S.S.R.
ARTICLE 5. Socialist property in the U.S.S.R. exists either in the form of state property (the possession of the whole people), or in the form of cooperative and collective-farm property (property of a collective farm or property of a cooperative association).
ARTICLE 6. The land, its natural deposits, waters, forests, mills, factories, mines, rail, water and air transport, banks, post, telegraph and telephones, large state-organized agricultural enterprises (state farms, machine and tractor stations and the like) as well as municipal enterprises and the bulk of the dwelling houses in the cities and industrial localities, are state property, that is, belong to the whole people.
ARTICLE 7. Public enterprises in collective farms and cooperative organizations, with their livestock and implements, the products of the collective farms and cooperative organizations, as well as their common buildings, constitute the common socialist property of the collective farms and cooperative organizations. In addition to its basic income from the public collective-farm enterprise, every household in a collective farm has for its personal use a small plot of land attached to the dwelling and, as its personal property, a subsidiary establishment on the plot, a dwelling house, livestock, poultry and minor agricultural implements in accordance with the statutes of the agricultural artel.
ARTICLE 8. The land occupied by collective farms is secured to them for their use free of charge and for an unlimited time, that is, in perpetuity.
ARTICLE 9. Alongside the socialist system of economy, which is the predominant form of economy in the U.S.S.R., the law permits the small private economy of individual peasants and handicraftsman based on their personal labor and precluding the exploitation of the labor of others.
ARTICLE 10. The right of citizens to personal ownership of their incomes from work and of their savings, of their dwelling houses and subsidiary household economy, their household furniture and utensils and articles of personal use and convenience, as well as the right of inheritance of personal property of citizens, is protected by law.
ARTICLE 11. The economic life of the U.S.S.R. is determined and directed by the state national economic plan with the aim of increasing the public wealth, of steadily improving the material conditions of the working people and raising their cultural level, of consolidating the independence of the U.S.S.R. and strengthening its defensive capacity.
ARTICLE 12. In the U.S.S.R. work is a duty and a matter of honor for every able-bodied citizen, in accordance with the principle: "He who does not work, neither shall he eat."
The principle applied in the U.S.S.R. is that of socialism: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his work."

His hands rested on her pubis

In 1986, near a village called Dolni Vestonice in the Czech province of Moravia, the bodies of three teenagers were discovered in a common grave. A specialist was immediately summoned from Brno, some twenty-five miles to the north, and under his care the remains were exhumed and faint remnants of the youths' identities revealed. Two of the skeletons were heavily built males. By its slender proportions, the third was judged to be female, aged seventeen to twenty. A marked left curvature of the spine, along with several other skeletal abnormalities, suggested that she had been painfully crippled. The two males had died healthy, in the prime of their lives. The remains of a thick wooden pole thrust through the hip of one of them hinted that his death might not have been entirely natural. Both young men had been laid to rest with their heads encircled with necklaces of pierced canine teeth and ivory; the one with the pole thrust up to his coccyx may also have been wearing some kind of painted mask. All three skulls were covered in red ocher. The most peculiar feature of the grave, however, was the arrangement of the deceased. Whoever committed the bodies to the ground extended them side by side, the woman between her two companions. The man on her left lay on his stomach, facing away from her but with his left arm linked with hers. The other male lay on his back, his head turned toward her. Both of his arms were reaching out, so that his hands rested on her pubis. The ground surrounding this intimate connection was splashed with red ocher.Dolni Vestonice is also the site of the earliest known potter's kiln. For acres around, the fertile clay soil is seeded with carved and molded images of animals, women, strange engravings, personal ornaments, and decorated graves. In the main hut, where the people ate and slept, two items were found: a goddess figurine made of fired clay and a small and cautiously carved portrait made from mammoth ivory of a woman whose face was drooped on one side The goddess figurine is the oldest known baked clay figurine. On top of its head are holes which may have held grasses or herbs. The potter scratched two slits that stretched from the eyes to the chest which were thought to be the life-giving tears of the mother goddess. (...more >>>)



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Hanukkah Sucks? Who cares!

When the fanatics of Palestine won that victory, and when Judaism repudiated Athens for Jerusalem, the development of the whole of humanity was terribly retarded.
And, of course and as ever, one stands aghast at the pathetic scale of the supposed "miracle." As a consequence of the successful Maccabean revolt against Hellenism, so it is said, a puddle of olive oil that should have lasted only for one day managed to burn for eight days. Wow! Certain proof, not just of an Almighty, but of an Almighty with a special fondness for fundamentalists. Epicurus and Democritus had brilliantly discovered that the world was made up of atoms, but who cares about a mere fact like that when there is miraculous oil to be goggled at by credulous peasants
(much more from Slate by Christopher Hitchens)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

So Many Jews... Happy Hanukkah Dr. Yackobson!


Put on your yarmulke,
Here comes Hanukkah!
So much funukah,
To celebrate Hanukkah!
Hanukkah is the festival of lights.
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.
When you feel like the only kid in town
Without a Christmas tree,
Here's a list of people who are Jewish just like you and me:
David Lee Roth lights the menorah.
So do James Caan, Kirk Douglas, and the late Dinah Shore-ah.
Guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli?
Bowser from Sha Na Na and Arthur Fonzarelli!
Paul Newman's half Jewish, Goldie Hawn's half too.
Put them together, what a fine lookin' Jew.
You don't need "Deck The Halls" or "Jingle Bell Rock",
'Cause you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk
and Mr. Spock -- both Jewish.
Put on your yarmulke
It's time for Hanukkah
The owner of the Seattle Supersonicahs
Celebrates Hanukkah
O.J. Simpson - not a Jew.
But guess who is? Hall of famer Rod Carew -- he converted
We got Ann Landers and her sister Dear Abby.
Harrison Ford's a quarter Jewish -- not too shabby!
Some people think that Ebenezer Scrooge is
Well he's not, but guess who is -- All Three Stooges!
So many Jews are in showbiz,
Tom Cruise isn't - but I heard his agent is.
Tell your friend Veronica
It's time to celebrate Hanukkah.
I hope I get a harmonicah
Oh this lovely, lovely Hanukkah.
So drink your gin and tonicah
And smoke your marijuanikah.
If you really, really wannakah
Have a happy, happy, happy, happy Hanukkah!
Happy Hanukkah!"

Put on your yarmulke
Its time for Hanukkah
So much funnaka
To celebrate Hanukkah
Hanukkah is the festival of lights
Instead of one day of presents
We get eight crazy nights
When you feel like the only kid in town
Without a Christmas tree
Here's a new list of people who are Jewish
Just like you and me
Winona Ryder,
Drinks Manischewitz wine
Then spins a draydle with Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein
Guess who gives and receives
Loads of Hanukkah toys
The girls from Veruca Salt and all three Beastie Boys
Lenny Kravitz is half Jewish,
Courtney Love is half too
Put them together
What a funky bad ass Jew
We got Harvey Keitel
And flash dancer Jennifer Beals
Yasmine Bleeth from Baywatch is Jewish
And yes her boobs are real
Put on your yarmulka
Its time for Hanukkah
2 time Ocsar winning Dustin Hoffmanaka
celebrates Hanukkah
O.J. Simpson
Still not a Jew
But guess who is,
The guy who does the voice for Scooby Doo
Bob Dylan was born a Jew
Then he wasn't
but now he's back,
Mary Tyler Moore's husband is Jewish
'Cause we're pretty good in the sack.
Guess who got bar-mitzvahed
On the PGA tour
No I'm not talking about Tiger Woods
I'm talkin' about Mr. Happy Gilmore.
So many Jews are in the show biz
Bruce Springsteen isn't
But my mother thinks he is.
Tell the world-amanaka
It's time for Hanukkah
It's not pronounced Ch-nakah
The C is silent in Hanukkah
So get your hooked on phonica
Get drunk in Tijuanaka
If you really really wannaka
Have a happy happy happy happy Hanukkah!

In Dude InDeed We Trust

Come join the slowest-growing religion in the world - Dudeism. An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all, uh...lost my train of thought there. Anyway, if you'd like to find peace on earth and goodwill, man, we'll help you get started. Right after a little nap. First, you might want to get ordained as a Dudeist priest.(to cont...)

"1. If you are a man of modest means and charisma and a rich, beautiful woman wants to have sex with you, don't question her motives until after the act is over.
2. Avoid living in the past, even if memories can be beautiful and remind you of a time you once enjoyed.
3. Though the man in the black pajamas might be a worthy adversary, you should avoid him whenever possible. Especially if he's easily avoided. Choose instead to cling to the tree of life.
4. Just because you're bereaved doesn't make you a sap. Keep your wits about you, even when you're bummed out.
5. Take 'er easy for all the sinners of the world, dude. Abide. And amen
"


Incidentally, the term "dude" is commonly agreed to refer to both genders. Most linguists contend that "Dudette" is not in keeping with the parlance of our times.
(click slowly to DUDEISM.COM)

Judas Iscariot: Had God on his side?


Amid much publicity last year, the National Geographic Society announced that a lost 3rd-century religious text had been found, the Gospel of Judas Iscariot. The shocker: Judas didn’t betray Jesus. Instead, Jesus asked Judas, his most trusted and beloved disciple, to hand him over to be killed. Judas’s reward? Ascent to heaven and exaltation above the other disciples.
It was a great story. Unfortunately, after re-translating the society’s transcription of the Coptic text, I have found that the actual meaning is vastly different. While National Geographic’s translation supported the provocative interpretation of Judas as a hero, a more careful reading makes clear that Judas is not only no hero, he is a demon.
Several of the translation choices made by the society’s scholars fall well outside the commonly accepted practices in the field. For example, in one instance the National Geographic transcription refers to Judas as a “daimon,” which the society’s experts have translated as “spirit.” Actually, the universally accepted word for “spirit” is “pneuma ” — in Gnostic literature “daimon” is always taken to mean “demon.”
Likewise, Judas is not set apart “for” the holy generation, as the National Geographic translation says, he is separated “from” it. He does not receive the mysteries of the kingdom because “it is possible for him to go there.” He receives them because Jesus tells him that he can’t go there, and Jesus doesn’t want Judas to betray him out of ignorance. Jesus wants him informed, so that the demonic Judas can suffer all that he deserves.
Perhaps the most egregious mistake I found was a single alteration made to the original Coptic(...more)

Monk's brew is good, but Ein-Hod beer is cheaper


The Trappist monks at St. Sixtus monastery have taken vows against riches, sex and eating red meat. They speak only when necessary. But you can call them on their beer phone.
Monks have been brewing Westvleteren beer at this remote spot near the French border since 1839. Their brew, offered in strengths up to 10.2% alcohol by volume, is among the most highly prized in the world. In bars from Brussels to Boston, and online, it sells for more than $15 for an 11-ounce bottle -- 10 times what the monks ask -- if you can get it.
For the 26 monks at St. Sixtus, however, success has brought a spiritual hangover as they fight to keep an insatiable market in tune with their life of contemplation.
The monks are doing their best to resist getting bigger. They don't advertise and don't put labels on their bottles. They haven't increased production since 1946. They sell only from their front gate. You have to make an appointment and there's a limit: two, 24-bottle cases a month. Because scarcity has created a high-priced gray market online, the monks search the net for resellers and try to get them to stop.
(...more >>)

Monday, December 3, 2007

AlJazeera with Frost on Putin and Chavez


The Russian national elections reveal a clear win by President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party.
However, in other election news, Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, suffered a defeat on the vote regarding the constitutional changes that would have allowed him to run for re-election time after time after time. The measure was defeated by a vote of 51 percent to 49 percent

Rejected Don Hertzfeldt


The film premiered in 2000 at the San Diego Comic Convention to an audience of over 1,000 and blew the roof off the place. Don totalled his car on the way home from the premiere.
"Rejected" became one of the lowest budgeted films ever nominated for an Academy Award in 2001. To date it has received twenty-seven awards.
A year into the film's theatrical release there was a small but growing confusion over whether "Rejected" was 'real'. A few urban legends circled around the film, particularly fueled whenever a lazy film critic would rehash a synopsis in lieu of actually watching the cartoon; thus going to press with descriptions of the film as a non-fiction document of rejected commercials. The legends later found new life when "Rejected" was due for its American television premiere, uncut and commercial free, on the Cartoon Network in 2001. The air date was delayed for a year due to internal trouble with the network's standards and practices department, then finally given a green light to premiere in November 2002. After a week of promoting the film, the network then yanked it 48 hours before its scheduled time in a very unusual move, for reasons still mysterious. With beautiful irony, "Rejected" became truly rejected and more confusion over its true history grew. Unfortunately the film has yet to air anywhere on American television, despite having now been played on international networks for years. (..more>> )

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The horse-and-chariot(no connection to Putin)

Chinese archaeologists will soon start excavations at the horse-and-chariot chamber of a tomb dating back 2,300 to 2,400 years, more than 100 years older than the tomb containing the terracotta army.
"Excavation will start on the 131-meter-long horse-chariot sector of the Xiongjiazhong Tomb before February, 2008," said Yan Pin, director of the Archaeology Bureau of Jingzhou, central China's Hubei Province, where the tomb is.
The tomb is the largest and best preserved yet found in China from the State of Chu in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). The excavation was formally launched in August 2006 after three comprehensive surveys of the tomb made since 1979.
"We have found more than 30 horse-and-chariot pits arrayed in a row in the tomb. It is the largest of such finds from the Warring States Period," said Yan. (more from People's daily)

Vulpis et Corvus : Putin joke

A popular joke circulating before Putin's first election victory in 2000 (based on the famous Aesop's fable about Mr. Crow with a piece of cheese, and a hungry Mr. Fox): "So, Mr. Fox asks Mr. Crow: "Are you going to vote for Putin?" Mr. Crow keeps his beak closed, mindful of cheese. "Well, tell us, tell us, would you? Just say `yes’ or `no’. Very simple - `yes’ or `no’?" "Yes", finally says Mr. Crow and a happy Mr. Fox scurries away with cheese. Now, a very sad Mr. Crow sits on a tree top and muses: "Suppose I would have said `no.’ Would it change anything?"

The Putin System: a presidential junkie

For three years, filmmakers Jean-Michel Carré and Jill Emery interviewed dozens of people to gain insight into the life and political motivations of Russia's most powerful politician, Vladimir Putin. They spoke to long-time supporters, like Putin's former schoolteacher, Vera Gurvich, to his harshest critics, like world chess champion Garry Kasparov, as well as many KGB and Kremlin insiders. What emerged is a point-of-view documentary that presents an ominous view of what Putin is willing to do to ensure Russia regains its position on the world stage.

Vlad the Inhaler? Is Vladimir Putin snorting power up his nostrils like a presidential junkie? Is he what! As a 23-year-old, Putin's dream of being a KGB operative became a reality and he was busily spying in Germany. His ambitions were rudely curtailed by perestroika and Putin was aghast to see the organisation he yearned to serve disintegrate - like the rest of the imploding Soviet Union. Ordered back to St Petersburg by his KGB controllers, Putin attached himself to Anatoly Sobchak, a liberal politician jockeying for election as the city's mayor. Former contacts in Germany provided useful conduits for humanitarian relief, which was efficiently ripped off and on-sold in pursuit of influence.
The profile of the gimlet-eyed Putin charts his rise through the ranks via the patronage of Sobchak and Anatoly Chubais. His eventual appointment as head of the KGB put him in a position to curry favour with the boofheaded Boris Yeltsin and paved the way for his election as prime minister. It's a grubby story about a dangerous and devious individual and the closing reels show the puppet President turning on the oligarchs who supported him - ordering a new invasion of Chechnya and responding vigorously to separatist guerillas.
Will he stand aside in 2008? Probably not. He lost to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, despite having a squirrel grip on the country, and is probably savvy enough to know that neutralising opposition indefinitely is about as likely as him dying in bed(via smh)