Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Can't Buy My Love ?

In The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine, Benjamin Wallace combines the knowledge of a sommelier with an investigative reporter’s tenacity mixed in with a heavy dose of a Hollywood thriller writer.
Wallace’s work has appeared in GQ, Food & Wine, and he was the executive editor for Philadelphia Magazine. But it was during his tenure as wine writer for the magazine that he discovered the controversial tale about a 1787 bottle of Chateau Lafite Bordeaux owned by Thomas Jefferson that fetched $156,000 at auction. Intrigued by the rumors and mysteries surrounding the bottle, Wallace investigated not just that one specific transaction, but the entire ostentatious world of wine collecting in the mid-eighties.
What he uncovered and wrote about was a cast of eccentric characters who regularly consumed wine worth tens of thousands of dollars. And, some of them may have been tempted to cheat a bit in order to secure their place in the wine world. The Billionaire’s Vinegar instructs the novice drinker without boring the experts and has the compelling story of the best page-turners.
(read more...)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ein Hod 1966 עין הוד

Ein Hod, village d'artistes, avec l'interview d'un de ses fondateurs (Marcel JANCO ) qui en raconte l'histoire et parle des différentes réalisations artistiques qui y sont réalisées

Bizarre Sex of Moroteuthis Ingens

Reproduction is no fun if you’re a squid. With one species, the Taningia danae, I discovered that the males give the females cuts of at least 5 centimetres deep in their necks with their beaks or hooks – they don’t have suction pads. They then insert their packets of sperm, also called spermatophores, into the cuts.
With a different species, the Moroteuthis ingens, the spermatophores are introduced in a more peaceful way. ‘With this species the spermatophores penetrate the skin independently. They probably do that with the help of an enzyme-like substance that dissolves tissue.’ Hoving is the first to be able to prove that these sperm packets are able to penetrate the skin under their own steam. He discovered this when he experimentally placed spermatophores on the skin of just-caught individuals. His results are supported by an incident in Japan, where someone had to have an operation after eating squid to remove a spermatophore that lodged in his throat.
(read more...)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tel -Hai Potttery 2008 תל- חי קדרות

Fong Choo

Gareth Mason

...and more from Youtube

(more on Tel Hai Here)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Donmeh: Following Shabtai Zvi

In October 2007, while on an artistic journey through the Balkans, the artists Nechama Levendel and Nadav Bloch were invited to exhibit their work in the municipal gallery of Ulcinj in Montenegro , on the border with Albania .
The gallery was located in a three-story stone building in the center of an archeological site in the old town of Ulcinj . On a preparatory visit to the gallery, the artists climbed to the third floor, where, to their amazement, they discovered a niche in one of the walls over which two Stars of David (Magen David) and on the facing wall two trees were engraved in the stone. The reply to their questions as to the origin of these symbols was that the building had served as the study house of the Messiah Shabtai Zvi and his followers.
Nechama and Nadav, as Jews and as artists, were intrigued by the subject and delved into the saga of the Messiah Shabtai Zvi, which had caused such a shock to the exiled and hunted 17th century Jewish communities. In the second half of the 17th century the Turkish Sultan banished Shabtai Zvi to the farthest corner of the Turkish Empire – the town of Ulcinj , then in Albania . Various sources tell that on Yom Kippur Shabtai Zvi went outside, recited "Shema Israel " and the mosque across the street collapsed, as Shabtai Zvi died. The remains of the mosque can still be seen across the street from the gallery. Shabtai Zvi died in Ulcinj and was buried there, presumably under a false name. The grave is in a closed building and is considered holy.
In May 2008 the artists returned to the town of Ulcinj , and used the gallery as a studio in which they spent two months working on this project. The work process became part of the exhibition entitled "Following Shabtai Zvi", which was shown in Ulcinj , Montenegro , at the Shkodra University in Albania and at the National Gallery in Tirana , Albania .
Nadav Bloch chose to paint on jute (burlap) sacks that were used for coffee, on the premise that trade routes were conduits of culture , through stories and tales told by the merchants about lifestyles, tradition and religion. Kabalistic literature inspired the creation process. Soft colors serve as a background to the design of spheres, upon which appear combinations of numbers and letters taken from Kabala mysticism. In his work, Nadav attempts to examine and interpret the secrets of Messianic faith created by Judaism as a longing for redemption and as a quest for insight and meaning in our spiritual and material lives.
Nechama Levendel shows objects created from books. She received the books from local residents, to which she added motifs concerned with the Shabtai Zvi theme and other local materials: gauze bandages, candle-wax from churches, shoe-polish and so on. The book, which is present in most culture s, sends a material and a spiritual message. In the work process, the book loses its original designation and becomes the bearer of a new visual message, beyond language, comprehensible to every spectator. The book holds a secret. The works are symbolic. Every book tells its unique story.
Opening: January 3rd, 2009 at 18:00

Closing: January 23rd, 2009 at 12:00

Tova Osman Art Gallery

100 Ben-Yehuda St., Tel- Avi v

Monday, December 22, 2008

הסימפוזיון הישראלי לקדרות , תל חי 2008

Never ask potter Fong Choo how long it takes him to complete a piece unless you want a sarcastic answer, such as “20 years, two days and five minutes.” Truth is, his miniaturized teapots are created in a few minutes.
After moving to the United States from his native Singapore in 1983, Choo, somewhat serendipitously, happened upon ceramics when the business major registered for art classes and never looked back. “I was totally enamored once I handled clay, and I haven’t stopped,” Choo, 51, says.
Strictly a tea potter, his pots, also influenced by Chinese yíxing teapots, vary in shape and glaze, each unique in some way.
Tel-Hai 2008 Pottery Symposium
(for 2007 event click HERE)

הסימפוזיון הישראלי לקדרות , תל חי 2008
הסימפוזיון הישראלי לקדרות ה-12, יתקיים במכללת תל חי ,בחנוכה, בין התאריכים 24 עד 26 לדצמבר 2008.
זכינו גם השנה בעזרתן הנדיבה של קרן בנימיני ורות קורמן, לארח בסימפוזיון שלושה מהאמנים המובילים בעולם הקראמי:
השנה יתארחו שלושה אומנים ידועי שם, בקשת רחבה של סגנונות דבר המבטיח עניין לכולם.
Fong Choo
אומן ממוצא סיני, שנולד בסינגפור וחי בLOUISVILLE ארה"ב - פרופסור מרצה באוניברסיטת louisville. בעשר השנים האחרונות מתמקד בעשיית קומקומים מיניאוטוריים באובניים, אחד האובייקטים המורכבים בלקסיקון הקרמי. בגודל הקטן הוא מצליח להעביר עושר של צבע, צורה ועיצוב הכולל פרטים קטנים.
Gareth Mason
אומן אנגלי שעובד על אובניים ביצירת צורות קלאסיות ומצליח לשלב חומרים שונים ולהביא את עבודותיו לאקספריסיביות עכשווית. הוא מעבד את פני השטח בצורות מגוונות. ניתן לקרוא מאמר על עבודותיו ב=Ceramic Review no. 222 וגם בCERAMICS MONTHLY החדש - עבודה שלו על השער.
Merete Rasmussen
אומנית דנית שחיה בלונדון המביאה איתה עיצוב סקנדינבי נקי. היא עובדת באבנית, ובונה ביד פיסול אבסטרקטי כאשר הצורה היא הנושא המעניין אותה. היא מציגה בתערוכות בכל רחבי אירופה

(read more...)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

But to live outside the law, you must be honest

"Four days before the Bernie Madoff bust, I found myself, through circumstances too complicated to explain, in a Bukharan Kosher restaurant in Queens, eating skewers of lamb, beef, liver, and sweetbreads with a wildly mixed group of guys that included a retired Jewish gangster I'll call Lucky, since most of his rackets involved gambling of some type. Lucky had great stories to tell. He saw himself as the last of a dying breed—"I'm the caboose," he kept saying—a breed that spawned legends like Meyer Lansky, Mickey Cohen, Bugsy Siegel, and Longy Zwillman..."
"It began to seem to me that the whole Bernie Madoff scandal was not about Jews and money but Jews and respectability. (And, by the way, let's cut the crap about Jews and money in the first place. If you look at the history of America, the big money has always been made by criminals of non-Jewish persuasions. The non-Jews who committed genocide to steal the land in the first place. The non-Jews who built up big fortunes through the disgusting and murderous crime of slavery. The non-Jews who built "respectable" old-money fortunes on the broken backs of the wage slaves they exploited. As Balzac famously said, behind every great fortune is a great crime. Old money in America is for the most part just old crime well-varnished by time.)"

(read more...)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Guttus: Baby Bottle in Mass Grave

Small terracotta vessel called a guttus--essentially an ancient Greek baby bottle--was found near the skeleton of a baby in ancient mass graves recently unearthed on the island of Sicily.
Archaeologists at Himera discovered the skeletons of many newborn babies, likely buried in the fifth century B.C.
"Infant mortality was very high at the time," lead archaeologist Vassallo said. "We found the tiny skeletons placed inside funerary amphorae [jars], like in a womb."
(read more...)
Photograph courtesy Stefano Vassallo/Archaeological Department of the Cultural Superintendence of Palermo

דונמה: בעקבות שבתאי צבי Dönme

בחודש אוקטובר 2007 דרך מסע אמנותי בחבל הבלקן הוזמנו האמנים נחמה לבנדל ונדב בלוך להציג בגלריה העירונית בעיר אולצין שבמונטה נגרו הגובלת עם אלבניה.
הגלריה, בנויה אבן , שלוש קומות , שוכנת במרכז אתר ארכיאולוגי בעיר העתיקה אולצין.
בביקור הכנה לתערוכה עלו האמנים לקומה השלישית והופתעו לגלות גומחה באחד מקירות הגלריה ומעליה שני סמלי מגן דוד מסותתים באבן ועל הקיר ממול גומחת אבן נוספת ולצידיה שני עצים מסותתים באבן.
לשאלתם לפשר הסמלים בקירות נענו, שכאן במקום זה היה בית התלמוד של המשיח שבתאי צבי וקהילת המאמינים שבאו בעקבותיו.
נחמה לבנדל ונדב בלוך כיהודים וכאמנים מצאו פיתוי ועניין להחשף לנושא והחלו לעסוק בפרשת המשיח שבתאי צבי שגרמה זעזוע כבד בעם היהודי שהוגלה מארצו ונרדף באכזריות.
במחצית השניה של המאה ה 17 הוגלה שבתאי צבי ע"י הסולטאן התורכי לקצה גבול האימפריה העותמאנית לעיר אולצין שהייתה אז באלבניה. לפי סיפורים ממקורות שונים יצא שבתאי צבי ביום כיפור וקרא בקול גדול שמע ישראל והמסגד ממול קרס ובו במקום שבתאי צבי מת . את שרידי המסגד ניתן לראות גם היום ממול הגלריה.
שבתאי צבי מצא את מותו באולצין וכנראה נקבר שם בשם אחר. הקבר נמצא במבנה סגור ונחשב למקום קדוש.
כחצי שנה לאחר מכן במאי 2008 חזרו האמנים לעיר אולצין והפכו את הגלריה לסטודיו ליצירת עבודות בנושא , במשך כחדשים ימים עבדו במקום.
תהליך היצירה הווה חלק מהתערוכה שנקראה " בעקבות שבתאי צבי" התערוכה הוצגה באולצין - מונטה נגרו , באוניברסיטה בשקודרה , אלבניה ובגלריה הלאומית בטירנה , אלבניה.
נדב בלוך בחר ליצור את עבודותיו על גבי שקי יוטה ששימשו בעבר שקי קפה, מתוך מחשבה שבנתיבי המסחר עוברת גם תרבות , בסיפורים ובמעשיות שמספרים הסוחרים ביניהם עוברים
גם סיפורי אורח חיים , מסורת ודת.
השראה מתוך ספרות קבלית שימשה את נדב כחומר ליצירה , שימוש בצבעים רכים כרקע ליצירת ספירות כמצע לכתיבת צירופי אותיות וטכסט שנדלה מתוך עיון בתורת הנסתר.
בעבודתו מנסה נדב לתהות ולפענח את סוד האמונה המשיחית שיצרה היהדות בכמיהה לגאולה מגורל חיי האדם המחפש תובנות ומשמעויות לחיים החומריים והרוחניים.
נחמה לבנדל מציגה אובייקטים מספרים.
את הספרים לעבודתה קבלה מהתושבים במקום להם הוסיפה מוטיבים הקשורים לנושא וחומרים מקומיים כגון : תחבושות גזה, שעוות נרות מכנסיות , משחת נעליים צבע ועוד.
הספר, שנמצא ברוב התרבויות בא להעביר מסר כלשהו גשמי ורוחני. בתהליך העבודה מאבד הספר את ייעודו המקורי והופך בעל מסר חדש, ויזואלי מעבר כל שפה , ברור לכל צופה, הספר טומן בחובו סוד.
העבודות הן סימבוליות וכל ספר מספר את סיפורו האישי.

גלריה טובה אוסמן
(read about dönme)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Я и другие: сладкая каша

В этом фильме есть поразительный эпизод: детям дают манную кашу, всем сладкую, а одному соленую. Потом малышей спрашивают, сладкая ли у них каша, и после того, как все ответили, тот ребенок, который давился соленой кашей, тоже говорит, что каша сладкая.

А в конце 1971 года авторитет Соболева сработал таким образом, что высокое начальство прошляпило откровенно диссидентский фильм «Я и другие». Вроде бы ничего особенного: дети и взрослые друг друга дурачили. На черное говорили «белое», на соленую кашу — «сладкая». В основе фильма — игра. Разные группы, сговорившись, навязывают свое мнение новому испытуемому. И в каждом случае он соглашается. Соболев впервые показал механизм конформизма. В фильме нет никаких выводов, но возможность сделать их остается у зрителя. Соболев был шестидесятником. Шел в духе времени. И если диссидентов делят на физиков и лириков, то он, конечно же, был лириком.(read more...)

Double Entendre - Raunchy, Risque, Ribald, Rude and Racy

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Double-entendre \Dou"ble-en*ten"dre\, n. [F. double double +
entendre to mean. This is a barbarous compound of French
words. The true French equivalent is double entente.]
A word or expression admitting of a double interpretation,
one of which is often obscure or indelicate.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Terror Management : Flight from Death

Narrated by Gabriel Byrne (Usual Suspects, Vanity Fair, Miller's Crossing), this seven-time Best Documentary award-winning film (Silver Lake Film Festival, Beverly Hills Film Festival) is the most comprehensive and mind-blowing investigation of humankind's relationship with death ever captured on film. Hailed by many viewers as a "life-transformational film," Flight from Death uncovers death anxiety as a possible root cause of many of our behaviors on a psychological, spiritual, and cultural level.
Following the work of the late cultural anthropologist, Ernest Becker, and his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Denial of Death, this documentary explores the ongoing research of a group of social psychologists that may forever change the way we look at ourselves and the world. Over the last twenty-five years, this team of researchers has conducted over 300 laboratory studies, which substantiate Becker's claim that death anxiety is a primary motivator of human behavior, specifically aggression and violence.(read more...)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Next Energy Secretary

Since 2004, physicist Steven Chu has been on indefinite leave from Stanford University so that he might head Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Looks like Stanford will have to hold his slot a bit longer.Yesterday Associated Press reported that Barack Obama has selected Chu to become the next Energy Secretary. If this is formally confirmed, the next task for Chu, a Missouri native, will be finding digs for his family in the Washington, D.C. area.
The soft-spoken scientist is a heavyweight. For developing a new technique to laser cool and trap atoms, Chu shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics. However, his passion in recent years has become a search for the ever-more-parsimonious use of energy. He’s been exploring the development of not only new technologies but also novel social and economic policies that will lead businesses and the public to accomplish more while using far fewer resources.(read more..)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hurricane - Bob Dylan

Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall.
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood,
Cries out, "My God, they killed them all!"
Here comes the story of the Hurricane,
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin' that he never done.
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Three bodies lyin' there does Patty see
And another man named Bello, movin' around mysteriously.
"I didn't do it," he says, and he throws up his hands
"I was only robbin' the register, I hope you understand.
I saw them leavin'," he says, and he stops
"One of us had better call up the cops."
And so Patty calls the cops
And they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashin'
In the hot New Jersey night.

Meanwhile, far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are drivin' around.
Number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down
When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that.
In Paterson that's just the way things go.
If you're black you might as well not show up on the street
'Less you wanna draw the heat.

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the cops.
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowlin' around
He said, "I saw two men runnin' out, they looked like middleweights
They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates."
And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head.
Cop said, "Wait a minute, boys, this one's not dead"
So they took him to the infirmary
And though this man could hardly see
They told him that he could identify the guilty men.

Four in the mornin' and they haul Rubin in,
Take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs.
The wounded man looks up through his one dyin' eye
Says, "Wha'd you bring him in here for? He ain't the guy!"
Yes, here's the story of the Hurricane,
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin' that he never done.
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Four months later, the ghettos are in flame,
Rubin's in South America, fightin' for his name
While Arthur Dexter Bradley's still in the robbery game
And the cops are puttin' the screws to him, lookin' for somebody to blame.
"Remember that murder that happened in a bar?"
"Remember you said you saw the getaway car?"
"You think you'd like to play ball with the law?"
"Think it might-a been that fighter that you saw runnin' that night?"
"Don't forget that you are white."

Arthur Dexter Bradley said, "I'm really not sure."
Cops said, "A poor boy like you could use a break
We got you for the motel job and we're talkin' to your friend Bello
Now you don't wanta have to go back to jail, be a nice fellow.
You'll be doin' society a favor.
That sonofabitch is brave and gettin' braver.
We want to put his ass in stir
We want to pin this triple murder on him
He ain't no Gentleman Jim."

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much.
It's my work, he'd say, and I do it for pay
And when it's over I'd just as soon go on my way
Up to some paradise
Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice
And ride a horse along a trail.
But then they took him to the jailhouse
Where they try to turn a man into a mouse.

All of Rubin's cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus, he never had a chance.
The judge made Rubin's witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum
And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger.
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger.
And though they could not produce the gun,
The D.A. said he was the one who did the deed
And the all-white jury agreed.

Rubin Carter was falsely tried.
The crime was murder "one," guess who testified?
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers, they all went along for the ride.
How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell.
That's the story of the Hurricane,
But it won't be over till they clear his name
And give him back the time he's done.
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

by Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

She was Born Odetta Holmes

Odetta she was born Odetta Holmes sang at coffeehouses and Carnegie Hall and released several albums, becoming one of the most widely known and influential folk-music artists of the 1950s and 60s.
Her voice was an accompaniment to the black-and-white images of the freedom marchers who walked the roads of Alabama and Mississippi and the boulevards of Washington in quest of an end to racial discrimination.
Rosa Parks, the woman who started the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Alabama, was once asked which songs meant the most to her. She replied, "All of the songs Odetta sings."
Odetta sang at the August 1963 march on Washington, a pivotal event in the civil rights movement. Her song that day was "O Freedom," dating back to slavery days.
(

Saturday, November 29, 2008

1883 Travels in Palestine

TEMPLE, SIR RICHARD Palestine Illustrated
London, W.H. Allen & Co, 1888,

A description of the author's 1883 travels in Palestine with reproductions of his thirty-two oil studies of the Holy Land

The Artist who Slept with His Sister in Ein Hod???!!!

Two years ago I was invited to view a collection of contemporary art in the home of a prominent Belgian collector. Knowing of my interest in the work of Marcel Duchamp, he showed me one or two items by the artist in his collection. We then went off to dinner, where we were joined by his son, a young man who had just begun his own collection of contemporary art. When I was introduced as an expert on Marcel Duchamp, the son thought for a moment and then asked: "Isn't he the artist who slept with his sister?"
Art in America, Jan, 1998 by Francis M. Naumann

Arturo Schwarz is a Egyptian-born poet, anarchist and former Trotskyist who has resided in Milan since the 1940's. In addition to numerous works on alchemy and cabala, he is also the author of The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp , a two-volume catalogue raisonée that was originally published in 1967 and reissued in an 18-pound third edition at the end of 1997. Unlike most of the Duchamp scholars working today, Mr. Schwarz actually knew the artist, who died in 1968, and claims to have gotten the artist to approve the final text of the book and correct the proofs. What's more, he maintains that Duchamp and André Breton, the father of surrealism, were aware of his central thesis about the artist's main work, The Large Glass -that it was the result of Duchamp's unconscious incestuous desire for his sister, Suzanne.
Whether Duchamp harbored any such desire will probably never be known, since the artist did not write about it and spoke about it to no one except Mr. Schwarz, according to the author. What is clear from the letters column of the January issue of Art in America is that Mr. Schwarz will probably go to his grave defending his theory. In a heated, lengthy response to a review of The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp that appeared in the January 1998 issue of the magazine, Mr. Schwarz takes apart reviewer Francis Naumann, a New York-based critic and expert on Dada who was a protégé of Mr. Schwarz until they had a falling out in 1991, a fact that was never mentioned in Mr. Naumann's review.
Mr. Naumann's review disputes Mr. Schwarz's unconscious incest theory. Mr. Naumann cites sources who maintain that Duchamp was not aware of Mr. Schwarz's theory and never approved of the text of The Complete Works . He says that Duchamp slept through the lecture in London at which Mr. Schwarz introduced his theory.(read more...)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hebrew Alphabet for Deaf - Mutes

Allison Coudert points out in her book The Impact of the Kabbalah in the Seventeenth Century: The Life and Thought of Francis Mercury van Helmont that van Helmont believed that the mystical powers of Hebrew letters could ultimately:
...reveal answers to every single question exercising the human mind about God and the universe.
The full title of van Helmont's book translated into English reads as follows, 'A Most Compendious and truly Natural Draught of the Hebrew Alphabet, which at the same time furnishes a method whereby those who are born deaf may be so informed that they may not only understand others speaking but also may themselves arrive at the use of speech'.
It was not, as the title might suggest, a clinical treatise but a philosophical work arguing that Hebrew was the divine language of creation in which words exactly expressed the essential natures of things. Van Helmont contended that while time and ignorance had led to the corruption of Hebrew he had rediscovered its original form. He expected great things from this, believing it would bring an end to the religious controversies which had precipitated the Reformation and embittered its aftermath. He envisioned a natural Hebrew alphabet by which men would live in religious peace and social harmony.By showing that deaf mutes could easily learn to speak Hebrew, van Helmont thought that he could demonstrate the two premises on which his theory of the natural alphabet was based: first, that there were such things as innate ideas; they had only to be activated to come into conciousness. And second, that Hebrew language perfectly represented these innate ideas.
'Kurtzer Entwurff des Eigentlichen Natur-Alphabets' [at HAB], by Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont (Hellmont).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stop Complaining!

The oldest shaped bricks found date back to 7,500 B.C. They have been found in Çayönü, a place located in the upper Tigris area, and in south east Anatolia close to Diyarbakir. Other more recent findings, dated between 7,000 and 6,395 B.C., come from Jericho and Catal Hüyük. From archaeological evidence, the inven­tion of the fired brick (as opposed to the consid­erably earlier sun-dried mud brick) is believed to have arisen in about the third millennium BC in the Middle East. Being much more resistant to cold and moist weather conditions, brick enabled the construction of permanent buildings in regions where the harsher climate precluded the use of mud bricks. Bricks have the added warmth benefit of slowly storing heat energy from the sun during the day and continuing to release heat for several hours after sunset.
(via The J-Walk Blog)

Oy! I almost plotzed

Bagels are clearly no longer specifically a Jewish food. At some point in the middle of the 20th century, their position from the Jewish bun to the American breakfast bread shifted. The exact moment is unclear, but one moment stands out in my mind. In 1998, when I was first filming my PBS television series, Jewish Cooking in America, Lender's, which by then had been bought and sold numerous times, was one of our sponsors. For this cooking show featuring kosher food, they sent us an underwriting spot depicting a perfectly toasted bagel with Swiss cheese and ham! Oy! I almost plotzed. To me, that moment was the ultimate assimilation of the bagel into American life.
(read more...)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ways Too Horrible to Tell

"We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell," they wrote in a light-hearted message introducing the channel.
The five surviving Pythons – Michael Palin, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam – decided to release their content for free in the hope of driving sales of DVDs and box sets. In return they have asked viewers not to post "driveling, mindless comments", in a dig at the quality of discussions beneath YouTube videos.
The site, which went live last week, features celebrated Python clips including Ministry of Silly Walks, Every Sperm is Sacred and the Lumberjack Song, as well as famous scenes from their film Life Of Brian. The videos have already been viewed around 500,000 times, and the channel has attracted 13,840 subscribers(for more...)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Forever is a Funny Word

There is a sign on the door of Acres of Books that says all that needs to be said: "Closed forever. Thanks for everything."
And yet on a recent afternoon when owner Jackie Smith was inside her shop at 240 Long Beach Blvd. watching a local bookseller and hired laborers packing up the last of the store's inventory, a man stood outside pounding on the door that held the sign. Jackie finally came over to see what he wanted. "Are you going to be open on Monday?" was his question. "Forever" is a hard concept to get one's mind around sometimes. "It's been sad," says Jackie, who once oversaw the kingdom of tomes that numbered in excess of a million volumes in the best of times. "Every day when I close up and go out to my car, someone from the neighborhood will see me and give me a hug and say how sorry they are to see us go," she says. "But now, at the end, I'm resigned to it and I'm thinking let's get it over with. It's time to retire."
The decision was rushed along by the city, which paid her and her husband Phil (who inherited the store from his grandfather, Bertrand Smith, who started the business in 1934) almost $3 million for the building so that redevelopment plans could proceed apace.(read more..)

Renowned sci-fi author Ray Bradbury - who penned classics such as The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheint 451 - appeared at Long Beach's most famous bookstore, Acres of Books to talk about what makes the store so great and why it should be spared. Acres of Books was sold to the city of Long Beach so that the land can be redeveloped, but Ray is having none of that. He explains his love of the store and promises to call the Mayor, also dropping words of writing wisdom along the way.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Narco Nympho in Dope Menace

While we now enjoy this exploitative genre for its campy kitsch, gloriously bad writing, and outlandish misinformation, drug paperback books were once a transgressive medium with a perversely seductive quality. Dope Menace collects together hundreds of fabulously lurid and collectible covers in color, from xenophobic turn-of-the century tomes about the opium trade to the beatnik glories of reefer smoking and William S. Burroughs’ Junkie to the spaced-out psychedelic ’60s. We mustn’t forget the gonzo paranoia brought on by Hunter S. Thompson in the ’70s, when anything was everything.
Author Stephen J. Gertz is a well-regarded authority on antiquarian books and contributor to Feral House’s Sin-A-Rama, an award-winning visual history of sleaze paperbacks from the sixties. (from Atomic Books)

Bad Taste Synagogue Genitalia

After seeing those arresting anatomical renderings, superficially objective but deeply prurient in their depiction of female and male genitalia, it is impossible to look again at Lequeu's architectural drawings without a new sense of their tumescent contours, scopophilic detailing and biomorphic transposition of classical motifs. The doors and windows of Lequeu's villas, temples and gazebos seem more like inviting orifices than utilitarian openings; columns become insistently phallic, fountains joyously orgasmic. Like all the most successful monomaniacs, this wizard draftsman seduces us into his hermetic universe, but it is only when that disquieting realm is explained in terms of his sexual fixation that its architectural imagery makes sense. It is known that in the early years of this century Marcel Duchamp used the Bibliotheque Nationale's print collection as a lending library, and among the books he took out was Lequeu's ''Architecture Civile.'' Mr. Duboy believes Duchamp tampered with it, revising texts and altering drawings. It is easy to understand the Dadaist's fascination with the Neoclassicists, for both loved sex, puns, double-entendres and tranvestism. There seems no doubt that the enigmatic Lequeu was a major influence on the great gamesman of 20th-century art; how much of what has come down to us as Lequeu might actually be by Duchamp is another story indeed.(read more...)
About Jean-Jacques Lequeu
Date of Birth: Sep 14 1757, Rouen
Date of Death: Mar 28 1826
French bureaucrat, pornographer, draftsman and architect, forerunner of surrealism, and "inventor of bad taste". His name means, literally, "Jack the Cock".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Better Equipped Homo Erectus

A reconstruction of the 1.2 million-year-old pelvis discovered in 2001 in the Gona Study Area at Afar, Ethiopia, that has led researchers to speculate early man was better equipped than first thought to produce larger-brained babies. The actual fossils remain in Ethiopia.
Reconstructing pelvis bone fragments from the 1.2 million-year-old adult female, Semaw and his co-workers determined the early ancestor's birth canal was more than 30 percent larger than earlier estimates based on a 1.5-million-year-old juvenile male pelvis found in Kenya.
Early humans became taller and narrower over time, scientists believe, partly due to long distance running and to help them maintain a constant body temperature. One consequence, however, is that a narrower pelvis would have been less accommodating to producing larger-brained offspring.
But rather than a tall, narrow hominid with the expected slight pelvic region, Semaw and the Gona researchers found evidence of a hominid ready to produce offspring with a much larger brain size.(read more...)
For extra pelvis click HERE

Friday, November 14, 2008

Somebody Stuck a Dildo

This is a huge misconception about ceramic. They don’t put it on the outside of the space shuttle just for looks!Ceramic is an incredibly durable material used to make things like knives and car engines. Goldfrau has been designed by an industrial designer and independently tested by materials engineers to gauge its strength and safety. To read about the results of these tests see Technical Specs.
Isn’t ceramic cold?Yes, it can be at first, but if you want to warm your Goldfrau, we recommend placing it for two or three seconds under a running hot water tap.
If you like it the other way you can always cool it in the refrigerator.
IMPORTANT:- Read the product guidelines before use to ensure that your Goldfrau is used safely and to avoid damage to the product.
- You should only ever moderately heat or cool the Goldfrau.
- As a guide, your Goldfrau is moderate warm or cool if you can hold the temperature affected area comfortably in your hand for longer than 5 seconds. Remember- if you can’t hold it comfortably, do not insert it into yourself or into somebody else.
Is it waterproof?Yes, your Goldfrau is fully vitrified (will not take in or absorb any water) - so you can use it in the bath and then wash it after every use.
Can I use lubricants?Yes, but we recommend only water based lubricants.
We recommend thoroughly washing your Goldfrau in warm soapy water, then rinsing it in clean water, after every use. Dry your Goldfrau thoroughly before placing it in its leather pouch.
Why is it shaped like that?Don’t be fooled by its simple shape-a lot of effort has gone into the design. We have placed an emphasis on ergonomic and functional considerations, yet the Goldfrau also looks beautiful.
The ball end is designed to be a handle. This is the most comfortable shape to hold, giving you maximum control with minimal effort. The curve on the shaft tip is designed for maximum ease of vaginal penetration.
Why is it straight? This is actually a comfort and safety issue. A straight dildo (of the hard variety) allows for much vigorous fucking- particularly with two people. You don’t have to worry about the dildo spinning inside you (unlike the curved variety).
Ceramic manufacturing is a handcrafted process, which makes your Goldfrau unique. These slight variations mean that no two Goldfraus are exactly alike.
How do I care for my Goldfrau?- Clean with warm soapy water then rinse in clean water after each use. Ensure that your Goldfrau is thoroughly dry before placing it in its leather pouch.
- Only use moderate temperatures on your Goldfrau. Although ceramic is capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, for your own personal safety and for the longevity of the product, use only moderate temperatures when cleaning or using.
If I carry my Goldfrau in my hand luggage will I be questioned by airport security?You might think this is a funny question, but it has happened. Goldfrau is designed to be easily thrown in your handbag for trips away but if you are going by plane be aware you could get asked by airport security to explain the purpose of your Goldfrau if it’s in your hand luggage. If you don’t want to explain put it in your hold luggage. But don’t forget to take it!( more Dildo)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Truman Price: Fiddle

Early on, Truman's father assigned him to learn to play fiddle like his great-uncle, a one-room school teacher in the mountains of Georgia. This began an extended process of trial and error including a few years of childhood violin training, a few years residence in Appalachia, etc. On his father's 90th birthday, he played Ol' Dan Tucker and was rewarded with, "That's pretty good" (after years of "Nope"). In between, he had studied traditional fiddle styles, played hundreds of tunes and songs, forgot lots of them, made up some, and tried them for audiences of all sizes. He has been most influenced by J. P. Fraley, Woody Guthrie, Western Virginia fiddle conventions, Highwoods String Band, the Rounders, dreams of Grapelli ... and "Pa" Ingalls as described in Laura Wilders' books. Tru's pursuit of frontier fiddle techniques has enabled him to fiddle and sing, or even call dances, at the same time, and he loves getting people involved.(read more...)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mama Afrika:1932-2008

Miriam was born in Johannesburg. As a young girl of thirteen, she entered a talent show at a missionary school and walked off with the first prize. She was often invited to sing at weddings, and her popularity grew in leaps and bounds as more and more people became dazzled by her talent. In 1952 she was chosen to sing for The Manhattan Brothers and toured South Africa with them. As early as 1956, she wrote and released the song "Pata Pata". (read more..)

Anita O'Day : Newport 1958

The iconic image of Anita O'Day is from “Jazz on a Summer's Day," shot at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, where she showed up for her afternoon set in heels, an audacious bonnet and a slinky black dress, treating the crowd (some of whom looked somnambulistic) to a white-hot “Sweet Georgia Brown." O'Day was high as a kite - probably, she says, in one of the many interviews that punctuate “The Life of a Jazz Singer." Despite her substance abuse, there was an incredible strength to O'Day, who refused to compromise her art (while never calling it such) and lived a jazz life at a time when women didn't. (read more...)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Albert Collins: I Ain't Drunk at Buddy Guy's Legends club.

Albert Collins was a moderate vocalist, but instead an incredible and extremely magnificent guitarist with a rel iable phat and juicy Fender Telecaster sound. With his peculiar, original and funky guitar trademark Collins quickly established himself as one of the worlds leading blues guitar players, together with fellow guitar colleagues as B.B King, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and Albert King. Between 1958 and 1971, Collins mainly recorded instrumental Texas blues influenced by artists as T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, Lightning' Hopkins and various jazz musicians. It would take until the mid 1970s before he finally stepped up in front of the microphone for the first time.(for more...)

The Hidden Child from Ein Hod

Until the German invasion of Belgium in 1940, when he was 4, he had “a normal childhood,” David Tamir, a Holocaust survivor, says. He and his parents, Ephraim and Tova Tamir, were living in Antwerp when they joined a mass flight to France, only to discover British soldiers were evacuating from Dunkirk, France. They, along with thousands of other refugees, were made to turn back when German troops moved in. Two years later, when he was 6, the Germans began “rounding up Jews from the streets (of Antwerp),” Tamir says. Out of concern for their son’s safety, his parents contacted an elderly couple, Roman Catholics who lived on a farm in the small village of Petegem. The coupleagreed to take in David for money, and pass him off as part of their family. David, who was being raised in a traditional Jewish family, was sent to live with them. He was surrounded by fields and animals, a change from the city, and attended the village school. It was not unusual for children to be sent to live in rural villages during the war, he says, because the Allies were dropping bombs on urban areas, and food was scarce in the cities. His parents, too, were forced into hiding to avoid being arrested and deported to the camps created and run by the Nazis. No one knew about Hitler’s Final Solution then, Tamir says, but people knew something bad was happening because those who were caught never came back. They just disappeared.In January 1949, David Tamir and his parents immigrated to Israel. He grew up and was educated there, and served in the army. After marrying an American, he moved to the States, where he lived for more than 40 years. He moved back to Israel — “It is my home” — in 2005 after retiring and now lives in Ein Hod, an artists’ community in the Carmel foothills.(read more...)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Skinny Kid with Funny Name

On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention. Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant.

July 27, 2004 Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama introduced himself to Democrats and a national television audience Tuesday, giving the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention (read more...)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yma Sumac, 86 - "nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn"

Yma Sumac, a Peruvian folk entertainer with an astonishing vocal range who surged to fame in the 1950s with an "Incan princess" mystique that captivated millions of record-buyers in search of exotic sounds, died of cancer Nov. 1 at an assisted living facility in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles.
She was believed to be 86, according to personal assistant Damon Devine, who said he had seen the birth certificate.
Nearly every biographical aspect of Ms. Sumac's life was long in dispute, including her age, her town of birth and her ancestral claims that on her mother's side she was a descendant of the last Incan emperor, Atahualpa.
Fueled by an intensive publicity machine, the rumors grew so thick at one point that she was jokingly rumored to be a "nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn" who had merely reversed her name, Amy Camus. (read more...)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Robinson Selkirk

Alexander Selkirk was born in the small seaside town of Lower Largo, Fife, Scotland in 1676. A younger son of a shoemaker, he was drawn to a life at sea from an early age. In 1704, during a privateering voyage on the Cinque Ports, Selkirk fell out with the commander over the boat’s seaworthiness and he decided to remain behind on Robinson Crusoe Island where they had landed to overhaul the worm-infested vessel. He cannot have known that it would be five years before he was picked up by an English ship visiting the island.
An article in the journal Post-Medieval Archaeology presents evidence from an archaeological dig on the island of Aguas Buenas, since renamed Robinson Crusoe Island, which reveals evidence of the campsite of an early European occupant. The most compelling evidence is the discovery of a pair of navigational dividers which could only have belonged to a ship’s master or navigator, as evidence suggests Selkirk must have been. Indeed Selkirk’s rescuer, Captain Woodes Rogers’ account of what he saw on arrival at Aguas Buenas in 1709 lists ‘some practical pieces’ and mathematical instruments amongst the few possessions that Selkirk had taken with him from the ship.(read more...)

Low Rent Disrict-Stephen Lawrence Suffet

Born Stephen Lawrence Suffet in 1947, Steve Suffet is best described as an old fashioned folk singer in the People's Music tradition. His repertoire is a mixture of railroad songs, trucker songs, union songs, old time country music, blues, ragtime, Gospel, topical-political songs, and whatever else tickles his fancy. He takes songs from whatever sources he wishes and then he sings them his own way, maybe rewriting the lyrics on the spot or changing the music to fit his own particular style.
Heavily involved in the antiwar movement in the 1960s, Steve appeared at several of the legendary Broadside magazine hoots in New York City. Steve later left the organized folk scene for nearly thirty years, playing instead at political rallies and demonstrations, campgrounds, schools, day care centers, weddings, parks, pubs, and pick-up jam sessions.
Steve returned to the folk scene when invited to perform at a Sis Cunningham Tribute Concert in 1997. Since then he has played for festivals, clubs, and folk music societies throughout the northeastern USA. In 2007, Steve made his first appearance at the Jacob's Ladder Folk Festival in Israel."Low Rent District" is Steve's third full CD. It eighteen tracks include eight of Steve's own compositions, four traditional folk songs that Steve arranged, a cowboy song from 1911, a Carter Family song, a song by contemporary songwriter Si Kahn, two little known Woody Guthrie songs, and Guthrie's version of a traditional Gospel song.
Accompanying Steve on various tracks on this CD are Hillel Arnold, Jaque DuPree, Carl Fortunato, Alan Friend, Robin Greenstein, Allen Hopkins, Ray Korona, Laura Munzer, Anne Price, and Gina Tlamsa. Each is an accomplished musician in his or her own right.(listen to CD ...and BUY!)

Friday, October 31, 2008

From Fourier Transform to the Beatles’ Riddle

It’s been a hard day’s night
And I’ve been working like a dog

The opening chord to A Hard Day’s Night is also famous because for 40 years, no one quite knew exactly what chord Harrison was playing. Musicians, scholars and amateur guitar players alike had all come up with their own theories, but it took a Dalhousie mathematician to figure out the exact formula.
“I started playing guitar because I heard a Beatles record—that was it for my piano lessons,” says Jason Brown of Dalhousie’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics with a good laugh. “I had tried to play the first chord of the song many takes over the years. It sounds outlandish that someone could create a mystery around a chord from a time where artists used such simple recording techniques. It’s quite remarkable.”(read more...)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tied to Carnal Passions

A groundbreaking study by two University of Rochester psychologists to be published online Oct. 28 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology adds color literally and figuratively to the age-old question of what attracts men to women.The research provides the first empirical support for society's enduring love affair with red. From the red ochre used in ancient rituals to today's red-light districts and red hearts on Valentine's Day, the rosy hue has been tied to carnal passions and romantic love across cultures and millennia. But this study, said Elliot, is the only work to scientifically document the effects of color on behavior in the context of relationships.
Although this aphrodisiacal effect of red may be a product of societal conditioning alone, the authors argue that men's response to red more likely stems from deeper biological roots. Research has shown that nonhuman male primates are particularly attracted to females displaying red. Female baboons and chimpanzees, for example, redden conspicuously when nearing ovulation, sending a clear sexual signal designed to attract males.
"Our research demonstrates a parallel in the way that human and nonhuman male primates respond to red," concluded the authors. "In doing so, our findings confirm what many women have long suspected and claimed – that men act like animals in the sexual realm. As much as men might like to think that they respond to women in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner, it appears that at least to some degree, their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive."(read more...)
Photo by Terry Richardson

The Piano Man from Perth

Tim Minchin is an Australian Musician/comedian located currently in the UK!
Tim has become a very successful comedian over the past 4 years. His image is a strange weirdass rock star wearing a tail suit with no shoes and standing by a grand piano... everything seems strange.... BUT then he sings!! shit! he sings about umm... himself being So Fucking Rock... and Him being... a Rock'n' Roll Nerd... and he sings about the environment. He also sings about the issue in Palestine... and Of course!! one of his most popular tracks is one where he sings about his inflatable Sex doll... that song is of course titled, INFLATABLE YOU!
Tim's comedy is rather strange and some people need to be in the right mood to listen to his rather fabulous and inteligent work,(read more...)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dystopia with an Eastern European flavour

Rocaterrania is a feature length documentary exploring the secret world of scientific illustrator and visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler.
In the last four decades, seventy-six-year-old Renaldo Kuhler has created hundreds of plates for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, illustrating diverse flora and fauna for obscure scientific journals and reference books. Before the making of this documentary, no one knew that Kuhler is also a prolific visionary artist.
Since his teens, Kuhler has been pouring all his private anguish and artistic energy in a project that has remained secret up until now. That project is Rocaterrania, an imaginary country somewhere between the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and the St Lawrence River on the border between the US and Canada.
“Each person is a nation unto himself, and what he does with that nation is up to him,” Kuhler explains at the end of the aforementioned trailer, that offers a brief and intriguing glimpse into the grim fairytale he constructed in the far reaches of his imagination.
It’s no wonder Kuhler was reluctant to publicise the existence of his troubled ‘inner country’. But it is a shame - the illustrations of the people and places in Rocaterrania look fantastic. And in any case, now there’s the upcoming feature-length film, also called Rocaterrania, by documentary-maker Brett Ingram.
This map shows the location of Rocaterrania on the St Lawrence River, and its borders with the US and Canada. Multicultural Rocaterrania possesses a corridor to the river, in which is located the town of Katerin Shtot (sounds Yiddish, or at least looks like it because of the phonetic spelling). A large, uninhabited area to the west is called Westerwald (German). A town on the east bank of Lago Eldorado (Spanish) is the town of Novo Tyumen (Russian), on its west bank is Biala (which sounds more Polish), and further west are places called Serbia, East New Serbia and Black New Serbia.
Rocaterrania as a New World dystopia with an Eastern European flavour: this is somewhat reminiscent both of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (Michael Chabon’s allohistorical detective novel set in an Alaskan homeland for the Jews) and of The Jew of New York (a graphic novel by Ben Katchor about a real-life, failed attempt to found a Jewish utopia in… upstate New York).(read more...)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Peg Leg Sam and His medicine show

Peg Leg Sam was a performer to be treasured, a member of what may have been the last authentic traveling medicine show, a harmonica virtuoso, and an extraordinary entertainer. Born Arthur Jackson, he acquired his nickname after a hoboing accident in 1930. His medicine show career began in 1938, and his repertoire -- finally recorded only in the early '70s -- reflected the rustic nature of the traveling show. "Peg" delivered comedy routines, bawdy toasts, and monologs; performed tricks with his harps (often playing two at once); and served up some juicy Piedmont blues (sometimes with a guitar accompanist, but most often by himself). Peg Leg Sam gave his last medicine-show performance in 1972 in North Carolina and was still in fine fettle when he started making the rounds of folk and blues festivals in his last years. ~ Jim O'Neal, All Music Guide

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ten Years After the Fire השריפה בעין הוד

It is autumn in Ein Hod. It is a New England kind of autumn, crisp and rustic and crackling with color.
It would be majestically beautiful, if it were New England, and autumn. But the browns and rusts and yellows and reds of the foliage are not a canvas of summer's gentle denouement; these are the wounds of summer savagery.
This most enchanting of Israeli villages will never recover in our lifetime, following the fire that seared through it three months ago. If you have been to Ein Hod, you may not be able to bear going back; if you have never been here, it's too late.
In some areas, Ein Hod has been stripped naked.

(read more...)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Palestine Negroid Cannibals (anal?)

Negroid people of 5000 B. C ATE BODIES OF ENEMIES
Seven or eight thousand years ago in what geologist call modern times a race of negroid cannibals lived In Palestine, burned the bones of their dead after burial, and devoured the bodies of their enemies.
Skulls and thighbones of this race were unearthed within the last four years, first at Shukbah near Jerusalem and later in caves at Mount Carmel, and because they puzzled the excavators who found them they received the new name “Natufians.”
Today the first authoritative account of them was given by Sir Arthur Keith to the congress of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences and showed them to be one of the greatest riddles of archaeology.
They were clearly a Negroid people, said Sir Arthur, with wide faces flat- noses and long large heads.
They were short of stature 5 feet 3 or 4 inches tall-and their thighs and legs were remarkably strong. While their arms and shoulders were weak.
Alone Among prehistoric peoples they had a custom of extracting the two upper central incisor teeth of their women. Jagged holes in the fronts of their skulls indicate that they ate human brains.
They may have been ancestors or the Arabs or Semites of biblical times, in Sir Arthur's opinion. They had some facial characteristics like those of the Neolithic or late Stone Age men of Malta and the remoter Aurignacian men of Southern Europe. But whatever the similarities sir Arthur declared, they lived between 5000 and 6000 B. C. and cannot be identified with any race on earth today.
In addition to all these riddles, Sir Arthur propounded another linking them unaccountably to ancient Ur of the Chaldees and the prehistoric man of South Africa.
From piles of charred and fragmented bones found in Palestine-mostly women's bones- Sir Arthur concluded they did not cremate their dead, but burned them long after burial.(read more...)

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Most Dangerous Animal in the World?

Peter Singer is perhaps the most thoroughgoing philosophical utilitarian since Jeremy Bentham. As such, he believes animals have rights because the relevant moral consideration is not whether a being can reason or talk but whether it can suffer. Jettisoning the traditional distinction between humans and nonhumans, Singer distinguishes instead between persons and non-persons. Persons are beings that feel, reason, have self-awareness, and look forward to a future. Thus, fetuses and some very impaired human beings are not persons in his view and have a lesser moral status than, say, adult gorillas and chimpanzees. (read more...and more...)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tracking Down Jews

OBSESSED WITH JEWS introduces suburban Washington, DC accountant Neil Keller, who has amassed a remarkable collection of over 12,000 trading cards, photographs, matchbook covers, pins and autographs of prominent Jewish people. Starting with a single baseball card of Sandy Koufax, bought at a flea market in 1991, Neil started tracking down Jews in entertainment, politics, science, and most of all, Jews in sports. Neil shows us his collection, and tells how he methodically catalogs the accomplishments, and documents the genealogy of every famous Jew on Earth.
(read more...)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Foreskin Song

It’s no secret that Shalom Auslander is a very screwed-up individual. It’s a fact to which he will gladly attest. Fortunately for readers, he can tell you exactly why. A terrific essayist, short story writer, and memoirist, Auslander examines his battles with God and his family often the two are inextricably bound in his wonderful new memoir, Foreskin’s Lament. In this clear-eyed look at his unhappy youth in a strict Jewish Orthodox family, he considers the seemingly endless fallout that still colors his life and relationships today. He brilliantly manages to make his grave subject hilarious without being glib, and serious without being grim. (read more on Bookslut)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Your Stinky Dreams

German researchers used specific volatile odorants with a negative or a positive smell ("rotten eggs" versus "roses") to simulate subjects during sleep. They then recorded the subjects' impressions when they were awakened. When using the unpleasant odorant, the emotional coloration of the dream was predominantly negative, while under stimulation with the pleasant stimulus, nearly all dreams had a positive coloration.
Researchers note that only recently information on olfactory function during sleep has become available, and that this is the first valid study that documents the impact of olfactory function on dreams. This study may also open a potential field of therapeutic intervention with nocturnal olfactory stimulation (read more...)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Book Is Dead

The demise of publishing has been predicted since the days of Gutenberg. But for most of the past century through wars and depressions the business of books has jogged along at a steady pace. It’s one of the main (some would say only) advantages of working in a “mature” industry: no unsustainable highs, no devastating lows. A stoic calm, peppered with a bit of gallows humor, prevailed in the industry.
Survey New York’s oldest culture industry this season, however, and you won’t find many stoics. What you will find are prophets of doom, Cassandras in blazers and black dresses arguing at elegant lunches over What Is to Be Done. Even best-selling publishers and agents fresh from seven-figure deals worry about what’s coming next. Two, five years from now—who knows? Life moves fast in the waning era of print; publishing doesn’t.
“Media doesn’t matter, reviews don’t matter, blurbs don’t matter,” says one powerful agent. Nobody knows where the readers are, or how to connect with them. Fifteen years ago, Philip Roth guessed there were at most 120,000 serious American readers those who read every night—and that the number was dropping by half every decade. Others vehemently disagree. But who really knows? Focused consumer research is almost nonexistent in publishing. What readers want and whether it’s better to cater to their desires or try harder to shape them remains a hotly contested issue. You don’t have to look further than the pages of The New YorkTimesBook Review or the shelves of Borders to see that the market for fiction is shrinking. Even formerly reliable schlock like TV-celebrity memoirs doesn’t do so well anymore. And “the next thing,” as Publishers Weekly editor Sara Nelson notes drily, “is not bloggers writing books.” (read more...)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Athlit:Her People are Great Villains (so are those of et Tireh)

The Bible repeatedly mentions Tantura by the name of Dor and hertowns, and Athlit may have been one of her " towns." But enough about Athlit, except that her people are great villains, and so are those of et Tireh, at the foot of Carmel, north-east of it. AinHaud, on the brow of the mountain, may possibly mark the site of En-haddah, given to Issachar. It is nearly three hours from Athlit to Tantura, and the two villages, Kefr Lam and Surafend, both apparently occupying ancient sites, are between them. Farther inland are Yebla and Ain Ghiizal. The name Yebla resembles Ibleam, which was assigned to Manasseh, though belonging to the lot of Issachar. This geographical survey of Syria's long seaboard, and description of Athlit, has brought us to Tantura.
It is a sad and sickly hamlet of wretched huts, on a bare sea-
beach, with a marshy flat between it and the eastern hills. The
sheikh's residence and the public menzul for travellers are the only respectable houses. Dor occupied a low tell on the shore about half a mile farther north, and there we shall find remains of the ancient city which are of considerable interest

From The land and the Book; or, Biblical illustrations drawn from the manners and customs, the scenes and scenery of the Holy Land (1880-1886)/ Thomson, William McClure, 1806-1894

Mel Silverman, 1931 - 1966 (Ein Hod)

Mel Silverman was my uncle. He was born and reared in Denver where he went to North High School. An outstanding baseball pitcher, he was offered a minor league contract with the Yankees organization. Instead, he decided to pursue art at the Chicago Art Institute. While in Chicago, he met his wife, Sydel Silverman, who is now a world reknown anthropologist. They lived in NYC, but they traveled extensively. Many of his works were inspired by his travels in Italy and in Israel.(conducting printmaking seminars at Ein Hod in Israel) He worked in many different media. I have seen collages, oils, woodsculptures, metal sculptures,charcoals, pencil drawings, cartoons, and book illustrations.
Mel died of cancer when he was 35. Mel is survived by two daughters, Eve and Julie, and his widow, who continues to live in the NYC area.
I am fortunate to have a number of his works, as do my parents and my brother and sister. Several of the works which I have were rescued from my grandmother's (his mother's) basement and several others were inherited from my grandmother. His widow gave my wife and me a wonderful print of a Manhattan scene as a wedding present.
He was a very nice uncle.
Bill Silverman

((read more...)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ida Kelarova in Ein Hod

The Roma (GYPSY) performers Ida KELAROVA , Desiderius Duzda & from the Czech Republic will give a 3 day " Gypsy Celebration" workshop in the Ein Hod artists village on the Carmel mountains (Israel).
Workshop dates: 4-5-6 DECEMBER 2008
Price: 850.- NIS (food & accomodations not incl)
contact: Yael Koginsky: 0545375975
"I give people the opportunity to express themselves from the very deepest most honest parts of themselves. I encourage people to feel the songs, to wake up some of the passions that they have buried deep down into themselves, sometimes realizing years of pain and sadness which they haven't allowed themselves to show in their lives."


Friday, September 5, 2008

Бродяга Ляля Черная

Posing as a standard-issue musical romance, Gypsies turns out to be subliminal propaganda for Soviet collectivism. A band of freedom-loving gypsies are lured onto a Russian farm co-op, whose owners covet the vagabonds' horses. At first resisting the notion of working together for a common cause, the gypsies are soon happily pitching in with the farmers. Once the work is done, however, they revert to type, singing, dancing, and smooching in the moonlight. A few isolated fistfights and stabbings aside, everyone gets along beautifully. The Artkino Studio's publicity packet for Gypsies described the film as "the lyrical saga of a people forever wandering towards of dream of happiness." Well, sort of.
Posledniy tabor (1936)