Thursday, February 28, 2008

Salty Pots in Ein Hod

iT WAS FUN! For More Salt Click Here

Io mi tocco i Balls

Italy's highest appeals court has ruled it is a criminal offence for Italian men to touch their genitals in public - a judgment that has far-reaching implications for superstitious males.
Anyone who has seen a hearse go past in Italy, or been part of a discussion in which some terrible illness or disaster is mentioned, will know it is traditional for men to ward off ill luck with a quick grab at what are delicately called their attributi.
The practice has become increasingly frowned on, but Io mi tocco i (I touch my) is a common phrase, equivalent to crossing fingers. The judges of the court of cassation suggested those seeking luck should return to the privacy of their homes before letting their hands stray trouserward.
The court was ruling on the appeal of an unnamed 42-year-old workman from Como near Milan. In May 2006, he was convicted of indecent behaviour for "ostentatiously touching his genitals through his clothing". His lawyer said it was merely a "compulsive, involuntarily movement, probably to adjust his overalls".(more from Guardian)
(what about Kournikova?)

Tennis For Two

Way back in 1958, William Higinbotham invented Tennis For Two to liven up visitor day at Brookhaven National Laboratory, his workplace. The game uses an oscilloscope with two control pads. It remained largely unknown until 1981 when a lawyer trying to break Magnavox's patent for video games came across writings talking about the game.
Blueprints of it were found to predate Magnavox's game, the case was settled out of court, and the game found fame as the second ever invented, since it was later predated by A.S. Douglas' 'OXO' game from 1952.
Read more about videogames

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sit on My Face at the Hollywood Bowl

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl is a 1982 concert film in which the Monty Python team perform many of their greatest sketches and skits in the Hollywood Bowl, including a couple of pre-Python ones.
As well as the on-stage sketches there are also filmed inserts, mostly taken from the two German Python specials (Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus).
The film stars all six Monty Python members, with Carol Cleveland in numerous supporting roles and Neil Innes performing songs.(more>>)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Four Yorkshiremen or four Ein-hodians?

JOHN CLEESE and GRAHAM CHAPMAN, along with Tim-Brooke Taylor (the future Goodie, who is also in "How to Irritate People"), Marty Feldman (who probably needs no introduction), and Aimi MacDonald headlined the 13 episodes of this black-and-white classic series, which directly preceded (and inspired) Monty Python. With every episode a string of wildly silly and hilarious sketches, it deserves to achieve immortal status. However, the master tapes of all but two of the episodes were erased many years ago. Only through the detective work of tape historians have episodes of the series have been recovered. Six complete episodes are now known to survive, along with many incomplete episodes.
At Last The 1948 Show's most famous sketch, "The Four Yorkshiremen," in which a quartet of businessmen brag about their miserable upbringings ("We used to get up in the morning at half past 10 at night, half an hour before we'd gone to bed, eat a loaf of poison, work 29 hours a day..."), has become the kind of easy-to-adapt standard appropriated by sketch acts in need of quick filler. However, working within such a well-worn structures has its drawbacks; the closing punch-lines nearly always fall with a thud. As Brooke-Taylor says, it wasn't until Python that "they got around it [the closing punch line] by Graham Chapman coming out and saying, 'This is silly, this is boring, let's go someplace else.'"

A heart for Utah Phillips

Bruce Phillips, better known as Utah Phillips, 72, the legendary folk singer, storyteller and activist, has spent the last three weeks in a San Francisco hospital where he was treated for ongoing heart and kidney problems. Although he has suffered from heart ailments since the mid-1990s, Phillips is due to be released this week and will return to his Nevada City, Calif. home without getting a heart transplant.
"I'll take it one day at a time," Phillips said from his hospital bed last week. "This body, which I've taken through hell, told me [I wouldn't survive the surgery]. I've got a chance this way. I'll stretch it all the way I can."
Phillips lived in Salt Lake City from 1947 to 1969, which included a run for the U.S. Senate on the Peace and Freedom Ticket. Described as the "Golden Voice of the Great Southwest," Phillips is considered an elder statesman to folk musicians who believe their music should agitate as well as entertain. Endowed with a sharp wit and folksy humor, Phillips has been a cowboy poet, hobo, songwriter, radio host and labor activist whose storytelling and writings about Southwestern life and Utah have come to be treasured. (read more>>)

The Cat Sleeps in La Charite-sur-Loire

Since the Parisian bookkeepers with their colorful storefronts and pictorial names like "Le monde a l'envers" (The Backwards World), "La, ou dort le chat," (There Where the Cat Sleeps), and "Les palmiers sauvages" (The Wild Palms) have moved in, the number of tourists visiting La Charite-sur-Loire has risen dramatically. With 30 times as many books as people, the La Charite-sur-Loire has certainly earned the title "city of books," which has been proclaimed from the town sign for the past six years. Fittingly, regular book sales are held in the center on the third Sunday of every month. There's also a festival of words in August, an internationally known salon of old books in July and a book art fair in May.
When Valleriaux and his wife opened their Bordeaux-colored shop in 1992, the medieval village looked completely different. Most of the shops were empty; there weren't any cafes or art galleries.
"The city, especially the lower part, was completely dead," Valleriaux said.
After a year, the couple had had enough. They needed customers and the town was in need of tourists, so they convinced the mayor to support their plan to turn La Charite-sur-Loire into the city of books.
As an expert in old manuscripts, Valleriaux had worked in Parisian auction house Drouot and his contacts proved valuable. In 1996 he founded the salon for old books. Four years later, the Rue du Pont was lined with bustling cafes, gourmet boutiques, a wine shop -- and lots of book stores. (read more>>)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mohsen Namjoo (محسن نامجو - سه راه آذرى)

Squeezing the ancient tunes of traditional Iranian music out of a guitar, Mohsen Namjoo -- called by some the “Iranian Bob Dylan“, performs his one-man show in an underground concert. His music evokes a merry vibration thumping under the coat of solemnity the streets of Tehran are wrapped with. The piece that starts with a typical image in mystic Persian poetry -- the beloved’s flying black locks, with “beloved” connoting the Creator. The poetic cliché breaks into pieces when the register of the language is all of a sudden catapulted into a colloquial Farsi, of frequent chat-up lines and borrowed Western words like “blonde.” The burlesque ends with a sarcastic one-word finale lamentingly trilled in a traditional mode: “hairdryer.” The creaky frame of strict traditionalism caging the range of guitar strings and the naturalism of informal modern Farsi is symbolic of the worn wobbly social and political structures which continue to awkwardly contain the liveliness of a pragmatic people. (read more)
See also my old Namjoo posts

Birth Control for Ein hod Pigs

If you're a land owner and animals such as coyotes or wild pigs are driving you hog wild, help may soon be on the way to control their numbers in a humane way in the form of a birth control pill for animals being developed at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. The concept would be to get it to wild animals through baited food, researchers say.
Researchers are testing oral contraceptives -- used in much the same way as in humans -- and the results are promising, says Duane Kraemer, a professor in veterinary physiology and pharmacology and a world leader in embryo transfer who has been involved in cloning four different species in recent years.
Kraemer, one of the pill's creators, and other members of the research team are testing the contraceptive for use on wild animals, but the applications could most likely be used in pets, he believes.
Kraemer says the research team has recently started tests on domestic models for predators -- animals such as feral pigs and cougars -- but if successful, it could be used on a wide variety of animals, including dogs and cats, he explains. The team also has submitted grant applications for similar projects on coyotes and deer.
In Texas, feral hogs have become a severe nuisance to farmers and ranchers, and the state has an estimated 3-4 million feral hogs, by far the most in the country. Deer are also becoming a problem to more communities each year because of overpopulation of deer herds.
Other species such as coyotes and even wild horses also need sufficient management control, experts note.(read more)
"The need for such an animal contraceptive is certainly there," Kraemer adds.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bókin in Reykjavik

He was a legendary recluse, an enigma who both captivated, shocked, and offended the world. Yet for all his innumerable eccentricities, iron-fisted bull-headedness, and vitriolic assaults against Jews and his own American government, during his last years, Bobby Fischer, managed to find some well-deserved solace in a place one might not expect: sitting in a wooden chair tucked in the back corner of a quiet bookstore in downtown Reykjavik.
Bókin, or The Book, is essentially a 1950s version of New York’s Strand Bookstore. Besides the books stacked head-high, under card tables, and on plywood shelves, the first thing you notice about Bókin is its smell, decayed and airless. Walking inside the 35-year-old establishment is like entering a Parisian flea market without the noise: overwhelming, a paralysis of the senses. But it was here, between narrow aisles lined with thousands of fraying biographies and history books, sitting in an ordinary chair whose varnish had worn thin, where Bobby Fischer could be alone in his thoughts. It was here where he could contemplate his place in history by poring through books on outlaws and rebels from Russia, Britain, Libya, and the Soviet Union with whom he could relate. And it was here, beneath the quiet hum of the fluorescent lights above, where Bobby Fischer could, for at least a few hours a day, seem to live a normal life.(read more)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Art by Creature Comforts

"It works, largely because most of the interviews seem selected to be not wacky but low-key and conversational. Am I proud of laughing? No, but I don't care."
James Posiewozik,
"Each juxtaposition of voice and creature, even or especially the most unexpected, creates something wonderful. The domestic version, which like it s predecessor is made by Aardman Animations, is every bit as good as the original. While the animation is masterful – beautifully timed and fully attendant to character, even when a character is merely listening – what makes "Creature Comforts" valuable is the unscripted, and unscriptable voice of the people."
Robert Lloyd, LA Times
"Hilarious feat of animated clay. Four Stars. So if it took until the second season for an American version of "The Office" to approximate the quality and charm of the British original, how long will it take for an Americanized "Creature Comforts" to prove itself? About five seconds. The series, 'featuring the voices of your fellow Americans' finds just as many eccentric regional dialects here as in England, and uses them hilariously from the start. I can't remember the last time I laughed so quickly and loudly at a new TV series. And it just keeps delivering gold – even from a goldfish who is heard complaining of her latest medical malady. "Dry skin," she says while floating in her goldfish bowl. "Can you believe it?"

New York Daily News


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Erected since 1935

A British man was sentenced to five days' detention on Tuesday for urinating on one of Latvia's most treasured monuments.A court official said the Briton, who denied the charges, would serve his detention in a police cell after being found guilty of urinating on the Freedom Monument.
Erected in 1935, this is a 42-meter (138 ft) high symbol of the Baltic state's resistance to foreign rule, which has included 50 years of Soviet occupation.
People detained for acts of disrespect in the past have been fined. One man wearing a kilt uncovered his genitals at the monument last year.(Reuters)

Drinking Arak for Science's Sake

Although transparent when bottled, Ouzo, Pastis, Pernod, and other popular anise-flavored alcoholic beverages form milky-white emulsions when diluted with water prior to drinking, a phenomenon commonly known as the "Ouzo effect." These emulsions occur spontaneously and are stable for weeks and even months, a feature that is attractive to industry. However, scientists are unclear how these mixtures form and stabilize.
In the new study, Erik van der Linden and colleagues measured the stability of various emulsions prepared from commercial Pernod and compared the results to theoretical predictions of their formation. The scientists found that their experimental observations were often opposite the predicted behavior of the emulsions in the presence of various concentrations of oil, water, and alcohol components.(read more>>)

"Arak is usually served with mezza, which could include dozens of small dishes, which many arak drinkers prefer as accompaniment rather than main courses. When the main course of the meal is served, it may hardly be touched, in favour of these smaller dishes. It is also well appreciated with barbecues, along with garlic sauce."

Fuck You!

"People who swear do not have a good vocabulary," my great -grandmother, an English teacher, used to insist. Bless her, she really thought that was true. But a half-century of moral and societal decline later, I have to disagree. One reason is that removing words from your vocabulary can hardly enrich it—it's not as though the blue words crowd out the purple. A second reason follows from that: I could probably do without "peregrination" and "finial", but swear words are among the most powerful in the language. This is why most people dislike them, some people fear them and try to ban them. To give them up would feel like unilateral disarmament.
Why the power? After all, the most common taboo words refer to body parts, unavoidable daily functions, and the act Woody Allen called "most fun you can have without laughing". Others, referring to religion, should be losing their bite in an increasingly secular society. Steven Pinker, a talented scientific populariser, probes the question in an essay for the New Republic, drawn from his new book, "The Stuff of Thought". Why do we say "fuck you", and not "fuck yourself"? What exactly makes certain excretions more linguistically taboo (shit) than others (snot)?
Swearing, it turns out, has its own part of the brain. Well, not exactly, but when you spill hot coffee on your crotch and expel a salty Anglo-Saxon term for sex or faeces, the brain's limbic system—involved in instinctive raw emotions like fear and disgust—is activated in a way that it isn't when you proclaim your love for Rimbaud (using the main language engine seated in your neocortex). This is probably why, no matter your mastery of and immersion in another language, when that coffee hits its mark you will almost always swear in your mother tongue. Swearing goes deep.(read more>>)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army for Better Orgasm

During World War II, Katz's encouraged parents to "send a salami to your boy in the army" which became one of the deli's famous catch phrases, along with "Katz's, that's all!" which is still painted on the side of the building. The former phrase is referenced in the Tom Lehrer song "So Long Mom (A Song for World War III)", with the lyric "Remember Mommy, I'm off to get a commie, so send me a salami, and try to smile somehow". Katz is also well known for its Pro-Israel pictures/plaques and photos placed along its wall.
Katz's was the site of Meg Ryan's famous "I'll have what she's having" fake orgasm scene in the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally...; the table at which she and Billy Crystal sat, is clearly marked with a sign that says "Where Harry met Sally...hope you have what she had!". It was also the site of Johnny Depp's character meeting with an FBI contact in Donnie Brasco.
The deli has served its food to several U.S. presidents, including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. The walls are lined with pictures of famous people - actors, writers, politicians, and more - who have dined at Katz's.

Chinese Prick

OK it goes like this. The best Bull penis is bought by the cook from the local market , remember its priced by the length(3 feet+),color , freshness etc. Now this is brought back to the kitchen the first and most important part of the deal is cleaning the urinary tract this is done with water first and then with vinegar. Now the cleaned penis is to be cut , the best part of it is the head that gets the most blood flow this is like usually given to the most important guest. And so goes the tale. These are prepared by the most experienced chefs only

Suitu sievas ir varenas!

Near the Amber sea, in the western part of Latvia - Kurland, a very original area is laying, which name is Suiti land, and name of its inhabitants - Suiti. The Suiti land includes 4 parishes - Jurkalne, Alsunga, Gudenieki, Basi (now attached to the Gudenieki parish). In all parishes there are ethnographical ensembles (Gudenieku suiti, Maģie suiti), which store ancient traditions. Participants of the ethnographic ensemble Suitu sievas live and sing in Alsunga.
For the first time the Suiti people have sung on scene in 1924, when prof. Ludis Bērziņš had taken them to Riga. (read more>>)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Semen Bank for Eggheads

In the late 1970s, in a underground bunker on his ranch near San Diego, American millionaire Robert Klark Graham set up the world's most controversial sperm bank known as the Repository for Germinal Choice.
Already famous as the inventor of the shatterproof spectacle lens, 70-year-old Graham was set to turn his hand to a much more infamous career.
He believed that "retrograde humans" were breeding unchecked. He wanted to reverse this trend by bringing thousands of geniuses into the world, fathered by the most brilliant minds. Single-handedly he dreamed of saving humanity using the sperm of clever men. (read on BBC)

Parting the Red Sea

"Know Touching" is a comprehensive, almost anthological survey of references to masturbation in both Hebrew and translated literature, as well as in the press. The book describes the historical changes in attitude toward masturbation and the negative associations some literature has implanted in the hearts of generations of women: "The victim of this literature starts to believe that she is already becoming unfit for work, or begins to fear the onset of some mental illness, some weakening of the nervous system. It is enough to feel some sort of symptom once, such as a headache, anger, a memory lapse, heart palpitations, and she is immediately prepared to see this as a result of masturbation."
In the course of her research, Pliskin discovered that she is not the only one with this so-called problem. Her studies led her to talk about masturbation with many women - the youngest 20 years old and the oldest over 90 - including religious women, Mizrahi women (with origins in Middle Eastern countries), Ashkenazi women (with origins in Eastern and Central Europe), straight women, lesbians and also an Arab woman. All revealed their deepest secrets to her and attributed their responses to Israel's social reality, which - according to Pliskin and most women she spoke with - transmits the message that this simple, natural activity is problematic, not to mention sickening.(more from Haaretz) by By Itzhak (Zahy) Ben Zion
" Dvarim sheratziti laga'at" ("Know Touching") by Gili Pliskin, Yedioth Ahronoth Books, 350 pages, NIS 98.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

No Need for Kneed or Bread Baking for Cretins

It's essential to have steam during the beginning of baking a loaf of bread. Yeast activity accelerates as soon as the bread enters the hot oven. If you put the dough in a dry oven, the crust sets immediately, preventing the yeast from expanding the bread. By using a covered Dutch oven with this wet dough, the all-important steam is trapped inside, surrounding the loaf. This keeps the crust soft and cool longer, allowing the yeast to go to work and the loaf to grow. Enzymes in the dough are also active at this time, particularly on the warmer surface, busily working to convert starches into dextrins and other simple sugars. These compounds contribute to crust coloration and flavor. Eventually (at about 140 degrees), the yeast die off. Then the starch granules absorb water, becoming swollen and glossy. This process is known as gelatinization, and lasts until the temperature is about 158 degrees.
By preheating the heavy Dutch oven before putting the loaf in, you replicate the direct heat of professional stone hearth ovens. The heat of a Dutch oven remains much more constant than the heat in a conventional oven. It also traps much more steam inside than can be achieved by putting a pan of water into a regular oven. Regular ovens vent, so it’s difficult to keep enough steam inside. Combined with a wet dough, the superhot pan traps plenty of humidity inside. Plus, the higher the internal temperature of the loaf, the more webbing and sheen will be created in the crumb.(more from here)

Paul Soldner:Mud-slinging Pyromaniac

Playing with Fire explores the life and art of Paul Soldner, the revolutionary ceramic artist who helped turn a three thousand year old craft into an accepted form of Fine Art. As a child, Paul never thought he was an artist or would ever become one. But after living through the harsh realities of World War 2, Paul, like many Abstract Expressionist artists, realized the fleetingness of life and decided to pursue a life following his passions. At age 32, he made a career change and moved to LA to become a ceramist. As they say in the books…the rest is history.
Donned as “The Miles Davis of Ceramics” or “The Father of American Raku”, Soldner made countless contributions to the ceramics world: from his discoveries of break through techniques, to his mechanical inventions which free the ceramist to focus more on the art form rather than the mechanics of the medium, to his masterful and astounding artistic creations, to his unorthodox style of teaching.
A maverick in his own right, there is no separation of art and life for Paul. The man IS his art. Considered a Zen master or sage amongst students and peers, one learns as much, if not more, from Paul through the wordless simple interactions of daily life, as they would in the art studio. Yet this osmotic style of teaching should not be considered passive. Donned as “The teacher of all teachers”, Soldner always encourages his students to take risks and embrace the accident, for with this curiosity and courage, they will find their own voice.(read more>>)

Spinning the Wheel

The Potter
The story begins as we enter a ceramic studio. The atmosphere is somber, enhanced with the use of a monochromatic palette. The potter's wheel spins as we see the hands of the potter sculpting something, which initially, is not visible to the human eye. When the potter's wheel comes to a stop, a clay figure emerges between the artist's hands.
The animation consists of a motion sequence performed by the clay figure, which is a metaphor for the emotions, which the artist experiences during the creation process. As the story unfolds, this sequence is also a visual metaphor for the potter's own healing process.
Composer: Nicolai Dunger
Filmmaker: Lena Dolata

Robert and his fellow bunnies

Szmolinsky is a 68-year-old German living in Eberswalde, near Berlin, who won a prize for breeding a 10.5-kilogram (23.1 pound) rabbit named Robert in 2006. Robert was the size of a small dog. When North Korean leaders saw photos of him they contacted Szmolinsky through a breeding federation, hoping to purchase a line of "German Giant Grays" to alleviate hunger in their hermetic Communist state.
Szmolinsky grew up in East Germany, and he agreed to help.
Szmolinsky had made the North Koreans a special price of €80 per rabbit instead of the usual €200 to €250. He had said in January that the 12 rabbits, capable of producing 60 babies a year, were being kept in a petting zoo in the North Korean capital Pyongyang pending his arrival.Szmolinsky said he suspected Robert and his fellow bunnies had been eaten by top officials and that that was the real reason why he wasn't getting a visa. "That's an assumption, not an assertion," he added. "But they're not getting any more."(read more>>)

Stop jerking gadget for $2,906.00

Somebody was ready to pay $2,906.00 for an unusual antique - an anti-masturbation device.The rare 19th century item is made of copper and was designed to be worn by boys so they could not commit the 'sin'.Attached to a belt it would have encased the genitalia.The bizarre antique dates back to around 1880 and was used in Catholic France.It is being offered for sale on auction website eBay with a starting price of £750.Seller David Burns, of Curious Science,says that during a quarter of a century dealing in medical curiosities he has never had one for sale. It is described as an 'extremely rare anti-masturbation device dating from 1880'. The listing continues: "The copper, shaped device was attached to a belt and worn by boys as a means of preventing nocturnal emissions."
"This is the first example we have offered for sale in 24 years. The condition is excellent. Three and half inches top to base."(read more on Rex)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

Beginning with the genius Louis Armstrong's triumphant return to Ghana in the late 1950's, we trace the evolution of music from West Africa to the Virginia colonies of the early 1600's. Over the next 400 years, as this distinct root of American culture takes hold, incredible clips of filmed performances by Mahalia Jackson, Josephine Baker, Bessie Smith, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, and Duke Ellington illustrate the black experience.
Contemporary musicians such as Nina Simone, BB King, Cannonball Adderly (w/ Joe Zawinal - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy), and Sly & the Family Stone, along with a funky-ass filmed number from an as-yet-undocumented-on-the-internet off-Broadway production called "The Me Nobody Knew" punctuate the memory of the past, the spontaneity of the moment and determination for the future.

British Library's Rotten War

How do I eliminate or reduce a musty odor in a book?
This musty smell is most often noted in books that have been moldy or mildewed in the past. The first step is to create an enclosed chamber. This is most easily done by using two garbage cans, one large (with a lid) and one small. The object to be "deodorized" should be placed in the smaller can, which is then placed inside the larger can. Some type of odor-absorbing material should then be placed in the bottom of the larger can. Odor-absorbing materials to try include baking soda, charcoal briquettes (without lighter fluid), or kitty litter. The lid should then be placed on the larger can, and the chamber should be left for some time. You will need to monitor periodically to see how long the materials need to be left inside the chamber.
How would I remove spots of mildew that are on the cover of a book?
If you have mold or mildew on a book do the following: get a slightly damp cloth and gently wipe the stop of the book working away from the book (i.e. start at the spine side and work out towards the foredge). Do this over a garbage can, preferably outside. The mold spores will get into the air and if you are outside you won't be spreading the spores into your house.
A weak solution of boric acid may also be used to dampen the cloth and wipe off the stain. After cleaning throw away_ the cloth (this has mold on it, get rid of it), and wash your hands. Let the book dry (this shouldn't take too long because the cloth should not be too wet) and then store in a cool, dry location. The key to avoiding mildew and mold is a safe storage environment. You may still have a stain but most of the spores will have been removed.(read more)

We are tired

Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman continues an argument begun in the 19th century, when writers such as John Ruskin and William Morris extolled the crafts remembered in our surnames (Smith, Cartwright, Thatcher, Mason, Fletcher) while lamenting the mind-numbing and soul-destroying labour of the industrial process which was replacing them. A long line of thinkers, from Hegel and Marx to Sennett’s teacher Hannah Arendt, have sympathised with the argument. But Sennett does not think that craftsmanship has vanished from our world.

The word "craftsman" summons an immediate image. Peering through a window into a carpenter's shop, you see an elderly man surrounded by his apprentices and his tools. Order reigns within: parts of chairs are clamped neatly together, the smell of wood shavings fills the room, the carpenter bends over his bench to make a fine incision for marquetry. The shop is menaced by a furniture factory down the road.
The craftsman might also be glimpsed at a nearby laboratory. There, a young lab technician is frowning at a table on which six dead rabbits are splayed on their backs, their bellies slit open. She is frowning because something has gone wrong with the injection she has given them; she is trying to figure out if she did the procedure wrong, or if there is something wrong with the procedure.
A third craftsman might be heard in the town's concert hall. There, an orchestra is rehearsing with a visiting conductor; he works obsessively with the string section, going over and over a passage to make the musicians draw their bows at exactly the same speed across the strings. The string players are tired, but also exhilarated because their sound is becoming coherent. The orchestra's manager is worried: if the visiting conductor keeps on, the rehearsal will move into overtime, costing management extra wages. The conductor is oblivious
read more Here and Here)
Photo of Itche Mambush from Ein Hod Site

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Computer scientist Luis von Ahn is best known for inventing those twisted, blurry words that websites ask you to type to post a comment or send an email. reCAPTCHA is the process of utilizing CAPTCHA to improve the process of digitizing the text of books. It takes scanned words that optical character recognition software have been unable to read, and presents them for humans to decipher as CAPTCHA words

Leah's eyes

Nicknamed George and Leah, two lowland gorillas in Congo mate face-to-face in the first ever photograph of wild gorillas engaging in the behavior. Leah is one of four females in George's harem.
Released to the public on February 12, 2008, the 2005 pictures originally accompanied a report in a spring 2007 issue of the Gorilla Gazette, a newsletter for gorilla scientists.
"Leah was lying on the ground and George was looking into Leah's eyes," researchers wrote in the report.
German conservation biologist Thomas Breuer, who took the photos, told National Geographic News, "It leads me to think about how similar gorillas can be to humans, [and yet] we humans are destroying them."(read more>>)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Herbie Hancock Walking from Miles to Grammy

Miles Davis All-Stars “Walkin” with Jay Jay Johnson (Trombone), Lucky Thompson (Tenor), David Schildkraut (Alto) Horace Silver (Piano), Percy Heath (Bass) and Kenny “Klook” Clarke (Drums). Prestige Records. Cover design by Hannah.
Session 9 (April 29, 1954)
This all-star session is among the key recordings in the history of modern jazz and the saga of Miles Davis.
Paradoxically (and the history of jazz is full of such paradoxes), the prognosis for history being made was anything but good. As Jules Colomby recalled, the musicians were to meet at Birdland in the afternoon for the ride to Van Gelder’s New Jersey studio. Lucky Thompson, coming in from Philadelphia, was so late that J.J. Johnson had just about talked the others into leaving without him when the tenorist arrived. At the studio, when all was ready, Miles told Bob Weinstock that he hadn’t brought his horn. Weinstock blanched. Colomby happened to have an old, leaky trumpet in the trunk of his car and Miles was able to coax from it the great playing heard here. (He also kept the horn, with the donor’s blessings.)

"Walkin’” (based on a piece known as “Gravy” when Gene Ammons first recorded it in 1950) is the masterpiece, however. At a more relaxed tempo the soloists preach brilliant sermons; Thompson may never have played better. As for Miles, he sums up why 1954 was a banner year for him. Not so incidentally, “Walkin’” became a cornerstone of the hard bop movement.(more from LP Cover Lover)
The Miles Davis Quintet digs into this Richard Carpenter classic on November 7, 1967 at the Stadthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany. This clip features Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock who looked shocked as his name was called to come to the stage and pick up the Grammy award for Album of the Year(2007!)Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters, a tribute to the songs of Joni Mitche.During his acceptance speech, Hancock noted that this was the first time in 43 years that a jazz album had nabbed the Album of the Year honors, the last one being Stan Getz and João Gilberto’s

Khayat's Bookshop is so close...

That we should still use the great forests of the world to disseminate our wisdom in the age of the internet is somehow appropriate, our love of books linking us to the prehistorical age of dinosaurs and pterodactyls, when the planet really was green.

I don't care if the books are "foxed" – if pages are brown-stained by the damp of ages – and that's just as well because Beirut is a dirty city, and in my seafront apartment, a mixture of exhaust fumes, industrial grime and the damp of the Mediterranean "foxes" even my newest books within a year. I once thought of moving them to Europe, then realised that their deterioration was part of their story, that they would always wear their history of Lebanon on their covers.
That's one reason why I love the old second-hand bookshop that Habib Aboujaudeh runs on Bliss Street. It's seen hard times – just like 75-year-old Habib. During the civil war, thieves stole thousands of pounds' worth of books from his store in west Beirut. "I lived in Ashrafieh in the east and my books were being sold on the streets of Hamra," he tells me. "I don't know why they took them. They can't have made much money." In Khayat's Bookshop – Habib inherited the name of previous owners – the smell of wood mixes with the odour of old stones. The store was once stables for the horses of the American University of Beirut, which still stands across the road, an academy founded by a 19th-century Quaker called Bliss.
Unlike Lebanon, Habib's shop is a cocktail of religions and literary style. There are Bibles and treatises on Islamic jurisprudence, tawdry romances from the 1950s, science lectures and the works of Ayatollah Khomeini and children's books and postcards of pre-war Beirut in which large American cars motor past 1930s hotels. Here you can find Alistair MacLean's Guns of Navarone in French, and Albert Vulliez's account of Churchill's destruction of the Vichy French fleet in Mers el-Kébir on 3 July 1940. "A hateful decision," Churchill called it in his own history of the Second World War (also in Habib's shop), "the most unnatural and painful in which I have ever been concerned."

by Rober Fisk-read more

Hope anf Die

Do emotions influence a cancer patient’s prognosis? In one of the largest, longest, and most controlled studies of its kind, researchers investigated whether the emotional state of cancer patients has any relationship to their survival.
At the start of the study, the participants completed a 27-item questionnaire used to evaluate the physical, social, and emotional quality of life in people with cancer and other chronic diseases. Five items targeted emotional state, asking patients to rate, on a scale of 0 to 4, the extent to which statements like “I feel sad” and “I am losing hope in my fight against my illness” had been true for them over the past seven days. The researchers then calculated a score for each person’s initial emotional well-being.
Coyne tracked patients for an average of nine years, until they either dropped out of the study or died. The study reported 646 deaths. Once the records for the participants were complete, researchers analyzed the data. “We were surprised to find absolutely no relationship” between emotion and survival, Coyne says(read more on Discover)
My old post on Placebo

Monday, February 11, 2008

Patterns Of Love: Estonian Sex

Written and presented by Desmond Morris (1997). How far would you go for love? Get ready to be amazed as you see people go further than ... all » you ever thought possible. Patterns Of Love will take you to a brothel in Nevada, love hotels for married adults in Japan and a bachelor auction in Alaska. You'll meet pop star Mongo Faya of Cameroon... and his 58 wives. Visit Istanbul's Topkapi Palace where the Sultans keep harems of hundreds of wives. Fly to Moscow with a group of American men hoping to bring home just one wife. And check out technology's answer to a troubled marriage: an automatic divorce machine that accepts all major credit cards. Patterns Of Love may change your definition of love. «

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mating with relatives

Johann Sebastian Bach, Edgar Allan Poe, and Albert Einstein all married cousins. Maybe these creative geniuses were on to something. A new study suggests that mating with relatives has reproductive advantages.
Many societies regard inbreeding as taboo. Research seems to back this up, showing that children of related couples are more likely to inherit two copies of disease-causing recessive genes. Other work, however, has shown a positive outcome--namely, that married cousins have more children. But those studies--carried out in India and Pakistan--have not been conclusive because the data are hard to disentangle from social and economic factors. For example, poorer women tend not only to marry relatives but also to marry at a younger age, leaving more (read more>>)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Umbrian Renaissance Pottery and Nano Glazes

Coloured glazes in pottery samples from the Umbrian town of Deruta exploit the reflective properties of minute metal grains to give them a rich lustre, Bruno Brunetti of the University of Perugia and colleagues find. At its peak in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the finely painted ceramics of the Deruta pottery industry were in demand all over Europe.Glazes are basically thin films of coloured glass. Metal salts give colour to a glassy matrix produced by fusing sand alkalis such as soda in the heat of a kiln. Coloured glazes such as blue-glazed stone carvings from the Middle East have been around since at least 4500 BC.
Previous analyses of Umbrian Renaissance pottery showed that they had a chemical composition typical of the period: a mix of sand and alkali, with lead oxide added to reduce shrinkage and cracking.
Particles of metal of between 5 and 100 billionths of a metre across technically, a nanomaterial underlie this effect. Brunetti and colleagues found last year that red-and gold-lustre glazes contain particles of copper and silver, respectively, in this size range.Instead of scattering light, the particles' minute size causes light to bounce off their surface at different wavelengths, giving metallic or iridescent effects.Metal nanoparticles aren't the whole story, the team now finds. The red and gold glazes also contain traces of copper ions in what appear to be finely tuned amounts.Historical evidence for the early nanotechnology survives in the potter's handbook of around 1557, Li tre libri dell'arte del vasaio, by Italian craftsman Cipriano Piccolpasso. Copper and silver salts were mixed with vinegar, ochre (iron oxide) and clay and applied to the surface of pottery already coated with a glaze. A delicately regulated firing technique resulted in a pot with a lustrous surface.(via Nature)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Mazel-Tov , Bob Nechin's sixties look

Photo by Boaz Tal

"After being discharged as a conscientious objector, he lived on communes, worked on ships pushing oil barges on the Ohio River and eventually took up..."

More about Bob Nechin Here

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

E-mail To My Dick

Rodney Carrington performing Letter To My Penis Live during his live show at the Majestic Theater in Dallas
For more Carrington click HERE
For more Penis pick HERE

Tom Lehrer: From Stanislavsky to Lobachevsky

Tom Lehrer on

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Don't Ban Parsley

Alaska is one of 12 U.S. states considering making sage a potent natural hallucinogen sage, illegal.
The hallucinogenic salvia divinorum is not banned by the federal Controlled Substances Act and is only illegal in six states, The Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Saturday.
Republican state Sen. Gene Therriault, who said the substance's effects are dangerously powerful and similar to LSD, has been the heading the charge to ban it in Alaska
A user said the drug made her and her boyfriend "melt to the wall," the newspaper said.(more>>)

Gold and Glass instead of Formica in the Bird Palace

Once upon a time (1400 years ago)in what is now called the Bird Palace in Caesarea in what is now Israel, the gold and opaque glass mosaic panel served as a table.During the course of the excavation, under the direction of Dr. Yosef Porat, the remains of a palace’s rooms were exposed that were paved with mosaics and the glass panel was discovered lying face down on the floor in one of them. The panel was covered by the collapse of the second story that included among other things fragments of mosaic floors, a stone table, pieces of plaster and roof tiles. The panel is dated to the latter part of the Byzantine period (the late sixth century and beginning of the seventh century CE), a date that corresponds with that of the building and the other artifacts that were discovered inside it during the course of the excavation.
A layer of broken ceramic amphorae was arranged neatly along the back side of the panel’s frame so as to elevate it from the middle part of the panel, similar to the edges of stone and marble tables that are characteristic of the period. In light of this the panel is also known as the “gold-glass table”.
The panel is unique in that the glass platelets inlaid in it were made using two techniques: most of the platelets were made by a special technique of ‘gold-glass’; there are platelets that were made of multicolored, opaque glass known as ‘mosaic glass’. The ‘gold-glass’ platelets were made of two layers of glass (the bottom layer four to five millimeters thick and the upper layer less than one millimeter thick) between which is very thin gold foil (so thin it cannot be measured). The ‘gold-glass’ platelets occur in a variety of shapes and sizes: squares, rectangles and triangles. Many of them are decorated with a relief pattern that was made in a mold while the glass was still hot and which stands out from the surface of the platelet.
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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Vardi:if you don't fake an orgasm

Let me start by telling you what I don't look for. I don't look at business plans. After 38 years I've found that 100% of business plans say that their idea is very good. I think they are useless. I also don't like PowerPoint presentations. I don't think you can judge the validity of an idea. Maybe someone else is working on the exact same thing elsewhere. I found the more I liked the idea the bigger my losses were. Falling in love with an idea makes your vision blurry. I don't like demonstrations because the young guys showing me are so enthusiastic they think it is the greatest thing in the world—at least in their life, and if you don't fake an orgasm, they go away very disappointed.

Yossi Vardi is known as Israel's startup guru. For nearly 40 years he has helped to found and nurture over 60 companies in industries that include software, Internet, telecommunications, and energy. At 26, in 1969, he co-founded his first business, Tekem, one of the first software firms in Israel. Vardi was also the founding investor in Mirabilis, which created ICQ, the first Internet-wide instant messaging program. The company was launched in 1996 by his son, Arik, and three friends, and sold to AOL (TWX) in 1998 for about $400 million. The sale helped open the floodgates for numerous Israeli entrepreneurs(read more>>)

Will Scratching Relieve Her Itch?

"Our study shows for the first time how scratching may relieve itch," said lead author Gil Yosipovitch, M.D., a dermatologist who specializes in itch. "It's important to understand the mechanism of relief so we can develop more effective treatments. For some people, itch is a chronic condition that affects overall health."
The study involved 13 healthy participants who underwent testing with functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology that highlights areas of the brain activated during an activity. Participants were scratched on the lower leg with a small brush. The scratching went on for 30 seconds and was then stopped for 30 seconds -- for a total of about five minutes.(scratch more>>)
And Another Itch

Friday, February 1, 2008

Joni Anderson of Saskatoon

Before she was Joni Mitchell she was Joni Anderson of Saskatoon, the fair young maid of Canadian folk music singing on the Oscar Brand hootenany show, Let's Sing Out. "Born to Take the Highway" is unreleased elsewhere, as far as I know. Glimpses of the late Dave Van Ronk, Tom and Harry Chapin and the now octagenarian Oscar Brand are found here. Oscar still hosts a radio show every week out of New York

Joni Anderson married and turned into Joni Mitchell, then began to create songs which have no equal. This transcendently beautiful hymn to a summer romance that collapsed with the season was only first issued as a
B side in the 90's. It was never on an LP. Tom Rush's cover is usually associated with it. This shortened or early version is a live performance on Oscar Brand's Canadian TV show Let's Sing Out. The recorded performance on the CD Hits runs 5 minutes 6 seconds and is worth seeking out. The fellow to Joni's left is Oscar Brand, to her right, Jimmy Driftwood.

10 000 Books and a Decent Stout-only in Ein Hod

Getting the perfect pour on a pint of Guinness is considered part art and part science. Animators at The Mill in London faced a similar challenge when asked to create a Guinness pour out of thousands of books with flipping pages for the commercial "Tipping Point." Set in an Argentinean mountain village, the commercial follows an elaborate domino project that starts in a small house then grows to include everything from wheels to cars to flaming bales of hay. The action culminates in a three dimensional tower of books where the pages flip in sequence to create a dramatic working model of the classic Guinness pour.
To produce this unique commercial the production company of Guinness contracted the world record holder in domino toppling Weijers Domino Productions from the Netherlands.The Guinness ad, directed by Bravia-balls guy Nicolai Fuglsig. Cost a mere 15 (fifteen, that is) million euro (thanks to Judith)
Ein Hod Books and Pottery
Danny's The Best Beer in Ein Hod