Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sex with Other Males and Mated Females

Males without a gene called Gr32a, the gustatory receptor gene, showed normal levels of courtship with virgin females. But in competition with normal (or wild-type) males, they were outperformed by 4 to 1. In fact, the Gr32a-lacking flies courted the male competitors in addition to the females. The scientists also found that the males lacking the Gr32a gene courted females who had already mated. Wild-type males, however, were significantly less attracted by mated females, because mated females have received male pheromones during the first mating. The hapless Gr32a-negative males tried to mate with virgin females even when they had been covered with male pheromones, behavior that the wild-type flies avoided."This gene was very powerful for distinguishing between genders and for determining mating status," said co-author Tetsuya Miyamoto, Ph.D., also of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. "Male pheromone is so effective that Gr32a mutants court males with almost the same intensity as they do females."The GR32a gene is not found in humans. "In general, the development of pheromones in human sexual behavior is not as clear-cut as one would hope," Amrein said. " So I think it is very difficult to make any direct connections between these gene findings in fruit flies and what happens in people."(read more...)

The People of the Book

About 30 rare religious texts, some 300 and 400 years old, were stolen Tuesday night from the Rabbi synagogue in the old city of Safed. The synagogue is estimated to have been established in 1536, when Rabbi Karo arrived in Safed from Toledo. Rabbi Elazar Ben-Shimon, the librarian at the synagogue says rare volumes have accumulated over the centuries. He says it is difficult to assess the value of the books stolen because they cannot be bought, but he said that an expert estimated the value of a single book in the library at $50-100,000.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Women's Satisfaction

Some age milestones:
41: Age at which men's financial satisfaction exceeds women's financial satisfaction
48: Age at which men's overall happiness exceeds women's overall happiness
64: Age at which men's satisfaction with family life exceeds women's satisfaction

Less able to achieve their life goals, women end up unhappier than men later in life – even though they start out happier.
The saddest period of the average man's life – his 20s – is also the period when he is most likely to be single.
Young men are also more dissatisfied than young women with their financial situations, not because they are worse off, but because they want more and therefore experience a greater "shortfall," the researchers explain.
But age alters many things, including men's money woes and lackluster love lives.
After 34, men are more likely to be married than women, and the gap only widens with age, mirroring men's growing satisfaction with family life.
Men also become more satisfied with their financial situations over time, as reflected in their increased spending power. The researchers found that men tend to covet big-ticket items that might not be within reach until later in life, such as a car or vacation home.(read more...)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Take the Fifth

Prof. James Duane of the Regent University School of Law explains why even angels devoid of the slightest moral blemish should never speak to police officers, tax collectors or other law-enforcement agents investigating crimes. Duane assumes no malice on the part of the police -- just human failings and motivations. In a 27-minute lecture, he details the legal pitfalls people can wander into even by telling the absolute truth.(read more...)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Richter, Duchamp, Ray, Leger, Calder, Ernst and Page

Dreams That Money Can Buy is a 1947 American experimental feature color film written, produced, and directed by surrealist artist and dada film-theorist Hans Richter.
Each of the seven surreal dream sequences in the diegesis is in fact the creation of a contemporary avant-garde and/or surrealist artist, as follows:
Desire Max Ernst (Director/Writer)
The Girl with the Prefabricated Heart Fernand Léger (Director/Writer)
Ruth, Roses and Revolvers Man Ray (Director/Writer)
Discs Marcel Duchamp (Writer)
Ballet Alexander Calder (Director/Writer)
Circus Alexander Calder (Writer)
Narcissus Hans Richter (Director/Writer)
The film won the Award for the Best Original Contribution to the Progress of Cinematography at the 1947 Venice Film Festival.(read more...)

A famous book you haven't read

Humiliation, the game is called. And that's what it inflicts. You have to confess to a famous book you haven't read - and there's no opportunity for sly self-congratulation.
You can't just plead that, gosh, though you simply ADORE Perec you blush to admit you only got halfway through La Disparation in the original French
During this year's Ways With Words festival at Dartington Hall, Devon, we would collar our guests and ask: what's the book you're most ashamed of never having read?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A director of a lithography studio in Ein Hod !?

Bruce Degen is a children's literature author and illustrator. He is probably best known as the illustrator of The Magic School Bus series of books, by Joanna Cole. He has collaborated with Nancy White Charstrom on the popular Jesse Bear books, and the Caldecott Medal winning Commander Toad series by Jane Yolen. Degan has authored Jamberry, Daddy Is a Doodlebug, and Shirley's Wonderful Baby.
He was encouraged by an elementary school teacher to become an illustrator, and pursue his primary love for art found in children’s books ; his career has included such diverse activities as advertising design, teaching art to students, teaching children's book illustration to adults, painting scenery for opera productions, and running a lithography studio in Ein Hod, Israel. Mr. Degen currently lives in Connecticut.(read more...)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Giving Birth Through a Penis

Consider the sex life of the spotted hyena, depicted in three shocking photographs at New York's Museum of Sex (MoSex).
You'll find it difficult not to notice that both the male and female have penises. The female, it turns out, has a scrotal sack too. For reproductive purposes, the male transfers his sperm through the female's penis, which doubles as her clitoris.
``When the male inserts himself into the female, it looks like a mid-air refueling,'' Joan Roughgarden, a professor of evolutionary biology at Stanford University, said in an interview.
Roughgarden and other scholars were enlisted by the museum to help curate and lend a scholarly tone to ``The Sex Lives of Animals,'' which aims to be more than a ``Wild Kingdom'' peep show.(read more...)

Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her Gospel Guitar

Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915 – October 9, 1973) was a pioneering Gospel singer, songwriter and recording artist who attained great popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and early rock accompaniment. She became the first great recording star of Gospel music in the late 1930s and also became known as the "original soul sister" of recorded music.
A number of musicians, ranging from Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to Isaac Hayes and Aretha Franklin, have identified her—or, more particularly, her singing, guitar playing and showmanship—as an important influence on them. Little Richard referred to the stomping, shouting Gospel music legend as his favorite singer when he was a child. In 1945, she heard Richard sing prior to her concert at the Macon City Auditorium and later invited him on stage to sing with her. Following the show, she paid him for his performance.[3] Johnny Cash's daughter Rosanne similarly stated in an interview with Larry King that Tharpe was her father's favorite singer. She was held in particularly high esteem by UK jazz/blues singer George Melly.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Smoke of Chimneys is the breath of Soviet Russia

Collection of Russian and Ukrainian posters, 1917-1921.
The Library's early Soviet posters contain several examples by internationally-recognized graphic artists such as Dmitrii Moor (Orlov), artist and poet Vladimir Maiakovskii (who visited NYPL in 1928), and Viktor Deni (Denisov). The holdings represent one of the largest assemblages of such posters outside of Russia, comparable only to the Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, California, and the Lundell Collection in Uppsala, Sweden.
The graphic artistry encountered in many of these cheaply produced posters has captivated critics and collectors for decades. The visual boldness and departure from established tradition were in themselves statements of how much had changed since the Revolutions of 1917. Artists who had been on the "fringe" before the Revolution moved center stage, and would remain there until the imposition of Socialist Realism under Stalin in the late 1930s. (from NYPL)
...90 years later

Tom Stern:

I did this video for a Russian Metal Band called ANJ. It is pretty crazy. When I saw the lyrics it seemed to be an earnest tribute to Mikael Gorbachov (that's how the Russians spell it), so I was a bit confounded about what the video concept should be, but then I had a brainstorm to take it way over the top and I think it was just the thing. Suffice to say it's half Russian History allegory as told through an old zombie movie made in the Soviet Union, and half animated Soviet Propaganda posters.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Borge: What Does A Conductor Do?

Victor Borge was born in Copenhagen, Denmark January 3, 1909, the son of Bernhard and Frederikke Rosenbaum. He was named Børge Rosenbaum, and his musical talent was no surprise as his father was a musician in the Royal Danish Chapel.
He was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Music by Olivo Krause, and later by Victor Schiøler, Frederic Lamond and Egon Petri. He had his piano debut in 1926 at "Odd Fellow Palæet" in Copenhagen and was recognized as a very talented musician.
During the 1930's he became one of Denmark's most popular artists. He started his career as a classical pianist, but his talent for making the audience laugh was soon obvious, and he started developing his unique blend of humor and music. He had his revue debut in 1933 and his film debut in 1937.
In 1940 he was forced to leave Denmark, and he traveled from Petsano to New York. Although he didn't speak English he soon managed to "translate" his humor, and he performed for the first time in Bing Crosby's radio show in 1941.
In 1942 he was pronounced "the best new radio performer of the year" by the American press, and his radio and TV shows became extremely popular. He became an American citizen in 1948, and had his own show, "Comedy in Music", at The Golden Theatre, New York 1953-56.

He had performed as soloist and conductor with leading orchestras from 1956, and has performed as Opera Conductor, e.g. Magic Flute, Cleveland Orchestra, 1979 and The Royal Danish Theatre, 1992.
He established several trusts, and he received numerous honorable awards and honors. He was the patron of The Danish Royal Academy of Music Children’s Choir.
With Robert Sherman he was the author of My Favorite Intermissions (1971) and My Favorite Comedies in Music (1981).
Victor Borge died at home in his sleep, December 23rd, 2000.

Funny Golden Girl

Estelle Getty of 'Golden Girls' Dies at 84The Associated PressEstelle Getty, the diminutive actress who spent 40 years struggling for success before landing a role of a lifetime in 1985 as the sarcastic Sophia on "The Golden Girls," has died. She was 84. She would have been 85 on Friday.Her son says she died early Tuesday at home in Los Angeles. He says she suffered from advanced dementia.Getty spent 40 years struggling for success before landing the role of a lifetime in 1985, playing the sarcastic Sophia on "The Golden Girls." The role won her two Emmys.
Born Estelle Scher to Polish immigrants in New York, Getty fell in love with theater when she saw a vaudeville show at age 4.
Getty had gained a knack for one-liners in her late teens when she did standup comedy at a Catskills hotel. Female comedians were rare in those days, however, and she bombed. Undeterred, she continued to pursue a career in entertainment, and while her parents were encouraging, her father also insisted that she learn office skills so she would have something to fall back on
She started her career acting for the Yiddish theater, beofre appearing in small parts in a handful of films and TV movies, including Tootsie, Deadly Force and Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Montreux 1969: Ella

In 1967, the first Montreux Jazz Festival opened its doors. The festival was held at Montreux Casino, which burned down in December 1971 during Frank Zappa's performance. ("Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple tells that story.)
It lasted for three days and featured almost exclusively jazz artists. The highlights of this era were Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Evans, Soft Machine, Weather Report, Nina Simone, Jan Garbarek, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Originally a pure jazz festival, it opened up in the 1970s and today presents artists of nearly every imaginable music style. Jazz remains an important part of the festival. Today's festival lasts about two weeks and attracts an audience of more than 200,000 people.

My Prayers Are Answered!

How to balance your pig-in-a-blanket with your Dom Perignon...
that is the question. Fortunately, we’ve got the answer charming
little plates with rings that fit right on your finger. Now you can
balance your glass and your hors d’ouevres, and look positively
in control the whole time. Genius! One size fits most, twelve
reusable plates per handy peggable pack.
Design: Ken Goldman

Saturday, July 19, 2008

210 Vitamins a Day

Ray walked on stage, played a composition on an old upright piano, and then whispered to I've Got a Secret host Steve Allen "I built my own computer".
"Well that's impressive," Steve Allen replied, "but what does that have to do with the piece you just played?" Ray then whispered the rest of his secret: "The computer composed the piece I just played." During the yes or no questions, former Miss America Bess Myerson was stumped, but film star Henry Morgan, the second celebrity panelist, guessed Ray's secret.(read more..)
Kurzweil does not believe in half measures. He takes 180 to 210 vitamin and mineral supplements a day, so many that he doesn't have time to organize them all himself. So he's hired a pill wrangler, who takes them out of their bottles and sorts them into daily doses, which he carries everywhere in plastic bags. Kurzweil also spends one day a week at a medical clinic, receiving intravenous longevity treatments. The reason for his focus on optimal health should be obvious: If the singularity is going to render humans immortal by the middle of this century, it would be a shame to die in the interim. To perish of a heart attack just before the singularity occurred would not only be sad for all the ordinary reasons, it would also be tragically bad luck, like being the last soldier shot down on the Western Front moments before the armistice was proclaimed. (read more...)

Book Obsessed on Allenby St.

Hebrew Bibliomaniacs On Israeli TV
Bibliomania is an obsessive-compulsive disorder involving the collecting or hoarding of books to the point where social relations or health are damaged. One of several psychological disorders associated with books, bibliomania is characterized by the collecting of books which have no use to the collector nor any great intrinsic value to a genuine book collector. The purchase of multiple copies of the same book and edition and the accumulation of books beyond possible capacity of use or enjoyment are frequent symptoms of bibliomania.

American Bibliomaniacs
Bibliomania is not to be confused with bibliophily, which is the usual love of books and is not considered a clinical psychological disorder.
Other abnormal behaviours involving books include book-eating (bibliophagy), compulsive book-stealing (bibliokleptomania), book-burying (bibliotaphy), bibliocaust, etc.

Friday, July 18, 2008

You shall not marry your wife's sister

J. Jacobs is a New York Times bestselling author, Esquire editor and human guinea pig.
Among Jacobs’ life experiments:
--The Know-It-All. The bestselling memoir of the year he spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in a quest to become the smartest person in the world.
--The Year of Living Biblically. The soon-to-be-released book about his life as the ultimate biblical man. He followed every rule of the Bible, from the Ten Commandments down to stoning adulterers.
--"My Outsourced Life". An Esquire article about hiring a team of people in Bangalore, India to live his life for him – answer his emails, call his coworkers, argue with his wife, and read bedtime stories to his son.
--"My Life as a Hot Woman". A quest to find his beautiful nanny a boyfriend. The method? By impersonating her on an online dating site.
--"I Think You’re Fat". An immersion into the bizarre, entertaining and terrifying world of Radical Honesty – which means removing the filter between your brain and mouth.Jacobs is the editor at large at Esquire magazine. He has written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, New York magazine and Dental Economics magazine, one of the top five magazines about the financial side of toothcare.
In 2004, Simon & Schuster plublished the Know-It-All. It subsequently spent eight weeks on the New York Times paperback bestseller list. It was praised by Time magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Janet Maslin in the New York Times and AJ’s uncle Henry on
Jacobs grew up in New York City. His father is a lawyer who holds the world record for the most footnotes in a law review article (4,824). His wife works for a highbrow scavenger hunt called Watson Adventures. He lives in New York. He wonders if he fooled anyone with this third-person thing, or if everyone knows that he wrote this bio himself. (read more...)

Hey diddle diddle, I am playin' my fiddle

More than 10,000 people are descending on a 17th century castle to watch a line-up including rock and roll legend Chuck Berry, singer Kate Nash and alternative band The Flaming Lips.The organisers behind the Bestival on the Isle of Wight, Hants, have turned their sights to the family audience with the launch of Camp Bestival in the grounds of Lulworth Castle, Dorset.The inaugural three-day event, set amidst the World HeritagADVERTISEMENTe Jurassic coastline, kicks off with headliner Chuck Berry, The Cuban Brothers, Florence and The Machine and DJ Krust.
The festival is aimed at "yummy mummies" with boutique camping including custom-furnished tipis, yurts and gypsy caravans, barbecues, camp fires and a Dorset farmers' market.(read more..)
St. Louis, 1986. For Chuck Berry's 60th, Keith Richards assembles a pickup band of Robert Cray, Joey Spampinato, Eric Clapton, himself, and long-time Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson. Joined on stage by Etta James, Linda Ronstadt, and Julian Lennon, Berry performs his classic rock songs. His abilities as a composer, lyricist, singer, musician, and entertainer are on display and, in behind-the-scenes interviews, are discussed by Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bruce Springstein, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, and others. There's even a rarity for Berry, a rehearsal. Archival footage from the early 1950s and a duet with John Lennon round out this portrait of a master

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rock and Roll: The Early Days

A History of Rock and Roll from its origins up to the early 1960's. Includes performances by Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, The Treniers, Big Joe Turner,and others. Narrated by John Heard. Written by Patrick Montgomery

Meshal Ha-Kadmoni : Rare Hebrew fable book

(from Oxford Digital Library)
Rare Hebrew fable book by the 13th century Hebrew poet, scholar and cabbalist, Isaac ben Solomon Abi Sahula (born 1244). His fables were originally written in 1281 with the intention to replace the light foreign literature with an original Hebrew literary work. The fables came from India, from the 'Pantscha Tantra', very popular among Jews in the Middle Ages. Sahula imitated in his translation the structure and presentation of the original 'Pantscha Tantra' or 'Bidpai' fables, but inserted a large amount of popular and scientific knowledge into the fables. In the present series of satirical debates between cynics and moralists, put into the mouths of animals, the moralist always triumphs. The debates on subjects such as time, the soul, medicine, astronomy and astrology, largely reflect human foibles, political compromise and court intrigues. The fables provide a most unusual introduction into the intellectual and social universe of the Sephardic Jewish world of 13th-century Spain.
גם ספרי חול עבריים נדפסו בתקופה זו באיטליה, ואף הם נחשבים אינקונבלות . ובהם "ספר המחברות" של עמנואל הרומי, הידועות כ"מחברות עמנואל", נדפס לראשונה בשנת 1492.
וכן ספר "משל הקדמוני" המכיל סיפורים משעשעים בחרוזים, שנכתב על ידי הפילוסוף, הרופא והמקובל רבי יצחק בן שלמה אבן סהולה, הספר נכתב בשנת 1281 והודפס לראשונה בשנת 1491 בעיר ברישא באיטליה והיה הספר העברי הראשון שהכיל ציורים

"The wondrous fables of Ibn Sahula in Meshal haqadmoni, presented here in English for the first time, provide a most unusual introduction to the intellectual and social universe of the Sephardi Jewish world of thirteenth-century Spain. Ibn Sahula wrote his fables in rhymed prose, here rendered into English as rhymed couplets. They comprise a series of satirical debates between a cynic and a moralist, put into the mouths of animals; the moralist always triumphs. The debates, which touch on such subjects as time, the soul, the physical sciences and medicine, astronomy, and astrology, amply reflect human foibles, political compromise, and court intrigue. They are suffused throughout with traditional Jewish law and lore, a flavour reinforced by the profusion of biblical quotations reapplied."

Nature Sucks! Bookworm Vipera palaestinae got The Mouse

These cute customers surprised me yesterday in my bookstore

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Private Library

In 2002 Bravo’s Arts and Minds shot this piece on my career as a private librarian. The channel, then devoted to the arts, was purchased by NBC and remodeled into a vehicle for Reality based TV – Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Project Runway – and never showed in the US.
My family and I have since moved from Brooklyn Heights to Sugar Hill in Washington Heights/Harlem, where in 2005 I opened Jumel Terrace Books. The out-of-print and rare shop specializes in local history: African and American.
The Private Library is now in its 28th year providing services to Bibliophiles: cataloguing, bibliography, appraisals, archival services, organization, moving, book searches and research. We specialize in made-to-order and custom made libraries on all subjects

(read more...)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Can Nurses Be Wrong?

In “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions” (Harper; $25.95), Dan Ariely, a professor at M.I.T., offers a taxonomy of financial folly. His approach is empirical rather than historical or theoretical. In pursuit of his research, Ariely has served beer laced with vinegar, left plates full of dollar bills in dorm refrigerators, and asked undergraduates to fill out surveys while masturbating. He claims that his experiments, and others like them, reveal the underlying logic to our illogic. “Our irrational behaviors are neither random nor senseless—they are systematic,” he writes. “We all make the same types of mistakes over and over.” So attached are we to certain kinds of errors, he contends, that we are incapable even of recognizing them as errors. Offered FREE shipping, we take it, even when it costs us.
As an academic discipline, Ariely’s field—behavioral economics—is roughly twenty-five years old. It emerged largely in response to work done in the nineteen-seventies by the Israeli-American psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. (Ariely, too, grew up in Israel.) When they examined how people deal with uncertainty, Tversky and Kahneman found that there were consistent biases to the responses, and that these biases could be traced to mental shortcuts, or what they called “heuristics.” Some of these heuristics were pretty obvious—people tend to make inferences from their own experiences, so if they’ve recently seen a traffic accident they will overestimate the danger of dying in a car crash—but others were more surprising, even downright wacky. For instance, Tversky and Kahneman asked subjects to estimate what proportion of African nations were members of the United Nations. They discovered that they could influence the subjects’ responses by spinning a wheel of fortune in front of them to generate a random number: when a big number turned up, the estimates suddenly swelled.(read more...)

Faked Phaistos

In July of 1908, Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier was excavating at the Minoan site of Phaistos when he stumbled upon one of the great enigmas of archaeology: The Phaistos Disk.
The Phaistos Disk is a flat circular disk of about 15 centimeters (six inches) in diameter and made of fired clay. Both sides of this disk have been stamped with a series of mysterious symbols that have been compared to various languages over the last century, including at least ten symbols from Linear A, but also other languages from other times and places including Linear B, Proto-Ionian, Anatolian, Semitic, and Indo-European, among many others.
Jerome M. Eisenberg, writing in the July/August issue of the magazine Minerva, provides a compilation of the scholarly (and non-scholarly) ideas about and attempted translations of the disk, and concludes that the disk is a forgery.
Dr Eisenberg, who has conducted appraisals for the US Treasury Department and the J. Paul Getty Museum, highlighted the forger's error in creating a terracotta “pancake” with a cleanly cut edge. Nor, he added, should it have been fired so perfectly. “Minoan clay tablets were not fired purposefully, only accidentally,” he said. “Pernier may not have realised this.”
Each side of the disc bears a bar composed of four or five dots which one scholar described as “the oldest example of the use of natural punctuation”.
Dr Eisenberg believes that it was added to lead scholars astray — “another oddity to puzzle them, and a common trick among forgers”. The Greek authorities have refused to give Dr Eisenberg permission to examine the disc outside its display case,
(read more...)

A Forger and an Artist

The pianist Glenn Gould (1932-1982) profoundly affected the way people hear, perceive and appreciate music in one of the most unique and fascinating careers in the modern history of classical music. For most of his mature career, Gould did not perform live, reaching his audience instead through a remarkable legacy of recordings and broadcasts.

IN AN UNGUARDED MOMENT some months ago, I predicted that the public concert as we know it today would no longer exist a century hence, that its functions would have been entirely taken over by electronic media. It had not occurred to me that this statement represented a particularly radical pronouncement. Indeed, I regarded it almost as self-evident truth and, in any case, as defining only one of the peripheral effects occasioned by developments in the electronic age. But never has a statement of mine been so widely quoted -- or so hotly disputed.

The furor it occasioned is, I think, indicative of an endearing, if sometimes frustrating, human characteristic reluctance to accept the consequences of a new technology. I have no idea whether this trait is, on balance, an advantage or a liability, incurable or correctable. Perhaps the escalation of invention must always be disciplined by some sort of emotional short-selling. Perhaps skepticism is the necessary obverse of progress. Perhaps, for that reason, the idea of progress is, as at no time in the past, today in question.

Hans Van Meegeren was a forger and an artisan who, for a long time, has been high on my list of private heroes. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the magnificent morality play which was his trial perfectly epitomizes the confrontation between those values of identity and of personal-responsibility-for-authorship which post-Renaissance art has until recently accepted and those pluralistic values which electronic forms assert. In the 1930s, Van Meegeren decided to apply himself to a study of Vermeer's techniques and -- for reasons undoubtedly having more to do with an enhancement of his ego than with greed for guilders -- distributed the works thus achieved as genuine, if long-lost, masterpieces. His prewar success was so encouraging that during the German occupation he continued apace with sales destined for private collectors in the Third Reich. With the coming of V.E. Day, he was charged with collaboration as well as with responsibility for the liquidation of national treasures. In his defense, Van Meegeren confessed that these treasures were but his own invention and, by the values this world applies, quite worthless -- an admission which so enraged the critics and historians who had authenticated his collection in the first place that he was rearraigned on charges of forgery and some while later passed away in prison


Monday, July 14, 2008

Lidantiu faram:Iliazd and the Illustrated Book

Within original illustrated wrappers with a collage by Granovskii of onlaid gold and silver paper, cork and synthetic material. Text includes letterpress typographic designs by Iliazd. Iliazd published the play shortly after he moved to Paris from Russia. "The play, which combines slapstick with the solution of aesthetic unquestionably a masterpiece of the Russian poetic avant-garde." (Markov) While the colophon states that 530 copies were made, only about 150 are said to have been printed.
His full name was Ilia Zdanevitch. He was born in Tiflis, Georgia, in 1894, and went on to excel as poet, geographer, book designer, mountain climber, printer, publisher, fabric designer for Sonia Delaunay and Coco Chanel, pioneer dismantler of language, idiosyncratic stage performer and organizer in the early 1920's of some of the last of the great classic artists' balls. In none of all this was he in the least like anyone else. (His marriage in 1942 to a Nigerian princess may be advanced as further proof of that.) A founder member of what has come to be known as Russian Futurism, Iliazd got up in the Polytechnical Museum in Moscow when he was only 19 and told his listeners that ''an American show is more beautiful than the Venus of Milo.'' In the same year, he emphasized the unity of mankind and architecture by painting house numbers on his face and going out in the street. Fired by the expressive potential of vocables that had broken free of conventional meaning, he aspired to compose ballets in which the steps would be determined not by music, but by simultaneous recitation in which every syllable would stand for a step and ''the acceleration of the vowels, with or without accentuation, would determine the character of that step.''(read more..)

Too darn Hot

Conceptually speaking, air conditioning has been around since the first primitive humans ducked into cool, damp caves to take refuge from summer heat. But aside from fans of various shapes and sizes, the technology of temperature control didn’t progress beyond the stone age until the 1830s. That’s when John Gorrie, a doctor from Florida, decided to do something about the stifling heat in his hospital, which he reasoned wasn’t doing his malaria and yellow fever infected patients much good. In response, he created a simple contraption that was little more than a fan that blew over a bucket full of ice—and though it was mighty inefficient, it worked.
A more complex device was rigged up in the bedroom of dying president James Garfield in 1881. Naval engineers constructed a kind of box filled with ice water-soaked rags. A fan blew hot air overhead, forcing the cool air to stay low to the floor, where the ailing president’s bed was. Half a million pounds of ice and two months later, the president was dead, though the engineers had succeeded in lowering the room’s temperature an average of twenty degrees during that time.
But those were experiments, not the norm. Refrigeration first came into common use in some large cities during the late 1800s, typically piped from a central cooling station to meat lockers, keg rooms and even bank vaults where important documents were stored. “Manufactured air,” as it was known, was primarily an industrial-use phenomenon until the turn of the century, when men like Willis Carrier, an engineer and air conditioning pioneer, began to experiment with systems practical for use in commercial and residential spaces. The key was precise control of the temperature-humidity relationship in the air, achieved by a series of chilled coils that both lowered temperature and the moisture level. His invention, built for the Brooklyn-based Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company, was called the “Apparatus for Treating Air,” and it kick-started a revolution. (read more...)

I'm Steve Suffet ...

I'm Steve Suffet and I call myself an old fashioned folksinger. I was born in 1947, and I've been singing as far back as I can remember. My Mom was a jazz singer and she played the ukulele. She couldn't stand what she called "hillbilly music," so rebel that I was, when I was about five years old I used to insist on listening to Tennessee Ernie Ford sing Sixteen Tons. Around the same time I got a harmonica as a gift and I went around tooting it just to annoy people. Eventually, I learned to play a few simple tunes, like Oh, Susannah, and that drove everyone even crazier.
My Mom showed me a few chords on the ukulele, but I really never got into it. However, when I was in high school I spent $17 and bought a Harmony Stella guitar, and from then on I was completely hooked. I started hanging out in New York City's Washington Square Park and I tried to absorb everything I heard. In a year or two I got my courage up to start performing in public. I never stopped.
The stuff I do I call folk music, but if you would rather call it roots music, or traditional music, or old time music, or even hillbilly music, that's OK with me. Essentially I take any song I like, from whatever source, and sing it in a manner that suits me. Sometimes I change the tune a little, and sometimes I change the words. More and more I find that I'm making up my own songs, but they always sound traditional. Old fashioned folksinger suits me just fine.(more suffet...)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Is it Legal In Ein Hod?

In Wednesday's 5-2 decision, the high court said Wisconsin law makes sex acts with dead people illegal because they are unable to give consent.
The ruling reinstates the attempted sexual assault charges against twin brothers Nicholas and Alexander Grunke and Dustin Radke, all 22. The charges carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.
Justice Patience Roggensack, writing a majority opinion with three other justices, said state law bans sexual intercourse with anyone who does not give consent "whether a victim is dead or alive at the time."
"A reasonably well-informed person would understand the statute to prohibit sexual intercourse with a dead person," she wrote.
Jefren Olsen, an attorney who represented Radke, said the decision was flawed because the law was never intended to punish necrophilia.
"Obviously, the facts are rather notorious and not the easiest to deal with," he said. "I assume that had some impact."
Police say the three men, carrying shovels, a crowbar and a box of condoms, went to a cemetery in southwestern Wisconsin in 2006 to dig up the body of Laura Tennessen, 20, who had been killed the week before in a motorcycle crash.
Nicholas Grunke had seen an obituary photo of her and asked the others for help digging up her corpse so he could have sexual intercourse with it, prosecutors say.
Authorities say the men used shovels to reach her grave but were unable to pry open the vault. They fled when a car drove into the cemetery and were eventually arrested.
The men were charged with attempted third-degree sexual assault and misdemeanor attempted theft charges. The case has been on hold as prosecutors appealed the dismissal of the assault charges.
Suzanne Edwards, a lawyer representing Nicholas Grunke, said she was disappointed in the decision. She said the men will be arraigned on the charges and have a chance to plead not guilty.
The law in Wisconsin had been murky, and two dissenting justices insisted Wednesday that lawmakers did not mean to ban necrophilia but to allow assault charges when someone was raped and then killed(from AP)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From Druze to Dada

Road to Ein Hod.(כביש מדאלית אל-כרמל לעין הוד)
First 30 ad.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jasmin's Wall

The Ein Hod Gate: 1996 Golden Calf

Directed by Doron Shapiro.
Nobuya Yamaguchi has been working with metal for 20 years, creating sculptures and forged iron works and designs including Ein-Hod's sculpture-gate.
Four years ago, he started to be interested in the sounds of the metal while forging it and created several sculptures that produced various sounds when spectators hit them like gongs or xlylogong. Both were in the exhibition "Sculpture as Play, by the Art museums Forum)
Nobuya continued to search for new sounds within the metal, though hearing about Steel- Pan –a melodic percussion instrument originated in Trinidad, in the Caribbean islands.
During his last visit to Japan he happened to meet Master Michael Robinson –Steel - Pan maker and tuner from Trinidad that lives, performs and teaches in Japan.
Nobuya learned the art of pan –making and tuning and
started to make his own instruments in his workshop in Ein-Carmel.
"Tuning the instrument is also tuning oneself" he says.
Workshops and concerts of steel – Pan are held for groups and individuals and it is also possible to purchase Original hand – made steel Pan in the workshop.(read more...)

Jack Pajack and Kirkas Kiss

Jack Pajack joins Kirkas Kiss (Pocket Circus in hebrew)is the name of a theatre group from Ein Hod. Yael and Alain Koginsky, both members of UNIMA, founded the group, create the puppets props and costumes, produce and act in its shows.
The repertoire includes puupet shows for all ages as well as street events with giant puppets & actors..
Kirkas Kiss productions have toured in all National and International festivals all over Israel (The Israel Festival of Jerusalem 1998 & 1999 , the Acco Fringe Theatre Festival 1997 & 1998, the International Street Theatre Festival of Holon 1996, 1999 & 2000,), the Jerusalem International Puppet Festival (2001) & many more.
Kirkas Kiss productions include puppet theatre productions such as"The Cabaret Circus Show" & "The story of Yekutiel & Mitzi" and street theatre shows featuring giant puppets such as in" The Royal Colour Parade".(read more...)

Tali Cohen and Ein Hod

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Angels in Ein Hod

ממערת האצבע אנו ממשיכים לעין הוד, בכניסה יוצרים קשר עם הד שמואלי אחד מ"מלאכי השביל" ושואלים במה הוא יכול לסייע בידינו. קבלנו רשימה של כעשרה חבר'ה, פזורים על פני הארץ כולה, אשר בהתנדבות מסייעים בידי מטיילי "שביל ישראל" בחזקת מצווה לשם מצווה וזכו לכינוי "מלאכי השביל".
הד, בחור טוב מראה כבן שלושים ופסל באומנותו לוקח אותנו לביתו, מכיר לנו את אשתו בת אל, אתיופית יפהפייה ומקסימה ובנם התינוק שניאור ומרעיפים עלינו מכל טוב, אוכל טעים, מקלחת ומקום לינה. מצטרפת אלינו נגה האנרגטית, תושבת המקום שהייתה ממדריכות הטיול להודו בו נטלתי חלק לפני כשנה וחצי ואנו מבלים ערב נחמד.

via E-mago

Aztec Ocarinas of Death

Scientists were fascinated by the ghostly find: a human skeleton buried in an Aztec temple with a clay, skull-shaped whistle in each bony hand.
But no one blew into the noisemakers for nearly 15 years. When someone finally did, the shrill, windy screech made the spine tingle.If death had a sound, this was it.
Roberto Velazquez believes the Aztecs played this mournful wail from the so-called Whistles of Death before they were sacrificed to the gods.
The 66-year-old mechanical engineer has devoted his career to recreating the sounds of his pre-Columbian ancestors, producing hundreds of replicas of whistles, flutes and wind instruments unearthed in Mexico's ruins.
Velazquez is part of a growing field of study that includes archaeologists, musicians and historians. Medical doctors are interested too, believing the Aztecs may have used sound to treat illnesses.
The modern-day archaeologists who came up with the term Whistles of Death believe they were meant to help the deceased journey into the underworld, while tribes are said to have emitted terrifying sounds to fend off enemies, much like high-tech crowd-control devices available today.
Experts also believe pre-Columbian tribes used some of the instruments to send the human brain into a dream state and treat certain illnesses. The ancient whistles could guide research into how rhythmic sounds alter heart rates and states of consciousness.
Among Velazquez's replicas are those that emit a strange cacophony so strong that their frequency nears the maximum range of human hearing.
Chronicles by Spanish priests from the 1500s described the Aztec and Mayan sounds as sad and doleful, although these may have been only what was played in their presence.
(read more...)
In our Ein Hod "Always Open" pottery we make ocarinas for live people.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dead Erection

Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina Senator whose courtly manner and mossy drawl barely masked a hard-edged conservatism that opposed civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art, died July 4, 2008. He was 86.
Citing the "proliferation of immoral and offensive material throughout America's museums and schools," and waving placards emblazoned with agit-prop fotocollage reading, "diE KUnst ISt tOT, DadA ubEr aLLes" ("Art is dead, dada over all"), a coalition of leading Republican congressional conservatives and early 20th-century Dadaists declared war on art in a joint press conference Monday.
Anti-art crusaders Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Dadaist provocateur Tristan Tzara call for the dismantling of the institutions regulating public art in a joint press conference Monday.
Calling for the elimination of federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts; the banning of offensive art from museums and schools; and the destruction of the "hoax of reason" in our increasingly random, irrational and meaningless age, the Republicans and Dadaists were unified in their condemnation of the role of the artist in society today.
"Homosexuals and depraved people of every stripe are receiving federal monies at taxpayer expense for the worst kind of filth imaginable," said U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), a longtime NEA critic.
Dadaist Jean Arp agreed. "Dada is, like nature, without meaning. Dada is for nature and against art," he said.
Added nonsense-poet Hugo Ball, founder of Zurich's famed Cabaret Voltaire: "...'dada' ('Dada'). Adad Dada Dada Dada." Donning an elaborate, primitivist painted paper mask, he then engaged reporters in a tragico-absurd dance, contorting wildly while bellowing inanities.
Helms, well known for his opposition to arts funding, was adamant in his demand for the elimination of the NEA from the national budget.
"The American people will no longer stand for vulgar, nonsensical displays that masquerade as art," said Helms, who, along with U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), demanded the passage of obscenity laws granting police and government officials broader powers in the prosecution and censorship of art.
In a show of solidarity with the Republican legislators, Andre Breton, who founded the surrealist movement in 1923, fired a pistol at random into the crowd, conceptually evoking the hideous irrationality of the collective unconscious and wounding Hatch.
Urging reporters to "imagine a boot stamping on a face, eternally," Breton, along with Max Picabia, the most radical anti-art proponent within the Dadaist camp, then theatrically demonstrated Helms' vision. In a collaborative staged "manifestation," Picabia pencilled a series of drawings, which Breton erased as Picadia went along.
"So-called modern art is, at its core, an absurd and purposeless exercise," Helms said, echoing the Dadaists' illustration of the meaninglessness of art. He then announced the Gramm-Helms Decency Act, a bill that would facilitate the legal prosecution of obscenity, as well as establish stiffer penalities for the creators and exhibitors of "morally objectionable works."
Dadaist leaders were even more strident than Helms, stressing the need for the elimination of not only art, but also of dada itself. "To be a Dadaist means to be against dada," Arp said. "Dada equals anti-dada." Urging full-scale rioting, the assembled Dadaists called for their own destruction, each of them alternately running into the audience to pelt those still on stage with tomatoes.
In a gesture honoring Helms and the new bill, seminal anti-artist Marcel Duchamp drew a moustache and beard on a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Duchamp titled the resultant image "L.H.O.O.Q.," a series of initials which, when pronounced in French, forms the sentence "Helms au chaud au cul," or "Helms has hot pants."
Centered in Berlin, Paris and Zurich, the Dadaist movement was launched as a reaction of revulsion to the senseless butchery of World War I. "While the guns rumbled in the distance," Arp said, "we had a dim premonition that power-mad gangsters would one day use art itself as a means of deadening men's minds."
When told of Arp's comments, Helms said he was "fairly certain" that he concurred.
(from onion)

The merry cemetery of Sapanta

The merry cemetery of Sapanta has been, for more than fifty years, the creation of sculptor Stan Patras, the successor of several generations of wood artists that bequeathed their trade from father to son.
In the beginning he sculpted about ten crosses a year. The method of work has been preserved unaltered to thisday. The oak wood is cut into beams that are then allowed to dry one or two years. Next they are hewn into 10-cm thick planks, 2.20 m long and 30-40 cm wide, ranged in stacks, and allowed to dry for some months more. Then the sculptor begins his work: first he draws the geometrical motifs and the bas-relief dedicated to the deceased, then he sculpts and paints the cross in blue - a symbol of hope and freedom. In 1934, Patras began to scribble an epitaph on the crosses. Usually it is a short poem written in the first person, dotted with archaisms,
vernacular phrases and...spelling errors.

The sculptor-poet's source of inspiration is the two-three night wake. The relatives of the dead person do not mourn, but drink and make merry. The entire life of the village is featured in this cemetery. The shepherd, the farmer, the wood ranger, the wood cutter, or the pupil stand side by eternally, with the weaver, the spinner, the housewife, the merchant, the carpenter, the doctor, the musician or the drunk. This colective memory of Sapanta, this ensemble of colourful graves where each dead peson recounts humbly his/her existence with its joys and sorrows, creates a serene and merry atmosphere, a sort of challenge to death, a hymn to life.

Lenka Reinerova - The Last Yekke

Lenka Reinerova, the last of Prague's circle of authors who wrote in German, has died.She died Friday in Prague, Czech public radio said. She was 92.Reinerova was one of a number of German-speaking authors — Franz Kafka, Franz Werfel and Rainer Maria Rilkewere among the others — who lived and wrote in Prague before World War II. The city, then the Czechoslovak capital, had strong German and Jewish populations, and a thriving literary community.But the war changed that.Nearly 120,000 Jews lived on Czech territory before WWII; 80,000 of them did not survive the Holocaust. The country now has a Jewish community of only several thousand.And about three million Germans were expelled from Czech lands after WWII. They were considered enemies because many had supported Adolf Hitler and the Nazi occupation."She was part of something that ceased to exist some 60 year ago a Czech-German-Jewish coexistence, which was once typical for the city," Reinerova's Czech publisher, Joachim Dvorak, told Czech public radio.
Reinerova was born in Prague to a Jewish family on May 17, 1916. After studying at Prague's German high school, she began working in 1936 as a journalist for the Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung magazine.Because she was Jewish, she had to flee the country in 1939 to escape Nazism. She traveled through France and Morocco, where she was jailed, finally reaching Mexico. But her family died in the Holocaust.
After the war, Reinerova moved to Belgrade before returning to Prague in 1948, when the country was taken over by the communists.In the 1950s, she was jailed for 15 months by communist authorities.In the next decade, she worked as editor-in-chief of the Im Herzen Europas magazine. After the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, which crushed the democratic reforms known as the Prague Spring, she was not allowed to publish books and worked instead as a translator.
Her books, mostly autobiographical, began to be released in Germany in the 1980s. But she remained little-known in her own country, where her books were allowed to be published only after communism fell in 1989.
"As I am the only member of my family who was not murdered in the Holocaust," Reinerova told Czech radio in 2004. "As I am still here rather old already I can remember many things and I can remember persons, not only personalities. So I have somehow the feeling, I feel the necessity, as long as I can give some kind of witness, (to give) some kind of testimony."

The real McCoy

At the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition the public were invited to touch and feel 20 wood and wood effect samples and vote on whether they are real or not. The exhibition will now be toured around the UK during the next year to collect a census of data from across the country. This will then be used to help build the first predictive model of how we judge naturalness
The physical characteristics of a surface, such as its colour, texture and surface roughness, are being linked to what is happening in a person's brain when they see or touch the surface. Once this is understood it should be possible to accurately predict what we will perceive as natural, and manufacturers will be able to design synthetic products to meet this expectation. The results could have a great impact on materials such as wood, animal skin and furs, marble and stone, plants and even prosthetics.
Ruth Montgomery of the National Physical Laboratory, said: "Our senses combine to identify natural materials. But what are the key factors, is it colour, gloss, smoothness, temperature? This is what our research is trying to establish. The focus of the research is wood, fabric and stone, but once the data is combined the aim is to produce a predictive computer model that will work for other materials. If successful the range of applications would be huge. For instance, synthetic mahogany furniture that is indistinguishable from the natural material, but won't rot or be attacked by woodworm or artificial grass so good that they use it on Wimbledon's Centre Court."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Maxim's Trap

The filthy vermin which afflict us must be exterminated. Animal-lover or not, the human extinct is pure: to pluck from our scalps the bulbous, blood-filled ticks; to drown in baths the dust mites that feast on our skin; to chop in half the tiny rodents that so delight in perching on our upper lips while we slumber and meticulously squeeze dropping after dropping into our snoring mouths. As they do.
But mice and rats are a canny lot. How to kill them, not only with ruthless efficiency but with negligible pangs of guilt? In 1894, William C. Hooker of Abingdon, Illinois received a patent for his design for the first spring-loaded bar mouse trap. It was later perfected by Hiram Maxim to be the mouse trap we all know today: a simple plank of pine, attached to which is a clamp triggered by a spring and depressed with a slice of cheese. When a mouse or rat pokes its plaguey snout at the cheese, the spring depresses, the clamp snickersnacks and the mouse has its neck cleanly broken.
What the guillotine is to the French, the mouse trap is to unhygienic Americans. A spring-loaded mousetrap is (usually) a clean way to kill a mouse. But spring for a non-lethal trap out of the kindness of your heart and when you release that mouse, you'll see it poking out of your Cheerios the next morning. Try a glue trap, and you'll hate yourself for years as you torture a cute, fuzzy animal to death. And poison is a painful crapshoot.
Oh, sure. It's a cruel gizmo. But it is perfectly designed: "build the better mousetrap" has become an ironic cultural shorthand for "waste of time." (from"10 Perfectly Pure Gadgets")

Pigs and Flowers

Isle of Flowers (Portuguese: Ilha das Flores) is a 1989 Brazilian short film by Jorge Furtado. It tracks the path of a tomato from garden to dump with the help of a monotone voiceover and a collection of bizarre images. While a very humorous film, the message it delivers about how human beings treat each other is anything but such. The director himself has stated that the film was inspired by the works of Kurt Vonnegut and Alain Resnais, among others.
The film has been denounced as "materialistic" because one of its early credits displays the phrase "God doesn't exist". Nevertheless, critic Jean-Claude Bernardet defined Isle of Flowers "a religious film", and the Brazilian National Bishop Confederation awarded the film with the Margarida de Prata (Silver Daisy), calling it "the best Brazilian film of the year" in 1990. In 1995, Isle of Flowers was chosen by the European critics as one of the 100 most important short films of the century.(read more...)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Libertarian Paternalism might seem to be an Oxymoron

Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy.
"Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness" shows that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice.
Richard H. Thaler is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics and the director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business.
(read more on einhod blog...)