Saturday, November 29, 2008

1883 Travels in Palestine

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hebrew Alphabet for Deaf - Mutes

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stop Complaining!

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

Oy! I almost plotzed

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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ways Too Horrible to Tell

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Forever is a Funny Word

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

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Narco Nympho in Dope Menace

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

Bad Taste Synagogue Genitalia

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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Better Equipped Homo Erectus

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

Somebody Stuck a Dildo

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Truman Price: Fiddle

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mama Afrika:1932-2008

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

Anita O'Day : Newport 1958

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

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

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

The Hidden Child from Ein Hod

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

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Skinny Kid with Funny Name

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

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

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

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

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Robinson Selkirk

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

Low Rent Disrict-Stephen Lawrence Suffet

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