Monday, November 30, 2009

The Umberto Coincidence

On July 28th 1900, the King of Italy Umberto I was having dinner in a restaurant in the city of Monza. It turned out later that the restaurant's owner looked identical to the king. The restaurant owner's name was Umberto, his wife's name was the same as the queen's and the restaurant was opened on the same date as the king's inauguration. The Restaurant-owner Umberto was shot dead the next day.  The King was, himself murdered that same evening with four revolver shots by the Italo-American anarchist Gaetano Bresci in Monza, on the evening of 29 July 1900. Bresci claimed he wanted to avenge the people killed during the Bava-Beccaris massacre.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Domesticated

Amy Stein is a photographer and teacher based in New York City. Her work explores our evolving isolation from community, culture and the environment. She has been exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is featured in many private and public collections such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Nevada Museum of Art, SMoCA and the West Collection.
In 2006, Amy was a winner of the Saatchi Gallery/Guardian Prize for her Domesticated series. In 2007, she was named one of the top fifteen emerging photographers in the world by American Photo magazine and she won the Critical Mass Book Award. Amy's first book, Domesticated, was released in fall 2008. It won the best book award at the 2008 New York Photo Festival.
Amy is represented by Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco and Pool Gallery in Berlin.

Domesticated- Amy Stein

The softcover photographic collection  was printed in Hong Kong, has a trim size of 10″ x 8 1/2″, with 64 pages and 25 color photographs, and published at the end of 2008 by Photolucida. The Introduction was provided by Alison Nordstrom. The book’s design was developed by Anthony de Franco, while Andy Gutrie and Mathilde Simian assisted with the editing and sequencing of the photographs, and together they have created a wonderful classical and readable presentation of Stein’s photographs, single photograph per spread, with a nice margin framing each photograph. Amy Stein was a Photolucida 2006 Critical Mass winner.

 

Photographs are copyright of Amy Stein

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Elephant


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Nick Brandt

Born and raised in London, Nick Brandt studied Film and Painting at St. Martins School of Art. 
He started photographing in December 2000 in East Africa, beginning the body of work that is his signature subject matter and style. He no longer directs, devoting himself full time to his fine art photography now. 
Brandt's first book of photographs, "On This Earth", was published in October 2005, by Chronicle Books, with forewords by Jane Goodall and Alice Sebold (author of "The Lovely Bones"). 
He has had numerous one-man exhibitions between 2004 and 2006, including London, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Hamburg, Santa Fe, Sydney, Melbourne and San Francisco. 
He now lives in Topanga, California

Güllübahce

Güllübahce

Original Photography by khdekker;

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Floats

vintagemacy-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Top of the Taurus Mountains

on top of the Taurus Mountains

Original Photography by Timo Grabosch;

From our "How To Get Undressed Fast" Series- Tee Shirts

Bergama, Turkey

Bergama Study 2

The Last King of Pergamon

Attalus III was the last Attalid king of Pergamum, ruling from 138 BC to 133 BC. He succeeded Attalus II, although their relationship, if any, is unknown. ( Some sources say he was his nephew while others state that he was his illegitimate son.)  In any case,   Attalus III had little interest in ruling Pergamum, devoting his time to studying medicine, botany,  gardening, and other pursuits. Bergama

However he soon exhibited that cruel and tyrannical disposition, which proved a scourge of his people, and stamped indelible infamy on his character. His nearest relatives and most faithful friends were inhumanely murdered on the most frivolous pretenses; the oldest and most judicious statesmen, with their wives and families were put to death by hired assassins; and whole kingdom was filled with carnage and desolation.

The king is said to have suspected some of the victims of having been implicated in the death of his mother and his bride Berenice. The guilty king was then tormented with all the horrors of remorse and, in a fit of melancholy sequestered himself from all mankind. He clothed himself in mean apparel, neglected his hair and beard, and cultivated a garden for the purpose of raising poisonous herbs. He mingled with such as were wholes and sent packets of them to those persons who had unfortunately roused his suspicions. At length Attalus fell into a fever, of which, he died in in 133 B.C

Being without heir, this tyrant, by his will left all his effects to Romans. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the republic seized on his kingdom and reduced it to a province under the name of Asia Propria.

bergama-2The world famous library of Pergamum, which contained 200,000 books, was, afterwards, removed and transported to Alexandria by Mark Anthony as a gift of love to Cleopatra. 

After his death, Asia Minor became Roman soil and incorporated as Asia province into Roman realm. The city Pergamum remained as the capital for Romans as well, until Ephesus replaced it in 29 BCE.

Sources:

Ancient history: exhibiting a summary view  By John Robinsonhttp://www.ancientanatolia.com/historical/pergamum_kingdom.htmRome and the Mediterranean to 133 B.C. By A. E. Astin, F. W. Walbank, M. W. Frederiksen

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

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And it is Thanksgiving. The oval table is crowded with food. Outside it is cold and a rainy darkness has fallen. Each brightly-lit home might as well be a galaxy in space or a ship at sea. The kitchen is steamy and warm.

"You know, Charles," my grandparents had always called my mother Charles because they had expected a boy. "It just so nice that everybody got to make it this year."

But my mother isn't listening. She's dutifully counting out my father's prescription medicines. There's the blood pressure pills, the heart medicine, the vitamins. My mother is a little nervous because she still pretends to her mother that she doesn't smoke.

At that moment, my grandfather pulls a hissing white enamel pan from the oven. His specialty. Baked breaded catfish. But wait! There's no place to set it down on the table. This is the land of plenty so a bowl of overcooked vegetables is exiled to the counter top.

My grandfather, the better cook, with pot-holder in hand surveys the scene proudly. His finger counts each plate and bowl. "And everything.." he double checks to be certain, "and everything on that table came from our garden.. or from our pond." He beams down at me with a smile. "Not a store-bought thing."

My grandmother seems skeptical. "Now, Sam..."

"What?"

"You know good and well those arsh-potatoes didn't come from our garden."

"Why, Amy, you know they did." He looks at me with astounded disbelief.

And off they would fly into a back-and forth pointless battle, arguments that would sputter on for hours. Those disagreements never seemed to end. Neither of them could concede defeat.

"Come and get it." my grandmother would call, "Supper's on the table."

My sister and I would scramble to the bathroom to wash our hands. Indoor toilets, even one as primitive as this tiny space was a luxury in my grandparents' time. Even in my own time, I recall the first home they had had an out-house, full of imaginary monsters and all too real spiders.

We all squeeze around the table, a logistical affair requiring leadership and consent. We naturally give no forethought as to how we will escape again after thirty minutes of gluttony. Our minds are clouded by the meal-scape.

"You all better get in here," my grandmother says, "fore I throw it out." An idle threat, indeed. My father and mother, now confident the weather will hold for the long drive back to the city, finally enter and take their places.

The big goblet of iced tea, the rim powdery and brown, finds it place between the plate and a bowl of cooked cabbage. My grandmother is the last to sit. She, like a little nervous bird, always had a talent for spotting the unnecessary item that had been forgotten. The dull cake of butter, the crackers nobody would touch, the Sweet and Low packets. I scoop the customary three heaping spoonfuls of sugar in my tea. The crystals filter down through the brown haze like snow. And finally, it is complete. There is a pause as if somebody is about to take a picture. Everybody seems to drawn one deep breath, one last smell of this bounty from the land of plenty. And it is perfect.

I can hear my grandmother say, like placing a great carved oak frame over this picture of a family feast, her voice, thin and echoing from that moment to this one. "It's just so nice for all of us to be together." 

Excerpt from "All Together"

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Hand Art by Guido Daniele

Paintings by Rafal Olbinski

All images are copyrighted by Rafal Olbinski

Have You Seen This Man?

s-PHOTO-FIT-largeIt is not the most chilling portrait of a murderer but you have to credit the artist's arresting touches.

The head is shaped like a rugby ball, the lips slide to one side, the nose is phallic, the ears are missing and the hair is having a very bad day.

The image, used by Bolivian police to hunt a killer, has been dubbed the world's worst photo-fit. Some have compared it a child's rendition of the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.

But the mockery seems misplaced: police tracked down two suspects after the photo-fit's release.

They are believed to have been involved in the slaying of Rafael Vargas, a taxi driver from the city of Santa Cruz whose charred body was found last March. He had been stabbed 11 times.

A woman who lived in the area drew police a sketch of a man she said killed Vargas and set fire to the corpse. At least three men were thought to be involved.

Bolivian television news showed the image, accompanied by dramatic music, and asked: have you seen this man? 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/24/bolivia-photo-fit-murderer

Despite all the scoffers, when the police made the arrest they were shocked to see how accurate the drawing had actually been.Faceman

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/24/bolivia-photo-fit-murderer

Scopitone Wednesday- Before the Rain

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Russian City of Twins

The city of Kirov in north-eastern European Russia is fast becoming famous for its unusual rate of twin births. According to medical statistics, approximately one out of 89 births is a twin couple. As for triplets, they are born in every 7 000-10 000 couple. After taking a stroll through one of the Kirov's districts, Prava reports, one can easily begin doubting the statistics. The city’s population barely reaches 500 000 and identical couples (or even triplets seem to be everywhere). http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/14784_twins.html

For reasons that are not yet known, the older a woman is the more likely she is to have a multiple birth naturally. It is theorized[ that this is due to the higher level of follicle-stimulating hormone that older women sometimes have as their ovaries respond more sluggishly to FSH stimulation.

Russian scientists are hypothesizing that the increase in twin births In Kirov may be related to strong electromagnetic interference in the region which is affecting cell division at an early stage of fetal development. “It is possible that some kind of electric field had its affect on such high multiple birth rate in the town,” presumes chair of biology and genetics at Kirov’s medical academy Alexander Kosykh. “Any biological cell has its own electric charge and its own polarity. That is why, it is quite possible that strong electromagnetic field in this particular district somehow affects genetic processes. However, we cannot make any definite claims yet.”

Other possible explanations cannot be excluded. During the Second World War, biological weapons development was based in Kirov under the Stalinist-Soviet era. CIA documents suggest that Kirov was, in fact, the principle BW research center in the USSR during the Cold War. Environmental contamination is, therefore, a possibility. http://www.faqs.org/cia/docs/93/0000250910/THE-SOVIET-BW-PROGRAM.html

Kirov is not the only town with such strange occurrences. Another “factory of twins” exists in Nigeria in a small town Igbo-Ora situated not far from Ibadan.

Studies in the Nigeria case suggest that the unusual incidence of twin births among the Yoruba people -a large Nigerian ethnic group- may be related to environmental factors, namely diet.

Central to the Yoruba people's diet is the cassava, a plant with a tuber root, which can be eaten in addition to the leaves and flowers. Research into multiple births carried out at Lagos's University Teaching Hospital has suggested that a high level of a chemical found in the Yoruba women and the peelings of the tuber could account for the high level of multiple births.

According to local doctors:

'Numerous works has shown that the tuber food of the Yoruba women, especially the peelings, contains a very large amount of these chemical substances. These women have a disproportionately large amount of these chemicals in their system and this encourages the release of more than one egg. There is enough reason to believe in this theory.' http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/highlights/010607_twins.shtml

Other researchers remain skeptical to the diet theory.

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Roller Coaster

rollercoaster3

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The Lone Gunmen Coincidence

   The pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen involved the hijacking of a commercial flight and crashing it into the World Trade Center , the plot of the March 4, 2001 pilot episode of the series depicts a secret U.S. government agency plotting to crash a Boeing 727 headed for Boston into the World Trade Center via remote control for the purpose of increasing the military defense budget and blaming the attack on foreign "tin-pot dictators" who are "begging to be smart-bombed." This episode aired in Australia, on August 30, less than two weeks before the 9/11 attacks . http://www.nephiliman.com/Paralells.htm

Episode Summary: http://www.mightyponygirl.com/television/lgm/ep01.html

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Martin Schoeller – Female Bodybuilders

 

Copyright of Martin Schoeller, courtesy of Pond Press and Ace Galleries

There is no doubt that the photographs in Martin Schoeller’s book, Female Bodybuilders, published by Pond Press last year (2008), have graphic impact. The large format color photographs are printed at a large size in this big book, 10 3/4″ x 13″, thus there are few missing details of the women in the photographs. ( read more…)

Munchkin Land

LollipopKids

Things Your Mother Would Never Say

  1. Well, if Timmy's mom says it's OK, that's good enough for me.
  2. How on earth can you see the TV sitting so far back?
    Mom
  3. Yeah, I used to skip school a lot, too.
  4. Just leave all the lights on. It makes the house look more cheery.
  5. Let me smell that shirt. OK, it's good for another week.
  6. Go ahead and keep that stray dog, honey. I'll be glad to feed and walk him every day.
  7. Don't bother wearing a jacket - the wind-chill is bound to improve.
  8. The curfew is just a general time to shoot for.
    It's not like I'm running a prison around here.
  9. I don't have a tissue with me - just use your sleeve.
  10. Aw, just turn these undies inside out. No one will ever know.
  11. Run and bring me the scissors! Hurry!
  12. I think a cluttered bedroom is a sign of creativity.
  13. Could you turn the music up louder so I can enjoy it, too?
  14. That outfit isn't sexy enough, here, unbutton your blouse.
  15. Why don't you hitchhike? It would certainly be cheaper.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clouds Over Izmir

 
Another miracle of the modern age. I just took this photo a few minutes ago of the wonderful thunderstorms over the hills behind Izmir, loaded it into my PC and posted it for all the world to see. Time: 5 minutes. The sun hasn't even set yet!
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Scopitone Wednesday- I've Got the World On A String

Do I need to tell anybody out there that this is NOT the January Jones who stars in the hit show "Mad Men"?

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'Cause It's Witchcraft, Wicked Witchcraft

 hwat_the_fk

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Prisoner

When I was a pre-teen, I used to stay up late on a Saturday night to watch the re-runs of an old British TV series called The Prisoner. Such a strange show and I am not sure how much I understood at the time. I just remember being fascinated by the show, its anti-establishment hero and the strangeness of The Village. It always came on at about 2 in the morning because, I suppose, station managers had no idea what to do with this series.

The Prisoner is a 17-episode British television series broadcast in the UK from 29 September 1967 to 1 February 1968.[Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, it combined spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory, and psychological drama.

The series follows a British former secret agent who is held prisoner in a mysterious seaside village where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Although sold as a thriller in the mould of McGoohan's previous series, Danger Man (called Secret Agent in its U.S. release), the show's combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surreal setting had a far-reaching effect on science fiction/fantasy programming, and on popular culture in general. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prisoner

Here is the famous introduction of the show. It really tells you everything you need to know about the show.

There has never been a show quite like The Prisoner and, as cliché as it sounds, it was far ahead of its time. Despite being aired forty years ago, this show still looks impressive and can hold its own against most TV shows today.

So, naturally, to fans of the original show, there is a lot of apprehension about the remake, scheduled to air next Sunday night on AMC.

Patrick MacGoohan possessed a certain charisma and intensity that would be a challenge for any actor to reproduce. (Jim Caviezel? I am prepared to be surprised but I'm afraid I am skeptical about that casting.)

It seems to be a no-win situation for AMC. You will have the purists screaming their heads off because it is so unlike the original. You will have the British screaming their heads off about it being too American, i.e. full of unnecessary explosions and common-denominator cliches. And you will have the people who have never even heard of the original show, screaming their heads off because it was so overly hyped.

Still, I am curious enough to watch it and I wish them the best of luck. http://www.amctv.com/originals/the-prisoner/about/

Become a Witch!

witch

Actually I tried this but I could never pass Nose-Twitching 101.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

View from Mardin

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http://pixdaus.com/single.php?id=48480

I've actually been to Mardin. It was years ago and we spent the evening sitting on a terrace that overlooked this plain. At nighttime you could see the famer's fires far out into the distance.

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