Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Darwin-Free Fun!

[Photo credit: Steven Frame/New York Times]

Not enough fantasy fun for you and your family at Disneyworld? Then check out...

"... a lower-profile Florida attraction: Dinosaur Adventure Land, a creationist theme park and museum here that beckons children to "find out the truth about dinosaurs" with games that roll science and religion into one big funfest with the message that Genesis, not science, tells the real story of the creation.
Read more about Dinosaur Adventure Land and other Darwin-Free amusement parks.

Visit the Dinosaur Adventure Land web site.

[Photo and text quote: Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company]

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Return of the Walkman?

No, that's an iPod tucked inside the shell of the 80's favorite portable music player. What's next? An iPod disguised as an 8-track player?

Read about the the RetroPod and its problems with Sony's lawyers.

[iPod - © 2004 Apple Computer, Inc.; Walkman - © 2004 Sony Corporation of America]

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Turkey Day

Why did the turkey cross the road?
To show that he wasn't chicken.

What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children?
If your father could see you now, he'd turn over in his gravy!

Asked to write a composition entitled, "What I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving,"
little Timothy wrote, "I am thankful that I'm not a turkey."

Click for more corny turkey jokes. Kids love them! Here are some more.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Cards of the Drunken Prophets

Top Drunks is the revolutionary new card game brought to you by the creator of the Alcohol Tarot, each card features
a notorious drinker.
The cards comprise four categories: Life Span, Favorite Beverage, Drinking Ability, and Infamy as a Drinker.

Read more about and purchase the Top Drunk Cards
at the Cult of the Drunken Prophet web site.

[Images and text quotes: Copyright © 2001 BeerTarot.com, DN, MHB, GMT.]

[Via Coudal]

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Lucien Freud

Girl with a kitten, 1947

Fascinating art work from the grandson of Sigmund Freud. His paintings beg to be laid out on a couch and analyzed, don't they?

"At the outset there is always a mystery. We cannot know what a painter brought to painting or what drew him to it.'

Two plants, 1977/80
"Yet everything he paints throughout his life adds to our understanding of one or both these things."'

Reflection (self portrait), 1985
"When his last picture is painted in that predestined way in which, one cannot help believing, an artist's work, and therefore art, unfolds when the last predestined picture is finished and the trajectory of his meaning completes its curve then we know all there is to be known about these first riddles and understand what can't be known, what remains unknowable about the sources and the resources of a painter."'
[Text quotes: Lawrence Gowing, "Lucian Freud"]

[Images via Mark Harden's Artchive]

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Purple States of America

Enough about Red States and Blue States, no more about the "United States of Canada" and "Jesusland" - please let the above be the last word on the 2004 US presidential election maps.

... suggested by Robert Vanderbei at Princeton University... not just two colors on the map, red and blue, but instead... red, blue, and shades of purple to indicate percentages of voters.
More amazing is the cartogram [a map in which the sizes of states have been rescaled according to their population] of the 2004 election results, as seen below:

Let's face it, we as a country are just one big, purple, rolled-roast, sausage looking thing!

More maps, cartograms and info at Maps and cartograms of the 2004 US presidential election results.

[Maps and text quotes: © 2004 M. T. Gastner, C. R. Shalizi, and M. E. J. Newman]

Monday, November 15, 2004

Beyond Lyrics

The Beatles Christmas Ornaments

SongMeanings is a web site dedicated to song lyrics, a discussion forum where music fans (over a 100,00 members!) can wax on about the meanings of their favorite songs. The lyrics are provided, so they can let fly their kudos and/or critiques. Below are a few examples from The Beatles forum discussing one of the Fab Four's classic songs, among the hundreds listed.

Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey

by XoxoLauren87 on 03-03-2003 @ 09:44:43 PM
It seems like it's about sex to me and the people I've talked to about it... but I really don't know.

by i love lauren on 03-05-2003 @ 01:59:25 AM
I agree that it is about sex. Its purely common sense, "The deeper you go, the higher you fly, the higher you fly, the deeper you go." Doesnt that remind you, just a little bit, of something sexual?

by pkjun on 03-12-2003 @ 01:53:29 AM
I'd say it's a combination of sex and John being...well, John. As for sex, I'm not going to go any deeper. Figure it out yourself, adding as much innuendo as you want. John is self-explanitory.

Not heroin. The Beatles weren't addicted to heroin.

by Wings60 on 04-03-2003 @ 12:08:57 AM
I think that this song is about drug addiction,hence the monkey..as in monkey on my back. We all know that the more you do a drug the more you need to reach that same high...as in" the higher you fly the deeper you go". We have all heard mention of being on an acid trip and getting inside yourself...as in" your inside is out and your outside is in".But then again, I could be wrong.
Read more (or contribute to the discussion) about Beatles lyrics at SongMeanings.

[Image from It's Only Rock n Roll.]

Friday, November 12, 2004

Hebrew Haiku

Japanese Rabbi

The original Hebrew Haiku:

shema yisrael
adonai eloyheynu
adonai echad.

An oldie, but goody, to be sure, but it hardly scratches the surface.
Here are some modern Jewish Haiku examples:

After the warm rain
the sweet smell of camellias.
Did you wipe your feet?


Her lips near my ear,
Aunt Sadie whispers the name
of her friend's disease.


Looking for pink buds
to prune, the old moyel
wanders among his flowers.


Today I am a man.
Tomorrow I will return
to the seventh grade.


Harsh Scrabble discord--
someone has placed "putzhead" on
a triple word score.


Testing the warm milk
on her wrist, she sighs softly.
But her son is forty.


The sparkling blue sea
reminds me to wait an hour
after my sandwich.

Read the rest at Jewish Haiku.

[Via Paula of Santa Monica]

[Photo credit: Japanese-Jewish Resources]

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veterans' Day (Armistice Day)

Armistice Day, American Troops in France 1918 by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe

The War to Begin all Wars

It’s hard to imagine that World War I involved 35 countries. It lasted five years, from 1914 to 1918. The United States only fought from 1917 to 1918. A year was more than enough time, however, to claim too many lives, and people held tight to the notion that this was the very last war. When the fighting stopped, leaders of several countries signed an Armistice on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. An Armistice is an agreement to stop all fighting, in other words a truce. This truce was signed on November 11th, 1918 at 11 A.M.
This is important to know because Veterans' Day was originally called Armistice Day. This day was set aside to reflect and remember the sacrifices men and women made during World War I in order to ensure peace. The first official celebration was on November 11th, 1919. Veterans who survived the war marched in parades and were hometown heroes. A Veteran is any soldier who has fought in a war. Ceremonies were held and speeches were made. World War I was called ‘the war to end all wars’ because everyone hoped there would never be another one.
Read the rest of the story of Veterans' Day.

[Photo and Text quote: © Copyright 2004 by Classbrain.com; Painting ©2004 artnet]

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Church of LEGO®

The Abston Church of Christ by Amy Hughes is a sheer delight - the modern equivalent of a cathedral in miniature.

View more photos and read her FAQ at her web site.

Divinely inspired? Feeling the Spirit? Then be sure to check out...

... The Brick Testament - the Old and New Testaments, also constructed with LEGO®.

[The Brick Testament - Copyright 2001-2004 by The Rev. Brendan Powell Smith; The Abston Church of Christ - Copyright © 2001, 2002 Amy Hughes]

[LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Company, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse these site.]

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Punch his teeth out, Ali!

Original release album cover.

Imagine Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Richie Havens and other 70s stars fighting evils of sugar snacks, embodied by Mr. Tooth Decay. Was this the pre-MTV predecessor of 'We Are The World' and 'Hands across America?'

Updated cover for album re-release.

Listen to some of the songs at Frank's Vinyl Museum and decide for yourself.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Stoked Big Time

There it is - the world's biggest skateboard: 10 ft. long, 4 ft. wide, 3 ft. high. Weighs nearly 500 lbs. "Double kick deck with fully functional trucks and hot rod wheels."

Check it out, where else? At worldsbiggestskateboard.com.

[Image and quoted text: Foundation Skateboards]

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Christian Right and Wrong

David Fitzsimmons, Copyright © 2004 Arizona Daily Star

A political cartoonist's perspective - David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Daily Star.

Know Jesus ©John Rule, 2004

An apocalyptic cartoonist's perspective - Hal Lindsey Oracle Cartoons.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Digital Master Series: ALMACAN

The Tower of Beetle by ALMACAN, 1999

ALMACAN is a Japanese digital artist whose work, self-described as "surrealistic and cyberpunk," is reminiscent of Giger, but with a decidely more modern look and tone, no doubt a result of his mastery of Photoshop.

Shell in the Darkness by ALMACAN, 2001

Check out the rest of Almacan's masterpieces at his Mechanical Mirage web site.

[All Images: Copyright ©2004 ALMACAN]

Friday, November 05, 2004

Great White Shark Sub

Sushi 1

Eddie Paul, stuntman and engineer, has an unusual project. He's building Sushi 1, a Robo-shark Submarine.

"Fabien Cousteau, Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s grandson, came to us with a dream; a mechanical Great White Shark that a diver could fit inside to observe Great Whites in their natural environment. This is the fourth mechanical shark Eddie has designed and lead the build team on, and the third for the Cousteau's. But this is the first shark Eddie has built with the intention of putting somebody inside!"

-- Eddie Paul
Check out the rest of the story and photos at Eddie Paul's E.P. Industries web site. View an animation of the shark sub here.

[Tintin: Copyright © 1974 by Casterman, Steen & Stoffer]

The shark submarine idea isn't new. It gotten its start from a Tintin comic book story!
"... when I was a kid inspired by the comic strip “Tintin et le trésor de Rackam le rouge” I had decided I wanted to become a shark!"

-- Fabien Cousteau
Read more about Cousteau's fascinating project at Deeper Blue.

[Images and quote texts: E.P. Industries, Inc., Fabien Cousteau]

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Swiss Symbolism of Arnold Böcklin

Delanira and Nessus by Arnold Böcklin, 1898

I've long been a fan of Bocklin's paintings, despite not knowing his name or anything else about him - probably because symbolist painters, along with the pre-modern figurative painters are given short shrift in art history classes.

Arnold Böcklin, Swiss Symbolist painter, 1827-1906.

In the later 19th century, he was one of the most celebrated and influential artists in central Europe, particularly Germany and Switzerland, notable for his imaginative and idiosyncratic interpretation of themes from Classical mythology.

Plague by Arnold Böcklin, 1898
Arnold Böcklin's allegorical and fantastical paintings, many based on mythical creatures, anticipated 20th-century surrealism. His early style consisted of idealized classical landscapes. In the 1870s, he turned to fantastic scenes from German legends, paralleling the use by Richard Wagner of similar subjects in opera.

Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin, 1883
His later works, such as The Island of the Dead (in five versions, from 1880), became increasingly dreamlike and nightmarish.
The Bocklin paintings which have resonated the most with me are his Isle of the Dead series, especially the one shown above. I recommend listening to Rachmaninoff while viewing the image (often used on the composer's album covers).

Click to read about Arnold Böcklin and to view more of his extraordinary paintings.

[Images and quoted text via safran-arts.com]

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Chimps in Space

US Army Ape-O-Naut Able, Rhesus Monkey

Flew Jupiter AM-18 mission 5/28/59 with Baker. Able died on 1 June 1959 from the effects of anesthesia given to allow the removal of electrodes implanted for the historic space flight.

NASA Ape-O-Naut. Ham, Chimpanzee
Flew Mercury-Redstone 2 mission 1/31/61.
Click to read about and view the rest of the amazing monkeys in the space program, as well as throughout history.

[Images and quoted text from ape-o-naut.org]

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Monkeys Attack Children

[AP Photo]

Monkeys at Hindu Temple Attack Children

Gauhati, India - Monkeys lurking at an ancient Hindu temple in India's northeast have attacked up to 300 children over three weeks, temple officials said Tuesday.

"They hide in trees and swoop on unsuspecting children loitering about in the temple premises or walking by, clawing them and even sucking a bit of blood," Bani Kumar Sharma, a priest at the Kamakhya temple in Assam state, told The Associated Press. The temple, one of the most famous in India, is located in Gauhati, Assam's capital.

"I was returning home from school when a monkey suddenly pounced on me, scratched my head and hand and pushed me to the ground," said Jolly Sharma, a 6-year-old girl.

-- By Wasbir Hussain, Associated Press Writer, 11.2.04
Read the rest of the story.

[Thanks to Tammy of Venice]

Monday, November 01, 2004

Chimp Politics

Johns Hopkins University Press; Revised edition, 2001

The great apes, like humans, can recognize themselves in mirrors. They communicate by sound and gesture, form bands along what can only be called political lines, and sometimes engage in what is very clearly organized warfare. (Less frequently, too, they practice cannibalism.) In Chimpanzee Politics Frans de Waal, a longtime student of simian behavior, analyzes the behavior of a captive tribe of chimpanzees, comparing its actions with those of ape societies in the wild. What he finds is often not pleasant: chimps seem capable of astonishing deviousness and savagery, which has obvious implications for the behavior their human cousins sometimes exhibit.
The revised edition of Chimpanzee Politics can be purchased from Amazon.com.

[Image and quoted text: Amazon.com]

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