The Vibram FiveFingers footwear is a performance rubber soled approach to barefooting — sports, that is. The ‘shoe’s’ design offers gecko-like grip over a variety of terrain and promotes a natural walking motion, reducing impact on knees, hips, and lower back. FiveFingers isnt’ restricted to only high-performance sports, such as trekking, climbing, canyoneering, running, and surfing, however. FiveFingers also recommends itself for martial arts, yoga, pilates, sailing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and good ole’ fashion travel.
Frankly, if you’ll wear those ugly-ass Crocs, at least these have a funkier novelty to them — you know, that ‘so ugly their cute’ kinda thing.
Link: Vibram: FiveFingers
“Innovative graphic design is a
youngster’s activity, and in
Shenzhen – which just
happens to be the largest
manufacturing centre in the
world – the average age is 27.
Graphics thus becomes an
aspect of youth culture. This
being China, the youth culture
does not waste itself spray-
painting bus-stops, but
instead is channelled into a
new industry covering
everything from posters to the
are subcultures here, yes,
but…the youth subcultures are
not anti-establishment. How
can they be, when the
Establishment has so
materially improved their lives,
so allowing them to spend
money on the latest street look and even attain near-Western levels of teenage plumpness?”
The above photograph is by artist Ma Liang, better known as ‘Maleonn’. The Shanghai photographer has gained a cult following for his fable like photographs. Working in both black & white and color images, Maleonn’s photographs are often created with props, actors, strange mixes of hues and colors, and theatrical sets. His graphic design background blends with a new style the look and feel of old photographic images, when colors were unrefined. Liang is a graduate of the Fine Arts College of Shanghai University.
Abandoned as a home after WWII and stripped of its furnishings, Belsay Hall has been the backdrop for a series of innovative projects since English Heritage took guardianship some 27 years ago. From erecting inspired pagodas in its landscape gardens to fanciful thrones installed in its inner barren rooms, English Heritage has considered its most recent past exhibit, the Picture House, quite possibly its most inspired yet.
King invited an
respond to their
antiquated fashion shots.” Actress Tilda Swinton recreated a child’s bedroom of the early 20th century. Honey-sweet songbird Antony Hegarty of Antony & the Johnsons collaborated with avant-garde musician William Basinski to give voice to the old cellars.
Perhaps Gilding’s favorite of the installations is from the mind of Geraldine Pilgrim, who has worked extensively with the world of theater. A series of three site specific installations in the upper room of Belsay Hall is a fantastical cacophony of forests, ghosts, and hundred of tea cups. The installations allude to the dreams of a young girl in the night before her coming out party.
“When I first saw the flower I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a flower, lonely but proudly standing, amidst nothing but sand and more sand. I thought there had to be some kind of magic fooling with me: black flowers are rare, but in the middle of the desert… I approached the plant cautiously. Somehow I could think of nothing else but to pick the flower and treasure it. It is exactly what I did: I took the flower and brought it to my home. Its petals were like those of a water lily, large and shaped like a date, but it had the thorns of a rose, and the scent was strong and sweet and somehow comforting. It reminded me of the roses in Varcopas and as the Desert Rose is a very common flower, I dubbed this one the Black Desert Rose. It was the best name I could think of.”
…~Frigord the Weird
Diaries, Vol. VII, p. 45f
Written by the man who owes his name, and death a mere hour later after picking the black beauty, to the Black Desert Rose.
Vague pictorial designs of this flower can be found in even the oldest of the Shendar domes. The old Stratanian coat of arms features the rose as the focus point. However, the rarity of the flower makes an accurate description of the flower difficult, at best, and there are few written sources of information on the flower, Frigord the Weird’s account being one of them. Yet, his name alone lends a certain amount of skepticism to his account, especially given the hallucinigenic properties of the rose’s fragrant smell.
Ancient Shendar oral culture has a warning poem about the temptress rose, one of the only other vaguely defined depictions of the Black Desert Rose: a flower with black petals and green stem, thorns, and a pleasant aroma that alludes to having hallucinatory effects purposely designed to draw its prey in.
But the most characterstic feature of this flower is its elusiveness; it is seldom seen. Unique to the Ráhaz-Dáth Desert, the BLack Desert Rose is not found on other continents, not even those of Aeruillin. During the wars with the darkfriends, especially the Third Sarvonian War, the Black Desert Rose was found several times by Stratanians. The finders were brutally executed as the rose, because of its malicious nature, was considered an ill omen of the Dark One, Coór. These events are recorded in the Thalambathian library, though its blacker pages of Stratanian history died out after the war as once again it was rarely found.
A special fact about the flower is that it seems to be attracted to evil — or next best, people with evil intentions. Its habit of being acquired by the Templars of the Black Pearl, the Seven of Thalambath, and Darkfriends from the Third Sarvonian War.
The origin of the dark rose remains elusive — speculative at best. Myth has it that the city of Thalambath was created with magic. Still lingering powers cause certain flowersto create this malicious offspring.
Quite an amazing flower of succulence. Too bad its fake…welcome to Santharia.
Named after Charles Bouvard, the personal physician to Louis XIII and the superintendent of the Royal Gardens in Paris, modern varieties of bouvardia have names such as Pink Luck, Albatross and Royal Katty. Their star-like flowers grow in clusters on thin, branching stems, like small flower bouquets in soft shades of pink, white, yellow, salmon and red.
With a delicate scent and feminine appearance, in the language of flowers, bouvardia represent enthusiasm.
The Klinsky-Sherry family live in a typical habitat for the sort of New Yorkers they appear to be:
“…an enormous ’20s-era co-op with Central Park views (once part of a triplex built for the philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post), gutted to its steel beams and refitted with luxurious flourishes like 16th-century Belgian mantelpieces and custom furniture made from exotic woods with unpronounceable names.
But some of that furniture and some of those walls conceal secrets — messages, games and treasures — that make up a Rube Goldberg maze of systems and contraptions conceived by a young architectural designer named Eric Clough…
…The apartment even comes with its own book, part of which is a fictional narrative that recalls “The Da Vinci Code”…and “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” the children’s classic by E. L. Konigsburg about a brother and a sister who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and discover — and solve — a mystery surrounding a Renaissance sculpture. It has its own soundtrack, too, with contributions by Kate Fenner, a young Canadian singer and songwriter…
It began when Mr. Klinsky threw in his two cents, a vague request that a poem he had written for and about his family be lodged in a wall somewhere…put in a bottle and hidden away as if it were a time capsule.”
In a U.S. Supreme Court decision today (Jun 26, 2008 ) punitive damages for the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster were slashed to a mere $507.5 million. That translates to an average of $15,000 per victim, some 33,000 residents of Anchorage, Alaska.
In 1994 a jury decided that Exxon should pay $5 billion in punitive damages. In 2006, a federal appeals court cut that verdict in half to $2.5 billion.
Today’s Supreme Court decision reduces that amount to what equals about four days worth of Exxon Mobil’s last quarter profits.
First-qaurter profits at Exxon Mobil were $10.9 billion. The company’s 2007 profit was $40.7 billion.
Once again, Big Oils wins. Capitalist Bastards!
The Night Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) is one of the most cultivated species of cactus in the genus, with magnificent perfumed flowers that only open after dark and with each flower only lasting the one night. In China the plant’s name means “a beauty under moonlights.” That is to say that culturally the flower is revered as a treasure and is treated as such.
The above photograph was taken by Robert Fovell, a professor in the Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences Department at UCLA.
Links: Night Blooming Cereus–Robert Fovell
“The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves,” he once said. “But for those who haven’t had the good fortune of finding this happiness, I am there.”
…~Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent
(August 1, 1936 — June 1, 2008 )
The term ephemera refers to items, usually printed paper, which are meant to have a very short lifespan. These include tickets, flyers, advertisements, event posters, programs, menus, news clippings, bookmarks, business cards, handbills, pamphlets & brochurs, greeting cards, invitations, labels, postcards, trading cards, photos, drawings, letters, stickers, and other paper opbjects of small size.
Promotional items, may also be referred to as tchotchkes, such as pens, buttons, and matchbook covers may also be considered ephemera.
But literary ephemera serves its own master.
Literary ephemera is that which is associated with literary figures or subjects. The obligatory posters and handbills, theater tickets, bookmarks, or photo of an author apply, but such unique items as Bookplates, especially when signed by an author and not attached to a book, are a unique trinket specific to literary ephemera.
Ephemera is more than simply trinkets. On a much broader scale, ephemera documents history, “recording the small, and often subsequently lost, details of events, cultures and lives,” becoming bits of history in themselves.
Often overlooked by book collectors, literary ephemera exists in very small quantities, making this one of the few collectibles that exist in rarities and is relatively inexpensive to collect. And since there isn’t set checklist to follow, it can be like opening a mystery toy inside your favorite cereal box, discovering an ephemeral item you never knew existed.
The New York Times Book Review Department has shared a few of its own collected bits of literary ephemera.
“When George Terrazas was mugged at gunpoint in this Mexican border city several months ago, he vowed never to return.
That, however, was before gasoline hit $4 a gallon in his hometown, El Paso, just across the border.
On Saturday, Mr. Terrazas was back in Ciudad Juárez, wooed by its irresistibly low-priced
gasoline — around $2.66 a gallon — even if not quite unfazed by the indiscriminate gunfire from dueling drug cartels that has contributed to a 2008 average of three killings a day in the city.
“I don’t feel comfortable here,” he said, “but I can’t even fill the tank on the U.S. side.””
How sick does the American government have to be to think its alright for its American citizens to have to cross into a foreign country under impending peril of thier life just to get a full tank of gas! Fucking Capitalists!
Written from the perspective of the firs-person narrator, a cultivated man of middle-age, looking back as he tells his story of amour fou for the daughter of the house which he takes lodging in while traveling abroad. The moment he sees her, he is lost. She is pre-teen. Her charms instantly enslave him, and heedless of her age, he becomes intimate with her. In the end, she dies. The narrator — marked by her forever — remains the rest of his days alone. The name of the girl becomes the title of his story: Lolita
But wait. We are not speaking of Vladimir Nabokov. The author of this Lolita is Heinz von Eschwege, under the pseudonym Heinz von Lichberg, written in 1916, some forty years before Nabokov’s celebrated novel.
Von Lichberg went on to become a prominent journalist in the Nazi era. Not a far stretch from his familial background, an ancient line of Hessian aristocrats who were more military than literary, his own father being a colonel in the infantry. His youthful works of poetry, and of Lolita, faded from view.
Nabokov ostensibly grappled with, what would have been a historic folly, destroying the work that became his Lolita while in gestation.
“Once or twice I was on the point of burning the unfinished draft and had carried my Juanita Dark as far as the shadow of the leaning incinerator on the innocent lawn, when I was stopped by the thought that the ghost of the destroyed book would haunt my files for the rest of my life.”
Juanita Dark was the name Nabokov had then given his young herione. But had it not been for Vera restraining her husband from destroying the manuscript, Nabokov “would have died a professor of literature and a ‘writer’s writer,’” as Michael Maar puts it.
“Google would not spit out millions of entries under a single term. Lolita, Texas, would not have considered applying to change its name. Lolita would not have risen from name to concept. The literature of twentieth century would have lost one of its most audacious works. And yet, there would have been a printed Lolita in the world.
Maar speculates that Nabokov may have had cryptoamnesia, a hidden, unacknowledged memory of von Lichberg’s tale. Or had Nabokov adopted the story of Lolita consciously, Maar drawing on such key facts as Nabokov having lived in the same section of Berlin as von Lichberg until 1937. Maar makes point: “As Van Veer remarks in Ada, there is no logical law that would tell us when a given number of coincidences ceases to be accidental. In its absence, it is not easy to answer — but, of course, even more difficult to dismiss — the unavoidable question: can Vladimir Nabokov, the author…of the proud black swan of modern fiction, have known of the ugly duckling that was its precursor? Could he have been affected by it?”
Still, Maar takes the side that accusations plagiarism should not apply, stating: “Literature has always been a huge crucible in which familiar themes are continually recast… Nothing of what we admire in Lolita is already to be found in the tale; the former is in no way deducible from the latter.”
“Kennedy v. Louisiana was the latest in a series of cases in which the justices have weighed particular applications of capital punishment.
…as Chief Justice Roberts observed when Kennedy v. Louisiana was argued on April 16: “This is quite different. It is focused on the nature of the offense.” Indeed, a theme that ran through the argument was that, while the death penalty is a punishment like no other, the rape of a child is a crime like no other.
In 1977, the Supreme Court banned death sentences for rape. But the victim in that case, Coker v. Georgia, was a young married woman, and the ruling did not specifically discuss the rape of a child.”
Louisiana is the first state to amend its death penalty law (1995) to include rape of a child under the age of 12. Other states (Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas) with similar provisions, a reaction to public outrage over crimes against children, generally limit the death penalty to defendants previously convicted of sex crimes against children.
However, not since 1964 has anyone been executed in the United States for a crime other than murder, and of about 3,300 inmates now on death row, only two are facing execution for a crime that does not involve killing–both are inmates in Louisiana and both are for crimes against children: Patrick Kennedy, sentenced for the rape of his 8-year old stepdaughter, and Richard Davis, condemned for assaulting a 5 -year old girl.
Jeffrey L. Fisher, attorney for the state of Louisiana, and R. Ted Cruz, friend of the court for Louisiana and and representative of Texas, countered that the 300-pound Kennedy had committed ““a very savage rape” that caused serious injuries to his victim,” and furthermore that Davis “committed crimes that are just unspeakable.”
Today, however, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court who held that child rape is unique in the harm it inflicts upon the victim and upon society, and that short of first degree murder, no crime is more deserving of the death penalty. Justice Kenedy dissented, arguing that child rape, assuming that the victim was not killed, is not punishable by execution as it violates the Eigth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Moreover, that sentencing someone to death for raping a child could have terrible, unintended consequences: “Society’s desire to inflict death for child rape by enlisting the child victim to assist it over the course of years in asking for capital punishment forces a moral choice on the child, who is not of mature age to make that choice,” Justice Kennedy wrote.
City official, Nikolai Zakotnov, came by 32 Kartashov and vowed to rescue it. Once serving as homt to a 19th-century merchant, the little log masterpiece with ornate doors and shutters carved like doilies, became a woebgone flophouse after the Soviet years, and had all but given up on itself as no one in the Siberian city could even be bothered with it. But Zakotnov saw standing an example of Tomsk’s unique architectural heritage.
The riverfront city of Tomsk finds wooden buildings erected before Communism filling its side streets and now standing in various states of decay. Some of the Gingerbread Houses are already gone, demolished and replaced with high-rise apartments, supermarkets, and offices. But as Tomsk prospers from trade, pressure is growing for new real eastate projects, especially in the commercial center. Yet 1,800 or so still remain and so the balancing act of economic growth and historical preservation ensues.
Zakotnov hopes that a third of the Gingerbread Houses can be saved and restored, creating a historic district, perhaps even becoming an attraction for tourism, the city being a mere four hours from Moscow by plane.
“In the old days, the homes’ owners competed to show off the most lavish wooden designs, like American suburbanites vying to have the most verdant lawn on the block. Craftsmen flocked to Tomsk and other Siberian cities, and their art thrived. To create such carvings from wood was a fine way to honor the Siberian forests.”
But with the revolution, the government converted these homes and turned them into communal apartments, first housing up to three and four families into each, and by the end of World War II, the buildings were crammed with eight or more families as factories were evacuated to Siberia from the front. Under Communism, when everyone was responsible for upkeep of the homes, no one was.
Using $3 million from this years city treasure, Zakotnov will restore a dozen buildings, replacing corroded logs with new ones, using Siberian larch, and completely renovating the interior, including, for the first time, bathroom. (Outhouses can still be found in the backyard.)
But not all are happy with the final product.
“It was better before,” said Nina Kupina, 85, a retired bookkeeper who was leaning from a window of a house that had been all prettied up — tan paint, beveled window frames, new roof. “But then they had to redo it, all those fools. They spoiled it all.”
Ah well, c’est la vie.
Link: NYTimes– “A Fresh Take…”
George Carlin was “beloved by the middle-aged, who had practically grown up with him, but also by the young people whose parents weren’t even alive when he began appearing on The Tonight Show in the 1960…” Gilding grew up in the era of in between, her parents being teenagers when Carlin’s reign began and the comedian transformed the notion of what stand-up could be. Gilding’s father was a perpetual quoter of Carlin, especially of the “Filthy Words” era. The word “Fuck” is like a household pet name in the Gilding Family and while Carlin isn’t to blame, he served as one funny ass justification to any and all who balked at our ‘indecent behanvior’.
Carlin was of the “era of bit comedy, of stories and one-liners” and routines that involved full-fledged characters, such as Al Sleet, the “hippy-dippy weatherman…whose forecasts had an existential edge.” And after the characters, Carlin’s slightly dazed-and-confused that developed became his trademark; “He didn’t seem stoned, exactly, but a lot of his humor appeared to come from that part of the brain that lesser people need drugs to activate.”
Gilding’s father, an artist and child of the 60′s wasn’t far removed from this part of his brain and as a child neither was Gilding. Gilding’s parents were shielders from harm, from those big bad things in the world that they could keep at bay while their child played blissfully in the gray shadow of their sentry, but they were not shielders of words. Rather, they were believers that if Gilding didn’t understand it on her own, then was the time, if she so inquired, that they imparted upon her what knowledge in explanation they deemed she need know. But if she did get it on her own, then her cognition was such as need not have it hidden from her. Learned morals and values from their parental tutelage would see to it the rest was taken care of. And as for Gilding’s father, he couldn’t deem a person who had more like-minded morals as his own than George Carlin. The rest is, as they say, history.
And history it has become as George Carlin died Sunday, June 22 at the age of 71. Carlin had gift for saying — and thinking — things that other people wouldn’t or couldn’t, and perhaps that is the legacy that growing up in a house where Carlin’s voice played in the background has left. “He hated religion, self-help movements, corporate and government doublespeak, shopping malls, fast food and trendy child-rearing practices…But what came through, even as he shook his head and used one more of the seven forbidden words to say how stupid we were, was his love of language itself and how various and evocative it was. Even the explitives — or perhaps especially the expletives.” Hard not to see the similarities. Not a bad legacy to leave behind if you ask Gilding.