Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Slavery was abolished in Britain in 1833, but little changed as plantation workers became wage slaves.

Image source of Barbados slave branding here.

sent down from oxford for writing a pamphlet

"If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, what doubts should we have concerning our future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him? If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses? "
- Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822], excerpt from The Necessity of Atheism, 1811

Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Winner

"Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May," a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests."

David McKenzie
Federal Way, WA

An earlier reference to Bulwer-Lytton here.

1st ever political logo

To the Persians the archer was not just symbolic of military prowess but of wisdom, leadership. The good archer had a sense of balance and control, qualities that were central to the concept of kingship developed by Darius I [c. 549 BCE – 486 BCE].

Image source here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Teufelsberg is a Berlin hill made out of WWII rubble.

Image source here.

German Fireplaces


Zellhuber Ring 17 - 18
84307 Eggenfelden

Phone: +49 8721 771-0
Fax: +49 8721 771-122

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pay for performance

A new model to pay for value not hours here.

Man's Man

"As a writer, I'm a very sensitive fellow, but I am also a man, and real men don't give into their sensitivities. Only sissy-men do that. Therefore I drink. How else can I face the existential horror of it all and continue to work? Besides, come on, I can handle it. A real man always can."
- Ernest Hemingway

Of the seven U.S. Nobel laureates in literature, five have been diagnosed as alcoholics.

An earlier reference to Hemingway here.

Friday, June 26, 2009


"Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana

An earlier reference to Santayana here. An earlier reference to memory here.


"I've never read a book in my life."
- Jamie Oliver [born 1975]

Thursday, June 25, 2009


"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page."
- Saint Augustine [354-430]

An earlier reference to Saint Augustine here.

depression and evolution

Depression may be linked to how willing someone is to give up his goals, as the Economist explains here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


After the last ice age [circa 10,000 BCE], a squirrel could have travelled from the south coast of England to the north coast of Scotland without once touching the ground.

Buddhist Whales

Mother Jones reports:
[In] one small Japanese fishing town, the local Buddhist priest is keeping track of the whales killed by locals. Upon death, the whales are given a Buddhist name that is entered into an official death register, much like a human's would be. The town has been recording the whales' deaths for 320 years. There's even a grave (complete with headstone and flowers) for the fetuses of whales found in their mother's bodies.

declarative memory

The extensively studied amnestic patient H.M.
has lost his declarative memory after sustaining damage to both temporal lobes. After hearing of his father's death for the hundredth time, he is piteously distressed as he was the first time. But he can still learn habits and nondeclarative motor skills, such as riding a bicycle.
- Alice W. Flaherty, The Midnight Disease, p.100

Image source here.


"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble, it's a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantement, it is as perrenial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."
- Written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann [1872-1945]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

protestant aesthetic

Caspar Netscher [1639-1684], The Lace-Maker, 1662


Christopher Hitchens looks at the new Acropolis museum here. The Economist has another perspective here.

An earlier reference to the Parthenon here.

Baron D'Holbach

An earlier reference to the first modern Atheist since Classical antiquity here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

devastated conventional belief

"God's power is infinite -- whatever he wills is executed. But neither man nor any other animal is happy, therefore he does not will their happiness. Epicurus's old questions are yet unanswered: is he both able and willing to prevent evil? Then whence cometh evil?"
- David Hume [1711-1776]

An earlier reference to Hume here. An earlier reference to Epicurus here.

laid the groundwork for Atheism

"The world [I mean not the earth only but the universe, that is, the whole mass of all things that are] is corporeal [that is to say body] and hath the dimensions of magnitude [namely length, breadth, and depth] ... every part of the universe is body and that which is not body is no part of the universe. And because the universe is all, that which is no part is nothing. Nowhere. [Spirits are bodily]."
- Thomas Hobbes [1588-1679]

An earlier reference to Hobbes here.

1st Deist

"There is a Supreme Being; this sovereign power is to be worshipped. Common consent ordains this, though men differ as to the means. And this has always been believed: that all vices and crimes should be expiated and effaced by repentance."

An earlier reference to Cherbury here.

Movie Timelines

Source here.

rent and lease art

Kelly Neidig, 2008
$125 monthly rental
$75 monthly lease

"articulating history"

"Unless you are in love, you are dead."
- Architect Daniel Libeskind [born 1947] designed Berlin's Holocaust Museum, was responsible for the recent transformation of Toronto's ROM.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


W. Somerset Maugham [1874-1965], 1942

[His] day began at 8 A.M. with breakfast on a tray and the morning papers. He shaved in his bath, consulted with his Italian cook about the day's menus and then repaired to his den, where he wrote with a special fountain pen until precisely 12:45 P.M. "My brain is dead after 1 o'clock," Maugham decreed. The rest of the day unfolded with a one-martini lunch, a nap, golf or tennis, the cocktail hour and then a formal black-tie dinner, always with champagne. This rarely varied routine produced 74 novels, plays, collections of essays and short stories in 65 years at his writing desk.
- Alice W. Flaherty, The Midnight Disease, p.99

Saturday, June 20, 2009

style over substance

The consensus was that Winston Churchill was a terrible judge of men, easily impressed by style over substance.

An earlier reference to Churchill here.

the difference between Canada and the USA

Alan Gregg
The United States Constitution says that they are devoted to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." The Canadian Constitution is devoted to "Peace, Order and Good Government." That's the essential difference.
John Ralston Saul
The historical phrase is in fact "Peace, Welfare and Good Government."
[But one should say]
"Canada is a country of aboriginal inspiration, of Métis mentality, whose motto is Tranquility, Happiness and Good Government."

Friday, June 19, 2009

british leader

Winston Churchill in his office sitting beneath painting of his wife, 1947.

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

An earlier reference to Churchill here.


A video explaining the preparation of a 15th century recipe here.

An earlier reference to Richard II's The Forme of Curry here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


"My greatest hero is Nelson Mandela. Incredible man. Incarcerated for twenty-five years. He was released in 1990. He's been out about eighteen years now and he hasn't reoffended. I think he's going straight, which shows you prison does work."
- Ricky Gervais [born 1961]

An earlier reference to Nelson Mandela here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


"The eighteenth century saw a fad among the rich of hiring someone to personify melancholy in their estate parks. The person was usually instructed to dress like a hermit, to refrain from cutting his hair or nails, and to live in a picturesque grotto provided by the employer. When hermits were scarce, statuary or clockwork figures were used instead."
- Alice W. Flaherty, The Midnight Disease, p.65

Image source here.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

tool for social reform

Lewis Hein [1874-1940], Powerhouse Mechanic, 1920

first realistic sculpture

Kritios Boy, c 480 BCE

oolitic limestone

Venus of Willendorf [24,000-22,000 BCE]. Estimated value $60 million. Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran speculates that grotesque fatness would have been highly desirable in a time of starvation.

Monday, June 15, 2009


medieval drawings

An exhibition of art created between the ninth and 14th centuries here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

ancient secret to happiness

"Friends, freedom and an analyzed life."
- A distillation of the 300 books written by philosopher Epicurus [341-271 BCE]

An earlier reference to Epicurus here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

first female doctor of philosophy

On June 25, 1678 Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia [1646-1684]received the Doctorate of Philosophy degree from the University of Padua. At age thirty-two she was the first woman ever to receive a doctorate degree. Source here.

stress is bad

Image source here.

Neurons can whither which is bad for memory and learning.

An earlier reference to stress here.

Rubik's Cube


British chiropractors retreating from publicity here.

You actually said that online?

A new website archives entertaining comments that have been posted on the Internet, such as this representative thread:
eqtworld: Would you not kill Hitler to stop the holocaust?

Weaver95: nope. I’d go back in time and make sure he got into art school.

eqtworld: It would be easier to shoot him, those paintings suck

Weaver95: if he got into art school, he would have gotten better.

eqtworld: good point
More here.

Friday, June 12, 2009


"To laugh often and much."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803-1882]

An earlier refernce to Emerson here.

inventor of the salad bar

- Norman Brinker [1931-2009]

more celebrated than mourned

"He had a hard time loving himself and therefore had a hard time shining that love on other people. And he could make his way to the bottom of a bottle quickly too. He didn't spill a lot."
- Dave Matthews [born 1967] on his late saxophonist LeRoi Moore [1961-2008] who died on his farm in an All Terrain Vehicle accident.

forgetting is healthy

Dr. Srikumar Rao visits Google's Mountain View, California headquarters to discuss his book, "Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life."

A key implication is to forget the past.

An earlier reference to Google here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The top portion of the $50,000 2009 Lincoln Town Car Signature Limited steering wheel is made out of plastic to look like wood, but which unlike wood sizzles when exposed to intense sun for even brief durations.


Van Gogh After Self Portrait 1887, by John Dean at The Royal Academy of Arts .

An earlier reference to Van Gogh here.

does not give interviews

Cy Twombly [born 1928] was inspired by Rilke's [1875-1926] poem "Les Roses."

Let’s not talk about you.
You are ineffable by nature.
Other flowers decorate the table
that you transfigure.
One puts you into a simple vase—,
and everything changes;
it’s perhaps the same phrase
but sung by an angel.

Earlier references to Twombly here, to Rilke here.

Google Wave

Google's future "email on crack" application.

An earlier reference to Google here.


"May my son study history, for it is the only true psychology, and the only true philosophy."
- Napoleon to the duke of Reichstadt at St. Helena

An earlier reference to Napoleon here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"I hope I never get so old I get religious."

"The human face is endlessly interesting."
- Sam Mendes [born 1965] paraphrasing Ingmar Bergman [1918-2007]

Sunday, June 7, 2009

3600 seconds

"Sometimes all you can remember are the things you'd rather forget."
- Andy Rooney [born 1919]

An earlier reference to 60 Minutes here.

the swing set

"Children should learn and manage risk for themselves. It's more damaging to them if they're wrapped in cotton wool."
- A private playground proprietor in Haringey, North London, UK. Watch this Secret Millionaire episode here.

Image source here.

An earlier reference to the Mayfair Set here.

Beat Poet

A review by James Warren, who can be contacted here: jimwarren55@gmail.com

----Volume 65 of American Imago, a leading journal on psychoanalysis, has this week's journey to the obscure via "Ginsberg in Hospital," a look at the June 1949 psychiatric hospitalization in New York City of poet Allen Ginsberg, then 23. He wound up there as a result of a plea bargain in a case in which he was charged with riding in a car with stolen goods.

Here, psychoanalyst Janet Hadda, having been allowed access to those hospital records by Ginsberg's estate, writes that,
Traditionally, scholars have held that this hospitalization was, at best, a hiatus in Ginsberg's creativity and, at worst, led to an attempt by the doctors there to squelch his genius and suppress his homosexuality. Using unpublished hospital records, the present article argues that Ginsberg's time as a patient, while brief and unheralded, allowed him a safe and protected environment in which to experience the chaos that had always shadowed his existence. This period in Ginsberg's life, far from harming him, allowed him to decompensate, recover, and become the poet of 'Howl,'" his influential 1956 collection.
She concludes:
In the end, Ginsberg's poetry itself is testimony to his freedom. If 'Howl,' 'Kaddish,' and other works sometimes describe forms of mental illness--paranoia, hallucination, obsession, mania, and the like--the poet himself remained lucid and self-aware.

Perhaps he was able to venture further than most people into an uncontrolled realm because he had lost his psychological integrity and suffered what others are terrified to experience. But then, unlike [his schizophrenic mother] Naomi, he returned to sanity and he knew that he was safe. What he most dreaded had already happened, and he could proceed--in his life and in his art--with enviable guts and brio.
An earlier reference to the Beat Generation here.


An earlier Tony Hawk reference here.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

world champion

An earlier reference to Ping Pong here.

Who blogs?

According to the a University of Alabama study:

The results of two studies indicate that people who are high in openness to new experience and high in neuroticism are likely to be bloggers.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009


There are 633 First Nations communities in Canada.


Helmut Newton [1920-2004] published a limited edition sixty-six pound book of photographs, which he called Sumo. A limited edition copy can be purchased on eBay for $10,000.

An earlier reference to Sumo here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

protestant sloth ethic

"Do as little as possible and that unwillingly for it is better to receive a slight reprimand than it is to perform an arduous task." Plus the corollary: "An awful lot of life's problems solve themselves if you just leave them be."
- Michael Lewis [born 1960] on what may or not be on his family coat of arms.

An earlier reference to Michael Lewis here.

An earlier reference to the Protestantism here.


"You go into ups and downs. Usually the downs come before you have a chance to adjust and you flop on your butt and it hurts really bad, but at least you didn't see it coming."
- 50 year old Perry Ferrell [born 1959] of Jane's Addiction, whose glass remains half-full.

old rubber tires

More sculptures made out of old tires here.

Knife Holder

$69.99 from Think Geek.