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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

High Tech Cowboys of the Deep Seas: The Race to Save the Cougar Ace


A myth is a lie breathed through silver.

The Existence of the World Is a Controversy

After the photograph, the class wandered off and I wondered why so often I found myself the last man. Because I'd read Emerson all summer long, I took my lack of discomfort to be a sign of heroic standing.

So I determined to set for myself a new relation to the universe, to write poems. As if one could settle, once and for all, the question whether or not vocation is all.

Solitude can become a rotten habit. I remember how acute the contentment, Friday nights especially, my reflection in the television.

What passes for turning inward, for study and for art, can slip unnoticed into a well-practiced jeopardy, a narrative fortress projecting the story of separation into a post-quotidian SIGNIFICANT LIFE. A myth is a lie breathed through silver.

Peace, not necessarily the doing of peaceful spirits, can lead to believing that being a person is easy.

On my honeymoon, I thought to myself You'll never be alone again. Inside the wigwam suite, clothes scattered around the bearskin rug, an Indian-warrior gelatin print—his feathers new, his face deep-lined and droughted—as my eyewitness, I wondered what might happen if I surrendered, with a few conditions, to this bright casualty.


Kingdom Come C&R Press

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eli is reading Sammy "The Dark Is Rising" sequence

If it's a girl, there will be great cheers from the family outside. If it's a boy, you will hear them mutter.

Meghalaya, India: Where women rule, and men are suffragettes

Khasi women smiling
In the small hilly Indian state of Meghalaya, a matrilineal system operates with property names and wealth passing from mother to daughter rather than father to son - but some men are campaigning for change.
When early European settlers first arrived here they nicknamed it "the Scotland of the East" on account of its evocative rolling hills.
Coincidentally, today the bustling market in the state capital, Shillong, is awash with tartan in the form of the traditional handloom shawls worn ubiquitously since the autumn chill arrived.
Not far from here the village of Cherrapunji once measured an astonishing 26.5m (87ft) of rain in one year, a fact still acknowledged by the Guinness book as a world record.
But the rainy season is over for the time being and it is Meghalaya's other major claim to fame that I am here to investigate.
Men wearing tartanTartan, and pipes, are popular in Shillong
It appears that some age-old traditions have been ruffling a few feathers of late, causing the views of a small band of male suffragettes to gain in popularity, reviving some rather outspoken opinions originally started by a small group of intellectuals in the 1960s.
I am sitting across a table from Keith Pariat, President of Syngkhong-Rympei-Thymmai, Meghalaya's very own men's rights movement.
He is quick to assure me that he and his colleagues "do not want to bring women down," as he puts it. "We just want to bring the men up to where the women are."
Mr Pariat, who ignored age-old customs by taking his father's surname is adamant that matriliny is breeding generations of Khasi men who fall short of their inherent potential, citing alcoholism and drug abuse among its negative side-effects.
"If you want to know how much the Khasis favour women just take a trip to the labour ward at the hospital," he says.
"If it's a girl, there will be great cheers from the family outside. If it's a boy, you will hear them mutter politely that, 'Whatever God gives us is quite all right.'"
Map of India
Mr Pariat cites numerous examples of how his fellow brethren are being demoralised. These include a fascinating theory involving the way that gender in the local Khasi language reflects these basic cultural assumptions.
"A tree is masculine, but when it is turned into wood, it becomes feminine," he begins.
"The same is true of many of the nouns in our language. When something becomes useful, its gender becomes female.
"Matriliny breeds a culture of men who feel useless."
I talk to Patricia Mukkum, the well-respected editor of Shillong's daily newspaper. She assures me that her heritage is only one of the reasons why she has risen to the level she has and points out that the tradition of excluding women from the political decision making process is still very strong in their culture.

From Our Own Correspondent

  • Broadcast on Saturdays at 11:30 GMT on BBC Radio 4, and weekdays on BBC World Service
As a mother of children by three different Khasi fathers however, she is the first to admit that their societal anomaly has afforded her ample opportunities to be both a mother and a successful career woman.
Making reference to the routine problems facing women just over the border in West Bengal, Miss Mukkum is resolute.
"Our culture offers a very safe sanctuary for women," she declares.
I decide to see for myself in a remote village in the East Khasi Hills. After two hours walking through thick jungle I meet 42-year-old Mary.
She is a "Ka Khadduh", the youngest daughter in her family and consequently, the one destined to live with her parents until she inherits the family house. Her husband, 36-year-old Alfred, lives with them.
When I talk to her inside their home, Mary tells me that women do not trust men to look after their money so they take control of it themselves. I glance at Alfred for a response but he musters only a smile.
Mary goes on: "Most men in our village leave school early to help their fathers in the fields. This is a great detriment to their education."
I turn to Alfred once more. He responds with another shy smile.
Mary admits she has never heard of the men's right's movement, but thinks the system will never change.
A Khasi woman cookingKhasi women are in charge of running the household
Alfred maintains his Mona Lisa smile.
As we are talking, a praying mantis careers into our hut and slams into the side of my head.
After the laughter dies down, I take the opportunity to break the ice with Alfred by pointing out that female mantises eat their mates after sex, making a gesture with my arms mimicking the insect's claws, an action the Khasi called "takor" and one which turns out to be the gesticular equivalent of sticking two fingers up at someone. There is more laughter at my expense.
Forty minutes later however I have yet to get a comment from Mary's husband and all too soon it is time to leave.
I feel that the last word should come from Alfred so I ask my translator to target a simple question directly at him.
"What does he think of the matrilineal system?"
There is a long and considered pause. After what seems like an eternity the silence is finally broken.
"He like," pipes up Mary, and it is time to go.
 How to listen to From Our Own Correspondent:
BBC Radio 4: A 30-minute programme on Saturdays, 11:30 GMT.
Second 30-minute programme on Thursdays, 11:00 GMT (some weeks only).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

He "grandmomed" the story!

How Dr. Seuss Got His Start 'On Mulberry Street'

by NPR Staff, npr.org
January 24th 2012

Seventy-five years ago, before Theodor Geisel rocked the culinary world with green eggs and ham or put a red-and-white striped top hat on a talking cat, Geisel (whom you probably know better as Dr. Seuss) was stuck on a boat, returning from a trip to Europe.
For eight days, he listened to the ship's engine chug away. The sound got stuck in his head, and he started writing to the rhythm. Eventually, those rhythmic lines in his head turned into his first children's book: It was called And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
The story, which turns 75 this year, is about a boy named Marco who wants to tell his father an interesting story about what he saw that day on his walk home from school — but the only thing Marco has seen (other than his own feet) is a boring old horse and wagon on Mulberry Street.
Courtesy Random House Children's Books
Photo by: Courtesy Random House Children's Books
Marco laments:
That's nothing to tell of,
That won't do of course ...
Just a broke-down wagon
That's drawn by a horse.
That can't be my story. That's only astart.
I'll say that a ZEBRA was pulling that cart!
And that is a story that no one can beat,
When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.
Soon Marco's imagination is running wild — the zebra morphs into a reindeer, and the wagon becomes a golden chariot and then a fancy sleigh.
Courtesy Random House Children's Books
Photo by: Courtesy Random House Children's Books
But why have a simple sleigh pulled by a reindeer, when the sleigh could be a brass band, and the reindeer could be an elephant? The little boy imagines the elephant he'll describe to his father:
I'll pick one with plenty of power and size,
A blue one with plenty of fun in his eyes.
And then just to give him a little more tone,
Have a Rajah, with rubies, perched high on a throne.
Courtesy Random House Children's Books
Photo by: Courtesy Random House Children's Books
On and on it goes; two giraffes help the elephant pull the brass band, as a squadron of policemen on motorcycles escort the parade past the mayor and the alderman as an airplane showers confetti from above.
In the end, Marco knows his father won't tolerate a made-up story, so when Dad asks about the sights Marco saw on the way home from school, the dejected little boy just tells the boring truth:
"Nothing," I said, growing red as a beet
"But a plain horse and wagon on Mulberry Street."
Dr. Seuss didn't have an easy time selling the bittersweet story to publishers. "It was rejected 27 times," says Guy McLain, who works at the Springfield Museum in Geisel's Massachusetts hometown.
McLain has become a local expert on Dr. Seuss. He says Mulberry Street might have never been published — if it hadn't been for a chance encounter Geisel had one day as he was walking home in New York City.
"He bumped into a friend ... who had just become an editor at a publishing house in the children's section," McLain explains. Geisel told the friend that he'd simply given up and planned to destroy the book, but the editor asked to take a look.
It was a moment that changed Geisel's life.
"He said if he had been walking down the other side of the street, he probably would never have become a children's author," McLain says.
The book was published in 1937. It got great reviews, and the rest is history.
But why Mulberry Street? Turns out, it's a real-life street in Geisel's hometown.
"It was a street very close to his grandparents' bakery," McLain says. "And I think also ... it was the rhythm, the sound of the word that was very important with Dr. Seuss. Because there's nothing special about the street, really."

There were all these anonymous photographers out there who have not been given enough credit.”

Famous Photogs Pose With Their Most Iconic Images

January 20th 2012
Jeff Widener holds his photo of Tank Man in Tienanmen Square from 1989.Photo: Tim Mantoani
Steve McCurry holds his 1984 photo of a young woman from Peshawar, Pakistan. "I looked for this girl for 17 years and finally found her in 2002. Her name is Sharbat Gula."Photo: Tim Mantoani
Neil Leifer holds his photo, Ali vs. Liston, which he took on May 25, 1965 in Lewiston, Maine.Photo: Tim Mantoani
Bill Eppridge stands with his photo of Robert F. Kennedy after his assassination on June 5, 1968.Photo: Tim Mantoani
Elliot Erwitt: "The picture I am holding was snapped in 1974 just across the street from my apartment in New York's Central Park. It has been 38 years since that event and sadly I have lost track of the participants."Photo: Tim Mantoani
Brian Smith: "The magic of photography happens when you don't see what's coming next."Photo: Tim Mantoani
Douglas Kirkland: "This is from my Evening with Marilyn."Photo: Tim Mantoani
Harry Benson: "Brian Epstein — Beatles' manager — had just told them they were number one in America, and I was coming with them to New York, 1964."Photo: Tim Mantoani
Karen Kuehn: "From the 1993 Cats Story shot for National Geographic. The director Thomas Kennedy asked me to shoot an entire story about 'cats.' He did not want it to be typical! So problem solving this assignment was good fun. The Russian Blue Cat and Ballerina legs was inspired by George Balanchine — he used the idea of cats landing always on their toes to teach his dancers."Photo: Tim Mantoani
Mark Seliger: "Originally an inside opener for Rolling Stone cover story of Nirvana in conjunction with the release of In Utero, my first Polaroid
Photo by: with Negative
The Tank Man of Tienanmen Square. Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston in victory. The portrait of the Afghan Girl on the cover of National Geographic. Many of us can automatically recall these photos in our heads, but far fewer can name the photographers who took them. Even fewer know what those photographers look like.
Tim Mantoani hopes to change that by taking portraits of famous photographers holding their most iconic or favorite photos in his new book Behind Photographs: Archiving Photographic Legends. Mantoani has shot over 150 of these portraits in the last five years, most of which are contained in the book.
"I felt like there was kind of this void," says Mantoani. "There were all these anonymous photographers out there who have not been given enough credit."
At a time when everyone has a camera in their pocket and millions, if not billions of photos are flying around the internet each day, Mantoani wants to help people understand that iconic photos don't just happen. They are the product of people who devote their entire lives to photography. Giving these people a face, he says, helps do that.
"It was important to step back and understand that cameras didn't make these photos, photographers made these photos," he says. "Without these people and their understanding of photography, these moments would not be there for us to understand and appreciate over the course of time."
Mantoani, a San Diego-based commercial and editorial photographer who is well known for his portrait work, decided to challenge his own craftsmanship by shooting the portraits on the enormous 20×24 Polaroid format. Only a few 20×24 Polaroid cameras still exist, and the film can be prohibitively expensive — about $200 per shot.
Over the course of the project, some of the photographers who participated passed away. Polaroid went belly up, making 20×24 film that much harder to come by. The weight of each photo's importance as a historic document became more apparent with each loss.
"We have come to a point in history where we are losing both photographic recording mediums and iconic photographers," Mantoani says.
Scarcity and history also increased the pressure to produce a quality image. "Digital has allowed you to hold the hammer down and work it out later," he says. "This process really forced me to go back to my roots and try to get everything perfect before I even made the exposure."
Some portraits Mantoani nailed on the first shot, others took three or four tries. The process often became a collaboration between Mantoani and his subjects, who offered their own advice.
Steve McCurry, for example, looked at his own first portrait and commented on the amount of space that Mantoani left between his head and the top of the frame. McCurry insisted that Mantoani could do what he wanted, but Mantoani was happy to take the advice — especially considering the source.
"The shoots sometimes became little mini workshops," Mantoani says.
Some of the photographers not only lent their advice, but also their rolodex. The first few photographers Mantoani worked with were instrumental in getting him access to the larger community. Some photographers still said no, even with the referral. Others, such as Herman Leonard, took a long time to come around.
"When people realized that I wasn't out to take advantage of them but instead wanted celebrate this group of photographers, they wrapped their arms around the project," Mantoani said.
The book is the first step in preserving and broadcasting the archive. Mantoani eventually wants the original prints to become part of an exhibition.
"I wanted to create this archive so that some day when the photographers are all gone, my grandkids can not only appreciate their photos, but also know who they were and what they looked like."
To find out more or purchase a copy of the book, please visit the Behind Photographs website.

"Mimic"....There's that word again!

Putting The Beef In Veggie Burgers

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that “makers of meat substitutes, such as vegetarian turkey and fake sausages, are working to more closely mimic the taste and texture of the real thing. They're also tinkering with mouth feel, the sensation a food creates when chewed. Their goal is to win over more of the group marketers call ‘flexitarians’ - health-conscious adults, mostly in their 20s and 30s, who share many characteristics of vegetarians, with one big exception: They eat meat sometimes.”

Vegetarians, the story says, make up just five percent of the US population, “but include ‘semi-vegetarians,’ people who consume meat with fewer than half of meals, and the number represents a sizable one in eight U.S. adults.” So we’re talking about a lot of people.

The story goes on notes that “meat free” products in the US grew 21 percent over the past two years, and that the general image of meatless products is improving, from “prison-issued protein loaf or elastic chicken” to something more palatable and tasty, as well as something that may be safer and more environmentally friendly.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Sammy and "Jill"

With Ahluwalia as his sitter, Kopp began his "experiment" of painting from Skype video sessions

There You Are

Sandro Kopp's Skype sessions reflect the hybrid nature of painting reality from a two-dimensional plane

by Karen Day in Culture on 20 January 2012   

A series that evolved out of two friends chatting online while on opposite sides of the world, Sandro Kopp's Skype paintings are a natural progression for the young portrait artist. As a half Kiwi, half German, Kopp—who currently lives in the Scottish Highlands—is no stranger to the nomadic lifestyle that Skype enables, telling us he regularly uses it keep up with friends and family. One person Kopp frequently speaks to is his pal Waris Ahluwalia, who is the subject of numerous paintings and the catalyst for this tech-inspired concept, which will soon be on view at NYC's Lehmann Maupingallery in a week-long solo exhibit called "There You Are."
With Ahluwalia as his sitter, Kopp began his "experiment" of painting from Skype video sessions. A few days after its completion, he explains, he kept noticing it out of the corner of his eye and started thinking more seriously about the concept. Kopp prefers the emotional connection and fodder for real observation a live model gives over working from a photograph. The personal engagement Skype provides, combined with the screen's two dimensional plane, is for him a new hybrid format. 
Sandro-Waris-IV.jpg Sandro-Michael-S.jpg
The Skype sessions also reflect Kopp's personal philosophy that art should develop from doing. The industrious artist paints nearly everyday—he told us of one instance in which he did four paintings in one day—and this routine practice allows him to explore new ideas, saying "there a million ways to do a painting."
The series has evolved since its organically-formed inception, and the forthcoming exhibition will not only include new works, but will also feature video installations that depict various moments during the sitting. Like his self portrait series called "The New Me," Kopp continues to explore the subject of realism with a sequence of paintings that depict his friend Dave Le Fleming. Each painted on separate occasions, the portraits reflect both his ability as an artist to remain consistent through repetition as well as the inconsistencies in observation on any given day.
sandro-Dave-9.jpg sandro-Dave-10.jpg
Kopp's cast of models include some of popular culture's most famous subjects, including Michael Stipe, Tilda Swinton, John C. Reily, Ryan McGinley and more. Those wondering how he finds himself in such good company need to look no further than the artist himself. Beyond the opportunity to sit for the talented painter, they are undoubtedly taken by his incredibly thoughtful, humble and considerate nature. Kopp is very aware of the time they give him, and says his fast-paced style—one where he often completes the small portraits in just a few hours—is both an understanding of the situation and his personal technique. "I would like to slow down in the future though," he says.
The fourth solo show of his Skype portraits, Kopp's mind is already wheeling with his approach for the fifth show, which will see the series unfold and progress in another creative direction. "There You Are" opens 25 January and runs through 4 February 2012 at Lehmann Maupin Gallery.

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