Ron Mueck's sculptures faithfully reproduce the minute detail of the human body, but play with scale to produce disconcertingly jarring visual images.
~ From Ron Mueck Wikipedia entry
Ron Mueck is an Australian hyperrealist sculptor whose work with the human body and all its flaws is absolutely mesmerizing. If you've seen Mueck's work, experienced it, you'll never forget it. It's not that the sculptures are beautiful or of beautiful subjects; most of the subjects are fairly ordinary or even ugly. But it's the realism, the play with scale both large and small, and the nudity that demands your attention.
High octane gas is expensive - Is it worth the money?
In my post Is Cheap Gas Bad for Your Car, I discovered that in the U.S., gas is gas. The only significant difference between cheap gas and brand name gas is the price. But what about octane rating?
- Does using a higher octane gas improve mileage or fuel economy?
- Does higher octane gas give my car more power?
The answers may surprise you.
Tricking Your Body? - I found this Men's Health article a bit misleading, if not silly...But it had some interesting kernels.
1. If your throat tickles, scratch your ear.
"When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm," says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "This spasm relieves the tickle."
2. Use right ear for conversation and left ear for music.
Can't hear what's being said. Researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine say you should lean in with your RIGHT ear, which recognizes speech better.
On the other hand, if you are trying to identify a piece of music, lean in with your LEFT ear. The left ear is better at sensing (recognizing?) music tones.
3. Need to pee but no toilet nearby? Think about sex.
David Armand as "Johann Lippowitz" Mimes Natalie Imbruglia's Torn - Here's a fascinating and funny video performance of Torn by Natalie Imbruglia with mime/sign language assistance from David Armand (Johann Lippowitz). I was very impressed with how Natalie and Johann integrated their talents. Armand's Lippowitz character could have easily stolen the show, but Natalie managed to "get into the act." Excellent.
And the Stones -- The Rolling Stones! Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, and Charlie Watts. Absolutely fantastic. Mick is amazing -- how can Mick be 63 and jumping around like a spastic schoolboy? His energy (and limberness) must baffle scientists. Compared to Morrison's aged and stiff body, Mick appears to have some fountain of youth elixir coursing through him.
"I'll have what he's having."
We got some satisfaction.
Nerf N-Strike Maverick Toy Gun - I bought my son a toy, and I'm the only one playing with it.
I did this with a Nerf N-Strike Maverick toy gun, a Nerf dart six-shooter. Since it was ridiculously cheap ($8 each), I bought two so my son and a friend could have shootouts...
...I suppose that's not smart parenting on so many levels, but I won't go there.
As soon as my son unwrapped them, I opened one and starting shooting anything convenient.
That was hard to resist! -- but few other temptations avoiding being a target. My wife was a favorite, as were the much too delicate ornaments on the Christmas tree.
"You know that look women get when they want sex?....Me neither."
~ Steve Martin
I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy."
~ Tom Clancy
"Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand."
~ Woody Allen
"See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time."
~ Robin Williams
Aeroscraft Air Ship - I find this a fascinating idea, a cruise ship for the skies. NY Nerds posted this picture with commentary. I thought it was a joke...and it may be...but it's still an interesting idea. A fighter jet it ain't, but the available space per passenger would beat the hell out of the airline's current cattle-car offerings. Also, could it be a fuel saver--relying on the helium (or hydrogen?) as lift?
Benjamin Franklin's very funny...and sensible...advice to a young man seeking a mistress over marriage. Franklin's argument speaks to the value of experience over youth. Is the argument as compelling today as it might have been in 1745? And who was the young man Franklin addresses?
Rec'd from co-worker this list of 21 funny statements made by pilots or attendents in the cabin of commercial airliners. Here are the top three...
1. On a Southwest flight 245 (SW has no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, "People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"
2. On a Continental Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."
3. On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have.
Olin Shivers wrote an acknowledgements section to his Scsh Reference Manual that worried his friends.
Acknowledgments should be filled with Thank you's and Couldn't have done it without you's. Olin Shivers acknowledgments section thanked no one. In fact, his acknowledgments section explains why people did NOT deserve his thanks, people like his parents, his graduate students, his colleagues. It's a rant only a mother could forgive...or maybe not.
Fall Colors - This gorgeous shot was taken at the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon--our old stomping grounds. Happy Fall Harvest everyone!
Penn Jillette and God - If you are devoted to any religion, even in a small way, you will surely be provoked by Penn Jillette's (of Penn and Teller) essay for the NPR program, This I believe.
But even if you have agnostic or atheistic tendencies, you will probably still be provoked. Let's face it. Penn Jillette is a provoking guy with a lot to say. Here are some excerpts from his essay There Is No God...
Here's an excellent reality check for those thinking about enlisting in the military. Among the lessons you'll learn:
Recruitment Contracts Are UNILATERAL
Which means you, the recruit, are legally bound and obligated to fulfill the terms of the contract.
HOWEVER, the government is NOT.
In fact, the government can CHANGE the terms of the contract as they desire, and they routinely do.
Jason Salavon created a photo of the Average Playboy Playmate. As Salavon describes:
Unfortunately, the resulting image IS safe for work...
"Men are barraged with images of extraordinarily beautiful and unobtainable women in the media, making it difficult for them to desire the ordinarily beautiful."
~ Michael Levine, Why I Hate Beauty
Why would this be so? Because of how the contrast effect influences our perception of beauty. To explain, suppose I see a super beautiful woman. A short time later I see a woman of average beauty. Because I saw the super beauty first, I would likely rate the average beauty as less beautiful than if I saw the average beauty first. The contrast created by seeing the super beauty first influences my perception, making me judge the average beauty (seen second) as less beautiful than I normally would.
House of God Laws - Rumor has it, when medical interns, residents, and nurses need an attitude adjustment because of what they face all day, they refer to the Laws of The House of God.
The laws come from Samuel Shem's book The House of God. A work of fiction, the novel is loosely based on Shem's year as a medical intern. It's a fast pace, cynical view of medical training that bombs all the Marcus Welby M.D. illusions our culture used to carry about the medical profession.
Rice Bran Cures Cancer - This article exposes a potential cancer cure from Japan that's been overlooked. Here's the basic idea:
Cancer cells contain more iron than other cells (to support growth). Seed and rice bran contains a compound (inositol hexaphosphate or IP6) that "chelates" or binds iron, making it unavailable to fuel the tumor cell's growth. Man-made chelating drugs can work, too, but most have dangerous (even toxic) side effects, and their effectiveness appears to be inferior to the natural sources found in seed or rice bran.
Alicia Witt - I found this stunning portrait of Alicia Witt on flickr. This photo has qualities of a painting. And her look into the camera is so alluring....I absolutely love it.
Turns out Witt was in the 1984 movie Dune. Witt (as Alicia Roanne Witt) played Alia Atreides, Paul's younger sister. Alicia Witt was only nine years-old at the time.
Another funny piece rec'd via email
One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.
She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?"
Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white."
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, "Momma, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?"
Dick and Rick Hoyt - When Rick Hoyt was about to be born, the umbilical cord got wrapped around his neck, depriving his soon-to-be-born body of oxygen. Initially, doctors told the new parents their son was a vegetable, with no higher brain function. But the parents didn't believe it; they saw signs of life and intelligence in their son. Sure enough, the doctor's discovered they were wrong. Rick did have higher brain function. However, the lack of oxygen did deprive Rick of the ability to control his muscles, leaving him essentially a quadrapalegic.
The story of Team Hoyt began when Rick found out about a fundraiser for a friend. The fundraiser involved running, and wheelchair-bound Rick told his Dad he wanted to participate so he could help his friend. So father Dick Hoyt ran with his son, rolling him around the track, raising money for Rick's friend. After the run, Rick told his Dad that running made him feel free for the first time. Inspired by his son's statement, Dick took Rick running, swimming, bicycling, climbing--anything he wanted to do, Dick found a way to share it with his son and help him feel free. It's an amazing story of a father and son's courage, determination, and love.
The legacy we are leaving our kids...Just add the polluted environment and the list is about complete.
What is wrong with this picture?
A Father's parting words to his son, about to leave for college. Beautiful sentiment...I know these will be my feelings on the day my son leaves for college.
Sweet Sorrows by Jerry B Jenkins
If link dies, read cached copy below.
And so it has come down to this: You're going. Really going.
Oh, you'll be back. It isn't as if I will never see you again. But when you return, you will come as a guest. For all practical purposes, you are gone for good.
Though you'll always remain in my heart and remain a member of our family, nothing will be the same. You are now your own person, making your own decisions, disciplining or not disciplining yourself.
Spectacular shot here...I couldn't take my eyes off it and had to share. It's a castle in Mow Top, Cheshire, U.K.
- I was the best man at the wedding. If I'm the best man, why is she marrying him?
- It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.
- What is a date really, but a job interview that lasts all night? The only difference is that in not many job interviews is there a chance you’ll wind up naked.
- You know you're getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It's like, "See if you can blow this out."
- Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.
- Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them's making a poop, the other one's carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge.
Home Alarm Systems - Home Security Specialist Mike Jagger wrote an excellent critique of one typical home alarm system installation, explaining along the way why so many home alarm systems are useless. As he concludes:
Ouch! The weaknesses are easy to spot - once you know what to look for. And the vulnerabilities are basically driven by this fact...
In my best Dr. Cox voice: "I love, LOVE, L-O-V-E the NBC television series Scrubs." For network TV, it's brilliant. Not Arrested Development brilliant (or Scrubs would have been canceled by now), but still...
Scrubs is this odd blending of comedy and sentimentality. In my mind, medical shows like Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, E.R., St. Elsewhere (1980s TV) and the like are all derived from the Samuel Shem book, The House of God. The House of God is a fast pace, cynical view of medical training that bombs all the Marcus Welby M.D. illusions our culture used to carry about the medical profession.
Stop Smoking! - Just Quit! - Wade Meredith has written a stellar blog post: What Happens to Your body if you stop smoking Right now? Totally fascinating. The timeline he lays out is just too important not to share. Do see the original post by Wade Meredith at HealthBolt.net. If for some reason that is not available, read the cached copy below.
In either case, be sure to see this alternate version. Also see this What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Smoking Chart.
Dilbert creator Scott Adams claims this is "everything you need to know about personal investing":
- Make a will
- Pay off your credit cards
- Get term life insurance
- Fund your 401k to the maximum
- Fund your IRA to the maximum
- Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it
- Put six months worth of expenses in a money-market account
- Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker and never touch it until retirement
- If any of this confuses you, or you have something special going on (retirement, college planning, tax issues), hire a fee-based financial planner, not one who charges a percentage of your portfolio
Scott Adams calls it his Unified Theory of Everything Financial.
He might be right.
Found this fantastic photographer who creates awesome images of kids. Her Flickr name is "Martha," and her images are so clean and timeless. She's super talented, has a great eye for expression and clearly understands the nuances of light and exposure. Amazing work. This is the photo that caught my eye, but she has so many other amazing shots.
"Martha" simply creates gorgeous images of kids. Do have a look.
I absolutely adore this photograph.
This memorial truly has The Right Stuff. Inspired by a military air maneuver called the "bomb burst," the Air Force Memorial insires flight, speed, and the heavens. It's a beautiful, "soaring" tribute to the men and women of the Air Force branch of the military. I look forward to more pictures in the near future.
I saw a PBS piece on the memorial. Didn't realize Ross Perot's son was involved in getting this created. I really want to see the work in person. I'm sure it would be emotional. I was unexpectedly moved when I visited the Vietnam memorial.
It's sobering, especially when you visit the database of Iraq Coalition Casualties or Beautiful Dead Girls. So many people died in these conflicts. War is hell...and takes from our society its best and brightest.
Dear God, I have a question - Here's a charming collection of letters kids have written to God, letters with their questions of the creator. Here are a few samples...
Dear God, Are you really invisible or is that just a trick?
Dear God, Did you mean for giraffe to look like that or was it an accident.
Dear God, Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't you keep the ones you got now?
Between the Lines - Accidentally discovered this marvelous interview program when I stumble on Barry Kibrick's interview with photographer Robert Zuckerman. I wanted to hear more of Kibrick's interviews and found a Between the Lines archive list that includes links to interviews with Ridley Scott and Stephen Shapiro (Goal Free Living). I gotta check these out.
Old but Not Frail: A Matter of Heart and Head - This article contained some helpful tidbits on aging and frailty that boiled down to these three suggestions:
- View aging as positive
- Keep walking
- Avoid cardiovascular disease
Caveat: Scientists cannot say that walking, cardiovascular health, and a positive view of aging will reduce your chances of becoming frail. They only know that already frail people most often do NOT possess any of these three traits. Still, the advice couldn't hurt.
Below are some relevant quotes from the article that support the findings.
What makes your hair look bad after using shampoo without conditioner?
It's the water, not the shampoo.
To understand why, you need to know that hair has scales, like a snake. The scales lay flat in an acidic environment, making hair look shiny and healthy--which is why some recommend applying lemon juice to the hair. And the hair scales stand up in an alkali or base environment, making the hair look dry and dull.
What determines the acid/base environment . Public tap water has become "harder," more base, over the years. That causes your hair to be frizzy after washing your hair.
However, shampoo removes the natural oils from the hair, and this removal is what damages the hair by making it less supple and much more brittle. So you replace the natural oils with the oils in conditioners. It helps.
What you do during the last few minutes before a crash can make the difference between life and death. Here is the best advice I could find...
Clever Shopping Bags - Wonderful series of photos illustrate how good shopping bag design can get your attention. Here is my favorite...
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)
Signs You've Grown Up - Here are my favorites from this perenial email:
Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you - That's a funny transition that I've seen coming for some time...very weird in some cases, think mother-in-law.
Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up - I fight this one everyday.
Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one - Sad, so sad, but true.
You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests - My list of medication has increased significantly recently, which is VERY bothersome. I never used to take anything, and now I'm comparing prices and buy in bulk at Costco.
You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn't apply to you and can't find one to save your sorry old ass - Yep, all the way...shame, shame, shame.