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For portrait photographer Martin Schoeller, known for his signature eye-to-eye, full-face portraits, the least of his worries is having his subject stand still on the X marked on his seamless background. But when it came to a three-legged decorated war hero, one leg lost to surgery after taking four rounds from an AK-47, this was exactly the problem.
Picture of the photographer using tennis balls to help Layka the dog post for a photo.
Layka, a Belgian Malinois, a breed known to have inexhaustible energy—the highest of all dog breeds—graces the June cover of National Geographic magazine. “She was a celebrity in her own right,” Martin said, and after capturing a few frames, “I knew I had my hands full.”
Martin was going for a dignified look, fitting of a war dog that almost gave her life to save a squad of soldiers in Afghanistan. “The dog is basically a soldier and we treated her with the respect of a military person,” Martin said. “She’s not a lap dog that sits on the sofa, but a disciplined fighting dog.” He wanted to capture her in this spirit. To do that, Martin knew he had to photograph her with her mouth closed. And that was the tough part.
“The close-up was harder than I thought it was going to be, the dog was so full energy,” Martin said. She was “like the energy bunny and never slowed down.” As a result she got hot during the shoot and was heavily panting—and out came her tongue. The dog just couldn’t sit still.
Picture of several takes of Layka the dog’s portrait
“We took her outside to run a bit of energy out of her, and she was so quick on her feet that I you couldn’t even tell that she only had three legs.” But that didn’t seem to slow her down. “We used the tennis ball, made noise, jangled keys trying to capture her attention like a baby,” Martin said. He gave up on the tennis ball because she just got too excited when she saw it and lurched off the X.
So Martin hunkered down, lowered the thermostat to 62°F and got to work. Layka’s owner, Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald, was at her side, comforting and encouraging his dog with all his love and affection.
Picture of the final image of Layka the dog that was used for the June 2014 of National Geographic magazine
Exceptional portrait photographers have the ability to connect soul-to-soul with their subjects. Mentally bobbing and weaving like a boxer in a ring to capture that elusive moment—the twinkle in the eye, the sought after expression, the special facial gesture, until they know they have it. Martin went several rounds before he landed what he knew was the knockout punch. He connected with Layka for a split second and grabbed the prize he was after.
Who opened the door to battles over the Jim Morrison Estate? Who won … and what did they win when the dust settled? And does drinking your loved one’s blood constitute a valid marriage ceremony?Jim Morrison estate
This is installment #2 of our weekly Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts. See other articles in the series here.
Doors front-man Jim Morrison died young at just 27 years of age, in 1971. While his estate had limited cash when Morrison died, the assets in his estate became worth around $80 million.
Despite his young age, hard-partying lifestyle, and free spirit, Jim Morrison took some steps to protect his estate … sort of. Two years before he died, Morrison created a will. It was a simplistic and poorly-drafted will, but a valid will nonetheless.
At least, it appeared to be valid initially. It left everything to his long-time companion, Pamela Courson, and if she failed to survive Morrison by three months, then his assets would pass to his brother and sister. Even though Courson did survive Morrison by more than three months, she was never able to enjoy the inheritance.
After Jim Morrison died, his estate was tied up in litigation in probate court. Dozens of women came forward with paternity claims. To make it worse, Morrison’s former Doors band mates also sued, claiming a bigger share of the Doors royalties.
Courson received a modest stipend to live on during the probate proceedings, but it wasn’t enough to support her lifestyle, or even pay for Morrison’s funeral. She was a reported heroin addict, and according to some, Courson turned to prostitution to support her drug habit.
Then Courson died only three years after Morrison — also from a heroin overdose and also at age 27. Because she died without a will, the Jim Morrison fortune would pass to her heirs under intestate law. That means Courson’s parents stood to receive the entire Morrison estate.
So Jim Morrison’s parents lit a fire on another round of litigation, attacking Morrison’s will and fighting about whether the common-law marriage to Courson was legitimate.
It was a valid question, for two reasons. One, the happy couple lived in California when they “married,” but the marriage was supported by a common-law marriage application in Colorado, which wasn’t even signed.
Second, Morrison had, only a year before, gone through a prior marriage ceremony with another girlfriend, Patricia Kennealy. Unlike the relationship with Courson, Morrison sealed the deal with Kennealy by undergoing a pagan marriage ritual that involved walking over fire and drinking each other’s blood.
Despite this extraordinary level of commitment, the probate court eventually determined that Morrison’s marriage to Courson was valid, despite his exchange of blood with Patricia Kennealy. How is that justice?!?
And still the fighting continued. Courson’s parents not only had to prove she was legally married to Morrison, they also had to defend against the will contest brought by Morrison’s parents. The Doors singer’s parents claimed his will was invalid, because he was not competent when he wrote it. Why not? They alleged he was under the influence of narcotics at the time.
In the end, the Morrison war ended with an out-of-court settlement. Reportedly, they split everything 50/50. But it was the Coursons who walked away with the all-important rights to manage and control Morrison’s image, music, and royalties.
And what about Morrison’s brother and sister — the alternate beneficiaries? They received nothing, because of the three-month clause. Would Morrison really have wanted them to be left out, in favor of two sets of parents he didn’t like?
Probably not! Mr. Courson reportedly disliked Jim Morrison, did not approve of his daughter’s relationship with the singer, and even blamed Morrison for Courson’s death. And Morrison’s parents were not exactly close to him before he died, either. Morrison’s dad felt his rock-star son had a “complete lack of talent” in music and should have chosen a different career. Morrison publicly claimed that his parents were dead.
The lesson from this saga (for Doors fans and non-Doors fans alike): A simple will is usually not enough. While it is very unusual for a will done by a 27-year old to be challenged on the basis of competency, it is almost always easier for disgruntled family members to challenge the validity of a simple will, rather than a trust done by an experienced estate planning attorney.
Wills have to pass through probate court, which often lead to delays, complications, and extra fighting — as Pamela Courson learned. Overly-simplistic wills, unlike properly-drafted trusts, often fail to address the many “what-ifs” that can occur when someone dies. Such as, what if Courson was to survive Morrison for three years, but not long enough for the estate to be distributed — who would Morrison have wanted to inherit his money then? Questions such as this can easily be addressed in a proper trust.
You don’t need to be worth $80 million to follow this advice! Almost everyone with assets of significance should take the time to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to find out if a trust is right for them. This can give you the piece of mind that the people (or charities) whom you want to receive your assets will do so, in the way you want, instead of allowing your wishes to be derailed by probate court complications.
If you want your heirs to “break on through to the other side” of probate drama, meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to do the proper estate planning.
Many who listen to Beethoven’s masterpieces would describe them as deeply heartfelt — and according to new research, this description may be surprisingly apt.
The unusual rhythms found in some of Beethoven’s most iconic works may be linked to the heart condition cardiac arrhythmia, which he is suspected to have had, research from the University of Michigan and University of Washington suggests.
In a new paper published in the journal Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, the researchers — a cardiologist, a medical historian and a musicologist — investigated the link between the German composer’s likely heart condition and his music.
“We started thinking about the ways that somebody’s physical illnesses and physical body could manifest in the music they were making,” one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Joel Howell, a medical historian and professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan, told The Huffington Post.
The researchers examined the rhythmic patterns of a number of Beethoven’s compositions for clues of this condition, and indeed found that the rhythms of certain sections of his famous works reflect the irregular rhythms of cardiac arrhythmia.
“When your heart beats irregularly from heart disease, it does so in some predictable patterns,” Howell said in a written statement. “We think we hear some of those same patterns in his music.”
Cardiac arrhythmia can cause the heart to beat too slow, too fast or with an irregular beat. The researchers found that unexpected changes of pace and keys — such as the intense final movement “Cavatina” in Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat Major, Opus 130 — appeared to match these patterns. Arrhythmic patterns were also detected in iconic pieces like the Piano Sonata in A-flat major, Opus 110.
Historians and physicians have substantial inferential evidence to suggest that Beethoven suffered from heart disease, in addition to a host of other maladies, including irritable bowel syndrome and syphilis. Many of the maladies Beethoven was known to suffer from have been found to contribute to an irregular heartbeat, Howell explained.
According to the paper’s authors, Beethoven’s deafness could have made him even more sensitive to the rhythm of his own heartbeat, which is perhaps why it was so influential for his music.
But Beethoven isn’t the only famous artist who may have had a medical condition that deeply affected his work. Claude Monet experienced vision problems and was diagnosed with cataracts in the later years of his life. Around the age of 65, he began experiencing changes in his perception of color — and at this time, his paintings shifted towards muddier colors. After he was diagnosed with cataracts at age 72, Monet’s work became noticeably more abstract.
“The synergy between our minds and our bodies shapes how we experience the world,” Howell said in the statement. “This is especially apparent in the world of arts and music, which reflects so much of people’s innermost experiences.”
The idea that during sleep our minds shut down from the outside world is ancient and one that is still deeply anchored in our view of sleep today, despite some everyday life experiences and recent scientific discoveries that would tend to prove that our brains don’t completely switch off from our environment.
On the contrary, our brains can keep the gate slightly open. For example, we wake up more easily when we hear our own name or a particularly salient sound such as an alarm clock or a fire alarm compared to equally loud but less relevant sounds.
In research published in Current Biology, we went one step further to show that complex stimuli can not only be processed while we sleep but that this information can be used to make decisions, similarly as when we’re awake.
Our approach was simple: We built on knowledge about how the brain quickly automates complex chores. Driving a car, for example, requires integrating a lot of information at the same time, making rapid decisions and putting them into action through complex motor sequences. And you can drive all the way home without remembering anything, as we do when we say we’re on “automatic pilot.”
When we’re asleep, the brain regions critical for paying attention to or implementing instructions are deactivated, of course, which makes it impossible to start performing a task. But we wanted to see whether any processes continued in the brain after sleep onset if participants in an experiment were given an automatized task just before.
To do this, we carried out experiments in which we got participants to categorize spoken words that were separated into two categories: words that referred to animals or objects — for example “cat” or “hat,” in a first experiment; then real words like “hammer” vs. pseudo-words (words that can be pronounced but are found nowhere in the dictionary) like “fabu” in a second one.
Participants were asked to indicate the category of the word that they heard by pressing a left or right button. Once the task became more automatic, we asked them to continue to respond to the words, but they were also allowed to fall asleep. Since they were lying down in a dark room, most of them fell asleep while words were being played.
At the same time we monitored their state of vigilance thanks to EEG electrodes placed on their head. Once they were asleep, and without disturbing the flow of words they were hearing, we gave our participants new items from the same categories. The idea here was to force them to extract the meaning of the word (in the first experiment) or to check whether a word was part of the lexicon (in the second experiment) in order to be able to respond.
Of course, when asleep, participants stopped pressing buttons. So in order to check whether their brains were still responding to the words, we looked at the activity in the motor areas of the brain. Planning to press a button on your left involves your right hemisphere and vice-versa. By looking at the lateralization of brain activity in motor areas, it is possible to see whether someone is preparing a response and toward which side. Applying this method to our sleepers allowed us to show that even during sleep, their brains continued to routinely prepare for right and left responses according to the meaning of the words they were hearing.
Even more interesting, at the end of the experiment and after they woke up, participants had no memory of the words they heard during their sleep, though they recalled the words heard while they were awake very well. So not only did they process complex information while being completely asleep, but they did it unconsciously. Our work sheds new light about the brain’s ability to process information while asleep but also while being unconscious.
This study is just the beginning. Important questions have yet to be answered. If we are able to prepare for actions during sleep, why is it that we do not perform them? What kind of processing can or cannot be achieved by the sleeping brain? Can sentences or series of sentences be processed? What happens when we dream? Would these sounds be incorporated into the dream scenery?
But most importantly, our work revives that age-old fantasy of learning during our sleep. It is well known that sleep is important to consolidate previously learned information or that some basic form of learning like conditioning can take place while we are asleep. But can more complex forms of learning take place and what would be the cost in terms of what sacrifices the brain would make to do this?
Sleep is important for the brain and total sleep deprivation leads to death after about two to four weeks. Indeed, it should be borne in mind that sleep is a crucial phenomenon and universal to all animals. We proved here that sleep is not an all-or-none state, not that forcing our brain to learn and do things during the night would be ultimately beneficial in the long run.
An Anaheim police K-9 handler has been reunited with his German shepherd partner, Bruno, after the dog was shot in the face last week by a suspect.
Officer R.J. Young and his newborn daughter visited Bruno for 30 minutes at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital late Monday.
Young had postponed seeing Bruno because of the dog’s weak lungs and concerns that would be too excited during a visit.
“The best part of my day was when I got to lay down with him for 10 [minutes],” Young said, in a statement posted on the Orange County Police Canine Assn.’s Facebook page.
Bruno suffered a shattered jaw as a result of the bullet’s impact, but the association said he was making substantial progress.
The German shepherd was shot Thursday about 1:45 p.m. as two Orange County probation officers went to a home in the 1100 block of Mayfair Avenue.
The suspect they were looking for was with two men who fled as authorities approached. One of the men shot at officers multiple times, Anaheim police said.
During a subsequent search, Bruno found one of the men hiding near a trash can. He then fired on officers and Bruno, striking the dog in the face, according to Anaheim police Lt. Tim Schmidt.
Officers returned fire, killing the suspect, later identified as Robert Moreno Jr., 22.
The canine is unlikely to return to work, according to a message posted on Facebook by the Friends of the Anaheim Police K9 Assn.
It’s anticipated Young will purchase Bruno from the city and acquire his future medical costs, the association added.
Friends of the Anaheim Police K9 Assn. have launched a fundraiser to help pay for Bruno’s future expenses.
I am a survivor of suicide.
By Katie Hurley
I don’t talk about it a lot these days, as I’ve reached the point where it feels like a lifetime ago. Healing was a long and grief-stricken process. There were times when I felt very alone in my grief and there were times when I felt lost and confused. The trouble with suicide is that no one knows what to say. No one knows how to react. So they smile and wave and attempt distraction… but they never ever say the word. The survivors, it seems, are often left to survive on their own.
I experienced endless waves of emotion in the days, weeks, months and even years following the loss of my father. The “what ifs” kept me up at night, causing me to float through each day in a state of perpetual exhaustion. What if I had answered the phone that night? Would the sound of my voice have changed his mind? Would he have done it at a later date, anyway? Survivor’s guilt, indeed.
Sometimes, I cried. Sometimes, I sat perfectly still watching the waves crash down on Main Beach, hoping for a sign of some kind that he had reached a better place. Sometimes, I silently scolded myself for not seeing the warning signs. Sometimes, I bargained with God or anyone else who might be in charge up there. Bring him back to us. Please, just bring him back. Sometimes I felt angry. Why us? Why me? Why him?
Yes, I experienced a range of emotions before making peace with the loss. But one thought that never ever (not even for one second) crossed my mind was this ill-informed opinion that suicide is selfish. Suicide is a lot of things, but selfish isn’t one of them.
Suicide is a decision made out of desperation, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness. The black hole that is clinical depression is all-consuming. Feeling like a burden to loved ones, feeling like there is no way out, feeling trapped and feeling isolated are all common among people who suffer from depression.
People who say that suicide is selfish always reference the survivors. It’s selfish to leave children, spouses and other family members behind, so they say. They’re not thinking about the survivors, or so they would have us believe. What they don’t know is that those very loved ones are the reason many people hang on for just one more day. They do think about the survivors, probably up until the very last moment in many cases. But the soul-crushing depression that envelops them leaves them feeling like there is no alternative. Like the only way to get out is to opt out. And that is a devastating thought to endure.
Until you’ve stared down that level of depression, until you’ve lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness… you don’t get to make those judgments. You might not understand it, and you are certainly entitled to your own feelings, but making those judgments and spreading that kind of negativity won’t help the next person. In fact, it will only hurt others.
As the world mourns the loss of Robin Williams, people everywhere are left feeling helpless and confused. How could someone who appeared so happy in actuality be so very depressed? The truth is that many, many people face the very same struggle each and every day. Some will commit suicide. Some will attempt. And some will hang on for dear life. Most won’t be able to ask for the help that they need to overcome their mental illness.
You can help.
Know the warning signs for suicide. 50-75% of people who attempt suicide will tell someone about their intention. Listen when people talk. Make eye contact. Convey empathy. And for the love of people everywhere, put down that ridiculous not-so-SmartPhone and be human.
Check in on friends struggling with depression. Even if they don’t answer the phone or come to the door, make an effort to let them know that you are there. Friendship isn’t about saving lost souls; friendship is about listening and being present.
Reach out to survivors of suicide. Practice using the words “suicide” and “depression” so that they roll off the tongue as easily as “unicorns” and “bubble gum.” Listen as they tell their stories. Hold their hands. Be kind with their hearts. And hug them every single time.
Encourage help. Learn about the resources in your area so that you can help friends and loved ones in need. Don’t be afraid to check in over and over again. Don’t be afraid to convey your concern. One human connection can make a big difference in the life of someone struggling with mental illness and/or survivor’s guilt.
30,000 people commit suicide in the United States each year. 750,000 people attempt suicide. It’s time to raise awareness, increase empathy and kindness, and bring those numbers down.
It’s time to talk about suicide and depression.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Follow Katie Hurley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/katiefhurley
When our son Dylan was two years old, we drove up to visit Uncle Jim. He and Pamela lived in a Spanish- style house on Verbena Drive in the Hollywood Hills. A wall-length plate glass window in the living room overlooked the hills. It was a spectacular light show. The city blazed all night long. The Grahams gazed at the awesome contrast to their tiny, quiet, fairy tale town on the beach.
When we arrived at the house, Pamela was in an agitated state. She and Jim had another knock-down-dragged-out fight and he had left again.
“Well, I don’t know where he is…I haven’t seen him for days…He hasn’t even called…He was arrested last week.” Pamela spoke in nervous bursts. “I’m really worried about him and the rent is due on the boutique…My Porsche needs a new transmission…I’ve been really sick myself…I was on a diet of brown rice and orange juice for ten days…I had to go to the hospital and I freaked out on the way…”
I said to myself, “Gotta get the fuck out of here. No wonder he’s gone missing.” Then, I announced, “I’ll go look for him.”
Jim would disappear for weeks on end. Pamela searched in vain each time. She tried to instruct me where to find him, “He may be at Barney’s Beanery…You could try the studio…but they won’t tell me anything… they’re Jewish and you know what Jews are like…” I was cared for and half-raised by Jews after the Second World War in war torn Liverpool. Pamela’s narrow viewpoint were upsetting to me. It was the Jews that clothed and fed me through the bitter winters which blanketed what remained of the city after the Nazi blitz. I was one of the lucky ones. My face was chubby compared to the boney, emaciated children I stood in line with, holding their ration book s and waiting for the sweet shop to open. The chocolate-covered loquat loaves tasted bitter. The other kids didn’t notice like I did. I know what Jews are like. I wished to say, “They’re just like family, you stupid, ignorant bitch!” but refrained.
Anne and Dylan stayed behind with Pamela while I went down to find Jim.
I shook my head as I wound down through the hills. I drove down Santa Monica Boulevard to the Rat’s Maze – the office, the studio, the boutique, the bar, and the motel – the five major points of the Rat’s Maze. The Lizard moved from point to point.
The first point of the maze was The Doors’ office which was a hop, skip, and a jump from the corner of Santa Monica and La Cienega Boulevards. Half a block down La Cienega stood Pamela’s boutique, Themis. Across the street was the then fledgling Elektra Records Studio. Next door was Jim’s favorite or more likely most convenient watering hole, Barney’s Beanery. It was a famous hangout for the mob among other unsavory characters. The last point was the infamous Alta Cienega Motel.
Morrison moved between these points like a rat in a maze – the office to the boutique to the studio to the watering hole and ultimately ended up at the motel.
I found the Lizard at Elektra. He was sitting on the floor in the barely- finished and ill-equipped Elektra Records Studio. I smiled through the glass. Morrison waved me in. Robbie Krieger sat next to Jim on some pure-hippie cushions. He played chords for Jim’s approval. The Lizard King provided wizard lyrics. That’s how they made music in the olden days!!
“I’ll be finished in a couple of hours”, Jim said.
I tousled Morrison’s long, curly hair. He smiled. We sparred back and forth. Krieger was aghast! Someone actually touched the Lizard King! I went back to the control booth. Paul Rothschild stood at the mixer smoking a needle-thin joint. It smelled like very low-grade Mexican grass, rancid and nauseating. He sucked in the toxic, green smoke. They both ignored me as I entered.
The grass really didn’t even work back in the olden days. One suffered lack of oxygen, a fried throat, and we just thought we were getting high. Rothschild, the Silenus*, was irritated by my presence. “This is the guy from the streets of Liverpool who married the King’s sister. This is the guy who can kill people with a single head butt, a street fighter…as mad as Morrison, a dangerous combination.” The not-so-jolly Silenus fumed under the amber light.
Jim was becoming increasingly irritated by Rothschild as he demanded take after take for something that never seemed to get any better. The engineer, Bruce Botnick, lost it when he was ordered to place a dressing screen around Jim in a futile effort to capture a better sound. The bald, pedantic, producer was bumming everyone out with his suffocating demands. Botnick yelled,“What good will that do?” Silenus shot back, “Just do as I say!”
As the oriental screen was brought in, Jim shook his head. Looking into the control booth, he yelled out, “This is not working. I’m gonna take a break.” The next one to lose it would be the Silenus himself. As Jim was leaving the room he blurted out, “If he’s not back in fifteen minutes, I’m leaving. The Silenus had done some prison time for selling pot and now had a serious focus on something he called, the time thing. “I did two years in the joint. My time is precious. I don’t wait around for anyone, man. It’s all about the time thing, man.” Two hours later, the Silenus sat in his car smoking some more rancid grass, not waiting around some more, for anyone, and doing some more time.
Jim and I walked back to the studio. Morrison knocked at the door. Morrison knocked again. He realized all have left. He picked up a potted fern and hurled it through the glass front door. An alarm blared. The Silenus hopped out of his car and ran up to see what had happened.
“What’s going on, Jim?”
Jim fumed, “Hey, man. I was coming back to work.”
“Everyone left, man. They could not wait any longer.” Rothschild was powerlessly angry.
Morrison said, “I can’t work like that, man. Why did you put that dressing screen around me when I was singing?”
The Silenus used redundant phrases in an attempt to be cool. “It produces a very groovy sound, man.”
“Well, I can’t work like that, man.”
Rothschild looked at the shattered glass inside the building. I laughed infecting Morrison. The Silenus whirled. He half opened his mouth in a benign effort to gain authority with us. This only produced schoolboy like smirks which soon erupted into belly laughter. Rothschild was disgusted and he walked hurriedly to his car.
Still laughing about the flying fickle fern, Morrison drove to the Whiskey A-Go-Go. The doorman gave Jim an affectionate hug and let us in ahead of everyone else in line. The band was dull, the drinks were watered, and the patrons were drunk, bored, and glassy eyed. After a while, I said, “It’s time to go see your sister and your nephew. They’re waiting at the house with Pamela.”
*In Greek mythology, a silenus is a part bestial and part human creature of the forests and mountains. Part of Dionysus’ entourage, the sileni are usually represented as aged satyrs—drunken, jolly, bald, fat, bearded, and possessing horse ears. According to some myths, they were prophets; but according to others they were so perpetually stupefied with drink that they were unable to distinguish truth from falsehood. In some legends, only one such creature appears, Silenus, described as the oldest of the satyrs, the son of Hermes or Pan. He was the companion, adviser, or tutor of Dionysus.
By Arthur Wynne, December 21, 1913
from The New York World
Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word game in the world, yet have a short history. The first crosswords appeared in England during the 19th century. They were of an elementary kind, apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally, and printed in children’s puzzle books and various periodicals. In the United States, however, the puzzle developed into a serious adult pastime.
The first known published crossword puzzle was created by a journalist named Arthur Wynne from Liverpool, and he is usually credited as the inventor of the popular word game. December 21, 1913 was the date and it appeared in a Sunday newspaper, the New York World. Wynne’s puzzle(see below) differed from today’s crosswords in that it was diamond shaped and contained no internal black squares. During the early 1920’s other newspapers picked up the newly discovered pastime and within a decade crossword puzzles were featured in almost all American newspapers. It was in this period crosswords began to assume their familiar form. Ten years after its rebirth in the States it crossed the Atlantic and re-conquered Europe.
The first appearance of a crossword in a British publication was in Pearson’s Magazine in February 1922, and the first Times crossword appeared on February 1 1930. British puzzles quickly developed their own style, being considerably more difficult than the American variety. In particular the cryptic crossword became established and rapidly gained popularity. The generally considered governing rules for cryptic puzzles were laid down by A. F. Ritchie and D. S. Macnutt.
These people, gifted with the ability to see words puzzled together in given geometrical patterns and capable of twisting and turning words into word plays dancing on the wit of human minds, have since constructed millions of puzzles by hand and each of these puzzlers has developed personal styles known and loved by his fans. These people have set the standard of what to expect from a quality crossword puzzle.
From The End 1966.
When we were producing, “Morrison, The Rock Opera”, at Gazzarri’s, I received a call from my mother-in-law, Clara. She asked me to check out a lead on someone who was selling 8×10 photographs of Jim along with a taped interview of Jim, Ray, Robbie, and John that had been conducted at SUNY College in upstate New York. The interviewer was a journalism student, who had held onto the tapes and photographs now offering the package up for sale.
With all the national press coverage of Anne and I producing the project about her dead rock star brother, anyone and everyone came out of the woodwork to sell or tell anything about the Lizard King. This would be the first of many contacts – some weird, some poignant, and lots of off- the-charts, out-to-there Fan-a-tics.
When I spoke with the seller, I was surprised he was letting them go for such a pittance. I bought two sets and took one to Clara.
I found her going through a box of black-and-white baby pictures of the three Morrison kids. She was picking out all the photographs of Jim. There was one of a flaxen, blond-haired Jim sitting on Coronado Beach in 1946 in a linen diaper.
Clara removed Dylan’s picture from an album of her grandchildren by her daughter, Anne. I was blown away as Clara started laughing when she compared the photography of our firstborn, sitting on the same beach, in almost the same pose, wearing a linen diaper, some twenty years later. Dylan was Jim’s living double. Those Morrison genes are strong, and Dylan, especially, along with his mother, resembles Jim the most.
Clara and I chuckled as we continued looking at more photographs. A few minutes later, she abruptly left the room and returned with an old suit box. She removed the lid, took Jim’s Cub Scout uniform out of the box, and laid it gently on the table.
As Clara stood there fondly gazing at her find, I realized this was the first time I had ever seen her show a profound sense of loss. She fussed over the uniform, straightening the collar, and soothing the small garment out, as she lovingly reminisced about her firstborn.
The sadness that permeated the room was contagious leaving me with a suppressed mourning mindset to this very day.
I once saw a documentary about elephants in which the matriarch was leading her herd through the jungle. She stopped at a pile of baby elephant bones. The rest of the herd gathered around and joined her in gently turning over and caressing the bones whilst making sad, throaty sounds. That forlorn scene transmitted the same grief ridden pall I experienced that day.
This poignant scene was interrupted by the sound of the Admiral’s car returning from a game of golf. Clara quickly gathered up the precious items and left the room. We never discussed with the Admiral the real reason for my visit. He refused to talk about Jim publicly and Clara complied even though she truly longed to recoup memories of her son kept secreted away for such a very, long time.
Some years later, Clara put together a Jim Morrison gallery in the garage of the family home. She plastered the walls with his baby pictures, lots of school papers and letters he had written, along with all of his gold, platinum, and double platinum record albums, posters, buttons, et cetera. Finally, I thought, the late Lizard King was being honored out in the open.
One Christmas morning, not long after, the Admiral and Clara were sitting in front of the fireplace with a blazing fire when a burning ember flew out igniting the throw rug in front of the hearth. The Admiral quickly stomped out the small flame, then rolled up the carpet, and put it in the garage.
During the night, while the Morrison’s slept, the carpet re-ignited and burned down half of the garage, incinerating and obliterating The Ancient Gallery that had been carefully and lovingly put together by a grieving mother.
“Look! See it burn. Bask in the warm hot coals…” – Jim Morrison
It was a sad and macabre way to end our story, but that was just like Jim Morrison: a Greek tragedy keeps playing on a perpetual celestial loop.
Chewning says she’d never been involved with the animal rescue community before seeing the photo of the boys — the tan one was called Darby at the time; the black-and-white dog hadn’t been named yet — on the Second Chance Rescue Facebook page.
It was the end of August, and the 3-year-old dogs’ situation was described as “urgent.” They were scheduled to be euthanized in early September if no one were to take them home.
“I had no plan to get any dogs, let alone two,” Chewning says. “We live on a tight budget, and two dogs weren’t in the budget.”
But Chewning, who lives in Orlando, felt what she describes as a kind of divine sense that she ought to get involved. That, and when she posted to Facebook that she was going to check on Darby and his nameless friend, she got a lot of messages of encouragement — and promises to help, financially.
“Everyone said get them, they would donate,” she says. And they have. She’s raised more than $2,100 so far toward the dogs’ medical bills, which are extensive, since there’s been tests and antibiotics and one dog has already tested positive for heartworm.
On Sept. 4, the dogs — now named Ares and Zeus after the Greek god of war and the father of gods, respectively — came to live with Chewning and her daughter Jamie (initially the arrangement was supposed to be temporary, though Chewning says she’s “really torn now” about the prospect of ever giving them up to another home).
They’ve joined two preexisting pups of the household: a miniature pinscher named Chanel and a Maltipoo named Princess.
“The big dogs were OK with our little dogs, and the little dogs welcomed them home,” Chewning says.
Overlooking one little incident with a chewed-up sandal and a bit of initial shyness, it’s been a smooth transition.
Within a day, her new dogs had begun to come out of their shell. And now, Chewning says, “they stand on their hind legs and almost hug you and give kisses. They even come to you and like to be held.”
She is grateful for whatever human or otherworldly forces brought these dogs together, and then to her; she is grateful to the many people who are helping her to pay for Ares and Zeus’ vet bills. She also hopes her growing collection of canines, and their growing number of online and in-person fans, will inspire others to adopt a new furry friend of their own.
“The boys’ kill date was last Friday,” Chewning says. “They are beautiful, gentle and loving dogs. What a waste if they had been put down.”
Dogs do use their tails to communicate, though a wagging tail doesn’t always mean, “Come pet me!”
Dogs have a kind of language that’s based on the position and motion of their tails. The position of a dog’s tail reveals its emotional state.
When a dog is relaxed, its tail will be in its “natural” position, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
This natural position differs between breeds. The tails of most dogs, for example, hang down near their hocks, or heels. But pugs have tails that curl upward, and greyhounds have tails that rest slightly between their legs.
If a dog is nervous or submissive, it’ll hold its tail lower than its natural position, and will tuck its tail under its body if it’s scared. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a tail held higher than normal may indicate the dog is aroused by something, while a vertical tail indicates aggression.
A tail held straight out means the dog is curious about something.
Tail wagging reflects a dog’s excitement, with more vigorous wagging relating to greater excitement.
In 2007, researchers discovered that the way a dog wags its tail also gives clues about what it’s feeling.
Specifically, a tail wagging to the right indicates positive emotions, and a tail wagging to the left indicates negative emotions.
This phenomenon has to do with the fact that the brain’s left hemisphere controls the right side of the body, and vice versa. Research on the approach-avoidance behavior of other animals has shown that the left hemisphere is associated with positive-approach feelings, and the right hemisphere is associated with negative-avoidance feelings.
Interestingly, a 2013 study found that dogs understand the asymmetric tail wagging of other dogs — a right-wagging tail relaxes other canines, while a left-wagging tail makes them stressed.
In fact, some scientists believe that people inherited their affection for the scent of rain from ancestors who relied on rainy weather for their survival.
But what makes rain smell so nice? There are several scents associated with rainfall that people find pleasing.
One of these odors, called “petrichor,” lingers when rain falls after a prolonged dry spell. Petrichor — the term was coined in 1964 by two Australian scientists studying the smells of wet weather — is derived from a pair of chemical reactions.
Some plants secrete oils during dry periods, and when it rains, these oils are released into the air. The second reaction that creates petrichor occurs when chemicals produced by soil-dwelling bacteria known as actinomycetes are released. These aromatic compounds combine to create the pleasant petrichor scent when rain hits the ground.
Another scent associated with rain is ozone. During a thunderstorm, lightning can split oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere, and they in turn can recombine into nitric oxide. This substance interacts with other chemicals in the atmosphere to form ozone, which has a sharp smell faintly reminiscent of chlorine.
When someone says they can smell rain coming, it may be that wind from an approaching storm has carried ozone down from the clouds and into the person’s nostrils.
Ed Dixon is best known for his 40-year career as a Broadway singer, but he comes to Pittsburgh as the writer of more than a dozen plays and musicals. Brent Harris is known for playing classical roles from coast to coast, but he’s here to originate a character in “L’Hotel,” a world premiere at Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Where: Pittsburgh Public Theater at the O’Reilly Theater, Downtown.
When: Today through Dec. 14. 7 p.m. Tuesdays; 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays (except Nov. 27; also 2 p.m. Dec. 11); 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays (no matinee Nov. 15 and 22); 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays (no matinee Dec. 14).
Mr. Dixon wrote the Public-commissioned play based on an idea from producing artistic director Ted Pappas, who has collaborated with Mr. Dixon from the beginning and directs the production.
“We were going to sit down to create a musical together and the first thing Ted said was, ‘Well, I don’t really have any ideas for musicals … but I have always wanted someone to write a play about Pere Lachaise, and I said, ‘What’s that?’ He couldn’t believe I didn’t know, and now I can’t believe I didn’t know.”
Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris is the resting place of marquee names such as Moliere and Pissarro, Marceau and Piaf, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas … Mr. Dixon was handed a list by his friend and went off to write.
The names that made the cut — Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Jim Morrison, Victor Hugo, Isadora Duncan and Gioacchino Rossini — weren’t the problem so much as how to get them talking.
“I’ll tell you how I got my toe in the water. … About midnight that night I thought, ‘What if it starts at a dead run?’ Then I thought, what if there was a waiter who for all eternity had to satisfy these gigantic egos, had to take care of them? And that became the turning point. And indeed, there is frantic activity from beginning to end,” Mr. Dixon said.
“I had an idea for a play, and he turned it into something much more than I could ever imagined,” Mr. Pappas said.
The clash of these titans of the arts takes place in the luxurious Old World hotel of the title, designed by James Noone and including stained-glass created by local artisans. The waiter will be portrayed by Evan Zes, a well-traveled comedian who proved his physical dexterity in City Theatre’s “The 39 Steps.” Another writer creation for “L’Hotel” is a mysterious woman (Erika Cuenca) who makes possible the idea of reincarnation.
At the center is Oscar Wilde, whose voice most resonates with Mr. Dixon. For the actor originating the role, “It’s like stepping on the moon,” Mr. Harris said.
He knew of Wilde, of course, having performed in plays such as “The Importance of Being Earnest,” but began to delve into the man, studying portraits and getting an idea of “the artful way he liked to present himself.” He found a more human connection reading “De Profundis,” an essay on spirituality and faith written during the gay writer’s imprisonment for “gross indecency.”
“It was startling and moving, so personal and surprising in how naked and bare and painful it was,” he said. “When we think of Oscar Wilde, we think of this glittering comic force, endlessly witty. People know about his tragedy, but I began to understand what a horrible, horrible fall it was and a terrible ending. There’s this dark side to his life.”
“I love what Brent is doing,” said Mr. Dixon, who had just rewritten a major scene dictated by something he saw in rehearsal. “In many ways that’s the heart of the play. Someone asked me why I made Wilde the central character, and I said, ‘Because he’s me, stupid!’ ” the writer said with a laugh. “The way the play works out, it’s geared toward him and he has several soliloquy moments that really enforce the view.”
Joining Mr. Harris’ Wilde are actress Bernhardt (Deanne Lorette), Doors frontman Morrison (Daniel Hartley), “Les Miserables” author Hugo (Sam Tsoutsouvas), dancer Duncan (Kati Brazda) and “Barber of Seville” composer Rossini (Tony Triano). Mr. Hartley has perhaps the toughest job, because Morrison, who died in 1971, can be seen online with the click of a keyboard. Other famous names in Pere Lachaise who didn’t make the cut are given their due with mentions, either in conversation or by playing their music.
The half-dozen cemetery denizens who Mr. Dixon has gathered for “L’Hotel” are representative of anyone who pines for immortality through art.
“They are from different disciplines, and this is a play about art and the meaning of art and the importance of art. Also this a play about what fame is and who is remembered,’ ” Mr. Dixon said. “Once I got connected to these people, I couldn’t imagine it going in any other direction.”
Excerpted from: I Remember Jim Morrison
Written By: Alan Graham
When we heard that Jim had been found dead in a bathtub in his Paris apartment, we started making inquiries about the circumstances and events leading up to his last moments.
The day after we heard, I called Bill Siddons, the Doors’ manager. Neither he nor the three remaining Doors had tried to contact anyone in the family. Nor did even one of Jim’s many friends make any attempt to get hold of his brother and sister, Andy and Anne.
Bill issued a blanket statement to the press that Jim had died in Paris of heart failure and was buried quietly and secretly so as to avoid a circus- like atmosphere of press coverage. The same terse statement was offered to us and no more.
￼The callousness of this stance is understandable when a school of barracuda is circling your dinghy, but to exclude Anne and Andy – Jim’s blood – was too cruel for words. Siddons was a nice guy, but when he buried Jim secretly, he left us all with a cavern of unanswered questions.
The people around Jim in Paris kept the details of his death a secret until the news broke. Even then, they made no effort to contact any of Jim’s family members.
Pamela Courson had gone to great lengths to cover up Jim’s death and his true identity. Just three days after he died, and the day after he was buried, she immediately returned to Los Angeles to engage the services of a probate attorney so as to lay claim to his estate as his “wife”.
I called Agnes Varda*, who, along with Marianne Faithful** and Jean de Breteuil***, had been involved with the whole affair before and/or after Jim’s corpse was discovered. They were extremely tight-lipped about any of the details. Varda was absolutely rude and rebuffed my inquiries with an unsympathetic and abrupt response as if it was none of my business. I asked her to simply furnish me with some information so that the family could at least know what had happened to Jim.
“Well, they did not care about him when he was alive. Why should I give them any information now?”
In one way, she was right. Morrison had not made his parents proud. In fact, Jim’s radical poetry and music was the antithesis of their values and beliefs. At that moment in history, there was an impossible chasm between Jim and any authority – especially his parents. Jim Morrison was not alone. For this convulsive dynamic was occurring in the lives of millions of other American families across this land.
*Agnes Varda is a French experimental filmmaker and was a close friend to Jim in Paris.
Marianne Faithful is a British singer, songwriter, and actress. Her career has been overshadowed by her constant struggle with heroin abuse.
Jean de Breteuil,“The Count”, a French nobleman and drug dealer, who had a romantic tryst with Pamela during her stay in Paris. It is rumored that he was with Pamela as a lover on the eve of Jim’s demise.
“The Count, like a vampire who moves in darkness dispensing Russian Roulette potions of evil, he, like his victims/clients is powerless to alter course and has long since had the desire to even think of doing otherwise.”
-Al Graham Ghost “Radio Theater”
I KNOW WHO KILLED JIM MORRISON
“I DON’T LIKE LONDON,” admits Marianne Faithfull in the new issue of MOJO magazine. “I come here for promotion and I’m asked the most incredible questions.” The last time she was here one journalist even had the brass neck to ask her “Why exactly did you kill Jim Morrison?”
MOJO magazine’s 250th issue, featuring CSNY, Marianne Faithfull and more, on sale in the UK now.
“I decided to take it very seriously,” she tells MOJO’s Tom Doyle in a relaxed and confessional interview, “and tell him exactly what happened and why I didn’t kill Jim Morrison. But I know who did.”
The story goes back to the summer of 1971, when she travelled to Paris with her then-boyfriend, heroin dealer to the stars Jean de Breiteuil. Upon their arrival Breiteuil told Faithfull that he had to pay a visit to The Doors’ singer’s apartment at 17 Rue Beautreillis. She says she felt a strange sense of foreboding and stayed behind at the couple’s hotel, knocking herself out with downers.
“I could intuitively feel trouble,” she recalls. “I thought, I’ll take a few Tuinal and I won’t be there. And he went to see Jim Morrison and killed him. I mean I’m sure it was an accident. Poor bastard. The smack was too strong? Yeah. And he died. And I didn’t know anything about this. Anyway, everybody connected to the death of this poor guy is dead now. Except me.”
In a fascinating piece that roams freely over her now-50-year career, she recounts how she worked with Nick Cave on her new album, ponders how life might have turned out if she’d become “Mrs Gene Pitney” and reveals how she was “appalled” by the death of Amy Winehouse.
“Amy was very, very wary of me,” she says. “She knew that I knew and she didn’t want me to say anything. There’s a level of narcissism which is all mixed up with self-hatred. I know it well. It’s like a glass wall between you and the world, so that all the love that everybody pours onto you, you don’t feel it. But I can’t think what I could have done apart from take her and [shouts] shake her! ‘You stupid little c**t! Wake up!’”
There’s all that and more in the 250th issue of MOJO magazine, on sale now.
Faithfull’s new studio album Give My Love To London is released on September 29. Produced by Rob Ellis and Dimitri Tikovoi and mixed by Flood, it features collaborators including Adrian Utley (Portishead), Brian Eno, Ed Harcourt and Warren Ellis & Jim Sclavunos (The Bad Seeds). Songwriting contributors and co-conspirators – with Marianne penning the majority of the lyrics – include Nick Cave, Roger Waters, Steve Earle, Tom McRae and Anna Calvi.
Sometimes, even in death, the best person to get the job done is yourself. We figure that’s what led Margaret (Marge) Aitken Holcombe to write her own obituary, and when reader Pam Gallagher sent it to our attention, we had to agree that this was The Best Obit. Ever. Many thanks to The Island Funeral Home in Hilton Head Island, S.C., for its permission to publish this.
Here’s what Marge wrote: “I died at Hilton Head Hospital from a wide assortment of ailments on Tuesday, August 12, 2014. When a friend facetiously asked if I was writing my obituary before or after I passed away, I told her “Carol, I know my limitations.
I was born in Paterson, N.J. to Robert Jr. and Isabella Findlay, Aitken, wonderful parents, on January 20, 1930. It was the era of “Children should be seen and not heard” and my sister Heather and I were thought to be deaf mutes for most of our childhood.
After graduation from Paterson Central High school In January, 1948, I took a “summer job” with N.J. Bell Telephone Co. as a stenographer (who could not type – and never could) and ended my 35 years with them as District Manager, Residence Services. I never thought of giving up my day job to attend college because I was making the magnificent sum of $33 a week. With the help of that lavish salary and a couple of scholarships, I was relieved – make that worn out -that I did graduate in four years with a Rutgers BA in social studies with highest honors. I did this by concurrently attending Fairleigh Dickinson, Fordham and Rutgers Universities while holding down a full time job. I hope you won’t think me otiose. (I always wanted to use that word.)
When we retired to the Island in 1984, I volunteered for the Hilton Head Orchestra League, was President of the Port Royal Racquet Club, and served on the Hilton Head Hospital Auxiliary Board. I chaired the hospital’s 1990 Charity Ball and also chaired fund-raising dinners for the hospital. As a board member of the Friends of Hilton Head Library, I initiated the ongoing Book Break series and chaired the 2000 and 2001 events. And you thought I was just another plain face, but very wrinkled.
At the hospital, my volunteer job was to prepare the production reports for one department which I did for 20 years and was just getting the hang of it, when catastrophe struck. I had worked out the calculations by sliding counters along rods on my abacus. One of the important hospital staff spied this little old lady happily working her ancient tool and didn’t feel that it quite projected the image that our hospital wanted – a high tech facility fast-forwarding into modern times. In short order, the abacus was gone (I think to the Smithsonian) and the reports were outsourced to India.
I enjoyed my life and want to thank some of those that made this possible. Topping the list is family and close survivors, the most important, my husband Jack, was always my knight in shinning[sic] armor – well, actually my knight in tennis shorts, but for a romantic spin, I’ll go with the armor. He was taken from me suddenly in April, 2014; he’ll live with me forever.
Surviving is my sister, Heather (Emil) Scaglione of Lavallette, N.J. She is funny, warm, overly generous and the best sister, bar none. My adored nieces are Susan (David) Helterban of Sewell, N.J.; Patricia (Robert) O’Herlihy of Ridgewood, N.J.; Roberta Tomlinson of Lavallette, N.J. I’m fortunate to have a special cousin, Dawn (Kurt) Eigenmann of Sun City and lucky, to have inherited stepson, Jon (Charlotte) of Medford, N.J. and stepdaughter Lisa Holcombe of Santa Cruz, California. Lighting up our lives were our “adopted daughters”, Beverly Maloney and Jessica Bevan of Hilton Head. I was blessed with an angel who became my friend and caregiver, Elaine Kellmen.
Carol Mueller of Hilton Head gave new meaning to the word “friend”. She was my personal shopper for everything from greeting cards to clothes. She brought lunch every week and encouraged me to socialize, exercise and get well, generally making a pest of herself. (Kidding, Carol.) I don’t know what I would have done without her and thank goodness I never had to find out.
I am beholden to Burke’s Main Street Pharmacy for letting me use their store as a meeting place with old friends; it was the center of my social life. David, the younger and more handsome (his words) and Tim, the older and more intelligent (his words) of the brothers Burke would ask “Can we help you or would you just like to wander aimlessly?” I chose the latter and came to know their stock better than they did. Our condo looked like Burke’s Annex; I had everything from a simple cane to a wheelchair. When we moved, Burke’s sent my prescriptions right to my door at Seabrook and their friendly delivery man’s knock became the highlight of my day. We’re talking mad social life here.
The Seabrook was a godsend. The services they offered were perfect – I didn’t have to leave the premises. The professional and helpful staff, the friendly atmosphere, makes it a special place. But the jewel of Seabrook is the food, for this “World’s Best Worst Cook” to have the island’s ultimate restaurant available each evening was beyond my wildest dreams. My waistline, if you could find it, was testament to Seabrook’s cuisine.
I’m thankful for the uplifting courses offered by Life Long Learning of Hilton Head Island. I joined LLHHI because just being among them made me seem more intelligent that I was – an easy task. This organization advertises that the courses, are taught by our peers – my peers they weren’t – not even close.
Before coming to the Island, the only thing I wrote were checks. Then the Island Packet, in 1996, asked for comments on how to unclog traffic problems on Rt. 278. I sent in a column that suggested, humorously, that the solution was for drivers to make Right Turns Only.” Thus began a 12 year “career” writing a monthly humor column for the Packet. Fortunately, my editor was David Lauderdale.
Not only is he a talented writer and a superb storyteller, but more importantly a good man. In case I make a return trip here, I want to cover all the bases.
As a surprise for our 35th wedding anniversary, my husband published my first 84 columns in a book titled, “May All Your Turns Be Right Ones.” I never made left turns; it took a little longer to get places, but it cut down on the agita. The Hilton Head Rotary Club marketed the book with all proceeds going to their project of building a new home for Deep Well.
Then for my 80th birthday, my spouse had the remaining columns set in a book, cleverly titled, “May All Your Turns Always Be Right Ones.” Again, the Rotary club sold the books with the monies designated to building a new home for Memory Matters. At a Rotary meeting we were invited to attend, Jack and I were shocked and surprised to be presented with a Paul Harris fellowship. We were honored and humbled being aware of how infrequently these fellowships are awarded to Non-Rotarians, I likened it to be second only to receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor. Thank you Hilton Head Rotary.
In 2012, The Girl Scouts of America celebrated their 100th anniversary. Being a Girl Scout added so much to my life. I was honored to be a scout and absolutely thrilled to spend three summer weeks each year at Camp Te Ata in upstate New York. My husband was fascinated when I explained that one of our projects was to start a fire in the woods and heat some stew ingredients (don’t ask) in a tin coffee can. It was a meal to die for, which I’m certain, some campers did. Strange, I never had one request for the “Camp Te Ata” stew recipe.
Everyone thinks that his or her doctor is the best, but I win this contest hands down. My oncologist, Dr. Gary Thomas, who, by the way is a dead ringer for the comic actor, Jim Carrey, is a credit to his profession, and a source of strength to his patients. His staff of angels is incredible. When he called Jack and me to his office to confirm the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, my husband asked if we would see any physical changes in me. He answered, “She’ll probably grow a tail” – Jim Carrey cold not have quipped it better. Luckily, Veronica’s Secret assured me that their back-slit hostess skirt was ideally suited for my condition. What a relief.
Dr. Michael Platt, my ideal primary physician for over 20 years is the kind of doctor everyone wishes they had. He is a warm, caring man who takes time with each patient; a superb diagnostician and an all-around good human being. For all these reasons, I call him “Dr. Perfect,” (I’m sure he’s thrilled with that title). Aware of my limited mental capabilities, he scheduled extra time for my visits. Dr. P spoke slowly, drew diagrams using simple stick figures and demonstrated my problem with the full-figured skeleton to help me out. His nurse, Barbara, was always patient and kind. I couldn’t have been in better hands.
A big hug to Dr. Dorian Colorado and the wonderful staff at the Animal Care Clinic. When our 14 year old Cocker Spaniel, Mr. Chips, was failing, Dr. Colorado took him to her home so he would be surrounded by familiar faces and fed him bits of his favorite food. She summoned us to her clinic on a Sunday so the three of us could say our goodbyes with loving last kisses from Chips AND she delivered her first child the next morning. I told Dr. C that when my time comes to be “put down”, she has the job.
The delight of our later years is the already named Natalie-Love-Bug (don’t you love it?) a friendly, huggy-kissy cocker spaniel.
Because our pets give us unconditional love and enrich our lives, I would be honored to have donations made to the Hilton Head Humane Association, P.O. Box 21790, Hilton Head Island, SC, 29925 or Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, PO Box 3827, Bluffton, SC, 29910.
I’ve had a wonderful life and thank you to all who made it so.
Marge’s self-written obit isn’t the first one, of course. In June, actor James Rebhorn, who died of cancer at age 65, left behind an obituary he penned himself. Titled “His Life According To Jim,” it appeared originally on his church’s website. It quickly went viral, leading some to wonder if self-written obituaries weren’t the way of the future.
A sculpture commemorating the famous truce of Christmas Day 1914 was unveiled at Liverpool’s Bombed Out Church.
The statue, named All Together Now, was designed by sculptor Andy Edwards and depicts a British and a German soldier greeting each other with a football by their side.
It captures the remarkable moment in December 1914 when enemy soldiers along the Western Front laid down their weapons and emerged from their trenches to shake hands, sing carols, exchange rations, and even take part in smallscale kickabouts.
One hundred years on, the memory of the brief transformation of No-Mans land into a football field remains an enduring symbol of the triumph of peace and common humanity over conflict, and Tom Calderbank, the Liverpool creative activist who curated the display in the church, hopes the visiting public will take the message of peace away with them.
Mr Calderbank said: “The sculpture is a symbol of hope and peace and is about the gap between where we want to be and where we are.
“160 million people have been killed worldwide in conflict since the truce which this statue commemorates. We cannot allow the next 100 years to be like the past 100 years, and I hope that the people who touch this statue will leave transformed and work for peace.”
The unveiling of the statue came on the same day as the launch of the Peace Collective’s charity single, also entitled All Together Now.
Mr Calderbank explained that the sculpture is connected to the song in more than just name: “The artist’s inspiration for the sculpture didn’t just come from events 100 years ago but also from that song, and we really hope that All Together Now will make it to Christmas number one.”
The statue will remain in the church all week and is open to members of the public from 12-6pm.
One visitor, Steven Parkes, described the sculpture as “simply amazing”, adding: “It just sums up the need to bridge the gap.
“We won’t stop war but we can reduce its frequency, and that is what it’s all about.”
In addition to hosting the statue, the church is also draped in football scarves from clubs all across the world which were donated to LFC for the 25th Hillsborough Memorial Service earlier this year.
When this bearded badass in Norway saw a duck trapped under the ice on the surface of a lake, he didn’t hesitate to leap into the frigid lake, shattering the ice, rescuing the duck and making a new feathered friend in the process!
As crazy as jumping into an icy lake may seem to most of us, that’s exactly what 36-year-old ice bather (and duck rescuer) Lars Jørun Langøien was already there to do anyway. When he spotted the duck, he was already in swimwear, so he simply dove in to rescue it and give it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Now, some people are calling Langøien Karl, King of Ducks, and the name certainly fits!
It’s not enough for some Kurdish mothers to send their sons off to war against Islamic State. Their daughters are going, too.
SULIMANIYA, Iraq—Every morning when veteran fighter Lt. Col. Nasreen Hamlawa walks into her office, the first thing she sees is her daughter’s martyr poster. Snapped on the front lines outside Kirkuk just days before she was killed, Rangin Hamlawa, 26, dressed in classic beige peshmerga fatigues and holding a sniper rifle, stares hard into the camera.
“I’m glad my daughter died for a cause,” Hamlawa said calmly, referring to the duty of the peshmergas (described as a “regional guard force” in the Iraqi constitution) to defend Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. “It’s a cause, beliefs that I share,” she said, “and now all I want is to return to the battlefield to continue that work.”
Hamlawa was by her daughter’s side when she was fatally wounded in October. A round of mortar fire launched by the Islamic State landed near their position, riddling Rangin’s body with shrapnel. As Rangin was being prepared to be evacuated to a hospital back in Sulimaniya, Hamlawa’s fellow fighters told her to stay by her daughter’s side and travel with her to the hospital. But, Hamlawa says, she choose to stay on the front lines instead, “I stayed with my other daughters.” Ten days later Rangin died.
Martyr Rangin, as she’s now referred to at the base, was the first female peshmerga fighter to be killed in battle from the 2nd Battalion, since its founding 18 years ago. While the senior officers are veterans of battles against Saddam Hussein’s forces and the Iran-Iraq War, for the majority of the more than 500 women in the unit, the fight against the Islamic State was the first time they’d seen battle.
And while Hamlawa says her daughter’s death has only strengthened the resolve of her fellow fighters, the unit has since been taken off the front lines and called back to their base for further training.
The unit’s commander, Col. Nahida Ahmed Rashid, denies that ordering her troops off the front lines had anything to do with Rangin’s death. She says the women were called back as a matter of common practice for more heavy weapons training. But she admits she’s stir crazy at the base; she wants to return to the fight.
“[Rangin’s death], her loss made our women stronger and more adamant to take their revenge,” she said. “We didn’t want to come back [to our base].”
But, she says, Rangin’s death has also left a “gap” in her unit. “It a big loss,” she says, her eyes sad but dry. “She was one of our bravest fighters.”
Throughout the afternoon, Rashid was inundated with phone calls and knocks on the door. Since Rangin’s death, Rashid says the numbers of women seeking to join the peshmerga has skyrocketed.
“We are getting more and more people asking to join,” she said, so many that she has had to start turning them down because she no longer has the capacity to train new fighters.
Gesturing to a small photograph of Rangin she wears on her lapel, Rashid says she saw a lot of herself in the young officer and was hoping that one day she would take over command of the unit.
“I could see she was a talented leader,” Rashid said of her first impressions of Rangin. “I’m getting older so I was trying to train her to be the one to replace me if I’m not here anymore.” Rashid said she was initially criticized for making the relatively junior Rangin her deputy, but she believed in the young fighter and stood by her decision.
“All these peshmerga are my daughters but this one was special to me, she was close to me,” Rashid said, “I loved her so much, everyone did.”
“When you become a peshmerga, your life becomes like a butterfly,” she said. “You can go at any moment.”
The 2nd Battalion was formally established in 1996 during the Kurdish civil war by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) as they were battling the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP).
In four years of brutal fighting reportedly sparked by a quarrel between a KDP landlord and a group of PUK shop owners, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people were killed. However, the true death toll is believed to be higher as mass graves dating back to that period are still being discovered in the Kurdish region. The conflict ended in 1998 following intensive U.S. mediation with a treaty that divided power and resources between the two parties.
“The idea was to eliminate the difference between men and women in Kurdistan,” said Rashid, who was then a founding member of the unit. After fighting alongside her brothers for years in the 1980s, she demanded the women fighters be formally recognized.
“We wanted to have what the civilized nations do,” she said, “Have women in the armed forces and at the same time fight for women’s rights.”
The relatively young unit partnered with American troops in 2003 during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, but rarely saw battle. Most female peshmerga fighters were tasked with staffing checkpoints and guarding bases alongside their male counterparts. But following the fall of Mosul and the Islamic State’s ultimate thwarted advance on Erbil, the unit was called up to fight.
“We were part of the unit protecting gas and oil depots outside of Kirkuk,” Rashid says. Her unit first deployed in late June—“A very hot summer,” she remembers. “We first participated in the fight in Basheer against [ISIS], then later our women deployed to the Jalawla area.”
In both arenas, Rashid describes the work of her troops as critical to the Peshmerga victories achieved around the strategically important city of Kirkuk.
“Of course the women fighters are important [in the fight against the Islamic State],” said Jaber Yawer, the spokesman for the peshmerga forces. Darkly joking, he added, “We were running out of the men.”
Yawer says as a matter of policy, the female peshmerga unit is treated the same as the other male units. “We don’t think that they are weak,” he said. “They play an important role fighting next to the men because they complement one another.”
Like Rashid, Hamlawa, the mother of the slain female fighter, first fought alongside her brothers in the 1970s against Saddam Hussein’s forces before formally joining the peshmerga when the female unit was established. She says her family encouraged her to join and she, in turn, encouraged her own children.
“We’ve been brought up that Kurdistan is the first thing, to liberate our country and protect our country, so that’s our guiding principle,” she explained from behind a desk in her dark office, “I always wanted my children to follow my path.”
Her family, she said, was aware of the risks. “When you become a peshmerga your life becomes like a butterfly,” she said. “You can go at any moment.”
Another of Hamlawa’s children—a son—is on the front lines outside Kirkuk, she says, while her three surviving daughters, all fighters as well, want to return as soon as possible.
“Children are dear to their mothers, but our land, Kurdistan, is also dear to us.” At this, Hamlawa’s strong eyes water slightly. She dabbed them with a tissue and continued without ceremony. “Without martyrs, you’ll never see a free Kurdistan.”
LONDON (AP) — A mushroom with hallucinogenic properties has been found growing at Buckingham Palace but no one suspects Queen Elizabeth II of cultivating the magic mushroom.
The Amanita muscaria was found growing wild in the extensive palace gardens during preparations for a television show.
The mushroom’s hallucinogenic properties have long been known and it has commonly been used in rituals.
Palace officials said Friday there are several hundred species of mushrooms growing in the palace gardens, including a number of naturally occurring Amanita muscaria.
The mushroom can be beneficial to trees but can be poisonous to humans.
Officials say mushrooms from the garden are not used in the palace kitchens.
NAGORO, Japan (AP) — This village deep in the rugged mountains of southern Japan once was home to hundreds of families. Now, only 35 people remain, outnumbered three-to-one by scarecrows that Tsukimi Ayano crafted to help fill the days and replace neighbors who died or moved away.
At 65, Ayano is one of the younger residents of Nagoro. She moved back from Osaka to look after her 85-year-old father after decades away.
“They bring back memories,” Ayano said of the life-sized dolls crowded into corners of her farmhouse home, perched on fences and trees, huddled side-by-side at a produce stall, the bus stop, anywhere a living person might stop to take a rest.
“That old lady used to come and chat and drink tea. That old man used to love to drink sake and tell stories. It reminds me of the old times, when they were still alive and well,” she said.
Even more than its fading status as an export superpower, Japan’s dwindling population may be its biggest challenge. More than 10,000 towns and villages in Japan are depopulated, the homes and infrastructure crumbling as the countryside empties thanks to the falling birthrate and rapid aging.
First the jobs go. Then the schools. Eventually, the electricity meters stop.
Neither Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party nor any of its rivals have figured out how to “revive localities,” an issue that has perplexed Japanese leaders for decades.
But local communities are trying various strategies for attracting younger residents, slowing if not reversing their decline. In Kamiyama, a farming community closer to the regional capital, community organizers have mapped out plans for attracting artists and high-tech companies.
Nagoro is more typical of the thousands of communities that are turning into ghost towns or at best, open-air museums, frozen in time.
The one-street town is mostly abandoned, its shops and homes permanently shuttered.
The closure of the local elementary school two years ago was the last straw. Ayano unlocks the door and guides visitors through spotless classrooms populated with scarecrow students and teachers.
When she returned to her hometown 13 years ago, Ayano tried farming. Thinking her radish seeds may have been eaten by crows, she decided to make some scarecrows. Now there are more 100 scattered around Nagoro and nearby towns.
Like handcarved Buddhist sculptures, each has its own whimsical expression. Some sleep, their eyelids permanently shut. Others cuddle toddler scarecrows or man plows and hoes.
Ayano brings one along for company on her 90-minute drive to buy groceries in the nearest big town. But most remain behind, to be photographed and marveled at by tourists who detour through the winding mountain roads.
“If I hadn’t made these scarecrows, people would just drive right by,” said Ayano.
The plight of Japan’s countryside is partly a consequence of the country’s economic success. As Japan grew increasingly affluent after World War II, younger Japanese flooded into the cities to fill jobs in factories and service industries, leaving their elders to tend small farms.
Greater Tokyo, with more than 37 million people and Osaka-Kobe, with 11.5 million, account for nearly 40 percent of the country’s 127 million people.
“There’s been this huge sucking sound as the countryside is emptied out,” said Joel Cohen, a professor at Columbia University’s Laboratory of Populations.
Japan’s population began to decline in 2010 from a peak of 128 million. Without a drastic increase in the birthrate or a loosening of the staunch Japanese resistance to immigration, it is forecast to fall to 108 million by 2050 and to 87 million by 2060. By then, four in 10 Japanese will be over 65 years old.
The population of Miyoshi, which is the town closest to Nagoro, fell from 45,340 in 1985 to about 27,000 last year. A quarter of its population is over 75 years old. To entice residents to have more children, the town began offering free nursery care for third children, free diapers and formula to age 2 and free health care through junior high school.
“The way to stop this is to get people to have more babies,” said mayor Seiichi Kurokawa. “Apart from that, we need for people to return here or move here.”
But it’s not an easy sell, despite the fresh air and abundant space.
“You can’t just grab people by the necks like kittens and drag them here,” Kurokawa said.
Getting residents of half-empty towns to accept newcomers can also be a challenge.
In Kamiyama, to the east, the town still struggles to convince owners who are often relatives living in distant cities to open up abandoned homes for rent or renovation, said Shinya Ominami, chairman of a civic group that has led efforts to revive the town.
In a briefing for potential investors and visiting officials, Ominami shows a slide of the town’s shopping street, dotted with houses that are empty, and then another with some of the buildings filled with new businesses — a bistro, a design studio, an IT incubation hub.
“Once we accept this is the reality, we can figure out how to cope with it,” Ominami said.
In a remote corner of China, one village tells a strange lineage tale. The story (and some DNA evidence) goes, the locals are the descendants of a band of Roman soldiers from 36 B.C.
In a tiny, remote Chinese village, an ancient Roman bloodline may live on. The town of Liqian sits on the edge of the Gobi desert, 200 miles from any metropolis, and 4,500 miles from Rome. But for half a century, scientists and archaeologists have been trying to prove that the ruddy-skinned, light-eyed, and fair-haired residents of Liqian are lost relatives of a missing Roman battalion of mercenaries that fought against the Chinese long before Marco Polo started east.
The theory was first floated in the 1950s by Professor Homer Dubs of Oxford University. In a lecture to the China Society in London, he theorized that Liqian was connected to an ancient battle between the Huns and the Chinese that was fought, in part, by Roman mercenary soldiers in 36 B.C.
According to lore, 145 of these original soldiers of fortune either fled battle or were captured and settled in the area. Lending proof to this theory was a set of Chinese documents which show, 2,000 years ago, the city was renamed to mean “prisoners taken in storming a city.” Another legend claims the villagers descended from a 6,000-person army led by famed Roman General Marcus Crassus’s son that disappeared without a trace.
Dubs embarked on his investigation after discovering the name “Liqian” translated to the ancient Chinese word for Rome. His theory had little physical evidence until 1989, when archaeologists discovered ruins outside the town that prove a settlement existed at the time they suspected. Despite interest from international teams, further outside research was halted at the time due to political tensions in China following the Tiananmen Square massacres.
Years later, in 2005, scientists took advantage of a more open government to draw blood samples from 93 residents of Liqian. Testing yielded shocking results as to their genetic makeup: some villagers were found to have DNA that contained 56 percent Caucasian origins.
DNA proof isn’t enough for academics to link the townsfolk directly to a lost Roman army. Scholars argue that the Huns included Caucasians, Asians, and Mongols in their ranks, since the area was an international trading route.
“If there weren’t Romans before in Liqian, there certainly are now.”
“The county is on the Silk Road, so there were many chances for trans-national marriages,” said Yang Gongle, a professor at Beijing Normal University, to China Daily. “The ‘foreign’ origin of the Yongchang villagers, as proven by the DNA tests, does not necessarily mean they are of ancient Roman origin.”
Two years later, further tests were done, but this time to a disappointing conclusion. Roman mercenary origin could not be accepted as true according to paternal genetic variation,” the study’s authors wrote in the Journal of Human Genetics.
That hasn’t dissuaded scholars and scientists from what has become a heated debate. Soon after these results, China and Italy joined forces to open the Italian Studies Center at Lanzhou University with the intention of tracking lost Roman descendants in the region, where the 4,000-mile Silk Road once linked Asia and Europe.
“We hope to prove the legend by digging and discovering more evidence of China’s early contact with the Roman Empire,” Yuan Honggeng, head of the center, told China Daily.
One green-eyed man, nicknamed “Cai the Roman,” became an instant celebrity due to his decidedly Roman physical characteristics. He told the Telegraph that had been informed by his great-grandfather that there remained Roman tombs more than two days’ walk away. But so far, the lack of proven Roman artifacts or ruins in the town has raised suspicions.
“For it to be indisputable, one would need to find items such as Roman money or weapons that were typical of Roman legionaries,” anthropologist Maurizio Bettini, of Siena University, told La Repubblica. “Without proof of this kind, the story of the lost legions is just a legend.”
But the legends are enough proof for the town of Liqian. Before the DNA testing even began, the villagers seized on the story of their possible roots and turned it into a tourism industry. A Roman-esque pillar was erected at the town’s entrance and some entrepreneurial townsfolk don armor and replica battle wear to entertain the visitors that have begun to trickle into the remote province. These tourists, many of whom are Italian, can even stay in a Roman-style hotel. If there weren’t Romans before in Liqian, there certainly are now.
(From: An American Prayer)
Shake dreams from your hair
my pretty child, my sweet one.
Choose the day and choose the sign of your day
the day’s divinity
First thing you see.
A vast radiant beach and cooled jeweled moon
Couples naked race down by its quiet side
And we laugh like soft, mad children
Smug in the wooly cotton brains of infancy
The music and voices are all around us.
Choose they croon the Ancient Ones
the time has come again
choose now, they croon
beneath the moon
beside an ancient lake
Enter again the sweet forest
Enter the hot dream
Come with us
everything is broken up and dances.
On dawn’s highway bleeding
Ghosts crowd the young child’s
Fragile eggshell mind
We have assembled inside,
This ancient and insane theater
To propagate our lust for life,
And flee the swarming wisdom of the streets.
The barns have stormed
The windows kept,
And only one of all the rest
To dance and save us
From the divine mockery of words,
Music inflames temperament.
Ooh great creator of being
Grant us one more hour,
To perform our art
And perfect our lives.
We need great golden copulations,
When the true kings murderers
Are allowed to roam free,
A thousand magicians arise in the land
Where are the feast we are promised?
One more thing
Thank you oh lord
For the white blind light
Thank you oh lord
For the white blind light
The Doors, who took their name from a line in William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite”), combined jazz chord changes and Latin rhythms with flamenco, surf, raga, blues, and psychedelia, all in one ’60s rock band, often in one song: “Light My Fire,” “The End,” “Roadhouse Blues,” and “People Are Strange,” just to name a few. The power of the Doors’ music is that it is so unabashedly arty that it begs to be made fun of, especially by older people or those who went through Doors periods themselves and are now into Steely Dan or Animal Collective or some other less embarrassing musical endeavor.
And why embarrassing? Because the Doors reflect a conflict many of us have with artists we think we have outgrown. For those with a youthful bent, sustained naïveté, or a poetical inclination, the combination of the Doors’ music and Jim Morrison’s lyrics can be transformative. In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s memoir depicting her early days in New York and friendship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, the singer neatly encapsulates how she, and many others, “felt both kinship and contempt for [Morrison]” while watching him perform for the first time. “I observed his every move in a state of cold hyperawareness. I remember this feeling much more clearly than the concert. I felt, watching Jim Morrison, that I could do that.”
But for those same people a few years on, the Morrison mythology of a rock-singer-slash-poet whose lyrics reflect influences from the Romantics, French Symbolists, and Beats feels, at best, silly, and so he becomes one of the better punch lines to any number of poetry jokes.
But the Lizard King is not dead.
Although it may not shock that Doors music is still popular, what might surprise is that Jim Morrison’s poetry still has an audience. As I write this, the remastered CD of An American Prayer, a Jim Morrison spoken-word album posthumously released in 1978, sits at number one on Amazon’s “Music > Miscellaneous > Poetry, Spoken Word & Interviews” chart, ahead of Jim Carroll and Alcoholics Anonymous and neck-and-neck with Tom Waits. Morrison’s collections of poetry continue to sell, too. Two of his three poetry titles reside semipermanently on Amazon’s poetry best-seller list—Wilderness: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison, Volume 1 (#26) and The Lords and the New Creatures (#40)—sitting alongside Allen Ginsberg, Mary Oliver, and Tupac Shakur, and ahead of Eliot, Frost, Poe, and Bishop.
This is irritating to serious poetry people. But maybe there is something to Morrison’s poetry beyond the laughs. Maybe it’s time we considered him to be something more. Maybe it’s time we accepted him as a bona fide American poet.
Just how seriously Jim Morrison can be taken as a poet depends on whom you ask, but there’s no question that he regarded himself as the real deal. Starting with No One Here Gets Out Alive and each subsequent biography, Morrison is portrayed as carrying Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry books in his pocket or quoting from Nietzsche, all by way of suggesting the singer should be taken seriously as a poet, without many other reasons why. Like many real poets, Morrison self-published his work. The Lords: Notes on Vision appeared as single vellum pages with “© James Douglas Morrison 1969 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED” on the bottom of each page, housed inside a blue portfolio folder. He made 100 copies and gave them out to friends. Then came The New Creatures, a slim hardcover edition of 100 copies, privately printed in 1969. An Ode to LA while Thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased, a broadside or pamphlet, was handed out at concerts after the death of the Rolling Stones guitarist, and An American Prayer was printed in an edition of 500 in 1970.
In 1970, Simon & Schuster published The Lords and The New Creatures, which combined his first two books. Other than San Francisco poet and Morrison friend Michael McClure, who urged him to self-publish his work and pursue his writing, no one from the serious poetry world seemed to pay much attention. Despite this, the book is currently in its 50th printing. But clearly sales alone can’t transform one into a serious poet. That takes academia.
Morrison writes in Wilderness’s prologue. “It just ticks off possibilities.” When I first set out to write this essay, I hoped it would be a brilliant exegesis of Jim Morrison, Real Poet. In the back of my mind, I envisioned a couple of his poems featured as a sidebar, maybe a sequence of prose-poem aphorisms from The Lords to drive home how relevant and “now” he could be. But I have stopped worrying whether James Douglas Morrison—The Last Holy Fool, Sex God, Black Priest of the Great Society—can join the tenuous tribe of poets. He’s been showing up for the meetings for so long now, there’s no sense in throwing him out.
Upon reading them, Kerouac scrapped an early draft of “On The Road” and, during a three-week writing binge, revised his novel into a style similar to Cassady’s, one that would become known as Beat literature.
The letter, Kerouac said shortly before his death, would have transformed his counterculture muse Cassady into a towering literary figure, if only it hadn’t been lost.
Turns out it wasn’t, says Joe Maddalena, whose Southern California auction house Profiles in History is putting the letter up for sale Dec. 17. It was just misplaced, for 60-some years.
It’s being offered as part of a collection that includes papers by E.E. Cummings, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Penn Warren and other prominent literary figures. But Maddalena believes the item bidders will want most is Cassady’s 18-page, single-spaced screed describing a drunken, sexually charged, sometimes comical visit to his hometown of Denver.
“It’s the seminal piece of literature of the Beat Generation, and there are so many rumors and speculation of what happened to it,” Maddalena said.
Kerouac told The Paris Review in 1968 that poet Allen Ginsberg loaned the letter to a friend who lived on a houseboat in Northern California. Kerouac believed the friend then dropped it overboard.
“It was my property, a letter to me, so Allen shouldn’t have been so careless with it, nor the guy on the houseboat,” he said.
As for the quality of the letter, Kerouac described it this way: “It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better’n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves.”
It turns out Ginsberg apparently was trying to get it published when he mailed the letter to Golden Goose Press in San Francisco. There it remained, unopened, until the small publishing house folded.
When it did, its owner planned to throw the letter in the trash, along with every other unopened submission he still had in his files.
That was when the operator of a small, independent music label who shared an office with publisher Richard Emerson came to the rescue. He took every manuscript, letter and receipt in the Golden Goose Archives home with him.
“My father didn’t know who Allen Ginsberg was, he didn’t know Cassady, he wasn’t part of the Beat scene, but he loved poetry,” said Los Angeles performance artist Jean Spinosa, who found the letter as she was cleaning out her late father’s house two years ago. “He didn’t understand how anyone would want to throw someone’s words out.”
Although she knew who Kerouac and Cassady were, Spinosa had never heard of “The Joan Anderson Letter,” the name Kerouac gave it for Cassady’s description of a woman he’d had a brief romance with.
“It’s invaluable,” historian and Kerouac biographer Dennis McNally said. “It inspired Kerouac greatly in the direction he wanted to travel, which was this spontaneous style of writing contained in a letter that had just boiled out of Neal Cassady’s brain.”
It was a style he’d put to use in the novels “On The Road” and “Visions of Cody,” which featured Cassady, thinly disguised under the names Dean Moriarty and Cody Pomeroy, as their protagonists. He’d continue to use it in such books as “The Subterraneans,” ”The Dharma Bums” and “Lonesome Traveler,” cementing his reputation as the father of the Beat Generation.
Cassady would gain some small measure of fame as Kerouac’s muse and, later, as the sidekick who drove novelist Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters bus across the country.
Meanwhile, about a third of “The Joan Anderson Letter,” copied by someone before it disappeared, became well-known to students of Kerouac.
When Spinosa discovered she had the whole thing, she took it to Maddalena, a prominent dealer in historical documents and pop-culture artifacts, to authenticate it.
He’s reluctant to estimate what it might sell for. Although the original manuscript of “On The Road” fetched $2.4 million in 2001, everyone knew that existed. It’s much harder to estimate the value, he said, of something no one knew was still around.
For her part, Spinosa says, she’s just happy her father rescued the letter from the trash. She’s hoping whoever buys it will give the public a chance to see it.
“The letter is so good, and you see why these guys loved him,” she says of Cassady’s fellow Beats. “The writing, it just breathes off the page.”
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
It’s the cry that struck fear into our ancestors’ hearts for 300 years… “the Vikings are coming!”. They were huge, bearded barbarians in animal fur tunics and horned helmets who raped and pillaged their way across four continents and “went berserk” on battlefields. Or were they?
That’s certainly the stereotypical image of the Norse warriors handed down through ancient sagas, history books and, more recently, films and TV series.
But it looks like the Vikings had a bit of a bad press – well, three centuries of it – thanks to the understandably-miffed monks whose monasteries they looted.
Now, a stunning new exhibition at the British Museum is redrawing the cartoon caricature of these Scandinavian savages to reveal them in a fascinating new light.
They were a contradictory bunch – shameless raiders yet shrewd traders; pagans yet culture vultures; smelly soap-dodgers who hated messy hair; and testosterone-fuelled warriors who believed girl-power won their battles.
And the look? Well, forget Conan the Barbarian, think Johnny Rotten crossed with Captain Jack Sparrow but with Jay-Z’s jewellery and MC Hammer’s trousers.
DisneyGuy liner: The Vikins probably looked more like Captain Jack Sparrow than their traditional image
We should also banish the idea of bearskins, matted whiskers and shell necklaces. It seems they were more into silk cloaks, groomed beards and bling.
“The traditional image of the Vikings was invented by 19th century Romantics,” explains Gareth Williams, curator of the exhibition, Vikings: life and legend.
“They’ve been portrayed as big, muscular savages with very silly helmets. Well, how else would a Romantic depict a Viking?
“But they were a hugely complex society who picked up cultural influences from all the countries they visited.
“And they were very much into their bling – sheer ostentatious showing-off.”
He adds: “They displayed their wealth and status by wearing ridiculously-impractical clothing, jewellery and weapons, and eating in style. I defy anyone to look at the beautifully crafted artefacts in the exhibition and tell me these were barbarians.
“That reputation comes from the fact they raided monasteries and churches.
“The monks wrote accounts of this and, from their point of view, it was a complete outrage that these pagans attacked religious institutions.
“Yet it was perfectly acceptable for a Christian ruler at the time to kill 7,000 Slavs in a day because they didn’t want to be converted.”
Paul RafterySainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, British Museum Extension, LondonVessel: The Roskilde 6
The Vikings were the original social rebels – the punks or Hells Angels of the years 800-1050. But before anyone goes soft on them, Gareth adds:
“They weren’t fluffy bunnies. They were pirates and raiders, that’s what ‘viking’ means. They were slave traders and brutal warriors.”
They also practised human sacrifice and took hallucinogenic drugs. And they were not averse to bumping off a dead mate’s wife and chucking her in his coffin… after drugging her so they could all have sex with her.
“But,” says Gareth, “they were also peaceful and successful traders who brought ideas on economic systems, religious thought, literacy and art from the countries they reached.”
Thanks to their powerful longships, the Viking stomping ground stretched from Constantinople and Russia in the east, across to Greenland and North America, and covered the British Isles, France, Spain and the Mediterranean.
They traded amber, whale bone, furs, weapons, wine and jewellery. But whether raiding or trading, the Vikings had to look dapper. Gareth says: “They wore big metal bracelets of set weights – decorative and ostentatious but practical because everyone knew their value.
“It was like a wearing a gold Rolex watch with the price tag still attached.”
One exhibit is a huge necklace, 10ins in diameter and weighing 4lbs. It’s made of woven gold strands that could be unwound, hacked off and traded. “Eat your heart out Jay-Z,” jokes Gareth.
“It’s stupidly impractical to wear, but think of the posing value. They also wore massive cloak brooches with foot-long spikes sticking up which could have had someone’s eye out.”
The Trustees of the British MuseumNeck-ring, 10th century. Kalmergrden, Tiss, Zealand, Denmark. GoldBling: A 10th century gold neck band
The Vikings may not have smelled good, a contemporary chronicler called them “the filthiest of God’s creatures, never washing themselves”, but hair was another matter.
“They took their grooming very seriously and combs are one of the commonest grave finds,” Gareth explains.
Their solid-gold toiletry sets included delicate ear spoons for scooping out wax. The men also used a kohl-like eyeliner – “think Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean,” says Gareth.
Viking men were also heavily tattooed but their most striking and fearsome fashion statement was their gnashers.
They would file horizontal lines into the enamel on their front teeth and paint in red resin. Gareth says: “That’s like your punk sticking a safety pin through his nose. It would have been very uncomfortable and it’s quite deliberately saying ‘If I’m prepared to do this to myself, what am I going to do to you?’.”
The Vikings filed decorative grooves into their teeth to scare their enemies
Another myth about Vikings is that of the “berserkir” or berserker warriors, from which we get the expression “going berserk”. Legend has it they went into battle naked and gnawing their shields – as depicted by some of the 12th century Lewis Chessmen pieces at the museum – and believing they had transformed into bears.
They were said to have worked themselves up into a feel-no-pain frenzy with the help of henbane, a hallucinogenic plant.
But while shape-shifting was a Viking belief, Gareth thinks they were just high on adrenaline, carrying bear claw charms and showing bear-like ferocity – rather than actually being bare.
Weapons and armour were huge status symbols. Vikings gave their ornate swords names like Legbiter but when a warrior died in battle his sword was ritually killed too – bent double, and interred with him. Swords have also been found in the graves of women of the Viking era. It led to speculation they were warriors too.
The Vikings believed in Valkyries – terrifying female spirits of war – however, Gareth is not convinced there were female soldiers. He thinks the weapons may have been heirlooms buried with the last in a family line.
But Viking women were quite independent. They could own their own property and controlled the purse-strings in the marital home.
The Trustees of the British MuseumThe Lewis Chessmen, berserkersBite me: The Lewis Chessmen despicted Berserkers
They also had their own bling, including brooches, possibly worn provocatively over their breasts. But their burial goods still suggest a typical domestic life… cooking utensils, and even ironing boards. Not for all women though. Experts have re-examined what were thought to be roasting spits or pokers found in women’s graves.
They’re now thought to be magic wands carried by sorceresses who could use their powers to unleash fearsome spirits to help warriors in battle – and in the bedroom, with spells to boost their potency.
But the Vikings’ real power lay in the longships which enabled them to conquer on such a huge scale.
The centrepiece of the exhibition at the museum in Central London is the amazing Roskilde 6, the largest longship ever found.
At 40 yards long, it was big enough for 40 oarsmen and could carry 100 men.
Experts believe it was built for Danish King Cnut the Great who conquered England in 1016. “Status wise it’s like the Royal Yacht Britannia,” says Gareth.
It was decorated in gold and silver, with gleaming weaponry on show. It was like a gangsta rapper’s yacht. Bling on the Vikings!
The long-in-the-works Janis Joplin biopic, Get It While You Can, will begin shooting in the second half of 2015 in Los Angeles and San Francisco with Amy Adams starring as the singer. Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée is in negotiations to helm the picture, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Ron Terry, who previously executive produced a TV movie about Jimi Hendrix in 2000, and Teresa Kounin Terry wrote the script; Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, who co-wrote Dallas Buyers Club together, are in negotiations to rewrite it.
Get It While You Can is one of many Joplin biopics that have been in various stages of production over the past decade. For close to 15 years, producer Peter Newman has been attempting to make a film simply titled Joplin, with a screenplay by former Rolling Stone contributor David Dalton, and, in 2012, he’d cast Tony Award–winning actress Nina Arianda in the lead role. Previously, Zooey Deschanel, Pink and Lili Taylor have all been attached to play Joplin in the latter biopic.
That film, which IMDb still lists as being in development, centers on a Rolling Stone reporter writing a cover story on the singer and following her on tour. Director Sean Durkin, who made Martha Marcy May Marlene, in 2011, is attached to helm the film.
Also, in 2003, Renée Zellweger was attached to play Joplin in another biopic that has since been abandoned.
Adams is the star of the upcoming Tim Burton film, Big Eyes, in which she plays painter Margaret Keane, whose work was at the center of an art-world scandal involving her husband, Walter. She will appear on Saturday Night Live to promote the movie on December 20th.
Vallee recently finished making a movie titled Demolition, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper. His latest movie, Wild, stars Reese Witherspoon and will come out on December 5th.
A major pathway of the human brain involved in visual perception, attention and movement — and overlooked by many researchers for more than a century — is finally getting its moment in the sun.
In 2012, researchers made note of a pathway in a region of the brain associated with reading, but “we couldn’t find it in any atlas,” said Jason Yeatman, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. “We’d thought we had discovered a new pathway that no one else had noticed before.”
A quick investigation showed that the pathway, known as the vertical occipital fasciculus (VOF), was not actually unknown. Famed neuroscientist Carl Wernicke discovered the pathway in 1881, during the dissection of a monkey brain that was most likely a macaque. [10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Brain]
But besides Wernicke’s discovery, and a few other mentions throughout the years, the VOF is largely absent from studies of the human brain. This made Yeatman and his colleagues wonder, “How did a whole piece of brain anatomy get forgotten?” he said.
The researchers immersed themselves in century-old brain atlases and studies, trying to decipher when and why the VOF went missing from mainstream scientific literature. They also scanned the brains of 37 individuals, and found an algorithm that can help present-day researchers pinpoint the elusive pathway.
The study provides a comprehensive look at the VOF’s history, said Dr. Jeremy Schmahmann, a professor of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the new research. Schmahmann co-wrote the book “Fiber Pathways of the Brain” (Oxford University Press, 2006), which describes how the VOF is structured in the brain of a monkey and a human.
The new study confirms the VOF’s location in the human brain “and then presents a coherent discussion about how it could be relevant,” said Schmahmann, who is also a director of the Laboratory for Neuroanatomy and Cerebellar Neurobiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The VOF may have been the victim of a disagreement between Wernicke and his famous teacher, Theodor Meynert, a German-Austrian neuroanatomist. Meynert directed the psychiatric clinic at the University of Vienna, and also taught Sigmund Freud and the famed Russian neuropsychiatrist Sergei Korsakoff.
Wernicke is known for his 1874 discovery of Wernicke’s area, a region of the brain essential for understanding written and spoken language. After his breakthrough, Wernicke studied in Meynert’s lab for about six months in the late 1870s and early 1880s.
Brain diagram with a missing pathwayPin It Neuroanatomist Theodor Meynert left out the vertical occipital fasciculus in the last article he published before his death in 1892.
Credit: Jason Yeatman and Kevin Weiner, with permission from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.View full size image
But although Wernicke also discovered the VOF, Meynert did not include it in any of his studies. It’s possible that Meynert ignored the pathway because it broke one of his tenets about brain organization, Yeatman told Live Science.
“Meynert had proposed the original theory of the organization of these pathways,” Yeatman said. “He proposed that, as a rule, they all go anterior-posterior, or basically from front to back, longitudinally across the brain.”
The VOF, in contrast, goes up and down. “Wernicke’s discovery contradicted this majorly accepted principle of brain organization,” Yeatman said.
Other neuroanatomists found the VOF in the human brain, but the pathway sits largely unlabeled in brain atlases throughout history, Yeatman said. [3D Images: Exploring the Human Brain]
Yet maybe Meynert didn’t mean any harm, Schmahmann said. Meynert did not focus on fiber pathways in the occipital lobe, including, but not limited to the VOF. “Meynert’s apparent non-discussion of these fiber systems may simply have reflected his interest and focus,” Schmahmann said.
Moreover, the VOF’s also went by many names, which may have pushed it into further obscurity. Atlases give it different labels, including “Wernicke’s perpendicular fasciculus,” “perpendicular occipital fasciculus of Wernicke” and “stratum profundum convexitatis.”
Varying dissection techniques in the late 1800s and early 1900s also made the VOF hard to pinpoint.
“You’re slicing with a knife and trying to look for structure. It’s very easy to miss something if you slice it a different way,” Yeatman said.
To remedy the confusion, Yeatman and his colleagues wrote an algorithm to help researchers find and identify the VOF. They used an MRI technique called diffusion-weighted imaging, which measures the size and direction of the brain’s different pathways.
Four brain drawingsPin It Brain illustrations that show the vertical occipital fasciculus, except for Ludwig Edinger’s 1885 drawing, which like many other atlases left the region unlabeled throughout history.
Credit: Jason Yeatman and Kevin Weiner, with permission from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.View full size image
After imaging the brains of 37 people, the researchers found that the VOF starts in the occipital lobe, a part of the brain that processes visual information. It then spreads out like a sheet, connecting different brain regions: those that help people perceive visual categories, such as words and faces, and those involved with eye movements, attention and motion perception, the researchers said. The pathway could therefore help explain how the brain connects the two types of visual perception, Schmahmann said.
“There has to be some way for that dichotomy to merge,” he said, “and the Wernicke fascicle is one way for the ‘where’ and the ‘what’ streams in the visual modality to become a unified whole.”
Interestingly, two case studies from the 1970s found that people with damage to the VOF lost their ability to read because they could no longer recognize words. Moreover, the VOF has different myelination, a coating on nerve cells that helps information move faster.
“We don’t know what it means yet, but [the myelination differences are] very consistent across every subject,” Yeatman said. “It opens up some new hypotheses, new directions to study: Why is this structure so different than the other neighboring pathways?”
Researchers have deciphered an ancient Egyptian handbook, revealing a series of invocations and spells.
Among other things, the “Handbook of Ritual Power,” as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.
The book is about 1,300 years old, and is written in Coptic, an Egyptian language. It is made of bound pages of parchment — a type of book that researchers call a codex.
“It is a complete 20-page parchment codex, containing the handbook of a ritual practitioner,” write Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, who are professors in Australia at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, respectively, in their book, “A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power” (Brepols, 2014).
The ancient book “starts with a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power,” they write. “These are followed by a number of prescriptions or spells to cure possession by spirits and various ailments, or to bring success in love and business.”
For instance, to subjugate someone, the codex says you have to say a magical formula over two nails, and then “drive them into his doorpost, one on the right side (and) one on the left.”
Researchers believe that the codex may date to the 7th or 8th century. During this time, many Egyptians were Christian and the codex contains a number of invocations referencing Jesus.
However, some of the invocations seem more associated with a group that is sometimes called “Sethians.” This group flourished in Egypt during the early centuries of Christianity and held Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, in high regard. One invocation in the newly deciphered codex calls “Seth, Seth, the living Christ.” [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]
The opening of the codex refers to a divine figure named “Baktiotha” whose identity is a mystery, researchers say. The lines read, “I give thanks to you and I call upon you, the Baktiotha: The great one, who is very trustworthy; the one who is lord over the forty and the nine kinds of serpents,” according to the translation.
“The Baktiotha is an ambivalent figure. He is a great power and a ruler of forces in the material realm,” Choat and Gardner said at a conference, before their book on the codex was published.
Historical records indicate that church leaders regarded the Sethians as heretics and by the 7th century, the Sethians were either extinct or dying out.
This codex, with its mix of Sethian and Orthodox Christian invocations, may in fact be a transitional document, written before all Sethian invocations were purged from magical texts, the researchers said. They noted that there are other texts that are similar to the newly deciphered codex, but which contain more Orthodox Christian and fewer Sethian features.
The researchers believe that the invocations were originally separate from 27 of the spells in the codex, but later, the invocations and these spells were combined, to form a “single instrument of ritual power,” Choat told Live Science in an email.
Who would have used it?
The identity of the person who used this codex is a mystery. The user of the codex would not necessarily have been a priest or monk.
“It is my sense that there were ritual practitioners outside the ranks of the clergy and monks, but exactly who they were is shielded from us by the fact that people didn’t really want to be labeled as a “magician,'” Choat said.
Some of the language used in the codex suggests that it was written with a male user in mind, however, that “wouldn’t have stopped a female ritual practitioner from using the text, of course,” he said.
The origin of the codex is also a mystery. Macquarie University acquired it in late 1981 from Michael Fackelmann, an antiquities dealer based in Vienna. In “the 70s and early 80s, Macquarie University (like many collections around the world) purchased papyri from Michael Fackelmann,” Choat said in the email.
But where Fackelmann got the codex from is unknown. The style of writing suggests that the codex originally came from Upper Egypt.
“The dialect suggests an origin in Upper Egypt, perhaps in the vicinity of Ashmunein/Hermopolis,” which was an ancient city, Choat and Gardner write in their book.
The codex is now housed in the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University in Sydney.
We love our dogs.
In the 30,000 years humans and dogs have lived together, man’s best friend has only become a more popular and beloved pet. Today dogs are a fixture in almost 50% of American households.
From the way dogs thump their tails, invade our laps and steal our pillows, it certainly seems like they love us back. But since dogs can’t tell us what’s going on inside their furry heads, can we ever be sure?
Actually, yes. Thanks to recent developments in brain imaging technology, we’re starting to get a better picture of the happenings inside the canine cranium.
That’s right — scientists are actually studying the brains of dogs. And what the studies show is welcome news for all dog owners: Not only do dogs seem to love us back, they actually see us as their family. It turns out that dogs rely on humans more than they do their own kind for affection, protection and everything in between.
Dogs gathered around MRI scanner MR Research Center in Budapest. Image Credit: Borbala Ferenczy
The most direct brain-based evidence that dogs are hopelessly devoted to humans comes from a recent neuroimaging study about odor processing in the dog brain. Animal cognition scientists at Emory University trained dogs to lie very still in an MRI machine and used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure their neural responses to the smell of people and dogs, both familiar and unknown. Because dogs navigate the world through their noses, the way they process smell offers a lot of potential insight into social behavior.
Only the lingering aroma of dogs’ owners sparked activation in the “reward center” of their brains, called the caudate nucleus. The findings suggest that, of all the wafting smells to take in, dogs prioritize the hint of their beloved human family over anything or anyone else.
The results from the scent study jive with other canine neuroimaging research. Over in Budapest, researchers at Eotvos Lorand University studied canine brain activity in response to different human and dog sounds, including voices, barks and the meaningful grunts and sighs both species emit. Before this study, we had no idea what happens inside canine brains when humans make noise.
Among other surprising findings, the study revealed marked similarities in the way dog and human brains process emotionally laden vocal sounds. Researchers found that happy sounds in particular light up the auditory cortex in both species. This commonality speaks to the uniquely strong communication system underlying the interspecies bond.
In short: Dogs don’t just seem to pick up on our subtle mood changes — they are actually physically wired to pick up on them.
“It’s very interesting to understand the tool kit that helps such successful vocal communication between two species,” Attila Andics, a neuroscientist and lead author of the study, told Mic. “We didn’t need neuroimaging to see that communication works [between dogs and people], but without it, we didn’t understand why it works. Now we’re really starting to.”
Dog waiting to be scanned at MR Research Center in Budapest. Image Credit: Borbala Ferenczy.
Behavior research supports the recent neuroscience too. According to Andics, dogs interact with their human caregivers in the same way babies do their parents. When dogs are scared or worried, they run to their owners, just as distressed toddlers make a beeline for their parents. This is in stark contrast to other domesticated animals: Petrified cats, as well as horses, will run away.
Dogs are also the only non-primate animal to look people in the eyes. This is something Andics, along with other researchers, discovered about a decade ago when he studied the domestication of wolves, which he thought would share that trait. They endeavored to raise wolves like dogs. This is a unique behavior between dogs and humans — dogs seek out eye contact from people, but not their biological dog parents.
“Bonding with owners is much more important for dogs than other pets,” said Andics.
Image Credit: Getty
Scientists have also looked at the dog-human relationship from the other direction. As it turns out, people reciprocate dogs’ strong feelings. In a study published in PLOS One in October, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers measured human brain activity in response to photos of dogs and children. Study participants were women who’d had dogs and babies for at least two years. Both types of photos sparked activity in brain regions associated with emotion, reward, affiliation, visual processing and social interaction. Basically, both furry and (typically) less-furry family members make us equally happy.
Dog-lovers have committed a few notable gaffes in interpreting dogs’ facial expressions, e.g., assuming the often-documented hangdog look signifies guilt, an emotion that, most behavior experts agree, requires a multifaceted notion of self-awareness that dogs probably don’t have.
But, as with family, our instinctive hunches about dog behavior are often correct.
“Sometimes our intuition about what’s going on inside dogs’ heads is dead-on,” said Laurie Santos, the lead researcher at Yale’s Canine Cognition Center. “Like, that dogs are seeking out help from us — and that’s true based on studies — which is different from even their closest relatives, wolves.”
The precise wish or worry lurking in a dog’s doleful look may not always be clear. But we can relish the fact that we know our pets love us as much as we hoped, maybe even more. Even if they’re not full-fledged children, they see us as family. And to us? Well, they’ll always be our babies.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) —
As Frederic Chopin gasped for air on his deathbed in Paris in 1849, he whispered a request that became the stuff of musical legend: Remove my heart after I die and entomb it in Poland. He wanted the symbol of his soul to rest in the native land he pined for from self-imposed exile in France.
Ever since, the composer’s body has rested in peace at the famed Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris — while his heart has endured a wild journey of intrigue and adulation.
First it was sealed in a jar of liquor believed to be cognac. Then it was smuggled into Warsaw past Russian border guards. Once in his hometown, Chopin’s heart passed through the hands of several relatives before being enshrined within a pillar in Holy Cross Church. During World War II, it briefly fell into the clutches of the Nazis. The organ has been exhumed several times, most recently in a secret operation to check whether the tissue remains well preserved.
Chopin’s heart inspires a deep fascination in Poland normally reserved for the relics of saints. For Poles, Chopin’s nostalgic compositions capture the national spirit — and the heart’s fate is seen as intertwined with Poland’s greatest agonies and triumphs over nearly two centuries of foreign occupation, warfare and liberation.
“This is a very emotional object for Poles,” said Michal Witt, a geneticist involved in the inspection. Chopin is “extremely special for the Polish soul.”
Chopin experts have wanted to carry out genetic testing to establish whether the sickly genius died at 39 of tuberculosis, as is generally believed, or of some other illness. But they remain frustrated. The Polish church and government, the custodians of the heart, have for years refused requests for any invasive tests, partly because of the opposition of a distant living relative of the composer.
This year, however, they finally consented to a superficial inspection after a forensic scientist raised alarm that after so many years the alcohol could have evaporated, leaving the heart to dry up and darken.
Close to midnight on April 14, after the last worshippers had left the Holy Cross Church, 13 people sworn to secrecy gathered in the dark sanctuary.
They included the archbishop of Warsaw, the culture minister, two scientists and other officials. With a feeling of mystery hanging in the air, they worked in total concentration, mostly whispering, as they removed the heart from its resting place and carried out the inspection — taking more than 1,000 photos and adding hot wax to the jar’s seal to prevent evaporation. Warsaw’s archbishop recited prayers over the heart and it was returned to its rightful place. By morning, visitors to the church saw no trace of the exhumation.
“The spirit of this night was very sublime,” said Tadeusz Dobosz, the forensic scientist on the team.
Polish officials kept all details of the inspection secret for five months before going public about it in September, giving no reason for the delay. They are also not releasing photographs of the heart, mindful of ethical considerations surrounding the display of human remains, said Artur Szklener, director of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, a state body that helps preserve the composer’s legacy.
“We don’t want this to be a media sensation, with photos of the heart in the newspapers,” Szklener said. However, to prove that the heart is in good shape, he showed The Associated Press photographs of the organ, an enlarged white lump submerged in an amber-colored fluid in a crystal jar.
Some Chopin experts are critical of what they consider a lack of transparency.
Steven Lagerberg — the American author of “Chopin’s Heart: The Quest to Identify the Mysterious Illness of the World’s Most Beloved Composer” — believes international experts should have also been involved in the inspection. He said he wishes that the exhumation had involved genetic tests on a small sample of tissue to determine the cause of Chopin’s death.
Though Lagerberg and others believe that Chopin probably died of tuberculosis — the official cause of death — the matter isn’t fully settled. Some scientists suspect cystic fibrosis, a disease still unknown in Chopin’s time, or even some other illnesses.
“The mystery of this man’s illness lingers on — how he could survive for so long with such a chronic illness and how he could write pieces of such extraordinary beauty,” Lagerberg said. “It’s an intellectual puzzle, it’s a medical mystery and it’s an issue of great scientific curiosity.”
Chopin was born near Warsaw in 1810 to a Polish mother and French emigre father. He lived in Warsaw until 1830, when he made his way to Paris — where he chose a life of exile because of the brutal repressions imposed by Imperial Russia after a failed uprising.
Fulfilling Chopin’s deathbed wish, which was also inspired by the composer’s fear of being buried alive, his sister Ludwika smuggled the heart to Warsaw, probably beneath her skirts. After being kept in the family home for several years it was eventually buried in the Baroque Holy Cross Church, in central Warsaw.
It remained there until World War II, when the Nazi occupiers removed it for safekeeping during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Even as they slaughtered Poles block-by-block, killing 200,000 people in retribution for the revolt, they took pains to preserve the relic of a composer that the Germans have sometimes claimed as their own, because of the influence great German composers had on him. After the fighting was over, they returned it to the Polish church in a ceremony meant to show their respect for culture.
Bogdan Zdrojewski, the culture minister who took part in the April inspection, defended his refusal to allow invasive testing of the heart.
“We in Poland often say that Chopin died longing for his homeland,” said Zdrojewski, who has since left the culture ministry to be a lawmaker at the European Parliament. “Additional information which could possibly be gained about his death would not be enough of a reason to disturb Chopin’s heart.”
Nonetheless officials have already announced plans for another inspection — 50 years from now.
SAN ANGELO, Texas — When an 85-year-old rancher was rushed to the emergency room in an ambulance, his faithful dog Buddy was left behind.
But not for long.
About 20 miles after paramedics loaded JR Nicholson into the vehicle and drove off, another driver frantically waved them down, the Standard-Times reported.
He said there was a dog riding on a step on the side of the ambulance.
Buddy, a 35-pound Beagle mix, had jumped aboard, paramedics told the newspaper. They had no choice but to bring the dog inside and continue on to the hospital.
Nicholson, who had been experiencing dizziness, was released later the same day. Buddy was allowed to visit him.
“I was impressed,” said Nicholson, who acquired the dog from a shelter four months ago. “He didn’t have to go to the hospital with me, but he did.”
“He’s now a member of the family.”
Numerous scientists over many years have studied the role of consciousness and how it can directly influence our physical material world. Large amounts of research have been published which clearly demonstrate that yes, consciousness and what we perceive to be our physical material world are directly intertwined. I will provide more examples of this towards the end of the article, but for now we are going to take a look at one.
We’ve written about it numerous times, it’s called the quantum double slit experiment, and it’s a great example of how consciousness can affect our physical material world. A paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays explains how this experiment has been used multiple times to explore the role of consciousness in shaping the nature of physical reality.
In this experiment, a double-slit optical system was used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wave-function. The ratio of the interference pattern’s double slit spectral power to its single slit spectral power was predicted to decrease when attention was focused toward the double slit as compared to away from it. The study found that factors associated with consciousness significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double slit interference pattern.
“Observation not only disturbs what has to be measured, they produce it. We compel the electron to assume a definite position. We ourselves produce the results of the measurement.”
QUANTUMA number of experiments were conducted to measure perturbations in the wavefuntion. In the first experiment, participants were instructed to direct their attention toward the double-slit apparatus or to withdraw their attention-toward a task. At certain times, a computerized voice instructed them saying: “Please influence the beam now,” and for attention away it said “You may now relax.” This first experiment was modestly in accordance with the consciousness collapse hypothesis (perturbations in the double slit interference pattern).
The second experiment was conducted at a Zen Buddhist temple, which was a great place to recruit meditators for the experiment. This time:
“For audio feedback, during attention-away periods the computer played a soft, continuous drone tone, and during attention-toward periods it played a musical note that changed in pitch to reflect the real-time value of R (perturbations in wave function). Participants were instructed to direct their attention toward the double-slit device as in the initial experiment. If they were successful, then the double slit spectral power was predicted to decline, and in turn the pitch of the musical note would also decline.”
This test finished after 19 participants participated in 31 sessions. At the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) laboratory, three meditators contributed 11 sessions and four non-meditators contributed 7 sessions. At the Zen Buddhist temple, 12 meditators contributed 13 sessions. The tests were supervised, and a double-slit apparatus was presented.
This experiment provided more evidence, and in the IONS laboratory the meditators showed “superior performance” as compared to the non-meditators.
A third experiment was then conducted, using 33 sessions where six meditators contributed to 22 sessions and seven non-meditators contributed to 11 sessions. The 22 meditator sessions resulted in “a significant decline” in the ration of the interference pattern. The meditators here had “an especially strong statistical effect.” This experiment clearly supported the hypothesis.
In the fourth experiment, thirty one people contributed 51 sessions, and the experimental effect size observed in this study was 3 times greater than that observed in the first four experiments.
The study goes on, and consistently outlines a number of factors associated with consciousness (I focused on the ones using meditation, but there are more in the study) to collapse the quantum wave function, or interfere with its pattern.
“The study found that factors associated with consciousness significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double slit interference pattern.”
Below is a visual demonstration of the quantum double slit experiment.
This experiment is one out of many that prove consciousness and our physical material world are intertwined. We recently published a study titled “10 Scientific Studies That Prove Consciousness Can Alter Our Physical Material World.” You can read that HERE
A fundamental conclusion of new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.”
Science is quickly catching up to ancient wisdom. Changing our world requires action, yes, but that action must come from a place of peace, love , cooperation and understanding. Who is to say that meditation, and directing intention towards what we would like to change is not the base of action? If you change within, manifestation without will begin to unfold, and that’s exactly what’s happening on our planet right now. If our hearts are in the right place, and our intentions are pure, we will be provided with the necessary opportunities using action to implement change. This is why the role of consciousness, and recognizing the role of consciousness is so important. It plays a large factor in creating global change on a mass scale.
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” – Albert Einstein
NEW YORK (AP) — Extremely rare portraits by Andy Warhol of Hollywood superstars Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando were among the highlights at a record-breaking auction of postwar and contemporary art on Wednesday.
Warhol’s “Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)” sold for $81.9 million and “Four Marlons” brought in $69.6 million at Christie’s, which said the evening sale realized $852.9 million, the highest total for any auction.
Works by Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly also broke auction records for the artists.
“Triple Elvis” and “Four Marlons” rate among Warhol’s most famous portraits. The nearly 7-foot-high portraits were acquired by German casino company WestSpiel in the 1970s for one of its casinos.
The Elvis, executed in ink and silver paint in 1963, depicts the rock ‘n’ roll heartthrob as a cowboy, armed and shooting from the hip. The Brando silkscreen, created three years later, shows the actor on a motorcycle in a black leather jacket, an image that is repeated four times.
Warhol produced a series of 22 images of Elvis. His “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” sold for $37 million at Sotheby’s in 2012.
Last fall, his “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” set an auction record for his work when it sold at Sotheby’s for $105.4 million.
There’s only one other four-times Brando, in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen. A “Double Marlon” sold at Christie’s for $32.5 million in 2008.
De Kooning’s “Clamdigger,” a life-size sculpture created in 1972, sold for $29.2 million, a world auction record for a sculpture by the artist. The bronze sculpture never left the artist, and it stood in the entry of his studio on eastern Long Island for about four decades.
The inspiration for it came from the clam diggers the abstract expressionist artist observed on the beach every day.
“Clamdiggers” was offered for sale by the daughters of Lisa de Kooning, who inherited the sculpture from her father when he died in 1997. She died in 2012.
The auction record for any work by de Kooning is $32.1 million for “Untitled VIII,” set last year at Christie’s.
Twombly’s “Untitled,” one of the famous series of “Blackboard” paintings he made between 1966 and 1971, brought in $69.6 million, a world auction record for his work. With their spiraling lines on a dark gray background, the paintings were so-named because they resembled the slate of classroom blackboard.
An oversized sculpture of a monkey by the popular artist Jeff Koons was another auction highlight.
Koons’ whimsical stainless steel “Balloon Monkey (Orange)” fetched $25.9 million. Measuring nearly 12 feet high and 20 feet long, it looks like an inflated twisted balloon.
Koons became the most expensive living artist last year when his “Balloon Dog (Orange)” was auctioned for $58.4 million. A retrospective of his work recently closed at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Dog lovers will find it baffling that cats are the world’s most popular pet. After all, they’re passive-aggressive, emotionally unavailable, and known for their chilly independence—traits that at most qualify felines for the role of “man’s best frenemy.”
It turns out, though, there’s an evolutionary reason for this tense relationship. That is, cats are in many ways still wild.
“Cats, unlike dogs, are really only semi-domesticated,” says Wes Warren, professor of genetics Washington University and co-author of the first complete mapping of the house cat genome—specifically, that of an Abyssinian named Cinnamon.
Comparing the DNA differences between house cats and wild cats, Warren and his colleagues found that where the genes of domesticated kitties and wild cats diverge has to do with fur patterns, grace, and docility. The latter are the genes that influence behaviors such as reward-seeking and response to fear.
The context for this split is telling. The divergence likely began some 9,000 years ago, after humans had made the shift to agriculture. Drawn to the teeming rodent populations that gathered during grain harvests, wild cats began interacting with humans. And because cats kept rodents in check, the researchers hypothesize, humans likely encouraged them to stay by offering them food scraps as a reward. These early farmers eventually kept cats that stuck around.
“Selection for docility, as a result of becoming accustomed to humans for food rewards,” write the researchers, “was most likely the major force that altered the first domesticated cat genomes.” In other words, the ones that stuck around were the cats with those genes that encouraged interaction with humans, thereby making those traits prevalent in what became the global domestic cat population.
As intriguing, though, is what didn’t change in human-friendly cats during those nine millennia. House cats still have the broadest hearing range among carnivores, which allows them to detect their prey’s movement. They also retain their night-vision abilities and the ability to digest high-protein, high-fat diets. This implies that, unlike those of dogs, their genes haven’t evolved to make cats dependent on humans for food.
This indicates only a modest influence of domestication on cat genes, compared with dogs, say the researchers. In fact, according to recent research on canine genomes, dogs became man’s best friend back when humans were still hunting and gathering—between 11,000 and 16,000 years ago. Their typically more omnivorous diets evolved as human lifestyle shifted toward agrarian living.
So why have kitties stayed wilder? The genome-mappers theorize it’s because house cat populations have continued to interbreed with wild cats. Also, humans’ “cat fancy”—meaning, our fanaticism about creating weird cat breeds—only began in the last 200 or so years.
They came for the mice, stayed for the food scraps, and whenever it suited, kept cuddly with the cats from the other side of the granary. In other words, not only are cats still mostly wild, but they pretty much tamed themselves. Maybe that means humans are “cats’ best friend.”
Bob Dylan wanted The Beatles and Rolling Stones to collaborate with him on an album, and apparently everyone thought it was a great idea except for Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger.
That’s one takeaway from “Sound Man,” a memoir by legendary producer Glyn Johns.
Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene reviewed the book:
Dylan then dropped a bomb. “He said he had this idea to make a record with the Beatles and the Stones,” John writes. “And he asked me if I would find out whether the others would be interested. I was completely bowled over. Can you imagine the three greatest influences on popular music in the previous decade making an album together?”
Johns quickly began working the phones. “Keith and George thought it was fantastic,” he writes. “But they would since they were both huge Dylan fans. Ringo, Charlie and Bill were amicable to the idea as long as everyone else was interested. John didn’t say a flat no, but he wasn’t that interested. Paul and Mick both said absolutely not.”
Needless to say, the plan didn’t go forward. “I had it all figured out,” writes Johns. “We would pool the best material from Mick and Keith, Paul and John, Bob and George, and then select the best rhythm section from the two bands to suit whichever songs we were cutting. Paul and Mick were probably, right, however I would have given anything to have given it a go.”
Substitutes For Pasta That Won’t Disappoint
Black Bean Noodles
Made from nutrient-rich beans, this boxed spaghetti alternative, which can be found in grocery stores and online, boasts some pretty remarkable stats: One serving delivers 12 grams of fiber (nearly twice as much as a cup of 100 percent whole wheat pasta), a whopping 25 grams of protein (almost as much as a three-ounce serving of chicken breast), and 36 percent of your daily iron needs. Try it in classic Italian dishes or Asian-inspired cold salads.
Using a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler, you can transform fresh, whole zucchini into thin, pastalike noodles or ribbons. A generous three-cup portion sets you back only 58 calories and supplies nearly 20 percent of your daily adequate intake for potassium (more than four times its starchier counterpart), a mineral that helps control blood pressure. To take the raw edge off, briefly heat the zucchini pasta in your sauce of choice (pesto pairs with it nicely).
Whip up a lighter version of a family-dinner staple by using eggplant slices in place of flat white noodles. Eggplant is a good source of soluble fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol. Cut two unpeeled eggplants into thin sheets, mist with oil spray, and roast in a 400-degree oven for about ten minutes per side — then they’re ready for your favorite lasagna recipe.
True to its name, baked spaghetti squash easily forks apart into long, thin strands that offer plenty of nutritional bang for the bite. Three cups contain only 126 calories — the same amount of spaghetti packs 663. That three-cup serving also includes about 22 percent of your recommended daily dietary allowance of vitamin C. A medium squash, cut in half lengthwise, will roast in 30 minutes to an hour in a 375-degree oven (avoid overcooking, or your al dente “noodles” will turn to mush). Spaghetti squash holds up well to heartier rags, like ground-turkey marinara or olivey puttanesca.
Robert Rendall review of I Remember Jim Morrison
Well I finished your book a few days ago and have been waiting to have a minute to give you the feedback, which I believe you deserve, I was going to call you but Iam sure you are a busy man and I respect your privacy.
I guess the task was simple 27 years ago set forth by a English teacher in a reformatory, “read this and write a essay on the man and words” the book The Lords and New Creatures, well didn’t seem that easy because the words were alien and confusing, I guess I wasn’t blessed with the ability to understand a man by his poetry, so I tried to do this the opposite way, understand the man then maybe you could understand the words!
But at the time Internet almost non existent research was hard, and when I was able to obtain VHS interviews and listen to albums I just couldn’t figure Jim out , he was so badly portrayed and the words from his poetry almost was separate and didn’t match. This went on for a number of years then it just stopped, until now.
Your book is unlike any book I have ever read, this was more of true experience where you took me from my couch and put me either on the Admirals couch having laughs, or at Jims house listening to nagging Pamela or in the back seat of Lady Blue blazing down the road….it was like I was at all events.
When a book can do that it deserves a standing ovation !!! it had me cracking up laughing to the point where my wife thought I had a few drinks, it also put a lump in my throat of sadness I hadn’t felt since I buried my Mom 4 years ago.
That’s another reason for not calling you, just thinking about the part formaldehyde ghost, a part and description ALL to familiar to me for years up until my Daughter was born I slowed down , and now just don’t touch the stuff cause I have concluded guys like Jim and myself, we are “allergic” to the booze. And didn’t want to get all choked up on the phone.
But it just brought up I guess a lifetime of hell and I could relate to his situation at that point of his life and its a scary place being that close to booze , and powerless over it because it in the blood!!! so it really wasn’t something I wanted to dicuss but at same time I wanted you to be aware the effect that part had.
And I don’t know if was like seeing a extremely terrible accident or extreme thought provoking sadness but the part you describe Jim in the tub” Inside the bathroom the neon light” that small entire paragraph had such a powerful image I didn’t want to revisit, all I thought about was what Brando said near the end” The Horror” from Apocalypse Now, it was like a wave of “how could this happen” came over me. Great job in describing that.
Overall the book is a complete work of art , that I will cherish and pass to my children, and hopefully they do the same.
You really accomplished to fulfill something I searched many years to find , the Jim Morrison as a person, a brother, uncle and a in law and after finishing the book and going back reading some of the poetry he wrote it is much much clearer picture Iam getting from his words, I am actually able to understand his work a bit more.
One of the writings that really stood out and I really liked was Ode to L.a. , that was very very rich stuff, just a lyrical craftsman and he asked for your opinion which obviously trusted your thoughts and insight .
I am going to purchase a copy of The lords and New creatures, since the copy that was given was lost in my friends house fire many years ago and read it and write that essay on my thoughts of the writer of the book and the words themselves, I don’t know why but I don’t like leaving unfinished business!!
So to conclude THANK YOU very much for writing this book, and all your efforts in letting the world know JIM (James D Morrison) I believe your efforts have really worked, even though I am not a crazed fan that lives , breathes and eats Jim Morrison, he has been apart of some of the most hidden parts of my life at 13 which other than my brothers and family , you are the only other person who knows that my Mom stuck me in that place till I was 16, and what a effect Jims writings had on me and this journey, my wife doesn’t even know and I have no plans on telling her, some things people wont understand.
And be sure to send my thanks over to your ex wife if you still chat , because her interviews had helped shed a bit of light on Jim as well and her involvement in the Rock Opera which I just sent Steve the money for, so I think thanks to her as well is in order, and even Andy for what ever his role has been over the years in bringing Jim to light.. And if I am ever visiting Coronado I will be sure to ring you, lunch is on me!!!
Your Friend in the North
Robert F Rendall
We walked the Avenue, the ancient route along which the stones were first dragged from the River Avon. For centuries, this was the formal path to the great henge, but now the only hint of its existence was an indentation or two in the tall grass. It was a fine English summer’s day, with thin, fast clouds above, and as we passed through fields dotted with buttercups and daisies, cows and sheep, we could have been hikers anywhere, were it not for the ghostly monument in the near distance.
Stonehenge-A New Understanding: Solving the Mysteries of the Greatest Stone Age Monument
Faint as the Avenue was, Vince Gaffney hustled along as if it were illuminated by runway lights. A short, sprightly archaeologist of 56, from Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England, he knows this landscape as well as anyone alive: has walked it, breathed it, studied it for uncounted hours. He has not lost his sense of wonder. Stopping to fix the monument in his eyeline, and reaching out toward the stones on the horizon, he said, “Look, it becomes cathedralesque.”
Gaffney’s latest research effort, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, is a four-year collaboration between a British team and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria that has produced the first detailed underground survey of the area surrounding Stonehenge, totaling more than four square miles. The results are astonishing. The researchers have found buried evidence of more than 15 previously unknown or poorly understood late Neolithic monuments: henges, barrows, segmented ditches, pits. To Gaffney, these findings suggest a scale of activity around Stonehenge far beyond what was previously suspected. “There was sort of this idea that Stonehenge sat in the middle and around it was effectively an area where people were probably excluded,” Gaffney told me, “a ring of the dead around a special area—to which few people might ever have been admitted….Perhaps there were priests, big men, whatever they were, inside Stonehenge having processions up the Avenue, doing…something extremely mysterious. Of course that sort of analysis depends on not knowing what’s actually in the area around Stonehenge itself. It was terra incognita, really.”
The huge bluestones each weigh between four and eight tons and were brought to the site from North Wales, 170 miles away. (Photo by Henrik Knudsen, with thanks to English Heritage)
The Stonehenge landscape, the new evidence suggests, guided the movement of great crowds. (Photo by Henrik Knudsen, with thanks to English Heritage)
The heelstone aligns with the rising sun on the summer solstice as seen from the stone circle, about 80 yards away. It is one of “an excessive number” of such features in the Stonehenge landscape. (Photo by Henrik Knudsen, with thanks to English Heritage)
The massive stone monument rising from Salisbury Plain must have been an impressive sight to ancient visitors (above, the site at dawn). (Photo by Henrik Knudsen, with thanks to English Heritage)
The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project used ground-penetrating radars (left) and GPS-guided magnetometers (right) to produce what amounts to a 3-D map of a four-square-mile area. (Photo by Henrik Knudsen, with thanks to National Trust, Stonehenge, Wiltshire)
Nighttime only enhances the mystery of Stonehenge (above, a pair of enormous trilithons). Was it a temple? A graveyard? A healing place? (Photo by Henrik Knudsen, with thanks to English Heritage)
Scholars believe the first stones were erected at Stonehenge around 2600 B.C. and that construction continued on the site for a millennia. Nobody has yet put a spade in the ground to verify the new findings, which were painstakingly gathered by geophysicists and others wielding magnetometers and ground-penetrating radars that scan the ground to detect structures and objects several yards below the surface. But Gaffney has no doubt of the work’s value. “This is among the most important landscapes, and probably the most studied landscape, in the world,” he says. “And the area has been absolutely transformed by this survey. Won’t be the same again.”
The joys and frustrations of all archaeological study—perhaps all historical inquiry—come into particularly sharp relief at Stonehenge. Even to the most casual observer, the monument is deeply significant. Those vast stones, standing in concentric rings in the middle of a basin on Salisbury Plain, carefully placed by who-knows-who thousands of years ago, must mean something. But nobody can tell us what. Not exactly. The clues that remain will always prove insufficient to our curiosity. Each archaeological advance yields more questions, and more theories to be tested. Our ignorance shrinks by fractions. What we know is always dwarfed by what we can never know.
Take the big question: Was Stonehenge predominantly a temple, a parliament or a graveyard? Was it a healing ground? We don’t know, for sure. We know that people were buried there, and that the stones are aligned in astronomically important ways. We also understand, because of the chemical composition of animal bones found nearby and the provenance of the stones, that people traveled hundreds of miles to visit Stonehenge. But we cannot say, with certainty, why.
A full map of the project’s findings is to be presented September 9 at the British Science Festival in Birmingham, England. (David Preiss)
Try a simpler question: How did the bluestones, which weigh between four and eight tons apiece, arrive at the site, nearly 5,000 years ago, from 170 miles away in North Wales? Land or sea? Both alternatives explode with possibilities, and nobody has an impregnable theory. Mike Parker Pearson of University College London is working on a new idea that the bluestones might have been lifted onto huge wooden lattices and carried by dozens of men to the site. But it’s just a theory. We can’t know, definitively. We can only have better-informed questions.
The ineffability of Stonehenge has not dulled our appetite. The site has long proved irresistible to diggers. In 1620, the Duke of Buckingham had his men excavate right in the center of the monument. Although they did not know it at the time, they dug on the site of a prehistoric pit. Buckingham’s men found skulls of cattle “and other beasts” and large quantities of “burnt coals or charcoals”—but no treasure, as they had hoped.
In the 19th century, “barrow-digging,” or the excavation of prehistoric monuments and burial hills, was a popular pastime among the landed gentry. In 1839, a naval officer named Captain Beamish dug out an estimated 400 cubic feet of soil from the northeast of the Altar Stone at Stonehenge. As Parker Pearson notes in his book Stonehenge, Beamish’s “big hole was probably the final blow for any prehistoric features…that once lay at Stonehenge’s center.”
Roscoe the kitten would almost certainly not be alive today, were it not for Opie the dog. The pup sniffed out the newborn kitten, injured and covered in maggots, and refused to leave his new buddy’s side until Opie’s dad, James Roode, scooped up the feline and ran him to a veterinarian.
It’s been a year since their paths first crossed, and Roscoe is not only doing well, he’s now the best of friends with his canine savior.
“James and Opie were taking a walk out in the field behind where we live” in Ontario, Canada, says Roode’s partner, Lia Spilka. “They heard a squeak coming from in the bushes. Opie ran toward it, and James followed. That is when James found Opie beside a log, with Roscoe pinned underneath.”
Roscoe cried and whined until “James took his shirt off his back — this was last August — and carried Roscoe inside with his shirt. He tried to clean him up, and then took him to the ER vet in the city. He called me just before he went, and I told him to get whatever we needed in order to keep this kitten alive,” she says.
Despite a grim initial prognosis, the kitten did live. Photos of his thriving, milk-drinking little self went viral after Spilka posted them online about eight months ago. (It’s easy to see why — would you just look at this little one?)
“Both are healthy and happy. Opie is especially enjoying the summer and spends a lot of his time outdoors,” says Spilka. “Despite this, it is evident that he doesn’t like to be away from Roscoe too long. When he gets back inside, one of the first things he does is check on Roscoe.”
Roscoe has “learned some dog-like behaviors from Opie, like running to greet us at the door,” she says. The pair “enjoy each other’s company very much. They like to play with each other just like brothers do. They love to chase each other and bat at one another. If they don’t both decide to play at the same time, one is always instigating the other to play. It is clear they were meant to be brothers.”
The Badass Story Of John J. McGinty III | Special Forces – SOF
If you have an eyepatch and aren’t a pirate, chances are you are a hero of the highest regard. Just no in between. That is John J. McGinty III, a Medal of Honor Recipient and Marine. He was a United States Marine Corps officer who received the United States militaries’ highest decoration — the Medal of Honor — for heroism during July 1966 in the Vietnam War.
Medal of honor citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Acting Platoon Leader, First Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, Third Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam on 18 July 1966. Second Lieutenant (then Staff Sergeant) McGinty’s platoon, which was providing rear security to protect the withdrawal of the battalion from a position which had been under attack for three days, came under heavy small arms,automatic weapons and mortar fire from an estimated enemy regiment. With each successive human wave which assaulted his thirty-two-man platoon during the four- hour battle, Second Lieutenant McGinty rallied his men to beat off the enemy. In one bitter assault, two of the squads became separated from the remainder of the platoon.
With complete disregard for his safety, Second Lieutenant McGinty charged through intense automatic weapons and mortar fire to their position. Finding twenty men wounded and the medical corpsmen killed, he quickly reloaded ammunition magazines and weapons for the wounded men and directed their fire upon the enemy. Although he was painfully wounded as he moved to care for the disabled men, he continued to shout encouragement to his troops and to direct their fire so effectively that the attacking hordes were beaten off. When the enemy tried to out flank his position, he killed five of them at point-blank range with his pistol. When they again seemed on the verge of overrunning the small force, he skillfully adjusted artillery and air strikes within fifty yards of his position.
This destructive fire power routed the enemy, who left an estimated 500 bodies on the battlefield. Second Lieutenant McGinty’s personal heroism, indomitable leadership, selfless devotion to duty, and bold fighting spirit inspired his men to resist the repeated attacks by a fanatical enemy, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Upon Discharging from the Marine Corps Reserve, he enlisted in the Marine Corps as active duty on March 3, 1958.
He completed recruit training with the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. He then went to advanced infantry combat training with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Training Regiment, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was promoted to private first class in September 1957, and was transferred to the 7th Infantry Company, USMCR, Louisville, Kentucky, to serve as a rifleman until March 1958.
Private First Class McGinty completed the Noncommissioned Officers Leadership School, Camp Pendleton, California in May 1958. He was then ordered to Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Station, Kodiak, Alaska until May 1959. While stationed in Alaska, he was promoted to Corporal in September 1958.
Transferred to the 1st Marine Division in June 1959, he saw duty as a rifleman leader, and later, squad leader with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Upon his return to the United States, he served as Guard/Company Police Sergeant, H&S Battalion, FMF, Atlantic, at Norfolk, Virginia, until March 1962.
From there, he was ordered to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, and assigned duty as Drill Instructor, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion. He was promoted to Sergeant in August 1962.
From November 1964 until December 1965, Sgt McGinty saw duty as Assistant Brig Warden, Marine Barracks, U.S. Naval Base, Norfolk, Virginia.
Capt McGinty (left), along with Army Medal of Honor recipients COL Robert L. Howard and CSM Gary L. Littrell at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq on November 11, 2006.
Sergeant McGinty was ordered to the West Coast for transfer to the Far East. Joining the 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam in April 1966, he served successively as a platoon sergeant and platoon commander, Company K, 3rd Battalion, as S-2 Officer and Operation Chief, H&S Company, 3rd Battalion, and as Operations Chief, with Headquarters Company, 4th Marines. It was in 1966, during Operation Hastings, that McGinty distinguished himself in the actions for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Upon his return to the United States in May 1967, he reported to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. He served as a drill instructor until his promotion to second lieutenant on August 8, 1967. The following day, he assumed his assignment as Series Officer, 1st Recruit Battalion, at the Recruit Depot, Parris Island.
On March 12, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson presented the Medal of Honor to 2ndLt McGinty in a ceremony at the White House in which fellow Marine Robert J. Modrzejewski was also honored.
Captain McGinty retired from the Marine Corps in October 1976.
Aliens Could Live Like This! Life Found in Oily Goo
A site at Pitch Lake, the world’s largest asphalt lake located in Trinidad and Tobago, where liquid oil bubbles up to the surface.
Pin It A site at Pitch Lake, the world’s largest asphalt lake located in Trinidad and Tobago, where liquid oil bubbles up to the surface.
Credit: Rainer Meckenstock.
View full size image
Extremely tiny newfound habitats hidden within oil could expand the potential for life in the universe, researchers say.
Scientists have discovered microbes living in microscopic droplets of water inside a giant asphalt lake on Earth, suggesting that alien life could perhaps exist within ponds of sludge on distant landscapes such as Saturn’s largest moon Titan.
Researchers investigated the largest naturally occurring asphalt lake on Earth, Pitch Lake on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. Black goo there oozes across roughly 114 acres (0.46 square kilometers), an area equivalent to nearly 90 football fields. [See Photos of Pitch Lake and ‘Alien Life’ Oil Droplets]
Prior studies had found that microbes could thrive at the boundary where oil and water meet in nature, helping to break down the oil. However, investigators had thought oil was too toxic for life, and that the levels of any water inside the oil were below the threshold for life on Earth.
“Oil was considered to be dead,”said lead study author Rainer Meckenstock, an environmental microbiologist at Helmholtz Zentrum München, in Germany.
Now, scientists find microbes active within Pitch Lake, dwelling inside water droplets as small as 1 microliter, about one-fiftieth the size of an average drop of water.
Sampling on Pitch Lake in Trinidad and Tobago.Pin It Sampling on Pitch Lake in Trinidad and Tobago.
Credit: Rainer Meckenstock.View full size image
“Each of these water droplets basically contains a little mini-ecosystem,”study co-author Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist at Washington State University in Pullman, told Live Science.
These droplets contain a diverse group of microbial species that are breaking the oil down into a variety of organic molecules. The chemistry of the droplets suggests this water does not come from rain, but from ancient seawater, or brine from deep underground.
“The microbes most likely were enclosed in droplets in the deep subsurface and ascended together with the oil,” Meckenstock told Live Science.
These findings suggest microbes could play a greater role in breaking down oil than previously thought, Schulze-Makuch said.
“Even at the highest oil concentrations in, for example, an oil spill or contaminated groundwater, you can expect a vibrant microbial community eating the oil,” Meckenstock said.
However, while microbes could break down oil more than previously suspected, this does not mean oil deposits will suddenly vanish, Meckenstock said. These processes are still “extremely slow and take geological time frames, say millions of years,” Meckenstock said. “We have very little droplets and enormous amounts of oil.”
The discovery of these new microscopic habitats for life may also have implications for Titan, which has hydrocarbon lakes on its surface, Schulze-Makuch said. Water-ammonia mixtures may rise up to Titan’s surface from below, just as the water found in droplet form in Pitch Lake is thought to have. [4 Places Where Alien Life May Lurk in the Solar System]
The researchers plan to investigate “how life in the droplets works and how the ecology of these mini-ecosystems functions,” Meckenstock said.
Understanding how life can survive in water droplets trapped within oil “would give us better ideas how organisms on Titan, if they exist, could adapt to live in those hydrocarbons,” Schulze-Makuch said
By Alan Graham.
We think of cardiovascular disease as the result of our modern couch-potato, fast-food lifestyle, but it ain’t exactly so. A 5,000-year-old mummy discovered on the Italian side of the Öetzal Alps and nicknamed “Öetzi” or “The Iceman,” might have died of a heart attack if someone hadn’t killed him first. Scientists have found that Öetzi was genetically predisposed to heart disease, and at the age of 45, already had hardening of the arteries, So, more than likely, it was rotten teeth that killed Oetzi.
One of the healthiest nations on earth is Switzerland, even though they consume vast amounts of dairy products, a diet that causes high rates of heart ailments in the united states. The reason the Swiss thrive on it is because all of the farm animals are pasture raised which means free of hormones and other killer chemicals.
So, the next time you make a sandwich, think Swiss.
Pearl Courson died July 11 at age 90. Courson was the mother of Pam Courson who was the “Cosmic Mate” and common-law wife of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison.
Pearl Courson was born in Chicago in 1923, she met Columbus ‘Corky’ Courson who was an officer in the Navy during which time they traveled the world before settling in Weed, California and raised daughters Judith and Pamela. Pearl also known as ‘Penny’ had an artistic flair, she was a ‘connoisseur of the arts’ and worked as an interior designer. Her daughter Pam, who later opened the Los Angeles boutique Themis may have inherited her mother’s artistic streak.
Pam Courson met Jim Morrison in Los Angeles while The Doors were still a small band playing dive bars on the Sunset Strip. Though Courson’s and Morrison’s relationship was tumultuous, both had other intimate affairs and experimented freely with drugs. Courson’s and Morrison’s relationship weathered his fame as a rock ‘n’ roll star and they remained together until Morrison’s death in Paris in July 1971. Morrison left his entire estate to Courson, when Pam died in 1974 the estate went to Courson’s parents.
After a brief legal battle with Morrison’s parents over the estate the Courson’s retained the rights to Jim Morrison’s poetry and they worked with The Doors, Jim Morrison’s producer of choice for his poetry album John Haeny, and Frank Lisciandro to produce the 1978 album of Morrison’s poetry “An American Prayer.” In the late 80’s the Courson’s again worked with Lisciandro to release two books of Morrion’s poetry “Wilderness” and “The American Night.”
In later years the Coursons became staunch defenders of their daughter’s memory. One of conditions for the use of Jim Morrison’s poetry in Oliver Stone’s “The Doors” was that the movie project Pamela’s character in a positive manner. In more recent years though they have refused requests to release any more of Morrison’s writing. Those close to them were unsure as to why.
Columbus Courson died in 2008 at age 90. Pearl will buried next to her husband of 64 years. She is survived by her daughter Judith Courson Burton, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held August 16th in Santa Barbara. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Jim Morrison Film Award at UCLA, or the Santa Barbara Hospice which helped Courson in her final years.
Jess Finn has produced two loony UFO projects in the past, one with the enthralling title of “Strange September” and has now sets his sights on a third in the same genre. Unfortunately UFO credentials, such as they are, are useless here because the project is not about aliens.
The title says it all “THE UNAUTHORIZED DOCUMENTARY” and judging by the last two years effort plus the $50.000 raised on Kick Start, those who thought that a finished product would ever be produced will be sadly disappointed.
A glaring example of the level of amateurism in this venture, is the cheesy, photoshopped, photo of Jim (above).
Finn the producer is still trying to make people believe that he is working hard and that the reason it is “not quite finished yet is, “because it keeps expanding”, sure it does, and so does the universe.
So far the footage he shows as a promo is truly awful, and as it promises to tell the “Good side of Jim” all it does is show a bunch of old, crusty, ugly people sharing their memories of Jim before he was famous. Finn takes it all as gospel and instead of portraying the nice side of Jim, it paints an ugly and spiteful portrait instead.
The interview with Andy Morrison is gruesome because he is drunk and bitter in his memories of Jim. This is followed by a buck toothed, foul mouthed, Sea Hag who claims to have been one of Jim’s “true loves” instead of a one night stand groupie blow-job vendor.
There is little chance of anyone who invested in the project ever seeing a return, but this does not stop Finn from keeping the bullshit flowing and promising that they will. His latest claim to fame is that he may write a book about his experiences which is a sure give away that the documentary will ever see the light of day.
So, If you are thinking about throwing your money down the drain with the others…..
I know people who have invested in this production thinking that it was a bona fide project, but they will never see a return or a finished product.
I am currently gathering others who have invested and are interested in filing a class action lawsuit against Finn and his wife for fraud.
Please contact me if you have been a victim of this scam.
With the hottest June on record behind us, and a quadrupling of extreme heat events predicted by the end of this century, humans are facing a heat-adaptation challenge. Sweltering summer days aren’t just oppressive and uncomfortable; they can be lethal, if the body’s core temperature climbs much beyond 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
Scientists studying people working under super-hot conditions — think firefighters, foundry workers and soldiers marching with fully loaded packs — have learned a lot about how the body handles heat. Beyond the basic advice of staying hydrated while avoiding sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol, here are some evidence-based strategies for coping with our overheating world.
Get used to it
“Humans have a tremendous ability to acclimatize to heat stress,” says Michael Sawka, a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, who studies how humans adapt to extreme conditions. “You acclimate to what you’re exposed to.”
But this doesn’t have to mean hours of misery under the broiling sun. Spending just 100 minutes a day outside over four to 10 days is enough, to help your body adjust to functioning in warmer weather, Sawka says.
Be in shape
Being aerobically fit increases your ability to handle heat. “Training induces a lot of the characteristics that you typically see in somebody that is actually heat-acclimated,” said Heather Wright, a research officer in the Flight Research Lab at the National Research Council Canada in Ottawa, who studies the effect of heat and other stresses on the body.
A workout is like a mini-session of heat stress, she said. “With heat acclimation as well as with training, your resting core temperature decreases,” Wright said. “As your temperature increases with exertion, heat and that sort of thing, it takes a longer period of time before your temperature reaches high levels, which are of concern.”
Go for the green
As anyone who’s emerged from an air-conditioned car to set foot on sticky-hot asphalt can attest, “heat islands” are a real thing. Under the blazing sun, roofs and pavement can reach temperatures from 50 to 90 F (10 to 32 C) higher than the air temperature, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a website dedicated to helping communities address heat island effects.
For your own personal heat island escape, head for any patch of green you see, ideally one with some trees for shade. Plants not only block sun; they act like living air conditioners. “When the plant takes moisture up from the soil and exhales it through the leaves, you have evaporative cooling,” explained Stan Cox, a plant breeder at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, and author of “Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World” (2012, The New Press).
Take a rest
Feeling overheated? Not only should you head for the shade or an air-conditioned room, but also you should spend longer there than you think you need to, Wright said. “It does actually take a while for your core temperature to start to decrease,” she said. “Short breaks are usually not going to be enough to make a difference.”
That’s because even after you’re out of the heat, your core temperature will keep inching up before it goes back down. When you’re feeling the effects of heat stress, regular breaks that are at least 15 minutes long are needed to reduce the increases in body temperature and cardiovascular strain, Wright said. Try to get to a cool or shaded area and allow time for your breathing and heart rate to slow to normal.
Leave your sweat on your skin
The human body has evolved to cope with heat by sending more blood to the surface of the skin to dissipate heat, and by sweating. Both of these processes become more efficient in fit people and with heat acclimation. To take full advantage of these built-in systems, don’t wipe off sweat, but allow it to evaporate from your skin and cool you down, Sawka said.
If you need a fast cool-down, plunge your arms into cold water up to the elbows, Sawka said. This trick — used often by firefighters and overheated military personnel — works to pull heat out of your body efficiently because your forearms have a high surface-area-to-volume ratio.
Switch out light bulbs, and unplug
Even a single incandescent bulb can generate a significant amount of heat. Per hour, a regular light bulb gives off 85 British thermal units of heat (one BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat 1 lb. of water by 1 degree F). For comparison, compact fluorescent lights give off 30 BTUs per hour, and light-emitting diodes give off just 3.4 BTUs per hour.
Devices from computers to TVs to smartphones are also potent heat sources, so shut them off and unplug them if they aren’t in use.
Get passive-cooling aggressive
A host of approaches can help you cool down your environment while using little or no energy, Cox said. People can put shades on south-facing windows, open windows at night to let cooler air flow in and close them in the morning before the day heats up, and strategically use open windows and box fans to keep air circulating, he said.
Embrace public spaces
Air conditioning may hog electricity, but it does boost human productivity. Several studies have shown that workers’ energy drags as the temperature climbs. And nothing beats AC for coping with oppressive humidity, Cox said.
Those who need to get some serious work done on a torrid day might search out a public library or coffee shop, where the cool environment will help you crank it out — and leave you more time for summer fun when you’re done.
Robert the Bruce 1274 – 1329
Robert the Bruce, as every school-child knows, was inspired by a spider!
Bruce had paid homage to Edward I of England and it is not known why he changed his allegiance later. Maybe it was ambition or a genuine desire to see Scotland independent.
In 1306 in the Greyfriars Church at Dumfries he murdered his only possible rival for the throne, John Comyn, and was excommunicated for this sacrilege. Nevertheless he was crowned King of Scotland a few months later.
Robert the Bruce was defeated in his first two battles against the English, and became a fugitive, hunted by both Comyn’s friends and the English. Whilst hiding, despondent, in a room he is said to have watched a spider swing from one rafter to another, time after time, in an attempt to anchor it’s web. It failed six times, but at the seventh attempt, succeeded. Bruce took this to be an omen and resolved to struggle on.
His decisive victory over Edward II’s army at Bannockburn in 1314 finally won the freedom he had struggled for. Bruce was King of Scotland from 1306 – 1329.
Robert the Bruce is buried in Dumferline Abbey and a cast taken of his skull can be seen in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
SAN DIEGO – A dog that was left inside a hot car in Chollas View on Wednesday had to be rescued by San Diego police.
The 7-month-old Chihuahua named Valentine is doing fine now, despite the fact that his owner left him inside the car while he shopped at the Northgate Market in the 1400 block of South 43rd Street.
Police tell 10News customers noticed the animal struggling and called 911.
“I saw the dog inside the back seat and when I saw the dog, the dog was shaking aggressively and kept shaking,” said San Diego police Officer Jadarric Davis.
Davis says he tapped on the window while they waited for the owner but when the dog stopped reacting, he took action.
“After about 10 minutes, you know, the dog stopped responding and that’s when I got permission from my sergeant to break the windshield,” he said. “I broke the windshield and grabbed the dog out.”
Animal control officers measured the temperature in the car, which was 108 degrees.
Last week, a pit bull was rescued from a hot car parked in downtown San Diego, which was also more than 100 degrees inside.
Officers will issue the charges through the District Attorney’s Office because of the severity of the heat.
“I mean, I was just in there for like 10 minutes,” said the dog’s owner.
He spoke only to 10News and admitted he made a mistake.
“They took the dog. I don’t know … I think they said I could call later and try to get him back,” he said. “I don’t know what stuff they’re charging me.”
Japanese researchers have found that leaving the civilized world behind for a few hours could be the healthiest thing you do all day.
By Nicole Frehsée
Last July Rebecca Valentine was feeling the way we all have at some point: overworked, dog-tired and a bit panicky. She had just quit her job as a community outreach coordinator to strike out on her own and open a souvenir shop in her hometown of Santa Rosa, California. “I knew I’d made the right move, but I was still freaked out about starting my own business,” she recalls. So when a friend asked her to join him on a guided three-hour walk in a nearby forest, she agreed, thinking she could use the distraction. This wasn’t just any hike in the woods, however—Valentine was taking part in a practice called shinrin-yoku, which translates as “forest bathing,” or luxuriating in the woods. “We really focused on what we were seeing, hearing and smelling,” says Valentine, 51. “It helped keep my mind off work.”
Your average walk in the park may help you relax a little, but shinrin-yoku, developed in Japan in the 1980s, requires participants to deliberately engage with nature using all five senses. Portions of the walks are often done in silence, and cell phone use is discouraged. “I encourage walkers to practice deep breathing and to tune in to what sparks their senses, like the texture of birch bark or the scent of wild flowers or pinecones,” says Mark Ellison, who began teaching shinrin-yoku classes three years ago at Cabarrus College of Health Sciences in Concord, North Carolina.
By combining mindfulness and spending time in nature — two activities that have restorative properties on their own — shinrin-yoku can yield significant health advantages: A study conducted across 24 forests in Japan found that when people strolled in a wooded area, their levels of the stress hormone cortisol plummeted almost 16 percent more than when they walked in an urban environment. And the effects were quickly apparent: Subjects’ blood pressure showed improvement after about 15 minutes of the practice. But one of the biggest benefits may come from breathing in chemicals called phytoncides, emitted by trees and plants. Women who logged two to four hours in a forest on two consecutive days saw a nearly 40 percent surge in the activity of cancer-fighting white blood cells, according to one study. “Phytoncide exposure reduces stress hormones, indirectly increasing the immune system’s ability to kill tumor cells,” says Tokyo-based researcher Qing Li, MD, PhD, who has studied shinrin-yoku. Even if you don’t live near a forest, studies suggest that just looking at green space — say, the trees outside your office window — helps reduce muscle tension and blood pressure.
How do great guitarists bend a string like Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix? One scientist sought to figure out how legendary performers make great music.
“Very good guitarists will manipulate the strings to make the instrument sing,” David Robert Grimes, a physicist at Oxford University, in England, who plays guitar and was a member of a band in Dublin, Ireland, said in a statement.
The physics of string instruments is fairly well understood, but “I wanted to understand what it was about these guitar techniques that allows you to manipulate pitch,” Grimes said. [The Mysterious Physics of 7 Everyday Things]
Grimes, who normally works on mathematical models of oxygen distribution in radiation therapy for cancer, spent his spare time crafting equations for various guitar techniques, including bending (pushing the strings up or down), tapping (hitting the strings), vibrato (moving the wrist back and forth to change a string’s tension) and whammy bar action (a mechanical form of vibrato). His findings are detailed today (July 23) in the journal PLOS ONE.
Grimes came up with the equation for string bends experimentally, by measuring the pitch of notes produced when he bent the strings at different angles. He took one of his oldest guitarsto the engineering lab at Dublin City University, where he held a position previously, and asked a colleague to strip it down for his experiments.
“He was a musician too and looked at me with abject horror,” Grimes said. “But we both knew it needed to be done — we put some nails into my guitar for science.”
Guitar string properties can dramatically affect the pitch of a note, Grimes found. Specifically, the thickness of a string, as well as the amount the string stretches under force (known as the “Young’s Modulus”), played important roles.
In guitar playing, a hammer-on is when the player hits a string with their finger to play a note. A pull-off is the opposite: plucking the string off the fingerboard. Grimes figured out that the difficulty of these techniques depends on the heights of the guitar strings above the fingerboard.
These musical phenomena are fairly straightforward, he said, but they’re still “a cool way of studying some basic physics principles.” These findings could be useful for guitar string manufacturers and people who model digital instruments, he added.
Grimes said he has a few guitar heroes of his own, who have mastered the techniques he studies. Still, “I think the only person I ever wrote fan mail to was Brian May of Queen,” he admitted.
The story of an abandoned dog in Brazil and her devotion to her friends is reminding us this week of the goodness you can bring to the world when you share what you have and share it selflessly.
According to this moving video, Lilica the dog was abandoned at a junkyard in São Carlos. Though she was surrounded by poverty and desolation, she found companionship there. Cats, chickens, other dogs and even humans soon became her friends. It wasn’t much, but it was home.
One day, Lilica gave birth to a litter of puppies. With nothing to feed her babies, she started wandering far and wide in search of food for them. These were risky expeditions that involved traveling for miles and crossing roads and highways at night in the pitch darkness; but eventually her wandering led her to Lucia Helena de Souza’s backyard. Their meeting would change everything.
An avid animal lover, de Souza immediately took to Lilica and started feeding her. Every day, Lilica trekked across town to visit de Souza, and she’d devour the food that the Good Samaritan put in plastic bags for her.
Before long, de Souza noticed that Lilica wasn’t finishing her food. Instead, the dog was walking off with the bags. Lilica’s behavior baffled de Souza, who eventually decided to follow the pooch — all the way to the junkyard.
Incredibly, it turned out that Lilica had been carrying the food back with her so she could share it with the other junkyard animals. She’d been saving meals that she could’ve eaten herself so her friends wouldn’t go hungry.
lilica dog junkyard
By the time this video was made, Lilica and de Souza had been following the same nightly routine for three whole years. Every night, de Souza would wait for Lilica at an empty lot near her house, bearing a bag of food. Lilica would arrive, having walked for several miles, and after eating her share, she’d wait for de Souza to tie up the bag so she could take the rest home to her friends.
“We human beings, we almost never share things with others. Now for an animal to share with others, it’s a … life lesson for us,” Neile Vãnia Antônio, the owner of the junkyard, said of Lilica in the video, per a HuffPost translation.
Lilica has been been making headlines since at least 2012. This particular video, which has gone viral in the past week, was posted on YouTube last year; but it continues to resonate with its beautiful, timeless message.
“Many of us should aspire to be as loving, devoted and loyal as this dog,” wrote one YouTuber Tuesday after watching the clip of Lilica.
“The love of an animal has no boundaries, no conditions and obviously no problem sharing. If only everyone learned from her,” wrote another.
Thanks, Lilica, for teaching us to be better.
“I think the interview is the new art form. I think the self-interview is the essence of creativity. Asking yourself questions and trying to find answers. The writer is just answering a series of unuttered questions.
It’s similar to answering questions on a witness stand. It’s that strange area where you try and pin down something that happened in the past and try honestly to remember what you were trying to do. It’s a crucial mental exercise. An interview will often give you a chance to confront your mind with questions, which to me is what art is all about. An interview also gives you the chance to try and eliminate all of those space fillers… you should try to be explicit, accurate, to the point… no bulshit. The interview form has antecedents in the confession box, debating and cross-examination. Once you say something, you can’t really retract it. It’s too late. It’s a very existential moment.
I’m kind of hooked to the game of art and literature; my heroes are artists and writers.
I always wanted to write, but I always figured it’d be no good unless somehow the hand just took the pen and started moving without me really having anything to do with it. Like automatic writing. But it just never happened.
I wrote a few poems, of course. I think around the fifth or sixth grade I wrote a poem called “The Pony Express.” That was the first I can remember. It was one of those ballad-type poems. I never could get it together though.
“Horse Latitudes” I wrote when I was in high school. I kept a lot of notebooks through high school and college, and then when I left school, for some dumb reason- maybe it was wise- I threw them all away… I wrote in those books night after night. But maybe if I’d never thrown them away, I’d never have written anything original- because they were mainly accumulations of things that I’d read or heard, like quotes from books. I think if I’d never gotten rid of them I’d never been free.
Listen, real poetry doesn’t say anything, it just ticks off the possibilities. Opens all doors. You can walk through any one that suits you.
…And that’s why poetry appeals to me so much- because it’s so eternal. As long as there are people, they can remember words and combinations of words. Nothing else can survive a holocaust but poetry and songs. No one can remember an entire novel. No one can describe a film, a piece of sculpture, a painting, but so long as there are human beings, songs and poetry can continue.
If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it’s to deliver poeple from the limited ways in which they see and feel.”
Los Angeles, 1969-71
In an ongoing series on hybridizing fruit trees, Syracuse University sculptor Sam Van Aken’s Tree of 40 Fruit is true to its name. Most of the year, it looks pretty ordinary, but in the spring, the tree blossoms display various tones of pink, crimson, and white. Then, from July through October, it bears 40 different types of stone fruit, including almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums.
The feat is accomplished by grafting together several different varieties, including native fruit, heirlooms, and antiques, some of which are centuries-old, Aken tells Epicurious.
His main source is an orchard at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, which he leased when he heard the orchard was to be torn down. After developing a timeline of when each of the 250 varieties blossom in relation to each other, he would graft a few onto the root structure of a single tree. When his “working tree” was about two years old, he would add more varieties onto the tree as separate branches — a technique called “chip grafting,” Science Alert explains. A sliver that includes a bud is inserted into an incision in the working tree and then taped in place. After it heals over the winter, the branch becomes just another normal branch on the tree, to be pruned as usual.
So far, 16 of these Trees of 40 Fruit have been grown, each taking about five years. He picked stone fruits because they’ve got a lot of diversity and they’re inter-compatible. And a bit of garlic and peppermint repellents keep deer away.
“By grafting these different varieties onto the tree in a certain order I can essentially sculpt how the tree is to blossom,” he says. “I’ve been told by people that have [a tree] at their home that it provides the perfect amount and perfect variety of fruit.”
Did you know that rosemary has been associated with memory enhancement since ancient times? It is true – and it has even been referred to from the latter part of the Elizabethan Era to the Early Romantic period as the herb of remembrance. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” (Hamlet, iv. 5.) It has also long been used as a symbol for remembrance during weddings, war commemorations and funerals in Europe and Australia. Mourners in old times would wear it as a buttonhole, burn it as incense or throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead.
It seems that this tradition of Rosemary may actually far more ancient and have its origins in the Arabic world of medieval times, which was greatly advanced in science: In Henry Lyte’s 1578 “Niewe Herball“, an English version of Rembert Dodoens’ French treatise, it is written “The Arrabians and their successors Physitions, do say that Rosemarie comforteth the brayne, the memory and the inward senses, and that it restoreth speech, especially the conserve made of the flowers, thereof with Sugar, to be received daily.”
Because of this seemingly esoteric association, rosemary has at times been made into a sort of herbal-amulet, where it was placed beneath pillowcases, or simply smelt as a bouquet, and it was believed that using rosemary in these ways could protect the sleeper from nightmares, as well as increase their memory.
What’s fascinating is that several scientific studies have now found remarkable results for rosemary’s effects on memory:
Rosemary essential oil’s role in aromatherapy as an agent that promotes mental clarity was validated by the study of Moss, Cook, Wesnes, and Duckett (2003) in which the inhalation of rosemary essential oil significantly enhanced the performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors of study participants.
More recently, in 2012 a study on 28 older people (average 75 years old) found statistically significant dose-dependent improvements in cognitive performance with doses of dried rosemary leaf powder.
Another study by Mark Moss and Lorraine Oliver at Northumbria University, Newcastle has identified 1,8-cineole (a compound in rosemary) as an agent potentially responsible for cognitive and mood performance.
Further studies by Mark Moss and team have found memory enhancements of up to an amazing 75% from diffusion of rosemary essential oil.
Now if you are asking “How is it even possible that an aroma can enhance memory?” – well, that’s a great question. Here’s a fascinating quote from one of the scientific papers referenced: “Volatile compounds (e.g. terpenes) may enter the blood stream by way of the nasal or lung mucosa. Terpenes are small organic molecules which can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore may have direct effects in the brain by acting on receptor sites or enzyme systems.”
Terpenes are primary components of essential oils and are often strong smelling, responsible for a diverse array of natural aromas. It’s also been found that 1,8-cineole enters the bloodstream of mammals after inhalation or ingestion.
Joanie the pit bull was discovered carrying an injured little friend — Chachi the Chihuahua — inside her mouth, around a Savannah, Georgia, neighborhood.
Animal control officers found Joanie putting Chachi down from time to time, to lick the Chihuahua’s badly infected eye. Chachi “appreciated the attention,” according the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department’s Facebook post on the pair.
“It’s not every day we get to see such devotion between two special dogs like this,” Animal Control Officer Christina Sutherin is quoted as saying. “They are both such sweet animals. But the relationship they share just sets them apart.”
Shelter veterinarians had to remove Chachi’s bum eye, and so Joanie has been living separately from her companion while he convalesces — though Sutherin tells HuffPost that the two still “get together-time daily.”
“Staff is amazed at the dedication and love these two have for one another,” says Sutherin.
At first, police expected Joanie and Chachi’s owner to come forward; since no one has yet claimed the pair, the new hope is that the pups will be adopted together, into a family with lots of love — but maybe without any other dogs.
“Neither one seems to care about another dog they are exposed to, only each other,” says Sutherin. “They truly appear to be soul mates.”
Fog is a collection of liquid water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth’s surface. The term “fog” is typically distinguished from the more generic term “cloud” in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated locally (such as from a nearby body of water, like a lake or the ocean, or from nearby moist ground or marshes).
Fog is distinguished from mist only by its visibility, as expressed in the resulting decrease in visibility: Fog reduces visibility to less than 1 km (5/8 statute mile), whereas mist reduces visibility to no less than 1 km.
For aviation purposes in the UK, a visibility of less than 5 km but greater than 999 m is considered to be mist if the relative humidity is 70% or greater – below 70% haze is reported.
The foggiest place in the world is the Grand Banks off the island of Newfoundland, the meeting place of the cold Labrador Current from the north and the much warmer Gulf Stream from the south. Some of the foggiest land areas in the world include Argentia, Newfoundland, and Point Reyes, California, each with over 200 foggy days per year. Even in generally warmer southern Europe, thick fog and localized fog is often found in lowlands and valleys, such as the lower part of the Po Valley and the Arno and Tiber valleys in Italy or Ebro Valley in northeastern Spain, as well as on the Swiss plateau, especially in the Seeland area, in late autumn and winter. Other notably foggy areas include Hamilton, New Zealand, coastal Chile (in the south), coastal Namibia, Nord, Greenland, and the Severnaya Zemlya islands.
Police departments across the country have recently been getting a bad rap in the animal community due to an uptick in reports about officers unnecessarily injuring or killing dogs.
Recently hundreds of protestors demanded answers from the Salt Lake City Police Department after an officer killed the dog of resident Sean Kendall while looking for a missing child. The dog, named Geist, was in Kendall’s fenced-in backyard, and when police officers entered the yard to look the child, an officer allegedly opened fire. Kendall’s story is just one that documents the violence and deadly force that some officers have been using against canines.
But when Sgt. Gary Carter of the Texas-based Arlington Police Department responded to an aggressive dog call from concerned residents, he didn’t just whip out his gun and take aim.
In a post on Facebook, the Arlington Police Department said that a few citizens reported they were being followed by a pit bull in their North Arlington neighborhood. But when Carter arrived on the scene, he immediately began interacting with the dog and found that the pooch was extremely friendly. The dog appeared to be lost and thirsty, so Carter decided to help.
UPDATE: Sgt. Gary Carter Adopts Pit Bull After Rescuing Him for Second Time
Carter was able to coax the dog into the patrol car with an energy bar and he took the dog to a local animal shelter. The police department posted the dog’s photo on Facebook in hopes of tracking down the owner. Luckily, the dog, named Jeffrey, had a microchip and was reunited with his owner.
The photos on the Arlington Police Department Facebook page went viral and have over 171,000 likes and nearly 70,000 shares. Sgt. Carter is now recognized as a local hero of animal rescue—an accolade that the officer definitely deserves.
In a news video report from NBC 5, Carter explains that not all police officers are out to harm family pets. The Arlington Police Department recently stepped up training of officers in how to identify and handle aggressive dogs. “Maybe people can realize, first of all, that not all big dogs are dangerous,” Carter told reporters. “And second of all, that not all police officers are out to shoot big dogs, because we’re not.”
We’re thrilled to see that Jeffery was safely returned to his owner and we applaud Sgt. Carter for rescuing this pit bull.
In a world where 350 million people suffer from depression, it’s hard to fathom why the illness could be brushed under the rug. But for public figures in the spotlight, facing the world with composure is often a higher priority than facing what’s going on internally.Icons whose faces have been splashed across magazines, newspapers and blogs often find it difficult to face the condition with the world watching, and for those who deal with it alone, it can be even harder to see a light at the end of the tunnel. However, just because there’s a struggle now doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find success. In fact, as the 12 inspiring public figures below prove, it’s not only possible to keep depression from holding you back, it’s also possible to be triumphant with it.
The famous astronaut who defied odds — and gravity — by landing on the moon alongside Neil Armstrong in 1969 struggled with depression and alcoholism after his inspiring feat. “I can’t recall ever sharing my pain with another male friend or confiding in anyone that I was struggling to hold life together,” he wrote in his book Magnificent Desolation. “At first the alcohol soothed the depression, making it at least somewhat bearable. But the situation progressed into depressive-alcoholic binges in which I would withdraw like a hermit into my apartment.”
After treating his depression and alcoholism, Aldrin went on to serve as the chairman of the National Association of Mental Health.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and current sports analyst faced battles off the field as well. The hall-of-famer has been public about his fight against depression after his diagnosis in the late ’90s. After being prescribed medication, Bradshaw was able to push through with the condition. “Depression is a physical illness,” he told USA Today in 2004. “The beauty of it is that there are medications that work. Look at me. I’m always happy-go-lucky, and people look at me and find it shocking that I could be depressed.”
The Grammy-award winning singer has been battling depression ever since she can remember — but despite her chronic struggle, Crow has managed to face the condition and continue to achieve thanks to antidepressants and therapy, according to Everyday Health.
It’s hard to imagine the bubbly entertainer battling dark thoughts, but early in her career, the comedian whose famous tagline is “be kind to one another” didn’t always receive that same kindness. After her character on her 1997 sitcom “Ellen” came out, DeGeneres received backlash in the public eye that left her mired in depression, W magazine reported. Despite her challenges, she told the magazine that ultimately she was grateful for the experiences that led her to where she is now:
I thought if I could find a way to be famous, people would love me. And then you get all that stuff and I worked really hard to earn all that and it sounds crazy, but I got the biggest, [most] wonderful blessing I could get, which was I lost my show, and I lost my entire career, and I lost everything for three years … But I got to learn how to sit back and watch other people and learn what judgment was and have compassion. And learn that not only was I strong enough to make it in the first place, but I was strong enough to come back and make it again. How lucky am I to have learned that? That took a lot. I wanted to crawl up in a ball and climb in a hole and hide forever; I was embarrassed. That’s why I look at it as a blessing.
He may have a charismatic persona on screen, but the actor struggled with depression that ultimately led to a suicide attempt in 2007. Since then, Wilson has recovered from the incident, and while he hasn’t spoken too much publicly about the experience, he’s still gone on to claim a meaningful career, including starring in recent notable films like “Midnight in Paris” and “The Internship”.
Touted as one of the most influential and inspiring presidents in American history, Lincoln battled depression and anxiety for years as he worked to unite a divided country. But as Joshua Wolf Shenk writes in The Atlantic, despite his struggle with mental illness, Lincoln still served as a great leader:
Throughout its three major stages — which I call fear, engagement and transcendence — Lincoln’s melancholy upends such views. With Lincoln we have a man whose depression spurred him, painfully, to examine the core of his soul; whose hard work to stay alive helped him develop crucial skills and capacities, even as his depression lingered hauntingly; and whose inimitable character took great strength from the piercing insights of depression, the creative responses to it, and a spirit of humble determination forged over decades of deep suffering and earnest longing.
The wildly popular author who dreamed up the magical world of Harry Potter has had millions of adoring fans since the first book hit the shelves in 1997, but her success wasn’t always smooth sailing. Rowling was experiencing clinical depression when she wrote the first book in the series. Crippled with financial troubles, her dark feelings became the inspiration for the novels’ evil dementors, the hooded, faceless creatures that have the ability to suck away humans’ happiness, she told Oprah in 2010.
Rowling sought professional help, but later faced overwhelming emotions of being in the public eye, returning to therapy in order to handle the pressure. “I had to do it again when my life was changing so suddenly — and it really helped,” she told The Guardian in 2012. “I’m a big fan of it, it helped me a lot.”
The Maryland politician made his struggle with depression part of his public story. Duncan, who was a former Maryland gubernatorial candidate and served as Montgomery County executive, told the Washington Post in April that he feels as though he’s “back to the real me” after receiving treatment for the condition.
The former second lady and author revealed in the late ’90s that she suffered from depression but made a full recovery. Gore sought medical treatment in order to deal with her illness, believed to be brought on by an almost-fatal car accident involving her son. “I know how important good mental health care can be because I personally benefited from it,” she wrote in USA Today. “When you get to this point … you just can’t will your way out of that or pray your way out of that or pull yourself up by the bootstraps out of that. You really have to go and get help, and I did. And I was treated for it successfully, I’m happy to report.”
The Academy-award winning actress told Good Housekeeping that she suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her son, Moses, in 2006. “I felt like a zombie,” she said in the interview. “I couldn’t access my heart. I couldn’t access my emotions. I couldn’t connect. It was terrible.” After the urging of her husband, Chris Martin, Paltrow found the help that she needed through therapy and exercise.
Known for his sharp wit in the syndicated columns he penned for The Washington Post, the humorist also dealt with depression and manic depression (now known as bipolar disorder), which landed him in the hospital in 1963 and 1987. He detailed his struggle with the illnesses in a 1996 interview on “Larry King Live,” which generated more public interest than any show King had previously done. He went on to openly talk about his depression in a notable Rosalynn Carter Distinguished Lecture in Mental Health Journalism speech. Buchwald died of unrelated health complications in 2007.
The happy-go-lucky carpenter most famous for her pink tool belt and vivacious personality on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” wasn’t always that way. While filming the show, Hemmis found herself sleep-deprived, but not because she wasn’t getting to bed on time. Her depression was causing extreme insomnia, episodes of binge eating and crying fits, according to People magazine. After seeing a doctor, Hemmis was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. She told the magazine that therapy and openly discussing the illness has helped her. “If I can help someone think it’s not so scary to talk about, it’s worth it,” she said. “It’s a part of who I am, and I am fine with that. I feel better than ever.
By Lindsay Holmes
Whether it was Sunday, Monday, or another day of the week, “Happy Days” had fans falling in love with a middle class American family living in the 1950s. From comebacks to catchphrases and catchy opening jingles, the show had everything, which is why — two decades after the final episode aired — we’re still talking about it.
A lot can happen in 20 years, and since the anniversary of the series’ finale is coming up soon, we thought we’d find out what really happened to some of our favorite characters from the show. Take a look at what the cast of “Happy Days” looks like now.
Earlier this month the “Too Much, Too Soon” campaign made headlines with a letter calling for a change to the start age for formal learning in schools. Here, one of the signatories, Cambridge researcher David Whitebread, from the Faculty of Education, explains why children may need more time to develop before their formal education begins in earnest.
In the interests of children’s academic achievements and their emotional well-being, the UK government should take this evidence seriously
In England children now start formal schooling, and the formal teaching of literacy and numeracy at the age of four. A recent letter signed by around 130 early childhood education experts, including myself, published in the Daily Telegraph (11 Sept 2013) advocated an extension of informal, play-based pre-school provision and a delay to the start of formal ‘schooling’ in England from the current effective start until the age of seven (in line with a number of other European countries who currently have higher levels of academic achievement and child well-being).
This is a brief review of the relevant research evidence which overwhelmingly supports a later start to formal education. This evidence relates to the contribution of playful experiences to children’s development as learners, and the consequences of starting formal learning at the age of four to five years of age
There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. These arise from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies. Anthropological studies of children’s play in extant hunter-gatherer societies, and evolutionary psychology studies of play in the young of other mammalian species, have identified play as an adaptation which evolved in early human social groups. It enabled humans to become powerful learners and problem-solvers. Neuroscientific studies have shown that playful activity leads to synaptic growth, particularly in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for all the uniquely human higher mental functions.
In my own area of experimental and developmental psychology, studies have also consistently demonstrated the superior learning and motivation arising from playful, as opposed to instructional, approaches to learning in children. Pretence play supports children’s early development of symbolic representational skills, including those of literacy, more powerfully than direct instruction. Physical, constructional and social play supports children in developing their skills of intellectual and emotional ‘self-regulation’, skills which have been shown to be crucial in early learning and development. Perhaps most worrying, a number of studies have documented the loss of play opportunities for children over the second half of the 20th century and demonstrated a clear link with increased indicators of stress and mental health problems.
Within educational research, a number of longitudinal studies have demonstrated superior academic, motivational and well-being outcomes for children who had attended child-initiated, play-based pre-school programmes. One particular study of 3,000 children across England, funded by the Department for Education themselves, showed that an extended period of high quality, play-based pre-school education was of particular advantage to children from disadvantaged households.
Studies have compared groups of children in New Zealand who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7. Their results show that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later. In a separate study of reading achievement in 15 year olds across 55 countries, researchers showed that there was no significant association between reading achievement and school entry age.
This body of evidence raises important and serious questions concerning the direction of travel of early childhood education policy currently in England. In the interests of children’s academic achievements and their emotional well-being, the UK government should take this evidence seriously.
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In adulthood, the jellyfish are striking, with a nest of fluorescent tentacles that look like party streamers, but pack a nasty sting. In infancy, well, scientists didn’t know. Aquarists tried, unsuccessfully, to raise the animals in tanks to understand what happens before the jellyfish are fully grown.
“They just aren’t like other jellies,” said Wyatt Patry, senior aquarist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.
Now, Patry and colleagues report they’ve finally raised the jellyfish in captivity. In a new paper, the researchers describe the elusive species’ life cycle, from egg to larva to single-tentacled polyp to juvenile to adult. [See Snapshots from the Life of Flower Hat Jellies]
Scientists at the aquarium first brought a group of flower hat jellies back from Japan in 2002 for an exhibit on jellyfish. At the time, aquarists tried to mate and culture the species (scientifically named Olindias formosus), but they just couldn’t seem to get the jellies to release any sperm or eggs.
Patry said the researchers tried performing in vitro fertilization and exposing the jellies to stresses that might make them release sex cells. The creatures produced some larvae, but they didn’t grow much larger than that stage. Ultimately, it seemed that the scientists were missing some cue the jellyfish needed for reproduction.
When it came time for another jellyfish show in 2012, the team tried again. They kept groups of flower hat jellies in small tanks with mesh netting to keep the creatures off the bottom, where detritus and rotting pieces of half-eaten fish settled. The scientists don’t exactly know what they did right the second time around, but during routine maintenance, they discovered fluorescent jellyfish polyps attached to the wire mesh and glowing under a blue light.
Jellyfish larvae attach themselves to a solid surface and become stalklike polyps, which then bud into juvenile “medusae” — what jellyfish are called when they reach their most recognizable, umbrella-shaped form. Jellyfish polyps persist for an unknown amount of time. The polyps of flower hat jellies were unusual in that they had a single, highly active tentacle.
“They just look like little sea anemones,” Patry told Live Science. “They seem to use the tentacle to sweep around their position to capture food.”
Patry hopes the new information might help scientists and wildlife managers look for the species in the wild — and predict when and where “blooms” of the jellyfish could affect beachgoers.
Flower hat jellies kill and eat entire fish, and their venom is powerful enough to inflict a painful rash on humans. The mark looks like a burn, said Patry. (Take it from him. He said he usually gets stung a couple of times a year.) A 2007 review of jellyfish incidents recorded around the world found one death associated with flower hat jellies, in Japan in the 1970s.
The findings on young flower hat jellies were published in June in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.
Not much is known by Doors fans about Nico, in most biographies about Jim Morrison she appears in licentious escapade with Morrison cavorting naked on a parapet of ‘The Castle’ in L.A. In Oliver Stone’s The Doors she appears as a German accented amalgam of Andy Warhol’s Factory groupies, but if Nico’s and Jim Morrison’s words can be believed their relationship was much deeper. Nico died July 18, 1988.
Nico was born Christa Pafggen October 16, 1938, it’s hard to say how her family reacted to Hitler they moved to the country possible to avoid the Nazi’s but Nico’s father enlisted in the army and later died in a concentration camp. In post-war Berlin the 13 year old Nico went to work as a seamstress but due to her statuesque good looks was soon modeling lingerie, it was around this time she was discovered by photographer Herbert Tobias who gave her the selenium Nico, he also took her to Paris where her modeling career took off.
Her modeling career led to small television appearances which, in turn, led to roles in movies most notably Frederico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. In 1965 Nico’s music career began when she met Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones and she recorded the song I’m Not Sayin’ with a ‘B’ side of The Last Mile which was produced by Jimmy Page. Through Jones Nico met Andy Warhol who soon became enchanted with her and put her in The Velvet Underground, a then struggling rock band he had started to manage. Warhol put together a multimedia show called the Plastic Exploding Inevitable which featured Nico backed by the Velvet Underground. Warhol toured the show to Los Angeles where Nico probably met Jim Morrison for the first time.
Nico and Morrison were introduced at ‘The Castle’ a Los Angeles mansion of the 20’s which was being rented by Arthur Lee and Love and had become a hangout for the Los Angeles/Sunset Strip rock scene. They were introduced by Danny Fields (see video above) who thought they ‘would make a cute couple.’ Both Nico and Morrison had taken LSD and had an immediate attraction to one another, although it was by no means an ordinary meeting, Morrison and Nico, later that night did end up naked and walking on the parapet of ‘the castle.’
Nico’s and Morrison’s story doesn’t end there, Morrison encouraged her writing and soon Nico was calling Morrison her ‘soul brother’ and Morrison seemed to reciprocate this telling people he thought of her as a sister. Morrison eventually did return to Pam Courson, and Nico seems to have become obsessed with Morrison and realizing his preference for red-heads she dyed her hair red, and she did resemble Courson a bit. Though Nico dyed her hair Morrison didn’t pursue the relationship, but such was the obsession of Nico’s that she left her hair colored red even after Morrison’s death.
In the 70’s Nico alternated between a film career and a music career, starring in films directed by Phillipe Garrel. She also recorded the albums The Marble Index, The End, Drama of Exile, and Camera Obscura. As well as opening for bands like Tangerine Dream.
Nico died on July 18, 1988, while riding a bike she suffered a small heart attack while riding a bicycle and fell off injuring her head and causing a cerebral hemorrhage and died later that evening. She was 49.
Excerpted from I Remember Jim Morrison.
Jim loved to show off his Hollywood. One afternoon, we drove into Westwood, home of UCLA, his college stomping grounds. We were once again in the Blue Beast, his cherished Mustang accompanied by Lady Shelby, it’s engine. It had just been repaired after the bad accident in “The Beechwood Caper” and was now ready for the Lizard King and Skull Man.
With the rain pounding on the panther’s roof, we were set for yet another adventure. We drove along with the bad girl in speed-of-light travel.
Geordie Hormel of Hormel Chili fame owned a three-story building painted a dirty jade green. It housed a recording studio on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Butler Avenue. We pulled into its parking lot and sat in our lady sharing our favorite malt liquor and Mr. Daniels too. It started to rain.
Jim pointed to a massive wall. As I looked over to see where he wanted my attention to set, my eyes focused on a 30-foot mural, which was in the process of being painted by some UCLA art students. The fresco depicted part of a collapsed freeway out in the desert with the ocean lapping wildly at its base. One half of the freeway had snapped off and was lying in the water.
We both stared at the mural as it started to rain even harder. We continued sitting in the parking lot listening to the radio and drinking our liquor fuel staring at this futuristic landscape.
It started to get dark as we pulled out of the lot. While we were driving along Wilshire to Westwood, Jim suddenly made a right turn down a narrow alley between a couple of high-rise buildings. We passed through the gates of what looked like a small, well-manicured park. Jim stopped the panther and lowered his voice conspiratorially, “Come on. I wanna show you something.” By now, it was completely dark and I couldn’t see where he was leading me.
Rain was coming down like frozen needles as we walked across an open green. Jim shushed, “Be quiet.”
Out of nowhere, he disappeared into an alcove. I waited there feeling like a fool in the painful rain. Finally, he whispered to me, “Why don’t you come inside?”
“This is starting to get too weird”, I thought, but I stepped toward the direction of his voice anyway.
Jim was leaning against the wall with a lighter in his hand. He didn’t say anything for a minute and just kept staring at me. He flicked the lighter once again slowly lowering it down the wall. My eyes followed the light until it read:
“Marilyn Monroe 1926-1962”
Jesus H. Christ! Marilyn was interred in the wall. This was a mausoleum that the son-of-a-bitch had taken me to. He started laughing crazily as we walked back to the car.
In 1980, I went back there to recreate the event for a pilot I was doing at the UCLA film school. I discovered that this mausoleum was a very famous place. Armand Hammer had his own private crypt. Sweet Natalie Wood was buried there. Richard Conte and a host of other celebrity ghosts were interred here in the Westwood Cemetery. Over the years, many more celebrities have been buried here. It has become so popular that the place became full up. To make room for more resting places, they began using parts of the parking lot. Unfortunately, the once lovely cemetery has turned into a gaudy and tasteless mish-mash of garish, ill- fitting headstones, which looks more like an aircraft graveyard in the desert.
A bar in Coronado, Calif., is at the center of a high-profile civil trial now underway in St. Paul, Minn., involving the state’s former governor, Jesse Ventura, and claims made in a book that he was punched by a Navy SEAL.
Ventura is suing the estate of SEAL Chris Kyle for what he claims are lies in Kyle’s 2012 book, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.”
The lies, Ventura’s defamation suit claims, have tarnished his reputation as a patriotic American and also hurt his earning potential.
lRelated ‘Lion of Fallujah’ from Camp Pendleton reportedly died on CIA mission
‘Lion of Fallujah’ from Camp Pendleton reportedly died on CIA mission
The bar in question is McP’s Irish Pub & Grill, a popular spot for Navy SEALs. A SEAL training base is nearby.
In his book, Kyle says that in 2006 he punched out someone he describes as a “scruff face” fellow at McP’s because he was being disrespectful toward President George W. Bush and the SEALs. At the time, SEALs were gathered for a wake in honor of Michael Monsoor, a SEAL killed in Iraq in 2006 who later was awarded the Medal of Honor.
In television interviews, and then a deposition, Kyle identified “Scruff Face” as Ventura.
@Joe Gates Ventura consistently talks about how he's able to take care of anything anyone throws at him. He's not exactly a tiny fellow either. Remember Gene Hackman, in his 70s, punching out some young guy who jumped him?
AT 1:11 PM JULY 17, 2014
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In a short chapter titled “Punching Out Scruff Face,” the book says: “Being level-headed and calm can last only so long. I laid him out. Tables flew. Stuff happened. Scruff Face ended up on the floor.”
Ventura, now 63, sued Kyle. When Kyle, 38, was killed in February 2013 in an incident at a Texas shooting range, Ventura continued the lawsuit against Kyle’s estate.
Testimony on Tuesday appeared to undermine the assertion of Ventura, who served with a Navy underwater demolition team, that the event never occurred.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, several defense witnesses testified that they saw or heard something occur between Kyle and Ventura.
A former lieutenant commander testified that the next day, “Chris told me, ‘Jesse was running his mouth and I punched him.’ “
The trial is continuing in federal court.
Paul McCartney has had a love for animals from an early age, he’s grown up around them, owned them, and even written songs about them.
In 1964 Paul McCartney bought a racehorse named Drake’s Drum for his father Jim. Drake’s Drum cost Paul £1,200 and Paul gave him to his father for his 62nd birthday. Paul told his father about his present on the night of the A Hard Day’s Nightpremiere, Paul later said about his father, “My father likes a flutter – he is one of the world’s greatest armchair punters.”
Perhaps Drake’s Drum greatest moment came at Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse when he won the Hylton Plate, the race that preceded the famous Grand National. Both Paul and Jim were there that day. After Drake’s Drum’s racing career was over, he retired on Paul’s High Park Farm in Scotland.
This year Aintree Racecourse and the Beatles Story are joining forces to offer The Crabbie’s Grand National fans the opportunity to experience two of the region’s most exciting cultural offerings with a single pass the ‘Ticket to Ride’.
The combination pass is valid for the Beatles Story between March 31st and April 6th and can be used across one of the three Grand National days between April 3rd and April 5th.
Drake’s Drum is a snare drum that Sir Francis Drake took with him when he circumnavigated the world. Shortly before he died he ordered the drum to be taken to Buckland Abbey, where it still is today, and vowed that if England was ever in danger someone was to beat the drum and he would return to defend the country. According to legend it can be heard to beat at times when England is at war or significant national events take place.
The blue bus is callin’ us
The blue bus is callin’ us
Driver, where you taken’ us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
On a blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock C’mon, yeah
Excerpted from: I Remember Jim Morrison.
After Jim died, as you would imagine, at family gatherings, we all told of our individual experiences with him via funny, sad, or poignant stories.
Once I was telling Clara about the time Anne asked him what The Blue Bus meant. He told us of his memory of living on the Navy base Los Alamos in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Navy school bus that picked him up every morning. He dreaded it coming around the corner. “That dirty old blue bus would come around that corner everyday and I hated it.” Clara said, “Those buses were not blue”, but Anne said she also remembered them. Clara thought for a moment and then said, “Yes, they were.”
Jim hated the hot, dusty, bumpy ride to a school off base. By writing a poem/song about it, he gives us a glimpse into the young and silent anguish felt by artistic souls in a dull and lifeless place.
The Doors’ song, “The End”, that references Jim’s childhood memory is an anthem for struggling teens and has been a beacon of refuge and solace for many a youngster trying to navigate their way through life.
There are also many persistent myths which include, The blue bus is a clever double meaning, firstly it is used to mean Santa Monica’s ‘Big Blue Bus’ system which would have been used by members of The Doors. However, the double meaning is that it could also be used to mean the drug oxymorphone.
Likely, he is referring to the hallucinogenic cactus, peyote. Peyote is referred to as “el venado azul” or the blue deer, by the Huicholes, a tribe indigenous to the Northern Mexican desert.
Jim Morrison was known to experiment with the mescaline filled peyote. Maybe he means that the drug is beginning to take it’s effect; thus calling him. The bus my be a more modern interpretation of the blue deer.
CORONADO 9 – I Want to be Hated – 1960
This is episode eight of the thirty-nine episode P.I series, CORONADO 9. The series ran during 1960 and 1961. Rod Cameron headlines as ex-Navy man who now works as a private investigator based in San Diego.
Cameron is taking the ferry from San Diego when he meets a pretty young thing. The woman, Joanne Linville, bats her eyes at Cameron and asks him his name etc. They talk for a few minutes as the ferry reaches the dock. Cameron points out his house just up the road a bit. They will need to meet for a drink or something in the future. Cameron says goodbye and heads home.
Linville just smiles and moves up the ferry rail to the next man. A few words with the fellow, Bill Irwin, and the two drive off. That evening while parked by the water, Irwin attempts a little bit of clutch and grab. Linville is not so inclined, and starts beating him around the head with the heel of her shoe. She then helps herself to Irwin’s wallet before dumping him on the rocks by the water.
Ten minutes later she is pounding on Cameron’s door. She tells Cameron she has been attacked but fought the man off. Cameron reaches for the phone to call the police. Linville is not at all happy with that idea. Cameron calls anyway. It seems that Irwin has already been found and was rushed to the emergency room. He is just barely clinging to life.
The Police soon show to have a word with Miss Linville. It turns out that she has record for bashing men. It seems she is not all right in the brain pan department. Her father had killed her dog when she was a kid, and she has been getting even since. Cameron was lucky he had not taken her up on her offer of drinks etc when they first meet.
Irwin recovers and refuses to press charges. He has a wife and family up north. He does not need a scandal. Linville is released from custody and is soon back at it. She clobbers a guy and takes him and his car on a high speed chase down the highway. Cameron just happens to be handy and joins in the pursuit.
Linville misses a corner and ends up off the road. She runs to the edge of a cliff and prepares to jump to her death. Cameron however talks her down. He arranges to get her the help she needs.
James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree Took great Care of his Mother Though he was only three. James James Said to his Mother, "Mother," he said, said he; "You must never go down to the end of the town, if you don't go down with me." James James Morrison's Mother Put on a golden gown, James James Morrison's Mother Drove to the end of the town. James James Morrison's Mother Said to herself, said she: "I can get right down to the end of the town and be back in time for tea." King John Put up a notice, "LOST or STOLEN or STRAYED! JAMES JAMES MORRISON'S MOTHER SEEMS TO HABE BEEN MISLAID. LAST SEEN WANDERING VAGUELY QUITE OF HER OWN ACCORD, SHE TRIED TO GET DOWN TO THE END OF THE TOWN - FORTY SHILLINGS REWARD! James James Morrison Morrison (Commonly known as Jim) Told his Other relations Not to go blaming him. James James Said to his Mother, "Mother," he said, said he, "You must never go down to the end of the town with- out consulting me." James James Morrison's Mother Hasn't been heard of since. King John Said he was sorry, So did the Queen and Prince. King John (Somebody told me) Said to a man he knew: "If people go down to the end of the town, well, what can anyone do?" (Now then, very softly) J. J. M. M. W. G. du P. Took great C/o his M***** Though he was only 3. J. J. Said to his M***** "M*****," he said, said he: "You-must-never-go-down-to-the-end-of-the-town-if- you-don't-go-down-with ME
It was a greeting fit for a hero.
After the untimely deaths of two firefighters in Boston, members of the Massachusetts Port Authority’s Fire Department stood by at Logan Airport to meet the family of one of their fallen comrades, CBS Boston reported. In a photo from the scene, captured by a bystander, firefighters wait at the airport gate for the arrival of Lt. Edward Walsh’s family.
The striking display illustrates a strong show of support for the family members of the 43-year-old firefighter. JetBlue flew in Walsh’s mother-in-law and several of his relatives Thursday night, WCVB-TV reports.
Walsh was one of two Boston firefighters who perished while battling a blaze in the city Wednesday. After the news broke that Walsh and 33-year-old Michael Kennedy died, there was a flood of support for the families of the fallen, including a memorial fund in the firefighters’ names, according to Fox 25.
“In difficult times like these, I am so proud to be mayor of a city that comes togetherto help our neighbors in need,” Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement. “Since yesterday’s tragic events, we’ve experienced an outpouring of support from across the city, state, and country. So many people have expressed a willingness to help, in some way, as we grieve the loss of Lieutenant Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy.”
Croatian artist, Mladen Mikulin, sculpted a bust effigy of Jim Morrison for his grave in Père Lachaise cemetery. The bust was to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Jim’s death on 3 July 1981. The bust was stolen in 1988.
Film director and screenwriter, Olivier Chateau, has been researching the history of Jim’s grave for several years and is one of the foremost authorities on the subject.
He has graciously provided a very rare document from his collection that sheds some light on the mystery surrounding the stolen bust. Following is the article and photo—as it appeared in the French magazine, Globe*—exposing the two guilty parties. By their own admission.
Many thanks to Olivier for this most welcome contribution.
The bust Jim Morrison, Morrison was removed from his pedestal. Two of his most ardent fans willingly became delinquents for love.
They stole the bust that sat proudly on the grave of the Doors’ singer in Père Lachaise during the night on May 9, 1988**.
They took off with a 280 lb stone on their motorcycle simply because they couldn’t tolerate the burgeoning cult devoted to their idol.
The idea that beautiful Jim would become a cheap Mona Lisa, at the mercy of postcard vendors, was intolerable.
Even worse, the bust effigy became a monument to be photographed in front of, to write one’s name on, and even to take away souvenirs in small pieces (the nose and the mouth have disappeared).In short, sacrilegious behavior in complete contradiction with the beliefs of their master that they deem to be the new Rimbaud.The bust is now safe from any desecration in their apartment.
Jim Morrison is the myth of the moment right now, everyone’s talking about him, for the occasion, Christian Bourgois is reissuing An American Prayer, his label will reissue a CD, Best of The Doors, and Ivan Passer is preparing a movie on the life of their idol. To Nathan using him in their advertising.
I think the interview is the new art form. I think the self-interview is the essence of creativity. Asking yourself questions and trying to find answers. The writer is just answering a series of unuttered questions.
It’s similar to answering questions on a witness stand. It’s that strange area where you try and pin down something that happened in the past and try honestly to remember what you were trying to do. It’s a crucial mental exercise. An interview will often give you a chance to confront your mind with questions, which to me is what art is all about. An interview also gives you the chance to try and eliminate all of those space fillers . . . you should try to be explicit, accurate, to the point . . . no bullshit. The interview form has antecedents in the confession box, debating and cross-examination. Once you say something, you can’t really retract it. It’s too late. It’s a very existential moment.
I’m kind of hooked to the game of art and literature; my heroes are artists and writers.
I always wanted to write, but I always figured it’d be no good unless somehow the hand just took the pen and started moving without me really having anything to do with it. Like automatic writing. But it just never happened.
I wrote a few poems, of course. I think around the fifth or sixth grade I wrote a poem called “The Pony Express.” That was the first I can remember. It was one of those ballad-type poems. I never could get it together though.
“Horse Latitudes” I wrote when I was in high school. I kept a lot of notebooks through high school and college, and then when I left school, for some dumb reason – maybe it was wise – I threw them all away . . . I wrote in those books night after night. But maybe if I’d never thrown them away, I’d never have written anything original – because they were mainly accumulations of things that I’d read or heard, like quotes from books. I think if I’d never gotten rid of them I’d never be free.
Listen, real poetry doesn’t say anything, it just ticks off the possibilities. Opens all doors. You can walk through any one that suits you.
. . . and that’s why poetry appeals to me so much – because it’s so eternal. As long as there are people, they can remember words and combinations of words. Nothing else can survive a holocaust but poetry and songs. No one can remember an entire novel. No one can describe a film, a piece of sculpture, a painting, but so long as there are human beings, songs and poetry can continue.
If my poetry aims to achieve anything, It’s to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel.
James Douglas Morrison
Los Angles, 1969-71