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Friday, August 14, 2009

Man Ray, Photographer

adski_kafeteri: Man Ray, Tamiris c. 1929

Man Ray, Tamiris c. 1929
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Happy Birthday Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Smith, aka "Bricktop," Patron of the Stars

née: Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Smith
Saloon keeper/vocals
b. Alderson, W. VA, USA.
d. Feb. 1, 1984, New York (Manhattan), NY, USA.

Her red hair and cigars were her signature. She numbered Cole Porter, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald among her friends. Her proteges included Josephine Baker, Mabel Mercer and Duke Ellington. While still a child, she once told her mother, "I want to be in the back room of a saloon." And, when Ada grew old enough, she went north to New York city and Harlem. There, she would sing and dance at such fabled clubs as 'Baron Wilkins Club' and 'Connie's Inn'. Composer Cole Porter once walked into the cabaret and ordered a bottle of wine. "Little girl, can you do the Charleston?" he asked. "Yes", she said. After she demonstrated the new dance, Cole exclaimed, "What legs! What legs!" Porter hired her on the spot to give Charleston lessons to his guests. He took her to Venice, Italy, where she sang and danced at private parties on his barge.

By 1926, she had opened 'Chez Bricktop' on Paris' famed Rue Pigalle, a club that would become the talk of Paris and the world. In 1939, as the Germans marched down the Champs Elysee, "Bricktop" left her beloved Paris. In 1944, with the help of American heiress Doris Duke, she opened a cafe in Mexico City which closed a few years later. In 1949, she opened another on the Via Veneto in Rome. In 1961, she closed Bricktop's for good, and retired to New York city where she died peacefully in her sleep, at age 89.
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Hail and Farewell Lester Young

Lester Young’s Centennial « Jazziz Magazine

Jazziz writes:

Lester Young’s Centennial

Were Lester Young still alive today, he would be a couple weeks short of his 100th birthday. As it is, the trailblazing tenorman died just over 50 years ago, in March 1959. Still, the very fact that the saxophonist would’ve turned 100 on August 27 was reason enough for the Concord Music Group to spotlight Young in the latest installment of its Centennial Celebration Series.

[A personal note: I am an indefatigable and obsessive saxophonist, who first took up the instrument at age 9 in 1959--just as Lester Young was checking out. This fact is meaningless, but of interest to me, as I love Lester above all other saxophonists. Hail and farewell, genius: we still hear you, and are trying to catch up. --TRH]
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Batista in Arlington, 1938

Our Man in Havana: 1938 | Shorpy Photo Archive

November 11, 1938. "No doubt armies were discussed when this picture was made today. Maj. General Malin Craig, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, and Col. Fulgencio Batista, Cuba's Dictator, as they chatted informally at Arlington while waiting for the arrival of President Roosevelt for the Armistice Day ceremonies there." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.
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Chinese Advance Work on "Hidden" Electromagnetic Portal

'Hidden Portal' Concept Described: First Tunable Electromagnetic Gateway
While the researchers can't promise delivery to a parallel universe or a school for wizards, books like Pullman's Dark Materials and JK Rowling's Harry Potter are steps closer to reality now that researchers in China have created the first tunable electromagnetic gateway.

The work is a further advance in the study of metamaterials, published in New Journal of Physics (co-owned by the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society).

In the research paper, the researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Fudan University in Shanghai describe the concept of a "a gateway that can block electromagnetic waves but that allows the passage of other entities" like a "'hidden portal' as mentioned in fictions."

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What World Is This: Dylan Has To Serve Somebody

You're Bob Dylan? NJ police want to see some ID - Yahoo! News

By WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press Writer Wayne Parry, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 34 mins ago

Rock legend Bob Dylan was treated like a complete unknown by police in a New Jersey shore community when a resident called to report someone wandering around the neighborhood.

Dylan was in Long Branch, about a two-hour drive south of New York City, on July 23 as part of a tour with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp that was to play at a baseball stadium in nearby Lakewood.

A 24-year-old police officer apparently was unaware of who Dylan is and asked him for identification, Long Branch business administrator Howard Woolley said Friday.

"I don't think she was familiar with his entire body of work," Woolley said.

The incident began at 5 p.m. when a resident said a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.

The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:

"What is your name, sir?" the officer asked.

"Bob Dylan," Dylan said.

"OK, what are you doing here?" the officer asked.

"I'm on tour," the singer replied.

A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.

The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Blowin' in the Wind" said that he didn't have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night's show.
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Family Values Redux

Family Dollar Package Store. --T.R. Hummer

Family values Mississippi style.

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Photo-Crashing Squirrel is Now Officially the Emperor of Our Solar System

Top 10 Crasher Squirrels [Pics]

[If you haven't already encountered the squirrel in his original context, you will soon; then this will make sense.]

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Oldest Primary School Student, 90, Dies in Kenya

Al Jazeera English - Africa - World's oldest pupil dies at 90

Kimani Nganga Maruge, the world's oldest student, has died in Kenya at the age of 90 from stomach cancer, an official at a pensioners' home where he was living said.

Donatila Ekuyi from Cheshire Home for the Aged, announced his death on Friday, saying: "He has been sick and his condition had deteriorated lately."

Maruge made history at the age of 84 when he earned an entry in the Guinness book of records as the oldest man ever to start primary school.

As a veteran of Kenya's 1950's anti-colonial Mau Mau revolt, Maruge once said that he was inspired to start learning when he suspected a preacher was misinterpreting the Bible.
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New Tourism Campaign: Georgia is Focused

Georgia Is Focused. Y'all Come.

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Income Inequality Never Higher

Income Inequality Is At An All-Time High: STUDY
Income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high, surpassing even levels seen during the Great Depression, according to a recently updated paper by University of California, Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez. The paper, which covers data through 2007, points to a staggering, unprecedented disparity in American incomes. On his blog, Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the numbers "truly amazing."

Though income inequality has been growing for some time, the paper paints a stark, disturbing portrait of wealth distribution in America. Saez calculates that in 2007 the top .01 percent of American earners took home 6 percent of total U.S. wages, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2000.

As of 2007, the top decile of American earners, Saez writes, pulled in 49.7 percent of total wages, a level that's "higher than any other year since 1917 and even surpasses 1928, the peak of stock market bubble in the 'roaring" 1920s.'"

Beginning in the economic expansion of the early 1990s, Saez argues, the economy began to favor the top tiers American earners, but much of the country missed was left behind. "The top 1 percent incomes captured half of the overall economic growth over the period 1993-2007," Saes writes.

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Jazz Photography by Jimmy Katz

Riffing in Black and White - ArtsBeat Blog -

Ornette Coleman: Photo by Jimmy Katz

Daniel J. Wakin writes:

A jazz musician takes musical matter and, without much detailed planning or many written notes, spins out lines into uncharted space. The great ones surprise us as their solos unwind, but their sound is always identifiable. Jimmy Katz, the photographer who generally works with his wife Dena Katz, compares their picture-taking to that kind of music-making. They struggle, he says, to capture spontaneity and maintain a consistent look.
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"This Opposition Cannot Be Appeased": Krugman Lays it Out in Four Sentences

Op-Ed Columnist - Republican Death Trip -
President Obama is now facing the same kind of opposition that President Bill Clinton had to deal with: an enraged right that denies the legitimacy of his presidency, that eagerly seizes on every wild rumor manufactured by the right-wing media complex.

This opposition cannot be appeased. Some pundits claim that Mr. Obama has polarized the country by following too liberal an agenda. But the truth is that the attacks on the president have no relationship to anything he is actually doing or proposing.
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Polls Show Conservative Town Hall Strategy Not Working

Daily Kos: State of the Nation
Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 8/10-13/2009. All adults. MoE 2% (8/3-6/2009 results):
PRESIDENT OBAMA 60 (60) 36 (37) +1

PELOSI: 36 (35) 56 (57) +2
REID: 34 (33) 55 (56) +2
McCONNELL: 16 (17) 66 (66) -1
BOEHNER: 11 (12) 66 (65) -2

CONGRESSIONAL DEMS: 43 (42) 51 (52) +2
CONGRESSIONAL GOPS: 10 (10) 76 (75) -1

DEMOCRATIC PARTY: 45 (44) 48 (49) +2
REPUBLICAN PARTY: 17 (18) 74 (73) -2

Full crosstabs here. This poll is updated every Friday morning, and you can see trendline graphs here.

As stated before, it is usually tough to offer conclusions based on weekly movements of one or two points. It becomes a little bit easier, however, when all of the representatives from one party move in one direction, while all of the representatives of the other party move in the opposite direction.

Given that the dominant story in the public conversation over the past week has been the health care townhall meetings, it is not completely unreasonable to suggest that the protest tactic employed by the opponents of reform (and at least tacitly cheered on by Congressional Republicans) has not had the desired effect of cratering Democratic numbers and resurrecting Republican ones.

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Poland Reburys 2000 WWII Victims Found in Mass Grave

BBC NEWS | Europe | Mass Polish reburial of war dead
The remains of more than 2,000 people discovered in Poland's largest mass grave from World War II have been reburied in a military cemetery.

Polish and German officials presided over the ceremony at a cemetery for German soldiers in north-west Poland, near the border between the countries.

The victims are believed to be German civilians who died in the last months of the conflict, in early 1945.

The mass grave was discovered in the Polish city of Malbork last October.

Because no-one was prepared to pay for expensive DNA testing, the historians' best guess is that the victims were German civilians caught up in the Red Army's assault on the city.

At the time Malbork was Marienberg, a German city.

The first skeletons were unearthed by workmen digging the foundations of a new hotel near the city's medieval castle.

In the end, more than 2,000 skeletons were discovered, two-thirds of them belonging to women and children.
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Steal This Music: Morrissey Rebels Against EMI

Morrissey: Don't Buy My Music | Techdirt
Techdirt writes:

from the no-royalties dept

We keep hearing from the big record labels and the RIAA how they're doing everything they do "for the artists." Yet, everywhere we turn, we see artists who are anything but happy by what's being done to for them. The latest, sent in by Bryan Colley, is that the singer Morrissey is going on fan sites, warning fans not to buy the new box sets of his music that EMI is putting out, noting that not only did he have nothing whatsoever to do with them, he won't see a penny in royalties from them. But it's all for the artists, right? These days, when artists are finally learning to connect with fans directly, those fans want to know that when they choose to spend money on an artist, that money actually goes to the artist.
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New Law in Afghanistan Diminishes the Rights of Women

Afghanistan passes 'barbaric' law diminishing women's rights | World news |

Afghanistan has quietly passed a law permitting Shia men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands' sexual demands, despite international outrage over an earlier version of the legislation which President Hamid Karzai had promised to review.

The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work.

"It also effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying 'blood money' to a girl who was injured when he raped her," the US charity Human Rights Watch said.

In early April, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown joined an international chorus of condemnation when the Guardian revealed that the earlier version of the law legalised rape within marriage, according to the UN.

Although Karzai appeared to back down, activists say the revised version of the law still contains repressive measures and contradicts the Afghan constitution and international treaties signed by the country.

Islamic law experts and human rights activists say that although the language of the original law has been changed, many of the provisions that alarmed women's rights groups remain, including this one: "Tamkeen is the readiness of the wife to submit to her husband's reasonable sexual enjoyment, and her prohibition from going out of the house, except in extreme circumstances, without her husband's permission. If any of the above provisions are not followed by the wife she is considered disobedient."
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Malawian Women Mistreated by Female Nurses and Midwives

AfricaNews - Survey: Malawian women fear child bearing - The AfricaNews articles of FRAZER POTANI
Some Malawian women have stated that child bearing is no longer joyful for them following harsh treatments from fellow female nurses during labour. They have requested for the services of male attendants during birth.

“They do insult us and sometimes beat us up. We opt to be attended by a male nurse or midwife because they treat us kindly, with respect and dignity,” Asiyatu Ibrahim, 46, a mother of five from Che Mbaluku in Mangochi said.

She stated that she was overwhelmed by a male nurse’s empathy during her fifth child's delivery. "My experience was totally different from previous deliveries whereby I was treated harshly,” she said adding, “In fact during my third pregnancy I was even slapped on the face by a nurse for failing to follow her instructions due to severe pain.”

Malawi’s Principal Secretary for Health Chris Kang’ombe attributed the poor nurse-patient relation to pressure as a result of staff shortage in public hospitals.
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Isak Dinesen: A Great Writer's Reputation Fades in the US

In the Theater of Isak Dinesen

Joanna Scott writes:

Known in this country by her pseudonym, Isak Dinesen, the Danish writer Karen Blixen published her first collection of stories in 1934, at the age of 49. Though she'd returned to her family home in Denmark after spending seventeen years in British East Africa, Dinesen wrote her stories in English and secured her first contract with an American publisher. The book, Seven Gothic Tales, established Dinesen as a literary giant, a reputation that would be sustained throughout her life. Eudora Welty said Dinesen's fiction embodies "the last outreach of magic." Carson McCullers reported that she would reread Dinesen's memoir Out of Africa for comfort. When he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954, Ernest Hemingway said with uncharacteristic humility that it might have gone to "that beautiful writer Karen Blixen."

But Dinesen's claim on American readers has been waning. The majority of critical books and articles on her work were published before 1990. In 1985, three years after the publication of Judith Thurman's biography Isak Dinesen, Hollywood jumped on board, recasting the time Dinesen spent in British East Africa managing a coffee plantation with her husband as a love story starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. The film, Out of Africa, might have generated a resurgence of interest in Dinesen's work, but instead it appears to have inaugurated a new period of critical indifference.

Dinesen, who died in 1962, was always an elusive target for readers, even at the height of her renown. As her fame spread, she responded by cloaking herself in an eccentric and mysterious persona. In his introduction to the Paris Review interview with Dinesen, published in 1956, Eugene Walter lists some of the legends about her: "She is really a man; he is really a woman...she is a nun; he is very hospitable and receives young writers; she is difficult to see and lives a recluse." He doesn't note the secret hidden behind the persona: Dinesen suffered for many years from ravaging syphilis, which she contracted from her husband. But if her public identity was a calculated performance, it matched the design of her tales. When Walter asked her in the interview if she objected to readers who found her tales artificial, she responded, "Of course they are artificial. They were meant to be, for such is the essence of the tale-telling art."

These days, when the merit of fiction tends to be measured by the currency of its subjects, a confessional element in the work helps establish credibility. Reviewers try to square the antics of a writer's life with the antics in the fiction. Even satirical verbal play is too often read and admired as autobiographical expression. And thanks to the democratic exposures of the web, it's easier than ever to document private experiences and divulge the most intimate secrets. Confession doesn't leave much room for imagination except to demand its allegiance to the personal, which may leave readers less inclined to find value in the extravagant lies of fiction. It's understandable, then, but no less disappointing, that the tales of Isak Dinesen--filled with children who dream too much, fat old nobles who are devoted to revenge, nuns who are good at weaving, servants who are good at cooking--would be easy to overlook.
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O Arizona: Sheriff Joe "Raids" and Commandeers County Computer System

Sheriff's Office explains why it took over county computers
A Maricopa County Sheriff's official said Thursday that his office's takeover of a county computer system
was prompted by repeated requests by the state to protect sensitive criminal-justice data.

Chief Deputy David Hendershott said the state Department of Public Safety was concerned that civilians could have inappropriate access to criminal-history records in the system.

The Sheriff's Office took control of the Integrated Criminal Justice Information System from county employees on Wednesday. The system links the county's criminal-justice agencies to state and national databases that hold criminal records, court dates, probation and personal information, and other records.

"We felt intrusion (into the system) was imminent," Hendershott said.

At a Superior Court hearing Thursday, the Board of Supervisors and county administrators tried to get a temporary restraining order against the Sheriff's Office and get the system back under their control. That hearing continues at 2:15 p.m. today.

The Sheriff's Office and the Board of Supervisors have been debating control of the system for months. In April, the Sheriff's Office filed a lawsuit in Superior Court over the system's management.

On Wednesday morning, 10 deputies and a sheriff's computer expert took control of some county computer equipment and changed a password. County officials characterized the action as a "raid."

But Kerry Martin, an attorney representing the Sheriff's Office, said deputies "did not go in and seize any equipment, no court records and no e-mails." Instead, they changed the password so sensitive criminal-justice information could be accessed only by law-enforcement officers with special clearance.

County officials say the Sheriff's Office overstepped its boundaries, especially given the lawsuit.

"There's just no justification imaginable for the . . . use of force that was put out, or the intimidation," said Wade Swanson, an attorney for the supervisors.
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Photography: Washington D.C., 1942

The "Pleasantville" Effect | Shorpy Photo Archive

Shorpy writes:

A splash of color added to Ester Bubley's 1943 photograph of a Washington, D. C. working girl as enjoyed on Shorpy. What were her dreams and aspirations? Was she married or hoping to be married soon? Was her husband or boy friend in the military? What happened to her life after the war? Too many questions, too few answers.
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