Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last Survivor of the Titanic Dies at 97

From the NY Times:

"LONDON (AP) -- Millvina Dean, who as a baby was wrapped in a sack and lowered into a lifeboat in the frigid North Atlantic, died Sunday, having been the last survivor of 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic.

She was 97 years old, and she died where she had lived -- in Southampton, England, the city her family had tried to leave behind when it took the ship's ill-fated maiden voyage, bound for America.

She died in her sleep early Sunday, her friend Gunter Babler told the Associated Press. It was the 98th anniversary of the launch of the ship that was billed as ''practically unsinkable.''"

Read the entire article by clicking on the article title

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Woman Hypnotized to Believe She Had Weight-Loss Surgery Loses 55 Pounds - Nutrition | Physical -

Woman Hypnotized to Believe She Had Weight-Loss Surgery Loses 55 Pounds - Nutrition | Physical -

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Decoding antiquity: Eight scripts that still can't be read

"WRITING is one of the greatest inventions in human history. Perhaps the greatest, since it made history possible. Without writing, there could be no accumulation of knowledge, no historical record, no science - and of course no books, newspapers or internet.

The first true writing we know of is Sumerian cuneiform - consisting mainly of wedge-shaped impressions on clay tablets - which was used more than 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Soon afterwards writing appeared in Egypt, and much later in Europe, China and Central America. Civilisations have invented hundreds of different writing systems. Some, such as the one you are reading now, have remained in use, but most have fallen into disuse.

These dead scripts tantalise us. We can see that they are writing, but what do they say?"

Read the full article here

Sunday, May 24, 2009

10 Most Fascinating Castles and Palaces

Well, let's make that 12, shall we?

From the Potala Palace in Tibet... Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps, these are 10 fabulous entries.

I'd like to offer two others though as well.

One is the glorious Fonthill Castle, nearby to me in Doylestown, PA. Built by Historian and archaeologist Henry Mercer almost 100 years ago, it's a true work of art.

Her Nibs unwittingly used for purposes of scale

Even more stunning, and surprising in being left off of this list, is the magnificent palace of His Nibs.

See the other eight by clicking on the title to this blog entry.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Author Neil Gaiman still writes his novels with a fountain pen

From the interview in the Guardian about his use of technology:

"Do you consider yourself to be a luddite or a nerd?
A nerdy luddite. Or luddy nerdite. I am writing this to you on a plane on an Android G1 with cupcake, and I write my novels in fountain pen."

Yesterday's cars

A step back in automotive time (primarily the 50's and 60's), courtesy of Bill's Retro World.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Bob Dylan sets record to become oldest musician to have No 1 album

The following is from the London Times Online (click the title to read the entire article). My ticket arrived today for his visit here in Allentown on July 17th. This will be the fourth time he's visited me here in the Lehigh Valley since we moved here in 2000.

"Bob Dylan rewrote the record books yesterday to become the oldest musician to have a No 1 album, nearly 40 years after he last topped the charts.

The veteran singer-songwriter claimed his seventh British No 1 with Together Through Life, narrowly edging out the claim of his fellow sexagenarian Neil Diamond to be the oldest artist to scale to the summit of the chart.

Dylan, 67, last reached the top of the charts in 1970, when he had two No 1 albums, Self Portrait and New Morning. His last two attempts, Love and Theft and Modern Times, reached No 3 in 2001 and 2006 respectively.

A year ago Diamond, at 67 years and four months, became the oldest person to top the album charts with a new release, when Home After Dark, became his second British No 1. Dylan, who will turn 68 on May 24, now holds the distinction.

Together Through Life beat last week’s No 1, Lady Gaga’s The Fame, into third position, and also outsold second-placed Music for the People, the Enemy’s second album.

It is 45 years since Dylan first topped the charts, with the album that made his name, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Pete Paphides, the Times critic, described Dylan’s new record, which is virtually guaranteed to top the US charts, as “his warmest, most unforced, set of songs in recent memory”.

Dylan has performed about a hundred shows each year since 1988, in what has come to be known as the Never Ending Tour. His ability to draw the crowds was reflected in the release of his 33rd studio album being accompanied by a series of sell-out British dates.

Mike Smith, managing director of Columbia, Dylan’s record label, said: “What’s really delightful is going round and seeing him perform live around the country and seeing so many teenagers at the shows.

“A lot of people talk about the Arctic Monkeys effect, where you see fathers and their kids at the gigs, but with Bob you get grandfathers, fathers and their sons.

“He is the greatest artist of the 20th century. His words and his artistry speak to people in a timeless way. The stuff he made in the 1960s still seems absolutely current. There are very few artists who can extend their appeal over such a long period. Unlike his contemporaries, Dylan is still out making music that is still very strong.”

Although apparently less politicised these days than he appeared to many in his early releases, the singer held forth recently on the prospects of Barack Obama.

Despite saying last year that Mr Obama was “redefining the nature of politics”, Dylan said last month that he had no idea whether Mr Obama would make a good president.

“Most of those guys come into office with the best of intentions and leave as beaten men,” he added. “You know, it’s like they all fly too close to the Sun and get burnt.”

Dylan has sold more than 100 million records but has never had a No 1 single in Britain. His highest-charting song is Like a Rolling Stone, which made it to No 4 in 1965."

Saturday, May 02, 2009

New Yorker cartoon video

A relatively funny New Yorker cartoon video

New Yorker cartoon

One of my customers had her first cartoon published in The New Yorker this month. She uses a Hero '329' fountain pen for her cartoons, and shared her success with me while ordering another.

Click on the New Yorker link above to see some other terrific cartoons from this month's issue.