Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday Trivia


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In 1964 Mattel released a doll that was promoted as being Barbie’s sister. Her name was Skipper Roberts and she was younger than Barbie, designed to counteract criticism of Barbie’s measurements and sex symbol image. Over the years the appearance of Skipper changed, becoming taller and older. In 1975 Mattel released Growing Up Skipper, who grew in height and who grew breasts when her arm was rotated.


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The total of the numbers on a roulette wheel add up to 666. Because that is the Number of the Beast, roulette is sometimes called the Devil’s Game or the Devil’s Wheel.


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Financial woes as a result of the Great Depression created problems for Brazil in sending its athletes to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. The delegation of 82 athletes traveled in a ship, the Itaquic√™, selling coffee along the way to fund the trip. 

Since the San Pedro authorities charged one dollar for each person who disembarked in the port of Los Angeles, the organisers only let out of the ship the athletes they felt had a chance to win medals plus swimmer Marai Lenk, the first South American woman to compete in the Olympics.


Afterwards, the Itaquicê went to San Francisco to sell more coffee, and there the water polo, rowing and athletics competitors were financed and authorised to leave, but 15 athletes still remained on the ship and did not compete.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday Miscellany: Some Odds, Ends and Personals




Q: Why is there a covered grandfather clock in an art gallery?
A: Because it is not a grandfather clock covered by a sheet. It is a wood carving titled “Ghost Clock” by Wendell Castle, made from a single block of laminated mahogany. How amazing is it: look carefully at the string, the folds, the impressions from underneath, the stitching at the edges of the sheet.




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Likewise this box of money is also a single carving:


Artist Randall Rosenthal (1947 - ) carried out both the carving and painting.

"Half the time is spent on carving and half is spent on painting, they’re the exact opposite processes. I start with a block of wood and it’s totally reductive in that I take away wood until I get what I want. The carving is a high-wire act because there’s no room for error and I don’t plan it out, the painting is the opposite. You can paint on the paint forever, until you get what you like.”



Randall also carves piles of newspapers, baseball cards, binders, books and other collected items, as pictured below.

(As I have commented previously with photorealist art, when the work is indistinguishable from reality, what are you left with after the initial viewing? We are amazed by the skill of the artist and sculptor, but is it anything more than a box of cash that has been created cleverly?  Is it simply an exercise for the artist to demonstrate skill?)








Here’s how the does it:













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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Voices for the Voiceless, Part 1


Think “advertising” and more than likely it will be negative: people being manipulated into buying things they don’t need or want; TV programs being interrupted; environmental pollution. 

Not all advertising is like that.

The following ads are intended to speak on behalf of animals that are unable to speak for themselves . . .

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BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) is a non-profit, non-partisan, and non-confessional federal grassroots non-government organisation with more than 480,000 members and supporters. Founded in 1975, it is dedicated to conservation and environmental protection.

A new campaign for Bund uses the slogan “Every 60 seconds a species dies out. Each minute counts. Each donation helps.”

The following images go with that message:




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The “Animals are not Clowns” advertising is a combined campaign from two Portuguese animal rights organisations. The ads are part of a campaign against the use of animals in circuses and it uses the following message on the posters:

“Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls for the crack of the whip against the animal’s stinging wounds. A big round of applause for the flaming hoops, the injuries and the electric shocks. Come and see the famed number of cages and tightly binding chains allowing no escape from endless training sessions. Laugh, applaud and join in with the repetitive choreographed routines typical of depressed animals under great stress. All the fun of the circus travelling from city to city exhibiting animals as human caricatures. Clowning around that’s no fun at all.Animal circuses, don’t be part of the show.”




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Like the Bund conservation ads, the World Wildlife Fund’s campaign for conservation “Horrifying v More Horrifying” focuses on disappearing species:




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The Society for the Protection of Animals campaigns against the use of animals in testing cosmetics:



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Zurich Zoo’s new elephant enclosure was opened in June 2014 at a cost of $64m, all paid for by private donors. The animals are able to move around more freely in conditions closer to those found in the wild, there is less contact between keepers and the elephants, with humans staying out of the enclosure.

Advertising seeking funding featured cramped conditions:


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The Save The Rhino Trust Namibia has been actively engaged in the conservation of the Black Rhino and the rare Desert Elephant since its founding in 1982. Its mission is to assist the Ministry for Environment and Tourism and surrounding communities to promote the protection and sustainable management of the black rhino, elephant, other fauna and their environment in North-western Namibia to ensure that the biodiversity of this unique, arid terrain is conserved. 



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According to the WWF, every year 60 million animals are slaughtered for their skin, a oint driving home by their sewing patterns campaign:




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An ad shows a little girl who looks like a tiger cub about to be shot by a poacher. It is part of a hard hitting WWF campaign that asks us to consider how we would feel, what we would do, if the little girl about to killed was ours.






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