Monday, July 31, 2017
Email from Nick K in respect of last week’s post about ugly buildings:
I hope you're well, mate. Whilst there may be such a thing as objective beauty, your email makes me doubt it.
I like every one of those buildings except for 432 Park Ave. I agree with the criticism that it is jarring and aesthetically meritless. It reminds me of the celebrated architect, Harry Seidler's Blues Point Tower, which I once heard (accurately) described as "an 'up yours' to Sydney and its Harbour".
Thanks for all the interesting bytes.
Thanks for the email, Nick.
It is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a sentiment expressed as early as the third century BC by the Greeks but put into its modern form of expression by Margaret Wolfe Hungerford in her book “Molly Bawn” (1878).
Margaret Wolfe Hungerford
The Bytes post that Nick is referring to can be read by clicking on the following link:
The building which his eye beholds as “aesthetically meritless” (and which I simply called ugly), is:
I have previously mentioned Blues Point Tower in my list of ugly Sydney buildings. The building is an eyesore in one of Sydney’s most beautiful spots:
To read about it, click on:
Does anyone remember the classic Twilight Zone episode called The Eye of the Beholder?
Suspended in time and space for a moment, your introduction to Miss Janet Tyler, who lives in a very private world of darkness, a universe whose dimensions are the size, thickness, length of a swath of bandages that cover her face. In a moment, we'll go back into this room, and also in a moment, we'll look under those bandages, keeping in mind, of course, that we're not to be surprised by what we see, because this isn't just a hospital, and this patient 307 is not just a woman. This happens to be The Twilight Zone, and Miss Janet Tyler, with you, is about to enter it.
The episode tells the story of Janet Tyler, who is in hospital waiting for her bandages to come off after her 11th op to try to make her look “normal”, like everyone else. This is a society where the State mandates conformity and where speaking of anything contrary (as does the doctor who questions why being different is wrong) is considered treasonous. Desperate to look like everyone else, she recalls some of her earliest childhood memories of people looking away, horrified at her appearance. If not successful, she will be segregated with a colony of similar looking people. The bandages come off and her appearance is revealed:
The doctors and nurses are dismayed, the operation has been another failure. Their faces, which have hitherto been in shadow, are revealed:
Now there are questions that come to mind. Where is this place, and when is it? What kind of world where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? You want an answer? The answer is, it doesn't make any difference. Because the old saying happens to be true. Beauty "is" in the eye of the beholder, in this year or a hundred years hence. On this planet or wherever there is human life, perhaps out amongst the stars, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned - in The Twilight Zone.
From Tobye P in respect of last week's Funny Friday:
Hilarious Bytes today Otto-and a great quote!
Thanks, and have a great weekend!
The quote referred to is:
Email from Leo M in respect of the post containing the transcript of the defendant abusing the judge:
We need a follow-up to this. We need to know what happened at the trial. It will probably be better than the funnies.
That original post can be read by clicking on:
Leo, the trial did go ahead, resulting in David Allan Baldwin, aka Barker, 53, being found guilty of attempted murder. It would appear from the report in Brisbane’s Courier Mail that he was retried in 2014 and again found guilty. He was sentenced to 15 years jail.
The report on the attempted murder, appeal and sentencing can be read at:
According to the report, Baldwin’s expletive laden tirade against Justice Daubney, done to seek to secure delay of his trial, was not repeated.
Baldwin had drunk tea and chatted amiably with his former lover moments before he pulled her close, felt her ribs with his fingers and then thrust a double sided knife between them, stabbing her three times through the heart. She survived.
He will have to serve at least 80% of his sentence before being eligible for parole.
From Wayne B in respect of the post on Amazing Statues:
Loved this one - the images are magical
Kate’s arm is healing. Although the bones are not joined, they are aligned and calcium will fill the gap. Off for a possible fibreglass splint, physio etc on Tuesday.
Last Friday’s x ray:
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The Appenine Colossus
Within the Villa Demidoff, 11 kilometres/7 miles north of Fl;orence, is a giant statue known as Colosso dell'Appennino, or the Appennine Colossus. The sculpture is nearly 11 metre/35 feet tall and was made during the Renaissance by 16th century Italian sculptor Giambologna.
The Colossus stands as a symbol of Italy’s rugged Appenine mountains and is not just a statue, it also contains rooms with a fireplace in the head that used to blow smoke out of the nostrils.
The park in which he is located is open on the weekends.
Model showing the rooms inside Colossus
“Love” is a sculpture by Ukrainian sculptor Alexander Milov that was on display at last year’s Burning Man Festival in Nevada. It features two wire-frame adults sitting back to back with their inner children reaching out to each other from within. At night, the inner children lit up as well.
According to Milov:
“It demonstrates a conflict between a man and a woman as well as the outer and inner expression of human nature. Their inner selves are executed in the form of transparent children, who are holding out their hands through the grating. As it’s getting dark (night falls) the children chart to shine. This shining is a symbol of purity and sincerity that brings people together and gives a chance of making up when the dark time arrives.”
Put your own interpretation on it as well. It is what Milov invited people to do.
Force of Nature
Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn watched the destruction brought on by hurricanes in Thailand, the Southern U.S. and around the world, and was inspired to create ‘Force of Nature’. Made from bronze, stainless steel and aluminum, the sculptures depict Mother Nature hurtling planet Earth around in circles. The image is meant remind of the power of nature and what Quinn describes as our “false sense of security” towards it. He states further that “This would be reminiscent of the early statues made as peace offerings to the Gods in the hope of quenching their anger.”
Alternative title: Help! My helium balloon is getting away!
Okay, I hear you say, it looks good but it’s not so amazing. Then how about this ?. . .
It is located in Bonn, Beethoven’s birthplace (1770), and was created in 1986 for a Beethoven festival celebration by abstract sculptor Dusseldorf Professor Klaus Kammerihs. From the side the forms look random and meaningless. From the front they depict an easily recognisable Beethoven. The back also suggests his face but older and sadder.
Back in 2014 a sculpture of a giant figure emerging from a lair underneath the grass appeared in Szechenyi Square in Budapest, Hungary. It was created by Hungarian artist Ervin Herve-Loranth for Art Market Budapest, a four-day international contemporary art fair. The meanings were variously interpreted as the symbolism of freedom, the desire to break free, the curiosity and the dynamics of development.
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Andrew Aitken "Andy" Rooney (1919 – 2011) was an American radio and television writer who was best known for his weekly broadcast "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney," a part of the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011. His final regular appearance on 60 Minutes aired on October 2, 2011. He died one month later, on November 4, 2011, at age 92.
I was thinking about hands, what marvellous pieces of engineering they are, how the fingers move according to what the mind directs, how the fingers moved independently of each other in all directions, the value of the opposable thumb. As with everything in our lives, taken for granted until lost.
Today’s post: Some Miscellany about hands. More in the future.
You know how your fingertips become wrinkled when you are in the bath? They still haven’t worked out exactly how that happens but it is known that it is controlled by nerves. When the nerve which supplies feeling to an area of skin on the palm is cut, that area of skin not only becomes numb, loses its ability to wrinkle when wet. It also loses the ability to sweat.
In 1988, Spy Magazine's Graydon Carter called Donald Trump a "short-fingered vulgarian." To this day, Carter gets envelopes from time to time with photos on which Trump has circled his hand. "See, not so short!" is usually written on the packages in gold Sharpie, according to Carter, who said he recently replied to one saying "Actually, quite short." The issue of hand size has dubbed Trump ever since, although (in the interests of setting the record straight) it has been clearly shown that Trump’s hands are of average size.
Trump’s hand size was revived during the Presidential race when US Senator Marco Rubio had a dig at Trump during a Fox News debate by stating "You know what they say about men with small hands, you can't trust 'em."
Trump felt the need to correct him on that point. "Look at those hands. Are these small hands? And … if they're small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there's no problem."
Marco Rubio and Donald Trump in debate.
It may be the first time that a Presidential candidate felt the need to reassure the electorate about the size of his penis.
Which leads me to the visit to the White House by British Prime Minister Therese May in January this year. The PM was the first leader to meet Trump at the White house after his shock win. She inspired Trump to speak of the “special relationship” that existed between the two countries, a point he emphasised by being photographed holding the PM’s hand as they walked the Colonnade. Still, I suppose it’s lucky that that is all he grabbed.
Protesters wearing masks depicting British Prime Minister Theresa May (left) and United States President Donald Trump holding hands. demonstrating in London, Britain, against the proposed state visit by Trump to the United Kingdom.
In fairness, it should be pointed out that according to government sources, Trump has a fear of slopes and stairs and this has been mooted as the reason he reached out for Theresa May's steadying grasp. The fear is a recognised condition called bathmophobia. It has also been suggested as the reason Trump reached for Melania’s hand at the top of the aircraft stairs When Air Force One landed in Rome in May and when she famously rebuffed him again.
PM May didn’t miss the opportunity to have her own little joke about the issue when she spoke at the Black and White Ball in February this year, saying:
"Thank you very much for that wonderful reception. I don't think I have received such a big hand since I walked down the colonnade at the White House."
Almost 90 per cent of women and 80 per cent of men in the age group 75-79 years have x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis in their hands.
Contrary to popular opinion, humans - homo sapiens - are not the only primates posessing opposable thumbs. Chimanzees and monkeys can oppose the thumb to the index digit. What makes the human hand unique in the animal kingdom is the ability of the small and ring fingers to rotate across the palm to meet the thumb, owing to a unique flexibility of the carpometacarpal joints of these fingers, down in the middle of the palm. This is referred to as "ulnar opposition" and adds unparalleled grip, grasp, and torque capability to the human hand. This feature developed after the time of Lucy, a direct human ancestor, who lived about 3.2 million years ago.
Lucy, a 3.18-million-year-old specimen of Australopithecus afarensis — or “southern ape of Afar” — is among the oldest, most complete skeletons of any adult, erect-walking human ancestor. Since her discovery in the Afar region of Ethiopia in 1974 by Arizona State University anthropologist Donald Johanson and graduate student Tom Gray,