Friday, March 16, 2012

Flower Power - BOUQUETS TO ART

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BOUQUETS TO ART is an annual floral display and exhibition held in the galleries of the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California. Produced in the month of March by the San Francisco Auxiliary of the Fine Arts Museums, this five-day event is a feast for the eyes and attracts large and enthusiastic crowds from near and far.

At the BOUQUETS TO ART extravaganza over 140 of the most innovative and sought after floral designers create unique arrangements that pay tribute to specific art works in the de Young's permanent collection. Each floral interpretation is presented next to the work that inspired it.

Flowers: Tessa's Garden
Art: n/a
Photo © AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES


Flowers: Samantha Williams
Art: George Hitchcock, Tulip Culture, 1889
Photo © AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES


Since its inception in 1984, BOUQUETS TO ART has drawn over 600,000 visitors and raised nearly $5 million in net proceeds to help provide funding for an impressive array of special exhibitions at the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums throughout the years. These renowned exhibitions provide visitors the opportunity to view combinations of masterworks, that are presented on loan from the world's finest museums, such as the Musée d’Orsay, the State Museums of Berlin, the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, and the Musée National Picasso.

AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES sent two of their team members to San Francisco to visit the 2012 BOUQUETS TO ART show at the de Young Museum. They just filed their report and sent in spectacular photographs.

Flowers: n/a
Art: n/a
Photo © AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES


Flowers: Ikebana International
Art: Frederic Edwin Church, Rainy Season in the Tropics, 1866
Photo © AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES


How do you interpret an interpretation? Answer: With flowers.

In its broadest sense art is a visual interpretation of what the artist sees, feels or imagines. Art may be expressed through different media, like painting, sculpture, photography, and in different styles, from realism to extreme abstraction. But regardless of what medium or style is preferred, the making of art as well as the looking at it is subjective, and therefore is a matter of interpretation.

Designers of floral arrangements are artists in their own right. The same principles apply to their craft. However, at the BOUQUETS TO ART challenge, the floral artists must take their cue from an already existing piece.
This is where a magical creative complexity comes in.
With flowers, leaves, grasses, berries, bark and other organic materials the floral designer adds his own interpretation to the original artist's interpretation of a particular theme or subject.

The results of this juxtaposition of floral art and fine art are simply amazing. While some floral arrangements painstakingly mirror the painted canvas in color, shape and detail, others creatively elaborate on the subject and seem to use the original art work as more of a jumping off point. There are some that are humorous. Many make their own distinct commentary rather than seeking to stick too close to the original.
A few had objects and elements added that are not plant based. In some arrangements the flowers had been spray painted. Several compositions incorporated fruits and vegetables, others shells and seedpods. Some of the flowers gave off a delicate fragrance. Designs ranged from bouquets to flowerbeds and flower covered sculptures, from the traditional to the whimsical.
Overall, the combined experience, imagination and skill of the participating florists was used to optimal advantage.
And then there are several outstanding arrangements which, were it not for the short lifespan of their flowers and delicate greenery, would well deserve to be permanent companions of the artwork that they are paired up with.

In the end, it all comes back to interpretation, the viewer's interpretation of the floral designer's interpretation of the artist's interpretation, all one big beautiful tapestry of ideas and impressions, as varied and colorful as the thousands of flowers in this unique bouquet, the BOUQUET TO ART.


Flowers: Belle Flora
Art: Albert Bierstadt, California Spring, 1875
Photo © AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES


Flowers: Flowers for all Reasons
Art: n/a
Photo © AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES


Flowers: n/a
Art: n/a
Photo © AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES


"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers," Claude Monet


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Photographs © AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES. All rights reserved.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Queen of Fado

Here is a beautiful song about Lisbon by Portugal's greatest and most famous singer, Amália Rodrigues.

Born in Lisbon, Amália da Piedade Rebordão Rodrigues (1920 - 1999) was known as the "Rainha do Fado" ("Queen of Fado") and was most influential in popularizing the fado worldwide. She was unquestionably the most important figure in the genre's development, by virtue of an innate interpretive talent carefully nurtured throughout a 40-year recording and stage career. Rodrigues' performances and choice of repertoire pushed Fado's boundaries and helped redefine it and reconfigure it for her and subsequent generations. In effect, Rodrigues wrote the rulebook on what fado could be and on how a female singer — or Fadista — should perform it, to the extent that she remains an unsurpassable model and an unending source of repertoire for all those who came afterwards. Rodrigues also remains the sole truly international star to have ever come out of Portugal, with an extensive international career between the 1950's and the 1970's, although in an era where such efforts were not as easily quantified as today.


-:- Enjoy Amália Rodrigues' inimitable style -:-



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Monday, August 10, 2009

Romanian Poetry via Contemporary Literary Horizon Magazine

Amalgamated Perspectives presents Romanian poet Ana Blandiana

Too few lovers of poetry are familiar with the work of Romanian lyric poet Ana Blandiana. She is one of Romania's most outstanding poets and is considered one of her generation's most significant literary voices. Her poems are both spiritual and patriotic. She writes verse of beauty and elegance. During Romania's communist period she was active as a prominent dissident and became a dedicated voice for freedom and democratic change.


AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES is pleased to present two of Ana Blandiana's poems which first appeared in the new Romanian literary journal CONTEMPORARY LITERARY HORIZON.


Childhood

A feeble being was watching me from the mirror
Its keyboard of ribs clear-cut,
The heart pressing hard against the keys
Trying to show itself in the mirror.

I've never seen her, but I sensed her obscure Presence,
as in a game of blind man's buff,
(Like the heart of the locust tree in the window
Turning the chest of branches into a leaf).

I wondered how she had learned it and if
Its everlasting song was real,
I would fear my drifting into sleep at night
Lest its song should die out in its sleep.



Copilărie

Din oglindă mă privea un trup firav
Cu claviatura coastelor distinctă,
Inima-apăsa pe clape grav
Şi-ncerca să-apară în oglindă.

N-am văzut-o niciodată, dar ştiam,
Ca-ntr-un joc de-a baba-oarba, că-i ascunsă
(Precum inima salcâmului din geam
Coşul pieptului de crengi o face frunză).

Mă-ntrebam de unde l-a-nvăţat şi dacă
E aievea cântu-i uniform,
Şi ca nu cumva în somn să tacă,
Mi-era frică seara să adorm.

~~~~~

Journey

I wander in myself
As if in a foreign town
Where I don't know anyone.
The evening streets fill me with fear
And in rainy afternoons
I'm weary and I shiver.
No wish for an adventure,
When the mere walk on the road
Is a true venture,
No memory of another era
Answering the question
"Why have I been brought here?"


Călătorie

Umblu prin mine
Ca printr-un oraş străin
În care nu cunosc pe nimeni.
Seara mi-e teamă pe străzi
Şi-n după-amieze ploioase
Mi-e frig şi urât.
Nici o dorinţă de-a călători,
Când şi numai trecerea drumului
E aventură,
Nici o amintire din alte vieţi
Întrebării
"De ce-am fost adusă aici?"


[Published in CONTEMPORARY LITERARY HORIZON, June 2009]



- Click to learn about Ana Blandiana -


- We found two more poems by Ana Blandiana
in CROSS-CULTURAL OUTLINE:
click here -


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Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Fitting Memorial

SF Sewage Plant a fitting Bush Legacy



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Proposition R on the San Francisco Ballot is titled:


Renaming the Oceanside Water Treatment Plant


Here are some excerpts from the Proponent's Argument in favor of
Prop R _____________________________________

"Just as France presented the Statue of Liberty as its gift to the nation, the citizens of San Francisco may now bestow their own special gift to the country by renaming our award winning waste water treatment plant in honor of outgoing President George W. Bush ... the world's first presidential sewage plant ..."


and, "Fellow citizens, Mr. Gallagher’s opposing argument does as good a job as any we've heard at highlighting why George W. Bush deserves this unique civic tribute. Since we can't say it better ourselves we'll share this haiku, submitted by one of the many supporters of this effort from San Francisco, around the country and abroad:


Need Bush memor'l?

Sewage plant available

How appropriate


Brian McConnell
Chairman, Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco


[Source: Consolidated General Election - City and County of San Francisco - November 4, 2008 - Voter Information Pamphlet, 38-CP200-EN-N08 and 38-CP201-EN-N08]

[URL: http://www.sfgov.org/elections]


And now: Looking forward


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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

AMY GOODMAN Arrested at RNC

Award winning journalist and host of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman, was arrested by Minneapolis police on Monday, Sept.1, 2008, in the afternoon, while covering an anti-war protest outside the Republican National Convention. Confronted and dragged away by police in riot gear, Goodman was accused of "obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer." Two of her producers were also arrested for "suspicion of felony riot".



Eventually, Goodman and her producers were released without charges being filed against them.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage.
Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 non commercial radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.


Demand DEMOCRACY NOW!
This story has been largely ignored by the mainstream press. The cable channels are providing extensive coverage of events related to the Republican National Convention, but there has been a virtual news blackout on the arrest of Amy Goodman and the Democracy Now! team.

Americans deserve to know that journalists are being apprehended for trying to do their jobs. Shame on CNN President Jonathan Klein and NBC News President Steve Capus (NBC News controls MSNBC) and their ilk for their failure to extend full and uncensored coverage of critical news events such as this!
_________________________________________

Find out about another important event that went under-reported!


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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Shortages and Hunger on the rise

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In the U.S. and in Europe, pastries and pasta may cost a bit more, an increase that is, so far, mostly absorbed by the consumers in these and similarly wealthy nations. But in Pakistan, Egypt and other countries with large segments of the population living near or below the poverty line, soaring wheat prices have caused shortages, resulting in food riots that may spark political unrest.




With black-marketing and illegal hoarding on the rise in the global wheat trade, the world's poorest people go even hungrier, and fall victim to malnutrition and starvation at an ever increasing rate.

The worldwide wheat crisis is caused by many factors, such as drought in Australia, failed harvests elsewhere due to global warming, steadily rising demand in Asia, unscrupulous market speculation, use of grain to feed cattle, and, most recently, the use of food crops to make biofuels.


Will this lead to what some world leaders call
"a silent tsunami of hunger"?


(Video via Link TV - Sources: ABC News, U.S.; Deutche Welle, Germany; Hechos, El Salvador; Teletrece, Chile; BBC, U.K.; Al Jazeera English, Qatar; South Asia Newsline, India; KBS, Korea.)



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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

untitled

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All we got

Take that, America



... is the finger!


Maintain the status quo,

whitewash the fallout from the 2004 elections

and thereby perpetuate the Bush legacy,

- say whaaaat

? ? ?

Looking back

The anointed heir to the Bush regime is waiting in the wings:

John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936), 2008 Republican presidential candidate, ready to further tarnish U.S. history by fuelling the unjustifiable war on Iraq and set to continue bankrupting the nation morally and economically.


Four more years
of Republican rule
in the White House?


No, thank you!



High time for an alternative scenario!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

What it is REALLY like

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"I never wonder to see men wicked,
but I often wonder to see them not ashamed",


Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), poet and prose satirist,
most famous for his novel 'Gulliver's Travels'






Ever since Americans learned that American soldiers and intelligence agents were torturing prisoners, there has been a disturbing question: How high up did the decision go to ignore United States law, international treaties, the Geneva Conventions and basic morality?

The answer, we have learned recently, is that — with President Bush’s clear knowledge and support — some of the very highest officials in the land not only approved the abuse of prisoners, but participated in the detailed planning of harsh interrogations and helped to create a legal structure to shield from justice those who followed the orders.

We have long known ... that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a list of ways to abuse prisoners. But recent accounts by ABC News and The Associated Press said that all of the president’s top national security advisers at the time participated in creating the interrogation policy: Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Rumsfeld; Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser; Colin Powell, the secretary of state; John Ashcroft, the attorney general; and George Tenet, the director of central intelligence.

"This is a monument to executive supremacy and the imperial presidency," said Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School and the Washington College of Law at American University.

Only by fully understanding what Mr. Bush has done over eight years to distort the rule of law and violate civil liberties and human rights can Americans ever hope to repair the damage and ensure it does not happen again.
(via various editorials published by The New York Times on the topic: 'Torture')




[Read about Torture on Wikipedia]


[Related: Fernando Botero and Mark Twain]


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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Showdown



La Nuit de la Vérité

- The Night Of Truth -


An AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES Film Pick

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Director: Fanta Régina Nacro; Language: French, Mooré and Dioula, with English subtitles; Running time: 100 minutes


AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES Foreign Film Pick

In a fictitious country in sub-saharan Africa, the leader of the ruling "Nayak" people and the leader of the opposition "Bonandés" along with their respective retinue of armed soldiers come together to finalize and celebrate a landmark truce between the two warring tribes. ...

... A huge feast and festive ceremony are prepared to commemorate this occasion. But on the night of this event the atmosphere of fear and mistrust is palpable. A decade of atrocities and slaughter between the enemy camps is hard to lay to rest, good intentions notwithstanding.

In the end, this is the story of a flawed hero tormented by his past crimes, and a mother driven to insanity by an unmitigated desire for revenge, a scenario mimicking the classic Shakespearean tragedies.
The denouement will shock and surprise the viewer.


Read about it at Link TV


This is the award-winning feature debut by one of Africa's most talented female directors, Fanta Régina Nacro, who shaped this plot after the real and factual fate of her own uncle.

"I had long struggles with my cinematographer," Nacro says, "to get him not to look for the perfect shot, the perfect light, the beautifully composed image - because that was not what I needed. What I wanted was the reality of things, to capture the immediacy of things even if they weren't beautiful."



[Warning: This film contains extremely violent and macabre scenes]

UPDATE, MARCH 2012: The entire web seems to have been scrubbed clean of video clips from this film. Do we smell the stench of censorship...?



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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Seeing Red at Redroom.com

Where the writers are

Redroom.com is a new venture founded by entrepreneur and management consultant Ivory Madison. It made its debut on Dec. 21, 2007, as an encyclopedic global online community for writers and their readership. Redroom.com is a pragmatic response to the well-established fact that many authors whose primary focus is the printed word are strangers to self-promotion via the Internet.

The Red Room site provides a forum for viral marketing on the www. It is meant to appeal to readers, authors, booksellers and publishers as a kind of one-stop shop for biographical information, book reviews, video and audio content as well as authors' events calendars. Its goal is to showcase esteemed writers by way of creative social networking through original, author-generated content and comments.

The Red Room roster of authors is expanding at an explosive rate. The latest and most prestigious addition to the Red Room community is Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama.


See Barack Obama's Redroom page

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Visit the Red Room corner of Poet Ana Elsner



[Related: "We are the ones"]

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

December Dreaming

Read a Winter poem



For some, December is a time to throw themselves into a shopping frenzy, into a whirlwind of material excess and into consumerist greed and superficiality. Others, however, prefer to savor the long and quiet nights for more inward-directed pursuits.

Many stories and poems celebrate the season around the Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanza with insight and imagination.

Reading by electric- or maybe even candlelight can nourish the soul and uplift the spirit in ways that nothing else can.

In the true spirit of the season we present two poems, one by Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875-29 December 1926), one of the greatest and beloved 20th century poets writing in the German language. The other one is by contemporary poet Ana Elsner.

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Advent

Es treibt der Wind im Winterwalde
Die Flockenherde wie ein Hirt,
Und manche Tanne ahnt, wie balde
Sie fromm und lichterheilig wird,
Und lauscht hinaus. Den weißen Wegen
Streckt sie die Zweige hin - bereit,
Und wehrt dem Wind und wächst entgegen
Der einen Nacht der Herrlichkeit.

-Rainer Maria Rilke


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SNOWFLAKE


a single stray snowflake

gets tangled up in a song

and hitches a ride on the melody

for five beats, maybe six

until it gives itself up to the rainbow

that bridges the gap

of what we feel


© Ana Elsner, 2007
from 'Ciphers Of Uncommon Origin - Poems By Ana Elsner'
used by permission


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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hear This

Featured Poet Ana Elsner


If you live in or visit the San Francisco Bay Area you will have an opportunity to hear the poet Ana Elsner read from her book CIPHERS OF UNCOMMON ORIGIN and from her new manuscript ALL POEMS ACTUAL SIZE. Philip Hakett will also be reading.



The San Francisco Public Library presents

An Evening of Poetry

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007

at the North Beach Branch,
Columbus Ave. at Mason

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For a complete schedule

of Ana Elsner's featured readings

and upcoming public engagements

please go to her

Events page

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[See also: 'P' is for Poetry]

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do Something

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AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES Editor:

"I am marching in memory of Abdel Khaleq Nasser, Iraqi, male, civilian, husband and father, journalist, age 50, killed by mortar shell on 29 September 2007 in Bab Al Bedh, West Mosul. IBC database file #k7537."


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ImageBites -

- Snapshots borrowed from various photographers and taken on October 27, 2007 at nationwide demonstrations to End the War in Iraq.

(Unable to identify each one by name, AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES gives collective credit to all photographers whose work you see here.)

In Philadelphia:

Philadelphia

In Salt Lake City:

Salt Lake

In San Francisco:

San Francisco

In Chicago:

Chicago

In Jonesborough TN:

Jonesborough TN

In Orlando:

Orlando

Everywhere:

Fallen Soldiers of the Iraq War represented by their boots and name tag

Participants by City:

(Note: These are preliminary estimates pending verification. )

Boston 10,000
Chicago 30,000
Jonesborough 400
Los Angeles 18,000
New Orleans 300 (many Katrina survivors)
New York City 45,000
Orlando 3,000
Philadelphia 8,000
Salt Lake City 1,000
San Francisco 30,000
Seattle 7,000



Related article posted on CROSS-CULTURAL OUTLINE

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ship Shape Shoup

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The Ship
The USS SHOUP (DDG 86) is the 36th ship in the Arleigh Burke class of Aegis guided missile destroyers, commissioned in Seattle, WA in June 2002, and supports the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).



The Poster
The ship is named in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Gen. David M. Shoup (1904- 1983), a naval hero of World War II, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in the Pacific in 1943, who later became the 22nd commandant of the Marine Corps. (See his image on the poster.)

She measures 509.5 feet and displaces 9,200 tons.

The SHOUP was built to conduct simultaneous warfare operations in multi-threat environments to include air, surface, and subsurface targets and accommodates two SH-60 (LAMPS 3) helicopters.

She has a crew of 304-380 officers and enlisted, all of whom work and live together in very close quarters.

The ship's motto is
Victoria Per Perserverantiam Venit
"Through Perseverance Comes Victory"


The USS SHOUP has, to this date, never been deployed in active combat operations.

At seaSince her commissioning her deployments have been manifold.

The SHOUP is authorized to conduct 'Visit, Board, Search and Seizure' (VBSS) with the mission "to board and search vessels suspected of transporting drugs and contraband, trafficking in persons, or harboring suspected terrorists." The largest cargo of narcotics was intercepted and confiscated on one of her VBSS deployments.

USS SHOUP is an active participant in Multi-National Search and Rescue operation exercises on simulated vessels in distress. These joint Search and Rescue exercises are one example of how the U.S. Navy continues its efforts to build cooperation and understanding with other navies worldwide using both surface and aviation assets.

As part of Operation Unified Assistance, the USS SHOUP immediately provided tsunami relief off the coast of Sumatra for the victims of the December 26, 2004, earthquake and tsunami that struck 12 nations across the Indian Ocean region.


Saving lives
Navy doctors and corpsmen normally assigned to support their respective squadrons volunteered to fly into remote locations within the Aceh province of Sumatra, Indonesia, and set-up triage sites. They helped the victims that were evacuated from the coastal villages recover from wounds, infections and disease such as pneumonia and malaria.

Often, medical personnel shared cargo space with humanitarian aid shipments aboard the helicopters launched from the deck of the SHOUP, as vital food, fresh water and medicine supplies were ferried to the survivors.
"The military role is to provide its unique capabilities and significant capacity to provide immediate relief and save lives."
- Ralph A. Cossa, President of the Pacific Forum CSIS

The SHOUP is regularly tasked with goodwill diplomatic port visits throughout the year. These port visits are part of a dynamic program that reaches out to the civilian population on a national and international level.


Sundown
USS SHOUP conducts training exercises off the Pacific Northwest coastline that involve the use of their AN/SQS-53C bow-mounted active search and attack sonar.

The SHOUP's sonar 'pings' are extremely powerful, at least 233 dB re: 1µPa repeated every 24 seconds at frequencies of 2.6 and 3.3 kHz, and have been implicated in whale stranding and other damage to marine wildlife.



[See also Taking a Tour of the Ship]


[Read about the long-standing conflict between Marine Mammal Protection

and the role of The Navy]

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Add Me

Spotlight on

C h u m b a w a m b a





Chumbawamba is an English band, formed in 1982, that started out in Yorkshire playing punk rock and went on to play music in a wide range of styles. Over their 25-year career they have gained world-wide notoriety. Their varied repertoire includes songs influenced by dance music and world music, but mainly populist, topical agitprop.
Through the years and through their many transformations they always maintained their signature undercurrent of rebellion and anarchism, comming from the 'Devil's Advocate' point of view.

Chumbawamba's watchword is still: change. Keep moving, keep growing. It's how the band carry on enjoying themselves, and it's how the band carry on asking questions of their audience, themselves and the world at large.

Nowadays their output is "an amalgam of pop, folk, acapella, politics, humour, four-part harmony and five-part anger."


Add Me

I'm a loner alone with neurosis and hate
Anger is a permanent character trait
My letter bombs are primed and they're ready to send
Would you like to add me as a friend?

I'm a wound-up whiner with a fetish for guns
I'm almost fifty and I live with my mom
I hope my nude picture doesn't offend
Would you like to add me as a friend?

Chorus:
Add me, add me,
Me mother says she wish she never had me
Add me, add me,
Would you like to add me as a friend?
Would you like to add me as a friend?

I'm a recovering alcoholic; I rarely leave my room,
Peeping through the curtains in my dark costume,
The voices in my head gonna get me in the end
Would you like to add me as a friend?

I really like to mail you the picture that I drew,
It's Kylie's body, but the head is you
I've asked you fifty times before I'm asking you again
Would you like to add me as a friend?

Chorus

Here's a picture of me in my Nazi uniform
Doing a trick with an egg that I like to perform
At a monster truck rally that my mom and me attend
Would you like to add me as a friend?

I've added Britney, and Paris, and you and Tom,
I'm gonna find your address so I can visit you at home,
I don't like people, but I like to pretend
Would you like to add me as a friend?

Chorus


© 2007 Chumbawamba

ADD ME is their most recently completed song.



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Good soap

Join the movement: petrochemicals are out and eco-friendly products are in

BE BOLD

Throw out the old petroleum based stuff and start using herbal dishwashing liquid with chamomile and marigold made by Ecover. We have switched and so have scores of our friends and friends' friends. Everyone agrees:

It is effective, natural and just plain good.


About

Ecover is an international company producing ecological, phosphate-free cleaning products. Known for their environmentally friendly, sustainable product development, they use only raw materials from vegetable and mineral (non-petroleum based) sources that are renewable, guarantee maximum biodegradability and leave no chemical residue.

(Available at Whole Foods stores nationwide)


Put the power of nature to work for you.
Say 'Good riddance' to petrochemicals.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Desktop Insecurity

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Take a moment to assess exactly how much of your personal information is stored either on your own computer or on someone else's system. Do you use electronic banking, make online credit card purchases, submit your annual income tax forms electronically?

Do you know who your computer is talking to behind your back and why
Along with these conveniences there are serious risks and dangers involved in relying heavily on the computer in your daily life. Among these dangers are viruses erasing your hard-drive, someone breaking into your system and altering files, someone using your computer to attack others, or someone stealing your credit card information and making unauthorized purchases.

At a minimum you should take these three important measures to protect your personal data and prevent attacks.

-1- Scan your computer regularly by running the most updated anti-virus software.

-2- Tweak weak passwords

Password "cracking" is a favorite activity of people who get their kicks breaking into hard drives and computer systems in order to perpetrate identity theft and other harmful pranks on the unsuspecting victim(s). The most effective tool to do it with are "Cracking dictionaries". This software can try not only every English dictionary word, but also names, phrases, slang words, substitutions (e.g., "time2go"), common abbreviations and a surprising number of other obscure sequences and strings. To protect yourself, tweak your weak passwords by using a combination of at least three of the following: UPPERCASE (A-Z), lowercase (a-z), digits (0-9), and special characters (@#$%&*, etc.).

-3- Trash-can suspicious e-mails

E-mail attachments can carry a variety of "malware", such as viruses, trojans, worms and "backdoor" programs, just waiting for you to set it loose by opening the attachment. Malware often comes with the filename extensions .exe, .pif, .scr or .vba (this is not a complete list, though). One of the favorite tricks of virus writers is to hide the virus in an attachment that, when run, produces a clever or entertaining animation on the screen that people like to forward on to all their friends thereby unknowingly spreading the 'disease' like wildfire...

Know the pitfalls of life in cyberspace
Know thy enemy

Viruses - This type of malicious code requires you to actually do something before it infects your computer. This action could be opening an email attachment or going to a particular web page.

Worms - Worms propagate without user intervention. They typically start by exploiting a software vulnerability (a flaw that allows the software's intended security policy to be violated), then once the victim computer has been infected the worm will attempt to find and infect other computers. Similar to viruses, worms can propagate via email, web sites, or network-based software. The automated self-propagation of worms distinguishes them from viruses.

Trojan horses - A Trojan horse program is software that claims to be one thing while in fact doing something different behind the scenes. For example, a program that claims it will speed up your computer may actually be sending confidential information to a remote intruder.

Scary? - It certainly is.


So, don't delay: research, implement and install the most effective counter-measures to protect yourself before it's too late and the damage has been done.



[See also: Preying on the Un-informed]

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L'idée du jour

:
"Doubt is the incentive to truth and inquiry leads the way."

Hosea Ballou (1771-1852), American Universalist and theological writer

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chokehold

A mother's love condemned by a cruel fate
Feasting on
the flesh and organs
of our fellow mammals?


Time to STOP and THINK


Mammals are warm-blooded, have hair (or fur) and possess a neocortex, a brain region that is involved in higher functions such as sensory perception, and is unique to mammals. Only mammals give birth to live young and have mammary glands to suckle their offspring.
Mammals encompass approximately 5,400 species.
This includes humans.
In nature larger mammals prey on smaller ones for survival.
Humans, however, do not depend on red meat, rare, medium or well-done, as a primary food source.


Pools of blood from a carcass in an abattoirSwallow this


A disproportionate demand for meat has been instilled and carefully nurtured in the general population by the livestock and meat packing industry which, like the tobacco industry, is using every marketing ploy and behavior manipulation trick in the book to make us consume their products and by-products in ever greater quantities. In collusion with the powerful fast food industry they exert an inescapable dominance over all other producers of foodstuffs and have us in a literal chokehold, targeting especially children.

Do we really need a regular intake of prime rib, steak, hamburger, pork chops, bacon, leg of lamb, venison etc.?

The answer is a resounding "No!"


In fact, consumption of beef and pork carries with it a bombardment of artery-clogging grease, secondhand steroids and growth hormones (used to fatten the animals prior to slaughtering) and residual antibiotics (used to control the spread of disease in feedlots and pigpens).
These contaminants seriously compromise our health and well-being.

Anyone who has bothered to find out about the brutal efficiency of 'factory farms', slaughterhouses and meat processing plants will think twice before biting into that 'juicy' hamburger patty.

Man's best dish? Help yourself to roast Leg-of-dog
Just for argument's sake
Ask yourself:

Would you raise, fatten up, slaughter, butcher, roast and eat a dog? Of course not.
Turns out that in our society dogs are the 'holy cows' while cows are a strictly utilitarian commodity...


Mammalian Hybrids of the Future

Add genetic experimentation to the food chain equation and you arrive at a nightmarish visualization like the one depicted below. As we are herded down the perilous road of corporate greed spawning mad science the question of 'Who eats What' may soon turn into a

WHO eats WHO


Your neighbor or your dinner?

[See also: Harvesting the corpses of human beings in the name of Science]

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Loaves and Fishes

:
How many Fish in The Sea


From the Amalgamated Perspectives Cook Book a receipe by Chef Leo


As we are turning over a New Leaf,
here is a simple Receipe for a simply delicious
New Loaf.

Contributed by Chef Leo



SALMON LOAF

1/3 c. rounded wheat bran
3 tbsp. heaping flax seed
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. milk
3-7.5 oz. cans of salmon flaked (no bones or skin)
1 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sage
2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. paprika

Combine all ingredients except paprika in order given.
Pack firmly into buttered 8 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 3 inch loaf pan.
Sprinkle top with paprika. Bake in moderate 350 degree oven 40 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.

Serves 6.

...And you get plenty of protein, fiber and Omega-3 in the bargain.


Try it: You'll like it!


(Note: Click on the 'Scroll Down To Read All Comments' line found below this article. This will open up a separate page of this post only. Then you can print out this wonderful recipe and make Chef Leo's Salmon Loaf for yourself.)


[And now for Desert...]

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:: Rate this receipe via COMMENTS. Of course you have to try it out first... ::
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Take a shot

...
Driven to drink

A sure fire way to get blotto

Bottoms up!

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Animating the Animator

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Chris Landreth animates himself in his award winning short RYAN



Chris Landreth pays tribute to the life and legacy of Ryan Larkin in a brilliant visual masterpiece of animation art.



Chris Landreth (born 1961 in Hartford, CT), an American director, animator and writer working in Canada, uses standard CGI animation in his work. But well beyond that, he often puts his signature touch of surrealist styling into his animated shorts. He does so especially successfully in Ryan, a 2004 Oscar winning animated psychological documentary of Ryan Larkin (1943-2007), featuring actual taped interviews as voiceover.

Chris calls his stunning and unembellished visual portraiture 'Psychorealism'.

Ryan Larkin was a renowned animator in the 60s and 70s, who had gotten caught up in a downward spiral of excessive drinking, cocaine abuse, and homelessness which eventually lead to his death in February 2007 at age 64.


When asked how he came up with the idea for Ryan, Landreth said,


"I met Ryan Larkin in the summer of 2000. I hung out with him for one week and thought, "What a life story this guy has". It has all the elements of drama. It's got tragedy, comedy, absurdity, [and] this redemptive element. And there are some other themes as a result of it that are about Ryan, but also about alcoholism, addiction, mental illness and fear of failure."



[Must see: Hollow Man on CROSS-CULTURAL OUTLINE]


[For a different kind of animation: click here]


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Deliciously Dysfunctional Tryst

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If a love story is called for, Angel Eyes delivers romance and drama wrapped up in mystery and suspense.


Two highly dysfunctional people come together
A Film Critique by The Commentator


The 2001 drama/romance Angel Eyes, directed by Mexican-born Luis Mandoki and starring Jennifer Lopez and James Caviezel, exhibits the finer side of main-stream "commercial" movie making by resisting the sell-out of shallowness and predictability . The main characters are well crafted and well developed in the course of the film and reveal depth of emotion and convincing inner conflict. The subtle plot clues are achieved by using points of view and camera angles and nothing is given away until the final denouement.

For a script that relies heavily on an undercurrent of mysterious off-screen events and early psychological trauma as the foundation and validation of the plot, Angel Eyes is exceptionally well laid out and right on target.
The Amalgamated Perspectives 3.5 star Award

About the actress

About Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born to Puerto Rican parents in 1969 in the Bronx, N.Y.), is a Hispanic American actress, singer, songwriter and business entrepreneur.
Lopez's childhood friends nicknamed her "The Supernova," and her first husband, Cuban Ojani Noa, called her "La Guitarra". This first marriage lasted barely a year. In 2001 she married actor and choreographer Cris Judd (divorced in 2003) and is currently married to the popular Salsa and Latin pop star Marc Anthony (2004–present).



[For details about plot and cast go to Angel Eyes]



[Read a review of a film from a completely different genre]



:: Have you seen this movie? Please comment ::

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Follow your Bliss

Seek adventure in Life

"Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music -
the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures,
beautiful souls and interesting people,"

Henry Miller (1891 - 1980), American writer, perhaps best know for his novel Tropic of Cancer, published in 1934

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Following his bliss:

Myron Michael Hardy aka Money the Mystro
29 year-old poet, emcee and hip hop artist

Young poet and rapper

-:- TAKE -:-
A
.......L I S T E N.......


(Instructions: Clicking on the link 'LISTEN 'will start up a music player in a new window. Click on a track. To stop the music, close player window.)


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[See related: The reason for Poetry]

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Lawrence Ferlinghetti at 88

The picture of resiliency
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By The Commentator

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born 1919 in Yonkers, New York), is a prominent and internationally renowned American poet, artist, publisher and recipient of various honors and awards.

After earing a master's degree from Columbia University and studying in Paris at the Sorbonne, Ferlinghetti followed the urging of fellow American poet Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982) to go to San Francisco, one of the strongholds of the burgeoning counter-culture dubbed 'The Beat Generation'. Shortly after his arrival, Ferlinghetti started a bookstore and publishing house in 1953, named after the Charlie Chaplin film, City Lights, and specializing in poetry. Its most famous publication was 'Howl', the controversial and legendary book by Allen Ginsberg.



A Famous Landmark
The "Beats" were a loosely defined group of young and struggling American writers, students, anti-conformists, bohemians, hustlers, and drug addicts who emerged in the late 1950 - early 1960s and spawned such groundbreaking novels as Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road' (1957) and William S. Burroughs's 'Naked Lunch' (1959).
Ironically, these works, formerly labelled as 'progressive and provocative', have now become pseudo-classics, time-stamped, stereotyped and pidgeonholed.

While most of his notorious compatriots have come and gone, Ferlinghetti has weathered the changing times and tides with remarkable resilience. Over the years he smoothly transitioned from pacifist, to anarchist, to teacher, to businessman, to Poet Laureate, to feted celebrity - all in a life's work.

Ferlinghetti is the author of more than thirty books of poetry and eight plays as well as fiction, art criticism, and essays. His poems are simple and speak plainly.


One of his paintings

Settled down in the tranquil and beautiful surroundings of the Marin County seashore and somewhat reclusive, Ferlinghetti, now 88, still continues to paint, exhibit and sell his artwork. He can be spotted at his art show openings as well as at the occasional literary event here and abroad.


"It seemed to me
all you have to do
is conceive of the whole world
and all humanity
as a kind of artwork,"


Lawrence Ferlinghetti,
'Instructions to Painters and Poets'







  • See also: Lawrence Ferlinghetti about the poet Ana Elsner

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    Saturday, September 01, 2007

    Wouldn't you like to know

    This Chinese ink and brush character represents long life



    ...when
    your number is up.

    Could it be in 10 years, 30 years or next year?

    Consulting a psychic is hardly a reliable way to find out.
    Instead, here is a statistics-based way of predicting your longevity and of making you aware of the factors that enter into the equation.

    And, most importantly, you will find out about the kind of behavior modification options you have, to extend your stay on our beautiful planet,
    should you so desire.

    On your mark, get set, live longer!


    (Your adjusted age count appears in the upper right framed box on each progressive page.)



    [On a somber note: An undesirable circumstance]

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    On Wellness

    :
    AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES quotes Words of Wisdom from a Cancer Survivor



    "The concept of total wellness recognizes that our every thought, word, and behavior affects our greater health and well-being.

    And we, in turn, are affected not only emotionally
    but also physically and spiritually."


    Greg Anderson, Author and 'Cancer Conqueror': long-term lung cancer survivor



    [Related: Doctors' Dilema]

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