Wednesday, June 30, 2010
A scientist by training, Hayek did not design the Swatch watch – the original was the work of a team of Swiss engineers – but he marketed it with the innate genius of a showman-entrepreneur. He came up with a concept that combined disposability, affordability and reliability, resulting in a funky, no-frills watch for every occasion.
Today Swatch launches some 300 designs every year, of which about half are phased out after six months, making them highly collectable and something of a cult item; there is a Swatch collectors' club and dealers trade in rare editions.
I had many of the more funky watches, which I wore with pride. The funkier the better.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Even at the the far edge of the mud and ash that came from the Pompeii volcano's explosion, the heat was sufficient to instantly kill everyone, even those inside their homes.
And that is how the people at Pompeii, whose remains were found trapped and partly preserved within ghostly body-shaped tombs within that pyroclastic flow, died. They did not suffocate. They did not get blown apart by force. They did not die of gas poisoning. They simply cooked. Instantly.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
More of the story here.
Looks very similar to the German strategy against Australia in the World Cup
Friday, June 25, 2010
Interesting angle on his life.
Goossens spent nine years in Australia, from 1947 to 1956. He conducted the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and other groups, and was the director of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music. He held these positions concurrently until March 1956, when he was forced to resign after a major public scandal, only a year after being knighted.
In the early 1950s, Goossens met Rosaleen Norton, the so-called "Witch of Kings Cross". Norton was known as an artist of the grotesque and for her interest in the occult and erotica, which Goossens secretly shared. They conducted an intense affair, exchanging a number of passionate letters; although Goossens asked Norton to destroy all of them, she kept a bundle hidden behind a sofa.
In early 1956, Goossens visited Europe, unaware that Sydney police were already in possession of his letters to Norton and photographs of her occult activities, which had been stolen from her flat by Sydney Sun reporter Joe Morris, who had infiltrated her supposed "coven". When Goossens returned to Australia on 9 March 1956, he was detained at Sydney Airport, following a tip-off by informants in London; his bags were searched by Customs officials, who found a large amount of what was then considered pornographic material, which included photographs, prints, books, a spool of film, some rubber masks, and sticks of incense.
Although he was not immediately arrested or charged, Goossens naively agreed to attend a police interview a few days later, where he was confronted with photographs of Norton's "ceremonies" and his letters. Faced with the evidence of his affair with Norton — which left him open to the serious charge of "scandalous conduct" — Goossens was forced to plead guilty to the pornography charges. He paid a fine of ₤100; more significantly, the scandal ruined his reputation and forced him to resign from his positions. He returned to England in disgrace.
The scandal was the basis of a novel, Pagan (1990), by Inez Baranay; it also inspired a play, The Devil is a Woman, by Louis Nowra and an opera, Eugene & Roie, by Drew Crawford. The scandal is documented in the film The Fall of the House, directed by Geoff Burton. 
Alex Tipple took the stunning shots of swimmers and surfers emerging underwater engulfed in clouds of whitewater while being frequently rocked by the waves himself. The 29-year-old captures the split second moments off the Australian coast and regularly gets beaten in the head by his 5kg, specially adapted camera for his troubles
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
In a book written in 1984, The 2024 Report: a future history of the next 40 years, he wrote: "Eventually books, files, television programmes, computer information and telecommunications will merge. We'll have this portable object which is a television screen with first a typewriter, later a voice activator attached. Afterwards it will be miniaturised so that your personal access instrument can be carried in your buttonhole, but there will be these cheap terminals around everywhere, more widely than telephones of 1984."
He went on: "The terminals will be used to access databases anywhere in the globe, and will become the brainworker's mobile place of work. Brainworkers, which will increasingly mean all workers, will be able to live in Tahiti if they want to and telecommute daily to the New York or Tokyo or Hamburg office through which they work. In the satellite age costs of transmission will not depend mainly on distance. And knowledge once digitalised can be replicated for use anywhere almost instantly." Macrae also accurately foresaw the privatisation of the Thatcher era, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the increasing social acceptance of euthanasia.
I hadn't even used a portable computer at that time.
Friday, June 18, 2010
The six grandchildren on Elizabeth's side of the family. Three have birthdays on consecutive days in November. Elizabeth's sister and brother and law are in the picture with their four kids along with Elizabeth and our two. Muggins took the shot.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Winter skies are great for the range of colours and the grey clouds and bright sunshine. Although not very clear there are is a company of parrots in the trees.
More great skies at the Skywatch Friday Site
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
A couple of classics from Henri Mancini to celebrate 3,000 posts on this blog. Henry died this week in 94
Thanks to everyone for showing an interest in some of my random interests. Like Henry, who composed most of these classics in less than half an hour, I tend to just post randomly and without too much thinking.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This photo by Nina Leen [“Housewife Marjorie McWeeney amid symbolic display of her week’s housework” in “Woman’s Dilemma,” Life, June 16, 1947, p. 105] depicts part of the housewife-y stuff of attention in the course of her 100-long-week. The remarkable part of the photo is that all of this was displayed in a window display at Bloomingdales.
Part of Ms. McWeeney’s average work week included “35 beds to be made, 750 items of glass & china, 400 pieces of silverware to wash, 174 lbs. of food to prepare, some of 250 pieces of laundry.on a line, & a ringer washing machine”–that plus paying attention to her children during the 70+ hours a week in which they are awake.
In the listing of Ms. McWeeney's routine ("Her Work") I see no evidence of Mr. McWeeney's contribution to the daily chores. We see that he spends 15 minutes eating his breakfast before leaving for work at 8; returns home at 12 or a one-hour lunch before bolting at 1; and then returns at 6 for cocktails at 7:15 and then an hour long dinner at 8. Perhaps he was helping bathe the kids before cocktails, perhaps not. I can't find evidence for Mrs. McWeeney's present telephone number, so perhaps we'll never know. But my sneaking suspicion is that Ms. McWeeney ran the house and kids solo, as was the general custom of the day, basically.
After my posts about the “dreich” weather and my mentioning of “keich”, I thought I’d write about two other Scots words which were part of my childhood and which I still use although no-one else in the family does.
Boorach - boo – rach (ch as in loch)
Rather than getting my brain cells working I (ab)use the Caledonian Mercury and append an extract from their article on “Boorach”
“Boorach means mess, a state of great untidiness or confusion – like guddle but more so.
A good example of a boorach is the kitchen of an enthusiastic but disorganised cook who leaves the kitchen sink and cooker hob piled high with every single pan and utensil in the place and the worktops a sea of half-spilt packets and bottles and dirty plates.
A boorach can also be applied to a scheme, often one involving several people, that might have started out as well-intentioned but got horribly complicated and ended up in an almighty muddle. Several official schemes turn out to be boorachs.
Someone who is doing something in a very incompetent way can be said to be making a boorach of the task. For example, a novice knitter trying to knit a sweater might be said to be making a boorach of it, as might an inefficient person trying to device (sic) a complex timetable.”
Ropach - raw – pach (ch as in loch)
Unfortunately I can’t find anyone who has written about ropach and so I need to engage my brain .… slowly.
Ropach means untidy but is very different from boorach. Let me confuse you by using an example from boorach above.
“For example, a novice knitter trying to knit a sweater might be said to be making a boorach of it.”But the sweater which has been knitted poorly might be said to be ropach.
A more likely use would be if I were in a rush and I put on a shirt and tie badly. If I hadn’t tucked the shirt in properly so that some bits were in and others out of my trousers, one might say that my shirt was ropach – meaning I have dressed untidily or even that I was looking ropach.
There you have it, your Scots lesson for the day and I’m delighted to know that you will introduce “boorach” and “ropach” into your vocabulary.
All we need now is a guddle and a fankle
And yes it is a little dreich oot
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Sydney Opera House hosts concert for dogs I wonder if Captain Budgie Smugglers went along #dogwhistling
The programme did not go as far as listing The Barker of Seville or The Marriage of Fido, but for the hundreds of dogs who gathered at the Sydney Opera House, it was still an unusually cultured day out.
While some of the pieces were beyond the range of human ears, they sent the concert's four-legged patrons into a frenzy.
Nobody likes either Rudd or Abbott. Both men have an approval ratings in the low 40s and disapproval ratings that simply scream "keep this man away from the reins of power!". To paraphrase that gem of 21st century cinema, Alien vs Predator, this is increasingly looking like an election where whoever wins, we lose.