Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lego City

In Real Life
Pop Culture



Monday, September 27, 2010

Kafka Short Stories Online

A Hunger Artist
A Report to an Academy
The Neighbour (transl. Annika Eder)
The Neighbour (transl. Tanya Ellerbrock)
The Metamorphosis
Selected shorter writings, transl. by Ian Johnston (Before the Law, The Hunter Gracchus, Up in the Gallery, An Imperial Message, Jackals and Arabs)
A Hunger Artist (transl. by Ian Johnston)
In the Penal Colony (transl. by Ian Johnston)
A Country Doctor (transl. Ian Johnston)
A Report for an Academy (transl. Ian Johnston)
The Metamorphosis (transl. Ian Johnston)
The Great Wall of China (transl. Ian Johnston)
My Destination (transl. Alex Flores)
On the Gallery (transl. Maja Sinn)
Unhappiness (transl. Claudia Furrer)
Five short texts from Kafka's youth

Virtual VCR museum

Source - Virtual Museum.

Variety - VHS, 30, dies of loneliness - Nov. 4 2006
The home-entertainment format lived a fruitful life

After a long illness, the groundbreaking home-entertainment format VHS has died of natural causes in the United States. The format was 30 years old.

No services are planned.

The format had been expected to survive until January, but high-def formats and next-generation vidgame consoles hastened its final decline.

"It's pretty much over," concurred Buena Vista Home Entertainment general manager North America Lori MacPherson on Tuesday.

VHS is survived by a child, DVD, and by Tivo, VOD and DirecTV. It was preceded in death by Betamax, Divx, mini-discs and laserdiscs.

Although it had been ailing, the format's death became official in this, the video biz's all-important fourth quarter. Retailers decided to pull the plug, saying there was no longer shelf space.

As a tribute to the late, great VHS, Toys 'R' Us will continue to carry a few titles like "Barney," and some dollar video chains will still handle cassettes for those who cannot deal with the death of the format.

Born Vertical Helical Scan to parent JVC of Japan, the tape had a difficult childhood as it was forced to compete with Sony's Betamax format.

After its youthful Betamax battles, the longer-playing VHS tapes eventually became the format of choice for millions of consumers. VHS enjoyed a lucrative career, transforming the way people watched movies and changing the economics of the film biz. VHS hit its peak with "The Lion King," which sold more than 30 million vidcassettes Stateside.

The format flourished until DVDs launched in 1997. After a fruitful career, VHS tapes started to retire from center stage in 2003 when DVDs became more popular for the first time.

Since their retirement, VHS tapes have made occasional appearances in children's entertainment and as a format for collectors seeking titles not released on DVD. VHS continued to make as much as $300 million a year until this year, when studios stopped manufacturing the tapes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Floria Sigismondi


H. R. Geiger

Disney Backgrounds


Chapter 11 from Richard Dawkins, ``The Selfish Gene'' (1976)

The text where Dawkins coined the term `meme':  Source.

Replicator from TV series Star Gate

The Human Comedy - By Honore de Balzac


La Comedie Humaine (The Human Comedy) is a collection of about 100 linked stories and novels by the French realist writer Honore de Balzac. The stories are placed in a variety of settings, with characters reappearing in multiple stories.

The Human Comedy has been translated into English in its entirety, and has now been placed on-line by volunteers at Project Gutenberg. The English translations referenced here were made by various writers, including Clara Bell, Ernest Dowson, Ellen Marriage, R. S. Scott, James Waring, and Katharine Prescott Wormeley.

For more information on the work, see the Introduction and Appendixes, provided by Project Gutenberg.

The Human Comedy consists of these tales, arranged as follows (titles given in both French and English; alternate English titles are set off by slashes):


La Maison du Chat-qui Pelote (At the Sign of the Cat and Racket)
Le Bal de Sceaux (The Ball at Sceaux)
La Bourse (The Purse)
La Vendetta (The Vendetta)
Mme. Firmiani (Madame Firmiani)
Une Double Famille (A Second Home)
La Paix du Menage (Domestic Peace)
La Fausse Maitresse (The Imaginary Mistress / Paz)
Etude de femme (A Study of Woman)
Autre etude de femme (Another Study of Woman)
La Grande Breteche
Albert Savarus
Memoires de deux Jeunes Mariees (Letters of Two Brides)
Une Fille d'Eve (A Daughter of Eve)
La Femme de Trente Ans (A Woman of Thirty)
La Femme abandonnee (The Deserted Woman)
La Grenadiere
Le Message (The Message)
Le Contrat de Mariage (A Marriage Settlement / A Marriage Contract)
Un Debut dans la vie (A Start in Life)
Modeste Mignon
Le Colonel Chabert (Colonel Chabert)
La Messe de l'Athee (The Atheist's Mass)
L'Interdiction (The Commission in Lunacy)
Pierre Grassou

Ursule Mirouet (Ursula)
Eugenie Grandet
Les Celibataires (The Celibates):
Le Cure de Tours (The Vicar of Tours)
Un Menage de Garcon (A Bachelor's Establishment / The Two Brothers / The Black Sheep)
Les Parisiens en Province (Parisians in the Country):
L'illustre Gaudissart (Gaudissart the Great / The Illustrious Gaudissart)
La Muse du departement (The Muse of the Department)
Les Rivalites (The Jealousies of a Country Town):
La Vieille Fille (The Old Maid)
Le Cabinet des antiques (The Collection of Antiquities)
Le Lys dans la Vallee (The Lily of the Valley)
Illusions Perdues:--I. (Lost Illusions:--I.):
Les Deux Poetes (The Two Poets)
Un Grand homme de province a Paris, 1re partie (A Distinguished Provincial at Paris, Part 1)
Illusions Perdues:--II. (Lost Illusions:--II.):
Un Grand homme de province, 2e p. (A Distinguished Provincial at Paris, Part 2)
Eve et David (Eve and David)
Splendeurs et Miseres des Courtisanes (Scenes from a Courtesan's Life):
Esther heureuse (Esther Happy)
A combien l'amour revient aux vieillards (What Love Costs an Old Man)
Ou menent les mauvais Chemins (The End of Evil Ways)
La derniere Incarnation de Vautrin (Vautrin's Last Avatar)
Un Prince de la Boheme (A Prince of Bohemia)
Un Homme d'affaires (A Man of Business)
Gaudissart II
Les Comediens sans le savoir (The Unconscious Humorists / The Unconscious Comedians)
Histoire des Treize (The Thirteen):
La Duchesse de Langeais (The Duchesse de Langeais)
La Fille aux yeux d'or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes)
Le Pere Goriot (Father Goriot)
Grandeur et Decadence de Cesar Birotteau (The Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau)
La Maison Nucingen (The Firm of Nucingen)
Les Secrets de la princesse de Cadignan (The Secrets of a Princess / The Secrets of the Princess Cadignan)
Les Employes (The Government Clerks / Bureaucracy)
Facino Cane
Les Parents Pauvres (Poor Relations):
La Cousine Bette (Cousin Betty)
Le Cousin Pons (Cousin Pons)
Les Petits Bourgeois (The Middle Classes / The Lesser Bourgeoise)
Une Tenebreuse Affaire (The Gondreville Mystery / An Historical Mystery)
Un Episode sous la Terreur (An Episode Under the Terror)
L'Envers de l'Histoire Contemporaine (The Seamy Side of History / The Brotherhood of Consolation):
Mme. de la Chanterie (Madame de la Chanterie)
L'Initie (Initiated / The Initiate)
Z. Marcas
Le Depute d'Arcis (The Member for Arcis / The Deputy for Arcis)
Les Chouans (The Chouans)
Une Passion dans le desert (A Passion in the Desert)
Le Medecin de Campagne (The Country Doctor)
Le Cure de Village (The Country Parson / The Village Rector)
Les Paysans (The Peasantry / Sons of the Soil)
La Peau de Chagrin (The Magic Skin)
La Recherche de l'Absolu (The Quest of the Absolute / The Alkahest)
Jesus-Christ en Flandre (Christ in Flanders)
Melmoth reconcilie (Melmoth Reconciled)
Le Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu (The Unknown Masterpiece / The Hidden Masterpiece)
L'Enfant Maudit (The Hated Son)
Massimilla Doni
Les Marana (The Maranas/ Juana)
Le Requisitionnaire (The Conscript / The Recruit)
El Verdugo
Un Drame au bord de la mer (A Seaside Tragedy / A Drama on the Seashore)
L'Auberge rouge (The Red Inn)
L'Elixir de longue vie (The Elixir of Life)
Maitre Cornelius
Sur Catherine de Medicis (About Catherine de' Medici):
Le Martyr calviniste (The Calvinist Martyr)
La Confidence des Ruggieri (The Ruggieri's Secret)
Les Deux Reves (The Two Dreams)
Louis Lambert
Les Proscrits (The Exiles)

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Henry Darger, The Vivian Girls and The Realms of the Unreal

    At the folk art museum.
    Hidden in Henry's Room: The Secret Life of a Janitor
    Google Images.

    "At the heart of Darger’s work is the massive tale, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. Begun around 1910, In the Realms of the Unreal took Darger over twenty years to complete and provided the foundation for his art for the rest of his life. The story follows the misadventures of his seven heroines—the Vivian sisters, aged five to eight—as they fight countless battles in a war of good against evil.

    Through tracing, carbon copying, and collage, Darger appropriated elements of popular culture to create the mural-sized collages and drawings that illustrated the fantastical scenes of In the Realms of the Unreal . He lifted settings, figures, flora, and fauna from children’s books, comics, newspapers, and magazines. Breathing life info the figures, he added personalized touches that divorced them from their original contexts: little girls gained penises or were given bird or butterfly wings and ram horns to form “Blengiglomeanean Spirits,” creatures who aided the Vivian girls in battle.

    Darger was a fervent collector, and his one bedroom apartment was filled with his writings, art, and source materials. His complex drawings, which were stitched together to form compositions up to nine and a half feet in length, were so large that they could not be opened in the small apartment. Instead, they were stored in a stack on the artist’s bed; Darger himself slept in a chair. Yet there was an underlying order to this seemingly chaotic environment. Darger’s attention to detail can be seen in the way he handled his supplies. He attached individual labels to small paint pots to identify the colors inside. He gave whittled down pencils extending devices so that every last stub could be used. He transformed coloring books or even city phonebooks into receptacles for his collected imagery, filling every page with clippings and bundling the scrapbooks in stacks bound by twine." Source.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Sources for Shakespeare


    Below is an incomplete library of literary borrowings available online which informed the dramatist-poet's plays.

    Adding more clutter to the commentaries on Shakespeare is much like writing an ode to the Gideon Bible then placing it in a motel drawer. I`ll avoid it.

    Medieval Morality Plays

    Plutarch, Plutarch’s Lives, Englished by Sir Thomas North in Ten Volumes (1579) - The edition actually used by Shakespeare.
    Plutrach's Lives as translated by John Dryden. Slightly more readable and modern edition.

    Saxo Grammaticus
    The Danish History, Books I-IX by Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned").

    Hector Boethius
    Hector Boethius, Scotorum Historia (1575 version).

    Reginald Scot
    Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft

    King James I
    Daemonologie 1599 by King James I

    Seneca's Tragedies in English
    Original texts of Seneca's works at 'The Latin Library'
    Works by Seneca the Younger at Project Gutenberg
    Essays by Seneca at Quotidiana.org
    Seneca's essays in English (at Stoics.com)
    Many quotes by Lucius Annaeus Seneca via brainyquote.com.
    List of commentaries of Seneca's Letters
    Incunabula (1478) of Seneca's works in the McCune Collection
    Seneca on Anger: written and presented by Alain de Botton
    SORGLL: Seneca, Thyestes 766-804, read by Katharina Volk, Columbia University. Society for the Oral reading of Greek and Latin Literature (SORGLL)

    Leo Africanus
    Leo Africanus' A Geograczphical History of Africa

    The Fifteen Books of Ovid's Metamorphoses, 1567- Arthur Golding

    The Annals by Tacitus

    c/f Take a Virtual Tour of the Dictionary Shakespeare May Have Owned and Annotated

    On the Sublime by Friederich Schiller

    Essay in full.

    Beauty enslaves us, but the Sublime will set us free.

    American Architect Marshall Strabala Designs China's Tallest Building - Shanghai Tower


    Official website.

    Gensler blog entries on the Shanghai Tower. c/f Shanghai Architecture - Selection.

    29 Nov 2008


    Shanghai Tower's November 29th Groundbreaking Marks Start of Construction Of World's First Double-Skin, Super-Tall Building

    SHANGHAI, China -- With the groundbreaking of the 632-meter (2070 feet), Shanghai Tower, China's tallest building, Marshall Strabala, the building's Director of Design, will achieve another significant milestone in an illustrious design career.

    This will mark the final stretch of Strabala's latest and most important project to date.

    With the Shanghai Tower, the Houston-based architectural designer has designed three of the world's 10-tallest buildings, including the 160+-story Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building now under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the 420-meter (1380 feet) Nanjing Greenland Financial Center in Nanjing China to be completed in 2009.

    However, Strabala says Shanghai Tower will be different than the others. 

    "Shanghai Tower will represent China's dynamic 'future,'" said Strabala. "It will be an impressive building where China looks ahead to both the future of this bustling and ever-changing metropolis, but also to the future of the dynamic Chinese spirit. There will be no other such unique and well-conceived tower like it anywhere in the world," he added.

    Featuring a soft triangular shape, the tower rotates as it juts skyward and concludes with an open-top design. As the shape rises, a "strike" or open notch curves up and around the building which is an 
    engineering feature to control the wind up and away from the building.

    The 120-story tower will feature office space, luxury residences, a high-end hotel, retail space, restaurants and a public observatory. The development will be separated into nine distinct bioclimatic zones, with each having its own atrium, lush gardens, indoor air controls and panoramic 360° views of China's largest and most populous metropolis.

    Green Building Design

    Shanghai Tower also will be the world's first super-tall building with a "double-skin," according to Strabala. Part of an environmentally friendly, "green building" approach, the double skin has two glass walls. "Green building" is the practice of improving the efficiency of how buildings use resources such as energy, materials and water, while reducing the impact that buildings have during their lifespan -- on health and the environment.

    "With the double skin, the building will function much like a thermos bottle," said Strabala. "This allows us to harvest and use daylight, reduce artificial lighting to a minimum, increase the insulation of the building's interior, and, long-term, dramatically reduce energy consumption and energy costs."

    Expanding on the green building concept, wind turbines will be placed on the roof to generate windpower. And, the building will be situated within a 10,000-square meter (107,600 square feet) open green space that will become both a public park and the front entry to the tower.

    The project will seek LEED certification from the China Green Building Council, in association with the US Green Building Council. Strabala, who has earned his LEED certification, has incorporated green building concepts in his designs for many years.

    "Vertical City"

    According to Strabala, Shanghai's central city is running out of space so it is therefore efficient and
     economical to build super-tall, mixed-use buildings, instead of multiple smaller buildings spread out across the area.

    "Shanghai Tower's upward spiraling form will become a 'vertical city," a structure comprised of eight separate neighborhoods that become plazas in the sky," explained Strabala. "The spiral derives from not only the smallest of things, the smallest atom, but also the largest of thing, the collective universe. Every element of the building needs to perform two purposes. It integrates art and science, aesthetics and function, technology and beauty and knowledge and perception."

    Shanghai Architecture Treasure

    Strabala has no doubt that when it is finished in 2014, the Shanghai Tower will be viewed as a city landmark and treasure.

    "Looking ahead, Shanghai Tower will be seen as one of the city's great architectural treasures, and mentioned in the same breath with the city's Yuyuan Gardens, the former French Concession, and the

    Shanghai Tower will be located in the Lujiazui section of the city's Pudong district. It will be adjacent to, and taller than, two other super-tall buildings, the 421-meter (1380 feet) Jin Mao and the 492-meter (1614 feet) World Financial Center. Together, the buildings are referred to as the "three brothers," and are situated east and across the Huangpu River from the city's historic Bund area. 

    Strabala's team of designers from the US-based Gensler architectural firm was selected following an intense 21-month-long competition among local and international design firms. Strabala managed the design team including Jun Xia, principle of the Shanghai office, Xiamomei Lee, project manager, and Grant Uhlir, consultant manager.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    What is Enlightenment - Michel Foucault (1984)

    The essay.

    The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer (1944)

    An excerpt.

    Marshall McLuhan Resourses Online

    The Power Elite by C.Wright Mills (1956)

    "The Mass Society." An excerpt.

    From The Sims "Crowd Sitter"
    Other Excerpts:

    The Higher Circles
    The Chief Executives
    The Warlords
    The Military Ascendancy

    The Higher Immorality

    The Mass Society Marxist.org.