March 27, 2005
Marlene Dumas — World's most expensive living female artist
I'd never heard of her until an hour ago when I happened on Carol Kino's story in today's New York Times about the "51-year-old South African-born painter who bears the odd distinction of commanding the highest price for a living female artist at auction."
Her 1987 painting "The Teacher" (above) brought $3.34 million last month at Christie's in London after a spirited bidding war between two dealers.
Considering that her paintings averaged about $50,000 at auction until 2002, the sudden ascent of her prices into the stratosphere is astounding.
You can read all about it in Kino's article.
The reason I even bother to mention Dumas, who moved to the Netherlands at age 23 to study and still lives there, is what she said in the final sentence of the Times article:
"The feeling that you don't have enough time, I think that is the biggest problem in life," Ms. Dumas said. "Whether you have the attention or not, you feel you're running out of time, and that stays with every artist, I think."
I think not.
At least, not just artists.
Rather, the feeling of running out of time is something that many, if not most, people begin to feel at some point in their adult lives, and for those individuals the feeling intensifies with each passing year.
I have never, ever felt I don't have enough time.
Nor has it ever occurred to me to think that I'm running out of time.
Au contraire, I believe I have all the time in the world, and that there's just the right amount of time.
Perhaps it's that I'm not an artist, at least as Marlene Dumas would view it.
Her 1997 work, "Ryman's Brides", is just above.
Clearbox — 'An idea that really stacks up'
Crystal-clear plastic boxes for your shoes, so "you can see every pair you own without rummaging through piles of battered cardboard boxes or, worse still, mountains of mismatched shoes."
Olivia Rocca invented them.
She writes on her company's website, "about 18 months ago as I was, once again, trying to find a pair of my favorite shoes amongst the other pairs, I said to myself, 'if only I could see through these boxes.'"
And thus was born the Clearbox.
Choice of five colors:
Cool Mint; Luscious Lilac;
Brilliant Blue; Passionate Pink; Crystal Clear.
The boxes open from the end
for easy access.
Special boot boxes, both mid-calf and knee-length, are also available.
All boxes come with a handy travel handle (below).
$24.95 for five Clearboxes here.
'The Perfect Life' — by John Koethe
I have a perfect life. It isn’t much,
But it’s enough for me. It keeps me alive
And happy in a vague way: no disappointments
On the near horizon, no pangs of doubt;
Looking forward in anticipation, looking back
In satisfaction at the conclusion of each day.
I heed the promptings of my inner voice,
And what I hear is comforting, full of reassurance
For my own powers and innate superiority—the fake
Security of someone in the grip of a delusion,
In denial, climbing ever taller towers
Like a tiny tyrant looking on his little kingdom
With a secret smile, while all the while
Time lies in wait. And what feels ample now
Turns colorless and cold, and what seems beautiful
And strong becomes an object of indifference
Reaching out to no one, as later middle age
Turns old, and the strength is gone.
Right now the moments yield to me sweet
Feelings of contentment, but the human
Dies, and what I take for granted bears a name
To be forgotten soon, as the things I know
Turn into unfamiliar faces
In a strange room, leaving merely
A blank space, like a hole left in the wake
Of a perfect life, which closes over.
BehindTheMedspeak: Finally, CPR gets real
CPR as performed according to the guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association does not work well at all.
In fact, it's more accurate to say it just doesn't work.
The graphic above illustrates how quickly one's chances of survival diminish with each moment after a cardiac arrest.
The basics of CPR haven't changed since 1960.
The three basic components as practiced today are chest compressions, rescue breathing, and defibrillation with an electric shock.
Two studies published in the January 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that even well-trained professionals do not perform CPR correctly, as directed by the long-standing guidelines.
Amateurs and civilians?
You can imagine.
Katerina A. Christopoulos wrote a very good article for the March 17 New York Times about CPR; she quoted Dr. Mickey Eisenberg, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, who described a cardiac arrest as "a chaotic and confusing situation."
There's the #1 understatement of the year 2005 — at least, to date.
An arrest is utter and complete insanity, taking place in a sea of white if it's in-hospital.
The results of CPR, whether in or out of the hospital, are very dismal.
Christopoulos wrote that for those taken to the hospital after an arrest, the likelihood of surviving to leave the hospital ranges from 2% to 30%.
For the average elderly patient (75% to 95% of cardiac arrests are a result of underlying heart disease, and the average age is about 70), the number surviving is about 5%.
Hospitalized patients who suffer cardiac arrests fare even worse, since they tend to be sicker.
Only an estimated 2% to 15% survive.
And lest you think that's the worst of it, well, you're wrong: most of those who survive have brain damage to a greater or lesser extent, along with motor loss.
In summary, it's a disaster, taking place every day across the country and world.
What to do?
Simplifying CPR is one step, and it's starting to happen.
Dr. Gordon A. Ewy, chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona, who was a co-author of an editorial in JAMA about the two published studies, has led an effort to introduce chest-compression-only rescuscitation in the Tucson area.
He said that the simpler version was often "as good or better" than the standard routine.
No surprise, really: maintaining an airway in a crisis requires all the training, skill and experience I can muster, and on occasion I can't do it.
How can anyone possibly expect a novice to attempt something so difficult?
Here are bookofjoe's quick and dirty guidelines for what to do if you happen to be at the scene of a cardiac arrest:
• If you're alone, call 911 before you do anything else
• Grind your knuckles as hard as you can into the victim's breastbone
• If they don't respond, make a fist and smash the center of the victim's breastbone as hard as you're capable of doing — every so often that's enough to jump-start a heart, and it's certainly worth a shot
• Start chest compressions at 100/minute
• First, though, elevate the victim's legs either by having someone hold them up at 45° or higher, or by placing them on whatever furniture's at hand
• Push down HARD on the center of the chest — imagine you're trying to make the breastbone hit the backbone below
• If you do CPR right, you won't be able to continue for more than a couple minutes without becoming extremely tired
• Have someone else take over when you start to wear out
Raising the victim's legs effectively transfers about one-third of a person's blood volume back into the central circulation and heart.
It is the single easiest and most effective thing anyone — a child, a disabled person, anybody at the scene — can do to improve the chance of surviving an arrest.
Yet you'll never read it in a book.
Except for this one.
CLACK Punch-Bell Egg Cracker — 'Renders every boiled egg topless!'
An awe-inspiring invention, brought to my attention by a joehead who happened to see it while in Berlin recently.
He wrote, "I came across a strange, stainless-steel object/device in a knick-knack store in Hackescher Market...."
But his description of the device (above), wonderful as it was, will have to follow the following text from the English version of website:
- Clack is the soundful name for a punch-bell egg cracker.
Designed to inflict an annular eclipse on an ovular body, soft or hard, white or brown. Your egg-shell-crack-pot hits eggs upside down like a punch-bell.
It works like this: Place metal cap on egg and let ball drop - clack-crack! Clack will hit your egg by surprise. It survives with an inverted collar - now being clearly more inclined to be eaten by allowing your knife an easy lift-off of its top.
The whole point of the device is to whack the top of the shell off a soft boiled egg.
It costs €18 ($23).
Here's what my intrepid correspondent had to say about it:
- It was made far too nicely to be a novelty, so I asked the lady at the store counter about its function.
In a game of charades with broken-English helpers, she explained that what you do is put an egg in a soft boiled egg cup (after it's been boiled), then you place the bottom of this thing over the top of the egg, lift the silver ball to the top of the stem, and release the ball while holding the whole thing firmly against the top of the egg.
The solid steel ball falls, a hearty "clack" is heard, and voila, you have a perfect round incision (actually a crack) in your egg. If you tilt the whole gadget just right while lifting it away, it will take the severed top-of-egg-shell with it, leaving a perfectly presented soft boiled egg for eating.
This whole gadget is aimed at getting around having to whack the top of the shell off a soft boiled egg. Heh ;-) Humanity is certainly working the margins of tool design these days.
Anyway, the "Clack" is made very nicely, costs $18 Euros and, just from a curiosity standpoint, is worth it. Besides, each porcelain egg (at the top of the shaft) is uniquely hand painted... collect 'em while they last....
I want one.
This could start me back eating soft boiled eggs again.
A bookofjoe Design Award to this sensational creation.
Addendum of Tuesday, March 29, 2005
SB has just provided an online source for this wonderful invention: $27 here.
What is Man? — by R. Buckminster Fuller
A self-balancing, 28-jointed adapter-base biped; an electro-mechanical reduction-plant, integral with segregated stowages of special energy extracts in storage batteries, for subsequent actuation of thousands of hydraulic and pneumatic pumps, with motors attached; 62,000 miles of capillaries; millions of warning signal, railroad and conveyor systems; crushers and cranes (of which the arms are magnificent 23-jointed affairs with self-surfacing and lubricating systems, and a universally distributed telephone system needing no service for 70 years if well managed); the whole, extraordinarily complex mechanism guided with exquisite precision from a turret in which are located telescopic and microscopic self-registering and recording range finders, a spectroscope, et cetera, the turret control being closely allied with an air conditioning intake-and-exhaust, and a main fuel intake.
Within the few cubic inches housing the turret mechanisms, there is room, also, for two sound-wave and sound-direction-finder recording diaphragms, a filing and instant reference system, and an expertly devised analytical laboratory large enough not only to contain minute records of every last and continual event of up to 70 years' experience, or more, but to extend, by computation and abstract fabrication, this experience with relative accuracy into all corners of the observed universe. There is, also, a forecasting and tactical plotting department for the reduction of future possibilities and probabilities to generally successful specific choice.
Finally, the whole structure is not only directly and simply mobile on land and in water, but, indirectly and by exquisite precision of complexity, mobile in air, and, even in the intangible, mathematically sensed electrical "world," by means of the extension of the primary integral mechanism to secondary mechanical compositions of its own devising, operable either by a direct mechanical hook-up with the device, or by indirect control through wired or wire-less electrical impulses.
So begins Chapter 4, "The Phantom Captain," of Fuller's 1938 book, "Nine Chains To The Moon."
This book electrified me when I read it while I was in college.
Rereading it now brings back wonderful associations as well as the magical inventiveness of Fuller's unique take on man and the world.
Well worth the $8.50 it costs here.
Black Lace Shoelaces
A member of my stylish Singapore posse sent this intriguing item along.
"These unique shoelaces are made of black lace!"
Ugliest Logo Contest
It's on, so throw down.
LogoWorks, the contest's sponsor, asks three questions:
- Is your business's logo in need of a massive makeover?
Is it so hideous that even you can hardly stand to look at it?
Instead of attracting customers, does it drive them into the streets?
Just enter your logo in the contest (entries are accepted until April 30, 2005) and if you win, you'll receive:
• A Platinum Corporate ID logo makeover from LogoWorks (that means five designers will work on the makeover)
• $2,500 worth of promotional products to show off your new logo
• Template designs for a brochure, Yellow Page ad and PowerPoint presentation
• A feature in the August 2005 issue of Entrepreneur
So what's your excuse for not entering?