April 26, 2005
Nancy Burson's Age Machine
Artist Nancy Burson creates machines that unsettle and fascinate.
Above, Julia Roberts in the year 2035 as projected by Burson's Age Machine, used by the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to project how a missing child might look after years have passed.
The Age Machine is one of four computer programs she's created for the Human Race Machine.
The Human Race Machine is a huge hit whenever it comes to schools and museums.
You sit in it, the machine takes your picture and then shows you how you'd look if you were Filipino or an Eskimo or a member of any of the six conventionally-accepted human races.
A third program is The Anomaly Machine, which lets you see yourself with simulated facial anomalies.
The truly fascinating one, though, is The Couples Machine: you and a member of the opposite sex get your photographs taken, then the machine combines your features in varying percentages to show you what your children might look like.
Why Burson doesn't sell these programs to the general public on DVD is beyond me: she'd make a fortune.
God must have a plan for Lana Hudspeth
How else to explain how and why this 37-year–old woman survived the following series of events:
• Having her 2004 Ford Taurus run off U.S. highway 76 in Ballentine, South Carolina at 2:30 a.m. this past Sunday morning, hitting a tree
• Then plunging in her car down a 30–foot embankment and coming to rest on train tracks
• Lying there either unconscious or trapped in her car for over two hours
• Having a 93–car train traveling 47 m.p.h. strike her car at 4:45 a.m. with her still inside, pushing the vehicle 300 yards (about one-sixth of a mile) down the tracks
• Requiring extrication by emergency workers, then being airlifted to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital
As of late yesterday (Monday) morning she was said by her family to be "holding her own" in the hospital.
Gherkin loses a window — 'The sky IS falling!'
If by chance you'd happened to be standing in the plaza below Lord Norman Foster's landmark skyscraper (below) at 30 St. Mary Axe, nicknamed "The Gherkin," last week, Monday April 18, at 12:30 a.m. (London time) and looked up at just the right instant, that's precisely what you'd have screamed before a giant glass window panel, which had somehow worked loose from its 28th-floor frame, plunged at speed 590 feet (180 meters) to the ground and disintegrated.
The lost panel's old home is pictured above.
Fortunately no one was hurt but the plaza below the building is now cordoned off as rigorous checks of the 743 similar triangular glass panels that remain — for the time being, at least — in place are underway.
The window that fell was in the open position at the time it fell; the remaining windows are now being locked in the closed position until the problem that led to the unexpected descent is diagnosed and remedied.
A slab of wood has been placed over the hole in the building's skin (top).
The building's windows, of which the fallen panel was one, open and close in response to sophisticated computer controls in response to readings of wind speed, sunlight and temperature from the building's own weather station.
Scaffolding and a covered walkway has been provided for staff working in the building.
No word yet on whether helmets will be made available or required.
This is not the first time one of Lord Norman's creations has had functional difficulties: his Millenium Bridge across the Thames from St. Paul's Cathedral to the Tate Modern became known as "The Wobbly Bridge" soon after its opening in June 2000.
The first crowds caused it to sway in an unacceptable fashion and it was closed immediately for repairs, which cost $10 million and took 20 months, with the reopening taking place in February 2002.
So far so good since with the bridge.
What I want to know is, how is it that the news about the Gherkin is only beginning to trickle out yesterday and today?
A week of silence?
Not likely in the U.S.
I guess circling the wagons is more old school, what?
Finally, a way to fill small containers and narrow-necked jars and bottles without making a huge mess and leaving spills all over your counter.
Each spoon has a little hole at its base, "making it easy to decant bulk liquids, spices, baking products and herbs."
The spoons come in two sizes: a large set for oil, vinegar and other liquids; a smaller set for salt, pepper, seeds and spices.
Each set of four stainless steel spoons comes with a ring for hanging.
A bookofjoe Design Award winner.
Is love real?
Psychologist James Averill believes not.
From "Emotional Rollercoaster" by Claudia Hammond:
- He thinks that saying you're in love is simply shorthand for a list of ways in which you hope the other person will behave.
So if you tell someone you love them and they respond similarly, this is a quick way of making agreements regarding fidelity, the way you behave towards each other on an everyday basis, and your joint hopes for the future.
If these expectations are fulfilled you can declare yourself to be in love.
If we enjoy spending time with a person, miss them when they're not there, think about them a lot and hope to spend the future with them, we decide we are in love.
We tend to think that emotions happen to us, but according to Averill they are just things that we do, ways of behaving.
He believes the reason we fall in love is that society neglects the individual. Society can't love us so we find another way to receive love and by idealizing the person we love we preserve our own self–esteem.
Hammond's chapter on love, one of nine on different emotions, is the most interesting in her book, perhaps because the subject, love, is itself the most interesting of the nine emotions she discusses.
I am always drawn to the haunting observation of Jacques Lacan about love, to wit: "Love is giving something you don't have to someone who doesn't exist."
Hammond writes, "There are four situations in which people are particularly likely to fall in love: when they feel lonely, dissatisfied, in need of sex or in need of variety."
Which brings to mind something I read once, on the subject of a how chancy and unpredictable is one's likelihood of hitting it off in a major way with a stranger: "Never forget that you're always only one bad mood away."
'The Quintet of the Astonished' — by Bill Viola
In the second exhibition room at the National Gallery in London are three cool cream benches, lined up one behind the other.
On the wall facing them is a life-size photograph (above) of five people standing in two rows — a man and a woman at the front, and three men behind them.
The photograph is in a frame and is lit like an old master painting.
Lights falls on the faces and there are dark shadows in the folds of their clothing.
But wait — the people in the photograph move, albeit very slowly.
What is this?
It is an artwork by Bill Viola called "The Quintet of the Astonished."
It went up in 2000, and continues to draw people in and disturb them.
Take the afternoon off and go have a look if you're a galley slave at The Financial Times or the Economist — I'll never tell.
[via Claudia Hammond and "Emotional Rollercoaster"]
Official bookofjoe Detergent Container
Keeping it clean is what we're all about here and what better way to express your feelings than with this vintage bookofjoe green detergent container?
• a galvanized steel, rust-resistant enamel–finished container measuring 11.25"W x 6.25"D x 13.25"H
• a lid
• a matching, color–coordinated measuring cup that hangs on the handle
Holds approximately 14 pounds of your favorite detergent.
'The Kid Stays In The Picture' — The Robert Evans Story
What a wonderful movie, one I strongly recommend to anyone aspiring to a career in Hollywood.
Evans's life is like a story by Jacqueline Susann.
He's a young businessman in New York, a partner in a successful women's clothing business (Evan–Picone) in the mid–1950s, and happens to be staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Sounds fake, right?
No way, right?
Evans ended up playing Irving Thalberg in the 1957 film "Man of a Thousand Faces" starring James Cagney as Lon Chaney.
Shearer had approached him because he'd reminded her of Thalberg and because of his good looks.
OK, so it was a fluke, right?
Around the same time, mogul–producer Darryl Zanuck sees Evans in a night club in New York and asks him what he does, not having realized or remembered he'd already been in a film.
Evans said the usual, to which Zanuck said phooey and hired him to play a bullfighter in his movie of Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises".
The filming starts in Mexico and the stars — Ava Gardner and Tyrone Power — and Ernest Hemingway himself send Zanuck a telegram telling him they'll all quit unless he dumps the inept Evans.
Zanuck flies down to Mexico to check things out for himself.
After watching a scene being shot, he stands up, takes a megaphone and bellows, "The kid stays in the picture."
And so he did.
Now, these events are just in the first half-hour or so of the 93-minute film, narrated wonderfully by Evans himself.
The rest is equally amazing and bizarre, from his ascension to the heights of Hollywood as chief of Paramount Pictures in its heyday, when it was putting out smash after smash, movies like "Rosemary's Baby," "Love Story," "The Godfather," "Chinatown" and others like them, to the implosion accompanying his cocaine bust.
Very, very absorbing and funny as heck.
There's a bonus extra of Evans's home movie clips, including a hilarious parody of him by Dustin Hoffman.