September 20, 2005
Watch Claire Danes Dance
Tomorrow evening at P.S. 122 in New York City actress Claire Danes will perform an hour–long dance solo in the world premiere of "Christina Olson: American Model."
The show, choreographed by Tamar Rogoff and based on Andrew Wyeth's painting, "Christina's World," will continue through Sunday, October 2.
Perhaps not well known is that fact that the 26–year–old Ms. Danes (above and below, rehearsing) took dance classes with Ellen Robbins at Dance Theater Workshop beginnning at the age of 4, and that she performed at P.S. 122 at age six.
When she was 14 "My So–Called Life" happened and dancing stopped.
14 months ago the actress mentioned to Ariel Rogoff Heitler, a long–time friend and the show's choreographer's daughter, that she missed dancing.
One thing led to another and before you know it this multimedia show — featuring film of Ms. Danes dragging herself across East 10th Street and up the stairs of P.S. 122, apparently unnoticed by passers-by — was on.
So if you're a fan of Claire Danes and happen to find yourself in the Manhattan area over the next twelve days, well, here's your chance to see her up close and personal.
P.S.122 is at 150 First Avenue at E. 9th Street; 212-477-5288; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Show times and dates: September 21—October 2
Wednesday—Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday at 4:00 p.m
[via Claudia La Rocco and the New York Times]
ExLibrisAnonymous.com — Quelle drôle
A refreshingly simple concept.
Jasmine Deatherage had always collected books with covers she liked, putting them in boxes and sticking them in the closet.
On her website she writes, "Some time in the spring of 2002... it occurred to me that I could make journals out of my beautiful books and therefore they would become useful and 'new' again."
Long story short: she and her husband Jacob used all their money to build a bindery in their house and then started to make journals and sell them.
They have become quite successful, so much so that one of their journals was featured in this past Sunday's New York Times.
What I like: the simplicity of their business model.
"Every journal on this site is $11 and shipping is free in the U.S.A."
My Rx for happiness
Take one Fleetwood Mac album — "The Dance," a live album recorded in concert at Warner Brothers Studios.
[I just saw on amazon that there's also a DVD of this show: the reviews are over–top–raves so I'd best get it after I finish this up.]
Add Sony's spectacularly beautiful and sensuously designed
CD player (model D-NE10).
Listen to the music with Shure's bottom–of–the–line
earphones (model E2C).
[If these earphones represent Shure's entry–level technology I cannot even begin to imagine how good their top–of–the–line model E5C sounds. Maybe when I get big — really big.]
Put on my Nike Free custom
It's that easy.
The sound is spectacular, with instruments I had no idea even existed on songs I'd never heard before.
It's like listening again for the very first time, as the saying goes.
No wonder I'm getting out more these days, with cool gear like this to make it more enticing.
But then, we've always known it's all about the accessories....
Geiger Counter Watch
Who cares what time it is when you're in the Hot Zone?
The GammaMaster watch has a built–in Geiger counter to tell you when you've had enough.
Just wait until someone explodes a dirty bomb somewhere — the company won't be able to sell them fast enough.
Click on the "Pictures and Video" link to watch a movie of how the watch reacts to radiation.
The cool thing about it is that it's always "on" so that you never have to remember to make it operational.
Or, as the website puts it, "You don't have to think about radiation. When the radiation level goes up the GammaMaster will let you know."
BehindTheMedspeak: How Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Works in Depression
Many theories exist as to how and why a week–long series of powerful 30–second–long daily jolts of electricity to the brain alleviate depression — but there is no question that they do.
Now comes a Swedish scientist with a novel explanation: Dr. Johan Hellsten of Lund University in Sweden has just published a paper which implies that ECT causes new blood vessels to grow in brain regions particularly affected by depression, and that this regeneration may be related to the alleviation of depression.
Here's a news story about the work: it's from the current (September 15) issue of the Economist.
- Shocking Treatment
How ECT works
Ernest Hemingway underwent 20 gruelling rounds of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to cure him of his depression.
Having lost many of his memories as a result, he said, "It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient," and took a shotgun to his head not long afterwards.
Ever since ECT was pioneered by Ugo Cerletti, an Italian neurosurgeon, in the late 1930s, it has had a bad press.
In books ("The Bell Jar", "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"), in song ("Electric Co" by U2) and in film ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Tarnation"), it has been portrayed as a sinister procedure that leaves the patient a dribbling dullard.
But in spite of this, ECT remains one of the fastest-acting and most effective antidepressant treatments known.
Why it should be so effective, though, is an enigma.
On the face of it, running a current of almost an amp through someone's brain seems a silly thing to do.
But a study by Johan Hellsten of Lund University in Sweden has cast some light on the question.
Dr Hellsten has shown that ECT leads to the generation of new blood vessels in part of the brain implicated in depression.
Previous brain-imaging studies have shown that patients with long-term depression have a smaller hippocampus (part of the brain that deals with emotion and memory) than average.
But, while it is possible to use scanners to look at brain volume in people, it is impossible to examine what is going on at a cellular level.
For this reason, Dr Hellsten used rats.
There were two groups of rats in his experiment.
The test group received ECT once a day for ten days while the control group received a sham treatment.
On the eleventh day, the rats were killed and examined.
Dr Hellsten found a 20-fold increase in the number of endothelial cells (the cells that line blood vessels) in the hippocampuses of the test rats, compared with the control rats.
He also found a 16% increase in the total length of the blood vessels in their hippocampuses.
If the blood vessels of any organ—including the hippocampus—are reduced, that organ begins to atrophy.
ECT appears to reverse this atrophy.
This study is the first to show an increase in blood-vessel production in connection with an anti-depressive treatment.
Why ECT has this effect is still a subject of speculation, but Dr Hellsten suspects that what is happening is a consequence of the brain trying to protect itself.
ECT works by creating an artificial epileptic seizure.
Natural seizures, which often last much longer than the 30 seconds or so employed for ECT, result in the production of chemicals called growth factors that stimulate cell division and growth.
This response helps to compensate for the damage that a seizure can do.
Though modern ECT does not last long enough to cause damage, it nevertheless provokes the damage-limitation response.
ECT, invented in a more brutal age, was originally seen as a way to control unruly patients, often against their will.
Ironically, it now serves to give will back to those who have lost it.
Here's a link to the September 8 Lund University press release about the study. (I hope your Swedish is better than mine 'cause that's the language it's in.)
The entire field of brain research and psychiatry is in the midst of an epochal shift in its basic focus.
During the second half of the 20th century the rise of what I will call the "neurotransmitter hypothesis" occupied pride of place in research laboratories.
Long story short: the key to mood and behavioral disorders lay in how much serotonin, dopamine, epinenphrine and their ilk are present at brain synapses.
The 21st century finds a new focus: the various drugs and treatments used in psychiatry now appear to cause structural changes in the brain resulting in the formation of new brain cells and neural pathways.
The old model pictured the brain as a static organ with its full complement of cells present at birth; after birth, the brain gradually lost function, with little — if any — capacity for growth or regeneration.
The new paradigm sees the brain as a vital, changing, plastic, living thing with unlimited, largely still–hidden capabilities including growth and modification of basic circuitry and synaptic pathways.
The article cited above illustrates this new way of thinking.
We enter an era of potentially enormous progress in the treatment of mental disorders, still among the most devastating scourges of mankind.
'Obviously not appropriate for business or anything like that'
So wrote one member of the Style Forum about these shoes designed by Derrick Miller (formerly with Ralph Lauren) for Barker Black, an English shoe manufacturer.
Look closely and you will see that it's a leather and suede construction with a skull–and-crossbones perforation detail at the tip, a nod to the British Guardsmen regiment the 17th Lancers.
The guy who made the above–quoted comment is not in the hedge fund business.
'Cause if he was he'd instantly twig that these shoes should be mandatory for everyone in his profession.
If by some strange twist of fate and circumstance I were ever forced to wear wingtips you can bet these would be on my feet.
They cost $750 and the only place in the U.S. you can buy them is at Zohreh Uomo in New York City. (220 E. 54th Street; 212-308-2090)
Why are there no black iPod earbuds?
When the U2 special edition iPod came out I wondered how come the earbuds were white instead of black: made no fashion sense whatsover.
Now that the black nano is causing normally gimlet–eyed reviewers like Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal to swoon with pleasure it's time to put it out here: whoever can whip up black earbuds and get them out there in a hurry is gonna make a nice little pile of change.
I'm here to make you rich: this will get you started by putting you on the map and launching a very nice bleeding–edge tech accessories business.
The choice is yours: you can launch it now — or buy it later.
Magic Disappearing Ink Pen
This is an interesting one.
The pen has specially formulated blue ink that disappears when you use the neutralizing tip on the other end.
"Harmless to paper, it's great for book notes and marking documents."
Erases 400–500 linear feet of writing.