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October 14, 2008

Loud Rock Music Causes Premature Aging — of Paintings


No, it's not the Enquirer trying to go uptown but, rather, the preliminary conclusion of a Russian scientific study that found that rock concerts by, among others, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney in Palace Square adjacent to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg have negatively affected the collection over the past three years, according to a June 23, 2008 report by Andrew Johnson and Arifa Akbar in The Independent of London.

"... every 10 concerts above 82 decibels added an extra year to the age of a work because of vibrations," wrote Patricia Cohen in a June 26, 2008 item in the New York Times.

Think outside the art museum space.

Here's the Independent article.

    Rock concerts 'add years' to artworks

    Rock concerts staged in the grounds of country homes are damaging works of art with sound vibrations which "age" them, Russian research reveals.

    Scientists at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg have been examining how concerts by the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and others in the adjacent Palace Square have affected their collections over the past three years.

    The unpublished findings, they say, could affect the future of rock concerts staged at stately homes. The preliminary results of the three-year study, being examined by the Grabar Art Restoration Institute in Moscow, show that every 10 concerts above 82 decibels add an extra year to the age of a work.

    The study has implications for venues in Britain including Knebworth, Somerset House and Kenwood.

    Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage, told The Independent that institutions across the world should be warned that high levels of sound can shave years off an artefact. "Early results say the level of sound in the rooms which look over the [Palace] Square cannot be more than 80/82 decibels. We are going to study this. I think it is a serious issue, not just for Russia," he said.

    Mr Piotrovsky added that it was likely that buildings, books and statues were also being damaged by the concerts that take place in the grounds of country homes and galleries.

    Such was his concern that he reached an agreement with the Rolling Stones to keep the noise down during their concert in Palace Square last year, in order to protect the 19th and 20th century works by the likes of Cezanne and Matisse housed in the palace's adjacent wings. In 2004, he said he was distressed when McCartney's concert shook the windows of the museum.

    "The Rolling Stones concert was not over 85 decibels, which is quite loud. We have to concentrate the sound in a certain direction. We have our people measuring the sound during the concerts. If something goes over the limit then we can do something about it."

    He added: "We have had some concerts that were terrible, with Russian rock groups. One or two concerts a year in the square is possible, not more. We understand it is a square but there must be limits. Five concerts of classical music are OK."

    The implications for rock concerts held near British collections are being considered. Last year's summer concerts at Somerset House in central London, which houses the Courtauld Institute's collection including work by Cezanne and Van Gogh, saw performances by Amy Winehouse, Kasabian and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

    Ernst Vegelin, head of the Courtauld Gallery, said he will be taking a close interest in the Hermitage's work. "We have double-glazing here and sound doesn't register in the buildings, but it will certainly be interesting to see the research. Vi ration isn't good," he said.

    English Heritage, which runs concerts over two months in the summer at Kenwood House in north London, said its concerts were held at no higher than 55 decibels and that they were situated 400 metres from the house.

    Henry Lytton-Cobbold, who owns Knebworth, a grade II-listed house which has hosted concerts by Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, said the gigs' commercial success were crucial to the survival of the home.

    The gigs are performed just outside the house, which Mr Lytton-Cobbold said was "part of the experience", but he did express concern over the effects on the fabric of the building, which has loose stucco features.

    British music venues under the spotlight:

    Kenwood House: Has works by Rembrandt, Turner, Reynolds, Vermeer and Gainsborough. The villa on London's Hampstead Heath has been holding picnic concerts for 55 years. It will host Rufus Wainwright and Van Morrison this summer.

    Somerset House: The Courtauld Gallery in one wing has impressionist and post-impressionist works along with sketches by Michelangelo. The Fratellis and Duffy are among artists who will perform this year.

    Knebworth: Having made its name in the 1970s hosting Led Zeppelin and Queen, it was chosen by Oasis to host their biggest concert in 1996 and by Robbie Williams in 2003 when he performed for 375,000 people. It has a permanent collection of Indian artifacts and a painting by Winston Churchill.

October 14, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What's on (web) TV?


Who knows?

That's precisely why Tubefilter happened.

I stumbled on it just now and much to my amazement found an actual navigable listing of web TV shows for the current week — any and/or all of which you can view whenever you like just by clicking "Watch Now."

Sure beats the newspaper TV listings and Tivo and all that nonsense from last century.

You say, "Yeah, but there's a million times more stuff they don't list."


And Henry Paulson has a million times more money in his bank account(s) than I do —but does that make mine worth any less to me?


You might never feel rich comparing yourself to someone else but you very well could hit the jackpot by looking in the mirror.


Never mind.

[via Ray Earhart]

October 14, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Finding Martin Margiela


The enigmatic 51-year-old Belgian fashion designer, pictured above circa 1997, has rarely been photographed since.

I wondered if he was more or less elusive than Thomas Pynchon in this respect.

The 71-year-old Pynchon likewise avoids photographers and verified pictures of him are few in number.

Six appear below,


the first of which (above) is a 1953 photo from his Oyster Bay (Long Island, New York) High School yearbook (The Oysterette) captioned "'Pynch'; P&G Yearbook; Trade Fair 2, 3; Sr. Play student director; Spanish Club 3, 4: Honor Society 3, 4; likes pizza; dislikes hypocrites; pet possession, a typewriter; aspires to be a physicist."

This one


comes from the "Best Student" section of the yearbook, honoring Pynchon for being the best male student of 1953.

Next comes one


lifted from a yearbook group staff photograph.

Then there's this one, part of a staff photo for the Purple and Gold, his high school newspaper.


The caption reads, "The Purple and Gold has carried on the old tradition of service to the school. It has also made its own new innovations. The principal one being a column by Thomas Pynchon that has dealt with such learned subjects as the 'Life and Times of Hamster High,' a legend about a stupid knight, and, of course, the 'Boys.'"

This undated picture


comes from Microsoft's Encarta.

Finally, this 1955 shot


of the 18-year-old Pynchon at the Navy's Bainbridge, Maryland Training Center.

It was first seen in David Cowart's 1980 book, "Thomas Pynchon — The Art of Allusion."

So far it's 1-6 in favor of Margiela.

Anyone out there care to change the score?

You know what to do.

[via The Modern Word]

October 14, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pie Cut Table


Designed by Joseph Ruggiero.

Cherry or Oak.

23" high.



October 14, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Billie Holiday sings 'Strange Fruit'

This performance of a song she originally recorded in 1939, which went on to become her biggest hit, was filmed in early 1959, five months before her untimely death at the age of 44.

[via Jerry Young]

October 14, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

October 14, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Emerging* — erm, Breaking News: Anesthesia.com goes live this week


Just in from Martin Pippin, grand panjandrum and majordomo of the website, the following:


    Hi, my name is Martin Pippin. I am one of the owners of anesthesia.com. We are coming out of Beta this week. Anyway, while doing some research, I ran across your blog and decided to drop you an invitation to visit our site. I would love to get your opinion on what we are doing.

    Take care,



I was kind of hoping he'd run over instead of "across" my blog so as to put me and my crack research team out of our collective misery — but no such luck.

According to the website they already have


Why, that's over 1/8 of the countries in the world (you could look it up) — and that's while they (the website, not the countries, booboo) were still in Beta.

I'd say the future's so bright they better wear eye protection — might as well throw on a mask as long as they're at it.

Marty, the site looks good — just stay with it and success and limitless riches are sure to follow.

I especially liked this picture on the homepage


of an anesthesiologist hiding out in a corner of the OR doing something close to nothing (but different than the day before).

Reminds me of how I spent the bulk of my time back in the day when I was a card-carrying member of academia and assigned myself really good residents — except for the fact that was long before the advent of wireless internet in the OR space, so I had to settle for newspapers, magazines and books to satisfy my reading Jones.

*Emergence: You could look it up.

October 14, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bad Air Sponge


Tired of people telling you to put a cork in it?

Me too.

From websites:

    Bad Air Sponge

    Your father-in-law’s smoking a cigar.

    Or your basement’s damp and smelly after a downpour.

    Or you just had franks and beans for dinner and, well....

    For all the times when your home, office or vehicle gets stunk up, our Bad Air Sponge is the solution.

    Based on a unique patented formula, it’s been an industry trade secret since 1953 and is the only air quality product chosen by many disaster restoration specialists.

    Absorbs surface odors, entraps airborne odors and draws out odors from curtains, walls, furniture, carpets and more.

    1 pound container covers 400 square feet and lasts about six months.

    Easy to use: just unscrew the lid and place in affected area.

    Safe for the environment and people who use it.


October 14, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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