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February 27, 2011

Just discovered: the only known footage of Diaghilev's Ballet Russe onstage

From British Pathé: "February 2011 discovery: Jane Pritchard, curator of the Ballets Russes (Ballet Russe) exhibition at the V&A, and Susan Eastwood, a member of the London Ballet Circle, have confirmed that this short clip [above] is rare footage of the Ballets Russes. Specifically, the June 1928 festival 'Fetes de Narcisses' in Montreux, Switzerland."

"The clip shows the dancer Serge Lifar, playing the lead role in a female wig."

Original canister note below.


Festival of Narcissus.

Location of events unknown.

Scenic opening shot; looking over treetops; town beyond below in valley and mountains in distance; pan down trees to stage in park; w/ ivy-covered backing. Ballet dancers perform on stage. One female dancer (representing Narcissus?) w/ chorus of female dancers; ballerinas who pose while the male soloist dances.

Shot of audience in steeply tiered seating. Then; shot looking down at procession w/ elaborate float. Ground level shot of same: float w/ huge white birds pulling a carriage w/ young girls riding & tossing confetti at crowd; like carnival. Another shot looking down at crowd.

Location unknown; but obviously in a mountainous area.


From Joan Acocella's "Critic's Notebook" column in the February 28, 2011 New Yorker: "The troupe is seen on an outdoor stage, from very far away. (In other words, this is a pirated film.)"

Wouldn't be the first one....

Ballet expert Pritchard "thinks that the film is of a rehearsal: 'Three women in the center of the ensemble shift their placement smack in the middle of the dance. They wouldn't do that in performance. I can almost hear someone saying to them, 'Move over!'"

"The show was part of an annual flower festival in Montreux. Hence the fabulous float at the end of the film."

I was in Montreux in the spring of 1982 to give a talk on a then-new intermediate-duration skeletal muscle relaxant for use during anesthesia and surgery.

I had been leading an investigation of the drug (atracurium) during the final stage of human trials in the U.S. and had been invited by the makers to report on my findings at an international symposium.

I stayed at the Montreux Palace Hotel on Lake Geneva, the very same one Vladimir Nabokov and his wife Vera lived in as guests from 1959 until his death in 1977.

My most vivid memory of the trip is of the open market in town where I saw more varieties of olives in one place than I had ever before seen in my life.

I recall buying a small amount of each and then adjourning to the hotel for what must have been a fantastic picnic lunch.


February 27, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Flower Print T-Shirt


Designed by Jil Sander.


Off-white jersey cotton.




[via Fancy]

February 27, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

O! The joy!*


Not even a minute after I finished the 12:01 p.m. Sunday post, the power suddenly came back on at 7:11 p.m. Saturday evening.

I'm excited.

First things first: charge the PowerBook (and iPad) should power suddenly disappear (it wouldn't be the first time); turn up the heat so that if the power dies again there'll be a nice reservoir left over inside the house; get up on the treadmill and stride a while, after a sedentary day and a half.

Oh, that's much better.

So this will conclude the saga of me and my urban cowboy/faux pioneer life.


To wrap up some loose ends: Above, speeds with the Virgin device and below via Comcast internet,


both using the seven-year-old PowerBook at my spot by the fireplace.

Though the speeds look crazy different, I will tell you that creating Sunday's 10:01 a.m. and 12:01 p.m. posts using the Virgin USB stick did not seem at all slow or even sluggish.

Why that is maybe someone who knows something about computers and the innertubes can tell me/us.

But the next time the power goes out — it happens a couple times a year on average — I'm ready.

Another thing: I'm struck by how much battery life has improved over the years re: Apple laptops.

Whereas my PowerBook goes about two hours before crying uncle (I do have a spare fully-charged battery — which itself weighs nearly three-quarters of a pound [11.15 oz. if it's that important] and at 0.75" is thicker than the new MacBook Air [0.68"] — so even if I had continued to deplete the one in the computer down to zero, I could've continued to post with the spare), according to Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal the new MacBook Air goes nearly five hours on a single charge "with all power-saving features turned off, Wi-Fi kept on, the screen on maximum brightness and a continuous loop of music playing."

You could look it up.

Finally, a shout-out to me for having the dumb wit and luck to decide recently, after all these years, to buy and install Tiger to see if it would pep up my ancient machine.

Not only did it double the speed from that when running 10.3.9, but it turns out that the Virgin device only runs on Macs with 10.4 and higher.

I was wondering about that as I drove to Wal-Mart to buy the thing but decided to stop thinking about it.

Only as I left the store did I look at the package and read "Mac with 10.4 and higher" on the packaging.

Talk about saved by the bell....

One last thing: from the time the power went out Friday night until now I never once checked Facebook or Twitter or did anything but focus on boj.

It was rather refreshing, a memory of days gone by.

And now (well, at 4:01 p.m. today) we return you to our regularly scheduled fare.

The photo up top was taken at 8:14 p.m. last evening and features Gray Cat happily ensconced atop a heating vent, enjoying the wonders of civilization alongside me.


February 27, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

F-Stop Searching Key Cap for the photographer in your life


"A sharp choice for the enthusiastic shutterbug: simply slip your key through the top


and allow its toothed end to pass through the bottom."


Yellow, Grey or Black.




[via carlovely]

February 27, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

2004 PowerBook G4 battery down to 38% so I'll be brief


It's now 6:54 p.m. Saturday evening and darkness has fallen.

It would appear electricity remains only a distant dream for now, so I will proceed from where Sunday's 10:01 a.m. post left off.

After purchasing the very last Virgin USB stick that Wal-Mart had in stock, I returned to my car to see if I could actually get it to work.

Long story very short: after an hour or so of this and that, typical TechnoDolt™ foolishness, I was online!


Speeds weren't much to brag about (1.2Mps down/0.3Mps up) but that didn't seem such a big deal when placed beside the fact that I was now live and on the interwebs.

So I headed home.

As I crested the hill I saw all the trucks were gone and it looked like the power pole was up with all wires connected, but when I parked my car I didn't hear the roar of the heat pump which I would have heard had the power come back on.

And so it was that when I entered, Gray Cat right behind me, the house remained without electricity, all digital clocks black and no motors humming away.

Well, OK then.

Gray Cat has had some canned tuna for a special treat because of the disruption in our routine and I've got candles lit and I broke down and started a roaring fire and here I sit in front of it typing away.

And I see battery power is now down to 22% so I'll quit for now, resuming in a while with today's (Sunday) 2:01 p.m. post.

I can always head down to Panera or Greenberry's Coffee if I want to plug in or even use my car to recharge the laptop (I've got one of those power inverters which I keep in the trunk and use about once every two years, but oh boy it's great to be able to pull it out when you need it).


February 27, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Folding Carbon Fiber Knife + Money Clip Wallet


"Unlike most carbon knives, the blade is made up of a laminate of D2 tool steel and carbon fiber, with the edge of the blade made from steel, ensuring it can be sharpened."

Smaller in dimensions than a credit card.

Designed by John Kubasek.



[via NOTCOT]

February 27, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The way it is


In which your faithful correspondent, at 6:28 p.m. Saturday evening, sums up the day's events since leaving Best Buy early this afternoon after using its excellent Apple equipment to put up today's 2:01 p.m. post.

I decided to head home to see how Gray Cat was doing (I'd kept her in when I'd left for Best Buy since it was still pretty chilly out) and if the electricity had come back on.

But I knew once I crested the hill that crowns my little cul-de-sac street that that wasn't very likely.

Because it looked like Woodstock for electric company workers down below and out on the farm that borders the west side of my little (34 houses) subdivision.

I counted about 10 trucks, almost all of them big ones with at least four cherry picker-type vehicles.

I put on my glasses and then saw what the problem was: a power pole had blown down in yesterday's high winds, taking down its attached wires and, according to a neighbor who lives closer to the downed pole, causing them to burst into flames last night, the reason for the visitation from the fire truck I remarked on in this afternoon's post.

Good thing the hay had been cut short in that field.

Anyway, just then an electric company truck drove up and the guy said he was "looking for a place to put the ground."

I asked if there was any time frame for completing the repair and he said "about three more hours."

It was around 2 p.m. by then so I figured maybe we'd have power tonight.

I take estimates like that the way I take surgeons' estimates of how long it'll take them to close, i.e., not very seriously.

So I let Gray Cat out (it was around 55° by then) and did this and that and then remembered Paul Biba's telling me about how great his Virgin 3G USB MC760 stick (top; about which much more another time) was when there was no WiFi around, so I called around and learned that Wal-Mart had one so I had the guy hold it for me (it was now around 4 p.m.) and hastened up there.

That will conclude this episode, the saga to be continued in Sunday's (see, that's today as you read this but tomorrow as I type) 12:01 p.m. post.


February 27, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Primary 3000 Raygun


Below, Howie Woo on WooWork.com regarding this singular object.


When this mysterious briefcase


appeared on my doorstep, I faced two choices: call the authorities or open the case.

Compelled by a strange sense of destiny, I chose to open it: Raygun!

It was a Primary 3000 model, chock-full of technical features:


Here is a view of the obverse side:


Since I was the one who built this raygun, I must have sent that mysterious briefcase to myself from the future.



[via Tatiana Benet-Riley]

February 27, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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