Monthly Archives: May 2012

Happy 153rd Birthday Big Ben!

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Today is Big Ben’s 153rd birthday and to celebrate I give you a run-down of some choice facts about everyone’s favourite bell.

– Big Ben, and the tower it stands in (yes, we know the difference) were built after a fire partially destroyed the existing Palace of Westminster.

– Big Ben is a big boy. The original bell weighed in at over 16 tonnes and it took a trolley pulled by 16 horses to transport it from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to New Palace Yard, accompanied by cheering crowds.

– Big Ben is actually Big Ben the II. After all that effort, they broke the original bell in tests and had to make a new one. Within a few months Ben had broken again, but was repaired and still chimes today complete with crack.

– Big Ben was the biggest bell in Britain before being trumped by ‘Great Paul’, which hangs (predictably) in St Paul’s.

– There are disputes over who exactly is Ben’s namesake. Many believe it was named in honour of Sir Benjamin Hall who as the London commissioner of works oversaw the bell’s installation. Our preferred alternative is that Ben is named after the truly colossal heavyweight champ, Big Benjamin Caunt.

– BBC Radio Four transmits the chimes of Big Ben live every night before the six o’clock news. Why they don’t record them we’ll never know.

– Ben is a war hero. The bells were silenced and the clock face dimmed during WW1 but rang out clear and strong throughout WW2. The Palace of Westminster was hit on fourteen separate occasions over the course of WW2.

– UK residents can climb the tower by requesting a tour via their local MP.

– Big Ben is on twitter (unofficially), follow @big_ben_clock for the latest bongs.

Happy 153rd Birthday Big Ben!!!

Mooooo

xxx

The Lost Art of Brazilian Photograph Painting

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Throughout the late 19th century up until the 1990s, these captivating and strangely painted portraits (retratos pintados) were a common practice in rural northeastern Brazil. Family portraits were retouched with a heavy hand, painting over the original image with bold brush strokes which transformed family members into the rich, healthy and beautiful… even the dead ones.

The images are part of historian Titus Riedl’s collection of the images displayed in his book Retratos Pintados. Throughout the period when these images were being created, street-traders (called bonequeiros) would commonly attract clients in remote rural villages, then with images in hand, they would travel to bigger towns where they would hand over the materials to puxadores who would enlarge the photographs. Then painters, often in small, improvised studios, would create the final image. Returning to the original village, often weeks later, the image was finally delivered to the client.

With the advent of modern technology and the lack of readily available photo paper, the unique tradition has largely died out. It has now been replaced with modern digital techniques like Photoshop and printed on inkjet printers… often with an elaborate phone card, postcard or screensaver motif as their background. For more about these unique pieces of cultural history, see the interview with Martin Parr (who wrote the intro to Riedl’s book) at themorningnews.org.

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Mooooo

xxx

Flying Mouse

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Chow Hon Lam is the true name of Flying Mouse, a graphic designer from Malaysia who makes t-shirts with humor and exports throughout the world. Know the work of this designer that won three Bestee Awards and works for The Dave Matthews Band.

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Chow Hon Lam, or Flying Mouse, is a t-shirts designer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According him, this garment is a way of telling stories on a funny or symbolical way.

However, his images don’t need a physical shape to be appreciated. With humor and originality, his purpose is bringing a smile to the world in times of crisis. He won three prizes on Bestee Awards 2007: Most Printed Design, Newcomer of the Year and Best Concept for a Design .
Besides his own online sales’ website , he works for Lotus F1, Air Asia, Nike and even for he Dave Matthews Band. The ordered t-shirts take 3 weeks approximately until their arrival destination and requests can be made from any country.
Chow Hon Lam criticizes the popular culture a little bit. There are remarkable things at his work, like ostriches which want to fly, milk packages talking t their moms, disguised octopus and monsters with roller skates…

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Mooooo

xxx

Retro Futuristic Pictures

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Several people, throughout history have tried to predict what life would be like in a society in the future. From massive infrastructures, buildings, roads, vehicles to spaceships and outer space habitats.

Personally, I find it fascinating to pick up a magazine from 20 or 30 years ago and look at some illustrations that try to predict “what the future will be like”. Some pictures are completely delirious – at least for now – but others are incredibly visionary. In this German website Retro-Futurismus, I found a very interesting set of retro, futuristic illustrations.
The authors don’t supply an awful lot of information (the website is entirely in German) about what triggered this project, but it mainly consists of organizing and cataloguing German and Austrian visionary works. Apparently the goal behind this effort is to incite scientific investigation in these countries, which, according to the webmasters, has gone downhill since the 70s, when some anti-science and anti-technology feelings began developing within these societies – an opinion I personally don’t agree with.
Regardless of their intentions, the illustrations are very good. Strictly for aficionados.

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Mooooo

xxx

Working with Dinosaurs

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The Dinosaur Office is a clay-animation video series starring dinosaurs in familiar, everyday office situations. It was created by writers Kevin Corrigan, Caldwell Tanner and Brian Murphy at collegehumor.com in New York. Of course, unlike human workplaces, at Dinosaur Office all gossiping is done in booming dinosaur voices and fights-to-the-death occasionally break out at office parties.

Mooooo

xxx

iPhone tips & tricks: Battery Life

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I’m going to share with you iPhone tips & tricks that will help you get the most of your iPhone.

Today’s Tips & Tricks is about:

BATTERY LIFE

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Keep it alive for longer.

Mooooo

xxx

Beautiful And Inspiring Words

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Sometimes all it takes for us to have that ‘aha’ moment, that revelatory kernel of truth that wakes us up and sends us in the right direction, is one sentence spoken clearly and concisely. These posters do just that, capturing some of the wisdom written by the great philosophers that have gone before us, those who explored the far boundaries of human understanding and wisdom. The bold, black and white typography against a newsprint like halftone, is just the right look for such truthful statements strongly said.

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The series of posters was created by Max Temkin, a designer and print maker from Chicago, Illinois. He was inspired to create the set after a retiring teacher gave him a poster containing an enlightening message from Friedrich Nietzsche… but one that was designed in a fashion far less inspiring than the quote itself. Looking to create something more fitting of the wise words these thinkers gave us, he recently started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and sell the beautiful hand silk-screened posters at a bargain price of $20 a pop… and has had a huge amount of interest. In fact, he’s sold 1362 prints to date. It’s almost as inspiring a story as the quotes he’s sharing. To get your hands on one of these prints and their deep messages, head to Max’s site: Maxistentialism.

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Mooooo

xxx

The “Fright Complex” by Alfred Hitchcock

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In May of 1964, BBC’s Huw Weldon interviewed iconic film director Alfred Hitchcock for the TV program Monitor. Brilliantly insightful and ever-so-subtly condescending as ever, the great filmmaker shares priceless insights on the social psychology of fear, the gender balance of film audiences, and ratio of intuition vs. calculation in American and English cinema.

It’s all based on Red Riding Hood, you see. Nothing has changed since Red Riding Hood. So what [audiences] are frightened of today is exactly the same thing they were frightened of yesterday. Because this…shall we call it ‘fright complex’…is rooted in every individual.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock

The assembly of pieces of film to create fright is the essential part of my job, just as much would a painter, by putting certain colors together, create evil on canvas.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock

[A good cry] is the satisfaction of temporary pain. And that’s the same thing when people endure the agonies of a suspense film — when it’s all over, they’re relieved.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock

For more of the iconic director, I highly recommend Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection — an ambitious collection of 14 digitally remastered Hitchcock gems, accompanied by fascinating documentaries, featurettes, commentary and a collectible book, and encased in stunningly designed velvet packaging.

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Mooooo

xxx

Satirical Illustrations

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Polish illustrator Pawel Kuczynski cleverly uses satire to portray today’s social, political and cultural reality.

At first sight, his illustrations might seem funny, but when you look closer, they actually show some serious problems of today’s world.

Born in 1976, Pawel is a graduate of Fine Arts Academy in Poznan. The artist began drawing satirical illustrations back in 2004, and so far has been “rewarded with 92 prizes and distinctions“. In 2005, Pawel Kuszynski received “Eryk” award from Association of Polish Cartoonists for getting a record number of awards in international competitions.

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Mooooo

xxx

Europe in under Four Minutes

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This time-lapse video of a map of Europe shows how the borders of our continent changed from around AD1,000 through to 2012. We challenge you not to be transfixed as the Holy Roman Empire becomes what we know today as Belgium, Czech Republic, Switzerland and other countries, and Castile and Aragon are transformed into Spain. It’s like being in a history lesson again, only more fun.

Mooooo

xxx