Monday, October 26, 2009

The Many Faces of Mona

Starting with Duchamp's version painted in 1919, I've enjoyed many of the 'bastardized' Mona Lisa renditions.

Hilary & Monica were definitely amusing in the 1990's.

But, this version is by far the most brilliant commentary of the times!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Recently, there have been some exciting discoveries and advances in the study of human evolution. Tim White and others have finally published information and analysis about Ardi, the nearly complete humanoid skeleton they found in Ethiopia in 1997. It has taken 12 years to fully analyze the find. Ardi is the oldest hominid skeleton ever found.

Ardi, a 3.5 foot female Ardipithecus that walked on two feet and lived 4.4 million years ago, predates Lucy by a million years. Some revelations about Ardi are that she did walk on two feet, and yet had feet which could also grip tree limbs. This makes bipedalism much earlier for hominids than thought. For whatever reason, bipedalism must have had a tremendous evolutionary advantage for primates that evolved into humans, since it is a poor way to amble. Scientists are theorizing that bipedalism freed the hands for carrying food. (I thought also perhaps for carrying infants) An upright position then paved the way for other advantages such as social interaction, tool use, and speech, and was reinforced.

Though I don't quite understand,
Ardi also separates humans from the ape and gorilla branch more than once thought. Although we come from the same root as apes and gorillas, I guess the first hominid creatures developed on the hominid branch, not on the same branch as the gorillas and apes. They evolved separately. Still, we share 99.9% of the same genetic material as our primate friends. Another revelation is that Ardi has small teeth, unlike chimpanzees.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Big Sky

It's difficult to imagine that once upon a time I spent a week in Montana. It's taken me a long time to upload these photos. One, I did lose the USB connector for my camera, but two, I think I did have that 'can't go back there again' feeling. It was a beautiful experience for an outdoor lover. Hard to imagine. Here's our first day hike at Glacier National Park. I've also included our travel diary entries for that day.

August 22, 2009 Today was an incredible day. This park is amazing! We stayed in West Glacier the first night. Accommodations were rustic but we slept. Then we drove to Apgar Village and did some shopping and got a map. We parked at the Avalanche trail head then entered the trail of the cedars. It was very similar to the trees we saw in Olympia National Park, but smaller. We continued on to Avalanche Lake. The trail was a little climbing of 2 miles. We got to the lake and it was amazing! We stayed there a couple of hours, ate lunch, took pictures, walked around. The water was that glacial turquoise in parts. I found an injured bat and tried to help, but he was doomed with a clipped wing. What fascinating little creatures! He was so small and had this tiny dog-like face and teeth! We also saw a mink! CT

Indescribable beauty..... Spectacular views open up at every turn. Everything is big and spread out and high up. The water is melted ice but refreshing on the hands and feet. I'm out of shape but just did 4 miles of hiking. Loved every minute of it. The boat ride on Lake McDonald was relaxing and I'm hoping to get some color from the brilliant sun. A million stars shown down tonight! Hoping to see some more wildlife before the week is out. The mink was so adorable! MK

Monday, October 12, 2009

Killing Me Softly

Roberta Flack is a goddess walking upon the earth. Her signature song, "Killing Me Softly With His Song," was released in 1970! I noticed recently, working in Market Basket with the constant piped in music, that "Killing Me Softly" was being played frequently. At first I thought it was Roberta, but then I realized it was a modern version of the song by 'The Fugees'. Not bad, but not Roberta.

Below is Roberta Flack singing "Killing Me Softly" in the early 1970's. (Unfortunately I can't tell if this studio footage is live, or matched with a recorded version of the song) The second video is 'The Fugees'" version, with Roberta Flack, 39 years later, joining them on stage.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shroud of Turin Debunked

The authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, one of my favorite unsolved mysteries, has been solved. The shroud originally came to my attention in the early 1980's. There were many books about it and I was very intrigued. Science could not easily explain away this amazing piece!

The shroud is a long (14 ft.) linen cloth with a ghostly 3D image of the body and face of a man (both back side and front) that looks a lot like our depiction of Jesus, and a man that has been crucified. To make matters more convincing, there is also blood caked on the cloth, and the image is not painted on.

In 1988 scientists did carbon testing on the shroud, and dated it to the Middle Ages (1260-1390). At this point I put the shroud out of my mind, and deemed it a medieval forgery. During the 1300's, Europe was rife with the display of religious relics and icons, in order to encourage pilgrimages and raise money for the church. In addition, the
provenance, or historical record of the piece, was dated to the 1350's.

Recently some scientists challenged the accuracy of the earlier carbon dating. Burns on the shroud, which we know occurred in the Middle Ages and were fixed by nuns with patches of cloth, may have affected the outcome of the carbon testing. Most importantly, no one had yet to duplicate or explain how the image was created. It was intriguing to wonder: "How could people from medieval times have such sophisticated methods that even modern scientists can't explain?"

Last week an article appeared, reporting that an Italian scientist Luig
i Garlaschelli had duplicated the image by rubbing pigment on a model with a mask, then baking the pigment off (very simplified version). This technique leaves a faint stain similar to the shroud image. Others scientists have now successfully used other methods, that have also produced eerie images.

I must say that I'm slightly disappointed, but bow down to the God of science. One thing that always bothered me about the shroud was that Jesus looked exactly like Jesus. We know in reality the real Jesus living in the Middle East at the time probably would have been short, with an olive complexion, and curly dark hair. This is what always made me suspicious that the shroud was of
European origin.

--------------------------------Garlarschelli's Recreation

Saturday, October 3, 2009

High Maintenance?

Not surprisingly, I am not high maintenance, but quite low maintenance. Sometimes I think my independence and self-sufficiency borders on frightening.

I should be paired with the right, fairly high maintenance person. Only one friend called me high maintenance once, in reference to my 'emotional intensity.'

Click on the image to take the quiz yourself.

Anne Frank

There isn't a young girl on the planet that hasn't been profoundly moved by Anne Frank's diary, once she's read it. I remember reading it as an adolescent, but I haven't read it since. I'm afraid if I read the diary again I can't experience that innocence and heavy heart that can only be felt at that time in life.

Second to the bible, Anne Frank's diary is the most translated document in history. When I went to Anne
Frank's hiding place in Amsterdam, I was amazed at all the translated versions of her story, which the museum had on hand.

I hate that her father originally censored parts of her diary, deeming them improper. Just like an authoritative middle-aged man to squelch out a young woman's budding sexuality. At the same time, kudos to Otto for recognizing the miracle of his daughter's words, and sharing them with the world. Fortunately the full version of her diary is now available.

Anne Frank beat out Hilter's "Mein Kampf" by millions of copies. What utter irony. Who wants to listen to the rants and ravings of that old black heart? The man that murdered her. What a contrast between beauty and evil--- Anne Frank and Hilter.

Some moving pictures of Anne Frank have been released on the internet. Would she ever dream these images of her would be available worldwide in such a format, 60 years later? I think she would have been delighted.

I have seen these images before. Anne is up on the balcony watching a neighbor's wedding, a year or so before her family is forced into hiding. In the film, you catch a little of her spirited personality.
Click on link.