Friday, June 29, 2007

Nakha Chitra

Gold Fish by Suhas Tavkar

Via a co-worker, this elegant and delicate artwork created with the artist's fingernails: nakha chitra. From Mumbai, India, Suhas Tavkar has been performing this rare art form for over 50 years and his work will be on display at the New York Public Library (the Donnell Center on 53rd) from June 9th. He'll be doing a live demonstration of fingernail embossing there next Saturday the 7th at 1pm.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Because You Are Neither Surly Nor Flamboyant

Of all places, CRACKED magazine offers this superlative, short-'n'-sweet explanation of why bands like My Chemical Romance are rubbish:
You think that in 20 years people will be performing karaoke to “Son when you grow up, would you be the savior of the broken, the beaten and the damned?” Or will they be screaming “Scaramouche, scaramouche, will you do the fandango?!” Epics are either really fun or kickass: you can either be funny and flamboyant like Queen or surly and awesome like Lynard Skynard.

Sailor Maid


Dateline: Coney Island, New York:

This weekend, at the annual Mermaid Parade, I learned that many mermaids have tatts. Of the New York parades I've been to, this was the hottest and most crowded. But with lots of great people watching.

More Brazil pics up on my Flickr site, too.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Reinforcement of Belief

This extraordinary Fox News clip (well, it's hardly extraordinary in the sense that it's typical) demonstrates how the news organization is not interested in the pursuit of knowledge, but in the reinforcement of belief. The priest interviewed unreels so many unchallenged fallacies, it's mind-bending, and when he speaks of the "the intricacy of a human eye" (revealing his tremendous ignorance of evolution, since Darwin himself expected and countered this very argument in The Origin of the Species in 1859) the hosts nod appreciatively, one of them adding "that whole miracle of pregnancy," ironically unaware of the reams of evidence for evolution that pregnancy offers.

It's important to note, too, that the priest dismisses Dawkins and others as straying from their respective fields, then continues by offering his limited understanding of human biology and evolution as evidence for a Creator. It he truly sought knowledge, he could have found countless books, essays, and scientific documentaries detailing the evolution of the eye. To employ this argument reveals one of two things: either (1) a simple ignorance of the subject or (2) intellectual dishonesty. Of course, the latter is a distinct possibility, since many well-known pushers of Creationism have been confronted with the evidence which counters this argument (the eye's intricacy) repeatedly, yet many of them continue to employ the argument, safely assuming that the flock hasn't been exposed to its thorough rebuttal.

With this modus operandi in mind - employed by propagandists of every stripe, whether religious or political - and with this sort of ignorance on the loose, is it any wonder that 40% of Americans still think there was a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11?

Related: Watch this excellent video on the evolution of the eye on YouTube.

Additionally, today, The New York Times posted an excellent series of articles about evolution and especially the relatively new field of evo-devo.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Nice Guy Finishes First

If you've been following the amazing story of singing cellphone salesman Paul Potts, the one human being I've seen consistently send a silly, helpless grin to Simon Cowell's face, his story had a very happy ending this weekend.

If you haven't been following, do yourself the favor of a quick recap by starting here, then here, then finally here. And see a shy bloke from South Wales bring a crowd to its feet and to tears with opera.

Got to be the most inspiring thing I've ever seen on the internets.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fuck the FCC

Mark Morford sums up my thoughts on the recent New York appeals court ruling against the FCC. Should've known such a ruling would've come out of New York, I guess (conservatives will agree but for different reasons), as you'd be forgiven for thinking "the f word" was invented here.

BTW, the post title above ain't my words. Far be it from me to employ such harsh language on my humble PG-rated blog! Just quoting good ol' Steve Earle.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Grandma Laughlin

Rest in peace, "rangar." I wish we all could've been there.

You were long-suffering. You taught us to be kind. Not to mention tolerant. And I reckon you're where we all got our off-kilter sense of humor, too.

Kisses from afar, grandma.