Monday, October 31, 2011

Stone Age-Sauvage Restaurant In Berlin Serves Only Food That Was Available To Our Caveman Ancestors (Halloween Finale)

NOTE:  I thought Halloween posting was over until I read this, which simply cannot be ignored.


By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:58 PM on 29th October 2011

     At first glance, Berlin's Sauvage restaurant looks much like many of the  German capital's other trendy eateries.

     But take a closer look at the chalkboard out front and you'll discover they are embarking on a culinary shake-up that takes its inspiration from the Stone Age.

     Proudly announcing a 'Real Food Revolution - Paleolithic cuisine!', there is no cheese, bread or sugar available, only fare accessible to our hunter-gatherer ancestors more than two million years ago.

Back to basics: Sauvage kitchen assistant Kawan Lofti holds a dish made entirely of ingredients which our Stone Age ancestors would have used.

     The restaurant menu shows a stereotypical image of modern humanity's forbearer, the jutting profile of a hirsute caveman. 

      Inside, diners eat at candle-lit tables with a contemporary cave painting hanging in the background, according to Spiegel Online.

Stone me: Sauvage claims to be the first restaurant in Europe to solely serve a Caveman diet

     Sauvage, which is also the French word for 'savage' or 'wild,' is part of the Paleolithic diet movement and claims to be first of its kind in Europe.

      That means serving only organic, unprocessed fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and herbs.

Our Paleolithic ancestors would not have had been able to call upon our modern culinary skills.  The great Ringo Starr in "Caveman."

     The truly obsessed build an entire lifestyle around the concept, mimicking caveman-era exercise.

    This can involve lifting boulders and running barefoot, with some even emulating the blood loss they believe Stone Age hunters might have experienced in pursuit of their dinner by donating blood every few months.

     But guests at Sauvage can try 'Paleo' without feeling obligated to take on a strictly Stone Age lifestyle.

     Sauvage's Boris Leite-Poço told Spiegel Online of the growing interest in caveman cooking.

     He said: 'Many people think the Paleolithic diet is just some hipster trend, but it's a worldwide phenomenon, with an online community that spans the globe.

     'The trend is probably strongest in the United States, where people who have had enough of the fast food way of life and generations of illness have taken it up.'

     The menu includes salads with olives, capers and pine nuts; gluten-free bread with nut-based butter or olive tapenades; smoked salmon with herb dressing; and other various meat and fish dishes.

     Gluten- and sugar-free cakes, like a spicy pumpkin pie, are available for those Stone Age diners who don't want to skip desert.

      Earlier this year, thousands of people rated the Paleo diet the best way to lose weight, despite a report claiming it was ineffective.

     A U.S. News and World Report said the regime, otherwise known as the Caveman diet, would 'likely disappoint... and was the least effective for weight loss.'

   But a poll beneath the review revealed that 3,292 people said that the diet had worked for them, compared with just 85 who said that it didn't.


Consumer vote: Despite the fact that the Caveman diet ranked least effective in a list of weight-loss plans compiled by nutritionists, thousands of people responded to say that for them, it delivered the best results.

Halloween 4: Jane's Pumpkins

     Our weekend of Hell finally ended late yesterday afternoon when our heat and light were restored and two Pumpkins (yes) transmogrified into three (that’s my Jane).  Up at 5:55 wishing for a very good day for kids and everyone else.  Today is the first day, etc.

Halloween 3: Hitchcock On Eggs

Alfred Hitchcock, known for his terrifying movies, had one unusual fear: "I'm frightened of eggs," he once said. "Worse than frightened—they revolt me. That white round thing without any holes—have you ever seen anything more revolting than an egg yolk breaking and spilling its yellow liquid?"

Happy Halloween 2 (Keith Richards' Skull Ring)


         Happy Halloween!  I'll spare you the story of our pre-Halloween nightmares, but will try to pass along any happy post-Halloween memories at a later date.

        In honor of the holiday, I just wanted to share (it's a weird form of holiday celebration/notation, I know, but what the hell) my long-term, persistent negative feelings about Keith Richards' "trademark" skull ring.

     This hideous, depressing piece of jewelry was, apparently (I never knew this until today) designed by the London jewelers Courts and Hackett for Keith as a birthday present in 1978.  Others may not share this opinion, but I feel strongly that Keith's ring is one of the stupidest, ugliest items ever to appear on human hands anywhere at any time in history.

        Keith's fashion sense has always been imperfect, as has Mick Jagger's.  Brian, Bill and (quite a bit later) Charlie were always "streets ahead", as they say, of their bandmates in this regard.  That's ok.  Whatever his shortcomings (including not releasing a decent Rolling Stones record in about 40 years), Keith's talent and cool is undeniable and, as Ray Davies said about him a couple of years ago, he's the only member of his musical generation and British Invasion set who can still fit into all his old clothes (which he still apparently owns.)

      Happy Halloween!  Keith, please lose the ring.

KEITH'S RING (2)      


        "Over the past 30 years Keith Richards silver skull ring has taken on its own mythology and iconic status. The most famous ring in the world has come to signify not only Keith Richards the man - seen wearing it at every gig and in every photograph – but Rock and Roll itself. The ring has inspired both an international cult following and unlimited fake copies. There have been countless claims as to who designed and made the original but this is the true story. 

        In 1978 the celebrated London goldsmiths David Courts and Bill Hackett were working on a small scale silver sculpture of a human skeleton. Using a real skull for reference they carved a perfect miniature replica which they then moulded. When the hollow wax skull was removed from its mould the inspiration for the ring was born. Further experimentation led to the creation of the original silver skull ring. At the same time an invitation arrived from Keith Richards to his birthday party in New York - so Bill and David decided that the new ring would make a fantastic present. From the moment he put it on his finger, the magic began and he has worn it ever since."


There's A Thought (Happy Halloween Zazen 1)

        Last night, as I often do while lying in bed reading, I emailed myself some notes.   

        It's possible I was merely overtired, but I may have been "possessed" when I wrote and sent them.  

        I have no idea whatsoever what they mean or what I intended.  

        To prove my point, these are they, reprinted in reverse chronological order:

1. Sad Under Satan.  SK's announcement.

2. GG's Sad Life.

3.  The poet eVentually -- 2 six

4.  AdD Fragments feom. Al lover. Denny

Might it be time to resume therapy? 

Reply to:  PO Box 518, Tuxedo Park, NY

Painting:   Maruyama Okyo, Skeleton performing zazen on waves, 1787, Daijoji Temple, Hyogo, Japan

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Team Claims It Has Found Oldest Fossils; Angry, Jealous Science (New York Times, August 21, 2011)

Note:  The following article was published in late August in the New York Times.  It's highly interesting because it runs on two parallel levels, i.e., as a "straight" account of an important scientific discovery and also as a tale of professional jealousy.  I've tried to demarcate the two levels by assigning them different color type here, but basically it's a story worth reading and information worth knowing.

A collection of tubular microfossils found in 3.4-billion-year-old sandstone from Western Australia (photograph: David Wacey)


     A team of Australian and British geologists have discovered fossilized, single-cell organisms that are 3.4 billion years old and that the scientists say are the oldest known fossils on earth.

     Their assertion, if sustained, confirms the view that life evolved on earth surprisingly soon after the Late Heavy Bombardment, a reign of destruction in which waves of asteroids slammed into the primitive planet, heating the surface to molten rock and boiling the oceans into an incandescent mist. The bombardment, which ended around 3.85 billion years ago, would have sterilized the earth’s surface of any incipient life. 

     The claim is also a new volley in a long-running conflict over who has found the oldest fossil.

     The new microfossils are described in Sunday’s issue of Nature Geoscience by a team led by David Wacey of the University of Western Australia and Martin D. Brasier of the University of Oxford. The fossils were found in sandstone at the base of the Strelley Pool rock formation in Western Australia.

   The sandstone, 3.4 billion years ago, was a beach on one of the few islands that had started to appear above the ocean’s surface. Conditions were very different from those of today. The moon orbited far closer to earth, raising huge tides. The atmosphere was full of methane, since plants had not yet evolved to provide oxygen, and greenhouse warming from the methane had heated the oceans to the temperature of a hot bath.

     It was in these conditions, the geologists believe, that organisms resembling today’s bacteria lived in the crevices between the pebbles on the beach. Examining thin slices of rock under the microscope, they have found structures that look like living cells, some in clusters that seem to show cell division.

     Cell-like structures in ancient rocks can be deceiving — many have turned out to be artifacts formed by nonbiological processes. In this case, the geologists have gathered considerable circumstantial evidence that the structures they see are biological. With an advanced new technique, they have analyzed the composition of very small spots within the cell-like structures. “We can see carbon, sulfur, nitrogen and phosphorus, all within the cell walls,” Dr. Brasier said.

       Crystals of fool’s gold, an iron-sulfur mineral, lie next to the microfossils and indicate that the organisms, in the absence of oxygen, fed off sulfur compounds, Dr. Brasier and his colleagues say.

    Microfossils — the cell-like structures found in ancient rocks — have become a highly contentious field, both because of the pitfalls in proving that they are truly biological and because the scientific glory of having found the oldest known fossil has led to pitched battles between rival claimants. 

Microfossils discovered in Western Australia by J. William Schopf, University of California, Los Angeles.  A photograph of each specimen appears with an interpretive drawing of the structure.  (Photograph courtesy of J. William Schopf).

     The honor of having found the most ancient microfossil has been long been held by J. W. Schopf, a paleobiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1993, Dr. Schopf reported his discovery of fossils 3.465 billion years old in the Apex chert of the Warrawoona Group in Western Australia, about 20 miles from where the new fossils have been found. Those would be some 65 million years older than the new find, but Dr. Schopf’s claim was thrown in doubt in 2002 when Dr. Brasier attacked his finding, saying the fossils were not biological but just mineral artifacts. 

      With the new discovery, Dr. Brasier has dropped the second shoe, claiming to find microfossils that are or may be the oldest known, if and when Dr. Schopf’s are knocked out of the running.

     The Nature Geoscience article published on Sunday does not claim discovery of the earth’s oldest microfossils. That assertion was made in a press release issued by the University of Oxford, where Dr. Brasier is a professor in the department of earth sciences.

     Dr. Brasier said the article submitted to Nature Geoscience had made such a claim, but the reviewers questioned the advisability of doing so, and the senior author, Dr. Wacey, “decided to acquiesce on this particular point.”

     Dr. Schopf did not respond to an e-mail seeking his comments. “Bill Schopf still very strongly defends his original claim, and is working to validate it,” said Roger Buick, an earth scientist at the University of Washington.

     Dr. Buick said there was no consensus on Dr. Schopf’s microfossils, but that “the majority opinion is that they are probably not biological and probably not as old as claimed.”

     The team led by Dr. Wacey and Dr. Brasier has made a “pretty good case,” Dr. Buick said, because the many different analytic techniques they have used “lend credence to the argument in a way that many other previously reported discoveries of particularly ancient microfossils have not.”

   Does that mean the new microfossils are the oldest known? “If these are valid, and if we discount the Schopf microfossils, these would be the oldest known, though not by much,” Dr. Buick said. 

Artist's rendering of Earth during the Archean eon, i.e., 2.5 billion years ago. (Peter Sawyer, Smithsonian Institution). 

     Rocks older than 3.5 billion years have been so thoroughly cooked as to destroy all cellular structures, but chemical traces of life can still be detected. Chemicals indicative of life have been reported in rocks 3.5 billion years old in the Dresser Formation of Western Australia and, with less certainty, in rocks 3.8 billion years old in Greenland.

     “This struggle to be the owner of the world’s oldest microfossils is really not the crux of the battle for understanding the early development of life anymore,” Dr. Buick said.

     Andrew H. Knoll, an earth scientist at Harvard, said in a brief e-mail from a Moscow airport that the researchers had not proved their point that the fossils, when alive, fed on sulfur compounds. But he did not take sides on the dispute between Dr. Brasier and Dr. Schopf.

    Dr. Buick said: “You’ve got to realize how divisive this microfossil war has been over the last decade. Most people just want it to be over. If claim and counterclaim go back and forth for a decade, it sounds like we don’t know what we’re doing.” 

Ship's chronometer used on HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin's 1831 - 1836 voyage. This instrument was made by Thomas Earnshaw (1749-1828) and is on permanent display in Rooms 38-39 (Clocks and Watches) of the British Museum, London.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino), Self-Portrait, Oil on panel, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, 1506.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-A-Dee-A
My oh my, what a Wonderful Day
Plenty of Sunshine, Headed my way

Mister Bluebird on my shoulder!
It's the Truth,
It's Actual,
Everything is . . .  Satisfactual

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-A-Dee-A
Wonderful feeling
Wonderful Day

Yes Sir

A Random Shot May Strike A Vulnerable Spot (Spiritualist Society of Great Britain)

      “The stronghold of the Spiritualist Society of Great Britain is a large house at 33 Belgrave Square, whose busy counter, where appointments are made, fees paid, and pamphlets bought, resembles the desk of a good small hotel  with a clientele of middle-aged ladies.  It is possible to attend individual sessions, sittings for private groups, and, for a nominal sum, public meetings, some of them double-headers -- two spiritualists for the price of one.  (These are usually scheduled for one evening during each week; phone BEL 3351).


        How effective any one spiritualist appears to be depends, as it does in any religion, on one’s willingness to be convinced.  A random shot may strike a vulnerable spot, and the eager responses will give an astute professional much to work with.  For one observer, ready to fall into devotion, it will be an uncanny, shaking experience; for another, a demonstration of observation.  All the practitoners shed an atmosphere of optimism, leaving the whole group, particularly those selected for a “message,” with a promise of better things to come.  One practitioner does it with her attractive, mobile face, deep-set, glowing eyes, and large, restless movements., exuding a sense of energetic  well-being that is of itself an advertisement for the health-giving properties of spiritualism.  Another, a large confident lady, stands as Pallas Athena:  stolid wisdom and massive power.  All of them, no matter what their strengths, add to that the strength of prayer and assurance, constantly reiterated, that loved ones “who have gone beyond” (“death” is a word that is never used ) are standing by and always will be, with support and love. “

The two plates show the before and after photographs of one of Zollner's [1]  experiments demonstrating the movement of objects by unknown means.

A Spirit Photograph of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle purporting to show the spirit of his son, Kingsley, who was killed in World War I.

Note:  The text here is excerpted from Kate Simon's "uncommon guidebook" entitled "Kate Simon's London Places and Pleasures" (G.P. Putnam's & Sons, New York, 1968).  Ms. Simon, who passed away in 1990, was a wonderful travel writer.  It doesn't matter whether specific  pieces of information in her books are now "out of date;" good books are never "out of date."  

Several years ago, after 55 years of residence at 33 Belgrave Square, the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain relocated to 11 Belgrave Road, London, near Victoria Station.  The upkeep costs on an 175-year old mansion which they did not own in one of London's grandest locations simply proved to be too high, and prudently and hopefully these seers, heirs to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and  other British spiritualists whose exploits and fervor light the imagination, made plans for the long future

[1]  From Johann Carl Friederich Zollner: Transcendental Physics: An Account of Experimental Investigations From The Scientific Treatises of Johann Carl Friederich Zollner, Leipzig, 1882Zollner (1834–1882), a Professor of Astrophysics at Leipzig, embarked on his study of spiritualism after becoming interested in the fourth dimension of space and meeting William Crookes in 1875 (to whom this book is dedicated). This book describes experiments he performed in 1877 with Henry Slade, an American medium. On the run from the authorities in England after being convicted of fraud, Slade convinced Zollner and his fellow séance participants (all respected German scientists) of his skills through the appearance of handwriting on slates, moving of objects and clairvoyance. Zollner believed that these supernatural phenomena were caused by either Slade or spirits working in the fourth dimension. He backed up his claims through reference to work undertaken on geometrical axioms and the fourth dimension by Hermann von Helmholtz. Zollner's work caused the first major controversy in modern German occultism. Significantly, the issues it raised surrounding imagination and the fourth dimension attracted the attention of figures such as Henri Poincare and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Michelangelo's Friend

        Vasari says that not very long before the Last Judgment was finished, Michelangelo fell from the scaffolding, and seriously hurt his leg.  The pain he suffered and his melancholy made him shut himself up at home, where he refused to be treated by a doctor.  There was a Florentine physician in Rome, however, of capricious humor, who admired the arts, and felt a real affection for Buonarroti.  This man  contrived to creep into the house by some privy entrance, and roamed about it till he found the master.  He then insisted upon remaining there on watch and guard until he had affected a complete cure. The name of this excellent friend, famous for his skill and science in those days, was Baccio Rontini.  [1]

        Thereupon Master Baccio Rontini, the Florentine, his friend and a clever doctor, feeling pity for him, went one day and knocked at his door, and receiving no answer, made his way to the room of Michelangelo, who had been given over, and would not leave him until he was cured. [2]

I've grown a goitre by dwelling in this den–
As cats from stagnant streams in Lombardy,
Or in what other land they hap to be–
Which drives the belly close beneath the chin:
My beard turns up to heaven; my nape falls in,
Fixed on my spine: my breast-bone visibly
Grows like a harp: a rich embroidery
Bedews my face from brush-drops thick and thin.
My loins into my paunch like levers grind:
My buttock like a crupper bears my weight;
My feet unguided wander to and fro;
In front my skin grows loose and long; behind,
By bending it becomes more taut and strait;
Crosswise I strain me like a Syrian bow:
Whence false and quaint, I know,
Must be the fruit of squinting brain and eye;
For ill can aim the gun that bends awry.
Come then, Giovanni, try
To succour my dead pictures and my fame;
Since foul I fare and painting is my shame. [3]

Jacopino del Conte, Portrait of Michelangelo (after 1550)


[1]   John Addington Symonds, The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1893).

[2]  Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artist (1550)

[3] Michelangelo Buonarroti, Poem describing painting of the Sistine Chapel (translated by Symonds, 1878).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Combination Of The Two (Big Brother's Big Brothers)

Big Brother And The Holding Company -- Combination Of The Two (Link)

Above: Michelangelo, Moses (Tomb of Pope Julius II, San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome), 1513-15
Below:  Donald Judd, Untitled, 1966

Ornicopia 9: Feathers (An Extremely Strong, Light Plane of Great Flexibility)


319.  How many individual parts does a feather have?  
The parts of a single feather add up to more than a million individual units, many of them so small they can only be seen with the help of a microscope.  These parts interlock to form an extremely strong, light plane of great flexibility.



321.  Are the feathers of a bird alive? 
As long as the feather is growing, its soft central is fed with blood vessels which supply pigments and food.  Once the feather is fully mature, that is, has lost all of its sheath and is fully expanded, it hardens, the food supply is cut off, and the whole structure is made up of dead epidermis.  The feather may then be considered dead, though it continues to be firmly clasped by the feather follilcle until the next




326.  What are down feathers? 
These are soft feathers without a shaft and having barbs that are but soft fluffy tufts.  They are extremely strong and resilient.  They provide the covering of many newly-hatched birds , particularly those of the precocial group.  Some species of birds as adults have a down undercoating beneath their contour feathers.  Ducks and geese have such an undercoating.



327.  What are powder-down feathers? 
These scarcely seem like feathers at all.  They form a powdery substance on some areas of the skin of such birds as herons and bitterns.  These birds rub their bills in the powder-down feathers and spread the resulting powder over their plumage, giving it a “bloom” which rubs off when the bird is handled.



Key to Illustrations:

A.  Indian peacock photographed by Jebulon.

B.  Feather structure diagram.

C. Parts of the feather: (1) Vane; (2) Rachis; (3) Barb; (4) After-Feather; (5) Hollow shaft (calamus)

D.  Feather structure of a blue-and-yellow Macaw.

E.  Common female eider duck with down photographed by Frederic Levier.

F.  Plumes. Illustré par Adolphe Millot dans Larousse pour tous [1907-1910]. Aigle, Hibou, Goura, Argus, Paon, Autruche, Canard, Dindon, Pintade, Aigrette, Faisan etc.

G.  Mealy parrot showing powder down, photographed in Florida by Don Kasak.

H.  Archaeopteryx  sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel ("original bird" or "first bird"), is a genus of theropod dinosaur.  Late Jurassic Period (150 million years ago). 

I.  Shaft of male Indian Peafowl tail feather (Pavo cristatus); Feather microstructure showing interlocking barbules. Photographed by Michael Maggs.

From:  1001 Questions Answered About Birds by Allan D. Cruickshank and Helen G. Cruickshank (Toronto, General Publishing Company, 1958)