Art of 2007

At the Tate Modern in London, the Shibboleth 2007 ran from October 2007 to April 2008. It was a 548 feet long crack on the floor which addresses "a long legacy of racism and colonialism that underlies the modern world." Source.
It begins as a crack, but deepens and snakes across the floor of the Turbine Hall. At some points, it is four feet across. In the first four weeks of the exhibit, 15 people were injured.
One incident: "We saw the first poor victim, a young woman who went into it with both feet up to just below her knees. She had to be dragged out by her friends. . . .Unbelievably, as we watched to see whether she was OK, an older woman deliberately stepped on it (she later told us, amazingly, that she thought the crack was painted on the floor) lurched forward and landed on the ground. She had a sore wrist to show for it." Source.
Here is a video of people looking at the exhibit and here is a video of the exhibit from beginning to end.
In 2006, the Tate Modern exhibited five corkscrew slides. The biggest slide was 182 feet long with a drop of 88.5 feet. Four legal claims followed.
Also in 2007, Urs Fischer spent ten days and $250,000 to build a 38 by 30 foot and eight feet deep crater in the Gavin Brown Enterprise Gallery. The crater is surrounded by a fourteen-inch ledge. A sign warns, "THE INSTALLATION IS PHYSICALLY DANGEROUS AND INHERENTLY INVOLVES THE RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH." The crater is titled You. Source.

A bit of everything

In Barboursville, West Virginia, when 12-year-old Megan Templeton picked up a seedless watermelon in a bin at Walmart, she was stung by an inch-long scorpion. She is fine. Source.

14-year-old Sam Hawthorne slept walked into the teeth of a dead, souvenir shark on his bedroom wall. The shark teeth embedded themselves into Sam's cheek for 15 minutes, but he survived with only a small scar.
My favorite part is the highly misleading article title: "Shark Attacks Boy in his Bedroom!" and the sentences: " The teenager survived a terrifying ordeal when he was bitten in the face by one of the killer beasts – in his own bedroom. . . . Jaws struck in the middle of the night at the family home." Source
As of posting this, the home-video of a laughing Swedish baby has over 50 million views on Youtube. The video can be seen here.
cute, cute, cute, evil, spam, I think the baby is ugly, How can you think that!, cute, cute, I want to have a baby, cute, baby is high, look at my videos, cute, just like my kid, cute, LOL, cute, cute, etc., etc." Source.
P.S. I will be on vacation this week, but I have programed a post for the 30th and the 3rd.

Unrelated topics

Lali was born in Saini Sunpura, India March 11, 2008 with a condition known as craniofacial duplication. This means she has one head but two faces. While her condition often brings serious health complications, doctors say she is doing well. (The most recent article I could find was from April 9th.)
Viewed as a reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga, "[u]p to 100 people have been visiting Lali at her home every day to touch her feet out of respect, offer money and receive blessings."
Daulat Ram, the village chief, plans to get governmental money for a temple dedicated to Durga and to assist Lali's family financially.
Lali's father, Vinod Singh says, "At first I was a little bit afraid, but then I accepted whatever God gives. . . . My daughter is fine - like any other child."
To see a video which includes Lali, her parents and villagers, click here.

Mark McGowan is a UK performance artist. Here are some of his works:

  • For two weeks, Mark stuck two chips up his nose, strapped 48 sausage to his head and sat in a bath of baked beans in defense of the British breakfast.
  • He ate approximately three bites of corgi (the dog breed favored by Queen Elizabeth II) to protest a fox hunt of Prince Phillip.
  • He crawled through New York on his hands and knees wearing a George Bush mask and a sign on his rear reading, "Kiss my ass."
  • He reenacted the Abu Ghraib human pyramid with six teenage girls.
  • Dressed as a British soldier, he lay curled up in the Birmingham City Center for one week.
  • He randomly keyed cars in Glasgow and South East London. 47 cars were keyed in total. Mark said, "I do feel guilty about keying people's cars[. B]ut if I don't do it, someone else will . . . They should feel glad that they've been involved in the creative process."
  • To draw attention to the "obesity pandemic," Mark put a 27 pound turkey on his head, walked backwards for eleven miles. Along the way he shouted at obese people.
  • In July 2005, Mark attempted to leave a tap of cold water running for one year, using 15 million liters of water (aprx. 3,299,539 gallons). Through this he hoped to comment on water waste. Following threats of legal action on the part of Tames Water, the tap was shut off on July 29th.
  • From a 2007 interview: "A common misperception of me is that I'm an idiot. Within the art world they definitely think I'm an idiot. I'm not sure if it's a misconception. I am interested in the idea of shame. A teacher told me at school, 'you're an idiot. You're stupid'. I wasn't very good at exams. Part of my art is to be portrayed as an idiot and to be seen as a fool. One of the things about shame is that when you do it in public it has a certain amount of power attached to it and you can use that power."
  • Source. Source. Source. Source. Source.

Today on my Google homepage

Yosuke, an African gray parrot in Japan, flew out of his cage and got lost. Yosuke spent a night at a police station were he remained quiet. After a few days with a veterinarian, Yosuke announced he was "Mr. Yosuke Nakamura" and provided his full home address. When returned to his family, the Nakamuras revealed that they had been teaching Yosuke his full name and address for two years. Source.

The Wall Street Burger Shoppe raised the price of its hamburger from $150 to $175. Co-owner Heather Tierney explains it this way, “Wall Street has good days and bad days. We wanted to have the everyday burger (for $4) ... and then something special if you really have a good day on Wall Street." The burger contains "[k]obe beef patty, lots of black truffles, seared foie gras, aged Gruyere cheese, wild mushrooms and flecks of gold leaf on a brioche bun."
While I find this excessive, I did a post called Hungry and Broke which makes this hamburger look like a bargain. One example: a $14,000 diamond-studded tea bag. Source

On May 17th, a political rally was held in Russia. The Moscow Times describes the event as "The first meeting . . . of a 'National Assembly' organized by the Other Russia opposition coalition featur[ing] calls for a strong challenge to the current government." The Moscow Times continues, "A couple of pro-Kremlin Young Russia activists added to the commotion at the event by launching [several] plastic phallus on propellers, which were knocked out of the air by security guards."
To watch a video of the commotion, click here.
Source. Source.

These museums are far from average.

The Museum of Bad Art: "[O]ur mission: to bring the worst of art to the widest of audiences."

  • The caption for the picture above is: "The flesh tones bring to mind the top shelf liqueurs of a border bistro. With an astonishing emphasis on facial bone structure, the artist flirts with caricature and captures features of Mamma's face which remind us of a Presidential candidate. The upright marionettish pose of the babe hints that the early bond between mother and child is as formal as it is familiar. Good old fashioned parental respect is at the center of this celebration of color and contour."
The Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum in Texas: "A museum of cockroaches that everyone can love."
  • The museum has life Madagascar hissing cockroaches and "cockroaches that have been dressed in costumes to portray various themes." Below is Liberoachi.
You may not want to read on if you are squeamish.

The Mutter Museum by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia: "Disturbingly Informative"
  • Grover Cleavland's secret tumor
  • John Wilkes Booth's thorax
  • The "Soap Lady" who died of Yellow fever in the 19th century and whose body has turned into soap.
  • The nine-foot colon of a man who only had a bowel movement once a month. A picture can be seen here.
  • A collection of 2,000 objects that were swallowed and removed without surgery by Dr, Jackson.
The Icelandic Phallological Museum
  • "[P]robably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country."
The Vrolik Museum in Amsterdam: "over two thousand specimens of humans, mammals, and other vertebrates"
  • "Since 1994, 150 specimens of congenital malformations have also been on display."
    • congenital malformation: "physical defect present in a baby at birth[.]"
    • From what I understand, the babies are in formaldehyde jars.


For some context:

  • In July 2007, China's population was 1,321,851,888. With a world population of approximately 6.6 billion, one out of every five people on earth lives in China. In 1950, China's population was 563 million, but had grown to one billion in the early 1980s. For a stable population, the national fertility rate must be 2.1; China's is 1.7. China's population is expected to peak in 2030. India has a much faster rate of growth and is expected to surpass China's population in 2040. Source.
  • For a live counter of Chinese population, go here.
All of these statistics come from the May 2008 edition of the National Geographic magazine. Because it is hard to paraphrase statistics, they are all selected quotes.
  • 119 baby boys are born for every 100 girls.
  • The number of unmarried young Men-called bare branches-is predicted to be 30 million by 2020.
  • China's one-child policy created a generation of only children numbering 90 million.
  • Beijing enforces a one-dog policy that prohibits pets more than 14 inches high.
  • China is expected to overtake the U.S. as the world's largest economy in ten years.
  • Urban Chinese earn more than three times as much as those in rural areas[.]
  • Authorities have added 171 new pop culture references to China's national language registry.
  • Percent of the world's umbrellas made in China: 70
  • Percent of the world's buttons made in China: 60
  • Percent of U.S. shoes made in China: 72
  • Percent of U.S. kitchen appliances made in China: 50
  • Percent of U.S. artificial Christmas lights made in China: 85
  • Percent of US toys made in China: 50
  • Percent of Chinese goods sent to the U.S. that end up on Wal-Mart's shelves: 9
  • Percent of the U.S. toys recalled in the U.S. in 2007[:] 100
  • Number of months a Chinese factory worker would need to work to earn the money to earn the cost of a Thomas the Tank Engine train set: 6
More facts gleaned from the articles and paraphrased.
  • "Wang" is the family name of 93 million Chinese.

  • Sheng Qi, a Chinese artist, cut off his own finger in protest of the 1989 events of Tiananmen Square. (Picture above.) Visit his website.
Oops. I also forgot to add Minimal Ramblings of an Incoherent Mind :"A little home on the Internet where the quiet voices inside of my head can escape to be shared with the world. The loud voices, on the other hand, are silenced and stuffed into the basement to be punished for all eternity."

"Should I start trying to match my titles to my posts?" or "It is hard to be creative all the time." or "I pressed enter and posted this too early."

In Detroit, plans are made by architect Steven Flum to convert shipping containers into a $1.8 million, 17 unit condominiums. The units will be between 90 to 180 square meters (approximately 262 to 590 square feet) and will range from $100,000 to $190,000. The containers will be stacked four high and will have balconies, patios, windows, doors, plumbing, heating and stairways. Source.

However, using shipping containers for housing is nothing new. This is a
n Atelier Workshop’s Port-a-Bach. This house can be rolled into place and folded out to accommodate two adults and two children. Source.

Here is Leger Wanaselja Architecture's two bedroom house overlooking San Francisco. The house uses three containers and a glass atrium. Source.

Adam Kalkin, maker of the quick house, designed this nifty shipping container cafe. Source.

"Global Peace Containers" is a non-profit organization interested in using shipping containers to build housing and facilities in poorer countries or for emergency relief. Here is a school they built in Jamaica and a house they built in Atlanta, Georgia. Source. Source.

And be sure to check out the new blogs I linked to. I realized I was neglecting that part of my blog.
Less Than Half a Nickel - Sergent P's 2 cents. A blog that deserves more readers.
Smiling Through it all - "My random blog about life & death, love & heartache, and the struggle to get my life together."
The Thoughts and Sayings Of Baba Doodlius - Learn why sheep are planting hobbit bones in the jungle.

Careful when flying.

Gokhan Mutlu of New York is suing Jet Blue for more than two million dollars. Mutlu was traveling on a standby voucher. When a flight attendant complained of her jump seat being uncomfortable, the pilot gave Mutlu's seat to her. Mutlu was allowed to sit in her jump seat, but was eventually made by the pilot to sit in the restroom. The pilot insisted that he was in charge of the plane and Mutlu should be "grateful for being on board." Mutlu sat on the restroom toilet for more than three hours. After a bout of turbulence, Mutlu was allowed to return to his original seat. "A JetBlue spokesman declined comment on the lawsuit Monday." Source.

Unrelated, but I was looking at my blog statistics to see what people searched to find me. Someone had found my blog after Google-ing "NIIOMTPLABOPARMBETZHELBETRABSBOMONIMONKONOTDTEKHSTROMONT"
This is the post that explains it. I also am near the top with an un-filtered Google-ing of "nude penguin." I don't want to know, but I bet they were disappointed.


To be a Pontifical Swiss Guard, one must be a Roman Catholic single Swiss man aged 19-30 who is beardless, attended Swiss military school and is at least 5 foot 8.
The Swiss guard was established on January 22, 1506 when 150 Swiss mercenaries pledged their loyalty to Pope Julius II. Now, they guard the Vatican, including the entrance to the Pope's private apartments. Source

Not many people know that the 300 Spartans did not make their last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae alone. Seven hundred to one thousand Thespians stood with them. Source. Other source.

On September 15, 1896, two locomotives were crashed head-on in a publicity stunt in Texas. The event became known as "The Crash at Crush." A similar stunt was successfully performed a few months previously.
For "The Crash at Crush," a special four-mile track was laid and two telegraph offices were built. For the crowd, two water wells were drilled, five tanks of water and several tons of ice were brought in and several hundred faucets were built. Three hundred policemen watched the 30,000 to 40,000 person crowd that sat 200 yards away in a grandstand.
The trains barreled closer and collided. "There was just a swift instance of silence, and then as if controlled by a single impulse both boilers exploded simultaneously and the air was filled with flying missiles of iron and steel varying in size from a postage stamp to half of a driving wheel."
Three were killed and six were seriously injured. Souvenir hunters cleared debris, the railroad made quick compensation and a ragtime song was composed to memorialize the event.


At Old Man Rock Cafe in Queenstown, New Zealand, Sarah Ferguson was served dishwashing detergent instead of mulled wine. When Ms. Ferguson's lips and mouth began to burn, she spit it out. A cafe worker, Bethany Sim, offered to taste the liquid with similar results, receiving burns and possible scarring. The dishwashing detergent had been delivered to the restaurant in a mulled wine container. The incident occurred last July, but the restaurant faces sentencing next month.
<"Under New Zealand's no-fault accident law, victims do not sue for damages. Instead, treatment costs and income loss are met by the country's Accident Compensation scheme."

School is Over!!!

Nischal Narayanam completed his bachelors degree at 10 and his master degree at 12. In November 2007, he was "the youngest PhD student and . . . on his way to become the youngest doctorate."
When he was 11, Nischal broke the Guiness Book record and memorized 225 random objects in 12.07 minutes. Nischal was also able to relate each random object to its number.
He recalls practicing, “You need intense concentration for sitting at least three to four hours without looking at external things. But I enjoyed it every time I practised.”
Nischal's teacher, Jayasimha Ravirala, set the 2005 record by memorizing 200 random objects. He says, "There is nothing like good or bad memory, it is just a matter of training to tap its potential."
Nischal has written six math books.

Musician Giovanni Maria Pala believes there is a hidden musical score in Leonardo de Vinci's Last Supper and has written La Musica Celata (The Hidden Music) describing his find. Here, you can hear the music that emerged from the painting.
Because the apostles were in groups of three, the music is played in 3/4 time. Pala says, ""I marked the pieces of bread on the table and the Apostle's hands as music notes. Then I drew a pentagram over the scene between the tablecloth and Jesus' face. I couldn't believe my ears when I played the music. It sounded really solemn, almost like a requiem."
When Pala drew lines between the notes, the Hebrew sentence, "with Him consecration and glory" appeared.
Source: A video showing an interview and the pictures of the music, pentagram and Hebrew sentence.