Archive for September 2011


xxx looks like bacon on a bun

September 29th, 2011 — 7:16pm

In June, Google rolled out the reverse image search as a new feature, enabling users to “explore the web in an entirely new way” which basically comes down to allowing one to scan the internet and scour for instances of any particular image in use. Some raving reviews already praise this service as a free, and superior, instrument to Tineye, while others underline its usefulness in fighting rampant copyright infringement on the internet.

I set out to give it a try, and I am somewhat surprised by the results for my first, particular reverse image search, using an image of bacon I took earlier this month. Apparently Google thinks that –

Bacon similes

Bacon similes

…Akina Minami looks like bacon on a bun.
…Jenna Elfman looks like bacon on a bun.
…a Dutch amateur model called Lynntjeee looks like bacon on a bun.
…a crying baby and a cute, little lump of sweetness look like bacon on a bun.
…a wooden toy kitchen looks like bacon on a bun.
…some jam-filled macarons look like bacon on a bun. (I have to admit, I took them to be mini burgers which seemed the best approximation so far among Google’s search results.)
…pencil shavings look like bacon on a bun.

It certainly looks like a wide array of wild guesses to me. I can only conclude, that Google’s image comparison algorithms, along with its database, still need some wee bit of fine-tuning.

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South-Western Moments

September 25th, 2011 — 9:09am

The Southern moment

A mid-aged man, in his 50s, white collar shirt buttoned up, slowly moving towards the exit, his belly, pronounced, framed prominently by suspenders; right behind, following on to him, a young woman of Indian descent, dark skin, on suit, painstakingly taking notes; — as assistant.

(dinner at El Centro, 824 9th Ave / 54th St, 22.08.)

59th St / Columbus Circle 1904 tiles exposition

59th St / Columbus Circle 1904 tiles exposition

The Western decline

Speaking from a European perspective, health care reform in the States is just a tiny, tiptoey step into the right direction. Isn’t it odd that a nation which took so bold to the West, manifest destiny, yadda yadda –; now proves so scared of even teensy-weensy steps towards Western civilisation?

(in the context of the GOP presidential debates, at Fox News, 19.09.)

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Isbjörnar, Central Park South

September 24th, 2011 — 11:20am

Vintern var hård

Det fanns inte mycket att ge åt änderna.
Mor vände upp och ner på brödlådan.
Änderna kväkte och föreföll missnöjda.
Vattnet var svart och snart frös det till.

Vintern var hård, vintern var hård.
Också pengarna frös inne på banken.
Lördagskvällen kunde firas
bara varannan lördag.

5th Ave / 59th St (CPS): Polar bears

5th Ave / 59th St (CPS): Polar bears

Summer was hard

There was plenty for the media and spin doctors.
Abbas turned Netanyahu upside down, if not the entire Levant.
The pundits quacked and seemed resentful.
The water was black and would soon spill over.

Summer was hard, summer was hard.
Even money was frozen in the bank.
Saturday evening could only be celebrated
if they’d reach a peace accord amidst Arab Spring.

(Original poem by Bo Carpelan (1926-2011)).

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Stray observations VII

September 24th, 2011 — 10:48am

(i.a) During the final scene of Anna Bolena, a magic moment in the Met when Anna Netrebko, overwhelmed by the audience’s cheerful acclaim, slipped out of character and with a big smile applauded the orchestra, acknowledging their exceptional performance at the dress rehearsal.

(i.b) Set designers are modern magicians, with engineering skills.

(ii.a) Either my clothes have been shrinking due to professional laundry service, or my body has gotten really bloated due to excessive intake of food. I feel I cannot rule out either for sure.

(ii.b) Neither is a cure for my bloated ego.

(iii) A tv ad for the flawless face: An air void of all character and imperfection, is robbed of life’s essence itself rather than just the lines of time.

(iv) 12 Corazones makes me think I should consider learning Spanish, de veras! (15.09.)

Lafayette St (bet Spring & Broome St, nr Petrosino Square)

Lafayette St (bet Spring & Broome St, nr Petrosino Square)

(v.a) The Yankees just got drowned tonight by rain, and the match against the Boston Red Sox postponed to next Sunday as second game in a day-night doubleheader. (23.09.)

(v.b) Bagging one’s hair is among the smartest choices observed by me this day.

(v.c) Right at the exit of 161st St / Yankee Stadium, ponchos sold for five US-dollars a piece. A few steps further down the street, two sold for five already. The mechanics of free trade versus overcharging by a touting street hawk(er)s’ cartel on the stairs up.

(vi.a) Kronos Quartet goes Einstürzende Neubauten: To watch, 30 years late, a group of middle-aged men banging hammers on scrap metal and using hand grinders next to cello, violin and viola, leaves me feeling seriously underwhelmed by their Awakening.

(vi.b) Low points of the programme were not limited to David Harrington emulating Blixa Bargeld’s vocals aghast and the all-too-cute Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

(vi.c) Sometimes avant-garde is just trying too hard – instead of delivering, spot-on, such as at the Met.

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Numismatics: The Berlin Wall criterion

September 13th, 2011 — 10:25am

Curious about how long coins are in circulation, and without any scientific basis whatsoever, I choose 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down and somewhat shook the world’s fabric, changing the course of history (finalising it?), ending the Cold War between two competing ideologies and their clash on geopolitical objectives, as a point of reference for my investigation, 22 years later.

The sample chosen for this enterprise, shaken well, adequately and preemptively, with some goodwill constitutes an aleatoric element and does in no way adhere to the minimum requirements of a sample size, as I freely choose, at my sole discretion, the contents of my wallet as sufficent. There will also not be any paper published on these findings.

Quarters: 2.75 USD
1967, 1967, 1977, 1986, | 1989, | 1994, 1994, 1996, 2000*, 2002*, 2004*
* are part of the U.S. Mint’s 50 State Quarters Program and represent Virginia, Indiana, and Michigan, respectively.
36.4 % of the quarters examined were manufactured before 1989.

Dimes: 1.60 USD
1972, 1975, 1981, 1987, || 1990, 1995, 1997, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2002, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2005, 2009
Out of 16 dimes, a mere 25 % were coined before the fall of the Eastern Bloc.

Nickels: 0.20 USD
1982, || 1999, 2000, 2003
Again, only 25 % witnessed the crumbling of the Communist regimes, 3 out of 4 nickels are love children of the post-bipolar era and its affair with deregulation in a globalised US dollar hegemony.

Pennies: 0.18 USD
1971, 1975, 1976, 1976, 1984, 1987, || 1992, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2003,
2010, 2011, 2011, 2011, 2011
One third, or 33.3 %, of all pennies in the sample preceded George H. W. Bush as the 41st President of the United States of America.

One noticeable observation are the clusters existent in all the different denominations of coins. This is most apparent with the 2011 pennies, a result of the huge production of coins with the new Union Shield reverse design, and in the 2002 dimes.

Across all coin values, 15 out of 49 coins prove to be in circulation for more than 22 years, i.e. 30.6 % of the sample. With the exception of two pennies, one from 1987, the other from 2003, both exhibiting considerable harm due to verdigris following from prolongued exposure to moist and weathering, all coins show, if at all, just ordinary signs of age and daily use.

An interesting aspect to factor into these deliberations, would be the criteria of the U.S. Mint for the withdrawal of coins, or legal tender in general, from circulation, and how high the turnover and lifespan is of U.S. denoted coinage, i.e. which number of worn coins is pulled out of circulation each year and replaced. This may also depend on the material composition of each respective line of coins, as some prove more prone to damage and patina than others.

On a personal note, I’d like to point out, that something like 12.2 % of the coins in this sample still are older than me. Time, however, is running up. Pecunia fugit…

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Stray observations VI

September 13th, 2011 — 7:21am

(i.a) Given my extensive consumption and ingestion of ß-carotene in form of baby-cut carrots (the finger food alternative to junk), I am probably in acute and imminent danger of carotenoderma.

(i.b) At least I don’t eat infants!

(ii.a) Addendum to V (i): W 82nd St, 1 am, on my way back from Music After, Rattus norvegicus enters the stage, scurrying up the stairs from a basement to my right, jaywalking the pedestrian path in front of me, then slipping under some perennials covering a tree pit, bowing out of sight.

(ii.b) NYC’s RIP: Is here the wish father to the thought? Are we channeling Freud?

(iii) Waking up to drum rolls and Amazing Grace played on the bagpipe, as a last farewell: “The sun forbear to shine”.

FDNY 9/11 - Tiles for America

FDNY 9/11 - Tiles for America

(iv.a) A horrible slogan, based on fear-mongering: “Drive sober, or get pulled over.” – Wouldn’t an appeal to reason do more good? Or a positive campaign, setting an example?

(iv.b) A terrible slogan, mismatching decency with disease, thus diminishing it as pathological: “If you see an elderly, pregnant, or handicapped person near you, please offer your seat. You’ll be standing up for what’s right. Courtesy is contagious, and it begins with you.” – Just not as a medical condition, I’d hope, lest I be patient zero instead of merely polite.

(v.a) I have such a craving for chocolate. Let it not be Hershey’s!

(v.b) Never a more delicious, or superior taste as evidenced by this address line: Made by Cadbury UK Limited, PO Box 7008, Bournville, Birmingham, B30 2PT, UK. Found at Fairway’s!

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Stray observations V

September 11th, 2011 — 1:27am

(i) Let me introduce you to New York’s fauna and its habitats: Mus musculus (a fugitive rodent at Westside Cleaners), Columba livia domestica (frequently observed on my window sills and the a/c), and the utterly abominable Scutigera coleoptrata, which ranks high among the most creepy extraterrestials ever.

(ii) An embarrassingly long-sought solution to a standard mathematical problem: t[h] = ((speed.A [km/h] + speed.B[km/h]) / distance [km])^-1. (See here if you wish to inquire what that means.)

(iii) How come all the jams I enjoy here in the States, are of Italian origin? First Fiordifrutta: Organic fruit spread: Raspberry, produced by Rigoni di Asiago Spa, Star-K kosher-certified, and now Pomegranate Raspberry: Organic Preserves by Mediterranean Organic, extra fruit, artisan crafted, “grown under the Mediterranean sun, [...] picked at the peak of ripeness and processed in small batches on a 4th generation Italian family farm”.

(iv) A Gourmet Deli? No doubt, I must be in West Village, bordering on Chelsea.

320 West 14th Street

320 West 14th Street

(v) $800 for a dinner for two (omakase-style)? I’d rather go have cazuelas fajitas-style at hip Dos Caminos on the border to Meatpacking District, and then head over to Gaslight with its laidback, retro atmosphere.

(vi) I need my watch battery replaced. Looking for a dealer in the Manhattan yellow pages, I notice that 47 W St nr 5th Ave is the epicentre of New York’s watch-retail, -service and -repair – a.k.a. the Diamond District.

(vii) Spam: “The Jew Watch Project’s 1.5 Billion Pages Served Demonstrate Our Focus on Professionalism”. – What is wrong with you people?! About 1,500,000,000 skew reasons.

(viii) Do you also have a sense of epiphany with this Google Maps street view image?

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Aran Islands, toy dogs, Heine (1953)

September 8th, 2011 — 6:51am

Aran Islands or Arran Islands, (p. 58)
in Galway Bay, Co. Galway, Ireland. The three islands are Inishmore, Inisheer, and Inishmaan. They are barren, and living conditions are primitive.

toy dogs. (p. 1278)
Many small dogs have been developed from the larger breeds for the sole purpose of being pets. One of the smallest of these is the Chihuahua, which weighs from 1 to 6 lb. It has a round skull, wide-set eyes, and large, erect ears, and varies in color from white, through shades of tan, to black. [...] Easily recognized by its flat nose and round, protruding eyes is the Pekingese (or Pekinese). Its coat is straight and silky and may be black, tan, fawn, brown, or white. [...] One variety of poodle is a toy dog.

Heine, Heinrich, (p. 543)
1797-1856, German author, of Jewish parentage. His Buch der Lieder [book of songs] (1827) placed him among the greatest German poets. Lyrics have musical, folklike quality (as in “Lorelei”), often spiced with subtle irony or dissonant endings, have attracted many composers, notably Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms. His prose travel sketches [...] show the same mixture of lyric emotion and corrosive wit. [In Paris,] he died after eight years of tragic sickness, confined to his “mattress grave”. [...] Nearly all his work has been translated to English, although his verse often defies translation.

ex:
The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia (in 2 volumes),
The Viking Press / Columbia University Press: New York 1953

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Osage orange, Dostoyevsky, Strasbourg (1953)

September 8th, 2011 — 6:04am

Osage orange, (p. 930)
deciduous spiny tree (Maclura pomifera) native to Ark. and Texas, useful as a hedge. It has inedible orangelike fruits. The flexible, durable wood was a favorite bow wood of the Osage indians.

Dostoyevsky, Feodor Mikhailovich, (p. 349)
1821-81, Russian novelist, one of the giants of modern literature. He won his first success with Poor Folk (1845). Arrested 1849 for membership in a Fourierist circle, he was sentenced to death; while he was waiting for death, his sentence was commuted to hard labor in Siberia. The shock of the experience and the hardship of Siberian life (described in The House of the Dead, 1862) aggravated his epilepsy and caused him to turn to religion. [...] His chronic financial difficulties were increased by his passion for gambling. His novels are characterized by deep psychological insight; compassion for all men, even the vilest of whom he thought capable of redemption; and morbid preoccupation with guilt and crime. [...]

Strasbourg, (p. 1220-1221)
Ger. Strassburg [...], cap. of Bas-Rhin dept., E France, on the Ill near its junction with the Rhine; cultural and commercial cap. of Alsace. [...] [S]eat of a university (founded 1538) and of the Council of Europe. Its importance dates from Roman times. Its bishops ruled a considerable territory as princes of the Holy Roman Empire, but Strasbourg itself became a free imperial city (13th cent.), ruled by its guild corporations. Here medieval German literature reached its flower in Gottfried von Strassburg, and here Gutenberg may have invented the printing press. [...]

ex:
The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia (in 2 volumes),
The Viking Press / Columbia University Press: New York 1953

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The Five Boros of New York City (1953)

September 8th, 2011 — 12:59am

New York, (p. 887)
city (area with water surface c. 365 sq. mi.; land only, 299; pop. 7,891,957), SE N.Y., largest city in U.S., on New York Bay at mouth of Hudson R. Comprised of five boroughs, each coextensive with a county: Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Richmond (see Staten Island). The metropolitan area (1952 census, preliminary total pop. 12,831,914) includes industrial and residential parts of SE N.Y. and NE N.J. Many bridges and tunnels link the boroughs. With a magnificent natural harbor and over 500 mi. of water front, New York is largest port in the world. Extensive industries, chiefly consumer goods, are led by mfg. of clothing, textiles; printing and publishing; food and metal processing. Leading U.S. commercial (since 1840) and financial (stock exchange founded 1792) metropolis, it is a world center of banking (Bank of New York founded 1784 under Alexander Hamilton) and trade. With its vast array of cultural and educational resources, famous shops and restaurants, places of entertainment, striking architecture, colorful national neighborhoods, and its rich historic background, New York is almost unparalleled. Began with settlement (New Amsterdam) made by Dutch on Manhattan isl. in 1625. British seized control 1664. City divided in its loyalties, but Washington’s troops defended it until after battle of Long Island in Revolution. State cap. until 1797, first U.S. cap. under the Constitution (1789-90); Pres. Washington was inaugurated here. Until 1874, when portions of Westchester co. were annexed, city’s boundaries were confined to present-day Manhattan. Charter of 1898 set up five boroughs [NB: print text misspells "boroughts"] of Greater New York. Flatiron Bldg., first skyscraper, completed 1902; first subway, 1904. Many planning and administrative bodies (e.g., Port of New York Authority, 1921; Municipal Housing Authority, 1934) have been set up to cope with problems of the vast metropolis. Seat of permanent UN hq.

ex:
The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia (in 2 volumes),
The Viking Press / Columbia University Press: New York 1953

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