November 21, 2007

everybody wanted that iphone ...

we live in societies of consumption, we are always tempted to buy more, newer, better & dearer, & often we yield to the temptation because the sellers do well their job & target our weakest points to drive us give them our money, we may regret our spends later but it would be too late ...

the guys from olde english comedy made a very interesting sketch for june the 29th from this year 2007, which was if you remember "the iphone day", I didn't see it that time but only few days ago, you may say it's outdated, but "precisely" (in my opinion) the sketch denounces the "fashion" culture which gets us run to be "up to date" & promotes ideas like "you are less good then other people who bought this or that product till you buy the product".

ok, now there's a a great video you'll have to watch, it's another must see, a modern silent show made in the style of charlie chaplin, the sound tracks are an amazing work from jesse novak & the acting is just matching them perfectly. it's one of the best videos I ever watched online, enjoy! :)

November 18, 2007

bollywood moviestars worship - part 1

india, the country of philosophy, spirituality & religion; according to friedrich max muller (a german philologist and orientalist), the study of religion is incomplete unless it is studied with reference to india:
take religion and where can you study its true origin, its natural growth, and its inevitable decay better than in india, the home of brahmanism, the birth place of buddhism and the refuge of zoroastrianism even now the matter of new superstitions - and why not, in the future the regenerate child of the purest faith, if only purified from the dust of nineteen centuries?

max muller, 'india what can it teach us.' p.13.

india is also the cradle of hinduism, one of the world's most ancient religions, a colorful religion with a vast gallery of gods and goddesses. hindus could have as gods legendary divinities or as miserable creatures as rats & build temples for them. in this tradition and as a modern manifestation of it even bollywood stars have their idolaters in india!

a film scenario bring up a new divinity!

let's start with a rather old example taken from an article on goddess worship,

maha devi, is a powerful hindu goddess who could triumph over evil demoniac powers that even the gods (like brahma and vishnu) were powerless against. traditions in india assert that maha devi has the ability to manifest herself in infinitely many ways but that she is nevertheless one, one of these manifestations was the appearance of the goddess "santoshi maa" in the 1975 movie "jai santoshi maa"; of course before the film few (if any) people had ever heard of this goddess - but she became a major religious figure when the movie became a hit.

her devotees insist that she has always existed, and that there is no essential difference between her and other hindu goddesses. it is said that during public showings of the film, the theatre is:
... transformed into a kind of temple, and the act of seeing the film is often taken as an act of worship.

stanley kurtz, all the mothers are one: hindu india and the cultural reshaping of psychoanalysis, 18

do gods die?

the second case relates to riots in the city of bangalore following the death by heart attack of the south indian film actor rajkumar in april 2006; bangalore's streets on the 12th and 13th of the same month turned into a stage for tear gas, gunfire, burning cars and bloody street clashes between the police and 60 thousand of rajkumar's supporters. eight persons were dead including a policeman who got killed and strung up by outraged fans attempting to gain entry into their hero's funeral.

a little precision, the use of the term "bollywood" is inaccurate when talking about the films produced in the south of india, bollywood movies are those hindi-language films produced in mumbai in the north.
rajkumar was the face, hero and defender of the regional cultural identity. his rise coincided with the assertion of kannada language and culture, at a time when indian film was dominated by films from the north. he was an elder statesman and father figure who carried a burden much greater than that of film star. he represented a culture under siege.

stephen hughes, Indian film and culture scholar at the university of london's school of oriental and african studies.

end of the first part ... second part starts here

November 12, 2007

the mystery of greenberry hill & sir edmond berry's murder

sir edmond berry godfrey was an english magistrate in the 17th century; In 1678 he became involved in a clash between catholics and anglicans caused by the claims of two corrupt english clergymen named titus oates and israel tonge.

the pair announced that they had uncovered a "popish plot" to murder king charles II of england and replace him with james, his roman catholic brother. in fact the "plot" was a part of a conspiracy to discredit catholics in england.

oates and tonge appeared before godfrey and asked him to take their oath that the papers they presented as evidence were based on truth. godfrey demanded first to know the contents of the papers and then took their depositions on september 28th after receiving a copy. he probably warned one of his catholic acquaintances, edward coleman, of the content of the accusations.

oates's accusations became shortly known and the public concerned. godfrey has been supposed that he might be one of the victims of the scare. he disappeared on october the 12th 1678 and then was found dead on 17 october in a ditch on primrose hill, he was lying face down impaled with his own sword.

investigations didn't arrive to satisfying conclusions, statements about godfrey's whereabouts before the murder where contradictory; there was no evidence of struggle and godfrey still had his money and rings. the body was covered with bruises and a circular mark around godfrey's neck revealed that he had been strangled; and since the sword wound had not bled, it had been concluded that godfrey was already dead when he was impaled, probably for four or five days.

later captain william bedloe (a "reformed" catholic plotter as he named himself), related a few contradictory stories, in some of them he claimed that he had been taken on the night of 14 october to a house in which he saw the body of godfrey & that he saw two men, including samuel atkins who managed to prove that he had been on a yacht at greenwich at that time. bedloe claimed that catholic plotters had killed godfrey in order to steal his papers about the depositions (what would be pointless since the witnesses whose words had been recorded were still alive).

the second man bedloe claimed he had recognized was miles prance, catholic servant-in-ordinary, on 21 december, this last was arrested and imprisoned. his lodger (who was in debt to him), john wren, testified that he had been away for the four nights before godfrey's body was discovered.

prance announced that he had had a part in the murder but that the main instigators were some catholic priests. three of them would have witnessed the murder in the courtyard of the house where godfrey had been lured. godfrey would have been strangled and body taken to hampstead. prance named: robert green, henry berry and lawrence hill. coincidentally, the place in which godfrey was murdered was known at the time as "greenberry hill"!

prance later recanted his confession but as he was thrown back to prison he recanted his recantation causing the death of the three men who were hanged (ironic again) at greenberry hill.

it became manifest later that green, berry & hill were executed on false evidence and prance pleaded guilty to perjury & the case remains officially unsolved. there have been many theories: godfrey might either have been murdered by catholics, afraid that he knew some of their real secrets; by the anti-catholics because of his contacts to catholics and / or because he knew oates was lying and / or because his death could easily and usefully be blamed on the catholics; some even claimed suicide either because godfrey was in a quandary between catholics and anglicans or just because of his melancholy nature; l'estrange (1687) claimed that his brothers would have concealed the evidence of his suicide lest his estate had been forfeit.

modern analysts john dickson carr (1936) and hugh ross williamson (1955) analyzed the mentioned theories and their weak points and deduced that godfrey was murdered by philip herbert, 7th earl of pembroke who took his revenge for having been prosecuted for murder some time earlier by godfrey. the earl had been found guilty but a pardon from the house of lords prevented him from an execution.

November 07, 2007

pygmy marmoset - devilish looking animal

I think this is going to be a series of devil look like animals, in a previous post we saw the aye aye monkey (omg! how devilish it is!!) today let's see another monkey: the pygmy marmoset or scientifically: callithrix (Cebuella) pygmaea

despite its name, the pygmy marmoset is somewhat different from the typical marmosets classified in genus callithrix. as such, it is accorded its own subgenus, which was recognized as its own genus: cebuella. there are two subspecies of the pygmy marmoset: callithrix (cebuella) pygmaea pygmaea and callithrix (cebuella) pygmaea niveiventris.

it's native to the rainforest canopies of western brazil, southeastern colombia, eastern ecuador, and eastern peru. it is the smallest monkey and one of the smallest primates. Its body length - excluding the 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm) tail - ranges from 5.5 to 6.3 inches (14 to 16 cm). males weigh around 5 ounces (140 g), and females only 4.2 ounces (120 g).

twin pygmy marmosets, these animals are typically born in pairs (click to enlarge)

pygmy marmosets have tawny coat, ringed tails, sometimes as long as their body or longer and have specially adapted claws for climbing trees, a trait unique to the species.

they are omnivorous, feeding on fruit, leaves, insects, and even small reptiles sometimes. much of their diet, however, comes from tapping trees for sap. they spend up to two-thirds of their time gouging tree bark to reach the gummy sap; they have specialized incisors for gouging holes in bark.

unfortunately, they are very hard to observe in the wild because of their small size, and swift movements. in captivity, the pygmy marmoset can live up to 11 years.

two baby pygmy marmoset shortly after their birth at the frösö zoo in ostersund, sweden, exceedingly rare pair because they're albinos (deficient in pigment). as the national geographic article says, they are "resembling nothing so much as chewbacca's children" (click on the image to enlarge)

what about watching the pygmy marmoset in motion now? newquay zoo in cornwall, uk posted the first video below on youtube & asked people suggest names for two baby marmosets born there.

the second video was posted on august 1st after the twins were named; the keepers though have picked names that came from emails sent to the zoo & not from youtubers suggestions (a total of 104 names was suggested) ... oh! want to know how they were named? yes .. twiglet & alfonso :)

I hope you have some relaxing moments watching the two short nature videos ... personally I did :)