Saturday, February 24, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

Try It !! It's Amazing How the Brain Works

If This Looks Like Fun, You Must Be Crazy ??

Montu is an Inverted roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida. Designed by Bolliger & Mabillard of Switzerland, it is the park's second roller coaster designed by the company after the success of Kumba. The ride opened on May 16, 1996, and at its opening was the world's tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster. The ride stands at 150 feet tall and goes 60 miles per hour. Previously, that record was held by Raptor at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Montu's record was short lived, one year later, it was succeeded by sister coaster Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Europe. Montu still holds the record for the number of inversions on an inverted coaster (7).
Montu is named after the Egyptian god of war Menthu. The roller coaster is still the centerpiece of the park's Egypt section and the only major attraction in the section.

Here's Some More Calatrava Magic

El Alamillo Bridge
by Santiago Calatrava
Seville, Spain

Originally proposed as twin bridges with a connecting viaduct, this design was to cross the Guadalquivir River in two locations, approximately 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) apart from each other. Because of the the curves of the river, the bridges would have been situated in such a way that their tall inclined masts would have reached toward each other, forming an implied triangle that had it's apex far above the earth.

The design ultimately was built as a single bridge, along with the Cartuja Viaduct. Though it no longer had the same impact as a lone structure, the inclined mast was kept as inititally designed. The extraordinary weight of the concrete-filled steel mast, which angles away from the roadbed at 58ยบ, is enough to support the deck without the need for counter-stay cables or support piers. This was a first in bridge design, and creates a stunning display. The impetus for the project was the 1992 World Fair, "Expo '92." The 1640 foot (500m) viaduct is an entrance gateway to the northern entrance of the Expo. This bridge has roadways for both pedestrian and motor traffic.

Tiger Cat, Tiger Ocelot or Oncilla

The tiger cat has a slim, graceful body with long legs and a long tail. Its coat is a light yellowish-brown with striking dark brown spots, which may form rosettes or chains of rosettes. Its tail is ringed. The tiger cat may be found in the forests of Central and South America, where it hunts by day and by twilight, from trees, and seeks small rodents and birds. Weight: 5-8 pounds Head/Body: 22 inches Tail: 13 inches. Tiger cats are sometimes found in the dense equitorial forests of Southern Brazil.

Oxnard Looking Up for Growth

The Channel Islands Center calls for three towers providing about 800 new residences as well as a hotel.
(Austin Veum Robbins Partners)
Pacific Pointe in Port Hueneme is slated to be 46 stories.
(Tom Bonner)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Gehry Concept

Four renowned architects have been commissioned by Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) for iconic museums and a performing arts centre which will position the UAE capital’s Saadiyat Island, that lies just offshore the emirate, as a world-class cultural destination.

Frank Gehry’s concept for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, which at 320,000 square feet will be the world’s largest Guggenheim museum, is designed around accommodating approximately 130,000 square feet of exhibition space.It will feature permanent collections, galleries for special exhibitions, a centre for art and technology, a children’s art education facility, archives, library and research centre and a state-of-the-art conservation laboratory.

Another Santiago Calatrava Creation

Valencia, Spain: Located on the Southern facade of the complex L’Umbracle, Promenade and Car Park, is Santiago Calatrava’s latest contribution to the unique and comprehensive complex of the City of Arts and Sciences. The upper part comprises a long panoramic promenade, with a tree-lined garden, from where there is a superb view of the Complex as a whole.

Tours Offered for R. M. Schindler Classic Home

Glendale, California: Tours are offered on Saturdays for the Rodriguez House (1940-42) which is one of R. M. Schindler's least-altered designs. The setting is verdant and idyllic (there are even ducks quacking across the street) and Schindler shows he's no bohemian when it comes to a major commission. Here the house floats with articulated ribs in a classic L-shape, resting on stone veneer massing and, at the front, pure air. Superbly restored and maintained, the soaring bright interior spaces have exceptional built-ins, and outside, the landscaping sweeps up through and around the architecture.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mari Lyn on DVD at last!

Mean, moody, magnificent Mari Lyn has finally (if posthumously) made her debut on DVD, thanks to the equally (if not more so) magnificent Donald Collup. Mme. Lyn, variously called "Hogcolleratura" and "La Traviyenta," regaled the public access airwaves in the mid-1980s with a series called "The Golden Treasury of Song," featuring the blond-bewigged "singing hostess" warbling her way through everything from "Casta diva" to "Ma Curly-Headed Baby." Donald has anthologized La Lyn's greatest moments (and worst quarters of an hour) into three DVDs that La Cieca is certain are destined to give this and future generations hours upon hours of delight. An audio clip of Mme. Lyn reading the letter from La traviata is one of the all-time favorite downloads from, but, believe me, Mari Lyn is an artist who needs to be seen to be appreciated in her complete fulsomeness. La Cieca urges, entreats, and cajoles you go go immediately to Donald's website to order these glorious documents of "the art of mal canto."

The World's Five Tallest Skyscrapers

Click image to enlarge:

Ultra Endurance Required for the Sahara

Three ultra-endurance athletes ran the equivalent of about two marathons a day for 111 days to become the first modern runners to cross the Sahara Desert's grueling 4,000 miles."I would never consider crossing the Sahara on foot again," said American runner Charlie Engle, 44, hours after he and the others completed the run at the Red Sea.Engle, Ray Zahab, 38, of Canada and Kevin Lin, 30, of Taiwan ran through Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya and Egypt. Temperatures could top 100 degrees in the day and drop below freezing at night.

New Orleans is in a Party Mood

The second Mardi Gras since Hurricane Katrina promises to be upbeat, rowdy and hopeful.
And what better way to wind up the party than with a slice of New Orleans Chocolate Layer Cake

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mechanical Sculpture That Lives: "Drifting Apart"

" Drifting apart" is designed by Paul Spooner and Matt Smith and made in an edition of 24 that were finished in November, 2002. A large and fairly heavy automata , the bath and people are carved of lime and painted in Liqutex with three or four coats of gesso. The box is Douglas Fir with birch ply and cork slides various other materials include four rare earth magnets. As you wind the handle the bath gradually splits apart , the man and woman try to maintain their grip but eventually let go . As the bath moves apart the two people turn to face the front , as you continue to wind the bath moves back together reuniting the couple who grip hands once more. The model is 240mm x 130mm x 330mm high.

The Whimsical Artistry of Mike Chaikin, Sculptor

Drinking Fountain -- Falmouth Moor, Cornwall, U K, 2001

A Variation: Rolling Ball Sculpture Vase

Click on the link below for many more examples of this outstanding artist's work:

Hung Ton's Photographic Image of this Hummingbird is Exquisite

Click on the link below to see the many remarkable images this photographer has posted on his website:

Monday, February 19, 2007

Los Angeles Skyscraper Included in $3 Billion Deal

In a blockbuster deal, Maguire Properties Inc. will pay about $3 billion to acquire 23 office buildings in Los Angeles and Orange counties from New York investment firm Blackstone Group — including the 52-story Two California Plaza in downtown L.A., according to people familiar with the purchase. The deal would be the second-largest office transaction in Southern California history, after the $3.2-billion acquisition of Arden Realty last year by General Electric Co.

"Cosmos" - a stereogram and something is coming right at you

Stare intently at the picture. Can you see the hidden image?

The 1938 Talbot-Lago Teardrop by Figoni et Falaschi

Of the few cars described as rolling sculpture, the Talbot-Lago Teardrop by Figoni et Falaschi is the oldest and most frequently praised as such. During its era, the teardrop, also known as the 'Goutte d'Eau', was one of the select few automobiles that both redefined automotive style and won top-level races. Having successfully combined racing function and elegant form, the Teardrop became trend setting and motivated many manufacturers consider more streamlined design.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

This Could Be a Nice Spot to Pull Over and Have a Good Look

Well, It's Nice to Have That Cleared Up!

Oh Come On! You Can Take One More . . .

Livio de Marchi's "a dream in Venice"

Livio De Marchi was born in Venice where, though still a child, he worked on ornamental sculpture in the Venetian tradition in the workshop of a craftsman and meanwhile studied art and drawing at the "Accademia di Belle Arti" in Venice. He displayed an astounding skill in moulding materials, transforming them with wit and panache and creating sculptures with perfection of detail, spontaneity and essence. During his artistic evolution he worked first in marble, then bronze, and eventually in wood. However wood has always been his favourite material because it affords him a vitality which other materials do not.

In 1994 Livio de Marchi's fantasy took flight and he created a floating work of art with the title "a dream in Venice": a huge pumpkin drawn by 4 horses, which rear up when the driver pulls the reins. The pumpkin can accommodate 4 people. It was one of the jewels of Carnival 1994.

"Walking to the Sky"

Jonathan Borofsky's 100-foot-tall sculpture is displayed in Rockefeller Center in New York City.

The Magnificent Views of Singapore and Sentosa Island

A bridge connects Singapore to Sentosa, one of its larger outer islands. The newly opened Sentosa Express light rail whisks riders to the island from Singapore in minutes.
Carlsberg Sky Tower on Sentosa Island provides great views.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Fight Over the Winnie the Pooh Honey Pot

A Beverly Hills family that has battled Walt Disney Co. for 15 years over Winnie the Pooh royalties will be allowed to keep sharing in the billion-dollar honey pot.U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper on Thursday dismissed a copyright lawsuit that sought to end Disney's obligation to pay the Slesinger family royalties for sales of Winnie the Pooh merchandise. In 1961, the Slesingers, who inherited the merchandising rights to the silly old bear and his forest friends, transferred those rights to Disney in exchange for ongoing royalty payments.

A Celebration of Spring

A myriad of lights will set Beijing aglow in celebration of the Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year. The Beijing Municipal Administration Commission says the lights are to illuminate the city at night to add more joy to the festival, in addition to serving as preparations for the vibrant night life planned for next year's Olympics.
According to the commission, the lighting scheme will be centered on Tian'anmen Square and extend to all of Chang'an Avenue and other major streets. More than 150 buildings on the avenue and 30 overpasses will glow over the eight nights.

Carnival in Rio Could Be Deadly

RIO DE JANEIRO — This Brazilian city entered its famously joyous Carnival weekend Friday as a surge of violence has raised questions about the effectiveness of police officers and troops drafted to curb the mayhem. Above a decoration is adjusted in preparation for the Carnival parades, which begin Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.

Photo by Marcelo Sayao / EPA

Friday, February 16, 2007

Here's How We Started Out and Here's What We've Become

One of the first structures built in Manhattan Beach was a pier. The first pier, shown above, was believed to have been 900-feet long. Pylons were made by fastening three railroad rails together and driving them into the ocean floor. A narrow wooden deck was supported by these pilings. A wave machine was installed at the foot of the pier in order to generate electricity but the plan did not work. The "old iron pier" as it was called, was destroyed by a major storm in 1913. Lack of money, lawsuits, storms, and debates about when and where to build another pier delayed Manhattan Beach from having a pier completed until 1920. This time, it was a cement pier with a rounded end and it was 928-feet long. The roundhouse at the end was not completed until 1922. In 1928, a 200-foot wooden extension was added but it was destroyed in a storm in 1940. Storms and time were not kind to the pier and repairs were made but the appearance changed. In 1991, a decision to restore it back to its 1920s appearance was made. In 1992, a pier dedication took place. In 1995, the pier was declared a state historic landmark. It is the oldest standing cement pier on the West Coast.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How Crazy Can You Get ?? Read On To Find Out

Here's a case of "photographer photographing photographer." The following photographs were taken by photographer Hans van de Vorst at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The descriptions are his own. The identity of the photographer in the photos is unknown.

"I was simply stunned seeing this guy standing on this solitary rock in the Grand Canyon. The canyon's depth is 900 meters here. The rock on the right is next to the canyon and safe. Watching this guy wearing his thong sandals, with a camera and a tripod I asked myself 3 questions:

1. How did he climb that rock?

2. Why isn't he taking that sunset picture from the rock on the right, which is perfectly safe?

3. How will he get back?
After the sun set behind the canyon's horizon, he packed his things (having only one hand available) and prepared himself for the jump. This took about two minutes. At that point he had the full attention of the crowd watching. After that, he jumped landing on his thong sandals. Remember, the canyon's depth is 900 meters here (not that it matters all that much). Now you can see that the adjacent rock is higher so he tried to land on the lower part, which is quite steep and tried to use his one hand to grab the rock.
Well how does this little story end?? Look carefully at this photo of the photographer. He has a camera, a tripod and also a plastic bag, all on his shoulder or in his left hand. Only his right hand is available to grab the rock and the weight of his stuff is a problem. He lands low on his flip flops; both his right hand and right foot slips away. . . At that moment I take this shot. He pushes his body against the rock. He waits for a few seconds, throws his stuff on the rock, climbs up and walks away.

Really, there is only one word that covers this guy: IDIOT!"
Thanks to Kal for sending this along.

The Honda Ridgeline with the First In-Bed Lockable Trunk Among Other Things

The Honda Ridgeline takes advantage of an innovative new truck body construction and a steel reinforced composite bed to deliver true truck capabilities including half-ton hauling and 5,000-pound towing, along with next-generation truck styling, performance and packaging. The Ridgeline boasts the pickup truck segment's first four-wheel, fully independent suspension system combined with an advanced fully automatic four-wheel drive system to deliver superior ride and handling versus traditional truck designs, and a number of exclusive new features including a Dual-Action tailgate and the industry's first In-Bed Trunk

PIAGGIO has Introduced the Three-Wheeler

Piaggio has introduced their new MP3 Scooter. It comes in two versions, 125cc and a 250cc. The advantage of two front wheels is much greater stability and traction in wet and rough road conditions. The tilting front wheels give you an extra contact patch plus you ride it the same as you would if only one front wheel were present -- starting at just under $7,000 with automatic transmission. Very interesting.