Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011

Vallotton 1865-1925, Felix, Switzerland

Just love this Mexican Michael Jackson triple whammy 
life sized marionette dance.

Review of 2011: The year's biggest news at a glance

New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2011

Hokusai, Waterfalls
Ok, this is my favorite music of the day.
The instrument is called a hang (pronounced hung).
Hang playing Hedge Monkeys

webs of light on water

what a cutie (his name is Daniel Waples) and heavenly music 

Cortes, Bert, Mandeville Louisiana, USA
Wow, he's just so good. This Christmas

Cortes, Bert, Mandeville Louisiana, USA
Traditional Tuvan (Siberia) Folk Melody played on PanArt Hang 
and Grand Piano in a beautiful Museum in Geneva 

his website:

more hang music

 Pat Waing, the drum circle from Burma

Love the asymmetry and the steam
Belle of Louisville steam calliope

carousel music of yore
1920 Pneumatic Circus Calliope

Win/luck compilation 2011

This expresses 2011 in a nutshell: I'm Getting Arrested app for your cellphone. 
Alert your lawyer, loved ones, etc ... that you are being arrested with a click.
I'm Getting Arrested enables anyone, with one click, to broadcast a custom message to SMS numbers in the event they are arrested.

dancing eyebrows. girl with a funny talent 2 years ago

her again, now (sparkly little rascal)

diabolo win. love this kid.

lion cub gives us his best roar

stardust - ukulele

Maru is playing 12

In China, Christmas Light Recycling Plant

a cool office aquarium

A virus attacked a young Vietnamese woman, aged 26, and she became old looking
within days

whoa. DARPA set out to snoop on every person in the USA in 2002.
This would be achieved by creating enormous computer databases to gather and store the personal information of everyone in the United States, including personal e-mails, social networks, credit card records, phone calls, medical records, and numerous other sources, without any requirement for a search warrant.

lazy dog eating spilled food

A short history of the modern calendar

Gregory Krikko Obbot 

Rousseau, Sleeping Gypsy

Happy New Year to one and all!
Wishing us all peace, love, happiness, well being, health and prosperity.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday before New Year's Eve 2011

A very fun animated clock. Numen Clock
Worth watching for a minute or two.

Death gets his present from Santa

The 10 Best Memoirs of 2011

Reading My Father, by Alexandra Styron
Bossypants, by Tina Fey
[sic]: A Memoir, by Joshua Cody
One Day I Will Write About This Place, by Binyavanga Wainaina
Blue Nights, by Joan Didion
The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch

Robert Ader, 

Who Linked Stress and Illness, Dies at 79

Dr. Robert Ader, an experimental psychologist who was among the first scientists to show how mental processes influence the body’s immune system, a finding that changed modern medicine, died on Tuesday in Pittsford, N.Y. He was 79...
His initial research, in the 1970s, became a touchstone for studies that have since mapped the vast communications network among immune cells, hormones and neurotransmitters. It introduced a field of research that nailed down the science behind notions once considered magical thinking: that meditation helps reduce arterial plaque; that social bonds improve cancer survival; that people under stress catch more colds; and that placebos work not only on the human mind but also on supposedly insentient cells.
At the core of Dr. Ader’s breakthrough research was an insight already obvious to any grandmother who ever said, “Stop worrying or you’ll make yourself sick.” He demonstrated scientifically that stress worsens illness — sometimes even triggering it — and that reducing stress is essential to health care.
That idea, now widely accepted among medical researchers, contradicted a previous principle of biochemistry, which said that the immune system was autonomous. As late as 1985, the idea of a connection between the brain and the immune system was dismissed in an editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine as “folklore.”

Christmas cats playing in the snow

Today Thinley Norbu died.

New condom packages

The Maha Santa Claus Sutra 
by Doug

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the Jeta Grove monastery of Anathapindaka’s Garden at Shravasti, together with a large assembly of twelve hundred and fifty monks, who were all great arhats, well-known to the people. Among them were great disciples such as the Elders Shariputra, Mahamaudgalyayana, Mahakashyapa, Mahakatyayana, Mahakausthila, Revata, Shuddhipanthaka, Nanda, Ananda, Rahula, Gavampati, Pindola-Bharadvaja, Kalodayin, Mahakapphina, Vakkula and Aniruddha. He was also accompanied by many bodhisattva-mahasattvas, such as the Dharma Prince, Manjushri, the Bodhisattva Ajita, and the Bodhisattva Constant Endeavor. Also present were King Brahma, lord of the saha world, and his followers, twelve thousand sons of gods, the eight dragon kings, the four gandharva kings, the four asura kings, the four garuda kings, and King Ajatashatru, the son of Queen Vaidehi, with several hundreds of thousands of followers.1
At that time, the Buddha said to the Elder Ananda: “If you travel northward from here, passing a hundred thousand asamkhya kotis of Buddha-lands, you will come to a workshop where dwells a Bodhisattva of the tenth-stage named Mahāsānthaklaṣ (Santa Claus), who even now is in a state of deep samadhi.”
“Ananda, why is that Bodhisattva called Santa Claus? In the distant past — innumerable, incalculable and inconceivable kalpas ago there lived a Brahmin named Nikholāṣ (Nicholas). At that time, Nicholas encountered a Buddha named Joy of Gift Giving, who expounded the Dharma. Nicholas was so deeply moved by the teachings he renounced the householder life and made a series of great vows:”
  1. To attain the samadhi of knowing who is naughty and who is nice.
  2. To attain the samadhi of being able to visit all houses in one night.
  3. To attain the samadhi of being able to hear all gifts requested for.
  4. To provide a joyous winter holiday to children everywhere.
Then the Buddha said to Ananda, “Having spoken these verses, Nicholas adopted the pure practices which led to the establishment of a splendid workshop in the North Pole. At that moment, the entire earth shook in six ways, and a rain of wonderful flowers fell from heaven, scattering everywhere. Spontaneous music was heard, and a voice in the sky said, ‘Surely you will attain the highest, perfect Enlightenment.’”
Ananda then said to the Buddha, “Can you describe this workshop to us?”
The Buddha said to Ananda, “Well said, Ananda. I am very pleased with your question. You have shown profound wisdom and subtle insight in asking me this question out of compassion for all sentient beings.
“At Santa Claus’s workshop, there are seven-jeweled ponds, filled with water of the eight excellent qualities. The beds of the ponds are covered solely with gold sand, and from the four sides of each pond rise stairs of gold, silver, beryl and crystal. Above these stand workbenches adorned with gold, silver, beryl, crystal, sapphire, rosy pearls, and carnelian. Besides these ponds are Christmas Trees hundreds, thousands, millions of yojanas tall — the blue ones radiating a blue light, the yellow a yellow light, the red a red light and the white ones a white light. They are marvelous and beautiful, fragrant and pure.
“At each workbench, bodhisattvas whose light emits for one hundred yojanas around their body, toil away day and night making toys and gifts for the children of the world. All the bodhisattvas in the land of Santa Claus will ultimately attain the Stage of Becoming a Buddha After One More Life.
“Ananda, why is this sutra called the Maha Santa Claus Sutra?”
“Ananda, if sons and daughters of good families should, on the 24th night of the twelfth month, leave an offering of milk and cookies and recite this mantra:
Om, maha-santa-klas-ho-ho-ho hum!
Then Santa Claus will fly to their house, as easily as one extends their arm, in a chariot pulled by his eight reindeer attendants, and leave behind a great cart of the seven treasures. Such a disciple will receive an inexhaustible quantity of goods to meet their material needs, thus enabling them to follow the Dharma more easily.”
“Ananda, just as I now praise the inconceivable virtue of Santa Claus Bodhisattva, the Buddhas of the Ten Directions also praise my inconceivable virtue, saying, ‘Shakyamuni Buddha, you have accomplished an extremely difficult and unprecedented task. In this Saha world, during the evil period of the five defilements you have attained the highest, perfect Enlightenment and, for the sake of sentient beings, have delivered this teaching, which is most difficult in the world to accept in faith.’”
When the Buddha delivered this sutra, Ananda and all the monks, together with beings of the whole world, including devas, humans and asuras, rejoiced at what they had heard and reverently accepted it. Having worshiped him, they departed.
Have a Merry and Joyous Christmas too all!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day 2011

photo by Sweetmart

The San Francisco Chronicle's 

Best books of 2011: 

100 recommended books

So cool. Russian Berezka folk dancers look like they're floating.
Great old 1960 video. 
Stood in the Field.” The dance was performed by the women 
of the ensemble holding birch twigs in their hands, 
personifying the image of the Russian girl, her purity, 
beauty, and grace. 
Another one. After Busby Berkeley's heart.

One of my favorite holiday videos: 25 years of Christmas
Every year, our dad would tape us coming down the stairs. 
This is a compilation of all the videos I could find. 
Relatives and pets grow up and disappear, 
and new extended family members appear in their place.

along with

heh, love the "totally wildcats"

He's got 450 square feet, I have 350

of my all time fave songs
Like the beat beat beat of the tom-tom
When the jungle shadows fall
Like the tick tick tock of the stately clock
As it stands against the wall

Like the drip drip drip of the raindrops
When the summer shower is through
So a voice within me keeps repeating
You, you, you

Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me, or far
It's no matter darling where you are
I think of you
Day and night, night and day, why is it so

That this longing for you follows wherever I go
In the roaring traffic's boom
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you
Day and night, night and day

Under the hide of me
There's an oh such a hungry yearning burning inside of me
And this torment won't be through
Until you let me spend my life making love to you
Day and night, night and day

by Cole Porter

An old postcard from a village outside Rome, Albano Laziale 
via valaamov_osel's live journal

During The Cold War, in 1977, the heads of Soviet USSR

From the YouTube comment: 
he whispers his secrets into the hole, and then covers it with mud. 
it's supposed to be a method to keep secrets as he once said to his
friend during dinner in singapore. In the Mood for Love - Final Sequence

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Latest fave: epic Yorkie puppy - baby match

Okay, even if this is totally fake and a Bud Light commercial
I still love it. Golden loves guitar.

Amazing story: Harry Andrews and the Legend of Chateau La Roche. He built this castle by hand, himself, from river rocks, after a near death experience too. Official site.

The Science Behind Santa

oh my gawd, here comes Christmas!

That Trololo guy is still at it!

Amazing what curiosity and interest prompts people to do.
This guy actually lived as a turkey for an entire year. Mind blowing.

flying baby

dogs sneezing

Vihart is one of my very favorite young brainiacs on the web.
A lovable genius and very fun too.

Tiny baby boar looks a bit like a chipmunk on a leafy forest floor

Oh I love glass!
James Nowak art glass clamshell sculpture. 

Motivation for a depressed person?
Steve Mc Curry, American, 1950 to present was born in Philadelphia. Titled: Fishermen at Weligama Sri Lanka

History of champagne (right click the image and left click open in a new tab
for a bigger pic)

The Most Popular Holiday Toys of the Past 30 Years