December 25, 2007
When Maurice Martenot met Lev Sergeivich Termen in the early 1920's and heard his revolutionary new musical instrument the Theremin, he was inspired to create his own electroacoustic instrument , which he christened Ondes Martenot. Next year will mark the 80th anniversary of the first performance of this remarkable hybrid keyboard which, aside from its lovely and ethereal sound, is also aesthetically pleasing visually, with its handsome collection of multiple speakers. See and hear the instrument being played and explained in this video interview and demonstration by Jean Laurendeau, which closes with a lovely rendition of the theme from Star Trek. And, here's the instrument in use, live, alongside who else? Radiohead. [more inside]
One man was killed and two others critically injured when Siberian tiger Tatiana escaped from her pen at the San Francisco Zoo. The men were eating at a cafe on the Ocean Boulevard end of the zoo. The tiger was shot to death by police at the scene. Tatiana, allegedly not known for violence, mauled her keeper one year and three days ago, after which the Lion House was closed for ten months for a $250,000 safety upgrade. It reopened in September, 2007.
Tiny Buildings - "a collection of tiny buildings handcrafted from business cards, packaging and other nice papers."
India's Ancient Art. "Fifth-century painters created stunning murals in dim man-made caves. A gifted photographer brings them to light." [more inside]
A good chuckle about surviving the hellidays: Dysfunctional Family Holidays, the music l an interactive karaoke with several songs l What exactly is a dysfunctional family? l What are the roles for the kids? [more inside]
"In the Late December" (MP3 link), by Greg van Eekhout, is a Nebula award-nominated story about Santa Claus and the end of the universe, and is Escape Pod #138. (By the way, this is a very dark story -- there's no sex or violence but this probably isn't suitable for kids, where "kids" is defined as a stereotypical aggregate of child-like characteristics. Yours may be different.)
Inspired by this article, I thought Christmas would be the perfect (huh?) day to introduce the late poet, author, spiritual leader, thinker, and civil rights activist Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Friends and foes, witness the true firepower of the Liberation Army Against Freedom. We have been amassing a fearsome arsenal, and soon the world will tremble at the Mother of All (Fireworks) Rockets. [more inside]
Audio of Dylan Thomas reading his poem "A Child's Christmas in Wales". (real media and mp3)