February 2007 Archives

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Old school mates in Malaysia

My school, "Penang Free School," was established in 1816 ...

Posted February 28, 2007 04:07 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Notes to a Friend   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Bully in the family

"A favorite tactic of the bully in the family is to set people against each other. The benefits to the bully are that: the bully gains a great deal of gratification from encouraging and provoking argument, quarrelling and hostility, and then from watching others engage in adversarial interaction and destructive conflict, and the ensuing conflict ensures that people's attention is distracted and diverted away from the cause of the conflict."

"Bullies within the family, especially female bullies are masters of manipulation and are fond of manipulating people through their emotions (e.g. guilt) and through their beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. Bullies see any form of vulnerability as an opportunity for manipulation, and are especially prone to exploiting those who are most emotionally needy."
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The bully may try to establish an exclusive relationship (based on apparent trust and confidence) with one family member such that they (the bully) are seen as the sole reliable source of information; this may be achieved by portraying the target (and certain other family members) as irresponsible, unstable, undependable, uncaring, unreliable and untrustworthy, perhaps by the constant highlighting - using distortion and fabrication - of alleged failures, breaches of trust, lack of reliability, etc.

Tim Fields on bullying within the family, on "Thru the Looking Glass" blog, February 1, 2007

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Posted February 27, 2007 09:47 AM  ·  Permalink   ·     ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Brunch in a Malaysian food stall

Eating brunch in a Malaysian food stall, February 16, 2007
Posted February 26, 2007 06:57 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Notes to a Friend   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

When in Penang, Malaysia

Dear Fran: In Penang, please try the KAYU Nasi Kandar restaurant at Penang Road for delicious Indian-Muslim curries, bread, etc. ... For very good Chinese cooking, please try the restaurant located at the OFA (Old Frees' Association) ... or at the Chinese Recreation Club (CRC - No. 3, Jalan Padang Victoria, 10400 Georgetown, Penang, 604-2299157) ... For the numerous delicious out-door hawker food, I have no idea because my cousins drove and I simply ate!

Peter and Soo Kar Wong

I am back in New York...

Post by Peter

Also check out the Penang Pages by kenyneo and the Tourism Penang pages: Hawker fare - Malaysian food - Chinese food - Indian food

Posted February 22, 2007 05:17 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Notes to a Friend , Travel   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Thelonious Monk

Blue Monk

Thelonious Monk: Blue Monk (recorded in 1958). Thelonious Monk - piano. According to comments: Ahmed Abdul-Malik - bass. Osie Johnson - drums.

Hat tip: Orin Kerr


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Posted February 20, 2007 06:17 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Music   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

"A Strange Story" - Joyce Hatto, fakes, and "expertise"

Joyce Hatto, a pianist who died in 2006, was celebrated by many allegedly knowledgable music critics in the last few years of her life for "a discography that in quantity, musical range and consistent quality has been equalled by few pianists in history."

A preliminary investigation now reveals that many of Hatto's recordings were copies, some slightly altered, of other pianists' recordings. See "Joyce Hatto - The Ultimate Recording Hoax - Part 1," Pristine Classical, which concludes: "We have yet to investigate a Hatto recording that has not proved to be a hoax."

Andrew Rose, who runs the remastering firm Pristine Audio and who analysed the Hatto recordings, said: "There are a lot of critics and publications with egg on their faces."

"Pianist's virtuosity is called into question," by Martin Beckford, Telegraph.co.uk, February 18, 2007

It was already one of the strangest stories the classical music world had witnessed. But the discovery of the late English pianist Joyce Hatto as the greatest instrumentalist almost nobody had heard of, appears to have taken a bizarre, even potentially sinister turn.
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But at the same time as the cult of Hatto was burgeoning, there were persistent rumours on the internet as to the true origins of the recordings. How, wondered the doubters, could one woman -- especially one who had battled cancer for many years -- have mastered a range of repertoire and recorded a catalogue that arguably makes her more prolific than even the Richters and the Ashkenazys.

However, Gramophone critic Jeremy Nicholas published a letter in the magazine asking anyone who had any evidence of any wrong-doing to come forth. Nobody did, and the matter rested. Until now.

"Masterpieces Or Fakes? The Joyce Hatto Scandal," Gramaphone, February 15, 2007

Joyce Hatto, who has died aged 77, was one of the greatest pianists Britain has ever produced. Before the appearance of press and internet articles earlier this year, it was widely assumed that she had left us some years ago. In a sense she had: from the early 1970s she suffered from a cancer that not only made her the longest surviving patient treated by Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, but also prevented her from appearing in public for the past 30 years.

Her legacy is a discography that in quantity, musical range and consistent quality has been equalled by few pianists in history.

Obituary: Joyce Hatto: Brilliant pianist whose career was cut short by cancer which struck in the 1970s, by Jeremy Nicholas, The Guardian, July 10, 2006

Yet some things remain totally obscure in this story. Even the recourse to irony does not explain convincingly why Joyce Hatto and her husband decided to issue these recordings. Another strange thing is the pattern, if any, of the altered recordings. Among the recordings that have been altered, there are two by widely known soloists and orchestras, the Rachmaninov concerto under Esa-Pekka Salonen and Yefim Bronfman (on a Sony Classical CD), and the Brahms concerto under Haitink and Ashkenazy (on a Decca CD). However, three other recordings that have been identified are by lesser-known soloists for smaller labels, such as Laszlo Simon for BIS, Carlo Grante for Altarus or Eugen Indjic for Claves. More interesting that discovering what motivated the entire enterprise would be perhaps to understand why the "producer" and the "performer" in Concert Artist's recordings used specifically these recordings. A reason perhaps is that, in the randomness of these choices, Hatto and her husband thought their mischief would be less perceptible.

However, it is possible that the couple also wanted to disclose, albeit in a rather subtle way, their hoax. All of Hatto's recordings with an orchestra, except for a few from her early years (and I suppose these were actually made by her), were made with a certain "National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra" under the baton of "René Köhler." It should be evident that such a name for an orchestra is just a concoction of the terms that are more commonly used when naming ensembles: "national," "symphony," "philharmonic." But "Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra" is almost a redundancy (one might claim that "philharmonic" and "symphony" are synonims, but there is a subtle difference between the terms). Furthermore, Maestro Köhler hasn't recorded anything else, at least not classical music. René Köhler (yes, with the same diacritics, by the way) even has a website, but he seems to be a singer and songwriter from somewhere in Scandinavia. We can't help wishing him the best of luck in his new musical ventures.

"A Strange Story," by Hipermnésia Hipnagógica, February 16, 2007


Posted February 19, 2007 10:27 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Music   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Happy Chinese New Year - Gung Hay Fat Choy!

The Chinese Year of the Pig / Boar starts February 18, 2007, and will be kicked off at 11 am with the Firecracker Ceremony at Chatham Square. The Lunar New Year Fireworks Spectacular, presented by the Chinatown Partnership, will start at 7:00 pm in Columbus Park in Chinatown (Mulberry Street between Worth and Bayard Streets).

Photo courtesy of Explore Chinatown

The 8th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival, presented by the Better Chinatown Society, will take place on Sunday, February 25, 2007, starting at 1:00 pm. It will run from Mott and Hester Sreets, down Mott Street to East Broadway, then travel along Allen and Grand Street, and finish at Chrystie and Canal Streets. (pdf map here) Calendar here.


Posted February 17, 2007 11:27 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Chinatown , Holidays & Festivals   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Sonny Rollins on the road - with Bret Primack

Bret Primac has a fantastic channel on YouTube - JazzVideoLand. We love this video of Sonny Rollins, but check out the entire channel: JazzVideoLand.

Sonny Rollins is such a beautiful artist, and this video really brings that out....

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Posted February 15, 2007 07:37 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Music   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Why you praise children for their hard work....

According to a survey conducted by Columbia University, 85 percent of American parents think it’s important to tell their kids that they’re smart. In and around the New York area, according to my own (admittedly nonscientific) poll, the number is more like 100 percent. Everyone does it, habitually. The constant praise is meant to be an angel on the shoulder, ensuring that children do not sell their talents short.

But a growing body of research--and a new study from the trenches of the New York public-school system--strongly suggests it might be the other way around. Giving kids the label of “smart” does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it.

"How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise," by Po Bronson, New York magazine, February 13, 2007

That's why you praise your children for their hard work and perseverance - those are qualities they can change and those qualities will be helpful to them no matter what they do in life. How "smart" they are they can't change. I'm convinced that the praising of children for being "smart" is a reflection not of brighter children, but of insecure parents competing with other insecure parents.

Also see "For once, blame the student," by Patrick Welsh, USA Today, March 7, 2006:

What many of the American kids I taught did not have was the motivation, self-discipline or work ethic of the foreign-born kids.

Politicians and education bureaucrats can talk all they want about reform, but until the work ethic of U.S. students changes, until they are willing to put in the time and effort to master their subjects, little will change.

A study released in December by University of Pennsylvania researchers Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman suggests that the reason so many U.S. students are "falling short of their intellectual potential" is not "inadequate teachers, boring textbooks and large class sizes" and the rest of the usual litany cited by the so-called reformers -- but "their failure to exercise self-discipline."

Quotes about hard work

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Genius will not. Education will not. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. Press on."
-- Ray Kroc

"If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly."
-- G.K. Chesterton

"Dissatisfaction with oneself is one of the foundation stones of every real talent."
-- Anton Chekov

"Let us be grateful to Adam, our benefactor. He cut us out of the 'blessing' of idleness and won for us the 'curse' of labor."
-- Mark Twain

"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."
-- Winston Churchill

"I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work."
-- Benjamin Franklin

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake."
-- Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)

"The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight.
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night."
-- Longfellow, "The Ladder of St. Augustine"

"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."
-- Theodore Roosevelt

"The truth is that many successful people are no more talented than unsuccessful people. The difference between them lies in the old axiom that successful people do those things that unsuccessful people don't like to do."
-- Harvey Mackay

Posted February 14, 2007 06:07 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of the Great Public Works, Part I - 3/19/2007 - 7/8/2007

We do not normally reproduce press releases on AGINY, but the subway is so integral to NYC, and the design impacts so many people every day, that we are reproducing this press release, and encouraging our friends and readers to stop by the Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex in Grand Central Station and see these exhibitions, opening March 19, 2007.

Chandelier from City Hall Station Station opened 1904. Material: Bronze. Image credit: New York Transit Museum
Chandelier from City Hall Station Station opened 1904. Material: Bronze. Image credit: New York Transit Museum

Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of Great Public Works, Part I (3/19/2007 - 7/8/2007) and Architects of the NYC Subway, Squire Vickers and the Subway’s Modern Age, Part II, (7/30/2007 – 10/28/2007)

Be sure not to miss two new exciting - consecutive - free exhibits at the New York Transit Museum entitled, Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of Great Public Works, Part I (3/19/2007 - 7/8/2007) and Architects of the NYC Subway, Squire Vickers and the Subway’s Modern Age, Part II, (7/30/2007 – 10/28/2007). Culled from the extensive collections of the New York Transit Museum, The New York Historical Society, the Episcopal Diocese of New York, The Bronx Zoo / Wildlife Conservancy Center, and private collectors, more than sixty historic artifacts, architectural drawings, and photographs will display, the vision of the subway’s first architects, John L. Heins and Christopher G. LaFarge and the subsequent work of Squire J. Vickers at the Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex in mid-town Manhattan.

From 1901 to 1908, John L. Heins and Christopher G. LaFarge not only designed the first subway stations, but also the control houses, power substations and ornamental kiosks, in the popular Beaux-Arts style, evoking classical architecture using ceramics, metal, and wood. Because Heins & LaFarge began working more than a year after subway construction began, their primary duty was to decorate and make beautiful the stark utilitarian spaces built by engineers achieved by using ceramics, terra cotta relief’s and unique station plaques to identify and adorn each station. Says Roxanne Robertson, Director of Special Projects,
“The crown jewel of the subway is the old City Hall Station which was designed by Heins and LaFarge. Visitors are still inspired by the arched tile ceilings, skylights, and brass chandeliers. This station still has the feeling of entering a grand cathedral and remains the NYC subway’s most spectacular space.”

Elements adorning the subway also included ceramic tiles, mosaics, terra cotta reliefs, sconces, iron railings and circular air vent covers. Examples of brass ticket booth grilles and metal exit signs in the exhibition are graceful, with their function masked by the beauty of design and materials. Design drawings of Manhattan’s control houses for 72nd, 103rd Streets and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue show three similar structures with decorative arches, glass, metal, and terra cotta. Architects of the NYC Subway… also presents a dozen pieces of these original station ceramics. Because an immense amount of ceramics had to be designed, fabricated, and installed in less than three years, numerous companies were hired to produce these pieces. The work of the noted ceramics firms Grueby Faience Company of Boston, Atlantic Terra Cotta of Staten Island and New Jersey, and Rookwood Pottery Company of Cincinnati, are also represented in the exhibition.

Architects John L. Heins, Christopher Grant LaFarge, and Squire J. Vickers determined the aesthetics of New York’s subway system. These men created the decorative motifs that adorned the subways, allowing each station to be unique while contributing to its overall style. In 1907, Heins died of meningitis. Though he would work as an architect until his death in 1938, LaFarge worked on the subway only until 1908. Architect, Squire J. Vickers, was then hired and become the architect responsible for New York’s subway station’s design elements for the next four decades.

In addition to being business partners, John L. Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge were friends, classmates, and brothers-in-law. The two met as architecture students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying a curriculum based on the French school of Beaux-Arts classical approach to architecture, but also stressing logical planning and design. They graduated in 1882, and in 1886, formed their own New York City firm. Heins & LaFarge specialized in ecclesiastical and residential buildings.

Today they are best remembered as the original architects for the Cathedral of Saint John theDivine. They began the cathedral project in the 1890s and would continue with it for two decades. During this time, Heins would also be appointed the State Architect of New York, responsible foroverseeing the design and construction of all state buildings.

In the first years of the new century, Heins & LaFarge continued with the Cathedral, but also designed the New York City subway stations and the Astor Court Buildings of the Bronx Zoo. Though these important civic projects might seem, at first, to be disparate, Heins & LaFarge used similar architectural elements and fabricators for each project. The Guastivino Fireproof Construction Company fabricated magnificent arches for the grand City Hall subway station, the Belmont Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, and the Elephant House of the Bronx Zoo. The Atlantic Terra Cotta Company produced ceramics for numerous subway stations and the Lion House at the Zoo. Pieces of these Zoo and subway ceramics, including examples taken from the 33rd Street, 110th Street, and 116th Street subway stations, are featured in the exhibitions. An architectural drawing for the Zoo’s Monkey House shows a frieze with classical design elements that can also be seen in subway station ceramics.

Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of the Great Public Works, Part I, at the New York Transit Museum, 212-878-0106, March 19, 2007 - July 8, 2007, at the New York Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex at Grand Central, Monday-Friday, 8 am - 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 6 pm. Admission is Free. These exhibitions are made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support: Major sponsors: ARUP, Daniel Frankfurt, P.C., and Parsons Brinkerhoff. Supporting Sponsor: STV. Sponsors: FXFOWLE ARCHITECTS, PC, and Domingo Gonzalez Associates.

New York Transit Museum


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Posted February 11, 2007 10:07 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  AGINY Good Value , Art , Moving Around , Museums , Museums and Art , Notes to a Friend , Subway   ·  Comments (1)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Scan all your old photos to CD / DVD

Do you have boxes of old photographs in your attic? Or boxes of family photos you inherited from parents or grandparents?

ShoeboxReprints.com will scan your old photos on CD or DVD for $49.95 per 1000 photos. You can add proof books with 25 images per page to allow rapid viewing.

Using MyPublisher.com you can make books from your photos.

Download Picasa from Google to tag all of the photos, make slideshows, cards, etc.

See "A lifetime of photos on a single disc," by William M. Bulkeley, The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2007.

Also see "Creating Your Own Photo Book Becomes Easier," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2006.

Posted February 9, 2007 12:47 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Pantai Kerachut is the most beautiful spot on Penang island.

Pantai Kerachut is the most beautiful spot on Penang island. As the boat rounded the light-house point, we came across a lovely bay, totally untouched by modernity and commerce. A green lush jungle canopy with clean golden sandy beach and clear blue sea. I spotted 3 sea eagles gliding with the warm sea breezes hunting for their dinner. I had a short enjoyable swim. Many thanks to Ooi Chong Jin for showing us this peaceful spot.

Post by Peter

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Posted February 6, 2007 11:27 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Notes to a Friend   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Most popular books with AGINY readers

These are the books most popular with AGINY readers.

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Posted February 3, 2007 08:56 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Book and Web Site Reviews   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

The End is Near!

Doomsayers like to think they’ve made a rational, scientific inquiry and discovered that the past is an unreliable guide: Sure, we’ve survived all these millennia, but we’ve never faced global threats like the ones today. But I share M. Skinner’s belief that they’re being hubristic in assigning themselves such a special place in history: the first humans ever to accurately foresee the end. It’s always possible they’re right. It seems far more probable they’re like all the past prophets of doom who mistakenly thought they were special, too.

"Isn’t That Special? Copernicus Meets Doomsday," by John Tierney, Tierney Lab, January 31, 2007

See "The End Is Near," by Amir Malka.

Posted February 1, 2007 06:27 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)