Christie’s Auctions: Astonishing Pair of Matching Singing Bird Pistols

August 28, 2011

Aurel Bacs, International Head of the Watch Department, shares his passion and knowledge of the only known matching pair of gold and enamel singing bird pistols, to be offered at Christie’s Hong Kong Important Watches sale on 30 May 2011.

This is the only known pair of matching singing bird pistols, thought to have been created by Frères Rochat, a Swiss watch, toy and machine maker.  Several people have sent me links and alerts to this video over the past several weeks — it’s worth seeing, just to admire the craftsmanship, and inventiveness required to make these things.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Christie’s Auctions: The Only Pair of Matching…, posted with vodpod

Bloomberg News reported the pistols fetched a price of $5.8 million at the sale on May 30.  The purchaser’s name was not reported, but a Bacs said it was an “epic bidding war” between two of the most ardent collectors of such treasures.

Will these pieces be seen in public again in our lifetimes?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Gil Brassard, and others.


How deep is the stupid in Tea Party and among their fellow travelers?

August 28, 2011

Barack Obama has managed to tack on a bit over a trillion dollars to the national debt, mostly in a successful effort to keep the U.S. and the world from plunging into a Greater Depression.  We haven’t shaken off the harmful effects of the Republican assault on capitalism during the previous years’ assaults on the Constitution, science, education and other American institutions.

But in the alternate universe of conservative thought, Obama’s put $15 trillion in new debts on the books.  Being off by a factor of 10 to 15 is an accomplishment worthy of someone wholly unconnected with reality.  That would be Victor Davis Hanson in this case.  Not sure why, but some search took me to a blog called The Clue Batting Cage — batting away clues to reality is a sport to them, I suppose.  There I found this post:

Here’s some excellent wording from Victor Davis Hanson.

Despite nearly $15 trillion in federal debt, the administration apparently wants to defy the rules of logic and do more of what made things worse in the first place, under the euphemism of “investments.” American popular culture has coined all sorts of proverbial warnings about such mindless devotion to destructive rote: “Don’t flog a dead horse,” “If you are in a hole, stop digging,” and “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

No matter: The administration still adheres to the logical fallacy that the toxic medicine cannot be proven to be useless or harmful, because there was supposedly never enough of it given. And the proof is that the worsening patient is still not quite dead.
:
That there is never enough spending is a seductive fallacy because it never requires any empirical proof: If millions of those supported by the state have lost their self-reliance and self-initiative, perhaps it is because millions supported by the state were not supported well enough, and so in response, some resorted to stealing things they could not afford.

How many others could possibly be with these yahoos, looking through the telescope backwards?

Looking through a telescope the wrong way

Looking through a telescope the wrong way

Here’s what I posted in comments:

It’s difficult to reconcile the idea of someone who recommends Bob Park’s blog, and approves of Victor Hanson’s blather at the same time.

But then I look closer. You missed the boat completely. You didn’t even recommend the right Bob Park, but some imposter named Parks. You missed reality by one letter.

Reality is not an opinion, not that I expect you’ll ever change your opinion on that.

Lay off of Morgan’s blog for a while, maybe read some science or something. You may not feel better in the morning, but soon, and for the rest of your life.

9:38 PM

Delete

The author complains that my comments are too acid, and that the National Science Foundation is a “government site.”

If you call a private foundation the government supports, independent from the government by design to keep its advice unbiased, does that make it a government site?

Or is it still a four-legged calf?

A wise person said that you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t get to by reason in the first place.  That’s the problem with the Tea Party in the first place.  It’s also the problem in the second place, and the third place, and on all issues.

To the Tea Party mindset, they are all five-legged dogs.

Tea Party's five-legged dog, by Esther Derby.com

Tea Party's five-legged dog, by Esther Derby.com


OK Go! and Muppets!

August 28, 2011

Together!  OK Go and the Muppets:

Oh, if only this meant the Muppet Show was coming back.


I get e-mail from MI-6 (a hoax, no doubt)

August 28, 2011

How many different forms can this scam take?   Is anyone taken in by it anymore?

FUND BENEFIT (LIAISON OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT)
From:
BRITISH SECRET INTELLIGENCE SERVICE (MI6) LONDON. <sis@ukgov.uk>
To: edarrell@obladeeobladah.uk.org

Office of the British Secret Intelligence Service Mi6
P.O Box 1300,Vauxhall – London SE1 1BD – United Kingdom.
Website: http://www.sis.gov.uk/output/sis-home-welcome.html
S.I.S Ref: LN/mi6/SIS/XX027

Dear Beneficiary,

BRITISH JURISDICTIONAL FUND LETTER:

As Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) also known as Mi6, SIS provides the British Government with a global covert capability to promote and defend the national security and economic well-being of the United Kingdom. Regional instability, Financial Frauds, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and illegal narcotics are among the major challenges of the 21st century. SIS assists the government to meet these challenges. To do this effectively SIS must protect the secrets of its sources and methods.

http://www.sis.gov.uk/output/sis-home-welcome.html

In regards to Legislation and accountability, SIS like other British intelligence and security agencies, is subject to parliamentary, ministerial, judicial and financial oversight. Oversight is based on two pieces of UK legislation, the intelligence services Act 1994 (I.S.A) and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (R.I.P.A).

With notice, SIS has litigated a group of apprehended UK-based multimillionaire financial fraudsters who dubiously perpetrated fraudulent acts with first degree ulterior motives against you through your e-mail over the internet in the United Kingdom.

By court order, prior to 12 years prison sentence charged upon them by the Lord Chief Justice and President of the Courts of England and Wales (R.H, The Lord Judge: Igor Judge, Baron Judge), the culprits were placed on a bail by way of compensation to you in a sum of 2,350,000 (Two million, three hundred and fifty thousand British Pounds Sterling) in lieu of British International Fundamental Human Rights Ordinances of 1997, of which your benefited fund has been brought in cash to our Head Office by the culprits’ Legal councils prior to their inception of jail term.

Click on your ”REPLY” to contact the British Secret Intelligence (MI6) Chief of Operations indicating your names, phone contact, age, current residential address & a valid identity card.

Caution: Do not recopy this letter or publicize the above Britain’s secret agent or the secret email identity above. For SIS diligence & effectiveness, it must protect the secrets of its sources & methods.

The Management,
British Secret Intelligence Service
London, United Kingdom.

You gotta wonder what these guys would do if they thought anyone would publicize their letter, say, like posting it on a blog.  If it were important to keep it secret, you can imagine how the letter-writer might fear that someone from MI-6 would learn what the letter-writer did, and come after him.  I mean, what e-mail scammer could stand up to MI-6?


Propaganda posters: J. C. Leyendecker’s Uncle Sam at bat

August 28, 2011

 

Get in the game with Uncle Sam, WWI poster by J. C. Leyendecker, Museum of Play image

“Get in the Game with Uncle Sam” poster from World War I, by J. C. Leyendecker — image from National Museum of Play

No matter how much the Texas State Board of Education wishes to run away from America’s heritage, we can’t.

Nor should we want to.

Propaganda is not a bad word.  There is bad propaganda, stuff that doesn’t work.  There is propaganda for bad purposes, stuff that promotes bad policies, or evil.  But good propaganda is stronger, long-lasting, often full of great artistic merit, and instructive.

Images of Uncle Sam provide clear pictures of what Americans were thinking, from the oldest versions to today.

This poster above is a World War I poster designed to convince Americans to get involved in the war effort.  J. C. Leyendecker, a noted illustrator, casts Uncle Sam as a baseball player up to bat.  The poster says simply, “Get in the game with Uncle Sam.”  Perhaps uniquely, this poster showed Sam in yellow-striped pants, instead of the more traditional red-striped.  Could an artist take such liberty today?

Nicolas Ricketts at the Strong Museum of National Play offered a good, concise description of the politics and history of the poster at the blog for the Museum:

Meanwhile, then-president Woodrow Wilson, who had won reelection in 1916 on an anti-war platform, faced the need for American participation in the terrible “Great War” raging in Europe. He and his cabinet knew that American involvement loomed. But how could the government convince the American public that this was necessary? One idea was to create a poster that urged Americans to metaphorically “Get in the Game,” along with their patriotic national symbol, Uncle Sam.

Artist J. C. Leyendecker (1874-1951) designed the poster, commissioned by the Publicity Committee of the Citizens Preparedness Association, a pro-war organization with federal support which also sponsored “preparedness parades” and other nationalistic activities. Leyendecker himself emigrated from Germany at age eight and was approaching the pinnacle of his career in 1917 when he created this work.

The poster just preceded James Montgomery Flagg’s famous “I Want You” image of Uncle Sam, which later became the best-known likeness of the country’s unofficial symbol. Leyendecker’s version, in spite of his baseball bat, is possibly less affable to contemporary eyes than Flagg’s friendlier Sam. But the bat he holds connected him to many Americans, who perhaps then decided that America should “get in the game.”

Some of this older propaganda had a humorous twist I think is too often missing from modern posters.  It was more effective for that, I think.

The image of Sam at bat shows up in many places in the internet world, but most often stripped of its identifying links to Leyendecker.  That does disservice to the art, to history, and to Leyendecker, who was one of our nation’s better illustrators for a very long time.

Visit the National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

 


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