From The Ottawa Citizen:
VANCOUVER — Today Hunter S. Thompson is remembered as a literary icon, whose classic works and impetuous personality firmly stamped his place into the hearts, minds and graphic T-shirts of a malleable generation.
With his seminal classics — Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 and Hells Angels — he spawned “Gonzo journalism,” a subjective style of journalism that incorporates the author into the story.
His fiery prose was fuelled as much by wit and vibrant description as it was by mescaline and Wild Turkey.
But in 1958, Thompson was still a struggling journalist, living in a tiny basement apartment in New York’s Greenwich Village, burdened by crippling debt.
On Oct. 1, 1958 — 52 years ago Friday — self-professed to be in a “frenzy of drink,” Thompson penned a letter of application to the Vancouver Sun. He had heard about the paper through an article in Time magazine — where he worked briefly as a copy boy for $50 U.S. a week — that praised the paper’s new editorial direction under Jack Scott.
Scott, whom Thompson had addressed his letter to, was a Sun columnist who was appointed editorial director in September 1958.
According to Time, the “tart-tongued” Scott “unleashed all of his formidable flair for spectacular stunts” in his new role, which included sending the football editor to Formosa (now Taiwan) to interview Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Republic of China, and the women’s page editor to Cuba to cover the aftermath of the revolution.
He was promptly demoted in March 1959, summing up his brief stint with, “It was a ball while it lasted,” according to Time.
Thompson’s letter is among hundreds — to friends, family, lovers, editors and debt collectors — published in The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 (Ballantine, 1997).
TO JACK SCOTT, VANCOUVER SUN
October 1, 1958 57 Perry Street New York City
I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I’d also like to offer my services.
Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley.
By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.
I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)
Nothing beats having good references.
Of course if you asked some of the other people I’ve worked for, you’d get a different set of answers.
If you’re interested enough to answer this letter, I’ll be glad to furnish you with a list of references — including the lad I work for now.
The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It’s a year old, however, and I’ve changed a bit since it was written. I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.
Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.
I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.
I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.
It’s a long way from here to British Columbia, but I think I’d enjoy the trip.
If you think you can use me, drop me a line.
If not, good luck anyway.
Sincerely, Hunter S. Thompson
From Sky News:
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be released in November just days after the first election there in two decades, officials say.
The Nobel Peace laureate has been detained for most of the last 20 years since winning the country’s last poll in 1990.
Unnamed sources told the AFP news agency that she will be freed when her current house arrest expires on November 13.
“November will be an important and busy month for us because of the election and because of Aung San Suu Kyi’s release,” a Burmese official said.
The official noted the release would come soon after the country’s November 7 vote.
A second Burmese official, who also declined to be named, confirmed the date, adding: “She will be released on that day according to the law.”
Neither Suu Kyi nor her National League for Democracy (NLD) party will participate in the upcoming vote.
Opponents have dismissed the election as a sham aimed at hiding military power behind a civilian facade.
Uncertainty over whether the military regime will indeed release the 65-year-old will remain until the moment she appears in public.
The junta, humiliated by its crashing defeat in the last election, has prolonged Suu Kyi’s confinement almost continuously ever since.
She has been detained since May 2003 and has only enjoyed fleeting periods of freedom since 1990.
Thailand-based analyst Aung Naing Oo said any release would come with conditions and she “won’t be free to go out”.
Each picture represents a before and after ‘the dissapearance’ shot.
Picture above (1970): Maria Irma Ferreira, Maria Susana Ferreira; picture below (2006): Maria Susana Ferreira
From Zeit Online:
During the military dictatorship in Argentina from 1976 to 1983 nearly 30,000 people disappeared without trace. Der Fotograf Gustavo Germano gehört zu den Opfern des Staatsterrors. The photographer Gustavo Germano is one of the victims of state terror. Er verlor seinen ältesten Bruder. He lost his oldest brother. Mit seiner Fotoserie zeigt er auf eindrückliche Weise, was mit einer Familie geschieht, aus deren Mitte plötzlich ein Mensch gerissen wird. With his photo series, he shows in an impressive way what happens to a family from whose midst a man is suddenly broken. Germano hat Familienfotos aus den Siebziger Jahren nachfotografiert mit den Menschen, die die Militärdiktatur überlebt haben. Germano has rephotographed family photos from the seventies with the people who survived the military dictatorship. Manchmal fehlt ein Familienmitglied, manchmal gleich mehrere. Sometimes missing a family member, sometimes several. Einmal ist nur das Kind am Leben geblieben, ein anderes Mal ist die Ehefrau alleine zurückgeblieben oder die Schwester, wie auf den Bildern links. Only once the child is still alive, another time the wife is left behind alone, or the sister, as in the pictures on the [below].
1975: Omar Darío Amestoy, Mario Alfredo Amestoy
2006: Mario Alfredo Amestoy 2006: Mario Alfredo Amestoy
1976: Orlando René Méndez, Laura Cecilia Méndez Oliva, Leticia Margarita Oliva 1976: Orlando, René Méndez, Laura Cecilia Méndez Oliva, Leticia Margarita Oliva
2006: Laura Cecilia Méndez Oliva 2006: Laura Cecilia Méndez Oliva
1969: The photographer Gustavo M. Germano, Guillermo A. Germano, Germano HM Diego, Eduardo R. Germano
2006: Gustavo M. Germano, Guillermo A. Germano, Diego HM Germano 2006: Gustavo M. Germano, Guillermo A. Germano, Germano HM Diego
1974: Clara de Atelman Fink, Claudio Marcelo Fink
2006: Clara Atelman de Fink 2006: Clara de Atelman Fink
1968: Roberto Ismael Sorba, Jorge Cresta, Azucena Sorba
2006: Jorge Cresta, Azucena Sorba 2006: Jorge Cresta, Azucena Sorba
1973: Mario Eduardo Menendez, Luis Maria Pirro 1973: Mario Eduardo Menendez, Luis Maria Pirro
2006: Luis Maria Pirro 2006: Luis Maria Pirro
1975: “La Tortuga Alegre, Río Uruguay. Entre Ríos. Entre Ríos. Orlando René Méndez, Leticia Margarita Oliva Orlando René Méndez, Leticia Margarita Oliva
2006: ”La Tortuga Alegre”, Río Uruguay. 2006: “La Tortuga Alegre, Río Uruguay. Entre Ríos Entre Ríos
Thanks to Daniel de W. for submitting this.
Portrait of Django Reinhardt, Aquarium, New York, N.Y., ca. Nov. 1946
Portrait of Kaiser Marshall, Art Hodes, Sandy Williams, Cecil (Xavier) Scott, and Henry (Clay) Goodwin, Times Square, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1947
Portrait of Billie Holiday, Downbeat(?), New York, N.Y., ca. June 1946
Portrait of Duke Ellington, Paramount Theater, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1946
Portrait of Glen Gray, Paramount Theater, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1946
Note the gun on the dressing table, pipe lighter?
Portrait of Sarah Vaughan, Café Society (Downtown), New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1946
Portrait of Oscar Moore, Nat King Cole, and Wesley Prince, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1946
Portrait of Louis Armstrong, Aquarium, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1946
Portrait of Frank Sinatra and Axel Stordahl, Liederkrantz Hall, New York, N.Y., ca. 1947
Portrait of Sarah Vaughan, Café Society (Downtown), New York, N.Y., ca. Aug. 1946
Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
View of the Apollo Theatre marquee, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948
Portrait of Louis Armstrong, Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y., ca. Apr. 1947
Portrait of Charlie Parker, Three Deuces, New York, N.Y., ca. Aug. 1947
Portrait of Denzil Best, Al Casey, and John (O.) Levy, Pied Piper, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948
Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Howard McGhee, Roy Eldridge, and Teddy Hill, Minton’s Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
Portrait of Cab Calloway, New York, N.Y.(?), ca. Jan. 1947
Portrait of Louis Armstrong, Aquarium, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1946
Portrait of Bunk Johnson, Leadbelly, George Lewis, and Alcide Pavageau, Stuyvesant Casino, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1946
Portrait of Nat King Cole, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1947
Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Minton’s Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
Portrait of Count Basie, Aquarium, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948
Portrait of Ralph Burns, Edwin A. Finckel, George Handy, Neal Hefti, Johnny Richards, and Eddie Sauter, Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y., ca. Mar. 1947
Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Minton’s Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
On April 2, 1959, producer Robert Herridge recorded the Miles Davis Quintet playing the classic “So What” in CBS studio 61, New York City. The piece was taped for an episode of the Robert Herridge Theater, titled “The Sound of Miles Davis.” CBS broadcast the show on July 21, 1960.
In 2000, the army closed Shohada Street, in Hebron, to Palestinians and sealed the entrances to the houses on the street. To leave her home, Malka Kafisha had to climb up through the roofs of neighboring houses.
Los Angeles, California (CNN) — Rick Norsigian’s hobby of picking through piles of unwanted items at garage sales in search of antiques has paid off for the Fresno, California, painter.
Two small boxes he bought 10 years ago for $45 — negotiated down from $70 — are now estimated to be worth at least $200 million, according to a Beverly Hills art appraiser.
Those boxes contained 65 glass negatives created by famed nature photographer Ansel Adams in the early period of his career. Experts believed the negatives were destroyed in a 1937 darkroom fire that destroyed 5,000 plates.
“It truly is a missing link of Ansel Adams and history and his career,” said David W. Streets, the appraiser and art dealer who is hosting an unveiling of the photographs at his Beverly Hills, California, gallery Tuesday.
The photographs apparently were taken between 1919 and the early 1930s, well before Adams — who is known as the father of American photography — became nationally recognized in the 1940s, Streets said.
“This is going to show the world the evolution of his eye, of his talent, of his skill, his gift, but also his legacy,” Streets said. “And it’s a portion that we thought had been destroyed in the studio fire.”
How these 6.5 x 8.5 inch glass plate negatives of famous Yosemite landscapes and San Francisco landmarks — some of them with fire damage — made their way from Adams collection 70 years ago to a Southern California garage sale in 2000 can only be guessed.
The person who sold them to Norsigian at the garage sale told him he bought them in the 1940s at a warehouse salvage in Los Angeles.
Photography expert Patrick Alt, who helped confirm the authenticity of the negatives, suspects Adams carried them to use in a photography class he was teaching in Pasadena, California, in the early 1940s.
“It is my belief that he brought these negatives with him for teaching purposes and to show students how to not let their negatives be engulfed in a fire,” Alt said. “I think this clearly explains the range of work in these negatives, from very early pictorialist boat pictures, to images not as successful, to images of the highest level of his work during this time period.”
Alt said it is impossible to know why Adams would store them in Pasadena and never reclaim them.
The plates were individually wrapped in newspaper inside deteriorating manila envelopes. Notations on each envelope appeared to have been made by Virginia Adams, the photographer’s wife, according to handwriting experts Michael Nattenberg and Marcel Matley. They compared them to samples provided by the Adams’ grandson.
While most of the negatives appear never to have been printed, several are nearly identical to well-known Adams prints, the experts said.
Meteorologist George Wright studied clouds and snow cover in a Norsigian negative to conclude that it was taken at about the same time as a known Adams photo of a Yosemite tree.
In addition to Yosemite — the California wilderness that Adams helped conserve — the negatives depict California’s Carmel Mission, views of a rocky point in Carmel, San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, a sailing yacht at sea and an image of sand dunes.
“The fact that these locations were well-known to Adams, and visited by him, further supports the proposition that all of the images in the collection were most probably created by Adams,” said art expert Robert Moeller.
Moeller said that after six months of study, he concluded “with a high degree of probability, that the images under consideration were produced by Ansel Adams.
Silver tarnishing on the negatives also helped date the plates to around the 1920s, Alt said.
“I have sent people to prison for the rest of their lives for far less evidence than I have seen in this case,” said evidence and burden of proof expert Manny Medrano, who was hired by Norsigian to help authenticate them. “In my view, those photographs were done by Ansel Adams.”
Norsigian, who has spent the last decade trying to prove the worth of his discovery, is now ready to cash in — by selling original prints of the photographs to museums and collectors.
“I have estimated that his $45 investment easily could be worth up to $200 million,” Streets said.
From Nat Geo:
A new computer program has quickly deciphered a written language last used in Biblical times—possibly opening the door to “resurrecting” ancient texts that are no longer understood, scientists announced last week.
Created by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the program automatically translates written Ugaritic, which consists of dots and wedge-shaped stylus marks on clay tablets. The script was last used around 1200 B.C. in western Syria.
Written examples of this “lost language” were discovered by archaeologists excavating the port city of Ugarit in the late 1920s. It took until 1932 for language specialists to decode the writing. Since then, the script has helped shed light on ancient Israelite culture and Biblical texts.
Using no more computing power than that of a high-end laptop, the new program compared symbol and word frequencies and patterns in Ugaritic with those of a known language, in this case, the closely related Hebrew.
Through repeated analysis, the program linked letters and words to map nearly all Ugaritic symbols to their Hebrew equivalents in a matter of hours.
The program also correctly identified Ugaritic and Hebrew words with shared roots 60 percent of the time. Shared roots are when words in different languages spring from the same source, such as the French homme and Spanish hombre, which share the Latin root for “man.”
Led by computer science professor Regina Barzilay, the team may be the first to show that a computer approach to dead scripts can be effective, despite claims that machines lack the necessary intuition.
(Related: “Video Games Help U.S. Soldiers Learn Arab Language, Culture.”)
“Traditionally, decipherment has been viewed as a sort of scholarly detective game, and computers weren’t thought to be of much use,” Barzilay said.
“Our aim is to bring to bear the full power of modern machine learning and statistics to this problem.”
Not Always a “Rosetta Stone”
The next step should be to see whether the program can help crack the handful of ancient scripts that remain largely incomprehensible.
Etruscan, for example, is a script that was used in northern and central Italy around 700 B.C. but was displaced by Latin by about A.D. 100. Few written examples of Etruscan survive, and the language has no known relations, so it continues to baffle archaeologists.
(Related: “Languages Racing to Extinction in Five Global ‘Hotspots.’”)
“In the case [of Ugaritic], you’re dealing with a small and simple writing system, and there are closely related languages,” noted Richard Sproat, an Oregon Health and Science University computational linguist who was not involved in the new work.
“It’s not always going to be the case that there are closely related languages that one can use” for Rosetta Stone-like comparisons.
But study leader Barzilay thinks the decoding program can overcome this hurdle by scanning multiple languages at once and taking contextual information into account—improvements that could uncover unexpected similarities or links to known languages.
TypArchive is an image library primarily focused on hand painted signage.
The objective is to amass a comprehensive global collection of a high-quality images and produce hard-copy volumes.
Amidst a landscape of vapid strip malls and sterile signage, hand-painted lettering retains a soulful aesthetic to be treasured. Like other crafts dissolving in the digital age, sign painting is a fading occupation. Today it’s easy for any layman with minimal computer knowledge to produce a sign within minutes, but the skill acquired to artfully produce hand lettering took years of apprenticeships, dedication and true talent. – RD Granados
The Kray Brothers
John Lennon and Paul McCartney
From an upcoming show at Hamiltons Gallery, London.
Mark Twain left instructions not to publish his autobiography until 100 years after his death, which is now.
From The Independent:
Exactly a century after rumours of his death turned out to be entirely accurate, one of Mark Twain’s dying wishes is at last coming true: an extensive, outspoken and revelatory autobiography which he devoted the last decade of his life to writing is finally going to be published.
The creator of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and some of the most frequently misquoted catchphrases in the English language left behind 5,000 unedited pages of memoirs when he died in 1910, together with handwritten notes saying that he did not want them to hit bookshops for at least a century.
That milestone has now been reached, and in November the University of California, Berkeley, where the manuscript is in a vault, will release the first volume of Mark Twain’s autobiography. The eventual trilogy will run to half a million words, and shed new light on the quintessentially American novelist.