Friday, December 28, 2007

Rankin's Eyescapes photographs

Rankin, photographer and founder of Dazed and Confused magazine, created an incredible photographic series of more than a dozen decontextualized irises. Scrolling horizontally back and forth across these images is quite trance-inducing. The project is called Eyescapes. Link

Use the above Link to scan irises horizontally back and forth

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Night Before Christmas

December 24th, 2007 under Offbeat News.

T’was the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house,
Made of plaster and stone.

Photo Luodanli

I had come down the chimney,
With presents to give,
And to see just who,
In this home did live.

I looked all about,
A strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents,
Not even a tree.

No stocking by the mantle,
Just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures,
Of far distant lands.

With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds,
A sober thought,
Came through my mind.

For this house was different,
It was dark and dreary.
I found the home of a soldier,
Once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping,
Silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor,
In this one bedroom home.

The face was so gentle,
The room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured,
A Canadian soldier.

Was this the hero,
Of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
The floor for a bed?

I realized the families,
That I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these soldiers,
Who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world,
The children would play,
And grownups would celebrate,
A bright Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom,
Each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers,
Like the one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder,
How many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve,
In a land far from home.

The very thought brought
A tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees,
And started to cry.

The soldier awakened,
And I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry.
This life is my choice.”

“I fight for freedom,
I don’t ask for more,
My life is my God,
My country, my corps.”

The soldier rolled over,
And drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it,
I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours,
So silent and still,
And we both shivered,
From the cold night’s chill.

I didn’t want to leave,
On that cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor,
So willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over,
With a voice, soft and pure,
Whispered, “Carry on Santa,
It’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”

One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right,
“Merry Christmas my friend,
And to all a good night.”

This poem was written by a peace keeping soldier
stationed overseas.

Please, Christmas is nigh and some credit is due
To our service men and women
For us being able to celebrate these Festivities.

Let’s try in this small way to pay
A tiny bit of what we owe.
Stop …
Think of our heroes, living and dead,
Who sacrificed themselves
For us.

To catch a thief

Entrapment ... Harry Cordaiy, 11, with the device used to catch the culprits. He painted a mouse trap with green food colouring and used a $5 note as bait. James Brickwood
Photo: James Brickwood

Caroline Marcus
December 23, 2007

LIKE any superhero worth his cape, Harry Cordaiy has an alter ego.

The year 5 student at Avalon Public School now goes by the name "Mousetrap Man" after hatching an ingenious plan to snare a pair of schoolyard crims who were knocking off lunch money to fund their lolly habit.

Like Agatha Christie's famed whodunit The Mousetrap, Harry's story is full of mystery and intrigue.

On three consecutive days last month, about $150 went missing from schoolbags, which students must store in the hat room during recess. Harry was a victim - he lost $18 - and other students had cash and bus passes nicked.

Harry, 11, sprang into action.

"The teachers said 'wait, wait, wait' and they weren't taking any action," he said.

"I decided to act because I was annoyed that they had robbed a lot of classes, and a lot of people were missing $20."

Harry drew on know-how acquired from hours spent glued to the History Channel, his favourite program being a documentary about Vietcong-made traps in the Vietnam War.

On the fourth day, he placed a mouse trap with a $5 note attached in his school bag during recess.

He had squirted the device's main bar and metal fittings with green food colouring, cutting a small hole in the note and securing it on the bait hook with sticky tape, so that the thief would have to wrestle with it, thereby setting off the spring and getting hit with the coloured bar.

To his surprise, the thieves took the bait and - after he spread the word among classmates - a witch-hunt began.

"I thought 'Oh my God, I might catch these guys'," Harry said. "Everybody was running around seeing who had green on their fingers."

One of the offenders was caught green-handed en route to the bathroom in a desperate bid to wash off the evidence. The younger boy confessed his guilt. An accomplice in the same year was also nabbed.

The pair had amassed a booty of $165 from their crime spree - blowing $15 on lollies at the canteen. Harry's mother, Michaela, 38, a nurse, could not be more proud of her son. She said she had grown up around mousetraps and did not believe any child could have been seriously injured.

"Harry has a strong concept of fairness and didn't want to see anyone else lose their money," Mrs Cordaiy said. "Initially, the vice-principal had to say it was a little extreme and we don't condone it - but privately teachers were, like, 'Good on you, mate'.

"[The offenders] probably just didn't realise how much trouble they'd really caused. This is the northern beaches, for God's sake. Nobody is that poor."

When he's not busy fighting crime, Harry plays rugby union and league and dreams of putting his technical skills to use as an engineer. He has been voted in as a school leader next year.

Principal Rob Richmond said the two students involved in taking the money had been disciplined.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

10-Year Chinese Haunting Finally Debunked

This 5 story “haunted” building in the GuangXi province of China has scared most of it’s owners away.

Anyone who ever lived in the house, heard horribly spooky sounds coming from somewhere in the house.

In ten years, the house has been sold to four different owners, and soon after each moved in, they moved out because of the haunting.

The building is actually very nice and used to be valued at about $34,000, but with the haunting no one wanted to buy it until two brothers paid $6,500 and bought it.

The small town Chan brothers did not believe in haunted houses and could not pass on the great price for such a large building.

Each night, the brothers would hold their breath and try to find where in the house the noise was coming from.

After numerous nights of searching, they figured out the noise sounded like something flapping in the water and it came from the bathroom pipe on the first floor.

The decided to break the pipe open and immediately found what was haunting the house.

About 10 catfish were found swimming in the sewer. Two were about 10 pounds and the rest were about 5 pounds each.

So it turns out the haunting was nothing more than some catfish in the sewer system, but… how did they get their in the first place?

In 1995, the first owner of the house was a catfish lover.

One day, he bought a bucket full of cat fish for dinner and left them in the bathroom waiting to be gutted. Apparently, two of them escaped through the toilet bowl and made a happy family of 10 living in the sewage pond.

Now that the ghost is gone, the price tag of the house soon rocketed to over $133,000. Not too bad for a little myth busting…