Total Pageviews

Friday, April 12, 2024

FATED FRIDAY / DRIVE ACROSS THE FORMER FRANCIS SCOTT KEY BRIDGE


Video taken on MD I-695 East in Baltimore, MD on August 10, 2020, 3:15 pm.  The bridge collapsed on March 26, 2024 after a massive container ship struck one of the main support pilings. 

BEFORE:

CLICK HERE for the drive across the fated span. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uQ5WswUvGY 


AFTER:

CLICK HERE for impact and collapse of the FSK Bridge:

***



Thursday, April 11, 2024

THE FOODIST / IT’S STILL THERE / NOT FAR FROM THE OLD PORT IN MARSEILLE

Photo: Alexis Steinman

Roger Journo's bakery actually began in his homeland, Tunisia. He landed in Marseille in the mid-60s, joining his fellow compatriots who flocked to France for work and opportunity after Tunisia's independence in 1956. 

To keep connected to his Tunisian Jewish roots, Roger essentially re-opened the bakery he had across the Mediterranean: the same recipes, the same set-up, even some of the same customers. 

Roger Journo left us in 2022. 

One in his family couldn’t bear the thought of his grandfather’s shop closing so his grandson, a lawyer undertook a labor of love for the late family patriarch and keep the bakery ongoing.  

For more on the bakery, the following is a 2019 reprint from the excellent travel/cuisine blog called Culinary Backstreets. CLICK HERE. 

Pâtisserie Orientale Journo 28 Rue de Pavillon 

Tel. +33 4 91 33 65 20 

Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 9am-5:15pm (in summers until 7pm); Fri. 9am-4pm; Sun. 9am-noon 

Cornes de gazelles, crescent-shaped almond cookies in powdered sugar.


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

DESIGN. MILANO'S PRADA CAFFE NOW IN HARRODS KNIGHTSBRIDGE


Details from Harrods: 

Prada Caffè is now in London’s iconic Harrod’s department store, where the fashion house is serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, small bites and aperitivo, all in signature Prada interiors. 


Inspired by Prada’s most famous stores – including its first-ever boutique, opened at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in 1913 – Prada Caffè delivered a taste of Milan in Knightsbridge. 

The black-and-white chequered flooring, echoing the brand’s iconic monochrome designs, paves the way to elegant velvet sofas in the season’s pale green, from which guests can admire the floral bas-reliefs that decorate the walls. 


 Outside, a fabulous summer terrace awaits, where revellers can bask in the sunshine with an ice-cold spritz or gelato from the ice-cream stall – also available to takeaway. All the tableware is original and exclusive, selected by Prada to complement the surroundings: think pale-blue Japanese porcelain with a contrasting double black line and crystal glasses featuring the quintessentially Prada triangle motif. 


 There’s more on the menu than impeccable style, though. Promising a modern take on Italian tradition, a wide selection of sweet and savoury dishes offers gourmet refreshments throughout the day. 

For breakfast, Italian coffee accompanies perfect poached eggs and puff pastries, while the lunch menu boasts starters and mains ranging from burrata and zucchini to spinach and ricotta cannelloni with black truffle. In need of a quick post-shopping snack? Look to Prada’s tempting selection of tramezzini (dainty sandwiches) and pizzettes (mini puff pizzas). Or choose from an array of indulgent patisseries and desserts displayed on the grand central counter and back wall. The pistachio cake with pistachio croccantino and cream, sponge cake and vanilla cream is worth the trip alone. Of course, no visit to Prada Caffè is complete without raising a glass. Choose from a wine list spanning Piedmont to Sicily or sit back with a signature cocktail.




Tuesday, April 9, 2024

AMERICANA / APPOMATTOX!


The painting, above, “Peace in Union” depicts the surrender of Robert E. Lee to U.S. Army General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. It is a reproduction of a painting by Thomas Nast, which he completed 30 years after the Civil War ended. 

Called the "Father of the American Cartoon," Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was an influential caricaturist and political cartoonist. Remembered for his Civil War illustrations in   Harper's  Weekly, Nast's political cartoons were also instrumental  in the downfall of Boss Tweed and the election of President Ulysses S. Grant. 

He solidified America's picture of Santa Claus by portraying him as a round, twinkly, elfin figure, which he based on descriptions in Washington Irving's writings and Clement Moore's poem "The Night Before Christmas." Nast also popularized the donkey as a symbol representing the Democratic Party and the elephant as a Republican Party symbol. 

Thomas Nast in 1870


Monday, April 8, 2024

MEDIA MONDAY / QUESTIONS BEHIND THE HEADLINES FACTOIDS

A Tesla Model 3 vehicle drives using Full Self-Driving in Encinitas, CA on October 18, 2023. Reuters photo.

What will Tesla’s Elon Musk unveil in August? 

Answer: Robotaxi on August 8, 2024. 

*** 

How many illegally trafficked firearms came via unlicensed dealers in past 5 years? 

Answer. Associated Press says more than 68,000 illegally trafficked firearms in the U.S. came through unlicensed dealers who aren’t required to perform background checks over a five-year period, according to new data released Thursday by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. That represents 54% of the illegally trafficked firearms in the U.S. between 2017 and 2021, Justice Department officials said. The guns were used in 368 shooting cases, which are harder to investigate because unlicensed dealers aren’t required to keep records of their sales that could allow federal agents to trace the weapon back to the original buyer, said ATF Director Steve Dettelbach. The report ordered by Attorney General Merrick Garland is the first in-depth analysis of firearm trafficking investigations in more than 20 years 

***

How much was Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun paid in 2023?

Answer: CNN reports $32.8 million. Reuters agrees. 

*** 

Who helped Donald Trump secure $175 million security bond? 

Answer: California based billionaire Don Hankey, who in 2018 owned Westlake Financial Services in Los Angeles. Hankey, according to the Washington Post said he provided the bond via one of his companies, a subsidiary of Knight Insurance. 

***

What middle east tycoon invested mega millions in conservative media darling Newsmax? 

Answer: In uncovered leaked documents from a Cayman Islands financial firm obtained by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and later confirmed by Newsmax that in 2019 and 2020, Sheikh Sultan bin Jassim Al Thani, a former Qatari government official and the owner of a London-based investment fund, Heritage Advisors, acquired what amounted to a significant minority stake in the media company, which is estimated to be worth $100 million to $200 million. A law firm representing Heritage said Sultan did not act on behalf of the Qatari state. 

*** 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

SUNDAY REVIEW / HARDY BOYS EXCERPT FROM SECRET OF THE OLD MILL, 1927.


Note: Billed as mystery stories by boys by Franklin W. Dixon, a pseudonym from within Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers, New York. Brought to the public domain by Project Gutenberg: http://www.pgdp.net 

CHAPTER I 

A FIVE DOLLAR BILL 

The afternoon express from the north steamed into the Bayport station to the usual accompanying uproar of clanging bells from the lunch room, shouting redcaps, and a bellowing train announcer. 

Among the jostling, hurrying crowd on the platform were two pleasant-featured youths who scanned the passing coaches expectantly. 

"I don't see him," said Frank Hardy, the older of the pair, as he watched the passengers descending from one of the Pullman coaches. 

"Perhaps he stopped at some other town and intends coming in on the local. It's only an hour later," suggested his brother Joe. 

The boys waited. 

They had met the train expecting to greet their father, Fenton Hardy, the nationally famous detective, who had been away from home for the past two weeks on a murder case in New York. It appeared that they were to be disappointed. When the last of the Bayport passengers had left the train Fenton Hardy was not among them. 

"We'll come back and meet the local," said Frank at last. 

The brothers were about to turn away and retrace their steps down the platform when they saw a tall, well-dressed stranger swing himself down from the steps of the nearest coach. He was a man of about thirty, dark and clean-shaven, and he hastened over toward them. 

"I want to pay a fellow a dollar out of this five," remarked the stranger, as he came up to the boys. "Can you change the bill?" 

At the same time he produced a five dollar bill from his pocket and held it out inquiringly. He was a pleasant-spoken young man and he was evidently in a hurry. "I could try the lunch room, I suppose, but there's such a crowd that I'll have trouble being waited on," he explained, the bill fluttering in his hands. 

Frank looked at his brother and began feeling in his pockets. 

"I've got three dollars, Joe. How about you?" 

Joe dug up the loose change in his possession. There was a dollar bill, a fifty-cent piece and three quarters. 

"Two dollars and a quarter," he announced. "I guess we can make it." 

He handed over two dollars to Frank, who added it to the three dollars of his own and gave the money to the stranger, who gave Frank the five dollar bill in exchange. 

"Thanks, ever so much," said the young man. "You've saved me a lot of trouble. My friend is getting off at this station and I wanted to give him the dollar before he left. Thanks." 

"Don't mention it," replied Frank carelessly, putting the bill in his pocket. "We'll get it changed between us." 

The young man nodded, smiled at them and hastened back up the steps of the coach, with a carefree wave of his hand. "I'm glad we were able to help him out," observed Joe. "It was just by chance that I had that small change too. Mother gave me some money to buy some pie-plates." 

"Pie-plates!" exclaimed Frank, with a grin. "There's nothing I'd rather see coming into the house than more pie-plates. More pie-plates mean more pie." 

"We might as well go down and get them now, before I forget. There's a shop down the street and we can get the plates and get this five dollar bill changed. It'll help kill time before the local comes in." 

The two lads went down the platform, out through the station to the main street of Bayport, basking in the summer sunlight. They were healthy, normal American boys of high school age. Frank, being a year older than his brother, was slightly taller. He was slim and dark, while his brother was somewhat stouter of build, with fair, curly hair. As they strolled down the street they received and returned many greetings, for both boys were well-known and popular in Bayport. 

Before they reached the store they heard the shriek of the whistle and the clanging of the bell that indicated that the express was resuming its southward journey. 

"Our friend can travel in peace," remarked Frank. "He got his five changed anyway." "And the other fellow got his dollar. Everybody's happy." 

They reached the store and paused outside the entrance to examine an assortment of baseball bats, discussing the relative merits and weights of each, then poked around in a tray of mitts, trying them on and agreeing that none equaled the worn and battered mitts they had at home. Finally they entered the shop, where they were greeted by the proprietor, a chubby and genial man named Moss. Mr. Moss was sitting on the counter reading a newspaper, for business was dull that afternoon, but he cast the sheet aside when they came in. 

"Looking for clues?" he asked humorously, as they came in. 

As sons of Fenton Hardy, and as amateur detectives of some ability in their own right, the boys were frequently the butt of jesting remarks concerning their hobby, but they invariably took them in the spirit of good-natured raillery in which they were meant. 

"No clues here," continued Mr. Moss. "You won't find a single, solitary clue in the place. I had a crate of awfully nice bank robbery clues in yesterday, but they've all been snapped up. I expect some nice murder clues in tomorrow morning, if you'd care to wait that long. Or perhaps you'd like me to order you a few kidnapping clues. Size eight and a half, guaranteed not to wear, tear or tarnish." 

Mr. Moss rattled on, with an air of great gravity, burst into a roar of laughter at his own joke, then swung his feet against the side of the counter. "Well, boys, what'll it be?" he asked, rubbing his eyes, as the two brothers grinned at him. "What can I do for you?" 

"We want some pie-plates," said Joe. "Three." "Small ones, I suppose," said Mr. Moss, then chuckled hugely as the boys looked at him in indignation. 

"I should say not," returned Frank. "The biggest you've got." 

Mr. Moss laughed very much at this also, and swung himself down from the counter and went in search of the pie-plates. He returned eventually with three that seemed to be of the required size and quality. 

"Wrap 'em up," said Frank, throwing the five dollar bill on the counter. 

Mr. Moss wrapped up the plates, then picked up the bill and went over to the cash register. He rang up the amount of the sale and was about to put the money in the till when he suddenly hesitated, then held the bill up to the light. Slowly, he came back to the counter, rubbing the bill between thumb and forefinger, feeling its texture and minutely examining the surface. 

"Where did you get this bill, boys?" he asked seriously. 

"We just changed it for a stranger on the train," answered Frank. "What's the matter with it?" 

"Looks bad to me," replied Mr. Moss dubiously. "I'm afraid I can't take a chance on it." He handed the bill back to Frank, then indicated the package on the counter. "What are you going to do about the plates?" he asked. "Have you any other money besides that bill?" 

"Not a nickel," said Joe. "At least, not enough to pay for the plates. But do you really think the bill is no good?" 

"I've handled a lot of them. It doesn't look good to me. I tell you what you'd better do. Take it over to the bank across the street and ask the cashier what he thinks of it." 

The boys looked at one another in dismay. It had never occurred to them that there might be anything wrong with the money. Now it dawned on them that there had been something suspicious about the affable stranger's request. Had they really been victimized? 

"We'll do that," agreed Frank. "Come on, Joe. Keep those plates for us, Mr. Moss. If the bill is bad we'll be back with some real money later on." 

They crossed the street to the bank and went up to the cashier's cage. They knew the cashier well and he smiled at them as Frank pushed the five dollar bill under the grating. 

"Want it changed?" he asked. 

"We want to know if it's good, first." 

The cashier, a sharp-featured, elderly man with spectacles, then took a sharp glance at the bill. He pursed up his lips as he felt the texture of the paper. Then he flicked the bill across to them again. 

"Sorry," he said. "You've been stung, boys. It's counterfeit." 

"Counterfeit!" exclaimed Frank. 

"You aren't the first one who has been fooled. There's been a lot of counterfeit money going around the past few days. It's very cleverly done and it's apt to fool any one who isn't used to handling a lot of bills. Where did you get it?" 

"A fellow got off the train and asked us to change it for him." 

The cashier nodded. "And by now he is miles away, probably getting ready to work the same trick at the next station. I guess you'll have to pocket your loss, boys. It's tough luck." 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / MUST WE USE PAINT THINNER CHEMICALS TO DECAF SOME COFFEES?

Image: Nat'l Coffee Assn.

IS THERE NOTHING SACRED? 

CNN RECENTLY ASKED IS DECAF COFFEE SAFE TO DRINK. 

A controversy is brewing over a key chemical used to decaffeinate coffee. Experts that CNN contacted weigh in on whether we should take a pass on decaf. 

Learn what experts think you should know methylene chloride and about the safety of decaf coffee. CLICK HERE 

Friday, April 5, 2024

NOT SO FUNNY FRIDAY / IF TRUMP WONDERS HOW ON EARTH MIKE PENSE WON’T ENDORSE HIM JUST RECALL PHOTO BELOW




Above image: That’s the sitting Vice President of the United States scrambling for his life as members of his staff and the Secret Service figure a way to get Mike Pense to safety during January 6, 2021 attack on our sacred Capitol Building. 
Shame on Donald Trump for even considering another run for the Presidency
 and shame on those who support him. 

Inciting a riot is a crime! The law includes threats of violence if those involved could immediately act on the threat. Under federal law, inciting a riot (18 U.S. Code Section 2101) includes acts of "organizing, promoting, encouraging, participating in a riot" and urging or instigating others to riot. 

 Lock him up! 

Thursday, April 4, 2024

LOCAL / AARP'S NORTH PARK BASH

NOTE: LAST DAY TO RSVP

 


AMERICANA / I HAVE A DREAM…CONTINUES


Martin Luther King speaks near the Reflecting Pool in Washington as part of the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in May 1957. It was the first time King addressed a national audience, and his “Give Us the Ballot” speech called for equal voting rights. Hulton Archive/Getty Images 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

DESIGN / HOW A 40s MOVIE STAR INVENTED THE TECH BEHIND WiFi, GPS & BLUETOOTH


Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star by day, but she was also a gifted, self-trained inventor who developed a technology to help sink Nazi U-boats. 

GUEST BLOG / By History.com’s Dave Roos based on research by Richard Rhodes. -- In the 1940s, few Hollywood actresses were more famous and more famously beautiful than Hedy Lamarr. Yet despite starring in dozens of films and gracing the cover of every Hollywood celebrity magazine, few people knew Hedy was also a gifted inventor. In fact, one of the technologies she co-invented laid a key foundation for future communication systems, including GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi. 

“Hedy always felt that people didn't appreciate her for her intelligence—that her beauty got in the way,” says Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who wrote a biography about Hedy. After working 12- or 15-hour days at MGM Studios, Hedy would often skip the Hollywood parties or carousing with one of her many suitors and instead sit down at her “inventing table.” 

 The Hollywood Actress Who Invented WiFi 

“Hedy had a drafting table and a whole wall full of engineering books. It was a serious hobby,” says Rhodes, author of Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. 

While not a trained engineer or mathematician, Hedy Lamarr was an ingenious problem-solver. Most of her inventions were practical solutions to everyday problems, like a tissue box attachment for depositing used tissues or a glow-in-the-dark dog collar. 

It was during World War II, that she developed “frequency hopping,” an invention that’s now recognized as a fundamental technology for secure communications. She didn’t receive credit for the innovation until very late in life. 

Hedy Lamarr's Childhood in Austria 

Hedy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria in 1914. She was the only child of a wealthy secular Jewish family. From her father, a bank director, and her mother, a concert pianist, Hedy received a debutante’s education—ballet classes, piano lessons and equestrian training. 

There were signs at a young age that Hedy had an engineer’s natural curiosity. On long walks through the bustling streets of Vienna, Hedy’s father would explain how the streetcars worked and how their electricity was generated at the power plant. At five years old, Hedy took apart a music box and reassembled it piece by piece. 

 “Hedy did not grow up with any technical education, but she did have this personal connection,” says Rhodes. “She loved her father dearly, so it’s easy to see how from that she might have developed an interest in the subject. And also it prepared her to be what she really was, a kind of amateur inventor.” 

 Hedy's Movie Debut as Teen 

Even if Hedy had wanted to be a professional engineer or scientist, that career path wasn’t available to Viennese girls in the 1930s. Instead, teenage Hedy set her sights on the movie industry. 

Lamarr in film "Ecstasy"

“At 16,” says Rhodes, “Hedy forged a note to her teachers in Vienna saying, ‘My daughter won’t be able to come to school today,’ so she could go down to the biggest movie studio in Europe and walk in the door and say, ‘Hi, I want to be a movie star.’” 

 Hedy started as a script girl, but quickly earned some walk-on parts. The Austrian director Max Reinhardt took Hedy to Berlin when she starred in a few forgettable films before landing a role at age 18 in a racy film called Ecstasy by the Czech director Gustav Machatý. The film was denounced by Pope Pious XI, banned from Germany and blocked by US Customs authorities for being “dangerously indecent.” 

 Reinhardt called Hedy “the most beautiful woman in Europe,” and even before Ecstasy, Hedy was turning heads in theater productions across Europe. It was during the Viennese run of a popular play called Sissy that Hedy caught the eye of a wealthy Austrian munitions baron named Fritz Mandl. 

Hedy and Mandl married in 1933, but the union was stifling from the start. Mandl forced his wife to accompany him as he struck deals with customers, including officials from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, including Mussolini himself. “She would sit at dinner bored out of her mind with discussions of bombs and torpedoes, and yet she was also absorbing it,” says Rhodes. 

“Of course, nobody asked her any questions. She was supposed to be beautiful and silent. But I think it was through that experience that she developed her considerable knowledge about how torpedo guidance worked.” 

 In 1937, Hedy fled her unhappy marriage (Mandl was deeply paranoid that Hedy was cheating on him) and also fled Austria, a country aligned with Adolf Hitler’s anti-Jewish policies. 

 A New Country and a New Name 

Hedy landed in London, where Louis B. Mayer of MGM Studios was actively buying up the contracts of Jewish actors who could no longer work safely in Europe. Hedy met with Mayer, but refused his lowball offer of $125 a week for an exclusive MGM contract. 

In a savvy move, Hedy booked passage to the United States on the luxury liner SS Normandie, the same ship on which Mayer was traveling home. “She made a point of being seen on deck looking beautiful and playing tennis with some of the handsome guys on board,” says Rhodes. “By the time they got to New York, Hedy had cut a much better deal with Mayer”—$500 a week—“with the proviso that she’d learn how to speak English in six months.” Mayer had another demand—she had to change her name. Hedwig Kiesler was too German-sounding. Mayer’s wife was a fan of 1920s actress Barbara La Marr (who died tragically at 29 years old), so Mayer decided that his new MGM actor would now be known as Hedy Lamarr. 

 Actress by Day, Inventor by Night 

It didn’t take long for Hedy to emerge as a bright new star in Hollywood. Her breakout role was alongside Charles Boyer (another European transplant) in Algiers (1938). From there, the MGM machine put Hedy to work cranking out multiple feature films a year throughout the 1940s. 

 “Any girl can be glamorous,” Hedy once quipped. “All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” As much as Hedy enjoyed her Hollywood stardom, her first love was still tinkering and problem-solving. She found a kindred spirit in Howard Hughes, the film producer and aeronautical engineer. When Hedy shared an idea for a dissolvable tablet that could turn a soldier’s canteen into a soft drink, Hughes lent her a few of his chemists. 

 But most of Hedy’s work was done at home at her engineering table where she’d sketch designs for creative solutions to practical problems. In addition to the tissue box attachment and the light-up dog collar, Hedy devised a special shower seat for the elderly that swiveled safely out of a bathtub. 

 “She was an inventor,” says Rhodes. “If you’ve ever been around real inventors, they’re often not people with a particularly deep education. They’re people who think about the world in a certain way. When they find something that doesn’t work right, instead of just swearing or whatever the rest of us do, they figure out how to fix it.” 

 In 1940, Hedy was distraught by the news coming out of Europe, where the Nazi war machine was steadily gaining territory and German U-boat submarines were wreaking havoc in the Atlantic. This was a far more difficult problem to fix, but Hedy was determined to do her part in the war effort. 

 The turning point came when Hedy met a man at a dinner party. George Antheil was an avante-garde music composer who lost his brother in the earliest days of the war. Antheil and Hedy were kindred spirits—two brilliant, if unconventional minds dead set on finding a way to defeat Hitler. But how? 

 That’s when Rhodes thinks Hedy leaned on the knowledge she picked up years earlier during those boring client dinners with her first husband in Vienna. “She knew about torpedoes,” says Rhodes. “She knew there was a problem aiming torpedoes. If the British could take out German submarines with torpedoes launched from surface ships or airplanes, they might be able to prevent all of this slaughter that was going on.” 

 The answer was clearly some type of radio-controlled torpedo, but how would they stop the Germans from simply jamming the radio signal? 

Hedy and Antheil’s creative solution was inspired, Rhodes believes, by their mutual love of the piano. During their late-night brainstorming sessions, Hedy and Antheil played a musical game. They’d sit down at the piano together, one person would start playing a popular song and the other would see how quickly they could recognize it and start playing along. It was here, Rhodes thinks, that Hedy and Antheil first happened upon the idea of frequency hopping. 

If two musicians are playing the same music, they can hop around the keyboard together in perfect sync. However, if someone listening doesn’t know the song, they have no idea what keys will be pressed next. 

The “signal,” in other words, was hidden in the constantly changing frequencies. 

 How did this apply to radio-controlled torpedoes? 

The Germans could easily jam a single radio frequency, but not a constantly changing “symphony” of frequencies. In his experimental musical compositions, Antheil had written songs for multiple synchronized player pianos. The pianos played in sync because they were fed the same piano rolls—a type of primitive, cut-out paper program—that controlled which keys were played and when. 

What if he and Hedy could invent a similar method for synchronizing communications between a torpedo and its controller on a nearby ship? “All you need are two synchronized clocks that start a tape going at the same moment on the ship and inside the torpedo,” says Rhodes. “The signal between the ship and the torpedo would be continuous, even though it was traveling across a new frequency every split second. The effect for anyone trying to jam the signal is that they wouldn’t know where it was from one moment to the next, because it would ‘hopping’ all over the radio.” 

 It was Hedy who named their clever system “frequency hopping.” Hedy and Antheil developed their idea with the help of a wartime agency called the National Inventors’ Council, tasked with applying civilian inventions to the war effort. The Council connected Hedy and Antheil with a physicist from the California Institute of Technology who figured out the complex electronics to make it all work. 

Patent filed by George Antheil and Hedy Lamarr, 1942

 When their frequency hopping patent was finalized in 1942, Antheil pitched the idea to the U.S. Navy, which was less than receptive. “What do you want to do, put a player piano in a torpedo? Get out of here!” is how Rhodes describes the Navy’s knee-jerk rejection. It was never given a chance. 

 Hedy and Antheil’s patent was locked in a safe and labeled “top secret” for the remainder of the war. 

The two entertainers went back to their day jobs, thinking that was the end of their inventing days. Little did they know that their patent would have a second life. 

 Frequency Hopping Tech Takes Off

 In the 1950s, the electrical manufacturer Sylvania employed frequency hopping to build a secure system for communicating with submarines. And in the early 1960s, the technology was deployed on U.S. warships to prevent Soviet signal jamming during the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

 Antheil died in 1959, but Hedy lived on, unaware that her ingenious idea was about to take off in a big way. 

 When car phones first became popular in the 1970s, carriers used frequency hopping to enable hundreds of callers to share a limited spectrum of radio frequencies. 

The same technology was rolled out for the earliest cell phone networks. 

 By the 1990s, frequency hopping was so ubiquitous that it became the technology standard required by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for secure radio communications. That’s why Bluetooth, WiFi and other essential technologies are based, at their core, on an idea dreamed up by Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil. 

 “It’s a really deep and fundamental idea,” says Rhodes. “It has broad applications all over the place.” 

 Over time, Hedy’s Hollywood star fizzled and she retired to Florida, where she continued to tinker with new inventions, including a more “driver-friendly” type of traffic light. It wasn’t until Hedy was in her 80s that a group of engineers realized that the “Hedwig Kiesler Mackay” listed on the frequency hopping patent was none other than the Hollywood legend, Hedy Lamarr. 

 “Hedy didn’t want money, but she did want recognition,” says Rhodes, “and it really angered her that nobody gave her credit for this important invention. 

In the 1990s, she finally got an award for her contribution. And Hedy being Hedy, what did she say? ‘Well, it’s about time.’”




Hedy Lamarr and James Stewart at Hollywood Park, 1940



Tuesday, April 2, 2024

LOCAL / UPS AND DOWN AT BLACK'S BEACH

Surf's up
at the 1.5 mile long Black's Beach, La Jolla CA

Pants down!
It is a nude beach


Going down's
the easy part. Getting to America's largest nude beach
is one tough hike

Sun Down
Photo by Annie Bam


Coming down!
On January 20th 2023 after a very stormy January in the San Diego area, a massive landslide toppled cliffs splitting Black's Beach in two.


Heads Up
Vintage Sign 1960s


Staying Up.
Seagulls and Paragliders share the beach




 

Monday, April 1, 2024

Sunday, March 31, 2024

AMERICANA / BOEING’S FATAL FLAW / FRONTLINE PBS REPORT


 CLICK HERE

[OR]

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z76YpCz9N2Y 

BOEING FATAL FLAW, A PBS FRONTLINE REPORT

As new questions arise about Boeing’s troubled 737 Max jet, FRONTLINE and The New York Times update an award-winning investigation into the design, oversight and production of a plane that was involved in two crashes that killed 346 people. 

In October 2018, a Boeing 737 Max passenger jet crashed shortly after takeoff off the coast of Indonesia. Five months later, following an eerily similar flight pattern, another 737 Max 8 went down in Ethiopia. Everyone on board the flights died. "Boeing's Fatal Flaw" tells the inside story of what led up to the crashes — revealing how intense market pressure and failed oversight contributed to tragic deaths and a catastrophic crisis for one of the world’s most iconic industrial names. This updated documentary also examines what’s happened since the original PBS film first aired in 2021, including the January 2024 Alaska Airlines incident where a panel blew off a Boeing 737 Max jet’s body midair, and how Boeing has responded. 

 Explore additional reporting related to "Boeing’s Fatal Flaw" on our website: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/do... #Documentary #Boeing #737Max #AirlineSafety 

This journalism is made possible by viewers like you. Support your local PBS station here: https://www.pbs.org/donate 

Saturday, March 30, 2024

COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / A CUP WITH BRIGITTE ON A MOVIE SET


Sipping an espresso, Brigitte Bardot, 30, is photographed on the set of "Le Mepris" ("Contempt"). The 1963 French new wave drama was directed and written by Jean Luc-Godard, based on the 1954 Italian novel, “Il Dispresso. 

Legendary German film director Fritz Lang has a cameo appearance playing himself. 

Actress Bardot in a scene from the film "Le Mepris" ("Contempt" in English).

The self-conscious movie believed by many to simply showcase Bardot's stunning nude body was filmed on location in and around Casa Malaparte.  The neo-surreal villa was built on Punta Masullo (east side of Italian island of Capri) for writer Curzio Malaparte. Designed and built between 1937 and 1942, the modernistic gem still exists although it has been renovated and is currently privately owned.  

True to its name, this column wanders from one topic to another sometimes with little segue.  In keeping with that chaos of creativity we digress to the first owner of Casa Malaparte.  Perhaps, the Hunter Thompson of his day, Curzio Malaparte (1898-1957) was born of a German father and Italian mother.  His real name was Curt Erich Suckert.  Malaparte became his pen name, a Gonzo literary device because it was the antithesis of Napoleon Buonaparte: good side/bad side.  For example, in two works by Curzio [Kaputt, 1944 and The Skin, 1944], he tries to live up to his bad boy reputation as a journalist and writer provocateur.

Journalist/Author Curzio Malaparte in the living room of his seaside villa

In a curiosity of history, Malaparte was banished from Rome because he had a falling out with the Fascist leaders then in power in Italy.  Like Napoleon Buonaparte's exiles to Elba and St. Helena, Curzio Malaparte was "deported" in style to  a truly gorgeous spit of land jutting out into the Bay of Salerno, near Naples.  How the political exile got his money to build the Casa might make for a better plot and movie than Le Mepris, n'est-ce-pas?

It can be said he is remembered best for his house and not his career.  The house lives on.  It appeared in the second half of the Bardot flick and impressively it is featured prominently in a Louis Vuitton commercial. A very young American actress stars in the commercial.  See link below:

https://www.metalocus.es/en/news/casa-malaparte-house-all-fashion-brands-want

Photo of Brigitte (in public domain) by Marceau-Cocinor/Les Films Concordia/ Georges de Beauregard/ Carlo Ponti/ Collection Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images).

Casa Malaparte by architect Adalberto Libera





In this image the stairs leading to the villa from the sea are visible as is the coy privacy wall atop the roof, where Bardot was sunbathing.

***


Curzio Malaparte was a disaffected supporter of Mussolini with a taste for danger and high living. Sent by Corriere della Sera, an Italian paper during World War II to cover the fighting on the Eastern Front, Malaparte wrote Kaputt, which became an international bestseller when it was published after the war. 

Telling of the siege of Leningrad, of glittering dinner parties with Nazi leaders, and of trains disgorging bodies in war-devastated Romania, Malaparte paints a picture of humanity at its most depraved. Kaputt is an insider’s dispatch from the world of the enemy that is as hypnotically fascinating as it is disturbing.  The work remains available on the Internet.

Friday, March 29, 2024

FRIDAY FAREWELLS / DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE ASS ON THE WAY-OUT


NBC has dropped its newest contributor, former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, following public backlash and concern from the network's top talent. 

McDaniel, a Trump ally, was hired two weeks after stepping down from her RNC role. 

NPR's David Folkenflik says hiring McDaniel brought questions of whether her loyalties lie with NBC's audience, newsroom, Trump or her own career aspirations. He says this incident would make Republicans trust the network less than "if they had done nothing with McDaniel to begin with." 

Bottom line: See ya!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

DESIGN / DEZEEN REVEALS NEW/OLD NOTRE DAME SPIRE

2024

From #Dezeen online architectural magazine: 

The reconstructed spire of Notre-Dame Cathedral has been revealed in Paris, with a design identical to the 1859 version designed by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. 

Eugene Viollet-le-duc

1859