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Hot news today, of sorts: a team of Spanish medial researchers think that Chopin may have been an epileptic. And perhaps he was. His early death at 39 has never been explained, and that he had serious health problems is obvious. Maybe, along with tuberculosis and cystic fibrosis, epilepsy is a contender.But without claiming the slightest medical expertise here, I’m not convinced by the medics’ argument that his recorded instances of apparent hallucination are proof of epileptic seizure.
via Was Chopin really epileptic? Or just in the groove? – Telegraph Blogs.
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Why all the fuss about a 13th astrological sign?
Most people, whether they believe in astrology or not, are in the habit of looking up their sign in the newspaper or receiving a daily update via social media. As a student of astrology, I can say that at best this is a great way to pass a few minutes of time each day. But it is not in any way an accurate example of what astrology offers people interested in insights about their personality or challenges in life.
On paper, an astrological chart is a series of symbols arranged in a wheel that creates a statement or series of statements — much like a sentence written in any language. Imagine trying to construct a clear sentence interpreting the meaning of only one word from that sentence. To me, this is what looking up sun sign astrology in the newspaper is like. The only way to use astrology in the way it was created is to look at an entire chart.
Let’s think for a moment that astrology is synonymous with the language of words. Language has grammar, punctuation and words which function as nouns, verbs and adjectives. Astrology has all of these things too, but they are called houses, signs, planets,and aspects. From a person’s birth information an astrologer will create a natal chart — an essay about a person if you will — out of which the 10 planets in the solar system (The Sun and Moon are called planets in astrological charts because Earth is at the center of the chart.) are oriented in relationship to the constellations in the sky along the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the path in the sky of the Sun therefore only a certain number of constellations or signs “cross” the ecliptic. A few thousand years ago there were only 12. Now there are 13.
via Why the New Zodiac Changes Nothing – Tech Talk – CBS News.
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True grit: Jeff Bridges interview – Telegraph.
At the age of 61, Bridges’ rugged good looks have taken on a little more flesh, the folds under his chin – what he calls his ‘goitre’ – disguised by a salt-and-pepper beard. He was casually dressed in a worn blue shirt, a bulge of stomach spilling out over the waistband of his blue jeans. He looked as if he had just walked out of his back yard, which in a sense he had; Bridges lives five minutes along the beach.
At the back of the room a make-up girl was laying out a range of powders and lotions on a table for use later in the day. Bridges glanced at her, as if weighing up the possibilities of this activity causing some disturbance to his serene equilibrium, and, apparently deciding it wouldn’t, said nothing. An accommodating man.
Until winning the Best Actor Oscar this year for his role as Bad Blake, the hard-drinking failed country star in Crazy Heart, Bridges had enjoyed the reputation as one of Hollywood’s most popular and most dependable but also most under-rated actors.
Over the course of a career spanning 40 years and more than 50 films, Bridges has come to define the difference between being a movie actor and a movie star. He has seldom played the conventional hero or the conventional leading man, and when he has – starring opposite Barbra Streisand in the light romance The Mirror Has Two Faces comes to mind – he has rarely been successful.
He has more often chosen characters rooted in a certain blurred, offbeat ambiguity – an extraterrestrial learning what it is to be human in Starman, a cynical jazz-club pianist in The Fabulous Baker Boys, an embittered ex-con in American Heart.
Bridges may have a leading man’s good looks, but he has always displayed a distinct lack of vanity on the screen. He is not an actor who goes out of his way to draw attention to himself – there is no grandstanding, no pleading for the audience’s love or attention – a fact that has led some to criticise him for lacking ‘volume’. He is an actor who disappears into the role.
Bridges’ new film is a western, True Grit, written and directed by the Coen brothers, with whom he last worked in 1988 on The Big Lebowski. It will inevitably be described as a remake of the John Wayne classic from 1969, but Bridges says that the first piece of direction the Coens gave him was to forget the Wayne film; this was a return to the source material, the 1968 novel by Charles Portis.
Bridges takes the role of a US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn (originally played by Wayne), hired by a 14-year-old girl, Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), to track the down the man who killed her father.
If Bridges embodied a kind of world-weary dissolution in his portrayal of Bad Blake, in True Grit he has attained a state of positive dereliction: pot-bellied, his face a grizzled map of hard-living and belligerence, true to Portis’s description of Cogburn as ‘a pitiless man, double-tough and fear don’t enter into his thinking. He loves to pull a cork…’
‘I don’t consider myself a hard-ass,’ Bridges said. ‘I like people. I’m light and airy. But I can play a hard-ass.’
He has made westerns before – notably Heaven’s Gate and Wild Bill. ‘Did you play cowboys growing up?’ He slapped me on the knee and laughed. ‘Of course, man!’ He remembers when his father, the actor Lloyd Bridges, would be doing a western and come home with ‘all that good stuff’ – chaps, sharp-shooter, waistcoats and Stetsons – ‘and I’d get to put on the real thing and play with my buds!’ He thought about this. ‘And it’s always great to get up on a horse.’
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Halloween Costume Pictures: Spooky Styles a Century Ago.
Possibly conjuring a witch, sorcerer, or clown, one woman’s 1910 Halloween costume (pictured) has several possible meanings, according to Bannatyne.
The star and moon icons, for instance, may reflect a fascination with mysticism and magic, which have been connected to the “spooky aura” of Halloween for centuries, Bannatyne said. (Related: “Ritual Cat Sacrifices a Halloween Myth, Experts Say.”)
“Many of the first Halloween costumes reflected people’s interest in the exotic, such as other cultures,” she said. “You often find Egyptian-inspired costumes, for example, because of the mystic association with ancient Egypt.”
Likewise, she added, this costume’s celestial symbols could represent night—”the domain of Halloween.”
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The Magic Of Harry Houdini‘s Staying Power : NPR.
Harry Houdini was known for escaping from handcuffs, straitjackets and water tanks, but his greatest trick was escaping from the dustbin of history. After all, how many popular performers can you name from 1902? Yet more than 80 years after his death, Houdini is still referred to as the greatest magician who ever lived.
A new exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York, called Houdini: Arts and Magic, looks at the visual legacy of Harry Houdini and how his fame managed to survive.
The answer to that question, at least in part, lies in the nature of Houdini’s legend, which was so simple that kids are still passing it around the playground. There once was a man who could escape from anything …
The Great Escaper
“He is the perfect teen idol,” says Teller, one half of the comic-magic duo Penn and Teller. Teller says each generation, from Houdini’s to today’s, has discovered that there’s something elemental about the great magician.
“[He] is this physical and mental superguy; this ultracool James Bond guy that you can strip stark naked and throw into a jail cell and he can get out,” he says. “If you are a teenager, you want self-liberation above all, and there’s Houdini as the perfect shining example of the all-American self-liberator.”