Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The art of theft.

I've been reading a book about art theft and very interesting it is. So many paintings gone and so few recovered but I'm not talking about Napoleon's scroungers or Hitler's henchmen, ordinary thieves.
One surprising fact was that very few women are art thieves or we're clever enough not to be caught.
Another is that rarely is a painting stolen to order these days unless it's a specific grouping of subjects.
The news of a theft of a valuable piece of art give the organised art thieves world wide publicity regarding its monetary value.  The paintings are then used as collateral to buy drugs, guns or whatever they want. Some ransoms are still paid by insurance companies but many disappear and are never seen again.  And it's not only paintings.

Jonathon Tokeley-Parry had a neat antiquities smuggling racket going for him in the early 1990s.  He bought artifacts and after dipping them in clear plastic, he painted them to look like cheap gaudy tourist souveniers. Custom officials on the lookout for the real deal didn't catch on.  Tokeley-Parry transported many artifacts including a $1.2 million sculptured head of the Egyptian pharoah Amenhotep 111.  He created a provenance for his stolen goods in the form of the non-existent Thomas Alcock Collection.
His attention to detail included aged labels made by copying old pharmaceutical labels onto rough paper, baking them and finishing the ageing process by daubing them with teabags.
He was eventually caught and tried in England, copping a 3 year sentence.  The Egyptian authorities weren't as lenient, they sentenced him to 15 years hard labour, to be served if he ever set foot in their country again.

Henry Moore's bronze "Reclining Figure" weighed in at 2.7 tons.  On December 15, 2005, a team of thieves driving an old style Austin mini cooper followed by a stolen flatbed truck with a crane, hoisted the 11 foot long sculpture on board and left.  Estimated value in 2006 was 5.2 million dollars.  

In 1997, Gustave Klimt's "Portrait of a woman" was taken from the Galleria Ricci Oddi, Piacenze, Italy.
The gallery was closed for renovation so guards assumed the 60 by 55 cm painting had been put in storage.
The thief had simply climbed onto the roof, opened a skylight and used a fishing line to hook the painting off the wall.  He left the frame on the roof. 

Art theft is a lot harder to pull off these days, from Galleries that is, private homes, small museums or churches are still vulnerable. Remember that next time you can't see a painting for the bullet proof glass or the alarm sensor that goes off if you go 1 cm over an invisible line and don't pick your nose, the cameras are everywhere.  But as values increase stealing art is still worth the risk even if Auction houses have computer listings of everything known to be missing.  Of course war is a great cover for theft, loot from the Iraq war is still surfacing.

One last interesting fact.  The Mona Lisa only became popular after Vincenzo Peruggia lifted it from the Louvre in 1911.  Until the painting was found two years later in Florence, crowds came in greater numbers to stare at the empty space on the wall.

Monday, June 25, 2012

To get this image the astrophotographer waited two years for the sky and clouds to be just right on a clear and moonless night.
At the Piton de l'Eau on Reunion Island, Luc Perrot was lucky.  In the foreground is a water filled volcanic crater and above are hundreds of stars including the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. 

I needed something beautiful like this after seeing photographs of Aunt Selma today.  Mum's 82, identical sister is the same age, she just looks 100.  I would have passed her on the street and not known who she was and to think, she always said she was the prettier one. So my sisters in blogging, don't smoke, don't lose weight and purge mean thoughts and deeds from your mind or you're going to look 100 when you're only 82.  

The Home was such a pleasure this afternoon, NOT.  The full moon isn't until July 4 so I can only assume they're getting in some practice before the gleaming globe hits the night sky and unlike the image above, it ain't gonna be pretty.
Eva got hit by a truck yesterday. I'd believe it, trucks go through the day room all the time and it would explain the over the top fruitcake performance excelled only by quiet Eddy who, since his fall out of bed, has developed the language of a wharf labourer with a smattering of sheep shearer.  He wandered into the day room in full voice, sat down at the piano, belted the keys and slammed the lid shut.  That didn't take the edge off his mood so he did it several more times while mum and I waited for him to lose his fingers.

The escapee has slowed right down, now in a tub chair and gone into the twilight zone.  We lost Sheila last week and old Joe fell out of bed and lost his eye but he didn't mind, it was the one he couldn't see out of.
And the gold fish died.  I think Aunt Selma looked at it and turned it to stone.  Now I am a caring person but my care tank is running on empty tonight.  No doubt I look 90.  I'll look a 100 if the homeless are still homeless when he gets home.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Taxi drivers

Taxi drivers have taken quite a beating over the last week, thankfully none of them were my regular drivers around Cheltenham and Mentone.  We must be more placid here.  Yesterday though I was witness to a very rude display to a driver.  Freezing cold, raining cats and dogs so I was pleased to see a line of taxis when I came out of Southland on my way to see mother.
A taxi pulls up, the mother with child in front of me takes a step forward as the driver gets out to help her with parcels.  She takes one look at him and says she'll take the next cab and walks away.
He looks bewildered then asks me if I want a ride.  I'm in the seat like a shot and ready to go. He's a regular driver and asks if I'm going home or going to the Home and asks if I have a problem with him as a driver.  Are you kidding, the man knows exactly where to take me without instructions and not the long way round, knows I hate a right hand turn out of Argus Street into Warrigul Road, stops right at my drive so I have no trouble getting out and is always polite. 
I don't know what nationality he was or is, he had a sort of 4 day beard growth, short hair, no body odour, cab smelt okay so I don't know what the woman's problem was but I think she was very rude.

It has been a monster of a week. My feet are still getting warm and I've only been out to see mother twice.  Usually the Home is too hot but not this week. She's still enjoying the iPad and the staff keep downloading more games for her but angry birds is about all she can cope with although there is some penguin game that's supposed to be fun. And glory be, Fergusson Plarre is open for business again and a custard tart disappeared from the bag faster than lightning. She said lunch was horrible, the tart was welcome and don't forget to bring more.

So I left with the third taxi driver for the day.  He waited patiently while I negotiated his new fangled high off the ground cab.  Instead of being able to just pull my feet in, there is some sort of ledge so I have to lift the feet in.  Difficult when carrying two bags and levering the lardarse onto the seat. Another nice bloke who knew the area and I had no problems with him.  Mind you I wouldn't take the job if it was the last one on earth.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

All the circles, round and round

So June, 17, 2012, one of those circles in the image above, just pick one and touch it anywhere. The beginning and end is the same. June 17, 2000 or June 17, 2012 because I'm back exactly where I started. 
I am stressed, weight is back to what it was then, family is irritating me but I haven't seen the ex for 6 years so that is one big good news tick.
June 17, 2000 and I was two weeks into the great freedom of no marriage.  I read constantly in the advice columns that the parties of a disintegrating marriage should see a councellor to make sure they have tried every means to save it and then there are no recriminations.  Yeah, well he skipped all that by just leaving and waltzing into the arms of his blonde.  Karma bites as she is frequently waltzed out of the RSL by the bouncers and poured into his car.  Bwahahahaha.

I was fat, just getting used to walking on two brand new knees, getting over feeling sorry for my ex best friend who had an affair with my ex, (I mean how desperate did she have to be to go with him), and stressed that it might all be a dream and he would come back.  I lost 20 kilos in pure happiness.
That 20 kilos is now back and haunting me.  Not just the stress eating, the expectant family will know if they have a place next week, but the trying to eat 3 very small meals so I can eat 3 very small snacks during the day to regulate the sugar levels.  It isn't working.  And the pills, in 2000, I was taking two in the morning for anxiety and two at night for arthritis, now it's a constant stream of pills and vitamins.  I wake up, reach for the glass and pill, take blood test, take pills for sugar before eating, take vitamins while eating.  Blood pressure pills and more vitamins at night with food. Do I feel better, damned if I know.
I'm still fat, I'm still falling over, I'm still carrying the family around on my back. I'm still looking for that lost freedom of 2000.  I'm heading for another birthday, another fat birthday with no cake.  And I'm thinking, at my age can I afford to sit quietly for a month and just breathe with relief at the silence of a house with just me in it?
That's before I start stripping the wallpaper off the front room, painting the walls and 4 cupboards. To do that I have to unload a bookcase and move a big cupboard full of material so I can get to the walls.  Moving all the sewing and jewellery and craft back in there before I start cleaning the rest of the house.  Moving all the boxes out of the hallway and Feng Shui'ing that space.  I can just spy an empty bookcase over the packed mess, much like peering into a Pharoah's tomb and seeing wondrous things.
A lot of the furniture is moving with the lodger, I will have space.  I will vacuum without needing a contortionist's training. I have already begun the culling of the unwanted or unneeded and I'm being viscious about it.  I just would like that visciousness to include the culling of unwanted blubber around the bumlegsboobs but leave the face alone, I've seen my sister and she's just lost weight but it missed the hips but not the neck. She looks like she's just put on a necklace of dried river beds.

I don't care if I'm fat, I'm as healthy as I'll every be, I'm going grey but I'm really pissed at how fast time is flashing past. I remember everything about June 17, 2000 like it was yesterday. Just don't ask me what happened yesterday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What was that famous line about removing a priest?

"Obviously you've got to make sure that there are appropriate safeguards taken, but look I think it's very important that we do expand, appropriately, coal mining in Queensland.

"We can't let a green veto stop these projects which are vital for our future prosperity."

Mr. Abbott said this about The Great Barrier Reef.  We should all listen to him because he is in Parliament and wants to be Prime Minister.  And if this is what he thinks as Opposition Leader, imagine what His Creepiness will do if he ever gets his jaws into real power.
The reef contains:

1,500 species of fish

411 types of hard coral

one-third of the world’s soft corals

134 species of sharks and rays

six of the world’s seven species of threatened marine turtles

more than 30 species of marine mammals, including the vulnerable dugong.

The Royal Navy used to keelhaul miscreants, that is tie rope around them and haul them along the barnacle encrusted hull of the ship and so removing most of the skin and flesh.  So let's put a modern spin on this tried and trusted punishment.  We hang Mr. Opposition by his feet from a small plane and reef haul him the entire length, making sure we take appropriate safeguards for the reef. I mean those ears alone could wipe out several miles of precious coral.
Yes, I am in a filthy mood and yes, I detest this man.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Drifting River meme

1. You're taking a three month holiday, no expenses spared, do you cruise the oceans or fly the skies?

I charter the Queen Mary11. I will have the luxury suites on the upper deck and all my blog mates get the rest of the ship. I order the Captain to cruise the coastlines of Australia (including Tassie) and New Zealand.

2. If you could ask God for one world-wide miracle, what would it be?

Turn the Arms and munitions dealers on the sex and drug traders, all out war with no collateral damage.

3. Would you choose sky diving or deep sea diving? (why?)

Deep sea diving with James Cameron. Well it's a no brainer isn't it? Would you stand around happy knowing I was hurtling towards earth with only a flimsy parachute on my back? It'd be the dinosaurs all over again.

4. Would you choose having your wishes granted or having the power to grant wishes?

Neither, people would hate you either way and who am I to do a goddess out of a job.

5. If you could pick a song to be a world anthem, what would it be?

Just "Imagine"

6. Do you dream in black and white or colour?

Vivid colour and widescreen, fortunately not 3-D.

7. Three-course meals or one-pot dinners?

I can't eat a 3 course meal, it's either entree and pudding or main. When I'm alone, it's everything in the one pot, eat with a fork but don't forget the linen napkin, I do have class.

8. Do you menu plan, shop for two weeks worth of ingredients, then serve up toast and jam for dinner?

Of course not, toast and jam is for afters. After the donuts, spring rolls and anything else I can cram in the microwave.

9. Do you dye your hair a totally different colour from what nature intended?

Dye is such an ugly word. One enhances one's natural colour or the colour one would have had if one had been given a choice.

10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

What, move away from Godsowncountry, at least the bit that Gina doesn't own, sorry rent.

11. Do you change your home decor to suit the seasons or do you just leave things as they are year in year out?

If something doesn't stick out like a sore thumb then it's decor'd to perfection. I move nothing, it disturbs the dust bunnies.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Never mind the Sun and Venus.

So I missed the block spot crossing the Sun but I can look at this image for a lot longer and without going blind.  It is a special moon called the Full Strawberry Moon and the Algonquin tribes knew it meant a time to gather ripening strawberries or the Rose Moon in Europe.  In this photo the moon is rising over the Absaroka Mountain Range, Cody, Wyoming.  Copyright to Mack Frost.

As is usual when there is no blogging from the witchy, it means a crappy week or a fall, in this case, both.  Now who would have thought with all my padding in front that I would actually stumble and fall flat on my backside. I really mean stumble, from the lounge door right across the hall until I hit ground zero and imploded about a zillion fat cells.  There must have been some shock since I bum walked all the way to the lounge to crawl up onto a chair when I was two minutes nearer to my bed but then I was facing away from the bedroom and one tends to go in the direction the feet are facing.
And being in nightdress and dressing gown, it took longer than necessary until I thought of taking off the dressing gown.  I hauled myself up on the nearest chair and managed to cut across  four fingers on a sharp edge of a plastic bag containing the drapes still waiting to be put up as soon as the curtain rod is put up.  Not bothering now that the BOH is hopefully moving out, soon or very soon or he will end up a commuting father.
So I'm hurting in several places including the toes on the left foot, right knee and sliced fingers.
Just don't mention the bum.

I haven't heard from mother probably reading her iPad or playing angry birds.  One of the nurses downloaded the game from his iPhone and showed her how to play. She's handling the iPad so well she's reading two books at the same time, depending on her mood.  She gets bored playing Temple Run, zombie apes do nothing for her.  But she's found out how to use the camera by taking photographs of herself and deleting the bad ones.  Who'd have thought I'd be writing about the old girl and Internet technology at her age.

Monday, June 04, 2012

A titillating titbit.

Now this is rooly serious, no laughing matter snigger  (putting on straight face).

Sperm get lost on their way.  Got your attention.....

About 300 million sperm get released by a man during sex (I could make a horror movie out of that) but only a few dozen reach the egg.


Because sperm have a terrible sense of direction, according to the latest fertility research.
Scientitsts have tracked sperm movement (what do you mean how?  They all have little GPS attached) and found that sperm struggle to turn sharp corners (Que?) and frequently crash into walls and each other.

"Sharp corners", I was sure it was a straight road to Paradise.  "Frequently crash into walls and each other" , oh yeah, well didn't we women always know that Happy Hour at the pub and hooning was inbuilt.

Next thing is live commentary, "Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet? Watch that sharp cor.......oh crap.

Bwahahahahhahaha.  Men and their boys.