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30 April 2012

The Golem of the Prague Ghetto

Click image to enlarge.

In recent years, this clay figure has become the iconic souvenir of Prague. The myth of the Golem is very spooky, and is violently and unhappily wrapped up with the Jews of Medieval Prague.

From silent movie days they've been making creepy impressionistic movies about the Golem. He is a giant homunculus made of clay, with superhuman strength. He dwelleth in a room with neither windows nor doors in the Prague ghetto. He slumbers there unseen, but every 33 years the Golem wakes and wanders the streets and ancient sewers of Prague by night.

If you should encounter the Golem, look on his forehead for a carved Hebrew word EMET = truth. Erase the Aleph -- the first letter -- and MET will remain. MET = death, and the Golem will fall into his deep slumber again.

27 April 2012

acquire a bagette & some unpasteurzed cheese, rent movie, watch movie, write review for Cahiers du Vleeptron

Click on stamp, I have no idea what may happen.
Look, this is really elemental. It's a movie. Rent the movie and watch it.
Not popcorn, i would serve this up with a bagette and some unpasteurized soft cheese, some byrrh or vino.
It has soustitles/subtitles. But apart from about 1000 subtle and fleeting nuances, the story of Boudu and the family that rescued him from drowning in the river is largely indepentent of language. This is a Slow-Speed Train Wreck slowly and repeatedly happening for your astonishment. And I guess the Moral of the Fable of Boudu is

The Road to Hell 
Is Paved 
with Good Intentions.
Boudu, if my hazy memory is somewhere near accuracy, has the distinction of being the first peasant or villein -- the lowest rung on the Medieval European Social Ladder, a guy who in that scheme of things barely even deserved a name -- about whom some cleric scribe probably resident in a prosperous monastery in France took the time to write a few pages of daily-life biography not of a great King or Bishop or Prince or Holy Roman Emperor, but about an ordinary farm schmuck up to his ankles in domestic farm animal excrement, named Boudu.
Other than that the scribe wrote some details of his actual life, Boudu had done nothing -- other than shoveling domestic farm animal excrement for many decades -- to merit a permanent mark on the history of Medieval Europe. His destiny was to shovel cow shit, die, and be forgotten. The scribe, or someone who handed out assignments to this scribe, thought Bodu's story -- a very typical story of lots of other contemporary schlubs -- worth telling, and having been writ down, it has stayed that way for about 950 years. We know about as much about Boudu today as those who knew him at the time did. (Down at Boudu's Rung, there wasn't much to know about Boudu or anyone parallel to him.)
Although I myself don't know many guys named Boudu, boys from Frankish and Merovingian Times have been baptised Boudu ever since, now and then. Or so I think somebody once told me, and he or she should know. I think he or she was my college European History professor, or one of the books he expected me to read.
This cinema concerns a more modern Boudu -- circa 1933 -- and what happened to him and those who saved him from drowning in the river.
When you go fishing for human beings in the river, sometime you get a magnificent sturgeon, sometimes a trout or an eel, and sometimes you get Boudu. It's a crap shoot.
Please Leave A Comment if you wish to submit your review to Cahiers du Vleeptron. Every cineaste and every auteur in the Dwingeloo-2 Galaxy subscribes to Cahiers du Vleeptron, or reads the copy at the dentist's office, maybe six months late, but that's okay. Most stuff in Cahiers du Vleeptron doesn't get stale in a hurry. 
The stuff about John Carter of Mars just got hotter: The executive in charge of the Disney film studio (he'd prevously hauled $ in by the gazillions with the television productions "Hannah Montana" and "High School Musical") who prophesied that Disney would get unimaginably rich with the Avatar knockoff "John Carter 3D" (starring Taylor Kitsch) just resigned.
What IS a cahiers, anyway? Leave A Comment SVP.

24 April 2012

emotional wellness research from Australia

Click, images get bigger, wetter.

The Vleeptron Non-Junk Science High Council presents as a public service an important scientific discovery about emotional wellness. The Council emphasizes this research with appropriate scientific illustrations.


msnbc (USA cable TV news network)
Monday 23 April 2012

Trying on swimsuits 
really is the worst, 
study confirms

by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience

If trying on a bikini under unflattering dressing room lights has ever soured your mood, rest assured you're not alone. A new study finds that, for women, even just imagining trying on swimsuits can increase a bad mood.

Imagining wearing a swimsuit also increases feelings of self-objectification, a term used by psychologists to describe how people, often women and girls, take an outsider's view of their bodies, reducing themselves to objects to be evaluated.

"Self-objectification has a variety of negative consequences -- always worrying about how you look, shame about the body, and [it] is linked to eating disorders and depression," study researcher Marika Tiggemann, a psychologist at Flinders University in Australia, wrote in an email to LiveScience.

Self-objectification is a personality trait, meaning that some women are more likely to objectify themselves in general than others. But certain situations can also increase feelings of self-objectification, no matter what your starting point. Tiggemann and her colleagues wanted to know what sort of differences clothing made.

"We wear and choose clothes every day," Tiggemann said. "Clothes are controllable aspects of our appearance, in a way that body size and shape are not."

She and her colleagues wrote four scenarios to test the impact of clothing on self-objectification: In one, women were asked to imagine themselves trying on a swimsuit in a dressing room. In another, they imagined wearing a swimsuit while walking down a beach. The other two scenarios had the same settings, but instead of a swimsuit, the women were asked to imagine wearing jeans and a sweater.

102 female undergraduates read each of these scenarios in random order and participated in the imagination exercise. After each scenario, they filled out questionnaires designed to measure mood, feelings about the body and self-objectification.

Unsurprisingly, imagining wearing a swimsuit made women feel worse about their bodies than did the jeans outfit. Somewhat more surprisingly, it was imagining wearing a swimsuit in a dressing room that made women most likely to self-objectify — not the public scenario in which they might assume other people would judge their bodies. That result emphasizes how much self-objectification is truly an internal process, Tiggemann and her colleagues reported in May in the journal Sex Roles.

"The physical presence of observers is clearly not necessary," they wrote. "More particularly, the dressing room of a clothing store contains a number of potentially objectifying features: (often several) mirrors, bright lighting, and the virtual demand that women engage in close evaluation of their body in evaluating how the clothes appear and fit."

Harmful self-objectification is not easy to prevent, Tiggemann said. Her advice: Avoid mirrors and comparisons with others, and focus on activities that emphasize the function, not the appearance, of the body, such as yoga, sports or sailing.

- 30 -

bunch of superfast fossil fuel gas guzzlers race around & around & around & around Bahrain desert track


It's Sports Time on Vleeptron!
All the Sports from Vleeptron!
We've got the latest Qx'ii scores!
All the games from the Dwingeloo League!
Bear-baiting, fish-shooting,
cockfighting too!
Bare-knuckle boxing from 1902!
A fifth of our Sports
all take place in the Zoo!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!


Reuters (UK newswire)
(pickup from Malaysia Star)
Tuesday 24 April 2012

Bahrain hardliners 

in driving seat 
after Formula 1 fiasco

by Andrew Hammond

DUBAI -- Hardliners in Bahrain's Saudi-backed Sunni Muslim ruling family may dig in their heels after a Formula One Grand Prix debacle that spotlighted a frustrated pro-democracy uprising instead of projecting an image of stability.

Western leaders joined rights groups and media watchdogs in criticising Bahrain before Sunday's race, which was cancelled last year due to the unrest. Officials hailed its reinstatement as proof of a return to calm, but billowing smoke from tyres set alight by protesters on race day told a different story.

"I suspect now that those in the ruling family who argued that this is more trouble than it's worth will be saying 'I told you so'," said Justin Gengler, a Qatar-based researcher on Bahrain, singling out the royal court and defence ministers.

Those ministers, full brothers from a family branch often known as the Khawalids, are widely viewed as masterminds of last year's crackdown, which cut short a dialogue Crown Prince Salman had begun with the opposition on democratic reforms.

Bahrainis took to the streets in February 2011, inspired by successful revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, but won no concessions. The government broke up the Pearl Roundabout protest camp a month later, imposed martial law and brought in Saudi troops.

[The government subsequently dynamited the city's signature Pearl Monument.]

The Sunni Al Khalifa monarchy branded the protesters as Shi'ite subversives with Iranian backing and Bahrain slipped off the Saudi- and Qatari-dominated pan-Arab news agenda.

Western allies such as Britain and the United States, whose Fifth [Naval] Fleet is moored in Manama, muted criticism of Bahrain for fear of alienating a trusted friend -- or its Saudi big brother.

Yet turmoil still convulses the tiny Gulf island, where riot police clash daily with demonstrators, mostly from the Shi'ite majority, and opposition parties stage mass marches.

Police deploy armoured vehicles, teargas, sound bombs and birdshot to lock protesters down and prevent a critical mass from re-forming and winning world attention. As a result, activists say the death toll has risen to 80 from 35, including five security personnel, when martial law was lifted in June.


Bahrain's government says it remains open to limited reform, but unease at the prospect of any power shift from the Sunni royal family to the Shi'ite majority has stifled progress.

The hardline royal court minister, Khaled bin Ahmed, initiated contacts with the leading Shi'ite party Wefaq in January, but pro-government Sunni radicals objected strongly and the chance of renewed dialogue appears to have evaporated.

Nevertheless, King Hamad responded to the Grand Prix furor on Sunday by stating his "personal commitment to reform and reconciliation."

Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Mubarak al-Khalifa, adviser to the Information Affairs Authority, said many Bahrainis wanted reforms but did not want them dictated by one party or sect.

"All the political societies want to fight corruption, efficient government, an empowered parliament," he said. "As long as there are no preconditions, mutual respect and no raising the bar too high, then there is hope."

Sheikh Abdulaziz declined to comment on any potential rifts within the government over the question of reform. Crown Prince Salman has long been seen as its keenest royal advocate.

He brought Formula One to Manama in 2004 as part of what analysts say was a vision for political and economic change that would reduce reliance on receipts from an oilfield shared with Saudi Arabia -- and the influence that the arrangement gives a powerful neighbour with no interest in a democratic Bahrain.

The negative publicity the latest race attracted may help to undermine whatever remains of that reform drive.

"If anything the race will probably encourage the hardliners in government to say 'we don't need this sort of thing, we don't make money from it and it brings troublesome Westerners'," said Jane Kinninmont, a Chatham House analyst based in London.

Prince Salman's reforms had for years been seen as a challenge to the way Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman, prime minister since independence from Britain in 1971, handles the economy.

Sheikh Khalifa has become a figurehead for Sunnis who fear Shi'ite empowerment in the event of democratic change. Changes of personnel and remit in key bodies since last year's crackdown suggest the concerns of the security apparatus now dominate.

"It appears to be the case across the family and throughout the government that they think they are winning," said Toby Jones, Middle East historian at Rutgers University [New Jersey USA].


"There is no sense of urgency or commitment to creating the kind of space necessary to arrive at a rapprochement," Jones said. "If that's true, then it seems that all this talk of a split -- and contradictory agendas -- does not really matter."

Bahrain, a banking and tourism hub, is a shadow of its former self. Economic growth slowed to 1.3 percent in the last three months of 2011 compared to 2.2 percent the year before and inflation hit a three-year high of 4.7 percent in March.

This has increased reliance on Saudi Arabia which has promised, along with other Gulf oil and gas powers, to offer extra financial help, giving extra comfort to the ruling elite.

Hotels and office space have low occupancy and fewer Saudi weekend visitors frequent its bars, restaurants and malls. Few foreign media have correspondents based in the country.

Wefaq, the main Shi'ite party, says attempts to reach a deal with the authorities are at an impasse.

"This government is not serious about having a real dialogue, to listen to the demands of the Bahraini people and implement those demands which cannot be ignored," Wefaq leader Sheikh Ali Salman told Reuters.

"Who are you to have a monopoly in power? Who tasked you with the job of appointing the government, controlling all ministries, taking advantage of national wealth?" he asked.

Demonised in pro-government media as the "Hezbollah of Bahrain" yet singled out by U.S. President Barack Obama as an interlocuter the government should engage, Wefaq says the country is hostage to discord within the ruling family.

The party, whose more radical rivals favour ditching the monarchy altogether, expects the conflict to get more violent.

"Petrol bombs only appeared after November and in recent months we have seen some bombings, though it's still not clear who carried them out," Salman said. "It's just logical that political deadlock will result in deeper instability."
- 30 -

22 April 2012

Lyrid Meteor Shower 21 and 22 April 2012!

from ...

The 2012 Lyrid meteor shower peaks overnight between late Saturday, April 21, and early Sunday, April 22. The meteors will appear to radiate outward from the constellation Lyra and the best time to see them will be between midnight and sunrise on Sunday morning.
The Lyrids occur each year in mid-April when the Earth passes through a stream of dust left over from the comet Thatcher, a long-period object that orbits the sun once every 415 years. Learn more about how to observe the Lyrid meteor shower of 2012 in this archive of meteor shower observing guides and recent Lyrid skywatching stories.

Submit your photos! If you snap an amazing photo of the Lyrid meteor shower or other skywatching target and you'd like to share it for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at

The Lyrid meteor shower of 2012 peaks on April 21 and April 22. Learn how to see the Lyrids and how NASA plans to observe from Earth and space. 

18 April 2012

Postalö Vleeptron / 1st Day Issue: Stewie the fat cat wins mid-air battle with Bird of Prey!

Click once or twice to enlarge.

Here's a stamp of our latest Hilltown Adventure ...
Stewie the polydactyl marmalade tabby crawled back to the house all banged up and very freaked out ... we rushed him to the vet, who found two symmetrical wounds in his flanks -- some kind of Bird Of Prey mistook snoozing Stewie for a tasty plump bunny.
(Not an owl, we don't let any of the kitties out after dark. Hawk, eagle, falcon, that kind of thingie.)
The vet said Stewie's face had a lot of Somebody Else's blood on it, so apparently Stewie put up quite a ferocious mid-air battle.
It's a jungle out there!
Happy Birthday again, Hi J*****!

17 April 2012

helpful map to Baku Azerbaijan for 2012 Eurovision Song Contest / snooze u looze / also PIZZAQ for best spouse excuse

Click map, I don't know what will happen.

Okay, so like -- where the hell IS Baku, Azerbaijan? How do I get there?

I recommend getting to Istanbul, Turkey and catching an eastbound train. 

Don't fall asleep on the train and forget to get off in Baku. When you wake up, you're in Iran.

Vleeptron apologizes for earlier wrong date, we thought TermiteFest 2012 was in April.

After the show, stroll down to the dock. There seems to be an irregularly scheduled ferry across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbasy, Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is rumored to be the whackiest nation on Earth.

3 Slices Shallot & Garlic Pizza for best, most persuasive completion of this sentence:

Honey, I need to go to Baku, Azerbaijan in May because ________________

UPCOMING TERMITE EVENT in EURASIA! Eurovision Song Contest will be in Baku Ajerbaijan on Saturday 26 May 2012! Don't Miss It!

Eldar, Nargiz, Leyla to host Eurovision 2012 Just minutes ago, Eldar, Leyla and Nargiz have been announced by the Host Broadcaster Ictimai TV to host this year's Eurovision...
read more

About Azerbaijan

Check out the Host Country of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, Azerbaijan, as well as the Host City of Baku!

How to take part?

Ever wondered how you could take part in the Eurovision Song Contest? We have the answers in our how to take part page!


39 Days and 13 hours until the Final on 26 May 2012 at 21:00 CET