Concrete Swimming

In early November, on one of my trips to Europe, I had the good fortune of one day ending up at a small exhibition in The Hague. Here I encountered a picture by Anke van den Berg titled ""concrete swimming"" of a dog apparently swimming through a concrete mass. The picture really resonated with me and I decided to buy it. Getting it transported to the US was of course a bit of problem but Anke made a great special box to ship it in. It finally arrived last week and you can see the unboxing in the previous entry.

The photo is printed on aluminum and has the wonderful quality I noticed when I first saw it. It was worth the wait.

This is the original from Anke''s flickr stream

© All rights reserved - Anke van den Berg

I believe that at times in our personal and professional lifes we have all felt like swimming through concrete. I decided to put it on the wall above the desk in my office to remind me of that:

The Universe in a Glass of Wine

Richard Feynman was probably the most influential physicist in the second half of the 20th century, best known for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics. But was made him really unique was his ability to turn lectures into great story telling events.

Today my The Feynman Lecture on Heuristics DVD arrived and I am looking forward to watching that (again). But it is always worthwhile to listen to Feynman's lighter side as well: The whole universe is in a glass of wine.

A poet once said "The whole universe is in a glass of wine." We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imaginations adds the atoms. The glass is a distillation of the Earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secret of the universe's age, and the evolution of the stars. What strange array of chemicals are there in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts — physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on — remember that Nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!

Sleazy Swamp Rock

One of the cool things about the HBO’s True Blood (DVD) is the use of music throughout the series. Every episode contains between 5 and 10 songs that truly support the southern atmosphere. Some of it is raw southern swamp rock but also a variety of Goth and other dark music.

In episode 10 there is a band playing that I hadn’t seen or heard before, but its guitarist, C.C. Adcock seems to have a long history of merging Southern Rock, Blues with Zydeco to make a pretty unique sound. His last album, The Lafayette Marquis, is contains some really interesting tunes.  This song, All 4 the Betta, is from that album.

This mp3 was originally downloaded from