Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rodney Harvey (1967-1998) and the Dangers of Googling (and Other Things)

I was watching an old Australian film - 'Initiation' (1987)) - about a kid from Brooklyn - Danny Molloy - who, after the death of his mother, travels to outback Australia in search of his long-lost father. Danny is warned by an Aboriginal guy of impeding danger, which is realized when his drug-dealing father is injured in a plane crash.

The kid - actor, Rodney Harvey ...

... looked like a mix of a very young Matt Dillon, the latest French tennis sensation, Jonathan Eysseric, ...

... and Brook Shields or Elizabeth Taylor, you know, elegantly beautiful but erotic and sensual.

So I eagerly went for my Google link!

And found the actor had appeared in 'My Private Idaho' with River Phoenix, dated Drew Barrymore ... you might be able to sense where this is going.

First I found a trailer for the film I'd been watching:

And then, to my horror and dismay ...

... I realized Rodney had died of complication due to heroin addiction, aged 30, and been readily transmuted into a cautionary tale in an anti-drugs campaign.

And I began to think about what might have been

As I sometimes think about the works van Gogh might have painted. Or the novels written by Jane Austen and Alain-Fournier, and the poems by Sylvia Plath. The photographs taken by Dianne Arbus.

And about the lives that could have been led by just ordinary people who died young!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Medical Health Plans

A wealthy hospital benefactor was being shown around the hospital. During her tour she passed a room where a male patient was masturbating furiously.

'Oh my GOD!' screamed the woman 'That's disgraceful! Why is he doing that?'

The doctor who was leading the tour calmly explained 'I'm very sorry that you were exposed to that, but this man has a serious condition where his testicles rapidly fill with semen, and if he doesn't do that at least five times a day, he'll be in extreme pain and his testicles could easily rupture.

'Oh, well in that case, I guess it's OK,' said the woman.

As they passed by the very next room, they saw a male patient laying in bed while an extremely hot naked male nurse performed oral sex on him.

Again, the woman screamed, 'Oh my GOD! How can THAT be justified?'

Again the doctor spoke very calmly: 'Same illness, better health plan'.

(This bit of levity is courtesy of my good friend Alan!)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Albert Kahn (1860-1940) - Photography for a Vision of World Peace

Rare Photo of Albert Kahn - On the Balcony of his Office, Rue de Richelieu, Paris, 1914

Born in Alsace of a Jewish family, Albert Kahn moved to Paris when the province was annexed by Germany in 1871 as a result of the Franco-Prussian war.

Kahn made his vast fortune first in diamond mining and then as a banker in the world of international finance, most notably in loans in Japan, partly facilitated through connection with the Japanese royal family.

Japanese princess photographed at Kahn’s home at Cap Martin in the south of France, 1920's?

But Kahn's claim on our attention these days is as the initiator of an early and grandiose project to make a coloured photographic record of the peoples and cultures of the world. To promote peace and understanding on a global scale.

As a philanthropist, he financed this extraordinary project which sponsored photographers to travel to at least 50 countries from 1907 till the demise of his wealth in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the venture had to be abandoned.


Grand Lama - the most powerful man in Mongolia - at Ulan Bator (24 July 1913)

Itinerant hunters of Mongolia were still using matchlock rifles. This man appears to be near Mongolia’s border with Russia. He makes a living selling pelts of foxes and wolves. (1913)

Married noblewoman, Ulan Bator (1913)

Woman punished for adultery Ulan Bator (1913)


Oppheim, Norway (14 August 1910)

Women in folk costume at Alvkarleby, Sweden. Woman on right in Lapland costume. (25 August 1910)

Far East

The Hands of a Scribe, Hanoi, Vietnam (c.1915)

Actors of the Saigon Theatre, Saigon, Vietnam (1915)

Concubine of an affluent opium smoker, Vietnam (1915)

A group of wandering Brahmins and sadhus, Bombay (17 December 1913)

The leading actor in the Noh play Mochizuki performing the Japanese Shishi-mai or Lion Dance (1912)

A young man in the huge temple complex of Kong Miao, which is dedicated to the great sage Confucius, who was born at a house on this site in 551 BC, Qufu (14 June 1913)

A fruit seller, Columbo, Celon (22 July 1914)

Angkor Wat (1918 or 1921)

India’s Maharajahs gathered in their finery to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Maharajah of Kapurthala, Jagajit Singh (1927)

The imposing city walls of Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province in northeast China, were built in the eighteenth century (May 1912)


Algeria, woman weaving. By celebrated French photographer Jules Gervais-Courtellemont. Algiers (1909)

Djibouti, French Somaliland (22 July 1914)

Moroccan women in kaftans Sido Bou Othmane (December 1912)

Oldest Pottery Shop in Tunis, Tunisia (1910)

Somba men stand in front of the distinctive castle-shaped, multi-storey dwellings known as Tata Somba, Koudenndongou (17 March 1930)

The womenfolk of the Ouled Nail people were trained in childhood to dance provocatively to earn money for their marriage dowries. Biskra, Algeria (1909)

This may be the earliest colour photograph of the Sphinx and the Pyramid of Khufu (or in Greek, Cheops). Giza (5 January 1914)

These members of Vodun's Zomadonou cult honour fetishes representing the Tohossou – the Gods of Water. Dahomey, Benin (28 February 1930)

Two young Jewish women, Tunis, Tunisia (1910)

Youngsters at the fishing port of Safi on Morocco’s Atlantic coast (21 June 1926)

The Americas

Although two-thirds of Albertans are now city-dwellers, cowboys still figure prominently in rural areas – and at the annual Calgary Stampede (13 May 1926)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 1909)

Western Europe

Basque Boys, Bilbao (29 May 1917)

Sarnen, Switzerland (24 April 1921)

Shot in the dark vault of the church of San Zeno de Maggiore, Verona (16 May 1918)

The Ruhr, Germany (14 May 1921)

This fisherwoman and her partner hail from the small port of Volendam, near Edam (29 August 1929)

Middle East

Bedouin elder Jerusalem, Palestine (2 August 1918)

Emir Faisal (1883–1933), King of Greater Syria (briefly in 1920) and later King of Iraq (1921–33), Aqaba (28 February 1918)

Hashemite Arab boy rides through Antioch just days after France granted the ancient city special autonomous status within Syria, Antioch (26 October 1921)

Kurdish women fetching water in northern Iraq, Zakho (11 May 1927)

Lebanon (29 November 1919)

England and Ireland

Barefoot Mian Kelly lived in the Claddagh. 14 years old. Galway, Ireland (25 May 1913)

Galway, Ireland (25 May 1913)

Eel fisherman on Lough Ree, North of Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland (June 1913)

Haycart, Cornwall (August 1913)

Working dock, Thames, London, England (1924)

France and World War One

Monsieur Louis is working in a vineyard at Saint-Gengoux-de-National, Burgandy (5 November 1918)

Rheims, France (23 March 1911)

French soldiers taking aim in a trench at Le Hamel. Somme, France (9 August 1915)

A French poilu oversees German prisoners of war digging graves at Craonnelle, 15 miles northwest of Rheims Craonnelle, France (27 August 1919)

Aviators preparing for take off in a Farman MF11 Shortnose biplane, Somme, France (1915)

Girl with Rifles, Rheims, France (1917)

Soldier Pissing (1918)

I've tried to give a broad selection of content across a range countries and continents - to allow for many different kinds of comparisons: peoples, famous sights, social and work activities, and so on.

Hope you enjoy!