There are cold cases and there are cold cases, but it’s hard to beat the one that came to light on May 6, 1950, in Silkeborg, Denmark. The local folks were already on edge after reports that a schoolboy from Copenhagen had recently gone missing, and when two brothers from the nearby town of Tollund went digging for peat in a Silkeborg bog, they made a gruesome discovery: a buried body with a rope around its neck showing no signs of decomposition. This was a murder — and it was clearly a fresh one.
Except it wasn’t. The body wore no clothes other than a pointed, leatherized, sheepskin cap that seemed not of this era. The rope was handwoven, not machine-made. And the face of the victim was covered with stubble — clearly not belonging to a young boy. All that, plus the noose, plus the ancient history of the site, suggested that this was not a body from the early years of the space age, but the latter years of the Iron Age. Carbon dating confirmed that — placing the man’s death somewhere between 375 B.C. and 210 B.C.
The extraordinarily well-preserved state of what became known as the Tollund Man was due to the unique chemistry of the bog, with its lack of oxygen, cool temperatures and bacteria-unfriendly acidic environment. The fact that there were remains to unearth at all suggested that, despite the noose, this man was not technically murdered or hanged as a criminal. If he had been, he would have been cremated. Rather, he was probably ritually hanged as a spiritual sacrifice.
A Rare Chance to Stroll a Park Avenue Tunnel, in the Name of Art
By JULIE TURKEWITZ
Since the 1930s, the Park Avenue tunnel has been closed to pedestrians, and its weathered stone walls and ridged metal ceiling have been visible only to New Yorkers whipping past inside their automobiles.
That will soon change, to dramatic effect.
On Saturday, the city will temporarily shut the tunnel to car traffic, and the 1,394-foot cavern — which runs on Park Avenue between 33rd and 40th Streets — will be turned into an incandescent, echoing, interactive art show.
From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., visitors will be able to enter the tunnel at 33rd Street, at the spot where Park Avenue dips sharply downward. (There are six signs there that tell pedestrians to stay away. Ignore them.) Participants will be instructed to walk to a midpoint in the tunnel and deliver short messages into a silver intercom.
The messages will then billow outward in waves of sound and arching light until they disappear. The intensity of each beam will be determined by the pitch and volume of the messenger’s voice. And the messages will shoot out quickly, one after another, creating a seemingly endless, ever-changing cascade of sound and light.
The Norwegian town of Rjukan is shrouded in darkness for five months every year, but a project completed this month promises to bring a bright spot to the town’s central square via a series of massive mirrors that will reflect sunlight onto the meeting spot.
Rjukan, which is located about halfway between Bergen and Oslo and is encircled by sun-obstructing mountains, is a dreary place to be between September and March, when the sun’s rays cannot reach its quaint streets.
But the effort, dubbed the “Mirror Project,” will ensure that Rjukan residents have a place to bask even on the darkest days of the frigid Scandinavian winters.
“The aim of this project is to illuminate the town square of Rjukan with reflected sunlight. Rjukan is a town surrounded by mountains that prevent the sun from reaching the floor of the valley for five months of the year,” an online description of the plan states. “The project will result in a permanent installation which, with the help of 100 [square-meter] mirror[s], will redirect the sun down into the valley. The square will become a sunny meeting place in a town otherwise in shadow.”
For fans of the I Am Number Four series by Pittacus Lore, today is an epic day: There’s the paperback release of The Rise of Nine; the e-book release of The Lost Files: The Forgotten Ones, the sixth installment in the digital spin-off series; and The Lost Files: Secret Histories, a paperback version of three previously digital-only novellas (The Search for Sam, The Last Days of Lorien, and The Forgotten Ones). Plus, you get the first sneak peek at the opening three chapters of the upcoming The Fall of Five (8/27), exclusively at EW. Read on below:
In the first three chapters of The Fall of Five, Sam doesn’t know what happened to the Garde, which turns out to be useful when all-powerful Mogardorian leader Sektrakus Ra interrogates him personally. Thrown into isolation, Sam starts to go a bit crazy, until he’s rescued by hid dad. Now father and son have a lot of catching up to do if they’re going to help save an endangered planet…
About a decade back I heard about a book called A Million Little Pieces. Everybody seemed to be talking about it everywhere I went. Finally a year after it came out I picked up a copy and started reading it while I was in-line to buy it. The first chapter was one of the best openings to a book ever. I was hooked.
I’m sure many people are aware of the backlash that came from James Frey’s television appearances. My thinking was this, here is a guy that is recounting his years of drug use, there is bound to be some moments that are blurry. No one ever took Hunter S. Thompson to task over the alleged bat sightings in Barstow.
1. First off, I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I have always felt that the first chapter of A Million Little Pieces was, probably, one of the best first chapters written in the last ten to twenty years. How long before it was published did you write it?
Thank you. Happy to do it. I wrote AMLP in 2001. It took about a year to write. I was living in LA, in Venice. I had been writing movies and sort of hated it, decided I would rather fail at what I wanted to do than be sort of successful at something that I didn’t really want to do. When we sent it to publishers, 17 turned it down before somehow was willing to publish it.
2. In My Friend Leonard you write about you and your friends going to a Vandals concert. Were/are you a fan of punk rock or was this a one off event?
Definitely not a one off. Have listened to punk since I was about fourteen. In the 80’s, when I grew up, I loved the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, the Circle Jerks. The Vandals put on an amazing show. Have seen them a few times. The best shows I saw were in LA, where they got an amazing crowd, and Live Fast, Diarrhea is one of the great albums of the 90’s. Still listen to most of the same music I listened to when I was a teenager. Always listen to music while I write.
The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), also known as the corpse flower or stinky plant, is blooming at the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory! Once fully open, it may remain in bloom for 24 to 48 hours, and then it will collapse quickly.
The magic of the titan arum comes from its great size – it is reputed to have the largest known unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom. Referred to as the corpse flower or stinky plant, its putrid smell is most potent during peak bloom at night into the early morning. The odor is often compared to the stench of rotting flesh. The inflorescence also generates heat, which allows the stench to travel further. This combination of heat and smell efficiently attracts pollinators, such as dung and carrion beetles, from across long distances.
The titan arum does not have an annual blooming cycle. The time between flowering is unpredictable, which can span from a few years to a few decades.
“We were at an event presenting Sonja Morgan from Real Housewives of New York with an Inspiration Award from the NY State Senate. We spotted Mindy from across the room and couldn’t wait till we were done so that we could go meet her. She was one of our favorite childhood actresses. She mentioned that she came to the event because she saw our names on the invite, and had long admired what we were building. We thought she was just being polite, but then she made us sniff her forearm to prove that she’d just showered with our soap before coming to the party. Which we gladly did. And she had!”
Morgan van Humbeck completed his shift in front of the television and passed out. Ten minutes later, his cell phone woke him. “Morgan, this is Teller,” said a small voice on the other end of the line. “Fuck off,” replied Morgan in disbelief. He hung up the phone and went back to sleep.
The drive from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, takes approximately eight hours when travelling in a vehicle whose top speed is forty-five miles per hour. In Desert Bus, an unreleased video game from 1995 conceived by the American illusionists and entertainers Penn Jillette and Teller, players must complete that journey in real time. Finishing a single leg of the trip requires considerable stamina and concentration in the face of arch boredom: the vehicle constantly lists to the right, so players cannot take their hands off the virtual wheel; swerving from the road will cause the bus’s engine to stall, forcing the player to be towed back to the beginning. The game cannot be paused. The bus carries no virtual passengers to add human interest, and there is no traffic to negotiate. The only scenery is the odd sand-pocked rock or road sign. Players earn a single point for each eight-hour trip completed between the two cities, making a Desert Bus high score perhaps the most costly in gaming.
Van Humbeck, unconscious on the couch, had just contributed to what was then a Desert Bus world record of five points.
Bob Dylan Spotted Painting Topless Women in Central Park
Bob Dylan ditched his microphone for an easel last Thursday (June 13) when he was spotted in Central Park, seemingly painting portraits of topless models lounging in the grass.
The musician tagged along with artist pal Richard Prince for the outing, which has caused a bit of a stir.
While onlookers and art bloggers initially assumed Dylan was basing his work off the live models in front of him, it has been revealed that the inspiration behind his painting is actually a photo of Italian actress Sonia Aquino by fashion photographer Bruno Bisang. Read more, and see the NSFW image here.
BY ALISON MUTLER AND JILL LAWLESS ASSOCIATED PRESS
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — It may be a case of art to ashes – and scientists are trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.
A Romanian museum official said Wednesday that ash from the oven of a woman whose son is charged with stealing seven multimillion-dollar paintings – including a Matisse, a Picasso and a Monet – contains paint, canvas and nails.
Ernest Oberlander-Tarnoveanu, director of Romania’s National History Museum, told The Associated Press that museum forensic specialists had found “small fragments of painting primer, the remains of canvas, the remains of paint” and copper and steel nails, some of which pre-dated the 20th century.
“We discovered a series of substances which are specific to paintings and pictures,” he said, including lead, zinc and azurite.
Romanian prosecutors say Olga Dogaru – whose son is the alleged heist ringleader – claims she buried the art in an abandoned house and then in a cemetery in the village of Caracliu. She said she later dug the paintings up and burned them in February after police began searching the village for the stolen works.
“Olga Dogaru describes how she made the fire, put wood on it and burned the paintings, like she was burning a pair of slippers,” he said. “She’s either a repressed writer or she is describing exactly what she did.”
To round out our series on the the design of baseball equipment, let’s take a brief look at the baseball glove. Unlike the baseball bat or the baseball itself, the glove was not initially a part of the game. Players just used the mitts they were born with. Lest you think that all men were walking around with swollen and broken fingers, it’s important to remember that this was a very different game than the today. There were a lot of differences in the game, not least of which is the fact that much of the throwing was underhand. In the beginning, there wasn’t much need for hand protection, but even as the game evolved and balls were thrown harder and faster, there was some reluctance to use any protection or padding. These were the days when the measure of a man was the number of calluses on his fingers and of broken bones in his hand. Wearing a glove just wasn’t manly.
The earliest gloves were simple leather work gloves, often with its finger removed to ensure that ball handling isn’t inhabited in any way. It’s hard to say exactly who wore the first glove, but some reports claim that catchers were wearing work gloves as early as 1860. A pitcher for the by the name of A.G. Spalding claims that it was New Haven first baseman Charles C. Waite who, in an 1875 game against Boston, first had the audacity (i.e. common sense) to take the field with a glove.
163-year-old telegram service to close forever at 9pm today
NEW DELHI: The 163-year old telegram service in the country – the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians – is dead.
Once the fastest means of communication for millions of people, the humble telegram was today buried without any requiem but for the promise of preserving the last telegram as a museum piece.
Nudged out by technology – SMS, emails, mobile phones – the iconic service gradually faded into oblivion with less and less people taking recourse to it.
Started in 1850 on an experimental basis between Koklata and Diamond Harbour, it was opened for use by the British East India Company the following year. In 1854, the service was made available to the public.
It was such an important mode of communication in those days that revolutionaries fighting for the country’s independence used to cut the telegram lines to stop the British from communicating.
Old timers recall that receiving a telegram would be an event itself and the messages were normally opened with a sense of trepidation as people feared for the welfare of their near and dear ones.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Twister called itself “the game that ties you up in knots.” Its detractors called it “sex in a box.”
Charles “Chuck” Foley, the father of nine who invented the game that became a naughty sensation in living rooms across America in the 1960s and 1970s because of the way it put men and women in compromising positions, has died. He was 82.
“Dad wanted to make a game that could light up a party,” Mark Foley said. “They originally called it ‘Pretzel.’ But they sold it to Milton Bradley, which came up with the ‘Twister’ name.”
The game became a sensation after Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor played it on “The Tonight Show” in 1966.
To be sure, the game got plenty of innocent play, too, becoming popular in grade schools and at children’s parties. But its popularity among teens and young adults was owed to an undeniable sex appeal.
Players would become tangled up, and various body parts – male and female – would inevitably come into close and embarrassing proximity. Players would often lose their balance and fall on top of each other in a heap.