2004-05-19

Intolerance & Health: The Eating Plan from God!

2004-05-15

Intolerance: First Female Moderator of the "Kirk"

Australian Set to become Danish Queen

It will be the biggest spectacle that Copenhagen has ever seen. Thousands will line the streets while millions more watch on television, lapping up the pomp and ceremony befitting of a Royal wedding in Europe's oldest monarchy. But, as with so many Royal tales these days, there is a twist. Ms.Mary Donaldson, the 32-year-old who will marry Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark today, may look the part, but this future queen has more in common with Kylie than kings. first Australian Royal?Ms.Donaldson is not a Dane. She's not even European. Rather, she is to become the first Australian to marry into a Royal Family. Born in Tasmania to Scottish parents who emigrated from Edinburgh, Ms.Donaldson met the 35-year-old future king of Denmark in a pub at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Their whirlwind romance and model looks quickly turned them into the darlings of the Scandinavian media, and she has made herself popular with the Danes, keen to ingratiate herself in the culture and learn about the country. But her Scottish roots have not been entirely forgotten; at today's wedding, the Scots element of her family will be out in force. Notably among them will be Ms.Donaldson's uncle, Jack Maton, who will wear a kilt, along with her father, John. Also there will be another uncle, Peter Donaldson, and her two aunts from Scotland, Margaret Cunningham, 75, and Catherine Murray, 71, both from Ms.Donaldson's mother Henrietta's side of the family. Childhood sweethearts, her parents emigrated to Tasmania in the 1960s but never lost touch with their family back home. Henrietta died in 1997. Ms.Donaldson, the youngest of four children, was born in the Tasmanian capital of Hobart on 1972-02-05, where she attended a state school in the Hobart suburb of Taroona. Smart and athletic, she excelled at her school, Taroona High, where she was a prefect captained the school hockey team, and was a member of the swimming team and equestrian one-day eventing team. Years later, when she met Prince Frederik, their mutual passion for horses and water sports was among the reasons they connected so quickly. After completing a 'Law Degree' at 'The University of Tasmania' in 1993, Ms.Donaldson moved to Melbourne where she worked in advertising and then travelled overseas. Her trip included a three-month contract as an account manager for an advertising firm in Edinburgh, where she took the opportunity to visit her relatives. Upon returning to Australia four years ago, she began working for an advertising agency in Sydney during the Olympics. It's all a far cry from the traditional Royal wife role. She met Frederik after the pair were introduced by mutual friends at a fashionable night spot called 'The Slip Inn'. She has said they started to talk and 'simply didn't stop'. The relationship quickly developed, but the pair managed to keep it a closely guarded secret for just over a year before it became public in 2001-11. By this stage, Ms.Donaldson had opted for a career change and was working as a Sydney estate agent. Her father clearly approved of the match and, in a rare public comment, said:
'For us it's just two young people who are in love. It doesn't matter whether he's a prince or a plumber'.
Early in 2002, Ms.Donaldson moved to Denmark to be closer to Frederik and began work at a computer software company. Finally, after much speculation in the Danish press, the Royal engagement was announced 2003-10. Ever since, the country has been gripped with what has become known as 'Mary fever'. She has mastered the Danish language and gained a reputation as a trendsetter in the fashion stakes. She has converted to the Protestant Christian Lutheran faith and, following her marriage, will relinquish her British and Australian citizenship in favour of a Danish one. Indeed, she has captured the nation's heart in such a way that many Danish commentators have compared her to a young Princess of Wales. Ms.Charlotte Torpegaard, the fashion director of Denmark's glossy magazine, Eurowoman, says:
'The Danish people are very taken by Mary. The expectation about her is that she will become a style icon like Princess Diana or Jacqueline Kennedy -- the latter being one of Mary's own style icons. 'Of all the Royals, Danish girls identify most with Mary's style. She has this modern edge. She already has a lot of influence. We already talk about the 'Mary-style' and the Danish weeklies copy her style all the time. There is particular excitement about what she will wear for the wedding itself'.
But it's not just in Denmark that Ms.Donaldson has attained superstar status. In Australia, the gossip columns have been full of titbits about her royal romance. Her every move is examined, every outfit pored over. Even the Slip Inn, the Sydney bar where the couple met, has achieved fame as a result and has since launched a marketing campaign with the slogan: 'Meet your Prince at the Slip'. Speaking from her home in Port Seton, West Lothian, Ms.Donaldson's great-aunt Margaret is clearly excited about the wedding and the fact her niece is marrying into the Danish Royal Family.
'It's incredible', she says. 'Mary is a lovely girl with a bubbly personality, but no-one ever imagines their relative will marry a member of a Royal Family.
'It's still a bit difficult to take in that your niece is going to become Crown Princess Mary'.
The ceremony itself will be a glittering affair at Our Lady's Church, a grand Lutheran Protestant Christian Cathedral in the heart of Copenhagen. Ms.Donaldson will wear a gown designed by the Milan-based Danish designer Mr.Uffe Frank and arrive with her father in the Royal limousine "Store Krone", a 1958 Rolls Royce "Silver Wraith". The rings will be made by top Danish jeweller Mr.Flemming Hertz from gold mined in southern Greenland, where the precious metal was only recently discovered. After the ceremony, the couple will be carried through the crowded streets in a 1906 horse-drawn gold carriage called "Barouche", escorted by the Danish Regiment of the Hussar Guards in full red-dress uniform on 48 horses, as well as a procession of bagpipe players as a nod to Ms.Donaldson's Scottish heritage. Traditional, yes. Chic, definitely. "The Scot who will be Queen", Robyn Foster, The Scotsman, 2004-05-14 Fr

Money: We've Never Had It So Good

2004-05-11

Intolerance: Disturbing News Images Discussed

There's a very cool moment in a Robert Wagner movie where he's being accused of consorting with one of the bad guys. A photograph is produced. Wagner looks at it with sceptical disdain before throwing it back to his accuser. 'Give me a few hours in a lab and I could have you busting fortune cookies with Chairman Mao'. Photographs - real or faked - have been not so much in the news as the substance of the news over the last couple of weeks. It's a reminder how central 'news' images are to our culture and how completely they railroad everyday scepticism to become iconic images of a historical event or period. It was Ted Kennedy who said, not without a little of his usual rhetorical exaggeration, that the overseas image of America was no longer "Miss Liberty", but a hooded man standing on a box connected to wires. It's not as easy as Robert Wagner said to fake photographs convincingly. Think of those weirdly constructed shots of Lee Harvey Oswald, holding a rifle and carrying a Communist newspaper. Does the shadow under his nose match the shadows on the ground? Why is he standing at a tilt? Why does he look nothing like the chunky 'Oswald' who turned up at the American Embassy in Havana? The Kennedy assassination made America paranoid (in the literal sense of seeing patterns that aren't there) about photographs. There are shadows on the knoll that might be snipers, faces at windows that might be spotters. Get into that mind-set and very quickly you lose not so much the ability to spot a technical fake, but the ability to read a photographic image sceptically and in context. The British 'torture' photographs look 'wrong'. They're too static, the kit's wrong, you don't turn your face away on a souvenir shot, the pee doesn't look real: so maybe they're fakes in a second sense, staged shots rather than lab artefacts. Interestingly, the family of the young reservist shown in the US American photographs have defended her by saying that the snaps of her torturing and degrading prisoners aren't real, but 'posed', leaving aside the question why you'd want to pose such a picture in the first place. Half of the great wartime photographs, indeed half the iconic images which appear time and again in histories of photography, were posed. Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Weegee, all of them set up shots and did so without apology. One of the most famous war images of all, Robert Capa's sunlit shot of a republican soldier at the moment of death, spinning from the bullet's impact, was very probably staged; there is another, no longer seen version of the same image: different soldier, identical pose. Does that suggest a fake? It certainly should. There is a third, more problematic category here. Real, untouched photographs, not posed, but used out of context. In the First World War, images of German soldiers leading away a group of women were used as evidence of rape, when it seems likely the women were merely being evacuated. The reality of an image is only completed by its caption and byline, which is why there is nothing more subversive and unsettling than an uncaptioned photograph. Take any half dozen of the most famous news images of the last decade and then imagine some amnesiac scenario which strips them of their context and associations. In the case of the hooded man, even the absence of immediate context would still leave a cultural residue. We see him as victim, possibly martyr, denatured and anonymous, a potent but unspecific symbol of inhumanity. Add some insignia, or an identifying landmark, and the associations jump into a different kind of focus. The point of all this is that news images are dangerous because they don't announce themselves with any consistency and are disturbingly easy to manipulate. Nothing new in that, except that it's a symptom of a wider malaise. We've become a visually "unsceptical" culture. We believe what we see, or rather we believe what we've been told we're seeing. The camera lies by omission; we lie by choice.
Amazon has great books on Robert Capa's photographs, on Weegee's photographs,on Doisneau, and on Henri Cartier-Bresson.
"The camera never lies -- but we do.", Brian Morton, The Scotsman, 2004-05-11

New Law: Freedom of Information -- Authorities must be "open"

2004-05-07

Intolerance: Jordan F1, Bahrain, Princess Cristina, & Dali

Back in 1983... The Spanish "avant-garde" painter and sculptor, Salvadore Dali set up "The Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation" to protect the 'artistic, cultural and intellectual qualities' of his works worldwide. In the same year, Eddie Jordan founded "Formula One Jordan" at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England. Dali was President of his foundation until his death in 1989. Since then, the foundation has been run by a board of trustees appointed by The Government of Spain and Catalonia (Princess Cristina of Spain has been a life-long trustee since 1998).
Princess Cristina of Spaain, Dali Trustee Eddie Jordan Princess Cristina Eddie Jordan Centenary... "The Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation" is based in Figueres near Barcelona, the town of Dali's birth, and is marking the centenary of Salvador Dali's birth (1904-05-11) with a celebration of his work called "Dali Year 2004". The centrepiece of the centenary celebrations in the Catalan region is a current major exhibition at the Caixa Forum called "Cultura de Masses" and exhibits Dali's adoption of mass culture as a major influence of his works. Cultural Message Campaign... The Kingdom of Bahrain is presently running a "Campaign of Cultural Messages". 'Cultural Emblems' displayed on Jordan's Formula One cars in Bahrain's campaign have included:
Australian Grand Prix: "Dove of Peace" Malaysian Grand Prix: "Racial equality" Bahrain Grand Prix: "Campaign for nuclear disarmament" San Marino Grand Prix: "Ayrton Senna tribute"
Dali Tribute... The campaign continues at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend (2004-05-09) with a tribute to Salvadore Dali on the Jordan Ford EJ14 cars.
Jordan Car with Cultural Emblem of Dali
Jordan have yet to win a manufacturer or driver world championship, but have had four near-miss-podium positions. Their present drivers are Nick Heidfeld, Timo Glock and Giorgio Pantano. Nick Heidfeld, Jordan F1 Timo Glock, Jordan F1 Giorgio Pantano, Jordan F1 Nick Heidfeld, Timo Glock, Giorgio Pantano f1jordan.com http://www.royalty.nu/Europe/Spain/ 2004-05-07 Fr 11:52

2004-05-05

Stats: Dead Letters and Lost Mail

2004-05-03

Money: New Record for Picasso painting