Did you know that today is the Earth Day? I didn't, but my phone 'told' me about it :-) I learned that the Earth Day was founded in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues and is now a globally celebrated holiday that is sometimes extended into Earth Week, a full seven days of events focused on green awareness. The brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson and inspired by the antiwar protests of the late 1960s, Earth Day was originally aimed at creating a mass environmental movement. By raising public awareness of air and water pollution, Nelson hoped to bring environmental causes into the national spotlight..
In the Broad contemporary art museum in LA there is a massive eighty-foot-long painting by Takashi Murakami from Japan titled ‘In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow'. You can see it in my picture. It looked very impressive to me, probably mainly because of its size and very busy, colourful theme. I read the description and that’s what it says (I don’t fully understand it, but maybe you will):
The painting is informed by 18th century painters Soga Shohaku and Ito Jakuchu. Shohaku believed in reaching for new and alternative truths in picture making by imitating existing forms or styles and imbuing them with new essence. Murakami follows this belief, here using figures and motifs directly taken from Shohaku’s painting ‘Gunsenzu’, or ‘Immortals’ (1764), itself an imitation of an older version, which depicts Taoist hermits with magical powers. On the far left (my photo on the left), a hermit in blue riding a dragon; the hermit on the far right who holds a baby (middle picture); and the potbellied hermit leaning on a frog are but a few motifs Murakami appropriates from ‘Immortals’. However, the painting is unmistakably Murakami’s, reminiscent of contemporary Japanese cartooning and culture though rooted century’s old traditions.
Every ten years, the monks in the monastery are allowed to break their vow of silence to speak two worlds. Ten years go by, and it's one monk's first chance. He thinks long and hard before telling the head monk, 'Food bad'. Ten years later, it's his turn to speak again. This time he says, 'Bed hard'. A decade later, it's the big day again. The man gives the head monk a long stare and says, 'I quit'.
'Well, I am not surprised', the head monk says. 'You've been complaining ever since you got here.'
At the Petersen Automobile Museum Baba had a chance to see an unique exhibition 'Made in Italy – Design to Line' featuring Maserati's flagship super sport sedan, the Maserati Quattroporte S Q4. The exhibition tells the story of Maserati's design through five chapters: 1) Raw Materials; 2) Body Shell; 3) Drivetrain; 4) Trims and Finishes; and 5) Final Product. It's an excellent educational display that defines the how and why Maserati is such a timeless performance automobile.
Based on the photographs taken at the museum I will describe the whole process for you. So that's how the story begins.
Every automobile begins as a vision that is realised when a designer’s inspired lines are transformed into complex components assembled in careful sequence. This holds true for the distinctive cars of Italian manufacturer Maserati, whose creations combine state-of-art technology with traditional hand craftsmanship as practiced by generations of Italian artisans and engineers. Among them were the Maserati brothers - Alfieri, Ernesto and Ettore - who began their journey in 1914 by founding the ‘Office Alfieri Maserati’ in Bologna. A fourth brother, Mario, created the trident logo of the company, taking inspiration from the statue of Neptune still located in the main square of Bologna.
1. Raw Materials
The Quattroporte is built at Maserati’s newly renovated Giovanni Agnelli plant, named after the founder of Fiat. This advanced manufacturing facility is located in Grugliasco, outside of Turin, Italy, and is situated on the grounds of the historic Carrozzeria Bertone design centre. Here, approximately 7,000 individual components are fabricated from a variety of materials and assembled with computerised precision by industrial robots controlled by skilled technicians.
2. Body Shell
The body shell of the Quattroporte S Q4 combines aluminium and steel stampings that together achieve maximum strength with minimum weight. A unibody design combines chassis and body into one complete assembly, which eliminates the use of separate components that might compromise structural integrity. The body shell provides a solid foundation for mounting other vehicle systems while protecting the occupants from the elements and during collisions.
The Quattroporte ‘body in white’ - the body shell prior to painting - is sent to the paint facility, where it receives anti-corrosive treatment, sealing and soundproofing, in addition to a carefully applied paint finish in solid, metallic or pearlescent tones. Final assembly then begins with the addition of subassemblies, glass and exterior trim. Interior components from seats and dashboard to the smallest details, reflect the Maserati high standard of quality and craftsmanship. Each car can be made to order, with countless combinations to match individual tastes and preferences.
The drivetrain of the Quattroporte S Q4 employs an all-wheel-drive system, consisting of many components working together to maintain controlled and balanced handling in adverse conditions. When the car is moving, a complex algorithm analyses its dynamic parameters (including wheel slip, steering angle, yaw angle, power output and speed) in real time. It also analyses factors relating to the wheels’ grip and can redistribute torque to maximise the traction profile for each wheel. The fully integrated systems work to provide both optimum speed and comfort.
4. Trims and Finishes
A Maserati automobile is imbued with details that can be appreciated in a variety of ways. Visually, the streamlined shape of the Quattroporte is enhanced by lustrous paint and polished aluminium trim. Maserati’s chrome Trident punctuates the iconic grille, while prominent exhaust tips proclaim the Quattroporte’s power. Inside, the feel and scent of hand-sticked leather are complemented by accents of metal, carbon fibre and precious woods like Tanganika, Ebano (ebony), Radical (briar) and Erable (maple).
5. The finished Quattroporte
Since its debut in 1963, the Quattroporte has expressed Maserati’s history of technological innovation, distinctive design and hard-fought racing success. Its namesake four doors welcome driver and passengers into a plush interior that is matched with a powerful engine. The first Italian automaker to pair sports car attributes with the space and comfort of a sedan, Maserati continues to offer a mix of elegance and performance with the sixth generation of Quattroporte models.
Baba recently visited Petersen Automotive Museum in LA. I wasn't there with him, but from the photos I can see that he enjoyed it greatly. The museum has over one-hundred vehicles on display in its twenty-five galleries and hosts a great variety of vehicles from high end classics and sports cars, movie vehicles, motorcycles and even bicycles. There are many extremely rare and very expensive cars on display, something that you probably won't be able to see anywhere else in the world. Baba especially enjoyed the beautiful classic cars like Cadillac, Bugatti, Ferrari, Jaguar. It's a shame that they don't offer a test drive for the visitors :-) The exterior of the museum is also amazing - it's a treat for the eyes. The façade was designed by the architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, and features a stainless-steel ribbon assembly made of 100 tons of steel in 308 sections. Somehow it looks like a giant sports car, don't you think so? All in all Petersen Automotive Museum is definitely a very nice place to visit especially if you are interested in cars like Baba is.
I wish you a happy Norouz and I wish you a prosperous Zoroastrian 1396 new year.
Another year has gone by and we all got a year older and a little wiser, and we take memories of all that we have been through with us to the new year.
The Zoroastrian calendar is believed to have started 3755 years ago. The Zoroastrian new year starts on the first day of spring, when the whole nature comes back to life, when the whole of the animal kingdom starts a new way of life after the cold winter.
The other reason for the new year being the start or spring is that spring is the start of agricultural year and those days the whole of the world was reliant of the farming industry.
Happy Norouz 1396 Atria.
Dearest Body, Thank You!
I really like the photos below and the message they convey. Please be reminded that the older person you thought to be fragile and weak today was once a great brave soul! All photographs are by Tom Hussey and full credit belongs to him.
Are you holding a grudge against someone? I have to say I did for a long time but I am trying to deal with it. Not because of the person that hurt me and was unjust, untruthful and horrible towards me, but for my own good. Negative emotions are harmful for us and they can start a destructive cycle - they lead to a biochemical changes such as an increase in cortisol (the stress hormone), which interferes with your body's natural healing mechanism, which leads to less self-care, which creates physical pain, which leads to more dark emotions, which can cause low self-esteem... and so on and so on.
The good news is that if you are able to acknowledge you are holding a grudge, you're halfway to releasing it. To fully let it go, try a forgiveness meditation. Each night in a quiet room with eyes closed, repeat this as often as you need, either out loud or to yourself:
'I forgive those who have wronged me, I forgive myself. I let go of all anger, resentment, and pain. I welcome an abundance of love, peace, and joy. Thank you, mind. Thank you, body.'
Do this every night until you feel you no longer need it. Even if you don't reach 100 percent forgiveness, just repeating the words helps. Research overwhelmingly supports that meditation makes it possible for you to improve your mental and physical state.
I wish you a very happy, healthy, family Christmas holidays filled with love, joy and laughter. I hope you are surrounded by your friends and people who love you and support you.
This year I didn't send you any present or a Christmas card. Not because I don't want to, but I gathered that you don't want to receive anything from me. The last year's Christmas present I posted to you (twice) and your Birthday present both came back to me unopened. They are in their original envelopes as I still hope that one day you may wish to see me or you will provide me with a valid address so I can send them to you. In the meantime I will keep writing to you here.
For me this Christmas is a very difficult one - as you know, I lost my son Leo, your half-brother and dealing with the loss is especially hard at this festive time. I always however have hope for the better future and even at the darkest moments of my life, this hope keeps me going. Do never lose hope dear Atria, no matter what live throws at you. You are stronger than you think and you can handle anything if you believe in yourself and in a better future.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year full of new opportunities Atria!
Our beautiful baby boy Leo Yan Shenassa (MiniMus) was born prematurely at 30 weeks via an emergency C-section on the 5th October.
Leo fought for two days, with doctors giving him all the possible help and us only able to pray and helplessly watch him fighting for his life and offer a world of love we have for him. On the 7th of October he passed away peacefully in his mum’s arms.
We are no longer Fash and Anna – we are and always will be Leo’s proud dad and mum; he brought up in us so much love that we never thought we are capable of. He was with us only for 2 precious days, but left his mark in our hearts forever.
Please pray for his little innocent soul and for us in this unimaginably difficult time…
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
This photograph of desert perch has been taken by Husain Alfraid and it was one of the National Geographic's best shots this May. I really like it. I think the eyes of this eagle-owl look very fascinating and hypnotic while it scans the terrain. The bright yellow eyes are characteristic of the species. The birds are generally found in arid habitats of North Africa and the Middle East and are efficient nocturnal predators—even scorpions are on its menu.
Recently I had a bit of sore throat. I didn't think that it is serious enough to go to a doctor and I decided to 'attack' the problem with lemon and honey. The combination of these two natural ingredients and a hot water does wonders. I am fully cured now.
Honey has antibacterial properties and also acts as a hypertonic osmotic, which means that it draws water out of inflamed tissue. This reduces swelling and discomfort of a sore throat. When you combine honey with the juice of half a lemon and hot water it's even better as you will get high dose of a natural vitamin C, which busts your immunity and helps your body fight off the infection. You can try it yourself next time if you feel like you may be catching a cold or you need an extra bust of immunity.
Couple of days ago I watched a TV programme 'Kittens got talent'. One of the talented cats was especially impressive. Didga. She lives in Australia with his owner Ollie, who rescued her from an animal shelter and she is the world's best skateboarding cat. She is amazing on the skateboard and she actually performs some tricks. I couldn't believe that I am watching a real cat, but indeed, she is real. In the video above you can admire Didga's skills yourself :-)
Sometimes during various tests and exams students show a lot of imagination (especially when they don't know an answer) and humour. Here there are some examples for you (all from the Internet). But please don't follow them on your test, just have a laugh :-)
I promised Anna to plant some flowers in her garden, so today I was at her house fulfilling my promise. Well... I was also chatting with Anna's lovely neighbour Tommy and that was then when we noticed that Tommy's cats caught a tiny bird. They were cruelly playing with their prey. The little bird could not stand any chance with two cats, he was not able to escape from their claws, his wing seemed to be broken and he wasn't showing any signs of life. Tommy's cats seemed to get bored with a live-less bird and they abandoned the creature. When Whiskey saw the opportunity he was ready to attack the bird, but I was faster than him and I took the bird from him. The little creature was still alive, but was terrified and most likely injured badly. He was sitting on my hand and wouldn't move at all. - he was totally frozen and only his little eyes were showing some sign of life. There was no sign of blood however on his feathers. Tommy said that the bird is not going to survive anyway and even if not from injuries, he will die from the shock. Anna wouldn't accept that and she insisted that we have to give the little bird a chance. She brought a shoe box with some kitchen towel on the bottom and I gently placed the terrified creature in the box. We also put some bread and water in the box, made holes for air access in the top of the box and we closed it and put away from the cats in a safe place. Anna said that it is the least we can do for the creature. If he is injured badly he will not survive anyway, but there is a chance that he will. After good few hours I went to check on the bird. I brought the box to the garden and opened the top. The bird was alive! He looked at me for a short while and then flu away. He seemed to have a problem with his wing, but still he could fly. I was very happy to see the little one alive.
I learned today that we should not give up on anything - a creature/person/life. I wasn't keen at first on rescuing the bird, just because I didn't believe he will survive and I thought by helping him we will only prolong his misery. But on Anna's insistence I did my best to help the creature and he survived. I learned that we should not give up on anything/anyone if there is even the slightest chance of succeeding.
This is the photograph of a five-megabyte hard drive being shipped by IBM in 1956! Technology is amazing!
I am your dad Atria.