Free Counter Do You Know?: 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Everything About Batik

October 2, 2009 will be remembered by all Indonesia people as Batik's Day because today, UNESCO designated Batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. For Indonesian people, this acknowledgment also a statement and recognition from the world that Batik Cloth is originally belong to Indonesia, and not to other country such as Malaysia and others. Batik Cloth is the third cultural product from Indonesia named a World Intangible Heritage since Wayang (shadow puppet, status certified in November 2003) and Keris (ceremonial dagger, status certified in November 2005).

What is Batik? Why this cloth sound soooo special and interesting?

Batik itself is the name for cloth which traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. It's been developed in Java (Central Java, precisely) since 6th century. The most popular pattern, called The Gringsing Pattern was made in Kediri, East Java, & start to be well-known in 12th century. This pattern is only be created by means of the canting (the tools to draw batik's pattern), in which invented & only available in Java around that time.

Thanks to Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, whose brought and published batik cloth in London in 1817, people from all around the world start to know and like batik very much. One of Dutch Merchant, Van Rijekevorsel, gave one piece of traditional batik to the ethnographic museum in Rotterdam in 1873. The cloth still there till today. Batik has been exposed to the Exposition Universelle at Paris in 1900, and it impressed the public and the artisans that time.

There are several kind of Batik cloth. The most expensive and the finest one is Batik Tulis Halus cloth, which can fetch several thousand dollars. It also takes several months to make. You can find this fine batik cloth in Laweyan and Kauman ares in Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia. Meanwhile the cheapest one is batik cap (hand print batik) and usually use mechanical automation print.

Some batik designs are reserved for brides and bridegrooms as well as their families. Some others are reserved for the Sultan and his family. A person's rank also can be determined by the patter of the batik they wore. In some occasions, batik formerly decorated with gold lead or dust. It called Prada (in Javanese language, it means Gold).

There are some way to make batik. Besides hand-drawing, it also can be done in etching, discharge dyeing, or stencils methods. It also can be made is several different tools for waxing and dyeing and can be done in many kind of fabric, such as silk, cotton, wool, leather, or even wood and ceramics.

Batik has become part of fashion for young people in Indonesia, mostly for casual wear. For formal occasion, women normally wears it as part of kebaya (traditional cloth from Indonesia).

Recently, Batik has found worldwide popularity. Nelson Mandela wears batik shirts on formal occasions. Siti Nurhaliza, one of Malaysian singer, wore Indonesia batik on her wedding day. Ann Duhnam, the late mother of President Barack Obama, was a avid collector of batik. The flight attendants of Indonesian, Singaporean and Malaysian national airlines all wear batiks for their uniform.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What is the Best Food To Boost Our IQ, Improve Our Brain and Memory?

It has been proven that by eating right food, you can boost your IQ, sharpen memory, think quicker, better coordinated and improved concentration. Then you come out with other question : What kind of food can be called "right food"?

To improve the quality of our brain, there are three key brain food - which determined as "right food" for brain - which able to do that. And the three keys are :
1. ACETYLCHOLINE (ACh) :
This neutrotransmiter excites other neurons and may be responsible for memory. Consumed foods that content with ACh can help to prevent Alzheimer. ACh rich foods include egg yolks, peanuts, wheat germ, liver, meat, fish, milk, cheese, and vegetables (especially broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower).

2. DOPAMINE :
Generally excites and involved in movement, attention, learning, and also inhibitory. Eat food that rich with dopamine can help us to prevent schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. You can get dopamine in all proteins (meat, milk products, fish, beans, nuts, and soy products). Eat 3 - 4 ounces of protein each day will help you to feel energized, more alert, and more assertive.

3. SEROTONIN (5-HT) :
Usually inhibits and involved in arousal and sleep, mood, appetite, and sensitivity. Having active serotonin can help people to avoid clinical depression. Serotonin can be found in carbohydrate based foods, such as pasta, starchy vegetables, potatoes, cereals, and breads.

What Is The Longest Film Ever Produced?


The Burning of the Red Lotus Temple (Huo Shao Hong Lian Si) is the longest film ever produced. It running 1620 minutes (27 hours). The Mingxing Film Company - the producer of the film - was released the film in 18 feature-length parts between 1928 - 1931.

This Chinese silent film was adapted from the novel "The Tale of the Extraordinary Swordsman". It was focused on the rescue of a commander help captive in The Red Lotus Temple, a mysterious full of traps cavern.

The film used more than 400 stunt men from professional martial arts schools. The film was premiered in May 1, 1928 in Beijing and become national box-office film that time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Are We Going Doomed in 2012?

There is nothing in the world that able to worried people so much than the prediction of the end of our world in December 21st, 2012. You heard and read the prediction. This idea has been disseminated by numerous books, internet sites, and tv documentaries.

The forecast is based on primarily on what is claimed to be the end-date of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calender - also called Mayan Calender - which is presented as lasting 5,125 years and as terminating on December 21, 2012 along with interpretations of assorted legends, scriptures, numerological construction, and prophecies.

The calender was constructed by Mayans - an advanced civilization - around 250 - 900 AD. The Mayan are probably most famous for their pyramids and other intricate and grand buildings. They had a huge impact on Central American culture. They actually used many different calendars and viewed time as a meshing of spiritual cycles. Most of their calenders were short. The Tzolk'in calender, for example, which only lasted 260 days.

Using an innovative method, the Mayan were able to expand on the long count calender which lasting 5126 years. Their base year starts at "0.0.0.0.0". Each zero goes fro 0 - 19 and each represent a tally of Mayan days. For examples, the first day in Long Count is denoted as 0.0.0.0.1. On the 19th day, we'll have 0.0.0.0.19, and then on the 20th day it goes up to one level as 0.0.0.1.0. The long count calender will ended after it reached 13.0.0.0.0 (about 5126 years), in which the date is December 21st, 2012.

People start to think up the most extreme possibilities. And one of them is the end of our civilization. Several popular ideas of how our world ended are focus on Planet X, meteorite impacts, black holes, killer solar flares, Gamma Ray Burst, global dimming, geomagnetic reversal, a rapid ice age, and many more. But none of them have been confirm will happen. Yet.

Will our world will ended in 2012? Still three years to go, and there is no anything we can do about it. My only suggestions : live better, respect others, respect yourself, keep your faith, and pray a lot. We all need it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What do you know About Horror Movies?


Horror movie is a film that designed to frighten or panic, caused dread and alarm, invoke our worst hidden fear, and terrifying, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in cathartic experience. Horror movie usually deal with our most primal nature and its fears : nightmares, our vulnerability, alienation, revulsions, unknown terrors, fear of death, dismemberment, loss of identity, or fear of sexuality.

The first horror movie, was made by imaginative French filmmaker Georges Melies, titled Le Manoir Du Diable (a.k.a. The Devil's Castle, 1896). The movie only about 2 minutes long and containing some elements of later vampire films.

Nachte des Grauens (a.k.a. Night of Terror, 1916) - German's silent movie - was the first vampire movie that made in length-feature film. The film was directed by Arthur Robison, and it is about the story of vampire-like people.

Horror movie that have been considered as silent expressionistic landmark classic is German film called Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari (a.k.a. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1919) from director Robert Wiene. The story is about a ghost-like hypnotist-therapist in a carnival called Dr. Caligari (played by Wener Kraus) whose performing somnambulist. It was brought to Hollywood in the 1920s, and later influenced the classic period of horror films.

Meanwhile, the first horror movie that adapted Bram Stoker's Dracula novel was Hungarian film called Drakula Halala (a.k.a The Death of Dracula, 1921).

Meanwhile the American actor that been introduced the horror genre to audience in Hollywood was Alonso "Lon" Chaney, Sr., who also been known as "the man of a thousand faces". He's been known by that nickname for his transformative, grotesque makeup and acting genuis. He's been well-known for his act as the huncbacked Quasimodo - a tortured bellringer in a cathedral - in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, directed by Wallace Worsley). Chaney's most memorable protrayal was in the ground-breaking, vividly-frightening horror classic The Phantom of the Opera (1925) as Devil's Island escapee Erik, a disfigured, deranged, biter, and vengeful composer / ghost of the Paris Opera (based on the character in Gaston Leroux's 1911 novel).

The most frequently portrayed character in horror films (that also been noted by Guinness Book of World Records) is Dracula, with over 160 representations. The first Hollywood movie about him was Dracula (1931), directed by Tod Browling, produced and released early in the year by Universal Studios. The film itself was a adaptation from Lugosi's Broadway stage story (played in 1927).

Another classic horror film was Frankenstein, which been produced in 1931. It was an adaptation from Mary Shelley's novel. Boris Karloff - played as the creature made by Dr. Henry Franskenstein - had been well-known after played this character.

Meanwhile, the first werewolf film that made and produced in US was The Werewolf of London (1935). It's directed by Stuart Walker and played by Henry Dull as Dr. Glendon, a scientist who brings the "wolf curse" upon himself.

Notable films with living dead "zombie" plots was made for the first time in 1932. The film called The Mummy, directed by Karl Freund, with Boris Karloff in the title role as the 3,700 years-old bandaged corpse of Im-Ho-Tep.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What Is The Longest Film Series Ever Made?

Officially, The World Guinness Book of Record stated that Wong Fei Hung is the longest film series ever made. It has 99 sequels and has been made since 1921 until today. There are several actors has played as Wong Fei Hung. The long- lasted actor who played this character was Kwan Tak Hing. He played this character since 1921 - 1970 and played in 77 sequels. Meanwhile other stars that also starred this character are Jet Li (in the series of Once Upon A Time In China) and Jackie Chan (in Drunken Master & Drunken Master 2 a.k.a. The Legend of Drunken Master).

But unofficially, the longest series ever made was the series of Three Stooges. They had made 217 series already since 1921 until 1970. About 190 series were made in short movies (30 minutes duration) and 27 series were feature -length movies. Their first short-movie called Women Haters (1921) which became their debut. After the success of the movie, they start to made series of their slapstick adventure. At least of of their movies been released in every 3-4 month.

Their first long movie was Soup to Nuts (1930), which directed by Benjamin Stoloff and also starred by Lucile Browne.

Their last movies was in Kook's Tour, which released on February 1970. On January 1970, Larry Fine - one of the Three Stooges - suffered a severe stroke, and paralyzing the left side of his body. He passed away on January 24, 1975 after suffered several more strokes. He was entombed in in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetary.

Meanwhile Moe Howard - the leader of the Three Stooges - died of lung cancer on May 4, 1975 and entombed in Culver City's Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery.

The last member of the trio was Emil Sitka, who died in January 16, 1998.

The Three Stooges were an American comedy act. They were commonly known by their first names, such as "Larry, Moe, and Curly", "Moe, Larry, and Shemp, or "Larry, Moe, and Curly-Joe". They had been known by their hallmark of physical slapstick comedy punctuated by quickly-delivered one-liners, within outrageous storyline.

The original members of The Three Stooges were Moe Howard, Ted Healy, and Shem Howard (1922 - 1923). The members been change several times, and members such as Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Joe Besser, Curly Joe DeRita, and Emil Sitka had join the team and played in several series of The Three Stooges.

The longest team members of Three Stooges was "Moe, Larry, & Curly Joe" whose been been team up for 17 years (1958 - 1975). Meanwhile the last team members of Three Stooges was "Moe, Emil, & Curly Joe" (1975) and only took several months.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What is "Horenzo"?


Well... it sounds very Japanese and not so many people know about this vegetables. Well... Horenzo itself means "spinach" in Japanese. But different from regular spinach, it is delicate, small, spear shaped and relatively flat leaves. It is a Japanese local variety of spinach. The stems are slightly pink-red color, and it has flavor mild and sweet.

Same as regular spinach, Horenzo is also high in minerals and vitamins. It is one of the favorite green vegetable in Japan. Usually it can be found easily in Japanese home and restaurants' menu.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Why It Called Eggplant?

It's purple, it's long, and it sour when eat raw. Why it called "Egg Plant" (Solanum melongena)? Is it because its "yucky taste" like raw egg? You might be think about that. But truly, it has its name because when it introduce at the first time in United States, it purely used for ornament and featured egg shaped white and yellow fruit.

Different country, different name. Britain and French called it Aubergine. Meanwhile South African and Indian called it "Brinjal" and Italian called it "Melanzane" (means Crazy Apple).

Eggplant is native to India and has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory.

Even it has bitter taste while eat raw, but it become tender when cooked. It also can develops a rich and complex flavor. Eggplant is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces. That's why it used in a lot of cuisines. It is often stewed (like French ratatouille, Italian malanzane alla parmigiana, or Greek moussaka). It can also be roasted and blended with other ingredients such as lemon, tahini, and garlic. Eggplant can also be stuffed wqith meat, rice, and other filling, then baked it. Caucasus stuffed it with walnut paste to make nigvziani badrijani.

China is the top producer of eggplant in the world. They produce more than 50% of world output. India stays on the second while holding 26%, and the rest is been holding by Egypt, Turkey, and Indonesia.

Eggplant is effective in the treatment of high blood cholesterol. It also helps to block the formation of free radicals. It also a very rich source of folic acid and potassium.

Why It Called Blackberry?


Blackberry has become a life style, not only in USA but also in almost every country. Most of the people know it, have it, and use it. But have you ever wonder, why it called Blackberry? Why not rasberry? Strawberry? Cherry?

To understand the origin of its name, we must go back to 1999 when its introduced for the very first time. RIM (Research in Motion), a Canadian wireless device company, is the one who develop Blackberry. RIM settled on the name "Blackberry" after work with Lexicon Branding Inc.

(Lexicon Branding is a California-based firm that named Intel Corp's Pentium Microprocessor).

When they reviewed the product, one of the naming experts at Lexicon took his attention on the miniature-buttons.

"It looked like tiny-seeds in the strawberry."

After that, they agreed to use Strawberry at first. Then a linguist at the firm thought Strawberry was too slow sounding. Then another person of the naming experts suggested Blackberry. And RIM went to it. So... that's why it called Blackberry since then.

Because of the ability to read and received e-mail in real-time anywhere, it makes many people become addictive with Blackberry devices, and earning a nickname : Crackberry. It is a reference to the street-drug form of coccaine, known as crack.

The term of Crackberry has become so widespread that in November 2006, its been named by Webster's New World College Dictionary as "The New Word of the Year".

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