World’s oldest deck of cards exhibited in New York


King, queen and knave cards in oldest deck of cards

This photo shows king, queen and knave (court jester) cards in the oldest deck of cards known in the world.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Deck of cards discovered by Dutchman exhibited in New York

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in the coming period a special deck of cards will be on display. It is the oldest complete card game in the world and it has been discovered by an Amsterdam antiques dealer.

Harry Kenter bought the game in 1978 at an auction in Paris. He paid 8,000 guilders. In the catalog it was presented as an incomplete tarot game from the 16th century, but Kenter immediately thought the game was older.

The card game is from Flanders and is called Court Years Hunting Package. Instead of hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs there are hunting pictures on the cards: hunting horns, dog collars, dog lines and snares to catch animals.

The medieval deck of cards

“It took years before we knew that the game must have been made between 1470 and 1480. Museums and institutes helped us with researching the clothes shown on the cards. There were also samples of the paper. That study showed that there were no substances in it younger than 1450.” The watermark in the paper of the game was used between 1466 and 1479 in the Netherlands and South Flanders.

The short jackets and hair cut above the ears was fashionable in dynasties between 1470 and 1480. Like the pointed shoes, which in 1480 went out of fashion.

I was taken under police escort to Sotheby’s – Harry Kenter

The hand-painted cards are in exceptionally good condition and were probably property of a prince who never used them. For what game they were intended is not known. Just like our current decks one can in principle play any card game with it, like a game of poker or bridge, although these games did not exist in the 15th century.

In 1983 Kenter sold the game to the museum for $ 143,000. That happened in London at an auction at Sotheby’s, where he was taken to under police escort.

“In Amsterdam I once cycled around with the deck of cards in my pocket, but the insurance told me to really never do that again. If I wanted to show the deck to friends, I had to take them to a bank, where the vault was. Then I told my wife that it was useless to us and that we should auction the deck.”

Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, murdered by fascists, new documents


This video says about itself:

Federico Garcia Lorca: 5 Poems from Poet in New York

6 November 2010

Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) From Poet in New York

In his prefatory remarks before an audience assembled for a reading of Poet in New York in Buenos Aires in 1933, Garcia Lorca said, “I bring you a bitter and living poetry to lash your eyes open.” [1]

Born June 5, 1898 near Granada, Federico Garcia Lorca’s mother was a pianist [2] and school teacher. [3] His father was a landowner with interests in the sugar trade. [4] Garcia Lorca spent summers in the countryside of Granada. When mature, he wrote, “I love the land. All my emotions tie me to it. The first memories I have are of the earth.” [5] He was first interested in music. He started writing after the death of his piano teacher, [6] and first wrote poetry before he was twenty. [7]

He had been interested in Andalusian folk music and incorporated it into his writing. But he was concerned about becoming “typecast” as a “gypsy poet.” [12]

Garcia Lorca studied law in Madrid. He became interested in surrealist and experimental art and published with other avant garde artists known as Generation of 1927. [10] While in the Madrid, he befriended Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, with whom he was interested in becoming intimate. Dali declined Garcia Lorca’s advances, and Lorca became dispirited and estranged from Dali. [9] He fell in love with sculptor Emilio Aladren, but became depressed once again, when the affair ended. [11]

Garcia Lorca sailed for New York. He arrived at the time of the stock market crash of 1929. In his introduction to the Grove Press edition of Poet in New York, Angel Del Rio suggests, “if we bear this in mind, it is not difficult to understand how the loneliness that he brought with him found a perfect counterpoint in the disruption and lack of direction… the city forced upon him.” [13] Del Rio says Garcia Lorca walked throughout New York, but only had relationships with other Spanish speakers. [14]

Garcia Lorca had returned to Spain by the time the Spanish Civil War broke out in July 1936. Though he had no political affiliations, [15] he was known as a homosexual and a friend of leftist intellectuals. He was taken into custody by Nationalists August 16, 1936 . It is believed he was tortured and shot the next day. He is believed to have been buried in a mass grave, but his body has never been recovered. [16]

======================
Poems Read: (Note: I read from translation by Ben Belitt from Poet in New York, Grove Press, 1955

Back from a Walk (not available on line)

Landscape of the Vomiting Multitudes

Dawn

Cow (not available on line)

Death (not available on line)

======================
Sources and Notes

[1] Alfredo de la Guardia in Garcia Lorca: persona y creación, (Buenos Aires: Editorial Sur, 1941) from Poet in New York, Federico Garcia Lorca, translated by Ben Belitt, Grove Press, New York, 1955. P. 183

[2][9] Wikipedia: Garcia Lorca

[3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [10] [11] [12] [15] [16]BooksFactory: Garcia Lorca, Federico

[13] Angel Del Rio, Introduction: Poet in New York: Twenty-Five Years After, in Poet in New York, Federico Garcia Lorca, translated by Ben Belitt, Grove Press, New York, 1955.p. Xxiii

[14] page xvi

By Alejandro López in Spain:

Documents confirm fascists murdered Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca

30 April 2015

Two police reports published for the first time by Cadena Ser radio station show that one of the greatest poets and playwrights of the twentieth century, Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), was executed by right-wing fascist forces in the summer of 1936.

The report, written in 1965 by the Regional Brigade of Social Investigation of the Police Headquarters of Granada, directed to the civil governor of the province, is the first official admission that fascist forces murdered Lorca, whose remains have yet to be found. It describes Lorca as a “socialist,” a friend of the Socialist Party leader Fernando de los Rios, and a “freemason belonging to the Alhambra lodge” who engaged in “homosexualist [sic] and abnormal practices.”

The report details how, in late August 1936, four weeks after Franco’s fascist army rebelled against the democratically-elected Popular Front government, the “Glorious National Movement surprised [Lorca] in the capital [of the province] where he had arrived days before from Madrid (where he had his regular residence)”. After his house was registered, “feeling fear, he hid in the house of his friends, the Rosales brothers, Falangist members […] where he stayed until the moment of his arrest”.

“From that moment onwards,” continues the report, “the information that we were able to collect is very confusing and the only thing that we have been able to clarify is that the detainee was taken away from the Civil Government [where he was under arrest] by forces which depended on the latter and was taken by car to Viznar (Granada) […] together with another detainee whose personal circumstances are unknown, executed after having confessed, and buried in that location, in a very shallow grave, in a ravine.” Hours before, his brother-in-law, Manuel Fernández-Montesinos, the Socialist Party mayor of Granada, was shot.

The document was written at the request of the French Hispanist and friend of Lorca, Marcelle Auclair, who addressed the Spanish Embassy in Paris in June 1965 to request information. The embassy then passed it on to the Foreign Minister Fernando María Castiella, in favour of responding to the request. Information and Tourism Minister Manuel Fraga, future founder of the right-wing Popular Party (PP), currently Spain’s ruling party, was also informed of the facts.

Another document released by Cadena Ser is a letter from Castiella to interior chief Camilo Alonso Vega. It states that Fraga had said that it was “extremely advisable to look over the matter and find out whether we can or cannot open our archives about the García Lorca episode”. However, Auclair never herself received any response, probably because the document exposed the false claims made by Franco himself, who said that “The writer died while mixing with the rebels, these are natural accidents of war.”

Ian Gibson—an authoritative biographer of Lorca, who led an unofficial investigation into his death in the 1970s under Franco and has written multiple books on Lorca’s murder—told the daily El País: “It demonstrates that it was not a street killing, that he was taken out by the civil government to be murdered. They themselves say it.”

The police report published by Cadena Ser is a rarity in modern Spain. Historians still do not have full access to documents from the army, the church and the public administration that would help establish the number of victims of fascist murder during the Spanish Civil War, and the identity of those responsible for the killings.

The ruling class is determined to cut workers off from historical knowledge of the working class revolutionary struggles against capitalism in the 20th century. … The fascists received an amnesty and a tacit “pact of forgetting” about their crimes.

The PP, whose origins lie in Franco’s National Movement, cut the budget for the Law of Historical Memory, forcing organizations dedicated to recovering the remains of victims of the Civil War to rely on donations. Together with the Socialist Party (PSOE), the PP has refused to extradite to Argentina former Franco officials responsible for crimes against humanity. They rejected UN recommendations to ensure that families of the disappeared receive official help in locating their relatives’ remains.

At the same time, the Ministry of Defence continues to repatriate the remains of the Spanish volunteers of the Blue Division that fought in the German Army’s war of annihilation against the USSR during the Second World War.

The revelations of Lorca’s murder cut across this reactionary rewriting of history aimed at downplaying the crimes of fascism. The killing of this great artist was part of a systematic terror campaign by the fascists against the organized working class and anyone suspected of opposition.

In May 1936, General Mola, one of the leaders of the coup two months later, gave the following instructions to military bases: “The action must be extremely violent as soon as possible to reduce the enemy, which is strong and well-organised. Of course, we will arrest all the leaders of the political parties, associations or unions that are not affiliated with the [National] movement, applying exemplary punishment to those individuals in order to strangle rebel movements or strikes.”

On July 17, 1936, Franco led a military uprising from Spanish Morocco to overturn the Popular Front government, calling on all military garrisons to rise up against the Republic. Workers responded by forming rank-and-file antifascist militias. In the areas they seized, the fascists enforced a policy of systematic mass murder of political opponents.

Granada, where García Lorca was captured, was one of the first to fall. According to the historians Rafael Gil Bracero and Maribel Brenes, around 4,000 people from Granada alone where executed, including “red intellectuals” whom the fascists hated for “predicating Marxism and democracy”.

José María Bérriz, a lawyer and sympathiser of the fascists, hailed the repression in Granada in a letter to right-wing bankers on holiday in Portugal: “The army wants to extirpate from the root the bad plants that were destroying Spain. I think they will achieve this. The army courts work day and night and the sentences are very severe. The executions of trade unionists, teachers and doctors continue; they fall in the dozens. The city is happy.”

It is estimated that approximately 10,000 bodies are still buried in 57 mass graves around the province.

The author also recommends:

Spain: controversy surrounds opening of Garcia Lorca’s grave
[28 August 2004]

Bald eagle nest in New York City, first in 100 years


This BBC video is called Bald Eagle catches salmon.

From Mother Nature Network in the USA:

Bald eagles starting a family in New York City

The majestic pair have what’s believed to be the first active nest in 100 years

By: Ali Berman

Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 01:19 PM

In Alaska, seeing a bald eagle swooping overhead is magical, if not relatively common. In New York City, it’s a minor miracle.

An elated New York City Audubon announced that a pair of bald eagles has been spotted with what appears to be an active nest on the South Shore of Staten Island, making them the first of the species to incubate eggs in the Big Apple in 100 years.

“The eagles are engaging in brooding behavior typical of nesting birds incubating their eggs,” explained Tod Winston, communications manager and research assistant for NYC Audubon. “Due to the height and location of the nest, it is not possible to actually see into it from the ground.”

The world won’t have to wait too long to see if the birds have successfully started a family. A normal incubation period for the bald eagle is between 34 and 36 days. Both male and female will take turns sitting on the eggs. If the eggs hatch, for the first two weeks of life, at least one parent will stay with the newborns. The one not watching the babies will hunt for prey to feed the family. To see the juveniles fly, we’ll have to wait between 10 and 12 weeks.

Tourists won’t be visiting the nest of this mating pair anytime soon. New York City does not reveal the exact location of bald eagles to help protect them from large crowds and poachers.

The Audubon reports that it is excited about the bald eagles that are establishing roots in the United States’ most populated city, speculating that there are two reasons for the birds’ change of behavior. The local ecosystem is less polluted than it once was, making it a friendlier habitat, and the bald eagle population has rebounded so well that some birds are moving out of more rural areas and into the city.

In 1963, the bald eagle hit its lowest numbers in the U.S. with only 417 documented mating pairs in the lower 48 states, according to NPR. DDT, a pesticide commonly used in the ’40s, contaminated lakes, streams and eventually fish, the eagles’ preferred food. DDT was found to weaken the eggshells. The pesticide, in combination with deforestation and illegal shooting, led to the near extinction of the species.

Due to the low numbers, the bald eagle was declared an endangered species in 1967, even before the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973. In what is considered a great success story, the birds were removed from the endangered species list in 2007, having rebounded to nearly 10,000 mating pairs.

In the wild a bald eagle can live between 15 and 25 years. Many couples mate for life, often returning to the same nest year after year. The birds don’t acquire that telltale white feathered head until they reach 4 or 5 years of age. Before that, the juveniles are mostly brown, and because of their coloring, can be confused with the golden eagle.

Rihanna’s new music video and Eric Garner


This music video from the USA says about itself:

16 April 2015

American Oxygen” from Rihanna’s upcoming eighth studio album.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Is Rihanna’s American Oxygen an anthem for Eric Garner?

With lyrics “breathe out/breathe in”, Rihanna gets serious, while the music video collates the most emotional moments of US history. But does it work?

New York City rare birds update


This video from the USA says about itself:

Crested Caracaras in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas
30 apr. 2013

Crested Caracaras at Martin Refuge. Meat scraps from roadkill, taxidermists or chicken from the grocery store is put out to bring in caracaras for people to photograph.

From The City Birder blog in New York City in the USA:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, April 10, 2015

– RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 10, 2015
* NYNY1504.10

– Birds mentioned

CRESTED CARACARA+ (Orange County)
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Snowy Egret
Glossy Ibis
Black Vulture
NORTHERN GOSHAWK
Broad-winged Hawk
Lesser Yellowlegs
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
SNOWY OWL
Chimney Swift
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Eastern Towhee
Boat-tailed Grackle

– Transcript

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form …

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44(at)nybirds{dot}org.

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin – Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483 (weekdays, during the day)
Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 (Long Island)

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, April 10th 2015 at 7pm. The highlights of today’s tape are an Orange County CRESTED CARACARA, SNOWY OWL, NORTHERN GOSHAWK, HARLEQUIN DUCK, GLAUCOUS GULL, ICELAND GULL and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER plus other Spring migrants.

This morning a CRESTED CARACARA was found in Montgomery, Orange County. The bird was seen on the west side of River Road about a mile north of Route 17K frequenting the field near two ponds. Issues to be addressed of course would be the bird’s provenance and whether it is a northern or southern Caracara. The northern would presumably be the expected species. The bird did disappear later in the day.

Otherwise with the Spring season somewhat delayed the March doldrums have been pushed back into April but once the weather breaks for good migrants should begin streaming rather than trickling in.

Most of the rarities have a Winter flavor including SNOWY OWL Monday to Wednesday in the marshes off Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet near Tiana Beach. Fortunately this owl seems to be staying far enough out to discourage pursuit. The immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK was reported again at Jones Beach West End on Thursday and a pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS continue around Point Lookout seen Thursday off Lido Beach. In Brooklyn both GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULLS continue to be seen around Gravesend Bay including near the Caesar’s Bay shopping mall. Other single GLAUCOUS GULLS were noted at Shinnecock Inlet Monday and Orient Point Thursday. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Jones Beach field 6 Thursday and a few RED-NECKED GREBES also remain along the Brooklyn and Staten Island shoreline.

Two somewhat out of place species were a female BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE spotted on the east side of the landfill at Croton Point Park last Sunday and single PILEATED WOODPECKERS in a Bethpage yard last Sunday and at the Cemetery of the Resurrection on Staten Island at least through Thursday.

Two BLACK VULTURES spotted over Central Park Monday afternoon were subsequently seen continuing north over Inwood Hill Park.

Among the landbirds certainly the YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at Valley Stream State Park was the most unusual this bird found March 30th still frequenting the same area at least to Wednesday at the south end of the park and sometimes just across Hendrickson Avenue. Another YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was back at Connetquot River State Park in Oakdale as of Tuesday. Please keep any disturbance of the nesting Connetquot birds to an absolute minimum.

A few new arrivals and an increasing number of those appearing a little earlier. Besides the PINE and PALM WARBLERS and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES scattered about a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER appeared in Prospect Park Sunday. Other reported passerines have included BANK, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED and CLIFF SWALLOWS, HOUSE WREN, WOOD THRUSH, some BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS as of Monday, EASTERN TOWHEE and various sparrows.

Among the arriving non-passerines have been SNOWY EGRET, GLOSSY IBIS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, BROAD-WINGED HAWK and CHIMNEY SWIFT.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 or during the day except Sunday call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

Blackpoll warbler migration in America, new research


This video from New York City says about itself:

Several male blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata) are shown in Central Park on their migration to their northern breeding grounds. The blackpoll warbler spends the winter in northern South America and migrates to Alaska, Canada, and small portions of the northeastern United States to breed. It is a common species, and it is assessed as being of least concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

This video was recorded on May 13, 14, and 17, 2014 in Central Park, New York City.

From Science Daily:

Tiny songbird discovered to migrate non-stop, 1,500 miles over the Atlantic

Date: March 31, 2015

Source: University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Summary: For the first time biologists report ‘irrefutable evidence’ that tiny blackpoll warblers complete a nonstop flight from about 1,410 to 1,721 miles (2,270 to 2,770 km) in just two to three days. For this work the scientists fitted geolocator packs on 20 birds in Vermont and 20 more in Nova Scotia. They were able to recapture three birds from the Vermont group and two from the Nova Scotia group for analyses.

For more than 50 years, scientists had tantalizing clues suggesting that a tiny, boreal forest songbird known as the blackpoll warbler departs each fall from New England and eastern Canada to migrate nonstop in a direct line over the Atlantic Ocean toward South America, but proof was hard to come by.

Now, for the first time an international team of biologists report “irrefutable evidence” that the birds complete a nonstop flight ranging from about 1,410 to 1,721 miles (2,270 to 2,770 km) in just two to three days, making landfall somewhere in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the islands known as the Greater Antilles, from there going on to northern Venezuela and Columbia. Details of their study, which used light-level, or solar, geolocators, appear in the current issue of Biology Letters.

First author Bill DeLuca, an environmental conservation research fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with colleagues at the University of Guelph, Ontario, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and other institutions, says, “For small songbirds, we are only just now beginning to understand the migratory routes that connect temperate breeding grounds to tropical wintering areas. We’re really excited to report that this is one of the longest nonstop overwater flights ever recorded for a songbird, and finally confirms what has long been believed to be one of the most extraordinary migratory feats on the planet.”

While other birds, such as albatrosses, sandpipers and gulls are known for trans-oceanic flights, the blackpoll warbler is a forest dweller that migrates boldly where few of its relatives dare to travel. Most migratory songbirds that winter in South America take a less risky, continental route south through Mexico and Central America, the authors note. A water landing would be fatal to a warbler.

In the recent past, DeLuca explains, geolocators have been too large and heavy for use in studying songbird migration and the tiny blackpoll warbler, at around half an ounce (12 grams) or about as much as 12 business cards, was too small to carry even the smallest of traditional tracking instruments. Scientists had only ground observations and radar as tools.

But with recent advances in geolocator technology, they have become lighter and smaller. For this work, the researchers harnessed miniaturized geolocators about the size of a dime and weighing only 0.5g to the birds’ lower backs like a tiny backpack. By retrieving these when the warblers returned to Canada and Vermont the following spring, then analyzing the data, DeLuca and colleagues could trace their migration routes.

For this work the scientists fitted geolocator packs on 20 birds in Vermont and 20 more in Nova Scotia. They were able to recapture three birds from the Vermont group and two from the Nova Scotia group for analyses.

So-called light-level geolocators use solar geolocation, a method used for centuries by mariners and explorers. It is based on the fact that day length varies with latitude while time of solar noon varies with longitude. So all the instrument needs to do is record the date and length of daylight, from which daily locations can then be inferred once the geolocator is recaptured. “When we accessed the locators, we saw the blackpolls’ journey was indeed directly over the Atlantic. The distances travelled ranged from 2,270 to 2,770 kilometers,” DeLuca says.

To prepare for the flight, the birds build up their fat stores, explains Canadian team leader Ryan Norris of the University of Guelph. “They eat as much as possible, in some cases doubling their body mass in fat so they can fly without needing food or water. For blackpolls, they don’t have the option of failing or coming up a bit short. It’s a fly-or-die journey that requires so much energy.”

He adds, “These birds come back every spring very close to the same place they used in the previous breeding season, so with any luck you can catch them again. Of course there is high mortality among migrating songbirds on such a long journey, we believe only about half return.”

Chris Rimmer, an ornithologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies notes, “We’ve only sampled this tiny part of their breeding range. We don’t know what birds from Alaska do, for example. This may be one of the most abundant warblers in North America, but little is known about its distribution or ecology on the wintering grounds in Venezuela and the Amazon. However, there is no longer any doubt that the blackpoll undertakes one of the most audacious migrations of any bird on earth.”

DeLuca says, “It was pretty thrilling to get the return birds back, because their migratory feat in itself is on the brink of impossibility. We worried that stacking one more tiny card against their success might result in them being unable to complete the migration. Many migratory songbirds, blackpolls included, are experiencing alarming population declines for a variety of reasons, if we can learn more about where these birds spend their time, particularly during the nonbreeding season, we can begin to examine and address what might be causing the declines.”

As for why the blackpoll undertakes such a perilous journey while other species follow a longer but safer coastal route, the authors say that because migration is the most perilous part of a songbird’s year, it may make sense to get it over with as quickly as possible. However, this and other questions remain to be studied.

Other researchers on the team besides those from UMass Amherst, the University of Guelph and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, were from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Acadia University, Bird Studies Canada and the University of Exeter, U.K. Each contributed to funding the study.