Australian photographer’s exhibit ongoing in Bacolod

Visayan Daily Star Lifestyle

Visayan Daily Star Lifestyle


Australian photographer’s exhibit ongoing in Bacolod

A photo exhibit by Australian photographer Detlev Rueff opened Saturday at the Phinma Gallery of the Negros Museum in Bacolod City.

Titled “Photographic and Moving Pictures”, the exhibition will run until March 15. Rueff said “The real expressions I’m showing in this exhibition, is to prove the versatility of photography, coupled with graphic art. I believe that graphic artists and photographers combined together can produce visual power well beyond my comprehension.”

Technological advances helped him achieve his own “perfect” image. He manipulates the photos to give it a different look, a different meaning, a different style from his usual style, a different feeling and a different emotion to the image so as to make it talk to you and be moved.

Rueff was born in Germany but grew up in Australia. He has been in advertising and media for almost 30 years; a press photographer of News Limited Australia for 25 years and has worked for the Gold Coast Bulletin for five years.

He has covered Movie World Australia, images for Variety Today publications and Bulletin Newspaper, the return to China of Hong Kong provinces from England, the re-union of East and West Germany, and the pulling down of the Berlin Wall for Spiegel Publications in Germany and four publications in England.

Rueff obtained a diploma in Education at the Monash University in Melbourne Australia, and a diploma in Visual and Fine Arts majoring in Photography, as well as, an Aircraft Technician Certificate.

He is putting up a few samples of his works at the Negros Museum that he took during his two and a half months stay in the Philippines, including a few photos of Australia.*CGS



Mein Throne. Hitler’s Commodes

The imposing Berlin Olympic Stadium ­ home of the 1936 ‘Nazi’ Olympics – was the setting for the 1978 World Swimming Championships.

I was there as part of the international PR team for Arena Swimwear, a division of  Adidas.

Adolf Hitler's toilet seat, 'liberated' from his mountaintop home

Adolf Hitler’s toilet seat, ‘liberated’ from his mountaintop home

Strolling around the Olympic complex one could not help but think back to 1936 and the black and white newsreels showing Adolf Hitler blandly declaring the Games of the XI Olympiad open.

I explored every part of the stadium and came across the VIP podium – the very spot where the German dictator had opened the Games.

Behind the podium was a room which had been Hitler’s VIP lounge. The door was open so I decided to take a look. It was cold and empty. A door in the corner led to a bathroom which housed what I thought must have been the Fuhrer’s personal CR.

I’ll never know if Adolf ever did relieve himself there, but I assumed he did. So, with a sense of history and for the fun of it, I decided I should do the same.

I’d forgotten about this little episode until I read recently that Hitler’s CR from his private yacht, Aviso Grille, is alive and well and until a year ago was still flushing in a New Jersey junkyard.

After the war, the US Government decided to scrap Hitler’s luxury vessel, then one of the biggest private yachts in the world. The Americans didn’t want it to end up as some kind of memorial to the hateful regime.

Aviso Grille, Hitler's luxury yacht

Aviso Grille, Hitler’s luxury yacht

Broken up as scrap in New Jersey, various pieces were offered for sale to local residents. The CR was bought by Sam Carlani, who wanted it for a bathroom he was building in his auto repair shop. That was in 1952. It’s been there ever since.

Since it stopped working, Greg Kohfeldt, who bought the shop when Carlani died, has put it on display, but he’s thinking of getting it

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler

repaired and reinstalled in the CR. ‘It was more of a tourist attraction when it was working,’ he said.

This is not the first Hitler toilet trophy to turn up around the world.

The first Hitler CR relic to make news came in 1969 when Guy Harris, a former British fighter pilot, offered to sell a toilet seat which he said he removed from Hitler’s private quarters in the famous Fuhrerbunker where he and his wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide in 1945.

“The bunker was in the Russian sector and they had filch just about everything else, so I hit on the idea of taking the toilet seat as a souvenir,” he said. There is no record as to whether he ever sold the seat.

It’s also rumored that American comedian Bob Hope was the proud owner of a Hitler toilet curio.

Shortly after the Germans surrendered, Hope, accompanied by a US colonel, was given a tour of the Fuhrerbunker. The two men brought American cigarettes to bribe the Russian guards. Hope walked away with several souvenirs including the handle from Hitler’s toilet.

And just last month, the son of an American soldier stationed overseas during World War II claimed to be in possession of another of Hitler’s toilet mementos.

A toilet seat was ‘liberated’ by his father, Sergeant Ragnvald Borch, from the bathroom of the Fuhrer’s notorious Berghof residence, set in a dramatic location high in the Bavarian Alps.

Adolf Hitler opens the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin

Adolf Hitler opens the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin

The seat apparently came from the CR nearest to Hitler’s bedroom so was probably used by the dictator on a daily basis. Son Michael told how his father would often joke: “This is where Hitler did all his thinking.”

Millions of words have been written about Hitler, but until now precious little about his toilets. One has to wonder what we can expect next – perhaps a pair of Hitler’s underpants for sale on eBay?

Will Queen Elizabeth Step Down?

The recent news that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is to abdicate in April at the age of 75 in favor of her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander, must have given Britain’s Prince Charles much food for thought.

The British have long wondered if Queen Elizabeth might one day step down in favor of Prince Charles. And since Charles’s son, the highly popular Prince William came of age, it’s often been suggested that she should step down for her grandson and not bother with Charles.

Prince Charles kisses his mother's hand at the Diamond Jubilee concert last June

Prince Charles kisses his mother’s hand at the Diamond Jubilee concert last June

As much as some royal fans would like this to come about, it simply won’t happen.

The Queen has made it very clear she is determined to continue to serve as head of state.  Royal observers point to her sense of duty, religious conviction and commitment to her coronation vows.

Like her predecessors, she has always regarded that being queen is a job for life. King George III reigned from 1760 until his death in 1820 at the age of 81. For the last ten years of his reign he was insane, blind and infirm, but he remained King until his death.

And despite many ailments, Queen Victoria was still firmly ensconced on the throne when she died in 1901 also at the age of 81.

Queen Elizabeth is much loved by most of her subjects. According to a recent survey, support for the Queen among adults in Britain is at an all-time high.

Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth

Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth

In the case of Queen Beatrice, many of her fellow-countrymen will be glad to see the back of her. She was not popular, especially after she married Claus van Amsberg, a German aristocrat who’d been involved in the Hitler Youth movement. And she refused to cut back her annual state allowance of 830,000 Euros (Php46M) as other European royals had done.

Queen Beatrice’s son, Prince Willem-Alexander and his South American wife Princess Maxima are the most popular figures in the Dutch royal family.

On the other hand, poor old Prince Charles is seen as eccentric and quirky. And his wife Camilla is not universally popular. Many Brits simply do not want him as their king or Camilla as the Queen Consort.

Even British Prime Minister David Cameron is rumored to prefer William over Charles. He is said to have raised the issue with the Queen, who did not take too kindly to the suggestion. “I believe William has the makings of an extraordinary king – when his time comes.” she is reported to have said.

The British press poked fun at these concerns, with the Daily Mail’s headline “Queen abdicates in favour of her middle-aged son!….(no sorry, Charles, not THAT queen . . . the one in Holland).”

After 61 years, no one in British history has been heir apparent as long as the greying 64 year-old Charles, who is set to become a grandfather when his daughter-in-law, the former Kate Middleton, gives birth this summer.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother lived to the ripe old age of 101. Queen Elizabeth is now 86 and seems to be in robust good health. Charles may never be king and if he is it might a kind of retirement job.

Charles has expressed his frustrations in the past. Constitutional expert, Professor Robert Hazell, said: “Most people of Charles’s age are starting to contemplate retirement yet he has not actually started the job he has spent his life preparing for.”

Steve Jobs, eat your heart out

As a child growing up in England after World War 11 my father often referred to any strange or complicated-looking gadget as ‘a

Heath Robinson's multi-movement machine for gathering Easter eggs

Heath Robinson’s multi-movement machine for gathering Easter eggs

Heath Robinson contraption.’

It wasn’t until many years later I discovered that Heath Robinson was in fact a famous English cartoonist and illustrator, best known for drawings of intricate and bizarrely eccentric machines.

Indeed, so famous were his illustrations in the UK, especially during World War 11, the term Heath Robinson entered the language as a description of any absurdly complex and implausible contraption.

His many weird thingamajigs, included a machine to resuscitate old railway sandwiches for redistribution at station cafes, a multi-movement ‘tabby silencer’ that automatically threw water at serenading cats and a ‘wart chair’ for removing a wart from the top of the head.

The gizmos he drew were often powered by steam boilers or kettles and heated by candles or a spirit lamp. There would often be complex pulley arrangements, threaded by lengths of knotted string.

Before his death in 1944, British WW11 codebreakers even affectionately nicknamed one of their intricate machines designed to assist in the decryption of German messages as ‘Heath Robinson’.

Heath Robinson's special chair for removing warts from the head

Heath Robinson’s special chair for removing warts from the head

I was reminded recently of the great man after reading in a British newspaper that Apple is looking to create a line of smart shoes that would alert owners when the footwear needs to be replaced.

Hmm. Definitely shades of Heath Robinson.

Apple has filed a patent application for the shoes which would have sensors installed in spacious heels or outsoles. The alert could come in the form of a flashing light or beep, but would also incorporate a wireless interface, presumably connecting to an iPhone or iPad.

The power for the sensors could either be supplied by a built-in battery or from a generator that uses the actual motion of walking to recharge an energy store.

“Shoes (including sneakers or boots, for example) provide comfort and protection for feet,” Apple  wrote in its patent application, explaining that “when a critical wear level is reached, even if the shoe looks like it is not particularly worn, it may not provide adequate support and may, in fact, cause damage to feet.”

Many readers immediately pooh-poohed the concept.

“Apple is losing its marbles,” said R D Franklin from Bangkok. “We do actually know when our shoes need replacing without some expensive piece of iJunk,”

Smart shoes: Apple has filed a patent for a smart shoe that would alert the wearer when the footwear needs to be replaced.

Smart shoes: Apple has filed a patent for a smart shoe that would alert the wearer when the footwear needs to be replaced.

And ‘Nermal the Guru’ in London said he used the old system “If you can see your socks through the sole of the shoes they need replacing.”

Reader Tim Acheson reckoned the whole story was simply an Apple PR stunt. “What next?” he asked. “Sensors in my can of beer to tell me when it’s empty?”

But other observers were more positive suggesting the smart shoe concept brings up the question of how long it will be until more chip-infused products become commonplace at home.

“You probably really don’t need a chip to tell you when a pair of pants or socks are worn out, but an LED alert letting you know to replace a toothbrush or razor doesn’t sound too far-fetched anymore,” said American technical writer Steve Nichols.

He added that Apple has always been famous for its great designs, so if it comes out with a sleek smart sneaker in the next few years, “we might just try them on for size.”

Whatever the outcome, no doubt Heath Robinson would have been delighted with the concept of a smart shoe. But his version would probably have been powered by steam and operated through a system of pulleys with lengths of knotted string.

Dreaming? No, you’re texting

Sleep texting - on the rise

Sleep texting – on the rise

Is it happening in the Philippines? Given this country’s distinction of being the texting capital of the world, it must be. But so far there have been no reports of it from doctors or telephone companies.

The mystery? A new phenomenon called sleep texting. Yes, texting while you’re sleeping.

Surprisingly, the Sleep Disorders Unit at St. Luke’s Medical Center has never even heard of it, but it really exists. New cases are being reported every week, especially from the US.

“Sleep texting is a new phenomenon that has slipped under the radar,” said Markus Schmidt, medical director for the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute. “But a lot of us in the practice are seeing this.”

Sleep texting - a new phenomenon

Sleep texting – a new phenomenon

He added that sleep deprivation and stress can cause repetitive actions, such as walking or talking, to occur during sleep. Now, texting might be part of the group.

Experts are still learning about the phenomenon, which tends to occur in an age group that doesn’t get enough sleep.

Last year, American teens aged 13 to 18 said they slept nearly 7 1/2 hours on a typical school night. That is about an hour and 45 minutes less than recommended, according to a poll by the US National Sleep Foundation.

Twenty percent of teens say they often wake up to phone calls, text messages or emails on their cellphones at night.

It’s not just in the US that reports are coming in about sleep texting.

Reports of sleep texting coming from the US and Australia

Reports of sleep texting coming from the US and Australia

Sleep specialist Dr David Cunnington of the Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre in Australia, claims some of his patients are reporting waking up startled to find that they’ve sent text messages while asleep.

“People are doing so much during a normal day that it can mean that they feel like they’re ‘on call’ even at night,” said Dr. Cunnington. “Because it’s so easy to receive emails constantly and get notifications from smartphones, it becomes more difficult for us to separate our waking and sleeping lives.”

Last summer, 17 year-old American school girl Courtney Backus said she received a confusing message from a friend. Later, she realized that the friend was responding to messages that she had sent in her sleep.

She had another episode, when she told a friend during a bout of sleep-texting that she would bring a girl named Beatrice to a New Year’s Eve party.

“I woke up and saw that he sent me a message, ‘Have you talked to your friend?’ I had no idea what he was talking about. I don’t even know anyone named Beatrice,” Backus said.

Schmidt believes it makes sense that teens would sleep-text considering how often they send messages while they are awake. Backus, for instance, said she exchanges about 4,000 text messages a day, texting multiple friends at the same time.

Dr. Michael J. Breus, a New York-based Clinical Psychologist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, says that sleep texting is a decidedly 21st-century sleep issue. He also believes it’s bad for the health of adolescents.

“Unhealthy sleep habits can lead to serious sleep deprivation, posing a threat to teens’ academic success and also to their physical and mental health,” he said.

“Sleep problems among this age group are linked to obesity, high blood pressure, depression, behavioral problems and drug abuse. Some evidence suggests that sleep problems during adolescence can affect health well into adulthood.”

He added that texting during sleep is disruptive not only to the texting teen, but also to the teen who receives a message.

Dr. Breus urges parents to help their children from overusing technology. He suggest parents set limits on the amount of time children can have using electronic media. And he recommends getting  kids more interested in outdoor activities. He stresses that bedrooms should be tech-free.

But knowing how addicted our children are to iPads, iPhones and similar fancy gadgets, that’s easier said than done.