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Archive for the ‘Personalities’ Category

Get a Grip on Physics. How Bizarre is This?

Posted by admin On December - 5 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

An old out–of-print physics book photographed among the shards in the foot well in the back of Tiger Woods’ crashed Escalade last Friday morning has become one of the hottest sellers at Amazon.com. As of today, the book spiked near 400,000 spots ahead of others.

The obviously well used paperback, Get a Grip on Physics, was published in 1999. It was expected to be the first in a series, but flopped in sales and was promptly canceled.

Tiger Woodss car, with Get A Grip On Physics by John Gribbin lying in the footwell. Photograph: Handout/Getty Images

Tiger Woods's car, with Get A Grip On Physics by John Gribbin lying in the footwell. Photograph: Handout/Getty Images

Tiger Woods’ interest in the book, an illustrated introduction to modern physics, highlighting the development of physics since the 1950s, charting the discovery of the four forces of nature, the search for grand unified theories and the beginnings of string theory, has made it one of the hottest selling book items on Amazon.com in the United States of America.

However, there has been no rise in sales of the book, published in the UK under the title, Get a Grip on New Physics, on Amazon.co.uk, where up till this morning it ranked at 71,115.

Delighted his book was being read by the famous sports personality, British author, John Gribbin, however, wishes it was one that were still in print.

Gribbin jumped into the spotlight when he predicted that earthquakes would wipe out Los Angeles in 1982. He is best known for his work, In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat, an exploration of the mysteries of quantum physics, which is still selling well even though it was published 25 years ago.

He has amassed a back catalogue focusing on modern science. His latest book, In Search of the Multiverse, charts ideas about alternative realities from Hugh Everett’s many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics to recent developments in M-theory pointing to a landscape of alternative universes in string theory.

In an interview with the UK Guardian’s Richard Lea, Gribbin said of Get a Grip on Physics: “It’s not a book you sit down and read from cover to cover, you can dip in and out of it. Tiger Woods is absolutely my target audience. He’s busy, hasn’t got a lot of time, but wants to catch up on what’s happening in physics.”

In addition to the revived book, Tiger Woods related domains are selling on eBay for $1 million and up.

And in direct response to an NBC story on the issue, readers vented in a slew of comments.

Who is Naeem Khan?

Posted by admin On December - 1 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

I had never heard of Naeem Khan until Tuesday October 23.  The moment his name was mentioned as designer of First Lady Michelle Obama’s gold coloured sequined dress, which she wore for The Obamas first state dinner, the internet hummed with searches, myself included. Others, like me, who had never heard of him, wanted to see the face of the Indian immigrant who had designed and created fashion history with the now famous dress.

Naeem Khan. Photo Credit: Courtesy Deborah Hughes

Naeem Khan. Photo Credit: Courtesy Deborah Hughes

What is special about Naeem Khan? A lot I didn’t know. He designed the costumes in the hit movie Dreamgirls using titanium so they could cling lovingly to the bodies of the wearers. And Queen Noor of Jordan and such celebrities as Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Zooey Deschanel, Katherine Heigl, Carrie Underwood, Kim Catrall, Brooke Sheilds have worn his creations.

Naeem Khan's favorite dress from his spring 2007 collection. Photo Credit: Courtesy Deborah Hughes.

Naeem Khan's favorite dress from his spring 2007 collection. Photo Credit: Courtesy Deborah Hughes.

When he was approached for the Dreamgirls gig, Naeem, was given a copy of the script and asked to create dresses for two scenes. One was the finale, the last scene of the show. He made the dresses out of gold and titanium, and that’s what gave them the beautiful sheen. That was a gold star in his blooming career.

Khan was born in Mumbai, India.  He learned design and dress making while working with his father and grandfather in the family’s shop. They were well know for designing regal and fashionable gowns for royal families and socialites in India. His family owned many clothing factories. Regal clothing is their trade mark. The business has survived three generations. “I grew up seeing it everyday, knowing the measurement of the stitch and the millimeter of the thread. One stitch can create so many different things,” he said.

Creation from Naeem Khan's 2010 collection (Web photo).

Creation from Naeem Khan's 2010 collection (Web photo).

When he was 20, Khan migrated to the United States of America and began an apprenticeship with renowned fashion house Halston, who incidentally, sponsored him to become an American citizen. From there he moved on to Riazee. And in 2003, he launched his own collection which included tailored cocktail suits, embroidered caftans and glamourous dresses.  His label is carried in more than 200 stores throughout the United States of America, including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Khan learned construction and fundamentals of designs at Halston. Such a craft, he said, cannot be taught in any school. “It comes from within, and trial and error.”

In October he started marketing his creations on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) . The collection includes dresses under $300. Khan’s aim is to build his business into a multi-million dollar empire.

The day after the White House state dinner, Naeem Khan, was the third most Googled name in America. He thought it was unbelievable. Khan, 50, was stunned when he stepped out of his bathroom and saw the First Lady Michelle Obama wearing his creation on television.

He said the dress and his training at Halston are what defines him as a fashion designer. “With the clean lines I learned from Halston and complicated Indian over-the-top Bollywood traditions,” he has earned a top spot among some of the most famous fashion designers in America.

Khan likes to use beads, sequins and embroidery in his creations. His work is so delicate that he sometimes have to use a surgical needle to stitch sequins and beads.

Writer With A Passion For Knitting

Posted by admin On November - 28 - 2009 7 COMMENTS

When she was a little girl, Deborah Samuelson wanted to learn to knit but her parents could not afford the knitting needles, so she knitted with pencils.

Then she grew up, became a writer and a mother and life took over. She didn’t have the time to devote to knitting even though she could now afford many knitting needles. Until, a few months ago.

Deborah Rodriguez Samuelson and Seeta Heeralal discuss her knitting at at Knit-A-Way

Deborah Rodriguez Samuelson and Seeta Heeralal discuss knitting at Knit-A-Way of Brooklyn Inc.

For her, readopting the hobby was as simple as a hand wave. “Once I started, it returned automatically. All the stitches I learned as a little girl came back to me with every knitting project.”

Our meeting was serendipitous. I had gone to Knit-A-Way of Brooklyn Inc., a nifty shop at Atlantic Avenue, to interview its president, Seeta Heeralal, and, in bounded Samuelson looking for the perfect yarn for her holiday knitting projects. She whipped out a piece of work-in-progress, a navy blue scarf, from her black and red shoulder bag to show Seeta what she was working on. It was a pattern of squares.

“I just started knitting; I didn’t know I was making squares. I was just playing with it. I didn’t look in the book and the pattern emerged like that. It came right back to me,” she gushed, and held out the beautiful piece of perfectly patterned squares for us to see. “This is for my nephew,” she said and stressed: “I love knitting.” In addition to the present she was working on for her nephew, she also produced another scarf with different shades of blue. That was near completion.

Samuelson, Director of Resource Development at Helen Keller Services for the Blind in Brooklyn, said a co-worker had found Knit-A-Way, the knitting and crochet shop, on the internet and they had visited the store together, several times. “Now I come on my own. This is my home away from home,” she enthused.

She is obsessed with her knitting projects. “It’s an addiction. It’s so relaxing. You don’t know what to make for relatives, friends and for the house again. People have no idea how relaxing knitting really is,” she said.

Deborah Rodriguez Samuelson at Knit-A-Way.

Deborah Rodriguez Samuelson at Knit-A-Way.

Originally from Brooklyn, and now living in Staten Island, Samuelson said she spent the 25-minute ride on the ferry to and from work with her head buried in her knitting, her fingers working nonstop until time to disembark.

As she entered the store she greeted us and went on to yarn browse. Within minutes, she returned to ask Seeta a question about the yarn. She was bubbling with excitement about her knitting. Her enthusiasm was infectious. I couldn’t help but jump right in and ask if she wouldn’t mind me taking her picture and writing about her love of knitting.

“Sure,” she gushed.

And we got down to talking knitting.

“It’s an addiction. I get pleasure sometimes from the feel of the fabric, it’s very unusual and it feels very neat,” she said.  She’s ambidextrous and does many things with her left hand. She told how she had developed a method for knitting with which her hands were comfortable, especially the left. “I can’t help it, it feels comfortable in my left hand and if it feels good in my hand, that’s all that matters.”

Writing and knitting are like quill and ink for this artistic woman, who not only knows how to compose interesting prose, but how to craft warm clothes with two tapering needles and balls of wool.

“Sometimes I look at a pattern and think I could never make that, but with the needles in my hand, anything is possible,” she said. “People have no idea what they are getting for the holidays, lots of knitted stuff,” she concluded.