Harry Houdini inspired genuine belief in the dangers he faced, displaying a level of technical ingenuity that remains a benchmark for illusionists. Photograph: AP
Happy birthday, Harry Houdini: you’d have been 137 today (if you hadn’t died of a ruptured appendix at 52). But you are not forgotten. Indeed, you’re front page on Google and the Twitterocracy are tweeting their greetings even now. The question that inevitably arises is simply: why? Was he more astounding than David Copperfield, more daring than David Blaine, more memorable than Penn and Teller? His real magic is that we shall never know. Apart from a few grimy clips of film a century old, there’s no means of judging how or why Houdini became the supreme, enduring icon of escapology and illusion. But it is enough to register that he did. He was the wonder of the world in an old world hungry for wonders.
Being the first group to perform gave the Juke Box Dancers the opportunity to sets the tone with a series of high kicks.
The Rockettes are a precision dance company performing out of the Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York City. During the Christmas season, the Rockettes have performed five shows a day, seven days a week, for 77 years. Perhaps their best-known routine is an eye-high leg kick in perfect unison in a chorus line, which they include at the end of every performance.
- Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes (benspark.com)
» Confessions of a hijabi | The Dawn Blog | Pakistan, Cricket, Politics, Terrorism, Satire, Food, Culture and Entertainment
I watched the much talked about My Name is Khan the other day. The brilliant depiction of an autistic person by Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar’s surprisingly taut direction made for a good film. I had been warned by friends to keep tissues handy, as many friends had their eyeliners washed away as they sniffled through the film.
I have never been emotionally vulnerable and usually don’t cry in public, so although the film was stirring, it did not send me scrambling through my handbag for those back-up tissues. That is, except for one scene. And in that one scene, I felt a lump form in my throat as I reached for that tissue paper. On screen, actress Sonya Jehan – who plays Khan’s sister-in-law, a working woman who wears a hijab while living on the West Coast of the United States – is walking down a hallway when her hijab is pulled off. This is yet another expression of resentment against Muslims in the wake of the 9/11 attacks that the film portrays. After the insult, Jehan’s character decides to no longer cover her head in public.
The British Medical Journal tells the fascinating story of a Soviet surgeon who removed his own appendix in 1961, in the Antarctic wilderness without the assistance of medical professionals or hospital equipment.
Here is an excerpt from the diary of the doctor, Leonid Rogozov, written shortly after the auto-appendectomy:
I worked without gloves. It was hard to see. The mirror helps, but it also hinders—after all, it’s showing things backwards. I work mainly by touch. The bleeding is quite heavy, but I take my time—I try to work surely. Opening the peritoneum, I injured the blind gut and had to sew it up. Suddenly it flashed through my mind: there are more injuries here and I didn’t notice them . . . I grow weaker and weaker, my head starts to spin. Every 4-5 minutes I rest for 20-25 seconds. Finally, here it is, the cursed appendage! With horror I notice the dark stain at its base. That means just a day longer and it would have burst and . . .
At the worst moment of removing the appendix I flagged: my heart seized up and noticeably slowed; my hands felt like rubber. Well, I thought, it’s going to end badly. And all that was left was removing the appendix . . .
And then I realised that, basically, I was already saved.
- Soviet surgeon removes his own appendix in Antarctica, 1961 (thenextweb.com)
- DIY Appendix Removal (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)