Category Archives: Uncategorized

Moments that will shock and stun in the story of the late Orion AKA Jimmy Ellis

I had missed the beginning of this documentary about a singer from the south of the United States who’s claim to fame was a singing voice that was naturally and astonishingly similar, even identical, to the voice of the great Elvis Presley. I fussing over things and not paying 100% attention but there was one jaw-dropping “Oh wow!” moment that stopped me in my tracks. This was the bit where profile photos of Jimmy Ellis and the father of Elvis Presley, Vernon Presley were shown side-by-side. Jimmy had been an adopted, illegitimate child, with a father only listed on his birth certificate as “Vernon”. This wasn’t the only shocking moment in the documentary. Fame and money aren’t the only motivations in an entertainer’s career. There’s also groupies.

Do I believe Ellis was Elvis’s half-brother? 150% I do. I’d believe it based on the voices and the birth certificate alone, but the facial resemblance, was amazing. This story is a reminder of how sometimes close relatives can look like twins, while at other times they can look like random strangers. Clearly Elvis got his looks from his mother and his voice from his father, and didn’t look a bit like Ellis. This documentary is also a reminder of the way that extraordinary talents and creative drives can apparently be inherited, coded in DNA to be sent to one child or another like the throw of a dice. The pattern of apparently inherited singing and the voice in this documentary reminds me of the apparently inherited talent and drive in ballet dancing in another fascinating real-life mystery of DNA – the story of Somerton Man recounted in Australian Story, which I wrote about in this blog.

I recommend this documentary about a third-rate musical career based on an astounding natural talent that cannot be dismissed, even though in many ways it is a sad story. Maybe it is not a show for viewers who who have not come to terms with a childhood in foster care.

Orion: The Man Who Would Be King

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/orion-the-man-who-would-be-king

The man they thought was Elvis
The strange tale of Jimmy Ellis and one of the greatest hoaxes in music history.
LOUISE BRODTHAGEN JENSEN 13. MAJ 2017

https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/webfeature/orion-eng

No they aren’t the same actress.

I’m not the only person to wonder if the older and younger actors in the latest Trivago ad might be the same actor altered with makeup etc. It appears that the actors are in fact Charlotte Weston and the Australian actor Gabrielle Miller. Was any kind of face-matching technology or expertise used by an actor’s agency to deliberately find an older actor who looks a lot like Ms Miller?

Wikipedia lists performance artist, tap dancer, mime and puppeteer as talents of Ms Miller, on top of her famous work in advertising. I think that is a remarkable committment to annoying the general public.

 

Big news about an early intervention for prosopagnosia in Scientific American

I hope this research turns out to be a genuinely effective help for people who have very poor face memory.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-promise-for-those-who-suffer-from-face-blindness/

 

Year ends minus a friend

Before 2019 ends, I think it is worth putting on record that this was the year that I lost a good friend, an elderly lady I’d known for many years. Despite belonging to different generations and classes, and despite many ups and downs and misunderstandings and difficulties, we had time for each other, we appreciated each other’s finer qualities, we tolerated each other’s considerable flaws and we were genuinely hoping for all the best things for each other. I can’t say I’ve had many friendships like that, even though I’ve met many acquaintances who, at face value, have many more things in common with myself. Perhaps any kind of friendship is possible when people share a love of gardening and the natural world?

At my friend’s funeral I never expected to hear a description of a rare memory ability, even though my friend had plainly and clearly told me a year earlier that she was able to remember her own life in detail over long periods of time. Was it a memory of every day of her life, or was it flashbacks, or was it an ability to recall the events of any given date in her past? I’m unfortunately quite vague at recalling conversations, but I know at the time I thought my friend’s memory sounded like a case of “highly superior autobiographical memory” or HSAM, previously known as hyperthymestic syndrome. In reply I told my friend that it was the weirdest coincidence that I had read the first neuroscience/psychology journal paper describing this type of ability, and then realised that the person who was the case study was also a time-sequence synaesthete and this was probably an aspect of her memory superiority, and I then informed a leading synaesthesia researcher about this apparent link between synaesthesia and HSAM, and as a result I got a mention in a paper that she wrote and was published exploring this association. And I also have a freakishly good memory ability, mine an extreme memory for faces. After my friend and I both said our bit about our unusual memories, it felt like we were both sitting there, each thinking our friend must be some kind of show-off bullshitter. Me a super-recognizer and my friend a HSAM? What was the chance that such a pair would meet, let alone become friends? It seemed too weird to believe. The topic of conversation changed.

I should never have doubted my friend. At her funeral a eulogy by a third party confirmed my late friend’s claim to an uncanny memory of  life’s events. The first case of HSAM that was described by researchers complained that her memory of past events was too often a re-experiencing of painful experiences, while other (male) cases that came to light later didn’t experience their exceptional memory as a burden. I think my late friend, a widow, was at times vividly haunted by memories of the past. I’m convinced that she had the ability to recall conversations verbatim. Have you ever had an annoyed octogenerian correct your recollection of a past visit by repeating a conversation from weeks ago, word-for-word? I have. I’ll never be able to confirm it now, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if hyperphantasia is a psychological trait that we had in common. One day I’ll find the time to do a test for that.

I know I will never meet another person like my late friend. I also know that she will have been ticked-off that she left this world leaving this world’s problems unresolved. Regardless of her aging and often broken bones, chronic health issues and a sensitivity to life’s mundane disappointments, she was always ready to get up and go out again, and meet new vague, indecisive and forgetful people. I’ll always miss her, but she’s still very much a part of my life.

I want…

I want to organise a staring competition between Greta Thunberg and Tim Sebastian, I’d like to arrange a game of poker pitting Rudy Giuliani against Michaelia Cash, I think it would be amusing to place a vase of pure white flowers inside an unfashionably colourful home, I’m curious to try transfusing Lance Armstrong with blood from a hypergammaglobulinaemic and see how fast he could ride his bike then, and I’d also like to wish my readers, if there still are any, a very merry Christmas.

Young blue eyes….

After watching the American journalist Ronan Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and supposedly the son of actor/director/creep Woody Allen, I must declare that there is no way in the wide, wide, world that Ronan Farrow is not the biological son of Frank Sinatra. Just look at those eyes! And the rest of his face, which I could happily look at for hours. He got genes for looking good from both biological parents. Life is not fair. Surely one doesn’t need to be a super-recogniser like me to see Sinatra when Farrow speaks?

I think Farrow also looks a bit like the blond actor from the TV series Starsky and Hutch, but that’s probably just a coincidental mix of similar attractive features and the blond hair. One American actor that Farrow does not look at all like is Woody Allen, and I think we can all agree, that’s a good thing.

https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/ronan-farrow-discusses-his-investigation-into/11605546

https://www.yourtango.com/2019328782/ronan-farrow-frank-sinatra-son

 

Finally….an Australian police force starts recognising and using super-recogniser police officers

Beyond bollards and harnessing super recognisers, 2018 scholarship presentations

Another passport control failure at an Australian airport, and again no explanation from Australian Border Force

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-15/sydney-international-airport-delays-passport-control/11309132

If Australian Border Force are using an unreliable facial recognition technology for border control, does the Australian public have a right to know?

Do you see it?

When I watch this movie director’s face I also see the face of another (more) famous person. Can you see it too?

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/dexter-fletcher-from-press-gang-to-rocketman

P.S. At least a couple of other people have seen the other face too:

 

 

A beautiful mauve and lilac-coloured song