Thursday, 27 August 2009

'I Life My Lamp Beside the Golden Door...'

The cartoons of Maira Kalman, on New York and America.

'What are we doing here? Who knows? How did we get here? I'll tell you...'

For Goodness' Sake.

Another Kalman cartoon, on New York.

'My love of New York City and love of cleaning are well known. A clean city if a beautiful city. And I want to help. My city it like any city: mind-bogglingly complex...'

5000 Years of Indian Art.

Roadside America: Mega-Messiahs.

' It's still fashionable, during these post-millennial years, to ponder The End of Everything. Media-worn warnings from the Bible, Nostradamus, and assorted bunker-dwellers continue to give us pause. Fans of Hollywood Apocalypse films believe the End will be laden with spectacular special effects. And while students of the Book of Revelation may not agree on all the details, one thing is very possible:'

'A giant Jesus will be looking for you. '

1930s Russian Experimental Homemade Photography.

'These photos are from a private collection of a typical Moscow family. They are dated back to 1936-1940 - the years known as the period of Stalin’s most cruel political repressions. Several million people are said to be affected: sentenced, shot or sent off to labour camps.'

'There is a Russian movie about those times – “Burnt By The Sun” (Utomlennye Solncem), which in 1994 won the Academy Awards as the best foreign language film (imdb rating 7.9/10). The story is about love in the times of political turmoil, the love that survives all fears of purges and uncertainty. Surprisingly enough, people still managed to try and have a few laughs during those harsh times.'

Harry Clarke, Illustrations for E. A. Poe.

'A friend gave me her parents' copy of this 1923 rarity to scan: Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Poe, illustrated by Harry Clarke (Ireland, 1889 - 1931). She remembers being fascinated and haunted by details like the killer's toes from "The Tell-Tale Heart" (see above).'

The Appetite of a Bird.

'This is an actual film sequence from Appetit d'Oiseau (Appetite of a Bird) by Peter Foldes. I scanned thumbnails from the book Graphis: Film & TV Graphics (1967), which says the film "recounts in harrowing images the pursuit of the female by the male."'


Tiny creatures. 'On a rainy afternoon visit the Micropolitan Museum to find revealed the most amazing things:'

Film Posters Paintings from Ghana.

Tibetan Anatomical Paintings.

Magician Souvenir Programs.

Hypnotist Posters.

A Japanese Historical World Map.

African Barber Shop Signs.

Tom Thumb Trade Cards.

'Shown below are thumbnail images (at 25 percent of actual size) of 7 trade cards and 4 cartes de viste having Tom Thumb as their main subject. '

Jumbo Trade Cards.

'Jumbo was brought as a baby from Africa to the Royal Zoological Gardens in London, England, and grew to be 11-1/2 feet in height and 6-1/2 tons in weight. In almost 20 years of service there, he gave rides to thousands of children.'

'P. T. Barnum wanted Jumbo as an attraction for his shows and made an offer of $10,000, but had no hopes of ever owning him. But in 1881 the Zoological Society accepted Barnum's offer after Jumbo threw some temper tantrums. A controversy arose between the English and Americans, mostly instigated by Barnum for publicity, as to whether Jumbo should be allowed to leave England.'

Roadside America: Big Fruit.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'What is a Buddhist to do about bullies?'

'Looking for good quotes from evil men.'

'What cooking secrets take your food to the almost-pro level?'

'What are we fighting when we fight against depression?'

'What are the most interesting or unusual questions you've ever been asked at a job interview?'

'What are good examples of jokes with long story-telling set-ups?'

'What’s the probability that I have drunk the same molecule of water more than once in my life?'

'I’m interested in learning more about meditation. I also have ADD and find it impossible to shut off my brain and clear my mind.'

Astro Pics.

Dark Sky over Sequoia National Park.

Moon and Mars.

Pillars of Eagle Castle.

How to Make Primordial Soup.

Milwaukee Neighborhood Posters.

'The Milwaukee Neighborhood poster series began with Bay View in 1983. In the ensuing seven years, Milwaukee graphic artist Jan Kotowicz added 25 posters to the collection. The reverse side of each poster carries a history of the neighborhood written by local historian John Gurda. '

Pulp Fiction Book Covers.

Yangtze River Sketchbook.

'At 3,900 miles, Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia, and third in the world. It winds through most beautiful land forms in the world, the Yangtze River reaches the edge of the Tibetan plateau, and plunges off the roof of the world through huge gorges.'

Japanese Temples and Shrines.

Disassembled Household Appliances.

New York Summer.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Surinam Slave Trade.

Prints related to the slave trade in the former Dutch colony of Surinam.

"Going now to take my leave of Surinam, after all the horrors and cruelties with which I must have hurt both the eye and the heart of the reader, I will close with an emblematical picture of Europe supported by Africa and America, accompanied by an ardent wish that the friendly manner as they are represented, they may henceforth and to all eternity be the props of each other... We only differ in colour, but are certainly all created by the same hand."

Japanese Crepe Paper Fairy Tales.

'The Baika Women's University Collection of Crêpe Paper Books in Japan consists of more than one hundred and fifty works produced between about 1880 and 1940 in English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese editions. Not all of the books are present in each language and some of the books were published on thick Japanese paper rather than crêpe paper. Most, but not all, of the books are traditional fairy tales.'

Cambodian Paperback Novel Covers.

'So why follow the literary scene in Cambodia? Cool discoveries like these. The above image is by Hul Sophon, who has worked in illustration both before and after the years of war. In addition to his primary work on covers he does many other kinds of art, and had an adaptation of ‘Kolap Pailin’ published by Reyum. (Now sold out.)'

Roadside Art of the Northern Plains.

'Question: What do you do when you live in Cincinnati, Ohio, and want to drive to Glacier National Park, and you don't want to be bored out of your skull for 2000 miles?'

'Answer: You do a little research, and plan to take a week each way meandering around the countryside looking for roadside art!'

The Unintentionally Terrifying World of Bright Tales and Funny Pictures.

'Maggie Brown's 1894 Bright Tales and Funny Pictures has undergone a remarkable transformation in the digital collection of the The Baldwin Library. On Baldwin's site, you can click through these "placeholders" to see the original works, but I recommend just enjoying the accidental zebra face art.'

Vending Machines of Japan.

'PhotoMann has a large 'collection' of images of unique vending machines found around Japan. Over 50 of them can be seen here. The machines are everywhere. Estimates suggest there are 5.6 million vending machines which works out to be one for every 20 people in Japan.'

The Crystal Factory of Gus-Khrustalny.

'The crystal plant is the main and the greatest construction of Gus-Khrustalny, a small Russian town, which was granted its name for the fiver it is located on (Gus) and the crystal (khrustal’) industry. In the 19th century it was known all over the Russian Empire thanks to Ivan Maltsov, who brought in a lot of European innovations, including making Bohemian glass. In war periods the plant was manufacturing various glass mass-produced items, like thermometers, flasks, thermoses and other consumer goods. Later its status of the main crystal plant was reclaimed. In our short but fascinating photo set you can see how the crystal things are made in modern times.'

Atlas de Trudaine.

18th century maps of France.

'The National Archives of France offers a geneorous sampling from a collection of more than 3000 manuscript maps (62 volumes) of the roads and country side of France made by Charles Daniel Trudaine between 1745 and 1780. Each volume covers one or more parts of France according to the election regions under the Ancien Régime.'

60s and 70s Fashion Photo Galleries.

Nina Simone at the Harlem Cultural Festival, 1969.

Four Women, Backlash Blues :

Be My Husband :

Ain't Got No, I Loves You Porgy :

To Be Young Gifted and Black, Revolution :

Are You Ready? :

Biography of Khamtrül Ngak’chang Yeshé Dorje Rinpoche (1926 - 1993).

Tibetan shaman and the Dalai Lama's weather controller.

Kodachrome Goes to War, 1942.

'October 1942. "Women are trained as engine mechanics in thorough Douglas training methods. Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, California." Skipping ahead to 2009, and the end of an era: Today Kodak announced that, after 74 colorful years, it will stop making Kodachrome film. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer, Office of War Information.'

Yamamoto and the Sosaku Hanga.

'Kanae Yamamoto (1882-1946) was a founder of the Japanese art movement, Sosaku Hanga or 'creative prints'. It was "a Japanese woodblock print movement of the 20th century which utilized Western concepts of art; both in the production, in which the artist was more involved in the production of the prints (often undertaking the entire process on their own), and in the subject matter and presentation, which was that of modern art."'

Gallery of Fanta Bottlecaps.

The Four Stages of Cruelty.

'The Four Stages of Cruelty is a series of four printed engravings published by William Hogarth in 1751. Each print depicts a different stage in the life of the fictional Tom Nero.'

'Beginning with the torture of a dog as a child in the First stage of cruelty, Nero progresses to beating his horse as a man in the Second stage of cruelty, and then to robbery, seduction, and murder in Cruelty in perfection. Finally, in The reward of cruelty, he receives what Hogarth warns is the inevitable fate of those who start down the path Nero has followed: his body is taken from the gallows after his execution as a murderer and is mutilated by surgeons in the anatomical theatre.'

Pension Office, 1918.

'Washington, D.C., circa 1918. "Pension Office interior." This former repository of Civil War veterans' pension records is now the National Building Museum. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.'

Otter Family.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'What is an example of a cookbook wherein the recipes have had the hell tested out of them?'

'How do I learn to build stuff?'

'Help me find music that makes me feel small and insignificant.'

'Take three kids and a flute. Anne says the flute should be given to her because she is the only one who knows how to play it. Bob says the flute should be handed to him as he is so poor he has no toys to play with. Carla says the flute is hers because it is the fruit of her own labour. How do we decide between these three legitimate claims? '

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Real USSR.

Articles about Soviet life.

The Great Flu.

Pandemic control game.

Land's End.

Fading towns of coastal British Columbia.

Giant Carnivorous Plant.

Sot oc'h gant ar binîoù?
- useful phrases in many tongues.

It's all Greek to me.
'The equivalent of this phrase in quite a few languages compares incomprehensible things to an unknown language, particularly Chinese or Greek, while many of the Slavic languages associate Spanish villages with incomprehsion. The Chinese themselves compare such things to a 'heavenly script'. The Japanese use a string of nonsense syllables which imitate the sounds of unknown languages, especially Chinese. '

Iranian Kids' Book Covers.

The Road from London to Land's End (1675 Map).

'This extraordinary map, dating from 1675, details The Road From LONDON to the LANDS END Comencing at the Standard in Cornhill and Extending to Senan in Cornwall. It was made by IOHN OGILBY Esq[ui]r[e] his Ma[jes]ties Cosmographer and covers 308 miles and 3 furlongs (almost 500 km).'

Old Circus Posters.

The Book of Genesis by R. Crumb.

North Korea at Night.

Old Japanese Octopus Toy Paintings.

'The Ningyo-do Bunko Database is a huge online collection of watercolor paintings by Kawasaki Kyosen (1877-1942). The collection consists of over 5,000 still-life images of antique toys and folk crafts from across Japan, including a few lovely octopus-themed items.'

Speech of the Dead Christ (1796).

'Here's an excerpt from Speech of the Dead Christ from the Universe that There Is No God (1796), a section from Jean Paul's Siebenkas (the word Siebenkas will stick in your head forever once you read Thomas Bernhard's Extinction).'

Turn-of-the-Century Bitters Trade Cards.

'Bitters originated in England to avoid a tax levied on alcohol by adding bitter flavoring to alcohol and promoting it as a tax-free medicine having healing and curing capabilities. During the "snake-oil" Patent Medicine period of the mid-1800s in America, bitters having other additives such as herbs, spices and narcotics were offered by many companies with extravagant claims as to their curative powers. Typical diseases claimed to be cured by bitters were ague, fevers, rheumatism, gravel, kidney complaints and nervous debility. They remained high in alcohol content, however, and usually made the user feel good if not cured.'

'... Popular bitters during this later, turn-of-the-century period included Pond's, Lash's, Rex and Hostetters, and their makers made good use of trade cards and postcards in advertising them to the public. In contrast to earlier bitters cards which emphasized curative powers and were nicely printed, these later cards are cruder and often vulgar and suggestive in their use of double entendre. However, today they serve as an interesting insight into the life and humor of that period.'

1893 World's Fair Cards.

'The American Cereal Co. issued a set of 12 trade cards as souvenirs of the 1893 World's Fair. These cards copied a set of paintings displayed at the American Cereal Co. exhibit and titled "The Procession Of The Seasons." The artists were H. Dalton Jones (1848 - 1927) and his brother Francis C. Jones (1857 - 1932) whose names appear on the first 11 cards.'

Abandoned Structures in Rochester, NY.

'Rochester has its fair share of fun abandoned buildings and public works. Most famous is the several miles of intact underground tunnel which is the Abandoned Subway. On Elmwood Avenue there is a partially Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital, the largest building being ten stories tall. Soon to be demolished, the Iola Campus on Westfall Road & East Henrietta Road features several overgrown buildings with plenty to offer explorers.'

Comic Ads.

'This site is devoted to the advertising in old comics. It begins with illustrated pseudo-comics, moves on seed-and-salve selling, muscle ads, guns, cereal, candy, bikes, the ads of the 60s and 70s (my childhood, and hence of great interest to the world) and finally, ten tons of stuff that doesn’t belong elsewhere.'

Minnesota's Historic Shipwrecks.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'Let's you and me talk about spooky music.'

'I like mind-blowing books. Please give me your best suggestions.'

'Did you work in an office before the Internet? What did you do? Also, what was on your desk?'

'What are some (non-Roswell) examples of unsolved "paranormal phenomena"?'

'The year is 1900, and I earn $2550 annually. What is my life like?'

Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection.

Xeno-Canto: Bird Sounds from Around the World.

1970s Escalator Public Information Film.

Dark and Lonely Water.

A public information classic.

Green Cross Code.

Road safety classic.

All About Japan.

India Graphics.


Indigenous people of Hokkaido, Japan's northern island.

East European Cars.

Graffiti Archaeology.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

10 Levels of Intimacy in Today's Communication.

Greco-Buddhist Art.

Along the Silk Road, in Afghanistan, long ago...

'Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek culture and Buddhism, which developed over a period of close to 1000 years in Central Asia, between the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE, and the Islamic conquests of the 7th century CE. '

An example of a 'Greek Buddha' :

'Iconographical evolution of the Greek Herakles into the Japanese Shukongoshin.' :

Greek-looking Cambodian bodhisattva:

Kabul Museum.

'For thousands of years, Afghanistan was a crossroad for trade from India, Iran, and Central Asia. As a result, many treasures and artifacts have been discovered and collected. The Kabul Museum, housed the most comprehensive record of Central Asian history. Many of its pieces have been dated as far back as pre-historic times...'

The Lofstrom Launch Loop.

Better than a space elevator.

Rembrandt van Rijn: Famous Works.

Sketches of Hell by Kyosai.

'Prolific Meiji-period artist Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889), well-known in the West for his darkly humorous illustrations, was commissioned by Scottish surgeon and Japanese art collector William Anderson (1842-1900) to produce a large number of comic paintings in the 1870s. Anderson’s collection, which today forms the core of the Japanese paintings at the British Museum, included the handful of fanciful depictions of hell shown below. '

One Hundred Years Hence.

'The trade cards shown below are a set of 12 stock cards that predict what things will be like in the year 2000. This set was most likely produced at the Kuntsdruck-Friedberg printing plant in Berlin, Germany, and is found in both American and European versions. The images are identical for both versions, but the American cards are in English and have wider and more decorative borders. The European cards were imprinted for chocolate companies in Germany and Belgium, and the English language cards were imprinted for at least 14 different American companies.'

Wagon Train to the West.

'Daniel Jenks traveled to Yreka, California, twice from his native Pawtucket, Rhode Island. In 1849 he joined thousands of '49ers who poured into California by sailing around Cape Horn. In 1859, after a few months at home, Jenks began his overland journey, intending to mine for gold at Pike's Peak. Disillusioned, he returned to Yreka and, on December 24, 1859, bought a mining claim on Long Gulch, where he had mined previously.'

'These are four of twenty drawings illustrating his travels that Jenks created after he arrived in Yreka, in 1859. He mailed them home to his sister in Pawtucket with a volume of his edited diary.'

Cherokee Pass:

The Wizard of New Zealand.

'The Wizard was born Ian Brackenbury Channell, 4 December 1932 in London. He served in the Royal Air Force and taught in universities in Australia.'

'The Wizard moved to Christchurch New Zealand where he has become a national icon.'

The Anonymous Portrait Gallery.

'Anonymous art is wonderfully simple. What's there is what the artist put into it, no more or less. Intentions and creative contexts, ethnicity, mental diagnosis, educational background, the artist's art-historical role -- all are ciphers. In place of biography there is mystery, and the creative process speaks for itself to viewers who are as anonymous to the artist as the artist is to them. '

Art Deco in Lower Manhattan.

Exploring Space (1958).

'While The Complete Book of Space Travel was aimed at teen and pre-teen boys, the 1958 book Exploring Space was looking for a younger audience (still of boys, mind you, since we all know that lady-parts get confused with all that science and math).'

'Below are sample pages from the book, including one that some little tyke got after with a brown crayon.'

Tomorrow's Kitchen (1943).

'The July 16, 1943 Morning Herald (Uniontown, PA) ran this piece about the kitchen of the future, complete with built-in pots and pans. The kitchen was designed by the Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass company, which may be the same company that imagined the glass house of the year 2008.'

Antique Maps of Paris.

Astro Pics.

Diamonds in a Cloudy Sky.

Saturn's Iapetus: Painted Moon.

The African Rock and Roll Years.

King Sunny Ade in Concert :

Planets and Stars to Scale.

Ganguro Makeup Tutorial.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'I want to record my parents telling the story of their lives. I would love to hear tips, pointers, guides, resources or your experiences of doing the same thing - anything which might help me do as good a job as possible would be appreciated.'

'How many calories are in a human brain?'

'I've always been interested in spies, secret passages, and gadgets. How can I transform my home to incorporate these things?'

A Stroll Down Seattle's First Avenue.

'Four years after a Jog Around Lake Union, I decided to take another jaunt—this time on downtown Seattle’s main artery—and brought Caitlin Burke, friend and shutterbug, along for the walk.'

'From north to south, here’s what we saw on a sunny day in the Emerald City.'

Wolf Spider.


Walking the Great Wall of China.

3D Stereoviews of Old Japan.

Someone's Photos of Vietnam.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Someone is wrong on the Internet.

The observable Universe.

Gods of Japan.

'This photo library and dictionary is a labor of love. After moving to Kamakura in 1993, I became intrigued by the many deities and faces of Japanese Buddhism and Shintoism. There are dozens of temples and shrines near my home, many dating from the 8th to 13th centuries, many open to the public. There are 400+ deities in this dictionary, and 2,500+ photos of statuary from Kamakura, Nara, Kyoto, and elsewhere in Japan.'

Line-Crossing Ceremonies.

'The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and other navies which commemorates a sailor's first crossing of the equator. Originally the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the equator are nicknamed (Trusty) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs...'

Seurat's 'Grande Jatte' and 'Circus'.

Dead Malls.

'Read the stories and see the pictures of retail establishments and malls past, and some present. '

King Kong vs. Godzilla.

Outsider Folk Art.

Self-taught folk and naive artists.

'Great artists produce great art, whether they are trained or simply have a natural gift for expressing themselves through the outlet of their art.'

Praying Mantis.

Bumblebee Queen.

Indian Court: 1939.

'Six of seven WPA posters by Louis B. Siegriest (1899-1989) promoting American Indian art at the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939. Available as Vintagraph fine-art prints, made from ultra high-resolution scans of the original serigraphs -- very detailed and quite beautiful.'

Vulcan and Vishnu.

A wordless web comic about 'the travels and travails of two honest workmen devising their way around obstacled and through calamities on their way to fortune and glory.'

1979 Deutschland.

'Here you will find several photo galleries, all dealing with the punk years 1977 - 1980 in Germany; MP3s of the German Bands mentioned; sample pages of old German Punk Rock Fanzines. And some further links. Have fun and enjoy.'

Capturing Nature's Beauty: Three Centuries of French Landscapes.

The Natural History of Palm Trees.

"The author of over 150 botanical titles, including the great flora of Brazil, Karl Friedrich Philipp von Martius also wrote the still-definitive three-volume treatise on the palm family, one of the first plant monographs. He developed his life-long fascination with palms during an expedition through Brazil [map] from 1817 to 1820, and he worked nearly 30 years to prepare this grand summation, including palms found only as fossils."

Fortune-Telling by Cards (1915).

'This is a short book on telling fortunes, primarily with a standard deck of playing cards. There is a short two-chapter section at the end about the Tarot. Described are several different spreads, including the 32-card method, the French and Italian methods, the Grand Star, and Etteilla's Tarot spread. '

Macedonian Apron Designs.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'Suggest absorbing fiction about mysterious England.'

'Intelligent space opera?'


China Collection.

Guatemalan Colour.