Thursday, 24 September 2009

'The more I see of people, the better I like my dog.' -- Frederick the Great.

The Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon Hoard on Flickr.

An Anthropology of Happiness: The Sisterhood of Filipina Maids in Hong Kong.

'ONCE a week, on Sundays, Hong Kong becomes a different city. Thousands of Filipina women throng into the central business district, around Statue Square, to picnic, dance, sing, gossip and laugh. They snuggle in the shade under the HSBC building, a Hong Kong landmark, and spill out into the parks and streets. They hug. They chatter. They smile. Humanity could stage no greater display of happiness...'

'... “Nowadays, bayanihan really means togetherness,” says Mr de Leon, and “togetherness is happiness”. It might sound too obvious, almost banal, to point out—had not so many people across the world forgotten it.'

Vintage Lawnmower Cards.

'The lawn mowers advertised by the 20 trade cards shown below were manufactured by American companies, probably from 1880 to 1900. Most of these cards show the mower being pushed by a child or woman. This is typical of lawn mower trade cards, emphasizing how easily the mower can be operated.'

Designs by Bold: Broomsticks and Other Stories.

'These "designs by Bold" (as the illustrations are credited on the title page) can be found in Walter de la Mare's Broomsticks & Other Stories (Constable, 1925), a collection of supernatural stories for children.'

Cook's Voyage to the Pacific.

'The National Library of Australia have 87 engraving plates on display from Captain James Cook's Voyage to the Pacific Ocean of 1784. Multiple resolution and pan/zoom options. Cook was speared and stoned to death in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in February 1779. '

Googie Central.

'Welcome to Googie Central, home to some of most space-age, "astro", bold, and yes, Googie architecture and sign in all the land. Back in the 50's and 60's, America was enthusiastically anticipating the future. Space travel was in and many wondered what it would be like to trade in their old automobile for a space ship, just like... The Jetsons.
Architects envisioned what "future world" was to look like and began designing buildings with huge "caddy-like" tail-fins, pronounced shapes, and boomerang angles, just to name a few. Not to mention some that just designed the building like a flying saucer.'

The Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka.

Houses a tooth relic of the Buddha.

a Buddhist Pilgrim's Guide to Sri Lanka :

The Tree of Jesse.

In cathedrals' and churches' stained glass windows and medieval Christian art.
'Pictorial representations of the Jesse Tree show a symbolic tree or vine with spreading branches to represent the genealogy in accordance with Isaiah's prophecy. The 12th century monk Hervaeus expressed the medieval understanding of the image, based on the Vulgate text: "The patriarch Jesse belonged to the royal family, that is why the root of Jesse signifies the lineage of kings. As to the rod, it symbolises Mary as the flower symbolises Jesus Christ."'

The Persian Zodiac.

'These images come form an egyptian manuscript from the 14th/15th centuries. It reproduces a persian astrological treatise from ~9th century - 'Kitâb al-Mawalid' - by Abû Ma'shar, said to have been the most influential document in the development of western astrology. [I believe it is otherwise known as 'The Book of Nativities' or 'The Book of Revolution of the Birth Years'.]'

The only woman in the French Foreign Legion.

Kings (and Queens) Of Their Own Domains.

'Ursula Graham-Bower, an English archeology student who ventured to India in 1939 "to putter about with a few cameras and do a bit of medical work, maybe write a book" and ended up in the jungle on the Burmese border as "Queen of the Nagas", leading headhunting tribes against the advancing Japanese Army.'

20 Classic Beauties: 1950s-1980s.

Cosmos Remixed - Sagan and Hawking.

'A still more glorious dawn awaits
Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way '

Truck Farm, 1938.

"Farm woman beside her barn door. Tulare County, California. No more horseshoes!"

On the Road, 1938.

'June 1938. Outskirts of El Paso, Texas. '

C Girls, 1910.

'Washington, D.C., circa 1910. "Girls' basketball." The C might stand for Central High.'

Weegee's World: Life, Death and the Human Drama.

"He will take his camera and ride off in search of new evidence that his city, even in her most drunken and disorderly and pathetic moments, is beautiful."

Also known as Arthur (Usher) Fellig. Early 20th century NYC photojournalist, known as 'Weegee' from 'Ouija' - he had an uncanny ability to turn up at crime scenes.

Literary Map of San Francisco.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'Tell me some scary and/or mysterious things that are local to your area, but not necessarily well-known to the rest of the world.'

'What cultural or spiritual practice involves an alter or offering incorporating a dead chicken and money?'

'Looking to learn more about Haitian voodoo in America.'

'would you consider this a miracle? or what??'
'To make a long story short - my entire family (that's my mom, bro's and sis and spouses) were watching the Lakers play the Celtics on Xmas day. It's sort of been our tradition during the holidays. During the middle of the game, the telecast was interrupted with a picture of Jesus Christ! '

'I am thinking of making some quirky, amateur porn that straddles the borderline between porn and art....'

' What is a good comeback for an introvert, attending a social occasion, who gets told, for the umpteenth time, "Hey you're really quiet aren't you?" '

' "Well, bless your heart!" and "How nice for you!" are two of my favorite barely-veiled criticisms. Can you provide me with some more?'

'What are the canonical signs that someone doesn't know much about your field, or only picked up enough to make cocktail-party conversation? (categorized science and nature, but other disciplines welcome!)'

'What is the coolest and quirkiest event you've ever attended or heard of?'

'What are the world's most acclaimed short stories?'

'Please help me really grok chemistry.'

Found Fantastic Buddhist Quote, Looking For Its Origin - 'What is the origin of this quote - "We're as dead now as we'll ever be."? '

Clarence Larkin's (1850-1924) Biblical Wallcharts.

Pastor from Pennsylvania - classic wallcharts of Biblical timelines.

Rokuro Taniuchi.

'I discovered the incredible Japanese illustrator Rokuro Taniuchi (1921 - 1981) while searching for Tadanori Yokoo books. On the Amazon listing for this profusely-illustrated book -- Taniuchi Rokuro Gensouki (Shinshindo, 1981) -- Yokoo is listed as the editor. The book seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth, and I feel incredibly lucky to have found it...'

More :

Crater Lake, Oregon.

Japanese Traditional Town.

Sichuan - Tibet - Yunnan.

Human India.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Around the World in 1815.

'Louis Choris, a painter from the Ukraine, was 20 years old when he boarded the Kotzebue in 1815 for a 3 year world tour. He eventually published Voyage pittoresque autour du monde, avec des portraits de sauvages d'Amerique, d'Asie, d'Afrique, et des iles du Grand ocean; des paysages, des vues maritimes, et plusieurs objets d'histoire naturelle in 1822. The text, which makes up about half the nearly 300 pages was by Baron Cuvier and a couple of others.'

Dalit Saint Peddi.

'Urilinga Peddi (C-1150-1200) occupies a unique place in the Virashaiva mvement of India. He belonged to the low caste and was a robber. Once Peddi had gone to steal at the residence of Surayya, a rich man and devotee of Urilingadeva, a great Shaiva Saint. Peddi heard the exposition of scriptures and the way to pious life. Peddi was a changed person onwards and for twelve years he brought firewood to Urilingadeva's hermitage without being noticed.'

Forgotten Illustrator Jiri Trnka.

'Jiri Trnka (1912 - 1969) is well-known (relatively-speaking) for his brilliant animated puppet movies. He has even been dubbed the "Walt Disney of the East." Recently I discovered that this Czech artist also illustrated children's books throughout his career. Many of these books were published in English from the fifties to the seventies, though none are currently in print.'

Forgotten Illustrator Viera Gergel'ova.

'I can't find any information about her, but it appears she was working in Bratislava in the 60s and early 70s.'

Chinese Thumb Rings.

'It is not often that an implement of warfare evolves into an item of jewelry. But that is precisely what happened with Chinese archer’s rings. '

Roadside Characters.

'Remember the roadside characters that used to greet you as you whizzed by? How about the famous Doggie Diner? The Blue Whale off Route 66 in Catoosa? You can't forget Dinah as well as Kadie the Cow.'

'See them here in this index to these roadside characters by region.'

Neon Theatres of the Midwest.

Vintage Postcards of Route 66.

Astro Pics.

Ultraviolet Andromeda.

Moons and Jupiter.

Starburst Galaxy M94.

Querying the Hive Mind.

What are some movies with moral beauty?

'What is the probability of one or both events occurring.'

'Choose Your Own Adventure question.'

'Mefites, please show me the oddest blogs you have ever seen?'

' I need a story about a person who has an uninspiring job but does it in a way that makes a difference people's lives.'
(Ikiru, of course!)

'I have a strange question... Assuming that world sea-level rises by 1 metre over the next hundred years - Would it be possible to cordon off a section of land, somewhere in the centre of a continent, and flood it to create an artificial ocean, thus reducing the consequences of the sea rise?'

'Why can't I, and how can I, hear my dad's accent?'

'Does everyone categorise shades of colours in the same way? I'm interested in the way shades of colours are bundled together in different cultures/languages.'

'Please help me convince my 19 year old niece that she shouldn't drop out of her upcoming professional course to become a stripper. '

Why Is Colour?

Hindu Deities' Vehicles.

'Most Hindu Gods have their own vehicles that they use to go about their tasks and responsibilities. We bring you this fascinating exhibition of pictures from Indian mythologies. '

Biloxi, Mississippi Shrimps (1945).

Poetry for Primates.

'There's been increased interest lately in monkey languages after discoveries were made about how putty-nosed monkeys combine sounds to create a basic syntax:
* Hack-hack-hack-hack: "There's an eagle over there!"
* Pyow-hack-hack-pyow-pyow-pyow: "I've seen a leopard, let's move away!"
* Hack-hack-hack-pyow-hack-hack-hack-hack-hack "There's an eagle over
there, let's move away!" ... '

Nageshvara Nataraja.

'Nataraja is called “one of the most popular forms of the god Shiva” by the great scholar of South Indian art and architecture, Dr. Douglas Barrett [1]. Following his and other scholars’ work, many authors support the idea that the Dancing Shiva as Nataraja was a tenth century innovation by Chola artists and architects. A novelty possibly initiated or directed by the Chola queen Sembyan Mahadevi. It has also been suggested by some authors that this development was related to certain political objectives of the Chola dynasty, especially its imperial and expansive ambitions. '

Indian Cinema.

Vintage European Geishas.

Red Dust in Sydney.

'As I write this, there's an insane dust storm that's sweeping over Sydney. I found out about it by seeing a Twitter post from Dan Hill. I'm based in San Francisco but found it so extraordinary I decided to go and see if I could spot pictures coming in and make a little gallery out of them.'

Luna Park:

Classic Coaches of Wombourne.

'Classic Coaches of Wombourne in Staffordshire ran an odd fleet of old buses and coaches. One of these oddities was EUG885D, an unusual centre-entrance AEC Reliance coach that had been new to the Wallace Arnold coach fleet in 1966. EUG885D is seen in Station Street, Walsall on a shuttle service between Walsall and Bescot. '

Milk Float.

'Saturday job by Lady Wulfrun.
Two young lads pose alongside an old 'Unigate' Morrison 'D1' electric milkfloat in Womboune, Staffordshire one Saturday morning in December 1986, They'd both been helping the local milkman on his rounds to earn a bit of extra pocket money, bless em. '

Sunny Staffordshire.

'Sunny Staffordshire by Lady Wulfrun.
With its windows open, and its passengers enjoying the resulting cool breeze, West Midlands Travel Fleetline 6447 (NOC 447R) roars along Plantation Lane in Himley, Staffordshire, bound for Wolverhampton on a warm and sunny afternoon in June 1989. '

Irish Comics Wiki.

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Millennium Bug (1998).

'The 1998 book The Millennium Bug by Michael S. Hyatt is pretty pessimistic about mankind's future, given the "Y2K problem." Ironically, Mr. Hyatt blogged more recently about cynics who are pessimistic about the future. He says that real leaders "look on the sunny side." Priceless turnaround.'

'As ridiculous as the hysteria over Y2K may have been, it was certainly more palatable than the current "2012" nonsense. Whatever happened to being afraid of a good, old-fashioned robot uprising?'

Hospitals in the Sky! (1958).

'This "hospital in the sky," as imagined by Arthur Radebaugh in the May 11, 1958 edition of his comic Closer Than We Think, operates under the assumption that the "weightlessness, irradiation and low temperatures of outer space" would allow for more effective treatment of patients.'

In the moonlight a worm ... the Haiku Homepage.

'Show Don't Tell is the most fundamental poetry lesson ever, demonstrating the principles of creative writing. These principles apply to screenwriting and the novel as much as to haiku, but because haiku are so short they offer the best way to learn them.'

Monsoons of India.

'It is not exaggerating to say that the entire life in India revolves around the monsoons. From crops and drinking water to weddings and festivals, all are determined by the rains. This is a pictorial exhibition celebrating the monsoons in India.'

Alice the Flapper.

'Of all the many versions of Alice in Wonderland at the Rare Book Room, I think I like this sweet 1929 one, with illustrations by Hungarian Willy Pogány (who it seems worked on everything from Djer-Kiss perfume adverts to the set design for Boris Karloff's The Mummy). '

Gould's Tropical Birds.

'Beautiful ornithological works by John Gould, from a 1948 picture book. '

Slovakian Book Covers.

The September Testament.

'Luther’s first translation of the entire New Testament ['Das Newe Testament Deutzsch'] from the Greek original was published by Melchior Lotter the Younger in September 1522, with woodcut illustrations by Lucas Cranach. The so-called September Testament was received so enthusiastically that a second edition with corrections by Luther was printed as early as December of the same year.'

The Knight's Tour.

'The Knight's Tour is a mathematical problem involving a knight on a chessboard. The knight is placed on the empty board and, moving according to the rules of chess, must visit each square exactly once. '

Some example animations as well.

Peruvian Retablos.

'The term retablo traditionally applies to a broad variety of religious images which are painted and sculpted over much of Latin America. The word is derived from the Latin retro tabula, which means behind the (altar) table, where devotional images were typically placed. In Mexico, New Mexico and Guatemala retablo (or strictly speaking, retablo santo) has taken the form of images of Christ, the virgin, or the saints, painted on tin or wood. '

Out of Bounds: Images in the Margins of Medieval Manuscripts.

'Scenes in the margins of a page often comment on the paintings illustrating the text in the center. As often as they expand on the narrative, they also poke fun at the lofty themes and, more broadly, at human foibles.'

'This exhibition covers the sweep of marginalia's history in three stages of development: beginning in the early Middle Ages with Ottonian and Romanesque art, reaching its zenith with Gothic illumination, and working its way into the borders of late medieval manuscripts.'

Astro Pics.

Stephan's Quintet: The First Identified Compact Galaxy Group.

Clouds and Sand on the Horizon of Mars.

Equinox at Saturn.

The Tarantula Zone.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'What is the best love song you've ever heard? Not sticky-sweet or sappy, but genuinely romantic. Any genre will do.'

'I'd like a list of the most important, basic, essential programming algorithms.'

'In the art forms you are experienced or well versed in, what kinds of stuff is notorious for being only liked by the experts, and what kinds of stuff is notorious for only being liked by less experienced or educated casual consumers?'

'What are your secrets to maintaining sanity in this increasingly connected and busy world?'

Strangers on a Bus, 1943.

"Greyhound bus trip from Louisville, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee. Passengers on the Memphis-Chattanooga bus."

The Lobotomist.

'In the early decades of the 20th century, before the development of psychiatric medications, there were few effective treatments for mental illness. For most patients, the last stop in their anguished journey was an overcrowded state asylum. While Freudian psychoanalysis and "talk" therapy was gaining prominence as a potential cure, an ambitious young neurologist named Walter Freeman advocated a more radical approach -- brain surgery to reduce the severity of psychotic symptoms.'

'The brilliant scion of one of America's most distinguished medical families, Freeman spent years searching for the biological abnormality that lay at the roots of madness. In 1936, he learned of a Portuguese neurologist who was using a thin steel instrument to operate on the frontal lobes of mentally ill patients. Freeman set about perfecting the procedure he later named lobotomy and began performing it in the United States.'

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The Museum of British Folklore.

Pat & Mat.

'Pat & Mat, lovable Czech puppetmen who have complex solutions to simple problems'. YouTube links.

The Big Picture: Recent Hindu Festivals and Rituals.

Jan Janszoon Van Haarlem, aka Murad Reis: The Pirate King of the Barbary Coast.

'About 1575 a child, later christened Jan, was born in the city of Haarlem, North Holland, the Netherlands. Jan grew up an average Dutch boy, and when he reached maturity, he married a local girl whose name is unknown. Lysbeth Van Salee was born to this union in 1596. There were likely other children...'

'He was destined to become a pirate king on the Barbary Coast in North Africa. Jan was known in the English speaking world as Captain John, John Barber and Little John Ward. His Arabic names were Caid Morato, Morat, Morat Rais, Murad, Murad Reis, Mutare Reis, Morato Reis and Murat Reis. Reis or rais in Arabic means captain.'

The Year 2038 Bug.

20th Century Magazine Covers from Japan.

'These covers come from Bookcover Design in Japan 1910s-40s (ISBN 4-89444-426-7) edited by Masayo Matsubara. Published in 2005 by PIE Books, this incredible book is already out-of-print and becoming hard to find (it was actually hard for me to find and I spend hours per day searching for rare books). This book is in Japanese only, but of course you need it for the 650 illustrations.'

Book Cover Design in India 1964-1984.

Slang and the Great Depression.

'Much slang from the era comes out as a response to the Great Depression: from words referring to President Herbert Hoover, to Okies fleeing the Dust Bowl, to Apple Annies trying to make ends meet. When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in 1932, Americans talked of a New Deal and its slew of programs, known by their initials.'

'Those who wanted to get away from it all could hit the road... or the tracks. Auto Touring was the new way to vacation, but hoboes who couldn't travel by car jumped the blinds or went on thumb.'

Historical Playing Cards.

Dore's Engravings for the Old Testament.

'Woodcuts by Gustave Doré (1832-1883)'.

Dore's Engravings for the New Testament.

Roadside America: Tiny Churches.

'Tiny churches are adorable symbols of understated Christianity. For the small communities that built them, they are perfect for small weddings or quiet contemplation. For frazzled travelers, fending off road rage or interstate ennui, wee houses of worship poke up suddenly from the asphalt firmament like little miracles.'

Historical Photos of Central Asia.

Roadside America: Big Coffee Pots.

'One of the few towns with a semi-legitimate coffee claim-to-fame, Stanton is the home of "Mrs. Olson." Or, at least, was the home of an actress -- stage name Virginia Christine -- made famous as Folgers' Mrs. Olson, hawking their "mountain grown" coffee in TV commercials and on the sides of coffee cans. She'd long since departed the Iowa, but returned for the town's Centennial celebration in 1970 as parade Grand Marshal. Stanton celebrated the connection, along with its own Scandinavian coffee roots, with a 120-ft. Coffee Pot Water Tower erected in 1971. '

Astro Pics.

Despina, Moon of Neptune.

Shadows of Saturn.

Beneath the South Pole of Saturn.

Jupiter over the Mediterranean.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'Favorite Ramen Recipes? I am looking to augment my Ramen meals. '

'Do you have a soft heart? How did you get one?'

Tennis, Anyone?

'Washington, D.C., circa 1915. "Women's tennis league section leaders." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.'

A Book of Moss.

'So this 1950 King Penguin book by Professor P.W. Richards might be of interest. Professor Richards complains that moss is unjustly neglected, quoting botanist John Bartram: "Before Dr Dillenius gave me a hint of it, I took no particular notice of mosses, but looked upon them as a cow looks at a pair of new barn doors."'

Prancing Knights.

'More medieval catwalk posing than stereotypical jousting scenes perhaps, this group of illustrations precedes an historically significant text, Ludwig von Eyb's 'Turnierbuch'.'

The Blasket Islands.

'Island of Sorrows. On the far western tip of continental Europe lie The Blasket Islands, picturesque in the sunlight. Great Blasket produced a great wealth (scroll down) of oral and written folk history from personages such as Peig Sayers (photo); and Tomas O'Crohan and Maurice O'Sullivan. '

Junko Mizuno Fans.

'Born 1973 in Tokyo, Japan, Junko Mizuno is one of the most promising young artists in Japan's fast-moving manga (comics) scene. Her instantly recognizable illustrations blending the cute and the grotesque grace everything in Tokyo from T-shirts to CD jackets to nightclub décor.'

Festivals of Kerala, India.

Someone's Photos of Shanghai.

Chicago Street Art.