Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Van Gogh Letter Sketches.

'This magnificent new edition of the complete Van Gogh letters is a celebration not only of a great artist but of art itself. Through six large volumes of more than 900 letters, meticulously annotated and accompanied by a wealth of illustrations, we are allowed to follow the painter's progress through a long and at times painful apprenticeship to ultimate artistic triumph.'

A Vintage Christmas Carol.

' "The Works Progress Administration in Ohio presents the Federal Theatre for youth in 'A Christmas Carol.'" This poster for the Federal Theatre Project presentation of "A Christmas Carol" was created between 1936 and 1941.'

See America: 1939.

'From 1939 and Alexander Dux, a Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project poster promoting tourism.'

Dorothy Parker: 1938.

'August 4, 1938. Washington, D.C. "Miss Dorothy Parker has been selected as Miss Washington and will compete for the title of Miss America at the Atlantic City beauty pageant to be held during Labor Day week. 18 Years old, she weighs 112 pounds and is 5 feet, 4 inches in height.'

Bathing Beauties: 1919.

'Washington, D.C., 1919. "Beauty contests at Tidal Basin." Two spectators check out the ladies. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.'

Traditional vs. Simplified Chinese Characters.

Very interesting.

Pro :- the simplified Chinese character set makes literacy much much more accessible (which was surely the intention with its proponents in the PRC committed to, in simple terms, breaking the tyranny of the mandarins who ran China for centuries).

Con :- it also cuts out a large part of China's literary heritage (which is really the flipside of 'pro' - unlike other societies, China was in large part traditionally run by scholars - not nobles, priests, or soldiers - and cutting off people from their heritage was a big part of the dark side of the legacy of the revolution).

Mainland China uses simplified characters, Taiwan uses traditional characters.

Interesting discussion :-

The 'No True Scotsman' Fallacy.

'Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again." Hamish is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing." The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, "No true Scotsman would do such a thing." '

Anatomy of Japanese Folk Monsters.

'Yōkai Daizukai, an illustrated guide to yōkai authored by manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, features a collection of cutaway diagrams showing the anatomy of 85 traditional monsters from Japanese folklore (which also appear in Mizuki’s GeGeGe no Kitarō anime/manga). Here are a few illustrations from the book.'

The Accrington Pals.

'This site is dedicated to the memory of the 11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington) East Lancashire Regiment, better known as the Accrington Pals. '

During World War I, it was common for groups of British young men from the same village, factory or street to sign up to war together as a group of 'pals'. Thus, during the Battle of the Somme and other offensives, entire communities were disproportionately affected as 'Pals' Regiments' were devastated.

Another famous 'Pals' Regiment' was the Grimsby Chums ( ), which was practically wiped out.

More on Pals' Regiments:

Martin Gardner, Mathemagician.

The Allied Merchant Navy.

'The 30,000 men of the British Merchant Navy (one-fifth of its pre-war strength) who fell victim to the U-boats between 1939 and 1945, the majority drowned or killed by exposure on the cruel North Atlantic sea*, were quite as certainly front-line warriors as the guardsmen and fighter pilots to whom they ferried the necessities of combat. Neither they nor their American, Dutch, Norwegian, or Greek fellow mariners wore uniform and few have any memorial. They stood nevertheless between the Wehrmacht and the domination of the world.'
- John Keegan.

The Sami.

'The BBC has captured footage of golden eagles hunting reindeer calves in northern Finland, confirming Sami reports. For more about the Sami, you can watch this series of videos, which cover a wide range of subjects, among them the language, arts and crafts, religion and music. And here is more about Sami reindeer folklore. '

Britain Punches Above Its Weight.

'This comes down to the UK's ludicrous self-esteem problem. They ran the world for 100+ years, lost their Empire, lost the sea to the US, and has had to cozy up to their hated European rivals as part of the EU. And yet, they still have a major economy, their standard of living is at or near an all-time high, and while they may be caught between being the 51st state and just another province of Brussels, they still hold sway on the world stage and will for decades to come... '

That's because poms like whingeing as much as seppos like boasting.

Lego Version of Kinkaku-ji (Japanese Temple).

Symphony of Science - 'We Are All Connected' (ft. Sagan, Feynman, deGrasse Tyson & Bill Nye).

Eleanor Powell: Dance me to the End of Love.

Stormy Weather.

Fred Astaire once called this performance "the greatest dance number ever filmed."

Colossal Sea Monster.

Roadside Art Online: Tiny Design.

'Sea Foods: In the universe of graphical matchbook covers, this represents one of the most primitive designs I've seen. Aside from the oddly proportion bather, the scroll behind her, the four dots along its bottom, and the barebones typography all combine to make this a masterpiece of a sort...'

The Tudor Pattern Book.

'The present work, Bodleian MS. Ashmole 1504 ('The Tudor Pattern Book'), is unique in the sense that it is part-bestiary, part-herbal and an important visual record of early cultivated plants. It was produced in East Anglia in about 1520 and its twin (known as the 'Helmingham Herbal and Bestiary' and perhaps a little older than the Ashmole variant) is now part of the Yale Center for British Art in Virginia.'

Kuan Yin, Compassionate Rebel.

Buddhist art.

BLICKFANG: The Eyecatching Covers of Weimar Berlin.

'I feature here twenty-five book covers and posters from the out-of-print book Blickfang: Bucheinbände und Schutzumschläge Berliner Verlage 1919 - 1933 (Holstein, 2005), ISBN 9783000147869.'

Dino Buzzati's 'Poem Strip'

'These incredible images come from Dino Buzzati's Poem Strip, just out from NYRB Classics (translated by Marina Harss, with lettering by Rich Tommaso). Daniel Handler provides an accurate description of the book in his blurb: "I think I stumbled upon this on late-night TV when I was a kid: Donovan, playing himself, wandering through a neo-Caligari lava-lamp world of writhing Barbara Steeles and Sophia Lorens in search of love and justice and groove. I'm happy to see it's on again."'

Alexeieff's 'Queen of Spades'.

Illustration. 'All images by Alexander Alexeieff for Pushkin's The Queen of Spades (London, Blackamore Press, 1923).'

Beach Buggy: 1905.

'The Jersey Shore circa 1905. "At Atlantic City." In the background: Clabby's baths on the boardwalk. Detroit Publishing Co. glass negative.'

Boat Club Rowers: 1919.

'September 20, 1919. "Potomac Boat Club eight." On the river at the old Aqueduct Bridge. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.'

Hendrick Motor Co.: 1928.

'Takoma Park, Maryland, circa 1928. "Hendrick Motor Co., Carroll Avenue." National Photo Company Collection glass negative.'

Astro Pics.

Pleiades and Stardust.

Herschel Views the Milky Way.

Galaxies in Pegasus.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'If you only had one year left before moving out of New York City, what would you make sure to see and do before leaving?'

Ah, how appropriate.

'What are different cultures' versions of comfort foods that are prepared for people who are sick and feeling under the weather?'

'By the beard of Zeus! I'm looking for fantastic exclamations!'

Crime and Punishment.

'Photos around the theme of Crime and Punishment in the first half of the 20th century.'

Flowering Plants by Anne Pratt.

'"The Flowering Plants, Grasses, Sedges, And Ferns Of Great Britain, And Their Allies The Club Mosses, Pepperworts And Horsetails" - By Anne Pratt (1806 - 1893). Volumes Two, Five & Six. First published in five volumes between 1855-1866. A sixth volume was added in 1873. This edition about 1870.'

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