August 12, 2005

There must be fifty ways to count your sheep. In the north of England, anyway. Harrison Birtwistle even wrote an opera called "Yan Tan Tethera."

July 16, 2005

The Desert and I: A Study in Affinity. The geographer Yi-Fu Tuan explains why "Of all the places I have lived in, without doubt the one for which I have the greatest affinity is the desert." (This is for desert-lovin' un- and comes to you courtesy of wood s lot.)

June 26, 2005

Curious/Poetic George Does anyone by chance have a copy of Rita Dove's poem "Looking Up from the Page, I Am Reminded of This Mortal Coil" (from her collection American Smooth) they could e-mail me, so that I can pass it on to a friend in South Africa (where they don't have as ready access to American poetry books)? Thanks in advance for any help.

June 25, 2005

The Alexander Palace Time Machine. Since the Nicky-Sunny letters got such a good response, I thought I'd share with y'all the mother lode of late-Romanov goodies. "The site started out as a virtual tour of the home of the last Tsar and his family, but in ten years has evolved into a databank of information on the last years of Imperial Russia. Here you can browse from a wide range of options - from rare online books, to palaces, recipes, antique cars and travelogues." more inside

June 24, 2005

Letters from Nicky to Sunny. Or, if you want to be stuffy about it, from Tsar Nicholas II to his wife Alexandra, written between September 1914 and March 1917. With historical notes. more inside

March 15, 2005

"I Have Given You my Advice" : Educational Principles in the Hittite Empire. OK, you don't give a damn about the Hittite Empire. But there's killer stuff here: more inside

December 16, 2004

George L. Fox was the most famous clown (and one of the most famous men) in America in the 1870s because of his portrayal of Humpty Dumpty. He inspired a show by today's equivalent, Bill Irwin. more inside

September 23, 2004

Bill Moyers on journalism. A long read but worth it; nobody can talk like Moyers, presenting important ideas with passion and humor. "The job of trying to tell the truth about people whose job it is to hide the truth is almost as complicated and difficult as trying to hide it in the first place. Unless you're willing to fight and refight the same battles until you go blue in the face, drive the people you work with nuts going over every last detail to make certain youve got it right, and then take hit after unfair hit accusing you of 'bias,' or, these days, even a point of view, there's no use even trying." Don't miss the story about LBJ and the Freedom of Information Act. more inside

September 08, 2004

Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany. "It is gratifying to learn that humble pie is no mere expression. There really was such a thing, a dish made with venison offal, or humbles, a word that derived from the French word for deer entrails, nombles. Mr. Schott thoughtfully includes a 17th-century recipe, which sounds delicious, much more appealing than a restaurant's roast camel 'English style,' one of several dishes served on Christmas at Voisin in 1870, when Paris was under siege. more inside

July 23, 2004

What is not on the net. Marylaine Block, librarian and creator of the excellent Best Information on the Net, provides a much-needed reality check on the idea that you can find it all with the click of a mouse. "Because of the inordinate cost of digitizing, lack of interest, and copyright issues, most of the world's information will NEVER be on the internet, or at least not for free." Yes, the essay is a couple of years old, and yes, it's impressionistic, but it's true, and will continue to be true for many years to come. Go visit your local library and refresh your research skills.

June 30, 2004

The Maine Base Ball Club. "The team had just won the Navy baseball championship held in Key West, Florida, in December 1897, beating a team from the cruiser USS Marblehead eighteen to three. The Maine's star was a black pitcher named William Lambert (upper right), and engine stoker from Hampton, Virginia, who was described by one shipmate as 'a master of speed, curves, and control.' more inside

June 23, 2004

Five stories from The Voice Imitator, by Thomas Bernhard. Bernhard is a remarkable author, often misunderstood. I highly recommend The Voice Imitator, and I think y'all will enjoy this excerpt: more inside

June 22, 2004

Dressed to the nines: a history of the baseball uniform. "There is something special about the baseball uniform, a mystique that is hard to pin down. Whether we are looking at someone in a uniform or we are trying it on ourselves, it is the feeling of the fabric, the design on the cap and jersey, the colors, cut, and history of the outfit, that all lend meaning to our relationship with the game." A link for any lover of baseball. (Via the magnificent Plep.)

June 15, 2004

monkeyfishing n. to catch fish by charging water with an electric current then netting the stunned or panicked fish which rise to the surface. more inside

June 11, 2004

Take your places at the starting gate... From a MetaTalk thread:
After the server stabilizes, I'm going to open it back up. I'm still getting way too many jrun errors, but I think the site could use some new blood. posted by mathowie at 10:29 AM PST on June 11
You monkeys who slept through the last tiny window of opportunity: you know what to do.

June 09, 2004

Trebizond. The recent, wildly successful MoFi meetup at the Met, with its trek through the Byzantine exhibit, left me with one tiny disappointment: they ignored the last remmnant of the Byzantine Empire. After the fall of Constantinople, the city of Trebizond and its empire (map) held out until 1461. The first three chapters of a detailed history are online (1, 2, 3). more inside

May 11, 2004

Carpets from the Islamic world. A splendid exhibition, with lots of historical information. (Via Plep.)

April 07, 2004

French translation. With a little added something... more inside

March 05, 2004

Where is Salam Pax? I know, y'all have forgotten about him since the war "ended," but remember how thrilling it was to read his dispatches from the front last year, and how glad we all were that he survived? Well, he went to Karbala for Ashura and was posting pictures, and then... he stopped. And the latest post is from his friend Raed: more inside

January 22, 2004

Monkeys 'Cannot Ape Human Language' "Monkeys can grasp simple rules of grammar but the key principle common to all human languages is beyond them, new research showed today." There's actually more information in the BBC story, but that one didn't have a monkey pun in the title, so I couldn't very well use it as the main link, now could I?