Extreme Web Surfs!
Saturday, January 31, 2004
 
TORQUEMADA



One of the great 'villains' of history, this fanatical Inquisitor perfected techniques adopted by modern totalitarian states..

Bio

From the Catholic Encyclopedia (portrays him in a much nicer light!)

Heresie.com page (in French, nice graphics)

The Age of Torquemada by J.E. Longhurst (full text online)

A Bizarre Rant, somehow involving Torquemada

An Interview with Torquemada after his death. Not tongue in cheek, courtesy of the Mercians, who expect it believed..

And finally, a crossword puzzle so difficult that it has survived for decades as a legacy of the fiendish puzzle designer who went by the name 'Torquemada'

VARIOUS

Two PBase Galleries: Faroe Islands, and Food

Cat of the Day . I truly admire this effort, I'm sure many felines have been delighted to be featured!

National Library of the Netherlands - online museum, illuminated medieval manuscripts especially nice..

And if you're just in the mood to click one fun link today, it should probably be this one: Crazy Fads. Covered by decades, it's a very nucely done site, and full of interest and even nostalgia for many of us..

'It is possible to own too much. A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.'
Gene Brown
Friday, January 30, 2004
 
ALCHEMY



If you think alchemy is just an historical footnote- a pseudoscience from the past that has no impact on us today - are YOU in for a big surprise! Alchemy is fascinating both for the mystical and very practical legacies it has handed down to us. It was not only a pivotal stage in the history of science, it was also a synthesis of science, philosophy and religion and an attempt at understanding the totality of existence. Rather than laugh at such an attempt, we might reflect on how our understanding of the physical universe is divorced from ANY spiritual significance in most circles, and whether that has benefited us as a species..

The Alchemy Web is one of the best megasites I have ever found in its complete coverage of a single subject. Start here, of course!

A Nice History of Alchemy ,and another quick overview from a contemporary pagan-oriented site (not a plus, in my opinion - but you know my policy is generally just to present the resources and let you think for yourself..).

The History of Alchemy in America - nice essay

University of Bristol Site (features a Flash Virtual Alchemy Lab)

A New Light on Alchemy - Article from History Magazine

Great site (in French) providing online, page by page access to the original texts of many alchemical classics (scans of the manuscripts themselves..)

In contrast to our age when 'western' and Islamic civilizations seem to be in opposition everywhere, the golden age of alchemy was one in which men of science and philosophy shared knowledge. In fact, in Muslim Spain, there was a wonderful exchange between Islamic, Christian and Judaic mystics and philosphers for several centuries..

Islamic Alchemy is well covered at this site..

On the other side of the world. a Chinese Alchemy also developed..

Finally, a nice online edition of Porta's 'Natural Magick'

VARIOUS

Norway from South to North - nice photo journey..

Is Mexico Taking Back the U.S. Southwest?

Native American Art

Nasty Conversational Techniques..

And finally, the wild and wack world of Forensic Entomology!

'Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.'
C. S. Lewis
Thursday, January 29, 2004
 
OH LAZY ME!

Well, a train breakdown today brutally ripped an hour out of my life. The hour I was going to spend hunting links, and preparing some topical post for your delectation tonight. Well, that didn't get done! But despair not, I have not totally neglected my responsibilities - it's a good night to pass along 7 great interactive sites I've found lately. If you like cool "Flash" type stuff, you're in luck!

Explore Mars

Manipulate an Anatomically Sophisticated Skeleton

Share in Subway Interactions

Visit an Interactive Art Museum

Enjoy Bizarrely Illustrated German Novels

Visit Kosmic Kaaos

Visit Esao

'On ne juge pas un roi. On le tue.'
Saint-Just


Wednesday, January 28, 2004
 
EDGARD VARÈSE



Like Frank Zappa, I picked up an album of this pioneering French composer's work as a youth, and was transfixed by it. He remains more talked about than listened to, but fans of electronic music, take note: Varėse was the first!

Good comprehensive site.

BBC Profile

Poėme Electronique - listen to it!

More audio samples here

Images of a Varėse 'score'

SLOVENIAN CASTLES AND LANDSCAPES

Found here ; select spot on map, and click on VR Panaramas for nice virtual tours..

100 GREATEST BOOKS LISTS

I enjoy lists like this - of course, none of them are the same hundred I would pick, but it's fascinating to see others' selections..

Selected by Norwegians

Robert McCrum's choice of 100 Greatest Novels

The 313 Greatest!

Inteliquest's Selection

VARIOUS, AND DOWNRIGHT SILLY!

The Antibloggies a different sort of blog awards - I've already blogrolled one I found there..

Cease and Desist - cute game (requires macromedia shockwave installed..)

International Federation of Competitive Eating (at last, a sport for me!)

Do you like to pop the bubbles on bubble pack? Well, have fun here!

'There are 3 kinds of people: those who can count, and those who can't.'
Anonymous

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
 
THE TUNNELS OF CU CHI



This ingenius system of tunnels, used so effectively by the Viet Cong, was the setting for some of most brutal, 'up close and personal", indeed claustrophobic fighting of the Vietnam War.

"Tunnel Rats" was the name given to the soldiers assigned to American soldiers assigned to such operations..

Australians participated heroically..

A very different Australian site tells the story from the other side. Most notable for its shrill anti-American polemic, this site pissed me off. Seems to me a whole bunch of 'boat people' resettled in Australia - does this guy ever wonder why the migration wasn't in the other direction?

Decent (surprisingly) BBC feature..

The tunnels as tourist attraction

a visit

And one more..

VARIOUS



Oh, those awful Puddytats!

As I slowly work my way through the great cemeteries of the world, I can't neglect New Orleans!

Lafitte Cemetery

'I passionately hate the idea of being "with it," I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.'
Orson Welles
Monday, January 26, 2004
 
GIANT AND COLOSSAL SQUID



Perhaps the most fascinating about these bizarre creatures is how little we really know about them. As they live their lives at ocean depths we seldom penetrate, much about them remains a mystery..

In Search of the Giant Squid

Discovery Channel Site

Giant Squid Washes Up on Tasmiania Shore

Giant and Colossal Squid Fact Sheet

Exciting Colossal Squid Find

ORAL HISTORIES

One of the most worthwhile ways in which the internet is being used is the archiving of oral history. People who have lived through all types of events and times are able to leave a record for future historians to consult. Here's just a few of the many good sites devoted to this. Some have transcriptions only, others have multimedia files of various types..

Suffragists - women who played a role in the acheivement of women's voting rights..

Varied California Oral Histories

Jazz Musicians - many of the greats, files require Quicktime installed..

Hiroshima Survivors

Holocaust Survivors

World War II (American perspectives - I am looking for sites from other nations also, if you know of any, regardless of language, please share in 'comments' section, or EMAIL ME)

Vietnam War

Folks from Tennessee

Nice, Varied Collection

VARIOUS

The Diggers ( 'free street theatre movement' of 1960's..)

Incorruptibles - those 'saints' whose bodies don't decay

More on 'em... (also stigmatics here..)

"When I die, I would like to go peacefully, in my sleep, like my grandfather did. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car."

Jack Handey


Sunday, January 25, 2004
 
STAINED GLASS HISTORY



The story of stained glass is a fascinating one, mixing as it does elements of art, science and technology, religious fervor, and skilled workmanship. The following links should be illuminating..

American Stained Glass Association - history page ; well written overview..

Another nice history page..

Lamb Studios - history page from this American firm; also a sample gallery of their work over the years..

Finally, an excellent page, which links to web resources on the techniques in stained glass production, as they evolved historically..

HISTORY AGAIN

The History Guy - what he covers, he covers well..

Great American Speeches, archived - fabulous resource..

BARBECUE

An American (especially Southern) culinary form that has become an obsession with some! And, when done right, the finger lickin' results explain why,,

Barbecue - a Southern Cultural Icon

California Barbecue Association superb site, recipes and more. See "Barbecue101" here for the basics..

Fiery Foods Site - more than just barbecue here, plenty of pepper stuff, etc. But I found it looking for sauces, and it seemed to fit in - after all, one must baste!

COVERED BRIDGES

Well, I've been over quite a few of these: New Hampshire Covered Bridges

Perhaps the most famous ones since the book and movie are these: Bridges of Madison County Now, if Brent would just catch the firebug who's been torching them, there might be some left for me to visit some day!

And, a general Historic Bridge Site..

'I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment, it will be behind me.'
Max Reger (German composer - famous response to a negative review of his music..)

Saturday, January 24, 2004
 
BEARS



Polar Bears

The Bear Den

How to Avoid Being a Meal

Timothy Treadwell, who didn't follow the above..

A tribute to him, and the home page of the website he founded, Grizzly People

3 GOOD EZINES

Carve Magazine - outstanding short fiction..

The Milk Crate - slightly rant prone, almost a blog! (..but always interesting, and nice links too..)

The Fiction Warehouse - more online writing..

L'AFFAIRE SENTINELLE

In the small and unique state of Rhode Island in which I grew up, there is one community which is even more unique. Woonsocket, at the very north of the state, has been a bastion of French Canadian civilization. Things might finally have changed a bit, but until the 1970's, most of the children went to Catholic schools, with instruction in French through high school. And, little old ladies served heaping bowls of my favorite legume delicacy, French Canadian Pea Soup!

Problem was, though, these folks were firm Catholics. FRENCH Catholics, who looked to Montreal for spiritual leadership.. but Woonsocket falls within the Diocese of Providence. Which, by the 1920's, had become dominated by Irish Catholics, who knew a thing or two about building strong political machines, secular or otherwise..

So , this leads us to the 'affair'

A Quebec perspective

Mentioned here , in context of filmaker exploring 'invisible' Franco-American culture..

Franco-American Women's Ezine..mentioned too, especially the stigmatic, Rose Farron..

Local Diocesan Newspaper looks back..

As a brief coda, when I was 10 years old, Louis Gelineau was appointed bishop of the Providence diocese. I can still remember the jingle that went around the French parishes..

"Hail Mary, full of grace / now the Irish are in second place!"

SOME JAZZ STUFF

Blue Note Records - arguably the finest jazz label, the resurrected Blue Note maintains a great site, including web radio and other music links..

The Jazz Web - fantastic resource maintained by WNUR in Chicago..

All ABout Jazz - nice online magazine..

'If all the rich people in the world divided up their money among themselves there wouldn't be enough to go around.'

Christina Stead
Friday, January 23, 2004
 
KNIGHTS OF MALTA



Just a few links on this colorful organization. It's been a long week, so tonight's posting is a bit light - look for better things tomorrow!

Some Basic Info

Order of Malta Knights of Malta

Heraldry , nice photos here

Australian Maltese Site - many good links, and informative content here..

And, in a semi-related vein, another great evangelical anti-secret society site. This one is a little different, being a Protestant Northern Ireland site which attacks the Orange Order..


A FEW VARIOUS

A truly haunting PBase Gallery of an abandoned Children's Psychiatric hospital

Vox Fux - a rather radical anarchist type site..

Depression Era Recipes

American Memory Collections - Historical Photograph and Document Collections Online, from the Library of Congress

'If you get rid of the pain before you have answered its questions, you get rid of the self along with it. '

Carl Jung
Thursday, January 22, 2004
 
JESUITS



Few, if any, religious orders have played as active - and controversial - a role in history as the Society of Jesus. From their beginnings in the Counter Reformation to their current, often radical involvement in social issues, their history has been colorful and their enemies numerous. Here's some links from many perpectives..

Their Internet Universe

Links to Jesuit Personal Pages

Ignatius of Loyola

The Spiritual Exercises - I have heard it said that these influenced the spiritual program of 12 Step groups..

Jesuits in the Sciences

The "Secret Instructions" - please note : the "anti" links you'll find here are often a bit rabid - don't believe all you read without backing it up through research of your own! Yet, few would deny that their intense involvement in politics in an age of violence and intrigue was not without questionable episodes..

Ian Paisley on the Jesuits

Another Fundamentalist View

And, if you question the 'endtimes scenario' of the "Left Behind" series - well, blame it on the Jesuits!

English "Act Against Jesuits and Seminarists of 1585"

Are Jesuit's Catholics? (article)

Jesuits as Royal Confessors

Companions of Jesuits

Jesuits in the Arts

A really cool Oath

And finally, some classic Jesuit prayers..

VARIOUS

Movie Cliches - funny, yet true...

And even more to the point (so to speak) - alphabetical list of mainstream movies with bra scenes..

Archaeology of Mesoamerican Maize (that's Corn, folks..)

History of Podiatry

..and, two nice PBase albums, Faces of Angkor and Capetown Landscapes

'It matters little how one begins, provided that he be resolved to go on well, and to end well.'

St Francis de Sales
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
 
MISCELLANY

I wasn't up for tackling any themes in great depth tonight, but I did manage to find a nice assortment. Enjoy!

The Panama Canal - Official Site, history sections good, and webcams interesting too..

Much more relaxing are the canals of the Netherlands and Belgium



..and the 'retired' Delaware and Hudson Canal in Ulster Co., NY


Buy Cuban Cigars! (but don't say I told you..)

Christianity in Egypt

Americans in Egyptian Army ( Civil War vets invited in by Khedive Ismail)

Here's a nice game for Brent to relax at home with.. Police Simulator

Marry Your Pet

And, in case you're wondering, Are You Queer? (no offense, fun quiz for guys and gals..)

Sleazy Bars Worldwide - rated,reviewed, rhapsodized..

Velvet Underground Fan Site

Death List - a truly macabre site - each year, they put out a list of celebrities thay predict will buy the farm in the coming year. They got 14 right in 2003..

Cowboy Pals - devoted to those happy riding legends of the silver screen..

And finally, Mike Carroll Jr. Productions - excellent web grapiz presentations..

'Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.'
Mark Twain



Tuesday, January 20, 2004
 
FRACTAL FRENZY



I've encountered these things daily in my surfs through photo gallery sites, like PBase and Webshots. Always thought they looked nifty, but not being much of a mathematician, I nver really knew what they were. Curiosity finally got the better of me, and I've done a bit of research. Glad I did, it's fascinating stuff , which has obsessed many very creative folks!

One might call fractals the geometry of irregularity - irregularity with discernible patterns, nonetheless. That's as far as I'll go, but I'll refer you to this whatis? definition..

Here's another explanation , and some more detail here

Need more points of view? Try here and here..

Benoit Mandelbrot is the person most responsible for the interest in fractals. Here's his official webpage..

The Mandelbrot Set .... with applet and all...

Sarah Egan maintains a great site on many aspects of fractals..

Now for a few folks who do wonderful things with these concepts. You owe it to yourself to have a look..

Ken Keller

Elena

Sekino

Sarah Scotland

How about fractal music?

Finally, build your own here .It really works, and it's really fun!

VARIOUS

Cat Records

Monorails - great site, which includes listings and info about all monorails currently operating..

And, of course, three great graveyard sites:

England

Netherlands (in Dutch or English)

Marblehead, Massachusetts (near me, been there, great example of old Puritan burying ground..)

'The mathematician's best work is art, a high perfect art, as daring as the most secret dreams of imagination, clear and limpid. Mathematical genius and artistic genius touch one another.'

Gösta Mittag-Leffler

Monday, January 19, 2004
 
SOME MOUNTAINS AND MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS



If Monday represents a 'lowpoint' in your week, as it does mine, join me in gazing at the heights!

Guess we should start at the top - here's a nice PBS site for "Lost on Everest"

Close by, and considered a tougher climb by far, is K2

Aconcagua , in the Andes..

Matterhorn Railway and Webcam

Kilimanjaro , and a nice site devoted to it's ascent by a group of visually impaired students..

Mount Fuji also has a webcam..

Mt. Kosciusko - well mateys, you have some very impressive natural phenomena down there in Oz, but I have to say, your highest mountain isn't one of them! Could be worse, though. You could be Dutch..

Mount Washington - highest mountain in the NE United States - a few hours from me. Not huge by Alpine standards, but a nice hike. And noted for VERY extreme weather..every year, several people underestimate this and pay the ultimate price..

A Colorado Mountain Climber . Boulder, where I lived for a spell, has a place in the history of mountain climbing..

A Serious German Mountain Climber's site , and an equally serious Norwegian's.. Both well done, multilingual sites, with many good pages and links..

SOCIALIST REALISM AND RELATED ART

Ukrainian Socialist Realism

Polish Socialist Realism Museum - Hey, you know all those statues that got toppled when the Iron Curtain ripped? Well, you'll be glad to know the Polish ones, at least, found a new home..

Marxist Pages on Socialist Realism

Werner Horvath is an Austrian artist, a tremendously gifted exponent of New Constructivism, who has also led in the development of a fabulous online Museum of Political Art

VARIOUS

Maarten seemed to have an issue with Fried Shrimp today, so I found 2 nice recipes for him:

The Recipe Box

Hugs Online

Don't try this one, though..

And, while looking for them, I found a superb menu, linking to pictures..

Last but not least, nice Pbase gallery of Bavaria

'For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.'

Alice Kahn
Sunday, January 18, 2004
 
HAHAHA!



OK, I said I was done for the day. But I found a few hilarious things I just HAD to pass on..

The Secret Middle Earth Diaries

The Satanic Hamster Dance

And, Don't Click Here..

Don't Click Here, either..

Now I'm done....
 
MALLET INSTRUMENTS



Vibraphones

Marimbas

Percussive Arts Society

3 Year Old North Korean Xylophone Virtuoso (thanks, Maarten;....requires Quicktime to watch..)

Play the Xylophone Online! ( an excellent site, actually notates the music for you, you can play it back, etc. other good online fun in links to right..)

JUST READ..

The Uninhabited House , by Mrs. J.H. Riddell . A classic Victorian ghost story

Other Irish writers of supernatural fiction discussed a bit here..

HAPPY TET

Nice PBase Gallery, check out others by same photographer, beautiful use of color..


ASYLUM SEEKERS

There is an ongoing crisis in the phosphate rich tiny Republic of Nauru ; a group of Iraqi's and Afghani's have protested forced repatriations, which they argue leaves them targeted for persecution in their homelands. Australia and John Howard's policies in question. A hunger strike just recently suspended - it's all covered here..

FRANCO-AMERICAN RELATIONS

As events of the last few years have strained them, this pamphlet issued by the US military in 1945 for troops stationed in France reminds us that misunderstandings are nothing new..

Well, that's it for today, time was a little shorter - I had a football game to watch...:)

'Football is a mistake. It combines the two worst elements of American life—violence and committee meetings.'

George Will

Saturday, January 17, 2004
 
PHOTO ALBUMS - MOSTLY TRAVEL



As regulars here know, I usually post a link to a photo album or two here daily, generally from Pbase ,as overall they attract the best amateur photographers on the web. Every now and then, though, I like to look further afield, and find some more varied photo efforts. The following are mostly photo sites documenting journeys, or places that would be an interesting destination for one, many quite well done. Some include some travel writing as well, and some link up to other albums if you explore. Have a nice trip!

Death Valley

Ladakh & Kashmir

Kutaisi, Georgia (the nation, not the state!)

K-Funk - an excellent Japanese photographer, many galleries, from Japan and Europe as well..

A Traveling Dane

A Traveling Canadian

Biking and Canoeing in Russia

New Zealand Trip

Through Spain on Motorcycle

Beautiful SE Asian Underwater Explorations

PBase gallery of Macau

And finally, Digimages ; this site didn't really fit, but it's too nice to leave out. A French site devoted to superb nature photography. Took me awhile to navigate to the pics, but it was worth it!


GHOSTS AND SKEPTICS

The web is full of sites 'documenting' the supernatural - and also of sites which deny these claims. Here's some of each.

Shadowlands is a huge, multifaceted site on many aspects of the paranormal. Their index of haunted places is quite nice..

Winter Steel is another megasite, as is Unexplained Mysteries..

Haunted New Jersey (hmm, last time I drove through, I DO recall swamps with mysterious fires burning, and ghastly smells..)

Haunted Fort Lauderdale

Haunted Kansas

Haunts Around Memphis (some excellent, eerie photography here..)

Haunted Children - this person has the disturbing belief that children are better able to relate to spirits, so has compiled a site where their experiences can be shared.. (typical Tripod popup minefield here, though..)

Nice Forum to discuss the paranormal in

OK, now a few of the skeptic sites:

American Association for Critical Scientific Investigations into Claimed Hauntings (hmm, I think they were possessed when they came up with that name!)

CSICOP ( just the acronym, my fingers are tired after the last one..)

Canadian Skeptics

North Texas Skeptics (surprisingly good site, with extensive archives)

And, to conclude, the Nguoi Rung, Vietnamese Wild People..

AND OF COURSE, SOME VARIOUS..

Classic Cameras (in English or Japanese)

WWI Aviation

Croatian Archaelogical Museum

Croatian Museum of Contemporary Art

And finally, two sites that are a sort of addenda to yesterday's medieval weapon post. This Ninja and Samurai Training site has some Japanese weapon pages, and Ancient Edge is a commercial site, which however provides a great pictorial history of the sword..

'Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius. '

Arthur Conan Doyle
Friday, January 16, 2004
 
MEDIEVAL WEAPONS ETC.


There's SO much out there on this subject! Here's a few links for now, might return to this one from another angle soon..

Ancient and Medieval Weapons

Medieval Swords Virtual Museum

The Knight's Armoury

Nice PBS Site on Medieval Warfare

Net Sword - enter a huge online community, with many branches, for devotees of these weapons..

And, if you get your own, might want to join this kingdom, to try it out..

Site for great Danish Museum (also in Danish and German)

MEMES AND THEIR WEIRDO FRIENDS

I've just started to hear the term "meme" bandied about recently. Seems it means "self replicating small cultural unit". Or, as the performance artist Laurie Anderson might say, "Language is a Virus".

In any case, delving into this world of cybergeeks was sort of frightening for one with any sensitivity whatsoever. The implications of these ideas, offshoots of the world of sociobiology, could make Nazi eugenics look like child's play. These guys remind me of super nerdy kids, who were never loved, just picked on, and now are perfecting their idea bomb to blow up a world of humanity they never felt part of. They say things like, "we'll never die, because we're not alive."

Kind of like to perform my own experiment, "oh, you're not feeling pain, that's just an inconvenient meme you've inherited telling you that.."

Interesting stuff, though. Decide for yourself, as always here..

TransHuman Alliance

More Trans Human

Church of the Virus

Electric Meme

Thought Contagion

AND FINALLY..

FBI Files - interesting site, hosted by people trying to sell you "Net Detective" , which provides .pdf copies of the FBI files on many celebrities, crimes and events, released under the Freedom of Information Act..

Nice PBase Cemetery Gallery

American Composer's Alliance - listen to samples of many works from contemporary composers..

'Is it progress if a cannibal uses a knife and fork?'

Stanislaw Lem

Thursday, January 15, 2004
 
THE BOSTON MOLASSES FLOOD



84 years ago today, January 15, 1919, the North End of Boston experienced a terrible disaster; out of respect for the 21 people who lost their lives, I will refrain from making the jokes that come so easily to my slightly bent mind. Last year, the outstanding blog "Snarkout" covered this in an exemplary manner, with loads of still live links, so I can do no better than to refer you there..

And, in one of those anomalies of history, this cannot be called a unique disaster. 13 years later, 21 people lost their lives in a Molasses flood in Sucarnoochie, Mississippi..


DIEGO GARCIA



This small and beautiful coral atoll in the Indian Ocean is a fascinating example of a place which represents very different things to different people. In the world of geopolitics, it is a very strategically located US/UK military installation. To the thousands of servicemen who spent time there over the last 40 years, it seems to be a very special place, which they remember fondly, and celebrate online. And to a group of Ilois Islanders, it is the homeland from which they were forcefully removed in 1965; little known casualties of the Cold War, they have lived in abject poverty in Mauritius ever since, and recently have been struggling in UK courts for redress. With the current Middle East situation, their chances of returning home soon seem slim..

Official US Military Site (replete with security warnings for your browsing pleasure)

Info Please provides some basic facts..

A photo from the space shuttle

An excellent site, with loads of links, that is a sort of online class reunion of DG vets : People's Democratic Republic of Diego Garcia

Short article about the lifestyle.. (what do you do holed up on a 17 square mile island with a few thousand other guys? well, for starters, you drink..)

BBC Article on Ilois struggle

CBS Article (60 Minutes)

Guardian Article

a Mauritius page, in English, with links to articles, mostly in French, which are much more critical of the US and British

A Photo Gallery

VARIOUS

These two sites feature online video clips of "stars pitching products on Japanese TV, who wouldn't be caught dead doing it on their own turf":

Japander

Gaijin a Go-Go

How does your country rate on the lush meter? Well, number 2 in alcohol consumption is no surprise, but some others are..I mean, the US is # 26! Come on, guys and gals, we can do better than that!

Finally, a nice virtual tour of the ancient city of Ephesus..

"We seem to have a compulsion these days to bury time capsules in order to give those people living in the next century or so some idea of what we are like. I have prepared one of my own. I have placed some rather large samples of dynamite, gunpowder, and nitroglycerin. My time capsule is set to go off in the year 3000. It will show them what we are really like."

Alfred Hitchcock
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
 
TRANS SIBERIA RAILROAD



One of THE great railway journeys, a lure to travelers worldwide, 'armchair' and actual..


Most complete overall site, Russian and German versions also available..

Geographia pages

Smaller but well done site..

Some travelogues and photo galleries: Dutch traveler ,

Finnish traveler , very good photos, and detailed journal , short travelogue


TWO GREAT HISTORIANS

Ibn Khaldun on the web - this 14th century Arab was one of the greatest historians - and philosophers of history - of all time..

Procopius Online - read the classic texts of Byzantine history and palace intrigue, including the Secret History ; Theodora was quite a character!

VARIOUS

What is a Print?(online exhibit from MOMA - 'Museum of Modern Art')

Explore North! great site devoted to Arctic matters..

The Chung Collection. Dr. Chung in 1990 donated to the University of british Columbia a HUGE collection of documents and artifacts of all types. A tremendous leagcy for historians; he particularly focused on a few themes, such as the Canadian Pacific railway, and the experience of the Chinese in Canada..

And finally, one site devoted to Mysterious People..

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
Thomas Jefferson
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
 
THE CHAUTAUQUA MOVEMENT



The Chautauqua Movement was, and to an extent, still is, a quintessential American phenomena. It was "culture democratized" and brought to the masses. Ridiculed by snobs of all types, I believe it represented a noble effort by our hardworking and unrefined ancestors to enlarge their understanding. It certainly was more admirable than the 7 hours, or whatever it is, the average person today spends in front of the TV . I proudly consider myself in the Chautauqua tradition..

The Chautauqua Site, still alive, as been declared a National Historic Place

Chautauqua came to be used as a generic term for local groups and gatherings with the same purpose. Here is a nice photo gallery from Waxahatchie..

A big selection of Chautauqua resources here..
and more here..

POLL RESULTS

Thanks to the folks who took the time to vote in yesterday's poll. So far, the vast majority have voted for 'variety', which of course is what I planned on continuing to do anyway, so we can all be happy - of the two who didn't, one went for the culture, and one for the weirdness. Well, I hope to continue to satisfy both of you! And, I was relieved to see no one is trawling MY blog looking for Deetman's penis (if you don't get the joke, go to Maarten's blog, use his search engine; big Dutch political brouhaha with photos etc..).

I'll try to include a poll from time to time, as inspiration strikes..

EMBALMING STUFF

History and Practice Of Embalming

Museum of Funeral History

Civil War Undertaker -cool site by and about a man who plays this part, all too convincingly, in Civil War reenactments..

Reviews of the book "Lenin's Embalmers" - a read I must undertake (so to speak) sometime...

Before there was Lenin, there was the Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Read the conditions of his will , and see a picture of it carried out here..

A FEW VARIOUS

Country Reports - a wonderful source for information, including history, on the nations of the world..

Sri Lanka United - a site devoted to this divided land, with hopes to see it remain united..

Children's Literature Online (classics, ebooks, links) great site for parents, teachers, librarians, and anyone with an interest in the subject..

Love your enemies just in case your friends turn out to be a bunch of bastards.
R. A. Dickson



Monday, January 12, 2004
 
SALEM WITCH TRIALS



Though this episode pales in comparison with the wholesale slaughter of the European Witch Hunts, it exerts a powerful hold on the American imagination, perhaps because of its uniqueness.

Salem, MA , is a quaint seaside town to the north of Boston. It's most significant role in Colonial America was as an important maritime center. Today, however, the Witch Museum is it's most popular tourist attraction.

National Geographic has put together an outstanding Interactive Site on the Salem Witch Hysteria

Two great portals to all kinds of resources are here and here

Cotton Mather was the Puritan preacher most responsible for giving a theological framework to the belief that there was a witch problem in Massachusetts. Here's a site from an admiring Calvinist..

Many theories - Freudian, Feminist, Marxist, etc., have had their turn in academic circles as explanation. But here's a more unusual theory, ergotism.....

Good site, focusing on women..

Paper about the witch trials as setting for Arthur Miller's 'cold war era' play, The Crucible


INTERMEZZO

I was reflecting today how easily I can become obsessed with "statistics" concerning my blog. My spirits can sink with my hit count, if I buy into this. I've begun to realize that it is not that important whether 20 or 200 people visit here on a given day; what is important is that I have fun, and that maybe a few people enjoy the contents enough to come back frequently. I've been privileged to make a few "blogging friends" already, and have had the chance to enjoy THEIR efforts as well. Obviously, I've no great claim to originality, but if I can be a sort of conduit for some folks to find information that helps them, makes them think, or even just makes them laugh, it's worth it!

That being said, if you can't steal ideas from your FRIENDS, well, who CAN you steal them from? So, thanks Brent, for THIS idea:




SOME MOVIE FANS PERSONAL PAGES

Being a person who loves classic and cult movies, I find it interesting to peruse other people's lists of favorites..

Larry has a nice site; how many of HIS top 100 make YOUR list?

Ardabros also has strong, and mostly on-target opinions!

Finally, those of you with small children around might find this two year old movie critic's take on Disney films helpful..

ONLINE VIDEO ART

If you'd rather find your amusement and art free on the web, I reccomend these sites for cool online video:

Olga Mink - Dutch Artist's video work

Radio Free World - this site has SO MUCH! But, the video section is not to be missed..

Topsy Turvy - Blue Collar Experimental Video Art from Buffalo

640480 - video art from University of Toronto

Nice French Video Art

In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.Mark Twain
Sunday, January 11, 2004
 
ANTS!



Ant Web

Social Insects Web

Notes from Underground (definitely best title..)

Australian Ants

Costa Rican Ants

VARIOUS

My favorite supermarket tabloid has always been the Weekly World News; the fantastic way in which it mixes true stories with the most unbelievable fantasy, all told in the same tone, puts it a cut above the rest..

Exploding Cigar is a good humor site, with many links, including some to worthwhile blogs..

MockWeb is a humor site focusing on entertainment and pop culture..

Tweak , er, forget what this one is about, but it impressed me when I saved the link...:) weird humor, anyway..

Bureau of Missing Socks .....yep, some people really DO have too much time on their hands...

..and finally, more great PBase stuff from Andesheng, this time the Lake Superior shores..

If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it's another nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity. Bill Vaughan
 
SUNDAY MORNING SPECIAL: JACK CHICK!



Jack Chick is a greatly detested and mocked figure. His evangelical Christian tracts, illustrated in a garish, 'over the top' comic style, and 'politically incorrect' on just about every issue will either infuriate or amuse most people. Yet, the very fact that so many cartoonists can't keep from parodying him. and the fact that everyone from atheists to gays to Catholics feel the need to have websites devoted to rebutting him, is a measure of his stature!

Here's the Chick site

A collection of Chick Parodies

A list of 10 Chick ideas (couldn't tell if this was scholarly, or 'tongue in cheek')

Jack Chick vs. Cthulu

This gay activist was enticed 'into sin' by a Chick tract!

Chick on the Vatican

Catholic Rebuttal

One last Chick parody..

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
Jonathan Swift

Saturday, January 10, 2004
 
A DISORGANIZED ASSORTMENT!

I've been finding lots I like today, but not in neat groupings. So I'll just hurl them out there, take what you like, leave the
rest..

New York Turtle and Tortoise Society



and not to be outdone..

California Turtle and Tortoise Society

I realized that many here, although they've seen my links to Maarten's blog, and heard him mentioned, are not aware that he administrates a virtual cyber empire of agave sites. Check it out, starting here..

Balalaika site, and Balalaika music download links..

UGLY

Beauty is only skin deep, but UGLY lasts forever! Or something like that..

Ugly Couch Contest

Ugly Bathroom Contest

Ugly Toe Contest

Ugly Bridesmaid Dresses - though an obscure topic, this one is rather well put together, by a girl who obviously finds said items hugely and personally offensive!

Ugly Dog Contest

Ugly Cat Contest

I just have to pass along, while searching for that last one, I came across this story, Ugly the Cat, plastered all over the web. It's meant to be heartwarming, etc., but man, I didn't know whether to slit my wrists or just die laughing! It's AWFUL! I was reminded of Oscar Wilde's quote about Dickens' "The Olde Curiosity Shop" : One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.

Well, ugly or not, how about Bad Academic Writing?



Links to 402 Simpson's Sites (come back now, ya hear?)

Mugshots of the Rich and Famous , and another site of them, from that greatest of sleaze sites, The Smoking Gun

Bonsai Pages

A Word Lover's Site

Jane Austen Pages - although the world she wrote about seems like another planet, I have always loved her brilliant and humerous characterizations..

The British Empire , and a fascinating bit of it, The White Rajahs

Another good hippie site, by a friend of this guy, who also maintains this site (excellent comics history and graphix stuff)

San Francisco Art Museums

VEY IZ MIR!

Jewish Humor

Israeli Comic Strip

Marx Brothers

Andrew Dice Clay - go to the nursery rhymes!(rated 'X")

And finally, a really good quotation site.. I'll wrap up with one I found there..

"A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the word you first thought of. "
Burt Bacharach


 
GARGOYLES



These fascinating architectural devices are well represented online. Let's take a look:

Stone Carver - excellent and extensive site.

Gargoyles of New York City

Notre Dame de Paris Gargoyles - the most famous specimens..

Another Huge Gargoyle Collection

Princeton Gargoyles

Further Net Gargoyle Resources Listed

VARIOUS

Derrida on religion, and also panel discussion of James Ossuary (.mp3 files)

R.H.Searl Sr. - this gentlemen, who must be well into his eighties, has done posterity a service by posting in 6 PBase Galleries the photographs he took as a serviceman in WW2..

Cosmos Journals - many excellent articles in these journals from a club of Washington intellectuals..

"Ignorance is not innocence but sin."
Robert Browning
Friday, January 09, 2004
 
CYBERCULTURE

Well, folks, it'll be REAL late tonight before I get to blogging, as I'm painting the town red - the town being Easton, MA, don't worry too much..:) But meanwhile, sitting here at work at the end of Friday, I am going to do what I rarely do here. Emily, the reclusive owner of the Haiku a day blog (see list at right) put it so eloquently"

Inappropriate
Usage of company time
An embodiment


Here's a few pieces of the cyberuniverse to check out.

The Hole World

Meme Pool

Anti-Social Primer (tutorials included..)

No quote till later, hey you DID get a haiku already!



Thursday, January 08, 2004
 
BLACK DAHLIA



On January 15, 1947, the body of a woman later determined to be 22 year old Elizabeth Short, was found in a vacant lot in Los Angeles. Sawn clean in half. The "Black Dahlia" case has since become one of America's most infamous unsolved crimes. Here's some websites devoted to the case..

Elizabeth Short - The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia Website

Crime Library

Black Dahlia Solution?

Larry Harnisch's Site

The crime fiction writer, James Ellroy, whose own mother was murdered, wrote a book on the case. Here's an interview with him..

HIPPIES

Last night's Christiania post led me into the "hippy era". Being born in 1961, I was sort of at the tag end of all that, but I spent many years as a "Deadhead". In keeping with the tone of my life, that was during the one era when it wasn't at all hip, say 1975-1985. But hey, now I listen to cutting edge stuff, like Elvis Costello and the Clash....

The sites that follow have varying amounts of very cool stuff, you'll just have to see for yourselves!

Hippy.com

Aging Hippy

Hippy Haven

More hippies!

Still more hippies!

Funky Hippy

Finally, a site a cut above the rest. Ken Kesey was not only an early psychedelic pioneer (heck, LSD was LEGAL then!) he was also a great writer - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" , "Sometimes a Great Notion" . If you've read Thomas Wolfe's book "The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test" , you'll remember the "Merry Pranksters". Well, Prankster Web is a site which tries (and succeeds to a large extent) to collect reminiscences and other source materials from this era while it's still possible. Among other things..

PBASE PICKS

A wonderful gallery of Tuscany photos..

And archaeological finds from the Saar..

UTOPIAN CITY

Victory City is a design for perfect urban living.

LITERARY STUFF

Dutch Masterpieces on the Web

Slovakian Folk Tales

Black American Pulp Fiction

Finally, I found a great site on books, movies and more, called Shelterbelt

Particularly, I enjoyed the "best books from each of the 50 states" and the "top 10 lifetime books" submitted by many readers, famous and/or brainy, from all over. I have to say, though, the new submission by Bill Clinton highlights everything that bothered me about the man. I appreciate his willingness to contribute to such a worthwhile project. However, look at his list! I can just hear the wheels of calculation turning, hmmm, "a couple of Blacks, a Hispanic, a Black Woman, a Southerner, a few to sound 'deep' with. And what's this, Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Chris - who the heck's Chris, and why should we want to imitate him??!!

"From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put."
Sir Winston Churchill




Wednesday, January 07, 2004
 
BUD POWELL



Mention the "Bop Revolution" in jazz - the years when Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and a handful of others carried the music into an entirely new dimension - and mention 'piano' and most people will first think of Thelonius Monk. Well, I'd be the first to agree that Monk was a genius, a creative force of the highest magnitude. However, Monk had such a unique aesthetic, he really created his own personal tonal universe, in which only a select few, such as Steve Lacy and a few Europeans such as Hans Bennink, have ever participated.

Bud Powell, on the other hand, was in the center of things. It seems every instrument had one towering exponant of the 'new sound' , and Powell, with his high strung, yet ethereally beautiful creations, transformed jazz piano..Bud influenced a whole generation, and left a wonderful recorded legacy, while living a most difficult life..

To get an overview of Bud's life and legacy, as well as listen to and download some free .mp3 files, go here.. You can do some more listening, and study some music theory and analysis here...

Jazz Files Page

This site alleges that psychiatry destroyed Bud's creativity..


CHRISTIANIA

It seems this Copenhagen hippy enclave is under threat from the new Danish government, and greedy developers. news article here..

A little background here..

The Official Site (mostly in Danish, but with nice photo sections, and links to 'citizen's' pages, some in English..

Nick Saunder's account of time there in 1970's..

Newest news I could find: Hash booths removed..

If you're interested, do a news search occasionally. I know this 'social experiment' is a bit of an anachronism, but I kind of feel as places like this go, the world becomes a little bit duller..

VARIOUS

I was trying to find a good website on Felix Marti Ibanez, but best I found so far was these few quotes.. .However, my search did lead me to this great list of physician writers..

Found a nice Pbase gallery devoted to Newport RI, just a 40 minute drive from here, spent a few pleasant days there last summer.. the photographer, a Thai named Krisada Sowsuwannamas,also has a great assortment of Boston galleries..

Kid's Philosophy Slam Confiscate those Gameboys, and make 'em think!

And I suppose you were all cute kids; these French folk seem to think they were..

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
Bertrand Russell


Tuesday, January 06, 2004
 
LET'S START SMART..
....AND WORK OUR WAY DOWN..





Birds of New York State - a really well done site, including many sound files of their songs, and even the songs written out in musical notation..

Ask A Linguist! Got a question only a linguist can answer?

Looking at today's dismal midweek stats here, I felt a wave of compassion for all those kindred spirits on the web, who create a website, sweep the porch, lay in a supply of snacks, and wait for visitors.. of course, I'm not above a little shameless self-promotion, but I'll try a different tactic tonight - maybe I can manipulate kharma by urging you to visit these two personal poetry sites:

William Orr - mostly nature themes.. Virgil Smith - only one poem here, so far, entitled "Cracking Up" , but it's really quite good!

Two PBase Galleries: Cambridgeshire , and US Coast Guard

Great Frank Zappa discography and song index..

Two Online Comic Sites : Phibco (several strips available here) and Fluppleworld

Whack those Beanie Babies!

Move dope through European capitals.. ..er, don't know if you should play this one, Brent..:)

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring



Monday, January 05, 2004
 
CUSTARD FOLLIES



I started off just looking for a nice custard recipe or two. But, as Maarten has recently mentioned on HIS blog , one of the fun things about web searching is that you are often led into many unforeseen places. Yeah, I found a few custards, but I found a whole lot of other stuff that uses the name! Let's take a look..

Custard Apples and a more botanical discussion

The Custard Factory (Birmingham, UK, Arts and Media Center)

Custard the Cat

Custard Glass

Foamy Custard (folklore, mythology and related disciplines)

Roobarb and Custard (80's TV)

Custard, German Power Metal Band..

Custard the Dragon (Ogden Nash Poem)

Ok, getting closer: Wendy's Food Photos (I'm available for dinner anytime, Wendy..)

And, for my token real custard link, how about recipes from a 1796 American Cookbook?


A FEW VARIOUS..

Peter's Photo Gallery - a tremendously gifted phtographer documents his travels. Balkans stuff really nice..

Medical Museum Online (another one, historic dissection group photos, if that's your thing..)

Lucas Sithole a tribute to the late South African artist..

Height Discrimination in Theme Parks

Monstruous - site devoted to, er, monsters..

Turbulence.Org promotes ,advocates and links to all kinds of net art. Essential bookmark..

Love Katie experimental site. Cool..

Sensorium - "projects" here to change the way you perceive things..

"It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it."
General Douglas MacArthur
Sunday, January 04, 2004
 
MUSEUMS AND CYBER-EXHIBITS

..some very good, some good and weird....

The Banana Museum

The British Lawnmower Museum

The Museum of Coat Hangers

OK, now for a few serious ones..

Museum of WWI Art a cooperative effort between museums in several European nations, commemorating the 80th anniversary of Armistice Day...

Authentic History a virtual museum which incorporates images and sounds from American pop culture over many decades to explore racial and ethnic stereotypes, and other issues..

Bug Bios insects galore!

Maarten's firearm post today inspired, in turn, this one: Jim Davis Museum

Cold War Museum

Synthesizer Museum ok, seems like a narrow subject, but it's amazingly well covered. The evolution of these instruments over the course of 40 years is a fascinating progression..

The 1909-1915 American Congo Expedition

Epidemics

The Big Myth site (in English or Dutch) using multimedia to explore creation myths of cultures around the world..

Cyber Newseum

OK, enough serious, back to the ridiculous!

Weird Fortune Cookie Fortunes Museum

Toilet Museum

Really Exhaustive Toilet Site...

Toilet Seat Art Museum..

..and before you visit those three, perhaps you should stock up here first..

And guys, if you can't get in the bathroom at all, might have something to do with this..

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
Oscar Wilde

 
A LITTLE MORNING VARIETY



TorisuKoshiru nice Japanese-Parisian pop art site, with all kinds of cool links, visuals. One of the best I've found so far is Mumbleboys Animation. Art has a future, and it's in cyberspace..

A Taiwanese in NY - attractive site (by attractive woman) which covers equally things Chinese and things NY..

This worthwhile site allows you to "goo" a variety of celebrities! No, not like THAT, you perverts..sheesh..

On title alone, Kittens in Underpants deserves a visit. All about pop culture and the like. Good page here on folie a deux, or those lovable "killer couples"..

Which segues nicely into Murder in the UK...

Musée national des Arts asiatiques in Paris maintains a decent site..

Did you know that Bengali Cows don't 'moo', they "hamba!"? Find out what the languages of the world use for animal sounds!

Always wanted to be a sheperd? Hmmm, now why IS that..? Don't want to answer? Well, you can be one anyway, here..

Finally, a game for my Dutch friends here. Looks like fun. If you are not Dutch, and you can figure out the rules, quadruple your score!

In lieu of a witty or profound quatation, I'm going to refill my cup of steaming black coffee! Enjoy, back later!



Saturday, January 03, 2004
 
OLD WEST GUNSLINGERS



Well, it's a relaxing Saturday afternoon for me; instead of cranking up old Westerns on TV , thought I'd present some real Old West stuff here..

Black Bart - courtesy of the UK, despite their feelings about guns today...

Of course, Billy the Kid

John Wesley Hardin - some say, the very best. Too bad he lived into middle age, became a drunk, and still had a knack for ticking people off..

Doc Holliday

The Clanton Gang , interesting site, run by descendents of the side of the "Gunfight at the OK Corral" whose perspective is generally ignored..

The James-Younger Gang ; good history resource here, as this gang began as desperadoes during the American Civil War..

Kansas Gunfighters, and more..

PBase Galleries

Phyllis Stewart is another person consistently putting up excellent galleries at PBase. As well as various Photoshop experiments, she has galleries on kids, critters, nature, and antiques..

Nate Bergun is a college student who has begun making comic strips about his life, and posting them in Pbase. He is actually very good, I had a few laughs there myself..

GOLD RUSHES

Here's some links to sites on ones I know about; I'm quite interested in this topic, so if you know of any others, particularly in Asia, Africa or South America , I'd be obliged if you'd pass that info along in the comments thing below!

California Gold Rush (PBS site)

More on California God Rush; Women in California Gold Rush

The North Georgia Gold Rush (America's First)

Klondike (Alaska and Yukon) Gold Rush

Alaska Gold Rush Pictures

Pike's Peak (Colorado) Gold Rush

Australian Gold Rush

More on Australia Gold Rush ; still more..

I could only find one article on South Africa...

AND FINALLY,

..with a title like this: Intellectual Whores.Com , I had to post it..

"Fate is not an eagle, it creeps like a rat."
Elizabeth Bowen

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