Extreme Web Surfs!
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
 
PBASE GALLERIES

At work, I use the XP 'My Pictures' slideshow for a screen saver. I am always on the lookout for nice photos to add to the mix, often find them at PBase. Choose my desktop wallpaper from here too, usually..

Canadian Rockies

Springtime in Ireland

Landscapes - beautiful sky shots..

Chateaux de la Loire

Yosemite

And, if lanscapes and nature do nothing for you, perhaps a classy nude Russian model, or zany gif files will..

'I don't see much of Alfred anymore since he got so interested in sex.'
Mrs. Alfred Kinsey

Monday, August 30, 2004
 
FAROE ISLANDS



Sitting in an unbreathable hot, humid, stagnant tropical miasma which has covered New England once again, my thoughts turn to the far North. To cool, breezy islands, inhabited by a few fishermen, and lonely willowy Nordic Ice Maidens..

The Faroe Island's have a history long entwined with Denmark, although they are now pretty much self governing. There is a movement for complete independence underway..

This photo gallery shows the beauty of the islands..

As with many small nations, postage stamps provide a nice source of revenue..

Mykines Island has wonderful birds; here and see them here..

The Faroese language is an interesting one; like Icelandic, close to Old Norse. See it, and hear it..

Scandanavica has stuff of interest concerning the entire Nordic world..

My mind is not a bed to be made and remade.
James Agate

Sunday, August 29, 2004
 
SIX WEIRD ONES!

Scatology in Art - the serious Art Journal takes on a crappy subject..

President Garfield - killed by the looney Charles Guiteau, or by his own doctors?

Vegetables, Our Intelligent Companions..

Meat Eating and Aggression..

Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails At last, a truly laudable social cause..

And finally, an Obese Cat..

The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.
Thomas Carlyle

Saturday, August 28, 2004
 
VARIED



Buttons of the Cause - activist buttons from the last 50 years..

Astronomy Photo of the Day - really cool pictures here..

Suck.Com - comics, humor..

McSweeney's Internet Tendency - wry, humerous commentary, well layed out site.

Nolo - legal information for the people! All kinds of stuff your lawyer doesn't want you to learn - not for free, anyway...

Propaganda Remix - definitely to the left of center, but thought provoking, as they're meant to be..

Tikkun - yes, there ARE Israelis and Palestininians who are still trying to work together for peace. And they can be found here..

And last, but by no means least, Narrow Larry. I got an email from Larry today, discussing H.P. Lovecraft, whom I had turned him on to in a discussion of Providence architecture. Larry has an outstanding site, which he administers like a pro, yet with the heart of a blogger! He enjoys hearing from visitors, and is open to suggestions and leads..

The philosophers themselves, in the very books where they tell us to despise fame, inscribe their names.
Cicero

Friday, August 27, 2004
 
IF YOU'RE 'HIGH' TONIGHT...
.....OR JUST WEIRD...
...........YOU'LL ENJOY THESE..

Or if you're a super intelligent, cutting edge avant garde genius. Like me. Some digital projects.

Cyborg Mommy

Despised (?)

Exquisite Corpse

Unfocus

Body Tag

Super Bad

Grammatron

Podnoid - Find Harry the Hand. He's great!

By amusing myself with all these games, all this nonsense, all these picture puzzles, I became famous ... I am only a public entertainer who has understood his time.
Pablo Picasso
Thursday, August 26, 2004
 
FOUR GREAT ILLUSTRATORS



There have been some artists who have done their greatest work illustrating the imaginative worlds of literature. Let's look at a sampling tonight.

Arthur Rackham was an illustrator during what might be called the 'Golden Age of Illustation'. His 'Alice in Wonderland' is in a class by itself..

Dorothy Lathrop illustated children's books with an aesthetic weirdly simlilar to the decadents..

Maxfield Parrish was a versatile artist whose work graced many magazine covers..

Beatrix Potter , of Peter Rabbit fame, was about 'more than just bunnies' .

I passionately hate the idea of being "with it," I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.
Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, August 25, 2004
 
A FEW WEIRD ONES

Today in Rotten History - one of the more admirable pages at the Rotten megasite..

Fugly - ugly people who posted their pics on the net. And are now unwittingly providing hours of amusement..

Uberkids - one of the worst games online. So worth a link..

Bata Shoe Museum - not bad, really..

Well, that's it. But cheer up, only one more night of my marathon investment of time in the next generation..


Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.
Sam Brown

Tuesday, August 24, 2004
 
JUST ONE LINK, BUT A GOOD ONE!

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm really burning the candle at both ends this week. So tonight, I am just passing on one link for you.

Maciej Dakowicz is a Polish photographer, who has many PBase Galleries. Maciej just returned from a long vacation in South and Southeast Asia, which he (or is it she) dosumented with some of the greatest travel photography I have seen ever. Particularly, the people - especially children - of thse lands are captured in a remarkable way..

Hmm, I suppose that's at least 1 1/2 links!


I don't think I'll get married again. I'll just find a woman I don't like and give her a house.
Lewis Grizzard

Monday, August 23, 2004
 
TRADITIONAL JAPANESE ARTS



Ukiyo-e

Joseph Wu's Origami Page

Temari Balls

Noh

Yes, short post tonight. Am involved in an after work church activity that lasts all week, so be forgiving!

The reverse side also has a reverse side.
Japanese Proverb

Sunday, August 22, 2004
 
MASTERPIECE STOLEN!



Art lovers worldwide are probably aware by now of the brazen theft in Norway of two of Edward Munch's greatest paintings, 'The Scream' (one of several versions) and 'The Madonna'. May these treasures soon be retrieved!

A reposted link: Museum of Questionable Medical Devices - in case you missed it the first time! Great stuff..

A BIT ON WEREWOLVES


Lycanthropy in the Duchess of Malfi

A contemporary case of lycanthropy.

Excellent source on werewolves..

German werewolf legends

The morality of an action depends on the motive from which we act. If I fling half a crown to a beggar with intention to break his head, and he picks it up and buys victuals with it, the physical effect is good; but, with respect to me, the action is very wrong.
Samuel Johnson


Saturday, August 21, 2004
 
WAR CRIMES

Voltaire once noted: " L'histoire n'est que le tableau des crimes et des malheurs ." History is nothing but a record of crimes and misfortunes. It is with that in mind that I post a few links tonight on war crimes. It's a topic I come back to every so often, so don't assume that I'm taking sides with tonight's selection. Rare indeed would be the nation that could not make the list, from some episode in its history. It's as a species we should be ashamed.

More on the Nanking Atrocities, and the story of Japan's 'Comfort Girls'..

Greek massacres of Turks.

French In Algeria - l'affaire Aussaresses

Inspired Argentinians? And United States?

Did you know that concentration camps were first devised by the British during the Boer War?


Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
Sir Winston Churchill

Friday, August 20, 2004
 
HERMITS



Well, it's Friday evening, and I've just had one of those weeks where I tried to please people - or just get along with them - with very little success. So I've decided to indulge myself in an eremitical fantasy. Just me, the woods, a still out back, maybe a blowup doll for company..

The Hermitary - best overall site for anything to do with hermits!

The Maronite Hermits - out in the desert, a nice choice..

Text of Charles Kingley's classic, The Hermits

Robert the Hermit - a black man who escaped slavary in the south, and became a hermit in Seekonk, MA, the very next town over from me..

Julian of Norwich - a female hermit - anchoress, really - who was also one of the foremost medieval mystics..

Ravensbread - nice articles on the solitary life..

And finally, if you are on your way to the solitary life, but still feel the need to relate to some kindred spirits, you might want to investigate the Anti Social Club..

Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.
Thomas Merton
Thursday, August 19, 2004
 
START PAGES AND PORTALS

Well, I'll share a few of my web surfing techniques tonight. One of the best ways, of course, to find interesting sites is to let someone else do a lot of the work for you. We all know about search engines, but start pages and portals come in handy and can help us to while away many an hour.

A start page, of course, is a page that one opens one's internet browser to. Personally, I keep it simple and use Google for that, but I keep many other options available for particular 'starts'. Start pages generally provide links covering a wide spectrum of the web experience, but some of them are more focused, with a special theme . The distinction between a 'start page' and a 'portal' is thus blurred in the middle range, though at the ends of the range they seem distinct. Here's a selection of some I like, of both types..

Classics Start Page (as in Greeks and Romans)

Baptist Start Page

Catholic Start Page

Muslim Start Page

Dvorak's Start Page (a nice personal selection) and Callus Start Page

European Space Agency Portal

South Asia Terrorism Portal

Rain Forest Portal

Eatonweb Portal - one of the earliest directories of the blogosphere..

Thailand Start Page

Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth.
Will Rogers

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
 
WEDNESDAY MISCELLANY

No rhyme or reason tonight, just links I like..

The Jacobites: Two good sites on these Highland Rebels, from the Highlander, and the Contemplator .

The Cocktail Renaissance - or, the return of 'lounge culture'..

Children of Asphalt - sobering look at India's street children..

This is Who We Are - really good conspiracy megasite..

Ghosts for Regulars: in Iowa, and British Columbia...

Are you ready for the Mystical World Wide Web?

OK, so you've opted for cremation; now what? Why not 'go out with a bang' , with Fireworks Scattering!

The San Francisco Comedy Competition has been a part of many stars' climb up the ladder of success..

For a moment, nothing happened.Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.
Douglas Adams

Tuesday, August 17, 2004
 
3 Influential Colonial Clergymen



Increase Mather was the father of Cotton Mather, and both are best known today, regrettably, for their associations with the Salem Witch Trials. However, he had a wide ranging and influential ministry among the Massachusetts Puritans for many years, and was an accomplished writer as well. 'Remarkable Providences' defends the reality of supernatural and malevolent phenomena.

A figure much more sympathetic to modern sensibilities is Roger Williams, the founder of my native state. Read here his famous 'Plea for Religious Liberty'. And here is an overview of his contribution..

David Brainerd, an early missionary to the American Indians, was a deeply driven and self sacrifing man; his story has inspired millions. A well written and reflective meditation on his life and achievements here by John Piper, one of the outstanding contemporary Calvinists.

Oh how precious is time, and how it pains me to see it slip away, while I do so little to any good purpose.
David Brainerd

Monday, August 16, 2004
 
Land of the Midnight Sun



Just a few links related to Norway, another place I hope to visit someday..

Nice Photo Gallery

And Another One, from WAY up North

Webcams from the same location..

And a webcam at a beautifully located hospital nearby; no, I don't read Norwegian, but I must say, I enjoyed my visit to this well done site. Check out the art by children at the hospital..

Norway, home of the Vikings, has a rich tradition of rugged adventurers and explorers, such as Roald Amundsen and Thor Heyerdahl..


Many outstanding creative artists also were Norwegian, including the composer Edward Grieg, the painter Edvard Munch, and one of the greatest of modern dramatists, Henrik Ibsen, who was said to have put Norway on the intellectual map..

A man should never put on his best trousers when he goes out to battle for freedom and truth.
Henrik Ibsen

Sunday, August 15, 2004
 
VARIED AND FUN



New Zealand Ghosts - all kinds of weird stuff from Kiwi land..

Enigma Crypto Zoo weird legendary animals, nicely formatted site..

Zurich Street Parade Girls PBase Gallery - hooters anyone?

Cold Wet Nose - hilarious site of 'top 9 lists' , all about pets. This links to 'clues that cats are running the country'; others to left..

The Legacy of Gay Science Fiction Robots

The Bray Forum - a discussion board, from County Wicklow in Ireland; members from all over the world, one of the best of it's kind I've seen..

And a little Olympic Comedy..

First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.
Thomas a Kempis

Saturday, August 14, 2004
 
GEOPHAGY

Dirt eating has been found as a normal trait in many cultures around the world, though it is particularly well known in the rural Southern United States, and in Africa. When the same practice is not a cultural one, but rather the result of individual aberrant behavior, it is often referred to as 'soil pica'. You can read more here, and listen to a radio discussion here..

The Center for Disease Control on geophagy..
..and a nice article from Cabinet Magazine..

Yes, a short post tonight! Let's all enjoy our weekend..

We all have some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remembering it was an acquired one.
Charles Lamb

Friday, August 13, 2004
 
MY 10 FAVORITE JAZZ ALBUMS



Just to do something a bit different tonight, I've put some thought into compiling a list of 10 albums that I'd need for the proverbial desert island. Though most are fairly well acclaimed, it is a highly individual list. You'll note, for example, that they're all at least 30 years old. Do I think there's no albums since worthy of inclusion? No, that's not my intention. It's just that THESE albums were such a part of my mental and emotional landscape during those formative adolescent years that they impacted me - contributed towards who I am , and how I hear and feel - in a way that nothing I hear for the first time now is likely to do.

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue Ho hum, how predictable. well, maybe so. But there's a reason it's on everybody's list. Like the Mona Lisa, the Sistine Chapel, and Beethoven's Fifth.

Charlie Parker - Complete Savoy and Dial Recordings. Essential stuff, packaged in many different ways over the last 50 years, but just get the music. It's like being present at the birth of something, and also hearing a man who couldn't blow a totally worthless 8 bars even when unconcious. And with one eye open, he sunk all competition.

Thelonius Monk - Brilliant Corners ; a bit harder choice, as many of Monk's works have captivated me. But even if just for his unexpected and amazing use of the celeste in 'Pannonica', I'll give the honors to this set..

Charles Mingus - Blues and Roots ; an awesome excursion into black music history by a masterful bassist, composer and ensemble leader. As a former trombonist, I particularly enjoy the sterling work of Jimmy Knepper. I read a great interview with him in Downbeat magazine; my impression is that he and Mingus were both proud, egotistical, hard to get along with, and even a bit racist individuals. They hated each other. And it peeved Mingus to no end that the one trombonist who could truly bring to life his musical ideas was this white guy. Yet, when one listens to the music, they seem to share the same soul..

Art Pepper Meets the Rhythym Section - another one of those magic sessions where everything just came together and turned to gold. Art, one of the most talented West Coast alto sax players - and also one of the most notorious junkies in all of jazz history, which is saying quite a bit (he did many years hard time in San Quentin for armed robbery) - teams up with Mile's rythym section of the time..

Billie Holiday and Lester Young - A Musical Romance - this is another album that contains songs I remember from different albums. But it's a great idea for a compilation, with the greatest of jazz singers and man known as 'Prez' trading choruses laden with bittersweet emotion..

John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy - The Paris Concerts ; OK, another dilemma. Which Trane to pick for this list? Well, I know this is an unusual choice, but the entrance of Dolphy on flute in the 25 minute version of 'My Favorite Things' is a musical moment that still makes my hair stand on end, it is so dramatic..

Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz to Come . Ornette, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins. Drawing a roadmap, in 1959, for the next 50 years and still never losing touch with the melody...

Miles Davis - In A Silent Way . Yep, he makes the list twice. Three times, if you count all the appearences as a sideman on Bird's records. And if I were doing 25 albums, he'd be on a few more times! Most people point to 'Bitches Brew' as the seminal fusion album, but I have always been more moved by this quieter, more ethereal work..

Charlie Haden - Liberation Music Orchestra This big band, packed with stellar names, makes a huge, joyous, defiant political statement through its interpretations of ballads from the Spanish Civil War.

Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.
Miles Davis
Thursday, August 12, 2004
 
JAMES BUCHANAN



The 15th President of the United States, Buchanan had the misfortune to be a reasonably capable man - when the times called for genius. He was President when the Civil War broke out, and was unequal to the crisis. His successor, Abraham Lincoln, was the man of the hour..

Buchanan was born in a log cabin.. and from such humble beginnings, rose through 50 years of distinguished public service to the highest office in the land. Here is his Inaugural Address.

Buchanan was known as a 'serious drinker', as his medical records show. However, that was no bar to achievemment in 19th century America..

Some Buchanan trivia here..

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Buchanan is that he was the only bachelor president. His niece, Harriet Lane, served as his 'First Lady' ; she was a most attractive character, both physically and in terms of her character. Harriett became the 'belle of Washington' for awhile, married at age 36, suffered personal tragedies soon after, and left a lasting legacy: through her generous endowment, the Harriet Lane Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital was founded. It has become one of the finest pediatric medical facilities in the world.

I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
Thomas Carlyle

Wednesday, August 11, 2004
 
CANNIBALISM



If you've been reading the papers today, you probably have come across this story somewhere, or perhaps this one. Let's take a brief look at this timely and tasty topic...

The BBC did this brief feature , when cannibalism recently took center stage when a German cannibal and his willing victim made quite a splash. Seems there's a gay internet cannibal clique..

Cannibalism has a long and distinguished history; recent finds indicate that ancient Celts probably prcticed it, while the depredations on Easter Island are well known..

It is gaining in popularity in the former Soviet Republics..

'Learning to Love Cannibals' is a lighthearted look at the cannibal tradition, whereas Richard Routley's 'In Defense of Cannibalism' is a serious and philosophical argument. 'The Case for Cannibalism' also takes the philosophic approach..

My own favorite cannibal, however..



is Alfred Packer. I've eaten in one of the many cafeterias named after him, at the University of Colorado in Boulder.


Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?
Anonymous

Tuesday, August 10, 2004
 
DANES - A RATHER TOKEN POST TONIGHT..

I got tied up with some personal business tonight, so I just don't have the time or energy left to do much here. However, I did find three interesting sites related to Danish history which I'll pass along..

Danish Monarchs and their history

The rescue of Denmark's Jews in WWII - this site documents what might well be Denmark's finest hour, a monumental and noble story, unmatched by any other nation.

And one from Iowa, of all places! The Danish Immigration Museum

Well, told you it'd be a short one..

Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.
Niels Bohr



Monday, August 09, 2004
 
MONDAY COMIC RELIEF



The Imp - Life in Hell

Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles - nice strip about a deviant teddy bear..

Bad Bunny

Hair of the Dawg - nice site with lots of Flash. No updates lately, as the cartoonist was shipped off to Iraq with his National Guard unit..

I've added to my blogroll this editorial cartoon blog from Commentary page.. Among the better people working in that genre is Ann Telnaes, who won a Pulitzer Prize a few years back..

And, while I'm in the socially redeeming value mode, here's some cartoons from the Civil War and Reconstruction era, and here's some from WWI..

OK, enough of that. Now for one of the most hilarious -yet strangely touching - pages that I've read all week. A story of how one guy decided to save on vet bills, and give his cat, Fred, an enema..

And here's a site devoted to badly drawn cats..

And here's some BIG sites for the 'standards'. Toonopedia has info about almost every commercial comic written in the US; and for Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies, go here..

"I always wanted to be somebody, I should have been more specific."
Lily Tomlin


Sunday, August 08, 2004
 
ANOTHER GREAT ANNIVERSARY DAY



"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.... "
Henry David Thoreau, "Walden" (1854)

It was exactly 150 years ago today that the first edition of a quintessential American book was released. Henry David Thoreau, a writer and transcendentalist had retired to a small pond in Concord, Massachusetts in 1845, and spent 2 years and 2 months and 2 days living there-not counting the night he spent in jail for a celebrated act of civil disobedience, refusing to pay taxes as a protest against slavery. The literary result of that time, "Walden,or, Life in the Woods" was published in 1854, and released on August 8 of that year.

"Walden" is one of those books which have changed the entire course of people's lives, especially if they read it somewhere in their teenage years. I am no 'transcendentalist', and don't agree with all of Thoreau's conclusions. Nevertheless, he raises the important questions, cuts through the all the artificiality and forces the reader to come to some type of conclusion about what his or her life is all about. And he does it in a simple, dignified, unpreachy way.

The best overall resource for Thoreau and Walden is The Walden Woods Project Thoreau Institute. Wonderful collection of texts, images and commentary.

Another online version of "Walden" , with searchable text..

National Public Radio site on "Walden".

Great quotes from "Walden".

A Thoreau Timeline..

A nice essay by Steven Alburty on his first exposure to "Walden".

..I learned this, at least, by my experiment;that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours...
Thoreau, "Walden"


Saturday, August 07, 2004
 
SOME HISTORIC PRISONS



The Attica Riot was perhaps the most famous in US history. Documented here day by day, in news photos..

The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was the fist in the nation, and was used until 1971. Now apparently it is a lurid tourist trap.. this site has good links to other 'prison museums' from around the world..

The Anamosa State Penitentiary in Iowa has one of the best prison history sites; our frequent visitor Brent has no doubt played a part in some of the present population being there...
(..but if so, that's where they really need to be - if you've never met a 'cop with a heart' check out his blog..)

Another frequent visitor here, Beth, has some marvelous photos of Ohio's abandoned Junction City Prison on her site..

Some nice historical prison and jail photos here.. and some cutting edge prison photography here..

Moving away from the US, let's visit Newgate Prison (demolished in 1902, alas..) which readers of Dicken's novels should be familiar with..

Two institutions, one in Dublin, one outside of Lisburn have acheieved great significance in the history of Irish Republicanism. Kilmainham Jail was the place where rebels like James Connolly weere executed. HMP Maze ( or 'Long Kesh' - in Northern Ireland, even the place names one uses can place one firmly in one camp or another) has now been shut down, but it was the main place of detention during 'the Troubles'.

In all of the Soviet gulag, no place was more feared than the camps in the frozen wastes of Kolyma..

All of French Guiana was at one time a penal colony, but most people are more familiar with 'Devil's Island' , one of the Iles de Salut..


We are all serving a life sentence in the dungeon of the self.
Cyril Connolly

Friday, August 06, 2004
 
OBSESSIVE COLLECTING

We all have a little bit of the 'collector' in us. Whether it's coins, beer cans, CD's, or any of a thousand other possibilities, we find pleasure in accumulating 'things'. But for some folks, the pursuit gets out of control, becomes a pathological obsession which dominates their lives. I feel a lot of empathy towards these eccentrics, as there have been times in my life when I almost got there. But real life (read: financial neccesity)always managed to intervene in time, and I'd sell whatever pile of junk I'd built up...

Good starting point..

'Call Them What You Will'

Players, Traders, Collectors, Hoarders

A Few Famous Examples:

Imelda Marcos (the Queen of Sole)

Andy Warhol

Queen Mary (obsessive collector or kleptomaniac?)

Snakes and Love - The Barker's Story

Animal Collecting

Two Nice Pieces of Writing:

The Collector

The Object of Desire


Recognize yourself, and need help? (probably not, you'd be browsing a collectibles site, not reading my blog..) Well, if so, you can go to Unhealthy Obsessions Dot Com or look to this site for a Biblical perspective..

A man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales resistance.
C.S.Lewis



Thursday, August 05, 2004
 
WEIRD DEEP SEA WORMS



Awhile back, I did a post on Hell. One of the most fascinating sites I found was this one , where the view that Hell is indeed at the center of the earth was buttressed by claims that the thermal vents found in the ocean depths are leakages from Satan's dominion, and the 8 feet long worms that surround them are, in fact, lost souls whose 'worm dieth not'.

Now I don't feel I'm compromising my theological convictions when I say I am not utterly swayed by this line of thought. However, it did give me a desire to learn more about these creatures, who are among the most alien to share the planet with us.

Let's start with a great photo gallery of sea worms of all kinds..

Giant Tube Worms discussed, and more info here..

The ones found on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico have incredible lifespans, and also can be called recently been found. It lives exclusively on dead whale bones, and has a one of a kind sex life. More here..

JARAWA

Maarten sent me a few links about the Jarawa tribe, a tiny group of people living in the Andaman Islands. The story of their contact with the 'outside world' and their struggle to survive is a fascinating one.

AND A FEW VARIED..

The Matrix - pizza paranoia from the ACLU. And unfortunately, they're on target with this one..

Happy Fun Song - weird animation, Japanese New Wave..

Rent-A-Peasant - self-explanatory..

Paris Hilton 'Beat Up' Pics... well, this can't hurt in the old Google search query game now, can it?

Credit where it's due: found these last four at The Presurfer , a super links blog also.

"Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
Napoleon Bonaparte

Wednesday, August 04, 2004
 
SILLY MIDWEEK FLASH GAMES

Well, having done three nights of fairly serious posts, it's time to get silly, lest I lose the non-intellectuals (I know you're out there..).

What would I look like as a Japanese Cartoon?

Punk Rock Creator - very sophisticated Flash toy!

Date a Sim Girl in this online Role Playing Flash..

The Dead Case - mystery game Flash

Dress up an Alien

Dress up Saddam

Transform a monster into something, somehow, I couldn't figure it out!

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.
Woody Allen

Tuesday, August 03, 2004
 
THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE



This powerful empire, which lasted almost 500 years, is one that many know very little about. Yet many of today's 'hot spots' , from the Balkans through the Middle East, have their origins in the policies, and especially in details of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after WWI.

The Ottoman Empire can be said to begin with the fall of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, in 1453 to the Ottoman Turks. This also marked the passing of leadership in the Muslim world from Arab Caliphates into Turkish hands, where it remained until less than 100 years ago. A good overview of the empire can be found here, and maps showing its expansion and decline can be found here.

To many Westerners, mention of the sultans evokes an image of 'harems'..

Unlike some Islamic polities before and since, the Ottamans were interested more in political, military and economic power than in imposing their faith upon subject peoples. This led to fairly remarkable coexistence at times. The Ottoman strategy for rule in the Balkans is discussed here.

Because the Ottomans left such a legacy of unresolved issues, it is hard to find impartial sites devoted to them. For example, here is a Palestinian site devoted to
Ottoman Jerusalem, and a Jewish site devoted to Suleyman the Magnificent.

People always seemed to know half of history, and to get it confused with the other half.
Jane Haddam
Monday, August 02, 2004
 
CARROLL O'CONNOR


August 2, 1924 - June 21, 2001

Today marks what would have been the 80th birthday of this remarkable actor. Although a man of many talents, Carroll is of course best known for his role as Archie Bunker, in the groundbreaking series, All in the Family. I truly believe this series had a greater positive social impact in America than any other. I came from a family, working class Irish, that wasn't too far removed from the Bunkers. And through the gentle medium of humor, we gradually confronted our own prejudices and stereotypes along with Archie. In the midst of a changing, often bewildering and antagonistic society, Archie and the assortment of characters who gradually became part of his world allowed us to see people who were different from us as 'people' instead of 'types'. And I can't even count how many serious issues were discussed publicly in the average household for the first time because they were broached on this show.

Carroll also starred in In the Heat of the Night , another excellent series based on the 1967 movie.. .His son Hugh also appeared in this series. Hugh's death from drugs at age 32 was a tremendous personal tragedy for Carroll, and he spent his last years as a public advocate against drug abuse, which involved him in a celebrated courtroom battle.

Thanks, Carroll. Those were the days..

ROMAN AQUEDUCTS



Just a few nice sites devoted to these ancient marvels..

Roman Aqueducts Today

The Aqueduct at Metz

Roman Water Systems

The Excavation of the Janiculum Mills


Today's Quote (WAV file)
Sunday, August 01, 2004
 
WARSAW UPRISING COMMEMORATED



60 years ago today began one of the most heroic, yet often overlooked episodes of WWII. Not to be confused with the equally heroic Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which took place over a year earlier, the Warsaw Uprising was the bloodiest and most protracted partisan revolt against Nazi occupation during the war. The real tragedy is that, under Stalin's orders, the Red Army camped idly across the Vistula as the Germans systematically destroyed both the insurgent forces and most of the city itself. Stalin allowed the Germans to do the dirty work of killing off potential opposition to the Communist satellite governement he already planned to impose on the Poles. And indeed, for the 40 years of Communist rule, the Uprising was suppressed history, ignored and untaught in public.

Today's commemoration, from the BBC..

..Gerhard Schroeder apologizes....and Putin waffles..

Finally, Polish historians are undertaking the task of of researching,writing about and analyzing this conflict, and none too soon, as less than 7,000 of the Polish survivors remain alive.

Two good articles translated into English are : General Overview, and Soviet Policy Towards the Uprising..

In 2001, the Poles erected a beautiful monument to the Uprising , and a first rate museum is over half completed.

The City of Warsaw's Website, and a Polish 'day by day' pictorial account..

A picture of an improvised armored vehicle which faced the Panzer battalions..

And a review of 'Through Polish Eyes' , a memoir devoted to the story of WWII as the Poles experienced it..

We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death.
David Sarnoff


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