Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Yum, yum, yum! Have a good one, but don't stuff yourselves too much.

I cannot shake off the sparks that fall on my hands

Monday, November 20, 2017

Attitude adjuster for our elites

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Reading the headlines lately, I can think of several people that would serve our needs best by retiring from public life and spending several hours a day exercising one of these machines. If nothing else, it sure would beat listening to their insincere apologies.

A Hard Day's Night

Friday, November 17, 2017

Get ready for a different perspective on things this weekend with Katja Ebstein.

Sculpture from scaps

Thursday, November 16, 2017
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The artist Lydia Ricci makes amazing little sculptures of everyday objects from scraps and bits of trash she's collected. You can see more of her sculptures after the jump, and at her website From Scraps.

Making a bow, arrows and a quiver the old school way

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A fellow makes a bow, arrows and a quiver using nothing but a stone axe and a stone chisel. He has much more at his website Primitive Technology.

Some mighty fancy clothes

Sunday, November 12, 2017
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I was looking for pictures for another topic when I ran across the one posted above. I could not pass on using it, so I'll post it in isolation. All I've got to say is the outfits those two young lads are wearing are a sight to behold, and they're rendered all the more ridiculous by how conventionally everybody else is dressed.

Art of the Russo-Japanese War

Saturday, November 11, 2017
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The imperial ambitions, in Manchuria and Korea, of both Russia and Japan led to the first modern war between western and Asian militaries forces. It was a bloody war that is largely forgotten today.

Sitting in the interval between the American Civil War and WWI, its battles, on both the land and at sea, featured armies and navies struggling to integrate modern firepower into their tactics and strategies. Russia further suffered from having to fight the war at an enormous distance from its heartland. In the end Russia lost the war to a presumed inferior Asiatic opponent and the path towards WWII's Pacific battles was set.

The artwork from the war is interesting in that it features both European and Japanese styles. The contrast between the two artistic heritages is striking. There are more examples after the jump.

Notte Di Luce (Knights in White Satin)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Get ready for an overwrought weekend with iL Divo's Italian version of Knights in White Satin.

Walking a street in Addis Abba

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Another in my series of videos of people just walking down streets in cities. In spite of the relative poverty of the Ethiopian capital, the contrast with the scenes in my last street walk -- Buying street food in Pyongyang, North Korea -- is striking. The north Korean capital, even in a scene that was likely staged, seems very empty and bleak in comparison.

Prior to the rise of motels

Tuesday, November 07, 2017
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Back in the day, before the era of the automobile, hotels and inns were the main accommodations for travelers. Here, and after the jump, are just a few of those old hotels.

And, as long as we're talking about inns, below is Chapter 16 of Don Quixote, which details his adventures in an inn he imagines to be a castle.
The innkeeper, seeing Don Quixote slung across the ass, asked Sancho what was amiss with him. Sancho answered that it was nothing, only that he had fallen down from a rock and had his ribs a little bruised. The innkeeper had a wife whose disposition was not such as those of her calling commonly have, for she was by nature kind-hearted and felt for the sufferings of her neighbours, so she at once set about tending Don Quixote, and made her young daughter, a very comely girl, help her in taking care of her guest. There was besides in the inn, as servant, an Asturian lass with a broad face, flat poll, and snub nose, blind of one eye and not very sound in the other. The elegance of her shape, to be sure, made up for all her defects; she did not measure seven palms from head to foot, and her shoulders, which overweighted her somewhat, made her contemplate the ground more than she liked. This graceful lass, then, helped the young girl, and the two made up a very bad bed for Don Quixote in a garret that showed evident signs of having formerly served for many years as a straw-loft, in which there was also quartered a carrier whose bed was placed a little beyond our Don Quixote's, and, though only made of the pack-saddles and cloths of his mules, had much the advantage of it, as Don Quixote's consisted simply of four rough boards on two not very even trestles, a mattress, that for thinness might have passed for a quilt, full of pellets which, were they not seen through the rents to be wool, would to the touch have seemed pebbles in hardness, two sheets made of buckler leather, and a coverlet the threads of which anyone that chose might have counted without missing one in the reckoning.

On this accursed bed Don Quixote stretched himself, and the hostess and her daughter soon covered him with plasters from top to toe, while Maritornes- for that was the name of the Asturian- held the light for them, and while plastering him, the hostess, observing how full of wheals Don Quixote was in some places, remarked that this had more the look of blows than of a fall.

It was not blows, Sancho said, but that the rock had many points and projections, and that each of them had left its mark. "Pray, senora," he added, "manage to save some tow, as there will be no want of some one to use it, for my loins too are rather sore."

"Then you must have fallen too," said the hostess.

"I did not fall," said Sancho Panza, "but from the shock I got at seeing my master fall, my body aches so that I feel as if I had had a thousand thwacks."
(continues after the jump)

Gangsta's Paradise

Friday, November 03, 2017

Get ready for a felonious weekend with Postmodern Jukebox featuring Robyn Adele Anderson.

Pour yourself a glass of wine

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

19th Century Scientific American

Monday, October 30, 2017

These are covers, mainly from the 19th century, of Scientific American. The magazine bills itself as a publication that covers art, science and mechanics, with other subjects occasionally added to the tag line. It is interesting in just how much it does focus on technology, unlike today's Scientific American, which is much more science oriented.

The covers on this page, and those after the jump, are from the Magazine Rack's Scientific American (1845-1909) Collection. If you follow that link you can actually page through the old issues and see all of their content. Be warned, it can be a tremendous time sink.

Chemical reactions

Sunday, October 29, 2017

These films are from Envisioning Chemistry, which is part of The Beauty of Science website. Much good stuff at both links.

Wicked Game

Friday, October 27, 2017

Get ready for a goofily gothic Halloween weekend with HIM.

The Lights of Canopus

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
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These are illustrations from the 19th century Persian book Anvār-i Suhaylī (Lights of Canopus). It is a translation of a much older Indian work, the Panchatantra. The book is a collection of animal fables.

The illustrations on this page, and after the jump, are from the Public Domain Review. There are more illustrations at that link.

Buying street food in Pyongyang, North Korea

Monday, October 23, 2017

Jaka Parker, an Indonesian variously described as a freelance photographer or embassy employee has a YouTube channel with numerous videos of North Korea. I imagine they are a bit dodgy -- how dodgy I don't know -- but they are still quite interesting.

Even if this video is an attempt to film a Potemkin village, the largely empty streets and line of uniform, green food stalls deliver their own message.

Scandal in the art world

Saturday, October 21, 2017
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OK, I can understand a rake like Vincent being in this picture, but Mona? Tsk, tsk, tsk... if she's not careful, she'll be getting earlobes through the mail.

The image is from The Surreal Collages of Barry Kite.

Bird on a Wire

Friday, October 20, 2017

Get ready for an avian weekend with Willie Nelson's cover of the Leonard Cohen classic.

Restored 1928 Rolmonica

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I guess you could say an organette (Rolmonica is a brand name) is the harmonica version of a player piano. They were first made in the 1860s and were still being sold in the early part of the 20th century. Rolls were available for all popular songs of the time.

Victorian era exercise equipment

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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Ladies and gentlemen of the Victorian era naturally wanted to be physically fit, particularly if they rode trains and might have to fend of a railroad lunatic or two. However, physical labor was for the lower classes, so they needed a rather more civilized and gentile method of exercising.

As the Daily Mail chronicles in their article Inside the Victorian gym, the Swedish physician Dr. Gustav Zander solved their dilemma by inventing numerous exercise machines for use in spas and gyms worldwide.

Pictures here, and after the jump, are some of his machines. There are more, as well as information about Dr. Zander at the above Daily Mail link.

On pondering nature

Saturday, October 14, 2017
Anonymous, Eyes on the Fly.
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“Everything made by human hands looks terrible under magnification--crude, rough, and asymmetrical. But in nature every bit of life is lovely. And the more magnification we use, the more details are brought out, perfectly formed, like endless sets of boxes within boxes.”

-- Roman Vishniac

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Friday, October 13, 2017

Get ready for a domestic weekend with Big Joe Turner and his band.

Soviet Photography

Thursday, October 12, 2017
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Sovetskoe Foto (Soviet Photography) was a magazine aimed at amateur Russian photographers. It features articles on technique, equipment and examples of photographers work. These are covers from Sovetskoe Foto, and as you can see many of them in the style of Soviet realism so familiar from their propaganda posters.

They're from the Magazine Rack's archive of  Sovetskoe Foto, a site that digitizes magazines. At that site the contents of the magazines are archived as well, so you can flip through them and get all their content. There are more covers after the jump, and many more at the link.

Making paper in Bhutan

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Columbus Day

Monday, October 09, 2017
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One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. - André Gide

Victorian Railroad Lunatics

Saturday, October 07, 2017
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We have scary clowns popping up on roadsides, the Victorians were plagued with railroad lunatics. When railroads were a new development there were numerous reports in the papers of normal people going berserk and causing all sorts of mayhem on them.

It was thought that the very act of riding a train could trigger such behavior, From Atlas Obscura:
As the railway grew more popular in the 1850s and 1860s, trains allowed travelers to move about with unprecedented speed and efficiency, cutting the length of travel time drastically. But according to the more fearful Victorians, these technological achievements came at the considerable cost of mental health. As Edwin Fuller Torrey and Judy Miller wrote in The Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present, trains were believed to “injure the brain.” In particular, the jarring motion of the train was alleged to unhinge the mind and either drive sane people mad or trigger violent outbursts from a latent “lunatic.” Mixed with the noise of the train car, it could, it was believed, shatter nerves.

In the 1860s and ‘70s, reports began emerging of bizarre passenger behavior on the railways. When seemingly sedate people boarded trains, they suddenly began behaving in socially unacceptable ways. One Scottish aristocrat was reported to have ditched his clothes aboard a train before “leaning out the window” ranting and raving. After he left the train, he suddenly recovered his composure.
There was also a concern that insane asylums were often situated close to rail lines and that escaped inmates would gravitate to the trains to escape the area and cause all manner of mischief in the process.

Finally, trains allowed women to travel alone, and so there was an aura of sexual danger in riding them. From the same article:
After going on a particular train ride, female novelist George Eliot stated with tongue firmly in cheek that upon seeing someone who looked wild and brutish, she was reminded of “all the horrible stories of madmen in railways.” Elliot seemed to relish the excitement of a possible confrontation and sounded rather disappointed when the figure turned out to be an ordinary clergyman.

Djelem Djelem

Friday, October 06, 2017

Get ready for a weekend of gypsy hipsterism with the Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra.

Chatting with Sasquatch

Thursday, October 05, 2017

In the above video a fellow by the name of Mike Paterson chats with his buddy Nephetia (sp). What sets this conversation apart is the fact that Nephetia (sp) is a Bigfoot, and a talkative one at that!

I'm not sure why the picture of the tent and the "orbs" accompany the audio. One would think a video, or at least some pictures, of Nephetia (sp) would be more useful in establishing the authenticity of this little woodland coffee klatch.

Then again, no need to be a cynic. After all, if you can't believe what you find on the internet, what can you believe?

A taxi driver and his passengers

Wednesday, October 04, 2017
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Ryan Weideman is a New York based taxi driver and photographers. For years he's taken pictures of the passengers in his cab. He's published a collection of his photos in the book In My Taxi: New York After Hours.

From the Publishers Weekly blurb about his book:
A self-described ``photographer-taxi driver,'' Weideman presents duotone portraits of punks, white- and blue-collar types, prostitutes, club kids and others who rode in his cab before plunging back into New York City's anonymous throng. After migrating east from the California Bay area in 1980, Weideman began driving a spacious Checker cab--capable of accommodating seven passengers--on a 5 p.m.-5 a.m. shift. In a terse, mercurial introductory essay evocative of the city's intensity, he tells tales of life as a cabbie, explains how he captures his subjects on film and reveals their myriad reactions, from enthusiastic to wildly negative. The motley New Yorkers here exhibit many attitudes: some glare menacingly yet comply, some seem exasperated, still others smile, attempt sexy poses or appear blase. Weideman occasionally sets up the camera so that his countenance8 dominates the foreground, separated from the action behind him. These transitory glimpses of radically dissimilar individuals are a sincere, blunt, affectionate document of New York's multicultural night life. 
Via Vintage Everyday.

It's Good To Be King

Monday, October 02, 2017

Sad news about Tom Petty. He suffered a heart attack and is now off life support with no brain activity. He is not expected to survive. RIP Tom, you were a king for sure.

Engravings of 19th Century China

Sunday, October 01, 2017
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The book China, in a series of views : displaying the scenery, architecture, and social habits of that ancient empire was published in 1843. As the title implies, it was a guidebook to China when it was still largely unknown and mysterious to Westerners.

These, and the images after the jump, are some engravings from that book. They are particularily fine examples of plates from travelers' books of the time. The scans are from Old Book Illustrations. Enjoy.

The Do Nothing Machine

Saturday, September 30, 2017

From the YouTube description by CaptainHarlock999:

The Do Nothing Machine, built by Lawrence Wahlstrom, plus stationary engines by Rudy Kouhoupt at the end. Craftsmanship Museum, Carlsbad, CA.

From the museum website at www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com - According to a newspaper article (paper unknown) from about the early 1960's, the inventor of this engineering marvel was Lawrence Wahlstrom, a retired clock maker. He worked in the newspaper business and for the telephone company, while also acting as caretaker and landscape gardener for a Beverly Hills estate for 40 years. He always enjoyed tinkering with clocks and had attended a clock school to learn about their repair. Somewhere along the line he acquired a fascination for gears. After coming across a surplus WWII bomb sight containing a complicated cluster of gears, he got it working again. He also realized that people prefer to be entertained rather than educated, so he began adding more and more gears to his assembly over a 15-year period starting in about 1948. The first known publicity photo of it appeared in 1950.

Over the years, the number of gears continued to grow, reaching either 744 or 764 depending on which account you read. Like the motion of the machine, the actual figure is somewhat fluid. It attracted a lot of media attention over the years, appearing in magazine articles and on TV shows. It was seen on both the Art Linkletter show and the Bob Hope show. The family archives also contain a telegram arranging for Mr. Wahlstrom to appear on the Garry Moore show in November, 1954. Life Magazine gave it a full page in the April 20, 1953 issue, and Popular Mechanics gave it ½ page coverage in the February, 1954 issue. In February, 1955 it was also featured in Mechanix Illustrated magazine. There were also many other newspaper and magazine articles documenting its constant evolution.

Called by its inventor variously a "Flying Saucer Detector" or other nebulous and facetious descriptions, his goal was to add at least 50 gears each year to the constantly growing project. As noted in Popular Mechanics in 1954, "We all know someone who works harder doing nothing than most of us work doing something, but we can't possibly know anything that works harder at nothing that a machine built by a California hobbyist. The machine has over 700 working parts that rotate, twist, oscillate and reciprocate—all for no purpose except movement."

At some point after the Do Nothing machine came into the possession of the Antique Steam and Gas Museum in the Joe Martin Foundation's home town of Vista, CA. It was put up for auction, where Mr. Wolf purchased it in about 2003, repaired it and for years took it to several shows a year for the public to enjoy.

96 Tears (& The Gallopin' Gaucho)

Friday, September 29, 2017

Get ready for a liquid weekend with the Religious Knives and Mickey Mouse.

Watercolors of WWII airships

Thursday, September 28, 2017
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During WWII airships were used by the U.S. Navy for antisubmarine patrols. These are illustrations by the artist Adolf Dehn of those LTA craft. They are taken from Travel for Aircraft's post Adolf Dehn and WW II’s LTA Aviation in Watercolor. More are at the link.

Making a Rover Imperial motorcycle

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

This early silent film documents the making of a Rover Imperial motorcycle. It starts with casting the engine block and goes through to test driving the completed motorcycles.

A crime scene?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“Tradition does not mean a dead town; it does not mean that the living are dead but that the dead are alive. It means that it still matters what Penn did two hundred years ago or what Franklin did a hundred years ago; I never could feel in New York that it mattered what anybody did an hour ago.”

-- G.K. Chesterton, What I Saw in America