September 18, 2005

Anton Webern

'A novel contained in a single sigh' On Sept. 15, 1945, Anton Webern stepped out to smoke a cigar. An American soldier, seeing the glow of the cigar, panicked and shot Webern three times. Webern, along with Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, is credited with -- or blamed for -- ushering in an era of composition emphasizing strict, mathematical order over all elements of music, a reaction against the suicidal excess of Romanticism. On the anniversary of his death, BBC Radio 3 hosts Webern Day, during which Webern's complete works will be broadcast. The total time to perform his 31 works is about three hours.

September 18, 2005 in History | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 11, 2005

Collect Britain: Accents & Dialects

In England alone, an intrepid traveler may overhear hundreds of dialects and accents. What's more extraordinary is how these brogues and drawls have evolved throughout the 20th century. Thanks to the British Library's Sound Archive, you can eavesdrop on English people from across the country without packing your bags. For instance, meet Dick Gilbert. In 1958, when he was 79 years old, he spoke about his experience as a young farm hand. The Sound Archive offers the lexis, phonology, and grammar break-down of Dick's commentary. But more importantly, it allows you to marvel at his voice. With recordings ranging from the 1950s to 1999, the site offers a wealth of samples. Some are downright incomprehensible, some are thoroughly entertaining,
but all are fascinating. So listen up; England is speaking to you

September 11, 2005 in Fun, History | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2005


We never considered vintage sewing patterns to be creepy or uproarious -- until we stumbled upon Threadbared. It seems Mary and Kimberly, two nice girls from the South and the proud hosts of Threadbared, have this vast collection of old sewing patterns, and they like nothing better than to sit around and mock their acquisitions. For instance, they point out the modelesque woman from the 1940s who appears to have her hand trapped in a muff. Or the feather-haired couple in matching sweaters mugging happily in front of ... the apocalypse. And while we're willing to buy these three men hanging out in their pajamas, why is that guy brandishing a golf club? If you, like Mary and Kimberley, love all things vintage or all things snarky, this site may just leave you in stitches.

July 6, 2005 in Fun, History | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2005

100 Milestone Documents

100 Milestone Documents. High-quality viewable and downloadable documents of American History, from 1776 to 1965. Of course the usual suspects are available, but you can also see \ items like the Patent for the Cotton Gin (1794) and the Check for the Purchase of Alaska (1868). Also downloadable PDFs, transcripts, and background information on each document.

June 27, 2005 in History | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2005

Brazilian doctors uncover 'Michelangelo code'

Move over Da Vinci Code.

Two Brazilian doctors and amateur art lovers believe they have uncovered a secret lesson on human anatomy hidden by Renaissance artist Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel's ceiling.

Completed nearly 500 years ago, the brightly colored frescoes painted on the
Vatican's famous sanctuary are considered some of the world's greatest works of art. They depict Biblical scenes such as the "Creation of Adam" in which God reaches out to touch Adam's finger.

Continue reading ...

June 26, 2005 in Art, History | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2005

A new twist on an old myth

Watch and hear Sita singing the blues, by Nina Paley in Sitayana.

June 24, 2005 in Art, Fun, History | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2005

Broadsword calling Danny Boy

Channel 4's 100 Greatest War Films as voted for by their (generally more clued-up than average) viewership has plenty for you to disagree with, but much to recommend. has a history of war films (as does Berkeley) for the completists among you. There are more war films from and about Vietnam and Indochina than you can shake a bayonet at (see also the 1999 NYT article, Apocalypse Then: Vietnam Marketing War Films to learn a little about the Vietnamese government's 1960s and 70s archive of war film). The [British] national archives have archived film from pre-WWI to the Cold War.

May 21, 2005 in Fun, History | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 20, 2005

Seymour Topping

I am very pleased, as predicted in January, Seymour Topping and his book Book.JPG FATAL CROSSROADS: A Novel of Vietnam 1945 are making waves.

May 20, 2005 in Books, Columnists, History | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 29, 2005

Magic Feathers by James W. Reid

This lavishly illustrated large-format art book by James Reid - is the first major publication in the world devoted entirely to this magnificent ancient art form. It focuses on the aesthetic beauty of the feather textiles and three-dimensional objects, unparalleled in their artistry and sophistication, that were created for the elite of the ancient Andean world between approximately 500 BC and 1550 AD.

Son of a British Army Officer and UN diplomat, and of an American mother, James Reid was educated at England’s 600 year old Winchester College, at Princeton (BA), the Ecole de Sciences Politiques ( Paris), Stanford (MA), and with doctoral studies at the University of Buenos Aires.

The author, internationally recognised as one of the leading authors and scholars on the textile art of ancient America, focuses on:
- The characteristics and chronology of the major featherwork-producing cultures of ancient Peru, and the geographical features of the area.
- Technical facets of feather textile production, including: sources of the feathers; different types of feather objects; creation and construction; dating and cultural attribution.
- The religious, political, social, psychological, economic and communication roles of the feather textiles in ancient Peruvian life.
- Design concepts and the meaning and importance of the motifs and shapes employed.
- The parallels to be drawn between ancient Peruvian feather textiles and Modern Art.

He is the author of eleven major books, which contain introductions by HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Mario Vargas Llosa and such internationally renowned archaeologists as Federico Kauffmann-Doig. He has presented his books personally, in official ceremonies, to the Presidents of Brazil and Peru.

In addition to numerous other publications( scholarly articles and museum catalogues, et al.,), he has been guest lecturer at US universities ( Princeton, Yale, Syracuse), and such institutions as the Americas’ Society, New York; the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem , and numerous South American institutions. He was recently invited by Germain Viatte, Directeur du Musee du quai Branly – French President Chirac’s huge new museum, ten years in construction( due to open in 2006) – to lecture in Paris, and to author a 100 page catalogue.

A linguist in seven languages, Colonel Reid is an elected member of New York’s prestigious Explorers Club as the result of his expeditions to, and accounts of remote areas of the world. An artist who studied in Paris, he has exhibited his paintings internationally – primarily in France, the US and South America.

An excellent Feather book though not so feather-weight (11 pounds)

April 29, 2005 in Art, Books, Columnists, History, Travel | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 17, 2005


Exposing screenshot"The Man's" cover-ups has long been an obsession of conspiracy theorists. Whether they're insisting the Apollo moon landings were staged or agonizing over how Small Wonder ever got the green light, this is a group that definitely takes its media coverage with a grain (or two) of salt. allows like-minded seekers of "truth" a chance to pull back the curtain on history's more infamous conspiracies. All the classic questions are pondered: Was Big Foot a giant, furry beast or just a wandering woodsman with an aversion to photographers? Does Area 51 really house the bodies of little green men? And while we're at it, who the heck killed JFK? The site even has a section dedicated to that friend of the working man, Jimmy Hoffa -- a fella whose unsolved disappearance is still making news 28 years later. An ideal site for those who imagine they're not getting the whole story, encourages you to indulge your suspicious side.

January 17, 2005 in History | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack