Sound and Water

Monday, December 11, 2017

Before there were smart phones

Saturday, December 09, 2017

This is a 1905 advertisement from the Seattle Independent Telephone Directory selling residential telephone service. It's clearly aimed at women, who apparently wore lacey dresses and Easter bonnets when they spoke on the phone back in the old-timey days. If you can't read the print on the ad, this is what they tout:

Advantages of a residence telephone
  • Makes engagements
  • Invites you friends
  • Friends can call you
  • Does your shopping
  • Reserve theatre tickets
  • Orders your groceries
  • And corrects mistakes
  • Calls the plumber
  • Hastens the delivery of goods
  • Saves letter writing
  • Calls your husband
  • Saves time and steps
  • Runs your errands
  • Calls the doctor
  • Calls the fire department
  • Calls the police

I'm guessing the home phone service wasn't really a hard sell to women, but the issue of it was the cost, which husbands might object to. The bullet points seem like a list of talking points she might use to convince him the phone bill was worth it.

Aside from that I find the active voice odd. The telephone "makes engagements" rather than you "make  engagements". Strange that they make the phone the agent of action rather than the person.

To Old to Die Young

Friday, December 08, 2017

Get ready for a conflicted weekend with Brother Dege.

Day of Infamy

Thursday, December 07, 2017
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“Before we’re through with them, the Japanese language will be spoken only in Hell.” – Vice Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey

“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” – Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Making pencils

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

In the above video a person makes a pencil using paper, glue and what I think is a mechanical pencil lead. It strikes me as an odd thing to craft. One doesn't think a pencil as being hand made in the old days -- like churning butter, or knitting or whatever. Instead pencils seem to be things that were always manufactured. Beside, I wonder how easy it is to break the lead in the paper tubes? Are they even practical?

At any rate, below is a video of pencil making in a factory. Oddly, it seems more natural to me than the above crafting.

Revenge and Regret

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Under Her Dark Veil by Anna Akhmatova

Under her dark veil she wrung her hands.
"Why are you so pale today?"
"Because I made him drink of stinging grief
Until he got drunk on it.
How can I forget? He staggered out,
His mouth twisted in agony.
I ran down not touching the bannister

And caught up with him at the gate.
I cried: 'A joke!
That's all it was. If you leave, I'll die.'
He smiled calmly and grimly
And told me: 'Don't stand here in the wind.'"

Eye of the Hurricane

Friday, December 01, 2017

Get ready for a jazzy weekend with Tony Succar.

More sleeping in space

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

From sleeping on the Moon we move onto sleeping on to sleeping on the ISS. They have much better arrangements than the lunar lander. They have little compartments with a sleeping bag tethered to the wall, a computer they can use for email and whatnot, and a door they can close for privacy and darkness.

One interesting detail -- the air needs to be well circulated or, in the weightlessness, a bubble of exhaled carbon dioxide will form around their heads as they sleep.

Sleeping on the Moon

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Amy Shira Teitel of Vintage space has an article, Astronauts
Didn’t Sleep So Well on the Moon
, on the discover website. The above video is a companion to that article. All of the early capsules -- from the Mercury program through Apollo -- were remarkably small and cramped. It always struck me they must have been agony to sit in for days on end, but it never crossed my mind how miserable the sleeping conditions were as well.

Below is an excerpt from her article. Be sure to follow the above link and read it all.
History’s first lunar sleep period came after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon; the original plan called for a sleep period before going outside but excitement prevailed and the EVA was moved up. Once back inside, Armstrong and Aldrin tried to make themselves as comfortable as possible without any beds. As per an early schematic of rest positions, Armstrong lay on the ascent engine cover with his legs in a makeshift sling, his boots under the DSKY, and his head on a flat shelf. Aldrin curled up in a semi-fetal position on the floor — neither could properly stretch out in the tiny spacecraft.

Exacerbating the already uncomfortable setup was their bulky spacesuits; this was NASA’s attempt to keep any dust they tracked back inside after the EVA from behind inhaled. Mission planners also hoped that the buttoned up suits would cut out some of the ambient noise, but it didn’t. All night the glycol water pump whirred. The suits got uncomfortably cold even with the cooling system disconnected. And it was uncomfortably bright. A fair bit of sunlight bled in past the windows shares, and the display lights and illuminated switches only added to the brightness. The crew eventually took off their helmets but nothing really helped. Sleeping in the LM became a battle to find what Armstrong called in the post-flight debriefing “a minimum level of sleeping conditions,” and it was a battle they lost. “The rest period was almost a complete loss,” he said.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Get ready for a Black Friday weekend with Smith & Meyers covering Pearl Jam's Black.

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.
Click image to enlarge
“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.